Arthritis in the News

For a long time I thought arthritis was just one of those things that accompanied getting older, along with an AARP card, early-bird specials, and white shorts with suspenders. But, like a lot of degenerative diseases, Dr. Fuhrman insists they don’t have to be a part of your life. You can do something about it. In Eat to Live he talks about how nutrition impacts arthritis:
Working with patients with autoimmune diseases such as connective tissue diseases, myositis, rheumatoid arthritis, and lupus is very rewarding. These patients had been convinced they could never get well and are usually eternally grateful to be healthy again and not require medication.

An aggressive nutritional approach to autoimmune illnesses should always be tried first when the disease is in its infancy. Logically, the more advanced the disease is, and the more damage that has been done by the disease, the less likely the patient will respond. My experience with inflammatory diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis is that some patients are more dietary-sensitive than others and that some patients have very high levels of inflammation that are difficult to curtail with natural therapy. Nevertheless, the majority benefit—and since the conventional drugs used to treat these types of illnesses are so toxic and have so many risky side effects, the dietary method should be tried first. Modern drugs often contribute to the disability and misery of patients with an autoimmune illness and increase cancer risk. Studies show that the long-term outcome is poor after twenty years of taking such medication.1 A recent study in the British Journal of Rheumatology showed the major drugs to treat rheumatoid arthritis, such as azathioprine, cyclophosphamide, chlorambucil, and methotrexate, increases the likelihood that the person will die of cancer.2
It’s too bad you don’t hear about more doctors embracing this approach. Well, sometimes they come close. In this study researchers have identified a protein that leads to development of arthritis. That kind of sounds like nutrition, right? Janice Billingsley of HealthDay News is on it:
By identifying a protein that appears to be one of the culprits in the unhealthy buildup of this fluid, which is called synovial fluid, Dr. Yasushi Miura and her colleagues at Kobe University School of Medicine hope that a new, targeted medication can be developed to treat the disease.

"The protein Decoy receptor 3 (DcR3) is one of the pathological factors of RA and can be a new therapeutic target for treatment," said Miura, an associate professor in the division of orthopedic sciences at the medical school.

Her findings are in the April issue of Arthritis & Rheumatism, the journal of the American College of Rheumatology.

DcR3 is a member of the large tumor necrosis factor receptor (TNFR) "super family," which has been identified in the last decade as important in the regulation of cell growth and cell death, fundamental processes in biology, said Dr. Robert Hoffman, director of the division of rheumatology and immunology at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine in Florida.

"We have known of the importance of cell growth and cell death in studying cancer but more recently have found that it is also important in autoimmune diseases like RA and lupus," he said.
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Food Research Revealed

Ever wonder what’s involved in food research? Well look no further. Stephen Smith of The Boston Globe examines the process:
Now, gold-standard studies into food and its effects on our health require culinary mastery rivaling anything whipped up by a five-star restaurant, with dietitians spending months perfecting research menus that are both palatable and scientifically sound. (That means, for instance, not including too many olives or too much tarragon. People, it turns out, don't want olives and tarragon every day.)

Then there are the volunteers. They must pledge to never indulge their weaknesses and to always clean their plates, and, along the way, yield samples of blood, stool, or urine to measure the consequences of a particular vitamin or a whole diet.

"All of a sudden, you can't grab your favorite food anymore. They hate us because we did that to them," said Helen Rasmussen, a gregarious dietitian at Tufts whose job is to make science tasty. "I ask them how they respond to nagging from their mother -- at least they appreciate the warning."

Typically, the studies begin with a well-informed hunch. Researchers might know, for instance, that a certain nutrient has been shown in the lab or anecdotally to provide a health benefit.

Strawberries and the Hamster Dance

This little hamster munches on a strawberry, claps his hands, and then, charges the camera. Oh, and I’m issuing another extreme cuteness warning. Take a look:

Hooray for Blueberries!

Do you like blueberries? I do. Dr. Fuhrman is a big fan of blueberries too. He shows them some major love in One of Nature's Best Foods:
One cup of blueberries contain 80 calories and a whole pint gives you about 225 calories. Like all other foods, the calories in blueberries come from its macro nutrients - 56 grams of carbohydrate, 1.5 grams of fat and 2.7 grams of protein. But it is blueberries' micro nutrient content that packs the most impressive wallop. Blueberries are packed with tannins, anthocyanins that have been linked to prevention - and even reversal - of age related mental decline and anti-cancer effects.
And here are some more good words for blueberries. HealthDay News reports blueberries may help curb colon cancer. Juhie Bhatia is on it:
Blueberries, already touted as a super food because they may protect against memory loss and heart disease, could help stop the development of colon cancer, a new study finds.

The study showed that a natural compound called pterostilbene -- found in blueberries and other fruits -- helped prevent pre-cancerous colon lesions in rats.

"Pterostilbene is an antioxidant and an anti-inflammatory agent that is mostly found in blueberries and blackberries," said study leader Bandaru Reddy, a research professor at Rutgers University's Susan Lehman Cullman Laboratory for Cancer Research, in Piscataway, N.J. "We tested it using a rat model that is very similar to the human situation. Several other compounds tested using this model in the past are already in human trials."

The study was conducted by researchers at Rutgers and the U.S. Department of Agriculture and was funded by the U.S. National Cancer Institute. The findings were presented Sunday at the annual meeting of the American Chemical Society (ACS) in Chicago.

Grand Rounds

The new Grand Rounds is up! It’s over at MedViews. Make sure you check out Followhealthlife’s submission High-Fat Diet Ups Breast Cancer Risk.

High Blood Sugar and Cancer

The Diabetes Blog relays new research linking high blood sugar to cancer risk:
Researchers identified 2,478 incident cases of cancer from records of 33,293 women and 31,304 men who participated in the study. Participants were recruited in the mid-1980s at age 40, 50 and 60 and the study covered a 13-year period. The records included levels of glucose in the blood when fasting and after receiving an infusion of glucose. Researchers calculated the cancer risk relative to blood glucose while adjusting for: age, year of enrollment, fasting time and smoking status. Women with blood sugar levels higher than normal have a total higher risk for cancer while for men the risk was unchanged at higher blood sugar levels. The overall risk of developing cancer for women in the top 25% of fasting blood glucose levels was 26% higher than those in the bottom 25%. Women with high fasting glucose levels had a higher risk of pancreatic, breast and endometrial cancers, while the increase in risk for malignant melanoma was two times higher.

Farmers Markets, That Float

Now I enjoy shopping at the local farmers market, but this might keep me away:

Unless of course, I could wear water-wings.

What's a Flavonoid?

For starters, it’s the not thing in the Domino’s Pizza commercials from the 80s—that’s the Noid. Flavonoids are a little different. According to Dr. Fuhrman flavonoids are important health-promoting antioxidant phytochemicals found in a variety of plant foods. Here are a few notable sources:
Pomegranate Power
“Pomegranates' potent antioxidant compounds have also been shown to reduce platelet aggregation and naturally lower blood pressure, factors that prevent both heart attacks and strokes.1 Pomegranates contain high levels of flavonoids and polyphenols, potent antioxidants offering protection against heart disease and cancer. A glass of pomegranate juice has more antioxidants than red wine, green tea, blueberries, and cranberries.”

Ten Super Foods to Use in Your Recipes and Menus
“Blueberries/Blackberries are packed with tannins, anthocyanidins, flavonoids, polyphenols, and proanthcyanidins that have been linked to prevention and reversal of age-related mental decline. They also have powerful anti-cancer effects. Use frozen organic berries in the winter when fresh ones are not available.”

