Weight-Loss: Eat Your Fruits and Veggies

Dr. Fuhrman makes it very clear, you want to lose weight? Eat lots of fruits and veggies. They’re low in calories and heavy in bulk—meaning? You feel full, without consuming a lot of calories. Take green vegetables for example, according to Dr. Fuhrman eating plenty of green veggies will actually make you thin:
Green vegetables are so incredibly low in calories and rich in nutrients and fiber that the more you eat of them, the more weight you will lose. One of my secrets of nutritional excellence and superior healing is the one pound-one pound rule. That is, try to eat at least one pound of raw green vegetables a day and one pound of cooked/steamed or frozen green vegetables a day as well. One pound raw and one pound cooked--keep this goal in mind as you design and eat every meal. This may be too ambitious a goal for some of us to reach, but by working toward it, you will ensure the dietary balance and results you want. The more greens you eat, the more weight you will lose. The high volume of greens not only will be your secret to a thin waistline but will simultaneously protect you against life threatening illnesses.
Now, this next item shouldn’t be all that surprising. Researchers at Pennsylvania State University have determined fruits and vegetables are an essential part of weight-loss. Diet-Blog is on it:
Their study included 658 healthy men and women divided into two groups.
  • Group 1: Told to eat 9 to 12 daily servings of fruits and vegetables and 2 to 3 servings of low-fat dairy.
  • Group 2: Told to reduce calorie intake, but were not given goals for fruit, vegetable and dairy intake.
Those who made the greatest reductions in the energy or calorie density of their diets lost an average of 13 pounds over 6 months. Those who made the smallest reduction in energy lost 5 pounds over the same period.

I try to include as many fruits and vegetables in my diet because I like the filling sensation. I also believe that consuming more more fresh foods will increase the intake of fiber, vitamins and minerals.

Kid's Menus a Blessing?

Most parents would probably say that they are. Portions are smaller—kid-sized if you will, but, are they really a heaven-sent or just an easier way for kids to eat the same junk that their parents are already busy killing themselves with? David Kamp of The New York Times investigates:
For restaurateurs there are advantages, too. Marc Murphy, the chef and an owner of Landmarc in TriBeCa (and its new sister operation in the Time Warner Center), says doing a children’s menu has helped the bottom line at his bistro, which is known for its neighborhood clientele and value-priced wines.

“It totally drives that early seating for us,” he said. “The kids eat what they eat, and with our wine program, the parents can have fun.” Landmarc serves up the requisite greatest hits — the fingers, the burger, the grilled cheese — and throws in some curveballs, like “green eggs and ham,” flavored and colored with pesto sauce…

…I grew up eating what my parents ate, at home and at restaurants. Sometimes, the experience could be revelatory, as when I tried fish chowder for the first time on a trip to Boston, or when my mother attempted Julia Child’s Soupe au Pistou.

Other times, dinner was merely dinner, not transcendent but comfortingly routine. And then there were those bummer meals that I just didn’t care for, like stuffed cabbage, but that I endured because my parents offered no other choice. It was all experiential grist for the mill, and it made me — like millions of other Americans of my generation who were raised the same way — a fairly adventurous eater with a built-in sense of dietary balance.

It pains me that many children now grow up eating little besides golden-brown logs of kid food, especially in a time when the quality, variety and availability of good ingredients is better than ever.
I think the answer is pretty obvious. While a novel idea, most kid’s menus just seem like training wheels for the standard American diet. But don’t take my word for it. Linda Popescu is a Registered Dietician, and, she works in Dr. Fuhrman’s office. Here’s what she had to say on the topic:
Don’t underestimate your kids! Most children are very interested in nutrition and want to learn more. Give them the facts about how food choices can affect their health now and in the future. You’ll be surprised and impressed by the healthy and adventurous choices they make!

Seize the Tomato

Do you like tomatoes? I do. Honestly, I eat them almost everyday—I love those hard slicing tomatoes. Now, tomato devotion isn’t exactly a bad thing. Dr. Fuhrman considers tomatoes one of his top ten super foods for health and longevity:
Top Seven Foods for Good Health and Longevity
  • Black raspberries
  • Strawberries
  • Blueberries
  • Flax Seeds
  • Green Leafy Vegetables
  • Tomatoes
  • Broccoli sprouts
Cancer protection—a good idea! The Cancer Blog seems to think so too. Check out this post talking about the anti-cancer properties of this special veggie—oh, I mean fruit. Look:
Tomato fruits (yes, they are not vegetables) contain lycopene, a pigment and phytochemical that is extremely healthy and can even be found in higher-end nutritional supplements and holistic cancer-preventing compounds. Is it really that good?

From all I've read, yes it is. Just like blueberries, tomatoes are excellent and natural ways to help ward off cancer while being tasty and ultimately nutritious at the same time.
Pretty cool—right? Dr. Fuhrman gives tomatoes more praise in this post. From Ten Super Foods to Use in Your Recipes and Menus:
Tomatoes have been a hot topic in recent years because their consumption has been linked to dramatic reduction in the incidence of common cancers. One of the tomatoes' heavily investigated anti-cancer phytochemicals is lycopene, which has been shown to be protective against cancer, including prostate cancer, breast cancer, endometrial cancer, lung cancer, and colorectal cancers.

Fat Babies, Fat Later On

According to Reuters, new research has determined that heavy infants have a higher risk of being obese later in life. Tan Ee Lyn reports:
Obesity has long been associated with a person's lifestyle and dietary habits, but the study shows it might just as well be dependent on "epigenetics" -- factors such as genes, and the eating habits and lifestyle of parents and grandparents, said researchers at the University of Hong Kong.

"You tend to assume it's just your lifestyle, but what people are realising is it's not just what you are doing now, but what people have done in your family in the past," said Mary Schooling, assistant professor at the university's School of Public Health.

New born infants would be considered heavy if they weigh 3.65 kg (8 pounds) and over.

Excess weight and obesity pose major risks for chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, stroke and some forms of cancer.
All the more reason to upgrade the eating habits of the whole family.

Broccoli Dog

This dog would terrorize your vegetable garden. Watch her gobble up some nutrient-rich broccoli:

Healthy Barbecue?

Barbecued meat, not exactly high on Dr. Fuhrman’s list of health-promoting foods, in fact, he considers barbecued meats some of the worst foods you can eat for health and longevity. In Disease-Proof Your Child he points out that even browned food is a bad idea. Take a look:
Never eat browned or overly cooked food. Burnt food forms harmful compounds. If by accident something is overcooked and browned, discard. Avoid fried food and food sautéed in oil. Experiment with low heat cooking to prevent nutritional damage to the food and the formation of dangerous heat-generated compounds.
But this is America, the land of apple pie, bloody steak, charred burgers, and wonder pills. So, if you have friends or family that simply must have barbecue, HealthDay News shares some tips to make barbecue “healthier.” Robert Preidt reports:
The longer the cooking time and the higher the heat, the more HCAs, say experts at the University of California, Davis, Cancer Center. That means that barbecuing produces the most HCAs, followed by pan-frying and broiling. Baking, poaching, stir-frying and stewing produce the least HCAs.

The UC Davis experts offer the following advice for limiting HCAs:
  • Before you barbecue meat, partially cook it in the microwave and then throw out the juices that collect in the cooking dish. Finish cooking the meat on the grill. Precooking a hamburger for a few minutes in the microwave reduces HCAs by up to 95 percent.
  • Flip hamburgers often. Doing so every minute reduces HCAs by up to 100 percent. This is likely because constant flipping keeps internal meat temperatures lower.
Another important thing to keep in mind when eating overcooked food are acrylamides.

Organic or Not

Now this is perplexing. How could something be called organic—if not all of its ingredients are organic! Yes, the USDA has lost its mind. As part of a new proposal the USDA is willing to allow non-organic ingredients into organic products, and—here’s the kicker—they can still be labeled “organic.” Unbelievable—right? Diet-Blog is all over it:
The Organic Consumers Association has been petitioning against a proposal to allow non-organic ingredients to be labeled as organic.

The USDA proposal is essentially this:
“Nonorganically produced agricultural products may be used as ingredients in or on processed products labeled as "organic" when the product is not commercially available in organic form.”
That strikes me as being oxymoronic - and with products like hops in the list - I can almost smell some brewer lobbying.
Big news, especially if you consider the big difference between organic and non-organic. Dr. Fuhrman talks about it in Is Organic Food Safer:
There is another reason to feed our children organic food when possible. Organic food usually has more nutrients than conventional.1 One study performed at the University of California at Davis found that foods grown organically had higher amounts of flavonoids, which have protective effects against both heart disease and cancer. The researchers found flavonoids were more than 50 percent higher in organic corn and strawberries. They theorized that when plants are forced to deal with the stress of insects, they produce more of these compounds, which are beneficial to humans.2 Overall, organic foods taste better, and organic agriculture protects farmers and our environment.
Continue Reading...

Bunny Munch Kale

I’m not sure this bunny knows much about nutrient density, but, he sure loves that kale. Enjoy:

Examining Frozen Sugar Water

Personally, I’ve never looked at a snow cone or Italian Ice and said, “Gee, what a nutritious fat-free snack.” It’s frozen sugar water! Sugar plus water isn’t exactly the blueprint for nutrient-density. But in case you didn’t know that, Kimberly Garrison of The Philadelphia Inquirer examines a Philly tradition, the water ice:
There are nearly 300 calories and 17.25 teaspoons of sugar in a typical 12-ounce serving. That's about five teaspoons more sugar than is found in a typical 12-ounce can of soda.

A 150-pound woman would have to walk at a pace of 3 mph for an hour to burn off that treat. If she's pressed for time, she could simply jump rope vigorously for about 30 minutes.

