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3 essential oils that are antifungal, antibacterial, and antiviral

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essential-oils(NaturalHealth365). There are many essential oils that have such powerful plant constituents within them that they are a triple threat to any pathogens lurking in your home or workspace.  You can use essential oils for cleaning surfaces or within a diffuser to help detoxify your household and workplace environment.

Let’s face it: with all of this talk about viruses … it’s good to know that we can avoid harmful bacteria and viruses with completely safe (and natural) substances.  Let’s take a closer look.

Essential oils can help reduce the threat of infections

Tea tree oil kills a long list of pathogens: viral, bacterial, and fungal. Recent studies have found that tea tree oil is particularly good at eradicating gram-negative bacteria, such as the bacteria that causes pneumonia.

It even kills the resistant staph bacteria.  Tea tree oil is also great to keep in a spray bottle to quickly spritz and detoxify spaces, like when the dog’s been on your bed or other furniture items.

Tea tree oil happens to be one of the best cleaning oils around.  It is so effective at detoxifying living spaces that today, hospitals – which are only recently trying to find ways to sterilize hospital equipment in the face of antibiotic-resistant bacteria and viruses – are now coating medical supplies in a tea tree oil coating, in order to help make hospitals a safer place.

As another idea: you can mix some tea tree oil with white vinegar and create a great mold-removing solution!

Do NOT ignore the health dangers linked to toxic indoor air.  These chemicals – the ‘off-gassing’ of paints, mattresses, carpets and other home/office building materials – increase your risk of headaches, dementia, heart disease and cancer.

Get the BEST indoor air purification system – at the LOWEST price, exclusively for NaturalHealth365 readers.  I, personally use this system in my home AND office.  Click HERE to order now – before the sale ends.

The health benefits of pure eucalyptus 

Not only is eucalyptus oil great for opening up the sinus passages and clearing blocked airways, it’s a wonderful way to clean your home.  Its aroma scents the room naturally with a woodsy-pine smell that reminds us of being in nature.

It also aids in wound care and helps to ease cough symptoms.  It’s great for cleaning, especially when combined with the other two oils I’m telling you about today (and I’ll give you some cleaning solution recipes, too!)

The chief constituents that give eucalyptus its antibacterial, antiseptic, and antiviral powers are eucalyptol, 1,8-Cineole, Limonene, Para-Cymene, and alpha-Pinene. It also contains powerfully anti-inflammatory flavonoids, and tannins.

By the way, eucalyptus can help to eradicate the H1N1 virus and ward off colds and fungi.

Why thyme is great against bacteria and viruses

Like all the essential oils I’ve mentioned today, you must purchase a 100% pure essential oil for the oil to have a significant antiviral, antifungal, or antibacterial effect.

Thyme essential oil contains many powerful constituents in it that give its antiviral and antibacterial powers. Thyme contains multiple antiviral constituents, including thymol, carvacol, borneol, cineoles camphor, borneol, terpinenes, terpinenols cymene, and pinenes, to name a few.

These constituents give thyme essential oil its strong antiviral powers. In fact, thyme essential oil has proven to eradicate the flu (H1N1) and to eradicate 90% of herpes simplex 1 and 2 viruses.

Essential oil recipe for cleanser/disinfectant

  • 10-15 drops tea tree essential oil
  • 20 drops each eucalyptus essential oil and thyme essential oil
  • 2 cups hot water
  • 1 cup white vinegar

For cleaning carpets, scrubbing floors, and jobs where you want a soapier style cleanser, add ¼ to ½ cup castile soap.

You can also add tea tree oil to shampoo for getting rid of scalp conditions or if you have an eye condition like blepharitis or Meibomian gland dysfunction, often caused by bacteria near the face or from the hair getting into the eyes.

No doubt, especially these days, there are a lot of people concerned about getting a bacterial or viral infection.  That’s why it’s so good to know there are things we can do to reduce the risk like, eating (organic, locally grown) whole foods – as much as possible, maintaining an active lifestyle, getting plenty of good quality sleep, taking high quality supplements and, of course, using essential oils – as part of a healthy lifestyle.

Sources for this article include:

NIH.gov
NIH.gov
NIH.gov

Is the Mediterranean Diet the Best Diet on the Planet?

© 28th January 2020 GreenMedInfo LLC. This work is reproduced and distributed with the permission of GreenMedInfo LLC. Want to learn more from GreenMedInfo? Sign up for the newsletter here www.greenmedinfo.com/greenmed/newsletter
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Posted on: Tuesday, January 28th 2020 at 1:15 pm

The Mediterranean Diet has been rated as the healthiest diet on the planet three years in a row, and as the meals are simple to prepare and truly delicious, it has also been ranked as the easiest diet to follow long term

The diet itself is based upon the eating habits of people living around the Mediterranean Sea: Spain, France, Italy, Greece, and Turkey, as well as middle eastern and northern African countries.

What these cuisines have in common is the consumption of fresh, seasonal, whole foods featuring vegetablesfruitsbeansnutsherbs and spices; the predominate use of extra-virgin olive oil instead of butter, margarine, or vegetable oils; moderate amounts of seafood and poultry; and the moderate consumption of red wine. What the Mediterranean diet specifically has avoided is processed foods, sugar, sweeteners, and artificial flavors. Red meats are rarely on the menu or are used sparingly to flavor a dish.

Overall, a Mediterranean eating plan is extremely versatile. You can follow a vegetarian version very easily. You can skip breakfast and include partial intermittent fasting and benefit from ketosis several mornings per week. And as I’ll expand upon shortly, you can also limit the glycemic load (sugar-load) to enhance blood sugar control and weight loss.

For 2020, The US News and World Report rated the Mediterranean diet as:

  • The best diet overall
  • The best diabetes diet
  • The best diet for healthy eating
  • The best plant-based diet
  • The easiest diet to follow

It won similar awards in 2018 and 2019. These honors should not be too surprising, as Mediterranean countries have some of the longest life spans on the planet and they have lower rates of heart disease, diabetes, memory loss, cancer, and obesity than nearly all other western countries. The people of Spain, who follow the Mediterranean diet perhaps the closest, have the longest lifespan and the best health of any country in the Western world, and are anticipated to surpass Japan for longest lived country on the planet by 2030.

Considering all these benefits, I felt compelled to write a book, The Mediterranean Method, to help promote this eating plan and to make it simple to follow. The research included reading nearly 1,000 scientific journal articles, plus, my wife Nicole and I bought a sailboat in Europe with the goal to evaluate the food, lifestyle, and health habits of people living on the Mediterranean Sea. We spent 10 months sailing from Spain to Turkey during the spring and summers of 2018 and 2019. We followed the coastline along Spain, France, Corsica, western Italy, across to Greece and through the Cyclade Islands, and on to Turkey. We visited small ports, food markets, mom and pop family run restaurants, and searched for regional recipes that were easy to prepare, delicious, and healthy. What was amazing was how inexpensive and delicious the food was. And how opinionated locals were about how to prepare a dish within each region. Whether one worked in a food market, at a gas station, or drove a taxi, everyone cared about what ingredients went into local dishes and how they were prepared.

Let’s look more closely at the top three health benefits from following a Mediterranean Diet:

  • Better Weight Control
  • Reverse and Prevent Heart Disease
  • Improve Cognitive Function and Prevent Memory Loss

Better Weight Control

In 2016, Dr. Joseph Mancini and his colleagues evaluated five randomized weight-loss trials with more than 1,000 subjects on various dietary regimens including low-fat, low-carb, and Mediterranean. These subjects were followed for at least 12 months, a meaningful length of time given most people lose weight in the short term and regain it later. The research found that the Mediterranean Diet was more effective than the low-fat diet, and equally as effective as a low-carb diet over the long-term. What’s more, they concluded that those following the Mediterranean Diet not only lost weight, but they had the best improvements in lipid and metabolic profile. The typical weight loss ranged from 10 to 22 pounds lost throughout the 12-months.

Preventing Heart Disease

Heart disease remains the #1 killer for men and women, even though studies have shown we can prevent 90 percent of heart disease with the right lifestyle changes–our biggest challenge is finding a diet and lifestyle that people are willing to follow long-term.

In 2003, the Greek EPIC trial showed that the closer subjects followed a Mediterranean eating plan, the lower their rate of cardiovascular events. Subsequent studies have shown that the closer people living outside the Mediterranean follow this same diet, the less heart disease and longer life they enjoy.

Then in 2018, the large-scale landmark PREDIMED study with over 7,000 subjects published in The New England Journal of Medicine affirmed the cardiovascular-fighting reputation of the Mediterranean Diet; those who followed a Mediterranean diet and added extra nuts or olive oil had 30% fewer events than those following a low-fat diet.

Data published from my own clinic has shown that in patients who follow a low-glycemic version of a Mediterranean diet, the average person shrinks their artery plaque load over time (measured with carotid ultrasound testing), and amazingly, hundreds of our patients had more than a 10% regression in their arterial plaque load over an average of 2-3 years.

Enhancing Cognition and Preventing Memory Loss

The most expensive disease in the U.S. and most western countries is dementia; recent estimates are that the total bill to treat it exceeds $278 billion per year. More startling is that the rates of memory loss and Alzheimer’s disease are predicted to double over the next 15 years.

Yet, just as we can prevent most cases or heart disease, there is now growing evidence that we can also prevent dementia and cognitive decline with the right lifestyle changes. PREDIMED researchers tracked the impact on cognition of the dietary interventions over 6.5 years on over 500 participants and controlled for multiple lifestyle and health factors. Those randomized to a low-fat diet had lower overall cognitive scores and more progression to dementia than those in the Mediterranean diet group.

Many other studies have also shown cognitive improvement and/or reduced cognitive impairment with following a Mediterranean diet, including the FINGER trial, Three-City study in France, the Chicago Health and Aging Project (CHAP), and in a group of more than 1,200 Puerto Rican adults living in the U.S.

Data published from my own clinic confirmed that the closer a person follows these dietary recommendations, the better their brain processing speed and cognitive scores, results which have continued over 12 years of follow up.

Myths Regarding a Mediterranean Diet

Despite the many health benefits of this eating plan, and the delicious food it provides, there are several misunderstandings that threaten to eliminate these benefits. Let’s clarify several right now, dealing with the top six myths.

MYTH #1. YOU CAN EAT ALL THE HEALTHY FOOD YOU WANT

There’s no need to put a hard limit on daily servings of vegetables (you won’t overdo it because you’ll naturally fill up on fiber), but it is possible, for instance, to overeat walnuts or almond butter, or use too much olive oil, particularly if you’re dipping pieces of bread into it.

MYTH #2. EATING MEDITERRANEAN MEANS EATING PASTA, BREAD AND PIZZA

You can easily overdo the portion size, even with whole grains. When you see grains and cereals on the Mediterranean diet, this doesn’t mean a giant platter of pasta, unlimited bread (even if it’s organic and whole grain), or bowls of rice (even if it’s brown rice). It’s important to control your portions of grains and cereals, and as you’ll read in a moment, of all the food components listed in the Mediterranean diet, whole grains provide the least health benefit.

