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Aunty’s Chick Pea & Sweet Potato Dinner

Day of Worship Church Flyer (2)

Everyone wants to be healthy. Especially now that we are social distancing and may be visiting the refrigerator and the couch way too many times.

My Aunt sent this picture of her dinner a few nights ago. In an effort to maintain middle-aged weight and be healthy, this is “food for our soul”. This prompted this post about sweet potatoes.

Sweet Potato:

Sweet potatoes scientifically known as Ipomoea batatas are healthier forms of carbohydrates that most others. It has a medium glycemic index of 63, according to HSPH.

The glycemic index (GI) refers to how quickly a certain food raises a person’s blood sugar after consumption.

White potatoes are a high-GI food, with a GI of 78. Previous research has implicated the consumption between a high-GI diet and type 2 diabetes.

Sweet potatoes are part of the family of root vegetables and are “delicious and nutritious.”

They are so tasty, contain zero fats and cholesterol, packed with vitamins and nutrients, and are delicious!

Did you know that despite being a “potato”, sweet potatoes are not closely related to white potatoes?

They are edible roots, while white potatoes are eligible tubers.

The difference between Tubers & Roots:

Root vegetables are underground parts of plants that act as storage organs and are enlarged to store carbohydrates that will be accessed for energy.

Tubers are the enlarged structures in some plants and are used as storage of nutrients. They contain no nodes, internodes or reduced leaves.

For e.g. carrot is a root and sweet potato is a root tuber.

White potatoes are part of the nightshade family, which includes tomatoes, eggplant, and hot peppers, according to the University of Wisconsin.

Sweet potatoes, are part of the morning glory family of flowering plants and are not closely related to white potatoes.

Sweet potatoes are considered root vegetables, this means that we eat the root of the plant, while white potatoes are considered tubers, according to the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

They are also one of the top sources of beta-carotene, which is a precursor to vitamin A. Great for preserving our excellent eyesight.

Different types of sweet potatoes

Day of Worship Church Flyer (2)

Everyone wants to be healthy. Especially now that we are social distancing and maybe visiting the refrigerator and the couch way too many times.

My Aunt sent this picture of her dinner a few nights ago. In an effort to maintain middle-aged weight and be healthy, this is “food for our soul”. This prompted this post about sweet potatoes.

Sweet Potato:

Sweet potatoes  scientifically known as Ipomoea batatas are healthier forms of carbohydrates that most others. It has a medium glycemic index, according to HSPH, of 63.

The glycemic index (GI) refers to how quickly a certain food raises a person’s blood sugar after consumption.

White potatoes are a high-GI food, with a GI of 78. Previous research has implicated the consumption between a high-GI diet and type 2 diabetes.

Sweet potatoes are part of the family of root vegetables and are “delicious and nutritious.”

They are so tasty, contain zero fats and cholesterol, packed with vitamins and nutrients, and are delicious!

Did you know that despite being a “potato”, sweet potatoes are not closely related to white potatoes?

They are edible roots, while white potatoes are eligible tubers.

The difference between Tubers & Roots:

Root vegetables are underground parts of plants that act as storage organs and are enlarged to store carbohydrates that will be accessed for energy.

Tubers are the enlarged structures in some plants and are used as storage of nutrients. They contain no nodes, internodes, or reduced leaves.

For e.g. carrot is a root and sweet potato is a root tuber.

White potatoes are part of the nightshade family, which includes tomatoes, eggplant, and hot peppers, according to the University of Wisconsin.

Sweet potatoes, are part of the morning glory family of flowering plants and are not closely related to white potatoes.

Sweet potatoes are considered root vegetables, this means that we eat the root of the plant, while white potatoes are considered tubers, according to the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

They are also one of the top sources of beta-carotene, which is a precursor to vitamin A. Great for preserving our excellent eyesight.

Happy DIY Home offers a great post on how to grow sweet potatoes if you wish to try tour hang at gardening. 

