Thursday, October 4, 2012

Tumeric Antioxidant. Probiotics (Good Bacteria) and Garlic by Dr. Mercola

Discover the Many Powerful Benefits of Turmeric

 "The Spice that Ignites Your Body's Astonishing Immune System*"

5 to 8 times stronger than vitamin E and stronger than vitamin C, this 'antioxidant breakthrough' may help boost your immunity, maintain normal cholesterol levels, and put the brakes on aging.* 

Source from: Dr. Mercola 
You may already know I place a strong emphasis on eating as much unprocessed, organically grown food as possible for optimal health.

One frequently overlooked way to enhance and optimize health with organically grown food is the use of herbs and spices – unprocessed and organic, of course. One amazing benefit of these herbs is that they’re very low in calories, while being dense in vitamins and minerals.

In the same vein, they’re thermogenic, meaning they naturally boost your metabolism to help you burn calories.* You feel satisfied more easily, so you eat less.* Studies show that consuming certain herbs and spices before each meal can potentially reduce your caloric intake.*

Due to their nutrient-dense status, they promote your overall wellbeing with antioxidants more potent than many fruits and veggies.*

Herbs and spices promote health and wellbeing in your entire body, not just in a particular area.* 

This "whole person" approach is why I believe these spices and herbs can benefit you so greatly. But I consider one particular spice the “granddaddy” of them all, because its benefits are so amazing and far-reaching.

Don't Waste Your Time and Health with Synthetically Processed Herbs and Spices

Just as it's important to select and consume wholesome, unprocessed organic foods, you should do the same with herbs and spices.

Avoid breezing down the spice aisle of your local grocery store to pick up any old herb or spice.
It is important to be very selective. If the herb or spice you're looking for is processed or not organically grown, you risk missing out on their most potent active ingredients, which provide you with optimal benefits.
If the herb or spice isn't cultivated, harvested, produced, and packaged using certified organic processes, you could be robbed of its healthful active ingredients.

In fact, I recommend you totally avoid herbs and spices that aren't 100% certified organic. Why waste your time -- and risk potential health consequences from artificial ingredients and questionable chemical processes?

India is the home of Ayurveda, recognized as an authoritative source of knowledge and truth in natural health promotion -- with herbs and spices lying at the very heart of Ayurvedic practice. So it would make perfect sense to consider using herbs that were grown in India if you are considering Ayurvedic herbs.

Ancient Indian Turmeric

How this Ancient Spice Originated Thousands of Years Ago

That's one of the reasons I traveled over 15,000 miles to India last year -- to find a high quality source of these herbs. During my trip to India, I witnessed firsthand how the Ayurvedic holistic approach and organic processes work in unison.

And of the many herbs and spices I studied, the one in particular that caught my immediate attention was turmeric. It provides you with these whole-person benefits:
  • Supports your healthy joint function*
  • Promotes your radiant skin*
  • Helps improve your digestion*
And so much more... There's some debate about the timing of turmeric's first use as a healthy spice. But one thing is certain. Thousands of years ago, people in India and China used the spice. In fact, some stories suggest usage dates back 10,000 years in India when they say Lord Rama walked the earth.

And the ancient Polynesians carried turmeric with them on their incredible voyage across the Pacific Ocean to Hawaii. Today, Hawaiians still use this spice -- known to them as Olena. While in China, Marco Polo in 1280 AD recorded information on turmeric in his diary:
"There is also a vegetable which has all the properties of true saffron, as well the smell and the color, and yet it is not really saffron."
So, turmeric has been used as a substitute for saffron (an old world spice) in Europe for over 700 years.
One of the main healthful ingredients in turmeric is curcumin (a curcuminoid), which as I said, gives turmeric its yellow color.

Western scientists first isolated the curcumin molecule in 1815, obtained its crystalline form in 1870, and determined its overall structure in 1910.

Curcumin can potentially benefit you by:  Promoting your immune system against stress*
  • Promoting your immune system*
  • Helping you maintain your healthy digestive system*
  • Supporting your healthy bones, joints, and overall skeletal system*
  • Helping you maintain cholesterol levels that are already within the normal range*
  • Promoting your healthy blood and liver functions*

How Turmeric and Curcumin Provide Antioxidant Nutrients*

You probably know that antioxidants are important for your health. I believe antioxidants are your body's #1 way to neutralize free radicals and help you potentially slow down the signs of normal aging.*

Oxidation by free radicals can damage cells and organs -- and thus impact your aging process* -- something I’m sure you’d rather put the brakes on.
Antioxidants are also key nutrients in:
  • Supporting your memory function*
  • Promoting your heart health*
  • Boosting your immune system*
Turmeric's antioxidants help protect your cells from free radical damage.* The antioxidant content within turmeric comes from active compounds called curcuminoids. These curcuminoids deliver antioxidants that may be:
  • 5 to 8 times stronger than vitamin E -- and also stronger than vitamin C
  • 3 times more powerful than grape seed or pine bark extract
  • Strong enough to scavenge the hydroxyl radical -- considered by many to be the most reactive of all oxidants*

Turmeric has Anti-Aging formula

How Turmeric Enhances Your Outer Beauty*

Speaking of antioxidant nutrients and their potential to impact the aging process, some of the first aging signs you may see as you get older are changes to your skin.

Believe it or not, the organic ingredients found in turmeric can help promote your healthy skin.*

How, you ask? Curcuminoids support important blood and liver functions, healthy joints, and your overall well-being,* which in turn helps promote radiant, supple skin.*

Turmeric has been considered to be ‘skin food' for thousands of years in India and other cultures.*
Turmeric helps:
  • Cleanse your skin and maintain its elasticity*
  • Provide nourishment to your skin*
  • Balance the effects of skin flora*
So, turmeric can act as your one-two punch against normal aging with its skin promotion and antioxidant capabilities -- outer beauty plus inner purity.*

Your Triple-Action Cellular Booster and Adaptogen*

Another potential advantage from turmeric usage involves the smallest living things within you -- your cells.
Turmeric can assist your cells in three ways, by:

  • Helping neutralize substances that can cause cellular stress*
  • Maintaining your cells' integrity when threatened by occasional environmental stressors*
  • Providing the antioxidants you need to help support your cells against excessive oxidation and free radicals*
Turmeric is also recognized as an adaptogen -- helping to support your body against stress and providing immune system support.*

Turmeric Ayurveda Practice

How this Ancient Spice has Become Embedded in India's Ayurvedic Practice

Turmeric, like other herbs and spices, is a principle herb in Ayurveda -- India's ancient holistic health system. Ayurveda means "knowledge of life" -- with herbs lying at the very heart of Ayurvedic practice.

