Thursday, December 12, 2013

Honey - A Super Medicinal Food



All the followers of Dr. Mantena Satyanarayana Raju very well understand the importance of honey in their daily life. You all know the roll honey plays during the time of fasting. Millions of followers have derived innumerable benefits by fasting in Dr. Mantena’s way. Apart from fasting; honey can be used in many ways and it has countless benefits for human health. Many people across the world use honey and they all know that honey has some wonderful medicinal values but they are not aware of its exact benefits. Some also have certain doubts about honey and its use. This is a small attempt to educate people about honey, its benefits and uses. Let us go into the nutrition details of honey.

HONEY
Total Quantity
2.38 Oz
Total Weight
100.00 gms
Basic Macronutrients and Calories
Nutrient
Quantity
Protein
0.31 gms
Carbohydrates
82.40 gms
Fat
0.00 gms
Dietary Fiber
0.19 gms
Calories
304.00 cal
Detailed analysis of Macronutrients and Calories
Carbohydrates :
Quantity
Total Sugars
82.12 gms
Monosaccharide
79.79 gms
Disaccharide
2.33 gms
Other Carbohydrates
0.07 gms
Vitamins:

Vitamin B1
0.10 mg
Vitamin B2
0.05 mg
Vitamin B3
0.19 mg
Vitamin B6
0.02 mg
Choline
2.19 mg
Folate
2.00 mcg
Pantothenic acid
0.07 mg
Vitamin C
0.50 mg
Minerals:

Calcium
1.23 mg
Copper
0.05 mg
Iron
0.43 mg
Magnesium
2.00 mg
Sodium
4.00 mg
Zinc
0.21 mg
Amino Acids:

Aspartic acid
0.02 gms
Glutamic acid
0.02 gms
Proline
0.10 gms


Honey has been used since ancient times both as a food and as a medicine. Apiculture, the practice of bee keeping to produce honey, dates back to at least 700 BC. For many centuries, honey was regarded as sacred due to its wonderfully sweet properties as well as its rarity. It was used mainly in religious ceremonies to pay tribute to the gods, as well as to embalm the deceased. Honey was also used for a variety of medicinal and cosmetic purposes. For a long time in history, its use in cooking was reserved only for the wealthy since it was so expensive that only they could afford it.

The prestige of honey continued for millennia until one fateful event in culinary and world history - the "discovery" of refined sugar made from sugar cane or sugar beets. Once these became more widely available, they were in great demand since they provided a relatively inexpensive form of sweetening. With their growing popularity, honey became displaced by sugar for culinary use. Since then, although honey is still used for sweetening, much of its use has become focused on its medicinal properties and its use in confectionery.

Honey derived from the honey bees is the main ingredient for home medicines. It has a universal appeal. It is used by the people all over the world at any given point of time. All experiments, researches conducted for the past few decades have proved the medicinal value of honey. Honey is a food item with more of calories. One kilo (24 Oz) of Honey contains 30400 to 3350 calories, based on water content in the honey.

Till recently honey was compared to sugar. Everybody knows sugar is nothing but Carbohydrates that provides calories to the body.

About 70% of the energy required by the body is provided by sugar that comes from the food one eats. Sugar is the most easily digested foodstuff.

The body digests sugar and glucose separately. Glucose reaches as it is into blood from intestines. Sugar undergoes hydrolysis first. Then it splits into glucose and absorbed from intestines into blood in portal vein. From there it reaches liver and from there flows into cells all over the body.

Honey has 80% of different ingredients that are required for the growth and functioning of the body. Many of them are very useful in curing diseases. There are plenty of enzymes in it. They can hasten the chemical reactions in the body by million times. If you take out the list of items containing more of enzymes. Besides plenty of enzymes, honey contains Calcium, Sodium, Potassium, Magnesium, Iron, Chlorine, Phosphorous, Sculpture and Iodine salts. Some types of honey contain even radium. And also salts like Manganese, Aluminium, Boron, Chromium, Copper, Lithium, Nickel, Lead, Elemental tin, Titanium, Zinc and Osmium.

