Health Benefits of Magnesium

Magnesium is a mineral that occurs naturally in and is also added to many foods, is found in our bodies and is added to a lot of the medication we take. Magnesium is so important to our bodies because it is involved in about 300 bodily activities.

Magnesium is crucial to the body’s production of energy and is also involved in over 3 hundred enzyme systems within the body that are responsible for regulating diverse biochemical reaction.

An estimated 80 percent of adults will experience a magnesium deficiency in their lifetime. A magnesium deficiency can have some serious symptoms including;

  • Damage to the liver and kidneys
  • Cardiovascular disease and hypertension
  • Mood swings and behavioral disorders
  • Trouble sleeping and in some cases insomnia
  • Tooth decay and cavities
  • Cramping and weakness in the muscles
  • Osteoporosis
  • Restless leg syndrome
  • Heightened PMS symptoms
  • Impotence
  • Migraines

Our body naturally loses magnesium through hormone production, muscle movement and even by expending the energy it takes to keep your heart beating. The inability to absorb magnesium through the digestive tract due to the overuse of certain medications and soil depletion lowering magnesium levels in crops also play a part in how and why we become magnesium deficient.

Eat higher magnesium foods and take magnesium tablets to keep yourself healthy!

1. Magnesium Calms Anxiety and Nerves

Anxiety is a disorder that affects over 18 percent of all adults in America. Those suffering from anxiety may experiences social anxiety, generalized anxiety or a panic disorder. Anxiety can have debilitating symptoms that often interfere with the ability to complete everyday tasks.

Often feelings of anxiety or panic attacks can come out of nowhere and the physical symptoms can be hard to control or hide.

A few symptoms of anxiety and panic disorders include but are not limited to;

  • Feeling extremely worried sometimes seemingly without a good reason
  • Becoming easily fatigued
  • Feeling irritable
  • Experiencing panic attacks (chest pains, not breathing properly, heart palpitations)
  • Feeling constantly scared of making a mistake in public or worrying about how you are perceived by others
  • Disrupted sleep patterns
  • Feeling sick, nauseous or experiencing stomach problems
  • Waves of what feels like disassociation from reality
  • Feeling anxious about when you will have another panic attack

While it is not always possible to pinpoint why people suffer from anxiety, it can be triggered by side effects from medication, hormonal changes in the body, financial stress, stress over health conditions, mental illness a mineral deficiency or social pressures (1).

Magnesium calms the nervous systems and muscles. When you have an intense period of anxiety your body uses more magnesium than usual, further depleting the body’s levels.

Gamma-aminobutyric acid is an inhibitory neurotransmitter. When it is in low supply it heightens feelings of stress and your brain becomes unable to relax. Magnesium stimulates production of the acid.

Metals such as lead, aluminium and mercury can sometimes collect in the brain and trigger neurological disorders including anxiety. Magnesium works to remove these metals from our bodies.

Magnesium boosts brain plasticity which is the ability your brain has to self heal by making fresh neural connections and creating more brain cells. Brain plasticity is important for those suffering from anxiety (2).

Magnesium reduces the amount of stress hormones (such as cortisol which has shown to contribute to memory loss, anxiety and various other mental disorders) released in the body and also blocks a lot of them from gaining entrance to the brain.

Studies have found that participants suffering from various anxiety induced disorders saw a marked positive change in their symptoms (not being able to sleep, addictions, feelings of great stress, feelings of depression, memory problems etc) sometimes only hours after ingesting magnesium supplements (3).

2. Magnesium Can Be Used To Treat Insomnia

Insomnia is when a person struggles to fall asleep or to remain asleep, even in favourable conditions. Whilst most common in mature females, insomnia can affect anyone. Under 50 percent of America’s adult population have experienced insomnia and about 15 percent report struggling with insomnia daily.

Insomnia can be caused by pregnancy, a hormone imbalance, psychological or medical conditions and more. Insomnia can cause anxiety, poor concentration (increasing the likelihood of being in an accident or injuring yourself), depression, gastrointestinal problems and fatigue.

It is the gamma-aminobutyric acid production boosting abilities of magnesium which eases anxiety that treats insomnia. When gamma-aminobutyric acid levels in the brain are very low, the brain is unable to “switch off” as levels of glutamate (glutamic acid neurotransmitters) rise and keep your brain focused and alert. Magnesium increases gamma-aminobutyric acid and therefor your brain is able to relax and “switch off” when it is time to sleep (4).

An 8 week study carried out on 46 elderly patients found that participants given 500 mg of magnesium daily showed improved sleep time and efficiency, as well as early morning waking and sleep onset latency compared to the participants who did not receive the magnesium (5).

3. Magnesium Is Important During Pregnancy

When you are pregnant your need for magnesium increases. Magnesium works to repair and build tissues during pregnancy, as well as balancing the sugar levels in your blood (6). Maintaining healthy blood sugar levels during pregnancy is vitally important.

Many women suffer from gestational diabetes which occurs when the body becomes unable to keep producing the increased amounts of insulin needed. Diabetes during pregnancy could result in birth defects, larger babies and the risk of the baby developing diabetes.

Magnesium is an important part of the process of forming protein, fatty acids and bone. It also relaxes muscles and prevents them from cramping which can counteract premature contractions as it has this relaxing effect on the womb muscles (7).

A magnesium deficiency could possibly be the reason that many women struggle to conceive in the first place. When you are magnesium deficient your fallopian tubes tend to spasm at times which can make becoming pregnant very difficult (8).

Low levels of magnesium during pregnancy is also responsible for possible preeclampsia (high blood pressure during pregnancy), metabolic disorders, growth restriction and sudden infant death syndrome (due to the body not being able to properly regulate temperature in babies).

4. Magnesium Can Prevent Migraines

Migraines is a disorder where you experience pulsating headaches that can moderately to severely painful. These headaches can least from over and hour to 72 hours. During these migraine episodes, many people also experience acute sound, smell and light sensitivity as well as nausea and sometimes vomiting.

Research shows that people who often experience migraines have lower levels of magnesium in their systems (9). A study carried out on a group of migraine sufferers also found that after being treated with magnesium, the incidents of migraines was lowered by over 40 percent.

5. Magnesium Increases Energy Levels

Low energy levels can be caused by a multitude of reasons. From too little iron, to too much iron, dehydration or sleep deprivation, a poor diet and being stressed, and of course a magnesium deficiency. Low energy levels result in feeling fatigued and can have a negative impact on your work, studying and physical well being.

Magnesium plays an integral part in energy metabolism (the process of using nutrients to create energy). If you have poor magnesium levels in your muscles you will expend more energy doing a minor task than someone who has normal magnesium levels (10). Animal studies have stated that magnesium supplements have a positive effect on physical performance and blood energy metabolism.

A study carried out on magnesium deficient women showed that they required higher amounts of oxygen to complete physical tasks than they did after their magnesium levels were restored (11).

6. Magnesium Can Be Used To Treat Muscle Spasms And Aches

Muscles cramps usually strike in the legs. Cramps can cause sharp pains in the muscles and sometimes a lump becomes visible in the leg. Muscle spasms or aches are commonly experienced after standing for long periods of time, strenuous exercise or sometimes even while resting (12).

Magnesium is involved in the process of muscles relaxing and contracting. Muscles spasms, aches and weakness are all side effects of being magnesium deficient. A magnesium deficiency can also cause the body to lag in its production of certain proteins and enzymes that affects the health and function of our muscles.

A study involving pregnant women suffering from leg cramps found that magnesium alleviated the pain and symptoms in the pregnant women given the magnesium supplements (13).

7. Magnesium Is Good For Digestion

Without magnesium in our bodies we would not be able to properly digest the food we eat every day. Magnesium stimulates the enzymes that help our bodies absorb carbohydrates, proteins and fats and then to use them effectively (14). Stimulating these enzymes gives our bodies the ability to break down and to digest our food into smaller pieces to be used for energy.

Magnesium also aids in digestion as the digestive tract is made of muscle. Without enough magnesium in our systems, our body struggles to properly contract and relax the digestive tract. Higher magnesium levels also increases the amount of water in our intestines which in turn initiates peristalsis (muscle contractions which move along the intestine) (15).

Magnesium also produces and transports energy during the process of digestion.

8. Magnesium Regulates Levels Of Calcium

Magnesium is partly responsible for regulating calcium (making sure it ends up in the bones where it is needed) in the body as it stimulates the action of three specific hormones that control calcium levels within the body and determine where the calcium is sent to (16).

Magnesium can dissolves excess calcium that has built up in the brain, kidneys, blood and tissues. Kidney stones, which are sometimes caused by calcium buildup, can be treated with magnesium. Magnesium and calcium also work together in many instances such as in the nerves where calcium produces electric transmissions and is then safely ejected from the nerves by magnesium (17).

9. Magnesium Keeps Your Heart Healthy

Our hearts, especially the left ventricle of the heart, require more magnesium than any other organ. Without magnesium our hearts would not be able to properly function (18). Magnesium is so beneficial for our hearts because it thins the blood preventing clots, relaxes blood vessels allowing for better circulation and prevents calcium from building up in the heart.

Magnesium behaves as an electrolyte, an action which is pivotal for electrical activity to function properly within the body and for the heart to beat and pump blood normally.

Magnesium alleviates stress experienced by cells within the heart and cells lacking magnesium are at a higher risk of becoming damaged (19).

A study conducted by Harvard University found that magnesium supplements could decrease the risk of developing heart disease by up to 30 percent (20).

10. Magnesium Aids Bladder Control

Many people suffer from an overactive bladder (being unable to control sudden urges to urinate and urine loss) or interstitial cystitis (a chronic condition that causes bladder pain, pressure and sometimes pelvic pressure).

Magnesium plays a crucial role in muscle function (contraction and relaxation) and being deficient can result in spasms of the bladder muscles, causing loss of urine (21). Magnesium also relieves the pain that accompanies bladder spasms.

A study carried out on 40 women suffering from bladder conditions found that participants given magnesium supplements had a marked drop in the amount of times they needed to urinate during the night (21).

11. Magnesium Can Prevent Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis is a condition in where your bones become weak and brittle due to a massive loss of calcium. Bones weakened by osteoporosis are likely to fracture and or break very easily.

Studies carried out on various species have shown that all magnesium deficient animals have brittle bones (22).

Osteoclasts (cells that break bone down) and osteoblasts (cells that form bone) are both influenced by magnesium. Magnesium also affects active vitamin D and the parathyroid hormone which are both responsible for the regulation of bone homeostasis (the process of removing old bone and building new healthy bone) (23).

Magnesium plays a vital role in calcium regulation which results in higher bone density and osteoporosis prevention (24).

12. Magnesium Is Good For Diabetics

When you have diabetes or an elevated level of glucose in your blood, you are at risk of losing extra magnesium through your urine, becoming even more magnesium deficient (25). This is particularly dangerous for diabetic patients as evidence shows that a magnesium deficiency is a primary factor in the development of diabetes.

Magnesium works to prevent insulin dysregulation and and to improve insulin resistance (26). Magnesium can also prolong the period between prediabetes and the actual onset of diabetes.

Studies have shown that by taking magnesium or eating a high magnesium diet patients were able to lower their metabolic condition (diabetes is a metabolic condition) risk by over 70 percent (27).

13. Magnesium Can Be Used To Treat Asthma

Asthma is a condition in where the airways swell, produce excess mucus and constrict, triggering sometimes uncontrollable coughing and limiting your ability to breathe properly. Currently 1 in 9 American adults are suffering from asthma. A few symptoms of asthma include;

  • Tightness in the chest
  • Wheezing
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Chest pain

Magnesium acts as an anti inflammatory and reduces intracellular calcium in the body which soothes muscles cells (28). Magnesium is also used during emergency treatment for people who are suffering from an acute asthma attack (29).

A study concluded that lower levels of magnesium resulted in bronchial hyperreactivity, wheezing and impaired functioning of the lungs (30).

14. Magnesium Alleviates Symptoms Caused By PMS

Symptoms of PMS can be uncomfortable and painful. PMS symptoms are primarily caused by hormonal changes women experience during their menstrual cycle. Symptoms may include;

  • Acne
  • Backache and or headache
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Tender or swollen breasts
  • Pains in the joints or muscles
  • Food cravings

Low levels of magnesium in the body is thought to result in worsened PMS symptoms. Patients suffering from severe PMS symptoms have been shown to be consistently magnesium deficient (31).

Magnesium works as a diuretic so it eases the pressure that fluid retention can cause. Magnesium also works as a muscle relaxant which provides relief for women suffering from cramps by relaxing the uterine muscles. Magnesium also cuts out sugar cravings, reduces breast tenderness, constipation, irritability and bloating (32).

15. Magnesium Aids Collagen Production

Collagen is a structural protein found in your nails, bones, tendons and skin. Collagen is often used in its purified form as a cosmetic treatment to get rid of wrinkles on the face. Collagen is also present in the eyes and intervertebral discs. Higher levels of collagen in the body keeps these areas within our bodies stronger.

Magnesium produces the proteins that over time will transform into collagen (33).

15 Best Magnesium Foods

1. Oatmeal

Oatmeal is an antioxidant and contains avenanthramides (found almost exclusively in oats) which increase the amount of nitric acid produced by the body. Nitric acid works to dilate blood vessels which results in better flow of blood and lowers blood pressure.

Oatmeal is high in vitamins and minerals as well as being higher in protein than most grains.

Oatmeal is very high in the soluble fibre beta-glucan. Beta-glucan is responsible for making you feel fuller for longer (good for those trying to lose weight), lowering insulin response and blood sugar levels, boosting healthy bacteria growth within our digestive tracts and lowering cholesterol levels in the body, particularly harmful LDL cholesterol.

Studies have shown that introducing solid foods, oats in particular, can decrease a child’s risk of developing asthma.

2. Spinach

Spinach is an excellent source of lutein, xanthene and beta carotene which all play an important part in eye health. Dry eye syndrome, eye ulcers and poor eyesight are all directly linked to low levels of these carotenoids. Low levels also contribute to the onset of age-related macular degeneration, the leading cause of blindness in the world.

Spinach keeps your muscles healthy. The antioxidant C0-Q10 found in spinach is particularly good for strengthening the muscles in the heart and is also effective at preventing and or treating cardiovascular diseases such as heart failure, coronary heart disease, hyperlipidemia and hypertension.

Glycoglycerolipids in spinach strengthens the lining protecting our digestives tracts. This ability spinach has to protect the health of our digestive tracts mucous membranes results in a lowered occurrence of painful stomach ulcers.

Atherosclerosis is a condition in which the arteries in our bodies begin to narrow and harden. Atherosclerosis is very dangerous and can result in heart attacks, strokes and even death. The pigments and proteins contained in spinach are directly linked to a lowering of the risk of developing this condition.

Spinach is rich in folate which is imperative to healthy foetal development during pregnancy. Several birth defects including spina bifida and cleft palate are due to a folate deficiency during pregnancy. Low folate levels can also negatively impact the baby’s nervous system, brain and spinal cord. The vitamin A found in spinach also helps healthy lung development in the foetus.

3. Bananas

Bananas are a good source of potassium. Potassium is a mineral that plays an important role in brain health and protecting against the risk of strokes. Potassium ensures higher bones mineral density which keeps your bones stronger for longer period of time. Potassium also helps your body to maintain a healthy of fluids which is important for effective organ function.

Bananas are free of cholesterol and fat whilst containing fibre making it a healthy choice for those trying to lose weight.

Bananas contain manganese which acts as an antioxidant and assists a range of metabolic activities within the body.

4. Avocados

Avocados can improve bad breath. Avocados contain insoluble and soluble fibres which are good for your digestive health. Insoluble and soluble fibres helps to keep your digestive tract operating smoothly by stimulating the production of digestive and gastric juices as well as adding bulk to stool. Healthy digestion eliminates halitosis (bad breath).

Avocados can reduce liver damage. The organic compounds in avocados work to protect and tone your liver.

The vitamin B6 in avocados can provide relief to women suffering from morning sickness as a symptom of pregnancy. Over 50 percent of all pregnant women will suffer from morning sickness which is characterized by feeling of nausea, fatigue and vomiting. Vitamin B6 has been shown to reduce feelings of nausea.

Arthritis is a chronic condition which affects millions globally. Inflammation in the joints causes pain and discomfort as well as trouble moving the joints. Avocados are a natural anti inflammatory which have been proven to reduce symptoms of arthritis.

Carotenoids present in avocados can reduce inflammation caused by UV rays and avocado oil can be used as a natural treatment of sunburn. Avocados also keep skin cells moisturized which reduces dry skin and conditions like psoriasis.

5. Quinoa

Quinoa is known as a “super food”. Quinoa is a seed/grain that is very high in protein and yields all essential amino acids (organic compounds important for tissue and muscle growth).

Quinoa contains the plant compounds kaempferol and quercetin which have been shown to have anti-depressant, anti-viral, anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties.

Quinoa boasts an impressive amount of fibre (almost double that of any other grain) which can relieve constipation and diarrhea.

6. Sesame Seeds

Sesame seeds contain natural oils which can lower high blood pressure in the body which in turn reduces the amount of stress put on your heart.

Sesamol, another organic compound found in sesame seeds, protects your DNA from damage caused by radiation. This important for cancer patients and your DNA and cells are protected from mutation caused by radiation which could make you more susceptible to other cancers.

Sesame seeds contain high levels of protein which is important for various metabolic functions, healthy growth of cells, energy levels and building muscle strength.

Swirling sesame seed oil around in your mouth can reduce levels of streptococcus bacteria in the mouth which causes cavities.

Sesame seeds contain calcium, phosphorous and zinc, the building blocks of creating healthy bone matter and repairing old and damaged bone.

7. Almonds

Almonds are fibre, protein and nutrient dense.

Almonds contain high levels of the fat soluble vitamin E. Vitamin E plays an important role in the protection of cell membranes which protects cells from oxidative damage. Vitamin E can also be used to treat Alzheimer’s disease, heart disease, diabetes and some cancers.

Almonds are high in fibre and low in carbohydrates which means that they are a healthy choice for those that suffer from diabetes as it keeps blood sugar levels controlled.

Almonds can protect your brain from cognitive decline. Almonds contain L-carnitine and riboflavin, both of which positively affect neurological activity. Almonds also act as an anti inflammatory, decreases levels of inflammation in the brain which has been linked to Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.

Almonds contain monosaturated fatty acids which can prevent the onset of heart disease.

Almond skins are high in polyphenol antioxidants which have shown the ability to stop oxidation of cholesterol.

8. Tofu

Tofu, a white soybean by product, is a great source of micronutrient, amino acids, calcium and iron.

During menopause women require extra calcium and if they do not get it could suffer from bone less and arthritis. Tofu not only provides calcium but also eases hot flashes many women experience due to lack of the hormone oestrogen.

Consuming tofu can prevent anemia, a condition where haemoglobin or red blood cells become deficient in the blood making the afflicted fatigued and weak.

Tofu can be used as a meat substitute for vegans and vegetarians as it is incredibly high in protein. The protein tofu provides is also very good for your hair as hair is made up primarily of keratin which is also a protein. Tofu keeps your hair healthy while stimulating extra hair growth.

9. Flaxseed

Flaxseeds, or linseeds, reduce sugar cravings. Sugar has recently been shown to be largely responsible for weight gain and diseases such as diabetes. The fiber found in flaxseeds helps to stave off sugar cravings as well as leading you to feel fuller for a longer period of time which also reduces unnecessary snacking. The soluble fiber in flaxseeds also improves digestion.

Flaxseeds contain potassium which is especially important for healthy heart function. Potassium is needed for your muscles to move which is vital in maintaining a healthy, regular heartbeat and pumping blood around the body. Potassium works to control the heart’s electric balance. Potassium also enables your nerves to function and soothes muscles contractions.

Flaxseeds contain omega-3 fatty acids and lignans (chemical compounds we get from plants) which increase immune cell functionality and keeps our immune systems strong.

Flaxseeds have been shown to lower the risk of developing ovarian tumors. Flaxseeds also reduce unhealthy changes in menstrual cycles and can provide reliefs from symptoms of menopause.

The omega-3 fatty acids in flaxseeds can reduce symptoms of dry eye syndrome, a condition that leads to swollen, itchy, irritated eyes.

Linolenic acids and omega-3 fatty acids found in flaxseeds (also made into flaxseed oil) have numerous beauty benefits including strengthening hair and nails and reducing dandruff. Flaxseed oil can also prevent baldness from occurring as it the hair follicle shrinking effects of various enzymes.

10. Sweet Corn

Sweet corn in very high in folate. Folate removes homocysteine (non-protein amino acid) from our heart and bodies. Homocysteine has been shown to cause strokes, weakening of bones and heart attacks. Folate enhances cell formation, replacing old and damaged cells with fresh ones, particularly those in the lining of the stomach and skin cells.

Folate also plays a role in muscle formation as well as maintaining healthy muscle tissues. Folate is known to limit birth defects and is recommended during pregnancy.

The folate, beta carotene and zeaxanthin (an antioxidant) found in sweet corn preserve the health of the eyes and can protect against the onset of macular degeneration.

Sweet corn contains beta cryptoxanthin, an increased intake of beta cryptoxanthin has been linked to a decrease in the likelihood of lung cancer development.

The vitamin B1 or thiamine present in sweet corn is a nutrient that boosts the brain cell function. The body needs thiamine to manufacture acetylcholine (a neurotransmitter). Acetylcholine is essential for our brains to be able to keep and recall memories. Alzheimer’s disease has been linked to acetylcholine deficiencies.

11. Brown Rice

A single cup of brown rice yields 80 percent of the recommended daily intake of manganese. Manganese assists the body in synthesizing fats as well as keeping reproductive and nervous systems healthy.

Brown rice is a healthy choice for hypoglycemics and those suffering from diabetes. Brown rice works to stabilize levels of sugar in the blood and has a very low glycemic index. Brown rice is also a whole grain which can lessen arterial plaque buildup, reduces the chances of high cholesterol and heart disease.

Brown rice contains naturally occurring oils. These oils keep cholesterol levels normal.

Brown rice is good for a lactating woman’s mental health. A study has produced positive results in reducing mood disturbances, and fatigue and depression experienced by lactating mothers consuming brown rice. Evidence also suggests that consuming brown rice during the lactation period may enhance the body’s capacity to improve immune defense and resist stress.

The fiber and antioxidant content of brown rice makes it a helpful tool in cancer prevention specifically cancer of the colon and breast and leukemia. The fiber from the brown rice binds itself with the cancerous toxins making it impossible for these toxins to attach themselves to the colon wall and essentially expelling them from our bodies.

Studies have found that brown rice contain phenols that inhibit proliferation of breast and colon cancer cells.

12. Mackerel

Mackerel contains minimal saturated fat and high levels of omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids regulates the clotting of blood, helps the contraction and relaxation of artery walls and keeps the speed at which your heart beats normal and healthy.

Omega-3 fatty acids can also be used to treat various skin conditions, can be taken as a fertility booster, can ease pain brought on by menstruation, can reduce the fat in your liver, lower cholesterol and prevent and reverse insulin resistance.

Men participating in a study testing mackerel’s effect on blood pressure showed a marked decrease in hypertension after eating mackerel daily for eight months. Two months after the study the men were again tested and it was noted that many were again suffering from high blood pressure after mackeel had been eliminated from their diets.

Eating mackerel can provide relief to people suffering from rheumatoid arthritis. Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic (constantly returning or persisting) inflammatory disorder in the joints that may cause long lasting joint deformity and damage. Symptoms include stiff and tender joints, not being able to move the joints, swelling and fatigue. The anti inflammatory compounds found in mackerel lower the joint stiffness and pain and work in conjunction with medication.

Mackerel in rich in vitamin D which makes it a good choice for those suffering from bowel cancer as studies have noted that patients with higher levels of vitamin D are more likely to survive and recover from the disease.

13. Kidney Beans

Kidney beans aid in sulphite detoxification. Some people suffer from sulphite allergies and the mobileum in kidney beans provides relief from painful headaches that are a symptom of the disorder.

The iron found in kidney beans give the energy production in your body a boost as well as helping your body metabolise energy.

Kidney beans contain copper. Copper is a mineral usually found in ceruloplasmin, a blood plasma protein. A copper deficiency is usually accompanied by the following symptoms;

  • A drop in body temperature
  • Anemia
  • Thyroid disorders
  • Birth defects
  • Dilated veins

Copper is essential to proper growth. It also protects the nervous system, the cardiovascular system and the skeleton. Low levels of copper result in stunted growth of tissue and organs. Copper also protects the myelin sheath that covers nerves. It also aids elastin production which makes up connective tissue.

Other health benefits of copper include stimulation of the brain, aiding iron absorption in the body, aiding enzymatic reactions and speeding up the healing of wounds.

14. Dark Chocolate

Dark chocolate is usually thought of as a decadent treat but it is actually brimming with nutrients. Dark chocolate contains zinc, iron, fiber, copper, manganese, phosphorous, potassium and selenium.

Dark chocolate can give you a spurt of extra brain power. Dark chocolate contains flavanols which work to dilate blood vessels. When blood vessels become dilated a larger amount of oxygen and blood flow to the brain’s key areas, stimulating them and making you more alert for a period of usually two or three hours.

Cocoa flavanols present in dark chocolate can also increase visual performance due to more blood reaching the brain and retina in the eyes. A study found that people who had consumed dark chocolate could more successfully identify low contrast letters and detect motion. Flavanols also increase blood flow directed to the skin as well as skin hydration and density. Bioactive compounds within dark chocolate work to protect our skin from damage caused by prolonged exposure to the sun.

Dark chocolate can lower blood pressure as well as increasing blood flow. Research showed a 20 percent drop in hypertension in patients who consumed dark chocolate daily for 18 weeks.

Research has shown that dark chocolate is a more powerful antioxidant than acai and blueberries. Dark chocolate is full of organic compounds like flavanols, polyphenols and catechins which all work as antioxidants.

15. Yogurt

Yogurt is high in calcium and essential minerals present in milk, making it good for maintaining bone density and strength. The calcium content of yogurt can protect against osteoporosis, a disease wherein your bones become brittle and weak and tend to break and or fracture very easily.

Consuming yogurt keeps your vagina healthy and clear of candida (a fungal infection). Yogurt can lower the vaginal tracts pH balance which prevents candida from occurring.

A study showed that consuming yogurt lowered the instances of halitosis in participants by 80 percent as well as lowering gingivitis and levels of plaque.

Yogurt can be applied topically to rashes and acne. Yogurt works to close pores on the skin and can reduce dark circles under the eyes.

Yogurt is a dairy product and consuming dairy products have been shown to have some impact on extending the lifespans of those suffering from colon cancer.

Amazing benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar

So we’ve heard how amazing and magical apple cider vinegar (ACV) is. They go from curing sunburn and acne to helping you lose weight and prevent cancer.

The most popular brand of ACV seems to be Braggs. You can also make your own out of scratch.

Some safety tips first

Apple cider vinegar, like other types of vinegar, is like acid to your body. Don’t drink it straight up!

Instead, you should dilute it. Add one tablespoons (at most 2) of vinegar to a glass of water.

If you don’t, it’ll be too acidic for your esophagus. It’s also easy to breathe it in and send acid to your lungs. According to some people, that feels like having sunburn on your lungs. Just imagine that!

In addition, some foods can cancel out the vinegar’s effect. Others may expand it. To be safe, drink the apple cider vinegar on an empty stomach. It’s a great way to start out the day. But probably not so great of a bedtime drink!

Now, here are some amazing things that will truly happen if you drink (the diluted version of) apple cider vinegar.

1. You’ll get an acetic acid boost

The vinegar is made with a two-step process.

First, bacteria and yeast are added to the apple cider. The sugars in the apples turns into alcohol. It is then further fermented. The alcohol turns into acetic acid.

Acetic acid is a major component of ACV. The acid is often used for medical purposes. Pharmaceutical versions of acetic acid is used to ear canal conditions and others.

Some researches suggest it helps control blood pressure and unclog arteries.

A Japanese study looked at the effects of acetic acid and dietary vinegar on rats with hypertension (high blood pressure). Both were able to significantly reduce blood sugar. The researchers concluded that acetic acid is the reason for the effect by vinegar.

In another research, it was found that acetic acid increased blood flow in the colon. Other acids (butyric and propionic) did not alter blood flow. Those acids even prevents oxygen uptake!

2. You will have a better diabetic diet

Type 2 diabetes is a condition that affects millions worldwide. Diabetics are either unable to produce insulin, or they experience insulin resistance. This means cells don’t respond to insulin the way they should.

Insulin plays a major role in lower blood sugar.

Vinegar was found to improve insulin sensitivity in those with insulin resistance. Even after a high-carb meal, the participants experienced a more significant decrease in blood sugar.

It was able to reduce blood sugar when consumed in the form of salad dressing too. Another study found that just 2 tablespoons of ACV can reduce fasting blood sugar by 4 percent.

This is why many list cider vinegar in diabetic diets.

But if you have type 2 diabetes, remember to check with your doctor first! Make sure there won’t be any complications with your medication!

3. You can lose some weight

ACV is often touted as a dieting miracle. Unfortunately, this claim is riddled with both myths and facts.

