Health Tips

/Health Tips

What Stimulates Love More: a Kiss or Chocolate?

By |February 8th, 2017|

Chocolate will give you a bigger buzz than a kiss! This was what a study discovered with couples in long-term relationships.

The study at Mind Lab had 6 couples in their 20s; they wore heart and brain monitors. Each person in the study placed a piece of dark chocolate on their tongue and let it melt without chewing. Later the couples kissed in the way they normally would. What the study found was that when the chocolate melted in the mouth, all areas of the brain were stimulated far more intensely, and the heart beat faster for longer than when they kissed.

“There is no doubt that chocolate beats kissing hands down when it comes to providing a long-lasting body and brain buzz. A buzz that, in many cases, lasted four times as long as the most passionate kiss.” said researcher Dr. David Lewis, formerly of the University of Sussex and now of the Mind Lab.

“In my opinion these scientists have underrated the effects…I’d say chocolate is probably at least 10 times better than any other known form of stimulation in existence. And the only thing better than a bar of chocolate is two bars of chocolate!” – Katharine Arnold, London – BBC Comment

Chocolate is well known for containing a ‘Love Drug’ because it triggers feelings of euphoria, attraction, and excitement, mimicking the brain chemistry of a person in love.

Also, it contains approximately 380 known chemicals, some promote serotonin production which boosts our mood and eases depression. They create a hormone rush, similar to the rush of love making as the pleasure center of the brain is triggered somewhat similarly to the peaks during an orgasm.

“….the taste of chocolate is a sensual pleasure in itself, existing in the same world as sex”
– Sex therapist Dr. Ruth Westheimer.

Aphrodisiac Chocolate

An Aphrodisiac?

It has a reputation of being an aphrodisiac throughout history, going back to the Mayan period from about 250 AD to 900 AD. The Mayans were chocoholics and they highly valued the cacao bean. A man could hire a prostitute for eight to ten cacao beans. Rumour has it that the Aztec emperor Montezuma, known as a hot lover, drank 50 cups of cacao a day before heading off to his harem.

Legendary lover Casanova, the great seducer declared dark chocolate’s sensual pleasure among the world’s best aphrodisiacs, second only to Champagne. He ate it for its aphrodisiac qualities before his conquests to give him the energy he needed

Nonetheless, the actual truth is cacao has never been fully proven to be an aphrodisiac. It does have the chemical composition but in quantities so small that you would need to consume as much as the emperor Montezuma did!

Research has proven that chocolate is a ‘Feel good food’.  It has ingredients to help relax us mentally and physically, bringing a sense of well-being which can promote sexual interest so because it improves mood it can improve sex; it does not need to, strictly speaking, be an aphrodisiac. It is easy enough to understand why chocolate has been branded as a ‘love food’ and associated with sensual pleasure!

Chocolate

Here is a tasty decadent recipe full of healthy ingredients using dark chocolate, because it was used in all of the studies: Cherry Pecan Dark Chocolate Bar 

Learn how to make healthy chocolate in the Healthy Chocolate Project.

Related

French Kisses Give 80 Million Healthy Bacteria

Is Chocolate Good for You?

Red Meat Linked to Kidney Failure

By |September 8th, 2016|

A diet high in red meat has been found to cause the kidneys to fail.  It was found that those who ate the most of red meat had a 40% higher risk of developing ESRD (end-stage renal disease) commonly known as kidney failure.

ESRD is the final stage of chronic kidney disease; the kidneys stop doing their job to keep the body alive and the only way for survival is to have dialysis or a kidney transplant.

There was research using data from the The Singapore Chinese Health Study followed 63,257 Chinese adults, aged 45-74 for an average of 15.5 years.  They found a strong relationship with those eating big quantities of red meat and ESRD.  There were 951 cases of ESRD occurred showing a very clear trend. It is interesting that they found no association of the consuming of poultry, eggs, fish or dairy products.   Soy and beans were actually found to be somewhat protective.

