Better Nutrition September 2019

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YOUR ULTIMATE RESOURCE FOR NATURAL LIVING

SEPTEMBER 2019 | betternutrition.com

GOOD

MOOD

GUIDE

Manage Stress, Anxiety,

& Depression Naturally

4

GREAT WAYS

TO USE

CELERY

SEED

P. 16

6Surprising Reasons

Your Belly’s

Not Better

THE DELICIOUS

BENEFITS OF A

GREEK-STYLE

MEDITERRANEAN

DIET

CAN YOU TAKE

TOO MUCH

CALCIUM? P. 32

BEST FOODS

FOR A

HEALTHY

PROSTATE


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september2019CONTENTS/VOLUME 81 | NUMBER 9

46

This sizzlin’ BBQ

sauce is a great

way to cap off the

summer grilling season.

features

26 Good Mood Guide

More than a third of Americans

struggle with depression, anxiety,

and/or stress. If you’re among them,

you don’t have to suffer. Natural herbs,

vitamins, and supplements can help.

32 Can You Take Too

Much Calcium?

This key mineral is a cornerstone of

many supplement regimens. But

more may not always be better.

37 Why Your Belly’s

Not Better

Could some of your healthiest

habits actually be causing intestinal

distress? Here are six sneaky things

that may be upsetting your gut.

16

Celery seeds have been

used to relieve pain

as far back as

ancient Rome.

26

The best natural

ways to conquer

depression, anxiety,

and stress.

departments

6 TRENDWATCH

5 Vital Facts About Organic Food

September is Organic Harvest Month,

so there’s no better time to add more

organic foods to your diet. Here are

five great reasons why.

14 HOT BUYS

Very Impressive

Natural products we’re excited about

this month, including broccoli-crust

pizzas, beauty greens, and more.

16 CHECK OUT

4 Amazing Uses for Celery

Seed Extract

The seeds of this common crunchy

vegetable can help lower blood

pressure, tame inflammation, and

even relieve ulcers.

20 THE CBD SCOOP

CBD Terpenes 101

Found naturally in hemp and other

plants, terpenes provide a wide array

of unique health benefits.

22 NATURAL BEAUTY

Brewed Beauty

The same properties that make tea such

a healthful drink can also work wonders

on your skin when applied topically.

42 EATING 4 HEALTH

Prostate Protection

Seven delicious foods that can help

support this important gland and

lessen the risk of prostate cancer. Plus,

a quick-and-easy recipe for nutrientpacked

Spicy Sloppy Joes with Tempeh.

44 ASK THE NUTRITIONIST

Eat Like a Greek

If you want to take advantage of

the myriad health benefits of the

Mediterranean diet, Greek cuisine

is a great place to start.

46 HEALTHY DISH

Fiery Labor Day BBQ Sauce

Before you cover up the grill for the

winter, give this habanero-infused

condiment a try.

48 COOK WITH SUPPLEMENTS

Health-Boosting Smoothie

Our Pear-Berry Blast harnesses

the power of apple cider vinegar

to support healthy digestion.

2 • SEPTEMBER 2019


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editor’sNOTE

Crunch on This

Celery is definitely having a moment. This is thanks, in part,

to Anthony William, better known as The Medical Medium.

He has developed a cult following with his Global Celery

Juice Movement, which involves drinking 16 oz. of freshly

squeezed celery juice every day. William says he’s been doing

this since he was a child in the ’70s with amazing results.

The health benefits are far-reaching, from relief of skin

conditions to digestion issues, and everything in between.

It may seem like celery just achieved superfood status,

but this crunchy veggie and its seeds have been used as a

medicine for centuries, for all sorts of ailments. According

to contributing editor Vera Tweed, archaeologists found

medical textbooks dating back to ancient Rome that listed

celery seeds as a cure for pain.

One of the most exciting things about celery seeds,

which come from the fruit of the celery plant, is their ability

to help lower high blood pressure. It’s estimated that 1 in

every 3 American adults has high blood pressure. Drugs

to treat high blood pressure, while undoubtedly lifesaving

and necessary for many, have side effects, including tiredness

and depression. Both celery and its seeds are thought

to reduce blood pressure through their diuretic properties,

says Tweed. Read more about this and celery seed’s other

remarkable benefits in “4 Amazing Uses of Celery Seed

Extract” on p. 16.

There seems to be no shortage of celery testimonials.

I met a man in a health food store who was buying bags

(and I mean, bags!) of celery. He said he eats it daily to

“boost his testosterone levels naturally.” One of my

coworkers and her entire family drink the fresh juice

religiously for overall vitality and mental clarity. Has

celery, in any form, improved your health? I’d love to

know. Send me an email at the address below.

Note: For all the juicy details on The Medical Medium

and his celery cleanse, read Chris Mann’s interview with

him at betternutrition.com.

nbrechka@aimmedia.com

WHAT’S NEW ON

BETTERNUTRITION.COM

Freezing Annual

Herbs

Preserve your

summer garden

bounty of herbs with

this quick technique.

6 Drug-Free Pain

Remedies

Think you’ve heard it

all when it comes to

natural pain relief?

Not so fast. Read

up on six standout

pain remedies, a

few of which really

surprised us.

Apple Season

Is Here!

Put those crisp, juicy

apples to good use

with these recipes

(available only on

our website):

• Autumn Apple

Salad with

Pomegranate

• Caramelized

Onions and Apples

with Sausages

and Beer

• Apple Date Crisps

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Vera Tweed, Helen Gray

Jeannette Bessinger, CHHC,

Jonny Bowden, PhD, CNS, Emily A.