For the record, when my mom was growing up, she recalls that water ice came in a 4-ounce cup. That's half the size of today's kid's cup at local water-ice stands.

To quote a late-'80s song by Public Enemy, "Don't, Don't, Don't, Don't believe the hype" when you see the phrase "Fat Free."

Don't be misled by our national fat-free fixation. Sure, you'll save a few calories because the fat has been removed. But, fat free, I repeat, is not calorie free!

Remember that the next time you order a large water ice. Which, by the way, is nearly 19 ounces and 450 calories. That's a lot of excess calories, and it doesn't even include the "fat-free" pretzel many people get with their water ice.
When I read about sugar I always think about soda or soft drinks. Let’s face it, what’s the difference between a can of Sprite and a snow cone—thirty-two degrees? So with that in mind, check out this information on soda consumption and obesity. From Disease-Proof Your Child:
Obesity rates have risen in tandem with soda consumption, and in the last twenty years the consumption of soft drinks by teenagers had doubled.1 Twelve to nineteen-year-old boys consume thirty-four teaspoons of sugar a day in their diet, and about half of that comes from soft drinks. Children start drinking soft drinks at a very young age, and advertisements and promotions by the soft drink manufacturers are aggressively marketed to the young…

…Soft drinks and processed foods are full of high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS). HFCS is not only fattening, but this inexpensive and ultra-concentrated sugar has no resemblance to real food made by nature. It is another experiment thrust upon our unsuspecting children with unknown dangerous consequences. Besides sugar, corn syrup, and chemicals, these drinks often contain caffeine, an addictive stimulant. Children crave more and more as they get older. By adolescence most children have become soft-drink addicts. It is no surprise that six out of the seven most popular soft drinks contain caffeine. Contrast this high level of sugary “liquid candy” with the meager intake of fresh produce by children and teenagers, and it is no surprise that we have an obesity epidemic beyond all expectations.
But I understand, the weather is getting warmer and the temptation is there, so, if you simply must have a frozen sweet treat, give these a whirl. From Followhealthlife’s recipe category:
Strawberry Ice Scream

1 cup orange juice
2 slices dried pineapple
12 oz. frozen strawberries

Place all ingredients in a blender, food processor, or VitaMix. Blend until creamy smooth. If you do not have a VitaMix, you may have to soak the dried pineapple in the orange juice overnight to soften sufficiently to blend in a regular blender or food processor.
Watermelon Ices

5 cups seedless watermelon
1/2 cup raisins

Blend watermelon and raisins in a blender, food processor, or VitaMix until they form a creamy liquid. Pour into paper cups and freeze for one hour only. Remove partially frozen treat from the freezer. Blend again, spoon the mixture back into the cups, and place back in the freezer until served.

Continue Reading...

Get that Raspberry

This turtle gets into a dogfight with a raspberry:

Kids Will Eat Their Veggies

Here’s another great article from Susan Bowerman of The Los Angeles Times. You want your kids to eat more veggies? Feed them more veggies! From the report:
In a report published in the journal Appetite in 2003, for example, researchers at University College London randomly assigned children ages 2 to 6 and their parents to one of three groups for a two-week study. In one group, parents offered their child a daily taste of a vegetable for which the child had indicated a low preference ranking.

In a second group, parents received only general nutrition information about how to increase fruits and vegetables in the diet. The third group served as a control — receiving neither dietary recommendations nor literature.

The kids who received daily exposure increased their liking and consumption of the food, and increased the ranking of the vegetable in question significantly more than children in the other two groups.

And, a majority of parents in the "exposure" group felt that the intervention could have a lasting effect on their children. In some cases, foods their youngsters previously wouldn't touch had actually become their favorites. One parent commented that her child looked forward to the daily tasting, because it had "made food more fun."
Dr. Fuhrman agrees—kids will eat their veggies! Don’t believe me? Just check out this excerpt from Disease-Proof Your Child:
It is not uncommon or abnormal for a child to prefer a narrow range of foods at a young age. It is also not unusual for parents to be in an ongoing battle to coax their child to eat in a manner they feel is appropriate. Fortunately, it is possible to put an end to the food wars and solve the problem of how to get your child to eat a healthful diet…

… It is not necessary to coax them to eat or to eat healthfully. In fact, battling about food with your child is counterproductive. The trick here is to adhere to this one most important rule: only permit healthy food in your home. Children will eat whatever is available. They will not starve themselves to death; they will adapt easily and learn relatively quickly to like the food that is offered.
Of course, you could always try a veggie sneak attack.

Healthy Diet: Premium Gas

Eating lots of fruits and vegetables is great, but, if you’re not used to it—get ready for an interesting few days! In fact, you might want to quarantine yourself. Why? Check out this article in The Los Angeles Times. Susan Bowerman examines why healthy food makes us so darn gassy:
Certain foods, such as beans or Brussels sprouts, have a reputation for causing gas, but, in reality, any carbohydrate-containing food is potentially "flatu- logenic," to use the technical term. Fruits, vegetables, grain products and legumes all contain the gas-causing culprits — a variety of short-chain carbohydrates known as oligosaccharides, some of which escape complete digestion as they pass into the lower intestine…

…Because people respond differently, trial and error is the best approach. But also consider this: Since many of the gas-promoting culprits in our foods are healthful, we may need to think about what "gas price" we're willing to pay, in the form of short-term discomfort, in exchange for long-term health benefits.
“Sorry honey, I don’t mean to be gross. It’s just my healthy diet at work.” Yeah, I don’t think that excuse will keep you from sleeping on the couch that night. But regardless, Dr. Fuhrman insists increased gassiness is an all too common part of adjusting to a healthy diet. He talks about it in Cholesterol Protection For Life:
When you change your diet to one that is so much lower in salt and higher in nutrients your blood pressure will drop significantly and you will begin a detoxification process that can be compared to stopping additive drugs. You may actually feel worse, not better for a week or two.

During this temporary adjustment period that usually lasts less than a week, and rarely more than two weeks, you might feel fatigue, headaches, gassy, or other mild symptoms as your body withdraws from your prior toxic eating habits. For example, stopping dangerous but stimulating foods, including caffeine, causes temporary fatigue and headaches.
Alright, so you’ve got two weeks to use up some great “pull my finger” jokes.

Cat vs. Carrot

This cat just can’t figure out how to get the phytonutrients out of his carrot. Take a look:

Where's Your Banana From?

You’ve heard this before. Ask someone where their food comes from and they’ll probably respond, “The supermarket.” Even if you buy your fruits and veggies at a farmer’s market, you still can’t be sure where the stuff is grown—until now.

Dole Organic Program actually gives you the ability to find out which farm grew your produce. Give it a try. Type in the farm number on this banana:

(Via Vegetarian Organic Life Blog)
And here’s what comes up:
In the heart of La Guajira desert with a great view of the snowed peaks of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, Dole Colombia operates a farm called Don Pedro. This farm has over 310 hectares of organic bananas and was established in 2005. This farm is currently certified under EU and NOP organic rules, ISO 14000 and SA 8000. Don Pedro promises to be one of the best producing organic banana farms in Latin America.
Some nice pictures too:

Now I wonder. If fast-food restaurants offered something similar, would the pictures be of a warehouse filled with barrels of artificial flavorings and trans-fat?

Diet-Blog Looks at Nourishing Traditions

Diet-Blog is pondering the information in Sally Fallon’s book Nourishing Traditions, which promotes the benefits of saturated fat. Here's more:

Sally Fallon, author of Nourishing Traditions has been in Australia promoting her book. Fallon promotes the benefits of saturated fats (from research undertaken by the Weston Price Foundation).

Fallon has come under heavy criticism from the Dietitians Association of Australia:

"She's basing her ideas on observations of primitive populations in isolated areas who eat traditional diets, and it's so far removed from Western civilisation," [...] "In a population that is sedentary there is no need to consume saturated fats." (The Age)

So what is the truth? Are there any real answers to this controversial and ongoing debate?

The truth? The truth is to ignore this book! Dr. Fuhrman believes Nourishing Traditions is a sad commentary on nutrition. He lays it on the line in Fanciful Folklore Is No Match For Modern Science, take a look:

Nourishing Traditions is full of bad science and illogical reasoning and its appeal is dependent on people’s ignorance about nutrition. Fallon and Enig perpetuate long-held nutritional myths by referencing the same people who started the myths in the first place.

Nutrition is a complicated subject, and it takes familiarity with a comprehensive body of scientific studies and articles to devise recommendations to prevent disease and promote longevity. Science is not perfect, but evidence builds on prior studies, and ongoing research attempts to test each hypothesis and check validity in an unbiased manner. Today, we have a comprehensive body of knowledge with over 15,000 articles written since the 1950s documenting the link between a diet high in saturated fat and low in fresh fruits, nuts, seeds, vegetables, and beans and the increased risk of cancer and heart disease.

While Nourishing Traditions has over 200 references, many are antiquated, with poor observations. For the most part, the authors reference their own articles and those of other Weston A. Price Foundation authors. Only fourteen of the references are from peer-reviewed journals published in the last ten years, and for most of those fourteen, the authors misrepresented what was stated in the articles. By contrast, my book Eat to Live contains over 1,000 medical references to peer-reviewed medical journals.

Green Bean Phobia

I’m not sure, but, I don’t think this little girl cares how many phytonutrients are in green beans. Warning, proceed with caution:

Yup, that settles it—I’m never having kids!

Healthy Diet: Why Bother?

