Blueberries Fight Breast Cancer

Blueberries Fight Breast Cancer

Blueberries contain antioxidants called anthocyanins, which may inhibit the growth of breast cancer cells.

Rosehips, blueberries, black currant, black chokeberries, apple, sea buckthorn, plum, lingonberries, cherries, and raspberries also contain these antioxidants that work with vitamin C and carotenoids to reduce breast cancer growth.

Daily intake of these fruits decreased the proliferation of breast cancer cells in laboratory studies. Aim for 1/2 of at least one of these nutrient rich foods each day to prevent and to help heal breast cancer.

Wild Blueberries Support Healthy Gut Flora

Wild Blueberries Support Healthy Gut Flora

A team of Italian researchers have discovered that the polyphenols in wild blueberries support the growth of the healthy flora in our intestines.  Study participants had significantly more healthy bacteria in their digestive tracts after just 6 weeks of drinking wild blueberry juice daily.

We need to rebuild our good bacteria after we’ve taken antibiotics or other medications that damage our flora.  We need those organisms in our intestines to support digestion and immune function.

Eating yogurt and taking probiotic supplements is only part of the solution, we also need prebiotics which help those little buggers colonize.  Wild blueberries are available in most grocery stores in the freezer section.  Just 1/2 cup of wild blueberries each day is enough to help stabilize gut flora.  I add them to smoothies,  yogurt and pancake batter.


Oral Zinc Test

Oral Zinc Test

Zinc sulfate solution can be used in testing for zinc deficiency.

Hold a teaspoonful of zinc sulfate solution in the mouth for 30 seconds and note the taste response from one of four categories:

  1. No specific taste or other sensation is noticed, even after 30 seconds.
  2. No immediate taste is noted, but after a few seconds a slight taste described as dry, mineral, furry, or even sweet is reported.
  3. A definite, although not strongly unpleasant, taste is noted almost immediately and tends to intensify with time.
  4. A strong, unpleasant taste is noted immediately and tends to intensify with time.

Swallow solution after 30 seconds. Individuals who fall into category 1 or 2 generally respond favorably to zinc supplementation.

Each teaspoon of the oral zinc sulfate solution contains 1.5 mg zinc.

Recommended dose for supplementation to reverse a deficiency is between 50-60 mg per day of zinc picolinate.

You Have The Power

You Have The Power

It’s a well-known fact that Americans don’t get enough fruits and vegetables.

Health experts have been warning us about this deficiency for nearly fifty years, but we’re so used to hearing admonishments about our health that we often gloss over them without reflection.

However, the fact remains that if we fail to get the recommended amounts of the essential nutrients you need every day, we will face the consequences. Nutrient deficiencies caused by poor diet manifest in lowered immune function, increased risk for cancer, high blood pressure, and heart disease as well as premature graying of the hair, brittle nails, slowed metabolism and—gasp!—rapid aging.

The point of this reminder isn’t to scare you, but to get you thinking about the big picture and shrug off the casual indifference that is ruining our country’s health.

The only person who’s going to impact your health and longevity is you, and it’ll come by being open-minded, experimental, and well informed. Luckily, there’s no better time to start eating right than right now, as we are in the middle of the most rapidly evolving time in the history of food science.

Adapted from More Smoothies for Life, Random House (2007)

Serious Medicine Never Tasted so Good

Serious Medicine Never Tasted so Good

Pomegranates have been a popular fruit in the Middle East, Spain, and Italy for centuries. Now that we see the health benefits of the juice of this fruit, we are starting to incorporate it into our diets as well.

Promising new studies brought pomegranates into the spotlight when it was discovered that drinking just one glass of pomegranate juice every day for one year reduces blood pressure and the oxidation that causes the “bad” LDL cholesterol to stick to the artery walls. Food scientists credit the pomegranate’s tannins, polyphenols, and anthocyanins for these particular cardiovascular benefits.

Best of all, this is one of the richest-tasting fruit juices out there.

