Mother Nature is ushering in a new season. The harmattan is gone. The orange, dehydrated, may become juicy and sweet again. I am still enjoying the gift of orange peel powder. Have you tried banana peel, boiled and diced and served with rice or beans or blended in a banana or banana and greens smoothie? We are on a long haul, and you may not easily catch up with the train if you are a slow coach.
I have interesting responses to last week’s column on the benefit of eating pawpaw (papaya) seeds, which I may share with you later in the year. Meanwhile, the incoming season has ushered in the good, old cherry and the detestable mosquito. I will talk briefly about the cherry and the mosquito before moving on to another fruit peel. It would appear this is a campaign to make us all include one fruit peel or the other in our diet. Well, I don’t know.
I just intuitively caught the bug about things I’d always known as a young person and ate, but forgot about in the days of hurly burly, when choleric life in the rat race erased many beautiful things from the mind. Those were my grandmother’s days when food was medicine, and medicine was food. I am still choleric and not phlegmatic yet. But I have learned the hard way that it is best to stick with Mother Nature.
So, what about the mosquito? They seem to venomously fail upon us when outdoor weather is hottest. Someone says it is possible they are seeking refuge indoor at such times. Well, I do not wish to speak much about them today. I just wish to observe that, may be like you, I have been severely embattled by them now for about one month, I hate mosquito sprays and coils. They are insecticides. And insecticides are poisons. They kill the mosquito and maimed the human cell alike. Their molecules are non-biodegradable. So, even after you lay on your bed, hours after you sprayed your bedroom and vacated it, it is still possible for you to pick the molecules through contract with exposed parts of your skin on the bed. Inhaling there molecules may cause all sorts of breathing problems, including bronchitis and asthma. Some people prefer anti-mosquito body creams. But they hardly realize that these creams are carriers for insecticide at a lower concentration than those in the sprays. The East African use candles made from neem (Dogoyaro), or from orange peel powder. They kill mosquitoes or chase them away. From Europe has come electrical devices which do the same. But won’t the mosquito have a field day in a country such as Nigeria where electricity supply is epileptic?
To resolve these challenges, I have returned to talking lemon grass tea every morning. Years ago, studies at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH), corroborated later by those at the Federal Institute of Industrial Research, Oshodi (FIIRO) In Lagos, showed that water extracts of lemon grass tea killed plasmodium, the malaria parasite, in the blood stream. Beside lemon grass, I anxiously await from one of my friends abroad, the gift of a device my father employed in our home at the police barracks at Ibara, Abeokuta. It hung down from a celling. Waxed with a substance which attracts insects, all mosquitoes gravitate naturally towards it and meet their water low. So do other insects like flies and cockroaches…
What about the good old cherry that is back in season? There are two types of cherries… tart cherry and sweet cherry. In the United Kingdom, cherries are so popular that July 16 is observed as a National Cherry Day, according to Diana Herrington in Care2Health she suggests two reason you shouldn’t ignore them, especially as their season is short. She says:
“When you eat cherries, you enjoy much more than the amazing taste. They are packed with antioxidants and offer many health benefits, including helps with insomnia, joint pain and belly fat. Cherries could be just what the doctor ordered. Here are II good reasons to start eating this power food today!
“ONE: Protection from diabetes. Sweet cherries have a lower glycemic index of 22, lower than Apricots 57, Grapes 46, Peaches 42, Blueberries 40 or Plums 39. This makes them a better source of a fruit snack compared with many other fruits, especially for diabetics.
“TWO: Helps you sleep better. Tossing and turning at night. Cherry juice to the rescue! Drink cherry juice 30 minutes after waking and 30 minutes before your evening meal. In a study, participants boosted their melatonin intake by following this routine. Cherries are a good source of melatonin. They have also been found to help with jet lag. Note. There is a higher level of melatonin in tart cherries compared to sweet cherries.