Turmeric has multiple  uses within Ayurveda, including blood cleansing and maintaining healthy skin.*
In Ayurvedic terminology, turmeric includes the following:
  • Verdana sthapana -- promotes your healthy nervous system and helps you with occasional discomfort*
  • Sangrahani -- supports your absorption of vitamins and minerals*
  • Anulomana -- helps you in purging out wastes and building healthy blood*
  • Rakta stambhaka -- promotes the wellness of your circulatory system*
And this is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Ayurvedic turmeric uses. What does this mean to you? Simply, turmeric has been used in Indian culture for thousands of years for a multitude of health-promoting reasons.* An estimated 500 million Indians still use the spice today.

What's Your Best Sources for Turmeric?

So by now, you might be wondering about potential sources of turmeric. Well, you may already know you can find it in the spice aisle of your local grocery store. But as mentioned earlier, I don't recommend using your local grocery store, due to the quality of their herbs and spices Even though there may be some good spices available there, it's very difficult to verify their purity and potency.

Also, the turmeric powder you buy in your store is a spice. It doesn't necessarily come from high-quality organic herbs -- and is not produced using certified organic processes, causing you to risk missing its healthful benefits.

What's more... with store-bought turmeric powder, you'll probably just use it once in awhile to cook with -- not on a daily basis to consistently take advantage of the benefits it offers.

So, what other options do you have? I recommend searching for a high-quality, 100% organic-based turmeric supplement. But there are some things you should watch for when choosing a turmeric supplement.

Avoid Unnecessary Fillers, Additives, and Excipients

When I did my own research on available turmeric supplements, I found a surprising array of choices. Besides, curcumin and curcuminoid ingredients, I found products with questionable ingredients like fillers, additives, and excipients. An excipient is a substance added to the supplement as a processing or stability aid. One ingredient, magnesium stearate (also know as stearic acid), is a potentially toxic metal additive from pill production.

Another ingredient I found in many turmeric supplements, Dibasic Calcium Phosphate (DCP), may even inhibit the absorption of essential minerals within your system.

There are others you may find as well, but the bottom line is... you don't want or need these ingredients in your turmeric supplement. Some pose potential health risks -- and all are unnecessary.

Turmeric Powder

Make Sure Your Herbal Supplement Comes from a Certified Organic Producer Committed to Quality Processes

The key to delivering an organic-based turmeric supplement rests in the manufacturer's commitment to quality and excellence.

In fact, I believe that without these quality processes in place, it really doesn't matter what organic herbs are harvested. You simply won't end up with a top-notch consistent organic formula. In turn, you won't receive the maximum potential value of the herb.

So, it's important to highly scrutinize and research the manufacturer's credentials.In fact, you may not be able to stop with the manufacturer alone. Keep in mind, the total organic process involves planting, cultivation, selective harvesting, and then producing and packaging the final formula.
Here's the type of certifications I recommend you look for:
  • Hazards and Critical Control Points (HACCP) -- International food safety certification that World Health Organization (WHO) standards are met
  • Safe Quality Food (SQF) -- HACCP-based food safety and risk management system covering the identification of food safety, quality risks, and the validation and monitoring of control measures
  • Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) -- International certification verifies all required practices necessary for an effective food safety program are followed
  • International Organization for Standardization (ISO) 9001:2000 -- International standard for quality, safety, ecology, economy, reliability, compatibility, inter-operability, efficiency, and effectiveness
  • Orthodox Union (OU) Kosher -- Certifies compliance for Kosher observers and followers
  • International organic certificationssuch as: USDA, EU, and NSOP (India)

Use This Checklist to Find Your Highest Quality Turmeric

To take advantage of all the great benefits turmeric has to offer you, I created a checklist on what you should look for in a turmeric supplement. Whatever you do, don't settle for second best.

Here's my checklist to help you find the best turmeric source:
  • Contains only 100% certified organic ingredients -- Turmeric extract with at least 95% curcuminoids
  • Comes in supplement form -- Don't rely on your typically low quality and unpredictable local grocery store spice. Additionally when you heat the spice during cooking many of the beneficial properties are lost.
  • Avoids fillers, additives, and excipients -- No need for questionable "other ingredients" in the formula
  • Provides a vegetable capsule -- Avoid gelatin-based capsules whenever possible
  • Is produced by a certified organic manufacturer with high-quality organic and safe production practices -- Don't settle for second best here!

13 Ways this Ancient Herb Can Help You
Spice Up Your Life (and Your Health*)

Let me summarize thirteen ways this 100% certified organic-based Turmeric can spice up your whole person:
  1. Boosts your antioxidant protection against free radicals*
  2. Helps promote your healthy skin*
  3. Supports your overall eye health*
  4. Provides you immune system support*
  5. Aids your skeletal system and joint health*
  6. Encourages your healthy liver function*
  7. Helps you maintain healthy cells with support against free radicals*
  8. Balances the health of your digestive system*
  9. Aids you in support of healthy blood and your circulatory system*
  10. Helps you maintain normal cholesterol levels to support your cardiovascular system*
  11. Assists your neurological system's healthy response to stress*
  12. Promotes a healthy female reproductive system*
  13. Helps you maintain blood sugar levels already within the normal range*
And more... Millions of people use turmeric on a daily basis in their lives today. In India alone, up to 500 million people use it in one form or another every day. Isn't it time you gave your body what it deserves?

Turmeric Formula by Organic India

My Recommendation for a Turmeric Supplement

My time researching and studying herbs and spices here in India convinced me there's only one turmeric supplement I can recommend -- my USDA Certified Organic Turmeric.

Let me explain why I consider this a bonus.During my travels to India, I witnessed firsthand many of Organic India's cultivation and production processes. And to say I was impressed doesn't do them justice.

Organic India goes far beyond producing the highest quality organic turmeric by:
  • Helping preserve and enrich the environment -- As a result, this manufacturer received exclusive rights to harvest certified organic crops from central and northern India.
  • Adhering to and setting new standards of certification -- As the manufacturer of the Turmeric, Organic India seriously commits to follow the highest quality standards for producing organic products.
  • Committing to holistic quality and environmentally responsible business practices -- From preservation of seed and enrichment of soil... through cultivation, harvesting, manufacturing, and packaging, all phases of the production cycle reflect the quality commitment.
  • Educating and certifying organic growers and farmers -- Organic farmers receive training and education in all aspects of sustainable organic farming methods. A 3rd party international agency certifies farmers as "certified organic."
  • Respecting and honoring the organic farmers -- By honoring the well-being and dignity of local farmers, a win-win scenario continues to evolve for everyone involved.
Organic India is among the few herbal companies in India to receive the following certifications:
  • SQF -- Safe Quality Food (certified by SGS India Pvt. Lmt.)
  • HACCP -- Hazards and Critical Control Points (by SGS)
  • GMP -- Good Manufacturing Practices (by SGS)
  • ISO 9001:2000 -- International standard for quality and safety
  • OU Kosher -- Certifies compliance for Kosher observers and followers
  • Organic certifications from: Skal International, Ecocert International, USDA, EU, and NSOP (India)
So, not only is the Turmeric formula of the highest quality,  the producer is totally committed to protecting the environment and the organic farmers. I think you'll agree this is a win-win scenario for all.

