Oct 282012
 

 

When I learned that 90% of all heart disease is preventable I decided to find ways to do just that.

Here are some ideas you can use to  take charge of your heart health.

 

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Mar 112018
 

Can the foods you eat beat inflammation?   YES!

By Cathy Wong, ND | Reviewed by Richard N. Fogoros, MD

Updated February 23, 2018

The anti-inflammatory diet is an eating plan designed to prevent or reduce low-grade chronic inflammation, a key risk factor in a host of health problems and several major diseases. The typical anti-inflammatory diet emphasizes fruits, vegetables, lean protein, nuts, seeds, and healthy fats.

Often resulting from lifestyle factors like stress and a lack of exercise, chronic inflammation results when the immune system releases chemicals meant to combat injury and bacterial and virus infections, even when there are no foreign invaders to fight off.

Since our food choices influence the level of inflammation in our bodies, the anti-inflammatory diet is thought to curb chronic inflammation and help prevent or treat the following conditions: allergiesAlzheimer’s disease, arthritis, asthma, cancer, depression, diabetes, gout, heart disease, inflammatory bowel disease (such as ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease), irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), and stroke.

2014_08_06_fruit-salad-raspberry_9999_45raspberry-fruit-saladFoods to Eat on the Anti-Inflammatory Diet

Research suggests that people with a high intake of vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, healthy oils, and fish may have a reduced risk for inflammation-related diseases. In addition, substances found in some foods (especially antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids) appear to possess anti-inflammatory effects.

Foods high in antioxidants include:

  • Berries (such as blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries)
  • Cherries
  • Apples
  • Artichokes
  • Avocados
  • Dark green leafy vegetables (such as kale, spinach, and collard greens)
  •  Sweet potatoes
  • Broccoli
  • Nuts (such as walnuts, almonds, pecans, and hazelnuts)
  • Beans (such as red beans, pinto beans, and black beans)
  • Whole grains (such as oats and brown rice)
  • Dark chocolate (at least 70 percent cocoa)

Foods high in omega-3 fatty acids include:

  • Oily fish (such as salmon, herring, mackerel, sardines, and anchovies)
  • Flaxseed
  • Walnuts
  • Omega-3-fortified foods (including eggs and milk)

There’s also some evidence that certain culinary herbs and spices, such as gingerturmeric, and garlic, can help alleviate inflammation.

meatFoods to Avoid

Omega-6 fatty acids (a type of essential fatty acid found in a wide range of foods) are known to increase the body’s production of inflammatory chemicals. Since omega-6 fatty acids help maintain bone health, regulate metabolism and promote brain function, you shouldn’t cut them out of your diet altogether. However, it’s important to balance your intake of omega-6 fatty acids with your intake of omega-3 fatty acids in order to keep inflammation in check.

Foods high in omega-6 fatty acids include:

  • Meat
  • Dairy products (such as milk, cheese, butter, and ice cream)
  • Margarine
  • Vegetable oils (such as corn, safflower, soybean, peanut and cottonseed oil)

Instead of vegetable oils, opt for oils like olive oil and avocado oil.

Additionally, studies show that a high intake of high-glycemic index foods like sugar and refined grains, such as those found in white bread and many processed foods, may rev up inflammation. Avoid sugary drinks, refined carbohydrates, desserts, and processed snack foods.

The Benefits of an Anti-Inflammatory Diet

More and more research suggests that an anti-inflammatory diet may play a key role in scores of health conditions. A study published in the British Journal of Nutrition in 2017, for instance, assessed the association between dietary inflammation (measured by a dietary inflammatory index) and atherosclerosis (the buildup of plaque in the arteries) in women over the age of 70. Researchers found that dietary inflammatory index scores were associated with subclinical atherosclerosis and heart-disease-related death.

Adhering to an anti-inflammatory diet may help reduce levels of certain inflammatory markers (such as a substance called C-reactive protein) in people with type 2 diabetes, according to a study published in Endocrine in 2016.

