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10 Health Benefits & Nutrition of Turmeric

Health Benefits & Nutrition of Turmeric / CurcuminFamous as a spice, medicinal agent, cosmetic, and textile dye, turmeric is amazingly a versatile ingredient indigenous to Indian subcontinent and Southeast Asia. It is a member of the ginger family and has a deep orange flesh, which is covered in a thick brown skin.

Though turmeric is mostly used as a spice, it has a rich history as an ayurvedic healer, a holistic approach to health that has been used for more than 2000 years in Indian ayurvedic and Chinese medicine. 

It has commonly been used for wound healing, pain relief, menstrual difficulties, relieve from poisoned food, rheumatoid arthritis, dispel worms, digestive issues, to strengthen the overall energy of the body, purify blood, for skin conditions, for smallpox, chickenpox, liver ailments, as an antioxidant and an anti-inflammatory agent. 

Among its most important properties, turmeric contains curcumin, the principal curcuminoid of turmeric, which is known to have many health benefits and has been used as a medicinal aid and an ingredient in dietary supplements, cosmetics, and as a food additive for centuries in Asian countries. 

Turmeric/Curcumin Daily Intake


According to research data 500–2,000 mg of turmeric per day is generally acceptable.

However, JECFA (The Joint United Nations and World Health Organization Expert Committee on Food Additives) and EFSA (European Food Safety Authority) reports, the acceptable daily intake value of curcumin is 1.5 mg (1–3 mg) /kg of body weight [1]

Turmeric/Curcumin Nutrition Facts per 100g


  • Calories  = 354 (1482 kJ)  DV = 18%         
  • Protein    = 7.8g  DV = 16%
  • Carbohydrate = 64.9g  DV = 22%
  • Saturated Fat = 3.1g  DV = 16%
  • Omega-3 fatty acids = 482mg
  • Omega-6 fatty acids = 1694mg
  • Vitamin C = 1.7mg  DV = 3%
  • Vitamin E (Alpha Tocopherol) = 3.1mg  DV = 16%
  • Vitamin B6 = 0.1mg  DV =  6%
  • Vitamin B6 = 0.1mg  DV = 6%
  • Iron = 2.8mg  DV = 16%
  • Magnesium = 13mg  DV = 3%
  • Phosphorus = 18.1mg  DV = 2%
  • Potassium = 170mg  DV = 5%
  • Zinc = 0.3mg  DV = 2%
  • Manganese = 0.5mg  DV = 26%
  • Phytosterols = 5.5mg

Source: USDA

Let’s see some of the best health benefits turmeric has to offer,

10 Health Benefits of Turmeric/Curcumin

1) Turmeric and Curcumin May Lower The Risk of Cardiovascular Disease


As you may know, cardiovascular disease (CVD) is currently the most common cause of mortality worldwide

According to one analysis done which included 649 patients, curcumin in turmeric considerably reduced serum low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) or commonly known as “bad” cholesterol and triglyceride levels (TG / which increase risk of heart disease) compared to those in the control group [2]

Thus turmeric may have the capacity to protect patients at risk of CVD by improving serum lipid profile.

Furthermore, according to the findings of preliminary studies, curcuminoids in turmeric may reduce the risks of heart attacks, bypass patients have, after surgery [3]

2) May Provide Relief for Arthritis


Curcumin in turmeric has traditionally been used for its anti-inflammatory effects

According to a 2016 industry-sponsored analysis of randomized experiments, 1,000 mg a day of curcumin lessened osteoarthritis (the most common type of arthritis) pain and inflammation similar to nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) [4]

Another 2016 study showed that curcumin might aid in preventing bone deterioration in people with RA (rheumatoid arthritis) which is a chronic inflammatory disorder.

3) As an Acne Treatment and for Healthy Skin


A contributory cause of acne is bacteria known as Propionibacterium acnes, which lives primarily on fatty acids in sebum secreted by sebaceous glands, the most abundant bacteria found on human skin.

The 2013 Chemical and Pharmaceutical medical journal published by the Pharmaceutical Society of Japan showed that curcumin has potent antibacterial activity against a number of bacteria which includes P. acnes when mixed with lauric acid [5]

Curcumin also has powerful antioxidant properties and has the potential to boost the antioxidant capacity of the body to a large extent. This neutralizes free radicals (acting as a free radicals scavenger) on its own but also improves your body’s own antioxidant enzymes.

Antioxidants preserve the skin by curbing free radical production, which prevents it from degenerating the skin. They can reduce sun spots, help combat discoloration and wrinkles associated with aging, fight against skin cancer, and calm skin inflammations. Antioxidants also help in replenishing the skin with hydration and improving moisture retention to assist in revitalizing dull skin.

Another benefit of curcumin seems to be the protection it provides for skin from radiation damage, decreasing the skin irritation that usually occurs after radiation treatments for breast cancer. Overall, curcumin appears to be a favorable healing agent for radiation-induced dermatitis (radiation skin damage) due to breast cancer treatments [6]

4) Ease Depression and May Improve Brain Function


As we learned before curcumin is a natural anti-inflammatory and antioxidant and it can affect several processes in the body.

This has a lot of benefits related to depression since those who are under depression have considerable inflammation and oxidative stress, that can impact all major organs in the body, inclusive of the brain.

Chronic inflammation can lower the levels of serotonin (which regulates anxiety, happiness, and mood) and dopamine (the feel-good neurotransmitter) that can lead to deterioration of certain parts of the brain. 

It is likely that the influences of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of curcumin can reinstate these chemicals & neurotransmitters to preserve the functioning of the brain, consequently making improvements in mood and motivation.

Curcumin also increases the levels of the brain hormone BDNF, which boosts the growth of new neurons and combats various degenerative activities in your brain.

