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8 Foods That Fight Colds

If someone asked you which foods were good for helping fight a cold, you would probably think of things like oranges, because they are known to contain vitamin C. You might also suggest chicken soup, since this is one of the most well-known home remedies of all time. Scientific research has proven that there are benefits from eating chicken soup, but there are many other foods you can eat that will help you battle a cold. Here is a sample.

#1 Oysters

Most people know that oysters have a reputation as somewhat of an aphrodisiac, but they probably do not know that they can also help your body fight a cold. Oysters are rich in zinc, and zinc is a mineral that helps fights colds as researchers discovered when they tested the effectiveness of zinc lozenges. They found that people whole took zinc lozenges experienced cold systems for a shorter amount of time.

#2 Garlic

We all know that eating lots of garlic comes with a risk of offending some people around you due to the strong odor it can leave on your breath. When you are suffering with a cold, you may consider this a risk well worth taking, however. One of the key ingredients in garlic is called allicin, and it has proven itself as a potent antioxidant, and antioxidants help the immune system fight illness.

#3 Yogurt and kefir

Just about everyone is familiar with yogurt, but have you heard of kefir? Where taste is concerned, kefir might be described as liquid yogurt. It has a lot in common with yogurt, and that includes loads of beneficial bacteria. These tiny microbes are actually helpful to our health, and many of them take up residence in the digestive tract and help fight off bad bacteria. Both yogurt and kefir can help fortify your own private army of beneficial bacteria that will help destroy unfriendly bacteria, and help boost your immune system, making it better able to fight off a cold.

#4 Red peppers

Vitamin C often comes to mind when we think of the best way to fight off a cold, but we are probably inclined to think about things like oranges and other citrus fruits when someone mentions vitamin C. Red peppers should not be left out in the cold, however, since they are loaded with vitamin C. Just a single red pepper averages about 150 milligrams of vitamin C, which is twice the recommended daily allowance for women. Many experts believe even more vitamin C should be used to treat a cold – as much as 500 or even 1000 milligrams a day.

#5 Mushrooms

Another food you may not even consider when thinking of foods that help fight colds are mushrooms. Granted, not everyone loves these earthy-tasting fungi, but for those who cannot get enough, getting a cold means it could be time to pig out on mushrooms. The many varieties of mushrooms that are edible differ quite a bit when it comes to their nutrient content, but most of them contain antioxidants that will help give your immune system a bit more strength to kill of a cold.

#6 Sunflower seeds

These tasty seeds are popular as a snack, and are often salted and sold in individual packages in retail stores. It’s the antioxidant power of the vitamin E in sunflower seeds that makes then useful in the battle against colds. They are probably a bit healthier if you get them unsalted, especially if you suffer from high blood pressure.

#7 Brazil nuts

While we’re talking about nuts, we may as well take a little time to mention Brazil nuts. These crunchy treats not only help you fight colds, they can also help your body kill off other viruses like the flu. A medical research study from 2001 found that mice infected with a flu virus suffered from more severe inflammation if they did not have enough selenium in their system. Brazil nuts are rich in selenium, and don’t need to be eaten in great quantities to get their benefit. Just one Brazil nut contains more than the daily recommended amount of selenium.

#8 Tea

This is something that may naturally come to mind to help ease the symptoms of the common cold. Not only does it tend to make you feel better to sip hot tea when you are feeling sick, it has real cold-fighting benefits as well. Virtually all tea contains compounds called catechins which are powerful antioxidants that are effective in the fight against illness. A study conducted in Japan in 2011 found that people who took catechin supplements for five months lowered their chances of catching the flu by 75 percent! That sounds like it might be better than a flu shot!

source: thrutcher.com


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Nicotine in Nightshade Vegetables Linked to a Lower Risk of Parkinson’s

Parkinson’s disease is a movement disorder striking 1 percent of our older population and is the 14th leading cause of death in the United States. While we don’t really know what causes it, we do know that people with a smoking history only appear to have about half the risk. Of course, “[s]moking is hugely damaging to health; any benefit derived from a reduction in risk of Parkinson’s disease is outweighed by the increased risks of cancer and cardiovascular disease,” as well as lung disease, but this shouldn’t stop us from “evaluating tobacco components for possible neuroprotective effects.”

Nicotine may fit the bill. If nicotine is the agent responsible for the neuroprotective effects, is there any way to get the benefit without the risks?

