Food & Nutrition

On Juicing…

juicing

On Juicing

Overview

A common question I get asked daily is on the value of juicing.  I tell you, if you want to get a nice, constant and non-stimulant burst of energy, there is nothing like a nice squeezed fresh veggie juice. Try it and you will see what I am talking about.

The Downside of Juicing:

  1. It’s an acquired taste ( so is diet soda’s and lots of people drink diet soda – which is sooo nasty.) It’s worth getting used to.
  2. Can be a pain in the behind to clean the machine when made at home
  3. Can be expensive (anywhere between $7 to $9 of a 16-ounces juice)

The upside? Read on….

Why juice?

Juicing is a cornerstone treatment in many natural cancer therapies. Juicing provides cells with live enzymes and oxygen rich fresh food. It provides concentrated enzymes and nutrients that help detoxify the body and allow it to heal sufficiently to get rid of stored toxins.

  1. Rapid absorption. Juicing helps you absorb a large amount of nutrients and plant chemicals nearly instantaneously since the fiber is left behind in the pulp. Wait a minute, isn’t fiber important? Yes it is, however, the purpose of juicing is to get rapid aborptions of nutrients and therapeutic plant chemicals to flood your cells. You can ( should and will) get plenty of fiber from the consumption of whole fruits, vegetables and grains.
  2. Efficient consumption of vegetables. With one glass of vegetable juice you probably consume more vegetables than most people do in one week.
  3. It may help fight and prevent cancer. There seems to be hundreds of protective phytochemicals (plant chemicals) in all plants. Proanthocyanidins and caritnoids are just some of them. For example; broccoli contains indole -3 – carbinol that seems to have protective properties against prostate cancer. That is just one out of over one hundred protective chemical discovered and studied. Why wait for all phytochemicals to be discovered? Juice up and protect yourself.
  4. Gives you energy. Juicing is better than coffee or over the counter energy products for long-term sustained energy. Plus it helps you with the first 3 points of this list unlike energy products, which have detrimental effects.

Juicing is not all you need

Juicing has very no essential fat, no protein and no fiber. Unless you are doing a juice fast, you still need to eat wholesome meals. You can drink a fresh squeezed juice either before or after a meal.

Start slow

If what your juicing is too concentrated (like wheat grass , for example) it can be nauseating. You should feel good and experience more energy within a short-time.

Use Organic whenever possible. Farmer’s market produce is also good. Make sure to wash well. If organic and farmer’s market produce is not available use produce that are LEAST contaminated with pesticides.

If you cannot buy all your juicing vegetables and fruits organically – these are a must to buy organically: apples, celery, sweet bell peppers, peaches, strawberries, nectarines (imported), grapes, spinach, lettuce, cucumbers, blue blueberries, potatoes ( not for juicing either way) – In other words, AVOID for juicing unless they are organic or not from famer’s market.

NOTE: produce from farmer’s market is typically organically cultivated but they do not announce it because there’s a hefty price for the organic stamp from the USDA. They simply often do not want to pay the extra cost.

Juicing for starters

To enjoy juicing start with vegetables that are more pleasant tasting: Celery, cucumbers, carrots (not more that one or two sticks at time), apples ( not more than one apple) – all organic.

After you get used to juicing add: Red leaf lettuce, Green Leaf lettuce, Romaine lettuce, Endive, Escarole, Spinach, parsley, bok choy, cilantro.

Bitter vegetables to juice: Kale , Collard Greens , Dandelion Greens ,  Mustard Greens (probably the most bitter). Just two or three sticks should be enough

To make it appetizing: add lemon, lime half an apple and a small piece of fresh ginger (gives it a kick).

Do not store your juice for more than 24 hours. Instructions on storing fresh squeezed juices:

  • Put your juice in a glass jar with an airtight lid and fill it to the very top. Mason jars work just great. There should be a minimum amount of air in the jar as the oxygen will “oxidize” and damage the juice.
  • Immediately store it in the refrigerator and consume it through out the day. It is best to drink it as soon as possible or within 24 hours of juicing.

