Best Foods and Herbs To Cleanse and Detox Your Kidneys

 

By Dena Schmidt | New Paradigm

The kidneys play a crucial role in filtering out waste products and toxins from the blood. Without this detox process, harmful toxins would remain in the body and our health would quickly break down.

Because of this, keeping the kidneys in top shape is crucial to overall well-being. A balanced diet, plenty of clean water, and regular cleansing with natural herbs and juices are key to supporting and maintaining kidney health. The following are some of the top foods and herbal remedies that can help detox the kidneys and keep them functioning at a high level:

1. Cranberry

Cranberries, cranberry juice and cranberry extract are well known for their effectiveness in healing bladder infections and keeping the urinary tract healthy. However, they can also support kidney health by helping to eliminate toxins, bacteria and calcium oxalate – a main ingredient of kidney stones.

2. Cabbage

This cruciferous vegetable is loaded with phytochemicals, which help to eliminate harmful free radicals in the blood. Cabbage is also high in the vitamins C, K, folic acid and B6; however, it is also low in potassium, so it is gentle on the kidneys.

Fact: 26 million Americans have disease of the kidneys – and most don’t even know it

3. Beets

Beets and beet juice are high in beneficial compounds, phytochemicals and antioxidants. Consuming beets helps to raise the acidity level of the urine to assist in clearing away potentially harmful buildup in the kidneys.

4. Dark Berries

Dark-colored berries get their rich hue from their high content of flavonoids. Blueberries, blackberries, dark grapes, and cherries are just a few examples. Their healing compounds are antioxidants and support health by promoting better blood flow, a reduced risk of cancer and heart disease, less inflammation, and detoxifying effects in the blood and tissues.

Did you know that high blood pressure and diabetes are the two leading causes of kidney disease?

5. Herbal Detox

The top herbs for kidney detox include parsley, goldenrod, dandelion root, horsetail and celery root. Some of these herbs are available in tea and supplement form, while others can be easily added as seasonings to your favorite dishes.

6. Lemon

Lemon juice is naturally acidic, so it can assist in raising citrate levels just as beets do. Squeezing lemon juice into water for a hot or cold beverage and drinking it regularly is an easy and effective way to support kidney health.

7. Vegetable Juicing

Juicing has surged in popularity in the past decade due to its potent health benefits. While fruit juice is nutritious, juicing vegetables (or a combination of both) can be even more healthy and cleansing. Vegetables contain less sugar and in some cases more vitamins than fruit.

While berries, apples and pineapples are loaded with nutrients, adding dark leafy greens like spinach, kale and chard can boost the nutritional impact of your juices. Cucumber, celery, lettuce, zucchini and carrots are also excellent additions. Adding some of the other ingredients discussed here such as cranberry juice, herbs, beets and lemon juice can also enhance the effects of a juice cleanse.

The kidneys are among the body’s main defenses against toxins, so treat them well! Make the foods, beverages and herbs discussed here a regular part of your diet and enjoy the health benefits.

References:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8093138

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22150656

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22946853

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15638071

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20170379

Read more great articles at New Paradigm.

The Amazing Health Benefits of Dark Chocolate

Video Source: Mercola

By Dr. Mercola | mercola.com

Of all the treats available, chocolate is one of the most craved foods in the world. The first solid chocolate bar, made from cocoa butter, cocoa powder and sugar, was introduced by the British chocolate company J.S. Fry & Sons in 1847, but the history of chocolate goes back at least 4,000 years.1

Related Article: Video Reveals Why Eating Chocolate can Actually Boost Health

Pre-Olmec cultures in Mexico produced chocolate as early as 1900 B.C. Originally, it was consumed as a bitter beverage. The cacao beans were fermented, roasted, and then ground into a paste that was mixed with water and spices like chili peppers and vanilla, sweetened with honey.

Throughout its history, chocolate — “the food of the Gods” — has remained a symbol of luxury, wealth, and power. During the 14th century, the Aztecs and Mayans even used cacao beans as currency.

Research has also revealed chocolate has some rather impressive health benefits, provided you’re willing to give up the now-familiar sweetness of modern day milk chocolate.

