Nutrition Archives - New Malaysia News

How to Avoid Fatty Liver Disease
In the documentary Supersize Me, Morgan Spurlock eats exclusively at McDonald’s for a month and predictably his weight, blood pressure, and cholesterol go up, but so do his liver enzymes, a sign his liver cells are dying and spilling their contents into the bloodstream. His one-man experiment was actually formally replicated. A group of men and women agreed to eat two fast food meals a day for a month. Most of their liver values started out normal, but, within just one week, most were out of whack, a profound pathological elevation in liver damage. What’s happening is non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), the next global epidemic, as I discuss in my video How to Prevent Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease. Fatty deposits in the liver result in a disease spectrum from asymptomatic fat buildup to non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), which can lead to liver scarring and cirrhosis, and may result in liver cancer, liver failure, and death. NAFLD is now the most common cause of chronic liver disease in the United States, affecting 70 million Americans, nearly one in three adults. Fast food consumption is a great way to bring it on, since it’s associated with the intake of soft drinks and meat. Drinking one can of soda a day may raise the odds of NAFLD by 45 percent, and those eating the equivalent of 14 chicken nuggets’ worth of meat a day have nearly triple the rates of fatty liver compared to those eating 7 nuggets or less. It’s been characterized as a tale of fat and sugar, but evidently not all types of fat are culpable. Those with fatty hepatitis were found to have eaten more animal fat and cholesterol, and less plant fat, fiber, and antioxidants. This may explain why adherence to a Mediterranean-style diet, characterized by high consumption of foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and beans, is associated with less severe non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. It could also be related to the presence of specific phytonutrients, like the purple, red, and blue anthocyanin pigments found in berries, grapes, plums, red cabbage, red onions, and radicchio. These anthocyanin-rich foods may be promising for the prevention of fatty liver, but that’s mostly based on petri dish experiments. There was one clinical trial that found that drinking a purple sweet potato beverage seemed to successfully dampen liver inflammation. A more plant-based diet may also improve our microbiome, the good bacteria in our gut. “‘We are what we eat’ is the old adage but the modern version might be ‘we are what our bacteria eat.’” When we eat fat, we may facilitate the growth of bad bacteria, which can release inflammatory molecules that increase the leakiness of our gut and contribute to fatty liver disease. Fatty liver disease can also be caused by cholesterol overload. The thought is that dietary cholesterol found in eggs, meat, and dairy oxidizes and then upregulates liver X receptor alpha, which can upregulate something else called SREBP, which can increase the level of fat in the liver. Cholesterol crystals alone cause human white blood cells to spill out inflammatory compounds, just like uric acid crystals in gout. That’s what may be triggering the progression of fatty liver into serious hepatitis: “the accumulation of sufficient concentrations of free cholesterol within steatotic hepatocytes [fatty liver cells] to cause crystallization of the cholesterol.” This is one of several recent lines of evidence suggesting that dietary cholesterol plays an important role in the development of fatty hepatitis—that is, fatty liver inflammation. In a study of 9,000 American adults followed for 13 years, researchers found a strong association between dietary cholesterol intake and hospitalization and death from cirrhosis and liver cancer, as dietary cholesterol can oxidize and cause toxic and carcinogenic effects. To limit the toxicity of excess cholesterol derived from the diet, the liver tries to rid itself of cholesterol by dumping it into the bloodstream. So, by measuring the non-HDL cholesterol in the blood, one can predict the onset of fatty liver disease. If we subtract HDL from total cholesterol, none of the hundreds of subjects followed with a value under 130 developed the disease. Drug companies view non-alcoholic fatty liver disease as a bonanza, “as is the case of any disease of affluence…considering its already high and rising prevalence and…[its] needing continuous pharmacologic treatment,” but maybe avoiding it is as easy as changing our diet, avoiding sugary and cholesterol-laden foods. “The unpalatable truth is that NAFLD could almost be considered the human equivalent of foie gras (loosely translated from French as ‘fat liver’). As we overeat and ‘force-feed’ ourselves foods that can result in serious health implications, however, having such a buttery texture in human livers is not a delicacy to be enjoyed by hepatologists [liver doctors] in clinical practice!” Like my video Preventing Gout Attacks with Diet, How to Prevent Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease covers an important topic worth the extensive coverage the video provides. For more on how bad added sugars are for us, see: How Much Added Sugar Is Too Much? If Fructose Is Bad, What About Fruit? How Much Fruit Is Too Much? For more on how bad cholesterol can be, see: How Do We Know That Cholesterol Causes Heart Disease? Does Cholesterol Size Matter? Cholesterol and Alzheimer’s Disease Cholesterol Feeds Breast Cancer Cells Cholesterol Crystals May Tear Through Our Artery Lining How the Egg Board Designs Misleading Studies Eggs and Cholesterol: Patently False and Misleading Claims 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 [...]
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The Best Cooked Tofu
Tired of cooking tofu that tastes like blah? Meet the best cooked tofu recipe. I’ve found this to be my go-to, reliable, and trustworthy tofu recipe that I can always count on making on meal prep day and inevitably will enjoy later in the week. If you’re looking for a tofu recipe that goes with everything you add it to — from salads, a stir-fry, roasted vegetables, dipped in a sauce or condiment, added to pasta, or your favorite Nourish Bowl — then you’ve found it here! This best cooked tofu recipe is a mix of sweet, spicy, and savory from the nutritional yeast (hello B vitamins and protein), soy sauce of your choice, a splash of maple syrup, an optional dash of chili sauce, and spices you probably already have in your pantry. Is Tofu Healthy? The soybean is one of the most common foods in our diet, primarily because soy is found in most processed foods (1). Tofu is made from soy and depending on the brand you can purchase tofu that’s organic and/or organic and sprouted. Sprouted means the soybeans have been sprouted before being processed as tofu, which may help increase the nutrient density. Whole soybeans have many nutrients, and they’re a decent source of plant-based protein. They become unhealthy, however, when they’re processed at high temperatures. They also contain phytates, which affect the absorption of their nutrients. (2) The soy you can find now isn’t the same as the soy crop from your grandparents’ day and age. Soy-derived products like soybean oil and soy protein are incredibly refined, and over 90% of them in the US have been genetically modified, according to the US Department of Agriculture. (3) Soybean oil also contains an imbalanced amount of Omega-6 polyunsaturated fats, which in excess, that can lead to inflammation and health problems. (4) Take a deeper look at the health benefits of soy and some things to consider when consuming soy in our NS Society exclusive journal article. You can make a large batch of this recipe for multiple servings for the week ahead and if you want to use this sauce on other proteins like tempeh, fish, chicken, etc. then you absolutely can and it’ll taste great! The post The Best Cooked Tofu appeared first on Nutrition Stripped. [...]