Man needs plenty of mineral salts. The micro elements and mineral salts, the minutest items in the body play a vital role in the metabolism. Due to the inter reactions they play with enzymes, vitamins and hormones, our nervous system, cellular respiration, blood circulation etc. are accelerated. As we grow old, and as the metabolism changes relatively there is a change in the contents of blood. As per biological science even the percentage of most important micro elements (copper, manganese, cobalt, nickel, zinc etc.) also changes. So, it is very essential to feed these micro elements through food, especially with honey, into the body.

Researchers have found that the percentage of acids is proportionate to the formic acid in it. Honeybees, before they close the beehive, fill them with honey and formic acid. Honey contains mainly organic acids, malic, citric, tartaric, and oxalic acids. The honey produced by honeybees has B1, B2, B3, B6 and keratin vitamins. In addition to these, the honey has acitile choline, hormones, antibiotics, phyton sides, and many valuable elements required for our body. Vitamins may be in very minute quantity but they are mixed with very important items for the body (carbohydrates, mineral salts, micro elements, organic acids, enzymes etc). They all get digested very easily.

The vitamins in honey vary based on the combination of pollen grains. Due to the presence of dextrin in honey, honey gets digested easily and it joins the blood quickly from the intestines.

Health benefits of Honey:

1. There is huge number of fungus in the air around us. They develop fast over food material in favourable conditions like appropriate temperature and moisture. It was found that honey has not only destructive capacity of bacteria, but also has anti mitotic capacity.

2. No food is complete without alkaline mineral salts. They are helpful in nullifying the sour material that arises in the process of digestion (If these sour products are not contained, they become harmful to the body). Another special feature of honey is that it is a strong alkaline.

3. Children will grow up healthily if you substitute sugar with honey in their food. Experienced doctors and scientists have found out long back that the sugar, left out in the mouth gets split up into acids (especially lactic acid) by the bacterial action. Slowly these acids help in the de-calcification of the teeth. Unlike sugar, honey has antibiotic qualities. Also it has Alkaline too. As a result, honey clears the gaps in the teeth free from bacteria.

5. Everyone knows very well that glucose is the best nutritious food for the cells and parts of the body. Not only that, glucose is stored as Glycogen in liver. This Glycogen provides the energy required for the body. Glucose improves the utility value of the cells. It also activates the heart and blood vessels if the sugar level falls down in the blood. Glucose also increases resistance power against contagious diseases. It is greatly used to speed up the activity in the liver.

6. Hypocrites successfully used honey to cure many diseases and injuries. If you apply honey with wheat flour (without water) as a layer over an injury, it will heal very quickly. If honey is applied over the injury the percentage of Glutathione around the injury increases greatly. It helps in healing the injury quickly.

7. Even diabetes patients can take honey. There is more of Fructose sugar in honey than Glucose. Insulin is required to carry glucose from blood to the cells whereas the Pancreas gland for sugar patients cannot produce sufficient insulin. But since honey has fructose that doesn't require insulin, it reaches the cells without the help of insulin. The food doesn't require insulin, reduces sugar count in the blood. The glucose in the honey reaches blood quickly from the intestines. Temporarily sugar count may appear to shoot up but it comes down to normal (within an hour) once the glucose reaches the cells. The Fructose sugar in honey takes a longer time to reach the blood. So sugar patients don’t feel weak suddenly. In fact if they take 4 spoons of honey, it gives them energy for 2-3 hours. Diabetics should remember that honey doesn't increase the sugar count as it has fructose.

9. M.L. Khotkin analysed in 1953, 302 patients suffering from ordinary health complaints have ulcers in the stomach. His findings were as follows. 76 people had hyper acidity (34.3%), 67 had ordinary acidity (30.2%), 54 had low acidity (24.7%) and 24 had very little acidity (10.8%). When they were given ordinary food and medicines 61% of them became normal but 18% of patients still suffered. When they were treated with honey 79.7 – 84.2% patients became healthy. By the time he completed the treatment only 5.9% were left still suffering. When normal treatment was given 29% patients were cured completely of ulcer. Whereas when honey was given 59.2% were cured completely. The patients did not have to stay for long in hospital after the treatment with honey was given. He proved that the patients’ condition improved in every aspect. He proved that honey brings down the hyper acidity and the release of gastric juices to normal levels.

