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Controls diabetes, promotes bone health… see 6 health benefits of cloves

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Cloves are small, dark brown, and aromatic flower buds of a tree in the family Myrtaceaetree, Syzygium aromaticum which originate from Indonesia. They can, however, be found in several parts of the world.

Available in both whole and ground form, cloves are renowned for their sweet and aromatic touch, elevating the flavor of dishes. Aside from its culinary benefits, cloves have been proven to also have several health benefits.

Here are some health benefits you would get from cloves when used.

High in antioxidants
Cloves are a rich source of antioxidants. Antioxidants are compounds that reduce oxidative stress, which can contribute to the development of chronic disease.

Cloves also contain a compound called eugenol, which has been shown to act as a natural antioxidant.

It was found that eugenol stopped oxidative damage caused by free radicals five times more effectively than other antioxidants.

Including cloves in your diet along with other antioxidant-rich foods can help improve your overall health.

Promotes bone health
Cloves contain minerals like manganese which play a role in bone health.

Manganese is a mineral that is involved in the formation of bone and is incredibly important to bone health. Adequate intake of it also helps prevent osteoporosis.

Meanwhile, one teaspoon of ground clove provides 55% manganese. So taking cloves can increase your bone mineral density and bone growth.

A study also found that clove extract high in eugenol improved several markers of osteoporosis and increased bone density and strength.

Keeps diabetes in control
Cloves also serve as an anti-diabetic agent. The compounds found in cloves, particularly eugenol, can help protect against cancer.

Several studies and tests have proven that cloves may reduce cancer cell growth and promote cancer cell death.

A test-tube research found that eugenol promoted cell death in cervical cancer cells.

Another study found that clove extract helped stop the growth of tumors and promoted cell death in cancer cells.

Helps with weight management
The compounds in cloves may help improve metabolism and control body weight.

In a study of mice, researchers found that clove extract reduced the incidence of obesity resulting from a high-fat diet.

Mice who received the clove extract had lower body weight, less abdominal fat, and less liver fat than those in the control group.

Adding cloves to your diet could support weight management efforts.

Improves oral health
Cloves, particularly its oil, can serve as a natural method for maintaining oral health due to their effect on plaque, gingivitis, and bacteria in the mouth.

Researchers have compared the effectiveness of an herbal mouth rinse containing cloves, basil, and tea tree oil with a commercially available essential oil mouth rinse.

Both mouth rinses were effective against plaque and gingivitis, showing that they may help decrease oral inflammation and bacteria.

However, it was found that the mouth rinse that contained cloves decreased the number of harmful bacteria more than the commercial mouth rinse.

Also, after using the herbal mouthwash for 21 days, the participants showed improvements in gum health, as well as the amount of plaque in the mouth.

Anti-inflammatory properties
Cloves contain eugenol, a natural compound with strong anti-inflammatory effects.

This can help reduce inflammation in the body, making cloves potentially beneficial for individuals with inflammatory conditions such as arthritis and asthma.

Cloves also have antimicrobial properties, meaning they can help stop the growth of microorganisms like bacteria.

A study showed that clove essential oil killed three common types of bacteria, including E. coli, which is a strain of bacteria that can cause food poisoning.

To easily incorporate cloves into your dishes, you can get the ground form.

You can also simmer whole cloves in boiling water for 5–10 minutes to make a soothing cup of clove tea.

However, it is important to consume in moderation.

Health

5 conditions that make your legs swell

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5 conditions that make your legs swell

Leg swelling, also known as edema, is a common condition that can affect absolutely anyone.

While occasional swelling may be harmless, persistent or sudden swelling could indicate underlying health issues.

If you are experiencing leg swelling, here are five conditions that might have caused it.

One common reason for swollen legs is lack of physical activity. If you have been sitting or standing for a long time without movement, this can contribute to poor circulation and fluid retention, leading to leg swelling.

Aside from being in one position for a long time, fluid retention can also be caused by conditions such as kidney disease, heart failure, and liver disease which all impact the legs leading to swelling.

Venous insufficiency refers to the inability of veins to adequately circulate blood back to the heart. When veins struggle to perform this function, blood may pool in the legs, resulting in swelling.

Varicose veins and deep vein thrombosis are examples of conditions associated with venous insufficiency.

The lymphatic system plays an important role in maintaining fluid balance in the body. Any disruption in the lymphatic system, whether due to infection, surgery, or trauma, can lead to swelling in the legs.

Lymphedema is a specific condition where the lymphatic system is compromised.

Inflammatory conditions such as arthritis can also contribute to leg swelling. In addition, localised infections, such as cellulitis, can cause inflammation, leading to swelling in the affected area.

It is quite common to see pregnant women with swollen legs especially in the later stages of pregnancy. This is commonly attributed to increased pressure on blood vessels and the growing uterus affecting blood flow.

In conclusion, leg swelling is a symptom that should not be ignored, as it may indicate underlying health issues. Identifying the root cause is crucial for proper diagnosis and management. Individuals experiencing persistent or severe leg swelling should seek medical attention to determine the appropriate course of action for their specific condition.

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‘Regular screening, avoid smoking’ — Cardiac Society shares tips to avoid sudden death

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‘Regular screening, avoid smoking’ — Cardiac Society shares tips to avoid sudden death

The Nigerian Cardiac Society has urged Nigerians to pay urgent attention to their cardiovascular health.

About four Nigerians, including Cairo Ojuogboh, a former house of representatives member, lost their lives while watching the football match between Nigeria and the Bafana Bafana of South Africa on Wednesday.

Reacting in a statement by Augustine Odili, NCS president, the society commiserated with the families of the deceased.

“The Nigerian Cardiac Society notes with utmost concern the several reported cases of sudden deaths among Nigerians both at home and abroad directly or indirectly linked with the surge of emotions associated with the Nigeria-South Africa Match during the ongoing African Cup of Nations competition holding in Cote D’Ivoire,” the society said.

Others are aortic aneurysms, status epilepticus, inherited arrhythmogenic channelopathies.

“The risk factors for heart disease are many. The most common, and by far, the important ones are related to lifestyle such as lack of physical exercise, smoking tobacco, consuming alcohol, eating unhealthy diets rich in salt and saturated fats and low in fresh fruits and vegetables,” the society said.

“Other risk factors include high blood pressure (hypertension), high blood lipids/cholesterol (dyslipidaemia), overweight and obesity, and diabetes mellitus.

“Hypertension is the most common risk factor for heart disease and stroke in Nigeria. Sadly, three out of every ten adult Nigerians have high blood pressure, many of whom are unaware of their hypertensive status.

“Effective blood pressure control is a major panacea for reducing the cardiovascular risk of affected people.

“Several reports have documented a very high prevalence of many cardiovascular risk factors including obesity, metabolic syndrome, smoking including passive smoking) drug abuse, alcohol intake, and physical inactivity among Nigerians.”

The society emphasised that many of these cardiovascular risk factors are without symptoms and signs.

“Therefore, screening is the only effective mechanism for early identification and appropriate control and prevention of sudden death among the populace,” the society said.

“The untimely deaths of these Nigerians are a stark reminder that we must be vigilant about our cardiovascular health.

“Sports and other emotional events can trigger arrhythmias, heart attacks, and strokes in those with underlying heart conditions.”

STEPS TO TAKE TO ENSURE CARDIOVASCULAR HEALTH

The society urged Nigerians to learn the warning signs of cardiac distress and how to respond in an emergency.

“Know your family history and risk factors and get regular screenings. Take steps to manage conditions like hypertension, high cholesterol, and diabetes. Avoid smoking, eat healthy, exercise, and manage stress,” the society said.

“For those with heart disease, take medications as prescribed and follow your doctor’s advice. Avoid getting overly excited during games and take breaks as needed.

“Warning symptoms preceding a sudden death may include Chest pain, breathlessness, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, and fainting attacks. It should be noted that left-sided chest pain should not be taken with levity and should warrant a medical examination.”

The society also called on the federal government to increase the funding for health to encourage early and regular screening for cardiovascular risk factors.

The society also noted the need to institutionalise effective cardiovascular care among Nigerians by providing adequate facilities for the hospitals, encouraging adequate remuneration for health workers and promoting effective lifestyle modification.

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Five reasons home fragrances are good for your health

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Imagine you walk into a home that is well decorated, nothing too glamorous; tiled floor; everything is neat and well put. There is art on the wall, a nice couch that blends in perfectly and nothing is out of place. Now picture walking into the same home with the fresh cool mint air of peppermint fragrance enveloping the home. Heaven right?

Having guests walk into your home, office, or place of business saying “this place smells nice” is one of the best compliments anyone can get. Unlike the decor of a home that is immediately visible to guests, how a home smells is subtle and most times overlooked but when a space smells great, it shows that the owner has class and pays attention to details.

Beyond this obvious benefit, smells have been known to stimulate different kinds of emotions in people. Certain smells are mood lifters, others take you down memory lane; invoking a feeling of nostalgia or comfort, while others fill you with a rush of excitement. This link between smell and emotions is not strange according to Harvard University’s Venkatesh Murthy who says smell and memory are so closely linked because of the brain’s anatomy.

What most people do not know however is that fragrances help improve health and wellbeing. Some studies have found that changing the ambient smell of a space can help reduce the physiological signs of stress. For instance, the smell of citrus (or apple) has been known to reduce anticipatory stress in patients waiting for dental surgery.

In homes, there are many health benefits fragrances provide and some of the key ones have been highlighted here.

Serve as a natural defence against germs: Some fragrances help protect the body against germs. A good example of such a fragrance is tea tree oil which has been proven to be effective against infectious agents. The tea tree oil when diffused in a home is effective against viruses, bacteria, and fungi, therefore, making the homeless prone to germs.

Improve the wellbeing of the skin: the skin is the largest cell organ in the body and is always in contact with the environment. The wellbeing of a person’s skin is determined to a large extent by their environment. Certain home fragrances contain rose essential oil; an oil with a sensual and aromatic scent. Rose essential oil is used in cosmetics to treat dry skin and redness. It also improves the skin glow of people living in homes where such fragrance is used.

Relieves stress and lowers blood pressure: Lavender with its calming and soothing fragrance is the perfect mood booster. Studies have shown that the smell of lavender can lower blood pressure. Experts have also found that a drop of lavender essential oil massaged on a person’s scalp can help to relieve headaches.

Aid for digestive problems: The peppermint home fragrance is fresh and sharp. It has both a warming and cooling feeling that is comparable to menthol and helps to quell nausea, indigestion, and bloating. The peppermint essential oil when used in a steam diffuser is effective in reducing nasal congestion.

Helps to improve sleep: many home fragrances have a soothing effect that makes them naturally sleep-inducing. The effect of good sleep can not be overstated, as it can improve a person’s general health. A nice, sleep-inducing fragrance in the bedroom is a better and healthier way to cure sleeplessness for people suffering from insomnia as such fragrances do not have the long-term adverse effects associated with using anti-insomnia drugs.

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