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The Many Benefits of Graviola Leaves
October 25, 2022 12:11 PM
The graviola tree, also known as soursop or Annona muricata, is found in tropical areas of the world and has a long history of use by traditional herbalists. Graviola leaves contain acetogenins, which are active constituents that can support healthy cell growth and function.* Other active compounds in graviola leaves have free radical scavenging properties.* This blog post will discuss the many benefits of graviola leaves.
The Health Benefits of Graviola Leaves
Graviola leaves are rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds, which are thought to contribute to the health benefits of this traditional remedy.* Some of the potential health benefits associated with graviola leaves include:
Immune system support* - Graviola leaves are thought to help support the immune system due to their high concentration of antioxidants.* These antioxidants help to protect cells from damage caused by free radicals.* Additionally, graviola leaves contain kaempferol, a compound that has been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties.* This may be beneficial for people who suffer from conditions characterized by chronic inflammation, such as asthma and arthritis.*
Digestive support* - The active compound annonacin found in graviola leaves is thought to help relieve gastrointestinal discomfort.* This makes graviola an effective natural remedy for digestive issues such as indigestion, bloating, and diarrhea.*
Cancer-fighting properties* - Some preliminary studies suggest that acetogenins found in graviola may help to fight cancer cells.* These studies are ongoing, but the potential cancer-fighting properties of graviola make it a promising natural remedy worth further exploration.
Graviola leaves have a long history of use in traditional medicine and recent scientific studies have begun to uncover the many potential health benefits of this powerful natural remedy.* If you are interested in exploring graviola as a possible treatment for an existing condition or simply as a way to boost your overall health, Consider Now Foods brand of Graviola and give it a try today!
Propolis: The Miraculous Healing Medicine of Antiquity
May 16, 2022 03:10 PM
Imagine a natural medicine that is antiviral, antibacterial, and capable of conquering chronic allergies, preventing and treating cancer, and eliminating fungal and parasitic infections. This medicine exists! It is called propolis, and it has been used as a healing remedy for centuries. We will explore the miraculous properties of propolis and how it can benefit your health!
What is propolis and where does it come from
Propolis is a resin-like substance that bees use to build and repair their hives. It is made from a variety of plant materials, including tree sap, buds, and flowers. Propolis is also known as "bee glue" because of its sticky consistency. bees collect propolis from plants and then add their own enzymes to it, which helps to cure it. Once cured, propolis is used to seal cracks in the hive and fight off bacteria and other invading organisms. Propolis also has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, which is why it is often used in natural medicines.
How does propolis benefit your health
This natural substance is also rich in antioxidants, making it beneficial for human health. Numerous studies have shown that propolis can help to boost the immune system, fight inflammation, and improve gut health. Additionally, propolis has been shown to have anti-cancer properties and to be effective against a variety of infections. As a result, this unique substance can be an important part of a healthy lifestyle. While more research is needed to fully understand the potential benefits of propolis, there is no doubt that this natural substance can have a positive impact on your health.
How to use propolis for good health
Propolis is a sticky substance that bees use to build and repair their hives. It is also known for its wide range of health benefits. Propolis has antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties, making it an effective treatment for wounds and skin conditions. It can also help to boost immune system function and fight off infection. When taken internally, propolis can help to soothe the throat and relieve congestion. In addition, propolis has been shown to have cancer-fighting properties. To get the maximum health benefits from propolis, it should be taken in capsule form or as a tincture.
Are there side effects?
Propolis can cause side effects in some people. The most common side effects include itching, redness, and swelling at the site of application. In rare cases, propolis can also cause an allergic reaction. If you experience any side effects after using propolis, discontinue use.
Q: Can propolis be used on open wounds?
A: Yes, propolis can be used on open wounds. It has antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties, which makes it an effective treatment for cuts and scrapes.
Q: How long does it take for propolis to work?
A: The time it takes for propolis to work varies depending on the condition being treated. For example, if you are using propolis to treat a skin condition, you may see results within a few days. However, if you are taking propolis to boost your immune system or fight off infection, it may take a week or two to notice any benefits.
Q: Is propolis safe for children?
A: Yes, propolis is safe for children. However, it is important to note that children may be more likely to experience side effects from propolis than adults.
Q: Can I take propolis if I'm pregnant or breastfeeding?
A: There is no evidence that propolis is harmful to pregnant or breastfeeding women.
As you can see, propolis has a wide range of health benefits. It is a powerful antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory agent, making it effective for treating wounds and skin conditions. It can also help to boost immune system function and fight off infection. When taken internally, propolis can help to soothe the throat and relieve congestion. In addition, propolis has been shown to have cancer-fighting properties. To get the most out of propolis, it is best to take it in capsule form or as a tincture.
Green Tea Extracts: The Best Source of EGCG for Cognitive Health, Cellular Defense, and Mental Well-being
April 25, 2022 04:27 PM
Green tea is one of the most popular beverages in the world, and for good reason. It has a delicious flavor and offers a variety of health benefits. One of the most beneficial compounds found in green tea is epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), a catechin polyphenol that has been extensively studied for its positive effects on cognitive health, cellular defense, metabolism, and mental well-being. We will take a closer look at EGCG and discuss why it is such an important compound for optimal health.
What is EGCG
EGCG is short for epigallocatechin gallate, a type of polyphenol that is found in green tea. In addition to its potential health benefits, EGCG is also a powerful antioxidant. Studies have shown that it can help to protect cells from damage caused by free radicals. EGCG has also been shown to boost metabolism and reduce inflammation. Furthermore, some research suggests that it may even have cancer-fighting properties. While more studies are needed to confirm these effects, EGCG is a promising compound with a wide range of potential applications.
How does it work in the body
EGCG is a polyphenol compound that is found in high levels in green tea. Polyphenols are a type of phytochemical, which are plant-based chemicals that have a number of health-promoting properties. EGCG is the most abundant polyphenol in green tea, and it is thought to be responsible for many of the health benefits associated with green tea consumption. In the body, EGCG can bind to certain enzymes and proteins, preventing them from performing their normal functions. For example, EGCG has been shown to inhibit the activity of angiogenesis, which is the growth of new blood vessels. This may explain why green tea consumption has been linked with lower rates of cancer and cardiovascular disease. Additionally, EGCG has been shown to boost metabolism and promote fat loss. However, more research is needed to confirm these effects in humans. Overall, EGCG appears to be a potent phytochemical with a wide range of potential health benefits. Further research is needed to fully understand its mechanisms of action and therapeutic potential.
Why is it important for health and longevity
Epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG) is the most active and abundant catechin in tea. It is a polyphenol that has attracted much attention for its potential health benefits, which include cancer prevention, cardiovascular protection, and neuroprotection. EGCG has also been shown to boost metabolism and promote weight loss. In addition, EGCG has been linked with longevity. Studies in both animals and humans have shown that EGCG can increase lifespan and protect against age-related diseases. These findings suggest that EGCG may be an important key to health and longevity.
The benefits of EGCG
Below are some FAQs that might help:
Q: How much green tea should I drink per day?
A: It is recommended to drink three to five cups of green tea per day to reap the most benefits.
Q: What are some good ways to add green tea into my diet?
A: You can add green tea to your diet by drinking it as a beverage, taking green tea supplements, or adding matcha powder to smoothies or baking recipes.
Q: What are some of the possible side effects of green tea?
A: Green tea is generally safe for most people, but it can cause digestive issues in some individuals. It is also important to note that green tea contains caffeine, so it should be consumed in moderation if you are sensitive to this stimulant.
Free Radical Damage and Green Tea
Free radicals can damage cells, which can lead to health problems over time. You know that free radicals are bad for you, but what can you do about them?
Green tea with EGCG is a great way to protect yourself from the damaging effects of free radicals. EGCG is a powerful antioxidant that can help protect cells from damage caused by these harmful molecules.
Red raspberry found to prevent head and neck cancers fromdeveloping and spreading
May 14, 2019 04:28 PM
Nasopharyngeal cancer is a form of cancer that unfortunately has a high rate of spreading to other areas of the body. A certain form of red raspberry called the Rubus idaeus has been shown to inhibit the ability of the cancer cells from spreading to other parts of the body. Not only can Rubus idaeus help fight off certain forms of cancer, but it also helps protect against diabetes while protecting the heart and sustaining eye health.
"Nasopharyngeal cancer is a type of cancer that has a high incidence of spreading to a different part of the body, particularly in the neck lymph nodes."
Read more: https://www.naturalnews.com/2019-03-26-red-raspberry-prevents-head-and-neck-cancers.html
A compound found in goldenseal proven to possess cancer-fightingproperties
May 07, 2019 04:20 PM
Berberine is a yellow compound found in goldenseal that has traditionally been used as both a dye and a medicine. Recently, a group of Japanese researchers found that berberine may induce cell death in cancer cells — especially leukemia cells — and prevent their proliferation. Berberine may also be quite effective in moderating blood sugar and promoting the growth of good bacteria in the digestive tract. It may also help in losing weight and moderating cholesterol levels.
"The research team found that after five to 15 minutes of treatment, berberine exhibited powerful antiproliferative activity in the cells."
Read more: https://www.naturalnews.com/2019-03-26-compound-goldenseal-cancer-fighting-properties.html
Can reishi mushrooms help prevent cancer and other life-threateningdiseases?
May 03, 2019 03:59 PM
Reishi mushrooms and reishi extract have substantial health benefits, especially for boosting your immune system. Reishi mushrooms include a diverse array of bioactive compounds that, collectively, may boost cellular metabolism and restore the efficiency that the immune system tends to lose over time. Studies also indicate that reishi mushroom compounds may help induce immune cells to target cancer cells more aggressively, and boost the cancer-fighting functions of the spleen and thymus. Reishi mushrooms extracts may also help boost your overall immune system response against viruses and other pathogens.
"Reishi mushroom extracts can block the human immunodeficiency virus, hepatitis B virus, and other infectious microbes from compromising the health of the targeted organs."
Read more: https://www.naturalnews.com/2019-03-28-can-reishi-mushrooms-help-prevent-cancer-and-other-life-threatening-diseases.html
Is celery the powerful anti-cancer weapon we have all been waitingfor?
April 27, 2019 09:53 AM
Celery is known for being a low calorie vegetable that is also a good source of vitamins, minerals and dietary fiber. However, the biggest (and perhaps most overlooked) health benefit of celery lies in its cancer-fighting properties. Two important antioxidants found in celery - apigenin and luteolin - are the key. Among other benefits, Apigenin has been shown to inhibit the growth of tumors, while Luteolin interferes with cancer cells' replication cycles. Whether you eat it raw or incorporate it into smoothies, soups or stews, celery doesn't just taste good, it can extend your life.
