Six things you can do to if you want to live to a hundred

by on Jan.13, 2014, under Health

From Ergo Log
If you are 60 you can triple your chances of reaching 71 if your lifestyle includes the following six criteria: you don’t smoke, you eat healthily, you take exercise regularly, you sleep well, you are not sedentary all day and you have daily contact with friends. Epidemiologists at the Universidad Autonoma de Madrid write about this in BMC Medicine.

The Spaniards base their conclusions on a study in which they followed 3465 compatriots from 2000/1 to 2011. At the start of the study, when all participants were 60 or older, the researchers recorded the lifestyle of their subjects.
They started by looking at three lifestyle factors of which epidemiologists know that these are jointly cacapable of preventing about half of the deaths that occur: not smoking, enough physical activity and a healthy diet.

The researchers’ description of a healthy diet was one consisting of relatively high proportions of fruit, vegetables, healthy vegetable fats, whole grain products and fish. Animal fats and red and processed meat made a diet less healthy.

The epidemiologists also looked at three lifestyle factors that have only recently emerged as being relevant in epidemiology. Sleep is one of these factors. Studies have shown that people who sleep 7-8 hours a day live longer than people who sleep either noticeably shorter or even longer.

The two other less traditional lifestyle factors were sitting and contact with friends. Recent studies have shown that people who spend less than eight hours a day sitting down live longer than people who sit for longer than eight hours, and people who have daily contact with friends live longer than people who don’t.

The table below shows the effects of each of the six lifestyle factors alone. Large amounts of physical exercise and not smoking weighed heaviest. Both of these factors reduced the mortality risk by about 35 percent.
lifestylefactorslongevity Six things you can do to if you want to live to a hundred
If you are 60 you can triple your chances of reaching 71 if your lifestyle includes the following six criteria: you don’t smoke, you eat healthily, you take exercise regularly, you sleep well, you are not sedentary all day and you have daily contact with friends. Epidemiologists at the Universidad Autonoma de Madrid write about this in BMC Medicine.

Below left you can see that the combination of the three traditional healthy lifestyle factors halved the mortality risk over the 11 years that the study lasted. The combination of the three non-traditional lifestyle factors reduced the mortality risk by a third.
lifestylefactorslongevity2 Six things you can do to if you want to live to a hundred

If you are 60 you can triple your chances of reaching 71 if your lifestyle includes the following six criteria: you don’t smoke, you eat healthily, you take exercise regularly, you sleep well, you are not sedentary all day and you have daily contact with friends. Epidemiologists at the Universidad Autonoma de Madrid write about this in BMC Medicine.

The combination of all six healthy lifestyle factors reduced the mortality risk by a factor five.
lifestylefactorslongevity3 Six things you can do to if you want to live to a hundred
lifestylefactorslongevity4 Six things you can do to if you want to live to a hundred
If you are 60 you can triple your chances of reaching 71 if your lifestyle includes the following six criteria: you don’t smoke, you eat healthily, you take exercise regularly, you sleep well, you are not sedentary all day and you have daily contact with friends. Epidemiologists at the Universidad Autonoma de Madrid write about this in BMC Medicine.

If you are 60 you can triple your chances of reaching 71 if your lifestyle includes the following six criteria: you don’t smoke, you eat healthily, you take exercise regularly, you sleep well, you are not sedentary all day and you have daily contact with friends. Epidemiologists at the Universidad Autonoma de Madrid write about this in BMC Medicine.

The figure above shows what this means in terms of survival chances. Of the over-sixties who had one or none healthy lifestyle factors, thirty percent were still alive after 11 years. Of the over-sixties who had all six healthy lifestyle factors, eighty percent were still alive after 11 years.

“These results are of particular relevance for countries like Spain, where life expectancy in the population is very long, both at birth and at age 60”, the researchers write. “They suggest that longevity can be further increased when older adults adopt a healthy lifestyle.”

BMC Med. 2013 Feb 22;11:47.

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Organic, Cage-Free, Free-Range or Pastured… Sorting Through the Confusion on Egg Labels

by on Jan.13, 2014, under Health

By Dr. Mercola

Proteins are nutrients that are essential to the building, maintenance and repair of your body tissues such as your skin, internal organs and muscles. They are also the major components of your immune system and hormones.

Proteins are found in all types of food, but only foods from animal sources, such as meat and eggs contain complete proteins, meaning they provide the eight essential amino acids.

Eggs, as well as the chickens they come from, are both healthful sources of protein but ONLY if raised the way nature intended… Unfortunately, as illustrated in the video above, today’s agricultural model of factory farming has complicated what used to be a simple affair.

Organic, Cage-Free, Free-Range, or Pasture-Raised?

Health conscious consumers know to look for designations like “organic,” “free-range,” “pastured” and “cage-free,” but while you may think these are interchangeable, they’re actually not. In many ways these labels are little more than creative advertising.

The definitions of “free-range” are such that the commercial egg industry can run industrial farm egg laying facilities and still call them “free-range” eggs, despite the fact that the birds’ foraging conditions are far from what you’d call natural.

For example, regulations on the use of the term “free-range” do not specify the amount of time the hens must spend outdoors or the amount of outdoor space each hen must have access to. Nor do they indicate that the hen must have access to a pasture diet.

True free-range eggs, now increasingly referred to as “pasture-raised,” are from hens that roam freely outdoors on a pasture where they can forage for their natural diet, which includes seeds, green plants, insects, and worms.

Large commercial egg facilities typically house tens of thousands of hens and can even go up to hundreds of thousands of hens. Obviously they cannot allow all of them to forage freely. They can still be called “cage-free” or “free-range” though, if they’re not confined to an individual cage. But these labels say nothing about the conditions they ARE raised in, which are still deplorable.

