Saturday, 29 April 2017
INCREASE BLOOD FLOW TO THE BRAIN
Shakespeare’s Ophelia stated “there’s rosemary, that’s for remembrance; pray, love, remember.” New research shows that she was right. Rosemary has been found to increase blood flow to the brain, which in turn helps to oxygenate the brain. This could be one of the reasons why it is known to boost memory and concentration.
HELPS MEMORY FORMATION
Research in the journal Fitoterapia found that rosemary’s ability to prevent the natural breakdown of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, a critical brain communicator which tends to happen as we age, could hold an important key in the prevention and treatment of dementia. Acetylcholine is involved in the formation of new memories, so ensuring adequate amounts can be helpful for both short-term and long-term memory.
REDUCES PLAQUE BUILDUP IN THE BLOOD VESSELS
Research in the Journal of Medicinal Food found that regular consumption of rosemary can help to reduce the risk of heart disease, heart attack and stroke.
BOOSTS HAIR GROWTH
Excessive testosterone can cause hair thinning in both men and women. In an article published in the journal Phytotherapy Research, scientists found that applying an extract made of rosemary leaves improved hair regrowth in animals affected by excess amounts of testosterone. Scientists found that the rosemary extract appears to block dihydrotestosterone, an active form of testosterone, from binding to androgen receptor sites. In doing so, rosemary encouraged hair regrowth.
HELPS PREVENT AND TREAT PROSTATE CANCER
According to preliminary research published in the online journal PLoS One, one of rosemary’s many active compounds known as carnosic acid demonstrated selective activity against prostate cancer cells, as opposed to healthy cells. Obviously more research needs to be done, but this study suggests that rosemary extract may hold promise in the prevention and treatment of prostate cancer.
Rosemary contains numerous anti-inflammatory compounds that make it an excellent choice to help with inflammatory conditions, which most are.
Rosemary also contains compounds that boost digestion.
PACKS A SERIOUS PUNCH TO SUPERBUGS
Rosemary essential oil, as part of a blend of essential oils including cinnamon and oregano, has been found to have potent antibacterial and antiviral actions, including against the H1N1 virus as well as the antibiotic resistant bacterial infections S. aureus and S. pneumoniae.
You can use the dried needles in your cooking. Rosemary is great in soups, stews and in roasted potatoes.
Add fresh sprigs or finely minced fresh rosemary needles to tomato sauces, omelettes and vegetable dishes, particularly roasted vegetables.
ROSEMARY HAIR TONIC
In a medium pot, bring one quart (or one liter) of water to a boil. Add two or three sprigs of fresh rosemary or two tablespoons of dried rosemary, turn off the heat and cover. Allow to sit for at least 20 minutes. Allow to cool then remove the rosemary sprigs and pour the liquid into a bottle. Store in the refrigerator up to one week. Pour the liquid over your scalp and leave it in your hair as it dries. Alternatively, spritz on your freshly washed, towel-dried hair daily. For best results continue daily for one to two months.
Add two teaspoons of dried rosemary needles or a 4-inch sprig of fresh rosemary to boiled water, and let sit for 10 minutes. Strain and drink three cups daily.
Follow package instructions for the alcohol-extract you choose. A typical dose is 30 drops three times daily.
ROSEMARY ESSENTIAL OIL
Choose a high quality, undiluted product and follow package instructions for use.
Are you eating the same foods you were eating in your 20s and 30s? Well, sticking to your old ways can cost you. As you may know, the body experiences rapid changes after age 50. Its ability to absorb nutrients fades, metabolism slows down, bone density declines and immune function weakens.
To combat these changes and maintain optimal health, you have to change your diet. Here are diet changes that will keep you healthy at age 50 and beyond.
INCREASE INTAKE OF VITAMIN B12
Vitamin B12 deficiency has been linked to anemia, digestive issues and fatigue. And it’s estimated that 47 million Americans are vitamin B12 deficient. In fact, 80 percent of vegans and 50 percent of vegetarians are deficient in B12.
