Eating for Health Isn't Extreme; It's Essential

We live in a toxic environment. Even the good ole’ fresh country air isn’t what it use to be. Not long ago I was riding my bike in a nearby rural county, and a crop dusting plane flew overhead and began spraying a cornfield in the distance. I turned around to avoid the residue, but then the plane circled and came my way to spray another field.  

I grew up on a farm, and one of the highlights of summer was creating makeshift rafts to float in flooded soybean fields after a heavy rainfall; giving no thought to the poisonous, chemical run-off from the fields that would’ve been in the water. 

Even suburban housing additions are full of toxins as chemicals are applied to well-manicured lawns. And, of course, cities have their own set of poisons floating around in the air; not to mention the toxic foods that many of us may have eaten since childhood. Our bodies have been, and will continue to be inundated with toxins in one way or other; unless one has the privilege of living on a pristine island in Utopia.

And that’s one of the many reasons why it’s essential for all of us to fully embrace the nutritarian diet-style.    

Every bite of food that we put into our mouth counts.

Although certain chemicals can damage the body, repair can most likely happen if we are healthy and not continually exposed to them.  Therefore, it's crucial that we eat right and minimize our exposure to toxins and chemicals. 

But it takes a firm and radical commitment.      

“It takes more than moderate changes to wipe out the cellular damage that happens earlier in life.”   Dr. Fuhrman

We must turn a deaf ear to the naysayers that incorrectly and ignorantly believe that eating for health is extreme. And we must consume nutrients that build up our immune system, cleanse chemicals and toxins, and protect against disease.   

Following Dr Fuhrman’s nutritional protocol 100% to prevent the growth of cancer cells and disease is not extreme; it’s essential.

Here’s to optimal health to all!

 

Related post:  The 90 Percent Rule

 

Image credits: Crop dusting, flickr by chaunceydavid818; Pollution, flickr by ribamica

 

 

 

Do you need a reboot?

garbageOver Memorial Day weekend I cleaned out the garage. I clean it about every three months, and no matter how much I try to keep it clean and organized, it always gets dirty and cluttered again within three months!  [a dirty glove from winter sledding, a broken skate, empty salt bags from the water softener, a flat bike tire, an old quilt that the cats slept on, some dirty gardening tools that nobody put back in the storage shed, a few empty water bottles, a cardboard box, a misplaced container of pool chemicals, the Christmas tree stand that didn't get put up into the attic, some old boots that don't fit anyone anymore; plus lots of dirt and leaves, dirt, and more dirt and leaves]

As I was cleaning I thought about how our bodies require continual cleaning and maintenance to keep them healthy and in good working order.  It takes ongoing effort, planning and preparedness. If we get careless and allow *stuff* (toxins, fat cells) to accumulate, it requires a major overhaul to get clean and function properly again.

The popular pop-culture word now is "reboot."

I like that word.

Every once in a while we may possibly need to reboot our garages . . . . and our bodies.

Otherwise our garages will look like the ones from the Hoarders show and our cars will no longer fit into them; and eventually our bodies will look like the ones from the beginning episodes of The Biggest Loser and our clothes will no longer fit.  (Not to mention the detrimental damage that'll be done to our arteries, blood vessels, pancreas, heart, etc.)  In fact, if the waistband becomes a bit snug, that’s a clear indication to reboot.  A tight waistband means unhealthy plaque is building up in the arteries and blood vessels.  Quick ~ nip disease in the bud!

If we've been careless with food choices, and have allowed toxins and fat to accumulate, it's time to reboot. It's time to go back to the six week eating plan in Eat to Live and follow it carefully, with little to no deviation.  It’s time to clean the clutter, (aka detox), and change the tastebuds.

How about you? 

Do you need a reboot?

Excess iron and copper contribute to chronic disease and aging

Both iron and copper serve vital functions, but as we age excess stores of these metals may build and become toxic. A report from the American Chemical Society1 suggests that iron and copper toxicity are unrecognized but significant threats to public health, in particular for adults over the age of 50.

pennyIron is crucial for oxygen transport and the proper function of several enzymes and proteins. Similarly, copper is also a component of enzymes that catalyze important reactions in several of the body’s cells and tissues. The human body evolved to store excess iron and copper to fuel these vital processes in case of extreme conditions like bleeding or famine, but their accumulation over time may be detrimental because both metals are involved in the production of reactive oxygen species (ROS).

It is now generally accepted that oxidative damage, a byproduct of oxygen-dependent energy production, contributes to chronic diseases and aging.

