Are you looking for ways to keep your family healthy this summer? Making healthy food choices is the first step in maintaining overall health and wellness. Studies show that a healthy diet reduces the risk of disease, obesity, and other health issues. Help your family stick to wholesome meals and snacks this summer by using these simple tips.
Spend Time Cooking Together
Healthy eating is a great way to keep your family in shape. Choosing to eat healthfully can also have positive benefits for your mental health; how we choose to eat, love, and deal with stress, depression, anxiety, and sadness impacts our mental health. One of the easiest ways to ensure your food is healthy is to prepare it yourself. Plan out some summer cooking sessions with your family to create nutritious meals together. You can pick up specialty kitchen tools for little ones and even find recipes that are easier for kids to tackle. Teaching your kids to cook is a great way to help them stay healthy now and as adults.
Scan Farmers Markets for Fresh Finds
For a fun way to find fresh, healthy foods, spend your weekends visiting some local farmers markets. By buying produce, baked goods, and other staples at farmers markets, you will help support your local economy as well as find some unique foods. To get kids in on the action, try creating some games for them to play at the market. Come up with a scavenger hunt to look for unusually shaped produce or herbs that are new to your household. Use these items to create tasty dishes that will help keep your family healthy.
Use Meal Prep to Stay on Track
Summer doesn’t always mean your schedule gets more relaxed. In fact, with all the road trips, holidays, and events, summers can be busier than any other time of year. One way you can keep your busy family on track with food is to meal prep. Most people find it helpful to set aside a few hours one day a week (typically Sunday) to put together all of their meals and snacks for the rest of the week. This keeps your fridge and pantry stocked with ready-to-go, good-for-you options that help everyone stay healthy when schedules get packed.
Grow Healthy Food Yourself
If you want to keep kids busy, learning, and eating healthy this summer, why not start a family garden? Using raised beds or containers, you can easily grow healthy food in your backyard or on your porch. Kids can help plant seeds, care for the garden, and harvest items when they are ready. Growing a garden can be a good stress reliever for kids and adults alike while helping children learn about the science of growing food.
Bring Your Own Food on Trips
Summer vacations and road trips typically leave your family eating tons of fast food. But you can put a stop to these unhealthy eating habits by packing your own meals and snacks. Bring a cooler full of simple travel-friendly foods to avoid depending on drive-throughs and diners during your trip. If you’ll be flying to your summer destinations, stashing food in your carry-on bag can save you from all the salt and sugar (and overpriced options) lurking in airports. Check TSA rules for what you can bring and be prepared to take food out during screenings.
Pay Attention to Hydration
As the temperatures rise, it’s more important than ever to make sure your family is staying hydrated. Dehydration can cause cramping, headaches, and even hunger for your family members. So pick up some reusable water bottles for you and the kids and keep them filled so you can drink throughout the day. Avoid sports drinks and juices, which seem healthy but can actually contain a day’s worth of sugar in a single serving.
Helping your family make healthy food choices doesn’t have to cause stress this summer. Some simple planning and a bit of creativity are all it takes to keep your family healthy, happy, and having fun all summer long.
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Healthy eating is linked to kid's happiness
In a study published in the open access journal BMC Public Health, it was found that in young children aged between two to nine years there is an association between following healthy dietary guidelines and better psychological well-being, which includes fewer emotional problems, better relationships with other children and higher self-esteem, two years later.
The study definitely suggest that a healthy diet can improve well-being in children.
This study examined 7,675 children two to nine years of age from eight European countries -- Belgium, Cyprus, Estonia, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Spain and Sweden.
Sometimes you simply get too busy to prepare and eat a healthy meal. Having some healthy snacks on hand can be useful when this happens.
Here are 17 healthy and weight loss friendly snacks to add to your diet.
1. Green Superfood Smoothie
Smoothies are an excellent way of adding in nutrient dense food to your daily regime. Add a banana a handful of greens and a teaspoon of your favourite green superfood, such as moringa and spirulina or wheatgrass powder !
2. Mixed Nuts
Nuts are an ideal nutritious snack. They have been linked to a reduced risk of heart disease and may help prevent cancers and other diseases. They contain about 180 calories in a 28gram serving, on average.
3. Red Bell Pepper with Guacamole
Red peppers are extremely healthy ! Pair it up with 85grams of guacamole which adds healthy fats and fiber while keeping this snack’s calorie count under 200.
