Wednesday, September 28, 2011
When considering the typical American diet full of fried foods, nutritionally-flawed fast food, and the ever-increasing amount of sugar and chemical additives, it leaves one wondering how in the world anyone lives to a ripe old age!
It turns out that hidden in the typical western diet of highly-toxic processed foods are wonders of nature that you'd never suspect are really health foods.
Here, then, is a short list of the five most powerful health-enhancing foods that don't seem like health foods but which are quite possibly already in your cupboard – foods that help to ward off disease even when the rest of the diet is not so healthy.
#1 - Mustard
Mustard, believe it or not, is a medicinal paste made from the seed of the mustard plant. It's a superfood that's been around for at least 5,000 years, and it's one of the few common sources of the anti-carcinogen, selenium, a trace mineral often absent from our produce because of over-farmed soil.
Mustard is known to help in reducing migraines, and it's a natural anti-fungal and antiseptic. Another benefit of mustard is that it's never made with MSG or yeast extract. Mustard products -- even conventional products from non-health-food companies -- are still very healthful to consume.
#2 - Cole Slaw
Cole slaw is made out of one of the most powerful natural medicines in the food kingdom: raw cabbage.
Raw cabbage is a proven cure for stomach ulcers. It's also an amazing anti-cancer food that can help prevent (or even reverse) many types of cancer. Cabbage has been one of the most medicinal foods ever consumed in the history of mankind. It's also good for you even when cooked, such as in the case of cabbage soup, or fermented, such as in sauerkraut.
Cabbage is rich in indole-3-carbinol (I3C), one of its many anti-cancer nutrients.
It's best to make your own cole slaw at home, but if you purchase store-bought cole slaw, be sure to avoid processed ingredients often used in cheaper cole slaw recipes, such as high-fructose corn syrup and canola oil (which is often GMO).
#3 - Cinnamon, cloves, rosemary, paprika and other spices
Nearly all the pungent cooking spices are actually powerful medicines.
Cinnamon, for example, helps regulate blood sugar in diabetics. Cinnamon is also a powerful anti-microbial agent (i.e. it kills bad bacteria).
Cloves are the No. 1 source for the highest density of antioxidants found in the entire food supply. Yes, cloves have a higher ORAC value (an antioxidant score) than any other food or spice.
Rosemary is a great source of antioxidants as well, and is also a powerful digestive tonic, anti-inflammatory, and internal detoxification herb.
Ginger is legendary as an immune-boosting, circulation-enhancing tonic herb that's also fantastic for beating winter colds and flu. Ginger even works to relieve muscle pain!
If you like curry, then you'll be glad to know that turmeric, the main ingredient in curry, is also an amazing source of natural medicines. It's a powerful anti-cancer as well as an anti-inflammatory medicine.
In Southern and Midwestern cuisine, barbeque sauce is a surprisingly good source of bitter alkaloids and health-enhancing spices (often including mustard and paprika), but this is only true with the rich, homemade sauces, not the highly-processed super-market sauces, which are usually loaded with sweeteners.
Nearly all the common spices you find in grocery stores are medicinal foods.
#4 - Raisins
Raisins may not sound unusually healthy, but if you think about what they really are, it becomes obvious how powerful they can be as a health food. Raisins are dried grapes, of course, meaning they contain all the natural phytonutrients of grape skins.
Remember: Most of the phytonutrients in grapes is found in the skin. This is why it's so important to buy only organic raisins, because grapes sprayed with fungicides have low levels of resveratrol – one of the most powerful of all the nutrients found in grapes. Organic grapes have the highest levels of resveratrol.
Raisins are also very high in naturally-occurring antioxidants, making them a fantastic overall source of nutrition.
#5 - Common nuts: Walnuts, pecans, peanuts, etc.
Once again, nuts may not be on your list of the healthiest foods, but they probably should be. Walnuts are an amazing natural medicine that helps reduce the risk of heart attacks and cardiovascular disease. They're very high in natural antioxidants and also help reduce the risk of prostate cancer.
Pecans boost brain protection and also help lower cholesterol levels. Almonds are now being widely used to make almond milk (a natural anti-cancer milk beverage) and almond butter, and even the common peanut is now making a comeback as a health food.