5) Could be Useful in Preventing or Treating Type 2 Diabetes


According to a study done in Thailand with 240 people, curcumin inhibited prediabetes from advancing to diabetes. 

Approximately 16% of the 116 people on placebo (inactive treatment) progressed to type 2 diabetes within 9 months. No one in the group receiving 250 milligrams of “curcuminoids” daily by supplements advanced to type 2 diabetes.

When taken by mouth, curcumin may also help people with diabetes control their blood sugar levels by decreasing the blood glucose levels to a more manageable level.

Curcumin tends to provide significant benefits for both type 1 & 2 diabetes. Curcumin preserves beta cells, which produce and secrete insulin which otherwise would cause type 1 diabetes. Studies have shown that beta cells multiplied faster and had a longer life with those who took curcumin  

Curcumin has also shown to improve insulin function by reducing insulin resistance which is the cause of type 2 diabetes by helping insulin get into cells.

6) Curcumin Might Help You to Fight Off Flu and Reduce Cough


Medical researchers often warn about mutating flu viruses that may trigger epidemics. Thus anti-inflammatory, antiviral, antimicrobial, and antibacterial properties of turmeric root is a useful herbal remedy for a number of viral diseases.

Curcumin can minimize viral replication by more than 90% of cells exposed to the influenza variants, as shown in a 2009 study. Not only curcumin reduced viral cell proliferation in host cells but also appeared to shield other cells from infection.

Curcumin may also be effective for various conditions, like dry cough

7) May Work as a Pain Relief and Help Ease PMS Symptoms


Turmeric as a medicinal remedy has been used to aid in alleviating different forms of pain. Although findings have been inconsistent, there is reason to assume that turmeric consists of active ingredients which may offer at least some relief for those dealing with a variety of painful conditions, ranging from inflammation and gastric irritation to migraine headaches and pain endured after surgery.

Some reports have shown that in some cases, turmeric may have a pain-reducing capacity comparable to that of prescribed and over-the-counter medications.

Researchers observed in a medical trial [7] a decrease in PMS symptoms after participants were treated with curcumin, the active agent of turmeric.

The research noticed mood indicators (tiredness, irritability, anxiety), physical symptoms (gastrointestinal discomfort, headaches), and characteristics of behavior (tiredness, changes in appetite, loss of energy).

Results showed a substantial reduction in symptoms after supplementing over three menstrual cycles, attributing its potential for treating PMS

8) Turmeric Health Benefits for Liver


Turmeric and its refined extract curcumin are also used extensively to treat liver diseases due to their supposed anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects.

It can stop your liver from being harmed by toxins because of its powerful antioxidant capabilities. This could be good news for people who are taking strong medications for diabetes or other health problems that could damage their liver with prolonged use.

Nonetheless, do note that turmeric can be a rare cause of damaging the liver, and there needs to be more examination for its safety and effectiveness if administered over a prolonged period in fairly large doses [8].

9) Turmeric May Reduce the Risk of Cancer


Turmeric is suggested as a potential cure for cancer. There’s some evidence that in a number of cancers, curcumin in turmeric can destroy cancer cells.

Evidence has demonstrated low rates of some cancers in countries where people consume more curcumin. This is over extended periods of time at curcumin amounts of around 100 mg to 200 mg a day.

A few laboratory experiments have also found curcumin has anti-cancer effects on cancer cells. It does seem capable of killing cancer cells and preventing more from increasing. It has the strongest impact on breast cancer, colon cancer, gastric cancer, and cancers of the skin.

10) Turmeric Could Help with Digestive Issues and Improve IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) Symptoms


Turmeric can aid in healthy digestion due to its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activities.

Lately, turmeric has drawn interest for its ability to relieve IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) symptoms. IBS is a prevalent digestive tract disorder that triggers symptoms such as aches in the abdomen, diarrhea and constipation.

A 2004 preliminary study showed that humans with IBS who administered 2 tablets of turmeric daily for 8 weeks experienced reductions in stomach pain and better bowel functioning [9].

 


You can consume turmeric as a spice in powdered form, add it to rice, for pickle, as tea, for smoothies & juices, make mustard, or sprinkle a pinch on salads.

Below we have shared a turmeric, ginger, and lemon juice recipe video for you to get the most out of turmeric…enjoy folks!!

Video credit: Sandi Jacobs

 

References:

1 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5664031

2 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5637251/

3 https://www.nccih.nih.gov/health/turmeric

4 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27533649

5 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23546001

6 https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT01042938

7 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26051565

8 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK548561/

9 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15673996

 

Related posts:

  1. Health Benefits of Vegan Diet
  2. Vegan Orange & Turmeric Smoothie Recipe
  3. Health Benefits of Green Tea
  4. Health Benefits of Chia Seeds
  5. Health Benefits of Spirulina
  6. Health Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar

Disclaimer: 

While every attempt has been made to verify the information provided here, the content in this post is for informational purposes only and not to be considered as professional advice. By providing the information contained herein we’re not diagnosing, or treating any type of disease or medical condition. Before beginning any regimen it is advisable to seek the advice of a licensed healthcare professional.

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Coconut Meat Nutrition, Health Benefits and Side Effects

 Meat Nutrition, Health Benefits and Side Effects

When it comes to multi-purpose plants, the humble coconut (Cocos nucifera) is a real overachiever!

It’s not just a valuable source of numerous nutrients working in tandem to give synergistic health benefits and a quick boost of energy, but it also comes with fresh drinking water, and in countries such as the Philippines & Sri Lanka, it is called ‘The Tree of Life’ – a testament for having many practical uses. 

When you consider the health rewards of coconut meat, it has been found to have numerous benefits from having the ability to protect against heart disease to fighting against bacteria! 