It's Lime Time
“Nutritionally limes are a very good source of vitamin C, as mentioned before, and a good source of dietary fiber, calcium, iron and copper and they are low in sodium. They also contain the flavonoids called flavonol glycosides which have antibiotic properties and are said to stop cell division in many cancer cell lines. Due to the high vitamin C levels and antibiotic properties they are a natural way to prevent gum disease and to ease bacterial infections and colds. They are also a remedy for indigestion, heartburn, and nausea.”
Now these are only the tip of the iceberg. Dr. Fuhrman points out that flavonoids can also be found in cruciferous vegetables like broccoli. From Popeye Was Right--Greens Pack a Powerful Punch:
Now, which has more vitamin E or vitamin C--broccoli or steak? I'm sure you are aware that steak has no vitamin C or vitamin E. It is also almost totally lacking in fiber, folate, vitamin A, beta-carotene, lutein, lycopene, vitamin K, flavonoids, and thousands of other protective phytochemicals. Meat does have certain vitamins and minerals, but even when we consider the nutrients that meat does contain, broccoli has lots more of them. For many important nutrients, broccoli has more than ten times as much as steak. The only exception is vitamin B12, which is not found in plant fare.
So why list all these foods? Because of America’s tendency to romanticize magic beans and miracle cures, that’s why. From ginkgo biloba to protein bars, to ephedra and diet soda, we love quick fixes. And this next report only perpetuates that love affair. According to HealthDay News flavonoids in dark chocolate can boost the function of blood vessels. Robert Preidt reports:
Cocoa is rich in a group of antioxidant compounds called flavonoids, which are also found in fruits and vegetables, wine and green tea. Research suggests that consumption of foods rich in flavonoids may decrease the risk of cardiovascular disease.

The study, conducted by researchers at the Yale Prevention Research Center in Connecticut, included 45 healthy people with a body mass index (BMI) between 25 and 35 kg/m2. The participants were divided into three groups that ate either eight ounces of cocoa without sugar; cocoa with sugar; or a placebo.
Here’s a question. Why bother with the candy? Sure, dark chocolate might have this healthful property, but why risk it? Instead of trying to dupe yourself into not feeling guilty about downing a bag of chocolate, wouldn’t it be smarter to get flavonoids from more health-promoting sources? Like maybe one of the ones Dr. Fuhrman mentions. What do you think?
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Invasion of the Veggie Eating Squirrels

Not only are these tiny squirrels very cute, but, they’re also quite the veggie enthusiasts. Enjoy:

For more veggie loving animals, check out these previous posts:

Obesity: The Dutch to the Rescue!

Isn’t ironic that the people responsible for some of world’s richest chocolates are now on a mission to invent foods that prevent obesity? That’d be like Marlboro coming out with a line of dietary supplements! Anna Mudeva of Reuters explains:
The Top Institute Food and Nutrition (TIFN), funded by the Dutch government and food groups like CSM Anglo-Dutch Unilever, is also developing food ingredients which can stop an obese person from developing diabetes.

"We are working on certain food ingredients, which provoke more satiety than others do on the long run, so that our partners can use them in food manufacturing," said Professor Robert-Jan Brummer, program director at TIFN.

"These products should trigger satiety and stop us eating more and more. They should also meet our dietary requirements, have a very good taste and be enjoyable to eat," he told Reuters.
Brummer declined to give details, saying it was a commercial secret, but added these nutrients could eventually be used in any kind of food from drinks to spreads and bread.

Several other research centers in the world are working to develop nutrients that could prevent obesity but Brummer said that none of them, including his own, had achieved big breakthroughs so far.
Didn’t mother nature already invent obesity-preventing foods? Aren’t they called fruits and vegetables? Uh duh!

No More Hijacking of the FDA?

You only have to look at the American political landscape to see that money talks—grease the right wheels and anything’s possible. Same goes for the Food and Drug Administration. Why do I say that? Well, why else would this happen?

Gardiner Harris of The New York Times reports that under a new mandate advisors to the government that receive cash from drug and device makers would be disallowed from voting on the approval of that company’s products. More from the article:
Indeed, such doctors who receive more than $50,000 from a company or a competitor whose product is being discussed would no longer be allowed to serve on the committees, though those who receive less than that amount in the prior year can join a committee and participate in its discussions.

A “significant number” of the agency’s present advisers would be affected by the new policy, said the F.D.A. acting deputy commissioner, Randall W. Lutter, though he would not say how many. The rules are among the first major changes made by Dr. Andrew C. von Eschenbach since he was confirmed as commissioner of food and drugs late last year.

Advisory boards recommend drugs for approval and, in rare cases, removal, and their votes can have enormous influence on drug company fortunes.

“The $50,000 threshold is something that we think strikes an appropriate balance between” getting smart advisers and reassuring the public that their advice is not tainted, Dr. Lutter said.
Okay, it’s a start, but, I’m very suspicious of the $50,000 threshold. It seems like they’re saying it’s alright to be just a little corrupt. What do you think?

High-Fat Diet Ups Breast Cancer Risk

According to Megan Rauscher of Reuters a new study links high-fat diets to increased breast cancer risk. Take a gander:
Using a more precise 24-hour dietary recall questionnaire, "we found a 32-percent increased risk of breast cancer" among women with a high level of fats in their diet, study chief Dr. Anne C. M. Thiebaut from the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, Maryland, noted in a telephone interview with Reuters Health.

The increased risk of breast cancer associated with a high-fat diet was seen for all types of fat (saturated, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated) and seemed to be confined to women who were not using hormone replacement therapy at the start of the study.
Now, normally I’d look for some of Dr. Fuhrman’s work supporting the study and link to it, but, I’m not going to do that. Instead, check out Dr. Fuhrman’s thoughts on this specific study. He makes some very important points worth remembering:
The suggestion that hormone therapy mediates the association between dietary fat intake and risk of breast cancer should be studied further, the authors suggest

The downside of these studies is that people keep arguing about the relationship of fat to breast cancer and fail to remember that breast cancer is multi-factorial (like other diseases)

It occurs from a witch’s caldron of causes such as eye-of-newt, claws of cats, and salamander tails.

In reality, it is our low-nutrient diet, centered on animal products, oil, sugar, corn syrup, white bread, pasta and the lack of vegetables, beans, seeds, fruits, and nuts that lead to a cancer epidemic. So your pasta dinner also contributed to breast cancer, not just the cheese melted on top.

It will take a major shift in America's dietary consumption pattern to see cancer rates drop significantly because American's only eat about 5 percent of their total caloric intake from unrefined produce.

This is indeed a central purpose of this blog; to get the message out to America that we can win the war on cancer, heart disease and stroke, not by going on a "low-fat" diet but rather by adopting a high-nutrient diet with a high phytochemical index score and high micronutrient score. See chart in the library at for food micronutrient scores.
And here it is:

Fruits and Veggies vs. Diabetes and Colon Cancer

In this age of modern medicine patients and doctors alike are quick to throw themselves at the altar of prescription drugs and invasive procedures, often ignoring rudimentary causes and cures for many of the common afflictions that plague this country.

Take diabetes and cancer for example, big pharma has indoctrinated us into believing that lifelong dependency on medication and chemotherapy are our only hopes. Now, if you read this blog you know, this is foolhardy to say the least. And Dr. Fuhrman makes it very clear. You have other options.

Does a diagnosis of Type-II Diabetes mean a life sentence of insulin shots? Dr. Fuhrman doesn’t think so. From Understanding the Development of Type 2 Diabetes:
How can diabetics safely lower the high glucose levels that are slowly destroying their bodies? How can they lower their lipids and blood pressure, lose weight, and avoid taking dangerous drugs, such as insulin and sulfonylureas? They need to adopt a diet based on nutritional excellence.

