WDDTY WHAT DOCTORS DON’T TELL YOU Healing Foods The foods and drinks that are promising disease fighters 2 Power foods: meals and drinks as good as drugs 7 Fighting cancer with food 8 Berry good for you 10 Acai berry: a super-food? 12 Noni juice: hype or hope? 14 Pomegranate juice: a juicy cure-all? 16 Tomatoes: our everyday heroes 18 Spirulina: the super seaweed 19 Mushroom magic 21 A sweet truth 22 Green tea: the natural disease fighter 23 Spice up your life 24 Powerful porridge 25 The raw-food diet 26 The best diet for better bones WWW.WDDTY.COM Power foods: meals and drinks as good as drug...
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The foods and drinks that are promising disease fighters 2 Power foods: meals and drinks as good as drugs 7 Fighting cancer with food 8 Berry good for you 10 Acai berry: a super-food? 12 Noni juice: hype or hope? 14 Pomegranate juice: a juicy cure-all? 16 Tomatoes: our everyday heroes 18 Spirulina: the super seaweed 19 Mushroom magic 21 A sweet truth 22 Green tea: the natural disease fighter 23 Spice up your life 24 Powerful porridge 25 The raw-food diet 26 The best diet for better bones



Power foods: meals and drinks

as good as drugs

Hippocrates, the father of

medicine, famously said that our food should be our medicine—and researchers are finally discovering those that are every bit as powerful as drugs

There’s now enough evidencearound to state categorically thatthe standard Western diet of

processed foods and cola drinks is one of avenanthramides, which have anti- nausea, anaemia, depression and the main causes of chronic disease, inflammatory qualities, and phenolic skin rash. However, researchers in while the so-called Mediterranean diet is antioxidants, which prevent blood Boston have discovered that a the best way to maintain good health cells from sticking to artery walls. grapefruit, or any other citrus, may and longevity. The latter diet is rich in Oats can also lower cholesterol (US work just as well. The active vegetables, fruits, olive oil and fish, and Department of Agriculture (USDA)/Agricultural ingredient, naringenin, blocks a can help to prevent heart disease, Research Service (ARS), 16 February 2010; pathway in the life cycle of the hepa- cancer and many of the other chronic titis C virus (JAMA, 2008; 299: 1532). conditions that beset so many of us Oats are a low GI (glycaemic The naringenin in grapefruit— today. Recent research suggests that it index) food that take a long time to which makes it taste bitter—may can even ward off mental decline, such digest, so that they slowly release also prevent type 2 diabetes. The as dementia and Alzheimer’s disease sugar into the bloodstream. When antioxidant helps the liver to break (Arch Neurol, 2010; 67; 699–706). we eat porridge, the body produces a down fat while increasing insulin But are all the foods included in the gut hormone, GLP-1, which makes sensitivity. Researchers in Jerusalem Mediterranean diet equal, or are some us feel full for longer, thereby have found that it also mimics the more equal than others? And are there curbing cravings for snacks (Presented actions of an antidiabetes drug, but other foods not included in the diet that at the Society for Endocrinology BES meeting, without the side-effects. Naringenin are also worth including in our dietary 18 March 2009, Harrogate, UK). has the same positive benefits as regimens? u Maple syrup. If porridge or oats are fasting, say the researchers, which As funding policies slowly start to pretty much the healthiest way to eventually causes the liver to break change, researchers have been able to start your day, it gets even better down fatty acids instead of carbo- move from drugs research to when you add maple syrup on top. hydrates (PLoS ONE, 2010; 5: e12399). investigations of the foods we eat. What The syrup contains 20 compounds u Yoghurt containing living ‘friendly’ they are beginning to discover are the that are beneficial, including bacteria is a probiotic that makes so-called ‘power foods’—those foods phenolic antioxidants that help to the gut more efficient. It also helps that can not only prevent disease, but fight cancer, bacterial infections and to ward off health problems such can even combat them as effectively as diabetes. as diabetes and obesity. Researchers pharmaceuticals do. However, it’s important to make have been investigating how pro- Here are some of the more recent sure that you buy pure maple syrup, biotics change gut microbes. In findings, listed in the most likely way and not products that have maple essence, says researcher Jeremy you’d consume them. syrup flavouring (Presented at the Spring Nicolson from Imperial College 2010 Meeting of the American Chemical London, the live bacteria commu- Breakfast Society, 21 March 2010, San Francisco, CA). nicate with the gut microbes and u Oats. Porridge oats help to prevent u Grapefruit for breakfast is a healthy ‘remind’ them how to be healthy (Mol arterial diseases. They combat start to the day if you have chronic Syst Biol, 2008; 4: 205). chronic inflammation, which can hepatitis C. The conventional treat- u Watermelon is just as effective as lead to atherosclerosis (hardening ment is a powerful drug such as a statin drug for reducing blood of the arteries). Oats contain several pegylated interferon, but that comes pressure—but you would need to eat health-giving compounds, such as with a range of side-effects such as three of them a day to see 2 WDDTY Healing Foods, any positive benefits. Watermelon is Starved of these essential supplies, reduce the symptoms if you already rich in the amino-acid L-citrulline, the tumour stops growing. have it. The best type is extra virgin which is a better tolerated form of So, simply eating a bowl of water- olive oil, which is especially rich in L-arginine, the amino acid that cress—around 80 g—every day is oleocanthals, a naturally occurring directly affects blood pressure. In the enough to switch off the cancer cells’ polyphenol that can alter the body, L-citrulline converts to L- signals, researchers at the University structure of the neurotoxins that arginine which, if taken directly, can of Southampton have discovered. contribute to the debilitating effects cause nausea and gastrointestinal The blood tests of breast-cancer of Alzheimer’s (Toxicol Appl Pharmacol, problems, especially in those who survivors confirmed that the protein 2009; 240: 189–97). already have hypertension. In one that helps nourish cancer cells had study, nine adults with high blood been affected (University of Southampton Dinner pressure normalized their blood press conference, 14 September 2010; u Broccoli. It’s the king of vegetables pressure after taking watermelon and it also offers a wide range of extract—as L-citrulline/L-arginine at st_cancer_01.shtml). health benefits. Broccoli and other 2.7 g/1.3 g daily—for six weeks (Am u Walnuts and walnut oil. If you’re cruciferous vegetables are full of J Hypertens, 2010; doi: 10.1038/ajh. feeling stressed, add walnut oil—or chemicals called ‘sulphoraphanes’, 2010.142). walnuts—to your salad. Both the oil which boost the immune system. u Eggs have become bad boys in our and nuts are rich in omega-3 fats, Sulphoraphane reverses the decline obsession with keeping cholesterol which help the body to cope with of cellular immune function and down. But it appears that they are raised stress levels. These fats also kick-starts dendritic cells, which will good for the heart after all—and lower both blood pressure and LDL, also improve immune function, say reduce high blood pressure. Boiled or ‘bad’, cholesterol levels. researchers from the University of and fried eggs produce peptides that When researchers at Penn State California at Los Angeles (J Allergy Clin are natural ACE inhibitors—a family University tested the walnut diet on Immunol, 2008; 121; 1255–61). of antihypertensive drugs that a group of 22 volunteers for six u Brussels sprouts. These cruciferous inhibits angiotensin-converting weeks, it was found that their resting vegetables of the Brassica genus— enzymes—with fried eggs being blood pressure and responses to like broccoli—can stop the spread of particularly effective for preventing stressful situations improved over cancer. Brussels sprouts encourage cardiovascular disease, including the study period (Penn State University the body to produce a substance hypertension (J Agric Food Chem, 2009; press release, 4 October 2010; http:// called ‘13C’ (indole-3-carbinol) that 57: 471–7). can fight cancer and block the u Tomatoes offer a range of health development of cancer cells.

Lunch benefits, and can cut your risk of Scientists at Ohio State University

u Watercress. Add some watercress cancer and heart disease. Men who have so far tested only breast-cancer to your lunchtime salad if you regularly eat tomatoes and tomato- cells, but they believe it can also have breast cancer, as it may stop the based products, such as tomato combat other types of cancer, such tumours from progressing. sauce and pizza, can cut their as prostate, liver and colon cancers, Researchers have discovered that prostate cancer risk by 35 per cent as well as non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. watercress contains a compound (J Natl Cancer Inst, 1995; 87: 1767–76). In laboratory tests, the scientists that interferes with signals from u Olive oil. Dressing your salad with noted that 13C destroys the tumour cells, and stops the body’s olive oil will help to ward off molecules associated with breast flow of essential blood and oxygen. Alzheimer’s disease—and may even cancer. The scientists have also speculated that these vegetables might also reverse some of the

Preparing and cooking food symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease

(Cancer Prev Res, 2010; 3: 818–28). The way we prepare food can be as important as the food itself. Overcook u Seaweed may not be the obvious vegetables, and you lose most of their health-giving ingredients. So, here accompaniment to your evening are a few cooking tips from the world of science. meal, but this overlooked, mineral- u Carrots. Don’t chop carrots up before you cook them. Cooking them rich vegetable is one of the health- whole will retain their cancer-fighting compound falcarinol. They’ll taste iest foods you can eat. This is better, too ( because it’s full of fucoidan, aNewcastle University School of Agriculture, Food and Rural Development sulphated polysaccharide, that kills press release, 18 June 2009). u Vegetables. After cooking 20 different vegetables by six methods— cancer/tumour cells. Researchers at boiling, microwaving, pressure-cooking, griddling, frying and baking— the Hashemite University in Jordan and measuring antioxidant levels, it was found that cauliflower lost most tested a seaweed extract on non- of its nutritional goodness after boiling and microwaving, as did peas Hodgkin’s lymphoma cells, and after boiling, and zucchini (courgettes) after boiling and frying. Only found that it suppressed lymphoma green beans, beetroot and garlic kept their antioxidant levels after being growth while leaving healthy cells subjected to most cooking methods ( intact (Presented at the Second AACRJ Food Sci, 2009; 74: H97–103). Dead Sea International Conference on

