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Top 10 Healthiest Foods, #6 - Mixed Bean and Seed Sprouts!
Top 10 Healthiest Foods, #5 - Kale
Top 10 Healthiest Foods, #4 - Sardines
Top 10 Healthiest Foods, #3 - The Incredible Edible Egg
Top 10 Healthiest Foods, #2 - Ground Flax Seed and Flaxseed Oil

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Age Related Macular Degeneration (AMD)
Alpha-linolenic Acid
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Eggs
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Germ Theory of Disease
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Indol-3-carbonole
Lauric Acid
Lignans
Louis Pasteur
lutein
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Botanically Speaking

Top 10 Healthiest Foods, #6 - Mixed Bean and Seed Sprouts!

Because of fairly recent warnings by the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), regarding salmonella or E. coli outbreaks, people who are immunocompromised may want to avoid sprouts, but for everyone else sprouts are a wonderful source of nutrition when—as with all foods—they are properly handled and washed.
 
            Sprouts contain the entire complement of glucosionolates normally contained in whole mature plants, which are then converted to healthy metabolites within the body.  But in sprouts, these are highly concentrated so that an average package of sprouts may contain as much, or more, nutrition than 4000 mature plants.

            According to researchers at Johns Hopkins University, broccoli sprouts offer from 30 to 50 times the concentration of cancer-fighting indol-3-carbinole of mature broccoli.  This is a compound which is especially protective against hormone-dependent cancers such as those of the breast and prostate.  Broccoli sprouts are also a significant source of sulforaphane.

            According to a Stanford University study published in Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers and Prevention, sulforaphane is the most potent known inducer of phase-2 enzymes, which have been shown to arrest human colon cancer and reduce the size and frequency of tumors in lab rats.

            Alfalfa sprouts possess phytochemicals know as saponins which bind to cholesterol and prevent it from being reabsorbed by the body. Saponins are also thought to have an antimicrobial effect within the human body and to interfere with the growth and division of cancer cells.

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Sprouting Tips
Sprouting is the easy, affordable way to enjoy the incredible nutritional benefits of sprouts. In this video, we will answer some frequently asked questions, and help you to grow the most beautiful, n...

Top 10 Healthiest Foods, #5 - Kale

Fresh Kale Greens - Source: capl@washjeff.eduYou've heard it. I've heard it. Everyone from time immemorial has heard it. Parents and grandparents have repeated it until they have turned blue in the face: "Eat Your Greens!" 

Well it turns out that parents don't come by that stubborn perversity due to their station in life. It's not as though a baby is born and parents suddenly know all of the answers--as if someone threw on a light switch. 

Eating greens is ancient wisdom, replete with tremendous health benefits. For some of us, however, it just takes a few decades for some of those wiser tidbits to emerge in the form of conscious choice and admonitions.

Nutrients in Kale

Kale is an important source of calcium, iron, and vitamins A, C and K.  It contains seven times more beta-carotene, and ten times more eye protecting lutein and zeaxanthin than does broccoli (another brassica).  These carotenoids are known to help protect against a major cause of blindness known as macular degeneration.             

Only two cups of kale contain a substantial 4 grams of protein and 3 grams of fiber.  Being a brassica, kale also provides special phytochemicals such as cancer-fighting indoles which help to protect against breast, cervical and colon cancers.  A sulfur compound known as sulforaphane is formed when kale is chewed or chopped, and this compound aids detoxifying enzymes that trigger the removal of free radicals and other DNA damaging chemicals.  Sulforphane has even been shown to help stop breast cancer cell proliferation as reported in a recent study published in the Journal of Nutrition.

Tips for Preparing Kale

Rinse kale leaves under cold running water to remove any grit or debris. Roll leaves tightly together and slice into into 1/2" wide portions. Stems are best chopped into 1/4" pieces. To obtain the greatest health benefits from kale, sprinkle with lemon juice and allow the chopped kale to rest for about 5 minutes before cooking. 

