Healthy and Natural World article from Jenny Hills

Ashwagandha, also known as Indian Ginseng, is one of the main herbs and plant extracts used in Ayurveda, traditional Indian medicine. Over the last few years, the popularity of this traditional health remedy has grown dramatically. A recent study have shown that Ashwagandha root extract can potentially delay the aging process, leaving you looking youthful and energetic longer. 

Ashwagandha has a large number of health benefits and uses for men and women alike: it is useful in stress, fatigue, pain, diabetes, gastrointestinal disease, rheumatoid arthritis, and chronic fatigue syndrome. Ashwagandha is also an adaptogenic herb and it is used to balance and help your thyroid.

What is Ashwagandha?

Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) is a shrub which grows to about 3 feet tall and is naturally found in India, the Middle East and North Africa. Although the leaves and the berries from the Ashwagandha are used in Ayurveda, it is the root that contains the powerful properties which have made this so popular.

The traditional names of the plant also give clues to its natural health benefits. In Sanskrit, it means “the smell of a horse,” which alludes, not only to its musky smell but also to the strength that it gives.

Sometimes Ashwagandha is referred to as “Indian ginseng” because of its energizing properties and its Latin name “somnifera” literally means “sleep inducing.”

Ashwagandha Uses and Health Benefits

The chemical components of Ashwagandha show its potential in helping to treat a wide range of health issues and concerns. In fact, hundreds of studies have shown that Ashwagandha contains chemicals which are anti-inflammatory, lower blood pressure, boost the immune system, and help calm the nervous system.1

Here are some of the exciting health benefits and uses of Ashwagandha:

Ashwagandha root extract has an anti-aging effect

According to the journal Advances in Bioscience and Biotechnology, extracts from Ashwagandha root may significantly enhance telomerase activity, thereby protecting against telomere loss and potentially delaying aging.

The aging and lifespan of normal, healthy cells are linked to the so-called telomerase shortening mechanism, which limits cells to a fixed number of divisions. The shortening of telomeres, at the ends of chromosomes, is linked to many age-related diseases.

In the scientific experiment, Ashwagandha Root Extract, KSM66, led to an enhancement of approximately 45% in telomerase activity at a concentration of 10 to 50 micrograms.

These findings are important because they indicate that KSM-66 Ashwagandha can increase telomerase activity, thereby reducing the effects of aging and possibly increase the human lifespan.

You can get KSM-66 Ashwagandha in your natural health store or online in Amazon here.

Ashwagandha reduces stress and anxiety

Did you know that at least 60% of all diseases can be in some way attributed to stress? Stress and anxiety are almost an integral part of everyday life and we are all looking for ways to reduce this.

One study showed that a high concentration of Ashwagandha root helped reduce stress levels in people who suffer from chronic stress. Tests also showed that level of cortisol in the blood (also called the “stress hormone”) was also significantly reduced.2

Other studies have shown that Ashwagandha can help with weight management in people who are under chronic stress.3

Controls blood sugar levels

People who suffer from diabetes know how hard it can be to control blood sugar levels. Insulin resistance affects people with type-2 diabetes and can be a precursor to developing the disease.

It has been found that Ashwagandha root extract has been able to normalize excessive blood sugar levels and increase insulin sensitivity.4 This means that Ashwagandha can be used to prevent type-2 diabetes and also help sufferers regulate their sugar levels.

There are other foods that can help you control type 2 diabetes and it’s also interesting to note that black seed can also improve insulin resistance.

Supports sexual health

One of the ancient ways that Ashwagandha was used was in the area of sexual health. In fact, it was mentioned in Kama Sutra as a way to increase sexual desire and improve performance.

Women’s sexual health – Taking Ashwagandha root extract has shown to have a positive effect on women’s general sexual health.5 A study suggests that a reason for this is that Ashwagandha not only reduces stress levels but that it increases androgens in women.

Men’s sexual health – Men who have fertility problems have also benefited from taking Ashwagandha extract. A study showed that after taking the extract for 12 weeks, there was an increase in sperm count, concentration, and volume.6

You can also try to experiment with the Horny Goat weed which is commonly used in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) to improve male & female libido.

Improves cognitive function

As well as helping to relieve stress, Ashwagandha also plays an important role in supporting and strengthening cognitive function.7 Studies show that it is able to not only improve reaction time but to prevent and possibly repair disorders of the central nervous system.

This has important implications for people who suffer from cognitive diseases like Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s disease, and Huntington disease. Various studies have shown that Ashwagandha slows, stops, reverses or removes degeneration of the brain’s nerve cells.1

It’s interesting to note that there is an anecdotal deviance that coconut oil can also be used as a natural remedy for Alzheimer’s.

Improves energy levels and increases sports performance

Are you looking for a natural remedy to help boost your energy levels? Ashwagandha may just be what you need!

It may seem strange that a remedy that helps calming the nervous system can also give you energy, but that is just what Ashwagandha does. Studies have shown that taking 500 mg a day improves physical performance and strength.8 It has also been shown to help suffers from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS).

If you suffer from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, you should also read my article about D-Ribose – the most promising natural remedy for this condition.

Ashwagandha to prevent and treat cancer

One very important role that Ashwagandha can have is in cancer treatment.

There is much scientific evidence showing that Ashwagandha is effective in preventing certain types of cancer and also be used to treat tumors.1 Advertisement

It has also been shown to increase white blood cell count, therefore making it effective in reducing the side effects of chemotherapy. It, therefore, can enhance the quality of life in cancer patients; and because it boosts the immune system, can increase the patient’s life span.

Make sure to read my article about the top 14 foods that protect against cancer development.

Ashwagandha can prevent ulcers

Stomach ulcers are painful open sores that develop on the lining of the stomach and small intestine. This open sore is getting worse by your stomach acid, but is usually not caused by the acid itself.

A great majority of ulcers are caused primarily by an infection of a bacterium called Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) and I have already written about the best natural remedies for H. pylori. Scientists believe that Helicobacter pylori may also be a cause of stomach cancers.

Ashwagandha was found to be useful in the prevention of stress-induced ulcers of the gastrointestinal tract.1 Therefore, it is a natural way to treat gastric ulcers and may also prevent stomach cancer.

Ashwagandha for rheumatoid arthritis

The anti-inflammatory properties of Ashwagandha make it an excellent natural remedy for treating all kinds of joint pain, including pain associated with rheumatoid arthritis.

Traditionally in Ayurveda, the roots were crushed, mixed with water and applied topically to the painful area. However, studies have shown that it is also effective for pain relief when taken orally. It has been shown to reduce pain and swelling in joints and increase mobility.10

There are other natural remedies for rheumatoid arthritis which you can combine with Ashwagandha:

Ashwagandha benefits the thyroid

According to the American Thyroid Association more than 12% of the U.S. population will develop a thyroid condition during their lifetime, and these are many millions of people. Make sure you are aware of the top 13 signs of a thyroid disorder.

If you suffer from an underactive or overactive thyroid, then Ashwagandha can help balance your thyroid activity. Advertisement

Ashwagandha is an ‘adaptogenic herb,’ meaning that it increases or decreases hormones depending on the need. One study showed that Ashwagandha root extract stimulated thyroid activity in mice.11

Ashwagandha for adrenal fatigue

You may not have heard of Adrenal Burnout (also called adrenal fatigue) – the stress disease, but unless you’ve been living under a rock, chances are you’ve experienced the symptoms and may even be suffering from stress disease as you read this. I have already written in great detail about the causes, symptoms and natural cures for adrenal fatigue.