Fortunately, the best diet for good health and longevity is also the best diet for diabetics. It is a diet with a high nutrient per calorie ratio, as carefully described in my book, Eat To Live. When you eat a diet consisting predominantly of nature's perfect foods—green vegetables, beans, eggplant, tomatoes, mushrooms, onions, garlic, raw nuts and seeds, and limited amounts of fresh fruit, it becomes relatively easy to eat as much as you want and still lose your excess weight. In my experience, those who follow my nutritional recommendations find that their diabetes disappears astonishingly fast, even before most of their excess weight melts away.
And what about cancer? In Diet, Chemotherapy, and the Truth: How to Win the War on Cancer Dr. Fuhrman talks about how vegetable-based nutrition hits cancer where it hurts:
While fruits and vegetables are excellent sources of nutrients, the consumption of vegetables is more helpful in reducing cancer because they contain much higher amounts of cancer-protective compounds-- especially green vegetables. Among these green vegetables, the cruciferous family has demonstrated the most dramatic protection against cancer. Cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, brussels sprouts, cauliflower, kale, bok choy, collards, arugala, watercress, and cabbage) contain a symphony of phytonutrients with potent anti-cancer effects. Isothiocyanates (ITCs), which are perhaps the best studied, have been shown to provide protection against environmental carcinogen exposure by inducing detoxification pathways, thereby neutralizing potential carcinogens.

These vegetables also contain indole-3- carbinol (I3C). Indole-3-carbinol has been shown to reduce the risk of breast cancer by decreasing estrogen activity. Important recent studies have shown that cruciferous vegetables and the compounds they contain can do the following:
  • Halt the growth of breast cancer cells1
  • Dramatically reduce the risk of colon cancer2
  • Prevent the replication of prostate cancer cells and induce death of cancerous cells3
  • Inhibit the progression of lung cancer4
Now, Dr. Fuhrman has been talking about this for years, but it’s still cool to read about it in the news. Like this report from Reuters. Apparently a new study has determined avoiding meats and fatty foods and eating plenty of salads and cooked vegetables reduces the risk of developing Type-II Diabetes. Michelle Rizzo explains:
There was an inverse association observed between the Salad and Vegetable pattern and diabetes. The Meat pattern was positively associated with diabetes. No association was observed between the Fruit pattern and diabetes risk.

"Our results suggest that avoiding an eating pattern including meat and fatty foods, and favoring a pattern high in salad and cooked vegetables could reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes," Dr. Allison Hodge, of the University of Melbourne, Australia, said in an interview with Reuters Health.
Okay, call it coincidence, but here’s another Reuters report worth checking out. It seems new research has determined that people who eat a diet high in fruit and low in meat reduce their risk of developing colon cancer. Have a look:
Gregory Austin and colleagues analyzed the answers and found there were three groups -- people who ate a lot of fruit but little meat, people who ate a lot of vegetables and a moderate amount of meat, and people who simply ate a lot of meat.

The people who recalled eating large or moderate amounts of meat were 70 percent more likely to have had a polyp than those who said they ate a lot of fruit but little meat.
So then, all this begs the question. Why don’t more doctors and patients seek out this kind of information? Oh, that’s right, there are no pushy sales reps and million dollar advertising campaigns behind your local farmers market.
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Roasted Nuts and Trans Fat

C. Claiborne Ray of The New York Times investigates the question, “Is it true that the “good oil” in nuts turns to a trans fat when the nuts are roasted?” The answer is pretty obvious:
Some trans fat is produced by ruminant animals, Ms. Stark said, and so ends up in butter and meat. But most of the trans fat we eat comes from a manufacturing process in which liquid vegetable oil gets hydrogenated, in the presence of a metal catalyst, so that its chemical structure more closely resembles a saturated fat. The body treats this partially hydrogenated fat like a saturated fat, raising the risk of heart disease.

Nuts are obviously high in fat, she said, but mostly the “good” kind, either monounsaturated or polyunsaturated.
If you’re still curious about nuts, take a gander at these previous posts:

Exercise Your Mind

We all know exercise does a body good, but can it work wonders for our minds too? The answer seems to be yes. Eric Nagourney of The New York Times reports on new research claiming exercise helps fight natural memory loss:
Now a new study suggests a possible explanation for why this is so. The report, which appears online in The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, says working out may stimulate the growth of neurons in a part of the brain associated with memory loss.

The researchers, led by Dr. Scott A. Small, an associate professor of neurology at the Columbia University Medical Center, looked at changes in the brains of volunteers who worked out on exercise equipment.

Cats Love Celery Too

Last week we saw that some dogs love celery. So, it’s only fair to show how much cats love it too. Warning, warning cuteness alert! Proceed with caution:

We Still Don't Eat Enough Fruits and Veggies

Yeah, kind of a no-brainer—heck, I’ve got friends that for as long as I’ve know them, I’ve never seen them look at a piece of fruit, let alone eat one! And this next report only confirms my observation. According to HealthDay News most Americans are still not eating the recommended amounts of fruits and vegetables. Steven Reinberg explains:
Even though many people know that fruits and vegetables help lower the risk of many diseases, consumption is still a long way from reaching the government goals set in Healthy People 2010, the researchers said. Their bad news is delivered in this week's issue of Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, a publication of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention…

…Dr. David Katz, director of the Prevention Research Center at Yale University School of Medicine thinks eating a healthful diet should be a national priority. "There needs to be an effort to find ways to get more people to eat fruits and vegetables and to convince them that it's important for health," he said.
Okay, we all know Dr. Fuhrman agrees with the fact that people aren’t eating enough fruits and veggies, but, why aren’t they eating them? What makes people so resistant to this vital part of the human diet? So I asked him. And here’s what he had to say:
Without the understanding of the addictive nature of low nutrient, high calorie foods, and how to solve it, people can't stop eating what they are addicted to.

Our medical culture has convinced the masses that taking pills (folate during pregnancy for example) and going to doctors and getting drugs are the answer to our health problems. We have a pill for each lifestyle and nutritionally caused disease today.

Diet books and the media articles even the "scientists" are still debating which unhealthy low nutrient diet is best and it is the blind leading the blind. Without understanding natural micronutrient density, they are just spinning their wheels and confusing the public.

The medical industry, the drug industry and the food industry have been effective at controlling the minds of Americans and we now have the most sickly and overweight, junk food eating population in the history of the human race.

Fruit Salad Wiggle Wiggles

Here’s the Wiggles take on fruit salad:

“Fruit salad, yummy, yummy!” Oh man. How lame. Sorry.

Tips on Preventing Childhood Obesity

Obesity is a big deal—no pun intended—and arguably it’s an even bigger deal with children. In Disease-Proof Your Child Dr. Fuhrman points out obesity is the most common nutritional problem facing kids in the United States:
The number of children who are overweight in the United States has more than doubled during the past decade. Social forces, from the demise of cooking to the rise of fast food, as well as dramatic increases in snack food and soda consumption, have led to the most overweight population of children in human history. Added to this dietary disaster is television, computer, and video technology that entertains our youngsters while they are physically inactive. Unless parents take a proactive role in promoting and assuring adequate nutrition and an active lifestyle, you can be sure the children of American will continue this downward spiral into obesity and ill health. Obese children suffer physically and emotionally throughout childhood and then invariably suffer with adult heart disease, and a higher cancer incidence down the road.
As a result, there are a lot of “tips” out there promising to help parents avoid obesity with their own kids. Like these from the American Academy of Family Physicians. Diana Kohnle of HealthDay News reports:
  • Don't force him to eat when he isn't hungry -- he shouldn't have to clean his plate if he's already full.
  • Don't use food as a reward, or as a comfort when he's upset.
  • Feed your child a healthy, balanced diet -- one that includes fast food no more than once a week.
  • Limit your child's TV watching and encourage physical activity, like playing outside. Offer to play outside with your child.
  • Encourage your child to get regular exercise, so that he continues to exercise into adulthood.
All these make sense to me, but “one that includes fast food no more than once a week?” Yeah, I don’t know about that. How about no fast food? Why? Because it’s junk! Better yet, check out Dr. Fuhrman’s Secrets to Getting Your Children to Eat Healthfully. Here’s a few:
1. Keep only healthy food in the house. Every person in the household should have the same food choices available.