4. Greek Yogurt and Mixed Berries
Plain Greek yogurt or goat’s / sheep’s yogurt and berries make a delicious, nutrient dense snack. Combine 100grams of yogurt with a half cup of berries – provides about 10grams of protein and is less than 150 calories.
5. Apple Slices with Peanut Butter
Apple and peanut butter are a great duo. A medium apple with 1 tablespoon of natural peanut butter provides a nice balance of sweet flavor with crisp and creamy textures at under 200 calories.
6. Cottage Cheese with Flaxseeds and Cinnamon
Cottage cheese, ground flaxseeds and cinnamon each have impressive health benefits on their own. Together, they’re a super-healthy snack.
Here’s an easy recipe that combines all three ingredients to provide about 15 grams of protein with less than 150 calories:
Cinnamon Flaxseed Pudding
1/2 cup cottage cheese
1 tablespoon flaxseeds
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
Stevia or other sweetener, if desired.
Mix all ingredients together in a small bowl.
7. Celery Sticks with Humus
Celery sticks with humus are a classic low-carb snack.
Five small celery sticks with 60grams of humus contain less than 200 calories.
8. Kale Chips
Kale is unbelievably healthy. It’s loaded with fiber and antioxidants like quercetin and kaempferol. A 1-cup serving of raw kale provides more than 100% of the RDI for vitamins A, C and K. This easy recipe for kale chips provides about 150 calories:
1 cup bite-sized kale leaves
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
Mix all ingredients together in a bowl. Place kale pieces on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake at 350° F (175° C) for 10–15 minutes.
9. Dark Chocolate and Almonds
Dark chocolate and almonds make for a rich and satisfying snack especially when you’ve got a chocolate craving to satisfy. Both dark chocolate and almonds are high in magnesium. 30 grams of each provides about 300 calories in total, depending on cocoa content.
10. Cucumber Slices with Tahini or Hummus
Cucumber and tahini or hummus are nutritious and go well together.
One cup of sliced cucumbers dipped in 100 grams of tahini or hummus has about 180 calories.
11. A Piece of Fruit
Healthy snacks don’t need to be complicated. Just a single piece of fruit can be incredibly satisfying. Easy to carry fruits are bananas, oranges, mandarins, apples, pears and grapefruits.
12. Cherry Tomatoes with Mozzarella
Dedicated to cheese lovers tomatoes and mozzarella cheese are a flavor match made in heaven, and they’re healthy too. One cup of cherry tomatoes paired with 60 grams of mozzarella cheese has less than 200 calories.
13. Chia Seed Pudding
Chia seeds are loaded with fiber and omega-3’s. Chia seed pudding is one great example, and makes a satisfying snack at less than 200 calories:
Chia Seed Pudding
1 tablespoon chia seeds
1/3 cup water
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
1 tablespoon peanut butter
Stevia or other sweetener, if desired. Combine chia seeds and water in a small bowl. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. Stir in cocoa powder, peanut butter and sweetener.
14. Hard-Boiled Eggs
Eggs are one of the healthiest and most weight-loss friendly foods you can eat. Two large, hard-boiled eggs contain about 140 calories and 13 grams of protein.
15. Canned Salmon or Sardines
Canned fish is a fantastic healthy snack that requires no refrigeration. Fish is a great source of weight loss friendly protein, potassium, vitamin B12 and magnesium. A 100 grams serving of salmon or sardines contains 17–23 grams of protein and 130–180 calories.
Edamame is a dish of steamed unripened soybeans. One cup of edamame has around 17 grams of protein and 180 calories.
Olives are one of the nutritious staples of the Mediterranean diet. Depending on their size, 25 green or black olives contain about 100–175 calories.
18. Spicy Avocado
Avocados are among the most nutritious and satisfying foods on the planet. Sprinkle half a medium avocado with salt and a dash of cayenne pepper for a savory, filling snack with around 130 calories.
Sometimes you just really need a quick, easy and nutritious snack. Having some healthy and nutritious options close by can help you avoid unhealthy and fattening alternatives.
In a recent study, brown rice led to significantly more weight loss, more waist loss, and better blood pressures. Brown rice also preserves artery function whereas high blood sugars as in white rice stiffens our arteries.
