Health column by Dr. Greg Feinsinger. Champion of Whole Food Plant Based Living and righteous person.
Over 2,000 years ago Hippocrates said “let food be thy medicine and let medicine be thy food.”
We know that intensely-colored vegetables (e.g. greens, red cabbage, red onions, peppers, carrots, tomatoes, sweet potatoes) and fruit (e.g. berries, watermelon, mangoes, kiwi fruit), are packed with health-promoting micronutrients such as antioxidants. The same is true for intensely-flavored vegetables such as herbs and spices.
Many herbs and spices have been used for centuries as folk remedies, and for some of them their effectiveness has been proven in valid studies. For example, turmeric has been shown to have strong antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and cancer-fighting properties; fenugreek improves muscle strength; cayenne pepper helps relieve pain; oregano reduces DNA damage and has anticancer and anti-inflammatory properties; cinnamon helps control blood sugar in pre-diabetes and diabetes; amla has strong antioxidant properties and lowers cholesterol; ginger reduces menstrual flow and cramps, relieves nausea including morning sickness, treats migraine headaches, and mitigates against radiation damage.
Dr. Michael Greger and the staff of his non-profit recently reviewed the thousand-plus scientific papers on black cumin seed, another “wonder spice.” He recently posted a short video on his website nutitionfacts.org about his findings. “Black cumin seed” is a misnomer, because it is not related to cumin. The scientific name is Nigella sativa. It has a peppery flavor, and is used in Indian and Middle Eastern cooking. It was found in King Tut’s tomb, is mentioned as a miracle spice in the Old Testament, and the Prophet Mohammed allegedly said it could “heal every disease except death.”
Some centuries-old folk remedies have been proven in modern times to be ineffective, but double-blind studies with black cumin seed have shown it can do the following:
- improve total cholesterol
- improve triglyceride levels
- lower LDL (bad cholesterol) by 27 percent after two months versus a placebo--as much as statins but without side effects
- lower blood pressure
- lower blood sugar
- lessen appetite, resulting in weight loss
- reduce menopausal symptoms
This spice can be obtained online, if you can’t find it at Natural Grocers. The usual dose is 1/4 teaspoon daily, which costs about 3 cents a day. Dr. Greger suggests putting it in a pepper grinder.