The Olmecs, Mayans, and Aztecs valued cacao for its mood enhancing and aphrodisiac properties, and it was typically reserved for the ruling class.

In the 17th century, cocoa and chocolate were considered potential medicine, and historical documents in Europe reveal they were used to treat angina and heart pain.2

Not All Chocolate Is Created Equal

Raw cacao is actually quite bitter, not sweet, due to the nearly 400 polyphenols that are present. When we’re referring to the health benefits of chocolate, this is the chocolate we’re referring to. Americans consume an estimated 12 pounds of chocolate per capita each year.3

Unfortunately, the vast majority of that is in the form of milk chocolate candy, which contains very minute amounts of healthy cacao, and loads of sugar. The milk added to milk chocolate can also interfere with your body’s ability to absorb the beneficial antioxidants (polyphenols) in the chocolate.

Chocolate Terminology

To get off on the right foot, it may be helpful to understand the distinction between cacao, cocoa, and chocolate:4

  • Cacao: Refers to the plant, a small evergreen tree of the species Theobroma cacao, and its dried seeds, also known as cacao beans or cocoa beans, prior to processing.

If you’re after health benefits, raw cacao nibs are what you’re looking for. Ideally, buy them whole and grind them yourself (a coffee grinder can be used for this) when using it in recipes.

Alternatively, you can eat them whole, just like you’d eat conventional chocolate chips. A healthy amount would probably be around ½ to 1 ounce per day. I personally grind 1 tablespoon of raw cacao nibs twice a day and put them into my smoothies.

  • Cocoa: Refers to the roasted cacao, ground into a powder from which most of the fat has been removed.
  • Cocoa butter: The fat component of the cacao seed.
  • Chocolate: The solid food or candy made from a preparation of roasted cacao seeds; if the cacao seeds are not roasted, then you have “raw chocolate.”

When selecting chocolate, look for higher cacao and lower sugar content. In general, the darker the chocolate, the higher the cacao content.

However, since cacao is bitter, the higher the percentage cacao, the more bitter it is (the polyphenols are what make the chocolate bitter, so manufacturers often remove them. But, it’s those polyphenols that are responsible for many of chocolate’s health benefits).

To counteract the bitterness, most chocolate is sweetened, so it’s a matter of balancing nutritional benefit with palatability. For health benefits, choose chocolate with a cacao percentage of about 70 or higher.

  • “White chocolate” contains no cocoa at all; it’s just a health-zapping mix of pasteurized milk and sugar.

Cocoa Contains Hundreds of Health-Promoting Chemicals

Cacao’s benefits are related to naturally occurring compounds in the bean, including epicatechin (a flavonoid) and resveratrol, the former of which has both antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, and is thought to help shield your nerve cells from damage.

Resveratrol, a potent antioxidant, is known for its neuroprotective effects. It has the ability to cross your blood-brain barrier, which allows it to moderate inflammation in your central nervous system (CNS).

This is significant because CNS inflammation plays an important role in the development of neurodegenerative diseases.

Recent science also shows resveratrol is an exercise mimic and produces similar benefits as exercise to the mitochondria by stimulating AMPK and PKC-1alpha which increase mitochondrial biogenesis and mitophagy.

Norman Hollenberg, a professor of medicine at Harvard who has spent years studying the Kuna people of Panama (who consume up to 40 cups of cocoa a week), believes epicatechin is so important it should be considered a vitamin.5

The Kuna have less than a 10 percent risk of stroke, heart failure, cancer and diabetes, which are the most prevalent diseases ravaging the Western world.6

Indeed, many studies have confirmed that cacao can benefit your heart, blood vessels, brain, nervous system, and helps combat diabetes and other conditions rooted in inflammation.

  • One 2012 meta-analysis7 found that eating chocolate could slash your risk of cardiovascular disease by 37 percent and your stroke risk by 29 percent.
  • Another meta-analysis8 published that same year found that cocoa/chocolate lowered insulin resistance, reduced blood pressure, increased blood vessel elasticity, and slightly reduced LDL.

In one study,9 patients consuming 100 grams of flavanol-rich dark chocolate for 15 days showed decreased insulin resistance.

