Our Better Health

Diet, Health, Fitness, Lifestyle & Wellness


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The 3 Keys to a Healthy Brain

Maria Rodale  July 6, 2013

We all have those moments–a forgotten appointment, a name we can’t recall, a word that’s on the tip of our tongue. For the most part, these incidents don’t worry us. However, as we age, they seem to increase in significance. We wonder if we’re losing our edge. With Alzheimer’s disease and dementia constantly in the news, we can find ourselves falling prey to a climate of fear that plays on our worst anxieties about losing our cognitive capacities.

Luckily, there are a number of steps we can take to preserve our mental sharpness. Like any other organ, the brain responds to input. Not just mental and emotional input, but diet and exercise, as well. Many of the strategies we adopt to maintain overall health also support the brain. We can keep that mental acuity, and it only takes a few simple brain-friendly habits.

1: Brain-Friendly Food and Supplements

One of the brain’s biggest enemies is oxidative stress from excess free radicals, which are generated by toxins, exercise, illness, stress, and normal metabolic processes, among other factors. Like a lunchroom bully, free radicals (atoms or molecules that are short one electron) take what they need from other atoms. As levels of free radicals increase, one theft leads to another, creating a cascade of inflammatory chain reactions that can damage cells down to their DNA.

Antioxidants can help block this cycle, which is why we hear so much about these super nutrients, and there is a wide variety of sources–foods, herbs, and supplements–to choose from. Blueberries are a rich source and have been shown to protect neurons from oxidative stress. Other good antioxidant food choices are beans, cranberries, artichokes, prunes, and raspberries. Herbs and spices like sage, rosemary, ginger, and turmeric are chock-ull of antioxidant compounds to protect the brain and support numerous other areas of health, as well.

Stock up on foods that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, such as fish, flaxseed, raw nuts and seeds, and grass-fed beef. While omega-3s are more often touted for their heart-health benefits, they are crucial to brain health, too. A study published in the journal Neurology found that people deficient in omega-3s had smaller brains and did more poorly in cognitive tests. The researchers asserted that omega-3s reduce signs of aging in the brain.


Vitamin E has also been associated with improved cognitive health. In addition, one study indicated it can help patients recover after a stroke. Vitamin E is also a potent antioxidant. Be sure to look for the natural form called d-alpha tocopherol, often found with a blend of mixed tocopherols. Avoid dl-alpha tocopherol, a form that is synthetic and not well absorbed.

As noted, oxidation can play a big role in damaging neurons, leading to cognitive decline. One of the most potent antioxidant supplements is a botanical called honokiol. Derived from magnolia bark, honokiol is 1,000 times more powerful as an antioxidant than vitamin E and has been shown protect the brain in numerous ways. Because its molecules are so small, honokiol taken orally is very easily absorbed, and even has the unique ability to pass through the blood/brain barrier. This allows honokiol to exert it effects directly on brain tissue. Honokiol is shown to improve mood, influencing GABA and other neurotransmitters that help mediate both anxiety and depression. It also is shown to aid in stroke damage and protect against the amyloid plaque associated with Alzheimer’s disease.

Another supplement that benefits brain health is curcumin, the active ingredient in turmeric. In a recent study from the Salk Institute, a drug derived from curcumin reversed Alzheimer’s disease in mice. This is not an isolated study. Other research has shown that curcumin influences neuron creation and enhances memory.

2: Exercise

Multiple studies have shown a close relationship between exercise and improved brain function. One project found that women over 65 who walked 30 minutes a day slowed their cognitive decline. When measuring mental acuity, the researchers found that the people who exercised appeared several years younger than those in the control group, who did not exercise at all.

Another study comparing activity levels and brain health looked at people over age 70. The more active group was significantly less likely to develop cognitive problems. The study also helped clarify the types of activities that promote cognitive health. In addition to “normal” exercise, the researchers found that simple actions, such as standing up and walking around the room, were also beneficial.

Other research has shown that exercise can actually increase brain size. One study used MRIs to compare brain sizes in people who exercised with those who did not. The group of exercisers did significantly better. Maintaining a larger brain is important because one of the side effects of aging is reduced brain volume, which may be implicated in cognitive decline.

3: Meditation

The calming effects of meditation are well documented. However, some research has shown that the practice actually changes brain architecture. Scientists at UCLA found that meditation increases the folding in the cerebral cortex, a process called cortical gyrification, which improves the brain’s ability to process information. Specifically, increased gyrification helps us retrieve memories, form decisions, and focus.