I guess that’s the attitude many Americans have because as HealthDay News reports only a fraction of the people with high blood pressure are following a healthy diet. Granted, it’s the diet prescribed by the standard American healthcare system, but still. Ed Edelson explains:
The fact that so few people with hypertension -- just 22 percent in the group studied -- are following some simple dietary measures indicates a breakdown somewhere in the American health-care system, said lead researcher Dr. Philip Mellen, an assistant professor of internal medicine at Wake Forest University School of Medicine in Winston-Salem, N.C.

"We don't know where it broke down," Mellen said. "We don't know whether their physicians have been telling them to do it or whether physicians don't feel they know enough to counsel them. We have evidence from other sources that there are problems all along the chain..."

…Mellen's study, which was to be presented Sunday at the annual meeting of the American Society of Hypertension, focused on people who had been told they had high blood pressure.

"Presumably, the guidelines should have prescribed their lifestyle changes," Mellen said. "They did not. Presumably, this would mean that changes in the population have overwhelmed the DASH diet recommendations."
Are you surprised by this? I’m not. And here’s why. Remember this quote from last fall. From Will America Ever Eat Better:
Who the hell cares about the veggies anyway? You don't need them and there is absolutely nothing essential about them. Don't let the acculturated veggie sympathizers tell you otherwise.
Whoa! Can you say, “Grow up!” Now, in Eat to Live Dr. Fuhrman acknowledges many of us are creatures of comfort food and will continue to eat poorly—no matter what:
The “good life” will continue to bring most Americans to a premature grave. I do not expect the majority of individuals to live this healthfully. However, they should at least make that decision being aware of the facts rather than having their food choices shaped by inaccurate information or the food manufacturers. Some people will choose to smoke cigarettes, eat unhealthfully, or pursue other reckless habits. They have that inalienable right to live their lives the way they choose.

NYC: Healthy Food Not Always Available

This topic gets rehashed in the news every few months. The problem, many neighborhoods in big cities don’t have access to healthy foods like fresh fruits and veggies. So what happens? A growing number of residents develop tragic health problems—diabetes, obesity, heart disease, etc.—due to the abundance of junk-food that somehow manages to find its way into the neighborhood.

Last year The New York Times focused on the diabetes epidemic in New York City. These articles make it pretty clear that limited access to nutritious disease-preventing food and wide-spread availability of inexpensive convenience food contributes greatly to the risk of type-II diabetes. Take a look:
Today the Associated Press examines Harlem and how its food retailers and restaurants are less likely to sell healthy food than other areas of Manhattan. Colleen Long has more:
In Harlem, fast-food restaurants are more prevalent than shops selling fresh vegetables, according to a city health report.

Food stores in the area in upper Manhattan are mostly bodegas, and the small groceries are half as likely to carry low-fat dairy products as their counterparts in swankier neighborhoods and seven times less likely to sell fresh vegetables, the report said. Only 3 percent of corner stores in Harlem sell leafy green vegetables, compared to 20 percent on the nearby Upper East Side, it said.

"Large health disparities exist between Harlem and other New York City neighborhoods, but we can close those gaps," said Dr. Andrew Goodman, associate commissioner of the East and Central Harlem District public health office, a division of the health department.

In addition, one in six restaurants in Harlem is a fast-food joint. All this adds up to serious health problems for neighborhood residents, who are three to four times more likely to be obese or have diabetes than people who live on the Upper East Side, Goodman said.
Most of the news on this topic seems to be just about blowing a lot of hot air and not really doing anything to fix the problem.

EU Wants More Fruit in School

We’ve all eaten in a school cafeteria. So you probably noticed—there’s milk everywhere! Stacks of plastic crates, packed with tiny cartons of 1%, skim, and chocolate. Gag! Sorry, I just had a flashback of kids washing down a hamburger and fries with a thick swig of milk—bleh!

Now, Dr. Fuhrman makes it clear—milk is not the health savior it’s marketed to be. But yet, the dairy producers practically pump it into our classrooms. Okay then, I got a question. What if fruit—a genuine health-food—was heavily pushed in schools like milk. Surely a lot more kids would be eating it. That’s exactly the hope of the EU’s new initiative to get more fruit into schools. Jeremy Smith of Reuters reports:
Earlier this year, EU Agriculture Commissioner Mariann Fischer Boel unveiled plans to overhaul the EU's vast fruit and vegetable industry, revising or scrapping many of the annual 1.5 billion euros ($2.03 billion) of subsidies paid to farmers.

As part of the negotiations that EU governments will hold on her reform plan, due for next month, Fischer Boel will propose using EU subsidies to distribute fruit in schools as part of a compromise reform deal. But EU countries would have to help.

"The only outstanding thing at this stage is the financing and I am exploring whether we can find some money outside the fruit and vegetable reform budget," she told reporters on the margins of an informal meeting of EU agriculture ministers.

"We might need around 100 million euros a year and I think we need to co-finance it so member states would have to participate," she said, adding that could mean up that to half the cash needed to be match-funded from national coffers.
Dr. Fuhrman will tell—all fruits are good for us, but here’re couple all-stars of the fruit-world:

Watermelon Dingo

Seeds and all, this dog gulps down some watermelon. Check it out:

Slicing a Kiwi...Badly

Kiwis are great, but peeling them can be a pain. Well have no fear! This woman wearing mouse ears will show you how. Take a look:

Now, I’m no chef, but, it looked like a lot of the kiwi was left in the fruit. How is this any easier than just peeling the darn thing? Then again, you could always put the excess at the bottom of your fishbowl—it’s an inside joke, see Kiwi Piranha.

If You Grow It, They Will Eat It

U.S. researchers report, children who regularly eat homegrown fruits and veggies eat twice as much healthy food as kids who occasionally eat garden vegetables. Robert Preidt of HealthDay News has more:
The study, by a team at the Saint Louis University Medical Center, involved interviews with about 1,600 parents of preschool-aged children in rural southeast Missouri.

The team found that children who grow up eating homegrown produce prefer the taste of fruits and vegetables to other foods.

"It was a simple, clear finding. Whether a food is homegrown makes a difference. Garden produce creates what we call a 'positive food environment,'" study author Debra Haire-Joshu, director of the university's Obesity Prevention Center, said in a prepared statement.

She and her colleagues found that garden-fed children were more likely to see their parents eating fresh fruits and vegetables, and that people in homes with gardens had access to greater variety of produce.
Makes sense to me. Growing up both my grandparents had huge gardens—with all the trimmings! String beans, peas, fig trees from Italy (black and white), eggplants, hot peppers, sweet peppers, strawberries, escarole, tomatoes—yes, I could go on and on. Now, since I grew up eating all this good stuff, transitioning to a vegetable-based diet like Eat to Live was pretty easy—Creamy Curry Pumpkin Soup sounds good to me!

But, I think gardening is a lost art. I drive by my old neighborhood and it seems like fewer and fewer people have potted tomatoes and fresh herbs on their porch. That’s why programs like Urban Sprouts School Gardens are so great. Just look at all the great stuff they’re growing and cooking:
Garden crops are ready to harvest! We've got greens, lettuces, strawberries, onions, broccoli, and fava beans galore! Have a taste in the garden before the gophers get it all!

A few weeks ago, 6th graders at Martin Luther King Jr., Middle School made a delicious stir fry with Urban Sprouts' educator Herman Yee. Special thanks to Herman's mom, Eleanor, who helped out too!
According to Dr. Fuhrman this kind of involvement is crucial. In Disease-Proof Your Child he shares some secrets to getting your kids to eat healthy. Dr. Fuhrman makes it very clear, healthy eating is a family affair:
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.

4. If you, as parents, do not demonstrate proper respect for your own bodies by eating healthy, exercising regularly, and engaging in other healthful lifestyle practices, don't expect your children to do any better than you, now or in the future.

5. Educate your children about their nutritional needs and the importance of eating healthfully. Start this when they are young and continue to reinforce their learning, as they will be exposed to more toxic food choices as they get older and spend more time out of their home.
So just imagine what the results could be if you’re kids were actually helping you grow the fruits and veggies you feed your family.

A Discussion Among Fruits

These four fruits hash out what they should call each other—not to mention they sing and dance too! Enjoy:

I wonder how you say phytonutrient in Spanish? El phytonutriento!

Cut Your Calories, Increase Your Life

From time to time news about calorie restriction (CR) hits the newswires—and for good reason—everything I’ve read about CR seems to imply that eating less food leads to a longer life. Even Dr. Fuhrman touches on it in Eat to Live. Have a look:
The evidence for increasing one’s life span through dietary restriction is enormous and irrefutable. Reduced caloric intake is the only experimental technique to consistently extend maximum life span. This has been shown in all species tested, from insects and fish to rats and cats.
Now, CR is a fascinating concept. In our society we associate well-fed—maybe even over-fed—with health, so the idea that strictly limiting our caloric intake is better for us, kind of flips the script—don’t you think? Julian Dibbell, a reporter for New York Magazine, found this out firsthand when he gave calorie a restriction a whirl this past October. Here’s some of his report:
It’s no secret. From mystics to anorexics, people who go for long periods without eating often report feeling more awake and energetic, even euphoric. It’s nice for a while, but even the calorie-restricted can get too much of it. When April started CR, she often went long stretches between meals and eventually decided something was a little off. “It makes you feel like you’re on drugs; I got too euphoric,” she says. “You know, thinking you’re in love when you’re not.” She switched to a more consistent, balanced eating schedule, came back down to Earth, and that, she says with a shrug, was that:

“It’s like, ‘Eat something! You’re not in love.’ ”
Again, very amazing, but, how about some proof? Sure, being told CR’s benefits is great, but what about a real-world example. Okay then, take a look at this. Late last year The New York Times shared with us the plight of two monkeys, Canto and Owen. Canto was enjoying a healthy life due to his calorie restrictive diet, and Owen—eating much more—was not so happy. Be sure to check out this graphic—priceless.

