Posts Tagged ‘anti-inflammatory’
Who would have thought that basil, the herb used as a spice to enhance the flavor of foods would turn out to be very good for your health as well. Basil is loaded with large amounts of calcium, vitamin K, and oils that are loaded with antioxidants. The antioxidants found in basil has been shown in recent studies to support cardiovascular health. Seniors who are concerned about taking preemptive aging steps would do well to include basil in their daily diet. In addition the anti-inflammatory compound beta-caryophyllene is found in abundance in the leaves of basil may help treat the conditions such as arthritis as well as inflammatory bowel disease. Even further recent studies have shown that basil has the potential to inhibit the growth of pathogenic bacteria. Additional benefits provided by basil include reduction of stress and modulation of immunity. In selecting basil fresh basil is better than dried basil, but organic dried basil is certainly adequate. The dried basil can be stored in a cool dry place, but the fresh basil needs to be refrigerated or frozen. Basil that is usually known as a flavor enhancer is actually a spice that has multiple health benefits.
In the US cancer is the second leading cause of death. As we age the risk of contracting cancer increases. Seniors who are concerned about their senior health are wise to take preemptive steps to lower their risk of developing cancer. It turns out that in terms of cancer prevention there is a multimodal cancer-preventing agent known as curcumin. Curcumin is derived from the Indian spice tumeric. In 2010 the multimodal cancer-preventing capabilities of curcumin were reported in more than 230 published studies. Curcumin provides several active components which contribute to its cancer-preventing and anti-inflammatory power. The studies revealed that curcumin can target ten different factors that cause cancer to develop. In the case of hormone-negative breast cancers, curcumin has been shown to induce programmed cell death of those cancers. This is good news for senior women. Curcumin has shown similar success in the case of prostate cancer which is a threat to senior men. It turns out that curcumin can provide help to prevent prostate cancer from starting. In the case of prostate cancer that has already begun curcumin can interfere with the growth of that cancer in multiple modes. This is very good news fro senior men who are concerned about taking preemptive steps to protect their prostate health.
Seniors who are concerned about taking preemptive aging measures to improve their senior health can get an immune system boost by implementing some simple changes in their diet. This year in May an article appeared in a leading publication dedicated to immunity that reported on the benefits for the immune system due to adding fiber to the diet. The fiber used in the lab tests included both soluble and insoluble fiber that was added to the diet in the form of citrus pectin over a period of six weeks. In the tests the subjects that had received the added fiber were 50% less susceptible to an induced bacterial infection and recovered about 50% faster than those that lacked the added fiber in their diet.
The researchers traced these benefits for the added fiber to changes in the response of immunity cells to the challenge of a bacterial infection. Without the added fiber the immunity cells tended to be pro-inflammatory, but by adding the fiber the immunity cells became more anti-inflammatory. The immunity cells that were more anti-inflammatory were better able to fight the bacterial infection. This is good news for seniors who want to get an immune system boost, in order to improve their senior health, because they can add a number of popular foods to their diets to increase the fiber in their diet. Foods containing soluble fiber include apples, nuts, seeds, oats, barley, citrus fruits, strawberries, and carrots. Supplements in the form of powders are also available.
Reducing inflammation is one of the best ways for seniors to reduce their risk of heart attacks, stroke, and other cardiovascular diseases. It is true that inflammation is a positive part of the healing process, but this type of inflammation is a short term, intense process, not a long term, low level process that upsets our immune system. It turns out that a number of vitamins and minerals can make strong contributions to reducing low level inflammation. These minerals and vitamins have been shown to reduce CRP levels that are a marker for cardiovascular disease.
The vitamins C, D, folic acid, and niacin are four that offer the most reduction of inflammation. Among the spices tumeric and ginger both provide strong anti-inflammatory compounds. Among the flavonoids, quercetin is one with the strongest anti-inflammatory activity. Other sources of flavonoids include red onions, apples, and both green and black tea, as well as the cruciferous vegetables, dark chocolate, red wine, all citrus fruits, and nuts like almonds and pecans. Finally berries of almost all types provide polyphenols that provide anti-inflammatory activity. It turns out that tart cherries score very high on anti-inflammatory activity.