Wednesday, September 26, 2007

And Eat Your Oats TOO!

Oats are a nutritious whole grain that can help to prevent heart disease and diabetes. Oats contain a special type of fiber that is called beta-glucan. Studies dating back over 40 years have consistently shown the beneficial effects of beta-glucan on cholesterol levels. In individuals with cholesterol above 220, consuming only 3 grams of soluble oat fiber per day (an amount found in one bowl of oatmeal) typically lowers total cholesterol by 8-23%. Each 1% drop in cholesterol equates to a 2% decrease in the risk of developing heart disease. Now that’s an easy way to take care of your heart.

Studies also show that beta-glucan has beneficial effects in diabetes as well. Type 2 diabetics who ate foods high in this type of oat fiber such as oatmeal or oat bran experienced much lower rises in blood sugar compared to those who were ate processed foods. Starting out your day with oats may make it easier to keep blood sugar levels under control the rest of the day, especially when the rest of your day is also includes other whole foods that are rich in fiber.

More recently, researchers from the Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging, Tufts University, Boston, report that oats may have another heart protective quality. Their findings were reported in The Journal of Nutrition, June 2007, and indicate that oats contain unique antioxidant compounds called avenanthramides. These special antioxidant compounds help prevent free radicals from damaging LDL cholesterol thereby reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease.

In another study also conducted at Tufts and published in the journal Atherosclerosis, researchers exposed human arterial wall cells to purified avenenthramides from oats for 24 hours, and found that these oat phenols significantly suppressed the production of several types of molecules which cause arteries to become clogged.
Nutrition from whole food is extremely important to your bodies overall health.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Black Beans Health Benefits

Black Beans are a wonderful source of dietary fiber which has been shown to naturally help lower cholesterol. In addition, the high fiber content in Black Beans helps keep blood sugar levels from rising too rapidly after a meal, making them a wise choice for people with diabetes, insulin resistance or hypoglycemia.

When Black Beans are prepared with whole grains such as barley or wild rice, the Black Beans provide a virtually fat-free, high quality source of protein. But that’s not all. Recent research also shows that Black Beans are rich in antioxidants as well. Antioxidants destroy free radicals, and when eaten regularly, have been shown to offer protection against heart disease, cancer and aging.

Researchers from Michigan State University tested the antioxidant activity of flavonoids found in the skin of 12 common varieties of dry beans. The research was published in the November 2003 issue of the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry.

Black Beans crossed the finish line in first place having more antioxidant activity, gram for gram, than other beans, followed by red, brown, yellow and white beans, in that order. In general, darker colored seed coats were associated with higher levels of flavonoids, and therefore higher antioxidant activity, says lead investigator Clifford W. Beninger, Ph.D., a research associate at the University of Guelph in Ontario, Canada.

"Black beans are really loaded with antioxidant compounds. We didn't know they were that potent until now," says Beninger, formerly a researcher with the USDA's Sugarbeet and Bean Research Unit, located at Michigan State University in East Lansing, where he worked on the project under the leadership of co-author George L. Hosfield, Ph.D., a geneticist who recently retired from the USDA.

The study found that one class of compounds in particular, anthocyanins, were the most active antioxidants in the beans. Based on a previously published study of the anthocyanin content of black beans, Beninger found that the levels of anthocyanins per 100 gm serving size of black beans was about 10 times the amount of overall antioxidants in an equivalent serving size of oranges and similar to the amount found in an equivalent serving size of grapes, apples and cranberries.

Dust off the cook book and try some of the Black Beans and Rice recipes! Black Beans and Rice can be a quick, easy and very healthy addition to any whole food meal.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Reduce Junk food and Fast Food Dependence

Today, consumers are becoming more aware of the dangers of junk food and fast food. Obesity rates are at their highest levels ever and conditions such as type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol are showing up in young children. The pressure is mounting as bans on Trans Fats are now being passed into law. What can we do about it?

Parents across the country are insisting that schools shift to healthier foods and more exercise for the kids. People everywhere are searching for answers and there are new convenient live whole foods being sold in a powdered form to be a juice.

Uri International supplies healthy, convenient whole food powders and capsules to provide the nutrition you are not getting in the junk food and fast food. This new trend is expected to be the largest mass consumer shift that we've seen in decades because it involves a product that everyone uses every day..... FOOD.

As a fast growing food market segment, healthy organic foods like "The Feast" and "Beyond Berries" are convenient and nutritious alternatives to get 5 to 9 servings of fresh vegetables and fruit each day. Both come in a powder that is mixed in water to make a nutritious juice or capsules to drink with water for the ultimate convenience for people on the go.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

What are Free Radicals & Antioxidants

A molecule in your body has a nucleus at the center and then a certain number of electrons that orbit around the nucleus. Normally, the molecules that make up your body are balanced; they have an even number of electrons. A free radical is a molecule that has lost one of its electrons leaving it with an odd number of electrons.

These unbalanced free radical molecules attempt to stabilize themselves by “stealing” an electron from another healthy molecule. The cells in your body where this molecular theft is occurring can become injured. This cell can malfunction causing disease or even become malignant causing cancer. It is also widely believed that free radicals are one of the main causes of the aging process.

The body produces free radicals through normal metabolic pathways such as extracting energy from the food we eat. Exposure to the toxins in junk food or polluted air, for example can also be sources of free radical production. In short, we are exposed to potential sources of free radical production every day of our lives. This is a normal process that can be made worse by what we eat and what we come in contact with.

Antioxidants are nutritional compounds in whole foods that have extra electrons. When an antioxidant comes in contact with a free radical – the antioxidant “donates” an electron to the free radical. Now the free radical does not have to “steal” an electron from another healthy molecule and the damage normally caused by the free radical can be avoided. The antioxidant nutrients themselves do not become free radicals when they “donate” an electron because they are stable in either form.

The human body is capable of producing antioxidants naturally but under conditions of a poor diet, toxicity, physical stress or emotional stress this antioxidant production can be severely impaired. Do you know someone who eats a poor diet, has high levels of toxicity and is stressed out much of the time? This is why they may appear older than they actually are.

