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Garlic: Proven Health Benefits

Garlic (Allium sativum), is used widely as a flavoring in cooking, but it has also been used as a medicine throughout ancient and modern history; it has been taken to prevent and treat a wide range of conditions and diseases.

Garlic belongs to the genus Allium and is closely related to the onion, rakkyo (an onion found in Asia), scallion, chive, leek, and shallot. It has been used by humans for thousands of years and was used in Ancient Egypt for both culinary purposes and its health and therapeutic benefits.

This article will look at the potential health benefits of garlic and cover any research that supports the claims.

In this article:

  1. Garlic for food and medicine – a brief history
  2. Garlic is used widely today for its therapeutic properties
  3. Health benefits of garlic – scientific studies


Fast facts on garlic

  • In many countries, garlic has been used medicinally for centuries.
  • Garlic may have a range of health benefits, both raw and cooked.
  • It may have significant antibiotic properties.

 

Garlic for food and medicine – a brief history

Garlic has been used all over the world for thousands of years. Records indicate that garlic was in use when the Giza pyramids were built, about 5,000 years ago.

Richard S. Rivlin wrote in the Journal of Nutrition that the ancient Greek physician Hippocrates (circa. 460-370 BC), known today as “the father of Western medicine,” prescribed garlic for a wide range of conditions and illnesses. Hippocrates promoted the use of garlic for treating respiratory problems, parasites, poor digestion, and fatigue.

The original Olympic athletes in Ancient Greece were given garlic – possibly the earliest example of “performance enhancing” agents used in sports.

From Ancient Egypt, garlic spread to the advanced ancient civilizations of the Indus Valley (Pakistan and western India today). From there, it made its way to China.

According to experts at Kew Gardens, England’s royal botanical center of excellence, the people of ancient India valued the therapeutic properties of garlic and also thought it to be an aphrodisiac. The upper classes avoided garlic because they despised its strong odor, while monks, “…widows, adolescents, and those who had taken up a vow or were fasting, could not eat garlic because of its stimulant quality.”

Throughout history in the Middle East, East Asia, and Nepal, garlic has been used to treat bronchitis, hypertension (high blood pressure), TB (tuberculosis), liver disorders, dysentery, flatulence, colic, intestinal worms, rheumatism, diabetes, and fevers.

The French, Spanish, and Portuguese introduced garlic to the New World.

Garlic is used widely today for its therapeutic properties

Currently, garlic is widely used for several conditions linked to the blood system and heart, including atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), high cholesterol, heart attack, coronary heart disease, and hypertension.

Garlic is also used today by some people for the prevention of lung cancer, prostate cancer, breast cancer, stomach cancer, rectal cancer, and colon cancer.

It is important to add that only some of these uses are backed by research.

A study published in the journal Food and Chemical Toxicology warned that short-term heating reduces the anti-inflammatory effects of fresh raw garlic extracts. This may be a problem for some people who do not like or cannot tolerate the taste and/or odor of fresh garlic.

Health benefits of garlic – scientific studies

Below are examples of some scientific studies published in peer-reviewed academic journals about the therapeutic benefits (or not) of garlic.

Lung cancer risk

People who ate raw garlic at least twice a week during the 7 year study period had a 44 percent lower risk of developing lung cancer, according to a study conducted at the Jiangsu Provincial Center for Disease Control and Prevention in China.

The researchers, who published their study in the journal Cancer Prevention Research, carried out face-to-face interviews with 1,424 lung cancer patients and 4,543 healthy individuals. They were asked about their diet and lifestyle, including questions on smoking and how often they ate garlic.

The study authors wrote: “Protective association between intake of raw garlic and lung cancer has been observed with a dose-response pattern, suggesting that garlic may potentially serve as a chemo-preventive agent for lung cancer.”

Brain cancer

Organo-sulfur compounds found in garlic have been identified as effective in destroying the cells in glioblastomas, a type of deadly brain tumor.

Scientists at the Medical University of South Carolina reported in the journal Cancer that three pure organo-sulfur compounds from garlic – DAS, DADS, and DATS – “demonstrated efficacy in eradicating brain cancer cells, but DATS proved to be the most effective.”

Co-author, Ray Swapan, Ph.D., said “This research highlights the great promise of plant-originated compounds as natural medicine for controlling the malignant growth of human brain tumor cells. More studies are needed in animal models of brain tumors before application of this therapeutic strategy to brain tumor patients.”

