Eating fish once a week cuts risk of sudden cardiac death by half

Heart disease remains among the world’s top killers, causing one in every four deaths in the U.S. alone. A paper suggests that to reduce your risk of succumbing to the disease, one of the best things you can do is eat fish.

The study examined the risk of sudden death caused by a heart attack among male U.S. doctors. The research defined “sudden death” as death or collapse that occurred within an hour after the onset of symptoms, a witnessed cardiac arrest, or both.

About 12 months into the study, 20,551 subjects (aged 40 to 84 years old in 1982) filled out a questionnaire that inquired into what fish they ate. They also had to inform the researchers how often they ate fish.

By the end of 1995, 133 deaths had occurred. After taking different related factors into account, the researchers determined that those who ate fish at least once a week had 52 percent lower risk of dying a sudden death compared to those who ate fish less than monthly.

The researchers did not find any significant benefit from eating a specific type of fish or from consuming more than one portion per week. They also clarified that eating fish did not reduce the frequency of heart attacks, but it improved the odds of surviving such an incident.

The study was part of the U.S. Physicians Health Study.

Fish helps stabilize your heart’s rhythm

Researchers in the aforementioned study attributed the results to the anti-arrhythmic properties of fish. Fatty fish like tuna and salmon are particularly high in omega-3 fatty acids which have been proven in several studies to help regulate cardiovascular function and suppress dangerous heart rhythms.

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Arrhythmia refers to a condition where your heart beats irregularly. It could beat too fast (tachycardia) or too slow (bradycardia), or it could skip a beat every now and then. The problem is caused by a number of factors, ranging from mildly harmful (stress and bad habits) to downright life-threatening (heart attack).

Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) are the secrets behind the anti-arrhythmic effects of eating fish. These omega-3 fatty acids help relax the heart muscles and reduce the risk of potentially deadly myocardial irritation.

Scientists first suspected the cardiovascular benefits of consuming fish and omega-3 after observing how coronary heart disease occurred infrequently among Greenland Eskimos despite their high-fat diet. This was also true among the Japanese. Research pointed to a diet that includes fish as the reason behind the low incidence of heart disease in the two groups.

Omega-3 has other benefits

Omega-3 fatty acids are crucial not just for boosting cardiovascular function, but also for improving general health.

  • They help you see properly – This is especially the case for DHA, which is a structural component in the retina of the eye. Eating a diet rich in omega-3 is linked to a lower risk of macular degeneration which, along with cataracts, is one of the leading causes of blindness today.
  • They help against inflammation – Omega-3 has been linked to reductions in inflammatory chemicals, such as eicosanoids and cytokines. Too much inflammation can lead to cancer, heart disease, and other serious conditions.
  • They improve brain development and function – DHA is a vital component of the brain, so consuming omega-3 helps ensure proper brain development in infants. These fatty acids can also help in managing mental disorders such as schizophrenia, depression, and bipolar disorder. Finally, they have also been linked to a reduced risk of age-related mental decline and Alzheimer’s disease.
  • They support bones and joints – Consuming omega-3 has been linked to reduced joint pain among people with arthritis. These fatty acids also improve the absorption of calcium, leading to increased bone density and lower risks of osteoporosis.

There is a direct link between eating raw fruits and vegetables and your mood

Following a diet full of fresh fruits and vegetables is good for your overall health.

But did you know that eating lots of fresh produce can also help you manage your depression?

According to a study, the consumption of raw fruits and vegetables is linked to better mental health. Most of the time, public health campaigns emphasize the need to consume at least five daily servings of fruits and vegetables. However, there are other factors that must also be taken into account to prevent depression or other serious health conditions.

How does fresh produce affect your mood and mental health?

The study’s results showed that “the more pure and unmodified the fruit or vegetable, the better the health benefits to mood and state of mind.” This means cooking or processing fruits and vegetables may change the cellular structure of food and reduce the levels of various beneficial nutrients.

For the study, researchers observed more than 400 young adults. The participants, who were aged 18 to 25, were from the U.S. and New Zealand.

This age group was chosen since it often consists of people who rarely consume the daily recommended serving of fruits and vegetables. The researchers explained that this age group also had a greater higher risk of developing mental health issues.

The researchers took note of the participants’ consumption of fruits and vegetables (raw vs. cooked), along with the latter’s mental health status. The scientists also considered factors linked to the participants’ lifestyle and demographics like current physical health, sleep and exercise patterns, and socioeconomic status.