“THREE: Decreases belly fat. Tart cherries reduced belly fat in a study. Researchers found rats that were fed whole tart cherry powder, in a high fat diet, didn’t gain as much weight or build up as much body fat as rats that didn’t.
“FOUR: Helps ward off Alzheimer’s. The Alzheimer’s Association includes cherries as one of the memory-boosting foods because they are rich in antioxidants.
“FIVE: Reduce risk of stroke. Tart cherries provide cardiovascular benefits. The anthocyanin’s, which are the pigment given a tart cherries its red color, may activate PAR which regulates genes involved in fats and glucose metabolism and, this, reduce risk factors for high cholesterol, blood pressure and diabetes.
“SIX: Slows the aging of skin. Cherries have the highest antioxidants level of any fruit. Antioxidants help the body fight free radicals that make is look old. Drinking one glass of tart cherry juice every day slows down the aging process, according to scientists from the Michigan State University. Cherry juice is also recommended as an alternative treatment for other skin conditions.
“SEVEN: Lower risks of attacks. Eating cherries lower risk of gout attack by 35 percent. In a study with 633 gout patients, done by Yuqing Zhang, professor of medicine and public health at Boston University gout patients who consumed cherries over a two day period had a 35 percent lower risk of gout attacks, compared to those who did not eat the cherries. ‘our findings indicate that consuming cherries or cherry extract lowers the risk of gout attack, the gout flare risk continued to decrease with increasing cherry consumption, up to three servings over two days,’ said zhangs.
“EIGHT: Reduces muscle pain. A cup and a half of tart cherries or one cup of tart cherry juice can reduce muscle inflammation and soreness, studies suggest. A group of marathon runners drank tart cherry juice for seven days before their race. The group who drank the cherry juice experience less muscle pain after the race than those who drank another fruit juice.
“NINE: Good for the heart. Cherries are very high in potassium, which helps regulate heart rate and blood pressure and reduces the risk of hypertension. The phytosterols in cherries help reduce bad cholesterol levels.
“TEN: Helps with osteoarthritis relief. The pain and discomfort of swollen joints were reduced when tart cherry juice was consumed twice a day for three weeks in a study of 20 women ages 40 to 70 with inflammatory osteoarthritis.
“ELEVEN: Helps to prevent colon cancer. Substances in tart cherries can reduce the formation of the carcinogenic chemicals that develop from charring of hamburger. Researchers added tart cherries to ground beef patties. The tart contents of the cherry patties where, as expected, lower than that of the control patties, whereas the moisture contents were greater. Cherry tissue will not only slow down the oxidation deterioration of meat lipids, but will also substantially reduce the formation of heterocyclic aromatic amines.”
Studies at many top research institutions in Europe and in the United States, including Harvard University validate practically all these folk medicine claims. But it may require eating up to 20 cherries a day to benefit substantially from the healing powers of these fruit. That is why cherry extract are important. They are concentrated for phytochemicals like, for example, a one 1000 milligram tablet of Vitamin C. the average orange contains about 30miligrams of Vitamin C to obtain 1000 milligrams of Vitamin C from consuming oranges very day, one will have to consume about 30 oranges every day. Where about 3000 milligrams of Vitamin C are needed for therapy every day, who can consume about 1000 oranges in one single day? Cherry extract do come to the rescue similarly where a large consumption of cherries is indicated.
Welcome, again, to the world of fruit peels and their nutritional benefits. Overcoming the shock that orange peel is edible and good for the health of humans, as it has been found for animal health, many readers of this column were more at ease last week (04 February, 2016) to consider banana peel in their daily diet. Now, how about pineapple peel? I belief this is not strange for many Nigerians. It is a regular addition to self-help measures in the treatment of typhoid fever. Either alone or combined with other helpful herbs, it is boiled and the infusion is taken as tea. one of the helpful ingredients in pineapple peel, pineapple stem or pineapple juice is BROMELAIN is a protein-digesting enzymes like the papain present in pawpaw (papaya) leaves, stem sap, fruit or seeds, or like Pepsin present in the human stomach. According to the website www.organicfacts.com:
“Pineapples are a funny looking fruit with a serious impact on health, and their health and medical benefit include their ability to improve respiratory health, cure coughs and cold, improve digestion, help you lose weight, strengthen bone, improve oral health, boost eye health, reduce inflammation, prevent cancer, increase heart health, fight off infections and parasites, improve the immune system and increase respiration”.
