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Vegetarian Stuffed Peppers with Brown Rice, Mushrooms, and Feta

Posted By Carol L. Hunter PhD, PMHCNS, CNP, Monday, November 28, 2016

By Kalyn’s Kitchen

In addition to creating my own culinary delights, I like to peruse recipes. I found this one from Kalyn’s Kitchen that I thought to be the perfect antidote to the heaviness of holiday mealtime. This lovely and colorful recipe can be a standalone entrée or a side dish. Just follow the link and you will find the step by step recipe along with appetizing pictures. Bon Appetit!

Warm wishes for a joyous holiday season! See you in 2017.

http://www.kalynskitchen.com/2013/10/vegetarian-stuffed-peppers-brown-rice-mushrooms-feta.html

Tags:  Carol Hunter  food and drink 

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Vegan Lemon Cake

Posted By Carol L. Hunter PhD, PMHCNS, CNP, Monday, November 7, 2016
Dr. Vasant Lad and his wife Usha, in their cookbook, entitled "Ayurvedic Cooking for Self Healing", describe sour foods: “when used in moderation, they are refreshing and delicious to the taste, stimulate appetite, improve digestion, energize the body, nourish the heart, enlighten the mind, and cause salivation.” For my birthday cake this past month, my daughter baked me a lemon vegan cake that was all of the above and more. Vegan cakes are not for everyone, not that it is so much a taste issue as one of texture. Vegan cakes are more compact and dense, lacking the usual airiness of a typical cake. If that is a concern and you want to give it fluffiness and don’t mind adding in some animal protein, you can mix in eggs into the liquid ingredients. Bon appetite!

INGREDIENTS
• 2 cups of white unbleached organic flour
• 1 tsp baking powder
• 1 tsp baking soda
• ½ tsp salt
• ½ cup maple syrup
• zest of a lemon (organic unwaxed)
• ½ cup grapeseed or coconut oil
• 1 ½ tbsp almond milk (add more if needed for perfect consistency of batter)
• 1 tsp vanilla essence
• ¼ cup lemon juice
• 2 eggs (optional)
Lemon Glaze
• 1 cup powdered sugar
• 1 ½ tbsp lemon juice

Instructions
1. Preheat the oven at 350F. Grease a bread form pan and line the inside with a baking sheet.
2. Sift the flour in a bowl and combine with baking powder, baking soda, salt, and lemon zest.
3. Add maple syrup, almond milk, safflower or coconut oil, lemon juice and (beaten eggs) and quickly combine all the ingredients to a smooth batter (be careful not to overmix).
4. Pour the batter in the bread form and bake in the oven for 35-45 min or until a skewer comes out clean. Carefully remove the cake from the form and let cool completely.
5. Mix powdered sugar and lemon juice to a creamy mixture, spread over the cake and let it firm before slicing the cake. Decorate with lemon slices.

ENJOY!

Tags:  Carol Hunter  food and drink  recipe  vegan 

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RECIPE: Ratatouille

Posted By Carol L. Hunter PhD, PMHCNS, CNP, Tuesday, July 5, 2016

With the Mediterranean Diet so well received today , not only in terms of positive research results for health but also for great taste, ratatouille is right up there on the menu. It’s a wonderful side dish or it can be the foundation for other great dishes. Enjoy!

INGREDIENTS:

Two medium eggplants

3 large or 4/5 medium tomatoes

2 medium purple onions

6 garlic cloves

2 large bell peppers: green, red, or orange

3 large zucchini

2 large summer squash

One small container of organic mushrooms

One small can of organic tomato paste

3 cubes of vegetable or chicken broth dissolved in 3 cups water

1/8th tsp each of parsley, oregano, thyme, basil, tarragon, garlic powder

Sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

Freshly grated parmesan/romano cheese

PREPARATIONS:

Heat a heavy skillet with a small amount of virgin, cold pressed olive oil. Add finely chopped onions, mushrooms, garlic cloves for about 10 minutes until onions are clear and mushrooms shrunk. Set aside.

In the same skillet, put in the eggplant, chopped into small pieces, about quarter size. Saute until browned and the sponginess is gone, about 20 minutes or so.

In a large pot, add the onion/mushroom mix, the eggplants and the uncooked remaining vegetables chopped into bite size pieces. Add the chicken broth dissolved in water along with the tomato paste, herbs and salt and pepper.

Simmer for at least a couple hours; the longer the cooking time at low heat, the better the results.  Some recipes call for each vegetable to be sautéed separately in hot oil before combining into one pot. The problem with that approach is that too much oil is used in the process and the final product is much too oily. Go light on the oil, although with eggplant, you just have to adjust the amount due to its absorption. 

The taste is amazing and it is a wonderful side dish and also could be the basis for a moussaka if that’s where you’re headed. Bon Appetit!

Tags:  food and drink  nutrition  ratatouille 

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Chestnut Chocolate Torte

Posted By Carol L. Hunter, PhD, PMHCNS, CNP, Monday, February 8, 2016

Ingredients
One 8 oz stick of Earth Balance vegetable oil
1 cup granulated sugar, divided
1 tablespoon of confectioner’s sugar
18 ounces of fine quality, bittersweet chocolate, divided
1 (15) oz can of pureed chestnuts (Clement Faugier, available on Amazon.com)
1 box marrons glaces (Frutignac, available on Amazon.com)
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon of good quality bourbon
½ teaspoon vanilla
6 eggs
1 cup of half and half

Directions

  • Line a 9 inch springform pan with baking paper and sprinkle ¼ cup sugar on the bottom of the pan. Set aside. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and put the rack in the middle of the oven.
  • Whisk 6 eggs and 2/3rds cup of sugar together in an electric blender until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.
  • Set 12 ounces of dark unsweetened chocolate on a double boiler to melt. Add one half cup of half and half.
  • In a large bowl, mash together the 15 oz can of pureed chestnuts, one tablespoon of bourbon, one half teaspoon of vanilla and the stick of softened vegetable oil.
  • When thoroughly melted and mixed, add the chocolate mixture to the chestnut mixture until smooth.
  • Gently fold in 1/3rd of the egg mixture into the chocolate mixture until well mixed. Add the remaining egg mixture in two more batches and gently fold until it is mixed well.
  • Pour the mixture into the pan and bake for 35 minutes or until the top is cracked and it is mainly firm but a little wobbly in the middle. Set on a rack and cool and then chill until set, about 4 hours.

GLAZE GARNISH TOPPING

  • Melt 6 ounces of fine quality bittersweet chocolate in a double boiler with one half cup half and half and one teaspoon of bourbon.
  • Dip the marrons glaces (candied chestnuts) half way into the chocolate and set aside on foil to set.
  • Invert the chilled torte onto a serving plate big enough to catch the drippings from the glaze. Pour the glaze over the torte and let it run down the sides. Dust the top with confectioner’s sugar, shaved chocolate and the marrons glaces.

For Vegans, there are many choices for substitutes for eggs: here is a great website to explore: http://www.theppk.com/vegan-baking-the-post-punk-kitchen-shows-you-how/

Tags:  chestnut  chocolate  food and drink  nutrition  torte 

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Everything Tomato!

Posted By Carol L Hunter, PhD, PMHCNS, CNP, Monday, September 7, 2015
Updated: Friday, September 4, 2015

Is there anything more luscious tasting than a ripe, red tomato? August is the month when tomato plants mature and are laden with the weight of their fruit. That’s right, tomatoes come from flowers and contain seeds, the scientific definition of a fruit. This growing season, like every other, brings some learning along with the delicious produce. And I just have not quite mastered the successful growing of tomatoes, yet. The plants have grown well and are robust , all except for one that has been savaged by the mighty tomato worm. The worm(s), that  I have not yet managed to find, are working their way down from the top and when I use the word “decimation” I am talking green stalks with no leaves. So I pondered my approach: garlic, green chile or cayenne pepper juice.  Hmmm. So I settled on a combination of garlic and green chile juice. The garlic powder doesn’t work too well because the powder doesn’t flow out from a spray bottle well but nonetheless, I thought I would try to cover my bases.  Just as an aside, I rub the garlic juice on the dogs’ ears when we are out on the trail. It works well for keeping all insects away including misquitoes, flies and bees.

So I doused the plant well and have been waiting for results. The good news is that no new damage has been done so far. Last evening I popped some tiny cherry tomatoes into my mouth while watering and they were bursting with flavor and the first of the tomatoes to mature. I have been contemplating which tomato recipe to offer this month, but the answer came easily, as it is one of my favorites and a summer soup that I often make called gazpacho. There was a lovely recipe on the Today Show presented by Chef Shea Gallante on July 10th of this year.   I never follow a recipe exactly and so my first batch was more green than red because I had added too much parsley and cilantro, so I took those out of the 2nd batch and just used basil as my only green. The color turned out much better and so did the taste and so I am offering my own revised version of Chef Gallante’s gazpacho minus the crab.

My version: Gazpacho

5 organic on the vine, well ripened  tomatoes

Large red pepper

One large cucumber

Large Red onion

Five sprigs of basil

2 cloves of garlic

Fano 9 grain bread,  couple crusty slices torn into pieces   

4 oz organic extra virgin olive oil

1 cup orange juice

1 oz sherry vinegar

1 avocado

Fresh chives

Chop the tomatoes, red pepper, red onion, cucumber into large chunks along with the garlic cloves and basil and add them to a bowl along with the bread pieces. Pour the orange juice over the mixture, toss everything together and marinate overnight in an airtight container. Prior to making the soup, pour off any orange juice. Place the vegetables into the mixer in batches. Run on low until mixed then turn on high for a couple minutes until all ingredients are well mixed. Add the olive oil and the sherry vinegar to the last batch and mix it into the rest of the soup. Season to taste with black pepper and sea salt,then decorate with avocado slices and chopped chives on top. Serve immediately. The soup can be stored for another day in a tightly closed mason jar. Enjoy!!

Tags:  food and drink  tomato 

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Hemp Pesto

Posted By Carol L Hunter, PhD, PMHCNS, CNP, Monday, July 6, 2015
1 tbsp chopped garlic
3/4 tsp salt
3 bunches basil (leaves only)
3/4 cup olive oil
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 cup hemp seeds

Place all ingredients except for the hemp seeds in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the “S” blade. Pulse and scrape down sides of bowl until all the ingredients have reached a pretty smooth texture. While running, add the hemp seeds. (Some people like their pesto chunky. Use your own judgment as to when to add the seeds.)

Your pesto is now ready to use. This stores well in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Makes 1 1/2-2 cups.

To celebrate the sweetness of hemp seeds, try sprinkling seeds on top of raspberry sorbet with blueberries and a sprig of mint. A lovely summer dessert! I also like to top off my breakfast of organic, certified non GMO shredded wheat biscuits by Kashi with some coconut/almond milk, a mix of blueberries, blackberries and raspberries and a generous sprinkle of hemp seeds.

The garden is growing well and today is irrigation day when in turn, we receive our fair share of this state’s precious water reserve. I was greeted by a small trespasser with a large white stripe down his back but thankfully, he didn’t think I was scary. Now he is hunkered down under a cottonwood tree waiting for the water to subside so he can be on his merry way. I feel very fortunate to have the opportunity to see such creatures wonder through my pasture, but I’m sure not everyone would share my sentiment!

Bon Appetit!

