Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Fruits and Vegetables -- Cardiovascular Health

Since it is Heart Month, I thought you would like to read this article from Harvard.

Here is a great article to show the vital role of fruits and vegetables in your diet.
“Eat your fruits and vegetables" is one of the tried and true recommendations for a healthy diet. And for good reason. Eating plenty of fruits and vegetables can help you ward off heart disease and stroke, control blood pressure and cholesterol, prevent some types of cancer, avoid a painful intestinal ailment called diverticulitis, and guard against cataract and macular degeneration, two common causes of vision loss.
What does "plenty" mean? More than most Americans consume. If you don't count potatoes - which should be considered a starch rather than a vegetable - the average American gets a total of just three servings of fruits and vegetables a day. The latest dietary guidelines call for five to thirteen servings of fruits and vegetables a day, depending on one's caloric intake. For a person who needs 2,000 calories a day to maintain weight and health, this translates into nine servings, or 4½ cups per day.
Over the past 30 years or so, researchers have developed a solid base of science to back up what generations of mothers preached (but didn't always practice themselves). Early on, fruits and vegetables were acclaimed as cancer-fighting foods. In fact, the ubiquitous 5-A-Day message (now quietly changing to Eat 5 to 9 A Day) seen in produce aisles, magazine ads, and schools is supported in part by the National Cancer Institute. The latest research, though, suggests that the biggest payoff from eating fruits and vegetables is for the heart.
Fruits, Vegetables, and Cardiovascular Disease
There is compelling evidence that a diet rich in fruits and vegetables can lower the risk of heart disease and stroke.
The largest and longest study to date, done as part of the Harvard-based Nurses' Health Study and Health Professionals Follow-up Study, included almost 110,000 men and women whose health and dietary habits were followed for 14 years. The higher the average daily intake of fruits and vegetables, the lower the chances of developing cardiovascular disease. Compared with those in the lowest category of fruit and vegetable intake (less than 1.5 servings a day), those who averaged 8 or more servings a day were 30% less likely to have had a heart attack or stroke.
Although all fruits and vegetables likely contribute to this benefit, green leafy vegetables such as lettuce, spinach, Swiss chard, and mustard greens; cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, bok choy, and kale; and citrus fruits such as oranges, lemons, limes, and grapefruit (and their juices) make important contributions.
Fruits and Vegetables, Blood Pressure, and Cholesterol
High blood pressure is a primary risk factor for heart disease and stroke. As such, it's a condition that is very important to control. Diet can be a very effective tool for lowering blood pressure. One of the most convincing associations between diet and blood pressure was found in the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) study. This trial examined the effect on blood pressure of a diet that was rich in fruits, vegetables, and low-fat dairy products and that restricted the amount of saturated and total fat. The researchers found that people with high blood pressure who followed this diet reduced their systolic blood pressure (the upper number of a blood pressure reading) by about 11 mm Hg and their diastolic blood pressure (the lower number) by almost 6 mm Hg - as much as medications can achieve.
Eating more fruits and vegetables can also help lower cholesterol. In the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute's Family Heart Study, the 4466 subjects consumed on average a shade over 3 servings of fruits and vegetables a day. Men and women with the highest daily consumption (more than 4 servings a day) had significantly lower levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol than those with lower consumption. How fruits and vegetables lower cholesterol is still something of a mystery. It is possible that eating more fruits and vegetables means eating less meat and dairy products, and thus less cholesterol-boosting saturated fat. Soluble fiber in fruits and vegetables may also block the absorption of cholesterol from food.
Doesn’t it give you confidence to know that Juice Plus+ is your easy solution to your 9-13 servings of fruits and vegetables a day for prevention?
1. Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2005. Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion, U.S. Department of Agriculture.
2. Hung HC, Joshipura KJ, Jiang R, et al. Fruit and vegetable intake and risk of major chronic disease. J Natl Cancer Inst 2004; 96:1577-84.
3. Appel LJ, Moore TJ, Obarzanek E, et al. A clinical trial of the effects of dietary patterns on blood pressure. DASH Collaborative Research Group. N Engl J Med 1997; 336:1117-24.
4. Djousse L, Arnett DK, Coon H, Province MA, Moore LL, Ellison RC. Fruit and vegetable consumption and LDL cholesterol: the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute Family Heart Study. Am J Clin Nutr 2004; 79:213-7.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

More on Phytonutrients

Below is a link to a presentation on the benefits of phytonutrients. It is 30 minutes long and will hopefully drive the point across. Please copy and paste this link into your address bar to play it. Good luck

Friday, February 20, 2009

What Are Phytonutrients and why are they important?