Οφέλη από Μορίγγα, Tulsi (Ιερός Βασιλικός), Άμλα Μούρο...
Moringa / Μορίγγα:
Moringa leaves are loaded with vitamins, minerals, essential amino acids, and more. One hundred grams of dry moringa leaf contains:
Τα φύλλα Μορίγγας περιέχουν βιταμίνες, μέταλλα, αμινοξέα, και πολλά άλλα. Εκατό γραμμάρια φύλλα ξηρής Μορίγγας περιέχει:
Drink as a tea, as smoothie and use as deodorant.
Πώς να χρησιμοποιήσετε το Μορίγγα: πιείτε ως τσάι, προσθέσετε σκόνη Μορίγγα σε σμούθης, και σαν αποσμητικό.
Tulsi (Holy Basil) / Tulsi (Ιερός Βασιλικός):
Tulsi is known as the “Queen of herbs” has been recommended for the treatment of bronchitis, bronchial asthma, malaria, diarrhea, dysentery, skin diseases, arthritis, painful eye diseases, chronic fever and insect bites.
Tulsi γνωστή ως η «βασίλισσα των βοτάνων» έχει προταθεί για τη θεραπεία της βρογχίτιδας, βρογχικό άσθμα, ελονοσία, διάρροια, δυσεντερία, δερματικές παθήσεις, αρθρίτιδα, επώδυνες οφθαλμικές ασθένειες, ο χρόνιος πυρετός και τσιμπήματα εντόμων.
It is an excellent antibiotic, germicidal, fungicidal, and disinfectant agent and very effectively protects our body from all sorts of bacterial, viral, and fungal infections.
Είναι ένα εξαιρετικό αντιβιοτικό, μικροβιοκτόνο, μυκητοκτόνο και απολυμαντικό. Προστατεύει το σώμα μας πολύ αποτελεσματικά από κάθε είδους βακτηριακές, ιογενείς και μυκητιακές μολύνσεις.
Amla Berry / Άμλα Μούρο:
Mushrooms, particularly certain wild varieties, are abundant in glutathione and ergothoniene, important protectors against oxidative damage, according to recent research published in Food Chemistry.
Widely varying contents of both glutathione (GSH) and ergothioneine (ERGO) were measured in analysis of numerous species of mushroom conducted by researchers from Penn State University (Centre for Plant and Mushroom Products for Health).
Maitake contained the highest amount of GSH while porcini was richest in ERGO.
The researchers found without a doubt that mushrooms are the highest dietary source of these two antioxidants taken together, and some types are packed with both GSH and ERGO.
Common varieties such as white button and portobello mushrooms contained lower amounts of the two antioxidants than most of the wild species. However, surprisingly, chanterelles - a wild variety in high demand as a culinary delicacy – had the lowest contents of both nutrients.
So What Are the Health Benefits of Glutathione (GSH) and Ergothioneine (ERGO)
Glutathione is a well know powerful antioxidant widely recognised for its ability to maintain immune function, detoxify carcinogens and other toxins. Optimum tissue levels of gluthathione are known to be essential in maintaining health and preventing diseases.
While the exact role of ergothioneine is unclear, previous research has suggested it may help maintain glutathione levels through interaction with other cellular defence systems. Studies in mice have shown a protective effect of ERGO against beta-amyloid plaque accumulation, while some epidemiological trends also suggest ERGO intake may be linked to lower risk of cognitive decline.
The researchers stated that “It's preliminary, but you can see that countries that have more ergothioneine in their diets, countries like France and Italy, also have lower incidences of neurodegenerative diseases, while people in countries like the United States, which has low amounts of ergothioneine in the diet, have a higher probability of diseases like Parkinson's Disease and Alzheimer's," "Now, whether that's just a correlation or causative, we don't know. But, it's something to look into, especially because the difference between the countries with low rates of neurodegenerative diseases is about 3 milligrams per day, which is about five button mushrooms each day."
Importantly, the mushrooms appear to retain their antioxidant content when cooked.
In conclusion, by eating mushrooms you receive a uniquely rich dietary source of antioxidants.
Given the important role of oxidative stress in disease development and the ageing process itself and the well-known protective roles of antioxidants, mushrooms could play an important protective role.
The Biggest Wellness Trend of 2018 ..there's a new green superfood that's about to rock your health world this year.
