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Diet, Health, Fitness, Lifestyle & Wellness


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7 Spices with Major Health Benefits

Jordyn Cormier   April 18, 2015

Spices are a great thing to have in your pantry. They have the ability to turn a healthy, slightly bland meal into a nutritious flavor explosion. What’s even better, many spices are really great for your health, with loads of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds. Here are 9 everyday, super spices that you should use more of.

Oregano. Vitamin K is a hard-to-find nutrient for many people, but a teaspoon of oregano actually has 6 micrograms. It’s also loaded with antioxidants. Some research has shown that oregano essential oil can actually effectively ward off the stomach flu.

Cinnamon. Believe it or not, this spice can help to regulate blood sugar levels. For those with pre-diabetes, it is well known to reduce fasting blood glucose levels and can be extremely beneficial in insulin management for the insulin resistant. Research has shown that consuming half a teaspoon a day can actually reduce the risk for diabetes and heart disease within only 6 weeks.

Rosemary. Cooking meat at high temperatures can produce harmful free radicals. Incredibly, marinating meat in a mixture containing rosemary has the potential to reduce the formation of free radicals by as much as 84%. Not only that, but rosemary’s aromatic qualities can heighten a meal for all of your senses.

Nutmeg. Incredibly, nutmeg has strong antibacterial properties. It also has many anti-inflammatory compounds that have the potential to stifle tumor growth and reduce your risk of certain cancers.

 

spicerack

Curry powder. Every curry powder blend is different, but a mainstay in all of them is turmeric. Turmeric is a wonder spice — it’s hugely anti-inflammatory. In fact, its powerful anti-inflammatory agent — curcumin — is 50 times more potent than vitamin C. Studies have also shown that curcumin has the potential to inhibit the growth of certain breast cancer cells. Plus, curry is like a party for your palate.

Cumin. Iron deficient? A tablespoon of cumin seeds provides 22% of your RDA! It’s also excellent in refried beans or when making homemade taco seasoning. Grind the seeds fresh for the greatest potency.

Cayenne pepper. Capsaicin may boost your body’s metabolic furnace, helping you to burn more calories. The heat can also induce you to eat less and crave less fatty, salty foods. Therefore, cayenne pepper is thought to assist in healthy weight and appetite management. Sprinkle some on some avocado deviled eggs for a tasty, super healthy lunch!

Spice up your life! They’ll make your meals tastier and boost your health in the process. Just remember, it’s best to purchase whole spices and grind them fresh before you use them. This way, they maintain the highest amount of antioxidants and benefits. Also be sure to check the ‘best by’ date to ensure that they are fresh.


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5 Spices That Are The Most Powerful Antioxidants

Kara, selected from TreeHugger    January 5, 2015

Spices are a rich source of polyphenols, which means we should all be eating more of them. Polyphenols are powerful anti-oxidants that neutralize the free radicals formed by constant sun exposure and anti-microbial agents that are plants’ primary defense mechanism against microbiological attack. By ingesting foods that contain high levels of polyphenols, humans boost their immune systems, reduce cellular inflammation, and maintain an optimal balance between the good and bad microbes that live in our digestive tracts.

Adding more spices to your diet is one way to increase the number of polyphenols entering your body on a regular basis, although, as Dr. Barry Sears explains in The Mediterranean Zone, you need to have continual daily intake in order to benefit in the long term, since polyphenols are fully metabolized within 24 hours of being taken into the body.

Here is a list of the top 5 spices that rank highest in terms of polyphenol content, making them the ones that you should try hardest to incorporate into your diet. ORAC stands for oxygen radical absorption capacity, which estimates the spice’s anti-oxidant ability. These values come from The Mediterranean Zone.

Oregano

Oregano, dried — 175,295 ORAC/100 grams

Oregano is synonymous with Italian foods, which make pizza and pasta sauces the obvious choice for how to use it. But oregano is also delicious stirred into scrambled eggs, vegetable soups, salad dressings, and sprinkled over sautéed vegetables.

Rosemary

Rosemary, dried — 165,280 ORAC/100 grams

Rosemary is delicious with oven-roasted root vegetables, as part of meat rubs and marinades, or sprinkled over fish. Use it to flavour lemonade, infuse olive oil, and make herbal tea.

spicerack

Thyme

Thyme, dried — 157,380 ORAC/100 grams

Another popular Mediterranean spice, thyme is extremely versatile and can be used in many of the same ways as oregano. Add it to salad dressings, soups, stews, oven roasts or braises, all egg-based dishes, garlic bread, pasta sauce, etc.

Turmeric

Turmeric, ground — 127,068 ORAC/100 grams

Turmeric is most commonly associated with Indian cooking, which is one of the best ways to use it. Make curries out of whatever ingredients you’ve got – vegetables, meat, fish, eggs, or lentils – and add a generous spoonful of turmeric, along with other curry spices such as cumin, ground coriander, ginger, and garlic. Add turmeric to soups, stews, and rice pilaf; it will add a vibrant yellow colour. It’s also good in mustard, relishes, chutneys, and pickles.