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The Best Food to Slowing Your Resting Heart Rate
Monitoring resting heart rate has strong advantages. Taking your pulse is cheap, takes little time, is understandable to people, and is something everyone can do at home to measure their progress to become an active participant in their own health management. “The accumulated weight of evidence linking elevated [resting] heart rate to cardiovascular and all-cause mortality”—that is, to a shortened lifespan—“even in apparently healthy individuals, makes a strong case for it to be considered in the assessment of cardiovascular risk.”  Every ten-beat-per-minute increase is associated with a 10 to 20 percent increase in the risk of premature death. “There seems to be a continuous increase in risk with increasing heart rate,” at least for values above a beat a second. So, we can simply look at our watch or the timer on our smartphone, and, if our heart is beating faster than the seconds going by, especially when we’re sitting quietly, then we have to do something about it. This is particularly important when we start getting up to around 80 or 90 beats per minute. As I discuss in my video Slow Your Beating Heart: Beans vs. Exercise, men with no apparent evidence of heart disease who have a pulse of 90 may have five times higher risk of sudden cardiac death compared to those in the safety zone. To put it bluntly, their first symptom is their last. Indeed, resting heart rates around 90 beats per minute increase heart disease risk at a level similar to smoking. If you ask most doctors, though, 90 is considered normal: The accepted limits of heart rate have long been set at 60 to 100 beats per minute. Where did that range come from? It was adopted as a matter of convenience simply based on the scale of the squares on EKG paper. It was an historical accident like the QWERTY keyboard that just became the norm. A heart rate of 60 to 100 doesn’t even represent the bell curve. A group of cardiologists measured the heart rate of 500 people and concluded that 45 to 95 beats per minute was a better definition of normal, rounding to 50 to 90, which a survey of leading cardiologists concurred with. Now, we know that normal doesn’t necessarily mean optimal, but doctors shouldn’t be telling people with heart rates in the 50s that their heart rate is too low. In fact, these people may be right where they should be. Certainly, a “heart rate higher than 80 beats per minute should ring an alarm bell,” but what can we do about it? Exercise is one obvious possibility. Ironically, we make our heart go faster so, the rest of the time, it beats slower. “The public health benefits of physical exercise, especially for [heart] protection, are widely accepted.…Among the many biological mechanisms proposed to account for this risk-reducing effect is autonomic nervous system regulation of the heart”—that is, our brain’s ability to slow down the resting beat of our heart. If you put people through a 12-week aerobic conditioning program of cycling, StairMaster, and running on a treadmill, their resting heart rate can drop from around 69 to about 66—about a three-beat-per-minute drop. Of course, they have to keep it up. Stop exercising and resting heart rate goes right back up. Exercise is only one way to drop our heart rate, though. The way to our heart may also be through our stomach. What if instead of three months of exercise, we did three months of beans, like a cup a day of beans, chickpeas, or lentils? The first randomized controlled trial of beans for the treatment of diabetes showed they did indeed successfully improve blood sugar control, dropping subjects’ average A1C level from 7.4 to 6.9. This study was “also the first to assess the effect of bean consumption on heart rate and indeed one of the few to determine the effect [on heart rate] of any dietary intervention.” This is particularly important in diabetics, since having a higher resting heart rate not only increases their risk of death as it does for everybody, but it also appears to predict greater risk of diabetic complications, such as damage to the nerves and eyes. So, how did beans do in the study? They produced a 3.4 beat drop in heart rate—just as much as the 250 hours on a treadmill. We’re not sure why beans are as powerful as exercise in bringing down one’s resting heart rate. “In addition to the potential direct beneficial effects of vegetable protein and fiber”—all the good stuff in legumes—“there is also the potential displacement value of vegetable protein foods in reducing animal protein foods, which are higher in saturated fat and cholesterol.” Regardless, we should consider eating pulses for our pulse. What is that about a shortened lifespan? See my Finger on the Pulse of Longevity video. Having “normal” risk factor values in a society where it’s normal to drop dead of preventable diseases like heart disease is not necessarily a good thing. Learn more with: When Low Risk Means High Risk Everything in Moderation? Even Heart Disease? How Not to Die from Heart Disease For more on the musical fruit, see: Beans and the Second Meal Effect Canned Beans or Cooked Beans? Increased Lifespan from Beans Beans, Beans, They’re Good for Your Heart Phytates for Rehabilitating Cancer Cells Diabetics Should Take Their Pulses 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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One Heartbeat per Second to Beat the Clock
Immanuel Kant, the famed 18th century philosopher, described the chemistry of his day as a science, but not really science, as it wasn’t grounded in mathematics—at least not until a century later. The same could be said for biology, the study of life. In math, physics, and quantum physics, there are constants: physical quantities thought to be both universal and unchanging. Biology, though, was considered too complex and too messy to be governed by simple, natural laws. In 1997, however, a theoretical high-energy physicist from Los Alamos joined two biologists to describe universal scaling laws that appear to apply across the board. Are there any clinical implications of these types of theories? A fascinating observation was published. As I discuss in my video Finger on the Pulse of Longevity, the number of heartbeats per lifetime is remarkably similar whether you’re a hamster all the way up to a whale. So, mice, who typically live less than two years, have a heart rate of about 500 to 600 beats a minute—up to 10 beats a second. In contrast, the heart of a Galapagos tortoise beats 100 times slower, but they live about 100 times longer. There’s such a remarkable consistency in the number of heartbeats animals get in their lifetimes that a provocative question was asked: “Can human life be extended by cardiac slowing?” In other words, if humans are predetermined to have about three billion heartbeats in a lifetime, then would a reduction in average heart rate extend life? This is not just some academic question. If that’s how it works, then one might estimate that a