The Cancer-Fighting Spice So Potent - It Even Beat Brain Tumors in Mice...
Curcumin – a derivative of turmeric, and the pigment that gives the curry spice turmeric its yellow-orange color -- is a natural compound that has been extensively researched, and has been found to have numerous health applications. As a result, turmeric is becoming increasingly popular as a supplement. Each 100 grams of turmeric contains an estimated three to five grams of curcumin.

The ancient Chinese and Indian systems of medicine have recognized curcumin's beneficial properties for thousands of years. Most notably, curcumin is known for its potent antia-inflammatory properties, and as you may know, chronic inflammation is an underlying factor in many, if not most, chronic diseases. The compound has been shown to influence more than 700 genes, which may in part explain its numerous health benefits.

Here, I will review one of curcumin's most exciting properties, as researchers are increasingly recognizing its potential as an anti-cancer agent. At the end of this article, you'll also find a list of my other common-sense cancer-prevention strategies.

Curcumin Effective against Fatal Type of Brain Tumor
In an exciting discovery announced in the Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry in July, researchers say curcumin could be the answer to stopping a fatal brain cancer known as glioblastoma (GBMs). This study strengthens previous findings. In this study, scientists showed that it decreased brain tumors in nine of 11 study animals (81 percent), with no evidence of toxicity.

Furthermore, curcumin did not affect healthy cells, suggesting curcumin selectively targets cancer cells. They also found that it worked synergistically with two different chemotherapy drugs, enhancing the elimination of cancer cells.

The authors state:
"In summary, data presented here suggest curcumin as a potential agent for therapy of GBMs."

One of the BEST Supplements for Many Cancers
Several years ago, I learned about the anti-cancer potential of curcumin from Dr. William LaValley, one of the top natural medicine cancer physicians I know. He pointed out that curcumin has the most evidence-based literature backing its use as a cancer support among all nutrients. Not only does it affect more than 700 genes, curcumin also affects more than 100 different pathways once it gets into the cell. Best of all, it appears to be safe in the treatment of all cancers.

To get an idea of just how much research there is, simply search using the search term "curcumin cancer." There are hundreds of studies relating to curcumin's beneficial effects on various types of cancer.

Here's a sampling of some of the most recent ones:
  • A 2008 study in Cancer Prevention Research, found that curcumin inhibits breast cancer cell motility and invasion by directly inhibiting the function of alpha6beta4 integrin, which suggests it may serve as an effective therapeutic agent in tumors that overexpress alpha6beta4. (Alpha6beta4 is associated with cancer progression by contributing to apoptosis resistance and metastasis)
  • In 2009, a study in Molecular Pharmacology found that curcumin inhibits pancreatic cancer cell growth and acts as a chemosensitizing agent
  • Other research from 2009 found that curcumin induces programmed cell death in lung cancer cells
  • A 2010 study concluded that curcumin has the potential to target cancer stem cells

How Does Curcumin Fight Cancer?
In India, where turmeric is widely used in the diet, the prevalence of four common U.S. cancers -- colon, breast, prostate and lung -- is 10 times lower. In fact, prostate cancer, which is the most frequently diagnosed cancer in U.S. men, is rare in India and this is attributed, in part, to the curcumin in turmeric. It appears that curcumin combats cancer in a number of different ways.

For instance, curcumin has been found to:
  1. Inhibit the proliferation of tumor cells
  2. Help your body destroy mutated cancer cells so they cannot spread throughout your body
  3. Inhibit the synthesis of a protein thought to be instrumental in tumor formation
  4. Inhibit the transformation of cells from normal to tumor 
  5. Decrease inflammation 
  6. Prevent the development of additional blood supply necessary for cancer cell growth

Which Type of Turmeric is Best?
To get the full benefits that curcumin has to offer, look for a 100 percent certified organic turmeric extract with at least 95 percent curcuminoids. The formula should be free of fillers, additives and excipients (a substance added to the supplement as a processing or stability aid), and the manufacturer should use safe production practices at all stages: planting, cultivation, selective harvesting, and then producing and packaging the final product.

For use in cooking, choose a pure turmeric powder rather than a curry powder. Preferably organic. At least one study has found that curry powders tend to contain very little curcumin, compared to turmeric powder.

Guidelines for Using Curcumin
Right now, there are no formulations commercially available for use against cancer, and you should know that not only are relatively high doses required, curcumin is also not absorbed very well... A typical anti-cancer dose can be as high as three grams of good bioavailable curcumin extract, three to four times daily.

One work-around is to make a microemulsion from curcumin powder. To do that, mix one tablespoon of the powder into 1-2 egg yolks, along with a teaspoon or two of melted coconut oil. Then, use a high-speed hand blender to emulsify the mixture.

Another strategy that can help increase absorption is to add one tablespoon of curcumin powder to a quart of boiling water. (It must be boiling when you add the powder as it will not work as well if you put it in tepid water.) After boiling it for 10 minutes you will have created a 12 percent solution, which you can drink once cooled. It has a slightly woody taste. Keep in mind though that the curcumin will gradually fall out of solution. In about six hours it will be a six percent solution, so it is best to drink the water within four hours of boiling.

One drawback of doing this at home is that curcumin is a very potent yellow pigment and can permanently discolor surfaces if you're not careful.

Preventing Cancer: 11 Tips to Live By
In the last 30 years the global cancer burden has doubled, and is estimated to nearly triple by 2030. Clearly, we must begin to take cancer prevention seriously.

While curcumin offers great potential in the fight against cancer, I believe a healthy lifestyle—as opposed to swallowing any number of supplements—is the BEST way to avoid becoming a cancer statistic. I believe you can virtually eliminate your risk of cancer and other chronic diseases, and radically improve your chances of recovering from cancer if you currently have it, by following the following risk reduction strategies.

