Cardiovascular and Lung Healh with Corn

Friday, August 13, 2010

Hot, fresh corn-on-the-cob is an almost essential part of any summertime party. Fortunately, it is also worthy part of any healthful menu. Our food ranking system qualified corn as a good source of many nutrients including thiamin (vitamin B1), pantothenic acid (vitamin B5), folate, dietary fiber, vitamin C, phosphorus and manganese.

Corn for Cardiovascular Health

Corn's contribution to heart health lies not just in its fiber, but in the significant amounts of folate that corn supplies.

Folate, which you may know about as a B-vitamin needed to prevent birth defects, also helps to lower levels of homocysteine, an amino acid that is an intermediate product in an important metabolic process called the methylation cycle. Homocysteine can directly damage blood vessels, so elevated blood levels of this dangerous molecule are an independent risk factor for heart attack, stroke, or peripheral vascular disease, and are found in between 20-40% of patients with heart disease. It has been estimated that consumption of 100% of the daily value (DV) of folate would, by itself, reduce the number of heart attacks suffered by Americans each year by 10%. Folate-rich diets are also associated with a reduced risk of colon cancer. A cup of corn supplies 19.0% of the DV for folate

Supports Lung Health

Consuming foods rich in beta-cryptoxanthin, an orange-red carotenoid found in highest amounts in corn, pumpkin, papaya, red bell peppers, tangerines, oranges and peaches, may significantly lower one's risk of developing lung cancer. A study published in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention reviewed dietary and lifestyle data collected from over 63,000 adults in Shanghai, China, who were followed for 8 years. Those eating the most crytpoxanthin-rich foods showed a 27% reduction in lung cancer risk. When current smokers were evaluated, those who were also in the group consuming the most cryptoxanthin-rich foods were found to have a 37% lower risk of lung cancer compared to smokers who ate the least of these health-protective foods.

Maintain Your Memory with Thiamin (Vitamin B1)

Corn is a good source of thiamin, providing about one-quarter (24.0%) of the daily value for this nutrient in a single cup. Thiamin is an integral participant in enzymatic reactions central to energy production and is also critical for brain cell/cognitive function. This is because thiamin is needed for the synthesis of acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter essential for memory, whose lack has been found to be a significant contributing factor in age-related impairment in mental function (senility) and Alzheimer's disease. In fact, Alzheimer's disease is clinically characterized by a decrease in acetylcholine levels. Don't forget to make corn a staple in your healthy diet.

Support for Energy Production, Even Under Stress

In addition to its thiamin, corn is a good source of pantothenic acid. This B vitamin is necessary for carbohydrate, protein and lipid metabolism. Pantothenic acid is an especially valuable B-vitamin when you're under stress since it supports the function of the adrenal glands. A cup of corn supplies 14.4% of the daily value for pantothenic acid.

How to Select and Store

Since heat rapidly converts the sugar in corn to starch, it is very important to choose corn that is displayed in a cool place. If shopping for corn in the supermarket, make sure it is refrigerated. If purchasing corn at a farmer's market or roadside stand, make sure that if the corn is not refrigerated, it has at least been kept in the shade, out of direct sunlight.

Look for corn whose husks are fresh and green and not dried out. They should envelope the ear and not fit too loosely around it. To examine the kernels, pull back part of the husk. The kernels should be plump and tightly arranged in rows. You can test for the juiciness of the corn by taking your fingernail and pressing on a kernel. Corn that is fresh will exude a white milky substance.

To enjoy corn's maximum flavor, purchase it on the day you are going to cook it since corn has a tendency to lose its flavor relatively rapidly. Store corn in a plastic bag in the refrigerator. Do not remove its husk since this will protect its flavor. To enjoy its optimal sweetness, corn should be eaten as soon as possible.

Fresh corn freezes well if placed in heavy-duty freezer bags. To prepare whole ears for freezing, blanch them first for seven to eleven minutes depending upon their size (larger ears take a longer time to blanch than smaller ones). If you just want to freeze the kernels, first blanch the ears for about five minutes and then cut the kernels off the cob at about three-quarters of their depths. Whole corn on the cob will keep for up to one year, while the kernels can be frozen for two to three months.

If you're watching your weight or your blood sugar levels, choose blue corn chips and tortillas. Corn comes in a rainbow of colors, including violet, blue, and black. Darker varieties contain greater quantities of antioxidant pigments called anthocyanins. Blue corn tortillas contain about 20% more protein and 8% less starch giving them a lower glycemic index than the more common version made with white corn; plus blue corn tortillas have a softer texture and sweeter flavor than those made with white corn, reports Dr. Luis Bello-Perez in the Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture. Hernández-Uribe JP, Agama-Acevedo E, et al. J Sci Food Agric Epub 2007 July.

