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Enokitake Mushrooms: 7 Benefits Of This Superfood!

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Enokitake Mushrooms: 7 Benefits Of This Superfood!
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Dr. Edward F. GroupGuest Writer

Most of us know that mushrooms taste great in a stir-fry or a warming bowl of soup, but did you know that some varieties of fungi are also known as healing mushrooms and functional foods? Native to Asia but common in North American grocery stores, enokitake are one such mushroom that provides a host of health benefits.

Best known for strengthening the body’s natural immune response, enokitake mushrooms contain potent antioxidants.[1] They also promote liver and heart health and a normal response to inflammation.[1]

More than just a healthy and nutritious food choice, mushrooms like enokitake can make your meals delicious and your body and mind strong! Read on to learn more.

What Are Enokitake Mushrooms?

If you enjoy Asian cuisine or just like different mushrooms, you may have eaten enokitake before. You’ll often find them served in hot pot soups or with noodles, salads, and other dishes.

Quite beautiful, enokitake grow in bouquets of long thin, white stems with little caps on top. They’re fairly common in your average produce department. Their flavour ranges from delicate to earthy, complex, and woody.

Enoki is the name of the Chinese hackberry tree on which these mushrooms grow in the wild, and “take” means mushroom in Japanese, which explains why some people call them enoki and others enokitake.

Native to China, Korea, and Japan, enokitake mushrooms (Flammulina velutipes) look quite different in the wild. Due to sunlight exposure, the wild mushrooms have deeper hues, from light or dark brown to earthy red, and with larger caps. The cultivated varieties are delicate white and are also called lily mushrooms, golden needle mushrooms, winter mushrooms, or futu mushrooms.

Long used in Eastern traditions, some other medicinal mushrooms include birch polypore, Chaga, Lion’s mane, and Cordyceps. But let’s take a closer look at the health benefits of the mighty enokitake.

7 Health Benefits of Enokitake

Like many mushrooms, enokitake contain an impressive nutritional profile of health-giving vitamins and minerals. Enokitake are especially rich in zinc, copper, potassium, magnesium, folate, and selenium. They’re also high in fibre and low in calories.[1]

Besides their nutrition, enokitake offer many health-giving benefits such as acting as a powerful antioxidant, promoting a healthy immune system, and even improving mood.[2] 

Below are the seven top benefits of enokitake.

1. Boosts the Immune System

One of the most impressive health benefits of enokitake is how they enhance immune responses in the body.[2] The immune system acts as a gatekeeper against disease and infection. It’s also a sensory system that relays information to the brain. When you get sick or have flare-ups of inflammation, or other incursions against your immune system repeatedly, your stress hormone levels rise.[3]

Enokitake enhances how your immune system responds to incursions, having what are called “immunomodulatory” effects.[2] Enokitake also stimulates the normal production of white blood cells, a key part of immune system health.[2] They may also deter harmful organisms and abnormal cell growth and proliferation.[24]

2. Scavenges Free Radicals

Polysaccharides in enokitake scavenge free radicals in your body, especially hydroxyl and superoxide anions. Free radicals act like rogue molecules that can go haywire, damaging cells and accelerating the aging process. Antioxidants counteract these free radicals like a healing balm.

This ability to counteract harmful free radicals means that enokitake and its polysaccharides have an antioxidant and anti-aging effect on cells.[5]

3. Promotes Heart Health

Enokitake mushrooms can make your heart happy and healthy by promoting normal blood pressure, blood cholesterol levels, and more.

When your blood pressure is too high or too low, it can make you feel unwell — and can be associated with different illnesses. Enokitake helps promote normal blood pressure, especially when caused by a poor diet.[1]

The dietary fibre, polysaccharides, and mycosterol in enokitake mushrooms promote normal levels of total cholesterol, as well as “bad” (LDL) cholesterol.[1] Enokitake has particularly high fibre compared to others — an additional reason it can promote a healthy heart.[1]

4. Protects the Liver

Cholesterol — good (HDL) and bad (LDL) forms — can accumulate in the blood, body, and liver. While you can get cholesterol from the food you eat, the liver also manufactures cholesterol. When too much accumulates in the liver, it can cause concerns, particularly fatty liver disease. When your body accumulates too much LDL (low-density lipoprotein) it can negatively affect your liver.

Enokitake extract and powder may promote normal liver levels of cholesterol and triacylglycerol (a triglyceride) — a common dietary fat.[1] This supports liver health!

