Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Multiply the health benefits of veggies....

Today's post: Tuesday, 4-29-2008

Eating lots of green & nonstarchy vegetables is one of the most powerful & effective keys to losing excess fat. And, it also helps prevent you from getting excessively fat in the first place or from having fat you’ve already lost return.

And, with the exception of processed potatoes like French fries & potato chips, eating almost any vegetable gives you nutrients & micro nutrients to keep you healthy.

And, you can get the most of these health protecting nutrients by choosing & eating organic produce. It has been consistently tested to be much higher in these nutrients than vegetables grown with pesticides & herbicides.

Also, it protects you against cancer best to eat cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli & cauliflower raw as heat destroys some of their cancer protection according to a recent study.

However, cooking vegetables sometimes gives you a LOT more nutrition.

Tomato sauce with olive oil or other forms of cooked tomatoes give you far more delivery of the carotenes, such as lycopene that they contain than raw ones do. Since for some nutrients, the raw tomatoes may give you more, it may make sense to eat both kinds of tomatoes. Tastewise they are like two different foods. I like them both ways.

Here is the unusually good news that I learned last Friday.

My wife has been steaming a variety of vegetables as a regular part of her dinner. And, the few times she has given me tastes, I was pleasantly surprised by how steaming brought out the flavor of the vegetables & made them a lot more enjoyable to eat.

The good news is that steaming the vegetables not only makes them taste better, it apparently makes the anti-oxidants in many vegetables more bioavailable & multiplies the nutrition you get from them.

This means steaming vegetables is often a great idea.

Here’s the article I got from Early to Rise:

“This article appears courtesy of Early To Rise, the Internet’s most popular health, wealth, and success e-zine. For a complimentary subscription, visit http://www.earlytorise.com.”

Add Steam, Boost Antioxidants

By Kelley Herring

Some cooking methods can release disease-causing toxins called AGEs (advanced glycation end products). And other methods can maximize the antioxidant ability of certain foods, unleashing their anti-aging potential.

A recent study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition evaluated the antioxidant content of foods after they were prepared in several different ways. Based on the results of that study, here's how to get far more free-radical fighting ability out of some of your favorites than they have when they're raw:

Carrots: Steaming boosts antioxidants by 291%; boiling by 129-159%.

Asparagus: Steaming boosts antioxidants by 205%.

Broccoli: Steaming boosts antioxidants by 122-654%.

Green Cabbage: Steaming boosts antioxidants by 448%.

Red Cabbage: Steaming boosts antioxidants by 270%.

Green Pepper: Steaming boosts antioxidants by 467%.

Red Pepper: Steaming boosts antioxidants by 180%.

Tomatoes: Steaming boosts antioxidants by 112-164%.

Spinach: Boiling boosts antioxidants by 84-114%.

Sweet Potatoes: Steaming boosts antioxidants by 413%.

[Ed. Note: Kelley Herring is founder and CEO of Healing Gourmet (www.healinggourmet.com). Simple choices - like how you cook your food - can make all the difference in the world when it comes to your health.”

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Monday, April 28, 2008

Meat that’s good for you & some that isn’t....

Today's post: Monday, 4-28-2008

One way to stay healthy is to rely on beans and lentils; nuts, whole grains, & nonfat and lowfat dairy products as sources of protein. (This is the basis of the effective DASH diet that reduces high blood pressure. And, these foods have many added health benefits. Plus beans & lentils in bulk are amazingly inexpensive.)

However, if you LIKE meat and can afford to have some, is it better to buy packaged meats in small portions or try to get larger servings of good quality meat?

The answer to that is get good quality meat less often. Packaged meats are surprisingly bad for you.

First, good quality meat healthwise is from animals that have been exclusively fed naturally. Grain fed animals produce inferior meat that is NOT good for you.

Dr Al Sears has written often how factory farm, grain fed beef is high in omega 6 oils, tends to have antibiotics, is high in total fat and saturated fat & has virtually no omega 3 oils, while beef from cattle fed only grass is quite literally the reverse. As a result, eating a lot of grain fed beef tends to make you sick & cause heart disease while eating grass fed beef is actually good for you in moderation. (Grass fed beef cattle that are healthy to start cannot get mad cow disease since they do NOT eat animal byproducts. They just eat grass or hay.)

It’s clear to me that the best strategy for health if you eat beef is to eat only grass fed beef even if that means you eat it less often. I think Dr Sears is absolutely correct. I’ve found grass fed beef at the Whole Foods Market where I shop. And, Dr Sears gets it online. (See below.)

But it seems that there is a kind of meat that is even worse for you than eating grain fed beef in excess.

I got this article nearly 3 weeks ago from Dr Al Sears as I am on his email list.:

To see his other articles or get on his email list, go to:


“Al Sears, MD

12794 Forest Hill Blvd., Suite 16
Wellington, FL 33414 April 11, 2008

Dear Reader,

You need to eat quality protein. But this seemingly simple task keeps getting trickier…

More meats are now “packaged” and you may be eating more of them than you think.

For example: Do you eat breakfast sausage or bacon with your eggs, luncheon meat in a sandwich or a frozen “dinner entrée”? Even scarier - most parents I know are now giving their kids prepackaged meals on a regular basis.

Here’s the origin of our modern problem:

Meat has a short shelf life.

To keep selling meat for longer, food manufacturers add nitrites and nitrates. They prevent spoilage, growth of bacteria and makes meat appear red, fresh and vibrant. Then, they add artificial flavors so you can’t tell that you’re eating old, stale meat.

We’ve known about the dangers of nitrites and nitrates for decades. In fact, the USDA attempted banning their use back in the 1970’s. The meat packing industry lobbied hard and won.

Research has shown and “reconfirmed” that nitrites and nitrates promote life threatening cancers including:

Breast cancer

Prostate cancer

Pancreatic cancer

Colorectal cancer


One study conducted at the University of Hawaii found people who ate even “moderate” amounts of processed meat on a regular basis increased their risk of pancreatic cancer by a whopping 67%!1

The World Cancer Research Fund issued a report stating that “it’s best that processed meats are avoided,” and that “they were not able to find a level at which processed meat could be reliably considered completely safe.”2

Check the label of the meat you’re about to buy. Unless the label says “nitrite/nitrate free” it’s a good bet it contains nitrites/nitrates.

Your best meat is also hormone-free and antibiotic-free. Even better, you can do as I do and only eat grass-fed meat. I get mine from US Wellness meats. It’s grass-fed for a healthy ratio of omega 3’s to omega 6 fats, hormone-free, antibiotic-free, and has no preservatives. They ship it to your door packed in dry ice.”

X * X * X * X *

(Even though they have changed their name to US Wellness meats, their website is still at, http://www.grasslandbeef.com/ , their old name.)

They also have lamb, pork, rabbit, & bison that is naturally fed. That’s probably why they changed their name.

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Friday, April 25, 2008

Potentially useful cancer news....

Today's post: Friday, 4-25-2008

This story appeared last Weds.: (It has some exciting implications that were NOT in the article. We talk about those after the article.)

Scan Detects Oxygen Levels in Tumors

WEDNESDAY, April 23 (HealthDay News) -- New research suggests that scientists are close to developing a simple way to measure oxygen levels in tumors, giving doctors a heads-up about what kind of treatment is best for individual patients.

