Weekly Trust

Five things bitter-leaf can do

Adding bitter leaf to your diet may reduce your risk of chronic diseases like type 2 diabetes, according to the University of Texas.

Bitter leaf, technically known as Vernonia amygdalina, is a traditional ingredient in African cuisine. Although it may have a bitter taste, its flavour is quite mild. Additionally, bitter leaf has a number of important potential health benefits.

Reduces diabetes risk

Mrs Sarah Abagia, Head Dietetics Department at the National Hospital, says “It is not that bitter leaf can cure diabetes, but it has some sugar controlling influence to a certain degree. Bitter leaf is able to influence some drop in the sugar level. But it is not suppose to be regarded as an entire medication for diabetes. You can take a handful of fresh bitter leaf, pour in a blender, pour the desired amount of water, blend and strain it, then drink.  Some people take a handful of bitter leaf and eat it too.”

Reduces bad cholesterol

Elevated cholesterol especially “bad” LDL cholesterol is a risk factor for heart attack and stroke. According to the February 2008 edition of the “Journal of Vascular Health and Risk Management,” bitter leaf can reduce bad and total cholesterol. In an animal model, supplementation with bitter leaf extract reduced LDL cholesterol by 50 percent while also boosting “good” HDL cholesterol. However, no research investigating bitter leaf on cholesterol has been conducted on humans.

Antioxidants

Your body’s cells are under a near-constant assault from a harmful process known as oxidation. Unchecked oxidation can increase the chances of precancerous cell formation. Bitter leaf is an abundant source of oxidation’s nemesis – antioxidants-reports the December 2006 issue of “Food Chemistry.” The researchers add that the antioxidant properties of bitter leaf make a healthy disease-fighting addition to your diet.

Good for the liver

Bitter leaf is an abundant source of the polyunsaturated fatty acids linoleic and linolenic acid. Because your body can’t make these two fats, they are required from the diet. A study found in the November 2001 issue of the “American Journal of Clinical Nutrition” found that diets rich in these two fatty acids were protective against cardiovascular disease. In this study, those who consumed the greatest amounts of linoleic and linolenic fatty acids had a 40 percent lower risk of cardiovascular disease when compared to those that seldom consumed these two fats.

The liver is one of the most important organs of the body. It has a lot of vital functions that is needed for normal functioning of the whole system of the body. Without the liver all major process in the body will be paralyze. The liver is known as the largest organ inside the body. It has an approximate weight of 1-3 kg in an average adult individual. There are a lot of major functions that the liver should do every day and this includes the production of bile acid that helps in fat metabolism.

Without the liver fats will not be digested inside the body to be used as energy. Bitter-leaf can be very helpful in maintaining the livers optimum health to release bile acid every time people eat fatty foods. Another major function of the liver is the production of glycogen. Glycogen is stored energy that is release in times of low level of glucose especially for people who do fasting.

Good for the kidney

The kidney plays an essential role in the body as it helps to eliminate toxins and wastes that may inhibit its function. When the toxins are not expelled from the body other body processes may not function well and can lead to poor health. Studies show that bitter leaf can help to keep the liver in good health. For that reason, many folks use bitter leaf to cure kidney-related complications, as well as liver disorders.


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