  • According to a paper10,11 published in the journal Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity, cocoa polyphenols may have specific benefits for cardiovascular and inflammatory diseases, metabolic disorders, and cancer prevention. The authors note that:

“Cocoa contains about 380 known chemicals, 10 of which are psychoactive compounds … Cocoa has more phenolics and higher antioxidant capacity than green tea, black tea, or red wine … The phenolics from cocoa may … protect against diseases in which oxidative stress is implicated as a causal or contributing factor, such as cancer.

They also have antiproliferative, antimutagenic, and chemoprotective effects, in addition to theiranticariogenic effects.”

Chocolate and Human Health

A 2013 paper12 in the Netherlands Journal of Medicine also reviews the many health benefits of cacao, noting that many consider it a “complete food,” as it contains:

Related Article: 10 Quick Reasons to Love Chocolate

  • Healthy fats
  • Antioxidants
  • Nitrogenous compounds, including proteins, methylxanthines theobromine, and caffeine (central nervous system stimulants, diuretics, and smooth muscle relaxants. Theobromine is the ingredient that can cause heartburn in some individuals; on the other hand, it also inhibits persistent cough by reducing vagus nerve activity13)
  • Minerals, including potassium, phosphorus, copper, iron, zinc, and magnesium
  • Valeric acid (which acts as a stress reducer despite the presence of stimulants)

The following table highlights the wide range of positive health benefits science suggests are conferred by the cocoa bean.14,15,16

Anti-inflammatory17(including 17 percent reduction in C-reactive protein) Anti-carcinogenic18 Anti-thrombotic,19including improving endothelial function20 Neuroprotective benefits and lowered Alzheimer’s risk21
Anti-diabetic22 Anti-obesity effects, possibly due to the polyphenols’ ability to suppress fatty acid synthesis while stimulating cell energy expenditure in the mitochondria23 Cardioprotective,24including lowering blood pressure,25 improving lipid profile, and helping prevent atrial fibrillation26 Improved liver function for those with cirrhosis27
Improves skin condition, and protection against UV damage28 Improves gastrointestinal flora29 Reduces stress hormones Protects vision,30 and reduces symptoms of glaucoma31 and diabetes-induced cataracts32
Slows progression of periodontitis33 Improves exercise endurance34 May help extend lifespan35 Protects against preeclampsia in pregnant women36

Processing Destroys Many Valuable Nutrients

As noted in the Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity paper,37 the nutrients found in raw cacao are easily altered and destroyed through processing. The bitterness of raw cacao beans is due to their high concentration of polyphenols.

To some people, cacao is virtually inedible because of its bitterness. To make it more palatable, chocolate manufacturers decrease the polyphenol content, and as a result you can find products containing anywhere from 10 to 100 percent polyphenols.

In dried fresh cacao beans, the total polyphenol content is around 15 to 20 percent, whereas fermented, non-defatted beans contain just 5 percent. The reason for this is because the fermentation process reduces epicatechin and soluble polyphenol content by as much as 20 percent; anthocyanidins are removed altogether, and procyanidins are decreased by as much as 500 percent.

The phenolic content of cocoa also varies depending on its origin. For example, Costa Rican cocoa contains more than 16.5 milligrams (mg) of catechins per gram (g), whereas Jamaican cocoa contains less than 2.7 mg per gram.

Apples May Boost Health Benefits of Dark Chocolate

Many real foods, eaten as close to their natural state as possible, can be considered “superfoods.” This applies to dark chocolate as well. Interestingly, certain superfoods produce great synergy when combined,38 meaning the whole becomes greater than the sum of its parts. When eaten in combination, the two foods become even healthier than eating them separately, on their own.

Eating apples is associated with a lower risk of death from heart disease, an association thought to be related to their antioxidant flavonoid content,39 including the anti-inflammatory quercetin. As noted earlier, dark chocolate, which is rich in antioxidant catechins, has also been found to support heart health. When paired, dark chocolate and apples have been shown to break up blood clots, thereby reducing your risk of stroke.