reduction in heart rate from an average of more than 70 beats per minute down to what many athletes have, 60 beats per minute, could theoretically increase life span by more than a decade. This reasoning may seem a bit off the wall, but that’s how the scientific method works: We start out with an observation, such as this striking heartbeat data, and then make an educated guess (or hypothesis) that is then put to the test. How might one demonstrate “a life-prolonging effect of cardiac slowing in humans”? Perhaps a first attempt would be to see if people with slower heart rates live longer lives. Unfortunately, researchers couldn’t just give subjects drugs that only lower heart rate. Drugs like beta blockers at the time lowered both heart rate and blood pressure, so they weren’t ideal for testing the question at hand. We can, however, do that first part and look at whether people with slower heart rates live longer. “From the evidence accumulated so far, we know that a high resting heart rate,” meaning how fast our heart beats when we’re just sitting at rest, “is associated with an increase in…mortality in the general population,” as well as in those with chronic disease. A faster heart rate may lead to a faster death rate. Indeed, faster resting heart rates are associated with shorter life expectancies and are considered a strong independent risk factor for heart disease and heart failure. Researchers found that those with higher heart rates were about twice as likely over the next 15 years to experience heart failure. This was seen in middle-aged people, as well as observed in older people. It was also found in men and women. What’s critical is that this link between how fast our heart goes and how fast our life goes is independent of physical activity. At first, I thought this was painfully obvious. Of course lower resting heart rates are associated with a longer lifespan. Who has a really slow pulse? Athletes. The more physically fit we are, the lower our resting pulse. But, no: Researchers “found that irrespective of level of physical fitness subjects with higher resting heart rates fare worse than people with lower heart rates,” so it appears a high resting heart rate is not just a marker of risk, but a bona-fide risk factor independent of how fit we are or how much we exercise. Why? If our heart rate is up 24 hours a day, even when we’re sleeping, all that pulsatile stress may break some of the elastic fibers within the arterial wall, causing our arteries to become stiff. It doesn’t allow enough time for our arteries to relax between beats, so the faster our heart, the stiffer our arteries. There are all sorts of theories about how an increased resting heart rate can decrease our time on Earth. Regardless, this relationship is now well recognized. It is not just a marker of an underlying pathology nor can it be said to be merely a marker of inflammation. The reason it’s important to distinguish a risk factor from a risk marker is that if you control the risk factor, you control the risk. But, if it were just a risk marker, it wouldn’t matter if we brought down our heart rate. We now have evidence from drug trials—indeed, there are now medications that just affect heart rate—that lowering our heart rate lowers our death rate. It’s been shown in at least a dozen trials so far. Basically, we don’t want our heart to be beating more than about one beat per second at rest. (Measure your pulse right now!) For the maximum lifespan, the target is about one beat a second to beat the clock. Don’t worry if your heart’s beating too fast: Heart rate is a modifiable risk factor. Yes, there are drugs, but there are also lifestyle regimens, like eating beans, that can bring down our resting pulse. See Slow Your Beating Heart: Beans vs. Exercise. Other lifespan-expanding strategies are detailed in: Methionine Restriction as a Life Extension Strategy Nuts May Help Prevent Death 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 Prevent Cancer from Going on TOR 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 [...]
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Baked Raspberry Porridge
If you like oatmeal, you’ll love this simple Baked Raspberry Porridge. I just started baking my oatmeal in batches during my weekly meal prep and I’m pretty happy about it. I think you’ll love this Baked Raspberry Porridge that can be made with a variety of fruits, nuts, and even different grains. Baking your oatmeal might save you a lot of time, effort, and the result will be delicious! If you don’t love raspberries, you can use whatever fruit you enjoy from fresh blueberries, mango, pineapple, banana, cherries, apples, the list goes on. In addition to the variety of using whatever fruit you love and have on hand, you can also use frozen. Frozen fruit is often more affordable, easy to get your hands on, and even easier to keep stocked in your freezer for a quick recipe to make on your meal prep day. A win-win. I’ve been making varieties of this baked porridge for the past month because it’s so easy to toss in the oven alongside sweet potatoes, tofu, veggies, etc. on my meal prep day. It also makes several servings, between 4-6 depending on your unique portion needs, and tastes just as delicious heated up as a leftover as it does straight out of the oven. The post Baked Raspberry Porridge appeared first on Nutrition Stripped. [...]
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How To Make Your Home A Health Sanctuary
Learning how to make your home a health sanctuary can include stocking the kitchen, to great air quality. This article brings in some facts about creating a home more conducive to health and is also a way for me to answer so many personal questions I’ve had about this topic. For the past several years I’ve intentionally put systems in place where our home feels more like a place of rest, retreat and solitude from my full schedule. I’m incredibly impacted by the atmosphere of my surroundings — from the sight, scent, air quality, organization, etc. all of it impacts my ability to either fully relax or focus, depending on the space I’m in. Do you feel the same way? If so, these tips to creating a space that’s more supportive of your self-care and health will help. How The Home Can Support Your Health Just as we’re mindful and aware of food items we put into our body, the same should be said about the air we breathe, the cleaning supplies we use in our home and everything else that surrounds us. Things that make our space feel more like a health sanctuary or a space that supports my overall wellbeing is a mix of items and actions. I’m mindful of the energy I bring into my home — as in checking myself if I’m particularly stressed or anxious — that way, what’s coming into our space is more aligned with how I would like to feel. Engaging in activities that you love are also key to making it feel like a retreat away from all of the stimulation and distractions of daily life. For me, this looks like cooking, journaling, meditating, practicing yoga, reading, spending