Rx to Wellness

Speed Up Sluggish Glands

coconutoil2

Speed Up Your Sluggish Glands

Consuming 2 Tbs. of coconut oil a day can erase fatigue in two weeks.  How?

MCFAs prod the thyroid to amp up production of thyroxine-a hormone that speeds

the conversion of food into energy.  And coconut fats heal overworked adrenal glands

boosting their output of energizing adrenaline.

It can also be used for feminine dryness, irritated skin, soft and full hair and many more.

Health and Wellness Associates

312-972-Well

Foods

Cranberry Pear Crisp

cranberrypear

Cranberry Pear Crisp

Ingredients

1 pound cranberries (thawed if frozen)

1 cup dried cranberries

1 1/2 cups sugar

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

3 firm pears (such as Bosc), peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Pinch of ground allspice

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1 cup pecans, chopped

1/4 cup old-fashioned rolled oats

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 stick unsalted butter, melted

Directions

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Combine the fresh and dried cranberries in a large bowl. Add 1 cup sugar, 3 tablespoons water and the vanilla and toss to coat. Lightly smash with a potato masher or fork to burst some of the cranberries. Add the pears, cinnamon, allspice and 2 tablespoons flour and toss to coat. Transfer to a 3-quart baking dish.

Make the topping: Mix the remaining 1 cup flour, the pecans, oats, the remaining 1/2 cup sugar and the salt in a medium bowl, then stir in the melted butter. Use your fingers to pinch the topping into small clumps and sprinkle it over the fruit.

Bake until the fruit is bubbling and the topping is golden brown, about 40 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Health and Wellness Associates

Archived Article

312-972-WELL

Foods

Fall Apple Harvest

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Enjoy the Fall Apple Harvest

Crisp, juicy apples are a fall tradition. Take advantage of the bountiful selection of apples available this time of year. There are hundreds of varieties to sample. They range from red to yellow to green, crunchy to tender, sweet to tart and simple to complex.

Apples contain a wide variety of phytochemicals, many of which have been found to have strong antioxidant activity. They are particularly high in quercetin, a flavonoid antioxidant.1 Epidemiological studies have linked the consumption of apples with reduced risk of some cancers, cardiovascular disease, asthma, diabetes and obesity.2-7 Not only can eating an apple a day help keep the doctor away, an apple a day might keep the pounds away too; adding apples to the diet has been shown to enhance weight loss.8-9 To optimize phytochemical content, it is important to eat the pigment-rich apple skin. Choose whole, organic apples over applesauce or apple juice.

Apples are also a rich source of pectin, a type of soluble fiber that is found in plant cell walls and tissues. This soluble fiber works to lower cholesterol by reducing the amount that is absorbed in the intestines. Studies have shown that the pectin in apples interacts with other apple phytonutrients to achieve an even greater reduction in cholesterol.10 Researchers have also discovered that apples can boost intestinal health by increasing the numbers of good gut bacteria which feed on apple pectin.11

Portable and easy to pack, apples are great to include in your on-the-go meals. For an easy dessert, enjoy them baked with a sprinkle of cinnamon and nutmeg. I like to dice an apple, toss it with baby greens, some chickpeas, maybe a handful of walnuts or pumpkin seeds and then top it off with one of my flavored vinegars or perhaps my Almond Balsamic Dressing.

Experiment with the many different varieties of apples to discover which ones are your favorites. Have fun seeking out your local organic apple growers, farm stands and farmers markets and look for different types of interesting apples. They do not have to look perfect. The smaller and more imperfect they look, the better they taste. If you go apple picking and get lots of them, don’t worry, you can store them for several months. Just wrap each apple in a paper towel to prevent them from touching each other and store in a closed cardboard box in a cool place such as the basement or garage.

Foods, Health and Disease

Six Foods with More Nutrients than Kale

kale

Six Foods That Have More Nutrients Per Ounce than Kale

Kale is still a wonderful value at as little as $1.99 for a bunch even in the organic section.

But can you really call it the #1 superfood among greens?

Not according to the 2014 CDC study ‘Defining Powerhouse Fruits and Vegetables: A Nutrient Density Approach.’

It ranked produce on a scale of 1-100 to find out which foods were the most nutritious.

Kale checked in at a  respectable nutrient density score of 49.07.

But the following greens have it beat:

1. Chicory

Resembling the dandelion green, this unheralded veggie can be added to salads. It checked in with a nutrient density score of 73.36. It has a nice profile of Vitamins A, C, and E among others.

2. Spinach

Long thought to have less nutrients than kale, spinach actually scored far better with a total of 86.43.

