Study proves that people who eat organic have 25% lower risk of cancer
If you’ve ever doubted whether organic food is worth the higher price tag, a study that was recently published in JAMA Internal Medicine should put your concerns to rest. In the study, French researchers showed that people who consume organic food have a 25% lower risk of cancer.
The study, which was carried out under the guidance of epidemiologist Julia Baudry, looked at the diets of nearly 70,000 French adults with an average age in their mid-40s. The volunteers were divided into four categories according to how often they ate 16 organic products that included vegetables, fruit, fish, meat, prepared meals, condiments, dietary supplements, vegetable oils and other products.
After an average follow-up time of 4 ½ years, the researchers looked at how many of the participants had developed some type of cancer. After comparing the volunteers’ organic food scores with the cancer cases, they were able to determine that those who ate the most organic food were 25 percent less likely to develop cancer than those who did not eat organic food. When it came to specific types of cancer, the group who ate organic was 73 percent less likely to go on to develop non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and 21 percent less likely to go on to develop postmenopausal breast cancer.
It might be tempting to assume that the group who ate organic food would be more health-conscious overall and likely had a healthier diet in general, and that may be responsible for the lower cancer risk. However, the researchers say that simply is not true; even those who ate a low- to medium-quality diet yet opted for organic enjoyed the reduced cancer risk.
The authors concluded that should the findings be confirmed, promoting the consumption of organic food to the public could serve as a good strategy against cancer.
Pesticides have long been linked to cancer
The co-author of the commentary that was published alongside the study, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health Associate Professor Dr. Jorge E. Chavarro, called the findings “incredibly important” and pointed out that they are consistent with the International Agency for Research on Cancer’s finding that pesticides cause cancer in humans.
The study’s findings are also supported but other studies have shown a negative relationship between the consumption of organic food and non-Hodgkin lymphoma in particular.
Agricultural chemical firms like Monsanto have long insisted their products do not cause non-Hodgkin lymphoma. However, in August, Monsanto was ordered to pay a school groundskeeper who was terminally ill with the disease $289 million in damages, and they are facing class-action lawsuits on behalf of countless other cancer patients who have developed the disease from exposure to glyphosate.
Yes, organic is worth it
Although the study does leave some questions unanswered, the authors believe that the negative relationship between organic food consumption and cancer risk comes from the “significant” decrease in contamination exposure that takes place when people replace conventional food with organic varieties.
Defenders of conventional agriculture and those who profit from pesticides may argue that the study was flawed, but it’s hard for many people to justify continuing to take such a gamble with their health. In the past decade, the organic food industry has more than doubled. Last year, the Organic Trade Association reports that organic food made up 5.5 percent of all the food sold in the U.S. Although more people are making this healthy choice, it’s clear that more progress needs to be made in spreading the word about the benefits of choosing organic.
Sticking to a healthy diet is tough — we need all the extra motivation we can get. Adding fat-burning foods to your meals ‘n snacks does double duty: They’re healthy additions in and of themselves, and they help burn calories. Try the following:
Berserk for Beans
One bean, two bean, red bean, blue bean. And when I say “red” and “blue,” I mean “pinto” and “navy.” Whatever type of bean is your personal favorite, you can count on one thing — experts insist it’ll be great at helping your body burn fat. Beans are all-around amazing because they contain lots of protein and fiber. Eating protein is one of the very best ways to encourage your body to burn fat: It boosts your metabolism and helps you feel full and energized. Where does the fiber come in? Studies show that dietary fiber can help regulate your appetite and slow down your digestion, both of which are great for weight control. Aside from those navy and pinto beans, stock up on other fat-burning beans like soybeans, garbanzo beans, black beans, white beans, kidney beans, and lima beans.
Bonus:Beans are incredibly budget friendly. Who doesn’t love that?
Fired Up for Fish
But not just any fish! While most types of seafood are smart choices, they’re not all fat-burning superstars like salmon and tuna. You’ve probably heard that salmon and tuna are great sources of omega-3 fatty acids. Why should you care? Because not only do omega-3s help grow your hair and nails, they stimulate a protein hormone in your body called leptin, whichjumpstarts your metabolism and regulates your appetite. Who’s up for sushi?
