Onion Nutritional Facts - Health Benefits of Onions

Onion Nutritional Facts – Health Benefits of Onions

  • January 21, 2021

Onions do more than just flavor your favorite soups, stir fries, and salads. Whether yellow or brown, white or red, these versatile veggies also add vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fiber to your plate. The good-for-you compounds in onions can ultimately help protect your heart, immune system, and more all while making your entrées, apps, and sides shine.

“Onions are an affordable and flavorful addition to any meal that pack in a dose of antioxidants and serious health benefits,” says Stefani Sassos, MS, RDN, Registered Dietitian for the Good Housekeeping Institute.

    Give onions — and other members of the allium family such as garlic, scallions, leeks, shallots, and chives — credit where credit is due. These veggies provide a number of advantages as part of a plant-rich diet.

    • 44 calories
    • 13g carbohydrates
    • 1g protein
    • <1g total fat
    • <1g saturated fat
    • 2.5g fiber
    • 6g sugar
    • 216mg potassium
    • 15mg magnesium
    • 11mg vitamin C
    • 0.178mg vitamin B6

      Onion health benefits:

      Onions are nutrient- and flavor-rich.

      Onions are a good source of vitamin C, vitamin B6, folate, potassium, and manganese. Plus, they provide a little dietary fiber. The veggies can also add a lot of flavor to dishes without greatly increasing calories, sodium, or cholesterol, meaning they’re a great substitute for salty sauces or marinades when you’re looking for some extra zip.

      Eating onions can boost your heart.

      Onions may help out in the cardiovascular department, some research shows. The naturally occurring compounds within the bulbs’ layers can help fight inflammation and lower cholesterol levels, thereby protecting against heart disease. Research on one particular polyphenol in onions — quercetin — has linked it with lowering blood pressure, too. Red onions in particular contain higher amounts of quercetin, so opt for the more colorful varieties for an extra boost.

      It may also strengthen your immune system.

      In addition to containing immune-boosting vitamin C, onions provide phytochemicals that can help your body’s defense system out. The antioxidants within them encourage a strong immune system, and other compounds like sulfides assist with protein synthesis.

      onions, garlic and shallots still life

      Onions and their relatives garlic, shallots, and leeks can provide a number of health benefits as part of a veggie-rich diet.

      Lynne DaleyGetty Images

      Eating more onions may reduce your cancer risk.

      “Allium vegetables, like onions and garlic, are rich in antioxidants and thought to have anti-inflammatory effects,” says Sassos, a board-certified specialist in oncology nutrition. “They provide organosulfur compounds that can reduce the risk of certain cancers including prostate cancer. They make an excellent addition to any cancer prevention diet.”

        People who consumed a large amount of alliums were less likely to develop gastric cancer, per a 2014 meta-analysis of 27 studies. Another review of 16 studies also linked high-allium consumption with a lower risk of colon cancer.

        It may promote good digestion too.

        The dietary fiber in onions can help your digestive system stay in tip-top shape. These prebiotic compounds promote the growth of good gut bacteria, a.k.a. probiotics. In turn, these living organisms prevent or manage GI issues and help out your immune system at the same time.

        What’s more, the specific type of fiber found in onions (as well as garlic, wheat, and legumes) may more effectively feed the beneficial microbiota than the fiber found in other foods, a 2018 meta-analysis found.

        That said, not everyone should chow down on onions for digestive health. “Although onions exhibit prebiotic activity which can enhance intestinal health in many people, individuals who suffer from IBS or are following a low-FODMAP diet may want to limit their consumption,” Sassos warns. “Onions are particularly high in the FODMAP fructans, which can be poorly absorbed in the small intestine and exacerbate IBS symptoms.”

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Benefits of Carrots | It's the season of root vegetables - Know the benefits of carrots

Benefits of Carrots | It’s the season of root vegetables – Know the benefits of carrots

  • January 18, 2021

It's the season of root vegetables - Know the benefits of carrots

It’s the season of root vegetables – Know the benefits of carrots&nbsp | &nbspPhoto Credit:&nbspiStock Images

Key Highlights

  • Carrots are a rich source of healthy compounds such as antioxidants and carotenoids

  • Carrots have low glycemic value which makes them healthy for diabetic patients

  • Here are some health benefits and uses of this wonderful root vegetable

New Delhi: Root vegetables can be found in abundance during the winter season. Some popular root vegetables include carrots, beetroot, radish, etc. Carrot is one of the popular root vegetables that is consumed and loved by people. During the pandemic, it has become a priority to maintain a healthy immune system. Carrots can effectively aid immunity boosting. It is high in nutrition value and rich in health benefits. Here are some benefits offered by carrots and ways in which you can inculcate it in your diet. 

Health benefits of carrots

Here are some health benefits of carrots:

  1. Weight loss: Carrots are low in calories and can help moderate the intake of calories due to its property of being filling. About 100 g of carrots contain up to 40 calories. 
  2. Eye healthy: Carrots are nutrient-dense and contain vitamin A, beta carotene and lutein. Consuming it in your diet can help improve eye health significantly. 
  3. Digestive health: Carrots are a rich source of fibre. Fibrous foods can help boost the digestive system by maintaining a healthy metabolism and enhancing the overall health of the body.
  4. Cholesterol healthy: Carrots can help reduce unhealthy levels of cholesterol in the body, which in turn, can prove to be extremely beneficial for the heart. 
  5. Skincare: Carrots are rich in fibre and antioxidants. They can help enhance the skin as well as the hair. This is the reason why cosmetic companies claim to contain carrots in their skincare products which facilities glowing skin.

Uses of carrots

Some ways in which you can add carrots to your diet are as follows:

  • Juice: Carrot juices are fairly common among people. This is mostly because of its healthiness and ease of preparation.
  • Salad: You can easily include carrots in a salad by simply chopping it into small pieces and mixing it with your salad.
  • Go raw: Eating raw carrots can be healthy as well. However, one must make sure to clean the carrots thoroughly before eating them raw. 
  • Add in meals: You can also include carrots in your diet by simply adding them in other vegetables, fried rice and even in snacks. 
  • Soup: Soups can work as healthy meals as well as an appetizer. Due to its low-calorie content and healthiness, carrots can make brilliant soups. 