5. Promotes a Normal Response to Inflammation

Inflammation occurs when your immune system isn’t functioning at its prime. Although inflammation is a natural response, over time, it can become very damaging to the body. The good news? Experts found that enokitake mushrooms helped promote a normal response to inflammation.[6]

Adding enokitake to a plant-based diet (or any diet) — or taking it as a supplement — can reduce redness and swelling in the body, boosting overall good health. Enokitake contains healthy amounts of linoleic acid, a fatty acid precursor to molecules in the body’s inflammatory pathways. By supporting normal levels of tumour necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-?) and nitric oxide (NO), enokitake supports healthy levels of inflammation, keeping it in check.[1]

6. Boosts Your Mood!

As mentioned, enokitake mushrooms are rich in polysaccharides. Among their many benefits, they promote normal levels of the neurotransmitters serotonin and dopamine.[12] Both of these compounds play an essential role in a positive mood. The polysaccharides in enokitake also support memory and learning.[1]

As enokitake mushrooms also have a positive effect on the body’s immune system, they, in turn, help the body naturally relieve stress and anxiety.[13] When you feel unwell or are unhealthy, it affects your overall mood and stress level, causing a negative feedback loop. Enokitake can help you turn it around!

7. Promotes Longevity

The polysaccharides in enokitake mushrooms promote longevity through better health and healthy aging.[4] The impressive antioxidant compounds present in this functional food and healing mushroom have some anti-aging properties.

Enokitake’s antioxidant enzyme activities support the body’s ability to protect and repair itself, particularly your organs.[5] Keeping your liver, kidneys, lungs, and other organs healthy will make a huge difference in your quality of life as you get older.

Best Ways to Take Enokitake

You can find enokitake mushrooms fresh or dried and reconstitute them before cooking, or you can find them in capsules, powders, or liquid extracts.

Fresh Mushrooms

Turn to an Asian-inspired recipe to find the best ways to prepare and serve these delicious mushrooms. You can cook and eat these edible mushrooms in a variety of ways. They are delicious in miso soup, stews, or stir-fries.

Enokitake Stir-Fry

Try the delicious stir-fry below for a taste of enokitake, with all their health benefits.

Equipment

  • Saucepan or wok
  • Knife

Ingredients

  • 8 ounces enoki mushrooms
  • 2 bunches of rainbow chard, chopped
  • 2 small zucchinis, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 large clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon low-sodium coconut aminos
  • ½ teaspoon finely grated fresh ginger
  • Juice of ½ lime

Directions

  1. Prepare the thin, white mushrooms by trimming the ends and separating them into strands.
  2. Chop the chard leaves and stems into small pieces.
  3. Slice the zucchini and cut each slice in half.
  4. Heat the oil in a pan over medium-high heat.
  5. Saute garlic until fragrant, and the mushrooms and cook until they just begin to wilt.
  6. Add the coconut aminos and ginger and cook for a further 1 to 2 minutes to coat.
  7. Top with a squeeze of lime. Enjoy!

You can eat the vegetables as a side dish or add over brown rice or quinoa for a filling meal!

Supplements

You can buy enokitake mushrooms as a supplement in capsules, powder, or liquid extracts. As powder, you’ll find them mixed with other healthy mushrooms like reishi, Chaga, shiitake, and Cordyceps. Always seek out the highest-quality plant-based supplements with quality controls in place. They may be combined with other healing herbs for immune support or other health benefits.

Global Healing’s Plant-Based Immune Boost is an advanced, Raw Herbal Extract™ formula with powerful ingredients, including enokitake, elderberryEchinacea, pine bark, olive leaf extract, and birch polypore mushroom.

Points to Remember

Enokitake mushrooms (Flammulina velutipes) are native to China, Japan, and the Korean peninsula. These mushrooms have an amazing nutritional profile. They provide a great source of B vitamins, phosphorus, iron, selenium, and calcium, as well as high levels of linoleic acid (a fatty acid), polysaccharides, and other nutritional phytochemicals and antioxidants.

Beyond nutrition, enokitake strengthen and bolster your immune system, which helps to regulate mood while preventing stress and anxiety.[13] These powerful little mushrooms are also very good for your overall heart health, promoting normal levels of cholesterol in the liver and bloodstream. They also promote normal blood pressure and a normal response to inflammation.[1567]

The enokitake mushroom really earns its title as a functional food. Its anti-aging antioxidants and ability to counteract free radicals make this fungus a longevity superfood!

References
  1. Tang C, et al. Golden needle mushroom: a culinary medicine with evidenced-based biological activities and health promoting properties. Front Pharmacol. 2016;7:474.
  2. Wu M, et al. Antioxidant and immunomodulatory activities of a polysaccharide from Flammulina velutipes. J Tradit Chin Med. 2014;34(6):733-740.
  3. Brebner K, et al. Synergistic effects of interleukin-1?, interleukin-6, and tumor necrosis factor-?: central monoamine, corticosterone, and behavioral variations. Neuropsychopharmacol. 2000;22:566-580.
  4. Dong YR, et al. Antimicrobial and antioxidant activities of Flammulina velutipes polysaccharides and polysaccharide-iron. Carbohydr Polym. 2017;161:26-32.
  5. Yuan F, et al. Characterization, antioxidant, anti-aging and organ protective effects of sulfated polysaccharides from Flammulina velutipes. Molecules. 2019;24(19):3517.
  6. Gunawardena D, et al. Anti-inflammatory effects of five commercially available mushroom species determined in lipopolysaccharide and interferon-? activated murine macrophages. Food Chem. 2014;148:92-96.

Originally published at Global Healing Center and reproduced here with permission.

