Nuts: an important component of an anti-diabetes diet

Complications from diabetes result from constant elevations in blood glucose, which damage the blood vessels and other tissues. Excess glucose in the bloodstream results in the formation of Advanced Glycation End Products (AGEs) – products formed when sugars react with and consequently damage proteins or fats in the body’s tissues, especially the blood vessels.  AGEs are produced at an accelerated rate in diabetics and contribute to complications such as impaired wound healing, diabetic nephropathy, and atherosclerosis.1-4  In addition to the AGE produced in the body due to excess glucose, some can also come from the diet.  Fried foods, meats, and dry cooked starchy foods (roasted/fried potatoes, bread, crackers, cookies, muffins and other baked goods, cold cereals, etc.) are high in AGEs.5,6

Lessening after-meal blood glucose and exposure to AGEs:

In designing a diet for type 2 diabetics, we aim to limit after-meal increases in blood glucose and to avoid dangerous AGEs by choosing major calorie sources with a low glycemic load  (GL) – foods that provoke relatively small increases in blood glucose.  An important point here is to choose high nutrient, low GL foods, not just any low GL food – this is where some conventional diabetes diets fall short:

  • Meat is a low GL food, but higher meat consumption is associated with reduced lifespan and increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes; the diabetes risk is likely due to weight gain and AGE content.5,7,8  A diabetic diet emphasizing meat sacrifices long-term health for short-term glycemic control.
  • Whole grain products and starchy vegetables. Whole grain intake is indeed associated with reduced risk of diabetes, probably due to fiber content.9,10  A low fat vegan diet emphasizing these foods in place of refined carbohydrates has shown some success with improving glycemic control.11 However, these diets tend to increase triglyceride levels (a risk factor for heart disease)12, and cooked grains and starches are not ideal calorie sources for diabetics because they still have a significant GL, as you can see in the table below:

Food


Glycemic Load
13

 
White rice 23
Meat (beef) negligible
Whole grain (brown rice) 18
Beans (black or kidney) 7
Legumes (lentils) 5
Nuts (cashews) 3

Beans, and nuts (and seeds) are high in nutrients and low in GL, and are far more appropriate than grains and meat as major calorie sources for diabetics.  

Beans and legumes are higher in fiber and resistant starch than whole grains, with a lower GL. (To read more about why beans are superior to other carbohydrate sources for diabetics, read my recent Healthy Times Newsletter, Issue #44) 

Regular consumption of nuts and seeds has well documented cardiovascular benefits, including cholesterol lowering, antioxidant activity, improved endothelial function, and reduced risk of sudden cardiac death and coronary heart disease.14

In addition to reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease, nuts have a number of properties that make them a favorable food for diabetics:15

  • Nuts are a high-nutrient source of plant protein, fiber, antioxidants, phytosterols, and minerals.  

  • Nuts provoke a minimal glycemic response, which helps to prevent post-meal hyperglycemia, hyperinsulinemia, and AGE production. They also help to reduce the GL of an entire meal – almonds have been found to decrease glycemic and insulin response of a carbohydrate-rich meal while reducing oxidative stress.16 

  • Nuts aid in weight maintenance – important since excess weight is the primary risk factor for diabetes. Despite their calorie density, greater nut consumption is associated with lower body weight, potentially due to appetite-suppression from healthy fats.17

  • Nuts have anti-inflammatory effects that may help to prevent insulin resistance18

In a recent study HbA1C, an indicator of long term glycemic control, was measured in diabetics consuming either 2.5 ounces/day of mostly raw mixed nuts or an equivalent number of calories in a muffin – a cooked starchy food (the muffin had the same amount of fiber and calories as the nuts).  HbA1C levels were lower in the nut group, suggesting long term protection from hyperglycemia when replacing carbohydrate foods with nuts.19,20

This new data cements the results of previous observational studies that have found inverse relationships between nut consumption and diabetes.  For example, the Nurses’ Health Study found a 27% reduced risk of diabetes in nurses who ate five or more servings of nuts per week.  Among nurses who already had diabetes, this same quantity reduced the risk of heart disease by 47%.21-23 

Nuts are an important part of a diabetes-reversal diet, along with green vegetables24, beans25, and low sugar fruits. In a recent study on type 2 diabetics following this diet, we found that 62% of the participants reached normal (nondiabetic) HbA1C levels within seven months, and the average number of medications required dropped from four to one.26  Nuts, seeds, beans, and vegetables not only keep glucose levels in check, but promote long term health as well.