It’s a great source of Vitamin K, Vitamin A (in the form of carotenoids), manganese, folate and more.

3. Beet Green

Think you should throw these away? Think again!

They scored a whopping 87.27 in the study. Add these to your diet for added Vitamin A, K and lutein/zeaxanthin (for vision health).

Don’t forget to eat the greens on top of the beet as well.

4. Chard

Also known as Swiss chard, this cousin of collard greens came in at 89.27. It’s a great change-of-pace to kale and a wonderful source of Vitamins A, K, and the important mineral magnesium.

5. Chinese Cabbage

Most people know this veggie as bok choy but few actually buy it. That’s a big mistake!

Bok choy scored a 91.99 on the nutrient density scale and is rich in silica for great hair, skin and nails as well as Vitamins A, B and K.

6. Watercress

A great source of magnesium, folate, pantothenic acid and many different vitamins and minerals, watercress comes in at #1 with a perfect score of 100.

It’s so easy to pass up in the grocery store and so hard to find that we don’t see it passing kale in terms of its reputation for being a top health food any time soon.

But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t pass up a chance to add it to your shopping cart if you get the chance…your body will thank you!

Health and Wellness Associates

N. Meyer

P. Carrothers

Archived Article

312-972-WELL

Diets and Weight Loss, Foods, Lifestyle

To Avoid Cancer Keep Your Intake Below 5%

smoothies

Elevated Sugar Intake Linked to Significantly Raised Risk of Obesity, Diabetes, and Heart Disease

According to a study published in 2013, nearly one in five US deaths is now associated with obesity. Obesity is indeed a marker for chronic and potentially deadly disease, but the underlying problem that links obesity to so many other serious health issues—including heart disease—is metabolic dysfunction.

Mounting evidence clearly shows that added sugars, and processed fructose in particular, is a primary driver of metabolic dysfunction.

Refined fructose is actually broken down very much like alcohol, damaging your liver and causing mitochondrial and metabolic dysfunction in the same way as ethanol and other toxins.

It also causes more severe metabolic dysfunction because it’s more readily metabolized into fat than any other sugar. The fact that refined fructose is far more harmful to your health than other sugars was recently highlighted in a meta-review published in the Mayo Clinic Proceedings.1

The average American consumes one-third of a pound of sugar per day, half of which is processed fructose. Other statistics found in Dr. Richard Johnson’s book, The Sugar Fix,2 suggest about 50 percent of Americans consume as much as half a pound, more than 225 grams, per day!

The majority of all this sugar is hidden in processed foods and beverages, so to address obesity and related health issues like diabetes and heart disease, ridding your diet of processed fare is key for success.

WHO Urges Slashing Sugar Consumption to Protect Health

To lower your risk of obesity and tooth decay, the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends dramatically reducing your sugar consumption, limiting added sugar to 10 percent of daily calories or less.3 This equates to about 12 teaspoons or 50 grams of sugar for most adults.

To prevent chronic disease such as diabetes, heart disease, and cancer, the organization suggests limiting your sugar consumption to a maximum of five percent of your daily calories.

The latter five percent limit is right in line with my own standard recommendation for healthy people, which calls for keeping your total fructose consumption below 25 grams per day, or about five teaspoons.

However, if you already have signs of insulin resistance, such as hypertension, obesity, or heart disease, I believe you’d be wise to limit your total fructose consumption even further—down to 15 grams or less until your weight and other health conditions have normalized.

Three recent studies that have linked excessive sugar consumption to chronic disease include the following:

According to the meta-review4 mentioned earlier, the preponderance of research clearly shows that once you reach 18 percent of your daily calories from added sugar, there’s a two-fold increase in metabolic harm that promotes prediabetes and diabetes

Most recently, a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA)5 concluded that “most US adults consume more added sugar than is recommended for a healthy diet,” and that there’s “a significant relationship between added sugar consumption and increased risk for cardiovascular disease mortality.”

The 15-year long study, which included data for 31,000 Americans, found that those who consumed 25 percent or more of their daily calories as sugar were more than twice as likely to die from heart disease as those who got less than 10 percent of their calories from sugar.

On the whole, the odds of dying from heart disease rose in tandem with the percentage of added sugar in the diet regardless of the age, sex, physical activity level, and body-mass index.

A 2014 study6 came to very similar results. Here, those who consumed the most sugar — about 25 percent of their daily calories — were twice as likely to die from heart disease as those who limited their sugar intake to seven percent of their total calories.

Fried Foods Also Linked to Increased Risk for Heart Disease

Added sugar isn’t the only disease-promoting factor in your diet though. Harmful fat found in fried foods is another important one.