Coconut is 47% water and per 100-grams it gives 354 calories, 33 grams of total fat, especially saturated fat (89% of total fat), 15 grams of carbohydrates, 3 grams of protein and 9 grams of fiber. Significant micronutrients include manganese, copper, iron, phosphorus, selenium, and zinc, all of which are more than 10% of daily value (refer data below).

As you can see, fresh coconuts are a fantastic source of micronutrients and trace minerals, while providing macronutrients such as fat in abundance and a moderate amount of carbohydrates and protein. 

Let us now check the nutritional value of coconuts, major health benefits and any side effects to be wary about. 

Raw Coconut Meat Nutritional Value per 100g (3.5 oz)


  • Calories = 354 kcal (1,480 kJ)   DV = 14%
  • Carbohydrates: 15.23 g  DV = 6%
  • Fat: 33.49 g  DV = 56%
  • Protein: 3.33g  DV = 6%
  • Fiber: 9g  DV = 36%
  • Omega-6 fatty acids: 293mg
  • Thiamine (B1): 0.066 mg  DV = 6%
  • Riboflavin (B2): 0.020 mg  DV = 2%
  • Niacin (B3) : 0.540 mg  DV = 4%
  • Pantothenic acid (B5): 0.300 mg  DV = 6%
  • Vitamin B6: 0.054 mg  DV = 4%
  • Folate (B9): 26 μg  DV = 7%
  • Vitamin C: 3.3 mg  DV = 4%
  • Vitamin E: 0.24 mg  DV = 2%
  • Vitamin K: 0.2 μg  DV = 0%
  • Calcium: 14 mg  DV = 1%
  • Copper: 0.435 mg  DV = 22%
  • Iron: 2.43 mg  DV = 19%
  • Magnesium: 32 mg  DV = 9%
  • Manganese: 1.500 mg  DV = 71%
  • Phosphorus: 113 mg  DV = 16%
  • Potassium: 356 mg  DV = 8%
  • Selenium: 10.1 μg  DV = 14%
  • Sodium: 20 mg  DV = 1%
  • Zinc: 1.10 mg  DV = 12% 

Source: usda.gov

1) To Improve Heart Health


As we noted above, coconut meat is a great source of dietary fiber, (9g per 100g of raw coconut) beneficial in maintaining a healthy metabolism and promoting heart health.

Coconut meat also reduces the risk of heart disease by promoting the generation of HDL (commonly called the ‘good’ cholesterol), while reducing LDL (‘bad’) cholesterol. These findings were supported by a study published in the US National Library of Medicine, in which participants consumed either coconut oil, extra virgin olive oil, or unsalted butter each day. After four weeks, the researchers found that the coconut oil group had significantly increased their levels of HDL cholesterol compared with the other groups. 

But what about high saturated fat in coconuts? Interestingly, among populations who depend on coconuts as a large component of their natural diet such as residents of the Indonesian islands coconut flesh has not been found to contribute to heart disease. Bear in mind here though that these populations mostly consume coconut in its natural, unprocessed form, and that they also consume a good amount of low-fat foods like vegetables and rice as part of their diet.  

Another factor which may contribute to the heart health benefits associated with coconuts is its fatty acid composition. 60% of coconut fat is comprised of medium-chain fatty acids (MCFA), which appear to be metabolized by the body differently than saturated fat from animal sources.  

2) May Help Your Weight Loss Goals


Coconut Meat Nutrition, Health Benefits and Side Effects / May Help Your Weight Loss Goals

Ask anyone what the hardest part of sticking to a diet is, and they’ll probably tell you, “being hungry!” or “falling back to your past cravings”  

What they might not know is that those looking to lose weight (or maintain their weight once they’ve reached their goal) can make use of an amazing secret weapon to keep hunger at bay, and that’s fiber. 

While fiber doesn’t contain any digestible calories itself, it adds bulk to a meal, contributing to a lasting feeling of fullness. And coconut doesn’t just contain lots of fiber, those medium-chain fatty acids we talked about previously are also thought to boost satiety, and have been found to aid in weight loss and assist in reducing waist circumference. 

For those on a low-carb diet in pursuit of weight loss goals, coconuts contain significantly less amount of carbohydrates than most plant-based foods. 

3) May Aid Digestive Health & Metabolism


For individuals with poor health, the medium-chain fatty acids present in coconuts have been found to improve the absorption of nutrients and food. The ample amount of fiber contained in meat or the white flesh of coconuts helps to slow down the passing of food through the intestines, allowing more time for a greater variety and quantity of nutrients to be absorbed along the way. 

In addition, coconuts promote healthy digestion in several other ways. The fatty acids and monoglycerides present in coconuts have anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory properties which can promote a healthy gut. 

They may, therefore, be particularly helpful for those suffering from conditions like IBD (Inflammatory Bowel Disease), Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, and gastroenteritis, which are all linked to inflammation in the digestive tract. 

Coconuts also contain the trace mineral manganese, which acts as a cofactor in several of the body’s chemical processes including playing a crucial role in the metabolism of various nutrients. 

4) To Assist in Regulating Blood Sugar & Managing Diabetes


One of the roles of dietary manganese appears to be assisting with the regulation of blood sugar. According to some studies, deficiency in manganese has shown a susceptibility for glucose intolerance and people with diabetes tend to have lower levels of manganese in their blood [1]

Thus consuming coconuts which are rich in this important mineral besides being a source of low carbs can have a positive compound effect in improving the conditions of diabetes and controlling blood sugar [2].  

The high fiber content of the coconut can also help to lower fasting blood sugar and promote better blood sugar control by positively impacting your gut bacteria. 

Some small scale research has found coconuts to help patients reduce waist circumference and lose weight as we learned before which can also support in reducing insulin resistance [3].  

In another study, an increase in fiber intake was found to correlate with a decrease in the level of blood glucose and serum insulin (high blood insulin can also cause your cells to become resistant to the hormone’s effects leaving room for prediabetes or type 2 diabetes). This suggests that, as expected, the fiber from coconuts does indeed have a substantial hypoglycemic action.

