Pomegranates Slow Prostate Cancer

More good news for pomegranates! A new study in The Journal of Urology found pomegranate juice slows the doubling time of prostate specific antigen (PSA). PSA’s are used to track and diagnosis prostate cancer. For the study, participants, 48 men with rising PSA levels after surgery or radiotherapy, who drank one glass of pomegranate juice each day, had longer doubling times during a 56 month follow-up than men not drinking pomegranate juice; Nutra Ingredients investigates.

And last week, nutrients found pomegranates called polyphenols were shown to reduce cell inflammation, helping to prevent heart disease and diabetes. And other research revealed test subjects drinking pomegranate juice actually had better PSA scores.

In March, a report on fish linked omega-3 fatty acids with lower risk of prostate cancer. Dr. Fuhrman sells a DHA supplement that provides essential omega-3 fatty acids.

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Low-Fat Diets Heart Healthier After Weight-Loss

New findings in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association reveal diets low in saturated fat are healthier and help keep LDL, or “bad cholesterol”, in check after someone loses weight. For the study, experts assigned 26 healthy, non-obese diets to one diet, Atkins, South Beach or Ornish, for one month apiece, with the intent of studying biological effects of each diet, specifically cholesterol, blood vessel function and inflammation. Data concluded high-fat diets, like Atkins, raised LDL, but the low-fat, vegetarian Ornish style had the best affect on blood vessel function; Reuters reports.

A low-fat diet, i.e. eating less animal foods and more fruits and veggies, has been proven to not only prevent heart trouble, but reserve it. And just last week, scientists found pomegranates help fight cell inflammation that can lead to heart disease. Also, a previous report observed fad diets, such as high-protein low-carbohydrate, don’t hold up overtime, with dieters gaining back weight after only six months.

High-fat diets, like Atkins, are dangerous. A recent study showed participants eating an Atkins diet plan, consuming 50% saturated fat, performed the worst on blood vessel testing.

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Q & A: Nutrition and Your Smile...

Not everyone has a supermodel smile. Sometimes I think I have a mouth like a bad boxer. Now, in addition to brushing your choppers and avoiding rock candy, nutrition may play a role too. Recently, a brief Q & A about teeth and a healthy diet ensued in Dr. Fuhrman’s member center:

Question: Every so often I see something about a relationship between healthy teeth and gums or taking care of one's teeth and gums and overall health. Do you think the relationship is the kind of diet that causes healthy teeth and gums is also causing health through the body, or something else?

Dr. Fuhrman: Poor dental hygiene can be a source of bacteria that seed the bloodstream that could be relevant in a person with poor nutrition and impaired immunity.

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Plant Flavonoids Reduce Ovarian Cancer Risk

New research in the International Journal of Cancer suggests plant-based flavonoids may lower ovarian cancer risk in women by protecting cells against damage. Flavonoids are antioxidants found in foods like seeds, nuts, celery and other green vegetables. For the study, scientists assessed the diet of 1,141 women with ovarian cancer and 1,183 women without over a one-week period, finding that women with the highest intake of the flavonoid apigenin had a “borderline significant decrease” in ovarian cancer risk; Reuters reports.

In July, a report showed flavonoids protect the heart by preventing free radicals and cell dysfunction, leading to heart trouble. And data has shown combining tomatoes with broccoli optimize the benefits of flavonoids. Apples and pears are also loaded with flavonoids.

Granted, all these healthful plant compounds are great, but instead of just eating fruits and vegetables. People prefer their butter and tortilla chips infused with nutrients. Yuck.

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Krypto the Super Dog Battles the Eggplant King

You comic book geeks know that Krypto is Superman’s loyal pet super dog. And in this episode Krypto, Streaky the super cat and their buddy Kevin take on some virtual vegetables and try to steal the Eggplant King’s crown:

 

 

I’m a Batman guy, plus I wasn’t sure if I should root for Krypto or the vegetables, I was torn. Anyway, I still wonder if a super dog poops and then drags his butt across the carpet.

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Pomegranates Fight Cell Inflammation

A new study in Journal of Inflammation claims polyphenols, plant nutrients that reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and cancer, contained in pomegranate extract inhibit the production of inflammatory compounds, potentially preventing chronic inflammation associated with heart disease, Alzheimer's, osteoporosis, diabetes and arthritis. For the study, scientists stimulated cells to prompt an inflammatory response and then incubated the cells with pomegranate. Results showed pomegranate extract decreased pro-inflammatory reaction; Bakery and Snacks investigates.

Pomegranates are the real deal. Dr. Fuhrman calls them potent disease-fighters, especially for prostate cancer. In 2006, a study revealed men drinking pomegranate juice had better PSA scores. And pomegranates have also been found to help prevent atherosclerosis and diabetes.

In related news, the term “antioxidants” is resonating with consumers and increasing their willingness to try products including them. Maybe that’s the why the pomegranate phone is so darn cool.

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Health-Points: Friday 4.24.09

  • Onto a better food, presented at this year’s Experimental Biology Conference, blueberries were found to help combat abdominal fat. In the study, rats eating a lot of blueberries lost belly fat. Excess abdominal fat has been closely associated to heart disease and diabetes. The rats also experienced lower cholesterol and better glucose control, even if their diet wasn’t heart-healthy; via WebMD Health News.
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Diabetic Men Who Stay Fit Live Longer

New findings in the journal Diabetes Care suggest men with type-2 diabetes who stay fit and active have less chance of dying. The study involved 1,703 African American men and 1,445 Caucasian men with type-2 diabetes. Over a 7-year period, death rate for African Americans in the low-fit group was 46% percent, moderate-fit group 27% and 15% for the high-fit group. Numbers for Caucasians were 37%, 19% and 9% respectively, leading researchers to stress the importance of cardiovascular fitness for diabetics; via Reuters.

