Sunday 30 November 2014

Everyday activities as good as going to gym

Short stretches of physical activity - such as taking the stairs or raking leaves - throughout the day can be just as beneficial as a trip to the gym, according to a new study.

Researchers looked at more than 6 000 American adults and found that this "active lifestyle approach" appeared to be as effective as structured exercise in providing health benefits such as preventing high blood pressure, high cholesterol and the group of risk factors known as metabolic syndrome that increases the risk for coronary artery disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes.
"Our results suggest that engaging in an active lifestyle approach, compared to a structured exercise approach, may be just as beneficial in improving various health outcomes," study author Paul Loprinzi said. "We encourage people to seek out opportunities to be active when the choice is available.
Opt to walk, move while on the phone
For example, rather than sitting while talking on the phone, use this opportunity to get in some activity by pacing around while talking."
Loprinzi was a doctoral student at Oregon State University when he conducted the study. He is now an assistant professor of exercise science at Bellarmine University in Louisville, Ky.
The researchers also found that 43% of adults who did short bouts of exercise met the federal physical activity guidelines of 30 minutes a day, compared with less than 10% of those who did longer exercise sessions.
"You hear that less than 10% of Americans exercise and it gives the perception that people are lazy," study co-author Brad Cardinal, a professor of exercise and sports science at Oregon State, said in the news release. "Our research shows that more than 40% of adults achieved the exercise guidelines, by making movement a way of life."
The study was published in the January/February issue of the American Journal of Health Promotion.
People are too busy to exercise
Many people say they don't get enough exercise due to lack of time. These findings are promising in that they show that simply incorporating movement into everyday activities can provide health benefits, Cardinal said.
"This is a more natural way to exercise - just to walk more and move around a bit more," he noted. "We are designed by nature as beings who are supposed to move. People get it in their minds: 'If I don't get that 30 minutes, I might as well not exercise at all.' Our results really challenge that perception and give people meaningful, realistic options for meeting the physical activity guidelines."

How you can avoid sports injuries

Follow these simple tips to avoid injuring yourself on the court or field...

Young athletes should be reminded that aches and pains might signal an undiagnosed sports injury, experts say.
And "playing through the pain" could make an undetected injury even worse, according to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) and the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine.
"Overuse injuries are the most common types of sports-related injuries," Dr. Michael George, a spokesman for the AAOS, said in an organisation news release.
"Often times the initial aches and pains felt during the progression of an injury are overlooked by young athletes," George said. "It's essential to teach them about the importance of informing a coach or parent about pain, because an undiagnosed injury can become more severe in the long run."

Taking some precautions, however, can help keep youngsters safe whilst playing sport, according to experts. In addition to not ignoring pain, they advised young people to follow these safety tips:

Don't skip the warm-up or cool-down. Before and after practice, it's important to do some low-impact exercises such as walking or biking.

Add strength training and stretching. For stretching to be safe and effective, hold the pose for 10 to 12 seconds and do not push your body beyond the point of resistance.

Stay hydrated. This is key to minimizing muscle cramps. If you feel thirsty, you've waited too long to drink fluids.

Consider your surface. Be sure you are not playing on an unsafe surface that is not in good condition.

Check your equipment. It's important to wear all necessary and recommended protective athletic gear, such as cleats, pads, a helmet and a mouth guard. Be sure all of your gear fits properly.

Be flexible. If possible, play more than one position or try new sports during the off-season. This will help prevent overuse injuries.

Consider the weather. Rain or snow could lead to wet and slippery turf that can increase the risk for injuries. Be aware of how the weather has affected conditions on the playing field.

Listen to your body. Avoid overtraining. If you develop any pain or discomfort, reduce the duration and intensity of your workout to avoid injury or burnout.

Ethiopian grain a gluten-free alternative to wheat

Teff, a crucial food staple in Ethiopia, is gaining increased interest abroad among health aficionados seeking a nutritious, gluten-free alternative to wheat.