"Research has shown that celery contains two important antioxidants, called apigenin and luteolin, which have exhibited some potent chemopreventive effects."
Read more: https://www.naturalnews.com/2019-03-06-is-celery-the-powerful-anti-cancer-weapon-we-have-all-been-waiting-for.html
Lycopene Can Help in Preventing Cancer And Cardiovascular Diseases
September 06, 2018 05:52 PM
Tomatoes are a widely-used and highly nutritious fruit whose juice contains abundant amounts of the antioxidant lycopene, as well as both beta and alpha carotene and many other vitamins and minerals. Tomato juice can help you lose weight and trim your waistline due to its high fiber and low sodium, and can also help improve your cholesterol. Lycopene also appears to have cancer-fighting properties as well. Tomato juice can also help your body detoxify itself, and foster healthy skin.
"Tomato is a very commonly used fruit which we use in our day to day diet. Tomato can be consumed raw in many recipes as well. It can also be consumed as a juice. The taste of tomato juice is similar to that of a raw tomato which tastes salty."
Read more: https://tophealthjournal.com/1554/lycopene-can-help-in-preventing-cancer-and-cardiovascular-diseases/
Asparagus: The Cancer-Fighting, Fibrous Superfood
May 26, 2018 05:16 PM
Asparagus does more than just help promote digestive health. It also is known for containing something called rutin, which is a flavonoid that has the ability to help reduce the risk of blood clots. Studies with rats have also shown that consumption of asparagus over a ten week time span can result in more regulated blood pressure in those who are suffering from hypertensive symptoms. Asparagus also contains glutathione, which is known for boosting the human immune system.
"Asparagus is a low-calorie vegetable rich in antioxidants, minerals and anti-inflammatory properties. Asparagus also contains rutin – a flavonoid that helps to treat haemorrhoids and prevent blood clots."
Read more: http://www.longevitylive.com/anti-aging-beauty/anti-aging-health-studies/asparagus-superfood/
Dandelion Root Benefits vs. Dandelion Greens Benefits
November 26, 2017 07:59 AM
Dandelions have a bad reputation as weeds and pest plants. In fact, dandelions have been considered healing greens in many ancient cultures. Both root and leaves are edible and contain healing properties. They contain high levels of vitamin A and other nutrients and are used as diuretics and pain relievers. You can cook greens like any leafy vegetable and the root can be baked or roasted and used as a coffee drink. Dandelion is also common as a tea.
"Both the root and the greens of the dandelion are high in nutrients and commonly used as both natural remedies and versatile ingredients."
Read more: https://draxe.com/dandelion-root/
Why you should NEVER hit the snooze button on your alarm clock - and always get 8 hours of sleep!
September 20, 2017 12:14 PM
Getting enough sleep is important. That is when your body recharges. It is good for your physical and mental health to get enough. This will keep you from having to hit your snooze button a lot in the mornings as well, and this will help you get places on time. Not getting enough sleep can hurt your schooling or job since you can't get up and there on time. This is not good for you. You could even be fired over it.
"Professor Michael Irwin, a sleep scientist at the University of California, Los Angeles, has performed landmark studies revealing just how quickly and comprehensively a brief dose of short sleep can affect cancer-fighting immune cells."
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-4874174/Why-never-hit-snooze-button.html
Cancer-fighting super foods
August 30, 2017 12:14 PM
A diet high in phytonutrients, which are contained in vegetables is recommended to all persons to fight off cancer causing cells. In fact, it is recommended that people eat five to nine full servings of fresh fruits and vegetables daily. The article says that it recommends six of these fresh foods in particular. What is interesting is that it only mentions five. The ones listed are broccoli, berries, tomatoes, walnuts, and garlic. The list of cancers mentioned that are fought off by these particular fresh foods is an astounding number.
"Broccoli helps fight breast, liver, lung, prostate, skin, stomach, and bladder cancers."
Read more: http://www.thedailystar.net/health/health-tips/cancer-fighting-super-foods-1454506
Here's how to recognise food rich in cancer-fighting antioxidants
March 19, 2017 11:44 AM
There is a way in which you can recognize foods that are rich in cancer fighting antioxidants. A very reliable clue is found in the color of the food. Anti cancer compounds are usually found in the more brightly colored foods. Anti oxidants are recognized for their anti cancer properties and are found in a wide range of foods.
"In fact, these anti-cancer compounds are mainly found in the brightly coloured fruit and vegetables that liven up our plates."
9 natural health benefits of Bee Propolis
January 24, 2017 07:59 AM
Everyone knows the benefit bees offer for pollination, but many do not know that they also offer some substances that are pretty healthy for humans. Honey, of course, is known to have therapeutic properties. Bee propolis, or bee glue, is a resin produced when bees digest tree sap. They mainly use it to patch up holes in the hive, but consumption by humans has been known to help fight inflammation, cancer, food poisoning, and high blood pressure. This chemical has many different forms that can be used, including lozenges and capsules.
"Due to its antimicrobial properties, the three most common microorganisms associated with food poisoning – Enterobacter faecalis, Staphylococcus aureus and C. jejuni – can be fought using bee propolis."
Does Broccoli Really Fight Cancer?
May 27, 2014 05:23 PM
What is a broccoli?
Cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli is known to have numerous health benefits within the body. In addition, many studies have proved that broccoli has another element known as sulforaphane that has cancer-fighting properties.
Benefits of broccoli
A recent study by the Oregon State University, suggested that sulforaphane is a powerful antioxidant in broccoli and many other cruciferous vegetables do have the power and the ability to kill cancer cells, thus leaving the prostate cells unaffected.
Sulforaphane is also another potent antioxidant that has the ability to inhibit HDAC enzymes known as histone deacetylase and play a vital role in suppressing tumor-like genes thus making a perfect solution to cancer treatment. HDAC in Cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli is known to have numerous health benefits within the body. In addition, many studies have proved that broccoli has another element known as sulforaphane that has cancer-fighting properties.
A recent study by the Oregon State University, suggested that sulforaphane is a powerful antioxidant in broccoli and many other cruciferous vegetables do have the power and the ability to kill cancer cells, thus leaving the prostate cells unaffected.
Sulforaphane is also another potent antioxidant that has the ability to inhibit HDAC enzymes known as histone deacetylase and play a vital role in suppressing tumor-like genes thus making a perfect solution to cancer treatment. HDAC inhibition is another very promising cancer treatment and many researchers have found that it is associated with broccoli. Cancer is often characterized by the inappropriate cell growth, however, HDAC inhibitors has the ability of restoring cells to normalcy in terms of function and thus the most effective cure of cancer.
Other studies have also demonstrated the cancer-fighting ability of the cruciferous vegetables. In the year 2009, Victoria Kirsh., of Toronto Cancer Care Ontario and her team discovered that eating vegetables and fruits in general was associated with the decreased prostate cancer risk, making it one of the best ways of enhancing health. This remarkable compound in broccoli is among the strongest anti-cancer elements in the body.
It is important to recall that you cook your broccoli in the best way possible since this will preserve the elements that helps in fighting cancer. In addition, Broccoli has myrosinase that helps in the formation of sulforaphane. You need to remember that Myrosinase is an element that can be destroyed through overcooking the broccoli. You should only steam it for 2 to 4 minutes. In conclusion, the above information should convince on the incredible ability to cure the cancer cells that are found within the body.
Are Pumpkin Seeds Healthy For Men and Women?
February 04, 2014 06:45 PM
Pumpkin seeds have been gaining traction around health circles in recent months and all for the right reasons. These greenish flat-shelled seeds that pumpkin lovers have been throwing away for years have been proven through tests to contain a whole lot of nutrients.
According to www.whfoods.com, tests showed improved insulin regulation helping reduce prevalence of diabetes thanks to the various unique protein types in pumpkin seeds
Pumpkin seeds are rich in omega 3 fats that help prevent BPH - Benign Prostatic Hypertrophy a condition where the prostrate gland becomes enlarged.They also contain cancer-fighting compounds known as cucurbitacins that kill cancer cells.According to www.health.yahoo.net , recent research has shown that eating pumpkin seeds lowered risk of breast cancer in post menopausal women by 23%.
Pumpkin seeds contain tryptotophan that converts various amino-acids to serotonin which is known to improve sleep and lower depression
Thanks to the zinc, manganese and various types of Vitamin E, pumpkin seeds are also great anti-oxidants for the body for both men and women of all ages.
According to www.healthyeating.sfgate.com, pumpkin seeds improve blood flow in the body by thinning blood due to its vitamin E elements and also helps in blood clotting and bone development due to vitamin K.
1. Rich in magnesium which aids in heart-related ailments
How Does Chlorella Improve Your Health?
November 04, 2013 05:06 AM
What is Chlorella
Chlorella is made by two cycle periods that determine the total cell size and length. A timer usually runs through the G1 phase and it leads to the cell attainment prior to S phase without further growth requirement. The cycle is consistent with increments of size control. It multiplies rapidly through photosynthesis and requires only three basic conditions to reproduce namely; water, carbon dioxide and sunlight. There are various health benefits of chlorella including;
Chlorella is rich in various types of vitamins including; A, B1, B2, B6, B12, C and E. It provides the nutrients as a whole food bundle that is way superior than manufactured formula.
Chlorella is rich in magnesium that helps in improving blood sugar levels, mental health and heart health. It also contains other rich minerals including; iron, potassium and calcium.
Chlorella is a rich protein source and it also contains important amino acids. The amino acids are used by the body for rebuilding neurotransmitters and lean tissues.
Chlorella is very effective in binding with toxic chemicals and heavy metals. The toxins are removed from the body hence bringing a positive health impact.
Chlorella increases the body energy. It is also very effective in elevating moods and it is way stronger than taking super food.
Chlorella has amazing cancer-fighting abilities due its rich natural carotenoids that prevent oxidation. It also has the ability to nourish the system.
Chlollera helps to improve blood sugar levels and insulin over time. It can also improve insulin resistance and diabetes.
Chlollera offers protection against heart disease by improving LDL cholesterol and triglyceride. It also has strong antioxidant properties.
Chlollera has unique properties that can lower body fat. It can also improve insulin sensitivity and aid fat metabolism.
What is a Good Uric Acid Cleanse?
January 02, 2013 03:26 PM
Symptoms of Uric Acid:
High levels of uric acid in your blood can lead to a variety of conditions, the most prominent being gout, a painful arthritis condition that results from excess uric acid forming crystals that place pressure against joints, veins, and skin. These high levels of uric acid an be a result of genetics, a poor diet with excess purine or fructose, rapid weight loss, and a reduced excretion by the kidneys.