The findings fit into an emerging trend of individualized treatment for patients with cancer instead of treating people the same way, said Dr. Mark Dewhirst, a professor of radiation oncology at Duke University Medical Center.

“If successful, [the trend] will revolutionize the way that we treat cancer," said Dewhirst, who co-wrote a commentary accompanying the new study, published April 22 in the Journal of Clinical Investigation.

Scientists began realizing the important role of oxygen in tumors about 50 years ago, said study co-author James Mitchell, branch chief of radiation biology at the U.S. National Cancer Institute's Center for Cancer Research. The scientists discovered that tumors with higher concentrations of oxygen were more susceptible to radiation, he said.

"Radiation damages cells by causing damage to DNA, and one particular type of damage renders the DNA molecule non-reparable," Mitchell said. But less oxygen in the tumor allows tumor cells to survive more easily by making the DNA destruction process more difficult, he said.

According to Dewhirst, the same is true for chemotherapy drugs, which also don't work as well when tumors have less oxygen.

Lower levels of oxygen create other problems, Dewhirst. "One would think at first that lack of oxygen would make tumors unhealthy and easy to kill," he said. "But actually, the opposite happens -- tumor cells that lack oxygen become more aggressive and more difficult to kill." Tumors with lower oxygen levels even spread more easily through the body, he said.

Doctors can check oxygen levels in patients by inserting a needle. But doctors can't insert needles into some patients, and. in others, it's difficult to insert the needle deep enough, Mitchell said.

In the new study, the researchers tested a scanning technique called pulsed electron paramagnetic resonance imaging and used it in tandem with magnetic resonance imaging. The study authors said they were able to successfully measure oxygen levels in tumors in mice by using the non-invasive technology.

"The imaging that is described in this study provides all of the information necessary to evaluate oxygen levels in tumors as well as to examine underlying causes for the lack of oxygen," Dewhirst said. "The fact that all of the imaging is completely non-invasive provides the ability to perform this measurement more than once, (meaning) this could be used to monitor the effectiveness of cancer therapy." “

X* X* X* X

This information strongly suggests that cancer cells either die or fail to thrive & expand as much if they get too much oxygen.

Sure, it would be nice to know how nasty a cancer is before treating it & how much hurt a treatment has put on it after you do the treatment.

The authors of this study are quite right about that.

But this seems to ignore an opening you could drive a semi through.

Why not do things that stuff your body’s cells with extra oxygen?

That might help your immune system prevent or kill off cancers in the first place or offer a way to multiply the effect of cancer treatments.

1. Specifically, if you do strength training exercises for at least a few sets where you do it until you cannot do another repetition, you will find you are out of breath. Your body then recovers in part by taking in extra oxygen.

Similarly, if you do vigorous cardio for even 8 to 24 minutes where you do periodic surges of high effort, sometimes called interval training, you will find your body feels like it is glowing afterwards & onlookers can actually see a kind of blush on your skin from the sharply increased blood flow.

Guess what?

Almost every cell in your body is experiencing extra blood flow & oxygenation.

These effects may well be a good bit of the reason why people who exercise get far fewer cancers. If cancer cells weaken with extra oxygen, these effects give your cells extra oxygen & may well give any cancer cells in your body a serious hard time.

2. It’s been known for some time that if you heat up your body before & during chemo or radiation treatments for cancer, it will kill off more cancer cells.

And, the information we reported here that taking resveratrol tends to harm cancer cells directly AND increases the kill rate of cancer treatments if you start the resveratrol well before them also shows promise.

THIS new information suggests that you may well sharply increase the kill rate of cancer treatments by using hyperbaric oxygen right before & after cancer treatments or even during them if it can be made safe to do so.

So, if you know any cancer researchers, please pass along this post.

And, please consider regular exercise of these two kinds each week if you aren’t doing them already. You may kill off some cancer cells in addition to the other LONG list of benefits you get !!

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Thursday, April 24, 2008

Unpublicized new health hazard....

Today’s post:

Thurs, 4-24-2008

Since you are reading this online there is an excellent chance you already have compact fluorescent light bulbs in your home or you visit people who do.

Unfortunately, it has been very little publicized that they are a significant health hazard to you if they break.

I was lucky that our local paper had an article that explained that this is indeed the case.

Breathing the air in that room for the next 15 minutes, even longer if no windows were opened, will cause you to breathe in enough mercury vapor to harm your health.
Mercury is a neurotoxin. And, Dr Mark Harmon had in his health information email a few months ago how he was able to reverse a seeming case of Alzheimer’s disease by discovering his patient had high mercury levels in his blood & then helping him remove it gradually.

Here’s the article that I posted yesterday on

www.RenewableEnergyArrives.blogspot.com :

The good news about compact fluorescents is very simple.

1. They do use only about 25% of the electricity of incandescent light bulbs.

2. The cost is coming down. Our first few were a bit over $25 each. Now GE makes them for less than $10. And, they are widely available for less & even given away free on occasion.

3. More people are using them, so we are beginning to use less electricity for lighting.

The bad news, however, is sobering.

1. Based on the recycling figures for cell phones, about 15 to 20 %, it’s likely that at least 80 to 85% of broken or burned out CFL’s are simply thrown in the regular trash every day.

Since they contain a good bit of mercury, this is poisoning our planet & likely some of our future food supply.

It has become illegal to throw them in the trash; but few people likely know of the law or what to do with them instead.

I have read that WalMart & Ace Hardware stores will help you properly dispose of burned out CFL bulbs.

2. Despite it not being at all publicized nor do I remember seeing it on the packaging for the CFL bulbs I’ve purchased,

breaking a CFL light bulb is actually a health emergency.

If you break one, here’s what you need to do.:

a) Open every nearby door or window you can & have every person, including you, leave the room for at least 15 minutes.

b) If you have an air conditioner or air filter running shut it off immediately so you don’t contaminate your future air they process.

c) Young children, babies, & pregnant women should not be in the room until at least 15 minutes after someone else cleans up the pieces.

d) wear rubber gloves & a dust mask if you them when cleaning up the mess. At least use dry or damp toilet paper to pick up the pieces so you don’t touch them directly.

e) After bagging up the larger pieces use damp toilet paper or paper towels to blot up the tiny pieces. You can also use index cards very carefully for the in between sizes.

f) Seal the bag as well as you can. Then see to it goes to a hazardous waste facility.

(If smaller pieces fall on a rug, it would be ideal to remove it also & replace it totally.)

Ouch !!

As I see it, CFL’s will likely be made illegal to make, sell or use as soon as LED lights are economically viable.

We do need to use CFL bulbs now for their energy reduction. But we also need to know they are not very safe & what to do about that.

Since LED lights do NOT have these hazards & are also even more energy-efficient, they are clearly the likely desirable next step in lighting.

But it will take a LOT of development to get good replacement LED bulbs that are even down to twice or three times as expensive as CFL bulbs AND some kind of financing mechanism for that to happen.

The good news is that I think both these things will happen within 20 years though 5 would be a lot better.

Meanwhile, be extremely careful of any CFL bulbs in your home. Keep them away from lamps small children or pets might break. And, dispose of them both with great care & properly.

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Tuesday, April 22, 2008

More good news on Resveratrol....