 

References: 

1. Peppa M, Raptis SA: Glycoxidation and Wound Healing in Diabetes: An Interesting Relationshi. Curr Diabetes Rev 2011.

2. Peppa M, Stavroulakis P, Raptis SA: Advanced glycoxidation products and impaired diabetic wound healing. Wound Repair Regen 2009;17:461-472.

3. Goldin A, Beckman JA, Schmidt AM, et al: Advanced glycation end products: sparking the development of diabetic vascular injury. Circulation 2006;114:597-605.

4. Yamagishi S, Matsui T: Advanced glycation end products, oxidative stress and diabetic nephropathy. Oxid Med Cell Longev 2010;3:101-108.

5. Goldberg T, Cai W, Peppa M, et al: Advanced glycoxidation end products in commonly consumed foods. J Am Diet Assoc 2004;104:1287-1291.

6. Pruser KN, Flynn NE: Acrylamide in health and disease. Front Biosci (Schol Ed) 2011;3:41-51.

7. Sinha R, Cross AJ, Graubard BI, et al: Meat intake and mortality: a prospective study of over half a million people. Arch Intern Med 2009;169:562-571.

8. Aune D, Ursin G, Veierod MB: Meat consumption and the risk of type 2 diabetes: a systematic review and meta-analysis of cohort studies. Diabetologia 2009;52:2277-2287.

9. Montonen J, Knekt P, Jarvinen R, et al: Whole-grain and fiber intake and the incidence of type 2 diabetes. Am J Clin Nutr 2003;77:622-629.

10. Fung TT, Hu FB, Pereira MA, et al: Whole-grain intake and the risk of type 2 diabetes: a prospective study in men. Am J Clin Nutr 2002;76:535-540.

11. Trapp CB, Barnard ND: Usefulness of vegetarian and vegan diets for treating type 2 diabetes. Curr Diab Rep 2010;10:152-158.

12. Lichtenstein AH, Van Horn L: Very low fat diets. Circulation 1998;98:935-939.

13. Foster-Powell K, Holt SH, Brand-Miller JC: International table of glycemic index and glycemic load values: 2002. Am J Clin Nutr 2002;76:5-56.

14. 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.

15. Kendall CW, Josse AR, Esfahani A, et al: Nuts, metabolic syndrome and diabetes. Br J Nutr 2010;104:465-473.

16. Jenkins DJ, Kendall CW, Josse AR, et al: Almonds decrease postprandial glycemia, insulinemia, and oxidative damage in healthy individuals. J Nutr 2006;136:2987-2992.

17. Martinez-Gonzalez MA, Bes-Rastrollo M: Nut consumption, weight gain and obesity: Epidemiological evidence. Nutrition, metabolism, and cardiovascular diseases : NMCD 2011;21 Suppl 1:S40-45.

18. Casas-Agustench P, Bullo M, Salas-Salvado J: Nuts, inflammation and insulin resistance. Asia Pac J Clin Nutr 2010;19:124-130.

19. Jenkins DJ, Kendall CW, Banach MS, et al: Nuts as a replacement for carbohydrates in the diabetic diet. Diabetes Care 2011;34:1706-1711.

20. Barclay L: Replacing Carbs With Nuts May Be Beneficial in Diabetes. 2011. Medscape Education Clinical Briefs. http://www.medscape.org/viewarticle/746264. Accessed August 30, 2011.

21. Jiang R, Manson JE, Stampfer MJ, et al: Nut and peanut butter consumption and risk of type 2 diabetes in women. JAMA 2002;288:2554-2560.

22. Kendall CW, Esfahani A, Truan J, et al: Health benefits of nuts in prevention and management of diabetes. Asia Pac J Clin Nutr 2010;19:110-116.

