Mango - a sweet treat with anti-cancer potential

Mango is the world’s most widely eaten fresh fruit. Mango originated from India and southeast Asia, but is now grown in the Americas, the Caribbean, Africa, and Australia as well – today, Mexico is the world’s largest mango exporter. Mangoes were introduced in the U.S. in the late 1800s, and some are still grown in California and Florida. Mango is part of a nutrient dense family – its relatives include cashews and pistachios, but unlike its family members, the seed of a mango is inedible.

There are over 50 different varieties of mango, and we see about five of these in the U.S. Color varies – green, yellow, orange, red, or a combination. Although unripe mangoes are usually green, the best test of ripeness is how hard or soft the fruit is. A mango that indents in response to gentle pressure is ripe. Tart, unripe green mangoes are used in several ethnic cuisines, and are sometimes sliced and dipped in salt (but not by nutritarians!). Ripe mangoes, however, are extremely sweet and tasty.1-2 

A great deal of research has been done on the health benefits of high antioxidant fruits – blueberries, goji berries, pomegranates, acai – but the mango has been somewhat ignored by scientists because its antioxidant capacity is not quite as high as these other fruits.  Atulfo mangoes – the smaller, yellow mangoes often sold in Asian supermarkets – have the greatest antioxidant content of the five common varieties found in the U.S. Also, the orange flesh of mangoes is full of beta-carotene and vitamin C.3-4

A new study has revealed that mango, despite its low level of antioxidant activity, may have potent anti-cancer properties. Researchers treated cells derived from several common cancers – colon, breast, leukemia, and prostate – with mango polyphenol extract. Breast and colon cancer cells were most significantly affected – the cell cycle was disrupted and they underwent programmed cell death in response to the mango extract. Normal colon cells, however, remained alive and undamaged. The researchers suggest that gallotannins, the most abundant antioxidant polyphenols contained in mango, were responsible for the anti-cancer effects.5

Fresh mango is delicious all on its own. If you haven’t quite yet figured out how to cut a mango, here’s one way. Another is to slice lengthwise on each side of the pit, score the flesh, and then turn each side inside out. 

Frozen and dried mango can make a great treat too:

Dr Fuhrman’s Fantastic Mango Ice Cream

Serves: 4

Ingredients:

1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut, reserving 1 tablespoon for garnish

1/2 cup hemp, almond or soy milk

1/2 teaspoon lemon juice

1 10-ounce bag frozen mango

4 slices dried mango, unsweetened and unsulfured

Instructions:

Soak dried mango in the plant-milk until soft (overnight or one hour in advance). Then blend all ingredients, including the soaking milk, in a Vita-Mix or other high-powered blender until smooth and creamy. Garnish with reserved coconut.

 

References:

  1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mango
  2. http://homecooking.about.com/od/foodhistory/a/mangohistory.htm
  3. Manthey JA et al. Influences of harvest date and location on the levels of beta-carotene, ascorbic acid, total phenols, the in vitro antioxidant capacity, and phenolic profiles of five commercial varieties of mango (Mangifera indica L.). J Agric Food Chem. 2009 Nov 25;57(22):10825-30.
  4. http://www.nutritiondata.com/facts/fruits-and-fruit-juices/1952/2
  5. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/01/100111154926.htm

Master Food Addiction or It Will Master You

                     

It’s the beginning of a new year. Many are off the starting blocks of eating for health. However, along the way there’s that nine-letter obstacle to overcome. ADDICTION. 

Addiction is that all-consuming craving that pulls one back into a bad habit. Another way of putting it is being continually “stuck in a rut.” Captured.

If you are caught in the continual cycle of food addiction and emotional eating, to break it, you MUST get radical. 

That means you must pay the price to get free. That means making continual choices every single day of your life, through thick or thin, to never allow the circumstances of life be the excuse to quit and give into unhealthy indulgences.

You must:

  • renew your mind continually by studying Dr. Fuhrman’s books and articles; and listen to his various teleconferences and programs
  • eat those greens whether you like them in the beginning or not
  • go for that walk whether you feel like it or not 
  • post your temptations and struggles and ask for help from others
  • and/or talk with others on the Tuesday night phone chats
  • ask Dr. Fuhrman questions on Ask the Doctor
  • stick to the plan; no matter what; no matter how you feel; no excuses

In other words, you must get radically aggressive. Don’t be a passive by-stander. Roll up your sleeves and get in there and fight. Fight hard. Contend for freedom. 

