The health benefits of Curry

3907797665_28fe195b1d_bIndia is a country with over 1 billion people spread over five large regions. This population is incredibly diverse. Indians speak more than122 different languages and their cuisines vary greatly among the regions. Despite these differences, there is still something Indians have in common – their love of curry.

The word curry means sauce. Curry is not a spice; it is a combination of spices. Although the combination and ratio of spices varies from one curry to another, many health promoting spices are standard in most curry mixes. Here are features of the most common spices you will find in a curry and how they benefit your health.

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Does Your Diet Affect Your Mood?

apple-15687_640While it may seem harmless enough, what you choose to eat for lunch could impact how you feel all afternoon. We all know about the “hangries” — being so hungry that you become cranky and angry — but once you’re fed, your meal can actually enhance or detract from your mental state.

While exercise is also an important factor, eating a diverse diet of healthy, wholesome foods can have an incredible impact on how you feel each and every day.

Here are 5 ways in which the foods you eat (or don’t eat) rule your moods.  

Black Pepper: More Than a Spice

Black pepper is perhaps the most popular spice in the world, and black, green and white peppercorns all come from the black pepper plant (Piper nigrum), native to Asia. Black pepper is the whole, partially ripened fruit; green is the unripe fruit; and white pepper is derived from the peeled seed. Some reasons to eat black pepper?

  1. It is a proven antibacterial agent.
  2. It contains compounds that help maintain the integrity of DNA, possibly providing some protection against cancer.
  3. It has been known to help calm digestive issues

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Why is Inulin Found in So Many Diet Foods?

Image by Abbie yangNutrition research has shown that protein and fiber help people with satiety. While most Americans consume adequate amounts of protein or more, fiber consumption is way below the recommended value of 25 grams per day.

Dietary fibers are carbohydrates that do not get absorbed by our digestive system. They help us feel fuller, so we eat less, and they fill an important role in intestinal chemistry, or what some people call “keeping regular”. It’s important to get enough fiber into our system in order to keep the pipes flowing. Unfortunately, modern diets have depleted fiber from most people’s meals, through highly refined foods.

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Benefits of Organic Lovage

images1Lovage, a member of the parsley family, is a widely-used herb in parts of Europe and southwest Asia. Its use in food and natural healing modalities is nothing new, yet it isn’t surprising that you may not have heard of this life giving herb. Lovage has many health benefits, including supporting kidney health, fighting harmful organisms, and possibly reducing joint pain.

Benefits of Organic Lovage

While science continues to explore the many benefits of lovage, there are some researched benefits that have been established for a number of years. Here are 10 benefits that you may experience from using this versatile plant.

Flushes the Risk of Kidney Stones

Lovage is an aquaretic, or a type of diuretic that encourages urination without electrolyte loss. The increased urination clears gravel and calcified stones from the kidneys, possibly aiding in the prevention of kidney stones.

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Eating too Many Processed Foods?

Snack Box Diet Vegetables

Snack Box Diet Vegetables

Could it be that we really are eating too many processed foods?

I would say yes!

But what is the alternative?

Is getting back to nature one of them?

For a long time the question has been posed that staying along the lines of “Can eating like Neanderthal or an ape improve our health?”

When we see how many diseases there are apparently connected to high cholesterol and blood pressure –  we’re told that the numbers of these diseases are on the increase day by day. It does rather raise the issue about whether or not our current western diet is actually a major factor or cause, of these cardiovascular diseases such as hypertension, stroke and diabetes.

Paying the Price

That of course leads us onto the second question: “Are we paying the price for eating all these processed foods?”

Dietician Lyn Garton was responsible for taking ten volunteers on a journey back to our culinary roots, where she took a leaf out of our ancestors’ cookbooks, just to see what impact a comparatively short few days of eating much healthier food would have on reducing the risk of fatal illnesses, as mentioned above.

At the end of the test, biological markers for cholesterol and hypertension were measured to see how successful this test was. After the twelve day test, the groups total cholesterol fell by over 23%, and there was a marked decrease in the amount of sodium levels. From all of this, we can conclude that simply by introducing changes into our diet, by moving away from processed foods towards more healthily organically based foods, our health can be dramatically improved.

