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Nutrition Archives - New Malaysia News

What to Eat to Boost Immunity
What we eat—or don’t eat—can affect our immune system. In my video Using the Produce Aisle to Boost Immune Function I profile a study conducted to determine the effect of the consumption of brightly colored vegetables on the immune system. For the first two weeks, the subjects ate basically no fruits and veggies. Then, they drank one and a half cups of tomato juice every day for two weeks, followed by two weeks of carrot juice, and then two weeks of spinach powder. Within just two weeks of a fruit- and veggie-deficient diet, immune function plummeted. However, just one and a half cups of tomato juice a day brought subjects back from the ashes. It didn’t take five servings a day—just one tall glass of tomato juice produced results. The carrot juice alone didn’t seem to help as well, however, nor did the powder equivalent of about one serving of spinach. This tells me two things: how remarkably we can affect our immune function with simple dietary decisions and, not all veggies are alike. When this study was repeated looking at other immune markers, the tomato versus carrot appeared more evenly matched. There is one family of vegetables, however, that we definitely don’t want to miss out on. Inflammation and leaky gut can occur all because of an absence in our diet of AHR ligands—in other words, cruciferous vegetables, including cabbage, collards, cauliflower, kale, Brussels sprouts, and broccoli. Do people who eat healthier actually get sick less? Those who eat more fruits and vegetables appear to have a lower risk of getting an upper respiratory tract infection like the common cold, whether they’re otherwise vegetarian or not. Even just one added apple a day may help keep the doctor away. The common cold is usually so innocuous, though, so why not test against something stronger? Researchers have also looked at more serious respiratory infections like influenza. Studying the relationship between various risk factors and influenza-related hospitalizations in the United States, they found that a 5 percent increase in the prevalence of obesity was associated with a 6 percent increase in hospitalization rate. Physical inactivity had worse outcomes, resulting in a 7 percent increase in hospitalizations. Low fruit and vegetable consumption, however, had the most impact, increasing flu-related hospitalization rates by 8 percent. The common cold isn’t always innocuous, though. For instance, a cold during the first trimester of pregnancy is associated with a number of birth defects, including anencephaly, one of the worst, which causes a fatal malformation of the brain. More recent data suggest that the cold-related fever is the real culprit, as anti-fever drugs appear able to prevent the possible birth defects caused by the common cold. It’s best, of course, not to get sick in the first place. One thousand women and their diets were followed before and during pregnancy. It was found that “[w]omen who consume more fruits and vegetables have a moderate reduction in risk of [upper respiratory tract infection] during pregnancy, and this benefit appears to be derived from both fruits and vegetables instead of either alone.” Whole fruits and vegetables provide a natural balance of all sorts of things that may improve our immune function in a “complementary, combined or synergistic manner that could account for the protective effect observed from high consumption of both fruits and vegetables”—or maybe that’s the only way they got enough in their diet. The women who appeared protected in this study were eating nearly nine servings of fruits and vegetables a day, compared with only five servings of fruits or four of veggies. This suggests that the arbitrary five- or six-a-day minimum may be insufficient for effective immune function. For example, in one famous study, elderly individuals were randomized into groups that ate either five servings of fruit and veggies a day or two servings a day. The five-a-day group showed an 80 percent improved antibody response to their pneumonia vaccination compared to the two-a-day group. Even though only about 30 percent (12 out of 40 people) of the five-a-day group reached their target levels of servings, they still did six times better than the two-a-day group. But maybe eight, nine, or ten servings a day would have worked even better. Need a reminder about what those protective Ah receptors are? See The Broccoli Receptor: Our First Line of Defense and Counteracting the Effects of Dioxins Through Diet. What’s the best way to prepare broccoli? Check out these videos: Second Strategy to Cooking Broccoli Raw vs. Cooked Broccoli Raw Broccoli and Bladder Cancer Survival Best Cooking Method In late pregnancy, however, women can overdo it. See Caution: Anti-Inflammatory Foods in the Third Trimester. What else can we do to lower our risk of upper respiratory tract infections? See: Can Gargling Prevent the Common Cold? Preventing the Common Cold with Probiotics? Nutritional Yeast to Prevent the Common Cold Kiwifruit for the Common Cold Preserving Athlete Immunity with Chlorella Also be sure to check out my video, Are Happier People Actually Healthier?, which compares people’s resistance to having the common cold virus dripped into their nostrils. In health, Michael Greger, M.D. PS: If you haven’t yet, you can subscribe to my free videos here and watch my live, year-in-review presentations: 2012: Uprooting the Leading Causes of Death 2013: More Than an Apple a Day 2014: From Table to Able: Combating Disabling Diseases with Food 2015: Food as Medicine: Preventing and Treating the Most Dreaded Diseases with Diet 2016: How Not To Die: The Role of Diet in Preventing, Arresting, and Reversing Our Top 15 Killers [...]
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Grapefruit Ginger Compote To Put On All The Things
Isn’t it great to have a handful of recipes you can use on everything from breakfast to dessert? Try out this grapefruit ginger compote. This Grapefruit Ginger Compote can be made on the weekend for your meal prep and used from a breakfast topping with porridge to a topping on your favorite coconut milk ice-cream for a little sweet tangy combo. Grapefruits come in several varieties including red, white, and pink — they all taste relatively similar in my opinion, slightly sweet and bitter so you can use whatever grapefruit you have on hand. The Health Benefits Of Grapefruit To Know About For starters, let’s get the most popular component of grapefruit out in the open, vitamin C. In just 1/2 (100g) of a grapefruit there’s around 60% daily value for vitamin C. Obviously depending on our individual needs and health, we may need more vitamin C, but for most of us including something like 1/2 – 1 grapefruit a day will cover your vitamin C needs. In addition, think of all the dark leafy greens and other fruits and vegetables you’re eating on the Nutrition Stripped lifestyle, you’re covered with vitamin C! When you think of lycopene you may think of tomatoes, and yes you’re right, but did you know that pink, orange, and red foods contain this powerful carotenoid phytonutrient? Lycopene, which also contributes to the pinkish color in the fruit, has the highest capacity at fighting free radical damage to cells (1). Eating grapefruit has also been shown to help decrease weight and fat mass in overweight adults and may improve insulin resistance (2)(3). There’s also a lot of buzz when it comes to weight loss and fat loss and eating grapefruit — do you remember the whole grapefruit diet thing in the 80’s and 90’s? Well while I’m sure you can guess, I’m not a fan of that diet, but there are some studies showing grapefruit may reduce body fat in some individuals when mixed with other compounds such as caffeine, grapefruit polyphenols, and other antioxidants found in the berry family of fruits. In addition to this, grapefruit may also increase metabolic rate (i.e. metabolism!), by working on a cellular level increasing the amount of ATP, which is a fancy way of saying “cellular energy”. The Other Half Of The G-Team: Ginger In our article highlighting the best Adaptogens for Natural Stress Relief, we touched on ginger, because it can help calm digestion. Ginger is a root that contains potent anti-inflammatory compounds called gingerols, which have been shown to help fight inflammation with certain cancers such as ovarian and colon cancers, as well as diseases such as arthritis, muscular pain or swelling, and joint pain. It’s been used for thousands of years to treat ailments like colds, nausea, arthritis, migraines, and hypertension. (6) Read more about the studies on ginger and their levels of evidence here. Be sure to search “ginger” here on NS to find all of the many recipes and posts devoted to this powerful adaptogen. The post Grapefruit Ginger Compote To Put On All The Things appeared first on Nutrition Stripped. [...]