Oxidation of LDL cholesterol is one of the initial steps of atherosclerotic plaque development. Epidemiological associations between body stores of each of these metals and atherosclerosis have been found, and this is thought to be due to ROS production.2 

Oxidative damage and depletion of the brain’s natural antioxidant defenses are implicated in the neurodegeneration associated with Alzheimer’s disease. Because the brain uses more oxygen and produces more energy than any other organ, it is the most vulnerable organ to oxidative damage. The high iron content of the brain, even higher in those with excessive iron stores, makes the brain even more vulnerable to oxidative stress.3

In people at least 65 years of age who consumed diets high in saturated and trans fats, copper intake was associated with accelerated cognitive decline. Copper bound to cholesterol is also commonly found in the β-amyloid plaques characteristic of Alzheimer’s disease.4

Excess quantities of these metals primarily come from meat, followed by multivitamin/multimineral supplements. Copper in supplements and drinking water is even more toxic than copper derived from food sources.1   

The author of this new report has outlined steps that we can take to limit our exposure to copper and iron, including:

  • Avoiding or minimizing red meat consumption

  • Avoiding drinking water from copper pipes

  • Choosing a multivitamin that does not contain copper and iron. 

Dr. Fuhrman designed his Gentle Care Formula multivitamin/multimineral to be free of potentially toxic ingredients like copper and iron.

 

References:

1. American Chemical Society (2010, January 22). Consumers over age 50 should consider cutting copper and iron intake, report suggests. ScienceDaily. Retrieved January 29, 2010, from http://www.sciencedaily.com /releases/2010/01/100120113553.htm 

Brewer GJ. Risks of Copper and Iron Toxicity during Aging in Humans. Chem Res Toxicol. 2009 Dec 7. [Epub ahead of print]

2. Brewer GJ. Iron and Copper Toxicity in Diseases of Aging, Particularly Atherosclerosis and Alzheimer’s Disease. Exp Biol Med 232 (2): 323. 2007

3. Kidd PM. Neurodegeneration from Mitochondrial Insufficiency: Nutrients, Stem Cells, Growth Factors, and Prospects for Brain Rebuilding Using Integrative Management. Alternative Medicine Review 2005;10(4):268-293

4. Morris MC et al. Dietary copper and high saturated and trans fat intakes associated with cognitive decline. Arch Neurol. 2006 Aug;63(8):1085-8.

Organic Fruits Vegetables - Most Pesticides, Least Pesticides

The concern implicit in this question is about pesticides, and it is a real one. The Environmental Protection Agency has reported that the majority of pesticides now in use are probable or possible causes of cancer. Studies of farm workers who work with pesticides suggest a link between pesticide use and brain cancer, Parkinson’s disease, multiple myeloma, leukemia, lymphoma, and cancers of the stomach and prostate.1 However, does the low level of pesticides remaining on our food present much of a risk?

Some scientists argue that the extremely low level of pesticide residue remaining on produce is insignificant and that there are naturally occurring toxins in all natural foods that are more significant. The large amount of studies performed on the typical pesticide-treated produce have demonstrated that consumption of produce, whether organic or not, is related to lower rates of cancer and increased disease protection. In short, it is better to eat fruits and vegetables grown and harvested using pesticides than not to eat them at all. The health benefits of eating phytochemically-rich produce greatly outweigh any risks pesticide residues might pose. That said, it should be recognized that fruits and vegetables are not all subject to the same pesticide exposure. The below chart shows the pesticide breakdown by food, but it is alphabetized and not in order of pesticide content. Spinach, strawberries and celery have the most pesticide residue and are the most important foods to consume organically grown.

 

If it is available, organic food is certainly your best bet to limit exposure to toxic chemicals. If you can eat only organic versions of the top 12 most contaminated fruits and vegetables, you can reduce your pesticide exposure by about 90 percent. In addition, organic foods usually have more nutrients than their conventional counterparts.2 They also taste better and are generally better for farmers and the environment.

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Adjusting to a Healthy Diet - Your Body Will Detoxify

It takes time to be comfortable with the changes in your life. It is not unusual to feel physically uncomfortable as you detoxify in the process of making over your body chemistry with a healthful diet. The more stimulating or harmful your prior habits, the worse you feel when you stop them. When breaking your addiction to salt, meat, dairy, saturated fat, processed foods and other substances, you might feel headachy, fatigued, or even a little itchy or ill, but the good news is these symptoms rarely last longer than a week or two. However, if you are making the changes to nutritional excellence gradually uncomfortable symptoms should be minimized.