So, why all this talk about calorie restriction? Because The Diabetes Blog relays some new research linking calorie restriction to longevity. Here, it’s worth a read:
Researchers have found that persistent hunger promotes long life and identified a critical gene that specifically links calorie restriction (CR) to longevity. Genetic evidence has finally emerged in labs to explain the increased longevity in response to calorie restriction. This link was also identified between calorie restriction and aging. Of course this discovery immediately provoked the scientists to ponder the potential of the next generation of drugs to bestow the health benefits of calorie restriction without the discipline.

Fasting dates back as far as ancient Greek philosophers. Heck, even Mark Twain was a firm believer in fasting. In one of his essays he wrote, "A little starvation can really do more for the average sick man than can the best medicines and the best doctors. I do not mean a restricted diet; I mean total abstention from food for one or two days."
In my opinion, the evidence for this style of eating is overwhelming—I’ve even toyed with the idea of giving CR a try. And fasting? Well, Dr. Fuhrman has been talking about the benefits of fasting for years. From his book Fasting and Eating for Health:
Therapeutic fasting accelerates the healing process and allows the body to recover from serious disease in a dramatically short period of time. In my practice I have seen fasting eliminate lupus and arthritis, remove chronic skin conditions such as psoriasis and eczema, health the digestive tract in patients with ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease, and quickly eliminate cardiovascular diseases such as high blood pressure and angina. In these cases the recoveries were permanent: fasting enabled longtime disease suffers unchain themselves from their multiple toxic dugs and even eliminate the need for surgery, which was recommended to some of them as their only solution.
It’s funny, in this age of modern medicine. Many of us won’t try something as simple as eating less, but, we’ll pop a magic pill in a heartbeat.

Kiwi Piranha

“Argh Captain. The waters be dangerous.” Heck yes they are! Just check out these piranha—oops, goldfish—going to town on this slice of Kiwi fruit. It’s gruesome:

Diabetes Risk: Cereal Good, Veggies Not?

Okay, I have to admit. This article made me say, “Henh?” According to new research cereal fiber and magnesium can reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes, but, fruits and vegetables don’t. Yeah, I don’t get it either. Reuters reports:
The findings stem from an analysis performed by Dr. Matthias B. Schulze and colleagues from the German Institute of Human Nutrition Potsdam-Rehbruecke, Nuthetal. The study involved over 25,000 adults, between 35 and 65 years of age, who were followed from 1994 to 2005 for diabetes. A food-frequency questionnaire was used to assess the participants for the amounts of dietary fiber and magnesium.

During follow-up, 844 subjects developed type 2 diabetes, the report indicates. Compared with the subjects with the lowest cereal fiber intake, those with the highest intake had a 28-percent reduction in diabetes risk.

Fruit and vegetable fiber intake, by contrast, did not affect the risk. Magnesium intake also showed no effect in this study.
Obviously this flies in the face of a lot of the things we discuss here on Followhealthlife. So for rebuttal, I decided to call in heavy reinforcements. Here’s what Dr. Fuhrman had to say about this study:
The reason for the findings is a huge variance in the amount of whole grain fibers consumed from none to a significant amount. This does make a big difference, especially since people who do not consume whole grains generally live on sugar and white flour. But since the level of vegetable consumption in the highest quintile was still relatively low by our standards there was not really a representative group with a high consumption of green vegetables.

So all this means is that whole grains are better than refined grains and that that change in a person's diet has a major implication for diabetic causation and treatment. It does not mean that green vegetables, beans, nuts and seeds are not likewise protective because the population tested still did not eat much of these foods.

Fruits and Veggies Beat Up Lung Disease Risk

Surprise-surprise, a diet rich in fruits and veggies helps prevent lung disease. Let’s hear it, a big collective—duh! Even though we all know it, it’s still worth a read. Steven Reinberg of HealthDay News reports:
People who follow a "Mediterranean" diet rich in fruit, vegetables, whole grains and fish cut their risk of developing chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) by half, researchers report.

COPD, a lethal combination of emphysema and bronchitis, is expected to become the third leading cause of death worldwide by 2020.

Smoking remains the primary cause of COPD, according to the report in the May 14 online edition of the journal Thorax.

Therefore, "The first message is that people have to stop smoking," said lead researcher Dr. Raphaelle Varraso, from INSERM, Villejuif, France. "And then, that a diet rich in fruits, vegetables and fish may help to reduce risk of COPD."

And, if healthy food can cut the odds for COPD, unhealthy eating could do the opposite, he said. "In smokers and ex-smokers, a diet rich in refined grains, cured and red meats, desserts and French fries may increase the risk of COPD," Varraso said.

His group collected data on almost 43,000 men who took part in the U.S. Health Professionals Follow-up Study, which started in 1986. The study included more than 50,000 U.S. health care professionals ages 40 to 75.

Every two years, the men were asked about their lifestyle, including smoking and exercise, diet and medical history. Detailed diet information was gathered every four years.

Good for Your Eyes: Omega-3 and Vitamin D

Yup, omega-3 and vitamin D are being linked to eye health. Robert Preidt of HealthDay News reports:
Eating plenty of fish rich in omega-3 fatty acids -- such as tuna and salmon -- may reduce the risk of advanced age-related macular degeneration, a new study says.

The study findings are published in the May issue of the journal Archives of Ophthalmology.

A second study in the same issue of the journal found that people with higher blood levels of vitamin D may reduce their risk of early stage age-related macular degeneration (AMD), the most common cause of blindness among older adults in the United States. AMD occurs when the macula, located at the back of the retina, deteriorates over time.
Of course, fish isn’t your only source of omega-3. Dr. Fuhrman talks about this in today’s post Fatty Acids and Fish Oil. And as far as vitamin D goes, just check out the Importance of Vitamin D:
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.

Fatty Acids and Fish Oil

From the library of DrFuhrman.com:

Food sources of omega-3 fats.

The American diet is unquestionably low in Omega-3 fat and too high in Omega-6 fat.

Omega 3 fats are healthy fats that reduce inflammation, inhibit cancer development and protect our blood vessels. The basic building block of omega-3 fat is alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). ALA can be found in most nuts and seeds, but are particularly rich in flaxseeds, hempseeds, walnuts and leafy green vegetables. Most people do not get enough (ALA) in their diet.

Flaxseeds and hempseeds are the foods with the highest concentration of this much-needed fat. Besides omega-3 fats, these seeds also contain very high levels of photochemicals, anti-oxidents and fibers that have been shown to have beneficial effects that inhibit prostate, breast and colon cancer. However, these protective nutrients and cancer-fighting lignans are not present in significant quantity in the oil, only in the whole seed.

The whole seeds are tiny and difficult to chew, if ingested whole they typically pass through the body undigested, causing their beneficial nutrients to be lost. Therefore, it is best to buy ground flax or hemp seeds or grind the whole seeds before eating. Ground seeds are also susceptible to rancidity. In my house, we grind a pound at a time using our VitaMix and then store the ground seeds in the freezer to maintain stability of the fats until use. Every morning we just scoop what we need out of the container and put the rest back into the freezer. If you are buying ground seeds, once you open the vacuum sealed package, store it in the freezer. Flax seeds or hemp seeds can also be ground in an inexpensive coffee grinder.

The short-chain Omega-3 fats found in seeds, nuts and greens are the building block of the longer chain fat DHA, that our body needs for proper functioning of our brain, nervous system, and immune system. Besides our own production, DHA is also found in fish and fish oil.

EPA and DHA are highly beneficial.

Proponents of fish have long touted the benefits of docoshexanoic acid (DHA), an omega-3 fatty acid shown to exert significant health benefits. DHA has been shown to protect against dementia, depression, inflammatory diseases and have benefits for the heart, including anti-arrhythmic effects.

Low DHA levels are associated with:
  • Heart Disease
  • Depression
  • Schizophrenia
  • Cancer
  • Anxiety/Panic
  • Alzheimer's disease
  • Hyperactivity
  • Attention Deficit Disorder
  • Dyslexia
  • Allergies
  • Autoimmune Illnesses
  • Dermatologic Disorders
  • Inflammatory Bowel Disease
Scientists have known for many years that humans can convert short-chain omega-3 fat (ALA) from seeds and greens into the valuable DHA. The question is can we achieve optimal levels without the consumption of fish?

Studies show that people have varying ability to convert ALA into DHA, and apparently the answer is that some people eating sufficient ALA from greens, flax and walnuts can achieve adequate levels and others, even if careful to consume more ALA cannot. Conversion of ALA by the body to these more active longer-chain metabolites is inefficient: < 5-10% for EPA and 2-5% for DHA1. Men generally convert less than women.

The less fish eaten the more reliant on this conversion and the higher levels of ALA (short-chain fat) is required to produce sufficient levels of DHA. Thus, the total n-3 requirements are higher for vegetarians and those who do not eat any fish.

Because of the higher Omega-3 fat requirement for vegetarians and those not eating much fish, nutritional advisors typically encourages the consume high amounts of flax seed oil to permit the conversion of enough DHA. I do not agree with this advice. First of all oil is empty calorie food with little or no vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals and flavonoids that were present in the original seeds. To encourage health seekers to consume three tablespoons of flax oil a day is adding 360 low nutrient calories to your daily diet. Furthermore we have a significant collection of data that indicates that the consumption of high doses of ALA from flax oil may increase, not decrease the risk of prostate cancer2. Whereas flax seed consumption has been shown in multiple studies to lower the risk of both breast cancer and prostate cancer3; in contrast, flax oil and high ALA consumption has been linked to increased risk.

Should we consume fish and/or fish oil?

