Tag Archives: Medicine

‘Food is medicine’ says Boston hospital that has built its own rooftop organic farm

Natural Products – Oct 27, 2019 – Michael Wale

A Boston hospital is growing 7,000 pounds of organic vegetables on its rooftop farm as part of its mission to show that food really is medicine, writes Michael Wale. 

David Maffeo, senior director of support services was one of the people behind the rooftop farm idea at Boston’s Medical Centre (BMC) in Massachusetts; It is known as a ‘safety-net’ hospital because it mainly serves lower income and elderly patients.

He says: “ I was sitting with my boss and we were talking about the Preventative Food Pantry, a scheme where we introduce poorer people to good food for free for a certain time. I said wouldn’t it be great to grow organic food for our own patients, as well as supplying The Pantry. All organic. No pesticides.”  

“I said wouldn’t it be great to grow organic food for our own patients, as well as supplying The Pantry. All organic. No pesticides”

The plan was agreed by the hospital’s Office of Development, and within just a year and a half the first crops were being sown – and soon afterwards harvested. That was 2017. That first year they produced 5,000 pounds (2,600 kilos) of produce. It has since increased to nearly 7000lb. 

The farm was designed and installed by roof top growing specialists in Boston-based green roof design specialist Recover.

Milk crate growing containers
The first challenge was the insufficient strength of the hospital’s existing roof to hold the amount of soil needed for a successful growing programme.

The cost to the rebuild the roof was put at $200,000. To fund this crucial part of the project, the hospital made successful approaches to a local philanthropist, so circumventing normal budgetary constraints. Once finished it provided 7,000 square feet of growing space. The next thing needed were containers in which to grow the food. It was decided that milk crates were the best – and most available for the job. Evens so, 2,400 of them were needed. Maffeo admits: “We lent on one of our partners to provide them!”

The hospital has done extensive work around sustainability. Research has shown that the life expectancy of the roof farm can be up to 40 years. Particular attention is given to reducing greenhouse gases. On the roof farm, each milk crate is watered through a hosepipe system that runs separately through a device into each crate. It is a strictly metered system that is designed stop functioning when it detects local rainfall. 

The hospital is ambitious about expanding the farm, which as well as producing healthy food crops, also places an important role in teaching media staff about food’s role as a medicine. It’s one of the first things students learn about on arrival. 

Changing attitudes to food
Maffeo explains the changing attitudes in America towards food and health: “Food has come a long way in the United States. I’ve worked in a hospital kitchen. Now I only buy fresh fish, locally caught. And I’ll only buy grain-free beef. These are all big changes in our attitude to food, and how it is grown. At the farm here, we grow 25 different types of vegetables and salad produce. Everything from tomatoes to carrots and peppers. There farm also makes honey from beehives, which yield around 150lbs of honey a year. 

Lindsey Allan

Lindsey Allan (pictured) is the farm manager, with the job of planting and organising the whole growing process. She went straight to work on a farm when she left High School, and found that she enjoyed it. She says that she has never had any interest in chemicals-based  farming, and had a background as a keen organic gardener.

Every farm she was involved in over the years was organic, and she is always acutely  aware of climate change. She admits to some initial scepticism about the concept of BMC’s too farm, particularly the because the milk crate containers would not allow development of  a normal root system. 

But she settled on compost based soil, as composting companies found that living soil was important. It was provided by Vermont Compost, which is organic approved. She explains: “We got all the soil up there, already in the milk crates. It took six hours, and we took it to the second floor in the freight lift, and then volunteers took it to the  roof site”.

Demonstrating how tech is is helping to make farming more sustainable, she points out that she controls the watering system from her phone or computer, allowing her switch irrigation on or off remotely. 

As for the actual growing of the food, she says: “Most things grow well. You want a continual harvest, things that are in the ground for as little time as possible – pak-choi would be a good example. I don’t do one time harvest crops, like broccoli, cabbage or potatoes. I have to think what I can get out of every square inch. Some crops work better than others. For example, we found that green beans were labour intensive for us and the kitchen. We grow what the chefs want and they are pretty flexible. We can only provide a small amount of the food they are serving. Salad stuff is the most popular, cherry tomatoes, radishes and so on”. 

World’s healthiest population ambition
She discusses crop choice and planning with the hospital dieticians, who have encouraged her to grow spinach and kale. She says that now that the farm is up and running, she would love another roof, and suggests this could happen in the coming years as everyone is so happy with the results so far.

Because the growing is confined to milk crates it is not surprising to hear that she uses the no till method adding: “You hands are your power tools. No till means using your hands more. Although she says that gardeners are useful to work with, it really does need a farmer to be in control, because you need a volume of production of food, and you have to set targets for this.

For David David Maffeo, BMC’s organic roof farm forms part of wider, bigger ambitions. These, he says, are nothing short of “making Boston the healthiest population in the world”. 