quality time with my husband, hanging out with friends, tidying, painting/artwork, watching movies, anything that brings me joy. How To Make Your Home A Health Sanctuary Kitchen We have many resources on how to stock and organize your kitchen, food safety, and how to best utilize your space from these articles and our programs. How to Organize Your Kitchen DIY Pantry Organization  Food Safety How To Enjoy Your Kitchen What’s In My Fridge  The Vibe Understandably many don’t have access to buy completely new furniture, a home of our dreams or to get everything on our wish list at any given time, but we can take a lot of action that can impact the overall mood and vibe of the home. Natural Lighting: If you have a lot of natural light then utilize it! Natural light can be so peaceful, not to mention more economical versus having lights on all day. After sunset, we typically turn off all blue lights and switch over to beeswax candles (which seems quite primitive but amazing and cozy!). Or we turn on sea salt lamps which are a beautiful amber warm color which is more conducive to relaxation. Plants and nature elements: plants not only can improve the air quality, but they also bring a sense of nature and earth into your home which can be grounding and bring a little extra hygge to your space. (4) Scent: as much as I love all the fancy candles, with my migraine history most candles and strong scents like perfumes can easily be a trigger so we opt for essential oils. Regardless of migraines, most candles contain hundreds of chemicals that can be irritating to our health over time so opt for a simple essential oil blend which is also more economical in the end. (1) (2) Also try burning palo santo, or organic incense. Cozy: the element of cozy can be fluffy blankets, your favorite pillows, a great soft rug, or maybe your favorite cozy sweatshirt. There are so many individual preferences for what defines “cozy” so adding more of those elements in your home can help you feel more relaxed and at ease. Declutter: if you haven’t heard of the KonMari method, try that one out! It’s been the most effective method for our home in clearing out the clutter, keeping it minimal, and only bringing in things into our home that we love and that bring us happiness. Not only that, the air feels different in your home when you’re able to declutter and get rid of the things by either donating, selling or giving away to a friend. Special space: is there a special space in your home you can completely dedicate to you? If so, make that space (i.e. a room or a spot in one room) all about the things that make you feel great, bring joy, and help you feel at ease. Beauty: are there pieces of artwork, sculptures, family photos, drawings from your kids that light you up? Hang them around your space to be surrounded visually by things that cultivate love and beauty as defined by you. For me, that includes all of the above and I really enjoy interior design and style so having a beautiful space (by my definition) is important for how I feel when I’m relaxing. Air Quality You would think that the cleanest air we breathe is at our home, right? For the majority of us, our homes and offices or places of work can actually contribute to worse air quality than outside. Did you know that the average American spends about 8.7 hours a day inside their house, which is just based off sleeping and household activities? That’s about 70 hours a week we may potentially be in contact with harmful chemicals, toxins, mold, etc. that might be hanging out in your home. Unless you live in the mountains or far removed from city life (our goals for 2019!), it’s important that the air quality in your home is as clean as possible. Not to mention having cleaner air can help those who suffer from allergies. Air Filter: I’ve been using air filters for over 10 years in my homes and the one that I recently switched to has been the best, called an Intellipure. I’ve also used and recommended this HEPA filter. Be sure to change your air filters in your home HVAC unit or if you use portable AC / heat units be sure you’re changing the air filters regularly. Having plants in your home can not only give off my oxygen but also can clean your home. The top plants sa [...]
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The Best Foods to Slow Your Metabolism
The largest component of our daily energy budget is resting metabolic rate. As I discuss in my video Slowing Our Metabolism with Nitrate-Rich Vegetables, the direct effects of physical activity are relatively small compared to how many calories we expend just living and breathing. Now, during something like training for the US Army’s Special Ops or climbing a four-mile-high mountain, we may burn 4,000 calories a day. For most people, however, the calories we burn just lying around existing exceeds normal physical activities. Thus, our resting metabolic rate can have implications for controlling our weight. Researchers have shown that dietary nitrate found in beets and green leafy vegetables improves the efficiency of the little power plants within our cells, boosting athletic performance by extracting more energy from every breath. So, if we eat a lot of vegetables, might it slow our metabolism since our body can function so much more efficiently with the calories we give it? Indeed, researchers found that after giving people a dose of nitrate equivalent to a few servings of spinach or beets, their resting metabolic rates slowed on average about 4 percent. That’s nearly a hundred calories a day. If our bodies burned that many fewer calories each yet we didn’t eat any less, couldn’t we could put on a few pounds? Of course, green leafy vegetables may be the healthiest food on the planet, so we shouldn’t decrease our greens intake to try to control our weight. What’s going on? Researchers think perhaps it was a way our body evolved to use vegetables to help preserve energy during lean times in our ancient past. That is, slowing our metabolism may have benefits for our longevity. What else similarly slows our metabolism? Caloric restriction, such as eating every other day. This may be one reason why caloric restriction is associated with a longer lifespan in many animals. Maybe like a candle, burning with a smaller flame allows us to last longer. It’s hard to walk around starving all the time, but it’s easy to replicate that same metabolic benefit by eating a big salad every day. This may be why eating leafy green vegetables is among the six most powerful things we can do to live longer, along with not smoking, not drinking heavily, walking at least an hour a day, getting seven hours of sleep a day, and achieving an ideal weight. Doing even just one of these six may cut our risk of premature death by around 20 to 25 percent. What’s that about boosting athletic performance? See: Whole Beets vs. Juice for Improving Athletic Performance Oxygenating Blood with Nitrate-Rich Vegetables “Veg-Table” Dietary Nitrate Scoring Method Enhancing Athletic Performance with Peppermint Don’t want to carry beets out onto the track with you? Try fennel seeds: Fennel Seeds to Improve Athletic Performance. What else can greens do? Check out How to Regenerate Coenzyme Q10 Naturally. 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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Health Benefits of Citrus Zest