The acetic acid in vinegar works against enzymes in your stomach that digests starch. This may stop you from absorbing the calories from the carbs. And this can probably help with weight loss. A handful of studies support this claim.

But no one knows yet how effective ACV is because there haven’t been enough research done.

However, there is evidence that ACV can make you feel fuller.

It increases satiety, which means you might eat less. In one study, white bread was served with 3 levels of vinegar. The higher the level of acetic acid in the vinegar, the more full the participants felt. They also had lower blood glucose and insulin levels.

This can help you eat 200 to 275 fewer calories that day!

The bottom line is, apple cider vinegar can definitely help you. There’s no harm in sipping some before each meal (if you stay within limits). But it won’t work any magic by itself.

The most effective way of losing weight is still eating healthy and exercise regularly.

4. You will lower the risk of heart disease

Cardiovascular disease includes heart disease and stroke. It is currently the leading cause of death.

There are multiple factors that can lead to cardiovascular disease. Some are genetic or environmentally-induced. Some biological factors though, may be decreased with the help of ACV.

In one study, rats were fed a high cholesterol diet. The group that also had acetic acid in their diet had much lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Triglycerides are a type of fat in your blood that can increase risk for heart disease.

In addition to acetic acid, ACV may also contain chlorogenic acid. This antioxidant has effects similar to caffeine. It stops LDL cholesterol particles from oxidizing, shown by various studies. The oxidation of LDL particles crucial in developing heart disease.

Add this to the fact that acetic acid can lower blood pressure, it sounds pretty good! However, most experiments were done on lab rats.

The only human evidence comes from Harvard. Women who ate oil and vinegar salad dressing had a lower risk for heart disease.

The evidence is promising, but not concrete as of yet. Although, it might be beneficial to add some vinegar salad dressing!

5. You will absorb more nutrients from your food

Your stomach is usually at a pH level of 1.0 to 2.0. And now, that is really acidic. To put things into perspective, white distilled vinegar is a 2.4. Battery acid is around 1. Thankfully this acid stays in your stomach (unless there are problems such as acid reflux).

This uberly acidic environment is what sterilizes the digestive tract and kills the microbes. When the acid level falls, unfriendly bacteria may start to multiply. On the light side, this can lead to bloating and indigestion. And decreased absorption of vitamins and minerals.

In more extreme cases, it can lead to cancer.

It seems logical to try to up the acid level by ingesting some vinegar. It was also shown that dietary vinegar enhanced calcium absorption in the intestines. Again, this was experimented on our good friend, the rat. But the researchers concluded that this may even help prevent osteoporosis. So it’s still good news!

But, of course, make sure you dilute the apple cider vinegar first. Don’t drink toomuch acid.

6. You will have lower risk of heartburn

As mentioned above, acid for digestion usually stays in your stomach. Unless you have acid reflux. In which the muscle at the entrance of the stomach fails to close properly or at the right time. This allows the acid to escape and go up your esophagus.

This can cause the burning pain in your chest called heartburn. If you experience this more than twice per month, you may have acid reflux disease. It’s also known as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GRD).

Despite what you may think, various acidic drinks have been noted to prevent heartburn. Other than ACV, coffee and lemon water are also included. Why? Because when diluted with water, there’s an alkalizing effect.

But with ACV, the effects depend on the cause of your heartburn-like symptoms:

  • Stomach ulcers or esophagus lesions: Vinegar will only make things worse
  • Something you ate: Adding a bit of acetic acid will help neutralize the acid

As a precaution, make sure you ask your doctor first before adding cider vinegar to your diet if you have heartburn!

7. You will balance your body’s pH levels

Now let’s expand the aforementioned alkalizing effect.

Vinegars, by definition, are pretty acidic. In fact, in the USA, you’re not allowed to label something as vinegar unless the acidity level is at least 4 percent. But unlike others, apple cider vinegar is the one with an alkalizing effect.

Though acidic, ACV promotes an alkaline environment inside your body. This is due to how ACV is broken down and digested.

Many viruses and bacteria are unable to live in an alkaline environment.

When you don’t have enough alkaline, your body takes calcium in an attempt to become alkaline. This leeching of calcium can lead to loss of bone density and osteoporosis.

Despite contradicting claims, many people enjoy better health after switching to a more alkalizing diet. It’s definitely worth a try!

8. You will enjoy better digestion

You’ve probably heard all about probiotics. They are live microorganisms that help with digestion and destroy harmful bacteria. We know them from yogurt and other products, such as skin creams.

There are five types of probiotics in apple cider vinegar. They may or may not still be alive when you drink your cup of vinegar though.

Fortunately, there’s another part of the “mother” of ACV (that gunk at the bottom of the bottle): prebiotics.

Prebiotics, as opposed to probiotics, are a special form of fiber. They nourish the friendly bacteria (probiotics) that are already in laying in your gut.

Pectin, the prebiotic, is also what slows absorption of glucose. There have been studies that show pectin binds to cholesterol, causing less of it to be absorbed.

Most benefits from ACV are thanks to prebiotics. So make sure you shake your bottle of ACV well and scoop out the gunk at the bottom!

9. You will have more energy efficient muscles

Athletes drink all sorts of concoctions for optimal performance.

One of them is pickle juice. A group of young men who were electronically stimulated to cramp were able to stop cramping faster if they drank pickle juice. The hero is the vinegar that’s part of the pickle juice.

This is probably because vinegar contains potassium. This is one of the seven essential minerals for your body. It is responsible for giving you an energy boost. It also helps fine tune muscle control and sense of touch. Without enough potassium, you get muscle twitches and cramps.

Athletes are also drinking apple cider vinegar. In another research on rats, acetic acid boosts glycogen repletion in skeletal muscles. This means the acid helps your muscles turn carbs into energy. And this will definitely give you more fuel for your exercises.

So if you’re planning on a big workout day, drink some ACV and load up on the carbs. You might feel more powerful the next day! But still remember to stay hydrated with regular ol’ water!

10. You can be protected against cancer

We all know the dangerous implications of cancer. It is one of the leading causes of death in modern day society.

The disease is characterized by an uncontrollable growth of cells. There are many causes and factors for cancer. There are just as many home remedies that can apparently help prevent it.

Experts suggest ACV has beneficial systemic effects, with historical records. But still need to be “rediscovered” by modern science. In a 2004 study, vinegar was found to have an antitumor effect. (The researchers note that rice vinegar had a larger effect than wine and apple vinegars though).

The fermentation process of ACV formed a neutral alpha-glycan content. This was able to decrease cancerous tumors in mice. Again, it might have a different effect on actual humans. But it’s still a good start!

An observational study also showed that consuming vinegar led to decreased esophageal cancer.

So cider vinegar seems to be able to slow or stop cancer growth. But it’s definitely not the magic cure for something as dangerous as cancer.

11. You will enjoy fresher breath

A lot of people use vinegar as a home cleaning tool. It has great antibacterial properties! The handy acetic acid kills bacteria and viruses.

Bad breath is also caused by bacteria. It makes sense to think that swishing around some ACV can kill those microorganisms. And in theory, that’s the truth.

However, experts note that the vinegar probably isn’t as effective as products specifically designed for fresh breath. Treat it more like a nice and convenient side effect!

In addition, apple cider vinegar is highly acidic. As we know. It can erode the enamel on your teeth. (Claims that ACV can whiten your teeth are bogus.)

To prevent this, consider drinking with a straw. And wait at least half an hour before brushing your teeth afterward. This will protect your teeth while still giving you the benefits.

12. You will control candida

Candida is a chronic yeast disorder. Everyone has candida albicans in their gut. It works to digest sugar. But when you have too much of a sweet tooth, things can get out of hand.

Some symptoms of candida include bad breath, exhaustion, joint pain and digestive problems. It can really lower your quality of life by draining your energy.

Apple cider vinegar is a natural remedy against the disorder. It has antifungal properties and contain enzymes to regulate candida levels. The yeast that ferments the vinegar can also act as a prebiotic.

Do note that there hasn’t been specific research on this. However, apple cider vinegar does seem to be really helpful for your gut!

13. You will get a nutrition boost

People talk about how apple cider vinegar can detox your body. They cite how potassium can break up mucus. The acetic acid should be able to bind to toxins and take them out too.

Which may all be true. People have experienced good results. Apple vinegar has been found to clear sinuses and heal sore throats too.

However, there aren’t any true scientific evidence to back up the claims.

What minerals and vitamins can you get though? Let’s take a look:

  • Calcium: 2% of daily value
  • Phosphorus: 2% of daily value
  • Iron: 3% of daily value
  • Magnesium: 3% of daily value
  • Potassium: 5% of daily value
  • Manganese: 30% of daily value

Dietary manganese is usually forgotten, but still crucial to our bodily functions. It is responsible for bone production. It helps control blood sugar and fights free radicals.

In addition, manganese works for skin integrity. It plays a crucial role in creating collagen. So while ACV may or may not detox your body, it can still help give you healthy skin!

There are also some benefits that you can get without directly drinking apple cider vinegar. It’s great if you want to take advantage of it but don’t really like the taste.

14. You will clean your food

Vinegar is often used as a cleaning supply. It has many antibacterial properties.

Research shows that it can reduce Salmonella and other pathogens. The researchers used lemon water and diluted vinegar to clean fresh rocket leaves and shredded onion. And for best results, you can actually try combining the two cleaning agents. By using a 1:1 mixture, the Salmonella was almost completely destroyed.

To use, fill a spray bottle with diluted ACV. Then spritz your produce before rinsing and serving. That doesn’t mean salads with ACV dressing is spotless though. More research is needed. But some experts say the other ingredients in salad dressing might negate the effect.

15. You will get rid of smelly feet

Here’s great news if you often get sweaty, or just generally smelly, feet. Vinegar can help freshen your breath. And it can freshen your feet too.

At the end of the day, moisten paper towels with the apple cider vinegar. Give your feet a few wipes and you’re all set!

16. You can relieve jellyfish stings

Not sure how many people deal with jellyfish on a regular basis. But if you ever get stung, don’t worry. Get some diluted vinegar!

According to WebMD, vinegar helps deactivate the stinging cells. If vinegar isn’t available, you can also use baking soda. After rinsing, soak the area with hot water (or ice packs).

But if you have immediate access to hot water, that works even better, according to one study.

17. You can use it against dandruff

Dandruff is a common but annoying scalp condition. It can be caused by overly oily or dry skin, or a fungus called malassezia.

You can try over-the-counter shampoos and treatments. Look for shampoosthat contain:

  • Pyrithione zinc: reduces fungus
  • Coal tar: slows how quickly scalp cells die and flake off
  • Salicylic acid: eliminate scaling
  • Selenium sulfide: slow scalp cells from dying and relieve malassezia
  • Ketoconazole: antifungal

Of course, there are also natural remedies.

Some experts recommend using cider vinegar for your dandruff problem. The vinegar’s acidity changes the pH of your scalp and also has antibacterial properties.

Dilute ACV with equal parts water in a spray bottle. Spritz onto your scalp evenly. Then wrap your head with a towel. After letting it sit in for at least 15 minutes, wash as usual. For best results, do this process twice a week.

Some things to be careful of

Despite all the great stuff, apple cider vinegar is vinegar and . . . acidic.

You must dilute the ACV just a bit. Don’t just drink it straight out of the bottle! And since the acid can erode your teeth enamel, drink with a straw for best results.

The acid can also irritate your skin. Especially if you have burns or lesions. Sure, apple cider vinegar is antibacterial. But if you can help it, try not to use it for your acne breakout. Or for cleaning wounds. Or sunburn. The vinegar might just make things worse.

And, as always, take things with a grain of salt. The world of apple cider vinegar benefits is still much uncharted. There’s a bunch of stuff we don’t know much about!

Effects may be different for everyone. And some might turn out to be bogus claims. But ACV is still a much loved gem.

A 13 year old once made lollipops with apple cider vinegar and sugar. To cure hiccups! People also swear that ACV can kick a sore throat’s butt or clear up your stuffed up nose. You may find that it works miracles for you too!

Some Tips on Intermittent Fasting

Fasting is the practice of abstaining or reducing consumption of food, drink, or both, for a specific period of time. Everyone fasts for at least some part of the day, generally the eight or so hours that one spends sleeping every night. Physiologically, fasting can refer to a person’s metabolic status after not eating overnight, or even the metabolic state after the complete digestion of a meal. Once you’ve gone eight to 12 hours without eating, the body enters a state of “fasting.”

The practice of fasting can lead to a number of metabolic changes within the body. These changes typically begin approximately three to five hours after eating, when the body enters a “post-absorptive” state – rather than the state on ongoing digestion, where eating frequent meals means the body is always involved in some sort of digestive activity.

Intermittent Fasting

Whether you practice more long-term fasting for health reasons or for spiritual reasons, most people will have to fast at some point for medical reasons. Patients undergoing surgery or other medical procedures that require a general anaesthetic will usually fast prior to the treatment, but fasting is also practiced before a number of other medical tests, including cholesterol testing, blood glucose measuring, or a lipid panel. This enables doctors to achieve accurate results and establish a solid baseline to inform future testing, if necessary.

Here are 15 amazing benefits of intermittent fasting.

One: weight loss

Instead of running on fuel from the food you just ate, fasting allows your body to tap into reserves – fat, which accumulates on the body to be burned whenever food supply grows scarce. This results in a slow, steady weight loss that can be a huge benefit.

Since fasting is often incorporated as a lifestyle change instead of a temporary fix, this type of diet is much more sustainable than many other “crash diets.” In fact, many studies support the practice as a valuable, reliable tool for weight loss and weight maintenance. Initially, you’ll see a marked weight loss as a result of losing water weight, but according to the author of Eat Stop Eat, each day you fast will show a loss of 0.5 pounds of true body fat.

Two: improved tolerance of glucose

For diabetics, fasting can be a fantastic way to normalize glucose and even improve glucose variability. Anyone looking for a natural way to increase insulin sensitivity should attempt an intermittent fast, as the effects of fasting can make a huge difference in how your body processes glucose.

Generally, insulin resistance is the result of accumulation of glucose in tissues that aren’t built for fat storage. As the body burns through stored fuel in the form of body fat, that excess accumulation becomes smaller and smaller, allowing the cells in your muscles and liver to grow increasingly responsive to insulin – great news for anyone looking to be less dependent on medications to assist these processes.

Three: boosts metabolism

Part of the reason intermittent fasting helps practitioners lose weight is because the restriction of food, followed by regular eating, can help stimulate your metabolism. While long-term fasting can actually cause a drop in your metabolism, the shorter fasts promoted by intermittent fasting have proven to increase metabolism – by up to 14 per cent, reported by one study.

This is also a more effective tool than long-term calorie restriction, which can often wreak havoc on the body’s metabolism. Weight loss often goes hand in hand with muscle loss – and since muscle tissue is what burns through calories, having less muscle leads to a drop in your body’s ability to metabolize food. Intermittent fasting, though, keeps your metabolism running smoothly by helping you maintain your muscle tissue as much as possible.

Four: longevity

Research from University of Chicago scientists revealed that intermittent fasting can “delay the development of the disorders that lead to death” – meaning that regular practitioners can enjoy a longer, healthier life than people who eat a regular three meals a day or follow a traditional restricted-calorie diet.

A theory on this, according to head of the National Institute on Aging’s neuroscience laboratory Mark Mattson, is that the mild stress that intermittent fasting puts on the body provides a constant threat – increasing the body’s powerful cellular defenses against potential molecular damage. Intermittent fasting also stimulates the body to maintain and repair tissues and has anti-aging benefits, keeping every organ and cell functioning effectively and efficiently.

Five: understanding hunger

It’s important to learn how to accurately decipher the signals your body gives you, and intermittent fasting is a great way to understand the cycle of hunger. Before true hunger sets in and the body, if not fed, enters starvation mode, you’ll feel pangs of “hunger” that can generally be attributed to psychological cravings. This emotional desire is confused with hunger all the time, but fasting will give practitioners the opportunity to experience real “hunger pains” in the stomach, and even withdrawal and detox symptoms associated with our usual consumption of processed foods.

You’ll also develop a deeper appreciation of food – if you’ve ever eaten after a period of “true hunger,” you’ll know what eating is supposed to feel like. Each bite tastes more delicious than the last, and you’ll experience a sensation of deep contentment and pleasure. It’s absolutely worth the hunger you endured to get here.

Six: establishes routine

Unless you’re following a random fast type of diet, having strict eating times followed by periods of fasting can help your body develop a solid routine. You’ll be able to recognize your own hunger cycles, you’ll sleep more regularly and soundly, and you’ll start scheduling appointments during convenient hours. It can be difficult to establish this routine at first, especially if you have a family or an inflexible work schedule, but once you’ve developed a consistent plan, you’ll soon start to see all the ways a set routine can benefit your life – and your health.

Seven: stimulates brain function

A study, discussed at a meeting of the Society for Neuroscience in 2015, revealed that intermittent fasting offers “enormous implications for brain health.” According to the study, which was undertaken on both humans and animals, stimulates the brain in a number of different ways: promotes the growth of neurons, aids in recovery following a stroke or other brain injury, and enhances memory performance. Not only does intermittent fasting help decrease a practitioner’s risk of developing neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s, there is evidence to show that it may actually even improve both cognitive function and quality of life for people living with those conditions already.

Eight: boosts immune system

According to scientists at the University of Southern California, fasting has the power to “regenerate the entire immune system” by boosting the body’s production of new white blood cells, which is how your body fights off infection. Fasting in cycles, like practitioners of intermittent fasting will do on a daily or weekly basis, enables your body to purge the damaged, old, or inefficient parts of the immune system, and replace them with newly generated immune system cells.

Studies showed that a 72 hour fast was even enough to help protect cancer patients from the harmful and toxic effects of chemotherapy treatments – which generally causes significant damage to the patient’s immune system. Further clinical trials are needed, but many researchers are confident that intermittent fasting could be incredibly helpful for immunocompromised individuals and the elderly.

Nine: rejuvenates skin

Acne sufferers know that one of the best ways to control bothersome skin conditions is through diet – eating only unprocessed foods and limiting consumption of dairy products. It’s no surprise, then, that regular intermittent fasting can offer impressive benefits that can be seen all over a practitioner’s glowing, radiant face. Many of these conditions are caused from food sensitivities, which can lead to inflammatory conditions and acne. After a fast, introduce foods one at a time and note any changes to your skin, to accurately pinpoint which foods should be avoided.

Intermittent fasting also has a positive effect on your hair and nails, helping them grow healthy and strong. Not only will you feel good after incorporating intermittent fasting into your lifestyle, you’ll look great, too.

Ten: improves spiritual well-being

Fasting is practiced by almost every religion around the world – it’s no surprise, then, that a lifestyle that includes intermittent fasting could lead to a deepened sense of spirituality.

Regular practitioners have reported feeling at peace during their fasts, and studies have proven that fasting can help regulate mood by reducing levels of anxiety and stress. In fact, fasting is recommended as a natural treatment for a variety of emotional and sexual problems.

Whether or not you fast for religious reasons, intermittent fasting will help you feel more connected to nature and the world around you, and you’ll benefit from having a clear mind and a positive outlook.

Eleven: reduces oxidative stress

Oxidative stress is caused by an imbalance in the body’s production of reactive oxygen and its antioxidative defenses, and may lead to chronic diseases and cancers. Unstable molecules, known as free radicals, can react with important molecules like DNA and protein – damaging these molecules and creating an imbalance.

The weight reduction brought on by regular intermittent fasting can lead to a reduction in the body’s level of oxidative stress, helping prevent the development of these unpleasant conditions. A greater antioxidant capability is a huge benefit that comes with intermittent fasting, and one that shouldn’t be overlooked by anyone looking to pursue improved health and well-being.

Twelve: improves heart function

A lower body fat percentage has wide-reaching benefits through the entire body, but possibly none more important than cardiac function. Consistently, studies have shown that Mormon populations show lower cardiac mortality – generally attributed to the fact that the people who follow the religion don’t smoke, drink, or eat large amounts of meat. In addition, Mormons practice intermittent fasting.

Intermittent fasting can lead to a reduction in cholesterol levels – particularly triglycerides, which the body uses to create energy. Having less body fat also takes some strain off the kidneys, lowering blood pressure and increasing the body’s production of growth hormones. Combined, these wonderful benefits can mean a significant improvement in heart function.

Thirteen: helps prevent cancer

Intermittent fasting’s impressive ability to stimulate growth hormone production is also important for reducing a practitioner’s risk of developing a number of types of cancer. Regular eating triggers the body to produce more and more new cells – which can inadvertently speed up the growth of certain cancer cells. Fasting, however, gives your body a bit of a rest from this activity, and lessens the possibility of new cells becoming cancerous.

In addition, studies have indicated that when combined with chemotherapy, a “fast-like diet” can help tear down the protection that prevents the immune system from attacking breast cancer and skin cancer cells.

Fourteen: speeds healing and recovery

Exercise while on a fast can be tricky, but there are some powerful benefits to be gained by combining the two – especially when you can get a solid workout in at the end of your period of not eating. Some studies have reported that after three weeks of regular overnight fasting, endurance cyclists noted a more rapid post-workout recovery – with no decrease in performance. Studies examining weight training in a fasted state showed an increase to the subject’s “intramyocellular anabolic response” to the post-workout meal, indicating that the period of fasting upped some of the body’s physiological indicators of muscular growth.

Even if these studies aren’t entirely conclusive, the healing power fasting and the improvements to your sleep and eating habits definitely aids the body in recovering from a workout, no matter how intense it is.

Fifteen: triggers autophagy

During a fast, the body’s cells begin to undertake a process called autophagy. Over time, dysfunctional or damaged proteins can build up within cells, and this waste removal process helps the body filter out this excess material. This process is an important part of the body’s ability to repair and detoxify, and some researchers assert that increased autophagy offers a boost in protection from a number of diseases, including cancer and Alzheimer’s disease.

Autophagy helps cells overcome stresses brought on from external causes like the deprivation of important nutrients, as well as internal issues like pathogens or invading infections organisms.

Suggested meals

Generally, intermittent fasting means you can eat whatever foods you like – within specific feeding windows, and as long as you are getting the nutrients you need. If your goal is to achieve the benefits of intermittent fasting, you won’t get there by indulging on fast food and candy. Use these meal ideas to help come up with some nutritious ways to fuel and nourish your body during your specific eating windows or periods of partial fasting.

Under 300 calorie suggestions:

  • one serving of oatmeal: approximately 250 calories
  • roasted vegetables with balsamic vinegar and a squeeze of lemon: approximately 260 calories
  • pesto salmon with kale: approximately 290 calories
  • sausage with roasted ratatouille: approximately 260 calories
  • prawn and squash curry: approximately 290 calories

Under 200 calorie suggestions:

  • light salad with spinach, feta cheese, lemon, and beetroot: approximately 150 calories
  • sliced apple with 1 tbsp of nut butter: approximately 145 calories
  • 100g serving of low-fat yogurt, 1sp of raw honey, 2 sliced plums: approximately 150 calories
  • omelette with spinach: approximately 160 calories
  • 40g of hummus and a bowl of raw vegetables: approximately 175 calories

Under 100 calorie suggestions:

  • one serving of miso soup: approximately 40 calories
  • one soft boiled egg: approximately 70 calories
  • lightly salted edamame beans: approximately 85 calories
  • handful of almonds: approximately 90 calories
  • one chopped and peeled kiwi: approximately 45 calories

These meals can be combined and altered to suit your taste, but it’s a good idea to try and keep each meal small and easy for your body to process. Focus on eating raw fruits and vegetables, unprocessed whole grains, organic lean protein, plenty of fibre, and lots of healthy fats to ensure that during your scheduled eating windows, you’re getting all the nutrients you need to keep your energy level up and satisfy you through your periods of partial or complete fasting.

Types of fasts

People practice fasting for a wide range of reasons, so there are a number of types of fasts to accommodate this variety of needs. Most will offer similar benefits, so there is really no type of fasting that is necessarily superior to others – it comes down to what works for an individual’s lifestyle, faith, or general well-being.

Dry Fasting

This type of fasting is done without food or water. A soft dry fast allows the individual to shower and brush their teeth, but an absolute dry fast, or a black fast, requires no contact with water whatsoever. This type of fasting is the most extreme, and is typically practiced as a spiritual act rather than for health reasons.

Liquid Fasting

While fully abstaining from solid food, a liquid fast allows individuals to consume water or juice – and has become quite trendy since the “Master Cleanse” or Lemonade Diet was introduced in the 1970s. This type of fast is typically short-lived, lasting between one to three days, and can include the use of laxatives and enemas to ensure full cleansing of the body’s lower digestive tract.

Partial Fasting

Also referred to as “selective fasting,” this type of fasting is incorporated into many cleanse diets or mono-diets. This means either limiting the amount of solid food consumed, or limiting consumption to specific types of food, like eating only brown rice, grapefruit, or apples.

Intermittent Fasting

This type of fasting involves sticking to a diet that cycles frequently between a period of fasting and a period of non-fasting. There are various ways to incorporate intermittent fasting into your lifestyle – alternate day fasting, one day per week fasting, or 24-hour plans – but all provide similar benefits.

Planning an intermittent fast

Intermittent fasting is one of the easiest ways to see the benefits of fasting without making huge lifestyle adjustments – but it certainly takes a bit of planning. Luckily, there are tons of recommended schedules to help you figure out when to eat and when not to eat, which means that there is an intermittent fast plan that can accommodate pretty much any schedule or lifestyle. Before embarking on a specific plan, consider what you want from the fast – are you looking to lose weight? Support a training plan? Make it a part of your regular healthy lifestyle? These factors will all play a role in helping you choose an intermittent fast schedule that will work for you.

16/8 Fast (also known as Leangains)

Fitness expert Martin Berkhan popularized this method of fasting, requiring practitioners to fast for 14 to 16 hours each day, with a restricted eating period of only eight to 10 hours – typically, you’d finish dinner at around 8 p.m. and then not eat again until noon the following day. Women sometimes have a more difficult time with longer fasts, so many women adjust this schedule to include a fast period of 14 to 15 hours, instead of the recommended 16.

For people who don’t eat breakfast, this type of fast will feel incredibly natural, but big breakfast eaters will have a harder time waiting all morning before eating their first meal. However, during your feeding window, practitioners are encouraged to fit in 2 to 3 healthy meals. Water, coffee, and other calorie-free beverages are allowed during fast periods, to help curb excessive hunger.

Possible 16/8 Fast (Leangains) Schedule

Sunday night, 8pm: finish eating last meal of the day

Sunday night, 11pm: go to bed (fast time – 3 hours, so far)

Monday morning, 7am: wake up (fast time – 11 hours, so far)

Monday morning, until 12pm: continue fasting, drinking only calorie-free beverages

Monday, noon: Fast time – 16 hours!

Monday afternoon, until 8pm: enjoy one or more meals, sticking to healthy choices

Monday night, 8pm: restart 16 hour fast

5:2 Fast

This would be considered more of a partial fast, as practitioners never truly abstain from solid foods – the diet encourages normal eating for five days of the week, with two days of restricted calorie intake, generally between 500-600 calories per day.

Popularized by British doctor and journalist Michael Mosley, this diet allows for an easier adjustment for people who have never counted calories before – but in order to achieve the benefits of the fast, it’s important to eat healthy, nutritious foods both during the fast days and on regular diet days, as well.

Possible 5:2 Fast Schedule

Sunday: eat normally, choosing healthy foods

Monday: follow reduced calorie diet – throughout the day, consume only 500-600 calories

Tuesday: eat normally

Wednesday: eat normally

Thursday: reduce calories again, staying between a daily total of 500-600 calories

Friday: eat normally

Saturday: eat normally – continue to fuel your body with nutritious foods

24-hour Fast

Whether you decide to begin fasting after breakfast, lunch, or dinner, under this diet plan, you wouldn’t eat again until the same meal the next day – after 24 hours of straight fasting. This method has been quite popular for the last few years, after being touted by fitness expert Brad Pilon.

It’s important to ensure that your diet remains healthy, and that you’re not overeating during your feeding periods – especially if one of your goals is to lose weight. It can be difficult to adjust to this type of fast, so experts recommend starting with 14 to 16 hours and working your way up to a full 24-hour fast. One day per week is challenging enough, and those who plan to attempt to 24-hour fasting periods each week should take care to get enough rest and limit physical activity during the fasts.

Again, during the 24-hour fasting period, non-caloric beverages like water or coffee are permitted.

Possible 24-hour Fast Schedule

Saturday night, 8pm: finish eating last meal of the day

Saturday night, 11pm: go to bed (fast time – 3 hours, so far)

Sunday morning, 7am: wake up (fast time – 11 hours, so far)

Sunday, all day, until 8pm: continue fasting, using non-caloric beverages to curb hunger

Sunday night, 8pm: Fast time – 24 hours! Enjoy a healthy meal, you’ve earned it

Alternate-Day Fast

This is a rather extreme type of fast, which can be undertaken in varying degrees of intensity. Some practitioners don’t eat at all during the fasting period, while others do a partial fast with a drastically reduced intake of calories, around 500 for the day.

Since this type of fasting is difficult, it’s not recommended for beginners or people who are looking to introduce a sustainable lifestyle change. However, it has proven to be very effective in helping practitioners gain a wide range of health benefits.

