Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Eating Healthy vs. Unhealthy

In the short term, living and eating healthy generally costs more. However, in the long term, the habits of a sedentary lifestyle and eating cheaper fast foods and processed foods can lead to obesity, diabetes, cancer, and heart disease  — which is quite expensive in terms of health care costs, quality of life and lifespan.

Living Healthy vs. Unhealthy

Of course, living a healthy lifestyle can take a lot of work. And for some, it may seem like it takes a lot of money, too. The reality is, however, that living a healthy lifestyle can save you more money in the long-term -- not only for you, but also for our nation.

When it comes to understanding the costs of unhealthy living, we need to look at several aspects. We need to look at our individual lifestyles, our national lifestyles, and the costs that don't always come directly out of our individual pockets. When we do that, we get a better picture of what it really cost to eat and live healthy vs. unhealthy:

Grocery Bill: It definitely cost a lot more for healthy foods such as extra virgin olive oil, organic Omega-3 eggs, wild salmon, free-range chicken, fresh organic vegetables, sprouted grain bread, and raw juices. However, if you reduce the amount of money that you spend on animal meat and purchase inexpensive healthy foods such as fresh spinach, kale, broccoli, carrots, pinto beans, brown rice, canned tuna/salmon, and frozen vegetables, you can stay within your grocery budget! Ironically, animal meat tends to be the most expensive item on the grocery list and it is one of the primary causes for a lot of our diseases such as obesity, cancer, and heart disease! Also, if you do your homework, you can get many of these healthier foods at discount.

Note: For more information about reducing your grocery bill, refer to an earlier post titled Tips for Eating Healthy Inexpensively.

Unhealthy Habit Costs: If you are an alcoholic or a smoker, this can put a major burden on your pocketbook. Drinking a bottle of liquor every day can cost you almost $3700 a year! Smoking a couple of packs of cigarettes a day can cost you almost $3000 a year. Think about the vacation you could take on that! Now remember, that is just the cost of the habit, not the cost of the potential diseases or conditions that may become a result of your habit. 

Out-of-Pocket Medical Costs: The less healthier you are, the more likely you will need to visit the doctor for prescription medications. And in more serious situations, you will need medical procedures or some kind of surgery that can be very costly. Unhealthy lifestyles make up a huge percentage of healthcare costs, and unfortunately, very few of us have a full-coverage health insurance plan. As a result, each visit to the doctor…the additional medications required ... each stay in the hospital ... each surgery required…inevitably is money that will need to come out of your own pocket.

Less Income: The less healthier you are, the more likely you are going to be ill and have to take time off from work. If you are limited to a certain number of sick days a year and you go over that limit, you end up losing potential income as a result. Let's say an individual makes $20 an hour and they get 5 sick days a year. Because they are unhealthy and get sick more often, maybe they actually need 10 days a year. As a result, they take an extra 5 days off for the year. Financially, that would add up to $800 in lost income.To make matters worse, if you continue to miss too much work, you may lose your job!

Healthcare Costs: As we all know, healthcare coverage for our country is a very complicated and costly issue. What's more is that a lot of the cost can be avoided. It turns out that over 70 percent of our healthcare costs are specifically related to lifestyle decisions. According to the Wellness Council of America, here are some statistics about healthcare costs:
  • The annual healthcare costs specific to obesity-related disease and health issues, all of which are considered preventable, represents about $150 billion or about 12 percent of our healthcare costs.
  • Smoking-related illnesses account for $96.7 billion in healthcare, or approximately 8 percent of healthcare costs (CDC).
  • Sedentary lifestyles account for 15 percent of all healthcare costs. It turns out that only 20 percent - 25 percent of the population achieves the recommended 30 minutes of daily physical activity.
  • Further, other preventable conditions aside from smoking make up an additional 40 percent of our healthcare costs.
  • In total, all of the above is related to 75 percent of our healthcare costs! All of which are linked to unhealthy lifestyle choices, including physical inactivity, diet, alcohol consumption and tobacco use. Further, 70 percent of American deaths are attributed to strokes, heart attacks, diabetes and cancer, all of which can be influenced significantly through lifestyle choices.
We need to stop making excuses for why we can't (or won't) live a healthy lifestyle. And, think about the message that we're sending to our children ... 

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Cancer-Weight Gain-Obesity Connection

Studies have consistently found that people who are overweight or obese are also more likely to develop breast, pancreatic, kidney, colon, prostate, and gallbladder cancers. Studies have estimated that having a high body weight accounts for nearly a quarter of kidney and gallbladder cancers.  Although obesity should be considered a disease in its own right, it is also one of the key risk factors for other chronic diseases together with smoking, high blood pressure and high blood cholesterol.

One study, using NCI Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) data, estimated that in 2007 in the United States, about 34,000 new cases of cancer in men (4 percent) and 50,500 in women (7 percent) were due to obesity. The percentage of cases attributed to obesity varied widely for different cancer types but was as high as 40 percent for some cancers, particularly endometrial cancer and esophageal adenocarcinoma.

A projection of the future health and economic burden of obesity in 2030 estimated that continuation of existing trends in obesity will lead to about 500,000 additional cases of cancer in the United States by 2030. This analysis also found that if every adult reduced their BMI by 1 percent, which would be equivalent to a weight loss of roughly 1 kg (or 2.2 lbs) for an adult of average weight, this would prevent the increase in the number of cancer cases and actually result in the avoidance of about 100,000 new cases of cancer.

Several possible mechanisms have been suggested to explain the association of obesity with increased risk of certain cancers:
  • Fat tissue produces excess amounts of estrogen, high levels of which have been associated with the risk of breast, endometrial, and some other cancers.
  • Obese people often have increased levels of insulin and insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) in their blood (a condition known as hyperinsulinemia or insulin resistance), which may promote the development of certain tumors.
  • Overweight and obesity lead to adverse metabolic effects on blood pressure, cholesterol, triglycerides and insulin resistance.
  • Fat cells produce hormones, called adipokines, that may stimulate or inhibit cell growth. For example, leptin, which is more abundant in obese people, seems to promote cell proliferation, whereas adiponectin, which is less abundant in obese people, may have antiproliferative effects.
  • Fat cells may also have direct and indirect effects on other tumor growth regulators, including mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) and AMP-activated protein kinase.
  • Obese people often have chronic low-level, or “subacute,” inflammation, which has been associated with increased cancer risk.
Other possible mechanisms include altered immune responses, effects on the nuclear factor kappa beta system, and excessive oxidative stress.

The following diagrams (from one of the Death to Diabetes/Obesity Health Coaching Training Programs) depict the pathophysiology of obesity and the possible connections between obesity, diabetes, cancer, and other diseases.

Death to Obesity Program enables weight loss.


Death to Obesity Program reverses diabetes and other diseases.

Note: Chronic overweight and obesity contribute significantly to many complications, including osteoarthritis, a major cause of disability in adults.

Too much belly fat could increase the risk of cancer
The way that fat is distributed around the body can also affect the risk of cancer. Apple-shaped people who put on weight around their stomach may have higher risks than pear-shaped people who put on weight around their hips.

Scientists measure belly fat using either waist circumference (the length of tape that goes around your waist) or waist-to-hip ratio (how wide your waist is compared to your hips). Studies have found that people with larger waists or waist-to-hip ratios have higher risks of breast cancer,  bowel cancer, kidney cancer,  and pancreatic cancer.

Obesity may increase cancer risk by changing hormone levels
Obesity most likely increases the risk of cancer by raising levels of hormones such as estrogen and insulin.

In early life, estrogen is mainly produced by a woman’s ovaries, but this stops after menopause. Instead, fat in the body becomes the main source of estrogen and obese women have up to twice as much estrogen as women with a healthy weight.  They also have lower levels of SHBG, or ‘sex hormone binding globulin’, which mops up estrogen in the body . This is almost certainly why obesity increases the risk of breast and womb cancers.

Obesity also increases levels of insulin in the body. It’s not clear how this could lead to cancer, although high insulin levels are a common feature of many cancers. High insulin levels could explain why being obese increases the risk of bowel, kidney and pancreatic cancer.

