True Blue: How blueberries help reverse signs of aging

May 26, 2014 by  
Filed under Food News

Blueberries Reverse Aging(NaturalHealth365) With millions of baby boomers closing in on age 65, the American population is aging at an unprecedented rate. The Federal Interagency Forum on Aging-Related Statistics predicts that by 2030, boomers over age 65 will be 72 million strong.

As they enter their “golden years,” they will be accompanied by an increased vulnerability to age-related conditions such as osteoarthritis, Alzheimer’s disease, dementia and congestive heart failure.

Natural ways to prevent, even reverse degenerative disease

The good news is that a powerful weapon against degenerative diseases is already freely available, and sold by the pint. And you don’t even need to visit a pharmacy to obtain it – it can be found in the produce aisle of your local market.

Vaccinium myrtillus, otherwise known as the blueberry, has potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant capabilities. In fact, it has the highest score for antioxidant capacity per serving of all fruits, vegetables, herbs and spices tested to date – it’s no surprise that the USDA’s Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging has named blueberries one of the healthiest foods on the planet.

Blueberries are specifically designed to prevent disease

By reducing free radical and inflammatory damage in the brain, blueberries help to reverse the degenerative changes seen in aging neurons. Their ability to neutralize free radical damage in the collagen matrix of tissues helps them ward off degenerative and inflammatory diseases such as arthritis, while their bluish-reddish pigments, or anthocyanins, improve the integrity of support structures in the joints.

And, they can decrease the “stickiness” of blood platelets, making them important players in the fight against atherosclerosis.

Can blueberries improve cognitive function?

Numerous animal, test tube and human studies have all supported blueberries’ ability to reduce signs of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, alleviate age-related cognitive deficits and improve memory.

In a 2006 animal study published in Neurobiology of Aging, researchers found that blueberry extracts helped older rats regain their ability to generate heat shock protein 70 – a substance that protects against stress and inflammation in the brain.

While young rats generate this substance in abundance in response to stress, elderly rats typically produce very little. After the elderly rats’ diet was supplemented with blueberry extracts for 10 weeks, their heat shock response was restored to that of youthful, vigorous rats, leading researchers to conclude that the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects of blueberries could alleviate age-related cognitive deficits.

A year earlier, a study published in Pharmacological Research, had demonstrated that rats given blueberry extracts for 30 days had significant improvements in cognitive function, causing researchers to conclude that blueberries could be beneficial in preventing age-related memory deficits.

Another 2005 study, published in Nutrition and Neuroscience, showed that blueberry extracts are capable of crossing the blood brain barrier and localizing in the sections of the brain responsible for memory and learning. Significantly, the more blueberry extracts found in the cortex of the brain, the more pronounced the improvement in cognitive performance.

Can you prove that blueberries improve brain function?

Yes! In a small but controlled clinical study published in 2010 in Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, 12 weeks of daily consumption of wild blueberry juice caused improved recall, learning and comprehension in elderly volunteers who had been diagnosed with age-related memory changes. Researchers credited anthocyanins in blueberries with increasing neuronal signaling, and concluded that blueberries could afford cognitive benefits.

And the news keeps getting better…

Scientists have found that blueberries protect the endothelium, or inner cell wall of the arteries, thereby cutting atherosclerosis risk, and with it, the risk for heart attacks and strokes. Prevention of the oxidation of LDL cholesterol, and reducing the aggregation of platelets – two more of blueberries’ gifts – also help delay or avoid the onset of atherosclerosis.

In a study published in 2010 in Journal of Nutrition, blueberry powder given for 20 weeks caused rats to have smaller atherosclerotic lesions than those in the control group. Researchers noted that the blueberry powder boosted levels of antioxidant enzymes and reduced the oxidative stress and inflammation that contributes to atherosclerosis.

Blueberries and probiotics are a powerful combination

Blueberries protect against inflammatory digestive diseases, such as ulcerative colitis and IBS – especially when eaten with probiotic foods.

In a 2010 study conducted at Lund University Faculty of Engineering in Sweden, researchers found that the protective effects of blueberries against ulcerative colitis were even more pronounced when the berries were eaten along with probiotics, such as the lactobacillus found in live yogurt cultures.

Combining blueberries and probiotics cut down the numbers of inflammation-promoting bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract, and also raised blood levels of immune system-boosting butyric and proprionic acids.

What are the best blueberries to eat for health benefits?

Wild blueberries score highest for antioxidants and polyphenols, but farm-grown, cultivated blueberries aren’t too far behind. If you have access to wild blueberry plants, it can be very rewarding to harvest your own. Naturally, take care that the berries have been properly identified, and that the area is free of pesticides and animal waste.

Many small, local blueberry farms allow you to pick your own berries; if this isn’t feasible, look for fresh, organic blueberries at your local market or produce stand. Select berries with intense, violet-blue coloration and a whitish “bloom” on the surface. Berries should be firm, plump and intact, and should move freely in their container when it’s shaken.

Avoid washing blueberries until right before you are ready to eat them, and opt for raw, whole berries rather than those that have been cooked, stewed or preserved; heating them can lower their anthocyanin levels.

However, if you’ve picked or purchased too many berries, don’t hesitate to freeze them. Repeated experiments have shown that frozen blueberries retain virtually all their beneficial phytochemicals. And, finally, fresh, unwashed blueberries may be stored in the refrigerator in a tightly sealed container for up to three days.

Fresh blueberries, one of the gustatory pleasures of summer, are more than just a sweet, refreshing snack – researchers have shown that this superfood can help protect against chronic and degenerative disease. As an entire generation prepares to transition from “middle-aged” to “elderly,” the timing couldn’t be better.

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References:
http://www.agingstats.gov/agingstatsdotnet/Main_Site/Data/2012_Documents/Population.aspx
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15869824
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/02/100208145055.htm
http://www.lef.org/magazine/mag2005/dec2005_supp_blueberry_01.htm
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/09/100929105701.htm
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20047325;

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Traditional raw milk cheeses protect against pathogens

May 19, 2014 by  
Filed under Food News

Health Benefits of Raw Milk Cheese(NaturalHealth365) For centuries, traditional cheeses such as authentic French Brie, goat’s milk cheese and blue cheese have been treasured by gourmands for their rich, distinct flavors. Now, a new French study shows that cheeses made from raw, unpasteurized milk offer not only superb taste but protection against pathogens.

In the study, published in the May 2014 edition of International Journal of Food Microbiology, French researchers found that the presence of specific microbiota in raw milk, along with the use of time-honored cheese-making techniques, protected traditional AOP cheeses from contamination by pathogens.

What are traditional AOP cheeses?