Possible Alternate Day Fast Schedule

Sunday: eat normally, choosing healthy foods

Monday: eat sparingly, sticking to a 500-600 calorie limit

Tuesday: eat normally

Wednesday: partial fast, consume no more than 500-600 calories

Thursday: eat normally

Friday: limit intake to 500-600 calories for the day

Saturday: eat normally – focus on nutrition

Warrior Diet

After fasting or eating small amounts of raw produce throughout the day, practitioners of this type of partial fast end the day with a huge meal in the evening, within a four-hour feeding window. This style of fasting rose to notoriety in recent years thanks to fitness guru Ori Hofmekler, and was one of the first popular diets to incorporate intermittent fasting.

The Warrior Diet is based on the theory that “ancient warriors” ate lightly during the day, if at all – and feasted in the evening after bringing home their “hunt.” With this diet, your food intake will consist primarily of one evening meal, and won’t require any calorie counting.

Possible Warrior Diet Fast Schedule

Saturday night, 6pm: finish eating last meal

Saturday night, 11pm: go to bed

Sunday morning, 7am: wake up

Sunday, 7am to 5pm: enjoy calorie-free beverages, snacks of raw fruits and vegetables

Sunday, 5pm: enjoy a large, healthy dinner

Random Fast

This type of fasting is something we all do from time to time – skipping a meal on occasion, when you’re not hungry enough to eat or when you’re too busy to take the time to prepare a meal and sit down to eat it. There is a misconception out there that if you don’t eat every few hours, your body will go into “starvation mode” and start burning muscle, but this kind of eating is actually fairly typical of how our ancestors lived.

Before we learned how to preserve foods for later consumption, meals were eaten whenever food was available. Following this kind of eating schedule can provide similar benefits to any other type of fasting, but is much easier to accommodate into a busy lifestyle. A Paleo type diet is recommended when practicing a spontaneous type of fasting, and can be a challenge for people who need structure and routine.

Possible Random Fast Schedule

Sunday: eat normally, choosing healthy foods

Monday: skip breakfast, eat a healthy lunch and healthy dinner

Tuesday: reduce calorie intake to 500-600 for the day

Wednesday: eat normally

Thursday: eat normally

Friday: skip breakfast and lunch before eating a large, healthy dinner

Saturday: snack throughout the day, limit to 500-600 calories

If none of these types of fasts can work with your lifestyle, don’t lose hope. Fasting doesn’t have to follow strict rules or schedules – find a fasting style that works for you. Experts recommend making one small change at a time and maintaining that adjustment for at least two weeks, to give yourself a chance to evaluate whether the change works for you or not. Then, continue to introduce further small changes as needed, until you’ve reached your ultimate goal.

Keep in mind that no matter what kind of schedule you decide to follow for your intermittent fasting, you should never go more than 36 hours without eating. When you do eat, make sure you’re eating healthy, nutritious meals – not enjoying “cheat days” by bingeing on junk food. Fasting isn’t just about not eating, it’s about helping your body function in a more effective, efficient way, and filling it with empty calories and various chemicals isn’t conducive to the process.

Can I exercise while fasting?

Since food provides your body with the fuel necessary to get through a tough workout, it is beneficial to exercise during your fast – as long as you do it correctly. Your body generally uses stored carbohydrates in the form of glycogen to power you through your workout. During a fast, when your glycogen reserves are depleted, your body will be forced to turn to other energy sources for fuel – like fat. However, experts recommend that if you’re fasting, keep your workouts short.

“When glycogen is in short supply, your body also reverts to breaking down protein – your muscles’ building blocks – for fuel,” said Kelly Pritchett, Ph.D., R.D., assistant professor in nutrition and exercise science at Central Washington University and a board-certified sports dietetics specialist.

This means that even though you will likely burn more fat if you’re exercising on an empty stomach, you could also start burning protein if you work out too hard without fueling your body with carbs – leading to a loss of muscle mass, in addition to fat.

Without food, you’ll also feel the weakening effects of lowered levels of glycogen and blood sugar. As your body adjusts to regular intermittent fasting, you’ll be able to handle this energy loss a bit better, but initially, overdoing it with your workouts could be detrimental. Make sure you’re getting enough rest to compensate for your lowered energy level before you attempt to get on the bike or start pounding the pavement.

Challenges to expect during a fast

Fasting can be a difficult practice to incorporate into a busy lifestyle, especially for individuals who have never monitored meals or counted calories in the past. For people who are newly adopting a healthy diet and exercise program, it’s a good idea to develop a routine and let your body adjust before attempting to bring in an intermittent fast plan.

Working your scheduled fast periods around your family, job, and other commitments can also be a struggle. If you have the support of your workplace and your loved ones as you incorporate fasting into your life, it will be a lot easier to stick to your eating routine. Since you will likely face a brief period of lowered energy and some mood swings initially, it can be beneficial to arrange for your first fasts to fall on weekends, or days with less scheduled activity. Be prepared to feel a bit rundown as your body adjusts to a new eating schedule.

People who have struggled with eating disorders in the past can find that fasting may trigger relapses – particularly binge eaters. The hunger that can develop during a period of fasting could lead you to overeat during your feeding days, but this is generally not a problem for people who have a healthy attitude toward food and eating. If you’ve experienced food-related mental health issues, a diet that incorporates any period of fasting for longer than eight to 12 hours might not be appropriate.

Finally, fasting is generally not a good idea if you’re pregnant. When your body is growing another human inside it, you’ll need to fuel it frequently and make sure you’re getting all the nutrients you need in regular doses – however, there is no research to show that fasting is a harmful practice for pregnant women. Some Muslim women do choose to practice fasting during Ramadan even throughout a pregnancy, but all pregnant women are encouraged to discuss drastic dietary changes with their doctor to ensure it will be safe for the baby.

Fasting throughout history

For thousands of years, fasting has been promoted as a spiritual healing practice, employed by religions around the world. The widely recognized “father of modern medicine,” Hippocrates of Cos, wrote, “to eat when you are sick is to feed your illness.” Hippocrates regularly prescribed fasting as a way to speed healing from a variety of ailments.

The practice was also adopted by Greek writers and philosophers Plato, Aristotle, and Plutarch, who wrote, “instead of using medicine, better fast today.” Ancient Greeks much preferred using natural healing methods – and since humans, like animals, lose their appetite when suffering from an illness, this universal human instinct is embraced through the practice of fasting.

Even more modern thinkers have recognized the value of fasting as a way to encourage the body’s natural healing process – including Philip Paracelsus and Benjamin Franklin. However, the practice has been primarily utilized by religious groups. Virtually every religion in the world promotes fasting as for spiritual reasons, since the practice has been touted in the scriptures of Jesus Christ, Buddha, and the prophet Muhammed. Cleansing, or purification, has been embraced by a wide variety of religions and cultures throughout history.

Buddhists will often eat first thing in the morning and then fast for the rest of the day – going without solid food until the next morning, when they wake up. Water fasts are also regularly practiced by Buddhists, sometimes lasting for days or weeks. Traditional fasting is frequently practiced by Greek Orthodox Christians, for up to 180 to 200 days of each year. For Muslims, the holy month of Ramadan requires nightly fasting from sunrise to sunset, and weekly fasting on Mondays and Thursdays is also recommended by Muhammad. Judaism, Hinduism, Gnosticism, and even South and North American Indian traditions also incorporate various forms of fasting.

While modern western medicine is somewhat reluctant to accept the traditional, natural remedies of the past, the practice of fasting has managed to continue to this day. In the 1970s, the idea of “cleanse diets” emerged as a solution to help people lose weight and detoxify their bodies, and the popularity of yoga has encouraged more modern practitioners to embrace fasting as an Ayurvedic healing therapy. As more people recognize the power of the mind-body connection, the more important these self-healing practices will become – and the fact that many groups and individuals continue to fast to this day proves this ancient practice has earned a place in the modern world.

Many varieties of Mint Leaves have different properties for health

Most of us are familiar with the distinctively spicy, refreshing taste and invigorating, minty fragrance of a stick of peppermint or spearmint; it’s a classic ingredient in breath fresheners, candies, gums, and herbal teas. Few, however, are aware that mint also has an impressively wide range of scientifically confirmed health benefits.

The popular, aromatic herb Mint, scientifically known as Mentha, is a perennial plant which is actually a genus comprising 15-20 known species, and hundreds of varieties. Peppermint and spearmint are just two of the most well-known of these species; some other varieties of mint you may have heard of are catnip, bergamot and lemon balm. Having originated in Asia and the Mediterranean region, the herb is now grown across Europe, Asia, Africa, North America, and Australia. It actually grows best in wet environments with moist soils, where if left unattended it can reach heights of up to 120 cm, and spread rapidly over a large area.

Humans have been cultivating and using the leaves of mint for many centuries; peppermint leaves have actually been found in the Egyptian pyramids! (1) With its trademark fragrance and taste, the versatile little herb is widely used in ice-creams and candy, tea, toothpastes, breath fresheners and inhalers, cosmetics and beauty products, insecticides, and even in cigarettes, where it masks the foul taste of tobacco and soothes the irritation it causes the smoker’s throat. Mint leaves, whether fresh or dried, have long been a mainstay of cooking as well. Fresh leaves in particular add flavor to many different recipes, whilst drinks and foods containing mint cool you off in the summer.

Mint has long been valued for its medicinal properties, too, and those are what we shall focus on in this article. Mint was used as a herbal medicine as far back as the ancient Egyptians thousands of years ago (2). Science is only now catching up on the ancients, with modern research confirming that this remarkable plant has a wide variety of potential health benefits, including treatment of gastrointestinal disorders; promotion of proper digestion; weight loss; relief from depression, memory loss, headache and nausea; treatment of common cold and asthma; prevention of skin problems, and more.

And the good news is that, with recipes available for dishes ranging from mint smoothies and shakes, to jellies and fruit salads, to sauces and mint salsas, there are endless ways you can reap the health benefits of magical, marvellous mint. If you wish to better your health whilst also treating yourself to a delightful snack, then this heroic little herb is the one for you. Mint leaves can’t be beat!

Health Benefits of Mint Leaves

Herbs often get overlooked when talking about what makes up a healthy diet. Because of their high antioxidant content, the myriad vitamins, minerals and other nutrients they contain, and the numerous health benefits with which they are associated, fruits and vegetables usually grab the health food headlines. But herbs also contain a wide variety of nutrients and offer a significant number of health benefits.

As well as being low in calories, fresh mint, including spearmint and peppermint, actually has one of the highest antioxidant capacities of any food (3). Because of this, mint can help alleviate a variety of common ailments. For example, anti-oxidants have been scientifically proven to possess anti-aging properties (4), (5), and are also thought to have a role to play in preventing cancer. But its high antioxidant content is just one of the many characteristics that make mint such a wonder for your wellbeing. This herb also contains vitamins A, B2 and C; plentiful fibre; and numerous minerals like iron (which you need to make red blood cells), potassium, zinc, calcium, copper and magnesium (6), (7), (8). Menthol, the compound in mint leaves that gives them their distinct aroma, also has soothing, pain relieving and local anesthetic properties (9).

Here are some of the specific health benefits of those maestro mint leaves…

1. Mint Leaves Help Treat Gastrointestinal Disorders

Much of the existing research on the therapeutic properties of mint suggests that the herb may be particularly effective in treating gastrointestinal disorders, including:

Irritable Bowel Syndrome – The use of peppermint oil in enteric-coated capsules has been found to be a safe and effective treatment for those suffering from abdominal pain and discomfort caused by Irritable Bowel Syndrome (10), (11). One study conducted in 2007 showed that an impressive 75 percent of subjects who consumed peppermint oil saw a greater than 50 percent reduction in their IBS symptoms score, compared to those who took a mere placebo (12). In fact, peppermint oil “may be the drug of first choice in IBS patients with non-serious constipation or diarrhea to alleviate general symptoms and to improve quality of life” (13). The beneficial effect also extends to kids. In one children’s trial, approximately 75% of those taking peppermint oil experienced reduced IBS-associated pain within 2 weeks (14).

Functional dyspepsia – A study performed in 2000 found that when subjects suffering from dyspepsia took a daily infusion of peppermint and caraway seed oil, 67 percent of them reported a significant improvement in their symptoms (15).

Gastric ulcers – In certain animal studies, it has been demonstrated that menthol helps to protect the lining of the stomach against the harmful effects of ethanol and indomethacin, making it a useful means of preventing the formation of gastric ulcers associated with prolonged use of painkillers and alcohol (16).

Gastric Emptying Disorders – humble peppermint has also been shown to facilitate gastric emptying, indicating its usefulness for patients that have various gastrointestinal disorders (17).

Colonic spasm – Other scientific studies suggest peppermint oil may be a safe and effective alternative to the drug Buscopan given its capacity to reduce colonic spasms in barium enemas (18), (19).

Infantile Colic – Another study done in 2013 discovered peppermint is just as if not more effective at treating infantile colic as the synthetic chemical with which it is usually treated, simethicone (20).

Bottom Line: Mint leaves have the potential to treat a number of gastrointestinal disorders, including Irritable Bowel Syndrome, functional dyspepsia, gastric ulcers, gastric emptying disorders, colonic spasm, and infantile colic.

2. Mint Leaves Aid Digestion

In addition to ameliorating the effects of gastrointestinal disorders, marvellous mint also promotes orderly digestion, and soothes stomach muscles beset by indigestion and inflammation. Mint is a soothing herb that has been used through the millennia to assist with indigestion and upset tummies (Michael T. Murray and Joseph E. Pizzorno, authors of “The Encyclopedia of Healing Foods”).

Did you know the aroma of mint by itself helps to activate the salivary glands along with the glands that excrete digestive enzymes, thus promoting smooth and proper digestion of food? (21) This is precisely why mint has for long been used in appetizers and as an ingredient in palate cleansers.

What’s more, peppermint apparently increases bile secretion and makes bile flow more efficiently – and may also promote healthier cholesterol levels (22). Mint in addition is a good relaxant, and the muscles in your digestive tract are one of the things it relaxes (23). Each of these factors help to speed up and ease the digestive process.

Meanwhile, for sufferers of indigestion, a calming cup of peppermint tea after meals may be just what your sick stomach needs to feel better (24). Mint contains menthol and methyl salicylate which both ease stomach spasms, and help your gut to settle down. Peppermint further functions as a carminative, which means it helps to relieve discomfort and pain from gas and bloating. Peppermint tea is a traditional home remedy for flatulence! (25)

Bottom Line: Consuming mint leaves prevents indigestion and keeps your gastrointestinal tract in good shape. It also prevents wind!

3. Mint Leaves Relieve Nausea

The menthol oil derived from freshly crushed mint leaves can also help soothe nausea and motion sickness (that makes it a very useful thing to take onboard flights!). Again, the mere aroma is often enough to ease your symptoms (26). One study from 2013 showed peppermint oil achieved good results in alleviating chemotherapy-induced nausea, and what’s more at a much cheaper price compared to standard pharmaceutical-based treatments (27). Were you aware that lots of people keep mint-containing products or menthol oil on their person at all times precisely to ward off feelings of nausea should they arise?

Bottom Line: The menthol in mint helps dispel the unwelcome sensation of nausea. Peppermint oil helps relieve chemotherapy-induced nausea.

4. Mint Leaves Provide You With Pain Relief From Headaches

In addition to relieving nausea, mint leaves double up as a natural alternative to aspirin in the event of headaches. For example, it is known that when mint oil, or balms whose base is comprised of mint, are rubbed topically on the nose and forehead, they give rapid relief from headaches and migraines (28). Whereas brazilian mint (scientific name Hyptis crenata) has been scientifically demonstrated to be just as effective at providing pain relief as synthetic aspirin-style drugs when consumed as a “tea” (31). Magical mint is an inherently soothing substance, and so naturally it helps to ameliorate the symptoms of inflammation and fever that frequently accompany these conditions (29). In fact, applying peppermint extract externally has been found to increase the pain threshold in humans (30).

Bottom Line: Mint, whether applied topically or ingested as a tea, provides you with much needed (and all-natural) relief from pain caused by headaches and migraines.

5. Mint Leaves Help Soothe Irritated Skin

Because of its soothing properties, applying mint topically can also be an effective treatment for skin irritations and itchiness, such as those caused by rashes, reactions, and the like (32). Next time you have an unwelcome run-in with some poison ivy, try applying a wet rag soaked in peppermint tea, some cold mint tea bags, or a mixture of water and peppermint essential oil. The anti-pruritic properties of mint oil also come in handy in treating bites from insects including mosquitoes, honeybees, hornets, wasps, and gnats (34).

Mint oil is a natural antiseptic, which makes it useful for healing skin infections caused by cuts and insect bites. The cooling properties of mild mint will provide you with relief from the sensations of itchiness and irritation, at the same time as its anti-inflammatory attributes bring the swelling down.

Suffer from shingles? A study conducted back in 2002 found that applying peppermint oil topically to shingles resulted in a rapid improvement in patients’ shingles-associated neuropathic pain symptoms; what is more, the effects lasted throughout the entire 2 months of follow-up treatment (33).

Finally, mint juice is also an effective skin cleanser. In addition to helping to eradicate pimples, it can also assist those with acne (34). In the same vein, mint juice can also be applied to heal and soothe burns (36).

Bottom Line: Mint leaves help soothe skin irritated and inflamed by rashes, reactions, burns and insect bites. Mint is a good anti-septic. Studies have found it is effective in reducing pain caused by shingles. Mint leaves can also help reduce pimples and acne.

6. Mint Leaves Make An Excellent All-Natural Insect Repellant

One study on natural insect repellants discovered that applying Australian bush mint essential oil to the arms gave great results, preventing mosquitoes both from landing on the skin and from biting it (37). If you don’t have a bottle of the essential oil, you can rub the leaves directly on the skin (though it probably won’t be as effective). In fact, mint oil is already found frequ

ently in insect repellent devices such as citronella candles, as the smell alone is sufficient to ward off the majority of insects (35).

Bottom Line: Mint leaves can be used to make an all-natural, eco-friendly insect repellent.

7. Mint Leaves Promote Healthy Hair

A 2014 study showed that topically applying peppermint essential oil to the scalp positively affected the growth of new hair follicles (38). That’s great news for those of you concerned about thinning hair or pattern baldness! Consider trying out an organic hair serum with mint and rosemary (39).

Bottom Line: Applying mint leaves topically promotes healthy hair growth and prevents hair thinning and baldness.

8. Mint Leaves Promote Weight Loss

Yet another surprising health benefit of mighty mint, is that it can help you in your attempts to shed those burdensome kilos! Not only is it low in calories but, as we have seen, mint is a natural stimulant, and it dutifully stimulates those digestive enzymes that absorb nutrients from food into the bloodstream, and catabolize fat into energy that can be used by your body (40). The more mint leaves you eat, in other words, the more of your fat gets consumed and converted into fuel, instead of being stored as KGs in your body!

Bottom Line: Eating mint leaves will get you looking trim, taut and terrific!

9. Mint Leaves Improve Your Eyesight

Spearmint and peppermint leaves both contain generous quantities of vitamin C and vitamin A, which are known to contribute to improved vision (41), These elements also protect our delicate orbs from damage caused by roaming free radicals, which in turn prevents the occurrence of eye diseases like cataracts and macular degeneration (42). Mint is rich in vitamin A, especially: a half-cup of peppermint leaves provides 23 percent of the daily vitamin A requirement for men, and 18 percent for women; meanwhile, the same amount of spearmint leaves contains 62 percent of the male and 79 percent of the female requirement (43).

Bottom Line: mint leaves promote better vision, whilst preventing cataracts and macular degeneration.

10. Mint Leaves Have Anti-Cancer Properties

Here is another startling health benefit of this remarkable little herb: it prevents cancer! As we have seen, mint contains anti-oxidants, and science has repeatedly shown a connection between a diet rich fresh fruits and vegetables – which are packed full of antioxidants like vitamin C – and reduced likelihood of contracting various cancers (44).

In particular, mint may have a special role to play in preventing prostate cancer. Preclinical research shows that peppermint contains a compound called menthol which apparently slows and inhibits the growth of prostate cancer (45), (46).

Peppermint also contains a phytonutrient called monoterpene, which has been shown to stop the growth of pancreatic, liver and breast cancers in animal studies (human research awaits!). In addition, peppermint has a compound known as perillyl alcohol, which may halt the development and spread of cancer (Michael T. Murray and Joseph E. Pizzorno, authors of “The Encyclopedia of Healing Foods”). Yet other enzymes found in mint may also help prevent and treat cancer (47).

Bottom Line: Mint leaves contain antioxidants and other compounds which may inhibit the growth of cancers. One study suggests the menthol in peppermint may retard the spread of prostate cancer.

11. Mint Leaves Are An Effective Anti-Allergen

Each year, legions of people worldwide are afflicted by allergies such as hay fever (scientific name rhinitis) during certain months. In a 2001 preclinical study on rats, mint leaf extracts were found to have inhibited release of the chemical histamine, which is known to exacerbate symptoms of allergic rhinitis and other seasonal allergies (48). Mint also contains an anti-inflammatory agent called rosmarinic acid which has been shown to be effective in relieving symptoms of seasonal allergy symptoms (49).

Bottom Line: Mint leaves have been shown to be effective in addressing seasonal allergies like hay fever.

12. Mint Leaves Are Good For Your Respiratory System

Mint contains menthol, an excellent natural decongestant. Again it’s actually the aroma of the herb that’s responsible for breaking up phlegm and mucus in the lungs, bronchi, nose and throat, clearing up congestion and giving you relief from respiratory disorders associated with common cold and asthma (50). For example, a 2009 study found that inhaled essential oil of peppermint was able to alleviate inflammation resulting from tuberculous, with the authors of the study concluding: “This procedure may be used to prevent recurrences and exacerbation of pulmonary tuberculosis” (51).

Mint is also a good relaxant, and has a cooling effect which can help soothe sore throats, noses and other respiratory airways, and relieve the irritation associated with chronic coughing (52). Actually, it is for this reason that many balms contain mint – and why they tend to have greater effectiveness (and are more eco-friendly!) than aerosol-based inhalers.

Bottom Line: Mint is a natural decongestant, relaxant and coolant, and thus helps soothe the symptoms of respiratory disorders like common cold and asthma. One study also found it may be effective in treating tuberculosis.

13. Mint Leaves Improve Your Memory

Here’s yet another example of how the mere smell of mint can improve your health! A study from 2006 reports that aromatherapy using peppermint leaves enhances the memory and increases alertness (53), (54). You can try this yourself at home: simply add a few drops of peppermint essential oil to your next bath. Or: boil up some shredded mint leaves in water and let the scent waft throughout your home. Even if it doesn’t improve your memory, it will still leave the house smelling clean and refreshed!

Another recent study exploring the link between mint and cognitive function, discovered that those who regularly ate mint-flavored chewing gum, had significantly improved memory and alertness compared to those who did not (55). For the students among you, you’ve now actually got a good reason for bringing that stick of chewing gum with you into the classroom every lesson!

Bottom Line: The stimulating properties of mint leaves extend to stimulating your brain, leading to enhanced memory, alertness and cognitive function.

14. Mint Leaves Help You Fight Depression and Fatigue

As we have seen, mint is an excellent natural stimulant; the smell by itself can be sufficient to recharge the batteries and dust the cobwebs out of your brain (56). If you’ve been feeling depressed, anxious, or tired lately, then consuming some mint or its derivative oils might be just what the doctor ordered! (57) It can either be ingested, applied topically, or the vapor inhaled – all of those techniques can give you a quick and welcome energy boost! Or you can put a drop or two of menthol oil upon your pillow before going to bed, and let the mint work its magic upon your brain and body as you sleep (58).

Bottom Line: In the same vein as No. 13, mint leaves can help perk you up when you’re feeling tired and depressed.

15. Mint Leaves Improve The Functioning Of Your Nervous System

Adding copper to your diet helps you make phospholipids – a certain fat needed for healthy nerve function – and improves overall brain cell communication. And guess what? Spearmint leaves are also a good source of copper. A half-cup serving offers 12 percent of the daily copper needs for men and women (59).

Bottom Line: The copper in spearmint leaves helps improve the overall functioning of your nervous system.

16. Mint Leaves Help Support Your Immune System

As we have seen, mint contains vitamin A, one of the perks of which, so far as your body is concerned, is that it stimulates the creation and improves the functioning of white blood cells, the foundation of your immune system (60). One recent study found that consuming peppermint helped to inhibit the activity of acyclovir-resistant Herpes Simplex virus type 1 (61), (62).

Bottom Line: Mint leaves are also good for your immune system.

17. Mint Leaves Strengthen Your Bones

Spearmint is also a rich source of manganese, which helps your body synthesize certain proteins required for the healing of wounds, and also helps your bones maintain their proper strength. A half-cup serving of spearmint leaves provides 28 percent and 22 percent of the daily manganese requirements for women and men, respectively (63).

Bottom Line: The manganese in spearmint leaves helps keep your bones strong.

18. Mint Leaves Promote Good Oral Health

This is a long-known health benefit of magical mint. Because mint is a natural anti-microbial agent and breath freshener, it aids oral health and hygiene by preventing the growth of harmful bacteria inside the mouth (which makes your breath smell better!), whilst cleaning your tongue and whitening the teeth. In fact, this is the reason why people in the Middle Ages would rub mint leaves onto their gums and teeth! In the modern age, and for similar reasons, mint is a commonly-found element in toothpastes, flosses, mouthwashes, and the like. In fact, concentrated peppermint oil extract has been found to be superior to the mouthwash chemical chlorhexidine, in killing the germs that cause bad breath, along with the streptococcus driven biofilm that are associated with dental cavities (64), (65).

Bottom Line: Mint promotes good oral health, by killing off the bacteria that cause bad breath and dental cavities.

19. Mint Leaves Prevent Cell Damage Caused by Radiation

Preclinical studies indicate that peppermint protects you against radiation-induced DNA damage and cell death (66), (67). Good news for those of you who work in or around radiology and imaging, or the nuclear industry!

Bottom Line: consuming mint leaves prevents cell and DNA damage associated with exposure to radiation.

20. Mint Leaves Help To Halt Hiccups

Drinking a glass of mint water is an old-fashioned (but effective!) home remedy for curing hiccups (68). Simply infuse a few sprigs of mint in a glass of water and drink up. Alternatively, you can try chewing on the leaves themselves. The reason mint helps suppress those hiccups is because of the menthol in it, which is thought to be effective in easing the muscle spasms in your digestive tract (69).

Bottom Line: Eating or drinking mint helps cure the hiccups.

21. Mint Leaves Prevent Breastfeeding Associated Nipple Pain and Damage

Here’s one for the ladies. Despite the sublime phenomenon of a mother breastfeeding her newborn child, an unpleasant byproduct experienced by many women is pain and damage (cracks) to their nipples. A study published in 2007 found that drinking peppermint water may be effective in preventing nipple cracks and pain in first-time mothers who are breastfeeding (70).

Bottom Line: Mint leaves may save breastfeeding mothers from the painful, cracked nipples often associated with breastfeeding.

22. Mint Leaves Prevent Anemia

As we’ve seen already, spearmint supplies your body with quite a few essential nutrients: two more to add to the list are iron and folate. Both of these are required for the formation of healthy red blood cells, so that a surfeit of either results in anemia. A half-cup serving of spearmint leaves contains contains 30 percent and 68 percent of the recommended daily intake of iron for women and men, respectively, along with 12 percent of our daily folate needs (71). This is another good reason for pregnant women to get some mint into their diet, as anemia is extremely common among expectant mothers, with negative effects for both parent and child.

Bottom Line: the iron and folate in spearmint contributes to the formation of healthy red blood cells.

23. Mint Leaves May Reverse Female Sterility

Some research indicates that mint may be used to successfully treat sterility in females. Spearmint has been found to have significant antiandrogenic effects in subjects suffering polycystic ovarian syndrome (72), whilst also ameliorating the related condition of mild hirsutism, marked by excessive hair growth in females, and which is also associated with female sterility (73). But suffice to say, a great deal of further research must be done on the effects of mint on female sterility. In fact, some argue that due to the insecticidal and germicidal qualities of the herb, prolonged use may in fact facilitate female sterility, killing off a woman’s ova and lessening the chances of conception.

Bottom Line: Mint leaves may prevent conditions associated with female sterility, though more research is needed.

Make Mint A Part of Your Meals …

There are obviously loads of ways you can reap the health benefits of this tantalising little herb, in fact you’ve probably tried a few already – whether it’s a comforting cup of herbal tea, or a hearty chicken salad spiced up with some chopped mint leaves. You can add mint leaves to home-brewed iced tea and lemonade, or work it into your next fruit salad. Whatever you do, remember that mint is a tender herb, with the leaves best used raw or added right at the end of cooking so as to preserve their delicate flavor and texture. When buying mint, also look for bright, unbruised leaves. Store it in plastic wrap in the refrigerator for up to a week at a time.

Here are some delicious recipes that incorporate mint, which allow you to get all the aforementioned health benefits while at the same time enjoying a variety of lip-smacking drinks, snacks and meals…

1. Limeade with Mint

This invigorating (though non-alcoholic!) concoction makes a perfect beverage for a hot summer’s day. The inclusion of mint adds a delicate though refreshing flavour to a decidedly tangy drink. All you need to do is combine lime juice with water and lime zest, then garnish with several sprigs of fresh mint, and presto! you’re done. Make sure to include the lime zest for extra tanginess. Here’s how to get the best results: make a simple syrup from sugar, water and grated lime zest, bringing to the boil in a small saucepan until all the sugar is dissolved. Strain out the lime zest using a sieve. Serve chilled.

