Sunday, April 28, 2013

Epson Salts; an amazing substance.

I have long known of the benefit of Epson Salts for the garden, but I found out that there are other uses for it. Following is some interesting information that may benefit your garden as well as your health.

While the two main uses of Epsom Salts are in Health and Gardening, it is also a good fabric softener. Place one tablespoon of Epson Salts in the washing machine before it commences the rinse cycle.

Epsom salts are largely unknown to many people, and yet the benefits of using it, I found out, are vast! The reason Epsom Salts are so amazing is due to the abundance of the “miracle mineral” Magnesium, which is a naturally occurring mineral found in many foods such as nuts and seeds, spinach and potatoes. Magnesium is responsible for over 300 biochemical reactions in the body, but it is perhaps best known for its muscle relaxing properties, detoxification and also the formation of healthy bones and teeth.

Epsom Salts gets its name from the town of Epsom, in the county of Surrey, in England. The residents discovered the substance in the mineral waters of the town in the 16th century.

And if the human body is clogged up, Epson Salts will unclog it as fast as “Drano” does your drains. With the many uses of Epsom Salts, figuring out where to look for it can be difficult.  Supermarkets and chemists usually stock Epsom Salts with the laxatives. So, read on and learn more about this important and multipurpose mineral. - Werner
In the Garden.
The magnesium and sulphur in Epsom Salt are just as good for plants as they are
for the human body. They can help seeds germinate, make plants grow more vigorous, produce more flowers, increase the plants’ nutrient uptake from the soil and the expensive fertilizer you buy, and also increase chlorophyll production. It’s the chlorophyll in plants that helps the plant turn sunlight into food. Unlike most fertilizers, though, Epsom Salt does not build up in the soil so you don’t have to worry about using too much or dangerously altering your soil conditions. Epsom Salt has been shown to be very useful in growing healthier roses, tomatoes, shrubs, and houseplants. You can even put Epsom Salt around your trees. See more images.
Extreme magnesium deficiency in the soil is recognized by pale green leaves and by blossom and fruit rot, but don't wait for that. Sprinkle dolomite or Epsom salt on the soil from time to time, or add a little Epsom salt to the water. Using a little frequently is better than using a lot once, because the excess just gets leached.
Epsom salt recipe: Dissolve 2 tablespoons of Epsom salt in 5 litres of water. For healthy nightshade plants (tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants) water just as flowering starts. Or use this mixture as a foliage spray in the garden and on house plants. Epsom Salt has no effect on soil pH and it will not change soil acidity. Magnesium occurs naturally in soil, though not always in a quantity sufficient for all plants.  Some soils start out with sufficient magnesium, but an abundance of rain can cause it to be washed out of the soil. Tomato growing tips.

Generally speaking, rough, sandy soil is a sign that the soil is deficient in magnesium.  Soils developed from peat bogs and alkaline soils also tend to be magnesium-hungry.  Sulphur is not naturally abundant in soil, though most types of commercially prepared fertilizers contain a sufficient amount.  Organic materials such as compost and manure also contain sulphur.

A plant that is just a little magnesium-deficient won't grow well.  A plant that is greatly deficient will likely have yellowing leaves. The yellowing generally starts on the older leave first, and then the portions between the vines. Yellowing is also known as chlorosis, and appears as a gradual fading or mottling of the green colour.

Benefits:  Magnesium is critical in the formation of chlorophyll.  It's also useful in aiding the absorption of phosphorus, which contributes to growth, flowering and disease resistance.  In addition, it helps a plant both absorb and use both nitrogen and phosphorus. Adding Epsom Salt to plants has been reported to enhance the colour of blossoms and leaves, promote new flowers and fruit, improve the root system and improve the strength of stems. Epsom Salt is safe to use and will not build up in the soil, even if additional magnesium isn't needed.

Epsom Salt for plants (general):  Add 2 tablespoons to 5 litres of water if there are signs of magnesium deficiency.  For tomatoes: To prevent blossom end rot, add 2 or 3 tablespoons per plant hole before planting.  Generally, tomatoes tend to be heavy users of magnesium and have been said to benefit from Epsom Salt.  Many users simply add a tablespoon to the hole before they plant. Each month, sprinkle a tablespoon around the base of each plant and scratch into soil.

For roses: Sprinkle 1 teaspoon per foot of plant height and spread evenly around the base for better blossoms and deeper greening.  Add 1/2 cup sprinkled around the base and then scratched in, for strong production of new flowering canes and healthy new basal cane growth.

Health Uses.
Magnesium is essential for a plant’s health, and ours. The magnesium in Epsom Salt has a crucial role in health. It’s the second-most abundant element in human cells and is involved in many important bodily processes. Magnesium regulates the activity of more than 325 different enzymes in the body, makes insulin more effective, helps muscles and nerves function properly, and improves sleep and concentration. It also eases stress and relieves pain and muscle cramps by reducing inflammation.