Obesity could also cause cancer through other means, including:
  • increasing the risk of esophageal cancer by causing ‘gastric acid reflux’, a condition where the stomach’s acids are briefly pushed back into the throat. This damages the lining of the esophagus.
  • increasing the risk of gallstones, which in turn increase the risk of gallbladder cancer.
  • being associated with physical inactivity or unhealthy diets.
Keeping a healthy weight reduces cancer risk and losing weight may reduce cancer risk
Studies have shown that overweight and obese people are more likely to develop cancer than people with a healthy body weight. It therefore makes sense that losing weight can help to reduce the risk of cancer, and scientists are now trying to confirm this with large studies.

One study found that women who lost 20 pounds or more had 11% lower risks of cancer overall compared to women who had never lost that much weight. Another study found that women who lost 10kg since menopause and kept the weight off more than halved their risk of breast cancer. Other studies have found similar results for breast and other types of cancer.

When people try lose weight through short-term fixes, in most cases, the end up putting the weight back on. It’s unclear how this ‘weight cycling’ affects the risk of cancer. But at least one study found that women whose weight had gone up and down by over 10 pounds, more than ten times, had higher risks of kidney cancer than those whose weight was stable.  While this was just a single study, it does suggest that the best way to reduce the risk of cancer is to maintain a healthy body weight over time.

According to the American Cancer Society, obesity cost an estimated $75 billion in 2003 because of the long and expensive treatment for several of its complications. According to the National Institute of Health, $75-$125 billion is spent on indirect and direct costs due to obesity-related diseases. 

The Solution to Obesity?
Follow a plant-based diet program such as the Death to Obesity Program. This program is a wellness program that is designed to help you lose weight (fat) the right way and permanently. The Death to Obesity Program is the only weight loss program that actually addresses how to eat comfort foods and your favorite foods instead of avoiding these foods and feeling deprived. Feeling deprived eventually leads most people to fall off the wagon and eventually regain the weight that they lost! Sound familiar?

With the Death to Obesity Program you will never fall off the wagon, because we include the very foods that would cause you to fall off the wagon in the first place! And, we show you how to transform these foods into healthier versions so that you will stick with the program.

Note: For more information about obesity and how to lose weight (and belly fat), refer to the Death to Obesity: The Weight Loss Solution ebook.

Cancer statistics in U.S.


Obesity statistics in U.S.


Clinical References:
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Foods That Help Control and Reverse Your Diabetes

Some foods have a bigger impact on your blood sugar than others. Knowing which ones are the best for keeping blood sugar levels steady is especially important when you have diabetes, but it's a good idea for everyone. Your dietary goal is to choose foods that help keep your blood sugar level on an even keel. That typically means whole, minimally processed foods. 

Chia Seeds
Here are some of the best foods that stabilize -- or even lower -- your blood sugar so you can better manage your diabetes.

Chia Seeds
High in protein and loaded with fiber and omega-3 fatty acids, chia seeds are a nutritional powerhouse. The flour made from these nutty-tasting seeds is a great addition to a diabetes-friendly kitchen. “It actually lowers blood sugar due to the fiber and omega-3 fatty acid content,” says Amy Jamieson-Petonic, RD, spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, and director of coaching at Cleveland Clinic. 


There's some evidence that chia seeds help reduce belly fat -- the kind that contributes to insulin resistance. Substitute a quarter of your regular flour with chia flour (and experiment with higher ratios) in just about any baked good. Order the flour online, find it at health-food stores, or grind chia seeds in a food processor.

Cinnamon Cinnamon
If you have diabetes, be sure there's cinnamon in your spice rack. Studies have shown that as little as a teaspoon of cinnamon a day may significantly decrease fasting blood glucose levels and increase insulin sensitivity. There are lots of ways to add more cinnamon to your diet. Sprinkle some in your coffee, stir it into your morning oatmeal, or add it to rubs for chicken or fish.

Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
When you savor the peppery zing of extra-virgin olive oil, you’re tasting powerful antioxidants. The phytonutrients that bring the bite also have an anti-inflammatory effect on your body. That helps protect and repair the cardiovascular system, which constant fluctuations in blood sugar can damage. Olive oil is also incredibly versatile. It's appropriate for anything from salads to sautés. Best of all, it slows absorption of the carbohydrates it's paired with for a healthier glycemic load overall.
Hummus
Hummus
Hummus, a Middle Eastern specialty, is a great addition to a diabetes-friendly plate. The fiber and protein in chickpeas -- 12 grams of dietary fiber and 15 grams of protein per cup -- help regulate the absorption of the sugars from the starch so your blood sugar stays on an even keel. The healthy fats from the tahini (made from ground sesame seeds) and olive oil slows the absorption of sugars even more. Pair your hummus with vegetables and whole-grain crackers for an even greater effect.

Lentils
Lentils are smart legumes when managing your blood sugar. They contain a good amount of starch (normally a no-no when managing blood sugar), which gives them a satisfying, hearty creaminess. Lentils are also packed with both soluble and insoluble dietary fiber. Soluble fiber turns into a gel-like consistency during digestion, which slows absorption of the sugar molecules in the starch. Insoluble fiber passes through the digestive tract without "registering" as a carbohydrate, while slowing down the whole digestive process so you stay satisfied and your blood sugar remains steady.

Nuts
Nuts of all sorts -- walnuts, pecans, take your choice! -- are great for controlling blood sugar. Despite their diminutive size, nuts are power packages of protein, unsaturated (healthy) fat, and fiber. Those three factors have a positive impact on blood sugar levels. In a recent study, participants who ate 2 1/2 ounces of nuts daily had an 8% decrease in their A1c levels. Keep in mind that nuts also pack plenty of calories. Your best bet is to substitute nuts for high-carbohydrate foods, such as croutons or pretzels. Sprinkle them on yogurt and salads, or nibble them for a snack.

Sardines
When you have diabetes, you want to land fish on your plate, especially fatty, cold-water fish.Sardines
Sardines and other small, fatty fish are high in essential omega-3 fatty acids that our bodies can only get from the food we eat. Sardines and other omega-3-rich fish help in a couple of ways: They're a great source of fat and protein to slow absorption of blood sugars, and they help protect your cardiovascular system, which irregular blood sugar fluctuations that can come with diabetes can damage. The healthy fat in sardines is good for your brain, too, and may help fend off Alzheimer's disease and dementia.

Spinach and Other Leafy Greens
Looking for a diabetes-friendly food? Follow Popeye's example. Spinach, kale, chard, and other leafy greens are loaded with vitamins, such as folate; minerals, such as magnesium; a range of phytonutrients; and insoluble fiber -- all of which have virtually no impact on your blood sugar level. Mark Hyman, MD, author of The Blood Sugar Solution (Little, Brown and Company), calls leafy greens "free foods," which means you should eat as many of them as you can. Bonus: The fiber in leafy greens will slow absorption of any carbohydrates (e.g., potatoes or bread) they’re paired with, resulting in a healthier overall glycemic load.

Quinoa
Most diabetics should avoid grain, but, if you're going to eat any grain, try quinoa. Quinoa is a super grain for many reasons: It’s one of the few non-animal proteins that's considered a "complete protein" in that it has all of the essential amino acids your body needs to build protein molecules. Plus, quinoa is a whole grain with germ, endosperm, and bran intact, bringing a host of nutrients and healthy fat to the mix. Even better, all those benefits come with very little impact on your blood sugar level. A half-cup of cooked quinoa ranks just under 10 (that's low!) on the glycemic load scale. It's easy to add quinoa to meals. Try using it in place of white rice as a side.

Whole-Grain Pasta
As previously mentioned, most diabetics should avoid grain, but, if you're going to eat any pasta, then, eat whole grain pasta. Whole-grain pastas are a great source of B vitamins and fiber, and reduce inflammation in the blood vessels. However, this food does come with a couple warning flags. First, overcooking pasta raises its glycemic load (follow the package directions and pull the pasta off the heat when it's al dente). Second, beware of portion size. A good bet is to pair 1/2 to 1 cup of cooked pasta with a bevy of vegetables and a bit of lean protein and healthy fat for a dish that's easy on your blood sugar.

