Protect your body from the inside by eating healthy.
The good news is you don’t have to search far and wide or spend hundreds of dollars to acquire foods that curb illness;
just look around your kitchen.
Below are seven disease-fighting foods you can find at home.
Garlic and onions – Forget the not-so-pleasant smell and pay attention to the immense benefits of onions and garlic. Both contain bioflavonoids and allyl sulfides that may minimize the risks for cancer and heart diseases. Various studies have proven that these may have significant impact on lowering the risk of prostate cancer, minimizing the development rate of pre-cancerous tumors in the large intestines, detoxifying blood cells, fortifying blood cells’ ability to resist DNA damage, reducing calcium deposits and arterial plaque in coronary arteries, and preventing unhealthy blood clotting.
Ginger – Ginger is one of the simplest, most effective antidotes you can use. Its healing properties are hard to dispute; it’s been providing relief to people since the ancient times. As a matter of fact, ginger has been used as a cure for diarrhea and inflammation in China for more than 2,000 years. This flexible rhizome is packed with protein, carbs, dietary fiber, vitamins and minerals, and does more than curing morning sickness. It aids in strengthening the immune system, improving bone health, aiding digestion, treating nausea, alleviating pain, increasing appetite, reducing excess gas, and preventing several types of cancers.
Mint – More than a breath freshener, mint can also provide relief from asthma, headaches, fatigue, and nausea. It’s also effective in soothing discomfort caused by indigestion and inflammation as well as maintaining clear, pimple-free skin. Mint can also help improve mental alertness and cognitive function.
Citrus fruits – Citrus fruits do more than boost the immune system. A good source of fiber, they help regulate glucose levels and lower cholesterol. One study showed that bypass surgery patients were able to lower LDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels by consuming red grapefruit. Citrus fruits are rich in potassium, which aid in fluid regulation, muscle contraction, and mineral balance. Adding these delicious superfoods to your diet will help your body absorb nutrients better, maintain clear, supple skin, and regulate weight.
Turmeric – The curcumin found in turmeric may have a significant effect in preventing Alzheimer’s disease and soothing pain caused by arthritis. Its anti-inflammatory properties are also linked to cancer prevention and treating uveitis (inflammation of the iris). Other health benefits include lower cholesterol levels, better immune system, and improved cognitive function.
Beans – Beans are a nutrition powerhouse. These legumes are rich in antioxidants, protein, fiber, complex carbs, copper, folate, manganese, magnesium, iron, phosphorous, zinc, potassium and other beneficial nutrients. They can assist in reducing and/or maintaining weight, keeping the heart healthy, aiding digestion, and balancing blood sugar levels.
Cinnamon – Cinnamon contain antioxidants that remove free radicals from the body, which means you’re less likely to develop chronic diseases as well as suffer from premature aging. Its anti-inflammatory properties can ward off autoimmune diseases and regulate blood sugar levels, which reduces the risk of diabetes. Remember, however, to take only small amounts of the usual cinnamon (cassia) you have in your house. Adding too much may have a negative effect on your health, unless you’re ingesting ceylon cinnamon, or what they consider the “true cinnamon”.
The iconic mushroom commonly known as Reishi (in Japanese) or Ling Zhi (靈芝 in Chinese) is probably the most respected medicinal mushroom in Asia. The earliest mention of Ling Zhi was in the era of the first emperor of China, Shinghuang of the Ch’in Dynasty 221-207 B.C.E. Once reserved for royalty to extend life and improve health, this polypore mushroom is strikingly beautiful. Deep reddish brown and saucer-shaped, often emerging from a branch-like stem, its smooth upper surface looks lacquered when wet. Because of this glossy appearance, Western mycologists called them “varnished conks” for many years (conks are mushrooms that have pores instead of gills on their undersides, such as maitake and turkey tails). While reishi mushrooms have historically been prepared as teas or infusions, other modern preparations include capsules, tinctures, and fractionated extracts of mushrooms, mycelium, and spores. Reishi is also added to chocolate bars, candies, energy drinks, and even coffee blends!