Under a searing midday sun, a herd of cattle circles atop a pile of golden teff, thrashing the wheat-like grain, a method that has been practised by Ethiopian farmers for centuries.
The crop, mostly grown in the Horn of Africa, is a key part of the country's heritage and a crucial food staple, but is also gaining increased interest abroad among health aficionados seeking a nutritious, gluten-free alternative to wheat.
"Ethiopians are proud of the crop because it is almost our identity," said Solomon Chanyalew, director of the Debre Zeyt Agricultural Research Centre, a teff research hub.
"But these days, teff is getting global attention," he said.
Relatively unknown outside of Ethiopia – for now – the cereal is predicted to replace quinoa as the latest global "super-food".
Read: Quinoa may be safe for coeliacs
Ideal for diabetics
But a ban on exports to control price hikes at home has left farmers tied to local consumers, limiting their contribution to growing markets abroad.
The poppy-seed sized grain is renowned for its nutritional qualities. Mineral-rich and high in protein, teff is also a slow-releasing food, ideal for diabetics, and sought after by people with a gluten intolerance, or coeliac disease.
"Teff is not only gluten-free, which is an increasingly important aspect of foods that is being sought out, but it's also incredibly nutritious. Many people consider teff to be a super-food," said Khalid Bomba, CEO of Ethiopia's Agricultural Transformation Agency.
In Ethiopia, teff is used to make injera, a spongy fermented pancake topped with meat or vegetable stew and consumed with an almost religious devotion, often three times a day.
In the West however, where it is touted by celebrity chefs and health-conscious Hollywood stars, the grain is most commonly ground into flour and used to make biscuits, breads, pastas and even teff juice.
Drought-and-flood resistant
It is also a resilient crop; it can grow between sea level and 3 000 metres and is both drought- and flood-resistant, ideal for Ethiopia's dry highlands.
But despite its versatility, Ethiopia's 6.5 million teff farmers struggle to meet local demand – let alone growing demand from abroad – with limited access to seed varieties, fertilisers and modern machinery that would allow for higher yields.
Teff also suffers from a lack of research since it is considered an "orphan crop", unlike global crops like rice, wheat, and maize, which are widely studied and well-funded.
"People don't want to work on teff, basically, it's not paying," said Kebebew Assefa, one of only two full-time teff researchers in Ethiopia.
Yields have increased
Regardless, productivity has climbed to bridge the supply gap, with the introduction of 19 new teff varieties and improved farming techniques.
In the last four years, yields have increased from 1.2 to 1.5 million tonnes per hectare, which Khalid said bodes well.
"The production increases are what gives us the confidence that Ethiopia will be able to compete at a global level when it comes to tapping into the increasing demand from consumers in Europe, in London, or New York or Brisbane," he said.
An estimated two million tonnes per hectare is required to reach export potential.
Price already too high
For now, the ban on exports remains in place to avoid the pitfalls of quinoa in Bolivia, where most people could not afford the staple crop after the surge in global popularity.
The price of teff is already too high for the majority of Ethiopians who earn less than two dollars per day.
But farmers are eager to export their teff, well aware of the higher prices they can fetch.
"I want to sell it abroad because it's going to have a good market and I will earn good money and it will bring good motivation for my work," said Tirunesh Merete, 60, who has been growing teff for nearly four decades.
Neighbouring farmer Amha Abraham said he is keen to make more money, but recognises that local markets need to be fed first.
"If we export teff to other countries then we can get a lot of money, but we must provide first for our country's consumption," he said, standing near a giant pile of golden teff stalks, used for roofing and as cattle feed.
Until the export ban is lifted, Ethiopian farmers remain excluded from a growing international industry, with teff products appearing on shelves in health food stores across North America and Europe.
"Everybody has started talking about gluten-free," said Rob Roffel, CEO of the Dutch company Consenza, which produces gluten-free foods from teff grown in the Netherlands.
"The demand for gluten-free foods mainly was for coeliacs... but what we see now more and more is other target groups interested in teff flour," he said, adding that his business has grown 30%annually since 2006.
In the meantime, Khalid said he has high hopes for teff.
"If you look at what's happened with quinoa, it's a $150 million market in five years and teff is actually much more nutritious and much more resilient than quinoa," he said.
"So we think there's a much bigger market opportunity for teff."
Read more:
Should more people go gluten-free?
Coeliacs can eat gluten
(Picture:Teff flour from Shutterstock)

Wheat Threatens All Humans, New Research Shows

Bread lovers beware! Gluten-free diets may not just be a trendy choice but something everyone should follow. New research reveals that proteins in wheat may be detrimental to all humans.
“Gluten-free” seems to be appearing just about everywhere these days, from restaurant menus to grocery store shelves and even on cosmetics labels. And with good reason. The gluten-free market is exploding. Packaged Facts, a market research company estimated that the gluten-free market in the United States was $4.2 billion last year and predicts an expansion to $6.6 billion by 2017.

In a recent Time Magazine article entitled: “Why We’re Wasting Billions on Gluten-Free Foods,” business writer Martha C. White puzzled over this seemingly baseless trend, stating: “As food fads go, though, this one’s not only enormous: It’s enormously expensive—and many of us paying a premium to avoid gluten are doing so without any legitimate medical reason.”

The article goes on to describe how less than 1% of Americans suffer from celiac disease, an autoimmune disease triggered by gluten consumption and how as many as 1 in 16 Americans may have a significant sensitivity to gluten, a disease for which the term “non-celiac gluten sensitivity” was recently developed by an expert panel of gluten researchers and clinicians.

No doubt it is in the best interest of these two groups to avoid consuming gluten, a protein found in wheat as well as barley, rye, and spelt products. But is the statistic that as many as 29% of Americans admit to trying to maintain a gluten-free diet simply an indication of their desire to remain trendy? If in fact only a small fraction of Americans actually have a medical condition exacerbated by gluten consumption, what could explain the overwhelming traction of the gluten-free movement?

A Google search for gluten-free websites produces over 7.5 million returns with many of these sites populated by incredible testimonials of miraculous improvements following the adoption of a gluten-free diet in a wide range of medical issues including headaches, joint pain, skin disorders, epilepsy, depression, insomnia, and ADHD, to name a few. If we are to believe that only a small number of us should avoid gluten, does that relegate these personal triumphs from a dietary change to simply a placebo effect?

Good science would mandate that we should consider the possibility that something else may happen when a person chooses to eliminate wheat that may have nothing to do with reactivity to gluten.

While gluten makes up the lion’s share of protein in wheat, research reveals that modern wheat is capable of producing more than 23,000 different proteins, any one of which could trigger a potentially damaging inflammatory response. One protein in particular is wheat germ agglutinin (WGA). WGA is classified as a lectin—a term for a protein produced by an organism to protect itself from predation.

All grains produce lectins, which selectively bind to unique proteins on the surfaces of bacteria, fungi, and insects. These proteins are found throughout the animal kingdom. One protein in particular for which WGA has an extremely high affinity is N-Acetylglucosamine. N-Acetylglucosamine richly adorns the casing of insects and plays an important role in the structure of the cellular walls of bacteria. More importantly, it is a key structural component in humans in a variety of tissues, including tendons, joint surfaces, cartilage, the lining of the entire digestive tract, and even the lining of the hundreds of miles of blood vessels found within each of us.

