The Strength of Antioxidants
By now, you have probably heard about free radical. These ubiquitous molecules cause cells to break down, speeding the aging process, promoting heart disease and cancer and weakening the immune system.
There's no way to avoid free radicals. They're produced within the body as a result of normal metabolic processes. But certain antioxidant compounds destroy free radicals. For you to stay healthy and to recover quickly from illness your immune system must be healthy, too. What can you do to optimize immune function? Exercise and stress reduction helps. But evidence suggest that the most important contributor to immune function is what you eat.
*Vitamin E. This potent antioxidant forestalls the gradual decline in immune function brought on by aging. It boosts synthesis of antibodies and encourages reproduction of key infection-finghting cells called lymphocytes.
People who take vitamin E supplements mount a stronger immune reaction against invading viruses and bacteria. They also enjoy a reduced risk for cancer. Good sources of vitamin E include whole grains, seeds and vegetable oils. Before Moringa came into play getting enough vitamin E for full protection against free radicals from dietary sources were nearly impossible.
But Don't Forget About The Moringa...
These antioxidants increase the numbers of lymphocytes and natural-killer cells. Supplements are available, but the best sources are fruits and vegetable especially carrots, kale, tomatoes and cantaloupes and green peppers.
*Vitamin C. It energizes the immune system to react more vigorously to cancer cells and microbes. Diets rich in vitamin C have been linked to reduced risk for breast, colorectal and prostate cancer. The optimal intake of vitamin C is 200 milligrams (mg) a day. You can get more than enough through your diet. Good sources of vitamin C include citrus fruits, cantaloupes and green peppers.
*Immunity Boosters. Research is beginning to confirm what traditional healers have long known that certain foods and herbs boost immune function... Shiitake mushrooms. Studies in Japan show that these mushrooms boost immune function and inhibit viral multiplication. In Japan, a shiitake derivative called lentinan is used as a cancer-fighting drug. Shiitakes are tasty in soups, stews and vegetable dishes. Eat two to six shiitakes a week. Reishi mushrooms. These Chinese mushrooms boost reproduction of lymphocytes and trigger production of chemical "messengers" that coordinate immune system activity. Eat two to four reishis per week.
And Being Aware Of:
In the near future, we can foresee that many more people will experiment with herbal medicines for everyday ailments like coughs, colds, sore throats, menstrual problems, minor cuts, scrapes and burns. In such cases, natural herbal remedies may be as effective, no more expensive over-the-counter drugs.
Since herbs lose their essential oils, and thus their efficacy, over time, fresh is best. Whenever possible, shop for herbs in herb shops or in the busiest natural food shops. According to herbalists, you want to use herbs as close as possible to the time they were harvested.
The standard rule is that you should never buy more of an herb at one time than you will likely use in a year. Better yet, if you have easy access to an herb store, buy medicinal herbs in amounts that will be consumed within three months.
Of course, buying fresh herbs and mixing concoctions at home is trickier and more time consuming than buying prepackaged varieties of aloe, echinacea, ginkgo biloba and pepper-mint leaf, for example. But if you have the time and energy, you may find that growing your own fresh herbs will dramatically enhance your health.
Truth be told, few people know the actual strength of herbal remedies. One big problem in herbal medicine today is the lack of comparative standards. Three bottles of echinacea herbal extract, for instance, could have widely varying potency, yet exactly the same price leaving the consumer not knowing which is strongest or weakest.
Standardization of herbal products is a thorny issue because the natural foods and herb industries do not want to invite too much government influence of intervention. Nevertheless, consumers have a right to know what they are buying. You must rely on consumer research and a trustworthy vendor for advice on which brands have the best reputation for product quality. Or, of course, you can grow your own.
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Sun Drying... This is the original dehydration method. Some commercial food processors continue to use it, but trying it at home is more trouble than it's worth. Sun drying demands near-perfect low humidity conditions and temperatures in the high 80s to assure a reasonable amount of success. And even if you manage to meet these rather difficult requirements, food dried in the sun will take several days as compared to several hours in a dehydrator. Because sun drying takes so long, the food produced is of lower quality and nutritional value. Food is at the mercy of insects, dirt, and the elements. It is the least expensive way to dehydrate food and it can accommodate large quantities at one time.
Solar Drying... Promoted during World War II, solar drying is somewhat more efficient than traditional sun drying because of the increased temperatures. It also refined the drying process by (a) a tracking system to follow the sun, (b) a venting system to control the temperature, (c) enough space for construction and efficient operation, and (d) a back-up system to provide an alternative heat source and a fan to circulate air. However, despite these apparent improvements, it is still unpredictable, slow, time-consuming, and offers no assurance of food quality.
Air & Shade Drying... Spoilage is a significant problem with both these methods of food preservation. Because of the lack of the sun's heat, drying times are extended greatly. As a result, the time required to dry the food product is dry for a period of time that can range from several days to weeks. If you ever have time to spare, you might want to experiment with one unique form of air drying called "string drying." Slices of produce are strung on long pieces of string and hung from nails or rafters in a warm room. One of the most popular foods dried this way was whole string beans, or "leather britches."
Oven Drying... Although many people use standard, convection, and microwave ovens for drying food, oven drying, on the whole, is very "iffy." While generally a vast improvement over some of the older methods of dehydrating, scorching is usually a major problem. Also, food frequently comes out more brittle, darker in texture, and less tasty. Often times, normal oven usage is interrupted for long periods of time and the energy cost is usually substantially greater than an electric food dehydrator. Remember that standard, convection, and microwave ovens were manufactured for purposes other than dehydrating; therefore, oven drying is usually unsuccessful.
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