A good uric acid cleanse can reduce the levels of uric acid in your blood which can treat and prevent gout as well as other conditions related to high levels of uric acid. As well as trying these treatments you should restrict foods with high levels of purine like liver, anchovies, legumes, beer, and wine as well as foods high in fructose like carbonated beverages, fruits that grow on trees, processed and prepared meals, and some condiments.
Here are the top three treatments for cleansing the body of uric acid.
Tart cherries, whether eaten as a whole fruit or in juice form offers powerful anti-inflammatory properties and antioxidants. The consumption of tart cherries has shown evidence of reducing uric acid levels. Studies have shown that eating tart cherries can reduce uric acid levels by 15 percent by destroying the formed crystals that cause pain and inflammation as well as promote muscle recovery and improving oxidative stress resistance.
Celery Seed Extract
Celery seed has been used for centuries to treat and cure illnesses like the common cold, flu, different types of arthritis and pain associated with the liver and spleen. The most common use for celery seed extract is to promote healthy joints with its strong anti-inflammatory properties that reduces pain and swelling in the joints. Celery seed extract can also be used to reduce blood pressure and cholesterol levels, aid digestion and has strong diuretic properties which allows you to excrete excess uric acid through frequent urination.
Turmeric contains many active compounds with anti-inflammatory effects including curcumin which can reduce pain and swelling that is a result of excess uric acid. It is recommended that you take at least one dose of turmeric daily if you are suffering from gout to relieve the symptoms. Turmeric is well researched and has been confirmed to treat symptoms of gout and is used in many traditional Indian and Chinese anti-inflammatory medications. Studies have shown that turmeric contains certain antioxidants that prevent certain types of cancer and can also help relieve symptoms associated with cancer.
If you want to cleanse your body of excess uric acid then you should eliminate foods high in purine and fructose as well as add one of these supplements to your daily schedule.
Not only can these supplements provide a good uric acid cleanse, but it can also help prevent high levels of uric acid from building up as well as reduce or eliminate any symptoms associated with uric acid buildup. They can also provide other benefits like promoting muscle recovery and high energy levels, reducing blood and cholesterol levels, and providing certain cancer-fighting antioxidants.
What Is Kava Root?
December 19, 2012 03:53 PM
Kava root or piper methysticum is a kind of shrub that can be found all throughout the South Pacific islands. Locally called as kava kava, this plant is a close relative of black pepper. Its shrubs have woody roots or rhizomes that contain medicinal properties. People in the South Pacific islands use kava mainly during traditional ceremonies and they have been using this herb as medicine for centuries already.
Traditionally, kava is prepared as a tea or an intoxicating ceremonial beverage. But nowadays, it now comes into several forms such as capsules, extract forms, liquids, tablets, and even topical creams. One of the main benefits of kava is that it promotes relaxation.
Calming effects of kava
Its calming effects are due to a substance called kavalactone. It works almost exactly like a mild sedative and muscle tension reliever. Taking supplements with kava root induces sleep without the hangover effects. Because of that, kava root can help a person sleep easier.
Additionally, the quality of the sleep is also improved. Kava can also elevate the mood of a person promoting the sense of well-being and satisfaction. Kavalactone has calming effects as it can interfere with the brain activity by slightly stimulating the brain waves which eventually make people feel better. Kava is definitely not addictive but its effects may decrease with regular use.
The calming effects of kava root can relieve anxiety, restlessness and some other stress-related symptoms like muscle tension and spasm. Another active compound that naturally occurs in kava is the flavokawain B which is known as a cancer-fighting property. Other potential benefits of kava root include treatment for ADHD or attention deficit disorder, depression and migraine. When applied topically, kava creams and lotions hastens the healing ability of the skin and treat several skin diseases like leprosy.
If taken improperly, kava supplements can only bring about adversarial effects such as drowsiness, dizziness, gastrointestinal issues and tremors.
Nevertheless, kava can still be very beneficial most especially if taken properly.
What are the health benefits of Maitake mushrooms?
May 09, 2012 02:21 PM
Maitake mushrooms are scientifically called Grifola frondosa, and originated from the mountains of north eastern Japan. Loosely translated, maitake is a Japanese word for ‘dancing mushroom'. It is said that people dance for joy once they find one due to its health benefits and value. These mushrooms can be prepared and eaten with a number of foods. Today, they are also found as powders and dietary supplements in tablet or capsule form. Recent studies suggest that they have many anti-cancer and immune system benefits. It is very important to consult a physician before you begin to take these supplements, in order to know the right dosage that will provide health benefits. The following are the health benefits of taking maitake mushrooms every day:
Supports cardiovascular health:
People who eat a diet that includes a generous amount of maitake mushrooms have a reduced risk of developing cardiovascular diseases. Taking these mushrooms daily can significantly decrease the risk of heart disease. Therefore, for a healthy heart, include maitake mushrooms in your diet.
Boosts immune system:
Taking maitake mushrooms in your diet is a simple way to boost your immune system. As we all know, it is important to have a strong immune system for our overall well-being. Otherwise, we cannot be able to fight off infections.
Prevents stomach problems:
Often, indigestion leads to a stomach ache. But there is a solution to this. Consuming maitake mushrooms can help in digestion, therefore preventing a stomach upset.
Lowers high blood pressure:
Studies show that maitake supplements and extracts can work miracles to reduce high blood pressure. Most cardiovascular diseases are caused by high blood pressure.
Relieves side effects of chemotherapy:
It is a well-known fact that chemotherapy has some side effects like hair loss, nausea, and vomiting. Thus, chemotherapy side effects can be effectively managed by daily intake of maitake mushrooms.
Scientific research reveals that taking maitake mushrooms every day can help to regulate the levels of blood glucose, thereby helping to control symptoms of diabetes.
Lowers high cholesterol levels:
People with high levels of cholesterol are at a high risk of suffering heart attacks. As well as diabetes control, studies indicate that maitake mushrooms may also benefit people with high cholesterol problems.
Other health benefits of maitake mushrooms
Besides the above health benefits, maitake mushrooms are also known to have other health benefits, such as their cancer-fighting abilities and weight loss benefits. They are also commonly used as food additives.
Maitake mushrooms for fighting cancer:
Maitake mushrooms have cancer fighting abilities and that's why they should be consumed daily. A recent research showed that maitake mushrooms, consumed in any form, can strengthen the immune system and stimulate production of cells that fight cancer. In simple language, consumption of maitake mushrooms can actually prevent the development of cancer. In addition, maitake mushroom ingredients can also limit cancerous cells from growing.
Maitake mushrooms for weight loss:
According to various studies, maitake mushrooms have been proven to be effective in weight loss. Many eat the mushrooms to help in their weight loss and reduce problems associated with obesity. A diet consisting of maitake mushrooms supplemented with light exercise can significantly help in weight loss.
December 23, 2008 11:44 AM
Although it is important to stress that the fatty acids found in flax are essential, flax also contains substances called lignans. Lignans are special compounds that demonstrate impressive health benefits, as they seem to be responsible for assisting the immune system in many ways, along with helping to prevent some types of cancers.
Because flax contains lignans, it is an even more beneficial to the body when consumed in this form. Flax is one of the most abundant sources of lignans, a type of phytoestrogen that interferes with estrogen metabolism in animals and humans. This property gives lignans the ability to help in the prevention of both fat and hormone-sensitive types of cancer. Lignans also benefit the body by providing antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral activity that helps the immune system to function optimally.
All of the benefits of flax are still yet to be known, but it has been established that flax is also a good source of fiber. There have been several studies which confirm that flaxseed can be a cholesterol-lowering agent similar to oat bran, fruit pectin, and other food ingredients that contain fiber. Because flax packages both omega-3 fatty acids and soluble fiber together, it presents two ingredients which provide healthy blood lipid patterns. Flaxseed contains beneficial amounts of both soluble and insoluble fiber, giving it potential cancer-fighting ability especially in colon cancer.
When selecting a healthy diet, it is important to consider your sources of essential fatty acids. Essential fatty acids are fragile and easily damaged by air, high temperatures, and food processing, so you are unlikely to get all of the EFAs that you need, even if you are careful to use vegetable oils for cooking. Most of the oil that we consume today has been heavily processed, which damages essential fatty acids. When choosing flax oil, you’ll want to take into account the same considerations, looking for oil that has not been damaged by processing and is packaged to block all light from contact with the oil.
Not all flax oils are the same, with there being a great deal of variation in quality and purity as a result in differences of how the oil is expressed. Most flaxseed oils are mechanically pressed out through an expeller, in which great amounts of heat and pressure can be generated. The higher the temperature, the better the yield of oil, but the lower the quality of oil. Many manufactures willingly sacrifice quality for quantity. The best way to measure the quality of oil is by taste, with the degree of bitterness being a close approximation of the level of lipid peroxides. The best source of high quality flaxseed oil can be found in health food stores where inventory turnover is highest.
Some good guidelines to go by in selecting a good flaxseed oil include: making sure the flaxseed oil is derived from 100% certified organic flaxseed; making sure the oil is as fresh as possible and not past the expiration date; making sure that the oil is expeller-pressed or cold pressed; using flaxseed oil that is high in lignans to gain the most benefit.
Fighting fat with fat makes sense with conjugated linoleic acid.
April 03, 2006 04:57 PM
Trimming flab away with CLA
Fighting fat with fat makes sense with conjugated linoleic acid.
Substances that enhance human health and well being can be discovered in all sorts of odd places. Take conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), for example. This unique fatty acid currently under intense study as an aid to help dieters reduce body fat—was first isolated from grilled ground beef in the early 1980’s by researchers at the University of Wisconsin. (CLA is also found in hamburger that ma actually help you slim down? Who knew?
What’s more, CLA (now generally derived from plant sources like safflower oil) also shows promise in two important areas. First, evidence suggests it can slow down some of the steps in cancer’s complex progression. In addition, CLA may help tame excess inflammation.
When you take in more calories through food than you burn off through exercise, all those extra energy units have to go somewhere and if you’re like a lot of folks, they wind up being deposited into your fat cells. Not only are jam-packed fat cells responsible for the dreaded disappearing waistline effect, but they also promote unhealthy changes in blood pressure, cholesterol levels and other makers of possible hazards to your continued well-being.
CLA helps make life miserable for fat cells in several ways. First, it inhibits an enzyme called lipoprotein lipase that shuttles fat molecules from the blood stream into the cells. It encourages lipolysis, or the breakdown of fat that’s already in storage. Finally, in some studies CLA has shown an ability to actually encourage fat cells to commit a form of cellular suicide call apoptosis—which results in fewer places for fat to hide. At the same time, CLA promotes the transport of fat into exercising muscle cells, helping them to both burn off calories and become more toned (and shapely).
