Glossary: A

 

Acerola
Malpighia sp

Acerola is a fruit with one of the highest contents of vitamin C. Its antioxidant properties make it the ideal supplement for fighting oxidative stress, and its high content in vitamin C helps to maintain healthy collagen in the skin and joints.

Acerola is the fruit of a tropical shrub that is native to Central America. The fruit has an approximate diameter of 3 centimeters and has a reddish color, reason why it is also known as the West Indian cherry or Barbados cherry. It has an acidic taste and is mainly consumed in the form of jams and jellies.

Acerola is known for its high content of antioxidants, including a significant amount of vitamin C. Low in calories (30 kcal per 100 grams), 100 grams of acerola provides 1680 mg of vitamin C, 18 times more vitamin C than in oranges. It also contains phenolic compounds, anthocyanins and carotenoids. These substances are the pigments that are responsible for the color of the fruit and, once consumed, also contribute to its antioxidant effect.

Properties:

The high content of antioxidants makes acerola an ideal supplement for fighting oxidative stress. It can therefore be a valuable addition to anti-aging programs, for athletes who engage in intense physical exercise, smokers, and all people who would like to increase their intake of antioxidants in their diet. In addition, antioxidants can also help to prevent diseases such as atherosclerosis, diabetes mellitus or some oncological processes.

As an excellent source of vitamin C, acerola helps to keep collagen, bones and cartilage in good condition, making it useful for strengthening the joints as well as keeping the skin smooth and youthful. On the other hand, in the case of iron deficiency anemia, the combined intake of acerola with foods rich in iron enhances the absorption of this mineral, thanks to the action of the vitamin C.

Traditionally, acerola juice has also been used to treat colds, boost the immune system, improve the condition of the gums, as a liver protector and as an astringent for treating diarrhea.

 

African mango
Irvingia gabonensis

African mango is a food belonging to the fruit group. Originally from the forests of Africa, it has traditionally been used as a supplement in weight-loss diets.

Se trata de una planta herbácea de gran tamaño, que puede alcanzar los 2 metros. De la parte superior del tallo nacen las alcachofas, ampliamente usadas en la cocina mediterránea. Los principios activos se hallan en las hojas desecadas, que contienen cinarina, flavonoides, sales potásicas, fitoesteroles y mucílagos, entre otros.

Properties:

African mango has numerous properties, including its possible effects on weight-loss diets. It has been suggested that this fruit has the ability to naturally accelerate the metabolism and regulate leptin, a hormone that controls the feeling of satiety in the body, and can promote the use of fat as an energy source.

On the other hand, this fruit contains soluble fiber that is capable of capturing water and forming a gel that can act as a laxative in the body. This type of fiber also has the ability to capture glucose and improve the blood levels of this nutrient, in addition to capturing bile acids, which helps to regulate cholesterolemia.

Another important characteristic of this fruit is its polyphenols content, which are substances that act as natural antioxidants, that is, molecules that protect the cells from oxidative stress and aging.


Aloe Vera
Punica Granatum L.

Since ancient times, Aloe Vera has been known to have healing, cleansing, anti-inflammatory, laxative and regenerating properties for skin cells.

Aloe Vera is a plant that comes from hot, dry places. It contains amino acids, vitamins such as B vitamins, minerals like magnesium or potassium, fiber, antioxidants and enzymes.

 

Properties:

It is commonly used in skincare due to its mucilage content (aloe gel), attenuating scars and other marks on the skin. The extraction of aloe gel is in fact a very old practice, and according to some studies it was even used by the Egyptians to care for their skin and nails. The sage from its leaves was used to treat external inflammations, burns, insect bites and wounds.

If ingested, it is also known to help with intestinal motility, producing a laxative effect in the body that is related to one of its components, aloin.

Some specialists value aloe for its possible anti-inflammatory effects on the intestinal mucosa, which it can improve in cases of gastric acidity, hiatal hernia and gastritis, among other conditions.

Aloe is also recognized as having effects on oral health; rinsing the mouth with aloe juice or gel can help to accelerate the healing and treatment of small wounds or soresnds or sores.


American cranberry
Vaccinum macrocarpon

American cranberry is the fruit of a North American shrub. This berry, 1-2 cm in diameter and with a deep red color, has traditionally been used to prevent and treat urinary tract infections.

It contains several compounds that are responsible for its health properties, including proanthocyanidins (also known as PAC) and other antioxidant substances with potential health benefits.

 

Properties:

The proanthocyanidins of the American cranberry have been shown to be effective in fighting the bacteria Escherichiacoli, responsible for most urinary tract infections. This pathogen adheres to the walls of the urinary tract and multiplies, causing the infection. The proanthocyanidins act by hindering this mechanism, as they obstruct the adhesion of the bacteria to the mucosa. As a result, this favors the elimination of the pathogens through the urine, preventing and treating the problem. This effect has been corroborated by several scientific studies, confirming the usefulness of cranberry extract in the prevention and treatment of these situations.

