Category Archives: Disease Prevention

Soy and Cancer Risk

Screen Shot 2016-05-27 at 9.54.57 AMForm the AICR:

There are a lot of soy foods in the grocery store – not just tofu and soymilk, but edamame (green soybeans), soy nuts, soy nut butter, soy “meats”, and high protein bars. If you’re boosting plant foods on your plate, soy foods can give you plenty of protein, fiber and other nutrients.

But Americans are still confused about whether soy is risky when it comes to breast cancer. Now there is plenty of solid research, both globally and from the US, that for breast cancer patients and survivors, eating moderate amounts of soy doesn’t increase a woman’s risk for breast cancer.

If you’re wary of eating tofu and other soy foods because you’ve heard it may up your risk of breast cancer, or a recurrence, you are not alone. Here, our dietitian talks about the research in this short video.


Full article…

More articles on soy…

The 3 Foods to Avoid for a Healthier Gut

Why does it matter?

Over the past decade, research has brought to light how your ‘gut microbiome’ plays a role in almost every aspect of health, including digestion, immunity, fat storage, and heart health.

Studies suggest a healthy gut may even help clear up skin conditions, such as eczema and acne, and may make you less susceptible to stress, anxiety, and depression—a finding that’s earned the microbiome the nickname “the second brain.”

Like most things in life, it’s all about balance: You want the “good” bacteria (like lactobacillus) to outweigh the “bad” bacteria. If this balance is thrown off, it can lead to a compromised immune system, inflammation, more fat storage, and other adverse effects.

Unfortunately, it’s not as easy as simply letting the good bacteria flourish. There’s a lot out of your control that affects your microbiome—such as where you live, where you were raised, and some aspects of your personal lifestyle. But there is one major way to influence your gut health that’s 100-percent in your control: what you eat.

Certainly, there are foods you should be eating (think: yogurt and fermented foods like kimchi or sauerkraut) to boost gut health. But there’s another important piece of the puzzle: cutting back on particular foods is also crucial to ensure a happy homeostasis for those microscopic critters. Here are the top three:

1. Conventional Meats and Poultry

At some point, we’ve all taken a course of antibiotics, which are designed to do pretty much what it sounds like: kill bacteria. But antibiotics don’t discriminate—they go after good and bad bacteria alike. While you shouldn’t perhaps refuse the meds your doc prescribes, research shows consuming antibiotics when unnecessary can do serious damage to your gut flora.

If you’re eating meat from livestock that’s been treated with antibiotics, you may be getting extra antibiotics without realizing it. While the use of some antimicrobial drugs in livestock to treat diseases is approved by the FDA, concerns arise when they’re used to help animals gain weight or when drugs intended for human consumption are given to animals, which has been linked to antibiotic resistance in humans.

The best way to avoid antibiotic-raised meat? Eat less meat and buy organic.

2. Artificial Sweeteners

If you thought fake sugar was a miracle sent from heaven to make all things sweeter sans calories, think again. Research suggests that sucralose—the main ingredient in Splenda—can significantly alter the balance of bacteria in the microbiome. In one small study, after consuming artificial sweeteners for just one week, many of the participants began to develop glucose intolerance—the first step on a path to metabolic syndrome, diabetes, and a host of other health issues.

And there are plenty of ways to sweeten things up without resorting to the fake stuff. Bad bacteria feed off sugars, a diet high in real sugars has also been linked to an off-balance microbiome, so you’ll still want to cut back on any kind of sweet stuff, Alpert says.

3. Genetically Modified Soy

While fermented soy is good for you, it may be wise to cut back on soy products that have been genetically modified (GM)—and if you’re eating them in the U.S., they most likely have been, as 94 percent of soybeans in America are GM. GMO food is a point of contention in the national health conversation, but that’s another story altogether. The point here is that the herbicide used on GMO crops in the U.S. (a.k.a. Roundup) has been shown to kill off many species of beneficial gut bacteria in animals. While research in this area is still ongoing, there aren’t many good reasons to choose to eat GM soy – or any other GM food. It also contains phytic acid, which messes with digestion and has been linked to gastric issues, such as gas and bloating.

You can get your bacteria back on track by cutting back on the above items, adding in beneficial foods for your gut, and taking a probiotic supplement.

Read the full article… 

More articles on gut health and the microbiome.

Fruits and Vegetables Help You C Better

If your mother ever told you eating carrots would help your eyesight, she was right. But did you know that other fruits and vegetables can help too? Just in time for Healthy Vision Month, a recently published, long-term study of over 2,000 female twins showed that dietary vitamin C — in other words, vitamin C that you get from food — helps slow the progression of cataracts. So there you have it: vitamin C from fruits and vegetables may help you see even better.

Cataracts are a clouding of the lens of the eye that impairs vision. You can have cataracts in one or both eyes, and they’re quite common when you’re older. By the age of 80, half of Americans either have cataracts or have had cataract surgery. With that statistic, there’s even more reason for dietary vitamin C.

