We know the word, but simply, antioxidants prevent oxidation, or, rusting from the inside out.
We know the word, but simply, antioxidants prevent oxidation, or, rusting from the inside out.
A question was asked yesterday by a man with atrial fibrillation, if he could take fish oil while he is on blood thinners. My response was “yes” but with caution.
From Livestrong: Fish oil does thin the blood in similar ways to blood thinners, notes leading health and medical writer Jack Challem in his book, “The Inflammation Syndrome.” This effect happens through the prevention of the platelets found in blood from sticking together and forming clots. Challem adds that the blood-thinning effects may be magnified if you are taking natural blood-thinners, such as vitamin E or gingko. Therefore, it’s important to tell your doctor if you are taking fish oil.
From Heart MD: Modest amounts of fish oil, say 1–2 grams daily, generally can be tolerated even if you are taking prescription blood thinners. However, doing this is not without some risk—so it’s absolutely essential that you be up front with your doctor about the fish oil products you’re taking and how much, to avoid unsafe drug interactions. I cannot emphasize this enough. You must work collaboratively with your physician and regularly monitor the clotting agents in your blood.
Black pepper. Have you wondered much about what it is, where it comes from, what nutritional value it has? Most of us think of black pepper in the shaker or grinder and not much beyond that.
In fact, I remember the day I found out that ground black pepper actually came from peppercorns and I could crack them in the grinder. (It was a long time ago lol). I was in a restaurant and the waitress came to the table and asked if I wanted freshly cracked pepper. I looked at her with a blank stare as if to ask “what do you mean?” As she cracked the pepper over my salad, I could really taste and smell the freshness and was ruined for anything else.
Black pepper always seemed like salt’s tag-along buddy; salt being the more boisterous friend. But black pepper has some wonderful magic all its own.
The What and Where of Black Pepper
Black pepper comes from the Piperacae family (sounds like papparazzi – sorta), and is not at all like bell pepper, or sweet pepper, chili or jalapeno. In fact they aren’t even in the same botanical family. Black pepper comes from peppercorns; berries from the blossoms of a trailing, woody vine grown in tropical climates. Many years ago, black pepper was a sign of a man’s wealth.
An ounce of black pepper provides 79% of manganese, 57% of Vitamin K, 45% of iron, 30% fiber. Although an ounce is way more than we would have at one time, it provides perspective; a teaspoon of black pepper provides 6% of the total manganese we would need in a day.
But here is another fabulous black pepper fact – it has potassium – and I’ve been writing about potassium a lot lately because it is THAT important to our health. Potassium is responsible for improving our stomach’s ability to digest food. If you were to look at many supplements on the market, turmeric, for example, you would see that Piper nigrum or Piperine is added. That is black pepper. In fact, turmeric which has been touted as a giant superfood, may not be useful at all unless paired with black pepper, because it is not bioavailable, or absorbable. Black pepper or piperine, increases its absorption. The use of piperine can boost blood levels of curcumin from the spice turmeric by up to 2,000%. Source
Piperine also increases the body’s ability to absorb betacarotenes, selenium and B-vitamins (which, in black pepper means pyridoxine, riboflavin, thiamin and niacin), as well as other nutrients from food.
Black pepper is also a carminative; that is, it keeps the intestines from forming gas. And when black pepper is freshly cracked from the peppercorn, the outer layer of that pepper corn helps to break down fat stored in the body. Source
One study showed that black pepper inhibited the growth of various types of bacteria in the gut, and the report concluded its findings with a statement that black pepper is not only anti-inflammatory, but antioxidant, fever reducing, and immune enhancing.
The free-radical scavenging activity of black pepper and its active ingredients might be helpful in chemoprevention and controlling progression of tumor growth. Additionally, the key alkaloid components of Piper Nigrum, that is, piperine assist in cognitive brain functioning, boost nutrient’s absorption and improve gastrointestinal functionality. Source
Black pepper or piperine treatment has also been evidenced to lower lipid peroxidation in vivo and beneficially influence cellular thiol status, antioxidant molecules and antioxidant enzymes in a number of experimental situations of oxidative stress. The most far-reaching attribute of piperine has been its inhibitory influence on enzymatic drug biotransforming reactions in the liver. Source
Piperine had been reported to inhibit tumors formation in different experimental models. Many studies revealed the antitumor activity of piperine by the oral administration. The alcoholic extract of peppercorn and piperine exhibited effective immunomodulatory and antitumor activities. Piperine is also reported to reduce lung cancer by altering lipid peroxidation and by antioxidative protection enzymes activation Piperine has distinct pharmacological activities along with Anti-cancer activity. Source
Using Black Pepper for Weight Loss
Because black pepper has the ability to reduce fat in the body, and boost metabolism, you can add this to your healthy diet as you lose weight. Add 1/2 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper to boiling water, along with a little ginger, lemon and honey or stevia, and sip as a tea before breakfast.
To low sodium V8, add black pepper to enhance the absorption of all that good potassium.
Add to all your foods, including steak and eggs.