 Attached Thumbnails:

Tags:  Carol Hunter  food and drink  hemp  nutrition 

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Big Food Infiltrates Another Nutrition Group

Posted By Tim Reihm, Director of Communications & Outreach - Alliance for Natural Health, USA, Monday, July 6, 2015
Updated: Tuesday, June 30, 2015

A new report details how Big Food appears to have captured yet another key nutrition group, the American Society of Nutrition.

You may remember the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics’ (AND) ill-fated partnership with Kraft Foods. Kraft was permitted to place the AND’s “Kids Eat Right” logo on their Kraft Singles synthetic “cheese product.” After the story broke, AND backpedaled.

This week saw the release of another report, this time exposing the ties between the American Society of Nutrition (ASN)—whose membership includes some of the nation’s leading nutrition scientists and researchers—and junk food giants like Pepsi, Coca-Cola, Nestlé, Monsanto, McDonald’s, and Mars.
Among the report’s findings:

  • Of the thirty-four scientific sessions at ASN’s annual meeting, six were financially supported by PepsiCo.
  • The International Life Sciences Institute (a front group for Big Food and Big Pharma) sponsored a session on low-calorie sweeteners. Speakers included a scientific consultant for Ajinomoto, which produces aspartame.
  • The Grocery Manufacturers Association, a lobbying group for the food and beverage industries, sponsored a symposium on sodium intake, which referred to “putative health concerns.”
  • For $35,000, junk food companies can sponsor a hospitality suite at the annual meeting, where corporate executives socialize with nutrition researchers.
  • Official spokespeople for ASN reportedly have ties to Coca-Cola, McDonald’s, the American Beverage Association, General Mills, and Cadbury Schweppes.
  • ASN published an eighteen-page defense of processed food that appears to consist of numerous talking points for the junk food industry, such as this one: “There are no differences between the processing of foods at home or at a factory.” Parents who work hard to make meals from scratch for their children deserve better than this.
  • ASN opposes an FDA-proposed policy to include added sugars on the Nutrition Facts panel, at a time when excessive sugar consumption is causing a national public health epidemic.

Despite these well-documented ties to Big Food, ASN plays an active role in public policy formation. Just when the federal government was drafting its update of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, ASN published a report revealingly entitled “Processed Foods: Contributions to Nutrition.” It seems to us that ASN plays a useful role—but only for junk food companies looking to influence government nutrition policies.

Because it purports to be a bastion of science-based information about nutrition, ASN also influences what nutritionists and the general public consider to be “good nutrition.” The findings of this week’s exposé should be enough to give all of us pause when considering the “scientific” information put out by ASN.

The main takeaway, then, is this: ASN is actively promoting policy decisions and disseminating information that line the coffers of its Big Food patrons. Until ASN severs these ties with the junk food industry, Americans should look elsewhere for nutrition advice.

Tags:  AND  ASN  Big Food  food and drink  Kraft 

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Fighting Colds and Flu Naturally

Posted By Anette Mnabhi, DO, Friday, January 25, 2013
Updated: Wednesday, January 29, 2014

How many viruses does it take to get sick?

JUST 3!

Simple steps you can take to help your body!

These foundation steps are critical to building and restoring your immune function. Nothing can replace the basics. No pill can take the place of what the body needs to build and repair itself.

The Foundation

Water, Water, Water

  • Humidify the air at home and work!
  • Stay Well Hydrated! Drink 8-10 glasses daily!
  • Handwashing–wash those germs away!

SLEEP

  • 7-8 hours average
  • 9-10 for people with chronic health concerns

AVOID SUGAR

  • Sugar paralyzes your white blood cells

REGULAR EXERCISE

  • Strengthens your immune system

A Positive Attitude

  • "A merry heart doeth good like a medicine”
  • Positive attitude boosts your immune function

Foods & Nutrients To Boost Immune Function

  • Zinc
    • Beans, Nuts (such as pumpkin seeds)
  • Vitamin C
    • Citrus Fruits, Kiwi, Strawberries, Red and Green Peppers, Tomatoes, Cantaloupe
  • Garlic and Onions
    • Antibacterial
    • Antiviral
    • Increase the activity of NK cells and T-helper cells
  • Fresh Oregano and Thyme
  • Fresh Ginger
    • Honey Ginger Tea
  • Vitamin D3
  • North American Gingseng
  • Probiotics

This is a great little recipe to try when you feel something coming on. If it is too strong you can always dilute more and drink more. Take as you would an antibiotic, ate least twice daily and better if 3-4 times a day.

RUSSIAN PENICILLEN

16 ounces pineapple juice

8-10 garlic cloves (a small bulb of garlic)

Blend well and drink as needed.

Here is a nice little recipe for your own essential oil hand sanitizer. Gentle on the hands, but effective.

Home Made Hand Sanitizer Recipe

4oz glass spray bottle

Sterile water

1 Tsp aloe vera gel

5 drops each of these essential oils:

Cinnamon, clove, rosemary, eucalyptus

10 drops of lemon or wild orange essential oil.

Shake gently and use 2-3 sprays on hands as needed.

For natural decongestant effect crush these fresh herbs and put into a bowl of hot steaming water, cover your head with a towel, and enjoy the soothing natural decongestant effects.

Decongestant Herbs:

Eucalyptus, Thyme, Rosemary, Peppermint

Staying well is a challenge when the cold and flu is raging all around you, but keeping your immune system healthy by getting the basics in, like sleep, good nutrition, and staying well hydrated goes a long way to staying fit and healthy.

Be well!

Dr. Anette

Tags:  food and drink  member benefit  nutrition 

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Diet Soda Intake Linked with Adverse Vascular Events

Posted By Zina Kroner, DO, Monday, February 13, 2012
Updated: Thursday, January 30, 2014
"Vascular events" have now been added to the widely known laundry list of ill-effects of diet sodas. An eye-opening study published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine shows that individuals who drink diet soft drinks on a daily basis may be at increased risk of suffering vascular events such as stroke, heart attack, and vascular death.
Researchers from the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine and the Columbia University Medical Center studied the soda-drinking habits of 2,564 people in a multi-ethnic, urban population over a 10-year period, and discovered that daily drinkers had a 43 percent higher risk of having a vascular event than non-drinkers.
In today's fast paced climate, where zero calorie sodas find their way in many people's daily lives as an assumed healthier alternative to sugary drinks, many are disregarding much solid evidence showing that diet sodas are associated with multiple side effects.
The Ingredients:
Caffeine is quite dehydrating. For every ounce of soda, one needs 2 ounces of water to handle the toxin level. Caffeine causes irritability and palpitations in some. Caffeine elevates cortisol levels which contributes to weight gain, metabolic syndrome and diabetes. It is addictive in nature and depletes B-vitamins, especially B1 (thiamine). Fatigue, nervousness, general aches and pains, and headaches are all symptoms of a low B1 level. This level can be assessed by your physician. It contributes to a general malabsorptive state, and therefore depletes a variety of minerals as well, leading to fatigue and muscle cramps.
The FDA granted aspartame, which is 200 times sweeter than sugar, a "generally recognized as safe" status, or GRAS. It is composed of two amino acids – phenylalanine and aspartic acid, and contains10% methyl alcohol, a light volatile flammable liquid alcohol used as a solvent and anti-freeze. It is a known neurotoxin.
Saccharin is quite dangerous as well. It is a non-caloric petroleum derivative and is 300 times sweeter than sugar. It is excreted unchanged in the urine being that it is not modified by the body.

Phosphoric acid's acidic nature dissolves calcium out of the bones. Caucasian women in particular have been shown to suffer from osteoporosis in the setting of high phosphoric acid intake (soda & coffee).
In spite of this study and prior research on the ill-effects of diet drinks, the diet soda industry is not going downhill after this study, especially being that soft drinks in general account for more than a quarter of all drinks consumed in the United States.

Tags:  food and drink  nutrition  vascular 

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How is Your Glutatione?

Posted By Matt Angove, ND, NMD, Thursday, August 11, 2011
Updated: Tuesday, February 4, 2014

In 1994, theJournal of Nutritional Biochemistrystated, "Disease states due to glutathione deficiency are not common.”

Well, 25 years and 90 thousand journal articles later we have found this statement to be false on all levels. Glutathione is recognized as an extremely important intracellular antioxidant that also plays a central role in the detoxification and elimination of potential carcinogens and toxins. Studies have found that glutathione synthesis and tissue glutathione levels become significantly lower with age, leading to decreased ability to respond to oxidative stress or toxin exposure.

The higher the glutathione peroxidasein the plasma or red blood cells, the more your body is running through and out of glutathione. Now consider the follow…

Total glutathione peroxidase activity was elevated in females 65 years of age or older. Cigarette smoking significantly elevated glutathione peroxidase. Alcohol elevated glutathione peroxidase, with the highest levels seen in drinkers who also smoked. Increased glutathione peroxidase was also seen in vigorous exercise, especially triathletes and marathoners.

According to the National Cancer Institute, dairy products, cereals and breads are low in glutathione. Fruit and vegetables have moderate to high amounts of glutathione. Frozen versus fresh foods had similar amounts of glutathione. Processing and preservation resulted in considerable loss of glutathione.

A 27% reduction in glutathionehas been reported in the cerebrospinal fluid of schizophrenic patients.

Studies have shown that dietary glutathione enhances the metabolic clearance and reduces net absorption of dietary peroxidized lipids, which cause intense cellular damage.

High altitude exposurereduces glutathione levels.

Glutathione functions as an antioxidant and can maintain vitamin C in its reduced and functional form.

Chronically low glutathione levelsare seen in premature infants,alcoholic cirrhotics and individuals with HIV.

Glutathione increases sperm motility patterns and sperm morphology. In a double-blind, placebo-controlled crossover trial of infertile patients, patients were randomly and blindly assigned to treatment with one injection every other day of either glutathione at 600 mg or an equal volume of placebo. All the glutathione selected patients showed an increase in sperm concentration and a highly statistically significant improvement in sperm motility, sperm kinetic parameters and sperm morphology. Want to get pregnant? Make sure your husband has optimal levels of glutathione.

From the journal of Digestion: Glutathione is extremely important in normal functioning of the pancreas, being needed for normal folding of the proteins that will ultimately form key digestive enzymes when the pancreas is stimulated after a meal. In patients with chronic pancreatitis, it has been found that glutathione is often significantly depleted, suggesting that lack of glutathione has a role in the generation and/or maintenance of the disease. In addition, many patients suffering from chronic pancreatitis appear to be under xenobiotic or oxidant stress, creating an evengreater need for glutathione. Since the pancreas is under relative glutathione "stress” during the normal process of packing and secreting digestive enzymes, it is easy to see how the lack of glutathione could have a role in chronic pancreatitis.

From the Journal of Brain Research Reviews:Glutathione depletioncan enhance oxidative stress and may increase levels of excitotoxic (toxins that excite neurons to the point of death) molecules, which may initiate cell death in specific nerve cell populations. Evidence of oxidative stress andreduced glutathione statusis found in Lou Gehrig’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease.

From the Annals of Pharmacotherapy:Glutathione is importantin DNA synthesis and repair, protein and prostaglandin synthesis, amino acid transport, metabolism of toxins and carcinogens, enhancement of immune function, prevention of oxidative cell damage and enzyme activation.

From the Journal Acta Dermato-Venereologica:Low levels of blood glutathionewere found in patients with pemphigoid, acne conglobata, polymyositis, rheumatoid arthritis, scleroderma, systemic lupus erythematosus, atopic dermatitis, eczema and psoriasis.