In order to be designated “traditional,” the cheese must be produced in a limited geographical area and made with specific techniques that have been passed from generation to generation. It also must be made using milk that has undergone little or no processing after being taken from the cow or goat. Cheeses classified as “artisan” have been made on location where the animals are milked.

An AOP cheese is one that has earned the certification “Appellation d’Origine Protégé,” which guarantees it is made in a specific region using agreed-upon techniques.

To enjoy truly authentic French Brie cheese, however, you may have to travel to France. Since 1985, the FDA has required that cheeses must be pasteurized or aged 60 days before being imported to the United States.

Raw milk cheese has built-in protection from microbes

Raw milk contains 300 species of bacteria, along with at least 70 different yeasts. It is these native microorganisms that provide traditional cheese with specific flavors, and that confer unique protection as well.

Researchers noted that surfaces of the wood used to prepare traditional raw milk AOP cheese were coated with a complex biofilm that inhibited such disease-causing microbes as salmonella, Listeria m., E. coli and staphylococcus aureus. The team concluded that when raw milk cheese is prepared properly and according to traditional techniques, there is little risk of contamination by pathogens.

Raw milk can protect against allergies and asthma.

The incidence of allergies has been rising sharply in developed counties all over the world, and 54.3 percent of the United States population currently suffers from allergic reactions – a fact which makes the studies on raw milk and allergy protection particularly significant.

In an epidemiological study published in 2011 in American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology, researchers found that farm children who consumed raw milk early in life were less likely to have asthma and hay fever than children who grew up in urban areas, or in rural areas but not on working farms.

The team theorized that whey proteins, particularly alpha-lactalbumin and lactoferrin, were responsible, and credited lactoferrin with having not only pathogen-inhibiting qualities but the ability to stimulate and regulate immune system cells, both in the cheese making process and in the stomach.

Heated or boiled farm milk and commercial milk do not have the same protective effects.

A second study, published in April 2012 in Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, replicated the results of the first; researchers found that raw milk and allergies were inversely associated among Amish children in northern Indiana.

However, the scientists did not go so far as to recommend the consumption of raw milk, noting that many pathogens – including staphylococci , Listeria, pseudomonas and enterobacteriaceae – were present in the raw farm milk used in the studies.

Instead, they noted the protective effect on children who were already consuming it regularly, and expressed their hope of finding a way to process a milk that would be both preventive and completely safe.

Should I switch to raw milk and cheese?

The consumption of raw milk and cheese is a controversial topic, and the availability of these products varies from region to region. Currently, only 28 states allow their sale. In states that allow it, raw cheese and milk may be purchased directly from farmers or through food buying groups.

Adherents say that raw milk’s beneficial bacteria colonize the digestive tract and create an unfriendly environment for pathogens, while its lack of pasteurization causes it to contain more vitamins and natural enzymes than “shop” milk.

Foes of raw milk point to the dangers of infectious disease, arising from the fact that human pathogens can be found in up to 12.6 percent of raw milk samples. Of course, the Food and Drug Administration strongly discourages the consumption of raw milk.

In the end, it is a decision only you can make.

Raw milk cheese is a delicious and nutrition-rich food that carries unique risks and benefits. Check with your doctor before trying it, especially if you are pregnant or have a medical condition.

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References:
http://www.mnhlrp.org/images/RawMilkStudy.pdf
http://download.journals.elsevierhealth.com/pdfs/journals/0091-6749/PIIS0091674912005192.pdf
http://download.journals.elsevierhealth.com/pdfs/journals/0091-6749/PIIS0091674912005192.pdf
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/05/140516092120.htm

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Watermelon reduces blood pressure and prevents heart disease

May 11, 2014 by  
Filed under Food News

Watermelon Reduces Blood Pressure(NaturalHealth365) Cardiovascular disease is currently the leading cause of death in the United States, and factors that contribute to it – such as obesity and high blood pressure – are endemic. One in three Americans is obese, and 60 percent of all Americans either have high blood pressure or are at risk of developing it.

New research suggest that watermelon can reduce the risk of heart disease.

In a study published in the April, 2014 edition of American Journal of Hypertension, researchers found that watermelon extracts significantly reduced blood pressure in overweight adults. And, the hypotensive effect held true whether the volunteers were under stress or at rest.

The volunteers were divided into two groups, with one receiving placebo and the other receiving L-citrulline and L-arginine – both amino acids derived from watermelon. They were then exposed to conditions that simulated the stress of being in cold weather, which can make the heart work harder and cause blood pressure to rise – the reason that obese, hypertensive people are at increased risk of stroke and heart attack when exposed to the cold.

Researchers found that the watermelon extracts reduced aortic blood pressure and myocardial oxygen demand – even when the volunteers were under cold-induced stress – and concluded that watermelon extracts provide cardioprotection by reducing overload to the heart, causing it to work more easily during stressful situations.

Science says watermelon is good for the heart

This was not the first study in which watermelon extracts performed well in lowering blood pressure.

In a six-week clinical study published in 2010 in American Journal of Hypertension, L-citrulline and L-arginine from watermelon improved arterial function and lowered aortic blood pressure in middle-aged subjects who were prehypertensive, or at risk for developing high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease.

Researchers concluded that watermelon’s vasodilatory effects qualified it as a functional food – meaning one that has been scientifically shown to prevent disease and promote health.

How exactly does watermelon lower blood pressure?

Animal studies have also supported the ability of watermelon to prevent heart disease. In a 2011 study performed at University of Kentucky, watermelon significantly reduced atherosclerotic lesions in mice, while reducing weight and body fat and lowering levels of unhealthy LDL cholesterol.

The key to watermelon’s hypotensive powers lie in the fact it contains more citrulline than any other food on the planet. Citrulline, an amino acid produced in the body from glutamine, helps convert toxic ammonia to urea.

Another feature of citrulline is that it can be used by the body to make arginine, which produces the nitric oxide vital to maintaining healthy vascular tone and blood pressure.

Watermelon is also rich in lycopene – an antioxidant carotenoid that can help scavenge harmful free radicals that contribute to heart disease – as well as the antioxidant vitamin C and A. In addition, a compound in watermelon called cucurbitacin E has potent anti-inflammatory effects, and can help combat the inflammation that has been linked with many serious diseases.

How much watermelon is best for me?

Due to watermelon’s sweet, delicate taste and refreshing texture, consuming this functional superfood should present no hardship. Look for organic, fresh, fully ripened watermelon, which can contain as much as 250 milligrams of citrulline per cup. For maximum health benefits, the flesh should be a deep, vibrant red; unripe or pinkish-white watermelon contains virtually no lycopene.

When buying whole watermelons, look for firm, smooth, intact rinds, with a yellowish “ground spot” where the melon has been resting on the earth. Whole, uncut watermelon should be kept at 50 to 60 degrees Fahrenheit, while cut watermelon should be refrigerated in a sealed container.

