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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 October 16, 2018

The Ultimate Guide to Help You Sleep Through the Night Tonight

The Ultimate Guide to Help You Sleep Through the Night Tonight

It’s well past midnight and you’ve got to get up in less than six hours. You toss and turn all night. Before you know it, another hour passes by and you start panicking.

If I don’t get to sleep in the next 30 minutes, I’m going to be exhausted tomorrow!”

One thing is for sure, you’re not alone. Over 70M+ Americans have stated that they don’t get the proper sleep they need at night.[1] So what could possibly be causing this insomnia epidemic?

Throughout my entrepreneurial journey of building my language learning company, I have experimented and researched dozens of best sleep practices. Some have flopped but a few have dramatically improved the quality of my life and work.

In this article, I’ll look into the reason why you’re sleep deprived and how to sleep through the night tonight.

Why you can’t sleep through the night

The first step to improving anything is getting to the bottom of the root problem. Different studies have shown the reasons why most people cannot sleep well at night.[2] Here are the main ones that the average person faces:

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Stress

If you’ve ever stayed up at night worrying about something, know that it’s a major sleep inhibitor. When you’re feeling stress, your mind and body becomes more activated, making it incredibly difficult to fall asleep. Even when you do manage to sleep, it won’t be deep enough to help you feel rested the next day.

Exposure to blue light before sleep time

We’re exposed to harmful blue light on a daily basis through the use of our digital screens. If you’ve never heard of blue light, it’s part of the visible light spectrum that suppresses melatonin, our sleep hormones. Other harmful effects include digital eye strains and macular cellular damage.

While daytime exposure to blue light is not very harmful, night time exposure tricks our brain into thinking it’s daytime. By keeping your brain alert and suppressing melatonin, your mind is unable to shut down and relax before bedtime.

Eating close to bedtime

Eating too late can actually be an issue for many people, especially those who are older than 40. The reason is, eating before laying down increases the chances of Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), in which stomach acid backflows into the esophagus.

Another reason not to eat too late is sleep quality. Even if you manage to sleep right after eating, it’s likely that you’ll wake up tired. Instead of letting your body rest during sleep, it has to digest the food that was entered before bedtime.

Rule of thumb: eat 3-4 hours before bedtime.

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Medical conditions

In some cases, it could be medical conditions that cause your sleep problems. If you can’t relate yourself to the above reasons or any of these common sleep problem causes, you should visit the doctor.

The vicious sleep cycle

The biggest danger to repeating the bad habits mentioned above is the negative cycle that it can take you through. A bad night’s sleep can affect not only your energy but your willpower and decision making skills.

Here’s an example of a bad sleep pattern:

You get a bad night’s sleep
–> You feel tired and stressful throughout the day.
–> You compensate it with unhealthy habits (for example junk food, skipping exercises, watching Netflix etc.)
–> You can’t sleep well (again) the next night.

    You can imagine what could happen if this cycle repeats over a longer period of time.

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    How to sleep better (throughout the night)

    To help you break the vicious cycle and stop waking up in the middle of the night, I’ll explain to you a list of actionable steps to solve your trouble staying asleep.

    1. Take control over the last 90 minutes of your night

    What you do (or don’t do) before bedtime have significant impact on the quality of your sleep. Many times, it can be the difference between staying up until 4am and sleeping like a baby.

    Here are a few suggestions:

    • Go from light to dark – Darkness stimulates production of the sleep hormone melatonin. Turn off unused light around the house, and think about investing into warm light that you can use in the bedroom before bedtime.
    • Avoid screens (or wear blue light blocking glasses) – Keep the bedroom a technology-free zone as the light from electronic devices can disturb your sleep. If you need to work, wear blue light blocking glasses (also known as computer glasses) throughout or before you sleep to prevent sleep disruption.
    • Find an activity that helps you to wind down  This could be anything that calms you down, and reduces thinking (especially unnecessary stress). Fir example, listening to soothing/good feel music, taking a hot bath, reading or meditating.
    • Keep any electronics you have on the other side of the room or outside the room – One of the most harmful things that can disrupt your sleep is the notifications you get from your smartphones. The simplest way to avoid this is to keep it away from you.
    • Create a bedtime routine – A night routine is a couple of things you do prior to going to bed. By doing these things every night, you’ll have a more restful and high-quality sleep. Learn how to pick up a night routine here: The Ultimate Night Routine Guide to Sleep Better and Wake Up Productive

    2. Eat the right nutrients (and avoid the wrong ones)

    What you eat (not just when we eat) plays a critical role in your sleep quality. If you’re ever in doubt of what to eat to improve your sleep, take the following into consideration:

    • Kiwi – This green fruit may be the ultimate pre-bed snack. When volunteers ate two kiwis an hour before hitting the hay, they slept almost a full extra hour. Kiwis are full of vitamins C and E, serotonin and folate—all of which may help you snooze.
    • Soy foods – Foods made with soy such as tofu, miso and edamame, are rich in isoflavones. These compounds increase the production of serotonin, a brain chemical that influences the body’s sleep-wake cycle.
    • Fiber-rich foods – Eating more fiber could be key for better sleep. Eating fiber was associated with more restorative slow-wave sleep—the more you eat, the better you sleep—per a study published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine. Fiber prevents blood sugar surges that may lower melatonin. Get a fiber boost from beans, artichokes, bran cereal and quinoa.
    • Salmon – Most fish, especially salmon, halibut and tuna boost vitamin B6, which is needed to make melatonin— a sleep-inducing hormone triggered by darkness.

    3. Adjust your sleep temperature

    Once you’ve gone through the first 2 recommendations, the last step to experiment with is temperature. According to Sleep.org, the ideal temperature for sleep is 60-67 Farenheit. This may be cooler than what most people are used to, but keep in mind that our body temperature changes once we fall asleep.

    Rule of thumb: sleeping in cooler temperature is better for sleep quality than warmer temperature.

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    Find out how to maintain the optimal temperature to sleep better here: How to Sleep Faster with the Best Temperature

    Sleep better form now on

    Congrats on making it to the end of this guide on sleep. If you’re serious about taking the necessary steps in improving your sleep, remember to take it one step at a time.

    I recommend trying just one of the steps mentioned such as taking a hot bath, blocking out blue light at night, or sleeping in cooler temperature. From there, see how it impacts your sleep quality and you can keep doing what works, and throw away what doesn’t.

    As long as you follow these steps cautiously and diligently, I know you’ll see improved results in your sleep!

    Featured photo credit: pixabay via pixabay.com

    Reference

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