Archived Articles - December 2013

Dandelion offers surprise health benefits, restrains cancer cell growth

Dandelions are generally considered to be an unwanted weed and most people eliminate them as soon as they find them in their garden. Perhaps, barring the song 'Dandelion' by the Rolling Stone in 1967, none have truly put this plant into the spotlight. However, new findings about its benefit may make dandelion one of the most desirable weeds.

It has been found that dandelion greens have an intimate relation with plants in the sunflower family, which comprises more than 22,000 species, including daisies and thistles. In earlier times, dandelion was reputed to be an amazing healer and its leaves are said to cleanse the blood, promote digestion and also prevent gallstone formation. Currently, scientists are studying whether chemo-resistant types of cancer can be treated using dandelion.

Dandelion greens enclose several vital vitamins and minerals, including thiamine, vitamin C, vitamin B6, riboflavin, folate, calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium and manganese. These nutrients may add up to about 535 per cent of our recommended daily vitamin K intake, in addition to 110 per cent of daily suggested vitamin A intake. A number of flavonoids contained by the dandelion greens, for instance, cryptoxanthin and zeaxanthin, are believed to possess healing properties. It appears that while zeaxanthin protects the retina from the UV rays of the sun, cryptoxanthin has the potential to protect our body from developing mouth as well as lung cancer.

Dandelion induces apoptosis in melanoma cells

It has been established that the young adults in North America, aged between 25 and 29 years, most commonly suffer from the cancer form called chemo-resistant melanoma. While the normal cure of this condition is removing the melanoma cells by surgery, it is important to undertake new studies to find viable alternative cures. Ontario-based University of Windsor's Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry has demonstrated that extracts of dandelion roots have the ability to effectively bring about apoptosis of melanoma cells in humans, but do not result in any toxicity like chemotherapy or other similar treatments.

Preliminary studies show that the chemical response of the dandelion extracts compels the cancer cells to disintegrate in just 48 hours of starting the treatment, without affecting all the healthy cells at any time during the treatment. Scientists have identified that continuing the treatment with small dose of the extracts from dandelion roots proved to be effective in eliminating nearly all the cancer cells. Findings of the preliminary study were so positive that the researchers were provided with supplementary grants to carry on with their project.

While researchers are continuing with their study, the project is still in its initial stage. Despite this, John DiCarlo, a septuagenarian, doesn't require any convincing regarding the benefits of dandelion tea. He endured cancer for three years and after undergoing an aggressive treatment, his physicians sent him home so that he could spend his little remaining life with his loved ones. He was fortunate that people at the cancer clinic recommended that he drink dandelion tea as the last option. It was a miracle that after drinking the herbal tea for just four months, DiCarlo's condition started improving and it remained the same since then.

Broccoli offers numerous health benefits

Scientists at the London's Imperial College recommend that if you wish to avoid clogged arteries, you should eat no less than one cup of broccoli every day. Findings of their studies conclude that a compound contained in all green leafy vegetables, counting broccoli, helps to protect the heart and prevents blocked arteries.

Broccoli encloses a natural chemical known as sulforaphane that is essential for activating a protein that prevents the formation of plague inside the arteries. Broccoli also contains glucosinolates that make anti-inflammatory isothiocyanates or ITCs, which are vital, as they end chronic inflammation in the blood vessels as well as the cells. ITC also helps to reduce stroke and heart diseases.

Broccoli also contains an assortment of antioxidants, which include carotenoids, quercetin, vitamins E and C, lutein, beta carotene, kaempferol, zeaxanthin as well as zinc and manganese. Together, all these antioxidants work to lessen oxidative stress as well as inflammation related to several digestive problems. In fact, people enduring elevated levels of stress require additional antioxidants to protect their health, in general.

This green vegetable also aids in lowering cholesterol levels, as it contains high levels of fiber and the phytonutrient called I-3C (indole-3-carbinol). Fiber and bile acids bind together inside the digestive tract, making excretion possible, which, in turn, lowers cholesterol. I-3C also lowers the pace of passage of LDL or bad cholesterol and it also reaches different body areas to put off the occurrence of plague build-up.

Sulforaphane works to stop platelets from binding to the walls of blood vessels. It has been found that sulforaphane also stops the formation of new layer thickening inside the blood vessel walls, especially those carrying blood to the heart.

One study found that sulforaphane possesses the aptitude to put off blocking of blood vessels plus inflammation of the plague already formed. In 2013, a study was undertaken with rats having inflammatory bowel disorder to detect the effects of plant chemicals, including extracts from broccoli. The findings revealed broccoli to be a potent remedy. When this extract was used in conjunction with other anti-inflammatory herbs like turmeric, rosemary and thyme, the effect was stronger and it decreased inflammation more steadily.

Consuming broccoli

Whether you consume broccoli fresh or after cooking, it offers adequate antioxidants. However, eating them raw or after steaming it lightly for about three to four minutes provides maximum nutrition. The nutritional worth of broccoli is lowered when it is cooked (boiling, pressure-cooking, baking or frying). You will, however, be able to retain the nutriments of broccoli by using the water used to cook the vegetable in other dishes.

If we wish to keep our heart in good health, we ought to eat a diet containing high amounts of antioxidants, fiber and anti-inflammatory compounds and take enough of vitamins and essential minerals every day. Regular consumption of broccoli helps to supply our body with these and keeps our heart healthy.