5) May Improve Immunity & Guard against Cancer


Coconut is the highest natural source of lauric acid, which makes up 50% of its fatty acid composition. In the body, lauric acid is converted into the monoglyceride monolaurin, which has been found to help the body fight off lipid-coated viruses – including herpes, cytomegalovirus, influenza and even HIV. Coconut oil also contains a smaller amount of caprylic acid, which is known to assist with fungal, bacterial and yeast infections. 

Further, some tests have shown that the inclusion of coconut in the diet can slow down tumor growth of gastric cancer. 

As we mentioned previously, coconut meat contains manganese, which is part of the powerful antioxidant SOD (superoxide dismutase) [4]. SOD and other antioxidants can protect the body from free radicals, which are known to cause DNA damage that can lead to cancer. 

Apart from the above benefits, medium-chain fatty acids found in coconut can help patients better absorb nutrients from food, which can be beneficial in boosting their immune system. 

6) Rich in Antioxidants Which Help In Maintaining Youthful Looks


Free radicals don’t just cause damage inside the body, but can also have a detrimental effect on skin and hair. Consuming coconuts can support the antioxidant enzyme SOD, which can help you to fight the effects of aging from the inside out, giving a number of benefits for your skin & hair. 

In addition, due to its antibacterial and antifungal properties, coconuts may help with several dermatological issues, such as skin allergies and yeast infections which can lead to rashes and dermatitis or cause hair to thin. 

Any Side Effects of Consuming Coconuts?


While there are virtually no substantial side effects associated with the consumption of raw coconut meat, it is quite high in fat which consists of polyunsaturated, monounsaturated and saturated fats. 

Even though the fats in coconuts are considered fairly healthy considering that it’s a plant source, the American Heart Association warns that excessive consumption of coconuts may not be a good idea.  

If you are trying to minimize your saturated fat consumption or are following a low-fat diet, then you may want to avoid consuming a lot of coconuts. You can still take advantage of all the health benefits offered with coconuts by consuming coconut meat in its natural unprocessed form and by choosing younger coconuts, which contain less fat than fully ripened ones. 

 

 

References:

1 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18193174 

2 https://www.diabetes.co.uk/natural-therapies/coconuts.html

3 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5519190/ 

4 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22072939 

 

Related Posts:

  1. Coconut Oil Health Benefits, Skin & Hair Uses and Side Effects
  2. Refined vs Unrefined (Virgin) Coconut Oil (For Cooking, Hair & Skin)
  3. Best Coconut Oil Brands for Cooking Review
  4. Vegan Chia Chocolate Coconut Pudding Recipe

 

Disclaimer: 

While every attempt has been made to verify the information provided here, the content in this post is for informational purposes only and not to be considered as professional advice. By providing the information contained herein we’re not diagnosing, or treating any type of disease or medical condition. Before beginning any regimen it is advisable to seek the advice of a licensed healthcare professional.

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Apple Cider Vinegar Health Benefits, Does it Work?

Apple Cider Vinegar Health Benefits / What’s Apple Cider Vinegar / Side Effects of Apple Cider Vinegar / How to Consume Apple Cider Vinegar

Vinegar, in general, has been known for their health characteristics for a long time, but it’s apple cider vinegar in particular that has been glorified as a cure-all in recent times that is claimed as a remedy for everything from acne to cancer.

So the question is, whether there is any truth to these claims.

Before rushing into conclusions let’s try to uncover which health benefits are backed by evidence and which are not, any side effects of using it, and the best & safest ways to use apple cider vinegar.

What’s Apple Cider Vinegar?


It’s made of apple juice, and when yeast is added, it converts the fruit sugar into alcohol during fermentation. Bacteria then transform alcohol into acetic acid. This is how basically apple cider vinegar is made giving its sour taste and pungent smell.

Rumoured Health Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar

1) Apple Cider Vinegar for Blood Sugar & Diabetes


There is some evidence from studies which has emerged to indicate that apple cider vinegar could have some benefits in controlling diabetes.

In one study from Arizona State University, the participants had 20g apple cider vinegar, 40g of water, and 1 teaspoon of saccharin with each meal [1]

Comparatively, those with insulin resistance who consumed vinegar had an elevated level of insulin sensitivity by 34% aiding in reducing the levels of glucose after their meals compared to the placebo group.

It was also believed that vinegar might reduce the intake of carbs into blood, or decrease the breakdown of starches into sugars which simulates the influence of drugs such as acarbose.

On another study which was done on a short-term basis, groups which took apple cider vinegar noticed a substantial improvement in blood glucose levels half an hour after consuming the vinegar. However, the difference was temporary and was reduced over time between the vinegar and control groups. 

It can be assumed to provide some benefit in order to help control blood sugar levels & type 2 diabetes, but there is still not enough scientific evidence to support the strength of apple cider vinegar as a quick fix for diabetes.

2) Apple Cider Vinegar and Cholesterol


There is some evidence to suggest taking apple cider vinegar could aid in lowering both cholesterol & triglycerides.

In one study those who consumed cider vinegar witnessed an average 13% decrease in total cholesterol while seeing a considerable decrease in triglycerides which is also a form of fat. 

What’s impressive about this finding is the fact that all the participants were healthy with typical cholesterol levels. Such reductions may have the capacity to lower the chances of having a heart attack.

In another 12-week study, the participants who took apple cider vinegar had a remarkable level of raised high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol considered as “good cholesterol” due to its effect in lowering heart issues [2]

So apple cider vinegar may assist those who wrestle with high cholesterol levels.

