Breakfast: The most important meal of the day

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“Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, and dinner like a pauper,” is an old saying, but I first learned about this way of eating from a friend from Peru who claimed this has always been the way for Peruvians and some South Americans.  It was during the 70s in New York when he told me about this.  I thought it odd at first, but as time went, TV news magazines started talking about the benefits of this manner of eating.

However, stuffing ourselves with doughnuts, sweet pastries, and sugary cereals — as we dash off to work or school — just to say we had breakfast will not do the trick. To start the day off right, experts recommend that our breakfast is complete with whole grains, protein, and fiber.

Now, here are some of the benefits of eating a complete breakfast:

It enhances our immune system. A study in the Netherlands showed that eating a substantial breakfast boosts our body’s interferon-gamma, a natural antiviral that directly activates immune cells. Skipping breakfast caused a 17 percent drop in interferon-gamma.

It improves our skin. Eggs, regardless of the way they are prepared, are fantastic for our skin. That is due to lutein, a carotenoid antioxidant found in eggs, which helps preserve the skin’s elasticity and protects skin cells from free radical damage. Just one egg a day can boost our lutein levels by 26 percent.

Helps keeps us slim. Regularly eating a healthy breakfast will not magically shed the pounds, but experts claim it may help our emotional relationship with food, which in turn, affects our weight. Prolonged fasting can increase our body’s insulin response that can increase fat storage and weight gain. On the other hand, regularly eating a well-balanced breakfast helps our body to prevent overeating and stave off our craving for quick carbohydrate fixes, or late morning snacks of doughnuts and pastries.

Moreover, experts assert that eating later in the day only ruins our body’s chances of burning off unnecessary fat, consequently putting ourselves at risk for obesity and heart disease. It really is that serious.  Therefore, skipping breakfast not only completely ignores our body’s needs, but it also deprives it of so many positive benefits.

And finally, eating a complete breakfast stabilizes our energy levels.  A balance of carbohydrates, protein, and fiber is the key to any healthy breakfast, and eating foods with these components will increase our energy levels. Breakfast replenishes our glycogen, which supply muscles with immediate energy. Breakfast was found to supply around 25 percent of our body’s daily energy expenditure; thus, leading to a high-functioning day.

So, there you go.  What more do we need to convince ourselves that eating a well-balanced breakfast is the best way to start off our day?



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Honey is known as Honig in German, Miele in Italian, Shahad in Hindi, Miel in French, Miel in Spanish, Mel in Portuguese, мед in Russian, Honing in Dutch, and μελι in Greek.  There is hardly any region in the world where honey is not cherished.

Honey has been used by mankind since the past 2,500 years, all over the world. While the numerous health benefits of honey have made it an important aspect of traditional medicines such as Ayurveda, scientists are also researching the benefits of honey in modern medicine, especially in healing wounds.

What makes honey so popular? It is the ease with which it can be consumed. One can eat honey directly, put it on bread like a jam, mix it with juice or any drink instead of sugar, or mix it with warm water, lime juice, cinnamon and other herbs to make a medicine. It is savored by all due to its taste as well as health benefits.

The health benefits of honey include the following:

Sweetener: Sugar can be substituted with honey in many food and drinks. Honey contains about 69% glucose and fructose enabling it to be used as a sweetener.

Energy Source: According to USDA, honey contains about 64 calories per tablespoon. Hence honey is also used by many as a source of energy. On the other hand, one tablespoon of sugar will give you about 15 calories. Further the carbohydrates in the honey can be easily converted into glucose by even the most sensitive stomachs. Hence it is very easy to digest honey.

Weight Loss: Though honey has more calories than sugar, honey when consumed with warm water helps in digesting the fat stored in your body. Similarly honey and lemon juice and honey and cinnamon help in reducing weight. Read more about benefits of honey in weight loss.

Improving Athletic Performance: Recent research has shown that honey is an excellent ergogenic aid and helps in boosting the performance of athletes. Honey facilitates in maintaining blood sugar levels, muscle recuperation and glycogen restoration after a workout.

Source of Vitamins and Minerals: Honey contains a variety of vitamins and minerals. The type of vitamins and minerals and their quantity depends on the type of flowers used for apiculture. Commonly, honey contains Vitamin C, Calcium and Iron. Check for the vitamin and mineral content in sugar from any source, you will find it to be either nil or miniscule.

Antibacterial and Antifungal Properties: Honey has anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties and hence it can be used as a natural antiseptic.

Antioxidants: Honey contains nutraceuticals, which are effective in removing free radicals from our body. As a result, our body immunity is improved.

Skin Care with Milk and Honey: Milk and honey are often served together as both these ingredients help in getting a smooth soothing skin. Hence consuming milk and honey daily in the morning is a common practice in many countries.