23. Li TY, Brennan AM, Wedick NM, et al: Regular consumption of nuts is associated with a lower risk of cardiovascular disease in women with type 2 diabetes. J Nutr 2009;139:1333-1338.

24. Carter P, Gray LJ, Troughton J, et al: Fruit and vegetable intake and incidence of type 2 diabetes mellitus: systematic review and meta-analysis. BMJ 2010;341:c4229.

25. Villegas R, Gao YT, Yang G, et al: Legume and soy food intake and the incidence of type 2 diabetes in the Shanghai Women's Health Study. Am J Clin Nutr 2008;87:162-167.

26. Dunaief D, Gui-shuang Y, Fuhrman J, et al: Glycemic and cardiovascular parameters improved in type 2 diabetes with the high nutrient density diet. Presented at the 5th IANA (International Academy on Nutrition and Aging) meeting July 26 & 27, 2010 Hyatt Regency Tamaya Resort & Spa 1300 Tuyuna Trail Santa Ana Pueblo, NM, USA J Nutr Health Aging 2010;14:500.

 

 

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New findings on nuts and cholesterol

Nuts have been consistently associated with reduced risk of coronary heart disease in epidemiological studies.1 Evidence of nuts’ cardioprotective effects were originally recognized in the early 1990s2, and since then, several human trials have documented improvements in lipid levels in response to including nuts in the diet.3 Beneficial cardiovascular effects beyond cholesterol lowering have also been identified, particularly for walnuts and almonds.

A review published recently in Archives of Internal Medicine pooled the data from 25 different clinical studies that ran for a minimum of three weeks, comparing a nut eating group to a control group. Most of the studies were done on walnuts or almonds, but studies on macadamias, pistachios, hazelnuts, pecans, and peanuts were also included in the analysis.4,5

This review confirmed that nut consumption has beneficial effects on lipid levels,  and it also reached two interesting new conclusions: 

1. Dose dependent effect

First, the different studies were on different quantities of nuts, and the review concluded that the cholesterol-lowering effects of nuts are dose-dependent – this means that more nuts consumed translated into greater decreases in LDL and total cholesterol:

Quantity of nuts consumed

Decrease in total cholesterol

Decrease in LDL

1 oz.

2.8%

4.2%

1.5 oz.

3.2%

4.9%

2.4 oz.

5.1%

7.4%

For healthy weight individuals, these results suggest that 2.4 ounces may be better than 1 ounce for cardiovascular health.4,5

2. Effects were greater in individuals with lower BMI

The researchers found that body mass index (BMI) modified the association between nut consumption and cholesterol lowering. The effects of nuts were greater in individuals with lower BMI, meaning that those who were overweight or obese saw less cholesterol-lowering benefit than healthy weight individuals.4,5

Nuts and seeds are critical components of a disease-preventing diet, and I recommend eating them daily. However, I also recommend a limit of 1 ounce of nuts and seeds per day for individuals who are overweight. The results of this study support my recommendations. For those that are overweight, nuts are beneficial, but weight loss is even more important. The primary means of decreasing cardiovascular risk in overweight individuals should be eating lots of high micronutrient, low calorie foods. For people significantly overweight, nuts should still be included, but their caloric density suggests a limit such as 1 ounce per day for women and 1.5 ounces a day for men.

Wondering how many nuts are in a 1 ounce serving? The International Tree Nut Council’s website provides a guide to 1 ounce serving sizes of several different nuts.


References:

1. Sabaté J, Ang Y. Nuts and health outcomes: new epidemiologic evidence. Am J Clin Nutr. 2009 May;89(5):1643S-1648S.

2. Fraser GE, Sabate J, BeesonWL, Strahan TM. A Possible Protective Effect of Nut Consumption on Risk of Coronary Heart Disease: The Adventist Health Study. Arch Intern Med. 1992;152(7):1416-1424.

3. Griel AE, Kris-Etherton PM. Tree nuts and the lipid profile: a review of clinical studies. Br J Nutr. 2006 Nov;96 Suppl 2:S68-78.

4. Sabaté J, Oda K, Ros E. Nut consumption and blood lipid levels: a pooled analysis of 25 intervention trials. Arch Intern Med. 2010 May 10;170(9):821-7.