With every year comes a new haul of health fads and trends, 2018 is expected to shine on moringa, leaving matcha and turmeric in the background.
This year's shift of interest is in a product that’s expected to have even stronger anti-inflammatory and general health benefits called Moringa Oleifera… know as the “Tree of Life” for its extraordinary vitamin and nutrient density.
In Eastern countries it has been used for generations to treat and prevent diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, anemia, arthritis, liver disease, and respiratory, skin, and digestive disorders.
Moringa has seven times the amount of vitamin C as an orange, four times the amount of Vitamin A than carrots, twenty-five times the amount of iron than spinach and is estimated to contain two grams of protein, Vitamin B6, Riboflavin and Magnesium which can affect different aspects of your health. The powder even makes you feel fuller longer which can cause you to eat less throughout the day.
It's used as a traditional remedy for many ailments, and here are scientifically backed health benefits of consuming moringa leaf:
1. It is Nutrient Dense
Moringa is a rich source of vitamins, minerals, and amino acids. It contains significant amounts of vitamin A, C, and E; calcium; potassium; and protein.
2. Free Radical Fighter
Antioxidants fight free radicals, molecules that cause oxidative stress, cell damage, and inflammation.
Moringa contains antioxidants called flavonoids, polyphenols, and ascorbic acid in the leaves, flowers, and seeds.
A study found that leaf extracts had higher antioxidant activity, free-radical-scavenging capacity, and higher inhibition of lipid, protein, and DNA oxidation than flowers and seeds.
This means it prevents the damage and degradation that free radicals cause in the cells of different organs in the body, keeping them healthy and functioning at their best.
Inflammation can lead to chronic diseases like diabetes, respiratory problems, cardiovascular disease, arthritis, and obesity. Moringa reduces inflammation by suppressing inflammatory enzymes and proteins in the body, and moringa leaf concentrate can significantly lower inflammation in the cells.
4. Diabetes / High Blood Sugar
Moringa leaf powder has been effective at reducing lipid and glucose levels and regulating oxidative stress in diabetic patients, which means it lowers blood sugar and cholesterol and improves protection against cell damage.
5. Cardiovascular Benefits
Moringa leaf powder has heart-healthy benefits, particularly in blood lipid control, the prevention of plaque formation in the arteries, and reduced cholesterol levels.
6. Boosts Brain Health
Moringa supports brain health and cognitive function because of its antioxidant and neuro-enhancer activities. It's also been tested as a treatment for Alzheimer’s disease with favorable preliminary results.
Its high content of vitamins E and C fight oxidation that leads to neuron degeneration, improving brain function. It’s also able to normalize the neurotransmitters serotonin, dopamine, and noradrenaline in the brain, which play a key role in memory, mood, organ function, responses to stimulus such as stress and pleasure, and mental health, for example in depression and psychosis.
7. Liver Protective
Moringa contains high concentrations of polyphenols in its leaves and flowers that protect the liver against oxidation, toxicity, and damage.
Moringa can reduce liver damage and fibrosis and reverse oxidation in the liver. Moringa oil can also restore liver enzymes to normal levels, reducing oxidative stress, and increasing protein content in the liver.
8. Has Antimicrobial and Antibacterial properties.
Moringa has antibacterial and anti-fungal properties that fight infections. It's been effective against types of fungi that cause infections on skin and strains of bacteria responsible for blood and urinary tract infections and digestive problems.
9. Enhances Wound Healing.
Moringa has blood-clotting properties in its leaves, roots, and seeds that benefit wound healing and can reduce clotting time, which means it reduces the time it takes for scratches, cuts, or wounds to stop bleeding.
How to Use It
You can drink it as a tea or add moringa powder to your smoothie. The leaf powder was deemed safe in human studies, even in larger doses than normal. The powder has a mild flavor, so it makes for a light moringa tea with a slightly earthy taste.
But you might want to stay clear of seed extract consumption, as they have shown a level of toxicity in immune cells.
Moringa can have laxative effects in large quantities, so a safe dose to introduce it into your food or diet and avoid digestive problems is ½ to 1 teaspoon per day.
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Tulsi nature’s anxiety reliever, also known as holy basil is very well known for its powerful therapeutic properties. It has a rich history dating back, 3,000 years ago to ancient Indian uses.
Tulsi leaves are now regarded as adaptogens (anti-stress agents) and have been used widely to promote health throughout the entire body.