WDDTY Healing Foods 3

, Advances in Cancer Research, 7–10 March 2010, Jordan). Vegetarian or not? Organic or not? u Brown rice. If you regularly eat white rice, just switching to brown, You are more likely to get cancer if your diet is primarily red meat, it’s been unprocessed rice could be all that it found, whereas vegetarians and those who eat mainly fish are much more takes to prevent type 2 diabetes, say likely to stay cancer-free compared with meat-eaters. researchers. Making the change Surprisingly, however, colorectal cancer is the only cancer that is more reduces your risk by 16 per cent, but prevalent in vegetarians than in meat-eaters. it plummets to 36 per cent if you Researchers at the University of Oxford discovered the benefits of a also change to whole grains such as vegetarian or fish-based diet when they profiled the health and diets of whole wheat and barley (Arch Intern 52,700 people, grouped as meat-eaters, fish-eaters, vegetarians and Med, 2010; 170: 961–9). vegans. Most were consuming the recommended five-a-day servings of fruit u Shellfish are a rich source of vitamin and vegetables, which are supposed to help maintain good health. B12, the one that is most closely Yet, the number of cancers among vegetarians and fish-eaters was associated with good mental health significantly lower than in meat-eaters, although the high rate of colorectal into old age. Those who have low cancer among vegetarians was surprising (Am J Clin Nutr, 2009 March 18; doi: stores of B12 are the most likely to 10.3945/ajcn.2009.26736L). suffer from brain shrinkage, which u Buying organic is worth the price, say researchers. Organically grown is thought to be associated with Golden Delicious apples are 15-per-cent higher in antioxidants and dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. phytochemicals than conventionally grown varieties. The researchers, who When researchers at the University compared organic with non-organic over a three-year period, noted that of Oxford monitored 107 people, organic apples also had 10-per-cent higher concentrations of phyto- aged 61 to 87 years, for five years, chemicals, known to have numerous health benefits, including protection they found that brain atrophy was six against cancer and heart disease (J Agric Food Chem, 2009; 57: 4598–4605f). times more likely in those deficient in the vitamin. It’s also reckoned that 40 per cent of the general second one are reduced by 30 per in 11 patients, who reported a population are deficient in the cent just by eating oily fish (J Am Coll decrease in stone formation of 87 vitamin. Lead researcher David Cardiol, 2009; 54: 585–94). per cent (J Urol, 2007; 177: 1358–62). Smith said: “The rate of shrinkage of Fish is also a great de-stresser. u Cranberry juice. The infection- the brain as we age may be partly When we are stressed or depressed, fighting qualities of cranberry juice influenced by what we eat” (Neurology, we produce more proinflammatory are well known, and scientists now 2008; 71: 826–32). Liver is another rich cytokine chemicals such as inter- believe it may also be useful against source of vitamin B12. leukin-6. The omega-3 oils in fish are serious staphylococcal infections u Fish. Eating fish a few times a week a natural anti-inflammatory, and such as the deadly superbug MRSA can reduce your chances of a heart can counteract the worst effects of (methicillin-resistant Staphyloccus attack, and the benefits are further stress (Perspect Psychol Sci, 2009; 4: aureus), prevalent particularly in amplified if you also supplement 367–9). hospitals and nursing homes. When with omega-3 oil, say researchers u Baked rhubarb crumble. Traditional women were given either cranberry from the University of Alabama. Chinese Medicine (TCM) has juice or a placebo to drink, and had Those who eat fish once recognized the cancer-fighting their urine mixed with strains of or twice a week nearly halve their qualities of rhubarb for thousands of Escherichia coli and S. aureus that chances of a heart attack that could years, and the West has finally come can cause a range of infections, from be fatal or require hospital care, say up with its own version—one that is skin rashes to MRSA, the cranberry the researchers, who followed the both a treat and an anticarcino- juice stopped both strains from diets and health of 36,234 women genic: baked rhubarb crumble. growing and was especially effective for nine years. Those who ate three Researchers at Sheffield Hallam against S. aureus (Presented at the 240th servings of fish a week were the least University found that rhubarb after National Meeting of the American Chemical likely to have a heart attack, while being baked for 20 minutes develops Society in Boston, MA, 23 August 2010). even just one serving—especially polyphenols, powerful anticancer u Beetroot juice is effective for reduc- if supplemented with omega-3 chemicals that can stop cancer cells ing high blood pressure quickly. capsules—offered good protection from growing and even kill them In one test, it reduced blood (Eur J Clin Nutr, 2010; 64: 587–94). (Food Chem, 2010; 119: 758–64). pressure levels in just 24 hours. In a separate study, which came Nitrate in the juice is the active to the same conclusion, researchers Drinks ingredient, say researchers from emphasized the importance of u Lemonade concentrate. If you suffer Queen Mary University of London, eating oily fish—such as salmon, from recurring kidney stones, and this is bio-converted to nitrite— sardine, trout and herring—to get drinking2Lof water containing 120 a potent vasodilator—in the tissues. the most protection for your heart. mL of concentrated lemon juice Just 250 mL of the juice is enough to So even if you do suffer a heart every day will eventually stop stone lower blood pressure, and it’s attack, your chances of having a formation. The treatment was tested effective even in those with severe 4 WDDTY Healing Foods, hypertension (Hypertension, 2010; 56: six cups; in this case, the protective of Alzheimer’s disease. 274–81). effect fell to just 36 per cent (Arterio- When 21 Alzheimer’s sufferers u Tea. Green tea is the king of the scler Thromb Vasc Biol, 2010; 30: 1665). were given two 4-oz glasses of the teas, providing a vast range of The polyphenols in tea also help drink every day for a month, marked healthful benefits. It prevents oral to strengthen our bones, and you improvements were seen in anxiety, cancers, even in those at high risk will start to see these benefits after agitation and delusions. Overall, the because of a premalignant drinking three cups a day for just a patients’ caregivers believed that the condition. Used as an extract, it short period of time, according to drink improved both behavioural and prevented high-risk people from researchers at the British Nutrition psychotic symptoms by 27 per cent developing the cancer; of 41 Foundation (Daily Telegraph, 10 June (Am J Alzheimers Dis Other Demen, 2010; individuals tested, 58 per cent of 2008; 25: 367–71). those given the highest dose of green 2104561/Drinking-tea-can-reduce-heart- u Red wine can protect against stroke tea extract did not develop the attack-risk.html). and reduce your risk of cardio- cancer compared with 36 per cent in u Blueberry juice. This is a powerful vascular disease—provided that it’s those taking the lowest dose (Cancer antidiabetic that can help in the drunk in moderation. Prev Res [Phila], 2009; 2: 931–41). fight against putting on weight— The active ingredient in red wine Green tea also protects the eyes, provided that the fruit’s skin is is resveratrol, which is found in the protecting them against diseases mixed into the concoction. In this seeds and skin of red grapes—and such as glaucoma. The tea’s anti- case, the drink reduces blood sugar only red wine delivers the amount of oxidants penetrate the tissues of the levels in diabetics, and also protects resveratrol required to have any eye, and strengthen the lens and against diabetes and obesity. It’s at beneficial effect, say researchers at retina, researchers have found (J its most powerful after it has been the Johns Hopkins University School Agric Food Chem, 2010; 58: 1523–34). ‘biotransformed’ (fermented) by of Medicine (Exp Neurol, 2010; doi: Most extraordinary of all, green Serratia vaccinii bacteria for three 10.1016/j.expneurol.2010. 03.032). tea is one of the few agents that can days, say researchers from the u Coffee. A cup of coffee in the combat a form of cancer that is University of Montreal (Int J Obes morning helps to reduce chronic believed to be incurable. It reduces [Lond], 2009; 33: 1166–73). inflammation and oxidative stress, lymph-node size in cases of chronic u Apple juice. Drinking just two while increasing levels of ‘good’ HDL lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL). An glasses of apple juice a day can cholesterol. It may also be protective ingredient in the tea—a polyphenol improve some of the worst effects against type 2 diabetes. called ‘EGCG’ (epigallocatechin 3- gallate)—appears to be the key, say researchers after testing it in 31 As good as drugs CLL patients, all of whom were given EGCG extract at doses ranging from Although a diet of vegetables, fruits and juices is an excellent preventative, 400 mg to 2000 mg twice a day. some foods can even counteract disease, and may be as powerful as Those given the highest dosages drugs—but without the side-effects. Here are some foods to add to your diet reported substantial reductions in if you have the following conditions. lymph-node size—with no side- u Alzheimer’s disease: brussels sprouts, shellfish, apple juice, olive oil effects (J Clin Oncol, 2010; 28 [suppl]: 7s, u Asthma: blackcurrants abstr 6522). u Breast cancer: watercress, brussels sprouts, broccoli, seaweed, However, if you want to control rhubarb your diabetes, black tea is better. u Cancer: brussels sprouts, broccoli, seaweed, rhubarb On being tested against green and u Colitis: blueberries oolong teas, black tea proved to have u Dementia: brussels sprouts, broccoli, shellfish, apple juice the most beneficial qualities for u Depressed immune system: broccoli, apples diabetics. Black tea is richest in u Diabetes (type 2): grapefruit, black tea, blueberry juice polysaccharides, which have glucose- u Heart problems: watermelon, eggs, oily fish, beetroot juice, dark inhibiting qualities. The tea was also chocolate, grapes, almonds, flaxseed the most effective free-radical u Hepatitis C: grapefruit fighter, and free radicals play a key u High cholesterol: eggs, almonds, flaxseed role in the development of cancer u Hypertension (raised blood pressure): watermelon, beetroot juice, and rheumatoid arthritis (J Food Sci, dark chocolate, grapes 2009; 74: C469–74). u Kidney stones: lemonade concentrate Drinking between three and six u Leukaemia (CLL): green tea cups of black tea every day also u Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma: seaweed reduces your risk of heart disease by u Prostate cancer: pomegranate juice 45 per cent compared with drinking u Staphyloccal infections: cranberry juice only one cup of tea a day. However, u Stress: walnuts, walnut oil, oily fish the benefits of tea-drinking start u Urinary tract infections: cranberry juice falling away if you drink more than

WDDTY Healing Foods 5

, Coffee contains several nutrients, such as calcium, and hundreds of Foods and drinks to avoid biologically active compounds such as polyphenols (Am J Clin Nutr, 2010; 91: We all know that a white-bread and processed diet lies at the root of many 950–7). of the chronic diseases that are so commonly seen these days—and here’s u Pomegranate juice can slow the why. progress of prostate cancer, and may u Processed foods cause heart disease because they have a high even work as a cancer preventative. glycaemic index (GI), which puts a strain on the arteries for several hours. The juice reduced levels of prostate- Researchers in Israel tested processed foods on a group of healthy specific antigen (PSA) in 48 men volunteers, who were given cornflakes, sugar, bran flakes or water—and with prostate cancer by 60 per cent. only those who drank just the water had normal arteries afterwards. The Researchers say that it could be a rest suffered from poor arterial function that lasted for several hours (J Am potent alternative treatment in Coll Cardiol, 2009; 53: 2283–7). cases where surgery has failed (J Urol, u Cola drinks such as Coca-Cola and Pepsi can lead to diabetes and 2009; [suppl]: 181, 4, abstr 826). muscle weakness. They cause potassium blood levels to drop, which can lead to serious muscle problems. Researchers in Greece found that those

Snacks who drank excessive amounts of cola could even suffer from paralysis,

u Dark chocolate. The flavanols in although victims made a full recovery once they stopped drinking it. One dark chocolate improve arterial such victim was drinking 2–9 L/day, researchers noted, although the health and, as a result, can average consumption is less than 0.5 L/day (Int J Clin Pract, 2009; 63: 900–2). “significantly” reduce high blood u Red and processed meats, when eaten in large quantities, can increase pressure, or hypertension, say your chances of cancer or even death. In a survey of 47,976 men and researchers. Dark chocolate is 23,276 women, those in the top fifth of red-meat-eaters—in other words, especially effective in those who those who ate 62.5 g/1000 calories every day—were far more likely to die already have high blood pressure. prematurely from all causes compared with those in the bottom fifth of Also, eating just a little dark red-meat consumption. If you can’t live without meat, switch to a white chocolate every day for five years meat such as chicken, say the researchers (Arch Intern Med, 2009; 169: can reduce the risk of heart attack 562–71). and heart disease by 20 per cent (BMC Med, 2010; 8: 39; doi: 10.1186/1741- 7015-8-39). large waist, high blood pressure, were eating (Presented at the American Eating 40 g (nearly one-and-a- reduced glucose tolerance and Society for Nutrition Annual Meeting, 24–28 half ounces) of dark chocolate every raised levels of C-reactive protein, a April 2010, Anaheim, CA). day for two weeks can also improve marker of inflammation (Presented at u Blackcurrants. These fruit reduce signs of anxiety in even the most the Experimental Biology 2010 Conference, lung inflammation, and can improve highly stressed individuals (J 26 April 2010, Anaheim, CA). breathing during an asthma attack. Proteome Res, 2009, 8: 5568–79). u Almonds have been described as the They are rich in epigallocatechin, an u Grapes. The flavonoids in grapes healthiest snack of them all. Eating antioxidant, which works with the can dramatically reduce your risk of just 73 g (3 oz) can reduce ‘bad’ body’s immune system to reduce heart failure. Just nine servings, or LDL cholesterol levels by 24 per inflammation (Mol Nutr Food Res, 2010; handfuls, of these fruit every day can cent, lower insulin output and even 54 suppl 2: S159–70). lower blood pressure and improve help to improve gut health. Positive u Apples are a good source of soluble heart muscle function, and may effects are seen after four months, fibre, and aid the body’s healing even counteract the effects of a poor say researchers. The nuts are processes by transforming diet. Researchers from the especially effective when eaten soon unhealthy cells. In general, an apple University of Michigan in Ann Arbor after a meal (Townsend Letter, 2008; 305: is one of the best ways to boost the found that grapes started to show 24). immune system (Brain Behav Immun, positive effects after 18 weeks inauFlaxseed. Sprinkling just a few 2010; doi: 10.1016/j.bbi.2010.01.015). study of laboratory mice (J Gerontol A table-spoons of flaxseed on your u Blueberries can offset the worst Biol Sci Med Sci, 2008; 63: 1034–42). food every day can be as effective as symptoms of stomach problems Snacking on grapes may also stop a drug for lowering cholesterol such as pain and bloating, and can the downward spiral that often ends levels. The seeds are rich in omega- even counteract colitis. They may with type 2 diabetes and heart 3 fats and lignans, a phytoestrogen, even protect against developing disease. The benefits are seen within and were able to reduce cholesterol gastro-intestinal problems in the three months, say researchers from levels in 90 men by around 10 per first place. The fruit are rich in the University of Michigan Health cent. This is similar to the polyphenols that have both System, who have discovered that effectiveness of a statin drug, but antimicrobial and anti-oxidant phytochemicals in grapes can arrest without the risk of side-effects. The qualities (AlphaGalileo, 2010; a cluster of health problems that are men consumed 3 tbsp/day of collectively known as ‘the metabolic flaxseed for three months by =67814&CultureCode=en). syndrome’. These factors include a sprinkling them on the food they Bryan Hubbard 6 WDDTY Healing Foods,

Fighting cancer with food

Common foods can pack a cancer (Chin Med J, 1990; 103: 304–7). of aggressive cancers (prostate,Its close relative milkvetch lung, colorectal, pancreatic, powerful punch in the (Astragalus oxyphysus) has also œsophageal, cervical, breast and fight against cancer shown promising anticancer stomach) (J Natl Cancer Inst, 1999; 91: activity, as well as antimetastatic 317–31; J Nutr, 2005; 135: 2037S–9S). effects against melanoma—at p to one in three of us will u Cruciferous vegetables (such asU least in mouse studies, so it maydevelop cancer at some time cabbage, cauliflower, turnip, bok-not apply to humans (Cancer Res,in our life. However, we can choy, radish, broccoli, brussels’ 1988; 48: 1410–5). However, it did protect ourselves against the sprouts, kale, swede and water- slow the growth of human disease by improving our natural cress) have potent anticancer melanoma cells grafted onto mice immune defences, and making the constituents. To retain their (Cancer Res, 1990; 50: 1867–72). right nutritional and lifestyle potency, only briefly steam or stir- As this plant has relatives that fry them (Lancet, 2005; 366: 1558–60).choices. are toxic to humans, only take u Citrus fruit (grapefruit, lemon,