Further, when you grind a grain into flour, such as bread, that processed grain has a much higher glycemic load (sugar load) than the same amount of whole grain. If we want healthy blood sugar control, we all need to limit or avoid even whole grain products that are processed into flour—such as bread, crackers, cake, and pancakes.

MYTH #3. EATING SEAFOOD ON OCCASION WILL BENEFIT YOUR HEART

Eating fish merely a few times a month won’t yield the disease-fighting benefits of the Mediterranean diet, particularly for the heart and brain. Because of the benefits from consuming long chain omega-3 fats that are found only in seafood, aim to eat seafood at least twice a week–preferably three to five times per week. Seafood includes fish, shellfish, and seaweed.

If you are vegetarian, or avoid fish and shellfish for other reasons, plan to either eat seaweed several times per week, as in a cup portion of seaweed salad, or take a seaweed DHA supplement daily.

MYTH #4. ALL CHEESES (AND YOGURTS) ARE CREATED EQUAL

Treating pasteurized cheese as a go-to food–compared, for example, with raw, probiotic-rich and vitamin K2-loaded camembert–is a mistake. The same goes for yogurt and kefir. Many of my patients are shocked when I explain that fruit-flavored yogurt has more sugar than ice cream. As with so many components of the Mediterranean diet, when choosing your foods, simple and unsweetened is best.

If you avoid dairy products, you still need some source of probiotic food source, which can easily be obtained by using coconut yogurt sources, and other pickled foods, such as sauerkraut, olives, capers, and Asian foods such as miso and kombucha.

MYTH #5. YOU CAN SKIP THE BEANS

Don’t miss out on this fiber-packed superfood that is one of the best foods for controlling blood sugar, and it’s the #1 all-time top food for blocking disease-causing oxidation. They are also loaded with fiber, protein, B vitamins, and calcium. In Mediterranean cuisine, beans are the healthy foundation for countless meals and are used often as a side dish as well.

However, 10% of people appear to be lectin intolerant–they develop major gastrointestinal symptoms when they consume beans. The process of soaking (so called sprouting) appears to help, but if you have a lectin intolerance, just like any food intolerance, then avoid beans.

MYTH #6. YOU CAN USE EXTRA-VIRGIN OLIVE OIL FOR ALL YOUR COOKING NEEDS

Don’t use extra-virgin olive oil for high-heat cooking, or even medium-high heat. Once it reaches 400ºF–its smoke point, the maximum temperature it can reach before it breaks down and becomes a damaged fat–extra-virgin olive oil starts losing nutritional value, not to mention its complex and delicate flavors. For medium-high heat cooking, use avocado and/or almond oil) instead.

Save flavorful extra-virgin olive oil for drizzling over foods, making dressings, and for low or medium heat cooking.

Adapting the Mediterranean Diet to the 21st Century

Despite all these clear health benefits, there are some limitations related to the Mediterranean diet that should be applied to living in the 21st century.

First, the original Mediterranean diet was followed by farmers, fisherman, and herders–men and women who were physically active for 6 to 10 hours per day. Very few can achieve this much movement today. We therefore need to modify an eating plan with a lower glycemic load to match our activity level.

Second, studies that have evaluated the Mediterranean diet have also assessed what components of the traditional eating plan had the most and least health benefit. Results from the EPIC trial showed that consuming vegetables, fruit, beans, nuts, and olive oil provided the greatest benefit, and eating whole grains provided the least–likely related to their glycemic load.

A more recent study, The EPIC Greek Cohort study, published in 2012, analyzed adherence to a Mediterranean Diet, and glycemic load intake. It concluded that those who adhered to a Mediterranean Diet and had the lowest glycemic load intake had the best health benefits of all. And if the subjects were overweight, the benefits of following a low-glycemic load version of a Mediterranean Diet were even greater.

This low-glycemic version has the added advantage of appealing to many people who have already shifted towards a low-carb and/or Paleo eating plan, and switching from a low-carb to a Mediterranean diet will usually increase their nutrient dramatically.

Beyond Food

Though there are many proven benefits to following a low-glycemic version of a Mediterranean diet, the health benefits of the Mediterranean lifestyle are not solely limited to food intake. Mediterranean people are more active than we are in the U.S., they spend more time walking and cycling to work and for daily shopping, and they spend more time outdoors and with nature.

How they eat is important as well. They enjoy long, leisurely meals typically with friends and family, which fosters close social connections, which is likely related to the fact that they have lower rates of anxiety and depression than are found in the U.S.

Summary

Let me share my version of the food and lifestyle pyramid of a low-glycemic Mediterranean diet, adapted from my book, The Mediterranean Method.

The pyramid’s foundation is the lifestyle, which features activity, social interaction, cooking, and mindful-leisurely eating.

Foods and beverages that are consumed daily include vegetables, fruits, beans, nuts, olive oil, herbs and spices, yogurt, dark chocolate, and water, with moderate intake of red wine and coffee or tea. Seafood, poultry, eggs, and other probiotic-rich dairy products are on the menu several times a week, although a vegetarian or vegan version without animal protein is very feasible. Whole grains are also an option, although served in small portions (and gluten free as needed).

Unlike many diets that are popular today, notice that almost no real foods are completely banned–for a special occasion, you can still enjoy special treats that fit the affair–the key is that you limit them to a special event, and that you eat real, unprocessed food.

The Mediterranean Diet is not just a short-term eating plan. It has been followed for centuries, generation after generation, tested in numerous long-term clinical studies, and been found to be the best diet on the planet for long term adherence and for healthy eating. The food is delicious, generally simple and easy to prepare, and the ingredients can be found at your local grocery store. This is an eating plan that truly combines proven health benefits with delicious food–no other diet can embrace the saying as well–To Your Health & Bon Appétit!

Disclaimer: This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of GreenMedInfo or its staff.

Coconut Oil Improves Brain Function in Alzheimer’s Patients

© 11th January 2020 GreenMedInfo LLC. This work is reproduced and distributed with the permission of GreenMedInfo LLC. Want to learn more from GreenMedInfo? Sign up for the newsletter here www.greenmedinfo.com/greenmed/newsletter

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Alzheimer’s disease is a devastating degenerative brain condition that affects millions of people in the U.S. While pharmaceutical treatments have long lists of side effects, there is a natural food-based intervention that has proven effective in improving key brain functions. The best part is, it’s probably in your food pantry right now

If you’re a regular reader of GreenMedInfo.com, you’re likely to have seen numerous articles detailing the dozens of healthy uses for coconut oil that are backed by science. From balancing blood sugar[i] and hormones[ii] to healing burns[iii] and ulcers,[iv] it seems there is hardly an ailment that is not soothed or supported by adding this nutrition-dense fat to your diet.

Coconut Oil: The Brain’s Preferred Fuel?

In 2018, researchers added to the knowledge base with confirmation of coconut oil’s usefulness as a brain-boosting superfood. The pilot study,[v] published in July 2018 in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, has shown that a Mediterranean diet, rich in coconut oil, improves the main cognitive functions in patients with Alzheimer’s disease (AD).

Conducted by a multidisciplinary team of researchers from the Catholic University of Valencia, Spain, the aim of the study was to detect changes in key cognitive functions of patients with AD after following a traditional Mediterranean diet boosted by therapeutic doses of coconut oil.

Study methods were prospective, longitudinal, qualitative and analytic, meaning participants’ health and behaviors were studied across time to observe unknown and unpredicted changes in outcomes. Inclusion criteria were diagnosed AD patients, aged 65 to 85 years old, who were institutionalized in the Alzheimer’s Family Association of Valencia (AFAV).

A representative sample size of 44 participants was ultimately selected from the original pool of 458 AFAV patients, with criteria excluding patients who were diagnosed with other types of degenerative cognitive disorder or verbal disability that prevented them from answering test questions, and excluding patients with any metabolic chronic disease or who had been treated with drugs such as antidepressants, antipsychotics or hypnotic drugs, which could alter cognitive functions.

The 44 participants were randomly divided into two homogenous groups comprised of 22 patients each: an experimental group receiving coconut oil supplementation and a control group that did not receive coconut oil. Both groups followed an isocaloric Mediterranean diet that was shown in previous studies to be associated with a decrease in cognitive impairment in AD patients.

In the Mediterranean diet implemented in this study, proteins accounted for 15% of total calories, carbohydrates for 55% and lipids for 30% of overall energy intake. Calorie intake was the same for all participants, taking into account that in the experimental group, lipids were reduced so that by adding the coconut oil supplement, the daily lipid amount for all study participants was the same. The dietary intervention was conducted over a period of 21 days.

Cognitive changes in participants were measured by the same institutional psychologist, blind to study protocols, who conducted the “7-Minute Screen,” an assessment that measures “temporal orientation, visuospatial and visuoconstructive abilities.” Visuoconstructive disabilities are represented by difficulty doing math, driving and writing, among other common daily tasks. Patients were assessed the day before dietary therapy and the day after therapy throughout the 21-day intervention.

Alzheimer’s: Most Prevalent Brain Disorder

According to researchers, “Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is the most prevalent neurodegenerative disorder, and new therapies are needed.” This study was a method of proving their hypothesis that coconut oil can be a beneficial source of ketone bodies, an alternative brain fuel to glucose for AD patients whose hypometabolism, or poor glucose utilization, is a factor in their disease.

In addition to serving as a fuel source for brain metabolism, ketone bodies, in adequate doses, regulate glutamate release in the synaptic cleft, the space between neurons that transmits impulses.[vi] Glutamate is a neurotransmitter that is involved in most aspects of normal brain function.[vii]

Researchers stated that gender is a significant factor in AD, with women more commonly affected than men.

The trial groups had 75% female and 25% male patients, reflecting the same percentages of gender distribution as the disease itself.[viii] In the published paper, the scientists noted the insidious onset of Alzheimer’s disease, which initially becomes apparent through “progressive loss of episodic memory, followed by gradual impairment of declarative and non-declarative memory.

Later, loss of other main cognitive functions, such as language, executive functions, attention span, and working memory, have also been observed as well as alterations in temporal orientation, visuospatial ability, and visuoconstructive ability.”[ix]

After a baseline assessment of all participants using the 7-Minute Screen, dosing commenced consisting of 20 milliliters (mls) of coconut oil, twice daily, for a total daily dose of 40 mls. This amount of coconut oil had previously demonstrated effectiveness at improving cognitive functions over 21 days in human[x] and mice studies.[xi]

Coconut Oil Improves Information Processing and Memory in AD Patients

Results were both confirming of the researchers’ hypothesis regarding the benefits of coconut oil and encouraging for proponents of natural disease interventions:

“Taking a closer look at the changes observed in the group that received coconut oil, these changes seem to point to the fact that certain cognitive functions improved … such as temporal orientation (information processing), semantic memory and episodic memory …

[These improvements] … could be explained by the decrease in insulin resistance due to the action of ketone bodies, since memory improvement has been observed after intranasal administration of insulin in AD patients, which increases glucose metabolism.”[xii]

An important observation was made regarding the potential for brain recovery with coconut oil: “It could be deduced that not all regions of the cerebral cortex recover to the same degree.”[xiii] Regarding gender differences, researchers observed that “female patients recover more easily than male patients, which confirms our previous results, where a global cognitive improvement was shown in women.”[xiv]

They hypothesize that these results could possibly be explained by hormonal differences in sex, “but not only with respect to low estrogen levels but also … by testosterone, whose levels of production are much lower in women with AD and cause them to have higher insulin resistance.”[xv] Researchers concluded that the positive effects of coconut oil are not gender- or state-specific, however, the benefits are “more evident in women with mild-moderate state [AD].”