Making the juice vs. buying by the juice made

Either way is fine. Finding a reliable health food store that makes fresh, organic juices can be challenging in some places. If doing it yourself there are three main concerns: Buying a reliable juicer that is durable and juices well. 2. Finding one that is easy to clean. 3. One this is affordable. Good juicers run between $200 to $1000. I find the best ones to be around $300 or so.

If a juicer is a pain in the (beeeep) to clean – you’re likely not doing it.

I have two favorite juicers:  Omega J8005 Nutrition Center Single-Gear Commercial Masticating Juicer or the Breville 800JEXL Juice Fountain Elite 1000-Watt Juice Extractor ( like this one slightly more)

I like these juicer’s for a few reason’s:

  1. It makes juice at low temperature which helps retains enzymes and nutrients

  2. It’s relatively easy to clean

  3. It’s relatively inexpensive for the quality

 

 

Your Parents Were Right All Along: Why You Really Should Eat Your Broccoli

Boy-eating-broccoli

Your Parents Were Right All Along: Why You Really Should Eat Your Broccoli

The Takeaway First

In 2010 researchers discovered that sulforaphane, a chemical found in broccoli, reduces the risk of prostate cancer. The latest research adds that this broccoli-derived compound actively kills cancer stem cells. This and other research shows us that the powers of leafy, green vegetables extend further than we think.

The Details

According to a leafy greens review (Royston & Tollefsbol, 2015) published a few months ago in the journal Current Pharmacology Reports, broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables have incredible powers as preventive medicine. Diets high in these vegetables significantly decrease the risk of death from cancer and the risk of developing cancer at all.

This same article explains that eating broccoli is one easy way to create cancer-fighting chemicals in the body. Broccoli turns into glucosinolates, which turn into the sulforaphane. Sulforaphane attacks cancer stem cells and stunts them before they can even begin to metastasize.

On top of all this, eating leafy greens in the same family as broccoli has been found to reduce inflammation (Royston & Tollefsbol, 2015).

The authors of another recent article on sulforaphane (Labsch et al., 2014) recommend a high-sulforaphane diet for cancer-prevention and cancer-suppression.

Related to all this, a brand-new Korean study (Hwang & Lim, 2015) found that broccoli stems and leaves actually have a lot more sulforaphane than the florets (the tiny green buds that bloom from the stalk).

My Take On This

Remember when you were a kid, and the only thing left on your plate after dinner was a dark-green pile of stalky vegetables? If you still avoid these greens, now is the time to stop. Broccoli is one of those powerful, natural preventive medicines that I have come to love in my years of practice. I think of it alongside turmeric, pomegranate, and green tea as a major component to maintaining a cancer-unfriendly body.

And that is why I recommend eating broccoli and all cruciferous vegetables.

These are not exactly groundbreaking studies, but they do confirm the findings of a growing body of research that is uncovering the huge benefits of eating cruciferous vegetables—especially for men like you. In my last post on this topic, I mentioned a study where eating cruciferous vegetables decreased men’s risk of prostate cancer by 32% (Steinbrecher et al. 2009). Even after diagnosis, cruciferous vegetables knocked down another group of men’s risk of prostate cancer progression by 59% (Richman et al., 2011). These are not small numbers!

What You Should Do

OK, so chances are your parents did not know that broccoli had such an ability to decrease your risk of cancer, let alone prostate cancer, and I’m 99.9% sure they didn’t know that broccoli directly targets cancer stem cells by flooding your body with sulforaphane—but you have to admit: they were right.

I know you know what to do, but I’ll say it anyway: eat broccoli. Don’t just eat the thinner stalks and the florets; eat the big, chunky stems and the leaves, too. My juicer friends sometimes tell me they add kale and broccoli leaves to their morning smoothies. Make sure to steam them well, however. Raw broccoli contains chemicals called goitrogens which can cause thyroid problems down the road. Also, broccoli is tough to digest when raw. Skip the raw broccoli from the veggie platter at the next party. The carrots are fine to eat raw—and easy on the creamy dip! (I digress.) Personally, I prefer colorful fruits in my smoothies (pomegranate is powerful and delicious) mixed with leafy greens. I do not like broccoli in my smoothie, but you might. Supplements made out of broccoli extract also seem to help – I recommend them often. For your health and your gustatory pleasure (trust me, it’s a word): try one of my favorite recipes:

Creamy Cruciferous Soup by Marti Wolfson – Culinary Nutrition Educator
  • This luscious emerald soup is surprisingly rich sans the cream which many pureed soups contain. I especially love to make this soup transitioning from winter to spring. The liver reaps great benefit from the broccoli, cabbage and as well as aliums such as onions and garlic. You can swap your favorite greens like spinach, kale or dandelion greens or herbs like parsley, thyme, and rosemary.

