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4. What’s wrong with drinking milk? Is organic milk better? Is soymilk a
What about other dairy products?
Few foods in our culture are held in such high esteem as the mammary
secretions of cows. One dollar of every seven spent for food in the
United States goes for the purchase of milk and milk products. Each
person in the U.S. consumes, on the average, 375 pounds of dairy
products each year.
These items make up the second largest food expense,
ranking behind only the combined expenses for meat, fish, poultry, and
eggs. “There is no human requirement for milk from a cow,” says Suzanne Havala, R.D., author of the American Dietitic Association’s Position
Paper on Vegetarian Diets and several books on nutrition. “The use of
milk and its products in our country is strictly a cultural tradition,”
she notes. “There are millions of people around the world who never
consume cow’s milk and are none the worse for it.” Those who avoid dairy
products may seem to be choosing an unusual diet by Western standards,
but are actually choosing a typical diet by world standards. The belief
that milk is essential in the diet is clearly incorrect.
Milk is a causative factor in most health problems plaguing Americans
consuming the Basic American Diet. The drinking of cow milk has been
linked to iron-deficiency anemia in infants and children; it has been
named as the cause of multiple forms of allergies and plays a central
role in the origins of atherosclerosis and heart attacks. Cow milk is
linked with recurrent ear infections and bronchitis, leukemia, multiple
sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, and simple dental decay. Milk is a
carrier of radioactive substances. Dairy products are major contributors
of saturated fat and cholesterol to the diet. According to cardiologist
Dean Ornish, M.D., “Milk rates second only to beef as the largest source
of saturated fat in the American diet.” One glass of 2% milk has as much
saturated fat as three strips of bacon. Almost half the calories in
whole milk come from fat. Humans are the only mammalian species that
drinks milk after they’re weaned! Most animals are exclusively
breast-fed until they have tripled their birth weight, which in human
infants occurs around the age of one year. The earlier the human infant
is exposed to milk from another species, the more likely he is to show
signs of intolerance. In many other parts of the world, people regard
cow milk as unfit for consumption by adult human beings.
The preceding two paragraphs come to you complements of
where you will find comprehensive coverage of this topic and articles on
many more health topics.
mucous, saturated fat, and cholesterol, and diets high in fat and saturated
fat can increase the risk of allergies, several chronic diseases, including
cardiovascular disease. Other dairy products, such as cheese, yogurt,
butter, and ice cream, also contribute significant amounts of cholesterol
and fat to the diet. Even low-fat and fat-free milk and dairy products
carry health risks because of cholesterol. In addition, natural and
artificial hormones are present in all types of milk and dairy products,
regardless of fat.
may not contain the pesticides and antibiotics that non-organic milk
contains, but it is still loaded with fat and cholesterol. Organic cow’s
milk, which does not contain artificial hormones, does contain naturally
occurring hormones. The combination of nutrients found in both organic and
non-organic cow’s milk increases our own production of some types of
These hormones have been shown to increase the risk of some forms of
Health Concerns about Dairy Products
Many Americans, including some vegetarians,
still consume substantial amounts of dairy products—and government
policies still promote them—despite scientific evidence that questions
their health benefits and indicates their potential health risks.
We recommend vsiting
information on this topic.
main selling point is calcium, and milk-drinking is touted for building
strong bones in children and preventing osteoporosis in older persons.
However, clinical research shows that dairy products have little or no
benefit for bones. A 2005 review published in Pediatrics showed
that milk consumption does not improve bone integrity in children.
Similarly, the Harvard Nurses’ Health Study, which followed more than
72,000 women for 18 years, showed no protective effect of increased milk
consumption on fracture risk. While calcium is important for bone health,
studies show that increasing consumption beyond approximately 600 mg per
day—amounts that are easily achieved without dairy products or calcium
supplements—does not improve bone integrity.
