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India Has 70%+ Non-Vegetarian Population But Is Considered Vegetarian; Why?

Home Food  India Has 70%+ Non-Vegetarian Population But Is Considered Vegetarian; Why?

By Roshni Ramesan -February 3, 2021
Source: Ed Times

Source: Ed Times
Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook

India has the highest number of vegetarians in the world, with more than 400 million people identifying as vegetarian. However, various surveys over the years show that the estimated percentage of the vegetarian population is anywhere between 23% and 37%. That leaves a huge percentage of the population with non-vegetarian food habits. 

So why is it that a country, where the majority consumes poultry and meat, is considered as the vegetarian capital of the world? 

Historical evidence of meat consumption

India’s abundant forests, animals, birds and fishes ensured that meat-eating was a widespread practice. Archaeological evidence from the Harappan civilization also points to the consumption of animals. Even animal sacrifices were prevalent.

However, due to the spread of Jainism and the teachings of Buddha, vegetarianism became more common, with Hindu communities too turning to vegetarianism. Yet, other than upper castes, a large population continued eating meat.

Yet now, with a huge population that is verifiably non-vegetarian, for the West, India continues to be a place of strict vegetarianism.

A lot of it has to do with the fact that government data shows that vegetarian households are more affluent and have a higher income, which is how the ‘vegetarian stereotype’ is more likely to take over people’s minds. 

State-wise percentage of vegetarians and non-vegetarians
Source: Ed Times
Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook

This power to represent communities, regions, or even the entire country is what makes the stereotypes. The term non-vegetarian is a good case in point. It signals the social power of vegetarian classes, including their power to classify foods, to create a ‘food hierarchy’ wherein vegetarian food is the default and is having a higher status than meat. Thus it is akin to the term ‘non-whites’ coined by ‘whites’ to capture an incredibly diverse population who they colonised,” said anthropologist Balmurli Natrajan and economist Suraj Jacob. 


More Indian men consume meat than women

According to the National Family Health Survey, 2015-16, 42.8% Indian women and 48.9% of men consumed poultry and meat weekly. 

The survey also noted that meat and egg consumption increases with increasing household income, however, the richest 20% of Indians consume slightly less meat and eggs, bucking the trend. 

The young state of Telangana has the highest percentage of non-vegetarians with 98.7% of the population consuming meat. West Bengal (98.55%) and Andhra Pradesh (98.25%) follow closely. 

State-wise percentage of vegetarianism
Source: Ed Times
Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook

Meanwhile, Rajasthan, Haryana and Punjab are states with the lowest percentage of non-vegetarians. 

People from Southern states like Kerala and Goa and Eastern states like Assam and Tripura also had large non-vegetarian populations.

Food consumption of Southern states
Source: Ed Times
Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook

Weekly consumption

While surveys have identified that India has a small vegetarian population, the weekly and daily eating habits of most Indians stray away from non-vegetarianism. 

Weekly consumption of poultry and meat (men)
Source: Ed Times
Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook

According to the National Family Health Survey, barely 6% of the population eats meat on a daily basis, and nearly 40% on a weekly basis, thus showing that regular meat-eating Indians are relatively less. 

Daily food consumption of Indian women, 2015-16
Source: Ed Times
Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook

Underreported meat consumption due to cultural factors

India has a violent history of mob lynching and social ostracization of people who consume beef because a cow is considered to be sacred in Hinduism. India’s ruling party, BJP, does not hide its inclination towards vegetarianism. Food choices have become very much political.

In such a nation, the consumption of beef is not as high as in western countries.

A reported 7% of the population eats beef. However, this figure is disputed by many researchers, who claim that the actual statistic is closer to 15% with people unwilling to admit to eating meat due to cultural and religious factors. A 2015 study of urban middle-class Indians found that young people felt “you eat [meat] in secret, away from your family”.

India, with its smorgasbord of cuisines, both vegetarian and non-vegetarian, should not be restricted to an outdated stereotype that is being propelled into people’s consciousness by sheer ignorance.

Numbers don’t lie, so although daily consumption of meat is not an entirely common phenomenon, it is also wrong to assume that vegetables and pulses are all that an average Indian consumes.


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Sources: BBCIndia SpendBusiness Today
Find the blogger: @RoshniKahaHain

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What are the benefits to a vegetarian diet to your health despite religious beliefs? How can a vegetable and fruit rich diet impact your health? Why? Why not?

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Africa’s Been At This Vegetarian Thing Longer Than Most of the World

  1. Africa’s Been At This Vegetarian Thing Longer Than Most of the World
Africa’s Vegetarian Roots Are Deeper Than Most of the World’s
Source: Live Kindly
Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook

Prior to the rise of meat consumption, many African cuisines were vegetarian-friendly, relying on grains, root vegetables, and produce.
BY KAT SMITH
Source: Live Kindly

As vegan meat, dairy, and other alternatives gain an increased presence in Western supermarkets, one might get the idea that plant-based diets are something new. But in many regions across the globe, eating little to no meat has been a cornerstone of national cuisine. Africa is one example. For centuries prior to European colonization, food was often vegetarian.

The Rising Influence of Meat

Goat meat and fish made up small portions of many regional African diets. But today, meat consumption is on the rise.

“What Ghana and many countries with growing economies are seeing are nutritional transitions,” Afia Amoako, the author of the blog The Canadian African, tells LIVEKINDLY in an email.

“As more people enter the middle class, there is more appetite for things that might have been difficult to have much of as children,” she continues. “This includes more cars and for many having more supply of meat.  It doesn’t help that fast food companies are seeing our largely unregulated food system as a market for potential growth.”