Let’s be honest. No one should get diabetes. Eating a nutritious diet rich in fruits and vegetables slashes the risk of type-2 diabetes, but exercise is still great, especially for men. Last month, a report highlighted the importance of impact training, like running, for men to build stronger bones. Just don’t go overboard! Mental fatigue can kill your workout.

We all know exercise helps prevent type-2 diabetes. Good thing, because a recent study showed obesity, heart disease and diabetes all increase risk of dementia, i.e. going nuts.

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More Problems with Multivitamins

A new report by ConsumerLab.com discovered many multivitamins either contain significantly more or less of an ingredient than they claim and some are even contaminated with lead. Scientists tested several products, including three for children, and found many exceeded tolerable limits of certain vitamins, such as vitamin A, folic acid, niacin and zinc, which can cause health risks like liver damage and bone-weakening. And a vitamin water examined had 15 times the amount folic acid stated; Reuters reports.

Our society loves magic pills and we forget foods like fruits and veggies are loaded with healthful nutrients. For example, broccoli is packed with vitamin K, which fights prostate cancer. Eating seeds and nuts helps prevent type-2 diabetes. And greens like Bok Choy contain compounds that neutralize harmful free radicals and protect against cancer.

In related news, a recent study showed high-dose beta-carotene may raise lung cancer risk. That’s why Dr. Fuhrman’s multi does not contain things like isolated beta-carotene, vitamin A and copper, which have be linked to cancer, birth defects and liver problems.

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Too Much Meat and Dairy Harm Sperm

No, no! Don’t mess with my sperm. A new study in the journal Fertility and Sterility reveals diets low in antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables and high processed meats and full-fat dairy heighten risk of low-quality sperm. The study involved 61 men visiting a fertility clinic. Of the participants, half had poor sperm quality. Those men also had a higher intake of meat and dairy, but the other half of men had normal sperm counts and tended to eat more fruits and vegetables. Experts cite increased levels of antioxidants, like vitamin C and lycopene, for better sperm; Reuters investigates.

Antioxidants are like Superman and Batman rolled up in one. Take blueberries, they’re packed with healthful nutrients, like flavonoids, which are associated with cancer prevention and plants like broccoli protect against things such as respiratory inflammation and stroke, while antioxidant-devoid foods like hotdogs and bacon may lead to leukemia and raise lung cancer risk.

The bad news for meat keeps piling up. Just last month, a study linked processed meat to increased death risk, as high as 50% and recently red meat was pinned to blindness. Eek!

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Diabetes Drug Linked to More Factures in Women

Published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, scientists claim the drug thiazolidinedione, used to control type-2 diabetes, raises fracture risk in women by 45%. In two case studies women who refilled more than eight prescriptions for rosiglitazone or pioglitazone, derivative drugs of thiazolidinedione, had 2.5 times higher risk of facture than women not using the drugs. Data showed evidence of bone wasting among women using thiazolidinediones, such as a 1.11% loss of bone density at the lumbar spine and 1.24% at the hip; Med Page Today investigates.

As of 2007, diabetes has affected 246 million people worldwide, an epidemic worse than the death toll from AIDS, so literally all the drugs in the world aren’t helping. Diet is a far more effective approach, eating lots of healthy foods like green vegetables, beans and nuts has been proven to prevent and reverse type-2 diabetes.

Keeping your bones strong is important, especially as you age, it lowers risk of osteoporosis and bone breaks. In his DVD Osteoporosis Protection for Life, Dr. Fuhrman demonstrates exercises that strengthen muscles and promote bone density.

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Thou Art Oedpius in Vegetables

The timeless classic Oedpius told as if Oedipus was a potato, the king was broccoli and the queen a tomato. Despite being totally badass with twin carrot peelers it still ends the same horrible way, but the cauliflower sheep make it cute and I guarantee you you’ll watch the fight scene over and over again. It’s really great, but not kid friendly, although extremely cool:

 

 

But if a violent story about veggie incest isn’t your thing, check out the superhero known as Capitan Vegetable, then his updated look starring John Leguizamo. Also, watch Star Wars with stuff you’d find in the grocery store, like Obi Wan Cannoli and Cuke Skywalker.

Via OedipusTheMovie.

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No More Cupcakes at Soccer Games!

Editor’s Note: This is a guest post from Amy Roskelley of SuperHealthyKids and does NOT necessarily represent the opinions of Followhealthlife or Dr. Fuhrman.

I remember as a child going to my brother’s soccer games. When it was our turn for snacks, we would cut up a bowl full of oranges, and the players would eat them during half time for extra energy. Today, our soccer games usually culminate with a box of Kool-Aid and a candy bar on the side. What happened here!

When it’s your turn for little league treats, you want to find something healthy, but you also want the kids to like it, right? During the fall soccer season, I decided to go against the grain, return to days of old, and bring sliced oranges. Those kids loved them!

I had a huge bowl with orange wedges for during and after the game, and every single one was gone before I could have any myself. Often parents underestimate the kids’ desire for solid, healthy food. Here are some other foods my kids love to eat:

  • Sliced apples, watermelon wedges and bananas.
  • Individually packaged non-salted nuts or trail mix
  • 8 oz water bottles, kids like these little water bottles.
  • Dried apricots and raisins in little individual boxes.
  • Baggies of air-popped popcorn.

So, ditch the cupcakes and give kids something better to replace their lost nutrients from playing hard.

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Getting Kids Involved in the Kitchen, Safely...

Editor’s Note: This is a guest post from Gretchen Goel of Total Wellness Mentor and does NOT necessarily represent the opinions of Followhealthlife or Dr. Fuhrman.

My kids have been using The Learning Tower since they were toddlers and I can tell you it has been the most used piece of furniture in our house! It is as necessary of a purchase as a VitaMix if you have kids or even grandkids. Kids can safely climb up in it by themselves and it can be adjusted to height as your children grow.

