Posts tagged broccoli

3 Secret Weapons Against Stress, Inflammation, and Insomnia by Shelli Stein

3 Secret Weapons Against Stress, Inflammation, and Insomnia by Shelli Stein

You probably already know that inflammation, stress, and lack of sleep aren’t good for you. You may not know, however, that these things have a huge impact on your cells.

More specifically, they all affect the length of your telomeres—which can actually affect the length of your life.

What are Telomeres?

In 2000, a young doctor asked molecular biologist Dr. Elizabeth Blackburn a rather simple question: Does length matter?

Dr. Blackburn’s research, which focused on the role that DNA tips—called telomeres—play in the ability to replicate, eventually earned her a Nobel Prize.

But no one had connected this process to stressful and important life events.

Today, though, the science is clear: Shorter telomeres are associated with dead and dying cells. Short telomeres also suggest a person is susceptible to age-related diseases and even early mortality.

So let’s take a look at what we can do to keep our telomeres LONG so we live a long and healthy life!

What Shortens Telomeres?

Taking care of our telomeres means first understanding what outside factors affect them. These factors are simpler than you might think.

But we should also understand a bit more about what they do.
Telomeres protect the useful, programmed parts of our DNA—which, in turn, affect when our cells divide, or make new cells.

Every time a cell divides, it must make a full copy of its DNA. To do this, the DNA unwinds into smaller, easier-to-copy units called chromosomes. However, when each chromosome is copied, the process cuts off some of the end pieces.

Think of telomeres as those plastic tips on shoelaces that prevent the laces from unraveling. With each cycle, a little bit of telomere DNA gets lost, but the important coding DNA is protected.

Cell division is a natural cause of telomere shortening that we can’t control. We can, however, manage some everyday stressors that shorten our telomeres faster than usual.

Which outside factors affect telomeres the most? Keeping clear of the top three stressors listed below will not only improve your telomere length, but also your overall health.

Top Three Stressors
Inflammation
Stress
Lack of sleep

1. Inflammation is triggered by your body’s defense system fighting off anything it believes is hurting you. This includes germs, chemicals, and radiation.
In a study funded by the National Institute of Health in 2010, chronic inflammation had a significant correlation with shortened telomere length. It was the first large-scale study to show evidence that telomere length can relate to increased amounts of inflammation.

In past articles, I have recommended fighting unwanted inflammation with a healthy diet. I think that’s the easiest and most direct approach to keep systemic inflammation in check.

2. That stress can wreak havoc on your body should come as no surprise. But did you know that psychological stress also boosts inflammation and can speed up the cell-division process?
In a large German study, people with post-traumatic stress disorder had telomeres that were much shorter than those without the disorder. Some studies have also been done on childhood trauma and indicate this sort of stress also shortens your telomeres. This backs up my belief that it is never too soon to start taking care of your stress levels.

3. Sleep is an often-overlooked factor in our overall health. Sleep can help alleviate stress by reducing the production of stress hormones. Sleep also relaxes your blood vessels, which helps your heart, and reduces inflammation.
Several scientists have studied telomere length in people who sleep for different lengths of time. In one recent study done by the University College of London and Cardiff Metropolitan University, telomeres appeared to be shorter in people getting less than five hours of sleep per night compared with those sleeping seven or more hours per night.

These studies do not show us, though, whether less sleep led to shorter telomeres or if shorter telomeres led to insomnia. What we do know is that poor-quality sleep can produce chemicals that lead to inflammation, which is one of the main culprits in shortening telomeres.

While there are many other stressors that shorten telomeres (more than we have room to discuss here), we also have three simple ways to protect and even lengthen your telomeres.

Top Three Protectors
Antioxidants
Exercise
Vitamin D

1. Antioxidants are a class of chemicals known for fighting cancer and other ailments. Antioxidants also help blood vessels expand and regulate the flow of blood. Vitamin C is one type of antioxidant. Other antioxidants include vitamin E, beta-carotene, and selenium.

Eating foods rich in antioxidants can help preserve your telomeres and improve your health in other ways as well. A 2008 study published in the International Journal of Cancer discovered that women with low antioxidant intake had shorter telomeres and an increased risk of breast cancer.

Getting plenty of antioxidants in your diet is simple. Some antioxidant-rich foods include chocolate (the darker, the better), blueberries, red wine, tomatoes, and broccoli. I’m sure you have some of your own favorite antioxidant-rich foods, as well.