Amoako adds that there’s a name for this: nutrition transition. This explains a shift in dietary consumption that coincides with economic development. It’s most often used to talk about a shift away from more grain and fiber-rich diets toward processed meat-heavy Western dietary patterns.Africa’s Vegetarian Roots Are Deeper Than Most of the World’s

Red red, a Ghanaian stew made with black-eyed peas and plantains. | The Canadian African
Source: Live Kindly
Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook

Showcasing Traditional Foods

Today, many chefs are showcasing plant-forward traditional African dishes. Ethiopian restaurants, such as New York City’s Bunna Cafe and Azla Vegan in Los Angeles, show the diversity of the country’s plant-based dishes.

Amoako, who went plant-based for the environment, dedicates her blog to sharing affordable recipes that pay homage to her Ghanaian roots and other cuisines from around Africa. She also explores broader topics, from healthy lifestyle tips to identity. The goal is to make African cuisine more accessible to all. She adds that her favorite dish is “red red”, a bean and plantain-based stew made with tomato, onion, peppers, garlic, and ginger.

Tendai Chipara, the Zimbabwean blogger behind Plant-Based African, adopted a whole foods, plant-based diet after being diagnosed with type-2 diabetes in 2018. Prior to that, she struggled with other health issues such as anemia, fatigue, joint pain, and depression.

“I realized that I was going down a slippery slope that would end up with me without limbs, blind or worse dead,” she says. “Looking at evidence-based research the most successful way to deal with insulin resistance is to adopt a whole food plant-based diet.”

Chipara explains that growing up, the dishes she ate emphasized plant-based ingredients more than meat. Like other West African cuisines, meat is typically added for flavor. Chipara prefers to leave meat out altogether, but she has also begun incorporating mushrooms or soy chunks.

Africa’s Vegetarian Roots Are Deeper Than Most of the World’s
Source: Live Kindly
Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook

‘Our Ancestors Followed a Plant-Based Diet’

Fermented food and drinks are common in Zimbabwean food. Common produce includes muboora (pumpkin), magaka ane minzwa (horned melon), and mbambaira (sweet potatoes). Oils, tomatoes, and onion are the “bedrock of most Zimbabwean dishes,” Chipara adds. “The ‘supu’ or sauce is important it can make or break a dish.”

Chipara adds that the plant-based movement is not new to Zimbabwe: “Our ancestors followed a plant-based diet and they thrived and most died of old age. The food they ate was organic and meat and meat products were consumed minimally.”

Many foods marketed as “superfoods,” she adds, are foods that she grew up eating, such as avocados, moringa, and baobab. While Zimbabwean cuisine is easy to make plant-based, meat is a common ingredient. But, it wasn’t always this way. The increase in meat consumption is linked to European colonialism.

“The unfortunate thing that happened to us a people was colonization which led to a massive change to our food production, access to land, and the emergence of processed foods,” Chipara explains. “We now have a high number of the population being affected by lifestyle-related issues such as type-2 diabetes. So I am very passionate about Zimbabwean plant-based cuisine because it is medicine.”

Chipara adds that a few traditional plant-based Zimbabwean dishes include muriwo une dovi (leafy greens with peanut butter), mupunga unedovi (short grain red rice with peanut butter), and sadza reZviyo (porridge made from sorghum or teff).Africa’s Vegetarian Roots Are Deeper Than Most of the World’s

Plantains and legumes are staple ingredients in many West African cuisines. | The Vegan Nigerian
Source: Live Kindly
Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook

Be Generous With Spices

Tomi Makanjuola, founder of The Vegan Nigerian blog and author of the “Plantain Cookbook,” is a Lagos, Nigeria-born entrepreneur living in London. She explains that “a couple of traditionally plant-based Nigerian dishes include yam pottage and stewed beans with plantain.”

She adds that both dishes are “absolutely delicious.

Other common ingredients in Nigerian cuisine include yam (also referred to as African yam, which has rough brown skin and off-white flesh), cassava, okra, egusi (melon) seeds, and cocoyam (taro).

Makanjuola enjoys making vegan versions of meals that traditionally include meat, such as pepper soup. Yam and scotch bonnet peppers are the key ingredients in this spicy dish. Egusi soup, which features leafy greens, ground egusi seeds, tomato, pepper, and onions, is another favorite recipe.

For these, Makanjuola prefers whole food, plant-based substitutes like mushrooms, eggplant, beans, and lentils. “As long as the meals are spiced well, it won’t seem as though you’re missing out on anything,” she says.

“Nigerian cuisine is wonderfully diverse and big on flavour,” she adds. “It lends itself well to a vegan diet because it is so rich in plant foods that can be cooked and enjoyed in ways that do not require meat or any other animal products.”Africa’s Vegetarian Roots Are Deeper Than Most of the World’s

Nigerian-born blogger Fatimat Adelabu uses mushrooms instead of meat in dishes like jollof rice. | Je Gbese
Source: Live Kindly
Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook

Replace Meat With Mushrooms

Fatimat Adelabu, the author of the blog Je Gbese, which means “eat credit/debt” or “trouble” in Yoruba, an official language of Nigeria, says that she grew up eating many meat-heavy dishes. Goat, cow tripe, oxtail, and fish were common additions to stewed dishes. She transitioned to plant-based in 2017 after watching the documentary “What the Health” on Netflix.

“I started off watching it with a bowl of chicken and rice, by mid-way I had placed the half-eaten bowl next to me, and at the end,” says Adelabu. “I was in the kitchen bagging meats from my fridge and freezer and tossing them into my garbage can.”