So, while flimsy definitions of “free range” and “cage-free” allow such facilities to sell their products as free range, please beware that a hen that is let outside into a barren lot for mere minutes a day, and is fed a diet of corn, soy, cottonseed meals and synthetic additives is NOT a free-range hen, and simply will not produce the same quality eggs as its foraging counterpart. There’s also the issue of veterinary drug contamination. As reported in the featured article1:

“Formally certified organic accreditation – which is a membership-based process and comes with it a logo on packaging – signifies whether the chicken is free from unnatural additives or processes. Most brands don’t actually hold this accreditation.

[C]ertified organic poultry is the only poultry product that is 100 per cent guaranteed to be antibiotic-free. “Antibiotics can be fed to conventional chickens to accelerate weight gain and treat or prevent disease. “Free-ranging chickens can be treated with therapeutic antibiotics under veterinary direction and sold with the use of coccidiostats [a chemical agent added to animal feed]”, says Sally, author of Eat Yourself Healthy in 28 Days…”

So to summarize, what you’re really looking for is chicken and eggs that are both certified organic and true pasture-raised. Barring organic certification, which is cost-prohibitive for many small farmers, you could just make sure the farmer raises his chickens according to organic, free-range standards, allowing his flock to forage freely for their natural diet, and aren’t fed antibiotics, corn and soy.

Organic Pastured Eggs Contain Superior Nutrients

Testing2 has confirmed that true free-range eggs are far more nutritious than commercially raised eggs. The dramatically superior nutrient levels are most likely the result of the differences in diet between free ranging, pastured hens and commercially farmed hens. In a 2007 egg-testing project, Mother Earth News compared the official U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) nutrient data for commercial eggs with eggs from hens raised on pasture and found that the latter typically contains the following:
2/3 more vitamin A 3 times more vitamin E
2 times more omega-3 fatty acids 7 times more beta carotene

Where and How to Find High Quality Pasture-Raised Eggs

Your best source for fresh eggs is a local farmer that allows his hens to forage freely outdoors. If you live in an urban area, visiting a local health food store is typically the quickest route to finding high-quality local egg sources. Your local farmers market is another source for fresh “pasture-raised” eggs, and is a great way to meet the people who produce your food. With face-to-face contact, you can get your questions answered and know exactly what you’re buying. Better yet, visit the farm and ask for a tour.

Most will be eager to show off their operation, as long as they’ve got nothing to hide. Your egg farmer should be paying attention to proper nutrition, clean water, adequate housing space, and good ventilation to reduce stress on the hens and support their immunity.

You can tell the eggs are free range or pastured by the color of the egg yolk. Foraged hens produce eggs with bright orange yolks. Dull, pale yellow yolks are a sure sign you’re getting eggs form caged hens that are not allowed to forage for their natural diet. offers a helpful organic egg scorecard that rates egg manufacturers based on 22 criteria that are important for organic consumers. According to Cornucopia, their report “showcases ethical family farms, and their brands, and exposes factory farm producers and brands in grocery store coolers that threaten to take over organic livestock agriculture.” Last year, I visited Joel Salatin at his Polyface farm in Virginia. He’s truly one of the pioneers in sustainable agriculture, and you can take a virtual tour through his chicken farm operation in the following video.

Ignore Outdated Warnings about Eggs Causing Heart Disease

The idea that eggs, as a source of saturated fats, are unhealthy and promote heart disease is simply not true. While it’s true that fats from animal sources contain cholesterol, this is not necessarily something that will harm you. On the contrary, the evidence clearly shows that eggs are one of the most healthful foods you can eat, and can actually help prevent disease, including heart disease.

For example, one 2009 study3 discovered that the proteins in cooked eggs are converted by gastrointestinal enzymes, producing peptides that act as ACE inhibitors (common prescription medications for lowering blood pressure). Also, although egg yolks are relatively high in cholesterol, numerous studies have confirmed that eggs have virtually nothing to do with raising your cholesterol. For instance, research published in the International Journal of Cardiology showed that, in healthy adults, eating eggs every day did not produce a negative effect on endothelial function (an aggregate measure of cardiac risk); nor did it increase cholesterol levels. Fortunately, the mainstream media are finally starting to report the truth on this issue. CNN, for example, recently reported on how the health benefits of eggs clearly outweigh any potential risks.

This is a Flash-based video and may not be viewable on mobile devices.

How You Cook Your Eggs Does Matter

One caveat though: I do not agree with CNN’s statement that eggs are healthful regardless of how you prepare them…. Ideally, you’ll want to eat your eggs raw, or as close to raw as possible. Keep in mind that the closer to raw you eat them, the more important it is to make sure the eggs are truly organic and pasture-raised, as CAFO-raised eggs are far more prone to be contaminated with pathogenic bacteria like salmonella. As long as you’re getting fresh pastured eggs, your risk of getting ill from a raw egg is quite slim.

If you choose not to eat your egg yolks raw, poached or soft-boiled would be the next best option. Scrambled or fried eggs are the worst, as this oxidizes the cholesterol in the egg yolk. If you have high cholesterol this could pose a problem as oxidized cholesterol may cause some damage in your body. Egg yolks also contain valuable antioxidants4, which are reduced by as much as 50 percent when the egg is fried or boiled. Microwaving your eggs will result in an even greater reduction in antioxidant content. Heat will also alter the chemical composition of the egg protein, which can easily lead to allergic reactions. When consumed in their raw state, the incidence of egg allergy is very rare.

Also, contrary to popular belief, fresh pastured eggs that have an intact cuticle do not require refrigeration, as long as you are going to consume them within a relatively short period of time. This is well known in many other countries, including parts of Europe, and many organic farmers will not refrigerate their eggs. The shelf life for an unrefrigerated egg is around 7 to 10 days, compared to 30-45 days when refrigerated. Keep this in mind when purchasing eggs from your grocery store, as by the time they hit the shelf, they may already be three weeks old, or older.