    Serves 8

    Ingredients:

    • 1 T. olive oil
    • 1 medium onion, diced
    • 1 tsp. ginger, minced
    • 2 cloves garlic, minced
    • 4 celery stalks, chopped
    • 3 cups chopped broccoli, florets and stems
    • 1 head, fennel, chopped
    • 2 cups chopped savoy or napa cabbage
    • 6 cups water or stock
    • 1 tsp. sea salt
    • 1/8 tsp. ground black pepper

     

    Procedure:

    Heat the oil in a large pot on medium high heat. Add the onion and cook until the onions are translucent. Next, add the ginger, garlic, celery, broccoli, fennel, cabbage and a generous pinch of sea salt and continue to cook another 2 minutes. Add the water or stock, remaining sea salt and pepper.

    Bring to a boil, cover and reduce the heat, simmering for 20 minutes. Place the soup in a blender and blend until smooth and creamy. Taste for salt.

     

References

Hwang, J.-H., & Lim, S.-B. (2015). Antioxidant and Anticancer Activities of Broccoli By-Products from Different Cultivars and Maturity Stages at Harvest. Preventive Nutrition and Food Science, 20(1), 8–14. doi:10.3746/pnf.2015.20.1.8

Labsch, S., Liu, L. I., Bauer, N., Zhang, Y., Aleksandrowicz, E. W. A., Gladkich, J., . . . Herr, I. (2014). Sulforaphane and TRAIL induce a synergistic elimination of advanced prostate cancer stem-like cells. International Journal of Oncology, 44(5), 1470-1480. doi: 10.3892/ijo.2014.2335

Richman EL, Carroll PR, Chan JM.Vegetable and fruit intake after diagnosis and risk of prostate cancer progression. Int J Cancer. 2011 Aug 5.

Royston, K. J., & Tollefsbol, T. O. (2015). The Epigenetic Impact of Cruciferous Vegetables on Cancer Prevention. Curr Pharmacol Rep, 1(1), 46-51. doi: 10.1007/s40495-014-0003-9

Steinbrecher A, Nimptsch K, Husing A, Rohrmann S, Linseisen J. Dietary glucosinolate intake and risk of prostate cancer in the EPIC-Heidelberg cohort study. Int J Cancer 2009; 125: 2179–86.

Pomegranate: the Superfruit!

pomegranates

Pomegranate: the Superfruit!

The Takeaway First

Remember years ago when I was raving about pomegranates? I’m still raving, and it’s because scientists are finding out more and more about the power of pomegranate juice and extract to boost male health. The latest findings, which I list below, confirm that pomegranate extract induces cancer cell death, blocks free radicals, and counters inflammation. For these and other reasons, pomegranate is a genuine superfruitso put it on your shopping list!

The Details of Studies

The latest study (Lucci et al., 2015) on pomegranate and prostate cancer, published this past January in the journal Food Chemistry, found that pomegranate extract had a strong ability to block the growth of new cancer cells—also known as an antiproliferative property. This study also confirmed that pomegranate contained powerful antioxidants and healthy fats.

Another study (Ammar et al., 2015) published around the same time in the journal Prostate looked at how pomegranate extract affected prostate enlargement in rats. Compared to controls, the prostates of rats that received pomegranate extract shrunk by a whopping 30 percent. OK, we are talking about rats here, but still.

My Take on Pomegranates

It’s very interesting living in the 21st century because of the way traditional medicine and modern science are colliding. Pomegranates have been used in Indian Ayurveda traditional medicine for thousands of years, and now scientists are taking these traditions into the lab to examine their specific effects, and the specific mechanisms by which they do what they do.

