Apples are quite expensive in the African Clime. Except in South Africa, where it is grown commercially, in other parts apples come in varieties.
Naturally, apple is one of nature’s richest fruits in terms of nutrient and usage. It is best consumed raw, so one can enjoy the huge antioxidants and other flavonoids that help build the body. Below are its many uses:
- Tackles High Blood Pressure:
Savour a juicy apple and you may help keep your ticker healthy in the process. “Studies have linked apple consumption with reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, which may be related to the cholesterol-lowering benefits of the soluble fibre found in apples,” say researchers.
Soluble fibre dissolves in water to form a gellike material, according to the Mayo Clinic. According to the University of Illinois, soluble fibre helps prevent cholesterol buildup in the lining of blood vessel walls, therefore lowering the incidence of atherosclerosis (restricted blood flow in the arteries due to plaque buildup) and heart disease. It can also help lower blood pressure levels. A study found that a higher intake of soluble fibre was associated with a decreased cardiovascular disease risk.
Research shows that eating apples (or pears) regularly was associated with a 52 percent lower stroke risk. Furthermore, a study published in February 2020 in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that eating two apples a day helped study participants lower both their LDL (“bad”) cholesterol and triglyceride levels.
2. Eating Foods With Fibre, Including Apples, Can Aid Digestion
You’ve likely heard that fibre is good for digestion — and what you’ve heard is true! According to Harvard Health Publishing, both types of fibre (soluble and insoluble, which means it can’t be absorbed in water) are important for digestion. And you’re in luck — apples have both types, according to the University of Illinois.
Soluble fibre helps slow down digestion, allowing you to feel full, and also slows the digestion of glucose, which helps control your blood sugar. Meanwhile, insoluble fibre can help move food through your system and aid with constipation and regularity, per Harvard.
Just be sure to eat the apple skin, which contains much of the apple’s insoluble fiber, according to the University of Illinois in the USA.
- Apples Can Support a Healthy Immune System
Who doesn’t want a stronger immune system going into autumn? Apples might be an important tool in your immune-supporting tool kit.
According to research in animals, a diet filled with soluble fibre helped convert immune cells that were pro-inflammatory into anti-inflammatory and immune-supporting ones. Another animal study, published in May 2018 in the journal Immunity, found that a diet high in dietary fibre protected mice against the flu. Whether those effects would be seen in humans is unclear until there are more studies.
Still, there’s reason to believe that apples may bolster immunity, in part because they contain immune-boosting vitamin C. A review published in November 2017 in the journal Nutrients found that vitamin C plays many roles in helping the immune system function, such as by strengthening the epithelial (a type of tissue) barrier against pathogens and guarding against environmental oxidative stress, such as pollution to radiation, according to research.
- It’s Diabetic-Friendly Fruit
If you have type 2 diabetes, consider adding apples to your diet. Sure, they’re a fruit, but it’s a common misconception that people with diabetes can’t eat fruit.
In this case, apples’ soluble fibre can help slow the absorption of sugar into the bloodstream and may improve blood sugar levels, the Mayo Clinic notes. Plus, per Mayo, a healthy diet that includes insoluble fibre can lower your odds of developing type 2 diabetes in the first place.
Furthermore, a study of people with type 2 diabetes published in August 2016 in Experimental and Therapeutic Medicine found that regularly consuming soluble fibre helped reduce insulin resistance and improved blood sugar and triglyceride levels.
- The Antioxidants in Apples May Play a Role in Cancer Prevention
While there’s no one surefire way to prevent cancer, apples could help play a role. “Apples may reduce the risk of certain cancers, which researchers speculate is related to the antioxidants found in apples,” says Anzlovar. Research suggests that apples have a very high level of antioxidants, and in laboratory studies, these antioxidants have been shown to limit cancer cell growth.
A review published in October 2016 in Public Health Nutrition found that eating apples regularly is associated with a reduced risk of certain cancers, including colorectal, oral cavity, esophageal, and breast cancers.
The fiber in apples may provide cancer-preventing perks. A study published in March 2016 in the journal Pediatrics found that women who ate more high-fiber foods during adolescence and young adulthood (especially lots of fruits and vegetables) had a lower breast cancer risk later in life.