Sage

Sage, ground — 119,929 ORAC/100 grams

The taste of sage conjures up memories of Thanksgiving for many, but it’s a spice that should be enjoyed at other times of the year, too. Similar to rosemary, it’s excellent with roasted vegetables, meat, and fish. Add a pinch to pasta dishes, particularly cream sauces, and any soups or stews. Sage complements many winter vegetables, such as butternut squash, sweet potatoes, white potatoes, and rutabaga.

Katharine Martinko, TreeHugger.


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10 Health Benefits of Cinnamon

Authority Nutrition   December 6, 2014

Cinnamon is a highly delicious spice. It has been prized for its medicinal properties for thousands of years.

Modern science has now confirmed what people have instinctively known for ages. Here are 10 health benefits of cinnamon that are supported by scientific research.

1. Cinnamon is High in a Substance With Powerful Medicinal Properties

Cinnamon is a spice that is made from the inner bark of trees called Cinnamomum.

It has been used as an ingredient throughout history, dating back as far as Ancient Egypt. It used to be rare and valuable, and was regarded as a gift fit for kings.

These days, cinnamon is cheap, available in every supermarket and found in all sorts of foods and recipes.

There are two main types of cinnamon:

  • Ceylon cinnamon: Also known as “true” cinnamon.
  • Cassia cinnamon: This is the more common variety today, what people generally refer to as “cinnamon.”

Cinnamon is made by cutting the stems of the cinnamomum tree. The inner bark is then extracted and the woody parts removed from it.

When it dries, it forms strips that curl into rolls, called cinnamon sticks. The sticks can be ground to form cinnamon powder.

The distinct smell and flavor of cinnamon is due to the oily part, which is very high in a compound called cinnamaldehyde.

It is this compound that is responsible for most of cinnamon’s powerful effects on health and metabolism.

Bottom Line: Cinnamon is a popular spice. It is high in a substance called cinnamaldehyde, which is responsible for most of the health benefits.

2. Cinnamon is Loaded With Antioxidants

Antioxidants protect the body from oxidative damage caused by free radicals.

Cinnamon is loaded with powerful antioxidants, such as polyphenols.

In a study that compared the antioxidant activity of 26 spices, cinnamon wound up as the clear winner, even outranking “superfoods” like garlic and oregano.

In fact, it is so powerful that cinnamon can be used as a natural food preservative.

Bottom Line: Cinnamon contains large amounts of highly potent polyphenol antioxidants.

3. Cinnamon Has Anti-Inflammatory Properties

Inflammation in the body is incredibly important. It helps the body fight infections and repair tissue damage.

However, inflammation can become a problem when it is chronic (long-term) and directed against the body’s own tissues.

Cinnamon may be useful in this regard, because some studies show that the antioxidants in it have potent anti-inflammatory activity.

Bottom Line: The antioxidants in cinnamon have anti-inflammatory effects, which may help lower the risk of disease.

4. Cinnamon May Cut the Risk of Heart Disease

Cinnamon has been linked with reduced risk of heart disease, the world’s most common cause of premature death.

In people with type 2 diabetes, 1 gram of cinnamon per day has beneficial effects on blood markers.

It reduces levels of total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol and triglycerides, while HDL cholesterol remains stable.

More recently, a big review study concluded that a cinnamon dose of just 120 milligrams per day can have these effects. In this study, cinnamon also increased HDL (the “good”) cholesterol.

In animal studies, cinnamon has been shown to reduce blood pressure.

When combined, all these factors may drastically cut the risk of heart disease.

Bottom Line: Cinnamon can improve some key risk factors for heart disease, including cholesterol, triglycerides and blood pressure.

5. Cinnamon Can Improve Sensitivity to The Hormone Insulin

Insulin is one of the key hormones that regulate metabolism and energy use.

It is also essential for the transport of blood sugar from the bloodstream and into cells.

The problem is that many people are resistant to the effects of insulin.

This condition, known as insulin resistance, is a hallmark of serious conditions like metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes.

Well, the good news is that cinnamon can dramatically reduce insulin resistance, helping this incredibly important hormone to do its job.

By helping insulin do its job, cinnamon can lower blood sugar levels, which brings us to the next point…

Bottom Line: Cinnamon has been shown to significantly increase sensitivity to the hormone insulin.

6. Cinnamon Lowers Blood Sugar Levels and Has a Powerful Anti-Diabetic Effect

Cinnamon is well known for its blood sugar lowering effects.

Apart from the beneficial effects on insulin resistance, cinnamon can lower blood sugar by several other mechanisms.

First, cinnamon has been shown to decrease the amount of glucose that enters the bloodstream after a meal.

It does this by interfering with numerous digestive enzymes, which slows the breakdown of carbohydrates in the digestive tract.

