Summer is such a great time of year for many reasons, but specifically for the availability of fresh fruits and vegetables. New health effects of fruits and vegetables, as well as other types of food, continue to be added to the already long list, so this newsletter provides you with an update of some recent findings. To your health!
Assuming that we’re not much different than Americans, too many of us fall short of the amount of fruit we should be eating. To make matters worse, many of us consume most of our fruit as juice, which deprives us of the fibre contained in the fruit. While 100% fruit juice (NO added sugar or any other type of sweetener) can be part of a healthy diet, the calories add up quickly. For example, one cup of orange juice contains just half a gram of fibre compared to 4.3 grams in a cup of orange slices. Not only that, but the cup of orange slices has only about 2/3 the calories.
Most of our fruit should be whole fruit, and eating the peel is recommended in fruits where the peel is edible. For example, 2/3 of the fibre in an apple comes from the peel, as well as many of the antioxidants.
Cherries, which are rich in antioxidants, are a proven anti-inflammatory that help reduce sore muscles and joint pain; they also reduce uric acid and cholesterol levels.
Fruits are among the best sources of polyphenol compounds (antioxidants) such as flavonoids, whose many health benefits are the subject of ongoing research. Berries, which are especially rich in these compounds, may be good for your brain – this has been demonstrated in animal studies. Berries are also heart-healthy, reducing risk of high blood pressure, and high levels of ‘bad’ LDL cholesterol.
Frozen fruits are picked and frozen at their nutritional peak, and should not be overlooked, especially in the winter, when some fresh fruits are less readily available and may be more expensive.
Make room for more fruit in your diet
At this time of year, local, fresh asparagus is a real treat. Asparagus is high in antioxidants, and also helps support the digestive system. It contains inulin, a type of prebiotic, which encourages colon health while stimulating the growth of probiotics (good bacteria).
Artichokes also have many positive effects on the digestive system – studies show that they promote healthy liver and gallbladder function because they contain cynarin which helps increase bile production, helping to get bad stuff out of the body. Artichokes also stimulate healthy digestion.3
Tomatoes are well known for their health benefits, and now the purple tomato is touted as having higher levels of antioxidants. The “Indigo Rose” is high in anthocynanins, pigments with antioxidant properties typically found in berries. However, it tastes “just like a tomato.”
In a review of 6 prior studies, researchers confirmed a link between consuming dark green leafy vegetables rich in lutein and zeaxanthin a reduction in the risk of age-related macular degeneration. Dietary sources of lutein and zeaxanthin include spinach and other dark leafy gres, broccoli, zucchini, Romaine lettuce, corn and peas as well as egg yolks. The researchers from Peking University caution that further research is needed.
Dietary potassium has been linked to lower risk of ischemic stroke. Swedish researchers analyzed data from 10 previous studies including 268,276 participants, of which 8,695 experienced a stroke. They found that for every 1,000 milligrams per day of potassium consumed from foods such as fruits, vegetables and dairy products, risk of stroke decreased by 11%. That’s a little more than the amount of potassium in 2 bananas (see table). The researchers believe that potassium may reduce stroke risk by lowering blood pressure and also by improving blood-vessel function. They noted that a 1998 study found potassium supplements also reduced stroke risk, after adjusting for hypertension.
Fibre from whole grains has been linked with living longer (see our March 2012 newsletter), and now new research confirms an association between consuming more dietary fibre, especially whole grains, and a reduction in colorectal cancer risk. Researchers pooled data from 25 prior studies including 2 million participants, with follow-up periods ranging from 3.5 to 17 years. Participants with a high intake of dietary fibre had a 12% lower risk of colorectal cancer compared to participants with the lowest intake. The benefits seen with fruits and vegetables were less dramatic than for whole grains in this case.
The favourable evidence keeps mounting for dark chocolate! A new review of 10 previous studies (320 people) of chocolate consumption and cholesterol found that the cocoa found in dark chocolate is linked to significant reductions in total and LDL (bad) cholesterol. Overall, consumption of dark chocolate was linked to average reductions of 6.23 mg/dL in total cholesterol, and 5.9 mg/dL in LDL. There were no apparent effects on HDL or triglycerides. Eating chocolate seemed more beneficial than drinking cocoa-containing beverages. These effects were observed despite the saturated fat and calories also contained in chocolate. The flavanols are believed to inhibit cholesterol absorption as well as the body’s receptors for LDL cholesterol. One researcher is quoted as saying, “The findings suggest that this indulgent treat can reasonably be included in a heart-healthy diet – in small amounts that do not increase body weight.”
There are a number of Nature’s Sunshine products that provide excellent nutrition.