CLA Comments: What is it: a special form of linoleic acid, an essential fat: CLA is found naturally in diary foods.
What it does: CLA has shown an ability to help reduce body fat and increase muscle mass (When used as part of a healthy diet and exercise plan); it has also demonstrated cancer-fighting and immune enhancing effects.
While CLA is the subject of ongoing research, early human trials have produced promising results. In Norway, for example, scientists from five separate institutions teamed up for a study involving people who were healthy but over weight. For the first year some of the individuals took CLA while the others took placebo (look-alike) softgels that contained olive oil instead; in the second year, everyone took CLA. At the end of two years, all the people in this study showed significant reductions in body fat, body mass index (BMI), a standard measure of obesity, and weight(Journal of nutrition 4/05).
While battling the bulge is a major goal for many people, fending off cancer may just be America’s number one health concern. And here, too, CLA has come up big in a number of studies, such as a Swedish investigation that shows a link between high CLA intake and reduced colorectal cancer risk (American Journal of Clinical nutrition 10/05). In various lab studies CLA has been shown to interfere with tumor development and keep cancerous cells from spreading to nearby organs.
What’s more, CLA appears to regulate immunity by helping to strengthen the body’s natural defenses while protecting against the inflammatory damage the immune response can cause. That’s important because low-level inflammation has been linked to an ever-growing list of disorders, including cancer, cardiovascular disease and arthritis.
If you want to fight off both fat and cancer without eating a mountain of cheeseburgers, don’t have a cow. Turn to CLA instead.
Pregnant and eating for two...
October 21, 2005 01:36 PM
Not - Quite - Dual - Nutrition
It’s time to ditch a dietary cliché often foisted on expectant moms. “try to keep in mind that you are not eating for two, you are carefully eating for one,” write Catherine Jones and prenatal nutrition expert Rose Ann Hudson in Eating for Pregnancy (Marlowe & Company), who add that pregnancy “is not a time to skip meal, eat junk food or lad up on empty calories for quick energy.” The idea is to eat a nutritious diet that allows you to gain weight gradually as your baby grows.
It helps to be at a healthy weight when starting a family. Being overweight makes conception more difficult, and at least one study ahs found a link between excess maternal weight and the risk of a birth defect called cleft palate (in which the roof of the mouth is split from behind the teeth to the nasal cavity). However, dieting during pregnancy may actually program a child for obesity by rewiring the developing brain, so try to lose weight before you try to conceive.
How much should you expect to gain over the course of nine months? “A lot depends on your unique circumstances and the advice of your health care provider, but in general you can anticipate adding from two to five pounds a month for the first 14 weeks and roughly a pound a week thereafter until your due date-between 25 and 35 pounds in total. That translates into roughly and extra 300 calories a day; Jones and Hudson say that more nourishment may be necessary if you are breastfeeding, extremely active or carrying more than one child. Since stress and anxiety often lead to out-of-control eating (and gaining), be sure to tend to your own emotional needs during what can be a very exhilarating, yet sometimes overwhelming, time of life.
For maximum nutrition try to eat a variety of foods while avoiding anything that provokes morning sickness. Whole grains provide both steady energy (unlike sugar-fueled spikes and crashes) and B vitamins to boot. Do not scrimp on fat-your baby’s developing nervous system depends on it-but “don’t use your pregnancy as an excuse to pig out, either,” warn Jones and Hudson. Stick with such unsaturated fats as olive oil along with rich sources of omega-3 fatty acids like flax seed oil. You definitely want to indulge in those omega-3s, which appear to boost infant intellectual development. Fish is a fine source of both omega-3 and the high-quality protein needed to build your baby’s tissues, but beware: Some species such as fresh tuna, swordfish, tilefish and king mackerel, can be contaminated with mercury. Your best low-mercury bets are catfish, pollock, salmon, and shrimp. (Other good protein sources include chicken, cottage cheese, lean red meat, yogurt and milk, all organically sourced whenever possible.)
Supplemental fish oil is another omega-3 possibility because “mercury is found in the muscle of fish and not in the oil,” according to OSU’s Jane Higdon, who suggests consulting your health care practitioner for advice. “If I was going to take a fish oil supplement, I’d look for one that the manufacturer is testing for PCBs (an industrial pollutant),” such as products that meet California’s Proposition 65 standards.
Don’t forget to stock the fridge with fresh produce. Fruits and veggies are richly endowed with vitamins and minerals; for example, making like Popeye and downing your spinach helps ensure you get plenty of folic acid and iron.
These superfoods also supply phytonutrients, substances that may actually help protect your baby against cancer even as they enhance your own well-being. Studies on the link between maternal diet and childhood cancer protection are in the early stages according to Dr. David Williams, a researcher at the Linus Pauling Institute, but he says that shouldn’t stop you from loading up on cancer-fighting green stuff. “Certainly among the vegetables the cruciferous ones (the broccoli family) are particularly valuable in protecting against cancer,” he says. “These vegetables are also a good source of fiber and vitamin C.”
Nature's Cancer fighters ...
July 07, 2005 12:36 PM
Cancer has always been a word no one wants to hear from a doctor's lips. But as a fatal disease, cancer has gone from dread to worse, passing heart disease as the number-one killer of Americans under the age of 85 (a category that includes the overwhelming majority of us). While death rates for both illnesses has dropped over the past few years, the improvement has been much more pronounced for cardiovascular disorders.
According to the American Cancer Society, 476,009 people died of cancer in 2002 (the last year for which statistics are available). Behind every one of those numbers is a web of lives tangled by cancer's relentless onslaught: A child who misses a mother's comforting arms, a bride without a father to walk her down the aisle, a spouse coming home to a dark, cold house every night. And for those fortunate enough to survive a cancer encounter, there's always the dark worry of recurrence that surfaces with every ache or twinge.
Many people think of cancer as either a random calamity of a genetically driven inevitability, but it ain't necessarily so. Diet is coming up big as a major cancer-risk player: For example, eating a lot of red meat, especially highly processed meats such as bacon, has been linked to high colorectal cancer risk in an investigation published by the Journal of the American Medical Association. On the positive side, a number of nutrients have shown cancer-fighting power, such as the recently discovered link between the B vitamin folate and reduced risk of colon and other cancers (see page 57). Other useful nutrients appear on the chart that follows.
Of course, risk always varies from person to person, and there are some lifestyle issues, like not smoking, that are no-brainers when it comes to cancer deterrence. But isn't it nice to know that protection from such a terrible disease might be as close as the end of your fork?
Nature's Cancer fighters
Vitamin E, Natural
Cancer fighter is found in broccoli
June 14, 2005 06:09 PM
Cancer fighter is found in broccoli
WASHINGTON (AP) - Remember when your mother told you to eat broccoli? Scientists say they've proved mother knows best.
Dr. Paul Talalay of Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine said in a paper published today that studies in his lab show broccoli is rich in sulforaphane, a chemical that works as a powerful anti-cancer compound in laboratory mice. Studies have shown that a diet rich in cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage and cauliflower, can lower the risk of cancer of the bowel, stomach and breast. How those vegetables caused the effect wasn't clear.
Now, Dr. Talalay said, it appears that at least one anti-cancer ingredient in the vegetables is sulforaphane. It works by causing cells to expel cancer-causing toxins. He said this is the first time a high-potency compound has been isolated from vegetables and has been shown to accelerate the detoxification process in cells. Dr. Talalay said his team isolated sulforaphane from broccoli, then fed it to a group of mice. When cells in the mice were examined after five days, the scientists found that the chemical had triggered enzymes known to neutralize carcinogens within cells. Research, Dr. Talalay said, will shift to the long-term cancer-fighting effects of the chemical. "Our prediction is that sulforaphane will block tumor formation in animals and presumably in man," he said. Nutrition and medical scientists are trying to find ways to prevent cancer through a diet rich in foods that have anti-tumor properties.
In earlier studies, Dr.Talalay said, he and others have shown that certain proteins in cells, called Phase I enzymes, can take innocent chemicals and turn them into carcinogens, or compounds that can give rise to cancer by disrupting the genetic pattern in cells. Other proteins, called Phase 2 enzymes, he said, tend to block formation of carcinogens. Sulforaphane, he said, is a potent activator of Phase 2 enzymes. "There is mounting evidence that if you are able to raise the Phase 2 enzymes, this will divert the carcinogenic compounds from damaging the [genes]," Dr. Talalay said. "By tilting this balance toward Phase 2 enzymes, we can achieve protection from cancer." The Hopkins researchers will conduct tests to determine how much broccoli must be consumed to establish an effective anti-cancer level of sulforaphane in cells. Over a decade of research has been done on cruciferous vegetables and there are large databases that confirm that cruciferous vegetables substantially reduce the risk of disease, specifically cancer. Studies show substances in these vegetables that have anti-cancer properties which cause the body to speed up production of enzymes, therefore being capable of neutralizing cancer agents. The studies also show these prevent damage to our DNA and slow the aging process. In women, metabolic processes are regulated which eliminate the bad (and maintain the good) estrogen, therefore substantially reduce the risk of breast cancer. Shortly after the NCI study was released, John Hopkins School of Medicine revealed similar studies.
Due to these study results, the National Cancer Institute, the American Cancer Society, the National Academy of Sciences, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, John Hopkins School of Medicine and the FDA have all reached out to inform the public of the anti-cancer compounds found in cruciferous vegetables, and are advocating the daily consumption of these vegetables. The average American has been eating only 4 and one half pounds of these vegetables per year!
America's Most Wanted
June 14, 2005 05:23 PM
America's Most Wanted
by Brian Amherst Energy Times, January 6, 2000
The United States eats well, a little too well, according to experts. Amply supplied with a large supply of high-calorie food, our diets might seem to be chock full of every conceivable nutrient. Well, to the question "Getting all the right vitamins, minerals and other nutrients?" the most appropriate answer seems to be "Not exactly." Eating a lot doesn't equal eating a lot of the most important vitamins and minerals. So, which vitamins and minerals are likely to show up in short supply in the typical American diet? Calcium certainly sits at the top of list. According to the most recent Continuing Survey of Food Intake by Individuals, which is conducted by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), women and girls age 12 and up are not consuming adequate calcium from their diet. Research reveals that about 1200 mg. day suffices for those over age 50 and 1000 mg a day should be adequate if you're between the ages of 19 and 50. Since strong bones are formed during "the first three decades of life," says Laura Bachrach, MD, of Since strong bones are formed during "the first three decades of life," says Laura Bachrach, MD, of Stanford University, ". . .osteoporosis is a pediatric disease." For long-range protection against that bone-weakening disease, kids should eat calcium-rich, low-fat dairy products and plenty of leafy greens (broccoli, cabbage, kale) as well as salmon (with bones), seafood and soy. But the calcium campaign does not end in early adulthood. Bone mass begins to deteriorate at about age 30. Menopausal hormonal changes can exacerbate bone brittleness. Medical conditions, including cancer, liver disease and intestinal disorders; prescription drugs; tobacco and alcohol indulgence; or a decline in activity, especially the weight-bearing kind, also jeopardize bone strength. According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, about one in every two American women will break a bone after age 50 due to osteoporosis. That translates into about half a million fractured vertebrae and more than 300,000 shattered hips. Frequently, those breaks are life-threatening.