I have our tower located next to a large assortment of fresh fruits and vegetables on our counter top. They can climb up and grab a snack whenever they want. We don't have a snack cabinet full of processed junk, just a "snack counter" full of healthy whole foods.

When we cook I move the tower to an open space so they can help measure, pour, stir, peel garlic and onions or chop easy-to-chop foods like mushrooms or herbs. They get a hands on math and cooking lesson every day, which I love since I home-school them.

I find that I rarely have issues with my kids trying new foods because I have them so involved in food preparation. My oldest daughter is 6 and she is already inventing her own healthy recipes using raw foods!

The bonus to using The Learning Tower is easily turns into a "puppet theater" for play during the day. We just throw a sheet over it and our kids sit on the platform and perform!

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I'll Admit It. I'm a Junk-Food Junkie from Way Back!

Editor's Note: This is a guest post from Jennifer McCann of Vegan Lunch Box and This Is Why You’re Thin and does NOT necessarily represent the opinions of Followhealthlife or Dr. Fuhrman.

Most of my life there was not a sugary, fat-filled food that didn't have my name on it. And even though I've had a lot of success on Eat To Live in the last few years, I've also continued to struggle with the emotional urge to keep eating my old favorites. Foods that, intellectually, I know are bad for my health, but that my mind still thinks of as friends.

Sometimes it's been so difficult. I've even felt like giving up on Dr. Fuhrman's plan altogether. So when his new book Eat For Health came out, I felt like his chapters on "Changing How You Think" were written just for me. That's exactly what I needed to do! During the time I spent reading the book and doing the exercises, I realized I could use this kind of daily mental training to work out my mind and reprogram my thinking, just like I use daily exercise to work out my body.

Dr. Fuhrman's book was one form of mental training for me. Other mental work outs include talking openly with my health-conscious friends, working with a wellness coach to set weekly goals, increasing and reinforcing my nutrition knowledge with books and DVDs and visiting inspirational websites.

Speaking of websites, the popular blog This Is Why You’re Fat has been getting a lot of press lately. If you haven't been there yet, people send in their craziest junk-food creations, like bacon-topped doughnuts or deep-fried pepperoni pizza, for us all to groan and laugh over. I think the blog really is funny, but in the past few weeks I’ve noticed that a lot of people talking about the site are saying the same thing:

"It’s so gross, but now I want some."

"Eww! Oh, I bet that tastes good."

"That’s a heart attack waiting to...mmmm, bacon."

Isn’t that interesting? At the same time that we’re appalled, these images are sinking into our little monkey minds and triggering cravings for these kinds of foods. Is this a form of mental training, but in reverse? Are those images, added to all the commercials and advertisements we see every day for unhealthy food, training our minds to keep asking for what we know we shouldn't eat namely salty, fatty, deep-fried, sugary and processed foods?

I started thinking, what if, instead of looking at images of junk food every day. We served ourselves up a daily helping of healthy images instead? Can healthy images inspire us to want what's best for us, make us crave colorful salads instead of fatty burgers or help us get to the gym?

So, I decided to create the antithesis of This Is Why You're Fat by starting a brand new blog called This Is Why You’re Thin!

I’m hoping encourage exercise and the consumption of healthy plant-based foods through fun, intriguing and beautiful images that will inspire us all. I’m looking for photos of fresh fruits and vegetables, beautiful bean soups or healthy salads, people running, climbing, swimming, stretching and smiling kids drinking smoothies and picking strawberries.

Please visit my new blog and find out how to contribute. I want to fill the pages with lots of Fuhrman-friendly, nutrient-dense cuisine!

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America's Energy Crisis

Editor’s Note: This is a guest post from Scott Wharton of HealthandMen and does NOT necessarily represent the opinions of Followhealthlife or Dr. Fuhrman.

Is there ever going to be a point where we stop seeing the walls of energy drinks and energy shots at our convenient stores? When I was in my late teens and early 20 there wasn't any Red Bull, Monster or Rock Star drinks. There was only Jolt Cola. Jolt was just like any other cola, except they claimed that it packed more caffeine and more sugar than your average Pepsi. If I was about to embark on a long drive from Quantico, Virginia to upstate, New York I would grab one or two of these for the road. I wasn't much of a coffee drinker back then and Jolt Cola was my pick-me-up when I had to make long trips home. The downfall with caffeine and sugar was the crash. I would often get about 6 hours in to the trip and suddenly start to feel the crash. By the time I got home I would be either be wiped clean of any energy I had.

Truck stops used to have the plastic cases next to or behind the counter loaded with little bottles of mini-thins and similar products. They were Ephedrine or Ephedra based stimulants that were not the healthiest stimulant but then again loading up on caffeine and sugar isn't either. People started dying from overuse of ephedra and the United States took action against ephedrine because of the Meth epidemic. That's the reason you have to go to the pharmacy to get anything with ephedrine in it like Sudafed. The most you see in them now are Stackers and other caffeine, guarana and ginseng products.

These days the energy shots and drinks are still loaded with caffeine, sugar and extra vitamins. We know too much caffeine is bad for your heart and too much sugar is never a good thing for the human body, but what about the vitamins? Vitamins are good, right? That's what we're told as children. People don't know nearly enough about vitamins except for what they might hear on television and rarely do their own research. Naturally if you're told by some random person on TV that B Vitamins are good for you, then you're bound to believe that. Granted, B Vitamins are good for you and B vitamin deficiencies are, well, not good.

The funny thing that people fail to understand when they buy the energy shots like 6 Hour Energy and equivalent products is that most of that vitamin B that is supposed to give you all that energy is just going to waste. If you eat properly you get plenty of vitamin B and there really isn't much need for more. Either way, your body will get rid of any excess water soluble vitamins that it doesn't need and has no need to absorb and pees out. People that take a vitamin B supplement often know how well their body is absorbing it by the color of their urine. Riboflavin or vitamin B2 will tend to make your urine a bright yellow color.