Eating a healthy whole food diet and drinking plenty of water are two of the best ways to protect your body from the damage of free radicals. Fruits and vegetables provide an excellent source of natural antioxidants to help your body stabilize the free radicals and ward off the damage that they cause.

You can cleanse your body of toxins and fill it with natural antioxidants at the same time by choosing live whole foods rich in antioxidants.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Avocados Have Health Benefits

Avocados were once a luxury food reserved for the tables of royalty but now avocados are enjoyed around the world by people from all walks of life.

Research published in the January 2005 issue of the Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry indicates that nutrients in avocados can work together to inhibit the growth of prostate cancer cells. The analysis was conducted at UCLA where researchers discovered that avocados are the richest source of lutein among commonly eaten fruits. Lutein is a carotenoid that acts as an antioxidant and has been linked to a reduced risk of prostate cancer in previous studies.

According to Dr. David Heber, director of the UCLA Center for Human Nutrition, the study focused on inhibition of human prostate cancer cell growth when exposed to an extract of whole avocado fruit versus treatment with pure lutein. UCLA lab tests showed that when avocado extract was added to two types of prostate cancer cells, cell growth was inhibited by up to 60%, whereas purified lutein alone was ineffective.

In other words, when a single nutrient, lutein, was extracted from avocados it did not offer the same anti-cancer results as the whole avocado extract. Dr. Heber commented: "What's really exciting about this study is that the results indicate that the carotenoids, vitamins, and diverse compounds in avocados might have additive or synergistic effects against prostate cancer compared with pure lutein alone”.

In this story as it is in others, it seems to be that
whole foods in their original whole form, offer the best nutrition possible for the human body.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Is Your Health At Risk?

When it comes to safeguarding your health – sometimes, the most important information of all has to come from you.

The Harvard School of Public Health has added a wonderful health tool to their website. This easy interactive tool allows you to determine your risk level with respect to cancer, heart disease, diabetes, osteoporosis and stroke.

Within a matter of minutes you can know exactly where you stand. You can rest easy if your risk is low and you’ll know what to do if your risk is elevated. Many of the questions have to do with your diet – they will ask how many servings of fruits, veggies, and whole grains that you eat per day – so here’s something to keep in mind.

URI International Whole foods are very dense in nutrition. Every scoop of our live whole food based "InstaFresh Juice" called "The Feast" provides 1000’s of naturally occurring nutritional compounds from concentrated whole foods and 70+ nutrient dense concentrates from fresh live whole foods.

As you are using this tool it is important to be honest with yourself – it’s completely private and confidential. If you are at low risk, then you deserve to know and to have that wonderful, healthful feeling of comfort. If you are at an elevated risk, then you’ll be offered some good ideas and practical tips on how to lower your risk with healthy lifestyle changes.

Here’s the link to the Harvard website:

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Rice Made From Human Genes

No, this is not the plant version of Frankenstein. This is another Genetic Modification of a plant to save the world without a total realization of the potential consequences. I am not sure we should use our farms and crops to become a living drug factory derived from our whole food supply. We already know how cross pollination can mess things up. I may be a pessimist but I do not want to be exposed to a natural whole food drug overdose from eating crops that were accidentally cross pollinated but we did not know it.

They are even researching, testing and introducing human genes, pesticides, viruses, drugs, and vaccines into seeds. Find out more here
I prefer going back to the basics with better convenient organic superfoods. URI International developed a proprietary no heat dehydrating process that converts live whole foods and fresh raw juices into nutrient dense, great tasting, instant, all natural juice powders. Try a sample

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Ways to Eat More Fruits and Veggies

You probably already know that a healthy diet includes a moderate quantity and variety of fruits and vegetables. They are a good source of vitamins and minerals. Many fruits and vegetables are lower in calories and higher in fiber than other foods we eat. Eating fruits and vegetables instead of high-fat or high-calorie foods may make it easier to control your weight.

Are you to busy? You can save time, save money, or both as you strive to eat more fruits and vegetables as part of a healthy diet.

Here is a Tip: There is a new and convenient way to get your daily fruits and vegetables. Live Whole Food Based “InstaFresh Juice”

Save Time

• Pick fruits or veggies that require little peeling or chopping, such as baby carrots, cherry tomatoes, or grapes.
• Prepare extra vegetables and freeze leftovers for quick sides. Simply heat to 165ºF and serve.
• Choose ready-packed salad greens from the produce shelf for a quick salad any time.
• Visit the salad bar for pre-cut veggies to top salads, sandwiches, or pasta.

Save Money
• Take advantage of in-store promotions and purchase fresh fruits and vegetables in season, when they are generally less expensive.
• Prevent food waste by properly storing produce and selecting the type and amount you will consume.
• Buy in bulk. Freeze excess, or purchase frozen, canned, or dried varieties that keep longer.
• Shop the local farmer’s market or visit nearby farms and pick your own fresh produce while in season.

Save Time and Money
• Plan meals ahead and create a shopping list to help minimize impulse purchases.
• Buy in bulk and prepare extra or larger amounts. Freeze individual or family-size portions for later use.
• Make vegetable-based one-pot meals using beans or soy or other beans instead of higher cost protein sources, such as meat, fish, or poultry. One-pot meals also reduce the number of pans and other utensils that must be washed, saving you time.
• Keep it simple. Choose quick and easy recipes with few ingredients that use in-season, canned, frozen, or dried fruits and vegetables.

Click here for Live Whole Food Based “InstaFresh Juice”

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Test your Fruit and Veggie IQ

Eating fruits and vegetables everyday as part of a healthy diet can help you fight disease.
TRUE: A good source of many essential vitamins and minerals, fruits and vegetables are important to promoting good health. Research consistently shows that compared with people who consume a diet with only small amounts of fruits and vegetables, those who eat more generous amounts as part of a healthful diet* are likely to have reduced risk of chronic diseases, including stroke, type 2 diabetes, certain cancers, and perhaps heart disease and high blood pressure.