Know that cravings will subside significantly and then eventually go away as you continue to fill up on the wonderful bounty of nature’s delicious and nourishing foods: pomegranates, kiwis, berries, cherry tomatoes, artichoke hearts, bok choy, roasted peppers and garlic, lentils, nuts and seeds.   In fact, when the addiction goes away, you'll naturally desire foods that promote optimal health.  That's the ultimate beauty of committing to Dr. Fuhrman's high nutrient diet-style!  

donuts and candy                      

You must master the cycle of food addiction and emotional eating or it will master you. 

There are no shortcuts. No magic pills. No easy ways out.

But it is so worth doing what it takes to get free. You will never regret any effort you put forth. The return investment will be the enjoyment of renewed health, vitality, and psychological freedom . . .for the rest of your life! 

Many have conquered the downward spiral of food addiction and emotional eating. YOU can overcome it also.

Rise up and be the conqueror today!

Stick to the plan. No matter what. No matter how you feel. No excuses.

 

Are you mastering food addiction and emotional eating? What practical step(s) do you need to take today to fortify your commitment to freedom and optimal health?

 

image credits: Emily Boller

Bok choy - nutrient dense and delicious!

Bok choy (or pak choi) is a relative of cabbage, scientifically named Brassica chinensis. It is most often associated with Chinese cuisine, and has been grown in China for over six thousand years. Today, bok choy is also grown in Europe, Canada, and the U.S, and is available almost year-round – it is said to be most tasty in the winter months.

Bok choy has crisp, white stalks and dark green leaves, and in Chinese its name means “white vegetable.” There are over twenty different varieties of bok choy – the two most common seen here in the U.S. are the traditional and “baby” or “Shanghai” bok choy – however, if you visit your local Asian market, you may see several more of these varieties.1-2

Bok choy provides abundant amounts of vitamins A, C, and K as well as folate and calcium.3 A recent study detected 28 different polyphenols - antioxidant phytochemicals - in bok choy. Some of these were more concentrated in the leaves, and some in the stems.4 The most abundant polyphenol these scientists found in bok choy was kaempferol, a molecule shown to have anti-cancer properties.5 

Bok choy falls under the category of cruciferous vegetables, a family of especially nutrient-dense vegetables that contain unique anti-cancer compounds. Like all cruciferous vegetables, more cancer-preventive compounds are produced when bok choy is chopped before cooking. 

Bok choy is one of the most nutrient-dense foods in the world, and it is uniquely beneficial for its calcium availability – bok choy is lower in oxalate, a substance that binds up calcium and prevents it from being absorbed, than most other leafy greens. 54% of the calcium in bok choy can be absorbed by the human body – compare this to 5% in spinach, a high oxalate vegetable, and 32% in milk. We can much more readily absorb calcium from bok choy than from dairy products.

Bok choy can be eaten raw in salads, green smoothies, or vegetable juices, or cooked in stir-fries, soups, or other vegetable dishes. 

 

Braised Bok Choy

Serves: 2

Ingredients:

8 baby bok choy or 3 regular bok choy

1 teaspoon Bragg Liquid Aminos or low sodium soy sauce

2 cups coarsely chopped shiitake mushrooms

2 large cloves garlic, chopped, optional

1 tablespoon unhulled sesame seeds, lightly toasted *

Instructions:

Cover bottom of large skillet with 1/2 inch water. Add bok choy (cut baby bok choy in half lengthwise or cut regular bok choy into chunks).

Drizzle with liquid aminos. Cover and cook on high heat until bok choy is tender, about 6 minutes.

Remove bok choy and add mushrooms and garlic to the liquid in the pan.

Simmer liquid until reduced to a glaze. Pour over bok choy. Top with toasted sesame seeds.

*Lightly toast sesame seeds in a pan over medium heat for 3 minutes, shaking pan frequently. 