10. Honey works in two ways in ulcer patients. It heals the outer layer of gastric mucus. It keeps the body strong. Especially it strengthens the nervous system. Actually, gastric or duodenal ulcers are caused when the receptors of the nervous system stop functioning. So ulcer patients should take honey one and a half hours to two hours before lunch and three hours after dinner. They should mix honey in water that is boiled and brought down to lukewarm condition. If honey is taken thus it dilutes gastric of mucus and reduces the gastric problem. On the contrary if you take honey with cold water it increases the acid content and reduces the digestive capacity of the stomach. It stimulates the intestines.

11. Honey not only supplies glucose to the cells of the liver but it also increases the storage of glycogen and helps in the formation of new cells. Liver works as a filter-to-filter out all the toxins and harmful bacteria. Glycogen helps in the effective functioning of the liver. Thus the glycogen gives the required resistance power from contagious diseases.

12. The impact of honey is more on nervous system. Researchers have proved that if you provide liquids that have glucose (honey) as hyper-tonic for some nervous disorders, it gives good results. Those who have nervous weakness or those who feel very weak, if they drink honey mixed in water and lime juice or if they take two tablespoonfuls of honey before going to sleep they will get energy.

13. The elders have proclaimed that a glassful of water mixed with honey provides you sound sleep. The honey water cools down the body and gives it energy.

14. Skin protects us from our surroundings. Honey is very good as a medicine for skin. You can say it is a special cosmetic. Honey can also protect the skin from bacteria.

15. If you apply honey for burns, it prevents the formation of bubbles and cures quickly. It also prevents scars of the burns.

16. Honey works wonderfully in reducing weight. The energy from honey gets exhausted into hours, but it does not convert into fats. Sugar and fats get burnt up in the body with oxygen and release energy. Sugar gets burnt quickly and gives energy quickly whereas fats cannot give energy that fast

16. Honey increases the percentage of haemoglobin in blood, which prevents anaemia.

17. If you feel nausea or vomiting sensation and when you don’t feel like eating anything, take 4 spoonfuls of honey slowly drop by drop. You will gain energy in just 10 minutes.

18. Honey reduces arthritis because of the malic acid in it.

Few other facts on Honey:

1. Honey is sold in individual containers or in bulk. It is usually pasteurized, although often times at farmer's markets you can find raw honey. Raw honey that has not been pasteurized, clarified, or filtered—provided it is of the highest nutritional quality and safety—is your best choice. Look for honey that states "100% pure." While regular honey is translucent, creamy honey is usually opaque and is made by adding finely crystallized honey back into liquid honey. Speciality honeys, made from the nectar of different flowers, such as thyme and lavender, are also available. Remember that the darker the colour, the deeper the flavour. You might also look for darker-coloured "honeydew" varieties produced by bees that collect the sugary secretions insects leave on plants, which is called honeydew.

While all honey has impressive levels of disease fighting antioxidants, a recent study of Spanish honey varieties shows that honeydew honey has even higher levels of antioxidant poly phenols than honeys bees make from nectar.

2. The colour, taste and quality of honey depend upon the flowers of the trees.

3. If it is of a pure quality it doesn't get spoiled even for 100 years.

4. Honey should never be heated; it should be kept in the sun.

5. Honey can be stored for a long time. So you don’t have to use any preservative.

6. It is better to preserve honey in glass bottle. Otherwise, you can preserve it in steel container.

7. Now and then you should expose it to the sun.

8. Should never keep in fridge.

9. Some types of honey get solidified in cold weather. Of course they melt again, if kept in the sun.

10. If the honey you buy contains unnatural glucose or any medicine or if it is processed, it doesn't give you the energy or required results.

11. Honey has a tendency to absorb the dampness in the air (Hygroscopic). It becomes sore by absorption.

A word for thought:

Before mentioning a final word for thought let me tell you the process of making honey.
In the hive (or in a wild nest), there are three types of bees:
  • a single female queen bee
  • a seasonally variable number of male drone bees to fertilize new queens
  • some 20,000 to 40,000 female worker bees

 The worker bees raise larvae and collect the nectar that will become honey in the hive. Leaving the hive, they collect sugar-rich flower nectar and return.