Most people do not eat enough fruits and vegetables for good health.
TRUE: Despite the many health benefits, most Americans do not consume enough fruit and vegetables every day. Are you meeting your needs? Visit to see how many cups you need each day. Here is a Tip: There is a new and convenient way to get your daily fruits and vegetables. Live Whole Food Based “InstaFresh Juice”

Fruits and vegetables can play a role in weight management.
TRUE: Besides having vitamins and minerals that can help protect your health, many fruits and vegetables are lower in calories and higher in fiber than other foods. Studies have shown that when people eat more low-calorie foods, they naturally eat fewer high-calorie foods. That’s because people tend to eat similar amounts of food even when the calories in the food vary. As part of a healthy diet, eating fruits and vegetables instead of high-fat foods may make it easier to control your weight.

Green vegetables are the most nutritious.
No one food contains all the nutrients your body needs. To get a healthy variety, think color. Eating fruits and vegetables of different colors, including plenty of dark green vegetables, gives your body a wide range of nutrients, like fiber, folate, potassium, and vitamins A and C.

Fruits and vegetables are always more expensive than other foods.
FALSE: The USDA analyzed the prices of 154 different forms of fruits and vegetables and found that more than half cost less than 25 cents per serving. Compared to a candy bar, soda, or snack grab bag, fruits and veggies are a bargain. Based on 1999 A.C. Nielson Homescan data.

Fresh, frozen, canned, and dried varieties of fruits and vegetables all count toward your daily recommendation.
No matter what the form ― fresh, frozen, canned, dried, juice ― all varieties of fruits and vegetables count toward your daily recommendation. Choose fruits without added sugar or syrups and vegetables without added salt, butter, or cream sauces. Although 100% fruit or vegetable juice counts toward your daily recommendation, the majority of the total daily amount of fruits and vegetables should come from whole fruits and vegetables to help you get enough fiber.

Preparing fruits and vegetables always takes too much time.
FALSE: With so many varieties to choose from, it’s easier than ever to eat more fruits and vegetables. Look for simple recipes that take only minutes to prepare. See reverse side for three great options. Or try whole fruits and vegetables. There are many varieties you can just rinse and eat.

* In addition to fruits and vegetables, a healthy diet also includes whole grains, fat-free or low-fat milk products, lean meats, fish, beans, eggs and nuts, and is low in saturated fats, trans fats, cholesterol, salt, and added sugars. A healthy diet also means staying within your daily calorie needs.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Eat Fruits an Vegetables with Color

Eat a colorful variety every day

You probably already know that a healthy diet includes a variety of fruits and vegetables. Most are lower in calories and higher in fiber than other foods. As part of a healthy diet, eating fruits and vegetables instead of high-fat foods may also make it easier to control your weight.

Compared to people who eat only small amounts of fruits and vegetables, those who eat more generous amounts — as part of a healthy diet — are likely to have reduced risk of chronic diseases. These diseases include stroke, type 2 diabetes, some types of cancer, and perhaps heart disease and high blood pressure.

Find Your Balance

Becoming a healthier you isn’t just about eating healthy — it’s also about physical activity. Regular physical activity is important for your overall health and fitness.

Here are some guidelines to follow:

Adults should be physically active at a moderate intensity at least 30 minutes most days of the week.
To prevent weight gain, adults should be physically active at least at a moderate intensity approximately 60 minutes a day most days of the week while not exceeding caloric requirements.
Children and teenagers should be physically active for 60 minutes most days, or preferably all days of the week.
For even greater health benefits, increase the time or intensity of your activity.
get the most nutrition out of your calories

Consider this: if you use up your total daily calories on a few high-calorie items, chances are you won't get the full range of vitamins and nutrients your body needs to be healthy.

To get all the nutrients you need, without consuming too many calories, you should choose foods that are packed with nutrients, but lower in calories, from each of the food groups. These foods include fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean meats, and fat-free or low-fat milk and milk products.

To get a healthy variety, think color. Eating fruits and vegetables of different colors gives your body a wide range of valuable nutrients, like fiber, folate, potassium, and vitamins A and C. Some examples include green spinach, orange sweet potatoes, black beans, yellow corn, purple plums, red watermelon, or white onions. For more variety, try new fruits and vegetables regularly.

Fruits and vegetables are great live whole food sources of many vitamins, minerals and other natural substances that may help protect you from chronic diseases. Some of these nutrients may also be found in other healthy foods. Eating a balanced diet and making other lifestyle changes are key to defending your body’s good health.

Diets rich in dietary fiber have been shown to have a number of beneficial effects, including decreased risk of coronary heart disease.

Excellent fruit and vegetable sources:
navy beans, kidney beans, black beans, pinto beans, lima beans, white beans, soybeans, split peas, chick peas, black eyed peas, lentils, artichokes

Healthful diets with adequate folate may reduce a woman’s risk of having a child with a brain or spinal cord defect.

Excellent fruit and vegetable sources:
black eyed peas, cooked spinach, great northern beans, asparagus

Diets rich in potassium may help to maintain a healthy blood pressure.
Good fruit and vegetable sources:
sweet potatoes, tomato paste, tomato puree, beet greens, white potatoes, white beans, lima beans, cooked greens, carrot juice, prune juice

Vitamin A keeps eyes and skin healthy and helps to protect against infections.
Excellent fruit and vegetable sources:
sweet potatoes, pumpkin, carrots, spinach, turnip greens, mustard greens, kale, collard greens, winter squash, cantaloupe, red peppers, Chinese cabbage

Vitamin C helps heal cuts and wounds and keeps teeth and gums healthy.
Excellent fruit and vegetable sources:
red and green peppers, kiwi, strawberries, sweet potatoes, kale, cantaloupe, broccoli, pineapple, Brussels sprouts, oranges, mangoes, tomato juice, cauliflower * According to the Institute of Medicine, a daily intake of 400 μg/day of synthetic folic acid (from fortified foods or supplements in addition to food forms of folate from a varied diet) is recommended for women of childbearing age who may become pregnant.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Chocolate Lovers Health Delight

Some “chocoholics” who just couldn’t give up their favorite treat have inadvertently done their fellow chocolate lovers - and science - a big favor.

