April 18, 2012
By Dr. David Jockers
“Popeye was right all along. Spinach rocks. Try it one of your berry smoothies – you won’t even taste it.” –KTRN
Spinach is one of the most nutrient dense foods on the planet. Popeye got it right with this powerhouse but it is too bad he ate it out of a can. Fresh, organic spinach is much more nutrient dense and contains far fewer environmental toxins than the canned stuff. Most children and adults like the flavor and texture of fresh spinach over the canned alternative. Be sure to pump up your body with spinach on a regular basis.
Spinach is native to ancient Persia (Iranian regions). Arab traders carried spinach into India and China. Traders also brought this green leafy vegetable to the Mediterranean regions of Europe and eventually to the US. There are three primary types of spinach on the market. The most popular style on the market today is baby spinach, while one could also get smooth-leaf and savoy (which has curly leaves).
Powerful plant steroids
Spinach contains its own type of plant based steroids called phytoecdysteroids. Phytoecdysteroids are similar to insect molting hormones and have been shown to dramatically increase glucose metabolism. This keeps blood sugar levels stable and minimizes the need for the critical fat-storage hormone insulin. Additionally, phytoecdysteroids increase human muscle tissue growth rates by 20% when applied in a culture medium.
Spinach is extremely rich in blood purifying chlorophyll. This chlorophyll is easily metabolized and used to build new red blood cells and pull out carcinogenic substances from the body. Chlorophyll also provides magnesium which acts to strengthen the blood-brain barrier and protect the neurological system from environmental toxins.
Spinach is an amazing source of glycoclycerolipids that protect the digestive tract from inflammatory damage. These glycoclycerolipids are the main fatty acids that makeup the cell membranes of light-sensitive organs in chlorophyll containing plants. Additionally, spinach is an important source of copper, zinc, and selenium which boost immunity.
April 3, 2012
By Paul Fassa
“Adding green super food smoothies to your diet is a great thing to do for your health. There are many amazing benefits of adding more green vegetables in your diet and making smoothies is an easy way to get them in your tummy.” –KTRN
During the 1960s and after, smoothies were presented as a healthy dairy alternative. They were made with milk, yogurt, or ice cream with some fruits and maybe even chocolate or peanut butter. These became popular as tasty items that offered the illusion of drinking something healthy.
Though healthier than cokes and other sodas, that outmoded type of smoothie can’t compare to the health benefits of today’s green smoothies. Homemade green smoothies require good water as its liquid base, fresh organic green leafy vegetables, and some organic fruit to create a creamy drink that’s full of easily digested fresh food nutrients.
Green smoothies are easier and quicker to make than juicing, but shouldn’t replace juicing entirely. They can both be used to complement each other. But for starters, making green smoothies might fit a tight budget since a decent blender is cheaper than an adequate juicer.
Green smoothies are often used as starters for going into a raw vegan diet, which is a diet that’s not for everyone. Vegans can easily incorporate green smoothies into their diet. But green smoothies and juicing will improve anyone’s health as long as processed foods and pharmaceuticals are avoided.
You need a decent blender. A few were tested against each other in a Popular Mechanics video that proved the most expensive blender is not necessarily the best (http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=FkcgBwbE7nw).
At first, it’s recommended to go with an approximately 50/50 by volume blend of green veggies and fruits, or even 40/60 greens to fruits. This helps start out with something tastier (sweeter) at first if you’re not used to raw ground up greens. Eventually, one can get bolder with a higher ratio of greens to fruits.
Greens can be chosen from several healthy vegetables: Chard, spinach, kale, cilantro, parsley, cucumber, or wheat grass are all easy to blend. Another difference between green smoothies and vegetable juice is that usually carrots are the base for juicing.
February 14, 2012
By Tony Isaacs
When it comes to eating for good health, choosing foods for heart health should be at the top of the list. The heart is the organ that literally keeps us going – delivering nutrients, oxygen and disease fighters throughout the body. Cardiovascular disease also happens to be the leading cause of death in the U.S., ranking just ahead of cancer.
There are several foods which can help give us a healthy heart and cardiovascular system – especially if they are chosen in their healthiest whole food forms. Instead of processed foods found on grocers’ shelves, choose fresh whole foods which you can eat with little or no processing and cooking. Certified organic whole foods are the best choice of all.
Cayenne has been called “the king of herbs” for good reason, and that is especially true when it comes to heart health. It is loaded with antioxidants and other valuable compounds which help protect the heart and arteries.
As the famed herbal healer Dr. Shulze said, “If you master only one herb in your life, master cayenne pepper. It is more powerful than any other.”