Woon-PuayKoh, researcher and her team examined the data from the Singapore Chinese Health Study linking the data with the Singapore Renal Registry holding the records of all Singapore ESRD patients. The goal was to find the role of different protein sources on ESRD outcomes.

“We embarked on our study to see what advice should be given to CKD patients or to the general population worried about their kidney health regarding types or sources of protein intake. Our findings suggest that these individuals can still maintain protein intake but consider switching to plant-based sources; however, if they still choose to eat meat, fish/shellfish and poultry are better alternatives to red meat.”said Dr.Koh.

The research found that kidney failure was less when red meat was replaced in one’s diet with proteins like fish and poultry.  The study found that when one serving of red meat is substituted with another protein, there was a 62% reduction of developing ESRD.

“It is best to eat red meat in moderation. For example, instead of eating red meat for every meal or daily, it is advisable to replace it with other meat such as poultry and fish, or plant-based protein such as soya and legumes for alternate meals or days,” said professor Woon-Puay Koh, from the Duke-NUS Medical School.

Red meat consumed in China is mostly pork; it is 97% of the red meat intake.  The other proteins were eggs, dairy, shellfish, fish, soy, legumes, and poultry.

Kidneys are necessary!

To survive we need our vital organ, kidneys.  To make sure we survive we were given two kidneys.  If both kidneys fail we will not live.

  1. One of the important things kidneys do is remove the waste from our body (drugs, urea, ammonia, and other toxic substances). Build up of waste can be very damaging to the body.
  2. They remove excess water from the body.
  3. Kidneys help control blood pressure.
  4. Help make red blood cells and maintain the body’s calcium levels.

What happens for those at risk of ESRD is that the kidneys slowly stop working over 10 to 20 years.

To learn more about the symptoms of ESRD go to The National Library of Medicine for the list.

Many reasons to be concerned about kidney failure.  See these facts:

  • 10% of the people in the world get chronic kidney disease; millions die every year.
  • 26 million American adults have kidney disease and most don’t know it.
  • Chronic kidney disease is on the rise, growing by approximately 8% each year according to the World Health Organization.
  • More than 2 million people in the world receive treatment with dialysis or a kidney transplant yearly.
  • Diabetes (type 2) and high blood pressure are the two leading causes of kidney […]

Very Best Foods for a Summer Detox

By |June 23rd, 2016|

Did you know that summer is a very good time to detox? This is because fresh organic fruit and vegetables are much more available and that it is warm so the body finds it is easier to be in a detox process. This is a natural process. When we detox, we eliminate toxins and begin to feel healthier and energised.

lemonaid 2

  1. Lemons are the best food for a detox in spring, summer and fall.
  • Are highly alkalizing for the body. This helps restore balance to the body’s pH.
  • Your liver loves lemons:The lemon is a wonderful stimulant to the liver and is a dissolvent of uric acid and other poisons, liquefies the bile” says Back to Eden, Mr. Kloss.
  • Lemons stimulate bile production and they help cleanse the kidneys.

watermelon slices and juice

  1. Watermelon is the number one food for a summer detox.
  • Is high in dietary fiber.  This helps keep the colon clean, helping cleanse your body.
  • Contains glutathione that helps improve liver function. Glutathione is the body’s most powerful antioxidant and detoxifying agent.
  • Is a good source of potassium. Potassium balances the high amounts of sodium in our diets which supports your kidneys and is great when cleansing.
  • Reduces inflammation: Less inflammation means lower toxic load in the body.
  • It is extremely alkaline-forming in the body. Fat cells contain toxicity and acid. Your body will not let go of fat cells while you are still acidic.
  • Contains high amounts of citrulline. This helps to create arginine which removes ammonia and other toxins from the body.
  • 1 cup of watermelon is only 47 calories. This is great for weight loss.