For the study, people with newly diagnosed type 2 diabetes followed the Mediterranean diet or a low-fat diet. After one year, C-reactive protein levels fell by 37 percent in people on the Mediterranean diet, but remained unchanged in those on the low-fat diet.

Meal Ideas

Breakfast foods: breakfast smoothie, chia bowl, oatmeal.

Lunch: salad with quinoa and vegetables, soup, grilled salmon.

Snacks: fresh blueberry fruit salad, apples and nut butter, walnuts, chia seed pudding, guacamole.

Beverages: ginger turmeric tea, golden milk, green juice, green smoothie, herbal tea, turmeric tea, green tea.

Tips on Following an Anti-Inflammatory Diet

  • Eat five to nine servings of antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables each day.
  • Limit your intake of foods high in omega-6 fatty acids while increasing your consumption of foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids (such as flaxseed, walnuts, and oily fish like salmon, tuna, mackerel and herring).
  • Replace red meat with healthier protein sources, such as lean poultry, fish, soy, beans and lentils.
  • Swap out margarine and vegetable oils for the healthier fats found in olive oil, nuts, and seeds.
  • Instead of choosing refined grains, opt for fiber-rich whole grains like oats, quinoa, brown rice, breads, and pastas that list a whole grain as the first ingredient.
  • Rather than seasoning your meals with salt, enhance flavor with anti-inflammatory herbs like garlic, ginger, and turmeric.

A Word From Verywell

Choosing a variety of these delicious, antioxidant-rich foods can help curb inflammation in combination with exercise and a good night’s sleep, which may improve inflammation markers and possibly reduce your risk of many illnesses.

Sources:

Bondonno NP, Lewis JR, Blekkenhorst LC, et al. Dietary inflammatory index in relation to sub-clinical atherosclerosis and atherosclerotic vascular disease mortality in older women. Br J Nutr. 2017 Jun;117(11):1577-1586.

Maiorino MI, Bellastella G, Petrizzo M, Scappaticcio L, Giugliano D, Esposito K. Mediterranean diet cools down the inflammatory milieu in type 2 diabetes: the MÉDITA randomized controlled trial. Endocrine. 2016 Dec;54(3):634-641.

 

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Oct 022017
 

Lazarus Dec 2016 (1)Five years ago, I posted a story about Lazarus, the cherry tomato plant, affectionately known as “the comeback kid.”

In 2012 I wrote: “The first year I planted the small cherry tomato plant was very disappointing.  It bore very few tomatoes and most were unappetizing hard red lumps. When it withered and turned brown at the end of the growing season, I was tempted to pull it out and toss it in the compost heap, but I didn’t.  I left it in the pot, neglected it and watched it survive a rainy and very cold winter. The next April, to my astonishment, it sprouted green leaves and started to show early signs of fruiting. It looked weak but showed a warrior spirit so I gave it an unceremonious dose of plant food and watched it go berserk.

That summer my former struggling tomato plant produced 2″ and 3″ spheres of ruby-red fruit. The taste was sweet and garden fresh. I made delicious Greek salads all summer long. Every year thereafter it has continued to grow bigger and better.  Given its remarkable history and talent for revivification, we nick-named it Lazarus.”  He was originally planted in 2008.

I thought for sure last summer that he had finally given up his ghost after four years of remarkable production and moved on to tomato-plant heaven.  By the end of the hot summer season there was no sign of life in him. He was a dry, crispy critter.  Since I was in the process of moving from Central California to Ventura, I left his corpse behind in a compost pile at the old house. Buh- bye sweet Lazarus. You were fabulous while you lasted.

In the fall  I moved about a dozen potted plants with me and hoped they would adapt to the new southern location.

At my new house, I envisioned a chorus of potted purple bougainvillea outlining the decks. I recycled some pots and soil from the former house and planted six new bougainvillea babies. They began to flourish immediately and brighten up my landscape just as I hoped they would. One day I noticed that one of the pots sported an intrusive extra green sprout. I suspected a weed and headed over to it thinking to remove it from spoiling the plan. To my astonishment, I recognized it as the start of a young tomato plant. As I looked closer I realized this had been Lazarus’ pot when I found the buried tag with his name on it. I suddenly realized that what I was seeing must have been produced from the seeds of his offspring.