2. Offer and feed a wholesome diversity of natural foods, vegetables, beans, raw nuts, seeds, and fresh fruit, while giving each child as much latitude as possible to eat what they prefer.

3. Don't attempt to manage your children's caloric intake. They can do that on their own.
Of course if words are too intimidating, have listen to Dr. Fuhrman’s podcast on Getting Children to Eat Well.

Flax Gets Some Love

Do you eat flaxseed? I do, at least one tablespoon a day. Why? Well, according to Dr. Fuhrman flax is packed with health-promoting nutrients. There's more in Disease-Proof Your Child:

Flax seeds are rich in lignans and omega-3 fatty acids, and scientific studies have confirmed that flax seeds have a positive influence on everything from cholesterol levels and constipation to cancer and heart disease. Use ground flax seed in oatmeal, or add them to whipped frozen bananas, stewed apples, and cinnamon and nut balls. Keep in mind that the scientifically documented benefits from flax seeds come from raw, ground flax seed, not flax seed oil.

Dr. Fuhrman isn’t the only one singing flaxseed’s praise. Cheryl Koch of Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center shows it a little love as well:

So why is flaxseed gaining popularity on the shelves of the local grocery store? Well, maybe people have begun to hear about the reported benefits that flax has on heart health, including lowering cholesterol and triglycerides levels, reducing blood pressure, and decreasing platelet aggregation (clot forming). In addition, flaxseed is an excellent source of fiber.

Researchers have found that flaxseed is rich in alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), a polyunsaturated fat. It is this essential fatty acid that confers flaxseed's potential heart-healthy benefits and that is helping this ancient crop make an appearance beyond the local health food store.

Now this is great, but, Koch goes on to say that flax seed oil is also a wise choice. Dr. Fuhrman’s not about to job on that bag wagon. In Can Flaxseed Oil Cause Prostate Cancer he recommends sticking with whole ground flaxseed if you’ve got a hankering for flax. And for good reason, take a look:

Recent studies have suggested that flaxseed oil may contribute to increased prostate cancer risk. Fortunately, there is no need to consume flaxseed oil. The best way to get omega-3 fatty acids is to consume whole flaxseed. Plus, when you consume whole flaxseed, not only do you get the best plant source of omega-3 fatty acids, you also get the richest source of dietary lignans. Lignans are converted by bacteria in the intestinal tract to horomone-like compounds called phytoestrogens that have protective effects against hormone-related cancers such as breast and prostate cancer. In fact, consuming ground flaxseed has been shown to have beneficial properties for prevention and treatment of both breast and prostate cancer.

When you consume the whole seeds, not the oil, the results show significantly reduced growth rate of cancer cells, and increased death rate of cancer cells. Another way to safely and effectively contribute to your omega-3 intake is to eat a few walnuts and lots of leafy green vegetables. When you get your essential fats from whole natural foods, you get powerful disease-fighting nutrients in the process that are not found in oils.

Hey, be sure to give these recipes a try: Flax to the Max.

Dog vs. Celery

Okay, we’ve seen a dog chow down on baby carrots and we can all agree, very cute. But what about dog versus celery—let’s get ready to rumble! Have a look:

What are the Health Risks of Too Much vitamin D?

From the September 2005 edition of Dr. Fuhrman's Healthy Times:

Vitamin D toxicity can cause nausea, poor appetite, constipation, weakness, confusion, and weight loss. Sun exposure does not result in vitamin D toxicity. Vitamin D toxicity is only a possibility from high intakes of vitamin D from supplements. The Food and Nutrition Board of the Institute of Medicine has set the recommended upper intake level to 50g (2,000 IU) for children, adults, and pregnant and lactating women. Vitamin D is one of those vitamins where the right amount is essential—not too much and not too little.

For more on vitamin D, check out these previous posts:

Eating Raw

Over the past couple of years it seems like rawfood diets have exploded into the mainstream. But, do you really have to omit cooking to maintain a healthy diet? Dr. Fuhrman discusses this in a previous post:
Are cooked foods really dead foods?
It is true that when food is baked at high temperatures—and especially when it is fried or barbecued—toxic compounds are formed and important nutrients are lost. Many vitamins are water-soluble, and a significant percent can be lost with cooking, especially overcooking. Similarly, many plant enzymes function as phytochemical nutrients in our body and can be useful to maximize health. They, too, can be destroyed by overcooking.

Enzymes are proteins that work to speed up or “catalyze” chemical reactions. Every living cell makes enzymes for its own activities. Human cells are no exception. Our glands secrete enzymes into the digestive tract to aid in the digestion of food. However, after they are ingested, the enzymes contained in plants do not function as enhancements or replacements for human digestive enzymes. These molecules exist to serve the plant’s purpose, not ours. The plant enzymes get digested by our own digestive juices along with the rest of the food and are absorbed and utilized as nutrients.

Contrary to what many raw-food web sites claim, the enzymes contained in the plants we eat do not catalyze chemical reactions that occur in humans. The plant enzymes merely are broken down into simpler molecules by our own powerful digestive juices. Even when the food is consumed raw, plant enzymes do not aid in their own digestion inside the human body. It is not true that eating raw food demands less enzyme production by your body, and dietary enzymes inactivated by cooking have an insignificant effect on your health and your body’s enzymes.
Okay, even though Dr. Fuhrman doesn’t advocate a strict raw diet, he does insist that eating lots of raw vegetables is a good idea. More from The Cold Truth About Raw Food Diets:
Benefits of raw food.
Certainly, there are benefits to consuming plenty of raw fruits and vegetables. These foods supply us with high nutrient levels and the smallest number of calories. But the question we are looking at is this—Are there advantages to eating a diet of all raw foods and excluding all cooked foods?

Clearly, the answer is a resounding “No.” In fact, eating an exclusively raw-food diet is a disadvantage. To exclude all steamed vegetables and vegetable soups from your diet narrows the nutrient diversity of your diet and has a tendency to reduce the percentage of calories from vegetables, in favor of nuts and fruit, which are lower in nutrients per calorie.

Unfortunately, sloppy science prevails in the raw-food movement. Rawfood advocates mistakenly conclude that since eating processed and cooked carbohydrates is harmful for us, all cooked foods are harmful.
If you’re still interested in raw food diets, The Philadelphia Inquirer has a pretty good Q&A with raw food advocate Cherron Perry-Thomas. It’s worth a read. Here’s a bit of the piece:
Q: Define raw foods and the distinctions between raw, vegan and vegetarian.

A: There is a lot of confusion. But there is nothing new about eating a raw-food or a plant-based diet. The important thing is for people to have fresh fruits and vegetables in their diet every day. Here are the definitions:

Raw foodists do not cook or heat food above 116 degrees and eat only a plant-based diet (fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, sprouts, sea vegetables).

Vegans do not eat or use any animal-based products. There are also vegetarians - lacto or ovo-lacto [they consume dairy, or dairy and eggs].