In studies of
children and adults, exercise has been found to have a major effect on
decrease your risk of osteoporosis by reducing sodium and animal protein
intake in the diet, increasing intake of fruits and vegetables,
exercising, and ensuring adequate calcium intake from plant foods such as
kale, broccoli, and other leafy green vegetables and beans. You can also
use calcium-fortified products such as breakfast cereals and juices,
although these products provide more concentrated calcium than is
Fat Content and Cardiovascular Disease
products—including cheese, ice cream, milk, butter, and yogurt—contribute
significant amounts of cholesterol and saturated fat to the diet. Diets
high in fat and saturated fat can increase the risk of heart disease,
among other serious health problems. A low-fat vegetarian diet that
eliminates dairy products, in combination with exercise, smoking
cessation, and stress management, can not only prevent heart disease, but
may also reverse it. Non-fat dairy products are available; however, they
pose other health risks as noted below.
Case-control studies in diverse populations have shown a strong and
consistent association between serum IGF-I concentrations and prostate
cancer risk. One study showed that men who had the highest levels of IGF-I
had more than four times the risk of prostate cancer compared with those
who had the lowest levels. Other findings show that prostate cancer risk
was elevated with increased consumption of low-fat milk, suggesting that
too much dairy calcium could be a potential threat to prostate health.
may also be related to the consumption of dairy products. The milk sugar
lactose is broken down in the body into another sugar, galactose. Research
suggests that the dairy sugar galactose might be toxic to ovarian cells.
In a study conducted in Sweden, consumption of lactose and dairy products
was positively linked to ovarian cancer. A similar study, the Iowa Women’s
Health Study, found that women who consumed more than one glass of milk
per day had a 73 percent greater chance of ovarian cancer than women who
drank less than one glass per day.
breast cancers have been linked to consumption of dairy products,
presumably related to increases in a compound called insulin-like growth
factor IGF-I. IGF-I is found in cow’s milk and has been shown to
occur in increased levels in the blood of individuals consuming dairy
products on a regular basis.16 Other nutrients that increase
IGF-I are also found in cow’s milk.
intolerance is common among many populations, affecting approximately 95
percent of Asian Americans, 74 percent of Native Americans, 70 percent of
African Americans, 53 percent of Mexican Americans, and 15 percent of
Caucasians. Symptoms, which include gastrointestinal distress, diarrhea,
and flatulence, occur because these individuals do not have the enzyme
lactase that digests the milk sugar lactose. For those who can digest
lactose, its breakdown products are two simple sugars: glucose and
galactose. Nursing children have active enzymes that break down galactose.
As we age, many of us lose much of this capacity. Additionally, along with
unwanted symptoms, milk-drinkers also put themselves at risk for
development of other chronic diseases and ailments.
Individuals often drink milk in order to obtain vitamin D in their diet,
unaware that they can receive vitamin D through other sources. The natural
source of vitamin D is sunlight. Five to fifteen minutes of sun exposure
to the arms and legs or the hands, face, and arms can be enough to meet
the body’s requirements for vitamin D, depending on the individual’s skin
tone. Darker skin requires longer exposure to the sun in order to obtain
adequate levels of vitamin D. In colder climates during the winter months
the sun may not be able to provide adequate vitamin D. During this time
the diet must be able to provide vitamin D. Fortified cereals, grains,
bread, orange juice, and soy- or rice milk are healthful foods that
provide vitamin D. All common multiple vitamins also provide vitamin D.
contains contaminants that range from pesticides to drugs. Milk naturally
contains hormones and growth factors produced within a cow’s body. In
addition, synthetic hormones such as recombinant bovine growth hormone (rBGH)
are commonly used in dairy cows to increase the production of milk.
Because treated cows are producing quantities of milk nature never
intended, the end result can be mastitis, or inflammation of the mammary
glands. Treatment of this condition requires the use of antibiotics, and
antibiotic traces have occasionally been found in samples of milk and
other dairy products. Pesticides, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), and
dioxins are other examples of contaminants found in milk. These toxins do
not readily leave the body and can eventually build to harmful levels that
may affect the immune and reproductive systems. The central nervous system
can also be affected. Moreover, PCBs and dioxins have also been linked to
Milk Proteins and Diabetes
Insulin-dependent (type 1 or childhood-onset) diabetes is linked to
consumption of dairy products. A 2001 Finnish study of 3,000 infants with
genetically increased risk for developing diabetes showed that early
introduction of cow’s milk increased susceptibility to type 1 diabetes.
