Prevent Chronic Illness with Fruits and Vegetables

THE POWER OF FRUITS AND VEGETABLES

The title of this article speaks for itself. It provides compelling evidence that (as I’ve said previously and will keep saying) ‘the medicine of the future will be the food we evolved eating in the past’.

The 6 major killers in the western worlds are all chronic, insidious onset, diseases – heart disease, cancer, stroke, obesity related illnesses, diabetes and chronic respiratory illnesses. Modern medicine and engineering has been highly successful in dramatically reducing the percentage of deaths from the previous biggest killers (around 150 years ago) – infectious diseases and trauma. But it is losing the war against chronic illnesses. It’s methods mainly serve to palliate.

All of these chronic illnesses are preventable by lifestyle intervention. It is via fresh food and pure plant or organism extracted supplements that we can win this war against the big 6.
(The following is excerpted from Dr. Humbard ‘Smokey’ Santillo’s book ProMetabolics: Your Personal Guide to Transformational Health and Healing)

Fruits and vegetables are rich in many helpful antioxidants. Antioxidants stop the free radical chain reaction by accepting renegade electrons into their own structure and hiding them away, rendering them harmless. It is clearly best for your health to counter free radicals with antioxidants, to prevent excessive free radical damage from pushing the body into a degenerative state that can create a focus of disease. If this disease process were to happen, part of your therapy would be to add more antioxidants to your diet.

Among the many antioxidants supplied by fruits and vegetables are vitamin E and the carotenoid beta-carotene, which defend cell membranes from free radical damage. Vitamin C protects the body’s watery components. It seems especially adept at neutralizing free radicals from polluted air and cigarette smoke, and it can also restore oxidized vitamin E to its active state. Green leafy vegetables such as spinach and kale contain lutein, another powerful antioxidant.

Many minerals are antioxidants as well. Iodine, for example, has been shown to be an antioxidant on par with or better than vitamins C and E; its incorporation into cell membranes helps prevent lipid peroxidation. (Smyth PP. Role of iodine in antioxidant defense in thyroid and breast disease. Biofactors 2003, 19:121-130; Tseng YL. Inhibition of lipid peroxidation. Lipids 1984, 19:96-102.) The mineral selenium is a component of the antioxidant glutathione peroxidase, which protects red blood cells and cell membranes from free radicals, working in conjunction with vitamin E (or replacing it). Selenium-rich diets might reduce cancer risks.

We would all do well to follow the advice in Jean Carper’s book Stop Aging Now: “Eat all the various fruits and vegetables you can. Nowhere will you find the anti-aging properties you get in fruits and vegetables. They possess countless known and unknown agents that transform your cells into fortresses against the free radical forces of aging. Much of what we call aging is really a fruit and vegetable deficiency.” (Carper J. Stop Aging Now. Harper-Collins Publishers, New York, NY, 1996.)

Along those lines, a study reported in the Journal of the American Medical Association identified spinach as the food most apt to prevent cataracts in a group of elderly people. (Seddon J, et al. Dietary carotenoids, vitamins A, C, and E, and advanced age-related macular degeneration. JAMA 1994 272:1413.) Some reports suggest an inverse relationship between DNA damage and vegetable intake–that is, more vegetables, less damage. (Djuric Z, et al. Oxidative DNA damage levels in blood from women at high risk for breast cancer are associated with dietary intakes of meats, vegetables, and fruits. J Am Diet Assoc 1998 98:524-528.)

From an analysis of 4,500 scientific studies and papers on the relationship between cancer and diet, the American Institute for Cancer Research concluded that 40 percent of cancer cases worldwide could be prevented if people ate a low-fat, plant-based diet of fruits and vegetables. (World Cancer Research Fund, American Institute for Cancer Research. Food, nutrition, and the prevention of cancer: a global perspective. American Institute for Cancer Research, Washington DC, 1997.) Dr. Gladys Block, after reviewing 170 studies from different countries, stated similarly, “Eating fruits and vegetables regularly can slash your chances of getting cancer in half.” (Block G, et al. Fruit, vegetables, and cancer prevention: a review of the epidemiological evidence. Nutr Cancer 1992 18:1-29.)

Epidemiological studies have also shown that people with high intakes of antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables have lower rates of cancer. More specifically, vegetables in the cruciferous family-cabbage, kale, broccoli, cauliflower, and others–have been shown to contain phytochemicals (compounds found specifically in plants) that speed the removal of harmful estrogen from the body when it’s fighting off breast cancer.