Popeye’s favorite vegetable is a delicious, nutritious fighting machine when it comes to heart health. Included among the many heart-healthy compounds in spinach are: potassium, folate, calcium, betaine, antioxidant carotenoid lutein and nitrate. Spinach is also one of only two plant sources of co-enzyme Q10 (CoQ10) which is vital for heart and muscle health.
October 27, 2011
By Paul Fassa
Coenzyme Q10, known as CoQ10, is highly regarded as a super antioxidant. But is it for real? CoQ10 gets a lot of good press, but it’s not cheap. So to buy and try or not to buy and try is the question. Not all supplements live up to their reputation, and not all supplements are right for everyone. Let’s examine CoQ10 a bit.
What it is and isn’t
CoQ10 is not a magic bullet. It is an important compound that our bodies produce, but production declines as we age. It functions best in conjunction with a decent diet and other quality supplements. Foods such as organic organ meats, oily fish, spinach, peanuts, and whole grains provide some CoQ10.
It likes to lodge in the parts of our cells that produce energy, and is instrumental for producing the molecule adenosine-5-triphosphate (ATP). ATP is a major source of cellular energy, and it’s involved with several metabolic processes within the cell, including protein production.
Beside its antioxidant capabilities, which scavenge damaging free radicals that cause cellular damage, it appears able to repair oxidative damage. CoQ10 prevents problematic blood clotting. All these qualities have made it a favorite for increasing cardiovascular health and for preventing heart diseases or recovering rapidly from heart problems.
In addition to hundreds of reports from Japanese doctors on CoQ10′s positive effects with heart patients, Dr. Denton Cooley found that most of his heart disease patients were CoQ10 deficient. His finding corroborates discoveries from Karl Folker, Ph.D, who had originally researched CoQ10 in the west.
For athletic types or those who are involved in strenuous activities, CoQ10 offers rapid recovery times from spent energy and muscular stress as well as additional energy too for competing athletically or completing arduous physical tasks.
June 8th, 2011
By: Dr. Axe
One of the biggest struggles in any diet is getting enough fresh veggies every single day. A lot of you may think that means eating large amounts of kale, spinach or other green leafy things. While, those are fantastic foods to eat, the world of vegetables is a vast and colorful one that covers the whole rainbow. Our goal should be to eat at least one serving from each of the color categories described in this article.
Consuming a Rainbow of Colors
You may have heard the saying that you should eat a rainbow of colors when it comes to fruits and vegetables. This is because this is the healthiest way to insure that you’re getting plenty of each of the vital nutrients you need to be healthy and fight chronic disease.
You see, fruits and vegetables come in different colors and each different color is representative of different nutrients. These nutrients are all essential for different body functions. The greater variety of fruits and vegetables you consume, the more different nutrients you’re giving your body, and the healthier you’ll be not just today but into tomorrow. You’ll also be protecting your body from chronic diseases such as cancers, heart disease, diabetes and more.
Let’s take a look at the various colors fruits and vegetables and what each of these colors offers your body.
Yellow and Orange Fruits and Vegetables
Yellow fruits and vegetables are loaded with valuable nutrients your body desperately needs. Here are some of the nutrients you’ll find in yellow and orange fruits and vegetables:
- Vitamin C 
These important nutrients help to protect the body against age related macular degeneration, and prostate cancer while lowering LDL cholesterol and high blood pressure. In addition these nutrients play a vital role in the formation of collagen, fighting free radical damage , and building healthy bones and joints.
If you want to beat chronic disease and signs of aging try to incorporate a few of the following yellow and orange fruits and veggies into your daily diet:
- Butternut squash
- Sweet corn
- Sweet potatoes
- Red Fruits and Vegetables
Red fruits and vegetables offer a variety of nutrients that other fruits and vegetables don’t. Here are a few of the vital nutrients you’ll find in red fruits and vegetables:
- Ellagic acid
Each of these nutrients plays a vital role in supporting your body’s health as well as protecting it from certain diseases. These nutrients have been found to be helpful in protecting the body from prostate cancer. In addition they’ve been determined to lower blood pressure and bad cholesterol levels, fight off tumor growth, and support joint health. The nutrients in red fruits and vegetables are also good to fight off free radical damage.
Make an effort to incorporate a few helpings of red fruits and vegetables into your daily diet. Here’s a list of some good red fruits and vegetables:
- Red bell peppers
- Green Fruits and Vegetables
There’s more than just lettuce when it comes to green fruits and veggies. Again, the difference in color means a difference in the nutrients your body will get when you consume green fruits and vegetables. Here are some of the nutrients you’ll get with a serving of green fruits and vegetables:
- Vitamin C
These essential nutrients help the body in many ways. They help to fight off cancer risks, lower bad cholesterol and blood pressure, support digestion, help with vision and balance the immune system.