Final conclusions of the study were that an isocaloric, coconut oil-enriched Mediterranean diet improves cognitive functions in patients with AD, with differences according to patient sex and degree of severity of the disease.[xvi] They issued a call for further studies of this type to add to this important body of evidence.

To learn more about the health benefits of coconut oil, GreenMedInfo.com has more than 70 abstracts in the world’s most widely referenced natural health database.


References

[i] Protective and Antidiabetic Effects of Virgin Coconut Oil (Vco) on Blood Glucose Concentrations in Alloxan Induced Diabetic Rats. Nur‘azimatul Quddsyiah H. Maidin, Norhayati Ahmad. International Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences. Vol 7, Issue 10, 2015. ISSN: 0975-1491. https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/62d6/b586d89f623b4be84ac93c828b31f1070b76.pdf

[ii] Effect of dietary saturated fatty acids on hormone-sensitive lipolysis in rat adipocytes. Awad AB, Chattopadhyay JP. J Nutr. 1986 Jun;116(6):1088-94. PMID: 3014093

[iii] Burn wound healing property of Cocos nucifera: An appraisal. Srivastava P, Durgaprasad S. Indian J Pharmacol. 2008 Aug;40(4):144-6. doi: 10.4103/0253-7613.43159. PMID: 20040946

[iv] Antiulcerogenic effects of coconut (Cocos nucifera) extract in rats. Nneli RO, Woyike OA. Phytother Res. 2008 Jul;22(7):970-2. doi: 10.1002/ptr.2318. PMID: 18521965

[v] Improvement of Main Cognitive Functions in Patients with Alzheimer’s Disease after Treatment with Coconut Oil Enriched Mediterranean Diet: A Pilot Study.  de la Rubia Ortí JE, et al. J Alzheimers Dis. 2018;65(2):577-587. doi: 10.3233/JAD-180184. PMID: 30056419

[vi] Mirriam-Webster, Medical, Synaptic-cleft, https://www.merriam-webster.com/medical/synaptic%20cleft

[vii] Improvement of Main Cognitive Functions in Patients with Alzheimer’s Disease after Treatment with Coconut Oil Enriched Mediterranean Diet: A Pilot Study.  de la Rubia Ortí JE, et al. J Alzheimers Dis. 2018;65(2):577-587. doi: 10.3233/JAD-180184. PMID: 30056419

[viii] Improvement of Main Cognitive Functions in Patients with Alzheimer’s Disease after Treatment with Coconut Oil Enriched Mediterranean Diet: A Pilot Study.  de la Rubia Ortí JE, et al. J Alzheimers Dis. 2018;65(2):577-587. doi: 10.3233/JAD-180184. PMID: 30056419

[ix] Lazarov O, Hollands C. Hippocampal neurogenesis: Learning to remember. Prog Neurobiol. 2016;138-140:1–18. doi:10.1016/j.pneurobio.2015.12.006. PMID: 26855369

[x] Farah BA (2014) Effects of caprylic triglyceride on cognitive performance and cerebral glucose metabolism in mild Alzheimer’s disease: A single-case observation. Front Aging Neurosci 16, 1-4. PMID: 25076901

[xi] Reger MA, Henderson ST, Hale C, Cholerton B, Baker LD, Watson GS, Hyde K, Chapman D, Craft S (2004) Effects of beta-hydroxybutyrate on cognition in memory-impaired adults. Neurobiol Aging 25, 311-314. PMID: 15123336

[xii] How does coconut oil affect cognitive performance in alzheimer patients?  de la Rubia Ortí JE, et al. Nutr Hosp. 2017 Mar 30;34(2):352-356. doi: 10.20960/nh.780. PMID: 28421789

[xiii] Improvement of Main Cognitive Functions in Patients with Alzheimer’s Disease after Treatment with Coconut Oil Enriched Mediterranean Diet: A Pilot Study.  de la Rubia Ortí JE, et al. J Alzheimers Dis. 2018;65(2):577-587. doi: 10.3233/JAD-180184. PMID: 30056419

[xiv] Improvement of Main Cognitive Functions in Patients with Alzheimer’s Disease after Treatment with Coconut Oil Enriched Mediterranean Diet: A Pilot Study.  de la Rubia Ortí JE, et al. J Alzheimers Dis. 2018;65(2):577-587. doi: 10.3233/JAD-180184. PMID: 30056419

[xv] Improvement of Main Cognitive Functions in Patients with Alzheimer’s Disease after Treatment with Coconut Oil Enriched Mediterranean Diet: A Pilot Study.  de la Rubia Ortí JE, et al. J Alzheimers Dis. 2018;65(2):577-587. doi: 10.3233/JAD-180184. PMID: 30056419

[xvi] Improvement of Main Cognitive Functions in Patients with Alzheimer’s Disease after Treatment with Coconut Oil Enriched Mediterranean Diet: A Pilot Study.  de la Rubia Ortí JE, et al. J Alzheimers Dis. 2018;65(2):577-587. doi: 10.3233/JAD-180184. PMID: 30056419

Disclaimer: This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of GreenMedInfo or its staff.

300+ Evidence-Based Longevity Promoting Natural Substances

© 16th January 2020 GreenMedInfo LLC. This work is reproduced and distributed with the permission of GreenMedInfo LLC. Want to learn more from GreenMedInfo? Sign up for the newsletter here www.greenmedinfo.com/greenmed/newsletter
Reproduced from original article:
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Posted on: Thursday, January 16th 2020 at 1:15 pm

Written By: GreenMedInfo Research Group

This article is copyrighted by GreenMedInfo LLC, 2020

Research has concluded that a healthy diet rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory natural substances can increase longevity and improve the aging process by reducing the risk of age-related diseases

As you age, you may feel increased pressure to reduce the effects of aging through topical creams or pharmaceutical drugs. However, researchers have concluded that the dietary intake of several natural substances can successfully promote longevity.

You aren’t a victim to the passage of time — it’s possible to improve your health and longevity through daily activity and dietary interventions. This meme humorously illustrates your ability to mediate your body’s natural changes using diet and exercise:

Old Women

13 Substances for Healthier Aging

How you age is largely a matter of choice. Here are 13 top natural substances proven to promote healthier aging and longevity and get you feeling your best, and keep reading for a link to hundreds more:

1. Vitamin E

Vitamin E is a fat-soluble antioxidant that protects cells from oxidative stress. Vitamin E supplementation is proven to reduce the rate of cardiovascular disease, fatty liver disease, arthritis, cancer and other age-related illnesses.[i],[ii]

Further research has uncovered additional benefits of vitamin E unrelated to its high antioxidant content and determined that vitamin E may play a role in the therapy and prevention of age-related cognitive disorders such as Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia.[iii]

2. Green Tea

Green tea, which originated in China, is extremely high in antioxidants and is well-known for its anti-aging properties. The phytochemicals in green tea are highly reactive, making it a potent neutralizer of free radicals.[iv]

Results from several studies suggest that green tea delays the process of collagen-aging, the fibrous protein that keeps skin looking young by reducing the formation of wrinkles and decreasing skin pentosidine levels.[v]

3. Zinc

Zinc, a powerful micronutrient found in shellfish, dark chocolate and meat, is commonly known as a natural remedy to reduce the duration of the cold and flu.

Zinc works to regulate the immune system and reinforce antioxidant performance, and zinc deficiency in older adults can lead to increased susceptibility to infections and a higher risk of neurodegenerative diseases. Zinc deficiency has also been linked to depression, Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s.[vi]

4. Melatonin

Your skin is your largest organ, and as you age, it reflects the damages from air pollution, excess ultraviolet (UV) light exposure and smoke. Over time, these pollutants cause oxidative damage and provoke the skin to wrinkle, sag and become rough. Melatonin, a radical scavenger produced in the skin, protects cells from oxidative damage but gradually decreases as the body ages.[vii]

To counteract this decrease, melatonin-infused topical creams can improve skin tonicity and hydration levels, improving the skin’s appearance.[viii] Eggs, fish, and nuts contain large amounts of melatonin, which also boasts anti-inflammatory, anti-diabetic and neuroprotective properties, making it a potent anti-aging substance.[ix]

5. Curcumin

Low-grade inflammatory processes are believed to contribute to the aging process, and the anti-inflammatory benefits of curcumin could be the anti-aging remedy researchers are searching for.[x]

Curcumin, the yellow compound found in turmeric root, has been extensively studied as a potential anti-aging substance, but its main drawback is lack of bioavailability.[xi] To harness the anti-aging benefits of curcumin, look for supplements that also contain black pepper, which is known to improve the absorption rate of curcumin [xii]

6. Vitamin C

Healthy, young-looking skin contains high concentrations of vitamin C, and many manufacturers tout the addition of vitamin C to topical formulations as a way to improve skin’s appearance and counteract skin aging.[xiii]

While there is some evidence that topical application is successful, dietary intake of vitamin C is just as important, if not more so, for inhibiting wrinkles and preventing collagen loss in skin cells.[xiv],[xv] For effective topical application, look for serums or creams that contain both vitamin C and vitamin E.[xvi]

7. Magnesium

Magnesium, the fourth most prevalent mineral in the human body, has been extensively studied for its anti-aging properties. Magnesium supplementation can decrease the prevalence of multiple sclerosis in older adults and increases physical performance in healthy elderly patients.[xvii]

Magnesium also plays a role in the prevention of age-related diseases like diabetes, cardiovascular disease and osteoporosis.[xviii] Older adults wishing to reap these benefits should eat a diet of food rich in magnesium, including green vegetables, avocados, nuts and seeds..