Well, where does nicotine come from? The tobacco plant. Any other plants have nicotine? Well, tobacco is a nightshade plant, so it’s in the same family as tomatoes, potatoes, eggplants, and peppers. And guess what? They all contain nicotine as well.

That’s why you can’t tell if someone’s a smoker just by looking for the presence of nicotine in their toenail clippings, because non-smokers grow out some nicotine into their nails, as well. Nicotine is in our daily diet—but how much? The amount we average in our diet is hundreds of times less than we get from a single cigarette.

So, though we’ve known for more than 15 years that there’s nicotine in ketchup, it was dismissed as insignificant. We then learned that even just one or two puffs of a cigarette could saturate half of our brain’s nicotine receptors, so it doesn’t take much. Then, we discovered that just exposure to second-hand smoke may lower the risk of Parkinson’s, and there’s not much nicotine in that. In fact, one would only be exposed to about three micrograms of nicotine working in a smoky restaurant, but that’s on the same order as what one might get eating food at a non-smoking restaurant. So, the contribution of dietary nicotine intake from simply eating some healthy vegetables may be significant.

Looking at nightshade consumption, in general, researchers may have found a lower risk compared to other vegetables, but different nightshades have different amounts of nicotine. They found none in eggplant, only a little in potatoes, some in tomatoes, but the most in bell peppers. When that was taken into account, a much stronger picture emerged. The researchers found that more peppers meant more protection. And, as we might expect, the effects of eating nicotine-containing foods were mainly evident in nonsmokers, as the nicotine from smoke would presumably blot out any dietary effect.

This could explain why protective associations have been found for Parkinson’s and the consumption of tomatoes, potatoes, and a tomato- and pepper-rich Mediterranean diet. Might nightshade vegetables also help with treating Parkinson’s? Well, results from trials of nicotine gum and patches have been patchy. Perhaps nicotine only helps prevent it in the first place, or could it be that it isn’t the nicotine at all, but, instead, is some other phytochemical in tobacco and the pepper family?

Researchers conclude that their findings will be need to be reproduced to help establish cause and effect before considering dietary interventions to prevent Parkinson’s disease, but when the dietary intervention is to eat more healthy dishes like stuffed peppers with tomato sauce, I don’t see the reason we have to wait.

In health,
Michael Greger, M.D.

By: Dr. Michael Greger   November 22, 2017
About Michael Follow Michael at @nutrition_facts


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Top Cancer Fighting Foods

‘Let Food Be Thy Medicine’!  Use Food to Aid in Your Cancer Fight!

Health Science & Tech   Apr 2, 2016

The moment you receive a cancer diagnosis, your doctor will probably go through a list of your treatment options and what he or she will do in your particular case.  Many people have similar conversations with family, friends, and co-workers about the future and what help you’ll need in your personal and professional life.

Now an important question.  What can you do to help yourself?

It may be tempting, even easy, to give up control of your life until you’re better.  That’s a mistake.  This is your disease now.  It’s your body, your choice and your responsibility.  Let the experts do their job (and ask lots of questions) but remember to keep actively working toward your own recovery.

Chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery deplete your mind, body, and spirit.  Any person who has dealt with cancer personally or in regards to someone they love can attest to the turmoil the disease causes in so many areas.  It is easy to become lost in feelings of helplessness and worry.

Diet is a simple yet crucial aspect of your life that you can control.  It’s critical to pay close attention to the food you consume during treatment.

Enlist Food in the Cancer Fight

Internally you’re waging a war and you need to feed yourself foods that support your fight that might even boost the effectiveness of standard cancer therapies.

Many doctors turn up their collective noses at the use of superfoods during treatment and recovery.  They may attempt to mock your questions and some may threaten that healthy, whole foods are detrimental to cancer drug efficacy.

Cancer-fighting foods contain a wealth of powerful antioxidants.  They fight free radicals in your system, slowing and even stopping molecules that cause cellular damage.  Since cancer is the result of damaged or mutated cells, it makes sense that you don’t need more!

Oncologists imply that antioxidants interfere with the drugs administered during chemotherapy and/or radiation treatments by neutralizing them.  However, patients undergoing these treatments are commonly prescribed amifostine and dexrazoxane – both incredibly powerful antioxidants.

This represents the primary division between the “traditionalists” who wish to stick with business as usual from those seeking to “compliment” cancer treatments by boosting your body’s ability to help itself.