Related Article: New Scientific Evidence for How Green Tea and Apples Help Prevent Heart Disease and Cancer

There are a couple of caveats though. Since much of the antioxidant content of an apple is found in its peel, you’ll want to leave the peel on when you eat it. For this reason, look for organic apples, to avoid ingesting pesticides and other chemicals. For chocolate, the closer it is to its natural raw state, the higher its nutritional value, so look for higher cacao and lower sugar content. Your best bet is raw cacao nibs, if you can tolerate the bitterness.

Make Your Own Chocolate Treats

Based on the evidence, there’s little doubt that dark, minimally processed chocolate is a real superfood. Just don’t mistake your average chocolate bar or chocolate-covered candy for a health food! To reap the benefits, it likely needs to be at least 70 percent cacao. Better yet, opt for the raw cacao nibs. I eat about 1 ounce of raw nibs per day.

If you can’t tolerate the bitterness, use them to make your own chocolate treat, to which you can add some harmless sweeteners. In the video above, I demonstrate a recipe I created from scratch using high-quality ingredients. As you will see, there are no specific measurements, so go ahead and tweak it to your own taste.

As a base, I use raw cocoa butter and organic coconut oil. You could also use raw organic grass-fed butter in lieu of the cocoa butter. Keep in mind that these ingredients will cause the candy to melt at lower temperatures, so you will most likely need to keep it in the refrigerator to keep it from melting. Next, I add 1/8 of a cup of raw cocoa powder.

Alternatively, grind your raw cacao nibs. For sweetness, I add about 3 teaspoons of Lo-Han powder and some Stevia. Cinnamon powder, mint, vanilla and/or orange extracts can also be added for flavor.

Since the majority of these ingredients are healthy fats, and there’s no added sugar, this treat will not stimulate your insulin release like most commercial candy bars will, even those with higher cacao content. Hence you get the best of both worlds — a chocolate treat with plenty of health benefits and few if any detriments.

With Valentine’s Day fast approaching, you may want to experiment with making your own candy this year. Stores like Amazon and Michael’s sell all sorts of candy molds you can use for the occasion.

Read more great articles at mercola.com

This is What Happens To Your Body When You Eat Pink Himalayan Salt

himalyan_salt

So you’ve been hearing about this amazing Himalayan crystal salt for the last few years, and now you’re wondering, is it really better than sea salt or table salt? How does it benefit my body vs those other salts? Well, it is packed with some pretty amazing benefits, making it a wonderful alternative to table salt and an exciting new staple to add to your pantry.

The History

First of all, what makes Himalayan crystal salt so amazing? About 200 million years ago, there were crystallized sea salt beds that were covered with lava. Because this salt was subsequently enveloped in snow and ice for millennia, it was protected from modern day pollution and preserved in an untouched, pristine environment. The Himalayan mountain range goes across Asia, and passes through China, Nepal, Myanmar, Pakistan, Bhutan, Afghanistan, and India. Many people believe that this pink salt is the purest salt that can be found on the planet.

Minerals & Energy

Himalayan Salt contains the same 84 trace minerals and elements that are found in the human body; that alone is quite impressive! A few of these minerals include: sodium chloride, sulphate, calcium, potassium, and magnesium. When consuming this salt, you are actually getting less sodium intake per serving than regular table salt because it is less refined and the pieces are larger. Therefore Himalayan salt has less sodium per serving because the crystals or flakes take up less room than the highly processed table salt variety. Another great thing about this salt is that, because of its unique cellular structure, it stores vibrational energy. The minerals in this salt exist in colloidal form, which means that they are small enough for our cells to easily absorb.

What Exactly Are The Benefits?

Some of the benefits that you can expect to enjoy by consuming this salt in place of regular table salt include:

  • Aids in vascular health
  • Supports healthy lungs and respiratory function
  • Promotes a stable pH balance within the cells
  • Reduces the signs of aging
  • Promotes healthy sleep patterns
  • Increases libido
  • Prevents muscle cramps
  • Increases hydration
  • Strengthen bones
  • Lowers blood pressure
  • Improves circulation
  • Detoxifies the body of heavy metals

Comparing Himalayan Salt To Other Salts

Sea Salt

While still a better choice than table salt, sea salt is becoming increasingly processed, and, let’s face it, our oceans are becoming more and more polluted each year. Because of the pristine conditions that Himalayan salt has been kept in, it is said to be the purest salt available today.