  1. Radically reduce your sugar consumption. Normalizing your insulin levels is one of the most powerful physical actions you can take to lower your risk of cancer, and in order to do so, cutting sugars and grains out of your diet is a must. Eliminating fructose is one of the most important sugars to initially concentrate on. If you have cancer, you'll want to reduce that to below 10 grams per day from all sources.
  2. Optimize your vitamin D levels. There's overwhelming evidence pointing to the fact that vitamin D deficiency plays a crucial role in cancer development. Researchers within this field have estimated that about 30 percent of cancer deaths might be prevented each year simply by optimizing the vitamin D levels in the general population. On a personal level, you can decrease your risk of cancer by MORE THAN HALF simply by getting optimal sun exposure year-round. Alternatively, you could use a safe tanning bed, or, as a last resort, an oral vitamin D3 supplement. Remember the BEST way to raise your vitamin D level is by sun exposure. If you are being treated for cancer it is likely that higher blood levels—probably around 80-90 ng/ml—would be beneficial. To learn the details on how to use vitamin D therapeutically, please review my previous article, Test Values and Treatment for Vitamin D Deficiency.
  3. Exercise regularly. There's compelling evidence indicating that exercise can slash your risk of cancer, primarily by reducing elevated insulin levels and normalizing estrogen. For example, women who exercise regularly can reduce their breast cancer risk by 20 to 30 percent compared to those who are inactive. I prefer to view exercise like a drug that needs to be carefully prescribed to achieve its maximum benefit. It's important to include a large variety of techniques in your exercise routine. Additionally it is likely that integrating exercise with intermittent fasting will greatly catalyze the potential of exercise to reduce your risk of cancer and stimulate widespread healing and rejuvenation.
  4. Get appropriate amounts of animal-based omega-3 fats.
  5. Eat as many vegetables as you are comfortable with. Ideally, they should be fresh and organic. Cruciferous vegetables in particular have been identified as having potent anti-cancer properties.
  6. Have a tool to permanently erase the neurological short-circuiting that can activate cancer genes. Even the CDC states that 85 percent of disease is caused by emotions. There are a number of different energy psychology tools available that are particularly well-suited for this purpose; the Emotional Freedom Technique is one example.
  7. Maintain an ideal body weight.
  8. Get enough high-quality sleep.
  9. Reduce your exposure to environmental toxins like pesticides, household chemical cleaners, synthetic air fresheners, air pollution, and plastic toxins like BPA.
  10. Reduce your use of cell phones and other wireless technologies, and implement as many safety strategies as possible if/when you cannot avoid their use.
  11. Boil, poach or steam your foods, rather than frying or charbroiling them.

New Complete Probiotics

"This 30-Second Morning Trick Can Profoundly
Support Your Health...*

Do you make this critical health mistake? Find out how to get 100% mileage from this trick. Plus, the "growth stimulant" that improves it, the "golden" strain you may be lacking,
and my 12-point checkpoint for high efficacy...  Source from: Dr. Mercola

Generally, things of higher value, or those things perceived as being of higher value, simply cost you more. And that pretty much applies across the board from the place you call home, to the cars you drive, and to many of the consumables you buy as well.

But every once in awhile, something comes along that becomes an exception to all this. Sometimes the exception is strictly a marketing ploy of some sort... to con you into believing you're getting more value for your hard-earned money than you really are.

For example, many automobile manufacturers compare their products to higher end vehicles.... These manufacturers might try to convince you their vehicle has all the bells and whistles comparable to the higher-end vehicle... but at half the price.

At first blush, you might start believing what they say is true. But when you dig deeper, you may find their vehicle may have most of the tangible features of the luxury cars, but the quality doesn't come close. Or, when you test drive their vehicle, the road-feel is not anywhere near that of the more expensive vehicle.

This is by no means an endorsement for any auto brand, but simply an example of how value exceptions can sometimes end up being misleading... and how they really require you to be on your toes to watch out for them... to do your homework. And in the complex world of nutritional supplements, it's important for you to know...


How Perceived vs. Actual Health Value Can Be Very Dicey

Don't be fooled by very low-priced supplements. Many are made from cheap, unhealthy synthetic ingredients.
Many supplements claim to provide great benefits at very low prices. But when you dig deeper you often find out that cheap, synthetic ingredients were used.

Or, at the other end of the spectrum, the producers of more expensive supplements try to convince you a special process or hard-to-find ingredient is needed to justify the higher cost... in my opinion, often times this is simply a marketing ploy.

For every one that makes it through my rigorous acceptance gauntlet, dozens upon dozens more get rejected.
I truly believe that with what I'm about to show you, you'll see why I consider this to be one of the best health values for your money*... a true value exception with facts to back it up... a situation where I believe you simply will get more value for the same amount of money. To get started, let's take a brief trip back in time...

The History Behind Fermented Foods and Their Health Benefits

History provides us a few clues on how different cultures promoted their intestinal health before modern times. Years ago, people used fermented foods like yogurt and sauerkraut - as food preservatives and as support for intestinal and overall health.

Raw Yogurt Drink
Ancient Indian culture (as well as today), promoted intestinal health with a raw yogurt drink called lassi - full of probiotics Here are a few examples...
  • During Roman times, people ate sauerkraut because of its taste and benefits to their overall health.
  • In ancient Indian society, it became commonplace (and still is) to enjoy a before-dinner yogurt drink called a lassi. These Indian traditions were based on the principle of using sour milk as a probiotic delivery system to the body.
  • Bulgarians are known both for their health and their high consumption of fermented milk and kefir.
  • In Asian cultures, pickled fermentations of cabbage, turnips, eggplant, cucumbers, onions, squash and carrots still exist today.
  • People of the Ukraine consume probiotics from foods like sauerkraut, raw yogurt, and buttermilk.
The interesting thing was most of these dietary habits were born from tradition... at the time, no one really knew or understood why they were so healthy to your digestive system.*

How Probiotics Got Their Start - An Uphill Battle Against Big Pharma

Well, things changed in the early 1900s, when Russian scientist Elie Metchnikoff (Nobel Prize 1908) proposed that the Balkan population enjoyed excellent health due to consumption of large quantities of fermented milks containing beneficial bacteria.*

These 'good' bacteria were later defined as probiotics, which comes from Greek terminology meaning 'for life.'

In the 1950s, the USDA licensed a probiotic formula for use in the digestive tract of pigs. Later on in the 1970s, the effectiveness of the probiotics in that role in pigs was discovered. Probiotics were later pioneered for human use.

So, what took so long to bring probiotics to the forefront in human health enhancements?*
I believe that the mere fact that large pharmaceutical companies were able to leverage millions of dollars to market their products pushed probiotics out of the way... relegated them to the back-burner.

But today, the health trend has clearly begun to shift toward natural nutrition. And that has allowed probiotics to resurface and gain the attention they deserve.

And that's why I spend so much of my time researching factual data on how to provide you with the best probiotic formula available. All this is well and good, but...

Mother Embracing her Baby

Why Are Probiotics So Vital to Your Health?*

Why do many caesarean-section infants have less-than-optimal health after birth? From the very first breath you take, you're exposed to probiotics.

How so? On the way through the birth canal during a normal delivery, a newborn gets dosed with bacteria from their mother. This event starts colonization in the infant's gastrointestinal (GI) tract of 'good' bacteria. Compelling new research now shows many caesarean-section infants have less-than-optimal health after birth. This is most likely because they are not exposed to the mother's healthy bacteria in the birth canal which would then serve to populate its own GI tract.

As you mature, you're faced with many threats to the beneficial bacteria in your gut... from chlorinated drinking water... to overly-processed foods.

The 'good' bacteria in your gastrointestinal system can only provide you with optimum health if the proper balance of different types of bacteria is maintained in your gut.*

This is where probiotics can have a profound effect... not just on your GI health, but on your overall health as well.* Keep in mind, 80% of your immune system actually lives in your gut.