Anticancer foods supplements made by reputable lime, orange, tangerine and ugli

manufacturers such as TA Sci- Green tea is chockful of the fruit/tangelo) contain flavonoidsu ences, Terraternal or RevGenet- antioxidants and anticancer and stimulate the detoxification ics, companies that refer to these polyphenols that impede the of carcinogens from the liver products as ‘telomerase activator growth of new blood vessels that (Carcinogenesis, 1998; 19: 425–31). supplements’. tumours need in order to grow u Herbs and spices (particularly u Turmeric, an antioxidant and and spread ( basil, marjoram, mint, oregano, anti-inflammatory spice, can rosemary and thyme) contain oils ?Cancer-Fighting-Diet-Green-Tea&id significantly promote apoptosis ). of the terpene family that block=521349 in cancer cells and impede u Dark chocolate (with a cacao the enzymes that cancer cells tumour growth (Clin Cancer Res, content of at least 70 per cent) need to invade adjacent tissue, 2008; 14: 4491–9). To make it more also contains antioxidants and thereby slowing the spread of easily taken up by the body, mix polyphenols—one small square cancer—albeit so far only in it with black pepper and either contains the equivalent of a cup animal models (J Nutr, 2001; 131: olive or pumpkinseed oil. 3027S–33S). of green tea—both of which can u Lycopene-containing fruit & veg Harald Gaier retard the growth of cancer cells (apricot, beetroot, butternut and Harald Gaier, a ( http: / / ezinearticles. com/ ? Dark- other squashes, carrot, pumpkin, registered naturopath, Chocolate- Health- Benefits- For- sweet potato, tomato, water- osteopath, homeopath Everyone&id=2422699>). melon and all coloured, non- and herbalist, u Mushrooms (crimini, enoki, hen- green vegetables) are rich in practises at The of-the-woods, maitake, oyster, carotenoids (such as lycopene) Allergy and Nutrition portobello, shiitake and turkey- and vitamin A. They are proven to Clinic, 22 Harley tail) stimulate the activity and retard, or even halt, the growth Street, London ( replication of immune cells (WDDTY vol 11 no 7, pages 6–7). u The Alliaceæ family (including chive, garlic, leek, onion and Tips for a cancer-preventing lifestyle shallot) promotes apoptosis (or u Heat food in glass or ceramic containers, not in plastics such as PVC, programmed cell death) in styrofoam or polystyrene cancers of the breast, colon, lung u Use lemon juice, white vinegar and baking soda for domestic cleaning and prostate (Cytotechnology, 2008; jobs; never use cleaning products that contain alkylphenols such as long- 56: 179–85). chain alkylphenol (LCAP), cresol or xylenol u Ginger root, which can be grated u Use lavender and cedar bark in wardrobes to freshen and to deter moths, into a stir-fry, sliced or made into not naphthalene or tar camphor an infusion, is a powerful anti- u Avoid perfumes and haircare products that contain phthalates (which cancer agent that prevents nearly all of them do) cancer cell proliferation (Anti- u Never use Teflon-coated pans and irons, but use stainless steel instead cancer Res, 1997; 17: 873–8; Cancer Res, u Eat organic meat from grassfed animals and organic dairy products 1996; 56: 1023–30). u Instead of the standard Western diet, switch to Mediterranean or Oriental u Astragalus membranaceus, a foods and cooking techniques herb used in traditional Chinese u Use olive oil, and natural sugar replacements such as xylitol crystals or medicine, has proven success agave syrup. against viral infections and

WDDTY Healing Foods 7


Berry good for you Exciting new research is

revealing that berries of all sorts may hold the keys to combating cancer, dementia and other diseases

Berries have been a majorpart of our diet for cen-turies, but only recently

have scientists taken an interest in their constituents and potential health benefits. Now, what they’re finding is that berries of all varieties—from strawberries and raspberries to goji and açaí berries—contain numerous ‘bio- actives’ that provide benefits beyond basic nutrition. Dementia Scientists recently reported the first human evidence that strawberries were able to protect the prevention of heart disease. A blueberries can boost memory and rats against radiation-induced group of 72 middle-aged men and might even help to ward off mental deficits although, while women were asked to consume either dementia. Nine older-age adults blueberries improved learning, two portions of berries daily (100 g of with early memory decline were strawberries boosted memory (J berries plus a small glass of a berry asked to drink around two cups of Agric Food Chem, 2008; 56: 636–41). drink) or control products, for two a commercially available blueberry months. The berry group—which juice every day for two months, Cancer included bilberries, lingonberries, while a control group drank a Numerous studies have suggested blackcurrants, strawberries, choke- beverage without blueberry juice. that berries are potent cancer- berries, and rasp-berries—ate an Tests taken before and after fighters. In one test-tube study, assortment of the berries whole, revealed that those who drank the extracts of six different kinds of pureed or in juice form. blueberry juice showed significant berries—blueberry, blackberry, black At the end of the study, the berry- improvements in learning and raspberry, red raspberry, cranberry eaters saw systolic blood pressure memory, leading the researchers to and strawberry—inhibited the growth reductions of up to 7.3 mmHg, while conclude that blueberries may of human mouth, breast, colon and levels of HDL (‘good’) cholesterol offer neurocognitive benefits (J prostate cancer cells. In addition, two rose by over 5 per cent. The Agric Food Chem, 2010 Jan 4; Epub ahead of the extracts—black raspberry and researchers also noted favourable of print). strawberry—were able to stimulate changes in platelet function (blood These results confirm the apoptosis (cell death) in colon cancer cells involved in clotting) in those findings of previous animal studies, cells (J Agric Food Chem, 2006; 54: 9329–39). who ate berries (Am J Clin Nutr, 2008; 87: which showed that blueberries can The now popular açaí and goji 323–31). reverse age-related deficits of both berries also have anticancer potential. brain and behavioural function. Açaí berries appear to be effective Diabetes Rats fed a blueberry-supplemented against leukaemia cells, while the Several animal studies suggest that diet performed better in maze polysaccharides found in goji berries some berries may have antidiabetic and object-recognition tests, as kill prostate cancer cells (J Agric Food effects. Indeed, a recent study in well as in tests of balance and Chem, 2006; 54: 1222–9; J Med Food, 2009; 12: mice concluded that bilberries can coordination. 695–703). improve hyperglycaemia and insulin Similar benefits have been seen However, to determine whether or sensitivity in type 2 diabetes (J Nutr, with cranberries and strawberries, not these lab results apply to real life, 2010; 140: 527–33). although it appears that different human trials are currently ongoing. Although human trials are scarce, kinds of fruit may well be affecting one found that a dietary supplement different parts of the brain. In one Heart disease containing blueberry and sea study, both blueberries and Berries may also have a role to play in buckthorn (seaberry; genus 8 WDDTY Healing Foods, Hippophae) concentrates was beneficial in the treatment of type 1 Bioactive berries diabetic children (Acta Physiol Hung, 2008; 95: 383–93). Although berries contain micro- and macronutrients such as vitamins, minerals, folate and fibre, their various biological properties have been

Berry promising largely related to their high levels and wide variety of phytochemicals,

Berries appear to be promising including flavonoids, tannins and phenolic acids (‘bioactives’). In particular, in the prevention of bowel disease anthocyanins—flavonoid pigments that give berries their bright colours— ( appear to have a wide range of antioxidant, anticancer and anti- html), urinary tract infections (Scand J inflammatory properties. Urol Nephrol, 2009; 43: 369–72) and eye In rats, anthocyanins from blueberries can cross the blood–brain barrier disorders such as cataracts and and collect in brain areas that are important for learning and memory (Nutr macular degeneration (Adv Gerontol, Neurosci, 2005; 8: 111–20). In the lab, black-raspberry anthocyanins can kill and 2005; 16: 76–9). inhibit the growth of oesophageal cancer cells, and alter gene expression It’s likely that, with further (Nutr Cancer, 2009; 61: 816–26). research, there will be many more However, it’s likely that the health benefits attributed to berries are due to reasons to make sure that these a synergistic or additive effect of the many phytochemicals they contain colourful fruit are part of your daily rather than being the result of a single constituent acting on its own (J Agric diet. Food Chem, 2008; 56: 627–9). Joanna Evans

WDDTY Healing Foods 9


Acai berry: a super-food? Does this exotic fruit

deserve its ‘super-food’ status?

Until recently, the acai berry(pronounced ah-sigh-ee)was virtually unknown

outside of its native Latin America. Now, this tiny purple fruit (Euterpe oleraceae) has gained a worldwide reputation as a ‘super-food’, and has found its way into everything from juice drinks to supplements to cosmetics. Acai proponents claim that it’s a top source of antioxidants, with benefits that include losing weight, enhancing the immune system, lowering cholesterol, boosting sexual performance, easing arth- ritis, improving digestion and even fighting cancer. But what does the science say about this supposedly super-fruit? Antioxidant power One of the key claims made is that it’s a superior source of antioxidants—those much-lauded free-radical fighters that prevent and repair cell-damage. However, there’s mixed evidence for the antioxidant potency of these berries. While studies agree that 10.1590/S0103-84782006000400037). seen, but what about its disease- acai is indeed a good source of In contrast, an analysis of the fighting and health-boosting antioxidants, it’s not clear whether antioxidant properties of freeze- qualities? Surprisingly, not much it’s any better than the cheaper, dried acai fruit pulp and fruit skin research has been done in this more commonly available, anti- powder (OptiAcai) found “an area, and most of the studies that oxidant fruits such as blueberries extremely high scavenging have been done are in animals. and strawberries. capacity” for free radicals— This means that the results may According to a study comparing indeed, “by far the highest of any not necessarily apply to humans. several popular juice drinks fruit and vegetable tested to date”. In one recent animal study, available in the US, acai juice had Specifically, it showed a Brazilian researchers examined the only middling levels of anti- significantly high antioxidant benefits of acai on cholesterol in oxidants, which were less than capacity for scavenging peroxyl rats, and found that rats fed a high- those of pomegranate, grape, free radicals, involved in the fat diet supplemented with acai blueberry and black cherry juices, development of tumors (J Agric Food pulp had lower levels of total and but more than cranberry, orange Chem, 2006; 54: 8604–10). However, the non-HDL (‘bad’) cholesterol and apple juices (J Agric Food Chem, study doesn’t clarify whether the compared with the animals that 2008; 56: 1415–22). other fruits and vegetables only ate the high-fat diet. The In another study from Spain and referred to were tested in the same findings suggest that acai— Brazil, comparing 11 different way as acai, so we don’t know if it’s possibly because of its antioxidant frozen fruit pulps, acai’s anti- a fair comparison. activity—may reduce the risk of oxidant activity was ranked fifth— having high cholesterol (Nutrition, above pineapple and passion fruit, Health benefits 2010; 26: 804–10). but below mango, strawberry and Whether acai packs the biggest US researchers tested the grapes (Cienc Rural, 2006; 36: doi: antioxidant punch remains to be effects of acai pulp in fruit flies 10 WDDTY Healing Foods, (Drosophila melanogaster) fed a high-fat diet, and found that the What about common berries? flies supplemented with acai lived significantly longer than the non- Although exotic berry types such as acai and goji berries have become supplemented flies. Acai supp- popular in recent years, studies suggest that the more common berries, lementation was also associated such as blueberries and strawberries, should not be overlooked. with beneficial changes in certain age-related genes. “Açai has the u Scientists recently reported on the first human evidence that potential to antagonize the blueberries can boost memory and may even help to ward off dementia. detrimental effect of fat in the diet Nine older-age adults with early memory decline were asked to drink and alleviate oxidative stress in around two cups of a commercially available blueberry juice every day aging,” the researchers concluded for two months, while a control group drank a beverage without blueberry (Exp Gerontol, 2010; 45: 243–51). juice. Tests taken before and after revealed that those who drank the Acai might also reduce the risk blueberry juice showed significant improvements in learning and of age-related neurodegenerative memory, leading the researchers to conclude that blueberries may offer diseases such as Parkinson’s and neurocognitive benefits (J Agric Food Chem, 2010; 58: 3996–4000). Alzheimer’s. Scientists at the University of Caxias do Sul in u In one test-tube study, extracts of six different kinds of berries— Brazil discovered that pretreating blueberry, blackberry, black raspberry, red raspberry, cranberry and rats with frozen acai pulp reduced strawberry—all were able to inhibit the growth of human mouth, breast, the damaging effects of hydrogen colon and prostate cancer cells. What’s more, two of the extracts—black peroxide (an oxidizing agent), raspberry and strawberry—were able to stimulate apoptosis (cell death) causing less damage to the cerebral in colon cancer cells (J Agric Food Chem, 2006; 54: 9329–39). cortex, hippocampus and cerebellum of the brain (J Med Food, 2009; 12: u A study involving 134,000 women and 47,000 men reported that people 1084–8). who regularly ate blueberries or strawberries had significantly reduced Perhaps the most exciting acai risks of developing hypertension (high blood pressure). The effect was study, however, is one that investigated stronger with blueberry than with strawberry consumption. Compared the effects of the fruit on cultured with people who never ate blueberries, those who had at least one human leukaemia cells in the lab. serving of blueberries per week were 10-per-cent less likely to become University of Florida researchers found hypertensive (Am J Clin Nutr, 2011; 93: 338–47). that acai pulp extracts reduced cancer cell growth by up to 86 per cent—most human clinical trials to confirm that The bottom line likely by triggering a self-destruct acai berries can improve health Considering the small amount of (apoptosis) cell response (J Agric Food and/or offer benefits for particular research that’s been done so far, Chem, 2006; 54: 1222–9). conditions. it’s astonishing that so many Although these findings are only Although a couple of clinical trials websites are getting away with preliminary, they are encouraging. have been carried out, they focused making such huge claims for this According to study researcher Stephen on the fruit’s antioxidant capacity so-called miracle fruit. Whatever Talcott, “Compounds that show good rather than its effects on health. its possible merits, acai simply activity against cancer cells in a model Nevertheless, the studies—both hasn’t been proven to cure cancer, system are most likely to have involving 12 healthy volunteers, and cut cholesterol, ease arthritis, beneficial effects in our bodies.” both published in the same issue of assist weight loss or solve any However, acai is by no means the same journal—show that other health problem in people. unique in its cancer-fighting antioxidants from acai, whether The research is promising, but potential. Another American study consumed as a juice or a pulp, are whether acai offers any benefits of rats with chemically induced readily taken up by the human body above and beyond those of other oesophageal cancer found that a (J Agric Food Chem, 2008; 56: 7796–802; antioxidant-rich fruit and number of different kinds of 8326–33). vegetables remains unanswered. berries—including strawberries, Such findings are important as Perhaps we should take the blueberries and black and red it’s acai’s antioxidants that are advice of Wendy Marcason, a raspberries, as well as acai—were thought to be behind its beneficial registered dietitian and part of the equally capable of inhibiting tumour effects in animal and laboratory American Dietetic Association’s growth when added to the diet. No studies. Clearly, though, more Knowledge Center Team, who says: single berry proved to be any better research is needed to determine “Until the health benefits of the than another (Pharm Res, 2010; 27: whether the consumption of these acai berry are scientifically proven, 1138–45). berries will result in any disease- it seems more reasonable, cheaper preventing and/or -treating health and safer to get antioxidants from