2. Green Mojito (& Mint) Smoothie

Smoothies share with mint the trait of versatility: you can drink them at breakfast to help get the day off on the right foot, or they are just as welcome throughout the day, whether as a mid-afternoon pick-me-up, or as part of your post-workout recovery drink. A lot of modern blenders come with to-go cups, so you can toss your pre-blended smoothies into your bag as you head out the door in the morning.

This recipe combines both. Blend coconut water, mint, pineapple, lime, avocado and robust kale and you’re done. Add in some grated ginger to give it some extra ‘zing’. Chock full of nutrients from the mint, kale and avocado, this POWER drink aptly has a brilliant green colour. The Green Mojito and Mint Smoothie is another one best served chilled; if you want to drink immediately throw in some ice cubes before blending.

3. Cucumber Salad With Mint and Feta

This cucumber salad with mint and feta makes a perfect side dish, or a refreshing mid-afternoon snack on a warm day. Spicy, refreshing mint enhances the cooling effect of fresh cucumber. Simply toss sliced cucumbers together with radishes, red onion and mint leaves. Sprinkle with a simple dressing made from vinegar, salt, pepper, and olive oil; then right before serving add feta cheese, crumbled.

4. Greek Lamb Kebabs with Yoghurt and Lemon Mint Sauce

Get a double dose of mint magic by making your salad the entree to this dish of lamb kebabs. Dunk pieces of lamb in your very own, homemade marinade of olive oil, garlic and red wine vinegar. Once marinated, thread onto rosemary sprigs and grill on the barbeque. Serve with the equally delicious sauce made from Greek yoghurt, lemon juice, mint, parsley, oregano, garlic, capers and anchovy also mentioned in the recipe. Bon appetit!

5. Basil Mint Pesto

This mint pesto recipe is easy to make and goes well as a topping with any number of savory dishes – chicken, pasta, you name it. Blend toasted walnuts with mint leaves, basil, sunflower seeds, lemon juice and garlic. Use it straight away or refrigerate in airtight containers for later. Make extra large batches and you’ll have enough pesto for months to come! Its yet another way to make mint a regular part of your diet, thereby reaping those many mint health benefits.

6. Mint Julep

This is another recipe for a minty drink, this one for those of you who like your grog! This mint julep makes for a feisty shot to enjoy with friends at your next cocktail party. Prepare an infusion of mint, dissolved caster sugar and water, then stir through Gentleman Jack whiskey. Serve chilled or topped with ice. You can actually save some of the mint and use it to make minted ice cubes, too. Toss them in a punch bowl and top with the whiskey concoction; garnish with lemon wedges, and serve.

7. Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream

Here’s some good news! There are many ways you can make mint a part of your desserts as well. This is one such recipe. This homemade mint chocolate chip ice cream leaves the store-bought varieties for dead! Whisk together milk, cream, eggs, vanilla, dissolved sugar and salt; add freshly bruised mint leaves and let them infuse the mixture. Strain out the mint, and whisk and cook the mixture again, until it forms a custard. Freeze in an ice cream maker, adding in dark chocolate (chopped into chunks and flakes) while you’re at it. Freeze again before serving. You’ll find that this ice-cream has a much more delicate, fragrant flavor than the ultra-sweet variety you buy in the store.

8. After Dinner Chocolate Mints

You chocoholics will be in heaven with these after dinner chocolate mints! They make a simple yet oh so delicious dessert option. Plus they allow you to get some healthy mint in your diet AND contain far less sugar than most after dinner mint morsels. Simply take some fresh mint leaves and run them through a dish of melted chocolate until both sides are covered. Place on baking paper, or in the refrigerator, and allow them to set.

9. Fresh Fruit With Mint Salad

Mint plays well with fruit too. Bring a touch of the tropics into your kitchen today with this fruit and mint salad recipe. Chop your trusty mint leaves into tiny pieces and toss together with sliced mangos, kiwis, oranges, strawberries and a banana for good measure. Stir through honey and the citrus juice from the oranges. Add mixed berries, and serve with cream. This dish gives you another dessert option incorporating mint; but you can also have it as a refreshing snack throughout the day. Make sure to invite your friends over to share: to get them through the door, photograph and put it on Snapchat, as this dish is a feast for the eyes alone!

10. Mint Tea

This ultra-refreshing mint tea makes a comforting, herbal drink for the evenings. Simply infuse boiling water with tea, mint leaves and sugar. Strain, and serve with mint sprigs.

11. Chocolate Mint Brownie Sauce

To round things out, we’ve got yet another chocolatey treat for those of you whose sweet tooth is insatiable: luscious homemade brownies topped with an equally homemade mint brownie sauce. For the brownies, beat together butter, eggs, caster sugar, chocolate sauce, vanilla, flour, and chocolate mixture. Spread the mixture into a pan and bake in the oven. Meanwhile, mix together the mint layer from icing sugar, melted butter and creme de menthe liqueur. Spread over the cooled brownies, then top with a layer of mixture of chocolate blended with melted butter. Enjoy!

Summary

Marvellous mint is a truly versatile little herb. In addition to its many other uses – as a flavoring agent, in cosmetics, medicines, inhalers and breath fresheners – the leaves also provide many fantastic health benefits, ranging from curing indigestion to preventing cancer. And with its invigorating, spicy taste and aromatic fragrance, it will make a friendly presence in your kitchen too. It’s super easy to grow in your own garden (or even in small pots on the windowsill), so head down to your local nursery and collect some seeds or seedlings; pick out a few different varieties and see which ones you like the most. Be warned though: mint grows very rapidly, so you could well end up with more than you know what to do with!

Making mint a part of your diet lets you improve your health and at the same time adds some extra zing to your drinks, desserts and meals. Once you’ve had that first mouthful of mint, you’ll wonder how you ever lived without it!

Asparagus a nutritional powerhouse

Being told to add vegetables to your diet is great and all, but not all vegetables are created equal. The spring vegetable, asparagus, can be considered a powerhouse food, containing many essential vitamins and nutrients inside this one vegetable, working to keep you healthy and preventing common ailments.

1. Asparagus is a Great Source of Folate and a Good Choice for Pregnant Women

During fetal development, the first few weeks are a crucial period. Most birth defects occur within the first 3 to 4 weeks, when your baby’s brain and spinal cord begin developing, so it is important that you start your pregnancy off with a healthy diet. (1)

Folate, and its synthetic variation, folic acid, is a vitamin that plays a vital role in fetal development. A pregnant woman’s deficiency could lead to neural tube defects, such as spina bifida, or pregnancy termination. Women of childbearing age are encouraged by the CDC to increase their folate intake. (2, 3)

While most prenatal vitamins contain the much-needed folic acid, you can also make some changes to your diet to get more natural folate. Dark leafy greens and vegetables like asparagus are a great source for folate. In four stalks of asparagus, you can get 89 mcg, about 22% of your daily recommendation. (4)

Bottom Line: With its high folate content, asparagus can help prevent serious birth defects when consumed during pregnancy.

2. Asparagus Provides an Abundance of the Essential Vitamin K

Vitamin K is best known for the role it plays in helping your blood to clot. Without it, you would probably bleed out as a result from a simple paper cut. It also works hand in hand with calcium, keeping your bones strong and preventing osteoporosis. Most people are deficient to some degree, only receiving enough to ensure proper clotting, but not enough to avoid other potential health issues.

As a general rule, the darker green the vegetable, the more vitamin K it contains. Just one cup of asparagus (raw) provides 56 mcg of vitamin K. That is about 46% of the recommended daily intake for men and 62% for women. (5, 6, 7)

Bottom Line: Asparagus contains large amounts of vitamin K, helping your blood to clot properly and keeping your bones strong.

3. Asparagus is an Additional Source for Vitamin C

Vitamin C plays an essential role in many of our bodies’ functions. It helps to repair and regenerate tissues, keeping your body healthy and young. It aids in your cardiovascular system, lowering bad cholesterol and protecting against heart disease. It is also necessary to help your body absorb iron, helping you avoid iron-deficient anemia. This vitamin, surprisingly, also has antioxidant properties. It helps to combat free radicals that have been known to cause damage to the body and potentially lead to cancer.

While deficiencies are uncommon, they are not impossible. Common symptoms of a vitamin C deficiency include fatigue, muscle aches and weakness, and bleeding gums. Extreme cases can also lead to scurvy, a condition in which all of these symptoms are magnified. (8, 9)

While it does not have the same level of vitamin C that oranges do, asparagus can still be an additional source for getting this vitamin into your regular diet. In a serving size of 100 grams, you can receive up to 9% of your recommended daily intake of vitamin C. (10)

Bottom Line: Asparagus can be an additional source of vitamin C in your diet.

4. Asparagus Can Keep You Regular with Dietary Fiber

Fiber comes in two forms: soluble and insoluble. Both are necessary for a healthy, balanced diet, and should not be underestimated. A lack of fiber is the leading cause of obesity in the United States. It helps you to feel full, and, therefore, if you do not receive enough, you can tend to overeat and put on many unwanted pounds. (11)

Vegetables, like asparagus, are an excellent source of dietary fiber. Insoluble fiber, found in plant materials, is not broken down by your digestive system. This helps to keep you regular, as the fiber assists in moving material through your digestive tract. (12) In just one serving (100 g), you can receive 2.1 grams of fiber. (13)

Bottom Line: An excellent source of dietary fiber, asparagus can keep your digestive system working properly, leaving you feeling more comfortable.

5. Asparagus Keeps Your Bones Strong and Prevents Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis is a disease characterized by fragile, porous bones, and it affects over 10 million Americans, 80% of which are women. It is the leading cause of fractures, with 1.5 million estimated each year (particularly in the wrist, hip, or vertebrae). The cause can be attributed to low consumption or poor absorption of calcium, which causes the bones to slowly break down. (14)

In addition to calcium and vitamin D, vitamin K is essential to maintaining skeletal integrity. In increases calcium absorption into the bones and decreases the amount that is urinated out. One cup of asparagus can yield up to 70% of your daily recommended intake of vitamin K. (15)

Bottom Line: Asparagus can keep your bones strong and prevent osteoporosis with its vitamin K content.

6. Asparagus is a Great Anti-Inflammatory

Inflammation is commonly associated with rheumatoid arthritis, but, in reality, it is the primary contributing factor to all disease. Inflammation triggers cell changes that create tumors and allow to them to progress in growth. In addition to rheumatism, inflammation can trigger urinary tract infections, and neural issues, like amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as “Lou Gehrig’s Disease”.

Asparagus has been used to treat many of these ailments, working as an anti-inflammatory. Chinese and Korean medical practices have long used asparagus to treat inflammation and the diseases it causes, and many modern studies have backed up this practice. (16) It is rich in saponins, such as asparanin A, sarsasapogenin, protodioscin, and diosgenin, which are known to have anti-inflammatory properties. (17, 18)

Bottom Line: Asparagus can reduce inflammation in your body, and, therefore, reduce your risk from developing various illnesses.

7. Asparagus Has Cancer Fighting Properties

There are many contributing factors to the development of common cancers, making it difficult to pinpoint a cure or knowing what precautions to take to avoid getting them altogether. However, there are some commonalities between several types of cancer which can be focused on when trying to prevent from getting cancer yourself.

Diet plays a huge role in cancer prevention. Our bodies are constantly breaking down and creating new cells, releasing free radicals which can have a negative effect if they are not balanced out or destroyed. Eating an unhealthy diet can lead to more free radical damage, whereas eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables can give your body much-needed antioxidants to fight free radical damage.

Asparagus has a high concentration of glutathione, one of the strongest antioxidants available. While it is readily produced by our bodies in our prime years, production begins to die off as we age, and we need to supplement with dietary intake.

There has been a lot of research that shows the effect that glutathione has on fighting cancer, immunizing against bone, breast, colon, lung, cervical, and pancreatic cancers. It can destroy carcinogens in the body that would otherwise cause major cell damage, and detoxes and boosts immunity.

Asparagus also has high levels of polysaccharides (plant carbohydrates), which have been known to have anti-cancer properties as well, particularly anti-tumor. A recent study even showed, when used in conjunction with chemotherapy, that asparagus polysaccharides were particularly affective against liver cancer, inhibiting tumor growth and cell death. (19, 20)

Bottom Line: Asparagus provides glutathione, a substance that works as an antioxidant and anti-carcinogenic, which can prevent you from developing some common cancers.

8. Asparagus Helps You Shed Unwanted Pounds

A healthy diet, coupled with exercise, is the ultimate recipe for a lean, fit body, and some foods can be considered “power foods”, giving you even better results if you add them into your regular diet. Asparagus can be considered one of these foods.

Asparagus is rich in fiber, particularly inulin, a soluble plant fiber, which promotes healthy digestion. It has also been known to suppress appetite, which can keep you from overeating or snacking. The B vitamins present in asparagus work together to help regulate your blood sugar, helping you avoid crashes and binge eating. Vitamin K also helps to reduce bloating, working as a natural diuretic to help you feel and look your best. (21, 22)

Bottom Line: Asparagus, coupled with an overall healthy diet and exercise, can help you shed those unwanted pounds.

9. Asparagus is Great for Fighting Anxiety

Mental health disorders, namely anxiety disorders, are becoming increasingly common amongst the general population. About 18% of the United States’ population (40 million people) suffer from anxiety or depression, which often go hand in hand. Sadly, only about a third of these are seeking treatment, choosing to live and deal with their condition on their own.

While there are many cases that do require medical treatment, there is also something to be said for changing up your diet. Vitamins and nutrients that may be lacking in your diet have been linked to anxiety, such as low levels of folate. The number of antioxidants in your body can also have an effect on your mental state if you are not getting enough. (23, 24)

Your hormones also need to be in balance for proper mental health. High levels of homocysteine can prevent your brain from getting the nutrients and blood circulation it needs. This can suppress your brain’s ability to produce hormones like serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine, which work together to regulate your mood, sleep, and appetite. Without proper balance, and without proper sleep, you are prone to increased stress levels and a damaged mental state. (25)

The good news is asparagus can help you regulate all of these important hormones and nutrients. With powerful antioxidants and high levels of folate, you can combat depression and anxiety by including asparagus in your regular diet.

Bottom Line: Asparagus can help you fight anxiety disorders by regulating hormones and ensuring proper blood flow.

10. Asparagus Regulates Your Blood Sugar Levels

The development of diabetes is on the rise. As of 2012, about 9% of the American population suffered from diabetes, and it can be estimated that the number has only grown since then. (26) While no one is immune (type 1 diabetes being the result of the body’s attack on the pancreas for unknown reasons), the majority of cases seen are type 2 (usually resulting from obesity and a sedentary lifestyle), accounting for over 90% of all diabetic cases. (27, 28)

Through various studies, asparagus has been found to be a great preventer and treater of diabetes. The fiber and antioxidants help to moderate glucose absorption in the body, and B vitamins help to balance blood sugar levels, both of which are effective in preventing diabetes. In lab cases using rats with type 2 diabetes, it was found that consumption of the vegetable helped to control blood sugar and boost the body’s production of insulin. (29, 30)

Bottom Line: Asparagus can reduce your risk for diabetes by regulating blood sugar levels and helping your body produce insulin.

11. Asparagus Gives Your Skin a Healthy Glow

Everyone is always looking for a way to look younger and prevent aging from wreaking havoc on their skin. Asparagus, with its various vitamins and nutrients, may be able to help you do just that.

Asparagus is a great source for vitamins A and E, both of which are essential for healthy hair, skin, and nails. It also has a compound called niacin, which is good for fighting acne. Various studies have also some that vitamin C is effective against the development of wrinkles and dry skin.

Free radicals are also to blame for the aging process our bodies endure. Glutathione, a powerful antioxidant found in asparagus, can combat these free radicals, promoting younger, healthier skin.

Not only is the consumption of asparagus a great way to keep your skin healthy, but there may also be benefits to topical application as well. By boiling asparagus in water, some of these essential nutrients remain in the water. You can then use this leftover water once it is cooled as a face wash, which will help your skin’s complexion. (31, 32, 33)

Bottom Line: Eating asparagus, or using asparagus water as a facial wash, can give your skin a healthy glow.

12. Asparagus is Good for Your Eyes

It is important that you keep your eyes healthy, and a well-balanced diet can help you do just that. Adding asparagus to your regular vegetable intake can be the first step to improving the health of your eyes.

B vitamins have been known to prevent age-related macular degeneration. Vitamins A and C are also essential for eyes health, working as antioxidants to prevent free radical damage that can lead to cataracts. The antioxidant glutathione, found in asparagus, has also been found to be effective in this sense as well. (34, 35, 36)

Bottom Line: Keep your eyes young and healthy by adding some asparagus to your diet.

13. Asparagus Keeps Your Heart Healthy and Reverses Hypertension

When it comes to protecting your heart, there are many factors to consider. If you do not keep control of your blood pressure and your cholesterol levels, you could end up developing heart disease, which could lead to something far worse. Asparagus offers many vitamins and nutrients that can combat heart disease and keep your heart healthy.

Homocysteine is a substance that, if allowed to build up, can damage blood vessel walls and allow plaque buildup. The B vitamins in asparagus can help to lower homocysteine levels in the body which can reduce your risk of heart attack or stroke. (37)

Magnesium in asparagus can help to lower blood pressure. Hypertension is directly related to strokes, causing over half of all cases. Eating asparagus can lower your chances of having a stroke by 8%.

Asparagus has large amounts of dietary fiber. A diet rich in dietary fiber can lower your LDL (bad) cholesterol levels, which is a major contributor to heart disease. (38)

Bottom Line: Asparagus can keep your heart healthy by lowering cholesterol and blood pressure, and prevent plaque buildup in your arteries.

14. Asparagus Can Keep Your Brain Sharp

There have been many studies that show the direct relationship between folate levels and the development of dementia and other age-related mental conditions, such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. Lower levels of folate, not merely deficiencies, have been found to increase the likelihood of developing one of these diseases late in life, according to a Korean study. (39)

Folate works hand in hand with vitamin B12 to keep your brain sharp and alert, fighting cognitive decline. Asparagus, if a great source of folate, offering over 66% of your recommended daily intake. You will need to boost your vitamin B12 intake, which is found in animal products like meat, eggs, and dairy. However, if you are over the age of 50, you may want to ask your doctor about vitamin B12 supplementation, since your body does not absorb it as easily at this age. (40, 41)

Bottom Line: Eating asparagus can reduce your risk of developing dementia and other cognition-related illnesses.

15. Asparagus Give You a Much-Needed Energy Boost

Need an energy boost? Asparagus offers many essential nutrients to keep you going. Vitamin B keeps your thyroid functioning properly, ensuring a balance of hormones. Magnesium can prevent chronic fatigue syndrome. And copper helps with ATP synthesis, the body’s main source of energy. (42)

Bottom Line: Enjoy some asparagus instead of coffee if you are looking for a midday energy boost.

Recipes

There are countless ways to add some more asparagus to your regular diet, so why not start with some of these recipes?

1. Pesto Shrimp Asparagus Pasta

Made with the freshest ingredients, this pasta recipe will be a great choice for your next family dinner.

First, you want to make your pesto. Toast a half cup of pine nuts in a pan over medium heat. They can burn quickly, so keep an eye on them, turning them frequently. Transfer the toasted pine nuts to a food processor, adding 2 ounces of fresh basil, a half cup of grated parmesan cheese, ¼ cup of olive oil, 3 cloves of garlic, and salt and pepper. Blend until you can use it as a sauce or spread, not completely smooth, as you still want a little bit of a chunky consistency.

Cook 10 ounces of pasta (your choice). While your pasta is cooking, toss a little bit of your pesto in an oiled pan with ¾ pound of shrimp (with shells and veins removed) until they are coated. Season with salt and pepper. Cook on each side for about 2 minutes, until they are pink and firm.

Remove the shrimp from the pan and set aside. Oil the pan again and add a pound of trimmed asparagus. Cook for about two minutes, until tender, and add a cup of heavy cream, bringing it to a boil. Stir in your remaining pesto and remove from heat. Combine shrimp and pasta with the asparagus-pesto mix, adding a cup of halved cherry tomatoes and ¼ cup of grated parmesan cheese.

Serve warm.

2. Panko Parmesan Crusted Asparagus

Why snack on fattening French fries when you can enjoy these guilt-free asparagus spears.

Preheat your boiler, and move your oven rack up, making sure it is about 6 inches from the heat source. Grease a baking sheet with olive oil or cooking spray. Prep about 14 asparagus spears by cutting off the tough ends (about an inch).

In a bowl (large enough for your asparagus spears to dip into), whisk together one egg, 1 ½ tablespoons of olive oil, 1 tablespoon of Dijon mustard, ¼ teaspoon of salt, ¼ teaspoon of garlic powder, and 1/8 teaspoon of black pepper. In a separate bowl, mix together 1/3 cup of finely grated parmesan cheese and 3 tablespoons of panko bread crumbs.

Dip the asparagus spears into the eggs mixture, making sure they are coated, then coat them with the bread crumb mixture. Line your breaded spears on your greased baking pan and spray with olive oil. Broil for about 8 minutes, until golden.

Serve as a snack or side with lemon wedges to squeeze over the top.

3. Stuffed Sweet Potatoes with Chickpeas, Asparagus, and Arugula

Full of protein, fiber, and an abundance of vitamins, these stuffed potatoes are a great addition to any healthy diet.

Preheat your oven to 400°F and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Scrub 4 large sweet potatoes and prick them with a fork all over. Place them on the baking sheet and bake for about 50 minutes to an hour, until they are tender enough to be cut open.

While your potatoes are cooling, open a can of chickpeas and spread them out over a paper towel, patting the tops dry. Transfer them to a baking sheet, drizzling olive oil and sprinkling with ½ teaspoon each of salt, chili powder, and cumin. Roast the chickpeas in the oven for about 20 minutes, stirring halfway through.

Once you remove your chickpeas from the oven, line a baking sheet with ½ pound of trimmed asparagus spears, seasoning with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Roast for 10 minutes, until tender, then remove from the oven and set aside.

In a bowl, you are going to make your dressing: mix together 2 tablespoons of tahini paste, lemon juice, and water, 2 teaspoons of maple syrup, and a ¼ teaspoon each of salt and pepper.

Slice the sweet potatoes open lengthwise, and push the ends together to open them up (should look slightly like a boat). Drizzle a bit of the dressing inside each potato (about 1 tablespoon), and stuff each evenly with fresh arugula, chickpeas, and asparagus. Drizzle the remaining dressing over each.

They can be eaten either as a side or a meal on their own.

4. Asparagus Caprese Salad

Mix up your usual Caprese salad by adding some asparagus with this recipe.

In a large pot, bring salted water to a boil. Add a pound of trimmed asparagus and cook for about 3-4 minutes.

In the meantime, combine 2 tablespoons of minced fresh basil and parsley, 1 tablespoon of lemon zest, and a clove of minced garlic. Mix and set aside.

Remove your asparagus from the pot, draining the excess water and rinsing with cold water before patting dry. Place your asparagus in a large bowl, and add a cup of halved cherry tomatoes, 8 ounces of mozzarella balls, and your basil mixture.

Toss together with salt and pepper, and serve chilled or warm.

5. Avocado Pasta with Asparagus

With the creamy goodness of avocado and the freshness of woody asparagus, this pasta recipe is sure to be a favorite.

In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook 8 ounces of pasta (your choice). Right before the pasta is finished, add a pound of asparagus (chopped into 1-inch pieces) and cook for about 3 minutes. Drain your pasta and asparagus, saving about a cup of pasta water.

In a food processor, combine a medium-sized avocado (pitted), a clove of garlic (peeled), ¼ cup of plain Greek yogurt, ¼ cup each of fresh garlic and basil, 2 tablespoons of lemon juice, and salt and pepper. Blend until smooth.

In a large pot, heat a tablespoon of olive oil over medium-low heat. Add ¼ cup of thinly sliced green onion. Cook for about 2 to 3 minutes then add two cups of fresh arugula and a cup of frozen peas, cooking for about another 2 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in pasta and asparagus. Pour over the avocado sauce, tossing gently and adding a bit of the saved pasta water if everything starts to clump together.

Garnish with fresh parsley and basil, and serve warm.

6. Mushroom Leek Asparagus Quiche

Bring some asparagus to your brunch with this quiche recipe.

For this recipe, you are welcome to make your own crust, or you may use a premade, chilled crust to save time.

Preheat your oven to 400°F. Meanwhile, in an oiled or buttered pan, cook a cup of sliced leek (white or light green part only) until it is tender. Add 4 ounces of sliced mushrooms (your choice) at this time, and cook until the mushrooms are golden in color. Remove from heat and set aside.

Steam 8 ounces of trimmed asparagus for about 3 to 4 minutes, or until tender. Remove from heat and set aside.

In a large bowl, combine 4 ounces of shredded Swiss cheese and 2 tablespoons of flour, tossing the cheese until it is coated. Transfer the cheese to your pie shell, and top with your mushroom and leek mixture, seasoning with salt and pepper.

In another bowl, beat 3 large eggs with ¾ cup of half and half, 1 tablespoon of fresh dill, and some hot sauce (to your preferred taste), and pour the mixture into your pie crust, over the leeks, mushrooms, and cheese. Add your asparagus, and place in your preheated oven. Allow to cook for about 30 minutes, then lower the heat and allow to cook for another 20 to 25 minutes, until crust is golden in color and filling has set up.

Serve warm.

7. Black Pepper Chicken Asparagus Stir Fry

Add a bit of Asian flair to your asparagus with this stir fry recipe.

Dice 3 large chicken breasts, and season with cracked black pepper and a teaspoon of garlic powder. Set aside, and make your sauce in a pan, mixing together 4 tablespoons of rice vinegar, 8 tablespoons of soy sauce, and 1 ½ teaspoons of cornstarch. Once the cornstarch is completely incorporated, add 2 teaspoons of oyster sauce, 1 teaspoon of onion powder, 2 teaspoons of garlic powder, and 1 to 2 teaspoons of cracked black pepper.

Place your pan on your stove top and cook for about 5 minutes over medium heat, stirring the whole time. Remove from heat and set aside, allowing the sauce to thicken as it cools.

In a wok, over high heat, drizzle some sesame oil, and once the oil is heated, add diced asparagus (about a bundle’s-worth). Cook for about 3 to 4 minutes, then remove from the wok and set aside.

Heat some more sesame oil in your pan and cook your chicken in about 2 to 3 batches, adding sesame oil in between.

Once your chicken is cooked through, turn the heat down to medium-high, and add 3 cloves of finely chopped garlic. After about 30 seconds, add your asparagus and about half of your sauce, stirring everything together as it cooks just long enough for everything to be well incorporated and heated through.

Serve over rice or noodles, and top with remaining sauce as desired.

8. Roasted Garlic and Asparagus Soup

There is nothing better on a cool autumn day than a cup of heartwarming soup, and this recipe is sure to hit the spot.

Preheat your oven to 450°F, and line a baking sheet with foil. Trim about 2 pounds of asparagus and smash 10 cloves of garlic, then toss both with olive oil, salt, and pepper, ensuring they are fully coated. Transfer to you baking dish, arranging the asparagus and garlic in a single layer, and roast in your preheated oven for about 12 minutes (until asparagus is soft), stirring halfway through.

Remove the asparagus and garlic form the oven and place in a blender, adding 3 cups of vegetable broth and 1 cup of milk. Blend until smooth, then transfer to a pot.

Heat your soup over medium-high heat, adding broth as needed to thin it out. Season with salt and pepper to your preferred taste.

Ladle into bowls and garnish with fresh parsley.

Antioxidant rich Moringa has many benefits

Moringa oleifera, also known as the drumstick tree, kelor tree, and horseradish tree in certain regions, is an incredibly versatile plant species for the claims made about its supposed medicinal properties (1, 8, 14, 16, 18, 45).

Originating in Northern India, its naturalization and use has also extended into the subtropics of Southeast Asia, the Middle East, and Africa, even reaching as far as the Caribbean and Guatemala..

The implementation of M. oleifera has been present for hundreds of years as a key ingredient in Ayurvedic medicine, as well as other traditional medicinal practices.

Though millions already reliably use moringa for treatment on a regular basis, it has only been a singular topic of scientific inquiry in the last few decades.

Scientific evidence demonstrates the myriad alleviating effects of M. oleifera, particularly toward cardiovascular disease, diabetes, gastrointestinal distress and other conditions that are harmful to the body.

Check out these 10 research-supported health benefits of M.oleifera. Included afterwards are some recipes to start enjoying these benefits straight away!

1. Moringa is rich in nutrients and bioactive compounds

Of the plant family Moringaceae, moringa is a tree that is resistant to drought, grows fairly quickly, and has many parts that are widespread in their uses and applications.

The roots, leaves, stem bark, gum, flowers, seeds, and pods (or “drumsticks”) of M.oleifera all have demonstrated efficacy in health remedies (8).

Globally, the edible and therefore more commonly cultivated parts are the flowers, leaves, roots, and pods.

