Worker Bees’ Daily Bites
1) Wash Those Hands, Honey!
Bird flu and mad cow may be glamorously scary, but what should be making more headlines is the newest, ugliest superbug crawling around gyms, daycares and door handles. Fortunately, it’s easy to stop if you wash your hands after hanging around public places. Clickativity.
2) What’s that? You Frolicked in Acid?
Speak up, would ya! Folic acid is good for your ears. We’re impressed with this nice little study, which was long-term, placebo-controlled, and looked at both men and women. Very well done, Annals, very well done. And well done is actually quite…rare. (Come on, you know you’re smiling.)
Check out a great way to get folic acid here.
3) Harvard Doesn’t Like Uncle Sam’s Food Pyramid, Either
Harvard has released an alternative food pyramid and nutrition guide. It’s a really great way to spend 16 bucks because, although the US pyramid is both free and pretty, the Harvard version flat-out rocks. Harvard oh-so-politely counters the so-called “balanced diet” approach as being totally meaningless (which it is). Seriously, are things like “try to eat more whole grains” and “avoid fat” the best recommendations our government can come up with? Evidently so. (Although the FDA does have that nifty new Labelman tutorial online to help you understand nutrition labels and feel like a five-year-old simultaneously.)
Instead, with the Harvard guide, specific foods are recommended. How cool is that? Things like good fats (because they lower bad cholesterol and raise good cholesterol), veggies rich in antioxidants (because they may prevent cancer and they fight inflammation and stress), and lots of lean protein. Yum!
In fact, Harvard makes a very convincing case that a high-protein diet is not only safe for the cardiovascular-concerned crowd, but that sensible high-protein diets (no baconfests, people) are actually better for the heart than bran muffins and bread machines. Which is what Mark has been espousing all along – pretty interesting stuff!
We really recommend purchasing the guide if you can. Kudos to Harvard for having the gumption to address real nutrition with real science and real recommendations. Although, colorful stripes are fun. We’re very impressed with the FDA for staying inside the lines so well.
Here’s an excellent interview with Dr. South Beach Diet about the need to prevent heart problems instead of digging around in people’s arteries like they’re rusty pipes. The invasive world of stents and scrapes is expensive, dangerous, and just unnecessary.
You can prevent heart problems with some easy lifestyle choices:
- Eat vegetables at every meal.
- Go easy on anything starchy, pale, processed or sweet (or better yet, avoid altogether).
- Get cardiovascular exercise at least 90 minutes a week:
jog, walk, swim, run or play a sport
- Don’t smoke.
- Drink in moderation.
- Minimize physical and emotional stress.
- Watch the sodium!
- Cut out fast food and junk food completely.
EVERYTHING YOU EVER WANTED TO KNOW ABOUT: Arabinogalactans
WHAT IT IS: Arabinogalactans are found in many foods and plant fibers, including garlic, leeks, carrots, radishes, pears, tomatoes, wheat, red wine, coconut, curcumin (found in curry seasoning), echinacea, and some tree barks. The best source for arabinogalactans is the larch tree. Of course, the Master Formula contains plenty of this beneficial extract, so you won’t have to visit your local forest for a larch bark snack.
WHAT IT DOES: We’ve all heard how echinacea, certain vegetables, garlic and onions can help fight infections and improve the strength of the immune system. Here’s why: arabinogalactans. All of these foods and herbs contain this potent little group of polysaccharides, and researchers think this is why such foods and herbs as garlic and echinacea are famous for boosting the immune system.
STUDIES SHOW: Arabinogalactans, scientifically speaking, are polysaccharides. They are gum sugars found in plant cell walls. But there’s nothing sweet about them: these powerful compounds can stimulate killer cells, interleukins, and tumer necrosis factor. These factors are involved in maintaining the health of the immune system. Scientists have found that arabinogalactans can help reduce length and severity of colds and infections. Arabinogalactans may also be helpful in fighting parasites.