Marketing is an amazing thing because people are so easily manipulated by things that help make day-to-day life more convenient. Fat burning pills, energy supplements and anything else that helps cope with the stress of work or life in general. When you're tired you're tired. There is no other way around it and your body needs rest. No matter how much energy supplements you take, it can not substitute the rejuvenating effect your body gets from a good night sleep. Sometimes you have to slow down, take it easy and let Mother Nature do her thing.

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Leaders of the Vegan Movement Develop Parkinson's: Case Studies

Herbert Shelton (1895 - 1985), a naturopath and chiropractor and the influential founder of the American Natural Hygiene Society and Nature Cure movement in America and prolific health writer advocated a natural food vegetarian diet of mostly raw fruits, vegetables and nuts. I read all of his highly motivating books, newsletters and writings in my teens. He lived in Texas, was physically fit, grew lots of his own food and ate carefully and fasted periodically. Of course he did not get cancer, he did not get heart disease, but he died of Parkinson's disease and was so severely affected by the age of 78 that even walking was difficult. In 1973 when I met him he was already severely hunched over and had a difficult time walking and caring for himself. Though he lived many years with this significant disability, the quality of his later years was extremely poor.

Prominent Vegetarian and Health Advocate, this leader in the natural health movement and a personal friend to me also suffered from and eventually died from a fall related to his Parkinson's disease. During his young adult life he embarked on the path of healthy living and vegetarianism. A follower of Shelton's works, he operated a large health food store, one of the first to sell organic fruits and vegetables in America; he became a leader in the health food industry. Of course he was not at risk of cancer or heart disease with his excellent diet, but he developed Parkinson's which limited the quality of his later years.

When he was developing his Parkinsonian tremors, I ordered blood tests and was shocked to see his blood results showing almost a zero DHA level on his fatty acid test, in spite of adequate ALA consumption from nuts and seeds eaten daily. I had never seen a DHA level that low before. Since that time I have drawn DHA blood levels on other patients with Parkinson's and also found very low DHA levels.

Was it a coincidence, that these leaders in the natural food, vegetarian movement, who ate a very healthy vegan diet and no junk food would both develop Parkinson's? I thought to myself--could it be that deficiencies in DHA predispose one to Parkinson's? Do men have worse ability to convert short chain omega-3 into long chain DHA? Is that why Parkinson's affects more men than women? Is there evidence to suggest that DHA deficiencies lead to later life neurologic problems? Are there primate studies to show DHA deficiencies in monkeys leads to Parkinson's? The answer to all of these questions is a resounding, yes.

More than 1 million Americans suffer from Parkinson's Disease (PD), a neurodegenerative disease that is clinically characterized by resting tremor, muscular rigidity, gait problems and impaired ability to initiate movements. Recent scientific findings show diets rich in omega-3 fatty acids, in particular DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), have a protective effect on this type of neurodegenerative disease. Studies in animals clearly show that supplementation of DHA can alter brain DHA concentrations and thereby modify brain functions leading to reduced risk of neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer's and Parkinson's.1

A recent study examined mice which were exposed to two diets; one group was fed a diet with DHA and other omega-3 fatty acids; while the other group was given ordinary food, lacking DHA. After a period of time they were given a dose of a chemical that causes the same damage to the brain as Parkinson's disease. The mice on the DHA diet seemed to be immune to the effects of the chemical, whereas the mice that ate ordinary food developed symptoms of the disease.

According to the researchers, among the mice that had been given omega-3 supplementation - in particular DHA - omega-3 fatty acids replaced the omega-6 fatty acids in their brains. Due to the fact that concentrations of other omega-3s (LNA and EPA) had maintained levels in both groups of mice, the researchers suggested that the protective effect against Parkinson's indeed came from DHA.2

Another conclusion drawn from this finding is that a brain containing a lot of omega-6 fatty acids may create a fertile ground for developing Parkinson's disease. These fatty acids, are abundant in foods rich in either vegetable oil or animal fat, which we already know contribute negatively to our health.

Another study observed the effect of DHA on monkeys treated with MPTP, a drug that induces Parkinson's like symptoms, and the results suggested that DHA can reduce the severity of, or delay the development of these drug-induced symptoms and therefore can offer therapeutic benefits in the treatment of Parkinson's. 3

Overall, this research provides evidence that DHA deficiencies can leave us vulnerable to developing diseases like Parkinson's and Alheizmer's. If you are a nutritarian, flexitarain, vegan, or vegetarian and you are not taking DHA or confirming your levels are adequate with blood work you are being negligent, and potentially increasing your risk of such a disease in later life. All the good efforts on proper nutrition can be undone with one deficiency such as Vitamin D, B12, or DHA. I see this every week in my practice.

History repeats itself: Some authors, doctors and leaders of the vegan movement today are heavily biased towards the idea of not needing these supplements. They simply give inadequate nutritional advice and in spite of all the science they still pooh-pooh taking long-chain omega-3 DHA. They are risking the quality of their own lives and that of their followers.

Likewise, I have seen so many vegan-promoting doctors and authors negate the need for taking B12, as well as dismiss the need to take vitamin D, stating minimal sunshine is enough. They also deny the need for omega-3 supplementation. There is so much scientific literature available today pointing to the contrary, however, this irresponsible information keeps radiating from the podium of lecture halls.

It reminds me of all the statements in the past, that the need for B12 was exaggerated and that the small amount of bacteria on organic produce or in seaweed was sufficient.