Other Foods to Eat
Other foods that help to reverse your Type 2 diabetes include vegetables such as broccoli, Brussel sprouts, bok choi, kale, Romaine lettuce; asparagus, cabbage, cauliflower, celery, cucumbers, okra, peppers, stringbeans, other greens (collard, turnip); sea vegetables such as chlorella and sea plankton; and, grasses such as wheat, barley, alfalfa. Vegetables of other bright colors (green, red, yellow, purple, orange) include artichokes, avocado, bean sprouts, beets, carrots, chickpeas, mushrooms, parsley, peppers, pumpkins, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, and zucchini. 

Fruits include dark, bright-colored fruits such as açai berries, blackberries, blueberries, cherries, cranberries, elderberries, strawberries, apples, grapes, goji berries; apricots, avocado, figs, grapefruits, kiwi, lemons, limes, mangosteens, melons, papaya, peaches, pears, plums, pomegranates, prunes, raspberries.

Lean protein includes fish (wild salmon, sardines, tuna, mackerel, tilapia), nuts, seeds, beans, lentils, whey protein, whole soy foods (tofu, tempeh, miso, soy protein powder); lean, organic beef, chicken breast without the skin, turkey breast without the skin; goat’s milk, low fat plain yogurt; organic eggs, egg whites; low fat cheese, soy/tofu cheeses, blue-green algae (spirulina, chlorella); grains (amaranth, quinoa); wild game (venison, bear); organic seafood (shrimp, crab, lobster); and vegetables.

Foods That Prevent Reversing Your Diabetes

Certain foods can spike your blood sugar and insulin levels, preventing you from being able to control and reverse your diabetes. The good news is, while there are some surprises, most of these foods fall under the same category: processed food, such as white flour and sugar. Refined flours and sugar cause huge spikes in insulin and get absorbed quickly, which causes problems. Here is a list of some of the major "dead" foods to avoid.

Artificial Sweeteners
Many people think artificial sweeteners are harmless additives and a good choice if you have diabetes. Not so, Hyman says. "Artificial sweeteners slow metabolism and increase fat deposition, and can increase the risk of diabetes by 67%." If you need to satisfy a sweet tooth, Mills says, you're better off enjoying foods made with real sweeteners on occasion and in moderation.Bagel

Bagels
Back during the low-fat diet craze, bagels were darlings because of their "no-fat/low-fat" label, but that’s one of the very reasons they wreak such havoc on blood sugar. Refined flours cause huge spikes in insulin and get absorbed quickly, which causes problems. If you must get your bagel fix, pair it with a smear of avocado, which is loaded with healthy unsaturated fat, and a few slices of smoked salmon (a great source of both protein and omega-3 fatty acids) to help slow down digestion and regulate your blood sugar. You get extra points if you have a whole-grain bagel

Energy Bars
Because of all the added sugar, some energy bars may as well be labeled candy bars. Indeed, a single bar can carry a glycemic load over 49 (anything over 20 is considered "high"). That's more than a king-size Snickers bar! Bars made from refined flours and sugars are the worst culprits, since these have the harshest impact on blood sugar. If you like the convenience of energy bars, read labels carefully and choose bars made with nuts, whole grains, and few added natural sweeteners. Don't forget to account for the carbs in your daily tally.

Fruit Juice
If your blood sugar is extremely low and you need to bring it up quickly, fruit juice will help. But that’s not an effect you want when you’re looking to keep your blood sugar level the rest of the time. The concentration of carbohydrates is very high and tends to cause severe spikes and drops. Keep fruit juice on hand to counteract hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), but make water your go-to beverage as part of your everyday diabetes diet.

Ketchup
We tend to think of ketchup as a salty condiment, but many brands list some sort of sweetener as the second ingredient, which can have a disastrous effect on your blood sugar level. "It doesn’t matter if it’s called sugar, evaporated cane juice, high fructose corn syrup, or malt syrup," Mills says. "They’re all sugar, and all of them will elevate blood glucose."

Potatoes
Potatoes may be a whole, natural root veggie, but they’re also notorious for causing blood sugar to spike because they're digested into the bloodstream quickly. To mitigate this negative effect, cook potatoes with a healthy fat, such as olive oil, and bump up the fiber by adding hearty leafy greens or another vegetable to the mix. Or, make potato salad with plenty of lemon juice and chill it in the fridge. The acid and cold alter the starch molecules in the spuds to slow digestion.White pasta

White Pasta
White pasta is made from refined white flour, which is an easily digestible starch. That raises your blood sugar level. It also tends to provoke overeating because it's quickly digested, so you want to eat again, according to Amy Jamieson-Petonic, RD, spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and director of coaching at Cleveland Clinic. As if that's not bad enough, overcooking the pasta worsens the blood sugar impact.

White Rice
White rice is a whole rice grain that has been polished until just the endosperm -- essentially an easily digestible starch bomb -- is left. Not surprisingly, recent studies have shown that eating white rice can raise blood glucose significantly, especially if eaten often or in large quantities.

One study showed an 11% increase in diabetes risk with each daily serving of white rice. If you love rice with your stir-fries, switch to brown rice. Your blood sugar will thank you.

Low-Fat Sweetened Yogurt
It's obvious that low-fat yogurt has had fat removed, and that seems like a good choice if you have diabetes. While low-fat yogurt has a (small) positive impact on calorie count, it’s not so great for your blood sugar. Manufacturers compensate for that loss of fat by adding stabilizers, thickeners, and sugars that can have a detrimental impact on blood glucose. A better approach is to skip the fruit-flavored yogurt and choose plain yogurt sweetened with real, whole fruit.

Other Foods to Avoid

There are many other foods that diabetics should avoid, including all foods made with high fructose corn syrup, corn syrup, refined sugar, sucrose, maltose, dextrose, molasses, brown sugar, artificial sweeteners, and processed honey as well as foods/beverages such as soda, diet soda, bottled juice, soft drinks, candy, jams, jellies, cookies, cakes, pies, some cereals, and some condiments.

In addition, diabetics should avoid all foods made with refined flour or starch such as white bread, enriched bread, white pasta, white rice, macaroni, cereals, crackers, donuts, pancakes, pastries, biscuits, spaghetti, cakes, pies, and other processed foods; and, starchy vegetables such as white potatoes and corn.

These refined carbohydrates are high glycemic foods that cause your blood glucose level to rise, triggering food cravings and insulin surges that lead to fat production, inflammation, depletion of vitamins/minerals, low energy and a weakening of your immune system. Many of these processed foods contain high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), which is more dangerous than refined sugar because HFCS increases hunger cravings and fat production. This can lead to systemic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, cancer, arthritis, Alzheimer’s and osteoporosis. Although artificial sweeteners and sugar-free foods do not contain the refined sugar and calories, their chemical makeup can increase the tendency to overeat and damage the nervous system.

Broccoli Helps to Reverse Type 2 Diabetes

Eating broccoli is a great idea, especially if you're diabetic. This hearty, tasty vegetable is a true super food that is rich in dozens of nutrients. In fact, it packs the most nutritional punch of any land vegetable.

Broccoli's noteworthy nutrients include vitamin C, vitamin A (mostly as beta-carotene), folic acid, calcium, and fiber. Broccoli is an important calcium source for those who don't consume dairy products. Calcium does more than build strong bones. Research shows that this mineral may play a role in the control of high blood pressure, and it may work to prevent colon cancer.

Beta-carotene and vitamin C are important antioxidants that have been linked to a reduced risk of numerous conditions, including cataracts, heart disease, and several cancers.

Broccoli contains chlorophyll and chromium -- two key nutrients that help to reduce insulin resistance and toxicity in diabetics.

Broccoli is a major fiber find. Not only is it a rich source, but half of its fiber is insoluble and half is soluble, helping to meet your needs for both types of fiber. But the story doesn't end with broccoli's rich array of nutrients. Broccoli provides a health bonus in the form of protective substances that may shield you from disease. Botanically, broccoli belongs to the cabbage family, collectively known as cruciferous vegetables.

Health organizations have singled out cruciferous vegetables as must-have foods, recommending we eat them several times a week. Why? They are linked to lower rates of cancer. Like all cruciferous vegetables, broccoli contains two important phytochemicals -- indoles and isothiocyanates. Researchers at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore isolated from broccoli an isothiocyanate, called sulforaphane, that increases the activity of a group of enzymes in our bodies that squelch cancer-causing agents.