Read more about Watermelon Health Benefits.

cucumber

  1. Cucumbers are helpful in helping flush toxins out of the body. The high water content in cucumbers gets your urinary system moving.
  1. Raspberries are low in calories making them an ideal fruit for people who want to lose weight.
  • The glycemic index of raspberries is 3, meaning they are a low glycemic load food. They have a low effect on our blood sugar, helping us to maintain it and keeping it from spiking.
  1. Blueberries are one of the most healing foods.
  • Have been found to reduce inflammation in many studies on animals;
  • Have antiviral properties and help to block toxins from crossing the blood-brain barrier to gain access to the delicate brain.

 

celery slices

  1. Celery is filled with fiber that is good for weight loss and is about 95% water.

spinach

  1. Spinach alkalizing the body helps to balance the body.
  • Full of anti- inflammatory antioxidants. Fat cells produce chemistry that creates inflammation which can lead to Obesity.
  1. Avocados contain glutathione which helps the liver detoxify synthetic chemicals.
  • Can also lower cholesterol and dilate blood vessels while blocking artery-destroying toxicity.
  1. Flaxseeds have a balance of omega 3 and 6 fatty acids which reduce inflammation.
  • Are high soluble and insoluble fibre. This helps stabilise blood sugar and promotes proper functioning of the intestines.

mint

  1. Mint leaves are great for summer cooling.
  • Help you digest your food more effectively. It improves the flow of bile from the liver to the gallbladder, to the small intestine, where it breaks down dietary fats.

Toxins in our food and in our […]

10 Winter Fruits and Vegetables

By |February 18th, 2016|

A Guide to Winter Food Infographic

Image via: A Guide to Winter Food Infographic

The Benefits Of Kissing

By |February 10th, 2016|

Do you love kissing? Kissing is so good for us and full of health benefits.
Chocolate may have love benefits but kissing burns calories while chocolate adds calories.
Did you know that even Chimpanzees kiss with their mouth?
Here are some fun kissing facts for you in this infographic.
Kissing-Infographic-02 Infographic with permission by  byuidating.com.

You may also enjoy:

French Kisses Give 80 Million Healthy Bacteria

How To Accept Yourself – Instead of Making New Year’s Resolutions

By |January 3rd, 2016|

Would you rather lose 10 pounds that will probably be back by springtime, or would you rather gain a new perspective that will last for a lifetime?

This may sound like an unfair question, but it speaks to the difference between the permanent, life-changing process of learning to accept yourself, as opposed to achieving one or two superficial goals around the beginning of the new year.

Can you imagine a friendship or a romantic relationship in which one party says to the other:

“You know Sally (or Barry). Your teeth need to be whiter. I think I could like you or even love you IF you get your teeth whitened by next Tuesday. ”

The answer is not very likely because you know that by the next time these two come together, another request would emerge.

“You know, I’m happy with your teeth now. But you are definitely carrying a few extra pounds and your laugh is kind of weird. I know these are harder to deal with so I will (generously) give you a whole month to change. Then, I might really like you or even love you”.

Could you imagine yourself saying this to your friends and loved ones?

Of course not, but that is exactly how we treat ourselves. We decide that we can only be happy and love ourselves if we make changes to our body or finances (or whatever) and we make resolutions to do so.

New years resolutions many 450

Making New Year’s Resolutions like this is not only potentially problematic with our psychological health; it also has very little chance of success.

Although 40 to 50 % of the population makes New Year’s resolutions, only 8% ever achieve their goals. These successes were probably short attainable goals rather than lofty long term goals. Experts like psychologist Lynn Bufka recommend setting manageable goals, so we have a better chance of succeeding.

It’s totally OK to improve yourself. It’s wonderful to create better habits and buff up and be healthier, but it is so much easier and holistic if you start with an acceptance of yourself.

How Do We Do That?

1. Find the Good Within Ourselves and Be Thankful For It

This includes parts of our personality and activities which we can think about and can make a list of. For example, “I care about the environment. I’m a good cook. I can run like the wind.”

Yes, write it down, make a list and be thankful for it. Research has shown that gratitude is linked to better relationships and healthier habits.