Clinical trials benefits, and to find the serving sizes other fruit and vegetable sources”

The results so far are generally needed to obtain a beneficial dose in (J Am Diet Assoc, 2009; 109: 1968). positive, but there is still a need for people. Joanna Evans

WDDTY Healing Foods 11


Noni juice: hype or hope? Noni juice has been bacteria-related health problems

marketed as hope in a (Acta Pharmacol Sin, 2002; 23: 1127–41). bottle—a natural remedy Noni fruit also appears to have for a catalogue of analgesic and tranquillizing prop- erties. When French researchers conditions. But does it tested an extract of the roots in really work? mice, they discovered “a significant, dose-related, central analgesic The fruit of the Morinda activity” as well as sedative effects.citrifolia plant, better known as The analgesic efficacy of noni extract‘noni’, has been a popular was nearly (75 per cent) as strong as Polynesian folk remedy for more than that of morphine, while remaining 2000 years. Today, the juice of the non-addictive and side-effect-free fruit can be found in supermarkets survival times and curative effects (Planta Med, 1990; 56: 430–4). and healthfood shops around the when noni-ppt was combined with Other laboratory evidence world, and the products’ manu- suboptimal doses of standard suggests that noni has antiviral, anti- facturers are claiming that it can chemotherapy drugs, such as fungal, hypotensive (blood-pressure- boost immunity, increase energy and adriamycin and cisplatin. According lowering), anti-inflammatory and even help fight cancer. to the researchers, these results immune-enhancing actions, too. But what does the science say suggest “important clinical about noni? applications of noni-ppt as a Human trials supplemental agent in cancer Only a few studies have looked at the

Noni research treatment” (Phytother Res, 1999; 13: effects of noni juice in humans. One

Noni is supposedly useful for a wide 380–7). placebo-controlled trial evaluated range of health problems, including Noni also appears to be cancer- the effect of noni juice on physical arthritis, diabetes, high blood protective. In a study using Tahitian endurance in athletes. In this study, pressure, muscle aches and pains, Noni Juice (TNJ), a popular product 40 highly trained runners drank TNJ menstrual difficulties, headaches, made by Morinda Inc, the juice, when or a placebo (blackberry juice)—100 depression and cancer. Nevertheless, given to rats in drinking water, mL twice a day—for 21 days. Using a the truth is that noni hasn’t been lowered the number of DNA adducts treadmill test, their endurance (time well studied in people for any health (pieces of DNA bonded to a to fatigue) was assessed before and condition. carcinogenic chemical, indicating after the juice-drinking period. The There is, however, a respectable the beginnings of a cancerous cell). results showed that endurance was amount of laboratory research using Levels of DNA adducts were increased by 21 per cent in the TNJ the fruit, and the findings of both reduced by 30 per cent in the heart, group, whereas no improvement was animal and test-tube studies suggest 41 per cent in the lung, 42 per cent seen with the placebo drink. The that noni juice does indeed have a in the liver and 80 per cent in the researchers believe that the “potent broad range of biological effects. kidneys. It was concluded that noni’s antioxidant effects” of TNJ brought antioxidant properties—comparable about their positive findings (J

Anti-cancer activity to those of vitamin C, grape seed Medicinal Plant Res, 2008; 2: 154–8).

In the early 1990s, researchers at the powder and pycnogenol—might Other research has focused on the University of Hawaii reported anti- explain the apparent cancer- effects of noni juice in smokers. In cancer activity using an alcohol preventative effects (Ann NY Acad Sci, one study, scientists analyzed noni’s precipitate of noni fruit juice (noni- 2001; 952: 161–8). antioxidant activity by measuring ppt). This was found to significantly levels of oxygen free radicals in the prolong—by up to 75 per cent—the Other effects smokers’ blood before and after life of laboratory mice that had been Several compounds in noni are drinking TNJ. Compared with implanted with Lewis lung carcinoma proven antibacterial agents effective smokers who drank a placebo (a compared with their matched control against infectious bacteria such as blend of grape and blueberry juice) brethren. The researchers concluded Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Proteus for 30 days, those who drank the noni that noni-ppt appeared to suppress morganii, Staphylococcus aureus, juice showed significant reductions tumour growth indirectly by Bacillus subtilis, Escherichia coli, in superoxide anion radicals (SAR) stimulating the immune system (Proc and Salmonella and Shigella species. and lipid hydroperoxide (LOOH)— West Pharmacol Soc, 1994; 37: 145–6). Such antibacterial activity by noni biomarkers of degenerative diseases A later study—but one also using explains why the fruit has been associated with smoking. “The mice, so the results, again, may not traditionally used to treat skin results suggest an antioxidant apply to humans—found improved infections, colds, fevers and other activity from noni juice in humans 12 WDDTY Healing Foods, exposed to tobacco smoke,” the researchers concluded (Chem Cent J, Safety concerns 2009; 3: 13). The most promising clinical trial, Despite being approved as safe in many countries, there have been a few however, measured the impact of reports of hepatitis in people drinking noni juice, with some suggesting that noni juice on DNA adducts in the the compounds known as ‘anthraquinones’ might be responsible (World J blood of more than 200 smokers. The Gastroenterol, 2006; 12: 3616–9). Yet, hepatotoxicity tests of noni juice have results showed that drinking 1–4 oz found it to be safe (J Toxicol Sci, 2009; 34: 581–5). One study—albeit in rats— of TNJ for just one month reduced even suggests that noni juice may be protective against liver damage (Plant DNA adduct levels by almost 50 per Foods Hum Nutr, 2008; 63: 59–63). cent. Thus, a daily dose of TNJ may Nevertheless, the US National Center for Complementary and Alternative be able to reduce the risk of cancer Medicine (NCCAM) advises that people with liver disease should steer clear in cigarette-smokers (Nutr Cancer, 2009; of noni juice. Also, as noni is high in potassium, people on potassium- 61: 634–9). restricted diets (due to kidney problems, for example) should also avoid it.

The bottom line

Although the results of noni research are promising, it’s still too evidence that the product has any Morinda Inc—have found that TNJ early to say whether or not the fruit nutritional benefits beyond those may be superior to blackberry juice, juice is effective for any particular obtained with any other fruit juices and to a blueberry and grape juice health condition. In fact, according ( http: / / e c . europa. e u / food/ f s / s c / scf/ blend. But independent research is to the European Scientific out151_en.pdf). now needed to confirm whether noni Committee on Food, which However, since that report, two juice is a truly useful healthy drink. evaluated TNJ in 2002, there’s no trials—both, however, funded by Joanna Evans

WDDTY Healing Foods 13


A juicy cure-all? significantly over the treatmentperiod, suggesting a potential

slowing of cancer progression.

Pomegranate juice is Further research is currentlyunderway to determine whether

beginning to amass these early results will be evidence as a remedy for supported by a randomized, everything from cancer to double-blind, placebo-controlled

Alzheimer’s trial (Clin Cancer Res, 2006; 12:


If the hype is to be believed, justabout everyone can benefit Heart diseasefrom drinking pomegranate In addition to its cancer-fighting

juice. It’s touted as the natural activities, pomegranate juice also answer to a laundry list of health appears to have cardioprotective problems—ranging from cancer properties, making it a useful and heart disease to diabetes and beverage for those with heart disease. Alzheimer’s. Indeed, a study by a team from The And although it all sounds too Preventive Medicine Research good to be true, in fact, there’s an Institute in Sausalito, CA, found that impressive amount of scientific drinking pomegranate juice had research on this tart-tasting drink. involved in the movement of other beneficial effects in patients with Studies show that the juice of this types of cancer cells, pomegranate ischaemic coronary heart disease ancient fruit may well have many juice may have a much broader role (CHD). After randomly dividing 45 modern applications. to play in cancer treatment patients with both CHD and ( releases/2010/12/ myocardial ischaemia (restricted

Cancer 101212121741.htm). blood supply to the heart) into two

Recent laboratory research has Indeed, previous research has groups, one group was given 240 mL/ revealed that pomegranate juice suggested that pomegranate juice day of pomegranate juice for three and its components possess potent can inhibit the growth of breast, months, while the other received the anticancer properties. In one colon and lung cancer cells (Nutr same amount of a placebo drink with study, presented in December, Cancer, 2009; 61: 811–5). In test-tube a similar calorie content, flavour and 2010, at the 50th annual meeting studies using breast cancer cell colour. of the American Society for Cell lines, pomegranate constituents The results showed that blood flow Biology in Philadelphia, res- were shown to effectively inhibit to the heart improved by around earchers from the University of angiogenesis (the growth of new 17 per cent in the pomegranate group California at Riverside dem- blood vessels that enables and declined by 18 per cent in the onstrated that pomegranate juice cancerous tumours to grow and placebo group. The researchers noted might stop prostate cancer from spread) as well as tumour growth, that this benefit came with no spreading. proliferation and invasiveness, and negative effects on lipids, blood The study, performed at the lab to induce apoptosis (programmed glucose, body weight or blood of Manuela Martins-Green, a cell death) (Altern Med Rev, 2008; 13: pressure. professor of cell biology, identified 128–44). “In conclusion, daily consumption a number of components in There is also laboratory of pomegranate juice may improve pomegranate juice—namely, phen- evidence to suggest that pome- stress-induced myocardial ischemia in ylpropanoids, hydrobenzoic acids, granate juice may help to prevent patients who have CHD,” they wrote flavones and conjugated fatty skin cancer (Exp Dermatol, 2009; 18: (Am J Cardiol, 2005; 96: 810–4). acids—that can both inhibit 553–61). Another study looked at the effect the growth of cancer cells and However, the most important of pomegranate juice on patients with weaken their attraction to a question is whether pomegranate carotid artery stenosis (CAS), where chemical signal that promotes the has proved effective in any clinical there is narrowing of the carotid metastasis (spread) of prostate trials. So far, only one has involved arteries due to the build-up cancer to the bone. cancer patients, although the of plaque (atherosclerosis) in vessel These exciting findings could results are promising. Researchers walls. This placebo-controlled trial lead to the development of new from the University of California at showed that the daily consumption of therapies for preventing prostate- Los Angeles (UCLA) studied 46 the fruit juice for one year cancer metastases, the researchers men with prostate cancer who significantly reduced the thickness said. What’s more, as the genes drank 8 oz (240 mL) of of the carotid artery walls by up to and proteins involved in the pomegranate juice every day. They 30 per cent. The controls, on the movement of prostate cancer cells found that prostate-specific other hand, showed further thicken- are essentially the same as those antigen (PSA) levels declined ing of the arteries. 14 WDDTY Healing Foods, Drinking pomegranate juice also appeared to reduce systolic blood A potent antioxidant pressure and to retard cholesterol oxidation. These effects could be The apparently beneficial effects of pomegranate juice have been largely down to the potent antioxidant attributed to its antioxidant activity, which is mainly due to the high properties of the polyphenol concentration of polyphenols in the juice. Pomegranate juice has both a compounds found in pomegranate higher total polyphenolic content and greater antioxidant activity than other juice, the researchers said (Clin Nutr, commonly consumed fruit juices, including orange, apple, pineapple, 2004; 23: 423–33). grapefruit, red grape and cranberry (Int J Food Sci Tech, 2010; 45: 1191–7). However, more studies are needed It’s also worthwhile noting that the whole juice appears to be superior to to determine whether drinking its isolated and purified polyphenols in terms of antioxidant, anticancer and pomegranate juice is a useful anti-atherosclerotic effects. This suggests that the effects of pomegranate strategy for the prevention of heart juice are most likely due to a synergistic effect of multiple compounds (J Nutr disease in healthy people. Biochem, 2005; 16: 360–7).


