Food and Drink
For years, I’ve been telling my clients and physician friends that the current obsession with cholesterol levels is way out of focus. In my opinion, high LDL (aka “bad”) cholesterol is more likely than not a very small contributor to the current epidemic of cardiovascular disease. On the other hand, elevated triglycerides appear to be a far better marker for lifestyle choices which probably affect heart disease and stroke risk. Fortunately, a few, simple dietary changes can lower high triglycerides and significantly improve cardiovascular wellness. Best of all, lowering hypertriglyceridemia often doesn’t require any medications or supplements.
Tags: Fish, Nuts, Vegetables
Posted in Food and Drink, Heart Health, Nutrition | 2 Comments
Eating healthfully requires more than just consuming fresh, whole foods. The manner by which you combine foods and how you prepare them also plays an important role. A case in point was presented at this year’s meeting of the American Institute for Cancer Research in Bethesda, Maryland.
Tags: Broccoli, Cancer, Sprouts
Posted in Alternative Therapies, Food and Drink, Nutrition | 8 Comments
Recently, a reader asked for my opinion about so-called meat substitutes. Since the topic of vegetarian alternatives to meat is rather complex and nuanced, I’ve decided to write about my answer on this site. But, before I offer my perspective, I want to make it clear that I’m exclusively focusing on the nutritional aspects of the issue. I’ll leave the ecological and philosophical arguments for other commentators and forums.
Tags: Fiber, Mushrooms, Vegetarian
Posted in Diet and Weight Loss, Food and Drink, Nutrition | No Comments;
There are very few trends you can count on in the field of modern medicine and nutrition. The “stock” of virtually every food and/or supplement tends to go up and down more erratically than the Dow Jones or Nasdaq. One day coffee is bad for you, the next it’s being touted as a preventative for Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes and liver cancer. For years, doctors have been recommending supplemental calcium for just about everyone. Now, there’s a grand debate about potential cardiovascular side effects involving this essential mineral. And, the examples go on and on. However, if there is such a thing as a bankable food/supplement which has sustained its sterling reputation over the years, it is most certainly green tea.
Tags: Diabetes, Green Tea, Liver
Posted in Food and Drink, Heart Health, Women's Health | 2 Comments
Many of us have a basic idea about prudent dietary choices and the health effects they typically produce. For example, if you eat large quantities of low-glycemic fruits and non-starchy vegetables, it’s unlikely that you’ll develop constipation, diabetes and obesity. Conversely, if your diet is loaded with processed foods, your cardiovascular, digestive system and waist line will almost certainly suffer the consequences. But, what you may not know is that there are a few recently discovered, practical ways of applying these old nutritional adages to their greatest advantage.
Tags: aging, Cooking, Liver
Posted in Diabetes, Food and Drink, Nutrition | No Comments;
If you walk into your doctor’s office with symptoms including abdominal pain, bloating, frequent burping and heartburn you will likely be evaluated for a potential H. pylori infection. This common bacterium can, but does not always, cause unpleasant symptoms. However, if symptoms do arise, it’s important to address the infection in order to protect against chronic stomach inflammation, ulcers , increased risk of stomach cancer and beyond. The most common treatment for Helicobacter pylori is a combination of three medications – two antibiotics and an acid suppressing drug.
Tags: Kefir, Probiotics, Yogurt
Posted in Alternative Therapies, Food and Drink, Nutritional Supplements | No Comments;
Lately, I’ve received a few questions asking about the differences between conventional oranges and blood or red oranges. One of the inquiries came on the heels a recent news items proclaiming that orange juice is even worse than soda, in terms of promoting weight gain, on a calorie for calorie basis. Could it be that red orange juice is a better option? Another reader was curious after noticing a red orange extract in a product intended to protect against sun related skin damage. And, as it turns out, there’s also been an upswing in current scientific research involving this vibrantly colored fruit that’s native to California, Sicily and Spain.
Tags: Circulation, Fruits, Organic
Posted in Food and Drink, Heart Health, Nutrition | No Comments;
Chicken broth has long been considered a healing and nurturing food in many cultures throughout the world. But, as with many traditionally revered foods, scientists rarely devote much time investigating the medicinal or therapeutic potential of such “old wives’ remedies”. Thankfully, an exception to this rule can be found in China, Japan and Malaysia. There, a variation of chicken broth known as chicken essence has been subjected to numerous animal, human and test tube studies.
Tags: Chicken, Fatigue, Stress
Posted in Alternative Therapies, Food and Drink, Nutrition | 2 Comments
At this very moment, my opinion about honey is in a profound state of flux. On the one hand, I’m well aware that honey contains a relatively high percentage of fructose – a form of sugar that has increasingly been linked to adverse health consequences, such as fatty liver disease and obesity. But, why is it that so many learned, holistic advocates recommend it and use it in recipes? I believe I’ve figured out the reason why and have now come to terms with the rightful place honey ought to hold in my own diet.