Preliminary research7 findings presented at a recent American Heart Association meeting linked fried food consumption with an increased risk for heart failure. Data on more than 15,300 male doctors participating in the Physicians’ Health Study was collected and analyzed. The average follow-up period was 10 years.

Those who reported eating fried food up to three times per week had an average of 18 percent increased risk of developing heart failure

Eating fried food four to six times a week was associated with a 25 percent increased risk, and

Eating fried foods seven times per week or more was associated with a 68 percent greater risk for heart failure

According to lead researcher Dr. Luc Djousse, associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School:

“This study suggests that it might be wise to reduce the frequency and quantity of fried foods consumed weekly in order to prevent heart failure and other chronic conditions.”

Why Fried Foods Promote Heart Disease

These kinds of findings are not all that surprising. Dr. Fred Kummerow, author of Cholesterol Is Not the Culprit, was the first researcher to discover that consumption of trans fat—but not saturated fat—led to clogged arteries. He published the first article on this association in 1957.

Some of his most recent research8 shows that there are two types of fats in our diet responsible for the formation of heart disease:

Trans fat found in partially hydrogenated oil. Structurally, trans fats are synthetic fatty acids. Fourteen of them are produced during the hydrogenation process. (They are not present in either animal or vegetable fats.)

Trans fats prevent the synthesis of prostacyclin,9 which is necessary to keep your blood flowing. When your arteries cannot produce prostacyclin, blood clots form, and you may succumb to sudden death.

Mounting research suggests there is NO safe limit for trans fat. This makes it an even greater concern than sugar, which your body can safely handle in small doses. Trans fat also increases insulin resistance.

Oxidized cholesterol, formed when polyunsaturated vegetable oils (such as soybean, corn, and sunflower oils) are heated. A primary source is fried foods. This oxidized cholesterol (not dietary cholesterol in and of itself) causes increased thromboxane formation—a factor that clots your blood.  As noted by Dr. Kummerow in a previous New York Times interview:10

“The problem is not LDL, the ‘bad cholesterol’ widely considered to be the major cause of heart disease. What matters is whether the cholesterol and fat residing in those LDL particles have been oxidized… “ Cholesterol has nothing to do with heart disease, except if it’s oxidized”…

[T]he high temperatures used in commercial frying cause inherently unstable polyunsaturated oils to oxidize, and that these oxidized fatty acids become a destructive part of LDL particles. Even when not oxidized by frying, soybean and corn oils can oxidize inside the body.” [Emphasis mine]

Heart-Healthy Basics

Two diet modifications that are foundational for successful weight management and disease-prevention are a) limiting your processed food consumption, and b) increasing the amount of healthy fat and fresh whole foods in your diet.

Avoiding processed foods will automatically reduce your added sugar consumption and your exposure to harmful fats, which again include both trans fats and oxidized cholesterol. Grains, including whole grains, are also best avoided if you’re insulin/leptin resistant, have diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, or are overweight, as grains and other sugar-forming starchy carbohydrates lead to adverse insulin reactions.

Remember, just like fructose, trans fats interfere with your insulin receptors, thereby increasing your risk for diabetes11 and related health problems. Healthy saturated fats do not do this. For optimal health, most people may actually need upwards of 50-85 percent of their daily calories in the form of healthy fats; good sources of which include coconut and coconut oil, avocados, butter, animal fats, and raw nuts.

Tree Nuts Are a Healthy Addition to Your Diet

A number of studies have confirmed that tree nuts can help prevent chronic disease, including metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease. The fat content of nuts—along with naturally-occurring antioxidants—may have a great deal to do with this. For example, one large-scale, 30-year long Harvard study12 found that people who ate a small handful of nuts at least seven times per week were 20 percent less likely to die for any reason, compared to those who largely avoided nuts. They were also leaner than their nut-eschewing counterparts.

Another study13 published in the Annals of Internal Medicine found that middle-aged women who followed a Mediterranean-style diet rich in nuts and vegetables were approximately 40 percent more likely to survive into later decades without developing some form of chronic disease. All nuts are not necessarily created equal however, and tree nuts are, from a nutritional stand point, far preferable to peanuts, which is technically a legume.

My main objections to peanuts are that they tend to distort your omega 3 to omega 6 ratio as they are relatively high in omega 6; they’re also frequently contaminated with a carcinogenic mold called aflatoxin and, perhaps surprisingly, peanuts tend to be heavily sprayed with pesticides. Most nuts’ nutritional makeup  closely resemble what I consider to be an ideal ratio of the basic building blocks—fat making up the greatest amount of your daily calories, followed by a moderate amount of high quality protein and a low amount of non-vegetable carbs.