You have greater risk of vitamin B12 deficiency after 50 since your body doesn’t have enough stomach acid to breakdown B12 from food. To make up for low vitamin B12 absorption, increase your intake of beef, fish, eggs, and milk. If you are vegan consume; fortified plant milks, fortified soy products, and vegan B12 supplements.
Unlike other nutrients which can be harmful when you go overboard, vitamin B12 is totally safe. According to Washington Post, this vitamin is water soluble, which means the body will flush excess amounts.
GET MORE CALCIUM
According to research, bone loss triples in women after menopause. Increasing calcium intake will help keep the bones healthy and prevent fractures.
Calcium is also essential for muscle contractions and balancing pH levels (reducing acidity) in the body. The daily recommended calcium intake for women over 51 is 1200mg and 1000mg for men.
Here are the best vegan sources for calcium. Note that excess calcium intake can cause kidney stones, digestive problems and heart disease.
INCREASE FIBER INTAKE
High fiber foods have been proven to reduce risk of colon cancer, heart disease, diabetes, constipation and promote weight loss. Unfortunately, most women don’t consume the recommended 25g per day (30g per day day for men).
If you want to prevent your waistline from expanding, increase fiber intake and steer clear of processed carbs.
Vitamin D also helps prevent bone loss. You’ll even be surprised to find out that adequate intake of vitamin D can lower mortality rate, research shows.
It’s harder to get enough vitamin D as we age because our bodies absorb fewer nutrients from food sources. Plus the skin can’t change sunlight to vitamin D as efficiently as it used to when you were younger.
Get vitamin D from food sources such as whole eggs, salmon, mushrooms and fortified foods. In fact, you may need to supplement to reach the recommended daily dose.
GET ENOUGH MAGNESIUM
The recommended daily intake of magnesium is 400mg. People who don’t reach this daily value have higher risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, fatigue and weak immune system.
If you choose to use supplements, make sure they don’t exceed 400mg. Here are foods that fix magnesium deficiency.
OMEGA 3 FATTY ACIDS
Omega 3s can help you stay young. They fight inflammation, which is known to increase risk of diseases and promote aging. Fish is the most popular source of omega 3s. Vegans can get this fatty acid from flaxseeds and almonds. Feel free to take supplements. Aim for 1000mg per day.
For centuries, flaxseeds have been prized for their health-protective properties.
In fact, Charles the Great ordered his subjects to eat flaxseeds for their health. So it’s no wonder they acquired the name Linum usitatissimum, meaning “the most useful.”
Nowadays, flaxseeds are emerging as a “super food” as more scientific research points to their health benefits.
Here are 10 health benefits of flaxseeds that are backed by science.
1. FLAXSEEDS ARE LOADED WITH NUTRIENTS
Grown since the beginning of civilization, flaxseeds are one of the oldest crops. There are two types, brown and golden, which are equally nutritious.
A typical serving size for ground flaxseeds is 1 tablespoon (7 grams).
Just one tablespoon provides a good amount of protein, fiber and omega-3 fatty acids, in addition to being a rich source of some vitamins and minerals.
One tablespoon of ground flaxseeds contains the following (1):
- Calories: 37
- Protein: 1.3 grams
- Carbs: 2 grams
- Fiber: 1.9 grams
- Total fat: 3 grams
- Saturated fat: 0.3 grams
- Monounsaturated fat: 0.5 grams
- Polyunsaturated fat: 2.0 grams
- Omega-3 fatty acids: 1,597 mg
- Vitamin B1: 8% of the RDI
- Vitamin B6: 2% of the RDI
- Folate: 2% of the RDI
- Calcium: 2% of the RDI
- Iron: 2% of the RDI
- Magnesium: 7% of the RDI
- Phosphorus: 4% of the RDI
- Potassium: 2% of the RDI
Interestingly, flaxseeds’ health benefits are mainly attributed to the omega-3 fatty acids, lignans and fiber they contain.