8. Olive Oil

Olive oil consumption, especially within the context of the Mediterranean diet, has been extensively studied for its potential prevention of cardiovascular disease and antioxidant properties.[xix] Oxidative stress is believed to correlate with cognitive decline, a precursor for dementia in the elderly, and the high antioxidant content of extra virgin olive oil has been shown to improve cognitive function in older populations.[xx]

9. Acai

Acai, a reddish-purple berry native to South America, has long been touted for its potent antioxidant properties.[xxi] However, recent studies indicate that acai may also exhibit cardiovascular, antidiabetic, antiobesity and metabolic effects, making acai berries and supplements potential longevity-promoting substances.[xxii]

10. Omega-3 Fatty Acids

The benefits of omega-3 fatty acid supplementation and dietary intake are well known. In one study, researchers measured the relationship between omega-3 fatty acids and the rate of telomere shortening, concluding that there is an inverse relationship between baseline levels of omega-3s and the rate of telomere shortening.[xxiii]

Telomeres, located at the end of chromosomes, limit the proliferation of cells and can suppress the regeneration of organs during aging, as well as increase the risk of cancer as they shorten.[xxiv] For this reason, increased intake of omega-3 fatty acids could increase longevity, especially in older adults with coronary heart disease.[xxv]

11. Ginseng

Both red and American ginseng varieties have been studied for their potential anti-aging properties, and research indicates that consumption of American and red ginseng may reduce age-associated oxidative stress and correct amino-acid metabolic disorders.[xxvi],[xxvii] Additional studies concluded that red or black ginseng may decrease cognitive deficits related to aging.[xxviii]

12. Flaxseed

Flaxseeds are a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids and fiber, both of which have numerous longevity-promoting benefits. Consumption of dietary flaxseed is linked to a decrease in cardiovascular disease and cancer risk, as well as improved cognitive function.[xxix]

However, flaxseed is not very bioavailable in seed form and needs to be milled to increase bioavailability. Since crushing or milling the seeds can cause oxidation, it’s best to wait to grind seeds until right before consumption.[xxx] To further extend the shelf life of flaxseed, store flaxseed in a cool dark place until ready to grind and consume.

13. Dark Chocolate

The antioxidant benefits of dark chocolate are well studied, but researchers have also determined that chocolate consumption is associated with better psychological health and increased optimism in older adults.[xxxi]

Furthermore, recent studies have found a correlation between chocolate consumption and longer telomere length, which is thought to inhibit the incidence of cardiovascular and infectious diseases.[xxxii],[xxxiii] To incorporate healthy chocolate into your diet, look for dark chocolate products that are organic and ethically sourced and avoid excess sugar and filler ingredients, as well as milk chocolate or white chocolate.

300 More Natural Substances That Promote Longevity

Aging is inevitable, but research backs these 13 substances as natural and effective ways to increase longevity and mediate the aging process. For a wider dataset on these and other anti-aging remedies, visit the GreenMedInfo.com Aging Research Dashboard, where we’ve compiled over 750 studies related to more than 300 longevity-promoting natural substances, including:

Resveratol

Melatonin

Soy

Ginkgo biloba

Aloe vera

Bacopa

Grape seed extract

Lutein

Horse chestnut

Fish extract

Black tea

Anthocyanins

Apples

Cocoa

Fennel

Rose

Artichokes

Amla fruit

Reishi mushroom

Blueberry

Walnut


References

[i] Antioxidants (Basel). 2018 Mar; 7(3): 44

[ii] Sultan Qaboos Univ Med J. 2014 May; 14(2): e157-e165.

[iii] Biofactors. 2012 Mar-Apr;38(2):90-7.

[iv] J Am Acad Dermatol. 2005 Jun;52(6):1049-59.

[v] Int J Vitam Nutr Res. 2003 Nov; 73(6): 453-460.

[vi] Pathobiol Aging Age Relat Dis. 2015; 5: 10.3402/pba.v5.25592

[vii] J Drugs Dermatol. 2018 Sep 1;17(9):966-969.

[viii] Clin Cosmet Investig Dermatol. 2018; 11: 51-57.

[ix] Nutrients. 2017 Apr; 9(4): 367.

[x] Curr Pharm Des. 2010;16(7):884-92

[xi] Immun Ageing. 2010; 7: 1.

[xii] Cancer Res Treat. 2014 Jan; 46(1): 2-18.

[xiii] Nutrients. 2017 Aug; 9(8): 866.

[xiv] Food Sci Biotechnol. 2018 Apr; 27(2): 555-564.

[xv] Clin Cosmet Investig Dermatol. 2015; 8: 463-470.

[xvi] Nutrients. 2017 Aug; 9(8): 866.

[xvii] Eur J Nutr. 2008 Jun;47(4):210-6.

[xviii] Int J Endocrinol. 2018; 2018: 9041694

[xix] Endocr Metab Immune Disord Drug Targets. 2018;18(1):4-13.

[xx] JAMA Intern Med. 2015 Jul;175(7):1094-1103.

[xxi] J Agric Food Chem. 2006 Nov 1;54(22):8604-10.

[xxii] J Cardiovasc Pharmacol. 2016 Jul;68(1):19-26

[xxiii] JAMA. 2010 Jan 20;303(3):250-7.

[xxiv] Jiang, H., Ju, Z. & Rudolph, K.L. Z Gerontol Geriat. (2007) 40: 314.

[xxv] JAMA. 2010 Jan 20;303(3):250-7.

[xxvi] Phytochem Anal. 2018 Jul;29(4):387-397

[xxvii] J Nutr. 2003 Nov;133(11):3603-9.

[xxviii] Food Sci Biotechnol. 2017 Oct 16;26(6):1743-1747

[xxix] Nutrients. 2019 May; 11(5): 1171.

[xxx] Nutrients. 2019 May; 11(5): 1171.

[xxxi] Eur J Clin Nutr. 2008 Feb;62(2):247-53. Epub 2007 Feb 28.

[xxxii] Curr Opin Clin Nutr Metab Care. Author manuscript; available in PMC 2012 Jun 8.

[xxxiii] Pediatr Res. 2019 Oct 1

Disclaimer: This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of GreenMedInfo or its staff.

Slash risk of coronary heart disease with healthy fats

Reproduced from original article:
www.naturalhealth365.com/heart-disease-healthy-fats-3260.html

healthy-fats(NaturalHealth365) If asked about one of the very best foods to consume in order to lower cholesterol, reduce abdominal fat and decrease the risk of heart disease … it’s unlikely that most people would say: healthy fats.  But, if you did say it, you would be correct … despite the “wisdom” of conventional thinking.

In truth, there is a lot of scientific research which demonstrates that there is no link between the consumption of “healthy fats” and the risk of developing serious conditions such as cardiovascular disease or cancer.  Generally speaking, to avoid disease, the smarter choice is to focus on reducing our toxic burden and improve the quality of our diet – in every way imaginable.

The truth behind healthy fats

Conventionally-trained nutritionists tend to warn us that saturated fats and trans fats are unhealthy, and can raise levels of harmful LDL cholesterol.  Of course, trans fats, or highly-processed (heated) vegetable oils should be avoided at all costs. But, are we being told the whole truth about healthy (saturated) fats?

The truth is: we can find healthy fats from flaxseed, coconut, hemp and olive oil.  These oils contain varying amounts of the omega-6 polyunsaturated acid known as linoleic acid – which has been shown to have health-promoting qualities.  And, yes, in moderate amounts, grass-fed meats or organic eggs are also a good source of healthy fats.

Wait a minute!  What do the “experts” say about fat?

While past studies have indeed linked linoleic acid-rich diets with inflammation in animals, some researchers are beginning to state that these results don’t hold true for humans, who respond to fats differently.  Of course, quality (and quantity) does matter – whenever talking about the risk of disease, as it relates to your diet.

So, do the “experts” advise against eating fat?

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Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health points out, “rather than adopting a low-fat diet, it’s more important to focus on eating beneficial “good” fats and avoiding harmful “bad” fats. Fat is an important part of a healthy diet.”

And, the Mayo Clinic says, “you don’t need to eliminate all fat from your diet. In fact, some fats actually help promote good health. But it’s wise to choose the healthier types of dietary fat and then enjoy them as part of a balanced diet.”

Bottom line, although it’s taking a long time to clear up, fat is not “bad” for you.  But, toxic (highly processed) fats like, vegetable oils found in cookies are no good!  I think you get the idea.  Like we stated before, quality and quantity matters when it comes to food and your health.

Considered the “queen” of healthy oils: Is it really o.k. to consume olive oil?

A staple of the heart-healthy Mediterranean diet, olive oil has generous amounts of both polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fatty acids – both of which are beneficial. Monounsaturated fatty acids lower LDL cholesterol while raising levels of healthy HDL cholesterol.

In addition, they help to regulate blood clotting and stabilize blood sugar levels.

Olive oil is also rich in vitamin E, an important antioxidant vitamin that can scavenge destructive free radicals and decrease disease-causing oxidative stress. In addition, it contains powerful anti-inflammatory polyphenols such as oleuropein and oleocanthal.

In a randomized controlled trial published just this week in Canadian Medical Association Journal, researchers found that extra-virgin olive oil – when used as part of the Mediterranean diet – can help reverse metabolic syndrome, a collection of unhealthy conditions that raises risk of heart disease, stroke and diabetes.

Metabolic syndrome is indicated by excessive belly fat, low levels of beneficial HDL cholesterol, high blood pressure, and high levels of blood sugar and triglycerides.

Controlling your body weight: “Healthy” fat diets are better than “low-fat” diets

Participants in the olive oil group decreased their obesity and blood sugar levels at a much greater rate than those in the control group, which was counseled to eat a low-fat diet. In fact, close to a third of the olive oil group completely reversed their condition, and could no longer be diagnosed with metabolic syndrome by the end of the 4.8 year follow time period.

With roughly 33 percent of all Americans currently affected by metabolic syndrome, the good news about olive oil is particularly significant.

When it comes to oils that feature polyunsaturated fatty acids, it is the balance between the omega-3 and omega-6 acids that helps to determine their healthiness. Natural health experts tell us that both flaxseed oil and hemp oil contain optimal balances of PUFAs. Both of them feature an omega-3 fatty acid called alpha-linolenic acid, or ALA, which has been shown to decrease inflammation.

The University of Maryland Medical Center notes that research shows a lower incidence of fatal heart attacks in people who eat a diet rich in ALA, and adds that ALA may even reduce the risk of heart arrhythmias, and – by decreasing the adhesiveness of blood platelets – cut the risk of a stroke as well.

For maximum health benefits, look for organic hemp and flaxseed oils that are labeled “high oleic.”

Coconut oil and the surprising effects on your health

Don’t forget the coconut oil, which imparts a light, delicious coconut flavor to recipes when used as a cooking or salad oil. This healthy oil boosts immunity, promotes good digestion, supports healthy thyroid function and fights abdominal fat.

It also increases levels of healthy HDL cholesterol, and helps to spur the conversion of cholesterol to pregnenolone – which in turn assists in the creation of important hormones.  In a double-blind clinical study published in 2009 in Lipids, researchers found two tablespoons of coconut oil daily for 12 weeks promoted significant loss of abdominal fat in the study participants.

Isn’t coconut oil high in harmful saturated fat?

Although most of coconut oil’s fat is indeed of the saturated variety, many natural health experts point out that much of this fat consists of medium-chain fatty acids, which have not been implicated in chronic diseases in the same way longer-chain fatty acids have been.