A recent study at The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine was focused on blood platelets and blood clots. The study participants, some of whom were fond of eating chocolate, were given a list of foods to avoid – the list included chocolate. It seems that some of them ended up indulging their cravings for chocolate during the study.

Amazingly, their indulgence led to researchers to an important discovery which is believed to be the first of its kind. Through biochemical analysis, the researchers are now able to explain why just a few squares of chocolate a day can reduce the risk of heart attack death in some men and women by almost 50%. It turns out that the chocolate decreases the tendency of platelets to clot in narrow blood vessels.

“What these chocolate ‘offenders’ taught us is that the chemical in cocoa beans has a biochemical effect similar to aspirin in reducing platelet clumping, which can be fatal if a clot forms and blocks a blood vessel, causing a heart attack,” says Diane Becker, M.P.H., Sc.D., a professor at The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and Bloomberg School of Public Health.

Becker cautions that her work is not intended as a prescription to gobble up large amounts of chocolate candy, which often contains diet-busting amounts of sugar, butter and cream. But as little as 2 tablespoons a day of dark chocolate - the purest form of the candy, made from the dried extract of roasted cocoa beans - may be just what the doctor ordered.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Cinnamon - A Spice and a Medicine!

The use of Cinnamon as a spice and as a medicine dates back to 2000 BC. There are two types of Cinnamon which are known to as Chinese Cinnamon and Ceylon Cinnamon. While they have a similar flavor, Ceylon Cinnamon is a bit sweeter and is considered be of a more refined and higher quality.

Just half a teaspoon of cinnamon a day significantly reduces blood sugar levels in diabetics, a new study has found. The effect, which can be produced even by soaking a cinnamon stick your tea, could also benefit millions of non-diabetics who have blood sugar problem but are unaware of it.

The discovery was initially made by accident, by Richard Anderson at the US Department of Agriculture's Human Nutrition Research Center in Beltsville, Maryland. "We were looking at the effects of common foods on blood sugar; one was the American favorite, apple pie, which is usually spiced with cinnamon. We expected it to be bad. But it helped," he says.

The active ingredient in cinnamon turned out to be a water-soluble polyphenol compound called MHCP. In test tube experiments, MHCP mimics insulin, activates its receptor, and works synergistically with insulin in cells.

To see if it would work in people, Alam Khan, who was a postdoctoral fellow in Anderson's lab, organized a study in Pakistan. Volunteers with Type 2 diabetes were given one, three or six grams of cinnamon powder a day, in capsules after meals.

All responded within weeks, with blood sugar levels that were on average 20 per cent lower than a control group. Some even achieved normal blood sugar levels. Tellingly, blood sugar started creeping up again after the diabetics stopped taking cinnamon.

In the volunteers, the Cinnamon also lowered blood levels of fats and "bad" cholesterol, which are also partly controlled by insulin. And in test tube experiments it neutralized free radicals, damaging chemicals which are elevated in diabetics.

Cinnamon's essential oils also qualify it as an "anti-microbial" food, and cinnamon has been studied for its ability to help stop the growth of bacteria as well as fungi, including the commonly problematic yeast Candida.

In a study, published in the August 2003 issue of the International Journal of Food Microbiology, the addition of just a few drops of cinnamon essential oil to approximately 3 ounces of carrot broth, which was then refrigerated, inhibited the growth of the food borne pathogenic Bacillus cereus for at least 60 days. When the broth was refrigerated without the addition of cinnamon oil, the pathogenic B. cereus flourished despite the cold temperature. In addition, researchers noted that the addition of cinnamon not only acted as an effective preservative but improved the flavor of the broth.

Research led by Dr. P. Zoladz and presented April 24, 2004, at the annual meeting of the Association for Chemoreception Sciences, in Sarasota, FL, found that chewing cinnamon flavored gum or just smelling cinnamon enhanced study participants' cognitive processing. Specifically, cinnamon improved participants' scores on attention related processes, virtual recognition memory, working memory, and visual-motor speed while working on a computer-based program.

(Hint: simmer a few cinnamon sticks in water while your kids are doing their homework – this will also serve as wonderful yet non-toxic air freshener for your home)

In addition to the active components in its essential oils and its nutrient composition, cinnamon has also been valued in energy-based medical systems, such as Traditional Chinese Medicine, for its warming qualities. In these traditions, cinnamon has been used to provide relief when faced with the onset of a cold or flu, especially when mixed in a tea with some fresh ginger.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Benefits of Almonds

"Almonds are a wonderful Whole Food and science has recently discovered the benefits of eating them in their whole form. Recent research reveals that the flavonoids in almond skin works synergistically the vitamin E found in almonds. This synergistic combination creates more than 200% the antioxidant power of the almonds and almond skins when separated.

We have identified a unique combination of flavonoids in almonds," said Jeffrey Blumberg, Ph.D., senior scientist and director of the Antioxidants Research Laboratory at Tufts University. "Further blood tests demonstrated that eating almonds with their skins significantly increases both flavonoids and vitamin E in the body. This could have significant health implications, especially as people age."

Blumberg's team tested the effects of almond skin's flavonoids alone and then in combination with the vitamin E found in almonds. The tests were done on blood samples containing LDL cholesterol. While almond skin flavonoids alone enhanced LDL's resistance to oxidation by 18%, when the almond’s vitamin E was added, LDL's resistance to oxidation was extended by 52.5%!

"The synergy between the flavonoids and vitamin E in almonds demonstrates how the nutrients in whole foods such as almonds can impact health," says Dr. Blumberg.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Benefit of Dietary Fiber

You don't usually see it or taste it, but fiber works wonders for your body. Dietary fiber, or roughage, is a known cancer fighter found only in the cell walls of plant foods. For years, studies have pointed to the fact that increased fiber intake decreases the risk of colorectal cancer.

According to a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine (1999), this protective effect may be due to fiber's tendency to add bulk to your digestive system, shortening the amount of time that wastes travel through the colon. As this waste often contains carcinogens, it is best if it is removed as quickly as possible; so, increased fiber decreases chances for intestinal cells to be affected.