 

 

References:

1. http://chinesefood.about.com/od/vegetablesrecipes/a/bokchoy.htm

2. http://www.fruitsandveggiesmorematters.org/?page_id=3002

3. http://www.nutritiondata.com/facts/vegetables-and-vegetable-products/2377/2?print=true

4. Harbaum B et al. Identification of flavonoids and hydroxycinnamic acids in pak choi varieties (Brassica campestris L. ssp. chinensis var. communis) by HPLC-ESI-MSn and NMR and their quantification by HPLC-DAD. J Agric Food Chem. 2007 Oct 3;55(20):8251-60. Epub 2007 Sep 12.

5. Luo H et al. Kaempferol inhibits angiogenesis and VEGF expression through both HIF dependent and independent pathways in human ovarian cancer cells. Nutr Cancer. 2009;61(4):554-63.

 

The Average American Youth: Nutritionally Uneducated, Nutrient Deprived

It is no secret that young people in America eat unhealthy diets.  What most people might not be aware of is just how unhealthy teens are actually eating.  According to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a meager 9.5 percent of high school students in the United States eat two or more servings of fruits and three or more servings of vegetables a day, which are the amounts recommended by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.  As the fruit and vegetable consumption recommendations given by the USDA are conservative compared to actual ideal requirements as suggested in scientific studies, the number of teens who consume enough nutrients is actually considerably less than 9.5 percent.  Tragically, the majority of high-school and college students don’t eat any fruits and vegetables at all.  It is tragic because such behavior is predictive of the development of serious chronic disease in their adult lives.

Girl eating pizza

While one might think this information is shocking, teenagers themselves are not solely to blame. Most, if not all, high-schools fail to educate teens about the importance of eating healthfully, and the limited information that is given is almost worthless. They cook foods such as pastries and macaroni and cheese in cooking classes and no effort is made to teach the link between diets low in produce and later life cancer and heart disease. Young people are constantly bombarded by advertisements from fast food, soda and snack companies trying to promote their products.  Due to the popularity and high-publicity of many chain restaurants and snacks, eating unhealthy is not just considered normal, but cool.  Junk foods such as soda, candy, chips, white-flour products and processed snack items abound around school campuses and are the most convenient and available food choices.  Seventy-five percent of high schools currently serve lunches that are high in saturated fat and salt and low in nutrients, according to the Journal of the American Dietetic Association. 

In addition to the paltry supply of fruits and vegetables available on school campuses, students are loading up on soda to fulfill caloric needs. In fact, soda is the food (if you can call it that) that supplies the most calories to the American diet. Most of these calories come from high fructose corn syrup, equivalent to about 10 teaspoons of sugar. The typical soda offers, 150 calories, 30 to 55 mg of caffeine, and is packed with artificial food colors and sulphites.

Soda consumption is linked to osteoporosis, attention deficit disorder (ADD), insomnia, kidney stones, and tooth decay. Worst of all, soda is linked to obesity. In fact, the risk of obesity increases a dramatic 60 percent for each can of soda a person drinks per day. Teenagers and children, whom most soft drinks are marketed toward, are the largest consumers. Currently, teenage boys drink, on average, three or more cans of soda per day, and 10 percent drink seven or more cans each day. The average for teenage girls is two cans per day, and 10 percent drink more than five cans every day.

This year, let’s try to educate our youth.  If nothing is done to improve the eating habits of young people, I fear for my generation. The current climate of nutritional ignorance will lead to a future population of suffering and sickly adults riddled with chronic diseases, If you are trying to get healthier and lose weight, make it a family effort and try to teach your children about the importance of eating healthy and avoiding junk foods too.  Small efforts can result in big changes. It is never too early to make nutritious eating choices.Girls buying vegetables

What do you think?  What strategies should be implemented? What can we do to instill healthy eating values in our junk food world? 

Diet high in omega-6 fats increases risk for ulcerative colitis

 

Ulcerative colitis falls under the category of inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD). It is an autoimmune disease in which excessive inflammation kills cells in the lining of the colon, leaving ulcers behind. Ulcerative colitis is a chronic condition that commonly causes abdominal pain and bloody diarrhea, and it carries with it an increased risk of colorectal cancer. In some severe cases, the colon must be surgically removed. Clearly, this condition also causes a great deal of emotional trauma.1

Recent studies have identified dietary patterns that may predispose individuals to ulcerative colitis. High intake of fats, refined sugars, and fried potato products were positively associated with ulcerative colitis, and fruit consumption was found to be protective.2

Most recently, omega-6 fatty acids have been investigated. Omega-6 fatty acids are essential fatty acids, meaning that we must obtain them from our diet for good health, but the typical American diet contains an excessive amount of omega-6, which can produce a pro-inflammatory environment in the body.