Coconut oil proponents also point out that this tasty tropical oil is good for use in cooking, as it withstands relatively high temperatures without breaking down – up to about 350 degrees.

Are there any vegetable oils I should avoid?

Yes. Canola, soy and corn oils, despite their otherwise beneficial content of linoleic acid, are notorious for their content of genetically modified organisms (GMOs).  Unless you want to up your intake of genetically manipulated ingredients, these oils should be avoided.

So, how much fat is enough?

Of course, the recent research doesn’t suggest that you should guzzle down vegetable oils in unlimited quantities. Even with “healthy fats” … moderation is the key.

Experts say that consuming between two and four tablespoons of fat per day should be sufficient to achieve adequate linoleic acid levels in the body.  In other words, a couple spoonfuls of coconut oil is good … but, a 24 oz. steak would be too much!

On a more serious note: according to the American Heart Association, fats – which universally contain nine calories a gram – should make up no more than 20 to 35 percent of your total calories. Although, some people may require more – depending on personal lifestyle habits and medical health profile.

And, it is not just cooking and salad oils that offer up healthy fat. You can also snack on whole organic foods that are rich in these good fats, and treat your body to healthy quantities of dietary fiber, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants galore.

For example, try eating organic avocados, some olives, and crunchy, satisfying sprouted nuts such as walnuts or almonds.  And, don’t forget the health benefits of seeds like, sesame or pumpkin.

To sum up, we need to stop demonizing all fats.  Our body needs healthy fats to help absorb fat-soluble nutrients.  Naturally, if you’re concerned about your health (and need help with your diet) – seek the advise of a trusted, integrative healthcare provider and keep reading NaturalHealth365.

Sources for this article include:

NIH.gov
Harvard.edu
Mayoclinic.org

5 ways to avoid gallstones naturally

Reproduced from original article:
www.naturalhealth365.com/5-ways-to-avoid-gallstones-3245.html
 | January 6, 2020

gallstones

(NaturalHealth365) According to the most current data about gallstones –  deposits of crystallized cholesterol in the gallbladder or bile ducts, about 15 percent of the American population are affected by this preventable condition.

And, while many gallstones are “silent” and cause no symptoms, serious complications – including bile duct infection, pancreatitis and an increased risk of heart disease and gallbladder cancer – can sometimes occur. The good news: a variety of natural nutrients and supplements can help slash your risk of developing these potentially troublesome deposits.

Just don’t expect your conventionally trained physician to talk to you about this.

In fact, the “typical response” of Western medicine is to surgically remove the gallbladder (a procedure known as cholecystectomy), if there’s a problem.  But, again, you ought to know that there are many non-invasive, non-toxic techniques to ward off gallstones.  Let’s take a closer look!

Warning: The standard American diet is a perfect “recipe” for promoting the development of gallstones

When it comes to raising the risk of gallstones, a high (toxic) fat, high calorie and highly processed diet is a primary culprit.  Unfortunately, with the ease of obtaining “fast” foods, junk foods and highly processed foods, this is the diet of far too many people.

Other factors that can raise the risk of developing gallstones include obesity, a sedentary lifestyle, increasing age and certain medications, such as diuretics.

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Genetics can also play a role. And, women are statistically more likely to develop gallstones than men.

Note: while losing weight can help cut the risk of developing gallstones, experts recommend that the loss be gradual, and not exceed about 3 pounds a week. As ironic as it seems, prolonged fasting and sudden, drastic weight loss can also trigger the development of gallstones.

The following substances have been shown in human and animal studies to be particularly effective against gallstones. Of course, consult with an experienced integrative physician before supplementing with any of them.

Observational study: Vitamin C supplementation slashes gallstone risk

A potent antioxidant, vitamin C works in the body to scavenge harmful free radicals and reduce the oxidative stress that plays a role in gallstone formation.  By helping to convert excess cholesterol into bile acids, vitamin C may help reduce cholesterol concentrations, thereby decreasing the chance of gallstones.

In one study, gallstone patients slated for gallbladder removal were given 2,000 mg of vitamin C a day for two weeks before their surgeries.  These patients were found to have improved bile composition, and less cholesterol crystallization, than those who hadn’t received supplementary vitamin C.

But, a 2009 study yielded even more dramatic findings.

In an observational study involving over 2,100 subjects, researchers found that regular vitamin C users were a whopping 66 percent less likely to develop gallstones than those who didn’t supplement.

Imagine if these results were achieved by a brand-new drug?!  The pharmaceutical companies would doubtless crow over these remarkable results in a non-stop barrage of commercials.

Ironically, however, non-toxic, natural, inexpensive vitamin C has received no such media fanfare in the decade following this study – a typical result when it comes to the therapeutic benefits of any vitamin.

Omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil discourage gallstone formation

Fish oil, rich in beneficial omega-3 fatty acids, has received kudos from natural health experts for its ability to reduce inflammation, support healthy cardiovascular function and ease depression.  Now, research shows that EPA and DHA, the primary fatty acids in fish oil, also help prevent gallstones.

Like vitamin C, EPA and DHA inhibit cholesterol crystallization and improve bile composition.  In a study published in Journal of Nutrition, researchers gave 11.3 grams a day of omega-3s from fish oil to obese women who were on medically supervised weight-loss diets of 1,200 calories per day.

When compared to the placebo group, the omega-3 group experienced a reduction in the time it took to form cholesterol crystals, thereby slowing gallstone formation.  As an added “bonus:” the researchers noted that the group also enjoyed a reduced risk of heart disease.

The team concluded that omega-3 fatty acids can cut the risk of developing gallstones that accompanies rapid weight loss – an especially important point for those looking to improve their health!

SAM-e is a useful tool for promoting gallbladder health

SAM-e, short for S-adenosylmethionine, is a molecule found naturally in the body. With potent anti-inflammatory and mood-elevating effects, SAM-e is currently used to treat a variety of ills, including arthritis pain and depression.

This versatile compound also has a protective effect on the liver and gallbladder.

In addition, SAM-e improves bile flow and decreases cholesterol concentration – two important defenses against gallbladder problems. Like vitamin C, it contributes to antioxidant protection, and reduces the oxidative stress that can trigger gallstones.

Note: researchers have found that women with increased estrogen levels are more likely to suffer from gallstones. Significantly, SAM-e reduced bile cholesterol by almost one third in women taking oral contraceptives.

Natural health experts normally advise SAM-e dosages in the area of 600 mg to 1,200 mg a day, but check first with your own healthcare provider.

Curcumin from turmeric: The “golden spice” has a glowing reputation for fighting gallstones

Curcumin, the active ingredient in the medicinal spice turmeric, has long been valued by natural healers for its ability to ease inflammation, combat infection and fight cancer. A carotenoid, or natural plant pigment, curcumin is responsible for the brilliant yellow-orange coloration of turmeric.

Both animal and human studies have shown that curcumin has the ability to improve cholesterol and lipid metabolism, increase bile flow, reduce gallbladder inflammation and promote normal bile acid metabolism.

There is even evidence that curcumin can reduce post-operative pain and fatigue after gallbladder removal. In an intriguing study published in Surgical Endoscopy, patients who had their gallbladders removed required less pain medication when they were given curcumin.

Curcumin is available in supplemental form, with typical dosages ranging from 500 mg to 2,000 mg a day.  Just be sure to look for a formulation that includes black pepper – which greatly improves curcumin absorption.

EGCG in green tea may fight not only gallstones – but deadly gallbladder diseases as well

EGCG, or epigallocatechin gallate, is a flavonoid found in green tea. This potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory has been demonstrated to prevent gallstones in animals – and human studies back this up.

Not only does EGCG prevent gallstones, but it appears to play a role in warding off some of the potentially life-threatening forms of gallbladder disease.

A population-based study in China, published in International Journal of Cancer, showed that drinking at least one cup of green tea for six months cut the risk of developing gallstones by 27 percent, the risk of bile duct cancer by 35 percent and the risk of gallbladder cancer by 44 percent.

Not a bad payoff for merely sipping a daily cup of fragrant and refreshing green tea!

Take action: Reduce the risk of gallstones with natural techniques

You can cut your risk of gallstones by removing white sugar, refined carbohydrates and saturated or trans fats from your diet – while eating plenty of fiber-rich fresh fruits and vegetables and healthy amounts of monounsaturated fats (such as those found in avocados, nuts and olive oil).

Note: an influential 2017 French study showed that people who consumed a Mediterranean diet – which roughly mirrors the above suggestions – enjoyed a dramatically lower risk of gallstones.

And, it couldn’t hurt to add garlic, onions, fenugreek and cayenne to your diet – all have been associated with lower risk of gallstones.

And, finally, increasing your activity level can help ward off gallstones, too. One study showed that between two and three hours of moderate exercise per week could lower the odds of developing gallstones by 25 percent.

Sources for this article include:

LifeExtension.com
NIH.gov
Gallbladderattack.com
NIH.gov

Excess Body Fat Can Age Your Brain Faster Than Muscle


Reproduced from original article:
https://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2020/01/09/obesity-and-brain-health.aspx
Analysis by Dr. Joseph Mercola Fact Checked image
January 09, 2020

excess body fat and brain health

STORY AT-A-GLANCE

  • Increasing research shows that maintaining healthy levels of body fat and greater muscle mass has an effect on your brain health and may slow your rate of cognitive aging
  • People with higher amounts of abdominal fat had worse fluid intelligence with age, while those with greater muscle mass were more protected against such declines
  • Women who had greater muscle mass tended to have better scores in fluid intelligence during the study period
  • Past research has linked midlife obesity with an increased risk of mild cognitive impairment, changes in short-term memory and executive functioning and dementia
  • In addition to regular exercise to increase muscle mass, eating a ketogenic diet to maintain a healthy body weight and avoid obesity may support your brain health as you age

Staying fit as you age is about far more than aesthetics. Increasing research shows that maintaining healthy levels of body fat and greater muscle mass has an effect on your brain health and even your rate of cognitive aging. It’s known, for instance, that being obese in midlife and early late-life is associated with worse cognitive aging.1

What’s more, the amount of muscle and fat you have may be a more important factor in how your level of fluid intelligence decreases over time than your chronological age. Your chronological age, i.e., your age in years, is just a numerical measurement, but your real age is your biological age as dictated by your choices and habits, as well as your modifiable risk factors like levels of muscle and fat.

While many people tend to gain fat and lose muscle mass as they age, this can be largely combated by staying active and eating right — lifestyle choices that will influence your cognitive function significantly.

More Muscle, Less Fat Protects Your Brain

In a study by Iowa State researchers, data from 4,431 adults were examined to compare levels of lean muscle mass, abdominal fat and subcutaneous fat with changes in fluid intelligence — the ability to solve problems in new situations — over a six-year period.2,3

Those with higher amounts of abdominal fat had worse fluid intelligence with age, while those with greater muscle mass were more protected against such declines. In fact, women who had greater muscle mass tended to have better scores in fluid intelligence during the study period.