3) Apple Cider Vinegar as a Weight Loss Aid


Apple Cider Vinegar as a Weight Loss Aid

Drinking apple cider vinegar on its own may not miraculously allow you to attain your weight loss goals, but it can be part of the whole effort you make to reduce weight such as healthy diet and exercise.    

In a 12-week study, Japanese adults with obesity were given either 1 tbsp (15 ml) of vinegar, 2 tbsp (30 ml) of vinegar or a placebo daily.

On average those who had 1 tbsp of vinegar lost 2.6 pounds (1.2 kg) and those who had 2 tbsp of vinegar per day lost 3.7 pounds (1.7 kg) and on the contrary, the placebo group had a gain of 0.9 lbs (0.4 kgs) along with a slightly increased waist.

It is recommended not to come into conclusions purely from these findings as they can be skewed since they were done on very small populations, but having 1 to 2 tbsps before meals may have beneficial effects in lowering body weight.

4) Apple Cider Vinegar and Cancer


Still, there is not enough research to back the claim that apple cider vinegar can aid as a cancer treatment.

One old study done in 1996, discovered that melanoma cells (a type of cancer) have a tendency to develop and spread more rapidly in fairly acidic environments [3]. However, note this experiment has taken place in vitro rather than being tested on humans.

According to the American Institute for Cancer Research, the body can adjust its pH levels accordingly, and acidity or alkalinity of food that a person consumes have little influence [4], though some believe apple cider vinegar to be alkaline as it may raise urine pH due to its alkaline nutrients.

A 2014 study revealed that tumor cells discontinued when exposed to acetic acid. However, the study was done in a laboratory, and it’s challenging to expose a real tumor to acetic acid under normal circumstances.

Overall, there is not enough evidence to show that an alkaline environment can prevent cancer from developing and apple cider vinegar still cannot be considered an alternative for cancer treatment.

Any Side Effects of Apple Cider Vinegar?


  • It is not recommended to drink apple cider vinegar in its raw form without diluting as it can harm your throat and food pipe while causing discomfort and inflammation
  • It’s highly acidic and having too much of apple cider vinegar can ruin your tooth enamel, and cause an upset stomach
  • Apple cider vinegar may also have an effect on your potassium levels to reduce which can be risky as your muscles and nerves require potassium to function
  • It might also interfere with your current medications


How to Consume Apple Cider Vinegar (Dosage)?


Apple cider vinegar can be used as a marinade, to wash fruits and vegetables, for baking, salad dressings, sauces, soups, and as a preservative. 

There’s quite a lot of acid in it, so drinking it raw or having too much of it is not advised.

Shake the apple cider vinegar bottle and then you can mix 1 or 2 tbsps to a 240ml cup of water (hot or cold) and stir it. You may then have it 20 minutes before a meal (advice drinking it through a straw to protect your teeth) for health benefits. 

Please consult a doctor if you intend on starting an ACV regimen for health purposes

You can also mix apple cider vinegar with other liquids, such as fruit juice, tea, mocktails, smoothies, apple cider to have it with a different flavor.

When buying apple cider vinegar we recommend getting an unfiltered ACV brand with sediment settled on the bottom which is known as the “mother”. This includes healthy enzymes and probiotics. 

Conclusion


Never assume apple cider vinegar to replace medical treatments prescribed by a doctor. Always talk with a healthcare professional if you’re thinking of using apple cider vinegar to treat any condition.

At the end of the day, you should still remember there can be some health benefits that can be expected to a certain degree but there are some which are not backed by enough evidence to prove. There can also be harmful effects of overuse. 

But if you enjoy using it for cooking, or intend using it for its versatility while anticipating some health benefits, apple cider vinegar probably won’t hurt you, unless you experience any side effects.

Just don’t expect it to be a miracle cure!

 

References:

https://care.diabetesjournals.org/content/27/1/281

2 https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1756464618300483

3 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8605731

4 https://www.aicr.org/patients-survivors/healthy-or-harmful/alkaline-diets.html

 

Related Posts:

 

Disclaimer: 

While every attempt has been made to verify the information provided here, the content in this post is for informational purposes only and not to be considered as professional advice. By providing the information contained herein we’re not diagnosing, or treating any type of disease or medical condition. Before beginning any regimen it is advisable to seek the advice of a licensed healthcare professional.

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A Vegan Keto Diet, is it Healthy?

A Vegan Keto Diet, is it Healthy?

A vegan diet and a keto diet are two different things. Poles apart, in fact.

The former is plant-based, while the latter is fat-based, typically from animal sources. As you know this is something that goes against the values we hold so dearly as vegans.

Having said that, since there is such a thing called a ‘vegan keto diet’, let’s try and see from a health perspective whether common ground is possible.

The questions, though, are: is it recommended for vegans? Is it healthy? Is a plant-based keto diet approved by health nutritionist and doctors?

To be honest, the general consensus is quite negative. While many swear that a vegan keto diet works, experts have opposing positions about it.

First, let’s examine what a keto diet really is.

Simply put, it increases fat intake and reduces carbohydrates so that the body reaches a state of ketosis. This is when the body burns ketones for fuel instead of glucose.

Of course, when vegans go on a keto diet, their fat intake will come from plants that are much healthier compared to fat sources from animals such as butter, cheese, and eggs. Further, they may consider combining their diets with vegan supplements such as vegan multivitamins to compliment their overall nutrition.

A vegan keto diet is likely to consist of the following:

  • Olive oil
  • Coconut oil
  • Avocado
  • Nutritional yeast
  • Very small portions of tempeh
  • Low-carb unsweetened plant-based protein powders (like hemp or pea protein)
  • Berries (strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, cherries)
  • Seeds (flaxseed, chia, pumpkin)
  • Nuts (macadamia, pecans, walnuts, peanuts, almonds, Brazil, pine)
  • Low-carb, non-starchy veggies & greens (lettuce, kale, spinach, celery, cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage, cucumber, mushrooms, asparagus, tomato, onion, peppers, and seaweed)
  • Dark chocolate with a high percentage of cocoa solids

Now let’s go back to the original concern: Is it healthy for vegans to switch to a low-carb, high-fat diet?

