By Ipshita Mitra
When the opposition in question is an adamant disease like cancer, our armoury should be packed with a healthy lifestyle and a diet including foods that double as anti-cancer agents. Look no further than Indian spices to add incredible flavor to your food and prevent cancer.
When actress Lisa Ray was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, a relatively rare cancer of the bone marrow, all she said was, “I’ll beat cancer”. Carrying this spirit of defeating a disease often labelled ‘incurable’, we try to find out diet methods, especially in the selection of spices that can avert the multiplying of malignant cells in the body that gradually mature into insurmountable cancer cells.
Our grandmothers would in no time prepare us a glass of warm milk with saffron sprinkled on top when we went crying to her with bruise on our knee or wound on the elbow. The herbal turmeric paste soothed minor cuts and healed all skin rashes. These age-old kitchen tricks are little more than mere quick-fix tactics. Spices like turmeric and saffron are inherent with medicinal properties that, when incorporated to our diet from an early stage strengthens our bodies against invasion of toxins, bacteria and virus.
Senior consultant surgical oncologist Dr. B. Niranjan Naik and senior clinical nutritionist, Fortis La Femme, Shipra Saklani Mishra, inform us about the goodness of Indian spices with cancer-fighting properties and the necessity of their inclusion to our eating habits.
Turmeric/Curcumin: This is the king of spices when it comes to dealing with cancer diseases, besides it adding a zesty colour to our food on the platter. Turmeric contains the powerful polyphenol Curcumin that has been clinically proven to retard the growth of cancer cells causing prostrate cancer, melanoma, breast cancer, brain tumour, pancreatic cancer and leukemia amongst a host of others. Curcumin promotes ‘Apoptosis’- (programmed cell death/cell suicide) that safely eliminates cancer breeding cells without posing a threat to the development of other healthy cells. In cases of conventional radiotherapy and chemotherapy, the surrounding cells too become a target in addition to the cancer cells. Therefore, the side-effects are imminent.
Fennel: Armed with phyto-nutrients and antioxidants, cancer cells have nothing but to accept defeat when the spice is fennel. ‘Anethole’, a major constituent of fennel resists and restricts the adhesive and invasive activities of cancer cells. It suppresses the enzymatic regulated activities behind cancer cell multiplication. A tomato-fennel soup with garlic or fresh salads with fennel bulbs make for an ideal entree prior to an elaborate course meal. Roasted fennel with parmesan can be another star pick.
Saffron: A natural carotenoid dicarboxylic acid called ‘Crocetin’ is the primary cancer-fighting element that saffron contains. It not only inhibits the progression of the disease but also decreases the size of the tumour by half, guaranteeing a complete goodbye to cancer. Though it is the most expensive spice in the world for it is derived from around 250,000 flower stigmas (saffron crocus) that make just about half a kilo, a few saffron threads come loaded with benefits you won’t regret paying for. Saffron threads can be used in various ways:
Cumin: Yes, it aids digestion and probably that is why we like chewing a handful of cumin seeds at the end of every meal. However, its health benefits go beyond. A portent herb with anti-oxidant characteristics, cumin seeds contain a compound called ‘Thymoquinone’ that checks proliferation of cells responsible for prostate cancer. So, instead of loading your usual snack options with calories and oil, add this seasoning to your bread, fried beans or sauce and make the dish rich in flavour and high on health. You can rediscover the magic of cumin in your regular bowl of tadka dal and rice too!
Cinnamon: It takes not more than a half teaspoon of cinnamon powder every day to keep cancer risk away. A natural food preservative, cinnamon is a source of iron and calcium. Useful in reducing tumour growth, it blocks the formation of new vessels in the human body. Some of the effective ways of including cinnamon in your diet are:
-Start your day with a cup of cinnamon tea (in leaf or sachet)
-Make your breakfast meal a super healthy one; just add this wonder spice to your
morning oatmeal and you are going well!
-A fruity delight comprising chopped apples, a few walnuts and your magic potion cinnamon
-Honey and cinnamon in your glass of milk before going to bed; no cancer nightmares assured!
Oregano: More than a pizza or pasta topping, oregano confirms its worth as a potential agent against prostate cancer. Consisting of anti-microbial compounds, just one teaspoon of oregano has the power of two cups of red grapes! Phyto-chemical ‘Quercetin’ present in oregano restricts growth of malignant cells in the body and acts like a drug against cancer-centric diseases.