Tags: Honey, Luo Han Guo, Stevia
Posted in Diabetes, Diet and Weight Loss, Food and Drink | 3 Comments
Recently, a Persian reader of this site relayed a positive testimonial about a traditional drink from his homeland called “sour tea”. When I was listening to his account of how he used this tart, vibrantly colored beverage to avert diabetes and high blood pressure, I thought to myself – sour tea? It sounds sort of familiar, but I can’t place it. As it turns out, sour tea is the commonly used name in Iran for hibiscus tea. The next question that popped into my mind was whether this gentleman’s experience could be bolstered and substantiated by reviewing the medical literature.
Tags: Hibiscus, High Blood Pressure, Tea
Posted in Diabetes, Food and Drink, Heart Health | 2 Comments
For whatever reason, prunes are often viewed in a different light than other dried fruits. These days, dried apricots, cranberries and mangos are commonly added to desserts or snacked on alone or as part of trail mix. But, dried plums or prunes might as well be shelved next to laxatives and psyllium fiber in the pharmacy section of supermarkets. And, while it’s true that prunes are an effective way of addressing constipation, they’re also much, much more than that.
Tags: Constipation, High Blood Pressure, Liver
Posted in Bone and Joint Health, Food and Drink, Nutrition | 3 Comments
What if I told you that many seemingly healthy foods including apples, avocado, cauliflower and yogurt may be causing gastrointestinal problems in a sizable percentage of the population? If your reaction is one of disbelief, I don’t blame you. After all, these wholesome foods are a good source of dietary components (fiber, healthy fats, nutrients and probiotics) which are typically thought to benefit the digestive system and its function. However, in recent years, a group of researchers have come up with an unconventional theory that has been increasingly supported in the scientific literature. It now appears that otherwise healthful foods, which contain specific types of carbohydrates, may be largely responsible for digestive complaints that are often attributed or classified as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Specifically, I’m referring to foods rich in Fermentable Oligo-, Di- and Mono-saccharides and Polyols or FODMAPs.
Tags: Digestion, IBS, Probiotics
Posted in Alternative Therapies, Diet and Weight Loss, Food and Drink | No Comments;
Twitter is one of the mediums I use to spread the good word about evidence-based natural medicine. There, I’ve had the distinct pleasure of meeting people from all corners of the globe who share an interest in holistic healing. Recently, I was contacted via Twitter by Dr. Han Bok Kim of Hoseo University in South Korea. In our correspondence he was kind enough to share his ongoing research on Chungkookjang (CKJ), a fermented soybean extract that is well known in Korea, but relatively unheard of in the United States and elsewhere.
Tags: Breast Cancer, Insulin, Soy
Posted in Diet and Weight Loss, Food and Drink, Heart Health | No Comments;
Red palm oil (RPO) has been in the news lately because of a positive expose on The Dr. Oz Show. In the segment entitled, The 13 Miracle Solutions of 2013, RPO was touted as a veritable “miracle oil” primarily because it’s a rich source of antioxidants, such as carotenoids and tocotrienols, which are a potent and rare form of Vitamin E. How might this benefit your health? According to Dr. Oz and his guest, Bryce Wylde, just two tablespoons of RPO daily reduces the risk of heart attacks and stroke by clearing away arterial plaque. They go on to claim that RPO also slows the aging process by protecting the brain from neurodegeneration and skin from damage caused UV radiation. As if that wasn’t enough, apparently RPO can also increase your calorie burning potential or metabolic rate. All this for around “$14 per jar”. What a bargain!
Tags: Antioxidants, Saturated Fat, Vitamin E
Posted in Food and Drink, Heart Health, Nutrition | 6 Comments
Over the years, several of my clients have expressed concern about borderline high levels of LDL cholesterol. In almost every case, the rest of their lipid profile (HDL or “good” cholesterol, triglycerides and VLDL or very low density cholesterol) were generally classified as acceptable to outstanding. Uniformly, my response has been that there’s nothing to be concerned about if they’re already leading a heart healthy lifestyle that avoids smoking and includes regular exercise, stress management and a nutrient-dense diet. Personally, I tell them that under the same circumstances, I wouldn’t use medications or supplements to lower my LDL cholesterol. However, on occasion, the largely unjustified fear that’s been instilled about LDL cholesterol persists and some sort of action is requested.
Tags: Cholesterol, Kale, Olive Oil
Posted in Food and Drink, Heart Health, Nutrition | 13 Comments
It seems red meat is always getting a bad rap – everyone from the American Heart Association to environmentalists to PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) has something negative to say about eating beef. From a health standpoint, the cholesterol and saturated fat content of meat is still noted as grounds to avoid it. However, studies examining the link between red meat intake and cancer, cardiovascular disease and overall mortality have consistently yielded mixed results. What’s more, grass fed meat, which contains a significant amount of healthful omega-3 fats, is now quite common in the food supply. This adds yet another wrinkle to the current beef battle.
Tags: Carnitine, Choline, Meat
Posted in Food and Drink, Heart Health, Nutrition | 4 Comments