Health Benefits of Broccoli

Blood Pressure: Along with a high amount of potassium, Broccoli also contains magnesium and calcium that help regulate blood pressure.

Bone Health: Broccoli contains high levels of both calcium and vitamin K, both of which are important for bone health and prevention of osteoporosis.

Cancer Prevention: Broccoli contains glucoraphanin, which with the body processes into the anti-cancer compound sulforaphane. This compound rids the body H. pylori, a bacterium found to highly increase the risk of gastric cancer. Furthermore, broccoli contains indole-3-carbinol, a powerful antioxidant compound and anti-carcinogen found to not only hinder the growth of breast, cervical and prostate cancer, but also boosts liver function.

Diabetes Prevention & Reversal: Broccoli contains a compound  called sulforaphane that encourages production of enzymes that protect the blood vessels, and reduces the number of molecules that cause cell damage. As a result, this can reverse the damage that diabetes inflicts on heart blood vessels. In addition, Broccoli contains chromium, a key mineral that helps the body manufacture glucose tolerance factor (GTF) which helps to metabolize blood sugar. and regulate insulin usage in Type 2 diabetics. As a result, some Type 2 diabetics are able to reverse their diabetes by adding broccoli to their nutritional program.

Diet Aid: Broccoli is high in fiber, which aids in digestion, prevents constipation, maintains low blood sugar, and curbs overeating. Furthermore, a cup of broccoli has as much protein as a cup of rice or corn with half the calories.

Eye Health: Studies have shown that the carotenoid lutein helps prevent age-related macular degeneration and cataracts, as well as possesses anti-cancer effects. Additionally, broccoli is a good source of vitamin A that is needed to form retinal, the light-absorbing molecule that is essential for both low-light and color vision.

Heart Health: The carotenoid lutein may also slow down or prevent the thickening of arteries in the human body, thus fighting against heart disease and stoke. The B6 and folate in broccoli also reduce the risk of atherosclerosis, heart attack, and stroke.

Immune System: One cup of broccoli bolsters the immune system with a large dose of beta-carotene. Trace minerals, such as zinc and selenium, further act to strengthen immune defense actions.

Nervous System: Broccoli contains a high amount of potassium, which helps maintain a healthy nervous system and optimal brain function, as well as promotes regular muscle growth.

Sun Damage: Broccoli is helpful in repairing skin damage thanks to the glucoraphanin it contains which helps the skin to detoxify and repair itself.

Vitamin C: One cup of broccoli contains the RDA of vitamin C, an antioxidant necessary for fighting against free radicals. Moreover, vitamin C is an effective antihistamine for easing the discomfort of the common cold.

Cooking and Preparing Broccoli
In order to get the optimum nutrient benefits from broccoli, choose plants with closely packed heads and dark colored stalks as these will have a high nutritional content. Remember to also include the stems and the leaves for their high fiber and nutrient content. Cooking broccoli tends to destroy its nutrients so it is recommended that you eat it raw or lightly steamed.

You can make a salad by chopping up 1 cup of raw broccoli, adding Romaine lettuce, sprouts and sprinkling a bit of extra virgin olive oil. Add a few crunchy bits of walnuts and enjoy a nutritious and healthy salad.

If you plan to add broccoli to a stir-fry, add them last so that the broccoli is not overcooked -- you want the broccoli to remain firm and bright green in color in order to retain its nutrient benefits.

And, as powerful broccoli is, broccoli sprouts -- which are usually sold next to alfalfa sprouts in grocery stores -- are more than 50 times more packed with sulforaphane than broccoli that's matured. 

Studies
To look at the relationship between broccoli sprouts and stress on the body caused by oxidation, researchers randomly selected 81 people with type 2 diabetes to consume 5 or 10 grams of broccoli sprout powder per day, or a placebo containing no supplement. Blood tests showed that health markers significantly improved in those who took the broccoli sprout powder, including decreases in the oxidative stress index, decreased blood levels of oxidized LDL ("bad") cholesterol, and decreased levels of MDA (higher MDA indicates more oxidation). Broccoli sprout powder improved total antioxidant capacity as well. Taking 10 grams of broccoli sprout powder daily led to the largest improvements in measures of oxidative stress, but 5 grams also improved these measures more than placebo. (Eur J Clin Nutr May 11, 2011)

Dr Mingzhan Xue and colleagues from the University of Warwick and University of Essex carried out a complex laboratory study in which sulforaphane was directly applied to blood vessels that had been damaged by high blood sugar levels. It found that the compound reduced the production of potentially damaging molecules called reactive oxygen species. The.research was supported by Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation International, the Wellcome Trust, and the Biotechnology and Biosciences Research Council. The study was published in the medical journal Diabetes.

Based on a study (documented in the journal Clinical Epigenetics), researchers from the Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University discovered that a compound in cruciferous vegetables called sulforaphane helps the body to fight off cancer. That's because the compound works to inhibit enzymes, which are known to work against the ability of certain genes to suppress the development of tumors.

Researchers from the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center published a study in the journal Clinical Cancer Research showing that sulforaphane was able to kill breast cancer stem cells in mice and in lab cultures, and also prevented new tumor cells from growing.

Recently, a study in the British Journal of Nutrition showed that pairing broccoli with a spicy food containing the enzyme myrosinase seemed to enhance broccoli's cancer-fighting benefits.

Super foods reverse Type 2 diabetes.

                      
Super foods reverse Type 2 diabetes.

Health Benefits of Apples

In 2004, USDA scientists investigated over 100 foods to measure their antioxidant concentration per serving size.  Scientists believe these disease-fighting antioxidant compounds help prevent and repair oxidation damage that happens during normal cell activity. Apples are also full of a fiber called pectin, which provides additional health benefits.

Avoid Alzheimer’s: A new study performed on mice shows that drinking apple juice could keep Alzheimer’s away and fight the effects of aging on the brain. Mice in the study that were fed an apple-enhanced diet showed higher levels of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine and did better in maze tests than those on a regular diet.

Boost your immune system: Red apples contain an antioxidant called quercetin. Recent studies have found that quercetin can help boost and fortify your immune system, especially when you're stressed out.Prevent cataract: Though past studies have been divided on the issue, recent long-term studies suggest that people who have a diet rich in fruits that contain antioxidants—like apples—are 10 to 15 per cent less likely to develop cataracts.

Detoxify your liver: We’re constantly consuming toxins, whether it is from drinks or food, and your liver is responsible for clearing these toxins out of your body. Many doctors are skeptical of fad detox diets, saying they have the potential to do more harm than good. Luckily, one of the best—and easiest—things you can eat to help detoxify your liver is fruits—like apples.

Curb all sorts of cancers: Scientists from the American Association for Cancer Research, among others, agree that the consumption of flavonol-rich apples could help reduce your risk of developing pancreatic cancer by up to 23 per cent. Researchers at Cornell University have identified several compounds—triterpenoids—in apple peel that have potent anti-growth activities against cancer cells in the liver, colon and breast. Their earlier research found that extracts from whole apples can reduce the number and size of mammary tumours in rats. Meanwhile, the National Cancer Institute in the U.S. has recommended a high fiber intake to reduce the risk of colorectal cancer.

Decrease your risk of diabetes: Women who eat at least one apple a day are 28 percent less likely to develop type 2 diabetes than those who don’t eat apples. Apples are loaded with soluble fiber, the key to blunting blood sugar swings.

Reduce cholesterol: The soluble fiber found in apples binds with fats in the intestine, which translates into lower cholesterol levels and a healthier you.

Get a healthier heart: An extensive body of research has linked high soluble fiber intake with a slower buildup of cholesterol-rich plaque in your arteries. The phenolic compound found in apple skins also prevents the cholesterol that gets into your system from solidifying on your artery walls. When plaque builds inside your arteries, it reduces blood flow to your heart, leading to coronary artery disease.

Prevent gallstones: Gallstones form when there’s too much cholesterol in your bile for it to remain as a liquid, so it solidifies. They are particularly prevalent in the obese. To prevent gallstones, doctors recommend a diet high in fiber to help you control your weight and cholesterol levels.