All the volunteers used in this test were chosen because they had above-average levels of cholesterol, according to the doctors, ranging from between 5 and 6.8. Also the test group confessed that they were eating diets which had very few fruits and vegetables, and were probably very high in trans-fats and many of them were confessing a life of fast, processed food.

Now obviously, the dramatic results from this test were slightly skewed because the volunteers were following a diet that had 5kg of fruit and vegetables a day, which with a balanced controlled carbohydrate diet would prove unnecessary, and in fact the pressures of our modern lives would probably make this totally impractical.

The Value of Good Vegetables.

However, what it does show is that if you want to lower your triglycerides levels then cutting down on processed foods and re-introducing vegetables, nuts and certain fruits into your diet would make that possible.

Here is just a small sample:


  • Apples
  • Apricots
  • Asparagus
  • Avocado
  • Bananas
  • Blueberries
  • Broccoli
  • Cabbage
  • Carrots
  • Cashews
  • Cauliflower
  • Cherries
  • Courgettes
  • Dates
  • Figs
  • Grapes
  • Hazelnuts
  • Honey
  • Kiwi fruit
  • Mange toutes
  • Mangoes
  • Melons
  • Mushrooms
  • Olives
  • Paw-paws
  • Peaches
  • Peanuts
  • Pears
  • Peas
  • Peppers
  • Plums
  • Radishes
  • Raspberries
  • Satsumas
  • Spring Onions
  • Strawberries
  • Sugar-snap peas
  • Summer Cabbage
  • Tomatoes
  • Walnuts
  • Watercress

To name but a few!

Many of these are allowed on The Snack Box Diet and would add a tasty addition to what you may be eating already.

As we’ve said before, variety is something to aim for in any diet – the more the merrier.

Diet and Health Secrets from the Far East

Chinese Medicine Photo by Dave O

What exactly does eastern medicine have to offer the western dieter?

Well, even a most cursory look at the traditional approach to Chinese medicine reveals that it derives much of it’s effectiveness by being integrated into many facets of everyday life.

The food, the family structure and customs, the recreational activities such as Tai Chi, and even the very therapeutic activities of drinking Green tea, all work together producing a strong base level of health.

Jenny Koh tells us all…

Health Benefits of Chinese Medicine

The Basis of Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) has been practised for over 3000 years. Now, over one quarter of the world’s population uses one or more of its component therapies.  And not just to help with an illness either as many people have discovered that the Chinese way of working with the body can aid them in getting fit and healthy too.
TCM combines the use of medicinal herbs and oils, acupuncture, therapeutic exercises like Qi Gong and Tai Chi together with a number of other disciplines we will be mentioning further on in the series. It has proven to be effective in the treatment of many chronic diseases including cancer, allergies, heart disease and AIDS.
Like Ayurvedic medicine, TCM also focuses on the individual and looks for and corrects the underlying causes of imbalance and patterns of disharmony, i.e. the yin and yang energy.

How is it different?

So what sets traditional eastern medicine apart from western allopathic medicine?

There are a good many differences between Traditional Chinese Medicine and western medicine. Many are listed on page 10. But the main four are:-

  1. Traditional Chinese Medicine is patient centred not illness centred
  2. Focuses on and gives treatment for the root cause rather than merely giving relief to symptoms
  3. Uses holistic approach to treatment
  4. Prefers the patient to take a highly active part in both prevention and treatment

Eastern medicine is not hardly ever intrusive or invasive to the body. We don’t use things like surgery or laser treatment as these traumatize the body system.

The basic concept of balancing and harmonizing the body energy or ‘chi’ with nature needs to be understood, i.e. the ‘yin’ (female) and ‘yang’ (male). It is the balancing of the opposites that is important to eastern medicine. Observe nature and its cyclic and constant change, and yet, there is nothing chaotic about the process.

Every cycle has a pattern – within this pattern are other patterns – all inter relating and affecting each other. If there is an extreme action within a cycle the response is usually an opposing extreme reaction. An example could be a drought followed by a flood. The interesting thought here is that the corresponding reaction is often enough to return the situation to a balance.

No Pills

The Chinese,  are not a nation of pill poppers, but the method of our cooking helps us reduce any unwanted fat. We tend to sauté or steam our vegetables or double boil our soups so that the nutrients or life force of the plants remain in the soup.