Health Concerns of Infants and Children
proteins, milk sugar, fat, and saturated fat in dairy products pose health
risks for children and encourage the development of obesity, diabetes, and
Academy of Pediatrics recommends that infants below one year of age not be
given whole cow’s milk, as iron deficiency is more likely on a dairy-rich
diet. Cow’s milk products are very low in iron. If dairy products become a
major part of one’s diet, iron deficiency is more likely. Colic is an
additional concern with milk consumption. Up to 28 percent of infants
suffer from colic during the first month of life. Pediatricians learned
long ago that cow’s milk was often the reason. We now know that
breastfeeding mothers can have colicky babies if the mothers
consume cow’s milk. The cow’s antibodies can pass through the mother’s
bloodstream, into her breast milk, and to the baby. Additionally, food
allergies appear to be common results of cow’s milk consumption,
particularly in children. Cow’s milk consumption has also been linked to
chronic constipation in children. Researchers suggested that milk
consumption resulted in perianal sores and severe pain on defecation,
leading to constipation.
Milk and dairy
products are not necessary in the diet and can, in fact, be harmful to
health. It is best to consume a healthful diet of grains, fruits,
vegetables, legumes, and fortified foods including cereals and juices.
These nutrient-dense foods can help you meet your calcium, potassium,
riboflavin, and vitamin D requirements with ease—and without health risks.
We recommend vsiting
information on this topic.
other non-dairy beverages, such as rice and nut milks, are healthy
alternatives to cow’s milk. These beverages come in different flavors, and
many of them are fortified with calcium and vitamin D. They work well on
cereal, in coffee and tea, and in baking and cooking. Grocery stores now
regularly carry soymilk, and most coffee shops offer a variety of soy
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5. Is it safe to eat soybeans and other
questions have been raised about the possible health risks of soy
consumption, but the overwhelming majority of studies on soy have shown
positive health effects or, at worst, neutral ones.
Eating soy in
moderation is appropriate for a healthy diet. There have been concerns
about processed soy products, such as “mock meats,” but moderate intakes
of these foods are not likely to cause health problems. Some soy products
are high in sodium and contain a higher-than-healthy level of fat, so be
sure to check the labels and choose the healthier versions. Nonetheless,
these foods are much healthier than the animal-derived foods they are
intended to replace.
If you do
choose to avoid soy, you will find it can be easily replaced with other
foods. Lentils, beans, and other legumes are a hearty and delicious source
of plant-based protein and other nutrients. They are also the richest
source of dietary fiber.
Health benefits and soy
Many people are
including soy foods in their diets because of the reputed health benefits.
Some of these findings include the following:
Epidemiological studies have found that soy protein may reduce the risk
for cancers including breast, colon and prostate.
has been shown to be useful for heart disease due to its ability to
lower cholesterol, enhance coronary artery function, and reduce other
heart disease risk factors. After reviewing the evidence for soy
protein’s effect on cholesterol, the Food and Drug Administration
allowed the food industry to place the health claim that 25 grams of soy
protein may lower cholesterol on labels of foods containing soy protein.
have been found to have a favorable effect on bone mineral density
through the isoflavones it contains in addition to soy protein intake,
which reduces the amount of calcium lost in the urine when compared to
animal protein intake.
important to remember that the benefits seen in soy food consumption in
epidemiological studies may be due, in part, to people replacing meat,
chicken, dairy, and eggs with plant protein sources. Consuming some soy
as part of a vegan diet based on whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and
legumes will allow for far more benefits than just adding soy to a diet
with animal products in it.
Soy and Alzheimer’s disease
study found that Alzheimer’s disease rates were slightly higher in
individuals in Hawaii who had consumed significant amounts of tofu
throughout their lives. There may be a number of reasons for this result
that do not have any relation to soy products. Tofu in Hawaii may have
higher levels of aluminum, which may be linked to Alzheimer’s disease,
than in the rest of the United States. But this study did not measure
aluminum levels, so no other correlations were made. Also, countries in
Asia where soy intake is high do not have a high rate of Alzheimer’s
disease. In fact, despite the high intake of soy in Okinawa, Japan, rates
of dementia are much lower than those in this country. Some researchers
have suggested that the tofu consumption in this study may be a marker for
another factor that contributed to the higher rate of cognitive decline.