Recommended Articles by Dr. Edward Group
About the Author

Dr. Edward F. Group III (DC, ND, DACBN, DCBCN, DABFM) founded Global Healing Center in 1998 with the goal of providing the highest quality natural health information and products. He is world-renowned for his research on the root cause of disease. Under his leadership, Global Healing Center earned recognition as one of the largest natural and organic health resources in the world. Dr. Group is a veteran of the United States Army and has attended both Harvard and MIT business schools. He is a best-selling author and a frequent guest on radio and television programs, documentary films, and in major publications.

Dr. Group centres his philosophy around the understanding that the root cause of disease stems from the accumulation of toxins in the body and is exacerbated by daily exposure to a toxic living environment. He believes it is his personal mission to teach and promote philosophies that produce good health, a clean environment, and positive thinking. This, he believes, can restore happiness and love to the world.

For more, please visit Global Healing Center.

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Health

Beets For Better Lung Efficiency

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Beets For Better Lung Efficiency
Photo Credit: Pexels

Dr. Joseph Mercola, Guest Writer

If you have breathing troubles, nitrates — a compound found in beets — may be able to help. Previous studies have shown that nitrates can help improve muscle function by optimizing the way the muscles use calcium. Since the diaphragm is a muscle, researchers from the University of Florida wanted to see if those benefits could be translated to the diaphragm.

For the study,1 researchers split old mice into two groups. One group was given drinking water that contained sodium nitrate daily for 14 days. The other group was given plain water.

After the study period, they measured the isometric force and peak power of the diaphragm muscles in the mice and found that both significantly increased in the group of mice given nitrates in their drinking water.

This increase in force and power translated to improved contraction of the diaphragm muscle, which can then improve lung function and breathing. The increased power in the diaphragm could also help older people clear the lungs more effectively, which may help reduce the risk of developing infections. For reference, the mice used in the study were 24 months old, which is equivalent to about 70 years of age in humans.

This is especially important during the COVID-19 pandemic for two reasons. The first is that severe symptoms disproportionally affect the older population. We already know that respiratory muscle function declines with age, contributing to breathing troubles, impaired airway clearance and a decreased quality of life. Since nitrates can improve muscle function of the diaphragm, it may help improve the outlook for older populations with respiratory infections like COVID-19.

The study’s author, Leonardo Ferreira, also points out that one of the problems with weaning COVID-19 patients off ventilators is respiratory muscle dysfunction. If dietary nitrates can help improve that muscle function, it may make the transition from ventilators to independent breathing more successful.2

The nitrates in beets have also been shown to help improve oxygen uptake by dilating the blood vessels and allowing more oxygen to be delivered to muscles, like the diaphragm, and other cells.3

Other Benefits of Beets

But beets aren’t only good for your lungs. Other studies have shown that red beets may also:

Lower your blood pressure — Drinking beet juice may help to lower blood pressure in a matter of hours. One study found that drinking one glass of beet juice lowered systolic blood pressure by an average of four to five points.4 The benefit likely comes from the naturally occurring nitrates in beets, which are converted into nitric oxide in your body. Nitric oxide, in turn, helps to relax and dilate your blood vessels, improving blood flow and lowering blood pressure.

Another study5 found drinking 8 ounces of beet juice per day lowered blood pressure by an average of nearly eight points after the first week, which is more than most blood pressure medications.

Boost your stamina — If you need a boost to make it through your next workout, beet juice may again prove valuable. Those who drank beet juice prior to exercise were able to exercise for up to 16% longer.6 The benefit is thought to also be related to nitrates turning into nitric oxide, which may reduce the oxygen cost of low-intensity exercise as well as enhance tolerance to high-intensity exercise.

Fight inflammation — Beets are a unique source of betaine, a nutrient that helps protects cells, proteins and enzymes from environmental stress. It’s also known to help fight inflammation, protect internal organs, improve vascular risk factors, enhance performance and likely help prevent numerous chronic diseases.7 As reported by The World’s Healthiest Foods:8

“[Betaine’s] … presence in our diet has been associated with lower levels of several inflammatory markers, including C reactive protein, interleukin-6, and tumor necrosis factor alpha. As a group, the anti-inflammatory molecules found in beets may eventually be shown to provide cardiovascular benefits in large-scale human studies, as well as anti-inflammatory benefits for other body systems.”

Stave off cancer — The powerful phytonutrients that give beets their deep crimson color may help to ward off cancer. Research has shown that beetroot extract reduced multi-organ tumor formations in various animal models when administered in drinking water, for instance, while beetroot extract is also being studied for use in treating human pancreatic, breast and prostate cancers.9

Provide valuable nutrients and fiber — Beets are high in immune-boosting vitamin C, fiber and essential minerals like potassium (essential for healthy nerve and muscle function) and manganese10 (which is good for your bones, liver, kidneys, and pancreas). Beets also contain the B vitamin folate, which helps reduce the risk of birth defects.