Some people are so addicted to stimulating food, sugary sweets, and overeating, they may even feel depressed when they don’t indulge. For example, cheese, salt, and chocolate are all addictive, and it takes a prolonged period of abstinence to beat these addictions. Sugar and caffeine, especially when mixed together, are highly addictive and create a significant amount of discomfort when stopping. Sugar withdrawal symptoms have been demonstrated to be similar to withdrawal symptoms from opiates, including anxiety and tremors.1 I have observed many individuals with a history of severe chronic headaches, who were on drugs for headache suppression, develop fever, backaches, diarrhea, and other severe detoxification symptoms when stopping medications that contain caffeine, such as Excedrin, Fiorinal and Fioricet. Fortunately, their suffering was short-lived. Through high-nutrient eating, these individuals have been able to make dramatic recoveries.

High-nutrient eating was crucial for this result. Toxic wastes build up in our tissues, and we are unable to remove them unless high-levels of phytochemicals are present and the intake of toxins is stopped. You must allow this detoxification to occur. An important hurdle to achieving your ideal weight and excellent health is getting rid of your addictions. After that occurs, you may feel like you have been freed from prison and will find it easier to move forward and be one step closer to truly eating for health.

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Popular Bug Repellent Deet Harms Nervous System

Here’s a stern warning for all those moms hosing down their kids with bug spray at the cookout. Published in the journal BMC Biology, scientists have determined deet—a common chemical used in insect repellents—is neurotoxic and harms the brain.

The active ingredient in many insect repellents, deet, has been found to be toxic to the central nervous system. Researchers say that more investigations are urgently needed to confirm or dismiss any potential neurotoxicity to humans, especially when deet-based repellents are used in combination with other neurotoxic insecticides.

Vincent Corbel from the Institut de Recherche pour le Développement in Montpellier, and Bruno Lapied from the University of Angers, France, led a team of researchers who investigated the mode of action and toxicity of deet (N,N-Diethyl-3-methylbenzamide). Corbel said, "We've found that deet is not simply a behavior-modifying chemical but also inhibits the activity of a key central nervous system enzyme, acetycholinesterase, in both insects and mammals".

Not exactly comforting news for little campers and hikers! That’s why Dr. Fuhrman says parents must be vigilant to protect their children from toxic environments—not just pesky mosquitoes.

Via ScienceDaily.

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Study Says Organic Food Not More Nutritious Than Regular Food -- UDPATE --

People buy organic for a lot of reasons. No pesticides or no chemicals—that’s a biggie—and some say it tastes better, especially organic fruits and vegetables.

Other people insist it’s more nutritious than traditional produce. Is it really? I’d like to think so, but a new study says it isn’t.

The research, appearing in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition and based on a review of data from the last 50 years, only found a very small number of nutritional differences between organic food and non-organics. Key highlights:

  • From a total of over 52,000 articles, there were 162 (137 on crops and 25 on livestock products) that met the researchers' first level of inclusion criteria but only 55 of these were of satisfactory quality and went into the analysis.
  • Conventionally produced crops had a significantly higher content of nitrogen.
  • Organically produced crops had a significantly higher content of phosphorus and higher titratable acidity.
  • There was no evidence of a difference among the remaining 8 crop nutrient categories.
  • Analysis of the few quality studies on livestock products showed no evidence of differences in nutrient content between those that were organically and those that were conventionally produced.

However, researchers say it’s difficult to provide a definite answer until longer studies have been completed. In the meantime, stick with organic food, at the very least it’s safer. Pesticides and chemicals certainly don’t help. Eek! 

UPDATE: Dr. Fuhrman had some thoughts on this:

Lower nitrogen residue in the organic food is another important reason to eat organic that this study documented. The over-use of nitrogen fertilizers is polluting our oceans, removing ozone and damaging the ecosystem, plus excessive nitrogen compounds in the non-organic food is also not healthy.

Via Medical News Today.

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Omega-3s: Healthy Fats You May Not Be Getting Enough Of...

Omega-3 fatty acids are healthy fats that reduce inflammation, inhibit cancer development and protect our blood vessels. There are long-chain and short chain fatty acids. Short-chain omega-3 fats are found in some green vegetables, walnuts, and flax, chia, and hemp seeds. The basic building block of short-chain omega-3 fat is alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). Our bodies are only capable of converting a small amount of these short chain fats to long-chain omega-3 fats, called docoshexanoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA).

Studies show that people have varying ability to convert ALA into DHA and EPA. Apparently, some people eating sufficient ALA from greens, seeds and walnuts can achieve adequate levels while others cannot. Men generally convert less than women. Conversion of ALA by the body to these longer-chain fatty acids is inefficient: < 5-10% for EPA and only 2-5% for DHA.1

DHA is one of the crucial building blocks of human brain tissue. It has been shown to protect against dementia, depression, inflammatory diseases, attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), allergies, and to offer significant benefits for overall cardiovascular health.

