"When we know what we're eating and why, we can start to take control over our personal behavior."

                         - David Kessler, M.D.,  former FDA commissioner

Ethos  

Learning Center

 

The ultimate objective of scientific method is to arrive at the truth. This is why it's so important for doctors - who are scientists treating people - to practice evidence-based medicine. It is evidence-based medicine which is the underpinning of patient care at Ethos. The Learning Center page is a wonderful opportunity for us to share the scientific evidence that stands behind everything we do at Ethos, whether it's in the medical office or in the field. We welcome you to visit the Learning Center page often and hope that the knowledge you gain is a catalyst for healthful change in your life.

TOMATIDINE: GREEN TOMATO MUSCLE BUILDER

Tomatidine is a phytochemical found in green tomatoes which disappears as a tomato ripens and takes on color. Recent laboratory research has demonstrated that tomatidine is a powerful stimulator of skeletal muscle growth. Someday this information may prove useful in the treatment of disease and age-related muscle atrophy. In the meanwhile, now we may have good reason not to let those green tomatoes ripen: 
http://now.uiowa.edu/2014/04/green-good

DAIKON - SAVIOR OF SULPHORAPHANE

Sulphoraphane is the powerful cancer-fighting molecule in cruciferous vegetables.

 

Whenever we eat frozen or well-cooked cruciferous vegetables, we should always eat them with a fewslices of unpeeled raw daikon (or radish) to activate the production of sulphoraphane, which is activated by myrosinase.

 

Here's why:

  • Myrosinase, an enzyme found in the skin of daikon radish, activates the production of sulphoraphane.

  • Applying high temperatures, whether it is blanching (which occurs in the commercial freezing process) or cooking, destroys myrosinase. But it can be rescued by eating your cooked broccoli with unpeeled daikon radish!

  • So eat your raw daikon with your cooked broccoli! 

 

Bottom Line Publications

 

ACRYLAMIDE AND POTATOES

In addition to being mindful of what we eat, it’s important to be mindful of how we prepare it.
 

  • Acrylamide is used in certain industrial processes.

  • Acrylamide is also formed when certain foods containing protein and carbohydrates (like potatoes) are cooked at high temperatures – for instance, fried in hot oil.

  • Some lab studies have shown an increased risk of cancer from acrylamide.

  • Researchers have not found acrylamide in food that is prepared below 250 degrees Fahrenheit. 

  • This should further reinforce the admonition to avoid fried and fatty foods.

 

cancer.org

DILL - A VERY HEALTHFUL WEED!

Dill weed and seeds have been used in traditional folk medicine for millennia.

 

Now scientists know something about why dill is so healthful:

Natural Product Research 2014, World's Healthiest Foods: Dill

 

  • The activity of dill's volatile oils make it "chemoprotective" against benzopyrenes (carcinogens in smoke from cigarettes, grills, incinerators)

  • The oils also act like garlic, as a bacteriostatic.

  • Dill is a good source of calcium!

  • Dill has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties too. Natural Product Research 2014

 

This article describes the ayurvedic uses of dill: Pharmacognosy Review 2010

 

SPINACH - RICH SOURCE OF MANGANESE

  • Manganese is a little-known but important mineral in human nutrition.

  • Eating plant foods, especially spinach, helps our bodies make manganese superoxide dismutase (MnSOD), an essential enzyme.

  • Spinach is a major source of manganese, so eat your spinach!

BILE ACIDS, BREAST CANCER, AND BEETS

Beets can help prevent breast cancer!

 

Researchers report that women who poop easily have less breast cancer. Why? Nutritionfacts.org

 

  • Our bodies produce bile acids, which are naturally removed through pooping.

  • Women who poop less often retain bile acids, which are absorbed into the bloodstream and can promote breast cancer cell growth.

  • The fiber in plants can "bind" bile acids and escort them out of the body through pooping.

  • Beets are champions when it comes to binding bile acids. Nutritionfacts.org

 

PICK YOUR PARSLEY AND TREAT YOURSELF TO APIGENIN

Why apigenin?
Simply put, this plant flavonoid can help to prevent cancer development and recurrence.

 

NOW POTATOES ARE A HEALTH FOOD...

Actually, they always were. The darker the potato, the higher the nutritional value.  