WHY WE LIKE IT: In addition to offering immune system support, arabinogalactins appear to promote healthy gut bacteria. This is critical for maintaining a strong immune system and reducing those fattening gut bugs we like to talk about here on the MDA.
As mentioned yesterday, the national health report card has just been released by the NIH. My fellow Americans, we did not make the honor roll. We are not number one. (Though there’s a roll, all right.)
Here’s how America scored in some major subjects:
Heart disease: 685,000 deaths (down about 10% from 1980)
Cancer/tumors: 556,000 deaths (up about 35% from 1980)
Diabetes: 74,000 deaths (triple the 1980 rate)
Things that killed people in 1980 – like cirrhosis, accidents and the flu, are way down. But preventable diseases like diabetes, some types of cancer, heart disease and cardiovascular conditions are way up.
- Obesity is up – a lot. In the 1960s, that rate was about 44%; it’s now over 66%. Click here for the kid stats.
- You might be surprised: heart disease killed more women last year than men. Take care of those arteries, ladies!
- Also worth considering: the millions of deaths, bad reactions and side effects of drugs used to treat all these conditions. Can’t we do better?
What all this means:
It’s tempting to feel a little pessimistic, but a lot of this news is actually good. That’s right, good!
We don’t have to worry too much about clean water or adequate food or – even with the big mess health care is in right now – access to a doctor. There’s a lot to fix in this country, but the good news is that we’re blessed with a lot of options and advantages.
Most of the diseases and health issues facing Americans are things that are preventable with a few basic lifestyle changes: things like eating less, cutting out sugar, eating more vegetables every day, quitting smoking, getting exercise, taking supplements that limit free radical damage, and avoiding stress.
While these things are challenges and there are a lot of choices to weigh, the important thing is that we have choice. That, in itself, is a blessing.
So, choose to be healthy! Health, to the extent you can control it, is nothing more than good choices (because you can’t help genetics or luck). So always be making a better one.
Sara here. I have a little issue with the high prices and low quality of eggs at the supermarket. At least, I do now, because when Junior Apple Janet wrote in with the following, I had to spread the word:
“Home with my parents for the holidays, I was a bit confused when Dad came home with 88 cent eggs. Yes, 88 cents. More confusing still was the rainbow of colors and sizes of the eggs – not sure I’ve ever eaten green eggs before. I don’t know when my parents started doing this, but I am a convert. In fact, I ate nothing but eggs the whole time. My folks humored me until I insisted on serving omelets for the third day in a row. I couldn’t get over how much better farm eggs are! Why isn’t everyone doing this?”
Farm-fresh eggs are a good thing. They’re fresher, tastier, more nutritious, and cost less than your average parking meter. Who would bother with the thin-shelled, bland, pale store variety of eggs when real farm eggs are available?
What’s going on, Apples? If you are lucky enough to be living in or near a rural area, I recommend that you check out the egg situation.
The purpose of this post (yes, there is a point) is to highlight some of the better-egg tips in case you, like myself, aren’t within easy access of a farm.
- Go organic, of course.
- Give each egg in the carton a quick feel to make sure it’s not cracked and stuck to the carton.
- Choose Omega-3-enhanced eggs for an easy fatty acid boost every day.
- Look for eggs that are a little bit chalky or matte. The shinier the shell, the older the egg.
- Try to pick eggs that don’t have a lot of irregularities and bumps – an older chicken giveaway. Older chicken = inferior eggs.
- Don’t worry about cholesterol.
And, while we’re on the topic of eggs, did you know that egg foo yung (an American Chinese invention) is a surprisingly healthy restaurant food? Fried rice, egg rolls and the endless procession of cornstarch-based sauces in many American Chinese restaurants aren’t exactly your best bet for nutrition. But egg foo yung is typically sauce-free, high in protein, low in fat and sugar, and usually has a few veggies thrown in. It’s really not much different from an omelet. Speaking of omelets…
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