Showing posts with label hdl cholesterol. Show all posts
Showing posts with label hdl cholesterol. Show all posts

Thursday, June 5, 2014

More on the Medicine Cabinet in Your Kitchen

If our first  Medicine Cabinet in Your Kitchen article whetted your appetite to learn more about how common kitchen spices and herbs benefit your health, you’ll want to bookmark this article as well. 

Yes, it’s true; the kitchen spice rack can be a logical extension of your medicine cabinet, in thanks largely to polyphenols, the plant compounds present in many common kitchen spices and herbs. Consequently, common spices offer numerous health benefits. The benefits of the four spices we feature here include anxiety relief, improved digestion, better brain function, anemia relief,  repelling insects, reducing inflammation, and even fighting cancer and reducing tumors.

Four kitchen herbs and spices with health benefits

In this article, we explore the many health benefits of clove, coriander, cumin, and garlic.

The health benefits of cloves

Cloves – a staple in many recipes, such as ginger bread, pumpkin pie, soups, and chili – are jam-packed with bioactive elements, such as tannins, the antioxidant eugenol, and terpenoids, that aid health.

Studies on mice suggest that cloves contain cancer prevention properties that can change cellular detoxification processes for the better. Scientists believe that the cloves’ eugenol serves as an antimutagen (reducing the frequency of cell mutation) and blocks carcinogen-induced actions that damage the genetic information within a cell.  One study suggested that clove extracts can decrease colon carcinogenesis. Other benefits of clove include:
  • Inflammation relief: Clove’s eugenol and flavonoids function as anti-inflammatory substances.
  • Bug repellent: Clove oil, applied to your skin, repels mosquitoes even more effectively than citronella.
Cloves are nutrient dense – an excellent source of manganese, vitamin K, and dietary fiber.  As an added convenience, cloves can be grown year-round.

The health benefits of coriander

Not all parts of the coriander herb plant are edible, but fresh coriander leaves and dried coriander seeds are a wonderful addition to your recipes. As for your health, coriander contains lots of linalool, a compound that has been shown in studies to support the liver.

Other benefits of coriander:
  • Reduce bad cholesterol. Coriander’s good acids – linoleic, palmitic, ascorbic, and oleic – not only attack the LDL cholesterol in your blood but also elevate your good (HDL) cholesterol.
  • Reduce skin inflammation. Coriander’s essential oil cineole and its linoleic acid are known for their ability to reduce swelling caused by rheumatoid arthritis. And because coriander can induce urination, it can also reduce swelling from anemia or kidney malfunction.
  • Relieve diarrhea. Coriander’s essential oils borneol and linalool help digestion in general and bowel health in particular. One coriander study even showed that coriander can heal infectious forms diarrhea due to its antibacterial properties.
  • Clear up skin issues. Dry skin and skin fungal infections can be mollified by coriander’s antiseptic, disinfectant, antioxidant, and antifungal properties.
Also make sure to add fresh coriander leaves to your salads or appetizer dishes – coriander’s digestive properties can improve your entire meal’s assimilation.

The health benefits of cumin

Cumin seeds – a popular addition to spice racks -- are a rich and natural antioxidant source.  Research on cumin also shows that, thanks to its compound thymoquinone, cumin can suppress tumor cell proliferation. It has shown positive benefits on such cancers as colorectal, breast, skin, pancreatic, ovarian, and leukemia.  Other benefits:

  • Relieve flatulence. Cumin can prevent the formation of gas in your gut and facilitate gas expulsion. So, consider adding some cumin to your favorite bean dishes!
  • Boost blood. Studies show that, because cumin is a rich source of iron, cumin increases red blood cell count, including your blood’s hemoglobin, which aids in oxygen transportation throughout your body. Adding cumin to your daily diet can help with anemia and reduce fatigue and anxiety.
  • Enhance mental focus and improve cognition. The same hemoglobin-boosting properties that make cumin good for anemia also boost brain function, and may even aid in preventing cognitive disorders such as dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, according to this cumin research.
As if this isn’t enough, other cumin medical research shows it to be beneficial for removing toxins, preventing diabetes, increasing healthy phlegm production, boosting the immune system, and lactation support.

The health benefits of garlic

Garlic is one of the most popular kitchen spices, and it’s also one of the most medicinal.  We’ve previously featured a full article on garlic health benefits and history. Compelling garlic research shows that its components may lower the incidence of breast, colon, skin, uterine, esophagus, and lung cancers.
As well, garlic’s hydrogen sulfide is an effective antioxidant. Another study on garlic’s health benefits suggests that it can prevent the common cold and reduce the longevity of the cold.