Beat diarrhea and constipation: Whether you can’t go to the bathroom or you just can’t stop, fiber found in apples can help. Fiber can either pull water out of your colon to keep things moving along when you’re backed up, or absorb excess water from your stool to slow your bowels down.

Neutralize irritable bowel syndrome: Irritable bowel syndrome is characterized by constipation, diarrhea, and abdominal pain and bloating. To control these symptoms doctors recommend staying away from dairy and fatty foods while including a high intake of fiber in your diet.

Avert hemorrhoids: Hemorrhoids are a swollen vein in the anal canal and while not life threatening, these veins can be very painful. They are caused by too much pressure in the pelvic and rectal areas. Part and parcel with controlling constipation, fiber can prevent you from straining too much when going to the bathroom and thereby help alleviate hemorrhoids.

Control your weight: Many health problems are associated with being overweight, among them heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes and sleep apnea. To manage your weight and improve your overall health, doctors recommend a diet rich in fiber. Foods high in fiber will fill you up without costing you too many calories.

Protect against Parkinson’s: Research has shown that people who eat fruits and other high-fiber foods gain a certain amount of protection against Parkinson’s, a disease characterized by a breakdown of the brain’s dopamine-producing nerve cells. Scientists have linked this to the free radical-fighting power of the antioxidants contained therein.

Get whiter, healthier teeth: An apple won’t replace your toothbrush, but biting and chewing an apple stimulates the production of saliva in your mouth, reducing tooth decay by lowering the levels of bacteria.

Note: Always eat an apple with a handful of walnuts/almonds to balance the carbs from the apple with the protein and Omega-3 fats from the walnuts/almonds

                  
Super foods reverse Type 2 diabetes.

Health Benefits of Blueberries

Blueberries
Not only are blueberries good-tasting, they have some fantastic health benefits which include:

The highest antioxidant capacity of all fresh fruit: Blue Berries, being very rich in anti oxidants like Anthocyanin, vitamin C, B complex, vitamin E, vitamin A, copper (a very effective immune builder and anti-bacterial), selenium, zinc, iron (promotes immunity by raising hemoglobin and oxygen concentration in blood) etc. boost up your immune system and prevent infections. Once your immunity is strong, you won’t catch colds, fever, pox and all such nasty viral and bacterial communicable diseases.

Neutralizes free radicals which can affect disease and aging in the body: Blue Berries bring you the brightest ray of hope, for they are laden with anti oxidants and rank number 1 in the world of anti oxidants. This is mainly due to presence of Anthocyanin, a pigment responsible for the blue color of the blue berries. The abundance of vitamin-C is also a big factor for this as well.

Aid in reducing Belly Fat: A new University of Michigan Cardiovascular Center study suggests that blueberries may help reduce belly fat and risk factors for cardiovascular disease and metabolic syndrome. So far, we know that the fruit works on rats, which were the test subjects. A blueberry-enriched powder was mixed into the rats' diet, which was either low-fat or high-fat rat chow. After 90 days, the rats with the blueberry-enriched diet had less abdominal fat, lower triglycerides, lower cholesterol and improved fasting glucose and insulin sensitivity. And their health was even better when combined with the low-fat diet. That group had lower body weight, lower total fat mass and reduced liver mass than the rats on the high-fat diet. An enlarged liver is linked to obesity and insulin resistance, a hallmark of diabetes. Although more research is needed to confirm these results in humans, a related study presented at the same conference showed that men with risk factors for heart disease who drank wild blueberry juice for three weeks seemed to experience slight improvements in glucose and insulin control.

Helps promote urinary tract health: The building of colonies of certain bacteria like b-coli along the lining of the inner walls of urinary tract is responsible for this infection, resulting in inflammation, burning sensation during in passage of urine and other complications. Here, Blue Berries can be surprisingly beneficial. It has a compound formed of big polymer like heavy molecules which inhibits the growth of such bacteria. It also has some anti biotic properties which adds to this effect. These heavy and big molecules almost wash-off these bacteria along the tract, thereby preventing the infection.

Been proved to preserve vision: Blueberry extract, high in compounds called anthocyanosides, has been found in clinical studies to slow down visual loss. They can prevent or delay all age related ocular problems like macular degeneration, cataract, myopia and hypermetropia, dryness and infections, particularly those pertaining to retina, due to their anti-oxidant properties. Blue Berries contain a special group of anti oxidants called Carotenoids (lutein, zeaxanthin etc.), Flavonoids (like rutin, resveritrol, quercetin etc.), in addition to others such as vitamin C, vitamin E and vitamin A, selenium, zinc and phosphorus, which are very beneficial and essential for the ocular health. Data reported in a study published in the Archives of Ophthalmology indicates that eating 3 or more servings of fruit per day may lower your risk of age-related macular degeneration (ARMD), the primary cause of vision loss in older adults, by 36%, compared to persons who consume less than 1.5 servings of fruit daily.

Brain Health: The anthocyanin, the selenium, the vitamins A, B-complex, C and E, the zinc, sodium, potassium, copper, magnesium, phosphorus, manganese etc., among others, can prevent and heal neurotic disorders by preventing degeneration and death of neurons, brain-cells and also by restoring health of the central nervous system. It is hard to believe that these berries can also cure serious problems like Alzheimer’s disease to a great extent. They even heal damaged brain cells and neuron tissues and keep your memory sharp for a long-long time. Researchers found that diets rich in blueberries significantly improved both the learning capacity and motor skills of aging animals, making them mentally equivalent to much younger ones. 

Heart Disease: The high fiber content, those brilliant anti oxidants and the ability to dissolve the ‘bad cholesterol’ make the Blue Berry an ideal dietary supplement to cure many heart diseases. It also strengthens the cardiac muscles. In this study, published in the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry, researchers found that a moderate drink (about 4 ounces) of white wine contained .47 mmol of free radical absorbing antioxidants, red wine provided 2.04 mmol, and a wine made from highbush blueberries delivered 2.42 mmol of these protective plant compounds. 

Constipation & Digestion: While roughage (fiber) in Blue Berries keep away constipation (Of course, a single piece alone will not do. You need to eat a big handful of them), the vitamins, sodium, copper, fructose and acids improve digestion.

Cancer: Blue Berries can prove to be bliss for the cancer patients, for they contain certain compounds like Pterostilbene (excellent remedy for colon and liver cancer) and Ellagic Acid which, in harmony with Anthocyanin and other anti oxidants like vitamin-C and copper, can do miracles to prevent and cure cancer. Laboratory studies published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry show that phenolic compounds in blueberries can inhibit colon cancer cell proliferation and induce apoptosis (programmed cell death). A significant 34% reduction in ovarian cancer risk was also seen in women with the highest intake of the flavone luteolin (found in citrus).

Other benefits & facts: They keep you fresh, active, fit, sharp, close to nature and in a good mood, as they are very good anti-depressants. You also don't need to spend a lot on medicines, neither are there any side effects. Remember, the deeper the color of the Blue Berries, the more they are rich in anti oxidants and other medicinal values.

According to a study presented at the 2009 Experimental Biology conference, a diet rich in blueberries lowers blood cholesterol levels while improving glucose control and insulin sensitivity, lowering the risk of subsequent heart disease and diabetes.

       Super foods reverse Type 2 diabetes.

Blueberries, Apples & Pears
Eating more blueberries, apples and pears may be linked to lower risk of diabetes, according to a new U.S. study.

These fruits are loaded with flavonoids, a natural compound present in certain fruits, vegetables and grains, which some research has tentatively tied to heath benefits such as a lower risk of heart disease or cancer.

"People who ate a higher amount of blueberries or apples, they tended to have a lower risk of type 2 diabetes," said An Pan, a research fellow at the Harvard School of Public Health who worked on the study.

The findings show an association, he added, but don't prove the fruits, themselves, prevent diabetes.

The new work, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, parallels a study published in the same journal last year associating flavonoid-rich fruits with a reduced risk of high blood pressure.

For the new U.S. National Institutes of Health-funded study, researchers tracked the dietary patterns of approximately 200,000 men and women for up to 24 years.

The participants, who were enrolled in three large ongoing studies of American health professionals, filled out regular questionnaires about how frequently they consumed certain foods and beverages of a standard portion size.