Second, a compound in cinnamon can act on cells by mimicking insulin.

This greatly improves glucose uptake by cells, although it acts much slower than insulin itself.

Numerous human trials have confirmed the anti-diabetic effects of cinnamon, showing that it can lower fasting blood sugar levels by up to 10-29%.

The effective dose is typically 1-6 grams of cinnamon per day (around 0.5-2 teaspoons).

Bottom Line: Cinnamon has been shown to both reduce fasting blood sugar levels, having a potent anti-diabetic effect at 1 to 6 grams per day.

cinnamon

7. Cinnamon May Have Beneficial Effects on Neurodegenerative Diseases

Neurodegenerative diseases are characterized by progressive loss of the structure or function of brain cells.

Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease are two of the most common types.

Two compounds found in cinnamon appear to inhibit the buildup of a protein called tau in the brain, which is one of the hallmarks of Alzheimer’s disease.

In a study looking at mice with Parkinson’s disease, cinnamon helped to protect neurons, normalize neurotransmitter levels and improve motor function.

These effects need to be studied further in humans.

Bottom Line: Cinnamon has been shown to lead to various improvements for Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease in animal studies.

8. Cinnamon May Be Protective Against Cancer

Cancer is a serious disease, characterized by uncontrolled growth of cells.

Cinnamon has been widely studied for its potential use in cancer prevention and treatment.

Overall, the evidence is limited to test tube experiments and animal studies, which suggest that cinnamon extracts may protect against cancer.

It acts by reducing the growth of cancer cells and the formation of blood vessels in tumors, and appears to be toxic to cancer cells, causing cell death.

A study in mice with colon cancer revealed cinnamon to be a potent activator of detoxifying enzymes in the colon, protecting against further cancer growth.

These findings were supported by test tube experiments, which showed that cinnamon activates protective antioxidant responses in human colon cells.

Whether cinnamon has any effect in living, breathing humans needs to be confirmed in controlled trials.

Bottom Line: Animal studies and test tube experiments indicate that cinnamon may have protective effects against cancer.

9. Cinnamon Helps Fight Bacterial and Fungal Infections

Cinnamaldehyde, the main active component of cinnamon, may help fight various kinds of infection.

Cinnamon oil has been shown to effectively treat respiratory tract infections caused by fungi.

It can also inhibit the growth of certain bacteria, including Listeria and Salmonella.

The antimicrobial effects of cinnamon may also help prevent tooth decay and reduce bad breath.

Bottom Line: Cinnamaldehyde has antifungal and antibacterial properties, which may reduce infections and help fight tooth decay and bad breath.

10. Cinnamon May Help Fight The HIV Virus

HIV is a virus that slowly breaks down the immune system, which can eventually lead to AIDS if untreated.

Cinnamon extracted from Cassia varieties is thought to help fight against HIV-1.

This is the most common strain of the HIV virus in humans.

A laboratory study looking at HIV infected cells found that cinnamon was the most effective treatment of all 69 medicinal plants studied.

Human trials are needed to confirm these effects.

Bottom Line: Test tube studies have shown that cinnamon can help fight HIV-1, the main type of HIV virus in humans.

It is Better to Use Ceylon (“True” Cinnamon)

Not all cinnamon is created equal.

The Cassia variety contains significant amounts of a compound called coumarin, which is believed to be harmful in large doses.

All cinnamon should have health benefits, but Cassia may cause problems in large doses due to the coumarin content.

Ceylon (“true” cinnamon) is much better in this regard, and studies show that it is much lower in coumarin than the Cassia variety .

Unfortunately, most cinnamon found in supermarkets is the cheaper Cassia variety.

You may be able to find Ceylon in some health food stores, and there is a good selection on Amazon.

Take Home Message

At the end of the day, cinnamon is one of the most delicious and healthiest spices on the planet.

It can lower blood sugar levels, reduce heart disease risk factors, and has a plethora of other impressive health benefits.

Just make sure to get Ceylon cinnamon, or stick to small doses (no more than 0.5-2 teaspoons a day) if you’re using the Cassia variety.

Joe Leech, Authority Nutrition.


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The Holiday Spice that Boosts Mood, Fights Depression

Michelle Schoffro Cook    December 12, 2014

Who doesn’t love the taste of ground nutmeg over a holiday hot chocolate or latte? It’s not only the classic eggnog spice, it’s perfect in spice cookies and other holiday fare. While delicious holiday treats may be enough reason to enjoy nutmeg, research shows that it may help boost moods and help us deal with depression and sadness, which are also unfortunately common this time of year. According to the World Health Organization, depression is the fourth leading cause of disability worldwide.

In a study published in the Avicenna Journal of Phytomedicine, researchers found that nutmeg (myristica fragrans) boosted mood and showed comparable antidepressant activity to the drug imipramine—a drug used to treat depression and bed-wetting.

