Coach Alicia Fong

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Health tip for last week of year 2010

Hope everybody is enjoying their holidays.  This week’s health tip is to answer the following question:

  • Are all vegetables the same?

There’s little doubt that one of the best ways to improve your health is to make sure you’re eating plenty of fresh, minimally processed high quality vegetables, ideally locally-grown and organic, with a majority of them consumed raw.

Many of my clients asked me whether all vegetables are the same.  They are not the same. If you were to get all of your vegetables from conventionally farmed sources, this would be better for your health than eating no fresh vegetables at all. However, conventionally farmed vegetables are not your best choice. Organic vegetables are a much better option because of quality, nutrients and standards of growing them.

USDA Organic farmers (and many small, local organic farms working without certification), must use different standards when growing vegetables. These standards include never using:

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) considers 60 percent of herbicides, 90 percent of fungicides, and 30 percent of insecticides to be carcinogenic, and most are damaging to your nervous system as well. In fact, these powerful and dangerous chemicals have been linked to numerous health problems such as:

  • Neurotoxicity
  • Disruption of your endocrine system
  • Carcinogenicity
  • Immune system suppression
  • Male infertility and reduced reproductive function
  • Miscarriages
  • Parkinson’s disease

Buying your vegetables from a local organic source is the ideal way to ensure that your vegetables are both fresh and high-quality. Organic vegetables and fruits are far more nutritious than conventionally farmed vegetables.  I also advise you to avoid wilted vegetables of any kind, because when vegetables wilt they loose much of their nutritional value. In fact, wilted organic vegetables may actually be less healthy than fresh conventionally farmed vegetables!

If you need to work within a certain budget, use the following information to help guide you to the best choices when it comes to lowering your overall pesticide exposure.

Of the 43 different fruit and vegetable categories tested by the Environmental Working Group and included in their Shoppers’ Guide to Pesticides in Produce, these 12 fruits and vegetables had the highest pesticide load, making them the most important to buy or grow organic:

  • Peaches
  • Apples
  • Sweet bell peppers
  • Celery
  • Nectarines
  • Strawberries
  • Cherries
  • Lettuce
  • Grapes (imported)
  • Pears
  • Spinach
  • Potatoes

In contrast, these foods were found to have the lowest residual pesticide load, making them the safest bet among conventionally grown vegetables:

  • Broccoli
  • Eggplant
  • Cabbage
  • Banana
  • Kiwi
  • Asparagus
  • Sweet peas (frozen)
  • Mango
  • Pineapple
  • Sweet corn (frozen)
  • Avocado
  • Onion

 

December 27, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , | 2 Comments

Health tip for week Dec 20th

Today, I learned that sugar feeds cancer cells.  Perhaps, many people already know this but it’s a new revelation for me and I like to share this information with you all.

I search the Internet for sugar and cancer and I found lots of articles and cautions about sugar feeding cancer.  What I found most surprising is that since doctors are not nutritionists, they do not know the dangers of eating sugar, and are not providing you with the tools to prevent or fight the disease. This is scary.

Sugar and hormones

It is true that sugar feeds cancer.  “It’s been known since 1923 that tumor cells use a lot more glucose than normal cells. Our research helps show how this process takes place, and how it might be stopped to control tumor growth,” says Don Ayer, Ph.D., a Huntsman Cancer Institute investigator and professor in the Department of Oncological Sciences at the University of Utah.

During both normal and cancerous cell growth, a cellular process takes place that involves both glucose (sugar) and glutamine (an amino acid). Glucose and glutamine are both essential for cell growth, and it was long assumed they operated independently, but Ayer’s research shows they are inter-dependent. He discovered that by restricting glutamine availability, glucose utilization is also stopped. “Essentially, if you don’t have glutamine, the cell is short circuited due to a lack of glucose, which halts the growth of the tumor cell” Ayer says.

But it is not as simple as curing cancer by cutting out all sugar. Sugar feeds every cell in the body, including cancer cells. However, it is more complex, involving hormones such as insulin and insulin-like growth factor. The body releases these and other hormones that promote cell growth in response to a rise in blood sugar. These growth-promoting hormones are the real problem for people living with cancer.