The article below talks all about Phytonutrients. This post is here to further discuss the importance Of Whole Food Nutrition instead of multivitamins. There is so much more nutrition available in fruits and vegetables than there are in multivitamins. What multivitamins lack is the synergy that phytonutrients bring to the equation. There are only approximately 13-15 vitamins known to man, but there are over 2000 phytonutrients in a tomato. Lycopene is one of them. It has gotten a lot of discussion recently because of its assistance with fighting prostate cancer. Please read the article below. I hope it opens your eyes
a little

Phytochemical refers to the compounds
found in plants that are powerfully
beneficial in protecting human from diseases.

What is phytochemical/phytonutrient?

"Phyto" comes from the Greek word "phuton" meaning "plants" hence the chemical/nutrient found in plants are called phytochemical or phytonutrient. The terms are used interchangeably but "phytonutrient" is increasingly becoming more popular for the positive association with "nutrient" rather than "chemical".

Phytochemicals refer to the compounds found in plants that were originally classified as vitamins. Flavonoids were known as vitamin P, indoles and glucosinolates were vitamin U, etc. But it was later found that phytochemicals are not vitamins at all.

Phytochemical is not a necessity to our body function, nor do they cause any diseases resulting from deficiency. Thus they cannot be classified as vitamins.
But phytochemical has been proven over and over again, to be beneficial for human health, not only in preventing diseases, but also in reversing some disorders.

Unlike most vitamins and enzymes, phytochemicals are not destroyed by preparation techniques such as chopping, extracting, cooking or grating.

In fact, sometimes preparation may even make the phytonutrients more readily available to us. For example, the sulfur compounds from garlic or onions are released when chopped and exposed to air. Or lycopene in tomatoes become more concentrated when processed and made into tomato sauce.

It is estimated that there are tens of thousands of phytochemicals. However, only about 1,000 of these were identified and only about a hundred were actually analyzed and tested.

Recent researches have found that all plants contain compounds that protect them from diseases. When we eat these plants, the very same protective compounds, called phytochemicals, are made available to our bodies. In the same way, it protects our bloodstream, cells, tissues, membranes, organs and immune functions from diseases.

An astounding fact that proves an amazing Creator is that in each plant, it is believed there are hundreds of different phytochemicals. A simple tomato not only has lycopene, but has several hundreds of other phytochemicals which cannot even yet be identified by mere man.

How does phytonutrient work?

Studies after studies have shown that individuals with high intake of the four plant-based food groups¾fruits, vegetables, whole grains and legumes¾have a much lower risk of degenerative diseases such as cancer, diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, etc.

How does phytonutrient help prevent these diseases? To understand this, we need to backtrack a little and understand how diseases are formed. Also read antioxidant.

An example: When free radicals run rampant in our body, through the air we breathe, the food we eat, or merely from stress, they cause deterioration and destruction of our healthy cells. This process ultimately result in degenerative diseases in the weakest parts of our body that succumb to the attack.

When we eat food that has phytonutrient, it will quickly activate a group of enzymes that go around cleaning up the free radicals before they cause any harm to the body. In very much the same way, it works like the anti-oxidant. In fact, many phytonutrients are anti-oxidant.

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How much phytonutrient do we need?

As I mentioned above, phytonutrient is not a necessity for our body, but yet we must eat much of it for all its health benefits. You get a variety of phytonutrient from a variety of fruits and vegetables for their different protections of diseases and cancers.

How much phytonutrient you need depends very much on your environment and your lifestyle. Read what creates free radicals. We cannot prevent the formation of free radicals but we can reduce them and minimize their destruction potential to our body.

If you think that you are in the high risk group, plan to increase your fruits and vegetables intake to counter the damaging effect.

Generally, take at least five servings (five cups) of high quality fruits and vegetables daily. If you are in the high risk group, take between eight to twelve servings.

