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(posted on 1 Dec 2017)

The many of benefits of cinnamon have been documented over recent decades, supporting "ancient wisdom" and folklore. The most recent report is from University of Michigan Medical School and reported in the journal "Metabolism". Researchers studying the cinnamon constituent cinnamaldehyde, curious about its link to weight loss, discovered that it acts directly on adipocytes (fat cells), prompting them into thermogenesis, burning lipids (fat). This likely explains why cinnamon has been linked with protection from obesity and hyperglycemia. Which is great for metabolic and general health.

And so there's another reason to enjoy a little cinnamon every day.

Wishing you good health,

Mark

 

(posted on 9 Sep 2017)

A paper released in late July by Brigham Young University researchers highlights the value of cocoa compounds in maintaining cell health. They specifically investigated Beta cells, which among other things help maintain appropriate levels of blood sugar. They begin by noting that "studies have shown that monomeric, oligomeric and polymeric cocoa flavanols have different effects on obesity, insulin resistance and glucose tolerance". All good stuff. They hypothesize that these benefits occur due to compounds in cocoa that preserve or enhance Beta cell function.

Sure enough, after testing they conclude that cocoa catechins do indeed enhance Beta cell function by increasing mitochondrial respiration. And so among other things cocoa appears to prevent or delay Type 2 diabetes by keeping the cells' "engines" (mitochondria) healthy and happy. One wonders what great things cocoa is doing to other cells in the body.

One can consume chocolate to deliver these compounds to the body, but it comes with sugar and a dose of saturated fat, which isn't ideal. So to maximize health it may be best to stick with the real thing: cocoa powder.

Non-Dutch processed maintains far more polyphenols than conventionally "Dutch processed" cocoa so if you can, seek that in the market place.

Mark's Mix contains non-Dutch cocoa for your good health.

Mark

 

(posted on 2 Sep 2017)

The reputed medicinal qualities of cinnamon have been touted for centuries. Yet science continues to play catch up with "ancient wisdom" on this highly valued spice. However even mainstream media is beginning to clue into it's diverse preventative abilities. CNN for example is now making a compelling case for regular consumption. Please read details at:

http://www.cnn.com/2017/08/24/health/cinnamon-health-benefits/index.html

Prevent diabetes, dementia, inflammation, cancer, excess cholesterol? Perhaps; the evidence is promising.

Mark's Mix sources and blends only top quality Ceylon cinnamon, which is the one you should consume (to avoid possible liver damage from excess coumarin).

Wishing you good health,

Mark

 

(posted on 28 Aug 2017)

Last month Scientific Reports carried a story on the link between high blood sugar and Alzheimer's Disease. This has been known for some time, but another step in the puzzle was identified (an enzyme called MIF, which is damaged and ceases to function properly). Scary stuff. So we want to minimize our blood sugar, or risk (among other maladies) dementia.

There are ways of achieving this, including exercise, maintaining ideal weight and eating a healthy added sugar diet. Certain foods lower blood sugar; three in particular are cocoa, cinnamon and ginger.

Several studies have demonstrated the beneficial impact of ginger on blood sugar. In 2012 for example, Shahid Sadoughi University of Medical Sciences in Yazd, Iran saw a "significant decrease" in blood sugar over 8 weeks in people taking a ginger capsule (versus placebo group). The mechanism was not identified but DiabetesCare.net reports on supporting studies showing ginger's benefits.

Cinnamon's evidence is equally powerful. Paul Davis of University of California says that cinnamon reduces blood sugar 3-5%, similar to older generation diabetes drugs. No known side effects (unless you include delicious taste).

Meanwhile cocoa contains epicatechin, which regulates glucose production by activating key proteins. The proanthocyanidins in cocoa may also play a role in reducing blood sugar. Researchers at Tufts University discovered that cocoa improves insulin sensitivity (its effectiveness) as part of the process. All great news. And yes, also tasty medicine.

Mark's Mix includes all three of these compounds and no added sugar. A tablespoon or two a day may be just what we need.

To your good health,

Mark

(posted on 14 Jul 2017)

Ginger, used medicinally for centuries, has shown indications of cancer prevention in a number of experiments. In September 2010 Leicester University researchers reported favourable findings in the prevention of colorectal cancer. This followed a October 2003 report from University of Minnesota, that the substance that gives ginger its flavor appears to inhibit the growth of human colorectal cancer cells. Then in September 2016 the American Chemical Society reported that ginger (specifically its component 6-gingerol), when combined with cayenne, reduced lung tumor growth synergistically. Ginger alone reduced tumor activity but combined with cayenne (hot peppers, AKA capsicum) was even more effective.

Mark's Mix contains both these functional foods; a tablespoon every morning delivers a powerful flavour punch to begin your day, along with a cornucopia of beneficial botanical compounds.