Cayenne Pepper/Capsaicin (Chilli peppers): A promising spice with anti-cancer properties, an overdose of chilli peppers however should be restrained. Capsaicin induces the process of apoptosis that destroys potential cancer cells and reduces the size of leukemia tumour cells considerably. It can be concluded that apart from setting our tongues on fire, chilli peppers can scare cancer pathogens off too.
Ginger: This humble spice boasts of medicinal qualities that help lowering cholesterol, boost metabolism and kill cancer cells. Easily added to vegetable dishes, fish preparations and salads, ginger enhances the flavour in cooking. Chew on fresh parsley if the odour bothers you.
Clove: On the ORAC (Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity) scale used by the National Institute on Aging in the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to assess the antioxidant value of foods, clove has the highest ORAC score. Besides it’s ability to prevent cancer, clove-infused water is used to treat stomach upsets, nausea and diarrhoea.
Others: Anise, basil, garlic, caraway, fenugreek, mustard, mint leaves, rosemary, Limonin (fresh lemon), virgin olive, vinegar and avocado are other cancer-fighting diet components.
Other diet habits that can keep cancer risk at bay:
1. A plant-based diet with a variety of fruits, vegetables, nuts, grains and beans is the best organic way to fight cancer.
2. Add fibre: Replace white rice with brown rice in meals
3. Substitute whole-grain bread for white bread; choose a bran muffin over a pastry
4. Snack on popcorn instead of potato chips.
5. Eat fresh fruits with skin.
6. Omega-3 fatty acids fight inflammation.
7. Cook with olive oil instead of regular vegetable oil
8. Avoid packaged or fried foods that are high in trans-fats
9. Avoid processed salt. Celtic sea salt/Himalayan salt can be consumed sparingly.
10. Cancer patients: Do not load your diet with turmeric or Curcumin supplements without doctor’s consult or prescribed dosage.
Cancer fighting salad recipe: Couscous salad with sun dried tomato
Couscous Wheat- 120 gms
Turmeric – 1 gm
Salt/pepper To Taste
Sun dried tomato- 2 nos
Olives (black/Green) – 2 nos each
Mint leaves- 2 sprig
Bell pepper dices- 15 gm
Olive oil- 2 Tsp
Pickle onion- 2 nos
1. Take a pan and add salt, pepper, turmeric, couscous, olive oil and saffron. Steam the couscous for 5 minutes and chill immediately.
2. Now add lemon juice, bell pepper, olives, sun dried tomato, pickle onion (chopped) and dice ginger. Mix well and add mint. Mould it on top of lettuce leaves and serve chilled.
Wednesday, October 17, 2012
Wednesday, May 16, 2012
Recently Sacred Heart Schools in Atherton invited Dr. Dacher Keltner, UC Berkeley psychologist and executive member of the Greater Good Science Center, to speak about ways to create a more meaningful life centered around happiness.
His ideas around this new scientific research into social and emotional well-being, which he calls the “science of a meaningful life,” help individuals explore and apply tangible ways to being happy through strong social bonds and altruistic behavior. He presented research-backed evidence that our brains and nervous systems are wired for compassion and that it is fundamental to our happiness, health, and to developing strong communities around us.
His talk inspired listeners to challenge themselves through his tips below, to increase the opportunities for kindness and thoughtfulness toward others in order to build a more meaningful life, while at the same time influencing the same for family, friends and beyond in the community at large.
Here are his talk's ten takeaways:
1) Connect Take time to really make a connection, whether it’s a fist bump with your son to remembering the name of the owner at the dry cleaners, or making eye contact with a stranger. Connecting with those around you and within the community is important for one’s well-being, creating happier individuals.
2) Trust Keltner says we should build a trusting mind, and talk about others in terms of good intentions. Trust is a key element in one’s welfare, which will create a comforting and safe environment.
3) Give The Dalai Lama said it best: “If you want others to be happy, practice compassion; if you want to be happy, practice compassion.” With our busy lives and schedules, we often forget about the small things we can do to help those in need. Volunteering a few hours a month or donating funds to an organizations you believe in can go a long way in your happiness quotient factor, according to Keltner.
4) Play Spend more time in “play” mode: play games with your kids, make up endearing nick names for friends, or just make fun of yourself. Being in “play” mode enhances our health, creativity and promotes conflict resolution.