Hungry for Whole Grains
Are you cuckoo for carbs? Well, then, allow me to introduce your new best friends: quinoa, brown rice, oat, and corn. These foods are considered whole grains (not to be confused with refined white carbs, which are basically the opposite of fat-burning foods), and chowing down on them fuels your bod with much-needed fiber and complex carbohydrates. It’s the “complex” part that helps burn fat: 1) Complex carbs break down more slowly than the simple variety, meaning your energy levels won’t crash, and 2) They hold your insulin levels steady, which is good because insulin spikes encourage your body to hang on to fat. Rise and shine and burn fat with one of our staple recipes, the growing oatmeal bowl.
If quinoa is your new best friend, yogurt should come in at a close second. Dairy products contain both protein and calcium, which help keep your muscle mass intact while promoting weight loss. Another tidbit of good news about dairy: Studies show that of two groups of participants on low-calorie diets, the group that included dairy in their diets lost more weight than the dairy-free group. And, as if you need more reason to grow a milk mustache, research shows that probiotics found in some light dairy fights fat.
Dairy can be scary because it usually contains fat, but it’s not difficult to stick to fat-free and light varieties of milk, yogurt, and cheese. There are so many delicious options out there.
Ready for Red Grapes (and Wine)
As if we needed another reason to drink red wine. I’ve saved the best for last: A recent study suggests that red wine (from extracts found in a certain type of red grape) may help your body fight fat. The study found that people who ate a high-fat diet accumulated less fat when they also consumed Muscadine grapes. Conversely, the group that also ate a high-fat diet but didn’t consume the red grapes accumulated the amount of fat that would be expected based on their food choices. The results are attributed mostly to something called ellagic acid, a compound found in Muscadine grapes. Muscadine grapes are grown primarily in the southeastern United States, and they’re used to make certain American wines. Cheers!
Please NOTE: It is not correct for everyone to eat all of these food groups mentioned. If you are having problems with digestion, or anti-inflammatory problems please send us a note. Prevention is the best path to travel. Let us help you out with that!
In the U.S., an estimated 1 in 3 has high blood pressure (hypertension); another 1 in 3 has prehypertension.1 A blood pressure reading of 120/80 millimeters of mercury (mmHg) is considered healthy.
High blood pressure is typically considered anything over 140/90 mmHg, although updated guidelines2 from the American Heart Association now have 130/80 mmHg as the cutoff for a diagnosis of hypertension. Elevated systolic pressure (the top or high number) is a risk factor for cardiovascular disease, stroke and dementia.3
While drugs are typically the first-line treatment for hypertension, they’re associated with a number of problematic side effects. For example, research4 published in 2017 found hydrochlorothiazide — one of the most popular drugs used worldwide to treat high blood pressure — raises the risk of skin cancer sevenfold.
Diuretics, also commonly prescribed for high blood pressure, have the side effect of leaching both sodium and potassium out of your body, and maintaining a healthy sodium-to-potassium ratio is really important for the normalization of your blood pressure.5
Potassium is also needed for proper muscle movement, including the contractions of your heart, and if your level gets depleted it can trigger muscle cramps and heart problems. So, what can you do beside popping a daily pill? The good news is exercise can go a long way toward normalizing your blood pressure.6,7,8
Increasing Insulin Sensitivity Is the First Line of Treatment for High Blood Pressure
Over 80 percent of the U.S. population are insulin resistant and this metabolic dysfunction causes a boatload of problems, such as an increased risk of obesity and diabetes. There are many well-reported links between obesity and high blood pressure.9 Most, but certainly not all, those with hypertension are overweight, and in those circumstances losing weight is associated with lowering of their blood pressure.
So, if you have high blood pressure your first strategy is to regain your metabolic flexibility and be able to burn fat as a primary fuel once again. This will not only decrease your insulin resistance and help optimize your weight, but also radically decrease your risk of heart disease, cancer and neurodegenerative diseases.10
Exercise Is Another Potent Therapy for High Blood Pressure
Inactivity and blood pressure are also closely related — so closely that exercise is actually considered a first line of treatment by several health authorities, including the World Health Organization, the International Society of Hypertension and the U.S. Joint National Committee on Detection, Evaluation and Treatment of High Blood Pressure, just to name a few.11
Research shows inactive individuals have a 30 to 50 percent greater risk for high blood pressure than their active counterparts.12 As noted in a literature review13 on exercise and hypertension, published in Australian Family Physician:
“An evidence based literature analysis by the American College of Sports Medicine indicates that an isolated exercise session (acute effect) lowers BP [blood pressure] an average of 5 to 7 mmHg … [T]he average BP reduction with regular endurance exercise for hypertensives not normalized by drug therapy in the literature review is 7.4/5.8mmHg …
Depending upon the degree the patient’s BP has been normalized by drug therapy, regular aerobic exercise significantly reduces BP the equivalent of 1 class of antihypertensive medication (chronic effect) … Overall, resistance training has a favorable chronic effect on resting BP, but the magnitude of the BP reductions are less than those reported for an aerobic based exercise program …
For most hypertensive patients, exercise is quite safe. Caution is required for those over 50 years of age, and those with established cardiovascular disease (CVD) (or at high CVD risk) and in these patients, the advice of a clinical exercise physiologist is recommended.”