To me, the most striking aspect of these recommendations is their applicability to overall health. Diet, appropriate supplements, exercise, and meditation also benefit heart health, and they can reduce the risk of cancer, diabetes, and metabolic syndrome–plus, they simply make us feel better. In the big picture, good practices support health at all levels, forming a foundation for mind-body wellness, longevity, and vitality.

source: Care2.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).


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Millet Nutrition, Benefits & Uses

Your Guide to this No-Gluten, High Vitamin B & High Calcium Grain-like Seed

Posted April 29, 2007.  

Millet is not just for the birds. When you find out all the benefits of millet nutrition, you’ll want to include this ancient prized grain-like seed in your own diet!

Most people have not even heard of millet, much less understand the benefits of millet nutrition. And yet, millet is one of the best-kept secrets of our ancient ancestors. Traced back to its origin in China, millet has been used throughout the ages and across many countries.

For centuries millet has been a prized crop in China, India, Greece, Egypt and Africa, used in everything from bread to couscous, and as cereal grain.

Millet is even mentioned as a treasured crop in the Bible.

This tiny “grain” is gluten-free and packed with vitamins and minerals. In fact, while it’s often called a grain because of it’s grain-like consistency, millet is actually a seed. It’s often used in birdseed mixture, but if you think it’s just for the birds, you’re missing out on important benefits of millet nutrition for yourself!


Millet Nutrition

Millet is one of the four gluten-free grain-like seeds on the Body Ecology program.

Some of the key reasons millet is part of your healthy Body Ecology diet is because it:

  • Does NOT feed pathogenic yeast (candida),
  • Acts as a prebiotic to feed important microflora in your inner ecosystem
  • Provides serotonin to calm and soothe your moods.
  • Helps hydrate your colon to keep you regular.
  • Is alkaline.
  • Digests easily.
  • Millet is full of nutrients your body needs, such as:
  • Magnesium
  • Calcium
  • Maganese
  • Tryptophan
  • Phoshorus
  • Fiber
  • B vitamins
  • Antioxidants

And that’s not all. Many studies have been done on millet nutrition to identify its benefits for your health. Here are some of the findings:

  • Magnesium in millet can help reduce the affects of migraines and heart attacks.
  • Niacin (vitamin B3) in millet can help lower cholesterol.
  • Phosphorus in millet helps with fat metabolism, body tissue repair and creating energy (phosphorus is an essential component ofadenosine triphosphate or ATP, a precursor to energy in your body)
  • Millet can help lower risk of type 2 diabetes.
  • Fiber from whole grains has been shown to protect against breast cancer.
  • Whole grains have been shown to protect against childhood asthma.


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10 Foods High in Calcium

By Dr. Edward F. Group III DC, ND, DACBN, DABFM
Guest Writer for Wake Up World     20th February 2013

We all know that we need adequate amounts of calcium in our diet for strong bones and teeth. And while most people associate calcium with the consumption of cow’s milk, although recent research reveals a different story. Although homogenized and pasteurized milk does have high amounts of this important mineral it is not well absorbed or utilized in the body, milk products also often contain high levels of toxins, such as bovine growth hormones and antibiotics. The good news is that there are many other great foods high in calcium that are easy to incorporate into your daily diet. I must note however that raw organic goat or cow milk is a good source of calcium.

1. Sesame Seeds
These white little seed-wonders are very high in calcium, as well as other important vitamins and minerals. Raw sesame seeds possess almost 1000 mg of calcium per 100g serving. Tahini butter, a popular sesame seed-based nut butter has 426mg per 100g serving.

2. Chia Seeds
Many people are unaware that chia seeds are very high in calcium (as well as the beneficial Omega 3 & 6 fatty acids needed for health). A 3.5 ounce serving can provide about 631mg of calcium.

3. Dark Leafy Greens
From greens to spinach to kale, getting our calcium from dark green leafy vegetables is a an excellent health choice. Spinach ranks very high in calcium, with 56mg of calcium per cup. A 100g serving of collards packs a 145 mg calcium punch. One cup of steamed bok choy has around 158 mg of the mineral. Kale ranks in with 139mg of calcium and the spicy mustard green has 103mg of calcium per 100g serving.


4. Quinoa
A light and healthy whole grain, one cup of cooked quinoa offers approximately 60-100 mg of calcium, not to mention a high amount of potassium, zinc and protein.

5. Blackstrap Molasses
This is an excellent sweetener for teas and baked goods. High in multiple vitamins and minerals, one tablespoon of this thick dark molasses will give you 172 mg of your daily calcium needs. Try it in your morning cup of organic tea or coffee.

6. Oranges
One cup of freshly-squeezed organic orange juice offers approximately 72 mg of calcium. Not to mention plenty of vitamin c, which will significantly improve the amount of calcium your body absorbs. Besides vitamin c and calcium, oranges are also a great source for potassium, vitamin A and beta carotene.