5) Appreciate Be thankful for the wonderful things in your life and what has been given to you; write and send that thank you card we’ve all been meaning to send to someone, whether it’s for a recent gift, or just to say thanks for being a friend. Keltner suggested keeping a gratitude diary, and once a week, in which you write down what you are grateful for. He reports that doing this has been shown to boost one’s overall happiness in life.
6) Acceptance Accept that people are not perfect and different. Recognize that everyone has a different opinion, way of life, or political affiliation, and accept them for who they are, and speak of them respectfully, however different their views may be than yours.
7) Optimism The glass is half-full. It’s reported that optimistic people report higher levels of overall well-being and happiness and higher levels of positive emotion.
8) Contemplation Spend time in reflection and contemplation. Focus on your breathing, the mindfulness of your body, and then of loving kindness. When you imagine someone you love or imagine someone who is suffering, it evokes altruistic feelings of warmth and compassion. Keltner suggests thinking of someone who is important to you and then wish for their happiness; then extend it to another person to broaden your circle of care.
9) Narrative If there is something bothering you, put it down on paper, and pen your strongest emotions or facts of the event. Keltner states that writing about a traumatic or troubling event in one’s life has been shown to increase happiness, enhance the immune function, and reduce anxiety and depression.
10) The Sacred Revere things that are sacred to you. Celebrate in the beauty of nature and art, or politics, or religion. Whatever it may be, it should have a transcendent quality that brings a large group of people to a shared sense of humanity.
If we all pledged to employ some or all of Keltner’s suggestions, collectively we could influence the world, or at least our tiny corner of it, to be a happier, kinder, and a more compassionate society of mankind.
Wednesday, February 8, 2012
Grape Seed Extract Targets and Kills Cancer Cells and Leaves Healthy Cells Unharmed
A study published this week in the journal Carcinogenesis shows that grape seed extract (GSE) kills squamous cell carcinoma cells, while leaving healthy cells unharmed.
Grape seed extracts are industrial derivatives from whole grape seeds that have a great concentration of vitamin E, flavonoids, linoleic acid and polyphenols.
Human case reports and results from laboratory and animal studies provide preliminary evidence that grape seed extract may prevent heart diseases such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol. By limiting lipid oxdation, phenolics in grape seeds may reduce risk of heart disease, such as by inhibiting platelet aggregation and reducing inflammation.
It is estimated that 40 percent of American adults, or 50 million people, have metabolic syndrome. In a first human clinical trial, UC Davis cardiovascular researchers assessed the effect of grape seed extract on people with metabolic syndrome, a combination of risk factors that increase the risk for heart disease, including high blood pressure, excess abdominal body weight, high blood cholesterol fats and high blood sugar. They found that taking 300 milligrams of grape seed extract also had reduced serum oxidized LDL cholesterol levels.
Nearly 12,000 people will die of head and neck cancer in the United States this year and worldwide cases will exceed half a million.
"It's a rather dramatic effect," says Rajesh Agarwal, PhD, investigator at the University of Colorado Cancer Center and professor at the Skaggs School of Pharmaceutical Sciences.
It depends in large part, says Agarwal, on a healthy cell's ability to wait out damage.
"Cancer cells are fast-growing cells," Agarwal says. "Not only that, but they are necessarily fast growing. When conditions exist in which they can't grow, they die."
Grape seed extract creates these conditions that are unfavorable to growth. Specifically, the paper shows that grape seed extract both damages cancer cells' DNA (via increased reactive oxygen species) and stops the pathways that allow repair (as seen by decreased levels of the DNA repair molecules Brca1 and Rad51 and DNA repair foci).
"Yet we saw absolutely no toxicity to the mice, themselves," Agarwal says.
Again, the grape seed extract killed the cancer cells but not the healthy cells.
"I think the whole point is that cancer cells have a lot of defective pathways and they are very vulnerable if you target those pathways. The same is not true of healthy cells," Agarwal says.
The Agarwal Lab hopes to move in the direction of clinical trials of grape seed extract.
Thursday, December 22, 2011
Updated on 9/20/10There are two types of foods: acid-forming or alkaline-forming. The differences between the two are like night and day. Or, diseased and not diseased.Your body is designed for your blood pH balance to be between 7.35-7.45. Too much acid in the blood causes imbalance and eventually, diseases. Whenever you eat something that is incomplete (not wholesome) and acidic, your body has to pull the nutrients out of your body’s minerals to try to neutralize the acidity.
