Annatto and Its Wondrous Benefits

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It is hard to eliminate a nail fungal infection, but it is possible to stop it from spreading and prevent your nails’ appearance from changing. Toenail fungus is a pressing nail condition. Apart from being able to change your nails’ appearance, this may also cause pain as the nail lifts from the nail bed. Since it is challenging to treat, it is more likely to be managed than cured.

How Fungi Infect the Nail

Toenail fungal infection or onychomycosis is caused by an invasion of a microscopic organism that thrives in a warm and moist environment. Fungal spores are found in the air, and they will start to grow the moment they reach a highly receptive surface like that of your toenail surface. These feed off the nail tissues. They may even burrow deep into the skin underneath the nail. Over time, this may cause the nail to thicken and separate from the nail bed, as debris starts to build up underneath the nail. Once the nail separates from the nail bed, it is not likely to reattach. A new nail won’t grow from this particular part of the nail bed. However, the nail continues to grow from its root found at its base.

Nail Fungal Treatments

You can find various types of nail fungus treatments available for those who suffer from the infection. They differ in terms of cost and level of effectiveness. It is imperative for a nail fungal treatment to be able to penetrate the nail and the nail bed for it to be truly effective.

Over-the-counter medications that can be applied on the nail or underneath it using the brush used for nail polish application are available in pharmacies. They may not be that effective, but they can improve the appearance of one’s nails.

Oral medications are also available such as terbinafine (Lamisil) and Itraconazole (Sporanox) as well as prescription topical treatments.

1All about Annatto

Annatto is a red-orange condiment and at the same time food coloring additive made from seeds of the achiote tree (Bixa Orellana). This tree grows in the tropical regions of Central and South America. It comes with several names such as bija, achiote, urucum, achiotillo, and atsuete. The annatto comes in a range of colors from orange-red to yellow, turmeric, and saffron. This color comes from the compounds known as carotenoids. These are pigments that are found in the outer layer of the seeds of many vegetables and fruits like carrots and tomatoes. Furthermore, annatto is commonly used as a condiment that enhances the various flavors of dishes because it tastes sweet and peppery. It is also known to possess an aroma that is floral, nutty, and peppery. This may come in several forms such as paste, essential oil, liquid, and powder.

Nutritional Value

Annatto is known to possess the following: iron, calcium, phosphorus, and amino acids. It also contains vitamins B-2 and B-3 as well as vitamin C and beta-carotene. Vitamin C and beta-carotene are powerful antioxidants that can prevent damage in the DNA and cells caused by free radicals. Moreover, annatto also possesses phytochemicals such as saponins, tannins, ellagic acid, cyanidin, and salicylic acid. Phytochemicals are naturally found in plant compounds. These help in the prevention and treatment of various diseases in humans.

As an Antimicrobial

Studies have shown that various extracts of Bixa Orellana exhibited various antioxidant and antimicrobial (both antifungal and antibacterial), hypoglycemic, anti-inflammatory, analgesic, and antidiarrheal properties.

On the other hand, the methanol extracts of the seeds and leaves of Bixa Orellana were studied and observed to exhibit antimicrobial activities against Salmonella typhi, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Vibrio cholera, Acinetobacter sp., Klebsiella pneumoniae, Staphylococcus aureus, Acinetobacter sp., Moraxella catarrhalis, together with fungal pathogens like Aspergillus niger, Candida albicans, and the dermatophytes Trichophyton rubrum and Trichophyton mentagrophytes.

Other Health Benefits

Annatto has the most impressive health benefits. Let’s take a look at some of the best ones:

Helps prevent birth defects

Annatto has an impressive amount of folate acid. This vitamin is known for multiple benefits but the most important of these is the prevention of neural tube defects in newborn children. This is the reason why pregnant women are encouraged to increase their folic acid levels to avoid experiencing these conditions.

May help with digestion

The high level of fiber found in annatto seeds along with the edible leaves of the achiote plant is a superb aid for digestion. It ensures the smooth passage of food in the intestines and the efficient absorption of nutrients into the body.

Improves bone health

Annatto contains a high level of calcium that helps promote durability and strength and provides mineral density. This may also prevent the possible onset of osteoporosis with the help of essential minerals like calcium.

Keeps the kidneys protected and strong

Both annatto seeds and leaves contain antibacterial, diuretic, and bitter properties. Furthermore, the annatto seeds and leaves help guard and enhance the functions of the kidneys. The annatto has also been known as an aphrodisiac and as an aid for weight loss. It also helps treat hepatitis, fevers, dysentery, and malaria.

Helps promote wound healing

Because of annatto’s antioxidant properties, it is highly effective for healing minor wounds on the skin. Its antioxidant content helps encourage the healthy production of cells and tissues. This will help reduce scarring and skin damage. If you happen to be writhing in pain due to burns and wounds on the skin or perhaps suffering from a skin problem of some sort, and annatto seed cream may be spread evenly on the affected areas to hasten the treatment process and lessen the scar. This cream also has natural antimicrobials that may help prevent further infections.

Enhances eye health

Annatto contains lots of carotenoids, particularly bixin and norbixin, which can help with eye health. These are found in the outer layer of the seeds and they help with their yellow-to-orange color. In an animal study, it was established that a norbixin supplementation for 3 months reduced the buildup of the compound called N-retinylidene-N-retinylethanolamine (A2E) which is closely linked to age-related macular degeneration (AMD). AMD causes most cases of irreversible blindness experienced by older adults. More human studies are required before annatto can be recommended for this.

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