Support detoxification — The betalin pigments in beets support your body’s Phase 2 detoxification process,11 which is when broken down toxins are bound to other molecules so they can be excreted from your body. Traditionally, beets are valued for their support in detoxification and helping to purify your blood and your liver.

Nitrates in Foods

Almost 80% of dietary nitrates come from vegetables.12 Beets are one of the richest sources, containing more than 250 milligrams of nitrates per 100 grams. Other foods with high nitrate content include arugula, celery, cress, chervil, celeriac, Chinese cabbage, fennel, endive, kohlrabi, mustard greens, leeks and parsley.

Keep in mind that naturally occurring nitrates are different from the nitrates found in processed foods, such as bacon or sausages. The nitrates that you get from vegetables are converted to nitric oxide (NO) in your body.

NO has potent health benefits, as described in “Why You Need to Try the Nitric Oxide Dump Workout.” However, when nitrates and nitrites from processed meats react with the gastric acid in your stomach, it forms nitrosamines, harmful compounds that have been linked to several different types of cancer.13,14

The reason meat-based nitrites don’t boost NO production but rather turn into harmful N-nitroso compounds has to do with the presence of proteins and heme15 (an iron-containing compound that makes up part of the hemoglobin molecule in blood) and the absence of antioxidant compounds.

On the other hand, plants contain antioxidants such as vitamin C and polyphenols that impede the formation of harmful nitrosamines. The presence of these compounds helps ensure that the nitrites are converted into NO once they reach your stomach rather than harmful N-nitroso compounds.16

Unlike processed meats like bacon, most plant foods are also not cooked or fried at high temperatures, which further minimizes the chances that harmful substances will be produced.

How to Eat Beets

If you’re new to beets, there are plenty of ways you can enjoy them:

  • Grate them raw over salads
  • Juice them, along with other fruits and vegetables
  • Lightly steam them
  • Marinate them with lemon juice, herbs and olive oil

Please note that if you’re interested in buying beets to make your own juice, the industry has gone the way of so many crops in the U.S. — toward genetic engineering, according to the Organic and Non-GMO Report.17 This is particularly true with sugar beets.

While the table beets most people eat are not currently genetically engineered, they’re often grown in close proximity to sugar beets, which are often GE, and cross-pollination is known to occur. So, when choosing beets to eat, opt for organic varieties whenever possible.

Genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are dangerous for humans on a number of levels. GMOs may alter DNA, potentially cause cancer, and may trigger other “less severe” problems like organ failure, liver and kidney damage.

Although beets have the highest sugar content of all vegetables, most people can safely eat beet roots a few times a week. Beetroot juice, however, should be consumed in moderation.

Make sure you also eat the beet greens, which are loaded with valuable nutrients, including phosphorus, zinc, fiber, vitamin C, vitamin A, vitamin B6, magnesium, potassium, copper, manganese, calcium and iron.18

References
  1.  J Physiol (2020)
  2.  EurekAlert, August 16, 2020
  3.  Nutrients. 2017;9(1)
  4.  Nutr J. 2012;11:106
  5.  Nutr J. 2012;11:106
  6.  J Appl Physiol. 2009;107(4):1144-55
  7.  Am J Clin Nutr. 2004;80(3):539-49
  8.  The World’s Healthiest Foods. 2020
  9.  J Complement Integr Med. 2013;10
  10.  USDA FoodData Central. April 1, 2020
  11.  Nutr Cancer. 2005;53(1):91-103
  12.  Am J Clin Nutr. 2009;90(1):1-10
  13.  Nutrients. 2019;11(11)
  14.  Oncotarget. 2016;7(35):56915-56932
  15.  Wired. October 27, 2015
  16.  The Essential List. April 28, 2014
  17.  The Organic and Non-GMO Report. June 2008
  18.  USDA FoodData Central. April 1, 2019

Originally published at mercola.com and reproduced here with permission.

Recommended Articles by Dr. Joseph Mercola
About the Author

Born and raised in the inner city of Chicago, IL, Dr. Joseph Mercola is an osteopathic physician trained in both traditional and natural medicine. Board-certified in family medicine, Dr. Mercola served as the chairman of the family medicine department at St. Alexius Medical Center for five years, and in 2012 was granted fellowship status by the American College of Nutrition (ACN).

While in practice in the late 80s, Dr. Mercola realized the drugs he was prescribing to chronically ill patients were not working. By the early 90s, he began exploring the world of natural medicine, and soon changed the way he practiced medicine.

In 1997 Dr. Mercola founded Mercola.com, which is now routinely among the top 10 health sites on the internet. His passion is to transform the traditional medical paradigm in the United States. “The existing medical establishment is responsible for killing and permanently injuring millions of Americans… You want practical health solutions without the hype, and that’s what I offer.”

Visit Mercola.com for more information, or read Dr. Mercola’s full bio and resumé here.

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Awareness

Microplastics Found In Fruit And Vegetables For The First Time

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Photo Credit: Pexels

Nikki HarperGuest Writer

We’ve written before about the increasing threat to human health posed by microplastics, particularly when bottled water, shellfish and sea salt are contaminated by tiny microbeads and microfibers. However, two worrying new studies published recently are highlighting increasing levels of microplastics in our crops and vegetables too.