Most of us have heard of the “fight or flight” reaction which occurs when we are severely stressed but there is a third reaction which is “freeze” during which we are so stressed that we have difficulty reacting at all. Like the term suggests our muscles can become rigid and we simply freeze up. In the study researchers found that herbal extracts of nutmeg had the ability to significantly reduce the amount of time spent in “freeze” mode and better cope with stress.

nutmeg

The scientists believe that nutmeg works as a natural antioxidant to reduce harmful free radicals in the body and restores the balance of hormones in the brain, known as neurotransmitters, in the same way the drug imipramine works, without the serious drug side-effects. Imipramine can cause dizziness, blurred vision, headaches, nausea, vomiting, constipation, diarrhea, loss of appetite, stomach cramps, weight gain or loss, increased sweating, painful breasts, mood changes (including depression, which it is used to treat), irregular menstrual periods, muscle stiffness, restlessness, ringing in the ears, trouble urinating, leg swelling, and sexual problems (changes in desire and decreased sexual ability).

Conversely, nutmeg has shown to have beneficial side-effects in multiple studies. In one study it was shown to have anti-tumor properties. Additionally, the Journal of Ethnopharmacology found that nutmeg inhibited 90% of rotaviruses. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention rotavirus is the leading cause of severe diarrhea in infants and children worldwide.

There are many ways to get more nutmeg in your daily diet, including: on your favorite latte, added to almond or coconut milk as a delicious eggnog alternative, with cinnamon and added to apple cider, in your favorite sugar cookie or spice cookie recipe, or added to savory dishes like soup or stew. Nutmeg extract is also available in many health food stores. Use as directed on the package. Be sure to consult your physician prior to use.

Up to one-half teaspoon daily is a good dose. While there are a couple of self-reported cases of nutmeg toxicity at purported doses of two to three teaspoons daily, these cases have not endured the scrutiny of proper investigation. Until there is further investigation it is best to avoid high doses of two to three teaspoons of nutmeg daily. Although considering nutmeg’s strong taste I think even lovers of nutmeg would find it nearly impossible to overdose on the spice.


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The Spice That Can Strengthen Your Brain

AgingCare.com    October 14, 2014

What if there was something sitting in your pantry that had the potential to naturally boost your brain power?

Turmeric, the golden-orange spice commonly used in curries, may play a role in enhancing the brain’s ability to build new cells—a process called neurogenesis—according to a group of German researchers from the Institute of Neuroscience and Medicine. The key appears to be a compound found in turmeric, aromatic turmerone, that previous studies have shown can reduce inflammation in the brain.

This most recent study expands aromatic turmerone’s benefits to include new cell growth. In fact, the compound was capable of enhancing neural stem cell growth in rats by as much as 80 percent, in some cases.

Study authors admit that, while their results underscore the potential brain benefits of turmeric, there’s still a long way to go before any science-backed argument for suggesting the spice as a therapy for those with conditions that kill brain cells, such as Alzheimer’s disease or stroke.

An ancient remedy

Turmeric contains another potentially beneficial component: curcumin.

The health advantages of curcumin are perhaps the world’s worst kept therapeutic secrets. The compound has been used for millennia by Indian, Middle Eastern and Asian cultures for a variety of purposes, from alleviating inflammation and other aches, to cooking, to ceremonial rituals.

More recently, scientific studies have identified curcumin—an antioxidant—as being potentially beneficial for people with arthritis, atherosclerosis, depression, different forms of cancer, dementia (including Alzheimer’s) and high cholesterol.

Turmeric

Despite these positive reviews, the formal evidence regarding curcumin and turmeric is not yet strong enough to warrant a formal dosage recommendation, but it certainly can’t hurt to use the tangy powder to spice up some of your dishes.

Since the amount of curcumin in turmeric is relatively small, try choosing a recipe that also contains black pepper and fat, two ingredients that can enhance the curcumin’s bioavailability—your body’s ability to absorb the compound—like this hearty, healthy breakfast scramble, perfect for a cool fall morning:

Spicy Scrambled Eggs with Leafy Greens

Ingredients

2 eggs

Salt and pepper

Dash of smoked paprika

2 tsp turmeric

1 ½ cups of spinach or kale

1 tbsp coconut oil

Directions

  • Melt coconut oil in medium saucepan.
  • Add spinach/kale and cook until wilted.
  • In a separate bowl, combine eggs, salt and pepper, paprika and turmeric. Whisk vigorously.
  • Pour egg/spice mixture into saucepan and mix until greens and eggs are thoroughly cooked.
  • (People with sensitive taste buds can add a few ounces of feta cheese to cut the heat of the dish.)
source: www.care2.com

 


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Basil: Subtle Kitchen Herb with Powerful Health Benefits

Diana Herrington   November 17, 2013  

“A man taking basil from a woman will love her always.“ Sir Thomas Moore
 
Basil, “the oldest herb,” is one of my favorites for cooking and health. Discover its balancing health benefits, its amazing history and trivia and many delicious recipes.
 