The critical role of calcium in many body functions is perhaps the most extensively clinically documented among nutrients. Researchers in the Department of Medicine, Oregon Health Sciences University in Portland, reviewed epidemiological and clinical studies conducted over the past two years on the relationship between dietary calcium and blood pressure (J Am Coll Nutr October 1999: 398S-405S). "Nearly 20 years of investigation in this area has culminated in remarkable and compelling agreement in the data," the researchers report, "confirming the need for and benefit of regular consumption of the recommended daily levels of dietary calcium." Investigators at the State University of New York, Buffalo School of Dental Medicine, presented results of their studies of calcium and vitamin C and gum disease at the June 26, 1998 meeting of the International Association for Dental Research. Two separate inquiries revealed that people who consumed too little calcium as young adults, and those with low levels of vitamin C in their diets, appear to have nearly twice the risk of developing periodontal disease later in life than folks with higher dietary levels of either nutrient.
Calcium: Much Documented Researchers offer extensive evidence of calcium's benefits on many fronts: n Osteoporosis poses a threat to older men as well as women, according to Randi L. Wolf, PhD, research associate at the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health. Dr. Wolf presented her award-winning study to an October 3, 1999 meeting of the American Society for Bone and Mineral Research. Dr. Wolf suggests that men increase their consumption of calcium, particularly after age 80, to avoid age-related declines in the amount of calcium absorbed. According to Dr. Wolf, "It appears that the hormonal form of vitamin D, which is the main regulator of intestinal calcium absorption, may have an important role. We are conducting more research to better understand the reasons for why calcium absorption declines with age in men." n Scientists at Tufts University in Boston did some earlier work on the calcium-vitamin D connection and reported it in the September 4, 1997 New England Journal of Medicine. Using the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) increased recommended daily intake of 1200 milligrams of calcium and 400 to 600 international units of vitamin D for people over 50, the Tufts researchers found that with supplementation of the nutrients, men and women 65 and older lost significantly less body bone and, in some cases, gained bone mineral density. n Two studies published in American Heart Association journals show that atherosclerosis and osteoporosis may be linked by a common problem in the way the body uses calcium. The September 1997 Stroke revealed that, in a group of 30 postmenopausal women 67 to 85 years old, bone mineral density declined as atherosclerotic plaque increased. Researchers reporting in Circulation (September 15, 1997) advanced the theory that the osteoporosis-atherosclerosis connection may be related to a problem in handling calcium. n For people who had colon polyps removed, taking calcium supplements decreased the number of new polyps by 24% and cut the risk of recurrence by 19%, according to researchers at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, School of Medicine. The study, published in the January 14, 1999 New England Journal of Medicine, was a first in crediting calcium with anti-cancer properties.
The D Factor
Without adequate vitamin D, your absorption of calcium slips and bone loss can accelerate, increasing the risk for fractures. Fifty percent of women with osteoporosis hospitalized for hip fractures at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston had a previously undetected vitamin D deficiency (Journal of the American Medical Association, April 28, 1999). University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute researchers told participants at the April 14, 1997 meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research that vitamin D "significantly inhibits highly metastatic, or widespread, prostate cancer in animals," suggesting its potential for treating men with similar conditions. Few foods that Americans eat, except dairy, contain much vitamin D, but we can usually synthesize sufficient amounts from as few as five minutes' exposure to the sun. But as skin ages, its ability to act as a vitamin D factory decreases. According to Michael F. Holick, the director of the Vitamin D, Skin and Bone Research Laboratory at Boston University Medical Center, upwards of 40% of the adult population over age 50 that he sees in his clinic are deficient in vitamin D. Recently, the National Academy of Sciences (the official body that decrees the required amounts of necessary nutrients) increased the daily recommendations of vitamin D to 600 IU for people over 71, 400 IU for those aged 51 to 70 and 200 IU for people under 50. The best dietary sources, apart from dependable supplements, are dairy and fatty fish like salmon. Four ounces of salmon provide about 300 IU.
The Facts About Fats
The American lust for low-fat, high-carbohydrate diets filled with sugary foods has exploded into nothing short of "obsession," according to experts at the General Research Center at Stanford University Medical Center (Am J Clin Nutr 70, 1999: 512S-5S). That mania oftens robs us of the crucial balance of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids typical of the Mediterranean diet that protect us from heart disease by controlling cholesterol and making blood less likely to form clots. These fatty acids cannot be made by the body but are critical for health: n Omega-3 fatty acid (linolenic acid) comes from fresh, deepwater fish (salmon, mackerel, sardines) and vegetable oils such as canola, flaxseed and walnut. n Omega-6 fatty acid (linoleic acid) found primarily in raw nuts, seeds and legumes and in saturated vegetable oils such as borage, grape seed, primrose, sesame and soybean. The American Heart Association recommends limiting total fat consumption to 30% of daily calories. Saturated fats like those in dairy and meat products as well as vegetable oil should comprise 10% of total calories; total unsaturated fat (fish oils, soybean, safflower nuts and nut oils) should be restricted to 20 to 22% of daily calories.
Be Sure About B12
Vitamin B12 presents a particular problem for the elderly because older digestive systems often don't secrete enough stomach acid to liberate this nutrient from food. (The elderly have no problem absorbing B12 from supplements, because it's not bound to food.) Vitamins generally moderate the aging process but, ironically, that process and the diseases that frequently accompany it affect vitamin metabolism (Schweiz Rundsch Med Prax 83, 1994: 262-6). And because of those changes, we need more of certain vitamins. This is the case for vitamins D, B6, riboflavin and B12. Crucial for health, B12 is necessary to prevent anemia, and, according to recent studies, needed (along with folate and B6) to help stave off heart disease. B12, with thiamine and niacin, boosts cognition (Adv Nutr Res 7, 1985: 71-100). Screening for vitamin B12 deficiency and thyroid disease is cheap and easy and can prevent conditions such as dementia, depression or irreversible tissue damage (Lakartidningen 94, 1997: 4329-32). In the January 5-12, 1999 issue of Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association, the AHA urged doctors to screen levels of homocysteine (the amino acid byproduct of protein digestion that damages arteries, causes heart disease and, possibly, strokes) in patients at high risk for heart disease. They also recommended all Americans to up their daily levels of vitamins B6 and B12, as well as folic acid. Since fruits, vegetables or grains lack B12, vegetarians need B12 supplements. And they're a good idea for the rest of us, too.
Folic Acid Benefits
Folic acid made headlines in the early 1990s when the U.S. Public Health Service declared that "to reduce the frequency of neural tube defects [spina bifida, or open spine, and anencephaly, a lethal defect of the brain and skull] and their resulting disability, all women of childbearing age in the United States who are capable of becoming pregnant should consume .4 milligrams (400 micrograms) of folic acid per day." This recommendation followed voluminous research that showed taking folic acid was associated with a significantly reduced risk of birth defects. (The advisory is based on the fact that nearly half of all pregnancies are unplanned. If you think you are pregnant, consult your health practitioner for supplementary advice.)
A Team Player
Folic acid's efficacy intensifies when it works with other nutrients. Among many studies on the preventive powers of folic acid on birth defects, one published in The New England Journal of Medicine (327, Dec. 24, 1992: 1,832-1,835), disclosed an even greater decrease in neural tube defects when supplements of folic acid contained copper, manganese, zinc and vitamin C. As a warrior against homocysteine, folic acid joins the battalion of B12 and B6 in detoxifying this harmful protein. At the University of Washington's Northwest Prevention Effectiveness Center, researchers recently analyzed 38 published studies of the relationship between folic acid, homocysteine and cardiovascular disease and, according to associate professor Shirley A. Beresford, MD, folic acid and vitamin B12 and B6 deficiencies can lead to a buildup of homocysteine.
Canadian researchers reported in the Journal of the American Medical Association (275, 1996: 1893-1896) that men and women with low folic acid have a 69% increase in the risk of fatal coronary heart disease. This 15-year study of more than 5,000 people stressed the need for dietary supplementation of folic acid. Folic acid also has been credited with the potential to protect against cancers of the lungs, colon and cervix. It appears to help reverse cervical dysplasia, the precursor cells to cervical cancer, especially for women taking oral contraceptives, which may cause a localized deficiency of folic acid in the cells of the cervix. According to Shari Lieberman, PhD, and Nancy Bruning, authors of The Real Vitamin & Mineral Book (Avery), folic acid derivatives work with neurotransmitters, the chemicals that permit signals to be sent from nerve fiber to nerve fiber. A lack of folic acid can cause some nervous-system disorders, such as depression, schizophrenia and dementia; it also may be related to some forms of mental retardation. Other supporting roles of folic acid, according to researchers: the formation of normal red blood cells, important for preventing the type of anemia characterized by oversized red blood cells; strengthening and improving white blood cell action against disease; limiting production of uric acid, the cause of gout.
The Best Sources
Many foods are rich in folic acid: beef, lamb, pork and chicken liver, spinach, kale and beet greens, asparagus, broccoli, whole wheat and brewer's yeast. But experts believe that only 25 to 50% of the folic acid in food is bioavailable. Processing also reduces an estimated 50 to 90% of its content. Folic acid supplementation overcomes these obstacles with little risk, as it has no known toxicity. Women taking folic acid who are current or former users of oral contraceptives may require additional zinc. And be sure to augment your folic acid supplement with its synergistic counterpart, vitamin B12.
Focus on Fiber
The American Heart Association came out squarely behind fiber in a June 16, 1997 issue of its journal Circulation: Double your daily intake to lower cholesterol and the risk of heart disease. The American diet is consistently low in fiber, notes Linda Van Horn, PhD, RD, author of the article. Twenty-five to 30 grams a day from foods (or supplements) are not only heart healthy but seem to aid weight control.