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After analyzing the data, the researchers determined that there was a solid connection between raw fruit and vegetable consumption and a reduced risk of depression and other mental health concerns.

In the study, the researchers found that individuals who consumed more raw produce had a tendency of having a “more positive mood and outlook on life.” The participants reported that they had higher levels of life satisfaction. They were also more likely to succeed in life.

Meanwhile, those who ate processed fruits and vegetables did not receive the same mental health benefits. (Related: Science confirms that a diet of vegetables, fruit, whole grains is good for body and mind.)

The researchers confirmed that these foods can help boost mood and mental health:

  • Apples
  • Bananas
  • Berries
  • Carrots
  • Citrus fruits
  • Cucumbers
  • Dark leafy greens (e.g., kale and collard greens)
  • Grapefruit
  • Kiwifruit
  • Lettuce

Unhealthy eating patterns have been linked to chronic illnesses like cardiovascular disease, Type 2 diabetes, obesity, and increased incidence of stroke. But by making the necessary changes to your diet, you can notice a significant improvement in your mood and mental health. Avoid foods that contain chemicals, preservatives, and sugar since they can increase the risk of chronic inflammation, which is connected to several health conditions, such as depression.

The next time you’re feeling down, try incorporating more fresh fruits and vegetables in your diet to boost your mood.

Other foods linked to better mental health

Aside from the foods listed above, here are other foods that can help boost your mood:

  • Dark chocolate — Consuming some dark chocolate, or about 1.4 ounces (oz.), daily for at least two weeks can help lower the levels of cortisol and other stress hormones in highly stressed individuals. Do take note that 1.4 oz. of dark chocolate contains about 200 calories.
  • Fatty fish — Fatty fish like herring, mackerel, salmon, and tuna can help lower anxiety since they contain omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3s are a crucial ingredient that can help boost your mood.
  • Green tea — Drinking at least two to three cups of green tea daily can help reduce the symptoms of depression among the elderly. Green tea contains mood-boosting nutrients like L-theanine, an amino acid that can fight anxiety.
  • Oysters — Aside from being an aphrodisiac, oysters can also boost your mood. Oysters are full of zinc, a nutrient that can ease anxiety. It also helps improve sleep quality, which is necessary for mental health. Other foods that contain zinc include beef, cashews, eggs, and liver.

Nutritionists find that turmeric is a safe and natural way of preserving fish

Turmeric, for the uninitiated, has a lot of health benefits – making it a staple in a lot of dishes and traditional medicine the world over. However, a study published in the open-access journal CyTA – Journal of Food has introduced a novel method of using this already widely used spice. In the study, researchers from Alagappa University in India and the Universidade de Santiago de Compostela in Spain have found that adding turmeric extracts to cuttlefish can dramatically lengthen its shelf life, as well as improve its quality.

One of the main challenges that the seafood industry has is rapid spoilage – of which the cuttlefish is not exempt. Using the Torry score, a benchmark used to determine the quality of fish using a sensory assessment, the quality of cuttlefish, after it has been cooked, can deteriorate from “fresh” to “slightly sour” in as little as eight days in ice storage after capture.

In this study, researchers added more variables, aside from sensory assessments, to estimate the shelf life of fish. One of the methods that they added included biogenic amine (BA), a nitrogenous compound produced by certain bacteria after they break down amino acids in seafood. If a person consumes seafood with high levels of BA, this can lead to severe toxicological symptoms like respiratory distress, heart palpitations, and even hypertension. To address this, researchers looked at whether turmeric, with its antibacterial properties, can inhibit the growth of BA-causing microbes. They also investigated how it can affect the quality of cuttlefish muscle as well as its lipid oxidation.

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Researchers used shortclub cuttlefish (Sepia brevimana), a species of cuttlefish found in India and Southeast Asia, for the study. The samples were collected and stored on ice immediately. The samples were then divided into two groups – half of them were prepared, then dipped in a solution made from 0.5 percent turmeric extract for 30 minutes, while the other was only prepared as a control group. Both were packed and stored in a box which was kept at four degrees Celsius for 18 days. During this time, data such as sensory attributes, chemical changes, and microbiological quality were evaluated by the researchers.