Just remember: When you buy nuts, raw is best because heat processing destroys the phytonutrients found in foods. Avoid "salted" nuts because they're almost always salted with toxic sodium chloride (simple table salt). Avoid "flavored" nuts because they almost always are made with MSG flavor enhancers such as yeast extract or autolyzed proteins. Just look for plain, simple, unsalted nuts.
So there you have it: Five simple and common foods that you probably didn’t know were healthy super foods.
Thursday, September 8, 2011
Have you ever stopped to ponder what's really in the food sold at your local grocery stores?
This post will be focused on helping you to identify them so that you can avoid these disease-causing chemical additives. If you want to stay healthy and out of the doctor’s office, read ingredients labels and make sure you avoid the following ingredients:
Acrylamides – These are toxic, cancer-causing chemicals formed in foods when carbohydrates are exposed to high heat from baking, frying, and grilling. They're present in everything from bread crusts to snack chips, and because they aren't intentional ingredients, acrylamides do NOT have to be listed on labels. But you can avoid them simply by eating fresh whole foods and avoiding packaged foods.
Aspartame – This is a very evil chemical sweetener that causes neurological disorders, seizures, blurred vision and migraine headaches. (http://www.naturalnews.com/030918_a...)
Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein – This is a highly processed form of protein that's processed to bring out the free glutamate (MSG). MSG is now being used less because of the bad press it began getting, but these taste-enhancing alternatives have the same health risks, namely the health risks associated with the brain.
BPA (Bisphenol-A - BPA is a hormone mimicking chemical found in nearly all food packaging plastics. Active in even very tiny amounts, BPA promotes cancer, infertility and hormone disorders. It also "feminizes" males, promoting male breast growth and hormone disruption.
High Fructose Corn Syrup - A highly processed liquid sugar extracted with the chemical solvent, glutaraldehyde, and frequently contaminated with mercury. It's also linked to diabetes, obesity and mood disorders. Used in thousands of grocery items, including things you wouldn't suspect like pizza sauce and salad dressings. Sometimes it appears on labels as simply, “corn syrup,” but it’s the same thing. These ingredients are used as friendlier-sounding forms of the evil white sugar.
Food Colorings – There are food coloring in nearly everything. FD&C Red #40, for example, is linked to behavioral disorders in children. Nearly all artificial food colors are derived from petroleum, and many are contaminated with aluminum. Yellow #5, or tartrazine, is also used to keep the eyes on potatoes from sprouting, but it is a neurotoxin.
Phosphoric Acid - This acid is used in sodas to dilute the carbon dioxide and add to the overall fizzy-ness of the drink. Phosphoric acid will dissolve nails! It's also used by stone masons to etch rocks. The military uses it to clean the rust off battleships. It absolutely destroys tooth enamel and contributes to bone loss. Search Google Images for "Mountain Dew Mouth" to see photos of teeth rotted out by phosphoric acid: http://www.google.com/search?q=moun...
Sodium Nitrite - A cancer-causing red coloring chemical added to bacon, hot dogs, sausage, beef jerky, ham, lunch meats, pepperoni and nearly all processed meats. It is strongly linked to brain tumors, pancreatic cancers, and colon cancers. The USDA once tried to ban it from the food supply but was out-maneuvered by the meat industry, which now dominates USDA regulations. Sodium nitrite is a complete poison used to make meats look fresh. Countless children die of cancer each year from sodium nitrite-induced cancers.
Sucralose – This is an artificial chemical sweetener sold under the name, Splenda. The sucralose molecule contains a chlorine atom. Researchers have repeatedly found that artificial sweeteners contribute to weight gain and neurological problems such as seizures, blindness, and Parkinson's and Alzheimer's-like symptoms.
Yeast Extract – Yeast extract is a hidden form of MSG that contains free glutamate and is used in many "natural" food products so that they can claim "No MSG!" Yeast extract contains up to 14% free glutamate! You'll find it in thousands of grocery store products, from soups to snack chips, and even fresh meat on occasion.
How to buy Truly Healthy and Honest Food
• Shop at your local farmer's market, food co-op, or CSA.
• In the USA, look for the USDA Organic label on foods. This is a legitimate claim to being certified organic. It's one of the few programs run by the USDA that actually has integrity.
• Read the ingredients labels! If you see names of chemicals you can't pronounce, don't buy it.
• Buy more unprocessed food ingredients and make your own meals rather than buying ready-to-eat, processed foods, which are almost universally formulated with disease-promoting ingredients.
