Garlic Extract Lowers the Risk of Heart Diseases

Garlic has been used for centuries as a part of our foods. But, do you know that it helps in keeping your heart healthy and free from diseases?

Scientists have been researching on garlic and its effects on heart health since the 1950s. It has shown to reduce the risk of heart diseases such as atherosclerosis, thrombosis, high blood pressure, and elevated levels of cholesterol. For the people who are looking for broad ranged cardiovascular benefits, garlic extract is a must-have in their daily lives, as validated from clinical studies.

Cardio-Protective Effects of Garlic

Garlic is highly rich in unique sulfur compounds that gives it its unique taste, scent, and the beneficial health effects. In a review published in the Journal of Nutrition in 2016, the benefits of garlic for the heart were cited. These included the following:

  • Reduction in systolic blood pressure
  • Reduction in diastolic blood pressure
  • Reduction in total cholesterol
  • Reduction in C-reactive proteins that cause inflammation
  • Improved pulse wave velocity
  • Reduced progression rates of corona artery calcium

Garlic Extract – The Magical Potent Form of Garlic

For the people who are not able to consume a healthy amount of garlic, garlic extract supplements are available in the market. Different forms of garlic are used on the preparation of these extracts and supplements, but the best one that has the most benefits for the heart is the one made from aged garlic. The long-term aging of garlic without heat in diluted alcohol produces S-allyl and S-allylcysteine compounds that have highly effective oxidant reducing qualities. A number of other beneficial compounds are also produced in the aging process of garlic.

The effects of using garlic extract are remarkable. The most compelling effect of using aged garlic extract is its ability of reversing early heart diseases. This is achieved by its ability to strip the artery walls of deadly plaque buildup that is the main cause of many heart diseases. The people taking garlic extract regularly also have a lower rate of accumulation of the total plaque as compared to others.

Inhibits Inflammation

Aged garlic extract is also known to inhibit inflammation that helps prevent heart diseases and the buildup of plaque. The anti-atherosclerotic effects of garlic extract help in preventing heart diseases caused by unhealthy lifestyle and eating habits.

Reduced Cholesterol Levels

High levels of unhealthy cholesterol can create a havoc in your body, especially your heart. With garlic extract taken regularly, the levels of cholesterol are kept under check which keeps your heart active and healthy. It also helps prevent low-grade inflammation that is the main cause of many cardiovascular diseases.

Lower Blood Pressure

Garlic extract has also been found to keep your blood pressure in the healthy range. Aged garlic extract has been found to reduce the systolic blood pressure by an average of 4.1 mmHg.

Conclusion

Garlic has been long known for its cardio-protective qualities. However, the scientific validation of the benefits it has for the heart did not begin until the 1950s. Garlic extract helps prevent your heart against heart disease risk factors and keeps you healthy and active.

Siberian Rhubarb and Menopause Symptoms

Menopause, the clinical term used for the period when menstruation has ceased for over a year, is a difficult phase for many. In the final 1 to 2 years before menopause, the levels of estrogen increase which cause the menopausal symptoms to become more pronounced. Natural menopause occurs between the ages of 40-58 years. Most of the women experience menopause at this age along with a dozen of symptoms that make this time really hard for them.

Menopausal Symptoms

While there are many different symptoms of menopause, the most common and the most debilitating one is hot flashes. Almost 80% of the women suffer from hot flashes and around 30% of the women report these hot flashes to be so intense that they affect the quality of their lives.

Treating Hot Flashes

Until recently, the most common way of treating hot flashes was hormone replacement therapy. However, recent studies found out that hormone replacement therapy increased the risk of heart diseases, as well as breast cancer. They are only recommended for a short-term use. Thus, finding a long-term, effective and safe way to treat hot flashes and other menopausal symptoms was necessary.

Siberian Rhubarb

A special extract of rhubarb has been used in Germany and many other places for years to treat hot flashes related to menopause. The extract is also known as Err 731 and is found to have no estrogens in it. The exact mechanism of the function of Siberian Rhubarb is still being studied by researchers.

Siberian Rhubarb Reduces Hot Flashes

A study examined the effectiveness of rhubarb in treating the menopausal symptoms in 109 premenopausal women. These women experienced frequent hot flashes. Half of these women took tablets containing 4mg of rhubarb extract for 12 weeks while the remaining half received a placebo. The results of the study suggested that the women taking rhubarb extract experienced a clear decrease in the frequency of hot flashes they experienced as compared to the women who were on the placebo.

Err 731 has been found to reduce the severity and frequency of hot flashes in women. It is also found effective in reducing night sweats as effectively as done by a low dose of estrogen. In addition to reducing hot flashes, rhubarb is also found to ease other menopausal symptoms as well including but not limited to mood changes, sleep disruption, musculoskeletal symptoms, and vaginal dryness.

The Final Word

Rhubarb or Err 731 has been used in Germany since 1993. However, it has become available in the U.S. only recently. Thanks to the Siberian rhubarb, women facing severe hot flashes and other menopausal symptoms have been able to find a cure to their problems. Unlike Hormone Replacement Therapy, Siberian rhubarb extract contains neither estrogen nor other potent activators of ERs. Thus, it is an effective and long-term solution for treating menopausal symptoms. Along with personalized lifestyle changes, Siberian rhubarb can offer relief to the women facing menopausal symptoms in an effective and safe manner. It makes transitioning to menopause a little easier for the women out there.

