Category Archives: FAT free diet

Effect on heart rate: Comparing Energy Beverages to Sports Drinks

No Energy Beverages are banned in the USA, says an National Institute of Health literature search review entitled, “Energy Beverages: Content and Safety.  For this review the researchers searched databases from 1976 to study the effects of sports beverages that claimed an ability to aid performance, muscle growth and recovery.

The inventor of Gatorade, Dr. Robert Cade, a sports Professor at Gainsville, Florida, is credited as being the pioneer in the area of sports drinks that replenished electrolytes and carbohydrates.  The popularity and fame of his invention followed him around the world until he died at the age of 80 because he came up with a supplemented drink that helped the Gator football players deal with the sweltering heat of Gainsville, Florida. You may click here to read more about the inventor, Dr. Cade and his invention.

There was one problem with Professor Cade’s replenishing drink: it tasted like bodily fluids and the players tended to spit it out. You see, Professor Cade was researching the kidney in the medical division and noticing that players did not urinate enough during or after a game, he came up with a solution to keep the players healthy. His top priority was health and not taste. Soon college teams playing against the Gator team realized that their teams were losing in the sweltering heat because their players were not replenished by Professor Cade’s “bodily waste” drink. The international giant, Pepsico, bought the rights to the drink called “Gatorade” today and the royalties are keeping the inventor, his team and the University of Gainsville happy.

Gatorade replenished carbohydrates in the form of sugars sucrose and glucose and electrolytes in the form of sodium and potassium salts. Today, there are many kinds of sports and energy beverages that add far more than what is necessary for a healthy performing kidney. Infact, many might be unhealthy. Some are suspected to be deadly depending on the genes inherited by the consumer. Long term exposure to certain Energy Beverages may cause significant changes to the cardiovascular system. In other words, some sports drinks might be unhealthy for the heart when used regularly for a longer time.

If you are concerned and are asking the question, “Is this Energy Beverage or Sports Drink safe for me to consume daily when I exercise?” then, you might want to read the results summarized by NIH researchers by clicking here.. It might save your life. It might keep your heart and kidneys healthy.

Red Bull, a very highly caffeinated sports beverage was introduced in Austria in 1987 and then to USA in 1997.  Since then the Energy Beverage market has exploded.  Red Bull commanded 65% share of the 650 million dollar market in 2005 but now has many competitors.  The USA is the largest consumer of Energy Beverages.  11 to 35 years olds are most likely to be consumers of Energy Beverages.  The regulations in the USA are very lax in banning such replenished beverages.  This research article shows alarmingly drinking such beverages is associated with risky behavior lifestyles. The review offers recommendations specific to populations and groups since genetics and age are factors to be considered, as Professor Cade had discovered in his pioneering, replenishing drink.

In the memory of this kidney researcher whose goal was to keep players safe in sweltering heat, let’s continue to keep the drinks safe and the users healthy and alive.

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Food Allergy and the CD 14 gene

Dr. Sanna Goyert, armed with a PhD from New York University in 1983, proceeded to devote her laboratory in New York city to find a cure for sepsis, a severe immune reaction to a bacterial infection that was deadly if not intervened aggressively. In less than a decade, she discovered the human CD 14 gene and history was made! She has published over 100 research papers, holds 2 major patents licensed to companies finding cures, and has been awarded the prestigious Stohlman Scholars award from the Leukemia Society of America. Now, why would a scientist be rewarded by the Leukemia Society, after discovering the CD 14 gene and how might cells clear severe bacterial infection faster in the absence of the CD 14 gene? Why is the human CD 14 gene so important? That is the story I am attempting to tell here.

Paris hosted an international workshop in 1982 to classify the different types of white blood cells based on their cell surface molecules, which were named CD (Cell Differentiation). Today, in 2011 more than 320 CDs have been documented. The CD classification is often used to associate a cell with a certain immune function, and yet, only a few of them have been characterized. Generously funded research led to the discovery of the most notorious function of a white blood surface molecule, CD 4; it is the molecule to which the HIV (virus) binds, along with a second molecule, to gain entry into the human body. The important function of recognizing the sepsis bacterium by CD 14, came from research done in Dr Goyert’s lab.