Include a variety of the following in your daily diet:
- Green apples
- Green grapes
- Green pears
- Green beans
- Green peppers
- Purple and Blue Fruits and Vegetables
The beautiful purple and blues found in certain fruits and vegetables also have specific health benefits for you and your loved ones. Some of the nutrients they contain are:
- Vitamin C
- Ellagic Acid
These nutrients found in purple and blue fruits and vegetables are essential for body functions too. Retinal health support is one of the main functions of these nutrients along with balancing the immune system. In addition these nutrients help to fight inflammation, reduce tumor growth, and improve the absorption of certain minerals such as calcium. They are also key players in supporting digestive health.
To get these amazing fruits and vegetables in your diet try to incorporate a few of these delicious foods in your daily diet:
- Purple potatoes
- Purple asparagus
- Purple peppers
- Purple Belgian endive
- White Fruits and Vegetables
You may not think of many fruits and vegetables as being white but they are. White fruits and veggies offer the following vital nutrients to the body:
- Beta glucans
These nutrients play an important role in the body. They are particularly helpful in balancing the immune system and hormones. In addition they activate natural killer B and T cells as well as reduce the risk of colon, breast, and prostate cancers.
To get more of the white fruits and vegetables in your body for these health benefits try to get a few of the following in your system on a daily basis:
- White peaches
- White nectarines
- Jerusalem artichoke
There are many more fruits and vegetables you’ll enjoy in each of the above food color categories. When you go to the grocery store or farmer’s market make an effort to include some fruits and veggies from each of the above listed categories. You’ll be doing your body a favor you’ll feel today and well into tomorrow with disease free living.
March 31st, 2011
By: Jason Best
For generations, kids (and plenty of adults) have been asking the same question: “Why do so many things that are good for you have to taste so bad?”
Well, scientists haven’t yet figured out how to make broccoli taste like a root beer float, but they are working on a way to at least make healthier foods more palatable. We all know that foods like spinach and broccoli are packed with nutrients like calcium, magnesium and zinc. The only problem is: those same nutrients taste nose-wrinklingly bitter on the tongue.
But what if you could take the taste of, say, spinach down a notch or two?
At the national conference of the American Chemical Society, researches have announced that they’re trying to do just that. As Live Science reports, scientists as the Givaudan Flavors Corporation in Ohio have developed an enhanced “bitterness blocker” called GIV3616. Added to food, it targets certain taste buds and keeps them from recognizing bitter tastes.
An estimated 25 percent of the population (and, let’s face it, probably 100 percent of kids) are what food scientists call “supertasters,” people who have a heightened sensitivity to bitter foods. While vegetables like broccoli and spinach may always taste too bitter to them, even with added bitterness blockers, food companies are hoping to use additives like GIV3616 to make their products healthier. Until now, off-tastes in processed foods have often been masked with things that aren’t so great for you, like excess salt, sugar and fat.
As one of the scientists who developed GIV3616 put it: “Blocking flavors we call off-notes could help consumers eat healthier and more varied diets. It could encourage them to switch to non-calorie soft drinks and help children and seniors swallow bitter-tasting medications.”
February 2nd, 2011
By: Richard Alleyne
Researchers have discovered that eating a bowl of spinach a day makes your muscles “profoundly” more efficient.
They found that eating 300g of the vegetable reduced the amount of oxygen needed to power muscles by as much as five per cent when exercising.
The effect is so powerful it works after just three days.
The secret is not iron but nitrates which are abundant in the vegetable.
These chemicals make the mitochondria – the “engine rooms” of every cell – more efficient, they found.
“It is like a fuel additive for your muscles – it makes them run much more smoothly and efficiently,” said the lead author Dr Eddie Weitzberg of the Karolinska Institutet in Sweden.
Dr Wietzberg, who reported his findings in the journal Cell Metabolism, fed people pure nitrate supplements – the equivalent to the amount in a plate of spinach – every day for three days.
At the beginning and end of the experiment they were made to pedal strenuously on an exercise bike while their oxygen intake was measured via a tube to the mouth
It was found that the difference in energy in take was between three and five per cent – a significant figure.
Spinach is well known as the superfood that gave Popeye the Sailor Man his bulging muscles.
The famous cartoon character, who dates back to the 1930s, pops open a can of spinach whenever he needs to get out of trouble.
Originally it was thought that the iron content of spinach made it a power-food.
Now scientists have learned that nitrates are the true energy-boosting ingredient in the vegetable.
Green leafy vegetables of all kinds are rich in the chemical which until recently was not thought to have any nutritional value.
