Balloon Race: Superfoods (public)
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Foodalternative nameEVIDENCEconditionHEALTH CONDITIONTYPEOne to watchPOPULARITYNO OF STUDIES WE EXAMINEDSCIENTIFIC INTERESTUNUSEDnotesExcludenotesCochrane systematic reviewOther International review board or metastudyLink to main individual studyno. of studies in Cochrane metastudy% positive studies / trialsno. of studies in metastudyyear(s) of metastudyNo. of individual studies / reviewsN positive studies / trialsmain study sourceLink to individual studyLink to individual studyLink to individual studyLink to individual studyLink to individual studyLink to individual studyLink to individual studyLink to individual studyLink to individual studyLink to individual study
0 = no evidence, 1,2 = slight, 3 = conflicting or moderate, 4 = promising, 5 = good, 6 = strong our score (the higher the better)appears inside the bubblethe type of conditionwhat type of substance is this?few studies / trials but positive potentialsquare root of google hits (used to scale the bubbles) - "food + health"can also mean no data on no. of papers in a reviewsquare root of Google Scholar hits - "food + health"every day languageShow this item in the viz?medical language (i.e, those that are not systematic or other reviews). N trials showing benefit in areas tested (p<.05). 0.5 = significant results in some areas but not others
açaí berry0cancer preventioncancerfruit4382028No human trials. Cell studies show strong anti-oxidant effects - but that's a long way from being "anti-cancer" in humans.No human trials, but in vitro studies suggest acai berries exhibit significantly high antioxidant capacity in vitro, and therefore may have possible health benefits.0No human trialsin vitro studies:
açaí berry0weight controlgeneral healthfruit4382028Acai berries are widely marketed for weight loss despite no definitive scientific evidence. Institutes of Health
alfalfa0general health, cardiogeneral health, cardiovegetableOTW30890152Showing some potential, especially for cardiovascular health. No evidence as yet.2011: Medicago sativa (alfalfa) seems to hold great potential for in-depth investigation for various biological activities, especially their effects on central nervous and cardiovascular system. and Sharma 2011
almonds5cholesterol, general healthcardio, general healthnut / seed378211131 Almonds consistently lower "bad" (LDL) cholestrol in healthy individuals, and those with high cholesterol and diabetes. (Berryman et al 2011)Consumption of tree nuts has been shown to reduce low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C), a primary target for coronary disease prevention, by 3-19%. Almonds have been found to have a consistent LDL-C-lowering effect in healthy individuals, and in individuals with high cholesterol and diabetes. (Berryman et al 2011) et al 2011
amaranth3cholesterol cardio grain / pulse15810101The bulk of the research has been in animal studies. The Amaranth grain does contain potentially beneficial medicinal compound in varying amounts. Results: inconclusive.2012: Although the great majority of the research about the beneficial functions and actions of amaranth has been conducted in experimental animal models, there are compounds in the grain with potentially beneficial medicinal properties present in the various fractions. 2009: Conclusion: results positive but cannot be attributed to amaranth alone. and Amaya-Farfán 2012 studies:
amla berryaamla berry, Indian gooseberry, Phyllanthus emblica1oxidative stress in people with kidney failuregeneral health, urinaryfruitOTW871127Patients with uremia (a side effect of kidney failure) benefited slightly from a 4-month amla-berry supplement for 4 months (changed one sign of cell damage in the blood). But no significant differences were observed in liver function, kidney function, diabetic and cardiovascular risk..2009: In patients with uremia (a side effect of kidney failure), supplementation with amla extract for 4 months reduced one blood marker of oxidative stress and increased total antioxidant status of the blood. But there were no significant differences observed in liver function, kidney function, diabetic index and cardiovascular risk factors. et al 2009
anisestar anise1period painwomenherb / spiceOTW19441160 et al 2009
apple cider vinegar1weight loss, diabetesweight control, diabetesplant extract2419479 et al 2005
apples3many conditionsgeneral healthfruit383413701Beneficial effects on cancer risk, cardiovascular disease, asthma, and Alzheimer's disease. Compounds called "polyphenols" may positively influence on levels of fat in the blood and blood pressure. Some apple varieties may be better than others. However, firm conclusions cannot be drawn. 2011: Beneficial effects on risk, markers, and etiology of cancer, cardiovascular disease, asthma, and Alzheimer's disease. 2010: Polyphenols in apples may have a positive influence on blood lipid parameters and blood pressure in humans. However, firm conclusions cannot be made. Apple polyphenolics' are extracted from the peels and then concentrated for usage in supplements, and benefits seen with isolated phenolics may not apply to moderate fruit consumption. 2004: Apples may play a large role in reducing the risk of a wide variety of chronic disease. 2012: the effects may differ by variety. and Liu 2004
artichoke1digestiondigestionvegetableOTW23321171 2012
asparagus1cancer preventioncancervegetableOTW70852187 et al 2010
aubergine0cholesterolcardiovegetable31104103ça et al 2004
avocado1cancer preventioncancerfruitOTW98442185 et al 2006
barley6cholesterolcardiograin / pulse8939126416Three grams of the sugars oats & barley (beta-glucans) per day lowers blood total cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein, and triglycerides. The average reduction in total cholesterol in the studies examined was 0.6 mmol/L.2011: Consuming 3 grams of the beta-glucan (sugars) in oats & barley per day lowers blood cholesterol. and Cummins 2011
barleygrass juice0all conditionsgeneral healthplant extract1414026No human trialsNo human trials0No human trials
beetroot4blood pressurecardio, menvegetableOTW30484131In trials, nitrates in beetroot, beetroot-juice and beetroot-enriched bread all lowered blood pressure in the 24 hours after consumption. Some studies show an effect in men, but not women. The nitrates in beetroot have been shown to lower blood pressure in trials. 2012: beetroot juice or beetroot-enriched bread both lowered blood pressure over the 24 hours after consumption in a near dose-dependent manner. 2010: beetroot juice decreased blood pressure in male volunteers, with higher baseline blood pressure and lower plasma nitrite concentrations, but not in female volunteers. et al 2012
beetroot juice4exercise endurancecardioplant extractOTW619432 et al 2011
black tea1cancer preventioncancerplant extract117471665Highly conflicting evidence on cancer (some studies suggest benefits, others report no effects). Black tea does contain antioxidants but green tea has more - and besides the 'take antioxidants' to improve your health theory has largely been disproved. Why not make yourself a nice cup of tea while you think about this?Several studies have explored a possible association between regular consumption of black tea and rates of cancer in populations. This research has yielded conflicting results, with some studies suggesting benefits, and others reporting no effects. Laboratory and animal studies report that components of tea, such as polyphenols, have antioxidant properties and effects against tumors. However, effects in humans remain unclear, and these components may be more common in green tea rather than in black tea. Some animal and laboratory research suggests that components of black tea may be carcinogenic, although effects in humans are not clear. Overall, the relationship of black tea consumption and human cancer remains undetermined.
