Health

By Dr. Mercola

Eating more fresh vegetables is one of the simplest choices you can make to improve your health and ward off countless chronic diseases. Virtually any vegetable is good for you… but some are better than others.

To a large extent, the best vegetables for you are those that appeal to your palate and agree with you. I highly recommend listening to your body, in that the foods you eat, including vegetables, should leave you feeling satisfied and energized.

Beyond that, however, if you want to eat the vegetables that have the mostnutritional density you should choose from the list of powerhouse fruits and vegetables. These are the foods most strongly associated with reduced chronic disease risk.

41 Powerhouse Vegetables and Fruits Based on Nutrient Density

You may have heard the advice to eat dark green leafy vegetables or focus on including a rainbow of colors (green, purple, red, and orange) when choosing your produce. This is good advice, but a researcher from William Paterson University took it a step further by analyzing levels of 17 nutrients in food considered to be important for lowering your risk of heart disease and cancer.1 These include:

Potassium Fiber Protein
Calcium Iron Thiamin
Riboflavin Niacin Folate
Zinc Vitamin A Vitamin B6
Vitamin B12 Vitamin C Vitamin D
Vitamin E Vitamin K  

 

The study calculated how many of the above nutrients (per calorie of energy) were included in 47 fruits and vegetables (based on a 2,000-calorie-a-day diet).

The higher the value, the more nutrient dense the food was determined to be. Forty-one of the foods satisfied “powerhouse” criterion and were more nutrient dense than non-powerhouse fruits and vegetables.

There were some limitations, for instance, the study did not factor in valuable phytochemicals and other so-called xenohormetic compounds (e.g. polyphenols) produced by environmental stressors to the plants that might drastically alter its nutritional merit by optimizing your gene expression and increasing longevity.

That being said, the 41 foods below topped the list based on nutrient density (with some surprising results).2 If you’re in a veggie rut, this list offers some great ideas to expand your diet while adding valuable nutrition to your meals.

Item Nutrient Density Score
Watercress 100.00
Chinese cabbage 91.99
Chard 89.27
Beet green 87.08
Spinach 86.43
Chicory 73.36
Leaf lettuce 70.73
Parsley 65.59
Romaine lettuce 63.48
Collard green 62.49
Turnip green 62.12
Mustard green 61.39
Endive 60.44
Chive 54.80
Kale 49.07
Dandelion green 46.34
Red pepper 41.26
Arugula 37.65
Broccoli 34.89
Pumpkin 33.82
Brussels sprout 32.23
Scallion 27.35
Kohlrabi 25.92
Cauliflower 25.13
Cabbage 24.51
Carrot 22.60
Tomato 20.37
Lemon 18.72
Iceberg lettuce 18.28
Strawberry 17.59
Radish 16.91
Winter squash (all varieties) 13.89
Orange 12.91
Lime 12.23
Grapefruit (pink and red) 11.64
Rutabaga 11.58
Turnip 11.43
Blackberry 11.39
Leek 10.69
Sweet potato 10.51
Grapefruit (white) 10.47

My Most Recommended Vegetables List

My recommended list of vegetables provides a guide to the most nutritious vegetables, and those to limit due to their high carbohydrate content (think: starch is “hidden sugar”). You’ll notice many similarities to the powerhouse vegetable list above. Generally speaking, the greener the vegetable, the more nutritious it will be. I strongly advise you to avoid wilted vegetables of any kind, because when vegetables wilt, they lose much of their nutritional value.

And while I typically recommend choosing organic vegetables as much as possible to avoid pesticides (as well as boost nutrition), wilted organic vegetables may actually be less healthy than fresh conventionally farmed vegetables. Freshness is a key factor in vegetable quality, so if you can’t grow your own, look for those farmed locally or, better still, farmed locally andorganically. So, as a general guide, the following list of vegetables details some of the best and worst vegetables for your health.

Highly Recommended Vegetables
Asparagus Escarole
Avocado (actually a fruit) Fennel
Beet greens Green and red cabbage
Bok choy Kale
Broccoli Kohlrabi
Brussels sprouts Lettuce: romaine, red leaf, green leaf
Cauliflower Mustard greens
Celery Onions
Chicory Parsley
Chinese cabbage Peppers: red, green, yellow and hot
Chives Tomatoes
Collard greens Turnips
Cucumbers Spinach
Dandelion greens Zucchini
Endive  

Use sparingly due to high carbohydrate levels
Beets Jicama
Carrots Winter squashes
Eggplant  

Vegetables to Avoid
Potatoes Corn

Organic Vegetables May Provide Even More Nutrients

As mentioned, if you can find locally grown organic produce, this is your best bet from a nutritional perspective. It will be fresh (non-wilted), free from chemicals, and more nutritious. According to a study published in the journal PLOS ONE,3 growing tomatoes according to organic standards results in dramatically elevated nutrient content compared to tomatoes grown conventionally, using agricultural chemicals. The organic tomatoes were found to contain 55 percent more vitamin C and 139 percent more total phenolic content at the stage of commercial maturity compared to conventionally grown tomatoes.

You may have noticed that sometimes organic produce, such as tomatoes, are smaller than conventionally grown varieties, but don’t let this dissuade you. While many unaware consumers equate size with quality, this simply isn’t the case. According to research published in 2009, American produce, while larger than ever before, contains fewer nutrients and tastes worse than it did in your grandparents' days. In fact, the average vegetable found in today's supermarket is anywhere from 5 percent to 40 percent lower in minerals such as magnesium, iron, calcium, and zinc than those harvested just 50 years ago.

As the featured study suggests, jumbo-sized produce contains more "dry matter" than anything else, which dilutes mineral concentrations. Previous research has also shown there can be a nutritional difference between organic and conventionally grown vegetables. For example, a 2003 study in the Journal of Agricultural Food Chemistry found that organic foods are better for fighting cancer.4 A 2010 study conducted by PLOS ONE also found organic strawberries to be more nutrient-rich than non-organic strawberries.5

But perhaps one of the best studies out there on the benefits of organic versus conventionally grown foods is the 2007 Quality Low Input Food Project -- a $25-million study into organic food, and one of the largest of its kind.6 The researchers grew fruit and vegetables, and raised cattle, on adjacent organic and non-organic sites, and discovered that:

  • Organic fruit and vegetables contained up to 40 percent more antioxidants
  • Organic produce had higher levels of beneficial minerals like iron and zinc
  • Milk from organic herds contained up to 90 percent more antioxidants

The results were so impressive they stated that eating organic foods can even help to increase the nutrient intake of people who don’t eat the recommended five servings of fruits and vegetables a day. So if you’re looking to get more nutritional density out of your food, eating organic is wise choice.

Three More Ways to Boost the Nutrient Power of Your Vegetables

What else can you do to get even more nutrition out of the foods you eat? Plenty, actually. The way in which you prepare and grow your veggies makes a difference, with the following suggestions at the top of my list:

1. Fermenting

Fermenting is one of the best ways to turn ordinary vegetables into superfoods. The culturing process produces beneficial microbes that are extremely important for human health as they help balance your intestinal flora, thereby boosting overall immunity. Moreover, your gut is the primary locus of your immune system and also literally serves as your second brain, and even produces more of the neurotransmitter serotonin—known to have a beneficial influence on your mood—than your brain does. So, maintaining a healthy gut will benefit your mind as well as your body.

Fermented foods are also some of the best chelators and detox agents available, meaning they can help rid your body of a wide variety of toxins, including heavy metals. When fermenting vegetables, you can either use a starter culture or simply allow the natural enzymes, and good bacteria in and on the vegetables, to do all the work. This is called “wild fermentation.” Personally, I prefer a starter culture, as it provides a larger number of different species and the culture can be optimized with species that produce high levels of vitamin K2, which research is finding is likely every bit as important as vitamin D.

For over a year now, we’ve been making two to three gallons of fermented vegetables every week in our Chicago office for our staff to enjoy. We use a starter culture of the same probiotic strains that we sell as a supplement, which has been researched by our team to produce about 10 times the amount of vitamin K2 as any other starter culture.

When we had the vegetables tested, we found that in a four- to six-ounce serving there were literally 10 trillion beneficial bacteria, or about 100 times the amount of bacteria in a bottle of high-potency probiotics. There are about 100 trillion bacteria in your gut, so a single serving can literally “reseed” 10 percent of the bacterial population of the average person’s gut! To me, that’s extraordinary and a profoundly powerful reason to consider adding fermented vegetables as a staple in your diet.

2. Juicing

 

Juicing doesn’t actually alter the nutritional value of your vegetables, but what it does do is provide an easy way for you to consume more vegetables. Virtually every health authority recommends that we get six to eight servings of vegetables and fruits per day and very few of us actually get that. Juicing is an easy way to virtually guarantee that you will reach your daily target for vegetables. Raw juice can be likened to a "living broth," as it is teeming with micronutrients and good bacteria that many people are lacking.

