October 26, 2011
By Mary West
Swedish researchers have contributed the latest glad tidings to a growing number of studies indicating chocolate is beneficial for the cardiovascular system. According to a study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, scientists found that women, who ate the most chocolate, had a 20 percent reduction in their stroke risk: USA Today reports. In this case, the quantity consumed was approximately two candy bars per week.
Author Susanna Larsson explains that the healthful components of cocoa are compounds called flavonoids, which have antioxidant activity and the ability to impede the harmful oxidation of low-density lipoprotein (LDL), known as “bad cholesterol.” Since the oxidation of LDL leads to the formation of plaque that causes cardiovascular disease, the hindrance of this process reduces the risk of stroke. In addition to this advantage, previous studies have shown dark chocolate consumption can lower blood pressure and insulin resistance, as well as help prevent the formation of blood clots.
In spite of the positive findings, Larsson cautions against eating too much chocolate. She advises that it be consumed in moderation, due to its high content of calories, fat and sugar. Larsson also states that dark chocolate is superior to milk chocolate because it has more cocoa and less sugar.
The researchers at Karolinska Institute studied 33,000 women between the ages of 49 and 83 over a 10-year period. Scientists compared data from the participants’ questionnaires about their chocolate consumption with their stroke risk to determine if a correlation existed. Results revealed the more chocolate the women consumed, the less stroke incidence they incurred. The findings were significant because those who ate 2.3 ounces of chocolate per week had a 20 percent reduced stroke incidence compared to those who seldom ate chocolate.
Although the study does not prove chocolate was responsible for the reduced incidence, after controlling for other stroke risk factors, the results persisted: Larsson relayed to CBS News. Additionally, she expects the results to apply to men also. Regardless of the suggested benefit, experts are advising people to keep the results in perspective and not substitute chocolate for vegetables.
December 2, 2009
By David Gutierrez
Evidence continues to mount that the family of plant compounds known as flavonoids can help slow or even halt the progression of Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia.
Flavonoids are a family of chemicals that have been widely studied for a variety of health benefits. They are powerful antioxidants and occur in high concentrations in a variety of fruits and vegetables, particularly citrus fruits, berries, grapes, onions, parsley and legumes. Other good sources include tea (especially green and white), red wine, dark chocolate, ginkgo biloba and seabuckthorn.
Researchers warn that much dark chocolate found in stores is actually relatively low in flavonoids, as the compounds tend to impart a bitter flavor and are often removed during processing.
For a long time, scientists believed that the powerful antioxidant properties of flavonoids – allowing them to scour damaging free radicals from the body – were behind their health effects. Alzheimer’s-related flavonoid research fell out of favor, however, when studies demonstrated that most flavonoids break down rapidly in the body and cannot cross the blood-brain barrier, and when tests with other antioxidants such as Vitamin E showed no benefit in dementia patients.
New research suggests that flavonoids may operate by a different mechanism entirely to provide benefit to patients with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia, however.
“There have been some intriguing epidemiological studies that the consumption of flavonoid-rich vegetables, fruit juices and red wine delays the onset of the disease,” said Robert Williams of Kings College London.
In a presentation to the summer meeting of the British Pharmacological Society in Edinburgh, Williams reported findings that the chemical epicatechin, in the catechin family of flavonoids, can reduce the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease when taken orally.
“We have found that epicatechin protects brain cells from damage but through a mechanism unrelated to its antioxidant activity and shown in laboratory tests that it can also reduce some aspects of Alzheimer’s disease pathology,” Williams said. “This is interesting because epicatechin and its breakdown products are measurable in the bloodstream of humans for a number of hours after ingestion and it is one of the relatively few flavonoids known to access the brain suggesting it has the potential to be bioactive in humans.”
“Our findings support the general concept that dietary intake of flavonoid-rich foods or supplements could impact the development and progression of dementia,” Williams said, calling for more research.
Novmber 24, 2009
by Mike Adams
There are many superfoods that boost immune function, but few do it with as much potency as bee pollen. Through its unique combination of minerals, vitamins, amino acids and enzymes, bee pollen offers one of the most revitalizing natural superfoods in the world (especially when collected from local bees who are in tune with your local environment).
We’ve put together a collection of research for you here, describing the health benefits of bee pollen. NaturalNews reminds everyone to be mindful when consuming bee products due to the very high stresses already placed on honeybees in North America and Europe. Make sure your source practices organic bee farming and does not expose honeybees to high-fructose corn syrup or other chemicals that may be harmful to bee populations.
