A place where I can chronicle my family's journey through cancer. A place where WE can discuss our concerns. A place where WE can inspire each other. A place for hope.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Wellness Wednesdays

#7 Avoid foods that have some form of sugar (or sweetener) listed among the top three ingredients: Labels list ingredients by weight, and any product that has more sugar than other ingredients has too much sugar. Complicating matters is the fact that, thanks to food science, there are now some forty types of sugar used in processed food, including barley malt, beet sugar, brown rice syrup, cane juice, corn sweetener, dextrin, dextrose, fructo-oligosaccarides, fruit juice concentrate, glucose, sucrose, invert sugar, polydextrose, turbinado sugar, and so on. To repeat: Sugar is sugar. And organic sugar is sugar too. As for noncaloric sweeteners such as aspartame or Splenda, research (in both humans and animals) suggests that switching to artificial sweeteners does not lead to weight loss, for reasons not yet well understood. But it may be that deceiving the brain with the reward of sweetness stimulates a craving for even more sweetness. Source: Food Rules by Michael Pollan

#8 Avoid food products that make health claims: This sounds counterintuitive, but consider: for a product to carry a health claim on its package, it must first have a package, so right off the bat it's more likely to be a processed rather than a whole food. Then, only the big food manufacturers have the wherewithal to secure FDA-approved health claims for their products and then trumpet them to the world. Generally, it is the products of modern food science that make the boldest health claims, and these are often founded on incomplete and often bad science. Don't forget that margarine, one of the first industrial foods to claim it was more healthful than the traditional food it replaced, turned out to contain transfats that give people heart attacks. The healthiest food in the supermarket - the fresh produce - doesn't boast about its healthfulness, because the growers don't have the budget or the packaging. Don't take the silence of the yams as a sign they have nothing valuable to say about your health. Source: Food Rules by Michael Pollan

#9 Eat your colors: The idea that a healthy plate of food will feature several different colors is a good example of an old wives' tale about food that turns out to be good science too. The colors of many vegetables reflect the different antioxidant phytochemicals they contain - anyhocyanins, pholyphenols, flavonoids, carotenoids. Many of these chemicals help protect against chronic diseases, but each in a slightly different way, so the best protection comes from a diet containing as many different phytochemicals as possible. Source: Food Rules by Michael Pollan

#10 No such thing as "microwave-safe" plastic!: So we've finally woken up to the fact that microwaving plastic baby bottles is plain tantrum-worthy. Not only does estrogen-mimicking bisphenol A (BPA) leach from polycarbonate plastic during regular use, but studies have found that one zap in the microwave can cause as much leaching as 60 to 100 rounds in the dishwasher. Kind of erodes your confidence in the whole "microwave-safe" label, doesn't it? Especially when you find out that no one regulates the term. Maybe we shouldn't be surprised that when the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, in the fall of 2008, lab-tested 10 plastic food containers for microwave leaching, they found even plastics Nos. 1, 2 and 5 had BPA leaching. These included frozen food trays, microwaveable soup containers, and plastic baby food packaging. What? Isn't BPA only in No. 7 polycarbonate plastic? Guess not. Stay safe and follow these tips: 1. Never microwave food or drinks in any plastic. Period. 2. Never microwave or heat plastic wrap. 3. Don't put plastics in the dishwasher. Heat (including hot water from dishwashers) boosts leaching from purportedly dishwasher-safe polycarbonate, so who's to say your dishwasher-safe plastic won't leach when someone decides to test that too. Source: Ecoholic: Home by Adria Vasil

#11 Red Wine: Red wine contains many polyphenols, including the celebrated resveratrol. These polyphenols are extracted by fermentation; hence, their concentration is much greater in wine than in grape juice. Since they come from the skin and seeds of the grape, there are not nearly as many in white wine. The methods used for preserving wine protect it from oxygen, which means resveratrol is not exposed to rapid oxidation as it is in grape juice or raisins, which have lost most of their polyphenols. Resveratrol acts on genes (called sirtuines) that are known to protect healthy cells against aging. It can also slow the three stages of cancer development - initiation, promotion, and progression - by blocking the action of NF-kappa B. Because resveratrol also acts as an antiangiogenic, like thalidomide it can interfere with fetal development. This is one reason to avoid alcohol (even red wine) during pregnancy. Resveratrol supplements should also be avoided by women who may become pregnant. Recommendations for use: These results are observed with concentrations similar to those obtained after consumption of one glass of red wine a day. (More than one glass daily should be avoided, since it may lead to an increase in cancer.) Pinot noir, originally from the damp climate of Burgundy, is particularly rich in resveratrol. Source: AntiCancer: A New Way of Life by David Servan-Schreiber

** I should note that NF-kappa B, especially for MM patients, is BAD NEWS BEARS! I don't really want to get into the details because this post would never end, but you can go to Margaret's Health Blog (there is a link on the side of the home page), and read more about it. She has a PLETHORA of knowledge in regards to this subject (and many, many others), so I encourage you to at least take a look :) **

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