black tea2stressmental healthplant extract117470665Based on early research, black tea may reduce stress and help patients feel more relaxed. Of course, high doses of caffeine have been linked to anxiety.Based on early research, black tea may reduce stress and help patients feel more relaxed. More research is needed to confirm these findings. It should be noted that high doses of caffeine have been linked to anxiety.
blackcurrants2cancer, heart disease preventiongeneral health, ageingfruitOTW1666081Some of the natural compounds in berries have been linked to delaying the onset of aging. Their antioxidant effects may help human health, but no link has been scientifically proven. Cell studies show anti-cancer effects. But no human evidence.2010: Compounds that may delay the onset of aging is receiving intense research attention; some berry phenolics are being associated with this functional performance. 2007: Antioxidant activity of berry phenolics, in addition to other mechanisms, may contribute to human health, but possible relationship yet to be scientifically substantiated. 2005: Some berry constituents have been proven to have cancer preventive actions on chemically induced tumors in vivo and cancer suppressive effects in in vitro studies.ópez et al 2010
bladderwrack (seaweed)Fucus vesiculosus 1menstrual healthwomenalga573130Appears to have hormonal effects. In a small case-report (not placebo controlled) intake of bladderwrack significantly increased menstrual cycle length (by 5.5-14 days). More and larger studies are needed to establish this. Bladderwrack is a good source of iodine (the mineral needed for thyroid health).Appears to have hormonal effects. 2004 case report of three women, not placebo controlled: intake of bladderwrack was associated with significant increases in menstrual cycle length (of 5.5-14 days). In one woman, the seaweed appeared to lower oestrogen levels and increase progesterone levels, but larger studies are needed to establish this. Bladderwrack is also a good source of iodine (the mineral needed for proper thyroid function). 2004
bladderwrack and rockweedAscophyllum nodosum and Fucus vesiculosus1insulin responsediabetesalga23618Ingesting capsules containing a mix of two brown seaweeds after a high-carb bread snack affected insulin but not glucose levels.2011: Ingesting capsules containing a mixture of two brown seaweeds improved insulin response but not glucose response following a high-carb bread snack, compared to placebo. 2011
blueberries2cancer, heart disease preventiongeneral health, cancer, cardiofruit51814183Some compounds in berries have been linked to delaying the onset of aging. Their antioxidant effects may help human health, but no link has been scientifically proven. Cell studies show anti-cancer effects. No human trials.2010: Compounds that may delay the onset of aging is receiving intense research attention; some berry phenolics are being associated with this functional performance. 2007: Antioxidant activity of berry phenolics, in addition to other mechanisms, may contribute to human health, but possible relationship yet to be scientifically substantiated. 2005: Some berry constituents have been proven to have cancer preventive actions on chemically induced tumors in vivo and cancer suppressive effects in in vitro studies.ópez et al 2010
brazil nuts4cholesterol, general healthcardio, general healthnut / seed1519299Brazil nuts improved the level of fats in the blood of obese adolescents, possibly due to its high level of unsaturated fats and other bioactive substances.This review includes multiple studies that find promising results for tree nuts (but not conclusive evidence). 2011: Brazil nuts intake improved the lipid profile and microvascular function in obese adolescents, possibly due to its high level of unsaturated fatty acids and bioactive substances. et al 2011
broccoli3cancer preventioncancervegetableOTW969011205Eating broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower and other cruciferous vegetables is related to decreased risk of bladder cancer. No effect seen for colorectal cancer. 2012: Cruciferous vegetable intake is related to decreased risk of bladder cancer in meta-analysis. 2009: The way in which compounds exert protective effect is unproven. 2006: review of studies did not find anticancer effect on colo-rectal cancer., 2009,
1Liu et al 2013
broccoli sprouts4stomach cancer preventioncancervegetable19853148The compound "sulforaphane" found in broccoli sprouts kills the bacterium Helicobacter pylori – a major cause of stomach cancer – after daily intake for 8 weeks. 2009: The compound sulforaphane in broccoli spouts kills the bacterium Helicobacter pylori, which is strongly associated with stomach cancer. 48 H. Pylori infected patients fed with broccoli sprouts daily for 8 weeks showed reduced signs of infection and gastric inflammation compared to placebo. 2004: Consumption of oral broccoli sprouts was temporally associated with eradication of H. pylori infection in three of nine patients. 2004: one week intake of broccoli sprouts improved cholesterol metabolism and decreased oxidative stress markers. 2001: The glucosinolates and isothiocyanates in broccoli sprouts protect animals against chemically induced cancer. et al 2009 study:
buckwheat1diabetesdiabetesgrain / pulseOTW36151181 and Zhang 2001
burdock rootArctium lappa0general healthgeneral healthvegetableOTW1100099Used in traditional Chinese medicine. Contains several compounds that may boost skin blood circulation, improve skin texture and quality and help cure eczema. No human trials yet. Used in traditional Chinese medicine. 2011: No human trials yet, but burdock root contains active ingredients that may promote blood circulation to the skin surface, improve the skin quality/texture and curing skin diseases like eczema. Antioxidants and antidiabetic compounds have also been found in the root. et al 2011
butternut squash0general healthgeneral healthvegetable3063081No human trials0no studies
cabbage 3cancer preventioncancervegetableOTW917611244Eating broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower and other cruciferous vegetables is related to decreased risk of bladder cancer. No effect seen for colorectal cancer. Cruciferous vegetable intake is related to decreased risk of bladder cancer. Studies did not find anticancer effect on colo-rectal cancer.,2009
1Liu et al 2013
camu camumyrciaria dubia, camucamu, cacari, camocamo1oxidative stressgeneral health, cancerfruitOTW1,304127Very high in vitamin C. But a single study of smokers suggests its powerful anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory effects may be due to other substances in the fruit.2008: 70ml of camu-camu juice per day, containing 1050mg vitamin C, or just 1050mg vitamin C (control) given to 20 male smokers for 7 days. Oxidative stress and inflammatory markers decreased significantly in the camu-camu group, while there was no change in the vitamin C group. Camu-camu juice may have powerful anti-oxidative and anti-inflammatory properties, compared to vitamin C tablets containing equivalent vitamin C content. These effects may be due to the existence of unknown anti-oxidant substances besides vitamin C or unknown substances modulating in vivo vitamin C kinetics in camu-camu. et al 2008