For instance soda, which has one of the lowest pH levels, if consumed, your body will have to use its water to stabilize the acid. Your body is intelligent and will always try to work with whatever you give it. Unfortunately, it can only do this for so long.
How Your Blood’s pH Balance Relates to DiseasesLet’s take a look at arthritis. Or any other so-called disease ending with -itis. All itis means is inflammation. Arth means joint. Arthritis literally means inflammation of the joints. We are trained to give these “diseases” exotic names and deem them to be incurable. But the truth is, WE give these “diseases” strength when we succumb to them and let them claim our lives.
What causes the inflammation that gives you “arthritis”? Too much acid in the blood. No acid, no inflammation. No inflammation, no “arthritis”. Isn’t life simple?
When your body is alkaline-based, you are in optimum health. This is why certain people that “look” healthy die or contract the same “diseases” that unhealthy people have. Because, even though they “look” good, they were probably consuming very acidic foods.
About the ListThe foods listed below are all alkaline-forming. There is a difference between acid-forming and alkaline-forming. A citrus fruit like an orange is acidic but when your body assimilates it, it leaves an alkaline ash. Therefore, the orange is an alkaline-forming fruit.
This list is a combination of all the research and experiences I’ve had. There may be other foods that are not listed but that just means it slipped my eye. The important thing is that we make a conscious effort to consume as much alkaline-forming foods as possible.
Please share this list with everyone you know!
Alkaline-Forming Vegetables (All fresh, not processed or canned)Alfalfa
Alkaline-Forming Fruits (all fresh, not processed or canned)Apple
Alkaline Forming Nuts, Seeds & GrainsAlmonds
Alkaline Forming Spices & SeasoningsChili Pepper
Other Alkaline Forming FoodsStevia
Worst Acid Forming Foods (These “foods” should be limited or avoided)There are many acid-forming foods (mainly all the unnatural, man-made “foods”) but these are the worst of the worst.
Dairy Products (cheese, ice cream, milk shakes, yogurt etc)
Meats (including fish, chicken, turkey etc)
Salt (use Sea Salt)
via alimyers.netWas surprised to see tomatoes on the list. If you suffer from joint problems I recommend cutting them out too for a while, just to see.
Wednesday, November 23, 2011
12 Top Nutrients For A Healthy HeartBy Tony Isaacs - tbyil.com
The heart is our most important and most active muscle. In addition to the benefits for the heart of having a healthy active lifestyle and eating a healthy diets, there are several key herbs, minerals vitamins and other nutritional items which can provide great boosts for heart health.Here are 12 of the best:
1. Cayenne. Sometimes referred to as the “King of Herbs”, cayenne is one of the most powerful heart-healthy substances. It strengthens, stimulates, and tones the heart, balances circulation and blood pressure, and calms palpitations. Due to its fiery punch, you may want to start small and work your way up to larger amounts of powder or extract added to juice.
2. Hawthorn. Along with cayenne, hawthorn was one of famed herbalist Dr. Christopher’s favorite herbs for the heart. Hawthorn is rich in flavonoids that protect small capillary vessels from free-radical damage. It normalizes blood pressure, lowers cholesterol and fat deposits in the liver and aorta and helps conditions such as angina, arrhythmia, arteriosclerosis, blood clots, and hypertension. Though it may take months to realize hawthorn’s full benefits, often a dropper of hawthorn berry extract will settle irregular heartbeats in short order.
3. Magnesium. Magnesium helps prevent heart attacks, regulates high blood pressure and helps ease heart arrhythmia, in addition to having a great many other vital health benefits. Thanks to today’s SAD diet and mineral depleted soils, it is estimated that anywhere from 80 to 95 percent of us are deficient in magnesium.
4. Co-Enzyme Q10 (CoQ10). CoQ10 is an essential primary heart protector. Notably, statin drugs interfere with the liver’s production of CoQ10 from selenium. Also, the most common side effect of statin drugs is muscle pain and damage – and remember, the heart is our most vital muscle.
