Fresh Cucumber Juice

Move over celery juice there’s a new stallion in town, and he’s also packing vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Ladies and gentlemen, make room in your shopping carts and refrigerators for Mr. Cucumber. These bad boys are literally underrated. What’s so big about celery juice, and who started this trend? According to the New York Times, author Anthony William wrote “Medical Medium Celery Juice: The Most Powerful Medicine of Our Time Healing Millions Worldwide.” In it, he advises readers to drink 16 ounces of organic celery juice each morning on an empty stomach. He claims the celery juice can lead to clearer skin and weight loss, and help eliminate migraines and gout. Of course, these claims are not backed up by science. Plus, celebrities like Pharrell and Beyoncé are swearing by it. If you do your research, cucumbers and celery offer up very similar claims.

Top Cucumber Claims

  • Skin – reduce swelling/inflammation
  • Regulates blood pressure
  • Regulates sugar for diabetes
  • Lowers cholesterol
  • Aids in cancer reduction
  • Detoxes the body
  • Relieves constipation
  • Hydrates body

Top Celery Claims

  • Fights inflammation
  • Suppress arthritis pain
  • Aids in cancer reduction
  • Lowers cholesterol
  • Great for skin
  • Hydrating
  • Detoxes body
  • Aids in digestion

It all really boils down to preference. Both are healthy and have similar health claims. I choose to juice cucumbers because I prefer the taste. To tell you the truth, I’m not a huge fan of celery juice. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy eating celery but only in soups and salads. I’m currently growing cucumbers so I have a great supply to play with. They’re great for juicing because of their high water content and let’s not leave out the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits. Cucumbers are also an excellent source of vitamin K and molybdenum. I also enjoy eating them, but juicing will instantly allow my body to absorb all the great nutrients quicker.

Here’s my all time favorite cucumber juice. It’s quick and refreshing. Always choose organic produce.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 Large cucumber
  • 1 Granny Smith Apple
  • 1/2 Lime (squeezed)

Here’s another one of my favorite cucumber juice:

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 Large cucumber
  • 8 Kale leaves
  • 1 Medium finger length ginger (peeled)
  • 1 Granny Smith Apple

However, if you’re making for two or more people, then double up, triple up, or quadruple up on the ingredients.

Enjoy!

  • Resource:
  • Benefit of Cucumbers
  • 10 Cucumber Health Benefits You Shouldn’t Ignore
  • How to get the health benefits of cucumber
  • Does celery juice have health benefits

    Advertisements

    Why Some Dairy Products are More Closely Linked to Parkinson’s Disease

    Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

    Parkinson’s is the second most common neurodegenerative disease after Alzheimer’s. Each year in the United States, approximately 60,000 new cases are diagnosed, bringing the total number of current cases up to about a million, with tens of thousands of people dying from the disease every year. The dietary component most often implicated is milk, as I discuss in my video Could Lactose Explain the Milk and Parkinson’s Disease Link?, and contamination of milk by neurotoxins has been considered the “only possible explanation.” High levels of organochlorine pesticide residues have been found in milk, as well as in the most affected areas in the brains of Parkinson’s victims on autopsy. Pesticides in milk have been found around the world, so perhaps the dairy industry should require toxin screenings of milk. In fact, inexpensive, sensitive, portable tests are now available with no false positives and no false negatives, providing rapid detection of highly toxic pesticides in milk. Now, we just have to convince the dairy industry to actually do it.

    Others are not as convinced of the pesticide link. “Despite clear-cut associations between milk intake and PD [Parkinson’s disease] incidence, there is no rational explanation for milk being a risk factor for PD.” If it were the pesticides present in milk that could accumulate in the brain, we would assume that the pesticides would build up in the fat. However, the link between skimmed milk and Parkinson’s is just as strong. So, researchers have suggested reverse causation: The milk didn’t cause Parkinson’s; the Parkinson’s caused the milk. Parkinson’s makes some people depressed, they reasoned, and depressed people may drink more milk. As such, they suggested we shouldn’t limit dairy intake for people with Parkinson’s, especially because they are so susceptible to hip fractures. But we now know that milk doesn’t appear to protect against hip fractures after all and may actually increase the risk of both bone fractures and death. (For more on this, see my video Is Milk Good for Our Bones?.) Ironically, this may offer a clue as to what’s going on in Parkinson’s, but first, let’s look at this reverse causation argument: Did milk lead to Parkinson’s, or did Parkinson’s lead to milk?

