The Benefits of Garlic
1. Garlic Can Help Lower Blood Pressure
A couple of cloves a day may help keep a visit to the cardiologist away. “Garlic stimulates the synthesis of nitric oxide, which dilates blood vessels, and inhibits ACE (angiotensin-converting enzyme) activity,” says Raj. (ACE inhibitors help relax blood vessels.) This could potentially support healthy blood flow and pressure.
Raj points to a recent review and meta-analysis published in February 2020 in Experimental and Therapeutic Medicine: In the 12 trials and more than 550 individuals with hypertension that were studied, taking Kyolic aged garlic supplements for three months lowered systolic blood pressure (top number) by about 8 points and diastolic blood pressure (bottom number) by 5.5 points, a similar effect to that of blood pressure medications.
RELATED: 5 Lifestyle Changes to Help You Lower Blood Pressure
2. Garlic May Help Quell Inflammation
Scientists believe that chronic inflammation is a driver behind chronic diseases, including heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and arthritis, according to Harvard Health Publishing. Garlic, on the other hand, helps inhibit the activity of certain inflammatory proteins, says Raj. In a randomized, controlled, double-blind study of 70 women with the inflammatory autoimmune disease rheumatoid arthritis, the group who took 1,000 milligrams of garlic supplements per day for eight weeks had lower inflammatory markers, less pain and fatigue, and fewer tender joints compared with a placebo group. Researchers published their findings in November 2020 in Phytotherapy Research.
3. Garlic May Help Lower Cholesterol
Another potential perk of garlic for the heart: improving cholesterol levels. How? Garlic “may help decrease the production of cholesterol by the liver,” says Bazilian.
While more research is needed to determine the relationship between garlic intake and cholesterol levels, a meta-analysis and review of studies that was published in May 2018 in Medicine concluded that taking garlic supplements was effective in lowering both total cholesterol and high LDL cholesterol levels, which are two risk factors for heart disease.
RELATED: Everything You Need to Know About Cholesterol
4. Garlic May Support Immune Function
Given our collective zest for learning about taking care of our immune system during the COVID-19 pandemic, here’s one reason to add garlic to your dinner tonight. While there’s not enough evidence to suggest that that garlic will prevent or treat the common cold, for instance, it can play a role in your body’s defense mechanisms in a few ways.
For one, the allicin (one of the plant chemicals Raj highlights) in garlic provides antibacterial properties, says Bazilian. Scientists also believe that garlic has antiviral properties that may work in two ways, she says: by blocking the entry of viruses into cells, and by strengthening the immune response so that it can effectively fight off potential invaders. It’s these things that can help support a healthy immune system overall.
5. Garlic May Reduce Blood Clotting
One more perk of garlic for your heart health: “Compounds in garlic (and onions) have been shown to decrease the ‘stickiness’ of our platelets and have anti-clotting properties,” says Bazilian. These things may help guard against atherosclerosis, a process in which plaque buildup leads to a hardening and narrowing of the arteries. Per the National Heart, Blood, and Lung Institute, atherosclerosis increases your risk for blood clots that can cause heart attacks and stroke. Of course, eating garlic shouldn’t be the only preventive measure you take to protect your arteries. The National Heart, Blood, and Lung Institute recommends following a heart-healthy eating plan, getting plenty of exercise, managing your weight, and avoiding or quitting smoking.
RELATED: What Are the Best and Worst Fats for Heart Health?
6. Garlic Provides a Host of Antioxidants
Garlic’s nutrients and plant compounds give it “strong antioxidant properties,” per a review published in July 2020 in Antioxidants. Not only do antioxidants benefit blood vessels and reduce inflammation but they may soak up the damaging free radicals that can lead to diseases like cancer (though this anti-cancer potential needs to be borne out in human research, says the American Institute for Cancer Research).
7. Garlic Makes Other Healthy Foods Taste Great
Bazilian classes garlic in the same category of food as onions, herbs, and spices, adding that “garlic brings great flavor to foods, so it helps us eat more of the foods that we’re supposed to be eating more of, like vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and beans.”