Bottom line

Carrots are extremely healthy vegetables that are also easy to inculcate in one’s diet. However, despite the health benefits offered by carrots, it might set off an allergic reaction in some people. Therefore, it is necessary to be careful about what one is consuming and be fully aware of the body.

Disclaimer: Tips and suggestions mentioned in the article are for general information purpose only and should not be construed as professional medical advice. Always consult your doctor or a dietician before starting any fitness programme or making any changes to your diet.


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6 Marvelous Mushrooms and Their Myriad of Massive Health Benefits

6 Marvelous Mushrooms and Their Myriad of Massive Health Benefits

  • January 15, 2021

Mushrooms have been used as food and medicine for thousands of years, and it’s becoming more common for researchers to announce new therapeutic interventions based on different species.

Gathering porcini in Italy, copyright Andy Corbley

Even though it’s common for people to tell you that 80% of mushrooms are poisonous, the ones that aren’t offer nutrients which are often hard to find in more commonly consumed foods.

For brain health, there are few things better, and many mushrooms are now powdered and sold as “nootropic” supplements, with claims that they enhance memory and mental performance.

Others have been found to inhibit cancer growth and proliferation, and others are studied for respiratory infections.

Putting aside the traditional use of mushrooms in our society—namely for pizza toppings and hallucinogenic trips, new names for new purposes are finding their way into health food stores and magazines, and here are just a few.

1. For longevity: reishi

MyCallOhGee, CC license

“For over 2000 years reishi mushrooms have been recognized by Chinese medical professionals as a valuable remedy,” reads a study from the American-Eurasian Journal of Botany. Its Chinese name means “spiritual potency,” while it’s also known as the “mushroom of immortality,” and the “medicine of kings.”

Studies have shown reishi mushrooms strengthen and improve the “competence” of the immune system through their content of triterpenes. They can protect the liver, significantly inhibit all four types of allergic reactions, and activate immune cells, particularly ones which kill tumor cells, and invasive bacteria.

While it doesn’t demonstrate anti-senescence, lengthen telomeres, or boost NAD+ levels— hallmarks of the modern understanding of longevity—any one of the things it can ameliorate could just as easily end a life, so in a sense, the “mushroom of immortality” earns its moniker.

2. For respiratory health: agarikon

Paul Stamets with agarikon, Dusty Yao Stamets, CC license

“This rare, old-growth mushroom has a multi-thousand-year history of use in Europe,” world-renowned mycologist Paul Stamets told Rochelle Baker at Canada’s National Observer.

Stamets is referring to a little-known mushroom called agarikon, which he has worked to protect in North America. He notes that ancient Greek physician Dioscorides actually described agarikon in his works, calling it the elixir of long life—particularly when used to treat tuberculosis.

Now Stamets believes that agarikon and the old-growth forests in which it thrives should be protected and cultivated for use as a public health remedy for coronaviruses, as well as other respiratory illnesses, due to its role as a potent immune system aid.

3. For the liver: chaga

Björn S, CC license

As fun to say as it is good for you, chaga has actually been extensively studied for use as a therapeutic intervention. Lacking only accreditation as a nootropic, mood regulator, or for other brain-related effects, there is one very important role which chaga can perform—as an inhibitor of DNA damage.

MORE: Slimming and Healthful: Benefits of New ‘Green’ Mediterranean Diet Revealed in Study

A South Korean study found that 40% less DNA damage was observed in human lymphocytes when treated with compounds brought about by the consumption of chaga. Lymphocytes are a type of white blood cell, and one of the main immune cells.

Another study found that chaga inhibited tumor cell growth in human hepatoma cells (liver cancer), among the references for which were other anti-tumor, anti-bacterial, and hepato-protective studies.

4. For… everything really: lion’s mane

Melissa McMasters, CC license

In a study from the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry that is close to receiving 100 citations, the authors note that they are sequestering a large and scattered body of literature to present the nutritional compounds and effects of the lion’s mane mushroom.

The reported benefits, according to the researchers, include, “antibiotic, anticarcinogenic, antidiabetic, antifatigue, antihypertensive, antihyperlipodemic, antisenescence, cardioprotective, hepatoprotective, nephroprotective, and neuroprotective properties and improvement of anxiety, cognitive function, and depression.”

For the authors, they note that it is particularly the anti-inflammatory, antioxidative, and immuno-stimulating properties, shown in both human and animal cells, that gives this mushroom such a protective role in our biology.

5. For energy and the brain: shilajit

CC license

While many people consider this blackish tar-like substance found in the Himalayas to be a fungus, it’s actually a kind of soil called humus. It’s composed significantly of organic compounds, like triterpenes, phenolic lipids, and small tannoids: three things often present in large quantities in mushrooms.

Still, the ancient North Indians and denizens of the mountains there have used it for thousands of years, and its name, Divya Rasayan, means “celestial super vitalizer.”

RELATED: Dutch Man Invents Coffin That Turns Bodies Into Mushrooms: ‘We are nutrients, not waste’

Studies have been done on shilajit which concluded nootropic effects, and others which looked at the properties shilajit’s content of fulvic acid, a compound which shuttles nutrients like energy, vitamins, and minerals into the cells in much higher quantities than other carriers like blood cells.

6. For everything else: cordyceps

Jose Ramon Pato, CC license

There’s little debate about the benefits of cordyceps, which one study noted is used to “maintain vivacity and for boosting immunity.” That same study noted the only thing misunderstood about cordyceps is whether its nutrients confer protective effects like a nutritional supplement, or whether they’re strong enough to be administered in medicine.

Another study noted its uses could be described as “adaptogenic, anti-oxidant, anti-aging, neuroprotective, nootropic, immunomodulatory, anti-cancer, hepatoprotective,” and even, the study notes, an aphrodisiac.

Yet another study described it as “one of the most valuable medicinal mushrooms and nutraceuticals in China.” The researchers cited other studies that showed both powerful anti-oxidant capabilities, and, perhaps most valuably, a tempering of the release of TNF-alpha and IL-1b-beta.

