January 31, 2014

Watch: Spectacular solar show captured by NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory

NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) on Thursday captured a spectacular solar show as the moon slid across the Sun's fiery disc.

Such events are called lunar transits, rather than eclipses, since they can be only viewed from space.

The celestial light show was captured on Jan 30, 2014, as the moon moved between NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory, or SDO, and the sun, giving the observatory a view of a partial solar eclipse from space that lasted two-and-a-half hours.

Lunar transits occur two or three times a year usually lasting for a half hour or so, but Thursday's one lasted two-and-a-half hours, which is the longest ever recorded.

NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO), which was launched on February 11, 2010, from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, will observe the Sun for over five years. The observatory is part of the NASA's Living With a Star (LWS) program. The goal of the SDO is to understand the Sun's influence on the Earth and near-Earth space by studying the solar atmosphere on small scales of space and time and in many wavelengths simultaneously.
watch the lunar transit video taken by NASA's SDO

January 30, 2014

Five things women must NOT do when in a relationship

Being in a relationship feels great, especially, when you find that someone special of your dreams. But dear women, men are men and you never know when they may change their attitude towards you.

Most men have a chauvinistic approach while dealing with relationships. They think that being a male in the relationship is a huge advantage. Men try to find fault in everything you do. So here are a few tips that will help you maintain the dignity of your relationship with Mr Perfect and when you can make him crawl on his knees for your sake.

Do not ignore your looks: Always remember that your appearance is one of the things that attracted your man towards you. Now that you are already in a relationship with him, you may want to show your simplicity. But wait. Men like women who dress well and look good 24 x 7. So dress up well while meeting him and make him feel that he meets a “new you”, every single time.

Do not be a nagger: Men love their personal space so give your man the privacy he needs. Let him spend time with his friends and do not bother him quite often. Do not argue with him if he tells you he has to go out with his pals. Instead, tell him “Enjoy your day sweetheart”.

Don`t be easily available: Men often have the tendency to take women for granted if they are easily available. Put up a price tag and make sure you turn up late for a date. Show him that you have other commitments too and your time doesn’t entirely belong to him. And remember, men go weak before women who pay no heed to them, and often tend to ignore those who truly love them.

Don`t act silly: Men like women who are confident. Do not act foolishly while on a date with him. This can be a complete turn-off. Just wear a confident smile and keep mum if you have nothing much to say. Make him do most of the talking.

Don`t go overboard praising other men: Just the way you do not appreciate your man discussing other women with you, even he may get offended if you go overboard praising other men you know. Make him feel he is important to you and that you will never breach his trust. This will help you strengthen the bond with him.

Kumquats: An Immune-Boosting, Cancer-Fighting Fruit

Kumquat fruit is oval in shape. It looks like orange but small in shape. It is kumquat health benefits and nutrition facts edible, sweet and citrus fruit that is eaten whole including its skin. It is available in winter and summer. First it was grown in China but today it is widely grown worldwide. Four types of Kumquat are available such as Nagami kumquat, Marumi kumquat, Meiwa kumquat and Hong Kong wild.

Kumquat contains a good amount of antioxidants like Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin E and phytonutrients that protect from free radicals. Thus it is effective to protect from cancer, ageing, inflammation, degenerative diseases and diabetes. Also, it contains a variety of nutrients that make it healthy fruit.

Health Benefits of Kumquat

Increase Immunity: Kumquat contains an excellent source of Vitamin C. It contains 43.9 mg/100g which fulfills 73% of the RDA (Recommended Daily Allowance). Due to the rich source of Vitamin C, Kumquat increase immunity. So it is beneficial to protect from cold, flu and common infections.

Protect from Cancer: Kumquat contains a high amount of antioxidants like Vitamin A, Vitamin C and Vitamin E. Along with these antioxidants, it contains a good amount of phytonutrients flavonoids like carotene, tannin, zeaxanthin, pectin, etc. Antioxidants and phytonutrients protect the body from oxygen free radicals. Free radicals are produced due to oxidative stress. These free radicals damage DNA of the cell and turns the normal cell into a cancer cell. But antioxidants neutralize these free radicals and acts as a shield to protect DNA from free radicals. Thus it is effective to protect from cancer.

Improve Cardiovascular Health: Eating kumquat lower cholesterol and triglycerides in the blood. Thus it increases the flow of blood in the nervous system and reduces the risk of stroke and heart attack. Kumquat contains a good amount of potassium which increase the fluid level. Thus, it helps to maintain blood pressure and heart rate. Also it contains a good amount of Omega 3 and Omega 6. Thus it provides complete health benefits to the cardiovascular system.