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What is Aloe and Should You Eat It?
You’ve probably heard of using aloe vera as a topical ingredient. With rising popularity, people are eating it in smoothies and juices, but why? Most of us, when we think of aloe, we think of this cooling clear gel that we slather on our hot skin after we’ve been in the sun for too long and to help our skin cool down from a sunburn. The aloe vera plant is a super-hydrating ingredient with anti-inflammatory properties, which is why it’s been used to treat burns for centuries in many different cultures, but does it work? Beyond using it on the skin, people also drink aloe vera juice, as well as add it to different recipes, sometimes including the gel. Aloe may have some interesting health-boosting properties, so let’s dive in to learn what exactly aloe is, including where it comes from, how it could help your health (and how to use it safely if you choose), and where to get it. What is Aloe Vera? Aloe is more than just a beautiful part of home decor with its thick green leaves. Aloe is a cactus-like plant that grows in hot conditions, typically in places like Florida, Texas, Arizona, and here in Tennessee if you have proper pot, soil, and a healthy plant to start from! If you’re looking to grow your own, the good news is that they’re easy to take care of as long as there’s ample sunlight and it’s kept dry. You can often find aloe as a gel form, which is a clear gel that typically comes from the inner part of the long aloe leaf. There is also a latex portion of the aloe plant, which comes from right under the leaf’s skin and it’s more yellow in color, which will discuss later in the digestion section and side effects you should know about. Are There Any Nutrients In Aloe? Aloe vera contains small amounts of vitamins and minerals such as vitamin A (beta-carotene), C, E, folic acid, and choline along with antioxidants that help fight free radicals. It also contains minerals like calcium, chromium, selenium, magnesium, manganese, potassium, sodium, and zinc to support your body’s everyday metabolic functions. Enzymes like alkaline phosphatase, amylase, catalase, peroxidase, and more in aloe help you break down sugars and fats, while bradykinase reduces inflammation on the skin. Aloe contains many compounds in addition to the vitamin and mineral content, some things you might not have heard about before. For example, the laxative effect of aloe vera comes from phenolic compounds known as anthraquinones (1). Meanwhile, hormones auxins and gibberellins help with wound healing and more anti-inflammatory benefits. Finally, aloe contains seven of the eight essential amino acids needed to help your body maintain its tissue and cell health (2). Aloe Vera: The Main Health Benefits 1. Soothing Skin Conditions with Aloe Vera Most of us are familiar with using aloe on the skin and it’s a common ingredient found in natural skin care products to moisturize your skin or relieve any inflammation. Aloe is most popularly used as a topical treatment for sunburn, which is why we see it in most after-sun gels you rub directly on the skin after a few hours on the beach, by the pool, or in the sun in general — and it feels good to use especially when you put aloe vera gel in the refrigerator before putting it on your skin! Some people use aloe vera gel for skin conditions like psoriasis or cold sores, it’s likely the anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects of the aloe that contribute to these advantages (4). 2. Disease Prevention from Aloe Vera In addition to soothing sunburn, studies show that aloe vera may have additional benefits including anti-cancer and anti-diabetic effects, an antioxidant boost (to help neutralize free radicals), anti-microbial, anti-fungal, anti-allergic properties, and it may act as an anti-inflammatory agent (3). In translation, people have used and studied aloe for it’s potential benefits from disease prevention to soothing cuts and scrapes. A study showed aloe may be particularly helpful with diabetes, as it can potentially help control and lower blood glucose levels, keeping blood sugar in check. This is also a potential side effect though for those who need to monitor their blood sugars closely since preliminary research has shown aloe can lower blood sugar (6). 3. Alleviating Digestive Problems with Aloe Vera When ingested, aloe can also help with digestion problems, particularly gastroesophageal reflux disease (or GERD) (5). Although the latex portion has also been used as a laxative (and in many laxative medicines) to help relieve constipation, this isn’t recommended and is potentially unsafe. We think there are better ways to relieve constipation since it’s very difficult to measure with precision the amount of anthraquinones — so on that note, check out these quick tips on relieving constipation with your diet and these vegetables rich in fiber. The Side Effects of Aloe Vera The biggest thing you’ll want to look out for when eating aloe vera or putting it your next smoothie is the latex portion of the plant (again, that yellowish substance right below the surface). People using it as a laxative dates back many years, but this can also cause serious stomach cramping and pain in some people. We recommend other ways to improve digestion or relieve constipation such as making sure your diet is rich in fiber, you’re hydrated, and your diet contains plenty of minerals like magnesium and of course working with a health professional to sort out your needs or digestion challenges. Just as aloe has been shown to potentially help some digestive issues, in just the same, the aloe latex isn’t recommended for anyone who might have an intestinal obstruction, Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, appendicitis, ulcers, hemorrhoids, abdominal pain or nausea, due to some of the irritating effects from a compound in aloe latex. Also, consuming aloe latex might make kidney d [...]
