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Esophagitis - Dr. Axe

Esophagitis is inflammation of the esophagus (the muscular tube connecting your mouth to your stomach). It causes pain or difficulty swallowing food and pills, and can make eating very uncomfortable. When it goes untreated, esophagitis can lead to changes in the esophagus that can make it hard to swallow food without choking. (1)

There are many potential causes of esophagitis. Its symptoms can range from vomiting to chest pain, which are involved in many other health problems, so you shouldn’t try to self-diagnose esophagitis. By getting a formal diagnosis, you can get the right type of treatment. In most cases, esophagitis gets better with treatment. (2)


What Is Esophagitis?

The esophagus is the food pipe: it moves food and liquid from your mouth to your stomach. When the lining of that tube gets irritated, swollen, or inflamed, it is called esophagitis. (3) There are several different types, each with its own cause and treatment.

Types of esophagitis

  • Reflux esophagitis: The bottom of the esophagus has a small valve (the lower esophageal sphincter) that helps keep stomach acid from coming back into the food pipe. If that opens when it shouldn’t, or if it doesn’t close correctly, stomach acid can get into the food pipe. This causes heartburn and irritation of the esophagus and is known as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). When it lasts for a long time, GERD can damage tissue in the esophagus and cause swelling that is known as reflux esophagitis. (4)
  • Eosinophilic esophagitis: In some people, white blood cells collect in the esophagus. These cells are called eosinophils. They are often an indicator of a food allergy or acid reflux (or both). (5) When these white blood cells are present in high amounts in the esophagus, it is called eosinophilic esophagitis. People with allergies to pollen, milk, eggs, wheat, nuts, beans, soy, rye and beef may not even know they even have an allergy causing the problem. (6) Skin tests for these allergens may be negative, and even blood tests may show very low-level allergic results. (7)
  • Drug-induced esophagitis: This is also called pill-induced or medication-induced esophagitis. It is irritation or injury of the esophagus caused by taking pills without enough water. The pills can physically harm the esophagus, or they may leave behind some residue that stays in the food pipe and hurts the tissue. (8) In most cases, this type goes away after the medication is stopped, or with changes in how you take the medicine. (9) It can often be healed and avoided by taking pills while sitting or standing upright, with a full glass of water. (10)
  • Infectious esophagitis: Infections can affect the tissue of the esophagus, causing esophagitis. The infections can be fungal, viral or bacterial. They occur most often in people with lowered immunity, such as people taking steroids or antibiotics, or people with diabetes, cancer or HIV/AIDS. (11) Otherwise, this type of esophagitis is fairly rare. When it does occur, it is often caused by Candida(12)
  • Lymphocytic esophagitis: This occurs when there is a high number of lymphocytes (white blood cells that help fight invaders such as bacteria or toxins) in the esophagus. (13) It is rare but related to eosinophilic esophagitis and GERD.
  • Erosive esophagitis: Any type of esophagitis can become erosive if it begins to wear away the lining of the esophagus. Chronic acid reflux is the most common cause of erosive esophagitis, but drinking corrosive liquids (such as cleaning solutions), taking certain pills or having certain types of large pills get caught in the esophagus can all cause painful erosions. (14) These are also called lesions.

How is esophagitis diagnosed?

Although your doctor may have a good idea of an esophagitis diagnosis based on your symptoms, you are likely to have at least one test to confirm. You can expect to be diagnosed using one of these tests:

  • Esophageal manometry: This checks how well your esophagus works and whether the lower esophageal sphincter (the valve leading to the stomach) opens and closes the way it should. (15) A tiny tube goes through your nose and down through your food pipe into the stomach. Then you rest on your side and swallow a sip of water. The tube is sensitive to pressure and measures how strong your muscles are and how well they work. (16)
  • Esophagogastroduodenoscopy (EGD): This is a biopsy of your esophagus. They put you under light anesthesia and insert a small tube down your throat through your mouth. There is a camera on the end so that the doctor can see what your esophagus looks like. In most cases, they will take a piece of tissue from your esophagus, which is called a biopsy. (17)
    • Lab tests: If you have a biopsy done, the tissue sample will be sent to a lab to check for things such as infection, white blood cells, or esophageal cancer or precancerous cells. (18)
  • Esophageal X-ray: This is also called an upper GI series or barium X-ray. You will swallow barium (as a liquid or pill) and they will take X-ray images of your neck, chest and stomach to check the esophagus for damage or to search for other esophagus problems, like hernia or tumors. (19)

What is Grade 1 esophagitis? Grade IV? Esophagitis Grade A?

There are several scales that exist to measure how severe your disease is. The scales are often used in clinical research or by doctors to help decide how to treat your esophagitis or to track your improvement. Ask your doctor which scale they used to score you and what your grade level means.

In most cases, Grade 1, Grade I or Grade A mean there are minor signs of esophagitis, such as spots showing irritation or damaged tissue. With each step up in grade level (up to 4 or 5, or up to the letter D), the condition is considered more severe. The most severe stages involve damage to large percentages of the esophageal tissue. They usually also mean that there have been changes to the esophagus, called strictures, that make it narrower in certain places. Esophageal strictures or rings can make it very hard to swallow food. (20)


Esophagitis Signs & Symptoms

Esophagitis symptoms can be confused with symptoms of many other health problems, such as esophageal spasm or even a heart attack. (21) When symptoms alarm you, last more than a few days, don’t improve with over-the-counter heartburn or reflux medicines, or make it difficult for you to eat, see a doctor. (22) You should also get medical care if you have esophagitis symptoms together with headache, fever and muscle aches.

Symptoms of esophagitis include: (23, 24, 25)

  • Trouble swallowing (also called dysphagia)
  • Pain when swallowing
  • Chest pain during and after eating
  • Food that gets stuck in the esophagus
  • Heartburn
  • Acid reflux
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Coughing
  • Sore throat
  • Hoarse voice

In infants and young children, signs may include vomiting, trouble feeding and failure to thrive. (26)

What are the symptoms of erosive esophagitis?

Erosive esophagitis causes many of the same symptoms as other types of esophagitis, such as heartburn and difficulty or pain when swallowing. However, when left untreated, erosive esophagitis can lead to blood in vomit or stool. In severe cases it can lead to esophageal strictures, chronic inflammation and ulcers. (27)

What causes ulcers in the esophagus?

When acid from the stomach enters the esophagus because of GERD, it can eat away at the lining of the esophagus and cause an ulcer. Ulcers can also develop when certain kinds of pills are not rinsed down with enough water and saliva, leaving residue from the pill on the lining of the esophagus. (28) Other causes include smoking, too much alcohol, or infection with Helicobacter pylori, HIV, Candida, the herpes simplex virus or cytomegalovirus. (29)

What are the symptoms of esophageal cancer?

Esophageal cancer symptoms can sometimes be confused with the symptoms of regular esophagitis. (30) Signs and symptoms include: (31)

  • Difficulty swallowing or choking on food
  • Chest pain or burning
  • Weight loss
  • Cough that doesn’t go away
  • Hoarse voice
  • Hiccups
  • Bone pain
  • Bleeding from the esophagus (this can show up in your stool and also cause you to feel tired)

It is very important to get medical attention if you think you have a symptom of esophagitis or esophageal cancer.


Causes & Risk Factors

In general, risk factors for esophagitis include: (32)

  • Vomiting
  • Drinking alcohol
  • Smoking
  • A weakened immune system caused by medications or another health problem
  • Taking pills without drinking enough water (especially alendronate, tetracycline, doxycycline, ibandronate, risedronate, potassium tablets and vitamin C tablets)
  • Chest surgery or radiation therapy (for lung cancer, for example)
  • Acid reflux (gastroesophageal reflux, or GERD)
  • Allergies to food or things in the environment, such as pollen

However, risk factors vary by the type of esophagitis. For example:

  • People with autoimmune conditions such as HIV are more likely to be affected by infectious esophagitis. (33)
  • Reflux esophagitis is more common among people with GERD and those who eat shortly before bed, consume a lot of acidic foods or drinks including alcohol and caffeine, eat large and fatty meals, smoke, have excess weight, and consume other foods that can worsen GERD symptoms (tomatoes, citrus, garlic, mint, chocolate, etc.). (34)
  • Eosinophilic esophagitis risk factors include food allergies and a family history of the condition, as well as male gender, white race and having other allergic issues (asthma, allergic rhinitis, or eczema). (35)
  • Taking nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), corticosteroids or antibiotics increases the risk for drug-induced esophagitis. According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the risks of NSAIDs include stomach and gastrointestinal problems when taken frequently; their use and that of antibiotics has been linked to esophagitis. (36, 37)

Conventional Treatment

Traditional medical treatment of esophagitis includes both over-the-counter (OTC) and prescription medications. Most physicians will also recommend lifestyle changes and solutions to help you minimize your symptoms naturally (see below). In serious cases, treatment of esophagitis strictures and esophageal narrowing may require surgery.

How do you treat esophagitis?

Generally, the type of medical treatment you receive will depend on the specific diagnosis you have. (38)

  • Reflux esophagitis is typically treated with OTC or prescription antacids, proton pump inhibitors (PPIs), H-2-receptor blockers, or prokinetics. Surgery may help reduce acid reflux in severe cases.
  • Eosinophilic esophagitis treatment typically involves avoiding the allergen, although you may also be prescribed proton pump inhibitors or steroids to coat your esophagus. If you need to identify food allergens, you may have to try an elimination or elemental diet as well.
  • Drug-induced esophagitis treatment mostly involves taking replacement/alternative medications to reduce irritation. You can also improve your pill-taking strategies as a natural treatment (see below).
  • Infectious esophagitis treatment requires treating the bacterium, virus, fungus or parasite that is causing the infection. The medication will target the underlying infection and once it is healed, the symptoms should go away.

How long does it take to recover from esophagitis?

How long esophagitis lasts depends on many factors, including the type and its underlying cause. People whose condition is caused by swallowing certain types of pills often experience relief within days of stopping the medication. People with infectious causes also experience swift relief with treatment.

However, reflux and eosinophilic esophagitis may last a long time — months or even years. Because they are caused by other problems that usually do not have a cure, such as food allergies, the esophagitis can often be managed but not cured. In these cases, treating esophagitis is essential to help minimize symptoms and avoid complications from the disease.


20+ Natural Ways to Manage Esophagitis Self-Care

The type of esophagitis treatment you pursue should be tailored to the diagnosis you have. For example, avoiding NSAIDs won’t make eosinophilic esophagitis go away. Work with your health care provider to come up with a plan for natural treatments for your specific type of esophagitis.

General Self-Care (39)

  1. Take small bites of food, chew thoroughly (especially meats and firm vegetables) and drink plenty of water with pills or meals.
  2. Ask your physician if you can crush any pills that you take, or if liquid versions are available.
  3. Go to the emergency room for help dislodging any food that you cannot swallow or remove within one hour, or any stuck food that makes it hard to breathe. They can use a small tube to help remove the food or push it down into your stomach.
  4. Don’t smoke.
  5. Avoid medications that can cause or worsen esophagitis. Let your pharmacist and health care professional know about your diagnosis any time you get a new prescription or need to take an over-the-counter pill.
  6. Follow the steps for reflux self-care no matter what type of diagnosis you have, so that any acid reflux you may have will not make your condition worse.

Natural Reflux Esophagitis Self-Care (40)

  1. Avoid food and drinks that can aggravate acid reflux. Consider following a diet to reduce acid reflux or another esophagitis diet plan you develop with your health care provider.
  2. Eat several small meals throughout the day instead of two or three large meals.
  3. Stay upright for three hours after eating.
  4. Insert a wedge under the top of your bed (pillows don’t do the trick) to elevate your head at least 6 inches while you sleep.
  5. Limit alcohol intake.
  6. Lose excess weight.
  7. Consider herbal remedies to relieve or prevent heartburn and reflux, such as licorice, chamomile, slippery elm, marshmallow and more. Because these may interact with medications, always check with your doctor before using a new herb or supplement.
  8. Reduce stress and anxiety by exercising or using relaxation techniques to help reduce your reflux.
  9. Ask your health care provider whether acupuncture is safe for you. Provided you have no health reasons to avoid it, acupuncture may help reduce regurgitation and heartburn.

Natural Eosinophilic Esophagitis Self-Care

  1. Avoid the allergens causing your inflammation. If you do not know which foods or environmental allergens have caused your condition, ask your doctor about allergy testing. You can also work with a dietitian or allergist to do a formal elimination diet. (41)
  2. Follow the steps for naturally managing reflux esophagitis as well, since many people with eosinophilic esophagitis also experience some GERD symptoms that can make their condition worse. (42)
  3. Ask if you could benefit from an elemental diet, which replaces food with an amino acid-based formula. (43)

Natural Drug-Induced Esophagitis Self-Care (44, 45)

  1. Drink an entire glass of water each time you take a pill (including supplements and vitamins), unless your doctor tells you not to.
  2. Stay upright (sit or stand) for 30 minutes or more after taking a pill. This helps the pill reach your stomach and helps your saliva clear any residue from your esophagus.
  3. Ask your health care provider if you can stop or temporarily discontinue any medications you are on that may be causing the problem. You can also ask if a different medication can be taken or if a liquid version is available.

Natural Infectious Esophagitis Self-Care

  1. Take supplements and/or adjust your diet to help boost your immunity. However, always consult a health care professional before starting or stopping a supplement, since many natural compounds can interact with medications. (46)
    • Consider taking a general multivitamin to make sure you do not have micronutrient deficiencies. (47)
    • Ask your doctor if the top supplements that are believed to boost immunity may be beneficial for you. Popular choices include echinacea, ginger, probiotics, vitamin D and more.
    • According to the Cleveland Clinic, you can also obtain immune system benefits from getting plenty of vitamins C, B6, and E in your diet. (48) Do this by eating plenty of green leafy vegetables, citrus fruits, salmon, tuna, chicken, chick peas, nuts and seeds.
  2. Ask your health care provider if you might benefit from dietary changes, such as an anti-inflammatory diet or a diet to help reduce yeast. (49)
    • Dietary changes that may reduce inflammation include avoiding fried foods, refined carbohydrates, red meat, sugar-sweetened drinks, and animal fats. (50)
    • Berries, nuts, seeds, fatty fish, olive oil, tomatoes and green leafy vegetables are believed to reduce inflammation. (51)
    • Dietary changes to fight yeast overgrowth, in case your infection is related to yeast, include changes called the candida diet. Changes include following a low-sugar diet, using coconut oil as a mouthwash, and eating probiotics. (52)
  3. Stay hydrated and get plenty of rest to help you fight your infection. (53, 54)
  4. Ask your doctor if any immunosuppressant drugs you are taking can be reduced or eliminated. (55)
  5. Follow the natural treatment recommendations for reflux esophagitis as well. (56)

Precautions

If you have chest pain that lasts more than a few minutes, get emergency care. You should also get care right away if you have food stuck in your esophagus; chest pain or shortness of breath soon after eating; difficulty breathing after you vomit or vomit that looks like coffee grounds or is yellow, green, or looks like it has blood in it.