Honey in Wound Management

Significant research is being carried out to study the benefits of honey in treating wounds.

Nursing Standard provides some of these benefits in the document – The benefits of honey in wound management. These have been given below:

Honey possesses antimicrobial properties.

It helps in promoting autolytic debridement.

It deodorizes malodorous wounds.

It speeds up the healing process by stimulating wound tissues.

It helps in initiating the healing process in dormant wounds.

Honey also helps in promoting moist wound healing.

The healing powers of honey are not hyped. The Waikato Honey Research Unit provides details about the world-wide research that is being carried out on the benefits of honey in medicine.

Further, BBC reported in July, 2006 that doctors at the Christie Hospital in Didsbury, Manchester are planning to use honey for faster recovery of cancer patients after surgery. Such research will provide scientific evidence to the so-called beliefs held by honey lovers all over the world and help in propagating benefits of honey to more people.

Now that you know the benefits of honey, how do you eat it? You can eat it raw, add it it in water and different beverages and you can add it in several recipes also.

Source:  Health Benefits of Honey



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Whenever asked how I’d like my coffee, I always say light, no sugar.  I love sweets, but when it comes to coffee, I prefer it without any sugar – with only milk or cream –  and decaffeinated if available.  I usually drink about two mugs a day, but the other foodstuffs I consume throughout the day may contain caffeine as well so, they all add up.  Thus, despite the preferred decaf coffee, I have no idea how much caffeine I actually end up consuming each day.

Supposedly, caffeine is good because of the burst of energy that we get from it – at least for a couple of hours. That is because caffeine blocks adenosine, which is a chemical in the body that tells it to shut down when tired.

However, keeping the adenosine in the body continuously blocked is not something to be desired. After the initial caffeine high, the bad things that caffeine is known for sets in such as:

1. Panic attacks. Caffeine keeps us up because it triggers the fight-or-flight mechanism in our bodies. But it may lead to panic attacks. Hands become shaky, the skin gets sweaty, and paranoia sets in.

2. Caffeine can become addictive. Once we get into the habit of getting our usual dose, our body begins to crave and expect it. Failing to get that “fix” may make us irritable, tired, and even depressed.

3. One would think that since coffee is liquid, it’s hydrating. Actually, the caffeine in coffee and any other foodstuffs is linked with dehydration, because of its diuretic properties.

4. Women who drink a lot of coffee and eat a lot of chocolates tend to experience a more intense pre-menstrual syndrome than those who do not. The headaches, the bloated feeling and the belly cramps become more debilitating due to the added consumption of caffeine.

5. Caffeine can boost our energy, but it doesn’t know how to tell our body when it should stop moving and simply rest. The body can get physically exhausted, as well as experience emotional fatigue when it doesn’t get any rest.

Read more about caffeine’s side effects here.

But now come the startling results of new studies on caffeine:

1. The study from the Harvard School of Public Health, published last month in the Archives of Internal Medicine reveals that women who regularly drink fully caffeinated coffee have a 20% lower risk of depression than non-coffee drinkers. The study, which followed a group of women for 10 years, found that as more coffee was consumed (up to six cups per day), the likelihood of depression decreased.

2. According to David Levitsky, PhD, professor of nutritional science at Cornell University, “Caffeine decreases the rate at which the stomach dumps its contents into the duodenum – part of the small intestine where digestion takes place and also increases metabolic rate.” Keep in mind, though, that java isn’t a miracle brew: Downing it after dinner won’t make the pounds melt away; rather, sipping a cup post-meal could, in small part, help promote a healthy weight.

3. “Studies have shown that caffeine has a positive effect on sperm motility – the ability of sperm to move toward an egg – and could increase your chances of getting pregnant,” says John Wilcox, MD, FACOG, managing partner and reproductive endocrinologist at HRC Fertility in California. In fact, a study conducted at the University of Sao Paulo found that sperm motility was markedly higher in coffee drinkers versus non coffee-drinkers. And it turns out that it doesn’t matter whether you drink one or ten cups a day: The only detectable difference was found between coffee drinkers and non-coffee drinkers.

4. Caffeine is not truly addictive according to Liz Applegate, PhD, faculty member and director of sports nutrition at the University of California at Davis.  SHE explains that caffeine is not addictive. “Caffeine is a mild stimulant, and the World Health Organization states that it is wrong to compare caffeine intake to drug addiction, since people can reduce or eliminate caffeine from their diet without the serious psychological or physical problems that result from a true addiction.” However, serious coffee drinkers may experience symptoms such as fatigue and irritability if they reduce their intake. According to Dr. Applegate, caffeine is not addictive. “Caffeine is a mild stimulant, and the World Health people who consume 600 milligrams of caffeine (about six small cups of coffee) daily are most likely to experience these symptoms, but they will usually resolve themselves after a few days.