Different types of sweet potatoes

Nutritional values of sweet potatoes:

Saturated fat 0 g 0%
Polyunsaturated fat 0 g
Monounsaturated fat 0 g
Cholesterol 0 mg 0%
Sodium 73 mg 3%
Potassium 448 mg 12%
Total Carbohydrate 27 g 9%
Dietary fiber 4 g 16%
Sugar 6 g
Protein 2.1 g 4%
Vitamin A 377% Vitamin C 5%
Calcium 4% Iron 4%
Vitamin D 0% Vitamin B-6 15%
Cobalamin 0% Magnesium
The table above copied from livescience.com

Interesting facts:

  • In addition to the root, sweet potato leaves and shoots are also edible and commonly eaten in some countries.
  • Boiling sweet potatoes retains more of their beta-carotene making the nutrients more available for our use.
  • As much as 92% of the nutrients are retained by limiting the cooking time, such as boiling in a pot with a tightly covered lid for 20 minutes.
  • Cooking potatoes with the skin on further helps to minimize the loss of nutrients including beta-carotene and vitamin C.
  • Their interesting bright colors are from “Phyto” chemicals. These phytochemicals are currently being studied for their potential role in human health.

Aunty’s menu:

  • Sweet potato boiled with a dash of salt.
  • Chickpeas, drained and tossed with 1 tbsp oil, curry, cumin, salt, and pepper to taste.
  • Grape tomatoes, cucumber, and turkey bacon lettuce wrapped.
  • Drink of your choice.

1 Corinthians 10:31

Enjoy!

Blessings.

References:

Interesting facts:

  • In addition to the root, sweet potato leaves and shoots are also edible and commonly eaten in some countries.
  • Boiling sweet potatoes retains more of their beta-carotene making the nutrients more available for our use.
  • As much as 92% of the nutrients are retained by limiting the cooking time, such as boiling in a pot with a tightly covered lid for 20 minutes.
  • Cooking potatoes with the skin on further helps to minimize the loss of nutrients including beta-carotene and vitamin C.
  • Their interesting bright colors are from “Phyto” chemicals. These phytochemicals are currently being studied for their potential role in human health.

Aunty’s menu:

  • Sweet potato boiled with a dash of salt.
  • Chickpeas, drained and tossed with 1 tbsp oil, curry, cumin, salt, and pepper to taste.
  • Grape tomatoes, cucumber, and turkey bacon lettuce wrapped.
  • Drink of your choice.

1 Corinthians 10:31

Enjoy!

Blessings.

References:

Posted on 44 Comments

9 Reasons To Use Coconut Oil

Justpene.com (11)

Introduction:

Coconut oil. It was a staple in my household back in my birth country Guyana, indeed in most of South America, palm trees are as perennial as the air we breathe.

Every yard boasts coconut trees and almost everyone, uses coconut. Fresh coconut oil was the most used oil of that day. That is no longer true.

The women or men would grate the coconuts and make a batch of fresh oil with which to fry fish and to cook. You have never had food as good as that cooked with freshly made coconut oil.

Yum-my!

We used coconut oil as a general skin and facial moisturizers, and let me tell you, not too many wrinkles were visible even though we spent most of our time in the sun, with no sunscreen and many were of advanced ages.

Aged persons were mentally and physically intact, strong, with BMI within normal limits. Heart attacks and strokes were rare.  It was not until I journeyed to the “new world” that I heard and saw many of the diseases I am now so familiar with.

People died in ripe old age, in their right minds and with all their working parts.

So when about 20 years ago we began hearing about coconut and its inherent risks for heart disease, I was quite startled. I was raised on this stuff.

Hearing that coconut oil was not a good for you, increased your cholesterol and was contained the ‘bad’ fats. Believing the hype, it quickly became ‘persona non grata’ in my life and I shared this information with family and friends.

I quickly forgot about coconut oil except when I went back for a visit and I did not eat much of it.

So when about 10+ years ago the information sources began touting the benefits of coconut oil I was so surprised. Apparently we had been fed, pun intended, misinformation that coconut oil was bad for us and contributing to heart disease and obesity.

Many people from several parts of the world had always known and experienced the health benefits of coconut oil.

It is actually one of the healthiest oils you can consume.