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How to Treat Infant Colic
Colic, characterized by prolonged periods of inconsolable crying, affects up to 40 percent of young infants. The condition is often dismissed as trivial by the medical profession, but should be treated seriously, as I discuss in my video, Treating Infant Colic by Changing Mom’s Diet. It can contribute to postpartum depression, interfere with breastfeeding, and even lead to the death of the infant at the hands of a parent from shaken baby syndrome. They’re not just crybabies. Colic is pain. The medical profession has a scandalous history, not just denying pain relief to infants, but routinely performing surgery on infants with minimal or no anesthesia into the 1980s. One famous case in 1985 was little Jeffrey Lawson, who underwent open heart surgery fully awake and conscious. He had been given a drug to paralyze him so he wouldn’t squirm, but, like in a horror movie, the baby couldn’t move yet could feel everything. This wasn’t some rogue surgeon. Torturing babies was standard operating procedure in the 80s. Not the 1880s, mind you, but the 1980s. “The liaison between the [American Academy of Pediatrics] AAP and the Society of Anesthesiologists commented that the use of paralyzing agents was a standard and time-honored technique…” The profession has a history of infant pain denial. They didn’t even think babies could feel pain. Even today, most physicians don’t use painkillers or even local anesthesia for circumcisions, a procedure so traumatic the babies show stronger pain responses to vaccinations even months later. The pain of colic is thought to be caused by gastrointestinal discomfort, like intestinal cramping. In my Peppermint Oil for Irritable Bowel Syndrome and What to Take Before a Colonoscopy videos, I explored the role of peppermint oil in reducing intestinal spasms. Might it help with colic? A few drops of a peppermint leaf solution appeared to cut in half the number of colicky episodes and reduced daily crying from three hours to two hours, working just as well as simethicone, a leading over-the-counter drug for colic. The problem is that simethicone has been shown to have no benefit for colic. So, saying peppermint is as good as something shown to be useless isn’t exactly a ringing endorsement. And the American Academy of Pediatrics warns about the use of peppermint oil in infants. One study found an herbal tea preparation to be helpful, but parents have been cautioned not to use it. Not only might tea interfere with breastfeeding continuity, but there is a lack of adequate industry regulation. For example, star anise tea is commonly used for colic. Chinese star anise is regarded as safe and nontoxic, but Japanese star anise is poisonous. They look identical, but Japanese star anise contains a potent neurotoxin, and it has been found contaminating star anise tea in the United States. So, we shouldn’t give it to kids. There is even a report of toxicity from a supposed homeopathic dose of belladonna, also known as deadly nightshade, that evidently wasn’t homeopathic enough. Another report found the same. Just because it’s homeopathic doesn’t necessarily mean it’s safe. It’s no better when doctors prescribe it, though. The drugs used for colic are made from belladonna, too. The drugs may work, but they should not be used because of their serious side effects. What about just good old fashioned burping? After all, “[b]urping after feeding is commonly advised by paediatricians, nurses and parenting websites to promote expulsion of gases that accumulate during feeding with aim of decreasing discomfort and crying episodes.” Scientific evidence for the efficacy of burping was lacking until a 2014 randomized controlled trial for the prevention of colic and regurgitation (also known as spitting up) in healthy infants. What did they find? Burping is useless for colic and made the regurgitation worse. Burped babies spit up twice as many times as unburped babies! So, what’s an effective treatment? The elimination of cow’s milk protein, since colic appears be some sort of allergic response. Decades ago, it was shown that infants fed cow’s milk developed antibody responses to the bovine proteins, which may explain why colic can improve after changing from a cow’s milk formula to either a hypoallergenic hydrolyzed protein formula or a soy-based formula. Breast-fed infants have similar rates of colic as formula-fed infants, but that might be because breast milk from cow’s-milk-drinking mothers contains cow’s milk proteins. We know cow’s milk proteins can pass through breast milk and cause certain serious allergic reactions, but what about colic? Based on studies of formula-fed infants, colic was already a well-known symptom of intolerance to cow’s-milk protein back in the 1970s. So, thinking colic in breast-fed infants may be caused by cow’s-milk proteins transmitted from mother to infant via breast milk, researchers tried a dairy-free diet for breast-feeding mothers whose infants had colic. Of 19 infants, the colic disappeared promptly from 13 babies, and they were able to show they could bring back the colic in 12 of those 13 by challenging the mothers with a little dairy. For example, a baby boy develops colic that almost completely disappears within a day of his mom eliminating cow’s milk, and then the colic promptly comes back when mom goes back on dairy. The researchers conclude that the treatment for infantile colic in breast-fed infants is a diet free of cows’ milk for the mother—a recommendation that continues to this day. Isn’t that horrifying about little Jeffrey Lawson’s open heart surgery? I’ve grown more and more cynical over the years, but it still shocks me how terribly wrong the medical profession can be in the face of overwhelming evidence and basic common sense. Now that more women are becoming physicians and graduating medical school classes are approximately 50:50 women and men, hopefully things wil [...]