When you drink fresh-made green juice, it is almost like receiving an intravenous infusion of vitamins, minerals, and enzymes because they go straight into your system without having to be broken down. Drinking your juice first thing in the morning can give you a natural energy boost without resorting to stimulants like coffee. Since the juice is already in an easily digestible form, it can help revitalize your energy levels within as little as 20 minutes.

Plus, juicing helps you absorb all the nutrients from the vegetables. This is important because many people have impaired digestion as a result of making less-than-optimal food choices over many years. This limits your body's ability to absorb all the nutrients from the vegetables. Juicing will help to liberate key nutrients from the tough plant cell walls for you, so you will receive most of the nutrition, rather than having it go down the toilet.

Juicing also allows you to add a wider variety of vegetables in your diet. Many people eat the same vegetable salads or side dishes every day. This violates the principle of regular food rotation and increases your chance of developing an allergy to a certain food. Plus, it limits the number of different phytochemicals in your diet, as each vegetable will offer unique benefits. With juicing, you can juice a wide variety of vegetables that you may not normally enjoy eating whole.

3. Sprouting

Sprouts are a superfood that many people overlook, as they offer a concentrated source of nutrition that’s different from eating the vegetable in mature form. Sprouts in general have the following beneficial attributes:

  • Support for cell regeneration
  • Powerful sources of antioxidants, minerals, vitamins, and enzymes that protect against free radical damage
  • Alkalinizing effect on your body, which is thought to protect against disease, including cancer (as many tumors are acidic)
  • Abundantly rich in oxygen, which can also help protect against abnormal cell growth, viruses, and bacteria that cannot survive in an oxygen-rich environment

Some of the most commonly sprouted beans, nuts, seeds and grains include:

Broccoli: known to have powerful anti-cancer properties, courtesy of the enzymesulforaphane Alfalfa: a significant dietary source of phytoestrogens. Also a good source of vitamins A, B, C, D, E, F, and K Wheatgrass: high in vitamins B, C, E and many minerals Mung bean: good source of protein, fiber, and vitamins C and A
Clover: significant source of beneficial isoflavones Lentil sprouts:contain 26 percent protein, and can be eaten without cooking Sunflower: contains minerals, healthy fats, essential fatty acids, fiber, and phytosterols. It's also one of the highest in protein Pea shoots: good source of vitamins A, C, and folic acid, and one of the highest in protein

 

My two favorites are sunflower and watercress sprouts. They provide some of the highest quality protein you can eat. They are also a perfect complement to fermented vegetables. It is hard to imagine a healthier combination that provides the essentials of nutrition very inexpensively. In addition to their nutritional profile, sprouts are also easy to grow on your own with very little space and time.

Are You Eating Your Veggies?

Despite the fact that vegetables have been proven to help lower your risk of chronic disease and support longevity, most Americans are not eating nearly enough of these natural, relatively inexpensive superfoods. The latest data shows that nearly 23 percent of Americans report consuming vegetables and fruits less than one time daily, with a median vegetable intake of just 1.6 times per day overall.7 This is quite a shame, as people who eat seven or more portions of vegetables and fruit a day have a 42 percent lower risk of dying from any cause, compared to those who eat less than one portion. They also enjoy a 31 percent lower risk of heart disease and a 25 percent lower risk of cancer.8

The research, published in the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health, is among the first to quantify the health benefits of eating different amounts of fresh produce. As you might suspect, eating any amount of vegetables was better than none at all, but the benefits increased with more servings:

  • Those who ate five to seven servings of vegetables and fruits per day had a 36 percent lower risk of dying from any cause
  • Three to five servings was associated with a 29 percent lower risk
  • One to three servings was associated with a 14 percent lower risk

Most vegetables are not very calorie dense and as a result they probably should constitute the bulk of your diet by volume. Even though my diet is 70 percent fat by calories, if you were to spread out all the food I eat in a day, the largest volume of food would be vegetables. Vegetables contain an array of antioxidants and other disease-fighting compounds that are very difficult to get anywhere else. Plant chemicals called phytochemicals can reduce inflammation and eliminate carcinogens, while others regulate the rate at which your cells reproduce, get rid of old cells, and maintain DNA. Studies have repeatedly shown that people with higher vegetable intake have:

Lower risks of stroke, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, Alzheimer's disease, and heart disease Lower risks of certain types of cancer, eye diseases, and digestive problems Reduced risk of kidney stones and bone loss
Higher scores on cognitive tests Higher antioxidant levels Lower biomarkers for oxidative stress

 

Vegetables have an impressive way of offering widespread benefits to your health. When you eat them, you're getting dozens, maybe even hundreds or thousands, of super-nutrients that support optimal, body-wide health. We've compiled an extensive review of the health benefits of vegetables in our Mercola Food Facts Library. If you want to know more, that’s an excellent place to start, but suffice to say mama was right: if you want to be healthy and strong, you’ve got to eat your vegetables.

See original article here:

By Dr. Mercola

Eating more fresh vegetables is one of the simplest choices you can make to improve your health and ward off countless chronic diseases. Virtually any vegetable is good for you… but some are better than others.

To a large extent, the best vegetables for you are those that appeal to your palate and agree with you. I highly recommend listening to your body, in that the foods you eat, including vegetables, should leave you feeling satisfied and energized.

Beyond that, however, if you want to eat the vegetables that have the mostnutritional density you should choose from the list of powerhouse fruits and vegetables. These are the foods most strongly associated with reduced chronic disease risk.

41 Powerhouse Vegetables and Fruits Based on Nutrient Density

You may have heard the advice to eat dark green leafy vegetables or focus on including a rainbow of colors (green, purple, red, and orange) when choosing your produce. This is good advice, but a researcher from William Paterson University took it a step further by analyzing levels of 17 nutrients in food considered to be important for lowering your risk of heart disease and cancer.1 These include:

Potassium Fiber Protein
Calcium Iron Thiamin
Riboflavin Niacin Folate
Zinc Vitamin A Vitamin B6
Vitamin B12 Vitamin C Vitamin D
Vitamin E Vitamin K  

 

The study calculated how many of the above nutrients (per calorie of energy) were included in 47 fruits and vegetables (based on a 2,000-calorie-a-day diet).

The higher the value, the more nutrient dense the food was determined to be. Forty-one of the foods satisfied “powerhouse” criterion and were more nutrient dense than non-powerhouse fruits and vegetables.

There were some limitations, for instance, the study did not factor in valuable phytochemicals and other so-called xenohormetic compounds (e.g. polyphenols) produced by environmental stressors to the plants that might drastically alter its nutritional merit by optimizing your gene expression and increasing longevity.

That being said, the 41 foods below topped the list based on nutrient density (with some surprising results).2 If you’re in a veggie rut, this list offers some great ideas to expand your diet while adding valuable nutrition to your meals.

Item Nutrient Density Score
Watercress 100.00
Chinese cabbage 91.99
Chard 89.27
Beet green 87.08
Spinach 86.43
Chicory 73.36
Leaf lettuce 70.73
Parsley 65.59
Romaine lettuce 63.48
Collard green 62.49
Turnip green 62.12
Mustard green 61.39
Endive 60.44
Chive 54.80
Kale 49.07
Dandelion green 46.34
Red pepper 41.26
Arugula 37.65
Broccoli 34.89
Pumpkin 33.82
Brussels sprout 32.23
Scallion 27.35
Kohlrabi 25.92
Cauliflower 25.13
Cabbage 24.51
Carrot 22.60
Tomato 20.37
Lemon 18.72
Iceberg lettuce 18.28
Strawberry 17.59
Radish 16.91
Winter squash (all varieties) 13.89
Orange 12.91
Lime 12.23
Grapefruit (pink and red) 11.64
Rutabaga 11.58
Turnip 11.43
Blackberry 11.39
Leek 10.69
Sweet potato 10.51
Grapefruit (white) 10.47

My Most Recommended Vegetables List

My recommended list of vegetables provides a guide to the most nutritious vegetables, and those to limit due to their high carbohydrate content (think: starch is “hidden sugar”). You’ll notice many similarities to the powerhouse vegetable list above. Generally speaking, the greener the vegetable, the more nutritious it will be. I strongly advise you to avoid wilted vegetables of any kind, because when vegetables wilt, they lose much of their nutritional value.

And while I typically recommend choosing organic vegetables as much as possible to avoid pesticides (as well as boost nutrition), wilted organic vegetables may actually be less healthy than fresh conventionally farmed vegetables. Freshness is a key factor in vegetable quality, so if you can’t grow your own, look for those farmed locally or, better still, farmed locally andorganically. So, as a general guide, the following list of vegetables details some of the best and worst vegetables for your health.