There was Lazarus, growing right next to the bougainvillea and also flourishing. Hooray and Halleluiah! Lazarus is alive and well and living in Ventura in the same pot as his sister Bougainvillea.

I don’t have the heart to move him into his own pot. He seems so happy. His fruit is once again delicious and popping fresh.  I can’t wait to see what he does in the spring when I actually feed him.  Say hello to the wonderful Lazarus, now famous for coming back yet again. He’s quite the comeback kid.

 

Update: Lazarus actually took over the post this summer and last. He kicked out his sister Bougainvillea and is now the only child in a pot all his own.  He is now  9 years old, going on ten. Go Lazarus!

When he turn ten next year  I think he has to have his own blog. Lazarus 2016 (4)

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Apr 062017
 

I hated (still do) gyms. I don’t enjoy large groups of people, noise, loud TV’s blaring or lookie-loos. Call me weird, private, cloistered…whatever. I have my right to like or not like. You’re just not getting me in  a smelly-old, sweaty gym with strangers and attitude. But how do you stay fit and healthy if not in a gym? I went on a mission 20 years ago to find exercise that didn’t involve the dynamic of a gym. I studied exercise and tried milder forms like dancing, Aikido, Tai Chi, Yoga and Qigong.

What I have discovered is that unless you want to look like a runner-up for Mr. or Ms. Olympia, and you are focused on keeping fit for your heart and body health, then the forms of Tai Chi, Yoga, Qigong or walking will do the trick. You don’t have to spend hours jumping up and down for cardio health.  Just raise the heart rate through mild exercises 5 times a week  for 12 minutes, plus a warm up and cool-down and you will keep your heart functioning and strong. Engage in Tai Chi or Qigong three to four times a week to keep your balance aligned, muscles toned, and your body flexible.

K&M AIkido 5

Aikido is a slightly more aggressive marshal art than Tai Chi, but it is based in peace, cooperation and you work up into strength, balance, grace and concentration at your own skill level and pace.

Walking at a clip is great for the heart and the body. Add some weights while you walk to strengthen your arms and core…or take a rescue pup for a walk and both of you smell the roses on the path. Dancing is another way to work the body and create muscle tone, coordination and balance.

Tai Chi has the physical benefits of strengthening the core while calming the nervous system and developing balance, coordination, rhythm and connection to the cosmos. Yoga offers many techniques and styles. You can experiment with several approaches to find the one that suits you best. You can work in a “hot” studio, or normal temperature. Ask about their methods beforehand.

All of these suggestions benefit the body for longevity, strength, balance, energy stimulation and connect us to the visible and the invisible worlds. They save the chaos and intensity of the pounding beat of most gyms and allow us to go within as we work the outside. The physical plus spiritual benefits of these exercise techniques are cumulative and measurable.   I benefitted from Qigong so much, that I became an instructor and now share my practice with my local community.Qigong translates to: working the energy. This means on all levels: body, mind and soul

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Jan 112017
 

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According to an article published by time.com “one U.S. adult out of every three has high blood pressure, which increases the risk of heart disease and stroke. But the number of people with elevated blood pressure, not yet in the high range, is much higher. (870 million people worldwide are hypertensive.)

Elevated systolic blood pressure was found to be a leading contributor to preventable death in 2015 and was linked to more than 10 million deaths—1.4 times the number in 1990.
The 2015 results of the clinical SPRINT—short for the systolic blood pressure intervention—trial found that people who kept their systolic blood pressure at 120 had much lower rates of heart-related deaths and early deaths from any cause.

Not everyone needs to take a medication for elevated systolic blood pressure. It’s possible to lower your blood pressure naturally through changes in diet, exercise and weight, Roth says. The important thing is to start paying attention to blood pressure early. “Elevated blood pressure starts contributing to a very large amount of lost health at a relatively young age,” Roth says.