Scientific research is now giving us yet another reason to reconsider the merits of our daily bread.
It is precisely the ability of WGA to bind to proteins lining the gut that raises concern amongst medical researchers. When WGA binds to these proteins, it may leave these cells less well protected against the harmful effects of the gut contents.

WGA may also have direct toxic effects on the heart, endocrine, and immune systems, and even the brain. In fact, so readily does WGA make its way into the brain that scientists are actually testing it as a possible means of delivering medicines in an attempt to treat Alzheimer’s disease.

And again, the concern here is not just for a small segment of the population who happened to inherit susceptibility for sensitivity to gluten. This is a concern as it relates to all humans. As medical researcher Sayer Ji stated, “What is unique about WGA is that it can do direct damage to the majority of tissues in the human body without requiring a specific set of genetic susceptibilities and/or immune-mediated articulations. This may explain why chronic inflammatory and degenerative conditions are endemic to wheat-consuming populations even when overt allergies or intolerances to wheat gluten appear exceedingly rare.”

The gluten issue is indeed very real and threatening. But it now seems clear that lectin proteins found in wheat may harbor the potential for even more detrimental effects on human health. It is particularly alarming to consider the fact that there is a move to actually genetically modify wheat to enhance its WGA content.

Scientific research is now giving us yet another reason to reconsider the merits of our daily bread. The story of WGA’s potential destructive effects on human health is just beginning to be told. We should embrace the notion that low levels of exposure to any toxin over an extended period can lead to serious health issues. And this may well characterize the under-recognized threat of wheat consumption for all humans.

Something Terrible Was Done to Our Wheat in the 60′s and We’re Just Realizing it Now