It is commonly consumed as a tea or supplement and used as a natural remedy for anxiety, adrenal fatigue, hypothyroidism, unbalanced blood sugar and as a home remedy for acne.
In modern medicine, in the last few decades, several Indian scientists and researchers have studied the pharmacological effects of various parts of the tulsi plant on the immune system, reproductive system, central nervous system, cardiovascular system, gastric system, urinary system and blood biochemistry.
Researchers described the therapeutic significance of tulsi in the management and relief of various ailments, and they established a scientific basis for the therapeutic uses of tulsi. It helps protect organs and tissues against chemical stress from industrial pollutants and heavy metals and physical stress from prolonged physical exertion, ischemia, physical restraint and exposure to cold and excessive noise. (1)
Ten Tulsi (Holy Basil) Benefits Benefits
1. Fights Acne
Tulsi helps kill bacteria and infections, and is believed to benefit the skin and help to treat skin infections both internally and externally. The primary active compound of tulsi oil is eugenol, also the active ingredient in the powerful antimicrobial clove oil, which is widely believed to help combat many skin disorders. Tulsi also contains other therapeutic components, including gamma-caryophyllene and methyl eugenol. Research published in the International Journal of Cosmetic Science shows that holy basil may be a natural acne treatment. (3)
2. Protects Against Diabetes
Tulsi benefits appear to include the ability to control blood glucose levels as demonstrated by several test tube and animal experiments, as well as human clinical trials. A randomized placebo-controlled, single blind trial of holy basil leaves points towards holy basil’s anti-diabetic activity. In this trial, patients with noninsulin-dependent diabetes experienced decreases in fasting blood sugar levels, postprandial (after a meal) blood sugar levels, urine blood sugar levels as well as mean total cholesterol levels during the holy basil treatment period. Overall, the researchers conclude that holy basil may be prescribed as part of a treatment plan for people with mild-to-moderate non-insulin dependent diabetes. (4)
3. Helps Fight Cancer
Research shows that people who regularly consume tulsi are less likely to be immunocompromised and less susceptible to developing cancer cells. According to research published in the journal Nutrition and Cancer, tulsi and its phytochemicals (including eugenol, rosmarinic acid, apigenin, myretenal, luteolin, β-sitosterol, and carnosic acid), in some cases, may help prevent chemical-induced lung, liver, oral and skin cancers because they increase antioxidant activity, alter healthy gene expressions, induce cancer cell death, prevent blood vessel growth contributing to cancer cell growth and stop metastasis — which is the spread of cancer from one organ to another. (5)
Tulsi benefits also appear to help protect the body from radiation poisoning and help treat damage from radiation treatment, according to research published in 2016 in the the Journal of Cancer Research and Therapeutics. It selectively protects the normal tissues against the destructive effects of radiation. (6)
In fact, the journal Nutrition and Cancer published an interesting review outlining the important research involving tulsi’s ability to help fight against cancer that we’ve seen in the past several years. The doctors involved in this research agree that conventional chemotherapy and radiotherapy treatments used during the past three decades haven’t been able to contain the disease, plus they have serious side effects. Many natural agents — especially tulsi leaves and extracts from other plants — prove to be nontoxic, easily available and have proven anticancer properties. (7)
4. Balances Hormones and Lowers Stress and Anxiety
Tulsi has a positive physical effect on the body and mental benefits as well. By drinking tulsi tea, or adding tulsi to your meals, you help calm your system and keep your body running smoothly.
According to a scientific article published in 2014 in the Journal of Ayurveda and Integrative Medicine, there is increasing evidence that shows holy basil benefits can improve physical, chemical, metabolic and psychological stress. More specifically: (1)
Tulsi has been found to protect organs and tissues against chemical stress from industrial pollutants and heavy metals, and physical stress from prolonged physical exertion, ischemia, physical restraint and exposure to cold and excessive noise. Tulsi has also been shown to counter metabolic stress through normalization of blood glucose, blood pressure and lipid levels, and psychological stress through positive effects on memory and cognitive function and through its anxiolytic and anti-depressant properties.
