All posts by Mick Daly

How Can We Keep Our Brain Healthy?

brian-health

Answer: Eat. Sleep. Hydrate. Exercise.

About 20 percent of the calories we consume are utilized by the brain. Besides the constant need for energy, our complex neural systems require a vast amount of nutrients to keep them churning full speed ahead. This is especially true as we age and are more susceptible to cognitive decline.

Asides from vitamin B12 and iron, there is a plethora of antioxidants and other micronutrients that help the brain function at peak levels. These nutrients are sorely missing from processed foods. If you want to keep your brain healthy and happy, make sure to eat real foods.

Here are some tips to help your brain be at its best.

  • Get moving: physical exercise is not only important for your body’s health; it also helps your brain stay sharp.
  • Get enough sleep. This not only ensures you are thinking clearly, it lessens the chance of you eating junk food.
  • Drink enough water.Lack of water to the brain can cause numerous symptoms including problems with focus, memory, brain fatigue and brain fog, as well as headaches, sleep issues, anger, and depression.
  • Get your vitamin D, essential for proper brain functioning, either from the sun, mushrooms, fish oil, or supplements.
  • Reduce your consumption of sugars and refined carbs. Although the brain is partially responsible for the addiction we have to sugars, in this age of plenty, most people overdose and damage their brain’s health.
  • Avoid inflammatory fats and focus on good fats from avocado, fish, nuts, and seeds.
  • Eat a variety of colorful fruits and vegetables. Each color represents a different set of antioxidants. Berries, especially, are very high in antioxidants.
  • Eat an abundance of berries: the polyphenol compounds in the fruits activate the brain’s natural “housekeeping” mechanism, clearing out stored toxins.
  • Add spices to your life. Fresh or dried, many spices and herbs have very high antioxidant values.

More articles on brain health….


These recommendations are all inline with our #OneSimpleChange program:

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Early Exposure to Friendly Bacteria Lowers Risk of Asthma and Allergies

In my last post, “How Fruits and Vegetables Can Treat Asthma“,  I mentioned that my “life-long” asthma (mine for 48 years), was a thing of the past since I found a way to smuggle those vital green veggies into my diet.

Good-BacteriaNow it appears my early sickness (almost from birth) may have also contributed. My parents kept me from exposure to germs, and in the process may have limited my exposure to  the “good bacteria” that it now seems could have prevented my asthma from developing.

A team of Canadian scientists, reporting in Science Translational Medicine, analyzed the billions of bugs that naturally call the human body home. Their analysis of 319 children showed they were at higher risk of asthma if four types of bacteria were missing.

The team, at the University of British Columbia and the Children’s Hospital in Vancouver, compared the microbiome at three months and at one year with asthma risk at the age of three.

Childhood asthma

Children lacking four types of bacteria – Faecalibacterium, Lachnospira, Veillonella, and Rothia (Flvr) – at three months were at high risk of developing asthma at the age of three, based on wheeze and skin allergy tests.

The same effect was not noticed in the microbiome of one-year-olds, suggesting that the first few months of life are crucial.

Further experiments showed that giving the bacterial cocktail to previously germ-free mice reduced inflammation in the airways of their pups.

One of the researchers, Dr Stuart Turvey, said: “Our longer-term vision would be that children in early life could be supplemented with Flvr to look to prevent the ultimate development of asthma.”

“I want to emphasise that we are not ready for that yet, we know very little about these bacteria, [but] our ultimate vision of the future would be to prevent this disease.”

Asthma is caused by airways that are more sensitive to irritation and inflammation.
Cases have soared, and one in every 11 children is now diagnosed with asthma.

One explanation for the rise in asthma and allergies is the “hygiene hypothesis”, which suggests that children are no longer exposed to enough microbes to calibrate the immune system to tell the difference between friend and foe.

Giving birth by Caesarean section and not breast-feeding both limit the bacteria that are passed to a newborn. Antibiotics taken by a pregnant woman or newborn child can also change the microbiome.