Gluten intolerance is no longer a fringe medical concept. Researchers are fully aware there is a very big problem with modern wheat cultivation. Wheat is far from being a health food. It makes you fat, causes gas and makes your intestinal tract your enemy, or rather vice-versa. High-yielding and now genetically modified varieties of wheat are making this one cereal grain you’ll probably want to axe from your food list.
233 consumer and farmer groups in 26 countries have joined the “Definitive Global Rejection of GM Wheat” statement to stop the commercialization of genetically modified (GM) wheat and remind the biotechnology corporation Monsanto that genetically modifying this major crop is not acceptable to farmers or consumers. 
So how–and when–did this ancient grain become such a serious health threat? Author and preventive cardiologist William Davis, MD, says it’s when big agriculture stepped in decades ago to develop a higher-yielding crop. Today’s “wheat,” he says, isn’t even wheat, thanks to some of the most intense crossbreeding efforts ever seen. “The wheat products sold to you today are nothing like the wheat products of our grandmother’s age, very different from the wheat of the early 20th Century, and completely transformed from the wheat of the Bible and earlier,” he says.
Plant breeders changed wheat in dramatic ways. Once more than four feet tall, modern wheat–the type grown in 99 percent of wheat fields around the world–is now a stocky two-foot-tall plant with an unusually large seed head. Dr. Davis says accomplishing this involved crossing wheat with non-wheat grasses to introduce altogether new genes, using techniques like irradiation of wheat seeds and embryos with chemicals, gamma rays, and high-dose X-rays to induce mutations.
In July 2009, the most hated company in the world Monsanto, announced new research into GM wheat and industry groups kicked their promotion of GM wheat into high gear. “Widespread farmer and consumer resistance defeated GM wheat in 2004 and this global rejection remains strong, as demonstrated by today’s statement,” said Lucy Sharratt, Coordinator of the Canadian Biotechnology Action Network.
“In 2004, a coalition of Japanese consumer and food industry groups delivered a petition to the Governments of Canada and the U.S. urging them not to introduce GM wheat. Today, consumer rejection of GM wheat in Japan is just as strong as ever. 80 organizations in Japan have already signed the rejection statement,” said Keisuke Amagasa of the Tokyo-based No! GMO Campaign. “A large majority of consumers here in Japan are voicing their strong opposition to the cultivation of GM wheat. We see strong opposition from all sectors of society.”
Japan’s flour companies are also rejecting GM wheat, echoing consumer opposition. In a statement released today, the Flour Miller’s Association of Japan wrote to the No! GMO Campaign indicating its opposition.
“Under the present circumstances, with all the doubts about safety and the environment that the consumers in Japan have, including the effect on the human body from GM foods, GM wheat is included among the items that are not acceptable for the Japanese market,” Kadota Masaaki, senior managing director of the Flour Miller’s Association wrote to the No! GMO Campaign.
Clearfield Wheat, grown on nearly 1 million acres in the Pacific Northwest and sold by BASF Corporation–the world’s largest chemical manufacturer–was created in a geneticist’s lab by exposing wheat seeds and embryos to the mutation-inducing industrial toxin sodium azide, a substance poisonous to humans and known for exploding when mishandled, says Dr. Davis. This hybridized wheat doesn’t survive in the wild, and most farmers rely on toxic chemical fertilizers and pesticides to keep the crops alive.
So what does all of this plant science have to do with what’s ailing us? Intense crossbreeding created significant changes in the amino acids in wheat’s glutenproteins, a potential cause for the 400 percent increase in celiac disease over the past 40 years. Wheat’s gliadin protein has also undergone changes, with what appears to be a dire consequence. “Compared to its pre-1960s predecessor, modern gliadin is a potent appetite stimulant,” explains Dr. Davis. “The new gliadin proteins may also account for the explosion in inflammatory diseases we’re seeing.”
An intolerance to gluten can cause a wide array of symptoms, some debilitating. Moreover, delays in diagnosis or common misdiagnoses can be devastating to long-term health. Gerta Farber elaborates on her research and personal experience with Celiac disease.
A powerful little chemical in wheat known as ‘wheat germ agglutinin’ (WGA) which is largely responsible for many of wheat’s pervasive, and difficult to diagnose, ill effects. Researchers are now discovering that WGA in modern wheat is very different from ancient strains. Not only does WGA throw a monkey wrench into our assumptions about the primary causes of wheat intolerance, but due to the fact that WGA is found in highest concentrations in “whole wheat,” including its supposedly superior sprouted form, it also pulls the rug out from under one of the health food industry’s favorite poster children.
Below the radar of conventional serological testing for antibodies against the various gluten proteins and genetic testing for disease susceptibility, the WGA “lectin problem” remains almost entirely obscured. Lectins, though found in all grains, seeds, legumes, dairy and our beloved nightshades: the tomato and potato, are rarely discussed in connection with health or illness, even when their presence in our diet may greatly reduce both the quality and length of our lives.
The appetite-stimulating properties of modern wheat most likely occurred as an accidental by-product of largely unregulated plant breeding methods, Dr. Davis explains. But he charges that it’s impact on inflammatory diseases may have something to do with the fact that, in the past 15 years, it’s been showing up in more and more processed foods. Wheat ingredients are now found in candy, Bloody Mary mixes, lunch meats, soy sauce, and even wine coolers.
As if making you hungrier wasn’t enough, early evidence suggests that modern wheat’s new biochemical code causes hormone disruption that is linked to diabetes and obesity. “It is not my contention that it is in everyone’s best interest to cut back on wheat; it is my belief that complete elimination is in everyone’s best health interests,” says Dr. Davis, “In my view, that’s how bad this thing called ‘wheat’ has become.”
Replace Wheat With Spelt
Spelt is an ancient grain that has lately made a comeback in North America, even though it has been popular through the decades in many European countries. Spelt is a non-hybrid distant relative to present day wheat. Spelt’s uniqueness is derived from its genetic makeup and nutrition profile. Spelt has high water solubility, so nutrients are easily absorbed by the body making it easy to digest. It is high in protein (significantly higher than wheat), higher in B complex vitamins, and spelt is high in both simple and complex carbohydrates. These complex carbohydrates are an important factor in blood clotting and stimulating the body’s immune system. Spelt is a suberb fiber resource. Spelt’s nutty flavor doesn’t just taste good, it has so many other nutritional benefits that are amazingly good for you! Keep reading to find out more about how spelt’s nutrients contribute to lower risk of cardiovascular (heart) disease, type II diabetes, and can lessen occurrences of migraine headaches.
Spelt is more difficult to process than modern wheat varieties, making it a little more expensive to purchase. Spelt’s husk protects it from pollutants and insects which allows growers to avoid using pesticides, unlike other grains. The husk needs to be mechanically separated from the kernal before milling (this is done after it is thrashed and harvested). The spelt is stored in good, low moisture conditions in order to protect the kernal, retain nutrients, and maintain freshness. Over decades, modern wheat has been drastically changed to be easier to grow and harvest. This in turn increases yields, maintains a high gluten content in the wheat to produce high-volume commercial baked goods. On the other hand, spelt has preserved many of its original traits and continues to remain highly nutritious and full of flavor. And spelt can make fantastic breads and delicious pastries

A note about gluten: Keep in mind that spelt does contain gluten. Gluten is made up of glutenin and gliadin molecules. Gluten provides elasticity to dough, which allows bread to rise. Even though spelt’s gluten is more fragile than other wheats, the bread produces fewer air pockets, it is well formed and maintains its flavorful.

Singing the Blues: Soy Does Zip for Prostate Cancer Patients

by Kaayla Daniel

Does soy prevent prostate cancer or cut the risk of recurrence?   With one out of six U.S. men developing prostate cancer over their lifetimes, lots of people would like to think so, and the soy industry rarely misses an opportunity to market its products every September during National Prostate Cancer Awareness Month.  This year though they should not be out wearing light blue wristbands and caps and shilling soy milk, soy powders and soy nuts in pretty blue containers, but inside singing the blues.

Why so?   Bad news for the soy industry came in July 10 when a Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) study showed soy won’t prevent the recurrence of prostate cancer.1  The study, from the University of Illinois, Chicago, proved “disappointing” even to its own researchers who had fully expected soy to help prevent prostate cancer recurrence.  Lead researcher Maarten Bosland , DVSc, PhD,said he was disappointed, but pleased at the clarity of the results.   “The results were statistically very solid and the lack of treatment effect convincing.  “A lot of men think that soy might be beneficial, but this study shows that it’s not.” 2

The researchers looked at 177 men with an aggressive form of prostate cancer who had submitted to prostatectomies and were at high risk for recurrence.  Supplement intervention was begun within four months after surgery and continued for up to two years, with prostate-specific antigen (PSA) measurements made at two month intervals during the first year and every three months thereafter.    Eighty seven men drank the soy beverage containing 20 grams of soy protein isolate and 90 men received the placebo of calcium caseinate.   The study was stopped early because the “treatment” was obviously ineffective.