In studies begun in the 1970s, patients consumed antioxidant-rich foods during their cancer treatments while researchers logged the results.  The outcome proved – as it has time and time again – that antioxidants do not interfere with drug therapy effectiveness.  In fact, in many cases, these cancer-fighting foods enhance the power of the drugs for better results for the patient!

Follow up studies found that the patients who maintained these healthier eating regimens after treatment had higher survival rates.  Though the American Cancer Society corroborated these findings, they continue to downplay the importance of food in aiding the fight.

Obviously, choosing a healthy diet is a good idea for everyone.  It is especially critical for cancer patients.  If chemotherapy, radiation, or surgery are part of your treatment protocol, your body will be fighting the disease as well as the results of the treatment.

Your body needs all the help it can get!  Patients will feel proactive in their own case, try new foods and recipes, and give their bodies a little something extra during their treatment.  One of the biggest issues after cancer therapy is that your immune system is ravaged.  It can take years to rebuild it and for some, it may never return to pre-cancer strength.

Food is such a simple addition.  It does help protect you from many of the side effects and might protect some of your cells from destruction by chemo or radiation.  Here at The Truth About Cancer, we talk a lot about using food to ease symptoms, protect your healthy cells, and even give your body antibodies to prevent cancer in the first place.

letthyfood

Five Cancer-Fighting Foods

Fatty Fish

Fish oils contain long chain omega-3 fatty acids.  These healthy fats are a potent anti-inflammatory and protect the body from negative hormones produced during treatment that inflame and irritate.  Oily fish like mackerel, wild salmon, tuna, sardines, and herring also contain vitamins A and D – known to be forceful fighters in the battle against cancer.

Nuts and Seeds

Nuts like walnuts, Brazil nuts and almonds contain selenium, a strong anti-cancer compound.  Pumpkin and sunflower seeds are packed with zinc and vitamin E.  The vitamin E provides your immune system with a huge boost and zinc aids in the absorption of vitamin C.

Red and Yellow Peppers

Red and yellow peppers are packed with vitamin C.  This influential antioxidant strengthens your immune system and neutralizes toxins.  Peppers contain even more vitamin C than is commonly found in oranges.  They also contain carotenoids that convert to vitamin A.  Other sources of these are carrots, sweet potatoes, and dried apricots.

Mushrooms

Chinese medicine has used medicinal mushrooms for hundreds of years as blood purifiers, immune system balancers, and to aid in the performance of internal organs.  Shiitake, Miatake, Portobello and even button mushrooms all contain natural medicines.  They’ve been shown to reduce some of the worst side effects of treatment such as hair loss and nausea.  They boost immunity, increase survival rates, and studies reported that they shrank certain cancerous tumors by as much as 70%.

Purple Foods

No one talks about purple foods and we should!  Purple eggplant, dark purple grapes, beets, blueberries, plums, and cherries all contain massive amounts of anthocyanins.  Anthocyanins have been proven in countless studies to kill cancer cells.  Other benefits include supporting internal organs and boosting immunity.  Recent studies show anthocyanins compounds are easily absorbed by the body and immediately begin defending the body against diseases that result from poor diet and negative lifestyle habits.

More Thoughts to Remember

  • Drink a cup or two of fresh brewed green tea per day (hot or iced)
  • Use good oils and fats such as butter, coconut oil, flaxseed oil, and extra-virgin olive oil
  • Limit refined sugar, grains, and flour
  • Buy organic where you can
  • Increase your consumption of probiotic foods
  • Search for more fantastic information about the cancer-fighting foods that might already be in your kitchen!

A healthy diet might seem hard to accomplish but you’ll be shocked how quickly you feel the effects on your entire body.  Enlist friends or family for suggestions on recipes or menus.  If you have a friend who loves to cook, ask for help with meals that can be made ahead of time and stock your freezer for days when you have no energy.

No matter how tempting or easy, do everything you can to stick with your new healthier, cancer-fighting food nutrition plan.

There is a Better Way

No one wants cancer and if you get it once, you never want to go through the emotional, financial, and physical trauma again.  All over the world, incredible advances are being made in the fight against cancer.  It’s strange that they don’t make big news in the United States while the rest of the world is fascinated by them.

For instance, did you know…

1-in-5 cancer deaths is due to obesity?