Table Salt

Regular, commercial table salt is completely stripped of the majority of its minerals with the exception of sodium and chloride. It is then bleached, cleaned with chemicals, and then heated at extremely high temperatures. The iodine that is added to table salt is almost always synthetic, which is difficult for our bodies absorb properly. It is treated with anti-caking agents, which prevents the salt from dissolving in water and clumping in the salt container. These agents then prevent the salt from absorbing into our own bodies, which leads to a buildup and deposit within the organs. This can cause severe health problems. Studies have shown that for each gram of table salt that is consumed that the body cannot process, your body will use 20 TIMES the amount of cellular water to neutralize the amount of sodium chloride that is present in this chemically treated salt.

This is largely the reason why salt has gotten such a bad name over the years. It is not necessarily salt that is unhealthy for us, but rather refined table salt that is inferior for our health. Aside from that, many of us are consuming way too much processed food. These foods contain astronomical amounts of salt, and it isn’t the good kind. It’s not about limiting our intake of salt; it’s about consuming more natural, homemade, whole foods. This way we can add salt while cooking or sprinkle some on our meals without having to worry about high blood pressure and so on.

Himalayan Salt Uses

Cooking and curing — Always use pre-ground salt or grinders like any other kind of salt.

Salt Slabs — Slabs will impart a better taste and mineral content. Chilled: use fruits, sushi, veggies, or cheese as a decoration. Frozen: cold delicious desserts and sorbets. Heated: slabs can be used to sear veggies, shrimp, fish fillets, and thinly sliced beef, and you can even fry eggs. Dense salt blocks conduct heat amazingly.

What is even better, Himalayan salt is a natural anti-microbial product, and the clean up requires only a simple scrub or rinse.

Bathing — Enjoy a detoxifying Himalayan salt bath. Its nutrients will stimulate your circulation and soothe sore muscles. Himalayan salt contains 80+ nourishing and skin-friendly minerals, so this bath will provide a healing and amazingly therapeutic experience for both body and soul.

Air purification — You can also find crystal rock lamps on-line.

You should be able to find this amazing Himalayan Crystal Salt at your local health food store or online.

Much Love

Sources:

http://fitlife.tv/10-amazing-benefits-of-pink-himalayan-salt/

http://www.globalhealingcenter.com/natural-health/himalayan-crystal-salt-benefits/

http://www.himalayanlivingsalt.com/salt_facts.htm

http://authoritynutrition.com/how-much-sodium-per-day/

Original Post: http://www.collective-evolution.com/2016/02/01/this-is-what-happens-to-your-body-when-you-eat-pink-himalayan-salt/

Groundbreaking New Documentary Offers Real Solutions for Our Food Security and Environmental Troubles

Inhabit - A Permaculture Perspective

By Carolanne Wright

Contributing Writer for Wake Up World

“Though the problems of the world are increasingly complex, the solutions remain embarrassingly simple.” ~ Bill Mollison

A revolution is quietly sweeping across the globe, one that works in harmony with nature to create abundance for all life — including us. The method has been around for some time now, but it’s experiencing a resurgence of interest as ecological repair and regeneration becomes an urgent issue of survival for the planet.

Permaculture works within the structure and efficiency of nature — rather than attempting to dominate and control the natural world as we have in the past. This symbiotic relationship can be used in a wide-array of systems, from building and technology, to education and economics. However, it is best known for its application within agriculture, a practice that offers real life solutions to our food security and environmental troubles. This is the subject of a groundbreaking new documentary, Inhabit: A Permaculture Perspective.

Positive footprints

“All we need to live a good life surrounds us. Sun, wind, people, buildings, stones, sea, birds, plants. Cooperation with all these things brings harmony. Opposition brings disaster and chaos.” ~ Bill Mollison, co-developer of permaculture.

Unfortunately, instead of cooperating with nature, we’ve been in conflict since the industrial revolution. Scientists and researchers have been sounding the alarm about our path of ecological disaster for years. While the word “sustainability” generally evokes images of deprivation and damage control, permaculture approaches ecological balance from a stance of leaving a positive footprint, instead of no footprint at all.