Since only one study has found a possible correlation between soy and
cognitive function, it cannot yet be concluded that soy poses a risk. The
research is clearer, however, that a healthy lifestyle based on a diet of
plant foods, exercise, and mental stimulation is associated with reduced
risk of dementia in aging.
Soy and breast cancer
believe that certain chemicals in soybeans called isoflavones are
responsible for the reduced risk for breast cancer among Asian women.
Isoflavones are phytoestrogens (phyto means "plant"). They keep estrogen
levels under control, as they can act like a weak estrogen when body
estrogen levels are low and can inhibit estrogen’s effects when body
estrogen levels are high.
All this having been said, there is a growing body of information that
strongly suggests soy is not for everyone and may not be the wonder
food that the media and some health experts claim it to be.
recommend consulting a health practitioner before using soy products.
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6. Someone in my family was diagnosed
with cancer: What dietary recommendations would you
offer him or her?
studies have shown that a low-fat, vegetarian diet can help in cancer
prevention and survival. ECM recommends replacing meat, dairy products,
and other animal products with healthy, low-fat meals rich in whole
grains, legumes, fruits, and vegetables. These foods are full of fiber,
vitamins, minerals, and cancer-fighting compounds. And they don’t contain
the high amounts of fat and cholesterol found in meat and other animal
diets—naturally low in saturated fat, high in fiber, and replete with
cancer-protective phytochemicals—help to prevent cancer. Large studies in
England and Germany have shown that vegetarians are about 40 percent less
likely to develop cancer compared to meat-eaters. In the United States,
studies of Seventh-Day Adventists have shown significant reductions in
cancer risk among those who avoided meat. Similarly, breast cancer rates
are dramatically lower in nations, such as China, that follow plant-based
diets.6 Interestingly, Japanese women who follow Western-style, meat-based
diets are eight times more likely to develop breast cancer than women who
follow a more traditional plant-based diet. Meat and dairy products
contribute to many forms of cancer, including cancer of the colon, breast,
ovaries, and prostate.
that included tens of thousands of women and men have shown that regular
meat consumption increases colon cancer risk by roughly 300 percent.
High-fat diets also encourage the body’s production of estrogens, in
particular, estradiol. Increased levels of this sex hormone have been
linked to breast cancer. A recent report noted that the rate of breast
cancer among pre-menopausal women who ate the most animal (but not
vegetable) fat was one-third higher than that of women who ate the least
animal fat. A separate study from Cambridge University also linked diets
high in saturated fat to breast cancer. One study linked dairy products to
an increased risk of ovarian cancer. The process of breaking down the
lactose (milk sugar) into galactose evidently damages the ovaries. Daily
meat consumption triples the risk of prostate enlargement. Regular milk
consumption doubles the risk and failure to consume vegetables regularly
nearly quadruples the risk.
studies have idntified phytochemicals, called
isothiocyanates (ITCs), found in several cruciferous vegetables
(such as cabbage, cauliflower and broccoli), and generated when vegetables
are either cut or chewed. Phenethyl-ITC,
or PEITC, is highly effective in suppressing the growth of human prostate
cancer cells at concentrations achievable through
intake. Similarly, lycopene, a carotenoid found in tomatoes (especially
cooked tomato) has been shown to inhibit ovarian, prostate and lung
recommend foods high in anti-oxidant and natural anti-cancer compounds
such as cabbage, brussels sprouts, tumeric, red raspberries,
granny smith apples, asparagus, black pepper, red wine, olive oil, green
tea, mangosteen juice, acai berry, Inca berries, goji berries, chili
peppers, grapefruit, cherries, bell peppers cranberries, beans and
legumes, blueberries, hazel nuts, salmon (omega-3), black berries, cooked
tomato (lycopene), pumpkin seeks, dark chocolate (ORAC factor), carrots,
sweet potato, broccoli, pomegranate, garlic, onion.
found in 46 different fruits and nuts including blueberries and red
raspberries is a proven anti-carcinogen, anti-mutagen and anti-cancer
studies and clinical tests have shown that it prevents the destruction
of the p53 gene in cancer cells and it seems to form "joints" with DNA
by binding to sites which would otherwise be attached to mutagens or
Nixon at the Hollings Cancer Institute, at the Medical University of
South Carolina (MUSC) began studying ellagic acid in 1993.
published data from MUSC includes the findings that Ellagic acid:
growth of abnormal colon cell
antibacterial and anti-viral properties
HPV infected cells developing, and cervical cells infected with IWV
experience apoptosis (normal cell death).
the rate of metabolism of carcinogens and prevents the development of
powerful antioxidant it neutralises the affects of aflatoxins produced
by parasites within the body.
inhibits the action of arylamines, known as potent carcinogens.
