Monday, October 31, 2016
An ancient Chinese proverb praises the benefits of Green Tea, saying "It is better to be deprived of food for three days, than tea for one." Used as a Chinese medicine for over 4000 years, green tea is now believed to be helpful in preventing and treating a variety of maladies from helping to raise levels of "good" cholesterol (HDL), rejuvenating aging skin, decreasing gas buildup, promoting digestive health, and maybe even helping green tea drinkers burn more fat by improving metabolism.
Green tea is packed with antioxidants that are preserved because of the minimal processing green tea requires. These antioxidants eliminate free radicals that can damage cells and even DNA. Multiple studies have shown green tea's ability to prevent various types of cancer, and help lower cholesterol and blood pressure. Other studies have shown that green tea can help regulate glucose in the body, impeding the development of diabetes and slowing down diabetes after onset.
Results of previous studies have reported that green tea exerts a variety of beneficial effects on stress and inflammation. Kaijun Niu and colleagues, from the Tohoku University Graduate School of Biomedical Engineering (Japan), researched whether green tea consumption had any effect on depressive symptoms. They studied 1,058 community living elderly Japanese individuals, ages 70 and over. The researchers measured green tea consumption and evaluated depressive symptoms via the Geriatric Depression Scale. Perhaps surprisingly, those who drank four or more cups of green tea daily were 44% less likely to have symptoms of depression, than those who drank one or less cups daily. The researchers felt this could be related to the high theanine content in green tea.
M.D. Anderson Cancer Center has been researching green tea as a preventive for oral cancer in patients with a premalignant condition called oral leukoplakia (white plaques, or patches in the mouth or on the tongue caused by chronic irritation such as with tobacco carcinogen exposure). The five year survival rate of oral cancer is 60 percent. Of those taking the two highest doses 58.8% had a clinical response. They conclued the results were encouraging and that further longer term studies with a higher number of patients is warranted.
In Cancer Prevention Research, 6-19-09, another small sample study was promising regarding prostate cancer. Twenty six men with prostate cancer were scheduled for radical prostate surgery. For an average time of 34.5 days before the surgery, they took a supplement equal to 12 cups of tea daily. Before surgery, a repeat round of blood tests was done. The findings showed significant drops in several prostate cancer-related blood "markers". Some of the men had drops greater than 30 percent. The tests which decreased were: PSA, the conventional marker for prostate cancer and inflammation: VEGF, a protein which stimulates new blood vessel growth in tumors: and HGF, a protein associated with the growth and aggressiveness of a number of cancer cell types.
Thursday, October 27, 2016
Let’s face it nuts are high in both fats & calories and it is almost impossible to eat just a few. But if you do not over indulge, nuts can definitely be part of a healthy diet. All nuts are rich in protein, antioxidant nutrients, B vitamins, magnesium, potassium, calcium , and most of the other minerals, folic acid , vitamin E, fiber, and fatty acids, (the "good fats").
Almonds, walnuts and pistachio nuts have been the most studied for health benefits. Walnuts contain the most omega -3 fatty acids. Chestnuts and soynuts are lowest in calories. Macadamia and Brazil nuts are highest in calories. Almonds are high in the amino acid tryptophan. Chestnuts, macadamia nuts and pecans have the least protein. Also try cashews, pine nuts, hazelnuts, and peanuts. Peanuts need to be kept very fresh as they are subject to a fungus that generates poisons called aflatoxins which can also be allergenic. Peanuts and soy nuts are technically part of the legume, not nut family, but people include them when thinking of nuts, so we will too.
Seeds are also very healthy such as sunflower, pumpkin, and sesame. The whole nut or seed provides better health benefits and is less fattening than the oils. Flax seeds and Flaxseed oil are also a good source of the ALA Essential Fatty Acids. Only oil from fish contains the longer chain fatty acids EPA & DHA.
On average, one ounce of nuts provides about 3-4 grams of protein, between 100-150 calories, and about 8-10 grams of fat.
Although the health benefits of nuts are numerous, here is just a small sample:
Most nuts are rich in heart-friendly polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats. Research has shown people who consume a small handful of nuts at least 3-4 times a week reduce their risk for heart disease and stroke by half compared to those who consumed no nuts.
Individual studies conducted by the Adventist Health Study, the Iowa Women's Health Study, the Nurses' Health Study, and the Physicians' Health Study when combined looked at hundreds of thousands of individuals and found that nuts can indeed decrease the risk of heart disease.
In July 2003, the FDA approved the heart health claim for almonds, hazelnuts, peanuts, pecans, pine nuts, pistachios and walnuts as these nuts contain less than 4g of saturated fats per 50g.
This claim can be used on package labels and states:
"Scientific evidence suggests, but does not prove, that eating 1.5 ounces per day of some nuts, as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol, may reduce the risk of heart disease."