From the Journal of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology:Intracellular glutathione enhances the immunologic function of lymphocytes (perhaps the most important immune cell line in preventing infection and cancer).Low levels of glutathionelimit the optimal functioning of T cells. Cytotoxic T cell (necessary to eliminate cancer) responses and interleukin-II-dependent functions are inhibited even by a partialdepletion of the intracellular glutathionepool.

From the journal of Ocular Pharmacological Therapy:Susceptibility of the lens nucleus to oxidative damage and loss of transparency has been shown in experimental animal models, including exposure to hyperbaric oxygen, x-ray and UVA light.Depletion of glutathioneallows the levels of oxidant to damage lens tissue and structure.

From the Journal of Laboratory and Clinical Science:An increased incidence oflow glutathione levelsin apparently healthy subjects suggests a decreased capacity to maintain metabolic and detoxification reactions that are stimulated by glutathione. The authors stated thatglutathione status, physical health, and longevity are closely related.

From the Lancet: The plasma glutathione in young, healthy adults was 0.54 umol/L; in healthy elderly it was 0.29 umol/L; in elderly outpatients it was 0.24 umol/L; and in elderly inpatients it was 0.17 umol/L. Aging results in a decrease in plasma glutathione and an increase in oxidative damage in apparently healthy individuals.

Simply put, if you want young cells and the ability to overcome disease you need to work on getting your glutathione levels up!


Tags:  food and drink  nutrition 

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Healthy Diet, Healthy Skin

Posted By Therese Patterson, NC, Monday, August 1, 2011
Updated: Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Diets rich in fruits and vegetables are good for us, skin included. Healthful foods reduce inflammation and decrease the likelihood of skin breakouts. On the flip side, there are also a few studies that scientifically support the role of two food groups in acne promotion: dairy products and simple carbohydrates (think processed foods and sugary soft drinks).

To keep your skin in tip-top shape, make sure you incorporate these foods into your diet (along with a good skincare routine that features natural skincareproducts):

Vitamin A. Vitamin A helps regulate the skin cycle and is also the main ingredient in Accutane, an effective prescription medicine for acne. Good food sources of vitamin A include fish oil, salmon, carrots, spinach, and broccoli. Too much vitamin A can lead to toxic side effects, however. Limit your daily dose to 10,000 IU and never take it while pregnant or nursing.

Zinc. There is some evidence that people with acne have lower than normal levels of the mineral zinc. Zinc appears to help prevent acne by creating an environment inhospitable to the growth of P. acnes bacteria It also helps calm skin irritated by breakouts. Zinc is found in turkey, almonds, Brazil nuts, and wheat germ.

Vitamins E and C. The antioxidants vitamin E and vitamin C have a calming effect on the skin. Sources of vitamin C include oranges, lemons, grapefruit, papaya, and tomatoes. You can get vitamin E from sweet potatoes, nuts, olive oil, sunflower seeds, avocados, broccoli, and leafy green vegetables.

Selenium. The mineral selenium has antioxidant properties that help protect skin from free radical damage. Food sources of selenium include wheat germ, tuna, salmon, garlic, Brazil nuts, eggs, and brown rice.

Omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids support the normal healthy skin cell turnover that helps keep acne at bay. You can get omega-3 fatty acids from cold water fish, such as salmon and sardines; flaxseed oil; walnuts; sunflower seeds; and almonds.

Water. Last but definitely not least, water. Many of us have our morning coffee and then drink only one drink during the day and one at night. Water helps hydrate your body and leads to plump, healthy skin. Adequate hydration helps flush out toxins that can cause skin problems. It is also essential for skin metabolism and regeneration.

Sources: Mt. Sinai Medical Center,WebMD

Tags:  food and drink  gut health  health 

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Five Foods to Keep you Healthy and Well

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, April 13, 2011
Updated: Friday, April 18, 2014

Dr. Magaziner was interviewed live by Pat Ciarrochi on CBS' "Talk Philly" on April 12th. During the segment, he served up valuable information about the five foods he deems fabulous for health and wellness.
 
These super foods include salmon, which is high in Omega-3 fatty acids and helps reduce inflammation, risk of heart disease and triglycerides, while helping combat depression, memory loss and arthritis; sweet potatoes, which are high in Vitamin A, antioxidants and calcium to help in maintaining bone density; celery, which can help lower blood pressure and stress; buckwheat, which stabilizes both blood sugar and blood pressure and cinnamon, which can help reduce blood sugar.

For more info on "meals that heal," please visit http://www.drmagaziner.com/health-resources/meals-that-heal/.

 

Tags:  diet  food and drink 

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Fall and Winter Power Vegetables

Posted By Administration, Monday, March 7, 2011
Updated: Friday, April 18, 2014

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by Andrea Purcell, ND

The vegetables found under the ground and the heartier ones above ground are packed with vitamins and minerals and perfect for grating, roasting, steaming & mashing this time of year.

The below ground varieties include: Beets, Sweet Potatoes, & Carrots

The above ground varieties include Kale, Brussels sprouts, & Winter squash.

Lets tackle the above grounders first:

Kale and Brussels Sprouts are in the same famous family known as cruciferous. This famous family of vegetables has gained A LOT of press for its anti-cancer benefits. In fact half of the studies on brussels sprouts revolve around its cancer fighting properties. They are high in Vitamin A, C and folic Acid.

Kale is a coarser green and many people have no idea how to prepare it. Once you figure it out you can enjoy one of the healthiest, nutrient greens on the planet. Kale has Vitamins A, C, B6, and minerals of calcium and iron. Did you know that when prepared properly we would get more calcium out of kale than spinach? When preparing cut off the stem part about 1.5 inches and then chop. Try sautéing in a bit of olive oil and water.

Winter Squash comes in a number of varieties, such a butternut, kombucha, and acorn; there are multi-striped varieties as well. The toughest thing about squash is the preparation, the peeling, de-seeding, and chopping. If you have a man, put him to use in this department. Otherwise I suggest cutting in half and placing open side down on a baking sheet and roasting in the oven for 45 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool; the skin will be A LOT easier to remove. Once cooked squash can be mashed or added into soups. Any vegetables orange or yellow in color contain Beta-carotene, and vitamin C, these are antioxidant and anti-inflammatory. Winter squashes also contain B-vitamins, and folic acid.

Check out my latest You Tube cooking video on Sautéed Brussels and Kale, I also have one on making Kale chips. You can access my You Tube channel through the www.AskDrPurcell.com site.

Now for the below grounders:

Carrots and Sweet potatoes are little darlings of the culinary world because of their natural sweetness. In fact many people who don’t like vegetables will eat them. Due to their orange color and carotenoid content leading to anti-oxidant protection within the eye. They are high in Beta Carotene, which is converted inside our bodies to Vitamin A that helps boost the immune system, and protect our skin.

Beets are amazing grated fresh into salads, and roasted. Boiled beets are less appealing.

Beets are high in fiber and can assist with constipation. They are also high in iron and folic acid the two main causes of anemia. If you’re anemic eat your beets! They also contain choline, an important detoxifier for our livers. Beets can be roasted with sweet potatoes, or roasted and then added to chilled salads. Once cooked, beets can be marinated in any dressing and will absorb those flavors bringing a lot of sweet, tangy goodness to the table.

Tags:  food and drink  vegetarianism 

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A Not-So-Sweet Loss for Organic Sugar

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, February 8, 2011
Updated: Friday, April 18, 2014

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The US Department of Agriculture last Friday gave farmers the go-ahead to resume planting Roundup Ready sugarbeets—claiming it’s the only way to avoid a nationwide shortage of sugar!

Hot on the heels of the deregulation of genetically engineered (GE) alfalfa, the USDA said it would once again allow the GE sugarbeet to be planted, contrary to the order of district court judge Jeffrey S. White, who said a full environmental impact statement (EIS) needed to be done first. As the Wall Street Journal points out, an EIS of the type ordered by the judge is usually thousands of pages long and takes years to conduct. That would have kept the genetically modified sugarbeets out of the hands of farmers at least through 2012.

This would allow farmers to begin planting GE sugarbeets this spring. But the environmental and organic seed groups that originally sued the USDA said Friday they would ask Judge White to block this latest move by the USDA.

Processors say there aren’t enough non-GE sugarbeet seeds around for farmers to plant this spring. A study conducted for the sugar industry predicted that US sugar production would plunge 20% if the judge’s ban stays in place, and it appears this study alarmed food companies enough that they were able the pressure USDA into acting now. (For more on sugar and sweeteners, see our article elsewhere in this issue.)

In this case, the sugarbeets are being “partially deregulated”: USDA is permitting farmers to plant genetically modified sugarbeets this year only if they adhere to rules designed to prevent the plant’s wind-blown pollen from reaching organic fields, where its biotechnology traits could spread—though if the rules themselves prove ineffective, organic sugarbeets will be contaminated.

That contamination is what is most worrisome. The Organic Consumers Association had this to say about the deregulation of alfalfa: “[It is] guaranteed to spread its mutant genes and seeds across the nation; guaranteed to contaminate the alfalfa fed to organic animals; guaranteed to lead to massive poisoning of farm workers and destruction of the essential soil food web by the toxic herbicide, Roundup; and guaranteed to produce Roundup-resistant superweeds….” Health advocates have the same concerns about sugarbeets.

If you haven’t already done so, please visit the Aliance for Natural Health's Action Alert page where you can write to President Obama, Congress, and the USDA, and tell them to reverse this terrible decision. Please contact them today!


Tags:  diet  food and drink 

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How Carbohydrates Elevate Cholesterol

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, December 29, 2010
Updated: Friday, April 18, 2014

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by Zina Kroner, DO

Yes, carbs can indeed elevate cholesterol.  This sentence is not a typo.  
 
The Scenario
 
Assume that you have an unfavorable cholesterol profile (low HDL, high triglycerides and low LDL).  The typical scenario is as follows: You have high cholesterol, you pursue a million dollar workup with your cardiologist, including a stress test, EKG, blood work, etc, and the ultimate recommendation is to follow the Dean Ornish Diet.  This diet was based on a five year intervention study called the Lifestyle Heart Trial which followed 48 men with heart disease and told them to exercise, manage stress, stop smoking, get psychological help, and go on a high fiber, low fat and low calorie diet.  Of the 48 men, 20 actually completed the study, where all the recommendations were adhered to.  
 
The results showed that there was actually some reversal of heart disease!  The bottom line that was extracted from this study was that a low fat diet helps to reverse heart disease.  Seldom were the other factors addressed.  Since then, most patients have been advised by their cardiologists and internists to stay on a diet of this nature.  
 
Thereafter, many have tried to comply with the low fat diet and noticed that cholesterol was not dropping.  Hmmm…  Let’s look at the science to figure this out.
 
I am going to break this one down to the nitty gritty details, so beware.  
 
How Carbs Actually Elevate Cholesterol
 
You are eating your whole grain toast or dairy item in the morning with fruits, pasta for lunch and a rice dish with a protein for dinner.  Your desserts are always fresh or dried fruits.  You are drinking juices with your meals.  Once the digestive juices are appropriately secreted and the food is churned, the necessary nutrients are absorbed through the intestinal walls.  Glucose (derived from carbs), amino acids (derived from proteins), and fatty acids ( derived from fats) are passed through a corridor (the portal vein) and enter the liver.  
 