Today's post: Tuesday, 4-22-2008

Most people who follow supplement news at all have heard that taking the supplement resveratrol may well slow aging enough to add years of healthy life to your life in addition to just living longer.

And, you may have seen our post here reporting that taking resveratrol improved results for people being treated for pancreatic cancer.

I’ve quoted an article here today that has extremely good news in addition to those two things.

Resveratrol apparently helps prevent or slow cancer and prevent heart disease as well.

Here’s my summary of some of the key points in the article.:

In particular taking resveratrol reduces prostate cancer risk by 87%. That's a BIG reduction.

It apparently may prevent tumors, prevent tumor growth, & help tumors self destruct. One way this article suggests is that it promotes the growth of new blood vessels where your heart or well exercised muscles need them but turns down or prevents the growth of new blood vessels that help tumors to grow. Some of the drugs that have shown good cancer treatment effects simply prevent all new blood vessels. This does harm the cancer cells but may also have negative effects on fitness & heart health. That resveratrol has the cancer fighting effect without those negative side effects is welcome news indeed.

It also cuts triglycerides by 15 % by itself & reduces insulin resistance & prevents excessive blood clotting, small wonder it tests out as heart protective. (Each of those effects individually is heart protective. Doing them all is very impressive.) Due to its anti-aging effects, it may also lower homocysteine for even more heart protection.

Then to top it off it apparently slows aging by 30 to 40 %.

Here’s the article.:

This article appears courtesy of Early To Rise, the Internet’s most popular health, wealth, and success e-zine. For a complimentary subscription, visit http://www.earlytorise.com.

Switch on Your "Longevity Gene"

By Al Sears, MD

There's a new anti-aging discovery you'll want to know about...

Research - published in Nature - has uncovered a gene that can increase lifespan in laboratory animals by as much as 100 percent. Why should you care about genes in fruit flies, worms, and rats? Well, for starters, we humans carry the same gene. And we are discovering that natural substances found in certain foods have the power to activate it.

Scientists found evidence of this "longevity gene" about 20 years ago. Turns out that if you starve mice, giving them a diet with one-third fewer calories than they would like to eat, their lifespan increases by about 30 percent. Later studies revealed that this effect wasn't limited to mice: Calorie-restricted diets produced similar results in many life forms, from single-celled organisms to plants and mammals.

Very recently, scientists found an explanation for this mysterious phenomenon: a family of genes called sirtuins ("silent information regulator proteins"). Sirtuins kick in under conditions of severe stress, bringing about an evolutionarily advantageous transformation. They transmit signals to every cell in your body, and the processes that lead to cell death slow to a crawl, buying your body more time to wait out the famine until things improve.

Most people think of genetics as written in stone. You have the genes you inherited, and that's it. The discovery of sirtuins pointed to another amazing fact: Certain genes can be awakened and called upon to change your body in the course of your lifetime.

You're probably saying to yourself, "Do I have to starve myself to live longer?" Good point. The problem of how to "wake up" sleeping sirtuin genes had scientists stumped for years. They had to find some other way to flip the aging "off switch."

That's where certain foods come in... because the natural compound resveratrol has been found to unleash the anti-aging power of sirtuins. Grapes, plums, blueberries, and cranberries contain resveratrol in the highest concentrations. Many other plants produce smaller amounts.

Resveratrol's power to enhance your life goes beyond anti-aging. Years of research have shown that it combats cancer, ramps up energy levels, limits the inflammation that causes arthritis, and benefits a number of major organs, including the heart, liver, and pancreas. It also has the remarkable capacity to halt cell "malfunctions" that can be lethal, like tumor generation.

As if that weren't enough, resveratrol acts as a potent antioxidant, binding with "free radicals," the molecules that cause cell damage and lead to death over time.

The list of resveratrol's many health benefits is long indeed. Let's start with the heart.

Meet One of Your Heart's Most Potent Allies

I've been studying ways to boost heart health for 30 years, and resveratrol is one of the most powerful substances I have come across.

There are actually two kinds of resveratrol, "cis-resveratrol" and "trans-resveratrol." It's the second kind that appears to be the most beneficial.

One way it protects your heart is by preventing blood clots, a major cause of heart attack, particularly in older folks. In one study, published in the International Journal of Molecular Medicine, researchers gave healthy male subjects a blood-clotting factor along with high doses of trans-resveratrol. They found that trans-resveratrol prevented their blood platelets from sticking together. Not only does this help your heart - it also prevents strokes.

Another way it powers your heart involves a miraculous capability called "angio-genesis," a fancy term for blood vessel growth. Trans-resveratrol acts a bit like bypass surgery by creating new blood vessels to deliver more oxygen to your heart when it's not getting enough.

Finally, trans-resveratrol drives down levels of bad fats called triglycerides. These are the fatty acids that clog your arteries. Scientists have been able to lower triglyceride levels as much as 15 percent in pre-menopausal women by using concentrated grape powder.

A Natural Cancer Fighter - and More
Resveratrol is a major weapon in the battle against cancer - in both men and women.

Someday, doctors may turn to resveratrol instead of drugs or surgery as a first-line defense and treatment for prostate cancer. In mice, it's been shown to reduce prostate cancer risk as much as 87 percent. And in those that had already developed prostate cancer, resveratrol slowed tumor growth by up to 49 percent.

For women, resveratrol may prove just as powerful in the fight against breast cancer. Another study on mice found that it slowed tumor growth and killed off cancer cells and the blood vessels they need to grow.

Resveratrol is truly amazing. It acts just like chemotherapy in mice, but naturally and without any of the horrific side effects. And while it stimulates blood vessel growth to benefit the heart, it kills the blood vessels that feed tumors. When it comes to preventing cancer and heart disease, it's your guardian angel.

Plants use resveratrol to protect themselves from the harmful effects of too much sun. It may be able to do the same thing for humans. Scientists from the University of Wisconsin looked at resveratrol's effects on skin tumor development in mice caused by harmful UVB rays. They used it just like a lotion, applying it to the skin twice weekly for 28 weeks. Not only did it prevent skin cancer; it also slowed tumor growth significantly.

Adding icing to the cake, the same study confirmed resveratrol's power to enhance overall health and vitality: It boosted the immune system, protected the nervous system, and optimized liver, muscle, and fat cell function. It also prevented diabetes and obesity by lowering insulin resistance, the main cause of Type II diabetes.

Ramp Up Your Physical Strength and Vitality
Resveratrol may also turn out to be what spinach was for Popeye. In one study, it turned mice into Mighty Mice, granting them extraordinary strength and stamina. Once fed resveratrol, they ramped up their aerobic capacity, lengthened their running time, and burned more oxygen. Researchers also noticed that resveratrol enhanced their muscles' ability to turn fuel into energy.

Resveratrol taps into your body's natural, life-giving force, unleashing vitality, energy, strength, and stamina. It can literally add years to your life.

The problem is how to get enough of it.

Nearly all the experiments I mentioned used quantities of resveratrol well beyond what you'd be able to get from drinking a lot of wine or eating plums all day. So this is a case where supplements may be a better option. They're inexpensive and safe. You can find them in health food stores or online. I recommend taking about 20 mg per day.