7 Health Benefits of Basil
 
1. Powerful anti-inflammatory from essential oils:
Eugenol, citronellol, linalool, citral, limonene and terpineol are a just few of the oils in basil.
The enzyme-inhibiting effect of the eugenol can help with rheumatoid arthritis or inflammatory bowel conditions.
 
2. DNA Protection
Orientin and viceninare are two water-soluble flavonoids in basil that help white blood cells protect cell structures and chromosomes from radiation as well as oxygen-based damage.
 
3. Promotes cardiovascular health
High levels of magnesium help muscles and blood vessels relax, improving blood flow.
 
4. Anti-Bacterial Properties
The oils in basil provide protection against unwanted bacterial growth similar to oregano oil (from the same plant family).
 
Inhibits strains of bacteria (Staphylococcus, Enterococcus and Pseudomonas) which are widespread and have developed resistance to treatment with antibiotic drugs. (Journal of Microbiology Methods), (September 2003)
 
Inhibits Shigella, an infectious bacteria that triggers diarrhea. This is why it’s a good idea to include basil and thyme in you salad dressings. (Food Microbiology, February 2004)
 
5. In ancient times it was used as an antidote for snake bites, and gave people strength during religious fasting.
 
6. Stimulates the appetite and helps curb flatulence. Basil tea is said to help with dysentery, nausea and stomach distress due to gas.
 
7.  Alkalizes the Body
Like all greens, basil provides alkalizing minerals to balance against the typical acidic diet. Basil is so full of phytonutrients that it is also considered a herb in all health systems.
 
 
So Many Types of Basil
 
There are 35 types of Basil plants which belong to the mint family.
They range from annuals to perennials and shrubs.
Holy basil is the most famous – known for its medicinal and spiritual qualities.
 
Basil Trivia:
  • Basil has always been a token of love in Italy.
  • Basil is Greek for ‘royal’ or ‘kingly’.
  • In ancient Greece and Rome, doctors believed the growers needed to scream wild curses to grow it successfully.
  • In old India, basil was cherished as a symbol of hospitality.
  • There were many superstitions in ancient times about Basil. One was they believed that a basil leaf left under a pot would, in time, turn into a scorpion, and smelling the plant could bring a scorpion into the brain.
  • When a Romanian boy accepts a sprig of basil from his girl, he is engaged.
  • Basil was used to embalm ancient Egyptian mummies.
  • In India every good Hindu goes to rest with a Basil leaf on his breast. This is a passport to Paradise.
  • It was called the herb of poverty based on the idea is that it would help protect those in need.
  • Sweet basil herb is known across cultures to naturally increase sex drive and fertility by fostering a feeling of total relaxation in the body and muscles while increasing circulation.
  • In Italy, it is a symbol of love.
  • The scent of basil was said to drive men wild — so much so that women would dust their breasts with dried and powdered basil.
Basil Nutrition:
 
Basil is a rich source of many essential nutrients, minerals and vitamins. It is a very good source of iron, and calcium, and a good source of potassium and vitamin C. 
 
Basil History
  • Basil is native to tropical Asia and India; it has been cultivated there for more than 5,000 years.
  • Its name is derived from the Greek basileus which means king.
  • Ancient records from 907 A.D. indicate sweet basil in the Hunan region of China. It migrated westward as whole plants, since it could easily grow indoors away from frost exposure.
  • Today, basil is not only used as a seasoning, but also in perfume, incense and herbal remedies.
Basil Use and Safety
 
Basil might be UNSAFE when used when used in significant quantities long-term. It contains estragole, a chemical that might increase the risk of getting liver cancer. Concentrated basil oil can therefore be UNSAFE due to the estragole content. 
 
How To Cook, Buy and Store Basil
 
Basil has a distinct flavor which means that you can’t just add it to any dish and expect it taste good. When it works though, it is delicious.
 


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Turmeric Produces ‘Remarkable’ Recovery in Alzheimer’s Patients

Written By: Sayer Ji   Monday, June 10th 2013

Turmeric has been used in India for over 5,000 years, which is likely why still today both rural and urban populations have some of the lowest prevalence rates of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) in the world. A recent study on patients with AD found that less than a gram of turmeric daily, taken for three months, resulted in ‘remarkable improvements.’

Alzheimer’s Disease: A Disturbingly Common Modern Rite of Passage

A diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease (AD), sadly, has become a rite of passage in so-called developed countries.  AD is considered the most common form of dementia, which is defined as a serious loss of cognitive function in previously unimpaired persons, beyond what is expected from normal aging.

A 2006 study estimated that 26 million people throughout the world suffer from this condition, and that by 2050, the prevalence will quadruple, by which time 1 in 85 persons worldwide will be afflicted with the disease.[1]

Given the global extent of the problem, interest in safe and effective preventive and therapeutic interventions within the conventional medical and alternative professions alike are growing.