The flowers and leaves contain adequate amounts of essential amino and fatty acids, making them a good source of protein, while the pods are low in fat content and high in fiber (25).

The crude protein contained within moringa is roughly around 50%, while the percentage of digestible protein from the crude protein is around 30%. The remaining composition is mostly water and nontoxic ash (3, 5, 21).

Potassium, β-carotene (a precursor of vitamin A), vitamin C, and vitamin E are also found in M.oleifera leaves, with some studies suggesting the leaves have higher values than bananas, carrots, and oranges overall (6, 10).

These nutrients aid improved growth and development in bone density, vision, cellular function, blood pressure maintenance, and iron absorption (3,6).

Along with mineral concentrations of iron, zinc, copper, and calcium, moringacontains flavonoids and phenols, phytochemicals (or plant-based compounds) that also assist healthy body functionality in humans (1, 3, 5, 6, 25).

The content percentage for each of these compounds varies depending on the geographic locations of M.oleifera cultivation, the modes of plant processing, and the plant parts used (2, 6, 21, 29).

For example, one particular study found M. oleifera leaves and seeds from Sheda, Nigeria had overall higher concentrations of iron, calcium, and magnesium than those from Kuje, Nigeria (21).

This variation also extends into the scientific process, where the different modes of analysis can produce different responses from M. oleifera, such as whether or not researchers choose ethanol or aqueous extraction to source its critical components.

Despite the healthful composition of moringa, the body already struggles to absorb essential nutrients from food sources since they are processed into structurally different byproducts before and after ingestion.

Therefore, regularly and moderately consuming moringa, or any food materials that contain it, is recommended, as occasional consumption may not reap enough of the desired benefits (31).

Moringa should also not be the only source of nutrients in an average human diet if one plans to use it.

In short:

Moringa oleifera alone already provides a profound supply of dietary supplementation for good health practices.

When implementing moringa into a diet, some care may be necessary for determining the source of the powders and tablets provided by Western manufacturers.

The same awareness should also be at play when using actual physical parts of the plant for recipes, ensuring the selection of the most edible and necessary parts of one’s desired intake.

2. Moringa has a high concentration of antioxidants that may fight free radicals in the oxidation process

The efficacy of M. oleifera primarily comes from the presence of flavonoids, chemical compounds (polyphenols) present in plants and fruits (4, 16, 29, 32).

With a composition high enough to equal or exceed the amounts found in vegetables and fruits in most diets (6), moringa holds a wide variety of flavonoid compounds such as rutin, kaempferol myricetin, quercetin, and isorhamnetin (5).

Kaempferol and quercetin (33, 34) are the two M. oleifera flavonoids instrumental to its antioxidative properties, and seemingly responsible for many of the health benefits listed here.

In the oxidation process, free oxygen radicals (ion molecules with unpaired valence electrons) bind to the electrons of protein-structuring fatty acids; these reactive oxidative species then make themselves stable while destabilizing the ionic charges of the fatty acids (9, 44).

Because fatty acids need a stable charge to maintain the structure of cell membranes, encountering free radicals causes the protective layer of cells to erode through oxidation and causes adverse effects to an organism.

Diseases linked to oxidation include Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, rheumatoid arthritis, and other health conditions like the ones listed in this article (48).

Flavonoids like quercetin and kaempferol, however, slow the oxidation process by “scavenging” and binding to free peroxyl, diphenyl, and superoxyl radicals with their unique structural components (4, 9, 17, 44).

The flavonoids also have multiple uses, meaning they can continue binding on to additional free radicals after their initial bond and remain just as functional (30).

Their effectiveness lies in their structure, which contains at the very least “an o-diphenol group in ring B, a 2-3 double bond conjugated with the 4-oxo function, and hydroxyl groups in positions 3 and 5” (30).

These antioxidants and their particular elements protect cell membranes from degradation and lower the risk of acute and chronic diseases throughout the body.

There is also an association with the antioxidant enzymes, superoxide dismutase and catalase, which are known to protect cellular membranes from free radicals when the enzymes are at high levels in the body.

In short:

Due to their individual structures, the antioxidative flavonoids in M. oleifera, quercetin and kaempferol, may protect the body from the oxidation processes responsible for most chronic or acute conditions.

3. Moringa may regulate tumor growth, supposedly preventing or treating cancer

Some studies tentatively link the use of Moringa oleifera to cancer prevention, and possibly cancer treatment.

A healthy human body typically maintains a balance (or homeostasis) between the cells it sheds (a process known as apoptosis) and the cells it reproduces over time (a process known as proliferation).

The imbalance of these two processes, however, contributes to disease manifestation in human and nonhuman animals (10, 23, 41, 53).

High apoptosis and low proliferation means many cells, especially healthy ones, are prematurely programmed to die off, which accelerates cellular and molecular degradation.

Low apoptosis and high proliferation of cells means far too many cells that should have been shed remain concentrated in a single area, leading to the formation of tumors if there is no regulation.

When human tumor cells struggle with low apoptosis and high proliferation, there is a greater likelihood of benign or malignant tumor formation, marking this as a potential catalyst for cancer.

Rebalancing proliferation with apoptosis may reverse the progression of tumors and potentially prevent or limit the damage from cancer.

In testing moringa leaf extract on isolated human tumor cells, researchers found the extract maintained a similar rate of anti-proliferation when compared to the chemotherapy medication, cisplatin (10).

Another study conducted on two leukemia variants and a hepatocarcinoma found that the leaf extract “killed” the density of cancerous cells by more than 70% (23).

In this way, the regulation of tumors is possible through anti-proliferation and dependent on the dosage concentrations of the leaf extract.

Additionally, the antioxidative property of the extract also seemingly plays a role in triggering necessary apoptosis in the tumor cells.

Although the exact mechanisms of their role in cancer is still under scientific review, the flavonoids quercetin and kaempferol and their antioxidative properties were seemingly implicated in these cancer studies (10, 23, 53).

Various other compounds said to possess antitumor activity, such as carbamates, isothiocyanates, niazimicin, and glycerol were also present in M. oleifera, making it fairly potent against Epstein-Barr virus (37).

With more rigorous research, ingesting moringa could seemingly be a natural and less toxic alternative to certain cancer medications currently on the market.

In short:

Moringa can potentially restrict increased rates of tumor production in cells, controlling the mechanisms responsible for the onset of cancer.

By maintaining similar values to chemotherapy medication, the leaf extract of moringa also appears to be a plant-based alternative to synthetic treatment with less harmful side effects.

4. Moringa may regulate blood glucose levels, possibly alleviating and treating diabetes

According to the World Health Organization, diabetes is a chronic condition steadily on the rise around the world, increasing by about 314 million diagnoses between 1980 and 2014 alone.

With diabetes, not only is there increased risk of going into diabetic shock or having high blood pressure, there is also a greater likelihood of an early death.

It is typical for diabetic individuals to experience elevated levels of glucose, or sugar, in the blood, due to a relative lack or absence of insulin, a hormone responsible for regulating glucose (9, 38, 43, 54).

Free radical oxidation negatively impacts both the production and the effectiveness of insulin (9, 43), binding to insulin molecules and altering their structures until they can no longer maintain their processing of glucose in the blood.

Researchers have found, however, that the antioxidative properties of moringacorrelate with a dip in blood glucose and elevated insulin activity, suggesting the relevance of anti-diabetic claims.

For example, one study tested moringa extract on diabetic and control-group rats and discovered an effect comparable to the anti-diabetic medicine, glibenclamide.

Test subjects treated with moringa extract experienced drops in glucose, with greater effects at higher dose concentrations, matching the rate of the glibenclamide control cases (38).

Diabetes-induced complications like osteoporosis were also affected with moringa use, causing increases in osteoblast efficiency (cells needed to form new bone) and decreases in osteoclast efficiency (cells needed to break down bone) (38). This potentially strengthens bone and reverses the decreases in bone density that characterize osteoporosis.

Another study using moringa pod extract on rats suggests flavonoids may directly reduce glucose levels by either stimulating insulin productivity or acting as an insulin substitute (9).

In short:

M. oleifera potentially assists in the treatment and management of elevated blood glucose levels, Type I and Type II diabetes, and complications from diabetes.

Though these studies only conducted testing on nonhuman subjects, they suggest the antioxidative properties may also be responsible for stimulating or substituting insulin production.

5. Moringa may also protect against hypertension and the risk of cardiovascular disease

As one of the global leading causes of death, cardiovascular disease remains a tremendous public health concern.

Hypertension, high cholesterol, and atherosclerosis are physiological responses to a diet lacking proper nutrition, and are precursors to cardiovascular diseases, such as angina and myocardial infarction (31, 54).

Extreme oxidation can cause plaque to form and line the arterial walls of blood vessels (dyslipidemia or atherosclerosis), “hardening” blood vessels and restricting blood flow to and from the heart and throughout the body (31 ,54).

Additionally, the plaque chunks can solidify, break off, travel toward the brain, and cut off the oxygen supply, a process emblematic of a severely debilitating or lethal ischemic stroke.

The flavonoids gained from fruits, vegetables, and the dietary supplementation of M. oleifera, however, may combat the preconditions for cardiovascular disease and prevent unnecessary damage to the heart and the body.

Studies testing moringa on nonhuman animal subjects found that antioxidants may decrease blood pressure, as its flavonoids “scavenge” and dismantle harmful plaque membranes (17, 31, 54)

Potentially contributing to this effect are the glycoside compounds niazimin A, niazimin B, niazicin A, and niazicin B, which may possess hypotensive (blood pressure lowering) properties that act as a balance for hypertension (35, 49, 58).

The nutritional contents of moringa also go a long way in preventing the onset of hypertension and atherosclerosis as well, reducing cardiovascular disease risk overall.

The concentrations of potassium, iron, and sodium in moringa (3) improve lipid cellular membranes, increase red blood cell production, and do not allow for the presence of high amounts of sodium in the blood, respectively (1, 3, 6).

In short:

M. oleifera has an adequate nutritional and chemical compound supply capable of providing enough proper nutrition to prevent hypertension and the mechanisms responsible for cardiovascular disease.

6. Moringa may possess anti-inflammatory properties

When the body sustains an injury or infection, inflammation is a multi-faceted, protective response from the immune system.

There are both acute and chronic types of inflammation: in acute inflammation, the body responds quickly to the injury site (several minutes or hours), consuming infection-causing bacteria and repairing affected tissues; in chronic inflammation, it takes several months or even several years for the body to respond to a more complex injury.

Although necessary in most physical and biological cases, inflammation becomes problematic when it is unable to stop on its own, or it is chronic and the body does not easily respond to treatment.

Maladies such as rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn’s disease, and asthma are more likely to occur if inflammation carries on for too long without suitable medical attention (55).

Moringa, however, has been used in traditional medicine for its supposed ability to reduce inflammation in the body and prevent long-term negative effects.

Several studies on induced inflammation in rats correlated anti-inflammatory inhibition with moringa seed extract at high concentrations after several hours, providing some support for traditional health claims (40, 50, 57).

The seeds also demonstrated anti-arthritic effects as well, showing a significant reduction of arthritic markers in comparison to the diseased control group (57).

The flower and leaf infusions of moringa closely followed the seeds in terms of their efficacy against inflammation, but only at slightly higher concentrations than the seed extract (40).

A contributing factor for reducing inflammation seemingly comes from isothiocyanate compounds in moringa, such as 4(α-L-rhamnosyloxy) benzyl isothiocyanate, that inhibit genetic markers for inflammation, like tumor-necrotic factor α (TNF-α) from the immune system (55, 57).

Flavonoid antioxidants are also responsible for shutting down the radical oxidation that occurs following an injury and protecting tissues from further degradation (57, 58).

In short:

Despite the usefulness of both acute and chronic inflammation, they also result in the increased likelihood and longevity of certain medical conditions as humans age.

Isothiocyanates and antioxidants in moringa, however, are potentially responsible for limiting inflammation overactivity, avoiding the chronic or severe health conditions likely to occur without intervention.

7. Moringa carries antimicrobial properties

Exposure to fungal and bacterial pathogens increases the risk of developing chronic or life-threatening complications.

Staphylococcus aureus and E. coli are two examples of bacterial-borne pathogens commonly implicated in outbreaks within communities (13, 56).

Although the previously mentioned mechanics of inflammation try to kill these pathogens off before they spread on or inside the body, they are sometimes unsuccessful.

When the pathogens are susceptible to antimicrobial treatment, however, the spread and longevity of these microbes lessens, assisting the immune system and benefitting the overall health of an organism.

Multiple studies on isolated bacteria and fungi that were Gram positive or gram negative were shown to experience noticeable inhibition or complete death when treated with M. oleifera leaf extract (13, 39, 51).

Not all the tested pathogenic strains were inhibited by moringa use (39, 51); however, this seemingly depended on the manner in which the moringa was processed and administered (i.e. aqueous extract vs. ethanolic extract, etc.).

Most susceptible to moringa treatment was the bacteria Staphylococcus aureus, which is responsible for MRSA infections that are resistant and not easily treated with common antibiotics.

Also susceptible was the fungus Aspergillus niger, which is both a typical food contaminant responsible for the appearance of black mold on vegetables and fruits, and a source of fungal ear infections.

Flavonoids and pterygospermin of moringa may be responsible for reducing microbe sustainability, seemingly destabilizing the membrane of a microbe until it is no longer active (13, 39, 51, 56).

The isothiocyanate, 4(α-L-rhamnosyloxy) benzyl, was also cited as an active principle responsible for the antimicrobial properties of moringa (39, 56).

In short:

Though not all studied microbes were susceptible to moringa administration, the flavonoids, pterygospermin, and isothiocyanates within M. oleifera may provide additional defenses to the immune system by limiting the longevity of pathogens in an organism.

With bacteria like Aspergillus niger susceptible to flavonoids in moringa, this finding also lends credibility to the use of M. oleifera as a food preservative.

It is also worth noting that the combination of anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties from M. oleifera support its traditional use in balms and poultices for minor cuts, abrasions, and wound healing.

8. Gastrointestinal conditions can be treated with Moringa

From stomach pain to ulcers, traditional medicine uses M. oleifera to treat many gastrointestinal conditions.

Most extensively studied has been the effect of moringa on medically-induced ulcers and intestinal spasms with nonhuman animal subjects.

Ulcers form when the mucus barrier protecting the stomach lining erodes, exposing the stomach wall to the naturally-occurring acid of the stomach.

NSAIDs, H. pylori bacteria, and tumors contribute to the erosion of the mucus barrier.

Meanwhile, spasmodic conditions like irritable bowel syndrome occur when the muscles of the intestines contract frequently and painfully.

When compared to anti-spasmodic and ulcer-preventing medications, however, M. oleifera appears to be just as effective without many of their side effects.

In one study, the use of M. oleifera leaf extract for treating induced ulcers in rats conferred some protection, with the protections exceeding 50% after a 300 mg/kg dose and reaching nearly 100% at a 400 mg/kg dose concentration (59).

Other studies using seed extract found a considerable reduction in spontaneous activity of intestinal spasms and smooth muscle contraction in tissue samples (40, 58).

Because moringa already acts as a possible anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial, and anti-tumor supplement, the combination of these properties helps prevent ulcer formation and the erosion of the mucus barrier.

The aforementioned glycosides from moringa, niazimin A, niazimin B, niazicin A, and niazicin B also appear to have some responsibility in maintaining the rates of contractions during involuntary spasms.

In short:

Although testing for gastrointestinal conditions has not yet extended to human subjects, the use of moringa on animal subjects provides some support to traditional medicinal health claims.

9. Moringa may alleviate or treat epilepsy

Traditional medicine also hails moringa for assisting the central nervous system, and aiding or possibly treating epilepsy and its symptoms.

Epilepsy, or seizure disorder, results from elevated or abnormal electrical activity occurring in the brain (60, 61).

While some epileptic occurrences are not immediately noticeable, like slight changes in behavior, others result in convulsions that can seriously incapacitate its sufferers (60).

Additionally, though there are factors for susceptibility to epilepsy, perfectly healthy individuals without any previous family or medical history of epilepsy are also at risk (60).

Exposure to various degrees of electric stimuli outside and within the body increase the likelihood of an epileptic response.

Typical treatment would address these moderate-to-severe conditions by targeting the neurotransmitters and metabolic pathways responsible for mediating electrical activity.

This can potentially limit or prevent the harm of particularly violent seizures during epileptic episodes.

Studies have sought to understand the effects of M.oleifera on epilepsy and other neurological conditions, typically using nonhuman rat subjects for testing.

After using different methods of inducing seizures in rats, researchers then administered M. oleifera extract in comparison to anticonvulsant medicine from the present market (61, 62, 63).

One study discovered moringa extract significantly reduced convulsions after implementing electrical shock, and completely prevented convulsions induced by ‘PTZ,’ similar to the anticonvulsant, diazepam (61).

Another study analyzed moringa through the context of neurotransmitters, like serotonin and dopamine for example, finding that an increase in the former and a decrease in the latter lowered stimulation in multiple parts of the brain (63).

The antioxidative properties of the flavonoids in M. oleifera are the suspected mediators of electrical activity in the central nervous system.

There are, however, many other factors implicated in specific neurological conditions, such as the inhibition of the GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid) neurotransmitter from the brain, or the blockage of sodium or calcium channels (61).

The role of M. oleifera in these potential sources for seizures is still under exploration, but its chemical components may be responsible for removing or alleviating negative effects on GABA and the sodium and calcium channels.

In short:

The effects of moringa in alleviating epilepsy and associated seizures are promising, as they keep up with the anticonvulsant medication of the present market and provide further support to traditional claims.

10. The liver potentially gains protections through the use of moringa

An important aspect of safeguarding personal health is via the protection of the liver.

The liver is responsible for filtering blood and processing ingested food, medications, and various chemicals which are then spread throughout the rest of the body.

Though a crucial part of healthy functionality, the liver is also unfortunately susceptible to many damaging conditions, including hepatitis A & C, cirrhosis, and fatty liver disease.

Consuming high levels of alcohol or avoiding precautions while taking hepatotoxic (hurtful to the liver) medications like NSAIDs, are some known stressors associated with these effects.

Without immediate medical attention, the continuity of these conditions can result in liver failure, leading to liver transplants or the possibility of mortality.

Once again, moringa and its antioxidant properties may confer some advantages for assisting the liver, especially considering the particular role of radical oxidation in alcohol or drug-related strain on the body (66, 67).

Several studies noted decreases in markers associated with oxidation damage, upon administering moringa extract following various known inductions of toxicity in the liver (65, 66, 67, 68).

Oxidative markers specifically associated with the liver, aspartate aminotransferase and aspartate alanine aminotransferase also dropped considerably when compared to the controls without moringa intervention.

Meanwhile in these same studies, enzymatic markers associated with healing and repairing oxidative damage, superoxide dismutase and catalase, experienced increases in activity with moringa administration (65, 66, 67, 68).

Seemingly, the implementation of moringa results in counteracting overall damage on the liver.

In short:

M. oleifera affords some protection to the liver through its antioxidative properties, reducing the harmful effects of oxidation and preventing outright liver damage.

Caution towards Overuse

As with all things, moringa should be ingested as a dietary supplement in moderation.

Especially for first-time consumers of moringa, starting with lower doses and/or concentrations and gradually scaling up the doses over time is advisable.

In buying powders or capsules, follow the recommended preparations on the packaging, and for buying physical parts, take note of their place of origin if possible.

Since its absorption is not particularly high, M. oleifera should also not be used as a complete replacement for the nutritional benefits of a healthy diet or other supplements.

Several studies say anti-nutritive elements in moringa are low and may not actually prevent essential nutrient absorption or cause discomfort (35, 47), but this can potentially change if precautions are not taken (16).

Overall

Moringa oleifera is a well-studied plant species whose hundreds of years of traditional use have been rigorously explored for decades.

In seeking the specifics of moringa’s versatility, researchers provide enough credibility to show just how dynamically it can improve the overall health of those who use it.

Although most of the studies referenced here have used nonhuman animal subjects, the results reveal that M.oleifera remained consistent in relieving or treating detrimental health conditions.

As a plant with antitumor, anti-cancer, anti-diabetic, antihypertensive, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, anti-ulcer, and anti-epileptic properties, it is clearly complex in its applications for curative purposes.

Rich in nutrients, antioxidants, and capable of aiding minor and severe maladies, moringa remains a comprehensive, health-supporting food additive welcome to most diets.

Recipe #1: Moringa Soup

This recipe is ideal for taking advantage of the benefits of moringa and also keeping warm. The original recipe can be found here.

Ingredients:

  • 1 celery stalk, chopped
  • ½ onion, chopped
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 carrot, chopped
  • 1 serrano pepper, chopped
  • 3-4 moringa leaves

Preparation:

  1. Thoroughly clean the moringa leaves to remove any sand and grit. Set aside.
  2. Heat the chicken broth in pot on medium heat and bring to a simmer.
  3. Place the celery, onion, carrot, serrano pepper, and moringa leaves in the broth. Reduce the heat to low.
  4. Let the mixture sit for another 25-30 minutes, or until the vegetable ingredients soften.
  5. Season to taste and serve.

Recipe #2: Moringa Tea

A simpler recipe, this is an easier way of regularly benefitting from moringa, especially during the summer or the winter. The original recipe can be found here.

Ingredients:

  • Moringa, dried leaves or powder
  • Lemon
  • Honey

Preparation:

  1. Make sure the leaves are thoroughly cleaned before steeping in heated (not-boiling) water. Add more leaves or steep longer for a stronger effect.
  2. If using moringa powder, simply add 1 scoop for each 8 oz. Add more if desiring a stronger effect.
  3. After steeping for several minutes, add lemon slices to the water. Continue to steep for several more minutes.
  4. Drain the tea free of leaves.
  5. Use honey to sweeten tea to taste.
  6. For iced tea, let the tea cool before just adding ice.

Recipe #3: Moringa Smoothie

Another simple recipe, moringa is a great additive to a healthy smoothie! The original recipe can be found here.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup ice
  • 1 cup soy milk
  • 1 cup spinach
  • ½ tsp moringa leaf
  • 1 banana, unpeeled
  • 1 ½ cup chopped apples

Preparation:

  1. Add the ice, soy milk, spinach, moringa leaf, unpeeled banana, and chopped apples to a blender, blending on the highest setting.
  2. When all the ingredients are thoroughly blended, turn off the blender, pour the smoothie into a glass and serve.

Recipe #4: Drumstick Curry

This recipe is one of the heartier dishes for implementing M. oleifera that use actual parts of the plant, and it is great for cold days! The original recipe can be found here.

Ingredients:

  • Moringa oleifera drumsticks, 2 ½ medium-sized bundles
  • 5 tbsp curry powder
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 1 ½ tbsp of lime juice
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • ½ red bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 ½ cups of water
  • 2 tbsp cooking oil
  • 2 tsp salt

Preparation:

  1. Wash and clean the drumsticks thoroughly. Cut the drumsticks to an inch in length. Season with 2 tbsp curry powder. Set aside for 20-25 minutes.
  2. Heat 2 tbsp oil in a saucepan on medium heat. Add the onion and red bell peppers to the saucepan and saute for several minutes.
  3. Add the 3 tbsp curry powder, 2 tsp salt, 1 tbsp tomato paste to pan. Thoroughly fold into onion and red bell peppers and cook for several minutes.
  4. Add the cup of water to pan. Once the mixture is boiling, add the drumsticks and 1 ½ tbsp of lime juice and stir thoroughly. Add another ½ cup of water before covering and bringing to a boil.
  5. Lower the heat and uncover the pan. Stir the mixture and add the final cup of water. Replace the lid and let the mixture cook for another 20-30 minutes.
  6. Remove the saucepan from heat and serve with rice.

Recipe #5: Moringa Leaf Sauce

This recipe makes a stew-like sauce that can be served with rice when it is finished. Moringa leaf sauce can be eaten for lunch or dinner. The original recipe can be found here.

Ingredients:

  • 3-4 Tbsp of Moringa powder
  • 1 pound of smoked chicken or meat
  • 3-4 Tbsp of vegetable or olive oil
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 ½ tsp cayenne pepper
  • Season to taste

Preparation:

  1. Put the water in a medium size pot. Bring to a boil.
  2. Add the smoked chicken or meat to the water. Change to medium heat. Cook for 20 minutes.
  3. After the 20 minutes, add the oil and chopped onion to the pot.
  4. Cover the pot, reduce the heat to medium-low, and let simmer for another 20 minutes.
  5. After 20 minutes, remove the lid and add the moringa powder and cayenne pepper. Stir thoroughly. Let sit for 15 minutes before serving with steamed rice.

Recipe #6: Moringa Rice Stir-Fry

This stir-fry recipe is a good way for incorporating moringa in a fairly common dish. This recipe can be found here.

Ingredients:

  • 1 ½ cups beef, sliced to bite-sized pieces
  • 2 cups white rice
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 ½ Tbsp dried Moringa leaf
  • ¾ cup green beans
  • 1 Tbsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 ½ Tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 Tbsp oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Preparation:

  1. Thoroughly clean the moringa leaves. Strip the leaves and crumple them into fine pieces. Set aside.
  2. Cook rice in a separate pot, at medium heat and with enough water to cover the rice by about 1 inch. Cover the pot and set aside, letting it the rice cook for 15 minutes.
  3. Lightly cook the green beans in a pan.
  4. Add 1 Tbsp to another pan, then add the onion. Sauté the onion for several minutes.
  5. Add the beef in with the onions. Cook for about 15-20 minutes. If your preference is for a lighter cooked meat, cook for a shorter period of time.
  6. Add the green beans and rice to the meat and onions.
  7. Spread the moringa leaves on the stir-fry, thoroughly mixing the leaves in with the rest of the mixture.
  8. Salt and pepper to taste. Remove the stir-fry from the heat and serve.

Recipe #7: Moringa and [Insert Dish of Choice Here]

This entry does not have a specific recipe, however, there are many suggestions online about simply adding moringa to dishes one typically eats. Small amounts of moringa powder or finely chopped moringa leaves make nice additions to scrambled eggs, salads, sauces, guacamole, and even popcorn and pizza!

The range of recipes for incorporating moringa powder include porridge, cornbread, lattes, brownies, and popsicles. Essentially, moringa is capable of being cooked into most diets.

Plant polyphenols in Chicory Roots are powerful disease fighters

Chicory root is the most talked about plant for its caffeine-replacing properties. Ground chicory root is used to make coffee as it contains no caffeine. In fact, it contains many nutritive compounds such as magnesium, vitamins, potassium, folic acid, calcium, iron, and many more. With no hint of caffeine and the exact same flavor of coffee, chicory root is the best substitute for caffeine coffee.

It offers health-promoting benefits for the heart, brain, digestion, metabolism, and the immune system. It acts as a natural remedy for age-related diseases like arthritis and kidney disease. All the credit goes to its powerful antioxidant capacity and plant polyphenols.

With the basic nutritional value out of the way, let’s discuss the science-backed benefits of chicory roots on human health.

1. Chicory Roots Provide Incredible Gastrointestinal Support

Chicory root is well known for its ability to relieve digestive problems. This is due to the good amount of insulin inulin content in chicory roots. A single serving of chicory root is plenty to help fight against all types of gastrointestinal diseases in humans.

That said, a study suggests the inulin improves gut health against obesity, diabetes, and other inflammatory diseases. A loss of nutritive dietary intake can put you at a higher risk of unabsorbed nutrients which might cause obesity and other diseases.

This study also proves that a versatile diet containing antioxidants, inulin, vitamins, and other nutrients can help control bacterial markers within the body. This instantaneously affects blood glucose levels, insulin production, and metabolic function. (1)

The use of inulin in increased absorption of iron can also help prevent gastrointestinal diseases, a study suggests. A study conducted on piglets proved that a sufficient intake of both iron and inulin, present in chicory roots, improved gastrointestinal tract function and physiological function. (2)

With inulin deficiency in the body, there’s very little iron absorption which has a direct negative impact on digestion. Higher iron and inulin concentration in the colon might decrease digestive acidity in the body.

Key Takeaway: The nutrients present in chicory root such as iron and inulin play a role in enhancing gastrointestinal function. It promotes proper nutrient absorption of iron and protein which reduces bloating, inflammation, and abnormal digestive function.

2. Chicory Roots Are A Great Substitute For Coffee

Do you know how to make chicory coffee? The health benefits of chicory coffee surpass all expectations. It’s considered to be good for fighting bacterial infections, supporting the liver, and fighting against oxidative stress.

I don’t need to tell you the effects of caffeine overdose, especially in adults with a weaker immune system. But I think it’s important to let you know that it can cause extreme alertness and restlessness when consumed in huge amounts. (3)

Having said that, chicory root contains powerful plant polyphenols that offer anti-inflammatory effects on the human body. A study conducted on 25 healthy participants concluded that an intake 300 ml of chicory root coffee on a daily basis decreased blood plasma concentration.

It didn’t have any effect on red blood cells or hematocrit levels which are essential for normal body function. On the other hand, it had a significant impact on reducing inflammatory markers in the body to prevent chronic diseases. (4)

Key Takeaway: Drinking 300 ml of chicory coffee everyday has been proved to be effective in treating inflammation in the bloodstream. It also reduces many types of proinflammatory diseases, bacterial infections, and oxidative stress in the body.