Hip osteoarthritis

Women whose diets were rich in allium vegetables had lower levels of osteoarthritis, a team at King’s College London and the University of East Anglia, both in England, reported in the journal BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders. Examples of allium vegetables include garlic, leeks, shallots, onions, and rakkyo.

The study authors said their findings not only highlighted the possible impact of diet on osteoarthritis outcomes but also demonstrated the potential for using compounds that exist in garlic to develop treatments for the condition.

The long-term study, involving more than 1,000 healthy female twins, found that those whose dietary habits included plenty of fruit and vegetables, “particularly alliums such as garlic,” had fewer signs of early osteoarthritis in the hip joint.

Potentially a powerful antibiotic

Diallyl sulfide, a compound in garlic, was 100 times more effective than two popular antibiotics in fighting the Campylobacter bacterium, according to a study published in the Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy.

The Campylobacter bacterium is one of the most common causes of intestinal infections.

Senior author, Dr. Xiaonan Lu, from Washington State University, said, “This work is very exciting to me because it shows that this compound has the potential to reduce disease-causing bacteria in the environment and in our food supply.”

Heart protection

Diallyl trisulfide, a component of garlic oil, helps protect the heart during cardiac surgery and after a heart attack, researchers at Emory University School of Medicine found. They also believe diallyl trisulfide could be used as a treatment for heart failure.

Hydrogen sulfide gas has been shown to protect the heart from damage.

However, it is a volatile compound and difficult to deliver as therapy.

Because of this, the scientists decided to focus on diallyl trisulfide, a garlic oil component, as a safer way to deliver the benefits of hydrogen sulfide to the heart.

In experiments using laboratory mice, the team found that, after a heart attack, the mice that had received diallyl sulfide had 61 percent less heart damage in the area at risk, compared with the untreated mice.

In another study, published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, scientists found that garlic oil may help protect diabetes patients from cardiomyopathy.

Cardiomyopathy is the leading cause of death among diabetes patients. It is a chronic disease of the myocardium (heart muscle), which is abnormally thickened, enlarged, and/or stiffened.

The team fed diabetic laboratory rats either garlic oil or corn oil. Those fed garlic oil experienced significantly more changes associated with protection against heart damage, compared with the animals that were fed corn oil.

The study authors wrote, “In conclusion, garlic oil possesses significant potential for protecting hearts from diabetes-induced cardiomyopathy.”

Human studies will need to be performed to confirm the results of this study.

High cholesterol and high blood pressure

Researchers at Ankara University investigated the effects of garlic extract supplementation on the blood lipid (fat) profile of patients with high blood cholesterol. Their study was published in the Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry.

The study involved 23 volunteers, all with high cholesterol; 13 of them also had high blood pressure. They were divided into two groups:

  • The high-cholesterol normotensive group (normal blood pressure).
  • The high-cholesterol hypertensive group (high blood pressure).

They took garlic extract supplements for 4 months and were regularly checked for blood lipid parameters, as well as kidney and liver function.

At the end of the 4 months, the researchers concluded “…garlic extract supplementation improves blood lipid profile, strengthens blood antioxidant potential, and causes significant reductions in systolic and diastolic blood pressures. It also leads to a decrease in the level of oxidation product (MDA) in the blood samples, which demonstrates reduced oxidation reactions in the body.”

In other words, the garlic extract supplements reduced high cholesterol levels, and also blood pressure in the patients with hypertension. The scientists added that theirs was a small study – more work needs to be carried out.

Prostate cancer

Doctors at the Department of Urology, China-Japan Friendship Hospital, Beijing, China, carried out a study evaluating the relationship between Allium vegetable consumption and prostate cancer risk.

They gathered and analyzed published studies up to May 2013 and reported their findings in the Asian Pacific Journal of Cancer Prevention.

The study authors concluded, “Allium vegetables, especially garlic intake, are related to a decreased risk of prostate cancer.”

The team also commented that because there are not many relevant studies, further well-designed prospective studies should be carried out to confirm their findings.

Alcohol-induced liver injury

Alcohol-induced liver injury is caused by the long-term over-consumption of alcoholic beverages.

Scientists at the Institute of Toxicology, School of Public Health, Shandong University, China, wanted to determine whether diallyl disulfide (DADS), a garlic-derived organosulfur compound, might have protective effects against ethanol-induced oxidative stress.