“We know that diets rich in fruits and vegetables can help prevent cardiovascular disease and diabetes, but the active nutrients haven’t been clear,” said Dr Weitzberg.
“It is a profound and significant effect. It just shows that Popeye was right.”
Previously Prof Weitzberg and colleague Professor Jon Lundberg showed that dietary nitrate increases levels of nitric oxide in the body with the help of friendly bacteria.
Nitric oxide is an important molecule which opens up blood vessels, lowers blood pressure, and improves circulation.
Mitochondria, like all engines, lose a lot of energy through heat loss.
The nitrate seems to stop this waste and make the cell – and so the muscle – run more efficiently.
December 27th, 2010
By: Jonathan Benson
A new study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association highlights the importance of getting plenty of the right vitamins, minerals and nutrients during pregnancy. The study showed that Indian women who supplemented with prenatal iron, folic acid and vitamin A produced children who were smarter and had better motor skills than children from mothers who did not supplement.
“Micronutrient inadequacy is a critical concern among pregnant women and young children throughout the world,” explained Parul Christian, Dr.P.H., from Johns Hopkins University, and his colleagues in their study paper. “Gestation and the early postnatal period are considered sensitive periods for brain development, and nutritional deprivation during this period may lead to functional impairments.”
Researchers evaluated 676 children between 7-9 years of age who had been born to various women given either folic acid and iron; folic acid, iron and zinc; folic acid, iron, zinc and 11 other micronutrients; or placebo. The team found that iron and folic acid in particular improved intellectual capacity, executive function, motor function and fine motor control.
Iron deficiency in particular is associated with negative alterations in cognitive development, which can lead to decreased intellectual capacity and under-developed motor skills. Additionally, women who do not get enough folic acid during pregnancy have a much higher risk of bearing a child with birth defects.
Foods naturally rich in iron include string beans, turnip greens, mustard greens, spinach, chard and other leafy greens. These same greens also contain high levels of natural folate, as do beans, peas, asparagus, avocados, strawberries and oranges. And zinc-rich foods include oysters, certain meats, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds and green peas.
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August 23rd, 2010
By: Emma Wilkinson
In an analysis of six studies into fruit and vegetable intake, only food including spinach and cabbage was found to have a significant positive effect.
A portion and a half a day was found to cut type 2 diabetes risk by 14%, the British Medical Journal (BMJ) reports.
But experts urged people to continue to aim for five portions of fruit and vegetables a day.
The researchers from Leicester University reviewed data from the studies of 220,000 adults in total.
They found that eating more fruit and vegetables in general was not strongly linked with a smaller chance of developing type 2 diabetes but “there was a general trend in that direction”.
Yet when it came to green leafy vegetables, which the researchers said also includes broccoli and cauliflower, the risk reduction was significant.
The team calculated that a daily dose of 106g reduced the risk of diabetes by 14% – a UK “portion” is classed as 80g.
It is not clear why green leafy vegetables may have a protective effect but one reason may be they are high in antioxidants, such as vitamin C and another theory is that they contain high levels of magnesium.
Study leader Professor Melanie Davies, professor of diabetic medicine at the University of Leicester, said the message to eat five portions of fruit and vegetables a day remains an important one.
But she added: “People like very specific health messages.
“We know that intake of fruit and vegetables is important, but this study suggests that green leafy vegetables seem to be particularly important in terms of preventing diabetes.”
The team are now planning a study in people at high risk of developing the condition to see if increasing their intake of vegetables like spinach and kale can help to reduce their chances of being diagnosed with diabetes.
Fruit and veg
In 2008/09, the National Diet Nutrition Survey showed that, although fruit and vegetable intake has risen over the past decade, only a third of men and women eat the recommended five-a-day.
In an accompanying editorial in the BMJ, Professor Jim Mann from the University of Otago in New Zealand, stressed that the message of increasing overall fruit and vegetable intake must not be lost “in a plethora of magic bullets,” even though green leafy vegetables clearly can be included as one of the daily portions.
Dr Iain Frame, director of research at Diabetes UK said: “We already know that the health benefits of eating vegetables are far-reaching but this is the first time that there has been a suggested link specifically between green leafy vegetables and a reduced risk of developing type 2 diabetes.”
But he warned the evidence was limited and it was too early to isolate green leafy vegetables and present them alone as a method to cut the chances of developing the condition.
“We would be concerned if focusing on certain foods detracted from the advice to eat five portions of fruits and vegetables a day, which has benefits in terms of reducing heart disease, stroke, some cancers and obesity as well as type 2 diabetes.”
Diabetes UK is currently funding research into whether fermentable carbohydrates found in foods such as asparagus, garlic, chicory and Jerusalem artichokes could help weight loss and prevent Type 2 diabetes.