Highly Recommended Vegetables
Asparagus Escarole
Avocado (actually a fruit) Fennel
Beet greens Green and red cabbage
Bok choy Kale
Broccoli Kohlrabi
Brussels sprouts Lettuce: romaine, red leaf, green leaf
Cauliflower Mustard greens
Celery Onions
Chicory Parsley
Chinese cabbage Peppers: red, green, yellow and hot
Chives Tomatoes
Collard greens Turnips
Cucumbers Spinach
Dandelion greens Zucchini
Endive  

Use sparingly due to high carbohydrate levels
Beets Jicama
Carrots Winter squashes
Eggplant  

Vegetables to Avoid
Potatoes Corn

Organic Vegetables May Provide Even More Nutrients

As mentioned, if you can find locally grown organic produce, this is your best bet from a nutritional perspective. It will be fresh (non-wilted), free from chemicals, and more nutritious. According to a study published in the journal PLOS ONE,3 growing tomatoes according to organic standards results in dramatically elevated nutrient content compared to tomatoes grown conventionally, using agricultural chemicals. The organic tomatoes were found to contain 55 percent more vitamin C and 139 percent more total phenolic content at the stage of commercial maturity compared to conventionally grown tomatoes.

You may have noticed that sometimes organic produce, such as tomatoes, are smaller than conventionally grown varieties, but don’t let this dissuade you. While many unaware consumers equate size with quality, this simply isn’t the case. According to research published in 2009, American produce, while larger than ever before, contains fewer nutrients and tastes worse than it did in your grandparents' days. In fact, the average vegetable found in today's supermarket is anywhere from 5 percent to 40 percent lower in minerals such as magnesium, iron, calcium, and zinc than those harvested just 50 years ago.

As the featured study suggests, jumbo-sized produce contains more "dry matter" than anything else, which dilutes mineral concentrations. Previous research has also shown there can be a nutritional difference between organic and conventionally grown vegetables. For example, a 2003 study in the Journal of Agricultural Food Chemistry found that organic foods are better for fighting cancer.4 A 2010 study conducted by PLOS ONE also found organic strawberries to be more nutrient-rich than non-organic strawberries.5

But perhaps one of the best studies out there on the benefits of organic versus conventionally grown foods is the 2007 Quality Low Input Food Project -- a $25-million study into organic food, and one of the largest of its kind.6 The researchers grew fruit and vegetables, and raised cattle, on adjacent organic and non-organic sites, and discovered that:

  • Organic fruit and vegetables contained up to 40 percent more antioxidants
  • Organic produce had higher levels of beneficial minerals like iron and zinc
  • Milk from organic herds contained up to 90 percent more antioxidants

The results were so impressive they stated that eating organic foods can even help to increase the nutrient intake of people who don’t eat the recommended five servings of fruits and vegetables a day. So if you’re looking to get more nutritional density out of your food, eating organic is wise choice.

Three More Ways to Boost the Nutrient Power of Your Vegetables

What else can you do to get even more nutrition out of the foods you eat? Plenty, actually. The way in which you prepare and grow your veggies makes a difference, with the following suggestions at the top of my list:

1. Fermenting

Fermenting is one of the best ways to turn ordinary vegetables into superfoods. The culturing process produces beneficial microbes that are extremely important for human health as they help balance your intestinal flora, thereby boosting overall immunity. Moreover, your gut is the primary locus of your immune system and also literally serves as your second brain, and even produces more of the neurotransmitter serotonin—known to have a beneficial influence on your mood—than your brain does. So, maintaining a healthy gut will benefit your mind as well as your body.

Fermented foods are also some of the best chelators and detox agents available, meaning they can help rid your body of a wide variety of toxins, including heavy metals. When fermenting vegetables, you can either use a starter culture or simply allow the natural enzymes, and good bacteria in and on the vegetables, to do all the work. This is called “wild fermentation.” Personally, I prefer a starter culture, as it provides a larger number of different species and the culture can be optimized with species that produce high levels of vitamin K2, which research is finding is likely every bit as important as vitamin D.

For over a year now, we’ve been making two to three gallons of fermented vegetables every week in our Chicago office for our staff to enjoy. We use a starter culture of the same probiotic strains that we sell as a supplement, which has been researched by our team to produce about 10 times the amount of vitamin K2 as any other starter culture.

When we had the vegetables tested, we found that in a four- to six-ounce serving there were literally 10 trillion beneficial bacteria, or about 100 times the amount of bacteria in a bottle of high-potency probiotics. There are about 100 trillion bacteria in your gut, so a single serving can literally “reseed” 10 percent of the bacterial population of the average person’s gut! To me, that’s extraordinary and a profoundly powerful reason to consider adding fermented vegetables as a staple in your diet.

2. Juicing

 

Juicing doesn’t actually alter the nutritional value of your vegetables, but what it does do is provide an easy way for you to consume more vegetables. Virtually every health authority recommends that we get six to eight servings of vegetables and fruits per day and very few of us actually get that. Juicing is an easy way to virtually guarantee that you will reach your daily target for vegetables. Raw juice can be likened to a "living broth," as it is teeming with micronutrients and good bacteria that many people are lacking.

When you drink fresh-made green juice, it is almost like receiving an intravenous infusion of vitamins, minerals, and enzymes because they go straight into your system without having to be broken down. Drinking your juice first thing in the morning can give you a natural energy boost without resorting to stimulants like coffee. Since the juice is already in an easily digestible form, it can help revitalize your energy levels within as little as 20 minutes.

Plus, juicing helps you absorb all the nutrients from the vegetables. This is important because many people have impaired digestion as a result of making less-than-optimal food choices over many years. This limits your body's ability to absorb all the nutrients from the vegetables. Juicing will help to liberate key nutrients from the tough plant cell walls for you, so you will receive most of the nutrition, rather than having it go down the toilet.

Juicing also allows you to add a wider variety of vegetables in your diet. Many people eat the same vegetable salads or side dishes every day. This violates the principle of regular food rotation and increases your chance of developing an allergy to a certain food. Plus, it limits the number of different phytochemicals in your diet, as each vegetable will offer unique benefits. With juicing, you can juice a wide variety of vegetables that you may not normally enjoy eating whole.

3. Sprouting

Sprouts are a superfood that many people overlook, as they offer a concentrated source of nutrition that’s different from eating the vegetable in mature form. Sprouts in general have the following beneficial attributes:

  • Support for cell regeneration
  • Powerful sources of antioxidants, minerals, vitamins, and enzymes that protect against free radical damage
  • Alkalinizing effect on your body, which is thought to protect against disease, including cancer (as many tumors are acidic)
  • Abundantly rich in oxygen, which can also help protect against abnormal cell growth, viruses, and bacteria that cannot survive in an oxygen-rich environment

Some of the most commonly sprouted beans, nuts, seeds and grains include:

Broccoli: known to have powerful anti-cancer properties, courtesy of the enzymesulforaphane Alfalfa: a significant dietary source of phytoestrogens. Also a good source of vitamins A, B, C, D, E, F, and K Wheatgrass: high in vitamins B, C, E and many minerals Mung bean: good source of protein, fiber, and vitamins C and A
Clover: significant source of beneficial isoflavones Lentil sprouts:contain 26 percent protein, and can be eaten without cooking Sunflower: contains minerals, healthy fats, essential fatty acids, fiber, and phytosterols. It's also one of the highest in protein Pea shoots: good source of vitamins A, C, and folic acid, and one of the highest in protein

 

My two favorites are sunflower and watercress sprouts. They provide some of the highest quality protein you can eat. They are also a perfect complement to fermented vegetables. It is hard to imagine a healthier combination that provides the essentials of nutrition very inexpensively. In addition to their nutritional profile, sprouts are also easy to grow on your own with very little space and time.

Are You Eating Your Veggies?

Despite the fact that vegetables have been proven to help lower your risk of chronic disease and support longevity, most Americans are not eating nearly enough of these natural, relatively inexpensive superfoods. The latest data shows that nearly 23 percent of Americans report consuming vegetables and fruits less than one time daily, with a median vegetable intake of just 1.6 times per day overall.7 This is quite a shame, as people who eat seven or more portions of vegetables and fruit a day have a 42 percent lower risk of dying from any cause, compared to those who eat less than one portion. They also enjoy a 31 percent lower risk of heart disease and a 25 percent lower risk of cancer.8

The research, published in the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health, is among the first to quantify the health benefits of eating different amounts of fresh produce. As you might suspect, eating any amount of vegetables was better than none at all, but the benefits increased with more servings:

  • Those who ate five to seven servings of vegetables and fruits per day had a 36 percent lower risk of dying from any cause
  • Three to five servings was associated with a 29 percent lower risk
  • One to three servings was associated with a 14 percent lower risk

Most vegetables are not very calorie dense and as a result they probably should constitute the bulk of your diet by volume. Even though my diet is 70 percent fat by calories, if you were to spread out all the food I eat in a day, the largest volume of food would be vegetables. Vegetables contain an array of antioxidants and other disease-fighting compounds that are very difficult to get anywhere else. Plant chemicals called phytochemicals can reduce inflammation and eliminate carcinogens, while others regulate the rate at which your cells reproduce, get rid of old cells, and maintain DNA. Studies have repeatedly shown that people with higher vegetable intake have:

Lower risks of stroke, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, Alzheimer's disease, and heart disease Lower risks of certain types of cancer, eye diseases, and digestive problems Reduced risk of kidney stones and bone loss
Higher scores on cognitive tests Higher antioxidant levels Lower biomarkers for oxidative stress

 

Vegetables have an impressive way of offering widespread benefits to your health. When you eat them, you're getting dozens, maybe even hundreds or thousands, of super-nutrients that support optimal, body-wide health. We've compiled an extensive review of the health benefits of vegetables in our Mercola Food Facts Library. If you want to know more, that’s an excellent place to start, but suffice to say mama was right: if you want to be healthy and strong, you’ve got to eat your vegetables.