The idea is beautifully captured by Inhabit, where individuals and groups who are “walking the permaculture talk” are profiled throughout the documentary. Ben Falk is once such person. Founder of Whole System Design Permaculture Research Farm in Vermont, United States and author of The Resilient Farm and Homestead, Falk has created what many consider a small slice of paradise.

The design of the farm is a far cry from traditional agriculture, the former being a type of strip mining more than anything else. Trees, land, plants and animals work together in permaculture, supporting ultimate well-being for everything and everyone involved. Falk helped the process along by creating swales (marshy depressions between ridges) to collect water and revitalize areas of land that were essentially barren. Before long, plant life began to thrive, creating another habitat and food source for animals and humans alike. By working with the natural design and water flow of the property, along with grazing animals and native plants, Falk was able to build a living ecosystem that not only regenerated the land, but also provides exceptional crop yield compared to conventional farming — without the use of harmful pesticides or toxins.

Granted, many of us are not quite at the point where we can move out to the country and create our very own bucolic oasis. Even so, the advantage of permaculture is that it can be applied to any situation — rural, urban or suburban.

Examples like Eric Toensmeier, co-author of Edible Forest Gardens and manager of Paradise Lot, a 1/10th acre permaculture educational garden in the heart of Massachusetts, demonstrate that suburbia is an excellent place for permaculture. Growing over 70 perennial greens and 40 different kinds of fruit, Toensmeier observed the bare backyard lot for a year before planting the garden in order to gain an understanding of the patterns of sun, wind and shade. The house on the property also utilizes a composting toilet, which provides rich soil for the plants and creates a closed-loop cycle of regeneration.

Permaculture - Bill Mollison quote

If suburbia isn’t your thing — or you live in a tightly packed area without a yard — permaculture can be adapted to rooftop gardens as well. These green spaces beautify and provide abundant food, while also diverting stormwater to the plants and rainwater collection barrels.

Dwaine Lee, an urban designer who teaches at the Five Boroughs Green Roof and founder of Power Polyculture, explains that a green roof garden mimics the natural world and provides an important service in helping to alleviate sewage overflow during rainstorms. Since storm water drains to the same system as sewage treatment, facilities become flooded with excess water during rainstorms, leading to the release of raw sewage into rivers, streams and the ocean — which seriously impacts the ecosystem.

The documentary highlights the fact that in New York City alone, there are one million buildings with 38,256 acres of rooftops, which are ripe for permaculture development. The possibilities are truly endless.

Another solution to the problem of storm water is to construct a rain garden. A teenager involved in the project describes how an old gas station was turned into a lush landscape, simply by diverting water from roadways during storms and structurally altering the land for the most efficient use of the water. The end result is a thriving garden of trees and plants which had previously been a wasteland.

Permaculture can also be taken out into the forest. Faced with an overabundance of cut wood, one man decided to use decomposition in his favor — by starting a shiitake mushroom farm with the logs. He then introduced ducks and geese into the mix to keep the slugs that eat mushrooms at bay. Again, all the elements work seamlessly in natural harmony to support one another.

Inhabit director Emmett Brennan leaves us with this final thought:

“Humanity is more than ever threatened by its own actions; we hear a lot about the need to minimize footprints and to reduce our impact. But what if our footprints were beneficial? What if we could meet human needs while increasing the health and well-being of our planet? This is the premise behind permaculture – a design process based on the replication of patterns found in nature.

“Inhabit is on the growing edge of media and cinema, presenting solutions to issues of food, water, medicine, governance, and more, and providing an impressive introduction to the permaculture worldview. The film illuminates the interdependence of all life and it presents an array of projects and people within this growing movement. “

Inhabit: A Permaculture Perspective ~ Trailer

‘Inhabit provides an intimate look at permaculture peoples and practices ranging from rural, suburban, and urban landscapes.’

INHABIT: A Permaculture Perspective from Costa on Vimeo.

Article sources:

Amazing Food Science Discovery: Edible Plants ‘Talk’ To Animal Cells, Promote Healing

 

A groundbreaking new study published in Molecular Nutrition & Food Research titled, Interspecies communication between plant and mouse gut host cells through edible plant derived exosome-like nanoparticles,” reveals a new way that food components ‘talk’ to animal cells by regulating gene expression and conferring significant therapeutic effects. With the recent discovery that non-coding microRNA’s in food are capable of directly altering gene expression within human physiology,[1] this new study further concretizes the notion that the age old aphorism ‘you are what you eat’ is now consistent with cutting edge molecular biology.