TC Fry (1926 - 1996), another long-term Natural Hygienist, raw foodest, vegetarian-fruitarian, advocated you did not need supplements as food contained all that we need. He died of an atherosclerotic-related embolism at the age of 70. I saw his hospital record at his death and reviewed his blood work drawn immediately prior to his death. It was quite revealing. He had severe B12, deficiency, so long-standing that his B12 levels were almost undetectable and the lowest I have ever seen. It is kind of interesting reading internet interpretations of why he died, such as "did not practice what he preached," "cheated on his diet," "too much sex," "ozone treatments for his vascular disease". He died prematurely simply because long-standing B12 deficiency leads to extremely high homocysteine levels, which can cause intra-vascular inflammation and cardiovascular disease.

I have seen this over and over again in vegans not supplementing with B12. I even had a patient with extremely severe hyper-homocysteinemia and vascular disease who flew in to see me from Scandinavia. When I diagnosed the problem and discussed how to solve it, she still refused to take the B12 supplements, stating that Dr. Shelton and Dr. Vetrano said that nature provided us with all that we need in natural plant foods. She flew home angry that I disagreed. She died soon after.

Don't be fooled into thinking that by merely eating right you are doing all you can do to protect your health. People must be made aware that by neglecting to take the supplements that are essential to assuring nutritional excellence, they are putting themselves in harm's way. Specifically, not taking DHA, B12 and vitamin D can be potentially dangerous and even life threatening.

Dr. Fuhrman's DHA Purity is a pure, fresh, all vegan, concentrated liquid. This DHA is derived from algae grown under sanitary laboratory conditions.

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Local Eating in a Global World

Editor’s Note: This is a guest post from Diane Lassen of Women’s Nutrition Matters and does NOT necessarily represent the opinions of Followhealthlife or Dr. Fuhrman.

Eating locally is all the rage these days. In fact, “locavore” was the word of the year last year, and there are lots of wonderful books out which really romanticize the idea of eating locally and growing your own food. I have to tell you, I am all for it. I grew up in suburban New Jersey with a Dad who dug up half the backyard for our garden and we ate from it all year long.

Eating locally means eating seasonally, even though nearly every conceivable food option is available 365 days a year in our global supermarket, we should know where our food comes from and we should strive to minimize the traffic that our food must endure by eating foods grown close to home. I love the concept of seasonal eating because it is an intuitive way of eating. It dates back to the basis of Ayurvedic medicine, where with each season came plants that gave us exactly what we needed for that season.

Let me explain. In the summer when it is hot, we have succulent, juicy fruits and vegetables like melons, stone fruits and tomatoes and lettuces which naturally cool the body and quench our thirst. As fall moves into winter, the fall harvest provides us with hearty and sustaining foods, foods that warm us and give us energy such as winter squash, root vegetables, beans and many seeds and grains. These foods are heavier and warming in nature and give us a feeling of contentment and nourishment—much needed in the cold, dark days of winter! Then with the spring comes cleansing sprouts, young greens and berries which help to rid the body of excess weight that may have accumulated over the winter and which cleanse the body of toxins and wastes, thus preparing us for another season of heat.

During the winter, we should continue to focus on our stores of local winter squash, pumpkins and sweet potatoes that are high in carotenoids, the antioxidants that have given us extra protection during the cold and flu season. Look to the veggies such as kale, cabbage and Brussels sprouts which, after a cold snap, have higher levels of phytonutrients and antioxidants which help protect us from environmental stress. A good frost also sweetens their flavors considerably! This Brassica family as well as members of the lily family, such as garlic, onions and leeks, are also high in sulfur compounds which protect against cancer and other damage to our DNA. All of these vegetables were the winter staples of our grandparent’s “root cellars” and should find a place in our basements as well.

Then once the winter winds will die down and the sun warms the earth enough to cause our spring bulbs to appear. What a joyous time of year! And just when you can’t eat another acorn squash, it will be time for the spring greens to appear in the marketplace and for wild mustard and chickweed to pop up in the woodlands, begging to be harvested. Our bodies will beg for the bitter greens of arugula and cress, so that the cleansing and detoxifying process can begin again. We will awaken from our long hibernation indoors ready to tackle the garden beds and other outdoor activities that beckon with the coming warm days!

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I'm a Raw Food Dude. I Drink My Greens!

Editor’s Note: This is a guest post from Linda Wooliever of Vermont Fiddle Heads and does NOT necessarily represent the opinions of Followhealthlife or Dr. Fuhrman.

What I love about the raw food movement is that it teaches people to eat locally, from their own garden, local farmers or community supported agriculture, as well as wild harvested foods, and to prepare and eat minimally processed whole foods. I love that raw foods are some of the best food I have ever tasted, jam packed with water and flavor!

But I don't necessarily like all aspects of the raw food movement. It can be strict and somewhat purist and the message that you can eat whatever/whenever you want so long as it is raw. I took a lot of the messages to heart even though some didn't intuitively make sense. I wanted to believe what I read. I said to myself, "Well, it seemed to work for other people, so why not me?"

I like experimenting with new foods and ideas, so I gave myself a green light to eat WAY too much fat on the raw food diet. I also gave myself the go ahead to eat a lot of raw chocolate, which can also be high in fat and while it is very fun to use wild with raw cacao, I don't recommend it for daily use. Long story short, I began to gain weight on raw food.

Despite having a relatively low caloric intake, most of my calories were coming from fat. After 8 years and much experimentation with my raw foods diet, I started to feel a bit run down and I was a little perplexed about what to do. The books that recommend a low-fat raw food diet, don't really explain how to do it because when it comes time to show recipes, these recipes are nut-rich, very dense and heavy.

Thankfully my friend gave me Dr Fuhrman's book to read as a gift and I really felt grateful for it. His message was very similar to some raw food dudes that I applaud who also extol the importance of a low-fat, minimally-processed, vegan diet. What I REALLY appreciated was actually spelling out the daily food intake goals per day, i.e. a pound of raw greens and other veggies, a pound of cooked greens, etc.

This helps a lot of people, I think, and it helps a person like me. I can very easily adapt how I eat to this daily plan and I make it easy and delicious. I finally felt like I was getting some guidelines that seem doable and sensible. This is a lifestyle and not a diet.