Try These Exercises to Lower Your Blood Pressure
The key to affect your blood pressure is to do physical activity that raises your heart rate, making your heart beat faster and increase blood flow. This is also known as cardiovascular or aerobic exercise.
As you might guess, just about any physical movement can achieve this, depending on your current state of fitness. Even yard work can be a cardiovascular exercise. Raking and mulching, for example, takes some effort and will get your heart pumping. Other aerobic exercises include:
Brisk walking and/or running — Research14 published in 2013 found moderate-intensity brisk walking produced similar reductions in blood pressure as vigorous-intensity running.
Swimming and/or water aerobics — In one study,15 adults aged 50 and over who swam three to four times a week for 12 weeks improved their vascular function and reduced their systolic blood pressure by an average of nine points.
Bicycling — A 2016 study16 showed that people in their 40s through 60s who bicycled to and from work were less likely to have high blood pressure, high cholesterol and/or prediabetes. After 10 years of follow-up, bicycle commuters had an 11 percent lower risk for hypertension than nonbikers.
Weightlifting and/or body weight exercises — A small 2012 study,17 which included middle-aged men diagnosed with high blood pressure who had previously exercised less than two hours a week and were not using antihypertensive medication, showed that after weight training for 45 to 60 minutes (three sets of 12 repetitions for each of seven exercises), systolic blood pressure was reduced by an average of 22 mmHg and diastolic pressure by an average of 8 mmHg.
Sports such as tennis, soccer and ultimate Frisbee
Isometric Handgrip Training Lowers Blood Pressure in Older Adults
Isometric handgrip exercises have also been shown to have a positive impact on blood pressure in older adults.
Interestingly, a 2013 systematic review18 concluded improving your handgrip strength was even more effective for lowering systolic blood pressure than conventional endurance and strength training programs.
Other studies19,20 have also confirmed the benefit of both handgrip and leg extension exercises on blood pressure. As noted in one of them:21
“Isometric resistance training lowers [systolic blood pressure], [diastolic blood pressure], and mean arterial pressure. The magnitude of effect is larger than that previously reported in dynamic aerobic or resistance training. Our data suggest that this form of training has the potential to produce significant and clinically meaningful blood pressure reductions and could serve as an adjunctive exercise modality.”
Boosting Your Nitric Oxide Level Helps Lower Blood Pressure
Another excellent exercise is the Nitric Oxide Dump. This and other high-intensity exercises help normalize your blood pressure by triggering production of nitric oxide in your body. It involves just four movements — squats, alternating arm raises, nonjumping jacks and shoulder presses — which are done in repetitions of 10, with four sets each. In total, it takes just three to four minutes. Ideally, you’d do these exercises three times a day, a few hours apart.
Nitric oxide is a soluble gas stored in your endothelium (the lining of your blood vessels) and acts as an important signaling molecule throughout your body. Along with promoting healthy endothelial function, nitric oxide also supports heart health by helping your veins and arteries dilate, which promotes healthy blood flow.
Nitric oxide also plays a protective role in your mitochondrial health, the energy storehouse of your cells, responsible for the utilization of energy for all metabolic functions. Even your skeletal muscle, which is made up of only about 1 percent to 2 percent mitochondria, depend on these energy powerhouses to fuel your daily movements.
When you exercise and your muscles ache, it’s because you’ve run out of oxygen, which your body compensates for by releasing nitric oxide. But here’s the secret that’s not widely known: When you exercise, it takes only about 90 seconds for your blood vessels to run out of stored nitric oxide and begin the process of making more.