Eurekalert! Eating nuts associated with improvements in cholesterol levels: http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2010-05/jaaj-ena050610.php

Walnuts keep your blood flowing

It’s no secret that nuts are good for your heart. We know that consuming nuts can dramatically reduce cardiovascular disease risk, but scientists are just beginning to figure out how this works.  We recently learned that almonds have a potent antioxidant effect, leading to decreases in circulating oxidized LDL, helping to keep the arteries clear of atherosclerotic plaque.

Like all nuts, walnuts are rich in fiber, minerals, micronutrients, phytosterols, antioxidants, and monounsaturated fats, but walnuts stand out because of their distinctively high levels of ALA, an omega-3 fatty acid and precursor to EPA and DHA.

Researchers at Yale University wondered whether walnuts would have beneficial effects on blood vessel function in individuals at risk for cardiovascular disease – those with type 2 diabetes.

Twenty-four subjects with type 2 diabetes were included in the study.  Half were assigned to supplement their diets with 2 ounces of walnuts per day for 8 weeks

The researchers tested flow-mediated dilatation (FMD), which is a measure of how well the endothelial cells, the cells that line all blood vessels, are working to keep blood pressure in a favorable range.  One of the endothelial cells’ most important jobs is to produce nitric oxide, which regulates blood pressure by relaxing the muscle in the walls of the arteries.

After 8 weeks of daily walnut consumption, flow-mediated dilatation was improved – the blood vessels were able to dilate more in the subjects who ate walnuts.1  This is good news for overall cardiovascular disease risk since loss of endothelial function is one of the initiating events in atherosclerotic plaque development.

Want another reason to eat some walnuts?  They may also protect against breast cancer and prostate cancer2, according to animal studies. Fascinatingly, nuts and seeds also promote weight loss.  Research on the issue shows when an equal number of carbohydrate calories are replaced with nuts and seeds weight loss increases. Scientists from Purdue University did a thorough review of all the research studies that looked at nut intake and weight loss. Not only did they find nuts were a rich source of nutrients and protect the heart and blood vessels, but they found a surprising inverse association between nut intake and Body Mass Index. Most studies explained this as being due to the appetite suppressing effect of nuts, but like beans all the calories may not be bio-accessible, meaning that not all of the calories in nuts are absorbed. Plus, they enhance the absorbtion of nutrients in vegetables when consumed in the same meal. 3

We can apply this information by following Dr. Fuhrman’s recommendations to include a variety of nuts and seeds in our diets. As time goes on, we can be sure that scientists will continue to reveal many more health-promoting properties of nuts and seeds. 


 

References:

1. 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 Feb;33(2):227-32. Epub 2009 Oct 30.

 

Medscape Medical News: Walnuts Shown to Improve Endothelial Function in Diabetics

http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/717343?sssdmh=dm1.597249&src=confwrap&uac=74561DY

2. Eurekalert! Walnuts slow prostate tumors in mice: UC Davis research shows walnuts affect genes related to tumor growth

http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2010-03/uoc--wsp032210.php

3. Mattes RD et al. Impact of peanuts and tree nuts on body weight and healthy weight loss in adults. J Nutr. 2008 Sep;138(9):1741S-1745S.

Antioxidants in almonds keep your arteries clean

Nuts are nutrient-rich – they contain a spectrum of micronutrients including LDL-lowering phytosterols, circulation-promoting arginine, minerals - potassium, calcium, magnesium, selenium, and antioxidants including phenols, resveratrol, tocopherols (vitamin E), and carotenoids.

Nuts, and almonds in particular, are some of the most beneficial foods for decreasing heart disease risk: 

  • A 2009 meta-analysis confirmed that almond consumption of at least 25 g per day (about 1 ounce) is associated with a 7 mg/dL decrease in total cholesterol.1 
  • Collectively, the data from the four most recent U.S. studies estimates that Americans who eat five or more servings of nuts per week have a 35% reduced risk of coronary heart disease.2 

There are many potential mechanisms by which nuts might exert these beneficial effects on heart health – the dramatic decrease in heart disease risk from nut consumption can’t be explained by cholesterol lowering alone. Scientists are now investigating the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of nuts for their potential cardioprotective effects.