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Discover the Delicious Health Benefits of Organic Food!

Editor’s Note: This is a guest post from Laura Klein of OrganicAuthority and does NOT necessarily represent the opinions of Followhealthlife or Dr. Fuhrman.

Ok, I’m addicted to organic foods and am a self proclaimed organic foodie! I guess you could say I’m a big fan of organic everything, especially organic food. That's why I founded my own website!

As I studied to be a professionally trained chef in culinary school, it was the tasty flavor of organic foods that got me hooked on the organic movement. Before culinary school, I could have cared less about organic foods and “green” what? I simply couldn’t believe how much better organic foods tasted when compared to the other normal stuff.

As a chef-in-training, all I cared about was what produced the best tasting food products. And what I discovered was the critical secret behind high-end chefs and five-star restaurants. Organic food! You can have all the culinary training in the world, but if you start with low quality ingredients, you get a low quality result.

I also discovered that organic foods are simply more nutritious and a powerful healing tool for the human body. I look at organic food as the most delicious type of preventive medicine available to us! But don’t just take it from me. Other vetted resources agree that organic food is nutrient-rich and fantastic for your health.

In a study published in March 2008 by The Organic Center, scientific evidence settled the lingering question. Are organic foods really more nutritious? And the answer is a resounding YES! Consider the following:

  • Organic plant-based foods (fruits, vegetables, grains) contain higher levels of eight of 11 nutrients studied, including significantly greater concentrations of health-promoting polyphenols and antioxidants.
  • Organically grown plant-based foods are 25% more nutrient dense, on average, than their conventional food counterparts. That means they deliver more essential nutrients per serving or calorie consumed than conventionally-grown foods.
  • Nutrients present in organic foods are “in a more biologically active form,” according to Neal Davies, a professor at Washington State University (WSU) and a co-author of the center’s report. A+ for Organic Farming!

In another recent study entitled “Living Soil, Food Quality, and the Future of Food", presented at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), several inspiring conclusions were offered about the health benefits of organic farming and its nutritional impact in food:

  • Higher levels of fertilizer negatively impact the density of certain nutrients in harvested foodstuffs, which is called the "dilution [of nutrients] effect." Organic farming can, under some circumstances, delay the onset of the "dilution effect."
  • Compared to typical conventional farms, the nitrogen cycle on organic farms is rooted in substantially more complex biological processes and soil-plant interactions; for this reason, organic farming offers great promise in consistently producing nutrient-enriched foods.

Clearly, organic food equals healthier food. It’s that simple. And that tasty too!

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Would We be Healthier Without Taste Buds...

Editor’s Note: This is a guest post from Bloggy McBloggenstein of Stop Being So Fat! and does NOT necessarily represent the opinions of Followhealthlife or Dr. Fuhrman.

The obese are now the majority in America. Sure, there are no shortage of reasons behind this, but let’s boil it down into its simplest terms. In an increasingly busy, modern, convenience filled, processed food-filled environment, the majority of people are seeking out what is easy, cheap, and above all PLEASURABLE over what is healthy.

Evolutionarily speaking, it’s doubtful one could argue that we developed taste buds simply for pleasure. The real reason is because our ancient ancestors needed a mechanism that told them whether or not the substance they were putting in their mouth was good or bad for them. Little absorption happens in the mouth, so when the tongue sends a message to the brain that something tastes “bad” we spit it out before swallowing it. Harmful or poisonous foods often have a bitter or sour taste, and nutrient rich foods, particularly nutrient-rich often have a sweet or savory taste.

Today, we don’t need our taste buds to save our lives. There’s no danger of scavenging through a wild grocery store and accidentally eating something poisonous. We’re too educated to let that happen. No one is going to pick up a bottle of bleach and give it a swig to find out if it’s food or not.

It’s probably to our detriment that today, when most food products are made in factories, that our taste buds still rule our diet choices. We still seek out the foods that are most fulfilling to our energy needs, even if those needs are met. AND THEN SOME! Food companies win us over by putting MORE of what tastes good into our food, while maintaining a relative level of vitamins in production is often an afterthought.

Wouldn’t it be nice if the next step in our evolution made it so that we could taste if something were high in micronutrients relative to energy? Just like we can taste the difference between a regular and a fat free version of something, we would be able to tell if a food was high in vitamins and minerals, and actually prefer it over a food that has been stripped of its vitamins.
We know what is healthy.

Really, as much as people seem confused over all of the conflicting information out there regarding healthy eating, I doubt you could find me a person that would point to the super-sized value meal instead of the basket of fruits and veggies when asked which is healthier. When we’re honest, the only real reason we act confused about what is bad for us is when we want to continue to eat what tastes good, despite available information.

Obviously we can’t turn off our taste buds, and if we could, who would want to? Food is one of the major things that drives and shapes various cultures because the preparation and eating of food is often very social and can be highly pleasurable. Life would seem pretty grim if we suddenly couldn’t taste. Taste buds are a luxury now. Let’s not let that luxury be our downfall.

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Grocery Shopping with the Kids

Editor’s Note: This is a guest post from Ilana Kriegsman of Healthy & Green on the Cheap and does NOT necessarily represent the opinions of Followhealthlife or Dr. Fuhrman.

“No, Mommy! I don’t want to sit in the cart! I want to go home! I want that!” Sound familiar? These are just a few of the things that my daughter has been known to say during a shopping excursion. Yes, grocery shopping can be a torturous experience for parent and child alike.

But what choice do we have? I suppose the obvious answer is to leave the kids at home, but my feeling is that’s not the right choice. With a slight change of purpose, you can keep your children interested and occupied (and peaceful) while also taking advantage of some great learning opportunities. These are my rules to a happy shopping trip:

Engage your kids in the shopping experience.