Are You Ready to Try Your Hand at Raising Your Own Chickens?

As you saw in the Polyfarm video above, raising chickens is easier than you might think, and many people across the US have taken to putting in a chicken coop in their backyard. If you are interested in the possibility of raising a few chickens yourself, a good place to begin is by asking yourself a few questions. You can also visit Joel’s Polyface Farm Web site for more details on raising chickens.

Can I dedicate some time each day? You can expect to devote about 10 minutes a day, an hour per month, and a few hours twice a year to the care and maintenance of your brood.
Do I have enough space? They will need a minimum of 10 square feet per bird to roam, preferably more. The more foraging they can do, the healthier and happier they’ll be and the better their eggs will be.
What are the chicken regulations in my town? You will want to research this before jumping in because some places have zoning restrictions and even noise regulations (which especially applies if you have a rooster).
Are my neighbors on board with the idea? It’s a good idea to see if they have any concerns early on. When they learn they might be the recipients of occasional farm-fresh eggs, they might be more agreeable.
Can I afford a flock? There are plenty of benefits to growing your own eggs, but saving money isn’t one of them. There are significant upfront costs to getting a coop set up, plus ongoing expenses for supplies.
-] Sources and References

1 March 22, 2013
2 October/November 2007
3 Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry 2009, 57 (2); 471–477
4 Food Chemistry November 1, 2011: 129(1); 155-161

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Almonds contain fewer calories than you think

by on Dec.29, 2013, under Health

From Ergo Log
Nutritionists have encountered a few times what we call the ‘almond mystery’: people who start to eat more almonds don’t get fatter. [Br J Nutr. 2007 Sep;98(3):651-6.] Sounds strange, doesn’t it? Especially if you consider that a handful of almonds is worth at least 150 kilocalories. Researchers at the US Department of Agriculture have solved the puzzle.
We wrote a few days ago about research done by journalists and scientists, which shows that food labels tend to underestimate the number of calories in manufactures food products. A few months ago researchers at the US Department of Agriculture published the results of a study which indicate that the opposite is the case for almonds. You don’t absorb anything like all the calories that almonds contain.
The researchers started by giving 18 test subjects a standard diet for 18 days, followed by a diet that was supplemented by 42 g almonds each day for 18 days, and finally a diet supplemented by 84 g almonds for another 18 days.
So, you don’t absorb anything like all the energy that almonds contain.
The effect is pretty strong: according to the Americans’ calculations you only absorb 68 percent of the energy that the tables suggest is present in almonds.
The researchers gave their subjects whole almonds. Their study says nothing about ground almonds, but the energy uptake from ground almonds is probably considerably higher. The study was funded by the Almond Board of California. []
“When an 84-g serving of almonds was incorporated into the diet daily, the energy digestibility of the diet as a whole decreased by 5 percent”, the researchers write. “Therefore, for individuals with energy intakes between 2000 and 3000 kcal/day, incorporation of 84 g almonds into the diet daily in exchange for highly digestible foods would result in a reduction of available energy of 100–150 kcal/day.”
The researchers performed a similar study with pistachio nuts. [Br J Nutr. 2012 Jan; 107(1): 120-5.] The results of this study are not as attractive to slimmers who like their nuts. The subjects absorbed 95 percent of the energy contained in the pistachio nuts.

Am J Clin Nutr. 2012 Aug;96(2):296-301.

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Handful of almonds in the afternoon improves body composition

by on Dec.29, 2013, under Health

From Ergo Log
If you say 43 g almonds, the nutritional table says 262 calories, 8 g protein, 22 g healthy fats and 5 g carbohydrates. If you get people to eat 43 g almonds on top of their regular diet, you’d expect them to put on weight. But according to researchers at the University of South Australia that doesn’t happen. If you eat the almonds in the afternoon, your body composition actually improves.

Almonds are calorie bombs, but they don’t make you fat as nutritionists have known since the start of this century. How does this work? Perhaps because you don’t absorb all the calories that almonds contain, we wrote six months ago.

Australian researchers recently published the results of a human study in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, which suggest that there’s more to the story. The Australians did an experiment with 137 subjects, all of whom were developing type 2 diabetes. They had a high fat percentage, and high glucose and insulin levels.

The researchers divided their subjects into five equal-sized groups. The first group, the control group, were not subjected to any interventions during the four weeks that the experiment lasted.

The subjects in the other four groups ate 43 g almonds every day. One group ate them at breakfast [Breakfast], another group ate the almonds as a mid-morning snack [Morning snack], yet another group ate the almonds at lunch [Lunch] and the last group ate them as an afternoon snack [Afternoon snack].
The participants were given no instructions to eat less, and at the end of the four weeks the researchers measured the subjects’ body composition. The figure below shows that the additional 262 calories in the form of almonds had not made the subjects any fatter.
If you say 43 g almonds, the nutritional table says 262 calories, 8 g protein, 22 g healthy fats and 5 g carbohydrates. If you get people to eat 43 g almonds on top of their regular diet, you’d expect them to put on weight. But according to researchers at the University of South Australia that doesn’t happen. If you eat the almonds in the afternoon, your body composition actually improves.
The most interesting results are the effects of eating almonds as an afternoon snack. The fat mass and waist measurement of the afternoon snack eaters went down and the lean body mass of this group increased. What more do you want?
The almonds also had a positive effect on the subjects’ glucose and insulin balances. Again, particularly in the subjects that had been given the almonds as an afternoon snack. The figure below shows the reduction in glucose level during the first hour after consuming the almonds.
If you say 43 g almonds, the nutritional table says 262 calories, 8 g protein, 22 g healthy fats and 5 g carbohydrates. If you get people to eat 43 g almonds on top of their regular diet, you’d expect them to put on weight. But according to researchers at the University of South Australia that doesn’t happen. If you eat the almonds in the afternoon, your body composition actually improves.
The researchers also discovered that the almond snack eaters were less hungry and automatically ate less other food. Apparently the extra 262 calories from the almonds were counterbalanced by an equal reduction in energy intake elsewhere in the diet.
The study was funded by the Almond Board of California.