Bee pollen and your immune system
Bee pollen has been used throughout history as a superfood to restore energy and recuperative powers to the ailing individual. Bee pollen improves allergies in many individuals, and hence may have a regulating effect on the immune system by helping to dampen unnecessary autoimmune attacks which saves immune warriors for the real cancer battle. There is no toxicity to bee pollen. Other bee products with extraordinary healing properties include royal bee jelly and propolis, which is the antibiotic compound used by bees to disinfect their hives before occupation.
- Beating Cancer with Nutrition by Patrick Quillin, PhD,RD,CNS
While the effects are not so dramatic for everyone with arthritis, bee pollen is used by natural healthcare practitioners around the world to help alleviate arthritis symptoms. Energy Boost: Bee pollen is a popular supplement among many athletes, who report that it helps them train hard and recover quickly. Many athletes report that it helps increase stamina. Immune Support: Bee pollen is reported to help strengthen the immune system. People susceptible to reoccurring colds and respiratory tract infections may be helped.
- The Natural Physician’s Healing Therapies by Mark Stengler, N.D.
Bee pollen has more amino acids and vitamins than other amino-acid-containing products like beef, eggs, or cheese. Bee pollen is one of the few vegetable sources of vitamin B12 (Scheer 1992). A tablespoonful of bee pollen contains about 45 calories and is 15% lecithin (which is required for normal fat metabolism) by weight (Kamen 1991).
- PDR for Herbal Medicines, Fourth Edition by Thomson Healthcare, Inc.
Bee pollen’s natural phenylalanine content acts as an appetite suppressant. Bee pollen helps build the immune system and provides energy for the entire body. It contains 35% protein, 55% carbohydrate, 2% fatty acids and 3% minerals and vitamins. It is high in B-complex and vitamins A, C, D and E and contains lecithin. Where to buy it: Health food stores, in the refrigerated section. Bee pollen is actually many small granules similar to the size of a grain of wheat or quinoa and is usually sold in a plastic container.
- Get Balanced-the Natural Way to Better Health with Superfoods by Jan Lovejoy
Like other bee products, bee pollen has an antimicrobial effect. In addition, it is useful for combating fatigue, depression, cancer, and colon disorders. It is also helpful for people with allergies because it strengthens the immune system. It is best to obtain bee pollen from a local source, as this increases its antiallergenic properties. Fresh bee pollen should not cling together or form clumps, and it should be sold in a tightly sealed container. Some people (an estimated 0.05 percent of the population) may be allergic to bee pollen.
- Prescription for Nutritional Healing, 4th Edition: A Practical A-to-Z Reference to Drug-Free Remedies Using Vitamins, Minerals, Herbs & Food Supplements by Phyllis A. Balch, CNC
The human consumption of bee pollen dates back to antiquity; it was frequently used in the Olympic games in ancient Greece. Today bee pollen is gaining increasing popularity as effective protection against many of the common pollutants in the environment, including carbon monoxide, lead, and mercury. Bee pollen is used to treat allergies, since it desensitizes the individual. There have also been studies showing that bee pollen strengthens the resistance of the immune system to both cancer and radiation.
- Optimum Health – A Cardiologist’s Prescription for Optimum Health by Stephen T. Sinatra, M.D.
Bee Pollen Description: Bee pollen is the pollen produced by flowering plants, which clings to bees as they gather nectar. Bee pollen contains many vitamin and minerals, as well as flavonoids such as rutin and quercitin. It is thought that the minute amounts of pollens desensitize a person for the same pollen allergies.
- Prescription for Natural Cures: A Self-Care Guide for Treating Health Problems with Natural Remedies Including Diet and Nutrition, Nutritional Supplements, Bodywork, and More by James F. Balch, M.D. and Mark Stengler, N.D.
November 10, 2009
by David Gutierrez, staff writer
High intake of foods containing the natural plant compound apigenin might decrease a woman’s risk of ovarian cancer, researchers from Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School have found.
Apigenin is a class of flavonoid, a phytonutrient (plant compound) family known for its high antioxidant activity. Antioxidants are renowned for removing cell-damaging free radicals from the body, thereby reducing the symptoms of aging and the risk of chronic disease such as cancer and heart disease.
Foods high in apigenin include celery, parsley, tomato sauce and red wine. The compound is widely believed to be safe when consumed in plant foods, with no toxic or mutagenic effects.
In a study funded by the National Cancer Institute and the National Institutes of Health, and published in the International Journal of Cancer, researchers gave questionnaires to 1,141 ovarian cancer patients and 1,183 women of similar age to assess the content of their diets over the course of one week. The average participant age was 51. Women with ovarian cancer were more likely to be heavier and have a higher daily calorie intake, with a less healthy diet than the healthy women.