    What are needed are prospective cohort studies in which milk consumption is measured first and people are followed over time, and such studies still found a significant increase in risk associated with dairy intake. The risk increased by 17 percent for every small glass of milk a day and 13 percent for every daily half slice of cheese. Again, the standard explanation is that the risk is from all the pesticides and other neurotoxins in dairy, but that doesn’t explain why there’s more risk attached to some dairy products than others. Pesticide residues are found in all dairy products, so why should milk be associated with Parkinson’s more than cheese is? Besides the pesticides themselves, there are other neurotoxic contaminants in milk, like tetrahydroisoquinolines, found in the brains of people with Parkinson’s disease, but there are higher levels of these in cheese than in milk, though people may drink more milk than eat cheese.

    The relationship between dairy and Huntington’s disease appears similar. Huntington’s is a horrible degenerative brain disease that runs in families and whose early onset may be doubled by dairy consumption, but again, this may be more milk consumption than cheese consumption, which brings us back to the clue in the more-milk-more-mortality study.

    Anytime we hear disease risks associated with more milk than cheese—more oxidative stress and inflammation—we should think galactose, the milk sugar rather than the milk fat, protein, or pesticides. That’s why we think milk drinkers specifically appeared to have a higher risk of bone fractures and death, which may explain the neurodegeneration findings, too. Not only do rare individuals with an inability to detoxify the galactose found in milk suffer damage to their bones, but they also exhibit damage to their brains.


    Other than avoiding dairy products, what can we do to reduce our risk of Parkinson’s? See Is Something in Tobacco Protective Against Parkinson’s Disease?and Peppers and Parkinson’s: The Benefits of Smoking Without the Risks?.

    You may also be interested in my videos Treating Parkinson’s Disease with Dietand Parkinson’s Disease and the Uric Acid Sweet Spot.

    For the effect of foods on another neurodegenerative disease that affects our ability to move normally, see ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease): Fishing for Answersand Diet and Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS).

    Written By 

    In health,
    Michael Greger, M.D.

    PS: If you haven’t yet, you can subscribe to my free videos here and watch my live, year-in-review presentations:

    Cranberries for Urinary and Prostate Health

    Did you know that urinary tract infections or diseases affect both women and men? UTI’s can put men at risk for prostate illness as well. The British Journal of Nutrition recently published a study where research followed 42 men with lower urinary tract disease. They found that the men also had elevated PSA and non-bacterial prostatitis. The researchers assigned the men to take either a supplement with 1,500 mg per day of dried powdered cranberries or a placebo.

    The researchers tracked the men for six months while they took either a powdered cranberry supplement of 1,500 mg a day or a placebo, and then evaluated them with the International Prostate Symptom Score. This test evaluates urination, average flow, total volume, and post-void residual volume. The men taking cranberry showed significant improvement. There was no improvement in the control group. It makes common sense that if cranberries help wipe out UTI’s, it’s responsible that they would also help your prostate as well. Also, the men who took the cranberry supplement experienced lower PSA levels. It is likely that one will have to take 1,500 mg of dried cranberry powder in order to have effective results as did the men in this study, a dose that is easily obtainable both in health stores and online.

    There are many ways to incorporate cranberries into your diet. It’s not just an American traditional Thanksgiving side dish. Cranberries can be added at any time throughout the year. Dried cranberries especially are delicious in salads and baked goods. Swap out your usual raisins for cranberries. Another way to incorporate cranberries into your daily diet is by adding them to smoothies. Frozen cranberries are available all year round. both antioxidant and anti-inflammatory phytonutrients. It’s also worth noting that cranberries are a very good source of vitamin C and a good source of vitamin E, two pivotal antioxidant nutrients. And in addition, they are a very good source of the mineral manganese, which is needed for proper function of some forms of the enzyme superoxide dismutase.

    How do you incorporate cranberries in your diet? Please share…

    Source: “The effectiveness of dried cranberries (Vaccinium macrocarpon) in men with lower urinary tract symptoms,” Vidlar A, Simanek V, et al, Br J Nutr, 2010; 104(8): 1181-9.

    My Radishes Are in Season 

    I love adding radishes to salads because it adds a beautiful color, flavor, and dimension. They have a slight pepper taste that’s tolerable to small children, and an apple like crunch. Slice them thinly and add them to your salads. These red beauties are healthy for you especially, if you have blood pressure issues. They’re known for regulating pressure and reliving congestion. Radishes have antibacterial, antifungal, and detoxifying properties. They’re an amazing source of fiber, which is beneficial for keeping your digestive system smooth and regular. Radishes are also a natural diuretic, purifying the kidney and urinary systems and relieving inflammation. If you want to boost your vitamin C levels, just add some radishes to your diet. Try this simple salad with kale, radish, figs, bell peppers and some grapes. No dressing required, just a little squeeze of fresh lemon juice to add some zing.  
      
    Growing radishes literally takes about 60 days to mature…it’s very easy to grow. The Old Almanac reccomends planting 4-6 weeks before the average date of last frost. Direct sow the seeds in your garden ½ inch to an inch deep and one inch apart in rows 12 inches apart. Thin to about 2-inch spacings. Radishes need sun and even watering. Within 4-5 days the seeds will germinate. When they’re ready, you’ll see a a vibrant red ball. The longer you leave it in the ground, the bigger the radish. 

    How do you normally enjoy your radish? Do you also grow them? I would love to hear from you. 

    Resources:  Planting Radish Radish Nutrition Facts 

    5 Sweet Pomegranate Facts


    Health Benefits of Pomegranates

    Here’s a young pomegranate growing. In the Northern Hemisphere, the fruit is typically in season from September to February, and in the Southern Hemisphere from March to May. The pomegranate tree is actually a pretty small tree growing 6 to 10 m (20 to 33 ft) high, the pomegranate has multiple spiny branches, and is extremely long-lived, with some specimens in France surviving for 200 years. The fruit is considered a berry, a gigantic berry if you really think of it with tiny juice filled seeds on the inside.  The pomegranate fruit offers beneficial healing properties. These are some highlights:

    • Pomegranate has anti-inflammatory properties that may protect against cancer and other chronic diseases.
    • Pomegranate has anti-angiogenic properties, meaning that they may help to stop tumors from acquiring a blood supply, preventing those tumors from receiving the nutrients that would allow them to grow larger.
    • Pomegranate is one of the few foods (mushrooms are another) that contain natural aromatase inhibitors. This means that they inhibit the production of estrogen, which can reduce breast cancer risk. 
    • After treatment for prostate cancer, two studies have shown that pomegranate juice or supplements slowed the increase in PSA.
    • Protects Against Heart Disease. Consume the pomegranate juice to reduce oxidative stress.  The pomegranate reduces LDL oxidation (a contributor to atherosclerotic plaque development). 


    References 

    How to cut a pomegranate?

    Fruit Facts: Pomegranate 

    Aviram M, Dornfeld L: Pomegranate juice consumption inhibits serum angiotensin converting enzyme activity and reduces systolic blood pressure. Atherosclerosis 2001, 158:195-198.

    Aviram M, Volkova N, Coleman R, et al: Pomegranate phenolics from the peels, arils, and flowers are antiatherogenic: studies in vivo in atherosclerotic apolipoprotein e-deficient (E 0) mice and in vitro in cultured macrophages and lipoproteins. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemis ry 2008, 56:1148-1157.

    Wolf B: Pomegranates: Jewels In The Fruit Crown. 2006.

    Panchal SK, Ward L, Brown L: Ellagic acid attenuates high-carbohydrate, high-fat diet-induced metabolic syndrome in rats. Eur J Nutr 2012.

    Adams LS, Seeram NP, Aggarwal BB, et al: Pomegranate juice, total pomegranate ellagitannins, and punicalagin suppress inflammatory cell signaling in colon cancer cells. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemis ry 2006, 54:980-985.

    Khan N, Afaq F, Kweon MH, et al: Oral consumption of pomegranate fruit extract inhibits growth and progression of primary lung tumors in mice. Cancer Res 2007, 67:3475-3482.

    Toi M, Bando H, Ramachandran C, et al: Preliminary studies on the anti-angiogenic potential of pomegranate fractions in vitro and in vivo. Angiogenesis 2003, 6:121-128.

    Fresh is best! 

      
    There’s nothing better than reaping fresh vegetables from your garden, especially broccoli. Broccoli is one of those vegetables that needs to be eaten right away because it losses the nutrients after it’s been picked. Whether you enjoy your broccoli raw or cooked, harvesting from your garden or buying from the farmers market is your best option. Don’t rely on the store-bought versions.  They’re soft and almost limp. Here I am displaying my harvest above, and I ate some raw and cooked that very same day. There’s a huge difference in the taste.  This crucifer was crisp, subtly sweet and utterly tender. 

    Broccoli is a good source of the carotenoids lutein, vitamins C, A, K, folate, and fiber, and a very good source of manganese, tryptophan, potassium, b-vitamins, magnesium, omega 3’s, iron, calcium, zinc, and vitamin E.  All of which are important for cancer prevention and other degenerative diseases. 

    Last year, I planted broccoli for the first time but I was not successful.  My timing was way off.  I sowed the seeds too late and by the time the plants matured, snow came. This year, I purchased six seedlings from my farmers market and transplanted them mid-spring. I harvested one already last week, so this is my second harvest thus far.    

    Here’s a before picture. That’s my uncles hand there. The plant is humongous. The bigger you space them from one another, the bigger the broccoli heads basically. It’s amazing and very rewarding growing your own vegetables. The benefits are endless.  I’ve already started on my fall crops, and I’m including cauliflowers this year. 

    Wish me luck!

    Avocados “Bad Rap”

    Avocados are ever so popular amongst vegans and vegetarians.  For some, it’s their main source of fat. However, once upon a time avocado use to have a “bad rap” as a vegetable that is too high in fat. According to the World’s Healthiest Foods website, research shows that avocado has about 85% of its calories derives from fat, the fat contained in avocado is unusual and provides research-based health benefits. 

    The threefold unusual nature of avocado fat: 

    First are the phytosterols that account for a major portion of avocado fats. These phytosterols include beta-sitosterol, campesterol, and stigmasterol and they are key supporters of our inflammatory system that help keep inflammation under control. 

    Second are avocado’s polyhydroxylated fatty alcohols (PFAs). PFAs are widely present in ocean plants but fairly unique among land plants—making the avocado tree (and its fruit) unusual in this regard.  The avocado’s phytosterols, its PFAs also provide us with anti-inflammatory benefits. 

    Third is the unusually high amount of a fatty acid called oleic acid in avocado. Oleic acid, or omega-9 helps our digestive tract form transport molecules for fat that can increase our absorption of fat-soluble nutrients like carotenoids.  

    So don’t be fooled by avocado’s bad rap as a high-fat food. It’s definitely high in fat, but “Good Fat”.  Which would you prefer, a big fat chunk of steak or an avocado?  I will go with the plant-based option. The other may lead you to a stroke or heart disease.  Avocados are unique because their health benefit outweighs any animal fat. 

     

    Resource: Avocados 

    Malic Acid in Your Granny Smith Apples

    IMG_3276.JPG

    Granny Smith apples are a crisp, tart delicious apple. They contain more malic acid, which is responsible for their distinctive “sour” taste than any other apple. I think the Granny Smith’s are the best tasting apple to juice with. The tart flavor adds a wonderful dimension to juices, there’s also a slight hint of sweetness in them that’s perfect for green juices.

    Granny Smith apples is a key ingredient in the Gerson Therapy because the acid is super beneficial, as it stimulates the metabolism and helps to detox heavy metals. Katheryn Alexander, a Gerson practitioner in Australia, also explains how tart apples enhance the other ingredients in the juices:

    “Sour apples are higher in potassium malate and higher in pectin (good for chelating heavy metals), they can also extract higher amounts of nutrients from the pulped vegetables due to their higher acidity, so you end up with a more nutrient-rich juice.”


    Granny Smith apples are also delicious in apple pies. They add an amazing tart and sweetish taste when combined with other sweet apples.

    Resource:
    Gerson Therapy
    Vegan Apple Pie

    Fruit Fact: Grapefruits Fight Free Radicals

    20140323-095829.jpg

    Free radicals causes cells in our bodies to breakdown, and foods that are high in vitamin C can significantly reduce and prevent oxidative stress on our cells. Thus grapefruits, carrots, oranges and tomatoes to name a few, are exceptionally high in vitamin C.

    Oxidative stress is now thought to make a significant contribution to all inflammatory diseases (arthritis, vasculitis, glomerulonephritis, lupus erythematous, adult respiratory diseases syndrome), ischemic diseases (heart diseases, stroke, intestinal ischema), hemochromatosis, acquired immunodeficiency syndrome, emphysema, organ transplantation, gastric ulcers, hypertension and preeclampsia, neurological disorder (Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, muscular dystrophy), alcoholism, smoking-related diseases, and many others.

    An excess of oxidative stress can lead to the oxidation of lipids and proteins, which is associated with changes in their structure and functions.

    Oxidative stress also causes premature aging and wrinkles. If you don’t want to look old before your time, choose the right foods.

    The foods we choose to eat contributes to the health of our cells. What we put in our bodies everyday significantly affects us on a cellular level. If you choose to smoke, drink alcohol and take drugs, your cells will be damaged. If you choose to eat processed foods and junk foods, your cells will be damaged. It’s easy science. Know the facts and make wiser choices.

    To read more about oxidative stress and to obtain the article where I found this information click here.

    Fruit Fact: Lemon

    20131208-225425.jpg

    Lemon water has an alkalizing effect in the body. Even if you drink it just before any meal, it will help your body maintain a higher pH than if you didn’t drink it.

    The higher or more alkaline your pH, the more your inner terrain is resistant to minor and major diseases.

    Lemons contain ascorbic acid (vitamin C), which demonstrates anti-inflammatory effects, and is used as complementary support for asthma and other respiratory symptoms. Plus, it enhances iron absorption in the body; iron plays an important role in immune function. Lemon also contains citric acid, flavonoids, B-complex vitamins, calcium, copper, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, and fiber.

    I’m an avid lemon water drinker. It’s my morning, afternoon and night time go-to beverage. The best part is the vital nutrients this simple drink encompasses. I wouldn’t trade it for anything else.

    Other great reads:
    Ten Reason Why you Should Drink Lemon Water