The Journal of Clinical Nutrition (1999) reported that Fiber may also help protect against breast cancer, an effect noted especially with consumption of whole grains and wheat bran. Additionally, studies suggest that high amounts of fiber may also prevent breast cancer by binding to estrogen. When bacteria in the lower intestine break down fiber, a substance called butyrate is produced which may inhibit the growth of tumors of the colon and rectum as reported in the Journal of Oncology Research in 2000. Fiber may also have a protective effect against mouth, throat, and esophageal cancers according to a study published in the International Journal of Cancer in 2001.

If you're like most North Americans, you take in only 10 to 15 grams of fiber per day. However, most studies have shown that optimal intake for cancer prevention is at least 30 to 35 grams per day. Recent studies suggest that small increases in fiber, such as adding vegetables to a chicken stir-fry or having a hamburger on a whole wheat bun, do not offer much protection. On the other hand, when we replace high-fat, animal products such as chicken, fish, cheese, and eggs with plant foods, we easily boost fiber to levels where real protection is possible.

Whole foods contain two types of dietary fiber which are known as soluble and insoluble. Soluble fiber dissolves in water and is found in a variety of fruits, vegetables, legumes, and grains. It cuts cholesterol and adds to your feeling of fullness. Good sources of soluble fiber are oats, oat bran, oatmeal, apples, citrus fruits, strawberries, dried beans, barley, rye flour, potatoes, raw cabbage, and pasta.

As you may have guessed, insoluble fiber does not dissolve in water and is found in whole grain brans, fruit pulp, and vegetable peels and skins. It is the type of fiber most strongly linked to cancer protection and improved waste removal. Good sources of insoluble fiber are wheat bran, whole wheat products, cereals made from bran or shredded wheat, crunchy vegetables, barley, grains, whole wheat pasta, and rye flour.

It is best to choose fiber-rich foods over fiber supplements in order to get the full range of the cancer-fighting phytochemicals that fruits, vegetables, legumes, and grains contain.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

What is Good About Cloudy Apple Juice?

When it comes to apple juice, "cloudier" may mean healthier, according to a study published in January 2007, in the Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture.

In a head-to-head comparison of apple juices, Polish researchers found that pulpy, non-clarified juice carried a greater antioxidant punch than clear juice. Antioxidants are compounds that neutralize free radicals, molecules that can damage body cells and contribute to disease.

Unlike cloudy apple juice, the much more common clear variety undergoes additional processing to remove any apple solids. Manufacturers typically think the public will favor the more attractive, clear juice over its cloudy cousin, and retailers prefer the clear variety for its longer shelf life.

But the new findings suggest that health-conscious consumers should reach for the cloudy variety, according to Dr. Jan Oszmianski, the study's lead author. "Cloudy apple juices contain much more antioxidant than clear," says Dr. Oszmianski, a researcher at the Agricultural University of Wroclaw.
In fact, Oszmianski's team found, cloudy juice packed up to four times the level of polyphenols, a group of antioxidant plant compounds. And in experiments, cloudy juice was the more effective free radical "scavenger," the researchers report in their findings.

In addition, Researchers at the University of California-Davis recently reported that apples and apple juice may help protect arteries from harmful plaque build-up. In the first study conducted in humans, adults who added two apples, or 12 ounces of 100% apple juice, to their daily diet demonstrated a significant slowing of the cholesterol oxidation process that leads to plaque build-up - thereby giving the body more time to rid itself of cholesterol before it can cause harm.

Enjoy some apples or cloudy apple juice each day and keep the doctor away!

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Benefits of Carrots

All our lives we have been told to eat our carrots because they help improve our eyesight. Maybe you have wondered - what exactly is it about the carrot that is good for our eyes? That would be the beta-carotene. In addition to giving the carrot its name and orange color, it also converts to vitamin-A in the body which helps improve vision. The vitamin-A forms a purple pigment called rhodopsin the eye needs to see in dim light. Rhodopsin production is spurred by vitamin-A, raising the effectiveness of the light-sensitive area of the retina.

But that's not all that carrots can do for you. The beta-carotene in carrots is an antioxidant combating the free radicals that contribute to conditions like cancer, heart disease and macular degeneration. Medical studies conducted in Texas and
Chicago indicates that men with the high levels of beta-carotene and vitamin-C had a 37% lower risk of cancer than the men with lower levels. Carrots also contain another antioxidant called alpha-carotene. A study conducted in Bethesda, MD concluded that men who consume high amounts of alpha carotene have a lower incidence of lung cancer.

Cooking carrots actually raises the nutritional benefits. The fiber in carrots can trap the beta carotene, making it difficult for your body to extract. By cooking them slightly, you free the beta-carotene, from the fiber, which allows your body to absorb it better. Eating only a half-cup serving per day will give you more than the recommended dosage of beta-carotene. Remember, when you buy carrots raw at the store, you should cut off the leafy tops before storing for maximum vitamin retention. Getting your carrot-a-day is easy, considering the vegetable's versatility and “blendability”.

Carrots can subtlety enhance but do not overwhelm. Here are a few ideas.

Cook grated carrots with beans, split peas, lentils, rice, or pastas. Carrots are great in stuffing. Try them roasted - split large carrots lengthways and brush with a little olive oil then put on a roasting tray in a 400 degree (F) oven for about 45 minutes until tender and browned. Try roasted carrots, potato, sweet potato and pumpkin served with steamed green vegetables and a nice sauce.

Add to sauces, white or red. Grated carrots give body and impart subtle
flavor, and they fit any tomato or creamy soup, sauce, or casserole.

Mix finely-ground carrots into peanut butter for a new kind of healthy crunch. (If you want to make a really GOOD Peanut Butter & carrot sandwich, add a few slices of banana.)

Hot & Cold
Salads: Sauté onions, green peppers, and grated or finely
sliced carrots. Remove from heat and pour your preferred
salad vinegar over hot veggies. (It will hiss and steam.)
While hot, add to chilled salad greens. Toss and serve.

Herb and Vegetable Bread or Biscuits: To your regular dough, add
finely grated carrots; minced onion (dried flakes or fresh
green); parsley; garlic powder; sprinkle of basil and pinch
of oregano or sage. Top it all off with some dried or pesto
tomatoes and a few hearty shakes of parmesan cheese.