The CD 14 molecule has been extensively researced for two decades. Although, CD 14 became less trendy, Dr Goyert remained devoted to the gene that she had discovered in 1988, and persisted in trying to understand how CD 14 gets a job done. Dr Hubertus Jersmann, of the University of Adelaide, Australia surmised that the CD 14 molecule is found in low amounts in many different cell type surfaces in addition to the white blood cells. Such cell types include the gingivis cells, the gut or intestinal cells, the islet cells of the pancreas and the spermatozoa. CD 14 is recognized as the first PAMP receptor discovered, where PAMP represents “Pathogen Associated Molecular Pattern”. In 1990, CD 14 was characterized as the PAMP receptor for bacterial endotoxin (LPS).

Most people today are aware of at least one child who is allergic to a certain type of food. This surprises many of the older generation when everybody ate everything without being “allergic”. It becomes impossible to complain about the inconvenience of accommodating a child or adult who might be allergic to the menu of choice. How do you continue to complain when a child with anaphylactic shock to peanuts or another food is rushed to the emergency room because of the menu? How do you not become more accommodating when you hear of a teenager dying from eating in a restaurant, assuming that the menu is “peanut free” or free of known allergens?

But why is this happening? Now, we are beginning to notice a pattern and there are three modes of action:

1) An immediate search for a cure;

2) An immediate need for policy to accommodate the increasing number of children, (and now teens and adults who were children a decade ago) who are allergic to a growing list of allergens;

3) A scientific race to find the culprit or environmental trigger or genetic markers or a combination of factors that may lead to food allergy; a race to find the genetic markers that protect an individual from an allergic reaction to the same combination of culprit factors.

Here, I will discuss the genetic markers that appear to increase or perhaps, decrease the risk of food allergy. We do not understand the role of these genetic markers or why they are selectively responding to an unknown factor or a combination of factors to produce an allergic reaction. I am absolutely certain that this genetic marker alone does not cause the child to become allergic. It is however, one of the factors and may hold clues to an environmental or another unknown trigger. It is also important to learn which genetic markers are protecting the non-allergic population from the same culprit triggers. This allergic reaction may range from mild to deadly. Please, alert me by commenting here if you hear of an update.

There are nine most common allergens known today and many less common or rare allergens. A good place to begin as a service provider or care giver to help understand an allergic child or adults is the 30 page educational guide published by the United States Department of Agriculture in “Food Allergy and Intolerance Resource List, December 2010“.

Why are some people allergic to egg? The 2011 to 2012 flu seasonal vaccine in the USA is manufactured only in eggs, although Europe has introduced egg – free vaccination. This denies most people in the world who are allergic to egg an opportunity to artificially protect themselves against the flu virus. In an earlier article, I have discussed the properties of the flu virus and the vaccines currently in development. According to the United States Department of Agriculture, egg allergy is one of the nine common allergens in 2010.

One gene that is being associated with allergy is the CD 14 gene. It is on chromosome 5 of humans in the 5q23-31 region. There are several interesting facts about this CD 14 gene. It has been cloned and the gene has two exons (protein coding regions). It has a membrane bound form called mCD 14 and a plasma shredded form called sCD 14. The sCD 14 level in plasma increases during inflammation (allergic reaction) and infection by a pathogen. The gene has several known polymorphisms (mutations) of which one, at position -159 of the promoter region that regulates the production of this gene, is of particular interest. Position -159 of CD 14 gene, is associated in some people with allergies. Position -159 together with -1619 correlated with a decrease in lung function when farmers with mutations of the CD 14 gene where exposed to endotoxin. Influence of genes and environment on allergic reactions has been reviewed by Dr. Kondo, a researcher in Japan, which unfortunately, I could not read, and researchers at University of Arizona. Dr Vercelli at Arizona says that it is the task of functional genomists to figure out what is the potential role of CD 14 in the progression of an allergic disease. He is of the opinion that the environment is likely to play an essential role.

The CD 14 gene plays a role in diseases other than allergy. The Alzheimer’s amyloid peptide binds to CD 14, implicating it in the disease progression of the aging microglia cells of the brain. In the Chinese population, a single base change in the CD 14 regulatory region of the gene (-260 C/T polymorphism) can contribute to a higher risk of getting Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. Level of mutated CD 14 (-260 T/T) in gingiva cells is associated with severe periodontal disease in Dutch. A polymorphism in CD 14 is associated with Crohn’s disease. In a South Korean population, patients with Tuberculosis were more likely to carry the CD 14 (-159 T/T) polymorphism. Turkish scientists have found elevated levels of CD 14 in Brucellosis, a bacterial disease. Elevated levels of CD 14 are found in tuberculosis. There was no obvious role of CD 14 in arthritis produced by the lyme bacterium in Germany.