As expected, soy proponents have been whining that the study was badly designed, poorly executed, and too small to be definitive.(3)  In fact, this was a randomized, double-blind trail conducted from July 1997 to May 2010 at seven US centers.  A larger study would have been highly unlikely to show the desired result or would have found it at a level so small as to be insignificant.  The soy drink and placebo groups were carefully randomized and did not differ significantly in the distribution of risk factors, including the risk of recurrence.  Adherence was better than 90 percent, and there were no differences in adverse effects between the two groups.

Given that the “placebo” was calcium caseinate, soy did very poorly indeed.  Casein is a fractionated, poor-quality protein seriously deficient in cysteine (a conditionally essential amino acid needed for immune support and detoxification) and rich in MSG and other dangerous residues created during high temperature processing.   Though widely perceived as a neutral placebo protein, casein is routinely used in studies designed to make soy look good, particularly studies on soy, cholesterol and heart disease.(4) 

Although the news headlines said the treatment had no effect, 22 of the soy patients and 23 of the placebo patients had prostate cancer recurrence.  Interestingly, recurrence for the soy patients came faster (average of 31.5 weeks), compared to the placebo group (average of 44 weeks).   While this difference was “statistically insignificant,” it certainly is interesting.   It raises the question of whether the real reason this study was stopped prematurely was not because soy proved so ineffective but because risks were beginning to emerge.

The JAMA article references a few studies that suggest soy can be helpful in prostate cancer, but overall the research on soy and prostate cancer is inconsistent and contradictory.5   Some studies suggest soy increases prostate cancer risk, others suggest it decreases and still others show no effect at all.   A few of the human studies suggest that if soy reduces the risk of prostate cancer it does so only for those who produce equol.6,7  Equol is a metabolite of the soy isoflavone daidzein that only some people are able to produce in the intestines.   Given that the soy industry likes to promote its products as beneficial for everyone, equol has been an issue the soy industry prefers not to talk about.

Soy proponents also rarely tell men that if soy protein protects them from prostate cancer it is because it has a feminizing effect.   The high levels of soy that might be useful in prostate cancer prevention or treatment will significantly decrease testosterone and other androgens and increase estrogen.   Doctors who believe prostate cancer depends on exposure to male reproductive hormones recommend soy because its estrogens perturb natural hormone concentrations and ratios.  While this theory might lead to valid pharmaceutical applications in cancer treatment, it seems inadvisable as a preventive treatment for the entire male population.  Testosterone, after all, has multiple beneficial uses in the body, including growth, repair, thyroid function, red blood cell formation and immune support as well as its well-known manly roles in sex drive and reproduction.

Men who have been urged to consume soy to prevent or reverse prostate cancer might also want to consider the warnings of Daniel Doerge, PhD, and Hebron C. Chang, PhD, of the FDA’s National Laboratory for Toxicological Research, who discovered that “genistein interferes with estrogen receptors in rat prostate glands” and warned that this finding might have “implications for reproductive toxicity and carcinogenesis.”8

Brain damage is another possibility.   Soy isoflavones have decreased both brain and prostate weights of rats and also altered the structure of the sexually dimorphic brain region.   The sexual dimorphic nucleus is located in the diencephalons at the base of the hypothalamus and is sensitive to estrogen and testosterone in gender-specific ways, that is, differently for males and females.9,10

Finally, researchers who tested a low-fat, high-soy diet on prostate cancer patients found an insignificant decline in PSA levels, a modest effect on time to progression of TTP (another prostate cancer marker), and an undesirable increase in IGF-1 serum levels. 11  IGF-1 stands for Insulin-like Growth Factor.   Circulating IGF-1 concentrations increase the risk of prostate, bladder, colorectal and breast cancer and have been implicated in heart disease, Type 2 diabetes and osteoporosois.   So far the research indicates soy increases IGF-1 levels only in men.12

The takeaway?   Dr. Bosland and his team were pro soy. Although disappointed in the results, they nonetheless speculated that men who start eating soy earlier in life would be more likely to enjoy prostate protection.  They also concluded soy was at least known to be “safe” and should be eaten because it might well offer other benefits.  Yes, it might, though I would say the populations most likely to benefit would be monks trying to maintain their vows of chastity, politicians with the zipper problem and unfaithful husbands.  For the rest of our men, the body of research suggests the wisdom of abiding by the precautionary principle of better safe than sorry.