Eur J Clin Nutr. 2013 Nov;67(11):1205-14.

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Anti-Alzheimer’s diet is an old friend

by on Dec.27, 2013, under Health

From Ergo Log
Brain researchers at the American Taub Institute uncovered an eating pattern that reduces the chance of developing Alzheimer’s by 38 percent. The Americans describe their epidemiological study in the Archives of Neurology.
The Americans followed over two thousand over 65’s in New York, who at the start of the study were all mentally fully alert. The researchers kept track of which participants developed Alzheimer’s. The researchers also knew what the participants ate, and used statistical techniques to derive which diet most reduced the risk of developing Alzheimer’s.

Are you ready?

Note these substances down: little or no full fat dairy produce, red meat, sausages, offal and butter, and lots of olive oil, nuts, fish, tomatoes, fruit, cabbage types, chicken and dark green leafy vegetables. This is the kind of diet that protects your brain against the effects of aging, the researchers discovered.

The figure below shows how many participants developed Alzheimer’s. The participants in the lowest tertile had a diet that least resembled the calculated anti-Alzheimer’s diet; the participants in the highest tertile had a diet that most resembled the anti-Alzheimer’s diet.
The protective diet is probably familiar to you. It bears a striking resemblance to the Mediterranean diet.

Arch Neurol. 2010;67(6):699-706.

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Eat nuts or peanuts and live longer

by on Dec.27, 2013, under Health

From Ergo Log
If you eat nuts or peanuts regularly your risk of dying is lower than if you don’t. According to a study published by epidemiologists at Harvard Medical School in the New England Journal of Medicine, a diet that is high in nuts and peanuts extends your life expectancy by offering protection against almost all kinds of fatal disease.

The Harvardians used data on over one hundred thousand people – 76,464 women and 42,498 men – for their study. The researchers asked them to keep a record of the amount of nuts or peanuts they ate every 2-4 years from the 1980s up to 2010.

A high peanut and nut intake reduced the subjects’ mortality risk by about twenty percent the researchers discovered.

The protective effect of nuts had already been shown in similar epidemiological studies, but this one produced even more intriguing results. Nuts and peanuts reduced not only the chance of dying from cardiovascular problems, but also the chance of dying from cancer, diabetes, infectious diseases, lung and kidney diseases and ‘non-classified’ diseases.

It was also noticeable that consuming nuts and peanuts protected pretty much everyone in the group: young and old, men and women, light and heavy, drinkers and non-drinkers, supplements users and non-users, athletes and non-athletes.Peanuts are not nuts, but when the researchers split the results up between ‘tree nuts’ and ‘peanuts’, there was no noticeable difference.If you eat nuts or peanuts regularly your risk of dying is lower than if you don’t. According to a study published by epidemiologists at Harvard Medical School in the New England Journal of Medicine, a diet that is high in nuts and peanuts extends your life expectancy by offering protection against almost all kinds of fatal disease.
Nutritionists have long thought that nuts contain fatty acids that help improve the cholesterol balance. This might explain why nuts and peanuts protect the heart and blood vessels. But if you look at how broad the protective effect of nuts is they must contain other important bioactive substances.

“In conclusion, our analysis […] showed significant inverse associations of nut consumption with total and cause-specific mortality”, the researchers conclude. “Nonetheless, epidemiologic observations establish associations, not causality, and not all findings from observational studies have been confirmed in controlled, randomized clinical trials.”

N Engl J Med. 2013 Nov 21;369(21):2001-11.

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Ractopamine: The Meat Additive Banned Almost Everywhere But America

by on Dec.27, 2013, under Health

By Dr. Mercola

Meat—and beef in particular—is a mainstay of the traditional American dinner. Unfortunately, the vast majority of it is filled with harmful additives of one form or another, and is raised in such a way that it contributes to the degeneration of health…

This is no minor concern, as most of the animals are also fed genetically engineered feed that is loaded with the potent herbicide glyphosate that winds up in your body.

I am so convinced of the cumulative harms of consuming meat from animals raised in confined animal feeding operations (CAFO’s) that the ONLY type of meat I recommend eating (and the only meat I will eat myself) is organically-raised, grass-fed or pastured meats and animal byproducts.

This applies to all types of meat: beef, pork, and poultry, including turkey. In a recent article published by the Cornucopia Institute,1 investigative health reporter Martha Rosenberg discusses the questionable yet widespread use of ractopamine in American animal farming.

According to Rosenberg, the controversial drug is used in as many as 80 percent of all American pig and cattle operations. It’s also used in turkey farming.

FDA Sued for Withholding Records Pertaining to Ractopamine Safety

Ractopamine is a beta agonist drug that increases protein synthesis, thereby making the animal more muscular. This reduces the fat content of the meat and increases the profit per animal. The drug, which is also used in asthma medication, was initially recruited for use in livestock when researchers discovered that it made mice more muscular.

Interestingly enough, stubborn weight gain is also common complaint among asthma patients using Advair (a beta-agonist drug)—so much so that the manufacturer has added weight gain to the post-marketing side effects. Other adverse reactions to beta-agonist drugs include increased heart rate, insomnia, headaches, and tremors.

Beta-agonist drugs, as a class, have been used in US cattle production since 2003. The drug is administered in the days leading up to slaughter, and as much as 20 percent of it can remain in the meat you buy.

This is disconcerting when you consider that the drug label warns: “Not for use in humans,” and “individuals with cardiovascular disease should exercise special caution to avoid exposure.”