2. Be Realistic About Our Limitations

Recognize that everyone is totally unique and has a different function in life. Everyone, including you, is doing their best given the circumstances. I like this short affirmation by Farnoosh Brock:  “I accept myself. I love myself. I forgive myself for what I didn’t know until I learned it.”

3. Be As Compassionate and Forgiving to Yourself As You Would Be to Others.

If your friend was feeling bad about not getting top marks on an exam, would you berate them for it? That’s exactly what we do to ourselves. Be a good friend to yourself every time self-judgment or criticism come up in our mind. Give your friend (you) the benefit of the doubt.

Forgive yourself sign on old wood with a blurred sunset sky and sea on background

4. Watch for the Inner Positive Feelings

We have many positive thoughts and feelings and experiences during the day but we tend to remember the problems since they have to be dealt with and […]

Smoking Is Not The Only Cause of Lung Cancer

By |December 12th, 2015|

Lung cancer is the most prevalent cancer in the world. More people die from it than any other cancer, according to the World Health Organization.

Fact:  85–90 percent of those who died from lung cancer in the United States were smokers.  According to the Harvard Family Health Guide, 15,000 non-smoking Americans die each year from lung cancer, which indicates that other harmful factors need to be addressed to help combat this widespread cancer.

5 Ways That Lung Cancer Develops in Non-Smokers

We know that cigarette smoking is definitely the main cause of lung cancer. Still, there are many cases of lung cancer that occur in non-smokers.

Research has identified many environmental factors and everyday hazards that will increase a non-smoker’s chance of developing lung cancer.

1. Radon Gas

Radon gas is considered to be the leading cause of lung cancer in non-smokers. According to the WHO, it’s estimated to cause between 3 and 14 percent of all lung cancers, depending on the average radon level in the country.

What is radon gas? It is a naturally-occurring radioactive gas formed when uranium and other radioactive elements decay. It’s invisible, tasteless and odorless, making it easy to go unnoticed. It’s found in rocks, soil and even sometimes water. Some homes are built on soil with natural uranium deposits and it can become radon-contaminated.

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates that one out of every 15 homes in the U.S. contains dangerous levels of radon gas. Learn whether you should have your house tested in A Citizen’s Guide to Radon, produced by the EPA.

2. Passive Smoking

Tobacco smoke has more than 7,000 chemicals of which  hundreds are toxic and about 70 are known to cause cancer. Secondhand smoke kills 600,000 people worldwide annually. While smoke-free laws are becoming more widespread, only 18 percent of people in the world are protected by national smoke-free laws.

When a non-smoking woman lives with a smoker, she has a 24 percent increased risk for developing lung cancer. When a non-smoking man lives with a smoker, he has a 37 percent increased risk for developing lung cancer, when compared with other non-smokers. Exposure to secondhand tobacco smoke is never safe according to the WHO Fact Sheet.

We all deserve to have access to tobacco-smoke free air. Having laws that ban smoking in public places have helped to reduce this danger of lung cancer in non-smokers and children, but further action is necessary. The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, an affiliate of the American Cancer Society, is working to make more places smoke-free.

3. Asbestos

A study at Turin University, Italy found asbestos caused 107,000 lung cancer deaths in 2004, and 1,523,000 people were left on disability  from exposure. Sadly, 125 million people in the world are exposed to asbestos at the workplace according to WHO Assessment of Asbestos.

Asbestos-related lung cancer takes between 15 and 35 years to develop. When you add cigarette smoke to those exposed to asbestos, it drastically increases the risk of  develop asbestos lung cancer by 50 to 84 times.

Asbestos is a natural mineral which has been used in North America since the late 1800s as a thermal and insulation material. When the fibers of asbestos are disturbed, they release microscopic fibers into the air and when inhaled, can become trapped in the lungs.

Asbestos use is now limited or banned in many countries including the Unites States, but there are still 125 million people exposed to it worldwide. WHO, in collaboration with many organizations, is working towards eliminating the use of all types of asbestos.