[Ed Note: Dr. Sears, a practicing physician and the author of PACE: Rediscover Your Native Fitness, is a leading authority on longevity, physical fitness, nutrition, and heart health. Find Dr. Sears' practical solutions and get immediate access to more than 450 of his articles by visiting: www.alsearsmd.com .] “

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Monday, April 21, 2008

Dangerous Ways to try weight loss....

Today's post: Monday, 4-21-2008

Last week I saw an article in the Yahoo health news section that said it’s been discovered that unsafe ways to attempt weight loss or fat loss tended to be passed on to people by friends who were doing them. This was particularly true of younger women.

These methods include extremely severe caloric restriction; diet pills; & purging.

Do NOT copy friends or acquaintances who use these methods.

These mehtods tend to produce feeling like hell to the point of inability to function at school, home, & work; poor health; & even death if done too long or too much.

For many people, they are more damaging to self-esteem than the fat they hope to lose.

Worse, any weight lost with such methods tends to be as much lean tissue & muscle as it is fat. And, even worse than that, any fat lost is virtually always regained by the people using these methods who survive the experience.

Translation: As weight loss methods, extremely severe caloric restriction; diet pills; & purging and similar methods, will make you feel worse, make you sick, & may even kill you. And, if you survive using them, even if you do lose some weight, you will be just as fat or fatter soon after you stop using them.

Why not use the methods that keep off excess fat permanently &
IMPROVE your health?

If you have the health habits of the average person in the U.S., you can lose 5 to
15 % of your bodyweight as fat and get dramatically healthier by just a few simple upgrades.:

1. Stop taking in foods & drinks that make you fat but not always less hungry & which harm your health in even small doses.

Most people still drink soft drinks several times a week. Both the high fructose corn syrup in the regular kind & the diet soft drinks have been shown to make you fat and sick. They add calories but do NOT make you less hungry in the case of the regular soft drinks & actually make you MUCH hungrier in the case of the diet soft drinks. Both kinds tend to produce type II diabetes & other illnesses. Recently a study found health indicators got worse with even ONE diet soft drink a day. Since high fructose corn syrup increases triglyceride levels, consuming it regularly in soft drinks tends to produce heart disease & related diseases.

Partially or fully hydrogenated vegetable oils tend to be in many foods. The transfats & other unnatural fats they contain tend to make you fat; & they directly contribute to heart & related diseases. They also apparently help cause type II diabetes.

In addition, they often are found in foods made with refined grains or in packaged foods that also contain things like high fructose corn syrup.

Refined grains are totally common in most people’s diets. They have virtually no fiber & very little nutrition, so they tend to spike blood sugar & not keep you from getting hungry. Just like soft drinks that tends to make you fat & sick.

Unfortunately, a really large percentage of foods in most grocery stores have artificial sweeteners, high fructose corn syrup, refined grains, &/or partially saturated oils (transfats).

To avoid this list of fattening foods that make you sick & do not turn off your hunger very well, you have to do two things.

You have to read labels – every time. Foods you wouldn’t believe have these things do in fact have them.

And, you have to eat mostly real, un-packaged foods. Fresh vegetables, lean & properly raised or caught animal protein foods, health Ok fats such as nuts, avocadoes, & extra virgin olive oil -- & fresh fruit and whole grains in moderation do tend to make you less hungry. They provide real nutrition; & eating them tends to keep you healthy.

2. Do get regular exercise every week.

Skinny people who don’t exercise are fat inside & tend to get sick. And, people who are still a bit too fat but who exercise regularly tend to stay well even if they have only been exercising for a few weeks. Even better, they are more muscular underneath the fat & much LESS fat inside. With regular exercise, you tend to lose more pounds of fat than pounds of weight on the scale.

Regular exercise also IMPROVES self-esteem in the people who do it. And, studies have found that regular exercise reliably improves the sex lives of people who do it for BOTH men & women.

Even better, the kind of exercise that peels off fat best tends to also work best for improving self esteem & sex.

Progressive strength training & “interval” cardio build muscle & increase metabolism even for hours after you exercise. And, the more muscle you have the more calories you burn, so you can avoid starving & burn more calories & still take off fat with these 2 kinds of exercises. (“Interval” cardio is where you warm up a bit & then work really hard for a bit & then go back to moderate or easy for a bit -- & you repeat these “intervals” a few times each session. This can be effective in even 10 minute total sessions for both fitness & fat loss.)

For progressive strength training, you aim for 6 to 12 repetitions for each exercise. And, you try to do as close to 12 as you can each time. Then when you can do 12 each time, you increase the weight & start the process over. Even two sessions of half an hour each every week can work wonders. It is important to take a day off between strength training sessions. Those days off work well for doing cardio instead of weights.

Or, if it works better for you, you can work out long enough to do both strength training & cardio the same days, three days a week, & simply take the other four days off.

Six days of exercise alternating strength training with interval cardio tends to get the best results for fat loss.

But even two days a week with a bit of strength training & a bit of interval cardio each time will lose some fat & make you MUCH healthier than no exercise at all.

These few life style upgrades will lose a LOT of fat weight for the average person. They do work. They are sustainable. And, they tend to make you much healthier.

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Thursday, April 17, 2008

Eating Right can be a Joy....

Today's post: Thursday, 4-17-2008

Dr Mark Harmon is one of the better informed health sources I read.
I agree with most of what he says.
(See: http://www.ultrawellness.com/ )

In his blog & email for today, he covers all the reasons not to consume soft drinks & packaged & highly processed foods. He includes the seemingly obvious point that eating a bad for you food that has a few vitamins thrown in does NOT lead to good health. And, he gives some examples of labels that have been carefully designed to make products LOOK to be good for you when the truth is otherwise.

Hopefully you are well informed & wise enough to not buy or eat such packaged foods that are on over half of the shelves of most grocery stores. But Dr Harmon knows that leaves the question of what to eat instead.

Here’s how he answers that question in the email I got from him today..:

“Here is what to eat:

1. Whole, real food such as vegetables, fruits,
beans, nuts, seeds, whole grains, lean animal
protein like small wild fish and poultry, and
whole omega-3 eggs.

2. Small amounts of grass-fed, antibiotic- and
hormone-free beef or lamb.”

In an earlier email, he explains how, in a trip he took to Italy, he enjoyed several multi-course meals made from these ingredients with good company & some wine.

He remarked how refreshing he found it to be fed food he was comfortable eating while enjoying the food & the experience so much.

Monday evening this week, I was lucky enough to be invited to a family dinner that was very similar. (My younger sister, her husband, & their three grown children are all excellent cooks.)

Both the food & the company were delightful.

I thought I’d share the menu with you to illustrate that it is totally possible to create such enjoyable meals here in the United States. You do NOT have to go to Italy to eat them.

The appetizers were a choice of a couple of kinds of warmed olives or small button mushrooms that had been sautéed in a light extra virgin olive oil. I was hungry & found the mushrooms so good I had to hold off a bit to leave room for the dinner.

The first course was a very light watercress & celery soup. It was very light; & by serving it in wide but low bowls it looked substantial visually but was actually a small enough serving to not overfill you for the rest of the dinner.

The salad was the highlight of the meal for me. It was a small amount of radicchio & one or two other greens with some red & green bell peppers that had been precooked enough to be soft & then allowed to cool to room temperature or just a bit less. And, all this was tossed with light extra virgin olive oil based vinaigrette but not too much. The combinations of flavors & colors made this salad a delight to eat.