Exosomes: The ‘Missing Link’ In How Plants and Animal Cells Communicate and Collaborate

This is the first study of its kind to look at the role of exosomes, small vesicles secreted by plant and animal cells that participate in intercellular communication, in interspecies (plant-animal) communication.

The study explained the biological properties of exosomes as follows:

“Exosomes are produced by a variety of mammalian cells including immune, epithelial, and tumor cells [11–15]. Exosomes play a role in intercellular communication and can transport mRNA, miRNA, bioactive lipids, and proteins between cells [16–19]. Upon contact, exosomes transfer molecules that can render new properties and/or reprogram their recipient cells.”

While most of the research on exosomes has focused on their role in pathological states such as tumor promotion, they were recently found to play a key role in stimulating regeneration within damaged cardiac tissue,[2] and are known to be found in human breast milk, further underscoring how irreplaceable it is vis-à-vis synthesized infant formula.[3]

The New Study

The investigators isolated plant derived exosome-like nanoparticles (EPDENs) from ginger, carrot, grape and grapefruit, and observed their behavior in mammalian cells (mice).

They chose these commonly consumed edible fruits and vegetables because,

“It is well established that a plant-derived diet has great influence on regulation of mammalian host cell homeostasis, in particular, cells in the digestive system [1–3]. Deregulation of plant-derived diet regulated host cell homeostasis leads to increased susceptibility to infections, chronic inflammatory bowel diseases, and cancer [4–10].

They noted, “the cellular and molecular machinery regulating such interspecies mutualism between a plant-derived diet and the mammalian gut is not fully defined.” Their new study aimed to gain new insight into defining the mechanisms through which cross-kingdom crosstalk occurs.

Plant Exosomes Affect Mammalian Cells Intimately

After isolating and characterizing exosome-like nanoparticles from all four edible plants, the researchers discovered they possessed remarkable similarity in size and structure to mammalian-derived exosomes. Furthermore, the study showed “that these exosome-like nanoparticles are taken up by intestinal macrophages and stem cells, and have biological effects on the recipient cells.”

The biological effects were described as follows:

  • Ginger exosome-like nanoparticles strongly induced heme oxygenase-1 (HO-1) and IL-10 expressed in macrophages, an indication of anti-inflammatory and antoxidant properties.
  • Fruit-derived exosome-like nanoparticles including grape and grapefruit induced Wnt/TCF4 activation, which is a key component of the anti-inflammatory response
  • All tested foods activated nuclear translocation of Nrf2, a key regulator of the HO1 gene, which has an important role in anti-inflammation and antioxidation; ginger was found to be most potent, followed by grapefruit, carrot and grape

Notably, EPDENs were found to be resistant to gastric and intestinal enzymatic digestion, further indicating they are capable of exerting significant biological effects by escaping digestive degradation, which has also been found with lectins and microRNA’s within edible foods.

The researchers discussed their results:

“Our findings show that exosome-like nanoparticles are present in edible fruits and vegetables and reveal a previously unrecognized strategy by which plants communicate with mammalian cells via exosome-like nanoparticles in the gut, and in particular intestinal macrophages and stem cells. We found that edible plants contain large amounts of nanoparticles. Like mammalian exosomes, further characterization of the plant nanoparticles led to identifying them as exosome- like nanoparticles based on the nanoparticles being com- posed of proteins, lipids, and miRNAs. EPDENs from different types of plants have different biological effects on the recipient mammalian cells. This finding opens up a new avenue to further study the molecular mechanisms underlying how the plant kingdom crosstalks with mammalian cells such as intestinal macrophages and stem cells via EPDENs. This information may provide the molecular basis of using multiple plant-derived agents for better therapeutic effect than any single plant-derived agent.”