carob0cancer preventioncancernut / seedOTW30760119Lab trials show carob extract can protect human colon cells from DNA damage. But no trials on humans yet.No human trials, but in vitro trials show carob extract can protect human colon cell lines from DNA damage. et al 2009
cashew nuts4cholesterol, general healthcardio, general healthnut / seed47631173 et al 2011
cherries2general healthgeneral healthfruitOTW73961185Cherries are nutritionally rich. In lab and animal studies, show antioxidant and anti-cancer effects. But human studies are needed. Cherries, and in particular sweet cherries, are a nutritionally dense food rich in anthocyanins, quercetin, hydroxycinnamates, potassium, fiber, vitamin C, carotenoids, and melatonin. These constituent nutrients and bioactive food components support the potential preventive health benefits of cherry intake in relation to cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, inflammatory diseases, and Alzheimer's disease. Mechanistically, cherries exhibit relatively high antioxidant activity, low glycemic response, COX 1 and 2 enzyme inhibition, and other anti-carcinogenic effects in vitro and in animal experiments. Well-designed cherry feeding studies are needed to further substantiate any health benefits in humans. et al 2011
chia seedsSalvia hispanica1cardio risk factors, weight lossweight control, cardionut / seed6173526May increase omega 3 levels in older women. Weak evidence for cardio effects. No evidence for weight loss.Two 2012 studies: consumption of milled chia seeds increased levels of two types of omega 3 - ALA and EPA - in postmenopausal women but had no effect on DHA levels, inflammation or other disease risk factors. 2009: 50 g chia seeds per day for 12 weeks raised ALA levels but had no effect on body composition, inflammation, oxidative stress, blood pressure, and lipoproteins among overweight and obese people of both sexes. 2009 review: There is limited evidence supporting the efficacy of Salvia hispanica for any indication; thus far, only two clinical studies have examined the effects of Salvia hispanica on cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk factors (including body weight). One study showed some effects on some CVD risk factors, while the other did not. Neither study showed any effects of Salvia hispanica on weight loss. et al 2009
chlorellaChlorella pyrenoidosa1blood pressurecardioalgaOTW19722151Good source of magnesium and GABA (a chemical with a calming effect on the brain). Has slight lowering effect on blood pressure. More research needed.2009: 20mg of chlorella (a kind of algae) twice a day for 12 weeks significantly decreased systolic blood pressure in people compared with placebo, especially among those already with borderline hypertension. The authors suggest its high GABA levels are related to the BP reduction. Diastolic blood pressure also tended to decrease, but not significantly. 2010: 52 Korean male smokers took 6.3g of chlorella or placebo every day for 6 weeks. Antioxidant status improved. Blood pressure tended to decrease, but not significantly. et al 2009
chocolate, dark4blood pressurecardiograin / pulse6132151502-18 weeks of dark chocolate slightly (but significantly) reduces blood pressure in those with high blood-pressure. Less effect on those with normal blood pressure.Meta-analysis: significant blood pressure-reducing effect of cocoa-chocolate compared with control (mean BP change +/- SE: SBP: -3.2 +/- 1.9 mmHg, P = 0.001; DBP: -2.0 +/- 1.3 mmHg, P = 0.003). However, subgroup meta-analysis was significant only for the hypertensive or prehypertensive subgroups (SBP: -5.0 +/- 3.0 mmHg; P = 0.0009; DBP: -2.7 +/- 2.2 mm Hg, P = 0.01), while BP was not significantly reduced in the normotensive subgroups (SBP: -1.6 +/- 2.3 mmHg, P = 0.17; DBP: -1.3 +/- 1.6 mmHg, P = 0.12). CONCLUSION: dark chocolate is superior to placebo in reducing systolic hypertension or diastolic prehypertension. Flavanol-rich chocolate did not significantly reduce mean blood pressure below 140 mmHg systolic or 80 mmHg diastolic. et al 2010
chocolate, dark2cardiovascular disease, diabetescardio, diabetesgrain / pulseOTW61327150People who eat more chocolate have a lower risk of heart disease (by 37%), stroke (29%) and diabetes. But properly controlled trials needed. It could be something other than the chocolate.A 2011 review of 7 studies including 114,009 participants found 5 of the studies reported a beneficial association between higher levels of chocolate consumption and the risk of cardiometabolic disorders (cardiovascular disease, myocardial infarction, stroke, ischaemic heart disease, heart failure, diabetes, metabolic syndrome). The highest levels of chocolate consumption were associated with a 37% reduction in cardiovascular disease and a 29% reduction in stroke compared with the lowest levels. However, none of these studies was a randomised controlled trial. RCTs are needed to establish this link firmly. et al 2011
cinnamon 2diabetesdiabetesherb / spiceOTW110825195Some individual studies have suggested cinnamon may lower blood glucose. But overall, cinnamon appears not to affect various factors related to diabetes and heart disease. 2008: An analysis of five clinical trials concluded that cinnamon does not appear to affect factors related to diabetes and heart disease. However, some individual studies report positive results. 2011: Cinnamon intake, either as whole cinnamon or as cinnamon extract, results in a statistically significant lowering in fasting blood glucose and intake of cinnamon extract also lowered fasting blood glucose. 2007 review of 3 trials: Cinnamon has a possible modest effect in lowering plasma glucose levels in patients with poorly controlled type 2 diabetes. et al 2008
coconut oilCocos nucifera4weight controlweight controlplant extract52354243Replacing other fats with coconut oil when on a diet can enhance weight loss, spare muscle and reduce hunger.Replacing some fats in the diet with the medium-chain triglycerides in coconut oil when on a low-calorie diet is associated with greater and more rapid weight loss, particularly abdominal weight loss, and may also spare lean muscle mass and reduce feelings of hunger.ção et al 2009
coffee4asthmageneral healthgrain / pulse352287721Modestly improves airway function in people with asthma for up to 4 hours. Some trials used caffeine pills rather than coffee.Caffeine appears to improve airways function modestly, for up to four hours, in people with asthma. Some trials used caffeine pills rather than coffee. review: Caffeine for asthma
