Food GOLD: Turmeric is just as effective as 14 pharma drugs but suffers from NONE of the side effects


Image: Food GOLD: Turmeric is just as effective as 14 pharma drugs but suffers from NONE of the side effects

What if you could replace all the pills in your medicine cabinet with just one herb? Depending on what you take and why, that may be possible with turmeric. Its main component, curcumin, boasts enough health-enhancing properties to keep pharmaceutical execs up at night.

In fact, this herb is so powerful that it has been at the heart of more than 12,000 peer-reviewed biomedical studies. Researchers have found more than 800 different therapeutic and preventive uses for curcumin. Here is a look at just a few of the drugs to which it compares favorably, as outlined by Green Med Info.

Metformin (for diabetes)

Diabetes numbers continue to climb as Americans grapple with obesity, and that means more and more people are taking Metformin – and taking on its scary risks as well. However, a study in the journal Biochemistry and Biophysical Research Community found that curcumin has value in treating diabetes; it is between 500 and 100,000 times more powerful than Metformin when it comes to activating AMPK, which raises glucose uptake. Studies have also shown that it has a 100 percent efficacy rate in preventing those with pre-diabetes from developing full-fledged diabetes.

Lipitor (for cholesterol)

A 2008 study revealed that curcumin compares favorably to atorvastatin, which you may know as Lipitor, when it comes to dealing with the endothelial dysfunction behind atherosclerosis while reducing inflammation and oxidative stress. Other studies have shown that it can impact triglyceride levels, LDL cholesterol, and total cholesterol. While most of the studies so far have been done in animals, it is believed that it could have the same effect in humans, although the right levels have yet to be established.

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Prozac (for depression)

A study in 2011 found that curcumin compares favorably to the antidepressants fluoxetine (Prozac) and imipramine when it comes decreasing depressive behavior. Best of all, it doesn’t carry the serious side effects that Prozac does, which include sleep problems, tremors, headaches, nausea, a lower sex drive, and suicidal ideation. In addition, it’s well-tolerated by patients.

Researchers believe it works on depression by inhibiting monoamine oxidase, the enzyme that has been linked to depression when it’s present in high amounts in the brain. It also raises levels of calmness-inducing serotonin and dopamine.

Oxaliplatin (for chemotherapy)

A study published in the International Journal of Cancer looked at curcumin’s effects in stopping colorectal cell lines from proliferating. The researchers discovered the herb compared favorably to the chemotherapy drug oxaliplatin. Other studies are underway exploring the impact curcumin has on various types of cancer after animal studies showed it could help prevent illnesses like skin, stomach and colon cancer in rats.

Anti-inflammatory medications

Curcumin is also great for inflammation, which is at the root of many chronic illnesses today such as cancer, metabolic syndrome, Alzheimer’s disease, degenerative diseases, and heart disease. A study published in Oncogene identified it as an effective alternative to drugs like ibuprofen, aspirin and naproxen given its strong anti-inflammatory effects, fighting inflammation at the molecular level. Meanwhile, in a study of patients with rheumatoid arthritis, curcumin worked even better than anti-inflammatory drugs.

Curcumin is so effective at addressing such a vast array of conditions that it’s hard to discuss it without sounding like you’re exaggerating. However, turmeric is truly “food gold” and it’s something well worth making a conscious effort to consume more of. You might not be ready to clean out your entire medicine cabinet, but that doesn’t mean you can’t start adding this spice to your food. It pairs well with a variety of dishes, soups, salads, stews, and smoothies; consuming turmeric with fats is ideal, and make sure you add a pinch of pepper to boost its bioavailability.

Sources for this article include:

GreenMedInfo.com

NaturalNews.com

VeryWellHealth.com

Anthocyanins are a colorful way to prevent cardiovascular disease


Image: Anthocyanins are a colorful way to prevent cardiovascular disease

It is often said that presentation is everything when it comes to meals, but there’s an even better reason to fill your plate with colorful foods. The pigment that gives foods like berries their rich red and purple hues also doubles as powerful protection against cardiovascular disease.

Studies have shown that this pigment, anthocyanin, not only offers antioxidant effects; it also protects people from chronic diseases. Indeed, one of its most impressive feats is lowering the risk of the cardiovascular conditions that take millions of lives each year, such as stroke, heart attack, and atherosclerosis.

In a systematic review that involved more than 600,000 participants, British researchers looked at the impact that dietary anthocyanins had on cardiovascular events. They discovered that those who had the greatest dietary anthocyanin intake enjoyed a 9 percent reduction in their risk of developing coronary heart disease; when it came to death due to heart disease, their risk was 8 percent lower compared to those who consumed the lowest amount of anthocyanin.

The study, which was published in Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition, is the strongest argument yet for increasing your fruit intake. The Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion suggests that people eat a minimum of two servings of fruit per day; just 32 percent of Americans reach that goal.

Choose the right fruits

It’s easy to spot fruits that contain anthocyanins because of their red, purple and blue colors. Some of the best sources include strawberries, blackberries, grapes, pomegranates, cherries, blueberries, raspberries and bilberries. They can also be found in red cabbage, eggplant, and purple potatoes. It probably won’t come as much of a surprise to learn that the fruit’s skins contain the most anthocyanins given their rich color, so make sure you also eat the skin – and be sure to choose organic to avoid pesticide exposure. The review’s authors say that just one to two portions of berries per day are enough to get the anthocyanins you need to protect your heart.