Linoleic acid is an omega-6 fat that is highly concentrated in red meat, cooking oils, and margarines. In the digestive system, linoleic acid is metabolized into arachidonic acid, which incorporates into cell membranes of the colon. When arachidonic acid is broken down further, its products are pro-inflammatory – these products are found in excess in the intestinal cells of patients with ulcerative colitis. For these reasons, scientists believed that excess linoleic acid might be linked to ulcerative colitis risk.

A prospective study of over 200,000 men and women in Europe found that the subjects who consumed the highest levels of omega-6 linoleic acid were 2.5 times more likely to be diagnosed with ulcerative colitis. The researchers also found a negative association between the omega-3 fatty acid DHA and ulcerative colitis – subjects in the highest level of DHA intake decreased their risk by 77%.3

Avoiding excess levels of linoleic acid is simply accomplished by eating a diet that is based on whole plant foods and limits animal products and added fats. A diet of natural whole foods provides us with omega-6 fatty acids in appropriate amounts - not in excess – producing an anti-inflammatory environment.

For those who already have ulcerative colitis, it is important to know that the condition can be improved and sometimes completely resolved with dietary changes – conventional treatment of IBD often includes immunosuppressive drugs with dangerous side effects. Specific dietary recommendations for sufferers of IBD are outlined in the Inflammatory Bowel Disease newsletter

References:

1. http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ulcerativecolitis.html#cat59

2. Shah S. Dietary Factors in the Modulation of Inflammatory Bowel Disease Activity. MedGenMed 2007; 9(1):60

3. Tjonneland A et al. Linoleic acid, a dietary n-6 polyunsaturated fatty acid, and the aetiology of ulcerative colitis: a nested case-control study within a European prospective cohort study. IBD in EPIC Study Investigators. Gut. 2009 Dec;58(12):1606-11. Epub 2009 Jul 23.

http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE5B15S720091202

 

Jana cooks (and blogs) her way through Eat for Health!

Dr. Fuhrman’s most recent book, Eat for Health, includes 128 recipes, and Jana Diedrich is determined to cook each and every one over the course of 28 days!

She is documenting her journey on a blog with photos and commentary on each recipe.

 Eat for Health book

Jana embarked on this journey through nutritarian eating to improve her own health and the health of her husband.  Jana was inspired by the movie Julie and Julia, in which blogger Julie sets out to cook every single recipe in Julia Child’s first cookbook, Mastering the Art of French Cooking.  One big difference though – Jana will be blogging about healthy food!

 

Jana was ready to get healthy, and she was looking for a challenge.

 

Here is how she begins, on Day 0…

 

The Book:
Eat for Health Book 2--first edition, 2008. Author, Dr. Joel Fuhrman M.D. The book that helped us to shed millions of pounds, helped cure diseases, relieved depression, saved untold thousands of lives.

The Contender:
Jana Diedrich. Artist by day (and by night), floundering but hopeful food addict. 44 years old, no children, 1 husband, 3 dogs and looking for a challenge. Risking her marriage (no Julia Child cuisine for him), she has signed herself up for an inspirational and enlightening assignment, hoping to re-direct and commit to this way of life.

28 days, over 128 recipes. One woman and a "pretty ok" kitchen.

The Goals:
1. To help my husband with his severe stomach issues: Gastro Esophageal Reflect Disease a.k.a. GERD and Acid Reflux, and Collagenous colitis. To help him lower his out of control cholesterol, and to help him lose 25 pounds.
2. The Standard American Diet (SAD) just makes me feel depressed and joyless. I want to feel light and happy all of the time! My other goal--to rid myself of my sleep apnea.

How far will it go? Tune in each day for the next 28 days and see... This project starts now!!

 

You can follow Jana’s culinary adventures at http://janadrjoel.blogspot.com/

 

Good luck Jana!