How can you help in food allergy research? You can do it in several ways but the one that I would suggest that might make a major difference is if you can show the scientists working on this field that they are our heros. For a scientist, your encouragement is like the “wind beneath the wings”. For example, you could send Dr Sanna Goyert an email showing her you care about the impact her research has made towards allergy research. Her email: Write to influencers and request that Dr Goyert should be showered with awards. Please, note that this is a woman scientist. Then, find other scientists working on allergy and encourage them in your own unique way. Write to Dr Kondo ( in Japan, Dr Hubertus Jersmann at the University of Adelaide, Australia, Dr M L Laine in Netherlands, and Dr Vercelli at University of Arizona and encourage them to find the role of CD 14 and the environmental trigger in allergy progression. You could also write to companies encouraging their scientists to find a cure. Your support counts to a dedicated allergy researcher. The technology exists today to solve this disease puzzle. Together, we can beat this modern scourge of allergy.


Filed under FAT free diet, Health

Aloe: sunburn relief and more

Aloe extracts soothe a sun burn. I don’t know if that is FDA approved or not. However, I would not use any thing else if I were to be sunburnt. The reason being I have been sunburnt badly and I was saved by Aloe. I was vacationing in Barbados and fell asleep under the sun by the poolside. A few hours later, I was in much pain and my skin was peeling. The local people quickly slit open a few thick, fresh Aloe leaves, emptied it’s contents into a little bowl and applied it all over my sunburnt skin. I healed so quickly. I became a convert and a staunch Aloe worshipper. I got an Aloe plant and repotted it as it grew. It does not need much water. I can even leave on vacations to get sunburnt again and return to an Aloe plant that was thriving in spite of not being watered while I was away! That’s my kind of house plant: Low nurture – High value. I include several photos below.

By the way, I was vacationing in the Maldives, a country where the people have this fabulous skin that has been genetically selected to never get sunburnt. So naturally, they had no idea what the Aloe plant was when I got sunburnt, again. They handed me some bottled concoction recommended in medical lectures to diligent students, who had never heard of or taught about Aloe for free, natural sunburn relief. I was left with a hefty fee and I was very disappointed with it’s results. Once burnt with no Aloe, I am twice shy. I now always travel with bagged slices of the leaves of my Aloe plant. I am so Brilliant! I found that in Hawaii and Florida too, the doctors do not prescribe free Aloe for sunburn.

The international varieties of Aloe are seemingly endless, as you can see from the photos below. I have no idea if all the Aloe varieties behave the same way or not. If you do know the species names of the Aloe that do give sunburn relief then please share it here. Below, I am including photographs of all the varieties that I saw at the New York Botanical Garden conservatory. I would highly recommend that trip just to see this fascinating display of Aloe in the most beautiful display. It will make you want to go home and uproot your manicured garden and replace it with a low water requiring stunning Aloe garden. However, unless you are in a desert climate you may have to invest in a sunroom – just a minor adjustment but a fabulous mood enhancer and spirit uplifter.


There have been claims of both effectiveness and ineffectiveness of Aloe gel in wound healing, anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal, anti-viral, anti-bacterial, anti-diabetic, anti-neoplastic, immunostimulant and promotion of radiation damage. The differences in activity may be because of seasonal fluctuations and the several cultivar varieties around the world (see photos below). Conflicting results in wound healing in particular may be dependent upon compound stability as time of treatment after harvesting was an important factor. A 5.5kDa Glycoprotein isolated from Aloe gel has shown increased cell migration and mobility. This in my opinion is good news for wound healing and explains why my sunburns may have responded so well to freshly harvested Aloe leaves.

A Pharmaceutical scientist from Tshwane University of South Africa, has reviewed in great detail the effects and applications of the Aloe leaf gel and if you are interested in one content filled article, then this 2008 review is the one I would recommend. 75 ingredients in the inner leaf gel have been identified but only a few have been correlated with therapeutic activities. A synergistic effect of many components in the leaf gel probably bring about the healing that I raved about above.  Aloe vera is the single most Aloe species that is used in large scale manufacture of Aloe leaf gel for cosmetics, pharmaceutical products and health drinks.