 

For more details go to:

http://time.com/4630345/systolic-blood-pressure-hypertension/?xid=tcoshare

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Dec 302016
 

lazarus-2016-4

Four years ago, I posted a story about Lazarus, the cherry tomato plant, affectionately known as “the comeback kid.”

In 2012 I wrote: “The first year I planted the small cherry tomato plant was very disappointing.  It bore very few tomatoes and most were unappetizing hard red lumps. When it withered and turned brown at the end of the growing season, I was tempted to pull it out and toss it in the compost heap, but I didn’t.  I left it in the pot, neglected it and watched it survive a rainy and very cold winter. The next April, to my astonishment, it sprouted green leaves and started to show early signs of fruiting. It looked weak but showed a warrior spirit so I gave it an unceremonious dose of plant food and watched it go berserk.

That summer my former struggling tomato plant produced 2″ and 3″ spheres of ruby-red fruit. The taste was sweet and garden fresh. I made delicious Greek salads all summer long. Every year thereafter it has continued to grow bigger and better.  Given its remarkable history and talent for revivification, we nick-named it Lazarus.“

Fast forward four years, its December 30, 2016 and Lazarus is at it again. Only this time, he truly came back from the dead.

I thought for sure last summer that he had finally given up his ghost after four years of remarkable production and moved on to tomato-plant heaven.  By the end of the hot summer season there was no sign of life in him. He was a dry, crispy critter.  Since I was in the process of moving from Central California to Ventura, I left his corpse behind in a compost pile at the old house. Bye bye sweet Lazarus. You were fabulous while you lasted.

In the fall  I moved about a dozen potted plants with me and hoped they would adapt to the new southern location.

At my new house, I envisioned a chorus of potted purple bougainvillea outlining the decks. I recycled some pots and soil from the former house and planted six new bougainvillea babies. They began to flourish immediately and brighten up my landscape just as I hoped they would. One day I noticed that one of the pots sported an intrusive extra green sprout. I suspected a weed and headed over to it thinking to remove it from spoiling the plan. To my astonishment, I recognized it as the start of a young tomato plant. As I looked closer I realized this had been Lazarus’ pot when I found the buried tag with his name on it. I suddenly realized that what I was seeing must have been produced from the seeds of his offspring.

There was Lazarus, growing right next to the bougainvillea and also flourishing. Hooray and Halleluiah! Lazarus is alive and well and living in Ventura in the same pot as his sister Bougainvillea.

I don’t have the heart to move him into his own pot. He seems so happy. His fruit is once again delicious and popping fresh.  I can’t wait to see what he does in the spring when I actually feed him.  Say hello to the wonderful Lazarus, now famous for coming back yet again. He’s quite the comeback kid.

lazarus-dec-2016-5

The Come Back Kid – Lazarus ,The Cherry Tomato Dec 30, 2016

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Dec 212016
 

Alan Thicke was a very nice man. I worked with him in several occasions and he was always the gentleman, kind, professional and a pleasure to be around. His untimely death was a shock to all of us.
I think the following advice from Dr. Oz is great to know and practice.

http://www.today.com/health/what-do-if-someone-having-heart-attack-t106021

We don’t know if following these practices might have saved Alan’s life, but they might have.

Unfortunately we’ll never know and the world has lost a lovely human being.

alan-thicke-sscn-ii

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo is from The Showtime Comedy Club All-Stars. I was Producer/Director, Ken Weinstock on right was EP.

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Nov 012014
 

cookie    Heart Easy ™ Gluten Free Oatmeal-Raisin-Cranberry Awesome Cookies

A church member (Patrick Milburn) asked me if I knew how to make gluten-free cookies. I told him I’d never done that before, but it set me on a mission. Here are the results and, if I may say so myself, they are scrumptious. Try them anytime for holidays and beyond.

 

Ingredients:

1 ½ cup gluten free rolled oats. (I used quick cooking)

1 cup gluten free Oat Flour

½ Cup Reddi Egg or egg substitute

½ cup authentic maple syrup (not flavored and colored corn syrup)

2 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

¼ cup unsweetened applesauce

4 T. organic brown sugar

½ tsp sea salt

½ cup raisins

½ cup dried cranberries (orange flavored are fabulous.)