Their study was published in Biochimica et Biophysica Acta.

The researchers concluded that DADS might help protect against ethanol-induced liver injury.

Preterm (premature) delivery

Microbial infections during pregnancy raise a woman’s risk of preterm delivery. Scientists at the Division of Epidemiology, Norwegian Institute of Public Health, studied what impact foods might have on antimicrobial infections and preterm delivery risk.

The study and its findings were published in the Journal of Nutrition.

Ronny Myhre and colleagues concentrated on the effects of Alliums and dried fruits, because a literature search had identified these two foods as showing the greatest promise for reducing preterm delivery risk.

The team investigated the intake of dried fruit and Alliums among 18,888 women in the Norwegian Mother and Child Cohort, of whom 5 percent (950) underwent spontaneous PTD (preterm delivery).

The study authors concluded, “Intake of food with antimicrobial and prebiotic compounds may be of importance to reduce the risk of spontaneous PTD. In particular, garlic was associated with overall lower risk of spontaneous PTD.”

Garlic and the common cold

A team of researchers from St. Joseph Family Medicine Residency, Indiana, carried out a study titled “Treatment of the Common Cold in Children and Adults,” published in American Family Physician.

They reported that “Prophylactic use of garlic may decrease the frequency of colds in adults, but has no effect on duration of symptoms.” Prophylactic use means using it regularly to prevent disease.

Though there is some research to suggest that raw garlic has the most benefits, other studies have looked at overall allium intake, both raw and cooked, and have found benefits. Therefore, you can enjoy garlic in a variety of ways to reap its advantages.

 
Fri 18 August 2017    By Christian Nordqvist Reviewed by Natalie Butler, RD, LD
 
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Health Tip Tuesday

Get smelly. 

Garlic, onions, spring onions and leeks all contain stuff that’s good for you. A study at the Child’s Health Institute in Cape Town found that eating raw garlic helped fight serious childhood infections.

 

Heat destroys these properties, so eat yours raw, wash it down with fruit juice or, if you’re a sissy, have it in tablet form.


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Men Who Eat Garlic Make Women Take Notice – In A Good Way

Men and women generally agree, garlic on the breath isn’t pleasant. But according to a new study, men who eat garlic actually smell more pleasant and attractive to the opposite sex—not their breath, but their body odor. And if that finding isn’t counter-intuitive enough, it’s made all the stranger by the fact that only men in the study who consumed a lot of garlic—the equivalent of four bulbs a day—enjoyed the effect.

The study had three phases in which the amount and type (bulbs or capsules) of garlic given to 42 male participants were varied. The researchers collected their body odor with pads worn for 12 hours, which were subsequently sniffed by 82 women who rated their pleasantness, attractiveness and intensity.

In the first phase, the men ate 6 grams of garlic (about two cloves worth) with bread and cheese. The women who sniffed their pads didn’t rate their odor any differently than they rated the odor of men who ate only bread and cheese. In the next phase researchers doubled the amount to 12 grams, or four cloves. In this case the women judged the odor as significantly more pleasant, attractive and less intense than the non-garlic odor. In the final phase the men consumed 12 grams in capsules and the women again rated their odor as more attractive and less intense.

Garlic

The results suggest that something about garlic in body odor is attractive to the opposite sex, but what and why? While the study doesn’t provide solid answers, the researchers speculate that the health-boosting benefits of eating garlic may be discernable in body odor, producing an olfactory marker of good health for the opposite sex to home in on.

According to study co-author Craig Roberts, Professor of Psychology at the University of Stirling, UK, “From an evolutionary perspective, formation of preferences for diet-associated body odors was possibly shaped by means of sexual selection. Previous research indicates that many animal species use diet-associated cues to select mates in good physical condition.”

Again, this is speculative, but there’s decent evidence linking garlic to a few notable health boosts, and it’s conceivable that one or more of them could be identifiable in human sweat.

Roberts adds, “As the health benefits of garlic consumption include antioxidant, immunostimulant, cardiovascular, bactericidal and anti-cancer effects, it is plausible that human odor preferences have been shaped by sexual selection.”

Or it’s possible that once garlic is digested, it simply produces a chemical reaction evidenced in male sweat that is, for whatever reason, appealing to women. At least some women.

Either way, the results are intriguing and eating more garlic from a health standpoint isn’t a bad idea, side benefits notwithstanding.

The study will be published in the journal Appetite.