 

In addition to vitamins, minerals, and fiber, potatoes also provide: whfoods.org

  • One-third of our daily value of vitamin B6, which serves as
    • a protein building block
    • an essential player in creation of serotonin, melatonin, epinephrine, and norepinephrine
    • a player in taming a cancer gene
    • a neutralizer of homocysteine (which damages blood vessels)
  • Blood-pressure-lowering compounds called kukoamines: BBC News  ACS
  • A source of health-giving polyphenols including the immune booster quercetin and others USDA

TOMATOES AND LYCOPENE

Applying intense heat to tomatoes in the cooking process is what dramatically increases lycopene levels: ResearchNews

 

  • In one study, tomato sauce that had been heated at 260 degrees Fahrenheit for 40 minutes, transformed the lycopene in the tomatoes to a form that was better absorbed by the intestine.

  • People who ate the special sauce had 55% higher lycopene levels in their blood than those who ate non-superheated tomato sauce, enhancing the potential health benefits of lycopene.

 

Lycopene from tomatoes has numerous health benefits, especially when the tomatoes are cooked. NutritionFacts

TOMATOES-- MORE GOOD NEWS (BESIDES LYCOPENE!)

Here's another great scientific finding:

 

  • A special protein found in tomatoes can block the formation of new blood vessels that cancerous tumors need in order to keep growing.

  • This protein had no toxic effects on healthy cells in the laboratory setting.

  • Scientists think these naturally-occurring anticancer substances could act as models for anticancer molecules in the near future. 

 

SCIENCE.Natural News.com

 

CILANTRO, A NATURAL ANTIBIOTIC

  • Cilantro (and its related spice, coriander) has a long history of folk medicinal uses. The World's Healthiest Foods

  • Now science has caught up with folk medicine:
    An antibiotic compound, dodecenal, and several other antibiotic compounds have been isolated from cilantro leaves. Researchers showed that extracts of cilantro leaf effectively killed Salmonella, a bacterial species that can infect food crops. 
    NCBI

  • Dodecenal is found in comparable amounts in both the seeds and fresh leaves of coriander.

RADICCHIO - POLYPHENOL CHAMPION

Free radicals, naturally produced by our bodies, attack and damage healthy cells. The most common free radical in humans is reactive oxygen molecules, which damage DNA and may lead to coronary heart disease, diabetes and cancer. Polyphenols – antioxidants in fruits and vegetables – can neutralize these free radicals and protect us against disease.

 

  • The beautiful reddish purple radicchio is right up there with blueberries and spinach, with one of the highest antioxidant scores.

  • Tested against 40 different vegetables for polyphenol content, radicchio was a champ, with polyphenol content 684% higher than cucumbers, 119% higher than broccoli, and 245% higher than beet greens! Healthy 100

  • Here's more about polyphenols and their amazing ability to prevent disease. This is a whole scientific journal on plant benefits, with free access to many of the articles. Dig in!
    http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/81/1/215S.full 

 

And this reference is geared to consumers:  http://www.worldshealthiestfoods.net/genpage.php?tname=btnews&dbid=88

GOT POTASSIUM?

THOU SHALL NOT PEEL CUCUMBERS (and throw away the Fisetin)!

Fisetin, a dietary flavonoid found in cucumber peel and numerous other fruits and vegies, can prevent and treat many cancers and keep the brain healthy.
 

SUMMER SQUASH AND YOUR EYES

Macular degeneration is the leading cause of vision loss in Americans over the age of 55.  Lutein and zeaxanthin, two carotenoid pigments uniquely deposited in the retinal macula, are known to be important in the prevention and possible treatment of macular degeneration.

 

 

WHAT'S NEW? NASUNIN!

Did you ever think of eggplant as a health food?  Here are a few things we know:

 

  • Nasunin  is a unique substance found in the skin of the eggplant.

  • Nasunin suppresses the growth of new blood vessels, which helps to restrict the growth of cancerous tumors.

  • Eggplants also have high levels of the powerful phenolic compound, chlorogenic acid, a type of flavonoid.

  • Plants form these compounds to protect against oxidative stress, as well as infection by bacteria and fungi.

  • Eggplants are high in bioflavonoids, which are known to control high blood pressure and relieve stress.

 

References:

Scientists get under eggplant's skin USDA

Antiangiogenic activity of nasunin, an antioxidant anthocyanin, in eggplant peels. NCBI

KALE - THE KING OF K

Kale is the king of vitamin K, containing a higher percentage of this vitamin than any other food on the planet.
 