This may sound like a lot but is easily achievable if you juice and make fruits and vegetables part of your daily diet, cutting down on meat, to a vegetables and meat ratio of 5:1. If you have to take meat, opt for fish instead.

Decide to make this new dietary a lifelong commitment, especially if you are eating to reverse a certain condition. You will definitely see an improvement.

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The phytochemical family

The phytochemical family is so big that a whole book can be written about it. There are over 100 identified phytochemicals, but I have picked out some of the most common and proven phytonutrients to be listed here.

These are available in abundance in fruits and vegetables. You don't need to remember them all. Just remember that when you eat as much of these whole, unadulterated natural food as possible, it will go a long way in protecting your health in more ways that you will ever know. There is nothing to lose, only much to gain!


Health Benefits

Food Source

Allicin and allylic sulfides Anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-viral; lower the risk of stomach and colon cancer. Chives, garlic, leeks, onions, shallots

Anthocyanidins and proantho-cyanidins Anti-oxidants, keep elasticity of capillary walls, anti-inflammatory, stop cancer cell formation. Dark grapes, berries, cherries, ginger.

Bioflavonoids (quercetin, kaempferol, rutin) Potent anti-oxidants, anti-carcinogenic; bind toxic materials and escort them out of the body. Apricot, citrus fruits, berries, broccoli, cherries, grapes, papaya, cantaloupe, plums, tomatoes.

Carotenoids (alpha and beta carotene, lycopene, lutein) Important anti-aging anti-oxidants, enhance immune function, balance blood sugars, reduced risk of cardiovascular diseases and cancer (especially prostate cancer). Carrots, sweet potatoes, all berries, guava, grapefruit, watercress, pumpkins, tomatoes, watermelon, any dark green leafy vegetables, spirulina and chlorella.

Chlorophyll Helps build healthy blood, protect against cancer, and a powerful wound healer. All green vegetables, with high concentrations in spirulina and chlorella.

Coumarins Have anti-tumor properties, enhance immune functions and prevent the formation of cancer-causing nitrosamines. Beets, carrots, celery, citrus fruits, fennel, green peppers, pineapple, strawberries, tomatoes.

Ellagic acids Neutralize carcinogens before they can damage DNA, protect from cancer-causing nitrosamines and aflatoxin. Blackberries, cranberries, grapes, guava, raspberries and strawberries.

Glucosinolates An important anti-cancer and liver-friendly phytonurient; reduce risks of cancer of breast, colorectal, lung and stomach by helping the liver detoxify. Also regulate white blood cells and cytokines. Cabbage family vegetables, such as broccoli, Brussels sprouts, collards and kale.

Indoles and isothiocyanates Reduce incidence of cancer, reverse cancer by killing cancer cells and inhibit cancer development. Plentiful in the cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower. Also in horseradish, kale, kohlrabi, strawberries and raspberries.

Lutein Powerful anti-oxidant that protects against macular degeneration. Green leafy vegetables such as cabbage, spinach, broccoli, kale. In fruits - avocado, kiwi fruit, mango, papaya, peaches, oranges, pear, plum.

Phytoestrogens Bind excess estrogens to a protein made in the blood, thus reducing estrogens to estrogen sensitive tissues. This reduces risks of breast cancer in women and prostate cancer in men. Also provide protection for menopausal symptoms, fibroids and other hormone-related diseases. Alfalfa and sprouts, celery, citrus fruits, fennel, legumes, wheat, licorice,

Phytosterols Blocks the uptake of cholesterol and excrete it from the body, thus helping to prevent heart diseases. Also halts the development of tumors in breast, colon and prostate glands. Most plants, especially green and yellow vegetables, seeds, beans and lentils.

Polyphenols Very potent anti-oxidants with anti-cancer properties, more powerful than vitamin C and E. Especially found in green tea. Also in bilberries, Siberian ginseng and bee pollen.

Polysaccharides Protect against radiation. Absorb toxic metals and xenobiotics and discarding them from the body. Spirulina and chlorella.

Sulforaphane Its anti-bacterial compounds reduce risks of stomach ulcers and stomach cancers. From the cruciferous family again¾broccoli, Brussel sprouts, cauliflower, kale.

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Saturday, February 14, 2009

Vitamins -- Do they perform for you?