David DiSalvo , CONTRIBUTOR        Opinions expressed by Forbes Contributors are their own.

You can find David DiSalvo on Twitter @neuronarrative and at his website daviddisalvo.org.


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7 Ways To Prevent and Even Reverse Heart Disease With Nutrition

By: Sayer Ji      Monday, April 22nd 2013

Considering that heart disease is the #1 cause of death in the developed world, anything that can prevent cardiac mortality, or slow or even reverse the cardiovascular disease process, should be of great interest to the general public.
Sadly, millions of folks are unaware of the extensive body of biomedical literature that exists supporting the use of natural compounds for preventing and even reversing heart disease.
Instead, they spend billions buying highly toxic cholesterol-lowering pharmaceuticals with known cardiotoxicity, among 300 other proven side effects, simply because their doctor told them to do so.
So, with this in mind, let’s look at the biomedical literature itself.

Three Natural Substances that Reduce the Risk of Heart-Related Death

Omega-3 Fatty Acids: There is a robust body of research indicating that the risk of sudden cardiac death is reduced when consuming higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids. Going all the way back to 2002, the New England Journal of Medicine published a study titled,  “Blood levels of long-chain n-3 fatty acids and the risk of sudden death,” which found  “The n-3 fatty acids found in fish are strongly associated with a reduced risk of sudden death among men without evidence of prior cardiovascular disease.” Another 2002 study, published in the journal Circulation, found that Omega-3 fatty acid supplementation reduces total mortality and sudden death in patients who have already had a heart attack.[i] For additional research, view our dataset on the topic of Omega-3 fatty acids and the reduction of cardiac mortality.
It should be noted that the best-selling cholesterol drug class known as statins may actually reduce the effectiveness of omega-3 fats at protecting the heart. This has been offered as an explanation as to why newer research seems to show that consuming omega-3 fats does not lower the risk of cardiac mortality.
Vitamin D: Levels of this essential compound have been found to be directly associated with the risk of dying from all causes. Being in the lowest 25% percent of vitamin D levels is associated with a 26% increased rate of all-cause mortality.[ii]  It has been proposed that doubling global vitamin D levels could significantly reduce mortality.[iii] Research published in the journal Clinical Endocrinology in 2009 confirmed that lower vitamin D levels are associated with increased all-cause mortality but also that the effect is even more pronounced with cardiovascular mortality.[iv] This finding was confirmed the same year in the Journal of the American Geriatric Society, [v] and again in 2010 in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.[vi]
Magnesium: In a world gone mad over taking inorganic calcium supplementation for invented diseases such as T-score defined “osteopenia” or “osteoporosis,” despite their well-known association with increased risk of cardiac mortality, magnesium’s role in protecting against heart disease cannot be overstressed. It is well-known that even the accelerated aging of the heart muscle experienced by those in long space flight is due to magnesium deficiency. In 2010, the Journal of Biomedical Sciences reported that cardiovascular risks are significantly lower in individuals who excrete higher levels of magneiusm, indicating its protective role.[vii]  Another study published in the journalAtherosclerosis in 2011 found that low serum magnesium concentrations predict cardiovascular and all-cause mortality.[viii] Remember that when you are looking to ‘supplement’ your diet with magnesium go green. Chlorophyll is green because it has a magnesium atom at its center. Kale, for example, is far better a source of complex nutrition than magnesium supplements. But, failing the culinary approach, magnesium supplements can be highly effective at attaining a therapeutic and/or cardioprotective dose.
For an additional list of compounds that may reduce cardiac mortality, including cocoa, tea, wine and yes, even cholesterol itself, view our Reduce Cardiac Mortality page.

Four Natural Compounds Which May Unclog the Arteries

Pomegranate: this remarkable fruit has been found in a human clinical study to reverse the carotid artery thickness (i.e. blockage) by up to 29% within 1 year. [ix] There are a broad range of mechanisms that have been identified which may be responsible for this effect, including: 1) lowering blood pressure 2) fighting infection (plaque in arteries often contains bacteria and viruses) 3) preventing cholesterol oxidation 4) reducing inflammation.[x]
 
Arginine: Preclinical and clinical research indicates that this amino acid not only prevents the progression of atherosclerosis but also reverses pathologies associated with the process. (see also:Clogged Arteries and Arginine). One of the mechanisms in which it accomplishes this feat is by increasing the production of nitric oxide which is normally depressed in blood vessels where the inner lining has been damaged (endothelium) resulting in dysfunction.  
 
