Tag Archives: Heart health

Spice Up Your Health

LongevitySpicyFood2Jacquie Eubanks RN BSN

Spicy cuisine has long been a staple in Indian, Asian and Central American cuisine. Over the last few years, Americans have been steadily acquiring a healthy respect for fiery hot foods. Companies like the NPD Group, a global information company, and SupplyTrack, which tracks every product shipped from major distributors to food service operators, report that millennials and baby boomers are the largest consumers of hot sauces, with 56% of households keeping hot sauce on hand in their kitchens. Cases of hot sauces to restaurants and food service outlets have increased by double digits over the past two years.

While the rates of consumption in the US tend to be regional, hot sauces are quickly becoming indispensable to consumers. Research clearly shows that consumers are becoming more adventurous eaters and their preference for spicy foods and sauces is increasing. That’s good news for improved overall health, as studies show that those who regularly consume hot spicy foods are more likely to enjoy a longer, healthier lifespan. Research and evidence suggest that eating spicy foods may have surprisingly positive effects on heart health, cancer prevention, pain relief, and weight loss, the combination of which provides a recipe for longevity.

The eye-watering, mouth burning pain that comes from biting into an innocent-looking but extremely hot pepper results from capsaicin, an active component of chili peppers. It’s this compound that sends a fiery message from the mouth’s nerve endings to the brain, resulting in a release of endorphins, mood boosting chemicals and natural painkillers, that may keep us going back for more. Bell peppers do not contain capsaicin nor does crushed black pepper. To get the anti-obesity, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and antihypertensive effects, fiery peppers are required.

Heart health – Numerous studies have shown that those who live in countries that typically have spicier diets have far fewer heart attacks than those who consume milder diets. Consuming chili peppers appears to improve heart function by negating the effects of LDL cholesterol. Capsaicin helps to reduce inflammation, a risk factor for cardiac and other chronic diseases and may support healthy blood flow by blocking a gene that narrows the arteries.

Weight loss – Eating spicy foods increases body heat, which may help burn calories more quickly, beneficially impacting metabolism and fat burning potential. Studies have shown that those who consume spicy appetizers consume less calories overall, suggesting that spicy foods may help to increase satiety and decrease appetite. Although black pepper doesn’t contain capsaicin, it does contain ispiperine, a substance that gives it flavor and blocks formation of new fat cells. Combine black pepper with crushed chili peppers or ground cayenne to get the full benefit.

Pain relief –  When used regularly, topical creams and patches that contain capsaicin as the active ingredient provide effective relief for arthritic pain, as well as muscle and joint discomfort. Traditionally used for centuries, capsaicin helps to deaden pain sensation by inhibiting pain signals from nerve cells to the brain. Initially, capsaicin can cause a burning sensation. However, capsaicin works by desensitizing sensory receptors in the skin, exhausting pain nerve cells and acting as an analgesic.

Cancer prevention – Capsaicin has both anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties and may be instrumental in inhibiting tumor growth. While further studies are needed, the American Cancer Society has suggested that capsaicin may help slow the growth of prostate cancer cells. Other studies have shown promising results for suppressing breast, pancreatic and bladder cancer cells as well.

To receive the full health and longevity benefits, try to include spicy peppers in your diet two or three times per week. Peppers can be prepared in a variety of ways and cooking them will not reduce their healthful benefits. For those who simply can’t tolerate spicy food or those who want to increase their intake of capsaicin, cayenne supplements may be taken with meals to support cardiovascular health and stimulate healthy digestive function.

Professional Supplement Center carries these and other high quality supplements that support overall health and longevity:

Cayenne 475 mgCayenne 475 mg by Dr. Christopher’s FormulasON SALE This pure medicinal and nutritional herbal formula provides 950 mg of cayenne pepper per serving in support of cardiovascular and gastrointestinal health. Vegetarian, kosher formulation.

 

Cayenne 500 mgCayenne 500 mg by Now Foods – This product supplies 500 mg of cayenne pepper per capsule in support of cardiovascular health and healthy digestive function.

 

Capsaicin/Arnica...Capsaicin/Arnica Acute Cream by Professional Complementary Health Formulas – This external cream formula provides relief for sore muscles without unnecessary chemicals or solvents. Gluten and additive free formulation.

 

CayenneCayenne by Herb Pharm – This liquid cayenne extract is sourced from hand-harvested, certified organically grown capsicum peppers. To ensure optimal extraction of cayenne’s bioactive compounds, only fully ripened fruits are utilized. Gluten, soy and dairy free, Non-GMO formulation.

References:
What is Capsaicin? 9 Topical Uses and Benefits. http://www.globalhealingcenter.com/natural-health/what-is-capsaicin/
Study Finds People Who East More Spicy Foods Have a Reduced Risk of Premature Death. https://mic.com/articles/123778/study-finds-people-who-eat-more-spicy-foods-have-a-reduced-risk-of-premature-death#.43RqxfLrE
Way More Than Some Like It Hot: Hot Sauce Is Becoming Ubiquitous in Homes and at Foodservice Outlets. https://www.npd.com/wps/portal/npd/us/news/press-releases/2015/way-more-than-some-like-it-hot-hot-sauce-is-becoming-ubiquitous-in-homes-and-at-foodservice-outlets/
Capsaicin for Arthritis. http://www.arthritis.org/living-with-arthritis/treatments/natural/supplements-herbs/guide/capsaicin.php
Why You Should Blame Millennials for Spicy Fast Food. http://time.com/money/3825215/fast-food-spices-sriracha-ghost-pepper-trends/
What Are the Health Benefits of Spicy Food? http://healthyeating.sfgate.com/health-benefits-spicy-food-7569.html
8 Hidden Health Benefits of Spicy Food Supported by Science. http://www.lifehack.org/304783/8-hidden-health-benefits-spicy-food-supported-science