The amount of DHA can vary significantly in various fish. Some salmon (especially farm raised) has very little DHA, for example. More importantly, several studies have indicated that both fish and fish oil supplements are prone to contamination with toxic materials. For example fish and fish oils have been shown to contain large concentrations of dioxins and PCBs because the dumping of toxic waste and raw sewage into our oceans has taken a toll. Lipid peroxide contamination occurring with aging of the oil further complicates the supposed health benefits of fish oil consumption. Fish and fish oils also contains mercury. Data from the Center for Disease Control indicates that one in 12 women of childbearing age in the United States has unsafe mercury levels, and their threshold for safety is high. The major contributor to body mercury load is fish and fish oils, not dental fillings. Multiple studies have illustrated most of the body's mercury load is from the consumption of fish.

In spite of the toxicity and risk of consuming fish, most health authorities still advise the regular consumption of fish. This is because they consider the health benefits demonstrated from an avalanche of scientific studies showing benefits from DHA on the prevention of various diseases, including cancer and heart disease.

Not all the studies on people who consume more fish are favorable. Mercury levels from consuming fish have been linked with infertility, neurologic and mental disorders, high blood pressure, and endocrine disorders. Mercury levels from fish consumption have also been directly linked to the risk of heart attack. In an international case controlled study, mercury levels were assessed in 684 European men within 24 hours of a first myocardial infarction and in 724 control subjects without a heart attack. A strong dose response pattern was observed with a more than doubling of the risk for heart attack patients in the highest fifth of mercury levels compared to the lowest. Mercury containing fish and fish oil is obviously not the ideal way to decrease ones risk of heart attack. So epidemiologic data on fish intake and fish-oil consumption is contradictory and inconsistent; with some studies showing a worsening of cardiac events that increase as fish consumption increases.

Given the contamination issues with both fish and fish oils and the rancidity of fish oil we cannot consider fish or fish oils, health food. The studies showing an anti-cancer benefit from consuming fish are marred by other studies showing an increased risk of cancer, such as cancer of the breast from eating more fish4. This referenced study was huge and compelling; they followed over 23,000 women and found a doubling of breast cancer in women eating more fish compared to those consuming little or no fish. These inconsistencies and the data linking fish consumption to breast cancer is explained by the pollution in fish and some populations obviously consume more polluted fish than others.

DHA is definitely a beneficial fat, but we have to reconsider the source of how we find it. Fish are highly polluted, compared to other foods. We have to seriously take a closer look at the typical recommendations of health authorities to consume more fish. After many years of reviewing the evidence and recording mercury levels in patients that invariably correlate well with their fish consumption, I recommend consuming little or no fish and advice strongly against consuming any of those species of fish notoriously high in mercury such as shark, swordfish, mackerel, pike and bluefish.

If you avoid fish and instead consume fish oil, you may still have a problem. One problem with fish oils is that much of the fat has already turned rancid. If you have ever cut open a capsule and tasted it, you will find it can taste like gasoline. Many people complain of burping, indigestion and of fish breath. I have also observed that rancidity of this fish fat places a stress on the liver. Patients of mine with abnormal liver function noted on their blood tests when consuming fish oil have had these tests return to normal when the fish oils were stopped.

Searching for a healthful alternatives to fish oil.

When I draw blood tests for fatty acid analysis on many of my patients, I find that a large percentage of individuals who do not eat fish regularly do not have optimal levels of DHA. I often see patients eating otherwise excellent diets with itchy dry skin, seborrheac dermatitis and other signs of DHA deficiency. How can we assure optimal production of DHA fat for all, if we are hesitant about recommending and consuming fish or refined oils?

Fortunately, vegetable derived DHA is an alternative. Laboratory cultivated DHA is made from micro-algae and is a pure form of DHA without rancidity. It is grown in the laboratory, not collected in the wild. It has no mercury or other toxins.

Even algae-derived DHA can develop rancidity. Over the last few years, I have worked with a manufacturer to eliminate rancidity and, improve taste and digestibility of these oils. Out of necessity for my patients, I made DHA derived from freeze dried algae to preserve freshness.

Dr. Fuhrman's DHA Purity contains 30 ml of pure, all vegan, DHA concentrated liquid. The DHA comes from algae grown under sanitary laboratory conditions. In conjunction with a high nutrient, plant-based diet, I advise all people take one of these supplements daily.

Other Supplement Recommendations:
  1. My recommendations regarding nutritional supplementation are clear and simple:
  2. Take one tablespoon of ground flax seeds per day
  3. Take 0.5 ml DHA Purity liquid per day
  4. Take two Dr. Fuhrman's Gentle Care Formula per day
This keeps the supplemental recommendations simple and inexpensive for most of my patients who follow my Eat To Live plan. One bottle of my Gentle Care Formula lasts 3 months, and one bottle of my DHA Purity lasts 2 months. This is a small price to pay for health security assuring all your nutritional bases are covered from minimal supplementation. Continue Reading...

A Look at Fat-Camp

You always hear about fat-camps—are they real? Or just ominous boogiemen used to keep overweight children on their toes? Well, apparently they do exist. Ibby Caputo of The Chicago Tribune offers up an in depth look at one weight-loss camp in upstate New York. Take a look:
There are dozens of camps scattered about the country. Most take both boys and girls, and all insist that they provide as much fun as regular camps.

At Camp Shane, for instance, traditional activities such as hiking, swimming and arts and crafts are augmented with nutrition and cooking classes, as well as a cognitive behavioral therapy program that strives to teach campers tools for successful weight management.

Campers learn to record their food intake and amount of exercise, as well as keep a journal about their thoughts and feelings in the process.

Many kids who go to these camps have spent agonizing years being picked on by their peers and sometimes even their siblings and parents. Often, they internalize these comments, something that does not help them take off the weight.

"We create who we are by the reaction of others toward us," said Larry Larsen, a child psychologist in Andover, Mass. "If our peers tell us we are fat, it becomes part of our self-concept of who we are."

But at weight-loss camps, kids join others who are dealing with the same issues. This exposure, camp officials say, often leads to creation of a supportive community.
I’m torn. On one hand, I think fostering a nurturing supportive environment is a good thing, but, I’m not really in favor of carting overweight children off to a place for the purposes of “fixing” them. And I’m not so sure Dr. Fuhrman would think this is a great strategy either.

In Dr. Fuhrman’s opinion the best place to teach kids to eat right and live well is at home. Why? Because it’s good for the whole family! Here’s more from Disease-Proof Your Child:
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.

4. If you, as parents, do not demonstrate proper respect for your own bodies by eating healthy, exercising regularly, and engaging in other healthful lifestyle practices, don't expect your children to do any better than you, now or in the future.

5. Educate your children about their nutritional needs and the importance of eating healthfully. Start this when they are young and continue to reinforce their learning, as they will be exposed to more toxic food choices as they get older and spend more time out of their home.

It is important to realize that it is never too late to teach your children the importance of eating healthy. As you learn, share enthusiastically with them. Work on improving your diets together. If your child is a teenager, let her read what you are reading. You may want to add that it will help their complexion and body shape. Even teenagers will make beneficial improvements in their diets when presented with compelling reasons. I have lectured to high school assemblies many times and am always impressed by how interested, enthusiastic, and willing to make changes teenagers can be. Research supports this willingness of adolescents to make significant dietary change when presented with accurate compelling information.1
This approach makes more sense to me. Sending your children to some camp so that strangers can fix a problem you can’t—or don’t want to be bothered with—seems like irresponsible parenting to me. After all, no one likes fat-camp. Especially Homer Simpson:

And don’t forget about Dr. Fuhrman’s podcast on Getting Children to Eat Well.
Continue Reading...

Cruciferous Lizard

Now, this iguana knows what’s good for him. He’s gobbling up a whole bunch of collard greens and mustard greens. Check it out:

Dog Eat Melon, Cat Eat Melon

Yes. It’s endless. My search for animals eating fruits and veggies will never end! Get a load of this dog and cat munching on some melon:

Dr. Fuhrman on Getting Off Prednisone

Here’s a jewel I found in the Member Center of DrFuhrman.com. This member wanted to get off Prednisone and Dr. Fuhrman helped show her the way. Take a look:
I have an appointment to see you in 3 1/2 weeks but I'm writing hoping I can start doing something now. I am looking for help in getting off my Prednisone. I am a 59 year-old woman who was in good health, but under tremendous stress due to family crises (caregiver). I came down with pericarditis on Aug. 13, 2006, had a pericardial effusion and tamponade on Aug. 24th and emergency surgery - a pericardial window - the same day to drain the fluid. I began Prednisone 40 mg on Aug. 25th with a taper schedule. The pericarditis has persisted. I have not been able to taper down on the Prednisone. I have had 4 flare-ups since Aug. 25th. In the 78 days I have been on Prednisone, the majority of the time I have been on 30 mg and the rest of the time between 30 mg - 40 mg or 15 mg - 25 mg, depending on where I was with the taper. I am currently on 25 mg Prednisone, Colchicine 0.6 mg 2 x day, Motrin 600 mg 3 x day, Metoprolol 25 mg 2 x day (I had one episode of afibrillation 2 days after the surgery, but no past or current heart problems), Protonix 40 mg 2 x day, Synthroid 25 mcg (Hashimoto's disease, hypothyroidism, ongoing for 8 years).

I have read 'Eat to Live' and am reading 'Fasting and Eating for Health.' I did not eat sugar, white flour, meat or simple carbohydrates and recently went off wheat.

I was wondering whether you could tell me if there was anything I could be doing right now towards helping me get off the Prednisone in the period while I wait for my appointment with you.