We use a lot of red/black dates and bitter gourd to purify our blood and proper Chinese cooking has got no MSG. Ginseng roots are often used to ‘warm’ and build immunity. We’ll be looking at this topic in more detail another time.

Holistic Harmony

A characteristic of the Chinese lifestyle is to help and support the immune system by harmonizing and balancing the subtle energies of the body e.g. lung, gall bladder, digestive, kidney, liver systems.

Continued fat storage and the resultant gain of excess weight is a sure sign that the system is out of balance. This can be due to a number of factors. This can include poor diet– imbalanced or deficient in all that the body requires; Stress– a particularly western phenomena; Illness– due to multiple factors as we shall see later

Compare Chinese with Western Medicine

Conventional Eastern medicine Western medicine or Allopathy
1. Excels in treatment of chronic diseases Good for Treatment for trauma and emergencies
2. Focus on treating the root cause rather than covering up the symptoms and prevention Focus on relief of symptoms
3. Is a generalist, considering the unique individual and uses holistic approach to treatment Its organ specific, therefore we have organ specialists, e.g. ophthalmologists, cardiologists, and neurologists
4. Believes in gentle, long-term support to allow self healing of the body. For asthma, TCM Doctor may prescribe diffusion of the eucalyptus, thyme or basilic essential oils to support the lungs, as essential oils through diffusion not only eliminates the bacteria in the air, allowing the body to build its immune system besides giving specific healing properties of the healingOR, using magnolia pure essential oils to massage the lung meridian system or to put it on a hankerchief and sniff it all day to clear the air passagesTCM Dr would also suggest that patient stays away from eating ‘cold’ food e.g. cucumber and stay away from drinking cold water. Believes in aggressive intervention to treat diseases. Prefers ‘quick fixes’. Eg asthma, doctors would prescribe nebulizers, to suppress the symptoms.
5. Tested, natural remedies, poultices, bathing in herbs and gentle hands on treatment, like massage, cupping, acupuncture, aromatherapy, colon hydrotherapy Techniques used consists of radiation, chemotherapy, surgery and pharmaceutical drugs.
6. Accept that the body is suffused by a network of channels (meridians) that carry a subtle form of life energy. Imbalances or blockages of this energy are what lead to disease and clearing of the blockages and strengthening of the energy is the ultimate goal of alternative medicine. Sees the body as a mechanical system (the heart is a pump and the kidneys are a filter) and believes most disorders can be traced to chemical imbalances and therefore are best treated with powerful chemicals (drugs).
7. Most alternative medicine practitioners have no herbal companies giving them free samples to try on their patients. There are no pharmaceutical company giving them constraints and pressures and can give the patient their undivided attention.Hence, TCM Dr would also guide the patient holistically. In healing the body, one needs a positive mental attitude and also be stable emotionally and spiritually.A TCM Dr when facing a hot tempered patient, he would check the condition of the patient’s liver! He would choose a suitable herb to ‘cool’ him down. Meaning, his liver needs to be detoxified. Conventional medicine practice is intimately tied in with the whole medico-pharmaceutical-industrial complex whose first priority is to make a profit.Although most physicians have “healing the patient” as their first priority, they find it increasingly difficult to do so while operating within the system with its pharmaceutical salesmen, its rule books, its fear of malpractice suits, its endless paperwork to satisfy bureaucrats and insurance companies, and its time pressures
8. Prefers the patient to take a highly active part in both prevention and treatment Conventional medicine prefers patients to be passive and accept their treatment without too many questions
9. Alternative medicine ascribe to the principle “Do no harm” and essentially, they do achieve their ultimate goal So does conventional medicine ascribe to the principle “Do no harm” but their track records proves otherwise.Blood infections acquired in American hospitals cause 62,000 fatalities every year and bypass surgery results in 25,000 strokes a year. Two million patients experience adverse drug reactions in hospitals in the United States every year; of these, over 100,000 die making hospital-induced adverse drug reactions the fourth leading cause of death after heart disease, cancer, and stroke
11. It is only in the recent years that acupuncture has been accepted by WHO as a medical treatment.Just as essential oils are gaining popularity with more clinical studies showing their anti viral and anti bacterial effect coupled with the individual healing properties. However, in Asia, aromatherapy needs no introduction as it’s a practice science for the last 5,000 years.Yoga, Chi Kong and Tai Chi have gained popularly rather than the high impact exercises of the western world.40% healing takes place through massages, with the right combination of pure essential oils (mixture of eastern and western) and with the knowledge of your meridian systems, the healing is as high as 80%!How does it work? There is healing in touch. The skin being the largest sensory organ of the body, massage stimulates and release ‘happy’ hormones (endorphins) which helps to block pain signals to the brain.

