Getting Your Wellness Back

Archive for the ‘Foods’ Category

The Omega-3 Solution

Evidence-based, peer-reviewed science shows, in the right population, adding long-chain omega-3 fatty acids to the diet can:

1) Improve memory, mood, and mental energy

2) Eliminate depression in adults and ADD/ADHD in children

3) Reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s

4) Reduce the risk of heart disease and inflammatory disorders

5) Promote better health and intelligence in children

DHA as present in supplements is fortunately very safe, inexpensive, and convenient to add to the diet. Even more, the exact amount of DHA added to the diet on a daily basis can be calculated, controlled, and delivered with scientific consistency. When it comes to the fish at the grocery stores, supermarkets or restaurants however—or even lakes, rivers, and streams in the USA—its now highly recommended that most sources of fish be avoided because of high concentrations of measureable toxins. In fact, the list of sources or varieties of fish to avoid consuming because of mercury and PCB contamination grows every year. The good news—there are certain varieties that are consistently lower in mercury and contaminants.

The healthiest and most contaminant free omega-3 rich sources of fish available today is wild Alaskan salmon, followed by wild Alaskan sockeye salmon, then sardines, and wild Alaskan haddock. The DHA in pure quality assured supplements is the best source of Omega-3’s to avoid contamination.



A Broader Approach to Obesity

                 Overwhelmingly, research studies are delivering staggering statistics: approximately two-thirds of the American population is overweight, and nearly half of those folks are obese. 

             The causes of obesity are assumed to be well known; too much food and too little exercise. What constitutes good nutrition and effective exercise for this population. There is a three pronged approach to tackle obesity:

1) Identify what constitutes good/proper nutrition.

2) Incorporate a realistic strength training program that doesn’t overwhelm or over-complicate.

3) Educate people on the up-to-date research that sheds the truth on salt, sugar (especially fructose), and saturated fats.

             While lack of exercise is constantly cited as the major cause of obesity, the facts do not support this sweeping generalization. We have come to realize that the majority of people who rely on exercise to lose weight are extremely frustrated with the results.

             Numerous studies over the last three decades show that exercise, in general, is not particularly effective at reducing fat stores. We know people who spend a lot of time in the gym, on the treadmill, or stair stepper, who never see any lasting benefits. We also all know people who have lost weight on an effective eating plan without exercise.

             The most essential part of a weight lost program is maintaining glycemic control or maintaining normal blood sugar and brain sugar levels.  Reducing the consumption of refined starches and sugars—especially fructose—will result in weight loss and lower blood pressure, both of which will reduce the likelihood of diabetes.  

             A simple guide to get to and maintain a healthy weight includes: keeping insulin levels low, managing stress, sleeping soundly, matching the training approach to ones goals and available time, and addressing the biochemical glitches such as thyroid, environmental toxins that disrupt fat metabolism, and nutrient deficiencies. A simple approach to our country’s chronic obesity problem is to pay greater attention to the root of the problem: the food that we eat. 

The CoQ10 Phenomenon

Supplementation with CoQ10 provides potent neuro-protective benefits useful for prevention and treatment of neurodegenerative diseases, preserves the brain structure and slows neurodegeneration, improves heart muscle function by enhancing mitochondrial performance, and protects dopamine-producing areas of the brain.

             Having low CoQ10 levels means more free radical damage to your brain, less energy for the brain to do its work, more tired, sluggish brain cells that don’t learn, think, or remember as well as they should, and a greater susceptibility to neurological diseases. Lack of CoQ10 is more likely in people with cancer and other chronic illnesses, causes cellular damage resulting in altered DNA and a host of poor health outcomes, and contributes to greater cellular damage from free radicals in lipid-rich structures like the brain. 

Research shows that CoQ10:  Is one of the most powerful antioxidants engaged in protecting the brain, body  and heart against the damaging effects of free radicals. Powerfully protects liquid structures. It has been shown to protect brain cells against toxic insults that arise from both neurotoxic and excitotoxic agents. Slows the progression of early Parkinson’s disease by an astounding 44 percent. Protects and preserves mitochondrial function, giving it a profound impact on overall health. Enhances mitochondrial efficiency.

Daily nutritional support with CoQ10 ranges for most people from100-200 mg/day, taken with breakfast or lunch.  People with Parkinson’s disease took anywhere from 800-1200 mg/day. Ubiquinol is the most absorbable form of CoQ10.

Sugary Drinks Lead to Deaths

I’ve warned people about the dangers of soda for more than a while now and the list of reasons to avoid the beverages just keeps getting longer. Americans in particular get most of their daily calories from sugar, primarily in the form of high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) in soda and other sweetened beverages. Half of the US population over the age of two consumes sugary drinks on a daily basis, and this figure does not even include 100% fruit juices, flavored milk, or sweetened teas, all of which are sugary too, so the figure is actually even higher.

Preliminary research presented at the American Heart Association’s Epidemiology and Prevention/Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Metabolism 2013 Scientific Sessions suggests sugary beverages are to blame for about 183,000 deaths worldwide each year, including 133,000 diabetes deaths, 44,000 heart disease deaths and 6,000 cancer deaths.

Fructose has been identified as one of the primary culprits in the meteoric rise of obesity and related health problems, and while the majority of the problem is caused by the large quantities of high fructose corn syrup added to so many processed foods and sweetened beverage s, naturally occurring fructose in large amounts of fruit juice is also a problem. Fructose is also a likely culprit behind the millions of US children struggling with non-alcoholic liver disease, which is caused by a build up of fat cells within liver cells. Fructose is very hard on your liver, in much the same way as drinking alcohol.