The research results in this area go on and on-and we have not yet even discovered all of the compounds in foods that can have anti-cancer and anti-aging effects. It seems too simple to be true, but when you realize that each fruit and vegetable contains hundreds or thousands of known and unknown phytochemicals, you can better understand the power of whole foods. It is always best to eat the whole food to get all of its synergistic phytochemicals and nutrients in nature’s normal, optimal balance.

Vitamin Supplements

Vitamin Supplement Safety

Whilst this is an article that focuses on a particular supplement, it provides excellent support to my belief (and personal and clinical practice) that the best and safest supplements come from pure extracts derived from plants or other natural organisms rather than being artificially synthesized from individual elements based on our research driven, yet still relatively limited (in comparison to the complexity of nature) understanding of nutrition.
Juice Plus can be sourced via www.juiceplus.com.au. I have used this both personally and clinically for 13 years now.
Other pure plant based extracts I use for supplements and in my clinic include Siberian Red and Bioeffective A which are derived from the needles (or active elements) of various species of Russian pine trees. Forest biochemists in Russia and the former Soviet Union, have been researching these extracts for over 70 years. See www.pineneedleresearch.com and www.pineneedleproducts.com.

From Dr. Mitra Ray

I receive many questions about the best nutritional supplements to take. People are especially curious about what makes Juice Plus+®  different than regular vitamins. I answer that question in this month’s Q and A, and provide links to some research about vitamin supplementation and women’s health.

How Safe Are Vitamin Supplements?

(And how are they different than Juice Plus®?) 

Question: Dear Dr. Ray: I’ve been hearing about the results of a recent study that show increased mortality for women taking vitamin supplements. Can this be true? And if so, why is Juice Plus+® better than a regular multi-vitamin?

Answer: First, let me address the issue of the Iowa Women’s Health Study. The study’s conclusion was that, “In older women, several commonly used dietary vitamin and mineral supplements may be associated with increased total mortality risk. This association is strongest with supplemental iron.” Other large studies have had similar results, and indicate possible harm can result from use of multivitamins and certain other vitamin supplements.

It’s important to note that the results of this study are not cause for alarm: if you’ve been taking a multi-vitamin for years, or you’re someone who supplements with various vitamins, you’re not likely to drop dead as a result. The higher death rate associated with women who used supplements was minimal, and there were many factors that the study didn’t account for.

However – and this is a big However – what’s clear is that not enough is known about what happens to nutrients when they are isolated and removed from food. Most vitamin supplements are made from manufactured vitamins. In fact, the word vitamin is so 1950’s! A much more up to date word is phyto-nutrients (phyto meaning plant). An orange (or any fruit or vegetable), for example, has literally tens of thousands of different vitamins. All these phytonutrients work together to form a perfect food. But a vitamin supplement contains only a few of these many thousands of phyto-nutrients. The recent flurry of research is pointing to the fact that taking a handful of isolated nutrients can be harmful over time. So why risk taking something that has been isolated and removed from its original food source, especially when studies are now indicating possible negative effects?

This brings us to the second part of the question, which is about how Juice Plus+® is different. With a whole-food based supplement like Juice Plus+® the fruits and vegetables are ground up (much like in a Vitamix), then dehydrated in seconds using a proprietary method that keeps the phytonutrients intact, and encapsulated. These encapsulated powders contain the precise ratios of nutrition that nature intended. In contrast, vitamins are man-made chemicals that are often way out of nature’s balance, and do not have the natural synergistic effect of nature’s food.

A recent systematic overview out of the University of Toronto asked the question, “What are the possible health benefits of fruit and vegetable supplements?” Such a review uses explicit methods to identify, select, and critically appraise relevant research, and then summarize the data. There were 22 papers published on fruit and vegetable supplements, and 20 of them looked at Juice Plus+®. There conclusions were:

  • The majority of the studies demonstrated that the capsules (Juice Plus+®) have high bioavailability
  • The evidence indicates a positive impact on reducing oxidative stress, with significant reductions in oxidation of protein, lipids and DNA
  • The majority of studies indicate effective increase in serum folate and decrease in serum homocysteine.

Antidioxidants and Endurance

The Role of Antioxidants in the Endurance Athlete

by David Phillips M.D. 

running_manMuch has been talked about in the sports and science community about the adverse affects of prolonged and strenuous exercise as it relates to the production of free radicals in an athlete’s body. What are these byproducts of aerobic exercise and why are they damaging to the human body? More importantly, what role do antioxidants play in neutralizing these damaging molecules and what can we as athletes do to facilitate this protective process?