“Reishi” is a common name for a complex of closely-allied species of the Ganoderma genus. Until recently the name reishi referred to the species Ganoderma lucidum; however, new DNA barcoding and phylogenetic techniques have revealed that this name had been inappropriately applied by taxonomists to what is in fact a group of close relatives. These new techniques are now revealing that “reishi” mushrooms once all thought to be Ganoderma lucidum may have been misclassified. This misclassification is understandable, as all these morphologically-similar species naturally grow on old or dead tree trunks and all display remarkable glossy cap surfaces that can vary in color from bright red to black according to their age and environmental factors. Although these species (G. tsugae, G. oregonense, G. carnosum, and G. oerstedii, and G. resinaceum) have 98-100 percent commonality of DNA using the common “ITS genetic region,” they are now considered separate species.
Because of its rich history and long tradition of medicinal use, Ganoderma lucidum (in the strictest sense) is now one of the few mushroom species whose DNA has been fully sequenced (16,113 genes). Others are button mushrooms (Agaricus bisporus) with 10,438 genes and oyster mushrooms (Pleurotus ostreatus) with 12,330 genes (Joint Genome Institute). Reishi is remarkable for its diversity of genes coding for cytochrome P450 enzymes. These enzymes not only afford this species a broad arsenal for producing secondary metabolites for digesting nutrients, but may also confer benefits to human health such as enhancing the degradation of toxins and free radicals and increasing the liver’s metabolic efficiency. The variety of these enzymes, among more than 400 active constituents that have been found, indicates to me that mushrooms such as reishi are like miniature pharmaceutical factories that can produce hundreds of medicinally-interactive compounds. Through trial-and-error and observable outcomes, our ancestors narrowed the field of edible mushroom candidates to just a few with remarkable, health-supporting properties. Today, reishi stands out as one the most valuable of all polypore mushrooms in nature for the benefit of our health. Many naturopaths and doctors prefer organically-grown reishi from pristine environments because they are more pure.
Reishi has been called the “panacea polypore,” in part due to a widespread popular belief that this mushroom can help alleviate certain age-related diseases. Although many such claims are exaggerated and unsubstantiated, a number of studies have documented a range of medicinal effects.
In 2000, a group of Merck pharmaceutical scientists at the Centro de Investigaci´on B´asica, Merck Sharp & Dohme in Madrid, Spain tested the mycelial extracts of 204 species of mushrooms for their antimicrobial properties (Suay et al., 2000). The mushrooms showing the most activity were “reishi” species (G. lucidum, G. resinaceum and G. pfeifferi) of which 73 percent of the strains showed activities against the bacterium Bacillus subtilis. However, while extracts of the reishi species group all strongly inhibited Bacillus bacteria, they were curiously inactive against other disease-causing bacteria and fungi. That these Ganodermas are species specific in their antimicrobial activities suggests a unique mode of activity, a benchmark test that attracts medical researchers interested in new antibiotic drug discovery.
In my work with the U.S. Defense Department’s BioShield BioDefense program, ethanol and water extracts of the living mycelium of Ganoderma resinaceum inhibited virus replication as measured by the viral yield reduction (VYR) assay of Flu A (H5N1) aka “bird flu,” and Flu B viruses. Notably, a “traditional” hot water extract of the fruitbodies arising from the same mycelium demonstrated no notable antiviral activity (Stamets, 2008).