Summary: Flaxseeds are good sources of many nutrients. Their health benefits are mainly due to their content of omega-3 fats, lignans and fiber.
2. FLAXSEEDS ARE HIGH IN OMEGA-3 FATS
If you are a vegetarian or don’t eat fish, flaxseeds can be your best source of omega-3 fats.
They are a rich source of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), a mostly plant-based omega-3 fatty acid (2).
ALA is one of the two essential fatty acids that you have to obtain from the food you eat, as your body doesn’t produce them.
Animal studies have shown that the ALA in flaxseeds prevented cholesterol from being deposited in the blood vessels of the heart, reduced inflammation in the arteries and reduced tumor growth (3, 4, 5).
A Costa Rican study involving 3,638 people found that those who ate more ALA had a lower risk of heart attack than those who consumed less ALA (6).
Also, a large review of 27 studies involving more than 250,000 people found that ALA was linked to a 14% lower risk of heart disease (7).
Furthermore, a recent review of observational data concluded that ALA had heart health benefits comparable to eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), two of the more well-known omega-3 fats (11).
Summary: Flaxseeds are a rich source of the omega-3 fatty acid ALA. Plant-based ALA fatty acids are proven to have heart health benefits and are linked to a lower risk of stroke.
3. FLAXSEEDS ARE A RICH SOURCE OF LIGNANS, WHICH MAY REDUCE CANCER RISK
Lignans are plant compounds that have antioxidant and estrogen properties, both of which can help lower the risk of cancer and improve health (12).
Interestingly, flaxseeds contain up to 800 times more lignans than other plant foods (5).
Observational studies show that those who eat flaxseeds have a lower risk of breast cancer, particularly postmenopausal women (13).
Additionally, according to a Canadian study involving more than 6,000 women, those who eat flaxseeds are 18% less likely to develop breast cancer (14).
However, men can also benefit from eating flaxseeds.
In a small study including 15 men, those given 30 grams of flaxseeds a day while following a low-fat diet showed reduced levels of a prostate cancer marker, suggesting a lower risk of prostate cancer (15).
Flaxseeds also appeared to have the potential to prevent colon and skin cancers in laboratory and animal studies. Yet, more research is needed to confirm this (16).
Nevertheless, the evidence thus far points to flaxseeds being a potentially valuable food in the fight against various cancers.
Summary: Flaxseeds contain a group of nutrients called lignans, which have powerful antioxidant and estrogen properties. They may help in preventing breast and prostate cancer, as well as other types of cancer.
4. FLAXSEEDS ARE RICH IN DIETARY FIBER
Just one tablespoon of flaxseeds contains 3 grams of fiber, which is 8–12% of the daily recommended intake for men and women, respectively (17).
What’s more, flaxseeds contain two types of dietary fiber — soluble (20–40%) and insoluble (60–80%).
This fiber duo gets fermented by the bacteria in the large bowel, bulks up stools and results in more regular bowel movements.
On one hand, soluble fiber increases the consistency of the contents of your intestine and slows down your digestion rate. This has been shown to help regulate blood sugar and lower cholesterol (18).
On the other hand, insoluble fiber allows more water to bind to the stools, increases their bulk and results in softer stools. This is useful for preventing constipation and for those who have irritable bowel syndrome or diverticular disease (5).
Summary: With so much fiber packed in each tiny seed, adding flaxseeds to your diet promotes regular bowel movements and can improve your digestive health.
5. FLAXSEEDS MAY IMPROVE CHOLESTEROL
Another health benefit of flaxseeds is their ability to lower cholesterol levels.
In one study in people with high cholesterol, consuming 3 tablespoons (30 grams) of flaxseed powder daily for three months lowered total cholesterol by 17% and “bad” LDL cholesterol by almost 20% (19).
Another study of people with diabetes found that taking 1 tablespoon (10 grams) of flaxseed powder daily for one month resulted in a 12% increase in “good” HDL cholesterol (20).