The next course was two small Japanese style rice crackers with some tuna. (Because of mercury concerns, I don’t eat tuna a lot but the amount was small & it was a special occasion – plus tuna is good for you other than the mercury concern.)

The main course was a small bit of lamb, a small serving of halves of small red potatoes that had been nicely baked, & a large medium sized serving of steamed asparagus.

I was full so I passed on the dessert. That was either a small serving of custard or a small serving of sorbet.

The dinner was a delight. And, similar to what Dr Hyman experienced in Italy, it was refreshing to have a meal so good that I didn’t have to worry was harming my health.

Most of the foods that made it up were vegetables. It had very little saturated fat. It did have extra virgin olive oil. It had protein. And, the few foods it contained that were less than ideal, the tuna, the rice crackers, the halves of small red potatoes that had been nicely baked, & the desserts were small highlights in the overall meal to such an extent that for a special occasion, they were totally OK.

And, it was served with some nice white & red wine in small 4 ounce servings. That was enough to be enjoyable & good for us, heartwise, without dulling our wits or senses.

Add in the extremely good company & it was a joy to eat & share in the experience.

To be sure, such special occasions & multi-course meals are rare in today’s rushed world.

But it shows that eating right can be a joy. And, that it is possible to make & eat really good food that is also safe to eat.

Such special occasions may be rare. But many of these dishes could be modified for more everyday or every week meals.

For example, you could add the small button mushrooms that had been sautéed in a light extra virgin olive oil, some sustainable harvested shrimp from unpolluted water that had the bony tails removed & some bits of feta cheese & some raw pecan halves to the salad

And, you could serve some lightly cooked or steamed asparagus. Or you could serve some cooked pinto beans & fresh guacamole for a more substantial meal instead

The then large, high protein salad plus the asparagus or the beans with some red wine would make a very nice dinner with just the two courses.

This salad would also be good with just a single kind of organic lettuce like romaine or red leaf instead of the more complex salad we had that you might not have the time to fix.

(Whole Foods Market stores sell such lettuce, or at least they do in our area.)

Or you could serve a bit more of the medallions of lamb -- if you were able to get a good source for grass fed lamb, a simple shredded romaine salad & a with light extra virgin olive oil based vinaigrette, & some steamed asparagus or broccoli florets & add some red wine.

There are a huge number of delicious ways to eat right. You do NOT have to go hungry or eat really awful food to eat right.

We post on so many things that will harm your health to eat or drink, I am delighted to be able to share with you that eating right can indeed be a joy.

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Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Blood Pressure Drug Weakens Bones....

Today's post: Tuesday, 4-15-2008

I found the article below in the Yahoo Health News earlier today. (It was posted late Monday.) It has some significant implications I then add below it.

“Blood pressure drug reduces bone density in study Mon Apr 14

CHICAGO (Reuters) - Powerful diuretics used to control blood pressure can also steal calcium from the bones and cause significant bone loss in men who take them, researchers reported on Monday.

Older men who used the drugs the most had triple the bone loss of men who never used them, the researchers reported in the Archives of Internal Medicine.

They found a direct correlation between use of the drugs and bone loss in men -- putting them at risk of osteoporosis, which can cause broken hips and other broken bones.

Though osteoporosis is more common in women than men, one in five Americans with the bone-weakening condition is a man -- and as many as 2 million American men suffer from it.

Doctors should keep an eye out for this problem in men taking the drugs, said Dr. Lionel Lim of Griffin Hospital, in Derby, Connecticut, who led the study.

One of the most common brand names is Lasix, and these so-called loop diuretics are also sold under the generic name furosemide. Diuretics work to lower blood pressure by removing water from the blood via the kidneys.

With less blood circulating, the blood does not have to pump so hard. The kidneys also filter out more sodium, potassium and, evidently, calcium. The drugs are especially effective in patients with heart failure, relieving the characteristic swollen ankles and breathlessness.

Lim studied nearly 3,300 men aged 65 and older, about 8 percent of whom had taken the drugs either regularly or from time to time.

Lim's team measured the men's hip bone density at the start and again roughly 4-1/2 years later.

Bone loss averaged 0.78 percent annually among the 84 men who used loop diuretics regularly, compared to 0.33 percent among non-users and 0.58 percent among the 181 intermittent users.

Previous studies have associated diuretic use with a patient's risk of breaking a hip or fracturing another bone.

"However, there is uncertainty as to whether this increased fracture risk is attributable to negative effects on bone mineral density, fall-related mechanisms (such as dizziness and low blood pressure when standing up), or associated (illnesses)," Lim wrote in his report.

The men taking diuretics in the study tended to be heavier, more sedentary, and more likely to suffer from other maladies including heart disease than non-users.

(Reporting by Andrew Stern; Editing by Maggie Fox and Eric Beech)”


Doctors should prescribe diuretics for people with fluid retention as the article mentioned for heart failure patients.

However, since the diuretics tend to be cheap drugs & reduce blood pressure reliably many doctors tend to prescribe them first before seeing if other drugs are needed.

This article suggests an important reason to do otherwise.

It looks to make much better sense to initially prescribe the ARB’s in low doses or ARB’s in combination with calcium channel blockers with both at low doses AND to prescribe lifestyle upgrades.

And lifestyle upgrades may make even better choices.:

The Dash diet with moderate salt restriction that cuts out junk food & excessive fatty meats in favor of lean meats & poultry in moderation, fish, beans, nuts, & low fat dairy AND includes plentiful vegetables & whole fresh fruit is clearly indicated.

When people who eat badly upgrade to it, they experience blood pressure reduction similar to taking a blood pressure drug AND with NO drug costs or side effects.

And, just recently it was reported that this diet protects against heart attacks & strokes in both people with high blood pressure AND people with normal blood pressure.

Since the whole point of lowering high blood pressure is to prevent heart attacks & strokes & other health problems -- & patients with high blood pressure tend to not eat this way added to the blood pressure lowering effects of eating this way, this is the first prescription I think doctors should give most people they see who have high blood pressure.

In addition, being overfat, “heavy,” has been found to create high blood pressure notably by creating endothelial dysfunction which stiffens blood vessels & impairs their ability to relax.

Eating a Dash diet with moderate salt restriction combined with totally stopping junk foods & soft drinks and getting enough of the right regular exercises has been proven to prevent people from getting fat or to help them lose excess fat.

In addition, exercise lowers blood pressure both overall and on the days people exercise & it tends to improve endothelial dysfunction.

The patients in this study clearly needed both the Dash diet and regular exercise prescribed FIRST since they had high blood pressure, were fat, & were sedentary -- & had higher than average heart attack risks.

This would be more protective than the diuretics alone. And, the calcium in the DASH diet plus weight bearing or strength exercise INCREASES bone density. So even if there was a need for diuretics, they would tend to produce less bone weakening if patients followed this lifestyle prescription.

In addition, when doctors prescribe blood pressure medication a huge number of people simply won’t take them or will stop taking them due to harsh side effects. (Stopping blood pressure drugs suddenly is unsafe but people often do exactly that if they take drugs with heavy side effects.) Things like fainting when you stand up from taking something that is supposed to make you healthier is something many people simply won’t tolerate. For most people, it looks to be unnecessary.