When it comes to lowering your blood pressure, all you hear is salt, salt, salt...
 
Most doctors will tell you that too much salt causes high blood pressure. They'll tell you that it can increase your risk of heart attack and stroke. And the mainstream media loves to scare you into thinking that "salt" causes all sorts of health problems.

It is true that Americans consume too much sodium. In fact, the average person consumes about twice the recommended daily allowance (RDA) of sodium. But the real problem is not about salt. It is a lack of potassium that should really concern most of us.

The average American consumes only about half the recommended amount of potassium. And most experts believe the RDA for this essential mineral is already too low. That means we're not getting nearly the amount of potassium we need.

Potassium is essential for nerve transmission. It helps regulate the fluid balance in your body. It is critical for both voluntary and involuntary muscle function. It assists protein and carbohydrate metabolism. It also helps to regulate your blood pressure.

But even more important than consuming the right amount of sodium and potassium is the relative ratio between the two. 
The ideal ratio is five times as much potassium as sodium in your diet. This ratio is so important it has been called the "vitality ratio."

One study, 
published in the Archives of Internal Medicine looked at the effects of sodium and potassium on our health. The researchers analyzed over 12,000 adults. Then they followed up with them for nearly 15 years.

They found that a high ratio of sodium to potassium is associated with heart disease. It's also associated with a significant increase in death from all causes.

The American Medical Association (AMA) found the results to be so compelling that they urged the government to issue new public health recommendations. According to the AMA, these recommendations "should emphasize the simultaneous reduction in sodium and increase in potassium intake."

Researchers from Johns Hopkins performed another study. They looked at the results of 33 different trials, each one related to potassium and blood pressure. They found that optimal potassium levels are clearly associated with healthy blood pressure levels and that 
optimizing potassium levels worked nearly as well as drugs for normalizing blood pressure (but without the side-effects).
 
They also found that those with normal blood pressure levels experienced a benefit. However, the effect was much greater for those who were hypertensive, especially for those who were considered "salt-sensitive."

Another review of studies appeared in the Journal of Clinical Hypertension. This study also showed a link between potassium and a healthy heart. Those who got the most potassium in their diets had the healthiest blood pressure levels and the lowest risk of heart disease.

So How Can You Improve Your "Vitality Ratio"?

The key is to reduce the sodium you consume while increasing potassium. Here's how:
  • Eliminate processed foods. Many processed foods contain huge amounts of sodium and very little potassium. The more processed foods you eat, the higher your ratio of sodium to potassium (and the worse your health) will be.

  • Eat more whole, natural foods. Fruits and vegetables have an ideal sodium to potassium ratio. Foods that are especially rich in potassium include dark leafy greens (spinach, kale, Swiss chard), Brussels sprouts, broccoli, squash, beans, lentils, and mushrooms.

  • Forget bananas. Eat avocados! Despite what banana growers want you to believe, bananas are not the best source of potassium. A typical banana gives you just 420 mg of potassium. That means you would have to eat more than 10 bananas daily (that's more than 140 grams  of sugar!) to get the amount of potassium recommended by the Institute of Medicine. Eat avocados instead. They provide more than two times the potassium (and none of the sugar).

  • Season with herbs and spices. By adding flavorful herbs and spices to your foods, you won't need to add as much salt to your food.

  • Add real salt to your diet. The producers of commercial table salt remove all the trace minerals and sell them to industry. Then they add bleaching agents and other chemicals to keep the salt from caking. Instead, use an unrefined sea salt that contains a variety of trace minerals (including potassium). AztecSeaSalt is our favorite brand (new harvest available now).
Taking the Pressure Off Your Health Concerns,  
 
 
Kelley Herring  
CEO & Editor-in-Chief
Healing Gourmet
If you (or someone you care about) are taking medication for high blood pressure, the information you are about to learn may outrage you.
 
The shocking truth is that years of studies have not shown anyone to live a single day longer because of high blood pressure medication. These drugs have also not been shown to prevent heart attacks or strokes.

And that might not be the worst of it...
 
In fact, one study of more than 5,000 people compared the results of those taking blood pressure medication to those not taking these drugs. To the shock of the researchers involved, they discovered that those taking the drugs experienced heart attacks at a 12% higher rate... not to mention an increased risk of kidney failure and blindness.
 
In a must-see video presentation, our friend Joe Barton, shows that hypertension drugs merely suppress the symptom of high blood pressure by chemically forcing your blood pressure to go down.

Of course, like all drugs, these medications do nothing to relieve the underlying cause of the problem. That's why drugs don't actually "cure" high blood pressure. They only "control" it. Just ask your doctor.

What's more, the side effects can wreak havoc on your health, ranging from annoying and uncomfortable to downright life-threatening. And if the studies are true, these drugs don't even help you live longer.
 
When Joe Barton discovered this information, he set out to create a report with all the information you need to lower your blood pressure safely and naturally--without those expensive and dangerous drugs.
 
I hope you'll take a few minutes to to see the information he has to share... 

Taking the Pressure Off Your Health Concerns,

 
Kelley Herring  
CEO & Editor-in-Chief
Healing Gourmet

Turmeric has been used in India for over 5,000 years, which is likely why still today both rural and urban populations have some of the lowest prevalence rates of Alzheimer's disease (AD) in the world. A recent study on patients with AD found that less than a gram of turmeric daily, taken for three months, resulted in 'remarkable improvements.'

Alzheimer's Disease: A Disturbingly Common Modern Rite of Passage

A diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease (AD), sadly, has become a rite of passage in so-called developed countries.  AD is considered the most common form of dementia, which is defined as a serious loss of cognitive function in previously unimpaired persons, beyond what is expected from normal aging.

A 2006 study estimated that 26 million people throughout the world suffer from this condition, and that by 2050, the prevalence will quadruple, by which time 1 in 85 persons worldwide will be afflicted with the disease.[1]

Given the global extent of the problem, interest in safe and effective preventive and therapeutic interventions within the conventional medical and alternative professions alike are growing.

Unfortunately, conventional drug-based approaches amount to declaring chemical war upon the problem, a mistake which we have documented elsewhere, and which can result in serious neurological harm, as evidenced by the fact that this drug class carries an alarmingly high risk for seizures, according to World Health Organization post-marketing surveillance statistics.[i][2]

What the general public is therefore growing most responsive to is using time-tested, safe, natural and otherwise more effective therapies that rely on foods, spices and familiar culinary ingredients.

Remarkable Recoveries Reported after Administration of Turmeric

Late last year, a remarkable study was published in the journal Ayu titiled "Effects of turmeric on Alzheimer's disease with behavioral and psychological symptoms of dementia." [ii]  Researchers described three patients with Alzheimer's disease whose behavioral symptoms were "improved remarkably" as a result of consuming 764 milligram of turmeric (curcumin 100 mg/day) for 12 weeks. According to the study:

"All three patients exhibited irritability, agitation, anxiety, and apathy, two patients suffer from urinary incontinence and wonderings. They were prescribed turmeric powder capsules and started recovering from these symptoms without any adverse reaction in the clinical symptom and laboratory data."

After only 3 months of treatment, both the patients' symptoms and the burden on their caregivers were significantly decreased.

The report describes the improvements thusly:

"In one case, the Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) score was up five points, from 12/30 to 17/30. In the other two cases, no significant change was seen in the MMSE; however, they came to recognize their family within 1 year treatment. All cases have been taking turmeric for more than 1 year, re-exacerbation of BPSD was not seen."

This study illustrates just how powerful a simple natural intervention using a time-tested culinary herb can be.  Given that turmeric has been used medicinally and as a culinary ingredient for over 5,000 years in Indian culture, even attaining the status of a 'Golden Goddess,' we should not be surprised at this result. Indeed, epidemiological studies of Indian populations reveal that they have a remarkably lower prevalence of Alzheimer's disease relative to Western nations, [3] and this is true for both rural and more "Westernized" urban areas of India.[4]

Could turmeric be a major reason for this?

Turmeric's Anti-Alzheimer's Properties.