And all this
seems to come from eating just one cup of red raspberries per day!
shown that ellagic acid can protect the p53 gene. This gene has the
ability to rebuild damaged DNA under normal conditions. But as part of
cancer development it becomes switched off. There is evidence that this
is a factor in breast, prostate, pancreas, skin, cervical and colon
Cancer Research Foundation, Inc.) for more information on ellagic acid
and many articles on holistic approaches to various types of cancer.
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7. What are the safest types of fish to
eat? Aren’t fish the best source of omega-3 fatty acids?
nutritious sources of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids are plant-based
foods, including green leafy vegetables, legumes, wheat germ, soybeans,
and ground flaxseeds. Only high quality fish such as wild salmon or
bluefish are recommended - farm raised fish should be avoided. By getting
omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids and protein from plant-based foods, you
can avoid the health risks associated with fish consumption.
Omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids are important in the
normal functioning of all tissues of the body. Deficiencies are
responsible for a host of symptoms and disorders including abnormalities
in the liver and kidney, changes in the blood, reduced growth rates,
poor fetal brain development, decreased immune function, depression, and skin changes, including dryness
and scaliness. Adequate intake of the essential fatty acids results in
numerous health benefits. Prevention of atherosclerosis, reduced incidence
of heart disease and stroke, and relief from the symptoms associated with
ulcerative colitis, menstrual pain, and joint pain have also been
documented. Omega-3 deficiency has
linked with increased cancer rates.
While supplements and added oils are not typically
necessary in the vegetarian diet, good sources of omega-3 and omega-6 fats
should be included daily. It is important to take these two fats in the
proper ratio as well. Omega-6 fatty acids compete with omega-3 fatty acids
for use in the body, and therefore excessive intake of omega-6 fatty acids
can be a problem. The U.S. diet has become heavy in omega-6 fats and low
in omega-3 fats, secondary to a reliance on processed foods and oils. It
is necessary to balance this by eating a low-fat diet that is low in
processed foods and with fat mainly coming from omega-3 fatty acids.
Omega-6 Fatty Acids
Omega-6 fats are found in leafy vegetables, seeds,
nuts, grains, and vegetable oils (corn, safflower, soybean, cottonseed,
sesame, sunflower). Other omega-6 fatty acids, such as gamma-linolenic
acid (GLA), can be found in more rare oils, including black currant,
borage, evening primrose, and hemp oils. Most diets provide adequate
amounts of omega-6 fatty acids.
Rich in Omega-3 Fatty Acids
* Mung beans
are particularly high in omega-3 fatty acids. They are sold in many Indian
groceries and may be found under the name "urid."
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
It is important
for vegetarians to include foods that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids on a
daily basis. Alpha-linolenic acid, a common omega-3 fatty acid, is found
in many vegetables, beans, nuts, seeds, and fruits. The best source of
alpha-linolenic acid is flaxseeds or flaxseed oil. For those who are
seeking to increase their intake of omega-3 fats, more concentrated
sources can be found in oils such as canola (also known as rapeseed),
soybean, walnut, and wheat germ. Omega-3 fatty acids can be found in
smaller quantities in nuts, seeds, and soy products, as well as beans,
vegetables, and whole grains. Corn, safflower, sunflower, and cottonseed
oils are generally low in omega-3s.