If left untreated, esophagitis can cause serious damage to the esophagus. It can scar the tissue in the food pipe and make it narrower. These strictures can make it very difficult to swallow food. The lining of the esophagus can also be torn when food gets stuck and causes retching, or during an endoscopy if swelling is severe. Finally, untreated esophagitis increases your risk of Barrett’s esophagus. This is a condition in which cells of the esophagus start to change and increase your risk of esophageal cancer. (57)


Esophagitis Key Points

  • When the lining of the food pipe gets irritated, swollen, or inflamed, it is called esophagitis. In many cases, esophagitis has a cause that is fairly straightforward, such as infection or a food allergy.
  • There are many natural ways to treat your symptoms and speed your healing.
  • With proper management, this disease can either be resolved or at least held in check. However, some types are chronic and require long-term care and prevention efforts to avoid serious health problems.
  • Do not attempt to self-diagnose your type of esophagitis.
  • If you have esophagitis, follow the advice of your health care provider to treat it and to prevent complications now or in the future.

Each type of esophagitis may require unique natural therapies to improve symptoms. However, in general, there are some tips that may benefit your health if you have this diagnosis:

Natural Ways to Manage Esophagitis

  1. Take small bites of food and chew thoroughly to avoid choking.
  2. Drink plenty of water with pills or meals.
  3. Ask your physician if you can crush any pills that you take, or if liquid versions are available.
  4. Go to the emergency room for help dislodging any food that you cannot swallow within one hour, or that makes it hard to breathe.
  5. Don’t smoke.
  6. Avoid medications that can cause or worsen esophagitis.
  7. Follow the steps for reflux self-care, such as the GERD diet, raising the head of your bed, reducing stress, staying upright for three hours after eating.

Read Next: Pancreatitis Symptoms: 11 Natural Ways to Prevent & Manage

Source: dr axe

By Dr. Mercola

Electromagnetic fields (EMFs) are one of the most pernicious threats to your health. The question is, how do you limit your exposure to healthier levels? Dr. Dietrich Klinghardt, one of my longtime mentors, was instrumental in educating me about the influence of EMFs on health. Klinghardt, who founded the Sophia Health Institute1 in 2012 where he's still actively involved in the treatment of patients, will not even take you on as a new patient unless you agree to address your EMF exposure. He's that convinced of its influence.

In Germany, which is where Klinghardt hails from, they’ve been using beneficial pulsed EMF for healing purposes since the late 1800s. Even in high school, they were made aware of the fact that disease-causing EMFs created by high power lines, high magnetic fields, and microwave signals were hazardous to health.

"We were made aware that we shouldn't sleep next to an electric outlet; that we should not have any lights close to our bed or electric alarm clocks. That was already known in the 1960s," Klinghardt says. Once Klinghardt took up residence in the U.S., that background knowledge sort of fell by the wayside — until he began working with autistic children. At that point, the reality of EMF and its health effects came back to the fore.

"I was looking at this incredible crisis in autism and I started treating autistic kids in the late ‘90s and went to the medical meetings, the biomedical approaches to treat. What was entirely missing in those conferences was the aspect of electromagnetic fields that the child is [experiencing],” he says.

Excessive EMF Exposure During Pregnancy Raises Risk of Autism

Klinghardt conducted a pilot study in which he evaluated the EMF present in the bedroom where the mother slept during pregnancy. It turned out the average exposure of an autistic child to high frequency EMFs from household currents and microwaves from cellphones and other wireless technologies was twentyfold higher than that of the non-autistic children. Unfortunately, the study never made it into publication, but it convinced him that EMFs were an unacknowledged factor that contributes to autism.

Another study cited by Klinghardt shows that microwave radiation from cellphones, Wi-Fi routers and similar devices concentrate twentyfold in the womb, meaning whatever the reading is outside the womb, the measurement will be 20 times higher inside the mother. As noted by Klinghardt, “Unfortunately, the membranes around the womb have that strange effect in significantly concentrating the ambient EMFs that the mother is in, reaching levels that are not sustainable for human development.”

The real-world impact of EMFs is also evident in his clinical practice, as families with autistic children who take EMF remediation report seriously significant improvements. These findings have also made Klinghardt passionate about warning would-be parents about the importance of avoiding EMFs during pregnancy to reduce the risk of having an autistic child. Unfortunately, Americans have been slow to grasp the importance of such advice.

US Needs to Take EMF Exposure Seriously, Before It's Too Late

According to Klinghardt, Russia and Iran have some of the strictest rules governing the amplitude of cellphone radiation.

"My brother sent this to me (and I have a Russian colleague working with me) of a lecture that Putin gave to his assembly [where he] basically said, 'We do not need to go to war with America. America is committing collective suicide by the way they are using electricity. We just have to wait until they are all in the psychiatric hospital.' That was Putin pretty much verbatim translated …

[Putin] wants Russia to be a strong nation again, and so he is doing it differently. He is doing it by limiting the electromagnetic exposures, knowing it's going to create a whole different crop of children that are going to grow up to be intelligent, to be leaders in the world, to be scientists.

[The U.S. is] a dying nation, basically, because of the way we are fluoridating the water, the way we have adapted the vaccine program, the electro-smog. We've created a perfect storm to dumb down a whole nation."

But autism is not the only problem exacerbated by uncontrolled EMF exposure. This kind of nonionizing radiation has also been linked to Alzheimer’s and infertility, especially in men, and all three of these problems are rocketing skyward in terms of prevalence. At their current trajectories, society as we know it will eventually cease to function.

The Threat of Human Extinction Is All Too Real

According to Klinghardt, Barrie Trower, a leading scientist for the British MI6, explored the effects of microwaves on human health by exposing children living in orphanages to various frequencies and levels. This research was later brought into psychiatric hospitals, where they discovered you can sterilize an entire population by exposing them to 2.4 gigahertz (GHz) — the same carrier frequency now used in Western countries for cellphone services.

“It's estimated that over two or three generations of exposure, ongoing exposure to the same cellphone radiation that we're using now, we will all be sterile and we will basically die out as a species,” he says. Klinghardt also cites research by Olle Johansson2 (whom I interviewed in 2008), a neuroscientist and tenured professor at the Karolinska Institute in Sweden, in which he found that areas with the highest density of Alzheimer’s disease in Sweden were directly correlated to the areas with the highest EMF exposures.

Johansson has issued warnings about cellphone radiation for over a decade now, and has come under intense pressure to resign from Karolinska, as the cellphone industry has threatened to withdraw its funding to the institute if he remains. Johansson is currently asking for private donations to continue his work on EMF.3

Practical Nighttime Remediation Strategies

One of the best prevention strategies I've found so far is to eliminate exposure to extremely low frequency (ELF; frequencies in the 50 to 60 Hz range) electric and magnetic fields during sleep, as this is a most important time for your brain. During deep sleep, your brain's glymphatic system is activated, allowing it to detoxify and eliminate accumulated waste products, including amyloid-beta proteins, which are a hallmark of Alzheimer's disease.

In most areas, the only way to do that is by turning off the electricity to your bedroom by flipping the circuit breaker. Exceptions include Chicago and New York, as the building codes there require all electrical wires to be in a conduit. As a result, if you live in either of these places, all you need to do is unplug your electronic equipment. You do not have to turn off your electricity, which makes it a whole lot easier to remediate EMF.

If you are ill or pregnant, you'd be wise to follow Klinghardt's stricter recommendation, which is to shut down electricity in the entire house — with the exception of your refrigerator, air conditioning or heating, and any essential medical equipment — not just the circuitry in your bedroom. Klinghardt explains:

"Electric fields are very funny. You can switch off the electric field in your bedroom and have it on two rooms away, and through induction, the field can still jump from one circuitry to the next one and you can still be in a really bad field. We are talking about body voltage — that's sort of what builds up in your system when you're in a field of the low-frequency, the 60 Hz field from a household current. At nighttime, we want the fuses off …

[I]f possible, spend a few hundred dollars and get a remote switch installed properly, so that from your bed you can click a button and it switches off the fuses at the fuse box. That's No. 1. Secondly, [if] you are in an apartment building and you have people below, next to you, above you, my first line of advice is to move if possible.

If it is not possible, you can create a protective wall against the neighbor simply by using aluminum foil, the sparkly, more shiny side toward the neighbor. The entire wall needs to be covered.

You can also do that with the floor toward the person below you, but it needs to be earthed. There needs to be an alligator clip on it … conducted into the wall outlet into the earth. This works beautifully [against] microwaves — [blocking] the cellphone router that the neighbor has underneath you, above you, next to you …

The earthing is for the low-frequency fields (low-frequency emitting devices). It's a practical solution we often have to do because it costs at best one or two rolls of aluminum foil, plus a cable from RadioShack, so you can do that for less than $20 …"

The Worst Culprits Are Right Inside Your Own Home

It’s important to realize that if you have a Wi-Fi router, you have a cellphone tower inside your home. Ideally, you’d eliminate your Wi-Fi and simply use a wired connection. If you absolutely must have a router, you can place it inside a shielded bag when not in use. You can find shielded items online, or make your own using Swiss Shield fabric.

Be aware that some other forms of radiation can be very difficult to shield against. This includes frequencies in the 400,000 Hz range that police and fire departments are using. If you live close to a police or fire station and have developed health problems since you moved in, moving would be your best option, as this wavelength is virtually impossible to shield with any known technology. For most people, however, the worst exposure is your household electrical currents, your cellphone (when not in airplane mode) and Wi-Fi router.

Another important point to remember is that EMF will affect you regardless of whether you actually feel it or not. Those who are electrosensitive are physically aware of their exposure, but regardless of sensitivity, the disease rates are the same. On average, a person will experience biological effects from a cellphone at a distance of 12 feet.

Using a meter, I discovered I was still exposed to unhealthy levels at a distance of 30 feet, so when I'm not using my cellphone, I always keep it in airplane mode and/or inside a Faraday bag.

According to Klinghardt, the degree to which patients report improvement of their conditions directly correlates to their EMF mitigation efforts. Those who report no improvement at their four-month checkup have done little or nothing to mitigate their exposure, whereas those who report significant improvements have taken proactive steps. "It's black and white," he says.

Daytime Remediation

Reducing your EMF exposure during the daytime is trickier, as most of us need to use electronics during the daytime, and move about in areas that are Wi-Fi enabled. For seriously ill patients, Klinghardt recommends using Stetzer filters to decrease the level of dirty electricity or electromagnetic interference that being generated. You can also take these with you to work.

Also reconsider your use of compact fluorescent light (CFL) bulbs, as they emit microwaves. "Every (CFL) lightbulb is like a small cellphone tower emitting at those frequencies, which is absolutely devastating to the health of people," Klinghardt says. "Those need to go and they need to be replaced with the old (incandescent) light bulbs.

They are safe. They cost more in electricity, but the cost to health that people have by [using] CFLs is a million times more than what you save on electricity.” Light-emitting diodes (LEDs) are also best avoided.

As for internet, opt for a wired Ethernet connection and remove your Wi-Fi. When not in use, make sure your cellphone is in airplane mode and/or inside a shielded Faraday bag. When you do use a cellphone, you can reduce your exposure by texting (and keeping it short) or using Blue Tube (air tube) headphones so you can keep the phone further away from your body. Avoid wearing a Bluetooth earpiece and standard headphones, as they conduct the electric field right into your brain through your ears.

"In general, people should go back and insist on having land lines in their homes and at work and use that as much as possible. Only use the cellphone as an emergency device or for texting," Klinghardt says. "Lastly, there's the protective clothing. LessEMF.com is a good website that has all of that, including the full burqa …

[T]here are very attractive T-shirts, there is underwear. That's the minimum I require of my patients with neurological disease and autistic kids; they need to wear that 24/7, and that has made a huge difference … By protecting your larger part of the body with the T-shirt, you get more benefits for your brain than when, for example, you wear a [shielded] cap on your head."

How EMF Causes Harm

EMFs cause harm through a number of different mechanisms. As explained by Klinghardt, the radiation affects your microbiome, turning what might otherwise be beneficial microbes pathogenic. Research by Martin Pall also shows that microwave radiation activates your voltage-gated calcium channels (VGCCs) — channels in the outer membrane of your cells.

Once activated, the VGCCs open up, allowing an abnormal influx of calcium ions into the cell. This increased intracellular calcium and the accompanying increase in calcium signaling appears to be responsible for a majority of the damage that occurs. For more details on this, please see my previous interview with Pall. For this reason, natural calcium channel blockers such as magnesium can be helpful against EMF exposure, and it’s important to make sure you’re not magnesium deficient.

Magnesium threonate appears particularly beneficial as it acts as a potent anti-retroviral agent. Klinghardt recommends taking it to bowel tolerance, meaning you increase the dosage until you get slightly lose stools. For his patients, he always combines it with 12X calcium phosphate (calcium phosphoric), a homeopathic that helps modulate the calcium channels.

Environmental Impacts of EMF

Klinghardt also notes that electro-smog plays a significant role in the disappearance of bees and other crucial pollinators — that in combination with toxic pesticides and herbicides. And, as beneficial insects die off, disease-bearing ticks become more prevalent, as they turn out to be rather insensitive to cellphone radiation.

"The devastating thing is that what controlled the tick population in the past was birds. Birds eat ticks, but birds cannot live on ticks alone, they need all the other insects, and so there's been a dramatic disappearance in songbirds and insect-eating birds," Klinghardt says. "There's a dramatic reduction of [insects], but only where there's exposure to microwaves. We have German footage that shows trees, whole forests, dying just because a cellphone tower was put up.

The cellphone radiation, the way it's used right now is completely against life and it's compounded by the heavy metals that are in us, especially the aluminum that comes from the sky and from the air we breathe. We know that the glyphosate and atrazine and other herbicides, pesticides, along with [food] preservatives, all have a compounding effect in our body.

We have basically created a perfect storm, which we can still by eating organically, and by avoiding certain things, certain environments …"

I have become firmly convinced uncontrolled EMF exposure is a major, hidden factor that contributes to virtually all chronic disease, and hinders recovery. Klinghardt's clinical experience supports this view, as patients rarely get well unless or until they start taking EMF remediation seriously.

Keep in mind that if you are ill, simply reducing your cellphone use from several hours a day to just a few hours is not likely to go far enough. You really need to take more drastic steps to limit, and ideally eliminate electric and magnetic field exposure, at least at night.


Source: mercola rss

Recipe by Pete Evans

When it comes to classic appetizers, nothing beats deviled
eggs — they’re
well-loved
[CO1] by
many because of their simplicity yet versatility. You can incorporate various
ingredients — cheese, vegetables, herbs and spices, and even meats — into the
filling. Plus, you can serve them anytime. Whether it’s for a fancy holiday
dinner or just a Super Bowl snack to share with friends, this delicious dish is
one that will surely impress your guests.

We’ve shared with you a couple of delicious deviled eggs
recipes before: guacamole-and-turmeric
deviled eggs
and another that features wild
salmon
, both of which are perfect for those who want to follow a ketogenic diet.
Here’s another variation, courtesy of renowned Australian chef Pete Evans, that
you can add to your repertoire. This simple avocado deviled eggs recipe is a
fantastic way to incorporate healthy fats into your meals. Plus, the texture of
the avocado blends well with the egg yolk, for a creamy, flavor-filled filling.

Ingredients:

6 free-range
organic eggs

1 avocado, chopped

2
tablespoons mayonnaise[RS2] 

1 1/2
teaspoons lemon juice

1 tablespoon
finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
leaves, plus extra roughly chopped, to serve

Sea salt and
freshly ground black
pepper

1 to 2
tablespoons salmon roe

 

Procedure:

1.      
Fill a saucepan with water and bring to a boil.
Reduce the heat to medium so that the water is rapidly simmering, then add the
eggs and cook for 8 1/2 minutes. Drain and when cool, peel the eggs under cold
running water. Allow the eggs to cool completely.