Garlic: Not only has garlic been found to reduce a multitude of risk factors associated with arteriosclerosis, the thickening and hardening of the arteries, but it also significantly reduces the risk of heart attack and stroke.[xi]  In vitro research has confirmed that garlic inhibits arteriosclerotic plaque formation.[xii]  Aged garlic extract has also been studied to inhibit the progression of coronary artery calcification in patients receiving statin therapy.[xiii]
And let us not forget, garlic’s benefits are extremely broad. We have identified over 150 diseases that this remarkable culinary and medicinal herb has been confirmed to be of potential value in treating and preventing and which can be viewed here: Garlic Health Benefits.
 
B-Complex: One of the few vitamin categories that has been confirmed in human studies to not only reduce the progression of plaque buildup in the arteries but actually reverse it is B-complex. A 2009 study published in the journal Stroke found that high dose B-complex vitamin supplementation significantly reduces the progression of early-stage subclinical atherosclerosis in healthy individuals.[xiv] More remarkably, a 2005 study published in the journal Atherosclerosis found a B-vitamin formula decreased the carotid artery thickness in patients at risk for cerebral ischemia.[xv]Another possible explanation for these positive effects is the role B-vitamins have in reducing the production of homocysteine, an artery and otherwise blood vessel scarring amino acid.[xvi]
 

Additional Heart Unfriendly Things To Avoid

No discussion of preventing cardiac mortality would be complete without discussing things that need to be removed in order to reduce risk, such as:
 
NSAIDs: Drugs like aspirin, ibuprofen, and Tylenol, have well-known association with increased cardiac mortality. Review six studies on the topic here: NSAID Cardiotoxicity.

Statin Drugs: It is the height of irony that the very category of drugs promoted to millions globally as the standard of care for primary and secondary prevention of cardiovascular disease and cardiac mortality are actually cardiotoxic agents, linked to no less than 300 adverse health effects. Statin drugs have devastating health effects. Explore the research here: Statin Drug Health Effects.
 
Wheat: while this connection is rarely discussed, even by those who promote grain-free and wheat free diets, wheat has profound cardiotoxic potential, along with over 200 documented adverse health effects: Wheat Toxicity. And why wouldn’t it, when the very countries that eat the most of it have the highest rate of cardiovascular disease and heart-related deaths? For an in-depth explanation read our article: Wheat’s Cardiotoxicity: As Serious As A Heart Attack.
 
Finally, for additional research on the topic of heart health promoting strategies visit our Health Guide:Heart Health.

References


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7 Fruits and Vegetables That Boost Your Immune System

With cold and flu season just around the corner, now it’s more important than ever to get your immune system in the best shape you can. Getting enough sleep and exercise, and keeping your stress level down, can really do a lot for your health. But having a right diet is just, if not more, important. Luckily, there are plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables out there that have immunity-boosting properties.

Tip: Look for foods that are rich in color — that’s a surefire sign that they’re also high in immunity-boosting antioxidants. Red, yellow, purple, blue, and orange fruits and vegetables really fit the bill here.

1. Sweet Potatoes.

And just in time for Thanksgiving! Sweet potatoes owe their orange hue to beta-carotene, an antioxidant that the body converts into Vitamin A, an essential nutrient for fighting against disease. Sweet potatoes are actually one of the best fresh sources of immunity-boosting properties out there.

2. Berries.

Packed with Vitamins C and E,berries truly are a nutritional powerhouse. Some of your best bests are common berries like raspberries and blueberries, as well as less common ones like acai and goji. Try eating berries with yogurt, another great-immunity boosting food.

3. Mushrooms.

Mushrooms are one of, if not the best, vegetarian foods for preventing and fighting disease. That’s because mushrooms help the maturation of your white blood cells, and, as some research suggest, might actually help them ward off disease better!


4. Carrots.

Though they probably won’t help you see in the dark, carrots might just help you ward off seasonal colds and flus. Like sweet potatoes, carrots are full of beta-carotene. For the best immune system-boosting results, stick to eating raw carrots.

5. Garlic.

People have been using garlic to ward of disease for thousands of years. And, more and more research suggest, it’s more than just folk medicine. One  prominent study (PDF) found that people who took garlic supplements got few cold symptoms, and, if they did get sick, they were ill for less time than the placebo group.