coffee2depressionmental health, womengrain / pulse352287721Women who drink more coffee (not decaf) have a lower depression risk. More research needed on whether caffeine prevents depression. A large study of over 50,000 US women followed for 10 years found depression risk decreases with increasing caffeinated coffee consumption. Compared to women drinking less than a cup a week, the risk of developing depression among women consuming 2-3 cups / day was 15% lower and for 4+ cups a day 20% lower. Decaffeinated coffee was not associated with depression risk. Further investigations are needed to confirm this finding and to determine whether usual caffeinated coffee consumption can contribute to depression prevention. et al 2011
coffee3general healthgeneral healthgrain / pulse352281721People who drink more coffee suffer less from diabetes, various cancers, Parkinson's and Alzheimer's. But coffee raises cholesterol and worsens insomnia and some heart problems. Caffeine withdrawal an obvious downside for the addicted. Pregnant and postmenopausal women should avoid drinking too much. 2011 review: coffee consumption inversely correlated with incidence of diabetes mellitus, various cancer lines, Parkinsonism, and Alzheimer's disease. Coffee ameliorates oxidative stress and caffeine and its metabolites help in proper cognitive functionality. Coffee lipid fraction containing cafestol and kahweol act as a safeguard against some malignant cells by modulating the detoxifying enzymes. On the other hand, their higher levels raise serum cholesterol, posing a possible threat to coronary health, for example, myocardial and cerebral infarction (heart attacks and strokes), insomnia, and cardiovascular complications. Caffeine also affects adenosine receptors and its withdrawal is accompanied with muscle fatigue and allied problems in those addicted to coffee. An array of evidence showed that pregnant women or those with postmenopausal problems should avoid excessive consumption of coffee because of its interference with oral contraceptives or postmenopausal hormones. and Sultan 2011
coffeecaffeine3Alzheimer's, dementiamental healthgrain / pulse3522813721Those with a higher caffeine intake appear have a lower risk of developing Alzheimer's and other dementias. But more research needed to establish causality.2010 meta analysis: The summary relative risk (RR) for the association between caffeine intake and different measures of cognitive impairment/decline was 0.84. A trend towards a protective effect of caffeine found, but large methodological heterogeneity across a still limited number of epidemiological studies. 2011 review: Many research investigations, epidemiological studies, and meta-analyses regarding coffee consumption revealed its inverse correlation with that of diabetes mellitus, various cancer lines, Parkinsonism, and Alzheimer's disease. 2010: AD mice given caffeine in their drinking water from young adulthood into older age showed protection against memory impairment and lower brain levels of the abnormal protein (amyloid-beta; Abeta) thought to be central to AD pathogenesis. et al 2010
cordyceps sinensisophiocordyceps sinensis, caterpillar fungus, yartsa gunbu, yatsa gunbu, Dōng chóng xià cǎo, bailing4kidney healthurinaryfungus940462A fungus that grows on moth larvae – yum. Regular supplementation improves some aspects of kidney health among transplant patients or those with kidney disease.A fungus that parasitizes the larvae of ghost moths and produces a fruiting body valued as an herbal remedy. 2002: cordyceps powder with artemisinin effective at treating symptoms of lupus nephritis, an inflammation of the kidneys. 2004: cordyceps as dry powder capsules positively affected numerous markers of kidney and blood health among kidney transplant patients and incidence of infection was significantly lower. 2008: bailing (fermented cordyceps) and enalapril together improved markers of kidney health after kidney transplants better than either treatment alone. But bailing performed better than control (control group given other immunosuppressive agents). 2009: 1g cordyceps 3 times a day improved some markers of kidney health among kidney transplant patients but not others. May be effective at reducing incidence of chronic allograft nephropathy. et al 2009
cranberry productscranberry juice, cranberries1urinary tract infectionsurinary, womenplant extract473624166Cranberry juice doesn't prevent painful urinary tract infections. In trials many people stopped drinking it. Cranberry tablets and capsules also ineffective.In a 2012 review of 24 studies (4473 participants) comparing cranberry products with control or alternative treatments, there was a small trend towards fewer UTIs in people taking cranberry product compared to placebo or no treatment but this was not a significant finding. Many people in the studies stopped drinking the juice, suggesting it may not be a acceptable intervention. Cranberry juice does not appear to have a significant benefit in preventing UTIs and may be unacceptable to consume in the long term. Cranberry products (such as tablets or capsules) were also ineffective (although had the same effect as taking antibiotics), possibly due to lack of potency of the 'active ingredient'. The Cochrane review of cranberry products for the treatment of UTIs found no suitable studies. review: Cranberries for preventing urinary tract infections
dandeliondandelion soup1tonsilitisinfectionsvegetable28091151Dandelion soup + penicillin more effective for tonsilitis than penicillin alone.Tan 2010, reported in Cochrane review: Compound dandelion soup and sodium penicillin was more effective than sodium penicillin alone for acute purulent tonsillitis (Tan 2010). Eighteen participants out of 50 (36%) recovered in the compound dandelion soup group, while five recovered in the control group (10%). review: Chinese medicinal herbs for sore throat
dulsePalmaria palmata, sea lettuce flakes0all conditionsgeneral healthalgaOTW733248A potential source of antioxidants. Very high in potassium - one woman with kidney problems was hospitalized after eating dulse. No human trials yet.No human trials, but has been investigated in the lab as a source of antioxidants. It is very high in potassium, and a case was recorded of a woman with kidney problems being admitted to hospital as a result. et al 2010 (case report)
ecklonia cava seaweed2cholesterol, weight lossweight control, cardioalgaOTW36527012 weeks of either seaweed or extract reduces body weight and fat, and improves various cardio measures including cholesterol. Polyphenols may be active compounds. Larger studies needed. 2012: After 12 weeks of supplementation with a polyphenol extract from Ecklonia cava at either a low (72 mg/day) or high (144mg / day) dose, both dosage groups showed significant decreases in BMI, body fat ratio, waist circumference, waist/hip ratio, total cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, total cholesterol/high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol and atherogenic index (AI) compared with the placebo group. A second 2012 pilot study found 400mg a day for 12 weeks in individuals with high cholesterol reduced hip circumference and lowered total cholesterol, LDL-C, and C-reactive protein (an inflammation marker). et al 2012