The Healthiest Way of Cooking Kale

One of the healthiest ways to cook kale is by steaming. This method retains the maximum amount of nutrition and flavor. Simply place 2 inches of water in a good-sized pot, place kale in a steamer basket or heat proof colander over the water, cover and steam for 5 minutes. For added flavor, whisk together:

  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • sea salt and pepper to taste

Drizzle over the kale, toss and serve. For a Mediterranean twist, combine kale with pine nuts and feta cheese, and serve on a bed of fresh whole grain pasta. 
For a traditionally southern method of cooking kale, try the authentically flavored recipe below. 

Southern Style Braised Kale Recipe

Southern Kale and Cornbread - Source: Huffington PostIngredients:

  • 1/2 pound sliced bacon, chopped
  • 3 cups chopped yellow onions
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Pinch cayenne
  • 1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons minced shallots
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 6 cups water
  • 1/4 cup cider vinegar
  • 6 bunches fresh kale, washed well and tough stems removed

Instructions:

  1. Brown bacon in a large, heavy pot over medium heat until slightly crisp. 
  2. Add onions and season with salt, black pepper, and cayenne. 
  3. Reduce heat slightly and cook, stirring, until the onions are golden, about 5 or 6 minutes. 
  4. Add brown sugar (if using) and stir to dissolve. 
  5. Add shallots and garlic and cook, stirring, for a minute more. 
  6. Add water and vinegar, stirring well. 
  7. Begin adding kale to the pot, about a third at a time, pressing the greens down as they begin to wilt.  Continue in this way until all kale has been added.
  8. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook, uncovered, until kale is tender, or about 1-1/2  hours. 
  9. Serve hot, accompanied by hot buttered grits, warm buttermilk biscuits or cornbread, and eggs over-easy for an authentic southern treat!


Top 10 Healthiest Foods, #4 - Sardines

I'm a family herbalist, so my interests obviously lie heavily in the direction of medicinal herbs, but also in health in general — and health derives from quality nutrition. So while you might find it strange to see a sardine post on a botanically named blog, I still maintain that it belongs here.

Top 10 Healthiest Foods, #4: Sardines!


When we look at traditional cultures throughout history it is interesting to note that while many peoples have enjoyed vibrant health while consuming almost no fruits and vegetables (witness the Inuit, Masai and Samburu), no traditional cultures have ever been found to be 100% vegetarian. There is a reason for this. Ancient wisdom makes it crystal clear that there are essential factors (especially particular fats and hormones) available in flesh foods that are not available in plants — or at least not in appreciable quantities.


Inuit WomanSamburu WomanMasai WomanSo for #4 on my top ten healthiest foods list, I've chosen the mighty sardine! 

Sardines are another fine source of Omega-3 fatty acids like those provided by flaxseeds.  

According to Dr. Jerry Bowden, “Omega-3s help with mood, thinking, circulation, and glucose and insulin metabolism; they lower blood pressure; and they protect against heart disease.”             

Besides essential fatty acids, sardines also provide an abundance of calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, copper, manganese and the full complement of B vitamins.  While fresh is definitely best, one can of sardines provides 150 percent of the Daily Value of vitamin B12, in particular.    

Sardines are also a good source of selenium, a cancer fighting trace mineral—providing up to 75 percent of the Daily Value of selenium per can—and unlike tuna and some larger fish, they do not accumulate toxic levels of substances like mercury, since they are so low on the food chain. 

How to Use Sardines

I personally enjoy sardines straight out of the can with a few saltine crackers and thinly sliced onion. And while there's nothing that can compare with fresh sardines,  even canned sardines can make an elegant healthy meal. If you like seafood with your pasta here's a recipe for you:

Sardine Pasta Recipe


Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. spaghetti, prepared (or spaghetti squash, for an even healthier meal!)
  • 2 tablespoons butter or olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed and minced
  • 1 pinch red pepper flakes, or to taste
  • 1 lemon, halved
  • 1 (15 ounce) can sardines in tomato sauce
  • Freshly grated Parmesan cheese




Directions:

  1. Melt butter In a large skillet or Dutch oven, and saute onion until soft but not brown.
  2. Add garlic and red pepper flakes, and continue cooking for one minute longer.
  3. Stir in sardines along with its tomato sauce. When sardines are warmed through, reduce heat to low, and allow to simmer a few minutes more.
  4. Add hot drained pasta to the sardine sauce. Stir, cover, and remove from heat. 
  5. Allow to stand for a few minutes to let flavors meld.
  6. Squeeze lemon juice evenly over pasta. 
  7. Serve hot, topped with Parmesan cheese, as desired.