2. The top recommendation on my annual list of ways to improve your health is movement. (See here.) Regular exercise reduces stress, releases endorphins, improves brain function, and improves cardiovascular health. And it turns out, exercise also lengthens telomeres!
Last year, scientists from the University of California, San Francisco tested the relationship between exercise (along with other lifestyle changes) and telomere length. Participants who walked at a moderate pace for 30 minutes a day for six days each week lengthened their telomeres about 10%. Participants also improved their diet, reduced stress, and increased social support.
Please notice that participants did not need overly strenuous exercise to improve their health. Even yoga and gardening can count toward your daily movement requirements.

3. The next telomere enhancer on my list might surprise you, or maybe not. The sunshine vitamin, vitamin D, is associated with telomere length. Vitamin D inhibits cell proliferation (how fast your cells grow and divide).

A 2007 study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found a positive association between high vitamin D concentrations and longer telomeres. Although the study shows a correlation and not a direct cause and effect, we know vitamin D reduces cell division in white blood cells (the cells used in most telomere studies), so it may have a direct role in preserving telomeres.

The best way to get vitamin D is from the sun. Do what I do and go for a walk every day to get natural sunlight. People who live in areas that don’t get much sun in the winter can become deficient in vitamin D. In those cases, dietary supplements may be necessary.

How Long Are My Telomeres?

Measuring telomeres is a complicated process. Companies like SpectraCell and Life Length will charge a few thousand dollars for the test and require about five milliliters of blood. That’s about one teaspoon.

Tests like these are still relatively new, so their precision and usefulness in diagnostics are still being evaluated. If you are interested in getting your telomeres checked, talk to your doctor or go online to read more.

Here’s the bottom line, though: Research on the importance of telomere length keeps increasing. The good news is we now have scientific evidence showing how we can preserve and lengthen our telomeres. Reduce your stress, get plenty of sleep, exercise, and eat plenty of antioxidant-rich foods like leafy green vegetables and berries.

Follow the suggestions I’ve outlined here, and you’ll find yourself on your way to improving the quality of your life by increasing the length of your telomeres.

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Sprouts – Nutrition Facts from Hippocrates Health Institute

Sprouts – Nutrition Facts – from Hippocrates Health Institute http://www.hippocratesinst.org

Take a look at the amazing sprout selection below, they also have many health benefits that make them even more tantalizing!

Medicinally and nutritionally, sprouts have a long history as a “health food. Sprouts are 10 to 30 times more nutritious than the best vegetables because they are baby plants in their prime. At this stage of their growth they have the greatest concentration of nutrients than at any other point in their life. Sprouts are highly digestible and release their nutrients easily due to their delicate cell walls and abundance of enzymes.

When you apply water to seeds they come to life. By the natural process of transmutation, the vitamin, mineral, enzyme, phytonutrient, and amino acid (protein) content of germinated (sprouted) foods skyrocket! This phenomenon is most pronounced during the first twelve days of growth. This makes sprouts a true “Super food.” They are also biogenic and alive. Biogenic foods are foods that create new life when planted. Sprouts are alive and this life-force energy is capable of transferring their life energy to your body.

Adzuki

Health Benefits:
• Energy
• Protein
• Lowers LDL cholesterol
• Regulates insulin
• Fights breast and colon cancer
Maturity Time:
• Three days

Broccoli

Health Benefits:
• Helps fight colon, prostate, rectum, esophagus, lung, bladder, and stomach cancer
• Effective for inflammations and hot swellings
• Effective for hangovers
Maturity Time:
• Seven days

Buckwheat

Health Benefits:
• Protein
• Lowers high blood pressure
• Blood sugar balancer
• Good for varicose veins
• Helps prevent osteoporosis
• Helps prevent anxiety, depression, brain fog, mental fatigue and generally make the brain sharper and clearer.
Maturity Time:
• Twelve days

Clover

Health Benefits:
• Blood builder
• Heart and cardiovascular health
• Strong bones
• Anti-cancer Anti-aging
Maturity Time:
• Seven days

Fenugreek

Health Benefits:
• Treats blood poisoning, failing eyesight, fevers, palpitations, liver and kidney troubles
• Treats anemia
• Blood sugar balancer
• Increases mother’s milk production
Maturity Time:
• Three days

