Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Why You Should Have Ginger Every Day!

ginger honey
This awesome post was written by Elisha of My Health Maven. She is deeply passionate about educating people and empowering them to lead healthier lives. I encourage you to check out her blog.

Ginger (Zingiber officinale Roscoe) is a flowering plant that originated in China and is also related to turmeric and cardamom.  The rhizome (root) is the part that is used for spice, as a preservative, a tea and for medicinal purposes.  Ginger is one of the healthiest spices known. It is packed full of nutrients and bioactive compounds that offer tremendous benefits to your body.
So why should you add ginger to your diet? Take a look at some of the amazing health benefits:
Antibiotic- The effects of ginger and antibiotics on Staphylococcus aureus and S. pyreus infections shows that ginger extract may be superior. (1)

Anti-Fungal– Ginger has anti-fungal properties. (2)
Cancer-Several studies have shown the ability of ginger to defeat numerous types of cancer cells, including breast, colon, pancreatic, prostate and skin cancer. (3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10)
Diabetes Prevention– Studies show that diabetes can be prevented and treated along with lowering blood sugar levels. (11)

Gastric Distress– Ginger inhibits H. pylori, which helps prevent ulcers. (12)
Inflammation– Inflammation goes hand in hand with many chronic conditions. Ginger inhibits nitrous oxide production and inflammatory cytokines. It is very effective in dealing with arthritis and other general inflammatory illnesses. (13)
Menstrual Pain– A double blind study showed powdered ginger capsules to be as effective in treating menstrual pain as non-steroidal anti inflammatories and placebos. (14)
Nausea– Gingers ability to relieve nausea has long been known. It is useful for morning sickness, sea sickness and nausea of all sorts. (15, 16)
Periodontal– Ginger has wonderful antibacterial effects on periodontal disease. (17)
Toxicity- Ginger helps prevent the toxic effects of numerous substances including MSG, pesticides, and cancer drugs.  (18, 19)

Possible Interactions:

Ginger does have a few negative side effects. Allergic reactions usually result in a rash, although some individuals experience heartburn, bloating, gas, burping or nausea. These symptoms are more common when consuming ginger in a powdered form.
According to Drugs.com ginger interacts with prescription drugs such as heart medication, diabetes medication, warfarin, aspirin, NSAIDs and blood thinners.
Please discuss any concerns with your health care practitioner.

Make Your Own Ginger Honey Syrup

Ginger root
Peel a large piece of ginger, grate it and place in pan.
Pour in enough honey to cover the ginger.
Simmer 10-15 minutes, or until ginger is mushy, allow to cool slightly. (You can strain the ginger out of the honey if you like. I leave mine with the honey).
Pour into jar, label and date.
Refrigerate and it will last for several weeks.
Enjoy this in smoothies, milk, tea, on ice cream, pancakes, hot oatmeal, or on a fruit salad. You can also add 2-3 Tablespoons to a cup of hot water for tea.
  1. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17010224
  2. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12588480
  3. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18972844
  4. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19481070
  5. http://www.jnutbio.com/article/S0955-2863%2807%2900133-7/abstract
  6. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/ijc.23923/abstract
  7. http://online.liebertpub.com/doi/abs/10.1089/jmf.2010.1191
  8. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17066513
  9. http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/41747.php
  10. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18030663
  11. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17010224
  12. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3136331/?tool=pubmed
  13. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0278691509000775
  14. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19216660
  15. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/3277342
  16. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12233808
  17. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18814211
  18. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19579948
  19. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19371770
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Saturday, December 26, 2015

Benefits to Drinking Kombucha

Known as the “Immortal Health Elixir” by the Chinese and originating in the Far East around 2,000 years ago, kombucha is a beverage with tremendous health benefits.
Kombucha is a fermented beverage of black tea and sugar (from various sources including cane sugar, fruit or honey) that’s used as a functional food. It contains a colony of bacteria and yeast that are responsible for initiating the fermentation process once combined with sugar. After being fermented, kombucha becomes carbonated and contains vinegar, b-vitamins, enzymes, probiotics and a high concentration of acid (acetic, gluconic and lactic), which are tied with the following effects:
  • Improved Digestion
  • Weight Loss
  • Increased Energy
  • Cleansing and Detoxification
  • Immune Support
  • Reduced Joint Pain
  • Cancer Prevention
The sugar-tea solution is fermented by bacteria and yeast commonly known as a “SCOBY” (symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast). Although it’s usually made with black tea, kombucha can also be made with green tea too.
You can make kombucha yourself at home or buy it for $3–$5 a bottle at most health food stores and some coffee shops.