The Aloe leaf has an outer hard green rind and an inner colorless viscous liquid gel. The gel is over 99% water and about 1% enzymes, minerals, vitamins, polysaccharides, phenolic compounds and organic acids. The large varieties of Aloe show variations among cultivars and seasonal fluctuations in their mannose containing polysaccharides. The acemannan found in Aloe is structurally unique and is a characteristic of Aloe species.

Aloe vera gel increased the bioavailability of Vitamin C in the laboratory. The Aloe vera gel is being researched as a vehicle to enhance transdermal delivery of drugs.

Aloe juice is being bottled and sold. Now, I have no comments on that. If you do, please, discuss it here. A scientist at University of Karachi, Pakistan has studied the anti-epileptic properties of Aloe for a doctoral thesis. Also, some have bottled Aloe as a laxative ingredient.

Why should you not use aloe extracts as a laxative? The FDA (The Food and Drug Administration, USA) has issued a warning about Aloe after reviewing data. The FDA’s final warning in 2002 advises that aloe extracts and flower extracts are generally unsafe, ineffective or misbranded as stimulant laxative ingredients. So, my advice would be to avoid using laxatives listing aloe extracts as an ingredient. The scientists at University of Illinois at Chicago’s Department of Pharmacy explains why. Anthraquinone category of stimulant laxatives are derived from natural sources such as Aloe extracts. The International Aloe Science Council filed a petition saying that FDA did not base that decision on appropriate data but that decision remains unchanged. So, if you visit a foreign country and finds the natives using Aloe extract as a laxative successfully, you may want to bring it to the attention of a reputable Department of Pharmacy.

Photos of Aloe plant from the New York Botanical Garden Conservatory are below:

Large, Grey leaves

Large Green Leaves

Dark Green Medium Leaves

Dark Green Small Leaves

Light Green Variegated Leaves

Light Green Small Leaves

Dark Green Tiny Leaves

The Tree Aloe

Soft Green White Flecked Leaves

Dark Green White Flecked Leaves

Spiky Dark Green Small Leaves

Dark Green Very Small Leaves

Light Green Large Slim Leaves

Light Green Large Upright Leaves

Purplish Green Small Variegated Leaves

Yellow Green Small Bushy Leaves

Light Green Small Orange Spiked Leaves

Dark Green Small Bushy Leaves

Purplish Brown Small Leaves

Now, that you can that there are several varieties of Aloe plants all over the world beginning exploring how you can benefit from it. Especially, when you are planning a vacation on the beach (1,2, 3,4,5,6, 7,8, 9, 10, ). You may want to begin today.

This article has been cited by DIDI of for “Top home remedies”.


Filed under FAT free diet, Health, Herbs, Medicinal spice

Our genes respond differently to our diets

How do our genes respond to our diet?

Researchers studied cholesterol genes in six generations of baboons and found that siblings may have totally different reactions to the same high-fat diet and identified 53 possible genes for regulating HDL, which is one of the traits associated with an increased risk of heart and blood vessel disease. These researchers are looking further into these pedigreed, baboon families on the same fatty diet but with different levels of HDL and LDL.

Baboon and human HDL genes, in particular, are very similar and on the same chromosome making such research very meaningful for Genetics researchers at the Southwest Center for Biomedical Research (Texas). The chief researcher, Dr. Laura Cox was inspired as a child to understand the basic biology of all living things. As a society, we owe Dr. Cox and her team, special thanks to the tremendous progress in medical research in the field of diet and heart disease. Her team has shown significant correlation between genes and circulating fat, glucose, body weight and diabetes related symptoms (Heredity, 2008).

If heart disease research is important to you, do send a note to your favorite scientists and encourage them.

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Lemons, Limes, and Oranges – Vitamin C and Prevention of cancer

The benefits of citrus fruits, Vitamin C and Citric Acid include prevention of cancer when included in a diet in combination with other minerals and vitamins.

Check out this colorful video about shopping for citrus fruits at Whole Foods, Columbus Circle location in New York City. However, this variety should be available in your local food market easily. Click on this Youtube video about a fresh fruit shopping experience at Whole Foods.

Vitamin C may prevent cancer. Researchers at the National Cancer Institute (Journal National Cancer Institute, 1993) have shown that Vitamin C in combination with beta-carotene, selenium, and Vitamin E could reduce the risk of cancer. However, it cannot treat cancer.  Scientists have shown that Vitamin C in high doses could not slow down the progress of colorectoral cancer (New England Journal of Medicine, 1985). Scientists have also shown that daily doses of Vitamin C did not benefit patients with advanced cancer (New England Journal of Medicine, 1979). It is so joyful to see the bountiful colorful citrus fruits piled up at the food market.