7. Beans
Many common beans are high in calcium. Winged beans possess 442mg of calcium per 100g serving. Many white beans are very high in calcium. Most white beans have approximately 175mg of calcium per serving. Navy beans are also a great source of calcium, with 127 mg per cup. These beans make an excellent soup base, when our bones most need the support of calcium.

8. Broccoli
One cup of these green florets offers approximately 74 mg of calcium, along with 120mg of Vitamin C which will help your body absorb the calcium. Broccoli also contains a high amount of vitamin K, vitamin A, folate and dietary fiber.

9. Dried Fruits & Nuts
Many dried fruits are high in calcium. In fact, eating five dried figs per day gives you 135 mg of calcium. Almonds are also extremely high in calcium. Raw, or ground into nut butter, almonds hold 266mg of calcium per 100g.

10. Dried Herbs
Who would have thought that adding dried herbs to your dishes would increase your calcium intake? Dried savory spice holds a whopping 2132mg of calcium per 100g serving. Other dried herbs that are calcium rich include dill, basil, marjoram, thyme, oregano, poppy seed, mint, celery seed, sage, parsley and rosemary.


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What to Eat to Help You Sleep

February 21, 2013    by David Grotto, RD, author of The Best Things You Can Eat

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) now considers our lack of sleep a “public health epidemic.” Currently, Americans spend more than $84 million on over-the-counter sleep aids each year, leaving many searching for natural, cost-effective ways to help manage their sleep deficit. So, what’s keeping everybody up?

Lack of sleep can be influenced by many factors, from medical illness to side effects of drugs to simply having a lot on your mind. Before trying to remedy your sleep deficit on your own, make sure you investigate whatever might be behind your sleep difficulties and seek proper professional attention. Doing so could save you time, money, and many more sleepless nights.

Prescription and over-the- counter sleep aids unfortunately don’t address the root cause of a sleep disorder. They are a temporary fix until the driving force behind the problem can be addressed. Diet and lifestyle changes may be a natural alternative worthy of discussing with your doc. The types of food and beverages you choose and the way that you consume them can play a major role in influencing sleep.

First, here are a few tips on how to make a bedtime snack really work for you:

Time your snack. Research suggests that bedtime snacks are most effective when they happen an hour before bedtime (not sooner) and contain carbohydrates plus a little protein. A small nutrient-balanced snack causes the brain to produce serotonin, which helps calm and prepare you for sleep.

Plan an early bedtime. Short sleep times can cause an imbalance of the hormones leptin and ghrelin; this imbalance increases hunger and decreases satiety cues. What does that mean? It means not getting enough sleep every night can cause you to eat more and feel hungrier, which can make it difficult for you to fall asleep. So, eat a small snack around 9:00 and try to be in bed by 10:00.

Avoid caffeine and alcohol after 7. Caffeine works as a mild stimulant that causes jitters and gets the brain working into overdrive. If you must have caffeine, make sure you have it no sooner than two to three hours before bedtime. Foods and beverages that contain the most caffeine include coffee, green and black tea, energy drinks, caffeinated sodas like cola and root beer, and chocolate. And research shows that while a drink or two may help you get to sleep, alcohol is disruptive of restful REM (rapid eye movement) sleep.
With those tips in mind, here’s what to chew to help you snooze:


1. Cherries are one of the top foods rich in naturally occurring melatonin, a hormone that promotes sleep. One study found that healthy adults experienced improved sleep time and a 5 to 6 percent increase in overall sleep efficiency after drinking two servings of tart cherry juice for a week.

2. Carbohydrates before bedtime are one of the best fuels for cranking out sleep-promoting serotonin. But don’t have fatty fries or chips. Have some warm oatmeal or two slices of whole grain toast with almond butter.

3. Milk is the largest contributor of calcium, vitamin D, and potassium to the American diet. Although the scientific literature is a bit thin on milk’s affect on sleep, the nutrients in milk—specifically calcium and tryptophan—are known to induce sleep. Calcium helps the brain use the amino acid tryptophan. Milk’s carbohydrates help tryptophan work more effectively, too!

4. Salmon is rich in omega-3 fats. Research shows that omega-3–deficient diets negatively affect the sleep hormone melatonin and its function, and throw off the natural sleep cycle called “circadian rhythm,” which can lead to sleep disturbances.

5. Chicken is naturally high in the amino acid precursor to melatonin called tryptophan. I’m sure you were thinking that turkey might have a leg up on the competition, but that’s not the case. Tryptophan helps produce the neurotransmitter serotonin, which in turn makes us feel more relaxed and sleepy.