2.      
Slice the eggs in half lengthwise. Carefully
remove the yolks from the whites and place the yolks in a bowl. Mash the yolks
with a fork, add the avocado, mayonnaise, lemon juice and finely chopped
parsley and whip with a spatula or wooden spoon until smooth and creamy.

3.      
Place the egg white halves, cavity-side up, on a
platter and evenly spoon the avocado mixture into the cavities. Top each filled
egg with 1/2 teaspoon of salmon roe and sprinkle over the extra parsley leaves.

 

Makes 12 deviled eggs

The Perfect Deviled
Egg Starts With Free-Range Organic Eggs

When
preparing any type of food, you must make sure to verify its source so that you
can be assured that you’re getting only the highest quality. This is very
important when it comes to eggs and other animal products. Beware, as most eggs
you see sold in supermarkets are derived from
confined animal feeding operations (CAFOs), where animals are kept in dirty, cramped
spaces and fed an unnatural diet.

To ensure that
you’re getting only high-quality organic pastured eggs, find a local farmer who
[CO3] 
allows their hens to forage freely outdoors. Pastured eggs are a wonderful
source of high-quality protein and healthy fats, as well as carotenoids like
lutein and zeaxanthin. Choline,
tryptophan, tyrosine and betaine are also beneficial nutrients found in eggs. For more
tips on identifying eggs, check out the infographic below:
[ECF4] 

https://media.mercola.com/assets/images/infographic/egg-nutrtion-facts-preview.jpg[ECF5] 

An Avocado a Day
Keeps the Doctor Away

While
it’s technically a fruit, here’s one thing that sets avocado apart: It doesn’t
have very high levels of fructose, making it one of the safest foods to eat
every day.

In terms of health
benefits, you’ll be surely shocked: From protecting your heart and vision
health to even promoting healthy skin, avocado certainly delivers. In fact, its
benefits actually go beyond that.

This shouldn’t come
as a surprise, as avocados contain high amounts of healthy fats, fiber and protein,
as well as essential vitamins and minerals, like B vitamins, folate, potassium
and vitamin K.

Many are still
hesitant to include avocado in their meals, though, because of its high fat
content. However, avocados actually have positive effects on cholesterol
levels. One review found that people who consume this fruit have higher levels
of good HDL cholesterol than those who don’t. Avocados may also help lower
triglyceride levels.
[1] [ECF6] 

More Useful Tips When
Making Deviled Eggs

If you’re a novice chef or if it’s your first time to make
this appetizer, deviled eggs can be a bit tricky to master. Here are a few
helpful tips to get you started.[2], [3],[4]

·        
While
fresh eggs are generally better, the freshest ones may not be ideal for making
deviled eggs.
This is because the fresher eggs are, the harder they are to
peel. Instead, buy eggs a few days in advance.

·        
Use a
pastry bag or cookie press to fill the eggs, to give them an elegant appearance.

If you don’t have either, get a plastic food bag, place the filling inside and
cut a corner for a makeshift piping bag.

·        
Allow the
eggs to cool completely in an ice bath before peeling.
One tip is to crack
the cooled egg and place it in the ice bath for several minutes.

·        
Experiment
with the topping.
In place of salmon roe, try using feta cheese, pickles or
fresh herbs like chives for added flavor.

About Pete Evans

Pete Evans is an internationally
renowned chef who has joined forces with Dr. Mercola to create a healthy
cookbook that’s loaded with delicious, unique Keto recipes, ideal for people
who want to switch to a ketogenic diet.
The “Fat for Fuel Ketogenic Cookbook” is the
perfect tool to help get you started on your ketogenic journey. 
CLICK HERE to order your copy now.

Pete has had numerous noteworthy
contributions to the culinary world. He has not only cooked for the general
public, but he’s also cooked a royal banquet for the Prince and Princess of
Denmark, a private dinner for Martha Stewart, and even represented his hometown
at the gala GʼDay USA dinner for 600 in New York City.

Pete’s career has moved from the
kitchen into the lounge room with many TV appearances including Lifestyle
channel’s “Home” show, “Postcards from Home,” “FISH,” “My Kitchen Rules” and “A
Moveable Feast.”

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Top herbs and spices - Dr. Axe

Did you know that there are over a hundred herbs and spices that can be consumed or used topically for healing? These natural foods possess a number of beneficial properties and work to reduce inflammation, improve the health of your heart, boost your immune system, and even prevent and fight cancer. With so many natural remedies at your disposal, the need for prescription medications goes down considerably.

In fact, in the field of herbal medicine, naturally occurring, plant-derived substances are used to treat illnesses within local or regional healing practices. Well-known systems of herbal medicine like Traditional Chinese Medicine and Ayurvedic Medicine believe in the central idea that there should be an emphasis on health rather than on disease. By using healing herbs and spices, people can thrive and focus on their overall conditions, rather than on a particular ailment that typically arises from a lack of equilibrium of the mind, body and environment.

Therefore, I suggest that you bulk up your spice cabinet and start cooking with fresh herbs that provide therapeutic components you probably didn’t realize were there. There are also some more obscure herbs and spices that can be found in tea, extract, capsule and tablet forms to relieve specific conditions, from infertility and menopause symptoms, to diabetes, liver disease and cognitive decline. The possibilities are limitless!


101 Herbs & Spices for Healing the Body

1. Aloe Vera

Aloe vera contains vitamins and minerals that are needed for the proper function of all body systems. It also contains enzymes, laxative compounds, anti-inflammatory fatty acids, and wound healing hormones. Aloe vera can be used to soothe skin irritations, burns, wounds and rashes, treat cold sores, moisturize your hair and scalp and reduce inflammation when used topically. When taken internally, aloe vera works to relieve constipation, aid digestion, boost your immune system and even improve diabetes symptoms. (1)

2. Anise

The seed and oil of anise can be used to relieve several health conditions. Anise aids digestion, works as an anti-flatulence agent, and can be used to relieve coughs and colds. It can also increase urine flow, stimulate your appetite, ease menstrual discomfort, increase sex drive and increase milk production in women who are breastfeeding. (2)

3. Annatto

Annatto is derived from the seeds of the achiote tree, and it’s often used as a coloring agent because of its bright color that ranges from yellow to deep orange. Aside from its ability to color food naturally, annatto also contains antimicrobial properties and antioxidants, making it useful for killing bacteria, aiding wound healing, supporting your cardiovascular and eye health, and protecting your liver. Some people may have an allergy or intolerance to annatto, so introduce it into your diet slowly to make sure it doesn’t cause any adverse reactions. (3)

4. Arrowroot

Arrowroot is the starch that’s obtained from the rhizomes of a perennial herb called Maranta arundinacea. It can be used to aid digestion, treat urinary tract infections, help to fight foodborne pathogens, relieve mouth pain and boost your immune system. The best way to use arrowroot for healing is to take it internally by mixing the powder into juice or any other beverage. (4)

5. Asafoetida

Asafoetida is a resinous gum that’s derived from the perennial fennel plant. You can use asafoetida in powder form to relieve chest congestion and asthma, treat digestive issues like IBS, diarrhea, constipation and gassiness, regulate your blood sugar levels and lower your blood pressure. You can add powdered asafoetida to soups and stews, or purchase it as a supplement in tincture or capsule form. (5)

6. Ashwagandha

Ashwagandha is an adaptogenic herb that can lower cortisol levels and balance your thyroid hormones. It has also been proven effective in supporting your adrenal function, helping you to overcome adrenal fatigue that occurs when your adrenals are overtaxed by stress. Some other ashwagandha benefits include its ability to support your brain health, improve your mood, increase your stamina and inhibit the proliferation of cancer cells. (6)

7. Astragalus Root

Astragalus root has been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine for thousands of years. It’s an adaptogenic herb that helps the body to fight off stress and disease. It boosts the health and function of your immune, cardiovascular and respiratory systems, helps to heal wounds, prevents diabetes, slows the growth of tumors and alleviates symptoms of chemotherapy. The antioxidants found in astragalus root help you to combat disease and aging due to free radical damage. You can find astragalus in many forms, including as a tincture, capsule or topical ointment. (7)

8. Barberry

Barberry is a berberine-containing plant that is used to fight infections due to its antibacterial, antifungal and antiprotozoal properties. Barberry can also be used to prevent and treat diabetes, aid digestion, cleanse your liver and gallbladder, and improve your cardiovascular health by improving hypertension, cardiac arrhythmias and ischemic heart disease. (8)

9. Basil

Basil is an aromatic herb in the mint family that anti-inflammatory, anti-stress and antibacterial properties. It also works as a pain reliever, blood vessel protector, immune booster and cancer fighter. Basil contains essential oils that are rich in antioxidants and are responsible for the many benefits of basil. (9)

10. Bay Leaf

Bay leaves come from the ancient tree Laurus nobilis, and it’s often used in cooking because of its distinctive savory flavor. Bay leaf has antimicrobial, antifungal and antioxidant properties. It can be used to help fight cancer, improve insulin function, improve cholesterol levels, prevent candida, treat dandruff, improve skin infections and support wound healing. (10)

11. Berberine

Berberine is a natural alkaloid that’s found in a variety of traditional herbs, including barberry, goldenseal and turmeric. It’s sold as an extract that can be used to fight bacteria, helping to treat conditions that are conventionally treated with antibiotics. Berberine also works as a natural remedy for diabetes, high cholesterol, heart disease, obesity, Alzheimer’s disease, lung inflammation, SIBO and cancer. (11)

12. Black Cohosh

The roots and rhizomes of black cohosh, a flowering plant native to North America, are used to treat or relieve a number of hormonal issues, including menopause symptoms like hot flashes, trouble sleeping and bone loss. Black cohosh provides a safe alternative to hormone replacement therapy, which is often used for menopause relief, and it can also help women manage PCOS and treat uterine fibroids. (12)

13. Black Currant

Black currant is a small shrub that belongs to the gooseberry family of plants. The bush produces dark purple, nutrient-dense berries that are loaded with vitamin C. These berries are rich in anthocyanins, which possess many health-promoting properties, including the ability to prevent obesity, heart disease, cancer and diabetes. Eating black currant berries can also promote eye health, kill pathogens and viruses, and boost your immune system. (13)

14. Boldo

Peurnus boldus, more commonly known as boldo, is a Chilean tree that has been used for thousands of years for its medicinal benefits. It’s an effective antioxidant that can be used to prevent diseases caused by free radical damage. Boldo is known to relieve gastrointestinal issues, bladder infections, gallstones and liver disease. It also works as a diuretic, increasing urine flow and promoting detoxification. (14)

15. Borage

Borage is a plant that’s used for medicinal purposes. The flowers, leaves and oil from the seeds can be used to improve skin conditions like eczema, reduce fever, and relieve conditions like cough, rheumatoid arthritis and pain caused by inflammation. Borage oil contains high amounts of GLA, a type of omega-6 fatty acid that is helpful for treating a wide range of health issues, like PMS symptoms, ADHD, bone loss, hormone imbalances, respiratory conditions, heart disease and stroke. (15)

16. Boswellia Seratta

Extracts derived from tress of the genus called boswellia contain powerful compounds that reduce inflammation, fight cancer and prevent heart disease. Use boswellia extract to improve your immunity, reduce arthritis pain, speed up healing and prevent autoimmune disease. (16)

17. Bupleurum

Bupleurum is a plant that has been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine to promote detoxification for over 2,000 years. You can also use bupleurum to improve the health of your liver, boost adrenal gland function, treat depression associated with PMS or menopause, relieve seizures and fight ovarian cancer. (17)

18. Burdock Root

Burdock is a biennial plant in the daisy family. The root contains health-promoting antioxidants including quercetin, luteolin and phenolic acids. It can be consumed in powdered, fresh, dried or tea form to promote detoxification and circulation, strengthen the lymphatic system, protect you against diabetes and heal skin conditions like acne, eczema and psoriasis. Burdock root is also used to combat cancer and improve arthritis. (18)

19. Calendula

Calendula is a plant that’s taken orally and used topically to treat or relieve a number of health concerns. It possesses powerful anti-inflammatory capabilities, helps to speed healing, relaxes muscle spasms and improves oral health. Calendula also contains antimicrobial and antiviral properties, and research shows that it can be used to relieve irritations from cancer treatments like radiation and chemotherapy. (19)

20. Cardamom

Cardamom is made from the seed pods of various plants in the ginger family. It’s rich in phytonutrients and manganese, supplying 80 percent of your daily manganese requirement with just one tablespoon. Consuming ground cardamom can help to fight bad breath and the formation of cavities, lower your blood pressure, improve diabetes symptoms, aid your digestive system and fighting cancer. (20)

21. Cat’s Claw

Cat’s claw is a wood vine that grows in the Amazon rainforest. It has antioxidant, antiviral, anti-inflammatory and anti-mutagenic properties. You can use cat’s claw in extract, capsule, tablet and tea form to combat arthritis, improve digestive problems, boost immunity, lower blood pressure, improve DNA damage and fight cancer. (21)

22. Cayenne Pepper

Cayenne pepper is a shrub that makes hollow fruit that grows into long pods. These pods are available in fresh, dried or powdered form and valued for their many health benefits. Cayenne can be used to support digestion, prevent blood clots, relieve migraine, nerve and joint pain, promote detoxification, improve allergy symptoms and support weight loss. (22)

23. Chamomile

Chamomile plants are used to improve several health conditions, including allergies, insomnia, anxiety, depression, arthritis and gastrointestinal disorders. Chamomile benefits also include its ability to help fight skin irritations, relieve toothaches, PMS symptoms and muscle spasms, reduce inflammation and heal wounds. (23)

24. Chicory Root

Chicory root is a plant-based starch that’s categorized as a soluble fiber and prebiotic. It is often taken as an extract or supplement to relieve digestive issues like constipation, diarrhea, IBS, gas and bloating. Chicory root also works as a natural remedy for managing diabetes, it protects the liver from toxicity and free radicals, reduces inflammation and relieves stress. (24)

25. Chives

Chives, or Allium schoenoprasum, is a perennial plant that is closely related to scallions and leeks. Chives are often used as a flavoring herb, but they also act as a mild stimulant and diuretic. Chives also have antiseptic and antibacterial properties, and they work as a natural bug repellant. (25)

26. Cilantro

Cilantro is a versatile herb that contains many healing properties, including phytonutrients, phenolic compounds and flavonoids. Cilantro benefits include its ability to promote the detoxification of heavy metals, reduce anxiety, improve sleep, lower blood sugar levels, boost your heart health, support your digestion, promote skin health and fight free radical damage that can lead to a number of degenerative diseases. (26)

27. Cinnamon

Cinnamon is a spice that comes from the bark of the Cinnamomum tree. The compounds found in cinnamon and extracted to make cinnamon oil make this one of the most beneficial spices on earth. Cinnamon health benefits come from its anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antimicrobial, anti-diabetic, immune-boosting, heart-protecting and cancer-fighting properties. (27)