The ‘Radical’ Concept

Free radicals are highly reactive species produced during various molecular processes in the human body. While environmental factors such as pollution, radiation and cigarette smoke can spawn free radicals, in this article we will focus on those free radicals produced during endurance exercise.

Free radicals are atoms or groups of atoms with an odd or unpaired number of electrons and can be formed when oxygen interacts with certain molecules. Once formed, these reactive radicals can start a chain reaction, similar to a domino effect. In other words, these compounds attack the nearest stable molecule, “stealing” its electrons in order to gain stability. When the “attacked” molecule loses its electron, it becomes a free radical itself, beginning a chain reaction. Once the process is started it can cascade, resulting in the disruption of a living cell. Free radical damage not only contributes to accelerated aging, it also causes damage to immune cells. It’s not uncommon for endurance athletes such as triathletes or marathoners to have a higher incidence of colds and upper respiratory infections after competition and intense training. Free radical damage to cellular DNA plays a significant role in the evolution of certain cancers, heart disease and neurological disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease.

Exercise and Oxidative Damage

Endurance exercise can increase oxygen utilization from 10 to 20 times over the resting state and up to 100 to 200 times in working muscles. This greatly increases the generation of free radicals via oxidative metabolism in skeletal mitochondria. Fortunately, the body has an elaborate antioxidant defense system that utilizes dietary intake of antioxidant vitamins and minerals as well as our body’s own enzyme systems to decrease concentrations of the most harmful oxidants in tissues. Regular endurance training has been shown to enhance our internal antioxidant defense system, these changes of which occur slowly over time and appear to parallel other adaptations to exercise. When free radical production exceeds the ability of antioxidant enzymes and nutritionally obtained antioxidants to neutralize them, oxidative stress results. So, what can we as endurance athletes do to minimize the damage caused by the inevitable overflow of free radicals during training and competition?

Fruits and Vegetables: The Power of the Pyramid!

A recent change in dietary intake of fruits and vegetables by the USDA has placed a greater emphasis on increasing our daily consumption from the previous 5-7 servings a day to 7-9 servings and up to 13 servings or more for endurance athletes! Vitamins C, E, and beta carotene are the primary vitamin antioxidants. Previous research looking into the effects of supplementing our diets with these isolated nutrients has yielded equivocal results. Once thought to be beneficial to cardiac health, isolated vitamin E supplementation has now been questioned. Beta carotene supplements have been shown to increase lung cancer in smokers as well as contribute to thickening of the lining of arteries.

Recent studies now point to the synergistic role of numerous antioxidants obtained from the consumption of whole foods such as fruits and vegetables. Therefore, a diet rich in naturally occurring antioxidants appears to outweigh the risks inherent to supplementing one’s diet with isolated laboratory made supplements. Furthermore, various key trace minerals such as zinc, selenium and manganese found in naturally occurring foods are needed for the proper functioning of various endogenous antioxidant enzymes.

Training Right, Eating Right:  Final Thoughts

The endurance athlete faces a challenge of balancing daily aerobic exercise with preventative measures that minimize the damaging affects of oxidative stress.  Clearly, fruits and vegetables rich in antioxidants are vital to this balance. Many of us may find it difficult to consume the recommended amounts of fruits and vegetables to achieve this balance. For those who are unable to take in enough daily produce, cryoevaporated fruits and vegetables in capsule form, such as Juice Plus+ (see www.timaltmanjuiceplus.com.au), make it possible to supplement what we are not able to consume when we visit the salad bar. Antioxidant supplementation helps to bridge the gap between what we eat on a daily basis (what we know we should be eating!) and the optimal amount of phytonutrients needed to combat the damaging effects of oxidative stress.

As endurance athletes, it is important to be aware of not only the benefits of aerobic exercise but the potentially negative aspects training and racing can have on our bodies and long term health. Finding a healthy balance between training and proper nutrition will go a long way in promoting longevity in any endurance athletic activity.

dr_man_for_blog.jpg  David Phillips, M.D. graduated in 1984 from Harvard University where he earned academic honors and was an All-American swimmer.  He received his medical degree from Wright State University School of Medicine in Dayton, Ohio.  After practicing as an emergency room physician, Dr. Phillips shifted his focus to sports medicine.  He has competed individually in national and international triathlons including the 2005 Ford Ironman World Championships, and qualified as a member of Team USA at the 2008 International Triathlon Union World Championships in Vancouver.

