Dr. Gray's Straight Talk

Honest and blunt healthcare discussion and advice.

Posts Tagged ‘vitamins’

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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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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No to Drugs… Yes to Nutrition!

Posted by Dr. Gray on Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Excerpted from To Your Health, Jan ’09 by Ronald Klatz, MD, DO

Research is increasingly demonstrating the value of natural, nontoxic, nutritionally-based preventive approaches and interventive therapies, particularly for the purpose of prolonging a healthy, productive lifespan. Let’s review recent study findings that validate the safety and efficacy of various nutritional supplements for the prevention and treatment of aging-related diseases.

Don’t run short on vitamin D: At Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, researchers have completed a study suggesting that low blood levels of vitamin D are associated with a 26 percent increased risk of death from any cause. Vitamin D also may help prevent type 2 diabetes, according to a recent study. Good food sources of vitamin D include salmon, cod liver oil, fortified milk.

Remember your omega-3: Following on two studies published in April 2007 in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition that reported regular consumption of foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids was effective in preventing age-related cognitive decline, Chih-Chiang Chiu, from Taipei City Hospital (Taiwan), and colleagues found that omega-3s actually provide therapeutic benefits for the condition. Another study suggests increased consumption of omega-3 fatty acids also slashes the risk of age-related macular degeneration. Good food sources of omega-3 fatty acids include oily fish (mackerel, herring, sardines, etc.).

Reduce the pressure with potassium: A study led by Mark C. Houston, MD, reports that increased intake of potassium, (and possibly magnesium and calcium) by dietary means may reduce the risk of high blood pressure and decrease blood pressure in people with hypertension. High intake of these minerals also may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease and stroke. Good food sources of potassium include sweet potatoes, soybeans and bananas. Good sources of magnesium include pumpkin seeds, spinach and unrefined grains.

A little dark chocolate for the heart: In a recent study, researchers collected subjects’ dietary habits via food surveys and measured serum levels of C-reactive protein (CRP), a blood marker of inflammation. The team determined that CRP levels were 17 percent lower in subjects who consumed dark chocolate as compared to those who did not consume any at all.

Calcium — not just for strong bones and teeth: Mitsumasa Umesawa, from the University of Tsukuba (Japan), and colleagues followed 41,526 Japanese men and women (ages 40 to 59 at the study’s start) for 13 years. Men and women who consumed the highest calcium from all dietary sources lowered their risk of stroke by 30 percent, reported the study, published in the July 17, 2008 issue of Stroke. Good food sources of calcium include plain yogurt and cheese.

To learn more about the many benefits of sound nutrition and how you can design a nutritional program that’s right for you and your family, talk to your doctor.

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