5. Selenium. The mineral selenium is essential for the body’s natural production of CoQ10.
6. Silica. It was noted over a half century ago that the mineral silicon was abundant in healthy hearts and deficient in diseased hearts and heart vessels. Silicon is responsible for both the strength and elasticity of cardiovascular tissue. It is a semiconductor that is involved in nervous system message transmissions and is likely important for the heart’s electrical functions.
7. Vitamin D3. Abundant evidence now points to the numerous cardioprotective functions of vitamin D. Restoring vitamin D to normal levels has been found to help reduce inflammation, normalize blood pressure, and improve insulin sensitivity – all factors that reduce heart disease risk.
8. Iodine. In 1933, Dr. Kenneth Turner of Harvard Medical School conducted a series of experiments with rabbits which demonstrated that iodine could prevent atherosclerosis in rabbits even when they were fed horribly unhealthy diets. Iodine is also an essential co-factor for selenium.
9. Garlic. Several studies have shown that a clove a day of garlic inhibits bad cholesterol (LDL) production and raises the good kind (HDL). Smaller trials have also indicated that garlic helps normalize blood pressure, prevent blood platelet aggregation, and improve circulation.
10. Vitamin C. Linus Pauling protege’ Dr. Matthias Rath determined that heart disease is an early form of sailor’s scurvy, which is caused by weakening of the arterial walls due to a deficiency in Vitamin C. Vitamin C induces the natural repair of the blood vessel wall in cardiovascular disease, which can lead to a halt in progression – and even to natural regression – of vascular lesions.
11. Motherwort. Traditionally used to treat a racing heart caused by nervous tension, long-term use of this herbal sedative may reduce the formation of clotting factors, lower total cholesterol and triglycerides, and strengthen the heart muscle. Motherwort is typically consumed as a prepared tea throughout the day.
12. Cacao. A natural source of heart-healthy theobromine, cacao also contains the flavonal epicatechin, which improves blood vessel function.
Tuesday, November 22, 2011
Natural pain killers
Many who suffer from problems of restlessness, decreased immunity, depression and anxiety can consume these natural pain killers, which are as effective as medical drugs.
Fish oil: Fish contains two essential omega-3 fatty acids, eicosapentaenoic acid and decosahexaenoic acid. These can help block the production of inflammatory chemicals in the body, known as cytokines and leukotrienes. Researchers have established that eating about 3 g of fish fats a day can relieve of joint pain, inflammation, and stiffness associated with rheumatoid arthritis. Fish oil can also help reduce the severity of Crohn's disease and these patients can stop consuming anti-inflammatory medications and steroids.
Olive oil: This is a natural chemical with anti-inflammatory properties like ibuprofen. Oleocanthal is the natural ingredient in this oil. 50 g of extra virgin olive oil is comparable to about 10% of ibuprofen dose recommended for adult pain relief.
Tart cherries: Researchers of Michigan State University opine that eating about 20 tart cherries may relieve pain better than aspirin. These cherries exhibit antioxidant properties comparable to vitamin E. Anthocyanins which is found in cherries inhibited cyclooxygenase-1 and 2 enzymes, which are the targets of anti inflammatory drugs at doses more than ten times lower than aspirin. Arthritis and gout can be controlled by daily consumption of cherries.
Saliva: This is found to generate a natural pain killer six times stronger than morphine. Human saliva is similar to opiorphin and it acts as a natural pain killer far better than the traditional drug morphine which has addictive and psychosomatic side effects.
White willow bark: This decreases pain by blocking the production of prostaglandins which can get inflamed. White willow bark is effective to reduce fever, and relieves pain similar to aspirin especially chronic headaches. Conventionally, white willow bark is safer than aspirin and other synthetically derived salicylate based anti inflammatory drugs. There are no contraindications and serious side-effects reported in the use of willow bark. An effective relief from headache, toothache, backache and even arthritis can be had by this wonder herb. Yet, it is advised that people with gastritis and ulcers need to avoid use of white willow bark.
Methyl sylphonyl methane: MSM is a naturally occurring sulfur compound. This is a powerful painkiller and anti-inflammatory and anti spasmodic and analgesic. The tradition of pain impulses is inhibited by the use of MSM. In a study conducted at the UCLA School of Medicine in the US, it was found that about 80% pain control was achieved within six weeks in degenerative arthritis patients by using MSM. Glucosamine and chondroitin are the nutritional supplements in MSM and they can significantly help reduce arthritis pain. In Europe, oral glucosamine is a commonly used pain killer and is even approved as a prescription drug.