The body is a complicated machine, so I don’t mean to claim that pomegranate juice or extract, by itself, is going to cure you of any disease without incorporating other key nutrients and lifestyle practices. Foods are just about as complicated as we are, and frankly, we only know a tiny bit about the numerous chemicals that give pomegranates their effect. However, the latest findings provide a pretty good reason to give pomegranates a place in our dietary lifestyle. Besides their antiproliferative and antioxidant properties, pomegranates can be an aid in weight management and can also help to manage diabetes. They contain good fiber and plenty of nutrients, too. Because of pomegranates’ high anti-oxidant content, scholars have suggested that it could aid in circulation and cardiovascular health (Zhang et al., 2011). Oh and yes, pomegranate can improve blood flow down below and possibly improve erectile function. (I’m waiting eagerly for more research on this!)

What You Should Do

There are plenty of ways to enjoy the benefits of pomegranates. My personal recommendation is to eat pomegranate seeds whole ( in a salad or something) or blend them together in a refreshing smoothie. After all, whole foods work synergistically; this means that you’ll get a lot more from eating the fruit as it appears on the tree than, say, from ingesting a few ingredients isolated in a lab. If it’s hard to get the whole fruit where you live, then by all means take a dietary supplement. I do. We can see from the latest research that even pomegranate “extract” has powerful effects.

Reference:

Ammar, A. E., Esmat, A., Hassona, M. D., Tadros, M. G., Abdel-Naim, A. B., & Guns, E. S. (2015). The effect of pomegranate fruit extract on testosterone-induced BPH in rats. Prostate, 75(7), 679-692. doi: 10.1002/pros.22951

Lucci, P., Pacetti, D., Loizzo, M. R., & Frega, N. G. (2015). Punica granatum cv. Dente di Cavallo seed ethanolic extract: antioxidant and antiproliferative activities. Food Chem, 167, 475-483. doi: 10.1016/j.foodchem.2014.06.123

Zhang, Q., Radisavljevic, Z. M., Siroky, M. B., & Azadzoi, K. M. (2011). Dietary antioxidants improve arteriogenic erectile dysfunction. International Journal of Andrology, 34(3), 225-235. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2605.2010.01083.x

More Than a Pick-Me-Up: the Dramatic Health Benefits of your Daily Coffee

coffeeinthemountains

More Than a Pick-Me-Up: the Dramatic Health Benefits of your Daily Coffee

The Takeaway First

About 50% of Americans drink coffee every day, but far fewer Americans know that regular coffee drinking has substantial health benefits. According to several studies published over the past two years, coffee has an effect on your heart, your brain, your bones, and your risks of diseases over the lifetime. Despite the benefits, the potential drawbacks from coffee’s caffeine content are worth considering. Know thyself, as they say, and drink carefully.

Details

A German study (Bakuradze et al., 2014) found that four weeks of regular coffee consumption increased feelings of satiety after eating. This and the subjects’ loss of body fat suggests that coffee might help with weight loss or chronic overeating.

The same study found that drinking coffee tended to protect DNA from harmful mutations that could lead to cancer (Bakuradze et al, 2014). And an updated study supports the notion of coffee protecting DNA integrity. (Bakuradze et al, 2015).

A broad review article found that regular coffee consumption reduced the risk of diabetes mellitus, hypertension, obesity, and depression (O’Keefe et al., 2013). The same article reports that coffee either has no effect or a positive effect on cardiovascular health.

O’Keefe et al. (2013) also found that coffee reduced the risk of neurodegenerative disease.

A Brazilian study found that drinking coffee in very low doses reduced hepatic fibrosis in adults with Hepatitis C (Machado et al., 2013).

In one meta-analysis (analysis of many studies already published), regular coffee consumption decreased the risk of fractures by almost 25% in men (Lee et al., 2014).

A study of Spanish adults found that regular coffee consumption had no significant adverse effects on health-related quality of life (Lopez-Garcia et al., 2013).

An older study found that regular coffee consumption had no effect on long term risk of coronary heart disease specifically (Wu et al., 2009).