Good sugars and bad sugars

Why does sugar take the rap when hormones are really the problem? Sugar does cause the body to release growth-promoting hormones, but that is not the whole story. Sugar is very important to life. However, just as there are good fats and bad fats, there are good sugars and bad sugars.

Bad sugars, often referred to as simple sugars, are those in foods that do not offer any other nutritional benefit. Examples of simple sugars include foods like soda, sweets, sugar cereals, juice drinks, and grains.

Good sugars, or complex carbohydrates, are present in foods that provide nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, protein, and fiber. Examples of complex carbohydrates include foods like fruit, vegetables and beans.

So what can we do to reduce our chance of getting cancer or if you already have cancer?

1) Reduce simple sugar intake

Simple sugars enter the bloodstream quickly and cause a rise in insulin and other growth-promoting hormones. Research shows that high levels of these hormones may increase the growth of cancer cells. The key to reducing these hormones is reducing your intake of simple sugars. Complex carbohydrates do not affect insulin the same as simple sugars, and thousands of research studies have shown that they actually reduce the risk of cancer.

2) Increase consumption of complex carbohydrates

By substituting complex carbohydrates for simple sugars in your diet, you can reduce your risk of cancer and other chronic diseases, such as heart disease and diabetes.

December 20, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | Leave a comment

Health tip for week Dec 6th

  • Tips to fight and prevent a cold

Everybody wants to be healthy for the holidays.  And yet, each year Americans catch more than one billion colds, making the cold virus the most common infectious disease in the United States.

People think that colds are caused by bacteria. Colds are actually triggered by a virus, which means if your physician prescribes you an antibiotic, it will be absolutely useless.  So how to we prevent from catching it and what treatment strategies to use?

  1. Make sure your immune system is at peak.  The cold viruses can live on pens, computer keyboards, coffee mugs and other objects for hours, so it’s easy to come into contact with such viruses during daily life.  You will catch a cold when your immune system is impaired.
  2. Get enough sleep. This will help keep your immune system at peak so you can fight off the cold.
  3. Drinking plenty of fresh, pure water. Water is essential for the optimal function of every system in your body and will help with nose stuffiness and loosening secretions. You should drink enough water so that your urine is a light, pale yellow.
  4. Maintain your Vitamin D level in the optimal range. Research has confirmed that “catching” colds and flu may actually be a symptom of an underlying vitamin D deficiency. Less than optimal vitamin D levels will significantly impair your immune response and make you far more susceptible to contracting colds, influenza, and other respiratory infections. So if you are not getting enough sun, then take Vitamin D3 to supplement it daily.
  5. Exercise regular.  This is self-explanatory.
  6. Wash your hands frequently. So obsessive-compulsive washing can actually increase your risk of getting sick by providing an entryway for potentially dangerous pathogens. So mild to moderate washing is wise, but excessive washing, especially with harsh soaps, will actually be highly counterproductive.
  7. Eat healthy.  Tweaking your diet in favor of foods that will strengthen your immune response. Good choices include:

o   Raw, grass-fed organic milk, and/or high-quality whey protein

o   Fermented foods such as raw kefir, kimchee, miso, pickles, sauerkraut, etc, which are rich in probiotics, or good bacteria. Scientific research shows that 80 percent of your immune system resides inside your digestive tract, so eating probiotic-rich foods, or taking a high-quality probiotic, will help support your immune system health.

o   Raw, organic eggs from free-ranging, preferably local, chickens

o   Grass-fed beef

o   Coconuts and coconut oil

o   Animal-based omega-3 fats, such as krill oil

o   Locally grown fruits and vegetables

o   Mushrooms, especially Reishi, Shiitake, and Maitake, which contain beta glucans (which have immune-enhancing properties)

o   Garlic, a potent antimicrobial that kills bacteria, viruses and fungi. Ideally this should be in fresh form, eaten raw and crushed with a spoon just before eating.

o   Herbs and spices with high ORAC scores: Turmeric, oregano, cinnamon, cloves (for more on ORAC, visit www.oracvalues.com)

 

December 5, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , | Leave a comment