Sunday, July 18, 2010

Food as Medicine - July 17, 2010

Another installment and another article entitled Food As Medicine, this time it's from Riva Greenberg at Huffington Post, Food as Medicine: 10 Tips to Change the Way You Eat. Here is her statement on food as nutrition:

For the last several months I've shifted my view about food. I see it as medicine, and my body reflects this. I'm eating healthier than ever and all my vitals are better than ever.

I get blood tests twice a year due to my diabetes. My blood pressure is typically around 92/60 mmHg. My LDL (lousy) cholesterol is usually around 108 mg/dl. Some would say a little high, yes, it's in the family, but my HDL (good) cholesterol is an astronomical 107 mg/dl. My triglycerides are 50 mg/dl. I've got a heart Al Pacino would say is "strong like bull" and my A1C (average measure of sugar in my blood over two to three months) is 5.7 percent -- that's in the normal non-diabetic range.

I'm not a doctor or a dietitian, but I am a health expert. An expert on my health, particularly what I eat and how it impacts my body. Frankly, you're an expert on how you eat and how it impacts your body too.

I think we have a tendency to look at food as something separate from us. And it is, when it's sitting on a shelf in the deli or in the freezer aisle of the supermarket. But as soon as you eat it, forgive me for stating the obvious, it becomes a part of you. And you, to a good degree, become as nutritionally healthy as it is. Double-fried cheese-flavored corn chips anyone?

I know I've written about this before, but maybe never as bluntly. But I can't shake this thought -- "food is medicine." I see the evidence everywhere I go. Like the overweight woman unwrapping her McDonald's super-sized burger and fries on the subway. Or a group of bright and slim twenty-somethings chowing down on, as David Kessler author of "The End of Overeating" says, salt on sugar on fat on salt on sugar.

That's his description for most foods we eat -- from doughnuts to goliath- sized cinnamon buns to middle America-chain restaurants' platters of artificial creamed spinach in a refined white bread bowl and triple-fried chicken with double-fried won tons and tomato-like sauce-slathered ribs. In 30 years, those twenty-somethings will be carrying around an extra 25 pounds and have three health conditions.

This said, I'm not professing to eat a perfect diet, just the value of eating one. But seeing food as medicine does make me more motivated to eat more foods that are nourishing me, than sickening me. All over America we see the proof of unhealthy foods' side effects: heart disease, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, obesity, joint problems, sleep and respiratory problems, guilt and frustration.

You can't be healthy by just cutting down on the junk you eat. You've got to also pump up the healthy stuff. To that aim, here's a great list of 40 Best Age-Erasing Superfoods that Men's Health magazine published. It's also the bulk of my diet.

It's not different from what we keep hearing we should eat -- lots of veggies, some fruit, non-fat dairy, lean protein, whole grains, healthy fats like nuts and avocado, and beans. But what I hope you'll take away from this post is if you look at what you eat as medicine you'll think twice before you reach for artificial, chemically-treated, metabolism-messing non-food foods.

As Michael Pollan, author of "Food Rules" says, Eat food, mostly plants, not too much. That's pretty much what I do and eating this way, along with moderate portions, gives me the lipid profile I consistently get and automatically maintains my weight.

I'll also tell you, lest you think I'm a monk or a martyr, that fried calamari, occasional cheese or flourless chocolate cake, crusty bread and olive oil, most anything friends make for dinner and eating everything in my house on those occasional nights when the world tips out of balance, also co-exist with my healthy eating. Well, Pollan's last rule is, "Break the rules once in a while." Oh, and wine usually accompanies dinner. Thank goodness years ago some French marketing guy said it was healthy.

Since I've spent a lot of years transforming my tastes and habits, I offer you these tips to help you do the same. It's one thing to intellectually agree "food is medicine" and another to jumpstart a healthier diet.

She offers ten tips to change your perspective on food, but you'll have to go there for yourself.

OK, then, on to some research.

Study Finds Cashew Seed Extract An Effective Anti-Diabetic
Cashew seed extract shows promise as an effective anti-diabetic, according to a new study from the University of Montreal (Canada) and the Universite de Yaounde (Cameroun). Published in the journal Molecular Nutrition & Food Research, the investigation analyzed the reputed health benefits of cashew tree products on diabetes, notably whether cashew extracts could improve the body's response to its own insulin.

The article "Hydro-ethanolic extract of cashew tree (Anacardium occidentale) nut and its principal compound, anacardic acid, stimulate glucose uptake in C2C12 muscle cells," published in the journal Molecular Nutrition & Food Research, was authored by Leonard Tedong, Padma Madiraju, Louis C. Martineau, Diane Vallerand, Louis Lavoie and Pierre S. Haddad of the University of Montreal (Canada) as well as John T. Arnason, Dzeufiet D. P. Desire and Pierre Kamtchouing of the Université de Yaoundé (Cameroun).
Omega imbalance can make obesity 'inheritable'

Omega-6 and omega-3, both polyunsaturated fatty acids, are each critical to good health. But too much of the first and not enough of the second can lead to overweight offspring, the scientists showed in experiments with mice designed to mirror recent shifts in human diet.

Over the last four decades, the ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 in a typical Western diet has shifted from a healthy five-to-one to 15-to-one in much of Europe, and up to 40-to-one in the United States. In the breast milk of American women, the average ratio has gone from six-to-one to 18-to-one.

Earlier studies have established a link between such imbalances and heart disease.

But "this is the first time that we have shown a trans-generational increase in obesity" linked to omega intake, said Gerard Ailhaud, a biochemist at the University of Nice-Sophia Antipolis and main architect of the study.