Based on the results, the team found that cuttlefish that were treated with turmeric scored better in the sensory assessment than the control group. Those that were treated with turmeric lasted 15 days before they were rejected due to noticeable muscle deterioration and the presence of an unpleasant odor. In comparison, those in the control group were rejected after 12 days. Researchers believe that the preserving action of turmeric could be attributed to its essential oils, curcumin, and valeric acid – which are the main compounds present in turmeric.

The biochemical quality index differences between the two groups had a similar trend, with those treated with turmeric posting more significant increases in value than the control group, as well as a lower microbiological count. This, in turn, led to decreased BA amounts in turmeric-treated cuttlefish, which researchers say is because of the “antimicrobial properties of curcumin and curcuminoids present in turmeric.”

According to these results, the researchers concluded that a combination of turmeric and low temperatures can prevent bacterial growth and extend the shelf life of cuttlefish without “changing its appearance, flavor, and texture.” These results, they proffered, have the potential to be used in the fish-processing industry as a natural approach to preserving fish. (Related: The six health benefits of turmeric.)

The health benefits of eating seaweed: 8 reasons to eat the “most nutritious vegetable in the world”

Dubbed “the most nutritious vegetable in the world” by British celebrity chef and restaurateur Jamie Oliver, seaweed has quickly gained mainstream attention as the “health food” of the year, with its high nutritional value. It’s even said to be a major factor in the long life expectancy of Japanese people.

Seaweeds are classified according to their pigments, cell structure, and other traits. The groups of seaweed that are commonly consumed include:

  • Blue-green algae – spirulina and chlorella
  • Brown algae – kombu, arame, kelp, and wakame (the miso soup seaweed)
  • Green algae – sea lettuce or ulva, and sea grapes
  • Red algae – dulse, laver, and nori (the sushi seaweed)

Below are some of the numerous health benefits you can get from eating seaweed. See if this list can convince you to add more seaweed to your diet:

  1. Seaweed is packed with nutrients – Vegetables are generally good sources of a variety of nutrients, but seaweeds are especially potent sources of vitamin B12, which is needed for healthy blood and nerve tissue. Seaweeds like arame and wakame are great sources of calcium, folate and magnesium, while purple laver is especially rich in B vitamins.
  2. Seaweed is rich in iodine, but watch your intake – Seaweeds like kombu are a valuable source of iodine, which is needed for regulating metabolism and ensuring normal thyroid function. But before you stuff yourself with seaweed, it is important to note that too much iodine can cause thyroid problems. Those with existing thyroid disease (or those predisposed to it) should monitor their iodine intake. It is advisable to limit your consumption of seaweed to one to two tablespoons, two to three times per week.
  3. Seaweed aids in weight loss – Seaweeds like sea kelp contain alginate, which can help suppress the digestion of fat in the gut. Research found that it is possible to prevent obesity through alginates that can block the fat digesting enzymes. Likewise, there is a pigment in kombu called fucoxanthin, which is a carotenoid that may boost production of a protein involved in fat metabolism, which can assist in weight loss.
  4. Seaweed supports bone tissue – Seaweeds, especially the dark green ones, contain high levels of calcium. Moreover, seaweeds contain magnesium, another mineral that supports bone health.
  5. Seaweed promotes heart health – Marine algae contain peptides that effectively lower blood pressure, which is a great way to combat heart disease.
  6. Seaweed balances blood sugar – Adding seaweed to meals can reduce blood sugar spikes and help us feel fuller for longer. Research found that alginate in brown seaweed like arame can strengthen gut mucus and slow down the digestion of carbohydrates. Similarly, previous studies found that alginate can reduce cholesterol and glucose uptake in obese participants.
  7. Detoxify with seaweed – Certain seaweeds like arame and hijiki have plenty of soluble fiber, which promotes detoxification. It cleanses our gut of toxins such as those found in pollutants like cigarette smoke.
  8. Seaweed improves skin condition – Red seaweed is a great source of omega-3 fatty acids, which help reduce inflammation. This, in turn, reduces the risk of acne breakouts and other skin problems, leading to smoother, younger-looking skin. Winter is a great time to eat foods rich in omega-3s to help counter the skin-drying effects of central heating.

Add seaweed into your diet by sprinkling dried or fresh pieces into salads or soups; swapping potato chips for seaweed versions; adding shredded seaweed strips in stir-fries; and using seaweed flakes instead of salt for flavoring. You can also try making your own sushi by rolling vegetables and rice in dried nori sheets; or adding seaweed when cooking beans to make them more digestible.