A review of the scientific literature reveals that many of the traditional medicinal claims can now be validated, especially the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. However, the anti-cancer claims have yet to achieve the credibility of comparable studies on Turkey Tail (Trametes versicolor) mushrooms (see Turkey Tail post). In a recent critique of reishi studies published through 2012, the authors concluded:
Our review did not find sufficient evidence to justify the use of G. lucidum as a first-line treatment for cancer. It remains uncertain whether G. lucidum helps prolong long-term cancer survival. However, G. lucidum could be administered as an alternative adjunct to conventional treatment in consideration of its potential of enhancing tumor response and stimulating host immunity. (Jin et al. 2012)
While such conclusions presume similar sample preparations and consistent taxonomic identification from study to study, one common theme emerges. The species in the taxonomic constellation of “reishi” mushrooms consistently activate, in vitro and in vivo, human immune cells: macrophages, NK and cytotoxic T cells, on a dose-dependent basis. Moreover, in the previously-mentioned comparison of peer-reviewed studies on reishi and cancer, the authors conclude that the adjunct use of reishi may augment chemotherapeutic drugs to treat cancer and may extend their effectiveness. This is particularly important since a common concern among oncologists is that the antioxidant properties of medicinal mushrooms may interfere with chemotherapeutic drugs. Addressing this issue, Simone et al. (2007) reported:
[280 peer-reviewed studies] have consistently shown that non-prescription antioxidants and other nutrients do not interfere with cancer therapeutic modalities. In addition, nonprescription antioxidants and other nutrients enhance the killing of cancer therapeutic modalities, decrease their side effects, and protect normal tissues, and in 15 human studies, 3,738 patients actually had prolonged survival.
Although the trends are promising and reishi mushrooms exhibit a number of interesting medicinal properties, modern scientific techniques have yet to affirm its traditional “panacea polypore” status. For now we can state that reishi use is generally safe and has high antioxidant value. While we cannot yet state that reishi mushrooms extend the disease-free period of cancer patients, reishi remains as an excellent candidate for augmenting chemotherapy, according to some cancer researchers. Since funding of clinical studies is either industry-based or from grants — few and far between — the jury is still out on the usefulness of reishi, the “mushroom of immortality,” for extending life. That said, I for one, join our ancestors in being drawn to this mushroom and regularly ingest it in many forms.
Financial Disclosure: Paul Stamets, author of Growing Gourmet & Medicinal Mushrooms and educator of mushroom cultivators world-wide, is also the Founder of Fungi Perfecti, LLC — a company that supplies mushroom related products including whole, encapsulated powders, and extracts of mushrooms.
Goji berries, also known as wolfberries, are bright orange-red in color and come from a bush native to China.
They are extraordinarily rich in antioxidants, primarily Vitamin A, Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin), and Vitamin C, all of which are known to prevent cell damage and lessen your risk of cancer and cardiovascular disease.
The Riboflavin contained in goji berries is important for glucose (sugar) metabolism, the health of eye tissue, skin tissue and the mucus membranes of the respiratory system. Vitamin A is vital for maintaining healthy tissues as well as supporting the immune system, bone development, eye health and protecting nerve fibers.
And of course, Vitamin C is necessary for improved immune function, healthy gums, and collagen formation for healthy skin and connective tissues.
The Longevity Properties of The Goji Berries
In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) the kidneys (or the “energy” of the kidneys) are essentially the vitality of life. In other words, they are considered The Fountain of Youth.
Kidney Qi (energy) is the initial Qi necessary to give us life at birth, and as we grow the Kidney Qi is fortified by how we live:
Li Ching-Yuen, a herbalist and martial artist from China, allegedly had one of the oldest lifespans ever recorded. There is no real proof, however, as to the exact number of years he lived, though there are some sources that put him as old as 197 and others as old as 256!
Whether these claims are true or not there is one thing that has been agreed upon, he lived well beyond the age of 100.
He said this about life,
“Keep a quiet heart, sit like a tortoise, walk sprightly like a pigeon and sleep like a dog”
And if you think about it, this is exactly what is necessary for strong Kidney Qi!
Li Ching-Yuen experimented with herbs throughout his life, so it is no surprise that he attributed his longevity, in part, to the consumption of Goji Berries.
Goji berries are not only known for their anti-aging properties, other health benefits include:
How To Eat Goji Berries
Goji berries are extremely diverse when it comes to how they can be consumed.
If you prefer to eat them raw (or hydrated), you will find that they have a sweet/tart flavor which is similar to the flavor profile of cherry tomatoes. This makes them a wonderful candidate for a pie filing!
Now, eating goji berries dry is probably the most common choice. When goji berries are dry their texture is much like a raisins, making them a wonderful addition to any salad, trail mix, or simply as a stand alone!
They also make a great tea! Just add some goji berries to boiling water and then squeeze the berries to allow the juice to come out. Try adding lemon or cinnamon for added flavor!