In postmenopausal women, consuming 30 grams of flaxseeds daily lowered total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol by approximately 7% and 10%, respectively (21).
These effects appear to be due to the fiber in flaxseeds, as it binds to bile salts and is then excreted by the body.
To replenish these bile salts, cholesterol is pulled from your blood into your liver. This process lowers your blood levels of cholesterol (18).
This is definitely good news for those wanting to improve their cholesterol.
Summary: The high fiber content of flaxseeds can help lower cholesterol and may play an important role in improving heart health.
6. FLAXSEEDS MAY LOWER BLOOD PRESSURE
Studies on flaxseeds have also focused on its natural ability to lower blood pressure (22).
A Canadian study found eating 30 grams of flaxseeds daily for six months lowered systolic and diastolic blood pressure by 10 mmHg and 7 mmHg, respectively (23).
For those who were already taking blood pressure medication, flaxseeds lowered blood pressure even further and decreased the number of patients with uncontrolled high blood pressure by 17% (23).
Furthermore, according to a large review that looked at data from 11 studies, taking flaxseeds daily for more than three months lowered blood pressure by 2 mmHg (24).
While that might seem insignificant, a 2-mmHg reduction in blood pressure can lower the risk of dying from stroke by 10% and from heart disease by 7% (25).
Summary: Flaxseeds have been proven to lower blood pressure and are especially helpful for those with high blood pressure.
7. THEY CONTAIN HIGH-QUALITY PROTEIN
Flaxseeds are a great source of plant-based protein, and there’s growing interest in flaxseed protein and its health benefits. Flaxseed protein is rich in the amino acids arginine, aspartic acid and glutamic acid (26, 27).
Numerous lab and animal studies have shown that flaxseed protein helped improve immune function, lowered cholesterol, prevented tumors and had anti-fungal properties (28, 29, 30).
If you are considering cutting back on meat and worried that you will be too hungry, flaxseeds may just be your answer.
In fact, in one recent study, 21 adults were given an animal protein meal or plant protein meal. The study found no difference in terms of appetite, satiety or food intake noted between the two meals (31).
It’s likely both the animal and plant protein meals stimulated hormones in the gut to bring about the feeling of fullness, which resulted in eating less at the next meal.
Summary: Flaxseeds are a good source of plant-based protein and can be an alternative protein source for people who do not eat meat.
8. FLAXSEEDS MAY HELP CONTROL BLOOD SUGAR
Type 2 diabetes is a major health problem worldwide.
It’s characterized by high blood sugar levels as a result of either the body’s inability to secrete insulin or resistance to it.
A few studies have found that people with type 2 diabetes who added 10–20 grams of flaxseed powder to their daily diet for at least one month saw reductions of 8–20% in blood sugar levels (20, 32, 33).
This blood sugar-lowering effect is notably due to flaxseeds’ insoluble fiber content. Research has found that insoluble fiber slows down the release of sugar into the blood and reduces blood sugar (5, 34).
However, one study found no change in blood sugar levels or any improvement in diabetes management (35).
This might be due to the small numbers of subjects in the study and the use of flaxseed oil. Flaxseed oil lacks fiber, which is credited with flaxseeds’ ability to lower blood sugar.
Overall, flaxseeds can be a beneficial and nutritious addition to the diet of people with diabetes.
Summary: Flaxseeds may lower blood sugar due to their insoluble fiber content. They can be a beneficial addition to the diet of people with diabetes.
9. FLAXSEEDS KEEP HUNGER AT BAY, WHICH MAY AID WEIGHT CONTROL
If you have the tendency to snack between meals, you might want to consider adding flaxseeds to your beverage to stave off hunger pangs.
One study found that adding 25 grams of ground flaxseeds to a beverage reduced feelings of hunger and overall appetite (36).
The feelings of reduced hunger were likely due to the soluble fiber content of flaxseeds. It slows digestion in the stomach, which triggers a host of hormones that control appetite and provide a feeling of fullness (37, 38, 39).