She moved to New York City from Nigeria at age four and has always lived near supermarkets that carry West African produce. This is due to Nigerian, Ghanaian, Senegalese, Guinean, Beninese, and Malian immigrant communities.

“One of my favorite dishes is efo riro, stirred spinach in Yoruba,” she says. “Efo riro is largely spinach and blended stew, with seasonings like locust beans, thyme, and bouillon cubes to bring out the flavors of the stew. The addition of meat is usually to get more of the flavors of the meat to infuse with the stew.”

Adelabu is a fan of replacing meat with mushrooms as well. She also uses them to replace meat-based stock. “For stock, I boil mushrooms, bell peppers, garlic and onion with a dash of soy sauce or mushroom bouillon,” she says. This works well for jollof rice, a one-pot dish made with tomato and onion.

“Nigerian cuisine is very versatile,” she adds. “I encourage everyone to attempt to make jollof rice or efo riro to try out the different flavors of the country. If you see a dish with meat, leave it out or replace it with mushrooms.”The Best Vegan Meat for BBQ Grilling In the UK

Demand for vegan burgers is on the rise.
Source: Live Kindly
Shidonna Raven Garden and Coo

The Future of African Cuisine

But it’s not just Africa’s past that’s plant-based. It’s future is looking that way, too.

Like the rest of the world, meat consumption has increased across Africa. But so has a rise in vegan and vegetarian options. South African vegan meat brand Fry’s is a staple in supermarkets, offering plant-based versions of many classic dishes.

Leading Nigerian agribusiness Chi Farms is the first Nigerian company to bring vegan burgers to the country.

Veganism in Nigeria is popular among the Indian-born minority and among Nigerians returning to Nigeria from abroad,” Johannes Flosbach, Head of Performance Management Group at TGI Group of Companies (Chi Farms’ parent company), told Vegconomist.

Older Nigerians are also shifting away from meat for health reasons, as meat-heavy Western diets can increase the rates of diseases including heart disease and stroke.

Rwanda is now on the brink of creating a “Silicon Valley” that’s aimed at “transforming the continent.”

The innovation destination will be located in the capital city of Kigali. It will work with domestic and foreign universities, technology companies, biotech firms, agriculture, healthcare, and financial services. Like other tech-heavy regions across the globe, this could bring more plant-based food (think Impossible Burgers or JUST vegan egg) to Africa. It could also bring another hot food tech category to the continent: lab-grown cell-based meat.

This is already happening nearby in Israel, where Future Meat Technologies is working on the world’s first pilot production facility for growing cultured meat.

Veganism is also making a name for itself in Africa’s wild, as anti-poaching rangers, including an all-female troupe called Akashinga, are vegan. The troupe is part of the International Anti-Poaching Foundation run by former Navy sniper Damien Mander.

“We need an armed component,” he told the BBC in 2018, “but we need to start moving more and more of our resources into communities, and the best people for that are women.”

Kat Smith, Live Kindly
Kat Smith, Live Kindly

Managing Editor | New York City, NY Kat writes about susainable food, fashion, and food technology. They have a BA in Cinema and Culture Studies from Stony Brook University.https://twitter.com/livekindlykat

How has meat consumption impacted your health? How has food production practices including the use of chemical pesticides impacted your health? Why? Why not?

Share your comments with the community by posting them below. Share the wealth of health with your friends and family by sharing this article with 3 people today. As always you are the best part of what we do. Keep sharing!

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11 Proven Health Benefits of Ginger

Source: Health Line

Ginger is a flowering plant that originated in Southeast Asia. It’s among the healthiest (and most delicious) spices on the planet.

It belongs to the Zingiberaceae family, and it’s closely related to turmeric, cardamom, and galangal.

The rhizome (underground part of the stem) is the part commonly used as a spice. It’s often called ginger root or, simply, ginger.

Ginger can be used fresh, dried, powdered, or as an oil or juice. It’s a very common ingredient in recipes. It’s sometimes added to processed foods and cosmetics.

Here are 11 health benefits of ginger that are supported by scientific research.

woman chopping raw ginger root on a wooden cutting board
Lucy Lambriex/Getty Images
Source: Health Line
Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook

1. Contains gingerol, which has powerful medicinal properties

Ginger has a very long history of use in various forms of traditional and alternative medicine. It’s been used to aid digestion, reduce nausea, and help fight the flu and common cold, to name a few of its purposes.

The unique fragrance and flavor of ginger come from its natural oils, the most important of which is gingerol.

Gingerol is the main bioactive compound in ginger. It’s responsible for much of ginger’s medicinal properties.

Gingerol has powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects, according to research. For instance, it may help reduce oxidative stress, which is the result of having an excess amount of free radicals in the body (1Trusted Source2Trusted Source).

SUMMARY

Ginger is high in gingerol, a substance with powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.

2. Can treat many forms of nausea, especially morning sickness

Ginger appears to be highly effective against nausea (3Trusted Source).

It may help relieve nausea and vomiting for people undergoing certain types of surgery. Ginger may also help chemotherapy-related nausea, but larger human studies are needed (4Trusted Source5Trusted Source6Trusted Source7).

However, it may be the most effective when it comes to pregnancy-related nausea, such as morning sickness.

According to a review of 12 studies that included a total of 1,278 pregnant women, 1.1–1.5 grams of ginger can significantly reduce symptoms of nausea.

However, this review concluded that ginger had no effect on vomiting episodes (8Trusted Source).

Although ginger is considered safe, talk to your doctor before taking large amounts if you’re pregnant.

It’s recommended that pregnant women who are close to labor or who’ve had miscarriages avoid ginger (9Trusted Source).