Dr Brett Finlay, another researcher in the project, said: “[I was] surprised to realise that faecal microbes may be influencing things.

“What data’s really starting to show these days is that the immune system gets itself set up in the gut and influences how it works everywhere else in the body.”

‘Right bugs, right time’

Dr Benjamin Marsland, from the University of Lausanne, in Switzerland, said: “For a number of years, exposure to microbes has been linked with protection against asthma, a classic example is growing up on a farm and drinking raw milk.”

“This new study adds weight to these observations and supports the concept that there are certain developmental windows in early life, where it’s really important to get the right signals.”

“A common factor in all studies so far has been the microbiota, in fact making sure babies have the right bugs, at the right time, might be the best step towards preventing asthma and allergies.”

Dr Samantha Walker, from the charity Asthma UK, said: “Asthma is a complex condition, and this research suggests that the delicate balance of gut bacteria in our bodies affects our immune systems and may have a role to play in why some people go on to develop asthma.”

“However, much more research is needed to help understand what these findings mean in terms of providing advice for new parents, developing treatments and ultimately a cure.”


Another “However”: let’s not forget the vital role nutrition (and Juice Plus+) play in transforming our health. After, all my “life-long asthma” is no more!

How Fruits and Vegetables Can Treat Asthma

This is a great article by:  22 years ago I discovered my lifelong asthma was virtually gone. It’s been a non-issue ever since. 

Treating Asthma with Fruits and Vegetables

In my video Preventing Asthma With Fruits and Vegetables, I highlighted an international study of asthma and allergies involving more than a million kids. The study found a consistent inverse relationship between prevalence rates of asthma, allergies, and eczema and the intake of plants, starch, grains, and vegetables. Researchers speculated “over a decade ago that if these findings could be generalized, and if the average daily consumption of these foods increased, an important decrease in symptom prevalence could be achieved.” No need to speculate any more, though, because plants were finally put to the test.

Researchers have proposed that “by eating fewer fruits and vegetables, the susceptibility to potentially harmful inhaled substances of the population as a whole may be increased because of the reduction in antioxidant defenses of the lungs.” The thin lining of fluid that forms the interface between our respiratory tract and the external environment is our first line of defense against oxidative damage. Oxidative damage is important in asthma, contributing to airway contraction, excessive mucous production, and hypersensitivity. Antioxidants protect against oxidative stress, so our lung lining contains a range of antioxidants our body makes itself, as well as those obtained from our diet, particularly from fruits and vegetables.

We can even quantify the level of oxidative stress in people by measuring the level of oxidation products in their exhaled breath, which drops as we start eating more fruits and vegetables, and drops further as we combine more plants with fewer animal foods.

Do those with asthma really have lower levels of antioxidants than people without asthma? Compared to healthy controls, subjects with asthma had lower whole blood levels of total carotenoids and lower levels of each of the individual phytonutrients they measured: cryptoxanthin, lycopene, lutein, alpha-carotene and beta-carotene compared to healthy controls.

Therefore, they posit, “the accumulating evidence does suggest that diet has an influence in modulating the response of the lung to inhaled allergens and irritants. However, it is possible that the reduced carotenoid levels in asthma are a result of increased utilization in the presence of excess free radicals.” So it’s like a chicken-or-the-egg phenomenon.

We know antioxidant-rich diets have been associated with reduced asthma prevalence. However, direct evidence that altering intake of antioxidant-rich foods actually affects asthma was lacking, until now.

There are two ways to test the effects of fruits and vegetables on asthma. Add fruits and vegetables to people’s diets and see if their asthma improves, or take asthmatics and remove fruits and vegetables from their diets and see if they get worse.

The first such study of its kind, highlighted in my video, Treating Asthma With Fruits and Vegetables, placed subjects with asthma on a low antioxidant diet. After just a matter of days, there was a significant worsening of lung function and asthma control. The researchers conclude that, “This finding is highly significant for subjects with asthma, as it indicates that omitting antioxidant-rich foods from the diet, for even a short time frame, will have a detrimental effect on asthma symptoms.”