Almonds may have powerful antioxidant activity, in addition to their cholesterol-lowering activity. As well as their vitamin E, the skins of almonds contain a large and varied collection of phenol antioxidants. 

A study of hyperlipidemic individuals fed either almonds or a snack with a similar fatty acid profile each day for 4 weeks compared markers of oxidative stress in these two groups. The subjects fed almonds showed reductions in markers of oxidative stress.3 

This alleviation of oxidative stress was reflected in reduces serum levels of oxidized LDL.4 Since oxidation renders LDL more likely to be taken up by inflammatory cells, oxidized LDL is more dangerous in relation to atherosclerotic plaque formation. The synergistic effects of the healthy fats, antioxidants, and surely many other phytochemicals in almonds help to prevent this early and important step in the development of atherosclerosis. Though this study was reported on almonds, other nuts and seeds have similar marked effects that protect the heart.   

 

References:

1. Phung OJ, Makanji SS, White CM, Coleman CI. Almonds have a neutral effect on serum lipid profiles: a meta-analysis of randomized trials. J Am Diet Assoc. 2009 May;109(5):865-73.

2. Kris-Etherton PM et al. The Role of Tree Nuts and Peanuts in the Prevention of Coronary Heart Disease: Multiple Potential Mechanisms. J. Nutr. 138: 1746S–1751S, 2008.

3. Jenkins DJ, Kendall CW, Marchie A, et al. Almonds Reduce Biomarkers of Lipid Peroxidation in Older Hyperlipidemic Subjects. J. Nutr. 138: 908–913, 2008.

USDA/Agricultural Research Service (2008, November 4). Antioxidant Effects From Eating Almonds. ScienceDaily. Retrieved February 25, 2010, from http://www.sciencedaily.com /releases/2008/10/081031213057.htm

4. Jenkins DJ, Kendall CW, Marchie A, et al. Dose response of almonds on coronary heart disease risk factors: blood lipids, oxidized low-density lipoproteins, lipoprotein(a), homocysteine, and pulmonary nitric oxide: a randomized, controlled, crossover trial. Circulation. 2002;106:1327–32.

 

Walnuts are So Good for You (and Mice)

A diet high in walnuts may significantly decrease a person's risk of breast cancer, according to a study conducted by researchers from the Marshall University School of Medicine and presented at a conference of the American Association for Cancer Research.

A chemical analysis showed that omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants and phytosterols contained in walnuts all contributed to the mice's tumor resistance.

"The omega-3 fatty acid, the phytosterols and antioxidants individually have been shown to prevent or delay cancers" Hardman said. "So if you add them all together, it looks like it may be really good."

In another study, Hardman found that feeding mice a diet enriched with the same omega-3 content as that contained in the walnut dose given in the current study was not as effective as eating the whole walnut.

"It did reduce cancer incidents," she said, "but not as dramatically as the walnut-containing diet did. So it's something else other than the omega-3 in the walnut that's contributing to the suppression of cancers."

Hardman noted that the effect of the whole food was probably greater than the sum of its parts.

With dietary interventions, you see multiple mechanisms when working with the whole food, she said.

For 20 years, I’ve been telling people to eat walnuts as a superfood; now we know it’s good for mice too.

Nuts and seeds contain plant sterols and other phytochemical compounds that we are just beginning to understand their benefits. Eating the whole food guarantees we are getting all of the known and unknown beneficial micronutrients contained in these superfoods.

 Sources for this story include: health.usnews.com www.voanews.com.

Fats from Avocados, Raw Nuts and Seeds are Vital to Health

Nuts and seeds are some of nature’s ideal foods for humans and the best way for us to get our healthy fats. They can satiate true hunger better than oils because they are rich in critical nutrients and fibers and have one-quarter the calories of an equal amount of oil. They should be part of your healthy eating-style. Many people perceive raw nuts as high-fat, high-calorie foods that should be avoided or consumed in only token amounts. The important role of raw nuts and seeds in the American diet has been almost completely ignored by nutritional advisers, and their absence is a huge flaw in American cuisine. The results of recent research have changed this perception completely. Today, more and more researchers are finally aware that it is not fat in general that is the villain, but saturated fat, trans fat, and fats consumed in a processed form. Fats from avocado, raw nuts, and seeds are rich in antioxidants and phytochemicals that not only offer unique health benefits, but also maintain the freshness of the food, preventing rancidity of the fat within.