Omega-3 Content of Natural Oils
Wheat germ 7%
Flaxseed for Omega-3's
Flaxseed oil and ground flaxseeds are particularly good
choices to meet your needs for omega-3 fatty acids. One teaspoonful of
flaxseed oil or a tablespoonful of ground flaxseed will supply the daily
requirement of alpha-linolenic acid. To protect it from oxygen damage,
flaxseed oil or ground flax seed must be stored in the refrigerator or the
freezer. Use a little in dressings for salads or baked potatoes. Don't try
to cook with this oil, however, as heat damages its omega-3s. For you to
absorb what you need from flaxseeds, they must be ground. Simply put fresh
flaxseeds in a spice or coffee grinder for a few seconds. Some people
grind a cup every week or so and store it in the freezer. A spoonful can
be added to a smoothie or sprinkled on breakfast cereal, a salad, or other
Pregnancy and Lactation
In pregnancy and lactation, it is especially important
to obtain adequate essential fatty acids from the diet. Recent research
suggests that pregnant women may have increased needs for these fatty
acids, as they are needed for fetal growth, brain development, learning,
and behavior. Essential fatty acids are also important for the infant
after birth for growth and proper development, as well as the normal
functioning of all tissues of the body. Infants receive essential fatty
acids through breast milk, so it is important that the mother's diet
contain a good supply of omega-3s. Pregnant women and lactating mothers
may also opt to take a DHA supplement (DHA, or docosahexaenoic acid, is a
form of omega-3 fatty acids). A DHA supplement based on cultured
microalgae, under the trademark Neuromins, is available in many natural
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8. What’s the best diet for weight
Fad diets only
work short term and always have health risks associated with them. Both
short-term and long-term, the most effective and healthy weight loss comes
from avoiding simple sugars, starches, too many animal products and
keeping fats and vegetable oils to a minimum. In addition, it helps to
keep the natural fiber in the foods you eat. This means eating whole-grain
breads instead of white bread, brown rice instead of white rice, and
plenty of fruits, vegetables, and legumes (beans, peas, and lentils). It
is important to reduce sugars and processed high starch foods as these
stimulate more insulin production. Excess insulin programs the body for
fat storage. Increasing your low-starch (water rich) vegetable intake and
drinking enough water is key. And don’t forget the importance of physical
activity for achieving and maintaining a healthy weight.
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9. Is the Atkins diet
healthy/safe? What about other low-carb diets?
The Atkins diet
and other low-carb fad diets, which are high in fat and protein and
severely restrict all carbohydrates including healthy
low-starch vegetables and low sugar fruits, are not healthy
approaches to losing weight. High-fat, high-protein diets are associated
with many health risks, ranging from mild (constipation, headache, and bad
breath) to significant (impaired kidney function, osteoporosis, heart
disease, diabetes, and cancer).
Heart Association, the American Dietetic Association, and the American
Kidney Fund have all published statements warning about the various
dangers associated with low-carbohydrate, high-protein diets.
Page for more information (See Atkins Diet Alert link).
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10. Is it true that some foods
suggest that cheese, chocolate, sugar, and meat all spark the release of
opiate-like substances that trigger the brain’s pleasure center and seduce
us into eating them again and again. These foods stimulate the same opiate
receptors in your brain as heroin or morphine, but to a much lesser
Drugs used to
block the effects of heroin and morphine can also reduce or end the appeal
of these four foods. Luckily, there are many healthy dietary and lifestyle
changes you can make to break food addictions.
Michigan researchers showed that chocolate does not merely tickle your
taste buds; it actually works inside your brain in much the same way
opiate drugs do. The researchers gave 26 volunteers a drug called naloxone,
an opiate-blocker used in emergency rooms to stop heroin, morphine, and
other narcotics from affecting the brain. It turned out that naloxone
blocked much of chocolate’s appeal. When they offered volunteers a tray
filled with Snicker’s bars, M & M’s, chocolate chip cookies, and Oreos,
chocolate was not much more exciting than a crust of dry bread.
you are hooked on sugar, chocolate, cheese, or meat, what do you do about
can come to your rescue. If you start your day with a good breakfast,
hunger is less likely to fuel cravings. And if your lunch, dinner, and
snacks include foods that keep your blood sugar steady throughout the
day—beans, green vegetables, unprocessed grains, and fruits, for example,
instead of sugary foods or white bread—you’ll be less likely to dip into
unhealthy foods later on.
Be sure to eat
enough food, so that your appetite-taming hormone leptin is working right.
Leptin shuts down whenever you go on a starvation diet, leaving your
appetite out of control. Exercise, rest, and social support all help, too.