So unless the blood pressure is quite high, it makes the most sense to prescribe the drugs that will produce the most lowering with minimal side effects.

The ARB’s in low doses or ARB’s in combination with calcium channel blockers with both at low doses tend to have that combination.

Even better, there is a new drug out called ExForge that combines them so a patient only needs to take one pill.

But the things to prescribe first & keep up are the Dash diet with moderate salt restriction and regular exercise. Those are protective even more than the drugs. They make people healthier if done right. And, they make people feel healthier instead of sicker.

Diuretics have their place. Some patients need them for other reasons as we’ve discussed; & some people do need them to be used to lower blood pressure when nothing else is working well enough. But they should NOT be the first or main prescription for high blood pressure for most people in my view.

There are also supplements that lower blood pressure directly & supplements that reverse some of the causes of high blood pressure that can be used.

That’s a big subject we plan to do an eBook about soon as well.

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Thursday, April 10, 2008

Even more bad news about diet soft drinks....

Today's post: Thursday, 4-10-2008

I’ve posted before that there is evidence that diet soft drinks are actually no better & may be even worse for you than drinking regular soft drinks. (And, regular soft drinks in any regular consumption are proven to make you fat and sick.)

Recently I got two emails in my inbox from my health sources that help make it extremely clear that this IS so & help explain why it happens.

The first is from Dr Mark Harmon. He also said he posted it on his blog so I’ve listed the URL for that. I’ve edited it a bit to make it shorter & easier to find the key points.

Do artificial sweeteners make you fat? Date: 4/3/2008

From: drhyman@ultrawellness.com & http://www.ultrawellness.com/blog

“There's no doubt about it. Artificial sweeteners cause obesity.

I always thought it was funny to see a very large person order a Big Mac, large fries -- and top it off with a Diet Coke. I also found it peculiar that I rarely saw thin people drinking diet sodas.

So I began to wonder if there could be a link between diet beverages or artificial sweeteners and obesity.

…. I discovered a number of different research findings that pointed to this very phenomenon.

Any sweet taste will signal your body that calories are on the way and trigger a whole set of hormonal and metabolic responses to get ready for those calories.

When you trick your body and feed it non-nutritive or non-caloric sweeteners, like
aspartame, acesulfame, saccharin, sucralose, or even natural sweeteners like stevia, it gets confused. And research supports this.

An exciting new study in the Journal of Behavioral Neuroscience has shown conclusively that using artificial sweeteners not only does not prevent weight gain, but induces a whole set of physiologic and hormonal responses that actually make you gain weight.

The researchers proved this by giving two different groups of rats some yogurt. One batch of yogurt was sweetened with sugar. The other was sweetened with saccharin.

They found that three major things happened over very short period of time in the rats that were fed artificially sweetened yogurt.

First, the researchers found that the total food eaten over 14 days dramatically increased in the artificial sweetener group -- meaning that the artificial sweetener stimulated their appetite and made them eat more.

Second, these rats gained a lot more weight and their body fat increased significantly.

And third (and this is very concerning) was the change in core body temperature of the rats fed the artificial sweeteners. Their core body temperature decreased, meaning their metabolism slowed down.

So not only did the rats eat more, gain more weight, and have more body fat, but they
actually lowered their core body temperature and slowed their metabolism.”


Notice the double leverage they found in this study. The rats fed the artificial sweetener ate more AND had their metabolism slow down.

That means even people who manage to override their body’s desire to eat more when they drink diet soft drinks-- OR eat so called “light” food & drink products that are sweetened with artificial sweeteners, they are likely to get fatter or lose less fat than they had hoped because their metabolism slows down.

In case you missed my point, I’ll make it really clear. If you don’t want to be fat & heavy, do NOT drink diet soft drinks or eat or drink any “Light” food products made with artificial sweeteners. They will sabotage you & help you to stay fat instead.

(Drinking no sodas at all & doing progressive strength training at least two nonconsecutive days a week has the opposite effect from drinking diet soft drinks. You reliably take in less calories than before if you have been drinking regular soft drinks. And, your metabolism speeds up both for several hours after you exercise and from the lean muscle mass you gain gradually from the exercise.)

Then, on 4-8-2008, I got this email from Dr Al Sears see: www.alsearsmd.com

Avoid sodas…even if they are diet.

Sodas will make you fat. And they lead to other health problems. That “innocent” low-cal diet soda is really danger in a can.

A new study published in Circulation tracked the diets of men and women for nine years. Those who drank just one can of diet soda a day increased their risk of metabolic syndrome by 34%.

….Regular soda isn’t any better. Another study found that regular soda consumption is also associated with the metabolic syndrome.

Why should this alarm you? Metabolic syndrome is a collection of symptoms that lead to diabetes, heart disease and other chronic diseases like cancer.

If you’re like the average American you drink an estimated 56 gallons of soft drinks each year.

You may have metabolic syndrome and not even know it. In fact, the American Heart Association estimates that over 50 million Americans have metabolic syndrome.

Do you have any of these symptoms?

• Excessive fat tissue in and around the abdomen

• High levels of bad LDL cholesterol, low levels of good HDL cholesterol, and high triglycerides.

• High blood pressure

• Insulin resistance or glucose intolerance (the body can’t properly use insulin or blood sugar)

Each one of these symptoms can cause a whole host of health problems on its own….”


Dr Sears is putting it gently. EVERY SINGLE ONE of those effects is causative or predictive of heart attack, stroke, & all other cardiovascular diseases.

And, you sharply increase your risk of these by drinking EVEN ONE diet soft drink a day.

Ouch !!

Are you at a loss as to what to drink if you don’t drink soft drinks?

Water does work to quench your thirst & is usually available even at fast food places.

A few glasses of fruit juice a week has been found to help prevent Alzheimers. And, there are many flavors of real fruit juice many of which have extra health benefits: orange, cherry, grape, blueberry, etc. They all have some vitamin C. And, you can add chilled club soda to chilled fruit juice if you like the carbonation in soft drinks.

If you want a caffeine boost, try coffee. Or, if you also want a treat & love chocolate, drinking extra strong unsweetened cocoa as a hot chocolate drink works & has incredible health benefits if you add no milk. And, if you want less of a caffeine rush but need a bit of a lift, tea & green tea work -- & have super health benefits if you add no milk to them.

Lastly, if you sometimes add some real sugar to your hot chocolate or coffee or tea -- but not every time, they are still massively better for your health than soft drinks.

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Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Heavy smokers face newly discovered danger....

Today's post: Tuesday, 4-8-2008

We’ve posted many times about the dangers of smoking.

For most people cancer & lung cancer are the LITTLE risks of smoking. To be sure, not everyone who smokes gets those.

But, EVERYONE who smokes increases their homocysteine levels & adds immediately to their risk of heart attack, stroke, & all other cardiovascular diseases.

If you smoke, you can get tested for your homocysteine level with a blood test. And, we now know that to preserve good health, that reading should be 8.9 or lower. Smokers, even younger ones, are often much higher than that.

And, that’s just an easily measurable part of how smoking produces all these cardiovascular diseases. It does so in other ways at the same time.