The pancreas is paying very close attention to the molecules passing through this corridor into the liver.  
It gets quite excited when it sees glucose and quickly shows its affection by secreting insulin. Insulin does several things:


 
It stimulates the production of cholesterol. Many of you have heard of statin drugs. They work by inhibiting an enzyme called HMGcoA reductase. Insulin stimulates this enzyme!  How can it be possible for your cholesterol to go down if the foods that you are eating stimulate the very enzyme that cholesterol reducing drugs are trying to decrease?
 
Insulin slows down an amino acid called carnitine.  Carnitine is important because it functions to shepherd the fatty acids into the part of the cell where they will be converted into usable energy. Insulin can therefore harbor weight gain by not allowing the fatty acids to be converted into energy effectively, via the mechanism of carnitine.
 
Insulin causes cells in the liver, muscles and fat to take up glucose. In the liver, the glucose is stored as glycogen.  Here is the interesting part… There is not that much glycogen in the liver, so whatever sugar the liver is unable to hold is spilled over to another processing system. The glucose is packaged neatly into triglycerides. Yes, the ones associated directly with cardiovascular disease. This was the bottom line, ladies and gents. VLDL (very low density lipoprotein ) is then stimulated by the liver and LDL, the bad cholesterol) is made. Whew!
 
When there is not much glucose in he body, as in the case in a lower-carb diet, there is no signal to release the insulin. Insulin is absent (or low), glucose is not taken up by the cells and triglycerides are not manufactured from the spillover of glucose. Therefore, the above process is not as robust. With low insulin levels, the body begins to use fat as an energy source since it does not have the glucose. Using fat as an energy source is one of the mechanisms of weight loss.  Let’s pause for the  “ahaa” moment.  
 
So there it is, eat low carb and see the weight come off and cholesterol decrease.  A common mistake is that patients eat BOTH low and high carb simultaneously. They also focus on meats that are not lean. They come into my office telling me about all the healthy proteins they have been eating. Only problem is that they are having tons of rice or pasta along with a small amount of fatty protein. Taking the above mechanism of action into consideration, this is truly counterintuitive,.  
 
Please reread the mechanism several times. Once you understand it, you will be able to intelligently change your diet.  Being informed is crucial. 

Tags:  cholesterol  food and drink 

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HCG for Weight Loss

Posted By Administration, Monday, November 29, 2010
Updated: Friday, April 18, 2014

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by Andrea Purcell, ND

WHAT IS HCG?

HCG (human chorionic gonadotropin) is the hormone that medical doctors test for in order to determine if a woman is pregnant. Measuring HCG is the success of companies such as EPT who conveniently created the urine pregnancy tests found in every drug store in the world. HCG is present in both men and women, but becomes detectable in pregnant women. During pregnancy, HCG almost completely controls metabolic functions. In non-pregnant persons, research suggests HCG increases metabolism in a similar way.

Although HCG is associated with pregnancy, both men and women that are looking to get their weight under control can safely use it. Let's take a closer look at what its job actually is. Nature created HCG as a way to ensure healthy full term pregnancies. One of the roles of HCG in pregnancy is to increase metabolism by allowing the fat that the pregnant woman has stored to be accessible to her during famine. In other words the fat stores can be broken down by the HCG and used as food for her and the baby should the food supply run out while she is pregnant. This ensures a healthy full term pregnancy.

In a non-pregnant person we can recreate this metabolic situation by administering HCG and putting the patient on a low calorie diet. When we do this, the fat that the patient wants to lose becomes the primary food source as it is broken down and used as energy. In essence, we are forcing the body to burn its own fat stores. Thousands of calories in stored fat are released and are used by the body or expelled.

HCG WHAT'S THE DIFFERENCE?

How HCG is different than other diet programs is that it is short term, the results are up front, participants eat real food, muscle mass is maintained, and it burns cellulite (toxic fat). What people lose with HCG isn't simply weight, but fat, a particular kind of fat. We generally think of fat as just "fat," but in fact there are three distinct kinds of fat. Two of which we need, and one we don't. If a person has tried dieting, perhaps diet after diet, and found that the weight comes back, it's because diets can't rid us of the one kind of fat that most needs to be eliminated. Of the three kinds of fat, structural fat is essential because it cushions our organs. Then there's the kind of fat that gives us a reserve of energy, fueling the body between meals. But a third kind of fat-the unsightly fat that ruins our appearance-is totally unhealthy. This unwanted fat is not only unhealthy, it just happens to be almost impossible to lose. It can be mobilized only in times of starvation and pregnancy. In women, this unhealthy fat tends to accumulate around the middle and thighs. In men, it's around the belly and chest. In both cases, it's extremely difficult to get rid of. The usual approaches to weight loss just don't budge it. The genius of Dr. Simeons, the doctor who discovered the role of HCG in weight loss, was to recognize that HCG triggers the body to burn this type of fat. The HCG program consists of a low calorie diet in combination with HCG hormone treatments. During the 30 days you regularly inject a small amount of HCG into your body. Be aware that the HCG itself does not cause weight loss, it just modifies your eating behavior, and mobilizes stored fat. This will make it possible to maintain the diet.

 


PROGRAM SPECIFICS:

HCG allows you to rapidly lose a specific amount of weight in a 30-day period. You can safely and effectively lose up to 10% of your body weight on this program, and some can achieve 30 pounds of weight loss in 30 days. A very specific diet must be followed for the 4 weeks along with injections of HCG, a hormone that women produce during pregnancy. This program dramatically shifts your metabolism towards burning your own fat and allows you to create energy from the fat that you are melting away. HCG assists in controlling all cravings when you are on this low calorie diet. Vitamin injections are given to assist with energy and promote fat burning. HCG is completely safe for men and women. Following the 4 weeks of injections, you are then transitioned to a stabilization food plan for 3 weeks where your weight loss is stabilized. During stabilization all whole foods are re-introduced with the exception of sugar and starch. Stabilization is then followed by a maintenance food plan, which will allow you to maintain the weight you have lost while eating a healthy, whole food diet. Unlike other weight loss programs all of your weight is lost in the first month of this program. This means that your results are immediate.

CAVEAT FROM FDA:Since 1975, the FDA has required labeling and advertising of HCG to state: HCG has not been demonstrated to be effective adjunctive therapy in the treatment of obesity. There is no substantial evidence that it increases weight loss beyond that resulting from caloric restriction, that it causes a more attractive or “normal” distribution of fat, or that it decreases the hunger and discomfort associated with calorie-restricted diets.

 

HOW IS HCG USED IN MEDICAL CONDITIONS?

When HCG is prescribed in a medial scenario, it is either as a fertility medication (can be for both men and women), or to assist in restoring testosterone production in men.

ARE THERE SIDE EFFECTS?

The high levels of HCG that are produced during pregnancy have no negative effects on the pregnant woman’s body. In fact, doctors have used HCG for many years in order to help women experiencing hormonal issues or fertility problems. There are literally no major side effects. Small conditions such as low blood pressure and low blood sugar can be easily off set with proper medical supervision.

THE RESULTS:

After supervising and coaching hundreds of patients through HCG here are a few of the trends I have noticed:

*Some patients feel euphoric, and can easily follow the program without much effort.

*Other patients are tired and feel the need to go to bed early each night. Otherwise they would cheat by eating to maintain energy.

*There is a window of the correct HCG dosage, some people need a little bit more than others. This can make a big difference in a person’s ability to stick with the diet.

*When using HCG it can up-regulate thyroid function in patients who are hypothyroid. This is something that needs to be addressed when a person completes the program.

*Cellulite is literally melted; it is nothing short of miraculous.

*Patients are elated at their success, and are more motivated to make good food choices to maintain their success.

*It is imperative that coaching on proper eating be done with each patient. A roadmap of healthy food choices & how to eat is the only guarantee of permanent weight loss.

*If a person is an emotional eater, that condition will not be corrected. Emotional eaters must be willing to explore the way they use food as a coping mechanism and consider healthier coping mechanisms to put in its place, including but not limited to therapy.

*Patients do not look gaunt or shriveled; weight loss is evenly distributed throughout the entire body.

*Weight loss is between ½ pound and 1 pound per day.

*The results of HCG are amazing and this can be a great option for patients who need to lose 25 pounds or get a jump start on their weight loss goals.

Tags:  food and drink  weight 

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Endometriosis and Diet - The Role of Fats

Posted By Administration, Thursday, September 30, 2010
Updated: Friday, April 18, 2014

by Fiona McCulloch, ND 2339180861_ae94f7d9c3_o

A recent study completed at Harvard Medical School found that eating a diet high in trans fat was associated with a 48% higher risk of developing laparoscopically confirmed endometriosis. It was also found that there was a 22% reduction in endometriosis in the group of patients in the highest fifth of long-chain omega 3 fatty acid consumption.

This was a prospective study of participants in the famous Nurses Health Study which followed 116 607 female registered nurses ranging in age from 25 to 42. This study initially found many correlations between infertility and nutrition.  Harvard researchers recently looked at the relationship specifically between fat consumption and the risk of developing endometriosis over 12 years for the nurses who had participated in the study.

The study also found that this association was even worse for women suffering from infertility. In these women, the association between trans fat consumption and endometriosis rose to to 78%.

Another fatty acid which was significantly correlated to endometriosis risk through this research was palmitic acid. Palmitic acid is mostly found in animal products such as red meat and dairy products and oils such as palm oil.  It was also found that women in the highest fifth of animal product intake were also 20% more likely to have endometriosis than those in the lowest fifth of animal product intake.

Other saturated (myristic, stearic) and monounsaturated (oleic, palmitoleic) fatty acids were not correlated to endometriosis. Total fat intake was also not related to the development of endometriosis, which was strongly correlated to the type of fat ingested.

It was calculated that if a woman were to increase by 1% of her calories from long chain omega 3 fatty acids (such as might be found in a high quality and high potency fish oil supplement) rather than from monounsaturated, saturated or omega 6 fatty acids (typical fat from animal or vegetable sources), this would give her a 50% reduction in risk for endometriosis.

Beware of labels: although recently on grocery shelves we see many packages labeled “0 trans fats” , many of these products may still actually contain hidden trans fats that can accumulate.  By law, in Canada, products with less than 0.2 grams trans fat per serving are allowed to be labeled free of trans fat and will be listed on the nutrition panel as having a total trans fat content of zero.  In the USA products that contain less than 0.5 grams trans fat per serving can be labeled free of trans fat.  This actually can allow a significant amount of trans fat to accumulate in the diet, unknown  and in some cases misleadingly to the consumer, so read labels carefully.  Even a couple of accumulated grams of trans fat per day can cause risks for health.  For endometriosis or other inflammatory diseases,  keep total trans fats to less than 1% of total calories per day (around 2 grams or less for an average woman) and increase long chain omega 3 fatty acids such as DHA and EPA found in high quality fish oil.

What to beware of:

  • Products labeled 0 trans fat, but which contain partially hydrogenated vegetable oil.  All partially hydrogenated oils contain trans fat.  Most trans fat free margarines do indeed contain trans fat, just in a smaller amount.
  • Palm oil, or palmitic acid.  This is often substituted in “trans fat free” products, and has been found to have many of the same detrimental health effects as trans fat.  Palmitic acid intake was found in this study to be corrleated to endometriosis, and is also correlated to other health risks such as cardiovascular disease
  • Excessive animal products.  These naturally contain 2-5% trans fat.

