Add tomatoes to your diet for numerous health benefits

tomatIf you are a tomato lover, whether you chop them up for a salad, eat them whole as a juicy snack or cook them for a sauce recipe, you can be assured you are boosting your overall health in addition to enjoying their yummy goodness. Studies show that tomatoes fight the formation of free radicals (known to cause cancer, decrease your chances of getting prostate and colorectal cancer, and even reduce your blood pressure!(1)

Let’s take a look at the many ways tomatoes can make you healthier.

Tomatoes are packed with antioxidants – and this is great news for health seekers!

Antioxidants are substances that inhibit oxidation, and this may prevent or delay some types of cell damage.(2) What’s more, tomatoes are packed with them!

In a study published in the journal Molecular Nutrition & Food Research, it was found that “Regular consumption of tomatoes has been associated with decreased risk of chronic degenerative diseases. Epidemiological findings confirm the observed health effects are due to the presence of different antioxidant molecules such as carotenoids, particularly lycopene, ascorbic acid, vitamin E and phenol compounds, particularly flavonoids.”(3)

Lycopene in tomatoes – another fantastic health booster

Tomatoes are super-rich in lycopene, a carotenoid pigment found in tomatoes – it is what gives them their beautiful, deep-red color. Lycopene is great for bone health, and can also play a crucial role in preventing prostate, lung and stomach cancers.(4)

Enjoy some delicious tomatoes for help in lowering your blood pressure

In a double-blind, placebo-controlled study published in the American Heart Journal, it was demonstrated that short-term treatment with antioxidant-rich tomato extract can reduce blood pressure in patients with grade-1 hypertension!(5)

Study participants first had a four-week placebo period, followed by an eight-week treatment period with tomato extract – 250 mg Lyc-O-Mato – and a four-week control period with placebo. The results? Systolic and diastolic blood pressure decreased during the treatment period, while no changes in blood pressure were shown in the placebo periods.

Grape seed extract more effective than chemotherapy in advanced cancer

Grapes-BackgroundFor patients facing a diagnosis of life-threatening cancer, the recommended cure can often be as potentially harmful to health as the disease itself. But for many of these patients, scientific research shows a natural treatment using grape seed extract may hold the key to slowing the growth of cancer cells without the dangerous and deadly side effects of chemotherapy and radiation.

In fact, some of the very traits that allow certain cancer cells to resist traditional therapies may make them particularly susceptible to treatment using natural grape seed extract. In fact, findings suggest that the benefits grow with more advanced stages of cancer.

Conventional ‘treatments’ will never cure cancer

This is not wishful thinking: grape seed extract benefits hold clinical significance. Unfortunately, cancer patients are often pushed to begin radical and invasive procedures – including surgery, radiation and chemotherapy – immediately following a diagnosis of cancer. And, sadly, fear tactics are often used to rush people into risky (ineffective) procedures – which are known to cause secondary cancers later in life.

To be perfectly clear, although a majority of healthcare providers tout the “importance” of conventional care, there is little evidence that undergoing these harmful procedures can actually halt or even slow the progression of cancer cells.

In fact, a study published back in 2003 showed that chemotherapy was ineffective a startling 97 percent of the time. Later studies found that chemotherapy caused critical damage to the DNA of healthy cells and that some cancer-treatment drugs actually caused cancer tumors to grow, sometimes at an alarming rate. Despite the growing mountain of evidence, the mainstream medical community continues to push chemotherapy and radiation as the only hope for cancer patients.

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Let’s face the truth: There is substantial evidence that cancer patients suffer greatly when undergoing these treatments, including increased incidence of organ damage, premature aging, sexual dysfunction, neuropathy, cancer recurrence and secondary cancers, dental problems, diabetes, endocrine changes, fatigue, hypothyroidism, memory loss and incontinence, among other conditions.

By contrast, there is no evidence of harmful side effects from the use of grape seed extract. Of course, the obvious must be said, grape seed extract should never be considered the ‘only way’ to treat cancer. To successfully overcome a cancer diagnosis – one must develop a comprehensive approach to remove unwanted toxins, nourish the body with high-quality nutrients and, of course, address any other physical, mental or emotional issues such as dental problems, systemic infections or chronic issues of anger.

Great news for cancer patients: Natural, lifesaving alternatives are available today

In the journal Cancer Letters, a December 2012 article uncovered that grape seed extract was effective against colorectal cancer in experiments using cultured cancer cells. It also noted that grape seed extract benefits increased with the higher stages of cancer.

Researchers at the University of Colorado Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, Aurora, tested the impact of grape seed extract in colorectal cancer cell lines at several stages of the disease. They noted an increase in a number of the anticancer mechanisms found within grape seed extract with increasing cancer stages. In contrast, chemotherapy has been found to be of diminishing effectiveness with advanced stages of cancer.