Boswellia: This is an Indian herb and is very effective for both chronic and minor pains. Boswellia acid is the active ingredient in Boswellia and it is more potent and less toxic than many of the standard anti-inflammatory drugs. Boswellia is available both as a supplement and as a topical cream. It has no adverse effects. Boswellia is also known as frankincense.
Devil's claw: This herb is native to South Africa and it is best known for alleviating back pain and arthritis. The iridoid glycosides in this herb produce analgesic and anti-inflammatory effects. Devil's claw also helps to decrease pain and is effective for osteoarthritis, but with much lesser side effects. However, people with gastric ulcers should not consume devil's claw as it increases the production of gastric acid.
Curcumin: This spice of life is a compound found in turmeric which is a powerful painkiller known to block inflammatory proteins and enhance the ability of the body to suppress inflammation. Curcumin decreases inflammation by reducing prostaglandin activity. It improves absorption and it can be consumed with equal amounts of bromelain which is an anti inflammatory enzyme found in pineapples.
Arnica: This centuries old remedy comes from the bright yellow arnica flower which is found in the alpine meadows of Europe. It decreases inflammation and is an immune system booster. Tropical arnica soothes pain and restores joint function just as well as ibuprofen. It is also ideal for sprains, bruises, strains and in postoperative healing.
Ginger: This is a flavorful root that contains enzymes that inhabit the production of inflammatory compounds. For acute pain 2 g of grounded dehydrated ginger daily in three divided doses should help. For chronic conditions 1 g daily in three divided doses should do the trick.
Feverfew: For long term relief from headaches, feverfew should be ideal. A member of the sunflower family, this relaxes the blood vessels in the brain and prevents them from constricting which is a primary cause of migraine.
Natural oils: A whole gamut of natural oils like almond, eucalyptus, peppermint, wintergreen, camphor, spearmint and olive help to deliver fast and effective way to relieve pain at the spot of concentration. These topical applications of pure ingredients will penetrate deeply and focus on the cause of pain without having to breakdown the chemicals that prescription pain relievers contain.
Monday, November 7, 2011
Spices do a whole lot more than liven up food. Research has found that the active ingredients in several common spices can help keep you alive by preventing platelet aggregation and blood clot formation up to 29 times better than aspirin, offering a much safer alternative to anti-clotting drugs such as Plavix. And they do it without side effects.
Scientists in India have done extensive testing to determine the health benefits of spices traditionally used in Indian cuisine. The latest research to come from the Central Food Technological Research Institute evaluated the effect of the active principle spice compounds eugenol, capsaicin, piperine, quercetin, curcumin, cinnamaldehyde, and allyl sulphide on human platelet aggregation. They demonstrated that each compound evaluated was able to significantly inhibit blood clotting. Furthermore, the compounds performed their anti-platelet aggregation activity against several different factors that promote the clotting of blood.
Eugenol and capsaicin were found to be the most potent inhibitors of induced platelet aggregation. This ability was shown by the other tested compounds too in the declining order of curcumin, cinnamaldehyde, piperine, allyl sulphide, and quercetin. Eugenol was found to be 29-fold more potent than aspirin in inhibiting ararachidonic acid induced human platelet aggregation. Both eugenol and capsaicin inhibited production of clotting factors in a dose-dependent manner.
Cardiovascular disease and inflammation often go hand in hand. Earlier research by this team of scientists found that eugenol was highly effective at inhibiting inflammatory conditions in humans.
Spices are powerful medicines
Eugenol is the active compound that gives cloves their aroma. It is also found in cinnamon, nutmeg and lemon balm. Eugenol is also used medicinally as a local antiseptic and analgesic. It has antioxidant and pain relieving properties.
Spicing up food with cloves or other spices containing eugenol is best way to get this active compound into your diet. Eugenol is also available as essential oil for use in lotion and massage oil, or as aromatherapy in diffusers. Extracted eugenol should not be consumed internally.
Capsaicin is the active compound in hot peppers and the one that creates the heat. It is found in hot sauce, chili peppers, or as cayenne pepper. Aside from reducing platelet aggregation, capsaicin has a distinguished history as a cancer fighter through its ability to make cancer cells die. It is particularly effective against prostate and other hormone dependent cancers. Capsaicin sooths the digestive tract and may be a cure for inflammatory bowel disease. Eating chili peppers has been shown to protect against the effects of aspirin on the stomach.