Laugh for Longevity

Who doesn’t like to laugh? Nobody! Whether it’s a great knock-knock joke or a person awkwardly slipping on ice—don’t lie, you laugh at that—funny is funny. And according to new research, having a good sense of humor might help you live longer too. Marilyn Elias of USA Today reports:
Adults who have a sense of humor outlive those who don't find life funny, and the survival edge is particularly large for people with cancer, says Sven Svebak of the medical school at Norwegian University of Science and Technology…

…The greater a role humor played in their lives, the greater their chances of surviving the seven years, Svebak says. Adults who scored in the top one-quarter for humor appreciation were 35% more likely to be alive than those in the bottom quarter, he says.
This seems logical to me. Laughing makes you feel terrific, so, why wouldn’t it be good for your health? Heck, even Dr. Fuhrman believes a good emotional environment is important for a long healthy life. He elaborates on this in An Emotionally Satisfying Environment is Vital:
Humans are complicated creatures, and our minds have powerful effects on healing and wellness. A positive purpose, loving relationships, self-respect, and the power to control our destiny have beneficial effects on our physiological—and ultimately physical—well-being. Few people have the perfect life without any negative stressors, but it makes a difference if you deal with those stressors with hope and action, rather than resignation and passivity.

A safe and satisfying work environment, a happy marriage, a satisfying social and/or family life, and activities you enjoy are all related to positive health outcomes. Emotional wellness starts right here your finger tips end. As you respect and appreciate the value in the world around you and develop interests in other people and in such things as art, music, entertainment, sports, nature, and physical activity, you can respect yourself more for your ability and desire to appreciate the value of things not yourself.
Oh, and if you’re looking for a good laugh, just internet-search the phrase low-carb—tons of belly laughs!

Measuring Vitamin D Levels in Your Blood

From the September 2005 edition of Dr. Fuhrman's Healthy Times:

Assessment of vitamin D status is usually made by measuring 25-hydroxy-vitamin D; however, the optimal serum concentration is somewhat controversial. The data sheets from most blood laboratories list 20 ng/ml as the cutoff for vitamin D deficiency. However, recent studies have demonstrated that parathyroid hormone (PTH) levels begin to rise as 25-hydroxy-vitamin D falls below 30, and recently there has been a growing consensus that 30 ng/ml should be used as a cutoff for the diagnosis of vitamin D inadequacy. As pointed out by T. Colin Campbell, Ph.D., in The China Study, it may be true that vegetarians and those eating little animal protein have a more efficient conversion of the 25-hydroxy-vitamin D into its biologically active form, 1,25-dihydroxy, and perhaps a blood level below 30 is not so bad in a vegan or vegetarian. I do not think there is enough evidence to take a chance with running a D level below 20, unless your level of 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D comes out on the blood test above 40. Otherwise, I think a blood level of at least 25 ng/ml is still advisable in those who consume little or no animal products.

Recently, a large study assessed the vitamin D status of postmenopausal women receiving therapy to treat or prevent osteoporosis. Amazingly, they found that 52 percent of the 1,536 women had inadequate vitamin D levels—and these were women being treated with drugs for osteoporosis. We know that vitamin D levels are inadequate in the vast majority of American women, and that this deficiency is a major cause of disability and death.

For more on vitamin D, check out these previous posts:

Oil and Health

Growing up cooking oil was always a subject of debate in my family. Is it good or bad? Oh that’s right, canola oil is bad and olive oil is the good. Or is it the other way around? Truth be told, it can get pretty confusing. Take me for example. For a long time I thought eating plenty of grilled chicken, olive oil, and pasta was a good idea. Now clearly I’ve wised up.

But in regard to oil, I think a lot of people still don’t get it. I mean just look at all these deep-fried creations, surely someone is eating them. Although, there are others—like myself—that do our best to avoid oil and fried-foods. So then, what’s the deal with oil? Should we eat it? Dr. Mao of attempts to answer to that question:
Oils that originate from vegetable, nut, and seed sources provide the essential fatty acids that are critical for our nerve and brain functions. The typical vegetable oils that can be found at supermarkets have undergone chemical and heat processing that destroy the quality of the oil — bleaching, cooking, defoaming, distillation, extraction, refining, and the addition of preservatives. Additionally, many of these oils are exposed to light and air and are even potentially filled with pesticides.

All of this causes the formation of free radicals, which undermine the health benefits of consuming essential fatty acids. To ensure that you are receiving all of the possible benefits from your oil, buy organic, cold-pressed, minimally processed oils at your local health food store. Be sure that you consume oil within three months; to prevent it from becoming rancid, store your oil in the refrigerator in dark glass containers.
Now after reading this, I’m not so sure Dr. Mao is telling the whole truth about oil. Sure, certain oils might have some nutritional elements to them, but, in this weight-conscious culture of ours, are they really a good idea? Dr. Fuhrman talks about oil in his book Cholesterol Protection for Life, take a look:
I know you were told that olive oil is health food. It is not. Keep in mind, oil is processed food, it is not a natural whole food. Oils, even if they are monounsaturated, should not be health food because they are low in nutrients and contain 120 calories per tablespoon, promoting weight gain.

Sure, olive oil and almond oil are improvements over animal fats and margarine, but they still are a contributor to our overweight modern world. Overweight Americans consume and average of three tablespoons of oil in their daily diet, adding and extra 360 calories to their food each day. You need to reach a thinner, ideal weight to achieve maximum protection against heart disease and to reverse heart disease. Use oil, even olive oil sparingly or not at all; certainly, do not have more than one teaspoon per day.

As an alternative to oil, you can make great tasting salad dressings from raw nuts and seeds, such as walnuts, pecans, cashews, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, pistachios and avocados.

Singing Fruit

More like singing fruitcakes! No, this isn’t a shameless plug for underwear. Instead, fulfill your curiosity for fruit singing the blues:

I’m not sure this is good PR for apples and grapes.

Vitamin D and Cancer

From the September 2005 edition of Dr. Fuhrman's Healthy Times:

Laboratory, animal, and epidemiologic evidence suggests that vitamin D may be protective against cancer. Epidemiologic studies suggest that a higher dietary intake of calcium and vitamin D, and/or sunlight-induced vitamin D synthesis, correlates with lower incidence of cancer, including lymphoma, breast, prostate, and colon cancer.1 In fact, for over 60 years, researchers have observed an inverse association between sun exposure and cancer mortality,2 and those with more sun exposure had fewer cancers. The inverse relationship between higher vitamin D levels in blood and lower cancer risk in humans shows a significantly lower risk among those with the highest vitamin D intake.

In addition to its significant cancer-protective effects, recent studies demonstrate that vitamin D also can inhibit the growth of existing breast and prostate cancer cells. Likewise, it helps inhibit the progression and metastasis of a wide spectrum of cancers, suggesting therapeutic value in the treatment of those who already have cancer.3

Interestingly, one dermatologist, Dr. Michael Holick, even wrote a book, The UV Advantage, advocating a moderate dose of sunlight. He was promptly kicked off the faculty of the Boston University School of Dermatology. Dr. Boni E. Elewski, president of the American Academy of Dermatology, maintained that even a few minutes of sun can be dangerous and promote skin cancer. Dr. Holick’s critics pointed out that the Indoor Tanning Association contributed $150,000 to his research.

In Dr. Holick’s defense, we must consider the keynote address that was presented at the meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research, where Dr. Edward Giovannucci, professor of medicine and nutrition at Harvard, said that his research suggests that deaths from cancer in cases where vitamin D would have been of benefit outnumber skin cancer deaths 30 to one. “I would challenge anyone to find a nutrient or any factor that has such considerable anti-cancer benefits as vitamin D,” he said.

Avoiding sun damage or not should not be the point here, because even a little bit of sun, as
Dr. Holick suggests, is not really necessarily going to guarantee you an ideal blood level of vitamin D. Most of us simply need to supplement with an appropriate dose of vitamin D. The RDA of 400 IU may be an appropriate dose to obtain a normal blood level in many people, but there is still a significant portion of people who need more. To be safe, you should take more vitamin D or measure the vitamin D level in the blood to assure you are taking enough. While common sense might lead you to think that the vitamin D your body produces from sunshine is superior to the vitamin D from supplements, the documented beneficial effects of both sources are the same, and with supplements you don’t risk damaging your skin.