Some natural health experts recommend taking citrulline malate supplements to help with high blood pressure and arterial stiffness, especially for those who are overweight, elderly or diabetic. Discuss this with your holistically-minded doctor – who can advise you as to proper dosage.

With new research supporting its heart-healthy qualities, there’s no reason not to indulge in slices of sweet, luscious watermelon this summer. Enjoy!

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References:
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/10/101013173847.htm
http://ajh.oxfordjournals.org/content/24/1/40
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24572702
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/10/111027125153.htm

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Is Whole Foods Market and Coca-Cola lying?

May 6, 2014 by  
Filed under Food News

Food Labeling Fraud Exposed(NaturalHealth365) Most health conscious consumers already know that food labeling and advertising campaigns like Milk Does the Body Good can be deceptive – to say the least. But, when food labeling ‘inaccuracies’ endanger public health – that ought to be called criminal.

For example, my most recent trip to Whole Foods Market motivated me to sound the alarm. I asked an employee, ’does Garden of Life RAW Protein contain a high level of heavy metals?’ The answer was no.

Keep in mind, according to Garden of Life:

”It’s not only what RAW Protein contains, it’s also about what it doesn’t contain – there are no fillers, no artificial flavors and no synthetic ingredients and it’s gluten-free and dairy-free.

So for those looking for highly nutritious, nutrient-dense, easily digestible, high quality protein nutrition, look no further than RAW Protein from Garden of Life.”

Food labeling deception can cause serious health problems

According to Mike Adams – an investigative journalist, internet activist and science lab director – if a Whole Foods employee says, “We don’t sell proteins containing heavy metals,” – they are LYING to you.

And, that’s my point, we – as consumers – have a right to know what’s in our food. Just like my recent story about U.S. government politicians looking to block GMO labeling laws – we should never allow any food producer, seller or politicians to hide food ingredients from us. And, why on Earth are highly-toxic heavy metals allowed to be sold in foods?!

Just to be clear, if Garden of Life RAW Protein powders are loaded with excessive amounts of heavy metals and Whole Foods continues to sell these products without informing its customers…that’s dishonest and unacceptable.

My question is simple – what will Garden of Life and Whole Foods Market do about this issue?

Coca-Cola slammed by the courts for lying to its customers

U.S. food regulatory agencies routinely allow brands, such as Coke, to name its juice blend ‘Pomegranate Blueberry’ – the two ingredients that provide flavor – but are present only in small quantities. In fact, the juice is really made up of inexpensive apple juice.

There are many people who buy pomegranate juice for its health benefits. When they buy the Minute Maid pomegranate-blueberry juice (owned by Coca-Cola) – they are getting less than one half of one percent pomegranate juice.

Real pomegranate-rich juice can provide a number of health benefits such as preventing plaque from forming in the arteries, improving blood flow to the heart, lowering blood pressure and inhibiting cancers of the prostate, breast or colon.

Apple juice is low in antioxidant capacity and pomegranate juice is high in antioxidant capacity. You don’t want to be fooled into thinking you are consuming something that provides all of the above benefits – when it doesn’t.

Let’s talk about what’s really at stake

Coca-Cola and POM Pomegranate Juice are in the center of a food labeling fight. In a market dominated by food products with deceptive labels, the Supreme Court is going to be the statutory interpreter how business may label a wide variety of products.

Companies can peddle health claims without any scientific proof of the claims and worst of all without more than a drop of the said ingredient. No surprise, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has cleared the way for this practice.

Now it will be up to the Supreme Court whether a lawsuit brought by POM against Coke has merit. The lawsuit is about if Coke is using deceptive labels on its Minute Maid pomegranate-blueberry juice blend.

POM’s lawyer, Seth Waxman, declared during the oral arguments, “What’s misleading consumers here is they have no way on God’s green earth of telling that the total amount of blueberry and pomegranate juice in this product can be dispensed with a single eyedropper.”

He went on to say, “It amounts to a teaspoon in a half gallon.” The Coca-Cola beverage under attack – called “Pomegranate Blueberry” – contained 0.3 percent pomegranate juice, 0.2 percent blueberry juice, and 99.4 percent apple juice.

Naturally, Coca-Cola defended its label, claiming that it is approved under the FDA’s Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act. The Justice Department actually backs Coke in saying POM doesn’t have a case.

Marketing deception throughout the juice industry

Pure pomegranate juice is expensive; however companies – other than POM – keep prices low by using pomegranate juice as a flavoring rather than as the main ingredient. POM sued a host of these companies for falsely advertising the pomegranate characteristics of their juices.

Another case was when Pom Wonderful tried to sue Ocean Spray. POM alleged, in 2009, that Ocean Spray’s Cran-Pomegranate juice contains only a trace amount (2 percent) of actual pomegranate juice and is instead primarily a blend of cheaper grape and apple “filler” juices.

POM contended that Ocean Spray purchasers are duped into believing they will achieve the health benefits of pomegranate consumption when, in reality, the beverage contains pomegranate juice for flavoring purposes only.

Why would anyone buy Ocean Spray juice for health?

At trial, POM told the jury that a consumer would have to drink 50 glasses of Ocean Spray’s juice to match the amount of pomegranate in one glass of POM’s juice.

Attorneys said if Ocean Spray was let off the hook for marketing a deceptive drink to consumers, it would send a message to the juice industry that it’s okay to mislead and confuse the public with advertising claims. POM lost the case and so did the consumer.

The POM litigation joins a growing list of food product misbranding claims. These cases pose such issues as whether Kashi cereals can properly be advertised as “natural,” given the complex cereal manufacturing processes involved, or whether ’high fructose corn syrup’ is appropriately classified as ‘corn sugar.’

I’ve even been told, by a manager at Whole Foods Market, that GMO corn is ‘natural’ because it comes from corn. (I’m not kidding)

The Coca-Cola case could have far-reaching effects on how foods are labeled. The food and beverage industry is concerned that a ruling in favor of POM could bring on more litigation against food companies and create new label requirements.

If the court sides with Coca-Cola, then it will be business like usual. Which means – companies will go on asserting that the ingredient they use to flavor a product, no matter how little they use, can justify the bold letters it uses on the label to sucker consumers into buying its products.

Bottom line, the FDA should NEVER allow consumers to be deceived by food producers. If our justice system wants to uphold its integrity, when it comes to consumer rights and safety issues, it must always rule in favor of the consumer and hold any corporation liable for deceptive business practices. And, of course, never forget the importance of boycotting fraudulent companies that do not support human health.

Knowledge is power and your purchasing dollars have tremendous influence in creating a better world.

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Jonathan LandsmanAbout the author: Jonathan Landsman is the host of NaturalHealth365.com, the NaturalNews Talk Hour – a free, weekly health show and the NaturalNews Inner Circle – a monthly subscription to the brightest minds in natural health and healing.