And another study, published in January 2019 in the journal The Lancet, found that a diet high in dietary fiber could protect against colorectal cancer and breast cancer, as well as type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
6. Apples Can Support Healthy Weight Loss
A diet rich in fruit (and vegetables) can help you maintain a healthy weight — or shed pounds — according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Because apples are filled with dietary fiber, they are high on this list. “Fiber slows digestion and the rise of blood sugar, keeping you satiated and less likely to overeat,” says Levinson.
According to that study in The Lancet, people who ate the most fiber had a significantly lower body weight. Research shows that overweight women who ate three apples a day lost 1.22 kg (2.7 pounds) after 12 weeks.
At only 95 calories for a medium-sized apple, this fruit is one you’ll want to keep on hand when sweet cravings strike.
- Apples May Help Prevent Alzheimer’s Disease
Time to start eating more apples and other flavonoid-rich foods like berries and tea. Research published in August 2020 in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that adults age 50 and older who included only a small amount of flavonoid-rich foods like berries, apples, and tea in their diet were a whopping 2 to 4 times more likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease and related types of dementia over 20 years compared with people who ate more flavonoid-rich foods.
On top of that, a review published in January 2020 in the journal Biomolecules found that quercetin, a flavonoid found in apples, protects neurons from oxidative damage and contains other anti-Alzheimer’s disease properties, too.
By: Kevin Nengia
RSG Earmarks Health Facilities To Cater For Sexual Violence Victims
It made the resolve public as part of this year’s International Day for the Elimination of Sexual Violence with the theme: Prevention as Protection Enhancing Structural and Operational Prevention of Conflict Related Sexual Violence.
While listing conflict and war as major causes of sexual violence, it says the best form of prevention is to avert conflict in the first place.
In a special message to mark the day, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Health, Dr. Ndidi Utchay said there is need to do away with cultural practices that deny women and girls their right to equality and justice, while upholding the right of survivors.
She urged citizens who are victims of sexual violence to seek medical care services early.
Against this backdrop, she revealed that the Rivers State Government has earmarked eight health facilites to take care of victims.
The medical facilities include Orogbum Health Centre, Zonal, Zonal Hospital Bori,, Zonal Hospital Ahoada, Zonal Hospital Isiokpo, Zonal Health Centre Nchia-Eleme, Zonal Hospital Degema and Abua Primary Health Centre.
In addition to that, she disclosed that the Ministry has equally trained health care workers on the management of sexual violence.
Warning on the consequences of sexial violence, Dr Utchay said it can lead to sexually transmitted diseases,abnormal behaviours, stigma and in extreme cases suicide.
The day was set aside by the United Nations towards the eradicatiom of sexual crimes, while at the same time paying tribute to those fighting against it.
How Bitter Leaf Helps Curb Weight
Bitter leaf is a common Nigeria’s indigenous staples as it is used as spice in food and vegetable in soups. Recent discovery by researchers say it may help to promote weight loss and lower bad cholesterol levels in the blood by decreasing the amount of dietary fat that is absorbed in the intestines.
In a new study, adding bitter leaf to the diet had a lowering effect on bad and total cholesterol concentration at both 5% and 10% dietary incorporation levels under laboratory conditions in animals.
Administration of methanol extract of Vernonia colorata at 1000mg/kg and 200mg/kg significantly downregulated weight gain in animals fed a high-fat diet relative to the untreated group that was fed a high-fat diet only.
Experts, in the study, said bitter leaf may be useful in weight loss regimen, reducing dietary obesity and also serve as a potential drug lead in the search for natural products for the treatment of diseases associated with dyslipidemia, a condition in which there is abnormally high cholesterol or fat in the blood.
The study assessed the effect of feeding both a high-fat diet (HFD) and methanol extracts of Vernonia colorata (MEVC) on lipid profile (amount of cholesterol and fat in the blood) and body weight changes in 30 Wistar albino male rats aged between 10 and 12 weeks.
It was in the 2021 edition of the journal, Biokemistri. It involved Ijeoma Nina Eke-Ogaranya and Anthony Chibuzor Nnamudi at the PAMO University of Medical Sciences, Port Harcourt, Rivers State, in collaboration with Ifeoma Irene Ijeh at the Michael Okpara University of Agriculture, Umudike, Abia.