Recent evidence shows that the frequent consumption of nuts is strongly protective against heart disease. It has been shown that people eating nuts daily, or more than once a day, had a 59 percent lower risk of fatal coronary heart disease.1 In addition, several clinical studies have observed beneficial effects of diets high in nuts on lowering cholesterol levels. The beneficial effects of nut consumption observed in clinical and epidemiologic studies underscore the importance of distinguishing different types of fat. One study estimated that every exchange of one ounce of saturated fat to one once of nut-fat from consuming a whole nut was associated with a 45 percent reduction in heart disease risk.2

Study after study shows that raw nuts and seeds not only lower cholesterol, but also extend lifespan and protect against common diseases of aging. They also provide a good source of protein, which makes up about 15 to 25 percent of their calories.3 Nuts’ hard shells also keep them well protected from pesticides and environmental pollution. Raw nuts and seeds, not the salted or roasted variety, provide the most health benefits.

Over the last few years, the health benefits of seeds also have become more apparent. A tablespoon of ground flaxseed, hempseeds, chia seeds, or other seeds can supply those hard-to find omega-3 fats that protect against diabetes, heart disease, and cancer.4 Seeds are also rich in lignans, a type of fiber asso ciated with a reduced risk of both breast cancer and prostate cancer. In addition, seeds are a good source of iron, zinc, calcium, protein, potassium, magnesium, Vitamin E, and folate. The plant goes to great effort in producing and protecting its seed, filling each genetic package with high concentrations of vitamins, minerals, proteins, essential oils, and enzymes.

While nuts and seeds have great health benefits, they are higher in calories and fat compared to vegetables, beans, and fruits so they should be consumed in smaller amounts. Nuts and seeds contain about 175 calories per ounce, and a handful could be a little over one ounce. For most of us, they are not a food that should be eaten in unlimited quantity. Unless you are thin and exercising frequently, hold your consumption of raw nuts and seeds to less than two ounces a day.

This is an excerpt from Dr. Fuhrman’s book Eat For Health.

1. Kahn HA, Phillips RI, Snowdon DA, Choi W. Association between reported diet and all cause mortality: Twenty-one year follow up on 27,530 adult Seventh-Day Adventists. Am J Epidemiol 1984;119:775-787.

2. Hu FB, Stampfer MJ. Nut consumption and risk of coronary heart disease: a review of epidemiologic evidence. Curr Atheroscler Rep 1999 Nov;1(3):204-209.

3. Ellsworth JL, Kushi LH, Folsom AR, et al. Frequent nut intake and risk of death from coronary heart disease and all causes in postmenopausal women: the Iowa Women’s Health Study. Nutr Metab Cardiovasc Dis. 2001;11(6):372-377. Kris-Etherton PM, Zhao G, Binkoski AE, et al. The effects of nuts on coronary heart disease risk. Nutr Rev. 2001;59(4):103-111.

4. Simopoulos AP. Essential fatty acids in health and chronic disease. Am J Clin Nutr. 1999;70 (3):56S-69S.

Image credit: thegrocer*

Fresh Garlic Better Than Garlic Powder, Duh!

I’m Italian, so I’m required to like garlic, but that garlic powder I grew up on can’t hold a candle to fresh garlic. A new study in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry claims that raw, crushed garlic has more heart-protective effects than the dried stuff.

In the study, Dipak K. Das and colleagues point out that raw, crushed garlic generates hydrogen sulfide through a chemical reaction. Although best known as the stuff that gives rotten eggs their distinctive odor, hydrogen sulfide also acts as a chemical messenger in the body, relaxing blood vessels and allowing more blood to pass through. Processed and cooked garlic, however, loses its ability to generate hydrogen sulfide.

The scientists gave freshly crushed garlic and processed garlic to two groups of lab rats, and then studied how well the animals' hearts recovered from simulated heart attacks. "Both crushed and processed garlic reduced damage from lack of oxygen, but the fresh garlic group had a significantly greater effect on restoring good blood flow in the aorta and increased pressure in the left ventricle of the heart," Das said.