Over 100 research papers emphasize the several health benefits of eating broccoli - this green vegetable not only helps to fortify our heart, but also helps to prevent development of cancer. And all this is no coincidence. Ask any nutritional professional and all will concur that consuming broccoli regularly will prevent or at least lessen chronic inflammation, oxidative stress and bad cholesterol levels.

Use natural supplements to get relief from arthritis pain

It may seem to be incredible, but as many as 21 million adult people in the United States are burdened with arthritis, a condition that most frequently leads to disability, restraining people from performing normal activities. However, people with arthritis need not spend their entire life visiting their physician, as several natural remedies that alleviate pain and inflammation associated with the condition are available now.

Two types of arthritis are common - osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. They occur when the cartilage between our joints wear down. In a number of instances, our body assaults itself and this may result in additional diseases plus painful muscles and joints. Inflammation is also a common cause of arthritis.

As we are aware, our diet has a vital role in maintaining our overall health. Food rich in sugar, soy and wheat content plus foods that can be converted into sugar easily, for instance, grains and alcohol, may cause inflammation. Therefore, one needs to keep away from such foods for no less than two months to endorse healthy eating habits, because in any case our body requires six weeks to rinse out its entire system. When the system is flushed out, people become more active and also experience less pain.

Several natural supplements which aid in lessening arthritis symptoms are available now. Ingesting appropriate quantities of chondroitin and glucosamine supplements goes a long way in keeping the joints lubricated. In addition, it has been found that a fatty acid called cetyl myristoleate possesses anti-inflammatory attributes.

In addition to these supplements, undertaking particular work-outs may also help to alleviate arthritis pain. Work-outs concentrating on cardiovascular endurance remove much pressure from our muscles and joints. Even water aerobics are helpful in burning off calories and fat and, thereby, reduce pain associated with arthritis.

Applying heat or ice to the affected body parts also eases arthritis pain. It appears that ice is more effectual in diminishing inflammation as well as swelling caused by this condition. On the other hand, application of heat unwinds the muscles and promotes blood circulation to the stiff joints.

It is important that you should be careful if you are in an environment polluted with toxins like mercury, lead and aluminum. Most commonly toxins enter our body through cookware. Most pans and pots contain Teflon and exposure to this may enhance the chances of developing arthritis.

At the same time, maintaining the proper balance of the body's systems is also vital. Several types of beneficial bacteria like probiotics exist and these aid in combating diseases as well as sustaining the normal balance of the body, ensuring improved overall health and diminishing the risks of having arthritis.

Millions of people across the globe suffer from this painful condition. However, one can successfully diminish the chances of developing arthritis and live a life without pain by taking a healthy diet and making simple changes in his/ her lifestyle.

Tree nuts consumption reduces death risks by up to 20%

While many would think that the scientific corroboration regarding consumption of raw nuts daily reduces the death risk due to all causes by almost 20 per cent would create a shock wave all through the medical community and also create headlines on all major TV channels as well as online news portals, the fact remains that this finding has hardly been able to create any news bubble. This, despite the fact that this finding may easily influence the lives of all people worldwide and also increase the normal lifespan of several million people every year.

There would definitely be relentless wave of media reports and television advertisements in case nuts were ranked as an extremely expensive pharmaceutical product. In that case, numerous people could not access the details regarding the benefits offered by this natural food which has the potential to extend our lifespan, as this is not a refined, processed or pre-packed item, which manufacturers are able to control for excessive profits. Actually, nuts lose much of their health benefits when they are roasted and flavoured with salt and different chemicals.

A team of scientists from the Birmingham-based Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, the Harvard School of Public Health, and Women's Hospital has made the findings of their study public in the esteemed New England Journal of Medicine elucidating the manner in which people who consumed some nuts daily have 20 per cent less risk of dying due to any reason over a period of 20 years compared to people who do not eat nuts. In fact, people consuming nuts regularly appear to be additionally slender compared to people who do not consume nuts. It is believed that this finding can ease the prevalent concern that consuming plenty of nuts may result in gaining unwanted weight.

Tree nut consumption reduces heart-related deaths by 30%

During the course of the study, scientists looked at large groups from two properly documented studies continuing for a lengthy period comprising 76,464 women belonging to the Nurses' Health Study undertaken from 1980 to 2010 plus statistics on 42,498 men from the Health Professionals' Follow-up Study conducted between 1986 and 2010. People participating in these studies provided detailed answers related to their food habits once in two to four years. While answering each question, they also provided answers related to how frequently they ate nuts in serving of one ounce.

The study found people who consumed one tree nut (including almonds, cashews, hazelnuts, Brazil nuts, macadamias, pine nuts, pecans, walnuts and pistachios) servings fewer than once in seven days had 7% less risk of dying. The mortality rate of people eating one serving of nuts each week was less by 11%; people who had two to four servings in a week experienced 13% less risk; people having five to six servings in a week experienced 15% lesser risk; while taking seven or more servings every week reduced the risks of death by 20%.

Scientists studied risk cutback across several chronic ailments that are potentially fatal, such as stroke, heart disease, diabetes and cancer. According to the researchers, decrease in adiposity, oxidative stress, insulin resistance and inflammation, besides improved cholesterol ratios are responsible for reduced mortality rates. Concluding, Dr. Charles Fuchs, the lead author of the study, said that the most noticeable benefit of tree nut consumption was a decrease of 29% in mortality due to heart disease - the main killer disease in America. In addition, the death rate of cancer patients also reduced by 11%, he added.

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