Massage increases intensity and frequency of alpha brain waves associated with deep relaxation, reduce blood lactates, blood substances associated with anxiety.

Self Meridian massage by using a quasa (scaping) board on one self, helps organ health maintenance is now gaining popularity, together with foot reflexology and aromatherapy massages.

As an e.g. if one had insomnia. The Chinese would put 1 or 2 drops of Bel Air ‘Nepenthe’ essential oil in the middle of the palm, at the base of the little finger (heart meridian) and one or two drops on the heart, anticlockwise. The chronic cases, they would add Bel Air “Vital Meridian” a blend of 23 chinese herbs and western essential oils and scape the neck, temple and shoulder and downwards strokes from neck to the base of the spine.

Within 20 minutes, the patient will fall asleep not U. Some have fallen asleep in 5 minutes!


The major source of funds for medical research is pharmaceutical companies who, not surprisingly, are very reluctant to support investigations into lifestyle modifications, vitamins, and other unpatentable products.Nevertheless, a growing number of medical researchers are focusing their attention on natural supplements and remedies and are publishing their work in mainstream journals.The benefits of antioxidants have now been thoroughly documented by researchers at the Harvard Medical School and similar prestigious institutions. Folic acid, a simple B vitamin, has also been extensively studied in university laboratories and has been found to be effective in preventing or ameliorating heart attacks, strokes, angina, atherosclerosis, kidney disease, colon cancer, hearing loss, and Alzheimer’s diseaseFor the west, they would be given sleeping tablets, melatonin or valium. In the long run, these drugs impact one’s kidney.
2. Fraction of the cost at the hospitals Specialist Hospitals are become a lucrative industry

Different Methods

Traditional Chinese medicine uses a number of different method to administer its remedies. It has been found scientifically that bio availability of medication taken in the following form has the following results

  • Pills and capsules, only 10-15%
  • Patches or massages-40%
  • Drinking-50%
  • Injection-80%
  • Inhaling – 100%

So it obviously makes sense to use the most effective of these methods as often as you can

Drink Yourself Fit

As I said earlier, our ‘medication’ is more an integrated part of our lifestyle than a separate entity. We need to drink fluids each day so why not use that to deliver nutrition? This is a very effective method because the body will easily metabolise half of nutrients in this form. So half of the nutrients and other good stuff will find its way very quickly in to our bloodstream. That way, merely drinking green tea will increase the effectiveness of your immune system two fold!.

One of the ways of losing weight is by eliminating toxics and fats from our body through just drinking hot green tea with no sugar or milk. It is a natural elixir. Green tea contains a high content of vitamins, minerals , particularly from the “cathechin” family, containing powerful antioxidants. Scientifically, its proven that it appears to be the panacea to many modern illnesses.

Purdue University suggested that drinking more than four cups of green tea a day could provide enough of the active compound EGC to slow and prevent the growth of cancer cells. Other research shows that green tea may be a promising weapon in the fight against cancers of the breast, stomach, colon, bladder, prostate, oesohagus and liver.

One study even pointed out that although Japan has one of the highest rate of smokers in the world, they have one of the lowest rates of lung cancer of any developed nation because the Japanese have long consumed green tea with their meals.

Green tea is drunk with neither milk nor sugar. While the western fashion is to take black tea with both. If Goat’s milk were used then is good, it is closest to mother’s milk but not cow’s milk. That’s best for cattle! Coca Cola and other canned or bottled drinks, has 10 teaspoons of sugar. Iced lemon tea, or coffee very much the same. Note, that one cup of coffee takes a further 5 litres of water to flush the caffeine out of the body system!

Can Green Tea Replace Exercise?