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5 Foods to Help Reduce Hypertension
Thirty-four percent of people in the U.S. have hypertension, also known as high blood pressure (1). While many patients may take medications, following a hypertension diet can also help. Hypertension refers to the pressure in your arteries (or the blood vessels that carry blood throughout your body) being above normal levels. It can lead to more serious health complications like heart disease, stroke, and kidney problems. A generally healthy diet—with limited processed foods and low sugar and salt intake—will help lower your risk of hypertension or help control symptoms. That’s why the American Heart Association recommends the DASH diet, which broadly involves eating more veggies, fruits, whole grains, fish, poultry, beans, nuts and vegetable oil. On the other hand, you’ll cut back on saturated fats and sugar-sweetened beverages (2). Taking a closer look at the big picture, there are a few specific foods that can help you keep your blood pressure in check. 5 Foods That Help with Hypertension 1. Dark Chocolate Good news for anyone craving a piece of chocolate: It could help your health. While any food is OK in moderation, I know this is one people always try to keep in their regular diet plan, and you definitely can. Many studies support the idea that chocolate can help lower blood pressure, thanks to the flavanols (or powerful antioxidants) in the delicious dessert-like food. More specifically, one meta-analysis study found that dark chocolate (50% to 70% cacao) can reduce systolic blood pressure—or the pressure involved in pumping blood from the aorta to the rest of the body (3). It can also help lower diastolic prehypertension, or the blood pressure felt between pumps when the heart is filling with blood. To add more (healthy!) chocolate recipes to your hypertension diet, try these: Mint Chocolate Feel Amazing Fudge Superfood Chocolate Bark Blueberry Chocolate Bars 2. Flax Flaxseeds are high in fatty acids, fiber, and a polyphenol known as lignans, which is why researchers believe they might help with hypertension and heart disease. In fact, according to one study, this food could be one of the best dietary ways to relieve high blood pressure (4). Researchers believe this lowering of blood pressure may come from the ligans’ antioxidant effects. Subjects in the study consumed 30 grams of milled (aka ground) flaxseed every day for six months. You can easily do this by adding a tablespoon of ground flaxseed (which your body also digests better than whole) to smoothies or soups, or even baked goods. For a few of my favorite recipes featuring flax, check these out: Cherry Cardamom Bircher Muesli Rye Flaxseed Loaf Turmeric Persimmon Porridge 3. Nitrate Vegetables Increasing your fruit and veggie intake can help lower blood pressure simply by keeping your weight in check. Nitrate-heavy veggies in particular, though, can reduce blood pressure, research finds (5). Nitrate-containing foods work by increasing nitric oxide in the body. You need this compound to help widen blood vessels, which improves blood flow and circulation and therefore, can lower blood pressure levels. Nitrate veggies include beets (and beetroot juice), as well as leafy greens like lettuce, spinach, and collard greens. Carrots, cabbage, green beans and celery also contain nitrates that are good for your blood pressure and cardiovascular system. Many of these veggies are also a good source of fiber, vitamin C, and folate. You can always snack on these foods on their own, especially cooked beets or raw carrots or celery. To get your fill of these nitrate-heavy foods in a full meal, follow these recipes: Beet Marinara Brown Rice Pasta Beetroot Pineapple Salad with Mint Baked Pea Falafel with Sesame Rice Balls 4. Olive Oil A staple in the Mediterranean Diet (another approach to eating that’s been shown to reduce high blood pressure), olive oil is a staple ingredient. On its own, extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) has also been shown to help lower hypertension, likely because of the polyphenols, a type of antioxidant (6). Another study points out that if you combine olive oil with nitrate-rich veggies (like those mentioned above), you have a full recipe for fighting high blood pressure (7). In addition to antioxidants, extra virgin olive oil also contains healthy monounsaturated fats and anti-inflammatory properties. Look for olive oil labeled “extra virgin” and buy those that come in a dark bottle, as light can make it go bad faster. Aim for about two tablespoons per day. You can find countless recipes that involve olive oil–especially salad dressings—but here are a few of my top go-tos: 5-Minute Summer Tomato Salad Massaged Kale Salad Zesty Lemon Shallot Dressing 5. Nuts Cashews, peanuts, almonds, and pistachios have all been shown to not only reduce the risk of heart disease but also hypertension—a marker of heart conditions. Pistachios may be the type that stands out the most, though most nuts have been associated with a lower risk of high blood pressure (8)(9). It’s easy to grab a handful of nuts for a healthy fat-filled snack, with a dose of protein, but you can also easily mix them into main dishes. Try these recipes to do just that: Maple Banana Nut Granola Spicy Sweet Nut Seed Mix Nourishing Nut & Seed Bread Let’s Chat! Do you have a high blood pressure? Have you learned to control it with a hypertension diet? Share your stories below or using #nutritionstripped. I want to hear from you! References: American Heart Association Council on Epidemiology and Prevention Statistics Committee and Stroke Statistics Subcommittee. (2018, January.) Heart Disease and Stroke Statistics—2018 Update: A Report From the American Heart Association. “DASH Eating Plan.” National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute. Karin Ried, Thomas Sullivan, Peter Fakler, Oliver R Frank, and Nigel P Stocks. (2010, June.) Does chocolate reduce blood pressure? A meta-analysis. Rod [...]
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Don’t Be Confused by Big Salt
High blood pressure is not the only harmful effect of too much salt—it’s also been tied to stomach cancer, kidney stones, bone loss, obesity, and direct damage to our kidneys, arteries, and heart. But, as I reviewed previously in my video, The Evidence That Salt Raises Blood Pressure, there is a consensus that dietary sodium plays a significant role in raising people’s blood pressure, a dispute that has now finally been resolved. In Sodium Skeptics Try to Shake Up the Salt Debate, I discuss the unequivocal evidence that increased sodium intake is associated with increased blood pressure, which we know leads to increased risk of vascular diseases like strokes, aneurisms, and atherosclerosis. To quote the long-time editor-in-chief of the American Journal of Cardiology, “We all must decrease our salt intake!,” a sentiment echoed by many other authorities. So, how is the food industry going to keep the salt controversy alive? If salt leads to high blood pressure and high blood pressure leads to disease, doesn’t it follow that salt should lead to disease? I mean, if A leads to B, and B leads to C, then A should lead to C, right? The logic seems sound. Blood pressure is one of the best validated surrogate markers for cardiovascular disease, and, when countries have tried cutting down on salt, it seems to have worked. Campaigns in England were able to successfully bring down salt consumption. Blood pressures dropped, as did rates of heart disease and stroke. They also successfully brought down cholesterol levels and smoking prevalence, though, and improved fruit and vegetable consumption. In Japan, however, they