Protect from Diabetes: Kumquat contains natural powerful antioxidants Vitamin C which protects from free radicals and removes these free radicals from the body. Thus it helps to protect from diabetes. Also, it contains a good amount of dietary fiber, Omega 3 and Omega 6 which lower cholesterol and triglycerides in the blood. Thus eating kumquat reduces the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.

Protect from Inflammation: Kumquat is rich in phytonutrient, antioxidants and tannins which proves effective to prevent inflammation caused due to free radicals. Kumquat is also effective to prevent hardening arteries and protect from Arthritis.

Prevent early Ageing: Kumquat is a rich source of antioxidant Vitamin A and Vitamin C. It fulfills 73% of Daily recommended Vitamin C. Such a rich source of antioxidants protect skin damage from free radicals. Recent studies have found that eating food rich in antioxidants slow the ageing process.

Increase Blood production: Kumquat is the rich source of nutrient that is required for the production of blood. It provides manganese, magnesium, copper, iron and folate that are required for the formation of RBC. Also it contains Vitamin C that increases iron absorbing capacity of the body.

Fasten Healing: Kumquat contains a good amount of Vitamin C that increases healing capacity of the cell.

Improve Bone and Teeth health: Vitamin A is required for the development of teeth and bone. Also, it contains calcium that strengthens bone and teeth.

Increase Energy: Kumquat is an excellent source of Riboflavin that is required for the metabolism of carbohydrate, protein and fats. So it is effective to provide instant energy. Also, it contains a good amount of carbohydrate and calorie.

January 28, 2014

Second supermoon of 2014: Gear up for another celestial treat on Friday

Sky enthusiasts can gear up for another celestial treat as the second supermoon of 2014 is coming up this week.

According to Space Foundation, an organisation working for popularising astronomy, the second of the five supermoons of 2014 would be visible on Friday.

January is the only month with two supermoons until January 2018, the first supermoon of the year 2014 appeared on January 1.

The second supermoon of 2014, which will occur Friday would be visible around 3.30 pm.

While the remaining three supermoons will be visible July 12, August 10 and September 9, the August supermoon would be closest to Earth.

' A supermoon phenomenon can be seen when the moon makes it closest approach to Earth in its orbit than usual.

According to NASA, because of how close the supermoon is, it can appear as much as 14 percent larger in the sky and 30 percent brighter to our eyes than the normal moons.

The name Supermoon was coined by astrologer Richard Nolle in 1979.The term supermoon is not used within the astronomical community, which use the term perigee-syzygy or perigee full/new moon.

Perigee is the point at which the Moon is closest in its orbit to the Earth, and syzygy is a full or new moon, when the Earth, the Moon and the Sun are aligned. Therefore, a supermoon can be regarded as a combination of the two, although they do not perfectly coincide each time.

Chinese photoshop trolls work their magic (55 Pics)

Request: “Make me hot shi*t on the net, please!”

Request: “I want to look more dangerous.”

Request: “I want to look like the son of a powerful politician!”

Request: “My friend behind me looks a little dull. Can you make him more dramatic?”

Request: “I want to look like a hero with courage!”

Request: “Make me look cooler, but don’t use any cheap effects.”

Request: “This is me celebrating my graduation. Can you make it look more like a celebration?”

Request: “That kid walked into the shot. I don’t want any kids in this photo.”

Request: “Can you make me look less bored?”

Request: “Lose the clothes, more tattoos, and I want a knife. Make me look like the kind of person who would take all your money and your life.”
Request: “Put me in a scene with a beautiful woman, please.”

Request: “I wanna look more like a hero. Maybe put a lady in there?”

Request: “Dear artisans, please make this background more powerful.”

Request: “Don’t screw around, okay? Make me like a gangster or celebrity in this photo.”

Request: “Whatever you do, make me the man in this photo.”