New data demonstrating a DNA protective agent present in at least some fruits and vegetables found that the agent was heat sensitive and determined it was not vitamin C. This was confirmed in a study that tried vitamin C directly and found no effect on DNA protection or repair of DNA strand breaks. If not vitamin C, what could the DNA protective agent be? The carotenoid beta-cryptoxanthin, found primarily in citrus, seems to be at least one candidate, as I discuss in my video Citrus Peels and Cancer: Zest for Life? If you expose cells to a mutagenic chemical, you can cause physical breaks in the strands of DNA. However, in less than an hour, our DNA repair enzymes can weld most of our DNA back together. What happens if we add some of that citrus phytonutrient? We can effectively double the speed at which DNA is repaired. But, this was determined in a petri dish. What about in a person? In one study, subjects drank a glass of orange juice and their blood was drawn two hours later. The DNA damage induced with an oxidizing chemical dropped, whereas if they had just had something like orange Kool-Aid instead of orange juice, it didn’t help. So, do people who eat more fruit walk around with less DNA damage? Yes, particularly women. Does this actually translate into lower cancer rates? It appears so: Citrus alone is associated with a 10 percent reduction in odds of breast cancer. Given to newly diagnosed breast cancer patients, citrus phytonutrients were found to concentrate in breast tissue, though many complained of “citrus burps” due to the concentrated extract they were given. So, researchers evaluated topical application as an alternative dosing strategy, recruiting women to apply orange-flavored massage oil to their breasts daily. This request was met with excellent compliance, but it didn’t work. We actually have to eat, not wear, our food.  Why not just take carotenoid supplements to boost our DNA repair? Because it doesn’t work. Although dietary supplements did not provoke any alteration in DNA repair, dietary supplementation with carrots did. This suggests that “the whole food may be important in modulating DNA repair processes…” Though orange juice consumption was found protective against childhood leukemia, it was not found protective against skin cancer. “However, the most striking feature was the protection purported by citrus peel consumption” . Just drinking orange juice may increase the risk of the most serious type of skin cancer. Daily consumption was associated with a 60 percent increase in risk. So, again, better to stick with the whole fruit. We can eat citrus extra-whole by zesting some of the peel into our dishes. Now you know why my favorite citrus fruit is kumquat—because you can eat the peel and all! For other foods that may keep our DNA intact, see my Which Fruits and Vegetables Boost DNA Repair? video. Kiwifruit (Kiwifruit and DNA Repair), broccoli (DNA Protection from Broccoli), and spices (Spicing Up DNA Protection) may also fit the bill. Interested in learning more about citrus? Check out: Keeping Your Hands Warm with Citrus Reducing Muscle Fatigue with Citrus Can Vitamin C Help with Lead Poisoning? 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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Healthy Homemade Dog Treats
Your dog will love these healthy homemade dog treats made with peanut butter, sweet potatoes, and banana. The next time you’re meal prepping and planning your own meals, get your pup involved! Making healthy homemade dog treats is far more simple, resourceful, and can be more convenient than getting dog treats at the store. Luna has her own thing going on — from her Instagram account (@hiimlunathesamoyed) to the NS community asking about her diet, to random people in Nashville coming up to me because of her Instagram — she’s kind of a big deal. Jokes aside, one of the most common and interesting questions I get when I share a picture of her is about what we feed her. Dogs, just like us, all have different needs and taste preferences when it comes to food. Depending on your dog’s size, the breed, their activity level, medical history, etc. will dictate what kind of food they eat and what snacks/treats will be best for them. Just because I’m a Dietitian, I’m not an expert in animal nutrition, so this article is more about what I’ve personally learned and professionally researched about what foods dogs can’t eat and what they will. What Ingredients Are In Dog Treats? Depending on the type and the brand ingredients can be animal proteins, lard, vegetables, fruits, rice, and the list goes on. From my experience, Luna came into my life when she was a little pup at 9 weeks so she’s been with me her entire life — by default with me cooking often in the kitchen with healthy foods it was only natural to let her try them. To my surprise, she has a long list of vegetables and fruits she likes including carrots, sweet potatoes, radishes, lettuce, celery, broccoli, and a few fruits. Like most dogs, she loves chicken, cheese, or anything with peanut butter. I don’t always make her homemade dog treats, but when it comes to using up ingredients that I already have stocked in the pantry, it seems like a win-win. Not to mention, this recipe makes a lot of treats, about 50 if you slice them in thin rectangles, which lasts a few months depending on how often you feed your dog treats and how many at a time. What To Feed Dogs I get this question often and as much as I let her snack on vegetables that I’m also making a meal with or have on hand, I don’t make her food as most people think! I’m just like you and rely on store-bought dog food to meet her nutritional needs. Even if I had the time and resources, I don’t think I would do the planning and prep that a dog deserves in making sure their nutritional needs are met. My rule of thumb when looking for dog food is to go to the source, check out the company, their mission, sourcing of ingredients, processing, and chat with them if you need to. For the past 3 years for Luna, she’s been eating a variety of food by the same company — yet we change the type (i.e. salmon, chicken, etc.) about every 3 months so we know she’s getting different nutrients in addition to healthy snacks at home. There are so many great brands out there and ways to learn more about choosing the right food for your dog. Foods That Dogs Can’t Eat Remember, as much as you can be flexible with this recipe and in giving your dogs snack, there are foods that dogs can’t eat. These are the most common unsafe foods for dogs: Avocado Chocolate Garlic Grapes Lemons and Limes Macadamia nuts Onions Raisins Tea, coffee, alcohol The post Healthy Homemade Dog Treats appeared first on Nutrition Stripped. [...]