Ironically, the low antioxidant diet consumed by subjects, where they were restricted to one serving of fruit and up to two servings of vegetables per day, is typical of Western diets. In other words, the low antioxidant diet they used to worsen people’s asthma, crippling their lung function, was just like the standard American diet.

As about “half the population usually consumes a diet with an intake of fruit and vegetables equivalent to that in the study diet or less, it appears likely that this dietary pattern, which must be considered suboptimal for lung health, may have a significant impact on asthma management, indicating the potential for typical Western dietary patterns to contribute to a worsening of lung function and asthma control.”

Within just days, cutting down fruit and vegetable intake can impair lung function, but does adding fruits and vegetables help with asthma? That was the second phase of the study.

Asthmatics on the standard American diet had about a 40% chance of relapsing into an asthma exacerbation within three months. However, put them on seven servings of fruits and vegetables a day instead of three, and we cut their exacerbation rate in half, down to 20%. Imagine if there were a drug that could work as powerfully as a few fruits and vegetables.

If manipulating antioxidant intake by increasing fruit and vegetable intake can so powerfully reduce asthma exacerbation rates, why not just take antioxidant pills instead? I cover that in my video Treating Asthma With Plants vs. Supplements?

And if a few extra servings of fruits and vegetables can make that kind of difference, what about a whole diet composed of plants? Check out Treating Asthma and Eczema With Plant-Based Diets.

Eating for bone health

This is a guest post by by Ann Caldwell, nutritionist and registered dietitian at Anne Arundel Medical Center.

Nutrition and bone, muscle and joint health are closely related. A healthy diet can help prevent and manage osteoporosis and related musculoskeletal disorders by assisting in the production and maintenance of bone. If you are not getting the right nutrients you are putting yourself at greater risk for bone, muscle and joint disease.

Osteoporosis is called the silent disease because many people do not know they have it until they suffer a fracture. Ninety percent of adult bone mass is in place by the end of adolescence. Studies show if you are over 50, one out of every two women and up to one in four men will break a bone due to osteoporosis.

The following nutrients, and the foods that contain them, hold particular promise in promoting optimal bone health:

Calcium is a mineral essential for both building bones and keeping them healthy. Unfortunately the majority of Americans are not getting enough. Ideal food sources include milk, and enriched milk alternatives, such as soy or almond milk, cheese and yogurt. Other sources include bok choy, kale, turnip greens, almonds, white beans, tofu and fortified orange juice. The recommended daily allowance for adults over 50 is 1200 mg per day.

Vitamin D also is important for bone health, as it promotes calcium absorption. There are a few sources of vitamin D in food, such as fatty fish, cheese, egg yolk, fortified milk, milk products, orange juice and cereals. Vitamin D can also be obtained through sunlight, but with the use of sunscreen this is not adequate. The best advice is to always get as much vitamin D from the diet, but supplementation is often required. The current RDA is 400 IU’s, but if you are deficient the dose can be much higher.

Other nutrients have been linked with bone health, including vitamins C and K and magnesium. Eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables may protect bones as these are rich in antioxidants—including watermelon, tomatoes, pink grapefruit, bell peppers and guava.

Eating habits with a moderate intake of protein, fruits, vegetables and whole grains leads to a healthier lifestyle.

High levels of protein, caffeine, sodas and sodium have been linked to calcium loss. Many Americans consume too much protein, which can increase the urinary excretion of calcium. Yet at older ages protein intake is often too low and this can lead to bone loss and fractures. It is important to have a balance. We should aim to have not too much but enough, which can be said for all nutrients.

Maintaining a healthy weight through diet and physical activity are key to prevent bone disease. Physical activity should combine weight-bearing activity, simply to carry the weight of your skeleton, such as walking. Strength training is helps improve the muscles that support your skeleton and exercise improves your balance to help prevent falls.

Taking charge of nutritional health and exercise will help promote healthy bones as you age.


Over the first 10 years of using Juice Plus+ products, Jenny had her bone density measured several times and was told she had the bones of a young woman, 20+ years younger. Now, after more than 22 years on Juice Plus+, she is even younger!