In the hive, the bees use their "honey stomachs" to ingest and regurgitate (swallow) the nectar a number of times until it is partially digested. Invertase synthesized by the bees and digestive acids hydrolyse sucrose to give the same mixture of glucose and fructose. The bees work together as a group with the regurgitation and digestion until the product reaches a desired quality. It is then stored in honeycomb cells. After the final regurgitation, the honeycomb is left unsealed. However, the nectar is still high in both water content and natural yeasts, which, unchecked, would cause the sugars in the nectar to ferment. The process continues as bees inside the hive fan their wings, creating a strong draft across the honeycomb, which enhances evaporation of much of the water from the nectar. This reduction in water content raises the sugar concentration and prevents fermentation. Ripe honey, as removed from the hive by bee-keeper, has a long shelf life, and will not ferment if properly sealed.

So far we have learned how honey is produced by the bees and how it has been used from ages as a medicine and also food by humans. It is also considered sacred and used in some religious rituals as well. But do you know how much pain the bees go through to gather honey? Honey is produced by bees as a food source. To produce a single jar of honey, foraging (searching) honeybees have to travel the distance equivalent to three times around the World. In cold weather or when food sources are scarce, bees use their stored honey as their source of energy. By contriving for bee swarms to nest in artificial hives, people have been able to semi-domesticate the insects, and harvest excess honey. Thanks to the internet revolution and people like Dr. Raju who are spreading the awareness about the health benefits of honey, the demand for honey is now growing. And to meet the demand, the bee keepers are using unethical measures by giving antibiotics for increasing bee population thereby increasing the production of honey.

    

By spreading the health benefits of honey and consuming honey as food in large numbers, are we not creating opportunities for greedy people who are indulging in immoral activities? Is it not better to use honey as a medicine only when required? How can we say honey is a nature’s gift when we are robbing the food of tiny bees? Think!

Monday, June 17, 2013

Sprouts - A Mine of Nutrients


Friends it has been a very long time since I updated this blog. The reason is very simple; I am not an expert in nutrition. Whenever I find any article or information that strikes my mind or when I feel certain article helps people in building their health; I prefer to share with you in this blog. I started this blog to educate people about certain foods that are really nutritious but we ignore them due to lack of knowledge, ignorance or any other reason. While referring to one of the books written by Dr. Mantena Satyanarayana Raju, I came across a very interesting article on a mine of nutrients called ‘sprouts’. So today’s update is all about sprout and its importance.

People following Dr. Raju certainly know lot about sprouts and their benefits as he has been spreading the benefits of sprouts for a very long time. This update on my blog is such an attempt from my behalf.

One of the readers Mr. Raj commenting on my update “Healthy Natural Way of Eating” in my blog ‘Natural Way of Living’, sought information on the quality, quantity and the type of food one has to consume during breakfast, lunch and dinner in detail. Today I am going to provide complete details about ‘sprouts – a mine of nutrients’ to be served in breakfast.

For people living in southern part of India like Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Tamilnadu the regular breakfast involves puri, Idli, dosa, vada, upma, uttapam etc. with specially made chutney and sambar. Ask any south Indian, what he had in breakfast? He will name one or more of the items mentioned above. If you give any other thing apart from these he feels that he had skipped the breakfast that day. People often come to me seeking remedies for their growing weight. I always start with asking questions related to their diet pattern. On enquiring their food pattern they say, “These days I am not taking any breakfast you know? I have totally skipped my breakfast, I am taking little rice for lunch and 2 phulkas for dinner and I don’t understand why I am still putting on weight. You please teach us some asanas to reduce the weight.” I started working on a group of people suggesting same kind of asanas and same diet pattern. After 90 days, I noticed modest change in some people, drastic change in some and no change in some people. To my surprise, people who said they eat less are the one’s who had no change and in fact they put on more weight. Initially I was little surprised and confused as well. Then I enquired more about their eating pattern. I asked them; don’t you feel hungry when you skip your breakfast and having little quantity of Lunch? I was taken away by more surprise when they said they don’t feel hungry at all. I realized that they might be hiding some information due to shyness or they are not aware of their calories. I have a friend who has been practicing yoga for about 2 years now. His weight is more than 100 kilos and has no change in his weight. If anyone asks him, what kind of yoga you are doing man, you haven’t lost any weight all these years? He says that I can’t resist my appetite; I am practicing yoga for maintaining health and enjoying food for joy thereby balancing the act. I got an opportunity to stay with him for couple of days when we were been to a holiday spot. We were in a group and therefore we used to move together and eat together. I realized a very strange thing in him. He used to finish his plate of meals before others and used to look at them. One or the other members of the group used to offer from their share and if no one is responding then he used to grab and take some food from others. Sometimes we were so involved in enjoying the trip that we used to forget about breakfast, lunch or dinner. There were no restaurants nearby. I observed him stopping at every hawker on the roadside and eat whatever he used to find there. He has been doing this all along the day. He ate at least a dozen times in this way. In the evening we were all eagerly waiting for the dinner to get ready and this man was seen relaxed. When we returned back to Hyderabad, he immediately stepped out of the railway station and took us to the tiffin center nearby to have a breakfast. He finally had a sigh of relief on having his regular plate of idli and vada in breakfast.