Despite being naturally high in sugar, day) or sugar water on the pro- Pomegranate promise pomegranate juice has shown gression of the disease. Despite all the positive findings so promise in the treatment of health Their findings showed that, after far, it’s still too early to say whether problems associated with diabetes. six months, the pomegranate juice- or not pomegranate juice can One small trial of 10 type 2 diabetics treated mice learned water-maze prevent or treat a particular and 10 non-diabetic controls found tasks more quickly and swam faster condition. In fact, in the US, the that a daily dose of the juice did not than the control mice, and also had Federal Trade Commission (FTC) worsen diabetes factors such as blood 50-per-cent fewer beta-amyloid has come down hard on claims made sugar levels but, instead, resulted in plaques in the hippocampus of their for the potential benefits of the significant antioxidative effects that brains. The build-up of such plaques popular fruit juice. might be able to cut the risk of heart is considered one of the hallmarks In September 2010, the FTC filed disease in such patients (Athero- of Alzheimer’s disease (Neurobiol Dis, a lawsuit against Pom Wonderful, sclerosis, 2006; 187: 363–71). 2006; 24: 506–15). the brand of pomegranate juice Heart disease risk is increased in However, clinical trials are used in most of the scientific diabetics, as persistently raised needed to confirm whether or not studies, charging the company with glucose levels intensify the ‘furring’ drinking pomegranate juice will making false and unsubstantiated and hardening of blood vessels seen have such similar effects in human claims. The commission said that in atherosclerosis. Alzheimer’s patients. the company’s advertising claims “In most juices, sugars are present Also, other animal research has over-stated the results of studies in free—and harmful—forms,” hinted at the juice’s neuroprotective and ignored the fact that some explained lead study researcher effects. When pregnant mice were studies found pomegranate juice to Michael Aviram. “In pomegranate given pomegranate juice, the results be no more effective than a juice, however, the sugars are suggested that polyphenols in the placebo. attached to unique antioxidants, juice might protect their offspring The studies being referred to are which actually make these sugars from neonatal hypoxic–ischaemic one that reported no statistically protective against atherosclerosis.” (HI) brain injury. In humans, HI significant effect of pomegranate In a follow-up study, drinking brain damage is a major cause of juice in men with erectile dysfunc- pomegranate juice proved to have a infant illness and death in severely tion, and one that found no number of other beneficial effects preterm and very low-birth-weight significant effect of the juice on that “could lead to retardation of babies. arterial plaque build-up in patients atherosclerosis development in The study showed that the at moderate risk for coronary heart diabetic patients” (J Agric Food Chem, offspring of pomegranate-treated disease (Int J Impot Res, 2007; 19: 564–7; 2008; 56: 8704–13). mice had significantly less brain- Am J Cardiol, 2009; 104: 936–42). tissue loss (a 64-per-cent decrease) However, Pom Wonderful

Alzheimer’s and more compared with controls when strongly disputes the FTC’s

A study by scientists from Loma subjected to experimentally assertions. “We do not make claims Linda University in California induced HI brain damage. “These that our products act as drugs,” the suggests that pomegranate juice results demonstrate that maternal company said. “What we do, rather, might help to fight off Alzheimer’s dietary supplementation with is communicate, through disease. Using mice predisposed to pomegranate juice is neuro- advertising, the promising science develop Alzheimer’s-like pathology protective for the neonatal brain,” relating to pomegranates. and symptoms, the team examined the researchers said (Pediatr Res, 2005; Consumers and their health prov- the effect of drinking pomegranate 57: 858–64). iders have a right to know about juice (roughly the equivalent of a Nevertheless, human studies are this research and its results.” human drinking one or two glasses a again needed. Joanna Evans

WDDTY Healing Foods 15


Tomatoes: our everyday heroes The humble tomato may

be a powerful weapon in the fight against cancer and heart disease

While the health industry toutsthe benefits of exotic fruitsuch as noni and goji berries,

researchers have been focusing on the humble tomato. What they’re finding is that a diet rich in tomatoes—raw or cooked—might be a simple way to slash your risk of life-threatening conditions such as cancer and heart disease. Reduce cancer risk Fruits and vegetables are generally levels and overall cancer rates in men Another study in women showed a link associated with a reduced risk of (Ann Epidemiol, 2009; 19: 512–8). Lycopene between blood lycopene and heart cancer, but tomatoes appear to be has proved able to reduce the risk of disease risk: the higher the levels, the especially good at fighting the disease. prostate, lung, blood and gast- lower the risk (Arch Latinoam Nutr, 2009; 59: In one of the biggest studies so far, rointestinal tract cancers (Molecules, 120–7). In men, Finnish researchers Harvard researchers found that men 2010; 15: 959–87). found an inverse relationship between who ate lots of tomatoes and tomato As a cancer treatment, lycopene blood lycopene and atherosclerosis products (such as tomato sauce and could be a complementary therapy for (plaque buildup in the arteries) (Am J pizza) reduced their risk of prostate high-grade tumours (gliomas) of the Clin Nutr, 2003; 77: 133–8). cancer by 35 per cent. As for brain or spine (Neurol India, 2010; 58: There’s even evidence that aggressive forms of prostate cancer, 20–3). Most research, however, is on tomatoes might be therapeutic high tomato intakes cut the risk by prostate cancer—and the evidence is against heart disease, as short-term more than half (J Natl Cancer Inst, 1995; 87: mixed. Still, one review found that six treatment with lycopene-rich tomato 1767–76). out of eight studies showed that the extract was found to reduce blood Other studies have had similar higher the lycopene intake, the lower pressure in patients with hypertension findings (Int J Cancer, 2005; 113: 1010–4; Exp the levels of prostate-specific antigen (Cardiovasc Drugs Ther, 2009; 23: 145–51; Am Biol Med [Maywood], 2002; 227: 852–9), with (PSA), a diagnostic marker of prostate Heart J, 2006; 151: 100). benefits for women, too. cancer. The evidence also suggested Also, a study in Taiwan gave In one study of Brazilian women, that lycopene can delay prostate participants either fresh tomatoes, those who regularly ate these fruit cancer progression, and reduce tomato juice or a lycopene drink (all were significantly less likely to have symptoms such as pain and urinary delivering around 40 mg of breast cancer (Nutr Hosp, 2007; 22: tract problems (Prostate Cancer Prostatic lycopene/day) for six weeks. On 565–72). In the US, women who Dis, 2009; 12: 325–32). measuring the subjects’ blood lipids, consumed lots of cooked tomatoes Animal studies show that lycopene they found that triglyceride levels and reduced their risk of multiple on its own may not be as effective as LDL (‘bad’) cholesterol were both myeloma (bone-marrow cancer)(Cancer eating the tomatoes whole, suggesting decreased, whereas HDL (‘good’) Causes Control, 2007; 18: 1065–76), while that these fruit contain other anti- cholesterol levels increased in those both male and female tomato eaters cancer compounds besides lycopene (J who consumed the fresh tomatoes and can slash their risk of renal cell Natl Cancer Inst, 2003; 95: 1578–86). tomato juice. Surprisingly, no carcinoma (a type of kidney cancer) by significant differences were observed up to 50 per cent (J Am Diet Assoc, 2009; Prevent heart disease in those who consumed the lycopene 109: 656–67). Tomatoes may also help to prevent drink, again suggesting the imp- Although these findings don’t prove heart disease, the world’s number-one ortance of eating the whole fruit that tomatoes prevent cancer, killer disease. In a study of nearly rather than taking lycopene as a scientists suspect that lycopene, a 40,000 women, those who ate the dietary supplement (J Agric Food Chem, potent antioxidant found in the fruit, most tomato-based products had a 30- 2007; 55: 6475–81). is responsible for the anti-cancer per-cent lower risk of heart disease and effect. Indeed, a Finnish study foundaa60-per-cent reduced risk of heart Other possible benefits strong link between blood lycopene attack (J Nutr, 2003; 133: 2336–41). Another benefit of eating tomatoes is 16 WDDTY Healing Foods, that they appear to offer natural protection against skin damage from Raw or cooked? the sun. In one German study, nine healthy Whole tomatoes appear to offer more health benefits than isolated lycopene, but volunteers consumed 40 g of tomato what’s the best way to eat them? paste (containing about 16 mg of Surprisingly, it appears that cooked and processed tomatoes are better than lycopene) with 10 g of olive oil every raw ones. That’s because heating tomatoes weakens the fruit’s cellular structure, day for 10 weeks, while a control group making it easier for the body to take up the lycopene. Moreover, as processing consumed the olive oil alone. The involves water loss, lycopene tends to be more concentrated in processed researchers then analyzed the tomatoes than in fresh ones (Annu Rev Food Sci Technol, 2010; 1: 189–210). subjects’ skin before and after Nevertheless, processed products generally contain high levels of sugar, salt and exposing them to artificial ultraviolet other additives. (UV) light. The results showed that So, a good idea is to make your own tomato sauce, using fresh, organic the tomato-paste group had a 40-per- tomatoes, which can be served with pasta and other dishes. Also, be sure to cent reduction in skin redness include a little olive oil, as consuming lycopene with fat increases its absorption in (erythema) compared with the the body. controls (J Nutr, 2001; 131: 1449–51). In another study by the same research team, supplementation with compared with only 25 per cent in the research is still in its early stages, the tomato extract, tomato paste and lycopene-only group. Again, this findings already hint at a beneficial lycopene each had a protective effect suggests that we’re better off eating role of these fruit for asthma, gum against UV-induced sunburn— the whole fruit rather than only taking disease, age-related macular deg- although lycopene alone was the least an isolated compound from it (Int J eneration, neurodegenerative dis- effective. Those consuming the Vitam Nutr Res, 2005; 75: 54–60). orders and even osteoporosis (Annu Rev tomato extract and the tomato drink In addition to sunburn, tomatoes Food Sci Technol, 2010; 1: 189–210; Exp Biol saw skin redness reduce by 38 per cent could also be useful for a range of Med [Maywood], 2002; 227: 845–51). and 48 per cent, respectively, other health problems. Although such Joanna Evans

WDDTY Healing Foods 17


Spirulina: the super seaweed Spirulina has a host of The fiction

reported benefits, but Other studies show that spirulina does it actually work? doesn’t work for certain conditions. Although it’s often claimed to fight The blue-green algae of the genus fatigue and boost energy, a random-Arthrospira, found in the ized placebo-controlled trial suggestssaltwater lakes of Mexico and otherwise. When four patients with Central America, is popular with chronic fatigue were given spirulina nutritionists and the health-conscious (3 g/day) for a month, it proved no everywhere. Often labelled ‘the world’s better than a placebo (Phytother Res, healthiest food’, it’s been said to boost 2007; 21: 570–3). However, as these immunity, promote heart health, results may have been biased by the combat fatigue, encourage weight loss, hair analyses found that the design of the study, until more clinical eliminate allergies and even protect spirulina–zinc combo removed studies are conducted, we just don’t against cancer. Is there any truth to significant quantities of arsenic know. these claims? WDDTY separates the from the body (Clin Toxicol [Phila], Another claim is that spirulina can fact from the fiction. 2006; 44: 135–41). protect the liver, especially in people u Obesity. In the only trial of with chronic hepatitis. However, a

The facts spirulina for weight loss, there was trial of 24 patients with chronic viral

u Nasal allergies. In a controlled a small reduction in weight in hepatitis found that one month of clinical trial, allergic rhinitis obese people taking 2.8 g of spirulina treatment had no significant patients fed spirulina had signifi- spirulina three times a day. results (Rom J Intern Med, 2002; 40: 89–94). cantly less sneezing, itching, nasal However, further studies are It’s also worth noting that, despite discharge and congestion, compar- needed to confirm this, and it is the widespread publicity, there’s no ed with the placebo group (Eur Arch also not known whether the evidence that spirulina can help in Otorhinolaryngol, 2008; 265: 1219–23). supplement will have the same attention-deficit disorder. u High cholesterol. When the effects in those who aren’t so effects of spirulina on cholesterol overweight (Nutr Rep Int, 1986; 33: The bottom line were studied over 20 years ago in 565–74). Although the spirulina studies are 30 healthy men, it was found that u Cancer. In one clinical trial, promising, it’s still too early to say 4.2 g/day markedly reduced levels researchers found that 20 out of whether or not it can prevent or treat of LDL (‘bad’) cholesterol after 44 patients showed complete any specific health problem. What’s eight weeks (Nutr Rep Int, 1988; 37: regression of leukoplakia (mouth more, the dosages used in most of the 1329–37). Other clinical trials have cancer) after taking spirulina for studies were relatively high, so even if reported similar results and, in one year vs only 3 out of 43 taking it does work, you’d need to take a lot one, spirulina not only reduced a placebo (Nutr Cancer, 1995; 24: of it to see any benefits. Still, as LDL cholesterol, but also 197–202). dietary supplements go, spirulina is a increased HDL (‘good’) chol- However, this was an “un- particularly rich source of proteins, esterol, too (Evid Based Comple-ment blinded, non-randomized trial and vitamins, amino acids, minerals and Altern Med, 2008 Sep 14; Epub ahead of as such cannot be regarded as other nutrients. This means that, print). evidence of a positive effect” (Evid providing you choose a good-quality u Hypertension. In 36 Mexican men Based Complement Altern Med, 2008 Sep supplement, you can’t go far wrong. and women, taking 4.5 g/day of 14; Epub ahead of print). Joanna Evans spirulina for six weeks dram- atically reduced both systolic and diastolic blood pressure, with the Is spirulina safe? largest decreases seen in the youngest (aged 18–38 years) Spirulina itself appears to be non-toxic, although blue-green algae may be ( ). naturally contaminated by highly toxic substances called ‘microcystins’,Lipids Health Dis, 2007; 6: 33 Arsenic poisoning. This is a which could make their way into health supplements. Nevertheless, a surveyu common problem in developing by Health Canada—which tested a broad sample of blue-green algae countries where arsenic levels in products available on the Canadian market—found that all spirulina drinking water are high. When 41 products were microcystin-free (for details, go to patients with this condition were semt/pubs/water-eau/ cyanobacter-eng.php#blue). given either a placebo or spirulina A genuine concern, however, is that spirulina can absorb any heavy extract (250 g) plus zinc (2 g), metals present in the water in which it grows (Nutr Rep Int, 1989; 40: 1165–72), twice daily for 16 weeks, urine and so make sure that you buy spirulina from a reputable manufacturer. 18 WDDTY Healing Foods,

Mushroom magic In one randomized, placebo-controlled trial of more than 100

patients after cancer-related surgery,

Mushrooms have been significantly more patients were still

valued throughout the alive and disease-free after 10 years world—particularly in with PSK than with a placebo (Cancer Immunol Immunother, 1990; 31: 261–8).