For more on vitamin D, check out these previous posts:
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Are You a Compassionate Cook?

Now that I think about it, I might be. The only meals I know how to make are vegetable-based—I guess it comes with the territory—but now, time for a real compassionate cook. Colleen A. Patrick-Goudreau runs a really cool organization called Compassionate Cooks. Dr. Fuhrman thought they were worth a mention, take a look:
Compassionate Cooks is dedicated to empowering people to make informed food choices and to debunking myths about vegetarianism and animal rights through cooking classes, podcasts, workshops and lectures, articles and essays, and cooking DVDs.

FDA: New Produce Guidelines

You remember the spinach crisis, right? Sure you do! It was all over the news this fall. That darn E. coli really threw a monkey wrench into the whole operation. And Followhealthlife was there, here are a handful of posts about it:
So, in response to all this, the FDA is planning new safety guidelines for fresh-cut produce. Not a bad idea if you ask me, especially since the overwhelming majority of my diet is fresh fruits and vegetables! Know what I mean? Steven Reinberg of HealthDay News has more:
In light of contaminated produce scares that have rattled American consumers since September, U.S. health officials on Monday released a draft of proposed guidelines for commercial processing of fresh-cut vegetables and fruits.

The voluntary guidelines from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration suggest ways that food industry processors can minimize contamination of ready-to-eat produce by harmful bacteria that are common in the processing of these products.

"The recent outbreaks indicate that clearly more needs to be done to further minimize the risk of food-borne illness," Dr. David W.K. Acheson, director of the Office of Food Defense, Communication and Emergency Response at the FDA's Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, said during an FDA teleconference. "The vast majority of food-borne illnesses are, in theory, preventable."
And they better get this right! If not Followhealthlife’s new series Freaky Fruits and Strange Veggies is doomed. Did you miss the first two installments? Well, what are you waiting for? Check them out:

Eyesight and Beta Carotene

I guess a lot of people have been popping beta-carotene supplements in the hopes of staving off vision loss, but, apparently that doesn’t work. New research suggests that beta carotene pills are powerless against a common variety of vision loss among older people. Carla K. Johnson of the Associated Press reports:
An earlier large study had shown that beta carotene — when taken with certain vitamins and zinc — could slow or prevent vision loss in people with age-related macular degeneration. Commercial formulations of the eye-protecting combination vitamins are sold over the counter.

But the new study found no benefit for beta carotene supplements alone against the disease.

That may be a comfort for smokers with signs of macular degeneration. Smoking is a risk factor for the condition, but beta carotene has been shown in other research to raise the risk of lung cancer in smokers. So eye doctors have advised smokers concerned about macular degeneration to find a vitamin regimen without beta carotene.

Vitamin D and Osteoporosis

From the September 2005 edition of Dr. Fuhrman's Healthy Times:

It is estimated that over 25 million adults in the United States have, or are at risk of developing, osteoporosis. Adequate storage levels of vitamin D help keep bones strong and help prevent osteoporosis in older adults. Vitamin D deficiency results in diminished calcium absorption, and has been linked to a higher incidence of osteoporosis-related bone fractures seen in post menopausal women and older Americans.

In a review of women with osteoporosis hospitalized for hip fractures, 50 percent were found to have vitamin D deficiency.1 Daily supplementation with 20g (800 IU) of vitamin D has been shown to reduce the risk of osteoporotic fractures in elderly populations with low blood levels of vitamin D.2 The Decalyos II study examined the effect of combined calcium and vitamin D supplementation in a group of elderly women who were able to walk indoors with a cane or walker.

The women were studied for two years, and results showed that supplementation significantly reduced the risk of hip fractures, and that vitamin D was more effective than calcium.3 Clearly, any woman being counseled or treated for osteoporosis should have her vitamin D status checked with a blood test and appropriately supplemented to assure a normal level.

For more on vitamin D, check out these previous posts:
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Freaky Fruits: Cactus Pears

Now, if Scientology, Madagascar Hissing Cockroaches, Pokemon, and the Ice Capades didn’t tip you off, we live on a strange planet—with strange inhabitants. And I’m not just talking about Britney Spears. Take kohlrabi for example. You remember kohlrabi, don’t you? The unusual beet-looking vegetable loaded with fiber and minerals, enjoyed by humans and K9s alike.

Kohlrabi was Followhealthlife’s first Strange Veggie, a new series dedicated to shedding light on extraordinary vegetables you may or may not have heard of. And now—drum roll please—get ready for the first Freaky Fruit, Cactus Pears, or, as they’re known to some, Prickly Pears. Actually they also called Opuntia and Nopalitos. As you’ll see, this spiny fruit has a lot of history and loads of intrigue. Here’s a little introduction from Wikipedia:
Prickly pears, classified in the subgenus Opuntia, typically grow with flat, rounded segments that are armed with two kinds of spines; large, smooth, fixed spines and small, almost hair-like spines called glochids that easily penetrate skin and detach from the plant. Many types of prickly pear can grow into dense, tangled structures. Prickly pears species are found in abundance in the West and Southwest of the United States and throughout much of Mexico. Prickly pears are also the only types of cactus normally found in the eastern United States. They are the most cold-tolerant of the cacti, extending into northern Canada; one species, Opuntia fragilis var. fragilis, has been found growing along the Beatton River in the province of Alberta, southwest of Cecile Lake at 56° 17’ N latitude and 120° 39’ W longitude.
Okay, I’m sure some people hear Cactus Pears and wonder, “How the heck do you eat something with spines?” Trust me, they’re not that intimidating. How do I know? Check out this bunch I bought at the local farmers market the other day. My apologies for the shady looking webcam photo:

In a few days they’ll be ripe and ready for the sacrifice. And they sure are tasty, but, are they good for you? As you know, Dr. Fuhrman makes it clear that fruits and vegetables are packed with health-promoting nutrients. So, how do Cactus Pears stack up? GourmetSleuth breaks down their nutritional information. Just look at all the minerals they contain:

Cactus Pears have also grabbed the attention of scientists. According to ongoing research Cactus Pears might be helpful in controlling conditions like viral infections and cholesterol. From WiseGeek:
The pads and fruits of the prickly pear are useful in stabilizing blood sugar because they are rich in slowly absorbed soluble fiber. Because prickly pear cactus contains significant amounts of vitamins B1 and B6, it is also sold in capsule form as a supplement. Research is ongoing to determine whether cactus is helpful in controlling cholesterol, obesity, gastrointestinal disorders, skin problems, and even viral infections.
Wikipedia also has more on the possible medicinal effects of Cactus Pears:
The stem of Opuntia spp. is used to treat type II diabetes, diarrhea, and stomach ache. However, usefulness of Opuntia (also known as Nopal or Nopalitos in Spanish) in treating diabetes is not at all clear at this time. Although some researchers have shown a glucose lowering effect of Opuntia streptacantha,[1] another study of three other species of Opuntia (Opuntia lasiacantha, O. velutina, and O. macrocentra) showed no such effect.[2] Another study of Opuntia megacantha raised concern about toxic effects on the kidney.[3] It may be that certain species are effective and useful in diabetes while others are not but this needs to be clarified with further research before recommending its use. Furthermore, when buying Nopalitos in the market it is impossible to know which species one is buying and therefore whether or not it is useful in treating diabetes.