  • Why do we need vitamin K?
    One big benefit is preventing brittle bones (osteoporosis) as we age:

    • In one study, eating more vitamin K-rich foods like kale reduced the risk of hip fractures (a too-late sign of osteoporosis).

    • Several studies found that people who ate the most dietary vitamin K had the strongest bones (highest bone mineral density [BMD]).

    • BMD was lower for people who ate the least vitamin K. 

  • What foods are rich in vitamin K?
           Kale is richest in vitamin K – the king.

    • Other veggies have K also.  This chart lists micrograms of vitamin K per cup for selected foods: 

 

Foods with Vitamin K  http://www.coumadin.com/pdf/Foods_With_VitaminK.pdf

 

For people on warfarin, Dr. Weiss notes: 
"It is my experience that almost every doctor advises patients on warfarin to reduce leafy green consumption. I advise the patient on warfarin to eat plenty of greens - including kale - on a regular basis but to make sure to tell their doctor this, so the doctor knows to prescribe a higher warfarin dose to make up for the increased vitamin K intake."

 

References:

Vitamin K and bone health in adult humans. NCBI

Vitamin K intake and bone mineral density in women and men. NCBI

Vitamin K intake and hip fractures in women: a prospective study. NCBI

ONIONS, GARLIC AND CANCER PREVENTION

For centuries, people have believed that allium vegetables (onions and garlic) have health benefits. Now, science is finally catching up with folk medicine!

 

  • Eating more onions and garlic lowers the risk of cancer, say the researchers:

    • In one large 2-year study in Europe, eating 14 to 22 servings/week of onions or garlic lowered the risk of many types of cancer.

    • Put another way, people with these cancer types reported the lowest consumption of allium vegetables in the prior 2 years.

    • Research in China found an inhibitory effect of allium vegetables on prostate cancer specifically.

  • What's at work here?
    That's not totally understood, but it might be related to:

    • Garlic's organosulfur compounds (the stinky stuff), amino acids, vitamins, and micronutrients.

    • Onion's organosulfur compounds and antioxidant flavonoids.

 

References

Carlotta Galeone, Claudio Pelucchi, Fabio Levi, Eva Negri, Silvia Franceschi, Renato Talamini, Attilio Giacosa, and Carlo La Vecchia. Onion and garlic use and human cancer. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 2006. PDF
 

Ann W. Hsing, Anand P. Chokkalingam, Yu-Tang Gao, M. Patricia Madigan, Jie Deng, Gloria Gridley, Joseph F. Fraumeni, Jr. Allium vegetables and risk of prostate cancer: a population-based study. Journal of the National Cancer Institute 2002. PDF

 

BROCCOLI AND OUR HEALTH

We all know that broccoli is good for us. Here's some supportive evidence:

 

  • The DNA in our body cells can be damaged by toxins from the environment (oxidative stress). 

  • In one study, a group of smokers ate one stalk of broccoli per day for 10 days. The broccoli-eaters' DNA had 30% less damage over those 10 days.

  • Our liver is where detoxification happens. We can boost that detoxifying action with a phytonutrient (plant nutrient) called sulphoraphane.

  • Broccoli produces more sulphoraphane than any other plant.

  • Other cruciferous vegetables help, too.

 

References:

Riso P, Martini D, Møller P, Loft S, Bonacina G, Moro M, Porrini M. DNA damage and repair activity after broccoli intake in young healthy smokers. Mutagenesis. 2010 Nov;25(6):595-602. 

 

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=Nutr.+Cancer%2C+61%2C+232%E2%80%93237.

 

http://nutritionfacts.org/2012/04/12/the-best-detox/

SALAD DRESSING AND CAROTENOID ABSORPTION: HOW TO GET THE MOST NUTRITION FROM YOUR SALAD

Do you automatically reach for nonfat dressing to pour on top of your salad? Think again! When we eat leafy greens, we should be eating them with a small amount of fat from whole plant sources such as seeds, nuts or avocado or a dressing made with these items. 
 

Here's why:

  • Many of the carotenoids (plant nutrients) in salad are fat soluble…

  • So you absorb much more of these nutrients when you add a small amount of fat to your salad!

  • Studies show that carotenoid absorption from salads is greater when the salad includes avocados.