And now, for my favorite way to have black pepper:
|2 tablespoons salt||1 pound grass-fed beef or buffalo/bison strip loin||¼ cup peppercorns, crushed roughly||¼ cup butter|
|1 teaspoon tamari sauce (wheat-free)||2 tablespoons beef stock||2 tablespoons lemon juice|
This recipe makes 3 to 4 servings.
(From Dr. Mercola’s No-Grain Diet)
Enjoy black pepper in a whole new way!
Potassium doesn’t get the attention it needs, IMHO, and yet it is (also IMHO) one of the most important minerals our bodies need. Here is the reason: The human body needs 4700 mg per day in order to function in optimal health. We need potassium for heart health, kidney health, blood pressure support, weight maintenance, and more. Too low of potassium can cause fatigue and slow heart beat, muscle spasms and malfunction, kidney malfunction, severe dehydration, migraines, edema, and death. Too high potassium can cause rapid and irregular heart beat, high blood pressure, kidney malfunction and death.
Necessary for Brain Health and Reduction of Stroke Risk
Your nervous system is made up of the brain, spinal cord and nerves. When you are low in potassium, your blood pressure rises and fluids don’t move “fluidly” around your cells, which, in the brain, means higher probability of severe headaches. Because it also protects your nervous system, water balance and heart function, potassium reduces your risk of stroke.
Necessary for Heart Health
Low potassium can cause muscle spasms and cramping. Because your heart is also a muscle, low potassium is responsible for many heart attacks. A diet rich in potassium will keep your muscles functioning properly and your heart beating regularly.
Necessary for Blood Pressure Maintenance You need 4700 mg but only 1500-1800 mg of sodium per day. High blood pressure often occurs because of the imbalance of the ratio between sodium and potassium; we get too little potassium and too much sodium. The average daily intake of sodium is just over 3000 mg per day. The average intake of potassium is 2,640 mg per day. Source
A single teaspoon of table salt has 2300 mg of salt. Combine that with any processed foods you eat, and sodium that is naturally occurring in fruit and vegetables, there is an upset in the average daily diet, ripe for high blood pressure. Source
Bone Health Potassium reduces bone absorption and is responsible for increasing bone strength.
Decreases Cellulite and Helps Maintain Desired Weight by keeping the fluids moving in the body.
So you see, it is extremely important to be monitoring how much potassium we take in daily. I know, it sounds like it’s just another thing to monitor but I have good news. Most of your other minerals are found in potassium rich foods so if you only watch your potassium levels daily, you will be getting most, if not all, of the other minerals your body needs, such as the all-important magnesium and calcium, boron, phosphorous and others.
Here is a list of the 25 Top Potassium-Rich Foods Source
For those of you on a Low-Carb Diet, or Sugar-Restricted diet, getting potassium from foods will be challenging, especially if you also are on a Paleo Diet, which restricts legumes and peanuts. Fear not! That’s why there are potassium-rich herbs.
Hibiscus – The American Heart Association reported that the blood pressure is lowered by the consumption of hibiscus tea. The study made by Odigie IP addresses that those people having the chances of cardiovascular disease and hypertension may be benefited by the hibiscus tea due to the presence of cardio-protective and anti-hypertensive properties. The research made at Tufts University in Boston summarizes that the anti-inflammatory properties in hibiscus tea helps to lower the blood pressure. Three cups of hibiscus tea should be consumed daily for few weeks to achieve the improvement. Due to the diuretic properties, the blood pressure is lowered by increasing urination. Those who drank 3 cups of hibiscus tea for 6 weeks found that the arterial blood pressure was decreased. The blood pressure would be effectively controlled if 8 ounces is drink 3 times per day regularly. Source
Hibiscus Tea also has 21 mg of potassium per tablespoon.
Anise Seed – 97 mg per tablespoon
Citrus Peel – 293 mg per tablespoon
Myrrh-C Tea has hibiscus, red rooibos, passionflower, anise seed, citrus peel, oatstraw, oats, cinnamon, and myrrh gum – formulated for my husband after he had a mild stroke and was put on Warfarin and could not take herbs due to contraindication. Myrrh-C tea is not contraindicated and is useful for blood pressure support.
Try including myrrh-c tea in your daily strategy of increasing potassium in your diet, while helping to maintain normal blood pressure. It sells for $10 per ounce plus S & H. Payable via paypal at email@example.com.
Be sure to specify Myrrh-C tea.
Did you know you need 4700 mg (up to 6000 mg) per day of potassium in your diet? To put that in perspective, a banana has 422 mg, a potato has 897 mg potassium, salmon has 300 and 1/2 cup of broccoli has 250 mg of potassium. The average person is not getting enough potassium in their diets. Potassium deficiency symptoms include fatigue, edema, heart arrythmias and cramping of the muscles. Heart patients are told to restrict sodium but are given a potassium pill, usually about 47 mg. What is that going to do? Increasing your potassium intake in food will give you the right balance of minerals you need to reduce symptoms and eventual illness which affects heart, metabolism, and nerves.