SUMMARY

Just 1–1.5 grams of ginger can help prevent various types of nausea, including chemotherapy-related nausea, nausea after surgery, and morning sickness.

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3. May help with weight loss

Ginger may play a role in weight loss, according to studies conducted in humans and animals.

A 2019 literature review concluded that ginger supplementation significantly reduced body weight, the waist-hip ratio, and the hip ratio in people with overweight or obesity (10Trusted Source).

A 2016 study of 80 women with obesity found that ginger could also help reduce body mass index (BMI) and blood insulin levels. High blood insulin levels are associated with obesity.

Study participants received relatively high daily doses — 2 grams — of ginger powder for 12 weeks (1112).

A 2019 literature review of functional foods also concluded that ginger had a very positive effect on obesity and weight loss. However, additional studies are needed (13).

The evidence in favor of ginger’s role in helping prevent obesity is stronger in animal studies. Rats and mice who consumed ginger water or ginger extract consistently saw decreases in their body weight, even in instances where they’d also been fed high-fat diets (14Trusted Source1516).

Ginger’s ability to influence weight loss may be related to certain mechanisms, such as its potential to help increase the number of calories burned or reduce inflammation (1316).

SUMMARY

According to studies in animals and humans, ginger may help improve weight-related measurements. These include body weight and the waist-hip ratio.

4. Can help with osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis (OA) is a common health problem.

It involves degeneration of the joints in the body, leading to symptoms such as joint pain and stiffness.

One literature review found that people who used ginger to treat their OA saw significant reductions in pain and disability (17).

Only mild side effects, such as a dissatisfaction with the taste of ginger, were observed. However, the taste of ginger, along with stomach upset, still prompted nearly 22% of the study participants to drop out.

Study participants received between 500 milligrams (mg) and 1 gram of ginger each day for anywhere from 3 to 12 weeks. A majority of them had been diagnosed with OA of the knee (17).

Another study from 2011 found that a combination of topical ginger, mastic, cinnamon, and sesame oil can help reduce pain and stiffness in people with OA of the knee (18Trusted Source).

SUMMARY

There are some studies showing ginger to be effective at reducing symptoms of osteoarthritis, especially osteoarthritis of the knee.

5. May drastically lower blood sugars and improve heart disease risk factors

This area of research is relatively new, but ginger may have powerful anti-diabetic properties.

In a 2015 study of 41 participants with type 2 diabetes, 2 grams of ginger powder per day lowered fasting blood sugar by 12% (19Trusted Source).

It also dramatically improved hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c), a marker for long-term blood sugar levels. HbA1c was reduced by 10% over a period of 12 weeks.

There was also a 28% reduction in the Apolipoprotein B/ApolipoproteinA-I ratio and a 23% reduction in malondialdehyde (MDA), which is a byproduct of oxidative stress. A high ApoB/ApoA-I ratio and high MDA levels are both major risk factors for heart disease (19Trusted Source).

However, keep in mind that this was just one small study. The results are incredibly impressive, but they need to be confirmed in larger studies before any recommendations can be made.

In somewhat encouraging news, a 2019 literature review also concluded that ginger significantly reduced HbA1c in people with type 2 diabetes. However, it also found that ginger had no effect on fasting blood sugar (20).

SUMMARY

Ginger has been shown to lower blood sugar levels and improve various heart disease risk factors in people with type 2 diabetes.

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6. Can help treat chronic indigestion

Chronic indigestion is characterized by recurrent pain and discomfort in the upper part of the stomach.

It’s believed that delayed emptying of the stomach is a major driver of indigestion. Interestingly, ginger has been shown to speed up emptying of the stomach (21Trusted Source).

People with functional dyspepsia, which is indigestion with no known cause, were given either ginger capsules or a placebo in a small 2011 study. One hour later, they were all given soup.

It took 12.3 minutes for the stomach to empty in people who received ginger. It took 16.1 minutes in those who received the placebo (22Trusted Source).

These effects have also been seen in people without indigestion. In a 2008 study by some members of the same research team, 24 healthy individuals were given ginger capsules or a placebo. They were all given soup an hour later.

Consuming ginger as opposed to a placebo significantly accelerated emptying of the stomach. It took 13.1 minutes for people who received ginger and 26.7 minutes for people who received the placebo (23Trusted Source).

SUMMARY

Ginger appears to speed up emptying of the stomach, which can be beneficial for people with indigestion and related stomach discomfort.

7. May significantly reduce menstrual pain

Dysmenorrhea refers to pain felt during the menstrual cycle.

One of the traditional uses of ginger is for pain relief, including menstrual pain.

In a 2009 study, 150 women were instructed to take either ginger or a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) for the first 3 days of the menstrual period.

The three groups received four daily doses of either ginger powder (250 mg), mefenamic acid (250 mg), or ibuprofen (400 mg). Ginger managed to reduce pain as effectively as the two NSAIDs (24Trusted Source).

More recent studies have also concluded that ginger is more effective than a placebo and equally as effective as drugs such as mefenamic acid and acetaminophen/caffeine/ibuprofen (Novafen) (252627Trusted Source).

While these findings are promising, higher-quality studies with larger numbers of study participants are still needed (27Trusted Source).

SUMMARY

Ginger appears to be very effective against menstrual pain when taken at the beginning of the menstrual period.

8. May help lower cholesterol levels

High levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol are linked to an increased risk of heart disease.

The foods you eat can have a strong influence on LDL levels.

In a 2018 study of 60 people with hyperlipidemia, the 30 people who received 5 grams of ginger-pasted powder each day saw their LDL (bad) cholesterol levels drop by 17.4% over a 3-month period (28).