dropped salt intake while eating a worse diet and smoking more, yet still saw a large reduction in stroke mortality. Based on what they were able to achieve in Finland, one daily teaspoon of salt may mean between 25 to 50 percent more deaths from heart attacks and strokes. Are there randomized controlled trials to show that? Researchers never randomized people into two groups—one low-sodium and one not—and followed them for 20 years to see if the differences in blood pressure translated into the expected consequences. But, for that matter, such a study has never been done on smoking either. Imagine randomizing a group of smokers to quit smoking or stay smoking for ten years to see who gets lung cancer. First, it’s hard to get people to quit, just like it’s hard to keep people on a low-salt diet. Second, would it be ethical to force people to smoke for a decade knowing from the totality of evidence that it’s likely to hurt them? That’s like the Tuskegee experiment. We can’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good. We may never going to get a decade-long randomized trial, but, in 2007, we got something close. There have been randomized trials of sodium reduction, but they didn’t last long enough to provide enough data on clinical outcomes. For example, the famous TOHP trials randomized thousands into at least 18 months of salt reduction. What if you followed up with them 10 to 15 years after the study was over, figuring maybe some in the low-salt group stuck with it? Indeed, they found that when people cut sodium intake by 25 to 35 percent, they may end up with 25 percent lower risk of heart attacks, strokes, and other cardiovascular events. This was considered the final nail in the coffin for salt, addressing the one remaining objection to universal salt reduction. It was the first study to show not only a reduction in blood pressure, but a reduction in hard end points—morbidity and mortality—by reducing dietary sodium intake. Case closed, 2007. But, when billions of dollars are at stake, the case is never closed. One can just follow the press releases of the Salt Institute. For example, what about the Institute of Medicine report saying that salt reduction may cause harm in certain patients with decompensated congestive heart failure? An analysis of those studies has since been retracted out of concern that the data may have been falsified. It is certainly possible that those with serious heart failure, already severely salt-depleted by high dose salt-wasting drugs, may not benefit from further sodium restriction. However, for the great majority of the population, the message remains unchanged. What about the new study published in the American Journal of Hypertension that found the amount of salt we are eating is just fine, suggesting a kind of u-shaped curve where too much sodium is bad, but too little could be bad, too? Those biased less towards Big Salt and more towards Big Heart have noted that these studies have been widely misinterpreted, stirring unnecessary controversy and confusion. It basically comes down to three issues: measurement error, confounding, and reverse causality. All these data came from studies that were not designed to assess this relationship, and they tended to use invalid sodium estimates simply because it’s hard to do the multiple, 24-hour urine collections necessary to get a good measurement. And, in the United States, many of those eating less salt are simply eating less food—maybe because they’re so sick—so it’s no wonder they’d have higher mortality rates. So, compiling these studies together is viewed as kind of like garbage in, garbage out. But why would they do that? They claim to have no conflicts of interest. When confronted with evidence showing at least one of the co-authors received thousands of dollars from the Salt Institute, they replied they didn’t get more than $5,000 from them in the last 12 months, so, no conflict of interest! If you instead look only at the trials in which they did the gold-standard, 24-hour urine collections in healthy people to avoid the reverse causation and controlled for confounders, the curve instead has a continuous decrease of cardiovascular disease (CVD) events like heart attacks and strokes as sodium levels get lower and lower. There was a 17 percent increase in ri [...]
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The Best Roasted Broccoli You’ll Ever Need
This roasted broccoli dish is so good, it’ll make you want to eat more broccoli even if it’s already something you enjoy. We all know someone, or maybe it’s us we’re talking about, that are picky eaters especially when it comes to vegetables — while also encouraging the picky eaters in your life who don’t like to eat their “greens”. Then you’ll love this roasted broccoli side dish that’ll make you want to eat more broccoli. What Are The Health Benefits Of Broccoli? Talk about these little green trees and digestion —  in one cup of cooked broccoli, you’re feeding your digestive system about five grams of fiber. Broccoli may help your digestion by protecting your gut microbiota (or the mix of healthy bacteria in the gut). In an experiment done on mice, researchers found that broccoli activated a receptor in the gut that helped reduce inflammation (1). This is especially beneficial for people with digestive conditions, like colitis. Most of my clients who come to me with digestive issues often can’t tolerate eating cruciferous vegetables, like broccoli, raw. It causes a lot of bloating, gas, and sometimes makes their stomachs very bloated and distended. In order to combat that and still get the nutrition punch and fiber boost broccoli has to offer, simple flash steam or cook it! Roasted Broccoli In Your Meal Prep Rotation Roasting a sheet pan of your favorite vegetables to use in your meals throughout the week is key to squeezing in more vegetables, saving you tons of time, while eating nutritious and delicious foods that are homemade. Something as easy as roasting broccoli can add important vitamins and minerals to your diet along with the fiber we need to keep our digestive systems healthy, moving along, and create favorable gut health. Use roasted broccoli in a big Nourish Bowl for lunch, add it into a quick stir-fry with other vegetables, proteins, healthy fats, and carbohydrates and boom, you have a quick and easy meal! Not to mention, a lot of people aren’t huge fans of broccoli so by roasting this nutrient-dense cruciferous vegetable, you’re changing up the texture and flavor in a way that’ll change your mind about ole’ broccoli. A meal-prep hack with roasted veggies: If you’re adding the roasted broccoli to something like a cold salad or Nourish Bowl, then enjoy it chilled! It still has the roasted flavors, but if you really want that crisp texture you’ll be forgoing it in this application if you just add it to a salad. The alternative way would be to put it in the oven for a quick heat blast to crisp it up — but remember, the whole point of meal prep is to save you time to enjoy it how it is! If you’re adding the roasted broccoli to a hot meal or stir-fry, just add in the pre-cooked roasted broccoli and heat until warm. Again, if you’re looking for the specific roasted texture (a little crispy) then the only way to achieve this again, is to put it in the oven for a bit until you get the texture you’re after. Otherwise, I enjoy it just the same! If you’re using pre-cooked roasted broccoli as a snack, try enjoying it chilled and dipping it into Creamy Sweet Onion Dip or the Cashew Kimchi Dip! The post The Best Roasted Broccoli You’ll Ever Need appeared first on Nutrition Stripped. [...]
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What is Algae and Should You Eat It?