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The Connection Between Migraines And Diet
If you suffer from an occasional migraine or chronic migraines, then read more about the connection between migraines and diet. Migraines affect roughly 1 out of every 7 Americans annually (1) or about 12% of the population (2). That’s a large number of people affected daily by a health condition with no one cause as it’s different for each person. My Migraine Story Migraines are a large part of my health history, which is a huge motivation for me to practice the daily habits that keep me on the prevention side of things. When I started to get migraines in my early teens, I recall feelings of helplessness, disappointment, anxiety, and depression at such a young age. I was living with a cycle of on and off again migraines that would take me out of my daily life and activities which included hobbies that I loved like art. This would last for about 5 days monthly and this became my norm for years after. The silver lining of this challenge was it became a beautiful catalyst for my artistic expression and maybe a bit of emo-inspired artwork, ha! My method of treatment was typical, going to a neurologist and doctors experimenting with different medications to find what worked best. In fact, all of the medications worked as they are “supposed” to with the exception of finding some mediation allergies, but they all left me feeling numb and a bit like a zombie. Honestly, I felt I’d rather go through migraines several days at a time each month then not feel much of myself at all and so I did. It was also around the age of 15 that I experienced really intense and stressful life events that carried into my early twenties — this later helped me realize stress is one of the biggest triggers for my migraines. I share a bit of backstory because migraines like so many health conditions have different angles, different factors, causes, and ways to start addressing the root cause. My remedies weren’t just found in the diet I ate, but it was the lifestyle I was living. Fast forward 4 years later, as a first-year nutrition and dietetics major, I started to guinea pig and hack my own health to figure out what was going on with my health — in addition to migraines I experienced digestive issues, acne, eczema, and hormonal imbalances (intense PMS). I wish from both a personal and professional perspective I could give you a list of foods that will prevent migraines so you never have to deal with them, or a list of foods that will trigger a migraine so you can avoid them forever. Just like anything in health, it’s not that simple. It takes time, an individual approach, patience, and practice to learn what your unique triggers may be, whether that’s food or lifestyle related. With that individual perspective in mind, use the following article as a guideline, a framework you can use to advocate for your own health and see what brings you closer to your health goals. What Are Migraines? Migraines are more than an intense headache, it’s more recently been identified as a neurological disorder involving nerve pathways and brain chemicals. (6) It’s accompanied by throbbing pain (i.e. an intense headache) with sensory and neurological symptoms. What’s the difference between a headache and a migraine? The most obvious is the intensity and duration. Headaches can be a sign of a simple fix for our modern age, such as dehydration, not enough sleep, stress, hormonal shifts during that time of the month, low magnesium in our diet or B vitamins, etc. Headaches usually last no longer than a day and typically don’t interrupt daily living. There isn’t one cause we can yet pinpoint, but it appears genetics, environmental factors, lifestyle, brain chemical imbalances (including serotonin), and more that are still being researched. Migraines may also be caused by changes in the brainstem and the trigeminal nerve which is a major pain pathway. (3) Additional factors that may play a role in migraines is a family history of them and/or if you’re female. What are symptoms and signs of a migraine? Again, migraines will be experienced differently depending on who is going through them, here is a list of some of the most reported and common. Constipation Mood swings Food cravings Neck pain, or stiffness Increased thirst and urination Frequent yawning Feeling lethargic Sensitivity to light Sensitivity to smells Sensitivity to sounds Throbbing in various areas on your head/neck Nausea Vomiting Auras: these can range from visual, sensory (hearing noises, or noise sensitivity), flashing lights, zigzag patterns, tracers (feels like visually things are in slow-mo) In my experience, I had intense visual auras, auditory sensitivities, throbbing pain, and nausea. I was able to build a mind-body awareness of when I was at the start of my migraine cycle, I typically would become nauseous for no reason, have a low-level throbbing at the base of my skull, brain fog, and mood swings. This period of time before an active migraine is called Prodrome (3). Just as there typically is a period before a migraine, there’s also a post-drome which is after the active migraine attack and can last 24-48 hours for most people. A person may feel similar feelings as the prodrome period, with a bit of dizziness, confusion, sensitivity to light and sound, or digestive issues. What Are Possible Food Triggers For Migraines (4, 5) One of the best ways to determine your food triggers is to work closely with a Registered Dietitian who can support you and guide you with expertise on an elimination plan, food journal, and trigger testing. Many of these foods contain tannins, sulfites, nitrites, tyramine, octopamine, phenylethylamine, artificial chemicals, and/or histamine. Aged cheeses (i.e. foods high in tyramine) Salty foods Skipping meals Aspartame MSG Alcohol Caffeine Nuts Olives Canned soups Raisins Soy sauce Chocolate Citrus Nitrites Sulfites Histamine-releasing food [...]
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How to Boost DNA Repair with Produce
“In the light of strikingly consistent observations from many epidemiological [population-based] studies, there can be little doubt that the habitual consumption of diets high in fruits and vegetables helps to reduce the risk of development of degenerative diseases, including many types of cancers.” Not satisfied with merely telling people to eat their fruits and veggies, scientists want to know the mechanism. I discuss this topic in my Which Fruits and Vegetables Boost DNA Repair? video. Not just vehicles for antioxidants, fruits and vegetables contain innumerable phytonutrients that can boost our detoxification enzymes, modulate gene expression, and even modulate DNA repair pathways. “Until fairly recently…it was generally assumed that functions as important as DNA repair were unlikely to be readily affected by nutrition,” but, if you compare identical twins to fraternal twins, only about half to three quarters of DNA repair function is genetically determined. We may be able to control the rest. “It is estimated that, on average, there are 800 incidents of DNA damage [in our bodies] per hour,” which is about 19,000 hits to our DNA every day. What’s more, “that DNA damage can cause mutations and give rise to cancer, if not repaired.” Thankfully, “the regulation of [DNA] repair can be added to the list of biological processes that are influenced by what we eat—and, specifically, that this might constitute part of the explanation for the cancer-preventive effects of many plant-based foods.” Any plants in particular? Nine fruits and vegetables were tested to find out which ones were better able to boost DNA repair: lemons, persimmons, strawberries, oranges, choy sum (which is like skinny bok choy), broccoli, celery, lettuce, and apples. Which ones made the cut? Lemons, persimmons, strawberries, broccoli, celery, and apples all conferred DNA protection at very low doses. Lemons, for example, were found to cut DNA damage by about a third. Was it the vitamin C? No. Removing the vitamin C from the lemon extract did not remove the protective effect. However, if you first boiled the lemon for 30 minutes, the protective effect was lost. If it’s not the vitamin C, what might it be? That’s the subject of my video Citrus Peels and Cancer: Zest for Life? Surprised that the lemon benefit was abolished by cooking? Find out which vegetables it may be best to eat raw in Best Cooking Method. What about cooked versus raw garlic? See my video Inhibiting Platelet Activation with Garlic and Onions. For more on DNA protection and repair, see: Spicing Up DNA Protection Cancer, Interrupted: Garlic and Flavonoids Benefits of Turmeric for Arsenic Exposure Carcinogen-Blocking Effects of Turmeric Eating Green to Prevent Cancer Can Green Tea Help Prevent Cancer? 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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Sauteed Sesame Greens
You’re looking at my Sauteed Sesame Greens, a side dish that you can make in under 10 minutes! It’s a great recipe to have in your cooking arsenal this holiday season, but it’s also perfect on a casual weeknight at home. It’s a simple take on the sauteed spinach with crunchy lightly cooked green beans, crunchy almonds, protein-packed hemp seeds, and bright lemon. Kale and spinach are the stars of this recipe, and here’s why: they’re part of the cruciferous vegetable family. These dark leafy greens are high in antioxidants and minerals. They contain special phytonutrients that have been shown to help decrease inflammation in the body as well to have anti-cancer benefits. As with most fruits and vegetables, they both contain great amounts of fiber which help our digestive system moving, keeps us fuller for a longer period of time, and releases a steady flow of energy into our bodies. Bonus: they keep cholesterol levels healthy, too. Kale, Yeah Black-eyed Peas and Kale Soup Baked Eggs with Garlic Kale and Sun-dried Tomatoes Simple Kale Caesar Salad with Maple Pepper Tempeh Trying It? If you make this simple sauteed sesame greens dish, I want to see how it turns out! Submit your photo directly on this post in the comments section below, and share on Instagram by tagging @nutritionstripped #nutritionstripped. Happy cooking! xx McKel The post Sauteed Sesame Greens appeared first on Nutrition Stripped. [...]