15 Problems You Can Solve with Oatmeal

 Here are 15 problems that can be tackled with oatmeal.
1. Acne: If you are a acne-addled teenager and you’d rather eat a Pop-Tart, don’t toss out the oatmeal mom tries to make you eat for breakfast. Instead, let it cool, then spread it over your problem skin. Let it sit for about 15 minutes, then rinse. This folk remedy has some sound logic, according to the Livestrong Foundation. Oatmeal can absorb and remove oil and bacteria from skin, and exfoliates dead skin cells, all of which can combat acne. Honey and tea tree oil are also helpful additives.
2. Poison ivy or chicken pox: If poison ivy, chicken pox or even a sunburn has you itching like crazy, try an oatmeal bath. The Old Farmer’s Almanac has these directions: Grind oats or oat flour into a fine powder, then pour it into cheesecloth or an old (clean) piece of pantyhose. Knot it around the bathtub faucet and draw a tepid bath, periodically squeezing the water into the tub. You can also rub the pouch straight on the itchy skin. 
3. General skin problems: You can also make oatmeal soap or an oatmeal scrub (and, of course, pricey commercial oatmeal skin products are also available) for tackling other skin problems. One option is to grind two tablespoons of oatmeal into a powder in a blender. Then add one teaspoon of baking soda and enough water to make a thick paste. Spread on a clean, dry face and rinse off after 10 minutes. We recommend doing a patch test first, as your skin could be sensitive to the baking soda.
4. Exhaustion: Oatmeal isn’t just good for ailing skin. You can make a soothing and rejuvenating facial mask right in your own kitchen. The Reader’s Digest book “Extraordinary Uses for Ordinary Things” offers the following recipe: Mix 1/2 cup hot water with 1/3 cup oatmeal for two or three minutes, then add two tablespoons each plain yogurt and honey, plus one egg white. Spread thinly on the face, then relax for 10 minutes and rinse with warm water.
5. Stress: You don’t need to get chicken pox to have an excuse for an oatmeal bath. The Daily Green suggests adding a cup of milk, two cups of oats and a tablespoon of honey to the bath to moisturize the skin and relax the body. You could also use scented oils in a ground oatmeal pouch, as described in the chicken pox remedy above. 
6. Dirty hair: Oatmeal can cleanse hair as well as skin. The Livestrong Foundation also recommends making an oatmeal-based dry shampoo, ideal for bedridden patients or anyone running too late for a proper shower. Again, commercial options are available, but the homemade version costs pennies. Just grind oatmeal into a powder and mix with an equal amount of baking soda. Rub into the hair and let it soak up oils and odors, then brush out.
7. Itchy, uncomfortable dogs: Dogs also suffer from skin and hair problems, so why not share your oatmeal miracle cures with Fido? Small Dogs Paradise, a holistic canine care site, suggests mixing equal parts oats and warm water and rubbing the mixture thinly over a dog’s dry, itchy spots. Wrap in aluminum foil and keep the dog still for 10 minutes. Rinse with lukewarm water and repeat regularly until your dog is scratching less.
8. Excess weight: Health magazine says there is nutritional science behind that feeling of fullness after a bowl of oatmeal. Oat flour has more fiber than wheat and other flours, so cooking with oat flour delivers more “fullness” with fewer calories.
9. Low endurance: Studies have shown that oats can help fuel muscles during a workout. So eat some oatmeal about three hours before your next run or bike ride and enjoy the time-release benefits of this fiber-rich complex carbohydrate.
10. Preventative medicine: To be sure, we’re not suggesting oatmeal is the cure for cancer. However, a study in the International Journal of Epidemiology suggested that premenopausal women can reduce their risk of breast cancer up to 41 percent by focusing on diets rich in oatmeal and other whole grains.
 11. Thicken soups, stews and dips: Runny dips are not exactly a health crisis, but they can be a party foul. Solve the problem with some ground oats or oat flour.
12. Fix crumbling meatloaf or veggie burgers: Similarly, oats are a healthier and heartier alternative to bread crumbs for binding burgers, meatloaf, meatballs and more.
13. Stinky fridge: Just as it absorbs skin oils and hair odors, oatmeal can absorb odors in fridges or bathrooms. Just leave an open container of oats in the fridge or other smelly spot.
14. Smelly ashtrays: Another odor-neutralizing trick is to line ashtrays with oats and absorb some cigarette smells.
15. Bored children: Finally, anyone who has left oatmeal in a bowl overnight can attest that it becomes hard and crusty, not unlike clay. Users on CafeMom, a parenting clearinghouse, recommend mixing two parts oatmeal with one part flour and one part water, and a few drops of food coloring, if desired. The resulting substitute for Play-Doh can be molded into virtually any shape, and painted once dry. 