  • Be Careful - use nuts, seeds and avocados in a controlled and strategic manner, especially if you have a weight issue, and avoid processed oils.

 

References:

M. J. Brown, M. G. Ferruzzi, M. L. Nguyen, D. A. Cooper, A. L. Eldridge, S. J. Schwartz, and W. S. White. Carotenoid bioavailability is higher from salads ingested with full-fat than with fat-reduced salad dressings as measured with electrochemical detection. American journal of clinical nutrition, 80(2):396, 2004. 

N. Z. Unlu, T. Bohn, S. K. Clinton, and S. J. Schwartz. Carotenoid absorption from salad and salsa by humans is enhanced by the addition of avocado or avocado oil. Journal of Nutrition, 135(3):431, 2005. 

IS YOUR SMART PHONE A PAIN IN THE NECK?

We're all too familiar with the image of a person hunched over, head bent down while staring at a smart phone. The bad news is that the more time you spend doing this, the more likely you will develop neck problems such as muscular neck strain and more permanent cervical spine problems such as herniated discs. Please be mindful of your posture when you are using your smart phone, and coming soon - an app that will warn you to correct your posture to avoid neck injury.

CNN

THE POWER OF SLEEP

Getting 8 hours of sleep each night appears increasingly critical to maintain one's health and prevent chronic illness. Good sleep may do everything from improving memory and concentration to helping us maintain healthy weights and lower the risk for premature aging and Alzheimers.

Time Magazine

A MOMENTOUS SHIFT HAS OCCURRED IN AMERICAN HEALTHCARE

Dr Kim Williams, president-elect of the American College of Cardiology, ignites a firestorm by recommending a Whole Food Plant Based (WFPB) diet.

NY Times

AVOID MOVIE THEATER AND MICROWAVE POPCORN

The artificial butter flavoring known as diacetyl is often found in microwave popcorn and the popcorn sold in movie theaters. Diacetyl is known to cause an irreversible life-threatening lung disorder known as bronchiolitis obliterans.
NutritionFacts.org

 

The chemical has also been shown to promote beta amyloid deposition in the brain. Beta amyloid is the main component of the destructive brain plaques found in Alzheimer's patients.

CBS News

SALT: THE PUBLIC HEALTH CRISIS HIDING IN OUR FOOD

This  NY Times op-ed: The Public Health Crisis Hiding in our Food talks about the enormous amounts of hidden salt the average American consumes - about 80% of it coming to us through restaurant and processed foods. The piece also discusses how concerted public health efforts to reduce salt content in food has a dramatic effect in lowering the incidence of high blood pressure, heart attacks and strokes.

ANTIBIOTICS: THE FAT DRUG

This fascinating article appeared in The NY Times, drawing a connection between America's obesity epidemic and antibiotic use.
NY Times

An important thing to note, though - the author mistakenly states "By the time most meat reaches our table, it contains little or no antibiotics." This is untrue; Conventionally produced animal foods contain plenty of antibiotics. Every time we eat these foods, the antibiotics end up in our intestines, blood and urine and can be measured.
NutritionFacts.org

IS RUNNING BAD FOR YOUR KNEES?

The answer is "No."
There is a widely accepted belief that regular running can cause excessive wear to the weight loading knee joints and cause degenerative arthritis. An interesting study has debunked this belief, demonstrating that, as long as the knees are healthy to start with, running does not increase a person's risk of developing degenerative knee arthritis: 

NY Times


Now, how can we start off with healthy knees and keep them that way? A Whole Food Plant Based (WFPB) diet, of course!

ERECTILE DYSFUNCTION AND THE CONNECTION TO HEART DISEASE

Erectile Dysfunction is defined as the recurrent or persistent inability to attain and/or maintain an erection in order to achieve satisfactory sexual performance.  In America, it is now estimated that 40% of men over the age of 40 have ED!  Most alarming is that new erectile dysfunction in a man aged 40-49 is associated with a FIFTY-FOLD INCREASE in a cardiac event, including sudden death.  What's the connection between ED and coronary heart disease (CHD) - the #1 killer in the U.S.?  Well, both ED and CHD are manifestations of the same disease - atherosclerosis, or clogging of the arteries - in different organ systems. In fact, ED is such a significant red flag, that men who are at least middle-aged who present with ED should be considered to have coronary artery disease until proven otherwise.

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