The results we have seen in Jenny and in many others (including some dramatic reversals of osteoporosis) come from the combination of powerful, plant-based macronutrients (carbs, protein and fiber) in our Juice Plus+ Complete powdered drink mix, and the micronutrients (vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients and enzymes) in both the Complete and the Juice Plus+ capsules (fruits, veggies and berries).

Of course, a major contributor has also been the improved diets and lifestyles that result from, and are part of, the Juice Plus+ Experience.

Improve Your Health and Longevity with Epigenetics

Your Beliefs Are Stronger Than Your Genes – this is a very thought-provoking article by Dr. Christiane Northrup.

Scientists have long been fascinated with our DNA. The 20th century brought huge advances in the study of human genetics; we finally witnessed the complete mapping of the Human Genome. And once it was complete, many experts realized what I have been saying all along: Your genes are not necessarily your destiny. In fact, your genes cause less than 10 percent of all diseases!

The science of genetics imparts that you are destined to get the diseases that run in your family. This is known as genetic determinism. If you go to your doctor for genetic tests, you will get information on the gene expressions you carry along with scary statistics stating that you have a certain percentage of a chance for developing any number of serious diseases. But, the same doctors who provide you with those statistics will be the first to admit, that even with this detailed genetic information, most of them don’t change their prevention or treatment plans. That’s because your genes don’t determine anything all by themselves.

If Your Genes Aren’t Driving Disease, What is?

I am here to tell you that Epigenetics – the study of how our environment affects our genes – is far more accurate when it comes to determining your health. For example, we know that eating nutritious foods, engaging in physical activity you love, and making other healthy lifestyle choices can actually improve your health. Well, guess what? Your beliefs are your environment. Your beliefs, along with your relationships, the food you eat, the air you breathe, the way you handle stress, and many other internal and external factors, are what trigger how your genes get expressed.

recent study conducted by Richard J. Davidson, Founder of the Center for Investigating Healthy Minds and The William James and Vilas Professor of Psychology and Psychiatry at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, shows that changes in gene expression happen very quickly when intensive mindfulness is used. Specifically, the study found that, after eight hours of meditation, people had reduced levels of pro-inflammatory genes and recovered more quickly from stressful situations.

Bruce Lipton, Ph.D., Best-selling author of The Biology of Belief: Unleashing The Power of Consciousness, Matter and Miracles, says that our genes are just blueprints with no more power than a paper blueprint. We give them power to turn on and off with our beliefs. He also states that most health problems occur because of “misperceptions” we have learned or acquired. And, since perceptions can be changed, so can our health. So you see, changing your beliefs is one of the most powerful things you can do for yourself. If you truly believe in your unconscious mind that you are young and vibrant no matter your age, your belief triggers a switch to turn on your longevity genes.

Also, you may not be the only one who benefits. Just as you may have received your grandmother’s gene for some trait, there is always the potential for passing your created good health along to future generations. That means, if you are considering having children, changing your beliefs about your health destiny may be the best way to ensure your children’s health too.

Your Beliefs Are Stronger Than Your Genes

It’s not too late to change your beliefs and change your health for the better. Here are my tips for empowering yourself toward vibrant health despite your genes:

Tip 1. Take notice of how you talk about your health.

Your words become your destiny. The words you speak go into your own ears. They literally land in your body, and your cells respond. Instead of speaking about any dis-ease or dis-ability, speak positively about what you are capable of doing and how you are supporting yourself, and you will become as healthy as your words.

Tip 2. Acknowledge what diseases run in your family.

It’s important to be able to fill out your family history for your medical provider. But, don’t allow this information to take up too much space in your brain. And, don’t speak as though it is inevitable that you will end up like a family member who has a particular disease.

Tip 3. Use your inner wisdom to elevate your health legacy to a vibrant level.

As you know, my book Women’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdom, is all about cultivating your inner wisdom to create health. There are many ways to access your inner wisdom. One way is to pay attention to your dreams. Other ways include tuning into your emotions, your menstrual cycle or even your energy levels at different times.