Different amounts of the extract of Vernonia colorata were administered orally on a daily basis. Body weight was measured weekly while the amount of cholesterol and fat in the blood was measured at the end of the study which lasted for 10 weeks.
The study found that the bad cholesterol and fat lowering effects of extracts of Vernonia colorata were similar to Orlistat, the drug designed to treat obesity. It also resulted in a dose-dependent decrease of 22.2% and 15.8% in body weight of animals that were administered 1000mg/kg and 200mg/kg of methanol extract relative to a 12.5% decrease in the Orlistat group.
There was a significant decrease in LDL cholesterol concentration upon concomitant feeding of a high-fat diet and administration of methanol extract of Vernonia colorata relative to the high-fat diet control group.
Obesity is a complex disease involving an excessive amount of body fat. Obesity is not just a cosmetic concern; it is a medical problem that increases the risk of other diseases and health problems, such as heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure and certain cancers. High-fat foods rich in cholesterol and triacylglycerols have been implicated in these conditions.
Although there are genetic, behavioural, metabolic and hormonal influences on body weight, obesity occurs when there is overeating, especially in high-fat foods and physical inactivity. So, many therapies, therefore, target achieving weight reduction through dietary modulation.
Vernonia colorata is a perennial shrub that is found throughout Central and West Africa. It has broader, wildly hairy leaves and it is less bitter-tasting than Vernonia amygdalina. Hence, it can be described as a sweet-bitter leaf due to its characteristic non-bitter taste.
Vernonia colorata is similar to Vernonia amygdalina (commonly referred to bitter leaf, onugbu or ewuro), in appearance and nutrient content. They share many of the vernacular names and uses are the same.
Bitter leaf is commonly used in traditional medicine. Leaf decoctions are used to treat fever, malaria, diarrhoea, dysentery, hepatitis and cough as a laxative and as a fertility inducer. They are also used as medicine for scabies, headache and stomach-ache. In Nigeria, its leaves are placed on a wound as a substitute for iodine.
Lemon Juice and Diabetes — Experts
It is not easy to control blood sugar. Many diabetics have difficulty regulating the amount of sugar in their blood, leaving them at greater risk of headaches and lethargy as well as future heart attacks and nerve damage. But a new study found that lemon juice, not tea, can help to modify how food is digested and to reduce sugar spikes after meals.
In the study, the researchers tested the impact of black tea and lemon juice on the glycemic response to bread and subsequent energy intake in healthy adults. They gave equal portions of bread (100 g) and 250 ml of water, black tea or lemon juice and later measured their blood glucose concentrations.
The researchers noted that tea had no effect on the glycemic response but lemon juice significantly lowered the mean blood glucose concentration peak by 30 per cent. It delayed more than 35 minutes. None of the tested beverages had an effect on the energy available for the body to use all the time as reported in the European Journal of Nutrition.
The researchers stated: “the effect of lemon juice was similar to what has been repeatedly observed with vinegar and other acidic foods. Including acidic beverages or foods in starchy meals thus appears to be a simple and effective strategy to reduce their glycemic impact.”
The researchers stated in the European Journal of Nutrition that “the effect of lemon juice was similar to what has been repeatedly observed with vinegar and other acidic foods. Including acidic beverages or foods in starchy meals thus appears to be a simple and effective strategy to reduce their glycemic impact.”
To fuel the body, starch in food is broken down into sugars by enzymes in saliva, first in the mouth and then the stomach. Further conversion happens in the intestine and liver to produce glucose that is transported around the body via the bloodstream.
The hormone insulin plays a vital role in helping cells refuel with sugar. Blood sugar levels rise in diabetics when the body either does not produce enough insulin or if it is overwhelmed with large amounts of glucose. An unruly blood sugar levels set the stage for a host of complications if left untreated.
Diet plays a role in managing blood sugar levels. There is increasing evidence, however, that certain foods can help lower glucose.
The inhibition of enzymes that breaks down the starch in food during digestion could constitute an opportunity to slow down the release, and ultimately the uptake, of starch-derived glucose in the stomach, hence preventing a spike in blood sugar level.