References:

Stacey A. Missmer, Jorge E. Chavarro, Susan Malspeis, Elizabeth R. Bertone-Johnson, Mark D. Hornstein, Donna Spiegelman, Robert L. Barbieri, Walter C. Willett, and Susan E. Hankinson.  A prospective study of dietary fat consumption and endometriosis risk .  Hum. Reprod. 2010 25: 1528-1535.

Government of Canada.  Trans Fat monitoring program 2006. http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/fn-an/nutrition/gras-trans-fats/tfa-age_tc-tm-eng.php

FDA Guidance for Industry: Trans Fatty Acids in Nutrition Labeling, Nutrient Content Claims, Health Claims; Small Entity Compliance GuideAugust 2003

Tags:  diet  endometriosis  food and drink 

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Plastics: The Sixth Food Group

Posted By Administration, Friday, September 17, 2010
Updated: Friday, April 18, 2014






by Ali Meschi, PhD, CNC

392577074_58467553b4_bPlastics, plastics, plastics everywhere.  Since the chemical dawn (Green Revolution) in World War I era the plastics have been everywhere, and we are just beginning to comprehend how chemicals in plastic affect and interfere with our health. Some of these chemicals are:

Phthalates
Phthalates are synthetic chemicals commonly found in food wraps, inks, adhesives, and vinyl floor coverings, some paints and of course most plastics used in daily life. Phthalates are plasticizers used to make plastic products more flexible. Their effects on human health are increasingly coming into question of alternative health care providers and the public. The offspring of female rats exposed to phthalates demonstrated a variety of abnormalities. “Most striking were their effects as androgen (male hormone) blockers in male offspring, which included a reduction of testosterone levels and abnormalities in a male productive tract.” A higher risk of miscarriage was observed among women exposed to high levels of phthalates.

Bisphenol-A
The effects of hormone disrupting chemicals that leach out of plastic products has been the center of study at the University of Missouri for sometime. Bisphenol-A, an ingredient in the lining of metal food cans, polycarbonate water jugs, and dental sealants applied to children’s teeth, was found to alter the developments of male reproductive organs in mouse studies using amounts comparable to what humans currently ingest. Coating children’s teeth with Bisphenol-A to prevent dental cavities is being done by ever increasing numbers of dentists around the country, meanwhile researchers in Spain have found these substances can be an estrogen mimic compound which could cause cancer. Researchers at Tufts School of Medicine found saliva from Bisphenol-A treated patients to be estrogenic, however American Dental Association continues to defend the practice.

Man & Mouse
The Prostate glands of male mice were permanently enlarged, when their mothers were exposed to extreme dosage of Bisphenol-A (2 PPB). When doses reached to 20 parts per billion, daily sperm production was permanently decreased by 20%. This raises a valid question of relationship between human’s exposure to plastic chemicals and prostate problems, fertility problems, birth defects and cancer.

Would you like some Styrene with your coffee Mam?
Styrofoam cups and meat trays do more than just keeping your coffee hot and your meat neatly packaged. Nearly as pervasive as coffee break itself, white “plastic” or “foam” styrene cups outgas toxic chemicals into the coffee. As endocrine disrupters they are increasingly suspected of contributing to breast cancer, prostate cancer, thyroid and other glandular problems. One study of fat biopsies from human subjects conducted by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency found styrene residues in 100 percent of the samples tested. Fat in humans and other mammals serves as a storage sites for many toxic chemicals which bioaccumulate over time, leaching out many years later, causing damage to cancer protecting genes. If more money were put into this area of cancer study instead of additional ways to use chemotherapy and radiation, we might make some headway in understanding cancer causation and prevention. Meat and cheese on styrene trays wrapped in clear plastic easily absorb lipid-loving chemicals from the packaging materials. Chemicals from styrene trays and some brands of plastic wrap easily migrate into foods with a high fat content. Removing foods from these packaging materials immediately after purchasing is strongly recommended. As a ritual it would be wise to substitute Styrofoam cups with washable ceramic mugs, this is both environmentally friendly and a good pro-health choice.

 


Plasticizers in plastic wrap migrate
Of seven brands tested by Consumer Reports, Reynolds Wrap and Saran Wrap contained some of the five plasticizers being tested. Studies indicate some plasticizers migrate into food at points of contact, even during refrigeration. Some cheese wrapped plastic was found to contain as high as 50 to 160 parts per million of the adipate plasticizer, DEHA. Waxed cheese with clear plastic overwrap found to have one to four parts per million of the common phthalate, DEHP. Consumers may wish to rewrap store bought cheese with waxed paper, or buy cheese cut to order at a deli and ask to have it wrapped in waxed paper.

Microwaveable plastics
Concerned consumers should avoid using plastic containers and plastic wrap in the microwave. Although manufacturers imply safety of the plastic container as “microwave safe”, the food safety when plastic is heated is a great concern. Dr. Carlos Sonnenschien of the Tufts University School of Medicine has been studying the chemical migration from plastics for over two decades. I strongly recommend substituting lead free glass or ceramic ware for microwave use. He became aware of this problem when studying blood samples that appeared to have been contaminated with a substance that caused an estrogenic effect in the blood cells. After tracking every possible source of contamination they concluded estrogen mimicking chemicals were leaching out of the new variety of plastic vials in which the blood was stored.

Is it “white- enamel” or is it simply plastic lined cans?
An increasing number of foods such as pumpkin, beets, chick peas and even chopped clams are packed in plastic lined cans, with no label information giving any clue. This can be shocking to find out that even some organic food producers such as Muir Glenn “organic” tomatoes are packed in plastic lined cans. A close inspection of the Muir Glen label revealed a sentence indicating the contents were “packed in lead-free white enamel-lined cans.” And not mentioning anything about Bisphenol-A on the label. An explanation of the difference between “white-enamel” and plastic lining did not offer any information from Muir Glen other than they are aware of the controversy surrounding the issue, and a statement from the National Food Processors Association’s position on Bisphenol-A: “most scientific authorities agree that there is no need for public health concern about cans lined with epoxy coating to help preserve their contents. Muir Glen which is now owned by General Mills, indicated that “enamel” was used “to avoid tinny taste.”

“Plastics, An important part of your healthy Diet”
An advertisement from the American P
lastics Council in National Geographic Magazine (2000), suggests that plastics could be thought of the as “the Sixth basic food group.”  “Oh, you certainly wouldn’t eat them, but plastic packaging does help protects our food in many ways,” assures the ad.

Maybe plastic does delay spoilage, however we are indeed eating plastic chemicals. Unknown to most consumers, many foods leach chemical from plastic packaging materials and plastic microwave containers. In addition, children are being exposed to chemicals from their plastic baby bottles, and teething rings to plastic toys. Perhaps plastic truly has become the sixth basic food group after all.

A flurry of studies show “the effects of Phthalates as an endocrine disrupter on the male reproductive system. Phthalates do their damage as anti-androgens, by blocking testosterone, and therefore inducing feminization symptoms in male lab rats.

Tags:  food and drink  plastic 

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The Specific Carbohydrate Diet

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, September 15, 2010
Updated: Friday, April 18, 2014

by Zina Kroner, DO 3375488854_0ed378b021_b  

Patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) suffer from diarrhea and abdominal pain; this is often accompanied by difficulty in absorbing nutrients which results in weight loss. With ulcerative colitis, the large bowel (colon) is involved; Crohn’s disease can affect everything from the mouth to the anus, although usually small and/or large bowel disease usually predominates. Medical treatment of IBD is aimed at reducing the intestinal inflammation. 

Medications including sulfasalazine and related drugs and corticosteroids, taken orally or topically may be able to cause improvement in many patients. Stronger medications are frequently needed, with more side effects, including azathioprine, 6-mercaptopurine, methotrexate, and injectable anti-tumor necrosis antibody preparations. 

Surgery may be needed if medical treatment fails. In the case of ulcerative colitis, surgical procedures can be as drastic as removal of the entire colon with a permanent stoma (ostomy). Patients with Crohn’s disease may require surgery after surgery removing affected parts of the bowel.

For many patients, medical interventions are not enough, and surgery may be undesirable. There is another approach to treating IBD on a more basic level. This involves a significant change in diet for most people, to what is called the “Specific Carbohydrate Diet.” This diet can be undertaken along with any medical treatment.

This diet is available to anyone wanting to try it because of the late Elaine Gottschall (d. 2005). Gottschall was both a mother and a scientist who was able to find a way to help her own child, and decided to share her knowledge. In 1958, her eight-year-old daughter was suffering from ulcerative colitis that failed to respond to medical treatment. Looking for an alternative to surgery, Gottschall took her daughter to Dr. Sidney Haas, a 92-year-old physician who had published a textbook outlining his nutritional approach to healing the intestines. 

Dr. Haas quickly started the young girl on his specific carbohydrate diet. After a few months on the diet, her intestinal symptoms started to improve and she began to gain weight. After two years, she was well and free of symptoms of the disease. However, Dr. Haas had died in the interim and could no longer provide guidance.

Gottschall decided to learn more about the science behind the diet. She studied biology, cellular biology and nutritional biochemistry, earning a master’s degree and doing research on carbohydrate metabolism in the intestine. She published the Specific Carbohydrate Diet in a book first entitled Food and the Gut Reaction. It is now in its 13th printing, and called Breaking the Vicious Cycle: Intestinal Healing Through Diet. Over a million copies have been sold, and the book has been translated into seven other languages.

The Specific Carbohydrate Diet is based on the way carbohydrates are digested in the intestine, and what may be going wrong with the digestion in people with IBS and other intestinal disorders. Single sugars, including glucose, fructose and galactose can be transported from the intestine into the bloodstream without requiring digestion, in this case, splitting of molecules by enzymes. The cells of the small intestine must work harder to digest carbohydrates, as well as two-sugar molecules. 

 


Carbohydrates are broken down into disaccharides by salivary enzymes and pancreatic enzymes as they pass through the digestive tract. Disaccharides, comprised of two sugars, must be split into their component parts by enzymes located in the outer membrane of the cells in the small intestine. The cell membranes have small finger-like projections called microvilli that line the intestinal walls. The enzymes are located in the microvilli. There are four key disaccharide/enzyme pairs.

•Lactose, found in milk and milk products, must be broken down into glucose and galactose by the enzyme lactase.

•Sucrose, or table sugar, must be metabolized into glucose and fructose. Sucrose is fruit derived (cane sugar, beet sugar). As fruits ripen, sucrose can be broken down into glucose and fructose, so that ripe fruits may have less sucrose.

•Isomaltose is broken down into two molecules of glucose by isomaltase.

•Maltose is similarly metabolized into two glucose molecules by maltase.

A deficiency of any of these enzymes prevents the final digestion of disaccharides. They stay in the intestine where they can cause physical symptoms. For example, sugars can ferment and cause gas. 

Many people are affected by a lack of lactase, leading to the inability to fully digest the lactose in milk. This is called “lactose intolerance” which causes symptoms of gas, pain and diarrhea. The incidence of lactase deficiency varies between different ethnic groups, and is also more prevalent in older people than children. People with simple lactose intolerance can take a tablet containing lactase, or they can consume milk products which have lactase added. They can also usually tolerate milk products in which the lactose has been digested already. For example, in properly prepared yoghurt, the right kind of bacteria have already split and digested the lactose.

It has been postulated that in IBS, all of the disaccharidases are not functioning. Consequently, carbohydrate residues and disaccharides cannot be digested. These comprise so much of an average diet that the undigested material is a very significant amount. The symptoms of pain, gas and diarrhea are severe. 