One study showed that over a period of 6 months, Ashwagandha helped to balance hormones of a woman suffering from non-classical adrenal hyperplasia.12 Unlike conventional drugs to help balance hormones, there were no side effects felt.

Supports the immune system

Our immune system protects against disease and infections so it’s important to keep it in a top working condition (for example by consuming certain nutrients and herbs).

In India, ashwagandha has traditionally been used to strengthen the immune system after illness.

Ashwagandha is the perfect natural supplement to keep your immune system strong and this has been reported in many studies.13

There are other 10 quick life hacks that can help you improve your immunity almost immediately.

Ashwagandha for cardiovascular health

Cardiovascular disease is a class of diseases that involve the heart, the blood vessels or both, and is the leading cause of deaths worldwide. It’s time to protect your heart as much as possible (for example by consuming certain types of foods).

The anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties of Ashwagandha also help improve cardiovascular health.

One study pointed out that Ashwagandha is similar to digoxin, a popular drug to treat heart failure and irregular heartbeats, but is associated with many side effects. The research showed that Ashwagandha has a positive effect on all the mechanisms connected with a healthy heart.14

How to Use Ashwagandha

Ashwagandha is sold in capsule, powder, and liquid form. Usually, capsules are the most popular way of taking this supplement. It should be taken with meals, usually at breakfast time.

Ashwagandha Dosage

There is no established dosage for taking Ashwagandha, although many have commented on what they think are effective dosage amounts. For example, 500 mg per day is viewed as the minimum dosage per day for effective results. Most supplements recommend one 500 mg capsule once or twice a day.

Ashwagandha – Precautions and Side Effects

Ashwagandha is considered relatively safe. However, pregnant women should avoid it because it can cause miscarriage and women breastfeeding should also avoid it.

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Thalassa Nutrition now sale pH Drops to check if your water is Alkaline

We all know there is no life without water. Water has many health benefits and helps your body in many ways as I’ve mentioned in my article about the amazing health benefits of drinking water. But have you heard about alkaline water and its many health benefits?

What Is Alkaline Water

Alkaline water is water with a high pH rating, meaning that it is more alkaline and less acidic than tap water. A neutral pH rating is a 7—anything above it is considered alkaline, while anything below it is considered acidic.

The pH rating of water can be changed by adding ingredients to it to make it more acidic or more alkaline. By drinking alkaline water, you can alkalize your own body, bringing it back into balance and doing away with the problems associated with having an acidic body.

Why Alkaline Water Is Good for You

People whose bodies lean toward the acidic end of the pH scale often find themselves feeling less than optimal with regard to health and wellness. I’ve already written why pH level matters, how to test your pH level and warning signs that your body is too acidic in my article on how to balance your pH and find out if you’re too acidic.

Often, having an acidic body is attributed to certain lifestyle choices that can be corrected with changes to diet and way of life – these were elaborated in my article 5 things to avoid if you want to get your body alkaline.

You can test your own body’s pH level by purchasing litmus strips and using them to test your saliva or your urine. If your pH test indicates that your urine or saliva is highly acidic, drinking alkaline water may be a good choice.

The Benefits of Drinking Alkaline Water According to Research

Maintaining a slightly alkaline body has been associated with several benefits, from improving cognitive function and reducing age-related cognitive decline to improving the function of various internal organs. There is even some evidence that alkaline water may halt cancer development. Here are some of the benefits that can come of drinking alkaline water:

Alkaline Water can Promote Kidney Health

Although alkalizing therapy has its critics and opinions on its effectiveness, a 2007 U.S. study published in Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine found that people who consumed alkalizing foods and used alkalizing supplements could restore the pH balance to their bodies, thus making them better able to rid their bodies of toxins by improving kidney function.1

Alkaline Ionized Water can Improve Gut function and Immune System

Another way that drinking alkaline water can help your health is by restoring the balance in your intestines, thus shoring up the body’s immune response and keeping nasty infections at bay.

In 2005, Nina Vorobjeva, a researcher from Lomonosov Moscow State University, published her preliminary findings about the gut health-alkaline water connection in the Medical Hypotheses journal.2 According to the research: “Drinking such water favours the growth of residential microflora in the gut.”

Alkaline Water Promote Liver health (for Diabetic or Pre-diabetic People)

Kidney function and gut health are not the only ways that alkaline water can help the body. Although human research is limited, one 2013 rat study performed by a Korean research team at Hannam University and published in Nutrition Research and Practice found that alkaline water can promote liver health.

According to the research, rats with blood sugar control problems (similar to those experienced by diabetic humans) that drank alkaline ionized water had improved liver function after drinking the alkalized water.3

Alkaline Water Aids Rehydration for Athletes

Active people can deplete their electrolytes through vigorous exercise and extreme sweating. Exercise spurs muscles to produce more hydrogen ions than one can efficiently remove. Thus, acidity increases and fatigue sets in.

A 2010 study performed by a researcher from Montana State University and published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition found that people with rigorous exercise regimes were better able to maintain their pH balance and stay hydrated when they drank alkaline water. 4

Alkaline Water and Cancer

In vitro tests have shown cancer cells thrive in acidic and oxygen-free (anaerobic) environments. The first to describe the correlation between the acidic environment and cancer cell growth was Dr. Otto Warburg, who was awarded the Nobel Prize in physiology in 1931.

In his work he scientifically explained how the growth of cancer cells is triggered in the absence of oxygen, and as a result of sugar fermentation that occurs under such conditions.

Dr. Warburg was in fact describing acidic conditions. For cancer cells to maintain effective metabolism, they need a pH between 6.5 and 7.5. Their tolerance for change is small, therefore it has been argued that by raising the blood’s pH, we will effectively target the cancer cell’s cycle, stop its growth and cause it to die.

The key is to make your body more alkaline, and different ways to do that have been proposed (find more information in my previous article about how to balance your pH and find out if you are too acidic).

It has been shown that sodium bi-carbonate (baking soda) alkalizes the area around the tumor and prevents development of metastasis (spread of a cancer from one organ to another) in mice with breast cancer. Advertisement

A study published in Cancer Research in 2009 confirmed that inhibition of tumor’s acidity reduced the number of metastasis in some cancers. A new study is underway at the University of Arizona Cancer Center, which will look specifically at the effects of sodium bicarbonate on breast cancer patients.

Lemons, too, help to balance the body’s pH. They have an alkaline effect on the body, despite their initial (citric) acidity. They contain limonoides which are phytochemicals and have anti-cancerous properties.

Vitamin C destroys free radicals, which damage our cells. An interesting thing about lemons is also that they act as an anti-microbial. Some researchers suggest that cancer is like a fungus, and should be treated in the same way, so lemons might be a powerful remedy.

According to The Cancer Alternative Foundation, when applied properly, alkalizing or ‘pH therapy’ has had a success rate of 80% and higher, which is a hugely significant rate when compared with some of the mainstream methods.

It’s worth pointing out that the research about lemon and baking soda for cancer is extremely limited. Although the current results are encouraging, further research is needed.