Study co-author Auriel Willette, assistant professor of food science and human nutrition at Iowa State University, said in a news release, “Chronological age doesn’t seem to be a factor in fluid intelligence decreasing over time. It appears to be biological age, which here is the amount of fat and muscle.”4

What’s more, the study revealed a link between the immune system and how changes in fat levels affect cognition. Previous research suggests a higher body mass index (BMI) leads to greater immune system activity in the blood, which in turn activates the immune system in the brain, with a negative outcome on cognitive function.5

The featured study also found that changes in white blood cells called lymphocytes and eosinophils explained the link between abdominal fat and worsening fluid intelligence in women. In men, basophils, another type of white blood cell, were linked to about half of the link between fat levels and fluid intelligence, the study found.6

“Lymphocytes, eosinophils, and basophils may link adiposity to cognitive outcomes,” the researchers explained.7 Similar research has revealed that overweight and obese individual have greater brain atrophy in middle-age, corresponding with an increase in brain age of 10 years.8

How Obesity Affects Your Brain

Obesity has multiple effects on the brain, including anatomically speaking. Obese individuals may have reduced gray matter in brain regions such as the hippocampus, prefrontal cortex and other subcortical regions. Atrophy in the hippocampus, in turn, has been linked to Alzheimer’s disease.9

Gray matter is the outer layer of the brain associated with high-level brain functions such as problem-solving, language, memory, personality, planning and judgment. Even in elderly people who are otherwise cognitively normal, obesity is associated with measureable deficits in brain volume in the frontal lobes, anterior cingulate gyrus, hippocampus, and thalamus compared to individuals with a normal weight.10

Further research published in Radiology found that obesity may lead to alterations in brain structure, shrinking certain regions.11 Among men, higher total body fat percentage was linked to lower brain gray matter volume. Specifically, 5.5% greater total body fat percentage was associated with 3,162 mm3 lower gray matter volume.

Among men, 5.5% greater total body fat was also associated with 27 mm3 smaller globus pallidus volume, an association also seen in women. In women, 6.6% greater total body fat percentage was associated with 11.2 mm3 smaller globus pallidus volume.

The globus pallidus is a brain region that plays a role in supporting a range of functions, including motivation, cognition and action.12 Obesity was also associated with changes in white matter microstructure, which may be related to cognitive function.13

Cognitively speaking, there’s also a strong link between obesity and deterioration in cognitive function, as well as to other brain disorders such as dementia, anxiety and depression. Further, past research has linked midlife obesity with an increased risk of mild cognitive impairment, changes in short-term memory and executive functioning and dementia.14

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Obesity-Associated Health Problems Also Harm Your Brain

Obesity’s effects on brain health are also due to its associated health problems, including heart disease, diabetes and atherosclerosis, each of which can have its own deleterious effects on your brain. For instance, as noted in Frontiers in Neuroscience:15

“Obesity-derived vascular problems, such as atherosclerosis and arteriosclerosis, which are systemic diseases, are known to affect the steady blood flow of vessels that feed the brain, thus contributing to cognitive impairment or even stroke, where large areas of the brain die due to the stop in the blood flow of a major brain artery caused by a blood clot.”

In terms of diabetes, of which obesity is a key risk factor, having this condition in midlife is associated with a 19% greater cognitive decline over 20 years compared with not having the condition.16 Even those with prediabetes had significantly greater cognitive decline than those without.

Indeed, “Epidemiological studies have linked type-2 diabetes mellitus with cognitive impairment and dementia, with insulin resistance and hyperglycemia as the probable mechanistic links,” researchers noted.17

Coming full circle, eating a highly processed, junk food diet not only increases obesity risk but also can lead to normal but elevated blood sugar levels that, in turn, can lead to impaired glucose metabolism and Type 2 diabetes. Both diabetes and higher fasting glucose levels are linked with lower total brain volume.18

Impaired glucose metabolism is then associated with neurodegeneration that impairs cognitive function. This connection begins not in old age but much earlier, such that following a healthy lifestyle in young adulthood may be protective against cognitive decline later.19

The Inflammation Connection

Obesity can trigger chronic inflammation in your body, and chronic inflammation in your brain (neuroinflammation) is known to impair neurogenesis, your brain’s ability to adapt and grow new brain cells. It’s also linked to neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease (AD), and it’s been suggested that “Obesity may serve as an amplifier or initiator of the chronic inflammation observed in AD patients.”20

Further, higher levels of inflammatory markers have also been associated with lower brain volume, including “greater atrophy than expected for age.”21 Excess body fat, particularly visceral fat, is also related to the release of proteins and hormones that can cause inflammation, which in turn can damage arteries and enter your liver, affecting how your body breaks down sugars and fats.

According to a study in the Annals of Neurology, “[A]dipose-tissue derived hormones, such as adiponectin, leptin, resistin or ghrelin, could also play a role in the relation between adipose tissue and brain atrophy.”22 Further, obesity may also be associated with lower volume in brain regions that regulate food-reward circuitry,23 possibly influencing overeating.

Strength Training Is Good for Your Brain

While obesity takes a toll on your brain, increased muscle mass protects it, which is likely one reason why strength training has been found to be beneficial for your brain. In other words, your body’s physical strength may serve as a marker of your brain power.

In fact, strength training is known to trigger beneficial neurobiological processes,24 leading to positive functional brain changes, including in the frontal lobe, with corresponding improvements in executive functions. One systematic review even found that strength training led to less white matter atrophy in the brain, with researchers noting:25

“Taken together, during aging processes, a substantial decline in muscular strength, especially in lower limb muscles, occurs, and accumulating evidence suggests that lower muscular strengths are linked to poorer cognitive performance.

Hence, resistance (strength) exercises (a single bout of resistance exercise, also referred to as acute exercise) and resistance (strength) training (more than one resistance exercise session, also referred to as chronic exercise … ) seem to be promising activities to ensure the preservation of physical functioning and cognitive functions with aging.”

Regular strength training, in addition to other forms of exercise and daily activity, is an important strategy for keeping your brain sharp and may help to offset some of the cognitive decline that occurs with age.

Avoid Obesity and Protect Your Brain With a Ketogenic Diet

While obesity may accelerate neurodegeneration, regular exercise to increase your muscle mass will be protective. Further, eating a ketogenic diet will help protect your brain from free radical damage and will supply the cells with preferred fuel while also helping you to lose weight and avoid obesity.

A ketogenic diet is high in healthy fats and low in net carbohydrates (total carbs minus fiber), prompting your body to start burning fat as its primary fuel, rather than sugar. This produces ketones, which not only burn efficiently but are also a superior fuel for your brain. Ketones also generate fewer reactive oxygen species (ROS) and less free-radical damage.

One of the simple strategies you can implement is to take ketone precursors like refined MCT oils of caprylic acid (C-8). The eight-chain carbon fats are readily converted to ketones. I personally use up to 5 ounces of our Ketone Energy when I have maxed out my protein and carb intake and need a source of healthy clean fat. This keeps my ketone level around 1 to 2.0 mmol/l. Just recognize that you have to build up to a high dose of MCT oil slowly or you will have problems with loose stools.

Recent studies have also demonstrated the benefits of nutritional ketosis for brain health. In one, researchers found a ketogenic diet improved neurovascular function, in part by improving your gut microbiome.26

In a second study, the researchers concluded a ketogenic diet acted as a veritable “fountain of youth” in their animal study by significantly improving neurovascular and metabolic functions, compared to the animals eating an unrestricted diet.27 Releasing ketones into your bloodstream helps preserve brain function and protects against cognitive impairment and other neurodegenerative diseases.28

KetoFasting, the program I developed and detail in my book, “KetoFast: A Step-By-Step Guide to Timing Your Ketogenic Meals,” combines a cyclical ketogenic diet and intermittent fasting with cyclical partial fasting to optimize health and longevity.

Not only can KetoFasting help you to lose weight, but your cognition typically improves thanks to the biological cleansing and regeneration that occurs throughout your body, including your brain.

Sources and References

Defeat insomnia and chronic stress with a lesser known essential oil

Reproduced from original article:
www.naturalhealth365.com/defeat-insomnia-naturally-3232.html
by:  

defeat-insomnia-naturally(NaturalHealth365) While you’re likely familiar with essential oils like frankincense and lavender, you may never have heard of spikenard essential oil.  Today, we’ll focus on how to defeat insomnia with a natural remedy.

Although it’s not as well-known as other essential oils, spikenard been used for centuries for health, beauty, and even religious purposes. While it’s valued as a prized perfume for its musky, earthy, spicy scent, it also offers antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties used by integrative healthcare providers for years.

A relative of the valerian plant, spikenard is a flowering plant that grows in the Himalayas in India, China, and Nepal, and it’s usually only found at around an altitude of 10,000 feet.  Although it’s long been hailed for its ability to treat a variety of health problems, research backs up its use for treating insomnia, helping to reduce stress, and more.

How to defeat insomnia and reduce stress naturally without negative side effects

Multiple studies have investigated the use of spikenard essential oil as a sedative, as well as its ability to defeat insomnia. One study not only documented the sedative effect of the oil, but also discovered that when it’s mixed together with other oils like sandalwood, patchouli, borneol, and galangal oils, the sedative response was even more significant.

Another study went on to isolate two of the components of spikenard essential oil – beta maaliene and valerna-4,7(11)-diene. They found that the valerna-4,7(11)-diene offered the strongest sedative effect on test subjects and even had an effect similar to chlorpromazine, a medication often given to patients with behavior or mental disorders.

Spikenard oil also has a calming effect, which helps reduce stress. The combination of stress-relief and sedative effects make it a useful, natural treatment for people who have insomnia.

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Additional science-backed uses for spikenard essential oil

Beyond its ability to reduce stress and work as a sedative to relieve insomnia, spikenard essential oil offers many other science-backed health benefits, as well.  One of the most studied benefits of this spikenard is its ability to fight fungus and bacteria.

Studies show that spikenard is one of the most effective essential oils against certain strains of bacteria, and it also works to heal skin problems caused by fungal infections.

Spikenard essential oil also has the ability to fight inflammation, which is at the root of many diseases. When studied in treating acute pancreatitis, spikenard treatment helped reduce the severity of the acute pancreatitis, proving its ability to work as an anti-inflammatory agent.

Other potential health benefits include:

  • Stimulating the immune system
  • Lowering blood pressure
  • Reducing joint pain
  • Relieving gastrointestinal issues
  • Treating dandruff
  • Reducing pain related to menstruation and muscle aches
  • Promotes hair growth
  • Relieves anxiety

Spikenard essential oil is often used topically or as aromatherapy. It can be diffused or inhaled directly from the bottle.

Another option is to add it to a carrier oil for a massage oil that promotes sleep while relieving sore muscles and headaches. You can also add a few drops to a bath to reduce stress and help relieve insomnia.