If you can handle it, try eating a clove of garlic every day. But it doesn’t just have to be the hard way — adding some minced garlic, fresh or cooked, is beneficial.

6. Kiwi.

Kiwifruit is a great natural source of vitamin E, a key nutrient for your immune system. Vitamin E helps protect your body from viral and bacterial infections. Though the jury is still out on whether or not vitamin C helps boost immunity, kiwifruit does have more of the stuff than most citrus fruits, including oranges!

7. Spinach.

Like kiwi, spinach is loaded with vitamin E. But that’s not all. Spinach really packs a huge nutritional punch. it has loads of beta-carotene, folate and vitamins A, C and K, as well as minerals like copper and iron — all nutrients vital to maintaining a healthy immune system.

Katie Waldeck     November 23, 2013


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12 Foods That Supercharge Your Brain

August 4, 2013  by: True Activist

Simply put, your brain likes to eat. And it likes powerful fuel: quality fats, antioxidants, and small, steady amounts of the best carbs. The path to a bigger, better brain is loaded with Omega-3 fats, antioxidants, and fiber. Give your brain a kick start: eat the following foods on a daily or weekly basis for results you will notice.

1. Avocado

Start each day with a mix of high-quality protein and beneficial fats to build the foundation for an energized day. Avocado with scrambled eggs provides both, and the monounsaturated fat helps blood circulate better, which is essential for optimal brain function. Worst alternative: a trans-fat-filled, sugar-laden cream cheese Danish.

Green it: you don’t need to buy an organic avocado – conventional is fine. But make sure your supplementary protein is free range, cage free, or organic.

2. Blueberries

These delicious berries are one of the best foods for you, period, but they’re very good for your brain as well. Since they’re high in fiber and low on the glycemic index, they are safe for diabetics and they do not spike blood sugar. Blueberries are possibly the best brain food on earth: they have been linked to reduced risk for Alzheimer’s, shown to improve learning ability and motor skills in rats, and they are one of the most powerful anti-stress foods you can eat. Avoid: dried, sweetened blueberries.

Green it: buy local and organic, and be mindful of seasonality. When blueberries are out of season, opt for cranberries, grapes, goji berries, blackberries or cherries to get your brain boost.

3. Wild Salmon

Omega-3 fatty acids are essential for your brain. These beneficial fats are linked to improved cognition and alertness, reduced risk of degenerative mental disease (such as dementia), improved memory, improved mood, and reduced depression, anxiety and hyperactivity. Wild salmon is a premium source, but we’ll highlight a few other sources on this list for vegetarians and people who just don’t like salmon. Avoid farmed (read: sea lice infested) salmon.

Green it: the California salmon stock is threatened, so choose wild Alaskan salmon only, and eat small portions no more than twice a week.

4. Nuts

Nuts contain protein, high amounts of fiber, and they are rich in beneficial fats. For getting an immediate energy boost that won’t turn into a spike later, you can’t do better than nuts. The complex carbs will perk you up while the fat and protein will sustain you. Nuts also contain plenty of vitamin E, which is essential to cognitive function. You don’t have to eat raw, plain, unsalted nuts, but do avoid the ones with a lot of sweetening or seasoning blends. Filberts, hazelnuts, cashews, and walnuts are great choices, with almonds being the king of nuts.

For those avoiding carbs, macadamia nuts are much higher in fat than most nuts. By the way, peanuts just aren’t ideal. Aside from the fact that many people are allergic, peanuts have less healthy fat than many other types of nuts…maybe that’s because peanuts are not actually a nut! They’re still much better than a candy bar, however.

Green it: try to choose organic, raw nuts, and if you can’t get those, at least avoid the tins of heavily-seasoned, preservative-laden nuts that may have taken many food miles to get to your mouth.

5. Seeds

Try sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, flax seed, and tahini (a tangy, nutty sesame butter that tastes great in replacement of mayo and salad dressing). Seeds contain a lot of protein, beneficial fat, and vitamin E, as well as stress-fighting antioxidants and important brain-boosting minerals like magnesium.

Green it: Again, just look for organic and try to avoid the highly-seasoned, processed options. In general, things like fruits, vegetables, seeds and nuts are pretty low-impact, environmentally speaking, in comparison to meats and cheeses.



6. Pomegranate

Opt for the fruit over the juice so you get more fiber. Pomegranates contain blueberry-like levels of antioxidants, which are essential for a healthy brain. Your brain is the first organ to feel the effects of stress, so anything you can do to offset stress is a smart choice.