Enjoy!

Top 10 Healthiest Foods, #3 - The Incredible Edible Egg

Oh my goodness, here is a food to get excited about. My favorite PROTEIN for price, value, and versatility?  Eggs!

Until recently, you could buy a dozen eggs for about $1.00. That comes out to an incredible $0.083 per serving. But even if you are now paying $3.00 for a dozen eggs, that still comes to only $0.25 each.

If you manage to buy them on sale (watch for sales near Easter time!), you can buy several dozen, freeze them in ice trays and then store them in freezer bags until you need them — just toss them into a bowl, cover, and place in the fridge the night before you plan to use them.

Eggs' Nutritional Profile

Eggs are nutritional giants. That tiny ovoid package is a good source of protein, selenium, iodine, molybdenum, phosphorous, potassium, vitamins B2, B5 and B12, and vitamin D. Eggs also contain vitamin A, as retinol, which is essential to protecting our vision by maintaining a healthy retina in the eye.

Eggs and Eye Health

Two recent studies published in the Journal of Nutrition show even further evidence that a daily egg — whose yolk is a rich source of vision-protective carotenoids, including not only lutein but also zeaxanthin — may reduce the risk of developing age-related macular degeneration (AMD). 

The studies, both conducted at the University of Massachusetts, demonstrate that in addition to keeping hunger at bay longer (eggs' satiety index is 50% greater than that of most breakfast cereals), consuming one egg per day boosts blood levels of both lutein and zeaxanthin, thus reducing the risk of AMD—without increasing cholesterol or triglyceride levels. 

In AMD, the macula, the central part of the retina which controls fine vision, deteriorates, greatly limiting eyesight or even resulting in blindness in those afflicted. AMD is the leading cause of blindness in people over age 50; afflicting more than 10 million people in the United States, plus an additional 15 to 20 million worldwide.

Cholesterol in Eggs

If you still happen to be worried about cholesterol, you should know cholesterol is necessary for communication between the cells in your brain! In fact, the actual make-up of the brain is mostly fat and cholesterol. Personally, it makes me wonder whether the across-the-board limiting of fats and cholesterol in the diet is a contributing factor in much of the brain disease we are witnessing today (but that's a subject for different book!)

Protien Value of Eggs

Eggs have consistently scored highest for quality of protein in comparisons to beef, milk, whey and soy in three of the four scales used to measure protein quality:


  • Protein Efficiency Rating
  • Biological Value 
  • Net Protein Utilization  


Each of the tested proteins received a perfect score in the fourth measure, the Protein Digestibility Corrected Amino Acid Score.  

Eat Your Eggs!

Eggs are full of nutrients which support eye, brain and heart health, and they are one of the best available sources of choline.  Choline is absolutely essential in the diet for supporting brain function, the integrity of cell membranes and heart health.        

Because of choline’s contribution to the phospholipid known as phosphatidylcholine, it is instrumental in maintaining liver and cardiovascular health by preventing the accumulation of excess fat and cholesterol in the liver.  In a single large egg there is an amazing 300 mcg of choline and 315 mg of phosphatidylcholine.             

Eggs are also a good source of lutein and zeaxanthin (215 mcg per jumbo egg), they help with the absorption of carotenoids, and they contain 18% of the Daily Value of vitamin B12, and 29% of the Daily Value of the important trace mineral, selenium.

Top 10 Healthiest Foods, #2 - Ground Flax Seed and Flaxseed Oil

Brown Flaxseed - photo credit, Sanjay AcharyaFlax seed is also known as linseed, and it is among the "Top Ten" on my list of healthiest foods. 

The major reason I consider flax seed to be so healthy is that the freshly ground seed is one of the best sources of an important Omega-3 fatty acid known as alpha-linolenic acid.  

I eat a tablespoon or two sprinkled on my salads, smoothies, soup or dessert every day. The mild nutty flavor of the fresly ground seeds make improving my diet a delicious and easy proposition! 