To your good health,

Mark

(posted on 7 Jul 2017)

Turmeric has been used in traditional medicine for centuries to treat a range of ailments. Its primary active constituent curcumin, can influence an array of biological activities. These include antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective properties. A report in the March 2017 Journal of Psychopharmachology reports on a systematic review of human and animal studies investigating the potential of curcumin as a treatment for neuropsychiatric disorders such as major depressive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), bipolar disorder, psychotic disorders, and autism. The bottom line? "It is concluded that curcumin is a promising, natural agent for many of these conditions", though caution that further research is required. But it makes one wonder what other brain health conditions it helps prevent. The authors note that poor bioavailability may be an issue. It has been known for some time that piperine and some fat assist in absoprtion, and so if you choose to take turmeric (in curcumin) it's best to do so with a meal and with black pepper and some fat.

Happily Mark's Mix has some of both (in black pepper and cocoa powder) to assist with bioavailability. And your brain's health.

To your good health,

Mark

(posted on 24 May 2017)

Every time we eat we place some small - or large - inflammatory stress on our metabolism. And the more fat and simple sugars, it seems, the more inflammation is triggered. There are various things we can do to make life less harsh for ourselves, and one of them is cinnamon. The latest data point comes courtesy of the American Heart Association (Peripheral Vascular Disease 2017 Sessions). It reports that rats fed cinnamon supplements for 12 weeks had less belly fat and healthier levels of sugar, insulin and fat in their blood (compared to controls). They also had less fat-storing molecules and MORE anti-inflammatory and antioxidant molecules to protect the body.

No mention was made of the type of cinnamon, but best to consume hard-to-get Ceylon ("True") cinnamon as it has the least coumarin content and is safe for your liver (Cassia ("Chinese") cinnamon, the most common variety in North America, at higher doses can lead to liver scarring and in extreme cases, liver failure).

Unlike these rats, who took the cinnamon in pill form, you can enjoy Ceylon cinnamon "au naturale", with other beneficial natural botanical compounds, in Mark's Mix.

To your good health,

Mark

(posted on 17 May 2017)

Top 10 Antioxidant Herbs List

Along with antioxidant foods, certain herbs, spices and essential oils derived from nutrient-dense plants are extremely high in healing antioxidant compounds. Following is a list of the herbs you can try adding to your diet for increased protection against disease. Those highlighted are present in significant amounts in Mark's Mix:

  1. Clove: 314,446 ORAC score
  2. Cinnamon: 267,537 ORAC score
  3. Oregano: 159,277 ORAC score
  4. Turmeric: 102,700 ORAC score
  5. Cocoa: 80,933 ORAC score
  6. Cumin: 76,800 ORAC score
  7. Parsley (dried): 74,349 ORAC score
  8. Basil: 67,553 ORAC score
  9. Ginger: 28,811 ORAC score
  10. Thyme: 27,426 ORAC score

You can achieve a healthy start to your day by adding some to your breakfast, and a tablespoon of Mark's Mix is a convenient and powerful option.

In good health,

Mark

(posted on 16 Apr 2017)

It turns out that high levels of iron and copper in the body are correlated with neurological damage and dementia. New Scientist reported on this iron link in May 2015, while Medical News Today in 2013 reported that "copper in the diet is linked to Alzheimer's disease". Evidence has continued to gather since then. What to do? It's likely that high fibre diets result in reduced absorption, but what if you already have high levels? Some foods are know to cause chelation (the chelate effect is the enhanced affinity of chelating ligands for a metal ion). That means some foods can help your body rid itself of excess amounts. Mostly these are phytochemicals (from plants) and include components in tea and turmeric. Other spices and herbs may offer similar benefits. Perhaps this is one reason why diets rich in spices and brightly coloured plants are associated with reduced rates of dementia. Back in 2000 the European Journal of Epidemiology reported that "the intake of antioxidant flavonoids is inversely related to the risk of incident dementia", while in 2008 the International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Medicine reported that it "looks promising that flavanols may be natural agents that have potential in effectively treating and/or preventing AD by a number of mechanisms".

Mark's Mix is very rich in flavanols, including turmeric, designed to maximize human health, including healthy neurological function.

(posted on 9 Apr 2017)

It turns out that if you like spicy food, you might live longer. So says a January 2017 study from Larner College of Medicine (University of Vermont). Reviewing a population study of 16,000 the study found that those who consumed hot chilli (cayenne) peppers enjoyed an average 13% lower risk of mortality. This adds to a body of scientific evidence confirming the healthy nature of the spice, not to mention thousands of years of observations and folklore from around the world. How might this work? Hypotheses include possible modulation of coronary blood flow, reduction in obesity, and/or alteration of the gut bacteria via its antimicrobial properties. While it would be interesting to know why, we don't have to wait to figure out the details to enjoy the benefits; simply get spicy!

Mark's Mix includes just the right amount of high quality ground cayenne pepper. For your good health.

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