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Moringa 101: All you need to know about its health benefits, medicinal applications and nutrient profile

Natural News – August 07, 2019 by: Ralph Flores

Superfoods are pretty much like superhero films these days: Every day, a plant is hailed as the “new” superfood, which has more benefits than most foods in the market.

However, most of these plants can’t hold a candle to moringa (Moringa oleifera), a tree whose health benefits have been established since the time of the ancient Indians. In an article published in the journal Food Science and Human Wellness, researchers from PES University and the Indian Institute of Technology Hyderabad listed some of the commercial and medicinal applications of moringa, which they dubbed the “Miracle Tree.”

Small leaves, huge benefits

The moringa tree — which also goes by the name drumstick tree or horseradish tree — is native to northern India in the Himalayas but is now grown in many tropical and subtropical regions around the world. The tree is easily cultivated, fast-growing, and drought resistant, making it a sustainable remedy in communities that struggle for food resources, like West Africa and Mexico. In countries like Senegal and Benin, moringa is used to treat malnutrition in children.

Compared to other superfoods, moringa is a nutritional powerhouse. It has:

  • Seven times more vitamin C than oranges
  • 1o times more vitamin A than carrots
  • A whopping 17 times more calcium than milk
  • Nine times more protein than yogurt
  • 15 times more potassium than bananas
  • 25 times more iron than spinach

It’s also rich in vitamins B1, B2, B3, and E, phosphorus, and dietary fiber.

Health benefits of moringa

Moringa has long been used in traditional medicine, where it’s known to treat over 300 diseases. While many people believe that the leaves of moringa are its most beneficial parts, in India, even the root bark is used in medicine.

In the review, the authors highlighted some of the known benefits of moringa.

  • Antidiabetic. Scientists found that moringa extracts act as an antidiabetic agent for both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes. The antioxidants present in the leaves protect beta cells in the pancreas from oxidative stress, allowing them to produce much-needed insulin to keep blood sugar levels normal. Researchers also found that the plant can benefit those with diabetes by preventing some of its complications, including retinopathy and nephropathy, to name a few.
  • Anticancer. There’s no question that cancer is a devastating disease, for both the sufferer and his family. According to the World Health Organizationmore than 9 million people worldwide die from cancer every year, making it the second leading cause of death after cardiovascular disease. While conventional treatments exist, these can be expensive and have adverse effects. Multiple studies provide evidence that moringa leaves exhibit anticancer potential; scientists say that its ability to protect cells from oxidative damage also helps in preventing the abnormal spread of cancer cells in the body. Additionally, moringa can upregulate caspase 3 and 9, which are associated with programmed cell death in cancer cells.
  • Anti-inflammatory. While inflammation is part of the body’s natural response to infection, chronic inflammation is not. Inflammation that persists can be a precursor to other chronic diseases like heart disease and cancer. According to researchers, moringa leaves, pods, and seeds are rich in isothiocyanates, which have potent anti-inflammatory properties.

Every part has its benefit

It’s worth noting that no part of the moringa tree is wasted, especially when it comes to health benefits and nutritional value.

The leaves are rich in fiber, fat, protein, and minerals like calcium, magnesium, iron, and potassium. They also have B-vitamins as well as essential amino acids. Studies show that moringa leaves can treat diseases like asthma, diarrhea, headaches, and eye and ear infections, thanks to the presence of flavonoids like quercetin. (Related: Moringa is a nutrient-dense superfood that protects you from oxidative damage.)

The seeds contain oleic acid and other fatty acids like linoleic, and behenic acids. They are also rich in tannins, phenolics, and other phytochemicals. Studies show that moringa seeds can help treat Crohn’s disease, arthritis, gout, cramps, and hyperthyroidism. Moringa seeds are also potent antimicrobial agents.

The root bark has alkaloids and minerals such as magnesium and calcium. It also has anti-inflammatory and anti-ulcer activities. The alkaloid content of the root bark is responsible for both bioactivities and can even help in relaxing cardiac muscles.

The benefits of moringa extend beyond food and medicine. Its seeds are also pressed for their oil, which can be used in perfumes, cosmetics, and lubrication. In agriculture, moringa is highly valued for its ability to increase crop yield and eliminate heavy metals from water.

FoodScience.news has more stories on moringa’s other health benefits and uses.

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Insidious leaders: How the last five U.S. Presidents royally screwed up American food and medicine

Over the past few decades, leaders in Washington D.C. have kept American consumers in the dark about the truth regarding toxins in our food and medicine, all while denying us some of our most fundamental rights. However, thanks to leading journalists and seekers of truth, much of this corruption has been exposed. Jane Goodall, Ph.D. DBE and UN Messenger of Peace, wrote an amazing foreword for a revealing, chilling, and meticulously researched book published in 2015 about the auspicious and ominous beginning of genetically modified food in America.

http://www.naturalnews.com/2017-07-11-insidious-leaders-how-the-last-five-u-s-presidents-royally-screwed-up-american-food-and-medicine.html