Dr. Fuhrman:
You should start my dietary protocol right away. Eat the light diet described below and nothing else until you see me and do not drink any water. Do not use any salt or any product containing any sodium. Don't try to decrease the prednisone faster than 2.5 mg per week and do not start tapering further until following this protocol for at least a week.

Breakfast: Kiwis, berries, green apple and a glass of fresh squeezed carrot, beet, parsley, kale juice.

Lunch: Green lettuce, tomatoes, shredded red cabbage, watercress, shredded carrots and raw beets, with a dressing made from sesame seeds, orange and lemon. Eat two tablespoons of raw sunflower seeds. And a bowl of soup made with vegetable juice, leek, collards, kale, bok choy and zucchini.

Dinner: A blended smoothie made with banana, avocado, lettuce spinach and kale. Steamed green vegetable such as brussel sprouts, broccoli, baby bok choy, artichokes or asparagus. You can have a small amount (less than one ounce) of raw almonds, Brazil nuts or raw pistachio nuts. You can have one fresh fruit, such as papaya, mango, melon, apple or pear and another glass of fresh vegetable juice with dinner if you like.

Thank you so much for your reply and for giving me your protocol for me to start. I started the protocol yesterday. Really happy to be on it.

I just wanted to ask you one question now. I have a hypothyroid and the cruciferous vegetables in their raw form are goiterogenic. Is it OK if I steam them before using them in the parts of the diet where they would normally be eaten raw?

Dr. Fuhrman:
Please forget about the idea that raw cruciferous vegetables are goiteragenic. That does not happen in real life with real people and I assure you that the amount of raw greens you can eat will not hurt your thyroid.

U.S. Schools Eating Healthy?

Not really. But some schools and communities are making positive strides. Take this school in Somerville Massachusetts. These kids were part of a research program that in the end helped them maintain healthy bodyweight, and, actually got the whipper-snappers to eat broccoli. Don’t believe me? Maggie Fox of Reuters reports:
A program that pulled a whole town into helping its children eat better and exercise more helped stop the kids from gaining too much weight, U.S. researchers reported on Thursday.

The children of Somerville, Massachusetts gained, on average, just less than a pound (half a kg) less than children who did not take part in the program, the researchers at Tufts University's school of nutrition in Boston found.

And it got them to eat broccoli.

For young children still growing rapidly, this was a significant success, study leader Christina Economos said in a telephone interview.

"All children are gaining weight because they are growing," she said. "We want to prevent weight gain over and above what they need to for development."

They did, Economos and colleagues report in the journal Obesity. Children who were overweight lost weight, or stopped gaining, and those who were lean continued to grow at a healthy rate.

Economos hopes the seeds of life-long healthy habits have been planted in these children.

Sneaky Veggies

Want your children to eat more veggies? But no matter what, they just won’t eat them—go covert. ParentDish relays a sneaky way to ensure your kids are getting enough vegetation. Have a look:
A new study from Penn State University indicates that sneaking vegetables into kids' meals is a valid part of your overall healthy eating plan. As part of their study, researchers came up with two pasta dishes to test on children. A low calorie dish with broccoli and cauliflower blended into the sauce and another with no vegetables and more calories.

Kids didn't spot the vitamin-packed ringer, liking both equally well. "The kids could not really tell the difference and ate a consistent weight of pasta," according to lead author Kathleen E. Leahy. Leahy did point out, however, that this should only be a part of your meal strategy -- children should be encouraged to eat whole vegetables in order to develop a taste for them. "You not only want to increase their vegetable intake but also want to ensure that your kids will acquire a taste for vegetables," she said.

A Juicy Question

Do you drink fruit juice? I do—wait, wait, wait—relax! I know Dr. Fuhrman isn’t big on people downing tall glasses of fiber-less fruit juices. That’s why I only drink pomegranate juice, daily in fact, and even Dr. Fuhrman thinks that’s a good idea. From the comments of Pomegranate Power:
I do not think a little fresh squeezed fruit juice is bad, just not a good idea for those who are trying to lose weight. Certainly, even a few ounces of pomegranate or red grapefruit juice is not going to blow your diet. Similar to olive oil, people think because my book, Eat to Live encourages the reader to avoid oil, (because all oil is 120 calories a tablespoon and it can add up fast) that I am dead set against using even a little bit of olive oil occasionally. Apply the principles, but it does not have to be that rigid.
But, Dr. Fuhrman does make it pretty clear that you’re better off eating the whole fruit instead of just consuming the juice—although, news reports can confuse us. Like this one about a new study claiming there is no link between childhood obesity and drinking 100% fruit juice. Robert Preidt of HealthDay News reports:
"We did not find a relationship between 100 percent juice consumption and overweight among children. Even among the children who consumed the most juice, we found no association at all with the children being overweight or at risk for overweight," Dr. Theresa Nicklas, a child nutrition researcher at the United States Department of Agriculture's Children's Nutrition Research Center at the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, said in a prepared statement.

The findings were expected to be presented today at the Pediatric Academic Societies' annual meetings, in Toronto, Canada.

Drinking 100 percent juice also had no impact on the amount of milk kids consumed, Nicklas said.

The mean daily consumption of 100 percent juice among the children in the study was 4.1 ounces (about 1/2 cup), which is in keeping with recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics.

About 13 percent of the children consumed 12 ounces or more of 100 percent juice a day, but this increased consumption was not associated with overweight or increased risk for being overweight.
Now stop me if I’m rambling, but doesn’t this study give off the wrong impression. I’m no scientist, but even I could have guessed that only a small number of children consume 100% fruit juice. Have you seen 100% fruit juice (it looks like these Nutrient-Dense Juices)? It’s thick and heavy, not clear and watery like the trendy “all natural” beverages sold in supermarkets and advertised between Blue’s Clues and Sesame Street.

So I wonder. If your average person reads this report will they be able to differentiate between fruit juice and 100% fruit juice. Hold on, let me shake my magic 8-ball…”Outlook not so good.” Because it doesn't surprise me that 100% fruit juice won’t increase the risk of obesity, but, if all those pseudo-juices did, let’s just say I wouldn’t be shocked.

How do you feel about this research? Did you get the same impression as I did?

Meet Monkey-Cat

Personally, I eat a lot of bananas—they’re great right after a workout! This cat thinks they’re a good idea too:

Veggie Colors

According to The Sacramento Bee the color of your veggies matters, for different reasons. Dan Vierria explains:
White produce is the color for heart disease. Eat white, such as bananas, cauliflower and garlic, and you'll lower heart disease risk, according to www.menshealth.com. Each of the five produce color categories targets different ailments.

Blues and purples: Keep memory sharp and reduce risk of several kinds of cancer, including prostate. Plums, eggplant, blueberries, blackberries, purple grapes (and raisins).

Food Medicine

If food is medicine then I’m a first class junky. I love to eat—especially healthy, hearty, wholesome natural food—and that’s a good thing! Because according to Dr. Fuhrman eating lots of unfooled-around-with natural food is absolutely vital. From Eat to Live, here’s his rule of thumb:
The closer we eat foods to their natural state, the healthier the food.
Now, in Eat to Live Dr. Fuhrman makes it pretty clear that the key to health is not relying on heavy regiments of pills and drugs, but rather a nutrient-rich vegetable-based health-promoting diet. More from the book:
When you eat mostly natural plant foods, such as fruits, vegetables, and beans, you get large amounts of various types of fiber. These foods are rich in complex carbohydrates and both insoluble and water-soluble fibers. The fibers slow down glucose absorption and control the rate of digestion. Plant fibers have complex physiological effects in the digestive tract that offer a variety of benefits, such as lowering cholesterol.1
So, in the spirit of all this, check out Diet-Blog’s 10 Reasons to Choose Food as Medicine. Here are a couple of my favorites:
Mother knows best
Natural wild foods are generally far more nutritious than many modern foods. These low nutrient density, high glycemic modern foods are leaving us nutritionally bankrupt and so more susceptible to disease as a result. Of course, natural doesn't necessarily mean edible or healthy. But just like any animal, humans have a natural diet and our bodies work best with the best quality human food--fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and animal foods in the right proportions.

The scientific journals are literally heaving with evidence of the benefits of nutrition and lifestyle measures and there are countless case studies of folks regaining their health through nutrition. Clinical trials of nutritional regimes for specific diseases though, are few and far between. Trials are incredibly expensive, who would fund them? Where is the money to be made?

Unsurprisingly, most of the cutting edge ideas are coming from independent organizations outside the medical profession where necks don't have to be stuck out quite so far, livelihoods are not on the line and free-thinking is much more acceptable. If governments and science were to really get behind this idea of optimum nutrition as medicine, amazing things could be achieved.
Continue Reading...

Dieting and Aging

What do you think? Should you try dieting after a certain age? Think about it. If you’re older, why bother? You’re not long for this world anyway. Man—that’s some lousy thinking! Isn’t it? And scientifically stupid too, check out this report in HealthDay News to see why:
Older, overweight women who diet do not experience reduced physical function and should feel free to try to lose weight by reducing their calorie intake, U.S. research shows.

"Our results suggest that losing weight through calorie cutting won't lead to increased disability in older women," lead researcher Dr. Jamehl Demons of Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center, said in a prepared statement.

When older, overweight women diet they may often gain back some of the weight. But they are still better off than before, noted Dr. Mary F. Lyles, also at Wake Forest and the lead investigator of a second project that examined how dieting affects body composition.
This story really struck me because a few members of my own family have pretty much given up on enjoying a healthy long-lived existence. Why? I don’t know. And I probably never will. Maybe this excerpt from Eat to Live will shed some light on this type of apathy:
Why should you wait until you are faced with a life-threatening health crisis to want health excellence? Most people would choose to disease-proof their body and look great now. They just never thought they could do it so easily. Picture yourself in phenomenal health and in excellent physical condition at your ideal body weight. Not only will your waist be free of fat but your heart will be free of plaque.

