EVERYTHING YOU EVER WANTED TO KNOW ABOUT: Milk Thistle
WHAT IT IS: Milk Thistle, or silybum marianum
Milk thistle is a hardy, prickly plant of the thistle family. It grows easily around the world. It is edible and its leaves are often eaten in a manner similar to artichokes. It can also be made into a potent beverage not unlike coffee. Used for more than 2,000 years, milk thistle was once thought to activate lactation (hence the name).
Milk thistle contains a substance, silymarin, which is a uniquely powerful antioxidant. It stores itself in the liver and can prevent and even reverse damage from toxins like alcohol and painkillers.
STUDIES SHOW: Milk thistle is one of the most thoroughly documented nutrients. Numerous studies support the claim that milk thistle can combat toxic damage in the liver from metals, poisons, alcohol, painkillers, pollution and other contaminants. Importantly, milk thistle has been shown to fight free radical damage – in fact, it appears that milk thistle may actually reverse some signs of oxidation in the liver.
Additionally, dozens of studies show that milk thistle can reduce cholesterol as well as inflammation in the liver. Milk thistle has the ability to fight lipid peroxidation, the process which creates cholesterol in the liver.
WHY WE LIKE IT: We like milk thistle because of its unique potential for benefitting the liver. Though known for being susceptible to damage from excess alcohol, the liver is also easily stressed by today’s diet and lifestyle trends (high in sugar, trans fats, free radicals and drugs). Maintaining liver health is crucial for cholesterol production and metabolism, the body’s inflammatory response, and overall health.
Milk thistle can help to reduce cholesterol and fight free radicals in the liver. This humble leaf also offers broad health benefits: helping to heal tissues, protect against further oxidation, and diminish inflammation.
Because we are inundated with free radicals – as Mark says, it’s a free radical minefield out there – it’s vital to supplement the liver with protective nutrients. And milk thistle is among the best sources for supporting liver health.
Worker Bees’ Daily Bites
1. Ririan Rocks
We love how the posts over at Ririan make life so much easier and more productive. Check out the essential tips for good sleep – and we’ll add one to the list…
Spend 5 or 10 minutes before bed doing one of the following:
- Journaling (write your thoughts, your to-do list, your worries, whatever!)
- Prayer or meditation (concentrate on the positive – focus on appreciation)
- Light a candle, take 10 deep breaths, and decide to get a great night’s sleep. You’ll be amazed at how the decision to rack out will really work! (Work up to 20, 30 or more deep breaths before going to sleep.)
2. Allergic? Pour It On
We’ve been noticing a particular allergy hypothesis begining to take hold in the scientific community. Well, actually, Mark has been noticing and pointed it out. Scientists are finding that, in some cases, increased exposure to an allergen seems to be the best way to cure the allergy. Of course, this is not a “do it yourself” experiment; so far, studies have been strictly controlled in labs. The latest study could make a big difference for children’s food allergies. Check it out by jumpin’ on this clickativity.
The Fuming Fuji is outraged at the marketing of toxic food, especially when it’s aimed at the small fry. This week, the Fuming Fuji has decided to have a serious problem with children’s restaurant menus.
But, Fuming Fuji, you ask, kids are so picky – restaurants have to offer what kids will eat, right?
The Fuming Fuji says no!
The claim: Many restaurants offer children’s menus full of deep-fried garbage, with hopes for junior’s imminent obesity.
The comeback: Come on, Fuji! Kids aren’t going to eat chicken parmesan. Food has to be fun for them. Besides, the kids’ menu is cheaper. I don’t want to pay for filet mignon for someone who can’t even spell it.
The conclusion: Fuming Fuji says you should not eat chicken parmesan, either. Yes, food should be fun. So should hospitals, but they are not, especially when you are there for a triple bypass. Fuming Fuji says no price is too high for your child’s health. Also, children learn French spelling quite easily. What restaurant doesn’t offer sides like a small salad, fruit, or steamed veggies? No restaurant you should be in. Kids like these foods and they are healthier than fried cholesterol tenders. Oh, excuse me, fried chicken tenders.
The catchphrase: Tiny tots are not trash compactors.
Disclaimer: Mark Sisson and the Worker Bees do not necessarily endorse the views of the Fuming Fuji. He’s an angry, angry little apple.
WORKER BEES’ DAILY BITES
1) Mistletoe Won’t Cure Anything…But It Still Breaks the Ice
The holiday version of snake oil?
2) Baby Einstein or Go Fish?
Fish oil is superior to both olive oil and annoying videos when it comes to raising smart kids.
This week’s Smart Fuel is a collection of foods that are sulfur-rich. Such foods are excellent for inflammation-related complaints ranging from arthritis to skin rashes. (Sulfur is necessary to help repair and rebuild tissues, bones and cartilage.) These foods are especially great to eat in winter, when both skin and joints can take a beating from changes in air temperate and moisture.
Garlic (fresh only – not chopped, powdered or peeled cloves)
Psst…Another excellent anti-inflammatory food is fresh pineapple. This fibrous fruit contains bromelain (in fact, it’s the only food on earth that does). Bromelain is an enzyme that digests certain proteins. It’s great for helping skin look younger, and it’s also an anti-inflammatory.
Pineapple ranks around 50 on the glycemic index, so it’s not a fruit you should consume too frequently. But, as an alternative to desserts, this is a healthy treat to enjoy during the holidays, when fresh pineapples are often on sale.
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