The experts weigh in with their opinions.

Lack of Protein Sources

Avoided High Protein & High Carb Vegan Food in Keto Diets

According to registered dietitian Lisa Bunn, RD, CSCS, the lack of protein sources creates two problems.

“Not only are there not enough sources of protein to meet daily needs, but there aren’t appropriate foods to create complete proteins, which are needed for recovery and growth,” she said. She further explained that a good example of a complete protein is made up of beans and rice–both of which a person on a keto diet cannot eat.

What’s worse, a lack of protein can result in an amino acid deficiency that can have dire side effects, such as inflammation, depression, immunity, aging hair and skin, and sexual health issues. Women may stop getting their period, while the sperm quality in men may degrade.

Serious Challenges are Thrown into The Mix

While one needs to be informed and make a few adjustments to adopt a vegan diet, going on a vegan ketogenic diet can unnecessarily complicate your diet & health.

A registered dietitian with Fresh Communications, Stephanie Ferrari, MS, RDN, considers a vegan keto diet as adding a complicated layer of restriction to vegan diets.

The main problem is not finding enough fat sources for a vegan diet, but the fact that most of the plant-based protein sources “for vegans are high in carbohydrates: beans, rice, oats, etc., so getting adequate protein on a vegan keto diet would be incredibly difficult.”

Considering that a keto diet is low in carbs, most vegans will be in a pickle. If Lisa Bunn says vegans shouldn’t push the keto diet, Stephanie Ferrari doesn’t recommend it for people following a vegan diet.

Risk of Nutrient Deficiencies

Clinical nutritionist Dr. Josh Axe, DNM, DC, CNC is not completely opposed to the idea of a vegan ketogenic diet, but he doesn’t think it is ideal.

It may be good for a short period of time but, longer than this, and the meals a vegan enjoys can get pretty repetitive, resulting in deficiencies.

Remember the list above? There’s only so much you can eat based on it.

“If you are able to follow a vegan keto diet for more than a couple of weeks, you’ll likely be at risk for developing nutrient deficiencies,” he said.

Certified dietitian of Whole Health Nutrition Leslie Langevin, MS, RD, CD couldn’t agree more. A vegan would “have to eat a TON of nuts and seeds,” which will result in people eliminating healthy foods from their diet.

Although you can get omega-3 fatty acids from nuts and seeds, you may get it disproportionately. The body needs EPA and DHA omega-3s that can be converted from ALA coming from nuts & seeds provided your body has the appropriate omega 6:3 ratio.

Since eating lots of fat-rich plants to get as much fat as possible can be high in omega-6, it could disrupt this ratio and inhibit the conversion of EPA and DHA from ALA.

Based on these expert opinions, vegans who want to pursue a ketogenic diet should ideally consult a nutritionist, dietitian, or a doctor.

While there is a plant-based low-carb, high-fat ketogenic diet that is backed by 20 years of research according to Michigan-based top holistic cardiologist Dr. Joel Kahn, there’s still a need to do more research and find a balance between the vegan and keto diets.

Pinterest Pin: A Vegan Keto Diet, is it Healthy?

So, what can vegans do in the meantime?

Langevin recommends sticking with eating lean proteins; clean, whole foods; and lots of complex carbs, veggies, and fruits. And if you’re trying to lose weight, eating whole foods at appropriate portions is the best way to go.

Dr. Axe recommends that you can go on a keto diet but only for a short term. While it’s a “medical diet breakthrough to overcome any plateaus,” following it should only be done for one-year maximum.

As always, we encourage you to stick to a healthy vegan diet for optimum overall health and you should be fine without the need to go on a keto diet.


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Disclaimer: 

While every attempt has been made to verify the information provided here, the content in this post is for informational purposes only and not to be considered as professional advice. By providing the information contained herein we’re not diagnosing, or treating any type of disease or medical condition. Before beginning any regimen it is advisable to seek the advice of a licensed healthcare professional.

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12 Vegan Blood Tests for Your Health That Matter!

Vegan Blood Tests for Health, Vegan Medical Test, Vegan Medical Checkup

If you’re planning to adopt a new diet or have been following a new diet for some time, it seems quite sensible to know where you stand in terms of health by means of a medical checkup/blood test.

You may ask, which tests? It turns out, the answer to this question lies with many variables.

Every person is different and what tests you should be interested in vary depending on things like your diet, lifestyle (how active you’re, stress levels, sleep, hydration, smoking & consumption of alcohol), age, gender, medical history, if you are planning to get pregnant, what medications you are on, etc.

All these variables can contribute to different potential deficiencies or areas of concern in a medical checkup. Because of this, your first step ideally is to form a relationship with a doctor who can get to know you, your lifestyle, medical and family history.

The vegan blood tests we’ve listed here may also be relevant to raw vegans, vegetarians, and plant-based diet followers as well.

Do note that certain results of medical tests could be misleading trying to interpret on your own as opposed to what it may actually indicate. For example, the levels of nutrients in your blood are not always indicative of the quantities obtained from your diet.

Calcium is a prime example, as normal levels of this in the blood may not actually indicate sufficient dietary intake. This is because calcium is so important to homeostasis and your body will maintain a sufficient level even when dietary intake is insufficient.

How does it replenish calcium in blood? When forced to, your body will draw calcium from your bones. This means that besides testing for adequate levels in the blood, your doctor may also need to take a look at other factors such as your dietary sources and other potential indicators.

This can also be true with other minerals such as zinc and magnesium, and these areas, therefore, require expert attention & input from a doctor.