Flaxseeds’ dietary fiber content may aid weight control by suppressing hunger and increasing feelings of fullness.
Summary: Flaxseeds keep you full for longer and may help you manage your weight by controlling your appetite.
10. FLAXSEEDS CAN BE A VERSATILE INGREDIENT
Flaxseeds or flaxseed oil can be added to many common foods. Try the following:
- Adding them to water and drinking it as part of your daily fluid intake
- Drizzling flaxseed oil as a dressing on salad
- Sprinkling ground flaxseeds over your hot or cold breakfast cereal
- Mixing ground flaxseeds into your favorite yogurt
- Adding ground flaxseeds into cookie, muffin, bread or other batters
- Mixing ground flaxseeds into smoothies to thicken up the consistency
- Adding ground flaxseeds to water as an egg substitute
- Incorporating flaxseeds into meat patties
Summary: Flaxseeds are versatile can be easily added to your daily diet. There are a variety of recipes you can try.
TIPS FOR ADDING FLAXSEEDS TO YOUR DIET
Many impressive health benefits are attributed to consuming flaxseeds.
Here are some tips on how you can add these tiny seeds into your diet.
Consume Ground Seeds Rather Than Whole
Opt for ground flaxseeds, as they are easier to digest.
You won’t reap as many benefits from whole flaxseeds, as your intestines cannot break down the tough outer shell of the seeds.
That being said, you can still buy whole flaxseeds, grind them in a coffee grinder and store the ground flaxseeds in an airtight container.
What About Flaxseed Oil?
The resurgence of the use of flaxseed oil is due to its nutritional properties and health benefits.
It’s usually extracted by a process called cold pressing.
Given that oil is sensitive to heat and light, it’s best kept in dark glass bottles and stored in a dark, cool place like a kitchen cabinet.
Because some of its nutrients are heat sensitive, flaxseed oil is not suitable for high-temperature cooking.
Nevertheless, some studies have shown that using flaxseed oil in light stir-frying of up to 350°F/177°C did not cause any reduction in the quality of the oil (5).
It’s worth noting that flaxseed oil contains more ALA than flaxseeds. One tablespoon of ground flaxseeds contains 1.6 grams, while one tablespoon of flaxseed oil contains 7 grams.
Nonetheless, flaxseeds contain a host of other beneficial nutrients that are not included in its extracted oil, such as fiber. To fully reap the health benefits of flaxseeds, ground flaxseeds will make a great first choice.
How Much Do You Need?
The health benefits noted in the studies above were observed with just 1 tablespoon (10 grams) of ground flaxseeds per day.
However, it’s recommended to keep serving sizes to less than 5 tablespoons (50 grams) of flaxseeds per day.
Summary: Ground flaxseeds provide the greatest health benefits. If using flaxseed oil, remember to store it in a cool, dark place and use it when cooking at a lower temperature to retain its nutritional properties.
THE BOTTOM LINE
When it comes to nutritional goodness, flaxseeds are full of it.
Though tiny, they are rich in the omega-3 fatty acid ALA, lignans and fiber, all of which have been shown to have many potential health benefits.
They can be used to improve digestive health, lower blood pressure and bad cholesterol, reduce the risk of cancer and may benefit people with diabetes.
As a versatile food ingredient, flaxseeds or flaxseed oil are easy to add to your diet.
With many proven health benefits and possibly more, there’s no better time than now to grab some flaxseeds from your local grocery store.
Grapefruit is rarely mentioned as a superfood extraordinaire. Nutrition authors rarely give it a place on their top foods lists. Few people even consider grapefruit for its health-promoting properties. Yet, this humble citrus fruit deserves to take its rightful place among the superfood giants. Here are 10 health benefits of grapefruits and why you might want to add them to your daily diet:
HIGH IN VITAMIN C
Let’s start with the most obvious reason—grapefruit is high in immune-boosting vitamin C. Grapefruit’s vitamin C content also naturally boosts the body’s amount of glutathione, which helps to conquer the effects of stress and aging.