• GROW some of your own food! The best food you can ever eat is food from your own garden.
Even when a person attempts to buy truly healthy food, however, it's nearly impossible to avoid food additives completely. If you eat out in restaurants at all, even in upscale dining establishments, you are eating food additives. If you eat ANYTHING out of a box or package, you are eating food additives.
The way to combat the deadly food additives lurking in our foods is to 1) supplement with powerful antioxidants and other nutrients to render the chemicals and oxidative stress that the chemicals cause ineffective, and 2) undergo a periodic detoxification program to help the body cleanse itself of potentially-deadly toxins.
Learn more about detoxification by accessing my posts on that subject in the sidebar. There is also a post on antioxidants that you can find in the sidebar as well that should shed some additional light on that subject.
Friday, June 24, 2011
Formaldehyde is present in relatively benign quantities in nature. However, its presence in manufactured goods is a major health concern, because according to a significant body of research, it is a known carcinogenic chemical.
Recently the U.S Department of Health and Human Services released a report on newly designated carcinogens that included formaldehyde. The report went on to suggest that people in certain industries were especially vulnerable to the effects of exposure, such as those workers who worked in nail salons, in the funeral industry, and in industries which use formaldehyde to produce common household items including home furnishings, cleansers, and personal care products. People who are exposed to concentrated levels of formaldehyde are more likely to develop certain cancers such as nasopharyngeal cancer and myeloid leukemia.
While some efforts have been made to limit the quantities of formaldehyde used in manufacturing, such as restrictions recently placed by the US in The Formaldehyde Standards for Composite Wood Products Act, this toxic substance remains a significant health concern, especially in confined spaces for prolonged periods of time.
Formaldehyde is classified as a volatile organic compound, or VOA.
Products which may contain formaldehyde include:
* Wood composite furniture including; resins used for office furniture, couches, baby furniture, particle board, pressed board, plywood, and softwood.
* Building materials such as acoustical ceilings, mineral wool, decking, composite core doors, industrial glues, foam insulation, paints and paint thinners.
* Household cleansers such as floor polishes, scouring cleansers, disinfectants, liquid cleansers, laundry aids, air fresheners, carpet cleaners.
* Household items such as wall hangings, carpets or throw rugs, coating on paper products, textiles, plastics, and upholstery.
* Personal care products such as hair straightening products, hair rinses, and cosmetics such as nail polish and hair gel often contain formaldehyde. Baby products including shampoos, creams and bubble bath are frequently laced with formaldehyde. Toothpaste and body washes are also potential sources of this potentially carcinogenic ingredient.
* Clothing that is designated wrinkle free or preshrunk frequently contains formaldehyde. It has also been found in baby clothes and bedding.
* Formaldehyde is also a key component in the familiar new car smell of recently purchased vehicles.
* Car exhaust and cigarette smoke also contain formaldehyde.
* Formaldehyde is used as a disinfectant in laboratory settings, and is also used in the embalming process.
There are ways to reduce exposure to formaldehyde including buying products that are formaldehyde free. Another important way to reduce exposure is to be certain to properly ventilate the house. But it's clear that you can run by you can't hide. Even careful buyers are hard-pressed to avoid formaldehyde altogether.
Thus, here is yet another reason why everyone who wishes to not take any chances with their health will take measures to reduce other toxic exposures as well, including those in the diet, add therapeutic amounts of antioxidants, and consider undergoing a periodic detoxification program.
Friday, April 8, 2011
I try very hard not to be a sensationalist, but the new concerns being raised about radioactive contamination of much of our planet thanks to the astonishing actions taking place at the Fukushima nuclear facility in Japan are too important to gloss over.
TEPCO announced that it is releasing 10,000 tons of radioactive water directly into the Pacific Ocean. That’s 2.4 million gallons of planetary poison being dumped directly into the ocean.
This water is being released because they have run out of places to keep it on land. It's too deadly to transport anywhere else, and all the storage pools around Fukushima are already overflowing. So they're dumping it into the ocean, then calling it "safe" because they claim the ocean will "disperse" all the radiation, rendering it harmless.
But because there's more radioactive water being produced every day at Fukushima, this process of releasing radioactive water into the ocean could theoretically continue for years, easily making Fukushima the worst nuclear disaster in the history of our world.