ecklonia cava seaweed1blood pressurecardioalgaOTW365170A high dose of a polyphenol extract from seaweed for 12 weeks lowered blood pressure. A lower dose did not.2012: 144mg of a polyphenol extract from Ecklonia cava every day for 12 weeks lowered systolic blood pressure compared to placebo among overweight male and female adults (average age 40.5), but a lower dose (72 mg / day) did not. et al 2012
eggshen's eggs, chicken's eggs4appetiteweight controlanimal product156204938Can reduce hunger, reduce food intake and regulate blood glucose and insulin levels for up to 36 hours. Particularly effective if eaten for breakfast. Eating eggs, particularly for breakfast, may keep you feeling fuller for longer – reducing feelings of hunger over the next 4-36 hours – and may also reduce food intake and regulate blood glucose and insulin levels. et al 2010
eggshen's eggs, chicken's eggs2eye healthgeneral healthanimal productOTW1562029386 eggs a week may improve eye health. Eggs contain carotenoid compounds needed for good vision.Two carotenoids found in egg yolk, lutein and zeaxanthin, accumulate in the macular retina where they may reduce photostress and reduce the risk of age-related macular degeneration. 2006 /1 : serum zeaxanthin, but not serum lutein, and macular pigment optical density increased in groups of women who 6 eggs a week for 12 weeks. 2006/ 2: in older adults, 5 wk of consuming 1 egg/d significantly increased serum lutein and zeaxanthin concentrations without elevating serum lipids and lipoprotein cholesterol concentrations. et al 2006
eggshen's eggs, chicken's eggs1blood sugar and cardio risk factors in diabetesdiabetes, cardioanimal productOTW156201938In diabetics, a high protein diet with eggs lowers blood pressure, blood sugar and improves other aspects of cardio health better than the same diet without eggs. The cholesterol issue: eggs do raise cholesterol in a small number of people, but not the majority.In a 2011 trial of 65 subjects with type-2 diabetes, those on a high-protein calorie restricted diet including eggs showed improved glycaemic and lipid profiles, blood pressure and lowered apo-B (a measure of heart disease risk) compared to those on the same diet but not including eggs. Background information: most people do not show elevated cholesterol after eating eggs, but a small number of people do (hyper-responders). et al 2011
elderberry1fluinfectionsfruit22272100An elderberry extract called Sambucol may be good for viral influenza. But more rigorous studies are needed.Several in vitro studies together with two exploratory studies in humans and one open study in chimpanzees indicate that the aqueous elderberry extract Sambucol may be useful for the treatment of viral influenza infections. These promising effects of elderberry fruit preparations from experimental and clinical studies should be backed by more rigorous studies before these preparations are recommended in the prevention of diseases and in treatment schedules. et al 2010
elderberry1lipid and antioxidant statuscardiofruit22271100Low doses of an elderberry extract had a minor antioxidant and cholesterol lowering effect.2004: Elderberry spray-dried extract at a low dose exerts a minor effect on serum lipids and antioxidative capacity. et al 2004
elk velvet antlerelk antler velvet0rheumatoid arthritismusculoskeletalanimal product151211Ineffective. Two studies so far show no improvements in joint pain and swelling and other arthritis symptoms after taking velvet antler compared to placebo.2002: among 40 patients with rheumatoid arthritis, elk velvet antler plus standard arthritis medication was safe but did not significantly improve symptoms compared to drugs alone. 2008: no significant differences between groups in symptoms. et al 2008
fennel1digestiondigestionvegetableOTW47061181Plants that have a substantial body of data in support of their digestion-enhancing activities are ginger, peppermint, aniseed and fennel.;year=2009;volume=3;issue=6;spage=346;epage=352;aulast=Garga20121Valussi 2012
fennel1PMSwomenvegetableOTW47061181 et al 2011
figs1cardiovascular disease, cancercardio, cancerfruitOTW43972659 et al
fish oil / omega 34cardiovascular diseasecardioanimal product4637891015Omega 3 fats are found in oily fish and some vegetable oils. Not clear whether omega 3 intake has any effect on heart attack, stroke or cancer risk, or risk of death from any cause. But potent at lowering triglycerides (which increase cardio disease risk) among people with high levels.2009 Cochrane review: it is not clear whether dietary or supplemental omega 3 fats (found in oily fish and some vegetable oils) alter total deaths, cardiovascular events (such as heart attacks and strokes) or cancers in the general population, or in people at risk of, or with, cardiovascular disease. When the analysis was limited to fish-based or plant-based, dietary or supplemental omega 3 fats there was still no evidence of reduction in deaths or cardiovascular events in any group. 2012 meta-analysis: insufficient evidence of a secondary preventive effect of omega-3 fatty acid supplements against overall cardiovascular events among patients with a history of cardiovascular disease. 2012 second meta-analysis: omega-3 PUFA supplementation was not associated with a lower risk of all-cause mortality, cardiac death, sudden death, myocardial infarction, or stroke based on relative and absolute measures of association. 2009 meta-analysis: Fish oil supplementation produces a clinically significant dose-dependent reduction of fasting blood TG but not total, HDL or LDL cholesterol in hyperlipidemic subjects. 2011: both EPA and DHA reduce triglycerides review: Omega 3 fatty acids for prevention and treatment of cardiovascular disease
fish oil / omega 35appetite among cancer patientscanceranimal product4637171015People with advanced cancer benefit from omega 3 supplements. Omega 3 increases weight and appetite, improves quality of life and health after surgery. More than 1.5 grams per day for at least 8 weeks recommended.A 2007 systematic review of 17 studies (8 of high quality) found oral supplements with n-3 fatty acids benefit patients with advanced cancer and weight loss. The advantages observed were: increased weight and appetite, improved quality of life, and reduced post-surgical morbidity. It is recommended to administer > 1.5 g/day for a period of at least 8 weeks. et al 2007
fish oil / omega 31asthmageneral healthanimal product463791015Changing your diet to include more fish oil does not improve asthma.Eating more fish has been recommended as one way of possibly reducing asthma. Populations (such as Eskimo communities) with diets high in fish also have low rates of asthma. As diets in other communities have become higher in saturated fats, asthma has also increased. The theory has been that an ingredient in fish oil may reduce inflammation. Inflammation causes the swelling in the airways of the lungs that leads to asthma attacks. However, this review of trials found that people with asthma changing their diets to include more fish oil did not improve their asthma. review: Dietary marine fatty acids (fish oil) for asthma in adults and children