In the past century, asbestos has been incorporated into thousands […]

Surprising Benefits of Sweet Potatoes & Tips For Cooking Them Right

By |December 10th, 2015|

You can mash them or bake them, or give them a quick fry and sweet potatoes are always delicious!

This starchy superstar is a delicious treat and has become a sentimental staple at Thanksgiving dinners. The good news is that sweet potatoes are actually very nutritious as well as being exceptionally delicious. Read on to discover their health benefits, their history and trivia, and tips for cooking them just right.

Don’t let the ‘sweet’ in sweet potatoes scare you.
They actually have a lower glycemic index then white potatoes. That means they are less likely to produce insulin resistance and its accompanying health problems, including weight gain. Sweet potatoes are a smart carb, very rich in carotenoids, vitamins A, B6, C, potassium, iron and fiber. They provide a wealth of health benefits and are a great addition to your meals.

Did you know that sweet potatoes were cultivated and consumed before the white (Irish) potato?

13 Surprising Health Benefits of Sweet Potatoes

1.  Maintains Healthy Blood Sugar Levels

Yes, sweet potatoes are sweet, but they have a low glycemic index meaning the sugar is released slowly into the bloodstream. Most consumed starchy foods raise blood sugar rapidly; with sweet potato you will not get a blood sugar spike, but you will get a steady amount of energy. Research at the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences found the Beauregard sweet potato to be a low-glycemic index food.

2. Treatment for Diabetes

A study of 61 people with type 2 diabetes saw that those who took the extract, Caiapo, from the sweet potato daily for 3 months had their blood sugar drop with no significant adverse effects.

Caiapo has been used without medical prescription for years in Japan as a food additive for prevention and treatment for diabetes.

“We’re hoping that diet, particularly the consumption of sweet potatoes, will become a more widely used tool in the treatment of diabetes. It has the potential to be more cost-effective than drugs.” – Dr. Jon Allen, CALS professor of food science.baked sweet potato-443x295

3.  Immune System is Strengthened

Sweet potatoes are high in vitamin C, Beta Carotene and vitamin E that support a healthy immune system and are powerful disease-fighting antioxidants.

4. Helps Keep the Heart Healthy

They are a great source of B6 vitamins, which break down homocysteine, a substance that contributes to the hardening of blood vessels and arteries. – Harvard University School of Public Health.

Also, being a good source of potassium, they help the heart by lowering blood pressure according to the American Heart Association. Potassium is also an important electrolyte that helps regulate your heartbeat.

5. Reduce the Chances of Stomach Ulcers

Functional Foods in Health and Disease did a study in 2012 on how effective sweet potatoes were in healing an ulcer. The sweet potato had a potent ulcer healing effect!

6. Good for Weight Loss

Sweet potatoes are a good source of dietary fiber, which slows down digestion so you eat less. This also helps with regular bowel movements.

7. Anti-Inflammatory Effects of Purple Sweet Potato

A study found the extract of the purple sweet potato to be anti-inflammatory.

sweet potato fries from care 2

Sweet Potatoes are High in Beta-Carotene (Vitamin A)

1 cup Sweet potato, cooked, baked in skin = 769 percent daily recommended intake of Vitamin A, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Vitamin A is an antioxidant that protects cells from damage caused by free radicals believed to contribute to some chronic diseases.

According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, Beta-Carotene also […]

Bell Peppers, Colourful Powerfood For Health

By |October 22nd, 2015|

Sweet bell peppers, with their terrifically tangy, sweet taste, add a lovely light crunchiness to meals. Their vivid bright colors of royal red, sunny yellow, bright orange or deep green adds vibrant beauty to any meal, whether it’s a salad or a stir fry.

5 Amazing Health Benefits of Sweet Bell Peppers

1. Lowers Risk of Prostate Cancer

Research studies of 12 years, found the relationship between vitamin C rich foods, particularly green peppers, lowered the risk of prostate cancer. Prostate Cancer and Prostatic Disease scientists attributed lycopene, β-carotene, vitamins E, C and A, and retinoids found in bell peppers may significantly reduce prostate cancer risk.