Cranberry extract can be taken for prolonged periods of time, alone or in combination with the antibiotic treatment. It is recommended that you choose products that guarantee a minimum amount of 35 mg of proanthocyanidins daily in order to achieve the desired therapeutic effect.

On the other hand, the bacteria Helicobacter pylori is also responsible for duodenal and gastric ulcers. As previously mentioned, the proanthocyanidins in the American cranberry are effective in preventing bacteria from adhering to the mucosa and can therefore help in the prevention of these pathologies.

In addition, some studies also show that proanthocyanidins may be useful in fighting the bacteria responsible for gingivitis and plaque.

The cranberry also contains other phytochemicals with interesting applications, including the antioxidant properties of the flavonols, resveratrol and ellagic acid.

It can be taken safely during pregnancy and while breastfeeding. 

 

Andean maca
Lepidium meyenii

Maca is a plant native to the Andes that is known to have energizing and nourishing properties due to its nutritional profile. 

Andean maca contains proteins, carbohydrates, minerals such as calcium, phosphorous, iodine and iron, and vitamins such as vitamin C and B. It has been used since ancient times by the Incas for physical fatigue, to stimulate fertility and to treat bone pain.

 

Properties:

Traditionally it has been used to improve people’s fertility as well as sexuality. It is credited with having properties for improving sexual desire and sperm. This is because its active ingredients, macamides and macaenes, have been associated with certain reactions in the brain that stimulate this desire.

In addition, it has energizing and revitalizing properties due to its nutritional content, and as such it has been used to stimulate vigor and performance, both physical and intellectual.

This plant is known to have the ability to help menopausal women by reducing the appearance of psychological symptoms such as anxiety and depression, in addition to reducing bone metabolism.

Lastly, maca can participate in the metabolism of glucose and lipids, and can also regulate blood pressure.

 

Artichoke
Cynara scolymus L

Since ancient times, artichoke has been known to have numerous virtues that are mainly associated with digestive wellbeing. Its purifying, digestive and diuretic properties make it a useful supplement in detoxifying diets and for weight loss. 

Artichoke comes from a large herbaceous plant, which can reach up to 2 meters in height. Widely used in Mediterranean cuisine, the artichoke grows from the top of the stem. The active principles are found in the dried leaves, which contain cynarine, flavonoids, potassium salts, phytosterols and mucilages, among others.

Properties:

The cynarine content and its derivatives give this vegetable and its extract beneficial properties for liver function, as it enhances the production and elimination of bile (i.e., it has a choleretic and collagenous effect). Some studies suggest that it also contributes to the regeneration of liver cells, which, together with its draining effect on the liver, makes it a popular supplement for detoxifying diets or in the treatment of hepatobiliary alterations.

Similarly, its choleretic and collagenous action means that artichoke is indicated in the treatment of dyspepsia and slow digestions. It also helps to improve constipation due to its mild laxative effect, improving the overall digestive function.

In addition, artichoke has diuretic properties and can be useful in the case of water retention. Its satiating effect can help individuals to adhere to weight-loss diets.

It also helps to reduce cholesterol levels by means of two mechanisms: increasing the elimination of cholesterol through the bile duct thanks to its choleretic action, and blocking the production of cholesterol itself by inhibiting the enzymes involved. In turn, the sterols in the artichoke decrease the intestinal absorption of the cholesterol that is ingested from your diet, favoring its elimination. Because of this dual lipid-lowering effect, artichoke is indicated as a dietary supplement for treating high cholesterol.

Precautions: Artichoke is contraindicated in cases of bile duct obstruction.

Apple pectin
Phalaris canariensis

Pectin is a soluble fiber found in plant foods. Fruits like apples, for example, are rich in this nutrient.

 

 

 

 

Properties:

Soluble fibers like pectin have the ability to absorb water in the gastrointestinal tract, forming a mass of gel. Thanks to this ability, this nutrient has been used to improve the symptoms of diarrhea, as it slows gastric emptying and increases the volume of the feces.

On the other hand, pectin has the ability to capture nutrients, reducing their absorption and the speed at which they are assimilated. It has therefore been proposed as a suitable option for avoiding spikes in blood glucose levels, since by capturing the glucose, our body can absorb it more gradually. Likewise, it is associated with hypocholesterolemic properties, seeing how the pectins bind to bile acids (products of cholesterol degradation), facilitating their expulsion along with the feces.

Precautions: People who are taking medications, as it can decrease their absorption.