Seven Steps to Breaking the Food Seduction
feeling like food has an uncontrollable hold on your life? Wondering
whether you really could live without chocolate, cheese, sugar, or meat?
Here’s a list of tips to help you free yourself from unhealthy food
1. Start with a good breakfast. Cutting hunger is the first step in
2. Choose foods that steady your blood sugar. Beans, green vegetables,
fruit, and whole grains help prevent blood sugar dips that can lead to
3. Eat at least 10 calories each day per pound of your ideal body
weight. This tip is directed at calorie-cutting dieters who do not
realize that, if they eat too little, their bodies stop making an
appetite-controlling hormone called leptin. A person whose ideal weight
is 150 pounds needs at least 1,500 calories per day, and probably much
4. Break out of craving cycles, which can occur daily, monthly (with a
woman’s cycle), or yearly (with the change in seasons). Monthly
chocolate cravings, for example, can be reduced with a low-fat,
vegetarian diet, which tends to reduce the hormone swings that lead to
5. Exercise and rest are keys to restoring your physical resilience.
6. Use social support. Enlisting the help of friends and family makes
changing habits much easier.
7. Take advantage of other motivators. New parents, for example, may
decide to eat healthy foods not just for themselves, but for the sake of
importantly, try the “Three-Week Break.” Research shows that if you have
managed to set aside an addicting food, such as chocolate, for three
weeks, you crave it much less than if you had just had it yesterday.
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11. Is it possible to lower
blood pressure with diet? If so, how?
way you eat can lower your blood pressure and reduce or eliminate the need
for medication. You can lower your blood pressure by reducing the salt in
your diet, eating more low-sodium vegetarian foods, vegetables and fruits,
losing weight, limiting alcohol, avoiding tobacco, and becoming physically
active. People who follow vegetarian diets typically have lower blood
Often, those deficient in magnesium, potassium, Folic acid,
vitamin B-5, Vitamim B-6, and certain key anti-oxidants such as pycnogenol
and quercetin will find that correcting these deficiencies will help
dramatically to lower blood pressure. Equally important is to make time
for stress management. Adrenal hormones play a major role in hypertension.
Get involved in a good yoga or tai chi program, get more rest, and make
time for your favorite creative outlets.
recommend having a
Trace Mineral Analysis (TMA)
mineral electrolyte status.
If you think
have high blood pressure, you should consult your physician.
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12. Are there natural approaches to
Women can make
many dietary and lifestyle changes to ease the pain and discomfort of
menopause without the side effects of estrogen. For example, switching to
a healthier diet, avoiding alllergy foods (testing is recommended)
and taking key food supplements is better for your heart, bones and immune
system than estrogen prescriptions.
At around age 50, the ovaries stop producing estrogens.
The adrenal glands (small organs on top of each kidney) continue to make
estrogens, as does fat tissue. But the ovaries have produced the greatest
share of the body’s estrogens for decades, and when they quit, the blood
levels of estrogens drop dramatically.
Many women go through this change feeling fine, both physically and
psychologically. Nonetheless, some women are bothered by symptoms,
including hot flashes, depression, irritability, anxiety, and other
Is No Japanese Word for Hot Flashes
It has long been known that menopause is much easier for Asian women than
it is for most Westerners. In a 1983 study, hot flashes were reported by
only about 10 percent of Japanese women at menopause, compared to about
two-thirds of women in America and other Western countries. And bone
strength is not assaulted to the extent it often is among Western women.
Broken hips and spinal fractures are much less common.
The most likely explanation is this: throughout their
lives, Western women consume much more meat and about four times as much
fat as do women on Asian rice-based diets, and only one-quarter to
one-half the fiber. For reasons that have never been completely clear, a
high-fat, low-fiber diet causes a rise in estrogen levels. Women on
higher-fat diets have measurably more estrogen activity than do those on
low-fat diets. At menopause, the ovaries’ production of estrogen comes to
a halt. Those women who had been on high-fat diets then have a violent
drop in estrogen levels. Asian women have lower levels of estrogen both
before and after menopause, and the drop appears to be less dramatic. The
resulting symptoms are much milder or even non-existent.
More evidence of the diet link comes from a fascinating
study by a medical anthropologist from the University of California who
interviewed Greek and Mayan women about their experience of menopause.