Some other evidence of this stress-lowering effect includes the ability of tulsi to improve reaction times and error rates in human subjects compared to placebo. (8)
Holy basil includes three phytochemical compounds that help achieve these results. The first two, ocimumosides A and B, have been identified as anti-stress compounds and may lower blood corticosterone (another stress hormone) and create positive alterations in the neurotransmitter system of the brain. (9) The third, 4-allyl-1-O-beta-D-glucopyronosyl-2-hydroxybenzene is also able to lower stress parameters in lab studies. (10, 11)
5. Relieves Fever
Holy basil is often recommended as a natural fever treatment, especially by practitioners of Ayurvedic Medicine. Holy basil leaves are thought to act as antibiotic, germicidal and disinfectant agents, which means they can protect us from bacteria and viruses. (9) When we have a fever, it’s proof that our bodies are fighting against an infection. Therefore, with its infection-fighting properties, tulsi may help to fight a fever and restore your health quickly.
6. Helps Improve Respiratory Disorders
Holy basil benefits are found in the components of tulsi leaves, including camphene, eugenol and cineole, which help provide relief from congestion and other symptoms of respiratory disorders. Scientific studies have confirmed that holy basil possesses impressive anti-asthmatic abilities and may make breathing easier, which is why it’s a commonly recommended herb for respiratory issues in Ayurvedic medicine.
7. Good Source of Vitamin K
Vitamin K is an essential fat-soluble vitamin that plays an important role in bone health and heart health. It’s one of the main vitamins involved in bone mineralization and blood clotting, but also helps maintain brain function, a healthy metabolism and cellular health. One cup of tulsi leaves has more than your daily recommended value of vitamin K, making it a perfect source to prevent vitamin K deficiency. Plus, vitamin K can be beneficial to your bone density, digestive health and brain function.
Animal studies published in the Alternative Medicine Review also demonstrate that holy basil benefits include cardio-protective properties. In other words, it appears to boost heart health. (10)
8. Dental Care and Oral Health
Tulsi has the power to fight bacteria in your mouth that lead to dental issues, such as cavities, , plaque, tartar and bad breath. Tulsi leaves serve as a mouth freshener because they kill the bacteria and germs hiding in your mouth. (11)
Holy basil benefits include helping to diminish ulcers in the mouth, and in vitro studies demonstrate it can stop the growth of oral cancer cells. (12) For natural dental care, try adding a drop of tulsi essential oil to your toothpaste or drinking one cup of tulsi tea every day.
9. Relieves Headaches
Practitioners of Ayurveda recommend holy basil as a natural headache remedy that can help relieve migraine pain. (13) Some believe this is due to its ability to relieve sinus pressure, and recommend diffusing holy basil essential oil or making tulsi tea to reduce headache symptoms.
10. Supports Eye Health
Our eyes are susceptible to viral, bacterial and fungal infections that can be very dangerous. Thankfully, holy basil benefits include helping to fight these detrimental infections. Tulsi is prescribed in Ayurveda to fight against conjunctivitis — also commonly known as pink eye — thanks to its anti-inflammatory and soothing properties. (14)
Tulsi may also help prevent a range of eye issues, including cataracts. According to Dr. S.K. Gupta of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, topical administration of an herbal eye drop mixture containing turmeric and holy basil extracts helps to counter the oxidative stress and insoluble protein formation that lead to cataracts. (15)
‘The Queen of Herbs’
In traditional systems of medicine, different parts of tulsi — the leaves, stem, flower, root, seeds and even the whole plant — have been recommended for the treatment of bronchitis, bronchial asthma, malaria, diarrhea, dysentery, skin diseases, arthritis, painful eye diseases, chronic fever, snake bites and scorpion stings. (16)
In fact, of all the herbs used within Ayurveda, tulsi is preeminent, and scientific research now confirms holy basil benefits. As mentioned earlier, there is mounting evidence that tulsi can address physical, chemical, metabolic and psychological stress through a unique combination of pharmacological actions.
Possible Side Effects
Researchers have found that holy basil is safe for regular consumption and topical use.