Adding flavor through garlic can also potentially help you reduce the need for excess salt on your foods — and for just 4 calories per clove, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
And finally, don’t discount the role that taste plays in your overall diet: “When we love the food we eat and learn to listen to our cues for satiety, it can be more satisfying, too,” Bazilian says. All the more reason to add some garlic to your next meal!
Cinnamon and Diabetes
First so explain what diabetes is.
At its core, diabetes is a disease of sugar (glucose) management. Insulin, secreted by the pancreas, allows cells to use glucose. When the pancreas doesn’t produce insulin, it’s called Type 1 diabetes. This is an autoimmune disease that strikes early in life, and was a death sentence until insulin was discovered.
When the pancreas can produce insulin, but the amount is insufficient, or when there’s a problem with the uptake of insulin into cells, it’s termed type 2 diabetes.
90% of all diabetes is type 2. Typically a disease of older adults, type 2 diabetes can potentially be treated without drugs of any kind, but success rates are low and medication is eventually advisable. There’s also gestational diabetes, a disease of pregnancy, and prediabetes, where blood sugars are elevated, and diabetes is an expected future diagnosis.
For dealing with diabetes a lifestyle modification is the most beneficial, this would include working out, loosing weight, keeping an eye on your diet.
Evidence for Cinnamon
Reports of diabetes go back to 1552 BCE, yet the ability to effectively measure any diabetes treatment only goes back a few decades. A study in 2003, when a study from Alam Khan suggested several grams of cassia cinnamon per day could lower fasting blood glucose. Khan randomized Type 2 diabetes to 1g, 3g, or 6g of cinnamon for 40 days. All three groups improved their fasting blood glucose, and blood lipid levels, but there was no effect on A1C.
Like trials with any other supplement or herbal product, the primary question we must answer is “What exactly was studied?”. The cinnamon you have in your kitchen may be a single species of plant or a mix of different cultivars. Ceylon cinnamon (Cinnamommum verum) is more commonly found in the West. Cassia cinnamon (Cinnamomum aromaticum) is the version of cinnamon that’s been studied in trials. The chemicalhydroxychalcone has been identified as a potential active ingredient, which is believed to modify the sensitivity of cells to insulin, enhancing their uptake. If that’s the true mechanism of action, then it would work in a manner similar to that of the drugs Avandia, Actos, and metformin (Glucophage). Given the active ingredient (or ingredients) have not yet been definitively isolated, the issue of studying cinnamon is problematic. There’s no way to assess the potency of any batch, which complicates any evaluation. And that may be a reason why the research with cinnamon is inconsistent and largely disappointing.
Although studies have provided mixed results about the use of cinnamon when dealing with diabetes it should in now way be used as a substitutes to medications and habit changing. Medications are often cheap and in most cases, work comparatively with cinnamon.
That said, cinnamon can be used in conjunction with a healthy life style and self-management but use at our own risk.
Soft Drinks Are Tasty, but So Bad
A growing body of peer-reviewed research shows that diet soft drinks raise your risk for a number of serious health problems, including…
- Metabolic syndrome
- Type 2 diabetes
Now, one of the largest studies ever conducted on diet soft drinks shows that if you’re still opting for diet drinks as a way to avoid extra calories, you may be putting your heart health at risk, as well.
Zero Calories…and Lots of Problems
Researchers at the University of Iowa recently completed one of the largest studies ever done on the dangers of soft drinks. The new study, which took 10 years to complete and involved 60,000 participants, showed that consuming diet drinks was associated with…
- Higher odds of developing heart disease
- Greater risk of dying from heart disease
Participants who consumed 2 or more diet drinks daily were 30% more likely to have a “cardiovascular event”—a heart attack or stroke—than those who never or rarely consumed them. Even more worrying was the finding that consuming upward of 2 diet drinks each day made participants twice as likely to die from heart disease or a related condition.
It’s time to stop the habit. Soda is more trouble then its worth. Grab some lemon water instead and your body will thank you.
Beet Juice and its Benefits
Beet Juice and Endurance
Andrew Jones, at the University of Exeter shared some interesting findings in 2011 regarding beet juice and endurance. His group performed a study of eight male cyclists, who consumed approximately two cups of beet juice, which is naturally high in nitrate. A control group consumed the same amount of currant cordial juice, which has very low levels of nitrate.