3. Chicory Roots Being A Low-Calorie Plant May Extend Lifespan

Low-calorie diets work in your favor to burn fat faster and strengthen the immune system. Recent studies have shed light on the positive effects of a low-calorie diet on reducing mortality rate in humans.

The metabolism-promoting benefits of chicory root due to its low-calorie count can help alleviate diseases such as obesity, heart disease, and diabetes.

In fact, in an animal study, it was concluded that the opposite diet of overeating is a low-calorie intake which restricts abnormal biochemical changes in the body.

Based on multiple tests, this study showed that calories restriction with the help of low-calorie foods has a more positive effect on metabolism and the immune system than other methods. This suppresses high glucose levels, brings lipid metabolism back to normal, and eliminates gut-microbial abnormalities. (5)

This study is closely related to another study conducted on animals with age-related diseases. The study concluded that a good intake of low-calorie foods can reduce mortality rate and combat chronic symptoms of aging such as memory loss, fragile bones, impaired vision, etc. (6)

Key Takeaway: Calories restriction with the help of low-calorie foods such as chicory root can alleviate the progression of age-related inflammation in humans. It supports both the biological and physiological function in humans.

4. Chicory Roots Contain Powerful Nutrients To Fight Osteoarthritis

Chicory roots have the kind of nutrients that can help treat osteoarthritis.

Being high in fiber and vitamin C, chicory roots fight against knee inflammation and stiff joints. A fiber-rich diet can lower your chances of suffering from painful knees. Osteoarthritis is caused due to noisy and painful knees.

So if you have painful knees, you’re at a higher risk of developing osteoarthritis as you get older. That’s why a proper intake of fiber and vitamin-rich diet is essential.

Having said that, a research studied the effects of dietary fiber on knee osteoarthritis. This attributed to its overall bone-strengthening properties. The concluded that people with very low fiber absorption in the body suffered from osteoarthritis. (7)

Additionally, a higher intake of fiber-rich foods, such as chicory root, showed a 30% lower risk of developing osteoarthritis.

The study on vitamin C showed that it plays a role in preventing painful knee osteoarthritis. People who consumed enough vitamin C in their diet showed an 11% lower risk of developing this condition than those who didn’t. (8)

Key Takeaway: Osteoarthritis is a painful condition that can be prevented, treated, and controlled with the help of a healthy diet. Chicory roots contain good amounts of fiber and vitamin C that can potentially decrease progression of painful knee osteoarthritis.

5. Chicory Roots Contain Plant Polyphenols That Prevent Oxidative Stress

Oxidative stress is caused by two primary reasons. The first is a significant reduction of the body’s antioxidant capacity and an increase in oxidant capacity. The second is a drastic increase in free radicals which leads to oxidative stress.

You can consume sufficient plant polyphenols to treat oxidative stress. This helps prevent the progression of many chronic diseases such as cancer, liver damage, heart disease, and metabolic syndrome.

A study on plant polyphenols concluded that it promotes antioxidant stability and protects the immune system against free radical-induced neurodegenerative diseases and diabetes. Once digested in the body, polyphenols are absorbed by colonic microflora and other intestinal enzymes.

This regulates the proper functioning of the digestive system while controlling certain abnormal cell processes that might cause oxidative stress. It is clear the polyphenols protect immune cells against oxidants and hence reduce the severe effects of free radical damage in the body. (9)

On an ending note, the consumption of chicory root for its high plant polyphenols capacity is also directly related to reducing proinflammatory effects of aging in the brain.

Key Takeaway: Chicory roots are good sources of polyphenols that are powerful antioxidants to prolong life span and overall health. They have been shown to reduce oxidative stress and inflammation. Both these factors play a role in fighting against cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and autoimmune disorders.

6. Chicory Roots Extract Suppresses Liver Damage

Chicory root extracts increase antioxidant capacity to fight hepatotoxicity-induced liver damage in rats. It even measured its powerful oxidative stress-reducing effects in male rats.

This research studied the body weight, hepatic lipid peroxidation, and molecular biomarkers of liver damage in rats. A regular consumption of chicory root extracts showed a significant change in boosting the antioxidant and free radical scavenging enzymes in the liver. (10)

This concludes that chicory root is rich in the kind of antioxidants that have a direct impact on liver health. The extracts supported the prevention of DNA damage caused by oxidative stress.

Another study proved that antioxidants play a role in promoting liver health. A number of antioxidants present in chicory root treat fibrosis and cirrhosis, both play a role in affecting oxidative stress in the liver.

Antioxidants stimulate the proper absorption of nutrients such as protein and fiber in the cells. This leads to reducing pro-oxidants count and reduces protein damage in the body. By decreasing the serious effects of liver damage, other factors such as DNA damage, production of cytokines, and reduction of epithelial cells prevented. (11)

Key Takeaway: Chicory roots may be beneficial for improving liver health. Due to its high antioxidant capacity, it reduces inflammation, cytokines, and oxidative stress in the liver.

7. Chicory Root Boosts Glucose And Lipid Metabolism In The Body

A research conducted to test the effects of chicory root on glucose and lipid metabolism concluded that chicory roots have favorable antihyperglycemic and antidyslipidemic effects on human health. (12)

These two factors play a role in affecting type 2 diabetes in humans. (13)

This controlled study took into account, 47 healthy individuals. A regular consumption of chicory root extracts for 4 weeks concluded that chicory root decreases high levels of lipid metabolism and improves overall bowel movements. This also prevents the development of diabetes in most humans.

People who digested chicory root extracts had better chances of fighting against hypertension and high LDL cholesterol levels too. This creates an effective foundation for fighting heart-related diseases.

While all these studies were positive, there was plenty of evidence on chicory root intake for both unhealthy and healthy adults. Compared to other foods, including coffee, the positive effects of chicory root extracts is directly associated with insulin production, glucose metabolism, and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol.

Key Takeaway: Chicory roots have several powerful properties that may benefit the heart and metabolic system. It prevents abnormal glucose and insulin levels while protecting against lipid metabolism in the body.

8. Chicory Roots Act As A Laxative To Prevent Chronic Constipation

There are a variety of foods that make great substitutes to laxative supplements to treat constipation. One of them is chicory root.

Using natural laxatives as a way to treat constipation can prevent the side-effects of laxative supplements in the body. These side-effects include inflammation, abnormal kidney and liver function, and dehydration. (14)

That said, chicory roots play a major role in relieving constipation due to its high inulin and fiber content.

The intake of dietary fiber is directly associated with improved gut health, fat metabolism, and proper immune function. It is also proved that fiber prevents accumulation of hard stools and eases the defecation process through the intestines. This prevents chronic constipation in most adults. (15)

This same study concludes that fiber effects gastrointestinal health by making stools softer and is more effective than laxative supplements for proper excretion of bacterial mass from the body.

Inulin, on the other hand, prevents constipation in elderly adults by improving bowel motor function. It increases fecal bacteria which is essential for proper defecation in adults. (16)

Key Takeaway: Multiple studies revealed that chicory root plays a role in the treatment of constipation in adults. It improves quality of stools and stimulates proper intestinal response to reducing defecation difficulties.

9. Chicory Roots Are An Excellent Source Of Vitamin B6

Vitamin B6 is commonly referred to as pyridoxine, which is a healthful compound for healthy nerve function, metabolism, and skin. Studies suggest that vitamin B6 also plays a role in detecting bacterial infections in the body.

To put into simple words, your body needs high vitamin B6 levels to determine bacterial infections such as food poisoning, malaria, and meningitis. The body’s immune cells, with the help of vitamin B6, trigger the body to fight against such bacterial infections. (17)

This research also concluded that the body’s MAIT cells use vitamin synthesis to trigger the immune system against bacteria and yeast infections. The folic acid present in chicory root also help alleviate bacterial infections in the body. It protects the inner linings of the intestines, mouth, and lungs.

On the other hand, a vitamin B6 deficiency in the body can mood swings, muscle swelling, fatigue, and worsen symptoms anemia. (18)

To improve levels of vitamin B6 in your diet, a daily consumption of 1.3 mg is considered normal for people below the age of 50. For people older than 50, a daily consumption of 1.7 mg is essential.

Key Takeaway: Chicory roots contain good amounts of vitamin B6 to prevent vitamin deficiency in the body. It plays a major role in defending the immune system against bacterial and yeast infections in the lungs, mouth, and other sensitive parts of the body.

10. The Prebiotics In Chicory Roots Strengthen The Immune System

Prebiotics are a form of fiber compound, but non-digestible in nature. Once digested, they pass through the digestive tract and break down in the colon with the help of the gut microflora. They have very similar health-promoting benefits like dietary fiber.

Higher intake of prebiotics, present in chicory roots, offers better digestive health, lower oxidative stress, and lower risk of developing obesity and diabetes. (19)

Moving forward, a research studied the positive effects of prebiotics, probiotics, and synbiotics on the human body. The result suggested that prebiotics has a significantly positive health effect on the body’s immunological functions such as autoimmune diseases, infections, and brain health. (20)

People with metabolic syndrome or bacterial strain can benefit from chicory roots consumption. It positively affects the epithelial cells, T regulatory cells, and natural killer T cells. All of these cells are important for proper regulation of the immune system.

Another study claims that prebiotics help reduce cytokines in the body. Cytokines are proinflammatory markers that directly affect the immune system to deteriorate. This can cause a host of chronic diseases including cancer. (21)

Key Takeaway: Prebiotics are known for their anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties. Most studies conclude that increasing prebiotics intake can have a direct effect on the body’s immune system.

Discover 6 Amazing Chicory Root Recipes

The bitter taste of certain types of vegetables is not appreciated by most people. But at the same time, this particular flavor does an excellent job at balancing the sourness, saltiness, and sweetness of food. And one such vegetable is chicory roots.

The leafy greens are used to prepare all kinds of dishes, and not just coffee. Since they’re green and leafy, they are a perfect fit for salad mixes too. But there’s more, so let’s find out!

1. Sautéed Chicory Roots Salad

First, let’s learn how to prepare that perfect bright-colored sautéed chicory roots salad that everybody keeps talking about.

Ingredients:

1 onion or 2 shallots, sliced

1 head of leaf chicory

1 head of frisée

2 heads of Belgian endive

2 tbsp of minced garlic

2 tbsp of olive oil

1 oz of grated cheese, Parmigiano-Reggiano

1 cup of prunes, chopped

1/4 tsp of sea salt

1/3 cup of unsalted toasted walnuts, chopped

1/4 tsp of red pepper flakes or black pepper, freshly ground

Distilled vinegar

Method:

  1. Before beginning the cooking process, discard all the browned or wilted outer coverings of frisée, radicchio, and endive. Separate the remaining leaves of the veggies from their core before washing them in a mixture that contains a little bit of distilled vinegar and water. Then rinse the leaves using fresh water. Dry them on a cloth towel while blotting each one with a paper towel.
  2. Once the leaves are washed, rinsed, cleaned, and dried, it’s time to chop them. Make sure to keep the dense parts of the leaves away from the tender, delicate colored portions. This should give you several piles of chopped leaves.
  3. Now it’s time to cook. Take a skillet, pour oil in it and place it over medium heat. Add garlic and shallots. Sauté them for about 30 seconds before bringing in the white part of the chicory roots. Cook these until they become tender, which should not take more than 5 minutes. Following which add prunes and stir the whole thing for a minute.
  4. You can add the colored parts at this point. Then stir the leaves until they start to wilt, this will take another minute.
  5. After that, turn off the heat before adding the seasoning and walnuts. Fold the walnuts gently into the sautéed dish and transfer the ingredients to a salad serving dish. And that’s about it!

2. Chicory Gratin

This recipe is nothing but a simple yet rustic dish for family gatherings. And you can always eliminate the ham to transform it into a vegetarian meal.

Ingredients:

For chicory:

2 pinches of sea salt

1 tbsp of lemon juice

6 peppercorns, the white ones

4 heads of yellow chicory

1 tbsp of sugar

For chard:

2 stalks of Swiss chard with leaves, chopped

10g of unsalted butter

For cheese sauce:

1 tbsp of Dijon mustard

450ml of whole milk

A pinch of sea salt

35g of unsalted butter

A pinch of white pepper, freshly ground

25g of plain flour

100g of finely grated Comté cheese

For gratin:

50g of finely grated Comté cheese

4 slices of cooked ham

Method:

  1. First, let’s prepare the chicory. Take a saucepan and pour some water in it along with adding peppercorns, salt, sugar, and lemon juice. Place the pan on medium heat. Then cover it with a baking paper sheet and lid. Boil the solution, then simmer it for an hour. Cooking the chicory slowly helps in eliminating the leafy vegetable’s bitter taste.
  2. Then place the chicory on the wire rack. Let it drain as well as cool. Once that happens, gently press to get rid of any excessive moisture. You can use your tea towel for this purpose.
  3. Soon after, preheat your microwave to 190 degrees Celsius.
  4. Now it’s time to prepare the chard. For that, place butter and 100ml of water on a saucepan over high heat. Cook the Swiss chard stalks for at least 20 minutes. During this time, you can add water if required.
  5. Once they become tender, lift the stalks to replace them with leaves. Now you can cook them in that same saucepan with water for 3-5 minutes. Following which strain the leaves before mixing them with the stalks in a gratin dish.
  6. In the meantime, prepare the cheese sauce. Use another saucepan for this. Place it over medium heat to melt butter. Then add flour and whisk it properly until it becomes smooth in texture. Cook the paste for a while or until it turns nutty in color. Once that happens, turn off the heat.
  7. Now it’s time to bring in the milk. Whisk it thoroughly before turning on the heat back again. Cook the mixture for 4-5 minutes. Make sure that you keep stirring it in order to thicken the sauce.
  8. Then bring in the mustard and cheese and cook it for another 3 minutes. Once the cheese melts completely, turn off the heat. You can add the seasoning now.
  9. Finally, it’s time to assemble the whole dish. Place one head of chicory on each slice of ham, which you will have to fold in half. Pack all the slices in your gratin dish over the chard. Spread the cheese sauce and sprinkle the leftover cheese. You can bake this for 30 minutes until it turns golden brown in color. And there you have it, your chicory gratin is ready to surprise the taste buds of your family members or loved ones.

3. Chicory Roots Latte

You know what’s better than coffee? Chicory latte! So let’s learn how to make it right away!

Ingredients:

2 dates, pitted

2 cups water

1 tbsp of dandelion root, roasted

1 tbsp of chicory root, roasted

2 tbsp of butter

Fresh nutmeg (powder or nut)

Method:

  1. Place the dandelion and chicory roots in a pot filled with water.
  2. Boil the solution, then simmer it on low heat for about 2 minutes. Following which turn off the heat and let the mixture steep for at least 10 minutes.
  3. Now it’s time to strain the drink and transfer it into the blender with butter and dates. Blend the mix for a minute.
  4. Grate that fresh nutmeg to enjoy your delicious cup of chicory latte.

4. Dill and Salmon Chicory Boats

There’s nothing more simple, quick, and appetizing to make than these dill and salmon boats with chicory roots.

Ingredients:

8-3/4 ounces of smoked salmon or gravlax, thinly sliced

3 tbsp of fresh dill

2 tsp of honey

16 leaves of large chicory

4 tbsp of Dijon mustard

4 large radishes, trimmed and sliced

1 small cucumber, seeded and finely diced

Method:

  1. Whisk together honey and mustard. Add the dill with smoked salmon and diced cucumber. And don’t forget the seasoning at this point.
  2. Overlap the chicory leaves in order to create 8 boats. Fill each with the cucumber and smoked salmon mixture. Then garnish all of them with the remaining ingredients. Finally, it’s time to serve these boats with sliced radishes.

5. Chicory Cinnamon Spice Tea

For those who enjoy tea more than coffee! A cup of chicory roots tea with a cinnamon-spice twist provides your body with all kinds of health benefits. Plus, it’s a pretty delightful and refreshing drink to add to your daily diet.

Ingredients:

1 cup of water

1 stick of cinnamon

1 tbsp of coconut oil, organic

2 tsp of ground chicory root

Method:

  1. Place the cinnamon stick and chicory root in your tea kettle.
  2. Boil a cup of water and pour it over the cinnamon stick and chicory root. Cover this and let it steep for not more than 4-5 minutes.
  3. Then transfer this brewed tea into a blender along with coconut oil. Blend the mixture on high power for at least 30 seconds. And now all you need to do is enjoy the tea.

6. Chicory and Pesto Prawn Toast

Prawn toast gets a makeover with crispy chicory and perfect pesto along with a touch of delicious nutmeg.

Ingredients:

For prawn toast:

8 slices of multigrain bread

2 egg whites

300g of peeled prawns

Some vegetable oil

Fresh grated nutmeg

Salt and pepper, the latter freshly ground

2 tbsp of oil, the roasted hazelnut type

For pesto:

1 roughly chopped green chilli

1 clove of garlic

A big bunch of coriander

100ml of olive oil

1 tbsp of grated Parmesan

60g of walnuts

To serve:

Juice of 1 lemon

3 tbsp of olive oil

2 heads of chicory, with roots removed as well as leaves separated

Method:

  1. Let’s prepare the toast first. Pulse the peeled prawns in your food processor or blender with hazelnut oil, seasoning, nutmeg, and egg whites. The paste should become smooth before you spread it on bread slices.
  2. Heat a pan with vegetable oil. Gently fry the prawn toast until it becomes golden brown in color on both the sides. You can drain the toast on any kitchen paper.
  3. Now it’s time to prepare the pesto. Combine all the ingredients except olive oil. Place them in the blender. Pour half the amount of olive oil to make sure that the paste becomes consistently smooth. Feel free to add more oil if required.
  4. For serving the whole dish, place the chicory root leaves in a bowl. Mix lemon juice and oil in another bowl. Add seasoning to this before pouring the dressing on top of the leaves. Toss them properly to make sure that each leaf is coated completely.
  5. You can now trim the prawn toast into small pieces. All that’s left to do is place them together with the chicory leaves and pesto on a serving plate.

Wrapping It Up

Chicory root is the perfect laxative, plant-based antioxidant, and power inulin for better digestion, immune response, and metabolism. It has more gastrointestinal-enhancing benefits than other supplements. Plus, it makes a great substitute for coffee!

You will also find that chicory roots are very simple to cook and offer a unique flavor to a variety of dishes. Since chicory root is a plant-based starch, it relieves bloating, acid reflux, constipation, and cramps. Speaking about cramps, let’s not forget it also helps prevent PMS cramps, thanks to its powerful prebiotic properties.

There’s so much to look forward to with chicory roots. Use it in coffee, tea, or salads, and you can treat bacterial infections such as malaria, jaundice, and yeast. It’s possible that you’ll love its pleasant, yet strong coffee essence to such an extent that you’ll forget caffeine for good!

Cayenne Pepper for health and weight loss

Cayenne pepper is a powerhouse of capsaicin and belongs to the genus Capsicum. So cayenne pepper is a part of the herb family, boasting of many healthy nutrients like vitamin C, vitamin E, potassium, and its other antioxidant compounds. Being low in both fat and calories, cayenne pepper is a fat-burning herb to cure obesity, weight gain, and diabetes.

You might have heard that cayenne pepper works wonders for digestion in both its natural herb or powdered form. Cayenne pepper, spicy as it may be, works as a natural remedy for stomach pain, ulcers, intestinal gas, and stomach cramps. Cayenne pepper also helps soothe toothache, nausea, malaria, and fever. It offers positive health benefits for arthritis and is an effective remedy for chronic headaches and migraines.

1. Eating Cayenne Pepper Daily Can Curb Your Appetite

If you’re new to cayenne pepper or haven’t used it as a spice before in your meals, you will be pleased to know that adding this spice to your daily meals can help curb your appetite. It reduces strong cravings, burns more calories, and you feel full for a longer time.

Incorporating cayenne pepper into your daily diet, studies suggest, can encourage healthy eating and aid weight management.

The study conducted on the effects of red pepper and weight management showed that half a teaspoon of cayenne pepper can increase body temperature and burn more calories. It was conducted on 25 non-overweight people out of which 13 ate spicy food and the remaining didn’t. (1)

It also showed that people who consumed cayenne pepper on a daily basis had no weight loss effects. So people who are new to this spice might notice a slight change in weight and appetite than those who consume this pepper everyday.

Key Takeaway: The study associated a direct link between consuming cayenne pepper and appetite control in non-overweight people. Daily consumption of cayenne pepper, that is 1/2 a tsp, can help curb cravings and make you feel full for longer.

2. Cayenne Pepper Has Powerful Metabolism-Boosting Properties

This hot chili pepper is added to most dishes to increase spiciness, but there’s another key reason why more and more people are incorporating this spice in their meals.

It’s because cayenne pepper contains good amounts of capsaicin which is an active compound. This compound plays an important role in increasing metabolism and inducing weight loss in both unhealthy and healthy people. (2)

It has a direct effect on thermogenesis. Thermogenesis is responsible for converting cell energy into heat which in-turn increases body temperature and boosts metabolism rate.

Another report studied the positive effects of spiced food on metabolic rate. This study proved that the ingestion of spicy foods, such as cayenne pepper, induces oxygen consumption which has a direct effect on our metabolic rate. (3)

Good amounts of cayenne pepper in a person’s diet activated the digestive system while enhancing the calorie-burning processes in the body. (4)

Key Takeaway: Cayenne pepper is a powerful herb containing capsaicin, which plays a major role in fat-burning and metabolism-boosting. Once digested, cayenne pepper activates certain cell processes that help induce a faster metabolic rate for better digestion and weight management.

3. Capsaicin Present In Cayenne Pepper Suppresses Breast Cancer

Breast cancer is the formation of cancer cells in cellular membranes of the breasts. It is very common in women than it is in men. People with breast cancer often go through chemotherapy, hormone therapy, or surgery for an effective treatment.

That said, new research has shed light on the positive anti-cancer properties of cayenne pepper on breast cancer. This study focused on cayenne pepper’s capsaicin that helps destroy breast cancer cells effectively.

With chemotherapy the only effective treatment for breast cancer, a study was conducted on mice to check for any changes in tumors as a method of cancer treatment.

Capsaicin activates a certain type of receptor in the body, it is the Transient Receptor Potential Channels or TRPV1. This receptor helps healthy cells survive for longer by slowly killing cancer cells in breast tumors. Treating capsaicin compound with this receptor can reduce the proliferation of tumors in the body while killing of cancer cells faster. (5)

Key Takeaway: The capsaicin in cayenne pepper helps boost healthy cell proliferation which built up a resisting environment for cancer cells and tumors. It has a positive effect on breast tumors in both men and women.

4. Cayenne Pepper Is Good For The Liver

Interestingly, cayenne pepper may reduce liver damage, inducing better digestion. A new study conducted on the liver-enhancing effects of cayenne pepper showed that the active compound present in cayenne pepper, capsaicin alleviates liver damage.

Consumption of capsaicin-activated a special compound called hepatic stellate cells which are present in huge amounts in the liver. This group of cells helps improve scar tissue response caused by liver damage.

Capsaicin reduces the inflammatory and oxidative damage caused by the liver which affects liver fibrosis. That’s when these group of cells, hepatic stellate cells, get activated. (6)

Another study reviewed the powerful anti-inflammatory and oxidative capacity of capsaicin on liver health. It proved the capsaicin plays a major role in lowering chances of metabolic diseases including liver disease. This also includes non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. The phytochemicals present in cayenne pepper activate and increase the count of antioxidant enzymes in the body. (7)

Key Takeaway: Multiple studies showed that increasing cayenne pepper consumption for its powerful capsaicin content has positive liver-enhancing benefits. It cuts the risk of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, stroke, and other factors affecting the liver.

5. Eating Cayenne Pepper Can Reduce Sensations Of Pain

You can trick your brain into feeling no pain. It seems impossible, but it can happen with the right kind of foods. Cayenne pepper, on the one hand, can alleviate pain by increasing burning sensations.

When you consume cayenne pepper, it increases heat in your body which causes a burning sensation. This burning sensation is considered to, ironically, reduce pain in humans. (8)

When consumed, cayenne pepper’s capsaicin activates the TRPV1 receptors in the nerves and cells. And continued exposure to this pepper cause the pain nerve cells to get exhausted, ultimately causing no pain. This is because the pain nerve cells deplete all their chemical stores when activated for a long time.

When cayenne pepper extracts are applied to the skin, it induces another set of cells called PIP2 in the cell membrane. These cells release calcium in the bloodstream which causes loss of sensitivity in the skin cell membranes. (9)

Key Takeaway: The capsaicin in cayenne pepper may help induce pain relief when applied to the skin. It induces better chemical depletion in the pain nerve cells which drastically reduces sensitivity to pain.

6. Cayenne Pepper Is A Good Source Of Vitamin E

Vitamin-E rich foods, such as cayenne pepper, aid various body processes such as the heart, respiratory system, blood pressure, and skin. (10)

Many studies show that vitamin E deficiency in the body can induce variety of chronic and inflammatory-induced diseases. A daily intake of 4 mg vitamin E (for women) and 3 mg vitamin E (for men) can help curb vitamin E deficiency. (11)

Vitamin E helps balance high LDL cholesterol levels in the bloodstream. Especially for people affected with lifestyle-related factors such as smoking, high-fat diets, and lack of exercise. It does this by reducing free radical induced damage in the blood cells which act as an antioxidant to help fight high cholesterol levels.

It also shows that vitamin E is good for preventing age-related disease development in the skin, bones, and immune system. It helps increase immunity in older adults. The vitamin E extract chilli peppers, such as cayenne pepper, acts as a powerful antioxidant for DNA repair and muscle cell respiration. (12)

Key Takeaway: Daily consumption of cayenne pepper can reduce vitamin E deficiency in children, adults, and older adults. Multiple studies reported that vitamin E is good for the heart, respiratory system, and fights free radicals to enhance antioxidant capacity in the body.

7. The Anti-Inflammatory Effects Of Cayenne Pepper Can Reduce Congestion

Nasal congestion is common in people with allergies and other environmental-sensitivities. If left untreated, it can cause headaches, nausea, facial pain, and even a sore throat. This type of congestion can be treated with a nasal spray rich in capsaicin, that is present in cayenne pepper.

You can even take capsaicin orally with the help of cayenne pepper to reduce effects of congestion in the nasal area. It helps clear up any sinus infection, cold, and allergic reaction. (13)

It also showed that a single teaspoon of cayenne with hot water can help dilate blood vessels. This also helps drain out sinuses more effectively than other traditional methods.

Due to its concentration of capsaicin, cayenne pepper can help calm your senses and reduce inflammation in the nasal regions to avoid proliferation of any infection. (14,15)

Not to mention, the release of cayenne pepper in the body can also help release the nasal passage of liquids that otherwise don’t come out quickly. But it’s important to remember, too much of anything can have its side-effects. Too much of cayenne pepper exposure to the nasal region may cause skin irritation or nose burning.

Key Takeaway: The anti-inflammatory properties of cayenne pepper has its positive effect on reducing nasal congestion and sinus infections.

8. The Powerful Nutrients Present In Cayenne Pepper Can Cure Migraines

Migraine is a major health concern worldwide. But you might be able to reduce the severe effects of migraines with the help of cayenne pepper.

Cayenne pepper and its powerful nutrients such as vitamins, magnesium, potassium, and of course capsaicin signal for protection against chronic headaches and migraines.

One study showed that a higher consumption of spicy foods can significantly decrease the endurance of headaches and migraines. People with frequent headache attacks has a lower consumption of spicy foods rich in antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compounds.

Ths randomised study proved that an increase in cayenne pepper consumption can trigger brain cells to fight against the inflammation that leads to a migraine attack. (16)

Key Takeaway: Multiple studies suggest that cayenne pepper, due to its high anti-inflammatory and antioxidant capacity, is able to suppress migraine and headache attacks.

9. Cayenne Pepper Can Help Lower Blood Pressure

Cayenne pepper has very powerful blood pressure-lowering properties when digested. Cayenne pepper, like most other chilli peppers, contain high amounts of capsaicin. This active ingredient helps relax blood vessels and tissues to reduce hypertension.

A study conducted on hypertensive rats showed that a long-term consumption of capsaicin through spicy foods such as cayenne pepper can lower blood pressure better than other traditional methods.

It helps in the activation of TRPV1 which increased nitric oxide production to protect blood vessel from chronic inflammation. (17)

This same study also suggested that people who don’t like spicy food are greatly affected by its hypertension-reducing properties.

One study showed that consuming cayenne pepper creates a positive energy balance in the body to lower blood pressure and promote fat metabolism in the body. (18)

Any kind of energy imbalance in the body can cause serious health concerns including obesity, hypertension, high cholesterol, and heart diseases. Hence, consuming sufficient amounts of cayenne pepper can be beneficial for normal energy expenditure.

Key Takeaway: Multiple studies have found that cayenne pepper does stimulate normal blood pressure levels. It inhibits hypertension by balancing energy levels, lowering inflammation in the blood vessels, and promoting proper artery flow.

10. A Sufficient Cayenne Pepper Diet Can Decrease Inflammation

Cayenne pepper contains many antioxidants such as vitamins and capsaicin that have anti-inflammatory properties. This makes it very effective in easing inflammation-induced infections, diseases, and symptoms.