2. Helps Repair Bones

Collagen is a long, fibrous protein critical to providing your bones with tensile strength. Collagen needs vitamin C to synthesize collagen. U.S. National Library of Medicine note that red and yellow bell peppers have 4 times as much vitamin C as oranges.

3. May Help Protect Against Cancer

Red bell peppers are abundant in capsanthin, an antioxidant responsible for their brilliant red color. Some studies have shown that this carotenoid may help protect against cancer.

4. Great Food for Weight Loss

Sweet red peppers can activate thermogenesis and increases our metabolism without increasing our heart rate and blood pressure like the hot peppers do, research has shown.

Also, they are low in calories being 92 percent water (1 green peppers, sliced cup = 18 calories 1 red peppers, sliced cup = 28 calories). Source: USDA

5. Can Help Prevent Anemia

They are high in Vitamin C which is needed to fully absorb iron.

Bell Pepper Trivia

  • They are technically a fruit because they grow on a flowering plant and contain seeds
  • Sweet bell peppers are not hot! As measured in ‘Scoville Heat Scale’ a sweet bell pepper scores 0, while a jalapeno pepper scores between 2,500 and 4,000 and those Mexican habaneros 200,000 to 500,000 units!
  • According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture: Between 2007-2011, China produced 51 percent of the world’s bell peppers making them the largest bell pepper growers, followed by Mexico, Turkey and Indonesia.

Bell Pepper Nutrition

  • High in Vitamin C – Green, sweet bell peppers have 2 times as much vitamin C as oranges; red and yellow bell peppers have 4 times as much. One cup of chopped green bell peppers provides 119.8 milligrams. Red peppers contain almost 300 percent of your daily vitamin C intake.
  • Contain Many Healthy Antioxidants (capsanthin, violaxanthin, lutein, quercetin and luteolin) which are associated with many health benefits. Source: Authority Nutrition

Allergy or Sensitivity to Bell Peppers

Bell peppers are part of the nightshade family, which also includes potatoes, tomatoes and eggplant.  For those who are sensitive to nightshades, they could trigger inflammation in the body and contribute to arthritis. There are no scientific studies to confirm this, but many health professionals have made the observation that some are sensitive to nightshade produce. It has been suggested that this sensitivity to nightshades is a unique sensitivity to solanine.

There are people with pollen allergy may also be sensitive to bell peppers. When bell peppers are eaten in moderation they don’t usually have any adverse health effects.

History

Green peppers are native to Mexico, Central America and South America.

Christopher Columbus brought sweet peppers back to Europe where they quickly became a popular ingredient in Spanish cuisine.

bell peppers whole varietyHow to Select

Sweet bell peppers can be orange, yellow, red, purple, brown, black, ivory or green, depending on the stage of ripeness and the variety. Green bell peppers are fully developed, but not ripe.

All sweet bell peppers start out […]

Meditation and Yoga Result In Less Doctor Visits

By |October 14th, 2015|

Be still or be ill. Meditation and yoga can help you experience a deep state of relaxation and better health.

A meditation a day can keep the doctor away.

Research was carried out at the Benson-Henry Institute for Mind Body Medicine where 4,400 patients were trained to practice deep relaxation techniques like yoga and meditation by their healthcare providers. A control group of 13,000 patients were studied who were not practicing relaxation techniques. Researchers found after a year, those practicing relaxation had their visits to the doctor dropped by 42 percent, lab tests by 44 percent and procedures by 21 percent. Health service use by the second group remained the same. Also, emergency hospital visits dropped to about 1.7 a year from 3.7 in the year before practicing relaxation techniques.

Patients who experienced the most beneficial reductions were those with cardiovascular, musculoskeletal, neurologic and gastrointestinal issues.

“Evidence over the last few decades has linked practices like meditation and yoga to beneficial physiological changes in the body ranging from better cardiac function to reduced inflammation,” said Dr. James Stah, Director of the Institute for Technology Assessment at Massachusetts General.