Garlic is one of the foods Dr. Fuhrman recommends diabetics eat plenty of, along side green vegetables, nuts, seeds, beans, eggplant, tomatoes, mushrooms and onions. Sometimes I bake garlic cloves in the oven and spread it on wholegrain bread.

Via EurekAlert!

Image credit: Ian-S

Eating to Live on the Outside: Lifefood Gourmet

Hooray for Saturday! And this Saturday, Eating to Live on the Outside is “off” to Miami, Florida for a quick meal at Lifefood Gourment, a veg-restaurant saluting food and science.

It didn’t take long to shift through the Lifefood’s menu. Here’s a rough draft of stuff I might order:

Alfredo Elixir Soup

  • Alfredo sauce, macadamia motza cheese and hand picked veggies; I’m not sure what “motza” is and hopefully it’s not salty.

Tomato Magic Soup

  • Tomato blended with spices; I love tomato, just as long as it isn’t salty.

Insalata Caprese

  • Tomato, baby spinach, basil, macadamia motza cheese, olive oil and dried oregano; sounds awesome, but I’m getting the dressing on the side.

Lifefood Gourmet House Salad

  • Romaine lettuce, baby spinach, baby arugula, onion, bell pepper, tomato and tahini dressing; same thing with the salad dressing.

Lifefood Gourmet Caesar

  • Kelp, Irish moss, Romaine lettuce and pumpkin seed croutons; I’m cool with this.

Minerals of the Sea Salad

  • Greens, hijiki, arama, kelp, onion, celery and tahini dressing; sea vegetables can be salty, so I’m not absolutely sold on this one.

Life Gourmet Burger

  • Sprouted quinoa and flax dehydrated buns, walnut, pumpkin seed, Brazil nut, onion, celery, flax oil patty, lettuce, tomato, onion, ketchup and mustard; the oil is a bit of a drag, but I can deal with it.

I got a break this week. Lifefood’s menu is short and sweet. Now, I like a few things, but if I had to pick. I'm going with the House Salad. It’s got plenty of greens and other awesome vegetables.

How about you, what you order? Flip through Lifefood’s menu and let know what you think.

Image credit: Lifefood Gourmet

Q & A: How Much Raw Food Should You Eat?

Raw food diets are very popular. They’re cool. A lot of people have success on them, but the truth is you don’t have to go 100% raw for superior health—some cooked food isn’t going to kill you! Now, in this quick discussion from Dr. Fuhrman’s member center, he talks about the optimal level of raw food and cooked food a diet should have:

Question: What is the percentage of raw fruits and vegetables, nuts and seeds one should consume in his or her diet? In other words, how much of our diet should be raw food? I think I eat about 75% raw now. Is that too much raw? Can you have optimal health on 50% raw food if that raw food is comprised of raw fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds?

Dr. Fuhrman: No, I think 75% raw as an ideal approximation is right. Consider that nuts and seeds avocados could supply about 30% to 40% of calories, raw fruits about 20%and raw vegetables about 20%. But of course, that does not mean a diet with more cooked greens and vegetable and bean soups would not be very healthy or as healthy.

Image credit: NatalieMaynor

Diabetes Starts Way Before Diagnosis

Hardly a revelation, but new a study in the Lancet shows blood glucose sensitivity starts to change several years before the onset of type-2 diabetes. Scientists followed 6,538 adults without diabetes for 10 years, during which 505 people were diagnosed with the disease. Among the newly diabetic, data revealed steep increases in fasting glucose three years prior to their diagnosis. Experts blame years of overeating, obesity and inactivity; via Booster Shots.

Listen up! Diabetes isn’t inevitable. Last month, research linked healthy, vegetable-based diets to lower risk of type-2 diabetes. Dr. Fuhrman recommends regular exercise and eating plenty of leafy greens, beans and nuts for diabetes prevention, and reversal.

In related news, breakfast cereals like cornflakes spike blood sugar and interfere with normal functioning of blood vessels, raising the risk for heart disease.

Image credit: Pink Sherbet Photography