28. Comfrey

Comfrey is a perennial herb that can be used topically to relieve muscle and joint pain, reduce lower back pain and improve arthritis pain. It can also be used to speed wound healing and lessen skin irritations. Comfrey should only be used topically for up to 10 consecutive days. Ingesting this herb can cause liver damage. (28)

29. Coriander Seed

The dried seeds of the cilantro plant is known as coriander, which is commonly used as a whole or ground spice. Consuming coriander seeds can help to lower blood sugar levels, ease digestive issues, improve cholesterol levels, decrease blood pressure and prevent neurological disease. (29)

30. Cumin Seed

Cumin seeds come from the herb Cuminum cyminum, which is a member of the parsley family. Cooking with cumin seeds can aid your digestion, boost your immune system, promote the health of your skin, relieve respiratory conditions, promote detoxification, combat oxidative stress, fight infections and prevent diabetes. (30)

31. Curry Leaf

Curry leaves come from the curry tree that’s native to India and Sri Lanka. Using curry leaves for flavoring provides fiber, iron, and vitamins A, C and E. They can support the health of your heart, fight diabetes, prevent or fight infections, lower your cholesterol levels and prevent iron deficiency anemia. (31)

32. Devil’s Claw

Devil’s claw is derived from the dried root of the Harpogophytum procumbens plant. Devil’s claw contains antioxidant and antispasmodic properties. It’s commonly used to relieve arthritis pain because of its ability to reduce inflammation and ease pain. Some other devil’s claw benefits are digestive support and improved kidney health. (32)

33. Dill Weed

Dill weed belongs to the same family as bay leaf, parsley and cumin. Adding chopped or whole dill weed to your recipes can help to ease menstrual cramps, aid digestion, fight infections and lower cholesterol levels. Dill weed also has anticonvulsant properties, so it is used to treat epilepsy as well. (33)

34. Echinacea

Echinacea is a cornflower that’s native to North America and both the root of the plant and the part that grows above ground contain beneficial components. Echinacea is known for its ability to boost your immune system and reduce your chances of catching the common cold. It’s commonly used as a natural cold remedy, but it can also be used to alleviate pain, reduce inflammation, relieve constipation and improve skin problems. (34)

35. Fennel 

Fennel is a perennial herb that’s native to the Mediterranean and often used to support digestion. Dried fennel seeds and fennel seed oil are able to relieve digestive issues like gas, bloating, heartburn and colic in infants. Fennel benefits also include its ability to treat respiratory infections, improve eye health, ease menopausal symptoms, improve heart health and lower blood pressure. (35)

36. Fenugreek

Fenugreek is an annual herb that’s part of the pea family. It’s seeds and leaves are often used to reduce inflammation, aid digestion, improve cholesterol levels, improve glycemic control and boost exercise performance. In men, fenugreek is known to increase libido and in women who are breastfeeding, it can be used to promote milk flow. (36)

37. Feverfew

The dried leaves of the feverfew herb are used to ease migraine pain, treat fevers, heal skin issues like dermatitis, prevent blood clots and relieve arthritis pain. Feverfew effectively reduces inflammation and eases pain naturally, and women use it to improve issues with infertility, menstruation and childbirth. The leaves can be found in tablet, capsule and liquid extract forms. (37)

38. Fingerroot

Fingerroot is an herb that’s native to China and Southeast Asia. The rhizomes are consumed to reduce inflammation and inflammatory diseases, and the leaves are used for easing allergy symptoms and fighting infections. Fingerroot can also be beneficial in treating ulcers, working as a natural aphrodisiac and helping to heal wounds quickly. (38)

39. Galangal

Galangal is part of the ginger family, and it’s often used in Thai food. Some of the many galangal benefits include its ability to improve sperm count and function, reduce inflammation, fight and prevent infections, ease digestive issues and support cognitive health. Research shows that galangal also acts as a potentially revolutionary cancer-fighting agent, as it can has proven to effectively fight and prevent a broad number of cancers and tumors. (39)

40. Garam Masala

Garam masala is an Indian spice blend that commonly contains cinnamon, cardamom, black peppercorns, nutmeg, cumin, ginger, fennel, coriander and bay leaves. Using garam masala in your recipes can improve your digestion, fight diabetes, reduce inflammation, boost your heart health and may work to prevent cancer. (40)

41. Ginger Root

Ginger root is the rhizome of the Zingiber officinale plant that contains 115 different chemical components. It works as a potent antioxidant, reduces inflammation, boosts the immune system, supports digestion, reduces pain and lowers cholesterol levels. Ginger root benefits also include its ability to improve diabetes, reduce arthritis pain and fight cancer. (41)

42. Ginkgo Biloba

Ginkgo biloba is a natural extract that’s derived from the Chinese ginkgo tree. It contains flavonoids and terpenoids, both of which have strong antioxidant properties and can help to fight age-related diseases, like dementia and Alzheimer’s. Ginkgo biloba benefits also include its ability to fight depression and anxiety, ease PMS symptoms, relieves headaches, boost eye health, treat ADHD and improve libido. (42)

43. Ginseng

Ginseng belongs to the genus Panax, and it’s used to reduce stress, improve brain function, reduce inflammation, aid weight loss, lower blood sugar levels, boost the immune system, support lung function, treat sexual dysfunction and prevent cancer. (43)

44. Goldenseal

The dried rhizomes and roots of goldenseal are used to make liquid extracts, capsules, tablets, teas and skin care products. Goldenseal can help to ease digestive issues, like diarrhea, constipation, peptic ulcers and gassiness, boost your immune system, support the health of your mouth and eyes, fight cancer and boost your heart health. (44)

45. Gotu Kola

Gotu kola belongs to the same plant family as parsley, celery and carrots. This herb commonly used in traditional Asian cuisines is loaded with antioxidants helps to repair skin conditions like psoriasis, reduce fever, improve blood circulation, reduces inflammation, eases depression and anxiety, and fights free radicals that can cause gastric ulcers. (45)

46. Holy Basil

Holy basil is an adaptogen herb that can be used to relieve or ease conditions like anxiety, hypothyroidism, adrenal fatigue and acne. Research shows that holy basil benefits also include its ability to fight cancer, control blood glucose levels and regulate cortisol levels. You can find holy basil in supplement form or drink tulsi tea for these benefits. (46)

47. Horehound

Horehound is a plant that belongs to the mint family. It’s known to work as a natural treatment for coughs because of its expectorant abilities. Horehound also has antiseptic, analgesic, antioxidant and appetite stimulating properties. It’s useful for relieving motion sickness and aiding digestion as well. (47)

48. Horny Goat Weed

Horney goat weed works as a natural aphrodisiac because of its ability to increase testosterone production and estrogen levels. You can use horny goat weed to improve your libido, boost your circulation, regulate your cortisol levels, prevent bone loss, increase lean muscle mass and treat conditions like erectile dysfunction and vaginal dryness. (48)

49. Horseradish Root

The root of the horseradish plant can be used to fight disease because of its antioxidant power. It also has antimicrobial and antibacterial properties, which help to boost your immune system and fight infections. Some other horseradish root benefits include its ability to ease respiratory issues, treat urinary tract infections, aid digestion, ease pain and possible prevent cancer. (49)

50: Hyssop

Hyssop is a healing plant that is commonly used to relieve digestive issues, improve appetite, fight infections, improve circulation, promote skin health and support the health of your liver and gallbladder. Hyssop can also help to prevent the common cold and ease respiratory conditions like asthma. Hyssop is available in capsules, teas and extracts. (50)

51. Juniper Berries

Juniper berries are female seed cones that come from juniper plants. They are an excellent source of antioxidants, helping to prevent and fight diseases that are caused by free radical damage. Juniper berries can also be used to fight skin and respiratory infections, improve the health of your skin, aid your digestion, boost the health of your heart, lower your blood sugar levels and help relieve insomnia. (51)

52. Kava Root

Kava root is an herbal plant that is commonly used to ease anxiety, stress and insomnia. It also boosts the immune system, relieves headache and migraine pain, eases respiratory tract infections and may even play a role in cancer prevention. However, kava root comes with the potential for drug abuse and when taken by mouth, it can cause liver damage. (52)

53. Kudzu Root

Kudzu root contains phytochemicals that can help to fight disease that’s caused by inflammation and reduce signs of aging. Kudzu root can be used to treat alcoholism when used in appropriate doses, improve diabetes and cardiovascular health, ease digestive issues like diarrhea, and improve menopause symptoms like hot flashes and night sweats. (53)

54. Lemon Balm

Lemon balm is a plant in the mint family that possesses antibacterial, antidiabetic, anti-stress, anti-anxiety, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. It can be used to aid digestion, regulate an overactive thyroid, ease PMS symptoms, improve your sleep, boost your mood, and protect your heart and liver. (54)

55. Lemongrass

Lemongrass is an herb that has stimulating, soothing, balancing and relaxing properties. It can be used to fight fungal and bacterial infections, reduce inflammation, repel insects, ease stomach aches, boost energy, ease anxiety, reduce fevers, ease pain and stimulate menstrual flow. (55)

56. Licorice Root

Licorice root is an adaptogen herb that’s a member of the legume family. Licorice root extract can be used to relieve acid reflux and heartburn, regulate cortisol levels, boost immunity, fight viral and bacterial infections, ease PMS and menopause symptoms, relieve cough and sore throat with its expectorant and anti-inflammatory properties, and ease cramps due to its antispasmodic abilities. (56)

57. Maca Root

Maca root is considered a superfood because of its ability to make people feel more “alive.” It works to balance hormones naturally, increase fertility in both men and women, improve stamina, boost sexual function and boost energy levels. Maca root powder contains over 20 amino acids and 20 free-form fatty acids, allowing for its status as a superfood. (57)

58. Marigolds

The marigold flower is used to make herbal ointments, topical creams, tinctures and teas to treat a number of health conditions, including muscle cramps, eye inflammation, fungal infections, and skin conditions like eczema and dermatitis. Marigolds can also help to ease digestive issues, boost the immune system, reduce inflammation and fight cancer. (58)

59. Marshmallow Root

Marshmallow root has fibrous extracts that swell up in the body and form a gel-like substance that can work to reduce inflammation in the lining of the stomach. Marshmallow root can also be used to relieve dry coughs and colds, improve low saliva production, fight bacterial and respiratory infections, treat skin conditions and reduce joint pain that’s caused by inflammation. (59)

60. Milk Thistle

Milk thistle is a weed that has been used medicinally for over 2,000 years. It works by drawing toxins that can cause illness and disease out of the body. It can effectively decrease or even reverse damage that has been done to the liver because of pollution exposure, heavy metals and the use of prescription medications. Milk thistle benefits also include its ability to protect you against cancer, lower cholesterol levels, control diabetes and reduce signs of aging. (60)

61. Mint

Mint is one of the most popular medicinal herbs because it’s often seen in products like chewing gum and breath fresheners. Eating mint, drinking mint tea or using mint extracts can help to aid digestion, relieve headache pain, ease nausea, improve signs of depression and relieve respiratory conditions like chronic cough or asthma. (61)

62. Moringa

Throughout the world, just about every part of the moringa plant is used to treat a variety of health conditions, including diabetes, anemia, allergies, arthritis, epilepsy, thyroid disorders, high blood pressure, low sex drive and cancer. It has antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral, antiparasitic, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, and it’s an excellent source of protein, vitamins A and C, potassium, calcium and amino acids. (62)

63. Mugwort

Mugwort is a plant that was traditionally used to help women relieve symptoms of menopause. Today, it’s used in a method called moxibustion to reverse the breech position of fetuses and alleviating joint pain. Mugwort is also helpful in treating in treating mild depression and attacking certain cancer cells. (63)

64. Mullein

Mullein is an herb that contains carbohydrates, proteins, fats, oils, flavonoids and tannins, just to name a few of its components. It can be used as a natural remedy for ear infections, to calm bursitis (fluid-filled sacs) in the shoulder, elbow and hip, kill bacteria, reduce inflammation, fight infections and help the body to get rid of mucus. (64)

65. Mustard Seed

Mustard seeds come from various mustard plants and they are used as a spice in many regions of the world. They are an excellent source of folate, vitamin A, calcium, potassium, magnesium and phosphorus. Plus, mustard seeds can reduce inflammation that causes pain and swelling, treat gum disease, boost the health of your heart, skin and hair, and help to prevent or fight infections due to their antibacterial and antifungal properties. Mustard oil is extracted from mustard seeds and can be used to reap these benefits, but there are some concerns about mustard oil toxicity. (65)

66. Nutmeg

Nutmeg is a spice that comes from the seeds of an evergreen tree. It is rich in vitamins and minerals like vitamin B6, thiamin, manganese, magnesium, folate and copper. When it’s used in small amounts when cooking or baking, nutmeg can help to aid digestion, ease pain, promote detoxification, boost cognitive function and regulating blood pressure levels. Although it’s uncommon, excessive ingestion of nutmeg can cause life-threatening toxicity. (66)

67. Olive Leaf

Olive leaf comes from the olive tree, and it is used in extracts, powders and teas to reduce inflammation, improve cardiovascular health, boost the immune system, prevent diabetes, support cognitive function, protect the skin, kill bacteria and fungi, reduce the risk of cancer and boost energy levels. (67)

68. Oregano

Oregano is an herb that has been used for healing for thousands of years. Oregano has the power to reduce inflammation, fight bacterial, fungal, viral and parasitic infections, fight allergies and even shrink tumors. Oil of oregano is extracted from the herb to make a powerful antibiotic agent that can kill many species of harmful bacteria. (68)

69. Paprika

Paprika is a spice that’s made from a variety of peppers in the Capsicum annuum family. Capsaicin, an ingredient in hot peppers that are used to make paprika, is known to support immune function and aid in treating autoimmune conditions. Paprika also contains many antioxidants, including carotenoids, that fight free radical damage that can cause disease, and it can be used to improve the health of your heart and eyes. (69)

70. Parsley

Parsley is an herb that can be used fresh or as a dried spice. It has the power to fight a number of health concerns, including bad breath, inflammation, kidney stones, digestive issues, skin problems, poor immunity, bladder infection and oxidative stress. Parsley is an excellent source of vitamins K, C and A, and it contains protective flavonoid antioxidants. (70)

71. Passion Flower

Passion flower is a plant that is used in tea, extract, infusion and tincture forms to relieve menopause symptoms like hot flashes and depression, reduce anxiety, improve sleep, reduce inflammation, lower blood pressure, regulate blood sugar levels and improve ADHD symptoms. (71)

72. Peppercorns

Peppercorns come from black pepper vines and they are dried and used as a spice. Peppercorns exhibit anti-diabetic, anti-cancer and antibacterial properties. They can also be used to aid digestion, lower blood pressure, improve cholesterol levels and reduce weight. (72)

73. Pimento

Pimento, which is known as allspice in some countries, comes from an evergreen tree and possesses pain-relieving, detoxifying, antibacterial, antioxidant and anti-stress properties. Pimento can also be used to promote blood circulation, reduce gassiness and boost the immune system. (73)

74. Pine Bark

Pine bark comes from the inner bark of the Pinus Pinaster tree and an extract is commonly used to make capsules, tablets, creams and lotions. Pine bark extract can be used to lower blood sugar levels, fight infections, help prevent hearing loss, improve erectile dysfunction, reduce inflammation, boost athletic performance and protect your skin from ultraviolet exposure. (74)