While other drugs require a clearance period of around two weeks to help ensure the compounds are flushed from the meat prior to slaughter (and therefore reduce residues leftover for human consumption), there is no clearance period for ractopamine.

In an effort to get this dangerous additive out of American meat products, the Center for Food Safety (CFS) and Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) recently sued the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for withholding records pertaining to ractopamine’s safety. As reported by Rosenberg:2

“According to the lawsuit, in response to the groups’ requests for information “documenting, analyzing, or otherwise discussing the physiological, psychological, and/or behavioral effects” of ractopamine, the FDA has only produced 464 pages out of 100,000 pages that exist.

Worse, all 464 pages have already been released as part of a reporter’s FOIA…

CFS and ALDF have spent over 18 months meeting with the FDA and seeking information about the effects of ractopamine on “target animal or human liver form and function, kidney form and function, thyroid form and function” as well as urethral and prostate effects and “tumor development.” The lawsuit says the CFS has “exhausted administrative remedies” and that the FDA has “unlawfully withheld” the materials.”

Why is Ractopamine Banned in 160 Countries?

Ractopamine is banned from food production in at least 160 countries around the world, including countries across Europe, Russia, mainland China and Republic of China (Taiwan), due to its suspected health effects. Since 1998, more than 1,700 people have reportedly been “poisoned” from eating pigs fed the drug. If imported meat is found to contain traces of the drug, it is turned away, while fines and imprisonment result for its use in banned countries.

While Americans are largely unaware that the drug is even used, many other nations seem to be far better informed. Fear that the ractopamine ban might be lifted brought thousands of demonstrators onto the streets in Taiwan last year, demanding that the ban remain in place.

In February of this year, Russia issued a ban on US meat imports,3 warning it would remain in place until the US agrees to certify that the meat is ractopamine-free. As reported by Pravda,4 Russia is the fourth largest importer of US meats, purchasing about $500 million-worth of beef and pork annually. At present, the US does not even test for the presence of this drug in meats sold, even though animal research has linked ractopamine to:

Reductions in reproductive function
Birth defects (Canadian researchers5 found that, in rats, the drug produced a variety of birth defects, including cleft palate, protruding tongue, short limbs, missing or fused digits, open eyelids, jaw abnormalities, limb abnormalities, and enlarged heart)
Increase of mastitis in dairy herds
Increased disability and death
In both pigs and cattle, FDA reports6 links the drug to: excessive hunger, anorexia, bloat, respiratory- and hoof problems, lameness, stiffness, stress and aggression, and—again—death. In fact, of all reported side effects, death topped the list as the most reported problem associated with ractopamine…

Ractopamine is also known to affect the human cardiovascular system, and is thought to be responsible for hyperactivity. It may also cause chromosomal abnormalities and behavioral changes. According to the Russian news source Pravda,7 the drug may cause food poisoning, and Center for Food Safety (CFS) states that8 “[d]ata from the European Food Safety Authority indicates that ractopamine causes elevated heart rates and heart-pounding sensations in humans.”

“Two cousin drugs of ractopamine, clenbuterol and zilpaterol, cause such adrenalin effects in humans they are banned by the Olympics,” Roesenberg writes.9 “Cyclist Alberto Contador failed a Tour de France anti-doping test in 2010 for levels of clenbuterol which he said he got from eating meat. Clenbuterol has been banned or restricted in meat after human toxicities. “The use of highly active beta-agonists as growth promoters is not appropriate because of the potential hazard for human and animal health,” wrote the journal Talanta.10”
Zilmax—An Even More Dangerous Beta Agonist Drug Used in Livestock?

Zilmax (Zilpaterol) is another beta-agonist drug used in cattle to increase weight by as much as 30 pounds of lean meat per cow. The drug recently got a slew of bad press when, in the beginning of August, Tyson Foods Inc declared it would no longer buy Zilmax-fed cattle for slaughter, due to concerns over behavioral problems in some of the cattle.11 Zilmax is already banned for use in horses due to severe side effects, including muscle tremors and rapid heart rates that can last as long as two weeks after stopping the drug.12 It’s not a major stretch to imagine similar problems might occur in cattle… Zilmax is actually about 125 times more potent than ractopamine, and according to a 2008 veterinary report,13 this may be why side effects were overlooked in connection with ractopamine studies.

Merck, the manufacturer of Zilmax, has no plans on discontinuing the product however. After responding to Tyson’s decision by stating it would halt US and Canadian sales of Zilmax pending research and review, the company recently told Reuters14 that it is in fact pushing to bring the drug back to market, both in the US and Canada. The company says it stands behind the safety of the drug and is working on developing a quality control program to “ensure its proper use.”

The problem though is that even with proper use you’re likely to end up with drug-laced meat. According to Randox Food Diagnostics,15 which has created tests for Zilmax residue in beef, use of beta-agonists prior to slaughter is of particular concern “as this poses a risk to the consumer and may result in consumer toxicity.” (Remember, Zilmax is about 125 times more potent than ractopamine, making this drug an even greater concern in the large scope of things.) Research findings to this effect include:

A 2003 study in Analytica Chimica Acta:16 Residue behaviour of Zilmax in urine, plasma, muscle, liver, kidney and retina of cattle and pig was assessed. Two heifers and 16 pigs were treated with Zilmax and slaughtered after withdrawal times varying from 1 to 10 days. The drug was detectable at each point of time examined in all matrices except plasma after a withdrawal period of 10 days. It’s worth noting that in the US, the recommended market window is three to 10 days after discontinuing Zilmax17
A 2006 study18 on residues of Zilmax in sheep found detectable levels in liver and muscle tissues up to nine days after discontinuation of the drug
Do Beta-Agonists in Meat Pose Human Health Hazards?