6. Pumpkin seeds are an excellent source of the mineral magnesium, as well as an excellent source of tryptophan. Low magnesium levels have been associated with a poor night’s sleep. Eating a handful of pumpkin seeds was found to be as effective in improving tryptophan levels in the body as taking tryptophan supplements.

7. Walnuts contain a number of nutrients that support a relaxed and healthy nervous system. These include omega-3 fats, vitamin E, folate, and melatonin. Research shows that the melatonin in walnuts is well absorbed and will raise blood melatonin concentrations when eaten in moderation.

David Grotto, RD, LDN, formerly the national spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association, he is now the founder and president of Nutrition Housecall, a nutrition consulting firm that provides nutrition communications, lecturing and consulting services, and also offers personalized at-home dietary services. He is the author of 101 Foods That Could Save Your Life and 101 Optimal Life Foods.


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The Remarkable Healing Properties of Pumpkin Seed

Pumpkin seeds, like all edible seeds, pack an immense nutritional and medicinal punch. After all, they contain future worlds within their compact structure. As Emerson said, “the creation of a thousand forests is within one acorn.”

In order to prepare their “babies” for survival outside the pumpkin, Nature equips these seeds with an extremely dense source of organically-bound nutrients, including exceptionally high levels of key, health-promoting minerals.

For example, a one cup serving (64 grams) of pumpkin seeds has 44% daily value (DV) of zinc, 22% of copper, 42% magnesium, 16% manganese, 17% potassium, and enough iron (17% DV) to improve iron-deficiency associated anemia.

But beyond the obvious nutritional virtues of the seed, re
cent scientific investigations have revealed that pumpkin seed meal, as well as its pressed oil, may have great value in alleviating the following conditions:

1. Prostate Growth

Pumpkin seed has been studied for its ability to inhibit testosterone-induced prostate growth, a common causative factor in benign prostatic hyperplasia. [i] [ii]

2. Postmenopausal Symptoms

Women supplemented with 2,000 mg of pumpkin seed oil over the course of 12 weeks were found to have reduced blood pressure, increased HDL cholesterol, as well as reduction in the severity of hormone insufficiency associated symptoms, e.g. hot flash, headaches and join pain.[iii]  Additional experimental research indicates that adverse cardiovascular changes associated with estrogen deficiency, such as blood pressure and lipid abnormalities, can be mitigated with pumpkin seed oil. [iv]

3. Calcium-Oxalate Kidney Stones

According to a study performed in 1987 and published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, children with calcium-oxalate crystals in their urine responded favorably to the supplementation of their diet with pumpkin seeds. [v]

4. Cardiovascular and Liver Disease

A mixture of flaxseed and pumpkin seed was found to have heart-protective and liver-protective properties in an animal study from 2008 published in the Journal of Food Chemistry & Toxicology. [vi]

5. Drug & Chemical Toxicity

The protein isolate of pumpkin seed has been shown to alleviate acetaminophen (Tylenol) toxicity on the liver,[vii] and as methotrexate-induced small intestine damage in an animal model. [viii] It has also been studied to protect against carbon tetrachloride-induced liver injury. [ix]

 

6. Arthritis

Pumpkin seed oil was found to compare favorably with the NSAID drug indomethacin in an experimental model of arthritis, but without causing liver damage, in a study published in 1995 in the journal of Pharmacological Research. [x]

7. Hypertension:

Animals fed pumpkin seed oil were found to respond more favorably to conventional drug-treatment with Ace-inhibitors and Calcium Channel Blockers, likely because of its beneficial antioxidant properties. [xi]

8. Parasites

A preclinical canine study has shown that pumpkin seeds have significant activity against canine intestinal parasites. [xii]

9. Insomnia/Anxiety

Pumpkin seeds contain a high level of tryptophan (22mg/gram of pumpkin seed protein), the amino acid precursor to serotonin – which is itself converted to melatonin, the “sleep hormone,” in the evening. Research published in 2007 in the Canadian Journal of Physiology and Pharmacology found that when de-oiled pumpkin seed was taken in combination with glucose, a clinical effect similar to that of pharmaceutical-grade tryptophan was achieved. [xiii] A 2005 study published in the journal Nutritional Neuroscience found that pumpkin seed sourced tryptophan in combination with carbohydrate was as effective as pharmaceutical tryptophan in reducing awake time during the night.

These, of course, are only some of the experimentally confirmed beneficial properties of pumpkin seed. Like all foods, there are likely countless properties which within the right context, the right timing, and the right amount, fulfill Hippocrates’ age-old and timelessly true proclamation that food can be our medicine.