Probiotic formulas are available with many different types of bacterial strains... with the most common being Lactobacillus acidophilus. But as you'll find out shortly, not all probiotics are created equal... and not all probiotic formulas are properly produced to provide optimal benefits.*

In general, if formulated properly, the major benefits of a high-quality probiotic are to...
  • Aid you in digesting food, particularly hard-to-digest foods and foods to which some individuals are more sensitive.*
  • Enhance the synthesis of B vitamins and improve calcium absorption*
  • Help you keep a healthy balance of intestinal microflora*
  • (In women) Promote vaginal health*
  • Support your overall immune function*
And more... I strongly believe the key to an optimal probiotic formula is through science-backed research by a qualified non-biased laboratory... and through a manufacturer with rigorous high-quality process standards in place. You'll see more evidence of this unwavering belief I have coming up...

Medicine Intake

When's the Best Time to Take a Probiotic Supplement?

One of the confusing issues with probiotic supplements hinges around timing... when is the best time to take them?

When's the best time to take a probiotic? See my recommendations here
. Recommendations are pretty much all over the place on the best time to take them around meal times. 
I can tell you when it comes to this, my team and I have carefully researched this issue and even consulted with the one of the foremost authorities and pioneers on probiotics...
The bottom line... my recommended approach and timing for taking a probiotic supplement are...
  • Take it prior to eating breakfast with a glass of pure water
  • Wait 10-15 minutes after taking it before you eat because stomach acid from your meal could impact some of the 'good' bacteria (you could lose 5-10%)
  • Avoid taking it within 3 hours of taking any antibiotic
And talking about meals and probiotics, something I hear quite often is...

Eating Yougurt

"If I Eat Yogurt, Should I Still Take Probiotics?"

You are probably wondering why using nearly any commercial yogurt might not be as beneficial as a probiotic supplement. Afterall, traditional cultures have been consuming cultured, fermented foods like yogurt for years for digestive health promotion.

Most commercial yogurts are not a good source of probiotics. Heat pasteurization significantly reduces most of the 'good' bacteria benefits.
The problem arises because...
  • Traditional yogurts were phenomenal sources of beneficial bacteria due to their raw and unpasteurized state.
  • Most of today's yogurts are pasteurized, unless specially purchased raw and unpasteurized from a local farmer. Sadly, pasteurization radically reduces most of the benefits.
  • Even most of the yogurts certified organic by the USDA are pasteurized in some fashion.
So what, in my opinion, is wrong with pasteurization?
Well, it basically kills or sterilizes most of the beneficial and other bacteria during the heat processing. And some yogurts (particularly the frozen ones), don't contain any live bacteria at all.

So, as great-tasting as many of them are, don't be fooled by yogurt products advertising live cultures beneficial to your digestive system... many have likely had the beneficial bacteria already reduced or wiped out by heat-intensive pasteurization processes.

To me, this is one of those cases where it appears that in our collective zeal to rid ourselves of every trace of infectious agents in our food supply and homes, we may have outdone ourselves.

As a whole, we're less exposed to bacteria now than in the past, including beneficial bacteria. Antibacterial products, hand sanitizers, and the like have made for a world that's a whole lot cleaner, but is it really that much healthier?

Due to strict food safety regulations, less bacteria (including the 'good' ones) survive the manufacturing process. Many overly-processed products, just like yogurt, undergo pasteurization or sterilization, which may destroy beneficial bacteria.
While this may be helpful in some ill-health prevention, it also means we are exposed to less health-enhancing bacteria.*
And with helpful bacteria less available in our food, I'm even more convinced how crucial it is to consider supplementation with high-quality probiotics.
But, I first must raise the caution flag and give you fair...

Warning: Make Sure You Get the High-Quality Solution

So, how do you go about finding a high-quality probiotic supplement?
First of all, before we're through, I'll help dispel some of your guess-work with my findings on some of the latest probiotic discoveries... and provide my recommendations as well.

But before I do that, there are some key factors I feel differentiate the good probiotic formulas from those that are questionable... and may even be a waste of your money.

Basically, without the following key factors, any probiotic formula can be suspect at best, unless it...
  • Contains effective bacterial strains - it must be strain specific*
  • Is viable and dose specific
  • Remains stable and viable for long period of time
  • Has the ability to survive the stomach and into the intestine
  • Produces beneficial effects and thrives in the intestine*
This complicates the world of probiotics a bit because there are so many manufacturers out there making claims on digestive health promotion.

But you don't need to fall for any of the misconceptions... I'll help you dig through the maze and minutia as we go.

lactobacillus Acidophilusbeneficial

If Your Probiotic Formula Does Not Contain THIS, In My Opinion, You Shouldn't Waste Your Time

If your probiotic does not contain this specific lactobacillus acidophilusbeneficial strain (DDS-1), you could
be wasting your time
. One of the key formulation factors in a probiotic supplement that I already mentioned, is it must contain effective bacterial strains.* 

Now, as you can imagine, this is a rather complex issue. But of all the strains produced over the years, there is one I believe exceeds all others... and to me, if the probiotic formula does not contain this strain, well quite frankly, you're not getting your best health-bang for the buck.*

I no longer consider taking a probiotic as part of my daily regimen without this strain!
This strain has the distinction of being one of the few bacterial species for which probiotic attributes have been shown to be effective.*

So what is this strain?
Lactobacillus acidophilus DDS-1 is the name of this highly effective strain of beneficial bacteria*... and the 'DDS-1' is really important. There are other strains of Lactobacillus acidophilus out there, but without the DDS-1 specificity, your potential health benefits could come up short.*
It has been found that this specific probiotic strain possesses vital properties important to human health.*
Research at a major Midwestern university showed how DDS-1 enhanced human health because it colonized well in the human gut.*

Research and studies suggest DDS-1 can be effective toward enhancing human health because it...
  • Adapts well to the human body because of its human origin
  • Is acid and bile resistant for intestinal survival
  • Helps promote your digestive health*
  • Aids in supporting your immune system*
  • Contributes to the good balance of your intestinal flora*
  • Produces significant quantities of lactase to potentially aid in lactose intolerance challenges*
I'm convinced Lactobacillus acidophilus DDS-1 is one of the important and necessary strains in an effective probiotic supplement.* Without it, I believe you're not maximizing the potential of using this type of supplement.

But it's one thing to just explain how DDS-1 potentially enhances your health*... it's another to provide examples of clinical trials and research that provide compelling evidence...

Probiotic Superstrain - A Study in Health-Boosting Benefits*

Over the years, several studies have demonstrated the diverse effectiveness of DDS-1 and help validate its potential use as a probiotic.* Here are a few examples...
  • From major Midwestern University and prestigious health center (2010) - Conducted a review of case studies to determine whether using a multispecies probiotic with DDS-1 could enhance bowel health.