The GreenMedInfo.com database now contains a broad range of published studies on the value of turmeric, and its primary polyphenol curcumin (which gives it its golden hue), for Alzheimer's disease prevention and treatment.*

While there are 114 studies on our Turmeric research page indicating turmeric has a neuroprotective set of physiological actions, [5] 30 of these studies are directly connected to turmeric's anti-Alzheimer's disease properties.**

Two of these studies are particularly promising, as they reveal that curcumin is capable of enhancing the clearance of the pathological amyloid–beta plaque in Alzheimer's disease patients,[6] and that in combination with vitamin D3 the neurorestorative process is further enhanced.[7] Additional preclinical research indicates curcumin (and its analogs) has inhibitory and protective effects against Alzheimer's disease associated β-amyloid proteins.[8] [9] [10]

Other documented Anti-Alzheimer's mechanisms include:

  • Anti-inflammatory: Curcumin has been found to play a protective role against β-amyloid protein associated inflammation.[11]
  • Anti-oxidative: Curcumin may reduce damage via antioxidant properties.[12]
  • Anti-cytotoxic: Curcumin appears to protect against the cell-damaging effects of β-amyloid proteins.[13] [14]
  • Anti-amyloidogenic: Turmeric contains a variety of compounds (curcumin, tetrahydrocurcumin, demethoxycurcumin and bisdemethoxycurcumin) which may strike to the root pathological cause of Alzheimer's disease by preventing β-amyloid protein formation.[15] [16] [17] [18]
  • Neurorestorative: Curcuminoids appear to rescue long-term potentiation (an indication of functional memory) impaired by amyloid peptide, and may reverse physiological damage by restoring distorted neurites and disrupting existing plaques. [19] [20]
  • Metal-chelating properties: Curcumin has a higher binding affinity for iron and copper rather than zinc, which may contribute to its protective effect in Alzheimer's disease, as iron-mediated damage may play a pathological role.[21] [22]

Just The Tip of the Medicine Spice Cabinet

The modern kitchen pantry contains a broad range of anti-Alzheimer's disease items, which plenty of science now confirms. Our Alzheimer's research page contains research on 97 natural substances of interest. Top on the list, of course, is curcumin. Others include:

  • Coconut Oil: This remarkable substance contains approximately 66% medium chain triglycerides by weight, and is capable of improving symptoms of cognitive decline in those suffering from dementia by increasing brain-boosing ketone bodies, and perhaps more remarkably,within only one dose, and within only two hours.[23]
  • Cocoa: A 2009 study found that cocoa procyanidins may protect against lipid peroxidation associated with neuronal cell death in a manner relevant to Alzheimer's disease.[24]
  • Sage: A 2003 study found that sage extract has therapeutic value in patients with mild to moderate Alzheimer's disease.[25]
  • Folic acid: While most of the positive research on this B vitamin has been performed on the semi-synthetic version, which may have unintended, adverse health effects,  the ideal source for this B vitamin is foliage, i.e. green leafy vegetables, as only foods provide folate. Also, the entire B group of vitamins, especially including the homocysteine-modulating B6 and B12,[26] may have the most value in Alzheimer's disease prevention and treatment. 
  • Resveratrol: this compound is mainly found in the Western diet in grapes, wine, peanuts and chocolate. There are 16 articles on our website indicating it has anti-Alzheimer's properties.[27]

Other potent natural therapies include:

  • Gingko biloba: is one of the few herbs proven to be at least as effective as the pharmaceutical drug Aricept in treating and improving symptoms of Alzheimer's disease.[28] [29]
  • Melissa offinalis: this herb, also known as Lemon Balm, has been found to have therapeutic effect in patients with mild to moderate Alzheimer's disease.[30]
  • Saffron: this herb compares favorably to the drug donepezil in the treatment of mild-to-moderate Alzheimer's disease.[31]

As always, the important thing to remember is that it is our diet and environmental exposures that largely determine our risk of accelerated brain aging and associated dementia. Prevention is an infinitely better strategy, especially considering many of the therapeutic items mentioned above can be used in foods as spices.  Try incorporating small, high-quality culinary doses of spices like turmeric into your dietary pattern, remembering that 'adding it to taste,' in a way that is truly enjoyable, may be the ultimate standard for determining what a 'healthy dose' is for you.

Notes:

*This statement is not meant to be used to prevent, diagnosis, treat, or cure a disease; rather, it is a statement of fact: the research indexed on our database indicates it

**Our professional database users are empowered to employ the 'Advanced Database Options' listed on the top of the Turmeric research page and after clicking the function "Sort Quick Summaries by Title Alphabetically" under  "Available Sorting Options" they can quickly retrieve an alphabetical list of all 613 diseases relevant to the Turmeric research, and then choosing the "Focus" articles selection to the right of the "Alzheimer's disease" heading to see only the 30 study abstracts relevant to the topic.

Resources

 


[1] Ron Brookmeyer, Elizabeth Johnson, Kathryn Ziegler-Graham, H Michael Arrighi. Forecasting the global burden of Alzheimer's disease. Alzheimers Dement. 2007 Jul ;3(3):186-91. PMID:19595937

 

[2] Nozomi Hishikawa, Yoriko Takahashi, Yoshinobu Amakusa, Yuhei Tanno, Yoshitake Tuji, Hisayoshi Niwa, Nobuyuki Murakami, U K Krishna. Effects of turmeric on Alzheimer's disease with behavioral and psychological symptoms of dementia. Ayu. 2012 Oct ;33(4):499-504. PMID:23723666

 

[3] V Chandra, R Pandav, H H Dodge, J M Johnston, S H Belle, S T DeKosky, M Ganguli. Incidence of Alzheimer's disease in a rural community in India: the Indo-US study. Neurology. 2001 Sep 25 ;57(6):985-9. PMID: 11571321

 

[4] GreenMedInfo.com, Declaring Chemical Warfare Against Alzheimer's.

 

[5] GreenMedInfo.com, Turmeric's Neuroprotective Properties (114 study abstracts)

 

[6] Laura Zhang, Milan Fiala, John Cashman, James Sayre, Araceli Espinosa, Michelle Mahanian, Justin Zaghi, Vladimir Badmaev, Michael C Graves, George Bernard, Mark Rosenthal. Curcuminoids enhance amyloid-beta uptake by macrophages of Alzheimer's disease patients. J Alzheimers Dis. 2006 Sep;10(1):1-7. PMID: 16988474

 

[7] Ava Masoumi, Ben Goldenson, Senait Ghirmai, Hripsime Avagyan, Justin Zaghi, Ken Abel, Xueying Zheng, Araceli Espinosa-Jeffrey, Michelle Mahanian, Phillip T Liu, Martin Hewison, Matthew Mizwickie, John Cashman, Milan Fiala. 1alpha,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 interacts with curcuminoids to stimulate amyloid-beta clearance by macrophages of Alzheimer's disease patients. J Alzheimers Dis. 2009 Jul;17(3):703-17. PMID: 19433889

 

[8] Hongying Liu, Zhong Li, Donghai Qiu, Qiong Gu, Qingfeng Lei, Li Mao. The inhibitory effects of different curcuminoids onβ-amyloid protein, β-amyloid precursor protein and β-site amyloid precursor protein cleaving enzyme 1 in swAPP HEK293 cells. Int Dent J. 1996 Feb;46(1):22-34. PMID: 20727383

 

[9] Shilpa Mishra, Mamata Mishra, Pankaj Seth, Shiv Kumar Sharma. Tetrahydrocurcumin confers protection against amyloidβ-induced toxicity. Neuroreport. 2010 Nov 24. Epub 2010 Nov 24. PMID: 21116204

 

[10] Xiao-Yan Qin, Yong Cheng, Long-Chuan Yu. Potential protection of curcumin against intracellular amyloid beta-induced toxicity in cultured rat prefrontal cortical neurons.Neurosci Lett. 2010 Aug 9;480(1):21-4. PMID: 20638958

 

[11] Hong-Mei Wang, Yan-Xin Zhao, Shi Zhang, Gui-Dong Liu, Wen-Yan Kang, Hui-Dong Tang, Jian-Qing Ding, Sheng-Di Chen. PPARgamma agonist curcumin reduces the amyloid-beta-stimulated inflammatory responses in primary astrocytes. J Alzheimers Dis. 2010;20(4):1189-99. PMID: 20413894

 

[12] G P Lim, T Chu, F Yang, W Beech, S A Frautschy, G M Cole. The curry spice curcumin reduces oxidative damage and amyloid pathology in an Alzheimer transgenic mouse. J Neurosci. 2001 Nov 1;21(21):8370-7. PMID: 11606625

 

[13] Xiao-Yan Qin, Yong Cheng, Long-Chuan Yu. Potential protection of curcumin against intracellular amyloid beta-induced toxicity in cultured rat prefrontal cortical neurons.Neurosci Lett. 2010 Aug 9;480(1):21-4. PMID: 20638958

 