75. Psyllium Husk

Psyllium husk is an edible soluble fiber that comes from a shrub-like herb most common in India. It’s known for its ability to relieve digestive issues like constipation and diarrhea, and it can also be used to lower cholesterol and blood sugar levels, boost the health of your heart and help with weight management because it encourages a feeling of satiety. (75)

76. Raw Garlic

Garlic grows in the form of a bulb underneath a perennial plant that’s in the same family as chives, leeks, onions and scallions. Raw garlic fights diseases like cancer, heart disease, diabetes and dementia. It can also be consumed to lower blood pressure levels, fight infections and help to reverse hair loss. (76)

77. Red Clover

Red clover is a plant that belongs to the legume family. It can be used in extract form or in capsules to improve cardiovascular health, reduce menopausal symptoms, help you to maintain strong bones, reduce skin inflammation that causes conditions like eczema and psoriasis, fight respiratory conditions and lower your risk of certain cancers, such as prostate, endometrial and breast cancer. (77)

78. Rhodiola 

Rhodiola, which is also known as golden root, is an adaptogen herb that can help your body to adapt to physical, chemical and environmental stress. Rhodiola extract can be used to increase energy levels and boost athletic performance, lower cortisol levels that spike in times of stress, fight depression, improve brain function and burn belly fat. (78)

79. Rosemary

Rosemary is an aromatic herb that’s part of the mint family. It’s known for its ability to improve memory, promote hair growth, relieve muscle aches and pains, improve cognitive function and soothe digestive issues. Rosemary also possesses anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer, antioxidant, detoxifying, anti-stress and healing properties. Rosemary can be chopped or ground and added to meals, or rosemary oil can be be diffused and applied topically. (79)

80. Saffron

The edible part of the saffron plant is the stigma, which is a long golden stalk that’s within the flower. The stigmas, or threads, can be used in cooking or ground saffron is available. Consuming saffron promotes cardiovascular health, alleviates symptoms of PMS, treats anxiety and depression, promotes satiety and can help with weight loss, treats erectile dysfunction and helps to prevent or treat cancer. (80)

81. Sage

Sage is a woody herb that’s closely related to rosemary and has been used medicinally for thousands of years. When consumed even in small amounts, sage can improve your memory and concentration, fight free radicals, prevent degenerative diseases like dementia and Alzheimer’s, reduce inflammation, prevent or improve diabetes, boost your immune system, improve the health of your skin and strengthen your bones. (81)

82. Sarsaparilla

Sarsaparilla is an herb that’s a member of the lily plant family. The plant’s roots are ground and used to make teas, tinctures and supplements that help to relieve respiratory conditions, treat skin problems like psoriasis, reduce pain caused by inflammation, improve libido, ease headache pain, aid digestion, reduce fevers and fight infections. Research shows that sarsaparilla also has anti-tumor and cancer-preventing effects. (82)

83. Sassafras

Sassafras is a tree that grows widely in North America and the compounds found in the bark have medicinal value. Studies indicate that sassafras may be an effective treatment for certain cancers, like liver, gastric, oral, breast, prostate and lung cancer. It can also help with the management of diabetes, fight parasites, improve blood circulation, improve symptoms of epilepsy and help with certain neurological diseases. (83)

84. Shilajit

Shilajit is a tar-like substance that can be found in the Himalayan and Tibet mountains. You can use shilajit powder, resin or supplements to reduce inflammation, fight infections, boost energy levels, regulate hormones, strengthen your immune system, support your skeletal health, boost the health of your heart and brain, aid in breaking addictions and help in managing diabetes. (84)

85. Skullcap

Skullcap is a plant in the mint family that can be used to alleviate anxiety, insomnia and hysteria, stimulate blood flow in the pelvic region, relieve muscle spasms, reduce inflammation and encourage menstruation. Research also suggests that skullcap, which is available in many forms, can help to fight cancer cells because of its ability to neutralize free radicals. (85)

86. Slippery Elm

Slippery elm is a tree that’s bark is used to make teas, capsules, tablets and lozenges. It can be used to ease digestive issues like diarrhea, constipation, IBS and bloating, lower stress and anxiety levels, aid weight loss, improve skin conditions like psoriasis and prevent breast cancer. You can also use slippery elm for pets to relieve their digestive problems and reduce inflammation. (86)

87. Sorrel

Sorrel is an herb that is used to add a tangy flavor to foods, but it also boasts health benefits because of its nutrient content and antioxidants, and its antimicrobial, cancer-preventing and immune-boosting properties. Sorrel can be used to reduce blood pressure, promote blood circulation, improve diabetes symptoms, support the health of your kidneys, improve skin conditions and relieve digestive issues. (87)

88. St. John’s Wort

St. John’s wort is an herb that’s most commonly used as a natural remedy for depression, anxiety and insomnia. It can also be effective in improving ADHD symptoms, treating heart palpitations, relieving obsessive-compulsive disorder and seasonal affective disorder, easing symptoms of menopause and boosting mood. (88)

89. Stinging Nettle 

Stinging nettle is a plant that’s native to Europe and Asia. Products made from the roots, stems and leaves of stinging nettle can help to improve urinary issues and benign prostatic hyperplasia, ease allergy symptoms and prevent reactions to hay fever, ease joint pain and symptoms of osteoarthritis, slow down bleeding after surgery and improve eczema symptoms. (89)

90. Tarragon

Tarragon is an herb that’s in the sunflower family and has a flavor similar to anise. Fresh and uncooked tarragon leaves can be used in cooking and tarragon essential oil is used to aid digestion and spark appetite. Tarragon can also be helpful in improving sleep, encouraging menstruation, fighting bacteria and relieving toothaches.  (90)

91. Thyme

Thyme is an herb that’s part of the mint family and is often used in cooking. Thyme is a source of vitamins and minerals like vitamin C, vitamin A, iron, manganese and calcium. It can be used to boost your mood, relieve respiratory conditions like sore throat and bronchitis, lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels, and fight cancer cells. (91)

92. Triphala 

Triphala is an herbal formulation that’s made from three fruits, amla, haritaki and bibhitaki. Dried powder from these fruits are mixed and when consumed, boast health benefits like lowering cholesterol levels, aiding weight loss, reducing inflammation, relieving constipation and fighting cancer. Triphala can also be taken as a tea, tablet and liquid supplement. (92)

93. Tulsi

Tulsi, which is also known as holy basil, is used in cooking and to make flavored water, juices and tulsi tea. When consumed, tulsi can help to treat skin diseases, eye diseases, chronic fever, respiratory conditions like bronchitis and bronchial asthma, arthritis, diarrhea and dysentery. Tulsi can also be used to improve bad breath, prevent cavities, ease headache pain and balance hormones naturally. (93)

94. Turmeric

Turmeric is the most powerful herb on the planet and its benefits are superior to those of conventional medications. Turmeric supplements can be taken in place of antidepressants, anticoagulants, arthritis medications, skin condition treatments, anti-inflammatory medications and cholesterol regulators. Other turmeric benefits include its ability to aid weight loss, treat gastrointestinal issues, ease pain and treat cancer naturally. (94)

95. Valerian Root

Valerian root comes from a plant that’s native in Europe and parts of Asia. The root is sold as a dry powdered extract in capsules, teas, tinctures and fluid extracts. Valerian root is commonly used as a natural sleep aid because of its sedative properties. It can also ease anxiety, lower blood pressure, improve your ability to deal with stress and ease menstrual cramps. (95)

96. Vanilla Extract

When vanilla beans are combined with alcohol, this makes a vanilla tincture or extract that’s added to recipes for flavor. But vanilla extract also comes with a slew of health benefits, including its ability to fight bacterial infections, reduce inflammation, boost your mental health, reduce fevers and improve cholesterol levels. (96)

97. Vervain

Vervain is an herb that can be found in powder, tincture, capsule and tea forms. Vervain has cardioprotective, antimicrobial, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, sedative and anti-anxiety properties. It can also be used to improve your gum health by using vervain and hot water as a mouthwash. (97)

98. Vitex (Chasteberry)

Vitex, which is also known as chasteberry, can be used to tone your body’s systems, positively affect your hormones and improve the health of your skin. Use vitex to relieve PMS symptoms, reduce uterine fibroids, improve female fertility, treat endometriosis, reduce menopause symptoms, remedy amenorrhea, treat an enlarged prostate and promote lactation in women who are breastfeeding. (98)

99. Wild Yam

Wild yam is an herb that’s also known as colic root. It can be found in dried root, liquid, tea, capsule and dried root powder forms. Wild yam benefits include its ability to regulate blood sugar levels, improve cholesterol levels, reduce hyperpigmentation, relieve symptoms of diverticulosis and help to fight cancer. (99)

100. Witch Hazel

Witch hazel is a plant and the leaves, twigs and bark are used to make a skin-healing astringent that’s used to reduce acne, skin inflammation, poison ivy and insect bites. Using witch hazel can also help to heal cracked skin, ingrown hairs, excess sweating, varicose veins, razor burn and hemorrhoids. (100)

101. Yarrow 

Yarrow is an herb and the leaves can be used fresh or dried for cooking. Yarrow can also be used to make infused vinegars and oils. Consuming yarrow can help to heal skin wounds, stop bleeding, aid amenorrhea, treat mastitis, reduce inflammation, ease anxiety, improve digestive issues, reduce blood pressure and ease asthma. (101)


Precautions

When herbs and spices are used for medicinal purposes and consumed in greater amounts than would normally be eaten in your everyday diet, talk to your doctor or nutritionist about the proper dose for your condition. Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding, and people taking conventional medications should also speak to their health care providers before supplementing with spices and herbs.

When shopping for supplements, choose a good quality product that’s made by a company that you trust. Choose organic options whenever possible and read the ingredient label and dose recommendations carefully.


Final Thoughts

Trying to relieve or prevent a health condition, but you don’t want to turn to conventional medications? Using herbs and spices for healing can help to treat a number of health conditions. These 101 herbs and spices boast an array of health benefits that are right at your fingertips.

Read Next: Herbal Medicine Benefits & the Top Herbs Used

Source: dr axe

We dust because we must! Let’s face it — dust in your home is inevitable. The gradual buildup of pollen, […]
Source: plant therapy Blog

By Dr. Mercola

If you’ve ever been to a grocery store and picked up produce, you’ve more than likely opened a package or two and found yourself stuck with rubbery carrots, mealy apples or muskmelon that was either mushy or hard as a rock. Fruits and vegetables that disappoint once you get them home may have something to do with the fact that, more often than not, it’s not kids who have to be prodded to eat their fruits and vegetables, it’s adults (and if adults don’t think it’s important, chances are they aren’t influencing their kids to do so).

In fact, a recent report1 from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reveals that only 1 in 10 adults eats the fruits and veggies they need. The CDC recommends adults eat at least 1 1/2 cups to 2 cups of fruit per day, and 2 to 3 cups of vegetables. While most people definitely need to eat this amount (or more) of vegetables, the 80 percent of the population who are insulin resistant should not eat that much fruit.

Remember, fruit tends to be high in fructose, and if you’re insulin resistant, you’ll want to limit your total fructose to 15 grams a day until you’ve regained your metabolic flexibility and are able to burn fat for fuel. Once you can do that, you can add a bit more fruit, but be sure to monitor your sugar level to confirm you’re still in a healthy range.

The report notes that in 2015, only 9 percent of adults in the U.S. got an adequate amount of vegetables, and an average of 12 percent of adults ate enough fruit. Study results also showed that the lowest averages for produce consumption were among men, young adults and adults living in poverty. Lead study author Seung Hee Lee-Kwan, Ph.D., of CDC’s division of nutrition, physical activity and obesity, commented:

“This report highlights that very few Americans eat the recommended amount of fruits and vegetables every day, putting them at risk for chronic diseases like diabetes and heart disease. As a result, we’re missing out on the essential vitamins, minerals, and fiber that fruits and vegetables provide.”2

How to Pick the Ripest Fruit and the Freshest Veggies

You’ve heard it before: “What you see is what you get.” That’s not necessarily true with produce, though. In fact, researchers have discovered a fairly predictable reason why Americans, especially, tend to reach for something other than the healthy, plant-based foods they know they should eat.

The reason, the study at the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences discovered, is simply that people aren’t exactly sure how to pick what’s good and what might not be best in the flavor, freshness and texture categories when they find themselves standing in front of a produce table.

Researchers perused the surveys that 1,200 study consumers filled out regarding what generally caused them to choose six different types of produce, and found that appearance and aroma are the two most common determining factors. But when they use that model and choose a good one, it’s just chance, the scientists say.

Men’s Fitness3 explains that besides looking the produce over, using your nose is a better gauge for peak ripeness and taste. Today suggests three rules that will help you pick the tastiest tomatoes and perfectly ripened pears:

  • Beautiful doesn’t always mean it will taste good
  • Use your hands to help determine freshness
  • Shop for produce that’s currently in season

Also, beware of genetically engineered fruits and vegetables, which tend to be more heavily contaminated with pesticides such as glyphosate. Examples best avoided include Arctic apples, engineered to resist browning when cut.

Shipping and Shelf Life Impact Produce Quality

One reason appearance isn’t a good way to figure out what produce is best is that over decades, some fruits and vegetables, like Red Delicious apples, for instance, were bred to be beautiful rather than have a pleasing flavor and consistency, and the result became a mealy, tasteless, altogether disappointing piece of fruit.

When choosing fruits and vegetables, such as pears, strawberries, squash or sweet potatoes, picking it up and considering its weight may help you pick the best as well as its fragrance. Today notes three reasons why shopping for produce that’s in season (and avoiding the ones that aren’t) is wise:

“In the Golden Age of the American supermarket, Chilean tomatoes and South African asparagus are an arm’s length away when our soil is blanketed in snow. Sure, sometimes you just need a tomato, but there are three persuasive reasons to shop in season: it’s cheaper, it’s better and it’s better for you.”4

Here are some helpful suggestions for how to select high-quality produce. You could call these directives the “ABCs” of picking produce:

The ‘A’s’ Have It: How to Buy These Fruits and Veggies

Apples should be smooth, firm and heavy for their size without bruising (they bruise easily), nicks in the flesh, wormholes or brown streaks. The smaller they are, the more flavorful they’ll be. Peak season is September to May. Place them in your fridge’s crisper drawer in a brown paper bag away from vegetables to keep several weeks.

Artichokes aren’t typically the most sought-after produce, perhaps because consumers are unsure what to look for. They should have tightly closed leaves when ripe, have deep green color, feel heavy and show no mars in the flesh. Peak season is March to May. Refrigerate up to five days in a brown paper bag.

Avocados are unique and as such are some of the trickiest produce to pick in terms of peak ripeness, but the color and “feel” usually tell the story. They should be firm to the touch, not soft and with no mushy spots. The color will be medium to dark green. Don’t choose if you detect a “rattle” inside, as the pit has pulled away from the flesh.

Avocados, which are technically a fruit, are in season all year. Take care how you handle them as they bruise easily. Kept in cold storage, they’ll last for up to a week. To speed up the ripening process, place them in a paper bag with an apple at room temperature for a day or two. Ethylene gas makes the avocado ripen faster.

Don’t ‘B’ Missing Out on These

Bananas are sometimes a matter of taste in regard to how yellow they are, but they’re sweetest when they’re speckled with small brown spots. If they’re streaked with brown and the spots are large, pass them by. Never refrigerate them; store them at room temperature on the counter. These also are in season year-round, and can be “bagged” to speed up ripening.