Lemon juice, which is packed with polyphenols, is often mixed with water to help flush toxins out of the body. It is a miracle potion for those looking to shed some extra pounds and a go-to drink after a nasty hangover.
Also in another study, researchers from Université Paris-Saclay discovered that lemon juice slows the body’s digestion system, suppressing the conversion of carbohydrates into sugar and therefore suggested that by adding lemon juice to their mealtimes, diabetics could help level off the spikes in blood sugar that affect their daily lives. It was published in the journal Food Chemistry.
According to them, “lemon juice had a remarkable effect. The results provide a strong biochemical rationale for the development of dietary strategies to improve the glycaemic impact of starch-rich diet.”
The research had assessed how different drinks influence the actions of the salivary enzymes in breaking down starch at the start of that chain. Laboratory experiments recreated conditions in the stomach with bread digested in the presence of black tea, green tea, coffee, wine, vinegar and lemon juice.
The enzymes were seen to slow down markedly in the acidic conditions provided by teas, wine and vinegar, but tended to recover their efficacy over the subsequent 30 to 60 minutes.
However, when pH levels dropped below 2.5, as with lemon juice, there was a “complete interruption of starch hydrolysis during the gastric phase of digestion.”
Researchers believe that lemon juice intake may reduce blood sugar levels spikes in a small time frame of 45 minutes. They stated that those who drank lower amounts of lemon juice also had lower blood glucose than those who drank none. The difference, however, was not significant.
They recruited 12 subjects, all aged between 20 to 30 years, who were divided into three different groups.
The first control group ate 200 grammes of cooked rice, while a second group was given 15 grammes of lemon juice, followed by 200 grammes of cooked rice. The third group of participants was given 30 grammes of lemon juice followed by 200 grammes of cooked rice.
Lemon juice was mixed with water, and all subjects were instructed to eat food within 10 minutes of drinking their beverage. They all had their blood sugar levels measured at zero, 15, 30, 45, 60, 90 and 120 minutes after consumption.
Lemon water may not directly impact the blood sugar levels, causing it to come down, but it is packed with soluble fibres, which also help keep the heart healthy by regulating cholesterol and stabilising blood pressure.
Squeezing lemon juice and drinking it with water may not amount to your daily recommended intake of fibre or vitamin C. But it is dubbed by American Diabetes Association as “Diabetes Superfood” because it is full of fibre, vitamin C, folate and potassium, which would help benefit a healthy diabetic diet.
Adapted from the Nigerian Tribune
By Kevin Nengia
Albinism: Lack Of Medical Checks May Lead To Cancer -Experts
According to the health warning those between 30-40 years are prone to develop skin cancer if they fail to follow up regular health checks and protection.
The report said, Studies “ that people with albinism are likely to get affected by many biological, mental and social issues. These people are prone to undergo drastic differences in skin pigmentation. Moreover, a lot of people with albinism often have permanent visual impairment due to a lack of melanin in their eyes.
“ majority of individuals with albinism develop skin cancer between the ages of 30 and 40. But skin cancer is preventable among albinism patients with regular health checks, sunscreen, sunglasses, and sun-protective clothing. However, people of low-income countries might have to suffer due to a lack of facilities”, it added.
The theme for this year’s International Albinism Awareness Day is “United in making our voices heard.”
The United Nations chose the theme with an aim to include the voices of persons with albinism since it is essential to ensure equality #Inclusion4equality, to celebrate the people suffering from albinism, and increase the visibility of persons with albinism in all domains of life.
This day also encourages and celebrates unity among the support groups of albinism and highlights the work being done by albinism groups around the world.
In North America and Europe, one in every 20,000 people has some form of albinism, and around 1,400 people in Sub-Saharan Africa suffer from the same condition.
It was on 18 December 2014 that the General Assembly adopted a resolution to celebrate 13 June as International Albinism Awareness Day. This resolution came into effect in 2015.
This action was taken as a response to the call from civil society organisations advocating to consider albinism patients as a specific group that has certain needs and requires special attention. The council created the mandate of Independent Expert on the enjoyment of human rights by persons with albinism on 26 March 2015
By: Kevin Nengia
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