These molecules are known as inflammatory cytokines, which, being necessary for wound healing, are one of the major drivers in models of unhealthy aging.

CHECK OUT:  Eating Mushrooms a Few Times a Week Could Dramatically Reduce Dementia Risk, Says 6-Year Study

Far from slimy, insect-ridden markers of death and decay, each fungus has huge potential as something bordering between nutritional supplements and outright medicine, and the incorporation of them in your diet can be a great idea.

SHARE the Fascinating News From the Fungi Kingdom With the Mushroom Fans in Your Life…

Amazing Benefits of Chyavanaprasam for Boosting Immunity and Vitality

Amazing Benefits of Chyavanaprasam for Boosting Immunity and Vitality

  • January 10, 2021

Kundan Ayurveda

Chyavanaprasam is the medicine used by Chyavana Maharshi to maintain youth.  It is a collection of 49 Ayurvedic medicines.  The advantage of this is that it can maintain the youth of the body if eaten properly.

It is a drug that contains a lot of antioxidants.  The main ingredient is gooseberry.  This is why it tastes a little bitter.  Chyvanaprasam should be taken with milk 20 minutes before breakfast and after dinner.  To get the full benefits of the medicine, it should be taken with milk. This combination is very good for health as milk and gooseberry are rich in Vitamin-C.

This Ayurvedic medicine is good for asthma, allergies and bone strength. Vitamin C in gooseberry and milk, which are important ingredients in it, helps to strengthen bones.  This is also a remedy for premature graying.  The presence of gooseberry is the reason for this quality.

Chyavanaprasam can help rejuvenate the body by preventing wrinkles and sagging skin caused by aging.  It also plays an important role in boosting the body’s immune system.  This Siddha medicine has been used by the Indians since ancient times.

Giving children Chyavanaprasam will help them to improve their learning.  This is because of the fact that the medicine contains multiple drugs that can enhance memory.

Gooseberry is rich in fiber and stimulates the digestive system.  In addition, it is a remedy for acidity, constipation and flatulence.

Chewing gum has the ability to provide more iron to the body.  Therefore, it is recommended to prevent anemia and increase blood flow.  Chewing gum also has the ability to remove toxins from the body.  This medicine can be used to maintain a healthy body weight.  The fear of gaining weight by consuming this is unnecessary.

25 Best Vitamin C Foods: Nutrition & Benefits

25 Best Vitamin C Foods: Nutrition & Benefits

  • January 7, 2021

With the pandemic still in full force combined with cold and flu season, trying to make sure your immune system is in tip-top shape is likely top of mind.

An apple a day may keep the doctor away, but adding in some vitamin C to your diet for good measure will help, too. Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, supports the immune system and helps your body use the iron you get from food. 

What is vitamin C?

First, let’s take a look at exactly what vitamin C is.

“Vitamin C is a plant-derived antioxidant that’s found predominantly in veggies and fruit,” explains Jaclyn London, MS, RD, CDN Head of Nutrition & Wellness at WW (Weight Watchers).  “This class of compounds helps to support overall immune function and general well-being by protecting your body’s healthy cells from damage.”

The body also uses vitamin C to make collagen which is a springy type of connective tissue that makes up parts of your body and helps to heal wounds. “ If you don’t get enough or no vitamin C for weeks, you can get scurvy, a condition causing fatigue, gum inflammation and bleeding, joint pain, and poor wound healing,” adds Brenda Braslow, RD. “The daily recommended allowance for adult men is 90 mg per day and 75 mg per day for adult women,” she says. 

The benefits of vitamin C

A diet that has the recommended amount of vitamin C can help prevent disease as we age. “Over time, a diet that provides antioxidants, including vitamin C, from plant foods can help to promote healthy cell function, and therefore, help to decrease risk of chronic disease on the whole,” says London. “Vitamin C helps protect vision by inhibiting the progression of cataracts and macular degeneration, it increases resistance to infection, colds, flu, and more,” explains Elizabeth Somer, MS, RDN, and Personal Nutrition Medical Advisory Board Member. She adds that vitamin C can also regulate cholesterol production, help lower blood pressure, and is important in the formation of the stress hormones produced by the adrenal glands. 

7 Foods You Should Eat to Keep Your Eyes Healthy

Should you take vitamin C supplements?

There are all kinds of varieties of vitamin supplements in the pharmacy, but are they worth taking? “Most people get adequate vitamin C through their diet. Taking a daily multivitamin can also provide a little additional vitamin C, often about 100 mg per supplement, so an additional high dose vitamin C supplement is not necessary,” says Braslow. London agrees, adding that unless a physician has recommended it for the treatment of a medical condition, then adding in supplements will have little to no benefit. “Vitamin C belongs to a class of vitamins that are water soluble, meaning what your body can’t use, you’ll excrete through the urinary tract as well as your GI tract.”

Below, you’ll find a list of the very best dietitian-recommended vitamin C foods.

Best vitamin C foods


Braslow says 1 medium purple plum has 6 mg of vitamin C. It’s also rich in potassium, vitamin E and the antioxidant lutein.

Chili Peppers

¼ cup chopped green chili peppers has 91 mg of vitamin C, according to Barslow. 

Sweet yellow peppers

The vitamin C content of sweet or bell peppers increases as they mature. “What makes this so great for those of us trying to eat more food sources of vitamin C is that it’s a perfect ingredient and condiment, but also easily adapted to be a snack in its own right,” says London. Just one-half cup of yellow peppers provides 137 mg of vitamin C.

Red peppers

A half cup of sweet, sliced red peppers arguably has the most vitamin C of any vegetable or fruit,” says London. She adds that it’s the perfect ingredient or condiment that can be adapted into a snack. “One half cup of peppers will provide up to 95 mg.”

Green bell peppers

One ounce of sauteed peppers provides up to 49.5 mg of Vitamin C. 

Oranges or orange juice

One medium-sized orange provides up to 70mg of vitamin C which is 78% of the daily value. A mandarin orange has 24 mg.  Start your day off with a glass of orange juice. Braslow says drinking  6 ounces of orange juice has 93 mg of vitamin C.

Related: Citrus Pineapple Smoothie Bowl Recipe


Braslow says half of a medium guava provides 63 mg of vitamin C. Guava fruit is also a great source of fiber. 