Don’t fall for the latest “Designer Water” fad. I advise drinking water as your primary form of beverage. Many simply don’t drink enough water these days. But don’t be fooled by slick marketing. There are a number of “designer water” products available. Many products out there do not contain any juice. Rather it’s sweetened with sucralose and “natural fruit flavors.”

Different artificial sweeteners have been found to wreck havoc in a number of ways. Aspartame, for example, has a long list of studies indicating its harmful affects, ranging from brain damage to pre-term delivery. Sucralose has been found to be particularly damaging to your intestines. Unfortunately, most public health agencies and nutritionists in the US still recommend these toxic artificial sweeteners as acceptable and even preferred alternatives to sugar, which is at best confusing. Artificial sweeteners can stimulate your appetite, fat storage and cause weight gain.  

The Art of Juicing

We know the process of cooking vegetables destroys valuable micro-nutrients by altering their shape and chemical composition; but is it possible to eat enough raw vegetables to get the nutrition your body needs? That’s where juicing can be valuable, particularly for developing children. Here’s just some of the information on juicing you can share with others.

The benefits of juicing are wide and varied, beginning with the fact that you can consume the most beneficial amounts of vegetables efficiently while absorbing all of the available nutrients. A habitually poor diet will eventually make your body less efficient at absorbing the maximum available nutrients in the foods you consume. By juicing vegetables, its almost like they’ve been predigested, so you can receive the most nutrients available.

The first step is buying a juicer. There are a number of options, ranging in price from $100 to thousands of dollars. A high-quality juicer will be an extractor that extracts the flesh from the vegetables and then spins the juice out.  Clean up time is an important consideration when it comes to juicing. Some machines will actually allow pulp to get into little nooks and crannies; if this happens, clean up time is doubled and sometimes tripled because the pulp will rot if not removed. A high quality juicer should take no more than 5 minutes to clean per use.

The other consideration is speed. We all think that faster is better; but when juicing, this is not the case. Inexpensive juicers are typically centrifugal and will spin at really high speeds to extract the juice. I do not recommend juicers that act more like blenders because the heat generated by the higher RPMs can actually damage the valuable nutrients, almost like cooking.

So what do you juice ? Things to consider: the greener the better; remember that fruit is high glycemic and can raise blood sugar; and never supplement your juice with bottled juice, this defeats the purpose.

What’s in Your Broccoli?

The Journal of Molecular Nutrition and Food Research reported that sulforaphane, one of the primary phytochemicals in broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables that helps them prevent cancer, has been shown for the first time to selectively target and kill cancer cells while leaving normal prostate cells healthy and unaffected.

What was remarkable about this discovery is that it showed prostate tumor growth was slowed by a diet containing sulforaphane and that “sulforaphane can target cancer cells through multiple chemopreventative mechanisms.”  What this points to is the innate intelligence in plant compounds; no pharmaceutical or isolated nutraceutical can do that. The researchers at Oregon State University found that sulforaphane, which is found at fairly high levels in broccoli, cauliflower, and other cruciferous vegetables, is an inhibitor of an enzyme that plays a role in whether certain genes are expressed or not, such as tumor suppressor genes.

One study conducted by researchers showed that pairing fresh broccoli with a spicy vegetable that contains the enzyme myrosinase, significantly enhances each food’s individual cancer-fighting power and ensures that absorption takes place in the upper part of the digestive system, where a patient will get the maximum health benefit.

What are those foods? Radishes, cabbage, arugula, watercress, and brussels sprouts, which all boost the benefits found in broccoli. The study noted that these benefits are only conferred if the vegetables are eaten raw or lightly steamed. The more broccoli is cooked, the more these fragile phytonutrients are damaged. If the broccoli is cooked to mush, it is of virtually no nutritional value.

The potential that whole foods and whole food supplements have to nourish our bodies should be readily apparent. They turn on our genes and amplify our ability to fight cancer. Maybe, as Servan-Schreiber described in his book Anti-cancer: A New Way of Life, we don’t have cancer genes, but rather, “fast-food intolerant genes.” We can build an anti-cancer biology with the food we eat three times a day.

Start with a Super Breakfast

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day for a good reason: a balanced, healthy breakfast gives your body the sustained energy it needs to move, think and survive the huge mental and physical demands placed on it. Unfortunately, too many people eat an unhealthy, inadequate breakfast or skip it altogether. Here’s why that is a bad idea.

The key to preventing low blood sugar, metabolic syndrome and diabetes is balanced eating, regular exercise, and proper rest and recreation. There are some foods and spices that are particularly good for balancing blood sugar. The minerals chromium and magnesium are both essential for maintaining healthy blood sugar levels. Good sources are organic black-strap molasses, toasted wheat germ, and brewer’s yeast. Foods rich in zinc are also important. Good zinc sources are wheat germ and omega-3-rich pumpkin seeds.

Many people need to prepare breakfast quickly and even eat on the run. Too often, that leads to skipping the most important meal of the day or settling for a high-sugar, high-carb option, neither of which will help balance your blood sugar. What’s the solution? Here are three even options.

1) Omega –3-enriched eggs, High fiber whole grain toast with a touch of fruit jam, green tea, and a half of an orange or grapefruit.

2) Low-fat, low sugar (preferably no sugar), whole grain cereal, rice milk, and a sprinkle of nuts, seeds, and/or berries.

3) A healthy breakfast shake– 1/2 cup of plain yogurt, 1 cup of green tea, flax or pumpkin seed, whey protein, and 1/4 cup of frozen berries.

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