A Lemon Tree

Immunology and Respiratory scientists (at Alfred Hospital, Melbourne, Australia; 2007) have brought to our attention the fact that a person allergic to peanuts may also be allergic to citrus because of a slightly similar protein.

A Bunch of Limes

The average person is very well aware of the benefits of fresh fruits, especially citrus fruits as in Mignonesia’s blog.

An Orange grove

A Colorful Display of Citrus Fruits at Whole Foods, NY

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Pumpkin is mildly diuretic – so eat in moderation

Of the pumpkin’s 131 volatile compounds what is striking is variety and magnitude of the nine carbon compounds say the scientists of General Food Corporation of New York. Pumpkins (Cucurbita pepo ) of the family Cucurbitaceae includes Pumpkins, squashes, cucumbers and melons. They were probably a diet member of ancient American Indians and originated in the Americas.

A delicious Pumpkin Pie – An American Tradition

Pumpkins and their seeds have several health benefits. Notably they are zinc rich and the seeds are iron rich and B vitamin and trace minerals and aminoacids (cucurbitin) and chlorophyll pigments. The principle medicinal properties of the pumpkin plant are in the seeds, says Dr. Armando Gonzalez Stuart, in “Pumpkin seeds“.  The article discusses clinical studies employing pumpkin seeds, history, active principles and applications in herbals therapy. You may also read, “The nutritive, medicinal, and diuretic properties of pumpkin flour“.

So, should you eat these in large quantities?

The answer is eat pumpkins but since each body is individually different judge how much pumpkin you can eat and feel healthy. It is a mild diuretic! Diuretics play the role of removing water from your body in the form of urine. You will lose important minerals from kidneys and it may result in mineral imbalance. Definitely include pumpkin and pumpkin seeds in your diet but in moderation.

Chocolate Molten Lava Cake with Pumpkin Icing

Pumpkin Art at the New York Botanical Garden

Then, watch out for the following diuretic symptoms:

1) Advantages of diuretics – less bloated feeling and often prescribed to protect heart patients in tablet formulations;

2) Natural diuretics aid body in flushing toxins and breaking down fat – so general feeling of health;

Pumpkins Good for Balanced Diet and Health

3) Headaches, dizziness and fainting – from mineral imbalance from eating too much or more than an individual body can handle which is different for different people and genetically defined;

Too much Pumpkin?

4) Muscle cramps

Also, pumpkin may react with herbal and other medicine you may be concurrently taking.

Please, don’t get me wrong. Pumpkin is among the healthiest food items you can include in your diet. However, watch out for symptoms like increased knee pain or stomach cramps after a diet overloaded in pumpkin, such as an entire pumpkin pie versus a single slice or two perhaps.

The Pumpkin Puppet Theater at the New York Botanical Garden

For more fabulous pumpkin photos click here

Related Article:
The nutritive, medicinal and diuretic properties of Pumpkin flour


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Can Anorexia induced deficient blood for monthly periods be reversed?

The Chinese Traditional Medicine formula Xiao Yao San, a mixture of medicinal plant roots have been used to treat symptoms of deficient blood. The three herbs include Bupleurum radix (Chai hu), Angelica sinensis (Dang gui) and Paeonia sp. (Bai shao) and may include others. I discuss the components and mode of action of Chai hu below and have previous articles on Dang gui and Bai shao.

Anorexia is a problem among young teens who are extremely image conscious and have a desire to look very thin. In their zeal they eat too little and over exercise. This is a ‘disease’ of the wealthier girls because poor girls value food and are hungry. The rich girls have plenty of food but they are bombarded with images of thin celebrities and aim to reach that ideal, unrealistic goal. Some girls die before they can be hospitalized. In most girls their periods stop because of many internal reasons. Modern medicine is unable to quickly ‘cure’ this symptom of anorexia. Doctors try to make the girls aware that they are losing bone mass due to lower calcium stores in their body, which will develop into early osteoporosis. The girls refuse to understand and continue to starve themselves. Many need to be hospitalized.