According to an article published in the Journal of Animal Science in 1998,19 there’s data on “human intoxication following consumption of liver or meat from cattle treated with beta-agonists.” The authors write:

“The use of highly active beta-agonists as growth promoters is not appropriate because of the potential hazard for human and animal health, as was recently concluded at the scientific Conference on Growth Promotion in Meat Production (Nov. 1995, Brussels).”

Before it was approved for use in American livestock, scientists worried that illegal use of beta agonists could result in increased cardiovascular risk for consumers.20 Today we don’t have to worry about eating illegally treated meat, since these drugs are approved and widely used, but should we be concerned about cardiovascular health risks from non-organic meat products? I feel it would be foolhardy not to…

Glyphosate Contamination—Another Hidden Hazard in CAFO Meats

The true toxicity of glyphosate—the active ingredient in Monsanto’s broad-spectrum herbicide Roundup—is becoming devastatingly clear, and it has far-reaching ramifications for the entire food system. Research published last year21 showed that Roundup is toxic to human DNA even when diluted to concentrations 450-fold lower than used in agricultural applications, and ethoxylated adjuvants in glyphosate-based herbicides have been found to be “active principles of human cell toxicity.” Cell damage and even cell death can occur at the residual levels found on Roundup-treated food crops, and the chemical has also been found to have estrogenic prT.

The reason I bring this up here is because factory farmed animals are fed a diet primarily made up of grains like corn and soy—and whether those grains are genetically engineered or not, they’re likely to be contaminated with glyphosate. Once an animal has been raised on glyphosate-contaminated feed, its meat is bound to be of inferior quality. More so than any other contamination hazard, I believe glyphosate-contamination may be one of the most pressing concerns when it comes to eating CAFO meats and animal byproducts. Besides the potential for bioaccumulation of glyphosate, the chemical has a distinct adverse effect on the animal’s gut bacteria, and hence its overall health.

Monsanto has steadfastly claimed that Roundup is harmless to animals and humans because the mechanism of action it uses (which allows it to kill weeds), called the shikimate pathway, is absent in all animals. However, the shikimate pathway IS present in bacteria, and that’s the key to understanding how it causes such widespread systemic harm in both animals and humans.

Groundbreaking research published this past June suggests glyphosate may actually be the most important factor in the development of a wide variety of chronic diseases, specifically because your gut bacteria are a key component of glyphosate’s mechanism of harm. The same applies to animals that eat feed contaminated with this agricultural chemical. If the animal is chronically ill, how beneficial can you expect its meat to be for your own health?

How to Protect Yourself and Your Family from Potentially Harmful Foods

If you live in the US, it’s important to realize that antibiotics, pesticides, genetically engineered ingredients, herbicides like glyphosate, hormones, and countless other drugs—such as beta agonists discussed above—are allowed in your food. Most people make the mistake of thinking that “beef is beef,” or that one slab of pork is no different from another, not understanding the vast differences between factory farmed, so-called CAFO, meats, and meats from organically-raised pastured animals.

While pastured, grass-fed meats and animal products are typically nutritionally superior, it’s perhaps what these meats DON’T contain that can have the greatest impact on your and your family’s health—especially your children, since we’re then talking about the cumulative effect over a lifetime, including the developmental stages.

Organically-raised animals are not permitted to be given growth-promoting drugs, hormones, or antibiotics. They also aren’t fed genetically engineered ingredients. Cattle, for example, eat a natural diet of grass, not genetically engineered corn contaminated with pesticides… In short, organic foods are FAR “cleaner” in terms of additives and contaminations, and that applies across the board, from fruits and vegetables to animal products.

It all boils down to this: if you want to optimize your health, you must return to the basics of healthy food choices. If you want to avoid these questionable drugs and other potentially harmful ingredients permitted in the US food supply, then ditching processed foods is your best option. Put your focus on WHOLE organic foods — foods that have not been processed or altered from their original state — food that has been grown or raised as nature intended, without the use of chemical additives, drugs, hormones, pesticides and fertilizers. This is the answer to a vast majority of our current health crises.

It is not nearly as daunting a task as it may seem to find a local farmer that can supply your family with healthy, humanely raised animal products and produce. At,22 for instance, you can enter your zip code and find farmers’ markets, family farms, and other sources of sustainably grown food in your area, all with the click of a button. Once you make the switch from supermarket to local farmer, the choice will seem natural, and you can have peace of mind that the food you’re feeding your family is as safe as it will probably ever get.

For a step-by-step guide to make this a reality in your own life, whether you live in the US or elsewhere, simply follow the advice in my optimized nutrition plan, starting with the beginner plan first.
[-] Sources and References
1 Cornucopia Institute October 31, 2013
2 See ref 1
3 New York Times December 8, 2012
4 Pravda November 12, 2012
5, Bureau of Veterinary Drugs, Health Protection Branch Health and Welfare Canada, Ottawa, Ractopamine
6, CVM ADE Comprehensive Clinical Detail Report Listing: Cumulative Date Range: 01/01/1987 -thru- 04/30/2013
7 See ref 5
8 See ref 1
9 See ref 1
10 Talanta 2010 Jun 30;82(1):61-6
11 Reuters August 26, 2013
12 Horse Science News 2013
13 Journal of Equine Veterinary Science 2008: 28(4); 238-243 (PDF)
14 Reuters October 29, 2013
15 Randox Food Diagnostics
16 Analytica Chimica Acta September 23, 2003: 493(1);63–67
17 Zilmax November 2010 (PDF)
18 J Agric Food Chem. June 14, 2006: 14;54 (12):4155-61
19 Journal of Animal Science February 1998; 76(1):195-207.
20 Toxicology 2003 May 3;187(2-3):91-9
21 Archives of Toxicology 2012 May;86(5):805-13

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This “Healthy” Food Damages Your Heart

by on Dec.27, 2013, under Health

While reading today’s article, remember that heart disease is the #1 KILLER of people in today’s modern world, with even higher death rates than cancer! For some reason, most people don’t seem to care about this topic until it’s too late and they have a heart attack or even DIE as early as their 30’s or 40’s in some people

By Mike Geary – Certified Nutrition Specialist
Author of best-sellers: The Fat Burning Kitchen & The Top 101 Foods that FIGHT Aging

It’s time people started taking heart health seriously before it’s too late. Unfortunately, most people don’t think about something they can’t readily see or feel… after all, you can’t “see” how much plaque your arteries are clogged with on a daily basis like you can see how much body fat you have on any given day.