15 Plant-Based Foods To Fight Hypertension

Hypertension, otherwise known as high blood pressure, is a condition in which the pressure of blood in the arteries is consistently elevated. A slew of new studies on foods and hypertension suggest it may be easier than you thought to reduce high blood pressure. Skip the pharmaceuticals and eat more of these foods for an easy (and delicious) way to help lower your blood pressure numbers. Plant-based diets and diets high in fruits and vegetables are strongly associated with lower blood pressure, so much so that the National Institutes of Health (NIH) officially recommends adopting healthy eating practices as one of the primary actions to take to prevent or lower high blood pressure and hypertension. Prevention is the best cure! DASH, which stands for “Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension,” is the eating plan recommended by the NIH (National Institute of Health).
For adults under 65, it’s that first number in your blood pressure reading that may be the best indicator of future heart problems or even premature death. A normal reading is around 120/80. If that first number is 140 or higher, you have reason for concern. For those 65 and older, however, it’s a trickier situation. Readings may vary more and doctors need to be careful in prescribing blood pressure medication for older patients.
The risk of developing hypertension naturally increases for everyone as they age, so use prevention as your cure by exercising regularly, and avoiding excessive salt, alcohol and tobacco. Using food as your medicine is one safe, effective way to decrease blood pressure for all age groups as they work naturally to dilate blood vessels so the heart doesn’t have to work so hard.
Give your heart a break by eating these 15  healthy and medicinal foods. 
1. Berries
Calorie for calorie, berries are among the most nutritional foods on the planet when it comes to fiber and antioxidant capacity. All berries are great for you, but blueberries, strawberries, and raspberries top the list for their ability to help lower blood pressure, thanks to high doses of fiber, vitamin C, potassium, and other plant compounds called anthocyanins that protect against hypertension.
2. Whole Grain Breakfast Cereal
Whole-grain, high-fiber cereals like oatmeal, oat squares, bran flakes or shredded wheat, can reduce your chance of developing high blood pressure. The fiber and magnesium found in oats both have beneficial effects on blood pressure. In addition, oats slow atherosclerosis, the plaque buildup that occurs in blood vessels. Plus, the more servings of cereal you eat a week, the greater the benefits. Loose oats also make an excellent thickener for soups and stews.
3. Potatoes
A baked potato is high in potassium and magnesium, two important minerals that can help fight high blood pressure. Research shows that if Americans boosted their potassium intake, adult cases of high blood pressure could fall by more than 10 percent. As for magnesium, many older Americans fail to get enough in their diet, according to the National Institutes of Health. Some other foods high in both these minerals are spinach, bananas, soybeans, and kidney beans. Magnesium also helps lower stress and improve overall immunity.
4. Beets
Drinking a glass of beet juice can lower blood pressure within just a few hours. The nitrate in the juice has the same effect as taking a nitrate tablet, the researchers found. Beet juice can be found at some health food stores and specialty groceries such as Whole Foods. Other nitrate-rich foods include spinach, lettuce, cabbage and carrots.
5. Cacao
Chocolate lovers rejoice! Eating a one-ounce square of dark chocolate daily can help lower blood pressure, especially in people who already have hypertension, according to Harvard researchers who analyzed 24 chocolate studies. Dark chocolate is high in flavonoids, natural compounds that cause dilation of the blood vessels. Look for chocolates that say they contain 50 to 70 percent cacao, or make your own superfood chocolate at home. I’ll be posting that recipe soon!
6. Celery
Celery contains phytochemicals known as phthalides, which relax the muscle tissue in the artery walls, enabling increased blood flow and, in turn, lowering blood pressure.
7. Broccoli
Broccoli is a potent package of fiber, potassium, calcium, magnesium, and vitamin C, all nutrients that help lower blood pressure. One cup of steamed broccoli provides more than 200 percent of the vitamin C you need each day. Broccoli also contains chromium, which helps regulate insulin and blood sugar. These nutrients, found naturally in most plants, help boost immunity and fight off diseases. Other vegetables with similar compounds include carrots and leafy greens like kale and spinach.
8. Dandelion
For more than a century, dandelion has been used as a cure-all for countless conditions and ailments in cultures around the world, particularly in its native Asia and Europe. The entire plant is edible, from leaves to roots. And in addition to lowering blood pressure, it’s good for the liver, eyes, and skin.
A natural diuretic, dandelion helps reduce blood pressure by releasing excess sodium without the loss of potassium (as occurs with some over-the-counter diuretics). This is doubly important because excess sodium raises blood pressure by constricting blood vessels, while potassium helps regulate it. Dandelion is also loaded with magnesium, which dissolves blood clots and stimulates the production of nitric oxide, helping to relax and dilate blood vessels for better blood flow.
9.Black Beans
Legumes boast a high fiber-to-protein ratio that you won’t find in any other type of food. This combination works wonders for regulating blood sugar and lowering blood cholesterol levels, both of which are related to maintaining normal blood pressure. Black beans are a nutrient-dense source of fiber and magnesium, which are essential for healthy blood pressure levels. What puts them at a distinct advantage over other foods, though, is the folate you’ll find in these legumes. Folate, also known as folic acid in its synthetic form, is a B-complex vitamin that appears to lower blood pressure (especially systolic blood pressure) by relaxing blood vessels and improving blood flow. Another excellent source of folate is spinach.
10. Garlic
Garlic is a good food to help fight hypertension because it acts as a blood thinner. When chopped, it also produces allicin, a compound that has antibacterial and antifungal properties. This can help fight many diseases that may result from hypertension, such as stroke and heart disease. Garlic also helps lower cholesterol.
11. Ground Flax Seeds
Flax Seeds help lower cholesterol and are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which fight inflammation and infections.
12. Bananas
Not only are they delicious, bananas also help reduce your risk of stroke and heart disease. Eating bananas is suggested because they have the highest rate of potassium to sodium.
13. Apricots
Apricots are a power food when it comes to fighting hypertension , especially when they’ re dried. They contain a soluble fiber that helps promote digestion and fights bloating and constipation.
14. Pumpkin Seeds
Pumpkin seeds can help reverse hypertension because they contain a high zinc value. Inadequate zinc can make your arteries lose elasticity, resulting in inflammation. For best results soak and then sprout your raw seeds (also known as pepitas). You can then add tamari or sea salt and dehydrate them for a delicious heart healthy snack.
15. Cashew Nuts
Nuts are a great source of nutrients like iron, potassium and fiber. Cashew nuts, specifically, contain magnesium and copper — two essential nutrients that help boost your immunity. Magnesium relaxes your nerves and muscles, while copper helps with the development of connective tissue. Walnuts are another great choice to help lower blood pressure.