Asia—as both food and In another Japanese trial of more

medicine for centuries. than 400 patients, again after colo-

Now, some members of the rectal-cancer surgery, 75 per cent of

fungal kingdom are those given PSK plus chemotherapy beginning to attract the were alive after three years, compared attention of Western with 40 per cent of those given onlychemo (Dis Colon Rectum, 1992; 35: medicine. 123–30). In a follow-up study of patients Mushrooms have been used in after radiotherapy for lung cancer,Oriental medicine for over nearly 40 per cent of those taking7000 years. But only recently PSK were still alive after five years has the West begun to wake up to the compared with 16 per cent of those medicinal and healing capabilities of not taking PSK (Anticancer Res, 1993; 13: these functional fungi. After several 1815–20). decades of extensive scientific treatment for several types of PSK can also prolong life in those scrutiny, various species show great tumours, especially stomach and with cancers of the breast, nasophar- promise against a raft of diseases. colorectal cancers. ynx, oesophagus and stomach (Altern In one study of advanced stomach Med Rev, 2000; 5: 4–27).

Potent cancer fighter cancer, chemotherapy patients who PSP, its sister polysaccharide, has

A number of mushroom components received injections of lentinan once also shown powerful benefits for the stimulate the immune system and or twice a week in addition to the immune system, as well as inhibit tumour growth. In particular, usual drugs lived significantly longer substantially reducing pain and their ‘polysaccharides’—long-chain and had a better quality of life improving quality of life in those with sugar molecules—have been repeat- compared with patients who received cancers of the stomach, oesophagus, edly proven to have antitumour and chemotherapy alone (Hepato- lung, ovary and cervix (Altern Med Rev, immunostimulant properties. gastroenterology, 1999; 46: 2662–8). 2000; 5: 4–27). In the most comprehensive review Lentinan also seems to greatly reduce Reishi and maitake mushrooms of the literature, Cancer Research UK the debilitating side-effects of chemo also have anticancer effects. Reishi confirmed the anticancer activity of such as nausea, pain, hair loss and appears to stimulate the immune polysaccharides from various mush- reduced immunity. system—in particular, tumour rooms, including reishi (Ganoderma However, although the compound necrosis factor—to attack cancer lucidum), shiitake (Lentinula given orally can reduce colon cancer cells (Int J Cancer, 1997; 70: 699–705). edodes), maitake (Grifola frondosa) in animals (J Altern Complement Med, 2002; Maitake attacks the cancer cells and kawaratake (Coriolus versicolor). 8: 581–9), a US study of more than 60 directly. In one test-tube study, beta- Of these, the shiitake mushroom men with prostate cancer found that glucan, the polysaccharide from and its polysaccharide lentinan have six months of treatment with shiitake maitake, killed over 95 per cent of been the most extensively researched. extract halted the disease in only four prostate-cancer cells (Mol Urol, 2000; 4: Numerous studies have demonstrated of them (Urology, 2002; 60: 640–4). 7–13). lentinan’s powerful immune-boosting More promising is the kawaratake Clinical trials are underway in the effects, which enhance the body’s mushroom. Coriolus, a long-estab- US and Japan not only with prostate natural antitumour capabilities lished folk medicine for cancers of all cancer, but also with cancers of the rather than attack tumour cells kinds, is traditionally taken as a tea. breast, lung, liver and stomach (Smith themselves (Appl Microbiol Biotechnol, Two extracts—polysaccharide-K (PSK; JE et al. Medicinal Mushrooms and Cancer, 2002; 60: 258–74). ‘krestin’) and polysaccharopeptide Chapter 7. Cancer Research UK; see www. First isolated in 1970, lentinan (PSP)—both have potent anticancer showed greater antitumour effects properties when taken orally. In fact, According to City of Hope’s Beck- than other mushroom polysa- krestin is rated among the world’s man Research Institute in Duarte, ccharides and was effective against best-selling cancer drugs—and California, even eating those white some, though not all, types of among the world’s best-selling drugs supermarket mushrooms—from baby tumours (Int J Cancer, 1974; 12: 259–61). overall—and has no major side- buttons to large stuffers—can help In Japan, lentinan is approved for use effects, making it useful for ward off breast cancer (J Nutr, 2001; 131: as an anticancer drug. It is debilitated or elderly patients 3288–93; Cancer Res, 2006; 66: 12026–34). considered an important adjuvant (Anticancer Res, 2002; 22: 1737–54). Extracts of white button mush-

WDDTY Healing Foods 19

, rooms (Agaricus bisporus) can sup- Japanese inventors, a patented beta- as, in general, they are thought to be press oestrogen production, which glucan extract of maitake known as more bioavailable (readily taken up plays a major role in breast cancer. the ‘MD-Fraction’ is the most by the body). However, there appears Crimini (including portabella) mush- effective of all the known anti-HIV to have been no systematic attempt rooms have similar actions. One polysaccharides and is as powerful as to evaluate this claim scientifically. active ingredient in these mushrooms the drug AZT (Altern Med Rev, 2001; 6: Liquid extracts may just be more is conjugated linoleic acid, a well- 48–60). concentrated than the powdered known anticancer agent. In one long-term study, the MD- ones. Although mushrooms cannot treat Fraction was given to 35 HIV-positive There is, however, evidence to breast cancer, say the researchers, patients for 360 days. Although the suggest that using whole mushrooms eating about 100 g/day of white results were mixed, 85 per cent of the or mushroom extracts may be more mushrooms may act as a preventative patients reported an increased sense beneficial than taking its isolated in postmenopausal women; non- of well-being in terms of symptoms components such as polysaccharides. menopausal women can have a lower and secondary HIV-related diseases. According to scientists from the intake and still benefit. The MD-Fraction appears to work by University of California, whole mush- direct inhibition of HIV and rooms contain a number of important

Diabetes stimulation of the body’s own natural active ingredients that may play a

Mushrooms have shown impressive defences against HIV, rendering the synergistic role against disease (Exp activity against diabetes. In mice, patient less vulnerable to disease Biol Med, 2004; 229: 393–406). maitake significantly reduced blood (Mycoscience, 2000; 41: 293–5). Finally, it’s worth remembering sugar (Biol Pharm Bull, 1994; 17: 1106–10), Coriolus and reishi mushrooms that medicinal and culinary and doctors at New York Medical may also have a place in fighting HIV mushrooms are often one and the College have found that a daily dose (Life Sci, 1997; 60: PL383–7; Phytochemistry, same, so many of the benefits of of 1000 mg of maitake in patients 1998; 49: 1651–7). mushrooms can be had simply by with severe type 2 (non-insulin- making them a routine part of your dependent) diabetes can permanently Mushroom supplements diet. normalize blood sugar levels (Diabetic The medicinal properties of mush- Recent research by the US Med, 2001; 18: 1010). rooms are full of possibilities, but the Department of Agriculture has Reishi—known in China as lingzhi, research is still in its early stages. discovered that most nutrients in raw the ‘plant of immortality’—can also Nevertheless, there are a number of mushrooms are fully retained when reduce blood glucose in diabetic commercially available mushroom cooked, while others are retained at patients (Int J Med Mushr, 2005; 7: 111–8). products already on the shelves. levels of between 80 and 95 per cent Moreover, reishi can prevent or delay Look for liquid products rather ( diabetic kidney problems—albeit in than powdered (dried) supplements Joanna Evans mice, so it may not apply to humans (J Asian Nat Prod Res, 2006; 8: 705–11). Yet another mushroom helpful in Functional fungi diabetes is Agaricus blazei Murill (ABM). In a randomized, double-blinduApolysaccharide from shiitake has demonstrated benefit in chronic hepatitis study of 72 patients with type 2 diab- sufferers. LEM (Lentinula edodes mycelia) protects the liver, improves liver etes, those receiving ABM extract— function and helps produce antibodies to hepatitis B (J Beijing Med University, 1500 mg/day for 12 weeks—had an 1987; 19: 93–5; Gasteroenterol Jpn, 1987; 22: 459–64; Kantansui, 1987; 14: 327–35). improved insulin resistance com- u Because maitake is rich in fibre, yet low in calories and fat, it is a potential pared with those given a placebo (J weight-loss aid. In a study of more than 30 overweight patients, those who Altern Complement Med, 2007; 13: 97–102). took maitake tablets (equal to 200 g of fresh mushrooms) daily for two The effect was attributed to months lost weight, despite making no other changes to their usual diets increased adiponectin, a hormone (Altern Med Rev, 2001; 6: 48–60). that regulates fat and sugar u Japanese researchers have found that eating raw mushrooms can elimin- metabolism. ate bad breath. Button, field and birch bolete mushrooms were among those with a high ability to ‘capture’ methyl mercaptan, the main chemical

AIDS and HIV responsible for halitosis (J Agric Food Chem, 2001; 49: 5509–14).

Mushrooms can even help HIV/AIDS u In 2005, a Norwegian study concluded that an extract of Agaricus blazei patients to improve their immune Murill, an edible mushroom from Brazil, can both treat and prevent bacterial function. In a controlled trial of 100 infections such as otitis media, bronchitis, pneumonia and meningitis (Scand HIV patients, lentinan taken with the J Immunol, 2005; 62: 393–8) drug didanosine (ddI) increased u Fungal materials may make good artificial skin and wound covers. The idea levels of CD4 cells—among the came from similar products based on crustacean shells and the fact that immune system’s main defenses— fungal cell walls also contain chitin and/or chitosan. Indeed, Sacchachitin, more than with ddI alone (J Med, 1995; prepared from the waste residues of Ganoderma tsugae (hemlock varnish 26: 193–207). shelf) fruiting bodies, can enhance skin wound-healing in both animals and What’s more, according to its humans (J Biomed Mater Res A, 2005; 72: 220–7). 20 WDDTY Healing Foods,

A sweet truth 2376–82; J Am Coll Nutr, 2004; 23:197–204).