Green it: pomegranates are seasonal and not generally local for most of us, so enjoy sparingly and rely on other berries like acai, grapes and cherries when you can’t get this fruit.

7. Garlic

Garlic – the fresher the better – is one of the most potent nutritional weapons in your arsenal. Eat it as much as your significant other can stand. Not only is it fabulous for reducing bad cholesterol and strengthening your cardiovascular system, it exerts a protective antioxidant effect on the brain.

It makes life easier, but don’t even think about buying the chopped or peeled garlic. Nutritional benefits = zero.

Green it: just choose organic, and go for local if you can get it.

8. Green Leafy Vegetables

Spinach, kale, chard, romaine, arugula, lolla rossa – whatever green you like, eat it daily. Green, leafy vegetables are high in iron (slightly less “green” iron sources include beef, pork and lamb). Americans tend to be deficient in iron, which is too bad, because the deficiency is linked to restless leg syndrome, fatigue, poor mood, foggy thinking, and other cognition issues.

Green it: choose organic, and shop at your farmers’ market or order from a local CSA. Leave out the red meat a few days a week and rely on a big, well-seasoned green stir fry or salad.

9. Cacao nibs

Cacao nibs are among the top five most powerful brain foods, right next to wild salmon and blueberries.

Green it: as long as it’s fair trade and organic, it’s green.

10. Tomatoes

Go figure, but tomatoes don’t usually make the brain-boosting food lists. Tomatoes contain lycopene, an antioxidant that is particularly good for your brain – it even helps prevent dementia. You have to cook tomatoes to get the lycopene. But this does mean that ketchup is good for your brain. Although because of the sugar in it, you should look to other sources for most of your lycopene intake, such as fresh tomato sauce.

Green it: try to eat tomatoes that are local and get your lycopene in vitamin form when tomatoes aren’t in season. You’ll know when that is – the tomatoes will be pale, tasteless, and pithy.

11. Olive Oil

Though we know the brain does need a small, steady supply of glucose, don’t overlook fat. Studies have consistently shown that a low-fat diet is not the health boon we hoped it would be (remember the 90s low-fat craze?). In fact, avoiding fat can increase foggy thinking, mood swings, and insomnia. A diet rich in healthy fats is essential to clear thinking, good memory, and a balanced mood. Your brain is made of fat, after all.

One study of men found that those who relied on the processed vegetable fats found in salad dressings, snacks and prepared foods had 75% higher rates of mental degradation (dementia, memory loss) than men who ate healthy fats. Most processed foods and fast foods use corn oil, palm oil, soybean oil and other Omega-6 fats. You don’t want Omega 6 fats. Even saturated fat is safer than Omega 6’s.

Choose healthy fats such as those present in olive oil, nut butters, nuts and seeds, flax, oily fish, and avocados. Avoid processed fats found in pastries, chips, candy bars, snacks, junk food, fried foods and prepared foods. Eating the wrong fat can literally alter your brain’s communication pathways.

Green it: look for organic, local, or farmers’ market options when it comes to your food. You should also explore herbal remedies for mood swings and brain health.

12. Tea

You have to brew tea fresh or you won’t get the benefits of all those catechines (antioxidants) that boost your brain. Because tea has caffeine, don’t have more than 2-3 cups daily.

Green it: buy organic, fair trade loose leaf or packets to support sustainable business practices.

Sources :
http://preventdisease.com/news/13/080413_12-Foods-That-Supercharge-Your-Brain.shtml
www.trueactivist.com


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13 Superfoods for a Long and Happy Life

23rd April 2013   By Iryna Ostapets   Guest Writer for Wake Up World

Healthy eating is a good path to longevity. Many of us take supplements to add phytonutrients and minerals into the body. But the more nutritional needs you meet with your food consumption, the better the effects for your body. Consuming a variety of super-foods can provide the body with all the elements and nutrients that may be missing in your diet.
It was known from an ancient times that the best path to longevity is to comprise a good variety of foods crammed with vitamins and minerals. And the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have showed that healthy eating can decrease the risk of health diseases, cancer, diabetes and other infirmity. The Professor of Geriatrics at the University of Hawaii, Bradley Willcox also noted that the most beneficial diets rely heavily on fresh vegetables, fruits, and legumes — foods that are naturally lower in calories and packed with nutrients.
The below super-foods have the potential to hamper the aging process, reinforce the immune system and maintain blood glucose levels. They prevent the build up of free radicals that are responsible for the development of age-related diseases.