My Take on Coffee and Health

Coffee, like most naturally occurring mixtures, is not just water, caffeine, and coffee molecules. Well, in some sense it is, but “coffee molecules” consist of countless and diverse chemicals, from methylxanthines to diterpine alcohols to chlorogenic acids to antioxidants, all of which combine to give coffee its complex effect. The effect we all know is the mental effect of increased alertness and decreased feelings of sleepiness.

Besides this effect are numerous side-effects, though. Side-effects are not necessarily bad, as we can 

see from the scientific findings that I noted above. Living longer with less disease is nothing to complain about. However, I want to remind you that every food, coffee included, has complex and far-reaching consequences for the body and for the rest of the lifestyle. Drinking coffee, for instance, might wake you up in the morning, but it can also keep you from sleeping at night. A poor sleep schedule leads to more fatigue, and more fatigue makes that second (or third, or fourth) cup of coffee smell awfully delicious, and pretty soon you’re a wreck every morning unless you drink five cups of coffee. This is not only excessive but expensive, depending on your source.

People who drink coffee daily need to know their limits. Too often in New York I see people more high-strung and stressed out than I ever thought possible, and then I see a quivering cup of coffee in their hand and think, “Hm.” Coffee affects your entire body, but most importantly it affects your brain. And by this point in your life you have come to terms with the fact that you’re not invincible. All this is to say, be aware of the benefits of coffee, but also remember that adding caffeine to your diet changes your wake-sleep patterns, your feelings of tiredness, and your appetite. You can live a happy, healthy life with or without coffee.

What You Should Do

I value your independent thinking, so I won’t give you a prescription for Starbucks. But I will say this: consider the place of coffee in your lifestyle. Nutritional science tells us that adding any substance to your diet has numerous effects on your body chemistry. Coffee contains caffeine, which tends to create a chemical dependency, so drink carefully. Know your own mind; avoid coffee if you’re prone to anxiety or panic attacks. Limit caffeine after noon to avoid insomnia. Also, counterbalance coffee consumption with a good amount of water. Caffeine is a diuretic, which means it will make you eliminate fluids more frequently. With so many benefits, it’s worth a shot.

References

Bakuradze, T., Parra, G. A. M., Riedel, A., Somoza, V., Lang, R., Dieminger, N., . . . Richling, E. (2014). Four-week coffee consumption affects energy intake, satiety regulation, body fat, and protects DNA integrity. Food Research International, 63, Part C(0), 420-427. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.foodres.2014.05.032

Lee, D. R., Lee, J., Rota, M., Lee, J., Ahn, H. S., Park, S. M., & Shin, D. (2014). Coffee consumption and risk of fractures: A systematic review and dose–response meta-analysis. Bone, 63(0), 20-28. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.bone.2014.02.007

Lopez-Garcia, E., Guallar-Castillon, P., Leon-Muñoz, L., Graciani, A., & Rodriguez-Artalejo, F. (2014). Coffee consumption and health-related quality of life. Clinical Nutrition, 33(1), 143-149. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.clnu.2013.04.004

Machado, S. R., Parise, E. R., & de Carvalho, L. (2014). Coffee has hepatoprotective benefits in Brazilian patients with chronic hepatitis C even in lower daily consumption than in American and European populations. The Brazilian Journal of Infectious Diseases, 18(2), 170-176. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.bjid.2013.09.001

O’Keefe, J. H., Bhatti, S. K., Patil, H. R., DiNicolantonio, J. J., Lucan, S. C., & Lavie, C. J. (2013). Effects of Habitual Coffee Consumption on Cardiometabolic Disease, Cardiovascular Health, and All-Cause Mortality. Journal of the American College of Cardiology, 62(12), 1043-1051. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jacc.2013.06.035

Wu, J.-n., Ho, S. C., Zhou, C., Ling, W.-h., Chen, W.-q., Wang, C.-l., & Chen, Y.-m. (2009). Coffee consumption and risk of coronary heart diseases: A meta-analysis of 21 prospective cohort studies. International Journal of Cardiology, 137(3), 216-225. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ijcard.2008.06.051