(Natural News) Bananas, for the most part, come with a bevy of health benefits, making it a total package all on its own. It’s also one of the most consumed fruits in the U.S., with the average American eating more than 11 pounds of bananas each year (over just 10 pounds of apples, the second most-consumed fruit). Interestingly enough, bananas don’t come from trees — the plant the fruit comes from is technically a herb as the stem does not contain true woody tissue.
Still, no matter where it comes from, bananas offer a range of health benefits, including treatments for digestion, depression, and more. Eating two bananas a day can relieve bloating and increase the number of good bacteria in the gut. People who have mood problems would benefit from eating bananas, thanks to vitamin B6 and tryptophan which help in regulating and boosting mood. The fruit is also great for people with chronic conditions like cardiovascular diseases and diabetes, as it is packed with essential nutrients to improve their condition and help regulate their cholesterol levels.
Bananas have got you covered
People have been eating bananas for a long time, with written records saying that the fruit has been part of our diet for thousands of years. The plant is believed to be native to Southeast Asia, where many varieties of wild bananas still grow today. While the international trade of bananas started by the end of the 14th century, developments in transport — in particular, refrigerated maritime transport — helped make bananas into the most traded fruit in the world. Currently, bananas are grown in 150 countries, with 105 million tonnes produced annually. There are different varieties of bananas; however, the most commonly consumed is the Cavendish variety. (Related: Banana nutrition facts – nine things you probably never knew about this nutritious tropical food.)
In terms of calories, a medium-sized banana only has 95 calories, and it can provide a natural, sustained energy boost without the fat, cholesterol, and sodium of other common snacks. Here are more reasons to add bananas to your diet, if you haven’t already.
- It’s high in fiber. Bananas are rich in both soluble and insoluble fiber, which helps a person stay full for a long time. It’s one of the reasons that bananas are often part of breakfast in many regions in the world.
- It improves heart health. Foods that are high in fiber, such as bananas, lower the risk of cardiovascular diseases like coronary disease.
- It helps with digestion. In Ayurveda, bananas are described to have a sweet and sour taste. The sour taste, in particular, can stimulate agni or the digestive juices, which play a major role in digestion and metabolism build-up.
- It’s nutrient-rich. Bananas are packed with essential vitamins and minerals, including B-vitamins such as riboflavin, niacin, folate, and B6; calcium; potassium; manganese; and magnesium. These play a synergistic role in keeping the body healthy.
- It’s one of the best sources of potassium. The fruit is known to be a rich source of potassium, which is important in regulating heartbeat and blood pressure. The brain also uses potassium to stay alert. However, those with advanced chronic kidney disease should seek the advice of a healthcare professional before eating bananas, as this may cause potassium levels in the body to rise to unsafe levels.
- It regulates blood pressure. The low salt content in bananas, coupled with its high potassium content, make the fruits ideal in managing hypertension.
- It fights anemia. People suffering from anemia would do well to eat bananas, given its high iron content.
Bonus: Start your day with this healthy banana bread recipe
The difference with this banana bread recipe over others is that it uses ingredients like whole wheat flour and naturally sweetened honey, rather than using refined flour and sugar which can send a person’s blood sugar through the roof. (h/t to CookieandKate.com.)
What you’ll need:
- ? cup, melted coconut oil or extra-virgin olive oil
- ½ cup honey (or maple syrup, if you prefer)
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup, mashed ripe bananas
- ¼ cup milk or water
- 1 teaspoon, baking soda
- 1 teaspoon, vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon, salt
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 ¾ cups, whole wheat flour
- nuts or dried fruits of your choice (optional)
How to do it:
- Preheat oven to 325 F (165 C).
- Grease a 9-by 5-inch loaf pan.
- In a large bowl, whisk the oil and honey. Add the eggs and beat well, then whisk in mashed bananas and milk. (If the coconut oil becomes solid after coming into contact with the cold ingredients, rest it in a warm place like on top of a stove for a few minutes.)
- Add the baking soda, vanilla, salt, and cinnamon, then whisk to blend.
- Switch to a spatula and stir in the flour gradually until combined. If you have any additional mix-ins, such as walnuts, gently fold them in as well.
- Pour the batter into the greased loaf pan and lightly dust with cinnamon on top.
- Bake for 55 to 60 minutes. (To see if the bread is properly baked, poke it with a toothpick to the center. The toothpick should come out clean afterward.)
- Remove from the oven and let the bread cool in the loaf pan for 10 minutes.
- Transfer onto a wire rack to cool for an additional 20 minutes before slicing.