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How the Meat Industry Reacted to the New Cancer Warnings
What was the meat industry’s response to leading cancer charities’ recommendation to stop eating processed meat, like bacon, ham, hot dogs, sausage, and lunch meat? As I discuss in my video Meat Industry Reaction to New Cancer Guidelines, the industry acknowledges that the most recent international cancer prevention guidelines now urge people to avoid processed meat. “It is evident that…such a statement represents ‘a clear and present danger’ for the meat industry,” reads one response in the journal Meat Science. However, processed meat, it continues, is “a social necessity.” (How could anyone live without bologna?) The challenge for the meat industry, the response outlines, is to find a way to maintain the consumption of these convenience products while somehow not damaging public health. We’re still not sure what in processed meat is so carcinogenic, but the most probable educated guess for explaining the damaging effect of processed meats involves heme iron, along with nitrosamine and free radical formation, ultimately resulting in carcinogenic DNA damage. To reduce the nitrosamines, they could remove the nitrites, something the industry has been considering for decades because of the long-known toxic effects they cause. The industry adds them to keep the meat pink. There are, evidently, other coloring additives available. Nevertheless, it’s going to be hard to get industry to change “in view of the positive effects” of these substances as preservatives and in achieving a “desirable flavour and red colour developing ingredients.” No one wants green eggs and ham. It’s like salt reduction in meat products. The meat industry would like to reduce it, but “[o]ne of the biggest barriers to salt replacement is cost as salt is one of the cheapest food ingredients available.” A number of taste enhancers can be injected into the meat to help compensate for the salt reduction, but some leave a bitter after-taste. To address that, industry can also inject a patented bitter-blocking chemical that can prevent taste nerve stimulation at the same time. This “bitter blocker is only the first of what will become a stream of products that are produced due to the convergence of food technology and biotechnology.” The meat industry could always try adding non-meat materials to the meat, such as fiber or resistant starch from beans that have protective effects against cancer. After all, in the United States, dietary fiber is under-consumed by most adults, “indicating that fiber fortification in meat products could have health benefits.” But, of course, the meat industry’s own products are one of the reasons the American diet is so deficient in fiber in the first place. The industry is all in favor of reformulating their products to cause less cancer, but “[o]bviously any optimization has to achieve a healthier product without affecting quality, particularly hedonic aspects.” “It is important to realise that nutritional and technological quality [in the meat industry] are inversely correlated. Currently, improvement in one will lead to deterioration of the other.” Indeed, the meat industry knows that consumption of lard is not the best thing in the world—what with heart disease being our number-one killer—but those downsides “are in sharp contrast to their technological qualities that make them indispensable in the manufacture of meat products.” Otherwise, you just don’t get the same “lard consistency.” The pig’s fat doesn’t get hard enough, and, as a result, “a fatty smear upon cutting or slicing can be observed on the cutting surface of the knife.” Less heart disease versus absence of that fatty smear? I suppose you have to weigh the pros and cons… According to the World Health Organization’s IARC, processed meat is now a Group 1 carcinogen—the highest designation. How is it that schools still feed it to our children? How Much Cancer Does Lunch Meat Cause? Watch the video to find out. For more on carcinogens, cancer, and meat, see: Estrogenic Cooked-Meat Carcinogens How Many Cancers Have Been Caused by Arsenic-Laced Chicken? PhIP: The Three-Strikes Breast Carcinogen Zeranol Use in Meat and Breast Cancer Reducing Cancer Risk in Meat-Eaters Some of the meat industry’s finagling reminds me of tobacco industry tactics. See, for example, Big Food Using the Tobacco Industry Playbook and The Healthy Food Movement: Strength in Unity. You can also check out American Medical Association Complicity with Big Tobacco. Skeptical about the danger of excessive sodium intake? Check out The Evidence That Salt Raises Blood Pressure. If you’re still not convinced, see Sprinkling Doubt: Taking Sodium Skeptics with a Pinch of Salt and Sodium Skeptics Try to Shake Up the Salt Debate. Why do the meat industries add salt when millions of lives are at stake? Find out in Big Salt: Getting to the Meat of the Matter. 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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Healthyish Magic Bars
Try these Healthyish Magic Bars if you love coconut, dark chocolate, pecans, and gooey desserts. If you’ve had the classic Magic Bar or seven layer magic bars as they’re also called, then you’re in for a treat. These healthyish magic bars contain most of the ingredients used in the traditional recipe, yet with a spin without sacrificing any of the flavors. What’s A Magic Bar? Growing up in Ohio, we had magic bars at every holiday party every year since I can remember. One of my aunts would always make her version which is pretty representative of the traditional recipe using sweetened condensed milk, sweetened shredded coconut, butter, graham crackers, chocolate, and walnuts. All of those ingredients layered to make one magical, delicious, and super sweet decadent dessert. A little goes a long way when enjoying magic bars even the healthyish magic bars! Healthyish swaps The motivation to making a spin on this recipe was based on decreasing the overall amount of refined sugars added to the recipe, increasing even in small amounts, the fiber, and protein, while keeping the flavor reminiscent of the original. Instead of using sweetened condensed milk, which is basically milk and sugar reduced to make a super sweet thick sauce, we’re going to use the famous Raw Caramel sauce. The Raw Caramel will give it that super sweet flavor and thick texture using maple syrup and the other star ingredients in that caramel. The based of our healthyish magic bars is a mix of ground pecans, coconut flour, ground flax seed, and coconut oil or you can use ghee for that buttery flavor. On top of that you’ll add your favorite dark chocolate chips, then a layer of unsweetened coconut flakes, and top with the Raw Caramel. What you’re left with after baking and cooling, is a delicious bar everyone will love! The post Healthyish Magic Bars appeared first on Nutrition Stripped. [...]