Beneficial Probiotics in Kombucha 

An article published in the journal Food Microbiology established that the following probiotics make up this health elixir:
  • Gluconacetobacter (>85 percent in most samples)
  • Acetobacter (<2 percent)
  • Lactobacillus (up to 30 percent in some samples)
  • Zygosaccharomyces (>95 percent)
Ultimately, this cocktail of good bacteria interact together in a unique way to produce some unbelievable health benefits for those who drink it.

7 Kombucha Health Benefits

In research published in the Journal of Medicinal Food 2014, researchers from the University of Latvia say the following about the health benefits of kombucha:
It is shown that [kombucha] can efficiently act in health preservation and recovery due to four main properties: detoxification, anti-oxidation, energizing potencies, and promotion of boosting immunity.
We agree! In fact, according to research there are five main health benefits of kombucha.
1. Detoxification
The detoxifying capacity of kombucha is immense. A perfect example is in its ability to counteract liver cell toxicity.
In one study, the liver cells were protected from oxidative injury and actually maintained their normal physiology, in spite of being exposed to a toxin! According to researchers, this was “probably due to its antioxidant activity and could be beneficial against liver diseases, where oxidative stress is known to play a crucial role.”
2. Digestion
Naturally, the antioxidant prowess of this ancient tea counteracts free radicals that create mayhem in the digestive system. However, the greatest reason kombucha supports digestion is because of its high levels of beneficial acid, probiotics and enzymes.
Some research has shown kombucha’s ability to prevent and heal leaky gut and stomach ulcers. No surprise to us, in some instances it’s even proven to be as effective as drugs like Prilosec, which are commonly prescribed for heartburn, GERD and ulcers.
Kombucha can also help heal candida yeast from overpopulating within the gut because it helps restore balance to the digestive system. Kombucha is a great way to fight candida because it contains live probiotic cultures that help the gut to repopulate with good bacteria while crowding out the candida yeast. Kombucha does have bacteria, but these are not harmful pathogen bacteria, instead they are the beneficial kind (called “apathogens”) that compete with “bad” pathogen bacteria in the gut and digestive tract.
One thing to mention here is that candida or other digestive problems can sometimes be complicated issues to fix and symptoms might actually get worse before getting better. This doesn’t mean that kombucha isn’t effective or is exacerbating the problem, just that gut problems aren’t always a straight path to healing and at times some patience or trial and error is needed.
3. Energy
Kombucha’s ability to invigorate people is credited to the formation of iron that is released from the black tea during the fermentation process. It also contains some caffeine (although in very small amounts) and b-vitamins, which can energize the body.
Through a special process known as chelation, the iron released helps boost blood hemoglobin, improving oxygen supply to tissues and stimulating the energy-producing process at the cellular level. In other words, by helping the body create more energy (ATP), the ancient tea can help those who regularly drink it stay energized.
4. Immune Health
The overall effect that kombucha has to modulate the immune system is best seen in its ability to control free radicals through antioxidant measures.
Clinically proven to decrease oxidative stress and related immuno-suppression, a powerful antioxidant known as D-saccharic acid-1, 4-lactone (DSL) was discovered during the kombucha fermentation process that’s not found in black tea alone.
Scientists suspect that DSL and the vitamin C present in kombucha are its main secrets in protecting against cell damage, inflammatory diseases, tumors and overall depression of the immune system. Also, we know the probiotics found in kombucha support the immune system.
5. Joint Care
Kombucha can help heal, repair and prevent joint damage in a number of ways. Kombucha is loaded with glucosamines, which increase synovial hyaluronic acid production. This supports the preservation of collagen and prevents arthritic pain. In the same way it supports joint collagen, it also supports collagen of the entire body and reduces the appearance of wrinkles on the skin.
6. Cancer Prevention
Kombucha is also beneficial for cancer prevention and recovery. A study published in Cancer Letters found that consuming glucaric acid found in kombucha reduced the risk of cancer in humans.
President Reagan even reportedly drank kombucha daily as part of his regimen to battle stomach cancer.
7. Weight Loss
Data from a study in 2005 showed evidence that kombucha improves metabolism and limits fat accumulation. Though we need to see more studies before we can confirm these results, it makes sense that kombucha supports weight loss since it’s high in acetic acid (just like apple cider vinegar is) and polyphenols, which are proven to help increase weight loss.

Taken from: http://draxe.com/7-reasons-drink-kombucha-everyday/ 

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

What is Kombucha?

I ran across this article recently as I was getting started in kombucha making.  It is very informative.

