Sweet potatoes are considered a superfood. They are one of the healthiest and most inexpensive vegetables on the planet. (And one day, perhaps, even off the planet, as NASA has chosen the sweet potato for space missions.) A study at the University of Washington aimed to identify which vegetables provided the most nutrients per dollar.
In my video, Anti-Cancer Potential of Sweet Potato Proteins, you can see a graph of affordability versus nutrition for different foods. The healthiest foods, like dark green leafy vegetables, may also be the cheapest, and the highest nutrient-rich food scores per dollar were obtained for sweet potatoes.
Sweet potatoes are not just packed with nutrition but may also have special cancer-fighting properties. In 1931, a unique protein was discovered in sweet potatoes. It turns out that 80 percent of the protein in sweet potatoes is a type of protease inhibitor with potential anticancer effects. These proteins were originally tested against leukemia and appeared to suppress the growth of leukemia cells in a petri dish. Continue reading “Sweet Potato Proteins vs Cancer”
According to two of perhaps the most credible nutrition authorities, the World Health Organization and the European Food Safety Authority, we should get at least half of a percent of our calories from the essential omega-3 fat ALA. That’s easy: Just have about one tablespoon a day of chia seeds or ground flaxseeds and you’re all set.
Our body can then take the short-chain ALA from our diet and elongate it into the long-chain omega-3s, EPA and DHA. The question, however, has long been whether our bodies can make enough EPA and DHA for optimal health. How would one determine that? Continue reading “Do Flaxseeds Offer Sufficient Omega-3’s for Our Heart?”
Fruits and vegetables are the most nutrient-dense foods on the planet, and dark green leafy vegetables lead the pack. Each of the top five so-called powerhouse fruits and vegetables are greens. If we blend them up in a smoothie, soup or sauce we’re taking food with the most nutrition and breaking cells and dumping that nutrition into the bloodstream.
Chewing is good, but blending is better in terms of digestive efficiency and nutrient absorption.
But, if we take in all that nutrition and it doesn’t all make it down to our colon, might we be starving our microbial selves? Why are intact grains, beans and nuts better than bread, hummus and nut butters?
No matter how well we chew, intact food particles make it down to the colon where they offer a smorgasbord for good bacteria. If grains, beans and nuts are finely ground into flour or paste, we may be leaving our gut flora high and dry. Would the same be true for fruits and vegetables? Continue reading “Are Intact Whole Grains Better? What About Fruits and Veggies?”
In my video Why Prevention Is Worth a Ton of Cure, I profiled a paper that added up all the deaths caused by medical care in this country, including the hundred thousand deaths from medication side effects, all deaths caused by errors, etc. The paper’s author concluded that the third leading cause of death in America is the American medical system.
What was the medical community’s reaction to this revelation? After all, the paper was published in one of the most prestigious medical journals, the Journal of the American Medical Association, and authored by one of our most prestigious physicians, Barbara Starfield, who literally wrote the book on primary care. Continue reading “Third leading Cause of Death in America is the American Medical System”
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a chronic, episodic intestinal disorder characterized by abdominal pain and altered bowel habits that affects one in seven Americans.
IBS can have a substantial impact on health and well-being. The health-related quality of life of irritable bowel sufferers can often rival that of much more serious disorders.
The first step toward successful treatment is for physicians to acknowledge the condition and not dismiss the patient as hysterical.
There is a huge unmet therapeutic need and the lack of effectiveness of available treatments often discourages sufferers from seeking medical care. Continue reading “Peppermint Oil, a Safe Alternative for Irritable Bowel Syndrome that Actually Works?”
It is commonly thought that those who eat plant-based diets may be more prone to iron deficiency, but it turns out that they’re no more likely to suffer from iron deficiency anemia than anybody else. This may be because not only do those eating meat-free diets tend to get more fiber, magnesium, and vitamins like A, C, and E, but they also get more iron.
The iron found predominantly in plants is non-heme iron, which isn’t absorbed as well as the heme iron found in blood and muscle, but this may be a good thing. As seen in my video, The Safety of Heme vs. Non-Heme Iron, avoidance of heme iron may be one of the key elements of plant-based protection against metabolic syndrome, and may also be beneficial in lowering the risk from other chronic diseases such as heart disease. Continue reading “Plant versus Animal Iron… and the winner is…”
We’ve known that breastfed infants may be protected against obesity later in life for more than 30 years, but why? It may be the formula.
Giving infants formula based on cow’s milk presents an unusual situation. Cow’s milk is designed to put nearly two pounds a day onto a growing calf, 40 times the growth rate of human infants (see Formula for Childhood Obesity.)
The perfect food for humans, finely tuned over millions of years, is human breast milk. Remarkably, among all mammalian species, the protein content of human milk is the lowest. The excessive protein content of cow’s milk-based formula is thought to be what sets the child up for obesity later in life.
And then, instead of being weaned, we continue to drink milk. The question thus arises, as to whether consumption of a growth-promoting substance from another species throughout childhood fundamentally alters processes of human growth and maturation. Continue reading “How Milk May Contribute to Childhood Obesity”
The Mediterranean Diet is an “in” topic nowadays in both the medical literature and the lay media. What is it? Where did it come from? Why is it good? Merits are rarely detailed; possible downsides are never mentioned.” So, let’s dig in….
After World War II, the government of Greece asked the Rockefeller foundation to come in and assess the situation. Impressed by the low rates of heart disease in the region, nutrition scientist Ancel Keys – after which “K” rations were named – initiated his famous seven countries study.
In this study, he found the rate of fatal heart disease on the Greek isle of Crete was 20 times lower than in the United States. They also had the lowest cancer rates and fewest deaths overall. What were they eating? Continue reading “The Mediterranean Diet … What’s the Secret?”
The Intake of saturated fats and added sugars, two of the primary components of a modern Western diet is linked to the development of Alzheimer’s disease.
Plant-derived foods contain thousands of compounds with antioxidant properties, some of which can traverse the blood-brain barrier and may have neuroprotective effects by assisting with antioxidant defense.
The concept of “brain rust” is that neurodegenerative diseases arise from excess oxidative stress. Nature has gifted humankind with a plethora of plants, fruits, vegetables and nuts, and the diverse array of bioactive nutrients present in these natural products may play a pivotal role in prevention and one day, perhaps, even the cure of various neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease.
Evidence suggests that naturally occurring plant compounds may potentially hinder neurodegeneration, and even improve memory and cognitive function. Continue reading “How Eating Plants May Help Prevent Alzheimer’s Disease”
Just like mosquitoes are the vectors of spread for malaria, a landmark article published recently in one of the most prestigious medical journals described large food corporations as the vectors of spread for chronic disease. Unlike “infectious disease epidemics, however, these corporate disease vectors implement sophisticated campaigns to undermine public health interventions.” Most mosquitoes don’t such good PR firms.
A key message was that “alcohol and ultra-processed food and drink industries use similar strategies as the tobacco industry to undermine effective public health policies and programs.” What they mean by ultra-processed are things like burgers, frozen meals, chicken nuggets, fish sticks, potato chips, doughnuts and soda pop.
But how is the food industry like the tobacco industry? Continue reading “How Big Food Twists the Science”