One teaspoon of dried thyme has 1 mg vitamin C,” says Braslow. Even just sprinkling a couple of tablespoons of fresh thyme over your meal adds up to 7 mg of vitamin C to your diet.


Two tablespoons of fresh parsley contain 10 mg of vitamin C, providing 11% of the recommended daily value. 


A half cup of cooked spinach has 9 mg of vitamin C. There are a variety of spinach options including savoy spinach, flat spinach, and semi-savoy spinach. 


“60% of the daily value for vitamin C per ½ cup, cooked serving of kale is up to four times what you’ll get from spinach,” says London. She suggests including it when sauteing, as a swap for romaine lettuce in sandwiches, or as part of a hearty winter soup.


“One medium kiwi packs 70% of the daily value for vitamin C,” says London. “ It’s a tasty and slightly-surprising addition to breakfast parfaits or eaten sliced as part of a snack.”


“One cup of broccoli packs up to 220% of the daily value for the nutrient and is easy to cook quickly in a saute pan with a little bit of garlic and olive oil or butter,” says London. 

Brussels sprouts

According to London, a ½ cup of cooked brussels sprouts packs 48 mg of vitamin C, which is about 53% of the daily value. “These are a great choice this time of year since you can drizzle olive oil and stick ‘em on a sheet pan for roasting. I’m also loving Brussels sprouts in the air-fryer.”


London says one way to shake things up and get your water and vitamin C in is to add lemons to your drink. “Per half cup, lemon juice will provide more than half of the DV for vitamin C and it also adds tangy tartness to an otherwise unflavored sparkling beverage.”

Bok choy

“All cruciferous veggies provide some vitamin C,” says London. Bok Choy is also rich in Vitamin K.  


“Fresh or frozen, strawberries are a great source of vitamin C and provide up to 50% of the daily value for the nutrient per half cup,” says London. She suggests using it as a topping with plain, unsweetened Greek yogurt or as part of a dessert. You can also use it as a simple, lower-sugar swap for jelly on your peanut butter and jelly sandwich. 


Tomatoes are also a great source of vitamin C and are easy to incorporate, from canned tomatoes used in sauce or stew to fresh tomatoes thrown into a quick chopped salad,” suggests London. She says one cup of cherry tomatoes packs up to 30% of your daily value of vitamin C. 

Snap peas

Snap peas, as well as sugar snap peas, are a great source of vitamin C, providing 100% of the daily value in just 3.5 ounces. 


A cup of cubed cantaloupe contains over 200 mg of the recommended daily value of vitamin C. 


A medium baked potato will provide about 30% of the daily value and is another go-to staple that’s easy to add as a side dish to meals, or, my personal favorite, as a quick and easy weeknight dinner of loaded baked potatoes with black beans, tomatoes, scallions, part-skim cheese, greek yogurt, and hot sauce,” says London. Braslow adds that you shouldn’t throw away the peel, which is packed with nutrients! 

Related: 18 Delicious Recipes to Add More Vitamin C to Your Table


A half cup of cooked cauliflower packs up to 1/3 of your [daily value] for vitamin C, and it’s easy to incorporate now more than ever in the form of frozen, pre-prepped cauliflower rice, which you can find in your produce aisle at your local grocery store, or in the freezer aisle, making it that much easier to add to instant-rice to slowly introduce veggies into more meals and snacks,” says London. 


Half a grapefruit contains 44 mg of the recommended daily value. 


Pineapples are rich in vitamin C, providing 131% of the daily recommendation. 


Mangoes are naturally high in vitamin C and beta-carotene. One cup of sliced mango provides 60.1 mg of vitamin C.

Next up, here are 66 immune boosters for flu season.


Black elderberry health benefits

Black elderberry health benefits for boosting immunity

  • January 5, 2021

Black elderberry health benefits

Black elderberry health benefits research over the past several decades appears to show potent immunoprotective properties against cold and flu symptoms

With health scares of late it should come as no surprise that there is an increased interest in natural remedies to help boost the immune system, with many patients seeking out Black elderberry health benefits to ward off flus and viruses.

Black elderberry health benefits  (Sambucus nigra) have been part of tradition healing practices for centuries to treat a wide variety of injuries and ailments, including infections, burns, and inflammation.1 However, research on elderberry over the past several decades also appears to show its potent immunoprotective properties, particularly against cold and flu symptoms.

Black elderberry health benefits

Part of the reason why elderberries are thought to be so good at boosting the immune system may be due to the fact that they are high in antioxidants.2

A 2015 article in the Journal of Functional Foods reported that elderberries are rich in several antioxidant compounds, including phenolic acids, flavonols (quercetin, kaempferol and isorhamnetin), and anthocyanins. These antioxidants help reduce inflammation and oxidative stress, which may help lower susceptibility to colds and the flu.2

Reducing cold and flu symptoms

A 2019 study, published in Complementary Therapies in Medicine, grouped together a series of studies on the effects of an elderberry extract in treating the duration and severity of upper respiratory cold and flu symptoms.3

In analyzing the outcome of 180 cases for vaccine status and cause for symptoms, the researchers found that treatment with an elderberry extract helped reduce upper respiratory symptoms, regardless of their underlying cause.3

This would appear to show that elderberry can improve symptoms for a wide variety of upper respiratory symptoms, potentially including COVID viruses.

An earlier study from 2016, in the journal Nutrients, compared the duration and severity of cold symptoms on 312 airline passengers who took elderberry supplements, as compared to a placebo group.4

All passengers in the study recorded the number of cold episodes they experienced, how long each cold lasted, and symptoms. They also completed surveys about upper respiratory symptoms and quality of life at baseline, just before traveling, and four days after traveling. Subjects in the placebo group had more cold episodes than did those taking the elderberry extract (17 episodes versus 12), with each episode lasting for a longer duration (117 days versus 57).

Furthermore, those in the placebo group had a higher average symptom score than those taking the elderberry extract.4

Patients are looking toward alternative medicine to provide a way to help boost the immune system to reduce the severity and duration of flu and virus symptoms. Recent research appears to show that black elderberry health benefits may play a role in doing just that.