Alcohol hangover
Opuntia ficus indica may have a reducing effect on alcohol hangover by inhibiting the production of inflammatory mediators. Studies have yielded differing results, with some studies witnessing significant reductions in nausea, dry mouth, and loss of appetite as well as the risk of a severe hangover[4] while others witnessing no compelling evidence suggesting effects on alcohol hangover.[5]
With credentials like that, it's no wonder why Cactus Pears have their own island. Back to Wikipedia:
Prickly Pear Island, Antigua, has 12 residents, all of whom were born on the island.

Despite the name, prickly pears are not the island's only source of wealth. Tourism contributes substantially to the island's income.

Despite the above description - the prickly pear Island, which is just off the Northern coast of Antigua, is uninhabited. It is run by Miguel and his family as an island where you can take a day trip out - have a simple buffet meal with local foods, help yourself to drinks, and enjoy the sun.
Now, if Antigua is too far. Mexico boasts many vareites of Cactus Pears, from white to yellow, to green, to purple—oh my! The Small Farm Center at The University of California explains:
Individual taste preferences will dictate which varieties to choose for eating fresh and which for cooking. In Mexico alone, there are over 100 species with edible fruits. Sam Williams, a cactus enthusiast in Carmichael, California, says that while all the fleshy fruit kinds are edible and none are poisonous, only a few are palatable and even fewer taste really sweet. They range from juicy to dry and sweet to acid. Cantwell-de-Trejo says that the acidity and fibrousness of the fruits are called "xoconochtlis" and are used in certain traditional Mexican stews and other dishes.

Fruit size, shape, and color vary from small and round like a walnut to three inches long and two inches wide like a rounded cylinder. Skin and flesh come in a rainbow of colors (white, green, yellow, orange, red, purple, and brown. White-skinned varieties are the most popular in Mexico, says Cantwell-de-Trejo, while the sweetest varieties generally available in this country have dark reddish-orange or purple skins and deep red-purple flesh. The fruit contains about one-half the amount of an orange. According to Cantwell-de-Trejo, this is its most important use in the diet of rural Mexicans.
See, despite their freaky namesake Cactus Pears pack quite the nutrient-rich punch, and, they happen to be one of my favorite fruits. Have you ever eaten them before? If you have, I’m sure you can relate to discovering a tiny spine in your finger hours later—ouch! Try rubbing them vigorously with a paper towel before cutting them open, that usually does the trick. If not you’ll find yourself driving down the highway, riding the subway, or at the movie theater wishing you had a pair of tweezers!

I hope you enjoyed Followhealthlife's first Freaky Fruit. And, like I said before, keep your eyes peeled, freaky fruits and strange veggies are all around us. You never know when one might pop up. Now, if you’ve got something to say about Cactus Pears we’d love to hear it. Just make a comment or email us at

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Importance of Vitamin D

From the September 2005 edition of Dr. Fuhrman's Healthy Times:

Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that your body makes after exposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun. Vitamin D functions as a hormone because it sends a message to the intestines to increase the absorption of calcium and phosphorus. By promoting calcium absorption, vitamin D helps to form and maintain strong bones.

Vitamin D also works in concert with a number of other vitamins, minerals, and hormones to promote bone mineralization. Research also suggests that vitamin D is important to maintain a healthy immune system, regulate cell growth, and prevent cancer. Vitamin D has been shown to protect against the development of autoimmune disease such as inflammatory bowel disease, multiple sclerosis, and rheumatoid arthritis. It also has been shown to be helpful in decreasing disease severity for those suffering with autoimmune disease.1

Sun exposure is perhaps the most important source of vitamin D because exposure to sunlight provides most humans with their vitamin D requirement. The further you live from the equator, the longer you need to be exposed to the sun in order to generate vitamin D. Season, time of day, cloud cover, smog, and sunscreen affect UV ray exposure and vitamin D synthesis. For example, sunlight exposure from November through February in Boston is insufficient to produce significant vitamin D synthesis in the skin. Recent data have demonstrated that getting sunshine during the summer months is simply not enough; besides, most adults work indoors for the majority of the day, avoiding the sun. Sunscreens block UV rays that produce vitamin D, so they could contribute to our epidemic of vitamin D deficiency.

It is extremely important for individuals with limited sun exposure to ingest supplemental vitamin D. I still recommend that you routinely use sunscreen to help prevent skin cancer, wrinkling, and aging of the skin, especially because the ozone layer has been depleted. The risk of skin damage and skin cancer is real.

Americans age 50 and older are at increased risk of developing vitamin D deficiency. As people age, skin cannot synthesize vitamin D as efficiently, and the kidney is less able to convert vitamin D to its active hormone form. It is estimated that as many as 30-40 percent of older adults with hip fractures are vitamin D insufficient.2 Therefore, older adults especially benefit from supplemental vitamin D.

Melanin is the pigment that gives skin its color. The high melanin content in darker skin reduces the skin’s ability to produce vitamin D from sunlight. It is very important for African-Americans and other populations with dark-pigmented skin to consume recommended amounts of vitamin D. Some studies suggest that older adults in these groups, especially women, are at extremely high risk of vitamin D deficiency. It is thought that the main reason prostate cancer is so prevalent in black men is because of increased need for vitamin D.

For more on vitamin D, check out these previous posts:
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Copper for Your Health

According to HealthDay News new research shows dietary to copper can be used to treat cardiovascular disease. Ed Edelson explains:
But adding copper to the animals' diets reversed the overgrowth of their hearts, the researchers reported. They attributed the beneficial effects to increased production of cardiac blood vessels and to improved function of vascular endothelial growth factor, a molecule involved in function of the delicate lining of those blood vessels…

… The first evidence that suggested copper might be important for the heart came about 75 years go with reports of animal illnesses such as "falling disease," in which Australian cows simply keeled over and died because of a copper deficiency, Dr. Leslie M. Klevay, an unabashed copper enthusiast said.
Now before you prepare yourself a steaming dish of pennies with a side of nickels, check out these veggie sources of copper:
Eating Seeds: Sesame Seeds
Are one of the most mineral-rich foods in the world and a potent source of calcium, magnesium, copper, iron, manganese, zinc, vitamins, and fiber. They are also rich in anti-cancer lignans that are uniquely found in sesame seeds alone. Grind some unhulled sesame seeds into a powder to sprinkle on salads and vegetables. Toast lightly and mix with eggplant, chickpeas, scallions, and garlic for a healthy and delicious dip.

It's Lime Time
Nutritionally limes are a very good source of vitamin C, as mentioned before, and a good source of dietary fiber, calcium, iron and copper and they are low in sodium. They also contain the flavonoids called flavonol glycosides which have antibiotic properties and are said to stop cell division in many cancer cell lines. Due to the high vitamin C levels and antibiotic properties they are a natural way to prevent gum disease and to ease bacterial infections and colds. They are also a remedy for indigestion, heartburn, and nausea.

Strange Veggies: Kohlrabi
Kohlrabi can be eaten raw as well as cooked. The low-calorie plant is high in dietary fibers and contains the dietary minerals selenium, folic acid, vitamin C, potassium, magnesium and copper.

Asparagus: Real Health Food
Asparagus is one of the most healthful foods on the planet. It leads nearly all fruits and vegetables in the wide array of nutrients it supplies. Ten ounces (one box of frozen spears) have only 68 calories and 9 grams of protein, yet it is like a vitamin pill, giving you a variety of minerals such as selenium, zinc, calcium, copper, and manganese. Plus, it is very rich in folate.

Super Tomato Power

Some scientists devote their lives to unraveling the mysteries of the universe, while others invent super tomatoes—foliate-rich super tomatoes that is. Ed Edelson of HealthDay News has more:
"We used the tomato, because it is a very good model to work with," explained study co-author Andrew D. Hanson, professor of plant biochemistry at the University of Florida at Gainesville. "Now we want to move the strategy we have developed into cereal and tuber crops such as sweet potatoes..."