None had diabetes at the outset, but about 12,600 of the participants were diagnosed during the research period.

The lightest blueberry eaters in the study reported getting less than one serving (half a cup) of the fruit per month, while the biggest blueberry consumers had two or more servings per week.

Pan's team found that blueberry-lovers had a 23 percent lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes compared with those who ate no blueberries. People who ate five or more apples a week also had a 23 percent lower risk compared with those who didn't eat apples.

The researchers suggested that certain flavonoids especially high in those fruits might be behind their possibly beneficial effect on diabetes risk.

"We found consistent results across the three (study groups) that apples and blueberries are beneficial for type 2 diabetes," Pan told Reuters Health.

That was after taking into account other risk factors, such as body weight, cigarette smoking and a family history of diabetes.

These results agree with an earlier Finnish report related to consumption of berries and apples and diabetes risk.

While fruit sugar raises blood glucose levels rapidly, other substances in fruit such as fibers and pectin may have diabetes-related benefits, said Dr. Loren Greene, a professor of medicine at New York University who was not involved in the study.

Please Note: As defined by the Death to Diabetes Diet Program, diabetics should never eat a piece of fruit by itself. Instead, diabetics should add a handful of walnuts/almonds and a glass of filtered water when eating a piece of whole fruit such as an apple, pear, or blueberries.               
           
SOURCE: American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, online February 22, 2012.

Wild Fish vs. Farmed Fish

When it comes to eating fish, there are 2 big things to be concerned about – methylmercury and PCBs. These aren’t the only issues, but they’re the most important ones. And as you’ll see below, you don’t have to worry about either of them when you’re eating wild salmon from Alaska.
Methylmercury levels are highest in large fish grown in more industrial areas.

Methylmercury
Methylmercury is a toxic substance that is dangerous for a developing fetus (especially during the early months of pregnancy), and it comes from industrial pollution. Coal-burning power plants emit large amounts of mercury into the air, it falls to the ground through rain, and then it ends up in our lakes, rivers, and oceans. When mercury gets into water, microorganisms convert it into methylmercury, which is easily absorbed by the human digestive tract.

Methylmercury is ingested by all fish grown in waters near industrial areas, and it accumulates in large, predatory fish as they eat lots and lots of small fish. Shark, swordfish, and albacore tuna tend to accumulate levels of methylmercury that are dangerous for pregnant woman, which is why women who are pregnant or might become pregnant are advised to limit their consumption of these types of fish.

Methylmercury levels tend not to be much of an issue for salmon because they’re not that high up on the fish food chain. They are carnivorous, but they eat mostly krill (tiny crustaceans) and very small fish.

That being said, higher levels of methylmercury will undoubtedly be found in salmon that are raised or live naturally in more polluted areas. And this is where the Alaskan thing comes in – Alaska is geographically isolated and therefore has much lower levels of industrial pollution. Therefore, its waters tend to be very low in methylmercury.

So this is why you don’t need to worry about methylmercury levels in wild Alaskan salmon.

PCBs
PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls) are toxic chemicals that were once used in manufacturing (they were banned in 1979). Today, our rivers, lakes, and oceans are heavily polluted by these and many other chemicals (coming from industrial emissions and agricultural pesticide runoff), even though many of the most dangerous ones have been banned for years. Since PCBs pose the biggest risk to our health, it’s helpful to use the acronym “PCBs” as shorthand for all of the dangerous toxic chemicals that are found in our waters today. Suffice it to say, these are chemicals that you should do your best to consume in only very small amounts.

Unlike methylmercury, which is stored in the muscles of fish, PCBs accumulate in the fatty tissues of fish as they move up the food chain. Levels of PCBs therefore depend on four things: the fish species, where they grew, how fatty they are, and what they were fed. Because of the last 2 factors especially, farmed fish are most at risk, and farmed salmon is especially risky because it’s one of the most industrial fishing industries.

Farmed salmon are raised very much like cattle in feedlots – they’re confined in overcrowded pools filled with antibiotics, pesticides, chemicals, and waste. Also like cattle, they’re fed lots and lots of food to make them grow as quickly as possible, which makes them more fatty. Instead of live krill and small fish, their food comes in the form of pellets, which contain fish meal and oil because fish grow best when they’re fed proteins and fats from other fish. 

However, because of the way that these pellets are made from smaller farmed fish, they tend to have very high concentrations of PCBs. And because farmed salmon are fed massive amounts of these pellets in order to speed up their growth, they tend to have much higher levels of PCBs than wild fish.

Wild Alaskan salmon is therefore much safer than farmed salmon for three reasons:
1. They grow in Alaska where the waters are the least polluted.
2. They aren’t fed food pellets.
3. They tend to be less fatty because they grow at a natural pace.

Nutrient Differences
From both a nutritional and environmental impact perspective, farmed fish are far inferior to their wild counterparts:
  • Despite being much fattier, farmed fish provide less usable beneficial omega 3 fats than wild fish.
  • Due to the feedlot conditions of aquafarming, farm-raised fish are doused with antibiotics and exposed to more concentrated pesticides than their wild kin. Farmed salmon, in addition, are given a salmon-colored dye in their feed, without which, their flesh would be an unappetizing grey color.
  • Aquafarming also raises a number of environmental concerns, the most important of which may be its negative impact on wild salmon. It has now been established that sea lice from farms kill up to 95% of juvenile wild salmon that migrate past them.(Krkosek M, Lewis MA. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A.)
Omega 3 Fat Content Differences
FDA statistics on the nutritional content (protein and fat-ratios) of farm versus wild salmon show that:
  • The fat content of farmed salmon is excessively high--30-35% by weight.
  • Wild salmon have a 20% higher protein content and a 20% lower fat content than farm-raised salmon.
  • Farm-raised fish contain much higher amounts of pro-inflammatory omega 6 fats than wild fish.
These unfortunate statistics are confirmed in a recent (1988-1990) study conducted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to compare the nutrient profiles of the leading species of wild and cultivated fish and shellfish. Three species of fish that contain beneficial omega 3 fats were included: catfish, rainbow trout, and coho salmon. 

Farm-raised Fish are Fattier
In all three species, the farm-raised fish were fattier. Not surprising since farm-raised fish do not spend their lives vigorously swimming through cold ocean waters or leaping up rocky streams. Marine couch potatoes, they circle lazily in crowded pens fattening up on pellets of fish chow.
In each of the species evaluated by the USDA, the farm-raised fish were found to contain more total fat than their wild counterparts. For rainbow trout, the difference in total fat (5.4g/100g in wild trout vs. 4.6 g/100g in cultivated trout) was the smallest, while cultivated catfish had nearly five times as much fat as wild (11.3g/100 g in cultivated vs. 2.3 g/100g in wild). Farm-raised coho salmon had approximately 2.7 times the total fat as wild samples.
 
Farm-raised Fish Provide Less Usable Omega-3 Fats
The reason for this apparent discrepancy is that both omega 3 and omega 6 fats use the same enzymes for conversion into the forms in which they are active in the body. The same elongase and desaturase enzymes that convert omega-3 fats into their beneficial anti-inflammatory forms (the series 3 prostaglandins and the less inflammatory thromboxanesand leukotriennes) also convert omega-6 fats into their pro-inflammatory forms (the series 2 prostaglandins and the pro-inflammatory thromboxanes and leukotrienes). 

So, when a food is eaten that contains high amounts of omega 6s in proportion to its content of omega 3s, the omega-6 fats use up the available conversion enzymes to produce pro-inflammatory compounds while preventing the manufacture of anti-inflammatory substances from omega-3s, even when these beneficial fats are present. 

Farm-raised Fish Contain More Pro-inflammatory Omega-6 Fats
In all three types of fish, the amount of omega 6 fats was substantially higher in farm-raised compared to wild fish. Cultivated trout, in particular, had much higher levels of one type of omega 6 fat called linoleic acid than wild trout (14% in farm-raised compared to 5% in wild samples). The total of all types of omega 6 fats found in cultivated fish was twice the level found in the wild samples (14% vs 7%, respectively). 