Spread the word – share your recipe!

Though the free FamilyWize drug discount card can cut your pharmaceutical costs by as much as 75 percent, why not take also advantage of your spice rack to let nature do its part in preserving your health and supporting your health recovery?

If you’ve got a good recipe that uses any of the healthy spices we featured in this article – garlic, cumin, coriander, or cloves – please use the comments feature below to share with our readers.

Ric Moxley
Contributing Writer

Monday, September 24, 2012

Cholesterol – Know Your Numbers

cholesterol high cholesterol
© Xaoc | Stock Free Images & Dreamstime Stock Photos
As the fall weather edges closer, special health months remind us of important aspects of our well being. September is National Cholesterol Education Month, a great time to learn about heart health. Keeping cholesterol levels in check gives us a healthier outlook for avoiding heart disease and stroke.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1 out of 6 Americans has high cholesterol. I didn’t know it was so common until my dad told me he was cutting down on things like bacon and cheese. He said he had to keep an eye on his cholesterol. At that moment, I realized just how common cholesterol issues are for many families.

Heart disease and stroke are risks for people with high cholesterol. I'm proud of my dad for watching his dietary cholesterol. If you are concerned about cholesterol, check with your doctor. A simple blood test can give you your numbers. Ask questions and learn what you can do to control cholesterol. Simple changes in diet may be all you need. However, if your doctor feels you need medication to control cholesterol be sure to take them as prescribed.

What Is Cholesterol

If you are unfamiliar with cholesterol, you may wonder, what is cholesterol, what is high cholesterol or what is good cholesterol. The National Heart Lung and Blood Institute defines cholesterol as “a waxy, fat-like substance that’s found in all cells of the body.” High cholesterol may cause artery walls to have a buildup of cholesterol clogging the passageways. If blood flow is clogged or slowed, the patient is at a higher risk of heart disease and stroke.

Not all cholesterol is bad, though. High density lipoprotein (HDL) is considered good cholesterol while low density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol is considered bad cholesterol. HDL cholesterol is good because it takes cholesterol from different parts of your body and transports it to the liver where it is removed from your body. LDL cholesterol is bad because it clogs the arteries, restricts the flow of blood, and puts you at risk for a variety of heart conditions, including coronary heart disease, atherosclerosis, carotid artery disease, and stroke, to name just a few.

However, there is new research that suggests that not all LDL cholesterol is bad or even a risk factor for heart disease.

Cholesterol Numbers

Ideal cholesterol numbers change with age. Normal cholesterol numbers for one person may be considered very high for another, often depending on their health. According to WebMD, an LDL level below 100 is ideal for most people

LDL Cholesterol:
  • Less than 100 – Optimal
  • 100-129 – Near optimal / above optimal
  • 130-159 – Borderline high
  • 160-189 – High
  • 190 and above – Very high
HDL Cholesterol:
  • 60 and above – High / optimal; lower risks
  • Less than 40 in men and less than 50 in women – Low; considered a risk factor for heart disease
Triglycerides are also important when measuring cholesterol. The chemical form of fat stored in the body, triglycerides are calories your body doesn’t need to convert to energy right away.

The Mayo Clinic shares the following numbers for triglycerides:
  • Normal: Less than 150 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL) or less than 1.7 millimoles per L (mmol/L) 
  • Borderline high: 150 to 199 mg/dL (1.8 to 2.2 mmol/L)
  • High: 200 to 499 mg/dL (2.3 to 5.6 mmol/L) 
  • Very high: 500 mg/dL or above (5.7 mmol/L or above) 
The American Heart Association (AHA) advises that 100mg/dL or lower is preferred to lower risks and improve heart health.

Eating a healthier diet, watching your cholesterol, getting some fresh air and good exercise, and of course, taking any medications as prescribed by your doctor are all the things you can do to live a healthier life. The FamilyWize prescription drug card may help lower the cost of your prescriptions. On average, patients have saved 40% oh cholesterol drugs. Even if you have prescription coverage, FamilyWize may be able to help. Search for your prescription medication here and see how much you can save today.

If you have loved ones watching their cholesterol, as I do, keep their dietary requirements in mind when you invite them over for dinner. Be sure to take on the role of cheerleader, too, encouraging that great behavior when it comes to watching those cholesterol numbers.

Do your own research, read about new advances in medicine and health topics and talk to your doctor about what you are doing right and what you can be doing better, and differently, for your health.

By Kathryn M. D’Imperio
Contributing Writer