  1. Ulbricht C, Basch E, Cheung L, et al. An evidence-based systematic review of elderberry and elderflower (Sambucus nigra) by the Natural Standard Research Collaboration. Journal of Dietary Supplements. 2014 Mar;11(1):80-120.
  2. Sidor A, Gramza-Michałowska, A. Advanced research on the antioxidant and health benefit of elderberry (Sambucus nigra) in food – a review. Journal of Functional Foods. 2015 Oct;18(B):941-958.
  3. Hawkins J, Baker C, Cherry L, Dunne E. Black elderberry (Sambucus nigra) supplementation effectively treats upper respiratory symptoms: A meta-analysis of randomized, controlled clinical trials. Complementary Therapies in Medicine. 2019 Feb;42:361-365.
  4. Tiralongo E, Wee SS, Lea RA. Elderberry supplementation reduces cold duration and symptoms in air-travellers: A randomized, double-blind placebo-controlled clinical trial. Nutrients. 2016 Mar 24;8(4):182.

Nutrients, Benefits, Downsides, and More

Nutrients, Benefits, Downsides, and More

  • January 1, 2021

Suma, also known as Brazilian ginseng, hebanthe paniculata, and hebanthe eriantha, is a plant native to tropical countries in the Amazon rainforest region like Brazil, Peru, Ecuador, and Venezuela.

The plant’s root has been used by indigenous tribes for centuries. In folk medicine, it is commonly referred to as “para tudo,” meaning “for everything,” and used for a wealth of purposes, such as to relieve stress, fight disease, and serve as an aphrodisiac (1).

Yet, despite its long history of use, scientific evidence backing its purported benefits is limited.

This article reviews the health claims made about suma root, as well as the science behind them.

Suma root is sourced from the Pfaffia paniculata plant, which belongs to the Amaranthaceae family of flowering plants. Although it’s commonly referred to as Brazilian ginseng, this root isn’t related to Asian or American ginseng, both of which belong to the Araliaceae family (2).


Suma root contains pfaffic acid and saponin pfaffosides. These two compounds are praised for their anti-cancer properties and largely responsible for the great research and commercial interest in suma root (1, 3).

Other herbal supplements commonly marketed as Brazilian ginseng, including Pfaffia glomerata, contain some of the same health-boosting nutrients as suma root but neither pfaffic acid nor pfaffosides (3).

Suma root is also rich in vitamins and minerals, including iron, magnesium, zinc, certain B vitamins, vitamins A, E, and K, and germanium — a trace element praised for its immune-strengthening properties (4).

Additionally, the root is rich in polyphenols and alkaloids. These two types of antioxidant compounds are believed to prevent cell damage and protect your body from a range of diseases (5, 6, 7).

Traditional uses

Suma root has a long history of use. To this day, the herbal remedy is utilized for a variety of purposes, including boosting energy levels and reducing stress, pain, inflammation, and anxiety (1, 3).

The root is also believed to be a potent aphrodisiac and commonly praised for its ability to help lower blood pressure, blood sugar, and cholesterol (1, 2, 3).

Interestingly, based on its nutrients, suma root may have stronger immune-boosting and cancer-fighting properties than Asian ginseng, although no studies currently confirm this (2, 4).

Available forms

In its simplest form, suma root can be purchased as a powder that you can mix with a beverage of your choice.

Other available forms include powdered capsules, teas, and liquid extracts.


Available in various forms, suma root is an herbal remedy that contains a range of beneficial nutrients and plant compounds. These compounds are believed to be the driving factors behind its many purported health benefits.

Suma root is touted to offer a wide range of health benefits, but only a few of these are currently backed by science.

May act as an adaptogen

Suma root is considered an adaptogen, which can be defined as an herbal pharmaceutical that boosts your body’s ability to adapt to and avoid damage caused by physical, chemical, or biological stressors.

Examples of stressors include environmental pollution, climate change, radiation, and infectious diseases. Adaptogens are believed to better equip your body to deal with these stressors without harming any of its normal functions (2).

Adaptogens are thought to do so by acting on the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis — also known as your central stress response system — thereby regulating the stress response of your body’s cells (5, 8).

As such, researchers believe that adaptogens could potentially be used to control or prevent a wide range of diseases in which stress plays a major role, including heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and irritable bowel disease (IBD) (2, 4, 5).

However, as promising as this may sound, more research is needed to confirm the adaptogenic properties and purported disease-fighting benefits of suma root.

May have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties

Suma root contains polyphenols and alkaloids, two compounds renowned for their antioxidant properties (5).

Antioxidants are beneficial compounds that help neutralize unstable free radicals. If allowed to build up in your body, free radicals can cause cell damage and ultimately contribute to a variety of chronic diseases like cancer, diabetes, and heart disease (6, 7, 9).

The polyphenols in suma root are further praised for their anti-inflammatory properties. This is important because inflammation is another factor believed to be the root cause of many chronic diseases (5).

These antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties are why suma root is commonly thought to boost overall health and reduce disease risk. However, despite these promising benefits, more research linking its regular consumption to reduced disease risk is needed.

May offer protection against cancer

Test-tube and animal research suggests that the pfaffic acid and saponin pfaffosides from suma root may help kill cancer cells and prevent them from spreading (1, 3).

Moreover, the root’s adaptogenic properties suggest that this herbal remedy may help activate immune cells in the body. In turn, this may prevent the growth of cancerous cells, as well as promote their removal from the body (2).

A few studies further suggest that adaptogens may complement cancer drugs. It’s speculated that they can enhance the cancer-killing effects of chemotherapy or radiotherapy while reducing common cancer treatment side-effects like fatigue (2, 10).

For instance, research in mice suggests that adaptogens may help prevent the development of resistance to cancer drug treatments, thus prolonging the animal’s life (2).

In addition, animal research suggests that suma root may help kill cancer cells and prevent them from spreading (9).

However, human studies are currently lacking. Therefore, more research is needed to confirm suma root’s anti-cancer benefits in humans.

May improve fertility

For centuries, suma root has been used as an herbal aphrodisiac. However, little scientific evidence backs this use.