Sources for this article include:

NIH.gov
Healthline.com
NIH.gov
NIH.gov
NIH.gov
NIH.gov

Why Vegetable Oils Are Carcinogenic


Reproduced from original article:
https://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2019/11/25/effects-of-vegetable-oil-on-our-health.aspx

Analysis by Dr. Joseph MercolaFact Checked

STORY AT-A-GLANCE

  • Replacing dangerous vegetable oils such as corn oil, soybean oil and canola oil with healthy fats such as lard, butter or coconut oil is a simple way to boost your health and reduce your risk of chronic disease, including cancer
  • Vegetable oils are a concentrated source of omega-6 linoleic acid, which has led to a severe imbalance between the omega-6 to omega-3 ratio in most people’s diets. This imbalance appears to be why vegetable oils promote cancer
  • Consumption of saturated animal fats such as butter, lard and beef tallow fell by 27% between 1970 and 2014, while consumption of vegetable oils rose by 87%
  • Historically, mankind consumed omega-3 and omega-6 at a ratio of 1-to-1. Today, most get 25 times more omega-6 than omega-3, and this imbalance has been linked to heart disease, gastrointestinal diseases, inflammatory conditions and cancer, especially neuroblastoma, breast, prostate, colon and lung cancer
  • Your body metabolizes omega-3 and omega-6 PUFAs into eicosanoids (hormone-like substances), and as a general rule, omega-3 eicosanoids are anti-inflammatory while omega-6 eicosanoids have proinflammatory effects. Part of the benefits of omega-3 fats is that they block the proinflammatory effects of omega-6 eicosanoids

Dietary fats are a crucial component of a healthy diet, but the devil’s in the details, and the type of fats you choose can make a world of difference. Replacing dangerous oils with healthy fats is one simple way to boost your health and reduce your risk of chronic disease.

Sadly, the fats that promote ill health are the very ones we’ve been told are the healthiest, and vice versa. Among the absolute worst types of fat you can eat are vegetable oils, such as corn oil, soybean oil, sunflower and canola oil, found in most processed foods and restaurant meals.

According to the 2017 U.S. Department of Agriculture report,1 “U.S. Trends in Food Availability,” consumption of saturated animal fats such as butter, lard and beef tallow fell by 27% between 1970 and 2014, while consumption of vegetable oils rose by 87%. Intake of salad and cooking oils specifically rose by a remarkable 248%.

In my view, processed vegetable oils, rich in omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs), are the most dangerous dietary factor of them all, taking a greater toll on human health than high fructose corn syrup even.

Not only have vegetable oils been linked to heart disease, gastrointestinal diseases such as irritable bowel disorder, and inflammatory conditions such as arthritis, they’ve also been linked to cancer, especially neuroblastoma, breast, prostate, colon and lung cancer. 2

Vegetable Oils — A Hidden Cause of Cancer

In a November 8, 2019, Medium article,3 Maria Cross, a nutritionist with a master of science degree, discusses the science behind vegetable oils and what makes them carcinogenic. She explains:

“There are two classes of PUFA: omega-6 and omega-3. Although functionally distinct and non-interchangeable, these two classes are perpetually engaged in a metabolic balancing act, pushing and pulling as they compete for absorption in the body.

There is nothing intrinsically wrong with omega-6 PUFAs: we need them … If omega-6 fat is essential to health, it makes no sense that it can also cause cancer …

That’s why scientists believe that it is not omega-6 per se that is to blame; it’s the balance between the two groups of PUFA that is out of kilter and wreaking havoc on our bodies. We evolved on, and are genetically adapted to, a diet that provides more or less equal amounts of omega-3 and omega-64 …

With the industrialization of our diets, and the vast quantities of vegetable cooking oils that go into them, the ratio between omega-6 and omega-3 has shifted enormously and we consume up to 25 times5 more omega-6 than omega-3 …

There can only be consequences, and indeed there are: experimental data6 supports the theory that it is this skewed balance between the two PUFAs that influences the development of a tumor.”

How Lopsided PUFA Ratios Promote Cancer

The cancer connection is also reviewed in a 2016 paper,7 “Role of Diets Rich in Omega-3 and Omega-6 in the Development of Cancer,” which points out that “Omega-6 and omega-3 PUFAs often compete with one another for metabolism and act in an opposing manner.”

Your body metabolizes omega-3 and omega-6 PUFAs into eicosanoids, which are hormone-like substances, and as a general rule, omega-3 eicosanoids are anti-inflammatory while omega-6 eicosanoids have proinflammatory effects.8 Part of the benefits of omega-3 fats is that they block the proinflammatory effects of omega-6 eicosanoids.

As noted in the 2016 paper9 cited above, “several studies have demonstrated that omega-6 PUFAs induce progression in certain types of cancer,” while “omega-3 PUFAs possess a therapeutic role against certain types of cancer.”

Table 1 in that paper lists eight known mechanisms by which omega-3 lowers your risk of cancer. For example, omega-3 has been shown to inhibit insulin-like growth factor (IGF) and down-regulate growth factor receptors involved in cancer.

Omega-3 fats also reduce angiogenesis and cell-to-cell adhesion, improve the structure and function of cells, combat inflammation (which is a hallmark of cancer10) and induce cancer cell apoptosis (cell death).11 Table 2 in that same paper lists the pro-tumor mechanisms of omega-6 fats, which include:12

  • Creation of reactive species that damage DNA
  • 17-beta-estradiol epoxidation, which in turn generates a carcinogenic compound
  • Enhancing the genotoxic effects of other compounds

As explained in my book, “Superfuel,” co-written with James DiNicolantonio, Pharm.D., omega-6 also inhibits cardiolipin, an important component of the inner membrane of your mitochondria that needs to be saturated in DHA in order for it to function properly.13

Cardiolipin can be likened to a cellular alarm system that triggers apoptosis (cell death) by signaling caspase-3 when something goes wrong with the cell. If the cardiolipin is not saturated with DHA, it cannot signal caspase-3, and hence apoptosis does not occur. As a result, dysfunctional cells are allowed to continue to grow, which can turn into a cancerous cell.

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Vegetable Oils Promote Virtually All Chronic Disease

Cancer is by far not the only health risk associated with vegetable oils. As mentioned, they promote virtually all chronic disease by throwing your omega-3 to omega-6 ratio off kilter. But they also influence your disease risk in other ways.

Importantly, vegetable oils degrade when heated, forming extremely toxic oxidation products, including cyclic aldehydes.14 Cyclic aldehydes cause oxidized low-density lipoprotein (LDL) associated with heart disease. They also crosslink tau protein and create neurofibrillary tangles, thereby contributing to the development of neurodegenerative diseases.

As explained by Dr. Cate Shanahan in her book, “Deep Nutrition: Why Your Genes Need Traditional Food,”15 in order to understand how dietary fats affect your health you need to understand how fats oxidize.

The omega-6 PUFAs found in vegetable oils have highly perishable bonds that react with oxygen, creating a free radical cascade that turns normal fatty acids in your body into dangerous high-energy molecules that zip around, wreaking havoc in a way similar to that of radiation.

What’s more, many of the vegetable oils produced today — especially corn and soy oil — are genetically engineered and a significant source of glyphosate exposure, and glyphosate has also been linked to gut damage and other health problems.

Shanahan’s book also expounds on the hazards of 4-hydroxynonenal (4HNE), which forms during the processing of most vegetable oils. 4HNE is highly toxic, especially to your gut bacteria, and consumption of 4HNE has been correlated with having an obesogenic balance of gut flora.

4HNE causes cytotoxicity and DNA damage, and instigates free radical cascades that damage the mitochondrial membrane. As noted by Shanahan in our 2017 interview, featured in “Dietary Fats — The Good, the Bad and the Ugly”:

“You can’t design a better delivery vehicle for a toxin that’s going to destroy your health slowly over the course of maybe 10, 20 years, depending on the genetics of your antioxidant system capacity.”

Shanahan also notes that organic vegetable oil is not the answer, as 4HNE occurs even if the oil is obtained from organic crops. It’s an intrinsic byproduct of the refining and processing of the oil, no matter how healthy the oil initially was.

The omega-6 found in vegetable oils also damages the endothelium (the cells lining your blood vessels), allowing LDL and very low-density lipoprotein (VLDL) particles to penetrate into the subendothelium.

In other words, these oils get integrated into your cell and mitochondrial membranes, and once these membranes are impaired, it sets the stage for all sorts of health problems.

They also make cell membranes less fluid, which impacts hormone transporters in the cell membrane and slows your metabolic rate, and inhibit the removal of senescent cells — aged, damaged or crippled cells that have lost the ability to reproduce and produce inflammatory cytokines that rapidly accelerate disease and aging.

Vegetable oils also strip your liver of glutathione (which produces antioxidant enzymes), thereby lowering your antioxidant defenses,16 and inhibit delta-6 desaturase (delta-6), an enzyme involved in the conversion of short-chained omega-3s to longer chained omega-3s in your liver.17

Address Your Omega-6 to Omega-3 Ratio to Protect Your Health

Marine-based omega-3 is one of the most important fats in the human diet, as docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) are actually key structural elements of cells, including your brain cells, and not just simple fuel. If you don’t have enough DHA and EPA, your body’s ability to repair and maintain healthy cell structures is seriously impaired.

The key that many overlook is the importance of getting the ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 right. Simply adding in more omega-3 might not be sufficient if you’re not also taking steps to significantly lower your omega-6 intake, and vegetable oils are a primary source.

As noted in the 2002 paper,18 “The Importance of the Ratio of Omega-6/Omega-3 Essential Fatty Acids”:

“Excessive amounts of omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) and a very high omega-6/omega-3 ratio, as is found in today’s Western diets, promote the pathogenesis of many diseases, including cardiovascular disease, cancer, and inflammatory and autoimmune diseases, whereas increased levels of omega-3 PUFA (a low omega-6/omega-3 ratio) exert suppressive effects.

In the secondary prevention of cardiovascular disease, a ratio of 4/1 was associated with a 70% decrease in total mortality. A ratio of 2.5/1 reduced rectal cell proliferation in patients with colorectal cancer, whereas a ratio of 4/1 with the same amount of omega-3 PUFA had no effect.

The lower omega-6/omega-3 ratio in women with breast cancer was associated with decreased risk. A ratio of 2–3/1 suppressed inflammation in patients with rheumatoid arthritis, and a ratio of 5/1 had a beneficial effect on patients with asthma, whereas a ratio of 10/1 had adverse consequences.

These studies indicate that the optimal ratio may vary with the disease under consideration. This is consistent with the fact that chronic diseases are multigenic and multifactorial.

Therefore, it is quite possible that the therapeutic dose of omega-3 fatty acids will depend on the degree of severity of disease resulting from the genetic predisposition. A lower ratio of omega-6/omega-3 fatty acids is more desirable in reducing the risk of many of the chronic diseases of high prevalence in Western societies …”

Since most processed foods and restaurant foods contain these oils, ridding your diet of them means ditching processed fare and restaurant meals, and cooking from scratch using healthier cooking fats. While you do need omega-6, it should be in its unprocessed form, not industrial vegetable oils. Good sources are whole, raw plant seeds and tree nuts.