Nuts are rich in monounsaturated fats. This helps decrease the low-density lipoproteins (the bad cholesterol, or LDL) from the blood, without lowering the good HDL cholesterol levels. It is the oxidized LDL that causes plaque deposits to be formed on the inside of arterial walls, leading to atherosclerosis (hardening and blockage of arteries) and ultimately to cardiovascular diseases such as heart attack and stroke.
Lowering blood pressure;
Nuts contain a large amount of l-arginine an amino acid that enhances the production of nitric oxide in the body. Nitric oxide helps relax the arteries making them more flexible and less prone to blood clots.
Reducing the risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes:
Eating nuts will make you less prone to diabetes. Since nuts are very low on the glycemic index scale, including them in your daily diet is helpful for your blood sugar. Research suggests the risk of developing type 2 diabetes appears to decrease as nut eating increases from less than once a week, to eating nuts once or more per day.
A new study conducted by researchers at the University of Toronto produced findings that nuts may be a vital way to manage diabetes. Results show that nuts may improve blood lipid levels and blood sugar levels in individuals with non-insulin dependent diabetes (type 2 diabetes).
Researchers from Harvard studied more than 83,000 women for over 16 years and found that those who reported eating a handful of nuts or two tablespoons of peanut butter at least five times a week were more than 20% less likely to develop adult onset (type II) diabetes than those who rarely or never ate nuts. This is due to the fiber and magnesium in nuts helping to maintain balanced insulin and glucose levels. It is considered that the results apply to men as well as women.
Other research shows that cashews can help to reduce triglyceride levels in people with diabetes.
Studies have shown judicious nut eating is very helpful when it comes to losing weight.
Because nuts are high in vitamins, minerals, nutritious calories, healthy fats, and protein, they help decrease your appetite providing a sense of satiation. The fats in nuts take longer to digest, so you also feel full longer after eating them. The unsaturated fats found in nuts also contain the hormone adiponection which helps your body to break down fat cells.
Helps with menopausal symptoms:
A study in the Archives of Internal Medicine 2007: 167: 1060-1067 reported ½ cup of soy nuts daily for 8 weeks significantly reduced menopausal symptoms and also reduced blood pressure in those who were hypertensive
Removes free radicals:
Nuts are loaded with antioxidants like vitamin E and selenium. Selenium has been found to be beneficial in the fight against free radicals, which contributes to premature aging, among other things. Ridding your body of free radicals also reduces the risk of cancer and all kinds of age-related degenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease, macular degeneration, arthritis, etc. Nuts also seem to prevent the formation of gallstones due to their high magnesium content.
Hands down, nuts offer numerous benefits. The best benefits are from raw nuts which have not been processed with oils. Organic is even better, when possible. Oil processing also adds about 10% to the calories. You can purchase dry roasted nuts, which are preferable. Cashews are always roasted, as they are toxic when raw. The higher temperature of oil roasted processed nuts containing high levels of the amino acid asparagine may increase acrylamides, a possible issue re cancer when in high levels...but this is still being researched by the FDA.
So if you prefer the taste of roasted nuts, you can roast your own at lower temperatures.
Here are the basic directions to dry roast nuts:
1. Heat your oven to 160 degrees F.
2. Spread nuts on an ungreased cookie sheet.
3. Bake for approximately 10 minutes or until they are golden brown and fragrant.
4. Check to make sure that a test nut has the proper crunch when bitten into. It should taste toasted, not bitter or burnt.
Note that because of their high oil content, the nuts will continue to roast after you remove them from the oven.
With all this encouraging information, be sure not to go nuts for nuts because they are so tasty! Eat 1-2 small handfuls daily of a variety of nuts and seeds.....not a whole can or jar, so easy to do. So, I say Nuts to you!
Tuesday, October 25, 2016
WHAT IS A CATARACT?
Cataracts are the most common cause of vision loss in people over age 40 and are the leading cause of blindness in the world. Almost all of us know someone with cataracts. Many take for granted that if they live long enough they will develop this eye problem, but you don't have to.
By age 80, more than half of all people in the United States either have a cataract or have had cataract surgery. In the U.S. 20.5 million suffer from cataract induced vision loss. Sadly, 50% of the 30-50 million cases of blindness worldwide result from un-operated cataracts. Cataracts occasionally occur in infants and young children and remain one of the leading causes of legal blindness for children in undeveloped countries worldwide.
Cataract occurs when there is an abnormal buildup of protein in the lens or lens capsule of the eye. There is a gradual yellowing and opacification of the lens. This clouding prevents light from entering the eye. It is similar to the vision blocking effect of frost or steam on a window. The lens of the eye is directly behind the pupil and works much like the lens of a camera. It focuses light onto the retina lining in the back of the eye where an image is recorded. This image is then passed through the retinal cells, into the optic nerve, and finally to the back of the brain where it is processed to become a visual image in the brain. An untreated cataract can also lead to glaucoma.