It has been known for some time that the bioactive compounds found in grape seed extract have the ability to selectively target certain types of cancer cells. The 2012 study showed that many of the same mutations enabling colorectal cancer cells to metastasize and resist conventional therapies are the very facets that make them sensitive to treatment with grape seed extract.

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A similar study published earlier in the journal Carcinogenesis found that in both cell lines and mouse models, grape seed extract killed head and neck squamous cell carcinoma cells, without harming nearby healthy cells. In that published paper, the authors noted that grape seed extract created an environment unfavorable to cancer cell growth.

A study published later, in January 2013, in the journal Nutrition and Cancer, found that grape seed extract was also effective in treating prostate cancers, while a January 2014 published study showed grape seed extract to be effective against certain types of lung cancer.

Conventional oncology will never admit the truth about natural cancer therapies

Positive effects, using grape seed extract, have been shown to multiply with increasing stages of cancer. Naturally, many people would wonder, ‘why don’t conventionally-trained physicians share this information with their cancer patients?’ Because it would threaten their livelihood and, even if they did say something, they could lose their medical license for suggesting a non-conventional approach.

The study, mentioned earlier in this article – focusing on colorectal cancer, showed that less than half the concentration of grape seed extract was needed to kill 50 percent of stage IV cells as was necessary to realize similar results at stage II cancer.

It is believed that, unlike chemotherapy – which traditionally targets only a specific mutation – grape seed extract is able to target multiple mutations. In fact, the more mutations found in a case of cancer, the more effective grape seed extract can be in treating the cancerous cells.

It is not unusual, for example, to find that a colorectal cancer cell exhibits upwards of 11,000 genetic mutations. Because of this, cancer can quickly become resistant to conventional treatments able to target only a very limited number of mutations.

The findings provide new hope for cancer patients, many of which will not be diagnosed until an advanced stage of the disease when chemotherapy is least effective. Unlike the harmful effects documented with conventional treatments, the researchers did not see any harmful effects of grape seed extract.

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How to make bread healthy again

At this point, most people understand the drawbacks of wheat and why it has to be limited or eliminated from the diet. It’s not that wheat in its pure and original form is bad in and of itself, but due to over consumption, hybridization, and a high gluten content, there is simply no other reasonable choice but to avoid it for many people.

Or is there? What if bread made from whole wheat could be made healthier, to the point that it may even be tolerated by gluten sensitive individuals? There are three things to consider in making bread a healthier choice, and if one can do all of them, they just might be able to enjoy a little bread now and again with little to no side effects.

Always go organic

As with any food the focus should be on eating as clean as possible, but with wheat, it is even more important.

A practice that has been very common since the early 1980s in non-organic wheat fields is the direct application of Roundup (glyphosate) to wheat fields just prior to harvest in order to speed up maturation and create a consistent ripening process that makes harvesting more convenient. This direct dousing of poison on exposed wheat kernels has been very routine for the past 15 years.

Although some try to maintain that glyphosate is not harmful, it is starting to become clear that it disrupts the proper functioning of the gut and contributes to permeability of the intestinal wall, which can express itself in a multitude of symptoms including celiac disease and other autoimmune conditions.

For these reasons, any wheat product used for bread has to be organic. No exceptions.

Source a truly ancient grain

Modern wheat has been heavily hybridized (not to be confused with genetically modified), with the goal of increasing yields, warding off plant disease and pests, and doing better in certain weather conditions. However, as a result of this hybridization the gluten structure has changed significantly, which has conceivably caused the rising number of people with intolerance to gluten.

When a truly ancient grain is sourced, like Einkorn, there are three main differences that make it a much healthier choice, including:

• Most modern wheat is a hybrid of many different grains and grasses, whereas Einkorn is recognized as among the forms of wheat that were first cultivated by humans.
• Einkorn has 14 chromosomes, where modern wheat has 42 chromosomes, which changes the gluten structure.
• Einkorn is considered more nutritious than modern wheat, due to higher protein, EFA’s, phosphorus, potassium, pyridoxine, and beta-carotene.

These three reasons alone make an ancient grain like Einkorn a much better choice than modern forms of wheat.

Ferment your dough

So now one has an organic wheat flour from an ancient grain like Einkorn which removes the toxic component of wheat and lowers the gluten content. This is an incredible start, but one more process will make the bread even easier on the digestive system.

This process is fermenting. Using a sourdough starter to naturally leaven the bread (which also avoids potentially harmful commercial yeasts), will further reduce the gluten content and activate food enzymes that make it much more digestible. In fact, research in Applied and Environmental Microbiology found that when wheat bread is thoroughly fermented, gluten content drops to 12 ppm – a level that is deemed “gluten free”.