Capsaicin protects the heart through other mechanisms besides inhibition of platelet aggregation. It reduces cholesterol and triglycerides, and has been shown able to dissolve fibrin, another action through which it can protect against blood clots. Cultures around the world that use hot peppers liberally have significantly lower rates of heart attack and stroke than cultures that do not.
Getting red pepper into the diet is easy. It is often kept on kitchen tables in the form of hot sauce, and sprinkled on meat, fish, side dishes, and snacks. Hot sauce is a natural accompaniment to Mexican and many other foods. Chili made with fresh tomatoes and hot peppers offers the two major players against prostate cancer in one meal. Even a simple bowl of beans gets up to dance when hot sauce is added.
For anyone wanting a quantifiable amount of capsaicin, there are capsules available.
Curcumin is one of the best known herbal healers. It is the active ingredient in turmeric, one of the staples of Indian cooking. Turmeric has been used for centuries to help treat health conditions and is also a tradition in Chinese medicine. It has recently been shown to strengthen and order cell membranes, making cells more resistant to infection and malignancy. Turmeric treats digestive issues, arthritis, menstrual problems, and liver and gallbladder issues. It is one of the best natural pain relievers and has shown to be more effective at relieving pain that NSAIDS such as ibuprofen, without side effects. Turmeric also offers strong defense against colitis.
While curcumin is preventing blood clot formation, it is also preventing the oxidation of cholesterol, offering protection against blood vessel damage and plaque build up that can lead to heart attack and cancer. There is even mounting evidence that curcumin can keep away neurodegenerative disease through its ability to cross the blood-brain barrier and act as an antioxidant.
Wednesday, October 12, 2011
Theanine (L-theanine) which is found in tea leaves may reduce anxiety and improve attention and the ability to focus in people who have high anxiety levels. Japanese researchers reported these findings in a recent issue of the Journal Of Functional Food.
Theanine is an amino acid that has a chemical structure similar to glutamate, a neurotransmitter that plays a role in memory. Previous studies have shown that theanine can pass through the blood-brane barrier and thus can have a direct impact on the brain.
In a new current study university students were broken up into two groups. One group had high anxiety levels and the other had low. Both groups were given water or water plus 200mg of L-thanine per 100mg water. The test was conducted repeatedly and evaluations were done between 15 and 60 minutes after the students ingested the water or water plus theanine.
Results indicated that students who were highly anxious and who received theanine had a slowed heart rate, improved attention and a better reaction time when compared with high-anxiety students who took the placebo. Students with low anxiety did not experience any significant benefit from taking theanine.
The authors of this research noted that unlike other conventional treatments for anxiety, theanine does not cause drowsiness, impair concentration or slow down reflexes. Rather, 200mg of thanine enhanced performance in visual attention tasks and reaction time responses among the subjects with high anxiety propensity symptoms.
Sunday, July 31, 2011
The study is the first to look at the effects of yoga on cortisol levels in women with fibromyalgia. The condition, which predominantly affects women, is characterized by chronic pain and fatigue; common symptoms include muscle stiffness, sleep disturbances, gastrointestinal discomfort, anxiety and depression.
Previous research has found that women with fibromyalgia have lower-than-average cortisol levels, which contribute to pain, fatigue and stress sensitivity. According to the study, participants' saliva revealed elevated levels of total cortisol following a program of 75 minutes of hatha yoga twice weekly over the course of eight weeks.
"Yoga promotes this concept -- that we are not our bodies, our experiences, or our pain. This is extremely useful in the management of pain," she says. "Moreover, our findings strongly suggest that psychological changes in turn affect our experience of physical pain."
This alone should be a good enough reason to practise yoga twice weekly.
Wednesday, July 13, 2011
By eating well, we can be proud and transparent, rather than secretly uncomfortable. For starters, by eating more naturally (protein-dense, appropriate portions), we reduce our footprint—the amount we ask of the world to give us. By caring about the quality of what we ingest, we opt out of brutal factory farming and toxic industrial agriculture—keeping excessive blood off our hands. And by eating locally, we support small businesses and entrepreneurs instead of corporate behemoths who have few qualms about poisoning and fattening us (by doing the same to their “product”) if it means greater profits.
Makes perfect sense. The full article is definitely worth a read.