    Results: After 60 days of treatment, most showed significant improvement in abdominal health, bloating and occasional elimination irregularities.* This study suggests that DDS-1 may help create a healthy balance of microflora in the gastrointestinal tract.*
  • From Gut (2003) - DDS-1 helped to support the health of human epithelial cell lines when evaluated as part of a probiotic blend. *
  • (1997) - In animal research, isolated evaluation of DDS-1 supported the normal production of immune components.* DDS-1 performed this better than three other strains of Lactobacillus acidophilus or Bfidobacterium bifidum.*
These are but a few examples why I believe DDS-1 plays a key role in optimal health when you use a probiotic supplement.*

Don't Spend Potentially More on a High-Quality Probiotic. If You Don't Have to...

One controversial area of discussion involving probiotic supplements involves survivability.
By survivability, I mean the ability of the 'good' bacteria released by the supplement to survive and reproduce in your intestinal tract.

Why is this so important?
Well, if the beneficial bacteria are destroyed by your stomach acid and intestinal bile, your GI tract won't be able to take advantage of the potential health benefits.*

Many theories abound on how to solve this... many I believe are not necessary and just waste your money. This gets back to the value perception issue once again.

Many probiotic manufacturers want you to believe that a special type of coating, called enteric coating, is necessary for the beneficial bacteria to survive. Basically, enteric coating is a type of layer put on the capsule itself to supposedly ensure survival of the beneficial bacteria in your GI tract. I have several issues with enteric coating that can be summed up as follows...
  • It's an expensive process - The cost you pay for a high-quality enteric coated probiotic supplement with significant numbers of CFUs often becomes highly inflated due to the expensive enteric coating process.
  • In my opinion these enteric coatings are unnecessary for GI survival - According to probiotic experts, selecting specific acid and bile resistant strains coupled with high-quality manufacturing processes, negate the need for enteric coating. In fact, the process of enteric coating could potentially reduce the viability of live beneficial bacteria altogether.
  • Many enteric coatings use synthetic ingredients - There are few uses of natural enteric coating because this adds even more cost. Most enteric coated probiotics are treated with a polymer of acrylic acid... a synthetic chemical often sprayed onto the capsule.
And what about raw, unpasteurized yogurt, sauerkraut, fermented milk and kefir consumed as traditional foods for generations to boost digestive health? The beneficial probiotic bacteria within these foods have not had difficulties surviving stomach acid and intestinal bile.

So, why would a high-quality probiotic supplement require some sort of coating to enhance the survivability of the contents?

Well, in my opinion, it doesn't. And I believe the added cost is not only an unnecessary expense to you, but may be an added health detriment as well... if the coating is synthetic.

Many probiotic manufacturers have created a perception of greater value to justify the higher cost of their enteric coated probiotics. Guess what? In my opinion, the value is not there so you can simply just avoid them.

I'll show you what I consider to be a much more robust and less costly solution coming up...

Little-Known Complement Adds 'Spice' to Probiotic Formula

With much of the attention focused on probiotics, there is a little known complement to probiotics called prebiotics that play an important role in your digestion.*

Pure Raw Honey

Pure raw honey is an excellent source of prebiotics
So, what are prebiotics?
Prebiotics help keep beneficial bacteria healthy.* They basically are non-digestible foods that end up in your digestive system to help beneficial bacteria (probiotics) grow and flourish.*

The prebiotics that feed the 'good' bacteria in your GI tract primarily come from carbohydrate fibers called oligosaccharides that you don't digest.* They remain in your digestive system to help boost the growth of beneficial bacteria.*

Natural sources of prebiotics include …
  • Fruits...
  • Raw Honey...
  • Legumes...
I believe adding prebiotics to a high-quality probiotic benefits the entire formula.* But this is a complex process and not easily produced at an economically feasible cost... until now.
More coming up on how my probiotic solution provider has found a solution for this. But first...

If You're Currently Taking Or Are Considering Taking Probiotics, I Recommend That You Make Sure It Has These...

Here's my list of 'must-haves' in a probiotic formula. And if you're familiar with my current probiotic formula on my site, you'll recognize some identical requirements and some new ones as well.

See, as time goes on, research and technology are creating moving targets of improvement in probiotics... and I want to make sure you have every opportunity to take advantage of newly uncovered health-promoting properties.*

Now, to the demanding list... my 'must-haves' in a probiotic formula...
Contains specific super-strain Lactobacillus acidophilus DDS-1
Shows high potency through independent lab test
Works together with prebiotics for improved probiotic performance*
Is stable at room temperature for at least 2 years
Is non-dairy, free from soy, corn, wheat, and gluten, and is non-GMO
Helps maintain a healthy flora, promotes digestion, and supports immune function*
Adapts naturally to the human body due to its human origins
Is acid and bile resistant to naturally survive the stomach and intestinal transit
Produces natural enzymes, vitamins, lactic acid, and hydrogen peroxide
Utilizes nitrogen packaging and is freeze-dried
Comes available in vegetable-based capsules
Is backed by academic and scientific research with patents and trademarks, and awards
Now, you can use these rigorous criteria to find a probiotic formula that matches up... but you'll probably have a difficult time.

Why is that?
Well, I set the bar about as high as I could based on new data my team and I uncovered. I really didn't expect to find any formula satisfying all of the requirements. At this point, you probably agree how challenging this is as well.

But, all I can say is I was pleasantly surprised when I found a new innovative formula that not only nailed my requirements, but exceeded them as well. Here's what I found...

A Formula So Robust It Has Become a Cornerstone in My Daily Supplement Regimen

You don't need to look any further. My new Complete Probiotics is the best of the best in providing everything I was looking for... and more.

Not only will it eventually completely replace the current probiotic formula on my site, it will immediately become part of my personal daily regimen... a rare occasion at best. In fact, I view high-quality probiotics as more important than a multi-vitamin.

Here's a breakdown of the 10 specific beneficial bacteria strains that in Complete Probiotics to deliver health-promoting benefits...*
Lactobacillus acidophilus DDS-1 - You already know the extraordinary benefits of this superstrain. Because it is of human origin, it works exceptionally well in your GI tract.*
Lactobacillus casei - Works with other helpful organisms, and helps to encourage the growth of other beneficial bacteria.*
Lactobacillus plantarum - Has been shown to be resistant to low pH conditions and able to survive bile concentrations in your intestine.*
Lactobacillus salivarius - Promotes intestinal health and helps support your oral health as well.*
Lactobacillus rhamnosus - Assists your elimination and occasional intestinal discomfort by working to promote healthy intestinal microflora.*
Lactobacillus brevis- Beneficial lactic acid bacteria that helps support your GI tract.*
Bifidobacterium lactis- A friendly bacteria often found in raw yogurt known to help support healthy immune responses.*
Bifidobacterium longum- Helps keep your digestive system running smoothly, and helps support your immune system.*
Bifidobacterium bifidum- Helps promote a healthy balance of flora in your intestine.* This organism provides excellent support for a healthy balance of microflora.*
Streptococcus thermophilus- High potency culture that helps maintain normal intestinal flora in your gut.*
Complete Probiotics
Just as important as what specific beneficial strains are in Complete Probiotics are the strains purposely left out. The formulator eliminated Lactobacillus bulgaricus due to its possible antagonistic effects on Lactobacillus acidophilus DDS-1. And they removed the Lactospore strain as well, in favor of more preferable strains.