Symptoms of cataract can be: increased difficulty seeing at night, reduced intensity of colors, a brownish tint to vision making it difficult to identify blues & purples, blurred or hazy vision, increased sensitivity to glare from lights especially at night while driving, a change in the refractive error of the eye on vision testing.
WHAT IS GLAUCOMA?
Glaucoma is a group of diseases caused by increased pressure inside the eye which damages optic nerve and retina and can lead to progressive permanent vision loss. This increased pressure is caused by a buildup of aqueous humor, the fluid normally present in the front and rear chambers of the eye. This fluid normally drains from the eye through channels in the front of the eye in an area called the anterior chamber angle. When these channels are blocked, the aqueous humor does not filter normally and pressure builds in the eye. Normal intro ocular pressure (IOP) is 10-20 mmHG. Sometimes glaucoma changes can even occur with normal pressure.
The increased pressure of glaucoma disrupts normal blood flow in the eye, decreasing oxygen and nutrient delivery. This leads to impaired mitochondrial function and excessive production of free radicals. The free radicals destroy neighboring cell structures and ultimately initiate cell death which eventually leads to the blindness in glaucoma.
There is also a genetic predisposition so if family members have had glaucoma it is important to be very careful about getting eye pressure checks.
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Wednesday, October 19, 2016
Though always working in our bodies, Co-Q10 was only first isolated and described by Dr Frederick Crane in 1957. Dr Peter Marshall won the 1978 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his discoveries of the mechanisms of energy transfer in the body, part of which involved the role of Co-Q10. In 1974 the Japanese incorporated it as a prescription item into their treatment for congestive heart failure & other heart disorders. Life Extension Foundation introduced Co-Q10 to the U.S. in 1983. It later became widely available as an OTC nutrient supplement.
Co-Q10 has and is still being extensively studied and is now the 3rd most sold dietary ingredient in the U.S. after the Omega-3’s and multivitamins.
Some of the research clinical trials using CoQ10 as adjunctive therapy involve myalgias & myopathies, statin induced myopathies, myopathic encephalopathies (ME), muscular dystrophy, Mitochondrial Disease, fatigue syndromes, depression, Parkinson’s Disease, Friedrich’s Ataxia, Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, other neurodegenerative diseases, cardiomyopathy, heart failure, heart protection during heart surgery, heart arrhythmia, angina, mitral valve prolapse, heart protection for those on the anthracycline chemotherapeutic agents, hypertension, protection in stroke, LDL cholesterol, blood vessel dilation, migraine, cyclic vomiting syndrome, asthma, age-related macular degeneration, decreased sperm count & motility, chronic kidney failure, breast & other cancers, myelodysplastic syndrome, post surgical melanoma, chronic gum disease, immune function, AIDS, aging, and skin health.
Thursday, October 13, 2016
Curcumin is a bioactive component & a main ingredient of the spice turmeric. It is the most widely studied of all the phytochemicals which are compounds made by plants and which can impact health. A statistical analysis of over 3 million studies showed curcumin to be the most frequently mentioned phytonutrient. Why is there so much interest? Because the array of potential beneifts is amazing. Read on to learn about the remarkable healing qualities of this natural substance which has been used for several thousand years in Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine.
Although many people think turmeric & curcumin are the same, there is a significant difference between the two re medicinal purposes. It is important to understand this difference when deciding which to use. Turmeric is a spice made from the root of the turmeric plant & is a member of the ginger family. It has a warm, bitter taste and is frequently used to flavor or color curry powders, mustards, butters, and cheeses. Turmeric contains several types of curcuminoids, which together are referred to as curcumin.
Most Turmeric supplements are basically only the spice and contain between 2% & 6% of curcumin. This is not a large enough dose to affect your health. But concentrated high quality curcumin can positively impact your health in many ways. The strength needs to be 500 mg or more of curcuminoids per capsule.
Tuesday, October 11, 2016
D-Ribose is a complex 5-carbon carbohydrate used by the body’s 70 trillion cells to produce the energy molecule, adenosine triphosphate (ATP). In fact, without D-Ribose, the cells in the body can’t make enough ATP for sustainable energy.
All functions of the body are powered by ATP. These include: Brain, heart, circulation, nervous system, & all metabolic functions.
ATP also powers your:
- Physical energy levels
- Ability to think clearly
- Muscle strength
D-Ribose is used to enhance gains in muscle size & strength and also helps fortify the heart muscle as discussed in the book, “Reverse Heart Disease Now” written by two Cardiologists. For more information on D-Ribose & the heart, see my newsletter “Nutrients For A Healthy Heart”.
D-Ribose is necessary for DNA & RNA to be able to give the cells, tissues and organs the genetic information needed to carry out their normal functions.
The body’s ability to make D-Ribose or extract it from the foods we eat diminishes dramatically as we age. By the time most of us pass 40, our cells are actually starving for this important energy molecule.
If you are suffering from fatigue with no apparent cause, you may be deficient in D-Ribose.
It can be supplemented with this tasty powder, on sale now.