Still, it is not easy to change: eating has emotional and social overtones. It is especially difficult to break an addiction. Our American diet style is addicting, as you will lean, but not as addictive as smoking cigarettes. Stopping smoking is very hard, but many still succeed. I have heard many excuses over the years, from smokers aiming to quit and sometimes even from failed dieters. Making any change is not easy. Obviously, most people know if they change their diet enough and exercise, they can lose weight—but they still can’t do it.

Type 1 Diabetes: What to Do?

We talk a lot about Type 2 Diabetes here on Followhealthlife, but what about Type 1? What about all those young children diagnosed with the chronic disease everyday? Stephanie Dunnewind of The Seattle Times tells the tale of one such child. Meet 4 ½-year old Kyle Hughes:
There's no easy time to be diagnosed with diabetes — kids deal with school issues; teens can be rebellious risk-takers — but toddlers rank up there as the most challenging. It's nearly impossible to reason with them, and they can barely talk.

Kyle ended up at Children's Hospital & Regional Medical Center when his pediatrician diagnosed diabetes at his 18-month checkup. Christy slept over every night during his weeklong stay. They got a crash course in needles, drugs, meters and all the terrible things that can go wrong.

With no family history of the autoimmune disease, "It's not something I ever expected to know about," Christy Hughes [Kyle’s mom] said.

In the hospital, it took two people to give Kyle his shots. "You sweat, your hands shake — you don't want to do it," Christy said. "Unfortunately, to keep your child alive, you have to do it."

Even when they got home and Kyle stoically accepted the "pokes" — rotated around the fatty areas of his legs, bottom and upper arm to avoid scar tissue — "Every time I'd give him a shot, I'd walk away to cry," Christy said.

"Diabetes makes you feel helpless as a parent," Kurt said. "All day long, you're taking guesses."
Seems unfair, doesn’t it? But good thing for Kyle, his parents are definitely proactive—and that’s what it takes. Now, even though Dr. Fuhrman admits a person with Type 1 Diabetes will never stop taking insulin completely, he insists there is still a lot you can do. From Hope for Type 1 Childhood Onset Diabetics:
I find that when type 1 diabetics adopt the ETL program, they can lower their insulin requirements by about half. They no longer have swings of highs and lows, and their glucose levels and lipids stay under excellent control. In other words, it is not Type 1 diabetes itself that causes such negative health consequences. Rather, it is the combination of the diabetes and the typical nutritional “advice” given to these patients—advice that requires them to take large amounts of unnecessary insulin.

The extra insulin and the high glucose levels raise lipids, accelerate atherosclerosis, and damage the body. With this in mind, it should be clear that while the Standard American Diet (SAD), which has spread to all industrialized nations, is dangerous for everyone, it is particularly deadly for diabetics.

With a truly health-supporting lifestyle, including exercise and real food designed by nature, the type 1 diabetic can have the same potential for a long, disease-free life as everyone else. Even though the type 1 diabetic still will require exogenous (external) insulin, they will no longer need excessive amounts of it.

Organic Economics

Here’s a different take on organic farming—could it help the poor? Nicole Winfield of the Associated Press reports:
Farmers who go back to traditional agricultural methods would not have to spend money on expensive chemicals and would grow more diverse and sustainable crops, the report said. In addition, if their food is certified as organic, farmers could export any surpluses at premium prices.

The researchers plugged in data on projected crop yields and commodity prices until 2020 to create models for the most optimistic and conservative outlooks.

Alexander Mueller, assistant director-general of the Rome-based U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization, praised the report and noted that projections indicate the number of hungry people in sub-Saharan Africa was expected to grow.

Considering that the effects of climate change are expected to hurt the world's poorest, "a shift to organic agriculture could be beneficial," he said.

Nadia El-Hage Scialabba, an FAO official who organized the conference, pointed to other studies she said indicated that organic agriculture could produce enough food per capita to feed the world's current population.

The Cruciferous Canine

Cleary, this pooch knows all about nutrient density. Watch him tear through some leafy greens:

Vitamin D and the Elderly

Do you get your Vitamin D? Hopefully you do because according to Dr. Fuhrman it’s a pretty important vitamin with a very vital function. He explains in the Importance of Vitamin D:
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.
Not to mention it’s instrumental in the maintaining of strong healthy bones. Dr. Fuhrman talks about this further in Can Your Bones Last a Lifetime: Benefits of Vitamin D:
Medical studies show taking vitamin D is more effective than taking extra calcium for osteoporosis. In a recent 3-year prospective multi-center study, 622 women with osteoporosis, 50 to 79 years of age, who had one or more compression fractures of their spine, were randomly assigned to receive 25 mcg of calcitriol (900 IU vitamin D) or 1000 mg calcium for three years. In the third year, the vitamin D-supplemented group had 9 fractures per 100 women, and the calcium-treated group had 31.5.The difference in effect also was evident after two years.
Apparently he must be on to something because new research links Vitamin D intake to physical performance levels in the elderly. Eric Nagourney of The New York Times reports:
The researchers, led by Denise K. Houston of Wake Forest University, drew on data from an Italian study in which more than 900 people 65 and older were tested for vitamin D levels and asked to perform several tasks. The researchers looked at how fast they walked, how quickly they could get out of a chair and how well they could balance.

By some estimates, about a quarter of elderly people do not get enough vitamin D. But it is not purely a matter of diet, the researchers said, because much of the body’s vitamin D comes from exposure to sunlight. Older people may be less likely to be in the sun, said the researchers, who also pointed out that skin produces vitamin D less well as it ages.
Now, it isn’t just older people who need to be mindful of how much Vitamin D they’re getting. Dr. Fuhrman insists everyone should make sure they’re getting enough. From Vitamin D and Cancer:
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.
Continue Reading...

Demure Dogs Digs Berries

This dog politely sits and waits for some blueberries and grapes:

Nutritional Wisdom: Dangers of the Atkins Diet

I admit. It’s easy to poke fun at the low-carb lifestyle. What can I say? I’m a sucker for low-hanging fruit. But truth be told, Dr. Fuhrman makes it pretty clear that carbohydrate restrictive diets—like the Atkins Diet—are no way to achieve optimal long-term health. You only have to check out these posts to see why:

But despite all this, millions of people pledge allegiance to a fad diet centered on animal fat. A huge concern for Dr. Fuhrman because—as he points out in the posts above—any diet where the majority of calories come from animal products increases your risk of cancer, heart disease, and a whole host of life-shortening maladies.

As you’ve seen, I’m quick to knock low-carb living. And so is Dr. Fuhrman, but, he’s smarter than me—yes, a little brownnosing here—so when he takes Atkins-type diets to task, he really exposes them for the over-hyped danger zones that they are.

Curious to hear what that sounds like? You’re in luck. Because it just so happens this week’s episode of Nutrition Wisdom is on that very subject. Here’s a bit I transcribed from the show. In it Dr. Fuhrman talks about how dangerous an Atkins-type diet can be for children and others. In fact, it can have deadly consequences. Take a look:

In recent years with the skyrocketing popularity of the Atkins Diet, there’s been a proportional skyrocketed increase in sudden cardiac death in young women. That parallels the increase in ketogenic diets. Right now we know that sudden cardiac death means irregular heart beat, as in cardiac arrhythmia. There has to be a warning on the Atkins Diet! There must be a warning that severe carbohydrate restriction—restricted ketosis—when you go into ketosis because of severe carbohydrate restriction, as a weight control method. There could be a traumatic increase in sudden death.

There was an important study in the Southern Medical Journal about a sixteen year-old girl who died after two weeks of following an Atkins Diet. They found that she was in profound acidosis, with about a twenty point base deficit because undeniably keto-acidosis caused acidosis in the blood. In other words, you can become highly acidic. We get dramatic lowering of potassium levels, especially when you first start out on the diet.

The continual denial of the dangers by the people who embrace and promote this ketogenic diet—it’s understandable why—because people are often economically invested with their egos and their food preferences into this diet. But, the risk of carbohydrate restriction ketosis is very powerful and with a lot of studies done on children who were put on ketogenic diets for seizure disorders and they use this for people who have seizures that are retractable—meaning they can’t be helped any other way—and they warn the parents of these children that it increases the risk of kidney stones, kidney failure, increases the rate of infection, and sudden cardiac death, including cardiomyopathy and cardiac-arrhythmias. For example, one study following children put on ketogenic diets—like an Atkins-type diet—they showed fifteen percent developed cardiac enlargement and dilated cardiomyopathy. Of course the diet had to be stopped.

Another study followed 129 children and found that seventeen developed severe complications and four people died out of the 129; two of sepsis because of the increased risk of infection, one of cardiomyopathy, and one of lipoid pneumonia. The point is when doctors are very careful they know these are dangerous diets, and they advise people of the dangers, but if a person wants to try it it’s their right. But the claims made by the Atkins people, for example, Atkins himself used say prevent breast cancer with butter, reverse heart disease with fillet mignon, it’s all the lying and misinformation and lack of telling people the risks of a diet that has such a great amount of dangers.

Lying? Of course they’re lying. There are millions of dollars at stake here. Can’t let unsightly truths get out—politicians have known this for years, but fortunately the truth does eek its way out every once and a while. For example, get a load of this study in European Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Dr. Fuhrman emailed it to me the other day. Apparently prolonged consumption of a low-carbohydrate–high-protein diet is associated with an increase in total mortality. Read on:

Subjects methods:
Follow-up was performed from 1993 to 2003 in the context of the Greek component of the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and nutrition. Participants were 22 944 healthy adults, whose diet was assessed through a validated questionnaire. Participants were distributed by increasing deciles according to protein intake or carbohydrate intake, as well as by an additive score generated by increasing decile intake of protein and decreasing decile intake of carbohydrates. Proportional hazards regression was used to assess the relation between high protein, high carbohydrate and the low carbohydrate–high protein score on the one hand and mortality on the other.