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Anthocyanin’s many benefits

The review is supported by several other studies, including one from 2012 that was published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. That study showed a link between a higher intake of anthocyanin and significantly lower systolic blood pressure, arterial pressure, and pulse wave velocity. It also confirmed an earlier study that showed eight weeks of taking blueberry supplements reduced participants’ systolic and diastolic blood pressure by 6 and 4 percent respectively.

In addition, anthocyanins can help prevent neurological disorders such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease. They accomplish this by improving the communication between nerves and boosting blood flow to the brain. Their antioxidant effect also means they can stop brain damage caused by oxidative stress.

If you’re still not sold on the benefits of anthocyanins, consider this: They can fight cancer cells by attacking them and spurring cell death, in addition to activating the enzymes that rid your body of cancer-causing substances.

Studies have also shown that consuming foods rich in anthocyanins can lower your insulin resistance and protect beta cells in the pancreas, which helps normalize blood levels. That means anthocyanin-rich fruits can help inhibit diabetes.

Cardiovascular disease continues to be one of the top causes of death in America, affecting 84 million Americans and causing roughly one out of every three deaths. Those are very frightening statistics, so you owe it to yourself and your loved ones to consume more anthocyanins and take other steps known to reduce your risk, like exercising and eating as healthier diet overall.

A native Mediterranean mushroom found to protect the liver from disease


Image: A native Mediterranean mushroom found to protect the liver from disease

People with high blood sugar exhibit high lipid levels brought about by excessive intake of fatty foods — a condition called hyperlipidemia. When left untreated, hyperlipidemia can pave the way for other diseases like atherosclerosis and fatty liver. If certain foods can cause hyperlipidemia, there are also foods that can prevent it. A study, published in BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine, revealed that the edible mushroom Pleurotus eryngii can reduce lipid levels and protect the liver.

In hyperlipidemic patients, there is an increase in the bad cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C), while the good high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C) levels are reduced. Altered lipid levels have been shown to inhibit the activity of antioxidant enzymes in the body, which causes free radicals to build up and induce oxidative damage. Since the liver serves as a storage for excess fat, it is susceptible to damage caused by the fat buildup and oxidative stress.

There are more than 95 million people that have been diagnosed with hyperlipidemia in the U.S. alone, which is why this problem should immediately be addressed. Although there are prescription drugs for treating hyperlipidemia, these are associated with adverse side effects and are not advised for long-term use. Because of this, people are now turning to natural antihyperlipidemic substances.

One of the potential alternatives that researchers considered is P. eryngii, a mushroom that originated from the Mediterranean region. Previous studies have shown that P. eryngii contains many bioactive compounds, including polysaccharides, sterols, and peptides. Among these, polysaccharides were shown to be the most potent since it has antioxidant, anti-aging, antivirus, and anti-lipid peroxidation properties. Aside from these, polysaccharides are also highly stable, water-soluble, and non-toxic, which makes them suitable for medicinal applications. Although there have been studies regarding the antihyperlipidemic effects of polysaccharides from P. eryngii, none of these focused on exopolysaccharides.

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In this study, the researchers conducted both in vitro and in vivo evaluations of exopolysaccharides from P. eryngii. For the in vitro studies, they first determined what monosaccharides were present in the samples. They then proceeded to evaluate antioxidant activity based on free radical scavenging activity and reducing power. Results showed five different monosaccharides were present in exopolysaccharides. These were arabinose, xylose, mannose, galactose, and glucose. The researchers also observed that the exopolysaccharides have potent antioxidant activity. This is important since antioxidants prevent oxidative stress from inducing inflammation.

The in vivo experiments were performed on Kunming strain mice that were perfused with high-fat emulsion than the exopolysaccharides. After 28 days of this treatment, the liver and serum samples were collected from the mice and subjected to biochemical and histopathological analysis. Aside from these, the toxicity of exopolysaccharides was also determined. The results showed that without the exopolysaccharide treatment, the mice experienced an increase in body weight and liver weight, which could be a sign of fatty liver. They also had elevated triglyceride, total cholesterol, and LDL-C levels while HDL-C was reduced. Additionally, the activity of antioxidant enzymes was significantly reduced. In mice perfused with exopolysaccharides, all of the aforementioned effects of the high-fat emulsion were improved, proving that the exopolysaccharides can be used to treat hyperlipidemia.

“[Exopolysaccharides] exhibited potential and impressive prevention effects on high-fat diet-induced hyperlipidaemia in mice that were similar to those of the prophylactic agent simvastatin, demonstrating that polysaccharides can be exploited as potential natural drugs and functional foods for the prevention and treatment of hyperlipidaemia,” the researchers concluded.

Based on these results, it can be determined that exopolysaccharides from P. eryngii can be utilized for the treatment of hyperlipidemia since it has antioxidant, antihyperlipidemic, and hepatoprotective properties. These properties make it a good alternative for harmful prescription drugs.