Getting enough iron? An estimated 25% of adolescent girls in the United States are iron deficient, according to an October 12, 1996 issue of the British medical journal The Lancet, which reported that girls who took iron supplements performed significantly better on verbal tests than those who took a placebo. "Teenage girls should be regularly tested for iron deficiency because rapid growth and the onset of menstruation during puberty increase the body's need for iron," says Ann Bruner, MD, of the Johns Hopkins Children's Center and a lead author of the study.USDA data reveal that women up to age 50 also tend to get much less than recommended levels of iron, a lack of which leads to anemia, a deficiency of red blood cells, hemoglobin or volume of blood. For kids, deficiency is more common from six months to four years and during the rapid growth spurts of adolescence when the body is growing so quickly that the body's iron stores may sink to dangerous levels. Vegetarian women run the greatest risk for deficiency, as meat is iron-rich; foods like beans, grains and vegetables also contain some iron. Supplements, of course, supply easily absorbable iron. And to absorb iron from vegetarian sources, take vitamin C with your meals. That boosts the amount of this mineral you will take in. Bear in mind, however, that certain folks-older men and post-menopausal women-generally have adequate dietary supplies of iron. Of greater concern, in fact, is excessive iron, and for these folks iron-free multivitamin and mineral supplements are available.
Ante Up the Antioxidants
Antioxidant nutrients help protect the body from oxygen-scavenging molecules called free radicals. The products of pollution, the body's own metabolic processes and other sources, free radicals are linked to heart disease, cancer and other chronic health problems. The most important antioxidants, which include vitamin C, E, beta carotene, and selenium, are often lacking in the American diet. Plus, optimal amounts of vitamin E cannot be consumed from food. You need supplements. The bottom line: even though we live in a land of plenty, you can still miss vital nutrients. So make sure to consume these vital substances.
Source of Missing Nutrients In the search for the nutrients missing from America's diet, one big help is the sprout. The sprout is truly one of nature's heavyweights: fresh, tiny and moist, its power punch of vitamins, minerals, protein, chlorophyll and disease-busting phytochemicals land it in a weight class far beyond that of its full-grown competitors. Size does NOT matter to this nutritional giant. A championship belt currently wraps around the miniscule broccoli sprout, catapulted into the ring by Paul Talalay, MD, professor of pharmacology and molecular sciences at Johns Hopkins University. Dr. Talalay discovered that the seedlings contain substantially more of the cancer-fighting substance sulforaphane than mature plants (Proc. Natnl. Acad. Sci. USA, 94, 10367-10372). Sprouts, the quintessential health food of the Sixties, provide a wonderfully varied and versatile way to get your daily greens. Raw or cooked, strong or mild, vegetable and grass sprouts and their algae cousins add low-calorie texture to recipes and a rich, diverse complement of nutrients and fiber.
Ancient Asia to the Modern Lab
Asians stir-fried sprouts as one of the earliest fast foods as long as 5,000 years ago. The ancient Chinese relied on sprouts for year-round vegetables in colder regions of their vast country. Today, researchers studying sprouts and adult plants have identified their important chemoprotective and other health-bolstering substances. In Paul Talalay's research project at Johns Hopkins, scientists found that three-day-old broccoli sprouts contain up to 50 times more sulforaphane than mature plants, which prompts the body to produce an enzyme that prevents cancer tumors from forming. Uniform levels of the compound saturate the shoots, unlike the chemically uneven adult plants. The Brassica family of broccoli and cabbage is richly endowed with phytochemicals that also help reduce estrogen levels associated with breast cancer. Other phytochemical compounds in the Brassica family are associated with the prevention of stomach and lung cancers. Most of the initial landmark work on phytochemicals' cancer-fighting powers has taken place since 1989 under the aegis of the National Cancer Institute's "Designer Food Program," which isolated, for example, the isoflavones in beans that seem to neutralize cancer-gene enzymes.
Strong Suit: Soy and Spirulina
The isoflavones and phytosterols in soy produce an estrogenic effect that appears to relieve menopausal symptoms and help prevent breast cancer. Soy foods expert Mark Messina, PhD, has done extensive work on the subject, some of which has been published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute 83, 1991: 541-6. Researchers also have synthesized a bone-strengthening form of soy isoflavones called ipriflavone, following impressive clinical trials in the treatment of osteoporosis (American Journal of Medicine, 95 [Suppl. 5A] (1993): 69S-74S). Spirulina and other micro-algae are fascinating organisms that inhabit a niche between the plant and animals kingdoms. Named for its tiny spirals, spirulina, a blue-green algae, grows in saline lakes but is cultured for maximum nutritional content. In her book Whole Foods Companion (Chelsea Green), Dianne Onstad notes that spirulina contains "the highest sources of protein, beta carotene and nucleic acids of any animal or plant food." Its nucleic acids, she says, benefit cellular regeneration; its fatty acids, especially GLA and omega-3 acids, make it one of the most complete foods. Sprouts, like any other produce, should be rinsed thoroughly before serving. People at high risk for bacterial illness-young children, the very elderly or folks with weakened immune systems-should limit their consumption of raw sprouts. But no matter how you eat them, you may find more spring in your step from these tiny, sprouting nutritional wonders.
Botanical Arsenal - Plants can help our bodies fight off cancer's deadly ...
June 13, 2005 10:31 AM
Botanical Arsenal by Fred Thomas Energy Times, May 3, 1999
The complexities surrounding the various types of cancer stem from the variety of ways in which these diseases can wreak their havoc. Luckily, the equally complex world of plants contains novel compounds that can help our bodies fight off cancer's deadly progress.
Research into these botanical compounds is mushrooming. An example: The mighty maitake, a fungus with flair, alternately known as the king (it can grow as large as a basketball, worth its weight in silver to the ancient Japanese); the prince; the Hen of the Woods (it sticks out of from trees when it grows in the wild); and the dancing mushroom to those who leaped for joy when they found one growing in its native northeastern Japan.
Researchers today dub it with a new moniker: Herbal Heavyweight.
Mushroom with Potential
The maitake, with such other medicinal mushrooms as shiitake and reishi, historically has been eaten to promote general well-being and vitality. In the modern lab, however, scientists focus on the potent immune enhancing powers of maitake, which spotlight its cancer fighting potential.
Twenty years ago, maitake, Grifola frondosa, was an obscure, largely unavailable mushroom. A series of significant Japanese studies then catapulted it into prominence-and popularity.
Hiroaki Nanba, PhD, of the department of immunology at Kobe Women's College of Pharmacy on Kobe, Japan, and a leading international researcher on maitake, conducted the preliminary tests on the mushroom, demonstrating that it stimulates immune function and inhibits tumor growth.
In 1986, Dr. Nanba fed powdered maitake to mice injected with tumor cells; 86.3% displayed inhibited tumor growth.
Dr. Nanba and his colleagues went on to run additional mouse tests, finally reporting that this potent mushroom "directly activates various effector cells (macrophages, natural killer cells, killer T-cells, etc.) to attack tumor cells."
From then, maitake mushrooms were headed to fame as cancer ninjas.
Stoking The Immune Engine
Like other mushrooms, maitake is rich in complex polysaccharides, immunomodulators that successive tests after Dr. Nanba's have shown to be effective in cancer and AIDS treatment.
The polysaccharides in maitake have a unique structure, rendering them some of the most powerful to be studied (Chem Pharm Bull 1987:35:1162-8).
What makes maitake a particularly hot property is beta-D-glucan, its primary polysaccharide. Studies show that the body absorbs it readily, at which point it effectively stimulates interleukin-1, natural killer cells and macrophages, anti-tumor warriors that battle solid cancers (Chemotherapy 1990;38:790-6; also International Conference on AIDS, Amsterdam, 1992).
Effective And Safe
In addition to lab tests, trials on people have shown that maitake may offer powerful therapy against liver and stomach cancer (studies in China), breast and colon cancer (US research) and Kaposi's Sarcoma, the virulent cancer attacking AIDS sufferers.
Importantly, studies show that no side effects or interactions accompany maitake's efficacy.
Maitake fortunately has won the interest and enthusiasm of the scientific community. Currently, researchers at the Cancer Treatment Centers of America, headed by Denis Miller, MD, are completing an exhaustive test of the anticancer and immunostimulatory actions of maitake on folks with advanced colorectal cancer. These investigators hypothesize that the polysaccharide beta-glucans derived from the fruitbody of maitake fight tumors and boost immune function. "Though it cannot be said that maitake ...[is] the cancer cure," said Dr. Nanba in his closing remarks at the Adjuvant Nutrition in Cancer Treatment Symposium in Tampa, Florida, in October 1995, "one can safely say that they do maintain the quality of life of patients and improve the immune system, resulting in the possible remission of cancer cells with no side effects."
More Bodily Benefits
Maitake maven Dr. Nanba also has tested-with strongly positive results-the effect of maitake on blood glucose, insulin and triglycerides in mice, whose levels of all three substances declined when they were fed the mushroom (H. Nanba working paper, Anti-Diabetic Activity by Maitake Mushroom, 1994).
With colleagues, Dr. Nanba showed that maitake lowered blood pressure in hypertensive rats (Chem. Phann. Bu//36:1000-1006,1988). Other studies suggest it may accelerate weight loss.
This admirable adaptogen (meaning it helps the body adapt to stress and normalize its functions) is water soluble and may be eaten in food or taken as a supplement. Vitamin C is believed to intensify maitake's beta-glucans and enhance their absorption.
It's not just what you eat that may help protect against cancer, but what you drink as well. Research from China and Japan, where tea is the everyday drink and rates of several cancers like breast and prostate are lower, may persuade you to turn over a new leaf in your own beverage choice. One of the first studies to spark interest in tea came from Shanghai (Journal of the National Cancer Institute, June 1, 1994), where people who drank two to three cups a day were found to have about a 60% reduction in the risk of cancer of the esophagus. The reason: tea leaves contain compounds called polyphenols, potent antioxidants.
In fact, in tests at the University of Kansas, three of these, known as catechins, far outshone the common antioxidant vitamins C and E. Clinical trials are just starting, but early results are encouraging. A team of Chinese scientists reported that in a third of people with precancerous mouth sores who drank three cups of a mixture of green and black tea the lesions shrank significantly.
Researchers at the Saitama Cancer Center in Japan found that green tea seems to improve the prognosis of breast cancer. They followed a group of women with early-stage tumors for seven years. Those who drank more than five cups of green tea a day were only half as likely to suffer a recurrence as patients who consumed fewer than four cups a day.
