Category Archives: Featured Articles

January 14th, 2014

3 Immune-Boosting Juices for Cold & Flu Season

juicing-three-glasses-850x400-2

According to the latest CDC Influenza Surveillance Report, flu is widespread in 25 states so far this season. As for the common cold, the CDC estimates that more a than 1 billion of us will suffer from it in 2014.

Raw fruit and vegetable juices are great immune system fortifiers, especially during an active infection with a cold or flu. This time of year, it’s critical to get plenty of rest, drink lots of water, and bolster the immune system with freshly made juices rich in vitamins, minerals, and important phytochemicals such as flavonoids, which are known to be powerful antiviral agents.

Here are three recipes to make in a juicer. Drink these when you feel a cold or flu coming on.

Immune Power Veggie

Rich in carotenes and the immune-enhancing benefits of garlic and ginger, this drink gives your immune system a real shot in the arm. With their high content of the food fiber inulin, the Jerusalem artichokes, if you can find them, provide additional health benefits–particularly for supporting infection-fighting bacteria in your gut.

2 garlic cloves
1/4-inch slice of ginger
Handful of parsley
1 apple, cut into wedges
3 carrots
1 cup of Jerusalem artichokes (optional)

Place the garlic and ginger in the center of the parsley, and feed into the juicer with the aid of a carrot. Alternate feeding the remaining carrots, apple, and Jerusalem artichokes (if using) into the juicer.

Immune Power Fruit

This drink is rich in many nutrients vital to the immune system, and it also abounds in flavonoids and other phytochemicals with demonstrated antiviral and antioxidant effects.

1 orange, peeled
1 cup strawberries
1/4 pineapple with skin, sliced

Juice the orange, followed by the strawberries and pineapple.

Immune Power Veggie Extreme

This formula is a great weapon against an active upper respiratory tract infection. The daikon
radish really helps clear the sinuses and nasal passages.

2 cloves garlic
1/4 inch slice of ginger
Handful of parsley
1/2 daikon radish, cut into lengthwise pieces, or 4 radishes with leafy greens

Place the garlic and ginger in the center of the parsley, and feed into the juicer with the aid of a carrot. Juice the radish and the remaining carrots.
Find more information on juicing for healing, detoxing, and weight loss, including more than 150 recipes, in The Complete Book of Juicing, Revised and Updated: Your Delicious Guide to Youthful Vitality (Clarkson Potter, January 2014).

January 13th, 2014

Fight Colds and Flu with 3 Immune-Boosting Juices

Raw fruit and vegetable juices are great immune system fortifiers, especially during an active infection with a cold or flu. This time of year, it’s critical to get plenty of rest, drink lots of water, and bolster the immune system with freshly made juices rich in vitamins, minerals, and important phytochemicals such as flavonoids, which are known to be powerful antiviral agents.

Here are three recipes to make in a juicer. Drink these when you feel a cold or flu coming on.

Fight Colds and Flu with 3 Immune-Boosting JuicesImmune Power Veggie

Rich in carotenes and the immune-enhancing benefits of garlic and ginger, this drink gives your immune system a real shot in the arm. With their high content of the food fiber inulin, the Jerusalem artichokes, if you can find them, provide additional health benefits — particularly for supporting infection-fighting bacteria in your gut.

  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1/4-inch slice of ginger
  • Handful of parsley
  • 3 carrots
  • 1 apple, cut into wedges
  • 1 cup of Jerusalem artichokes (optional)

Place the garlic and ginger in the center of the parsley, and feed into the juicer with the aid of a carrot. Alternate feeding the remaining carrots, apple, and Jerusalem artichokes (if using) into the juicer.

Immune Power Fruit

This drink is rich in many nutrients vital to the immune system, and it also abounds in flavonoids and other phytochemicals with demonstrated antiviral and antioxidant effects.

  • 1 orange, peeled
  • 1 cup strawberries
  • 1/4 pineapple with skin, sliced

Juice the orange, followed by the strawberries and pineapple.

Immune Power Veggie Extreme

This formula is a great weapon against an active upper respiratory tract infection. The daikon radish really helps clear the sinuses and nasal passages.