While the drop in LDL is impressive, it’s important to consider that study participants received very high doses of ginger.

Many cited a bad taste in the mouth as their reason for dropping out of an OA study where they received doses of 500 mg–1 gram of ginger (17).

The doses taken during the hyperlipidemia study are 5–10 times higher. It’s likely that most people may have difficulty taking a 5-gram dose for long enough to see results (28).

In an older study from 2008, people who received 3 grams of ginger powder (in capsule form) each day also saw significant reductions in most cholesterol markers. Their LDL (bad) cholesterol levels dropped by 10% over 45 days (29).

These findings are supported by a study in rats with hypothyroidism or diabetes. Ginger extract lowered LDL (bad) cholesterol to a similar extent as the cholesterol-lowering drug atorvastatin (30Trusted Source).

Study subjects from all 3 studies also experienced drops in total cholesterol. Participants in the 2008 study, as well as the lab rats, also saw reductions in their blood triglycerides (282930Trusted Source).

SUMMARY

There’s some evidence, in both humans and animals, that ginger can lead to significant reductions in LDL (bad) cholesterol, total cholesterol, and blood triglyceride levels.

9. Contains a substance that may help prevent cancer

Ginger has been studied as an alternative remedy for several forms of cancer.

The anti-cancer properties are attributed to gingerol, which is found in large amounts in raw ginger. A form known as [6]-gingerol is viewed as especially powerful (31Trusted Source32).

In a 28-day study of individuals at normal risk for colorectal cancer, 2 grams of ginger extract per day significantly reduced pro-inflammatory signaling molecules in the colon (33).

However, a follow-up study in individuals at a high risk for colorectal cancer didn’t produce the same results (34Trusted Source).

There’s some evidence, albeit limited, that ginger may be effective against other gastrointestinal cancers such as pancreatic cancer and liver cancer (35Trusted Source36Trusted Source).

It may be effective against breast cancer and ovarian cancer as well. In general, more research is needed (37Trusted Source38Trusted Source).

SUMMARY

Ginger contains the substance gingerol, which appears to have protective effects against cancer. However, more studies are needed.

10. May improve brain function and protect against Alzheimer’s disease

Oxidative stress and chronic inflammation can accelerate the aging process.

They’re believed to be among the key drivers of Alzheimer’s disease and age-related cognitive decline.

Some animal studies suggest that the antioxidants and bioactive compounds in ginger can inhibit inflammatory responses that occur in the brain (39Trusted Source).

There’s also some evidence that ginger can help enhance brain function directly. In a 2012 study of healthy middle-aged women, daily doses of ginger extract were shown to improve reaction time and working memory (40Trusted Source).

In addition, numerous studies in animals show that ginger can help protect against age-related decline in brain function (41Trusted Source42Trusted Source43Trusted Source).

SUMMARY

Animal studies suggest that ginger can protect against age-related damage to the brain. It can also help improve brain function in middle-aged women.

11. Can help fight infections

Gingerol can help lower the risk of infections.

In fact, ginger extract can inhibit the growth of many different types of bacteria (44Trusted Source45Trusted Source).

According to a 2008 study, it’s very effective against the oral bacteria linked to gingivitis and periodontitis. These are both inflammatory gum diseases (46Trusted Source).

Fresh ginger may also be effective against the respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), a common cause of respiratory infections (47Trusted Source).

SUMMARY

Ginger may fight harmful bacteria and viruses, which could reduce your risk for infections.

The bottom line

Ginger is loaded with nutrients and bioactive compounds that have powerful benefits for your body and brain.

It’s one of the very few superfoods actually worthy of that term.

When we come down with simple colds or infections ginger can help besides the host of other medicinal benefits of ginger. Which medicinal benefits are helpful to your health and diet? How can you introduce ginger into your diet? Do you juice?

Share your comments with the community by posting them below. Share the wealth of health with your friends and family by sharing this article with 3 people today. As always you are the best part of what we do. Keep sharing!

If these articles have been helpful to you and yours, give a donation to Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook Ezine today. All Rights Reserved – Shidonna Raven (c) 2025 – Garden & Cook.

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The Great Garlic Medicinal Benefits

Source: Medical News Today

Fast facts on garlic

  • In many countries, garlic has been used medicinally for centuries.
  • Garlic may have a range of health benefits, both raw and cooked.
  • It may have significant antibiotic properties.

History

Bulbs and bowl of garlic
There are many medicinal claims about garlic.
Source: Medical News Today
Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook

Garlic has been used all over the world for thousands of years. Records indicate that garlic was in use when the Giza pyramids were built, about 5,000 years ago.

Richard S. Rivlin wrote in the Journal of Nutrition that the ancient Greek physician Hippocrates (circa. 460-370 BC), known today as “the father of Western medicine,” prescribed garlic for a wide range of conditions and illnesses. Hippocrates promoted the use of garlic for treating respiratory problems, parasites, poor digestion, and fatigue.

The original Olympic athletes in Ancient Greece were given garlic – possibly the earliest example of “performance enhancing” agents used in sports.

From Ancient Egypt, garlic spread to the advanced ancient civilizations of the Indus Valley (Pakistan and western India today). From there, it made its way to China.

According to experts at Kew Gardens, England’s royal botanical center of excellence, the people of ancient India valued the therapeutic properties of garlic and also thought it to be an aphrodisiac. The upper classes avoided garlic because they despised its strong odor, while monks, “…widows, adolescents, and those who had taken up a vow or were fasting, could not eat garlic because of its stimulant quality.”