This means that most people ignore their heart health until they actually have a heart attack or even die. Even worse, I see so many people make jokes about clogged arteries while eating junk food, saying things like “I’d rather enjoy life than worry about clogged arteries”. Uh, sorry pal, but you can’t enjoy life if you’re DEAD!

This mentality that so many people have of not caring about the ticking time bomb of your heart health is sad if you think about it.

And do eating donuts and fried chicken REALLY equate to “enjoying life”? Not for me!

Enjoying life for me is skiing deep powder in the winter, hiking beautiful mountains and enjoying nature in the summer, barreling down a mountain biking trail on my bike, playing games and having laughs with friends, and of course, enjoying some good aged cheese with a great red wine — both of which by the way, can help to protect your arteries… the antioxidants and resveratrol in red wine have been shown to help protect your heart health, and the vitamin K2 in a good aged cheese have been proven in scientific studies to help prevent artery calcification.

One thing that sometimes wakes people up is to actually get an artery calcification test and see how clogged their arteries already are. This is a wake up call to many people and will spur them into finally caring about their heart health before it’s too late.

I mentioned donuts and fried chicken above, which as I’m sure you know, are obvious heart cloggers due to the trans fats and refined inflammatory vegetable oils used in making these…

But what about so-called “healthy” foods such as whole grains in relation to your heart health? Well…

Here’s an excerpt from a great book I’ve been reading lately called “The Great Cholesterol Myth” by Dr. Stephen Sinatra and Dr Jonny Bowden…
“A 2010 study in the Archives of Internal Medicine demonstrated that women who ate the highest amount of carbohydrates had a significantly greater risk of coronary heart disease than those who ate the lowest amount, and that carbohydrates from high-glycemic carbs were particularly assiciated with significantly greater risk for heart disease”

As you can see, they’re seeing direct relationships between carbohydrate consumption and heart disease. And as you know already from my other articles, research in recent years has proven that natural saturated fat and dietary cholesterol basically has NOTHING to do with heart disease at all. It’s sugar, overall high GI carbs, stress levels, and trans fats that appear to be the MAIN culprits responsible for heart disease.

What about immediate effects on your heart from eating a high-carb meal?

In the book, Dr Sinatra also discusses another research study done (at Tel Aviv University’s Sackler School of Medicine and the Heart Institute of Sheba Medical Center) on the function of the endothelial walls of the arteries before and after eating a dose of high GI carbs…

They used something called brachial reactive testing to measure artery functioning and gave groups high GI carbs such as corn flakes and sugar (very much like the typical American breakfast) … Dr Sinatra explains, “Enormous peaks indicating arterial stress were found in the high GI groups: the cornflakes and sugar groups.”

We’re not talking about artery damage here folks from saturated fat and cholesterol like you’ve been led to believe… as you can see, this study is showing direct damage to arteries from grains and sugar. Isn’t it sad that those cornflakes are advertised by the food conglomerates as being a “wholesome and healthy” breakfast.

Dr Sinatra continues, “As researchers from Harvard Medical School and the Harvard School of Public Health noted, quickly digested and absorbed carbs (i.e., those with a high glycemic load) are associated with an increased risk of heart disease.” Note that one of the WORST carb sources in terms of blood sugar and glycemic load is anything made with wheat (even so-called “healthy whole wheat”), which has been proven in blood sugar testing to have a higher impact on blood sugar than even pure table sugar due to the nature of the Amylopectin-A in wheat foods.

Whole Grains can elevate CRP and inflammation in your body

Dr Sinatra and Dr Bowden also point out studies that directly show that people who eat a higher glycemic load of carbohydrates in their diets experienced higher CRP levels (C-reactive protein), which is an indicator of overall inflammation in your body. Higher CRP generally means higher risk for heart disease.

Check out the CRP differences they noted — “…those whose diets were lowest in glycemic load had an average CRP reading of 1.6, but those whose diets were highest in glycemic load had a CRP reading more than 3x that amount (average measurement: 5.0 mg/L)”.

To give some perspective on CRP if you eat a truly healthy diet focusing on healthy proteins, lots of veggies, spices, teas, red wine, and other antioxidants, and relatively low in overall carbohydrates… I’ve had my CRP tested twice, and my results came in at 0.1 and 0.4, indicating a VERY LOW amount of inflammation in my body as a whole.

What about the so-called “deadly” red meat in relation to heart disease? Not so “deadly” after all…

Unfortunately, the media and groups with an agenda against meat eating have been trying to lay the blame on red meat for decades now. Let’s see what true researchers such as Dr Sinatra and Dr Bowden have to say about the science…

Keep in mind that most previous studies had never separated processed meat (such as hot dogs, bologna, lunch meats with chemical additives, etc) vs unprocessed meats (such as a healthy grass-fed steak, pasture-raised pork tenderloin, grass-fed burger, wild game meats, etc) in investigating the relationship between meat eating and heart disease.

But Dr Sinatra and Dr Bowden reported on a Harvard study where researchers analyzed 20 studies including over 1.2 million people in 10 countries and they found… “each 1.8 oz daily serving of processed meat (about one hot dog or a couple slices of deli meat) was associated with a 42% higher risk of developing heart disease. In contrast, no relationship was found between heart disease and nonprocessed red meat.”