  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/4 inch slice of ginger
  • Handful of parsley
  • 3 carrots
  • 1/2 daikon radish, cut into lengthwise pieces, or 4 radishes with leafy greens

Place the garlic and ginger in the center of the parsley, and feed into the juicer with the aid of a carrot. Juice the radish and the remaining carrots.

Published at InnerSelf

http://innerself.com/content/healthy/diseases-a-conditions/immune-system/8941-fight-colds-and-flu-with-3-immune-boosting-juices.html

January 4th, 2014

7 Common Misconceptions About Juicing

Juicing has been around since countertop appliances became popular in the 1950s and ’60s. Today, raw juice bars are everywhere, and lots of people own juicers to make their own fresh and healthy drinks at home.

Consuming raw juice has many benefits. It gives us energy, lots of nutritional quality, and increases our intake of health-promoting phytochemicals. Certain juice blends enhance weight loss, help to detoxify the blood and organs, and can boost immunity as well. For now, let’s look at some of the common misconceptions people have about juicing.

left-juiceglasses1. With juicing, the most important ingredient — the fiber — is thrown away.

Juicing fresh fruits and vegetables does provide some fiber, particularly soluble fiber. It’s the soluble fiber that has been shown to lower cholesterol levels and exert other beneficial effects beyond improved bowel function. Juicing helps the body’s digestive process and allows for quick absorption of high-quality nutrition. It quickly provides the most easily digestible and concentrated nutritional benefits of fruits and vegetables. The result is increased energy levels.

2. You shouldn’t mix fruits and vegetables in juice, as they require different digestive processes.

There’s no scientific evidence to support this contention. Nonetheless, some people do seem to have difficulty with combined fruits and vegetables, complaining of gassy discomfort. If you’re one of these people, avoid mixing fruits and vegetables. Exceptions to this rule appear to be carrots and apples, as these foods seem to be able to mix with either a fruit or a vegetable. Let your body and taste buds be your guide.

3. Beta-carotene supplements are better for you than carotene-rich juices.

Juicing provides greater benefit than either beta-carotene supplements or intact carotene-rich foods. This is because juicing ruptures cell membranes, thereby liberating important nutritional compounds, such as carotenes, for easier absorption. Beta-carotene supplementation, while beneficial, only provides one particular type of carotene, whereas juicing a wide variety of carotene-rich foods will provide a broad range of carotenes, many of which have properties more advantageous than beta-carotene.

4. You can’t freeze raw juice.

You can freeze juices, although you’ll lose some of the nutritional benefits and enzymes. But it’s better than letting the juice go to waste. You can add frozen vegetable juice to soups, and you can make delicious homemade popsicles with fruit juice that both kids and grownups love.

5. People with diabetes shouldn’t drink fruit and vegetable juice.

Too much of any simple sugar, including the sugars found in fruit and vegetable juices, can lead to stress of blood sugar control mechanisms, especially if you’re hypoglycemic or diabetic. The advantage of the assortment of natural simple sugars in fruits and vegetables over sucrose (white sugar) and other refined sugars is that they’re balanced by a wide range of nutrients that aid in the utilization of the sugars. Nonetheless, individuals with diabetes should consume no more than eight ounces of juice at any one time, focus on vegetable juices, and drink the juice with a meal to delay the absorption of the sugars.

6. People with recurrent kidney stones should avoid juices because many are high in calcium.

It’s often recommended to people with recurrent calcium oxalate kidney stones that they avoid juices containing spinach, because spinach is rich in both calcium and oxalate. It’s probably not a big sacrifice, even though it may not be that important in preventing stone formation. These people’s diets should definitely include other fresh juices on a regular basis. A beneficial juice for individuals prone to recurrent kidney stones is cranberry juice, which has been shown to reduce the amount of ionized calcium in urine by about 50 percent in patients with kidney stones (high urinary calcium levels greatly increase the risk of developing a kidney stone).

7. You can get all the nutrition that you need through fruit and vegetable juice.

While drinking fresh juice is tremendous in improving nutritional quality, it cannot supply all of the nutrition your body needs on a daily basis. In particular, it is important to get high-quality protein and important healthy fats such as mono-unsaturated oils and omega-3 fatty acids into your diet on a daily basis.

