Tag Archives: health

Adaptogens and Their Role in Optimizing Wellbeing

In the Eastern world, adaptogens have been used for centuries to treat an array of conditions ranging from the common cold to muscle soreness in fatigued soldiers. As the West continues to discover and adopt traditional practices in search of alternative medicinal compounds, the popularity and use of adaptogens have seen a marked increase in recent years. Derived from unique plants and herbs, these compounds offer widespread support in regulating hormonal systems; they help bring the imbalanced, stressed body back to equilibrium by allowing it to better adapt to biological and psychological stressors.

Throughout history, adaptogenic herbs have been used for their proven neuroprotective, anti-fatigue, anti-depressive, anxiolytic and CNS stimulating properties as well as their ability to adapt functions to an individual body’s specific needs. Their primary function is stress management through adrenal gland support, which helps manage hormonal responses to stress – the source of many chronic health conditions. However, each adaptogen carries additional therapeutic advantages, such as dopamine and serotonin-boosting properties, which contribute to beneficial effects on overall wellbeing.

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Health Benefits for Coffee Drinkers

Research based on 200 previous global studies indicates that frequent coffee drinkers are less likely to get diabetes, heart disease, dementia, and even some cancers. Those who drink three to four cups a day will, in fact, experience health benefits—and experience lower risks of premature death. 

To better understand the effects of coffee on health, Robin Poole—a public health specialist at Britain’s University of Southampton—led a research team in an ‘umbrella review’ of 201 studies based on observational research, and 17 studies based on clinical trials across the world. ‘Umbrella reviews’ consolidate previous analyses, in order to deliver a clearer summary of diverse research on a particular topic.

The research, published in the The BMJ, revealed that drinking coffee was consistently linked with a lower risk of death from all causes, including heart disease. The largest reduction in relative risk of premature death was seen in people consuming three cups a day, compared with non-coffee drinkers. Drinking coffee was also associated with a lower risk of several cancers, including prostate, endometrial, skin and liver cancer, as well as type-2 diabetes, gallstones and gout. The greatest benefit was seen for liver conditions, such as cirrhosis of the liver.

“What we can say is that people who already enjoy moderate amounts of coffee as part of their diet are most probably getting health benefits,” writes Poole. These findings should be reassuring for coffee drinkers; future studies will likely analyze the types and amounts of coffee that confer the maximum health benefits.

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The Power of Ginger

A new review published in the Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences assesses findings of 60 studies surrounding ginger—as a supplement, or ingredient in food and drink. Although experts have not yet determined a specific dosage for preventive purposes, the review concludes that ginger consumption is medically sound and helpful.

The studies “have built a consensus that ginger and its major constituents exert beneficial effects against obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, and related disorders,” wrote authors from China Agricultural University. The researchers focused their studies on the different aspects of metabolic syndrome—a combination of three or more risk factors for type 2 diabetes and heart disease. Metabolic syndrome now affects almost a quarter of the world’s population: a growing health problem that has reached reportedly pandemic proportions.

Scientists have researched potential strategies in order to both prevent and treat metabolic syndrome, specifically non-pharmaceutical options. As ginger has a long history of treating a variety of ailments and illnesses, due to its phytochemicals and antioxidants, the general consensus is that there are several mechanisms behind ginger’s ‘superfood powers.’ The paper details the ways in which the spice plays a significant role in fat burning, carbohydrate digestion, and insulin secretion; ginger has also demonstrated an ability to inhibit oxidative stress—a form of cellular aging—in addition to anti-inflammatory properties.

During a study in which ginger was fed to rats, ginger significantly reduced body weight and systemic inflammation, while simultaneously lowering cholesterol and blood sugar. The accumulation of studies suggest that consuming ginger can also enhance calorie burn and reduce feelings of hunger, likely associated with weight loss in overweight adults. Associate professor of nutritional medicine at Columbia University Marie-Pierre St-Onge states that while the field is still developing in terms of assessing the impact of various spices, on humans, “The research is very promising.”

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