We’ve also posted on how smoking reduces your lung function enough to make your lungs function as if you are much older than your calendar age even in the youngest smokers. That is also measurable.

So, even people who can be guaranteed they will never get lung cancer from smoking can get these two tests to see that they are already having their health seriously harmed by smoking. And, this is right now & for sure. No guessing needed.

Now there is even worse news for heavy smokers.

New research released last week found that a genetic factor causes some people to turn more often to smoking as a stress relief aid if they once start smoking. So they both smoke more than most people & often have trouble quitting.

But the worse news they found is that people with this genetic variation, instead of the small but much higher risk of developing lung cancer of most smokers, a full 25 % of such smokers get lung cancer.

Ouch !!

So if you have trouble quitting AND smoke heavily, see your doctor NOW.

The Zyban anti-depressant & nicotine replacement treatment now available does relive the depression this syndrome uses to drive the excess smoking & difficulty quitting.

Now, you know for sure smoking will likely kill you, do yourself a favor & check this out. This treatment plus enough motivation gives you a shot at quitting successfully.

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Monday, April 07, 2008

Some doctors give bad advice on supplements....

Today's post: Monday, 4-7-2008

A woman wrote in to an online doctor saying that her 72 year old husband had an operation to remove a cancerous bladder tumor. Before that, his blood pressure was usually around 130 over 70. Since the surgery his blood pressure went to over 180 over 90. He was taking no prescriptions, but did take several supplements "including CoQ10, fish oil, hawthorn, and a multi vitamin." She then asked if the surgery itself might have caused this dangerous increase in his blood pressure.

The doctor she wrote to started his answer saying that stress WILL elevate blood pressure, but so will cardiovascular disease. But before he goes on to suggest her husband have cardiovascular disease checked by his doctors, he suggested that her husband stop his "non-prescribed supplements."

He goes on to say that the supplement strengths might have changed suddenly as a cause for this spike in blood pressure. He then goes back to competent medical advice saying that anesthetics & surgery themselves do NOT tend to cause such increases in blood pressure. And, he says her husband should be checked for the possibility of complications of the surgery & cardiovascular disease. He also suggested putting her husband on a very low salt diet & saying that he may also need to take drugs to lower his blood pressure.

This is extremely bad advice taken as a whole. But, because it is delivered in a confident & authoritative manner & some parts of it are actually pretty good, it sounds convincing.

Do NOT take advice on supplements from such doctors. And, if possible, & you will be consulting a doctor like this one further, get a better & better informed doctor on questions concerning supplements..

The doctor, Mark Houston, MD that I have read on the subject of reducing high blood pressure & who is a recognized expert in this area, quotes studies that show that CoQ10, fish oil, hawthorn, and the vitamin C & B6 in a multi vitamin each independently have been shown to lower high blood pressure. Further, if the multi had any calcium or magnesium, these have also been shown to lower high blood pressure.

So, is suggesting that her husband discontinue ALL of his supplements, competent advice?

Probably not. Her husband may have been taking too little of the key supplements like CQ10 or fish oil to have much of an effect on his high blood pressure. But, since she doesn’t give the amounts, he might have been. If so, suddenly stopping might well add another 10 or 20 points to his already dangerously bad high blood pressure. To put it mildly, when doctors make that kind of mistake with their knowledge of drugs & it harms a patient, they can be sued for malpractice.

In addition, these particular supplements are known to have beneficial effects on overall health & cardiovascular disease.

This doctor also missed that the most probable cause of the surge is the fear & terror that her husband may well have been going through in facing the chance that such extensive surgery for cancer might not have been enough to keep him from dying of cancer. He may also have been suffering from post-operative pain that was causing him that much stress.

So, good advice on checking & addressing those concerns would have made the medical part of his answer a great more helpful.

As you can see, some doctors such as Mark Houston, MD have studied the literature on supplements & used them effectively with their patients.

That’s the kind of doctor to look for.

Then there are doctors like most of the ones I’ve been fortunate enough to go to, who have seen some convincing information on supplements &/or had their patients point to good online information they have found. At worst, such doctors realize that supplements can be beneficial and will do extra research before making the kind of incorrect statements this online doctor did. At best, they will know enough to give some advice that is accurate.

If you take supplements or have a condition that benefits from doing so, try to avoid doctors like the online doctor in this example.

Of course, there ARE some times when supplements truly are not a good idea. Some, such as St Johns Wort & the otherwise health promoting fruit, grapefruit, or supplements taken from it, have drug interaction effects. And, occasionally studies will be done showing some less used supplements are harmful or tend to come from sources that spike their supplements with unannounced amounts of a drug. Also, before surgery where your blood will need to clot adequately for safe healing, doctors will advise temporarily discontinuing aspirin & supplements like Ginkgo Biloba which can prevent enough clotting from taking place several days before the surgery & for a bit after it.

Even the doctors who actually use & prescribe supplements will bring up such issues from time to time.

The bottom line is that since supplements do work to protect health in many ways & huge numbers of people take them, with the exception of very narrow specialties such as cardiac surgeons, doctors need to know more about supplements than this online doctor did to give sound & accurate advice.

So, if a doctor says not to take supplements, under some circumstances he or she might be correct. But unless it is one of the kinds of issues we just discussed, you would be wise to seek a better informed doctor or get a second opinion from a doctor who is better informed.

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Friday, April 04, 2008

Hot cocoa STOMPS soft drinks healthwise....

Today's post: Friday, 4-4-2008

1. Up to 86% of Americans are overfat

“An estimated 129.6 million Americans, or 64 percent, are overweight or obese”

And, of the 36 percent who are of normal weight on the scale, a recent study by the Mayo Clinic found that 62 % of them had excess INTERNAL body fat & related bad health biomarkers to go with it. That shows that 22.32 percent of Americans are of normal weight but are still overfat inside.

Adding that 22% to the 64 % who are heavier than normal weight on the scale & it’s clear that up to 86% of Americans are overfat & as little as 14 % of us are actually lean enough for desirable health results.

The two biggest causes for this overfat train wreck are not exercising & ingesting foods that make us fat.

And, for the average American so far, the biggest cause of ingesting foods that make us fat is that most Americans still don’t know better than to drink a lot of soft drinks.

Regular soft drinks are sweetened with high fructose corn syrup. Ingesting that tends to make you hungry. Then the calories you take in from soft drinks not only don’t make you less hungry, but maybe more hungry. That means that anyone who drinks more than one soft drink a week is fatter than they should be. It doesn’t get much simpler than that.

Amazingly, research shows that people who drink diet soft drinks are even fatter. We’ve posted on this once. Next week, we plan a post on the research that found that even when people who DO succeed in taking in less calories by drinking diet soft drinks they STILL get fatter. Yechh !!

And, the average American still drinks soft drinks by the six-pack most months.

The problem is that it’s nice to have something to drink when you want a rewarding experience from it -- & it’s sometimes even important to be able to drink something that picks up your energy level a bit.

Soft drinks, particularly the cola ones, DO do this job well. The problem is that they are about as good for your health & appearance as being in a fire where you get badly burned.

What to do?

If you like chocolate, you are in luck.

Ghirardelli & other companies sell unsweetened cocoa. (You have to be careful of the labels though, last time I was in a mainstream grocery store I found that Ghirardelli & other companies also sell hot chocolate mixes with added sugar & trans fats. THOSE aren’t much better than soft drinks.)