One of the most well known and most researched medicinal nutrients in pineapple is Bromelain, which is extracted from the stem and core fruit. It is a “complex mixture of substances” from these parts of the pineapple. The best studied among them is a group of phytochemicals which digest protein. This group is called cysteine protein ases in the past, these substances were believed to be the power of Bromelain and that their work was limited to digestion in the intestine. Today, Bromelain is found to operate beyond the intestinal tract. Bjarnadottir Adda Ms. Says in www.authoritynutrition .com:
“Pineapples contain not only Bromelain but also Anthocyanins.” she says Bromelain may have “a number of health benefits such as reducing the risk of cancer, improving gut health and facilitating wound healing.” As for anthocyanins, she says they occur in low amounts, but are “powerful antioxidants that are help to reduced risks of many diseases, including heart disease.” She suggests the use of pineapple juice to tenderize meat because of the fruits Bromelain content. “Bromelain breaks down the meat proteins”, says Adda. That’s what it does exactly in the intestine. But, like papain in pawpaw seeds or sap, it doesn’t digest the body’s proteins (endogenous proteins). It acts only on exogenous proteins. And since all germs are made of proteins and since these proteins are subject to pepsin (produced in the body) and papain from pawpaw or Bromelain from pineapple, it is easy to appreciate why intestinal germs such as typhoid germs succumb to Bromelain. Therefore, for people who cannot easily digest proteins, or people who consume large amounts of beef or fish or beans or other forms of protein, it is not a bad idea to include Bromelain extracts in the diet as food supplement. Where there are not readily available, pineapple peel may be washed well in saline water or vinegar solution, diced and added to foods to steam just before the pot is taken off the stove.
In Draze, Dr. Axe lets us into personal experience:
“The pineapple is as intimidating as the porcupine, yet equally intoxicating because of its juicy, sweet golden flesh. What most people do not realize about this tasty fruit, however, is that it it’s infinitely more useful to humans than just as a garnishing for tropical drinks. It’s literally true medicine! “Used widely as a natural remedy to treat everything from indigestion to allergies, Ingredients in pineapple peel, pineapple stem or pineapple juice is BROMELAIN a protein-digesting enzymes like the pepsin present is brimming over with Vitamin C, B1, Potassium and Manganese. In addition to these phytonutrients, it appears that the secret to its almost supernatural healing power comes from a protein-digesting enzyme called Bromelain. In fact, pineapple is one of the richest sources of Bromelain in the world. “In the medical world, this fascinating compound has traditionally been used as a potent anti-inflammatory and anti-swelling agent. Additionally recent studied have shown us that it stops lung metastasis in its tracks which suggests that Bromelain can be used to treat a wide range of disease. Also, because it is commonly used as a meat tenderizer, Bromelain can also help soothe and relax tense, inflamed muscles and connective tissue: The widespread healing power of this enzyme is truly remarkable! When I looked at the scientific literature, I found that Bromelain has been used to treat a wide range of health problems, including:
- ACL Tears
- Arthritis and joint pain
- Autoimmune disease
- Inflammatory Bowel Disease
- Sinus infections
- Sprained ankles
Of the 1600 article evaluating the medicinal benefits of Bromelain, I decided to narrow this brief review to some of the more important topics because of their prevalence in our society and because of the sheer volume of research that support its use.” Because pineapple is a popular fruit in Nigeria available in the market almost throughout the year, and because Bromelain has been around for some time on the health store medicine shelves, this column will give Dr. Axe the floor next week ( 18February 2016).