 

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Combine the dry ingredients into one bowl and mix together.

Combine the wet ingredients in another bowl.

Add wet to dry and mix well.

Fold in the raisins and cranberries.

Refrigerate dough for 20 minutes.

Drop cookies onto a line baking sheet. (Parchment paper is excellent)

Bake for 12-15 minutes.

Allow cookies to cool completely before removing from paper.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Aug 172014
 

empty_calories_fried_foods

Fats:

There are two kinds of fats: Good and Bad.

The good guys are unsaturated fats: monounsaturateds (MUFAs), found in foods like olive oil and avocados, and polyunsaturateds (PUFAs), found in sunflower and corn oils, among others, and in the omega-3s in salmon and walnuts. Both types the “good ” title  because they’ve been shown to lower blood cholesterol and the risk for heart disease.

The villain, we’ve long been told, is saturated fat. The conventional wisdom, which dates to the 1950s, is that saturated fat, which is present in meat, dairy, and some plant products, increases our total cholesterol and chance for heart disease and stroke.

Bad Saturated Fats are: butter, milk fat, beef fat (tallow, suet) chicken fat, cream, pork fat (lard)stick margarine, shortening ,hydrogenated and partially hydrogenated oils, coconut oil, palm and palm kernel oils.

Trans fat, the staple fat that  dominates packaged goods and fast food, is another very bad guy: It not only gooses up our LDL cholesterol but also lowers our HDL cholesterol (the kind that helps sweep bad cholesterol out of the body). The American Heart Association recommends limiting your intake of saturated fat to less than 7 percent of your total calories (if you eat 2,000 calories a day, that’s 16 grams, roughly the amount in a chocolate milk shake) and of trans fats to no more than two grams a day. Safest idea is to have NO trans fats per day.

What you can do immediately is swap animal fats for vegetable oils — for instance, using soybean oil or olive oil  instead of butter because studies have shown these lower LDL cholesterol levels and disease risk.  “Be careful not to replace saturated fats with refined carbs or your triglycerides can go up and your good HDL cholesterol can go down,” explains Alice H. Lichtenstein, the director of the Cardiovascular Nutrition Laboratory at Tufts University. High triglycerides and low HDL are risk factors for cardiovascular disease and criteria of metabolic syndrome, a cluster of health problems linked to heart disease and diabetes.

salt

Salt:

Across the world, the excessive consumption of sodium–hiding in breads, soups and snack foods and beckoning from salt shakers everywhere–is the cause of some 1.65 million deaths by heart disease and strokes yearly, including roughly 667,000 “premature” deaths–those before the age of 70–says a comprehensive new study.[1]

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention state: “We all need a small amount (e.g., between about 180 mg and 500 mg per day) of sodium to keep our bodies working properly.   But the average daily sodium intake for Americans age 2 years and older is 3,436 mg.”

High sodium consumption raises blood pressure and high blood pressure is a major risk factor for heart disease and stroke, the nation’s first and third leading causes of death, respectively.

Research shows when salt intake is reduced, blood pressure begins decreasing for most people within a few days to weeks. Populations who consume diets low in salt do not experience the increase in blood pressure with age that is seen in most Western countries.

You can reduce your sodium intake if you:

1. Cook at home from scratch and reduce the amount of salt you add to dishes.

2. Check labels for sodium in all its forms. Table salt is mainly sodium chloride, but canned or packaged foods can contain other forms of sodium.

3. In the kitchen and at the dinner table, substitute spices, herbs, and salt-free blends for salt.

4. When you do opt for packaged foods, choose products that are sodium free or low in sodium. A typical cup of miso soup, for instance, contains 700 to 900 milligrams of sodium, so look for canned soups with “low sodium” or “reduced sodium” on the label. Bread and cereals carry loads of sodium. Buy the lowest sodium kind you can find and avoid white flour brands.