There is no scientific information about the dosage that is needed for an effective treatment and there is no exact information about the quantities of each ingredient in the mixture. In addition, the scientific evidence is extremely limited.

Side Effects of Alkaline Water Consumption

Although drinking alkaline water can contribute to good health by battling an overly acidic body and restoring the pH balance, it does come with some side effects that are not always pleasant.

These side effects are how you know the alkalization is happening inside your body, and are considered a normal response to pH correction and the detoxification the body is undergoing. For more information on how to detoxify your body, see my eBook The Detox Guide.

Side effects may include: Advertisement

  • Headache
  • Sore muscles (flu-like muscle aches)
  • Tiredness and sleepiness
  • Gas
  • Sniffling (a runny nose)

Not everyone experiences the same side effects when alkalizing their bodies, and some people find the side effects more noticeable and irritating than others.

How to Make Alkaline Water

If you’re interested in making alkaline water a part of your health maintenance routine, you’ll be glad to know that you can make your own alkaline water with ease, using a couple of different methods which use ingredients you likely already have on hand.

Important note: Alkaline water should be drank before or after meals—either 30 minutes before a meal, or two hours after a meal—in order to be effective without interfering with the body’s digestive processes which requires acidic environment.

Alkaline Water Recipe #1: the Power of Lemon

Fill a tall pitcher (64-ounce capacity) with clean water. Cut one lemon into eight pieces and submerge the pieces into the water. There is no need to squeeze the juice from the lemon; just drop them into the pitcher with the water. Allow the lemons to soak in the water for 8 to 10 hours at room temperature.

Drinking lemon water is also one of the 70 secrets I mentioned in my eBook 70 Habits For a Great Health. You can use this eBook to learn about simple yet powerful life changes for a happier, healthier slimmer you.

Alkaline Water Recipe #2: Baking Soda

Please note that people on a strict low-sodium diet should avoid using this method, as baking soda is high in sodium.

To make baking soda water, simply dissolve 1/8 teaspoon of baking soda into an 8-ounce glass of clean water. Stir the mixture until you no longer see powder or crystals floating in the water, and then drink it down.

Alkaline Water Recipe #3: Adding pH Drops to Water

You can purchase alkalizing pH drops (like this one) from online retailers or at health food stores and make high-pH water using those. These drops are highly concentrated, and formulations differ between manufacturers, so it’s important to follow instructions on the bottle carefully to avoid overdoing it.

Generally, a few drops may be added to a glass or pitcher of water and you can get the same alkalinizing benefits from this mixture as from drinking lemon water or baking soda water with the added convenience of having your alkalinizing agent stored in a handy dropper bottle for ease of use.\

Nutrition

Have you heard about probiotics? What about prebiotics? Do you know the difference?

Although they sound similar, there is an important difference between pro- and prebiotics. Both prebiotics and probiotics are essential for a healthy gut environment, or microbiome. While we are still discovering what exactly our microbiome does, we do know that there are certain characteristics of it that are associated with positive health outcomes (find out more here). This is why it is so important that we do our best to foster a healthy gut environment.

The simplest explanation is that probiotics are the microbes (we are usually talking about bacteria here) that colonize the large intestine, while prebiotics are the food, or fuel, which feeds those microbes.

Probiotics and prebiotics are both pretty big topics in nutrition these days.

Yet even though they sound similar, the two play different roles for your health.

Probiotics are beneficial bacteria, while prebiotics are food for these bacteria.

This article explains what you need to know about the two.

What Are Probiotics and Prebiotics?

Both prebiotics and probiotics are important for human health. However, they play different roles:

  • Probiotics: These are live bacteria found in certain foods or supplements. They can provide numerous health benefits.
  • Prebiotics: These substances come from types of carbs (mostly fiber) that humans can’t digest. The beneficial bacteria in your gut eat this fiber.

The gut bacteria, collectively referred to as the gut flora or gut microbiota, perform many important functions in the body.

Eating balanced amounts of both pro- and prebiotics can help ensure that you have the right balance of these bacteria, which should improve your health.

Bottom Line: Probiotics are beneficial bacteria found in certain foods or supplements. Prebiotics are types of fiber that feed the friendly bacteria in the digestive system.

Why Are the Gut Bacteria Beneficial?

The good bacteria in your digestive tract help protect you from harmful bacteria and fungi.

They also send signals to your immune system and help regulate inflammation (1, 2).

Additionally, some of your gut bacteria form vitamin K and short-chain fatty acids.

Short-chain fatty acids are the main nutrient source of the cells lining the colon. They promote a strong gut barrier that helps keep out harmful substances, viruses and bacteria. This also reduces inflammation, and may reduce the risk of cancer (3).

Bottom Line: The gut bacteria help with a variety of biological tasks. They also provide important nutrition to the cells lining your digestive tract.

How Does Food Affect the Gut Microbiota?

The food you eat plays an important role in the balance of good and bad gut bacteria.

For example, a high-sugar and high-fat diet influences the gut bacteria negatively, allowing harmful species to overgrow (4, 5, 6).

Once you regularly feed the wrong bacteria, they are able to grow faster and colonize more easily, without as many helpful bacteria to prevent them from doing so (7, 8).

The harmful bacteria may also cause you to absorb more calories than people with a healthy balance of gut bacteria, who tend to be leaner (9).

Additionally, foods treated with pesticides like Roundup may have negative effects on the gut bacteria. However, more human research is needed on this (10, 11, 12).

Studies have also shown that antibiotics can cause permanent changes in certain types of bacteria, especially when taken during childhood and adolescence.

Because antibiotic use is so widespread, researchers are now studying how this may cause health problems in people later in life (13, 14).

Bottom Line: Gut bacteria are affected by the foods you eat. Chemical residues and antibiotics may also disrupt balance in the gut bacteria.

Which Foods Are Prebiotic?

Before you go out and buy expensive prebiotic supplements, remember that many foods naturally contain them.

That’s because prebiotics are types of fiber found in vegetables, fruits and legumes.

These types of fiber are not digestible by humans, but your good gut bacteria can digest them.

Foods that are high in prebiotic fiber include:

  • Legumes, beans and peas.
  • Oats.
  • Bananas.
  • Berries.
  • Jerusalem artichokes (not the same as regular artichokes).
  • Asparagus.
  • Dandelion greens.
  • Garlic.
  • Leeks.
  • Onions.

One of the things your good gut bacteria do with prebiotic fiber is turn it into a short-chain fatty acid called butyrate.

Butyrate has been extensively studied, and has been shown to have anti-inflammatory effects inside the colon (15).

It may also influence gene expression, block the growth of cancerous cells and help provide fuel to healthy cells so that they can grow and divide normally.

Bottom Line: Prebiotics are types of fiber that humans cannot digest, but your gut bacteria can. These types of fiber provide nutrients to the bacteria that support healthy digestion and immune function.

Which Foods are Probiotic?

There are also many probiotic foods that naturally contain helpful bacteria, such as yogurt.

A high-quality, plain yogurt with live cultures can be a fantastic addition to your diet if you want to add beneficial bacteria.

Fermented foods are another great option, as they contain beneficial bacteria that thrive on the naturally occurring sugar or fiber in the food.