Some of the most interesting health benefits of cordyceps includes its ability to improve respiratory health, increase oxygen uptake, boost heart health, detoxify the body, prevent certain types of cancer, slow the aging process, increases energy, and improves the immune system.
The name cordyceps actually describes a genus of fungi that includes more than 400 unique species of parasitic types. Fungi are essential parts of many ecosystems, but this particular genus also has a great deal of importance for people, as it has been traditionally used in herbal medicine for centuries. These “club head”mushrooms have a wide range of chemical components and compounds that make them particularly valuable in traditional medicine, as they are globally available and relatively inexpensive. The wide spread of the Cordyceps genus make it particularly desirable. Cordyceps fungi varieties contain certain biochemicals that mimic current pharmacological substances in a natural way.
As the popularity of Cordyceps increases, so too did access and variety of the herbal supplements. Around the world, you can utilize Cordyceps in liquid extracts, tinctures, powders, and capsules, but the mushroomsthemselves, when dried, look like long thing, brown/orange fingers. You can also buy whole cordyceps in certain stores and add them directly to soups for flavor, or brew teafrom the dried and powdered fungi. The origin of most Cordyceps species seems to be Asia, prior to its global spread, which is why it is so frequently found in the traditional medicines of that region. Now, let’s take a closer look at the many health benefits of cordyceps.
Health Benefits of Cordyceps
Energy Booster: One of the most undeniable health benefits of cordyceps is its ability to significantly boost energy levels and has long been known to athletes for the bursts of energy it can provide. Cordyceps increases the amount of oxygen uptake in the body and enhances cellular energy production, thereby providing that extra push for people who need a shot of energy!
Heart Health: Research studies on the effects of cordyceps have come up with many exciting results, especially in relation to cardiovascular health. One study showed that patients given a powdered supplement of cordyceps were significantly less likely to suffer heart failure. This is mainly due to the anti-inflammatory and antispasmodic properties of the herb, which can prevent heart arrhythmias and other complications.
Cholesterol Levels: On a similar note, one of the chemical pathways affected by cordyceps is closely related to cholesterol levels. “Bad” cholesterol levels go up, and “good” cholesterol levels can go up, effectively protecting the heart, as well as numerous other organ systems that are affected by cholesterol, such as our metabolism and endocrine system. You can help prevent atherosclerosis and subsequent heart attacks and strokes by making cordyceps a part of your weekly herbal treatments.
Respiratory Function: As mentioned above, cordyceps is able to increase the amount of oxygen taken in by the lungs, and while this is helpful for athletes, it is also beneficial for those suffering from respiratory conditions, such as asthma or chronic bronchitis. By increasing your oxygen intake, you help prevent respiratory distress and weakness. Also, increasing oxygen levels helps to oxygenate the body’s extremities better, so organ systems as a whole run more efficiently.
Cancer Prevention: People are always looking for the next big solution in the battle against cancer, and some of the unique biochemical compounds found in cordyceps certainly fit the bill in that respect. There has been direct correlations between the consumption of Cordyceps sinensis and tumor size reduction. By shrinking tumors, cordyceps can help slow the spread of cancer, and even make it easier to eliminate or put into remission. This is combined by the antioxidant activities of cordyceps, which helps to eliminate free radicals throughout the body.
Immune System Booster: Cordyceps directly stimulates the production of NK cells (Natural Killer cells), which are one of the body’s first lines of defense against infection and illness. These immunoprotective effects help with a wide range of ailments, from cancer to the common cold and everything in between.
Anti-Aging Properties: Although many people claim to know the secret to anti-aging, some of the most reliable research stands behind using cordyceps, which has powerful concentrations of anti-aging compounds that can help to rejuvenate the skin, eliminate dead or dying cells, and improve the appearance of blemishes, wrinkles, and age spots, effectively shaving years off your life!
Sexual Dysfunction: One of the most interesting effects of cordyceps is its apparent impact on sexual dysfunction in men. Numerous research studies have shown that men suffering from low levels of sexual energy or poor libido saw clear improvement after adding cordyceps herbal supplements to their diet.