Below is an article that I think you should read. I totally believe in the nutrition of whole foods and not vitamins that are manufactured. People seem to take them all the time.

February 9, 2009, 4:42 pm
Study Finds No Benefit From Daily Multivitamin
Multivitamins are the most commonly used diet supplement, but new research shows that daily multivitamin use doesn’t ward off cancer or heart disease.
In a study of 161,808 women who were part of the government-funded Women’s Health Initiative research effort, doctors from 40 centers around the country collected data on multivitamin use. While research shows that people who eat nutrient-rich diets filled with fruits and vegetables have lower rates of heart disease and cancer, it hasn’t been clear whether taking a daily supplement results in a similar benefit.
After following the women for about eight years, they looked at rates of various cancers and heart problems among the 42 percent of women who were regular multivitamin users, and compared them to those who didn’t take vitamins. The researchers found no evidence of any benefit from multivitamin use in any of 10 categories studied, including no differences in the rate of breast or colon cancer, heart attack, stroke, blood clots or mortality. The findings were published in the current issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine.
The finding that multivitamins produced no benefit in such a large, well-regarded study is disappointing, given that some earlier research has produced mixed results. While some earlier studies failed to show a benefit of daily multivitamin use, other research has suggested a possible benefit for colon and breast cancer and cardiovascular disease. However, those data were collected from less rigorous studies, and researchers say the lack of a benefit measured in the Women’s Health Initiative is a “robust finding.” In the tightly controlled W.H.I. trials, data from women were copiously collected, and participants actually brought vitamin bottles to W.H.I. centers so supplement use could be confirmed by researchers.
“We have very detailed information on what people were taking measured over a period of many years,” said Marian Neuhouser, the lead author and associate member in cancer prevention at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle. “We thought there could be a modestly reduced risk, but there is nothing. There is no helpful benefit, but they’re not hurting either.”
About half of all Americans use some form of vitamin or dietary supplement, spending $20 billion annually on the products. In a statement, the vitamin industry trade group, the Council for Responsible Nutrition, said the study shouldn’t dissuade consumers from using multivitamins, since many of them aren’t getting essential nutrients in their diets.
“From a practical standpoint, this study does not change the fact that the majority of consumers could benefit from taking an affordable multivitamin,” said Andrew Shao, vice president of scientific and regulatory affairs with the council. “It is better to meet these recommendations than not, and consistently taking a multivitamin over the long term could help fill these nutrient gaps and may help consumers lead healthier lives.”
Dr. Neuhouser said she realizes that many people who are devoted vitamin users will be skeptical of the finding that they are receiving no benefit from a daily multivitamin.
“I don’t want to disparage people who take multivitamins — it’s their choice as a consumer,” Dr. Neuhouser said. “What we’re presenting is the science showing it’s neither beneficial nor harmful. If they want to choose to spend their dollars elsewhere this might be a good place to do so. Perhaps they can buy more fruits and vegetables.”
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Saturday, February 7, 2009

Whole Food Nutrition

The benefits of Whole Food Nutrition

What is Whole Food? Whole Food is any type of food that is in its natural state and does not receive any processing, additives or preservatives. The best example I know is an Apple. Apple pie is not a whole food.

Today, many people are sacrificing the value of authentic live whole food nutrition for convenience. When too many natural, live whole foods are replaced with chemically modified products, it can promote illness and disease because your body is not getting the nutrition that it needs. In an attempt to counteract the impact of poor nutrition, we supplement our diet with “process nutrition” in the form of isolated synthetic environments, minerals and antioxidants that are only slightly more beneficial then be processed foods that are creating the problem.

Our bodies require a complete balance up your nutrients and energy provided by live whole foods. The modern demands of our fast-paced world have led to the processing of food to the point where it has little nutritional by.

Do you eat at least 7 servings of raw fruits and vegetables every day?

Benefits of eating more fruits and vegetables are:
 Increased Energy
 Healthier Skin and Fewer Wrinkles
 Sleep Better
 Lose Weight Faster When Dieting
 Feel Better
 Overall Improvement in Your General Health
 Less Colds and Flu
 Hair and Nails Grow Faster and Stronger

Do you consume a diet of whole foods? Thanks to my wife, I do. I feel and look great. Even though I currently use a wheelchair due to MS, my doctor say’s I am one of his healthiest patients!