Unfortunately, conventional drug-based approaches amount to declaring chemical war upon the problem, a mistake which we have documented elsewhere, and which can result in serious neurological harm, as evidenced by the fact that this drug class carries an alarmingly high risk for seizures, according to World Health Organization post-marketing surveillance statistics.[i][2]

What the general public is therefore growing most responsive to is using time-tested, safe, natural and otherwise more effective therapies that rely on foods, spices and familiar culinary ingredients.

Remarkable Recoveries Reported after Administration of Turmeric

Late last year, a remarkable study was published in the journal Ayu titiled “Effects of turmeric on Alzheimer’s disease with behavioral and psychological symptoms of dementia.” [ii]  Researchers described three patients with Alzheimer’s disease whose behavioral symptoms were “improved remarkably” as a result of consuming 764 milligram of turmeric (curcumin 100 mg/day) for 12 weeks. According to the study:

“All three patients exhibited irritability, agitation, anxiety, and apathy, two patients suffer from urinary incontinence and wonderings. They were prescribed turmeric powder capsules and started recovering from these symptoms without any adverse reaction in the clinical symptom and laboratory data.”

After only 3 months of treatment, both the patients’ symptoms and the burden on their caregivers were significantly decreased.

The report describes the improvements thusly:

“In one case, the Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) score was up five points, from 12/30 to 17/30. In the other two cases, no significant change was seen in the MMSE; however, they came to recognize their family within 1 year treatment. All cases have been taking turmeric for more than 1 year, re-exacerbation of BPSD was not seen.”

This study illustrates just how powerful a simple natural intervention using a time-tested culinary herb can be.  Given that turmeric has been used medicinally and as a culinary ingredient for over 5,000 years in Indian culture, even attaining the status of a ‘Golden Goddess,’ we should not be surprised at this result. Indeed, epidemiological studies of Indian populations reveal that they have a remarkably lower prevalence of Alzheimer’s disease relative to Western nations, [3] and this is true for both rural and more “Westernized” urban areas of India.[4]

Could turmeric be a major reason for this?

Turmeric’s Anti-Alzheimer’s Properties.
The GreenMedInfo.com database now contains a broad range of published studies on the value of turmeric, and its primary polyphenol curcumin (which gives it its golden hue), for Alzheimer’s disease prevention and treatment.*

While there are 114 studies on our Turmeric research page indicating turmeric has a neuroprotective set of physiological actions, [5] 30 of these studies are directly connected to turmeric’s anti-Alzheimer’s disease properties.**

Two of these studies are particularly promising, as they reveal that curcumin is capable of enhancing the clearance of the pathological amyloid–beta plaque in Alzheimer’s disease patients,[6] and that in combination with vitamin D3 the neurorestorative process is further enhanced.[7] Additional preclinical research indicates curcumin (and its analogs) has inhibitory and protective effects against Alzheimer’s disease associated β-amyloid proteins.[8] [9] [10]

Other documented Anti-Alzheimer’s mechanisms include:

Anti-inflammatory: Curcumin has been found to play a protective role against β-amyloid protein associated inflammation.[11]
Anti-oxidative: Curcumin may reduce damage via antioxidant properties.[12]

Anti-cytotoxic: Curcumin appears to protect against the cell-damaging effects of β-amyloid proteins.[13] [14]

Anti-amyloidogenic: Turmeric contains a variety of compounds (curcumin, tetrahydrocurcumin, demethoxycurcumin and bisdemethoxycurcumin) which may strike to the root pathological cause of Alzheimer’s disease by preventing β-amyloid protein formation.[15] [16] [17] [18]

Neurorestorative: Curcuminoids appear to rescue long-term potentiation (an indication of functional memory) impaired by amyloid peptide, and may reverse physiological damage by restoring distorted neurites and disrupting existing plaques. [19] [20]

Metal-chelating properties: Curcumin has a higher binding affinity for iron and copper rather than zinc, which may contribute to its protective effect in Alzheimer’s disease, as iron-mediated damage may play a pathological role.[21] [22]

 

Just The Tip of the Medicine Spice Cabinet

The modern kitchen pantry contains a broad range of anti-Alzheimer’s disease items, which plenty of science now confirms. Our Alzheimer’s research page contains research on 97 natural substances of interest. Top on the list, of course, is curcumin. Others include:

Coconut Oil: This remarkable substance contains approximately 66% medium chain triglycerides by weight, and is capable of improving symptoms of cognitive decline in those suffering from dementia by increasing brain-boosing ketone bodies, and perhaps more remarkably, within only one dose, and within only two hours.[23]

Cocoa: A 2009 study found that cocoa procyanidins may protect against lipid peroxidation associated with neuronal cell death in a manner relevant to Alzheimer’s disease.[24]

Sage: A 2003 study found that sage extract has therapeutic value in patients with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease.[25]

Folic acid: While most of the positive research on this B vitamin has been performed on the semi-synthetic version, which may have unintended, adverse health effects,  the ideal source for this B vitamin is foliage, i.e. green leafy vegetables, as only foods provide folate. Also, the entire B group of vitamins, especially including the homocysteine-modulating B6 and B12,[26] may have the most value in Alzheimer’s disease prevention and treatment. 

