Mushrooms boost immunity, suggests research
University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, April 16, 2022
A new University of Florida study shows increased immunity in people who ate a cooked shiitake mushroom every day for four weeks. In a study led by UF Food Science and Human Nutrition , 52 healthy adults, age 21 to 41, came to the Gainesville campus, where researchers gave them a four-week supply of dry shiitake mushrooms. Participants took the mushrooms home, cleaned and cooked them. Then they ate one, 4-ounce serving of mushrooms each day during the experiment. Through blood tests before and after the experiment, researchers saw better-functioning gamma delta T-cells and reductions in inflammatory proteins. If you eat a shiitake mushroom every day, you could see changes in their immune system that are beneficial. "We're enhancing the immune system, but we're also reducing the inflammation that the immune system produces."
Oral milk thistle extract stops colorectal cancer stem cells from growing tumors
University of Colorado, April 22, 2022
In results presented at the American Association for Cancer Research, a University of Colorado Cancer Center study shows that orally administering the chemical silibinin, purified from milk thistle, slows the ability of colorectal cancer stem cells to grow the disease. When stem cells from tumors grown in silibinin-fed conditions were re-injected into new models, the cells failed to develop equally aggressive tumors even in the absence of silibinin. "It's very simple: tumors from mice that were initially fed silibinin had fewer cancer stem cells, were smaller, had lower metabolisms and showed decreased growth of new blood vessels. Importantly, when these cancer stem cells from tumors in mice fed silibinin were re-injected into new mice, we found these stem cells had lost their potential to repopulate even in the absence of silibinin exposure. Silibinin is a non-toxic, potentially chemopreventive agent derived from milk thistle seeds.
Chilli peppers hold promise of preventing liver damage and progression
European Association for the Study of the Liver (Austria), 23 April 2015
Results revealed that the daily consumption of capsaicin, the active compound of chilli peppers, was found to have beneficial effects on liver damage. In the study, capsaicin was found to reduce the activation of hepatic stellate cells (HSCs) in mice models. HSCs are the major cell type involved in liver fibrosis, which is the formation of scar tissue in response to liver damage. The study demonstrates that capsaicin partially improved liver damage in the BDL mice and inhibited further progression of the injury. In the second group of CCl4-treated mice, capsaicin prevented livers from injury development but did not reduce the fibrosis when it was already established.
Compassion meditation reduces 'mind-wandering,' research shows
Stanford University, April 23, 2022
The practice of compassion meditation may be a powerful antidote to a drifting mind, new Stanford research shows.
Compassion meditation focuses on benevolent thoughts toward oneself and others, as the researchers noted. It is different in this aspect than most forms of meditation in the sense that participants are "guided" toward compassionate thoughts. This is the first report that demonstrates that formal compassion training decreases the tendency for the mind to wander, while increasing caring behavior not only towards others but towards oneself. "Mind-wandering" is the experience of having your thoughts not remain on a single topic for long. Prior research suggests that people spend as much as 50 percent of their waking hours in mind-wandering, often without realizing it. Doty said that mindfulness is extremely useful in today's world with its myriad of distractions, as humans are often overwhelmed and can find it difficult to attend to necessary tasks. "By closing one's eyes and engaging in attention training through a mindfulness practice, not only does it diminish the negative physiologic effects of distraction, which can result in anxiety and fear, but it can increase one's ability to attend to important tasks and not have an emotional response to the often negative dialogue which is frequent in many individuals," he said. As the researchers noted, compassion is defined by an awareness of suffering, sympathetic concern and a wish to see the relief of that suffering, and a responsiveness or readiness to help relieve that suffering. The study examined 51 adults during a compassion meditation program, measuring their various states of mind-wandering (neutral, pleasant, and unpleasant topics) and caring behaviors for themselves and others. They were encouraged to meditate at least 15 minutes daily and, if possible, 30 minutes. The results indicated that compassion meditation decreased mind-wandering to neutral topics and increased caring behaviors toward oneself.