Also remember that healthy grass-fed beef contains the unique fat called CLA that has been shown to be a cancer-fighter as well as helping to aid fat loss.

As you can see in this article, even so-called “healthy whole grains”, which are big business these days, are now being implicated in causing heart disease and DEATH from damaged, clogged, and hardened arteries that result from runaway inflammation.

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SAD Gotcha Down? Here are 3 Effective Natural Treatments For Seasonal Affective Disorder

by on Dec.24, 2013, under Health

Posted by Casie Terry
Sad businesswomanWhile some consider winter a time to hibernate and relax, many women spend the winter suffering from depression due to the short days and lack of sunlight. Although Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) affects more women per year than men, you don’t have to go another long winter experiencing depression, irritability and mood fluctuations. Our suggestions for natural treatments for SAD will help you continue enjoying the activities you love most all season long.

1. Lighten Up

New improvements in light therapy have been shown to help some people recover from SAD in only a few days, according to WebMD. Dawn simulating lights may offer those struggling during the darker months a more natural option than the average light. These lights turn on before you wake up, “simulating” a dawn-like experience to naturally signal brain responses. Others may benefit from large light boxes using blue lights to produce the greatest amount of light. New research at the Harvard School of Public Health suggests blue light may have a greater overall affect because it influences the ganglion cells in the retina and therefore your circadian rhythms.

Some Tips For Using Light Therapy:

The early morning is the best time to use your light and why we suggest dawn simulating lights as well as large light boxes to maximize the amount and duration of light exposure.
While you want to avoid staring directly at the light, you must sit facing the light to receive a therapeutic affect.
Tip: Try using your light in the fall before winter sets in to prevent depression.

Think you’re getting enough light from just opening the curtains throughout the day? You’re probably not. Even though you may open the curtains so you can generate a little mood-boosting vitamin D, the sun doesn’t shine enough during the winter to get the sunlight you need to stave off depression; although, many are now ordering window treatments to control how much light enters the room, which may be beneficial.

2. Food as natural therapy

While pop culture has made many women think carbs are bad for us, some are responsible for boosting our beneficial levels of serotonin. Try these healthy, serotonin-stimulating foods:

White potatoes
Dark chocolate
Whey protein
Wild fish
Free range beef
Try this SAD fighting recipe:


10 cups free range beef stock
2-4 cups water
6 white potatoes cleaned and quartered
3 tomatoes chopped
1 8-ounce can tomato paste
1 tablespoon flaxseed
1/2 pound shrimp, cleaned and deveined
3 cloves garlic
Salt and pepper to taste

1. In a large stock pot, saute garlic in oil.
2. Once sauteed, add beef stock and tomato paste stirring until a liquid consistency is reached.
3. Add all other ingredients, simmer on medium and occasionally stir.
4. Cook for 1.5 hours.
3. Acupuncture

Acupuncture — a more than 2,000 year old ancient form of medicine — uses painless, sterile needles inserted along the skin’s surface to create a positive physiological affect. Acupuncture is a safe alternative to antidepressent medications and light therapy for those who experience side effects. Unlike other treatments, acupuncture releases serotonin and norepinephrine without any associated side affects. Acufinder is a reputable resource to find board-certified acupuncturists throughout the United States.

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The Not-So-Sweet Truth About What Sugar is Really Doing to Your Heart

by on Dec.24, 2013, under Health

Posted by John Phillip
SugarPoisonResearchers officially have the first evidence that eating too much sugar over the course of many years dramatically increases the risk of developing and dying from heart failure.

Glucose Alters a Muscle Protein, Weakening the Heart’s Pumping Capacity

A research team from The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston has published the result of a study in the Journal of the American Heart Association that demonstrates how consuming too much sugar can lead people down a pathway to heart failure.

Scientists have found that a single, small glucose metabolite molecule known as glucose 6-phosphate (G6P), causes stress to the heart that changes the muscle proteins and causes poor pump function leading to heart failure. Further, the researchers determined that G6P accumulates in the circulating blood and tissue stores as a result of excess sugar and starch consumption over extended period of time. As an aside, past studies have also clearly shown that high circulating levels of glucose dramatically increases the risk of cancer and metastatic growth as sugar is the primary and preferred fuel source for cancer cells.
Here’s How You Can Lower Heart Failure Risk:

Simply eliminate dietary sugar and processed carbohydrate foods. Easy right?

Researchers from the American Heart Association state that the increase in sugar consumption has led to more diabetes and heart disease over the past decade. Ineffective treatments using deadly pharmaceuticals have no effect on the progress of the disease and often cause more serious medical problems. The study team examined heart tissue removed from patients undergoing ventricular implants and found that G6P can cause significant damage to the heart muscle. Damage to the heart is exacerbated by a preexisting diagnosis of diabetes or high blood pressure.

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), 550,000 new cases of heart failure will be diagnosed this year in the U.S., and five million will succumb to the disease. The one-year survival rate after diagnosis is less than 50 percent, making it a virtual death sentence that may be avoidable with appropriate dietary modifications during our early decades of life.

Heart disease and heart failure are not inevitable—even when there is a long family history of disease. Lifestyle and dietary modifications that include elimination of sugary drinks, sweet treats and processed carbohydrates that immediately overwhelm our metabolism with a surge of glucose are essential to prevent an untimely death from cardiovascular disorders and heart failure. Check your progress by monitoring post-meal blood glucose readings to avoid exceeding a reading above 100 mg/dl, two hours after eating.

John Phillip is a Certified Nutritional Consultant and diet, health and nutrition researcher and author with a passion for understanding weight loss challenges and encouraging health modification through natural diet, lifestyle and targeted supplementation. John’s passion is to research and write about the cutting edge alternative health technologies that affect our lives. Discover the latest alternative health news concerning diabetes, heart disease, cancer, dementia and weight loss at My Optimal Health Resource

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