The sulphates in Epsom Salt flush toxins from the body; improve the absorption of nutrients from your food, help build the proteins that make up your joints and brain tissue, and also can help avoid or lessen migraine headaches. It’s also been shown that the sulphates in Epsom Salt help the digestive system by improving enzyme production and increasing the ability to remove toxins from medicines or the environment. While sulphates are easily absorbed through the skin, it’s a lot harder to absorb them from food, so bathing in an Epsom Salt bath is a great way to supply your body with these crucial molecules.

As a saline laxative, two to four teaspoons of Epsom Salt in a glass of water relieves constipation in as little as a half hour. (I’m sure it would. :-) - Werner)

Where do WE get magnesium? Foods such as green leafy vegetables, some legumes, nuts, seeds and unrefined grains are good sources. However, if those plants do not get enough magnesium, neither do we. Without enough magnesium, plants often develop some yellowing in their older leaves between the veins. Magnesium is essential for photosynthesis, and helps activate plant enzymes needed for growth. Animals have a need for more magnesium than plants, so a plant magnesium deficiency often shows up first in the animals, especially those that graze or forage.
My thought for today.Werner
Always walk through life as if you have something new to learn and you will.~ Vernon Howard

Sources of this posting:

Monday, April 15, 2013

The coconut; loaded with nutrients & health benefits.

The Coconut; it is a symbol of the tropics. We have always enjoyed eating the meat of the coconut, but lately the water and the oil of it have come to the fore as health food. Our daughter introduced me to a delicious treat:  Put Virgin coconut oil on toast, add honey and bananas and sprinkle cinnamon on top of it – absolutely yummy.

This nut used to be considered a major nutritional no-no, but lately has come into the limelight as being beneficial for health, and is touted for weight loss benefits.

The question often asked:
Is a coconut a fruit, nut or seed? Botanically speaking, a coconut is a fibrous one-seeded drupe, also known as a dry drupe. However, when using loose definitions, the coconut can be all three: a fruit, a nut, and a seed.
Picture: One of our coconuts with leaf growth and roots at the bottom.

Coconut has long been a primary source of food in tropical countries and the oil is derived from the meat of matured coconuts. It is heat stable, so coconut oil is suitable for cooking at high temperatures. Read more about this extraordinary nut below. - Werner
Health Benefits of Virgin Coconut Oil (cold pressed):
1. Thyroid-stimulating: Research shows that coconut oil contains a medium-chain of fatty acids to accelerate and to stimulate the metabolism that gives you more energy.
2. Get candida in check: Coconut oil has a good quantity of caprylic acid in it which is well known to kill off excess candida by targeting harmful bacteria.
3. Lowers cholesterol: It is rich in lauric acid which protects your heart by reducing total cholesterol and increasing good cholesterol.
4. Helps with weight loss: Here is an interesting fact about coconut oil; even though it is a fat, it actually helps with weight loss!  Read more here: Weight Loss With Coconut Oil. The healthy medium chain fatty acids do not circulate in the bloodstream like other fats; they are sent directly to the liver and are converted into energy. Thus the body does not store the fat in coconut oil as fat; it uses it to produce energy instead.
5. Helps keep diabetes in check: It does not produce an insulin spike in your bloodstream. Instead it helps control blood sugar by improving the secretion of insulin.
6. Reduces heart disease: studies on people in the Pacific Islands found that their total caloric intake included thirty to sixty percent from fully saturated coconut oil. These Pacific Islanders have nearly non-existent rates of cardiovascular disease.
7. Gastrointestinal malabsorption diseases: Combining Vitamin E supplements with coconut oil through the skin proved to be a good alternative for those with gastrointestinal malabsorption diseases.  

8. Supports the immune system. It is rich in lauric acid, a nutrient that supports the body’s immune system.
9. Good for the skin: When applied externally it forms a protective antibacterial layer protecting the infected body part.  Also, coconut oil speeds up the healing process of bruises by helping to repair damaged tissue.
10. Nourishing for the brain: Studies show that it improves cognitive function, and stalls, or even reverses, neurodegenerative diseases in their early stages.
11. Ancient medicine: Coconut oil has been part of Ayurvedic medicine for 5,000 years in India.
12. Speeds Recovery: People in Panama drink a glass of coconut oil to protect themselves from illness as it is also believed to speed recovery from sickness.
Read about the numerous research studies done on coconut oil: Coconut Oil Research.“Approximately 50% of the fatty acids in coconut fat are lauric acid. Lauric acid is a medium chain fatty acid, which has the additional beneficial function of being formed into monolaurin in the human or animal body. Monolaurin is the anti-viral, antibacterial, and antiprotozoal monoglyceride used by the human or animal to destroy lipid coated viruses such as HIV, herpes, cytomegalovirus, influenza, various pathogenic bacteria!” according to research by Dr. Mary Enig.
Read more:

Coconut water nutrition facts: Coconut water is the juice in the interior or endosperm of young coconut. Its water is one of the nature’s most refreshing drinks, consumed worldwide for its nutritious and health benefiting properties. The water is actually obtained by opening a tender, green, healthy, and undamaged coconut. Inside, it's clear liquid is sweet, and sterile and composed of unique chemicals such as sugars, vitamins, minerals, electrolytes, enzymes, amino acids, cytokine, and phyto-hormones. In general, young and slightly immature coconuts harvested when they are about 5-7 months of age for the drink.