15 Reasons to Love Sweet Potatoes

The holidays are not the only time to break out the sweet potato recipes. Now there are 16 reasons to enjoy these terrific tubers all year round.
1.  Sweet potatoes are readily available, although stores often confuse sweet potatoes and yams and mislabel the two. Orange-colored sweet potatoes are often confused with yams although they are not even from the same family of plants or grown in the same locations. Sweet potatoes can have red, orange, yellow or even purple skin.  They can also have orange white or purple flesh, adding to the confusion between these two distinct tubers.
2.  As the name implies, sweet potatoes are sweet but they won’t cause blood sugar spikes and crashes linked with fatigue and weight gain. The natural sugars are slowly released into the bloodstream, helping to ensure a balanced and regular source of energy.
3.  Sweet potatoes are also a good source of fiber, which helps with blood sugar regulation and keeping you regular as well.
4.  Sweet potatoes have fewer calories per serving than yams – around 86 calories per  seven tablespoons of mashed sweet potatoes (or 100 grams) compared to 118 for yams.
5.  Sweet potatoes are also slightly higher in protein than yams.  More importantly, the World Journal of Gastroenterology reported that sweet potato contains a protein that inhibits human colon and rectal cancers. The results were dose-dependent meaning that the higher the amount of sweet potato protein, the better the cancer-inhibiting effects.
6.  The high levels of vitamin B6 in sweet potatoes helps reduce the chemical homocysteine in our bodies. Homocysteine has been linked with degenerative diseases, including heart attacks.
7.  Sweet potatoes are a good source of vitamin C, which most people know for its power to ward off cold and flu viruses.  Vitamin C is also essential for bone and tooth formation, digestion, and blood cell formation. Vitamin C also contributes to wound healing and produces collagen to keep skin youthful.  Vitamin C even improves our ability to cope with stress and protect our body against toxins that may be linked to cancer.
8.  These nutritious tubers contain Vitamin D (which is actually a hormone) to support our immune systems and overall health.  This vitamin is primarily made in our bodies when we are exposed to adequate sunlight and contributes to healthy bones, heart, nerves, skin teeth and thyroid gland.
9.  The iron content in sweet potatoes helps with energy levels, as well red and white blood cell production, resistance to stress, proper immune functioning, and the metabolizing of protein, among other things.
10.  Sweet potatoes are a good source of magnesium, a mineral that may be deficient in up to 80 percent of North Americans. Not only is magnesium considered the relaxation and anti-stress mineral, it is critical for healthy artery, blood, bone, heart, muscle, and nerve function.
11.  Potassium is an important electrolyte that helps regulate heartbeat and nerve signals. Like the other electrolytes, potassium performs many essential functions, some of which include relaxing muscle contractions, reducing swelling, and protecting and controlling the activity of the kidneys.  Sweet potatoes are an excellent source of potassium.
12.  The rich orange color found in many sweet potatoes is a visual indication of the high levels of carotenoids that occur in these tubers.  Carotenoids help strengthen our eyesight and boost our immunity to disease; they are powerful antioxidants that help ward off cancer and protect against the effects of aging. Studies at Harvard University of more than 124,000 people showed a 32 percent reduction in risk of lung cancer in people who consumed a variety of carotenoid-rich foods as part of their regular diet.  Another study of women who had completed treatment for early stage breast cancer conducted by researchers at Women’s Healthy Eating and Living (WHEL) found that women with the highest blood concentrations of carotenoids had the least likelihood of cancer recurrence.
13.  The carotenoid beta carotene is the precursor to vitamin A in your body. Vitamin A is a fat-soluble vitamin that supports healthy eyes and skin. Beta carotene has also been studied for its ability to guard against different types of cancer.
14.  Recently researchers discovered a related group of nutrients in sweet potato called batatosides that have been found to have antibacterial and antifungal properties.
15.  New research shows that cyanidins and peonidins found in sweet potatoes may be able to reduce the potential health risk posed by heavy metals.