The humble broccoli brings DRAMATIC benefits to your digestive health

The humble broccoli, which has often taken the much-undeserved title of “America’s most hated vegetable,” is one of the best superfoods out there. Nutritionists love the little green plant for its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, but new research confirms its use in promoting digestive health.

But before you scoff at the conclusion, remember that there’s a deep and intrinsic connection between gut health and overall well-being. The dramatic benefits that broccoli gives your gut have an implied benefit to just how healthy you are, overall.

The authors of this new study were excited by their findings. In particular, they found that a broccoli-rich diet contributed to increased resistance to various digestive issues. They say that their results suggest that broccoli can be used to prevent colitis, leaky gut, and other inflammatory-related digestive conditions. (Related: Broccoli: A Natural Way to Build Immunity.)

The key lies in a compound released when broccoli is eaten called indolocarbazole (ICZ). ICZ helps balance the immune system and gut by reducing inflammation while boosting digestive health. This, in turn, lessens the risk of bowel diseases caused by chronic inflammation – not least of which is ulcerative colitis.

More importantly, ICZ helps promote barrier functioning in the gut. Basically, imagine broccoli bringing in the big guns in shooting down those nasty toxins trying to break into your stomach.

Broccoli is also a potent detoxifier. The synergistic action of the different compounds in the vegetable clear out carcinogens and free radicals in the body. The superfood is also an excellent source of fiber, an essential dietary component of gut health.

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So how much broccoli should you eat every day? Nutritionists recommend around 3.5 cups every day. An equivalent amount of the healthful compound ICZ can be obtained from one cup of Brussels sprouts.

“Gut” to get some of those foods

Remember that you are what you digest (and not what you eat). What you put in your mouth plays a crucial role in how well you are and your ability to fight off diseases.

Thankfully, Mother Nature has provided us with yummy foods that can ease our digestion.

Here is a list of some of them:

  • Chia seeds – This is a tasteless but nutritious way to better digestive health. The tiny seeds are great sources of fiber, omega-3 fatty acids, and various minerals and antioxidants. In fact, only two tablespoons of chia seeds provide around 10 grams of fiber — that’s 33 percent of your daily recommended intake.
  • Coconut oil – Coconut oil contains fatty acids that improve digestion while boosting energy and metabolism.
  • Zucchini – A powerful little vegetable, the zucchini is both filling and hydrating. It promotes gut health and detoxifies the body. This is due to its high fiber content that acts as a mild laxative.

Conversely, these foods should be avoided as much as possible.

  • High-fat and fried food – Both of these food items cause your stomach to produce more acid to digest them. This often results in acid reflux and heartburn. Some studies have even suggested that a diet rich in high-fat food can cause pale-colored stool (known as steatorrhea). This is essentially excess fat that is present in your feces.
  • Sugary drinks – These play a number on your stomach and can cause diarrhea and/or cramping.

One of the most nutritious green leafy vegetables, spinach is versatile and easy to incorporate into your diet

A nutritious leafy vegetable, spinach (Spinacia oleracea) grows annually. The leaves of this plant are fleshy and full of essential nutrients and phytochemicals.

Native to southwest Asia (in the area of present-day Iran), spinach is now cultivated around the globe in temperate climate zones. California is the biggest spinach producer in the U.S., followed by Arizona and New Jersey. The annual per capita consumption of spinach in the U.S. in 2014 was at least 1.7 pounds.

The health benefits of spinach

One of the most nutritious leafy vegetables, spinach is second only to kale (Brassica oleracea var. sabellica) in total carotenoid and folate content. It is also full of protein and low in carbohydrates and fat.

Spinach is also a good source of vitamins and minerals, and it maintains its nutritional value even after cooking. Eat some spinach if you need B vitamins, which is crucial for carbohydrate metabolism, the nervous system, and the brain.

Spinach also contains minerals such as:

  • Calcium
  • Copper
  • Iodine
  • Iron
  • Magnesium
  • Potassium
  • Selenium
  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin K
  • Zinc

Spinach’s carotenoid, flavonoid, and phenolic acid content means it’s a healthy and therapeutic food. These three compounds can neutralize free radicals in the body, and they can also protect the body from damage and disease by minimizing inflammation.