Traditional medicinal treatment of anorexia involves a team of doctors – the family pediatrician, a nutritionist, and a pshychiatrist. They can meet for seven years and not get a cure, which is getting the periods back and a normal BMI or Body Mass Index. There are several published articles on curing anorexia. Traditional Chinese Medicine in combination with a protein, carbohydrate and fat rich diet should be strongly encouraged because anorexia is an ancient disease and achieving normal blood flow has been achieved. Modern medicine may prescribe birth control pills which may induce periods but when stopped the periods stop too. Also, sometimes the teens are too young and it simply feels wrong to prescribe birth control pills. I would urge parents to learn about this natural option, which is far safer for the child.

Chai hu,  is a popularly used medicinal plant dried root in Chinese traditional medicine in a multicomponent mixture of herbs. Yamakage and colleagues (Am. J. Chi. Med., 2006) showed that the extracts of Bupleurum radix activated spontaneous lymphatic vasomotion and lymph flow. Heldon and Zhao (CEPP, 2000), showed that lymphatic vessel vasomotion, a rhythmic contraction is controlled by the Calcium store and it can be near synchronous over large vessel lengths and involve many cells.

Chai hu

Several published Chinese scientific articles discuss the components of Chai hu. A chromatographic analysis shows that Saikosaponins are the main components of which SSa and SSd are in largest concentrations (Xu, Huang, & Zhang, School of Pharmacy, Shanghai; 2008). Chen and colleagues (2007) have shown that Saikopanin c could prevent the development of nephritis in mice and hence could modulate renal or kidney disease. Click here for photo source.

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Fatty food makes new cells, and keeps us healthy

Most natural fats are found in vegetable oils, dairy products and in animal fat. Vegetable oils such as olive oil are liquid at room temperature because the are composed largely of triacylglycerols and unsaturated fatty acids. Most fats are complex mixtures of simple and mixed triacylglycerols. Beef fat is a white, greasy solid at room temperature because it is composed of triacylglycerols containing only saturated fatty acids.

The chief storage form of metabolic fuel is fat in living organisms. However, this fat is in different forms in different organisms. The fats and oils used as forms of stored energy are derivatives of fatty acids. Fatty acids circulate in the blood bound to a protein carrier, serum albumen and in blood plasma as carboxylic acid derivatives. Specialized cells called adipocytes, or fat cells, store large amounts of triacylglycerols as fat droplets that nearly fill the cell. Triacylglycerols yield twice as much energy gram per gram as carbohydrates. Also, they are unhydrated unlike carbohydrates and hence , the organism that carries fat as fuel, does not have to carry the extra water of hydration. Humans have fat tissues composed of adipocytes. These are located under the skin, mammary glands, and in the abdominal cavity. Moderately obese people can draw for months on their fat stores to supply their energy needs. Carbohydrates can only provide one day’s energy, although they offer a quick source of energy. Some lipids while essential for cell structure (omega- 3 and omega -6 oils) cannot be produced by the body and require dietary sources. In a study conducted in rats showed that a critical period of rat brain development occurs during late trimester of pregnancy and early lactation months. During this time, large amounts of omega- 3 fatty acids are deposited in the brain lipids of the developing foetus and baby rat brain. So, during this time the mother’s diet must be provided with a suitable dietary source of omega – 3 fatty acid.

The fatty acids can be of a wide variety. Heart tissue is uniquely composed of certain lipids such as ether lipids and plasmalogens.  The functional significance and their difference is unknown. However, if you eat a fat-free diet, you are certain to ‘starve’ your heart tissue of much needed nutrients to remain healthy. Anorexic girls soon develop weak heart tissue precisely because they eat a fat free diet. Overzealous adults starve their own hearts and sometimes that of their growing children by feeding a fat-free diet. Fatty food should be in moderation included in a healthy diet.

At least one fatty lipid, platelet-activating factor is a potent molecular signal. It plays an important role in inflammation and the allergic response. It is released from leukocytes and stimulates the release of serotonin from platelets and exerts other effects on liver, heart, uterine, lung and smooth muscles. A fat-free diet could potentially make one more prone to allergies.

Humans have at least 60 different fatty acids called Spingolipids in their cellular membranes. They are especially important in neurons and some are clearly recognition sites on the cell surface and can begin a cascade reaction. Certain variations of spingolipids define human blood groups and therefore determine safe blood transfusions. This area needs to be researched further. However, they emphasize the importance of moderate fat in a food menu. Credit for this initial research goes to Johann Thudichum (1829-1901).

