STUDIO CITY (CBS) — Plants and foods have been used as medicines for thousands of years. Now, modern research is validating their historical uses. Sherry Torkos, pharmacist and author of “Saving Women’s Hearts,” stopped by KCAL9 Thursday to share surprising facts about how certain “super foods” can help manage common health concerns and help to protect our hearts.
Here is the list of top 5 herbs/foods that have medicinal value:
1. Ginger and Herbs
Ginger has traditionally been used for nausea, upset stomach, motion sickness and morning sickness. Recent research suggests it can help nausea associated with headaches. You can get the benefits of ginger by consuming fresh ginger root, tea or supplements. For those who suffer with migraines, look for ginger in combination with feverfew. Feverfew is from the Chrysanthemum family of plants. It has been used for centuries for headaches and as a fever reducer, hence its name. New research conducted on the combination of feverfew and ginger found that it was very effective at halting a migraine, without any side effects or drug interactions.
Ginger is a Super Food because of its role in providing migraine relief, plus relief from nausea and upset stomachs.
Eggs are a good source of protein and many vitamins, minerals and nutrients that are known to benefit the eyes, heart and brain. New research on the eggshell has found that it offers a superior source of calcium for bone health, with better absorption and tolerability than other forms of calcium. The shell has other unique and surprising benefits: inside the eggshell is a thin membrane that contains key building blocks that support joint health and flexibility.
All these benefits make eggs and surprisingly the shell and membrane a top Super Food.
3. Tropical Oils: Palm Fruit Oil
Olive oil isn’t the only oil that is good for our hearts. Palm fruit oil is rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids, tocotrienols (a potent form of vitamin E) and carotenoids, which gives it that beautiful red color. Recent research on palm fruit oil has shown that it has powerful cardiovascular and neurological benefits, which puts it on my Super Foods list. Palm fruit oil contains no trans fatty acids. Unlike olive oil, it is heat stable. The vitamin E Tocotrienols that come from Malaysian palm fruit oil are approved by the FDA (GRAS) to be added to foods and beverages and can be found in many consumer products.
Palm Fruit Oil benefits our hearts and brains, plus it’s rich in nutrients, making it a Super Fruit.
Grapes and their liquid counterparts (grape juice and wine) have long been known to be good for the heart and part of the French Paradox. Researchers at UC Davis are focused on learning why grapes are such powerful nutrients. Their latest research on a new patented grape seed extract process demonstrates that it can help to lower blood pressure, and improve circulation and blood vessel flexibility. This makes them a powerful Super Food. The American Heart Association does not recommend drinking wine or any other form of alcohol to gain heart benefits because in alcohol contributes to obesity, high blood pressure and triglycerides. If you are going to drink, moderation is the key: 1 drink/day for women; 2 for men.
Tomatoes contain a range of antioxidants including lycopene, which has long been known to benefit prostate and heart health. Scientists have discovered a way to isolate the most valuable components found in tomatoes, and have studied their properties and effects on our health. Recent studies on this tomato lycopene complex, which has been patented, revealed that when lycopene is consumed with other compounds found naturally in tomatoes, it provides a natural source of nutrients to support cardiovascular and heart health. I’m putting cooked tomatoes and a supplement containing this patented tomato complex called Lyc-O-Mato, on my Super Foods list.
To learn more about Sherry Torkos, click here.