Wild Fish Provide More Omega-3 Fats
In all three species evaluated, the wild fish were found to have a higher proportion of omega-3 fats in comparison to omega 6 fats than the cultivated fish. The wild coho were not only much lower in overall fat content, but also were found to have 33% more omega 3 fatty acids than their farm-raised counterparts. Omega 3s accounted for 29% of the fats in wild coho versus 19% of the fats in cultivated coho. Rainbow trout showed similar proportions in fatty acid content; wild trout contained approximately 33% more omega 3s than cultivated trout, however both cultivated and wild trout did have much lower amounts of omega 6 fats than the other types of fish. 

Antibiotic and Pesticide Use
Disease and parasites, which would normally exist in relatively low levels in fish scattered around the oceans, can run rampant in densely packed oceanic feedlots. To survive, farmed fish are vaccinated as small fry. Later, they are given antibiotics or pesticides to ward off infection. 

Sea lice, in particular, are a problem. In a recent L.A. Times story, Alexandra Morton, an independent biologist and critic of salmon farms, is quoted as beginning to see sea lice in 2001 when a fisherman brought her two baby pink salmon covered with them. Examining more than 700 baby pink salmon around farms, she found that 78 percent were covered with a fatal load of sea lice while juvenile salmon she netted farther from the farms were largely lice-free. 

Scientists in the United States are far more concerned about two preliminary studies-one in British Columbia and one in Great Britain-both of which showed farmed salmon accumulate more cancer-causing PCBs and toxic dioxins than wild salmon. 

The reason for this pesticide concentration is the salmon feed. Pesticides, including those now outlawed in the United States, have circulated into the ocean where they are absorbed by marine life and accumulate in their fat, which is distilled into the concentrated fish oil that is a major ingredient in salmon feed. Salmon feed contains higher concentrations of fish oil-extracted from sardines, anchovies and other ground-up fish-than wild salmon normally consume. Scientists in the U.S. are currently trying to determine the extent of the pesticide contamination in farmed salmon and what levels are safe for human consumption. 

Research on this issue published July 30, 2003, by the Environmental Working Group, indicates that levels of carcinogenic chemicals called polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) found in farmed salmon purchased from U.S. grocery stores are so much higher than levels of PCBs found in wild salmon that they pose an increased risk for cancer. PCBs have been banned in the US for use in all but completely closed areas since 1979, but they persist in the environment and end up in animal fat.

When farmed salmon from U.S. grocery stores was tested, the farmed salmon, which contains up to twice the fat of wild salmon, was found to contain 16 times the PCBs found in wild salmon, 4 times the levels in beef, and 3.4 times the levels found in other seafood. Other studies done in Canada, Ireland and Britain have produced similar findings.(September 8, 2003)

Color of Wild Salmon vs. Farmed Salmon
With salmon, color is the key. Wild salmon flesh is a deep red color, while farmed fish flesh is orange. (Actually, farmed fish have gray flesh, but they are fed a product that adds color to their meat in the months just before they are harvested.)

The other distinguishing characteristic is price. Fresh farmed Atlantic salmon can sell for as little as one-quarter the price for wild Alaskan salmon. In truth, you are getting more for your money with the more expensive product. Ounce for ounce, wild salmon has much more flavor than the farmed variety, which is raised on pelleted fish chow, and wild salmon is much higher in the types of fatty acids that make fish a healthy diet choice. 

      
Reverse Type 2 diabetes with the right kind of salmon.

Reverse Type 2 diabetes with wild salmon.


Wild Salmon Helps to Reverse Diabetes

Wild salmon is a powerful food, and, in many ways, is a true super food. In fact, few single foods can bring as many health contributions to your diet in significant quantities as wild salmon. Wild salmon is an excellent source of Omega-3 fatty acids which helps people with diabetes and heart disease. Wild salmon is low in saturated fat and calories but high in protein.
Wild salmon helps to reverse Type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

Note: Make sure that you choose wild salmon over farmed salmon. Farmed salmon is injected with antibiotics and color-enhancing chemicals. Whereas wild salmon eat other fish, farmed salmon is fed corn and other foods so that they can be produced in mass quantities.

Nutrient contents in wild salmon include:

Wild salmon provides key nutrients for your health, including:

  • Omega 3 fatty acids
  • Vitamins A, D, B6, E
  • Antioxidant known as astaxanthin
  • Essential amino acids
  • High quality protein
  • Appreciable amounts of calcium, iron, zinc, magnesium, and phosphorus
All of these nutrients combine to make wild salmon the natural choice for anyone concerned with their own health or their family’s health.

Health Benefits

Health benefits associated with wild salmon include the following.

Prevent High Cholesterol: Studies show that salmon helps to lower triglycerides. High triglycerides are associated with high bad cholesterol and low good cholesterol. When your triglyceride levels are high, you have a greater risk for cardiovascular disease. Eating wild salmon several times per week will help to lower your triglyceride levels.
Prevent High Blood Pressure: Consuming more wild salmon will also help to lower your blood pressure. If you do not suffer from high blood pressure, the omega-3 fats in salmon will help to prevent an unhealthy rise in blood pressure in the future. Hypertension, or high blood pressure, can lead to heart attack, stroke or heart failure. You can minimize your risks of these diseases by eating wild salmon regularly.

Prevent/Reverse Type 2 Diabetes: The Omega-3s and quality lean protein in wild salmon helps to stabilize blood glucose levels, which is very beneficial to Type 2 diabetics.

Prevent/Reverse Heart Disease: As previously mentioned, studies show that salmon helps to lower triglycerides. In addition, wild salmon reduces plaque formation with the arteries and lowers cholesterol levels, all of which is beneficial to anyone with heart disease. The carotenoid in salmon is a particularly potent antioxidant known as astaxanthin, which has been shown to protect against cardiovascular disease, cancer, inflammation, eye diseases, general aging and many other conditions.

Note: Astaxanthin is produced by phytoplankton, tiny plants that use it to shield themselves from ultraviolet radiation. Shrimp, krill and other tiny crustaceans then eat the phytoplankton and accumulate astaxanthin in their bodies (which is what makes them pink), and then salmon eat them and store the astaxanthin in their skin and muscles. Sockeye, coho and king salmon have the deepest color orange whereas pink and chum salmon (most often canned) are the lightest. 
Protect Against Cancer: When your diet is rich in omega-3 fats, you run a lower risk for certain cancers. For example, consuming salmon and other cold water fish has been linked with a reduced risk of prostate cancer. Studies show that men who incorporate salmon into their diet one or more times each week are much less likely to develop prostate cancer than men who do not eat salmon.
Promote Eye Health: Studies show that increasing your intake of omega-3 essential fatty acids may decrease the risk of dry eye syndrome. Other studies show that diets that are high in omega-3 fatty acids protect against age-related macular degeneration (AMD). AMD affects over 30 million people globally and is the leading cause of vision loss in those over 50 years of age. Eating fish that is rich in omega-3 fatty acids a minimum of three times per week has been associated with a 75% reduction in AMD. Wild salmon is a great option for promoting eye health.
Prevent Excessive Weight Gain: Incorporating wild salmon into your diet will give you the protein you need without the high and unhealthy fat levels of red meat and chicken. Salmon is also an excellent source of niacin, vitamin B12, vitamin B6, selenium, phosphorus and magnesium. You may choose to add wild salmon to your diet to replace excessive eating of tuna, which can contain mercury.