Healthy Christmas

Cranberries and Christmas

cranberriesWhilst we don’t celebrate Thanksgiving or eat pumpkin pie as much as the Americans do, we do eat turkey (particularly at Christmas time) and we often with cranberry sauce. This article written by an American, Kimberley Day, shows that the humble little cranberry is far more than a great tasting supplement to turkey or as a juice. It is commonly known that cranberry juice is fantastic in treating urinary tract  infections, but it can do far more than that also…………….Providing further evidence that the medicine of the future will be the food we evolved on in the past.

 

Traditional Thanksgiving food may be a powerful defense against cancer

Most people have pretty strong feelings about their Thanksgiving meal. It almost always includes turkey, followed closely by stuffing, mashed potatoes, and some kind of vegetable casserole. And, of course, pumpkin pie.

Then there’s the sometimes controversial issue of the humble cranberry. Some like it canned and gelatinous, while others like the homemade variety. And some don’t like it all.

Little does this group know what they are missing out on. Not just the great taste of cranberries, but the amazing health benefits that seem to be packed into this unassuming little berry.

Berry Beneficial

Cranberry is most often studied and recommended for treating urinary tract infections (UTIs). In fact, it has been become almost commonplace to use cranberry juice and cranberry supplements to prevent UTIs caused by E. coli bacteria.[1]

Given this accepted use of cranberry to treat a bacterial infection, it’s no surprise that additional studies have shown the berry’s power to treat bacteria-based periodontal diseases,[2] as well as H. pylori,[3] a bacteria that has been linked to ulcers and even stomach cancer.

But it’s this cancer tie that really has researchers atwitter. Turns out cranberries contain a rich store of polyphenols, which are nutrients that have amazing antioxidant benefits. Plus, they have several other phytochemicals known to help treat and prevent cancer.

But how do they work against cancer? That’s exactly what one researcher from the University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth set out to discover.[4]

Cranberries and Cancer Prevention

After reviewing nearly 40 different studies on cranberries and cancer, the author found that there are three main phytochemicals that seem to be responsible for cranberry’s anti-cancer power:

  • Proanthocyanidins (powerful antioxidants)
  • Anthocyanins (anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory)
  • Ursolic acid (anti-inflammatory, anti-proliferative)

In vitro studies (think in the lab) have shown that proanthocyanidins (PACs) have blocked the growth of cancer in human lung cells, colon cells, and leukemia cells.[5] Similar in vitro studies have found that PACs induce cell death, particularly with breast cancer,[6] colon cancer,[7] brain cancer (of the glial cells),[8] oral cancer,[9] ovarian cancer,[10] prostate cancer[11] and esophageal cancer cells.[12]

The anthocyanins found in cranberries appear to reduce inflammation, which is commonly associated with cancer risk. Additionally, these anthocyanins have been shown to block an enzyme (ornithine decarboxylase) that is known to promote cancer growth.[13] Plus, anthocyanins limit angiogenesis, or the growth of new blood vessels.[14] This is important because cancer needs this growth to spread.

But the real hero in cranberries just may be ursolic acid. This little-known nutrient has been shown to be cytotoxic toward cancer cells.[15] In fact, an in vitro study found that PACs and ursolic acid from cranberries brought on cell death in colon cancer cells. But, more promising, is that an in vivo study found that ursolic acid decreased the size, weight, and eventually presence of breast cancer cells in mice.[16]

Back to the Dinner Table

Given the known power of cranberries to fight bacteria and infection, and the promising research surrounding cancer and this little berry, it only makes sense to have cranberries play a larger role in our diet. But the form matters.

I’m not talking about jellied or fresh (we’ll get to that in a minute); I’m talking berry versus juice. In short, skip the juice. Not only is it often sweetened, but the whole fruit has a higher amount of ursolic acid than the juice.

Now, back to fresh versus jellied. While jellied is better than juiced, you still have the sugar issue.

So, for your Thanksgiving Day table (and throughout the year), think berry.

November 17, 2011 | By Kimberly Day, Contributing Editor, Peak Health Advocate

Organic Farming

Organic Farming V Convential Farming

As a Melbourne naturopath that believes in the value of natural products, Tim Altman has never doubted the benefits of organic farming which are then passed on to the public. This is why he is more than happy to share latest US research that dispels some organic farming myths.

Read this fantastic organic farming newspaper article that shows just how organic farming is the way to go over conventional farming methods. If you have ever had any doubts, doubt no more.

Focus on Allergy Sufferers

A Focus on Allergies, Sinusitis and Hay Fever

Now that Spring is here there are plenty of people seeking out a Naturopath to get treatment for hay fever, allergic asthma and sinusitis. The latest edition of Focus On takes a detailed look at these health issues that are a major cause of discomfort for many people especially during Spring and ways to help allergy sufferers breathe easy.