Reaching hundreds of thousands of people, worldwide, as a personal health consultant, writer and radio talk show host – Jonathan has been educating the public on the health benefits of an organic (non-GMO) diet along with high-quality supplementation and healthy lifestyle habits including exercise and meditation.

References:
http://www.gardenoflife.com/Products-for-Life/Foundational-Nutrition/RAW-Protein.aspx
http://www.naturalnews.com/045008_Whole_Foods_rice_proteins_toxic_heavy_metals.html
http://www.fool.com/investing/general/2014/04/24/is-coca-cola-trying-to-juice-sales-with-deceptive.aspx
http://www.forbes.com/sites/michaelbobelian/2014/04/22/supreme-court-asked-to-referee-dispute-between-coca-cola-and-pom
http://seattlebusinessmag.com/article/wheres-juice
http://www.courtroomstrategy.com/2014/04/pom-v-c

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Green tomatoes build stronger muscles and bones

April 28, 2014 by  
Filed under Food News

Green Tomatoes Strengthen Bone(NaturalHealth365) When you think of the food that athletic people consume to build muscle mass, unripened tomatoes probably aren’t at the top of the list. But, thanks to newly-released research from the University of Iowa, that may be about to change.

In a study published April 9, 2014 in Journal of Biological Chemistry, researchers found that tomatidine – from green tomatoes – helped to build larger, stronger muscles, increase exercise endurance and reduce body fat in mice. The compound also helped to prevent muscle wasting, or atrophy.

Muscle atrophy – caused by injuries, disease and aging – affects 50 million Americans a year, and can drastically impair physical activity – making people more susceptible to falls and broken bones. Tomatidine’s abilities to protect against falls may spell good news for an aging population.

How does tomatidine increase muscle size and strength?

According to researchers, tomatidine – a by-product of the body’s digestion of the alpha-tomatine found in tomatoes – is a “small molecule” inhibitor of atrophy, stimulating signaling in a way that causes protein and mitochondria to build up and create muscle growth. These changes in gene expression are the mirror opposite of what takes place in muscle cells during atrophy, giving rise to hopes that this natural compound can protect against – and even treat – the condition.

Also interesting to note is the fact that the mice did not gain weight, although muscle mass increased. Researchers attributed this to a corresponding loss of body fat, and speculated that tomatidine could have potential applications in weight management and treatment of obesity.

Although more study is needed to explore the ways in which tomatidine works on people, this promising research points up one of the many ways in which tomatoes – both ripened and unripened – can benefit your health. Tomatidine can be obtained from both red and green tomatoes, although it is more plentiful in the latter; including fresh, organic tomatoes in your diet may help you avail yourself of their muscle-building effects.

Green tomatoes help to create stronger bones

Unlike other fruits and vegetables, tomatoes contain a full complement of nutrients even when not yet ripe. Green tomatoes are rich in the antioxidant vitamins E and C, as well as antioxidant flavonones such as naringenin, also found in oranges and other citrus fruits.

Flavonols such as quercetin and kaempferol, and carotenoids – including lutein, xeaxanthin, beta-carotene and lycopene – add even more antioxidant impact, scavenging free radicals and preventing harmful lipid peroxidation.

While antioxidants are most commonly credited with reducing the risk of heart disease, their protective effect on bone cells and tissues can’t be overstated.

In a study published in 2011 in the Journal of Nutrition, Health and Aging, tomatoes and other sources of lycopene were removed from the diets of postmenopausal women for 4 weeks, after which researchers measured for levels of antioxidant enzymes and markers of oxidative stress.

What they found – increased signs of oxidative stress in the bones and deleterious changes in bone tissue – led them to conclude that the removal of lycopene-rich foods from the diet raises the risk of osteoporosis in post-menopausal women.

With 14.22 micrograms of vitamin K per cup, green tomatoes may help to increase bone density

Vitamin K, in addition to being essential to proper blood clotting, helps the body utilize calcium to build bone. University of Maryland Medical Center reports that higher levels of vitamin K are associated with greater bone density and reduced risk of fractures, and credits the nutrient with helping to prevent the development of osteoporosis.

The same cup of green tomatoes also offers up 43.20 milligrams of the essential mineral phosphorus, another key player in the growth, maintenance and repair of bones.

Healthy advice for stronger bones and muscles

Look for fresh, organic green tomatoes, choosing those that are firm and rounded and avoiding any with cracks, cuts or soft spots. It is particularly important to buy organic if you are choosing cherry tomatoes because conventionally-grown cherry tomatoes are one of the top 12 offenders in the fruit and vegetable category for the presence of toxic pesticides.

Although all varieties of tomatoes are virtual storehouses of lycopene and other antioxidants, the ‘New Girl’, ‘Jet Star’, ‘Fantastic’ and ‘First Lady’ cultivars as particularly rich in these beneficial micronutrients.

While green tomatoes are perfectly safe to eat in moderation, you should avoid consuming them in large quantities. Alpha-tomatine, when taken in excessive amounts, can cause flu-like symptoms and gastrointestinal distress.

Tomatoes belong to the nightshade family, along with peppers and tomatoes; some people report worsening of inflammatory conditions after eating them. Naturally, as with any food, an allergic reaction to tomatoes is possible; and sensitivity to potatoes or peppers makes a reaction more likely.

If you aren’t a fan of the taste of green tomatoes, no worries – red, fully ripened tomatoes also contain their share of lycopene and alpha-tomatine. Whether pastel green or ruby red — flavorful, succulent tomatoes offer a bonanza of powerful benefits for muscles and bones. Enjoy them in good health.

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References:
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21365167
http://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/supplement/vitamin-k
http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=44
http://www.jbc.org/content/early/2014/04/09/jbc.M114.556241.abstract

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Eating raw sauerkraut prevents cancer

April 27, 2014 by  
Filed under Food News

Anticancer Benefits of Sauerkraut(NaturalHealth365) Sauerkraut, that familiar hot dog condiment, may not have the beauty of garnet-colored raspberries or the sweet, refreshing flavor of tropical fruits. But the latest scientific research tells us that freshly-made organic sauerkraut is a true superfood that boosts the immune system, promotes intestinal health, and helps to prevent cancer in many ways.

How does sauerkraut prevent cancer?

Cabbage, the cruciferous vegetable from which sauerkraut is made, is already valued by natural food experts and nutritionists for its sky-high amounts of anticarcinogenic bioactive compounds. In fact, the glucosinolates in cabbage help to activate the body’s own antioxidants – which in turn fight the lipid oxidation and inflammation that can trigger cancer and heart disease.