Throughout history in the Middle East, East Asia, and Nepal, garlic has been used to treat bronchitis, hypertension (high blood pressure), TB (tuberculosis), liver disorders, dysenteryflatulencecolic, intestinal worms, rheumatism, diabetes, and fevers.

The French, Spanish, and Portuguese introduced garlic to the New World.

Uses

Currently, garlic is widely used for several conditions linked to the blood system and heart, including atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), high cholesterolheart attackcoronary heart disease, and hypertension.

Garlic is also used today by some people for the prevention of lung cancerprostate cancerbreast cancerstomach cancer, rectal cancer, and colon cancer.

It is important to add that only some of these uses are backed by research.

A study published in the journal Food and Chemical Toxicology warned that short-term heating reduces the anti-inflammatory effects of fresh raw garlic extracts. This may be a problem for some people who do not like or cannot tolerate the taste and/or odor of fresh garlic.

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Benefits

Below are examples of some scientific studies published in peer-reviewed academic journals about the therapeutic benefits (or not) of garlic.

Lung cancer risk

People who ate raw garlic at least twice a week during the 7 year study period had a 44 percent lower risk of developing lung cancer, according to a study conducted at the Jiangsu Provincial Center for Disease Control and Prevention in China.

The researchers, who published their study in the journal Cancer Prevention Research, carried out face-to-face interviews with 1,424 lung cancer patients and 4,543 healthy individuals. They were asked about their diet and lifestyle, including questions on smoking and how often they ate garlic.

The study authors wrote: “Protective association between intake of raw garlic and lung cancer has been observed with a dose-response pattern, suggesting that garlic may potentially serve as a chemo-preventive agent for lung cancer.”

Brain cancer

Organo-sulfur compounds found in garlic have been identified as effective in destroying the cells in glioblastomas, a type of deadly brain tumor.

Scientists at the Medical University of South Carolina reported in the journal Cancer that three pure organo-sulfur compounds from garlic – DAS, DADS, and DATS – “demonstrated efficacy in eradicating brain cancer cells, but DATS proved to be the most effective.”

Co-author, Ray Swapan, Ph.D., said “This research highlights the great promise of plant-originated compounds as natural medicine for controlling the malignant growth of human brain tumor cells. More studies are needed in animal models of brain tumors before application of this therapeutic strategy to brain tumor patients.”

Hip osteoarthritis

Women whose diets were rich in allium vegetables had lower levels of osteoarthritis, a team at King’s College London and the University of East Anglia, both in England, reported in the journal BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders. Examples of allium vegetables include garlic, leeks, shallots, onions, and rakkyo.

The study authors said their findings not only highlighted the possible impact of diet on osteoarthritis outcomes but also demonstrated the potential for using compounds that exist in garlic to develop treatments for the condition.

The long-term study, involving more than 1,000 healthy female twins, found that those whose dietary habits included plenty of fruit and vegetables, “particularly alliums such as garlic,” had fewer signs of early osteoarthritis in the hip joint.

Potentially a powerful antibiotic

Diallyl sulfide, a compound in garlic, was 100 times more effective than two popular antibiotics in fighting the Campylobacter bacterium, according to a study published in the Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy.

The Campylobacter bacterium is one of the most common causes of intestinal infections.

Senior author, Dr. Xiaonan Lu, from Washington State University, said, “This work is very exciting to me because it shows that this compound has the potential to reduce disease-causing bacteria in the environment and in our food supply.”

Heart protection

Garlic in heart-shaped bowl
Garlic may contain heart-protective chemicals.
Source: Medical News Today
Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook

Diallyl trisulfide, a component of garlic oil, helps protect the heart during cardiac surgery and after a heart attack, researchers at Emory University School of Medicine found. They also believe diallyl trisulfide could be used as a treatment for heart failure.

Hydrogen sulfide gas has been shown to protect the heart from damage.

However, it is a volatile compound and difficult to deliver as therapy.

Because of this, the scientists decided to focus on diallyl trisulfide, a garlic oil component, as a safer way to deliver the benefits of hydrogen sulfide to the heart.

In experiments using laboratory mice, the team found that, after a heart attack, the mice that had received diallyl sulfide had 61 percent less heart damage in the area at risk, compared with the untreated mice.

In another study, published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, scientists found that garlic oil may help protect diabetes patients from cardiomyopathy.

Cardiomyopathy is the leading cause of death among diabetes patients. It is a chronic disease of the myocardium (heart muscle), which is abnormally thickened, enlarged, and/or stiffened.

The team fed diabetic laboratory rats either garlic oil or corn oil. Those fed garlic oil experienced significantly more changes associated with protection against heart damage, compared with the animals that were fed corn oil.

The study authors wrote, “In conclusion, garlic oil possesses significant potential for protecting hearts from diabetes-induced cardiomyopathy.”

Human studies will need to be performed to confirm the results of this study.

High cholesterol and high blood pressure

Researchers at Ankara University investigated the effects of garlic extract supplementation on the blood lipid (fat) profile of patients with high blood cholesterol. Their study was published in the Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry.

The study involved 23 volunteers, all with high cholesterol; 13 of them also had high blood pressure. They were divided into two groups:

  • The high-cholesterol normotensive group (normal blood pressure).
  • The high-cholesterol hypertensive group (high blood pressure).

They took garlic extract supplements for 4 months and were regularly checked for blood lipid parameters, as well as kidney and liver function.

At the end of the 4 months, the researchers concluded “…garlic extract supplementation improves blood lipid profile, strengthens blood antioxidant potential, and causes significant reductions in systolic and diastolic blood pressures. It also leads to a decrease in the level of oxidation product (MDA) in the blood samples, which demonstrates reduced oxidation reactions in the body.”