But how is it that such a high-fat,

Eating chocolate can help 2005; 46: 398–405). sugar-laden treat can be good for us?

prevent heart attacks, the When doctors at the University of The dark chocolate bars used in most Cologne in Germany ran a similar studies were at least 70-per-cent cocoa latest evidence suggests study, but with less chocolate (just 6.3 solids. Although these bars typically g/day, equal to 30 calories), include around 12 g of sugar, the If you’ve had a heart attack, a bar of remarkably, even this small amount of cocoa packs such a healthy punch thatchocolate is probably the last thing dark chocolate (but, again, not white it counteracts any adverse effects ofyour doctor would recommend. chocolate) was able to reduce BP by the sugar. The key ingredients in cocoa Nevertheless, new evidence suggests almost 3 mmHg. Although small, such are the flavanols, a subgroup of the that chocolate could save your life by a decrease applied across a population natural antioxidant plant compounds reducing your risk of having a fatal “would reduce the relative risk of called ‘flavonoids’, already well-known heart attack in the future. stroke mortality by 8 per cent, of for their heart-healthy effects (Nutr Swedish researchers, as part of the coronary artery disease mortality by 5 Today, 2002; 37: 103–9). Indeed, the Kuna Stockholm Heart Epidemiology per cent, and of all-cause mortality by Indians of Panama, who regularly Program (SHEEP), quizzed 1169 heart- 4 per cent”, the researchers estimated consume large amounts of flavanol- attack survivors on their chocolate (JAMA, 2007; 298: 49–60). rich cocoa, are virtually free of consumption, then followed them for This suggests that we can enjoy the hypertension and stroke, even though eight years to see how their health benefits of chocolate without piling on they add salt to their food (Med fared. They found that the more the pounds. Hypotheses, 2009 Jul 2; Epub ahead of print). chocolate was eaten, the lower the risk As for the fat in chocolate, much of of death due to heart disease—even A guilt-free pleasure it is present in the form of stearic after taking into account other risk In addition to lowering BP, dark triglycerides, which increase good factors such as obesity, smoking and chocolate appears to increase HDL cholesterol and are readily alcohol consumption. ‘good’ HDL cholesterol while cleared from the body via the gut (Crit Those who regularly indulged in lowering ‘bad’ LDL cholesterol (Free Care Nurse, 2007; 27: 11–5). Also, the fat chocolate—two or more times per Radic Biol Med, 2004; 37: 1351–9; J Nutr, slows the rate at which the sugar is week—were up to three times less likely 2008; 138: 1671–6). It’s also been released into the bloodstream, making to die of heart problems than those who shown to reduce platelet clumping dark chocolate a low glycaemic index avoided it. Even eating chocolate less (blood clots) and to improve (GI) food. that once a month had a significant function of the endothelium, the So, while it may be some time protective effect (J Intern Med, 2009; 266: inner lining of the arteries before doctors start recommending a 248–57). responsible for producing nitric bar of chocolate a day, it certainly These findings are intriguing, but oxide, which dilates blood vessels seems that the old adage is true: a not surprising. Recently, the evidence and keeps the vessel lumen clear of little of what you fancy does you good. has been stacking up that chocolate— obstructions (Circulation, 2007; 116: Joanna Evans far from being an unhealthy treat—is actually a functional food with Beyond heart health cardioprotective properties. But beware: not all chocolate is created equal. Although the Swedish study Besides heart disease, chocolate may also have a role to play in other didn’t distinguish between types of health problems. chocolate, much of the research u Sun damage. Eating chocolate rich in flavanols can help to protect the indicates that it’s only the dark kind skin from harmful ultraviolet (UV) radiation. When 30 volunteers were that’s good for the heart. given 20 g/day of either high- (HF) or low- (LF) flavanol chocolate daily, In one study, dark—but not white— after 12 weeks, those in the HF group saw their minimum erythema chocolate was found to dramatically dose—the minimum dose of UV light to cause skin redness—more than reduce blood pressure (BP) in 20 mildly double, while no significant changes were seen in the LF group (J Cosmet hypertensive patients, who were Dermatol, 2009; 8: 169–73). randomly assigned to receive either 100 u Diabetes. Dark chocolate may help to prevent diabetes. Eating 100 g/day g of dark chocolate or 90 g of of dark, but not white, chocolate for two weeks improved insulin white chocolate every day for two sensitivity (which leads to diabetes) in healthy volunteers (Am J Clin Nutr, weeks. Only the dark chocolate had 2005; 81: 611–4). beneficial effects, causing systolic BP to u Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS). In a placebo-controlled study of 10 plummet by an average of 11.9 mmHg, patients with CFS, eating 15 g of dark chocolate three times a day and diastolic BP by 8.5 mmHg. This significantly improved fatigue and physical functioning over an eight- means that chocolate is as effective week period. Indeed, two patients were able to return to work after having as many of the antihypertensive drugs suffered CFS symptoms for two years (Endocrine Abstracts, 2006; 12: 68). currently on the market (Hypertension,

WDDTY Healing Foods 21


Green tea: the natural

disease fighter

Green tea can help to fight liver function (Cancer Prev Res [Phila Pa],

cancer and more 2009; 2: 673–82). Green tea might also help to Green tea is credited with a prevent cancer from developing in thevariety of health benefits— first place. People who drink lots offrom aiding weight loss to green tea are less likely to have certain lowering cholesterol. Now, new findings types of cancer than those who don’t. show that the popular drink may help Drinking five or more cups of green tea to treat chronic lymphocytic every day reduces the risk of blood- and bone-forming activities (Nutr Res, leukaemia (CLL), a common form of lymph-related cancers by about 50 per 2009; 29: 437–56). blood cancer for which there is no cent (Am J Epidemiol, 2009; 170: 730–8). In u Diabetes. A study of more than cure. addition, a review of 51 studies of 17,000 adults found that green tea In a study of 33 CLL sufferers, green tea concluded that green tea was associated with a reduced risk of Minnesota’s Mayo Clinic found that may help to protect against cancers of type 2 diabetes (Ann Intern Med, 2006; daily doses of epigallocatechin gallate the liver, lung, prostate, pancreas and 144: 554–62). (EGCG), an active ingredient in green colon (Cochrane Database Syst Rev, 2009; 3: u Obesity. Green tea is an effective tea, was well tolerated, even at very CD005004). tool for weight loss and mainte- high doses (up to 4000 mg/ day). nance. In a randomized placebo- Furthermore, many also saw some Other benefits controlled study of nearly 200 degree of regression of their Green tea may also be useful for a host moderately overweight people, two leukaemia. of other common ailments. servings a day of high-catechin Specifically, treatment with EGCG u Heart disease. Green tea can pre- green tea led to significant weight led to significant decreases in two key vent atherosclerosis (narrowing of loss and, especially, abdominal fat CLL symptoms: high white the arteries) and stroke (J Am Coll (Obesity [Silver Spring], 2009 Aug 13; Epub blood cell (lymphocyte) counts; and Nutr, 2006; 25: 79–99; Complement Ther ahead of print). enlarged lymph nodes. Lymphocyte Med, 2007; 15: 46–53), and lower blood u Tooth decay. Drinking green tea counts were reduced by 20 per cent or pressure, cholesterol and the risk of frequently throughout the day can more in 11 of the 33 patients, while all death due to heart disease (Prev Med, significantly reduce cavities, even in but one of 12 patients with swollen 1992; 21: 546–53). the presence of sugar in the diet. It lymph nodes saw a 50 per cent or u Osteoporosis. Green tea can may also help to prevent periodontal greater reduction in swelling (J Clin prevent age-related bone loss, and (gum/bone) disease (J Am Coll Nutr, Oncol, 2009; 27: 3808–14). reduce fractures by increasing bone 2006; 25: 79–99). Although more research is needed mineral density and support-ing Joanna Evans to confirm these findings, this is not the first study to suggest that green tea is a potent cancer fighter. Indeed, the Green goodness Feist-Weiller Cancer Center in Louisiana has reported that green tea All teas (green, black and oolong) come from the same plant, Camellia might be effective against prostate sinensis. However, as the production of green tea involves little processing, cancer. these brews are rich in polyphenol catechins, the agents thought to be Dr James Cardelli and his team gave responsible for much of green tea’s beneficial effects. Green-tea catechins, 26 men with prostate cancer daily especially epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), are potent antioxidants—and supplements of a green-tea antimutagenic, antidiabetic, formulation (800 mg of EGCG plus anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and antiviral, too (J Am Coll Nutr, 2006; 25: 79–99). other polyphenols), equivalent to Precisely how much you need to drink to benefit is not known, but most of around 12 cups of normally brewed the research is based on the amount of green tea typically consumed in Asian green tea. After about a month, there countries—about 3 cups/day. Indeed, according to a recent review, a was a significant decrease in a number desirable intake is 3–5 cups/day (up to 1200 mL/day) to provide a minimum of of biological disease markers such as 250 mg/day of catechins (Cochrane Database Syst Rev, 2009; 3: CD005004). prostate specific antigen (PSA) and Green tea is generally free of side-effects, although drinking large amounts hepatocyte growth factor (HGF), which can lead to insomnia, anxiety and stomach upsets, due to its caffeine content. are indicators of cancer progression. Decaffeinated products are available but, as their catechin content appears to Some patients had reductions of more be much reduced by the process (Nutr Cancer, 2003; 45: 226–35), you’d need to than 30 per cent, with no effects on drink considerably more to get the same benefits as from regular green tea. 22 WDDTY Healing Foods,

Spice up your life doses have significantly reduced

amyloid plaques in the brain—the

A powerful ingredient bowel syndrome, Crohn’s disease and hallmark of the disease—and

used in yellow curries ulcerative colitis (Altern Med Rev, 2009; 14: improved cognitive deficits such as could help to fight off 141–53). impaired memory (Curr Alzheimer Res,In one trial of 25 peptic-ulcer 2005; 2: 131–6). cancer and other patients given 600 mg of curcumin five Although such results may not inflammatory conditions times a day for 12 weeks, nearly half apply to humans, Alzheimer’s is much had no ulcers after four weeks and, by less common in India than in the US, Things are hotting up as exciting the end of the study, 76 per cent were possibly because curcumin-containingnew studies show that ulcer-free (Southeast Asian J Trop Med Public curries are widely consumed. Morecurcumin—the yellow pigment Health, 2001; 32: 208–15). important, researchers have found a in turmeric—may be able to ease In a randomized controlled trial, or link between curry consumption and arthritis, soothe digestive problems RCT, of patients with ulcerative colitis, cognitive function. In a study of over and even cure cancer. Although, so those taking curcumin (1 g twice a 1000 elderly Asians, those who ate far, most of the research has involved day) together with conventional drug curry “occasionally” and “often or very test tubes and animals, a growing therapy fared better than those taking often” performed significantly better number of human trials suggest that a placebo with their conventional on cognitive tests than those who curcumin may be a safe and effective treatment (Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol, 2006; “never or rarely” ate the spice (Am J treatment for a range of chronic 4: 1502–6). Epidemiol, 2006; 164: 898–906). conditions.

Arthritis Anti-inflammatory powers Cancer In one preliminary RCT, 1200 mg/day Curcumin may also be effective against

Researchers at the Cork Cancer of curcumin effectively improved joint oedema, pancreatitis, eye conditions Research Centre in Ireland have swelling, morning stiffness and walking such as uveitis, and even reported that curcumin looks time in patients with rheumatoid obesity and type 2 diabetes (Altern Med promising for both preventing and arthritis, findings supported by both Rev, 2009; 14: 141–53; Endocrinology, 2008; 149: treating oesophageal cancer, an animal and laboratory evidence (Altern 3549–58). What these conditions have in increasingly common condition with a Med Rev, 2009; 14: 141–53; Int J Mol Med, 2007; common is inflammation—and poor prognosis. In the laboratory, 20: 365–72). curcumin is a powerful anti- curcumin began killing oesophageal In yet another RCT, turmeric extract inflammatory. Indeed, curcumin has cancer cells within 24 hours (Br J Cancer, (50 mg/capsule) in combination with proved to be just as effective as the anti- 2009; 101: 1585–95), and other studies other botanicals and zinc appeared to inflammatory drugs hydrocortisone and show that curcumin may also work be useful for osteoarthritis by phenylbutazone (Int J Clin Pharmacol Ther against other types of cancer cells, significantly reducing pain and Toxicol, 1986; 24: 651–4; J Ethnopharmacol, such as those of the breast, pancreas, disability (J Ethnopharmacol, 1991; 33: 91–5). 2007; 112: 292–9). stomach and colon (Int J Oncol, 2009; 35: However, as the treatment was a Curcumin’s antioxidant and 867–72; Anticancer Res, 2001; 21: 873–8). In combination of different agents, it antimicrobial actions may also explain animals, curcumin has an impact on all wasn’t clear what role curcumin played its promising effects against a wide three stages of cancer development— in the improvements. range of illnesses. Although more namely, its initiation, promotion and human trials are needed, this spicy progression (Altern Med Rev, 2009; 14: Alzheimer’s disease compound is already proving to be one 141–53). Mounting research suggests that of the safest and strongest disease- Although these results may not curcumin may help patients with fighters Nature has to offer. apply to people, preliminary trials in Alzheimer’s. In animals, even low Joanna Evans cancer patients are encouraging. In one, 15 patients with advanced colorectal cancer were given a Curry as cure? turmeric supplement (equivalent to 36–180 mg of curcumin) every day for Given the promising research on curcumin, should we all start eating more up to four months. Five patients saw curry? Not necessarily. Based on what we know so far, you’d probably need to their condition stabilize, while one eat an awful lot of it to reap any benefits. In the arthritis study (see main story), showed signs of cancer regression ( for instance, that 1200 mg/day of curcumin is roughly equivalent to seven curryClin dinners. Cancer Res, 2001; 7: 1894–900). But what about supplements? Curcumin isn’t easily absorbed, although

Digestive disorders taking it in conjunction with certain substances, such as piperine from black

Curcumin may also help with pepper, appears to increase its uptake. In one trial, 20 mg of piperine with gastrointestinal conditions, including2gof curcumin increased the absorption of curcumin 20-fold (Planta Med, 1998; dyspepsia (indigestion), Helicobacter 64: 353–6). Life Extension is one brand that offers a curcumin–piperine pylori infection, peptic ulcer, irritable combination supplement.