The researchers used the questionnaires to calculate the participants’ intake of five different, common flavonoids: apigenin, kaempferol, luteolin, myricetin and quercetin. The bulk of these antioxidants in the women’s diets came from tea, red wine, apples, blueberries, celery, kale, lettuce, oranges and tomato sauce.
Higher intake of certain rich-rich foods such as cauliflower, raisins and tomato sauce was associated with a decreased risk of ovarian cancer, though this correlation was not statistically significant. There was no correlation between total flavonoid consumption and cancer risk after adjusting for known cancer risk factors such as age, physical activity, use of oral contraceptives, and history of childbirth, breastfeeding and tubal ligation. There was also no correlation between cancer risk and any of the flavonoids except for apigenin.
Women with the highest apigenin intake, however, had a “borderline significant” 28 percent lower risk of ovarian cancer than women with the lowest intake, after adjusting for other risk factors and intake of the other four flavonoids.
Ovarian cancer is among the most lethal forms of cancer in women. There are 20,000 new cases in the United States each year, leading to 15,000 deaths per year. According to the Ovarian Cancer National Alliance, the disease affects one in 69 women and kills one in 95.
This study is not the first to indicate a connection between apigenin and decreased cancer risk. Previous research has found that apigenin decreases the structural stability and inhibits the expression of a protein that is involved in the migration of ovarian cancer cells to other parts of the body. It has also been more directly observed to interfere with the movement of ovarian cancer cells. Apigenin has also been shown to inhibit the expression in ovarian cancer cells of a protein linked to the development of blood vessels in tumors, as well as overall tumor growth.
Other studies have found that apigenin inhibits the growth of some breast cancers and may induce programmed cell death. Higher intake of other flavonoids has also been shown to reduce the risk of ovarian cancer.
The researchers in the current study speculated that flavonoids may also help reduce ovarian cancer risk simply by functioning as antioxidants, eliminating free radicals that have been linked to DNA damage. More specifically, apigenin and other flavonoids might inhibit the effect of estrogen in the body either by reducing circulating levels or by blocking estrogen receptors.
“These mechanisms could be important in inhibiting ovarian carcinogenesis, due to the estrogen-rich environment within the ovaries and the proliferative effect of estrogen on ovarian epithelial cells,” the researchers wrote.
November 06, 2009
By S. L. Baker
Phenolics. Flavonoids. Carotenoids. Quercetin. Phloridzin. What do these scientific names have in common? They are all types of phytonutrients, also called phytochemicals, found in fruits, vegetables, grains, legumes, nuts, and teas. And they may decrease the risk of not only minor illnesses like colds but also many of the major killers on the planet — including cancer and heart disease. Scientists have only identified a few of the suspected vast number of these natural compounds in foods that protect and build health. But two facts are clear. First, most Americans don’t get enough phytonutrients in their daily diet for optimum health and, second, there’s an easy strategy to boost your phytonutrient intake — simply eat a mix of more naturally colorful foods.
The recently released Phytonutrient Report, sponsored by the supplement company Nutrilite, used National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys (NHANES) and USDA data to analyze what people in the U.S. typically eat each day. Because the same compounds that give plant foods various colors are related to phytonutrient content, the report divided consumption into five categories of colors — green, red, blue/purple, yellow/orange and white.
For example, the phytonutrients, isothiocyanate, lutein and isoflavones are known to be abundant in green foods such as spinach and broccoli and lycopene and ellagic acid are found in red fruits and vegetables like watermelon and tomatoes. White plant foods like onions and garlic are rich in allicin and quercetin. Anthocyanidins and resveratrol are found in purple and blue foods like grapes and blueberries while alpha-carotene, beta-carotene, hesperitin and beta-cryptoxanthin are most often in yellow/orange foods such as carrots and oranges.
The Phytonutrient Report concludes there is a phytonutrient gap in every color classification. Specifically, 88% of Americans are eating too few foods in the blue/purple category, 79% are missing out on an adequate intake of yellow and orange foods, and 78% don’t have enough red veggies and fruits in their diets. In addition, 69% lack enough daily green plant foods and 86% lack enough white plant foods.
October 15, 2009
By Mike Adams
If you search for natural cancer remedies, you’ll eventually find information about chaparral — a powerful healing herb that grows in the desert regions of the American Southwest (among other places). (In fact, where I used to live in Tucson, chaparral just grows wild all over the place The chaparral plants just seem endless…) But it’s not just good against cancer: Chaparral is also a powerful anti-bacterial and anti-viral medicine.