Additionally, the process of lacto-fermentation involved in turning cabbage to sauerkraut produces beneficial bacteria and unleashes even more potent anti-inflammatory cancer-fighting substances – taking the health benefits to a whole new level and helping to ward off cancers of the prostate, bladder and breast.

Lactic fermentation helps to ward off cancer

According to author and natural health expert Sandor Ellix Katz, the process of lactic fermentation not only preserves the nutrients in food, but breaks them down so they are even more healthful and easily digested. But what, exactly, is lactic fermentation, and why is it beneficial?

Although the term sounds somewhat technical, it is actually the natural result of layering shredded cabbage in water with salt, then letting existing bacteria on the cabbage do the work. The end product – sauerkraut – contains more live probiotic cultures than yogurt.

One result of lacto-fermentation is to create large amounts of beneficial lactobacillus bacteria, which support friendly flora in the intestinal tract. Another is the release of isothiocyanate compounds, from existing glucosinolate; it is these isothiocyanates that have shown such pronounced anticarcinogenic effects in cell, laboratory and human studies.

Impressive science behind the benefits of sauerkraut

In an October 2002 article in Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, researchers announced that they had isolated isothiocyanates in sauerkraut, and that these compounds had cancer-protective effects in animal studies. They added that clinical research would be required to determine if these effects extended to humans.

In the twelve years since the article was published, many studies on sauerkraut and sauerkraut juice show that it lowers cancer risk in humans – particularly for cancers of the breast and colon.

In a study published in 2011 in British Journal of Nutrition, researchers noted that the detoxifying enzymes in sauerkraut juice have an anticarcinogenic effect on kidney and liver cancer cells, and added that sauerkraut juice increased levels of glutathione-S-transferase – considered a chemoprotective agent.

Sauerkraut’s probiotic cultures attack cancer cells.

In a review published in 2006 in Journal of Applied Microbiology, researchers stated that lactic acid bacteria could prevent certain types of cancer – including colon and bladder cancer – and categorized the ways in which probiotic cultures help to torpedo cancer cell development.

Not only do probiotic cultures detoxify ingested carcinogens and stimulate the immune system, they also create an environment hostile to carcinogenic compounds. Specifically, they create organic compounds – including butyrate – that inhibit the growth of tumors and encourage the apoptosis, or programmed cell death, of cancer cells.

The authors theorized that probiotic cultures may also suppress bacteria responsible for turning procarcinogens to carcinogens, and added that lactobacillus could bind to mutagenic compounds in the intestine.

What is the best type of sauerkraut to prevent cancer?

Buy only sauerkraut that is freshly made, raw, unpasteurized and organic; your best bet is to look for it in the refrigerated aisle of local markets or farmers markets. Avoid canned sauerkraut, which offers far fewer nutrients and probiotic benefits.

Most experts recommend consuming at least 1 and ½ cups of sauerkraut 4 to 5 times a week; 2-cup servings, of course, are even healthier.

One cautionary note: raw sauerkraut produces raffinose, a trisaccharide that can’t be broken down in the intestine. Bloating and flatulence can result, but should subside as your body becomes accustomed to this healthful food.

Fresh lacto-fermented sauerkraut, packed with cancer-fighting compounds and antioxidants and high in healthful dietary fiber, is a superb nutritional choice.

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References:
http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/ptr.3692/abstract?deniedAccessCustomisedMessage=&userIsAuthenticated=false
http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1365-2672.2006.02963.x/full
http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=19
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21092375

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Breaking news: Chickpeas reduce food cravings

April 23, 2014 by  
Filed under Food News

Chickpeas Reduce Food Cravings(NaturalHealth365) Breaking scientific research now credits the humble chickpea with the ability to help prevent heart disease and reduce food cravings. According to a study published in the April 7th edition of the Canadian Medical Association Journal, a single ¾-cup serving of chickpeas, lentils or beans a day lowers levels of harmful LDL cholesterol by as much as 5 percent, leading to a 5 to 6 percent reduction in the risk of cardiovascular disease.

Researchers examined 26 clinical trials involving over 1,000 people to obtain the results, which confirmed what many natural food experts have known all along – chickpeas are a true ‘superfood’, possessing healing and life-prolonging capabilities.

Chickpeas, scientifically known as Cicer arietinum and also called garbanzo beans and “Egyptian peas,” have been consumed for at least 7,000 years. With a delicate, nutty flavor and a creamy consistency, chickpeas are a key ingredient in hummus and falafel, and a staple of Mediterranean and Asian diets – both acknowledged by dietitians to be healthier than the standard American diet.

Yet, consumers in the United States seem to find it difficult to warm up to chickpeas, as well as their close cousins: lentils, beans and peas. A mere half a serving per day is the average national intake – woefully inadequate when it comes to accessing all the health benefits of this amazing food.

Chickpeas appear to influence other food choices

In a study published in 2010 in Appetite, 42 volunteers consumed their normal diet for 4 weeks, then ate a chickpea-supplemented diet for 12 weeks, then returned to their habitual diet for 4 weeks more.

Researchers found that the volunteers consumed fewer processed foods – as well as less food overall – during the chickpea weeks. In addition, they reported feeling “fuller” – although they were eating less – and reported more satisfaction with their diet in general, along with improvements in bowel function.

The healthier food choices appeared to be automatic, with no conscious effort by the volunteers. It is almost as if the act of eating wholesome chickpeas creates an appetite for other healthy foods, while reducing cravings for “empty” calories and highly-processed fare. When the subjects stopped eating chickpeas, however, their consumption of processed foods increased.

Chickpeas have been shown to stabilize blood sugar

Chickpeas’ optimal amounts of protein, fiber, vitamins and minerals promote blood sugar control and improve insulin resistance. In fact, chickpeas are a low glycemic food – which assist in stabilizing blood sugar.

In a study published in 2007 in British Journal of Nutrition, researchers found that a diet supplemented with chickpeas reduced visceral fat and improved insulin resistance in rats with laboratory-induced obesity. They concluded that a chickpea-rich diet could help prevent the onset of diabetes.

Chickpeas improve thyroid and immune function

Just one cup of cooked chickpeas contains 14.53 grams of protein – almost twice as much as a cup of whole milk – and a whopping 12 grams of dietary fiber. The serving also provides 70 percent of the daily value of folate, or vitamin B-9 – essential to proper brain function and mental and emotional health.

In addition, there are sky-high levels – nearly triple the daily value – of the mineral molybdenum, which means that chickpeas can help offer protection against cancers of the stomach and esophagus. A cup of chickpeas also contains 40 percent of the daily value of phosphorus, vital for maintenance and repair of healthy bones and production of RNA and DNA, and 20 percent of zinc, an important antioxidant crucial for immune function and thyroid health.