Friday, September 7, 2007

Is Brown Rice Better Than White Rice

Milling is the process that turns brown rice into white rice by removing the outer layer known as the bran layer - this alters the nutritional value of the rice. The complete milling process that creates white rice from brown rice destroys 67% of the vitamin B3, 80% of the vitamin B1, 90% of the vitamin B6, half of the manganese, half of the phosphorus, 60% of the iron, and all of the dietary fiber and essential fatty acids. In short, brown rice is a fiber-rich whole grain whereas white rice is simply a refined and nutritionally depleted processed food.

In March of 2006, research reported in the journal Agricultural Research, Nancy Keim and a team at the USDA ARS Western Human Nutrition Center studied 10 women age 20-45 who ate a whole grain diet for three days, then ate the same foods but with refined grains in place of whole grains. Blood samples at the end of each 3-day period showed that the refined grains diet caused a significant increase in triglycerides and a worrisome protein called "apolipoprotein CIII" (apoCIII), both of which have been associated with increased risk of heart disease.

At the University of Utah, in a study of over 2000 people, a team led by Dr. Martha Slattery found that high intakes of whole grains, such as brown rice, reduced the risk of rectal cancer 31%. They also found that a high-fiber diet, 34 grams or more of fiber per day, reduced rectal cancer by an impressive 66%. The findings were published in the February 2004 issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

In a Study presented at American Heart Association Conference, March 2006, overweight children, age 9-15, spent two weeks on an all-you-can-eat diet of whole grains, fruits, vegetables and lean protein, while exercising 2.5 hours each day. University of California researchers led by Dr. James Barnard reported that in just two weeks the children's cholesterol levels dropped an average of 21%, while insulin levels fell 30%.

We encourage parents everywhere to consider guiding themselves and their children down a healthier path by replacing processed and refined grains with healthy, natural whole grains such as brown rice. The healthy habits that your children learn from you while young will stay with them and be passed on for generations to come.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Walnuts Health Benefits

Back in 1993, the original Walnut Study from Loma Linda University made headlines around the world and was published in the NewEngland Journal of Medicine.

Why all the excitement? Because Loma Linda University had broken new ground. They were the first to find that walnuts in a controlled diet reduced LDL (bad) cholesterol and heart disease risk significantly more than the Step 1 diet that was then recommended by the American Heart Association. In other words - they proved, scientifically, that food really can be your medicine.

In April 2000, another landmark walnut study was published in the Annals of Internal Medicine. The study, a follow-up to the 1993 Loma Linda study, was conducted at the Hospital Clinic of Barcelona. Researchers had 49 men and women with high cholesterol incorporate walnuts into a healthy Mediterranean diet, substituting a handful of walnuts a day for some of the monounsaturated fat in the diet.

Participants lowered their "bad" LDL cholesterol by almost 6 per cent and heart disease risk by 11 per cent beyond what would be expected from the Mediterranean diet alone.

The Loma Linda study participants substituted walnuts, one of nature's richest sources of polyunsaturated fat, for saturated fat. The Barcelona participants substituted walnuts for another healthy fat.

Barcelona scientists also remarked on the ease of incorporating walnuts into the diet. According to researcher Juan Carlos Laguna, Ph.D., "That's the main point of the study. You eat a normal amount, like five or six walnuts a day. That's something you can do every day without any problem."

Adding walnuts to your diet can be an important step in improving your cardiovascular health. Walnuts are an important source of monounsaturated fats-approximately 15% of the fat found in walnuts is healthful monounsaturated fat. A host of studies have shown that increasing the dietary intake of monounsaturated-dense walnuts has favorable effects on high cholesterol levels and other cardiovascular risk factors. One particular study compared the effects of a cholesterol-lowering Mediterranean diet with an adjusted Mediterranean diet in which 35% of the calories derived from monounsaturated fats came from walnuts. When following the walnut-rich diet,
the 49 study participants were found to have lower levels of total cholesterol, LDL (the dangerous form) cholesterol and Lp(a) ("lipoprotein a," another lipid compound that increases blood clotting and, when elevated, is considered a risk factor for atherosclerosis).

In addition to their heart-protective monounsaturated fats, walnuts' concentration of omega-3 essential fatty acids is also responsible for the favorable effects walnut consumption produces on cardiovascular risk factors. Omega-3s benefit the cardiovascular system by helping to prevent erratic heart rhythms, making blood less likely to clot inside arteries (which is the proximate cause of most heart attacks), and improving the ratio of good (HDL) cholesterol to potentially harmful (LDL) cholesterol. Omega-3s also reduce inflammation, which is a key component in the
processes that turn cholesterol into artery-clogging plaques.

Since walnuts contain relatively high levels of l-arginine, an essential amino acid, they may also be of special import when it comes to hypertension. In the body (specifically within those hard-working blood vessels), l-arginine is converted into nitric oxide, a chemical that helps keep the inner walls of blood vessels smooth and allows blood vessels to relax. Since individuals with hypertension have a harder time maintaining normal nitric oxide levels, which may also relate to other significant health issues such as diabetes and heart problems, walnuts can serve as a great addition to their diets. A study published in Phytochemistry sheds further light on walnuts' cardioprotective benefits. Earlier research had already suggested that several polyphenolic compounds found in walnuts, specifically ellagic and gallic acid, possessed antioxidant activity sufficient to inhibit free radical damage to LDL cholesterol. In this new study, researchers identified 16 polyphenols, including three new tannins, with antioxidant activity so protective they describe it as "remarkable."

Walnut Serving Ideas:

Mix crushed walnuts into plain yogurt and top with maple syrup. Add walnuts to healthy sautéed vegetables. Walnuts are great in baked goods and breakfast treats. Some of our favorites include zucchini walnut bread, carrot walnut muffins and apple walnut pancakes.

Purée walnuts, cooked lentils and your favorite herbs and spices in a food processor. Add enough olive or flax oil so that it achieves a dip-like consistency.

Sprinkle walnuts onto salads.