Resveratrol: this compound is mainly found in the Western diet in grapes, wine, peanuts and chocolate. There are 16 articles on our website indicating it has anti-Alzheimer’s properties.[27]

Other potent natural therapies include:

Gingko biloba: is one of the few herbs proven to be at least as effective as the pharmaceutical drug Aricept in treating and improving symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease.[28] [29]

Melissa offinalis: this herb, also known as Lemon Balm, has been found to have therapeutic effect in patients with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease.[30]
Saffron: this herb compares favorably to the drug donepezil in the treatment of mild-to-moderate Alzheimer’s disease.[31]

As always, the important thing to remember is that it is our diet and environmental exposures that largely determine our risk of accelerated brain aging and associated dementia. Prevention is an infinitely better strategy, especially considering many of the therapeutic items mentioned above can be used in foods as spices.  Try incorporating small, high-quality culinary doses of spices like turmeric into your dietary pattern, remembering that ‘adding it to taste,’ in a way that is truly enjoyable, may be the ultimate standard for determining what a ‘healthy dose’ is for you.

Notes:

*This statement is not meant to be used to prevent, diagnosis, treat, or cure a disease; rather, it is a statement of fact: the research indexed on our database indicates it


**Our professional database users are empowered to employ the ‘Advanced Database Options’ listed on the top of the Turmeric research page and after clicking the function “Sort Quick Summaries by Title Alphabetically” under  “Available Sorting Options” they can quickly retrieve an alphabetical list of all 613 diseases relevant to the Turmeric research, and then choosing the “Focus” articles selection to the right of the “Alzheimer’s disease” heading to see only the 30 study abstracts relevant to the topic.


Resources

[1] Ron Brookmeyer, Elizabeth Johnson, Kathryn Ziegler-Graham, H Michael Arrighi. Forecasting the global burden of Alzheimer’s disease. Alzheimers Dement. 2007 Jul ;3(3):186-91. PMID: 19595937
[2] Nozomi Hishikawa, Yoriko Takahashi, Yoshinobu Amakusa, Yuhei Tanno, Yoshitake Tuji, Hisayoshi Niwa, Nobuyuki Murakami, U K Krishna. Effects of turmeric on Alzheimer’s disease with behavioral and psychological symptoms of dementia. Ayu. 2012 Oct ;33(4):499-504. PMID: 23723666
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Spices and Herbs With a Huge Impact

Medicinal herbs and spices have been used with great effectiveness from ancient times.

Find out how these seven spices & herbs can make a huge impact on your daily health.

Cloves – Found to have the highes
t antioxidant content of all spices an be used as a painkiller and has been used for centuries to treat tooth aches and gum pain. Eases cold and allergies, and oil of clo
ves is useful as antiseptic in mouthwash.

Oregano – 1/2 tsp has the same amount of antioxidants as a quarter cup of almonds and four times the antioxidant activity of blueberries…Go greek make a greek salad and sprinkle on the oregano Oregano is rich in Vitamin K, iron, maganese, and kills e.coli, salmonella, and virtually all food-borne pathogens.

Ginger – Over 50 antioxidants have been found in ginger. It helps increase circulation, calms digestive problems. Ginger has also been used to treat food poisoning, shown to lower cholesterol, treat arthritis, reduce inflammation, and can be used to help increase insulin sensivity in diabetics.


Cinnamon – Plays an important role in regulating blood sugar in people with diabetes. Clinical studies have shown a consistent intake of cinnamon daily help reduce glucose, triglyceride, and LDL cholestrol with type II diabetics.

Tumeric – The bright neon yellow color comes from the phytochemical Curcumin and can eliminate cancer cells, help reduce obesity, and metabolic diseases. Scientists have found by creating a new molecule from curcumin, called CNB-001, this molecule triggers the mechanisms that safeguard and restore brain cells after a stroke.

Rosemary – Blocks HCAs or carcinogenic compounds found your favorite grilled meats. Rosemary oil can improve cognitive performance and fight off free radical’s that cause Alzheimer’s, stroke, and dementia.

Mustard – The compound AITC compound found in mustard seed is known to be an anti-cancer compound – this plant compound is also found in wasabi & horseradish. Studies show that AITC, stopped the growth of bladder cancer by 33%.

source: www.foodlve.com


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Surprising Facts About Cinnamon

Alisa Rutherford-Fortunati   September 8, 2013

Cinnamon has long been enjoyed both as a culinary spice and natural medicine.