Folic Acid Lowers the Risk of Stroke

According to Mail Online, folic acid supplements reduce the risk of a stroke by 75% for people with high blood pressure. If you are among one of the three American adults who suffer from high blood pressure, it is important to make sure that you are getting the right amount of vitamin B, also known as folate. This can reduce your odds of having a stroke and other serious and deadly events that are linked to high blood pressure.

What is Folate?

Folate is a healthy substance that is present naturally in many foods such as leafy vegetables, citrus fruits and beans. In the U.S., there are many grain products that have been fortified with a synthetic version of folate, also known as folic acid. Thus, you will be getting some amount of folic acid when you consume these fortified grain products such as pasta, rice, cornmeal, and wheat flour.

Importance of Folic Acid

Both folate and folic acid form a part of the Vitamin B-9 group. They are important for a number of functions in our body including but not limited to:

  • Repair and synthesis of RNA and DNA
  • Rapid cell division and growth
  • Enhanced brain health
  • Age related hearing loss

In a recent widely reported study, it was suggested that folic acid supplements help in reducing the risk of stroke in people who have high blood pressure. The research and study was conducted by Wang and colleagues from Chicago’s Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.

As per the study, the highest improvements in stroke risk were showed by people who:

  • Took folic acid supplements for over 3 years (29% lower risk)
  • Had no prior history of stroke (25% reduction)
  • Achieved a reduction in the levels of homocysteine in their blood (23% reduction of risk)

The study also found that taking folic acid supplements also lowered the risk of stroke by 25% in the people who are living in areas where there is no fortification of grains with folic acid.

Cardiovascular benefits of folate have been known for decades. Actual studies on this subject began in the 1970s which showed the people that consuming more folate reduces the risk of strokes and heart attacks than the people who consumed no or a lesser amount of folic acid. Folic acid helps in breaking down homocysteine, an amine acid that can damage the inner walls of arteries leading to the risk of a heart attack or stroke.

Where to Get Your Folic Acid?

You can get your required amount of folic acid in two ways:

Through the Foods You Eat: You can get folate from foods that have it naturally in them. These foods include spinach, beans, and nuts. You can also get the required amount of folate from fortified foods, also known as enriched foods, such as pasta, cereals, and breads.

As a Vitamin: The other way of getting the required amount of folate is through supplements that are easily available through pharmacies.

It is very important to take the required amount of folate to reduce the risk of heart attacks, strokes, and other problems.

Curcumin – The Memory Boosting and Mood Enhancing Compound That You Need to Know About

The color yellow has many meanings. It denotes positivity, energy, clarity, happiness and more. Did you know that even the color of food decides for us whether we will eat it or not? It’s these small things that change your life! Today, living a healthy lifestyle has become a norm. More and more people are gravitating towards diet food and supplements. From probiotics and Vitamin tablets to protein powders, the market is full of products that you can buy to fulfill your daily recommended intake of nutrients.

What people should be going for are natural supplements that hold the most power. Not to be confused with turmeric, curcumin is a compound that is derived from the rhizomes of turmeric plant. It belongs to the ginger family and is used in various things. It’s used in supplements, cosmetics and as an ingredient in cooking for food coloring and food flavoring.

There are various benefits of curcumin, which include:

  • It is a powerful anti-oxidant
  • Lowers the risk of heart disease
  • May treat and prevent Alzheimer’s diseases
  • Provides relief for arthritis patients
  • Helps treat depression
  • May fight age-related problems and more

The Connection Between Curcumin and Cognition

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In 2006, a study was conducted to find out if curcumin has any effect on cognitive function. A study published in the journal of Experimental Neurology explored the effects of curcumin on rats. It was revealed that when rats were given a diet with curcumin for 4 weeks, their brain function experienced a spike. The BDNF level (Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor) was recorded at 140%. Since the study was done on rats, the results were considered inconclusive for human beings.

A research was published in The American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry on March, 2018 related to curcumin. This was the first study conducted to find the effect of curcumin on human beings, which lasted for 18 months. Participants were given curcumin twice daily in their meals. To measure how their brain performed before and after the curcumin dose, FDDNP-PET scans were performed pre and post-treatment.

The results showed that cognitive and behavioral benefits are linked with a decrease in the tangle accumulation of brain and plaque. These areas, which are directly linked to regions that modulate memory and mood, saw a change when curcumin was ingested for a long time. It was further revealed that the boost in cognitive function may stem from the compound’s anti-inflammatory effects.

The Connection Between Curcumin and Mood

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Stress, depression and anxiety are three factors that are the biggest mood killers. You might find yourself getting irritated with every little thing and lash out unnecessarily. A better and safe alternative to benzodiazepines is curcumin supplements.

While scientists haven’t yet discovered how exactly curcumin works as a mood enhancer, they believe it has something to do with the compound’s anti-inflammatory properties. Obesity and mood disorders are closely related, which was also proved in a study published in the journal of Biological Psychiatry.

A study published in the Chinese Journal of Integrative Medicine concluded that curcumin has anti-anxiety effects, which should be explored further. The study was done on obese patients, where they were given 1g of curcumin every day for 30 days. The results showed that curcumin reduced the BAI score by 3%.

The Bottom Line

These studies prove that curcumin has the potential to not just increase cognitive function but to also help Alzheimer’s patients live a longer and more meaningful life. Furthermore, it can help treat depression and anxiety in patients and might prove its benefits for normal human beings too. All these benefits are provided by curcumin’s potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.