The Greek women were subsistence farmers. Menopause
occurred at an average age of 47, compared to over 50 in the United
States. About three-quarters had hot flashes, but they were considered
normal events, however, and did not cause women to seek medical treatment.
The Mayan women lived in the southeastern part of
Yucatan, Mexico. Menopause occurred earlier than in Greece or North
America, at an average age of 42. Unlike the experience of Greeks and
Americans, hot flashes were totally unknown among Mayans, and, like the
Japanese, they have no word for them. Midwives, medical personnel, and the
women themselves reported that hot flashes simply do not occur, nor are
they mentioned in books on Mayan botanical medicine.
The difference between Americans and Greeks and other
Europeans on the one hand, for whom hot flashes are common, and the Mayans
and Japanese on the other, for whom they are rare or unknown, appears to
be diet. The Mayan diet consists of corn and corn tortillas, beans,
tomatoes, squash, sweet potatoes, radishes, and other vegetables, with
very little meat and no dairy products. Like the traditional Japanese
diet, it is extremely low in animal products and low in fat in general.
The Greek diet, while rich in vegetables and legumes, also contains meat,
fish, cheese, and milk, as does the cuisine of other countries in Europe
and North America. Animal-based meals affect hormone levels rapidly and
strongly, and undoubtedly contribute to the menopausal problems that are
common in Western countries.
Treating Hot Flashes
For women who are experiencing hot flashes, there are
useful steps in addition to the low-fat, vegetarian diet which is strongly
recommended for so many reasons. Regular aerobic exercise helps. A
vigorous walk every day or so, or any equivalent physical activity, seems
to alleviate hot flashes.
Andrew Weil, M.D., a well-known physician and author,
recommends trying the herbs dong quai, chaparral, and damiana, two
capsules of each taken once daily at noon, or, if used as a tincture, one
dropperful in a cup of warm water. Vitamin E, in doses of 400 to 800 IU
per day, has also been reported to be helpful. People with high blood
pressure should use no more than 100 IU per day. Jesse Hanley, M.D., a
family practitioner in Malibu, California, has found that certain Chinese
herbs, called Changes for Women, by Zand Herbal, and Menofem,
by Prevail, are helpful in reducing menopausal symptoms for some women.
Perhaps most helpful for most women experiencing hot flashes is to take
Borage Seed Oil - 600 mg. twice daily with food. These supplements are available at most health food stores.
For those women who are considering hormone
supplements, some preparations may be safer than others. Estrogens that
are commonly prescribed by physicians contain significant amounts of
estradiol, which is one of the forms of estrogen that has scientists
and many postmenopausal women concerned about cancer risk. A different
estrogen, estriol, appears to be safer. The best evidence indicates
that estriol does not increase cancer risk. Plant-derived transdermal
creams containing estriol and smaller amounts of other estrogens are
available without a prescription. The estrogens pass through the skin and
enter the blood stream, reducing menopausal symptoms. Creams containing
pure estriol must be ordered by doctors, not because they are more
dangerous (they are not), but because the process of concentrating them
qualifies them as drugs, rather than natural preparations.
Dr. Hanley finds that a mixture of plant-derived
estrogens and progesterone is often helpful. Transdermal creams containing
estriol, estradiol, estrone, and natural progesterone are very effective
in reducing hot flashes.
less research has been done on the use of estriol, compared to estradiol.
Even though there is no evidence of cancer risk with estriol, Dr. Hanley
recommends that if any estrogen cream, including estriol, is used, that it
be accompanied by progesterone to reduce the risk of uterine cancer, and
that it be monitored by a physician so it can be tailored to a woman’s
individual needs. “Whatever formula is used, it should have some
progesterone in it,” Dr. Hanley said. “Also, women should cycle their
hormones. The cream is used from day 1 to day 26 of the cycle, followed by
4 to 6 days off.” If additional natural progesterone is used, it should be
added for the final two weeks (days 13 to 26) and stopped together with
use of the cream.
Natural progesterone alone helps reduce symptoms for
some women. Progesterone and estrogen creams are available from
Professional Technical Services (800-648-8211), Women’s International
Pharmacy (800-279-5708), or Klabin Marketing (800-933-9440).