The undigested disaccharides can feed the bacteria living in the intestine, causing an overgrowth of bacteria. Many kinds of bacteria normally live in the large intestine, and to a lesser degree, in the terminal ileum that connects to the large intestine. These can multiply and migrate up into the small intestine where they do not belong. 

Bacteria in the wrong place can cause damage to the lining of the small intestine, to the microvilli lining the small intestinal walls. This further reduces the amount of functional enzymes and perpetuates the cycle. Decreased digestion of carbohydrates and disaccharides allow bacteria to grow that damage the intestine and decrease the digestion of disaccharides even more. Additionally, the bacteria can release toxic byproducts that cause some of the symptoms of IBS.

Whatever begins the cycle of the intestinal damage, the decreased ability to digest carbohydrates and disaccharides leads to further damage, with more symptoms and even less digestive ability. The Specific Carbohydrate Diet interrupts the cycle.

The main principle of  the Specific Carbohydrate Diet is that only so-called “legal” carbohydrates are permitted. These are found in fruits, honey, properly-prepared yoghurt, and certain vegetables and nuts, and are to be used as follows:

•Fruits: Not introduced during the first one to two weeks. Then ripe, peeled and cooked. No raw fruits until diarrhea is under control. First raw fruit should be ripe mashed banana. No canned fruits with added sugar.

•Vegetables: No raw vegetables (such as salad greens and cucumbers)  until diarrhea is under control. Only frozen or fresh vegetables are allowed, not canned.

•Dairy products: No fluid milk. Specific cheeses are allowed. Homemade yoghurt is a large part of the diet. Dry curd cottage cheese is also important.

The following foods can also be eaten:

•Eggs: Added when diarrhea is less severe.

•Meats

•Fats: Well tolerated in association with meat, butter, and allowed cheese and yoghurt.  Use of low-fat milk is not advised unless there is another reason.

Forbidden “illegal” carbohydrates:

•All cereal grains, including but not limited to corn, oats, wheat, rye, rice, millet, buckwheat, triticale or any other “new” grains such as quinoa. No products made from these grains are allowed, which means no bread, pasta, cakes, or other baked goods. Ground nut flours replace grains for baking. 

•No table sugar is allowed as a sweetener or in candy. It is sucrose, a disaccharide. Honey is the allowed sweetener. It contains glucose and fructose separately.

•No processed food, as starch (or disaccharides) are often added.

•No starchy vegetables, including potatoes and yams.

The diet should be as varied as possible. It is very difficult to follow the diet if you are a vegetarian, but not impossible. Consultation with a dietitian would probably be best if you want to follow the diet without any animal products. Anyone with a severe nut allergy will also have a very difficult time with the diet, since nut flour replaces all other carbohydrate flours.

Beginning the Diet

There are recipes in the SCD book, and specific foods you must buy and make before you can start the diet. There are suggestions for where to obtain needed products, and guidelines as to which brands are best. Beyond the information in the book, there are also cookbooks available as well as information on the SCD website. Whoever is going to prepare the food must be able to follow the recipes. In Gottschall’s words, the diet must be followed with “fanatical adherence” in order to work. Instructions on how to make the food for the beginning diet are on the website (http://www.breakingtheviciouscycle.info/index.htm).

Sample menu for beginning the diet

 

  • Breakfast:

oDry curd cottage cheese (moisten with homemade yogurt)

oEggs (boiled, poached, or scrambled) – not if diarrhea is very severe

oPressed apple cider or grape juice mixed 1/2 and 1/2 with water. 

oHomemade gelatin made with juice, unflavored gelatin, and sweetener (honey)

 

  • Lunch: 

oHomemade chicken soup

oBroiled beef patty or broiled fish 

oHomemade Cheesecake

 

  • Dinner:

oVariations of the above

The above diet needs to be followed strictly. If you have a lot of diarrhea and cramping, you may need five days before you can add other foods. Some people only need a couple of days.

After diarrhea and cramps have stopped, you can add cooked fruit, ripe banana, and other vegetables, as well as egg if you did not start it earlier. You still need to avoid vegetables in the cabbage family. As you add a food, do it slowly, starting with a small portion and increasing it over a week.

Many people decide to try the diet for a month. Gottschall says that it usually takes three weeks to see an improvement, so if you feel absolutely no better after a month, you might want to reconsider whether or not you want to stay on the diet. Keeping a food journal may be the best way to document your symptoms and see if there is a trend toward improvement.

There is also a chance of a relapse of symptoms around the second or third month, which may occur because of a viral infection. Even if there is no specific cause, the symptoms will go away, so you should not be discouraged.

The Specific Carbohydrate Diet

The best way to collect all the information about the diet is from Gottschall’s book, other recommended cookbooks, recipes and tips, as well as places to buy the cookware and other items needed to make the foods, on the website (http://www.breakingtheviciouscycle.info/index.htm).

You do not have to buy anything beyond the book if you are used to cooking and understand some of the more unusual foods you have to make, such as homemade yoghurt. There are no controls on portion or size in general. You can eat as much of “legal” foods as you want.

Here are some general instructions.

Allowable proteins

Essentially all fresh or frozen beef, lamb, pork, poultry, fish, eggs, specified cheeses, homemade yoghurt and dry curd cottage cheese, as well as fish canned in oil or water are allowed. No processed meats are allowed because they may contain filler carbohydrates (like in hot dogs) or they may have had added  sugars. No canned meats.

Allowable vegetables

Fresh or frozen, no canned vegetables or vegetables in jars. Dried peas and certain beans can be introduced after special preparation and when symptoms are better. No grains, no starchy root vegetables. Soybeans and soy products are not allowed

Allowable fruits

Fresh, raw or cooked, frozen or dried. Canned “in its own juice” with no added sugar is acceptable. Just about all fruits are allowed.

Allowable nuts

Just about all nuts in shells. Shelled nuts are acceptable if they have not been coated with starch when salted, which is usually the case with peanuts. 

Nuts should only be used as nut flour until diarrhea has stopped. Then they can be eaten whole.

Beverages

Tomato juice is allowed, as is grapefruit juice, freshly squeezed. Orange juice should not be used in the morning when diarrhea is still active. If buying juice, avoid brands with added sugar. Many companies do not state this on the label. Bottled grape juice is usually without added sugar. Apple cider can be used, but not apple juice because sugar has been added. Juice boxes should be avoided.

You may also drink weak tea or coffee, and peppermint or spearmint herb tea. Other herb teas can worsen diarrhea. Only sweeteners allowed are honey or saccharin. Soft drinks with aspartame or NutraSweet may contain lactose and should be avoided. Instant coffee, tea and Postum are not permitted.

No liquid milk is allowed; no soy milk is allowed. 

General

You can use oils made from “illegal” foods for cooking, because the carbohydrates have been removed. Unflavored gelatin is used in dessert recipes. Sweets are allowed, made from honey, nuts and dates.

Some alcohol is allowed, including very dry wine, gin, Scotch, vodka and other similar. No cordials or liqueurs.

Once symptoms are under control and you are on the diet with all allowed foods, there is a great amount of variety allowed. There is generally no limit on portion sizes; you can eat as much as you want of allowed foods. There are sweets and treats, baked goods made with nut flour, substitutes suggested for pasta, and many clever ways to prepare food. 

Gottschall recommends that you stay on the diet for one year after your illness is  gone. She then suggests that you start “illegal” foods slowly, one at a time

While the diet is restrictive, it is balanced and able to provide a good source of most nutrients. Vitamin supplements are usually necessary, and you should discuss this with your physician. Many people begin this diet underweight because of their illness, and are able to gain weight. 

Does this diet work?

Thousands of people have used this diet successfully. Their stories have been documented on the website, in the form of testimonials as well as surveys.

One article was published in the journal Tennessee Medicine using data from the SCD site as well as follow-up conducted by two doctors. Two case studies were reported, one of a patient with Crohn’s disease and one patient with ulcerative colitis. Both were inadequately controlled on medication and had symptoms resolve on the diet. In these two cases, a physician reviewed colonoscopy reports and biopsies before and after the diet. In these two cases, the patients had demonstrable abnormalities which resolved.

In addition, survey material from the SCD website was used. 51 patients responded, 31 with Crohn’s disease and 20 with ulcerative colitis, Most of them were either in remission or much improved on the diet. Many of these individuals did not follow up with their physicians. 16 patients did have repeat colonoscopies, 12 of which were normal. This article ends with the following statement, “Proper randomized clinical trials are warranted to investigate the merits of this treatment (Nieves and Jackson, 2004).”

Large-scale randomized trials may never be done. Without a medication to study, there is no financial incentive to doing such a trial, and no source of funding. Many physicians will not accept treatments that have not been studied in such trials, and will not accept the Specific Carbohydrate Diet. However, other physicians will, and many patients have done very well on it. 

Should you decide to try the Specific Carbohydrate diet, you should actively discuss your progress with your doctor. As noted, you may need specific vitamins. You may also be able to lower medications, which you should do under a doctor’s care.

Resources:

The  Specific Carbohydrate Diet website: http://www.breakingtheviciouscycle.info/index.htm

Breaking the Vicious Cycle: Intestinal Health Through Diet by Elaine Gloria Gottschall. Kirkton Press; Revised edition (August 1994). 13th printing, May 2010. (Available on Amazon.com, from Barnes and Noble, and elsewhere.)

Nieves R, Jackson RT. Specific Carbohydrate Diet in Treatment of Inflammatory Bowel Disease. Tennessee Medicine. 2004 Sep; 97(9):407. (This article can be viewed on the website). 

Tags:  diet  food and drink 

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Insights into Vegetarianism

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, June 23, 2010
Updated: Friday, April 18, 2014

 

2085739779_b0dc7d4d28_bby Andrea Purcell, ND

Patients come to vegetarianism for a variety of reasons.

The three most common reasons I hear are:

I heard it was better for my health.

It’s a religious or customary choice.

It’s less cruel to animals and our planet.

The food choices I most commonly see among the vegetarian patient base are nothing close to vegetarianism as defined by the term.

So to clarify, the word vegetable is contained within the word vegetarian. In order to be a vegetarian you must eat vegetables, which means that you must buy, prepare, occasionally cook and chew them on a regular basis.

The type of vegetarianism I commonly find in my patients who come to the office and say that they are vegetarian, are really carbo-vegetarians. This means that they consume easy to prepare, on the run processed food forms of carbohydrates that are animal free.

These include, rice, pasta, breads, cakes, cookies, frozen yogurt, bean burritos in white flour tortillas, pancakes, bagels, waffles, fruit, veggie sandwiches, pizza, vegetable dumplings, vegetable lasagna, chips and salsa, hummus with carrots. All of the vegetarian options in this example are simple carbohydrates. They have been processed and refined, meaning that they have been bleached of their nutrients, and stripped of their fiber. Simple carbohydrates are exactly what they say, simple. Not the nutrient and fiber dense food, of what they once were, or of how nature intended it be delivered to us.

Being a healthy vegetarian means being a responsible vegetarian. This means that vegetarians need to work very hard to get enough fat and protein in their diets in order to maintain the level of health that famous vegetarians brag about.

Responsible vegetarianism includes a balance of fat, protein, complex carbohydrates, and of course vegetables at every meal and snack.

Eating fruit in place of vegetables would technically make a person a fruitarian, which is not the topic of this blog.