Tip 4. Listen to what your dis-ease is telling you.

Listening to your body is the easiest way to create health daily. Ideally you will listen to your body before dis-ease sets in. If you are already experiencing symptoms, pay attention to what they are telling you. Acknowledge that you may need to make some changes. Allow space for your emotions to surface and be released.

Read full article…. 

Obesity in America is on the rise; what can we do?

We’ve been talking about weight and gut health, so let’s stay on that theme for one more post, with excerpts from a recent article by Fooducate.

A recent article published in the Journal of the American Medical Association presents stark figures regarding America’s obesity challenges. Despite heightened awareness in the last few decades, overweight and obesity rates are still increasing.

Data for over 15,000 adults aged 25 was reviewed. Since the early nineties, the percentage of overweight and obese men rose from 63 to 75 percent. The percent of overweight and obese women grew from 55 to 67 percent.

This means that 7 out of 10 adults need to lose weight, right now. While more men need to lose weight, women need to lose more weight. There are currently 68 million men that are overweight and obese compared to “only” 64.8 million women. However, 35.9 million women are obese vs. 31.8 million men.

If you are part of those statistics, don’t get discouraged. You can change your immediate environment to decrease your chance of falling to temptation:

1. Always have a bottle of water at hand so that you won’t be tempted to gulp soft drinks

2. Go to the supermarket after you have eaten, and stick to your shopping list

3. Buy less snacks at the grocery store. This means less temptation at home

4. Have fruits and veggies pre-washed, ready to eat on the countertop and in the fridge

Read full article…     More posts on Weight Loss…  We have a 30 day Jump Start program to put you on the right track to a new, healthy lifestyle (NOT a diet!) It’s called Transform30 … here’s the creator of the program, biochemist Dr. Mitra Ray:

Weight Loss and Gut Bacteria

In my last post we discussed the exciting new field of research: the microbiome, aka our gut health. The microbiome and the friendly bacteria living there are the subject of a new book in the UK, which suggests that there’s more to weight gain than simply eating too many calories.

The Diet Myth

According to British scientist (and author) Tim Spector, of King’s College London, the reason for the global obesity epidemic is the lack of variety in the Western Diet.

In 20 years of studying 11,000 identical twins, Spector found that caloric intake was not  a significant indicator of weight gain. In some cases, a person who had dieted for 20 years weighed very similarly to her twin who didn’t restrict calories at all.

Spector, a genetics expert, contends that variety in food ingredients translates to a variety in gut bacteria populations, which in turn regulate our metabolism and health. The food many of us are eating today is derived from far fewer ingredients than in the past. This is  mostly due to highly processed junk and fast foods. Hello corn and soy ingredients!

This dearth of variety has led to a rise in certain types of fat loving gut bacteria that are associated with inflammation. A change can occur in as little as a few weeks of eating junk food. On the bright side, changing your diet to consume a wide variety of whole foods can restore the beneficial gut bacteria fairly fast.

Elderly people who exercise live five years longer

relay3Regular exercise in old age has as powerful an effect on life expectancy as giving up smoking, researchers say.

The analysis of 5,700 elderly men in Norway showed those doing three hours of exercise a week lived around five years longer than the sedentary.

The authors, writing in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, called for campaigns to encourage fitness in older people.

In the study – conducted by Oslo University Hospital – researchers found that both light and vigorous exercise extended life expectancy.

Official advice in the USA and UK recommends 150 minutes of moderate to intense exercise per week for all ages.

The study, tracking 68 to 77 year olds, found that doing less than an hour a week of light exercise had no impact.

But overall those putting in the equivalent of six, 30-minute sessions of any intensity, were 40% less likely to have died during the 11-year study.

The report said: “Even when men were 73 years of age on average at start of follow-up, active persons had five years longer expected lifetime than the sedentary.”