Flax seed is also a good source of some Omega-6 and Omega-9 fatty acids, which serves to provide the body with a nice balance of the various kinds of fatty acids it needs to thrive.  

Health Benefits of Flax Seed (Lindseed)

According to Dr. Andrew Stoll of Harvard Medical School, flaxseed oil aids in the prevention of several degenerative diseases, including cardiovascular disease and arthritis.  

Lignans in Flax Seed       

Flax seed is protective against hormone-sensitive cancers too, due to its lignan content.  By increasing sex-hormone binding globulin (SHBG), lignans help to prevent breast, prostate and uterine cancers by binding estrogen which is then eliminated from the body.  

And since the lignans are phytoestrogens they may also be helpful in relieving menopausal symptoms. Lignans continue to be studied as a viable alternative to hormone replacement therapy as well.        

Flaxseed Oil and Prostate Health

In another study published in Urology, Duke University researchers showed that men with prostate cancer who were given three tablespoons of flaxseed oil daily along with a low-fat diet demonstrated a reduction in cancer cell growth.  

Lignans have been shown to interfere with the production of DHT (dihydrotestosterone) which is, in some ways, the culprit for hair loss and BPH (benign prostate hyperplasia), a frequent precursor to prostate cancer. 

Anit-inflamatory and Antioxidant Benefits        

Freshly ground flaxseed offers anti-inflammatory and antioxidant benefits as well, while providing an abundance of soluble fiber.  Four tablespoons of ground flaxseed will provide 6 grams of protein and 8 grams of fiber.  All of these attributes work to promote cardiovascular, colon, and skin health, while helping to stabilize blood sugar. 

Nutritional Values

2 tablespoons of Ground Flax Seed (14 grams) = 76.8 calories and provides:

Nutrient
Amount
Daily Value (%)
Nutrient Density
Source Rating
Omega-3 fats
3.19 grams
132.9
32.0
Excellent
Manganese
.35 mg
17.5
4.2
Very Good
Vitamin B-1
.23 mg
17.5
4.2
Very Good
Fiber
3.82 grams
15.3
3.7
Very Good
Magnesium
54.88 grams
13.7
3.3
Good
Tryptophan
.04 mg
12.5
3.0
Good
Phosphorus
89.88 mg
9.0
2.2
Good
Copper
.17 mg 
8.5
2.0
Good

Important Notes:

  • Flaxseed oil should always be bought under refrigeration in a dark colored glass bottle. After purchase and each use, continue to store it immediately in your refrigerator to ensure freshness. Heat and light cause oxidation of the valuable oils which can lead to rancidity. This will give your oil a bad smell and make it unhealthy to consume. Discard any unused oil after the expiration date.
  • Flax seed should be purchased whole (under refrigeration if possible) and ground in a spice mill or coffee grinder on an as-need-basis in order to preserve its freshness. Store unused whole seeds in the refrigerator and treat them as described for the oil, above.



Top 10 Healthiest Foods - Coconut Oil and Coconut

Healthy Coconut Recipes Using Coconut OilWhen educating a client on my “Top 10” Healthiest  Foods, I find that many are surprised and dismayed to hear that coconut oil is way at the top of my list.        

The criteria I use for selecting these foods considers the various foods’ potential for toxicity, their nutritional value, and their potential for aiding in disease prevention.  

How the foods complement one another in providing a variety of nutrients, and whether they were adequate sources of hydration, protein, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals were also taken into consideration. 

Why is Coconut/Coconut Oil so Healthy?

Studies from the 1960s and 1970s show that Asians and Pacific Islanders whose diets were rich in coconut oil were substantially free of cardiovascular disease despite consuming from 35 to 60 percent of their calories from saturated fat. 

Among the Pukapuka and Tokelau Islanders, atherosclerosis, heart disease, colon cancer, kidney disease and high serum cholesterol were virtually unknown.  The people were found to be lean and healthy.   One-half cup of shredded coconut meat provides 4 grams of fiber, 142 mg of potassium, 13 mg of magnesium, fewer than 3 grams of sugar and 13 grams of healthy medium-chain fatty acids.

These saturated fatty acids are very stable at a wide range of temperatures which prevents rancidity, and they are mostly comprised of healthy lauric acid (a major component of mothers’ milk), capric acid (which fights yeast overgrowth), and caprilic acid.  

According to Mary Enig, Ph.D., the world’s preeminent lipids authority, these fatty acids work to kill lipid encapsulated viruses and bacteria too, including many sexually transmitted diseases such as Chlamydia and AIDS.  Therapeutically, they have shown value in the treatment of cachexia (wasting, secondary to cancer) and childhood epilepsy.

What is the fastest way to improve your diet?

The fastest, easiest way to improve your diet is to begin adding good foods and beverages to what you already eat.  Think of it!  If all you do is add enough really good foods and beverages to your diet, eventually you will have added so many good things that they begin to edge out the bad things.  How easy is that!?

So, consider adding healthy coconut oil and other coconut products (fresh or flaked coconut, coconut cream, coconut milk, coconut flour & coconut water) to your diet and begin your journey to a new healthier you today!

  • Stir virgin coconut oil into your morning oatmeal
  • Add it to the water you cook your rice in
  • Use it instead of unhealthy margarine or sugary spreads on morning toast
  • Flavor coffee or tea with a spoon of healthy natural coconut cream

Have a REAL sweet tooth??? Why not try the yummy coconut macaroon recipe below:

Healthy Coconut Macaroon Recipe
Healthy Snack Recipe - Coconut Macaroon, photo credit Elana's Pantry
Ingredients:

  • 1 teaspoon virgin coconut oil (use this to grease a cookie sheet) 
  • 2 tablespoons warm water
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
  • 1 whole egg

To prepare:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. In a medium-sized bowl, mix warm water and honey together. 
  3. Add the coconut flakes. 
  4. Beat in the egg, mixing thoroughly. 
  5. Form mixture into tablespoon-sized balls and drop them by the spoonful onto a well greased cookie sheet. Bake at 400 degree Fahrenheit for 12-15 minutes.


Yield: Approximately 1 dozen Macaroon cookies

This macaroon recipe is not overly sweet tasting and if sweetness is missed, sweetened coconut flakes can be substituted. But I love them just as they are! They are soft and chewy, and far healthier than cookie recipes that call for flour, salt and other dubious ingredients. And they're gluten free, too! When you have a real craving for a little something sweet, these macaroons offer a truly healthy alternative!



Health Benefits of Coconut Oil

Virgin Coconut Oil BenefitsLately, there has been a lot of health buzz about coconuts, coconut milk, coconut water, and  especially, coconut oil. 

But when there is so much hype over something, it is prudent to find out how much truth is contained in all those glowing reports.

Well, in the case of virgin coconut oil, it turns out that most of the "hype" is amazingly true!

You have probably heard or read that the health benefits of coconut oil include hair care, skin care, stress relief, maintaining normal cholesterol levels, weight loss, increased immunity, proper digestion and metabolism. But did you know that coconut oil also supports healthy kidneys, the heart, normal blood pressure, normal blood sugar, oral health and bone strength? 

If that were not enough, coconut oil inhibits HIV, cancer, candida, fungus and kills lipid encapsulated viruses as well!

How Can Coconut Oil Be So Healthy? 

The health benefits of coconut oil can be attributed to the presence of lauric acid (an important component of human breast milk), capric acid, caprylic acid, and its soothing antimicrobial, antioxidant, antifungal, and antibacterial properties.

Does this sound too good to be true? Virgin coconut oil has been attributed the following health benefits, too:


  • Supports Thyroid gland health.
  • Kills viruses that cause influenza, herpes, measles, hepatitis C, SARS, and AIDS.
  • Kills bacteria that cause stomach ulcers, throat infections, urinary tract infections, gum disease and cavities, pneumonia, and gonorrhea.
  • Kills fungi and yeasts that cause candidiasis, ringworm, athlete's foot, thrush, diaper rash, and other infections.
  • Expels or kills tapeworms, lice, and giardia.
  • Provides a nutritious source of quick energy.
  • Boosts energy and endurance, enhancing physical and athletic performance.
  • Improves digestion and absorption of other nutrients including vitamins, minerals, and amino acids.
  • Improves insulin secretion and utilization of blood glucose.
  • Relieves stress on pancreas and enzyme systems of the body.
  • Reduces symptoms associated with pancreatitis.
  • Helps relieve symptoms and reduce health risks associated with diabetes.
  • Reduces problems associated with malabsorption syndrome and cystic fibrosis.
  • Improves calcium and magnesium absorption and supports the development of strong bones and teeth.
  • Helps protect against osteoporosis.
  • Helps relieve symptoms associated with gallbladder disease.
  • Relieves symptoms associated with Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis, and stomach ulcers.
  • Improves digestion and bowel function.
  • Relieves pain and irritation caused by hemorrhoids.
  • Reduces inflammation.
  • Supports tissue healing and repair.
  • Supports and aids immune system function.
  • Helps protect the body from breast, colon, and other cancers.
  • Is heart healthy; improves cholesterol ratio reducing risk of heart disease.
  • Protects arteries from injury that causes atherosclerosis and thus protects against heart disease.
  • Helps prevent periodontal disease and tooth decay.
  • Functions as a protective antioxidant.
  • Helps to protect the body from harmful free radicals that promote premature aging and degenerative disease.
  • Does not deplete the body's antioxidant reserves like other oils do.
  • Improves utilization of essential fatty acids and protects them from oxidation.
  • Helps relieve symptoms associated with chronic fatigue syndrome.
  • Relieves symptoms associated with benign prostatic hyperplasia (prostate enlargement).
  • Reduces epileptic seizures.
  • Helps protect against kidney disease and bladder infections.
  • Dissolves kidney stones.
  • Helps prevent liver disease.
  • Is lower in calories than all other fats.
  • Supports thyroid function.
  • Promotes weight loss by increasing metabolic rate.
  • Is utilized by the body to produce energy in preference to being stored as body fat like other dietary fats.
  • Helps prevent obesity and overweight problems.
  • Applied topically helps to form a chemical barrier on the skin to ward of infection.
  • Reduces symptoms associated the psoriasis, eczema, and dermatitis.
  • Supports the natural chemical balance of the skin.
  • Softens skin and helps relieve dryness and flaking.
  • Prevents wrinkles, sagging skin, and age spots.
  • Promotes healthy looking hair and complexion.
  • Provides protection from damaging effects of ultraviolet radiation from the sun.
  • Helps control dandruff.
  • Does not form harmful by-products when heated to normal cooking temperature like other vegetable oils do.
  • Has no harmful or discomforting side effects.
  • Is completely non-toxic to humans.

References:  Bergesson, G. et al. “In vitro killing of Candida albicans by fatty acids and monoglycerides.” Antimicrobe Agents Chemother 2001. Nov;45(11):3209-12   

Enig, MG PhD. “Coconut: In Support of Good Health in the 21 Century.” Presented at the Asian Pacific Coconut Community’s 36 Session, 1999.   

Enig, MG PhD. “Health and Nutritional Benefits from Coconut Oil:  An Important Functional Food for the 21 Century” Presented at the AVOC Lauric Oils Symposium, Ho Chi Min City, Vietnam, April 25, 1996.   

Enig, MG PhD. “The Tragic Legacy of CSPI” Wise Traditions in Food, Farming and the Healing Arts, the quarterly magazine of the Weston A Price Foundation, Fall 2003.   

Enig, MG PhD. “Trans Fatty Acids in the Food Supply: A Comprehensive Report Covering 60 Years of Research” 2 Edition, 1995, Enig Associates, Inc., Silver Spring, MD. pp 4-8.   

FDA website: http://www.fda.gov/oc/initiatives/transfat/   

Kabara, JJ. “Health Oils from the Tree of Life” (Nutritional and Health Aspects of Coconut Oil). Indian Coconut Journal 2000;31(8):2-8.   

Kaunitz, HJ. “Medium chain triglycerides (MCT) in aging and arteriosclerosis.” Journal of Environmental Pathology, Toxicology and Oncology. 1986 Mar-Apr;6(3-4):115-21.   

Prior, IA. et al. “Cholesterol, coconuts, and diet on Polynesian atolls:  a natural experiment:  the Pukapuka and Tokelau island studies.” American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 1981 Aug;34(8):1552-61.   

Sircar, S. U Kansra Department of Medicine, Safdarjang Hospital, New Delhi “Choice of cooking oils—myths and realities.” Journal Indian Medical Association. 1998 Oct;96(10):304-7.   

Stender, S. et al.  “Denmark is the first country to forbid the use of industrially produced fatty acids” Ugeskr Laeger, 2004 Jan 5;166(1-2):29-32.   

Thampan, PK. “Facts and Fallacies about Coconut Oil,” Asian and Pacific Coconut Community, Jakarta, 1994.

Whew! (Obviously, virgin coconut oil is one of the healthiest foods on earth.)  Next time I'll write about how to easily add virgin coconut oil to your healthy diet. 

Do you have a favorite coconut recipe or experience you'd like to share? 

What is an ND, Naturopath or Doctor of Naturopathy?

How to use medicinal herbsHi, and welcome to Blanco Botanicals.  My name is Maria Blanco, and I am a practicing Certified Family Herbalist and a Naturopath.

Most people know that Herbalists use herbs (botanicals) to gently and naturally aid the body in its various healing, cleansing and building (growth and regeneration) processes. But, it seems like most people I meet are not really sure of what an ND, or Naturopathic Doctor is. So, I offer the following to clear things up a little:

Naturopaths like me, are practitioners of a philosophy of living which promotes health through the body's ability to naturally achieve and maintain homeostasis. Naturopaths believe in healing by strengthening the body rather than curing specific diseases. An individual naturopath may emphasize the use of hydrotherapy, nutrition, manipulation (chiropractic), herbs, homeopathy or massage--but each one has the same goal of stimulating the body's innate ability to heal. Vis medicatrix naturae, the healing power of nature, is naturopathy's central tenet.

For example, Louis Pasteur, who discovered that most infectious diseases are caused by germs, proposed The Germ Theory of Disease and invented pasteurization, said in his later years,  "I have been wrong. The germ is nothing. The terrain is everything." 

What he meant by this is that if the body (the terrain) is in balance it will not be affected and overcome by pathogenic germs. Where the body's defenses are in place, germs cannot invade and overwhelm. Doctors of Naturopathy work to help people maintain that critical balance, while Medical (allopathic) Doctors are more concerned with killing pathogens in order to reduce and alleviate symptoms of a disease state.

Today's NDs hold advanced degrees; having completed a rigorous program of study, usually entitled "Doctor of Naturopathy" in traditional  naturopathy. Most of these professionals practice as consultants. They are doctors in the most traditional sense of the word: Docere (dōˑ·se·rā) is the Latin term from which doctor is derived -- it means Teacher. Naturopathic Doctors educate clients, conduct research, and they write. NDs do not diagnose, treat, cure, prescribe or perform invasive procedures and they do not refer to themselves as physicians.

There is, however, another group of naturopathic professionals who also use the initials  ND after their names. These practitioners refer to themselves as Naturopathic Physicians. They have been schooled in both naturopathic and allopathic medicine, and they practice according to regulations (much as medical doctors, MD's, do) which vary from state to state. At present, very few states license naturopathic physicians.


Blanco Botanicals' Test Post #1

Medicinal HerbsGood Morning World!

This is my first post to the Blanco Botanicals blog.  I just wanted to see what my formatting would look like, so I'm writing this and posting a pic of the mortar and pestle icon from my business cards. Pretty, don't you think?

I'm anxious to get the whole site (BlancoBotanicals.com) up and running, but there is so much content to be generated before I'll feel ready to let the search engines see me.   ...sort of like a high school girl who wouldn't dare step out of the house to check the mail without her makeup and hair done to perfection.  LOL!

Oh well, very soon I hope that Blanco Botanicals will be full of wonderful and interesting information for you.  I'm looking forward to hearing your thoughts and concerns.  And above all, I hope to help you learn how to enjoy the abundance in nature that God has given us, and to live a more healthful and vibrant life. 

Looking forward to meeting you soon!
Maria 


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