Multiple studies confirm that astaxanthin destroys cancer cells
(Natural News) As cancer continues to grow in prevalence, people are increasingly looking for ways to prevent the disease and scientists are researching new treatment methods. While pharmaceutical companies continue to pour billions of dollars into developing synthetic drugs that won’t necessarily cure people but will certainly grow their bottom line, other scientists are taking a closer look at the benefits to be gleaned from the compounds provided to us by nature.
We’ve heard a lot about the healing power of foods like ginger and turmeric, but there is another natural compound that is starting to gain traction when it comes to addressing cancer. Astaxanthin, a fat-soluble carotenoid, has been shown to target cancer cells and destroy or disrupt them in every stage of development without damaging normal cells.
You might not have heard of astaxanthin before, but you’ve almost certainly appreciated it if you’ve ever admired the cheerful pink shade of flamingos or the beautiful pink-orange tone of salmon. These animals get astaxanthin by feasting on the algae that produces it or other animal that eat this algae, such as shrimp.
Astaxanthin has already been found to fight inflammation, which is at the root of cancer and other chronic diseases like diabetes. In animal studies, astaxanthin reduced the inflammation seen in mucosal ulcers, effectively preventing adenocarcinoma. Meanwhile, studies in human lymphoma cells found that it could interfere with pro-inflammatory cytokines like tumor necrosis factor-alpha.
That’s not the only way it helps to fight cancer, however. It has also been shown to protect against the oxidative stress caused by free radicals. This should come as no surprise when you consider the fact that scientists estimate its antioxidant power to be 6,000 times greater than that of vitamin C and 150 times higher than the anthocyanin pigments that give blueberries their health benefits.
Astaxanthin has yet another trick up his sleeve when it comes to cancer, promoting the death of cancer cells in liver and oral cancers in studies. It’s a useful finding for liver cancer, which has a high recurrence rate and can be quite difficult to treat. It also helps to improve the ability of healthy cells to communicate, which is something that can stop the development of cancer.
Once you do have cancer, astaxanthin can stop it from progressing and metastasizing into tissues, organs and bones. In addition, it can stunt tumors’ ability to form the new blood vessels needed to sustain them. Studies of lung cancer cells have also indicated that it can help boost the efficacy of conventional cancer drugs like pemetrexed.
In a noteworthy study that was published in the Journal of Marine Drugs, scientists gave mice with prostate cancer either a high or low dose of astaxanthin or a placebo. After 31 days had passed, the scientists discovered that the weight and volume of the tumors in those who were given the high doses dropped by a remarkable 40 percent. Meanwhile, those who received no astaxanthin did not see any tumor shrinkage. The low-dose group did not see any benefits either, which illustrates how important it is that people get sufficient dosages of the pigment.
Do you need more astaxanthin?
After learning about the many benefits astaxanthin provides in fighting cancer, the next question many people have is how they can raise their levels of it. The best way to do this is by consuming food like wild-caught salmon, coho salmon, and red trout. Some other good sources are shrimp, crabs, crayfish, salmon roe, and lobster.
If you’re not a seafood fan or you try to limit your consumption, you can also turn to supplements. However, there’s a high chance of heavy metal contamination given the source of astaxanthin, so this is one case where it is crucial that you get it from a trusted supplier that is lab-verified to be free of contamination.
Cancer is a frightening disease to face, but findings like these are making researchers hopeful that better prevention and treatment methods may be just around the corner.
Remove 70% of toxins in your body with this one simple exercise
(Natural News) Getting rid of toxins in the body sounds like a monumental task, but it’s surprisingly easy to get rid of a giant proportion of them. In fact, with one simple exercise that requires no equipment other than your body, you can get rid of as much as 70 percent of the toxins that are currently wreaking havoc on your health. Perhaps best of all, you don’t even need to be particularly athletic to pull this exercise off.
Deep breathing has the power to get rid of toxins thanks to its effects on the lymphatic system. The lymphatic system is what neutralizes and carries toxins from your cells to the circulatory system, where they should get cycled through your kidneys and liver and then excreted. Unfortunately, however, the lymphatic system doesn’t have a pump the way your circulatory system has the heart keeping everything moving. Instead, your lymphatic system depends on body movement and breathing.
When you don’t move enough and your breaths are too shallow, your body simply cannot detoxify effectively. Your lymphatic system slows, and you might feel a range of symptoms ranging from weight gain and high blood pressure to inflammation and fatigue.
That’s why you need to focus on deep breathing. There are several different approaches you can take. One popular method is belly breathing, which entails sitting or lying flat in a position you find comfortable with one hand on your belly right under your ribs and the other on your chest. From this position, take one deep breath through your nose while letting your belly nudge your hand outward. Ensure your chest isn’t moving as this happens.