During 113 230 persons years of follow-up, there were 455 deaths. In models with energy adjustment, higher intake of carbohydrates was associated with significant reduction of total mortality, whereas higher intake of protein was associated with nonsignificant increase of total mortality (per decile, mortality ratios 0.94 with 95% CI 0.89 –0.99, and 1.02 with 95% CI 0.98 –1.07 respectively). Even more predictive of higher mortality were high values of the additive low carbohydrate–high protein score (per 5 units, mortality ratio 1.22 with 95% CI 1.09 –to 1.36). Positive associations of this score were noted with respect to both cardiovascular and cancer mortality.

But sadly, this won’t phase the low-carb lemmings of the world. They’ll just yammer on and on about how much weight they lost and how great it feels not to give up their emotional attachments to fatty foods. “Whaa-whaa-whaa! Why can’t I eat steak wrapped in bacon and fried in butter every night—but I want it!”

Sunflower Seeds with What?

Okay. Nuts and seeds, great for health, right? Well, as I reminded everyone earlier in the week—when we found out pistachios can help lower cholesterol—Dr. Fuhrman insists nuts and seeds are an essential part of human nutrition. Here, I’ll remind you again. From Nuts and Seeds Are Excellent Foods:
Nuts and seeds are a natural part of the diet of homo-sapiens. They are perfectly adapted to the taste and ability of humans to pick, dry, store, and crack. No wonder study after study shows raw nuts and seeds not only lower cholesterol, but protect against common diseases of aging. I recommend almonds, Brazil nuts, cashews, pecans, pistachios, macadamias, filberts, and walnuts; and sunflower, sesame, flax, and pumpkin seeds. These delicious natural foods are high in nutrients and healthful unsaturated fats.
But, the food industry couldn’t leave well enough alone. You’ve heard of honey-roasted peanuts and chocolate-covered cashews, right? Get ready, introducing the latest bastardization of mother nature—energy-infused sunflower seeds! What’s that mean? I’ll let Dirk Lammers of the Associated Press explain:
Baseball players and truck drivers who chew sunflower seeds at work no longer have to down a cup of black coffee or a Red Bull for an extra energy jolt. A South Dakota company is infusing sunflower seeds with caffeine and other boosters commonly found in energy drinks.

"A lot of people chew sunflower seeds to stay awake and give them energy, and we just thought we'd combine the two of them," said Tim Walter, president of Carpenter-based Dakota Valley Products.

Sumseeds, so-named because they add ingredients to seeds, have been in development for about a year. The seeds are grown in North Dakota and Kansas and shipped to the company's Willow Lake plant, where caffeine, taurine, lysine and ginseng are added.
Ah, the human mind at work. Caffeinated sunflowers seeds—good idea or waste of brain-power? Personally, I think the latter. Especially since Dr. Fuhrman considers caffeine an all-around bad idea. More from Eat to Live:
Caffeine addicts are at higher risk of cardiac arrhythmias that could precipitate sudden death.1 Coffee raises blood pressure and raises cholesterol and homocysteine, two risk factors for heart disease.2
Although, maybe I’m wrong; maybe there is real opportunity to change the world here. Well then, if anyone needs me I’ll be in my basement inventing a hybrid combination of broccoli and bacon fat. It’s a mad-mad world!
Continue Reading...

Little Cat, Bowl of Fruit

This cat has his sights set on a bowl for fruit—and he loves him some grapes! Check it out:

Snack Addiction

Heck, even I’m guilty of it sometimes. But, like most Eat to Livers, if I snack it’s usually on stuff like peanuts, berries, or grapes—very different from the rest of the country. Because, as Regina Nuzzo of The Los Angeles Times reports, Americans love our snack food. Read on:
About three-quarters of American shoppers are now trying to eat more healthfully, according to a recent survey by Information Resources Inc., a market analysis research group. About two-thirds are trying to replace high-calorie snacks with healthier options or eat snacks with more nutritional value. And 57% are flat-out trying to snack less often.

These trends have certainly caught the eye of the snack food industry, even being called "growing concerns" in a state of the industry report at Snaxpo, the annual meeting of the Snack Food Assn. in March.

So food manufacturers, always responsive to society's needs (or, more accurately, the changing marketplace), are scrambling to expand into the fastest-growing niche in the snack market: healthful snacks.

Well, not-so-unhealthful snacks.

No longer just the stuff of hippie health food stores, new better-for-you snacks are likely to be comforting favorites — or familiar variations thereof — rejiggered and repackaged to reflect the latest health concerns. Trans-fat free. Whole-grain goodness. Or fortified with flavanols.

But be forewarned: Some nutritionists question whether the new snacks will actually make consumers healthier. Unnecessary calories are unnecessary calories — whether they're "free of trans fats," made with "real fruit juice" or stuffed with vitamins most people get plenty of anyway.

Rejiggered? Great word. But I agree, and I think Dr. Fuhrman would too. Nutrient-rich foods aren’t manufactured in sterile clean rooms. They’re growing all around us and have been for millions of years. So, why must we constantly futz with nature?
Who knows? But as Dr. Fuhrman discusses in Eat to Live, you can’t just engineer wholesome food. From the book:
Refining foods removes so much nutrition that our government requires that a few synthetic vitamins and minerals be added back. Such foods are labeled as enriched or fortified. Whenever you see those words on a package, it means important nutrients are missing. Refining foods lowers the amount of hundreds of known nutrients, yet usually only five to ten are added by fortification.

As we change food through processing and refining, we rob the food of certain health-supporting substances and often create unhealthy compounds, thus making it more unfit food for human. As a general rule of thumb: the closer we eat foods to their natural state, the healither the food.

Pistachios, Cholesterol, and Health

High cholesterol, not exactly a ticket for extended health and longevity—but don’t take my word for it! I’m just a blogger. According to Dr. Fuhrman, keeping your cholesterol down is a good idea, especially if you plan on living a longtime. From Disease-Proof Your Child:
Heart disease begins in our youth and is not easy to reverse. No one should eat more than five grams of saturated fat a day. Over this level, disease rates climb.

All food derived from animals contain cholesterol and tend to be high in the thick, heavy fats called saturated fats. Most plant foods are very low in saturated fat, except for some tropical plant oils like palm and coconut oil that are naturally saturated.

Reducing the consumption of animal foods reduces the consumption of cholesterol and saturated fat. Low intake of cholesterol and saturated fat leads to a leaner body, clean arteries, and reducing risk of developing heart disease and many other diet-related diseases such as stroke, breast cancer, colon cancer, diabetes, and obesity.
So then, how do you keep your cholesterol within a healthy range? Expensive medications and invasive procedures? Well, Dr. Fuhrman wouldn’t recommend this approach. He talks about it in Invasive Cardiology Procedures and Surgeries Are Not Effective:
Bypass surgery and angioplasty only attempt to treat a small segment of the diseased heart, usually with only temporary benefit. Since atherosclerotic plaque blankets all the vessels in the heart, bypassing or removing the most diseased portion, still does not address all the shallow and non-obstructive lipid deposits. The major burden of disease is left intact and therefore the potential for a deadly heart attack is largely unaffected. The vast majority of patients who undergo these interventions do not have fewer new heart attacks or longer survival. The procedures themselves expose the patients to more risk of new heart attacks, strokes, infection, encephalopathy, and death. In addition, the symptomatic benefits erode with time.
Apparently pills and drugs aren’t really miracle workers either. Dr. Fuhrman elaborates in his book Cholesterol Protection for Life:
When resorting to medical intervention, rather than dietary modifications, other problems arise, reducing the potential reduction in mortality possible, as these individuals are at risk of serious side effects from the medication. The known side effects for various statins (the most popular and effective medications to lower cholesterol) include hepatitis, jaundice, other liver problems, gastrointestinal upsets, muscle problems and a variety of blood complications such as reduced platelet levels and anemia.
Okay, if medications and procedures don’t cut the mustard, what does? Well, it seems wholesome natural food will do the trick. Just check out this report. HealthDay News reports that pistachios have similar heart-healthy effects to leafy green vegetables. Pretty cool, right? Robert Preidt has more:
"Pistachio amounts of 1.5 ounces and three ounces (per day) -- one to two handfuls -- reduced risk for cardiovascular disease by significantly reducing LDL ("bad") cholesterol levels, and the higher dose significantly reducing lipoprotein ratios," study author Sarah K. Gebauer, a graduate student in integrative biosciences at Penn State, said in a prepared statement.

The multi-week study, which received funding from the California Pistachio Commission , concluded that three ounces of pistachios a day reduced LDL levels by 11.6 percent, total cholesterol levels by 8.4 percent, and non-high density lipoproteins (non-HDL) by 11.2 percent. Levels of non-HDL are considered reliable predictors of cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk.
This is great news, but hardly new news. Dr. Fuhrman has been talking about the healthful properties of nuts and seeds for years. More on that from Nuts and Seeds Are Excellent Foods:
Nuts and seeds are a natural part of the diet of homo-sapiens. They are perfectly adapted to the taste and ability of humans to pick, dry, store, and crack. No wonder study after study shows raw nuts and seeds not only lower cholesterol, but protect against common diseases of aging. I recommend almonds, Brazil nuts, cashews, pecans, pistachios, macadamias, filberts, and walnuts; and sunflower, sesame, flax, and pumpkin seeds. These delicious natural foods are high in nutrients and healthful unsaturated fats.