[14] D S Kim, S Y Park, J K Kim. Curcuminoids from Curcuma longa L. (Zingiberaceae) that protect PC12 rat pheochromocytoma and normal human umbilical vein endothelial cells from betaA(1-42) insult. Neurosci Lett. 2001 Apr 27;303(1):57-61. PMID: 11297823

 

[15] R Douglas Shytle, Paula C Bickford, Kavon Rezai-zadeh, L Hou, Jin Zeng, Jun Tan, Paul R Sanberg, Cyndy D Sanberg, Bill Roschek, Ryan C Fink, Randall S Alberte. Optimized turmeric extracts have potent anti-amyloidogenic effects. Curr Alzheimer Res. 2009 Dec;6(6):564-71. PMID: 19715544

 

[16] Fusheng Yang, Giselle P Lim, Aynun N Begum, Oliver J Ubeda, Mychica R Simmons, Surendra S Ambegaokar, Pingping P Chen, Rakez Kayed, Charles G Glabe, Sally A Frautschy, Gregory M Cole.Curcumin inhibits formation of amyloid beta oligomers and fibrils, binds plaques, and reduces amyloid in vivo. Neurochem Int. 2009 Mar-Apr;54(3-4):199-204. Epub 2008 Nov 30. PMID: 15590663

 

[17] Can Zhang, Andrew Browne, Daniel Child, Rudolph E Tanzi. Curcumin decreases amyloid-beta peptide levels by attenuating the maturation of amyloid-beta precursor protein.Gastroenterology. 2006 Jan;130(1):120-6. PMID: 20622013

 

[18] Ranjit K Giri, Vikram Rajagopal, Vijay K Kalra. Curcumin, the active constituent of turmeric, inhibits amyloid peptide-induced cytochemokine gene expression and CCR5-mediated chemotaxis of THP-1 monocytes by modulating early growth response-1 transcription factor. J Neurochem. 2004 Dec;91(5):1199-210. PMID: 15569263

 

[19] Touqeer Ahmed, Anwarul-Hassan Gilani, Narges Hosseinmardi, Saeed Semnanian, Syed Ather Enam, Yaghoub Fathollahi. Curcuminoids rescue long-term potentiation impaired by amyloid peptide in rat hippocampal slices. Synapse. 2010 Oct 20. Epub 2010 Oct 20. PMID: 20963814

 

[20] M Garcia-Alloza, L A Borrelli, A Rozkalne, B T Hyman, B J Bacskai. Curcumin labels amyloid pathology in vivo, disrupts existing plaques, and partially restores distorted neurites in an Alzheimer mouse model. J Neurochem. 2007 Aug;102(4):1095-104. Epub 2007 Apr 30. PMID:17472706

 

[21] Larry Baum, Alex Ng. Curcumin interaction with copper and iron suggests one possible mechanism of action in Alzheimer's disease animal models. J Alzheimers Dis. 2004 Aug;6(4):367-77; discussion 443-9. PMID: 15345806

 

[22] Silvia Mandel, Tamar Amit, Orit Bar-Am, Moussa B H Youdim. Iron dysregulation in Alzheimer's disease: multimodal brain permeable iron chelating drugs, possessing neuroprotective-neurorescue and amyloid precursor protein-processing regulatory activities as therapeutic agents. Prog Neurobiol. 2007 Aug;82(6):348-60. Epub 2007 Jun 19. PMID: 17659826

 

[23] Mark A Reger, Samuel T Henderson, Cathy Hale, Brenna Cholerton, Laura D Baker, G S Watson, Karen Hyde, Darla Chapman, Suzanne Craft. Effects of beta-hydroxybutyrate on cognition in memory-impaired adults. Neurobiol Aging. 2004 Mar;25(3):311-4. PMID: 15123336

 

[24] Eun Sun Cho, Young Jin Jang, Nam Joo Kang, Mun Kyung Hwang, Yong Taek Kim, Ki Won Lee, Hyong Joo Lee. Cocoa procyanidins attenuate 4-hydroxynonenal-induced apoptosis of PC12 cells by directly inhibiting mitogen-activated protein kinase kinase 4 activity. Free Radic Biol Med. 2009 May 15;46(10):1319-27. Epub 2009 Feb 25. PMID: 19248828

 

[25] S Akhondzadeh, M Noroozian, M Mohammadi, S Ohadinia, A H Jamshidi, M Khani. Salvia officinalis extract in the treatment of patients with mild to moderate Alzheimer's disease: a double blind, randomized and placebo-controlled trial. J Clin Pharm Ther. 2003 Feb;28(1):53-9. PMID: 12605619

 

[26] Celeste A de Jager, Abderrahim Oulhaj, Robin Jacoby, Helga Refsum, A David Smith. Cognitive and clinical outcomes of homocysteine-lowering B-vitamin treatment in mild cognitive impairment: a randomized controlled trial. Int J Geriatr Psychiatry. 2011 Jul 21. Epub 2011 Jul 21. PMID: 21780182

 

[27] GreenMedInfo.com, Resveratrol's Anti-Alzheimer's properties

 

[28] S Yancheva, R Ihl, G Nikolova, P Panayotov, S Schlaefke, R Hoerr,. Ginkgo biloba extract EGb 761(R), donepezil or both combined in the treatment of Alzheimer's disease with neuropsychiatric features: a randomised, double-blind, exploratory trial. Aging Ment Health. 2009 Mar;13(2):183-90. PMID: 19347685

 

[29] M Mazza, A Capuano, P Bria, S Mazza. Ginkgo biloba and donepezil: a comparison in the treatment of Alzheimer's dementia in a randomized placebo-controlled double-blind study.Eur J Neurol. 2006 Sep;13(9):981-5. PMID: 16930364

 

[30] S Akhondzadeh, M Noroozian, M Mohammadi, S Ohadinia, A H Jamshidi, M Khani. Melissa officinalis extract in the treatment of patients with mild to moderate Alzheimer's disease: a double blind, randomised, placebo controlled trial. J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry. 2003 Jul;74(7):863-6. PMID: 12810768

 

[31] Shahin Akhondzadeh, Mehdi Shafiee Sabet, Mohammad Hossein Harirchian, Mansoreh Togha, Hamed Cheraghmakani, Soodeh Razeghi, Seyyed Shamssedin Hejazi, Mohammad Hossein Yousefi, Roozbeh Alimardani, Amirhossein Jamshidi, Shams-Ali Rezazadeh, Aboulghasem Yousefi, Farhad Zare, Atbin Moradi, Ardalan Vossoughi. A 22-week, multicenter, randomized, double-blind controlled trial of Crocus sativus in the treatment of mild-to-moderate Alzheimer's disease.Psychopharmacology (Berl). 2010 Jan;207(4):637-43. Epub 2009 Oct 20. PMID: 19838862

 

 


by Adam Smith
Science & communications officer

Toxins: they’re everywhere in our modern world. Every day, almost everyone in the industrialised world eats, breathes in or absorbs a – literally – dizzying range of chemicals, from pharmaceutical drugs to cosmetics and everything in between. That humans didn’t evolve alongside these new-to-nature substances, and therefore don’t possess the mechanisms necessary to remove them effectively, seems to us like the purest common sense. Yet if there is one single thing that distinguishes the philosophy of natural health from mainstream medicine, it’s that helping the body to remove, or resolve, toxins both physical and emotional is crucial to a long and healthy life.  Anna Rodgers knows this better than most: she built on her experiences to research and write Toxic World, Toxic People, her magnum opus on the toxic threats surrounding us and the strategies that work to deal with them. We caught up with Anna in an exclusive interview.

Anna Rodgers, author of Toxic World, Toxic People

ANH: Thanks for speaking with us, Anna. To start with, can you please tell us a little about your background?

Anna: I became sick from a very young age, both mentally and physically: for my whole life, I was very lethargic and displayed unstable mental behaviour. I never wanted to do any sports and felt like I was going crazy because I compared myself with my friends, as all of them seemed normal – but I knew I wasn’t! I was even scared to tell my parents in case they packed me off to see a psychiatrist. I’d broken three bones by the age of 15, and my friends had broken maybe one by that time; I didn’t have the energy to walk very far, I had low lung capacity and couldn’t concentrate properly. It got worse as I got older, so that by age 30 I couldn’t hold a discussion with people because my brain fog was so out of control.  

Then, one day, I was thinking about my childhood and remembered something from age 5 or 6. I’d painted myself with housepaint, which at that time of course contained lead, and when I started looking into the effects of lead on the body it was like an epiphany. My mother said I was a happy little girl until about age 5, but by age 13 I was suicidal. When I researched toxins more deeply, I came to wonder whether my body was full of them and that was the source of my problems. I also had a stressful family life as a child and that will have contributed as well – not to mention that I’ve got a doctor for a father and he gave me flu vaccines and all the shots at the appropriate age. Looking back, whenever I got a vaccine I developed a rash on my body with a big red, hard lump at the vaccine site that took weeks to get better.