High-protein, fiber-rich, low –fat plus salt, sugar and cholesterol-free, chickpeas – at a modest 268 calories a cup – offer perfectly balanced nutrition.

Reduce inflammation with superfood nutrition

Like other superfoods, chickpeas contain potent phytochemicals that scavenge free radicals, prevent oxidation of fat, and reduce the inflammation that is implicated in many chronic serious diseases, including cancer , heart disease and arthritis.

The chickpea’s outer seed coat is rich in the antioxidants quercetin, kaempferol and myricetin, while the cotyledon – a fancy way of saying the internal fleshy part of the chickpea – features antioxidant phenolic compounds, including caffeic, vanillic and ferulic acids.

Chickpeas’ 25 percent content of soluble fiber contributes cardio-protective effects, while their 75 percent content of insoluble fiber helps to ward off cancer. Just one word of caution: these healthful dietary fibers can cause digestive disturbances, including bloating, gas, diarrhea or constipation. As your body becomes accustomed to a higher fiber intake, symptoms usually subside. Also, to prevent digestive upset, always chew well.

How do I select and prepare chickpeas?

Look for organic chickpeas, either dried or canned. Although light tan, “desi-type” chickpeas are more common in the United States, brown or black “kabuli-style” chickpeas are even richer in antioxidants; choose these whenever possible. Store dried chickpeas in an airtight container in a dark, dry, cool place. To prepare fresh chickpeas, simply soak them in water for at least four hours; rinse well and cook as you would any other bean.

Canned chickpeas, more convenient to prepare and use, retain most of their disease-fighting nutrients. Rinse them thoroughly for one minute before using, especially if the label shows salt or other additives.

You can puree chickpeas with olive oil, garlic, fresh lemon juice and tahini to make hummus; ramp up flavor even more by adding pine nuts, mint, parsley or roasted red peppers. Sprinkle chickpeas with your favorite spices and nibble them out of hand as a snack, stir them into pasta and rice dishes, casseroles and soups, or add them liberally to salads.

Tasty, inexpensive, and versatile, chickpeas are a truly wise dietary choice – and one that offers a veritable “jackpot” of nutrition and health.

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References:
http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=58
http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=nutrientprofile&dbid=68
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19945492
http://www.everynutrient.com/molybdenum.html
http://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/supplement/vitamin-b9-folic-acid
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/04/140407122749.htm
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17666145

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Sunflower seeds boost tryptophan levels and heart health

April 21, 2014 by  
Filed under Food News

Seeds for Cardiovascular Health(NaturalHealth365) In spite of scientific advances, heart disease is still the leading cause of death for Americans. Yet, experts tell us, many cases of cardiovascular disease are preventable, with simple lifestyle changes – such as a healthier diet – to help lower the risk.

Do you crave ‘junky’ foods? The seeds of a cheerful, hardy summer flower – scientifically known as Helianthus annuum – offer a tasty alternative to junk foods such as potato chips and cookies, and can help you redirect your cravings towards healthier fare.

Sunflower seeds – with their crunchy, pleasing texture and mildly sweet, buttery taste – are a virtually perfect snack food. They are not only packed with essential micronutrients and antioxidants, but are also rich in natural plant oils that work together to ward off heart disease.

Why are sunflower seeds good for the heart?

In addition to polyunsaturated linoleic acid, sunflower seeds contain oleic acid – an extremely beneficial monounsaturated acid that is also found in such heart-healthy treats as olives and avocados. Oleic acid helps to lower harmful LDL cholesterol while raising amounts of desirable HDL cholesterol.

In addition, animal studies have shown that a diet high in oleic acid can help reverse the negative effects of inflammatory cytokines. As inflammation triggers many serious diseases – including heart disease and cancer – this bodes well for sunflower seeds’ ability to promote coronary health.

Can oleic acid prevent heart disease?

The simple answer is yes. In a study published in 2004 in Nutrition, omega-3 polyunsaturated acids, including oleic acid, decreased the risk of cardiovascular disease. Oleic acid also lowered unhealthy LDL cholesterol and decreased concentrations of vascular cell adhesion molecules, making cells less ‘sticky’ – and reducing risk of atherosclerosis, strokes, blood clots and heart disease.

Sunflower seeds have been shown to boost immunity

Sunflower seeds are rich in amino acids, organic compounds essential to the production of protein. In addition to their role as “building blocks” of protein, amino acids can help to prevent the buildup of body fat and boost the immune system; they can also benefit the heart in a variety of ways.

A mere quarter of a cup – about 35 grams – of sunflower seeds contains an impressive .70 grams of arginine – which can increase the elasticity of arteries while decreasing vascular resistance. By helping to keep blood vessels dilated, arginine enhances blood flow, helping to prevent the development of coronary artery disease.

Sunflower seeds also offer healthy amounts of tryptophan. Many people know that tryptophan can promote restful sleep and reduce anxiety and mood swings; not as well known is the fact that tryptophan is a potent antioxidant that can scavenge harmful free radicals in the body.

Glutamic acid, also found in sunflower seeds, benefits the cardiovascular system as well. In a 2009 study published in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association, researchers found that this amino acid can significantly lower blood pressure.

Good things come in small packages

The same quarter-cup serving of sunflower seeds contains over 80 percent of the adult daily value of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory vitamin E – which helps protect against the oxidation of cholesterol, a major factor in heart disease. Sunflower seeds are also high in selenium, a terrific antioxidant – especially when taken in conjunction with vitamin E. Sunflower seeds also contain healthy levels of magnesium – which helps to regulate blood pressure, and niacin – which boosts levels of desirable high-density lipoproteins.

With 204 calories to a quarter-cup, sunflower seeds are not a low-cal food. However, one serving offers the same amount of protein as an 8-oz. container of yogurt; sunflower seeds’ exemplary amounts of vitamins, minerals, micronutrients and protein make them a very good caloric investment. In addition, they are naturally high in heart-healthy dietary fiber – which leads to a feeling of satiety, and can help prevent overeating.

Choosing the best sunflower seeds

It doesn’t much matter if you buy your sunflower seeds shelled or unshelled; the important thing is that they be organic. Unshelled sunflower seeds should feel crisp and firm; avoid any that appear limp, soggy or withered.

Shelled sunflower seeds should be grayish-white, and have a fresh, clean fragrance; if they are visibly yellowed, this could mean that they are rancid. Unshelled seeds may be stored at room temperature in an airtight container, while shelled seeds should be refrigerated.

You can use these versatile seeds to add flavor and texture to rice, pasta, tabouleh or casserole dishes. Sprinkle them over green salads, stir them into oatmeal, or use them to enliven chicken salad. Highly portable and convenient to eat, sunflower seeds are perfect for quick energy on the hiking trail, or for an afternoon pick-me-up at your desk.