Complex Carbohydrates include: Whole grains such as brown rice, quinoa, amaranth, and millet. Whole beans, black, lentil, red, white, mung, garbanzo and vegetables in every color.

Protein sources include: Nuts, beans, seeds, tofu, tempeh, possibly eggs or dairy depending on the type of vegetarian, certain vegetables (avocado, spinach, broccoli).

Fat sources include: Nuts, seeds, avocado, coconut milk & meat, oils in many forms.

To Drink: Juiced Vegetables! Try my favorite mixture: Celery, cucumber, spinach, Swiss chard, ½ apple.

Be a responsible vegetarian, your body will thank you for it!

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Are Rice and Spicy Diets Good for Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders?

Posted By Administration, Friday, April 9, 2010
Updated: Friday, April 18, 2014

263141343_81f39a201b_oAbstract 

Rice- and chili-containing foods are common in Asia. Studies suggest that rice is completely absorbed in the small bowel, produces little intestinal gas and has a low allergenicity. Several clinical studies have demonstrated that rice-based meals are well tolerated and may improve gastrointestinal symptoms in functional gastrointestinal disorders (FGID). Chili is a spicy ingredient commonly use throughout Asia. The active component of chili is capsaicin. Capsaicin can mediate a painful, burning sensation in the human gut via the transient receptor potential vanilloid-1 (TRPV1). Recently, the TRPV1 expressing sensory fibers have been reported to increase in the gastrointestinal tract of patients with FGID and visceral hypersensitivity. Acute exposure to capsaicin or chili can aggravate abdominal pain and burning in dyspepsia and IBS patients. Whereas, chronic ingestion of natural capsaicin agonist or chili has been shown to decrease dyspeptic and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) symptoms. The high prevalence of spicy food in Asia may modify gastrointestinal burning symptoms in patients with FGID. Studies in Asia demonstrated a low prevalence of heartburn symptoms in GERD patients in several Asian countries. In conclusion rice is well tolerated and should be advocated as the carbohydrate source of choice for patients with FGID. Although, acute chili ingestion can aggravate abdominal pain and burning symptoms in FGID, chronic ingestion of chili was found to improve functional dyspepsia and GERD symptoms in small randomized, controlled studies. 

Keywords: Chili pepper, Rice, Functional gastrointestinal disorder, Capsaicin, TRPV1 receptor 

Introduction 

Complaints of gastrointestinal symptoms after food ingestion are common in patients with functional gastrointestinal disorders (FGID) and are reported in 25-64% of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) patients.IBS patients often complain of food-related gastrointestinal symptoms secondary to more than one specific food. A recent population-based study in the USA demonstrated that 16.5% and 28.3% of IBS patients had intolerance to 1-2 food items and > 2 items, respectively. These statistics suggest that hyper-sensitivity to the ingestion of foods is common in IBS. Research studies also demonstrate that certain foods, such as chili, fructose or fructan containing foods and fatty foods, can affect gastrointestinal motility and sensation and induce gastrointestinal symptoms more than other foods.This suggests that certain foods, and not just the process of eating foods, can aggravate symptoms in patients with FGID. Therefore, modification of either eating habits (reducing meal size and/or the time of meals) or the composition of meals (avoiding specific food items) may benefit patients with FGID, and studies on the effects of food on gastrointestinal functions and symptoms are important. 

The effects of food ingestion on gastrointestinal symptoms in patients with FGID have been extensively studied, mainly in Western countries and with Western diets. Moreover, information regarding the effects of typical Asian foods on gastrointestinal symptoms of FGID is quite limited. This review will focus on the effects of specific but widely used Asian diets/ingredients, "rice and chili or spicy foods," on gastrointestinal functions and their roles on the symptoms of FGID. 

Characteristics of the Asian Diet 

The Asian diet is characterized by a high-carbohydrate, high-fiber, low-fat, and low-meat protein composition. Typical Asian food generally consists of rice and vegetables as the major source of carbohydrate and fiber. Vegetable oil is a common source of fat, whereas fish, eggs, poultry, and pork are the main sources of protein. This is in contrast to Western diets, which are rich in animal fat and beef protein but lower in carbohydrate and fiber contents. In addition, Asian foods often consist of several ingredients, such as chili, to make the foods tastier. 

 


1. Role of rice and high-carbohydrate diet in FGID 

In general, food can aggravate gastrointestinal symptoms by several mechanisms including: exaggerated physiologic responses of the gastrointestinal tract, food intolerance, allergy, increased intestinal gas,and modification of gut motility and sensation. 

Food with high-carbohydrate content may cause symptoms of functional bowel disorders by both allergic and non-allergic mechanisms. As for the latter, carbohydrate may cause gastrointestinal symptoms because of incomplete absorption in the small bowel, such as lactose mal-absorption. In the allergic mechanism, the protein contents in the carbohydrate sources may cause allergic reactions to the gastrointestinal tract, such as gluten in wheat. 

Major types of carbohydrate in the human diet are: starches, sucrose, and lactose. They have to be digested into monosaccharide before being absorbed through the gut mucosa. If the complex-carbohydrate and monosaccharide are not completely absorbed into the small bowel, then these substances will enter the colon and will be fermented by colonic bacteria to produce gas and short-chain fatty acids, which may contribute to the symptoms reported in patients with FGID such as diarrhea, gas, bloating, and abdominal discomfort and pain. The non-absorbable carbohydrates and their metabolites may induce gastrointestinal symptoms by their effects on gut sensation and gut motility, such as decreased gastric tone, decreased lower esophageal sphincter pressure and accelerated small bowel transit. A recent study in Asia (India) demonstrated that there is a similar prevalence of lactose intolerance in IBS patients and healthy controls. The authors performed lactose hydrogen breath tests in 124 IBS patients and 53 age- and gender-matched healthy controls. They found a similar prevalence of abnormal lactose hydrogen breath tests in IBS patients and healthy volunteers (72% vs. 60%). However, IBS patients developed gastrointestinal symptoms more often than healthy volunteers after ingestion of lactose (56% vs. 34%). This higher rate of gastrointestinal symptoms suggests that there is a role of visceral hypersensitivity in the expression of carbohydrate mal-absorption symptoms and that the completeness of small intestinal absorption of carbohydrate is important in patients with IBS and can associate with their IBS symptoms. 

2. Rice is completely absorbed in the small intestine, producing little gas 

Major sources of complex carbohydrate or starch in the human diet are wheat, rice, oat, potato, and corn. The effects of each complex carbohydrate or starch on gastrointestinal symptoms depend on its fiber content, its allergenicity, and the completeness of the small bowel digestion and absorption. In Western countries, wheat is the major source of carbohydrate. It may cause gastrointestinal symptoms by allergic reaction to gluten, the major protein component of wheat. In a recent meta-analysis of 14 studies, patients who fulfill the criteria of IBS (n = 2,278) have a higher prevalence of celiac disease than controls (n = 1,926). The pooled prevalence of positive IgA-class antigliadin antibody, either positive endomysial antibody or tissue transglutaminase, and biopsy-proved celiac disease in IBS were 4.0%, 1.63%, and 4.1%, respectively. Pooled odds ratios (95% confidence interval) for positive IgA-class antigliadin antibody, either positive endomysial antibody or tissue transglutaminase, and biopsy-proved celiac disease in IBS patients compared with controls were 3.40 (1.62-7.13), 2.94 (1.36-6.35), and 4.34 (1.78-10.6), respecttively. This implies that, in a subgroup of IBS patients, ingestion of a gluten-containing diet may aggravate and avoidance of the diet may improve gastrointestinal symptoms.Furthermore, wheat ingestion produces the highest peak of breath hydrogen compared to other sources of carbohydrate such as corn, oats, potatoes, beans, and rice in healthy humans. This suggests that wheat carbohydrate is not completely absorbed in the small bowel and that it may produce gastrointestinal symptoms, independent of gluten hypersensitivity.

Rice is the major source of carbohydrate in Asian populations. In contrast to wheat and other sources of carbohydrate, rice is completely absorbed in the small bowel and produces very little intestinal gas after ingestion. A previous study demonstrated that the amount of hydrogen, a maker of carbohydrate metabolism by intestinal bacteria, in breath samples after rice ingestion is minimally increased and not significantly different from the fasting period. Furthermore, rice has been shown to have a low allergenicity. Previous studies demonstrated that serum IgG levels produced in reaction to several kinds of food such as wheat, beef, pork, lamb, soybean, shrimp, egg, and crab were increased in IBS patients compared to healthy humans, but the serum IgG levels produced to rice in IBS patients is mild or not increased. A study from China in 37 IBS,  functional dyspepsia, and 20 healthy controls demonstrated that serum IgG antibody titers to rice was similar in IBS (28.7 ± 0.5 U/mL) and functional dyspepsia patients (29.5 ± 0.7 U/mL) compared to healthy controls (28.4 ± 0.5 U/mL). In contrast, the serum IgG antibody titer to wheat was increased in IBS patients (60.6 ± 3.4 U/mL) compared to functional dyspepsia patients (49.4 ± 2.0 U/mL) and healthy controls (48.1 ± 2.0 U/mL). This low production of IgG suggests that rice has a low allergenicity compared to other common foods. 

3. Rice has lowest fiber content compared to other common sources of carbohydrate 

It has been reported that fiber speeds up human gut transit and can improve constipation symptoms. However, its benefit in FGID is limited. Recent meta-analysis studies on the effect of fiber on global symptoms of IBS patients demonstrated conflicting results. In addition, it may worsen abdominal pain and bloating symptoms. In healthy humans, ingestion of fiber (psyllium) can delay intestinal gas transit and cause more gas retention after intestinal gas perfusion. Thus, a high-fiber diet may worsen abdominal bloating and pain by delaying intestinal gas transit and increasing gas production in the colon secondary to bacterial fermentation. In certain parts of Asia, such as in India, healthy controls and patients with IBS have more dietary fiber (51.7 and 52.3 g/day, respectively) than the recommended amount for the general population (20-40 g/day). Therefore, increasing the dietary fiber consumption of functional gastrointestinal disorder patients in certain parts of Asia may not provide any benefit but may worsen the bloating and abdominal pain symptoms. 

Although the Asian diet is rich in fiber, rice - the widely used complex carbohydrate - has the lowest fiber content compared to other kinds of cereal. A previous study demonstrated that the total fiber content (insoluble + soluble fiber) of different kinds of cereal is lowest in rice and highest in wheat (4.1% in rice vs. 12.5% in wheat). As high-fiber may worsen abdominal pain and bloating symptoms, rice may be the most preferable carbohydrate source for functional gastrointestinal disorder patients with predominant symptoms of bloating and abdominal pain. 

4. Clinical studies suggest benefits of rice-base meal in IBS 

Rice has been the major source of carbohydrate in exclusion diets in several clinical studies. These studies demonstrated that the exclusion diet is well tolerated and can improve IBS symptoms in both open and controlled studies. A recent study by King et al. suggests that the rice-based exclusion diet may improve symptoms in IBS by reducing intestinal gas production. The study was performed in 6 female IBS patients and 6 female controls by measuring 24-hour hydrogen and methane production after ingestion of rice-based exclusion diet or standard diet, in a crossover controlled trial, using a whole-body calorimeter. The authors found that after standard diet the gas excretion rate and hydrogen production was higher in IBS patients (2.4 mL/min and 332 mL/24 hr, respectively) than in controls (0.6 mL/min and 162 mL/24 hr). The rice-based exclusion diet reduced hydrogen production compared to standard diet in both IBS (79 vs. 332 mL/24 hr) and controls (95 vs. 162 mL/24 hr). In addition, in IBS patients, the exclusion diet reduced symptoms [symptom score = 8 (5.25-10) vs. 4 (3-7)] and reduced the maximum gas excretion rate compared to the standard diet (0.5 vs. 2.4 mL/min). 