Garbanzo

Health Benefits:
• Protein
• Energy
• Blood sugar balancer
• Lowers blood cholesterol
Maturity Time:
• Two days

Green Lentils

Health Benefits:
• Energy
• Protein
• Lowers LDL cholesterol
• Regulates insulin
• Fights breast and colon cancer

Maturity Time:
• Three days

Mung Beans

Health Benefits:
• Energy
• Helps prevent prostate problems.
• Helps prevent glandular dysfunction and breast cancer
• Treats premature balding
Maturity Time:
• Three days

Pea Shoots

Health Benefits:
• Protein
• Muscle
• Strengthens teeth
• Boosts the immune system
Maturity Time:
• Seven days

Radish

Health Benefits:
• Cleans the blood
• As an excellent expectorant treats whooping cough
• Facilitates digestion
Maturity Time:
• Seven days

Red Lentils

Health Benefits:
• Energy
• Protein
• Lowers LDL cholesterol
• Regulates insulin
• Fights breast and colon cancer

Maturity Time:
• Three days

Sunflower

Health Benefits:
• Excellent source of balanced amino acids for building protein
• Activates every cell in the immune system
• Builds skeletal, muscular and neurological systems

Maturity Time:
• Twelve days

Wheatgrass

Health Benefits:
• Blood builder
• Anti-cancer
• Detoxifier
• Boosts the immune system
Maturity Time:
• Seven days

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Raw Food Fanaticism – by Frederic Patenaude

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Raw Food Fanaticism – by Frederic Patenaude

I started experimenting with my diet back in 1996, and ever since I’ve been searching for the healthiest, yet most practical way to eat and live.

I first went on a very strict (and confused!) natural hygiene diet. From there I began making my way into raw foods and experimenting with various types of raw food diets.

After that I experimented with cooked foods again, then back to raw foods, and have since been fine-tuning my diet to find the ideal.

There was a time when I wouldn’t have touched a piece of bread with a 10-foot pole, but was perfectly fine with gorging myself with fancy raw recipes and avocados, just to make sure that I wouldn’t awaken my “cooked food cells” and stayed raw.

There was a time when I did everything in my power to eat the freshest, best organic raw foods there was, yet was not feeling the vitality or mental clarity I had before I was even a vegetarian.

There was a time when I binged on all sorts of cooked foods I had sworn never to eat again, out of the frustration that the raw diet was not working for me, and the shame I had for not having succeeded.

I now look back at these difficult days and realize that all of this turmoil was unnecessary. I worked things out using the empirical approach — that is to try everything out in order to come to my own conclusions. This is a time-wasting technique, but it did allow me to truly learn these things for myself.

In that process, I learned that:

The means is not the end. Being a raw-foodist for example, is not the point. We shouldn’t focus on that.

We have to keep in mind what we’re doing this for. In that search for the perfect diet, we’re doing this to be healthy and enjoy life more — not to achieve an “ideal.”
Willpower is not enough to maintain, we need knowledge too. You can have the willpower to climb 10,000 stairs, but why waste so much energy when there’s a lift that will take you to the top in no time? Using the lift is like utilizing proper knowledge.

My Introduction to Rawdom

In 1996, I was 20 years old and quite easily impressed by what appeared to be logical or scientific information.

The piece of advice that I came across when I first heard of the concept of raw eating seemed logical, but proved to be quite misleading to others and myself. It went something like this:

“Eating raw foods is the most natural way to eat. All that you have to do is follow your instincts and eat as much as you want, as long as you are eating fresh raw fruits and vegetables, nuts and seeds.”

Impressed by the simplicity of this system-less-system, I embarked on a journey that led me through deep nutritional imbalances.

But first, the advice worked. I packed my fridge with fruits and vegetables and was eating all day long. I didn’t know about recipes or durian. I ate lots of food and went through a quite intense period of detoxification.

I went through it and was feeling mostly good, even though I was still struggling with cravings. My will was as strong as could be and I was ready to be a raw-foodist for life and change the world along the way.

The next part of my journey took me to California, where I discovered raw food recipes, an exciting world where all my repressed cravings could express themselves again.

Pizza, chocolate cake, and pasta were back on the menu again. All raw of course.

I was eating lots of fat, lots of raw food recipes, and lots of fruit, and I was just not feeling right.