My favorite nuts are raw organic macadamia and pecans, as they provide the highest amount of healthy fat while being on the lower end in terms of carbs and protein. The main fatty acid in macadamia nuts is the monounsaturated fat oleic acid (about 60 percent). This is about the level found in olives, which are also well known for their health benefits. Macadamia nuts also contain high amounts of vitamin B1, magnesium, and manganese.

Pecans contain more than 19 vitamins and minerals, and research has shown they may help lower LDL cholesterol and promote healthy arteries. In the Harvard study,14 those who ate a one-ounce serving seven times or more per week appeared to benefit the most. One ounce of nuts equates to just over 28 grams, or about a small handful. The following list shows the nutrition facts15  in grams per one ounce for your most common tree nuts:

Tree Nut

Numbers are grams per ounce Fat       Protein Carbohydrates

Macadamias    22        2          4

Pecans 20        3          4

Pine nuts          20        4          4

Brazil nuts       19        4          3

Walnuts           18        4          4

Hazelnuts         17        3          5

Cashews          13        4          9

Almonds          14        6          6

Pistachios        13        6          8

Obesity, Diabetes, and Heart Disease Are All Preventable

Nearly one in five US deaths is associated with obesity, and one in every three deaths is attributed to cardiovascular disease, which includes heart attacks and stroke. According to a 2013 report16 from the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), of the 800,000 cardiovascular disease deaths occurring in the US each year, a quarter of them —or about 200,000—could be prevented through simple lifestyle changes. Personally, I believe the rate of prevention could be far higher than that—especially if great attention was paid to sugar consumption. According to statistics found in the Credit Suisse Research Institute’s 2013 study17 Sugar Consumption at a Crossroads, up to 40 percent of US healthcare expenditures are for diseases directly related to the overconsumption of sugar.

We actually spend more than a trillion dollars each year fighting the damaging health effects of sugar!  To protect your health, please consider restricting your fructose consumption to 25 grams per day or less. If you’re overweight or have a disease such as cancer, diabetes, or heart disease (or are at high risk for them) then you’re probably better off further reducing your fructose intake to 15 grams per day or less (and this includes all sources—HFCS, sugar, honey, agave, fruit, fruit juice, maple syrup, etc.)

Doing this will help you normalize your insulin- and leptin levels, thereby reducing your risk of not only diabetes and heart disease, but also a long list of other chronic health problems. Key to success when cutting out added sugar is to replace the lost calories (energy) with high-quality healthy fat, which includes avocados; butter made from raw grass-fed organic milk; raw dairy; organic pastured egg yolks; coconuts and coconut oil; unheated organic nut oils; raw nuts and seeds; and grass-fed and finished meats. For even more heart-healthy lifestyle tips, please see my dedicated heart disease page.

Health and Wellness Associates

Archived Article

J Mercola

P Carrothers

312-972-WELL

Diets and Weight Loss, Lifestyle

3 Healthy Food Lies Reveal Why Your Kitchen is Full of Fat Storing Ingredients

fatchef

3 Healthy Food LIES Reveal Why Your Kitchen Is Full Of “Fat Storing” Ingredients…

Picture the foods that are in your fridge at this very moment.

Did you know that almost every single one of these foods contain “hidden” fat-storing ingredients that can slow down your metabolism, sap your energy, and block your fat burning potential by a whopping 82% – even the ones you think are “healthy”?

Did you know that there’s a super simple way to rid your life of these “fattening” foods and SWAP them with delicious foods that BOOST your metabolism and dramatically accelerate your fat loss?

Step #1: STOP Trusting Food Labels (They’re NOT trustworthy)

Everyone believes reading labels is a good way to determine if a food is healthy or not – but that’s only partially true.

To make more money from uneducated consumers, most food manufacturers use dirty little tricks to hide dangerous and fattening ingredients in common foods that you eat everyday. And worst of all, these fake ingredients are specifically designed to make you ADDICTED to their stuff.

One of many examples is “trans fats”. If you don’t know by now, this is one of the most dangerous foods in existence.

Eating just a tiny amount of this nasty ingredient can increase your risk of heart disease and promote accumulation of visceral fat – a dangerous kind of belly fat that’s almost impossible to get rid of.

Well, believe it or not, MANY of the foods that show “Zero Trans Fat” on the label actually contain a TON of it.

Thanks to the FDA, manufacturers are allowed to label ANY food, even so-called “healthy” ones, with less than .5g of trans fat per serving as “Trans Fat-Free”. Almost every manufacturer lowers their portion sizes on the labels to hide their claims on their products while filling them with this dangerous and fattening ingredient.