Algae are seaweed and other chlorophyll-containing plants that lack stems, roots, and leaves—but provide many health benefits. When you hear the word algae, you might think of that green substance that settles at the bottom of a pool or floats on the top of a pond. You are right, that is algae, but there’s also the edible kind of algae, which contains tons of micronutrients important to our health. Because it’s so important to get necessary nutrients from nature-grown foods—and sometimes what those foods are can be confusing—I wanted to break down everything you need to know about this plant. I’ll cover what algae is, the benefits of consuming it, plus where to get it and how to use it. First off, what is algae? What is Algae? Microalgae, which we’re talking about today, are tiny photosynthetic plants, which contain chlorophyll—the substance that gives them their intense green color. They take the energy from the sun and convert it to sugars and proteins essential to the body (and the plant themselves), and you can find them to both fresh water and saltwater environments. While some algae can be toxic, we’re focusing on the edible kind that you can add to foods or mix into salads. A few common forms you might have heard of before include spirulina and chlorella, both of which come in both a powder and a pill form. Another popular edible seaweed is nori, which you’ll see in Asian cuisines, particularly the seaweed wrapped around sushi rolls. What Are the Health Benefits of Algae? Just one tablespoon of spirulina provides four grams of protein, along with a healthy dose of calcium, iron, magnesium, and potassium. You’ll also get B vitamins and vitamin A, along with essential fats. Chlorella offers similar nutritional benefits. According to research, it’s also difficult to reach a toxic level of spirulina, making it a good choice to add to foods or take as a supplement on its own if in pill form (1). All of these vitamins and minerals help energize your body and help it run more efficiently, from protecting your immune system to fighting off diseases. Check Out These Sushi Recipes Deconstructed Vegetable Sushi Bowl Veggie "Sushi" Rolls Research also shows that seaweed is high in powerful antioxidants that can provide some anti-cancer benefits (2). Furthermore, science suggests the high fiber content in a dose of seaweed could help control weight, and more specifically help fight obesity by decreasing fat digestion (3). To round it out, microalgae contains carotenoids (a type of antioxidant) called zeaxanthin and lutein, both of which support eye health and brain health, along with disease prevention. Read all about algae's health benefits and nutrition, right now on #nutritionstripped. Tweet Algae: Where to Get it and How Much to Use You’ll find spirulina and chlorella at most health food stores and some grocery stores (likely in the supplements aisle). You’ll also find nori or dried seaweed around the Asain cooking products. They’re typically sold just as you’d find protein powders—in a jar or bag and sold in large quantities. The typical serving size for powered algae is one tablespoon. In pill form, you’ll find that you just need one or two to gain the benefits of the seaweed. While you probably don’t want to use more than that in one meal, you can also add in these into dishes throughout the day. The main problem with going overboard on seaweed is that it can be very high in iodine—a key you want to keep an eye on when consuming. Iodine, when eaten in excess can eventually affect thyroid function, especially in though who have thyroid problems. Also, just like raw fish, seaweed can contain heavy metals like mercury, which can lead to poisoning, causing muscle weakness or numbness or trouble seeing or talking. Try This Spirulina Powder Buy Now Healthforce Spirulina Manna Powder How to Incorporate Algae into Your Diet My favorite way to add algae to my diet is in smoothies. You can easily toss a tablespoon into your favorite recipe, as it doesn’t influence the flavor too much, though it will at a slight leafy green taste. Another way to get algae in your diet is by adding to something like energy balls or protein bars. Here are a few of my top recipes that incorporate algae: Blue-Green Spirulina Milk Seabreeze Spirulina Smoothie Spirulina Energy Globes Let’s Chat! Do you have a favorite recipe featuring algae? How do you use it in your diet? Share below or with #nutritionstripped on social. References: Gutiérrez-Salmeán G, Fabila-Castillo L, Chamorro-Cevallos G. (2015, July.) Nutritional and Toxicological Aspects of Spirulina (Arthrospira). Koníčková R, Vaňková K, Vaníková J, Váňová K, Muchová L, Subhanová I, Zadinová M, Zelenka J, Dvořák A, Kolář M, Strnad H, Rimpelová S, Ruml T, J Wong R, Vítek L. (2014, March/April.) Anti-cancer effects of blue-green alga Spirulina platensis, a natural source of bilirubin-like tetrapyrrolic compounds. Newcastle University. (2010, March.) Seaweed to tackle rising tide of obesity. The post What is Algae and Should You Eat It? appeared first on Nutrition Stripped. [...]
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Common Autoimmune Diseases and How Diet Helps
More than 23 million Americans have an autoimmune disease, making these conditions some of the most common in the U.S. (1). At the core of these conditions is the immune system attacking the body’s organs, tissues, and cells. Autoimmune diseases can affect different parts of your body, which is what distinguishes one disease from another—there are more than 80 types. While anyone can develop one of these conditions, a family history, women of childbearing age, certain environmental factors, and different ethnic groups all raise the risk (2). Because lifestyle and environmental issues do play a role, nutrition can help control autoimmune disease flare-ups for some people so let’s take a look at some of the common conditions, what they are, and how your diet can help. Common Autoimmune Diseases and Diet Changes If you have a chronic condition, it’s always important to talk to your doctor before making any major changes to your lifestyle. Working with a dietitian will also help you create changes in your eating habits and food choices that could help control disease symptoms. I’m always happy to help and chat about how we can work together to make you feel better — check out our coaching if you need some professional guidance. In the meantime, here’s a rundown on the common autoimmune diseases and potential changes that diet has been shown to help with. Again, this is a general guideline, everyone is different so we have to honor that this isn’t a deep dive into each autoimmune condition and their specific nutritional plan. 1. Rheumatoid Arthritis This autoimmune disease affects the joints, creating inflammation that leads to thickening of the lining of the joints. People who have it often experience swelling and pain in and around the joints, and if untreated, it can end up damaging cartilage, or even the bones themselves. How diet can help: Because this disease leads to inflammation in the body, it helps to eat more anti-inflammatory foods. Omega-3 fatty acids, in particular, have been shown to help reduce inflammation in people with rheumatoid arthritis (or RA) (3) and can reduce the risk of the disease (4). Fish like salmon, trout, and tuna contain this type of fat, as do chia seeds and flax seeds. Though there’s no research specifically linking turmeric and RA, turmeric is known as a powerful anti-inflammatory, so it’s smart to add it to your diet. The Arthritis Foundation also recommends RA patients add selenium (found in whole-grain products) and vitamin D (which helps your body absorb calcium to protect your bones—you’ll get it from sunshine and eggs and fortified products) to your meals (5). More on Inflammation 9 Foods To Calm Inflammation How to Reduce Inflammation in 5 Steps Inflammation and What You Should Know About It Try these recipes: Beauty Bowl with Turmeric Hardboiled Eggs DIY Chia Seed Pudding Nourishing Nut and Seed Bread 2. Lupus Like RA, lupus comes with inflammation in the body and means your immune system attacks your body. Unlike RA, though, lupus can not only affect your joints, but really anywhere in your body, including your cells, tissues, and organs, too. People with lupus have a greater risk of other health conditions, as well, including heart disease, osteoporosis, and kidney disease. Women are at greater risk of this disease, as about 9 in 10 lupus patients are females (6). How diet can help: As with all of these autoimmune diseases, following a well-balanced healthy diet is important. That means having fruits, veggies, whole grains, and moderate amounts of fish, poultry, and meat. (Read more about living a plant-based lifestyle here.) Again, you’ll want to eat anti-inflammatory foods with lupus to help control symptoms. You also want to limit alcohol consumption. One food that you should steer clear of is alfalfa. The seeds and sprouts can cause symptoms to flare, because of the amino acid L-canavanine (7). Try these recipes: Turmeric Tea Pesto Green Eggs and Avocado Toast Nourish Bowl 3. Psoriasis Psoriasis is an autoimmune disease that primarily affects the skin. It can lead to red, scaly patches on the skin that resemble very dry spots. Some people experience itchiness, burning, or stinging in these areas, which commonly occur on the elbows, knees, or scalp. It has also been associated with health problems like heart conditions, depression, and diabetes (8). How diet can help: Along with a low inflammatory diet, people with psoriasis might benefit from following a gluten-free meal plan, as some research suggests there’s a link between celiac disease (causing a negative immune reaction to gluten) and psoriasis (9). Also, the National Psoriasis Foundation notes that patients may control symptoms by also limiting nightshades (like tomatoes, eggplant, and potatoes), and increasing vegetables, vitamin D, and fish oil (10). Try these recipes: Gluten-Free Bread Rolls Fluffy Gluten-Free Blueberry Pancakes Chickpea Burgers 4. Inflammatory Bowel Disease Read More About IBD What Is IBS? Inflammatory Bowel Disease (or IBD) includes Crohn’s Disease (affecting anywhere in the GI tract, but most typically the lower part of the small intestine) and ulcerative colitis (affecting the large intestine). Both of these conditions involve chronic inflammation in the digestive tract. Symptoms include persistent diarrhea, abdominal pain, rectal bleeding, fatigue, and weight loss. How diet can help: Research shows that following a low FODMAP diet could help ease gastrointestinal symptoms of those with IBD (11). A FODMAP is a collection of naturally-occurring short-chain carbohydrates or sugars, w [...]
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The Best Diet for the Inflammation of Aging
One of the most consequences of aging is a decline in immune function, illustrated by vulnerability to dying from the flu and poor response to vaccinations. But, about 20 years ago, a paper was published showing that the immune cells of 80-year-olds produced significantly more pro-inflammatory signals. As I discuss in my video, How to Counter the Inflammation of Aging, this suggests the worst of both worlds—a decline in the part of the immune system that fights specific infections and an aggravation of nonspecific overreactions that can lead to inflammation. This has since been formalized in a concept referred to as a chronic low-grade inflammation that we now know is typical of aging, which may be responsible for the decline and onset of disease in the elderly. So, what can we do about it? Inflamm-aging appears to be a major consequence of growing old. Can it be prevented or cured? “The key to successful aging and longevity is to decrease chronic inflammation without compromising an acute response when exposed to pathogens.” How do we do that? Nutrition. What we eat is “probably the most powerful and pliable tool that we have to attain a chronic and systemic modulation of aging process…” In the first systematic review ever published of the associations between dietary patterns and biomarkers of inflammation, the dietary patterns associated with inflammation were almost all meat-based or so-called Western diet patterns. In contrast, vegetable- and fruit-based, or “healthy,” patterns tended to be inversely associated with inflammation. In general, the more plant-based, the less inflammation. The reason meat is associated with inflammation may be because of both the animal protein and the animal fat. In the first interventional study that separately evaluated the effects of vegetable and animal protein on inflammatory status, researchers found that “a higher intake of animal origin protein—specifically meat—is associated with higher plasma levels of inflammatory markers in obese adults…” The reason obesity is associated with increased risk of many cancers may be because of obesity-associated inflammation. Obesity-driven inflammation may stimulate prostaglandin-mediated estrogen biosynthesis in breast tissues. What does that mean? The inflammation may activate the enzyme that allows breast tumors to make their own estrogen via an inflammatory compound called prostaglandin. If you measure the level of prostaglandins in women’s urine, it correlates with breast cancer risk. And what can cause high levels of this inflammatory compound? Smoking, a high-saturated fat diet, and obesity. Why does eating saturated fat lead to prostaglandin production? Because prostaglandins are made from arachidonic acid, and arachidonic acid is a major ingredient in animal fats. To put it another way, animal fats contain arachidonic acid, and our body produces inflammatory compounds, like prostaglandins, with arachidonic acid. Inflammatory compounds can then go on to stimulate breast cancer growth and may also play a role in colon cancer, lung cancer, and head and neck cancer. In contrast, whole plant foods have anti-inflammatory effects, though some plants are better than others. Folks made to eat five-a-day of high-antioxidant fruits and vegetables, like berries and greens, had a significantly better impact on reducing systemic inflammation and liver dysfunction compared those eating five-a-day of the more common low-antioxidant fruits and veggies, like bananas and lettuce. You can learn more about arachidonic acid in Chicken, Eggs, and Inflammation and Plant-Based Diets for Improved Mood and Productivity. More on battling inflammation in: Garden Variety Anti-Inflammation Anti-Inflammatory Antioxidants Boosting Immunity While Fighting Inflammation Which Spices Fight Inflammation? The Effects of Avocados and Red Wine on Meal-Induced Inflammation Anti-Inflammatory Effects of Purple Potatoes And more on healthy aging in: Methionine Restriction as a Life Extension Strategy Increased Lifespan from Beans Why Do We Age? Caloric Restriction vs. Animal Protein Restriction Turning Back the Clock 14 Years Longer Life Within Walking Distance Does Meditation Affect Cellular Aging? Telomeres: Cap It All Off with Diet The Okinawa Diet: Living to 100 In health, Michael Greger, M.D. PS: If you haven’t yet, you can subscribe to my free videos here and watch my live, year-in-review presentations: 2012: Uprooting the Leading Causes of Death 2013: More Than an Apple a Day 2014: From Table to Able: Combating Disabling Diseases with Food 2015: Food as Medicine: Preventing and Treating the Most Dreaded Diseases with Diet 2016: How Not To Die: The Role of Diet in Preventing, Arresting, and Reversing Our Top 15 Killers [...]