  1. Bosland MC, Kato I, Zeleniuch-Jacquotte A,  et al.   Effect of soy protein isolate supplementation on biochemical recurrence of prostate cancer after radical prostatectomy: a randomized trial.  JAMA. 2013 Jul 10;310(2):170-8.
  2. Seaman, Andrew M.  Soy doesn’t prevent prostate cancer return: study.   Reuters, July 9, 2013.
  3. Bankhead, Charles.  The two sides of soy and prostate cancer.  Med Page, July 15, 2013.
  4. Daniel, Kaayla.   Striking at the soy heart health claim.  March, 30, 2009 .    At the end of this article, there is a link to WAPF’s complete petition to the FDA, asking for retraction of the 1999 soy prevents heart-disease health claim.   It includes a discussion of the use of casein as a control in studies on soy and heart disease.
  5. Daniel, KT.  The Whole Soy Story: The Dark Side of America’s Favorite Health Food (New Trends, 2005)  pp.  386-389
  6. Akaza H, Miyanaga N et al.  Is daidzein non-metabolizer a high risk for prostate cancer?  A case-controlled study of serum soybean isoflavone concentration.  Jpn J Clin Oncol. 2002 Aug;32(8):296-300.
  7. Akaza H, Mihanaga N et al.   Comparisons of percent equol producers between prostate cancer patients and controls: case-controlled studies of isoflavones in Japanese, Korean and American residents.  Jpn J Clin Oncol. 2004 Feb;34(2):86-9
  8. Doerge D, Chang HC.   Inactivation of thyroid peroxidase by soy isoflavones in vitro and in vivo. Chromatogr B Analyt Technol Biomed Life Sci. 2002 Sep 25;777(1-2):269-79. 269.
  9. Lephart ED, Adlercreutz H, Lund TD Dietary soy phytoestrogens effects on brain structure and aromataze in Long-Evans rats.  Neuroreport. 2001 Nov 16;12(16):3451-5.
  10. Lephart ED, West TW et al.  Neurobehavioral effects of dietary soy phytoestrogens. Neurotoxicol Teratol.2002 Jan-Feb;24(1):5-16.
  11. Spentzos D, Mantazoros C et al.   Minimal effect of a low-fat/high soy diet for asymptomatic, hormonally naive prostate cancer patients.   Clin Cancer Res. 2003 Aug 15;9(9):3282-7.
  12. Probts-Hensch NM, Wang H et al.  Determinants of circulating insulin-like growth factors I and insulin-like growth factor binding protein 3 concentrations in a cohort of Singapore men and women.  Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2003 Aug;12(8):739-46.

Yet Another Reason to Cook That Broccoli

reasons to cook broccoli

If I stop by the raw juice bar at my local healthfood store late in the day, I always request a thorough clean-out of the commercial sized juicer before my favorite organic raw juice blend of carrots, celery, beets, cucumber and half an apple is prepared.

This is because the juicing that has been occurring all day long prior to my arrival is typically very heavy on the cruciferous vegetables – primarily raw broccoli and kale. In fact, so many people come in ordering green drinks containing raw broccoli that there is a huge bin of bare broccoli stalks sitting on the back counter.

The juicer clean-out assures that no leftover raw broccoli juice or pulp gets in my juice. If it does, I get a terrible stomach ache and usually a temporary bout of nausea.
The truth is, raw cruciferous veggies like broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage and kale are not at all easy to digest for a lot of people even those with strong digestion. The reason is the high fiber content of this particular class of vegetables.  This fiber, called cellulose, makes these vegetables hard to handle in raw form.
When a food is difficult to digest, this also makes it problematic for the body to fully extract the nutrition. This is why nutritional pioneer Dr. Weston A. Price always suggested lightly cooking vegetables in butter before consuming them and recommended the practice in a letter to his beloved nieces and nephews early in the last century.

The cooking serves to soften and break down the plant fiber, and the healthy fats in the butter improve nutrient absorption. Research out of Iowa State and Purdue University has confirmed the wisdom of Dr. Price’s recommendation, as the nutrition from vegetables has indeed been found to be more readily absorbed in the presence of fat.  So much for the supposed wisdom of low-fat salad dressing!
Now, research is confirming the traditional wisdom of cooking your crucifers too.
While it is well known that eating cruciferous vegetables reduces the risk of cancers of the digestive tract, this protective effect was thought to be best obtained when these vegetables were consumed raw.

Sulphur-rich phytochemicals found in cruciferous veggies called glucosinolates have a strong anti-tumor effect, but are only effective when they are converted to isothiocyanates (ITC).  It was previously thought that cruciferous veggies had to be eaten raw for this to take place.  This is because the glucosinolate-ITC conversion process requires the presence of the enzyme myrosinase which is destroyed during cooking.
Broccoli Benefits Not Diminished by Cooking
Now, an interesting study by The Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center has demonstrated that beneficial gut bacteria can do the work for us. Although the enzyme myrosinase is destroyed by heat, consumption of cooked cruciferous vegetables actually stimulates the appropriate beneficial microbes that are able to convert glucosinolates into ITC .
Once again, beneficial gut bacteria are found not only to protect our health and boost our immune system, but also to nourish us at a most basic level
Another benefit of cooking cruciferous vegetables like broccoli is that it reduces the goitrogenic chemicals in these plants that block the production of thyroid hormone.  In the article The Dark Side of Crucifers: Goitrogens, Chris Masterjohn PhD has this to say:
Most forms of cooking reduce but do not eliminate the goitrogenic effect. Microwaving cabbage reduces the goitrogen bioavailability to one-half; steaming broccoli reduces it to one-third; and boiling watercress reduces it to one-tenth. Boiling not only leaches goitrogens into the cooking water, but also brings the vegetable to a higher temperature, causing a greater thermal destruction of the goitrogens within it. Boiling cabbage for just five minutes results in a 35 percent loss of goitrogen activity; thereafter, each additional five minutes results in another five to ten percent loss. By thirty minutes of boiling, 87 percent of the goitrogens are eliminated.
Hence, anyone with a known or suspected thyroid issue should seriously consider cooking that broccoli and other cruciferous veggies or avoiding them temporarily until thyroid problems improve.

But What About Salads?
While an occasional arugula salad, a handful of broccoli florets or cup of coleslaw is not going to do any harm to most folks, it would be wise to exercise caution and not make a habit of consuming large amounts of raw cruciferous vegetables especially in the presence of thyroid issues.

