Archive for Functional Foods

March Against Monsanto San Diego

Monsanto MarchThanks to Dan Osman and the Organic Consumers Association for planning the great rally at Balboa Park today. Here’s a quick recap of speakers, their websites (below) and a bit of my talk today.

Monsanto would like you to believe that the glyphosate residue on genetically modified food is safe and doesn’t cause cancer. But these statements are  based on studies that are too short to show cancer, and are not looking at the myriad of other health issues that have dramatically increased since the early 1970’s when GMO seeds and high nitrogen fertilizers hit the fields, and the use of herbicides and pesticides dramatically increased. Geneticists tell us that daily small pulses of noxious chemicals can be more harmful than a single large exposure. The subtle changes in nutrients and chemical compounds affect our DNA and our ability to defend our bodies from everything from cancer to autoimmune disorders, gastrointestinal problems, mental health issues, autism, and healthy pregnancies. Everything we ingest is a signalling molecule, especially the nutrients in food. Whether it’s chemicals in air pollution, vitamins, medications, food, herbicide or pesticide, it all signals a reaction in the body that affect how the body reacts. It makes a difference if your liver is compromised and can’t remove or detoxify harmful compounds efficiently or if you are so overloaded your liver and kidneys can’t keep up. Small children are particularly susceptible to growth and developmental issues due to exposure to harmful chemicals. We have the right to know how our food is grown and what’s in it. It’s time for Monsanto and other chemical companies to stand up for our health rather than their profits, protect our valuable resources and be good stewards of our food supply.

Remember it matters where you spend your food dollars. You may spend a little more for healthy food, but you won’t pay as much at the doctor’s office! Stay informed! The EU and Canada are considering revoking their approval for glyphosate. California is listing it as a probable carcinogen and the WHO found glyphosate to be a probable carcinogen as well before reversing its opinion. Those scientists who are responsible for reversal of their opinions are withholding their names, not willing to stand behind their own opinions. That should tell  us something.

Presenters at the event today in San Diego:

Peter Mathews — Political Science professor, internationally recognized pundit and author of “Dollar Democracy: With Liberty and Justice for Some; How to Reclaim the American Dream for All”

D’Marie Mulattieri — activist, speaker, writer. Organizer, Occupy Orange County, March Against Monsanto Laguna Beach, Expose the TPP – USA. Ran for Congress in 2012. California Clean Money Campaign and OC4BERNIE. Wrote the foreword for the book, “We’re Monsanto: Still Feeding the World, Lie After Lie.

Leslie Goldman, a grassroots food activist, recipient of a United Nations Peace Medal, writer and blogger www.plantyourdream.net

Carol Grieve, Certified Life Coach, Holistic Nutritionist, radio host of Food Integrity Now, www.foodintegritynow.org

 

Functional foods: help lower blood pressure naturally

Functional food is a term to describe a specific food or food components that have specific effects in our bodies. It’s a bit of a misnomer since food IS the building block of our bodies, and so effects almost every aspect of our health. Blood pressure is one aspect of our health that responds quite favorably to changes in our dietary intake. This study published November 6, in the British Journal of Nutrition, illustrates how grape seed extract can lower blood pressure. Subjects were given a grape seed extract containing beverage to drink twice daily for 6 weeks. Test subjects with pre-hypertension (borderline high blood pressure), reduced their systolic and diastolic blood pressures by 5.6% and 4.7%,  respectively.  Interestingly, those with higher blood pressure experienced almost twice the blood pressure lowering benefit. The amount of grape seed extract used in the study was 150 mg, twice daily (300 mg/day), easily found in an over the counter supplement.

But you don’t have to take pills. Simply eating more vegetables, legumes, and fruit can significantly lower blood pressure, so much so that vegetarians and vegans have almost no risk of developing high blood pressure. How does this work? The compounds in plant foods help make nitric oxide in the blood vessels which relaxes the muscles that line the arteries. Yes, you have muscles in your arteries! These ‘smooth muscles’ as we call them, like nitric oxide and minerals, particularly magnesium. Legumes, whole grains, nuts and seeds are good sources of magnesium, so a diet high in plants naturally lowers blood pressure.

Researchers have described another functional food, flax seed, as having ‘one of the most potent antihypertensive effects achieved by a dietary intervention.’ In a study published in 2013 in Hypertension, just 30 g of flax seed daily for 6 months reduced systolic (the top number) pressure by 10 mm Hg, and diastolic (the bottom number) by 7 mm Hg. That’s enough to push a person with high blood pressure into the normal blood pressure range.  Thirty grams of flax seed is 4 Tbsp. which may be a lot for some to eat everyday. But remember, in the study, they didn’t encourage any other dietary changes. So a more practical daily routine might include 2 Tbsp. of flax seed, 1/2 cup beans or whole grain like quinoa, a cup of blueberries and some hibiscus tea. Yes, you can drink functional food blood pressure lowering compounds too. This study in Fitoterapia found hibiscus tea to be as effective as a common blood pressure medication, and published in the Journal of Nutrition, researchers Diana McKay, et al, found just 3 cups of hibiscus tea  to lower systolic pressure by 7 mm Hg.

Want more evidence? Just complete your own search on PubMed on functional foods and hypertension. And don’t forget to check your blood pressure…high blood pressure is a risky business!