In a study published in March in the journal Ophthalmology, researchers in the United Kingdom had 2,054 female twins, averaging 60 years of age, fill out food questionnaires to determine their intake of various nutrients. Next, they took digital images of the participants’ eyes. The eye-opening result? Women who ate diets rich in vitamin C (two servings of fruit and two servings of vegetables per day) were about 20 percent less likely to have cataracts than those who skimped on fruits and vegetables.

Researchers followed up with 324 of the women nearly a decade later and found that over time, the association between vitamin C consumption and protection from cataracts became even stronger. Those who were consuming the most vitamin C — at least twice the recommended daily allowance of 75 milligrams per day — now had a 33 percent lower risk of cataract progression than those who didn’t get as much of the nutrient.

This is great news for people who have a family history of cataracts, because the study concluded that genetics accounts for only 35 percent of cataract progression.

Environmental factors, including diet, account for the remainder. That means there are concrete steps you can take to protect your eyesight, and a good place to start is by eating fruits and vegetables high in vitamin C, such as citrus fruits (oranges and grapefruit), berries (blackberries, blueberries and raspberries), papaya, dark leafy greens, and broccoli.

This is just the latest good news about fruits and vegetables’ effect on eyesight, though. Here are two more ways eating produce can benefit your vision:

bugsA 2005 study showed that eating 4.5 ounces of carrots a day improves night vision. Carrots contain beta-carotene, which the body uses to make vitamin A, is critical for healthy vision. Sweet potatoes, cantaloupes, apricots, kale, and spinach also contain beta-carotene.

Fruits and vegetables high in two other phyto-nutrients known as lutein and zeaxanthin may help preserve the macula of the eye, which is responsible for clear central vision. Kale, spinach, broccoli, carrots, and corn are good sources of these eye-loving superstars.

One easy way to increase your intake of many important nutrients from fruits and vegetables, including beta carotin, vitamin C and lutein/zeaxanthin is Juice Plus+. Several Juice Plus+ studies have shown significant increases in these phyto-nutrients. We’ve been eating Juice Plus+ for more than 23 years and our health, including our eye health is excellent.

Why do the Amish rarely get cancer?

Screen Shot 2016-04-26 at 10.57.59 AM

The Amish way of life isn’t in any way modern. But when it comes to health and longevity, studies show that the Amish may be up to something very modern indeed.

A study published in the journal Cancer Causes and Control found very few instances of cancer among the Amish population of Holmes County, Ohio. Out of 26 000 individuals, only 191 cancer cases were identified between the years 1996 and 2003 (1).

The researchers were surprised to find such low rates of cancer. In fact, they theorized that the Amish would have higher instances of cancer because of their small gene pool, which should have increased the incidence of cancer-related gene mutations. Instead, this small gene pool, combined with a few lifestyle factors, may be responsible for their low cancer rates.

The secret to Amish health lies in their restrictive lifestyle. As you probably know, the Amish are a conservative Christian group that shuns conveniences of the modern world because they believe that modern technology negatively impacts humility, family, community, and faith.

While most Amish communities shun modern society as a whole, others are more open minded and may embrace technology as long as it doesn’t disrupt family and community stability.

1. They Lead A Humble Life
Amish families rely on hard labour to survive. In fact, Amish children quickly learn how to build homes and furniture as well as how to tend to the land. This constant exercise maintains their cardiovascular health and keeps their organs and tissues fueled with essential nutrients and oxygen. The Amish also don’t smoke or drink, aren’t sexually promiscuous, and keep their skin covered from the harsh sun. These habits reduce their risk of developing certain cancers.

2. They Make Everything At Home
Since Amish people shun modern conveniences, they don’t use the chemical-laden products popular in American homes, such as dishwasher soap, deodorant, fragrance plug-ins and toxic cleaning products. Amish people also aren’t exposed to cancer-causing EMFs in their daily life because they simply don’t own any appliances or electronics.

3. They Eat Organic Whole Food
Most Amish communities grow their own organic food and use heirloom seeds, which tend to be more biological compatible with the human body than GMO seeds. These communities don’t rely on herbicides, pesticides or chemical fertilizer and their meat and dairy products don’t contain any hormones or antibiotics.

4. They Believe In Modern (alternative) Medicine
Amish people experience fewer medical interventions throughout their lifetime than other Americans. When they do have a medical problem, most Amish families rely on natural remedies to get their health back on track. Some turn to traditional medicine, but many prefer reflexologists and chiropractors to conventional doctors. This approach limits their exposure to liver-damaging pharmaceuticals and the potentially devastating side-effects of conventional drugs.

The Amish people seem to have it right when it comes to living a carcinogen-free life. While joining them completely may be a bit of a stretch, it’s worth looking into following a more natural lifestyle to ensure better long-term health.

Read full article… 

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:

osc-core6

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.

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.