Benefits of Having a Medical Checkup/Blood Test


1) If you have a blood test before embarking on a vegan diet, you will be able to track your health status after 6-12 months of following it. This comparison can enable you to appreciate the progress of your health, while identifying any areas of concern to give more emphasis.

2) Medical checkups allow you to be proactive and help you to identify any health issues before they start. This could help in treating illnesses at an early stage where your chances of restoring your health can be much easier & faster.

3) Seeing the positive results of vegan blood tests and knowing that your health is in great shape can give you an added reason to appreciate the health impact of vegan diets. As an example, your blood lipid profile can improve significantly as a result of moving to a whole food vegan diet which can minimize the risks of heart disease and strokes which are the biggest causes of death.

4) Though medical checkups can cost you, it may still not exceed the higher medical costs of treating major illnesses in the long run as a result of not being proactive.

5) Ultimately regular medical checkups may help you in improving health, prolong your life and boost your self-confidence!

How Often Should You Consider Having a Vegan Blood Test


If you follow a vegan diet that is rich in whole foods such as vegetables, greens, grains, nuts/seeds, fruits, and a B12 supplement or B12 fortified food, your chance of having a deficiency is minimal. You’ll most probably feel great and be functioning at optimum in your daily routine, so it really isn’t necessary to have a test more than once a year at most.

If however, you are on chronic medications or have pre-existing conditions that may interfere with your body’s ability to absorb nutrients, your doctor may advise you to have more regular health tests.

This is especially true if you have previously been diagnosed with a B12 or iron deficiency, where your doctor will want to do follow up medical exams to make sure that treatment is working.

Vegan Blood Tests


Vegan Blood Tests

1. CBC – Complete Blood Count Test

This test is an excellent starting point as part of a general health examination and it indicates whether you have low red blood cell count (RBC), hemoglobin and hematocrit which may help identify signs of anemia [1].

It can help detect underlying causes of anemia such as iron deficiency, B12 & folate deficiency, or blood loss.

In addition, this health screening can test for general immune deficiency, allergies, infections, and finding the cause if you often feel weak, fatigued, or suspect an infection. If the results are normal, your general health status is quite good and must consider it as a great relief!

2. CMP – Comprehensive Metabolic Panel Test

This medical checkup is especially useful because it consists of 14 separate tests. This particularly means combinations of results which are problematic and can all be useful in finding the exact cause of an issue.

This one test gives the physician information on your liver, kidneys, blood sugar, blood protein levels, calcium levels, electrolyte, acid/base balance, etc. all in one go [2] [3].

Though you should not have any worries about your protein levels, if you still need to make sure, then this test will once and for all clear that for you!

It tests total protein, albumin, and globulin levels, and you’ll have enough proof to indicate whether you should have any worries over your protein levels. Total protein under 6.5 and albumin under 3.9 are indications of protein deficiency!

While it’s relatively rare for a vegan to be diabetic, this panel will also check your blood glucose. Furthermore, it’s possible for blood sugar to be too low as well which is called hypoglycemia, and this test can indicate that too.

Here’s a Full List of Indicators from a CMP Panel:

  • Blood Urea Nitrogen (BUN)
  • Alanine Aminotransferase (ALT)
  • Alkaline Phosphatase (ALP)
  • Aspartate Aminotransferase (AST)
  • Potassium
  • Sodium
  • Calcium
  • Glucose
  • Carbon Dioxide (Bicarbonate)
  • Chloride
  • Creatinine
  • Total Protein
  • Total Bilirubin
  • Albumin

3. Vitamin B12 Test

Vitamin B12 Test: Vegan Blood Tests for Health, Vegan Medical Test, Vegan Medical Checkup

If there’s one health checkup no vegan, vegetarian, or anyone over the age of 60 should miss, it’s this one.

This is because B12 is the only vitamin for which there is no convenient ‘whole foods’ source, though there are other options such as plant milk, fortified foods or supplements to obtain B12.

Although it is only needed in truly minuscule amounts, it’s incredibly important. Both B12 and folate are required for normal red blood cells production to maintain nerve health, tissue and cellular repair and synthesis of DNA.

Normal values are generally considered to be between 200 and 900 picograms per milliliter (pg/mL), and a value less than 200 is a possible indicator of deficiency [4]. This range is given only as a guide, but the normal range may differ from lab to lab and your doctor will determine what constitutes a normal range for you.

Do note that along with a B12 test, an MMA (methylmalonic acid serum test) and a homocysteine test which we discuss next would provide a more reliable evaluation of a B12 deficiency [4].

People with this deficiency are likely to have or develop symptoms such as general weakness, tiredness, loss of balance, heart palpitations, tingling in the arms & legs, numbness, pale skin, and mental issues.

If the results of this test are either low or borderline low, your doctor may also request what is called a holotranscobalamin, or ‘active’ B12 test. This shows how much of the biologically active form of the vitamin you have in your blood.

4. MMA – Methylmalonic Acid, Serum Test

This test, along with the homocysteine test which we will discuss next, is often useful to diagnose the early stages of a vitamin B12 deficiency. If levels in both the MMA and homocysteine tests are elevated, it is a good indicator that less B12 is available to the cells and tissues.

It helps to differentiate where the problem may actually be. If it’s a folic acid issue rather than B12 itself, this would be indicated by a higher homocysteine level. That would indicate either folic acid being low or not being metabolized adequately. If both are normal, the likelihood of a B12 deficiency is unlikely.

5. Homocysteine Test

As described above, this test can indicate the B12 levels or a folate deficiency.

Higher levels of this test are also associated with atherosclerosis, where arteries are getting hardened due to the deposits of cholesterol, plaque, and other substances.

Narrowing of the arteries can pose a serious threat, as it is associated with an increased risk of strokes and Alzheimer’s disease, blood clots and potential heart attacks.