About Coconut oil:

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Coconut oil obtained from the coconut tree (Cocos nucifera), made from copra, (the dried meat of the coconut from which the oil is extracted), used both domestically and industrially due to its very flexible nature. Used in food production, pharmaceuticals and paints.

It boasts a low melting point, is resistant to rancidity, has the sweetest nutty flavor, and easy digestibility.

As always the first cold-pressed virgin oil is the best for use.

Coconut oil is 100% fat, 80-90% of which is saturated fat. Saturated fats were once thought to be a contributing factor to heart disease, but studies have been tipping the scales in favor of its many benefits.

This saturated fat is what gives coconut oil its thick texture at cooler temperatures. The fat is made up of smaller molecules called fatty acids, and there are several types of saturated fatty acids in coconut oil.

Coconut oil contains no cholesterol, and no fiber. It contains trace vitamins, minerals, and plant sterols.

Plant sterols have a chemical structure that mimics blood cholesterol, and studies have shown that plant sterols may inhibit the absorption of cholesterol from the small intestines.

Benefits of Coconut oil:

1. Coconut oil does not convert to fat in your body.

Coconut oil contains medium-chain triglycerides (MCT’s), which are an easy fuel for the body to burn, without being converted to fat. Most other cooking oils and fats contain long-chain triglycerides (LCT). LCT’s are usually stored as fat. Since coconut oil is a MCT, it is more easily absorbed and converted to energy quicker.

It is for this reason MCT’s are utilized in infant formulas and adult supplementation. Some animal studies have implicated MCT’s in raising our metabolism thereby promoting weight loss.

MCT’s either do not affect total cholesterol, or they may raise HDL cholesterol and may improve the ratio of HDL (good cholesterol) to LDL (bad cholesterol).

2. Coconut oil increases your metabolism.

Not only does coconut oil convert to energy quicker in your body, it increases your metabolism, which promotes weight loss.

Coconut oil encourages the body to use triple the amount of calories it normally would use. Since coconut oil is made up of many MCT’s it is converted to energy faster producing more heat. More heat equals more work equals more calories.

This is great news for people who have thyroid problems, since coconut oil improves sluggish thyroids by stimulating the production of extra thyroid hormones. Most other common oils, like vegetable (soy) and corn have been shown to inhibit thyroid function.

3. Coconut oil has omega 3 fatty acids.

Most cooking oils contain omegas 3 and 6 fatty acids, something we get way too much of in the United States. Our omega 6 to omega 3 ratio should be between 1:1 to 5:1 but the typical American diet has allowed for a ration of about 20:1 and increasing.

We need to drastically reduce our omega 6 intake and increase our omega 3, and coconut oil chock full of these healthy omega 3 fatty acids.

4. Coconut oil gives you energy.

Because of the healthy omega 3 fatty acids and the fact that it increases the metabolism, most people that switch to coconut oil feel a burst of added energy in their daily life.

This is because coconut oil is nature’s richest source of medium-chain triglycerides (MCT’s), which increase metabolic rates and provides a fast expenditure of energy. . MCT’s promote thermogenesis, which increases the body’s metabolism, producing energy.

Coconut oil is processed directly in the liver producing a constant supply of glucose that is readily available for brain use.

Many people with chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia have found that adding coconut and coconut oil to their diet proved helpful to them.

5. Excellent for skin and hair.

Coconut oil, one of the best things you can apply directly on your skin and hair. It gives temporary relief to skin problems like rashes.

It aids in healing and restoring skin to a younger appearance. It has antimicrobial and antibacterial properties, known to help with those who suffer from yeast and other infections of the skin.

Not only does is soften and smooth your skin, coconut oil has proteins and antioxidant properties that protect the skin and hair from free radical damage. Coconut oil makes for an excellent massage oil too.

6. Coconut oil is anti-infective:

Evidence is mounting that coconut oil has antifungal, antibacterial and antiviral properties, when consumed internally and/or used topically.

Most oils oxidize and become rancid quite quickly causing free radical damage in our bodies. Coconut oil is not easily oxidized and does not cause harmful free radical damage like polyunsaturated vegetable oils.