5. According to Lauren Gerson, MD, MSc, associate professor of medicine and gastroenterology at the Stanford University School of Medicine, “There is no evidence from reviewed studies that coffee causes ulcers or more pain in patients with documented ulcers.” She also notes that there is no evidence that coffee could be the cause of stomach pain in patients with indigestion. However, there is one type of digestive issue that coffee can aggravate; Dr. Gerson explains that drinking coffee may worsen heartburn.

Finally, one mistake that people make is when they assume that decaffeinated means that there is no caffeine in the food or beverage.

Decaffeinating happens through a process. According to the site Coffeeresearch.org, decaffeinating coffee usually consists of soaking the beans in water to dissolve the caffeine, extracting the caffeine with a solvent or activated carbon, and then re-soaking the beans in the decaffeinated water to reabsorb the flavor compounds that were lost in the initial extract.

A study published by the Journal of Analytical Toxicology found that nine out of 10 tested cups of decaf coffee from coffee from shops and restaurants contained 8.6 mg-13.9 mg of caffeine. It also found that decaffeinated espresso shots contained 3 mg-16 mg of caffeine per shot.

Another study done by Consumer Reports tested 36 cups of small decaf coffees from six locations. They found that more than half had less than 5 mg of caffeine while the rest had a range from 20 mg-32 mg per cup. Depending on how much you consume in a day, you can end up consuming more caffeine from decaffeinated drinks than you would in one cup of coffee.

Read more here.


Dragon Fruit

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Also known as pitaya, the Dragon Fruit’s taste is slightly similar to kiwi or melon.  The dragon plant is a vine, believed to be native of Central and Southern America that has been brought to Southeast Asian countries including Malaysia, Indonesia, Taiwan, Thailand, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Vietnam.

Dragon plant has fleshy stems that grow up to 20 feet when matured. It may grow from the ground or climb onto trees using aerial roots, and it has spines that grow up to 1 kilogram in weight.   It bears flowers that only bloom at night. The flowers are ornate and beautiful with fragrant scent.

Pitaya plants can have up to 4-6 fruiting cycles per year.  The fruit’s skin may be yellowish to dark red in color with edible flesh that maybe white or red depending on the variety. It has a lot of black small seeds that is also edible.

Dragon fruit is also known to have some health benefits such as:

– boosts immune system. Dragon fruit is rich in vitamin C and fibers that help provide an overall healthy body.

– helps in digestion because of its rich fiber content.

– helps to lower blood glucose levels in type 2 diabetes.

– prevents formation of cancer causing free radicals.

– as anti-oxidant, the presence of high level of vitamin C, minerals and pythoalbumin is regarded as relevant in fighting free radicals and possess anti-oxidant properties.

– helps to control cholesterol level. Dragon fruit is also rich in flavonoids that are known to have favorable effects against cardio related disease.

– promotes healing of wounds and cuts.

– improves appetite.

– improves eye sight.

– aids in weight reduction.

– improves memory.



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The tibicos are known by many names such as tibi, water kefir grains, sugar kefir grains, Japanese water crystals, California Bees and Tibetan mushrooms. They are a culture of bacteria and yeast held in a polysaccharide matrix created by the bacteria.  The microbes present in tibicos act in symbiosis to maintain a stable culture. Tibicos can do this in many different sugary liquids, feeding off the sugar to produce lactic acid, alcohol (ethanol), and carbon dioxide gas which carbonates the drink.

Tibicos are found around the world, with no two cultures being exactly the same. Typical tibicos have a mix of Lactobacillus, Streptococcus, Pediococcus and Leuconostoc bacteria with yeasts from Saccharomyces, Candida, Kloeckera and possibly others. Lactobacillus brevis has been identified as the species responsible for the production of the polysaccharide (dextran) that forms the grains.

Tibicos are also sometimes referred to as Mother Theresa’s miraculous free enzyme drink.  Supposedly, Mother Theresa of Calcutta travelled to the Himalayas and obtained some of these tibicos from the Tibetan monks so she could distribute them amongst India’s indigent folks — to improve their health or cure their illnesses. However, there was a condition: it must never be sold to anyone.  It was to be shared for free instead.  When Mother Theresa visited the Philippines, she brought along with her some tibicos as a gift for the Filipinos. Nevertheless, tibicos are not exclusively for the “poor and needy.” Anyone can drink it and benefit from its miraculous healing power.  Most people obtain tibicos from their friends and relatives, while others from their parish church.

Some of the preventive and curative properties of this enzyme drink are:

– It cures migraine and headache.

– It strengthens bronchial tubes and the lungs. It cures asthma, reduces phlegm and removes cough.

– It improves the function of the liver, pancreas, bile ducts. It cures diarrhea, it helps in the process of digestion and helps to avoid gastritis and ulcers.