This is why working major muscle groups for as little as 90 seconds can be so effective.22 You can also take advantage of the nitric oxide-boosting power of vegetable nitrates, which serve as precursors for nitric oxide. Arugula is the highest source but fermented beet powder can have up to 500 percent greater concentration of nitrates.
How Much Exercise Do You Need to Help Normalize Your Blood Pressure?
As a general recommendation, aim for moderate-intensity activity 30 minutes a day, at least five days a week.23 The higher the intensity of your exercise, the lower the frequency needs to be, so if you’re doing more vigorous aerobic activity, you can get away with doing just three days a week. In addition to that, it’s recommended to perform some sort of muscle strengthening exercise two days a week.
If you have high blood pressure, chances are you’re not exercising enough at present. If that’s the case, start slow and build your way up. For example, start taking a walk a few times a week, and increase the frequency as you start feeling more able. Over time, also step up the intensity, and be sure to add some form of strength training — especially if you’re insulin resistant — as well as isometric handgrip exercises, which can easily be done while watching TV or otherwise relaxing.
I also recommend training yourself to breathe through your nose when exercising, as mouth breathing during exercise can raise your heart rate and blood pressure, sometimes resulting in fatigue and dizziness.
Other Lifestyle Strategies for Lowering Your Blood Pressure
Aside from exercise, here are several additional suggestions that can help lower your blood pressure naturally.
Optimize your vitamin D level — Vitamin D deficiency is associated with both arterial stiffness and hypertension.24 For optimal health, maintain a vitamin D level between 60 and 80 nanograms per milliliter year-round.
Mind your sodium to potassium ratio — According to Dr. Lawrence Appel, lead researcher on the DASH diet and director of the Welch Center for Prevention, Epidemiology and Clinical Research at Johns Hopkins, your diet as a whole is the key to controlling hypertension — not salt reduction alone.
He believes a major part of the equation is this balance of minerals — i.e., most people need less sodium and more potassium, calcium and magnesium. According to Appel,25 “Higher levels of potassium blunt the effects of sodium. If you can’t reduce or won’t reduce sodium, adding potassium may help. But doing both is better.”
Indeed, maintaining a proper potassium to sodium ratio in your diet is very important, and hypertension is but one of many side effects of an imbalance. A processed food diet virtually guarantees you’ll have a lopsided ratio of too much sodium to potassium. Making the switch from processed foods to whole foods will automatically improve your ratios.
Intermittent and partial fasting — Intermittent fasting is one of the most effective ways I’ve found to normalize your insulin/leptin sensitivity, which is a root cause of hypertension. My new book, Keto Fasting which goes into great detail about partial fasting comes out next spring.
Walk barefoot — Going barefoot will help you ground to the earth. Experiments show that walking barefoot outside (also referred to as Earthing or grounding) improves blood viscosity and blood flow, which help regulate blood pressure. So, do yourself a favor and ditch your shoes now and then.
Grounding also calms your sympathetic nervous system, which supports your heart rate variability. This in turn promotes homeostatis, or balance, in your autonomic nervous system. In essence, anytime you improve heart rate variability, you’re improving your entire body and all of its functions.
Address your stress — The connection between stress and hypertension is well documented, yet still does not receive the emphasis it deserves. In fact, it has been shown that people with heart disease can lower their risk of subsequent cardiac events by over 70 percent simply by learning to manage their stress.
Suppressed negative emotions such as fear, anger and sadness can severely limit your ability to cope with the unavoidable every day stresses of life. It’s not the stressful events themselves that are harmful, but your lack of ability to cope.
The good news is strategies exist to quickly and effectively transform your suppressed, negative emotions and relieve stress. My preferred method is the Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT), an easy to learn, easy to use technique for releasing negative emotions. EFT combines visualization with calm, relaxed breathing, while employing gentle tapping to “reprogram” deeply seated emotional patterns.
Essential oils — A number of essential oils can also be helpful, including lavender, ylang-ylang, marjoram, bergamot, rose, frankincense, rosemary, lemon balm and clary sage. In one study,26scientists found exposure to essential oil for one hour effectively reduced stress as measured by a reduction in the participants’ heart rate and blood pressure.
The effect was only temporary, however. In another, similar study,27 inhalation of a blend of lavender, ylang-ylang, neroli and marjoram essential oils was associated with a reduction in blood pressure and cortisol secretion, which is often elevated during stress.