More than 150 juicing recipes, as well as information on how to use raw juice to treat various health conditions, from cancer and obesity to ulcers and eczema, are in my forthcoming book, The Complete Book of Juicing, Revised and Updated: Your Delicious Guide to Youthful Vitality.

January 4th, 2014

Simple Tips To Detoxify Your Body

juicing-weight-loss2

Detoxification of harmful substances in the body is a continual process, and it doesn’t have to be unpleasant. Actually, the best approach may be to detoxify gradually. A rational approach to detoxing can include a long-term approach combined periodic short juice fasts (three to five days).

The Long-Term Approach to Detoxification

To truly support the body’s detoxification processes, a long-term detoxification program is recommended. In particular, you must support the health of your liver. To do so, there are three things you definitely want to avoid:

  1. Saturated fats
  2. Refined sugar
  3. Alcohol

A diet high in saturated fat increases the risk of developing fatty infiltration and/or cholestasis, any condition in which the flow of bile from the liver is slowed or blocked.

In contrast, a diet rich in fiber, particularly the water-soluble fibers, promotes increased bile secretion. Foods rich in factors that help protect the liver from damage and improve liver function include:

  • High sulfur-containing foods like garlic, legumes, onions, and eggs
  • Good sources of water-soluble fibers such as pears, oat bran, apples, and legumes
  • Cabbage family vegetables, especially broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and cabbage
  • Artichokes, beets, carrots, dandelion
  • Many herbs and spices like turmeric, cinnamon, and ginger

Avoid alcohol if you suffer from impaired liver function, and only drink in moderation (no more than two glasses of wine or beer, no more than two ounces of hard liquor per day for men, half that for women). Alcohol overloads detoxification processes and can lead to liver damage and immune suppression.

Tips to cleanse with fruit and vegetable Juice

Most healthy people do not need to go on a strict water fast to aid in detoxification. Instead, a three-to-five-day fresh fruit and vegetable juice fast actually provides the greatest benefit. (Note: only fresh fruit or vegetable juice, prepared from a juicer, should be used to aid elimination, because fresh juice provides valuable enzymes to our system.)

Drinking fresh juice for cleansing reduces some of the side effects associated with a water fast, such as light-headedness, fatigue, and headaches. While on a fresh juice fast, individuals typically experience an increased sense of well-being, renewed energy, clearer thought, and a sense of purity.

Although a short juice fast can be started at any time, it’s best to begin on a weekend or during a time when you can be sure to get adequate rest. The more rest, the better the results, as energy can be directed toward healing instead of toward other body functions.

Prepare for a fast on the day before solid food is stopped by making the last meal one of only fresh fruits and vegetables (some authorities recommend a full day of raw food to start a fast, even a juice fast).

Consume fresh juice for the next three to five days, ideally four 8 to 12-ounce glasses throughout the day. Virtually any fresh juice provides support for detoxification; however, some of the better juices to consume during a fast include pineapple-ginger; cranberry-apple; spinach-celery-kale-apple; kale-broccoli-cabbage-carrots-apple; and parsley-carrot-spinach-celery-tomato.

The ability to detoxify is one of the critical factors for health. It’s amazing just how well the body handles the constant onslaught of modern living. Periodic juice fasting, as well as a long-term approach to detoxification, can be used to support the body’s detoxification mechanisms.

More information on detoxing and juice fasts, including more than 150 recipes, are in The Complete Book of Juicing, Revised and Updated: Your Delicious Guide to Youthful Vitality (Clarkson Potter, January 2014).

September 3rd, 2013

Fruit Consumption REDUCES Risk for Type 2 Diabetes

Unknown

Introduction
While fruits are rich in fiber, antioxidants, and phytochemicals that provide considerable beneficial health effects, they also contain natural sugars that have the potential to stress blood sugar control. As a result, many people with diabetes strictly avoid fruit even though eating the right types of fruit has actually been shown to help improve blood sugar control.

While there is no question that fruits can have a high glycemic index and/or glycemic load, new data is showing that fruit consumption can positively influence blood sugar control regardless of their glycemic index and glycemic load values.

