Monday July 7 2014

These foods in your kitchen are good health remedies

Tomatoes are high in antioxidant, which help to

Tomatoes are high in antioxidant, which help to lower the risk of heart disease and what is considered bad cholesterol. 

By Pauline Bangirana

We all have these foods or ingredients in our kitchen cabinets and refrigerators, we use them every day, yet many people either do not know their benefits, or just ignore them. But what you are ignoring could be your answer to keeping healthy and reducing your risk for diet-related illnesses such as diabetes and obesity, which result from eating foods that are high in sugar and fats.

Fredrick Kizito, a nutritionist with the Uganda Dietetic Association and Dr Denis Muyaka, of Global Health Uganda, highlight some kitchen ingredients that have several health benefits, from healing a cold, sore throats, stomach upset, to curing a body rash.

These ingredients range from honey, lemon, tomatoes, ginger, vinegar and garlic, among others. “On top of being used as spices or condiments, these foods or ingredients can help heal common ailments such as a cold, without you having to go to the doctor,” says Kizito.

“Because many are natural foods, they are free of any negative side effects that people may develop, if they have ailments such as allergies,” he says. He notes that any of these natural home remedies work just as well as conventional medicines, although many people are yet to take advantage of the benefits that they offer.

While tomatoes are common ingredients used to prepare most meals, not many people know of its benefits beyond flavouring the food. Tomatoes are high in antioxidant, which help to lower the risk of heart disease and what is considered bad cholesterol.

Dr Denis Muyaka, of Global Health Uganda, notes that tomatoes have anti- septic properties and salt, which can be helpful in treating wounds.
Besides tomatoes being used to heal wounds, Dr Muyaka says all vegetables are healthy because they have several nutrients, which are essential for the body. But these benefits, says Dr Muyaka are achieved more, if fruits and vegetables are eaten in their raw form.

the benefits of lemon
Lemon has several benefits—from being used to cure a cold, protecting the body against immune system deficiencies, to helping stop bleeding, and being used as a disinfectant for minor cuts.
•They can also be used to enhance fresh breath. According to nutritionists, you can do this by rinsing your mouth with lemon juice.

The citric acid in the juice alters the pH level in your mouth, killing bacteria that cause bad breath. However, in doing so, ensure to rinse your mouth after a few minutes as long-term exposure to the acid in lemons can harm tooth enamel.

•Lemon can also act as an insecticide. You do not need insecticides or ant traps in your kitchen, lemon can do that. First, squeeze lemon juice around your doors and window sills. Then, squeeze lemon juice into any holes or cracks from where the ants are getting in.

Alternatively, you can also cut lemon in water and use it to wash the floor of your house. The smell will keep these insects and ants away. The acidic properties in lemon also help to eliminate any bad odour.

Drinking warm lemon juice in the morning helps to flush out toxins from the body. So, make it a part of your daily routine to drink a glass of warm lemon water in the morning and enjoy its health benefits.

the secret in eating garlic
To those who eat garlic, it has a nice flavour and gives a good aroma to foods, while to others, it leaves an unbearable breathe. Well, here is why you should ignore this, and instead make garlic part of your daily health routine.

• Fredrick Kizito, a nutritionist with the Uganda Dietetic Association notes that garlic contains high levels of iodine, and as such, it is helpful in preventing conditions such as goitre.
•He further notes that it has high levels of Vitamin C, which makes it useful in the treatment of scurvy--a condition that, soften the membranes of body parts such as the eyes, as a result of lack of Vitamin C.

•Garlic also reduces one’s risks of suffering from conditions such as high blood pressure and other cardiovascular diseases that affect the heart, due to poor blood supply.
•Kizito says garlic has a high component of Vitamin B6 and is an anti-oxidant. Therefore, garlic helps in the reduction of certain cancers including bladder, prostrate, breast, colon and stomach cancers.

•Garlic strengthens the immune system as well as helps to fight chest infections, coughs and congestion, especially in young children.
•Garlic contains high levels of iodine which makes it an effective treatment for hyperthyroid conditions. Treatment with garlic has been shown to greatly improve this condition.
•However, Kizito warns against consumig too much garlic.

“Too much garlic is bad to the body because it can lead to body toxication. We recommend little amounts of garlic.
An adult should not consume more than two pellets of garlic a day, and for children one pellet a day is recommended,” Kizito notes.

•It contains high levels of unsaturated fats which are healthy. Margarine is also low on calories and contains no cholesterol.
•The fact that it is fortified with essential fatty acids such as omega-3, and several vitamins, means it is essential for growth and building body immunity. It also helps to enhance a person’s vision. Because it contains good fat, it helps keep the heart healthy.
•Margarine can also act as a remedy for constipation in children.
However, Fredrick Kizito a nutritionist with the Uganda Dietetic Association, warns against consuming too much margarine.

The benefits of taking honey have been known for a long time. However, even though it is readily available in the country, not many people have taken advantage of its numerous benefits. One of the best known benefits of honey is its ability to sooth sore throats and kill the bacteria that causes the infections.
It is also known as a natural antiseptic, which inhibits the growth of bacteria and therefore helps keep wounds free of infection.
Honey is also used in tea, as an alternative to sugar, which therefore reduces a person’s risk to sugar-related diseases.

It is mainly used as a salad dressing ingredient. But as nutritionist Kizito explains, it has other benefits.
•Vinegar can kill germs, and that is why it is mostly used in salads which are eaten raw. According to Fredrick Kizito, a nutritionist with the Uganda Dietetic Association, “It kills 99 per cent of bacteria, 82 per cent of moulds and 80 per cent of germs. It is a weak acid.”
•It reduces cholesterol in the body because too much of it can be harmful and as such, it reduces the risk of developing diseases such as high blood pressure.
•Vinegar is also essential in reducing indigestion, improves bowl function (reduces gas in the stomach and in the movement of the bowl.
•It can also be used in the treatment of ulcers. According to Dr Denis Muyaka, of Global Health Uganda, vinegar contains anti-septic properties which are essential in killing germs and treating wounds, including those inside the body.

flour (whole grain)
Flour is used to make bread and other snacks such as cookies, cakes, chapatti and mandazi. However, as Fredrick Kizito, a nutritionist with the Uganda Dietetic Association explains, the benefits of flour go beyond being used to make snacks.
“You could prefer white to brown bread, but in terms of the health benefits, a person who eats brown bread gets more benefits,” he says.
Brown bread, which is also a whole grain (has all its forms of nutrients and they have not been broken down), contains a dietary fibre, which helps in reducing constipation, weight loss and reducing the amount of cholesterol in the body.

Considered mostly as a spice or flavour in tea and food such as rice and meat, ginger can also be a good remedy to treat a cold or sore throat. However, there is even more to ginger than just spice up our food. In ginger, we get properties that make it possible to reduce excessive gas in the stomach. You consume it by either chewing it in its raw form, or pounding it and adding it to hot water.
•For women who experience painful menstrual cramps, Fredrick Kizito, a nutritionist with the Uganda Dietetic Association recommends adding crashed ginger it in hot water and drinking it.
•Ginger has anti-inflammatory properties that make it able to reduce joint pains and other disease conditions.
•It is also helpful in reducing nausea especially among pregnant women.