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The Secrets of Natural RemediesThe Secrets of Natural Remedies

The Secrets of Natural Remedies

The Secrets of Natural Remedies

In this special issue, the editors of BBC Focus Magazine put natural remedies under the microscope. From acupuncture to yoga, argan oil to zinc, we ask scientists which techniques and treatments will help you live a happier, healthier life and which you ought to avoid. Inside you will find: - The scientific verdict on current health trends - Expert opinion from world-leading researchers - Straightforward tips and tricks to stay healthy - Insights on the future of medicine and well-being

Country:
United Kingdom
Language:
English
Publisher:
Immediate Media Company London Limited
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IN THIS ISSUE

access_time2 min.
welcome

Superfoods, stress busting techniques, herbal remedies, health hacks, meditation, mystic Eastern practices. Our lives are forever bombarded by brands and social media trying to sell us tips and tricks for leading a healthier, happier life – the natural way. Wading through this information overload can be exhausting. In this special issue, we’ve extracted the science and interviewed the experts to give you the low down on which natural remedies are worth spending your hard-earned cash on – and which to avoid. Some natural remedies have been popular in some cultures for centuries – like acupuncture or yoga – while others have only recently grown in popularity, such as the rise of superhero superfoods. But the big question is which ones work – and which don’t. Well, it depends on who you…

access_time9 min.
the science of superfoods

Billed as the superheroes of the culinary world, today, superfoods are as widespread as comic-book films – every day a new one hits our plates. “There is neither a regulatory nor scientific definition of a ‘superfood’,” says Dr. Jeffrey Blumberg, from the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University, Boston. “It is a marketing term which marketers apparently do not wish to define either.” However, through an equally unscientific survey of the books and blogs that liberally sprinkle the term – more on those later – some common characteristics of these so-called superfoods can be discerned. Superfoods typically have high levels of certain nutrients – such as the goji berry, which boasts more vitamin C than oranges, more beta carotene than carrots and more iron than spinach. They are…

access_time1 min.
inflated health benefits

A variety of mint, over recent years chia has broken out of those novelty pet-shaped pot plants to become an Aztec warrior miracle food. It’s a complete protein with all the amino acids required to build muscle, plus more omega-3 than salmon, more fibre than flaxseed, and wealthier than Montezuma himself in antioxidants and minerals. Indeed, cheerleaders of chia allege you could eat it and nothing else. “It’s a good example of how companies and distributors promote the mystique and magical health benefits that go way beyond the science,” says Professor David Nieman, Director of the Human Performance Labs at Appalachian State University in North Carolina. “We conducted several randomised human trials showing that chia seeds provide good nutrition and can be included in a healthy eating pattern that over time…

access_time1 min.
everyday heroes

GARLIC Better known for warding off vampires and first dates, there is evidence the bulb can lower blood pressure and cholesterol, plus even prevent colds and certain cancers. BROCCOLI Containing high levels of vitamin C and folate (natural folic acid), this fibrous cruciferous vegetable can stem cholesterol and triglycerides, which cause cardiovascular disease. ONION A member of the alium family, it contains a potent anti-inflammatory antioxidant called quercetin, which reduces blood pressure and cancer risk. TOMATO Technically a fruit, it is low in starch and sugar, but high in fibre, vitamin C, beta-carotene and a potent antioxidant called lycopene. Cooking in olive oil increases its absorption. SPINACH Popeye’s preferred superfood packs high levels of bone-strengthening calcium and vitamin K, as well as vitamin A, and almost as much iron as beef. EXTRA-VIRGIN OLIVE OIL A Mediterranean mainstay, the healthy fats in…

access_time11 min.
health hack or quack

What the scores mean We looked at the available scientific research to determine how much evidence there is for any claimed health benefits of each herbal remedy. Placebo (see page 89) Mostly hype Conflicting evidence Seems promising Cure AIS FOR ARGAN OIL The argan nut grows in Morocco on those thorny trees that goats climb. It’s added to many cosmetics and toasted argan oil is also used in cooking. The oil contains antioxidant vitamin E, and linoleic acid, which has anti-inflammatory properties. A recent study found that it improves the elasticity of the skin of postmenopausal women – making it look younger and wrinklefree. This seems to work whether it’s applied as a cream or taken internally, so you might as well eat it because it can also lower your blood cholesterol. RATING BIS FOR BEE POLLEN Bee pollen is just…

access_time8 min.
the power of bacteria

Bacteria. For many it’s a dirty word, suggesting a collection of invaders to be obliterated with a lemon-fresh spray. Yet the staggering truth is that you are more bacteria than body – the gut alone holds over 100 trillion bacteria of myriad species, many of which help with breaking down food and play a vital role in immunity. In fact, you’ve been friends for a while. Most of your gut microbiota (including bacteria) initially came from your mother’s birth canal as you entered the world, or from skin and the surrounding environment if you were born by caesarean. Once you’re out in the open, multiple factors such as diet, antibiotics, genetics and stress will influence the microbiota. The upshot is a cornucopia of bugs that weighs about the same as…

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