Natural Remedy (Good for urgent case)

Lowering Cholesterol
• Many Indian people eat raw onions with their meals. It has been shown that when a person eats at least 1/2 a raw onion a day, their good type HDL cholesterol goes up an average of 30%. Source : American Heart Association.

Motion Sickness
• Ginger has demonstrated to be far superior to dimenhydrinate, the active ingredient in anti nausea medications such as Dramamine and Gravol -- without the side effects of drowsiness, dry mouth or blurry vision. The ginger works by dampening impulses to the brain that deliver messages about equilibrium. You need to give it time to kick in.

So one hour before your trip grate 1 tsp. to 1 tbsp. fresh ginger steep in one cup of water for 10 to 15 minutes, strain and drink. Or eat some candied ginger.

Reduce Fever
• The juice of the Sweet basil or Tulsi leaves can be used to bring down fever. Extract of tulsi leaves in fresh water should be given every 2 to 3 hours. In between one can keep giving sips of cold water. In children, it is every effective in bringing down the temperature. (Saroj, India)

Reduce Facial Hair :

• Take a spoonful of Barley powder add milk and lime juice. Apply on face and leave on for 20 minutes. Wash with warm water. Doing this daily or thrice a week shows great results. Tip by Usha Ganesh

Small Cuts
• Turmeric powder has been used as an antiseptic for years. Use clean turmeric powder (not one that is in a frequently used spice box) to heal a small cut.

Stomach Ache
• Rub a little Asafoetida on the stomach around the navel.
• Use a hot-water bag on your stomach and lay on your stomach.
• Ajwain or Carom seeds have been known to cure or lessen a stomach ache. Chew on a few carom or ajwain seeds. Then drink a cup of hot water.
• Ginger also helps. Have ginger tea without milk and sugar.


• Chew on a piece of clove to relieve a toothache temporarily.
• Chew a clove or dip a piece of cotton wool in clove oil and place on the aching tooth for best results.

Urinary Tract Infection
• Drink 2 to 3 cups of cranberry juice per day. Cranberry juice's ability to change urine acidity, kill harmful bacteria has been proved time and again. Another study of bacteria shows cranberry juice interferes with the bacteria's ability to stick to bladder cells.


• Prunes are a natural laxative as they contain a lot of fiber. Eat 4 to 6 at night.
• A glass of hot tap water with a teaspoon of honey and a few drops of lemon/lime juice might do the trick
• Eat a banana at night.
• Increase your dietary fiber content by eating fiber rich foods - fresh fruits and vegetables.

Cuts & Scrapes
• For any cut or scrape, apply turmeric powder to the injured portion to stop the bleeding. It also works as an antiseptic. You can tie a bandage after applying haldi.

• Mix 1 tablespoon powdered cinnamon bark with one cup of hot water. Steep for 10 to 15 minutes. Cinnamon, a natural astringent, dries up your bowel.
• Banana is good therapy for constipation as well as the runs. Boil a raw banana, mash, add a pinch of salt and butter, eat.
• Blend 1 teaspoon cumin-seeds, 1/4 tsp methi seeds, 1/4 tsp mustard seeds, 1/4 tsp dil (suwa) seeds, 1/2 tsp ajwain seeds. Roast on a low flame. Add a pinch of hing / asafoetida and salt and stir for a minute. Make a course powder when cool and store in an air tight jar. Mix 1/2 tsp of powder with 1 tsp of curd. Eat twice a day for quick relief.

This mixture is also good for chronic flatulence and dyspepsia. The fenugreek (methi) alone stimulates the digestive process as well as the metabolism in general. The other spices have properties that have still not been scientifically evaluated.

Turmeric / Curcuma

Turmeric or Curcuma belongs to the ginger family. It’s the ingredient that gives curry its peppery taste and characteristic yellow color. Turmeric is also used in making mustard, conserving and flavouring. Curcuma, which is responsible for turmeric’s yellow color, is also its most active medical component.

In Ayurvedic medicine, turmeric is believed to have numerous medicinal properties, and many in India use it as an antiseptic for cuts and burns. As far as 4,000 years ago, records from Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine mention its oral use as remedy for many conditions, from easing abdominal cramps, to stomachache and nausea relief, or used as an overall digestive tonic.

Turmeric contains components that are both anti-inflammatory and antioxidant, making it useful for treating arthritis, inflammatory conditions and possibly cancer. In promising, but very early research results, curcuma has kept several kinds of cancers from growing or spreading.

