Wednesday, August 31, 2011


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

When black beans are prepared with whole grains such as barley or brown rice, the black beans provide a virtually fat-free, high quality source of protein. Recent research also shows that black beans are rich in antioxidants as well. Antioxidants destroy free radicals, and when eaten regularly, have been shown to offer protection against heart disease, cancer and aging.

Black beans have more antioxidant activity, gram for gram, than other beans, followed by red, brown, yellow and white beans. In general, darker colored coats were associated with higher levels of flavonoids, and therefore, higher antioxidant activity.

Recent studies show that one class of compounds in particular, anthocyanins, were the most active antioxidants in the beans. They discovered that the levels of anthocyanins per 100 gram serving of black beans was about 10 times the amount of overall antioxidants in an equivalent serving size of oranges and similar to the amount found in grapes, apples and cranberries.

Monday, August 29, 2011


Avocados are enjoyed around the world by people from all walks of life. Research published in the January 2005 issue of the Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry indicate that nutrients in avocados can work together to inhibit the growth of prostate cancer cells.

The analysis was conducted at UCLA where researchers discovered that avocados are the richest source of lutein among commonly eaten fruits. Lutein is a carotenoid that acts as an antioxidant and has been linked to a reduced risk of prostate cancer in previous studies.

According to Dr. David Heber, the study focused on inhibition of human prostate cancer cell growth when exposed to an extract of whole avocado fruit versus treatment with pure lutein. Cancer cell growth was inhibited up to 60% when exposed to the whole fruit but no improvement was seen when exposed to pure lutein.

Dr.Heber commented, “What’s really exciting about this study is that the results indicate that the cartenoids, vitamins and diverse compounds in avocados have a synergistic effect against prostate cancer compared to pure lutein alone.”

The moral of this story seems to be that whole foods, in their original whole form, offer the best nutrition possible for the human body.

Friday, August 26, 2011


Middle school students who perform more vigorous physical activity than their more sedentary peers tend to do better in school according to a new study done by researchers from Michigan State University. The research is published in the August issue of Medicine & Science in Sports and Exercise, the official journal of the American College of Sports Medicine.

For one academic year two hundred Sixth graders were tracked for six months doing PE classes, which did not raise their academic scores, and six months doing more vigorous exercise like swimming, football and soccer. During the time doing these exercises their scores improved by 10%. The students who performed better academically in this study were the most active, meaning those who participated in a sport or other vigorous activity at least three times a week.

The difference between vigorous activity and moderate activity is heart rate. Moderate activities, such as walking or raking leaves, don’t get the heart rate up or make the person breathe harder. Vigorous activities, such as running or swimming for exercise, increase heart rate, causing the exerciser to breathe harder and increasing oxygen to the brain.

The take away message for all of us is: exercise hard enough to cause deep breathing to get oxygen flowing better to the brain. This helps academically and in other ways to keep us healthy!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011


According to a new report published in Diabetes Care, a journal published by the American Diabetes Association, people who ate a low fat vegan diet, cutting out all meat and dairy, lowered their blood sugar more and lost more weight than people on a standard American Diabetes Association diet.

Participants say the vegan diet was easier to follow than most because they did not measure portions or count calories. Dr. Neal Barnard, president of the Physician’s Committee for Responsible Medicine, which helped conduct the study said, “I hope this study will rekindle interest in using diet changes first, rather than prescription drugs.” After 22 weeks on the diet, 43 percent of those on the vegan diet and 26 percent of those on the standard diet were either able to stop taking some of their drugs such as insulin or glucose-control medications, or were able to lower the doses. In other words, food really can be your medicine.

The vegan dieters lost 14 pounds on average while the diabetes association dieters lost 6.8 pounds. An important level of glucose control called A1c fell by 1.23 points in the vegan group and by 0.38 in the group on the standard diet. A1c gives a measure of how well-controlled blood sugar has been over the preceding three months.

Small changes made now can make a big difference later, when it comes to educating your children and teaching them to steer clear of type-2 diabetes. If healthy foods are always handy, then it’s easy for you and your kids to make healthy choices.

Monday, August 22, 2011


Pecans have it all. Besides being one of the most elegant, versatile and rich-tasting nuts you can put on your plate, they offer up a package of health benefits that’s very impressive. The 2005 Dietary Guidelines from the US Department of Agriculture recommend eating 4 - 5 servings of nuts per week.

A Mayo Clinic study has shown that all nuts are nutrient dense and naturally cholesterol free. Other studies have shown that not only are nuts cholesterol free but eating pecans may help reduce LDL cholesterol levels, which leads to a reduction in risk of heart attacks and coronary artery disease. The serving size for nuts is about one ounce or about 15 pecan halves. One serving of pecans can take the place of the protein found in one ounce of meat.

Pecans are also a rich source of oleic acid, the same type of fatty acid found in olive oil. Laboratory tests have found that oleic acid has the ability to suppress the activity of a gene in cells thought to trigger breast cancer.

The same natural compound that gives pecans its cholesterol lowering power, has also shown to be effective in treating the symptoms of benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), an enlargement of the prostate gland. About two ounces of pecans provides a dose of beta-sitosterol found to be effective. Also a number of studies have found that as nut consumption increases, body fat decreases.

So, Eat more nuts! Eat more pecans, walnuts & hazelnuts.

Friday, August 19, 2011


Recent USDA studies show that blueberries are a tasty way to eat right and stay healthy. Scientists at the Jean Mayer Human Nutrition Research Center at Tufts University ranked blueberries # 1 in antioxidant activity compared with 40 other commercially available fruits and vegetables.

Dr. James Joseph, chief researcher at Tufts, is working with blueberries to examine their potential to help improve motor skills and reverse the short-term memory loss that comes with aging.

“The blueberry has emerged as a very powerful food in the aging battle,” said Dr. Joseph. “Given the possibility that blueberries may reverse short-term memory loss and forestall other effects of aging, their potential may be very great.”

According to the research findings at the Rutgers Blueberry Cranberry Research Center, blueberries help promote urinary tract health. According to Dr. Amy Howell, blueberries like cranberries, contain compounds that prevent the bacterial responsible for urinary tract infections from attaching to the bladder wall.

Eat a handful 2 or 3 times a week and see your energy level go up and good health begin!