The Brew That Fights Joint Pain, Sun Damage, Cancer & More

White tea is fast brewing its way up as a star beverage, thanks to its tremendous health benefits. Study after study is establishing its role in controlling obesity, preventing heart disease, and even fighting off cancer. Here are some important white tea facts to make you reach out for the wonder brew:
What is white tea:  It is not black tea with milk. It is, in fact, the least processed of all teas, in which the leaves and buds are simply steamed and dried. White tea contains numerous buds, covered with fine silvery hairs that give it a light white/grey color. The tea brews to a pale yellow color, and has a slightly sweet flavor.
Drink white tea to fight obesity: In addition to following a healthy diet and regular exercise, white tea can be a great ally in your quest for weight loss. A German study published in the medical journal  ”Nutrition and Metabolism” found that white tea effectively assists the body to better metabolize lipids or fats.
Keep skin young and joints pain-free with white tea: The ingredients in white tea boost the immune function of skin cells and protects them from sun damage. The discovery by scientists at the University Hospitals of Cleveland and Case Western Reserve University adds an important element in the battle against skin cancer. White tea also prevents the action of the enzymes that break down elastin and collagen—thus fighting wrinkles. The same enzymes also cause inflammation, so white tea brings relief from rheumatoid arthritis, too!
Let white tea rescue you from colds and flu: It is a powerful killer of streptococcus bacteria and viruses, studies show. A natural cleanser, it also kills fungi with more success than other teas.
Stop tooth decay in its tracks with white teaResearch shows that it fights dental plaque, too. Of course, you would also need to follow the basics of dental hygiene for the tea to be effective.
White tea can reduce colon tumors: According to a study published in the journal Carcinogenesis by scientists from the Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University, white tea is more powerful than green tea in reducing the number of cancerous tumors in mice. Combined with sulindac (a common drug for preventing colon cancer), its cancer-fighting effect is even more dramatic. 

January 27, 2014

Top 9 Inflammatory Foods to Avoid Like the Plague

According to statistics from the World Health Organization, about 12.9 million people worldwide died from some form of cardiovascular disease in 2004. Each year, the World Cancer Research Fund estimates that some eight million people died from cancer. Heart disease and cancer, the deadly manifestation of chronic inflammation, are expected to remain as the leading causes of death in developed countries for many years to come.
But study after study shows that the risk of heart disease and cancer are modifiable by our lifestyle choices which include the food we choose to eat each day. With every bite we take, we’re either balancing the pro- and anti-inflammatory compounds in the body, or tipping the scale to one end.
To shift the balance to your favor, other than incorporating more natural anti-inflammatory foods in your diet, it is also equally important to avoid or cut down on foods which are known to promote inflammation. Here, we look at the top ten foods which set the stage for inflammatory diseases:

1. Sugars

Refined SugarPro-inflammatory Agent: Excessive sugar intake causes tooth decay and has been linked to increased risks of obesity, inflammation and chronic diseases such as metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes. Recently, it has also finally been proven that sugar, as well as dairy, are the causes of acne.
Find them in: Sugar-sweetened beverages like soft drinks, fruit drinks and punches are some of the major sources of dietary sugars that many have overlooked. Do you know that drinking a can of Coke is as good as sucking ten sugar cubes? Other obvious sugar-loaded foods to avoid or at least limit include pastries, desserts, candies and snacks. And when you are looking out for sugar in the ingredients list, note that sugar has many names: corn syrup, dextrose, fructose, golden syrup, maltose, sorghum syrup and sucrose are some of the creative names used.
Inflammation-dousing Substitute: Got a sweet tooth? Opt for natural sweeteners like stevia, honey, or blackstrap molasses to flavor beverages and foods modestly. Natural sugars found in fresh or dried fruits and fruit preserves with no added sugar are also great choices. Not only do they give you the sweetness you crave, fruits also supply you with vitamins, antioxidants and fibers that you won’t find in sugary foods and drinks. Dates, figs, persimmons, kiwis, tangerines and various types of berries are some of the natural healthy snacks you can sink your teeth into.