Meditation OR Yoga?

Although meditation and yoga might seem quite different approaches, they both achieve one similar and important goal; they relax both the body and mind at the same time. Since the mind and body are intimately connected, when you relax the mind, the body follows. When you relax the body, the mind follows.

Most yoga traditions also contain within them, some time for meditation.

ThinkstockPhotos-476882350

Meditation, Found to Be Helpful For Better Health in Many Studies

Note: There are many different kinds of meditations available, each with a different goal and they thus will direct your mind to focus and ‘let go’ in different ways. Shop around to find one that suits your personality and lifestyle.

If you would like to start meditating, here is a place to start:

Free Guided Meditations at UCLA Mindful Awareness Research Center

ThinkstockPhotos-482233319

Yoga, a Mind and Body Practice, Can Be Helpful For Better Health

National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health says yoga:

  • Can reduce low-back pain and improve function.
  • May lower depression, stress and insomnia.
  • Lower heart rate and blood pressure.
  • Improve overall physical fitness, strength and flexibility.

To learn more about the benefits of yoga, watch this video: Scientific Results of Yoga for Health and Well-Being Video

Please Note: We all have different bodies with different needs and abilities. Carefully consider the type of yoga for you and select an instructor who is experienced and attentive to help you in practicing yoga that will work best for you. If you have a medical condition, talk to your health care provider before starting yoga. Be especially careful about doing hot yoga as people with heart disease, lung disease or a history of heatstroke may want to avoid this form of yoga. Pregnant women please check with your health care provider before starting hot yoga.

200254987-001

Is It Cost Effective?

When there are less health problems, the cost of drugs, surgery, ambulances and a hospital stay will be less. A limitation of this study is that it did not take into account the cost of the relaxation training. In my opinion, it would be better […]

Cancer Survivors Often Eat Poorly

By |October 14th, 2015|

Cancer survivors often do not eat a healthy, deeply nourishing diet according to research. This is shocking to me, that the individuals who are most motivated to improve their situation are not doing so!

Some cancer survivors in the United States are inspired to learn about better food choices and dietary ways to improve their health, but the findings are that many are not doing this.

Newly released research has found that cancer survivors eat a less healthy, nutritious diet than the general population. They eat empty calorie food which is very low in fiber.  The cancer survivors did not follow the Healthy Eating Index Guidelines as much as people who have not had cancer.  Green vegetables and whole grains were particularly low.

Why is eating a healthy diet important for cancer survivors?

Cancer survivors usually have a higher risk of chronic health problems and suffering a recurrence of cancer. One of the easiest things they can do to help prevent the possibility of health issues is to improve their diet.

It is known that a diet full of the right nutrients helpful in preventing cancer. Fruits and vegetables can help protect against several cancers. Learn more at: The Role of Major Nutrients in Cancer Prevention Also, read: Lycopene, the Powerful Nutrient That May Help Prevent Cancer

This was what instigated the research at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science, led by Dr. Fang Fang Zhang. The subjects consisted of 1533 cancer survivors (majority of cancer survivors were women (66%) and non-Hispanic whites (83%) with 3075 people who had never had cancer).  They analyzed and compared the diets using the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey from 1999 to 2010 using the Healthy Eating Index Guidelines. They did a comparison on those who had survived cancer with people who have never had cancer.

Research Found the Diet of Cancer Survivors to Have…

  • A healthy eating index of 47.2 and those who have not had cancer was 48.3. Although this is not a big difference, considering that some will have already adjusted their diet to be healthier and that they have a real reason to be motivated to have a very healthy diet.
  • Less fiber, fewer vegetables and whole grains.
  • Full of empty calories, low in nutrients.

–        Low dietary intake of vitamin D, vitamin E, potassium, and calcium.
–        High amounts of saturated fats and sodium.