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The Best Food for Acne
We hear a lot about traditional Chinese herbal medicine, but less about the herbs used in Japan. There is a root called Rhizoma coptidis that appears to have similar anti-acne activities to drugs like Accutane, a drug infamous for its side effects that has been since pulled from the market. But there are side effects to the root, too. A poor fellow took it to clear up his skin and as you can see in my video, let’s just say it made things  worse. The anti-acne active component of the root is thought to be berberine. Is there any way to get the active ingredient in a safer plant? Yes, apparently: barberries, which I cover in my video Treating Acne with Barberries. You may remember barberries as being perhaps the most antioxidant-packed dried fruit available (see my video Better Than Goji Berries). You can find them cheap at Middle Eastern grocers, since they’re used to make a signature Persian rice dish. Their taste is described as “pleasantly acidulous,” which is just doctor-speak for sour. I love sprinkling them on my oatmeal just because I love their taste, but, evidently, they have played a prominent role in herbal healing for thousands of years around the world. They have been described rather flamboyantly in a pharmacology journal as an “herbal remedy [that] has no match in serving the human race.” And I just thought they were kind of tangy. The problem with the herbal medicine literature is that there is often a long, impressive list of traditional uses, but little or no science to back them up. And what does exist is often either test tube or animal data that has questionable clinical applicability. Who cares, for example, if barberries “induce menstruation in a guinea pig” (except maybe the guinea pig)? So, you end up with drug companies injecting herbs into the penises of rabbits in hopes of coming up with the next Viagra, but they conduct few, if any, human studies. I’ve seen petri dish studies over the years suggesting anti-cancer effects of barberries on human tumor cells in a petri dish or having anti-acne effects on hamsters, but there weren’t any such human studies… until, now. Evidently, there had been anecdotal reports of acne clearing up after barberry juice consumption, so researchers decided to put it to the test in a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trial of fifty 12- to 17-year-olds with moderate to severe acne. Half got a sugar pill, and the other half got the equivalent of about a teaspoon of dried barberries three times a day for a month. The results were remarkable. After four weeks on the placebo, as expected there was no change. The teens had just as many pimples as before. But in the barberry group, there was a 43 percent drop in the number of zits and about a 45 percent drop in the number of inflamed zits. That’s extraordinary. A spoonful of dried barberries costs about eight cents. Barberries have no reported side effects, and they are healthy for you anyway. The only potential concerns I could find were about eating them during pregnancy, and we don’t have good data on barberry consumption during lactation, so it’s best to stay away from barberries during breastfeeding as well until we know more. For more on acne check out these older videos: Skim Milk and Acne National Dairy Council on Acne and Milk The Acne-Promoting Effects of Milk  Saving Lives by Treating Acne with Diet And a few new ones I just released this year: Does Chocolate Cause Acne? Does Cocoa Powder Cause Acne? Do Sunflower Seeds Cause Acne? In health, Michael Greger, M.D. PS: If you haven’t yet, you can subscribe to my free videos here and watch my live, year-in-review presentations: 2012: Uprooting the Leading Causes of Death 2013: More Than an Apple a Day 2014: From Table to Able: Combating Disabling Diseases with Food 2015: Food as Medicine: Preventing and Treating the Most Dreaded Diseases with Diet 2016: How Not To Die: The Role of Diet in Preventing, Arresting, and Reversing Our Top 15 Killers [...]
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Easiest Tastes Like Pad Thai Peanut Sauce
This is the Easiest Pad Thai Peanut Sauce that takes about 5 minutes using pantry staples you already have. When I traveled to Thailand in 2015 I had the joy and honor to soak up the Thai culture including the most delicious fresh foods, including pad thai. Disclaimer, this is totally not a full on pad thai, but when I’m in a time crunch and I want to throw a healthy meal together that “tastes like pad thai”, or at least reminds me of those meals in Thailand, this is the sauce and dish I make. I hope that you guys enjoy making this when you’re craving pad thai but want to whip it up with ease at home using most of your pantry staples and some fresh bits. What Is Pad Thai? Pad Thai is easily one of the most popular dishes ordered at local Thai restaurants and is a great introduction to Thai food in general. In fact, it is the national dish in Thailand which makes sense as it’s so delicious! Pad thai is a simple stir-fry dish that usually contains rice noodles, eggs, tofu, another source of protein such as shrimp, chicken, etc. and flavored with fish sauce, tamarind paste, garlic, red chili pepper, palm sugar, cilantro or Thai basil, and a lime wedge. People describe the flavors of this dish as bold, rich, vibrant, sweet and sour, and a little funky from the fish sauce. There are a variety of ways you can make this dish with your choice of protein, sprinkling crushed peanuts on top, adding a handful of bean sprouts on top, and more. It’s up to you and what you like or think will fit well with the flavors. This sauce can be made and used for meal-prep if you need to whip up a quick lunch or dinner, if you’re just craving pad thai but you’re in a hurry, or if you’re hosting a couple of friends at your home. Either way, it won’t take you much time which is the important part. Want To Step It Up? Again, this is a bare-bones sauce that hits the spot when you’re craving pad thai, but to get the real thing, try adding these ingredients to your grocery shopping list and how to use them in this recipe to make a full on pad thai: Garnishes: fresh bean sprouts, dried shrimp, red chili oil, lime wedges, roasted peanuts Add to the sauce: fish sauce (I’m personally not a fan of the flavor of fish sauce, but it does give pad Thai its umami flavor that can’t be beaten — oh, and a little goes a long way), coconut sugar (about 1 teaspoon to this sauce for the whole sweet, spicy, and savory thing), and tamarind Recommended vegetables to use: garlic chives, pickled radishes Proteins recommended: anything from organic tofu, fresh shrimp, scrambled eggs in with the noodles, to chicken, whatever you enjoy and fits your lifestyle The post Easiest Tastes Like Pad Thai Peanut Sauce appeared first on Nutrition Stripped. [...]
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