Add walnuts to your favorite poultry stuffing recipe.

To roast walnuts at home, do so gently-in a 160-170°F (about 75°C) oven for 15-20 minutes-to
preserve the healthy oils. Make homemade walnut granola: Mix together approximately 1/2 cup of honey, 3 to 4 tablespoons of blackstrap molasses, a tablespoon of vanilla, a dash of salt, and a teaspoon each of your favorite spices, such as cinnamon, ginger and/or nutmeg. Place 6-8 cups of rolled oats in a large bowl and toss to coat with the honey-blackstrap mixture. Then spread on a cookie sheet and bake at 275°F(135°C)hure Here for 45 minutes. Cool and mix in 1/2 to 1 cup of walnuts.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Health Benefits of Tomatoes

Scientists are suggesting that tomato lovers may be more likely to reduce the risk of serious disease. Lycopene, an anti oxidant which gives tomatoes their lovely rich red color, helps remove free radicals from the body. Free radicals are unstable oxygen molecules and have been implicated in cancer and other serious diseases.

Professor Michael Avirim of the Rambam Medical Center in Haifa, Israel who is testing lycopene in clinical trials says, ' In its natural form, lycopene is an excellent anti oxidant that helps to prevent formation of oxidized LDL, the 'bad' cholesterol in blood, which contributes to the build up of plaque that narrows, stiffens and constricts arteries and can lead to heart attacks. When this natural extract was added to cancer cell cultures, the lycopene inhibited their growth. Lycopene is the most potent nutritional antioxidant found to date.

Another study compared men who had had a heart attack with the same number of healthy men and found that those with high levels of lycopene appeared to reduce their risk of heart diseases by 50%. The study’s coordinator, Lenore Kohlmeier, professor of nutrition and epidemiology at the university of North Carolina, said, 'Based on our findings, and other research, lycopene can be an excellent antioxidant, we recommend that people eat tomato based cooked foods.

Several recent studies have shown that a diet rich in tomatoes and tomato products is strongly linked to a reduced risk of certain cancers. In a six year study of 48,000 male professionals, Dr Edward Giovannucci and colleagues at Harvard Medical School found that consuming tomatoes and tomato based products between five to seven serving a week was associated with a reduced risk of prostate cancer of 21% to 34%.

Another study published in the International Journal of Cancer said that lycopene appears to protect against cancer of the mouth, pharynx, esophagus, stomach, colon and rectum. Researchers at the University of Illinois report that women with the highest lycopene levels had a five fold lower risk of developing precancerous signs of cervical cancer than women with lowest lycopene levels.

The human body does not produce lycopene alone and therefore relies on a consumption of tomatoes and tomato based products for this anti oxidant. Nutritionists and other health professionals have long advocated the cancer preventative benefits of a diet high in fruits and vegetables.

Lycopene: Just The Facts

Research by Dr. Joseph Levy and colleagues from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Beer-Sheva, Israel, may have identified the unique mechanism through which lycopene protects against cancer which is by activating cancer-preventive phase II enzymes. Lycopene is an open-chain unsaturated carotenoid that imparts red color to tomatoes. Lycopene is a proven anti-oxidant that may lower the risk of certain diseases including cancer and heart disease. In the body, lycopene is deposited in the liver, lungs, prostate gland, colon and skin. Its concentration in body tissues tends to be higher than all other carotenoids.

Epidemiological studies have shown that high intake of lycopene-containing vegetables is inversely associated with the incidence of certain types of cancer. For example, habitual intake of tomato products has been found to decrease the risk of cancer of the digestive tract among Italians.

In one six-year study by Harvard Medical School and Harvard School of Public Health, the diets of more than 47,000 men were studied. Of 46 fruits and vegetables evaluated, only the tomato products (which contain large quantities of lycopene) showed a measurable relationship to reduce prostate cancer risk. As consumption of tomato products increased, levels of lycopene in the blood increased, and the risk for prostate cancer decreased. The study also showed that the heat processing of tomatoes and tomato products increases Lycopene bioavailability.

Ongoing research suggests that lycopene can reduce the risk of macular degenerative disease, serum lipid oxidation and cancers of the lung, bladder, cervix and skin.

Health Benefits of Bananas

Research has proven that just two bananas provide enough energy for a strenuous, 90-minute workout. No wonder the banana is the number one fruit with the world's leading athletes. But energy isn't the only way a banana can help us keep fit. Bananas can also help us overcome or prevent a substantial number of illnesses and conditions, making it a must to add to our daily diet.

Research published in the January 2005 issue of the International Journal of Cancer suggests that regular consumption of whole fruits and vegetables, especially bananas, is highly protective against kidney cancer. The results of this large population based prospective study (13.4 years) of 61,000 women aged 40-76, show that women eating more than 75 servings of fruits and vegetables per month cut their risk of kidney cancer by 40%. Among the fruits, bananas were found to be especially protective. Women eating bananas four to six times a week cut their risk of kidney cancer by 50% compared to those who did not eat bananas.

A group called MIND, the largest mental health charity in England, did a study amongst people suffering from depression and found that many felt much better after simply eating a banana. This is because bananas contain Tryptophan, a type of protein that the body converts into serotonin, known to make you relax, improve your mood and generally make you feel happier.

Two-hundred students at a Twickenham (Middlesex, UK) school were helped through their exams this year by eating bananas at breakfast, break, and lunch in a bid to boost their brain power. Research has shown that the potassium-packed fruit can assist learning by making pupils more alert.

Bananas have also been recognized for their antacid effects that protect against stomach ulcers and ulcer damage. In one study, a simple mixture of banana and milk significantly suppressed acid secretion. The nutrients in bananas help activate the cells that compose the stomach lining, so they produce a thicker protective mucus barrier against stomach acids. Bananas also contain compounds known as protease inhibitors which help eliminate bacteria in the stomach that are the primary cause of stomach ulcers.