A compound found in eggplant cures most types of skin cancer without side effects?

There are two primary food additives that are responsible for brain damage and multiple types of cancer?  (MSG and aspartame)

Cancer is big business and we need to opt out of being part of its bottom line.  Experts estimate that more than half of the cancers diagnosed in the world are preventable.

Be in the half that beats the odds.

References:
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17283738
http://www.canceractive.com/cancer-active-page-link.aspx
http://www.cancer.org/treatment/survivorshipduringandaftertreatment/nutritionforpeoplewithcancer/nutritionforthepersonwithcancer/index
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1082903/


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Spicy Foods May Help You Live Longer, Says a New Study

By Liza Lucas, Special to CNN     Fri August 7, 2015

A new study from China has found that eating spicy food may have health benefits.

Hot, hot, hot foods are the focus of new research released this week suggesting that eating fiery ingredients such as chili peppers may do more than burn your tongue. These foods may help you live longer.

“There is accumulating evidence from mostly experimental research to show the benefit of spices or their active components on human health,” said Lu Qi, an associate professor at Harvard School of Public Health and co-author of the study published in the BMJ. But the evidence evaluating consumption of spicy foods and mortality from population studies was lacking, he said.

As a result, researchers from the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences studied data collected from 2004 to 2008 as part of the China Kadoorie Biobank. Using self-reported questionnaires, they analyzed the spicy food consumption of nearly half a million people age 30 to 70 across 10 regions in China, excluding those with cancer, heart disease and stroke.

They then reviewed the records of 20,224 people who died over a seven-year followup period and found that those who ate spicy foods six or seven times a week had a 14% lower risk of premature death for all causes than people who ate spicy foods less than once a week. People who frequently consumed spicy food also showed a lower risk of death from cancer or ischemic heart and respiratory system diseases.

Fresh and dried chili peppers were the most common spicy sources, according to the study.

What is it about spicy foods? The study points to the benefits of capsaicin, a bioactive ingredient in chili peppers, which has been linked to health perks such as increased fat burning. Folk medicine practitioners also say capsaicin can help fight infection and stimulate the kidneys, lungs and heart.

Then, there’s the old wives’ tale that says eating spicy food will induce labor (although there’s no scientific evidence supporting this claim).

There are also a few risks associated with eating spicy foods. “There are certain foods that are triggers for people with incontinence or overactive bladders, including spicy foods, which doctors have identified as common irritants for women,” said Kristen Burns, an adult urology nurse practitioner at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore.

Spicy foods can also aggravate colds or sinus infections, increasing your runny nose.

The new research found an “association” between death and spicy food consumption, but an editorial published with the study cautions that this is not definitive. As a result, experts emphasize the need for more research before a connection between these ingredients can be scientifically established.

“It’s an observational study within a single culture,” said Daphne Miller, associate clinical professor at the University of California, San Francisco and author of “The Jungle Effect: The Healthiest Diets from Around the World, Why They Work and How to Make Them Work for You.”

 Pepper

There are many variables associated with eating spicy food that haven’t been accounted for, she said. The study itself cites limitations including the lack of information about other dietary and lifestyle habits or how spicy food was cooked or prepared. In addition, researchers note that although chili pepper was the most commonly used spice based on self-reports, the use of different spices tends to increase as the use of chili pepper increases. Consuming these other spices may also result in health benefits, independent of chilies.

However, Miller said the findings are still plausible, given the fact that spicy foods also have high levels of phenolic content, which are chemicals with nutritional and anti-inflammatory values.

Bio-psychologist John E. Hayes agrees. The fact that there seems to be an overall protective effect in chili intake is especially interesting, according to Hayes, an associate professor of food science and director of Sensory Evaluation Center at Penn State University. He has previously studied spicy food and personality association.

Now, scientists need to figure out why this benefit is occurring.

Hayes pointed out one significant question: “Is it a biological mechanism or a behavioral mechanism?”

A biological connection could mean that when you eat spicy food, thermogenesis occurs, increasing the basil metabolic rate, said Hayes, while a behavior mechanism could be that eating spicy food slows food intake, causing a person to eat fewer calories. A lower calorie consumption could indicate a more healthful diet, which would be an unaccounted variable not shown by the new study.

Qi, the author of this new study, believes the protective effect associated with spicy foods would indeed translate across cultures, but Hayes cautioned care.