Beets are gaining in popularity, but don’t have to be the tennis ball-sized nuggets some believe are best. Even large beets can be firm and delicious if they’re stored properly. They should be unblemished, firm and deep red that doesn’t yield when pressed with your thumb. The leaves should be vibrant, not wilted.

Peak season for beets is June to October. Remove the leaves, but leave about 4 inches of the stems so the beets will retain their deeper red color when cooked. Store them in the refrigerator in a brown paper bag for no more than two days or the crisper for up to two weeks; otherwise they become rubbery.

Broccoli should be firm, not rubbery, with tightly packed clusters that are deep green or with a purple tinge, but not yellow. Peak season is from October to May. Place them in a bag to store in the fridge for up to a week.

Brussels sprouts are somewhat like mini cabbages, only milder. They should be a vibrant green, firm and compact. They’re easiest to cook if you choose heads that are of similar size, but note that smaller ones have a sweeter flavor. These are best around October and November. To keep water from damaging their freshness, don’t wash them before storing them in a paper bag in your refrigerator, where they will keep for up to two weeks.

Berries can be a challenge. Even when refrigerated they may go bad within a day or two. One of the key strategies is to make sure the berries, whether they’re blueberries, raspberries or strawberries, are dry when you buy them. When they’re wet, they can deteriorate and mold seemingly overnight.

Alleviate this problem by soaking them in a vinegar and water solution — four parts water and one part vinegar, The Penny Hoarder5 advises. Swish them around for a minute or so, drain, rinse well and spread them in a single layer on paper towels, patting and rolling them gently.

Let them air dry for a while for good measure. To store, keep them dry by lining a perforated container with a paper towel, and do not seal it. Excess moisture will be able to evaporate; change the paper towels once they become damp. Discard any moldy berries.

You’ll ‘C’ Peak Season Freshness Pays Off in Flavor

Cantaloupes are a little tricky to pick, but here’s a trick: Besides having a smooth indentation on the stem end, when pressing it firmly with your thumb, it should give just slightly. That tells you where it is in the ripening process. If it’s soft anywhere, it’s too ripe and will probably be mushy. It should also be pleasantly fragrant. To keep cantaloupes from losing their flavor, store them in the refrigerator until you’re ready to eat them — up to five days.

Carrots should be smooth and bright orange (or one of the other vibrant colors they come in) and so firm they threaten to snap rather than bend. Your best bet, year-round, is to select carrots with their green, feathery leaves still attached. Remove the greens before storing them in a bag in your crisper drawer for up to three weeks.

Cauliflower is exploding in popularity since people have discovered it can be an excellent stand-in for pizza crust and even mashed potatoes. When shopping for this white veggie, male sure you don’t see little black flecks, and that the stems and florets are firm, not rubbery. At their peak, from September to November, refrigerate them unwashed in a plastic bag for up to a week. If light brown or black spots form, shave them off with a sharp knife.

If you’re in doubt about what’s in season, when, check out seasonalfoodguide.org.6 Simply select your state from the dropdown menu and the month in question to get a list of fruits and veggies that are in season in your local area. Gathering your produce for soups, stir-fries, fruit and veggie trays and just for good, fresh eating, buying foods when they’re in season ensures the best flavor, best texture and also the best in all the vitamins, minerals and multiple phytonutrients fruits and vegetables offer.


Source: mercola rss

By Dr. Mercola

After taking GlaxoSmithKline’s Paxil for just two days, retired oilman Don Schell brutally murdered his wife, daughter and 10-month-old granddaughter in the middle of the night before turning the gun on himself. The murders, which took place in 1998 in Gillette, Wyoming, shocked neighbors who couldn’t understand why Schell, who had no history of violence, appeared to have spontaneously killed the people in his life he loved the most.1

The bodies were discovered the following afternoon by Tim Tobin, the husband of Schell’s daughter Deb. After overcoming the shock of discovering such a gruesome scene, Tobin and other family members started to piece together what may have happened. The only thing that stood out was that Schell, who was a doting grandfather, had started taking Paxil just two days before the killings. At the time of the killing, he had taken just two tablets.

Could Paxil have been responsible for driving Schell to murder his family? The featured film, “The Secrets of Seroxat,” explores the dark and tormenting side-effects of Paxil (known as Seroxat in the U.K.) and GSK’s attempt to conceal the drug’s negative effects.

Paxil, the second most prescribed antidepressant next to Prozac, belongs to a class of drugs known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs).2 SSRIs, mind-altering drugs designed to enhance serotonin levels in the brain, are prescribed for depression and a number of other conditions including anxiety, worry, irritability, muscle tension and fatigue.

A Craving for Antidepressants

Some say antidepressants have helped them live normal lives. Others say the drugs are nothing short of a terrible nightmare. The featured film dives into the details of Paxil, interviewing users who report horrible side effects including self-harm and unbearable withdrawal symptoms. The film also follows the landmark court case that found GSK and its antidepressant Paxil responsible for causing Schell to murder his family.

The first story is of 22-year-old Helen Kelsall, who was prescribed Paxil for panic attacks. After being on the drug for more than four years, Kelsall decided she wanted to come off it. But when she tried, she suffered intense symptoms of withdrawal including headaches, muscle cramps, nausea, sweating, trembling and feelings of electric shock in her head.

The drug’s maker, GSK, insists that withdrawal symptoms subside and that addiction to Paxil is an impossibility. In fact, that’s one of the drug’s strongest selling points. But many Paxil users, including Kelsall, disagree. In 2001, GSK was hit with a major lawsuit by plaintiffs who claimed they became chronically addicted to Paxil after being prescribed the drug for mild depression or anxiety.

The dozens of plaintiffs, among which included a website designer, bank fraud investigator and senior air force officer, say that upon trying to quit Paxil they “suffered violent and disturbing symptoms, including jolting pains in the head, vertigo, loss of coordination, abdominal discomfort, flu symptoms, agitation and confusion,” according to The Guardian.3 Like Kelsall, the plaintiffs allege they were never informed about the possibility of becoming addicted to Paxil.

The Nightmare You Cannot Wake Up From

Kelsall’s Paxil story is captured on video as the young woman documents her journey to quit the drug, videotaping her most unbearable symptoms of withdrawal. Kelsall, who during the film is in the third year of her master’s degree, says the higher education she’s worked so hard for is at risk of being ripped away due to her addiction to Paxil. “As I take each step, there’s a shock in my head that’s completely throwing me off balance,” says Kelsall.  

Her withdrawal symptoms are so severe she’s forced to taper off the drug slowly rather than stop it completely. “Quitting makes me incredibly sick,” says Kelsall, who is shown cutting the potent drug in half in an effort to gradually decrease her intake. “If I knew this drug was addictive or was capable of causing the horrible side effects I now endure, I never would have taken it,” she says.

As awful as the withdrawal symptoms are, other symptoms are even more concerning, including the ones Schell is believed to have suffered before hurting his beloved family. Paxil, like other SSRIs, is also linked to self-harm and suicidal and homicidal behavior. Ed Casey was in a band and recording singles when he started taking Paxil.

Life was mostly good, except that, at times, Casey suffered from low self-esteem and bouts of depression. His doctors prescribed him Paxil, after which he began to change, becoming more introverted and moody.

After just two weeks on the drug, Casey started showing signs of self-harm. He began to mutilate himself, burning cigarettes into his arms and slicing his flesh with razor blades. The behavior was new. Casey had never hurt himself before or had thoughts of hurting himself — that is until he started taking Paxil.

When the Cure Is Worse Than the Original Complaint

Other Paxil users, including healthy people with no history of depression, have experienced similar feelings of mental turmoil — a worrisome symptom GSK not only knew about, but declined to reveal. After the death of his wife and child, Tobin sued GSK, alleging that Paxil led Schell to kill his family. The drug company placed blame on Schell’s depression, denying any link between Paxil, aggressive behavior and homicidal tendencies.

The lawsuit brought documents to light that GSK had kept secret for 15 years. A trove of archived files of clinical trial results was hidden away in Essex, a county east of England. The files detailed clinical trial results of Paxil on healthy people, in other words, individuals with no history of anxiety or depression.

Dr. David Healy, an expert on SSRIs and director at North Wales Department of Psychological Medicine, was called in to review the files. Healy had been involved in another study looking at adverse effects of an SSRI similar to Paxil on healthy people.

The study was conducted on healthy volunteers, which included general practitioners, senior nurses and consultant psychiatrists working in the North Wales Department of Psychological Medicine. What he observed is that when people were given the wrong drug, they went through a state of mental turmoil, ultimately becoming suicidal. Healy wondered if Paxil could have similar effects.

Guilty of Murder

The warehouse of archived files — some of which were missing — contained more than 250,000 sheets of paper. The task of learning what was in those files proved overwhelming. Still, in just two days, Healy read all of the documents outlining the effects of Paxil on healthy people. Some who went on the drug had no problems while others ended up in a state of mental turmoil; 1 in 4 suffered these side effects, even on normal doses and when taken for only a few days.

Healy learned healthy people also suffered withdrawal symptoms when quitting Paxil — and GSK was well aware of it. Up to 85 percent of volunteers taking the drug for a matter of weeks suffered withdrawal, the documents showed. Healy’s conclusion? It wasn’t depression that made Schell murder his family. It was Paxil. The jurors agreed.

To his surprise, Tobin won his lawsuit against GSK and was awarded $6.4 million in damages. It wasn’t the money Tobin was after, but rather the clearing of his step-father’s name, and hope that the verdict would protect others from falling victim to the same fate of his family. Tobin said:

“I really just did want to win, to say, OK, the drugs did do it — what's everyone going to do now? And of course, there's been nothing. I honestly believe until it's somebody of importance it will be very difficult to get any changes. Here I am, a simple man from Montana. I'm not exceptionally rich or famous or anything. Who's going to listen to me?”

Despite Guilty Verdict, It’s Business as Usual  

Despite losing the case, GSK maintains that there’s no evidence Paxil causes violence, aggression or homicide. Representatives for GSK are more concerned about the company than the welfare of people going on their drug, says the film’s narrator. After the verdict, GSK added a warning to the patient leaflets in Britain. However, the label avoided any mention of the link between Paxil and suicidal thoughts. Instead it read:

“Occasionally, the symptoms of depression may include thoughts of harming yourself or committing suicide. Until the full antidepressant effect of your medicine becomes apparent, these symptoms may increase in the first few weeks of treatment.”

Today, it’s business as usual for GSK, which filled some 15 million prescriptions for Paxil and paroxetine (a generic version of the drug) in the U.S. last year. One in 10 adolescents and adults aged 12 and over has filled a prescription for an antidepressant, and 1 in 7 adults over the age of 40 has done the same.4

GSK has paid out more than $1 billion to settle more than 800 different lawsuits related to Paxil, in addition to a $3 billion settlement with the U.S. Department of Justice for the illegal marketing of Paxil and other drugs. Yet Paxil has remained a “staple” in the psychiatrist’s arsenal.

Offering Kids Candy to Take Antidepressants?

Rather than address the issues associated with Paxil, GSK is looking to expand its prescription base, eying children as its newest customer. Children are being recruited right here in the U.S. to serve as test subjects for dangerous antidepressants and SSRI medications. The film features a private clinic in Texas called Bayou City Research, which conducts pharmaceutical research and trials on children and adolescents.

Bayou City Research advertises for children through ads in the local newspaper, offering free cookies, travel reimbursements and, of course, free psychotropic drugs. In 2001, American child psychiatrist, Dr. Neal D. Ryan completed a GSK-funded study known as “Study 329,” on kids using Paxil.5 The good news, he said, is that depressed children did better on Paxil than an older drug and those who took sugar pills.

The bad news? Ten out of the 93 children studied suffered serious psychiatric problems within weeks of going on the drug — and most of them had to be hospitalized. Five of the 93 children had suicidal thoughts and gestures, while another five had serious psychiatric side effects. Despite such findings, rather than warn doctors about side effects such as suicide, GSK has encouraged them to prescribed Paxil to teens and children, citing their own research showing the drug is safe and effective for teens.

Industry Research Refuted by New Study

Reanalysis of the original data in Study 329 found that Paxil was neither safe nor effective for teens. In fact, its effectiveness, both clinically and statistically, was right on par with placebo. It also found that serious side effects such as suicidal tendencies were mislabeled and misrepresented. As it turns out, the elevated risk for suicidal ideation was only gleaned by digging into the actual patient files, where the exact nature of the behavior was recorded.

In terms of harms, the difference between Paxil and placebo was “striking,” according to the researchers. Severe adverse events were 260 percent more frequent on Paxil compared to placebo, psychiatric adverse events were 400 percent more frequent, and suicide was 10,300 percent more frequent. During the eight-week-long study, 11 individuals in the Paxil group engaged in suicidal behavior, compared to just one in the placebo group.

Despite evidence of harm in children and adolescents, preschoolers and children 18 and younger are the fastest growing group on antidepressants.6 As for adults, 1 in 6 Americans is prescribed some type of psychiatric drug; the majority of which are on the drugs for the long term.7

Natural Options for Treating Depression

Fortunately, there are many other ways to deal with anxiety and depression that do not involve unsafe drugs. There's a growing acceptance that the mind-body connection is very real, and that maintaining good physical health can significantly lower your risk of developing depression in the first place. Here are several strategies that have been shown to be helpful:

Dramatically decrease your consumption of sugar (particularly fructose), grains and processed foods. (In addition to being high in sugar and grains, processed foods also contain a variety of additives that can affect your brain function and mental state, especially MSG and artificial sweeteners such as aspartame.)

There's a great book on this subject, “Sugar Blues,” written by American writer and news desk assistant editor William Dufty more than 30 years ago, that delves into the topic of sugar and mental health in great detail.

Increase consumption of probiotic foods such as fermented vegetables and kefir made from raw, grass fed milk, to promote healthy gut flora. Mounting evidence tells us that having a healthy gut is profoundly important for both physical and mental health, and the latter can be severely impacted by an imbalance of intestinal bacteria.

Avoiding sugar will also help toward this end. This is especially important during pregnancy, because if mother's flora is abnormal, her baby's flora will also be abnormal.

Get adequate vitamin B12. Vitamin B12 deficiency can contribute to depression and affects 1 in 4 people.

Optimize your vitamin D level, ideally through regular sun exposure. Vitamin D is very important for your mood. In one study, people with the lowest levels of vitamin D were found to be 11 times more prone to depression than those who had normal levels.

Get plenty of animal-based omega-3 fats. DHA and EPA are crucial for good brain function and mental health. Unfortunately, most people don't get enough from diet alone. If you do not regularly eat wild-caught salmon, sardines or anchovies, consider taking a high-quality animal-based omega-3 fat such as krill oil.

Dr. Andrew L. Stoll, a Harvard psychiatrist, was one of the early leaders in compiling the evidence supporting the use of animal based omega-3 fats for the treatment of depression. He wrote an excellent book that details his experience in this area called "The Omega-3 Connection: The Groundbreaking Antidepression Diet and Brain Program."

Evaluate your salt intake. Sodium deficiency actually creates symptoms that are very much like those of depression. Make sure you do not use processed salt (regular table salt), however. You'll want to use an all-natural, unprocessed salt like Himalayan salt, which contains more than 80 different micronutrients.