More Misleading Advice

Two new pieces of raw food lore would prove to be fatal for me. The first was, “Anything raw is better than anything cooked” and the second, “it’s probably detoxification.”

So I kept eating and eating and kept saying to myself: “well, it’s raw.” I kept feeling bad and kept saying to myself: “it’s probably detoxification.”

The Raw-Food Movement

Since then, the raw-food movement has been changing the way that it’s presented and many of the ideologies behind it.

Yet many raw food books are still filled with made-up facts, bogus science, anecdotal evidence that just isn’t relevant to everybody.

One person says that eating fruit will make you sick; the other one says that you should only eat fruit.

One says that eating oil is bad for you; the other one recommends that you should eat lots of oil.

Here are a few false statement made by raw-foodists I’d like to clear the air on once and for all.

“Cooked food is toxic.”

Statements like this are what tend to give the raw food movement a bad name.
Cooking food doesn’t immediately turn it into something toxic. If this were as true as some people say, no one would be alive!

It is true that certain methods of cooking, such as frying and barbecuing, create many carcinogenic substances in the process.

But claiming that all cooked food is toxic is just silly.

“Anything raw is better than anything cooked.”

Reality check: Many raw food meals prepared at most raw restaurants do not fall in the category of “healthy food.” Many of them contain unnecessarily high amounts of salt, oils, and spices.

The fact that a food is raw doesn’t make it necessarily healthy. There is more to a healthy diet plan than just eating raw, just as there is more to health than just eating.

“Fruit is bad for you.”

Most raw-foodists are living on such a high-fat diet (often more than 60-70% fat) that they can no longer handle fruit anymore. It has been proven that high-fat diets decrease insulin sensitivity (the effectiveness of insulin in carrying sugar to the cells), and thus raise blood sugar levels.

So those living on high fat a diet, that is most raw-foodists, will inevitably experience more blood sugar swings when they eat fruit.

Thus, the myth has spread now that fruit is not very healthy and that we should all aim at eliminating or reducing the quantity of fruit in our diet.
Fruit is definitely one of the healthiest (and most palatable!) raw foods you can eat.

So whenever you hear a bold statement that is the contrary of all common sense, such as “fruit is not a healthy food” — don’t take it for cash. Study the facts first and decide for yourself.

Raw Food Hype

The raw food diet has become more and more popular over the years. Celebrities are now jumping on board; raw food restaurants are popping up in most major cities, the media is talking about it, and articles have been published in many magazines and newspapers.

Raw-foodists usually rejoice when they see another article in the mainstream about the raw food diet, yet many of the time the message being conveyed to the masses really isn’t the healthiest one.

Many of these articles start by quoting raw-foodists (mostly out of the context) expressing statements such as “cooked food is poison” or “cooking kills your food,” then they go on to talk about all the movie and pop music stars who are supposedly into it, they mention raw gourmet cuisine and raw-restaurants, and then conclude the article with a few nutritionist bashing and scoffing at the whole theory.

There is more validity and merit to the raw food diet than just a passing phase for the media to take advantage of or for celebrities to temporarily hop on board with!

“Raw Food” Means Really Raw

Raw foods are fruits and vegetables in their natural state, not dehydrated for hours and turned into crackers, raw cookies, and cakes.

Prepared raw foods can still have a place in a healthy diet, but it really isn’t what the whole prospect of eating raw foods is really about.

A plate of steamed broccoli is closer to being a natural food than a raw cheeseburger or raw cake sold at a raw restaurant somewhere.

Eating raw is about filling our bodies with an abundance of natural vitamins, minerals, organic water, fiber, and all the nutrients needed to meet our needs, both for energy and maintenance. Time and time again, these needs are met the best with foods that are in their freshest, most natural form.

Beyond Fanaticism

If you are 100% raw and feel wonderful and someone comes along to tell you that what you are doing is killing you, I recommend you don’t waste any time discussing it. Just go along with your life and let them think what they will.

If you are eating 50% raw and feel great and some annoying raw-foodist comes along and just, “can’t believe that you don’t eat 100% raw” — just forget them too. You are here to eat and do what makes you feel your best, not rise to the expectations of others around you.

What are you doing this for anyway? Because you want to call yourself a raw-foodist or a vegan? Hopefully not!

Hopefully, you are eating and living the way you do because it’s what feels right to you and allows you to look and feel your very best.

Eating raw is not the end-all, it’s simply a means to get you where you want to go.

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