Chlorophyll Liquid, Chlorophyll Capsules. Chlorophyll is the green pigment in plants that harness the sun’s energy from the process known as photo-synthesis. Chlorophyll is to plants what blood is to humans — it performs metabolic functions such as respiration and growth. Interestingly, the chlorophyll molecule is chemically similar to human blood, except that its central atom is magnesium, not iron as in human blood. The alfalfa plant, from which Nature’s Sunshine’s magnesium-rich chlorophyll comes, is an excellent source of chlorophyll.
Flax Hull Lignans. While most of the attention surrounding flax seed has been its source of essential fatty acids, recent studies and research have revealed that the substance called "lignan" within flax seed may surpass flax oil in its health benefits.
Lignans are a group of phytonutrients (plant nutrients) which are found in seeds, grains and vegetables. Flax seed is by far nature's richest source of plant lignans. The lignans are found in the fiber hull of the seed. Flax seed contains a total of 27 different lignans, the main one being secoisolariciresinol diglycoside (SDG). The first interest in biological activity of SDG arose in the early 1980's when investigators reported that the level of lignans in the body were lower in patients with breast cancer than in tumor-free patients.
Flax Seed Oil. Our bodies do need fat, but not just any fat. What they need most of all are essential fatty acids found in high concentration in the brain where they aid in the transmission of nerve impulses and are needed for the normal development and functioning of the brain. Flax Seed Oil contains twice as much omega-3 EFA’s (essential fatty acids) as fish oil products. Scientific studies show that omega-3 EFA’s play a role in cardiovascular and circulatory health.
Green Zone Powder, Green Zone Capsules. GreenZone consists of green foods like sea algae and lang-grown cereal grasses. Full of nutrient-rich goodness, green foods are the most healthful foods nature has to offer. Green foods not only help us sustain energy but boost the immune system, strengthen connective tissues and provide the body with the benefits of cleansing and detoxification.
GreenZone contains the finest blend of whole foods, algae, and herbs balanced for the best utilization by our bodies. The 40-30-30 principle (% of carbohydrates, protein, and essential fat) has been incorporated into the formulation of this product.
LOCLO is a special blend of dietary fibre that binds excess bile acids and dietary cholesterol. Health professionals recommend that individuals consume diets that are low in fat and high in fibre, especially soluble fibre. Diets of this type have been linked to a reduction in blood cholesterol levels and reduced risk of heart disease.
Nature’s Gold, Level I. Nature’s Gold is a highly nutritious whole food produced from organic barley seed. Plant seeds are powerhouses of stored nutrients, in concentrations much higher than any other part of the plant. The unique germination and nutrient stabilization processes of Nature’s Gold make it up to 97% digestible. Regular barley that has not been treated with the Nature’s Gold method has a digestibility of only about 5%. Nature’s Gold transports more amino acids, minerals, and vitamins into cells due to its enhanced digestibility.
Psyllium Seeds. The powdered seeds are an excellent soluble fibre able to absorb large quantities of water and soften the stool. Psyllium helps clean the colon by acting as a broom against the colon walls.
Psyllium Hulls. Psyllium hulls are an excellent source of soluble fibre, which absorbs water and toxins. It is effective for acute and chronic constipation. It promotes the growth of friendly colonic bacteria. Psyllium helps to clean the colon by acting as a broom against the colon walls.
Note: With both forms of psyllium, it is important to drink plenty of water.
Zambroza is a blend of the most healthful fruits and nutritional supplements from all over the world. Zambroza is replete with xanthones, bioflavonoids and powerful antioxidants.
Antioxidants scavenge the free radicals that the body accumulates as a byproduct of energy production as well as through pollution, tobacco smoke, ultraviolet light and radiation. Antioxidants benefit virtually every organ and body system because they mop up damaging free radicals. Zambroza delivers a punch of antioxidant protection with a very high ORAC value. (ORAC is a measure of a product’s antioxidant strength).
Among Zambroza’s key ingredients is mangosteen, a tasty fruit found in eastern tropical nations, such as Thailand. Mangosteen contains the greatest known supply of compounds called xanthones. Xanthones offer powerful immune and cardiovascular support. Other ingredients in this nutritious juice include wolfberry, sea buckthorn, red grapes, grape seeds, grape skins, raspberries, blueberries, apple extract and green tea.
For additional information, please email email@example.com; or call Ramilas Healing Arts Clinic at 613.829.0427 for an appointment. Please continue letting friends and family know about this newsletter. Also on our website, please see back issues of this newsletter, additional information about products, order products, and see information about our Clinic.
A reminder – Last month I noted that our location is exactly the same, but Robertson Road has been renumbered, effective May 1. Our street address is now 2068 Robertson Road, instead of 68. Everything else is the same:
The suggestions and recommendations in this newsletter are not intended to be prescriptive or diagnostic. The information is accurate and up to date to our knowledge, but we are not responsible for any errors in our sources of information.
These newsletters will help you make better choices for better health. The choices that you make today can either have a positive or negative impact on your overall health. Begin by choosing better. It is a step toward longevity.