Many new cells die each day and are replaced by new cells, each having a new cell membrane, which is composed of membrane fatty acid lipids. A fat-free diet could reduce the healthy replacement of new cells. Sterols are structural lipids present in the membranes where they serve as a precursor to certain biological activities. For example, steroid hormones and cholesterol are major sterols, which have various functions including giving a structural role to cell membranes. Trust me, if your cell membrane lacks structure, your cell has no structure and results in a body with no form or structure! You need structure, hence you need sterols. A fat-free diet with no sterols or cholesterol can be deadly.

Thus, fatty acids considered above have shown that lipids form a structural role in cell formation (about 5%) and a fuel storage role (80%). These lipids play a passive role in the cells. Another group of lipids have an active role in the cells, as hormones, and intracellular messengers generated in response to an exterior cell signal. A third group consists of conjugated lipids that absorb light in the visible band. Some of these pigments have a significant role in vision. Specialized lipids are important because they are useful to carry vitamins A, D, E and K as fat soluble vitamins. So, these are biologically active fatty acid lipids. Imagine a fat-free diet would be deficient in such biological activity. Membrane spingolipids have a role as intracellular messengers and as regulators. This can be important in any number of activities such as mounting an inflammatory response or in wound healing.

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Banana – the way to eat and lose weight too


My best friend was distraught when her toddler refused to drink regular milk. “How am I supposed to keep my baby healthy?” She wailed. Then, her baby girl surprised her. She loved to eat bananas and she ate enough to stay healthy. Fortunately, bananas are nutrition rich, especially in potassium. It made me wonder, what else does a banana have that made it so healthy?

I discovered that doctors have recommended eating bananas to people with low potassium or with hypertension. Scientists (1991) have shown that potassium is the primary mineral of ripe banana, and that crude protein is 3.8% of dry banana flour. They have also evaluated two cooking varieties of banana and shown that the carbohydrate content is 2.8% soluble sugars, 70% starch and 12% non-starch polysaccharides. Scientists have also shown that fresh green banana is a good source of Vitamin C.

I know that Bananas (musa sp.) are very popular in tropical countries. Banana has recently been called the weight loss food. When opera singer, Kumiko Mori, lost 15 lbs on the ‘Morning banana diet‘ developed by Hitoshi and Sumiko Watanabe, the banana became very popular in Japan. The Japanese went bananas over bananas with supermarkets selling out of bananas. Guess, our tropical ancestors were right!

Compared to other fruits the banana provides more energy. During marathons in Europe, runners are handed pieces of banana by volunteers running alongside them. Moroccons have a deliciously cold, avocado – banana smoothie recipe that was made an international hit in 2011 by a blogger. Some always keep a supply of bananas in their fridge.  A delicious banana streusel recipe is another way of eating your bananas.

Is banana the food of choice of thin people or are people thin because they eat banana? Banana recipe suggestions have included eating it with your waffle, and loving sisters have suggested serving it along with a meal on the side to satisfy hungry brothers. The importance of eating breakfast, to maintain a healthy lifestyle has been emphasized by trainers and nutritionists. Some say that’s easy because the banana is their favorite breakfast food. Some have said eating bananas prevents them from snacking by making them feel full. The importance of regular sleep in a banana weight loss diet has been suggested.  Your view is welcome.  Click here for hundreds of photographs and cartoons of banana.

Banana is not always good for you. Apparently, when the kidneys are not functioning correctly, it is best to restrict bananas in the diet. Again, it is the high potassium in the bananas which is to be avoided to keep a failing kidney healthy. Ironically, it is equally important for the remaining family members to eat bananas to stay healthy!

The Banana Tree

In West Bengal, India all parts of the banana plant are used. The fruit is very popular. The stem is cooked and eaten and it’s extract is being researched by Indian scientists to show beneficial effects. The fruit is sliced and dried to be eaten as a healthy snack, which may refer to their potassium, protein, vitamin C, and soluble sugar contents. The dried banana slices are packaged and sold in several health food stores such as Whole Foods and Food Emporium, and very popular as a healthy snack. The leaves are used to serve food in India. The leaves have natural antiseptic properties and hence serve as a healthy, antiseptic, disposable serving platter which are very popular during weddings in India.

Although there are several edible banana varieties, only a few varieties have worldwide appeal, particularly due to ripening issues during storage and transportation.  Marriott has published, highly cited papers on the storage and ripening properties of banana that are important during transportation (1980). There are several new varieties of cooking banana and plantain varieties with improved pest and disease resistance and where the cooking banana had lower starch, and ascorbic acid than the plantains. There has been much work done on how to prevent or delay banana peel spotting.


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