ANH: How did you recover from your health challenges?

Anna: I first heard about the concept of toxins when I was around 19, when I did a two-day beauty therapy course in Sydney that educated us about the chemicals in beauty products. But I didn’t really get a proper clue until I moved to the UK from Australia in 2006 and began blogging for Lifescape magazine. Doing the research for my articles really opened my eyes to the information that’s out there – sites like ANH, Mercola, Natural News and GreenMedInfo. My health got even worse when I came to the UK, because of the pollution in London and the lack of sun. Then I met a lady with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), and when we exchanged stories we found they were almost identical. We both started seeing a mitochondrial specialist from the Czech Republic, a guy who’d worked with the Russian space programme, and he tested me on a heart rate variability machine. He basically said that my body was functioning as if I was 80 years old! He also picked up some heart damage on a 3D scan. I think a lot of people think that toxins just sit in the fat cells, but science is increasingly showing that they can damage the heart. After 3 months of taking a mitochondrial supplement, I went back and had another 3D heart scan and the damage was all gone. I know it had worked because my strange heart palpitations stopped. A year and a half later, I was quite a different person – not 100% cured and I’m still not, because I think that when you’ve undergone so much stress and so much damage, it can be a long process to heal. I’m still working on it!  Now, I can handle a lot more physical exercise, but what’s been remarkable is that my mental state is so much more balanced. This is itself is a miracle: I’d had 20 years of being really crazy and taking antidepressants that only made me worse. When I tried to self-harm or commit suicide it was always when I was on the drugs. I had a very tough time getting off them as well, and I write about that in the book.

ANH: What are you hoping to achieve with Toxic World, Toxic People?

Anna: As you can imagine, it was the process of healing from CFS that inspired me to write the book. I got to a point where I realised that most of the world’s health problems stem from toxicity in some form, and that lots of people in the natural health world realise that toxicity is a huge problem.  But in a way, I still don’t think they get how enormously bad it is. The world’s become so toxic that, even if you’re eating organic food all the time and drinking clean, healthy water, what can we do about the air we’re breathing in?  The nanoparticles in fuel, from what I’ve read, are very difficult to detoxify from. Originally, the book was going to be something I gave away on my website, just a 10-page booklet!  [The final version is well over 800 pages long.] The more I researched, the more I felt I just had to tell people about it: about vaccines and psychiatric drugs as well as the chemicals in the environment. Where this book is different is that I realised we’re not just suffering from an epidemic of poisons – we’re suffering from a society where people behave in a toxic way. I’ve tried to tie that together, to encourage people to learn more about how personalities are developed, and that it’s down to childhood. I see what’s happening to children as another epidemic: the learning disabilities, the health problems, the way they are behaving...again, it can be pointed back to chemicals but it’s also due to parenting. We’re doing things to our children that aren’t the best in terms of attachment. Kids don’t have their parents at home for very long any more – kids are only at home for an average of 6 months before they go to daycare, and there’s plenty of psychologists saying that kids need to be around their mother or father full-time for at least 2 years. Without this, it creates a lack of trust and kids develop behavioural problems because they’re so stressed that their parents aren’t around. I see the book as a ‘whole life guide’. It’s a book for the individual, because it can prepare you for parenthood, but it can also help if you’ve already had children. Even if children aren’t on the horizon for a while, there’s so much information in there that will help the individual and families as well.

ANH: What reception has your book received?

Anna: I must say that it’s been very interesting! The first press article that I had was in The Sun [a UK newspaper], in a full-page feature called “What’s your poison?” on page 6 on the 10th May. It blew me away! My PR lady sent out a press release and Helen Gilbert, a freelancer, asked for a copy of the book and wrote a feature. I thought the article was pretty spot-on, except for what she wrote about detox as she only really covered juicing and certain foods.

That was Monday. On the Tuesday, I received a message via Twitter and on my Facebook page message from someone calling themselves a ‘food scientist’. They copied in the Sun and said that its article was full of misconceptions and here’s the truth. I clicked on the link they provided and it took me to the Sense About Science (SAS) website. They’d written an article taking the absolute mickey out of the Sun article! They called it The Moon and tried to pull apart everything that had been said in the Sun article. I figured I must be on to something if I prompted that kind of reaction! So I researched SAS’ funding sources and that made it very obvious where they were coming from. The way I see it is that, years ago, SAS would have said that lead is safe and we should stop talking about the concerns, smoking is good for you and thalidomide is safe.

[Anna responded to the SAS article on her blog, and anyone interested in reading further will be interested in ANH-Intl’s articles on detox and the SAS-allied Voice of Young Science, George Monbiot’s classic article “Invasion of the Entryists” or Martin Walker’sessential Cultural Dwarfs and Junk Journalism.]

ANH: Are you aware of any public reactions to the book yet?

Anna: My friend put it on her Kindle and her mum started reading it. She apparently stayed up until 5 in the morning! She’s very mainstream but she’s now trying to get off her pain medication, drinking more water, talking about detox and taking more interest in her health. She even wants copies to give to her friends. This is the best feedback I can get!  It’s OK preaching to the converted but we need to change people that don’t know much of this stuff. From what I’ve heard, this book could do that.

ANH: What would be your Top Five pieces of advice for people wishing to detoxify their world and their bodies?

Anna: Can we do seven? 

  1. Eat whole food and avoid processed food. Realise that energy drinks are nothing but pure chemicals. If you don’t understand the ingredients, you shouldn’t be buying it
  2. Try to make your water as pure as possible, maybe by getting a filter at home
  3. Exercise!
  4. Take supplements that are proven to remove chemicals. I’m a big fan of magnesium, carnosine and zeolite. Zeolite was responsible for sorting out my own brain fog and heavy legs within a couple of weeks
  5. Ditch any toxic cleaning products, as you breathe in the fumes as you’re using them
  6. It’s vital to work on the emotions as well. Most times, this will involve revisiting what caused the problem in the first place. On a day-to-day basis, strategies like meditation and mindfulness are very useful
  7. Pay close attention to skin and body care. In particular, stay away from chemist-type sunblocks and hair dyes. We have to stop covering our kids up as soon as there is a bit of sun!

ANH: Is there anything else you’d like to mention that we’ve not discussed?

Anna: I’d just like to say that I’m living proof of what can happen when you get off antidepressants. The best thing I ever did was not to put my faith in a little pill to sort all my problems out. The main problem we have in the world today is that people want to put their health into other people’s hands, and they don’t want to take any responsibility or learn about their bodies.

Toxic World, Toxic People is available from the Book Depository and Amazon.

Footnote: REACH and biocides

In the context of toxic chemicals, it’s important to point out the implications of the European Union’s REACH (Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals) legislation. REACH is supposed to be all about reducing the burden of toxic chemicals on our environment and ourselves by “mak[ing] industry responsible for assessing and managing the risks posed by chemicals and providing appropriate safety information to their users”. Briefly, chemicals must be registered under REACH before they can be released into the environment, and the registration process is highly strict. However, this is yet another example of Napoleonic law – where something is banned unless it’s specifically allowed by the EU – that plays straight into the hands of big business. While many dangerous chemicals have been restricted, many useful and less-dangerous ones have been lost, since the smaller companies that manufacture them cannot afford the costs of registration.

Similarly, the Biocidal Products Regulation (No. 528/2012) poses exactly the same problems. Only the larger companies can afford the costs of registration, so many useful natural products – including one of the natural world’s most effective biocides, tea tree oil – cannot refer to their biocidal properties, deodorant properties included. We can see thesame process at work in all spheres of natural healthcare.

 

ANH-Europe Homepage

 

Click here to visit the ANH website

5 Incredible Healing Honey Facts

Written by  |  Published in Health

Honey, unlike almost everything else we consume in our diet, was intended solely to be a form of nourishment – albeit, for the bees.  Only milk, to my knowledge, shares this singular biological imperative. But honey is far more than a source of sweetness and quick energy within the human diet.