Free radical damage is thought to be responsible for many ailments in our body from arthritis to increased susceptibility to cancers.

Coconut oil also assists in the absorption of other nutrients more effectively, such as Vitamin E.

7. Coconut oil is one of the best oils you can use for cooking.

It has a higher smoke point than olive oil and flaxseed oil, in that it can handle higher temperatures without degrading.

The saturated fats contained in the oil are credited for its long shelf life and for its ability to handle higher temperatures than other oils. It resists oxidation unlike other cooking oils.

Rancid oils cause free radical damage in the body, which is a leading cause of cancer. Coconut oil is stable for over a year at room temperature.

Because of the misinformation we had received, we have missed years of the healthy benefits of coconut oil the peoples of the tropics have enjoyed for centuries.

But now it has been rediscovered!

8. Used for Oral Care:

Coconut oil is one of the oils identified for “oil pulling” due to its anti-bacterial, antimicrobial and antibacterial properties. Ideally done first thing in the morning on an empty stomach and before brushing.

Forcefully swish the oil somewhat forcefully between your teeth and swish around your mouth for 5-10 minutes. This process should be done while sitting with your chin up. Try not to swallow and do not spit in the sink as it can clog your drains.

Coconut oil contains lauric acid which can react with alkalis present in saliva such as sodium hydroxide and bicarbonates to form sodium laureate-soap like substance, which reduces plaque adhesion and accumulation. Lauric acid prevents dental caries and is beneficial to oral health.

After 5 mins the oil takes on a milky white hue as it begins to emulsify. Ideally it should be done 3

9. Coconut oil has a pleasing taste:

Coconut oil and has a wonderful “nutty sweet” flavor that is so pleasing to the palate. I believe it enhances the taste of most foods, there is no mistaking its distinct flavor.

In everything; moderation is key:

Fats are essential for human existence, our bodies require it as insulation, to protect our organs, our nervous system and in the production of hormones. Our cellular is made up of a phospholipid bilayer and is selective in what it allows to enter the cells maintaining  continuous protection around each cell.

As in everything moderation is key, we should not consume anything in excess as that is never good for us.

Saturated fats increase inflammation, makes vessels less pliable thereby promoting, high blood pressure, heart disease and insulin resistance. They increase bad cholesterol and triglycerides and conversely decreases the good cholesterol. But over 50% of the saturated fats in coconuts are MCT’s which are directly metabolized by the liver, (see above).

Unsaturated omega-3 fats are the most heart friendly. They aid to reduce blood pressure, reduce bad cholesterol and triglycerides and increase the good cholesterol. They also contribute to fulfill our requirements of essential fatty acids.

Medium chain triglycerides are the best sources of fat. They are not stored in fatty deposits, are used efficiently by the liver. They decrease the synthesis of cholesterol by the liver. As such they are perfect for their use in infant formulas, malabsorption syndromes such as in cystic fibrosis, IBS and ulcerative colitis. Coconut and palm oils are the the only vegetable oils known to date that contain saturated fats.

Conclusion

I began my life on coconut oil, my fore-parents had for generations consumed mainly coconut oil both internally and externally.

They came to their graves according to Job 5:26 … full vigor, like sheaves gathered in their season.

People in the tropics have relied on coconuts as a traditional staple in their diet for centuries. They consume large amounts of coconut oil every day. Instead of getting fatter, it helps them stay healthy, lean and trim.

When they begin to consume other cooking oils, they developed obesity and varying health problems.

In the tropics animals as well are fed on coconuts and coconut products, they as well are lean and healthy.

The oil contains health-promoting nutrients such as phytonutrients, such as carotenoids; antioxidants, vitamins, phenolic acids, flavonoids and MCTs. These are easily absorbed in the gastrointestinal tract and are readily bio-available.

Because it boosts your metabolism, it helps your body burn fat more effectively.

The consumption of fat is indispensable for our lives. It provides the building blocks for growth, metabolism, energy. Essential in the production of hormones, without which we cannot function, (as a menopausal female).

It reduces abdominal fat and aids in general metabolism of fats, so helps with weight loss, keeps skin and hair healthy and so much more.

