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Research Finds Bitter Melon Can Kill Cancer Cells And Treat Diabetes

Research Finds Bitter Melon Can Kill Cancer Cells And Treat Diabetes

Diabetes and cancer are two of the most devastating chronic illnesses in America today — and it appears that a small Asian fruit might be able to help treat them both. Read on to find out more about the great benefits you get from bitter melon — and what the latest research is saying.

You Get a Great Combination of Nutrients and Antioxidants

Bitter melon (also called bitter gourd or balsam pear) is a fruit native to Asia, Africa, and the Caribbean and in those regions has been used for thousands of years both as a folk remedy and a food source.  It is in the same family as other super-healthy foods like cucumbers and melons and is loaded with nutrients, including folate, Vitamins A and C, and potassium.  It is also antioxidant-rich, containing both beta-carotene and lutein.  Many researchers believe that it is its unique combination of nutrients that make it effective against both cancer and diabetes.

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You Get Great Anti-Cancer Benefits

The newest study that everyone is talking about is out of the University of Colorado which has been conducting both in vitro (test tube) and in vivo (live animal) studies on the health effects of bitter melon, in this case in regards to pancreatic cancer. Both types of studies have shown that the extract from this melon is able to inhibit the reproduction of cancer cells (which leads to tumor growth) and to induce apotosis (cell death). Scientists believe that it is able to do this through cutting off the supply of glucose to the cancer cells, which they then use as a energy source to grow and spread.

This is great news for patients with pancreatic cancer, which is usually not detected until it is well-advanced and usually has a poor survival rate and few options for treatment.  But pancreatic cancer is not the only form of this disease that bitter melon has proved to be useful at treating.  Breast cancer, one of the most serious health problems facing American women today, has also proven to be effected by bitter melon in past research; studies done on prostate cancer cells have also been promising.

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And because of this ability to regulate glucose and insulin in the body, scientists wondered what its effect would be on diabetics….

You Can Treat Diabetes Naturally, Too

Diabetics, like cancer patients, can also benefit from the use of bitter melon in their diets. It is not just the University of Colorado study which proved its ability to regulate insulin levels — and thus the levels of glucose in the body. A 2008 study published in the journal Chemistry and Biology found that diabetics using bitter melon regularly did exhibit better control of their blood sugars and an increased sensitivity to the action of insulin — in other words, the bitter melon allowed their bodies to use the glucose more efficiently.  A more recent 2011 study which appeared in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology also found that diabetics taking around 2000mg of bitter melon extract daily did display better glycemic control, though this affect was not found to be as strong as the common anti-diabetic drug metformin.

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You Should Talk to a Professional First, Though….

According to the Sloane Kettering Memorial Cancer Center (SMKCC), however, there are some precautions to be aware of before you start taking bitter melon. The most important one is that it should not be taken by women during pregnancy, as it can induce vaginal bleeding, uterine contractions and miscarriage. It should also not be taken along with oral anti-diabetic drugs or insulin, since it can cause blood sugars to drop to a dangerously low levels. Some reactions, including atrial fibrillation, stomach ulcers and allergic reactions have also been reported.

In short, if you are struggling with diabetes or cancer or know someone who is, bitter melon is definitely an herb to investigate. However, it should only be done under the supervision of a doctor or naturopath who is trained in the use of medicinal herbs and can guide you as to dosage and other concerns so that you are taking it safely!

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Brian Wu

Health Writer, Author

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Last Updated on December 9, 2019

5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

Everyone experiences mental stress at one time or another. Maybe you’re starting a new career, job, or business, or you feel incredibly overwhelmed between work, parenting, and your love life (or a lack of it). It could even be that you simply feel that you have way too much to do and not enough time to do it,  plus, on top of everything, nothing seems to be going the way it should!

Yup, we all experience mental stress from time-to-time, and that’s okay as long as you have the tools, techniques and knowledge that allow you to fully relieve it once it comes.

Here are 5 tips for relieving mental stress when it comes so you can function at your best while feeling good (and doing well) in work, love, or life:

1. Get Rationally Optimistic

Mental stress starts with your perception of your experiences. For instance, most people get stressed out when they perceive their reality as “being wrong” in some way. Essentially, they have a set idea of how things “should be” at any given moment, and when reality ends up being different (not even necessarily bad), they get stressed.

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This process is simply a result of perception and can be easily “fixed” by recognizing that although life might not always be going as YOU think it should, it’s still going as it should—for your own benefit.

In fact, once you fully recognize that everything in your life ultimately happens for your own growth, progress, and development—so you can achieve your goals and dreams—your perception works in your favor. You soon process and respond to your experience of life differently, for your advantage. That’s the essence of becoming “rationally optimistic.”

The result: no more mental stress.

2. Unplug

Just like you might need to unplug your computer when it starts acting all crazy, you should also “unplug” your mind.

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How on earth do you unplug your mind? Simple: just meditate.

It isn’t nearly difficult or complicated as some people think, so, if you don’t already meditate, give it a try. Whether you meditate for 5 minutes, 30 minutes, or 2 hours, this is a surefire way to reduce mental stress.

Meditation has been scientifically proven to relax your body (resulting in less mental stress), while also reducing anxiety and high blood pressure.

3. Easy on the Caffeine

Yes, we know, we know—everyone loves a nice java buzz, and that’s okay, but there’s a fine line between a small caffeine pick-me-up and a racing heart and mind that throws you into a frenzy of mental stress.

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Try giving up caffeine for a while and see how you feel. And, if that’s completely out of the question for you, at least try to minimize it. You might find that lots of your mental stress mysteriously “disappears” as your caffeine intake goes down.

4. Attack Mental Stress Via the Back Door

That’s right: your body and mind are part of the whole being, and are constantly influencing and affecting each other. If you’re experiencing a lot of mental stress, try to reduce it by calming your body down—a calm body equals a calmer mind.

How do you calm your body down and reduce physical stress? A  great way to reduce physical stress (thereby reducing mental stress) is to take natural supplements that are proven to reduce stress and anxiety while lifting your mood. Three good ones to look into are kava-kava, St John’s wort, and rhodiola rosea:

  • Kava-kava is a natural plant known to have mild sedative properties, and you should be able to find it at your natural health food store or vitamin store. It’s available in capsules or liquid extract form.
  • St John’s wort is a natural flower used to treat depression. Again, it’s found at your local health store in capsules or liquid. Because it uplifts mood (enabling you to see the brighter side of all experiences) it helps relieve mental stress as well.
  • Rhodiola rosea is a natural plant shown to reduce stress and uplift mood, and Russian athletes have been using it forever. Like the other two supplements mentioned, rhodiola rosea can be found at your natural health store in capsule or liquid form.

While these supplements are all natural and can be very helpful for most people, always check with your health care provider first as they can cause side-effects depending on your current health situation etc.

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5. Good Old-Fashioned Exercise

This tip has been around forever because it works. Nothing relieves mental stress like running, kickboxing—you name it. Anything super-physical will wipe out most of your mental stresses once the exercise endorphins (happy chemicals) are released into your brain.

The result: mental stress will be gone!

So, if you’re feeling overwhelmed or just plain stressed, try using some of the above tips. You can even print this out or save it to refer to regularly.

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Featured photo credit: Radu Florin via unsplash.com

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