Examples of fermented foods include:

  • Sauerkraut.
  • Kimchi.
  • Kombucha tea.
  • Kefir (dairy and non-dairy).
  • Some types of pickles (non-pasteurized).
  • Other pickled vegetables (non-pasteurized).

If you are going to eat fermented foods for their probiotic benefits, make sure they are not pasteurized, as this process kills the bacteria.

Some of those foods can also be considered synbiotic, because they contain both beneficial bacteria and a prebiotic source of fiber for the bacteria to feed on.

One example of a synbiotic food is sauerkraut.

Bottom Line: Probiotic foods naturally contain helpful bacteria. Many of these foods can be made at home or purchased at a grocery store.

What About Probiotic Supplements?

Probiotic supplements are pills, capsules or liquids that contain live beneficial bacteria.

They are very popular and easy to find, yet not all of them are worth your money. They do not all have the same types of bacteria, or the same concentrations.

They also usually do not come with fibrous food sources for the bacteria to eat.

Some probiotic supplements are designed to carry the bacteria all the way to your large intestine for better effects, while others probably don’t make it past your stomach acid.

There are some individuals who should not take a probiotic, or who may experience worsened symptoms if they do, such as people with small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) or people sensitive to ingredients in the supplement.

However, the right strains of probiotics can be incredibly beneficial for some people.

As with all supplements, you may want to consult with a healthcare professional who is knowledgeable about probiotics.

Bottom Line: Probiotic supplements are designed to deliver very specific species of bacteria to the human gut. However, not all probiotic supplements are of the same quality or contain the same quantity of bacteria.

Take Home Message

Keeping your gut bacteria balanced is important for many aspects of health.

To do this, eat plenty of prebiotic and probiotic foods, as they will help promote the most ideal balance between good and bad gut bacteria.

At the end of the day, optimizing your gut flora may have major benefits for your health.

Papaya is a rich source of antioxidants that the body needs to fight against cancer-causing cells. Vitamin C, E, and beta-carotene are antioxidants that prevent all kinds of cancers. So adding a daily serving of papaya to your diet may lessen your risk of developing cancer.

Papaya is a great source of proteolytic enzymes that are very important in digesting food. The most important of these proteolytic enzymes found in papaya is papain. Papain breaks down proteins in food, allowing for better digestion.

Many alternative medical practitioners believe that one of the benefits of papaya is to control premature aging. Papaya helps the body to properly digest food and when the body digests all the nutrients it needs, the body will remain vital for a long time.

Papaya is also rich in fiber, which travels through the body and binds itself to cancer-causing toxins in the colon. The fiber in papaya flushes out the toxins in the colon and so one of the benefits of papaya is that it helps prevent colon cancer especially, due to its antioxidants and its fiber content.

The antioxidants in papaya prevent cholesterol from oxidizing. When cholesterol becomes oxidized it forms plaque in the blood vessel walls that can eventually build up and cause a heart attack or stroke. Fiber is known to lower cholesterol.

Also, vitamins C, E, and beta-carotene are good at reducing inflammation and as such these nutrients are used to treat asthma, osteoarthritis, and rheumatoid arthritis among many other inflammatory ailments. Papayas are bright yellow or orange in color and therefore are rich sources of beta-carotene. They are also rich in vitamin C, folates, vitamin B, and flavonoids. There are many minerals in the fruit as well. In addition to soluble fiber, papaya also contains potassium, magnesium, and pantothenic acid.

Among the many benefits for the health and skin, papaya’s nutrients can also boost immunity. Both vitamins C and A, which are found in abundance in papayas, are excellent for the body’s immune system. Together, these nutrients can help prevent illnesses such as cold, flu, and other recurrent infections. As we age, macular degeneration is one of the side effects that many experiences.

Macular degeneration is a natural degenerative disease that can be prevented by consuming at least three servings of papaya every day. The antioxidants, vitamins A, C, and E, are strongly related to the prevention of vision loss and therefore are excellent when it comes to having good vision.

The benefits of papaya seeds are also similar because they have similar concentrations of the nutrients that the fruit and the papaya plant contain. However, papaya seeds are considered healthier than the fruit itself because of the high bioavailability of the nutrients. Eat the seeds too, they are as healthy for you as the entire papaya. I mix the seeds in my smoothie or you can sprinkle them on salads or use them in place of peppers as they have a similar taste.

I consider the papaya one of the most valuable and nutritional superfoods in the world…

I try and eat a half a large Mexican Papaya or two Thai papayas every day and have been doing so for ten plus years…. I sprinkle chia, hemp and flax seeds on the papaya

It doesn’t matter what your health, age, or geographic location is. Currently, unhealthy people and those trying to maintain good health should definitely consider Veganism. There are certain factors that can make Veganism even more essential.

Vegans have much lower cholesterol levels than meat-eaters, and heart disease is uncommon among Vegans. The reasons are not hard to find. Vegan’s meals are typically low in saturated fat and usually, contain little or no cholesterol. Since cholesterol is found only in animal products such as meat, dairy, and eggs, Vegans consume a cholesterol-free diet. The type of protein in a Vegan diet may be another important advantage. Many studies show that replacing animal protein with plant protein lowers blood cholesterol levels even if the amount and type of fat in the diet stays the same. Those studies show that a low-fat, Vegan diet has a clear advantage over other diets.

An impressive number of studies, dating back to the early 1920’s, show that Vegans have lower blood pressure than non-Vegans. In fact, some studies have shown that adding meat to a Vegan diet raises blood pressure levels rapidly and significantly. The effects of a Vegan diet occur in addition to the benefits of reducing the sodium content of the diet. When patients with high blood pressure begin a Vegan diet, many are able to eliminate their need for medication.

The latest studies on diabetes show that a diet high in complex carbohydrates (which are found only in plant foods) and low in fat is the best dietary prescription for controlling diabetes. Since diabetics are at high risk for heart disease, avoiding fat and cholesterol is the most important goal of the diabetic diet, and a Vegan diet is ideal. Although all insulin-dependent diabetics need to take insulin, plant-based diets can help to reduce insulin needs.

A Vegan diet helps prevent cancer. Studies of Vegan show that death rates from cancer are only about one-half to three-quarters of those of the general population. Breast cancer rates are dramatically lower in countries where diets are typically plant-based. When people from those countries adopt a Western, meat-based diet, their rates of breast cancer soar. Vegans also have significantly less colon cancer than meat eaters. Meat consumption is more closely associated with colon cancer than any other dietary factor. Why do Vegan diets help protect against cancer? First, they are lower in fat and higher in fiber than meat-based diets. But there are other important factors also. For example,

Vegans usually consume more of the plant pigment beta-carotene. This might help to explain why they have less lung cancer. Also, at least one study has shown that natural sugars in dairy products may raise the risk of ovarian cancer in some women. Some of the anti-cancer aspects of a vegetarian diet cannot yet be explained. For example, researchers are not quite sure why Vegans have more of certain white blood cells, called “natural killer cells,” which are able to seek out and destroy cancer cells.

Vegans are less likely to form either kidney stones or gallstones. In addition, Vegans may also be at lower risk for osteoporosis because they eat little or no animal protein. A high intake of animal protein encourages the loss of calcium from the bones. Replacing animal products with plant foods reduces the amount of calcium loss. This may help to explain why people who live in countries where the diet is typically plant-based have little osteoporosis even when calcium intake is low.