One older animal study suggests that extract from the root may increase sexual activity and ejaculation in sexually sluggish or impotent male rats (11).

Another study notes that these extracts may increase levels of sex hormones, such as estradiol, progesterone, and testosterone, in male and female mice (12).

These sex hormones play an important role in libido, ovulation, sperm production, and erectile function. As such, increased levels of these hormones may be linked to improved fertility (13, 14, 15).

However, no studies confirm these effects in humans, and more research is needed before strong conclusions can be made.

Other potential benefits

Research has also linked suma root with the following health benefits:

  • May benefit people with sickle cell disease. Test-tube research suggests that suma root extract may improve the shape of red blood cells, which are commonly misshapen in people with sickle cell disease (16).
  • May improve digestion. Animal studies suggest that the root may help reduce gut damage and markers of inflammation in rats with inflammation of the colon (5, 17).

As is the case with many of the health claims surrounding the root, more research is needed to confirm these benefits in humans.


Suma root is touted to protect against many chronic diseases, including cancer. It’s also praised for its anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, aphrodisiac, and fertility-enhancing properties. Yet, more human research is needed to support these claims.

Suma root manufacturers or sellers generally recommend drinking 2 daily cups of suma root tea or consuming 500–1,500 mg of dried root capsules 2–3 times per day.

Alternatively, it’s commonly encouraged to dissolve 1–2 grams of powdered suma root or 1–2 mL of the root extract in a beverage of your choice up to 3 times daily.

However, not enough research confirms the effectiveness or safety of these dosage recommendations. Moreover, despite having been used as a traditional herbal remedy for centuries, there are no recent studies on the root’s possible side effects or overall safety.

Because of this, if you’re interested in giving the root a try, seek guidance from your healthcare provider before doing so.

Children, people who are pregnant or breastfeeding, and those currently taking medications may benefit from avoiding suma root until more is known about how it may interact with medications, as well as its overall safety.


There’s not enough scientific information available to make strong recommendations regarding the effective dosages or safety of this remedy. If you still want to give it a try, make sure to consult your healthcare provider first.

Suma root is an herbal remedy that has been used in traditional medicine for centuries. It’s claimed to offer various health benefits, such as boosting libido and protecting from stress, cancer, and a range of chronic diseases.

However, there’s currently little scientific evidence backing any of these claims, especially in humans. Moreover, little is known regarding which dosages, if any, are most effective and safe.

Thus, it may be best to avoid its use until more studies can prove its safety and effectiveness in humans. If you’re still interested in giving suma root a try, be sure to seek advice from your healthcare provider before doing so.

Saunas: Types, health benefits, risks, precautions

Saunas: Types, health benefits, risks, precautions

  • December 31, 2020
  • The traditional Finnish sauna, which takes place in a heated and enclosed wooden room, is the most popular sauna experience worldwide and therefore is what many studies are based on regarding sauna’s health benefits.
  • Sauna use may have a variety of health benefits, including helping the body release toxins, improving the cardiovascular system, and building up the immune system.
  • Frequent sauna use is linked to a decreased risk of dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Visit Insider’s Health Reference library for more advice.

The first saunas were built 10,000 years ago in Finland. In fact, the word sauna means bath or bathhouse in Finnish. 

Today, saunas are a part of everyday life in Finland and throughout Scandinavia, as well as Russia, South Korea, and other European countries. The practice has been embraced by Americans, too.

Read on to learn more about sauna and its many health and social benefits.

What is a sauna?

There are four types of saunas, according to the North American Sauna Society:

  1. Traditional Finnish sauna: This is what most people think of as a typical sauna experience. It takes place in an enclosed wooden room heated to about 176 to 195 °F (80–110 °C). Water is ladled on rocks to create humidity, at levels between 20-40% for 5 to 10 minutes for beginners and up to 20 minutes for those who are more experienced. 
  2. Dry sauna: A dry sauna is a traditional Finnish sauna without water sprinkled on stones. This keeps the humidity at a low level, usually less than 10%.
  3. Steam bath: Also known as a Turkish bath or hammam, it’s built of glass, tile, or acrylic to seal in humidity. As the humidity is approximately 100%, the space feels warmer, but the thermostat-controlled temperature is usually less than 120 ºF.
  4. Infrared sauna: While infrared sauna also takes place in a wooden room, it uses infrared heat lamps that radiate at lower temperatures, generally between 100 °F – 150 °F, says Shayna Peter, NMD, CNS, LDN, a functional medicine doctor and author of the book It’s Not Just Acne. Infrared saunas are useful for people who have trouble handling higher temperatures.   

All saunas are warm environments, so most people enjoy sitting in them in the nude. You can also wear a bathing suit or towel. 

Sauna benefits

Most science-backed health benefits from saunas are largely based on the Finnish sauna experience, which is the most popular type worldwide. Researchers have found that a Finnish sauna may offer the following benefits:

Flushing toxins: “Sauna sessions induce sweating and increase the excretion of numerous toxins including heavy metals, persistent organic pollutants, BPA, flame retardants, phthalates, and more,” says James DiNicolantonio, PharmD, a cardiovascular research scientist and author of several best-selling books, including The Immunity Fix

Improving cardiovascular system: Many studies address this benefit, including a 2015 study showing that frequent sauna use led to fewer cardiovascular-related deaths (CVD). Specifically, CVD death was 27 percent lower for men who used saunas two to three times per week and 50 percent lower for men who took sauna four to seven times a week compared with men who used a sauna once a week. 

Sports endurance: A small 2020 study concluded that 3 weeks of intermittent post-exercise sauna sessions improved sports endurance. Participants increased oxygen utilization by 8%, running speed by 4%, and time to exhaustion by 12%. The study also supported heat tolerance as an avenue of bolstering exercise performance in temperate conditions.

Boosting the immune system: Our body increases the production of heat shock proteins (HSPs) when we go into a sauna. HSPs prevent our bodies from becoming overheated and also stimulate our immune system. The HSPs that are increased during sauna has led to many health benefits. “Studies have shown that sauna bathing has been associated with lower risks of pneumonia, influenza, and the common cold,” says DiNicolantonio.  