5. Watch out for salad dressings, ready- made pasta sauces, cup-o-soup products, canned vegetables, frozen pizzas, sausages, pepperoni, canned tuna,  and pretty much any food that requires preservation or shelf life.

6. In a restaurant, ask your waiter which dishes are the lowest in sodium and ask of the chef can prepare yours without adding salt.

The overall best approach is to scan the ingredient list before eating or drinking anything. Any ingredient with “sodium” or “Na” — the chemical name for sodium — in its name contains the substance. Sodium might also be labeled as baking soda, baking powder, monosodium glutamate (MSG), disodium phosphate or salt.

sugar

Sugar

Astonishingly, Americans consume an estimated 130 pounds of added sugar per capita annually. That’s about 22 teaspoons daily for adults; roughly 32 teaspoons children (almost three-fourths of a cup). Topping the added-sugar intake list are soft drinks, accounting for 33 percent of added sugar consumed daily.

Overconsumption of added sugar and high-glycemic carbohydrates (like those found in breads, pizza, cold cereals and other baked goods) has been linked to obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

One of the most effective things you can do to improve your health is to cut back radically on sugar consumption; in particular, avoid sugared beverages entirely. If this seems overwhelming, taper off slowly – add slightly less sugar to your coffee or tea every day and start by drinking  fewer soft drinks per week, etc. You will quickly discover that the craving for sugar dissipates. Foods that once seemed pleasantly sweet begin to taste sickly sweet .

Steer clear of artificial sweeteners – they have chemical components and adverse long term health consequences and the best solution is to choose natural sweeteners like organic raw sugar, maple syrup, or fruit sauces (apple or pear)  and cut way back on quantity and portion size.

If you reduce your consumption of Bad saturated fats, salt and sugar you will be on your way to a healthier body, a leaner frame, more energy and you will reduce your risk for heart disease, stroke,  obesity and diabetes.

 

[1] conducted by an international team led by Dr. Dariush Mozaffarian of Harvard University’s School of Public Health, was published Aug. 13, 2014 in the New England Journal of Medicine.

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Aug 012014
 

Meditation is good for your heartAsk  10 people you meet on the street what the main components of staying healthy are and chances are high they will answer: “diet and exercise.” And they are 2/3 right.

Certainly proper nutrition is key to good and sustainable health.  We achieve that by eating fruits, vegetables, only a light touch of meat and we seek our proteins and carbohydrates from sources that are low in saturated fats, salt and sugar. If we use color as a guide and make sure our plate is filled with wildly colorful fruits, vegetables, grains and legumes, we are already on the path to solid nutrition and a wholesome diet for our bodies.

Exercise is an equally important component. The body is made up of organs and muscles.  To be in prime working condition those parts must be exercised and challenged. If you don’t use it, you may lose it, especially where the heart muscle is concerned. But that doesn’t mean you have to run long distances or work out for hours in the gym. You can easily incorporate a program of Tai Chi into your life which provides the stretching, extension, discipline and the aerobic components you need for physical health and bodily strength.

The last component to staying healthy is, believe it or not, relaxation.  When you relax and get away from the stressors of your life, you foster good mental health. Take the time to breathe. Maybe incorporating a few yoga poses, or just sitting by yourself for an hour will do wonders for your mind. Use a few minutes of your time to focus on the good things in your life. Those areas that are working and that you are grateful for. If you find relaxation hard, try an acupuncture session or get a Shiatsu massage to relieve those knotted pressure points.

If you start today to incorporate  good nutrition, proper exercise and relaxation you will find that your life improves and doesn’t feel so bad after all.

 

 

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May 252014
 

Garlic truly is a superfood—it lowers blood pressure and triglycerides…enhances the immune system…and has potent antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral, anticancer and antioxidant properties. Researchers decided to see whether “old” garlic that has sprouted would show any changes in its nutritional powers, so they allowed ordinary garlic to sprout. Then the garlic and sprouts were minced, ground and turned into an extract. For comparison, a similar extract was prepared using unsprouted garlic.