Get adequate daily exercise, including high-intensity exercise, which is one of the most effective strategies for preventing and overcoming depression. Studies on exercise as a treatment for depression have shown there is a strong correlation between improved mood and aerobic capacity.

Get adequate amounts of sleep. You can have the best diet and exercise program possible, but if you aren't sleeping well you can easily become depressed. Sleep and depression are so intimately linked that a sleep disorder is actually part of the definition of the symptom complex that gives the label depression.


Source: mercola rss

Amylopectin - Dr. Axe

By Rachael Link, MS, RD

We all know that loading up on the cookies, candy and soda can skyrocket blood sugar levels and lead to adverse effects on health. But did you know that the same could be true for certain types of starch as well? Thanks to amylopectin, a type of carbohydrate found in starch, some starches may actually have a similar effect.

Amylopectin digestion may raise blood sugar and insulin levels, causing an increase in triglycerides and cholesterol and leading to fat accumulation.

This carbohydrate is widespread throughout the food supply and is the main component of starches, including rice, bread and potatoes.

However, by opting for foods lower in amylopectin and increasing your intake of high-fiber, low-glycemic foods instead, you can sidestep the negative side effects of this carbohydrate.


What Is Amylopectin?

The official amylopectin definition is: “a component of starch that has a high molecular weight and branched structure and does not tend to gel in aqueous solutions.”

To put it more simply, though, amylopectin is a type of carbohydrate found in the starches that we commonly consume, such as rice, potatoes and bread.

Starch is made up of two different polysaccharides, or carbohydrates: amylose and amylopectin. Each starch molecule is about 80 percent amylopectin and 20 percent amylose.

Amylose is made up of long, linear chains of glucose units while amylopectin is highly branched. In fact, it is composed of between 2,000 and 200,000 glucose units, and each inner chain comprises 20–24 subunits of glucose. (1)

Amylopectin is also considered insoluble, meaning that it does not dissolve in water.

This starch molecule has a very similar structure to glycogen, a type of branched polysaccharide that is used to store glucose, or sugar, in your liver and muscles. When comparing amylopectin vs. glycogen, both are highly branched and made up of alpha glucose units, but glycogen has more branches.

While starch molecules are considered the main storage form of energy in plants, glycogen is the primary storage form of energy in humans and animals.


Amylopectin vs. Amylose

Amylose and amylopectin share some similarities but are also drastically different in the ways that they are digested and processed in the body. As mentioned previously, the differences between these two starch molecules starts with their physical structure. Amylose is long and linear while amylopectin is made up of thousands of branches of glucose units.

Although starches contain both of these carbohydrates, the ratio can make a major impact on the way it’s digested and processed. This is because amylopectin is more easily digested and absorbed than amylose. While this may sound like a good thing, it actually means that eating foods rich in this carbohydrate can lead to spikes in blood sugar, insulin and cholesterol levels as well as increased belly fat. A high amount of amylopectin can also increase the glycemic index of foods, which is a measure of how much blood sugar levels increase after consumption. (2)

Meanwhile, foods high in amylose tend to have higher levels of resistant starch, a type of starch that isn’t completely broken down or absorbed by the body. Resistant starch has been shown to reduce fat storage, increase satiety, lower cholesterol levels and blood sugar, and improve insulin sensitivity. (3)

Therefore, it’s best to minimize your intake of foods high in amylopectin and instead focus on selecting starches that have a higher ratio of amylose to ensure you’re getting the most health benefits possible from your diet.


Amylopectin Function

Amylopectin makes up the majority of the starch molecule, which is the primary storage form of energy for plants.

Much like humans, animals and all living organisms, plants need energy so they can grow and function. Plants use a special process called photosynthesis, which involves using chlorophyll to convert sunlight, carbon dioxide and water into sugar, or glucose, to be used as energy. Any extra glucose is stored as starch, which the plant can then convert back into glucose when it needs an extra bit of energy.

In humans, when we eat starch, it is converted to sugar, or glucose, which can also be used for energy. The cells in our bodies depend on this energy to function, making sure that we are able to build and maintain healthy tissues, move our muscles, and keep our organs working efficiently.

Like plants, we are also able to keep unused glucose for use later in the form of glycogen, which is mainly stored in the muscles and liver and can be easily converted to glucose when needed.


Amylopectin Side Effects

  1. Spikes Blood Sugar and Insulin
  2. Raises Cholesterol Levels
  3. Increases Belly Fat

1. Spikes Blood Sugar and Insulin

Foods with a higher amount of amylopectin have a higher glycemic index, which means they can cause a quick increase in blood sugar and insulin levels.

Insulin is the hormone that is responsible for the transportation of sugar from the blood to the tissues where it can be utilized. When you sustain high levels of insulin over a long period of time, it can decrease the effectiveness of insulin, leading to insulin resistance and high blood sugar.

A study from the Beltsville Human Nutrition Research Center in Maryland published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition fed 12 participants a diet composed of either 70 percent amylose or amylopectin for five weeks. Compared to amylose, amylopectin led to a greater increase in blood sugar and insulin levels. (4)

Another animal study from Australia showed that feeding rats a high-amylopectin diet for 16 weeks resulted in a 50 percent higher insulin response as well as insulin resistance. (5)

Conversely, another study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed that higher amounts of amylose delayed carbohydrate digestion and absorption and caused decreased blood sugar and insulin levels. (6)

 

Amylopectin side effects - Dr. Axe

 

2. Raises Cholesterol Levels

In addition to increasing blood sugar levels, a diet high in amylopectin could also negatively impact blood cholesterol levels. Research shows that eating foods with a higher glycemic index, such as those that are high in amylopectin, could decrease triglyceride and good HDL cholesterol levels. (7)

Studies have also found that insulin resistance, which can occur as a result of an a high-glycemic diet, may be associated with an increase in cholesterol production. (8) The Beltsville Human Nutrition Research Center study mentioned above, in particular, found that eating a diet high in amylopectin led to increases in cholesterol and triglyceride levels compared to a diet high in amylose.

Meanwhile, multiple animal studies have found that resistant starch from higher concentrations of amylose could lead to lower blood cholesterol and triglyceride concentrations in rats. (9, 10)

3. Increases Belly Fat

One of the most visible side effects of amylopectin is its effect on your waistline. That’s because eating lots of amylopectin can increase insulin, leading to an increase in visceral fat.

Insulin plays a major role in fat storage and metabolism. It blocks the breakdown of fat and increases the uptake of triglycerides from the blood into the fat cells. (11) Sustaining high levels of circulating insulin can cause insulin resistance as well as an increase in fat storage and a decrease in fat burning, as noted in research out of the University of Toronto in Canada. (12)

Additionally, eating foods with a high glycemic index, such as those with a higher ratio of amylopectin, can increase hunger and the risk of overeating, as research from the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University shows. (13)

On the other hand, studies have shown that amylose and resistant starch can enhance fat burning, promote satiety and reduce fat storage. (14, 15)


Amylopectin Foods

Although all starches contain some amylopectin, certain types may have a higher ratio of amylopectin than others. Simple carbs that have a high glycemic index are likely to be higher in amylopectin while foods with a lower glycemic index are likely higher in amylose.

High-amylopectin foods include:

  • Short-grain rice
  • White bread
  • Bagels
  • White potatoes
  • Cookies
  • Crackers
  • Pretzels
  • Instant oatmeal
  • Puffed rice
  • Cornflakes
  • Rice cakes

Instead of filling your plate with these foods, consider swapping in a few foods that are higher in amylose instead. These foods can help you maintain normal blood sugar levels, keep cholesterol levels low and prevent fat accumulation.

High-amylose foods include:

  • Long-grain rice
  • Oats
  • Quinoa
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Bananas
  • Whole wheat
  • Barley
  • Rye
  • Beans
  • Legumes

 

Amylopectin foods - Dr. Axe

 


History

Starch has been an integral part of our history since ancient times. Early documentation on the uses of starch is limited; Egyptians supposedly used a starchy adhesive to stick pieces of papyrus together as far back as 4,000 B.C. while in 312 A.D., starch helped proved useful in preventing ink penetration in Chinese papers. (16)

However, although starch has been a dietary and industrial staple for centuries, it is only in the last several hundred years that we’ve come to understand more about its unique structure and the way that amylose and amylopectin function in the body.

Antonie van Leeuwenhoek, often dubbed as the father of microbiology, was the first to observe starch microscopically in 1716. However, it wasn’t until over 200 years later that researchers began to focus on the differences between amylose and amylopectin.

In the 1940s, scientists developed more accurate techniques to separate amylose and amylopectin from starch molecules and began studying the highly branched structure of amylopectin. They were also able to discover the amylopectin enzyme that contributes to the synthesis and breakdown of starch, which helped them understand the complexities of its structure even more. (17)

Other research into the different types of starch has also been fairly recent. In the 1970s, for example, the concept of resistant starch was initially created. Years later, the Commission of the European Communities officially funded research to form an official definition of resistant starch. (18)

As our knowledge about starch continues to increase, we have begun to learn more about how this important dietary component can affect many different facets of health.


Precautions/Side Effects

A diet high in starch can negatively impact many aspects of health. It can result in an increase in blood sugar, insulin, cholesterol and triglyceride levels, as well as increased fat accumulation.

Ideally, amylopectin should be limited in all diets. However, this is especially important for those who have diabetes or uncontrolled blood sugar levels.

For these individuals, carbohydrate intake should be kept in moderation, and the carbs that are included in the diet should be from nutrient-rich, high-fiber and low-glycemic foods. This can help slow the absorption of sugar from the bloodstream and prevent spikes and crashes in blood sugar levels.

Additionally, many foods high in both amylose and amylopectin contain gluten. If you have celiac disease or a sensitivity to gluten, you should swap these foods for gluten-free, nutrient-dense whole grains like millet, quinoa, sorghum, rice or buckwheat.


Final Thoughts

  • Starch molecules are made up of two types of carbohydrates, amylose and amylopectin. Amylose is long and linear while amylopectin is highly branched.
  • Amylopectin is broken down rapidly and has a higher glycemic index, meaning it can increase blood sugar rapidly after eating.
  • Eating a diet high in this carbohydrate can also increase insulin, cholesterol and triglyceride levels; lead to insulin resistance; and cause fat accumulation.
  • Conversely, eating foods higher in amylose may have the opposite effect, decreasing cholesterol, triglycerides, insulin and blood sugar levels, while also promoting satiety and weight loss.
  • Foods high in amylopectin include white bread, short-grain rice, cookies, crackers, pretzels and breakfast cereals.
  • To promote healthy blood sugar levels and achieve optimal health, opt for low-glycemic foods that are lower in amylopectin and high in fiber and use in combination with an overall healthy diet.

Read Next: Amylase: The Anti-Diabetes Digestive Enzyme that Boosts Energy

Source: dr axe

By Dr. Mercola

While they look deceptively similar to lettuce, with one bite you will realize endive tastes slightly bitter. Despite there being a fair amount of confusion in terms of distinguishing endive from other members of the chicory family, it is characterized by a large rosette with narrow, curly-edged, light-green center leaves surrounded by dark-green outer leaves.

Endive’s close relatives — Belgian endive, curly endive (also known as frisée) and escarole — are names of other chicory relatives that are sometimes confused and used interchangeably with endive.

No matter which endive variety you choose, all of them are an excellent source of vitamins A, B, C and K, as well as calcium, copper, iron, manganese, potassium and zinc. The bitter taste of endive results from a substance called intybin, which is thought to be a mild appetite stimulant and digestive aid. Endive also contains kaempferol, a flavonoid found in many fruits and vegetables that has been shown to reduce your risk of ovarian cancer.

If you enjoy stronger-tasting salad greens, I highly recommend endive, which was ranked No. 13 on a list of the top powerhouse fruits and vegetables. Here’s all you need to know to successfully grow and enjoy endive.

Endive, Belgian Endive, Escarole, Curly Endive: What’s the Difference?

Endive, which originated from Asia Minor, is a type of chicory found within the daisy (Asteraceae or Compositae) family.1 While it is closely related to lettuces, endive has both a distinctive look and taste. Other chicories are: Belgian endive, curly endive (also known as frisée), escarole and radicchio. Although endive is often described as coming in both curly and flat-leaf varieties, that is not quite true. While all of the chicories are bitter tasting, you can tell them apart according to their leaves:2

  • Belgian endive has pale yellow leaves and an elongated rocket-like shape
  • Endive features a rosette of narrow, frilly leaves
  • Escarole is characterized by a rosette of broader, flatter leaves
  • Curly endive, also known as frisée ("free-ZAY"), is frizzy and wild-looking with curly, pale green or yellowish leaves. To add more confusion, what Americans and the French refer to as frisée is called endive in the U.K.

Health Benefits of Endive

All endive varieties are an excellent source of vitamins A, B, C and K, as well as calcium, copper, iron, manganese, potassium and zinc. Endive is low in calories and fat, and has a high fiber content. A 3.5-ounce portion (100 grams) of endive, which contains just 17 calories, provides:3,4

  • 192 percent of your recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for vitamin K, which is important for balanced blood coagulation
  • 72 percent of your RDA for vitamin A, which is necessary to maintain healthy mucus membranes and skin, and may help protect against lung cancer5
  • 36 percent of your RDA for folate (vitamin B9), which works together with endive’s other B vitamins — thiamin (B1), niacin (B3), pantothenic acid (B5) and pyridoxine (B6) — to ensure the healthy metabolism of carbohydrates, fats and proteins to enable you to remain energized throughout the day
  • 18 percent of your RDA for manganese, which assists in the formation of your blood-clotting factors, bones, connective tissues and sex hormones, as well as brain and nerve function

Endive contains a substance called intybin, which is not only responsible for the bitter taste of its leaves, but also is thought to be a mild appetite stimulant and digestive aid. Due to its high fiber content, when consumed in large amounts, Belgian endive can act as a diuretic and laxative. Kaempferol, a flavonoid found in many fruits and vegetables, including endive, has been shown to reduce your risk of ovarian cancer.

Kaempferol naturally inhibits ovarian cancer cells. In fact, cancer cells die when they are exposed to kaempferol. It also has the ability to stop cancer from growing the new blood vessels needed to feed it — starving them through a process called apoptosis. Authors of a 2011 study6 said: “[K]aempferol induces apoptosis in ovarian cancer cells … and is a good candidate for the chemoprevention of ovarian cancers in humans.”

Scientists involved with multiyear research7,8 involving 66,940 women enrolled in the Nurses’ Health Study noted a 40 percent reduction in ovarian cancer risk among women who had the highest kaempferol intake, compared to women with the lowest consumption.

Expert Tips on the Best Way to Grow Endive

As with any vegetable, choosing a type that grows well in your area and following recommended planting guidelines is the best way to ensure a bountiful crop. Below are some tips from gardening experts you may want to consider when planting endive:9,10,11

Companion Plants

Endive will thrive near radishes, parsnips and turnips. Do not plant them in the vicinity of pumpkins or squash.

Sowing

For an early-summer harvest, sow seeds indoors in flats eight to 10 weeks before the last expected frost in your area; after plants appear, thin to 6 inches apart. For fall crops, direct seed about 90 days before the date of the first frost. If desired, you can seed every two weeks to ensure a continuous harvest.

Plan your endive crops so they come to harvest before temperatures average higher than 85 degrees F, and keep in mind most endive varieties take 85 to 100 days to mature.