HIGH IN ANTIVIRAL PHYTONUTRIENTS
Grapefruit contains a group of phytonutrients called terpene limonoids which have been shown in many studies to have anti-cancer effects. (Source: Phytozyme Cure). Terpene limonoids also help to give cold and flu viruses the boot and lower high cholesterol levels.
EXCELLENT WEIGHT LOSS FOOD
In one study at John Hopkins University, women who eat grapefruit daily shed almost 20 pounds on average in only 13 weeks, without changing anything else in their diet or lifestyle.
NATURAL ANTI-PAIN PROPERTIES
Grapefruit is a natural pain reliever, thanks to its natural aspirin content, salicylic acid.
CLEANS ARTERIAL BUILDUP
Grapefruit contains a special type of fiber, called pectin which binds to cholesterol and helps to remove arterial buildup.
Grapefruit is high in limonene that has natural anti-cancer properties, particularly against stomach and pancreatic cancer. You’ll need to add grapefruit zest to your foods since most of the limonene is found in grapefruit’s skin.
Grapefruit contains powerful antioxidants that help protect the body’s cells from damage.
As a source of fiber, grapefruit also helps keep you regular and promotes intestinal health.
Pink grapefruit contains lycopene, which helps protect against bladder, cervical and pancreatic cancer.
Regularly smelling the scent of grapefruit was shown to suppress weight gain, according to research published in Experimental Biology and Medicine.
Other research at the Department of Nursing at the Wonkwang Health Science College in Korea found that abdominal massage with specific essential oils, including grapefruit oil, reduced belly fat in post-menopausal women. The women who used the grapefruit-lemon-cypress oil blend had significantly less abdominal fat at the end of the study. Their waist measurements dropped significantly compared to the control group.
Heavy metal is a serious threat to the health of your body and brain. I’m not referring to Ozzy Osbourne or Metallica here, although too much head-banging has probably damaged more than a few brain cells. I’m referring to the metals found in food, water, air and many commercially-available products. Products you or your family or pets may interact with every day.
Don’t panic—power is knowledge. Use this list of toxins, and the surprising places they might be lurking, to inform your buying decisions.
Although not technically a heavy metal, aluminum is a metal that can pose a serious threat to health, particularly with excessive exposure. It has been linked to Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease. Aluminum is found in:
-Baked goods and processed foods
-Over-the-counter and prescription antacids
-Other pharmaceutical drugs as a binding agent
-Aluminum pots and pans
Cadmium has serious repercussions for the brain and inhibits the body’s ability to use nutrients like iron, zinc and calcium, leaving people more vulnerable to bone and immune system disorders. Cadmium is found in:
-Automobile seat covers
-Burned motor oil
-Refined wheat flour (white flour)
-Soft drinks from vending machines with cadmium in the pipes
Linked to dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, learning disabilities, seizure disorders, aggression, hyperactivity and many other health issues. It is found in:
-Cigarette smoke (firsthand or secondhand)
-Colored, glossy newsprint
-Some ceramic dishes
-Lead paint in older homes
-Lead water pipes in older buildings
-Vehicle emissions (yes, even though lead gasoline was banned two decades ago in some countries)
Known for its speedy ability to cross the blood-brain barrier to affect the brain, mercury is linked to neurological, psychological and immunological disorders in people, including diseases like Alzheimer’s. It has also been linked to heart arrhythmias, headaches, blurred vision and weakness. It is found in:
-Dental fillings: Many dentists cite studies that show no mercury particles were released from fillings but numerous studies show that mercury is primarily released as a vapor to gain access to the brain and blood.
-Fish: Not all fish, but many farmed varieties tend to be contaminated with mercury.
-Immunizations: Many vaccines, even those used for children contain the mercury-based preservative thimerosol in excessive amounts, for both children and adults.