By Sayer Ji       Contributing Writer for Wake Up World

Article References

[i] Inhibition of testosterone-induced hyperplasia of the prostate of sprague-dawley rats by pumpkin seed oil.  QJM. 2008 Mar;101(3):167-79. Epub 2008 Jan 25. PMID: 16822218
[ii] Pumpkin seed oil and phytosterol-F can block testosterone/prazosin-induced prostate growth in rats.  Urol Int. 2006;77(3):269-74. PMID: 17033217
[iii] Improvement in HDL cholesterol in postmenopausal women supplemented with pumpkin seed oil: pilot study. Climacteric. 2011 May 5. Epub 2011 May 5. PMID: 21545273
[iv] Supplementation with pumpkin seed oil improves plasma lipid profile and cardiovascular outcomes of female non-ovariectomized and ovariectomized Sprague-Dawley rats. Phytother Res. 2008 Jul;22(7):873-7. PMID: 18567058
[v] The effect of pumpkin seeds on oxalcrystalluria and urinary compositions of children in hyperendemic area.  Am J Clin Nutr. 1987 Jan;45(1):115-21. PMID: 3799495
[vi] Hypolipidemic and hepatoprotective effects of flax and pumpkin seed mixture rich in omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids in hypercholesterolemic rats. Food Chem Toxicol. 2008 Dec;46(12):3714-20. Epub 2008 Oct 1. PMID: 18938206
[vii] In Vitro antioxidative activity of pumpkin seed (Cucurbita pepo) protein isolate and its In Vivo effect on alanine transaminase and aspartate transaminase in acetaminophen-induced liver injury in low protein fed rats. Phytother Res. 2006 Sep ;20(9):780-3. PMID: 16807884
[viii] Protective effect of ellagic acid and pumpkin seed oil against methotrexate-induced small intestine damage in rats. Indian J Biochem Biophys. 2011 Dec ;48(6):380-7. PMID: 22329239
[ix] Effect of pumpkin seed (Cucurbita pepo) protein isolate on the activity levels of certain plasma enzymes in CCl4-induced liver injury in low-protein fed rats.  Phytother Res. 2005 Apr ;19(4):341-5. PMID: 16041732
[x] Effect of pumpkin-seed oil on the level of free radical scavengers induced during adjuvant-arthritis in rats. Pharmacol Res. 1995 Jan;31(1):73-9. PMID: 7784309
[xi] Pumpkin-seed oil modulates the effect of felodipine and captopril in spontaneously hypertensive rats. Pharmacol Res. 2000 May;41(5):555-63. PMID: 10753555
[xii] [Preclinical studies of cucurbita maxima (pumpkin seeds) a traditional intestinal antiparasitic in rural urban areas]. Rev Gastroenterol Peru. 2004 Oct-Dec;24(4):323-7. PMID: 15614300
[xiii] Protein-source tryptophan as an efficacious treatment for social anxiety disorder: a pilot study. Can J Physiol Pharmacol. 2007 Sep;85(9):928-32. PMID: 18066139 


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5 Super Health Benefits of Sunflower Seeds

The sunflower is one of my favorite flowers, and its plentiful seeds are packed with health benefits that can help you from head to toe. They’re easily available all year round, and just a scant handful of them can mean dramatic improvement in the way you feel.

Here’s a short list of what they can do for you:

  • They  control cell damage, thus playing a role in preventing cancer. This is because sunflower seeds are a good source of selenium, which is a proven enemy of cancer.
  • They contain bone-healthy minerals. Besides calcium, your bones need magnesium and copper to stay strong. Sunflower seeds have both these minerals. As a bonus, they also contain Vitamin E, which helps ease arthritic pain.
  • They keep you calm. Yes! The magnesium in sunflower seeds is reputed for soothing the nerves, thus easing away stress, migraines and helping you relax.
  • They bring a glow to your skin. The star in this role: Vitamin E again, which combats UV rays and keeps skin youthful.
  • They ease every condition that’s inflammatory in nature, such as joint pain, gastric ulcers, skin eruptions, asthma and such. That’s because sunflower seeds are loaded with antioxidants.
  • Just ¼ cup of sunflower seeds a day can keep heart troubles away. These small seeds disallow ‘bad’ cholesterol from sticking to the walls of your arteries, thus preventing heart attacks.


With their crunchy, nutty taste, sunflower seeds can easily become a regular part of your daily diet. Sprinkle them on your salads, granola, stir-fries. Stir them into yogurt, pop them into sandwiches, rice, pasta, or knead them into your dough…the possibilities are as endless as the good qualities of these sun-loving seeds.

source: Care2.com