When direct seeding, water the ground thoroughly and place three seeds per inch, covering them with about one-third inch of compost, soil or sand. When seedlings appear, thin them to at least 1 foot apart. Space rows 18 to 24 inches apart. Proper spacing will prevent the plants from going to seed (also known as bolting), and developing overlapping leaves, which can cause endive to rot.

Soil

Endive thrives in well-worked, well-drained soil that retains moisture. For best results, loosen the soil and add aged compost to your garden bed before planting. Side dress with more compost at midseason. The best soil pH for endive is 5.0 to 6.8.

Sun

Endive prefers full sun, but may need shade if the weather turns hot.

Transplanting

Transplant endive seedlings into your vegetable garden when they are about 4 to 5 inches tall and there is no longer danger of frost. Space them about 1 foot apart. Place them slightly deeper in the ground than they were in the flats.

Watering

Without sufficient water, endive leaves will become tough and bitter, so plan to give them about 1 inch of water a week. For best results, water the soil thoroughly, not the plants, because wet endive has a tendency to rot.

Blanching: The Key to Beautiful Color Change and Milder Taste

About two to three weeks before your endive plants are expected to mature, you can decide if you want to blanch them. Blanching prevents sunlight from reaching the plant’s interior, slowing the production of chlorophyll, which produces the bitter taste. Blanching not only turns endive’s inner leaves a creamy yellow color, but also reduces some of its natural bitterness, affording a milder taste. Keep in mind this technique will diminish endive’s vitamin content.

To blanch endive during the final stage of its growth, use rubber bands or twine to tie the leaf tops tightly together. As an alternative, you can use a box, bucket or pot to cover the entire plant for about two to three weeks, until the color change has occurred.

Be sure to do the blanching on a dry day because wet leaves will be more prone to rotting when banded together. Also, keep in mind that once blanched, endive leaves will deteriorate rather quickly. As such, it is best to blanch only a couple of plants at a time and eat them within a day or two.

Common Varieties of Endive and Escarole

If you like slightly bitter salad greens, you have several varieties of endive from which to choose, ensuring you will find one that suits your tastes. Endive varieties (and their days to maturity) include:12,13

Frisan: outer leaves are dark green, well filled, well blanched centers (98 days)

Galia: petite variety with finely cut leaves (45-60 days)

Green Curled Ruffec: finely cut and frilly leaves (90 days)

President: hardiest in fall (80 days)

Salad King: large frame, nonbolting in warm weather (98 days)

Tosca: very fine “shoestring” leaves, narrower than other types, white blanched hearts (85 days)

Tres Fine Endive: extra finely cut, lacy leaves and easy to grow (48 days)

Harvesting Endive

Similar to lettuce, you can harvest individual endive leaves or entire plants as needed. Use a knife to cut the plants at ground level, leaving the root system intact. Doing so will encourage new growth in warm weather, giving you a steady supply of tasty salad greens. Store the greens in a plastic bag in your refrigerator. Whole endive heads will last about a week. Cut endive leaves discolor quickly so be sure to use them right away when serving cut leaves in salads and other preparations.

How to Cultivate Belgian Endive

Belgian endive (Cichorium intybus) is a totally different species from regular endive and is distinguished by its pale yellow, elongated bulb-like shape. You can either grow Belgian endive in your garden under normal conditions, or cultivate it indoors out of season for a tasty winter salad crop. To accomplish the latter, you must sow seeds outdoors in late spring in deep, loose soil.

In the fall, dig up the roots and cut off the top 2 inches of growth above the crown. Trim the roots and set the plants upright in deep pots. Add potting mix to cover the roots and then layer on 6 to 8 inches of sand. Maintain the pots in an area with a consistent temperature of 60 to 70 degrees F. Keep the sand moist. Belgian endive is ready to harvest as soon as the tips peek through the sand.

Ways to Enjoy Belgian Endive

Belgian endive is versatile — it is tasty raw and also stands up in cooked preparations. Due to its slightly bitter flavor, Belgian endive pairs well with:14

Cheeses: bleu, feta, gorgonzola and manchego

Dressings: honey, balsamic or raspberry vinaigrette

Fruits: apples, cranberries and pears

Herbs: basil and thyme

Meats: bacon, lamb, poultry and prosciutto

Nuts: pecans and walnuts

Sauces: cream-based sauces and raw, organic, grass fed butter

Other: olive oil and onions

No matter how you grow or eat it, given its many nutritional benefits, endive is a healthy salad green that is sure to be a taste sensation. Fruits & Veggies — More Matters, an initiative designed to encourage Americans to increase their fruit and vegetable consumption for health reasons, offers 10 creative ways to enjoy Belgian endive:15

Endive appetizers

Top cold Belgian endive leaves with sliced grapes and walnuts drizzled with a light vinaigrette dressing.

Endive bake

Place Belgian endive leaves on a baking sheet and brush with raw, organic, grass fed butter and/or top with grated cheese; bake until the cheese is melted.

Endive ceviche

As an alternative to traditional ceviche made with assorted seafood, try artichoke ceviche in Belgian endive.16

Endive dipper

Use Belgian endive leaves instead of crackers, and also try them with your favorite vegetable dips.

Endive in salads

Add chopped Belgian endive leaves to salads for a new taste sensation.

Endive in soups

Try substituting Belgian endive for cabbage in your favorite soups.

Endive on sandwiches

Replace lettuce leaves with Belgian endive leaves on sandwiches for a tasty kick, or better yet, use endive leaves in place of the bread.

Endive stir-fry

Boost the vitamin and mineral content of your favorite stir-fry recipe by adding chopped Belgian endive leaves just prior to serving.

Endive on the grill

Grill Belgian endive until lightly browned and wilted, then top with balsamic vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper and toasted walnuts.

Endive sauté

Sauté Belgian endive in raw, organic, grass fed butter and add a squeeze of fresh lemon and salt and pepper to taste. 


Source: mercola rss

By Dr. Mercola

If you don't grow herbs in your garden, outside containers or inside, you're missing out on powerful flavors, variety in your meals and impressive health benefits. Aromatic herbs are an excellent key ingredient to any garden, most providing you with a full summer of growth and beauty. Herbs are derived from the leafy green parts of plants, like their leaves and stems, while spices come from other parts, such as flowers, roots, bulbs or bark.

Herbs are often used fresh, while spices are usually dried before use in cooking. However, both offer unique and potent additions to your meals and your health. Chives are an herb with a long history. The plant is easily grown in your backyard or even indoors and offers several health benefits inside a fragrant and pleasantly subtle onion or garlic-flavored herb.

History and Facts

Chives are a member of the onion family native to Asia and Europe. They were actively cultivated during the Middle Ages and used in China,1 prized for their delicate taste. The wild cousin of the chive can be found growing throughout the Northern Hemisphere. The chive grows in clumps like grasses. Unlike the onion, there is no large bulb that grows underground. Instead, the chive is valued for the green leaves and round, puffy flowers.

The Romans brought chives to Britain, where they still grow wild near Hadrian's Wall, a defensive wall built in A.D.122 during the reign of emperor Hadrian.2 Today the plant is used as an herb and an ornamental garden plant. Chives are related to the lily family, as are onions, garlic and leeks,3 and a member of the allium family. Members of this family of vegetables share the same basic body type: thin grass-like leaves growing from a bulb or fleshy roots.

The botanical name, Allium schoenoprasum, is derived from a Greek word meaning reed-like leek.4 These herbs are among the easiest to grow in the allium family as they are perennial, coming back year after year with little encouragement, and they are among the first to appear in early spring.5 Historically, the leaves were used in fortunetelling and were dried in bunches to hang inside the home in order to drive away evil spirits and diseases.6

Chives Have Unique Health Benefits

Allium vegetables contain organosulphur, flavonoids and a number of vitamins and minerals. These delicate herbs are nutrient dense, low in calories but high in antioxidants.7 In a recent study, chives ranked 14th in nutrient density8 when compared to 47 other fruits and vegetables identified as powerhouse plants — those most closely associated with a reduced risk of chronic disease. The researchers classified the plants in raw form as different methods of cooking may alter nutrient value.

The scores were weighted using data on bioavailability. The percent of recommended daily value was capped at 100 in order to reduce the potential one nutrient would artificially tip the scales in favor of a fruit or vegetable. Items in the cruciferous family were at the top of the list, while those that were yellow/orange, citrus or allium were toward the lower half of the group.

It's important to remember that only the fruits and vegetables considered nutrient dense were included in the group of 47 evaluated. The chive blossom also contains nutrients important to your health and wellness.9 Analysis of the chive blossom by scientists in Poland revealed they contained important fatty acids including palmitic acid, linoleic acid and stearic acid as well as vitamin E.

Powerhouse Plant Is Vitamin Rich

Intake of vegetables rich in organosulfur has beneficial effects in several disease and illness processes, including:10

Mouth cancer

Stomach cancer

Prostate cancer

Bone health

Improved sleep

Lung cancer

Esophageal cancer

The benefits are related to the relatively high levels of organosulfur compounds, vitamin K, choline, folate and carotenes. Each of these nutrients play a vital role in your health and wellness. For instance, vitamin K is essential for strong bone health, and reduces neuronal damage in the brain,11 sometimes used for treatment in those suffering from Alzheimer's disease.12

High levels of vitamin A, carotenes and antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin are factors in antiaging and may protect you from lung and mouth cancers. Antioxidants in the vegetable help protect you against free radical damage at the cellular level. When cut or crushed, the leaves produce allicin that may help decrease blood pressure and your risk for cardiovascular disease.

Which Variety Would You Prefer?

There are several different varieties of chives that you may consider for different dishes you prepare, or as a light quick snack you can pluck from your garden.13

Common Chives

These plants have a mild onion-like flavor that may be eaten raw or cooked and are popular in eggs, soups and stews. The plants grow 10 to 12 inches tall and have round, hollow leaves. Early in the summer, mature plants will flower with lavender-colored globes that are also edible. You can propagate these from seed, purchase plants that have been started or divide your own plants every two to three years to protect the health of the plant and increase your yield.

Garlic Chives

These taste like onion and garlic, often included in stir-fry and meat dishes for added flavor. These plants grow up to 2 feet tall and the leaves are flat and dense. The flowers are white and appear in late summer to early fall. Garlic chives self-seed easily. To keep the plant from taking over your garden, consider removing the flower heads before they dry and the seeds are dispersed.

Giant Siberian Chives

This plant has a stronger flavor than the garlic or common chive, rich in an onion-garlic taste. They look similar to the common chive but grow taller. They bloom a rose-colored flower in late summer that can be as much as 2 inches in diameter. The sap from the leaves can be used to deter moths and other insects.

Siberian Garlic Chives

This variety is commonly referred to as "blue chives," with a similar onion-garlic flavor of the Giant Siberian Chive. The leaves are blue-green in color and they flower midsummer with pink blossoms. They do well in a sunny window through the winter and can be moved outdoors in the summer.

Cultivating Chives at Home

Chives are a perennial plant that thrives outdoors in temperature zones 3 through 9.14 The plant does best in soil that drains well, whether in your garden or in a container. If you are planting in the ground, add well-aged compost to amend the soil before planting seedlings, separated plants or seeds.15 If you're planting in a container, take care to ensure the soil is not pre-fertilized with a nitrogen-based product that may encourage rapid growth but leave you with a plant that has little flavor.

Start your seeds indoors about eight weeks from the last expected frost, assuming they will germinate in two to three weeks. Once your seedlings are ready to be planted outdoors, take care to place them outside for one to two hours a day for several days to harden the plants. This process gets the plant ready for outdoor life and reduces the chance a young plant will die prematurely. You may also consider purchasing young plants at a nursery.

These can be separated at home into four bunches per pot before being planted in your outdoor garden. Take care to separate the plants gently so as not to damage the root system. Chives thrive in near neutral pH soil, between 6.0 and 7.0. While they do best in full sun, if you live in southern climates, consider planting in partial shade to reduce heat stress on the plant. Do not mulch the plants to improve circulation at the roots, and weed diligently as they compete poorly with other plants.16

Water and Pests

Chives are slightly drought resistant. They appreciate about an inch of water a week, whether from rain or your watering can. Puddling water around the base of the plant will encourage the growth of disease, so ensure the soil doesn't become packed or that drainage changes through the summer. Most of the time chives are resilient to pests, disease and deer. If you have problems with deer eating your garden plants, consider planting chives in bunches throughout to discourage foraging from four-legged wild animals.

Aphids more commonly appear in the spring months and respond well to a mild household detergent.17 The soap damages the insect’s protective coat and causes them to dehydrate and die. The same can be used for mealybugs and thrips. Remember to spray the underside of leaves where eggs may hide.18

Chives are not often afflicted with these insects as they are more commonly used to repel them, being planted around ornamental flowers to deter aphid infestations.19 However, they do attract bees and have also been used to help restore the bee population. When the plants are over watered or planted in poorly draining soil, they are prone to the development of several types of fungal growth including:

Botrytis rot

Also called gray mold, this infection can spread quickly through your garden in damp, cool weather. Prune back the infected plants, taking care to thoroughly clean and disinfect your tools before using them on other plants. Aerate the root area for good circulation and consider using a copper soap fungicide.20

Downy mildew

Appearing as yellow to white patches on the upper portion of the leaves, the best treatment is to avoid the conditions that encourage development, destroy any heavily infected plants, encourage aeration around the plant and consider copper spray for plants that may be salvaged.21

Powdery mildew.

This coats the leaves and stems of plants with a powdery white substance that is not fatal unless left uncontrolled.22 Preventively you may spray the plants with a mixture of 1 tablespoon of baking soda, one-half teaspoon of liquid soap and 1 gallon of water during humid and damp weather.

Baking soda mixture will help prevent the condition but not cure it. If powdery mildew develops consider trying a milk bath using 1-part milk to 2 or 3 parts water and spraying every day for 10 to 14 days.23 Normally a preventive, it has also helped to cure the condition.

Harvesting and Preparing for Next Year

Use scissors to cut your chives approximately 2 inches above the soil. Before the plant flowers, the leaves with most flavor will be on the outside edges of the clump.24 Once the plant has flowered consider harvesting the blooms for your salads and summer foods. Trim the flower, but remove the stem as it is not tasty. Chives have the greatest flavor in the early summer months. By mid-summer your leaves may fall over and not be as flavorful.

Consider cutting back mature plants to 2 inches above the soil to encourage new growth. However, do not do this with plants that are less than 1 year old as it could damage their growth. Consider preserving your spring crop to use throughout the summer months by cutting and freezing, first on a cookie tray and then stored in a freezer bag.

Chives do not maintain their flavor well when dried, so if you'd like to preserve some of your crop, freezing is your best option. You may want to harvest the seeds at the end of the summer for use the following year if your winters are particularly harsh and the plants do not come back. The seeds store well in Mason jars in the vegetable bin of your refrigerator for up to three years.

Cooking With Chives

Chives are included in a group of herbs that are a staple in the French diet they call "fines herbes."25 The stalks are usually chopped and mixed with food as they are nutritious and lend a unique color and flavor to your meals. Chopped, they can be added to omelets, salads or sprinkled over baked fish. Chives can also be mixed into sauces and dips or folded in cheese or butter. Here are three flavorful and fun recipes to get your started incorporating chives into your nutrition plan:


Source: mercola rss