Recently, the very-low-carbohydrate strategy has been shown to improve IBS-D symptoms in a small open study. The authors found that 13 of the 17 patients who were enrolled completed the study. Ten (77%) of the patients who completed the study reported adequate relief of IBS symptoms. Furthermore, the stool frequency, stool consistency, pain scores, and quality of life were significantly improved. 

Because there have been reports of inadequate dietary intake because of food avoidance in IBS patients, the avoidance of poorly-absorbed carbohydrates combined with the consumption of well-absorbed carbohydrates or rice may be more appropriate than the use of very-low-carbohydrate diets in the dietary treatment strategy for IBS patients. 

All together, rice may be the best source of carbohydrate for patients with functional bowel disorder because of its low allergenicity, its nearly complete absorption in the small bowel, and its low fiber content. In addition, a small crossover controlled study supports its benefit in IBS. 

5. Effect of chili on FGID 

Chili and spicy food are common in most Asian countries. The average daily chili consumption in Asian people is 2.5-8 g/person. It is much higher than that of 0.05-0.5 g/person in European and American peoples. Recent studies suggest that acute and chronic ingestion of chili can modify gastrointestinal symptoms in FGID. Whether or not a high prevalence of spicy food modifies gastrointestinal symptoms at the population level is not known. In addition, data on the effect of chili or spicy foods on FGID in Asian countries with a high prevalence of spicy food have been limited. 

6. Capsaicin mediated visceral nociception in FGID 

The active ingredient of chili is capsaicin. Capsaicin can modulate gastrointestinal sensation via capsaicin or TRPV1 receptors. These receptors have been found at different levels throughout the gastrointestinal tract. Capsaicin, acid, and heat can stimulate the TRPV1 receptors and mediate a sensation of burning and pain. Several studies suggested that TRPV1 receptors can mediate sensations of warmth, pressure, cramping, and pain in the human gut. Increases in the number of TRPV1 receptors have been found in the gut mucosa of patients with conditions associated with visceral hypersensitivity, including in the esophagus of patients with non-erosive reflux disease (NERD), in the colon of patients with irritable bowel syndrome and in the rectum of patients with rectal hypersensitivity. Recent studies demonstrated that patients with FGID, including functional dyspepsia and irritable bowel syndrome, exhibit gut hypersensitivity to capsaicin or capsaicin containing chili. Hammer et al. studied the effect of 0.75 mg capsaicin powder ingestion on gastrointestinal symptoms in 54 functional dyspepsia patients and 61 healthy controls. They found that after capsaicin ingestion, nausea, a flutter-like sensation, warmth and abdominal pain scores were higher in functional dyspepsia patients than in healthy volunteers. A recent study in 20 IBS-D patients demonstrated that ingestion of chili-containing meals produces higher abdominal pain and abdominal burning symptom scores than standard meals and when compared to the symptoms reported by healthy volunteers in response to ingestion of chili-containing meals. Studies suggest that abdominal pain and burning symptoms seem to be the typical gastrointestinal symptoms of capsaicin hypersensitivity, whereas abdominal bloating symptoms seems to be independent of the capsaicin pathways. 

Low-grade inflammation in the gastrointestinal tract has been proposed as a major pathogenesis of FGID, especially in irritable bowel syndrome. Up-regulation of TRPV1 pathways resulting in visceral hypersensitivity to mechanical and chemical stimulations has been reported following an induction of colonic inflammation in an animal model. In humans, gut inflammation has been reported to be associated with an increased number of TRPV1-expressing nerve fibers. Thus, hypersensitivity of the TRPV1 pathways in patients with FGID is likely a result of low-grade inflammation and may be an important pathogenesis of gut hypersensitivity, abdominal pain, and abdominal burning symptoms in FGID. 

7. Desensitization of capsaicin receptors, its role on patients' symptom profiles and treatment of FGID 

It has been reported that prior exposure of esophageal mucosa to capsaicin solution do not affect esophageal sensation in response to acid perfusion or to balloon distention. However, the study evaluated the effect of single stimulation of esophageal mucosa by perfusion of capsaicin solution into the esophagus and could not exclude the desensitization effects of capsaicin receptors in the gut mucosa after repeated exposure to capsaicin agonists. 

It has been demonstrated that TRPV1 receptors can be desensitized by repeated exposure to capsaicin. Recent small studies suggested that chronic ingestion of capsaicin containing chili can modify dyspepsia symptoms in functional dyspepsia patients and GERD symptoms in NERD by decreasing dyspeptic and GERD symptoms, respectively. Bortolotti et al.randomized 30 functional dyspepsia patients to receive 2.5 g/day of red pepper powder or placebo in a double-blind manner for 5 weeks. They found that red pepper significantly improved overall symptom scores, epigastric pain, fullness, and nausea scores relative to placebo. The overall symptom scores decreased from 3.3 ± 0.6 at baseline to 1.7 ± 0.2 at the end of week 5 for red chili treatment compared to from 3.4 ± 0.7 to 2.5 ± 0.3 for placebo treatment. In a preliminary study in 8 patients with NERD, red chili ingestion for 6 weeks significantly improved total GERD, heartburn, and regurgitation symptom scores compared to placebo. The authors found that, at baseline, total GERD scores, heartburn, and regurgitation scores were similar comparing between chili and placebo capsules (chili vs. placebo: 7.6 ± 3.7 vs. 4.7 ± 2.8, 4.6 ± 2.3 vs. 3.2 ± 2.1, and 2.9 ± 2.4 vs. 1.5 ± 1.6, respectively). At the end of week 6, red chili significantly decreased GERD symptom scores (chili vs. placebo: 0.9 ± 1.2 vs. 4.9 ± 2.4), heartburn symptom scores (0.4 ± 0.6 vs. 3.7 ± 1.6), and food regurgitation symptom scores (0.5 ± 0.8 vs. 1.3 ± 1.6) compared to placebo. The effects of chili ingestion on functional dyspepsia and GERD symptoms were observed after the 2nd week of treatment in both studies. The similar effects of chronic ingestion of red chili in functional dyspepsia and NERD patients suggests that capsaicin receptors play role on the development of both functional dyspepsia and NERD symptoms and is consistent with previous reports of visceral hypersensitivity to capsaicin in functional dyspepsia54 and increase TRPV1 receptors in NERD.42 In contrast, a previous study in 12 healthy volunteers reported that chronic chili ingestion induce more gastroesophageal refluxes. However, the duration of chili ingestions was too short (≤ 1 week) in relative to the other studies, which showed the desensitization effect of chili (5-6 weeks). These limited data suggest that the natural capsaicin agonist (chili) may have a therapeutic role for pain and burning symptoms in FGID and more research studies are needed to confirm this hypothesis. 

The effect of spicy food, which is frequently eaten in Asia, on the gastrointestinal symptom profiles in FGID at population level is not clearly known. Studies of GERD symptoms in Asian patients have reported a lower prevalence of heartburn compared to Western patients. A study of GERD symptoms in German patients who underwent 24-hour esophageal pH monitoring showed that both heartburn and acid regurgitation are the main typical GERD symptoms, whereas a similar study in an Asian country (Thailand) with a high prevalence of spicy food reported only acid regurgitation, but not heartburn, as the main GERD symptom (Fig. 1). Furthermore, epidemiologic studies in Asian countries, including China, Iran, and Thailand, demonstrated lower heartburn/regurgitation symptom prevalence ratios compared to Western or developed countries with a low prevalence of spicy food. However, the low heartburn/regurgitation symptom prevalence ratio was not observed in Korea. In Turkey, an European country with a high prevalence of spicy food, the prevalence of heartburn in the population is much lower than the prevalence of acid regurgitation (weekly heartburn vs. acid regurgitation: 10% vs. 15.6%, respectively).71 When the studies that reported the prevalence of annual regurgitation and heartburn symptoms were included, studies of the American population reported a heartburn/regurgitation prevalence ratio of 0.91-0.94, whereas studies in China reported a lower ratio of 0.34. There has been no study that directly compares GERD symptom profiles between Asian and Western peoples or patients in the area of high and low prevalence of chili in the diet. However, the collective results of the available studies imply that acid or gastric content regurgitation into the esophagus in people in certain regions of Asia is not perceived as heartburn symptoms by the esophagus in the same way that heartburn symptoms are perceived by Western people. The high prevalence of spicy food may play a role in this finding, but this hypothesis has not been proven. The low prevalence of heartburn symptoms is not likely to be a misinterpretation of acid reflux symptoms in Thai people because acid perfusion tests produce no symptoms in most Thai GERD patients (GI Motility Research Unit, Chulalongkorn University, Thailand, un-published data). However, the heartburn/regurgitation symptom prevalence ratio is not lower in Mexico, where the prevalence of spicy food is high. This inconsistency suggests that not only spicy food, but also other factors, may influence the sensitivity of esophagus to gastro-esophageal reflux contents at the population level.   

In summary, capsaicin or TRPV1 receptors are involved in the pathogenesis of burning and pain symptoms of the gastrointestinal tract. Recent small studies suggest that the chronic use of capsaicin-containing chili can decrease heartburn and abdominal pain in GERD and dyspepsia, respectively. In addition, the ratio of the prevalence of heartburn/regurgitation symptoms in the population is lower in several parts of Asia; this lower rate may be related to the high prevalence of chili or spicy food. 

Conclusion 

Rice seems to be the most preferable source of carbohydrate in patients with FGID. It has a low allergenicity and fiber content; it is also completely absorbed in the small bowel and produces little gas after ingestion. Therefore, it should be advocated as a major source of carbohydrate for patients with IBS and those with other functional GI disorders. 

There has been increasing evidence to support the role of capsaicin receptors in the pathogenesis of symptoms of FGID. Preliminary studies support the role of desensitization of capsaicin receptors by chili, a natural capsaicin receptor agonist, for the treatment of functional dyspepsia and NERD. However, more research studies are needed to confirm this hypothesis. 

Footnotes 

Financial support: This review was supported by the Ratchadapisek Sompotch Endowment Fund (GI Motility Research Unit grant). Conflicts of interest: None. 

References 

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2. Locke GR, 3rd, Zinsmeister AR, Talley NJ, Fett SL, Melton LJ. Risk factors for irritable bowel syndrome: role of analgesics and food sensitivities. Am J Gastroenterol. 2000;95:157–165. [PubMed] 

3. Rao SS, Kavelock R, Beaty J, Ackerson K, Stumbo P. Effects of fat and carbohydrate meals on colonic motor response. Gut. 2000;46:205–211. [PMC free article] [PubMed] 

4. Simrén M, Agerforz P, Björnsson ES, Abrahamsson H. Nutrient-dependent enhancement of rectal sensitivity in irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Neurogastroenterol Motil. 2007;19:20–29. 

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Source: J Neurogastroenterol Motil. 2010 April; 16(2): 131-138. Published online 2010 April 27. doi: 10.5056/jnm.2010.16.2.131. By, Sutep Gonlachanvit MD.

Tags:  food and drink  gastrointestinal disease 

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