According to a study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistr[1] sprouted garlic actually has stronger health benefits than unsprouted ones. They conjecture that the pod, when sprouted for five days, showed the maximum ability to help the human body.

The researchers aren’t sure which of the compounds in sprouted garlic are responsible for the increased antioxidant activity. However, they did find that sprouted garlic contains compounds that don’t exist in unsprouted garlic. This makes sense when you think about the fact that nature is meticulously protective of its species. By amping up antioxidant activity and creating protective new compounds, the immature plant—meaning the sprout—may be better able to protect itself from harmful pathogens.

Garlic has been used since ancient times as a medicinal remedy. It is a member of the allium family of plants, which also includes onions, chives and leeks. Garlic’s medicinal powers are attributed to its sulfur compounds, including a substance called allicin, which is formed when garlic is crushed or chopped. Besides fresh cloves, garlic is available in supplement form made from fresh, dried, or freeze-dried garlic, garlic oil and aged garlic extracts.[2]

Garlic is a great friend to our bodies.

It has cancer-fighting properties: The process of sprouting  garlic stimulates the production of phytochemicals, which has the ability to block and inhibit the activity of carcinogens (cancer causing chemicals) in the body. Garlic also produces a large amount of anti-oxidants that have preventative qualities for scavenging free oxygen radicals – one of the fertile soils for cancer growth.

It protects your heart: Phytochemicals boost enzyme activity and block the cholesterol deposits that lead  to plaque formation – an important factor in heart and artery disease.

A recent meta-analysis in China looked at 26 randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trials—the “gold standard” in scientific research. In that meta-analysis, researchers concluded that garlic reduces total cholesterol by 5.4% and triglyceride levels by 6.5% compared with a placebo. Garlic powder and aged garlic extract were found to be the most effective at lowering total cholesterol, while garlic oil had a greater effect on lowering triglyceride levels.[3]

It can prevent strokes:  Garlic on its own is a rich source of anjoene , an antithrombotic (anti-clotting) agent which helps prevent platelets in the blood from forming blood clots, and is packed with nitrites – a compound that helps dilate (or widen) the arteries. Both of these nutrients can help prevent the onset of a stroke (a condition caused by the formation of a blood clot in the blood vessels of the brain).

It can delay wrinkles and premature ageing: Antioxidants help prevent premature ageing by scavenging free radicals in our body – the leading cause of  ageing.  According to the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry study, garlic pods sprouted for five days have the highest antioxidant activity – making them a youth elixir for your body.

It does boost your immune system:  If you suffer from frequent colds, coughs or infections you might also benefit from sprouted garlic. Sprouted garlic provides your body with a strong boost of antioxidants. Antioxidants strengthen your immune system which help you ward off infections. Historically, garlic has received attention as a potent antibacterial agent. In 1858, Louis Pasteur touted garlic as an antibiotic. Garlic was later used in World War I and World War II as an antiseptic to prevent gangrene.

 

How to sprout your own garlic:

Garlic normally sprouts on its own if left out in the open. But if you want to sprout them yourself, here is a way to hasten the process:

Place a pod of unpeeled garlic and gently poke in three tooth picks on three sides of the garlic. Make sure you place the toothpicks in the fleshy part of the pod. Fill up a small glass with clean water (tap water is fine.). Balance the garlic pod on the rim of the glass using the toothpicks as braces to partially submerge the root section in the water.

Allow the glass to stay on the windowsill for five days, making sure the bottom is  always submerged in the water.  Once it is sprouted, wash it well and add to foods for the nutritional benefits it provides.

 

If you have a personal or family history of heart disease, ask your doctor about using garlic (in food or supplements) as part of a heart-healthy lifestyle. Be sure to consult your doctor first if you take a blood pressure or statin drug.

Because garlic may also interact with certain prescription drugs, such as warfarin(Coumadin), consult your doctor before significantly increasing your intake of the herb if you take any medication or have a chronic medical condition.



[1] http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/jf500603v

[2] Ellen Tattelman, MD, director of the faculty development fellowship at the Residency Program in Social Medicine at Montefiore Medical Center in New York City.

[3] ibid

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