Vegans are healthier and cut their risk of major diseases by at least half, in some cases altogether. I have been a Vegan for most of my life and I have never had any symptoms of high cholesterol, heart disease, and diabetes. I have never taken a prescription drug or had the need to see a doctor. Meat and dairy have no fiber, it is a dead animal and lacks nutrition as well as live foods.

Fruits, vegetables, grains, and beans are live foods and are bursting with healing nutrients and vitamins that build pristine health. I know that I feel amazing every day, I can feel live foods in my body creating a healthy platform for a quality of life that only a Vegan can experience.

Thank you veganhurth

Black seed oil contains many medicinal and therapeutic properties that are good for your skin and general health. The antibacterial and anti-inflammatory effect of black seed oil is great for treating skin conditions and skin infections. Black seed oil is also good for your hair as it can boost the condition of your hair and may even prevent hair loss. You can also take black seed oil capsules for weight loss, to lower cholesterol, and manage diabetes symptoms.

Black seed oil is also called kalonji oil, black cumin seed oil, or black caraway oil. The use of black seed oil for treating various ailments goes back centuries. Recent scientific studies have confirmed many of the traditional uses of kalonji oil for improving the appearance of skin, your hair, and boosting your overall health.

In this article, you will learn about the many reasons why black seed oil or black cumin oil is good for you. You will also find out how to use black seed oil to take advantage of its many health benefits.

What is Black Seed Oil?

Black seed oil (Nigella sativa oil) is produced by pressing oil from the tiny black seeds (Nigella seeds) that grow on the Nigella sativa plant. Researchers say that the Nigella sativa plant is a medicinal plant with many health benefits. Oil extracts from the black seeds (Nigella seeds) has antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, analgesic, and antimicrobial properties. (1)

Many of the amazing health benefits of black seed oil are due to a compound called thymoquinone. The journal Advances in Phytomedicine reports that thymoquinone is the main active compound that makes black seed oil so good for your health. (2)

Black seed oil also has antiseptic properties that can relieve pain when applied to the skin or wounds. (1)

Black seed oil (black cumin oil) has a pungent bitter taste that some people describe as peppery or spicy. When consuming high-quality black cumin oil for its medicinal purposes, many people advise not to smell the oil but just consume it.

Nutritional Value of Black Seed Oil

Most of the nutritional value of black seed oil comes from the rich content of unsaturated fatty acids that have antioxidant properties. Black seed oil contains large amounts of linoleic acid and oleic acids. (1)

Scientists have also found that black seed oil (kalonji oil) has strong antioxidant qualities. Black seed oil helps to kill off free radicals in the body that can cause oxidative damage. (3)

The benefits of thymoquinone in black seed oil have been linked with antifungal, antiviral, antibacterial, and antiparasitic activity. (4)

What is Black Seed Oil Good For?

Black seed oil is good for your health because of its scientifically proven health benefits. Scientific studies have confirmed that black seed oil is good for your skin, hair, and liver. Black cumin oil is also good for you because it can help lower blood glucose and cholesterol levels.

Here are the proven health benefits of Nigella sativa oil.

Black Seed Oil for Weight Loss – What Science Says

Is there any scientific research to suggest that black seed oil is good for weight loss? Advertisement

In 2018, the Journal of Ethnopharmacology reported that black seed supplementation has an anti-obesity effect. Taking black seed (Nigella sativa) can help to reduce body weight and lose belly fat. (5)

One trial involving overweight women found that taking black seed oil to supplement a calorie-controlled diet helped to speed up weight loss. At the end of the trial, the group taking black seed oil experienced a significant reduction in body weight compared to the group who didn’t take the supplement. (6)

In the trial, women took a dose of 3 grams of black seed oil for weight loss. This was divided into 1 g black seed oil capsules 3 times a day before meals.

Research has also shown that taking black seed oil for weight loss also helps to reduce complications associated with obesity. One clinical trial found that taking black seed oil can help to reduce inflammation in obese women. (7)

Some studies have found that supplementing your weight-loss diet with black seed oil only results in minor weight loss. (8)

Black Seed Oil (Black Cumin Seed Oil) For Skin

Using black seed oil for your skin is good to help moisturize your skin and treat various inflammatory skin conditions.

The anti-microbial, analgesic, and soothing properties of kalonji oil (black seed oil) mean that it is an excellent therapeutic topical application to keep skin healthy.

Nigella sativa helps treat eczema

Medicinal compounds in black cumin seed oil mean that you can use it to soothe dry skin conditions like eczema (atopic dermatitis).

Research published in 2018 found that thymoquinone gives black seed oil its anti-inflammatory effect. Applying oils containing thymoquinone such as black seed oil helps to treat outbreaks of dermatitis. (9)

Other studies have found that using black seed oil for eczema is just as effective as Betamethasone. This is a steroid cream used in treating eczema to relieve itching and flaking skin. Patients applied black seed oil to irritated skin twice a day for 4 weeks have seen the best results. (10)

Find out about other natural ingredients that can help treat eczema.

Black seed oil can alleviate psoriasis symptoms

Oil extracted from black cumin seed can also help treat the symptoms of psoriasis.

One study on mice with psoriasis-like skin lesions found that regularly applying black cumin seed oil reduced skin inflammation and helped skin heal properly. The scientists concluded that black cumin seed oil could be a natural treatment for psoriasis. (11)

Further reading: 12 ways to treat psoriasis outbreaks naturally.

Black cumin seed oil (black seed oil) for acne

The antibacterial properties of kalonji oil mean that it is good for treating acne and helping to get rid of inflamed, red pimples.

One clinical study on adults with acne found that applying lotion with 10% black seed oil helped to reduce the number of pustules in a 2-month period. Nearly 60% of patients experienced a reduction in their symptoms of acne thanks to the black seed oil acne treatment. (12)

Other studies have shown that an anti-acne gel containing black seed oil is just as effective as the acne pharmaceutical drug amoxicillin. (16)

Learn about other ways to treat outbreaks of acne and how tea tree oil can help in your fight against pimples. Advertisement

Kalonji oil is good to stop skin infections

Black seed oil has powerful antimicrobial properties that mean it can help treat skin infections and prevent wounds becoming infected.

One clinical trial revealed that extracts of Nigella sativa seed oil can treat skin infections on infants. The researchers found that black seed oil was just as effective as the pharmaceutical antibacterial ointment Mupirocin. Applying black seed oil treated Staphylococcal bacterial infections. (13)

Find out how to take care of wounds properly and how to prevent scabs from forming.

Black seed oil may help reduce fine lines and wrinkles

Black cumin seed oil is good to apply to your face and neck because it can help to reduce the visible appearance of aging.

In one trial involving mice, black seed oil was taken as a supplement to improve skin condition. The antioxidant and anti-apoptosis (preventing cell death) properties of black seed oil had an anti-aging effect on the skin and helped to offset the visible effects of aging. (14)

Applying products containing black seed oil also helps to moisturize the skin, reduce pigmentation, and heal skin lesions. (15)

Did you know that there are many more oils that help reduce the appearance of fine lines?