After a variety of low-intensity and high-intensity cycling tests, cyclists in the beet juice drinking group were able to cycle an average of 16 minutes longer. Findings also found these men had lower resting blood pressure. But, why is that?
Ultimately, the nitrate in beet juice is the cause of this improvement. The flow of nitrates help your mitochondria produce ATP, the fuel and energy needed for your muscles during exercise. This translates to increased oxygen uptake extending time-to-exhaustion, which allows endurance athletes to push longer and harder.
Beet Juice and Mouthwash
Now, this is where it gets even trickier. According to Active.com, “While it’s not totally clear how it works, the authors suspect that when dietary nitrate turns into nitric oxide in the body, it reduces the amount of oxygen required to perform exercise.” However, new studies by same group at Exeter have found that mouthwash may inhibit the transformation of dietary nitrate into nitric oxide.
Dietary nitrate is turned into nitric oxide through bacteria in the salivary gland, via secretion to the saliva. Because mouthwash is meant to remove oral bacteria, the most important step in this process is blocked. Without this first step, your body won’t benefit from the beet juice’s high nitrate concentration.
Beet Juice and Your Workout
While the data is very interesting, it is only the first step in learning more about the benefits of beet juice and how mouthwash can affect that. So, to see the benefits of beet juice on your performance, you can take necessary precautions until further studies are done.
In a similar study, released in the journal Hypertension, the effects of beet juice were seen almost immediately, within an hour, and were strongest after two or three hours. With this in mind, you can avoid using mouthwash before a big race, allowing the nitrate process to happen.
At the end of the day, these findings are very new and have yet to be tested against other opposing studies. However, natural beet juice is beneficial for your body in a number of other ways, such as promoting blood flow and regulation blood sugar, so seeing whether this improves your personal endurance will be beneficial regardless. While you shouldn’t count on beating your PR from beet juice alone, why not give it a shot?
Guggal – An Ancient Natural Treatment for Arthritis
If you are among the 70 million people that suffer from one of the 100 forms of arthritis, then an ancient, natural arthritis treatment from the Commiphora Mukul tree could be the answer you’ve been searching for.
Living with arthritis makes it difficult to do the things you want and need to do – even keeping you from activities you’ve done all your life. Arthritis decreases your quality of life as you battle with daily pain that can range from mild discomfort to unbearable.
Regular strength exercises and weight loss are crucial to living comfortably and alleviating some of the painful effects of arthritis. In addition, you need treatment that penetrates deeply into your affected joints and tissues – that treats the cause, not just the symptoms.
Guggul’s Active Chemicals Help Fight Arthritis Inflammation
Ayurveda is known as the science of long life, a Hindu system of traditional medicine native to India. The first written records of Ayurveda date back to 600 BC and reference more than 2,000 plants for medicinal use – the majority of which are still used today!
Guggul, a sticky gum-like resin from the Mukul tree, has been used in ayurvedic medicine for millennia.
What makes Guggul so unique are its healing properties, which have been shown to reduce the pain and inflammation caused by arthritis. Guggul’s multiple active chemical compounds include gugulipid and guggulsterone, 2 powerful antioxidants that fight inflammation and stimulate your immune system’s white blood cells.
The link between inflammation and chronic diseases, such as arthritis, cancer, diabetes and neurological illness, has been studied extensively for almost 30 years. It is a scientific fact that inflammation is the root cause of arthritis!
Scientists have identified “Nuclear Factor-kappaB” (NF-kappaB) as the primary gene that determines inflammatory reactions in the body. Guggul naturally neutralizes the NF-kappaB gene to prevent, delay and treat inflammation before it gets a chance to cause disease.
There is no cure for arthritis but guggul may alleviate the worst pain-inducing symptoms so you can get your life back!
Southern California University of Health Sciences researchers found that patients with knee arthritis saw measurable improvement after one month of using guggul to reduce pain, swelling and stiffness.
How You Can Use Guggul as a Natural Arthritis Treatment
You can try this home remedy for fast-acting relief. Add ¼ teaspoon of guggul tincture (available in health food stores) to ½ teaspoon of water and drink 30 minutes before every meal, three times per day.