It added that physical activity was as “beneficial as smoking cessation” at reducing deaths.

familyjoggingThe British Heart Foundation published a report showing that the percentage of adults doing no moderate exercise across Europe is:

  • 69% in Portugal
  • 55% in Poland
  • 46% in France
  • 44% in the UK
  • 34% in Croatia
  • 26% in Germany
  • 14% in the Netherlands

Here in the USA, we are worst of all: surveys show that a full 79% of adults don’t meet the physical activity guidelines of at least 2½ hours a week of moderate-intensity aerobic activity such as brisk walking, or one hour and 15 minutes a week of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity, such as jogging.

Regular physical activity has been shown to lower the risk of early death, help control weight and reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, depression and some types of cancer and a host of other conditions. It lowers the risk of cognitive decline and hip fractures. That’s pretty compelling!

Other research indicates that people are even less active than these statistics suggest. Scientists with the National Cancer Institute, using actual motion sensors, found that fewer than 5% of adults in the USA get at least 30 minutes a day of moderate-intensity physical activity in bouts of at least 10 minutes. That’s not a lot!

If you are like me, over 65, this information can extend your life. If you are younger but having older parents, please pass this on to them with the encouragement that you want them around longer! Finally, whatever your age, know that exercise is vital for wellbeing, optimum health and longevity. The younger you get in the habit, the more likely you are to continue exercising into old age.

So, (if you aren’t already) START NOW! Your life depends on it!

#OneSimpleChange – physical activity.


Why can eating healthy food be a gassy proposition?

“So you’ve been on a new, healthy diet and you have a little gas, do ya? What would you rather have, a little gas (healthy human function) or colon cancer?” These are the words of our friend and colleague in Juice Plus+, Dr. Mitra Ray (research biochemist and expert of nutrition disease prevention). She doesn’t pull her punches!

Reading this NPR article will help answer her question.

Not long ago, we heard about a catchy name or a cookbook: “Fart-free food for everybody.”

In theory, these recipes would be helpful for some people — and those in their vicinity.

But being a bit gassy may actually be a small price to pay for a lot of benefits to our health.

We know that air often comes after eating nutrient-packed vegetables, such as cabbage, kale and broccoli. And researchers have found that fiber-rich foods, like beans and lentils, boost the levels of beneficial gut bacteria after only a few days.

So all this got us wondering: Could passing gas, in some instances, be a sign that our gut microbes are busy keeping us healthy?

Absolutely, says , a gastroenterologist at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn.

“Eating foods that cause gas is the only way for the microbes in the gut to get nutrients,” he says. “If we didn’t feed them carbohydrates, it would be harder for them to live in our gut.”

healthy-gutAnd we need to keep these colon-dwelling critters content, Kashyap says. When they gobble up food — and create gas — they also make molecules that boost the immune system, protect the lining of the intestine and prevent infections.

“A healthy individual can have up to 18 flatulences per day and be perfectly normal,” he adds.

Gas gets into the digestive tract primarily through : Swallowing air (which we all do when we eat and chew gum) and your microbiome. That’s the collection of organisms in the GI tract that scientists and doctors are currently all fired up about. (Check our colleague Rob Stein’s recent on it.)

That microbiome includes hundreds of different bacteria. But there are also organisms from another kingdom shacking up with them: the .

All these microbes are gas-making fools. They eat up unused food in your large intestine, like fiber and other carbohydrates we don’t digest, and churn out a bunch of gases as waste.

But that’s not all they make. They also produce a slew of molecules (called short chain fatty acids) that may promote the growth of other beneficial bacteria and archaea.

And the more fiber you feed these friendly inhabitants, the more types of species appear, studies have found. This bump in microbial diversity has been linked to a .

“Undigested carbohydrates allow the whole ecosystem to thrive and flourish,” Kashyap says.

Most gas made by the microbiome is odorless. It’s simply carbon dioxide, hydrogen or methane. But sometimes a little sulfur slips in there.

“That’s when it gets smelly,” Kashyap says.

But here’s the hitch: Many of the smelly sulfur compounds in vegetables have healthful properties.

Take for instance, the broccoli, mustard and cabbage family. These vegetables are packed with a sulfur compound, called sulforaphane, that is strongly associated with a reduced risk of cancer.

