Life-saving Broccoli

The Telegraph reports that steamed broccoli can help you fight off cell damage and reduce the risk of a heart attack and that those who eat it are found to be at a lower risk of heart disease and some cancers.

Free radicals which are produced in our normal biological processes can reach excessive levels and harm cells and trigger cancers but the brassica family of vegetables, including cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage and Brussels sprouts, contain antioxidants which stop the build-up of these free radicals.

A new study from Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, confirms these findings which were previously unconfirmed in other studies.

Another warning though: Don’t over-cook your vegetables! If broccoli is over-cooked, it loses it’s protective properties.

Proof of stress relief from lavender

Research from the Miami and Duke Universities in the US has shown that the smell of lavender relaxes children, resulting in less crying and easier sleep.

In tests, mothers and babies bathed with and without lavender bath oil.

While using the lavender bath-oil, mother and child smiled more, made more eye contact and generally relaxed more. They also gained more deep sleep after the bath.

Source: Daily Mail

Cranberries seem to favour women

Back in 1991, it was proved that cranberry juice contained anti-viral properties to help keep away bladder infections and stomach ulcers.

The same substance has now been found to stop oral bacteria from forming on the teeth and reduce cavities.

Not only that, amazingly, the molecule responsible for these abilities, non-dialyzable material or NDM, also inhibits the infiltration of the flu virus.

But according to Professor Ofek of the Tel Aviv University, “The whole thing with cranberries seems to be female-oriented.”

The recommendation is that women drink two glasses a day, but since so much is still unknown, men should also drink the same – just in case they miss out!

Pure organic cranberry juice

Source: Daily Mail

Green Tea is even better with a dash of lemon

A little juice in your hot tea may increase the amount of tea-derived antioxidants that your body is able to absorb according some research recently released from Purdue University.

The study concluded that those lemon wedges that come alongside tea in restaurants and coffee shops do more than just garnish your cup. Researchers involved in the study found that lemon juice literally makes green tea better for you by helping the tea retain more of its antioxidants through the digestive process. lemon juice is the most effective and, to my taste buds, the most delicious, but orange, lime and grapefruit follow close behind.

Green or white teas are the best teas in terms of being rich in antioxidants. However normally, only about 20 percent of these antioxidants, called catechins, remain after tea has made its way through the intestines. But when they added lemon juice to the tea, the researchers found that 80 percent of the catechins remained after digestion.

And if you get bored with lemon-flavored tea, they also discovered that orange, lime, and grapefruit juices also have catechin-protecting abilities (although less than that found with lemon).

Source: “Citrus juice, vitamin C give staying power to green tea antioxidants,” Science Daily (

Stop giving antibiotics for coughs and colds, doctors told

‘Stop giving antibiotics for coughs and colds, doctors told’. That was this mornings front page headline in the Daily Telegraph. I was ecstatic at the news. Why? Because, as the report said, because over use of the drugs is fuelling the spread of bugs, and superbugs. Antibiotics de pleat our systems and hinder the absorption of nutrients and vitamins. This is well known and those on consistent medication are among those who should definitely take multi-vitamins and minerals.

So, we are left with the question of what do we do with our coughs and colds? There are several answers to this; We must build up our immune system on the one hand – a long term project, and we can also turn to nature’s remedies for the more imminent winter cold.

Bio-Xanthin helps beat colds, flu and winter infections

A less heard of natural boost to our immune system comes in the form of Astaxanthin sold as Bio-Xanthin. Never heard of it? Neither had I until recently. Bio-Xanthin is a highly potent and antioxidant-rich astaxanthin and is known to be an immune system booster and powerful antioxidant that studies show to be 10 times stronger than beta carotene and up to 500 times stronger than Vitamin E. Wow! That is good news this winter for those of you aiming to boost your immune system ready to fend off the inevitable attack from cold and flu viruses and other winter infections.

So what exactly is Astaxanthin?