Here’s a powerful, eye-opening example. When you eat just ONE handful of “Zero Trans Fat” crackers you poison your body with a couple grams of toxic, fat-storing trans fat – WITHOUT even being aware of it.

But wait. It gets even worse. There’s one common food in particular that’s probably in your pantry, right now, and it contains loads of trans fat that don’t appear ANYWHERE on the label.

That’s right. NOT on the ingredients list, NOT in the nutrition facts, and not even on your favorite Internet food database. Nowhere.

Very few people know this, but vegetable oil (made from fat-storing corn, soybeans or canola) has to go through an extreme 5-step processing method before it ends up on your supermarket shelves.

This high pressure, high temperature process destroys all the “heart-friendly” fats originally contained in the oil and transforms it into dangerous trans fats.

According to a shocking study by the University of Florida at Gainesville, your vegetable oil can contain up to 4.6% hidden trans fat that’s not on the label. Kind of scary, I know.

Step #2: STOP Avoiding Saturated Fats (You’ve been lied to)

The media, doctors and the big food industry spend millions of dollars every year trying to convince all of us that red meat is “fattening” and why you should avoid it if you want to lose belly fat. After all, it does contain a lot of dangerous saturated fats – right?

Don’t fall for it. It’s just another nutrition myth that prevents you from eating some of the BEST fat burning foods on the planet.

In fact, the RIGHT kind of saturated fat is actually good for you and can even help you lose belly fat. Recent studies actually prove that saturated fat REDUCES your risk of heart disease and supports weight loss.(Reference: Ann Intern Med. 2005 Mar 15;142(6):403-11)

That’s because “healthy” saturated fat sources like grass-fed beef and pasture-raised eggs contain a natural fat burner called CLA – plus a ton of other essential nutrients that can BOOST your metabolism and accelerate your fat burning.

But if you continue listening to all the nonsense and false information everybody tells you about this “friendly” fat-burning fat, you’ll be missing out on one of the most powerful fat-burning foods you could ever eat.

Step #3: STOP Using Fake “Health” Foods (They’re in your kitchen right now)

If the first two reasons didn’t surprise you, this one surely will.

Thanks to the relentless greed of most food manufacturers, that obviously could care less about your health,some of the healthiest foods in your kitchen may be fake.

Here’s proof.

In 2010, Consumer Reports – one of the most credible non-profit organizations fighting for consumer rights in the US – revealed that around 20% of ALL olive oils are fake and have been mixed with other cheap oils, while still claiming they are 100% pure.

This food hoax was uncovered once again in 2012, when the UC Davis Olive Center found out that only 27% of all olive oils passed the quality test to be labeled “extra virgin” – the best and most nutritious kind of olive oil there is.

So the olive oil you have in your kitchen RIGHT NOW might contain up to 100% vegetable oil, even though the label “says” it’s healthy. And don’t forget, vegetable oils are LOADED with dangerous, fat-storing trans-fat.  You can find articles on our Health and Wellness facebook page, and our sister page HWellness.assoc about this problem.

You can go ahead and TRY to find a manufacturer who actually cares and delivers a legitimate olive oil to support your weight loss goals, but it’s a crapshoot.

If you are having a hard time loosing weight, or you want the best for your families, then schedule an appt with us, and we will help you through this.

Health and Wellness Associates

Archived Article

Nick Pineault

312-972-WELL

Diets and Weight Loss

Nuts and Seeds for a Healthy Weight

nutsandseeds

Nuts and Seeds for a Healthy Weight and a Long Life

 

Nuts and seeds are healthful, natural foods that are full of beneficial nutrients and phytochemicals. Although the myth that nuts and seeds are fattening has persisted, the research suggests that nuts are actually beneficial for weight loss. In any case, it’s not the fat content of a diet that makes it healthy, it’s the nutrient content. And based on their nutrient content, nuts are a health-promoting source of calories.

Nuts and seeds are nutritionally important. Nuts and seeds contain a spectrum of micronutrients including LDL cholesterol-lowering phytosterols; circulation-promoting arginine; minerals, including potassium, calcium, magnesium, and selenium; and antioxidants, including flavonoids, resveratrol, tocopherols (vitamin E), and carotenoids.