Next, with pursed lips, breathe out like you’re whistling. As you feel the hand you’ve placed on your belly go in, use it to push out all the air. Repeat this several more times.
Once you’ve gotten the hang of this technique, you might wish to move on to some more advanced methods. Another good option is 4-7-8 breathing. You can lie down like you did in belly breathing, or you can do this one sitting down if you’d prefer.
Take a slow and deep breath from your belly and count to four in your head while breathing in. Then, hold your breath for a count of seven. Next, you need to breathe out fully while counting silently to eight. It may take some practice, but your goal is to get all of the air in your lungs out as you reach the number eight. This can be repeated several times until you feel yourself calming down.
There are other approaches you can try, including roll breathing and morning breathing.
Other benefits of deep breathing
Although detoxifying is plenty of motivation on its own, deep breathing also triggers your parasympathetic nervous system, promoting a sense of calmness and overall well-being. It’s a great way to reduce stress, which is why many people find that breathing-focused practices like yoga can take the edge off depression, stress and anxiety. It can also help enhance your cardiovascular capacity, so you get the most out of your workouts.
Deep breathing techniques like pranayama have also been shown to benefit the immune system, improve the quality of your blood, and enhance your brain function by supplying it with more oxygen.
The good news is that you can practice deep breathing anywhere you happen to be. It’s easy to fit it into your day, so try to do it as often as possible. You’ll be surprised at what a big difference something so simple can make to your well-being!
Boswellia is a powerful anti-inflammatory herbal extract that can prevent cancer
(Natural News) Ginger and turmeric might get all the attention when it comes to fighting cancer naturally, but there is one often-overlooked herb that can also help address this deadly disease: boswellia.
You might not have heard of boswellia, but you may know it by its other name: frankincense. It is said to be one of the gifts that was brought to Jesus when he was born, and it could prove to be an almost miraculous gift in the fight against cancer.
It comes from the resin of a tree called Boswellia serrata, which is native to Africa, Asia and the Middle East. It has long been used in traditional medicine for gastrointestinal relief and to ease ulcers and arthritis. Now, however, researchers are learning more about the unique way that it helps fight inflammation. In fact, it works far differently than conventional medications – and that’s a good thing given the many undesirable side effects caused by the current anti-inflammatory pharmaceuticals available.
What standard non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications do is block the production of pro-inflammatory enzymes. The way they work, however, happens to block the production of an enzyme that is needed to keep the stomach lining healthy. This is why people who take NSAIDs often experience problems like stomach bleeding and irritation, kidney issues and peptic ulcers. Alternatives like Vioxx that skirt around this particular issue proved to be deadly and were withdrawn from the market.
Boswellia sets itself apart from these drugs by blocking a different pro-inflammatory enzyme known as 5-lipoxygenase (5-LOX). Not only does 5-LOX trigger the creation of pro-inflammatory leukotrienes, but it also contributes to diseases like cancer, asthma, atherosclerosis and arthritis. At the same time, boswellia stops the activity of HLE, or human leukocyte elastase, which has been linked to respiratory problems like chronic bronchitis, cystic fibrosis and emphysema. In fact, boswellia is currently the only substance known to man that can inhibit both 5-LOX and HLE.
Perhaps this is why a cell study that was published in the journal Molecular Pharmacology found that the extract of boswellia was more effective than standard chemotherapy drugs such as amsacrine, etoposide, and camptothecin when it came to stopping the enzymes that help cancer grow.
It has also been shown to fight the deadliest type of skin cancer, melanoma. It does this by interfering with melanoma cells’ ability to metastasize. In addition, a 2006 study showed that it can alter the expression of the tumor necrosis factor-alpha that can promote tumor cell growth and the spread of cancer.
Boswellia extract has also been shown in studies to help kill cells seen in brain cancer, prostate cancer, and leukemia. Meanwhile, a 2002 Cleveland Clinic study showed the extract is effective against the meningioma cells that form tumors in the brain’s covering.
Getting the benefits of boswellia
The benefits of boswellia aren’t limited to fighting cancer. It’s also an excellent remedy for rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis thanks to its anti-inflammatory properties. It can also boost digestive system health, alleviating everything from diarrhea to inflammatory bowel diseases and ulcerative colitis. It can ward off liver problems like non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, and it even improves gum health.
If you’d like to get the benefits of boswellia for yourself, you can find it in cream, pill and resin formats. The different products have different percentages of boswellic acid and the dosages can vary quite a bit, so this is one time when it may be helpful to call upon an integrative healthcare provider or herbalist for advice.
It’s important to note, however, that you shouldn’t take boswellia if you are pregnant because it stimulates uterine blood flow and can cause miscarriages.
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