Early in life, DHA is supplied via the placenta and from breast milk. While adequate DHA is particularly important for pregnant and nursing women and young children, it is beneficial for all ages!

  • Improves your child's intelligence
  • Aids depression and Attention Deficit Disorder
  • Improves memory
  • Important for brain and eye development
  • Promotes smoother skin; prevents wrinkles
  • Helps prevent heart disease and arthritis
  • Lowers risk of Alzheimer's and senior dementia
  • Lowers "bad" cholesterol

These long-chain omega-3 fatty acids are also produced by marine algae which serve as the source of DHA and EPA in fish. Although, fish is a good source of EPA and DHA, unfortunately, it's one of the most polluted foods which we eat. Therefore, it can not be considered a safe source of these healthy fats.

Fish have been shown to contain fat soluble petrochemicals, such as PCB's and dioxins as a result of the dumping of toxic waste and raw sewage into our oceans. Fish also contains mercury. According to the Center for Disease Control, 1 in 12 women of childbearing age in the United States have unsafe mercury levels (and the CDC's threshold for safety is high). Multiple studies have illustrated most of the body's mercury load comes from the consumption of fish.

For these reasons, I recommend consuming little or no fish. If you choose to consume fish, try to stay away from those high in fat and known to be high in mercury such as shark, swordfish, mackerel, pike, tuna, snapper, lobster, grouper, sea bass and bluefish. Instead, use the lower fat (less polluted) fish such as flounder, sole, haddock, scallops, squid, trout, hake, ocean perch, shrimp and tilapia.

Some nutritional advisors encourage consuming high amounts of flax seed oil to promote the conversion of enough DHA. I do not agree. First of all, flax seed oil is an empty calorie food with little or no vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals and flavonoids that were present in the original seeds. Furthermore, we have a significant collection of data that indicates that the consumption of high doses of ALA from flax oil may increase, not decrease the risk of prostate cancer.1 In contrast, flax seed consumption has been shown in multiple studies to lower the risk of both breast cancer and prostate cancer.3

I prefer people not consume much fish to assure sufficient consumption or conversion of omega-3s. Since the ability to self-convert short chain ALA into long-chain DHA is so variable from person to person, I recommend a mixture of natural omega-3 containing plants plus some extra plant-derived DHA. I advise people obtain their omega-3 fats by consuming the cleaner, plant sources such as walnuts, flax, chia, and hemp seeds and by also taking a daily DHA supplement like my DHA Purity. My DHA Purity is a laboratory cultivated DHA product made from microalgae. It is a pure form of DHA without environmental contamination or unnecessary disruption of our ocean life. 

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Radiation from Tanning Beds a Carcinogen

Bad news if you think tanning is a good idea. Officials from the International Agency for Research on Cancer have listed tanning beds as "carcinogenic to humans" the highest category for cancer risk. Their research, printed in The Lancet Oncology considers tanning beds as carcinogenic.

In June, scientists from nine countries met at the International Agency for Research on Cancer to pore over data associating tanning beds with the risk of skin cancer.

Their review concluded that the risk of melanoma increases by 75 percent when use of tanning beds and sunlamps begins before 30 years of age. In addition, several studies provided evidence of a link between the use of UV-emitting tanning devices and melanoma of the eye.

The genetic mutation caused by UV radiation has previously been attributed to UVB radiation alone. However, the same mutation was found in the skin of mice exposed to UVA radiation, and that radiation caused the mice to develop tumors, the researchers noted.

These findings caused the agency to reclassify all UV radiation -- including UVA, UVB and UVC -- as carcinogenic to humans. Previously the agency had classified UVA, UVB and UVC radiation as "probably carcinogenic to humans."

Via HealthDay News.

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Animal Fat Increases Risk of Pancreatic Cancer

Published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, a new study claims high intake of saturated fat—specifically red meat and dairy—results in a 36% higher risk of pancreatic cancer, compared to people with lower consumption. And a high in take of total fat lead to a 53% increased risk of pancreatic cancer in men and 23% higher risk in women. Scientists examined data on 500,000 individuals, in which 1,337 were diagnosed with pancreatic cancer; Food Navigator reports.

Meat, i.e. saturated fat, is risky and research paints a grim picture. Previous studies have linked meat with higher risk of heart disease, age-related vision loss and various cancers. Fortunately, foods like fruits and vegetables lower the risk of developing cancer and cardiovascular disease.

In related news, experts found people who regularly eat charred or barbecued meat have a 60% higher risk of pancreatic cancer. Burned meat builds up of cancer-causing heterocyclic amines.

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