The first study has been published in the journal Environmental Research and was carried out by the University of Catania Department of Hygiene, in Italy. The study found evidence of microplastics in carrots, lettuce, broccoli, potatoes, apples, and pears, both from supermarkets and local produce sellers in the area. Apples were the worst affected fruits, and carrots were the worst affected of the vegetable samples [1].

As a result of this study, the EFSA (European Food Safety Authority), in consultation with the European Commission, has started a process of looking into food safety specifically with regard to microplastics.

As to how the microplastics get into the fruit and vegetables in the first place, the second peer-reviewed study, published in Nature Sustainability has answers to that. This research, carried out by Yanthai Institute in China and Leiden University in the Netherlands, shows that microplastics are penetrating the roots of soil-grown produce, before making their way to the edible parts of the plants [2].

Credit: Pixabay

Previously, the prevailing scientific opinion was that most microplastics, tiny as they are, were too large to penetrate fruit and vegetables during growth. However, the new research shows that particles up to 40 times bigger than previously thought can get through cracks in roots and into the plants. Researchers hypothesize also that because most microplastics are flexible plastics, the tiny particles can be squashed or squeezed directly into root cells. In vegetables, carrots, radishes, turnips, and leafy vegetables like lettuce are most at risk from the absorption of microplastics – but the plastics are also penetrating the roots of crops like wheat and making their way into the edible grain. Overall, more microplastics were found in fruits than vegetables, which the researchers believe may correlate with how established fruit trees have a bigger, deeper root system than vegetable plants do.

This is very bad news indeed, because it suggests that these toxic plastics may be widespread already in our food chain. As Maria Westeros, founder of the Plastic Soup Foundation points out, “If it is getting into vegetables, it is getting into everything that eats vegetables as well which means it is in our meat and dairy as well. What we need to find out now is what this is doing to us. This is unchartered territory. Does plastic make us sick?” [3]

The study involved growing plants hydroponically in wastewater, and also in sandy soil watered with wastewater. Although much attention has been paid to microplastics in oceans and rivers, it’s only recently in 2018 that we began to understand how much microplastic contamination there is in wastewater [4] – and yet the use of wastewater in irrigation is very common, much more common than previously realized [5]. Although wastewater treatment can reduce microplastic pollution, it does not remove it entirely. Besides, many countries use untreated wastewater for irrigation, either because they have no choice, or simply because the agricultural industry prefers it for its nutrient value.

With it now becoming clear that microplastics are contaminating vegetables, fruit and the rest of the human food chain, there are calls for investigation. Says Sian Sutherland, co-founder of environmental campaign group A Plastic Planet, “We’ve known for years that plastics are in our air, ocean and soil. And now finally we have the proof plastics are in the fruit and vegetables we feed to our children. Today I’m calling for an urgent investigation into what these toxins are doing to our health. Now more than ever we must listen to the scientists not the plastic lobbyists.” [3].

Sources
  1. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0013935120305703
  2. https://environmentjournal.online/articles/microplastics-contaiminating-fruit-and-veg/
  3. https://www.plasticsoupfoundation.org/en/2020/06/new-studies-microplastics-found-in-fruit-and-veg/
  4. https://www.unenvironment.org/news-and-stories/story/wastewater-treatment-plants-surprising-source-microplastic-pollution
  5. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/07/170705104135.htm
Recommended Articles by Nikki Harper
About the Author

Nikki Harper is a spiritualist writer, astrologer, and Wake Up World’s editor.

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Health

Turmeric Extract Improves Brain Function In One Dose

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Turmeric Extract Improves Brain Function In One Dose
Photo Credit: Pexels

Sayer JiContributing Writer

Your spice rack may contain the safest, most fast-acting, brain-boosting substance medical science has yet to confirm effective in a human clinical study.  

A remarkable study published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology titled, “Investigation of the effects of solid lipid curcumin on cognition and mood in a healthy older population,” reveals that the primary golden-hued polyphenol found in the ancient Indian healing spice turmeric  known as  curcumin  is capable of improving cognition and mood in elderly adults (60-85) when administered in either short-term [acute], chronic, or  short-term-on-chronic  dosage schedules.

The study involving 60 healthy adults found that a single dose of 400 mg of a solid curcumin formulation (trade name Longvida)  resulted only one hour later in significantly improved performance on sustained attention and working memory tasks, compared with placebo.

Additionally, a chronic treatment schedule (4 weeks) resulted in improvement in working memory and mood, the latter of which was defined as a positive change in their “state [of] calmness, contentedness and fatigue induced by psychological stress.”

Finally, an acute-on-chronic treatment resulted in improved alertness and contentedness.

The authors commented that,

“To our knowledge this is the first study to examine the effects of curcumin on cognition and mood in a healthy older population or to examine any acute behavioural effects in humans. Results highlight the need for further investigation of the potential psychological and cognitive benefits of curcumin in an older population.”