Decreasing the risk of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia: Sauna use can even help brain function. A 2017 study of Finnish men aged 42-60 concluded that using a sauna four to seven times per week reduced the risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease by 65% – 66%.

Improving relaxation: Saunas are well-known for providing relaxation, and the research appears to confirm this effect. One example: In a 2019 global survey, 83.5% of respondents reported sleep benefits after sauna use one to two times per week, as well as increased levels of mental wellbeing.

Sauna risks and precautions

While saunas offer many health benefits, Peter suggests paying attention to the following risks:

  • Dehydration: Hydrate before and after each sauna session. “That’s always a concern due to the increase in sweat production,” says Peter.
  • Time limits: Five to 10 minutes is best for beginners, while experienced sauna users may be able to go up to 15 or 20 minutes. “Start small, spending no more than a few minutes in the sauna, and working up to no more than 20 minutes,” says Peter. 
  • Alcohol use: “Saunas and alcohol do not mix,” Peter tells Insider. Drinking alcohol while using a sauna can lower blood pressure and cause fainting and accidents.
  • Pregnancy: While a 2019 review of studies shows that sauna use in moderation is safe during pregnancy, Peter cautions that those who are pregnant should check with their doctors before using a sauna.
  • Children: Most advice says to limit a child’s exposure to sauna by age. It is generally advised that children aged 6 and above are safe to use a sauna, but should spend no more than 15 minutes at a time and always be accompanied by an adult. “Children have less of an ability to regulate body temperature than adults, so they may need to spend less time in the sauna,” says Peter. 

Insider’s takeaway 

Saunas are known around the world as a great way to relax and spend quality time with friends and family. 

Sauna use may have a variety of health benefits, including helping the body release toxins, improving the cardiovascular system, increasing sports endurance, building up the immune system, and decreasing the risk of dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease.

With the proper precautions, adding sauna sessions to your weekly routine can provide an overall health boost.

The research on rosemary's health benefits is limited - here's what you need to know

The research on rosemary’s health benefits is limited – here’s what you need to know

  • December 30, 2020
  • Rosemary’s health benefits are largely based on scientific studies in animal models and test tubes, and therefore should not be taken as medical advice.
  • Consuming too much rosemary over long periods of time may pose a problem if you’re on certain medications like anticoagulants, ACE inhibitors, or diuretics.

Rosemary is a plant that is native to the Mediterranean region and is formally called Rosmarinus officinalis. You can use rosemary in many different forms, including as a fresh herb, dried herb, essential oil, and powder extract.

Rosemary has attracted attention for possible health benefits because it contains antioxidants – compounds that may protect against inflammation and certain inflammatory diseases. However, research results are mixed and more studies are needed to confirm these potential benefits.

Here’s more information on rosemary’s many uses as well as precautions linked to the plant.

How to best use rosemary

Rosemary is a versatile, fragrant herb. Here are just a few popular ways to use it:

  • With food: Rosemary helps to season foods if you are looking for alternatives, or additions, to salt. It goes great with meat like lamb, chicken, or fish, as well as staples like quinoa, brown rice, mushrooms, or potatoes. Follow recipe recommendations as they can vary depending on whether you’re using fresh or dried rosemary. For example, this quinoa recipe from New York Presbyterian Hospital calls for eight sprigs of fresh rosemary or 1½ tablespoons of the dried herb.
  • In drinks: You can make rosemary tea, or you can add fresh rosemary to alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks like lemonade and some cocktails.
  • As fragrance: If you have rosemary essential oil, you can add three to four drops of it to a diffuser to enjoy its distinct aroma.
  • As mosquito repellant: Grow rosemary around your home, or use essential oils to create a body spray that can help repel pesky mosquitoes. Reapply the body spray every two hours.

What the research says about rosemary’s health benefits

Most research around the health benefits of rosemary is either in animal models or test tubes. And the limited research conducted on humans is mostly small studies that may not be relevant to the general public.

Therefore, it’s important to consult a healthcare professional if you’re considering taking rosemary for your health. Here’s what the limited research on rosemary, involving humans, has found:


  • A small 2012 study found improved cognitive performance and mood in subjects who were exposed to the aroma of rosemary.
  • A small 2017 study of people with Type 2 diabetes found that rosemary powder helped to reduce hemoglobin A1c, a measurement used to indicate blood sugar control.
  • Rosemary has long been used as a home remedy to treat indigestion, says Kimberly Langdon, MD, an OB-GYN at Medzino, an online service connecting patients to doctors and pharmacies. You can try it in tea or essential oil form.

Risks and side effects of rosemary

Although users tout rosemary’s many benefits, it has some risks if you use too much – and some people need to proceed with caution.

Registered dietitian nutritionist Rhyan Geiger, owner of Phoenix Vegan Dietitian, says that if you’re on any of the following types of medications, talk to your doctor before adding rosemary to your diet because it may work similarly to the medicines below, and that could lead to unwanted or even serious side effects:

  • Anticoagulants, a type of medication that thins the blood. Heparin and warfarin are commonly prescribed anticoagulants. There’s some evidence to suggest that long-term use of rosemary can make it more difficult for blood to clot, which may cause more frequent bruising and bleeding if taken in combination with anticoagulants.
  • ACE inhibitors, which are used to treat high blood pressure. Some common brand names include Monopril and Prinivil. Substances in rosemary have been found to bind to the same molecule as these medications.
  • Diuretics are used to increase urination and help rid the body of extra fluid. You may be advised to use a diuretic for kidney disorders or heart failure. Some common examples of diuretics include Lasix and Diamox. A rat study from 2000 found that rosemary may have a diuretic effect, which is why you might see warnings not to mix it with diuretic medications because you could increase the risk of dehydration and other side effects.
  • Lithium, which is used to treat symptoms of bipolar disorder. Rosemary’s potential diuretic effects are why healthcare professionals will sometimes caution against mixing the two because it could lead to abnormally high lithium levels in the body.

You might also want to avoid rosemary in supplement form while pregnant, Langdon says. While small amounts of rosemary used in food are not considered dangerous, there isn’t enough known about rosemary in supplement form and its potential interactions in pregnant and nursing people.

