After reading this interesting news, I immediately remembered my dear grandma. She lived in the countryside and passed away more than five years ago. She loved salty foods a lot and always used to add some salt to boiled eggs or fresh tomatoes from her garden. Moreover, she knew an ancient Oriental recipe of some kind of drink called “salty tea” (which involved tea leaves, salt, milk and black pepper – errrgh!). And, you know what, my dear readers: she was always in a good mood, even when she was tied by illness to her bed. Now, the scientists from the University of Iowa discovered unique properties of salt to combat depression and put us in a better mood. Amazing! Read the rest of this entry »

Nightmares and night terrors are usually associated with the dreams causing the feelings of extreme anxiety, distress or terror, making the sleeper wake up in fear and unable to go back to sleep again for a long period of time. Stresses and conflicts, psychological pressure and anxiety, illnesses and side-effects of taking certain medicines, excessive violence in modern mass media and other various conditions are among the most common reasons of experiencing nightmares and restless dreams. Read the rest of this entry »

You know so well, how this happens in our life: some people eat practically  every type of food, they never watch the calories and manage to stay slim all the time. Other people, in order to avoid having extra weight, are ready for eating only natural foods, only raw or only boiled vegetables, or for giving up eating everything that contains sugar, fat, carbs, starch or whatever. And, still, they can be overweight or even obese. Many of us find it unfair, but what to do?

It is obvious that gaining weight is not connected only with the food we eat. For many years scientists were looking for links between our brain impulses and having extra weight. Finally, in 2008 it was found out that obese people usually have smaller amounts of dopamine receptors, responsible for the ability to feel pleasure while eating. Therefore, overweight people tend to consume more and more food in order to experience more satisfaction from eating.

When we eat, our body releases a neurotransmitter called dopamine, which can bring us a feeling of pleasure from eating. The more dopamine is released, the more pleasure we experience. However, the people who are predisposed to having extra weight usually have reduced amounts of dopamine receptors. According to Dr. Eric Stice, a specialist in the Department of Psychology at the University of Oregon, who was a leader of the research, “..obese people may have fewer dopamine receptors, so they overeat to compensate for this reward deficit“.

For about a year, the team of Dr. Stice was studying the responses of the brians of 76 female participants of the experiment. Young ladies were first offered to drink a chocolate milkshake followed by drinking a tasteless solution. With the help of MRI it was possible to monitor and measure the activity in the “plceasure center” of the women’s brain, accompanied by a regular tracking of the ladies’ BMI. As a result, it was revealed that the women with reduced striatal response to milkshakes were more likely to gain extra weight.

April 14, 2009

Traditionally, coffee and chocolate are not supposed to be too useful for our health. However, according to the study of the experts from the department of food science at Leeds University, it can be good to consume such products as chocolate, tea and coffee, along with certain fruit and veggies containing polyphenols, in order to preserve youth, avoid having serious diseases and live a long and healthy life. Gary Williamson, a leader of the research group, presented the list of 20 most useful foods, which are “…essential to fulfill the maximum individual lifespan“, he said.

There is a hypothesis about negative impact of oxygen molecules on our body. Certainly, oxygen is essential for normal functioning of all body systems and organs, but as a result of certain chemical reactions in our body, the molecules of oxygen lose electrons and turn into free radicals. Such radicals are quite dangerous because they have a tend to attack other healthy cells of our tissues and obtain the electrons they need. These process causes aging of the cells, and there is the only way to stop it is to consume more antioxidants, which can neutralize those free radicals.

When we are young, our body can produce necessary amounts of antioxidants, but such factors as aging, stresses, environmental problems and so on, frequently cause an imbalance between free radicals and antioxidants. That is why we need to receive more of these useful elements from the foods and drinks we consume. The following products are supposed to be the most effective natural sources of antioxidants:

  • Coffee. 1-2 cups of coffee a day can provide your body with necessary amounts of antioxidants. In addition, coffee can assist in improving your memory, as well as help you refresh your mind and get focused on something. Finally, regular consumption of reasonable doses of this beverage contributes in normalization of the function of your digestive system, prevents developing stones in kidneys and can have positive effects on your blood pressure.
  • Broccoli. It is an absolutely unique vegetable which is linked to a variety of health benefits. Annually, Americans consume approximately 75000 tones of broccoli. This plant has large amounts of Vitamin C and Vitamin E and is considered to be among the most effective natural remedies which can help you prevent the development of cancer, along with many other dangerous diseases. Also, it is a polyphenol-rich food.
  • Cranberries. These berries have very high content of natural antioxidants, such as Vitamins A and C, selenium, ellagic acid and anthocyannis. 100% juice can be a perfect way to enrich your diet with antioxidants. Gary Williamson underlines that in order to achieve good effects, it is also possible to use other berries and fruit, such as cherries, oranges, apples, peaches, raspberries, strawberries and wild strawberries, and so on.
  • Tea. Both green and black teas are very good sources of antioxidants. Usually, a high-quality tea contains over 300 useful chemical compounds, including tannin, proteins, amino acids, vitamins and so on. If used in moderate amounts, tea has numerous positive effects on your body: it strengthens the vessels, stimulates blood production, serves as a great source of fluoride and helps to strengthen your teeth enamel.
  • Chocolate. Chocolate has unique nutritional qualities and can help you lower negative effects of stresses, stimulate your muscles and nervous systems, have positive effects on your blood pressure. Chocolate contains tannin, which stimulates detoxification and improves the function of your digestive system. Remember that tannin overdoses can trigger headache, that is why it is necessary to control your consumption of chocolate.

Garlic (Allium sativum) has been known for centuries and used in every cuisine of the world for its specific taste coming from the essential oil containing in this natural food. Garlic received its name after an old Celtic word for “burning“, however, it originates from the Middle Asia. Garlic is mentioned in the earliest extant papyri, the Bible and the sacred writings of Ancient India and China. From the papyri, the world learned about a massive strike of ancient Egyptian workers who rebelled against a lack of garlic in their daily diet. Also, the Roman Emperor Nero ordered to incorporate garlic in the diet of his warriors in order to raise their spirit. Numerous therapeutic benefits of garlic include normalizing blood pressure, strengthening blood vessels, lowering the levels of cholesterol, enhancing our immunity, decreasing the risks of having cancer. In addition to that everything, it was recently discovered that garlic can also help people to beat diabetes type I and II. Read the rest of this entry »

Do you remember that brave Ali Baba from Arabic Nights, whose magic words “Open, Sesame!” gave him a way to an incredible wealth and happiness? Sesame seeds (Sesamum indicum) and especially sesame seed oil can really be compared to a huge cave filled with such priceless treasures as various nutrients, minerals, natural vitamins and lipids. That is why sesame seeds make a great contribution to modern popular cuisine by topping the sandwiches from McDonald’s, Burger King and other popular fast food brands. Read the rest of this entry »