Although highly sensitive individuals may not be able to enjoy any type of bread, this is a perfect example of how an ordinarily poor food choice can be turned around into a much better one.

Cranberry juice helps reduce heart disease risk

CranberryMost people have probably heard that cranberry juice is really good for the body. However, when most people talk about this juice, it is usually in terms of urinary tract health. And it is definitely true that regular consumption of cranberry juice can help treat urinary infections and also help prevent the formation of kidney stones (or help dissolve them if they are already formed). This is largely due to their high acidity, which can both kill off bacteria and dissolve the calcium from which stones are made. However, increasingly, people in the medical community are stepping back to look at the bigger picture of the important benefits that cranberry juice can offer. One of these benefits appears to be a significant contribution to the health of the heart. Let’s take a look at recent research which suggests that cranberries should definitely be included on the list of heart-healthy foods.

The link between cranberries and heart health uncovered

The recent buzz surrounding cranberries is due to the recent publication of a study in the Journal of Nutrition. In this study, researchers looked at 56 obese men and women with risk factors for heart disease. During the course of the eight-week study, participants supplemented their diet with a placebo beverage or a daily glass of cranberry juice which contained 173mg of phenolic compounds with known antioxidant properties. The juice was sweetened with sucralose to keep in low in calories.

At the end of the eight weeks, it was found that the participants who drank the cranberry juice daily showed improvements in many markers which are risk factors for heart disease. The juice drinkers displayed lower blood pressure, reduced inflammation throughout the body, lower blood sugar levels and decreased insulin resistance compared to those who had consumed the placebo beverage.

Why is cranberry juice so healthy?

Most researchers believe that cranberry juice is so healthy because of its rich nutrient content. Not only is it high in vitamin C, potassium and other important vitamins and minerals, it is a rich source of phenols and other active compounds as well. These compounds have strong anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties which can reduce inflammation and support and nurture the health of blood vessels and heart tissue, which in turn supports the overall good function of the heart itself.

Thus, it is obvious from this study that cranberry juice is good for more than just a healthy urinary tract (though this is important, too!). Regular consumption of cranberry juice, mostly due to its phenols and other active compounds, can improve many of the markers which predict heart disease and help to prevent serious events like heart attacks in the future.

Avocado compound holds promise for treating leukemia

AvocadosAvocados have received enormous attention in the press and on social media in recent years. Once shunned as being too “high fat”, dieticians, researchers and others in the healthcare community are beginning to realize just how healthy these amazing fruits really are. It is arguable, in fact, that avocados are one of the healthiest fruits on earth, a perfect blend of monounsaturated fats, fiber, protein and a wealth of vitamins, minerals and other compounds that support the well-being of the body. The healthy fats, for instance, support weight loss and good cardiac function, while the fiber in avocados promotes improved digestion. It should come as no surprise, then, that researchers are also uncovering a particular compound in avocados that can help improve health in another way: By treating a specific type of leukemia. Read on to find out more about this amazing research.

New Canadian cancer research offers promising lead

This latest study, whose results have just been published in the journal Cancer Research, is coming out of the University of Waterloo in Ontario, Canada, and was led by Professor Paul Spanuolo. He and his colleagues were researching acute myeloid leukemia (AML), a form of cancer which originates in the bone marrow. The bone marrow is where stem cells become mature blood cells in a normal person. In a person with AML, however, these blood cells are abnormal. More than 20,000 Americans receive this diagnosis every year, and around 10,000 die from it. The 65+ population (the fastest-growing segment in America) is most vulnerable to this disease and the prognosis is not good: 9 out of 10 seniors who develop AML will die within 5 years of the diagnosis.

What the study showed

This study found that avocados contain a certain compound called avocatin B which they believe has the potential to help treat this very serious form of cancer. What they found, specifically, was that this compound has strong anti-carcinogenic properties and that it is able to seek out and destroy AML cancer cells. Even more importantly, this compound appears to be selective: While it kills off cancer cells, it leaves healthy cells intact, thus minimizing the unfortunate side effects that go along with many traditional cancer treatments.

While the development of an actual clinic therapy is still a long ways off, the researchers have gone through the Centre for Commercialization of Regenerative Medicine and filed a patent for this compound, thus hopefully paving the way for the future production of a new kind of cancer therapy which can selectively target AML cancer cells without proving to be toxic to the rest of the body.

The University of Waterloo is one of the few in the world which is conducting research on what are called nutraceuticals (the group to which avocatin B belongs). Nutraceuticals are defined as compounds derived from food that have a potential pharmaceutical value. Hopefully, this and other research institutions will continue to expand research into nutraceuticals to come up with safer and more effective cancer treatments than what are now available and offer hope to cancer patients not only for survival but for good quality of life.