Healthiest Fats for Cooking

While the devil’s in the details, and the details may be complicated, the simplest way to understand what a healthy diet consists of is to think back 100 years or so and consider what food was back then, and how it was prepared.

What you’re aiming for is real food — whole food that is as close to its natural state as possible. This may be particularly important when it comes to fats. Again, ditching vegetable oils and any food cooked with it can go a long way toward lowering inflammation and mitochondrial and cellular damage, which will protect you from a variety of common killers, including cancer. As for what to replace the vegetable oils with, the following are among your healthiest options:

Organic pastured pork lard — A 2015 analysis19 of more than 1,000 raw foods ranked raw separated pork fat, also known as pork lard, as the eighth healthiest food on a list of 100.20 Valuable nutrients found in lard include vitamin D,21 omega-3 fats,22 monounsaturated fats23 (the same fats found in avocados and olive oil24), saturated fats25 and choline.26

Coconut oil is another excellent cooking oil that is loaded with health benefits.

Olive oil — Authentic olive oil contains healthy fatty acids that can help lower your risk of heart disease. While the standard recommendation has been to avoid using olive oil for cooking and to only use it cold, recent research27 in which 10 popular cooking oils were compared contradicts this advice, showing extra-virgin olive oil actually scored best for both oxidative stability and lack of harmful compounds produced when heated.

A word of caution is warranted, however. Fake olive oil abounds,28 so it’s important to take the time to investigate your sources. Many are adulterated with cheap vegetable oils or nonhuman grade olive oils,29 which are harmful to health in a number of ways. For more information, see “Is Your Olive Oil Fake?” where I cover this topic in-depth.

Organic butter (preferably made from organic grass fed raw milk) instead of margarines and vegetable oil spreads — Butter is a healthy whole food that has received an unwarranted bad rap.

Organic ghee is even better, as you remove the milk solids that many have problems with — Ghee is pure fat with no carbs and is what I personally use. The best way to make it is to place it in a glass container in a dehydrator and don’t heat it higher than 100 degrees F. to preserve the quality.

You can suck off the milk solids with a glass baster. Once you have the ghee you don’t even need to refrigerate it as it is stable at room temperature for many weeks.

To round out your healthy fat intake, be sure to eat raw fats, such as those from avocados, raw nuts, raw dairy products and olive oil. Also increase your animal-based omega-3 fat intake by eating more sardines, anchovies, mackerel, herring or wild-caught Alaskan salmon, or take a supplement such as krill oil.
healthiest cooking oil

– Sources and References

7 Foods and Nutrients Proven to Cut Macular Degeneration Risk

© 20th September 2019 GreenMedInfo LLC. This work is reproduced and distributed with the permission of GreenMedInfo LLC. Want to learn more from GreenMedInfo? Sign up for the newsletter here www.greenmedinfo.com/greenmed/newsletter
Reproduced from original article:
www.greenmedinfo.health/blog/7-foods-and-nutrients-proven-cut-macular-degeneration-risk

Posted on:  Wednesday, October 30th 2019 at 4:15 pm

As the baby-boomers age, blindness from age-related macular degeneration is on the rise. More than 3 million more people will become victims in the next five years. Eating right can lower your risk

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the leading cause of vision loss among people 50 and older. It affects more than 1.75 million people in the U.S. and is expected to strike as many as 3 million in the next five years.

The macula is the small spot near the center of the retina. The eye needs it for central vision to see objects straight ahead. When the macula becomes damaged, it severely limits your ability to see things in your central line of vision.

As AMD progresses, a blurred area develops near the center of your vision. Objects may not appear as sharp or bright as they used to. Colors seem faded. That loss of central vision can interfere with daily activities like recognizing faces, reading, driving, working, cooking, or watching TV.

Besides age, the biggest risk factor for AMD is smoking. Other risk factors include sun exposure, high blood pressure and obesity.

Studies have found certain nutrients protect against the progression of AMD. Researchers at the National Eye Institute conducted two Age-Related Eye Disease Studies (AREDS and AREDS2).[i]

The first AREDS study showed that a combination of vitamin C, vitamin E, beta-carotene, zinc, and copper reduce the risk of late-stage AMD by 25%.

The AREDS2 study found that a combination of the carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin in place of beta-carotene was just as effective. [ii] Carotenoids were also believed to be safer than beta-carotene for smokers at higher risk of lung cancer.

The AREDS2 nutrient combination is widely available in supplement form. But in addition to those nutrients studies show other foods and compounds are effective to reduce the risk and progression of AMD and improve vision.

Multiple studies show that supplementing with carotenoids and antioxidants improves AMD. In one randomized, double-blind placebo controlled study from a Veterans Administration Hospital 90 patients were assigned to receive 10 mg of lutein alone, or 10 mg of lutein plus a combination of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals, or a placebo. After 12 months they found that either alone or in combination with other nutrients, lutein improved visual function.

But it’s not just supplements. Eating more foods high in lutein and zeaxanthin reduces AMD risk. In a prospective cohort study published in JAMA, Harvard researchers followed more than 100,000 people from the Nurses’ Health Study and the Health Professionals Follow-up Study in the United States. Based on diet reports the researchers found that those eating the most foods containing lutein and zeaxanthin had a 40 percent reduction in AMD risk compared to those eating the least. Other carotenoids including beta-cryptoxanthin, alpha-carotene, and beta-carotene, were linked with a 25 to 35 percent lower risk.

Here are seven foods and nutrients proven to support eye health and reduce your risk of AMD.

1. Olive Oil

In an Australian study of 6,734 people aged 58 to 69 years, researchers collected dietary information over five years. Ten years later they measured the participants’ macula for signs of early or late AMD. They found that eating 100 ml of olive oil every week cut AMD rates by 52 percent compared to lower olive oil intakes. That’s just about seven tablespoons, or less than a half cup of olive oil a week.

2. Goji Berries

Swiss researchers found that goji berries may reduce the risk of AMD. They conducted a double blind, randomized, placebo-controlled study of 150 people aged 65 to 70 years. Half the subjects received 13.7 grams per day of a milk-based formulation containing goji berry – also called wolfberry – or a placebo for 90 days. Goji berries are high in antioxidants and zeaxanthin.

The subjects were tested for blood levels of zeaxanthin and antioxidants. They were also examined for the appearance of drusen in the macula. Drusen are yellow deposits under the retina. They are made up of lipids, a fatty protein, and their presence indicates an increased risk of AMD. In the study, drusen increased in the placebo group but remained stable in the goji berry group.

In addition, zeaxanthin blood levels increased by 26 percent in the goji group and antioxidant capacity increased 57 percent. Those measures did not change in the placebo group.

3. Rosemary

A study from Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute found rosemary may protect against macular degeneration. Researchers discovered that carnosic acid, a component of rosemary, protects your retina from degeneration and toxicity. They treated retinal cells with carnosic acid found in rosemary and found it triggered the production of antioxidant enzymes in the cells. That in turn lowered cell-damaging free radicals. They also tested carnosic acid in animals, finding that mice treated with it suffered less vision damage when exposed to light.

4. Saffron

Australian and Italian researchers proved the Mediterranean spice saffron helps slow progression of AMD and improve vision. They conducted a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study of people with early stage AMD. One group in the study supplemented with 20 mg per day of saffron. After just 90 days the researchers saw significant improvement in the saffron group.[iii]

Then the researchers tested a group of 29 patients aged 55 to 85 with early-stage AMD. The patients received 20 mg per day of saffron as a supplement for about 14 months. All of the patients reported an improvement in their quality of vision. They experienced improvements in contrast and color perception, reading ability, and vision in low lighting. All of that added up to a substantial improvement in the patients’ quality of life.[iv]

The researchers noted that saffron from the crocus flower contains chemical compounds called crocin and crocetin. These are antioxidant derivatives of carotenoids. Crocin protects photoreceptors from light-induced death. Crocetin increases the availability of oxygen to the cells.

5. Ginkgo Biloba

French researchers tested ginkgo biloba against a placebo on 10 out-patients with senile macular degeneration. In spite of the small group, the researchers concluded that ginkgo biloba extract led to a statistically significant improvement in long distance visual acuity.

6. B Vitamins

A Harvard study found that daily supplementation with B vitamins may reduce the risk of AMD. Researchers conducted a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of 5,442 female health care professionals 40 years or older. Participants were randomly assigned to receive a daily combination of 2.5 mg of folic acid (vitamin B9), 50 mg of pyridoxine hydrochloride (vitamin B6), and 1 mg of cyanocobalamin (vitamin B12), or placebo. After an average of 7.3 years of treatment and follow-up, the vitamin B group had a 34 percent lower risk of AMD. For visually significant AMD the risk dropped 41 percent. The researchers indicated that B vitamins may reduce high homocysteine levels which have been linked to AMD.

7. Egg Yolks

Studies show that egg yolks have the highest percentage levels of lutein and zeaxanthin.[v] Other sources containing both of these carotenoids are corn and honeydew melon, as well as dark leafy greens such as kale, turnip greens, collard greens, and romaine lettuce.

Foods highest in just lutein include kiwi, red seedless grapes, zucchini, yellow squash, pumpkin, cucumber, spinach, peas, green peppers, butternut squash, celery, Brussels sprouts, scallions, and broccoli.

Other foods high in zeaxanthin include orange peppers, oranges, and mango.

For more information visit GreenMed Info’s page on macular degeneration.

Originally published: 2016-04-14

Article Updated: 2019-10-30


References

[i] Age-Related Eye Disease Study Research Group, “A randomized, placebo-controlled, clinical trial of high-dose supplementation with vitamins C and E, beta carotene, and zinc for age-related macular degeneration and vision loss: AREDS report no. 8,” Archives of Ophthalmology, vol. 119, pp. 1417-1436, 2001.

[ii] The Age-Related Eye Disease Study 2 (AREDS2) Research Group. Lutein + Zeaxanthin and Omega-3 Fatty Acids for Age-Related Macular Degeneration: The Age-Related Eye Disease Study 2 (AREDS2) Randomized Clinical Trial. JAMA. 2013;309(19):2005-2015. doi:10.1001/jama.2013.4997.

[iii] Benedetto Falsini et al, “Influence of saffron supplementation on retinal flicker sensitivity in early age-related macular degeneration.” Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2010;51(12):6118-24. Epub 2010 Aug 4. PMID: 20688744

[iv] M. Piccardi et al, “A Longitudinal Follow-Up Study of Saffron Supplementation in Early Age-Related Macular Degeneration: Sustained Benefits to Central Retinal Function.” Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 429124, 9 pages https://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2012/429124

[v] O. Sommerburg, J. Keunen, A. Bird, and F. J G M van Kuijk. “Fruits and vegetables that are sources for lutein and zeaxanthin: the macular pigment in human eyes.” 1998 Aug; 82(8): 907-910.

Disclaimer: This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of GreenMedInfo or its staff.