When buying rosemary as an essential oil or powder extract, read the label to check for third-party testing, Langdon advises. This helps ensure the product does not have contaminants such as heavy metals. You can tell if a product has third-party testing by looking for a stamp of certification.

Insider’s takeaway

Rosemary is an herb best used in food, drinks, fragrances, and as an insect repellent.

It’s a useful flavoring agent, but don’t depend on it for some of the purported health benefits associated with rosemary. More thorough research is needed to fully understand rosemary’s effects on physical and mental wellbeing.

Moreover, if you use medications such as ACE inhibitors or anticoagulants, check with your doctor before adding rosemary to your diet.

Giloy health benefits: Reasons to add giloy to your diet and boost immunity

Giloy health benefits: Reasons to add giloy to your diet and boost immunity

  • December 29, 2020
Nature has blessed us with a lot of immunity-boosters and giloy is one of them.

Owing to the pandemic, the demand for giloy also rose potentially and for good reason- from boosting immunity to promoting weight loss and keeping the skin young and healthy, Guduchi giloy, as it is known by its Ayurvedic name is one powerful antidote to ailments and illnesses. Extensively found in India, Giloy root and powder have been extensively used since ages to treat and prevent infections, finds mentions in ancient texts as well. In fact, according to Ayurvedic beliefs, it is one of the three ‘Amrit’ plants or works as an anti-mortality drug which contains natural healing properties.

With a slightly bitter taste, the stem of the Giloy plant is said to have potent nutritional benefits. The roots and leaves also promise numerous benefits and alleviate health problems. We explain to you some of the best, helpful benefits of consuming the wonderful herb regularly, and the best ways to have it:

1. Works as an excellent fever reliever

If you are looking for a natural way to bring your fever down, look no further than giloy. Both Ayurveda and modern science support the working of Giloy in bringing down the temperature and cooling the body down, particularly in chronic, recurrent cases.

Since Giloy has antipyretic and anti-inflammatory properties in it, it helps to boost immunity, act down on inflammation (which results in a fever or spiked up the temperature) and reduces body heat. Ayurveda also suggests that Giloy works to remove the toxic ‘Ama’ in the body, which is caused by improper digestion or consumption of unsuited foreign particles.

Thus, by keeping toxins away and regulating body temperature, Giloy works to keep inflammation levels under control and keep a person healthy. Drinking Giloy twice a day can help fight fever when you are battling an infection. It can also suit kids who do not like taking medicines.

2. Vitalizer for the heart and the body

People who are disturbed by problems of chronic fatigue and exhaustion are often advised to add supplements like giloy to their diet plan. Giloy is wonderful for your heart and works to revitalize the entire body. It reduces stress levels, fights toxins, alleviates anxiety and its soothing properties can calm the body down.

You will be surprised to learn that frequent consumption of a powerful natural herb like Giloy can also boost mental power, memory and cognitive functions.

3. Rich of antioxidants, anti-cancer properties

Guduchi Giloy also contains a strong dose of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory agents which promote healthy living. Small studies have suggested that giloy can act as a good anti-cancer drug.

Animal studies have showcased that administrating part of the giloy root, which contains a natural chemical called Tinospora cordifolia could bring down the size of metastatic potential of melanoma cells.

A pilot study done by researchers based out of AIIMS also found that certain Ayurvedic drugs, such as Giloy could be really helpful in treating cancer and improving health for patients who were administered strong chemotherapy. Isn’t this wonderful?

4. Keeps the immune system young and healthy

One of the strongest reasons behind the resurgence of Giloy in the modern day and age are the benefits it carries for one’s immunity. Not only does the herb fight infections and toxins naturally, but it also contains immunomodulatory effects which keep the immune system in good shape, boost its power and strengthen metabolism. A strong and healthy immune system acts as our first line of defence and keeps many illnesses and germs at bay. Consumption of giloy and other immunity-boosting herbs should be increased after an age, or for people who are bogged by problems of frail or bad immunity.

Since it vitalizes and recharges the immune system, giloy is also used to treat certain liver, urinary tract and gut infections.

5. Aids digestion

Giloy also works wonderfully to root out problems related to digestion and gut functioning. According to multiple studies and researches conducted worldwide, Guduchi Giloy, with its vitalizing properties can aid digestion, prevent problems such as stomach infection, diarrhoea, acidity, nausea as well as colitis, with regular intake. It also takes care of stress levels, which can also cause gut problems and indigestion.

6. Helps manage blood sugar levels

There is yet another benefit for people suffering from prediabetes, diabetes and related health problems. According to Ayurvedic experts, giloy acts as a hypoglycemic agent and helps treat type 2 diabetes. Giloy juice has shown wonderful results in people with high blood sugar levels.

Regular consumption can also manage and prevent additional problems which may flare up with uncontrolled blood sugar- such as obesity, inflammation and may even slow down ageing.

7. Improves vision

According to traditional beliefs, giloy mixed with water can be applied on eyelids, or consumed regularly to bring benefits for vision and improve eyesight. It’s a custom which is still practised in many parts of the country.

Since it is also touted to contain strong anti-ageing properties, it further works to improve your vision and slow down signs of degeneration, fine lines and wrinkles.

The best way to have Giloy

Giloy is widely used and available in many forms- be it the root, powder or capsules or syrups. An individual can choose to have Giloy root in its entirety, have it as a daily supplement or use the powdered version. Do remember to check you use organically sourced versions so as to ensure maximum gains out of your immunity booster.

Giloy can be had daily, safely in a variety of ways. While the most commonly used way is to mix Giloy powder in milk or water and consume it regularly.

Many also prefer having giloy juice on an empty stomach, first thing in the morning.

Making a giloy kadha (concoction), in addition to other spices and herbs is a wonderful way to enrich your diet with goodness.

Does Giloy have any side-effects?

Giloy, as a herb doesn’t carry any major side-effects with can harm your health. However, people with pre-existing conditions, such as sugar or who are on certain medications should consider checking in with a doctor before making any changes. For people with rheumatoid arthritis, excessive consumption of giloy may overcharge the immune system and cause autoimmune problems.

Moderate your consumption to garner in the health benefits of giloy for your well-being.

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