In other words, the garlic extract supplements reduced high cholesterol levels, and also blood pressure in the patients with hypertension. The scientists added that theirs was a small study – more work needs to be carried out.

Prostate cancer

Doctors at the Department of Urology, China-Japan Friendship Hospital, Beijing, China, carried out a study evaluating the relationship between Allium vegetable consumption and prostate cancer risk.

They gathered and analyzed published studies up to May 2013 and reported their findings in the Asian Pacific Journal of Cancer Prevention.

The study authors concluded, “Allium vegetables, especially garlic intake, are related to a decreased risk of prostate cancer.”

The team also commented that because there are not many relevant studies, further well-designed prospective studies should be carried out to confirm their findings.

Alcohol-induced liver injury

Alcohol-induced liver injury is caused by the long-term over-consumption of alcoholic beverages.

Scientists at the Institute of Toxicology, School of Public Health, Shandong University, China, wanted to determine whether diallyl disulfide (DADS), a garlic-derived organosulfur compound, might have protective effects against ethanol-induced oxidative stress.

Their study was published in Biochimica et Biophysica Acta.

The researchers concluded that DADS might help protect against ethanol-induced liver injury.

Preterm (premature) delivery

Microbial infections during pregnancy raise a woman’s risk of preterm delivery. Scientists at the Division of Epidemiology, Norwegian Institute of Public Health, studied what impact foods might have on antimicrobial infections and preterm delivery risk.

The study and its findings were published in the Journal of Nutrition.

Ronny Myhre and colleagues concentrated on the effects of Alliums and dried fruits, because a literature search had identified these two foods as showing the greatest promise for reducing preterm delivery risk.

The team investigated the intake of dried fruit and Alliums among 18,888 women in the Norwegian Mother and Child Cohort, of whom 5 percent (950) underwent spontaneous PTD (preterm delivery).

The study authors concluded, “Intake of food with antimicrobial and prebiotic compounds may be of importance to reduce the risk of spontaneous PTD. In particular, garlic was associated with overall lower risk of spontaneous PTD.”

Garlic and the common cold

A team of researchers from St. Joseph Family Medicine Residency, Indiana, carried out a study titled “Treatment of the Common Cold in Children and Adults,” published in American Family Physician.

They reported that “Prophylactic use of garlic may decrease the frequency of colds in adults, but has no effect on duration of symptoms.” Prophylactic use means using it regularly to prevent disease.

Though there is some research to suggest that raw garlic has the most benefits, other studies have looked at overall allium intake, both raw and cooked, and have found benefits. Therefore, you can enjoy garlic in a variety of ways to reap its advantages.

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Red Rosemary Shrimp Pasta

Oregano Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook

Feature Photo Source: Unsplash, Samee-Anderson


This simple and quick recipe is excellent for coastal Hampton Roads, Virginia. One thing that Hampton Roads does fairly well is seafood. The seafood dishes local to this area are often simple but good: often locals will steam seafood with a dash of local Old Bay seafood spice. And that is good enough. As simple as it is; it is very delicious. Our Red Rosemary Shrimp Pasta is a little more complex than the traditional local flavors of Hampton Roads, although there are some more complex dishes out there.

Red Rosemary Shrimp Pasta
Prep time: 12 minutes
Cook time 30 minutes

  • Organic Penne Pasta
  • Organic 3/4 pound shrimp (approximately 50 average size shrimp) de-shelled and de-veined
  • Organic 1/2 yellow onion
  • 1 Organic small jalapeno pepper* optional
  • Organic Salt* to taste (Pink Himalayan salt suggested)
  • Organic Pepper* to taste
  • Organic Oregano* to taste
  • 1 Organic can 15 ounces organic tomato sauce
  • 1 1/2 Cups of Organic crushed tomatoes
  • Organic Olive Oil

Boil Pasta until al dente. Drain pasta. Place aside.
Place tomato sauce and crushed tomatoes in sauce pan. Season tomato sauce with salt, pepper and oregano to taste allow to simmer for 25 minutes.
Salt, pepper and oregano shrimp and vegetables. Dice yellow onion and jalapeno pepper and saute in olive oil with cleaned shrimp. A few minutes before shrimp are fully cooked add Red Tomato sauce to shrimp and vegetables. Cook in pan for about 5 minutes and serve over pasta.
Enjoy this hearty seafood dish year around.

What are your favorite winter dishes? What are your favorite summer dishes? Why? Share them with the community.

Share your comments with the community by posting them below. Share the wealth of health with your friends and family by sharing this article with 3 people today. As always you are the best part of what we do. Keep sharing!

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6 Science-Based Health Benefits of Oregano

Source: Healthline
Oregano is considered a staple herb in many cuisines around the world.

It has a strong flavor and brings warmth to dishes, along with a hint of subtle sweetness.

It can be found fresh, dried or as an oil, and all are said to have significant health benefits.

Though typically used in small amounts, oregano packs in some important nutrients. Just one teaspoon of dried oregano can fulfill about 8% of your daily vitamin K needs (1).

From helping fight bacteria to reducing inflammation, studies have unearthed some of its impressive potential benefits.

This article looks at 6 evidence-based health benefits of oregano.

1. Rich in Antioxidants

Source: Healthline
Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook

Oregano is rich in antioxidants, which are compounds that help fight damage from harmful free radicals in the body.

The buildup of free radicals has been linked to chronic diseases like cancer and heart disease (2Trusted Source3Trusted Source).

Several test-tube studies have found that oregano and oregano oil are high in antioxidants (4Trusted Source5Trusted Source).