Berries:

They are packed with antioxidants and natural compounds that assist to boost immunity. They contain anthocyanins which were confirmed by University of Georgia study to decrease the risk of colon cancer. Eating one or two servings of berries such blueberries, strawberries, cranberries or blackberries daily you can detain cognitive decline for older people.

 

Nuts:

These superfoods are versatile and a great source of healthy fats, protein vitamins and minerals. They can reduce the risk of cardiovascular and chronic diseases. Cashews, walnuts, almonds, peanuts and Brazil nuts are rich in antioxidants, vitamin E and Omega 3 fatty acids. CBS news informs that a handful of any nuts can benefit your health, enlarge brain power, manage stress, hamper inflammation and keep fit for a long time.

 

Fish:

It has the highest level of Omega-3 fats that protect against heart diseases and strokes. Omega-3 combat inflammatory conditions, aging in cells and assist pull down blood pressure. Consuming two serving of fish can provide you with enough of Omega-3 fats. Tuna, salmon and other oily fish are in the list of the fish packed with abundant amount of these fatty acids.

 

Broccoli:

Researches have pointed out these veggies have extra life-extending benefits such as sulphoraphane, indole and phytochemicals. These health-protecting compounds can fight free radicals and keep its anti-cancer features. Broccoli is low in calories and a good alternative for healthy salads and sandwiches.

 

Tomatoes:

They contain generous content of lycopene that is associated with a proven cancer fighter. Tomatoes are rich in vitamin C and A, fiber, potassium and folate. The National Institutes of Health reports tomatoes are a great source of antioxidants that can decrease the risk of cancers.

Olive Oil:

Great source of monounsaturated “good fat” and vitamin E. It has excellent anti-inflammatory features and is clearly associated with cancer prevention and brain power. Two tablespoons of olive oil per day can benefit your health. It is better not to consume it a lot as it is darn caloric.

 

Beans:

They have the highest level of carbohydrates, resistant starch and fiber. Beans are excellent tool for cancer prevention, anti-diabetes and weight loss. They regulate blood sugar level, fight food cravings and decrease cholesterol level. Researchers found that the more fiber intake in your foods the less you are subject to breast cancer.

 

Seeds:

They are true fat sources that include a good variety of minerals, antioxidants, lignans, phytochemicals. Some seeds (flaxseed and sesame) have anti-cancer properties and versatile for health and brain health. Daily consumption of flaxseed can reduce the risk of breast cancer and the growth of their tumor cells.

 

Soy:

The consumption of fermented organic soy can promote weight loss and relieve menopausal symptoms. They are rich in isoflavone that lowers the risk of prostate and breast cancer. Moderate soy intake can have a good impact on bones and heart.

 

Bananas:

A well-balanced diet rich in fruits promotes longevity. Most of fruits have a plenty of healing properties and benefits, but we should place a much emphasis on bananas. They are important sources of potassium, vitamin C and B6, magnesium, fiber and other nutrients. They are naturally free from cholesterol and fat and balance your digestive processes.

 

Avocado:

They are full of vitamin E, fiber and monounsaturated fat. Eating avocados assists pump enough magnesium and bolster your immune system. It lowers the level of “bad” cholesterol and increases your “good” cholesterol level. New York University Langone Medical Center reports avocados contain 13 mg of calcium that can help you make bones strong.

 

Dark Chocolate:

It has the antioxidant, flavonol, found in cocoa beans that can reduce the risk factors of cardiovascular diseases and stroke. Notice chocolate overeating can help you get extra calories. Dark chocolate ameliorates brain function as learning and memory ability.

 

Garlic:

It can be beneficial in boosting the immune system and includes a good amount of sulfur compounds that benefit heart health and lose weight. Garlic is crammed with antioxidants (vitamin C and selenium) that push out free radical from the body.
About the Author:
Iryna Ostapets is a health writer, blogger and health advocate who aims to help people achieve and maintain a healthy and happy lifestyle. Passionate about healthy living and sport, she writes about natural health, nutrition, fitness, health tips and beauty at http://www.raipharmacies.com. An experienced Medical Writer, she has a Master’s Degree in English and advanced training in the medical field. Iryna continues to earn education certificates from the Australasian Medical Writers Association (AMWA).