Achiote and Its Excellent Health Benefits

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If you have discolored and thickened nails, it could be that you have a nail fungus infection. When you see an odd spot on the toenail, you can easily think that this is a nail fungal infection. Nail fungus is medically known as onychomycosis or tinea unguium. This nail infection can affect the toenails and fingernails. This infection affects about 10 percent of the adult population in the US alone.

Several types of nail fungal infections are caused by different types of fungi. But a majority of nail fungal infections are caused by a kind of parasitic known as dermatophyte fungi. Yeasts and molds may also cause a nail fungal infection.

What are some symptoms of the infection?

The most common symptoms of a nail fungal infection are observable changes to the appearance of the infected nails. The primary symptoms of a nail fungus infection include the following: broken, discolored, thickened, brittle, flaky, the infected nail separating from the nail bed, slight pain and discomfort, and in some cases foul odor. When left untreated, a nail fungal infection may cause pain when walking, exercising, or doing manual tasks like typing.

What are some treatments?

It is always required to implement a course of treatment. This usually follows a clinical diagnosis which requires sending a nail sample to a lab for microscopy. The microorganism that caused the infection and the level of severity determines the nail fungus treatment to use.

Most doctors prescribe oral medications for nail fungus. It takes several months to take this treatment. This is the most effective among all the treatment options. Another option for nail fungal treatment is a topical antifungal which has to be applied to the nails directly. Sometimes the doctor may suggest a combination of these two while for more stubborn nail infections, nail removal may be recommended.

2All about the Achiote or Annato

Annato is a kind of food coloring that comes from the seeds of the achiote shrub whose scientific name is Bixa orellana. It may not be really a known food coloring agent, but approximately 70 percent of natural food colors come from it. Apart from its culinary applications, annato has also been used for centuries in several areas of South and Central America for purposes of art, cosmetics, and treatment for various health conditions.

The annato is red-orange in color, and it is called by several names such as achiotillo, urucum, bija, and atsuete. The color of the annato is from the compounds found in it known as carotenoids. These are pigments that are often found in the outer layer of the seeds along with other fruits and vegetables like tomatoes and carrots. The achiote has a slightly sweet and peppery flavor. It has an aroma that is best described as peppery, nutty, and floral. It can also be taken in several forms namely paste, powder, liquid, and also as an essential oil.

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