What is Kombucha? The 10 Facts You Need to Know
by Dr. Edward Group DC, NP, DACBN, DCBCN, DABFM Published on December 9, 2013, Last Updated on December 16, 2013 

If you’re into health food, you may have heard of kombucha. Kombucha is a lightly fermented tea which has achieved considerable popularity among the healthy eating crowd. Advocates claim it enhances cognition, stimulates immune function, supports weight loss, can be applied as a therapy for almost any ailment, and even promotes longevity. [1] [2] But, before you dive into your first cup, it’s a good idea to know why it’s good and what to look out for — so here are the 10 must-know facts about kombucha!
1. What is Kombucha?
Kombucha consists of tea, sugar, clean water and a SCOBY. “SCOBY” stands for symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeasts. The sugar feeds the yeast and bacteria which form the SCOBY layer — the very identifiable, thick, mushroomy layer that rests on the top of the kombucha. This SCOBY adds the flavor, acidity and promotes the fermentation which creates the health benefits. It also contains a small amount of alcohol (only .5%-3% depending on fermentation), gluconic, acetic, lactic acids and some substances that discourage bacteria. Many people describe the taste of kombucha as sweet and acidic, almost like soda with a slight vinegar taste.
As for its origins, kombucha is traditionally associated with Asia, Russia and Germany but became a popular drink globally by the late 1990’s. Exploratory animal research offers substantial evidence to support the health claims that kombucha drinkers have known for decades. [3]
2. How is Kombucha Made?
Remember as you read this, kombucha is a fermented drink. To make kombucha, tea is steeped in purified water and sugar is added. To this mixture, a culture of fungus and bacteria is added. Typical fermentation time runs about 14 days. [4] The culture used is a very specific SCOBY, and anyone looking to brew their own (often recommended), should find a detailed recipe to ensure best results and maximum safety. Safety? Yes, you want to be sure you’re only using friendly organisms that are free of contaminants.
3. Why It’s Best to Make Your Own
Fresh food is the best food and that’s especially true for kombucha. Making it at home ensures the freshest ingredients with the greatest amount of active nutrients. Studies have shown that commercially produced kombucha loses much of its antioxidants when stored in warehouses and on store shelves. An active fermentation process in storage can also cause films to form, this substantially degrades the quality. Although various processes have been tried in order to improve storage quality, none have proven successful. [5]
4. A Caution About Making your Own
Keep the fungus and bacteria culture “clean” when making your own. While the SCOBY contributes to the health value, any common mold will contaminate the product. Contaminating mold would appear black, green or blue. If this appears on the culture, dispose of it, clean and sterilize all containers and tools used to make the kombucha and start over.
5. The Probiotic Benefits
The bacteria-fungus culture creates a tea loaded with beneficial probiotic organisms. The benefits of probiotics are well documented and linked to digestive health and immune function, just to note a few. One study found that kombucha may provide substantial activity for controlling e. Coli and Staph bacteria, a common benefit of many probiotics. [6]
Different brewing factors such as tea selection, brewing time, sugar, and fermentation time alter the specific nutrients and probiotics present in any given batch. If you make your own, you can work with these different elements to create the batch which makes you feel the best!
6. How Kombucha Protects the Liver
Research suggests that kombucha tea consumption does appear to have protective effects for the liver. [7] One animal study reported that kombucha decreased levels of toxins known to cause liver damage. [8] A similar study reported of anti-stress benefits from the tea. [9] These benefits are unique to Kombucha and do not result from unfermented teas.
7. Kombucha May Even Promote Lung Health
Chinese researchers discovered a unique, potential application for kombucha tea. Used as an inhalant, kombucha was found to remove silica from lungs in an animal model. [10] This may be extremely promising for the men and women with construction, masonry and mining jobs who are exposed to dangerous silica dust. The American Lung Association estimates over 2 million men and women are exposed to such lung contaminants and have the potential for developing complications. [11] Although still exploratory, it’s exciting to hear that kombucha may be a potential life saver and support normal lung function.