 

The Health Benefits of Tart Cherry

TartCherriesJacquie Eubanks RN BSN

 

 

Many of us can recall summer days and the sweet, dark, delicious Bing cherries that summer brings. Montmorency tart or sour cherries are also grown in summer but you are not likely to find fresh ones in your grocery store. Rather they are found frozen, canned, dried, powdered, juiced and as a supplement. As their name implies tart cherries are not a sweet fruit and, as such, these superfruits may not get the attention they deserve. While all fruits contain fiber and beneficial compounds, tart cherries are not just your ordinary fruit. Tart cherries contain an abundance of nutrients including fiber, vitamins A and C, folate, phosphorus, potassium, magnesium and calcium.

Published scientific studies have shown that these cherries contain an abundance of synergistic bioactive compounds and powerhouse phytochemicals known as anthocyanins, which give cherries their bright red color and are known for their effective and substantial antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activity. Plants produce anthocyanins as protective mechanisms against environmental stressors such as cold, drought, pathogens and ultraviolet rays. Epidemiological studies strongly suggest that consumption of naturally occurring plant compounds offer protection against the development of cancers, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, osteoporosis and neurodegenerative diseases.

Broad spectrum health benefits of tart cherries include:

Antioxidant compoundsTart cherries have very high amounts of high ORAC value antioxidants, surpassing even blueberries and strawberries. Antioxidants are considered to be cancer protective and essential in the fight against free radicals and oxidation.

Anti-Inflammatory propertiesResearch suggests that anthocyanin’s anti-inflammatory properties may help prevent blood vessel damage and may be useful in fighting chronic inflammation linked to heart disease, arthritis, type 2 diabetes and many other diseases. Tart cherries have been found to be useful in the relief of inflammation induced pain.

Insomnia – Tart cherries have naturally high levels of melatonin, a hormone responsible for the regulation of the body’s circadian rhythm and the sleep-wake cycle. Studies have shown that as a natural sleep aid, tart cherry may benefit sleep duration, sleep quality and the management of restless sleep.

Gout prevention – Tart cherries have been shown to help reduce uric acid levels that cause the pain and inflammation associated with gout and may be helpful in reducing the frequency of gout attacks.

Improved exercise recoveryStudies have shown that tart cherry juice may decrease muscle pain and weakness associated with exercise, intense strength training, long-distance running or high intensity cycling and provide faster recovery, reduced inflammation and less oxidative stress.

Heart healthStudies show that tart cherries may help lower cholesterol and triglycerides and reduce inflammation, all of which supports cardiovascular health. A high intake of anthocyanins is associated with enhanced cardiovascular health support.

Arthritis and joint pain – Because of their high anti-inflammatory properties, tart cherries may help reduce inflammatory pain associated with arthritis. One study showed that tart cherry anthocyanins were as effective as OTC medications in suppressing the COX enzymes associated with inflammation.

Professional Supplement Center carries these high quality products that contain beneficial anthocyanin compounds:

Tart Cherry

 

Tart Cherry by Carlson Labs – Two capsules provide 1,000 mg of Montmorency tart cherry concentrate in support of antioxidant protection, healthy joint function and reduced recovery time after vigorous exercise. Gluten free, vegetarian formula.

Tart Cherry Ultra

 

Tart Cherry Ultra by Enzymatic Therapy – This beneficial flavonoid compound provides 1.2 g of tart cherry skin concentrate per serving. Gluten, soy and dairy free, vegetarian formula.

 

Recancostat® 400 mgRecancostat® 400 mg by Integrative Therapeutics – This clinically studied, patented blend of stabilized reduced glutathione (GSH), anthocyanins and L-cysteine supports healthy cell development, blocks free radical damage and supports the body’s normal DNA repair processes. Gluten, soy and dairy free.

 

Tart Cherry Extract

 

Tart Cherry Extract by Life Extension – This 100% natural CherryPURE® tart cherry extract contains a clinically studied dose of standardized 40 mg anthocyanins per capsule. Non-GMO vegetarian formulation.

 

References
Tart Cherries. Summary of Current Scientific Literature. http://ncnm.edu/images/Helfgott/Projects/scientific-literature-summary-cherries-2011.pdf
Processed tart cherry products-comparative phytochemical content, in vitro antioxidant capacity and in vitro anti-inflammatory activity. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23163942
The effect of 100% tart cherry juice on serum uric acid levels, biomarkers of inflammation and cardiovascular disease risk factors. http://www.fasebj.org/cgi/content/meeting_abstract/25/1_MeetingAbstracts/339.2?sid=9b969204-e099-4d63-a86d-81e8271e2bd8
Cherry consumption and decreased risk of recurrent gout attacks. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23023818
Effect of tart cherry juice on melatonin levels and enhanced sleep quality. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22038497/
Tart Cherries Relieve Osteoarthritis Pain. http://www.greenmedinfo.com/blog/tart-cherries-relieve-osteoarthritis-pain
Plant polyphenols as dietary antioxidants in human health and disease. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2835915/