  • Show them and talk about your shopping list: Why do you make it? What’s on it? Etc.
  • Tell them about how you plan to use the items you buy once you get them home and how they can be your helpers.
  • Show them how to look at produce: Is it ripe? Is it fresh? Etc.
  • Explain the seasonality of vegetables and fruits and where the produce in the store comes from.
  • Take them to farms and farmers markets to help them identify with the source of their food.
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  • Allow them to make some decisions about the foods you buy. Do you want apples or pears?

Encourage questions and curiosity about food.

  • Let your child take a sample here and there of things you’re buying or if the store sets out samples. My daughter’s particularly fond of doing this with leafy greens, especially if it’s organic!
  • When they have a question, take the time to answer it, don’t rush.
  • Allow them to take an interest in packaging and other marketing ploys. Candy and kids’ cereals might look like fun on the outside, but they’re not healthy on the inside.

Be consistent.

  • Let your children in on what is “okay” and what is not. Have them help you look at labels when they ask for something. Does it have hydrogenated oil or artificial colors? Then we can’t have it.
  • Be clear about what is a “treat” and what is an every day food. Treats in our family are things we have very rarely, generally for holidays and special occasions.
  • If you’re working within a tight budget, like we are, it’s also a good idea to stick to the list as a general rule, making exceptions for incredible bargains, but not for whims and fancies.

I believe the more kids understand about food, the more varieties of food they’ll try. They’ll be less inclined to eat food from unidentifiable sources (i.e. processed foods) and more inclined to eat whole foods. And the more they understand about shopping and meal planning, the more adept they will be at handling these sorts of tasks as teens and adults.

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Watch Out for Vampire Easter Bunnies!

If Peter Cocktail comes hopping along today, don’t worry. The worst he’ll do is leave a few pellets on your carpet, but should you encounter any vampire rabbits. Quick, lock the refrigerator and hide your tomatoes. If not, Bunnicula will suck them dry:

 

 

Oh, and if you’re fighting the urge to sink your fangs into some Easter treats. Satisfy your bloodlust with this candy carnage. See what happens when marshmallow Peeps meet the microwave and Cadbury Crème Eggs fall on mousetraps. It’s gruesome.

Via Diet-Blog.

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Many U.S. Children on Diabetes and Blood Pressure Pills

After examining prescription records of nearly 6 million children and adolescents experts found prescriptions for blood pressure, diabetes and cholesterol medication increased by more than 15% among children from 2004 to 2007. The study, published in the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, showed separately diabetes medications rose 23% and blood pressure medications 15%, but cholesterol-lowering drugs dropped 23%. Scientists attribute the drop to bad press associated with medications like Crestor and Lipitor. However, the rise in childhood obesity and doctors’ willingness to prescribe medications to young children is being blamed for the increase; HealthDay News investigates.

Actually, a recent study showed overweight children as young as age 3 may start showing signs of cardiovascular disease, so it’s easy to see why doctors would dole out pills, but a family-based approach to good nutrition is best for keeping kids healthy and off drugs.

And here’s some of bad press on cholesterol-lowering drugs. In January, Lipitor, Zocor and Crestor were found to cause eyelid droop and double vision as potential side effects. Eek!

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More Fiber, Less Sugar Cuts Diabetes Risk in Latinos

New findings in the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine suggest eating more fiber and less sugar can lower the risk of type-2 diabetes in adolescent Latinos. For the study, 66 overweight Latino teenagers were put into three groups. One group attended weekly classes on nutrition, specifically reducing sugar and increasing fiber. Group two was given nutrition education twice a week and did some strength training. The final group served as a control. After 16 weeks teens who ate less sugar and more fiber had substantial drops in blood glucose and insulin levels; Reuters reports.

In New York City, type-2 diabetes hits ethnic groups hard as they abandon traditional diets in favor of standard American fare, 800,000 people in NYC have diabetes. Yesterday, a study showed 22% of Hispanic children in America, ages 1 to 4, are obese. Dr. Fuhrman recommends the whole family eat healthy early to promote good eating habits later in life.

In related news, research shows children going to high school within walking distance of fast food restaurants are more likely to eat less fruits and vegetables and drink more soda.

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Early Weight Gain Linked to Impaired Mobility Later

A new study in the American Journal of Epidemiology claims carrying around extra bodyweight earlier in life is associated with decreased mobility later on. Researchers examined 2,845 individuals with no reported mobility issues, collecting new information on their mobility limitations every six months for the next seven years. Data revealed women who were overweight or obese during their mid-20s to 70s were three times more likely to develop mobility limitations. Men only had about half that risk; via ScienceDaily.

Not only do extra pounds slow you down, but a recent study revealed obesity can shorten lifespan by 4 to 10 years, similar to cigarette smoking. Good thing healthy foods like grapes help fight abdominal fat and protect against high blood sugar and insulin resistance.

So, if you don’t feel like shuffling around when you get older. Stay active! Start doing weight-bearing exercises, like jumping, to keep your muscles strong and your bones sturdy.

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American Indian Children Hit Hard by Obesity...

A new study in the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine claims 1 in 5 Native American preschoolers are obese. Children were considered obese if their body-mass index (BMI) placed them in the 95th percentile or higher on government growth charts. Of the 8,550 participants the rate of obesity among Asians was 13%, whites 16%, blacks 21%, Hispanics 22% and a startling 31% for American Indian children. Researchers cite possible genetic disparities as reason why, but also blame lifestyle issues such as low-income status; the Associated Press reports.

Makes sense, a recent report linked childhood poverty with an 82% higher risk of cardiovascular problems later in life and in February, researchers determined 89% of American preschoolers are not active enough. Not a good combination, especially when you consider weight gain in very young children increases their chances of becoming obese as they mature. Add all that up and you’re in a lot of trouble, no matter what race you are.

Occupation doesn't seem to matter either. Many emergency responder recruits, like ambulance drivers and firemen, are overweight and unable to meet national fitness standards. Even U.S. combat troops in Iraq are getting fat! I still can't believe that.