fish oil / omega 32cognitive function in young peoplemental healthanimal product463781015DHA (a kind of omega 3 fatty acid) may or may not improve aspects of cognitive function among children.2013 review: McNamara et al. (2010) showed in healthy boys (8–10 years old) that only 8 weeks of supplementation with 400 mg (low, normal dose) or 1200 mg (high dose) of DHA per day dose improved reaction time during performance on an attention task. Not all positive effects have been found. In Kennedy et al. (2009), 90 healthy, cognitive intact 10–12 year old children were fed either 400 mg or 1000 mg of DHA per day for 8 weeks, but reported no reliable beneficial effects of these diets on cognitive performance. Karr et al. (2012) assessed the effects of a four week fish oil (480 mg DHA/720 mg EPA) treatment in healthy college-aged individuals on cognitive performance, but reported limited cognitive benefits, although acknowledged that the dose of fish oil may have been sub-therapeutic and sample size too small. and Song 2013
fish oil / omega 31cognitive function in older peoplemental healthanimal product463731015No benefit on cognitive function among healthy older people without dementia. But DHA supplements may improve learning and memory among people already showing signs of age-related cognitive decline.Cochrane review of 3 high-quality studies: No benefit for cognitive function with omega-3 PUFA supplementation among cognitively healthy older people. 2010 paper (not included in Cochrane review): some benefit of DHA supplementation on learning and memory function among people already showing signs of age-related cognitive decline. review: Fish oils for the prevention of dementia in older people
fish oil / omega 33colorectal cancercanceranimal product4637151015People who consume the most fish oil seem to have a lower risk of developing colorectal cancer (around 12-34% lower than those who consume the least). But more research needed to establish whether the link is causal.2007 meta analysis of population cohort studies: pooled relative risks for colorectal cancer 12% lower (relative risk of 0.88) for the highest as compared to the lowest fish consumption category. The pooled relative risks were 22% lower for women and 6% lower for men. Another large 2007 Scottish study, tracked c1500 people, 1999-2006: dose-dependent risk reduction. Highest fish oil consumers showed 34% lower risk of colorectal cancer compared to lowest quartile. et al 2007,_n_3_fatty_acids_and_human_colorectal_and.8.aspx
flax seeds3cardiovascular disease, blood pressurecardionut / seed46010179 Institutes of Health
flax seeds3constipationdigestionnut / seed46010179Contain soluble fiber and may have a laxative effect.Flaxseed contains soluble fiber and may have a laxative effect. Institutes of Health
flax seeds3menopausal hot flusheswomennut / seed46010179 Institutes of Health
flax seeds1breast cancerwomennut / seed46011179In a single study, flaxseed muffins reduced some markers of cancer cell death in breast cancer patients. It has the potential to reduce tumor growth - but more and larger studies needed.2005 study of 32 participants: Dietary flaxseed reduced some markers of cancer cell death and has the potential to reduce tumor growth in patients with breast cancer. et al 2005
fruit + veg, all types3cancer preventioncancerfruit30790121369Contrary to popular belief, eating fruit and vegetables has little effect on overall cancer risk. But specific groups of vegetables may protect against particular cancer types. Contrary to popular belief, evidence suggests eating fruit and vegetables has little effect on overall cancer risk. 2011 review: 'The possibility that fruit and vegetables may help to reduce the risk of cancer has been studied for over 30 years, but no protective effects have been firmly established..' An analysis (Boffetta et al, 2010) involving 142 605 men and 335 873 women over 1992-2000 found that high fruit and vegetable intake lowers cancer risk only by a small amount: around 1-3%. The study found a stronger reduction in risk in heavy drinkers, confined to cancers caused by smoking and alcohol. However, consumption of specific groups of vegetables and fruits may protect against subtypes of esophageal and gastric cancer. For example, the risk of developing a type of oesophageal cancer dropped by 19% per 25g/day of raw vegetables consumed, and brassica vegetable consumption was associated with lowered risk of a type of stomach cancer. et al 2010
garlic6blood pressurecardiovegetable1395011247Lowers blood pressure, especially in people with high blood pressure.A 2008 meta-analysis suggests garlic is particularly effective at lowering blood pressure among people with high, rather than normal, blood pressure. Average reduction vs placebo among all participants: 4.6 mm Hg systolic, diastolic not significant. But among people with hypertension, 8.4 mm Hg systolic, 7.3 mm Hg diastolic. et al 2008
garlic aged garlic extract0.5cancer treatmentcancervegetable139501247Aged garlic extract increased natural killer cell activity but did not improve quality of life in patients with advanced gastric cancer.In a randomized double-blind trial, administration of aged garlic extract to 50 patients with advanced cancer of the digestive system improved natural-killer cell activity, but caused no improvement in quality of life. et al 2006
garlic 2cancer preventioncancervegetable1395022247Eating more garlic is associated with lower cancer risk, especially for stomach and intestinal cancers. However, the link may or may not be causal. More research needed.Preliminary studies suggest that garlic consumption may reduce the risk of developing several types of cancer, especially cancers of the gastrointestinal tract. Several population studies show an association between increased intake of garlic and reduced risk of certain cancers, including cancers of the stomach, colon, esophagus, pancreas, and breast. Most of the studies evaluated different types of garlic preparations and used them in varying amounts. If garlic consumption does reduce the risk of developing cancer, the amount needed to lower risk remains unknown. Cancer Institute
garlic 2coldsinfectionsvegetable139501247Insufficient evidence from clinical trials on whether garlic can prevent or treat colds. Much evidence poor quality.There is insufficient clinical trial evidence regarding the effects of garlic in preventing or treating the common cold. A single trial suggested that garlic may prevent occurrences of the common cold but more studies are needed to validate this finding. Claims of effectiveness appear to rely largely on poor-quality evidence. review: Garlic for the common cold