And at the University of Indiana, toxicologist James Klaunig found that the lungs of cigarette smokers who drank the equivalent of six cups of tea a day suffered 40 to 50 percent less damage from the toxins in smoke, potentially lowering their risk of lung cancer and other pulmonary problems. Simultaneously, research from Purdue University suggests tea's cancer-discouraging powers go beyond being an antioxidant. Scientists Dorothy and D. James Morre showed that a tea catechin dubbed EGCG inhibits a growth-promoting enzyme on the surface of many cancer cells-happily without affecting normal cells. And researchers at the Ohio State University College of Medicine found that EGCG counteracted another enzyme, urokinase, that helps cancer cells spread. To top it off, Mayo Clinic scientists recently showed that EGCG prompted prostate cancer cells to commit suicide (Cancer Letters, Aug. 14, 1998).
So far, most tea research has focused on green tea, and investigators agree it's more potent than the black tea most Americans favor. But because both kinds come from the same plant, Camellia sinensis (it's the processing that makes the difference as black tea is fermented, green tea isn't) both contain cancer-fighting polyphenols, just in different quantities. As long as the tea you drink (even decaffeinated) is fresh brewed, it's likely to provide some benefit; powdered and prepared teas probably don't. And adding milk may dilute the effect.
Astragalus Against Tumors
Astragalus, an herb commonly used in Asia to boost stamina, has impressed western doctors for its potential for helping people cope with chemotherapy. As John Diamon, MD, W. Lee Cowden, MD and Burton Goldberg point out in the Definitive Guide to Cancer (Future Medicine), "Astragalus appears to protect the liver against the harmful toxic effects of chemotherapy and may be effective in treating terminally ill liver cancer patients." (They cite a study in the Jrnl of Ethnopharmacology 1990, 30:145-149.) In addition, they point out, research in Japan supports using a ginseng-astragalus combination to improve the function of natural killer (NK) cells which can boost immunity (Japanese Jrnl of Allergy, 37:2, 1998, 107-114).
Other studies confirm astragalus' potential in fighting off cancer. Research at the General Hospital of PLA, Beijing, showed that flavonoids (pigments) in astragalus could help protect cell membranes from oxidative damage caused by ultraviolet exposure (Chung Kuo Chung Yao Tsa Chih, 21(12):746-8; 1996 Dec).
A study of laboratory animals at Cunma University in Maebashi, Japan, found that Astragalus could help preserve immune function against the harmful side effects of chemotherapy (Chung Kuo Chung Hsi I Chieh Ho Tsa Chih, 15(2):101-3, 1995 Feb).
Like a flame attracting moths, garlic bulbs have irresistibly drawn the attention of medical researchers. A study at Aarhus University, Denmark, found that skin cells in laboratory dishes treated with garlic supplements lived longer, healthier lives than untreated cells (Jrnl Ethnopharm, 1994. 43:125-133).
Meanwhile, a long list of research demonstrates that garlic's phytochemicals may fight tumors and reduce the carcinogenicity of the pollutants and chemicals that assault us daily. A study in China reported in the American Journal of Chinese Medicine showed that garlic helped slow tumors in lab animals (1983, 11:69-73). Another study in the Journal of Nutrition found that compounds in garlic could "suppress the growth of human colon tumor cells" (126, 1355-1361).
Added to those benefits, Robert A. Nagourney, MD, reports in the Journal of Medicinal Food (1:1, 1998, 13-28), garlic may "modify the carcinogenicity of foodstuffs." In other words, studies show that garlic can make chemicals in foods like pork less likely to cause your cells to become cancerous. (Ind J Physiol Pharmacol, 39:347-353).
DNA, the stuff that genes are made of, face constant threats from free radicals, caustic molecules that can alter cellular structure and possibly cause genetic mutations that lead to cancer. But research into what are called oligomeric proanthocyanidins (OPC), flavonoids (pigments) derived from fruits vegetables, grape seed extract and the bark of maritime pine trees shows that OPC may be able to shield DNA from injury.
In particular, studies of a grape seed extract called Activin have demonstrated this substance can help liver cell DNA escape a destructive process called peroxidation (FASEB, 11:3, 2/28/97).
In these experiments, Activin demonstrated the ability to inhibit the growth of tumor cells as well as slow the replication enzymes of HIV viruses. This protective ability proved to be more potent than that of vitamin C, beta carotene and vitamin E.
What does the future promise to reveal? Scientists believe that many unexamined plants probably contain undiscovered phytochemicals that hold great potential for helping us fight the cancer epidemic.
Certainly, if the next few years produce as many results as the past decade, the next millennium will witness a long line of cancer-prevention discoveries. Before long, you should be able to take advantage of these potent substances.
As you gulp your garlic, tip your tea cup, mull your maitake, acquire Activin and await your astragalus, you may meditate on what may soon be added to our growing anti-cancer arsenal. Undoubtedly, scientists with a botanical bent will be uncovering more coveted anti-cancer secrets before too long.
Go Green - green foods may be the SWAT team that sets you free...
June 12, 2005 05:27 PM
Go Green by Chrystle Fiedler Energy Times, December 4, 2003
If you feel like your busy life is holding your health hostage, green foods may be the SWAT team that sets you free. "Green foods are worth a king's ransom as far as your health is concerned," says Betty Kamen, PhD, author of Betty Kamen's 1,001 Health Secrets (Nutrition Encounter). "Green foods capture solar energy, using it to produce chlorophyll, which gives it its distinctive green color. Since we obtain our food by eating these plants or by eating the animals that eat these plants, this process is the source of human life."
"Green foods are renewal foods," says Ryan Bradley, ND, of the Bastyr Center for Natural Health in Kenmore, Washington. "They help to counteract the nutrient depletion caused by stress and by caffeine intake. They're nutrient dense, grounding, balancing, and soothing in their energetic nature."
Ideally, your meals should supply you with greens, but "...99.9% of the population doesn't get three to five [daily] servings of leafy green vegetables like kale, collard greens and spinach," says Jordan Rubin, NMD, PhD, CNC, author of Patient Heal Thyself (Freedom Press). Green foods can bridge that gap.
"Green foods have become popular because it's a convenient way to get your servings," says Dr. Rubin. "You get the equivalent of two large salads with one serving of powdered green food. It's nutrient dense and low calorie so it's a great addition to any diet. It satisfies the brain so you don't feel hungry."
"Everyone can benefit from green food supplementation," adds Dr. Kamen. "It's a concentrated supplier of everything that's good about vegetables."
Chlorophyll for Health
The key ingredient of green foods is chlorophyll, the green blood of plants. The benefits for humans from chlorophyll can be profound. A study of individuals at high risk of developing liver cancer because of their exposure to environmental toxins showed a 55% reduction in noxious compounds when these people supplemented their diets with a semi-synthetic chlorophyll derivative with properties similar to those of chlorophyll (Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 2001 Dec 4; 98(25):14601-6).
"This research supports the long-standing notion that chlorophyll, and green foods, can play a role in detoxification in the liver, and thus 'cleansing' the blood," says Dr. Bradley. "It's a good addition to any detox protocol. Test tube evidence also suggests that chlorophyll inhibits mutations in human cells."
Chlorophyll is antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory. It can help fight anemia, improve digestion and elimination, and act as a mild diuretic. It also helps friendly bacteria in the gut reproduce and thereby possibly boost immunity.
Green, Green Grasses
Fast-growing plants, such as wheat and barley cereal grasses, contain the most chlorophyll and the deepest green color.
"Wheat grass was one of the country's first multi-vitamins," says Dr. Rubin, who is also the author of Restoring Your Digestive Health (Twin Streams Health). "Certified organic cereal grasses pull a vast number of nutrients from the soil."
"The solar-powered factory in the leaves of the young grass plants is almost beyond comprehension," says Dr. Kamen. "Sprouted grains have exceptional nutritive value and high amounts of certain vitamins and minerals."
The blue-green microalgae spirulina is a chlorophyll powerhouse.
"Spirulina is high in protein, up to 65%, and the blue pigment of this blue-green algae, phycocyanin, has antioxidant, antiviral and antifungal properties," says Dr. Rubin.
Like other greens, spirulina can help you cut calories. "When you nourish the body and the brain with nutrient-dense and low-caloric food, it satisfies that impulse to keep eating." Spirulina is also high in B vitamins such as riboflavin, niacin and pantothenic acid, all commonly depleted nutrients. B vitamins are critical players in overall metabolism, and are vital to nerve and adrenal function.
Spirulina contains the minerals potassium and magnesium, plus iron. "It's been scientifically validated that [spirulina's iron is] comparable to the absorption from an egg," says Dr. Bradley. "It may benefit patients that are anemic. It's also a great choice for vegans who are looking for plant sources of iron."
In addition, the spirulina compounds called phycocyanins may control inflammation and lower the risk of cancer.
"Spirulina stimulates the part of the immune system [natural killer cells] responsible for our ability to fight off viruses and survey our tissues internally and detect and kill cancerous tissue," says Dr. Bradley.
Like spirulina, chlorella stimulates your natural killer cells to fight bacteria and viruses, and to strengthen your defenses.
"Chlorella is the richest food on the planet in chlorophyll," says Dr. Kamen. "It's also high in protein and rich in beta-carotene and minerals.
"One of the truly amazing facts about chlorella is its ability to oxygenate the blood," Dr. Kamen continues. "If your blood doesn't have enough oxygen, you can become listless and lethargic. Chlorella actually increases your hemoglobin, the oxygen transporter in your blood, so there is more oxygen present. It provides the necessary fuel for making healthy cells, and the result is renewed energy and vitality."
Both spirulina and chorella also contain omega-6 fatty acids that have anti-inflammatory benefits and can improve the behavior of your blood vessels. In addition, they provide vitamin B12.
Green Foods from the Sea
Seaweed and other sea vegetables like kelp offer a green foods bonanza. Seaweed is low in calories but, like spirulina, offers a wealth of nutrients.
"Most seaweed provides a rich supply of many essential nutrients, including protein, calcium, iodine and zinc," says Bradley Willcox, MD, co-author of The Okinawa Program (Potter). "Iodine is essential to the function of the thyroid gland, which needs it to make hormones that regulate your body's metabolism. Lignans, the cancer-fighting phytoestrogens have been found in high quantities in seaweed, mostly kelp, which could conceivably provide some protection against certain types of cancers."
Lower rates of breast cancer were reported in Japanese patients eating a diet high in kelp (Nutr Cancer 1983; 4:217-22). Kelp has also been shown to reduce DNA damage induced by several known carcinogens (Mutat Res 1993; 303:63-70).
Sea greens contain omega-3 fatty acids, fats that boost heart health. "Sea vegetables may prove to be a more sustainable source of omega-3 fatty acids than the dwindling fish populations," says Dr. Bradley.