If you are an allergy, sinusitis or hay fever sufferer make an appointment with Tim Altman, your naturopath South Yarra, South Melbourne and Torquay. He will investigate how to incorporate nutrition, detoxification and breathing retraining with nutraceutical remedies such as Metagenics to prevent or treat sinusitis, hayfever and asthma and achieve a fantastic level of overall wellness and health.

Allergies, Hayfever and Sinusitis

Fast Facts: Allergies, Hayfever, Sinusitis

Current News, Events and Tips

Does paracetamol really reduce fever?

Paracetamol is one of the most commonly used drugs in the Western world. It is used as an effective pain reliever and it is also widely used to reduce fever, especially in infants. So how effective is paracetamol for reducing fever? Paracetamol’s mean antipyretic effect is only 0.24°C, which is insignificant compared to an infant’s overall temperature. Therefore, there has been some questions raised regarding the efficacy of paracetamol as an antipyretic agent.

Fever helps heal.

As any Natural Medicine Practitioner will know, fevers can actually speed up recovery¹, but high temperatures do need to be closely monitored, particularly in children. Antipyretic strategies should be employed when fevers exceed 39°C in children and 40°C in adults.

Could paracetamol cause allergies?

An analysis of 205,487 children aged 6 to 7 years from 31 countries found that the use of paracetamol in the first year of life and in later childhood is associated with increased risk of developing asthma, rhinoconjunctivitis and eczema.² Furthermore, overuse of paracetamol may reduce antibody-mediated antimicrobial responses and actually prolong infections.¹

References

  1. Warwick C. Paracetamol and fever management. J R Soc Promot Health. 2008;128(6):320-3.
  2. Beasely R et al. ISAAC Phase Three Study Group. Association between paracetamol use in infancy and childhood, and risk of asthma, rhinoconjunctivitis and eczema in children aged 6-7 years. Lancet 2008. 372(9643):1039-48.

Sinus Congestion and Hayfever

Sinus Congestion and Hayfever

With winter almost over, some recent warmer weather has given a reminder that spring and warmer times are rapidly approaching. Whilst spring can be a beautiful time of year in Victoria (for both weather and the fillies and fashion!!), it is also the time of year that  hayfever, sinusitis and allergies are at their peak.

These ailments can turn a beautiful time of year into a very uncomfortable time. Unpleasant symptoms such as sneezing, sinus congestion, runny nose, itchy eyes, headaches, persistent coughs, wheezing and skin irritations are experiences that many people, despite going to great lengths to avoid, simply have to put up with.

But there are many natural preventative and treatment strategies that can make this spring and enjoyable one.

In addition to reading the Wellness Review (above) on hayfever, sinusitis and allergies, we can offer several highly effective approaches to treating these conditions or, even better, avoiding them altogether. Make an appointment to see Naturopath, Tim Altman in South Melbourne, South Yarra or Torquay. Take a look at clinic times to see what days he is in each location.

Focus on Preconception Care

Fast Facts – Preconception Care

Current News, Events and Tips

  • A male factor is involved in up to 50% of clinical infertility cases, making preconception care for both partners absolutely essential for the best chances of achieving a successful, healthy pregnancy.
    (Ref 1)
  • Proper development of the placenta is largely dependent on the expression of genes from the paternal chromosomes, further supporting the role of the male for optimal pregnancy outcomes.
    (Ref 2)
  • Infertility is estimated to affect 15 to 18% of couples in Australia.3 While this is an alarming statistic, it is important to remember that many risk factors for infertility, including obesity, toxicity, stress, and oxidative damage, are modifiable through dietary and lifestyle intervention.

Read the complete Focus On: Preconception Care article  

References

  1. Kumar S, Mishra VV. Review: Toxicants in reproductive fluid and in vitro fertilization (IVF) outcome. Toxicol Ind Health. 2010;26(8):505-11.
  2. Miozzo M, Simoni G. The role of imprinted genes in fetal growth. Biol Neonate. 2002;81(4):217-28. Review.
  3. Rayner JA, et al. Australian women’s use of complementary and alternative medicines to enhance fertility: exploring the experiences of women and practitioners. BMC Complement Altern Med. 2009; 9:52.

Supplements Colds and Flus

Supplements for Cold and Flus

Been exposed to more than your fair share of cold and flus this winter? This month’s Wellness Review focuses on natural supplements, herbs, nutrients, vitamins and some diet and lifestyle changes that could give your immune system the boost it needs.

You could also make an appointment with Tim Altman, your Naturopath in South Melbourne, Port Melbourne and South Yarra to say goodbye to colds and flus.