– It controls cholesterol, softens hardened arteries and veins, lower sugar levels, controls arterial blood pressure, and corrects hemorrhoids.

– It helps in the prevention of gall stone formation, or if they are present, tibicos dissolve it little by little. It also cures different illnesses of the bladder, and helps one to urinate regularly and well.

– It cures insomnia and dizziness. Removes pain produced by the nerves.

– It burns fat. And for those who are thin, tibicos help them remain in good health (it is recommended that one should take 3 glasses of tibicos before breakfast.

– It avoids pain associated with aging. It reduces the effect of hormonal changes.

– It cures herpes, cataracts in the eyes, acne, and other skin problems.

Read more here.

Pandan Iced Tea


Pandan leaves contain alkaloids.  They are organic substances that contain nitrogen and are often beneficial to the health of people and animals. For instance the alkaloids in quinine, which is derived from tree bark, has made it an effective drug against malaria.

Green tea, which some people claim to be even healthier than water, also contain beneficial alkaloids. The health benefits of pandan (leaves and roots) are the cumulative effect of flavonoids, alkaloids and lastly, glycosides, organic compounds with sugar or carbohydrate molecules. Recently, three new alkaloids were discovered in pandan leaf extracts and added to the five that have been already identified.

As folkloric remedy, drinking tea derived from pandan leaves prevents asthma attacks and stabilizes blood pressure.  It also stimulates perspiration which is an effective way to eliminate toxins and burn excess fat from our system.  Pandan tea also lowers blood sugar and invigorates the functions of our heart and kidneys.

The other health benefits of Pandan are:

• Treats leprosy, smallpox and wounds

• Helps reduce fever

• Solves several skin problems

• Relives headache and arthritis

• Treatment for ear pains

• Functions as a laxative for children

• Eases chest pains

• Helps in speeding up the recuperation of women who have just given birth and are still weak

• Pandan reduces stomach spasms and strengthens the gum

The other uses of Pandan as herbal treatment are:

• Decoction of the bark may be taken as tea, or mixed with water that is to be used in bathing, in order to remedy skin problems, cough, and urine-related concerns

• Apply pulverized roots of pandan to affected wound areas to facilitate healing

• The anthers of the male flowers are used for earaches, headaches and stomach


• Chew the roots to strengthen the gum

• Extract oils and juices from the roots and flowers are used in preparing the decoction to relieve pains brought about by headache and arthritis

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Yummy Sunday

Calamansi Juice

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The calamansi juice comes with healing wonders – from boosting digestion to preventing digestive problems. This freshly-squeezed drink is good to cure respiratory disorders, gout, urinary disorders, scurvy, as well as gum problems.

Here is a list of additional health benefits derived from drinking calamansi juice:

* The vitamin C present in this drink offers relief from scurvy, mouth ulcers, bleeding gums, cracked lips, cold, cough, as well as other viral infections.

* A natural skin rejuvenator, it safeguards the skin from various infections also.

* A natural deodorant, it has the potential to eliminate dandruff and act as scrub.

* The mild smell of this concentrate is a mood enhancer; hence, is suggested to be included in the bathing water to ward off tiredness and uplift the mood.

* The irresistible scent of the drink promotes primary digestion while the flavanoids enhance the secretion of digestive systems and strengthens digestive system.

* The abundance of acids enables the drink to act as a natural cleanser of digestive tract and excretory system.

* Diluted with water and flavored with salt, calamansi juice is a natural purgative, which offers relief from constipation without side effects.

* The antioxidant nature of the drink makes it ideal for averting age-related vision disorders.

* Being a good natural antioxidant, its daily consumption is ideal to prevent wrinkles and thus, delay ageing.

* The astringent and antibacterial properties of the drink make it an efficient refreshing agent for oily skin.

* Being a reservoir of antioxidants and detoxifiers, it eliminates the free radicals and toxins; thus, preventing gout as well as cancers.

* The presence of potassium in abundance enables it to eliminate the kidney stones, while the disinfectant property of the drink offers relief from urinary system infections.

* The drink is a wonderful good digestive stimulant as well as appetizer.

* The juice concentrate is known to offer relief from various medical conditions including fatigue, diabetes, cholera, rheumatism, arthritis, cardiac disorders, as well as arteriosclerosis.

Support your good health with a glass of refreshing calamansi juice daily. However, if you are allergic to citrus fruits, consult with your physician first.

Calamansi Flushing:

Upon waking up in the morning, squeeze 11 calamansi and drink it pure and fresh on an empty stomach. Take your breakfast after 1 hour.

Do this for one whole month only. This is pure alkaline and can cleanse and kill all the bad bacteria in your gut and has been known to dissolve kidney and gall stones.


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