We should always practice common sense in the use and consumption of anything, too much of anyone thing has never proven to be to our benefit, so again, moderation is  key.

Sources Cited:

 

 

 

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NSAIDS/ ACE Inhibitors & COVID-19

Update: Per several of the doctors I work with, please remember no lengthy studies are done as there has not been enough time.

Be careful if you are taking NSAIDS and ACE inhibitors and have the COVID-19. Apparently it has an affinity for the same receptor sites as the virus and as such is exacerbating the illness, making patients worse.

Please discuss with your doctor ASAP if you believe you have the COVID-19 and are taking NSAIDS or ACE Inhibitors such as: 

Examples of NSAIDS are:

  • aspirin
  • celecoxib (Celebrex)
  • diclofenac (Cambia, Cataflam, Voltaren-XR, Zipsor, Zorvolex)
  • diflunisal (Dolobid – discontinued brand)
  • etodolac (Lodine – discontinued brand)
  • ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil)
  • indomethacin (Indocin)
  • ketoprofen (Active-Ketoprofen [Orudis – discontinued brand])
  • ketorolac (Toradol – discontinued brand)
  • nabumetone (Relafen – discontinued brand)
  • naproxen (Aleve, Anaprox, Naprelan, Naprosyn)
  • oxaprozin (Daypro)
  • piroxicam (Feldene)
  • salsalate (Disalsate [Amigesic – discontinued brand]

Examples of ACE Inhibitors are: 

  • benazepril (Lotensin)
  • captopril (Capoten- discontinued brand)
  • enalapril (Vasotec, Epaned, [Lexxel- discontinued brand])
  • fosinopril (Monopril- Discontinued brand)
  • lisinopril (Prinivil, Zestril, Qbrelis)
  • moexipril (Univasc- Discontinued brand)
  • perindopril (Aceon)
  • quinapril (Accupril)
  • ramipril (Altace)
  • trandolapril (Mavik)

 

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Estrogen: The Mostly Female Hormone

Estrogen
Photo by Daria Shevtsova

Estrogens are a group of hormones.

Their main job is to develop and maintain the female characteristics in the body. Estrogen is one of two main sex hormones that women have.

The other main hormone is progesterone. Estrogen is responsible for female physical features and reproduction. Men have estrogen, too, but in smaller amounts.

Why Is Estrogen Important?

Estrogen helps bring about the physical changes that turn a girl into a woman. This time of life is called puberty. These changes include:

  • Growth of the breasts
  • Growth of pubic and underarm hair
  • Start of menstrual cycles

Estrogen helps control the menstrual cycle and is important for childbearing. This hormone also has other functions:  

  • Keeps cholesterol in control.
  • Protects bone health for both women and men.
  • Affects your brain (including mood), bones, heart, skin, and other tissues.

Estrogen also plays a key role in the menstrual cycle, it is instrumental in its’ commencement and cessation.

Your ovaries, which produce a all the eggs a female is born with, are the main production sources of estrogen from your body.

Your adrenal glands, (located at the top of each kidney), make small amounts of this hormone, some estrogen is also produced by fatty tissues.

Estrogen moves through your blood and acts everywhere in your body.

How Does Estrogen Work?

Your ovaries, which produce a all the eggs a female is born with, are the main production sources of estrogen from your body.

Your adrenal glands, (located at the top of each kidney), make small amounts of this hormone, some estrogen is also produced by fatty tissues.

Estrogen moves through your blood and acts everywhere in your body.

Estrogen & Your Menstrual Cycle

Your estrogen levels varies throughout each month. They are highest in the middle of your menstrual cycle and lowest during your period. Estrogen levels drop at menopause.

How do you know what your estrogen level is? You will need to have a blood or a urine test done.

Fluctuating Estrogen Levels

As a result of varying reasons, your body can produce too little or too much estrogen.