Black Seeds Oil for Hair

Kalonji oil is also good for your hair and may even help to prevent hair thinning and bald patches. Also, because it has antifungal properties, black seed oil is good for keeping your scalp healthy and free from dandruff.

Black seed oil can boost hair growth and may prevent hair loss

One of the reasons to apply black seed oil to your scalp is to help hair grow quicker and strengthen your hair strands.

The thymoquinone content of black seed oil can help increase hair thickness and density. One trial on 20 people who had the hair-thinning disorder telogen effluvium found that applying a lotion containing black seek oil helped to treat hair thinning. After a 3-month period of treatment, 70% of the patients had increased hair thickness. (16)

Another trial found that combining black seed cumin oil with coconut oil helps to boost hair growth. Scientists found that the rich content of short chain fatty acids in black seed oil along with anti-inflammatory properties helped to promote hair growth. The black seed oil easily penetrates hair roots to improve hair quality. (17)

One study on the medicinal compounds in black seed oil found that black seed oil works similar to the antihistamine cetirizine. (18) A study from 2018 found that applying topical lotions containing 1% cetirizine can help to treat androgenetic alopecia. (19)

Learn about other natural ways to make your hair grow faster and what natural supplements can help hair to regrow faster.

Black Seed Oil May Help Treat Dandruff

Oil from Nigella sativa seeds contains antifungal compounds which can be useful in getting rid of dandruff.

It’s no secret that plant-based foods offer amazing health benefits. From sustained weight loss to higher energy, a diet consisting of nutrient-rich fruits and vegetables has transformative powers — but what effects does it have on brain health? While few studies have been conducted on this question, the surfacing answers we have access to are illuminating.

A Plant-Based Diet and Your Brain

The brain is one of the most mysterious biological frontiers. The endeavor to understand brain processes, such as system coordination, emotions, and intelligence, has evolved into its own niche branch of research. Yet, the effects of a plant-based diet on brain function is not as mysterious.

As Dr. Michael Greger, a clinical nutritionist and Fellow of the American College of Lifestyle Medicine, states: “Plant-based eating can improve not only body weight, blood sugar levels, and ability to control cholesterol, but also emotional states, including depression, anxiety, fatigue, and sense of well-being, and daily functioning.”

This may be in part due to the benefits of high levels of antioxidants found in plant-based ingredients, as well as a decreased intake of glycotoxins. These “aging toxins” are created in heat-processed foods — hamburgers and hot dogs, chips and crackers, and processed cheese — and cause an increase in oxidant stress and inflammation. Due to these properties, glycotoxins have been linked to diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

Long-Term Benefits

The Mediterranean diet offers a great example of the positive long-term effects of plant-based eating. Mediterranean cultures eat an excess of plant foods and limited meat. Studies have shown that Mediterranean people generally live longer and have a lower risk of developing select chronic illnesses.

It all comes down to the specific type of plant-based diet. A diet that excludes nitrates and nitrites also avoids the harming effects of these preservatives which have been suggested to increase the risk of dementia. With that said, the Cognitive Vitality program, a branch of the Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation, discovered that pescatarians, fish-eating vegetarians, showed a lower risk of dementia in conjunction with their omnivore counterparts. Advertisement

While more research is being conducted on the subject, it’s clear that plant-rich diets bolster overall health, including that of brain function.

The Importance of Vitamin B12 and Omega-3 Fatty Acids

While a plant-based diet has many benefits, it also lacks certain nutrients found in meat and dairy products that are paramount for brain health. Two of the most important nutrients that have been associated with brain health are vitamin B12 and omega-3 fatty acids.

Vitamin B12 has many functions within the body (think DNA and red blood cells), yet it is not naturally produced and therefore must be ingested through animal-based products or supplements. Omega-3 fatty acids are key ingredients for a well-oiled, functioning body. These fatty acids are found in certain fish species, as well as plant-based foods such as nuts and seeds.Advertisement

Vegetable and fruit rich diets help to detox and clean your physical body via balanced nutrition, vitamins, and reduced processed foods. With that said, remember to keep your brain in mind. This complex muscle requires attention and care. It’s incredibly important to speak with a certified nutritionist or physician to make sure your diet is inclusive of all the appropriate nutrients to keep your brain function at its peak.

Brain-Boosting Plant-Based Sources

Antioxidant-Rich Foods

Grown Up Antioxidant Slushie [Vegan, Raw, Gluten-Free]

Grown Up Antioxidant Slushie/One Green Planet

The brain’s susceptibility to oxidative stress, damage caused to cells, proteins, and DNA by too much oxidation, means that an antioxidant-rich diet can reduce damage and increase brain health. TheNational Center for Biotechnology Information states: “several ‘anti-oxidant diets’ have become popular for their publicized positive effects on neural function.”

Certain fruits and vegetables — such as berries, peaches, avocado, asparagus, spinach, tomato, onion, and garlic — are high in an antioxidant called glutathione, which is produced by the body. Cruciferous vegetables — such as broccoli, cabbage, and kale — are high in sulfur, which can increase the natural production of glutathione.

Try making antioxidant-rich meals such as Antioxidant-Rich, High Energy Matcha Bliss Balls, Whole Roasted Cauliflower With Mint Parsley Pepita Sauce, Berry Antioxidant Granola, French Toast Chia Power Pudding, or Spinach Stuff Mushrooms.

Tryptophan-Rich Foods

Most associate tryptophan with the unavoidable food coma after a delicious turkey meal. Yet, tryptophan, an essential amino acid, also creates serotonin, which has been linked to stabilizing moods and healthier sleep. Both of these are incredibly necessary for cognitive function. Tryptophan can be found in nuts, seeds, tofu, oats, beans, and lentils.

Infuse your diet with these tryptophan-rich meals: Miso Soup with Garlicky Lentils, Kale, and Mushrooms, Grilled Buffalo Tofu Po’ Boy with Apple Slaw, Brazil Nut Vegan Parmesan, and Spicy Bean, Mushroom, and Avocado Quesadilla.

Probiotic-Rich Foods

Probiotic Blueberry Yogurt Bites

Probiotics are live yeasts and bacteria that are found in certain foods — such as sauerkraut, kimchi, olives, soy nut, and miso — as well as in supplements. Probiotics are great for improving gut and digestive health by balancing good and bad bacteria, while also replenishing good bacteria that have been killed off.

Why is this important for brain health?

Recent studies show that your enteric nervous system, the nerve cells that line the gastrointestinal tract, acts as a “brain in your gut” and affects your digestion and brain function. Therefore, a happy gut is a happy mind!

Try making probiotic meals such as Probiotic Blueberry Yogurt Bites, Vegetable Miso Soup, Creamy Kimchi Zucchini Pasta, Sauerkraut, Sunflower Seed, and Cashew ‘Tuna’ Fish, or Chickpea Sauerkraut Salad Wraps.

Used for centuries in Southeast Asia as a caffeine-free herbal beverage (as well as a plant-based food and clothing dye), Butterly Pea Flower tea (made from the Clitoria ternatea plant) is starting to hit American shelves — and people just can’t get enough!

Made from a combination of dried blue pea flowers and lemongrass, the reason Butterfly Pea Flower tea is making such a splash is because it has some pretty mesmerizing qualities.