With almost every constituent working together to ward off coronary disease, it is almost as if sunflower seeds have been divinely engineered towards the goal of protecting your heart. All you have to do is nibble away and enjoy.

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References:
http://circ.ahajournals.org/content/120/3/221
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15165614
http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=57
http://www.lipidworld.com/content/8/1/25
http://www.cdc.gov/dhdsp/data_statistics/fact_sheets/fs_heart_disease.htm
http://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/supplement/selenium

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Omega-3 warnings and solutions to avoid disease

April 16, 2014 by  
Filed under Food News

Vegan Sources of Omega-3(NaturalHealth365) Are you Omega-3 deficient? According to an overwhelming abundance of scientific data – the answer (for most people) is yes. Low Omega-3 intake is directly associated with arthritis, brain disorders, hypertension plus many other cardiovascular issues.

So, how can we prevent this risk to our health?

The answer is really quite simple – stop eating too many Omega-6 rich foods. The typical ‘modern’ diet offers way too many Omega-6 fatty acids – by way of conventionally-produced meats and overly-processed foods – which actually inhibits the conversion of Omega-3 into DHA and EPA. In fact, the typical American diet has about 20 times more Omega-6 fatty acids versus Omega-3 fatty acids, and this sets the stage for disease.

How does Omega-3 deficiency damage the body?

Simply put, low Omega-3 intake tends to promote inflammation – the root cause of most degenerative diseases. Think about all those bagels, potato chips, crackers, French fries and the overabundance of processed, vegetable oils in packaged food items. Obviously, over time, all these foods create nutritional deficiencies that damage the circulatory system and brain cells.

Most people tend to think that a good source of Omega-3 fatty acids come from fish, dairy and meats. But, especially these days, one has to consider the quality of the food and its source. When choosing animal food – look for pasture-raised (grass fed) beef and dairy products. Remember, the healthier the animal – the better the Omega-6 to Omega-3 ratio.

Bottom line: Most people eat way too many vegetable oils – high in Omega-6 – and there is significant evidence that this can cause serious harm. People who eat a non-industrialized, organic fresh foods diet have an Omega-6 to Omega-3 ratio of about 4:1 to 1:4 – plus a much lower risk for developing life-threatening diseases.

Is it dangerous to be a vegetarian?

Without getting into a debate, the truth is vegetarians can consume adequate amounts of essential fatty acids – in the right proportion. Like anyone else, it just takes a little thought in making the right decision.

Not surprisingly, flax seeds top the list in terms of best vegetarian choices of Omega-3. In fact, just one ounce of flax seed contains 6388mg of Omega 3 and only 1655mg of Omega 6. In addition, just one tablespoon of flax oil can deliver 7196mg of Omega 3.

Looking for more healthy choices? Try adding some chia seed to your diet. Often touted for its ability to improve physical strength and endurance – one ounce of chia seeds gives us 4915mg of Omega 3 but just 1620mg of Omega 6. Especially for diabetics, chia seeds will help to improve insulin sensitivity.

Where else can I get Omega-3 rich foods?

Walnuts provide an omega-3 to omega-6 ratio of 4:1. They are high in the anti-inflammatory ALA and a very good source of manganese and copper. Most importantly, if you’re looking to boost brain power, walnuts have been shown to improve cognitive learning and performance.

Did you know that certain microalage produce high levels of EPA or DHA? Microalgae, like spirulina, are microscopic single cell plants that are found in oceans and lakes. They are at the bottom of the food chain and the only vegan source of both EPA and DHA.

Obviously, there are many other choices – when it comes to Omega-3 rich foods. You can add wakame (seaweed) to soup or try some dark, leafy green vegetables, wild rice, berries or cabbage foods like, cauliflower. All of these foods – naturally – provide a healthy balance of Omega-3 to Omega-6 ratio.

Final thoughts. Omega-3 deficiencies can easily be avoided by making better food choices. Spend your money on fresh, organic foods – as often as possible – and stay away from the profit-centered, major food producers that care little about your health.

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References:
http://plenteousveg.com/vegan-sources-omega-3
http://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/supplement/omega3-fatty-acids
http://authoritynutrition.com/optimize-omega-6-omega-3-ratio

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Berries prevent memory loss and depression

April 14, 2014 by  
Filed under Food News

Berries Prevent Memory Loss(NaturalHealth365) Colorful, juicy and highly nutritious, berries offer more to your health than you can imagine. Substantial experimental data, over the last decade, indicate that consuming berries prevent brain damage and age-related memory loss. The variety of beneficial compounds in berries not only will reduce the risk of many diseases but also prevent conditions such as stress and depression.

Berries are rich in anthocyanins, which are responsible for the bright hue of the fruit. These compounds also demonstrate potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties along with vitamin C and quercetin. Well known for reducing the risk of diseases, berries have gained popularity for their ability to improve cognitive function and memory in both animal models and humans.

A perfect food for brain strength and vitality

Most berries are particularly high in a subclass of flavonoids called anthocyanidins, a phytonutrient that can cross the blood-brain barrier. These compounds seep into the brain tissues and localize in the hippocampus part of the brain (areas of learning and memory). Anthocyanidins are powerful antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds that effectively combat oxidative stress and inflammation – two important components to cognitive impairment.

A 2012 study that observed the rate of cognitive decline on older adults found that higher intake of flavonoid-rich berries reduced the rates of cognitive decline. Researchers of this study concluded that increasing the consumption of berries could be a potential strategy for reducing cognitive decline. Interestingly enough, anthocyanin works in synergy with quercetin to prevent age-related memory loss.

A great way to clear away toxins in the brain

A research report presented at the 2013 Experimental Biology revealed that berries protected against radiation – in a study on mice. Based on the study findings, researchers reported that the brains of rats exposed to radiation were protected from damage and accelerated aging when fed with berries for a period of two months.

According to the researchers, the interesting find of this study was that the berries were able to activate brain’s natural ‘clean- up’ mechanisms called autophagy. Autophagy is the natural process of the brain to clear out the accumulated toxins.

However as we age this mechanism declines thereby causing memory loss. This finding is of significance as most diseases of the brain including Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s are due to an increased accumulation of toxic protein. Berries with their ability to promote autophagy, helps to reduce the accumulation and prevent memory and other age-related cognitive decline.

But wait, there’s more good news about berries.

When it comes to the total antioxidant levels – berries are a winner. One cup of wild blueberries give us about 13,400 total antioxidants – vitamin A, C, quercetin and anthocyanidins; nearly 10 times the USDA’s recommendation for antioxidants.

Cranberries contain about 8900 total antioxidants, blackberries about 7700, raspberries 6000 and strawberries 5900, and sweet cherries 4800. Be sure to consume a spectrum of colored berries, purple-blue-red-orange, to get the most of the antioxidants.