This experience has helped me in understanding the eating pattern of those people. On enquiring the food pattern of those people thoroughly, they admitted eating biscuits, chocolates, fruits, sweets, snacks etc at least 6 times a day apart from lunch and dinner. We are so deeply conditioned we don’t accept any food apart from the above items as breakfast; we don’t accept any food apart from rice as lunch and dinner. We need to uncondition and recondition ourselves to change the deep rooted unhealthy eating habits to remain healthy and happy.

When I sacrificed non-vegetarian food and started eating sprouts in my breakfast, greens and veggies in lunch and dinner, people started calling me a grass eater and today I can say that I am proud to be a grass eater. Now let us go into the details of sprouts – a mine of nutrients.

Sprout – A Mine of Nutrients:

 

Sprout is the best food offered to a man by the nature with its most nutritious value. It has all types of vitamins and minerals. In short you can call this food a ‘mine of nutrients’ required by the body. It is a natural food full of life energy that enables you to lead a natural life. It has natural enzymes hidden inside. It is very difficult for a man to survive exclusively on fruits and vegetables but if he can eat sprouts plentifully, he doesn’t have to eat anything else, but lead a life without any ailment.


Seeds that get sprouts:

Wheat, barley, green gram, black gram or Bengal gram, malt, green peas, cow peas, groundnuts, beans etc.

        

Process of Sprouting:
  
Out of the above mentioned seeds I prefer to sprout green grams, black grams and cow peas for my breakfast. These are not only nutritious but also delicious to eat. Sprouting process is quite simple. Soak the grams in water for 8 hours. Rinse the grams couple of times in water and tie them up in a dry cloth and keep them thus for 15 hours in a plate. Then the seeds begin sprouting. The sprout will be roughly one inch in size. Let me elaborate it. Soak the sprouts in the morning, rinse and tie them up in a piece of cloth in the evening after 8 hours. Sprouts will be ready to eat by next morning. This is the traditional method of sprouting in India. However, sprout makers are readily available in market these days. The entire process is same. Instead of tying in a cloth you have to put it in the sprout making boxes.

     
Some important notes in sprouting:

1. Some times the seeds might not sprout (1 or 1.5 inches) as expected. You need to keep another 8 hours in the cloth or boxes for better results. If you happen to soak for more than 15 hours then you need to soak the sprouts in the evening instead of soaking in the morning as mentioned above.

2. If you eat less sprouted seeds then it might result in gas trouble and bloated stomach. Therefore you must make sure that they sprout approximately 1 inch in size.

3. If the sprouts are overgrown and roots are formed then it might be bitter in taste which you might not enjoy. Therefore make sure that it is neither under sprouted nor over sprouted.

4. Sometimes the sprout does not grow properly and might even stink. You need to choose good quality seeds for sprouting. The best way to check is to change the seeds and sprout. Try to buy the seeds from couple of other stores and check the difference. Most probably you will find a solution to this problem. Even if the problem continues it is not the cause of seeds. Instead you must understand that certain seeds do not sprout during a particular season. Don’t get disappointed and continue sprouting other kinds of seeds. In my experience I found green grams are best for sprouting in all seasons among others.

5. You need to take special care in sprouting wheat to avoid stinking smell. Soak wheat for 12 hours in water, rinse well and pour them into a plate and let them dry in a cool place for 8 hours. After that tie them up in a cloth and keep them aside for a day, you get long sprouts.