ginger3morning sicknesswomenherb / spice1314927217Ginger products may be helpful to women, but evidence of effectiveness limited and not consistent. The use of ginger products may be helpful to women, but the evidence of effectiveness was limited and not consistent. review: Interventions for nausea and vomiting in early pregnancy
goji berry wolfberry1eye healthgeneral healthfruitOTW2047225High in antioxidants needed for good vision. Goji supplements for 90 days increase blood levels of these antioxidants and improves some measures of eye health. More trials needed.2011: Goji berry (Lycium barbarum L.) is purported to benefit vision because of its high antioxidant (especially zeaxanthin) content, although this effect has not been demonstrated in high-quality human studies. Daily dietary supplementation with goji berry for 90 days increases plasma zeaxanthin and antioxidant levels as well as protects from hypopigmentation and soft drusen accumulation in the macula of elderly subjects. However, the mechanism of action is unclear, given the lack of relationship between change in plasma zeaxanthin and change in macular characteristics. 2005: Epidemiological studies provide some evidence that an increased consumption of lutein and zeaxanthin with the diet is associated with a lowered risk for age-related macular degeneration, a disease with increasing incidence in the elderly. 2005b: 2005: Zeaxanthin in whole wolfberries is bioavailable and that intake of a modest daily amount markedly increases fasting plasma zeaxanthin levels. et al 2011
goji berry wolfberry0general health, longevitygeneral health, ageingfruitOTW2047225Used in traditional Chinese medicine. Clinical studies lacking.2010: In view of the available pharmacological data and the long tradition of use in the traditional Chinese medicine, L. barbarum and L. chinense certainly deserve further investigation. However, clinical evidences and rigorous procedures for quality control are indispensable before any recommendation of use can be made for Goji products. 2010
grapefruit2weight loss, cardiovascular healthweight control, cardiofruitOTW68703195May provide small boost to weight loss when eaten before meals. Fruit or juice had negligible effect on blood pressure and cholesterol in a single study.Two recent studies suggest eating grapefruit or consuming grapefruit juice has a small, nonsignificant effect on body weight, lipids (cholesterol), and blood pressure. A 2006 study showed half of a fresh grapefruit eaten before meals was associated with significant weight loss. In metabolic syndrome patients the effect was also seen with grapefruit products. Insulin resistance was improved with fresh grapefruit. 2012: grapefruit should be further evaluated in the context of obesity and cardiovascular disease prevention. et al 2012
grapes4cardiovascular diseasecardiofruit93173281Emerging evidence of protective effect against cardiovascular disease. Perhaps due to polyphenols.2009: Studies in humans support beneficial effects, perhaps due to polyphenols. 2008: In animal and human studies, grape products have been shown to produce hypotensive, hypolipidaemic and anti-atherosclerotic effects. 2008: Mounting evidence that grape extracts afford some protection against CVD.érez-Jiménez and Saura-Calixto
green coffee beans3high blood pressurecardiograin / pulseOTW2,709432Green (unroasted) coffee appears to lower blood pressure while ordinary roasted coffee does not. The more green coffee is drunk, the larger the effect. Why? The BP-lowering effects of beneficial acids in green coffee seem to be inhibited by other compounds produced during the roasting process.2005: blood pressure among 117 male volunteers with mild hypertension was significantly reduced over 28 days in a dose-related manner by daily green coffee bean extract. 2006: 140 mg / day chlorogenic acids from green coffee beans reduced blood pressure among 28 men with mild hypertension. 2008: hydroxyhydroquinone (HHQ), produced by roasting green coffee beans, may inhibit the antihypertensive effect of chlorogenic acids in brewed coffee. But this study showed reducing HHQ had no effect on blood pressure. 2008: reduced HHQ coffee did lower blood pressure in a dose-dependent manner compared to ordinary coffee. et al 2008
green tea3cancer preventioncancerplant extract1319151732Conflicting evidence on whether it reduces cancer risk. But appears to be safe to drink moderately and regularly.In a Cochrane review of 51 mainly observational studies with more than 1.6 million participants, the evidence that the consumption of green tea might reduce the risk of cancer was conflicting. This means, that drinking green tea remains unproven in cancer prevention, but appears to be safe at moderate, regular and habitual use. review: Green tea for the prevention of cancer
green tea2cholesterolcardioplant extract131913732High green tea consumption associated with very slightly lower total cholesterol among middle-aged Japanese people. Green tea extract enriched with a polyphenol compound called theaflavin may lower total cholesterol and 'bad' cholesterol.2002: Consumption of green tea was associated with lower serum concentration of total cholesterol in 13,916 Japanese healthy workers age 40-69 years. The difference was tiny but still significant. However, green tea consumption was unrelated to serum HDL-cholesterol and triglycerides. 2003: The theaflavin-enriched green tea extract for 12 weeks reduced total cholesterol and LDL-C in adults with high cholesterol on a low-fat diet, compared to placebo. et al 2002
hawthorncrataegus spp.5chronic heart failurecardiofruit275510104Hawthorn extract made from dried hawthorn improved heart function and symptoms of heart failure in patients with chronic heart failure. Appears beneficial when used in on top of existing treatment.2009 Cochrane review: Hawthorn extract (made from the dried leaves, flowers and fruits of the hawthorn bush) may be used as an oral treatment option for chronic heart failure. In this review, 14 double-blind, placebo controlled randomised clinical trials (RCTs) were found. They did not all measure the same outcomes and several did not explain what other heart failure treatments patients were receiving. Those trials (10 trials, 855 patients) that could be included in a meta-analysis showed improvements in heart failure symptoms and in the function of the heart. The results, therefore, are suggestive of a benefit from hawthorn extract used in addition to conventional treatments for chronic heart failure. review: Hawthorn extract for treating chronic heart failure