The study reviewed several therapeutic properties of curcumin that may have relevance in improving underlying physiology associated with age-related cognitive decline and may help to explain its observed brain-boosting effects include:

  • Curcumin may inhibit amyloid pathology (a type of degenerative brain plaque found in Alzheimer’s disease)
  • Protect against oxidative stress
  • Reduce inflammation
  • Neuroprotective, promoting neurogenesis and neuroplasticity
  • Improve the functioning of neurotrasmitter systems

The study also pointed out that epidemiological evidence shows dietary curcumin consumption is associated with better cognitive function and lower dementia prevalence, and that animal research has demonstrated its ability to both and prevent neurological pathologies.

The reality is the positive results described in this study is not be surprising given all the research that exists on curcumin’s neuroprotective properties. The Greenmedinfo database has indexed over 1500 study abstracts on curcumin’s health benefits, covering over 600 different diseases, with 113 of these studies specifically addressing curcumin’s neuroprotective properties.

Consider also that recently a Groundbreaking Study Found Turmeric Extract Superior to Prozac for Depression, revealing again how remarkable curcumin is at improving mood and a sense of well-being.

We have also explored in depth a promising case study which found that turmeric produced a ‘remarkable recovery’ in Alzheimer’s disease patients, and performed a review of turmeric and other natural substances’ role in preventing and even reversing Alzheimer’s disease.

As evidenced by the study featured here, the medical community is increasingly being faced with compelling research suggesting that natural compounds and foods like turmeric provide suitable alternatives to Big Pharma. Increasingly, the public is learning to take back control of their health by utilizing time-tested, food-based approaches that have been part of ancestral cultural practices for thousands of year. Why not look for preventive and truly regenerative solutions in the spice rack, and leave the medicine cabinet for acute care?

Recommended Articles by Sayer Ji
About the Author

Sayer Ji is the founder of Greenmedinfo.com, a reviewer at the International Journal of Human Nutrition and Functional Medicine, Co-founder and CEO of Systome Biomed, Vice Chairman of the Board of the National Health Federation, and Steering Committee Member of the Global Non-GMO Foundation.

For more, visit GreenMedInfo.com and Facebook.com/GreenMedInfo, or sign-up for GreenMedInfo’s free e-Newsletter.

© March 12th, 2018 GreenMedInfo LLC. This work is reproduced and distributed with the permission of GreenMedInfo LLC. Want to learn more from GreenMedInfo? Sign up for their newsletter here.

Disclaimer: This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of Collective Spark or its staff.

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Health

Ginkgo Biloba Benefits: Brain Health, Kidney Function, And More

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Photo Credit: www.rebuildyourvision.com

Dr. Edward F. GroupGuest Writer

One of the world’s most ancient trees, Ginkgo biloba is considered a “living fossil” because it’s been around for nearly 300 million years.[1] Used for centuries, remedies from Ginkgo are thought to improve memory, boost cognitive function, support healthy blood flow, and promote sexual function in men and women.

Even sceptics have been swayed by Ginkgo’s ability to support the brain, kidneys, and other body systems. Curt W., an art director from North Carolina, started taking Ginkgo after reading an article about its potential to promote concentration. “I’m not a big supplement guy, so I wasn’t expecting much. But after a month or so of taking Ginkgo biloba extract, I started noticing a difference in my ability to focus. Now I tell all my friends about it.”

Let’s take a closer look at this ancient plant, and explore some of the many ways it supports wellness.

What Is Ginkgo biloba?

Native to China but cultivated worldwide, Ginkgo biloba — also called the maidenhair tree — can grow to be over 100 feet tall. The trees themselves can live for 1,000 years, thanks to an unusually strong resistance to insects and other pests.[3]

Many people in Asia harvest Ginkgo tree nuts, which are both tasty and nutritious (but shouldn’t be consumed raw).[1] Ginkgo has played an essential role in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) for centuries, especially for elderly people and those with certain health conditions. It is an important tool in the complementary and alternative medicine toolbox for healthy people, as well.

In addition to eating nuts, people harvest the Ginkgo tree leaves to make herbal remedies. Ginkgo biloba leaves are rich in bioactive constituents, including potent antioxidants like flavonoids and anthocyanins. Because Ginkgo leaves contain so many health-supporting nutrients, they have been extensively studied, and preparations made with them are among the most popular natural health solutions in the world.[4]

Now that you know a little bit about Ginkgo biloba, let’s dig into some of the reasons you should take it.

8 Reasons Why You Should Take Ginkgo biloba

Ginkgo biloba offers so many health benefits to both body and mind! Here are eight reasons why you should consider adding Ginkgo to your wellness regimen.

1. Supports Brain Health

Among its many uses, Ginkgo biloba is most well-known for supporting brain health. Ginkgo extract provides support for people experiencing mild cognitive issues.[5] For people who find themselves becoming more forgetful as they hit middle age and beyond, Ginkgo may improve cognitive function, specifically memory and ability to focus on tasks.[6]

Supplementing with Ginkgo may also support healthy brain function in people with cognitive issues or those who are dealing with age-related brain changes.[5] Experts recommend the use of Ginkgo for adults of all ages who want to stay sharp. “I really feel like it helps me focus at work,” Curt W. says.