In the paragraphs below, you’ll find an amazing collection of supporting quotes about chaparral’s anti-cancer properties from some of the best natural health authors in the industry. Read and enjoy this unique compilation of evidence that supports the natural medicinal properties of this traditional Native American herb.
Chaparral vs. Cancer
Chaparral [Larrea tridentata), also known as creosote bush, has been used by Native Americans to treat a variety of illnesses, including cancer. Chaparral contains an ingredient called nor-dihihydroguairetic (NDGA), a potent antitumor agent. NDGA inhibits aerobic and anaerobic glycolysis (the energy-producing ability) of cancer cells. The flavonoids present in chaparral have strong antiviral and antifungal properties.
- Herbal Medicine, Healing and Cancer: A Comprehensive Program for Prevention and Treatment by Donald R. Yance, j r.,C.N., M.H., A.H.G., with Arlene Valentine
More than twenty years ago, a Native American healer from Lava Hot Springs, Idaho, traveled the Rocky Mountain West, successfully treating cancer patients with chaparral as the primary remedy. Chaparral, extremely bitter, contains NDGA (nordihydroguaiaretic acid), an anticancer substance. It is also thought to possess more of the antioxidant enzyme SOD than any other plant. Herbs used widely in South America for cancer, even by medical doctors, are pau d’arco (Tabevulia) and Suma (Pfaffia paniculata). These herbs are less bitter than chaparral, and work by tonifying immunity.
- Healing with Whole Foods: Asian Traditions and Modern Nutrition by Paul Pitchford
Chaparral contains a potent antioxidant constituent that probably accounts for its observed anticancer action. Chaparral has been the subject of a few studies that have resulted in both tumor regression and tumor stimulation. Chaparral has also been used as an antihistamine and as an anti-inflammatory. Chaparral is toxic to the liver. It can also cause nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, and stomach pain at high dosages.
- Complementary Cancer Therapies: Combining Traditional and Alternative Approaches for the Best Possible Outcome by Dan Labriola
The plant is the creosote bush, or chaparral, also known as greasewood, and is a member of the oak family. All tests on chaparral indicate that it is positively non-toxic and has never shown any side effects on patients and if present research is successful it will offer the first anti-cancer drug. The Indians have used chaparral herb for many internal body malfunctions as well as for rash and acne-type skin eruptions, for hundreds of years. Chaparral has antibiotic and antiseptic properties along with immune stimulating substances.
- Miracle Medicine Herbs (Reward Books) by Richard Melvin Lucas
California yew and chaparral teas are also great cancer fighters. Trifolium (red clover) and scrophularia herb formulas are shown to work in fighting cancer. Carctol, a mixture of eight herbs, is known in Great Britain and India as a completely safe herbal supplement and has up to a 40% success rate with terminal cancer patients. There is a variety of some 2.5 million herbs categorized as cytotoxic (toxic to cancer cells). These herbs date back some 5,000 years. At least 3,000 of these herbs have anti-cancer properties of some kind.
- Defeat Cancer by Gregory, A. Gore
Evidence shows that some people with certain types of cancer in certain stages of development may benefit from Chaparral, but it is not clear who may benefit, which cancers are most susceptible or at which stage of cancer development the herb is most effective. One study in rats found that NDGA (nordihydroguaiaretic acid), the purported active principle in Chaparral, produced almost complete inhibition of aerobic and anaerobic glycolysis and respiration in some kinds of cancer cells while normal cells were not affected.
- The Scientific Validation of Herbal Medicine: How to Remedy and Prevent Disease with Herbs, Vitamins, Minerals and Other Nutrients by Daniel B. Mowrey, Ph.D.
With this in mind, it seems like a good idea to take one chaparral capsule after consuming a Big Mac and french fries in order to offset some of the damage all of those free radicals you’ve ingested are capable of doing. And while chaparral may not hold quite the same promises expected of ginseng for longevity, it can certainly help to slow down the aging process quite a bit from the foods we eat on a daily basis. The medical doctor most involved with the limited success that chaparral has achieved with some kinds of cancer, is Charles R. Smart, M.D.
- Heinerman’s Encyclopedia of Fruits, Vegetables and Herbs by John Heinerman
Certainly chaparral wouldn’t be a good herb to take if a person has a diseased liver. Nor would it be advisable to take chaparral with alcohol or acetaminophen. Hopefully, the extract of chaparral will proceed through successful clinical trials and contribute as a meaningful cancer remedy in the near future. Pure NDGA from chaparral is a topical drug (Masoprocol) that is used on the skin and some studies indicate it may be effective as an oral anti-diabetic agent as well.
- You Don’t Have to be Afraid of Cancer Anymore by Bill Sardi