Tuesday , 20 November 2018
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Miracle moringa in a pot

The moringa plant has been touted to be a miracle herb with the power to heal almost every known ailment. From curing diarrhoea, epilepsy and stomach pain to providing relief for heart problems, diabetes and high blood pressure and even boosting immunity and sex drive, this plant is a highly sought-after herb. Interestingly, it can be enjoyed beyond the common method of brewing it into tea. In fact it can be incorporated into practically most of our diets.

Moringa cooks quickly and, just like every other vegetable, it should not be overcooked. Besides losing nutrients, it becomes bitter when cooked for too long. It should only be sautéed till it turns bright green and wilts a bit. Because moringa is a powerful energy booster, you might want to be careful with the amount you use. To get the best in taste and nutrition, add the leaves as the last condiment.

In as much as moringa has numerous health benefits, it is considered unsafe for pregnant and breast feeding women as there is currently not enough information as to its safety.

Below are some recipes from Mrs. Hadiza  Ala on dishes that can be prepared with this wonder-working plant.

Groundnut soup with moringa

You will need:

•Moringa leaves  •Groundnut paste  •Meat or dried fish  •Palm oil  •Crayfish •Salt  •Fresh pepper

Procedure:

•Cook meat. Keep stock aside.

•Pick, clean and shred moringa leaves.

•Place meat stock on fire, add groundnut paste. Stir very well till there are no lumps. Make sure to reduce the heat to very low and start cooking.

•Stir every five minutes and top up with water if necessary. This mixture burns easily so watch it closely and stir as often as necessary.

•Add sliced moringa leaves and leave to simmer.

•Serve with pounded yam or tuwo.

Moringa sauce with rice
You will need:

•Moringa leaves         •Vegetable oil

•Onions   •Tomatoes  •Fresh pepper

•Seasoning cubes   •Salt  •Rice

Procedure:
•Pick, clean and shred moringa leaves, then blanch.

•Chop onions, tomatoes and fresh pepper.

•Place a little vegetable oil on fire. Sauté chopped onions, tomatoes and pepper, adding seasoning cubes.

•Add blanched moringa. Stir-fry for a bit and serve with rice.

Scrambled eggs a la moringa
You will need:
•Moringa leaves   •Eggs  •Milk or water   •Olive oil/ butter  •Salt

•Spices

Procedure:

•Crack eggs into a bowl. Beat with a fork or whisk the eggs until they turn a pale yellow color.

•Add pinch of salt and fresh black pepper.

•For fluffier scrambled eggs, add 1 to 1 1/2 tablespoons of water per egg. If you prefer creamy eggs, add 1 tablespoon of milk for each egg.

•Warm a non-stick pan and heat butter or oil.

•Pour in eggs and leave to sit. Using a  wooden spoon or heat-resistant rubber spatula, gently stir the egg mixture as it begins to form curds.

Add sliced moringa leaves and stir for a while. Serve.

Knocking a child on the head can affect memory, thinking abilities

crying childIt is a practice to see some parents hit their children on the head when angry. Although, such a blow on the head may not in themselves cause a disease, experts say that after a certain number of hits to the head, such could affect brain, memory and thinking abilities, reports Sade Oguntola.Granted, your child might have done something bad. It is also possible that the child’s behaviour demands that he or she be spanked or scolded.  Even though what might qualify as appropriate punishment for a badly behaved child is wide-ranging, from a light slap on the hand to an all-out whipping with a belt or a paddle, but it should not included beating on the  head or hitting the child’s head against the wall or floor.

Small hits to the head or repeated blows to the head are never a good idea. Over time, it could affect brain, memory and thinking. New research suggests that even when they do not cause mild brain injury, what is medically called concussion; this may, over time, affect the brain’s white matter and impact cognition, memory and thinking abilities.

No doubt, more talks are usually about head injuries in athletes on the playing field, in car and bicycle accidents, in fights, and even minor falls. Not much consideration is given to parents or carers that punish children by slapping or hitting their heads.

Although, such an act may not make the child lose consciousness, medical experts warn that repeated blows to the head may lead to worrying consequences, including increased susceptibility to concussion, long-term cognitive decline and chronic traumatic encephalopathy – a degenerative disease associated with people who have suffered multiple head injuries.

Although, for a brain injury to occur as a result of hitting a child on the head, its force must really be much, Dr Achiaka Irabor, a Consultant Family physician, University College Hospital (UCH), Ibadan, Oyo State, said beating a child on the head is not really necessary when the child could be spanked on other parts of the body such as the hands, thigh and buttocks, if need be.

According to Dr Irabor, “if someone is hit on the head and the person becomes confused or dazed, then that force is strong and this may cause concussion or mild brain damage.”

She declared: “You should not hit a child on the head with a stick, pestle or even a ruler. If you use your hand at least, the pain that you feel on the hand will limit the amount of force that you put on the child’s head.”

Moreover, Dr Irabor pointed out that “even a knock can be very painful and people can have headache after receiving a knock on their head.”

For this study, published in the journal, Neurology, researchers compared 80 concussion-free Division 1 NCAA Dartmouth College varsity football and ice hockey players, all of whom wore helmets that recorded the acceleration time of the head following impact, with 79 athletes competing in non-contact activities, such as track, crew and Nordic skiing.

Participants were assessed with learning and memory tests,  and they had brain scans before and shortly after the season finished.

The researchers found differences in the white matter of the brain in these college contact sport athletes compared to non-contact sport varsity athletes. White matter plays an important role in the speed of nerve signals in the brain tissue and allows different parts of the brain to communicate with each other.

The degree of white matter change in the contact sport athletes was greater in those who performed more poorly than expected on tests of memory and learning, suggesting a possible link in some athletes between how hard/often they are hit, white matter changes, and cognition, or memory and thinking abilities.

Some brain regions in some athletes were also altered by repetitive impacts over the course of a season, and  these changes may be related to verbal learning and memory.

The study also identified a subgroup of athletes who performed worse than expected on verbal learning and memory tests at the end of the season.

These athletes came from both the contact and non-contact groups – 20 per cent of the contact players and 11 per cent of the non-contact players.

Paradoxically, little blows to the head can add up to big risks, even a continuous habit of hitting a child on the head. A growing body of evidence suggests that repetitive head trauma may increase the risk of a variety of progressive brain disorders, including Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and the muscle-wasting condition, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, otherwise known as ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease.

A study by the Purdue Neurotrauma Group at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Ind, which also corroborated this, suggested that the effects of blows to the head, while playing football, for example, may last longer than previously thought. During this time, players’ brains are vulnerable because the blows that result in the field of play could result in a mild brain injury.

The researchers studied a group of high school players over two seasons. They calculated that the players received 200 to 1,900 head blows each season.

They got these numbers from the special helmets that each participating player wore.

Sensors inside the helmet catalogued the hits taken, the force of the impact, and the region of the head that was struck. The players also underwent brain scans so that the researchers could compare the data from the helmets with the effect that each blow had on the players’ brains.

This study, which was the first to look at the accumulation of sub-concussive blows and their effect on the brain, reported that over the course of the two seasons, six of the players suffered concussions, while the scans of 17 of the players showed changes in brain function that the researchers could tie to the hits on their heads.

No doubt, more research is required to determine the long term impact of blow to the head, given that changes to the brain are not necessarily indicative of damage, but the fact remains that different children are likely to have different injury thresholds. Some may be able to withstand more hits than others.

But a growing body of evidence suggests that repetitive head injury may increase the risk of a variety of progressive brain disorders, including Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and the muscle-wasting condition amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, otherwise known as ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease.

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