Eating nuts and seeds reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease Epidemiological studies have consistently shown that nut consumption is beneficial for heart health. Eating five or more servings of nuts per week is estimated to reduce the risk of coronary heart disease by 35%.1 Eating nuts and seeds protects against sudden cardiac death and reduces cholesterol and inflammation.1-3

Nuts and seeds aid weight loss. Someone who is trying to lose weight should not be trying to avoid nuts; in fact, in obese individuals, adding nuts to the diet aided in weight loss and also improved insulin sensitivity, which could help to prevent or reverse diabetes.4 Nonetheless, nuts should not be eaten to excess. Nuts and seeds are high in nutrients but also high in calories, so they should be eaten with consideration for one’s caloric needs. One ounce daily is usually appropriate for women trying to lose weight and 1.5 – 2 ounces for overweight men. Nuts and seeds of course should be eaten in larger amounts for the slim, highly physically active people who could use the extra calories.

Nut consumption may enhance lifespan. In the Adventist Health Study, a number of lifestyle factors were found to be associated with longevity. Those who had a high level of physical activity, followed a vegetarian diet, and ate nuts frequently lived on average 8 years longer than those who did not share those habits.5 Similarly in the Nurses’ Health Study, nut consumption was identified as a dietary factor associated with reduced risk of death from cardiovascular disease and cancers.6 New research continues to confirm these observations.7

Each nut and seed has a unique nutritional profile that lends unique health benefits:

  • Almonds are rich in antioxidants. In one study, people ate either almonds or a snack with a similar fat profile each day for 4 weeks, and the subjects who ate almonds showed reduced oxidative stress markers.8
  • Walnuts. Diabetics who ate walnuts daily for 8 weeks experienced an enhanced ability of the blood vessels to dilate, indicating better blood pressure regulation.9 There is also evidence that walnuts may protect against breast cancer.10
  • Pistachios and Mediterranean pine nuts have the highest plant sterol content of all the nuts; plant sterols are structurally similar to cholesterol, and help to lower cholesterol levels.11 Pistachios reduce inflammation and oxidative stress as well as cholesterol.12-14
  • Mediterranean pine nuts contain a specific type of fatty acid that has been shown to curb appetite by increasing hormones that produce satiety signals.15
  • Flax, hemp, and chia seeds are extremely rich sources of omega-3 fatty acids, and hemp seeds are especially high in protein, making them a helpful food for athletes.
  • Pumpkin seeds are rich in iron, calcium, and phytochemicals, and may help to prevent prostate cancer.16
  • Sesame seeds have the greatest amount of calcium of any food in the world, and provide abundant amounts of vitamin E and contain a lignan called sesamin; lignan-rich foods may protect against breast cancer.17-19

Nuts and seeds are best eaten raw. Nuts and seeds should be eaten raw or only lightly toasted. Roasting nuts and seeds forms a potentially harmful compound called acrylamide, and reduces the amounts of minerals and amino acids.

Also remember that eating nuts and seeds with leafy greens can enhance the body’s absorption of fat-soluble nutrients from the greens, so a nut-based salad dressing is an excellent way to absorb more nutrients from your salads.20

References:

  1. Kris-Etherton PM, Hu FB, Ros E, et al: The role of tree nuts and peanuts in the prevention of coronary heart disease: multiple potential mechanisms. J Nutr 2008;138:1746S-1751S. 2. Salas-Salvado J, Casas-Agustench P, Murphy MM, et al: The effect of nuts on inflammation. Asia Pac J Clin Nutr 2008;17 Suppl 1:333-336. 3. Ros E: Nuts and novel biomarkers of cardiovascular disease. Am J Clin Nutr 2009;89:1649S-1656S. 4. Rajaram S, Sabate J: Nuts, body weight and insulin resistance. Br J Nutr 2006;96 Suppl 2:S79-86. 5. Fraser GE, Shavlik DJ: Ten years of life: Is it a matter of choice? Arch Intern Med 2001;161:1645-1652. 6. Baer HJ, Glynn RJ, Hu FB, et al: Risk factors for mortality in the nurses’ health study: a competing risks analysis. Am J Epidemiol 2011;173:319-329. 7. Guasch-Ferre M, Bullo M, Martinez-Gonzalez MA, et al: Frequency of nut consumption and mortality risk in the PREDIMED nutrition intervention trial. BMC Med 2013;11:164. 8. Jenkins DJ, Kendall CW, Marchie A, et al: Almonds reduce biomarkers of lipid peroxidation in older hyperlipidemic subjects. J Nutr 2008;138:908-913. 9. Ma Y, Njike VY, Millet J, et al: Effects of walnut consumption on endothelial function in type 2 diabetic subjects: a randomized controlled crossover trial. Diabetes Care 2010;33:227-232. 10.  Eurekalert! Walnuts slow prostate tumors in mice: UC Davis research shows walnuts affect genes related to tumor growth March 22, 2010 edition; 2010. 11. Ellegard LH, Andersson SW, Normen AL, et al: Dietary plant sterols and cholesterol metabolism. Nutr Rev 2007;65:39-45. 12. Kay CD, Gebauer SK, West SG, et al: Pistachios increase serum antioxidants and lower serum oxidized-LDL in hypercholesterolemic adults. J Nutr 2010;140:1093-1098. 13. Kocyigit A, Koylu AA, Keles H: Effects of pistachio nuts consumption on plasma lipid profile and oxidative status in healthy volunteers. Nutrition, metabolism, and cardiovascular diseases : NMCD 2006;16:202-209. 14. Sari I, Baltaci Y, Bagci C, et al: Effect of pistachio diet on lipid parameters, endothelial function, inflammation, and oxidative status: a prospective study. Nutrition 2010;26:399-404. 15. Pasman WJ, Heimerikx J, Rubingh CM, et al: The effect of Korean pine nut oil on in vitro CCK release, on appetite sensations and on gut hormones in post-menopausal overweight women. Lipids in Health and Disease 2008;7:10. 16. Hong H, Kim CS, Maeng S: Effects of pumpkin seed oil and saw palmetto oil in Korean men with symptomatic benign prostatic hyperplasia. Nutr Res Pract 2009;3:323-327. 17. Thompson LU, Chen JM, Li T, et al: Dietary flaxseed alters tumor biological markers in postmenopausal breast cancer. Clin Cancer Res 2005;11:3828-3835. 18. Buck K, Vrieling A, Zaineddin AK, et al: Serum enterolactone and prognosis of postmenopausal breast cancer. J Clin Oncol 2011;29:3730-3738. 19. Higdon J: Lignans. In An Evidence-Based Approach to Dietary Phytochemicals. New York: Thieme; 2006: 155-161 20. Brown MJ, Ferruzzi MG, Nguyen ML, et al: Carotenoid bioavailability is higher from salads ingested with full-fat than with fat-reduced salad dressings as measured with electrochemical detection. Am J Clin Nutr 2004;80:396-403.
Foods

Health Benefits of Pomegranate

pomegranate

Secrets Revealed: The Powerful Health Benefits of the Pomegranate

One of the oldest known fruits, found in writings and artifacts of many cultures and religions, the pomegranate (punica granatum) is an original native of Persia. This nutrient dense, antioxidant rich fruit has been revered as a symbol of health, fertility and eternal life.

If you’re not familiar with the pomegranate, it is a red fruit with a tough outer layer; only the juice and the seeds inside are edible. Pomegranate juice is available year round, but you can purchase fresh pomegranates in most grocery stores from September through January. When refrigerated in a plastic bag, pomegranates keep for up to 2 months. Try tossing the seeds on a salad for a brilliantly colorful, crunchy, and nutritious addition.

Seeding a pomegranate may seem like a lot of work for just a piece of fruit but think again, getting at those seeds may be well worth it. The pomegranate is a nutrient dense food source rich in phytochemical compounds. Pomegranates contain high levels of flavonoids and polyphenols, potent antioxidants offering protection against heart disease and cancer. A glass of pomegranate juice has more antioxidants than red wine, green tea, blueberries, and cranberries.1

Amazing Clinical Results This fantastic little fruit recently made its way back into the news after some spectacular clinical results. Here’s what you need to know:

A compound found only in pomegranates called punicalagin is shown to benefit the heart and blood vessels. Punicalagin is the major component responsible for pomegranate’s antioxidant and health benefits. It not only lowers cholesterol, but also lowers blood pressure and increases the speed at which heart blockages (atherosclerosis) melt away.

Recent medical research studied heart patients with severe carotid artery blockages. They were given an ounce of pomegranate juice each day for a year. Not only did study participants’ blood pressure lower by over 12 percent, but there was a 30 percent reduction in atherosclerotic plaque. Just as astounding, participants who did not take the pomegranate juice saw their atherosclerotic plaque increase by 9 percent.2

In other studies, potent antioxidant compounds found in pomegranates have shown to reduce platelet aggregation and naturally lower blood pressure, factors that prevent both heart attacks and strokes.3

Not only are pomegranates good for your heart and blood vessels but they have been shown to inhibit breast cancer, prostate cancer, colon cancer, leukemia and to prevent vascular changes that promote tumor growth in lab animals.4 Several in vitro studies have shown this remarkable anti-cancer effect.5 Additional studies and clinical trials currently taking place are hopeful to reveal this fascinating effect on humans.