Inflammation in the human body can cause cancer, heart disease, arthritis, and many types of metabolic diseases. A specific study conducted on inflammation-induced obesity showed that proinflammatory diseases including diabetes and atherosclerosis have a direct influence on the liver, pancreas, and muscle cells. (19)

The solution to all this is an increased consumption of cayenne pepper for its capsaicin compounds. The study that targets the effects of this active ingredient showed that the action of capsaicin reduces oxidant enzyme levels in the body. It doesn’t eliminate the oxidative capacity, but limits it to healthy levels. (20)

Key Takeaway: Hence, it can be believed that cayenne pepper is a promising agent to suppress proinflammatory diseases and abnormalities in the human body.

11. Cayenne Pepper Acts As An Anti-Irritant To Curb Gastric Ulcers

Cayenne pepper encourages the inhibition of acid secretion in the body, contrary to popular beliefs. It stimulates mucosal blood flow in the body to help heal inflammatory stomach ulcers and bacteria.

Helicobacter Pylori is a common bacteria that causes different types of infections in the stomach. This has also been one of the leading causes of gastric ulcers in humans. Capsaicin is a leading inhibitor of ulcer formation than a participant. It helps prevent and heal gastric ulcers by initiating a healthy gastric mucosal blood flow level in the body. (21)

Another study proved that capsaicin promotes a healthy gut by suppressing harmful cell proliferation in the body. This also plays a factor in lowering chances of developing colorectal tumors. (22)

Key Takeaway: Scientists discovered that cayenne pepper has a direct positive effect on suppressing acid secretion and inflammatory blood cells that cause gastric ulcers and colorectal tumors in the body.

12. Cayenne Peppers Are Rich With Vitamins With Skin-Enhancing Properties

New studies suggest that cayenne pepper plays a major role protecting skin from aging, wrinkles, acne, and other skin abnormalities. Cayenne peppers is packed with healthy vitamins such as A, B6, and C. These vitamins work together to prevent skin infections and diseases.

One study showed that vitamin A when treated aged skin, skin ulcer formation, and help accelerate the healing process of skin injuries. (23)

Another study proved that vitamin A has a direct influence on skin exposed to UV radiation and harmful chemicals in the environment. Chronic sun exposure can cause cancer, heat boils, dehydrated skin, and other symptoms. Vitamin A promotes better nutrient absorption in the skin cells that blanket the skin cells from excessive sun exposure and UV radiation. (24)

The role of vitamin C on skin health encourages better regeneration and protect the skin against genetic and environmental factors. (25)

Extreme sun exposure can cause DNA damage caused by oxidative stress and inflammation. The skin cells, being the most sensitive to this reaction, deplete in large numbers causing cancer, skin disease, and pigmentation.

Another nutrient present in cayenne pepper, that is vitamin B6, has protective effects for skin health. It reduces skin sensitivity by inhibiting the severe effects of testosterone in the DNA. This is one of the leading causes of acne in young adults. (26)

Key Takeaway: Cayenne pepper is a good source of vitamin C, A, and B6. They help in the prevention of skin injuries and infections. Also, they accelerate skin healing by providing plenty of antioxidants to the skin cells.

13. Cayenne Pepper Has Anti-Fungal Properties

The many benefit of cayenne pepper also includes its powerful anti-fungal properties. It supports the immune system with the help of CAY-1 which is naturally occurring enzyme found in cayenne pepper.

This compound, once digested in the system, affects cell cytotoxicity. It disrupts the cell toxicity levels in the membrane by reducing the number of fungal and infections-inducing cells in the body. (27)

Cayenne pepper must be a part of your anti-fungal diet because it boosts your immune system to destroy fungal cells faster. It even restricts the proliferation of toxic fungal pathogens against 16 fungal strains found in the body.

This prevents the development of candida, digestive diseases, hormonal imbalance, and much more. It even inhibits the formation of different types of yeast in the body. (28)

Key Takeaway: Cayenne pepper suppresses the growth of 16 types of fungus in the body including candida. It has anti-fungal compounds such as capsaicin and CAY-1 that kill fungal cells in the bloodstream caused by genetic factors.

14. Cayenne Pepper Is Low-Carb Which Is Good For Diabetes Prevention

Diabetes is a very common and severe health concern affecting many people worldwide. That said, factors such as healthy eating and physical exercise can keep you away from this diabetes.

One of the most effective remedies of diabetes, as well as its prevention, is a low-carb diet. Since cayenne pepper contains very little calories and fats, it’s a good source of antioxidants to do away with abnormal insulin and blood sugar levels.

According to a recent study, a low-carb diet is essential for both diabetes prevention and management. This study show a 2.2% reduction in glycated haemoglobin levels with a low-carb diet. The long-term effects of eating low-carb foods such as cayenne pepper are also associated with reducing the psychological stress that tags along with diabetes. (29)

Key Takeaway: People suffering from diabetes have abnormal blood sugar and insulin levels. This also invites psychological stress which has a direct influence of dietary intake. All these symptoms can be treated with a low-carb diet including cayenne pepper.

15. Capsaicin Present In Cayenne Pepper Treats Psoriasis

Psoriasis is a severe skin condition that is characterized by rapidly growing skin cells. This causes swelling and white coloration of the skin. The main agent of psoriasis is increased inflammation and scaling of the skin cells.

The symptoms of this disease include dandruff, discolored skin, patchy and swollen skin, skin lesions, and painful bleeding of the nails.

To prevent the development of psoriasis or heal the severe symptoms of it, a regular diet of cayenne pepper is essential. A continued supplementation of capsaicin on moderate to severe cases of psoriasis showed a positive improvement in redness of skin, itching, and white patches. (30)

To overcome psoriasis, a daily diet focusing on capsaicin found in cayenne pepper is very essential. It helps in the healing process as well as lowers your chances of developing this chronic skin disease.

Key Takeaway: Psoriasis is a chronic autoimmune disease of the skin caused due to a poor diet, vitamin deficiency, and other factors. Capsaicin present in cayenne pepper can be a promising agent in the prevention and treatment of this skin disease.

5 Amazing Dishes With Cayenne Pepper

It’s like magic; the taste and flavor of cayenne pepper. Even a tiny amount of cayenne pepper has the ability to transform all kinds of dishes. And the options are endless. You can use cayenne pepper to spruce up morning eggs. And you can even add cayenne pepper if you want to spice up your favorite chocolate dessert. The best part about it is that you don’t need too much of it. Just a pinch of cayenne pepper can take your dish from boring or simple to hot and super hot!

What you see below are 5 recipes that show you how you can use cayenne pepper in different ways. So do you think you can handle the spice?

1. Honey and Sesame Fish Tacos

Tacos are better when they offer a spicy and sweet punch. This means a combination of honey and cayenne pepper.

Ingredients:

1 tsp – molasses

2 tbsp – soy sauce

1/4 tsp – garlic powder

4 tbsp – honey

2 tbsp – sesame oil

1/4 tsp – chilli powder

1/4 tsp – red cayenne pepper

7 oz – greek yogurt

8 oz – Mexican cheese, shredded

8 tortillas

1 lime

1/4 shredded red cabbage

12 oz – cod

Method:

  1. The first step is to combine all the sauce ingredients. You can use a pan for this. Place it over medium heat and make sure that you pour the sesame oil on top of the cayenne pepper.
  2. Now it’s time to add the thawed fish.
  3. Cook the dish for at least 15 minutes. Once the fish turns white, you know it’s done. This is when you chop the fish so that it’s covered in sauce completely.
  4. Then take a small sized bowl to bring together lime juice and greek yogurt.
  5. And that’s about it. You can now place the cooked fish with tortillas, cheese, red cabbage, and let’s not forget, the yogurt sauce.

2. Cayenne Pepper Truffles

Chocolate with cayenne pepper can be a delicious aphrodisiac to spice up anyone’s love life. And they come in the form little truffles.

Ingredients:

1/4 cup of cocoa powder (unsweetened)

5 cayenne peppers

8 oz of bittersweet or dark chocolate

1/2 cup of heavy cream

Method:

  1. Add cream and crushed cayenne pepper in a saucepan. Heat the mixture until it starts to simmer. Then reduce the heat and let the thing steep for at least 15 minutes.
  2. In the meantime, cut up the chocolate into tiny pieces. There are two ways to go about this. Chop up the chocolate using the knife or place the chopped chocolate in a blender or food processor until it gets crushed into fine pieces. But don’t forget to cover the opening to prevent chocolate dust from flying everywhere. Then transfer the chocolate into another bowl.
  3. You can re-heat the cayenne pepper cream paste before straining it into the bowlful of chocolate. Let that rest for 5 minutes, then stir the mixture until it turns glossy and smooth. If needed, you can melt the chocolate further in your microwave for not more than 15 seconds.
  4. Cover the dish with a plastic wrap before placing it in the fridge. Let it cool in there for half an hour.
  5. Now it’s time to scoop up the truffles from the chocolate. Roll these truffles using your palms. The goal is to make them into smooth balls.
  6. Following which you can roll them in cocoa powder for a nice, thick coating. And then place them all in the fridge once again.
  7. And there you go! All you need to do now is heat them slightly before serving.

3. Peppered Shrimp in Alfredo Sauce

You know what’s easy to prepare? Delicious shrimp tossed in Alfredo sauce and topped with cayenne pepper and mushrooms.

Ingredients:

1 bell pepper, diced

1 tsp of cayenne pepper

1/4 cup of chopped parsley

2 tbsp of olive oil, extra virgin

2 cloves of garlic, minced

1/4 cup of butter

1/2 cup of Romano cheese, grated

1/2 pound of diced mushrooms

1/2 cup of cream

Salt and pepper

1 diced onion

1 pound of shrimp, peeled as well as deveined

1 jar of Alfredo sauce

12 ounces of penne pasta

Method:

  1. Boil salted water in a large sized pot. Add penne pasta to this and cook the whole thing for 10 minutes. Then drain all the water.
  2. In the meantime, melt the butter with olive oil on a saucepan on medium flame. Bring in the onion and cook it until it turns translucent and soft. Then add mushroom, red pepper, and garlic. Let this cook for another 2 minutes.
  3. Now it’s time to add shrimp. Cook the shrimp until it becomes pink and firm. Once that happens, pour the Alfredo sauce, cream, and Romano cheese. Soon the dish will start to simmer. But make sure that you keep stirring it to thicken the paste. This process should not take more than 5 minutes.
  4. At the end of which you can add all the seasoning, including cayenne pepper.
  5. Now, all you have to do is stir pasta into the mix and serve the dish with the chopped parsley.

4. Caribbean Spice Roast Chicken

The tropical flavors of the dish get heightened with cayenne pepper to make the chicken look more sumptuous and taste even more delicious.

Ingredients:

1/2 tsp of salt

1/2 tsp of ground clove

1/4 tsp of cayenne pepper

1/2 tsp of ground ginger

1 tbsp of brown sugar

1-1/2 tbsp of lime juice, fresh

1 tbsp of vegetable oil

1 whole chicken

2 ounces of rum

1/2 tsp of ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp of thyme leaves, dried

1 tsp of black pepper

Method:

  1. Preheat your microwave to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Bring together rum, brown sugar, and lime juice in a small sized bowl. Then keep it aside.
  3. Next ingredients to add are thyme leaves, salt, pepper, ginger, cinnamon, clove, and cayenne pepper. After that, brush the whole chicken using oil before coating it with the mixture.
  4. Then place the chicken in a pan and bake the thing for 90 minutes. During this time, the juices will start to flow. You need to make it a point to baste this chicken with sauce every 15-20 minutes during the cooking process.
  5. Once done, let it cool for not more than 10 minutes before you carve it for serving.

5. Peppered Poached Egg Hash Brown

When you can use smoked salmon as well as potatoes leftovers to cook up a quick and yummy festive brunch with a dash of cayenne pepper.

Ingredients:

For the sauce:

1 tbsp of wholegrain mustard

2 eggs, only yolk

A bay leaf

6 peppercorns

110g of clarified, warmed butter

A sprig tarragon

A pinch of cayenne pepper

Juice of 1 lemon

50ml of vinegar, white wine

For the hash brown:

2 tbsp of chopped dill

400g of salmon fillet, cooked

150g of creme fraiche

75g of unsalted butter

150g of smoked salmon, cut into pieces

1kg of partially mashed potato, cooked

For poached eggs:

4 eggs

1 tbsp of vinegar, white wine

Salt

Method:

  1. First we prepare the sauce. For that, heat the bay leaf, peppercorns, and tarragon with vinegar and 50 ml of water. Cook this until the quantity of the liquid reduces considerably. Then strain it using the sieve.
  2. Then bring together the yolks and liquid in your blender or food processor. During the blending process, add butter until you achieve a smooth texture. Then add cayenne pepper, mustard, and lemon juice. After blending, set it aside.
  3. Now it’s time to prepare the hash brown. Combine salmon, potato, smoked salmon, dill, and creme fraiche in a big bowl. Mix the ingredients together. Then heat a pan before adding butter.
  4. Use any metal ring to shape up every hash brown that you place on the pan. Cook them for at least 3 minutes on both the sides. Once they turn crisp and golden brown, you know they’re done.
  5. The next step is to make poached eggs. Boil salted water on a pan before adding vinegar. Then whisk the liquid well enough. Once the whirlpool settles, it’s time to crack one egg in. Simmer this for 3 minutes. Then use the slotted spoon to remove the egg. You can repeat this process for all the other eggs.
  6. Time to serve the whole dish. Top the hash brown with eggs and sauce, and dive right into the yolks for that first morning bite.

Wrapping It Up

With so many health benefits to look forward to, cayenne pepper is recommended to everyone living an active and healthy lifestyle. It’s not enough to drink lots of water and exercise, including certain superfoods and herbs in the diet are also equally essential.

That said, natural treatment of any condition should be taken into consideration along with conventional treatments including medicines and herbal supplementations. Nutrients play an important role in the stimulation of healthy cells while strengthening the immune system against chronic diseases. You can reduce anxiety, digestive problems, and inflammation with a regular cayenne pepper diet.

So by the looks of it, I think you’re ready to incorporate cayenne pepper in nutritious ways for a complete nourished and healthy body.

Benefits of Cashew Nuts

Now it’s time to read about the impressive health benefits of cashews, the hearty nut everyone loves so much! I’m sure you’re aware of the basic health benefits of cashews such as its anti-diabetic properties and the fact that it’s a brain-food.

But do you know the rest? Believe it or not, cashews are good for weight loss, treating bone injuries, lowering chances of respiratory diseases, and it’s a powerful anti-cancer agent. Rest assured, these are all science-backed benefits with precise and authentic evidence to support it. This super nut also helps ease muscle stiffness, increase energy production, and provide relief from gallstones and other metabolic diseases.

If you don’t still believe me, let’s dive right in.

Before we proceed, you should know that eating too many cashews, on a daily basis, might cause constipation, due to its low-fiber content. So moderation is key in this situation. (1)

1. Eating Cashews Daily Can Reduce Signs Of Diabetes

Due to its low sugar content and healthy cholesterol, cashews contain good sources of nutrients for diabetes prevention.

A study investigated the positive effect of cashew extract on diabetes, and proved that it helps in keeping blood sugar levels normal. The study also concluded that cashews regulate a normal insulin response to prevent extreme insulin resistance in the body.

Cashew nuts regulate blood sugar levels by improving the muscle cells response to it. In fact, it helps in the proper absorption of blood sugar in the cells. (2)

Another study showed that a regular dose of cashew nuts can drastically lower fasting glucose levels and improve glycemic index of the body. (3)

An independent research was conducted to test the effects of cashew nuts on reducing the risk of certain types of cancer. But this study also concluded that cashews have a powerful anti-diabetic effect on the body. (4)

Key Takeaway: On the account of multiple studies, it can be said that cashews have effective anti-diabetic properties. It improves blood sugar absorption in the muscle cells, hence increasing energy and reducing fat buildup and abnormal insulin activity.

2. Cashews Have Cholesterol-Lowering Properties

People with high-cholesterol problems should consume good amounts of cashews on a daily basis.

Studies recommend a regular dosage of 1 teaspoon or 4 g of cashews may improve blood pressure and lower LDL cholesterol. Cashews, along with other types of nuts, reduce lipoprotein levels in the blood which is a major determinant of high cholesterol.

It also proves that cashews work hard to free up plaque buildup in the arteries, hence lowering your chances of suffering from heart attack, stroke, or other cardiovascular diseases. (5)

One study on cashew consumption proved that a regular cashews diet, when compared with a high-fat diet, can be used as a diet plan to fight high cholesterol levels. (6)

However, cashews are good sources of protein and dietary fat, so only a limited amount of cashew consumption is essential to lower cholesterol. (7)

Key Takeaway: Cashews contain powerful nutrients that have cholesterol-reducing properties. Interestingly, cashews are no-cholesterol nuts, but they do have the “good” fats for energy production. So a regular intake of these nuts is essential for a healthy heart.

3. Cashews Are The Best Nuts To Eat To Treat Arthritis

Cashews contain good amounts of copper and magnesium offering positive arthritic benefits. When you eat foods rich in these two nutrients, it promotes bone health to prevent age-related bone diseases.

Weaker bones are prone to injuries, inflammation, and stiffness. That’s why you need to increase bone mineral density with the help of super foods.

Cashews, on the one hand, offer 40% of copper and 20% of magnesium intake. Deficiency in both these nutrients may cause rheumatoid arthritis which is an inflammatory disease of the bones.

The best way to fight this disease and treat it is with the help of a regular cashews diet. That’s because copper and magnesium travels through your bloodstream to reduce free radical damage-induced inflammation in the bones. (8)

Another research based on scientific facts proved that cashews, high in magnesium and copper, promote better nutrient absorption while reducing serious effects of free radical damage in the bones. It helps keep inflammation under control and increases adiponectin levels in the bloodstream. (9)

Key Takeaway: Research showed that cashews, rich in magnesium and copper, help improve bone health. The antioxidant capacity of these nuts reduce severe symptoms of inflammation in the bones causing joint stiffness, fractures, and swelling.

4. Cashews Have Anti-Inflammatory Properties To Treat Wounds

Regular cashew consumption can help accelerate the healing process of skin injuries and other internal wounds. Inflammation can cause more damage to weaker and injured cells if left untreated. That’s why better nutrient absorption is so essential.

Having said that, cashews contain powerful antioxidants with anti-inflammatory and anti-fungal properties. These antioxidants act as natural compounds to scavenge free radicals and inhibit cellular damage. These compounds also inhibit free radical formation around sensitive wounds to quicken the healing process. (10)

The wound healing properties of cashews can also be seen in its intracellular function. What this means is cashews with its vitamins and antioxidant capacity is able to lower plasma concentration and endothelial markers in the body. This reduces inflammation drastically than other conventional methods. (11)

Key Takeaway: Cashews are powerful anti-inflammatory foods to consume on a daily basis. Eating these nuts daily or weekly can lower risk of developing proinflammatory infections and injuries. Plus, it helps heal wounds faster due to its high antioxidant capacity.

5. Cashew Is A Powerful Fat-Burning Nut

Contrary to popular beliefs, certain types of nuts do play a positive role in weight loss and weight management. Cashews do contain dietary fat, but they’re also extremely nutrient dense to begin with.

Cashews contain many nutrients that aid weight loss, such as protein, copper, zinc, magnesium, and vitamins.

Copper is considered to be the leading agent in burning fat. It targets fat metabolism. The research showed that dietary copper induces higher lipid levels in the liver by melting away high fat deposits in the body.

If consumed regularly, the copper can help in the breakdown of fat molecules rather than store them in muscle cells. (12)

A consistent magnesium dosage, with the help of cashews, can improve insulin and glucose levels. This has a direct impact of fat metabolism in diabetic and/or obese patients. People who consumed good amounts of magnesium in their diet showed less swelling and bloating than those who didn’t. (13)

On an ending note, zinc, magnesium, and protein can help use up body fat for energy. Studies suggest that daily intake of protein can replace belly fat with muscles for increased stamina and flexibility.

Other nutrient such as zinc reduced overall body fat mass and plasma leptin levels in obese rats. (14,15)

Key Takeaway: Cashews contain powerful nutrients such as zinc, copper, magnesium, and protein that aid weight loss.

6. Zinc Present In Cashews Is Vital For Hair Growth

Cashews contain essential nutrients including zinc, but only in small quantities. Recent research suggests that dietary zinc, when consumed in decent amounts, has an impact on hair growth.

The recommended dosage of zinc for healthy hair is 4 mg for women and 5.5 mg for men. And a single ounce of cashews contains almost 1.5 mg of zinc. (16)

This same study published that zinc consumption helped heal skin injuries, skin inflammation, painful sores, and leg ulcers. People who consumed sufficient zinc in their daily diet had normal levels of albumin in the blood. This reduces the severe side-effects of zinc deficiency in the body.

The same study conducted a different trial on 5 patients with peripheral nerve pain, ataxia, and paraesthesia. The symptoms of which were mildly reduce with the supplementation of zinc in the diet.

Key Takeaway: Cashews are good sources of zinc which helps improve skin health. Improve skin health and healing can draw inflammatory toxins away from the skin cells to reduce nerve pain, tightening the skin, and sores.

7. Cashews Help Prevent Development Of Gallstones In The Body

Gallstones or gallbladder stone disease is characterized by stone-like deposits in the gallbladder that restrict fluid retention. This chronic disease doesn’t show any common symptoms, but if left undiagnosed it can cause abdominal pain.

A study conducted on gallstones disease showed that nuts rich in vitamins and minerals, such as cashews, offer protective factors against this chronic disease. It protects the metabolic system, encourages rapid weight loss, and maintains healthy hormone levels. (17)

Key Takeaway: Cashews promote healthy cholesterol levels which plays a major role in the prevention of gallstones. Without normal cholesterol secretion in the body, cholesterol transforms itself into stone-like deposits in the gallbladder.

8. Cashews Play A Key Role In Promoting Bone Health

A high protein intake can help prevent bone-related diseases and joint inflammation, studies suggest. Cashews are a powerhouse of healthy proteins. They good for not only for energy production and converting mass to muscle, but also for increasing bone mineral density.

Adequate amounts of protein in the diet can improve the body’s immune response to weaker bones. It also prevents bone fractures, hip breaks, and inflammation giving rise to cancer or osteoporosis.

The kind of bone-related diseases related with age keep increasing with a lack of protein diet. And as you get older, you require more amounts of protein to fight chronic protein deficiency. That’s why the consumption of more cashew nuts is important. (18)

Another study concluded that other nutrients present in cashews such as magnesium, vitamin C, vitamin K, calcium, and iron also play a role in bone health. It protects the body against bone mineralization. While the antioxidant capacity of the nuts reduce proinflammatory bone diseases. (19)

Coupled with regular exercise, high amounts of vitamins, calcium, and protein can improve bone metabolic demand and density. (20)

Key Takeaway: A healthy diet is essential for promoting bone health. Having said that, cashews contain a bunch of nutritive compounds that aid bone stamina. It fights bone mineralization and joint inflammation to increase bone mineral density to a healthy measure.

9. Cashews Increase The Antioxidant Capacity Of The Body

Consumption of cashews has been linked to the reduction of oxidative stress-induced diseases such as metabolic syndrome and heart disease, cancer, and diabetes.

A study conducted on 64 volunteers with 29 male and 35 female population. These volunteers were suffering from metabolic syndrome with a high oxidant capacity. The results showed that a regular intake of cashew nuts resulted in an increase in the patient’s antioxidant capacity. (21)

This study also concluded that a 20% nut intake for energy improved not only antioxidant capacity, but also metabolic response to oxidative stress in the patients.

One study tested the effectiveness of the phytochemicals present in cashew nuts. It proved that the bioactive compounds present in it offer anti-proliferative, anti-inflammatory, and chemopreventive benefits. This helps in the inhibition of different types of harmful pathogens in the human body. (22)

Key Takeaway: Cashews contain lots of vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals that improve antioxidant capacity within the human body. It prevents weight gain, heart disease, diabetes, obesity, and metabolic syndrome; all of which are directly associated with increased inflammation and oxidative stress in the body.

10. Cashews Contain Flavonols That Brings Blood Pressure Back To Normal

If you’ve not heard about cocoa flavanols, then let’s talk about that for a minute. These contribute to improving cardiovascular function. They also help in eliminating physical stress on the heart, which is something that we all deal with due to aging and artery stiffening.

In fact, cocoa flavanols also lower the chances of developing severe cardiovascular conditions. And cashews are rich sources of flavanols. So everything related to the heart, including bringing the blood pressure back to normal, is something that cashew nuts are responsible for.

It’s important that we incorporate a healthy diet filled with nuts to cut down the risks of cardiovascular diseases. You will be glad to know that cashew nuts do an excellent job when it comes to maintaining heart health and proper functioning of blood vessels. (23)

Key Takeaway: Making it a point to consume cashews, which means flavanols, helps the body in two ways. It reduces blood pressure and corrects blood cholesterol. And that means better cardiovascular health.

11. The Bioactive Compounds Present In Cashews Have Anti-Cancer Properties

Nuts like cashews are rich in bioactive compounds. And these components perform excellent anti-cancer activities in the body.

Not many of us know this but consuming cashew nuts on a regular basis tends to lower the chances of developing common cancers. And that’s because nuts consist of highly beneficial antioxidant vitamins.

These vitamins help in providing protection against free moving radicals in the body. Such a damage leads to the formation of oxidative stress, which turns into tumor development and cell mutation.

So in such cases, what cashews do is suppress the growth of cancer cells. They have a high bioactive compound content. And it’s this particular anti-cancer property that makes cashews a great addition to our daily diet. (24)

Key Takeaway: Cashews come with antioxidant vitamins. And we all know how important these are in protecting the body against harmful radicals. So it’s safe to say that cashews, much like other nuts, perform anti-cancer activities in the body.

12. Cashews Lower The Risk Of Iron Deficiency Anemia

Anemia caused by iron deficiency is a state where your body doesn’t receive enough iron, which reduces the count of red blood cells. Iron is an important component in the production of red blood cells. And these cells are responsible for carrying oxygen to the various tissues and organs of the body. (25)

So in this context, cashews are an excellent source for iron. Consuming 30 grams of these nuts provides the body with an optimal level of iron content. And this promotes healthy red blood cells production. (26)

You should also know that nuts like cashews contain useful nutrients. They not only treat iron deficiency but also eliminate the chances of developing such conditions in the future.

Key Takeaway: It’s quite simple. Anemia is related to iron deficiency, which is responsible for the reduction of red blood cells. So in such cases, what cashews does is provide the body with an optimal level of iron to boost the overall development and health of red blood cells.

13. Cashews Are Healthy Brain-Food

One important fact that you should know is that brain food affects our cognitive processes as well as emotions. And cashews fall under that category. The vital mechanisms present in cashew nuts have a significant impact on mental function and brain health. (27)

Another point to note here is that cashews contain a sufficient level of vitamin K. This particular component helps in slowing down cognitive decline.

As we get older, our brain tends to lose cognitive abilities. And this is how old people suffer from conditions like dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. (28)

To lower the possibility of developing these kinds of age-related brain diseases, it’s important to consume an optimal level of vitamin K. So it’s safe to say that the daily consumption of cashews can go a long way in providing health benefits related to our mental and brain functions.

Key Takeaway: The consumption of vitamin K in cashew nuts is directly linked to slower rate of cognitive decline. The nutrients present in cashews keep the brain in a healthy and fully functional condition in the present moment and for the long haul.

14. Cashews Prevent Proliferation Of Inflammatory Respiratory Diseases

Ever heard of a Mediterranean diet? It is a diet that consists of fruits, veggies, and nuts. Such a diet goes a long way in protecting your body against asthma symptoms and allergic rhinitis. Cashews, in particular, have proved to reduce such respiratory symptoms as well as allergic reactions. (29)

Not many people know this but cashews contain an optimal level of dietary copper. And copper does an excellent job at preventing the expansion of viruses associated with the respiratory system.

These viruses are directly related to SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) and MERS (Middle East respiratory syndrome). So it stands to reason that cashew nuts help in controlling the transmission of inflammatory respiratory viruses. (30)

Key Takeaway: Many people suffer from inflammatory respiratory issues. So in such cases, cashews help in minimizing the symptoms associated with these conditions. The nuts contain dietary copper, which curbs the spread of the disease within the body.

15. People Who Consume More Cashews Have A Healthier Heart

Studies point out that the daily intake of 20 grams of nuts has the ability to reduce the chances of developing heart diseases. To be more specific, cashew nuts cut down the risks of coronary-related heart disease by as much as 30 percent. (31)

As we all know that fat consumption increases CV (cardiovascular) risk. But when you incorporate nuts into your diet, you notice 50% reduction in the risks related to cardiovascular health.

You should also know that consuming nuts also minimizes LDL cholesterol. This is another important element associated with cardiovascular health. And cashew nuts do so without giving rise to any negative impacts or weight gain. (32)

Key Takeaway: Maintaining a healthy heart is not only important but also necessary when it comes to reducing the rate of heart disease. So keeping this in mind, cashews nuts are highly beneficial for cardiovascular health. The dietary intake of nuts can drastically reduce if not eliminate the chances of developing severe heart conditions.