Once water is added to the tea, the deep blue liquid changes color based on the pH level of whatever is added next. Squeeze in some lemon or add in a bit of citrus juice, and the blue changes to purple. Its mood ring-like qualities have made Butterfly Pea Flower tea a hit with anyone who enjoys a little whimsy in their life.

History of Butterfly Pea Flower Tea

Native to Southeast Asia, this dried tea is as common there as chamomile tea is here in America, and is often used in the same way; as an after-dinner drink. It’s served hot or cold, and is usually mixed with honey, ginger, mint or passion fruit.

Dried Butterfly Pea Flower tea, as well as the petals of the Butterfly Pea plant, have been used for centuries in countries like Thailand and Vietnam, but thanks to travel shows and food blogs, have started to gain popularity in the states. In addition to plain tea drinks, the dried leaves are often used in cocktails to create an entertaining effect.

What is Butterfly Pea Flower Tea by Greenblender, pre squeeze lemon

Heath Benefits of Butterfly Pea Flower Tea

Like green tea, Butterfly Pea Flower tea is full of potent antioxidants, and has even been studied for its ability to help protect the skin against premature aging (it fights against glycation, which is protein damage caused by an influx of sugar molecules).

There have been additional studies showing the tea’s ability to help fight against internal inflammation. Traditionally, the Butterfly Pea plant and tea made from it have been used to treat general pain, reduce inflammation, help with common eye issues like conjunctivitis, fight against certain types of cancers, induce brain health, and “increase vitality.”

What Is Butterfly Pea Flower Tea by Greenblender, post lemon

The Taste Of Butterfly Pea Flower Tea

When consumed with hot or cold water, the taste is usually described as “earthy,” and similar to the flavor of unsweetened green tea.

Where To Buy Butterfly Pea Flower Tea

As with all dried herbs and teas, it’s best to buy organic and non-GMO.

By becoming a member of the GreenBlender smoothie club, you’ll receive superfoods like Butterfly Pea Flower Tea every week. Give us a try — you never know what you’ll find in our next box!

Hydrogen Peroxide – A Medical Miracle

Hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) ranks up there as one of the best household remedies. Hydrogen peroxide is one of the few “miracle substances” still available to the general public; it is safe, readily available and best of all, it works!

Did you know that you probably had your first sip of hydrogen peroxide shortly after you took your first breath? That’s right… mother’s milk (especially colostrum) contains extremely high concentrations of H2O2. In light of the fact that we know that one of the main functions of mother’s milk is to activate and stimulate the immune system in the infant, the fact that it contains abnormally large amounts of H2O2 makes sense.

As far back as the early nineteenth century, hydrogen peroxide was widely used in medicine. Many bacterial diseases (including syphilis) responded to H2O2 when no other treatment was effective. In the early twentieth century, H2O2 was used to treat several common diseases, such as whooping cough, cholera, typhoid fever, ulcers, tuberculosis, and asthma. However, as the pharmaceutical industry began to develop expensive new chemical drugs, hydrogen peroxide was increasingly ignored and finally discarded as a treatment.

H2O2 stimulates natural killer (NK) cells, which attack cancer cells as they attempt to spread throughout the body. In the body’s immune response, hydrogen peroxide is released by T-cells to destroy invading bacteria, viruses and fungi. Blood platelets release hydrogen peroxide on encountering particulates in blood. In the large intestine, acidophilus lactobacillus produces H2O2 which keeps the ubiquitous candida yeast from multiplying out of control. When candida spreads out of the intestine, it escapes the natural control system and can gain a foothold in the organs of the body, causing what is called chronic fatigue syndrome.

During flu season, if the kiddos feel like they’re getting sick, we lay them down on their side and put a few drops of hydrogen peroxide into their ear. After a few seconds, the liquid will bubble, indicating that it is killing the infection. After 5 or 10 minutes, we turn them over and repeat on the other ear. No one yet fully understands the complete workings of hydrogen peroxide, but we do know that it is loaded with oxygen.

We know that when H2O2 is taken into the body (orally or intravenously) the oxygen content of the blood and body tissues increases dramatically. Please remember that the hydrogen peroxide that is available at your local pharmacy (3% hydrogen peroxide) should NEVER be ingested orally, since it contains many stabilizers. The only grade recommended for internal use is 35% Food Grade Hydrogen Peroxide, which must be properly diluted down to 3% with water. Even then, only a drop or two per 8oz+ beverage you are drinking is recommended. Topical use is of course most highly recommended and using the diluted 3% H2O2 is excellent for cleaning the body, wound care, etc. I use hydrogen peroxide each night before bed as a rinse and also a natural teeth whitener.

You can find an excellent food grade hydrogen peroxide here: (Please note that you must dilute with water in order to lower to the proper 3% solution for use)



Kefirs are cultured drinks produced by lacto-fermenting certain liquids for a short 1-4 day period of time.

When it comes to water kefir vs milk kefir, both can be health-enhancing drinks to consume for most people. However, each variety of kefir is made somewhat differently, utilizing unique cultures that provide slightly different end results.

If you’re someone looking to add kefir into your daily regimen, you may want to learn more about these cultured drinks to see which one might be best for your current health objectives.

The term “kefir” has several pronunciations depending on your country of origin. Most people in the Western U.S. call it KEE-fir or sometimes KEFF-er. The original Russian pronunciation however is KUH-fear.

On this page, we are primarily discussing the difference between traditional-style water kefir vs milk kefir when making homemade artisanal varieties of this beverage. Both are made from SCOBY grains, similar to how kombucha is fermented. The term SCOBY is short for Symbiotic Colony of Bacteria and Yeast, not to identify one particular ferment.

But, before we discuss the top differences between water kefir vs milk kefir, we’d first like to clarify the distinction between powdered kefir starter cultures and commercial based kefir products.

Powdered Kefir Starter Cultures Vs Kefir Grains

The use of kefir grains, in both water and milk variations, is the traditional way to make milk kefir or types of water kefir, also commonly called “tibicos.”

powder-kefir-starter-vs-kefir-grains

In recent times, especially is the last decade, kefir powdered starter cultures have become a popular way to make homemade kefir without having to use heirloom SCOBY grains. Although these types can be more convenient and used interchangeably between water kefir and milk kefir, they only contain SOME of the beneficial strains, not the diverse amount found in “true” grain-made kefir ferments.

While the kefir created from quality powdered starter cultures, like the one from Body Ecology, can be reused for a number of batches, eventually it will lose its ability to culture the liquid substrate.

By comparison, the grain cultures used to make traditional-style kefir are actually referred to as a type of “evolved life form” and a living matrix of microbes that, when properly cared for, will proliferate and in-effect live indefinitely. So yeah, they are a bit different!

Though powder-made varieties have their place, for the serious kefir consumer, traditional-grain based kefir can be a better, more cost-effective probiotic-diverse option to powder starters.

What are Commercial Kefir Products Made From?

Kefir grains are considered “heirloom” forms and are more of an artisan variety not used on a commercial scale as they are harder to maintain and regulate for production purposes. Commercial kefir products, both milk and water, are therefore most always made using dried probiotic powder starters.

milk-kefir-vs-water-kefir

Top Differences Between Water Kefir Vs Milk Kefir

1) Water Kefir and Milk Kefir are Not Related Cultures

While both go by the name “kefir” and are cultured from SCOBY grains, the two are not actually directly related.