Also of note, pomegranate juice contains phytochemical compounds that stimulate serotonin and estrogen receptors, improving symptoms of depression and increasing bone mass in lab animals.6

Health Benefits of the Pomegranate

  • Most powerful anti-oxidant of all fruits
  • Potent anti-cancer and immune supporting effects
  • Inhibits abnormal platelet aggregation that could cause heart attacks, strokes and embolic disease
  • Lowers cholesterol and other cardiac risk factors
  • Lowers blood pressure
  • Shown to promote reversal of atherosclerotic plaque in human studies
  • May have benefits to relieve or protect against depression and osteoporosis

Many studies show that the pomegranate is one of the most powerful, nutrient dense foods for overall good health. These clinical findings clearly show a correlation between pomegranate compounds and their positive effect on both human and animal cardiovascular, nervous, and skeletal health. This is one fruit that you can’t afford to exclude from your diet!

Seeding a Pomegranate

  1. Cut the crown (protruding blossom end) off the pomegranate, removing with it some of the pale-yellow pith. Take care not to pierce the seeds within.
  2. Lightly score the skin in quarters from stem to crown end.
  3. Immerse the scored fruit in a large bowl of cool water and soak for 5 minutes. Holding the fruit under water, break sections apart with your fingers, separating the seeds from membrane. The seeds will sink to the bottom of the bowl.

Discard skin and membranes. Drain the seeds and dry on paper towels.

Antioxidant Rich Smoothie
Serves: 2 Preparation Time: 5 minutes

Ingredients:
8 cups organic baby spinach
1 cup pomegranate juice
1 cup blueberries, frozen
1 cup strawberries, frozen
8 dates, cut in half
2 tablespoons flaxseeds, ground
1/2 avocado, optional

Instructions:
Blend all ingredients together. This is delicious & very healthy!

References:

  1. Seeram NP, Aviram M, Zhang Y, et al: Comparison of antioxidant potency of commonly consumed polyphenol-rich beverages in the United States. J Agric Food Chem 2008, 56:1415-1422. 2. Aviram M, Rosenblat M, Gaitini D, et al. Pomegranate juice consumption for 3 years by patients with carotid artery stenosis reduces common carotid intima-media thickness, blood pressure and LDL oxidation. Clin Nutr 2004;23(3):423-33.
  2. Aviram M, Dornfeld L, Rosenblat M, et al. Pomegranate juice consumption reduces oxidative stress, atherogenic modifications to LDL, and platelet aggregation:studies in humans and in atherosclerotic apolipoprotein E-deficient mice. Am J Clin Nutr 2000;71(5):1062-76. Aviram M, Dornfeld L. Pomeganate juice consumption inhibits serum angiotensin coverting enzyme activity and reduces systolic blood pressure. Atherosclerosis 2001;158(1):195-8.
  3. Kim ND, Mehta R, Yu W, et al. Chemopreventive and adjuvant therapeutic potential of pomegranate (Punica granatum) for human breast cancer. Breast Cancer Res Treat 2002;71(3):203-17. Kohno H, Suzuki R, Yasui Y, et al. Pomegranate seed oil rich in conjugated linolenic acid suppresses chemically induced colon carcinogenesis in rats.Cancer Sci 2004;95(6):481-6.

Toi M, Bando H, Ramachandran C, et al. Preliminary studies on the anti-angiogenic potential of pomegranate fractions in vitro and in vivo. Angiogenesis 2003;6(2):121-8.

Kawaii S, Lansky EP. Differentiation-promoting activity of pomegranate (Punica granatum) fruit extracts in HL-60 human promyelocytic leukemia cells. J Med Food 2004;7(1):13-8. 5. Adams LS, Seeram NP, Aggarwal BB, et al: Pomegranate juice, total pomegranate ellagitannins, and punicalagin suppress inflammatory cell signaling in colon cancer cells. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemis ry 2006, 54:980-985. Toi M, Bando H, Ramachandran C, et al: Preliminary studies on the anti-angiogenic potential of pomegranate fractions in vitro and in vivo. Angiogenesis 2003, 6:121-128. Sartippour MR, Seeram NP, Rao JY, et al: Ellagitannin-rich pomegranate extract inhibits angiogenesis in prostate cancer in vitro and in vivo. Int J Oncol 2008, 32:475-480. Adams LS, Zhang Y, Seeram NP, et al: Pomegranate ellagitannin-derived compounds exhibit antiproliferative and antiaromatase activity in breast cancer cells in vitro. Cancer Prev Res (Phila) 2010, 3:108-113.

  1. Mori-Okamoto J, Otawara-Hamamoto Y, Yamato H, Yoshimura H. Pomegranate extract improves a depressive state and bone properties in menopausal syndrome model ovariectomized mice. J Ethnopharmacol 2004;92(1):93-101.