This is serious - the lipid imbalance in the American diet is not just impacting us, it is impacting the children of those women whose nutrition is the worst (the poor and less educated).

In related news:

Rats on junk food pass cancer down the generations

Genes may not be the only way cancer passes down the generations. Feeding pregnant rats a fatty diet puts both their daughters and granddaughters at greater risk of breast cancer.

Sonia de Assis of Georgetown University Medical Center in Washington DC and colleagues had discovered that the daughters of pregnant rats fed an unhealthy diet are more likely to develop breast cancer. Now they have shown that even if these daughters eat healthily, their offspring are still at greater risk of disease.

Rats don't normally develop breast cancer, so de Assis had to give the granddaughters a chemical that induces tumours.

This put all the granddaughters at increased risk. Crucially, however, rats with grandmothers who ate a fatty diet were even more at risk. Twenty weeks later, half the rats whose grandmothers ate a normal diet developed breast tumours, while 80 per cent of rats with two grandmothers fed a high fat diet got tumours and 68 per cent of the rats with just did one developed cancer.

Anti-Cancer Effects Of Broccoli Ingredient Explained
Light has been cast on the interaction between broccoli consumption and reduced prostate cancer risk. Researchers writing in BioMed Central's open access journal Molecular Cancer have found that sulforaphane, a chemical found in broccoli, interacts with cells lacking a gene called PTEN to reduce the chances of prostate cancer developing.

The research team found that in cells which express PTEN, dietary intervention with SF has no effect on the development of cancer. In cells that don't express the gene, however, sulforaphane causes them to become less competitive, providing an explanation of how consuming broccoli can reduce the risk of prostate cancer incidence and progression. According to Mithen, "This also suggests potential therapeutic applications of sulforaphane and related compounds".
Calorie restriction and endurance exercise share a potent anti-inflammatory function in adipose tissues in ameliorating diet-induced obesity and insulin resistance

This article comes from Nutrition & Metabolism (Nutrition & Metabolism 2010, 7:59; doi:10.1186/1743-7075-7-59) an open-source online journal.
Results: Endurance exercise significantly attenuated high-fat diet-induced obesity. CR dramatically prevented high-fat diet-induced metabolic abnormalities. A combination of CR and endurance exercise further reduced obesity and insulin resistance under the condition of high-fat diet. CR and endurance exercise each potently suppressed the expression of inflammatory cytokines in white adipose tissues with additive effects when combined, but the effects of diet and exercise interventions in the liver were moderate to minimal.
To briefly sum it up - EAT LESS, EXERCISE MORE.

Probiotics in pregnancy could have diabetes benefits

Published in the British Journal of Nutrition, the study found that probiotic-supplemented dietary counselling could help reduce the risk of diabetes during pregnancy, improve blood glucose control and improve child health.

“Taken together, long-term health benefits for mothers and children may be conferred by balanced maternal nutrition during pregnancy and lactation and by promoting the healthy gut microbiota in the mother and the child. The results of the present study add weight to the argument that the continuing burden of Western lifestyle diseases is modifiable,” write the researchers.

They noted that those women who had taken probiotics had a reduced frequency of gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM): 13 percent for the diet/probiotics group, compared to 36 percent for the diet/placebo group and 34 percent for the control group.

Treating Depression With Omega-3: Encouraging Results from Largest Clinical Study
The use of Omega-3 supplements is effective among patients with major depression who do not have anxiety disorders, according to a study directed by Dr. François Lespérance. The study was published June 15 in the online Journal of Clinical Psychiatry.

Initial analyses failed to clearly demonstrate the effectiveness of Omega-3 for all patients taking part in the study. Other analyses, however, revealed that Omega-3 improved depression symptoms in patients diagnosed with depression unaccompanied by an anxiety disorder. Efficacy for these patients was comparable to that generally observed with conventional antidepressant treatment.
Finally, from Chad Waterbury, a summary of some research on exercise and fat loss.

Fat Loss Research

by Chad Waterbury

When it comes to burning fat, I’ll bet you’re overwhelmed by all the conflicting data out there. Luckily, I’ve done the work for you. Here’s a list of the research you need to know for getting a hard, defined midsection.

Lift Fast to Burn More Fat
Training slowly will make you slow, and research indicates that it might also keep you from losing more fat. When the squat speed between two groups were compared, the group that lifted faster burned more calories during and after the workout. So lift fast to burn fat fast! (Mazzetti et al Med Sci Sports Exerc 2007)

A Nice Pair of…Sets
Research shows that when you alternate between two reciprocal exercises (presses and rows) you burn more calories and fat than if you did those same two exercises in a traditional way (three sets of presses followed by three sets of rows). So pair up your sets, or even better, perform three or four exercises in a circuit. (Kelleher et al J Strength Cond Res 2010)

Lean and Strong
Training in a circuit, where you perform a series of exercises instead of each exercise separately, gained popularity in step aerobic classes where everyone is weak as a kitten. However, research shows that if you perform a circuit of heavier than normal strength exercises with short rest periods you’ll get stronger and boost your cardiovascular capacity. You can’t go wrong with a circuit of pull-ups, dips and squats, resting less than 30 seconds between each exercise. No leg warmers required. (Alcaraz et al J Strength Cond Res 2008)

If you’re looking for a quick, fat-burning program that’s based on this research and much more, just click HERE.

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John La Puma, MD said...

You're doing great work here, treating food-as-medicine as a legitimate scientific subject as well as a health and personal growth phenomenon: keep it up!
Warm regards,
John La Puma, MD
Author, ChefMD's Big Book of Culinary Medicine

hakan altan said...

thank you