Background Data:
Previous studies examining the association between total fruit consumption, as well as the consumption of individual fruits or fruit groups, and the risk of type 2 diabetes have produced mixed results. The best results have been seen in studies focusing on:

  • Anthocyanin rich fruits (e.g., blueberries, dark grapes, strawberries, and apples)
  • Chlorogenic acid containing fruit (prunes, peaches, plums, apricots, and apples)
  • Grapefruit (due to its high content of the flavonoid naringin)

What these positive studies indicate is that specific fruit exert benefits in helping to improve blood sugar control due to the various phytochemicals they possess.

New Data:
Researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health examined dietary data from 66,105 women from the Nurses’ Health Study I; 85,104 women from the Nurses’ Health Study II; and 36,173 men from the Health Professionals Follow-up Study. These subjects were free of major chronic diseases at baseline in these studies. The main outcome measure was the development of type 2 diabetes.
Read More


Or you may wish to print this helpful article:[print-me]

When the researchers looked at the risk of developing diabetes and the consumption of three whole fruit servings per week of different fruit from pooled data from these very large studies they found the following risk levels:

26% reduced risk for blueberries
12% reduced risk for grapes and raisins
7% reduced risk for apples and pears
5% reduced risk for bananas
5% reduced risk for grapefruit
10% increased risk for cantaloupe

Diabetes risk was neutral for peaches, plums, apricots, prunes, oranges, and strawberries. These fruit neither increased or decreased the risk of type 2 diabetes. However, when the impact of eating three servings of these fruit was compared with the same amount of fruit juice per week, they were shown to be significantly protective. Simply switching out fruit juice for whole fruit significantly reduced the risk for diabetes (7% lower risk overall for any whole fruit and as much as 33% lower risk for blueberries).

The glycemic index/glycemic load values of fruits did not seem to be the factor that determined the fruit’s association with type 2 diabetes risk. However, the increased risk of type 2 diabetes seen with fruit juice consumption was definitely thought to be the result of the increased glycemic index/load of fruit juice. In other words, the consumption of fruit juice lead to more rapid and larger changes in serum levels of glucose and insulin compared to whole fruits and carries with it an increased risk for type 2 diabetes.

Commentary:
This study dispels a common misconception about fruit consumption. Yes, fruit contains natural sugars, but it also contains many compounds that promote health and reduce the risk of chronic diseases including type 2 diabetes. The key with fruit consumption is to focus on low glycemic choices like berries and to limit consumption to one serving for any three-hour period (to avoid stressing blood sugar control).

Another take away point from the above study is to avoid consumption of commercial fruit juices. Many of the beneficial compounds in fruit are destroyed during pasteurization. Fresh (preferably organic) fruit juices retain these beneficial compounds and provides considerable health benefits, but still need to be consumed in limited amounts to maintain proper blood sugar control (e.g., no more than 6-8 ounces per three-hour period and no more than two servings daily).

Reference:
Muraki I, Imamura F, Manson JE,  et al. Fruit consumption and risk of type 2 diabetes: results from three prospective longitudinal cohort studies. BMJ. 2013 Aug 28;347:f5001. doi: 10.1136/bmj.f5001.

July 23rd, 2013

Does Fish Oil Really Boost Prostate Cancer?

Omega-3s May Help Treat Depression, Osteoarthritis and Prostate CancerOn July 10, 2013, the media jumped on news that too much fish oil might boost prostate cancer risk. As someone who has studied the many benefits of fish oil for many years, my alarm bells went off. The story seemed, well, fishy to me.

So I did what a good scientist and medical person should do. I kept an open mind, but examined the study itself–who conducted it, how it was conducted, and what conclusions were drawn based on hard evidence. After all, a study’s conclusion is only as good as the study itself.

Why the Study Is Flawed
The pedigree of the study source is impressive. It was published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute and was conducted by researchers from the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center in Seattle, WA.

Read More

Unfortunately, the data used was from the Selenium and Vitamin E Cancer Prevention Trial (“the select study”), a study that has been widely maligned for its wrongheaded use of synthetic vitamin E in doses that were too large.