6. You can also soak groundnuts in water at night and eat in the morning. You don’t have to wait till they get sprouted.

7. Remember! If you wish to eat different sprouts in your breakfast, soak and sprout them separately. Do not mix them with one another. If you mix them they might not sprout well and if any of the sprouts stinks then all the sprouts have to be thrown.

How to eat sprouts and how much to eat:

  

Eating sprouts is a tricky and patient work. Some people complain that they feel hungry early after eating sprouts and as a result of which they eat other foods along with sprouts then on. The reason is very simple. Because of the time and effort it takes to chew they eat fewer sprouts which make them hungry and they start eating some other food along with sprouts. This is not a healthy practice. Then the question arises how much of sprouts one has to eat? There is no prescribed quantity as such. You can eat as much as you can. It is better to eat a larger quantity. As a beginner, one can increase the quantity gradually day by day. Initially you may experience gas trouble in your abdomen. Don’t you worry, it subsides in no time.

You can eat 2-3 varieties of sprouts per day. You should eat each variety separately. Should not mix everything together for the simple reason that some sprouts are big in size where some are small. For example, if you eat groundnuts and malt together, the groundnuts are big in size get grounded first in your mouth. The tongue tries to drive inside its paste. Along with the churned groundnut, the thin malt that gets stuck between the teeth while eating is driven in without proper chewing.

All the seeds have an outer skin. It prevents the entry of digestive juices into the seeds as a result they are not digested. Our body does not have the capacity to break the unbroken seeds and pulses. It can’t even break a tiny sesame seed if unbroken. If you don’t chew your seed food properly, they can’t be digested and comes out of the body along with stool. Body tries to digest it by releasing more gastric juices but can’t break it. Due to the release of gastric juices your abdomen gets irritated and you feel lot of trouble inside your stomach causing gases and burning sensation. For example, you might have noticed many people complaining stomach ache on eating guava. It happens because of the unbroken seeds of guava swallowed inside. Therefore, there is no point in eating sprouts or any other food that is not properly chewed. It is better to eat each variety separately and eat them taking ample time.

Health benefits of Sprouts:

1. If you compare the nutritious value of the sprouts with that of dry seeds, the value of the former is surprisingly more.

2.  At the time of sprouting, the percentage of vitamins, minerals and proteins in the seeds increase enormously. At the same time the carbohydrates reduce to a lower percentage.

3. There will be very little water content dry seeds. The water increases by 10% once they are soaked for sprouting. It results in the multiplication of nutrition in the seeds on sprouting.

4. Sprouts are considered as a mine for nutrients because they have more proteins that protect the body. During the process of sprouting, the carbohydrates are separately very minutely and these seeds absorb the nitrogen prevalent in the atmosphere around. Carbohydrates are now changed into amino acids that can be digested very easily. This is why the content of carbohydrate is reduced more in the sprouts than in dry seeds. So the proteins thus in the sprouts are more easily digested than the proteins we eat through other food items. The table given below shows you the difference in percentage of nutrition in sprouts against dry seeds.

Nutrients
Percentage Increased
Percentage Decreased
Water

8.3%
-
Energy ( Calories)

-
15%
Carbohydrate
-
9%
Proteins
30%

-
Calcium
34%
-

Potassium
80%
-

Sodium
690%
-

Iron
40%
-

Phosphor
56%
-

Vitamin
285%
-

Thiamin or B1 Vitamin
208%
-

Riboflavin or B2 Vitamin
515%
-

Niacin or B3 Vitamin
256%
                           -

Vitamin C
great extent
-


5. The sodium helps in quick digestion in stomach and small intestines. It also helps in driving out carbon dioxide in the body. Since the sodium content enormously increases in the sprouts, food can easily be digested.

6. Vitamin C content is very less in dry seeds and dry food. But when soaked in water for sprouting the same seeds absorb the atmospheric values increasing the percentage of Vitamin C. Vitamin C helps in defusing proteins quickly and hasten the movement of iron into blood from intestines.

7. Sprouts contain more fiber that enables free bowel movement.

8. You don’t feel thirsty while or after eating sprouts as they naturally contain more water in them.

This is it for now. I hope you enjoyed reading this article. Keep watching the space for more updates.


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