They also offered that their results may explain why those who consume a greater variety of edible plants are healthier:

“It has been known for decades that people eating a variety of edible plants daily are the recipients of many beneficial health effects when compared to subjects that ingest fewer types of edible plants. Ingesting EPDENs from a variety of fruits and vegetables daily would be expected to provide greater beneficial effects for maintaining gut homeostasis than ingesting EPDENs from single edible plant.”

Discussion: Deeper Implications of the Study

As part of the fascinating new fields of epigenetics and nutrigenomics, this new study’s findings promise to expand the relevance of food in the practice of medicine and the prevention of disease. We have crossed a critical threshold in the past few decades where food can no longer considered simply as a source of caloric content, minerals and vitamins, and building blocks for the body-machine. [Learn more by taking the author’s E-Course] Rather, food carries very specific forms of biologically meaningful information (literally ‘to put form into’), without which our genetic and epigenetic infrastructure cannot function according to its intelligent design.

The discovery of plant-dervied exosome-mediated modulation of fundamental mammalian cellular pathways, lends powerful support to the concept that ancestral nutritional practices handed down for countless generations are critical in maintaining our health. With the advent of the post-industrial diet, based largely on ‘food-like’ synthesized nutrition, and the novel introduction of grain-based nutrition in only the past 500 generations, our present diet suffers from a series of profoundly biological incompatible foods.

Millions of years of co-evolutionary processes have generated a wide range of interspecies, cross-kingdom co-dependencies. For instance, mammals and angiosperms (which comprise about 250,000 species and include most of the flowering plants that provide the modern world its diet) co-evolved for at least 200 million years together, and are today two of the most dominant forms of life on the planet. The very molecular and informational fabric of our bodies evolved to intimately depend on the presence of various key food components in the human diet, and the absence of others which may be detrimental to our health. Food components like exosomes may be as important to our health as vitamins and other classically defined ‘nutrients,’ and may even be more important in modulating a wide range of complex genetic- and epigenetic-mediated cellular processes within the body. This may also explain the mystery of how certain fruits, such as pomegranate, have been found to replace the function of the mammalian ovary in an ovariectomy induced models of premature aging.  While pomegranate is one of nature’s most concentrated source of bioidentical estrone, exosomes may be the ‘missing link’ as to how a plant food can support complex hormonal processes within the animal body, along with exerting such a wide range of additional therapeutic health effects. This is all the more evidence with plants like turmeric, which have over 600 health benefits and has been found to modulate the expression of thousands of genes simultaneously.[4]

We believe that taken together, the recent discoveries that 1) microRNA’s within foods like rice can enter into our blood and tissue and regulate gene expression 2) that double-stranded RNAs within a wide range of commonly consumed foods have molecular homology with thousands of human RNAs (and are therefore capable of silencing them) 3) that lectins also can directly activate nuclear machinery within certain cells, the addition of exosome-mediated gene modulation, lends further support to the concept that the quality and types of food we consume carry as much relevance in terms of ‘biological destiny’ as the DNA within our genome.

With exciting research now available, the famous quote attributed to Thomas Edison rings truer today than ever:

“The doctor of the future will give no medication, but will interest his patients in the care of the human frame, diet and in the cause and prevention of disease.”

References:

[1] Lin Zhang Exogenous plant MIR168a specifically targets mammalian LDLRAP1: evidence of cross-kingdom regulation by microRNA Cell Research (2012) 22:107–126. doi:10.1038/cr.2011.158; published online 20 September 2011

[2] Ahmed Gamal-Eldin Ibrahim, Ke Cheng, Eduardo Marbán. Exosomes as Critical Agents of Cardiac Regeneration Triggered by Cell TherapyStem Cell Reports, May 2014 DOI:10.1016/j.stemcr.2014.04.006

[3] Qi Zhou1, et al Immune-related MicroRNAs are Abundant in Breast Milk Exosomes Int J Biol Sci 2012; 8(1):118-123. doi:10.7150/ijbs.8.118

[4] Sreenivasan S, Thirumalai K, Danda R, Krishnakumar S. Effect of curcumin on miRNA expression in human Y79 retinoblastoma cells. Curr Eye Res. 2012 May;37(5):421-8. doi: 10.3109/02713683.2011.647224. PubMed PMID: 22510010.

Credits: Sayer Ji of Green Med Info, Guest contributor. Used here with permission.