2. Common Cooking Oils

Common Cooking OilsPro-inflammatory Agent: Common vegetable cooking oils used in many homes and restaurants have very high omega-6 fatty acids and dismally low omega-3 fats. A diet consisting of a highly imbalanced omega-6 to omega-3 ratio promotes inflammation and breeds inflammatory diseases like heart disease and cancer.
Find them in: Polyunsaturated vegetable oils such as grape seed, cottonseed, safflower, corn and sunflower oils. These industrial vegetable oils are also commonly used to prepare most processed foods and takeaways.
Inflammation-dousing Substitute: Replace your omega-6-saturated cooking oils with macadamia oil, extra virgin olive oil, or other edible oils with a more balanced omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids ratio. Macadamia oil, for instance, has an almost one-to-one ratio of omega-6:3 fats, and it is also rich in oleic acid, a heart-healthy, monounsaturated fatty acid.

3. Trans Fats

Trans FatsPro-inflammatory Agent: Trans fatty acids are notorious for their double whammy effect: they increase the levels of ‘bad’ cholesterol, while lowering levels of the ‘good’ cholesterol. But that is not all they can do. They have also been found to promote inflammation, obesity and resistance to insulin, laying the ground for degenerative illnesses to take place.
Find them in: Deep fried foods, fast foods, commercially baked goods and those prepared with partially hydrogenated oil, margarine and/or vegetable shortening. Note that items that list 0g trans fats on the label may still contain some amount of these toxic fats. This is because in the US, the government allows items containing less than 0.5g of trans fats to be declared as trans-fat free. Commercially prepared peanut butter is one good example. Your best bet is to read the ingredients list and make sure partially hydrogenated oil or vegetable shortening is not used.
Inflammation-dousing Substitute: Look for alternative products that contain no trans fats, and that do not have partially hydrogenated oil or vegetable shortening in the ingredients list. When in doubt, assume that all commercially prepared foods contain trans fats unless stated otherwise.

4. Dairy Products

Dairy ProductsPro-inflammatory Agent: As much as 60% of the world’s population cannot digest milk. In fact, researchers think that being able to digest milk beyond infancy is abnormal, rather than the other way round. Milk is also a common allergen that can trigger inflammatory responses, such as stomach distress, constipation, diarrhea, skin rashes, acne, hives and breathing difficulties in susceptible people.
Find them in: Milk and dairy products are as pervasive as foods containing partially hydrogenated oil or omega-3-deficient vegetable oil. Apart from obvious milk products like butter and cheese, foods with hidden dairy content include breads, cookies, crackers, cakes, cream sauces and boxed cereals. Scanning the ingredients list is still the safest way to suss out milk.
Inflammation-dousing Substitute: Kefir and unsweetened yogurt are acceptable in moderation for those who are not allergic to milk. They are easier on the stomach as the lactose and proteins in the milk have been broken down by beneficial bacteria and/or yeasts.

5. Feedlot-Raised Meat

Feedlot-Raised MeatPro-inflammatory Agent: Commercially produced meats are feed with grains like soy beans and corn, a diet that is high in inflammatory omega-6 fatty acids but low in anti-inflammatory omega-3 fats. Due to the small and tight living environment, these animals also gain excess fat and end up with high saturated fats. Worse, to make them grow faster and prevent them from getting sick, they are also injected with hormones and fed with antibiotics. The result is one piece of meat which you and I shouldn’t be eating.
Find them in: Unless otherwise stated, most, if not all, beef, pork and poultry you can find in the supermarkets and restaurants come from feedlot farms.
Inflammation-dousing Substitute: Organic, free-range animals that are fed a natural diet such as grasses instead of grains and hormones contain more omega-3 fats. Having more room to roam freely, they are also leaner and contain less saturated fats.

6. Red Meat & Processed Meat

Red Meat and Processed MeatPro-inflammatory Agent: Researchers at the University of California San Diego School of Medicine found that red meat contains a molecule that humans don’t naturally produce called Neu5Gc. After ingesting this compound, the body develops anti-Neu5Gc antibodies – an immune response that may trigger chronic inflammatory response. Low-grade, simmering inflammation that won’t go away has been linked to cancer and heart disease.
The link between processed meat consumption and cancer is even stronger. In the 2007 report by the World Cancer Research Fund and the American Institute for Cancer Research, processed meat has been stated as a convincing cause of cancers of the colon and rectum, and possibly of the esophagus and lungs too. Processed meat includes animal products that have been smoked, cured, salted or chemically preserved.
Find them in: Common red meats are beef, lamb and pork, while processed meats include ham, sausage and salami.
Inflammation-dousing Substitute: You don’t need to avoid red meat totally, though the same thing cannot be said for processed meat. No amount of processed meat is safe. Replace the bulk of your red meat with organic vegetables, poultry and fish, and relegate red meat to a weekly treat. When you do eat red meat, remember to choose lean cuts and preferably, that of grass-fed animals. To reduce the formation of heat-generated food contaminants, it is also advisable not to overcook your meat and use moist heat cooking like stewing and boiling more often than high-temperature dry heat methods such as grilling and frying.