Raised levels of homocysteine (above ten micromoles/liter) are of concern, so the levels should be at least lower than 9 micromoles/liter and ideally less than 6 micromoles/liter.

6. 25-Hydroxy Vitamin D Test

Vitamin D deficiency is associated with skeletal issues like weak bones, malformation, or abnormal calcium metabolism.

While we can, of course, obtain this vitamin from exposure to sunshine, vegans who spend most of the time indoors or in areas of extended winters should seek other sources of vitamin D.

Thus if you’re not getting enough vitamin D from sunlight, it is advisable to consider other vegan sources of vitamin D such as fortified plant milk, other fortified products, mushrooms pre-exposed to sun, or supplements.

Because vitamin D is fat-soluble, those on extremely low-fat diets may also be slightly more at risk. Other conditions which may cause deficiency include cystic fibrosis, Crohn’s disease, IBS (irritable bowel syndrome), and celiac disease, which may interfere with the intestine’s ability to absorb fat and as a result disrupt vitamin D absorption.

7. Iron – TIBC (Total Iron Binding Capacity) Test

While there are many options for vegans to get all the iron they need from dark leafy greens, legumes, and nuts, there may be situations where having this medical screening a good idea.

Heavy physical activities like long-distance running can deplete iron levels as can heavy menstruation in women. People who are prone to depression, fatigue or women of childbearing age should also find useful having their iron levels checked.

8. Ferritin Test

While the TIBC tests for iron levels in the blood, the ferritin test helps assess how good the iron stores in your body. Where an iron deficiency is suspected, this test is often used in combination with the TIBC test to evaluate the severity of the deficiency.

9. Omega-3 Index Test

Omega 3 Conversion of ALA into EPA and DHAOmega-3 levels can be problematic in many people, not just where consumption of omega 3 itself is too low, but the consumption of omega 6 fatty acids is too high, as it interferes with the levels of omega 3.

The US Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee reported that a staggering 70% of Americans are deficient in omega-3s, so vegans and vegetarians should definitely be just as vigilant to avoid a deficiency.

There are three different types of omega 3 which are of particular importance – ALA, DHA, and EPA, (alpha-linolenic acid, docosahexaenoic acid, and eicosapentaenoic acid respectively).

While the body can produce EPA and DHA from ALA, it cannot make its own ALA, and this must therefore come from the food we eat. How efficiently the body has converted ALA to EPA & DHA can be gauged by taking this blood test (if you’re purely relying on ALA to obtain EPA & DHA without supplements)

From this test, the quantity of EPA and DHA present in the membranes of the red blood cells can be measured.

According to the general medical consensus on this test, a percentage score of 8% or greater is optimal, 4 – 8% being an intermediate risk and below 4% placing people at high risk.

To learn more about omega 3 and vegan food sources click here.

10. Folic Acid Test

While folic acid deficiency in vegans and vegetarians is highly unlikely due to the abundance of this nutrient from plant sources, an excessive amount of folic acid can mask a vitamin B12 deficiency to exacerbate the situation. The causes of such high levels of folic acid could be due to pernicious anemia, digestive disorders, intestinal surgery or high dosage from supplements.

The most important outcome of this test for vegans is to make sure their folic acid levels have not elevated to a level of concealing a B12 deficiency to go unnoticed and untreated.

11. Lipid Profile Test

This is the most common test used to determine the risk of heart disease and its associated risks. It measures four components in the blood – total cholesterol, LDL, HDL, and triglycerides.

Cholesterol tends to get a bad reputation in general, but it is actually essential for life. It is used as the basic building block to produce hormones (such as testosterone & estrogen), cell membranes, and required for general health. The body produces it from raw materials found in our food, but levels which are too high because of excessive dietary intake can be hazardous.

While the majority of vegans and vegetarians fare much better on this test than those on a standard diet, vegetarians could be at risk for high cholesterol (above 200mg/dL) if they eat a lot of eggs and high-fat dairy products. The same risk can apply to vegans if they are consuming a lot of vegan processed or oily foods.

However good our diet is, high cholesterol also has a genetic component, so this test is for everyone.

12. Urinary Iodine Test

Iodine is required for normal functioning of the thyroid and is of particular importance for pregnant and breastfeeding women. If you’re a vegan who does not use iodized salt or if you’re planning on having a baby, it’s a good idea to have this test done.

Pinterest Pin: Vegan Blood Tests

Conclusion


Tests Recommended for Vegans & Vegetarians

  1. Vitamin B12 Test (highly recommended)
  2. CBC – Complete Blood Count (for iron & B12 deficiency)
  3. Iron – TIBC (Total Iron Binding Capacity) Test
  4. 25 Hydroxy Vitamin D Test
  5. Omega-3 Index Test

Other Tests to Consider for Optimal Health

  1. MMA – Methylmalonic Acid, Serum
  2. Homocysteine Test
  3. Lipid Panel Test
  4. CMP – Comprehensive Chemistry/Metabolic Panel
  5. Ferritin Test
  6. Folic Acid Test
  7. Urinary Iodine Test

As your doctor is the best person to interpret the results, make sure to take the time to discuss all the results of your vegan blood tests.

If you don’t have a family doctor, a great resource to find a doctor who understands your particular needs is plantbaseddoctors.org, or try an online search for doctors in your area.

Your doctor will be able to make recommendations based on any areas of concern or just congratulate you on your excellent results!

If something appears lacking, your doctor can give you expert advice about additional tests that might be required or what foods or supplements you should incorporate additionally.

But if you center your diet around whole foods and make sure to have vegan fortified foods and dietary supplements where required to supplement your nutrition, then there’s a good chance of you getting a clean bill of health!


Related Posts

References

1 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12710004

2 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMHT0024503/

3 https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health-topics/blood-tests

4 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3142735/