Another possible benefit of a little smelly gas? “It may reduce the total volume of air in the gut,” Kashyap says.

Why? Because bacteria and archaea make the sulfur gas from other gases in the gut, like hydrogen.

“Bacteria that make sulfide gas are really important,” Kashyap says. “They can cause smelliness, but they can reduce the total amount of gas flow.”

Of course, having too much of anything can be bad. If gas and bloating start interfering with your quality of life, Kashayps recommends seeing a doctor.

“But don’t immediately blame your diet,” Kashyap says.

In many cases, people who complain about too much gas actually don’t generate more than others, he says. Instead, they perceive the passing more intensely. Or they pass it .

“Yes, a more fiber-rich diet will produce more gas,” Kashyap adds. “But completely eliminating fiber from the diet should not be the first option. You don’t want to starve your microbes.”

So go ahead. Enjoy those lentils. Chow down on the cabbage. Then if you stink a little, think of it as a thank you gesture from your microbiome.


We might say: “It too shall pass!”

But seriously, gut health and the microbiome are becoming a very big deal in the corridors of advanced biology, and Juice Plus+ is a significant player.  After more than 30 clinical studies of Juice Plus+ have been published, still more are underway, including one relevant to our topic today.

The University of Memphis is studying Juice Plus+ over 16 weeks in 80 stressed nurses, with a BMI >25. This is a gold standard, randomized, placebo controlled study, which will answer these questions:

1. Can Juice Plus+ consumption alter the microbiome?

2. Can Juice Plus+ improve intestinal permeability?

3. Is there a correlation between gut health modulation via Juice Plus+ and low-grade inflammation and oxidative stress?

Exciting times!

Getting fruits and vegetables to those who need them most

USDA logo

We all know we should eat the recommended servings of fruits and vegetables each day. But for various reasons, the vast majority of Americans don’t. If eating right is hard for people across the board, imagine how difficult it is for those who are struggling to get food, any kind of food, on the table. That’s why I was heartened to hear the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has awarded $31.5 million in grants to help people participating in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) increase their purchases of fresh produce.

The grants, awarded to 31 separate organizations in 26 states, were authorized by the 2014 Farm Bill. The programs will be administered by diverse organizations — city and state governments, networks of farmers’ markets, community foundations, and food banks — for periods of one to four years. At the end of the test period, the Food Insecurity Nutrition Incentive (FINI) program will compare the efficacy of different programs in order to determine the best methods of promoting fruit and vegetable consumption by low-income families.

What are some of the methods being tested?

· Many programs offer dollar-for-dollar or other matches to increase participants’ purchasing power at grocery stores, farmers’ markets, or CSAs. (Participants of CSA — or community-supported agriculture — buy a share of a farmers’ produce in advance and receive a weekly box of whatever’s in season.)

· Other programs support mobile markets that bring produce into food desserts, which are neighborhoods that lack convenient places to buy fresh fruits and vegetables.

· Some programs will distribute nutritional information, organize cooking demonstrations, or hold forums to determine the barriers to fresh food access in specific communities.

· Most programs will serve all SNAP participants, but the San Antonio Food Bank plans to target pregnant women and new moms, and the International Rescue Committee will work to increase access to locally grown foods to refugee and immigrant populations in New York City. Organizations in Maine and Florida plan to create incentives for SNAP participants to buy produce grown in those states.

The sheer diversity of these programs, and the fact that they will be evaluated so we can learn what really works, makes me hopeful about tackling the problem of improving nutrition for the most vulnerable among us. Over 60 percent of people who receive SNAP benefits are either children, elderly, or disabled.

But of course, no matter what your age or income, everyone needs to eat a diet rich in health-giving fruits and vegetables. There’s no substitute for that. However, there is a solution for the times we fall short, and that’s Juice Plus+. Together, the Orchard and Garden blends contain 20 different fruits, vegetables, and grains, providing another kind of safety net for getting the nutrition we need.

What if we could get Tower Gardens in every community center?