2. Protects the Kidneys

The kidneys are the body’s filtration system, removing toxins from the blood. Your kidneys are constantly working to protect you from environmental pollutants like heavy metals, harmful chemicals, and toxins. They help reduce the environmental stress you are under.

Ginkgo biloba has renoprotective effects, meaning it can protect the kidneys from damage.[7] Ginkgo may support these organs after exposure to toxins, like the widely-used herbicide glyphosate, as well as mercury, uranium, and naphthalene.[8] It can also help protect against toxins formed in the gut that are associated with liver disease.[8]

3. May Help With Weight Loss

There are many reasons why people have a hard time maintaining a healthy weight, and Ginkgo may offer support for a wide range of them. It can help women maintain a healthy weight as they go through menopause.[9] Ginkgo extract could support weight loss for people who have trouble making changes to diet and lifestyle by shrinking fat cells.[9]

Ginkgo also has the potential to promote normal insulin balance, which could be particularly beneficial for people dealing with blood sugar challenges related to obesity. Even if people aren’t able to change the way they eat, Ginkgo can support healthy blood sugar levels.[10]

4. Lifts Your Mood

Looking for a natural way to lift your spirits? Ginkgo may help. When used alone or combined with other treatments, Ginkgo biloba extract can support mental health.[11] The same chemical constituents that make this herb good for the brain when it comes to memory and cognition can also help you maintain a positive mood.[11]

Ginkgo’s brain-supporting constituents promote mental clarity. It’s hard to be cheerful when your brain is feeling foggy! Ginkgo biloba can be a ray of sunlight through the clouds.[5] This is one of the benefits Curt W. likes the most about taking Ginkgo. “I used to really struggle with brain fog, and my mind is much clearer now,” he explains.

5. Supports Heart Health

A healthy heart is vital for overall wellness, and Ginkgo helps keep the cardiovascular system strong. Ginkgo extract promotes normal coronary blood flow. This is especially helpful for older people experiencing age-related diminishment of blood flow through the arteries.[12]

The bioactive compounds found in Ginkgo leaves protect the heart in different ways.[13] Terpenes in Ginkgo biloba provide cardioprotective benefits by reducing cell-damaging free radicals.[14] Ginkgo also supports healthy blood flow, which can lead to better overall heart function.[13]

6. Has Anti-Aging & Antioxidant Properties

Ginkgo’s healing properties may support different parts of the body during the aging process.[12] We’ve already mentioned the brain, heart, and circulatory system, all of which have been shown to benefit from Ginkgo biloba’s anti-aging effects.[5, 12, 13] Ginkgo might even protect your ears from age-related hearing issues.[15]

Much of Ginkgo’s anti-aging power seems to come from its antioxidant content. Aging causes oxidative damage to DNA, proteins, lipids, and other macromolecules, and antioxidants in Ginkgo biloba extract may be effective at fighting oxidative stress related to aging.[16]

7. Supports Healthy Sexual Function

Ginkgo biloba boosts blood flow, influences nitric oxide systems, and relaxes smooth muscle tissue — all of which are important for healthy erectile function and arousal in men.[17] For women, Ginkgo biloba extract can have a positive impact on sex drive and increase arousal.[17]

Ginkgo may be especially useful for men and women experiencing sexual side effects from certain medications. Supplementing with Ginkgo biloba extract can help with sexual health issues.[18]

8. Eases Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS)

What woman doesn’t deal with premenstrual syndrome (PMS) occasionally, if not monthly? For many, PMS comes with uterine discomfort, irregular moods, food cravings, and more. PMS can range from inconvenient to incapacitating.

If you struggle with PMS, you may want to consider adding Ginkgo to your supplement regimen. Ginkgo biloba extract can help reduce the physical discomfort of PMS while promoting emotional balance.[19]

Best Ways to Take Ginkgo

Ginkgo biloba is typically prepared in one of three ways. They are:

  • Tea
    You can brew Ginkgo biloba leaves into tea. Ginkgo leaf tea is sold in teabags, or you can buy dried leaves and brew your own using a teapot and strainer.
  • Tablets
    For those that prefer their herbs in pill form, Ginkgo biloba is sold in tablets. You can also find it in capsules.
  • Liquid Extracts
    This method of preparation captures an herb’s potency and keeps it intact. Ginkgo can be made into a single liquid extract or combined with other healing herbs to form a potent blend like Renaltrex®, formulated to gently flush the kidneys of accumulated toxins.
Points to Remember

Leaves from the ancient Ginkgo biloba tree have long been used as an herbal remedy. Many people rely on the healing power of this resilient plant. Ginkgo biloba preparations are among the most popular supplements in the world!