Oregano essential oil is especially high in carvacrol and thymol, two antioxidants that can help prevent damage to cells caused by free radicals (6Trusted Source).

In combination with other high-antioxidant foods like fruits and vegetables, oregano could provide a hearty dose of antioxidants that may help improve your health.

SUMMARY: Oregano is high in antioxidants, which can help prevent damage by neutralizing disease-causing free radicals.

2. May Help Fight Bacteria

Oregano contains certain compounds that have potent antibacterial properties.

One test-tube study showed that oregano essential oil helped block the growth of Escherichia coli and Pseudomonas aeruginosa, two strains of bacteria that can cause infection (7Trusted Source).

Another test-tube study found that oregano was effective against 23 species of bacteria (8Trusted Source).

Furthermore, a test-tube study compared the antimicrobial activity of oregano, sage and thyme essential oils. Oregano was one of the most efficient essential oils against bacteria, second to thyme (9Trusted Source).

Current research is limited to test-tube studies that have used concentrated amounts of this herb. Thus, further research is needed to determine how these results could affect humans.

SUMMARY: Test-tube studies have found that oregano and its components may be effective against certain strains of bacteria.

Oregano is high in antioxidants. These compounds can not only neutralize free radical damage, but they may also aid in cancer prevention (2Trusted Source).

Some test-tube studies have shown that oregano and its components may help kill cancer cells.

One test-tube study treated human colon cancer cells with oregano extract and found that it stopped the growth of cancer cells and helped kill them off (10Trusted Source).

Another test-tube study showed that carvacrol, one of the components in oregano, also helped suppress the growth and spread of colon cancer cells (11Trusted Source).

However, keep in mind that these were test-tube studies using high amounts of the herb and its compounds. Human studies using typical doses are needed to determine its effects.

SUMMARY: Oregano is high in antioxidants and contains compounds that have been shown to reduce cancer cell growth in some test-tube studies.

4. May Help Reduce Viral Infection

In addition to fighting off bacteria, some test-tube studies have found that oregano and its components may also protect against some viruses.

In particular, carvacrol and thymol are two compounds in oregano that have been associated with antiviral properties.

In one test-tube study, carvacrol inactivated norovirus, a viral infection that causes diarrhea, nausea and stomach pain, within one hour of treatment (12Trusted Source).

Another test-tube study found that thymol and carvacrol inactivated 90% of the herpes simplex virus within just one hour (13Trusted Source).

While these results are promising, additional research on how oregano may impact viral infections in humans is needed.

SUMMARY: Carvacrol and thymol are two compounds found in oregano that have been shown to decrease the activity of viruses in some test-tube studies.

5. Could Decrease Inflammation

Inflammation is a normal immune response that occurs as a result of illness or injury.

However, chronic inflammation is believed to contribute to the development of diseases like heart disease, diabetes and autoimmune conditions (14Trusted Source).

Oregano is rich in antioxidants, which can help neutralize free radicals and reduce inflammation (15Trusted Source).

It also contains compounds like carvacrol that have been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties. In one animal study, carvacrol reduced swelling in the paws of mice by up to 57% (16Trusted Source).

Another animal study showed that a mixture of thyme and oregano essential oils reduced the number of inflammatory markers in mice with colitis, or an inflamed colon (17Trusted Source).

Remember that these studies looked at the effects of oregano and its components in highly concentrated amounts. Studies are needed to determine how a normal dose could affect inflammation in humans.

SUMMARY: Oregano is high in antioxidants, which may reduce inflammation. Animal studies show that oregano oil and its components could help reduce inflammation.

6. Easy to Add to Your Diet

Though you may think of oregano as a topping reserved solely for pizzas and pasta dishes, this versatile herb can be used in many ways.

Try mixing whole oregano leaves into other greens for a nutrient-packed salad or sprinkling the leaves into chili, soups or stews.

You can also use it to make fresh pesto or salad dressing, season meat dishes or kick up the flavor of homemade sauces.

Oregano is available fresh, dried or as an oil, making it super easy to add to your diet.

SUMMARY: Oregano is available either fresh, dried or as an oil, and it can be added to stews, dressings, sauces, meats and more.

The Bottom Line

Oregano is an herb that boasts some pretty potent benefits when it comes to your health.

It is high in antioxidants and may help fight off bacteria and viruses, potentially reduce the growth of cancer cells and help alleviate inflammation.

However, current research is limited to test-tube and animal studies. Further research is needed to determine its potential effects in humans.

Luckily, oregano is versatile, easy to add to your diet and can be incorporated into a wide variety of recipes in either fresh, dried or oil form.

Try our Red Rosemary Shrimp Pasta as a way of adding Oregano to your diet. How can oregano address your health and diet needs? What medicinal benefits are beneficial to you? What other herbs might you add to your diet?

Share your comments with the community by posting them below. Share the wealth of health with your friends and family by sharing this article with 3 people today. As always you are the best part of what we do. Keep sharing!

If these articles have been helpful to you and yours, give a donation to Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook Ezine today. All Rights Reserved – Shidonna Raven (c) 2025 – Garden & Cook.

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Beneficial Basil

8 Health Benefits of Basil

Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook
Health Benefits of Basil
Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook

Basil is definitely one of our favorite Herbs. We love enjoying a good caprese salad with Basil. What did you learn from the video? What surprised you? Do you eat and never give any thought to how food helps support your body and its functions? Share the wealth of health with your friends and family by sharing this article with 3 people. As always you are the best part of what we do. Keep growing.

If these articles have been helpful to you and yours, give a donation to Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook Ezine today.