To incorporate sea greens into your diet, start by putting them on your lettuce and tomatoes.
"Sea vegetables can make a great addition to salads," says Dr. Bradley. "They're high in nutrition and add flavor because of the sodium. They also add texture, giving salads more crunch."
Other ways to green up your diet:
* "Kelp comes packaged in three-foot-long dried strips and is prepared by cutting the long strips into smaller two- to three-inch strips and boiling them for about ten minutes. You remove the kelp, and then you can use the broth in soups, salads and other dishes. Kelp simmered with vegetables or tofu and served in miso soup is an Okinawan favorite," says Dr. Willcox.
* Wakame (one of Dr. Willcox's favorites), a type of kelp, has a taste and appearance that may remind Westerners of spinach lasagna.
* Nori seaweed can be used to wrap sushi and rice balls and also to season salads, soups and noodles.
"Seaweed tastes great and if used wisely, should not tip you into sodium overload," says Dr. Willcox.
Go for the Green
More and more people are realizing and enjoying the benefits of green foods. Dr. Bradley recommends keeping your green foods consumption simple. Add powdered greens, dried tablets and liquids to juice, mix them into smoothies or a protein shake, and sprinkle the powder on salads. Mixed in water, greens can be used as a morning tonic and help replace some of the nutrients like magnesium and B vitamins depleted by coffee and other caffeinated beverages, which act as diuretics.
"Incorporate a green drink into your diet once or twice a day," says Dr. Bradley. "It's the least expensive (health) insurance policy you can have."
May 13, 2005 08:38 AM
Sulforaphane Stimulates the Body's Cancer-Fighting EnzymesSecret Weapon Against Cancer Found in Broccoli Sprouts
by Richard Conant, L.Ac, C.N.
The health benefits of vegetables were known historically, long before researchers began seeing a connection between vegetable consumption and cancer prevention. Over the last twenty years, evidence concerning this connection has steadily accumulated. The latest and most promising findings reveal that specific vegetable constituents—"phytochemicals" to use current scientific parlance— enhance the body's defenses against cancer.
This article will focus on one phytochemical in particular, a sulfur-containing compound called "sulforaphane." Found in Cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, sulforaphane may prove to be one of our most powerful cancer prevention allies. Recent studies have shown that sulforaphane stimulates, or "induces," "Phase two enzymes." These enzymes are an integral part of the body's elaborate detoxification system that renders carcinogens inactive. This detoxification system turns carcinogens and other toxic substances into harmless molecules that are excreted from the body.
We need not fear carcinogens—the body is equipped to deal with them.
These findings, coupled with an appreciation of the body's ability to defend itself against carcinogens, have the potential to dramatically change the way we look at cancer and substances in the environment that "cause" cancer. We need to minimize unnecessary exposure to carcinogens, and the staggering quantity of hazardous chemicals in the environment remains an urgent health concern, for cancer and many other health problems. But, knowing the body is equipped with the means to defend itself against toxins, we do not need to fear carcinogens as perhaps we have in the past.
The natural world is full of carcinogens.
What's more, even if you eat 100 percent organic food and live in a environment free of toxic man-made chemicals, you are still being exposed to carcinogens every day of your life. Food is the primary route of this exposure. Plants, for their own defense, produce over 99% of all the pesticides in agricultural products.1 Almost all foods—in their natural state—contain tiny amounts of naturally-occurring, potentially carcinogenic chemicals.
The point is not to trivialize the concern over environmental toxins. The point is that the natural world is full of toxins that are not man-made. These substances have been around since before we appeared, which is why we have evolved with a highly efficient system for neutralizing them before they can damage our cells and initiate the complex process that produces cancer.
Broccoli sprouts are a concentrated source of cancer-fighting sulforaphane.
We cannot avoid carcinogens. What we can do is support our internal detoxification system. Sulforaphane is a powerful tool in this effort. We can start by following the often-repeated advice to eat a variety of vegetables every day, and include broccoli in our menu.
There is an even richer source of sulforaphane than broccoli itself. In September 1997, a group of scientists at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine made a breakthrough discovery— broccoli sprouts contain ten to one hundred times more sulforaphane than mature broccoli.2 Vegetable sprouts are generally regarded as exceptionally healthy foods. Broccoli sprouts now look like a shining star, especially when it comes to cancer prevention.
For those lacking the time or inclination to keep a fresh supply of broccoli sprouts on hand, broccoli spouts have been processed into an extract that is even more concentrated in sulforaphane. More on this later.
What have researchers learned about broccoli consumption and cancer rates?
More than 200 epidemiological studies—studies which track groups of people over time to uncover realtionships between variables such as diet and the incidence of disease—have invesitgated the connections between vegetable consumption and various forms of cancer.1 It should be understood that findings from epidemiological research are generally not regarded as conclusive; these studies are not controlled, and often use data gleaned from questionnaires, which are an imprecise method of gathering information. (In the case of diet questionnaires, for example, the study subjects may or may not record their food intakes with 100 percent accuracy.)
Epidemiological studies look for trends. To be credible, these trends need to show up consistently, in different population groups. Findings from the vegetable intake/cancer studies easily meet these criteria; the number of studies is large and the trend is consistent—vegetable consumption is strongly associated with a lower risk of developing cancer.
What about broccoli in particular? A paper published in the September 1996 issue of Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention analyzes epidemiological data gathered from 94 studies concerning the cancer preventive effect of brassica vegetables.3 (The Brassica genus, part of the Cruciferae family, includes broccoli, cabbage, kale, cauliflower and brussels sprouts.) The data suggest that broccoli consumption reduces the risk of some of the most feared forms of cancer, including stomach and lung cancer.
Now, to put these data into a balanced perspective, the researchers point out that in most of the studies reviewed, brassica vegetable consumption was reported as part of the total vegetable intake. "In hardly any epidemiological studies was the effect of brassica vegetables separated from the effect of total vegetables or other vegetables by adjusting for consumption of these variables. Therefore, it is difficult to sort out whether the observed observation was attributable to brassica vegetables, to vegetables as a whole, or to other vegetables," they noted.
This uncertainty is a good example of why epidemiological studies alone do not give us open and shut conclusions. But the paper also adds that the apparent anti-cancer effect of brassica vegetables agrees with "the results of experimental studies in which brassica vegetables reduced mammary tumor incidence, hepatic tumor size, numbers of tumors per liver, tumor frequency, and the number of pulmonary metastases when given to rodents before or after a carcinogen insult."3
When you put together a plausible trend from epidemiological research with results of experimental studies that agree with the trend, and then add additional research that reveals the underlying mechanism for these observations, a clear picture begins to take shape. And, indeed, we now have a fairly good idea as to just how brassica vegetables, especially broccoli, help prevent cancer.
How sulforaphane helps prevent cancer from developing.
To see how sulforaphane works, let's look at a brief overview of the body's detoxification system.
The detoxification of carcinogens and other toxic substances takes place in the liver, and involves two distinct enzyme-driven processes or "phases". Phase one enzymes neutralize toxins by various routes. Some of these convert toxins into substances that are immediately eliminated. However, other Phase one steps convert toxins into intermediate products which are carcinogenic themselves, and require further treatment before they can be excreted. Phase two enzymes do this vital job. Phase two enzymes deactivate these carcinogenic metabolites of Phase one, and the final breakdown product is then eliminated once and for all. (For an excellent review of this subject, see Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine, by Drs. Michael Murray and Joseph Pizzorno.4)
Phase two is critical. If Phase one is in good working order, but Phase two is not, the potential threat from carcinogens increases. It is vitally important to keep Phase two operating well. This is where sulforaphane plays its cancer preventive role. Sulforaphane is a powerful inducer of Phase two enzymes.5,6
Broccoli sprouts-the ideal source of sulforaphane
Sulforaphane is one among a group of phytochemicals called "isothiocyanates." (These occur in brassica vegetables largely as "glucosinolates," which are precursors for isothiocyanates2,12 When the plant is crushed, glucosinolates are converted to isothiocyanates.) Sulforaphane induces Phase two enzymes exclusively, leaving Phase one enzymes alone. This means it helps reduce the load of carcinogenic Phase one intermediates without adding to the load by stimulating Phase one.8,9
As reported by the Johns Hopkins University research group, broccoli sprouts are an "exceptionally" rich source of sulforaphane (in the form of "glucoraphanin, sulforaphane's glucosinolate precursor). And broccoli sprouts have another advantage over mature broccoli. They contain almost no indole glucosinolates, phytochemicals present in mature broccoli that "can enhance tumorogenesis."2
Broccoli sprouts as an extract, now available as a dietary supplement, takes the concentration of sulforaphane to the next level. This recently developed nutraceutical product contains a potent 20 to 1 extract of three-day old fresh broccoli sprouts.
One 125 mg capsule supplies the same amount of sulforaphane as 125 grams, or about 5 ounces, of mature broccoli. Taking just one capsule a day is like eating two pounds of broccoli per week, which equals the intake of cruciferous vegetables believed necessary to obtain their health benefits.
1. Steinmetz, K.A. Potter, J.D. Vegetables, fruit, and cancer prevention: A review. J Am Diet Assoc. 1996;96:1027-1039.
2. Fahey, J.W., Zhang, Y., Talalay, P. Broccoli sprouts: An exceptionally rich source of inducers of enzymes that protect against chemical carcinogens. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. 1997; 94:10367-10372.
3. Verhoeven, D.T.H., et. al. Epidemiological studies on brassica vegetables and cancer risk. Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention 1996;5:733-48.
4. Murray, M. Pizzorno, J. Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine. Rocklin, CA: Prima Publishing;1998:110-120.
5. Zhang, Y. Talalay, P, Cho, C., Posner, G.H. A major inducer of anticarcinogenic protective enzymes from broccoli: Isolation and elucidation of structure. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. 1992;89:2399-2403.
6. Gerhäuser, C. et. al. Cancer chemopreventive potential of sulforamate, a novel analogue of sulforaphane that induces phase 2 drug-metabolizing enzymes. Cancer Research 1997;57:272-78.
7. McDanell, R., McLean, A.E.M., Hanley, A.B., Heaney, R.K., Fenwick, G.R. Chemical and biological properties of indole glucosinolates (glucobrassicins): A review. Fd. Chem. Toxic. 1988;26(1):59-70.
8. Talalay, P. Mechanisms of induction of enzymes that protect against chemical carcinogenesis. in Advances in Enzyme Regulation, Vol. 28, Weber, G., Ed., 1989: Pergamon Press.
9. Prochaska, H.J. Santamaria, A.B., Talalay, P. Rapid detection of enzymes that protect against carcinogens. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. 1992;89:2394-98.
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