A Mammoth Cover-Up
Fukushima is currently doing to the Pacific Ocean what BP and the Deepwater Horizon did to the Gulf of Mexico last summer -- except that in the case of Fukushima, that radiation doesn't just disappear with the help of millions of gallons of toxic chemicals. That radiation is likely to be around for decades.
In order to prevent a nationwide panic, apparently, the United States Environment Protection Agency has declared these huge radiation levels to be safe!
We have now reached a point of comedic insanity at the EPA, where those in charge of protecting the environment are hastily rewriting the definition of "radioactive contamination" in order to ensure that whatever radioactive fallout reaches the United States falls under the new limits of "safe".
The EPA maintains a set of so-called "Protective Action Guides" (PAGs). These PAGs are being quickly revised to radically increase the allowable levels of iodine-131 (a radioactive isotope) to anywhere from 3,000 to 100,000 times the currently allowable levels.
The group, Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER), has obtained internal emails from FOIA requests that reveal some truly jaw-dropping revelations of the level of betrayal happening inside the EPA. For example, under the newly-revised PAGs, drinking just one glass of water considered "safe" by the EPA could subject you to the lifetime limit of radiation. (http://www.peer.org/news/news_id.ph...)
"In addition," PEER goes on to say, "it would allow long-term cleanup limits thousands of times more lax than anything EPA has ever before accepted. These new limits would cause a cancer in as much as every fourth person exposed."
These new PAGs would also vastly increase the allowable levels of radiation in soil and food, too. That way, when the radioactive fallout from Fukushima's massive release of raw radioactive water begins to rain down upon the West Coast, the EPA can officially announce that all the radiation is "below accepted limits." They can’t do anything to stop the radiation, so they lie about the safe limits in order to comfort people.
And so the EPA just raised the limits by as much as 100,000 times!
Your Hope of Protection
If there was ever a time to boost your use of supplements and promote them to your friends, family, and patients, it’s now. New research is showing that antioxidants are protective against radiation.
One of the most recent antioxidant studies was published in the April 2008 edition of Radiation Research.
The purpose of this study was to determine whether a supplemental antioxidant blend of vitamin C, vitamin E succinate, alpha-lipoic acid, L-selenomethionine, and N-acetyl cysteine could improve the survival of mice after total body irradiation.
Results of the study indicate that the antioxidants significantly increased the 30-day survival rate of the mice after their exposure to a potentially lethal dose of X rays when given prior to or after the irradiation. Pre-treatment of animals with antioxidants resulted in significantly higher total white blood cell and neutrophil counts in peripheral blood. Antioxidants were also effective in preventing peripheral lymphopenia (reduction in the number of lymphocytes circulating in the blood) after low-dose radiation.
The antioxidant supplementation was also associated with increased bone marrow cell counts after irradiation, and with increased Bcl2 and decreased Bax, caspase9 and TGF-beta1 mRNA expression in the bone marrow after irradiation. Maintenance of the antioxidant diet was associated with improved recovery of the bone marrow after sub-lethal or potentially lethal irradiation. The researchers concluded that when taken together, oral supplementation with antioxidants appears to be an effective approach for radioprotection of hematopoietic (blood forming) cells and improvement of animal survival. Modulation of apoptosis is implicated as a mechanism for the radioprotection of the hematopoietic system by antioxidants.
To read more about the benefit of antioxidants, click here to read a previous post on the subject.
Thursday, March 3, 2011
The current statistics on Metabolic Syndrome indicate that 1 in 3 Americans now suffer from this modern day scourge. A condition that predisposes a person to diabetes, Metabolic Syndrome occurs when the insulin receptors do not respond to the action of insulin and the cells are not able to carry out the sequence of events that allows for proper blood sugar metabolism and energy production.
The Metabolic Syndrome patient is usually burdened by a number of maladies: fatigue, weight gain around the middle, hyperinsulinemia, and corresponding inflammation and cardiovascular risk factors.
Of course, a change in lifestyle in the first order of the day for these patients, and perhaps no other diet is as effective at the Mediterranean Diet in bringing about changes in the various risk factors from which Metabolic Syndrome patients suffer. Even as effective as this diet is, however, there is clinical data emerging indicating that adding therapeutic nutrients targeted at kinase modulation can make an even more dramatic impact.