One note to keep in mind is that holy basil (tulsi) may slow blood clotting, so taking tulsi along with medications that also slow clotting might increase the chances of bruising and bleeding. Some medications that slow blood clotting include include aspirin, clopidogrel, dalteparin, enoxaparin, heparin, ticlopidine and warfarin. Due to its influence on blood clotting, you should discontinue use of holy basil two weeks before any scheduled surgery. (17)
The main benefits of tulsi (holy basil) include:
1. Fights acne
2. Protects against diabetes
3. Helps fight cancer
4. Balances hormones and lowers stress
5. Relieves fever
6. Helps improve respiratory disorders
7. Good source of vitamin K
8. Dental care and oral health
9. Relieves headaches
10. Supports eye health
One of the most exciting natural products in current medical research is berberine, an alkaloid found in goldenseal root, barberry bark, Oregon grape root, and coptis (goldthread) root. What is so exciting about the research is:
1. The results from clinical trials in diabetes, high blood pressure, and elevated blood lipid levels.
2. There is very encouraging experimental data in a wide range of modern health issues including cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and others.
Alkaloids like berberine are synthesized in plants to serve vital roles in the plant’s cellular metabolism. Obviously, humans can also gain benefits from these compounds. Since early human times plant alkaloids have been among the most important medicinal agents used by humans. They are now enjoying a Renaissance as these ancient medicines are matching the needs of current times.
Berberine-containing plants have been revered for a number of clinical applications through the years. Perhaps most important have been there use in fighting infections, but they have also been used in diabetes. Since the early 1900s, purified berberine has also emerged as a popular natural medicine, especially in China.
What scientific research has focused on in the last decade is building an impressive amount of clinical research in the use of berberine in lowering blood lipids and blood pressure, and improving blood sugar control in type 2 diabetes. Berberine exhibits a number of beneficial mechanisms to produce these effects including an ability to activate the important enzyme called AMP-activated protein kinase or AMPk for short. AMPk is found inside every cell and serves as a “master regulating switch” in energy metabolism. Overall, the activity of this enzyme plays a major role in determining body fat composition and especially the amount of visceral “belly” fat. Here are some of the consequences of low AMPk activity:
· Accelerated aging
· Chronic inflammation
· High blood cholesterol and triglycerides
· Increased visceral “belly” fat
· Insulin resistance
· Mitochondrial insufficiency and dysfunction
· Poor blood sugar control
Obviously, as an effective activator of AMPk, berberine offers great promise in dealing with all of the consequences of low AMPk activity, as well as other health conditions.
A meta-analysis of 27 published clinical trials using berberine as a therapeutic agent in type 2 diabetes, elevated blood lipids and high blood pressure was conducted to answer questions on its safety and efficacy.
Results showed quite convincingly that in the treatment of type 2 diabetes mellitus, berberine along with lifestyle intervention lowered the level of fasting blood sugar levels, after-meal blood sugar levels and glycosylated hemoglobin (HbA1c) more than lifestyle intervention alone or placebo. When berberine was compared to oral hypoglycemic drugs used in type 2 diabetes, there was no statistical significance between treatment of berberine and these drugs. In other words, the clinical results seen with berberine were on par with the drugs.
The same sort of comparative results seen in type 2 diabetes were found in the treatment of elevated blood lipids (cholesterol and triglycerides) and high blood pressure. Studies also supported that berberine combined with conventional drugs in these conditions is safe and can produce better results than the drugs used alone. Typical dosage for berberine was 500 mg two to three times daily.
Side effects with berberine occurred at much lower rates and were milder than prescription drugs. Side effects were seen mainly at higher dosages (e.g., 500 mg three times a day) and included such as nausea, diarrhea, constipation, abdominal distension, and abdominal pain.
The researchers conducting the meta-analysis concluded that berberine has comparable therapeutic effect on type 2 diabetes, elevated blood lipids and hypertension with no serious side effect or toxicity. Furthermore, the review indicated that berberine combined with conventional drugs in these conditions is safe and can produce better results than the drugs alone.
Berberine is an emerging natural product superstar. Its bright light may end up shining even brighter than curcumin if there is a continued commitment on research. Certainly in all areas where berberine has been currently evaluated, it could be concluded that it has some advantages over curcumin in regards to potential in cancer and other health conditions.
Lan J, Zhao Y, Dong F, et al. Meta-analysis of the effect and safety of berberine in the treatment of type 2 diabetes mellitus, hyperlipemia and hypertension. J Ethnopharmacol. 2015 Feb 23;161:69-81.
Compliments: Dr. Michael Murray
Barbara is a qualified nutritionist offering Health, Nutrition & Lifestyle Counseling. She gives Healthy weight loss advice and promotes the Mediterranean diet. She is the author of the Med Life Diet - creating healthy lifestyle habits and attitudes for life !