It is known to have anti-inflammatory effects, and may be used to prevent arthritis and other inflammatory conditions. Inflammation usually includes pain, redness, and swelling in the damaged area. In recent studies, the three major curcuminoids found in Turmeric have been found to limit the activity of several chemicals including two enzymes (lipoxygenase and cyclooxygenase-2 or COX-2) responsible for promoting and maintaining inflammation.

A strong antioxidant, turmeric is rich with a substance believed to protect body cells from damage caused by oxidation. Oxygen free radicals may suppress immune function and cause tissue damage. In addition to their anticancer effects, antioxidants in turmeric protect the brain, kidneys, and liver from damage by alcohol, drugs, radiation, heavy metals or chemicals.

For skin problems, turmeric ointment, or a paste made from powdered turmeric is applied directly to the skin, as often as needed. It’s used to treat cuts, scrapes, and skin conditions such as acne, diaper rash, and psoriasis. Mixing Turmeric essential oil with jojoba is also an efficient way to control eczema and eliminate spots.

Turmeric is not easily absorbed, so opt for brands that offer it mixed with bromeline, a natural enzyme found in pineapple, known to facilitate absorption. When used in cooking at home, mix the delicious turmeric spice with an equivalent quantity of black pepper, to enhance absorption

Turmeric Uses for Digestive Problems and As Antioxidant

Take 1.5 to 3 grams of turmeric powder a day (the equivalent of 60 mg to 200 mg of curcuminoïdes). You can add 1 to 1.5 grams of powder in 150 ml of boiling water for 10 to 15 minutes and drink two cups a day.

Take 10 ml of turmeric tincture a day.

Turmeric for Inflammation, Arthritis, Rheumatism and Skin and Eye Inflammation

Take 3 to 5 grams (the equivalent of 200 to 400 mg of curcuminoïdes) 3 times a day. To get these doses, use normalised extracts at 95 % of curcuminoïdes.

For oral use, powdered or extracted turmeric products, including oils, are preferable to teas because the active chemicals in turmeric do not dissolve completely in water. Turmeric essential oil is a good alternative to powder.

Essential oils affect the body in two ways. When applied to the skin, they penetrate through the follicles and sweat glands and are then absorbed into the body's fluids. Once inside the body, they have many beneficial effects including:

• Stimulating the immune system

• Accelerating toxin elimination

• Promoting new cell growth

• Stimulating digestion

• Stimulating blood circulation

• Supporting the body's natural healing processes.

Essential oils also enter the body through inhalation. This makes them excellent for use in baths, vaporizers andnd even in candles.

The Many Uses of Turmeric Essential Oil Include:

• Relieves pain and inflammation. The three major curcuminoids contained in turmeric essential oil are efficient in preventing joint inflammation provided treatment is started before, not after, the onset of inflammation

• Powerful antioxidant, helps prevent free radical damage

• Gentle intestinal and liver cleanser

In Chinese medicine turmeric essential oil is used to invigorate the Qi (life force) and to relieve chest, stomach and period pain.

In Ayurvedic medicine, turmeric is used for stomach problems, and as a general tonic. It blends well with Ginger, Heliotrope, Ylang Ylang and Clary Sage.

Caution: Do not use oils internally without first consulting a qualified aromatherapist. Never apply undiluted essential oils, absolutes or concentrated essences directly to the skin. If you are pregnant, epileptic, have liver or gallbladder damage, cancer, or other medical problems, use oils only under the strict guidance of a qualified aromatherapist. Consult an aromatherapist before using essential oils on children.

A Delicious Vegetable Coconut Rice Recipe with Turmeric

Ingredients to serve 4

- *Garlic and ginger paste (previously prepared by finely chopping, or blending 4 to 5 garlic cloves with 1/2 a medium sized ginger)

- 3 to 4 medium carrots, diced

- 1 red pepper, diced

- 1/2 a chopped brocoli or any other vegetable available diced or chopped, including mushrooms, courgettes, asparagus or peas.


- In a teaspoon of olive oil fry the carrots first and gradually add the other vegetables

- Add a 3/4 teaspoon of turmeric mixed with a 3/4 teaspoon of ground black pepper, and mix well with the vegetables

- Add the *ginger and garlic paste (see preparation above)

- Mix well, add salt to taste and 2 cups of italian rice (short) mix with the vegetables and stir well

- Pour a can of organic coconut milk with the equivalent of a can and 1/2 of water

Cook the rice to taste (10 to 15 minutes) and enjoy. It's yummy!