Prevent Depression: Fish oil may help combat a number of serious psychiatric illnesses. According to researchers at an international conference sponsored by the National Institutes of Health there is evidence which suggests that higher consumption of essential fatty acids in fish, particularly omega-3, appear to be linked to a lower risk for depression and better treatment of manic depression and schizophrenia. "In a study of more than 1,000 people (average age 75), those with higher blood levels of an omega-3 called DHA were more than 40% less likely to develop dementia (including Alzheimer's) over the next nine years than people with low DHA levels. ...Experts advise eating a weekly serving of fish rich in omega-3's." (Information source: "Boost Your Brain Power With Omega-3's," by Holly McCord, R.D., "Prevention" (Nutrition News web site))

More Health Benefits
Based on hundreds of clinical studies, the Omega-3 fatty acids in wild salmon provide many health benefits, including:
  • Protect heart health
  • Reduce risk of sudden death from heart disease
  • Reduce risk of stroke
  • Reduce chance of heart disease in Type 2 Diabetes
  • Essential in infant brain and eye development during pregnancy and infancy
  • Improve blood lipid patterns
  • Improve blood vessel function
  • Improve symptoms of immune and inflammatory disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn's Disease, Ulcerative Colitis, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Psoriasis, Asthma and some skin conditions
  • Reduce the risk and severity of some psychological/mental disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease, Depression and Bipolar Disorder
  • May reduce the risk of certain cancers, particularly Breast Cancer
  • May help reduce the severity or development of Nephritis, Migraine, Alzheimer's Disease and Type 1 Diabetes
The Biology
The protective role of fish against heart disease, diabetes and cancer may be attributed to the type of oil found in certain species of cold-water fish, especially Alaska wild salmon. These fish oils, referred to as “Omega-3”, are polyunsaturated. Their chemical structure and metabolic function are quite different from the polyunsaturated oils found in vegetable oils, known as “Omega-6”.

The type of dietary fat (monounsaturated, saturated, or polyunsaturated) we consume alters the production of a group of biological compounds known as eicosanoids(prostaglandins, thromboxanes, and leukotrienes). These eicosanoids have biological influences on blood pressure, blood clotting, inflammation, immune function, and coronary spasms. In the case of Omega-3 oils, a series of eicosanoids are produced, which may result in a decreased risk of heart disease, inflammatory processes, and certain cancers.

Omega-3 oils also exert additional protective effects against coronary heart disease by:
  • decreasing blood lipids (cholesterol, low-density lipoproteins or LDL, and triglycerides)
  • decreasing blood clotting factors in the vascular system
  • increasing relaxation in larger arteries and other blood vessels
  • decreasing inflammatory processes in blood vessels
Findings from Clinical Studies
Additional studies have provided exciting news about the benefits of Omega-3 oils for individuals with arthritis, psoriasis, ulcerative colitis, lupus erythematosus, asthma, and certain cancers. Research studies have consistently shown that Omega-3 fatty acids delay tumor appearance, and decrease the growth, size, and number of tumors.

A recent study at the University of Washington has confirmed that eating a modest amount of salmon (one salmon meal per week) can reduce the risk of primary cardiac arrest. Cardiac arrest claims the lives of 250,000 Americans each year. Fresh, fresh-frozen, or canned Alaska sockeye salmon provides the highest amount of Omega-3 fatty acids of any fish — 2.7 grams per 100 gram portion.

Other studies, such as the Zupthen Study, a 20-year investigation of a Dutch population, confirmed similar benefits. The risk of coronary heart disease decreased (as much as 2.5 times) with increasing fish consumption. This suggests that moderate amounts (one to two servings per week) of fish are of value in the prevention of coronary heart disease, when compared with no fish intake.

The type of dietary fat we consume is very important. It has been well documented that saturated fat can increase the risk of heart disease. The amount of saturated fat in both high-oil fish and lean fish is minimal. Fish, and other seafood, also offers lean, high-quality protein, as well as many other important vitamins and minerals.

Vitamin E:

  • Powerful antioxidant
  • Lowers the risk of heart disease
  • Prevents the oxidation of low-density lipoproteins
  • Reduces the buildup of plaque in coronary arteries
Salmon is also a good source of Vitamin E, a powerful antioxidant. Antioxidants, which also include Vitamin C and beta carotene, act at the molecular level to deactivate free radicals. Free radicals can damage basic genetic material, and cell walls and structures, to eventually lead to cancer and heart disease. Vitamin E lowers the risk of heart disease by preventing the oxidation of low-density lipoproteins (LDLs), thus reducing the buildup of plaque in coronary arteries. Other research has found that Vitamin E plays a protective role against cancer and the formation of cataracts, and may possibly boost the immune system in the elderly.

Cooking and Preparation Tips

You can eat wild salmon in a variety of ways. It is delicious on top of a salad with your favorite low-fat salad dressing. It can be made into a salmon burger or eaten with a side of rice and vegetables.

One of the biggest mistakes that people make when cooking wild salmon is that they overcook the salmon! This dries out the salmon and destroys some of the Omega-3 benefits. Instead bake the salmon in aluminum foil and add 1 tsp. extra virgin olive oil on top -- this will prevent the salmon from drying out, providing a very succulent and scrumptious flavor.

If you really don't like the taste of salmon, place a ½ pat of organic butter on top of the salmon after cooking -- you'll just love the buttery flavor!

Another option is to place a thin slice of cheese or a ½ handful of mozzarella cheese on top of the salmon after baking -- you'll love it!

Canned wild salmon (like sardines and tuna) can be eaten right out of the can -- there is no need to cook it. You can also add it to your salad for some additional protein.

What Salmon to Buy and Where
Wild Alaskan salmon, which spend most of their lives in open oceans, generally have very low levels of toxins. Coastal and farmed salmon, depending on the fish and meal they are fed, may have higher levels. The Environmental Defense Fund lists farmed Atlantic salmon as an “Eco-Worst” choice and recommends people eat no more than two servings a month due to high PCB levels.

Two of the best websites that sell wild salmon are:
http://www.vitalchoice.com/
http://www.seabear.com/

Thawing Tips
You can cook your salmon frozen , but we suggest that  you thaw it overnight in the refrigerator. Place the wrapped package on a plate and allow 8-10 hours (extremely large cuts may take a bit longer). Try not to speed up the process of thawing seafood by defrosting it in the microwave or thawing it under warm water. Doing this causes the salmon to lose flavor and texture.

Grilling Tips

Preparing the Grill:

  • Fish cooks best over a medium-hot fire.
  • Make sure the grill is hot before you start cooking.
  • Liberally brush oil on the grill just prior to cooking.

Grilling Salmon:

  • Cut large steaks or fillets into meal-size portions before grilling.
  • Oil fish lightly just before cooking.
  • Grill salmon with skin side down on parchment paper or foil. No need to flip!
  • Cook fish approximately 10 minutes per inch of thickness.
  • Seafood continues to cook after it’s removed from the heat so take it off the heat just as soon as it starts to flake.
  • Slide a sharp knife tip into the center of the thickest part of a cooking salmon portion, checking for color (Our favorite is when the flesh is still red/rare on the inside). We have found that overcooking is one of the biggest mistakes our customers make when preparing salmon. This is quality salmon, no need to dry it out!

Plank Grilling Tips:

Planking is a traditional Northwest-style of cooking using aromatic pieces of wood. It’s a great way to add subtle flavors to your wild Alaska Seafood. Many stores sell pre-cut planks now, but it’s just as easy to make your own.
  • The best wood choices for planking are Cedar, Alder and Oak.
  • Pre-soak the plank in water for 30 minutes – two hours.
  • Pat planks dry with paper towels and spray-coat or lightly oil one side of the plank.
  • Season salmon lightly with an herb blend or just salt and pepper. Go easy, as you don’t want to overpower the flavor you will get from the plank.
  • Preheat the grill to medium-high.
  • Place the planked salmon on the grill over indirect heat and close the lid.
  • Turn the heat down to medium.
  • Check salmon frequently after 10 minutes.
  • Salmon will continue to cook after it is removed from the heat. (See grilling tips to know how to tell when salmon is finished)
  • Serving: the plank provides a beautiful, organic-looking platter for serving.

Baking Tips

  • Rinse and pat fillets dry.
  • Spread thin coat of olive oil over salmon.
  • Coat bottom of pan with olive oil.
  • Sprinkle seasonings over fish.
  • Bake in 375°F oven for 10-12 minutes or until fish begins to flake.

Broiling Tips

  • Preheat the broiler to Med/High.
  • Rinse and pat fillets dry.
  • Place parchment paper inside a shallow, nonmetal dish. Put salmon fillets on top of parchment, skin side down.
  • Top with olive oil and seasoning of your choice.
  • Broil the fish 4 to 6 inches from the heating element for 5 to 6 minutes or until the fish is done. (No need to turn.)

Poaching Tips

  • Place poaching liquid in saucepan.
  • Bring to boil and reduce to simmer.
  • Place salmon in liquid and poach for 8 to 10 minutes, depending on thickness (8 minutes per inch thick).