Health benefits of Cinnamon:

Nutritional: 

Anti-Clotting: Cinnamaldehyde (a volatile/essential) oil in cinnamon may help stop blood from clotting unnecessarily. According to whfoods.com, cinnamon accomplishes this, “by inhibiting the release of an inflammatory fatty acid called arachidonic acid from platelet membranes and reducing the formation of an inflammatory messaging molecule called thromboxane A2.)”

This same property (inhibiting the release of arachidonic acid) makes cinnamon a natural anti-inflammatory.

Anti-Microbial: The essential oils in cinnamon are also “anti-microbial” and have been shown to stop many types of fungal and bacterial growth.

“Cinnamon’s antimicrobial properties are so effective that recent research demonstrates this spice can be used as an alternative to traditional food preservatives.” – whfoods.com

Blood Sugar Control: Cinnamon is a powerful antioxidant and also may help to control blood sugar on many levels, which helps

  • slow the rate at which the stomach empties after meals.
  • improve insulin response in people with Type 2 Diabetes.

As little as one gram of cinnamon a day has been shown to reduce blood sugar levels, triglycerides, LDL cholesterol, and total cholesterol, in individuals with diabetes. According to whfoods.com, cinnamon will help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease in people with type 2 disease.


Boosts Brain Function: Smelling the scent of cinnamon can boost brain activity.

In research reported by whfoods.com, cinnamon “enhanced study participants’ cognitive processing,” with the following activities:

  •      Tasks related to attentional processes
  •      Virtual recognition memory
  •      Working memory
  •      Visual-motor speed while working on a computer-based program

Improved colon health and protection against heart disease:

Cinnamon is an excellent source of fiber, calcium and certain minerals, such as manganese.

Calcium and fiber combine to help remove bile salts from the body, which helps to protect the colon and reduce the risk of colon cancer.

Through this process, cholesterol levels may be lowered, helping prevent atherosclerosis and heart disease.

The fiber in cinnamon may also provide relief from constipation or diarrhea.

Warming Effects:

Cinnamon has been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine, for its warming properties, such as during a cold or flu.

Sources:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cinnamon
– Whfoods.com


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4 Unexpected Health Benefits of Basil

Alisa Rutherford-Fortunati     September 4, 2013
  
While you might only think of basil as “nice in a pasta sauce,” would you believe that basil is not only delicious, but could help protect your heart? Read on to learn about the wonderful health benefits of eating basil!

Vitamins and other important nutrients in basil:
Vitamins: Vitamin K, Iron, Calcium, Vitamin A.*

* Basil is either an excellent or very good source of all of these nutrients and vitamins. There are many other nutrients, minerals and vitamins present in basil that are not listed here such as omega-3 fatty acid and vitamin C.

Health benefits of basil:
DNA Protection: Basil leaves come complete with an array of antioxidants and other wonderful phytonutrients. Some of these phytonutrients, orientin and vicenin, which are in the flavonoid family, have been found to “protect cell structures as well as chromosomes from radiation and oxygen-based damage.” – whfoods

Anti Bacterial Properties: The antibacterial nature of basil is linked to its volatile oils (essential oils) such as: estragole, linalool, cineole, eugenol, sabinene, myrcene, and limonene.

“Essential oil of basil, obtained from its leaves, has demonstrated the ability to inhibit several species of pathogenic bacteria that have become resistant to commonly used antibiotic drugs.” – whfoods


Anti-Inflammatory Effects: Eugenol (one of basil’s volatile oils) can also help block the enzyme cyclooxygenase (COX) in the body. This is important because COX is the same enzyme that anti-inflammatory medicines like aspirin and ibuprofen are formulated to help block, making basil a natural anti-inflammatory.

Cardiovascular Health: Basil comes complete with vitamin A (through beta-carotene), magnesium, and many other nutrients that can help protect cell walls from free radical damage (in the blood system and other body structures), improve blood flow and help stop cholesterol from oxidizing in the blood stream.

How to use basil:
-Add fresh basil to salad dressings, smoothies, herbal teas or your favorite pasta sauce.

Basil will not only give any drink, dressing or dish a great flavor, but can also help kill any microbes that might be hiding in your greens or other food.  I love adding a sprig or two of basil to my green drinks in the morning!

Dried basil still has many of the health benefits listed, but your best bet is fresh! Try growing some in your garden and add fresh basil to raw dishes or at the end of the cooking process to preserve its nutrients and other beneficial properties.

-Add basil essential oil to natural store bought or homemade cleaning products:

Adding basil essential oil to your natural cleaning supplies (Sal-suds, Castile soap, vinegar etc.) or hand/body soap (Dr. Bronners) in a low concentration (1% or less*) can add natural anti bacterial (anti microbial) properties.

*I often use one drop of essential oil per one ounce of carrier solution (you can try using more or less, but test for sensitivity before using on your skin.) I would not add essential oils to a chemical cleaner or soap.

Sources:
-whfoods
-en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Basil
– Agricultural Research Service, United States Department of Agriculture. National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference.