Dr. Gray's Straight Talk

Honest and blunt healthcare discussion and advice.

Posts Tagged ‘Vitamin C’

Easy Grocery Store Health

Posted by Dr. Gray on Thursday, March 4, 2010

I am often asked what foods are the most important and easiest to add to a daily diet to help with nutrition and health. Here are eight foods readily available at your local grocery store that can easily be added to your weekly diet:

  1. Cruciferous Vegetables – This is a family of vegetables that includes broccoli, cabbage, kale, radish, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, collard greens, kohlrabi, mustard, rutabaga, turnips, bok choy, Chinese cabbage, arugula, and watercress. These foods have been shown to prevent and fight cancer by enhancing the elimination of carcinogens before they can damage DNA, and by altering cell signaling pathways in a manner that helps prevent normal cells from being transformed into cancerous cells. They are also packed with vitamins, minerals, and other life-giving, disease-fighting compounds.
  2. Apples – The many benefits of apples have been documented extensively. Here’s a short list: normalize cholesterol levels, decrease metabolic syndrome, retard cancer cell growth, cut smoker’s risk of COPD in half, improve lung function, decrease bone loss… this list could go on and on.
  3. Berries – Berries are a good source of vitamins, minerals and dietary fiber. They are high in vitamin D, folic acid, and manganese. They also contain cancer fighting carotenoids, tannins, ellagitannins and gallic acid, as well as quercetin and eye protective lutein. And just as with apples, the seeds of berries are a good source of the anti-cancer vitamin B 17, or laetrile. Berries are also among the best sources of antioxidants which fight against chronic diseases associated with the aging process.
  4. Spinach – Spinach is an excellent source of energy boosting iron, an integral component of hemoglobin which transports oxygen to all body cells. Cancer is only able to grow in cells where the oxygen level is deficient. Spinach also contains at least 13 flavonoid compounds that act as antioxidants and anti-cancer agents, particularly for stomach-, breast-, and skin cancer. A carotenoid called neoxanthin induces prostate cancer cells to self-destruct. Spinach is also high in vitamin K, vitamin C, beta-carotene, folate, riboflavin, and vitamin A.
  5. Beans & Lentils – These vegetables provide soluble fiber that passes through the digestive tract grabbing and trapping bile that contains cholesterol, and removing it from the body. Eating a cup of cooked beans a day reduces risk of heart attack by almost 40%. This soluble fiber also creates more insulin receptor sites for insulin molecules to connect to, allowing insulin to get to the cells that need it, instead of floating freely through the bloodstream.
  6. Nuts & Seeds – Eating these foods five or more times a week reduces your risk of heart attack by a whopping 60%. Research shows that people who eat nuts are generally thinner, have lower levels of LDL cholesterol and better bones. They are also at a lower risk for cancer and inflammation.
  7. Salmon – This superfood really needs its own article to list all its health benefits. Eating just two servings of wild caught salmon a week provides as much omega-3 essential fatty acids as taking daily fish oil supplements. Omega-3 fats help prevent erratic heart rhythms, make blood less likely to clot inside arteries, improve the ratio of cholesterol, and prevent cholesterol from becoming damaged and thereby preventing clogged arteries. It has anti-inflammatory properties on a par with prescription drugs but without the side effects, and is also able to lower high levels of triglycerides. It is a tremendous source of the B vitamins including B12 that normalize blood pressure and promote heart health. Eating salmon as little as 1 to 3 times per month offers protection against stroke caused by lack of blood supply to the brain. Eating it 4 times a month reduces the risk of deep vein thrombosis by 30-45%, and the risk for atherosclerosis.
  8. Turkey – Fantastic lean source of proteins, B vitamins, minerals, and amino acids.

It doesn’t take too much work to eat right, and you don’t have to be so restrictive. The best rule to live by is to increase your intake of good stuff, limit your intake of bad stuff,… and enjoy life!