Ginkgo biloba supports the brain during the aging process, specifically with memory loss and concentration.[5] Ginkgo also promotes healthy kidney function and helps the heart.[813]

Ginkgo appears to support aging gracefully in the mind and body, largely because of its antioxidant properties. It also promotes healthy sexual function and eases PMS symptoms.[16,17,19]. It can help with weight maintenance and lift your mood when you’re feeling low.[911]

You can find Ginkgo biloba in liquid herbal extract, teas, or tablets or capsules. You can use it alone or in combination with other healing herbs.

Have you tried Ginkgo biloba extract?

References
  1. Isah T. Rethinking Ginkgo biloba L.: Medicinal uses and conservation. Pharmacogn Rev. 2015;9(18):140-148.
  2. Major RT. The ginkgo, the most ancient living tree. The resistance of Ginkgo biloba L. to pests accounts in part for the longevity of this species. Science. 1967 Sep 15;157(3794):1270-1273.
  3. Brondino N, et al. A systematic review and meta-analysis of Ginkgo biloba in neuropsychiatric disorders: From ancient tradition to modern-day medicine. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2013;2013:915691.
  4. Ginkgo. National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. Updated 10 Mar 2017. Accessed 12 Mar 2020.
  5. Zhang HF, et al. An overview of systematic reviews of Ginkgo biloba extracts for mild cognitive impairment and dementia. Front Aging Neurosci. 2016;8:276.
  6. Silberstein RB, et al. Examining brain-cognition effects of Ginkgo biloba extract: Brain activation in the left temporal and left prefrontal cortex in an object working memory task. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2011;2011:164139.
  7. Chávez-Morales RM, et al. The Ginkgo biloba extract (GbE) protects the kidney from damage produced by a single and low dose of carbon tetrachloride in adult male rats. Exp Toxicol Pathol. 2017 Sep 5;69(7):430-434.
  8. Pizzorno J. The Kidney Dysfunction Epidemic, Part 2: Intervention. Integr Med (Encinitas). 2016;15(1):8-12.
  9. Hirata BKS, et al. Potential anti-obesogenic effects of Ginkgo biloba observed in epididymal white adipose tissue of obese rats. Front Endocrinol (Lausanne). 2019;10:284.
  10. Hirata BK, et al. Ginkgo biloba extract improves insulin signaling and attenuates inflammation in retroperitoneal adipose tissue depot of obese rats. Mediators Inflamm. 2015;2015:419106.
  11. Montes P, et al. Ginkgo biloba extract 761: A review of basic studies and potential clinical use in psychiatric disorders. CNS Neurol Disord Drug Targets. 2015;14(1):132-149.
  12. Wu Y, et al. Ginkgo biloba extract improves coronary blood flow in healthy elderly adults: role of endothelium-dependent vasodilation. Phytomedicine. 2008 Mar;15(3):164-169.
  13. Mesquita TRR, et al. Cardioprotective action of Ginkgo biloba extract against sustained ?-adrenergic stimulation occurs via activation of M2/NO pathway. Front Pharmacol. 2017;8:220.
  14. Pietri S, et al. Cardioprotective and anti-oxidant effects of the terpenoid constituents of Ginkgo biloba extract (EGb 761). J Mol Cell Cardiol. 1997 Feb;29(2):733-742.
  15. Nevado J, et al. Ginkgo biloba extract (EGb761) protects against aging-related caspase-mediated apoptosis in rat cochlea. Acta Otolaryngol. 2010 Oct;130(10):1101-1112.
  16. Droy-Lefaix MT. Effect of the antioxidant action of Ginkgo biloba extract (EGb 761) on aging and oxidative stress. Age (Omaha). 1997 Jul;20(3):141-149
  17. Meston CM, et al. Short- and long-term effects of Ginkgo biloba extract on sexual dysfunction in women. Arch Sex Behav. 2008;37(4):530-547.
  18. Cohen AJ, Barklik B. Ginkgo biloba for antidepressant-induced sexual dysfunction. J Sex Marital Ther. 1998 Apr-Jun;24(2):139-143.
  19. Ozgoli G, et al. A randomized, placebo-controlled trial of Ginkgo biloba L. in treatment of premenstrual syndrome. J Altern Complement Med. 2009 Aug;15(8):845-851.

Originally published at Global Healing Center and reproduced here with permission.

Recommended Articles by Dr. Edward Group
About the Author

Dr. Edward F. Group III (DC, ND, DACBN, DCBCN, DABFM) founded Global Healing Center in 1998 with the goal of providing the highest quality natural health information and products. He is world-renowned for his research on the root cause of disease. Under his leadership, Global Healing Center earned recognition as one of the largest natural and organic health resources in the world. Dr. Group is a veteran of the United States Army and has attended both Harvard and MIT business schools. He is a best-selling author and a frequent guest on radio and television programs, documentary films, and in major publications.

Dr. Group centres his philosophy around the understanding that the root cause of disease stems from the accumulation of toxins in the body and is exacerbated by daily exposure to a toxic living environment. He believes it is his personal mission to teach and promote philosophies that produce good health, a clean environment, and positive thinking. This, he believes, can restore happiness and love to the world.

For more, please visit Global Healing Center.

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