Astaxanthin is a bright red carotenoid that it is extracted from the green haematococcus pluvialis alga. This alga contains the highest known concentration of natural Astaxanthin. It is cultivated in shallow ponds at the point where it turns from green to red, like autumn leaves. The alga works best apparently when mixed with oil. The powerful new Bio-Xanthin supplement is formulated with safflower oil to ensure its maximum potency and usability by the human body is achieved.

Studies show that carotenoids are able to prevent infection. Given that astaxanthin is one of the most potent carotenoids, it follows that it is more active in enhancing the immune response in animals and humans than beta-carotene (2). And this immune system enhancement occurs at dosages as low as 2mg per day.

Carotenoids stimulate the immune system. Furthermore, astaxanthin significantly increases the number of IgG and IgM antibody-secreting cells – the ‘good guys’ that spring into action to defend the body when an infection occurs. Interestingly, tests by Jyonouhi in 1996 showed Astaxanthin to be the only carotenoid to significantly increase the number of IgG cells, even beta carotene didn’t have the same positive effect.

Importantly, Astaxanthin can cross the blood/brain barrier and bond directly with body tissues. Thus its antioxidant benefits reach the brain and central nervous system directly and exert their effect deep into the body. Other antioxidants including beta carotene and lycopene do not have these bonding sites.

As it is relitively cheap, Astaxanthin is a viable way for us to boost our immune systems.

Energy saving light bulbs and mercury

Low-energy light bulbs, as the name would suggest, are great for energy saving but it has recently been noticed that they contain small amounts of mercury which has people worried.

Mercury is a toxic metal traditionally used in thermometers. Up to 5 milligrams can be found in energy saving bulbs compared to the 3 grams you would find in the thermometer.

“No amount of mercury is good for you, but the very small amount contained in a single modern CFL is unlikely to cause any harm, even if the lamp should be broken,’ says the UK Department for environment, food and rural affairs (Defra).”

Mercury is present in every compact fluorescent lightbulb (CFL), and always has been – strip lighting typically found in kitchens and garages are prime examples, but on the plus side, the amounts of the liquid metal they do contain are now a fraction of the 100 milligrams that could be found in first generation bulbs.

Louise Molloy from the environmental group Greenpeace said that “Rather than being worried about the mercury these light bulbs contain, the general public should be reassured that using them will actually reduce the amount of mercury overall in our atmosphere.”

“More mercury is emitted by fossil-fuel fired power plants when producing electricity for the incandescent lights, than for the energy-saving CFLs.”

What does need to be addressed however is the lack of information on energy-saving packaging about how to safely dispose of these trace elements of mercury. The lighting industry and the government say the risk of mercury pollution posed by low-energy bulbs is minimal, but:

“Official advice from the Department of the Environment states that if a low-energy bulb is smashed, the room needs to be vacated for at least 15 minutes.

A vacuum cleaner should not be used to clear up the debris, and care should be taken not to inhale the dust.

Instead, rubber gloves should be used, and the broken bulb put into a sealed plastic bag – which should be taken to the local council for disposal.”

When a bulb blows in the house, are we expected to walk to the local town hall and give it to the receptionist?

Kevin Verdun of the Lighting Association said:

“warnings on how to safely dispose of smashed bulbs “might” be put on packaging in future, if the government and the public demanded it.”


Recycled toilet paper: how green is it, really? writes about recycled toiler paper:

A friend of mine recently posed a delicate question about recycled loo paper, and how it manages to look so white. Doesn’t that imply we’re putting a whole load of bleach near our nether regions? I remember the first recycled loo paper back in the 90s, and I’m sure I didn’t imagine it when I say that you could actually see the letters from the newsprint they’d used to make it! But not so anymore…it’s whiter than white these days.

So how do they do it? The answer, as feared, is chemicals.

As mentioned in the article, GoodnessDirect sell recycled loo roll, unbleached and undyed – the only way to do without such chemicals and stay green(er).