“It’s a very big study, a very controlled study,” he said, that may not generalize to other countries. For instance, in the U.S., “spicy food is ubiquitously available but not ubiquitously consumed.”

“You have to consider that when we talk about spicy food, we can mean vastly different things, with different health implications,” Hayes said. “That spicy food could be low-energy-density vegetables, like kimchee. Or it could be a high-energy-density food like barbecue spare ribs.”

So before you make a run for the hot sauce, more research is needed to qualify what spicy entails and the various ingredients, which the current study does not break down.

“This isn’t an excuse to go out and eat 24 wings and then rationalize it by claiming they are going to make you live longer,” Hayes said. “When you’re looking at a whole food versus the individual component, we have to be very cautious.”

This is the big caveat. “In science, we try to break things down into the simplest parts while still considering the context,” Hayes said.

source: www.cnn.com


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Spicing Up Your Meals Might Extend Your Life

Regularly eating chili peppers, other hot foods linked to lower risk of death during study period

By Alan Mozes    HealthDay Reporter

TUESDAY, Aug. 4, 2015 (HealthDay News) – Some like it hot, and a new study finds that folks who favor spicy foods might also have a lower risk of premature death.

The study was based on a large multi-year food analysis. It found that adults who reported eating spicy foods — such as fresh and dried chili pepper – as little as three days per week were less likely to die during the study period than those who consumed such foods less than once a week.

“The finding is very simple,” said study lead author Dr. Lu Qi, an associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School in Boston. “If you eat more spicy food, it’s better for your health and lowers the risk for mortality, especially as it relates to cancer and heart disease.”

However, the study authors cautioned that their investigation was not able to draw a direct cause-and-effect link between the consumption of spicy foods and lower mortality. They could only find an association between these factors.

Qi and his colleagues published their findings in the Aug. 4 online edition of BMJ.

Between 2004 and 2008, the study authors conducted dietary and health history surveys among roughly 199,000 men and 288,000 women from 10 different regions in China. The participants were between the ages of 30 and 79.

People with a prior history of cancer, heart disease or stroke were excluded from the study. The median study follow-up was seven years. During that time, more than 20,000 participants died.

The team did not tally exactly how much spice participants included in individual meals, or how “hot” each respondent’s overall diet actually was.

But the investigators generally found that eating fresh spicy foods as little as once or twice a week was associated with a 10 percent drop in the overall risk for death during the study, compared with eating such foods less than once weekly.

salsa

Eating spicy foods between three and seven days per week appeared to lower mortality by as much as 14 percent, the authors reported.

Fresh chili peppers – among the most commonly used spicy foods – were specifically linked to a lower risk of dying as a result of cancer, heart disease and type 2 diabetes.

These findings held up across gender, and even after accounting for differences in age, education, sedentary patterns and marital status. That said, the protective effect of spices was found to be even greater among those who did not drink alcohol, the study found.

Qi noted that the current investigation set out to merely identify the associated impact of spicy diets, not to decode exactly how spices might offer protection against illness and death.

Still, he pointed to prior animal research, which he said suggested that components found in fresh spices help to improve cholesterol levels, maintain healthy bacterial content in the intestine, control inflammation and reduce oxidative stress.

“Human studies are sparse. But all these mechanisms may potentially contribute to the protective effect we saw, which I think would equally apply to other populations, such as Americans,” explained Qi, who is also an associate professor of nutrition and epidemiology with the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston.

Registered dietician Lona Sandon, an assistant professor of clinical nutrition at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas, didn’t hesitate to embrace the healthy promise of chili peppers and their spicy cousins. She offered a simple piece of advice: “eat up.”

“We do know that spices are high in potent antioxidants that could be protective against cancer and heart disease,” she said. “Spices have been used for years in traditional medicine practices to cure or treat a variety of ailments.”

And, she added, “the capsaicin in peppers is known to help fight inflammation. Peppers are also a good source of vitamin C, a known potential cancer-fighting agent.”

Past research has also suggested that other spices, such as curry and garlic, are protective against cancer and beneficial in the fight to lower cholesterol and blood pressure, Sandon pointed out.

But despite indications of an “underlying protective element,” she similarly cautioned that “many of these studies are not strong enough to prove cause and effect.”

Still, Sandon noted that spices add flavor, add no calories and risk no harm. “And if they bring an added health benefit, then that is a bonus,” she said.

Article Sources
BMJ