… The work is just beginning, he emphasized. "We have produced a few experimental plants," Hanson said. "This is a proof-of-concept study. With just two genes, it is possible to substantially increase the folate level of fruits. This is a demonstration that it can be done."

Nutritional Wisdom: You Don't Have to Be Sick - The Miraculous Self Healing Body

Dr. Fuhrman’s radio show Nutritional Wisdom airs live Wednesdays at 11am EST with an encore presentation Thursdays at 3pm EST on VoiceAmerica. Be sure to check out this week’s episode You Don’t Have to Be Sick – The Miraculous Self Healing Body. And if you've missed an episode click the Nutritional Wisdom category for previous episodes.

Going Ape Over Organic

From the May 2004 edition of Dr. Fuhrman's Healthy Times:

Primates at Copenhagen Zoo are going ape over organic bananas and other fruits, rejecting traditional foods left in their cages,zookeepers report.“For one reason or another, the tapirs and chimpanzees choose organically grown bananas over the others,” keeper Niels Melchiorsen told the magazine Ecological Agriculture.“ Maybe they are able to tell the difference, and their choice is not at all random.The chimpanzees are able to tell the difference between the organic and the regular fruit. If we give them organic and traditional bananas, they systematically choose the organic bananas, which they eat with the skins on. But they peel the traditional bananas before eating them.”

Copenhagen Zoo, which hopes to be awarded a “green label” as an environmental zoo, began last year feeding its animals at least 10 percent organic products.

Dr. Fuhrman comments:
My kids do the same thing in our house. Now, if someone can tell me how to get them to stop swinging from the chandelier.

Carrot Eating Dog

Okay, yesterday we witnessed a rabbit eating a bunch of salad. Which of course makes sense, but, a dog eating baby carrots? No! Actually, yes! Take a look:

Rabbit + Veggies + Music

Ever wondering what a cute rabbit eating vegetables set to music would look like, well look no further:

Baby Genius vs. Broccoli

Not everyone shares Dr. Fuhrman’s appreciation for cruciferous vegetables. Witness Stewie’s war against broccoli:

“Well then, my goal becomes clear. The broccoli must die!”

Nutritional Wisdom: Art and Life - Think like an Artist for Life Extension

Dr. Fuhrman’s radio show Nutritional Wisdom airs live Wednesdays at 11am EST with an encore presentation Thursdays at 3pm EST on VoiceAmerica. Be sure to check out this week’s episode Art and Life – Think like an Artist for Life Extension” with special guest Peter Max. And if you've missed an episode click  the Nutritional Wisdom category for previous episodes.

Growing Your Own

From the May 2004 edition of Dr. Fuhrman's Healthy Times:

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued an advisory about the risks of raw sprouts prompted by several outbreaks of serious food-borne illness linked to eating raw sprouts. Young children, elderly, and those with reduced immune function should especially avoid sprouts. Since 1995, raw sprouts have emerged as a recognized source of food-borne illness in the United States. These illnesses have involved the pathogenic bacteria salmonella and E. coli O157. Alfalfa and clover sprouts have been involved most often, but all raw sprouts may pose a risk.

Dr. Fuhrman comments:
The small sprouts are difficult to wash and rinse during sprouting as the roots mat together. Commercially-grown alfalfa and broccoli sprouts can be safely added to soups, because the cooking temperature kills any harmful bacteria. You reduce the chances of bacterial contamination considerably if you grow your own.
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Dairy: Ice Cream for Fertility?

Dairy has been crammed down our throats for decades. School lunch trays across America sport that familiar mini-carton of milk and college students basically survive on a diet of grilled cheese and breakfast cereal. And if you don’t eat dairy people act as if something’s wrong with you. Having a lactose intolerance is like being branded with a scarlet letter. But don’t worry. According to Dr. Fuhrman avoiding dairy isn’t exactly a bad idea. From Eat to Live:
Dairy is best kept to a minimum. There are many good reasons not to consume dairy. For example, there is a strong association between diary lactose and ischemic heart disease.1 There is also a clear association between high-growth-promoting foods such as dairy products and cancer. There is a clear association between milk consumption and testicular cancer.2 Dairy fat is also loaded various toxins and is the primary source of our nation’s high exposure to dioxin.3 Dioxin is a highly toxic chemical compound that even the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency admits is a prominent cause of many types of cancer in those consuming dairy fat, such as butter and cheese.4 Cheese is also a power inducer of acid load, which increases calcium loss further.5 Considering that cheese and butter are the foods with the highest saturated-fat content and the major source of our dioxin exposure, cheese is a particularly foolish choice for obtaining calcium.
So then, I imagine articles like this only confuse the heck out of people. The Associated Press reports that ice cream might help fertility. I wonder what the magic ingredient is, the chunks of cookie dough or the hot fudge? Marilynn Marchione explains:
Researchers found that women who ate two or more low-fat dairy products a day were nearly twice as likely to have trouble conceiving because of lack of ovulation than women who ate less than one serving of such foods a week.

Conversely, women who ate at least one fatty dairy food a day were 27 percent less likely to have this problem.

Even the researchers say women should not make too much of these results, which are based on reports of what women said they ate over many years - not a rigorous, scientific experiment where specific dietary factors could be studied in isolation.

"The idea is not to go crazy and start to have ice cream three times a day," said the lead author, Dr. Jorge Chavarro, a research fellow at Harvard. "But it is certainly possible to have a healthy diet with low saturated fat intake by having one serving of high-fat dairy a day."
Now when you weigh all the risks of consuming dairy, is it really worth it? I’m sure millions of people read a report like this and use it to justify loading up on Double Chocolate Chip Mint, Oreo Snickers Cookie Surprise, or whatever other concoction they’ve come up with now.

A lot of people eat dairy because they believe it’s essential for getting adequate calcium. Not so according to Dr. Fuhrman. In fact, check out these posts for great sources of veggie calcium:
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Bad Press for Antioxidants

Yesterday garlic supplements were dragged through the mud and now it looks like antioxidants are next. New research claims antioxidants won’t help people live longer. Carla K. Johnson of the Associated Press is on it:
Antioxidant vitamins taken by tens of millions of people around the world won't lead to a longer life, according to an analysis of dozens of studies that adds to evidence questioning the value of the popular supplements. The large review of separate studies on thousands of people found no long-life benefit from vitamins A, E and C and beta carotene and selenium.

However, some experts said it's too early to toss out all vitamin pills — or the possibility that they may have some health benefits. Others said the study supports the theory that antioxidants work best when they are consumed in food rather than pills…

… But some researchers now believe antioxidants work only when they are in food, or that people who eat vitamin-rich food are healthier simply because they take better care of themselves. And beta carotene supplements have been found to increase lung cancer risk in smokers.
Reports like this are interesting because they expose the insanity of America’s desperate belief in magic pills. Millions of us eat a horrible diet and don’t exercise, but to make ourselves feel less guilty about it, we pop some advertised wonder pill. But then, we’re surprised when we still get sick. And who do we blame? The lazy glutton? No, the wonder pill!

Dr. Fuhrman would agree. This is part of the thinking that gets millions of American’s in trouble. That’s why I like the last part of this report encouraging people to get antioxidants from food. This makes sense because Dr. Fuhrman’s vegetable-based biologically-diverse diet will ensure you get plenty of nutrients, especially antioxidants. From Ten Super Foods to Use in Your Recipes and Menus:
Carrots/beets are colorful root crops that add beauty and flavor to dishes. Shredded raw in salads, cooked, or in soups, they are high in fiber and antioxidants compounds such as cartonoids and betacyanin, a powerful cancer protective agent found to inhibit cell mutations.

The Drama Club on Cucumbers

Not sure why you should eat cucumbers. Well, this video—which has all the symptoms of the high school drama club—will help enlighten you: