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Aloe vera is a popular medicinal plant with antioxidant and antibacterial properties. It may be useful for reducing dental plaque, accelerating wound healing, preventing wrinkles, and managing blood sugar, among other benefits.

Aloe vera, or Aloe barbadensis, is a thick, short-stemmed plant that stores water in its leaves. It is best known for treating skin injuries, but it also has several other uses that could potentially benefit health.

Active components with its properties: Aloe vera contains 75 potentially active constituents: vitamins, enzymes, minerals, sugars, lignin, saponins, salicylic acids and amino acids.

  1. Vitamins: It contains vitamins A (beta-carotene), C and E, which are antioxidants. It also contains vitamin B12, folic acid, and choline. Antioxidant neutralizes free radicals.
  2. Enzymes: It contains 8 enzymes: aliiase, alkaline phosphatase, amylase, bradykinase, carboxypeptidase, catalase, cellulase, lipase, and peroxidase. Bradykinase helps to reduce excessive inflammation when applied to the skin topically, while others help in the breakdown of sugars and fats.
  3. Minerals: It provides calcium, chromium, copper, selenium, magnesium, manganese, potassium, sodium and zinc. They are essential for the proper functioning of various enzyme systems in different metabolic pathways and few are antioxidants.
  4. Sugars: It provides monosaccharides (glucose and fructose) and polysaccharides: (glucomannans/polymannose). These are derived from the mucilage layer of the plant and are known as mucopolysaccharides. The most prominent monosaccharide is mannose-6-phosphate, and the most common polysaccharides are called glucomannans [beta-(1,4)-acetylated mannan]. Acemannan, a prominent glucomannan has also been found. Recently, a glycoprotein with antiallergic properties, called alprogen and novel anti-inflammatory compound, C-glucosyl chromone, has been isolated from Aloe vera gel.
  5. Anthraquinones: It provides 12 anthraquinones, which are phenolic compounds traditionally known as laxatives. Aloin and emodin act as analgesics, antibacterials and antivirals.
  6. Fatty acids: It provides 4 plant steroids; cholesterol, campesterol, β-sisosterol and lupeol. All these have anti-inflammatory action and lupeol also possesses antiseptic and analgesic properties.
  7. Hormones: Auxins and gibberellins that help in wound healing and have anti-inflammatory action.
  8. Others: It provides 20 of the 22 human required amino acids and 7 of the 8 essential amino acids. It also contains salicylic acid that possesses anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties. Lignin, an inert substance, when included in topical preparations, enhances penetrative effect of the other ingredients into the skin. Saponins that are the soapy substances form about 3% of the gel and have cleansing and antiseptic properties.

 

Carbohydrates have had a bad press in the past, but in fact, they form the basis of a healthy diet. The trick is to eat more of the fibre-rich complex carbohydrates than the simple carbohydrates.

 

Carbohydrates are the building blocks of a healthy diet. They fuel the body, which turns them into the basic currency of energy: glucose or blood sugar. If you restrict your intake of carbohydrates, your body will turn part of the protein and a little of the fat you eat into blood sugar – in effect converting them into carbohydrates through a complicated, wasteful process. It’s much healthier to give your body the right amount and the right kind of carbohydrate in the first place. hydrates through a complicated, wasteful process. It’s much healthier to give your body the right amount and the right kind of carbohydrate in the first place.

Carbohydrates can be divided into two basic types: simple and complex. Simple carbohydrates include foods such as white bread, white rice, pasta and sugar. Complex carbohydrates, on the other hand, include foods such as wholemeal breads, brown rice and cereals that still have the nutritious germ and fibre-rich outer layers intact. Starchy vegetables such as corn and beans are rich in nutrients and fibre and low in sugar. Aim for three servings of whole-grain foods each day to improve your health.

A diet that is too low in complex carbohydrates and too high in refined grains increases your risk of developing diabetes. No one is yet sure how whole grains protect us, but we do know they’re better for us than refined grains, such as in white bread, which are stripped of most of their beneficial fibre as well as vitamin E, folic acid, B6, and other essential vitamins that become especially important as we age.

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A few tips for adding more fibre- rich whole-grain carbohydrates to your diet:Read labels carefully. Make sure ‘wholemeal’ or ‘whole-grain’ your diet:

  • Read labels carefully. Make sure ‘wholemeal’ or ‘whole-grain flours are first or second in the list of ingredients. (Even in some wheat breads, they aren’t always.)
  • Try replacing a third of the white flour with wholemeal flour in homemade pancakes and when you’re baking.
  • Give wheat germ a whirl. It’s crunchy and nutty and has all the nutritional advantages (vitamin E and other vitamins. minerals and fibre) that are missing in refined bread. Add a tablespoon of it to breakfast cereals and yoghurt, or when you are baking quick breads, muffins and pancakes.
  • Opt for brown rice now and then and enjoy its rich nutty flavour.
  • A baked potato, topped with low-fat cheese, yoghurt or soured cream, or even a teaspoon of butter or margarine, is nutritious and fibre-rich. So are sweet potatoes, which are loaded with beta carotene. Beans, lentils and peas are rich in protein, making them excellent meat substitutes, and high in fibre. Rinse canned beans thoroughly (soak dried beans) before cooking them; dry lentils don’t need pre soaking.
  • Frozen peas are a good source of fibre. Just separate them under cold running water and toss them into simmering soups and stews a few minutes before serving.

 

Focus on fibre

Fibre is the part of carbohydrates that our bodies don’t readily digest, yet it is essential for good health. Fibre is present in all whole-plant- based foods: whole grains, vegetables, fruits, beans, nuts and seeds. Animal products such as meat, poultry, fish and dairy foods contain no fibre at all. There are two types of fibre. Soluble fibre – found in beans, lentils, apples, pears and oats – helps to stabilize blood sugar and lower cholesterol levels. Insoluble fibre found in many grains, cereals, seeds and vegetables – improves bowel health by helping food to move through the colon.

 

There are many proven benefits: the prevention of constipation, the prevention and treatment of diverticulitis (a painful inflammation of small pouches along the colon wall), the reduction of blood cholesterol, the improved control of blood sugar and a reduced risk of heart disease and diabetes. A few words of advice:

  • Increase fibre intake gradually, over several weeks, working up to 18g a day. Drink plenty of water, (at least eight to ten glasses a day) or the extra bulk of the fibre may slow or block bowel function.
  • Although bran is a rich source of fibre, it also prevents your body from absorbing iron, zinc, copper and calcium. So use it sparingly. It is much better to get more fibre by eating whole grains, fruits and vegetables, as well as beans and pulses. They will give you minerals, vitamins and phytochemicals at the same time.
Aloe Vera Nutrients per serving 

One 8-ounce serving of pure aloe vera juice includes:

  • Calories: 8
  • Protein: Less than 1 gram
  • Fat: Less than 1 gram
  • Carbohydrates: 3 grams
  • Fiber: 2 grams
  • Sugar: Less than 1 gram

Aloe vera juice contains high levels of magnesium, which is a vital nutrient for nerve and muscle use. Magnesium helps your body with more than 300 different enzyme reactions, including those that regulate your blood pressure. It also helps regulate heart rhythm. 

 

The sweet story

We all love sugar, which is a simple carbohydrate. However, we love it too much: in the UK, our intake of sugar provides 18 per cent of the calories we consume – way above the recommended limit of 10 per cent. While there is nothing bad about sugar, remember that it adds calories without vitamins or minerals. Sugary foods may also elevate triglyceride levels, blood fats that increase the risk of heart disease. While sugar itself doesn’t cause diabetes, a diet high in sugar and refined grains and low in fibre-rich whole grains may increase your risk of Type 2 diabetes. And of course, sugar promotes tooth cavities. Sugary foods add extra calories, making weight control much harder. They also crowd out more nutritious foods from your diet.

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Sugar is everywhere. It is in many processed foods- even in ketchup, soups and salad dressings. So it takes a conscious effort to moderate your intake. Here are some ways to begin.

  • Limit non-diet soft drinks.
  • On packaged food labels, look for hidden sugars: brown sugar, corn sweetener, corn syrup, fructose, fruit juice concentrate, glucose (dextrose), high-fructose corn syrup, honey, invert sugar, lactose, maltose, molasses, raw sugar, table sugar (sucrose), and syrup. If one is listed as the first or second ingredient, or if several are listed, that food is high in added sugar. Try to avoid it.
  • Dilute sugary fruit juices with water or soda. Unlike fruit juice, whole fruit has fibre in addition to natural sugars, so it doesn’t raise your blood sugar as much
  • Watch out for ‘low-fat’ foods are high in sugar and calories.
  • Use less sugar in coffee or tea.

 

Choose protein wisely

Everyone needs protein, but not much. Most of us get too much of it. So choose the most nutritious protein sources, such as beans, lentils, peas, soya foods, fish, lean poultry and very lean cuts of beef or pork. Low-fat and fat-free dairy foods and eggs are also excellent protein sources. You’ll get fibre from the plant protein, healthy omega-3 fats from the fish and minerals such as iron and zinc from lean meats.

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References:

  1. https://www.webmd.com/diet/supplement-guide-aloe-vera#:~:text=Protein%3A%20Less%20than%201%20gram,Fiber%3A%202%20grams
  2. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/318591
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2763764/#:~:text=Active%20components%20with%20its%20properties,salicylic%20acids%20and%20amino%20acids.&text=Vitamins%3A%20It%20contains%20vitamins%20A,%2C%20folic%20acid%2C%20and%20choline.