Detoxify the Body: Although the exact chemical pathway of this is unclear, studies have shown that kidney health improves notably after only one month of regular cordyceps herbal usage.
A Final Word of Warning: Cordyceps does have a small effect on lowering blood sugar levels, which can be dangerous for diabetics, so they should be aware of the risks before adding that herbal element to their regimen. Also, as a blood-thinner, it shouldn’t be taken before or after surgery, by those already taking blood-thinners, or people suffering from bleeding disorders.
We talk a lot about “super food” here at Green Living Lifestyle, because indeed there are thousands of options we can choose and each of them contains a wide range of nutrients, vitamins, minerals, enzymes and other healing components which fight off diseases. But one “super” that stands out, and that would have to be taken every day for your health, it’s Spirulina. Spirulina is a special type of blue-green algae, full of chlorophyll and a host of other nutrients that give “life”.
1.SPIRULINA IS PARTICULARLY RICH IN PROTEINS THAT FIGHT INFECTIONS
It was scientifically proven that it increases the production of antibodies in the body. Because Spirulina consists of nearly 70% protein, the largest amount in comparison with all the other food, it is particularly effective in stimulating the production of macrophages, a type of white blood cells that prevent and fight off the infection.
2. SPIRULINA HELPS ALLERGIC REACTIONS
A study published by the Journal of Medicinal Food found that spirulina helps allergic reactions, inhibition and allergic rhinitis. It seems that those who take regular doses of Spirulina showed improvements in their allergic symptoms.
3.SPIRULINA HAS PROVED TO BE AN EFFECTIVE TREATMENT FOR ANEMIA
Paul Pitchford explains in the book “healing with whole foods: Asian traditions and Modern Nutrition” how Spirulina and many other forms of micro-algae effectively stimulates the production of red blood cells, especially when it is taken in combination with vitamin B12.
Herbs are some of the most useful plants in the world. They are desired for their taste, aroma, and medicinal standards. In addition, they are very simple to grow and propagate. They don’t cost too much to grow too. No wonder, planting herbs had become a very famous and rewarding hobby nowadays.
If you think it is very hard to plant herbs, then you are clearly mistaken. Planting herbs doesn’t need too much time or skill, just your common sense. If it is your first time to plant herbs, you have to equip yourself with the essential knowledge on planting herbs and apply them. This article will give you with tips on planting herbs which can really help you out. Here they are:
Know the herbs you want to plant
The first thing you should do is decide on the herbs you need to plant. Are you going to plant herbs which you can use to add taste to your cooking? Do you want to plant herbs that give off a sweet perfumed that can freshen the air in your galley? Do you want to grow those which you can use as beautification indoors and outdoors? Whatever your purpose for planting herbs, make certain you plant those which you find very useful for you. Herbs can be planted through kernels or cuttings. If you plant seeds, it is better to grow them in pots. Cuttings can be planted directly in your herb plot or in pots too.
Consider the location
Now that you know what herbs to plant, it is time you consider the place where you want to produce your herbs. There are herbs which can be grown inside or outdoors. In planting your herbs, make certain to plant them in an area where they can have sufficient sunlight for four hours. Herbs essential a lot of sun and if you want to grow them indoors, make certain you place them in your window sill where they can absorb enough power from the sun. A roomy area in your backyard will make an ideal herb garden. However, you have to use fertile soil, better one that is alkaline-based. Herbs that simply spread out like mint are better planted in vessels where they can’t dominate over your other herbs.
Go for herb garden kits
If you are willing to plant your own herbs at home but don’t have the palest idea how, then you should start by buying herb plot kits. Herb garden kits can be brought from your native greenhouse, nursery, and gardening store. They come in different kinds and include numerous materials for you to start planting herbs. In general, the kits contain seeds of numerous herbs that grow well together and prepared mixed soil ideal for them. On the other hand, there are kits that come with free pots or vessels. Also, there are those that comprise videos or guides that provide you with the step by step process in planting herbs. The good thing is that these herb garden kits can be yours at very reasonable prices