Spinach leaves have two major carotenoids: Beta-carotene and lutein. These two carotenoids make up over 65 percent of the leafy vegetable’s total carotenoids content. Lutein can help prevent vision loss from age-related degenerative disorders like cataracts and macular degeneration.

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Lutein is a yellow pigment, a lot of which is found in the retina. It absorbs blue light emitted by back-lit devices such as smart phones and computer screens. Spinach also contains other carotenoids like neoxanthin and violaxanthin.

Spinach leaves have been used as an antidote against poison or infection, a diuretic, and a laxative. It was also used as a treatment for asthma and other breathing difficulties, kidney stones, and sore throat. The vegetable can also have potential effects against hyperglycemia and inflammation. Spinach leaves can be consumed fresh or cooked.

Modern research has shown that the antioxidant content of spinach leaf, which is rich in vitamins A and C, can protect against damage from cellular oxidation.

A separate in vitro study determined that neoxanthin can greatly suppress inflammation and the proliferation of prostate cancer cells. A bacteria-based model also revealed that the flavonoids in spinach leaves had anti-mutagenic potential.

Studies have also shown that the glycolipids in spinach leaves have inhibitory effects against gastric cancer cell and promyelocytic leukemia cell proliferation in vitro. These findings are positive and preliminary results of the possible potential therapeutic effects of spinach glycolipids to halt cancer proliferation. (Related: 5 foods and spices to keep your immune system strong when fighting cancer.)

A semi-randomized crossover study in humans proved that the consumption of a fortified spinach beverage can greatly increase plasma nitrate concentration, which is linked to lower diastolic blood pressure within 150 minutes post-consumption. The effects last for five hours, implying that spinach can be used therapeutically as a safe alternative and effective carrier for nitrate medications.

Since spinach leaves have various beneficial compounds like fatty acids, folic acid, iron, polyphenols, vitamin C, and zinc, it is believed that these compounds have protective effects topically and internally. Studies also determined that supplementation with spinach juice or other kinds of spinach extracts had potential beneficial effects when used to treat wounds and ulcers in diabetics.

Sauteed spinach recipe

To enjoy the various health benefits of this leafy vegetable, try this recipe for a simple sauteed spinach dish:

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic (sliced thinly)
  • 20 ounces fresh spinach
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper

Recipe:

  1. Heat the oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the garlic, and cook for one to two minutes until it starts to brown.
  2. Add the spinach and toss to coat in oil. Cover and cook for three to five minutes until wilted.
  3. Remove from the heat and add lemon juice, salt, and crushed red pepper. Toss to coat and serve immediately.

Finger millet is a nutritional powerhouse: A review of the nutrients it offers

Whenever the word “cereals” is mentioned, we tend to think of the basics: oats, barley, and rye. However, one type of cereal that isn’t thought of as often is millet, partly because it isn’t widely grown in the U.S. – millet is consumed more in the semi-arid continents of Asia and Africa.

While millet may not be as popular as other types of cereals, researchers from the G. B. Pant University of Agriculture and Technology have argued that it deserves more recognition because it is a nutritional powerhouse.

The investigative team focused on finger millet for their study. Of the different varieties of millet, they ranked it fourth in terms of importance. However, finger millet is unique compared to other millets, thanks to its five-layered seed coat or testa. This special coat is believed to be the reason why finger millet’s total dietary fiber content (19.1/100 g) is greater than that of quinoa (14.2/100 g) and wheat (12.1/100 g), and nearly on par with amaranth(20.6/100 g). In fact, the researchers estimated that finger millet is composed of 18 percent dietary fiber.

On top of dietary fiber, finger millet testa also has an impressive plethora of macronutrients and micronutrients. As per the study, every 100 g of finger millet is loaded with:

  • Calcium (344 mg)
  • Copper (0.47 mg)
  • Iron (3.9 mg)
  • Magnesium (137 mg)
  • Manganese (5.49 mg)
  • Phosphorus (283 mg)
  • Potassium (408 mg)
  • Vitamin B1 or Thiamine (0.42 mg)
  • Vitamin B2 or Riboflavin (0.19 mg)
  • Vitamin B3 or Niacin (1.1 mg)
  • Zinc (2.3 mg)

And compared to other minor millets, finger millet is the one you can count on for essential and conditionally essential amino acids. A 100 g serving of finger millet will yield:

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  • Arginine (0.300 g)
  • Cystine (0.140 g)
  • Histidine (0.130 g)
  • Isoleucine (0.400 g)
  • Leucine (0.690 g)
  • Lysine (0.220 g)
  • Methionine (0.210 g)
  • Phenylalanine (0.310 g)
  • Threonine (0.240 g)
  • Tryptophan (0.100 g)
  • Tyrosine (0.220 g)
  • Valine (0.480 g)

All these are in addition to finger millet’s noteworthy content of proteins, carbohydrates, phenolic compounds, tannins, and phytates. Thanks to this diverse array of nutrients, finger millet has an equally wide range of health benefits. These include but aren’t limited to “anti-diabetic, [antitumorigenic], anti-diarrheal, antiulcer, anti-inflammatory, atherosclerogenic effects, antioxidant and antimicrobial properties,” wrote the researchers. (Related: 10 Benefits to Eating Millet.)

They continued: “[Moreover], finger millet is also useful in management of various physiological disorders such as diabetes mellitus, hypertension, vascular fragility, hypercholesterolemia, prevention of oxidation of [low-density] lipoproteins (LDLs) and also improves gastrointestinal health.”

Finger millet is particularly good for diabetics and pre-diabetics. This is primarily because it has a considerable phenolic compound and dietary fiber content. Phenolic compounds have been under scrutiny for a while now due to their anti-diabetic potential. Dietary fiber doesn’t raise blood glucose levels, which makes this nutrient safe for people who currently struggle with or are on the cusp of diabetes. In fact, the researchers cited one study which concluded that eating finger millet on a regular basis can reduce fasting glucose by 32 percent and insulin resistance by 43 percent.

Additionally, finger millet has ragi bifunctional inhibitors (RBI). This monomeric protein has been the subject of great interest for one major reason: it can inhibit the activity of K562 chronic myeloid leukemia. This specific form of leukemia is “characterized by [an] increased and unregulated growth of myeloid cells in the bone marrow leading to their accumulation in the blood.” Conventional treatments have proven ineffective against this disease, but not so with finger millet.

Based on their findings and reviews of previous studies, the researchers deemed finger millet to be an “important ingredient of dietary and nutritional balanced foods.” The dietary fiber, polyphenols, and numerous other nutrients can provide health benefits that aren’t just limited to its anti-diabetic and anti-carcinogenic actions.

Those who’d like to give finger millet a try may opt for whole meal-based finger millet products. These still contain the testa, which contains most of the important nutrients.

Taking probiotics can reduce symptoms of depression

Depression is becoming all too common, and so, too, are antidepressants. In today’s instant-gratification-obsessed world, doctors and patients alike are tempted by the lure of a “quick fix” like a drug that can tackle this serious problem. Unfortunately, antidepressants aren’t terribly effective, and the side effects can be even worse than depression itself. That doesn’t mean, however, that there’s nothing people can take to combat their symptoms.

In fact, two recent studies have found that consuming friendly bacteria in the form of probiotics can reduce people’s symptoms of depression. One study out of McMaster University in Canada revealed the antidepressant effect of probiotics in patients with irritable bowel syndrome. Many IBS suffers also have chronic depression or anxiety as well. The researchers studied 44 adults who have IBS and mild to moderate depression or anxiety. Some were given the probiotic Bifidobacterium longum daily over the course of ten weeks in the study, while others were given a placebo.

Just six weeks into the study, the researchers discovered that 64 percent of the patients who took the probiotic had already seen their depression scores go down; this was twice the figure of those in the placebo group. Functional MRIs showed the score improvement was linked to changes in several areas of the brain related to mood control. It’s a promising finding, and the authors would like to see a larger-scale trial confirm their discovery.

While this news is great for IBS sufferers, it’s also something that can be applied to the general population, as senior author Dr. Premysi Bercik said: “This opens new avenues not only for the treatment of patients with functional bowel disorders but also for patients with primary psychiatric diseases.”

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Scientists increasingly finding probiotics combat depression

Meanwhile, a study carried out by researchers at the University of Virginia Health System revealed that a probiotic in yogurt can reverse the symptoms of depression. In the study, researchers found that after mice had been subjected to stress, they experienced a loss of Lactobacillus, which then spurred their depression symptoms. When the mice were given Lactobacillus from live-culture yogurt, they returned almost to normal. In fact, just a single strain of Lactobacillus had the power to influence their mood.