Because the select study was not set up initially to evaluate fish or fish oil intake in the study group, its relevance is not as significant as studies designed to specifically determine the impact of omega-3 fatty acids on prostate cancer risk. As a matter of fact, there is no evidence that anybody in the select study took fish oil supplements or even ate fish!

To reach their conclusion about fish oil, the researchers measured the levels of fats in the blood of the SELECT study participants, and concluded that men with the highest concentrations of EPA, DPA, and DHA–three fatty acids derived from fish and fish-oil supplements–had an increased risk of prostate cancer. Specifically, they reported a 71 percent increased risk of high-grade prostate cancer; a 44 percent increase in the risk of low-grade prostate cancer; and an overall 43 percent increase in risk for total prostate cancer in a subset of patients with the highest level of these omega-3 fatty acids. Yet, the actual percentages of the omega-3 fatty acids were low in both groups. None of the participants in the SELECT study actually had high levels of omega 3 fatty acids. Overall, the noncancer patients had a value of omega-3 fats of 3.62 percent, while the level was 3.66 percent in the cancer group. For a more detailed discussion on the data and why the study’s conclusions are misleading, see my article here.

What Well-Conducted Fish and Fish-Oil Studies Show

The authors of the bad study conclude that men are at higher risk of aggressive prostate cancer if the total plasma level of EPA+DPA+DHA is greater than 3.68 percent. If that were true, then aggressive prostate cancer would be a major health concern and the leading cause of death in any country with even moderate fish consumption. But population-based studies show just the opposite effect. For example, prostate cancer incidents and death rates are among the lowest known in populations consuming the traditional Japanese or Mediterranean diets, two diets with a relatively high content of EPA+DHA.

In addition to population-based studies, there are several highly regarded studies that were specifically designed to determine the effects of fish and fish oil consumption in prostate cancer. In a detailed meta-analysis conducted in 2010, while fish consumption did not affect prostate cancer incidence, it was associated with a 63% reduced mortality due to prostate cancer. A meta-analysis examines all previously conducted studies.

Here are some of the results from some of those studies:

  • Researchers investigated the effect of dietary fatty fish intake among 6,272 Swedish men who were followed for 30 years. Results showed that men who ate no fish had a two to three-fold increase in the risk of developing prostate cancer compared with those who consumed large amounts of fish in their diet.
  • Data from the Physician’s Health Study, a study spanning 22 years, found that fish consumption (≥5 times per week) reduced the risk of dying from prostate cancer by 36 percent — specific death.
  • A study conducted by the Harvard School of Public Health that involved 47,882 men over 12 years found that eating fish more than three times a week reduced the risk of prostate cancer but had an even greater impact on the risk of metastatic prostate cancer. For each additional 500 mg of marine fat consumed, the risk of metastatic disease decreased by 24 percent.
  • In one of the best-designed studies, researchers in New Zealand examined the relationship between prostate cancer risk and EPA+ DHA in red blood cells. Higher levels of EPA+DHA were associated with a 40 percent reduced risk of prostate cancer.
  • In a study of 47,866 US men aged 40-75 years with no cancer history in 1986 who were followed for 14 years, EPA+DHA intake at the highest levels was associated with a 26 percent reduced risk of developing prostate cancer.

When ascertaining the benefits of fish consumption, it is important to find out how the fish is being prepared. For example, one study found that regular ingestion of fried fish was associated with a 32 percent increased risk for prostate cancer. In addition, many studies do not control for the quality of fish or fish oil. Some fish (and fish oil supplements) can contain environmental chemicals that can contribute to prostate cancer such as PCBs, heavy metals, and other toxic chemicals.

Fish Oil Recommendations
The best thing about the flawed study is that it will stimulate more research into the role of omega-3 fatty acids in prostate health. The worst thing about this study is that it may lead to many men abandoning the use of fish oil supplements. Based upon a large amount of clinical data, it makes sense for men to be consuming 1,000 mg of EPA+DHA daily for general health. And, if they are suffering from one of the over 60 different health conditions shown to be benefitted by fish oil supplementation, the dosage should be increased to 3,000 mg of EPA+DHA daily.