Plus, Complete Probiotics now have beneficial prebiotics in the form of Fructooligosaccharide (FOS).* This was not an easy task. But the chosen manufacturer already recognized the importance and health benefits when complementing probiotics with prebiotics... a total win-win scenario for you.*
As you already probably know, I've had a very good probiotic formula on my site for some time. Well, this new Complete Probiotics formula will now replace it.
Here's more on how the new Complete Probiotics totally shines...

Bile and Acid Resistance - The Proof is in the Test Results

Another area my new Complete Probiotics proves its weight in gold is in acid and bile tolerance.
You already know my feelings on enteric coating and how I believe it's a waste of your time and money. Well, the chart below shows you how well the strains that make up the Complete Probiotics formula resist and survive stomach acid and intestinal bile.

Very few manufacturers I looked at could actually provide testing info on the survivability of the specific strains in their formulas. If they could not demonstrate results, I passed them up.

Keep in mind, without these strains adequately resisting stomach acid and intestinal bile, your health benefits from the probiotic will likely be severely lacking.

Through testing, some Complete Probiotics strains demonstrated gastrointestinal acid and bile tolerances over 90%. So, don't waste your money on enteric-coated formulas.

How My New Formula Clearly Brings Added Value. One thing I achieved with the new Complete Probiotics formula is providing you a higher health value probiotic at about the same price as the current formula.
This is certainly not a marketing spin or ploy, and you'll see shortly how what you'll pay for Complete Probiotics is not an increase over the previous formula... plus, in my opinion, you'll be getting so much more value for your overall health.*

The bottom line... I believe you get more health value with the new Complete Probiotics formula as compared to the current formula, and it won't cost you more.* This is truly one of those times where the value exception is real and not just a marketing illusion.

Travel Bag

Taking It Along When You Travel

Whenever I travel, I always take along the best probiotic formula I know of to help keep my GI tract in
optimal shape
. When it comes to probiotics, I've always taken my best formula along whenever I travel... particularly, when I travel outside the US.

Why? Well, when you visit other countries, there's always a chance your digestive system can be sensitive to different foods (e.g., spices) that you are not used to. This can cause not only occasional digestive discomfort, but may stress you out as well.

Who wants to be in another country either on business or vacation, and have to deal with occasional digestive discomfort? Well, I certainly don't... and that's why I take along a high-quality probiotic to help make sure my GI tract is in optimal shape.*

And with Complete Probiotics you have what my team and I consider to be the best probiotic formula we could find and it's perfect for traveling because it...
  • Has a shelf life of 2 years at room temperature - Unlike some other probiotic formulas with shorter shelf lives, Complete Probiotics is stable longer at room temperature.*
  • Can help you during times of digestive stress* - If while traveling, your GI tract is affected by new and exciting foods (e.g., spices), you can take additional servings (recommended 4-6 capsules) to help give your digestive system the additional support it needs.*
  • Becomes part of your travel pack - Conveniently fits into any travel pack you bring along on your trip.
With the new Complete Probiotics formula and all of its distinct health advantages, I plan to never travel without it.* I recommend you consider doing the same.

When it comes to producing a top probiotic supplement, there's one area I never take shortcuts on and never underestimate the...

Critical Importance of a High-Quality Manufacturer

Without an excellent manufacturer who practices the highest-quality standard practices, I believe any probiotic formula's stability and longevity would be suspect at best.

Well, I not only will tell you how the manufacturer of Complete Probiotics is one of the finest I've encountered, I'll disclose the type of evidence I uncovered that totally convinced my team and me.

Here's a list of impressive milestones this manufacturer has achieved and built its reputation on since it became a probiotic pioneer in 1979...
  • First to introduce Lactobacillus acidophilus DDS-1 commercially
  • First to introduce quality control standard CFU/gm, now used worldwide
  • First to introduce non dairy, gluten free, and non-GMO probiotics
  • First to introduce nitrogen packaging to enhance stability
  • First to introduce acid and bile resistant probiotics
  • First to introduce the combination of probiotics with prebiotics
To go along with all these ‘firsts,’ my manufacturer of choice has also received many awards, with one of the most recent and prestigious being the...
  • 2010 Frost & Sullivan Award for “Customer Value Enhancement of the Year” in the North American probiotics market
Frost & Sullivan is known worldwide for its innovative research, analysis, and marketing expertise. Based on its recent analysis of the probiotics market, Frost & Sullivan recognized our selected manufacturer for their innovations in quality control and probiotic products to address specific areas of health.*
  • Said a Frost & Sullivan Senior Research Analyst referencing this award..."In the crowded probiotics market, where multiple manufacturers offer different products with generic health claims, growth is driven by specific validated claims for your products..."
It's clear to me, and one of the compelling reasons why I selected them, that the producer of Complete Probiotics is driven to deliver specific beneficial strains (like DDS-1) to improve your GI health*... and the Frost & Sullivan award further supports their innovative drive.

The DDS-1 superstrain of Lactobacillus acidophilus, held as both a patent and US trademark by this high-quality company since 1979, has been crucial to driving growth and further innovation... just the type of company I want to produce Complete Probiotic

Why Was This Ancient Spice Given to People Building the Pyramids?
Posted By Dr. Mercola | September 28 2011

Garlic has a truly astonishing number of health benefits. Green Med Info has assembled studies that list more than 150 beneficial effects that garlic can have on your health.

The studies show that garlic:
  • Inhibits cholesterol accumulation
  • Reduces risk for heart attack and stroke
  • May be effective against drug-resistant bacteria
  • Lessens cadmium-induced liver damage
  • May have protective effects against cancer

According to one of the studies linked on the site, garlic may also help fight multi-drug resistant tuberculosis:
"Alternate medicine practices with plant extracts including garlic should be considered to decrease the burden of drug resistance and cost in the management of diseases. The use of garlic against MDR-TB [multi-drug resistant tuberculosis] may be of great importance regarding public health."
Saffron is another spice making headlines, as there is increasing evidence to suggest that it may be an effective means of managing Alzheimer's disease. A study found that saffron had an effect similar to the drug donepezil in the treatment of mild to moderate Alzheimer's after 22 weeks -- and had fewer side effects.

Another study found that dietary supplementation with vitamin E and folic acid, as well as ALA, DHA, and GPC, could aid in decreasing oxidative stress in mouse brains.

According to FYI Living:
"... [T]his reveals that such dietary supplementation also helps improve cognitive performance in the normal mice. This study is a significant step towards development of newer preventive nutritional therapies in the elderly who are susceptible to cognitive decline and related diseases such as Alzheimer's. It also enables an understanding of the involvement of oxidative stress and other molecular mechanisms that lead to age-related loss of cognitive abilities."