8. Kombucha and Blood Sugar
Metabolic problems and liver and kidney dysfunction are frequent side effects of diabetes. Good news, the antioxidants created by kombucha fermentation may help support liver, kidney and pancreatic function. [12] Shown to suppress glucose levels and increase HDL cholesterol levels in animal trials, researchers have indicated kombucha may be a good health support option for those with diabetes. [13]
9. Kombucha and Stomach Ulcers
Research in 2010 indicated the antioxidant effect of kombucha may heal stomach problems from excess acid build-up, such as ulcers. It’s reported that kombucha appears to protect the layer of the stomach which prevents acid erosion of stomach tissue. This results from reduced levels of stomach acid, and has been suggested as a support option for those with stomach ulcers. [14]
10. Kombucha and the Kidneys
When researchers tested kombucha on kidneys damaged by environmental toxins, they found that the antioxidant potency of kombucha tea may repair damaged kidney tissue. [15] These findings suggest kombucha tea has potential for many uses beyond the health-focused benefits advocated by traditional consumption and research supported by current research.
Do you make or drink kombucha? What tips do you have? What benefits have you noticed? Please leave a comment below and share your experience with kombucha with us!
  1. Hartmann AM, Burleson LE, Holmes AK, Geist CR. Effects of chronic kombucha ingestion on open-field behaviors, longevity, appetitive behaviors, and organs in c57-bl/6 mice: a pilot study. Nutrition. 2000 Sep;16(9):755-61.
  2. Hauser SP. [Dr. Sklenar’s Kombucha mushroom infusion–a biological cancer therapy. Documentation No. 18]. Schweiz Rundsch Med Prax. 1990 Feb 27;79(9):243-6.
  3. Greenwalt CJ, Steinkraus KH, Ledford RA. Kombucha, the fermented tea: microbiology, composition, and claimed health effects. J Food Prot. 2000 Jul;63(7):976-81.
  4. Vijayaraghavan R, Singh M, Rao PV, Bhattacharya R, Kumar P, Sugendran K, Kumar O, Pant SC, Singh R. Subacute (90 days) oral toxicity studies of Kombucha tea. Biomed Environ Sci. 2000 Dec;13(4):293-9.
  5. Jayabalan R, Marimuthu S, Thangaraj P, Sathishkumar M, Binupriya AR, Swaminathan K, Yun SE. Preservation of kombucha tea-effect of temperature on tea components and free radical scavenging properties. J Agric Food Chem. 2008 Oct 8;56(19):9064-71. doi: 10.1021/jf8020893. Epub 2008 Sep 10.
  6. Cetojevic-Simin DD, Bogdanovic GM, Cvetkovic DD, Velicanski AS. Antiproliferative and antimicrobial activity of traditional Kombucha and Satureja montana L. Kombucha. J BUON. 2008 Jul-Sep;13(3):395-401.
  7. Wang Y, Ji B, Wu W, Wang R, Yang Z, Zhang D, Tian W. Hepatoprotective effects of kombucha tea: identification of functional strains and quantification of functional components. J Sci Food Agric. 2013 May 28. doi: 10.1002/jsfa.6245.
  8. Murugesan GS, Sathishkumar M, Jayabalan R, Binupriya AR, Swaminathan K, Yun SE. Hepatoprotective and curative properties of Kombucha tea against carbon tetrachloride-induced toxicity. J Microbiol Biotechnol. 2009 Apr;19(4):397-402.
  9. Pauline T, Dipti P, Anju B, Kavimani S, Sharma SK, Kain AK, Sarada SK, Sairam M, Ilavazhagan G, Devendra K, Selvamurthy W. Studies on toxicity, anti-stress and hepato-protective properties of Kombucha tea. Biomed Environ Sci. 2001 Sep;14(3):207-13.
  10. Fu NF, Luo CH, Wu JC, Zheng YY, Gan YJ, Ling JA, Liang HQ, Liang DY, Xie J, Chen XQ, Li XJ, Pan RH, Chen ZX, Jiang SJ. Clearance of free silica in rat lungs by spraying with chinese herbal kombucha. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2013;2013:790792. doi: 10.1155/2013/790792. Epub 2013 Aug 19.
  11. American Lung Association. Understanding Silicosis. (last accessed 2013-12-05)
  12. Bhattacharya S, Gachhui R, Sil PC. Effect of Kombucha, a fermented black tea in attenuating oxidative stress mediated tissue damage in alloxan induced diabetic rats. Food Chem Toxicol. 2013 Oct;60:328-40. doi: 10.1016/j.fct.2013.07.051. Epub 2013 Jul 29.
  13. Aloulou A, Hamden K, Elloumi D, Ali MB, Hargafi K, Jaouadi B, Ayadi F, Elfeki A, Ammar E. Hypoglycemic and antilipidemic properties of kombucha tea in alloxan-induced diabetic rats. BMC Complement Altern Med. 2012 May 16;12:63. doi: 10.1186/1472-6882-12-63.
  14. Banerjee D, Hassarajani SA, Maity B, Narayan G, Bandyopadhyay SK, Chattopadhyay S. Comparative healing property of kombucha tea and black tea against indomethacin-induced gastric ulceration in mice: possible mechanism of action. Food Funct. 2010 Dec;1(3):284-93. doi: 10.1039/c0fo00025f. Epub 2010 Nov 3.
  15. Gharib OA. Effects of Kombucha on oxidative stress induced nephrotoxicity in rats. Chin Med. 2009 Nov 27;4:23. doi: 10.1186/1749-8546-4-23.