Of course, berries are super convenient, can be eaten raw and makes for a healthy ‘on-the-go’ snack. Tossed into a green salad, they not only improve the nutritional value of the recipe but also helps to spruce up the color, flavor and texture of the meal. Being versatile, berries can be added to porridge, pancakes, yogurt or as a sprinkle over coconut ice cream. (yummy!)

Spring is the best time to enjoy a variety of berries, with the season peak starting in mid-May. You can also buy berries from your local farm in large quantities, clean and freeze it to be used for later months. Naturally, be sure to choose organic berries to avoid pesticides and other toxins.

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References:
1. Devore EE1, Kang JH, Breteler MM, Grodstein F. Dietary intakes of berries and flavonoids in relation to cognitive decline. Annals of Neurology, 2012; Jul;72(1):135-43.
2. American Chemical Society. “Eating berries may activate the brain’s natural housekeeper for healthy aging.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 24 August 2010.
3. Devore EE, Kang JH, Breteler MM, Grodstein F. intakes of berries and flavonoids in relation to cognitive decline. Ann Neurol. 2012 Jul;72(1):135-43.

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Diet soft drinks cause heart disease in women

April 2, 2014 by  
Filed under Food News

Diet Soda Alert for Women(NaturalHealth365) Since writing about the 9 legal weapons of mass destruction, I think it’s about time to expand the list. For starters, I would say diet soda is the deadliest beverage on Earth. As if kidney damage and weight gain weren’t enough, diet drinks are now being implicated in heart disease among women.

Women are under attack by the food and beverage industry. Playing on their concerns about appearance and weight issues – many women tend to consume lots of diet soft drinks – which put them at a higher risk for heart attacks, blood clots and other cardiovascular problems.

Is conventional science lying to women (and men)?

I’ll let you decide. According to Katherine Zeratsky, R.D., L.D. – from the Mayo Clinic:

”Drinking a reasonable amount of diet soda a day, such as a can or two, isn’t likely to hurt you. The artificial sweeteners and other chemicals currently used in diet soda are safe for most people, and there’s no credible evidence that these ingredients cause cancer.”

She goes on to say…

”Some types of diet soda are even fortified with vitamins and minerals. But diet soda isn’t a health drink or a silver bullet for weight loss. Although switching from regular soda to diet soda may save you calories in the short term, it’s not yet clear if it’s effective for preventing obesity and related health problems.”

In my opinion, this is blatantly deceptive and clearly shows a lack of nutritional intelligence. How could any health professional suggest that drinking artificial sweeteners (and chemicals) are ‘safe’ and ignore the facts?

According to a large study, artificially sweetened beverages – including diet sodas and low-calorie fruit drinks – were a cause for alarm. These findings come from a study of nearly 60,000 healthy post menopausal women living in the United States. I’ll bet most dieticians (and nutritionists) that recommend diet soda have never read this report.

Drinking diet soda increases your risk for premature death

The study found women who drank two or more diet drinks a day were 30 percent more likely to have a heart attack or other cardiovascular event, and 50 percent more likely to die, than women who rarely touch such drinks.

According to the lead author, Dr. Ankur Vyas, a cardiovascular disease expert at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinic:

’Our study suggests an association between higher diet drink consumption and mortality. People who drank diet sodas had a 70 percent greater increase in waist circumference over a few years compared to those who skipped soft drinks. This alone may be part of the reason diet drinks are associated with heart disease.’

Good science is clearly telling people – ‘beware of diet soda’.

The University of Miami and Columbia University researchers followed 2,500 plus New Yorkers for 10 years. The volunteers were over 40 and never had a stroke. At the start of the study, the participants indicated the amount of diet soda they drank.

At the end of 10 years, the daily diet soda drinkers were more likely to have had a stroke or heart attack and to have died from vascular disease. The increased risk remained even after the study investigators accounted for smoking, exercise, weight, sodium intake, high cholesterol and other factors that contribute to heart disease.

The results were published online in the Journal of General Internal Medicine. In a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, French researchers found an association between type-2 diabetes and diet soda.

Researchers from the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine and Columbia University Medical Center claim those who drink diet soft drinks are 43 per cent more likely to have heart attacks, vascular disease or strokes than those who have none.

Why does diet soda threaten the heart?

There are few things that contribute to the diet soda risk. For example, animal studies show that the caramel coloring contained in diet sodas causes vascular problems. Most of the diet soft drink market consists of diet soda.

Women who drank diet soda excreted more calcium in their urine compared to women who drank water. Calcium is essential for normal muscle and nerve function and for blood clotting.

Diet sodas contain mold inhibitors, which are not found in regular sodas such as, sodium benzoate and potassium benzoate. Sodium benzoate has the ability to deactivate parts of our DNA and can damage the mitochondria within our cells. And, we all know, mitochondrial deficiencies reduce cellular energy and promote all forms of disease.

In addition, artificial sweeteners such as aspartame have been clearly tied to pulmonary hypertension, systemic hypertension, and frequent cardiac arrhythmias. Almost nothing could be more toxic to the human body than artificial sweeteners – which are available in thousands of supermarket items.

Conventional healthcare professionals need to stop and think

How could any medical professional suggest that diet soda ‘isn’t likely to hurt you.’ Are you kidding me? Don’t listen to marketing nonsense or propaganda noise – use common sense.

The solution is simple.

Don’t waste your money on artificially-sweetened food or drinks. Replace heavily-processed junk items with natural, whole (organic) foods – as much as possible. If you want to be healthy – drink water, herbal teas and fresh vegetable juices; stay physically active, every day and avoid overeating.

Want to share your health success stories? Post your comments – below.

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Jonathan LandsmanAbout the author: Jonathan Landsman is the host of NaturalHealth365.com, the NaturalNews Talk Hour – a free, weekly health show and the NaturalNews Inner Circle – a monthly subscription to the brightest minds in natural health and healing.

Reaching hundreds of thousands of people, worldwide, as a personal health consultant, writer and radio talk show host – Jonathan has been educating the public on the health benefits of an organic (non-GMO) diet along with high-quality supplementation and healthy lifestyle habits including exercise and meditation.

References:
http://healthyliving.msn.com/diseases/diabetes/can-diet-soft-drinks-contribute-to-heart-trouble-in-women
http://www.nbcnews.com/health/diet-fitness/diet-drinks-linked-heart-disease-death-n66476
http://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/is-there-a-link-between-diet-soda-and-heart-disease-201202214296
http://healthyliving.msn.com/health-wellness/7-side-effects-of-drinking-diet-soda
http://www.diseaseproof.com/archives/osteoporosis-diet-soda-depletes-calcium-and-may-increase-heart-attack-risk.html
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC387446
http://www.rense.com/general82/gcar.htm

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