In a study conducted at the Functional Medicine Research Center, the clinical arm of Metagenics, and published in Nutrition and Metabolism, 49 subjects with Metabolic Syndrome and hypercholesterolemia were observed in a randomized, 2-arm, 12-week intervention trial. One group observed a strict Mediterranean diet, while the other also observed the diet but added a medical food (Ultra Meal 360) featuring targeted nutrients (Reduced Iso-Alpha Acid from Hops, and the herb acacia) that support the expression various kinases (intracellular messengers).
At the end of the trial, 22% of the subjects in the control group no longer met the criteria for metabolic syndrome, whereas 43% of the subjects in the treatment arm no longer met the criteria for metabolic syndrome. The sub group of patients with elevated risk factors had a more profound effect from the medical food plan.
In another study involving 89 women with Metabolic Syndrome, 44 observed a Mediterranean diet while the other 45 added the medical food. Changes in total weight loss, triglycerides, LDL, total cholesterol, and the apoB/apoA-1 ratios were profoundly better in the group using the medical foods, and both groups outperformed the most common drugs utilized for these markers.
Labels: Metabolic Syndrome
Thursday, February 10, 2011
From time to time someone asks me to recommend nutritional products for kids, and I think it surprises most folks that I do not rely on kids products to nourish my own children. The reason being is because I feel that many kids products are not well made, and most do not provide the kind of optimal nutrition that I want for my own kids. While I do use some chewables, these are more for occasional use rather than staples in my children's diets.
So what do I recommend for kids?
For starters, I like the idea of providing broad-spectrum plant-based phytonutrients for children, since many kids' diets are lacking in broad spectrum nutrition. So using a broad-spectrum product containing things like powdered acai berry, cabbage, carrots, etc is a great way to fill in the gaps in the average American kids' diet. And make sure the product says "100% organic," or else its contains pesticides. If the product tastes decent, you can easily add it to apple sauce, yogurt, or a smoothie and the child likely won't be able to tell the difference. There are a few "gummy bear" or chewable versions of phytonutrient products, but I don't trust them, and they aren't potent enough anyway. So I prefer the adult versions that are powdered so I can easily adjust the dose for my kids and know that I'm providing sophisticated nutrition.
Secondly, a high-potency fish oil product is a must for kids, because omega-3 fatty acids play a vital role in the neurological development of children, and the neurological system is still developing through the early 20s. While there are plenty of fish oil kids products in the form of gummy bears, chewable capsules, and pudding type of products, I've never liked any of these simply because none of them provide the kind of potency that I believe kids really need. So I opt for an adult-potency liquid product that I can give my little ones in a teaspoon or mixed in a smoothie or apple sauce. When it comes to omega-3s, you almost can't overdo it, so more appears to always be better.
Thirdly, I feel that daily or at least occasional probiotics are important, because probiotics help to colonize the GIs of our little ones, which helps to strengthen their immune sytems. Remember that 60-70% of the body's immune defenses are concentrated in the gut-associated lymphoid tissue (GALT), and about that much serotonin is made there as well. So it's critical that gut ecology be intact in order to preserve and support all the functions of the GI. Therefore, a good strong probiotic product is in order at least a few days per week, if not every day. These are easily administered mixed in yogurt or apple sauce. They don't taste like anything, so they are usually not noticed.
In times of crisis or acute illness, I think it's also a good idea to have some emergency medicine on hand in the form of a vitamin C powder. Kids usually respond really well to quality supplementation, and it's amazing what a gram or two of buffered vitamin C powder can do.
I recall one episode when my youngest son, Drew, was a newborn, about 3 months of age. He had come down with a serious fever that went all night at a dangerous level. I was hesitant to give a child that young a vitamin C powder because of how undeveloped the GI is at that age, but then I remembered that Ultra Potent C is a neutral pH. So we gave him about an eighth of a teaspoon in water, and that stubborn fever broke in about twenty minutes. Amazing. Since then I've had numerous episodes of heading off a sickness at the pass in my kids just by super-dosing vitamin C in a powder form.
Beyond that, some parents may opt for a good broad-spectrum multiple formula, and if so, I again shy away from chewables in favor of the more potent powders that can be mixed in juice or a smoothie.
Research suggests that the working capacity of school age children can be significantly improved just by supplementing with vitamin C alone, so imagine what can be accomplished by supplementing with a broad array of important nutrients! A child's intelligence, moods and behavior, and physical and mental development can be greatly enhanced just by adding nutrients to the diet that may be deficient.
Labels: kids nutrition