 Research, Also Found Age, Education and Smoking a Big Factor

  • The older the age of cancer survivors, the healthier their diet.
  • Survivors with lower education (high school or less) had a much less healthy diet than those with higher education.
  • Smoking survivors have a much less healthy diet than non-smokers or former smokers.
  • Breast cancer survivors had the healthiest diet and lung cancer survivors had the unhealthiest diet. The World Cancer Research Fund International’s Continuous Update Project has found that a plant based diet helps breast cancer patients survive.

99961321-443x297

Read: Cut Breast Cancer Risk With These Everyday Habits

“Nutrition is one of the cornerstones for cancer prevention and control. Unfortunately, nutrition is not typically integrated into the delivery of optimal care for cancer patients,” Dr Zhang told Medscape Medical News.

He went on to say that the health professionals, treating cancer patients need to discuss with them the importance of their food intake and their health. Just a few changes in a diet can have a major health impact.

For those of you following my blog know that I am a big advocate of eating very healthy nutritious food which I call Real Food, which is full of high fiber foods such as lots of vegetables, whole […]

Antioxidants Supplements: Good News and Bad

By |September 30th, 2015|

Antioxidants are a miracle of the body. By protecting and repairing damage to the cells, they decrease disease and signs of aging. Theoretically, we can just pop a few ‘natural’ antioxidant pills and never have to worry about our destructive lifestyles or environment.

Unfortunately, research is showing that the process of protection and repair and aging is so complicated, that we don’t yet completely understand how to improve on this process with easy supplementation.

The Good News:

  • All life forms have created systems to prevent the destructive effects of free radicals in the body. Free radicals are created during the process of turning food into energy, or absorbed in the food we eat or the air we breathe.
  • Humans have a very powerful and complicated system to deal with free radicals, which has successfully made us one of the longest living animals on the planet.
  • Our body creates its own antioxidants, but we can also ingest them from plants.
  • Different parts of the body and different body processes require completely different antioxidants. The body takes care of this.
  • Plants can provide hundreds (and maybe thousands) of different kinds of antioxidants. Each one will have more or less of particular antioxidants our particular body needs. Blueberries for example will have different antioxidants than spinach.

The Bad News:

  • Most doctors do NOT advise antioxidant supplementation, since the majority of research has NOT verified the promise of a longer life. From the Harvard School for Public Health: “While it’s true that the package of antioxidants, minerals, fiber, and other substances found naturally in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains helps prevent a variety of chronic diseases, it is unlikely that high doses of antioxidants can accomplish the same feat.”
  •  A major review of all evidence for the ‘antioxidant hypothesis’ mirrored these ideas. They concluded that the idea that antioxidant supplements can prevent chronic diseases has not been proved or even consistently supported by intervention trials. They suggest further evidence is needed and until that time to increase consumption of plant foods.
  • Some research has even shown that antioxidants DECREASE life expectancy! For example, a large trial on the effects of beta-carotene on lung cancer had to be stopped because there was significant increase in lung cancer among participants taking the beta-carotene compared to those taking the placebo.ThinkstockPhotos-162362633

Are These Scary Conclusions Fair?

 If you talk to advocates in the natural health field they shout out ‘foul’ and ‘unfair’. They suggest that original studies done in this field were poorly done, because they used very low grade supplements in these trials such as synthetic vitamin E.

They also suggest that these studies can’t measure quality of life accurately. People don’t take a supplement to last another year or two; they take a supplements to feel better today.
They also suggest that there is much less money put into research of this kind because all the large profits are made in chemical pharmaceuticals instead.ThinkstockPhotos-84523278

Our Own Use and Finding

At Real Food for Life, we emphasize that the best source of antioxidants is from whole real foods. No one is arguing against that, whether it is doctors, scientists or natural health advocates.

There could be a few reasons for you to look at supplementation:

1. If you already are getting a good variety of whole foods into your diet and want to feel even healthier.
2. You are dealing with a particular health challenge that your research has founds is positively helped with specific antioxidants.
3. You are under such stress environmentally or by lifestyle that table foods are just […]