Another consideration is for those suffering from acid reflux. A very small amount of raw cabbage a few minutes before a meal can be extremely helpful in reducing reflux issues as suggested by Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride MD. Cabbage stimulates hydrochloric acid (HCL) production to permit digestion to proceed normally without the creation of a secondary wave of acid from the putrefying contents of the stomach erupting back into the throat. My husband actually uses this home remedy with amazing success particularly when we are traveling and the quality of the food is not as good as what we eat at home.

Fermenting Cruciferous Veggies
Of course, if you wish to preserve all the enzymes and still break down the cellulose in cruciferous vegetables without cooking, you can try your hand at fermenting them.  Traditionally made sauerkraut, for example, not only breaks down and softens the cellulose but also adds additional enzymes and probiotics to the mix.
Note, however, that fermentation does not reduce goitrogens in crucifers.  Since fermented crucifers such as sauerkraut are typically eaten as a condiment and, hence, in small amounts, consumption is usually fine if the diet is rich in iodine and there is no thyroid condition present.
Once again, science is bearing out the wisdom of traditional food preparation practices!

Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist

The Real Reason Wheat is Toxic (it’s not the gluten)

by Sarah The Healthy Home Economist

toxic wheat

The stories became far too frequent to ignore.
Emails from folks with allergic or digestive issues to wheat in the United States experienced no symptoms whatsoever when they tried eating pasta on vacation in Italy.
Confused parents wondering why wheat consumption sometimes triggered autoimmune reactions in their children but not at other times.
In my own home, I’ve long pondered why my husband can eat the wheat I prepare at home, but he experiences negative digestive effects eating even a single roll in a restaurant.
There is clearly something going on with wheat that is not well known by the general public. It goes far and beyond organic versus nonorganic, gluten or hybridization because even conventional wheat triggers no symptoms for some who eat wheat in other parts of the world.
What indeed is going on with wheat?
For quite some time, I secretly harbored the notion that wheat in the United States must, in fact, be genetically modified.  GMO wheat secretly invading the North American food supply seemed the only thing that made sense and could account for the varied experiences I was hearing about.
I reasoned that it couldn’t be the gluten or wheat hybridization. Gluten and wheat hybrids have been consumed for thousands of years. It just didn’t make sense that this could be the reason for so many people suddenly having problems with wheat and gluten in general in the past 5-10 years.
Finally, the answer came over dinner a couple of months ago with a friend who was well versed in the wheat production process. I started researching the issue for myself, and was, quite frankly, horrified at what I discovered.
The good news is that the reason wheat has become so toxic in the United States is not because it is secretly GMO as I had feared (thank goodness!).
The bad news is that the problem lies with the manner in which wheat is grown and harvested by conventional wheat farmers.
You’re going to want to sit down for this one.  I’ve had some folks burst into tears in horror when I passed along this information before.

Common wheat harvest protocol in the United States is to drench the wheat fields with Roundup several days before the combine harvesters work through the fields as the practice allows for an earlier, easier and bigger harvest 

Pre-harvest application of the herbicide Roundup or other herbicides containing the deadly active ingredient glyphosate to wheat and barley as a desiccant was suggested as early as 1980.  It has since become routine over the past 15 years and is used as a drying agent 7-10 days before harvest within the conventional farming community.USDA pesticides applied to wheat
According to Dr. Stephanie Seneff of MIT who has studied the issue in depth and who I recently saw present on the subject at a nutritional Conference in Indianapolis, desiccating non-organic wheat crops with glyphosate just before harvest came into vogue late in the 1990′s with the result that most of the non-organic wheat in the United States is now contaminated with it.  Seneff explains that when you expose wheat to a toxic chemical like glyphosate, it actually releases more seeds resulting in a slightly greater yield:   “It ‘goes to seed’ as it dies. At its last gasp, it releases the seed” says Dr. Seneff.
According to the US Department of Agriculture, as of 2012, 99% of durum wheat, 97% of spring wheat, and 61% of winter wheat has been treated with herbicides. This is an increase from 88% for durum wheat, 91% for spring wheat and 47% for winter wheat since 1998.
Here’s what wheat farmer Keith Lewis has to say about the practice:
I have been a wheat farmer for 50 yrs and one wheat production practice that is very common is applying the herbicide Roundup (glyposate) just prior to harvest. Roundup is licensed for preharvest weed control. Monsanto, the manufacturer of Roundup claims that application to plants at over 30% kernel moisture result in roundup uptake by the plant into the kernels. Farmers like this practice because Roundup kills the wheat plant allowing an earlier harvest.
A wheat field often ripens unevenly, thus applying Roundup preharvest evens up the greener parts of the field with the more mature. The result is on the less mature areas Roundup is translocated into the kernels and eventually harvested as such.
This practice is not licensed. Farmers mistakenly call it “dessication.” Consumers eating products made from wheat flour are undoubtedly consuming minute amounts of Roundup. An interesting aside, malt barley which is made into beer is not acceptable in the marketplace if it has been sprayed with preharvest Roundup. Lentils and peas are not accepted in the market place if it was sprayed with preharvest roundup….. but wheat is ok.. This farming practice greatly concerns me and it should further concern consumers of wheat products.
Here’s what wheat farmer Seth Woodland of Woodland and Wheat in Idaho had to say about the practice of using herbicides for wheat dry down:
That practice is bad . I have fellow farmers around me that do it and it is sad. Lucky for you not all of us farm that way. Being the farmer and also the president of a business, we are proud to say that we do not use round up on our wheat ever!
This practice is not just widespread in the United States either. The Food Standards Agency in the United Kingdom reports that use of Roundup as a wheat desiccant results in glyphosate residues regularly showing up in bread samples. Other European countries are waking up to to the danger, however. In the Netherlands, use of Roundup is completely banned with France likely soon to follow.
Using Roundup on wheat crops throughout the entire growing season and even as a desiccant just prior to harvest may save the farmer money and increase profits, but it is devastating to the health of the consumer who ultimately consumes the glyphosate residue laden wheat kernels.
The chart below of skyrocketing applications of glyphosate to US wheat crops since 1990 and the incidence of celiac disease is from a December 2013 study published in the Journal Interdisciplinary Toxicology examining glyphosate pathways to autoimmune disease. Remember that wheat is not currently GMO or “Roundup Ready” meaning it is not resistant to its withering effects like GMO corn or GMO soy, so application of glyphosate to wheat would actually kill it.
celiac incidence as a factor of glyphosate application to wheat
While the herbicide industry maintains that glyphosate is minimally toxic to humans, research published in the Journal Entropy strongly argues otherwise by shedding light on exactly how glyphosate disrupts mammalian physiology.
Authored by Anthony Samsel and Stephanie Seneff of MIT, the paper investigates glyphosate’s inhibition of cytochrome P450 (CYP) enzymes, an overlooked component of lethal toxicity to mammals.
The currently accepted view is that ghyphosate is not harmful to humans or any mammals.  This flawed view is so pervasive in the conventional farming community that Roundup salesmen have been known to foolishly drink it during presentations!
However, just because Roundup doesn’t kill you immediately doesn’t make it nontoxic.  In fact, the active ingredient in Roundup lethally disrupts the all important shikimate pathway found in beneficial gut microbes which is responsible for synthesis of critical amino acids.
Friendly gut bacteria, also called probiotics, play a critical role in human health. Gut bacteria aid digestion, prevent permeability of the gastointestinal tract (which discourages the development of autoimmune disease), synthesize vitamins and provide the foundation for robust immunity.  In essence:

Roundup significantly disrupts the functioning of beneficial bacteria in the gut and contributes to permeability of the intestinal wall and consequent expression of autoimmune disease symptoms

In synergy with disruption of the biosynthesis of important amino acids via the shikimate pathway, glyphosate inhibits the cytochrome P450 (CYP) enzymes produced by the gut microbiome.  CYP enzymes are critical to human biology because they detoxify the multitude of foreign chemical compounds, xenobiotics, that we are exposed to in our modern environment today.
As a result, humans exposed to glyphosate through use of Roundup in their community or through ingestion of its residues on industrialized food products become even more vulnerable to the damaging effects of other chemicals and environmental toxins they encounter!
What’s worse is that the negative impact of glyphosate exposure is slow and insidious over months and years as inflammation gradually gains a foothold in the cellular systems of the body.
The consequences of this systemic inflammation are most of the diseases and conditions associated with the Western lifestyle:
  • Gastrointestinal disorders
  • Obesity
  • Diabetes
  • Heart Disease
  • Depression
  • Autism
  • Infertility
  • Cancer
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • And the list goes on and on and on …

In a nutshell, Dr. Seneff’s study of Roundup’s ghastly glyphosate which the wheat crop in the United States is doused with uncovers the manner in which this lethal toxin harms the human body by decimating beneficial gut microbes with the tragic end result of disease, degeneration, and widespread suffering

Got the picture yet?
Even if you think you have no trouble digesting wheat, it is still very wise to avoid conventional wheat as much as possible in your diet!

You Must Avoid Toxic Wheat No Matter What

The bottom line is that avoidance of conventional wheat in the United States is absolutely imperative even if you don’t currently have a gluten allergy or wheat sensitivity. The increase in the amount of glyphosate applied to wheat closely correlates with the rise of celiac disease and gluten intolerance. Dr. Seneff points out that the increases in these diseases are not just genetic in nature, but also have an environmental cause as not all patient symptoms are alleviated by eliminating gluten from the diet.
The effects of deadly glyphosate on your biology are so insidious that lack of symptoms today means literally nothing.
If you don’t have problems with wheat now, you will in the future if you keep eating conventionally produced, toxic wheat!

How to Eat Wheat Safely

Obviously, if you’ve already developed a sensitivity or allergy to wheat, you must avoid it.  Period.
But, if you aren’t celiac or gluten sensitive and would like to consume this ancestral food safely, you can do what we do in our home. We only source organic, preferably low gluten, unhybridized Einkorn wheat for breadmaking, pancakes, cookies etc.  But, when we eat out or are purchasing food from the store, conventional wheat products are rejected without exception.  This despite the fact that we have no gluten allergies whatsoever in our home – yet.
I am firmly convinced that if we did nothing, our entire family at some point would develop sensitivity to wheat or autoimmune disease in some form due to the toxic manner in which it is processed and the glyphosate residues that are contained in conventional wheat products.

What Are You Going to Do About Toxic Wheat?

How did you react to the news that US wheat farmers are using Roundup, not just to kill weeds, but to dry out the wheat plants to allow for an earlier, easier and bigger harvest and that such a practice causes absorption of toxic glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup and other herbicides, right into the wheat kernels themselves?
Did you feel outraged and violated like I did? How will you implement a conventional wheat-avoidance strategy going forward even if you haven’t yet developed a problem with gluten or wheat sensitivity?
What about other crops where Roundup is used as a pre-harvest dessicant such as barley, sugar cane, rice, seeds, dried beans and peas, sugar cane, sweet potatoes, and sugar beets?  Will you only be buying these crops in organic form from now on to avoid this modern, man-made scourge?
Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist
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