If you want a simple way to increase the disease-fighting power of your meals, be generous with your use of high-quality herbs and spices. There is no shortage of research showing that these foods are among the healthiest you can consume, and the best part is they taste wonderful and are relatively inexpensive, so they're a "secret weapon" that just about everyone can take advantage of.

When it comes to using herbs and spices, you really can't go wrong as long as you choose those that appeal to you and "agree" with you. But I want to highlight two in specific that are showing great therapeutic promise, one that you're already familiar with -- garlic -- and one that you may not be -- saffron.

Garlic: One of Nature's Most Impressive Foods
Garlic has been treasured for its medicinal properties for centuries. In ancient times, Greek and Roman soldiers ate garlic before going off to war, to enhance their strength and endurance.

It also happens to be one of the most heavily researched plant foods around. At GreenMedInfo you can find 133 studies involving 153 different conditions that garlic may benefit. Among them:

Atherosclerosis, High blood pressure, Cancer, Gallstones, Ear infections, Mercury poisoning, Diabetes, Low immune function, MRSA, High triglycerides, Candidiasis, Ulcerative colitis, Wound healing, Stroke, Heart attack, and Bacterial infections.

As you can see from the wide range of conditions it impacts, garlic exerts its benefits on multiple levels, offering anti-bacterial, anti-viral, anti-fungal and antioxidant properties. It's thought that much of garlic's therapeutic effect comes from its sulfur-containing compounds, such as allicin, which are also what give it its characteristic smell.

An Infection-Fighting, Heart-Protective, Cancer-Preventive Powerhouse
Researchers have revealed that as allicin digests in your body it produces sulfenic acid, a compound that reacts faster with dangerous free radicals than any other known compound. This is one of the reasons why I named garlic as one of the top seven anti-aging foods you can consume.

Garlic is also a triple threat against infections, offering antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal properties. Not only is it effective at killing antibiotic-resistant bacteria, including MRSA, but it also fights yeast infections, viruses and parasites.

Garlic also helps relax and enlarge the blood vessels in your body, improving blood flow, especially to your heart. This can help prevent conditions like high blood pressure and life-threatening events such as a heart attack or stroke. Garlic also inhibits the formation of plaques in your arteries, and prevents cholesterol from becoming oxidized, a condition that may contribute to heart disease.

This powerhouse food is also known to help increase your protection against at least five forms of cancer: breast, colon, ovarian, prostate and esophageal. In one study, the more often participants ate vegetables from the allium family, particularly garlic and onions, the lower their risk of certain cancers became. Part of this effect may be due to garlic's ability to increase tissue activities of phase II detoxification enzymes, which are necessary to help your body excrete chemicals and other toxins.

Interestingly, the allicin in garlic is so powerful it has even been found to help weight loss in rats fed a fructose-rich diet -- which is virtually guaranteed to make most people gain weight. Animals being fed only the fructose-rich diet gained weight, but those whose diets were supplemented with allicin did not, and some even lost weight. Of course, this does not mean you can eat all the fructose you want and then eat a couple of cloves of garlic and expect to lose weight … but it does give you an idea of just how far-reaching garlic's benefits appear to be.

The Healthiest Way to Eat Garlic
In many cases, eating whole foods is a far better approach to taking a supplement, and in the case of garlic this is especially true. Typically, garlic must be crushed or chopped in order to stimulate the process that converts alliin into the beneficial allicin. Once the garlic is cut, the active compound loses potency rapidly and will all but disappear within about an hour of chopping.

So the best way to eat garlic is to take a whole, fresh clove, chop it, smash it or press it, wait a few minutes for the reaction to occur, and then eat it. If you use jarred, powdered, or dried garlic, you will not get all the benefits that fresh garlic has to offer.

Saffron: An Important Spice for Brain Health?
The other spice that deserves attention, but is far less well known in the United States than garlic, is saffron. Saffron comes from the flower of the crocus plant (it's actually the plant's dried stigma) has a reddish thread-like appearance, and is a rich source of carotenoid antioxidants.

Used since ancient times for a variety of medicinal purposes (saffron is known for its immune-boosting power, among others), in the modern day it is widely used in Persian, European, Indian and Turkish cooking, both for its unique sweet, grassy flavor and its ability to add vibrant yellow-orange color to foods.

There are quite a few studies that reveal saffron's beneficial properties, and one of the most recent showed promise for treatment of mild-to-moderate Alzheimer's disease. In a 22-week, double-blind study of patients with Alzheimer's, a saffron supplement worked as well as the drug donepezil (brand name Aricept), but with significantly less vomiting experienced among the saffron group.

The researchers noted:
"This phase II study provides preliminary evidence of a possible therapeutic effect of saffron extract in the treatment of patients with mild-to-moderate Alzheimer's disease."
It is becoming increasingly clear that supplementing your diet with foods and supplements rich in a variety of compounds, such as vitamin E, folic acid, DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), and ALA (alpha-lipoic acid), may help reduce oxidative stress and delay the progression of age-related cognitive decline. And it appears saffron is no exception.

Separate research has shown saffron to help prevent and treat dementia, and inhibit platelet aggregation (which can lead to blood clots) and lipid peroxidation (which causes cell damage). It's also known to have chemopreventive properties against cancer, which are also strongly associated with the common saffron alternative turmeric (which is often referred to as Indian saffron). While in China, Marco Polo in 1280 AD recorded information on turmeric in his diary:
"There is also a vegetable which has all the properties of true saffron, as well the smell and the color, and yet it is not really saffron."
So, turmeric has been used as a substitute for saffron (an old world spice) in Europe for over 700 years, and this spice has been found to have many of the same health advantages, including showing promise for Alzheimer's.

If you've never tried saffron, the reason may be because it's earned the moniker "most expensive spice in the world." There are only three stigmas in each crocus flower, and it reportedly takes 80,000 flowers (about the number of plants on one acre of land) to produce one pound of saffron. Turmeric is much easier to come by and is also much less expensive, while offering many of the same potential health benefits, as well as the same characteristic yellow color. You can learn more about turmeric, or "Indian saffron," here.

There's Good Reason to "Spice" Up Your Life
Herbs and spices have very low calorie content, they're relatively inexpensive, and they're a great way to turbo-boost the natural antioxidant and anti-inflammatory power of your diet. All these benefits, and the ones noted above, give you ample reasons to be adventurous in adding spices to your meals, and to be generous in the amounts you use. It will be worth it for the flavor enhancement alone, and the boost it will give your health is the icing on the cake.

There's obviously much more to herbs and spices than the garlic, saffron and turmeric mentioned in this article … you can get more information on healing herbs, including how to select spices for their medicinal benefits, here.


Christine Eubanks said...

"These Indian traditions were based on the principle of using sour milk as a probiotic delivery system to the body."

Yes, and I think in some Asian countries like Korea, they get their probiotics with fermented foods. Not so sure but I think that's it.


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