If you are trying to lose weight, sipping green tea may be the only workout you need according to some researches. In a study at the University of Geneva, Switzerland, green tea appeared to raise metabolic rates and speed up fat loss.

From the list earlier, we can see that body absorbs this most effectively by inhalation. Inhaling a weight reducing agent will be the most effective way to encourage weight lost. With this in mind, consider diffusing aromatherapy pure essential oils of green tea . They are 100% safe, with no side effects. It is also anti tumor, anti cancer and anti cellulite and by the way, it is also anti-aging.

An understanding of essential oils.

The ancient delicate art of extracting the subtle, yet volatile liquids that are distilled from plants, shrubs, flowers, trees, bushes and seeds produces what we have come to know as Essential Oils.

Science, through quantum physics are testifying to the incredible value of the healing power of essential oils, which are the life blood of the plant kingdom.

Documented scientific clinical studies show Essential Oils to be:

  • Immune-stimulating
  • Anti-viral Anti-infectious
  • Anti-bacterial Anti-microbial
  • Anti-septic Anti-tumor
  • Anti-fungal Anti-parasitic

Interestingly, all of these oils are available to everyone without the need of a prescription. This is not folklore, but reality! The efficacy of these oils is backed by scientific research and over 6,000 years of use.

One of the many incredible aspects of the oils is their amazing ability to penetrate and carry nutrients through the cell wall to the cell nucleus. They literally “fly” through the thickest cell walls. This is so due to the oxygenating molecules found in the oils which transport the nutrients, then delivers them through the cell for feeding the nucleus. The oils are nature’s most effective catalyst and delivery agent for feeding cells.

Our bodies are indeed marvelous. Incredibly complex but under normal circumstances each system, organ and cell moving in rhythm. As one speed up so do others as an example, when you exercise, your heart rate goes up to pump more blood around to the parts of the body that need it AND your breathing increases to get the oxygen into the blood in the first place. Now should the system get out of rhythm say by your breathing speeding up without your heart rate increasing. Then that would obviously cause a problem (Hyperventilation).

In the modern world, there are many things that could cause this to happen.

Every day the body is bombarded by many, many pollutants. Its amazing that it copes as well as it does. However, this relentless attack will eventually takes it toll and the bodies systems will get out of sync with each other.

Essential oils are probably one of the most effective ways to retune the bodies system – bringing the various organs, glands and even the nervous system back into unison. And the body as a whole back to a state of good health.

For health professionals – further information on how this works can be found here.

Using Essential Oils

Further research has shown that with their immune-stimulating properties, essential oils enhance and support the building of the immune system, whether they be inhaled or applied on the body topically. Even those who contract a cold or the flu recover 70 percent faster using essential oils.

Perhaps one of the greatest attributes of essential oils is their ability to purify the air we breathe. When diffused in the home they release oxygenating molecules into the atmosphere where they stay suspended for several hours to destroy and prevent bacteria, fungus, mold, and freshen the air with natural fragrances.

In addition to removing dust from the air, the diffused oils allow us to breathe in their wonderful antiviral, antibacterial and antiseptic properties. This is the most perfect way to improve our home environment, either to help us relax, relieve tension and headaches, dispel odors, or just create an atmosphere of peace and harmony. If you have children, or suffer from Emphysema, Sinusitis, Asthma, and allergies, diffusing essential oils into your home will make an essential difference for you and your family’s health.

Some Common Questions

What potions are there available that will really help me lose weight or control my hunger?

Green Tea is the fastest, as indicated above. Also, rubbing angelica ardent into the Cho San Li point, on the stomach meridian line will help. Massage anti clockwise with the oil will increase your metabolic rates and therefore burn your energy and fats, thus reducing one’s weight. (Angelica Ardent oil contains rose oil, primrose oil and tong kui herbs)

For some want who wants to gain weight, then the essential oils to use are apple and argumes. These essential oils are good for those who are recovering from illnesses as it whets their appetite.


Can essential oils be used for other purposes that would make weight control easier

If your elimination system is not function, you may want to use the Bel Air magnolia essential oil, (anti inflammation), Bel Air forsythia (support of the liver) together with the ‘vital meridian’ oils as base oil, a key signature Bel Air meridian massage oil (only kind in the world at the moment that combines 18 chinese herbs and the 5 western essential oils including frankinscene and myrrh) to support the proper functioning of your liver, stomach, digestive system and your spleen through meridian massage oils.