This unique tropical fruit is extremely high in potassium yet low in salt, making it perfect to help with high blood pressure. So much so, the US Food and Drug Administration has just allowed the banana industry to make official claims for the fruit's ability to reduce the risk of blood pressure and stroke.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Health Benefits of Dates

Dates are a great source of dietary fiber. The American Cancer Society recommends that you consume 20-35 grams of dietary fiber a day. Dietary fiber comes in two forms – soluble and insoluble. Each serves a valuable function. Insoluble fiber increases the rate at which food moves through the digestive system. Soluble fiber may help control diabetes by decreasing elevated blood glucose levels. Soluble fiber also had been found to help lower serum cholesterol levels, particularly undesirable low density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol

According to researchers at the University of Scranton in Scranton Pennsylvania, they have the highest concentration of polyphenols among dried fruits. The findings of this research suggest that dried fruits should be a greater part of the diet as they are dense in phenol antioxidants and nutrients, most notably fiber.

A serving of power-packed dates contains 31 grams of carbohydrates, making them a powerhouse of energy. Carbohydrates include 3 grams of dietary fiber and 29 grams of naturally occurring sugars such as fructose, glucose and sucrose to provide quick energy and are readily used by the body. Dates are a perfect energy boosting snack.

Dates are one of the best natural sources of potassium. Potassium is an essential mineral your body needs to maintain muscle contractions including the vital heart muscle. Potassium is needed to maintain a healthy nervous system and to balance the body’s metabolism as well.

Since potassium is not stored in the body, and much is lost in perspiration, it must be continually replenished. As you consume potassium you excrete sodium, helping to keep blood pressure down. As people age, their kidneys become less efficient at eliminating sodium. About a 400 mg increase in potassium intake has been associated with a 40% reduction in the risk of stroke. This roughly amounts to one additional serving daily of Dates.

Dates also contain a variety of B-complex vitamins – thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B-6 and pantothenic acid. These vitamins have a variety of functions that help maintain a healthy body – to metabolize carbohydrates and maintain blood glucose levels, fatty acids for energy, and they help make hemoglobin, the red and white blood cells. Dates also contain Magnesium which is essential for healthy bone development and for energy metabolism and Iron which is essential to red blood cell production. Red blood cells carry all the nutrients to cells throughout the body. In addition, Dates are fat and cholesterol free!

Monday, September 3, 2007

Why More Fruits and Vegetables?

There is nothing better than fresh live whole foods for optimal nutrition. So eating fruits and vegetables is one of the tried and true recommendations for a healthy diet - and for good reasons. Eating plenty of fruits and vegetables can help you ward off heart disease and stroke, control blood pressure and cholesterol, prevent some types of cancer, avoid a painful intestinal ailment called diverticulitis, and guard against cataract and macular degeneration, two common causes of vision loss.

What does "plenty" mean? More than most Americans consume. The latest dietary guidelines call for five to thirteen servings of fruits and vegetables a day.

The largest and longest study to date, done as part of the Harvard-based Nurses' Health Study and Health Professionals Follow-up Study, included almost 110,000 men and women whose health and dietary habits were followed for 14 years. The higher the average daily intake of fruits and vegetables, the lower the chances of developing cardiovascular disease.

Increasing fruit and vegetable intake by as little as one serving per day can have a real impact on heart disease risk. According to these two Harvard studies, for every extra serving of fruits and vegetables that participants added to their diets per day, their risk of heart disease dropped by 4 percent.

Fruits and vegetables are clearly an important part of a good diet. Almost everyone can benefit from eating more of them, but variety is as important as quantity. No single fruit or vegetable provides all of the nutrients you need to be healthy. The key lies in the variety of different fruits and vegetables that you eat.

My favorite URI International live whole foods are made from a wide variety of fruits and veggies! They are a very convenient way for you and your family to get plenty of fruits and veggies every day even if you have a busy lifestyle.

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Benefits of Jams

Yams are a good source of both potassium and vitamin B6, two nutrients that your body needs every day. Vitamin B6 helps your body break down a substance called homocysteine, which can cause damage to blood vessel walls. High intakes of vitamin B6 have been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease.

Potassium is a mineral that helps to control blood pressure. In the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) study, one study group ate servings of fruits, vegetables and low-fat dairy food in place of snacks and sweets. This approach offered more potassium, magnesium and calcium. After eight weeks, this group lowered their blood pressure by an average of 5.5 points (systolic) over 3.0 points (diastolic). Yams also contain a storage protein called Dioscorin. Preliminary research suggests that Dioscorin can help your body to achieve increased kidney blood flow thereby reducing blood pressure.

In addition, Yams' complex carbohydrates and fiber deliver the goods gradually, slowing the rate at which their sugars are released and absorbed into the bloodstream. Because they're rich in fiber, yams fill you up without filling out your hips and waistline. Yams are also a good source of manganese, a trace mineral that helps with carbohydrate metabolism and is a cofactor in a number of enzymes important in energy production and antioxidant defenses.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Vital Electrolytes in your Body

The human body is an “electrical machine”. All vital bodily functions happen as a result of electrical signals being sent between the various parts of your body and your brain. In order for your body to operate at peak performance, these electrical signals must be conducted in an efficient manner- this is where electrolytes come in. Electrolytes are substances that will conduct electricity when dissolved in water – the most common electrolyte in your body is salt.
Your body is 70% water, about two-thirds of the water resides inside your cells, (intracellular fluid) and about one-third resides outside of your cells, (extra cellular fluid). Your body works constantly to make sure that the intracellular fluid and extra cellular fluid have the same amount of electrolyte concentration – this is a very important component of homeostasis or your body’s inner balance.
The mechanisms that monitor and adjust the balance of electrolytes respond only to changes in extra cellular fluid such as blood. When someone is ill or injured and taken to the hospital, one of the first and most common procedures is to hang an I.V. which simply means injecting salt water directly into the blood stream. Doing so helps the body to operate better because electrical signals moving between the brain and the body can be better conducted.
In addition, when salt is added to the extra cellular fluid it causes water to move between the intracellular and extra cellular areas allowing the body to become properly hydrated. This is why athletes, for example, take salt pills or drink “sports drinks” during work-outs. Sports drinks are simply salt water, or other electrolyte solutions, mixed with artificial colorings, artificial flavorings, artificial sweeteners and chemical preservatives.