5 Unbelievably Delicious Cashew Recipes

Versatility is important when it comes to food, right? And cashews have an incredibly versatile nature. You can add this ingredient into various kinds of dishes or eat it as a snack too. Cashew nuts are seeds that offer a smooth, creamy texture when you all you want to do is eat cheesy vegan food. And they also provide substance and crunch to Asian dishes along with chicken. So let’s find out how you can incorporate cashews into your diet.

1. Rosemary Style Roasted Cashews

The easiest and tastiest way to make cashews a part of your daily diet is by roasting them but with a delightful twist.

Ingredients:

1 tbsp of melted butter

2 tsp of brown sugar

2 tbsp of rosemary leaves, coarsely chopped

2 tsp of kosher salt

1/2 tsp of cayenne

1-1/4 pounds of cashew nuts

Method:

  1. Preheat your microwave to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Use an ungreased, fresh baking sheet to lay out the cashew nuts. Bake them for 10 minutes, or until they become warm from within.
  3. In the meantime, bring together butter, salt, sugar, pepper, and rosemary in a bowl.
  4. Then toss the nuts with this mixture thoroughly and serve them warm.

2. Cashew Vegan Dill Cheese

If all you can think of is heavenly vegan cheese, then here’s how you can prepare it with cashews.

Ingredients:

1/4 cup of nutritional yeast

1/4 cup of fresh dill, chopped

1 tsp of agar powder

1 tsp of onion powder

1 cup of water

1 cup of raw cashews

1 tsp of sea salt

Method:

  1. Grease 6 slots of the muffin tin with vegetable oil.
  2. Combine these ingredients in your food processor or blender: onion powder, salt, nutritional yeast, and cashews. The goal is to achieve a fine, smooth texture.
  3. Heat some water on a saucepan. Once it starts to boil, add agar. Use a whisk to stir the solution before reducing the heat. Let it simmer for not more than 5 minutes.
  4. Now you can add the cashews mixture into the saucepan and stir properly. Then comes in the dill. Whisk the whole dish thoroughly.
  5. The next step is to spoon the whole mixture into the muffin tins. Once that’s in place, you can keep refrigerate them.
  6. The cheese will take not more than 60 minutes to set completely. Following which you can lay it out on a plate and make the most of it.

3. Cashew Baklava

Since when did cooking Baklava become an easy task? Since the time we decided to make it with cashews. This cashew Baklava recipe is not only quick to prepare but also utterly delicious to eat.

Ingredients:

1/2 cup of sugar

1/4 tsp of ground allspice

1-1/2 cups of chopped walnuts

2/3 cup of melted butter

1 tsp of ground cardamom

1/2 tsp of ground cinnamon

1-1/2 cups of salted cashews

16 sheets of phyllo dough

For the syrup:

2 cloves

2/3 cup of water

3 slices of lemon

1/2 tsp of ground cinnamon

2/3 cup of honey

1-1/3 cups of sugar

Method:

  1. Let’s prepare the filling first. For that, you need to combine allspice, cinnamon, cardamom, sugar, walnuts, and cashews in your food processor. The goal is to chop the nuts into fine pieces.
  2. Then brush a baking pan using some butter before unrolling the phyllo dough. You can trim it as per your requirements.
  3. Layer as many as four phyllo dough sheets in the pan. Make sure to add butter to each one. Sprinkle a little bit of the cashew nut mixture. Repeat the layers twice. Then top it off with the remaining dough, brushing every sheet using butter.
  4. Then with a knife, slice into as many as 24 triangles. Bake them at 350 degrees Fahrenheit until they turn golden brown.
  5. In the meantime, you can prepare the syrup. Bring together all the syrup ingredients. Boil them and let the solution simmer for 10-15 minutes while stirring occasionally. Then you can discard cloves and lemon slices.
  6. Now the time has come to pour this mixture over the warm Baklava. You can let it cool on the wire rack. Leave it covered for an overnight before you savor it.

4. Cashew Clusters

For your next bake sale, you know what to make! Many people like to eat cashews as a snack too, so here’s how you can do it in a more appetizing manner.

Ingredients:

2 cups of salted cashews

1 cup of chocolate chips, semi-sweet

1/3 cup of chocolate chips (the regular milk version)

2 cups of salted cashews, chopped into pieces

4 ounces of chopped German chocolate, sweet

1 pound of candy coating (white), coarsely chopped

Method:

  1. Bring together everything except the cashews in a microwave-friendly bowl. Cover it and place it in the oven to melt all the chocolate. This should not take more than 6 minutes. Make sure to stir it 10-12 times during this period.
  2. Then add the cashews. Now is the time to drop parts of the blend using a tablespoon on top of waxed paper laid on pans. Wait for them to set before storing it all in the airtight container. And that’s about it!

5. Cashew Crunch Spinach Chicken Waldorf

A perfect combination of crunchy, chewy, sweet, and salty. This recipe contains an array of different yet delightful flavors that add a new twist to a boring salad.

Ingredients:

For the dressing:

3 tbsp of crumbled bacon

1 tbsp of Dijon mustard

3 tbsp of vinegar, white wine or champagne

1/3 cup of olive oil

Kosher salt

Pepper, freshly ground

3 tbsp of horseradish mustard

1/3 cup of walnut oil

4-1/2 tsp of sugar

For the salad:

1 large shredded apple

4 cups of curly kale, sliced

4 cups of frisee, chopped

3 cups of rotisserie chicken, torn

6 ounces of grated cheddar

4 chopped boiled eggs

8 cups of spinach leaves

1/4 cup of flame raisins

1/4 cup of crumbled bacon

1/4 cup of walnuts

1/4 cup of cashews

1/4 cup of almonds

Kosher salt

Pepper, freshly ground

Method:

  1. As is the case with salads, you need to prepare the dressing first. So for that, whisk together sugar, mustard, and vinegar in a bowl. Once sugar dissolves, bring in the walnut oil and olive oil. Then add bacon before seasoning the dressing with pepper and salt.
  2. The next step is to prepare the salad. So preheat your microwave to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Toast the walnuts, cashews, and almonds on a baking sheet. Don’t forget to toss them halfway through. Wait for them to turn golden brown, which takes at least 10 minutes. Then let them cool before chopping.
  3. Then in a large sized bowl, toss nuts, raisins, bacon, chicken, kale, frisee. Add some seasoning too. Now you can bring in the spinach, cheddar, and eggs. Taste the salad to check if more seasoning is required.
  4. Then divide the dish into servings, piling all the ingredients like a mountain.

Wrapping It Up

What’s your take on the surprising health benefits of cashews? I’m sure you’re wondering why you didn’t already know about this before. The dietary fats and other nutrients found in cashews contribute to your daily diet. Providing you all the essential vitamins, minerals, protein, and antioxidants your body requires. These nutrients also promote mental and physical development in children as well as in adults.

Such positive cellular growth and overall well-being is necessary for a healthy lifestyle, don’t you think so? With that out of the way, the delicious flavor of cashews makes it not only a rejuvenating snack, but also a healthy ingredient in salads, sandwiches, and main course dishes. There’s no limit to how you can incorporate cashew nuts to your daily diet, so the only thing left to do is to buy some cashew nuts right away!

15 health benefits of Aloe Vera

Aloe Vera is known for its various different names such as the medical aloe, burn plant, lily of the dessert, and elephant’s gall. The word “Aloe” actually comes from the family of succulents that the Aloe Vera comes from. The Aloe Vera is believed to have originated 6000 years ago from the country Sudan.

The plant naturally grows in dry, and warm climates such as the countries Africa, India, and other Middle Eastern countries. The Aloe Vera has been used as a medicinal plant for hundreds of years in dozens of countries such as Greece, Egypt, China, Philippines, Japan and much more.

Different parts of the plant are widely known to have different beneficial properties for the body, both, both internally and externally. It is most famous as an important nutrient for taking care of our hair and being added to different beverages. Here are 15 health benefits of the Aloe Vera as proven by science!

1. Aloe Vera Helps With Your Digestive System

A weak and unhealthy digestive system is related to many diseases. A strong and functioning digestive system is one of the important foundations of health. The Aloe Vera is used to smoothen and cleanse the digestive tract and help boost digestion. The amazing thing about using Aloe Vera internally is that it helps with both constipation and diarrhea.

The Aloe Vera helps regulate your waste excretion cycles in many ways you may need. It has been widely used by people with irregular bowel movement or acid reflux. Aloe Vera also helps eliminate bad bacteria inside our gut which promotes a healthy digestive system. (1)

Research have also shown that the Aloe Vera has also been shown to have anti-parasitic and anti-microbial properties. It is considered purgative on parasites due to its various nutrients and components. (2)

Key Takeaway: If you have trouble in excreting stool, diarrhea, or parasites, the Aloe Vera can help you get rid of your troubles. The Aloe Vera contains components and nutrients beneficial for our gut health!

2. The Aloe Vera Can Be Used To Promote The Healing Of Wounds

Aloe Vera is usually applied as a topical medication, meaning it is rubbed on the skin and other external body parts rather than taken in orally.The Aloe Vera has long been used for the treatment of particularly burns, sores, including sunburns.

Most notably, back in 1959, the Federal Drug Agency of the United States approved Aloe Vera as an over-the-counter or natural medication for skin burns. Studies suggest that it is an effective topical treatment for first- and second-degree burns.(3)

Multiple studies on Aloe Vera have found out that the application of Aloe Vera on wounds can accelerate the healing process by as much as 9 days, higher than other conventional medications. This is very important due to its applications to far fetch rural areas where first aid medications for a wound are inaccessible. (4)

Key Takeaway: The Aloe Vera has already been used by ancient doctors, especially the Chinese, in treating various diseases and ailments. However, special notice has been given by modern research on its topical applications. Indeed, the Aloe Vera can speed up healing.

3. The Aloe Vera Can Prevent Dental Plaque Buildup

An unhealthy oral hygiene or unchecked oral health can lead to various gum and tooth diseases. Reducing the buildup of plaque in our teeth is one of the best ways to prevent this from happening.

In a research done in 2014, the researchers compared the effectivity of Aloe Vera Juice to the standard mouthwash chlorhexidine by asking 300 healthy participants to split into two groups. Each group was then asked to try either one of the two alternatives.

After 4 days of the experiment, the Aloe Vera mouth rinse and the chlorhexidine mouthwash were reported to have no significant difference when it comes to promoting oral health and fighting plaque. Many other types of research also have the same result thus supporting the belief that Aloe Vera can promote good oral health. (6)

Key Takeaway: If you find commercial mouthwashes to be very expensive and unaffordable, using Aloe Vera Juice can be just as effective to prevent the buildup of plaque on your teeth.

4. Aloe Vera Can Be Used To Treat Constipation

Aloe Vera has often been believed by older generations to fight against constipation. This is because traditional medicine believes that the Aloe Vera has tons of benefits for the digestive system, and one of these benefits is fighting constipation.

However, this time it is not the Aloe Vera’s gel that provides the benefits, but the barbaloin. Barbaloin can be found mostly in the younger leaves of the Aloe Vera. Barbaloin has been found by researchers to help ease the excretory function of the digestive system. (7)

Barbaloin, also known as aloin is known to have laxative properties. This means that it has the ability to help the intestinal muscles contract thus resulting in a smoother and easier bowel movement. It can help constipated individuals find release from the pain and discomfort caused by the ailment.

Key Takeaway: If you have constipation or trouble excreting your stool, the barbaloin or aloin which can be extracted from the younger leaves of the Aloe Vera can be a helpful and effective treatment.

5. Aloe Vera Extract Can Be Used To Prevent Wrinkles And Skin Aging

One of the major causes why the skin ages rapidly are due to the drop of the elasticity of the skin cells and fibers. One reason of this is because of the lack of collagen and moisture in the skin. This causes the skin to sag and makes the poor person suffering it to look older than their age. (8)

Luckily, research has shown that Aloe Vera has properties to help prevent the early onset of skin aging. There is evidence that suggests that topically applied Aloe Vera can slow down the aging of the skin.

In a study done by Dr. Soyun Cho in 2009, 30 women aged 45 and above were asked to apply Aloe Vera gel on their skin to see whether it would benefit the subjects’ complexion.

During and after the 90-day experiment, it was seen that the Aloe Vera gel increased the skin’s collagen production and improved skin elasticity. This resulted in a younger looking and less wrinkled skin among the participants. (9)

Key Takeaway: If you start to see the symptoms of skin aging or fear that you would, applying Aloe Vera gel on your skin will definitely help you.

6. Drinking Aloe Vera Juice Lowers Blood Sugar And Prevents Diabetes

Aloe Vera has been used as a traditional medicine for various ailments for a very long time. Indigenous people have believed that Aloe Vera can scare away evil spirits residing in the body and heal the person from diseases.

One such disease is the infamous and deadly diabetes. Diabetes is caused by either the body’s inability to utilize insulin and the other is the overabundance of glucose and sugar in our blood stream. (10)

Several types of research have shown that ingestion of Aloe Vera supplements has helped both animal and human test subjects to utilize insulin and at the same time improve blood sugar levels in the bloodstream. However, more research has been done on its ability to fight Type 2 Diabetes. (11)

Key Takeaway: Diabetes can be a really devastating disease for not just the sick but also to their family. Thankfully, it is also a preventable disease with the help of a proper diet and exercise, Aloe Vera can lower the possibility of you ever getting diabetes.

7. Aloe Vera Can Help Mouth Ulcers

Mouth ulcers are very common and usually harmless sores that occur in our mouths. Mouth ulcers may be harmless but they are definitely uncomfortable to live with. They often occur on the lips, tongue, or inside of the cheeks. The sore usually goes away after a week or two.

A recent study in 2013 has shown the potential of Aloe Vera to heal mouth ulcers faster than letting it heal on its own. In the research done 180 individuals with recurring mouth ulcers were given Aloe Vera patches on the affected area. (12)

The result of the research on Aloe Vera yielded that the size of the ulcers was decreased considerably due to the polysaccharide Acemannan present in the Aloe Vera gel. Surprisingly another study not only showed the same result but also exhibited the Aloe Vera’s ability to lessen the pain of the mouth ulcer. (13)

Key Takeaway: If you have a mouth ulcer, applying Aloe Vera to it will make it cure faster.

8. Aloe Vera Drinks Boost The Immune System

Beverages made from the Aloe Vera juice has natural detoxifying components that effectively clean the circulatory and digestive system. The Aloe Vera is able to accelerate the absorption level of nutrients by the body, this results in a better blood circulation

The Aloe Vera also improves the body’s nutrients levels within the cells. These healthy cells ensure that the body is able to fight off infections by strengthening the immune system. The Aloe Vera is able to neutralize harmful bacteria with the use of its antibacterial components. (14)

The antioxidant property of the Aloe Vera helps the body be protected by other environmental factors such as stress, pollution and more. The Aloe Vera polysaccharides are strong components against infections.

Key Takeaway: The Aloe Vera plant is a very helpful plant when you are in need of an immunity booster. The Aloe Vera is sure to keep infections away.

9. Aloe Vera Gel Can Keep Your Food Fresh

Eating unclean or slightly rotten foods such as fruit and vegetables and pose a high and dangerous risk to our health. That is why it is important to keep your food fresh and clean all the time with the use of a refrigerator or other chemicals.

Although this benefit is not really directly from the Aloe Vera to you, the Aloe Vera’s ability to help preserve food will already indirectly protect you against possible future diseases in the future.

A 2014 study by Cambridge University sampled tomatoes coated with the gel from Aloe Vera. The research found out that the Aloe Vera coating has helped prevent the growth of many types of harmful bacteria. (15)

Key Takeaway: If you want to keep your food fresh and bacteria-free, but you have no refrigerator to put it in, then the Aloe Vera can be a great alternative to doing so.

10. Aloe Vera Has The Potential To Prevent Breast Cancer

Breast cancer or a type of malignant cancer that originated from the breast cells. It is one of the most common types of cancer among women patients and second most common overall. Just last 2012, 1.7 million women worldwide have contracted this deadly and scary disease.(16)

Aloe Vera has been said to have lessened the probability of breast cancer among people who have potential to get the disease. A study last 2013 by the Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine Organization. (17)

The researchers were able to indeed give evidence that Aloe Vera can indeed lessen the chance of breast cancer. The emodin, a purgative resin, in Aloe Vera is believed to be behind this amazing benefit.

Key Takeaway: Breast Cancer is a scary thing to think about. However, at an early age, both women and women should already be finding ways to prevent it.Aloe Vera extract shows a potential in defending women against this cancer.

11. The Aloe Vera Gel Can Be Used To Prevent And Cure Hair Loss

Alopecia or hair loss is a common yet embarrassing predicament. It is most common among men who are above 40 years old, this is because of their scalps inability to handle the presence of dihydrotestosterone, or a broken down form of the testosterone. (18)

The Aloe Vera has been known by a lot of cultures and indigenous doctors as an effective solution against hair loss. The said benefits are so famous that a lot of multinational hair product companies have integrated Aloe Vera extracts into their products.

A study in 2010 that was published in the International Journal of Pharmacology has shown that the application of Aloe Vera extract on the skin of their test subjects promoted the regrowth of the hair. The study showed that it only took 5 days of application for the first sign of regrowth to show up. (19)

Key Takeaway: If you are at starting to lose hair or already have lost some, applying pure and natural Aloe Vera can help reverse your hair loss and eventually return your scalp to is former youthful look.

12. Aloe Vera Can Be Used To Relieve Heartburn

Gastroesophageal reflux disease or more commonly known as GERD or Heartburn is a digestive disorder. It affects the lower esophageal sphincter, which is a muscle that connects the esophagus and the stomach. (20)

Gastroesophageal reflux disease can often be treated by simply having a lifestyle change or a healthier diet. However, there are cases wherein the patient needs to take in medications or surgery to cure their GERD. (21)

Key Takeaway: A research in 2010 showed that consuming 1 to 3 ounces of Aloe Vera Gel after mealtime could reduce the intensity of GERD or heartburn. The same research showed other digestive system benefits that the Aloe Vera has. The Aloe Vera’s low toxic levels make it a gentle and safe remedy for heartburn.

13. Facial Application Of Aloe Vera Gel Can Prevent Acne

The beauty benefits of Aloe Vera are endless. That is why Aloe Vera is used as an active ingredient in moisturizers, face washes, moisturizers, lotions, soaps, and many other beauty products.This is due to the Aloe Vera’s s moisturizing, and curative properties.

The Aloe Vera is so powerful when it comes to beautifying the complexion that even the Egyptian Queen Cleopatra is believed to have used Aloe Vera as part of her daily beauty regime.

The Aloe Vera prevents acne in different ways. One is its antibacterial properties is that it prevents bacteria from infecting the pores. Its astringent property that removes dirt and oil from the skin, and if you did have acne, Aloe Vera can help your skin regenerate better to avoid scars. (22)

Key Takeaway: If you want to prevent acne breakout, then apply Aloe Vera gel on your face every single day.

14. Aloe Vera Can Be Used As A Herbal Remedy To Fight Gastric Cancer

We all know gastric cancer as something that affects your daily digestion. This cancer originates when there are rapidly growing cancer cells in the stomach lining.

The symptoms of such a harmful disease can be lack of appetite, pain (only when undiagnosed for a long time), and feeling bloated and full. Interestingly, treatment options for gastric cancer include aloe vera for its powerful cytotoxic properties. Aloe vera, as you already know, is a powerful and anti-carcinogenic compound. (23)

It has many herbal properties, including the prevention of breast cancer. So you can add this health benefit to the list too. Lastly, aloe vera plays an important role in preventing gastric ulcers, indigestion problems, and obesity.

Key Takeaway: The herbal extracts of aloe vera show positive signs of preventing and healing of gastric cancer and inflammation.

15. Aloe Vera Leaf Extract Helps Heal Psoriasis

Psoriasis is characterized by dry, itchy, and sensitive patches on the skin. It is a serious immune condition increases with cell death on the surface of the skin. It is an untreatable skin condition that can be minimized, if not completely healed on the body. (24)

That said, aloe vera extracts also offer their own magical properties for the management of psoriasis. A clinical trial conducted on a mouse showed that the ethanolic extract of aloe vera had a 81% chance of antipsoriatic properties. (25)

Another controlled study found that aloe vera extracts applied on the skin show antitoxic and antipsoriatic properties in the healing of this skin condition. Aloe vera extracts have no side-effects so it can be considered a safer and more natural alternative to cure psoriasis. (26)

Key Takeaway: Psoriasis is characterized by the multiplying of dead skin cells on the surface of the skin. This leads to dry and itchy patches on the knees, palms, elbows, etc. With the help of aloe vera extracts, you can reduce the intensity of psoriasis from becoming large, red plaques.

6 Delicious Recipes for Aloe Vera

Aloe Vera plants often grow in very hot and humid environments. That is why its leaves evolved to carry as much water as possible. It has a structure similar to other succulents. It is used both for decorative and medicinal purposes.

However, with more and more benefits being discovered from ingesting its components, people are finding easier ways to eat or drink this miraculous plant. Even some multinational companies have integrated Aloe Vera to their drinks in hopes to attract people who are knowledgeable in the benefits of the Aloe Vera plant.

The plant of the Aloe Vera itself has a structure that is quite hard to eat as a whole. The Aloe Vera’s skin composes of tough and thick fibrous materials, while the inside is a sponge-like structure. That is why most recipes for the Aloe Vera plant consists of drinks. Here are 6 delicious recipes for Aloe Vera!

1. Chunky Aloe Vera Salsa

This delicious salsa is perfect for nacho chips or any other chips you can get your hands on. Get the anti-oxidizing benefits of Aloe Vera with every dip!

Ingredients:

1 Cup of fresh onion Chives

1 piece of large lemon

1 Clove of fresh garlic

350 grams of Aloe Vera Leaves

2 pieces of fresh tomatoes

3 pieces of Fresh Baby Marrow

1 tablespoon of Sea Salt

Method:

  1. Chop both the onion chives and the fresh garlic.
  2. Slice the lemon into two equal pieces and squeeze the juices into a cup.
  3. Fillet the Aloe Vera leaves to get the gel inside.
  4. Combine the tomatoes, garlic, baby marrow, and Aloe gel into a blender.
  5. Blend the mixture until it has a paste-like texture.
  6. Transfer the blended mixture into a bowl and add the onion chives, lemon juice, and salt.
  7. Mix all the ingredients using a spatula.
  8. Enjoy dipping!

2. Aloe Vera Lemonade with Orange

This refreshing and reinvigorating drink is sure to tickle your taste buds whilst improving your digestive system at the same time.

Ingredients:

500 grams of Aloe Vera

10 pieces of Ice Cubes

1 piece of Large Lemon

4 Tablespoon of Raw Agave Nectar

1/2 Cup of Young Coconut Water

1 piece of Large Orange Juice

Method:

  1. Fillet the Aloe Vera to extract the gel inside its leaves.
  2. Slice the orange into two and squeeze tightly to get every drop of juice.
  3. Perform the same process in step number 3 to the Lemon.
  4. Combine all ingredients in a blender.
  5. Blend the ingredients together at high speed until the mixture turns into slush.
  6. Pour the delicious lemonade drink with Aloe Vera into a glass and garnish with a lemon or orange slice.
  7. Enjoy the summer sun with this drink!

3. Stir Fried Aloe Vera

This one of a kind dish is sure to fulfill your stomachs with so much Aloe Vera goodness. A unique way of preparing an otherwise unpalatable plant!

Ingredients:

1 cup of Aloe flesh (from three large sized, fresh leaves)

2 teaspoon of ghee

1 teaspoon of cumin seeds

1/4 teaspoon of turmeric powder

¼ teaspoon of salt

Method:

  1. Remove the tips of and the sharp edges of each Aloe Vera leaf.
  2. Using a sharp knife peel the skin off from both sides of the leaves. The process if similar to filleting a fish. Avoid the Aloe Vera’s latex (the yellow liquid from the skin) from coming into contact with the flesh, otherwise it will make the whole dish bitter.
  3. Cleanse the flesh in an abundant amount of water and drain it thoroughly.
  4. Cut the flesh into bite sized cubes. Rinse again in water and let it drain in a strainer.
  5. Sprinkle the flesh with turmeric powder and let the turmeric covered flesh sit for 10-15 minutes.
  6. Preheat the ghee in a medium frying pan.
  7. Sauté the cumin seeds and wait for them to crackle. When they do, throw in the aloe flesh and salt. Stir fry everything for4-5 minutes.
  8. Serve as a viand for a main meal, or as a filler for sandwiches.
  9. Enjoy!

4. Sweet Aloe Vera Sweets

If you’re a sweet tooth but want to eat healthier foods, then this is a perfect recipe for you. This Aloe Vera sweets not only satisfies your sugar craving but also your Aloe Vera needs.

Ingredients:

500 milliliters of full fat milk

½ cup of Aloe Vera Gel

½ cup of fresh cream

1 tablespoon of ghee

2 tablespoons of sugar

2 tablespoons of pistachios, rinsed and sliced

Method:

  1. Pour the 500 ml of full fat milk into a large sauce pan then with a low to medium flame, slowly heat the milk until the milk starts to froth or bubble on top.
  2. After the froth starts to form, add in the Aloe Vera gel.
  3. Continue to simmer the milk and Aloe Vera gel until the milk evaporates to only 1/3 of its original volume. The milk should become thick and creamy.
  4. Meanwhile, create a sugar syrup by melting the sugar with ¼ cup of water in a sauce pan. Use a double boiler for this to avoid burning the sugar.
  5. Pour in the fresh cream milk and stir gently. After a few minutes or when the milk starts to caramelize, add in the sugar syrup.
  6. Grease a large square pan with ghee or butter. Make sure to do this evenly. Pour in the Aloe Vera mixture with milk and spread it evenly across the pan. Refrigerate the Aloe Vera sweets for 1 hour then cut it into even squares. Otherwise you could just break them with a spoon.
  7. Serve the sweet within two to three days to avoid spoilage. Enjoy!

5. Aloe Vera Curry

Curry dishes are one of the most famous dishes from the Asia. Its unique and taste perfectly complements the benefits that the Aloe Vera would provide!

Ingredients:

2 pieces of Aloe Vera leaves

½ teaspoon of Red chili powder

1 teaspoon of Coriander powder

¼ teaspoon of Asafetida

½ teaspoon of Fenugreek seeds

½ teaspoon of Aniseeds

½ teaspoon of Amchoor powder

½ teaspoon of Jaggery

1 pieces of Black cardamom

1 piece of Star anise

1 inch of a Cinnamon stick

1 tablespoon of Tomato puree

1 tablespoon of Yogurt

Table salt

Cooking oil

Method:

  1. Rinse the Aloe Vera leaves with flowing water. Then peel and cut the leaves into cubes.
  2. Add salt and boil the Aloe Vera leaves for 3 minutes. Drain it with a strainer and set aside.
  3. Preheat a frying pan with 3 tablespoons of oil. Thrown in the red chili powder, asafetida, salt, jaggery and coriander powder. Cook for a minute then throw in all other spices.
  4. Add ¼ cup of water then include the Aloe Vera cubes. Simmer for 2-3 minutes.
  5. Add the beaten yogurt and the curry and stir on low to medium flame for 1-2 more minutes.
  6. Serve with a cup of rice and Enjoy!

6. Aloe Vera Tender Coconut and Methi Sprouts

Aloe Vera and Coconut are both regarded by many cultures as two of the most important gifts from nature. That is why including them both in a dish like this give you great amount of nutrients and benefits!

Ingredients:

2 leaves of Aloe Vera

2 tablespoons of Methi Sprouts

2 tablespoons of Tender Coconut

2 teaspoons of Oil

1 teaspoon of Mustard Seeds

½ teaspoon of Cumin Seeds

1 teaspoon of Sugar or Jaggery

½ teaspoon of Chili Powder

½ teaspoon of Coriander Powder

Curry Leaves

2 teaspoons of Chopped Coriander Leaves

½ cup of Lemon Juice

Salt

Method:

  1. Clean and peel the Aloe Vera leaves and cut them into cubes
  2. Preheat the cooking oil in a pan. Put in the cumin seeds, mustard seeds, and curry leaves.
  3. When the ingredients start to cook, throw in the methi sprouts and sauté for about two minutes.
  4. Mix in the Aloe Vera cubes and sauté for another minute or so.
  5. Mix in the coriander powder, chili powder, sugar and salt. Gently stir the ingredients together.
  6. Add 1 teaspoon of the chopped coriander leaves and sauté.
  7. Finally throw in the tender coconut meat and the lime juice, mix well until ingredients are equally distributed.
  8. Transfer the final product to a large bowl and garnish it with the remaining coriander leaves.

Wrapping It Up

The Aloe Vera is a very famous and well-known plant in the beauty industry. It has been used both traditionally and commercially in treating different diseases and ailments. The Aloe Vera became even more famous when hair and skin beauty product started integrating the miraculous leaves into their products.

The Aloe Vera may be famous for its beauty applications, however; the Aloe Vera offers more benefits than what people know. Some of these benefits include speeding up the healing of wounds, prevent cancer, promote good digestion, prevent heartburn, and lower the blood sugar levels.

Indeed the Aloe Vera deserves its name as the miracle succulent with its dozens of benefits, which as of the moment are still being increased by further medical and clinical research. If you want a healthy and happy life, make sure to add Aloe Vera in your daily regimes!