Each nut may contain about 200 to 1000 ml of water depending on cultivar type and size. Any nuts younger than five months of age tend to be bitter in taste and devoid of nutrients. In contrast, mature nuts contain less water, and their endosperm thickens quickly to white edible meat (kernel). Coconut milk obtained from the meat  therefore should not be confused with coconut water.

Coconut palm flourishes well along the costal tropical environments. A coconut tree may yield several hundred tender nuts each season. Different species of coconut palms are grown all over the tropics. Naturally, their taste and flavor of water show variations according to saline content in the soil, distance from sea shore, mainland, etc.

Health benefits of coconut water.
Coconut water is a very refreshing drink to beat tropical summer thirst. The juice is packed with simple sugar, electrolytes, and minerals to replenish hydration levels within the body. Research studies suggest that cytokinins (e.g., kinetin and trans-zeatin) in coconut water showed significant anti-ageing, anti-carcinogenic, and anti-thrombotic effects.***

Coconut water has been generally offered to patients with diarrhoea in many tropic regions to replace the fluid loss from the gastrointestinal tract and reduce the need for intravenous therapy.
The osmolarity of tender coconut water is slightly greater than that of WHO recommended ORS (Oral Rehydration Therapy) osmolarity. Presence of other biological constituents like amino acids, enzymes, minerals, and fatty acids may account for this higher osmolarity. However, unlike WHO-ORS, its water is very low in sodium and chlorides, but rich in sugars and amino acids. This well-balanced fluid composition with much-needed calories would be a more ideal drink than any other brand of soft drink beverages in dehydration conditions.

Coconut water is composed of many naturally occurring bioactive enzymes such as acid phosphatase, catalase, dehydrogenase, diastase, peroxidase, RNA-polymerases etc. In effect, these enzymes help in the digestion and metabolism. Despite very light consistency, its water has much better composition of minerals like calcium, iron, manganese, magnesium, and zinc than some of the fruits like oranges.  Coconut water is readily available at supermarkets.

Its water is also a very good source of B-complex vitamins such as riboflavin, niacin, thiamine, pyridoxine, and folates. These vitamins are essential in the sense that the human body requires them from external sources to replenish.

Coconut water contains a very good amount of electrolyte potassium.
100 ml of water has 250 mg of potassium and 105 mg of sodium. Together, these electrolytes help replenish electrolyte deficiency in the body due to diarrhoea (loose stools). Further, fresh coconut water has a small amount of vitamin-C (Ascorbic acid); It provides about 2.4 mg or 4% of RDA. Vitamin C is a water-soluble ant-oxidant.

Coconut meat is a super food.
In some parts of the world, it’s even labelled the king of foods because it: Provides an abundance of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and fibre. It Promotes, Sustains and Restores Health. Outside of consuming this delicacy raw, there are innumerable other ways to enjoy it. If it’s not in your kitchen at present, it ought to be because you can benefit from its yummy taste as well as give your body the advantage of its powerful healing capabilities. After all, people in other cultures have sustained themselves for long periods of time just on the nutrition of coconuts alone.*****

Meat from young coconuts or (a.k.a green coconuts) is very creamy and gelatinous. It looks and feels like jelly because you can eat it with a spoon. This is the type that is often fed to babies as they are weaned from their mothers’ breast.
Young coconut meat spoils more quickly than mature meat. This is why it’s rare to find it outside of tropical locales.

Meat from mature coconuts is white,
much harder and has a slightly sweet and nutty taste. As the coconut matures, the quantity of oil in the meat increases too. Mature meat has high levels of fibre and oil which help it function like a probiotic. Probiotic are very beneficial for the digestive system because they feed the good bacteria in the intestines. -

In this way, fresh meat from coconuts is considered a functional food. By eating it you accomplish two important things for your body: You feed the body a high quality food source. It functions in specific ways once inside the body (i.e. feeds the good bacteria in the intestines).

A few of the health benefits that can result by consuming fresh meat consistently are: It helps to regulate digestion and elimination. It assists in weight loss. It's a powerful germ fighter. Almost half the weight of fresh meat comes from water. It also contains less sugar than meat from other fruits like oranges or apples.The mineral levels of iron, phosphorous and zinc are high. Mature meat keeps longer than younger meat but is still perishable. It must be stored in the refrigerator or freezer to maintain freshness.
Source of this posting.

My thought for today; - Werner
One of these nuts is a meal for a man, both meat and drink"- Marco Polo
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