Some patients have seen positive results in as little as three days! Mississippi Baptist Health notes that the guggul found in most health food stores contains consistent amounts of guggulsterones and recommends a daily dose of 100mg. This is intended as a guideline and you should work with your doctor to determine the right dose for you.
Occasional side effects are headache and nausea. If you are currently taking prescribed medications, have liver or kidney disease, or are pregnant or nursing, you should consult your physician before using guggul as an arthritis solution.
In addition to being a natural arthritis treatment, guggul has proven effective in treating:
- Skin conditions including acne
- High cholesterol
- Neurological conditions
- Urinary tract infections
- High blood pressure
- Atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries)
- And even stimulates weight loss!
If you suffer from arthritis, don’t learn to live with the pain. Stop the inflammation and swelling of your joints naturally with guggul.
Pomegranates have been prized for their nutrition value for more than 4,000 years, especially in the ancient world of the Middle and Near East.
Now, research shows that this time-honored fruit can fight heart disease…support healthy cholesterol levels…lower blood pressure…relieve stress…improve your sex life…and, according to a brand-new study, even slow down the aging process of DNA.
Pomegranate Benefits: An Anti-Aging Super Food
In November of 2011, scientists from the ProbelteBio laboratory in Murcia, Spain conducted a month-long study of the effects of pomegranate extract. The study focused specifically on the pomegranate’s rich stores of antioxidants (important compounds that prevent age-related cell damage).
The research team recruited two groups of volunteers. The first group was given extracts of the whole pomegranate fruit in capsule form (extracts included the pith or membrane, peel, and seeds). The second group received a placebo.
The research team was highly impressed with their results. Those who took the pomegranate extract showed a significant decrease in a specific, important marker linked to cell damage.
That marker, known as 8-Oxo-DG, can have detrimental effects such as:
- • Lessened brain function
- • Weakening of muscles
- • Impaired kidney function
- • Decrease in liver productivity
- • Aging of the skin
Sergio Streitenberger, lead researcher at ProbelteBio, believes the study “demonstrates that the regular consumption of this pomegranate extract can slow down the process of DNA oxidation.”
The pomegranate’s ability to decrease 8-Oxo-DG suggests that it wields significant power as an anti-aging super food.
Why Antioxidants Are The Ideal Anti-Agers
Antioxidants are crucial for preventing and reversing aging because they stop damage wrought by destructive free radicals.
“One way to look at aging is to think of it as rusting,” Streitenberger said, “or oxidizing.” Free radicals oxidize our body’s molecules. Everyday we take in these dangerous compounds in the food we eat, the beverages we drink, and even the air we breathe. “We get old because we fall apart cell by cell,” said Streitenberger.
Sandeep Prabhu, assistant professor of immunology and molecular toxicology at Penn State, says that foods especially rich in antioxidants—such as pomegranates—qualify as anti-aging super food because they have “the ability to neutralize harmful molecules in our cells.”
Once free radicals reach the DNA of our cells, Streitenberger warns, “the damage is cumulative and significant.” This is why the ProbelteBio study is so astounding. For any food to so effectively guard against the aging process “would be a significant breakthrough,” says Streitenberger.
A Pomegranate A Day…Unbelievable Benefits
Some scholars believe the forbidden fruit said to have tempted Eve in the Garden of Eden was actually a pomegranate, not an apple. It could have been a mistranslation, because the word pomegranate comes from the Middle French pomme garnete, literally “seeded apple.”
Therefore, you might consider the pomegranate as the deluxe version of the apple, capable of so much more than simply keeping the doctor away.
But it’s important to remember that experts say the most potent pomegranate benefits come from consuming the whole fruit, not just the delicious seeds. Most commercial juices draw their content only from the seeds, and contain only small quantities of the powerful antioxidants that protect against aging. The real powerhouses are the inedible rind, hulk, and white pith.
These non-seed parts of the fruit are described as “inedible” not because they are toxic, but due to their bitter taste and unpleasant texture. With that in mind, heath practitioners recommend that you consider taking a supplement pill or health drink made with extracts of the whole fruit.