We’ve already posted that drinking unsweetened cocoa as hot chocolate with no added milk or sugar makes your blood vessels more pliable & healthy, increases effective blood flow, AND reduces your blood pressure if it’s high. (It does this better, research shows, & is less likely to be fattening, if you add no sugar. And, adding milk seems to turn off or block these effects. If you like chocolate & are OK with the extra caffeine, just use twice as much cocoa instead.)

Now last week I got information that a small cup of hot chocolate as unsweetened cocoa has an 82,000 ORAC score.

ORAC is a measure of a food’s anti-oxidant effects. And, blueberries have become famous because of their health benefits that come in part because they have a high ORAC score & one higher than most other fruits.

Believe it or not, a small cup of hot chocolate as unsweetened cocoa has an ORAC score that is higher than TEN servings of blueberries.

There you have it.

All soft drinks, particularly in any quantity, actively tend to make you fat & sick to consume.

And, drinking hot chocolate as unsweetened cocoa has astounding health benefits.

So, truly, Hot cocoa STOMPS soft drinks healthwise !!

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Thursday, April 03, 2008

Multi-supplement takers have better health....

Today's post: Thursday, 4-3-2008

Dr Dharma Singh Kahlsa wrote a book called Brain Longevity in which he reports on his successful efforts to prevent brain dysfunction & even often reverse it with supplements, exercise, & stress relief techniques.

His email letter is mostly a direct promotion for the supplements he found to work that he now sells himself.

I do keep reading it because he occasionally has terrifically good & useful information in it.

Last week, he had this:

"In a new study published in Nutritional Journal, it was revealed that
long-term multiple dietary supplement users were in much better
health. Beyond that, they were less likely to have many illnesses
including high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, Alzheimer's
and others.

In the study, the users of a family of supplements, such as those
mentioned above, as compared to non-users and those who took only a
multi, were better off when it came to their health and wellness.

Researchers obtained information from 278 people regarding long-term
multiple supplement use patterns, health, and nutrition through
questionnaires and a physical examination. The researcher scientists
then compared all the data and information they collected with 800 non-
users and single multivitamin/mineral supplement users.

What do you think was the outcome?

The consumers of multiple supplements were less likely to have the
illnesses I mentioned above and moreover, more likely to have low
levels of what doctors call chronic disease- related biomarkers. Your
own doctor may have ordered some of them on you, for example, C-
reactive protein (CRP), which is associated with chronic inflammation
and homocysteine.

Homocysteine, which I order on all my patients, is associated with
elevated risk of cardiovascular disease, stroke, and Alzheimer's so
having a low level is very health-promoting and life-giving.

Multiple supplement users were also more likely to have optimal
levels of blood fats such as triglycerides and beneficial high levels
of HDL."

There are two reasons for this. Careful researchers & people who don’t like supplements much will point out, I think correctly, that people who are proactive enough about preserving or improving their health to take multiple supplements are also much more likely to do other things that protect or improve their health such as exercise regularly & eat more health OK foods & a LOT less health damaging foods.
This could account for these results they argue.

Sometimes they are correct at least in part. It’s somewhat true for me in fact. I have mostly good biomarkers and exercise regularly; eat mostly health OK foods; & eat hardly any health damaging foods other than occasionally having sugar & drinking a bit too much red wine.

However, I have measured results that show conclusively that when I’ve had a biomarker that was too high or too low & then found out which supplements improve it & began taking them, the biomarker did improve afterwards.

Further, multi-vitamins often leave out key nutrients or have some in what is now known to be insufficient amounts to best protect your health.

Most multi-supplement takers have taken extra vitamin C, Vitamin E, & added B Complex vitamins for years. Now, most of the ones who follow the health news have added 2,000 or more iu of vitamin D. And, those who have read why tend to take extra magnesium.

You then add to that people who take supplements that increase HDL, lower LDL, help keep blood glucose in the desirable range, & lower homocysteine & the results began to look largely due to the supplements.

In addition, it works the other way than the pessimists argument to the benefit of the multi-supplement takers.

For, example people who take niacin to increase HDL, lower LDL, & lower triglycerides may also begin & keep doing regular exercise when they didn’t before as it helps get these same results. And, they may also begin to eat more onions & wild caught salmon (for their omega 3 content) & stop eating foods with transfats for the same reasons. Doing both -- taking the right supplements AND protecting your health in other, complementary ways -- gives you levers that work to directly upgrade your health.

So, the bottom line is taking the right supplements DOES improve your health & biomarkers BY ITSELF.

People who take supplements DO tend to already be doing more for their health.

AND, people who take supplements are also more likely to begin doing more for their health.

They are all three true statements.

The most important take away from this is to take action to protect your health; do it as many effective ways as you can, & include the supplements that best protect your health and help you achieve what you in particular most need to achieve in protecting your health.

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Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Resveratrol improved cancer treatment outcomes....

Today's post: Tuesday, 4-1-2008

A story entitled: “Red Wine Antioxidant Kills Pancreatic Cancer Cells” in my NewsMax email recently said that researchers at the James P. Wilmot Cancer Center at the University of Rochester Medical Center decided to test to see if the antioxidant resveratrol protected cancer cells in people who were treated for pancreatic cancer with radiation.

They found a strong effect but in the reverse direction.

Having the people take resveratrol supplements ahead of time to ensure their bodies had a good amount when the radiation treatments were done is reported in this study to have sharply increased the kill rate on the cancer cells.

Further, the people who took resveratrol were better able to withstand the effects of the radiation treatment than the people who took none.

“ The study was published in the March (2008) edition of the journal, Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology. “

“The research has many implications for patients, said lead author Paul Okunieff, M.D., chief of Radiation Oncology at the James P. Wilmot Cancer Center at the University of Rochester Medical Center.”

That this research showed such a positive effect in treating pancreatic cancer only suggests but does not prove that this effect will happen with all radiation treatments of all cancers.

But if that should prove to be the case, which I suspect it will, the implications for cancer patients are not only numerous, they are extremely important.

The two main concerns of such patients who undergo radiation treatments for cancer are:

1. Will this actually kill the cancer enough to save my life or get rid of the cancer?

2. Will the treatment kill me itself or badly impair my quality of life?

This research suggests taking resveratrol just before a cancer radiation treatment will help the answers to both these questions to be closer to the answers people would like than the answers they fear. That’s only two implications; but they are the two BIG ones for people who have cancer who are considering getting radiation treatments.

(Related implications are that in some cases less radiation or fewer exposures might kill the cancer enough to further lessen bad side effects OR that slightly more radiation or more treatments will still allow the patient to do OK but kill the cancer completely instead of partly.)

Further, if one of the triggers of cancer is that your aging immune systems stops getting rid of cancer in the early stages before its noticeable & another cancer trigger is DNA damage from aging, slowing your rate of aging will tend to prevent cancers or delay their appearance. And, there is apparently also evidence that taking resveratrol does just that.

As of now, the brand that has been tested to produce ant-aging effects is Longevinex. Other brands may work also. But that has not yet been established as far as I know.

However, if the information in the Longevinex box is accurate, it’s only a matter of time before other supplement makers make resveratrol supplements that work as well.

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