It has profound medicinal applications, some of which are as follows:

  • Feeds the good bacteria: it is a little-known fact that bees have a diverse population of beneficial lactic acid bacteria (LAB) in their honey crop, the bulge between the esophagus and the gizzard of the bee. In fact, according to newly published research in PLoS, "studies of LAB in all extant honeybee species plus related apid bees reveal one of the largest collections of novel species from the genera Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium ever discovered within a single insect and suggest a long (>80 mya) history of association."[i]  Indeed, raw honey feeds good bacteria. It has been experimentally demonstrated in in vitro (petri dish) conditions to increase the number of Lactobacillus acidophilus and Lactobacillus plantarum counts 10-100 foldcompared with sucrose.[ii]
  • Fights the "bad" bacteria, i.e. MRSA: Reports of honey eradicating MRSA infection have been reported in the medical literature for well over a decade.[iii]  MRSA, an acronym for methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, produces a biofilm which makes it especially resistant to conventional antimicrobial agents. Honey has been shown to be effective at killing biofilm-associated MRSA isolates from patients suffering from chronic rhinosinusitus.[iv] This has also been demonstrated in human research, with a 70% effective rate in destroying MRSA in chronic venous ulcers.[v]  Moreover, manuka also synergizes with conventional antibiotics making MRSA bacterial isolates more susceptible to their antibacterial action.[vi]
  • Kills Dental Plaque-Causing Bacteria: Manuka honey, a special honey produced by the flowers of the manuka plant that grows in New Zealand and Australia, was shown at least as effective as the chemical chlorhexidine gluconate, often used in mouthwash, in reducing plaque formation as a mouthwash.[vii]
  • Superior to Pharmaceutical at Killing Herpes:  A 2004 study published in the Medical Science Monitor, showed that topical  honey was far superior to the drug acyclovir (trade name Zovirax) in treating both labial (lip) and genital herpes lesion. According to the amazing study "For labial herpes, the mean duration of attacks and pain, occurrence of crusting, and mean healing time with honey treatment were 35%, 39%, 28% and 43% better, respectively, than with acyclovir treatment. For genital herpes, the mean duration of attacks and pain, occurrence of crusting, and mean healing time with honey treatment were 53%, 50%, 49% and 59% better, respectively, than with acyclovir. Two cases of labial herpes and one case of genital herpes remitted completely with the use of honey. The lesions crusted in 3 patients with labial herpes and in 4 patients with genital herpes. With acyclovir treatment, none of the attacks remitted, and all the lesions, labial and genital, developed crust. No side effects were observed with repeated applications of honey, whereas 3 patients developed local itching with acyclovir."[viii]
  • Protective Against Gastric Damage: Honey has been shown to prevent alcohol-, indomethacin- (a NSAID pain-killer) and aspirin-induced lesions.[ix]

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Fluorine (sodium fluoride).

 

Fluorine is the element and fluoride is a term that applies to molecules (combinations of atoms like sodium fluoride).

When you hear about fluoride in drinking water, it comes from adding a fluorine compound (usually sodium fluoride) to drinking water.

 

Fluorine is a residue of the production of aluminium. Fluoride accumulates in the body year after year.

Fluoride is a major repressive intellectual function. In addition to being used in  water supplies, toothpastes and mouthwashes, sodium fluoride is a common ingredient in cockroach and rat poisons, psychiatric hypnotics, anaesthetic drugs and in neurotoxic gas .

 

This is one of the ingredients of Prozac (16.5%). Prozac is a derivative component of Flourine.

 

Independent scientific evidence shows, that fluoride causes various mental disorders and render people stupid, docile and servile , in addition to decreasing the bone durability and damaging the bone structure.

 

The first use of fluoride was in the Nazi concentration camps, IG Farben , a giant pharmaceutical company who ran camps like Auschwitz added fluoride to drinking water.

 

This company still exists, it is part of the German company Bayer. “Does anyone think that the Nazis did this because they were concerned about the health of their prisoners teeth?” (quote from ecobio-attitude.org).

 

This mass medication of water fluorine reserves was used to sterilize prisoners and render them stupid to ensure their docility. 

 

Charles Perkins, a chemist, wrote the following to the Foundation for Nutritional Research Lee, Milwaukee ( Wisconsin) , October 2, 1954 :

 

"... In the 30s, Hitler and the Nazis , dreamed of a world dominated and directed by the Nazi philosophy Pan Germanism . Nazi chemists worked out a plan of reaching and controlling  the masses. The plan was submitted and adopted by the German General Armies.

 

It was to take control of the population of any region, through the mass medication of drinking water supplies. By this method they could control the population whole areas.

 

The medication of water with fluoride also causes sterility in women.

 

He said that repeated doses of fluorine, in infinitesimal quantities, “reduce the possibility of an individual to resist domination by slowly poisoning by narcosis a specific part of the brain, thus submitting to the will of those who want to govern.

 

He says that fluoride is a "light and convenient lobotomy ".

 

Harvard University scientists stated “our results support the possibility of adverse effects of fluoride exposures on children’s neurodevelopment.”

 

Head of the Cytochemistry Section at the National Cancer Institute Dr. Dean Burk revealed that fluoride exposure led to increased tumor growth – even at levels as low as 1 ppm (1 mg per litre). This is the standard for United States drinking water.

 

Beyond revealing an accelerated tumor growth rate of 25% in his research, fluoride was found to produce melanotic tumors, transform normal cells into cancer cells and increase the carcinogenesis of other chemicals.

 

In 1977, Dr. Burk estimated that fluoridation has actually caused about 10,000 deaths according to his research.

 

A person who drinks water to which was added fluorine for a year or more, will never be the same, mentally or physically."

 

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) — an agency charged with protecting the people — has classified fluoride as a substance ”with substantial evidence of developmental neurotoxicity.

 

Dr. J. William Hirzy, Ph D, stated: "Our members’ review of the body of evidence over the last eleven years, including animal and human epidemiology studies, indicates a causal link between fluoride/fluoridation and cancer, genetic damage, neurological impairment and bone pathology. Of particular concern are recent epidemiology studies linking fluoride exposure to lowered IQ in children."

 

Children under 3 years should never use fluoride toothpaste or drink fluoridated water.

 

Regarding the teeth:

 

The Journal of the American Dental Association, Volume 23, page 568, April, 1936, titled “Fluorine in relation to bone and tooth development” by Floyd De Eds, Phd confirmed that Fluoride is a general protoplasmic poison,
and, The Journal of the American Medical Association, Sept 18, 1943, Editorial. “Fluorides are general protoplasmic poisons”.

 

Dr. Hardy Limeback (MSc and PhD in Biochemistry) , Head of Department of Preventive Dentistry at the University of Toronto and president of the Canadian Association for Dental Research .

 

"Dentists are absolutely not trained in toxicity, he said. Your well-intentioned dentist is simply trying to follow fifty years of misinformation from public health and dental associations. I also did. Unfortunately, we were wrong. ".

 

 

Extracts from the book: Children, Adults and teeth by Andre Delamare ISBN 978-0-9928298-0-3 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 079 51 144 122

 

ERADICATE pollen fuelled sneezes and coughs caused by dust with purified air in your home this summer. StressNoMore is delighted to introduce the brand new Heaven Fresh NaturoPure HF290 Multi Technology Air Purifier, available to buy at a special launch price of just £98.99 for a limited time only.

Around 1 in 7 people in the UK suffer from lung disease, and we are all aware of the pollution we face when walking outside, particularly in towns and cities. But what about your home? Did you know the Environmental Protection Agency has reported indoor air is 2 to 5 times more hazardous than outdoor air because we spend most of our time indoors? It has been proven to be a health risk and the cause of many illnesses.

From mould and mildew to pet fur and 'little accidents', the gases and fumes from a fireplace to the chemicals from cleaning products – many different pollutants enter the air in your home on a daily basis. Even some finishes on new furniture and freshly decorated rooms will have 'that odour' we all notice. These pollutants all add up to cause a lot of trouble.

The very latest in air purifying technology, the NaturoPure HF290 Multi Technology Air Purifier reduces virtually all impurities over 270sq ft, including dust, pollen, pet dander and mould.

The unit itself is a sleek design, which would work well in any room of the home. It features an easy to use control panel and simple navigation to choose the settings you want. The NaturoPure HF290 Multi Technology Air Purifier also has smart sensors monitoring the filter conditions and indicates when to clean the filters.

The HF290 has a HEPA Filter, removing 99% of particles which pass through it. Its Air Ioniser emits negative ions to break up pollutants that have clumped together, making it easier for the HEPA Filter to remove them. UV light is used to kill a wide variety of germs and viruses, and works with the TiO2 Photocatalytic Oxidisation Board to eliminate harmful gases such as tuolene, nitrogen and sulphur dioxides. Photocatalytic Oxidisation is FDA approved to reduce bacteria in poultry and pork processing, and cleanse pesticides from fruits and vegetables. The Activated Carbon Filter specialises in removing chemicals, odours and smoke, so you can breathe fresh air in your room.

The Air Purifier has a three year warranty, and a recommended retail price of £129. However, as a special launch price StressNoMore is offering the NaturoPure HF290 Multi Technology Air Purifier at only £98.99! StressNoMore stock a range of air purifiers and dehumidifiers for every need, from the car to the fridge. Visit StressNoMore.co.uk for more information.

Offering an array of healthy gluten free, paleo friendly drinks and foods the aim is to raise sufficient money to open in an NHS Hospital later in 2014. Discussions are already underway with a number of hospitals including John Radcliffe but funds are needed.

This unique business venture known as The Health Kitchen is raising money via KICKSTARTER and is asking as many people as possible to contribute funds to make this a reality. 

A call is being made for backers to support the project via Kickstarter. There are 23 days to raise the full funds in order to get this project off the ground.

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1198741631/health-kitchen

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