7. Alcohol

AlcoholPro-inflammatory Agent: Regular high consumption of alcohol has been known to cause irritation and inflammation of the esophagus, larynx (voice box) and liver. Over time, the chronic inflammation promotes tumor growth and gives rise to cancer at the sites of repeated irritation.
Find them in: Beers, ciders, liquors, liqueurs, and wines.
Inflammation-dousing Substitute: A refreshing and thirst-quenching glass of pure, filtered water, anyone? :) How about a cup of anti-aging and anti-inflammatory jasmine green tea? If you find the idea of swapping ethanol for water or tea implausible, at least limit your consumption to no more than one drink a day.

8. Refined Grains

Refined GrainsPro-inflammatory Agent: A lot of the grains we eat nowadays are refined. They are devoid of fiber and vitamin B compared to unpolished and unrefined grains that still have the bran, germ and the aleurone layer intact. This makes refined grains as good as refined sugars, which are practically empty calories. And like refined sugars, refined grains have a higher glycemic index than unprocessed grains and when they are consistently consumed, can hasten the onset of degenerative diseases like cancer, coronary disease and diabetes.
Find them in: Products made from refined grains are almost everywhere. The common ones are: white rice, white flour, white bread, noodles, pasta, biscuits and pastries. To make things worse, many products with refined grains undergo further processing to enhance their taste and look, and are often loaded with excess sugar, salt, artificial flavors and/or partially hydrogenated oil in the process. A prime example is boxed cereals which contain substantial amounts of added sugar and flavorings.
Inflammation-dousing Substitute: Go for minimally processed grains if you are not gluten intolerant or allergic to grains. If you are an avid bread or pastry maker, invest in a grain mill to produce your own flour. It will be much fresher than the stale grain found in stores. When buying cereals or other products made from grains, don’t take the words on the packaging for granted. Just because the box says whole grains, it does not mean the grains inside are 100% intact. The problem is due to a lack of an internationally accepted definition for the word ‘whole grain’. When in doubt, if it does not look close to its natural state, don’t buy it.

9. Artificial Food Additives

Artificial Food AdditivesPro-inflammatory Agent: Some artificial food additives like aspartame and monosodium glutamate (MSG) reportedly trigger inflammatory responses, especially in people who are already suffering from inflammatory conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis.
Find them in: Only packaged foods contain artificial food additives. If you need to buy them, read the labels carefully and weigh your risks. If you order Chinese takeaways, make sure you have the option to ask for no MSG. Otherwise, look elsewhere.
Inflammation-dousing Substitute: Besides limiting the consumption of processed foods, use anti-inflammatory herbs, spices or natural sweeteners to add flavor to your dishes instead of relying on food additives. 

8 Foods Worse than White Bread

White bread has pretty much become bad-for-you public enemy number one; who doesn't automatically order their turkey and Swiss on whole wheat? The reason, of course, is that white bread is processed—it's had all its goodness stripped away, leaving a soft, squishy slice that was all the rage in the last century. But even if you're a whole-wheat convert, other processed carbs may be finding their way into your diet, many with more than an entire day's worth of recommended carbohydrates.
Your first line of defense is to opt for whole foods that are as close as possible to their original source, says Manual Villacorta, RD, author of Eating Free: The Carb Friendly Way to Lose Inches. And, as always, managing portion sizes is key. Otherwise, here are eight bad carbs that may be sneaking into your diet, even if you've sworn off the white slices forever. 

10 Unbelievable Diet Rules Backed by Science

When describing how you really feel about the latest miracle fix in the diet and fitness world, you'd probably like to drop an F-bomb—as in, what the fad? After all, how many times have you trusted logical sounding ideas, put all your faith in a diet strategy, only to find out that the time you invested was a waste—and you still haven’t dropped the weight?

Consider this your F-bomb free zone. No fads, no faking, and no frustration. You see, when you really dig into the research, most of what you assume is correct about dieting is actually wrong. Discover the truth here and the only f-words coming out of your mouth will be “Finally. Fat loss!”