One limitation of the study, of course, is the fact that it looked at animals, but the researchers are hoping to study this effect in humans very soon. Because Lactobacillus affects mice’s mood in much the same way it does humans, they have every reason to believe that the effect could be very similar.

Lead author Alban Gauthier, Ph.D., commented: “The big hope for this kind of research is that we won’t need to bother with complex drugs and side effects when we can just play with the microbiome. It would be magical just to change your diet, to change the bacteria you take, and fix your health — and your mood.”

Similarly, a 2011 study found that people who consumed a probiotic formulation containing L. helveticus and B. longum daily eased their psychological depression. Moreover, a meta-analysis found that people who took probiotics had a lower incidence of depression than those who did not.

This is good news for almost everyone, from the depressed people who won’t have to subject their bodies to the dangerous side effects of antidepressants to their loved ones, who won’t have to face the unimaginable grief that so many others have because of the high risk of suicide these drugs cause. The general public will also benefit as people move away from antidepressants toward probiotics as many mass shooting perpetrators in the past several years have been under the influence of these scary, mind-altering drugs.

In fact, the only group that is not necessarily set to benefit from this discovery is Big Pharma. Will they find a way to formulate their own probiotic depression treatments, or will they do everything to discredit these studies to protect their profits?

These 8 potent nutrients KILL cancer cells with no side effects

Can you prevent cancer with diet and lifestyle changes? For the overwhelming majority of people, the answer is an emphatic, “Yes.” Despite what the cancer industry would like you to believe, food is medicine. And eating the right foods can help ward off cancer. Studies have shown that upwards of 90 percent of all cancers can be traced back to dietary, lifestyle and environmental factors — which means very few cancers are just a case of bad luck and genetic lottery.

The links between lifestyle, diet, and cancer have been well-established. A 2008 study led by scientists at the University of Texas in Houston found that “cancer is a preventable disease that requires major lifestyle changes.”

More recent studies have continued to hit on these correlations, such as this 2016 study from researchers at Harvard University, which concluded, “A substantial cancer burden may be prevented through lifestyle modification.”

While you can’t go wrong with a plant-based diet, there are some fruits, vegetables and herbs that are highly regarded for their exceptional anti-cancer effects. These amazing benefits are derived from a number of plant nutrients:

1. Gingerols

Gingerols are found in the popular ginger root — and they pack quite the anti-cancer punch. There are a number of gingerols and other cancer-fighting compounds found in ginger root, such as zingerone, paradols and 6-shogaol. 6-gingerol, in particular, is highly regarded for its anti-cancer effects.

A 2016 study from the Centre for Plant Biotechnology and Molecular Biology in India declared 6-gingerol as the most potent anti-cancer compound found in the ginger root. Other studies have shown compounds in ginger are able to suppress the growth and spread of cancer cells in breast and colorectal cancers.

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2. Sulforaphane

Sulforaphane is a compound found in cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, Brussels sprouts, kale, mustard greens and cabbage. An organosulphate compund, sulforaphane has been extensively studied for its host of health benefits. As Natural Health 365 reports:

This amazing phytochemical destroys cancer cells, reduces inflammation that contributes to cancer, helps to prevent DNA changes that can lead to cancer, and even helps neutralize an enzyme that coverts procarcinogens into active carcinogens – pretty impressive benefits to be gained from a daily helping of humble Brussels sprouts.

3. Vitamin C

Vitamin C is known for many things, like immune system support and wound healing. But did you know this essential nutrient also fights cancer? Studies show that vitamin C can reduce inflammation, fight free radicals and, in the right dose, it can even kill off cancer cells.

4. Quercetin

Quercetin is found in abundance in apples, grapes, red onions, and tomatoes. Studies show that a diet high in this plant nutrient can reduce cancer risk by up to 50 percent. This antioxidant nutrient can help protect cells and DNA from the damage caused by free radicals. Studies have shown that quercetin stops cancer in its tracks, killing off cancer cells before they have the chance to spread.

5. Vitamin D

Vitamin D is an essential nutrient known for its benefits for bone health and depression, but it helps prevent cancer, too. Studies have shown that it reduces cancer risk across the board, but it is especially beneficial for warding off prostate, colorectal and liver cancers.