Massage is not something you would immediately associate with weight control – how can it help?

If you want to lose weight and get rid of stubborn fats, the meridian massage, particularly on the stomach, digestive and lymphatic systems will be massaged to speed up the detoxification and hence the loss of body weight.

It is noted US Health and Human Services, in admitted that “over 90% of Americans are walking around with clogged colons”. Dr Harvey Kellogg wrote that of the 22,000 operations I have personally performed, I have never found a single normal colon”. Most people do not know that on the average, person stores between 2-10kg of waste matter accumulated over the years in the colon! Clean the colon, you would have an instant weight reduction! Now, there are DIY colon hydrotherapy machines.

If you are constipated, what you can do to help yourself and not strain yourself in the bathroom is to stand up and massage your tummy, anti clockwise ten times and clockwise ten times and repeat it twice more. However, if you had bad constipation, magnolia pure essential oils will help with any stomach inflammation from within.



Four Q’s to Successful Fat Loss

Fit Photo by Life Mental Health

1. Questions

Many folk fail to ask themselves why they want to lose fat. By not asking detailed enough questions, you fall victim to only giving yourself vague reasons and vague goals. If you don’t know exactly where the goal is you will find it almost impossible to score.

2. Quantity

Make sure you absolutely know how much you should be eating for your activity level, and body size. (Height and frame type). Eating too little can be as self-defeating as eating too much.

The other quantities you absolutely must know are the size and weight you want to be when you reach your target. Notice that was size and weight. The most important of these is actually the size you want to be, as your weight can be influenced by the type of exercise you do to help achieve your goal.

3. Quality

You really are what you eat. People who eat junk and processed food on a consistent basis really do have lower health levels than those who take full responsibility for what they put into their bodies.

Just have a look at the long list of preservative and taste enhancers that you find on the ingredients list of commercially produced food.

The only way you can almost guarantee not to be slowly poisoned by them is to prepare your food from quality, fresh and preferably organically sourced ingredients. Which for the most part need not cost any more if you do you shopping wisely.

4. Quitting

In a word… Don’t

Churchill’s admonition to never, never, never give up was spot on particularly for those in the battle against the bulge.

That seemingly weeks going by with no movement in the scales does not mean your overall condition is not improving either. And remeber – using weight to measure how much you have lost is not the best way to see how you are doing anyway

Does eating More Fibre Make a Difference?

77042473It’s a certain fact that many folk on low carb diets don’t take enough notice of how much fibre they eat. If this is left to the extreme it can cause many problems. However, as we will see from this short article, the remedy is simple and effective

According to dieticians in the UK, their recommendation is that people should be eating between 18-24 grams of fibre a day.  However, a recent survey sponsored by one of the large supermarkets has shown that the average UK intake is just 12grams.  So the question is: can changing your diet and increasing your fibre give your digestive system a new lease of life?

Studies have shown that one way of decreasing colon cancer is to ensure that the food travelling from the mouth through the digestive system to the anus, when kept on the move, will prevent potentially harmful waste products from being easily absorbed.  In a recent test – Dr Mark McAlindon, who is a consultant gastro-entroologist at the Royal Halampshire Hospital in Sheffield, carried out a recent test showing that increasing fibre can indeed quite dramatically change the way our bodies handle food.

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Avocados Help Lower Cholesterol

imagesAn avocado a day might help keep bad cholesterol at bay.

Eating one per day as part of a certain heart-healthy, cholesterol-lowering diet can help improve “bad” LDL cholesterol levels in people who are overweight or obese, according to a small study in the Journal of the American Heart Association.

Cholesterol is a type of fat made by the body. It’s key for good health. But high levels, often caused by an unhealthy diet, can raise the risk of heart disease and stroke. Being overweight raises your risk of having high LDL levels.

Avocados are a source of monounsaturated fat, which is good for you when eaten in moderation. They’re also rich in vitamins, minerals, fiber, compounds that block cholesterol absorption in the body (phytosterols), and antioxidants that can play a role in preventing cancer and heart disease (polyphenols).

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