Milk kefir is believed to have its origins from the Caucasus mountain regions and has a long history of use in Russia, the countries Georgia and Turkey as well as other regions of Eurasia and Central Asia. Milk kefir grains themselves look a bit like small off-white cauliflower florets and have a dense rubbery texture. They vary in size but are generally larger than water kefir grains.

Water kefir or tibicos grains also vary in size but are nearly translucent, like tiny crystals, and tend to be smaller than milk grains. They also have an irregular less rounded shape in addition to a softer gummy texture.

2) They are Used to Culture Different Substrates

The obvious difference between water kefir vs milk kefir is that they are used to culture different liquids. If you’ve ever tried to use water kefir grains to ferment milk, you may have come to this realization.

Milk kefir grains are used specifically to culture milk. Traditionally, dairy milk is used but vegan milks can also be substituted. A popular one we enjoy is coconut milk, made with the flesh and water.  To keep most milk kefir grains alive and thriving, however, it is necessary to periodically use a dairy milk source. We personally prefer using raw organic grass-fed cows milk over pasteurized.

Water kefir is strictly used to ferment carbohydrate-rich sugary liquids, such as coconut water, fruit juice or water that has been mixed with a sugar source. The water used when making kefir works best in spring water or water that has minerals added.

Typically, 2 Tablespoons of water grains and 1 Tablespoon of milk kefir grains are used for about one quart of liquid.

3) Contain Different Strains of Lactic Acid Bacteria and Yeast

The visual distinctions between the two grains are of course associated with the different blend of yeast and bacterial microbes they are made of, probiotics that will further inoculate into the fermented liquids.

Both milk and water varieties are considered “wild” cultures, in that they can take on other species over time. Grains may therefore vary from one to the next in overall composition. To keep your homemade ferment free of other species, you can use an air-lock cap as kefir’s don’t require oxygen to ferment.

milk-kefir-grains-close-up

Milk Kefir Bacteria and Yeast Strains

Generally speaking, milk kefir grains are known to contain larger ratios of the Lactobacillus species than water grains. Here are some species found in milk kefir grains. (Source)

4) Health Benefits of Water Kefir Vs Milk Kefi

Both water-based and milk-based kefir varieties are probiotic-rich drinks that help to colonize the intestinal tract and have a health-enhancing impact on maintaining balanced gut flora. (*)

This is a topic which is receiving a lot of attention these days and with good reason. Gastrointestinal microbiota that live in the human digestive tract are a “complex community of microorganisms” that when in proper ratio are known to have a huge influence on our human physiology and overall long-term well-being.

The good news is that these “pro-life” gut flora can be nourished through dietary sources. It is often recommended to include a diverse variety of fermented foods in the diet to get a good cross section of different mircroflora, especially after a period of antibiotic use.

This may include periodic probiotic supplementation, however cultured food and drinks tend to be better overall sources. This is because they are “enzymatically” active and are also, according to a Body Ecology article, resistant to harsh stomach acid. (*)

Some health experts also believe that consuming ferments like water and milk kefir, with probiotic supplements helps to aid in their assimilation. We use the powder from probiotic capsules when making cultured vegetables, like kimchi, as well as cultured seed cheeses.

When comparing the beneficial properties of water kefir vs milk kefir, milk kefir can offer a significantly higher number of probiotic strains than water-based kefirs. The average amount for milk kefir is between 30-50 as opposed to about 10-15 from the tibicos varieties. Water kefir however is identified to contain more strains than that of cultured yogurt and kefir made from powder starters.

Both types of cultured kefir are known to be well tolerated in contrast to other ferments. They can be a more suitable option for those with digestive sensitivities who might not be able to handle other cultured foods like sauerkraut, rejuvelac or kombucha.

Generally, milk kefir is better for those recovering from a candida infection, whereas water kefir may potentially contain sugar content if not completely fermented.

water-kefir-vs-milk-kefir-grains-benefits

5) Quality of Taste and Texture

The taste and textural qualities of water kefir vs milk kefir are quite different in our opinion.

Milk kefir has a very thick creamy consistency and with a tart sour taste similar to yogurt. It is not sweet but can have a mild effervescence.

Milk-based kefirs get there notably thick characteristic from a substance known as kefiran, a water-soluble polysaccharide that congeals with other species during fermentation, gelatinizing the liquid and creating a creamy texture.

Water kefir is usually sweet with a slight tang and fizziness. Taste can vary however depending on fermentation time and ingredients used. Sometimes different combinations of sugars and fruits are also incorporated. Final ferments can have a slightly thicker quality with some cloudiness.

These two types of kefirs of course can be flavored with natural sweeteners or blended with fruits like berries or even various herbal spices if desired.

Traditional-Style Water Kefir Vs Milk Kefir List

WATER KEFIR

  1. A vegan dairy-free option
  2. Takes about 48 hours at between 68-85°F (20-29°C)
  3. Provides a soda-like alternative
  4. More probiotic strains than yogurt or powdered starters
  5. May contain sugar depending on fermentation time
  6. No fat content, lower in calories

MILK KEFIR

  1. Contains bioavailable vitamins, minerals and amino acids
  2. Takes about 24 hours 72-75°F (22-24°C)
  3. Provides a thick creamy probiotic-rich drink
  4. Does not contain sugar, but is higher in calories
  5. Culturing process can potentially reduce lactose in dairy milk
  6. Easier to ferment, less finicky

6) Other Misc Differences Between Water Kefir Vs Milk Kefir

Water Kefir Makes a Great Low Calorie Soda Alternative

Water kefir is a probiotic-rich beverage that also makes a great alternative to sodas. It can be fermented to produce different levels of fizziness similar to carbonated soft drinks.

For those looking for a dairy-free replacement to cow or goat milk kefirs, water kefir can be an excellent choice. Water kefirs are additionally lower in calories in contrast to kefir made from dairy milk, nut milks and soy milk. They can be a better choice for those looking to reduce body weight and daily caloric intake.

Milk Kefir Contains More Nutrients

Both dairy milk and vegan milk sources also come with their list of vitamins, minerals and amino acids. The process of lacto-fermenting them with kefir grains, additionally makes these nutrients more bioavailable as they are in essence “pre-digested.”

Dairy milk, from cows, goat or other animals, is identified to be a good dietary source of certain bone building minerals like calcium. Cultured milk kefir is therefore known to enhance calcium absorption, and in some research short-term use was associated with an increase in hip bone mineral density in patients with osteoporosis.

Kefir fermentation is also known to reduce the lactose content in milk, since that’s what the grains feed off of. It has thus been purposed to be more suitable for those with lactose intolerance. (*)

Milk Kefir Tends to Be Easier to Ferment

When making both types of homemade kefir from SCOBY grains, we have personally experienced that milk-based kefir tends to be less finicky about maintaining a consistent temperature and is relatively easier to culture than kefir made from sugar water.

How to Use

Milk or water-based kefir, in our opinion, works best as a “probiotic supplement” when consumed first thing in the morning or 2-3 hours before or after meals. We recommend consuming it in small shot glass size amounts if you’re new to drinking it, then eventually increase amount.

Both varieties, however, can also be added to blended drinks and protein shakes mixed with other superfoods or ingredients.