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Introducing the Evidence-Based Eating Guide
Check Out Our New Resource One of the most common requests we get is for some type of practical guide to healthy eating that health practitioners can hand out in their offices or people can use at tabling events. That was part of my goal in writing How Not to Die. I took thousands of videos and boiled them down into a scant little… 562 page book. Hard to carry around 50 of those in your backpack! So I am excited to announce a brand-new resource from NutritionFacts.org, a summary of my practical tips in booklet form, our new Evidence-Based Eating Guide. It includes a summary of my Traffic Light system and Daily Dozen checklist, as well as tips for putting them into practice—even a couple of sample meal plans. Get it right here. There’s a digital download link and print-friendly version. We’re hoping to also have an on-demand print option set up next month so you can order pre-printed glossy copies (at cost).    Daily Dozen Challenge 2.0 To help you get that Daily Dozen checklist ticked off every day, we’ve re-launched our popular Daily Dozen Challenge to help more people discover how easy it is to fit some of the healthiest of healthy foods into their daily routine. I kicked it off this year by publicly challenging five of my friends and you to try to check off all the Daily Dozen servings for one day. Then you challenge more people, and on and on, and soon lots of people will be eating healthy foods!  To see who I challenged this year head over here. For inspiration, search the #dailydozenchallenge hashtag on Instagram, or watch some of the videos we have shared in a challenge playlist on YouTube.   Join in the fun by:  Accepting the Challenge: Pick a day to eat the Daily Dozen, and then release your own public announcement asking others to do it. Posting a picture or video about your experience and tagging 3 more people to challenge them: Use hashtags #HowNotToDie and #DailyDozenChallenge in your announcement post and ask others to do the same. Let people know they can track their Daily Dozen on our free iPhone and Android apps. You can challenge 3 people personally, or ask all of your friends! Donating: If you or your “challengees” are unable to complete the Daily Dozen challenge you can ask them to consider donating $12 to help spread this life-changing, life-saving info to others. If you don’t have it yet, my cookbook has tons of green-light recipes to help reach the Daily Dozen (all my proceeds from all my books go to charity). There are also a few dozen free recipes right here on NutritionFacts.org.    Hiring: Web Developer Our end-of-year fundraising campaign was such a smashing success (thanks to you!), we’re excited to offer a new job opening. We’re hiring a part-time staff person to work remotely with our CTO on day-to-day tasks including web development, maintenance, and administration of the NutritionFacts.org website. For a full job description and application, go here.   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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Vinegar Caveats
As I note in my chapter on greens in my book How Not to Die, vinegar may be one condiment that’s actually good for you. Randomized controlled trials involving both diabetic and non-diabetic individuals found that adding just two teaspoons of vinegar to a meal may improve blood sugar control, effectively blunting the blood sugar spike after a meal by about 20 percent. How? I discuss this in my video Vinegar Mechanisms and Side Effects. Originally, we thought it was because vinegar delayed the gastric emptying rate, slowing the speed at which a meal leaves your stomach, which makes sense because there are acid receptors in the first part of the small intestine where the stomach acid is neutralized. So, if there is excess acid, the body slows down stomach emptying to give the intestine time to buffer it all. The acid in vinegar was thought to slow the rate at which food leaves the stomach, resulting in a blunted sugar spike. But then, studies were published where taking apple cider vinegar before bedtime resulted in lower blood sugars the next day. How does that work? That’s obviously not some acid-induced stomach-slowing effect. Indeed, anyone who actually went to the trouble of sticking an ultrasound probe on someone’s stomach could have told you that—no difference in stomach-emptying times was found comparing vinegar to neutralized vinegar. So, it’s not just an acid effect. Back to square one. Additional studies offered the next clue. Vinegar appeared to have no effect on blood sugars, but this was after giving people a straight glucose solution. Glucose is a byproduct of sugar and starch digestion, so if vinegar blunts the blood sugar spike from cotton candy and Wonder Bread but not glucose, maybe it works by suppressing the enzymes that digest sugars and starches. And, indeed, vinegar appears to block the enzyme that breaks down table sugar. It wasn’t just an acid effect, however. There appears to be something unique about acetic acid, the acid in vinegar. These findings were based on intestinal cells in a petri dish, though. What about in people? Feed people some mashed potatoes with or without vinegar, and glucose flows into the bloodstream at the same rate either way—so, there’s another theory shot down. Let’s figure this out. If sugar enters the bloodstream at the same rate with or without vinegar, but vinegar leads to significantly less sugar in the blood, then logically it must be leaving the bloodstream faster. Indeed, vinegar ingestion appears to enhance sugar disposal by lowering insulin resistance (the cause of type 2 diabetes), and also appears to improve the action of insulin in diabetics. The mystery of how vinegar works appears to have been solved, at least in part. So, diabetics can add vinegar to their mashed potatoes—or just not eat mashed potatoes. If you add vinegar to a high-fiber meal, nothing happens, which explains results such as no effects of vinegar in diabetics in response to a meal. That’s no surprise, because the meal in question in the study was mostly beans. If you are going to eat high glycemic index foods like refined grains, vinegar can help—though there are some caveats. Don’t drink vinegar straight, as it may cause intractable hiccups and can burn your esophagus, as can apple cider vinegar tablets if they get lodged in your throat (not that apple cider vinegar tablets necessarily actually have any apple cider vinegar in them in the first place). Don’t pour it on your kid’s head to treat head lice either. It’s “not harmful except when it leaks on to the face or penetrates the eyes,” and it turns out it doesn’t even work. Vinegar can also cause third-degree burns if you soak a bandage with it and leave it on. Though as many as a total of six tablespoons a day of vinegar was not associated with any side effects in the short-term, until we know more, we may want to stick with more common culinary type doses, like two tablespoons max a day. For example, drinking 2,000 cups of vinegar was found to be a bad idea. Other good-for-you condiments include (salt-free) mustard and horseradish. You may be interested in my Second Strategy to Cooking Broccoli video. For more on my book, check out the trailer. This is the final installment of my five-part series on vinegar. If you missed any, here they are: Does Apple Cider Vinegar Help with Weight Loss? Vinegar and Artery Function Can Vinegar Help with Blood Sugar Control? Optimal Vinegar Dose 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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