Nix the Ginkgo – Eat Food

December 15, 2009 in Antioxidants, Health Claims, Nutrition by Joyce Bunderson

I’ve written recently about the some studies that show that vitamin and mineral supplements are not necessarily a good investment. But I want to add a note about herbs. Just because a product is an herb, does not make it safe or beneficial.

Ginkgo biloba (I love the sound of this herb – sounds like a gecko in tap shoes with some sort of eating disorder.) ….. oh, yes nutrition ….. where was I?  Ginkgo biloba was tested (3,069 participants in the study – to be published in Circulation) at the University of Pittsburgh to see if taking ginkgo reduced heart attacks or strokes. This is the same group of researchers that studied ginkgo last year to see if it prevented dementia and found that it didn’t. This year they learned that ginkgo biloba doesn’t prevent cardiovascular death, heart attacks or strokes either. The study did find that there may be some effect with peripheral vascular disease but the numbers of subjects receiving ginkgo for peripheral disease (12) was too small to provide conclusive evidence.

Just because someone at the health food store tells you that something will cure this or that, does not make it a fact. Just because an herb or extract comes from some exotic location does not make it a “superherb” anymore than the hyped marketing buzz for miss-named exotic “superfruits” makes them worth their inflated prices.

The American Heart Association recommends, “that people get nutrients and beneficial plant compounds from a diet rich in vegetables and fruits, low fat and fat free dairy products, whole grains and fiber with limited added sugars, low saturated fat and cholesterol.”

Ginkgo contains flavonoids, a class of antioxidants, found in fruits, vegetables, dark chocolate and red wine, which are believed to offer benefits against cardiovascular problems. I say, why not just save some money and enjoy the less expensive and waaay more tasty whole foods?

See below for how to fill a candy dish. Tomorrow I’ll give you a hint on how to get more vegetables into your day.

Little clementines, Sweeties, mandarin oranges, Flordia tangerines whatever you call them, vanish faster than any candy from a candy dish.

Adding some color to a white day

Adding some color to a white day