A specific component of pomegranate juice, called ellagic acid, was found to be protective against several types of cancer. One particularly impressive study from the University of South Carolina’s Hollings Cancer Institute found that ellagic acid stops cancer cells from dividing in patients with breast, pancreas, esophageal, skin, colon, and prostate cancers. An equally exciting study from Japan found that when leukemia patients drank pomegranate extracts, leukemia cells reverted to their normal noncancerous state.

Even the common apple is getting a little more respect in the medical world these days.

A recent study found that rats fed the equivalent of one to six apples per day developed fewer breast-cancer tumors, even after being treated with a carcinogen known to trigger mammary cancer. The average apple, it turns out, is a rich source of the flavonoid quercetin, which protects our cells from cancer and our blood vessels from chemical damage—once again proving that old adages often have validity and our grandmothers were right.

Population studies are generating an impressive number of new reports on the reduction of disease risk for those who drink tea. Any tea will do, it appears, as each has its own health- generating properties. Green and black teas contain natural phytochemicals called polyphenols, which have cardiovascular protecting effects, and white tea is very high in antioxidants.

Studies that look at groups of people with specific dietary habits are helpful in showing us the potential benefits of a particular food. For example, the National Cancer Institute found that Chinese men and women who drank green tea had a whop- ping 60 percent reduced risk of esophageal cancer.

One medicinal food that Americans are more than willing to incorporate into their diets is cocoa. I’d like to take a minute now to pay homage to this delight, befitting our palates. I’d also like to give thanks to the researchers at the University of California in San Francisco who discovered its medicinal benefits so that we can partake with pride.

Numerous studies have confirmed that cocoa is a rich source of antioxidant flavonoids with beneficial cardiovascular properties such as vasodilatation and blood pressure reduction, inhibition of platelet activity, and de- creased inflammation. The caveat is that to get these benefits, you must eat it daily. They recommend about 1.6 ounces per day.

—now that’s a prescription I can live with!

Flavonoids – Natural Chemicals that Fight Disease

There is a plethora of newly discovered phytochemicals, or naturally occurring plant chemicals, in fruits and vegetables. Studies are being conducted right now that identify specific phytochemicals and the diseases that they alter. Sometimes they are found to help prevent a disease and other times they can be used as a treatment.

Quite often they are found to be more effective than pharmaceutical agents in reducing the symptoms of a health condition or disease. Some of the nutrients recently identified are flavonoids, which are found in blueberries,blackberries, and citrus fruits. These strengthen cell membranes, help prevent bruising, and have powerful disease-fighting benefits.

Flavonoids are not mysterious substances seen only with a microscope. They are polyphenolic chemicals that give foods color, texture, and taste. You can actually see and taste them. This is true for many of the nutrients in fruits and vegetables. Four thousand flavonoids have been discovered so far and more are being researched as we speak.

Flavones such as hesperetin, naringenin, and eriodictyol are found in citrus fruits such as oranges, lemons, and grapefruits. They play a major role in the prevention of heart disease.

Flavones such as luteolin and apigenin are antioxidants that also protect the heart and vascular system, promote healthy blood sugar levels, and reduce inflammation.

Apigenin is a flavone found in peppermint and chamomile that has antioxidant, anti-tumor, and anti-inflammatory properties.

Catechins such as proanthocyanidins are a type of anti- oxidant found in tea, chocolate, apples, apricots, cherries, peaches, raspberries, strawberries, and blackberries, as well as green and black teas. Catechins help protect us because they are free-radical scavengers that also promote vascular relaxation and help prevent atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries).

Another subclass of flavonoids is anthocyanins, which impart the violet, blue, and purple colors that we see in fruits, berries, and flowers. The violet anthocyanins give color to black cur- rants, purple grapes, blueberries, blackberries, and plums. Red anthocyanins are present in red berries such as lingonberries, cranberries, red currants, and cherries.

Eating this group of flavonoid-rich foods can help reduce your risk of developing coronary heart disease (CHD) by reducing the production of LDL (bad) cholesterol.