Sources:
Barbara L. Minton, Natural News.com
Silvina Lotito, Ph.d., “Why Apples Are Healthful”, Linus Pauling Institute Research Report.
“Why Blueberries are Healthful”, Blueberry Council.
“Cruciferous Vegetables”, Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University.
“Spinach”, WHFoods.
“Nutritional Benefits of Beans”, essortment.
“Salmon”, WHFoods.
“Turkey”, WHFoods.

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Fight Colds and Flu Naturally, Part Three

Posted by Dr. Gray on Wednesday, October 7, 2009

In this article, we’re going to discuss some of the actual things you can do EASILY to fight colds and flu naturally.

In the last couple of articles (Part One, Part Two), we talked about the fact that antibiotics don’t kill viruses; and we also talked about how to differentiate between viral and bacterial infections. Taking antibiotics to fight a viral infection is like urinating in a fan to take a shower… it may feel like you’re helping, but you’re just making things worse!

I don’t have the exact stats in front of me, but I would venture to state that 90% of infections are resolved naturally by your body; often without you ever knowing it was there. Your ability to fight off infections is dictated primarily by the strength and health of your immune system. The immune system is a complex conglomeration and cooperation of cells, proteins, organs, and other items that are designed to recognize and destroy invading organisms. The proper way to fight off infections or illness naturally is to strengthen and boost this immune system in order that your body can do what it’s supposed to do. Here are some of the most important things you can do to boost your immune system:

  1. Take extra Vitamin C – If you’re healthy and not at risk, 500 mg is usually a good daily amount to shoot for. However, during flu season and/or if you’re at risk of exposure, you can bump this amount up to 2,000-3,000 mg per day. This vitamin increases the production of white cells and interferon, an antibody that stops viruses from entering cells.
  2. Eat garlic – Garlic is antibacterial, antiviral, antihelminic (anti-worm), antifungal, and anticancerous. It’s good… eat it regularly or take a quality supplement.
  3. Probiotics – These are the “friendly” bacteria that are normally present in the digestive tract. They serve multiple purposes including warding off invading bacteria and properly digesting your food for improved absorption of the nutrients you are eating.
  4. Drink lots of water – Water is the fluid of life. During an illness, there are tons of toxins and wastes that your body is trying to get rid of. Your body must have an ample supply of fresh water in order wash out these harmful substances and to carry good nutrients and immune cells to the sites of infection for battle. If you aren’t drinking enough water, it’s like flushing a toilet with the tank empty… you can’t get rid of the waste, and things just get more and more dirty.
  5. Stop eating sugar! – Not only will sugar feed the infection, but it reduces the effectiveness of white blood cells (your “killer” cells) for up to three hours after ingesting it. Double whammy negative.
  6. Zinc – This nutrient is essential to optimal operation of the immune system.
  7. At the first sign of infection, take Echinacea – This Native American herb has long been valued for its antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal properties. Studies indicate that it can stimulate production of immune cells. To make sure you’ve got a good quality source, put some on your tongue and you should feel a slight numbing sensation. No tingle… no good.
  8. Get plenty of rest – Simply speaking, if you’re using all of your energy and fuel on daily activities or work, you have less energy that your immune system can use to fight off illness.
  9. Avoid dairy products and red meat – These can actually increase mucous production and worsen clogged sinuses.
  10. Avoid coffee, alcohol, and smoking – These are all well known to decrease immune function.
  11. Sip Ginger tea – This is a warming herb that soothes the throat, and aids circulation. It helps cleanse the body and increase perspiration which can help with fever.
  12. Humidity helps – Infections and viruses thrive in cold, dry environments. Stay warm and increase the humidity of your environment. Sleep in a closed room with a humidifier or vaporizer running. Take hot, steamy showers. If you’re feeling dizzy and don’t feel safe standing in the shower, close the bathroom and run the shower on hot while seated nearby… sit back, relax, and breathe the steam in through the nose if possible.
  13. Ease sore throat pain by drinking hot herbal teas – Ginger, peppermint, marshmallow (the herb, not the sugar puffs), or slippery elm all make good herbal teas when you’ve got congestion and/or a sore throat. One of my favorites is strong green tea sweetened with a little honey and one drop of organic peppermint oil.
  14. Eat something spicy – horseradish and cayenne are good for loosening the sinuses, increasing circulation, and increasing perspiration. Again… warming herbs.
  15. Eat warming foods that are easy to digest – Like chicken noodle soup or other broths. And you thought this was just Gramma’s solution. Turns out Grandma was a pretty smart old bird. Want to make them even better tasting and more effective? Season them with cayenne, garlic, or ginger.
  16. Wash, cleanse, clean – This seems like a no-brainer, but often we don’t take it far enough. Wash your hands regularly; especially if someone else in the house is sick. Change and wash the sheets on the bed and pillowcases. Disinfect the bathrooms and kitchen. Use a new toothbrush. Wash the throw blankets on the couch. Etc. Think about all of the different things you come in contact with that can harbor bacteria or viruses even for a short time (computer keyboard, mouse, telephone,… everything). Clean these things regularly to avoid re-infection.