Your body makes three main types of estrogen:

Estradiol (E2): the most common type in women of childbearing age

Estriol (E3): the main estrogen during pregnancy

Estrone (E1): the only estrogen your body makes after menopause (when menstrual periods stop)

Low Levels of Estrogen

Women. The most common reason for low estrogen in women is menopause or surgical removal of the ovaries. Some symptoms of low estrogen levels are:

  • Menstrual periods that are less frequent or that stop
  • Hot flashes (suddenly feeling very warm) and/or night sweats
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Dryness and thinning of the vagina
  • Low sexual desire
  • Mood swings
  • Dry skin

Some women get menstrual migraine, a bad headache right before their menstrual period, because of the drop in estrogen.

Low estrogen in men can cause excess belly fat and low sexual desire.

High Levels of Estrogen 

Women. Excess estrogen can lead to these problems, among others:

  • Weight gain, mainly in your waist, hips, and thighs
  • Menstrual problems, such as light or heavy bleeding
  • Worsening of premenstrual syndrome
  • Fibrocystic breasts (non-cancerous breast lumps)
  • Fibroids (noncancerous tumors) in the uterus
  • Fatigue
  • Loss of sex drive
  • Feeling depressed or anxious

Men: High Estrogen in Men Can Cause:

Estrogen & Men

Males also possess estrogen receptors and it has been noted that estrogen levels in the male blood are higher than post-menopausal women.

Estradiol has been found to be responsible for initiating spermatogenesis (genesis -beginning of sperm) and maturation of sperms in men. It helps with bone strength, sexual maturation and the metabolism of cholesterol in both men and women.

Menopause: Your New Normal

During menopause, women experience lower levels of the hormone estrogen. One of the effects of lowered estrogen levels is a decrease in blood supply to the vagina, which causes vaginal dryness. This can result in painful or uncomfortable intercourse.

Another effect of hormonal changes is a change in libido, or sex drive. This may improve or worsen, but it is important to remember that other factors besides menopause can affect libido.

Finally, although fertility ends at menopause, women of all ages are still susceptible to STDs (sexually transmitted diseases).

Low Estrogen, Hot Flashes & Menopause!!

The exact cause of hot flashes is unknown, but they are most likely linked to the hormonal and biochemical changes brought on by decreasing estrogen levels.

Hot flashes, to me at least, begins as a “fire” in the solar plexus and rises to the surface, i.e. the upper torso and face. They can last anywhere from 30 seconds to 10 minutes, and they may commence before you know you are perimenopausal and often even before you have begin to have menstrual irregularities.

By the time the hot flash reaches its’ climax, you are sweating profusely … and I mean  pro-fus-ely.

Hot flashes may last up to 10 years, but 80% of women will not have any hot flashes after five years, I pray I am one of those women!! Ughh!

If you are of the lighter skinned persuasion you will be repeatedly asked, “are you ok?”

Women can help reduce the symptoms of hot flashes by dressing in light layers, exercising regularly, using a fan, managing stress, and avoiding spicy foods, (none of these helped me).

Ways Treat Vaginal Dryness

One of the ways we can treat vaginal dryness and painful intercourse is;

  1. Water-soluble lubricants can help overcome this problem. If lubricants are not effective, contact your doctor.
  2. Vaginal creams and suppositories can be prescribed to ease vaginal dryness.
  3. Stress, sleep disturbances, medications, and anxiety can all affect sex drive. Your doctor can help you find ways to manage the changes in your sex drive if they occur.
  4. STD’s (sexually transmitted diseases) are no laughing matter — exercise caution and practice safe sex.

Herbal Supplements to Ease Menopause Symptoms

  • Phytoestrogens
  • Black cohosh
  • Dong quai
  • Evening primrose oil
  • Ginseng
  • Kava
  • Red clover
  • Vitamin E
  • Wild yam

If you decide to try these remedies, or other herbal products, be sure to discuss this with your doctor. Some botanical or herbal supplements can interact with prescription drugs.

Sources Cited:

Mayo clinic

http://online.lexi.com/lco/action/home

https://www.hormone.org/diseases-and-conditions/puberty

Hormone Health Network.”Estrogen | Endocrine Society.” Hormone.org, Endocrine Society, 10 February 2020, https://www.hormone.org/your-health-and-hormones/glands-and-hormones-a-to-z/hormones/estrogen