hawthorncrataegus spp.3blood pressurecardiofruit27553104A small number of studies suggest hawthorn extract may modestly lower blood pressure.2006 RCT: 1200mg hawthorn extract per day lowered blood pressure among patients with type 2 diabetes already taking blood pressure-lowering drugs better than placebo. The reduction in diastolic BP was 2.6 mmHg. There was no reduction in systolic BP above placebo. 2005: Korodin Herz-Kreislauf-Tropfen, a herbal drug containing D-camphor (2.5 %) & fresh hawthorn berries extract (97.3%), was found effective & safe in the treatment of orthostatic hypotension for all age groups (11-102 yrs) in 490 patients & independent of initial blood pressures. Asgary 2004: Administration of a hydroalcoholic extract of Iranian Crataegus curvisepala, a species of hawthorn, in total of 92 men and women with primary mild hypertension, aged 40-60 years, 3 times daily for more than 4 months showed a decrease in both systolic and diastolic BP after 3 months. et al 2006
hazelnuts4cholesterol, general healthcardio, general healthnut / seed35710141 et al 2011
hemp seeds3cardiovascular diseasecardionut / seed1451055Questions remain regarding the cardiovascular effects of hemp seed.There remain many questions regarding the cardiovascular effects of hemp seed that demand scientific answers in order to definitively establish this food as a preventive or therapeutic dietary intervention. and Pierce 2010
honey3cardio risk factors, inflammationcardioanimal product150673515Honey may lower cholesterol and positively affect other cardio risk factors. Also reduces markers of inflammation during cycle training.2010 review: 2 studies show honey (compared to sucrose) ameliorates cardiovascular risk factors, including lowering cholesterol, in healthy individuals and in patients with elevated risk factors. 2012 paper: Honey reduces inflammatory markers during cycling training. et al 2010
honey2coughs in childreninfectionsanimal product150672515May be better at relieving coughs than nothing. But not better than standard cough suppressant drugs. No strong evidence for or against use. Trials at high risk of bias.2012 Cochrane review of two trials involving 265 children with high risk of bias. Honey may be better than 'no treatment' and diphenhydramine in the symptomatic relief of cough but not better than dextromethorphan. There is no strong evidence for or against the use of honey. review: Honey for acute cough in children
honey5antimicrobial activityinfectionsanimal product150672515Kills infections when applied directly to wounds. Also promotes healing when eaten by killing bacteria and controlling inflammation. New Zealand manuka honey the best.2011 review: As well as having antimicrobial action when applied directly to wounds (there is strong evidence for this), honey also promotes healing when ingested and shows antibacterial action by decreasing prostaglandin levels, elevating nitric oxide levels, and exerting prebiotic effects. These factors play a major role in controlling inflammation and promoting microbial control and healing processes. 2010 review: New Zealand manuka honey shows the greatest antibacterial activity. et al 2011
horsetailEquisetum arvense, shavegrass, common horsetail, field horsetail, tsukushi1osteoporosismusculoskeletalvegetableOTW1162151Contains silicon, a mineral needed for bone health. Menopausal women treated with dried extract improved bone density, especially when horsetail taken with calcium.Contains silicon, a mineral needed for bone health. 1999: menopausal women treated with titrated dry horsetail extract for 40 or 80 days showed improved bone density above placebo. Improvements were enhanced when the women took horsetail in combination with calcium. 1999
kimchi1body weight, metabolic parametersweight control, cardiomicrobeOTW14141120A Korean fermented vegetable condiment. One trial showed fermented kimchi better than fresh kimchi at lowering blood pressure, blood sugar, cholesterol and body fat in overweight people. More trials needed.Kimchi is a Korean fermented vegetable condiment. 2011: Twenty-two overweight and obese patients were randomly assigned to two 4-week diet phases separated by a 2-week washout period (crossover design). During each diet phase, the subjects consumed either fresh or fermented kimchi. The ingestion of fermented kimchi had positive effects on various factors associated with metabolic syndrome, including systolic and diastolic blood pressures, percent body fat, fasting glucose, and total cholesterol, compared with the fresh kimchi. These results suggest that the maturity of kimchi (fresh vs fermented) may affect obesity, lipid metabolism, and inflammatory processes. et al 2011
kiwi2cardiovascular disease, cancercardio, cancerfruit89113184 and Jørgensen 2004
krill oil1PMSwomenanimal product16401960Might ease premenstrual cramps and emotional symptoms. In a study of 70 subjects with PMS, it was found that Neptune Krill Oil can significantly reduce dysmenorrhea and the emotional symptoms of premenstrual syndrome and is shown to be significantly more effective for the complete management of premenstrual symptoms compared to omega-3 fish oil. et al 2003
krill oil1arthritismusculoskeletalanimal product16401960One study showed 300mg a day appeared to reduce inflammation and soothe arthritis symptoms after 7 days. More studies needed.2007: 90 patients with rheumatoid arthritis or osteoarthritis or cardio disease took 300mg Neptune krill oil per day. C-reactive protein scores, a marker of inflammation, dropped by c.20% after 7 days rising to c. 30% after 30 days of treatment. Krill oil appeared to reduce inflammation. Pain, stiffness and joint impairment also improved significantly among in the arthritis patients. 2007
leek2stomach cancer preventioncancervegetable383521182High consumption of allium vegetables (onions, leeks, garlic) apparently linked to reduced stomach cancer risk. Further studies needed to rule out other factors.2011: In a meta-analysis, consumption of high levels of allium vegetables reduced the risk for gastric cancer risk. Because of potential confounding factors and exposure misclassification, further studies are required to establish this association. 2004: Although there is a large body of evidence, they are still speculative, and further research is needed., 2004Zhou et al 2011
lemon3cancer preventioncancerfruit180289287Eating citrus fruit appears to decrease stomach, perhaps pancreatic, but not prostate cancer risk.Eating citrus fruit appears to decrease stomach, perhaps pancreatic, but not prostate cancer risk. et al 2009
longan fruitDimocarpus longan, Dragon Eyes, Euphoria Longan1weight controlweight controlfruit20321123Traditionally used as a tonic and treatment for forgetfulness, insomnia, or palpitations caused by fright. Lab and animal studies it may protect brain cells and improve cognition. One human trial found longan plus other ingredients was effective for weight loss.Traditional usage includes as a tonic and for the treatment of forgetfulness, insomnia, or palpitations caused by fright. In vitro and animal studies suggest it may exhibit neuroprotective effects and improve cognition, but the only human trial investigated longan in combination with several other ingredients as Smilax for weight loss (it was effective). et al 2000
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