So, let’s wrap it up and recap. One more time… antibiotics don’t kill viruses. Stop demanding or rushing to antibiotics every time you feel a sniffle coming on. Most infections can be fought off naturally. It’s what your body’s immune system is designed to do. One of the best things about boosting your immune system and fighting colds and flu naturally is that your body develops antibodies that stay in your system to increase your immunity the next time you are exposed to a virus or bacteria. This means you are less likely to succumb to an infection or illness if you come in contact with it again.

If you have any further questions, please feel free to comment here or send me an email. Good luck, and stay healthy!

Dr. Gray

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The Truth About Vitamin C

Posted by Dr. Gray on Monday, September 21, 2009

There are many misconceptions about this valuable vitamin. Most commonly, Vitamin C is sold as a supplement under the name of ascorbic acid. However, what most people do not understand is that ascorbic acid is merely a small percentage of a much larger entity known as the Vitamin C Complex. The FDA has decided to rate any “vitamin C” product according to how much ascorbic acid it contains. In actuality, the real value of this vitamin is not only the ascorbic acid component; it is all the other components that make up the entire complex.

Vitamin C Complex contains what is referred to as the vitamin P factors (bioflavanoids) which help with vascular integrity. Patients deficient in bioflavanoids have a tendency to bruise easily or bleed in their gums while brushing their teeth. What happens is that the blood vessels break or rupture too easily and then bleed. So this vitamin P factor makes the vessels more durable. Vitamin K is also a constituent of the Vitamin C Complex. Vitamin K is actually its own blood clotting factor. It promotes the release of prothrombin. Another valuable component of the Vitamin C Complex is vitamin J… aka “the J factor.” This component increases the oxygen-carrying capacity of the blood. Patients who are sick need to get oxygen to the tissues, so it can oxidize bacterial or viral toxins to eliminate them with carbon dioxide. The Vitamin C Complex also contains many valuable enzymes with the most important being tyrosinase. This enzyme helps activate the adrenal glands. Ascorbic acid is also a very important component to the Vitamin C complex. It helps acidify the body which helps when we are sick. When we are sick our body tends to be more alkaline.

In a proper Vitamin C supplement of 500 mg, about .01% or 5 mg should be ascorbic acid. The other 495 mg are the other constituents which make up the Vitamin C Complex. Most of the supplements which are sold over the counter may contain upwards of 500 mg of synthetic ascorbic acid and only about 25 mg of the very valuable Vitamin C complex constituents. If there were a supplement that contained 500 mg of natural ascorbic acid, the supplement would have to be the size of a golf ball. If you want to know if your supplement contains a natural Vitamin C, all you have to do is look at the potency. If the capsule or tablet is 500 mg and it contains more than 5 mg of ascorbic acid, it is a synthetic form of vitamin C. Natural forms of Vitamin C complex are extracted by removing water and fiber from whole food sources, such as organically grown alfalfa, mushrooms, buckwheat and rose hips. The remainder of the extract forms a powder which is put into a capsule form for consumption. It holds true that the closer we keep supplements to their natural state, the better the bioavailability of the nutrients.

Article by: Dr. Josh Sonsiadek

*This note is for educational purposes only, and is not intended as a primary therapy for any disease. The purpose for supplementation is to help support the normal processes of the body.*

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