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Chubby Belly a Predictor of Heart Failure

I admit, a little “chub” on a girl is super cute, but it’s probably not healthy. Published in the journal Circulation: Heart Failure, experts believe larger waist circumferences are associated with higher risk of congestive heart failure in both men and women. For the study, researchers analyzed data on more than 36,000 women and over 43,000 men, ages 45-83, who filled out health questionnaires and were followed for seven years. Based on their answers scientists determined women with a normal body mass index (BMI) and a 10 centimeter larger waist measurement had a 15% higher risk of heart failure and men with normal BMI and a 10 centimeter larger waist size had a 30% higher risk; via EurekAlert!

Belly fat gets a lot of bad press. Over the past few months excess abdominal fat has been linked to impaired respiratory function, lame sex life, more headaches and migraines, and increased risk of stroke. And according to Dr. Fuhrman that extra umbilical fat is an excellent indicator that people are overweight, even if they’ve already lost weight.

Maintaining a healthy bodyweight is an important component of heart health. In the November 2003 Healthy Times, Dr. Fuhrman explains why heart problems are preventable and how nutrition helps reverse cardiovascular disease.

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Broccoli Whacks Bacteria Linked to Gastric Cancer

A new study in the journal Cancer Prevention Research discovered eating just 2.5 ounces of broccoli each day helped reduce Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) a bacterium closely tied to stomach damage and gastric cancer. Broccoli sprouts provide sulforaphane, a known cancer-fighter, which acts as an antibiotic against H. pylori. The experiment involved 48 people infected with H. pylori with half the participants eating broccoli sprouts each day. The others ate alfalfa sprouts, which do not contain sulforaphane. After 8 weeks the broccoli group had significantly lower levels of H. pylori. No change was observed in the alfalfa group; HealthDay News reports.

Sulforaphane has also been linked to undoing cell damage associated with hyperglycaemia and diabetes, but all fruits and vegetables are health-protective, such reducing risk of colon, prostate and pancreatic cancer. Other research has revealed populations eating an additional 20% more cruciferous vegetables have 40% less cancer.

Last week, a report showed vitamin K, found in leafy greens like spinach and broccoli, had a lower risk of prostate cancer. Broccoli has also been shown to protect against respiratory inflammation.

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Veggie Growing Time Machine

Pretty soon I’ll be outside digging a big hole, dumping my bags of rotten fruits and vegetables into a pile and planting my garbage tomato. Right now, the offspring of last year’s tomato are blossoming on my kitchen windowsill and just like survival of the fittest only the strongest will get planted. At the moment, the one that started off runty is in the lead.

So, to get you hyped up about the spring and the upcoming growing season, don’t forget I’ll be posting updates on my garbage tomato all summer long. Here are some cool time-lapsed videos of plants various sprouting out of the ground. We’ve got some corn, pepper plants, oyster mushrooms and something called Wisconsin fast plants. Enjoy!

Via Serious Eats.

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Cholesterol Crystals Tied to Heart Attacks

A study in the American Journal of Cardiology claims cholesterol in the arteries crystallizes from a liquid to a solid, expanding and disrupting plaque, leading to potential heart attack and stroke. Researchers examined coronary arteries from patients who died from cardiovascular events and when compared to a control group, they discovered cholesterol crystals following a cardiac attack damaged artery linings and appeared much further away from the site of attack, putting survivors of an attack at higher risk; ScienceDaily reports.

Cutting cholesterol is a bid deal! Studies show the more animal products in a population's diet the higher their cholesterol levels and the more heart attacks they have, but eating plenty of fruits and vegetables, which are loaded with fiber and plant nutrients, effectively cuts cholesterol, even putting cholesterol-lowering medications to shame.

And a recent report showed why lowering cholesterol and blood pressure is still the major preventer of heart trouble. Actually, in the May 2006 edition of Healthy Times, Dr. Fuhrman discusses how superior diet protects against and reverses cardiovascular disease.

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Vitamin K Battles Prostate Cancer!

A new study in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention shows vitamin K, found in leafy green such as spinach and broccoli, may help lower the risk of prostate cancer. Scientists recruited 250 participants with prostate cancer and 494 healthy people. Data revealed every 0.1 increase of undercarboxylated osteocalcin (ucOC), associated low with low vitamin K intake, resulted in 38% higher likelihood of advanced-stage prostate cancer and 21% increased risk of high-grade prostate cancer; NutraIngredients reports.

Actually, last week it was determined omega-3 fatty acids, in this case found in fish, but are also contained in micro algae, protect against aggressive prostate cancer tumors and other reports highlight broccoli’s protective effects against prostate cancer, while foods high in saturated fat, like read meat and dairy, increase risk of prostate cancer.

Vitamins are great, but they’re not magical pills. Last year, a study showed just taking vitamins, like vitamin C and E, don’t prevent prostate cancer. You have to eat healthy too!

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A Life of Poverty Boosts Heart Risks

Not what you want to hear right now. New findings in the American Journal of Epidemiology suggest the longer an individual remains in poverty, the more likely they are to develop heart disease. Studying more than 1,800 adults in the U.S. those who were disadvantaged during childhood and adulthood were 82% more likely to develop cardiovascular problems, compared to well off individuals. This is most likely do to more risk factors, such poor people are more likely to smoke and be obese; Reuters investigates.

In past, during the Great Depression, some research indicates death rates actually increased, occurrences of cirrhosis, suicide and homicide, which makes sense considering the harsh times. Also, new reports claim as money becomes harder and harder to come by, purchases of bad, cheaper foods like fast food and pasta are the rise. Eek!

I think we’re all feeling the pinch right now, but there are ways to stay heart healthy, most importantly don’t let your diet slack, look for marked down fruits and veggies and avoiding processed foods and secondhand smoke.

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