For many years, naturopathic products were the sole medicine people could access. They were used to treat everything from the common cold to arthritis. Over time, pharmaceuticals were developed, and today, they have become the preferred method of healthcare providers to treat disease in the western world.
Still, there is a growing population who choose natural remedies rather than pharmaceuticals. They cite reasons such as personal preference, adverse reactions, or cost of pharmaceuticals, especially in the absence of a health plan.
Naturopathic Medicine Research
Naturopathic medicine is controversial given the amount of anecdotal evidence that seems to surround so much of it. Part of the reason for the lack of scientific backing is the inability of companies to patent most naturopathic remedies. This in turn means that any investment made into research or proven effectiveness would not only benefit the company paying for the research, but all its competitors as well. And that’s bad business. Without patent protection there is no guarantee of the kind of profitability that companies look for.
Despite this, there are still a number of studies done around certain natural products that have resulted in concrete evidence to support their use. The Health Insider is excited to present 5 of them that are both readily available in Canada, and have supported and researched health benefits:
Curcumin is an active compound found in turmeric – the spice you likely have in your kitchen cupboard. When you eat turmeric, it doesn’t give you enough curcumin to experience the full benefits, but a supplement that contains a concentrated form could help to relieve joint pain and inflammation.
A review of randomized trials looked at how curcumin supplements positively helped people with arthritis pain and swelling. After 12 weeks, curcumin had similar effects on pain scores and the level of inflammation compared to nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.
Ginger has been traditionally used to treat nausea and digestive problems. Today, it continues to remain a popular natural remedy for these ailments. When researchers analyzed a total of 109 previously conducted clinical trials, they found a high efficacy rating for ginger in the treatment of nausea. This was especially so with morning sickness in pregnant women.
Reduction of nausea is not the only benefit associated with ginger. The natural remedy might also hold potential as an anti-inflammatory agent and may also affect how many calories you burn. The combination of these effects has also been said to make ginger a possible aid for people who are trying to lose excess weight. However, more conclusive studies must still be done to confirm this.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Omega-3 fatty acids are a type of healthy fat that your body depends upon to help maintain healthy skin, good sleep, concentration and attentiveness, healthy heart and even mood. They are often associated with salmon but can also be found in many other cold water fatty fish such as tuna, mackerel, sardines, and herring.
If you’re not big on fish, you can turn to avocados, walnuts, flax and chia seeds, flaxseed oil, soybean oil and canola oil for your dose of omega-3. Keep in mind that of all the fats that your body needs to function properly, omega-3 is one that your body cannot produce on its own. Instead, you need to supply your body with this important fat on a regular basis through the foods you eat.
Some studies support the positive role that omega-3 fatty acids play in people who experience depression. Among a group of postmenopausal women, the intake of omega-3 fatty acids was associated with a reduced risk of depression. Additionally, one type of omega-3 fatty acid, known as DHA, forms part of the eye’s retina. Vision problems may increase if you fail to get enough of this particular fatty acid.
Vitamins are particularly important to incorporate into your diet. Vitamin D plays an especially important role and might help to improve the level of resistance your body has to some conditions.
In one study researchers found a correlation between vitamin D deficiency and a higher incidence of cardiovascular disease. There is also evidence that shows vitamin D may play an important role in regulating your mood. According to one study1, the rate of depression is also seemingly higher among those individuals who have low levels of vitamin D in their bodies.
While it’s possible to get some vitamin D from sunlight, it’s important to ensure you also obtain it in your diet. Foods like spinach, kale, okra, soybeans, white beans, sardines, salmon, perch and rainbow trout, egg yolks and red meat are all great sources of vitamin D. And for those who may be chronically deficient, a high-quality vitamin D supplement can also help to prevent the problems that develop in the presence of a deficiency.
Magnesium has a large variety of functions to play in your body – from maintaining the proper function of your heart to helping your brain work correctly. It’s also a mineral that plays a role in blood sugar regulation and much more. When you exercise, magnesium helps to ensure blood glucose effectively moves to your muscle tissue, which helps to improve exercise performance.. At the same time, magnesium also assists with the process of removing lactate that builds up when you work out. Apart from these benefits, taking magnesium supplements could potentially have a positive impact on depression and help to improve your mood.
You’ll be able to get your magnesium fix from pumpkin seeds, rolled oats, almonds, boiled spinach, cashews, peanuts, and soy milk. And if you need more, taking magnesium supplements may help you get where you need to be.
The Health Insider supports the idea of natural nutrition and supplements where they’ve been shown to make a proven difference. We also believe in consulting with licensed health practitioners who can provide good information and assist in making good decisions for wellness and a healthy lifestyle.
Stay tuned to The Health Insider as we continue to explore some of the wiser choices when it comes to healthcare.
The information provided on TheHealthInsider.ca is for educational purposes only and does not substitute for professional medical advice. TheHealthInsider.ca advises consulting a medical professional or healthcare provider when seeking medical advice, diagnoses, or treatment.