WDDTY Healing Foods 23


Powerful porridge First, the perfect breakfast appears to speed up the oxidation

was eggs, then grains like of cholesterol, whereas consuming muesli, then low-carb. But wheat apparently slows it down (Am nothing seems to beat the J Clin Nutr, 2002; 76: 351–8). benefits of good old Furthermore, the study found that during weight-loss programmes, oatmeal adding oats to the diet lowered blood The latest report shows that one cholesterol by an additional 4–12 per in blood glucose and delay emptyingof the healthiest ways cent (J Nutr, 2001; 131: 1465–70; Ann Nutr of the stomach (J Am Coll Nutr, 2007; to start your day is with Metab, 2003; 47: 306–11). 26: 639–44). oatmeal. Oats are far less refined Oats contain avenanthramides, For this reason, oats may also than wheat and have consistent phenolic compounds with powerful help to stabilize weight. Oats are evidence of benefit in terms of antioxidant effects that can help to favoured by diet specialist Dr Michel preventing degenerative diseases of prevent the development of plaque Montignac, the inventor of the low- all varieties. on the arterial walls—at least ac- glycaemic-index (GI) diet, as a low- A review of the most up-to-date cording to laboratory studies of GI food allowable even during the studies of oat consumption not only cell cultures. first stage of the diet. Oatmeal also confirms the conclusions of a 1998 In these test-tube studies of helps in losing weight because it US Food and Drug Administration avenanthramides added to human offers a greater feeling of fullness or on oats in the reduction of blood heart artery-cell cultures, they were satiation than other cereals or bread. cholesterol, but has even uncovered able to reduce inflammation, and This may be because it is combined new benefits (Am J Lifestyle Med, 2008; prevent adherence of immune sys- with water. Some researchers believe 2: 51–7). tem cells and the development of that incorporating water into meals, Eating oats and oatmeal appears smooth muscle—all of which are rather than only drinking it along- to reduce total blood cholesterol. precursors of plaque (Atherosclerosis, side, may be more healthful and may According to its own review by the 2004; 175: 39–49). promote weight loss (Am J Clin Nutr, Cochrane Collaboration, a non-profit Other studies have shown that 1999; 70: 448–55). organization promoting evidence- oats may normalize blood pressure, Perhaps the reason for all these based healthcare, the combined although the results of the various plaudits is that oats undergo far less results of eight studies showed that studies are mixed. processing than other grains and, as oat consumption virtually—and Besides coronary heart disease, oatmeal, are always consumed as a significantly—halved total choles- eating oatmeal may help to regular- whole grain. What isn’t known is how terol and LDL (the bad cholesterol) ize insulin sensitivity and so prevent frequently you should eat oats in your concentrations while having no type 2 diabetes, another common daily diet, as the results of studies effects on high-density lipoproteins condition of older age. have often been inconsistent. In the (the good cholesterol) (Cochrane Although whole grains in general absence of specific data, perhaps the Database Syst Rev, 2007; 2: CD005051). appear to reduce the risk of diabetes, best rule of thumb is to stick to a According to the Cochrane review, oats may work particularly well daily dose of porridge or to bake your the net effect translates to an over- because they contain a fibre called own loaf of oat bread. all reduction of the risk of coronary beta-glucan, which can lower the rise Lynne McTaggart heart disease by 5–15 per cent. Nevertheless, it should be noted that the authors had some concerns over Oats in a gluten-free diet the short trial durations and small numbers of participants involved in Oats may be an acceptable alternative for people who ordinarily cannot some of the reviewed studies. tolerate gluten. Although oats, which do contain gluten, have always been The benefit of oats appears to excluded in a gluten-free diet, new studies and reviews of the literature from extend beyond that of just fibre. 1995 have shown that they are safe for coeliac disease sufferers if taken in Studies comparing consumption of moderation—up to 70 g (1/2 to 3/4 cup) of oats per day for adults, and up to 25 oat cereal with wheat cereal show g (1/4 cup) per day for children (Can J Gastroenterol, 2007; 21: 649–51). that oats can influence the This research has found that the long-term consumption of oats is well particulate size of cholesterol, tolerated, and doesn’t lead to small-bowel mucosal deterioration or immune leading to lower numbers of the activation, as triggered by other gluten-containing grains. Nevertheless, it may undesirable small, dense cholesterol be wise to first test your child with oats to make sure he can tolerate them. particles that are thought to clear Also, be sure to buy your oats from a manufacturer who takes care to far more slowly than larger, lighter ensure that the grains are not contaminated in production by other grains particles. Consuming oats also such wheat, barley or rye. 24 WDDTY Healing Foods,

The raw-food diet It’s a lifestyle choice, but However, around a third of the

one that gives health women developed partial or complete benefits, its advocates amenorrhoea (loss of menstruation), claim. But are there any usually because they were too risks and downsides? underweight (Ann Nutr Metab, 1999; 43: 69–79). The raw-food diet, a subset of The diet can also reduce LDL, orthe vegan/vegetarian diet, ‘bad’, cholesterol levels. In a study advocates that at least 75 per of 201 patients who had either high low bone mass compared with those cent of the food we eat should be LDL or low HDL cholesterol levels, who ate a standard diet. But despite uncooked plant foods, such as fresh a diet comprising 1500–1800 g of this, they were not at any greater fruit and vegetables, sprouts, dried raw food helped to reduce total risk of osteoporosis because their fruit and seaweed. cholesterol levels. However, it also lower body weight put less stress on Its proponents argue that the reduced HDL levels, and increased their bones. They also had higher health-giving enzymes in food are total homocysteine levels among the levels of vitamin D, which was sur- destroyed when heated to above 116º 38 per cent of study participants who prising as the vitamin is usually only F (47º C). The raw-food diet, they say, became deficient in vitamin B12 (J available from foods such as dairy results in increased energy, better Nutr, 2005; 10: 2372–8). and oily fish, which were excluded skin, better digestion, weight loss from the diet. It may be that these and a lower risk of heart disease. Raw food and cancer participants were compensated by a In fact, there’s plenty of evidence The raw-food diet also has positive greater exposure to the sun, another to support these claims. It can help effects beyond those suggested by its source of vitamin D (Arch Intern Med, people who have gastrointestinal advocates. Several studies have found 2005; 165: 684–9). problems, as researchers discovered that it can protect against cancer, The diet can also lead to a when they gave raw vegetable salads and reduce the risk among those who deficiency in vitamin B12, and loss of to 93 patients who suffered from may be especially susceptible. periods in women, especially after a various chronic diseases of the According to a study of 8861 year or more (see the studies above). alimentary tract, including duodenal women, a diet of salad vegetables can The diet may also cause deficiencies ulcers (Vopr Pitan, 1984; 6: 22–6). protect against HER-2 breast cancer, in calcium, iron, protein and calories. Among patients who ate 200 g of one of the most virulent forms of raw carrot every day with breakfast the disease. In this case, the raw- Not for everyone for three weeks, cholesterol levels fell vegetable diet was tested against The raw-food diet is not for everyone by 11 per cent, and it improved their three other diets that involved and is certainly not for all the time. gut flora and metabolism. What’s cooked foods, and was found to have Children, pregnant/nursing women, more, these benefits continued for a far greater protective effect (Int J people with anaemia and those who three weeks after stopping the diet Cancer, 2007; 121: 911–4). are at risk of osteoporosis are advised (Am J Clin Nutr, 1979; 32: 1889–92). In another, separate study, a diet to avoid the diet. A raw-food diet also reduces that included 85 g of raw watercress Exponents of Ayurveda, the hypertension and encourages weight every day for eight weeks reduced the classical Indian form of medicine, loss. In 32 hypertensive patients— risk of cancer among people with traditional Chinese medicine and the 28 of whom were also overweight— DNA damage, and the positive effect macrobiotic diet all warn that a raw- having raw foods comprise 62 per was even more marked among only diet may not suit people living cent of their total dietary intake smokers (Am J Clin Nutr, 2007; 85: 504–10). in colder climates. Even the UK’s helped them to achieve a mean Raw vegetables, and cabbage in Vegetarian Society cautions against a weight loss of 3.8 kg, and reduced particular, appear to be protective diet that is exclusively of raw foods. their diastolic blood pressure by against stomach cancer. This was the Instead, it advocates a balanced 17.8 mmHg, after six months. As an conclusion on comparing the profiles healthy diet that also includes high- added bonus, 80 per cent of those of 379 newly diagnosed cases against protein foods, carbohydrates and who smoked or drank alcohol spon- 1137 healthy controls who consumed dairy products. taneously abstained while on the diet a diet of raw cabbage, carrot, garlic The greatest benefits of the diet (South Med J, 1985; 78: 841–4). and broccoli (Medicina, 2005; 41: 733–40). can be seen in a relatively short Significant weight loss was also time—a few months at the most— seen in a study of 216 men and 297 Diet downsides and there is evidently little merit in women who ate a primarily raw-food Despite these health-giving benefits, maintaining it exclusively for much diet for more than three years. The the diet can nevertheless cause a few beyond that time other than for men achieved an average weight loss health problems. People who ate a lifestyle reasons. of 9.9 kg, and the women, 12 kg. raw-food diet for up to 10 years had a Bryan Hubbard

WDDTY Healing Foods 25


The best diet for better bones The foods we eat have Most fresh produce is alkalizing, as

major effects on our are fruit, vegetables, seaweed, soy bones sauce, miso and salt. Protein and carbohydrate foods, such as sugar, flour, What we eat both builds and beans, grains, fish, poultry, meat andfuels every part of our bodies. eggs, are acidic (WDDTY vol 9 no 10: 1–5).Even though we have the notion that our bones just ‘sit there’ Acidosis and do nothing, the foods we consume The slightest tilt towards acidity in the affect them both directly and indirectly. bloodstream—called ‘acidosis’— An important concept to help us under- removes calcium from bones to alka- stand the roles of calcium and other lize the blood (Am J Clin Nutr, 2004; 79: 4–5). minerals is the acid–alkaline balance. Studies in mice have confirmed that This is expressed by the pH (power of metabolic acidosis does indeed hydrogen) scale, ranging from 0 to 14. stimulate bone resorption and inhibit products and tofu (if made with A pH of 7 is neutral, while below 7 is bone formation (Curr Opin Nephrol calcium carbonate) are buffering foods acid and above 7 is alkaline. Hypertens, 2004; 13: 423–36). that will balance either side because In the body, acids—which are corro- Dr T. Colin Campbell, of Cornell they contain both calcium (alkalizing) sive—generally result from metabolic University, in collaboration with Oxford and protein (acid-forming). processes such as moving or breathing, University and the Chinese Academy of So, in a diet high in sugar, flour and are either excreted or buffered Preventive Medicine in Beijing, and/or meat, and low in vegetables and (neutralized) by minerals or mineral conducted a landmark study of dietary fruit, dairy products will alkalize the salts, which are alkaline. For proper patterns and nutritional status in the body because of the calcium content. metabolism, the blood has to be slightly Chinese population in the early 1990s. Conversely, in a diet high in alkalizing alkaline with a pH of about 7.45, and They found that levels of acid and fruit, green vegetables and potatoes, going off this balance even calcium in the urine of middle-aged and and low in protein or grains, dairy foods a little has serious consequences. An elderly women was considerably will provide acid-forming protein. alkaline pH of 7.9 can lead to tetany influenced by diet. Acid-forming foods The trick, of course, is to eat from (lockjaw) and death, while an acidic pH increased calcium in the urine. Animal both acid-forming and alkalizing food of 6.9 can cause a possibly fatal diabetic protein appeared to be a culprit, groups. Too much acidic food draws coma. With a correct blood pH, the whereas plant protein was not (Campbell minerals from the teeth and bones, body is in homeostasis. TC, Campbell TM. The China Study: The Most while too much alkaline food creates The body has a number of mech- Comprehensive Study of Nutrition Ever Conducted cravings for sweets or carbs to provide anisms to keep the acid–alkaline and the Startling Implications for Diet, Weight Loss some counterbalancing acid-forming balance just right: and Long-Term Health. Dallas, TX: Benbella foods. u During breathing, cells exhale Books, 2005). This may be why some The best alkalizing foods, especially carbonic acid, which becomes car- studies show that vegetarians have in a diet with little or no dairy, as I bon dioxide that is expelled via the lower rates of osteoporosis vs meat recommend, are cooked or raw leafy lungs, lowering the acid load; eaters. green vegetables (kale, collard and u Muscle movements create lactic acid So, excess intakes of acid-forming mustard greens, watercress, arugula), from glycogen (stored carbo- foods drain calcium and other minerals roots (carrots, turnips, parsnips, hydrate) breakdown, which pro- from the bones. Eating meat is one radishes), broccoli and squash—and duces energy, increasing acidity; possible cause of acidosis but, more chopped fresh parsley, which contains u The kidneys regulate the blood often, it’s due to an excess calcium and vitamin C as well as acid–alkaline balance by excreting consumption of flour and sugar, as the ergosterol, a precursor of vitamin D, either a more acidic or a more modern food supply includes lots of which helps the body to absorb and alkaline urine as necessary; refined carbohydrates such as pasta, utilize calcium. Note, however, that u If the blood is too acidic, the bones cookies, cakes, muffins, white bread although spinach and chard are rich in release calcium and other buffering and white rice. calcium, they are also high in oxalic minerals into the bloodstream via Refined carbohydrates have received acid, which interferes with calcium bone resorption (breakdown); relatively little notice, mostly because uptake. u Once metabolized, the food we eat of the unfortunate misconception that Annemarie Colbin adds to the acid–alkaline balance, ‘all carbohydrates are equal’. Christiane Annemarie Colbin is an award-winning depending on whether they leave Northrup, MD, author of The Wisdom of leader in the field of natural health. This acid (carbonic, phosphoric or sul- Menopause (Bantam, 2006), notes that article has been adapted from Dr Colbin’s phuric) or buffering (mostly calci- osteoporosis is most frequently seen in new book Whole-Food Guide to Strong um, iron, magnesium, potassium, countries where the diet habitually Bones: A Holistic Approach (Oakland, CA: and sodium) residues. includes refined carbohydrates. Milk New Harbinger Publications, 2009). 26 WDDTY Healing Foods]

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