6. Curcumin

Curcumin is the active compound found in turmeric. Study after study has shown that this powerhouse of a nutrient can fight cancer at almost every turn. Earlier this year, it was revealed that someone cured their stage-3 myeloma (bone cancer) with turmeric and nothing else — a feat so great it was published in the British Medical Journal. Even proponents of the corrupt cancer industry couldn’t ignore that.

7. Proanthocyanidins

Found in grape seed extract, proanthocyanidins are known to cut the risk of cancer by a substantial margin — and more importantly, these potent nutrients are capable of slowing cancer growth and killing off cancer cells. Proanthocyanidins have also been shown to help prevent liver damage caused by chemotherapy.

8. Oleocanthal

We all know olive oil is good for us — but just how good is it? Oleocanthal is a plant nutrient found in olive oil that has the power to rupture cancer cell walls, leaving them to be destroyed by their own enzymes.

Papaya leaf juice is good for your blood; the drink can remedy anemia and fight off dengue fever

Although the papaya is more famous for its delicious and refreshing fruit, one should not ignore its leaves. Repeated tests in India have proven the benefits of papaya leaf juice in boosting platelet count, indicating its potential as a treatment for certain blood conditions.

In 2009, the Asian Institute of Science and Technology declared the papaya as an effective treatment for dengue fever because of its platelet-boosting benefits. Researchers tested the papaya leaf suspension on mice and found that it caused a significant increase in the animals’ platelet count.

Platelets are special blood cells responsible for the formation of blood clots. Because of this, they play a very important role in closing wounds and initiating recovery from injuries. Normally, a microliter (one-millionth of a liter) of blood can have 150,000 to 400,000 platelets – the number varies between adult males and females. Having too little is called thrombocytopenia and can lead to hemorrhage while having too many is called thrombocytosis and can result in the random formation of blood clots.

Thrombocytopenia can occur due to several factors; it could be that the bone marrow is not producing enough platelets, or it could be caused by anemia, among other things.

Dengue fever is a viral disease transmitted by mosquitoes. It starts out as intermittent fevers that graduate to thrombocytosis when untreated, sometimes leading to death. It affects millions of children and adults worldwide. The World Health Organization reports that even today, there is no definitive medical cure for the disease, but early detection is key to effective treatment. (Related: Dengue vaccine does NOT protect against the disease but actually puts you at HIGHER RISK of contracting it.)

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India and its neighboring regions have been the site of several dengue outbreaks in the last few decades, so the possibility of natural treatment using papaya leaves is a welcome development. Here are a few notable studies:

  • In 2011, researchers in Pakistan gave papaya leaf extract to a patient suffering from dengue fever twice daily. After five days, the patient’s platelet count rose by more than three times.
  • Findings from 2013 detailed in Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine Volume 2013 reported that papaya leaf juice accelerated the increase in platelet count among sufferers of dengue fever (Grades 1 and 2, as well as the deadly dengue hemorrhagic fever).
  • In a randomized trial conducted by the Institute for Medical Research and the Tengku Ampuan Rahimah Hospital, half of 228 patients received standard treatment, while the other half was given a small amount of fresh papaya leaf juice. The increase in platelet count was more remarkable in the experimental group than in the standard group.
  • In 2016, the June edition of the Journal of the Association of Physicians of India published findings from two studies providing further proof of the positive effects of papaya leaf juice on platelets. One study, involving 300 subjects, was placebo-controlled. The other study involved 400 patients.

Other health benefits of papaya leaf juice

Papaya leaf juice does more than treat thrombocytosis caused by dengue fever. It also has a host of other health benefits, including the following:

  • It cleanses the liver – Both the papaya fruit and papaya leaf has potent liver cleansing properties, helping prevent diseases like liver cirrhosis and certain chronic conditions.
  • It improves digestion – The leaves of the papaya plant contains papain and chymopapain, enzymes that help clean the colon. They can also help prevent constipation.
  • It helps treat ulcers – Papaya leaves have powerful anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties that make them effective against peptic ulcers.
  • It lowers blood sugar levels – The leaves contain compounds that help regulate insulin in the body which, in turn, aid in keeping blood sugar levels low.
  • It improves hair and skin – The presence of karpain in the leaves helps free the skin from acne and harmful microorganisms. It also enhances hair growth and prevents balding.