Kane, ND, LAc, Karta Purkh Singh

Khalsa, Chris Mann, Melissa Diane

Smith, Lisa Turner

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BETTER NUTRITION, ISSN #0405-668X. Vol. 81, No. 9. Published monthly by Cruz Bay

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4 • SEPTEMBER 2019


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/// BY VERA TWEED

SEPTEMBER IS

For more resources, recipes,

and programs on organic

foods, check out

organic-center.org.

Organic Harvest

MONTH

5 Vital

Facts About

ORGANIC

FOOD

The next time you’re wondering

if you should fill more of your

grocery cart with organic food,

here are some important things

to keep in mind.

1Organic Food Enhances

Your Health

The largest studies of the health effects of eating an organic diet

have been carried out in France. In one group of more than 54,000

men and women, those eating organic foods were less likely to

develop diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease. This

link was more pronounced among men, who ate more meat and

other animal-based foods than women. Among other studies, one

looked at nearly 69,000 French adults and found that eating mostly

organic foods reduced cancer risk by 25 percent.

Hundreds of studies have looked at the nutritional profiles

of various foods. Overall, they’ve found that organic fruits and

vegetables have higher levels of protective antioxidants. And

organic meat, milk, and eggs contain more beneficial fats,

especially anti-inflammatory omega-3 fats.

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2Chemicals in Conventional Food

Contribute to Chronic Disease

A report by the nonprofit Environmental

Working Group, which includes data from

the FDA, estimates that more than 2,000

chemicals are allowed as additives in

conventional food. Known health risks of

such chemicals include hormone disruption,

cancer, inflammation, brain damage,

kidney stones, gout, disruption of gut

bacteria, and other digestive problems.

In addition, some of these chemicals are

known polluters of our air and water.

Pesticides and

weed killers cause

additional harm.

Glyphosate, the

active ingredient in

Roundup, the world’s

most popular weed killer,

is considered a probable

carcinogen by the World Health Organization.

In this country, the manufacturer

of glyphosate has lost three lawsuits

alleging that the chemical caused cancer,

and more than 13,000 other Americans have

filed similar cases. In Austria, the government

has banned glyphosate as of 2020.

3Organic Food Protects Against

Antibiotic Resistance and Toxins

Antibiotics are fed to conventionally

raised animals to promote growth and

prevent infection in cramped

quarters. The practice leads to

bacteria developing resistance to

antibiotics. Antibiotic residues

make it to our plate, in meat and

dairy products, and contribute to

antibiotic resistance in humans.

At Emory University in Atlanta,

scientists compared conventional

and organic milk. They found residues

of antibiotics, including drugs that are

banned from use in lactating cows, in

60 percent of conventional milk. Organic

milk contained none.

In conventional milk, Emory researchers

also found extremely high levels of growth

hormone and, in up to 60 percent of samples,

pesticides that included chlorpyrifos,

which damages the brain. Organic milk

did not contain any of these.

4Organic Farming Reduces

Pollution

In addition to avoiding chemical fertilizers

and toxic pesticides and weed killers

that pollute air and water, organic

farming can help to reverse our bigger

pollution problem. Organic agriculture

creates healthier soil that is naturally

rich in bacteria and other microorganisms.

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This type of soil naturally absorbs and

holds a lot of carbon dioxide, the main gas

that traps pollutants in the atmosphere and

makes our air dangerously unhealthy.

Soil on conventional farms doesn’t do

this because it has been depleted of

vital microorganisms.

Scientists at The Rodale Institute

estimate that if all the farmland in the

world were converted to organic and the

natural microorganisms were restored,

the soil would absorb more carbon than

the world currently emits. Although not

all experts agree that the impact would

be as big, there’s no dispute about the

ability of rich, organic soil to take in

and keep significant amounts of carbon

dioxide out of our air.

5Organic Farming Creates More

Jobs and Healthier Communities

Growing food and raising farm animals

using organic methods is much more labor

intensive than conventional farming.

One farmer estimated that whereas a

conventional farm might support one

family, an organic farm of similar size

could support five, and research points

in a similar direction.

A study by scientists in Oregon and

Washington State found that organic

farms employ more people per acre, for

longer periods of time each year. This

creates more job security, more stable

communities, more demand for local

services, more social ties, and more

involvement in civic activities. In this way,

organic farming can help to revitalize and

build strong communities in rural America.

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trendWATCH

the Passion

behind the Product

This Bar

Saves Lives

These aptly-named snack

bars aim to tackle the

issue of world hunger

one tasty bite at a time

/// By Neil Zevnik

A while back, two “millennial” buddies

with successful entertainment careers

decided to step outside their comfort

zones and take a humanitarian trip to

Liberia to rebuild a bridge for a small

community. Once there, a visit to a

refugee camp slammed them into a brutal

awareness of the worldwide hunger crisis.

Surrounded by helpless children dying of

malnutrition, they decided to help.

Todd Grinnell, known for his role in

Netflix’s One Day at a Time, and Ryan

web exclusive recipe!

This Quick Tropical Breakfast Crunchie

is a creamy way to start the day. Visit

betternutrition.com for the recipe,

featuring This Saves Lives Madagascar

Vanilla Honey & Almond Bars.

“We’re not a company with a mission,” says This Saves Lives cofounder Todd

Grinnell, pictured here (third from left) with partners Kristen Bell, Ryan Devlin ,

and Ravi Patel. “We’re a mission with a company.”

Devlin, who plays Mercer Hayes on

Veronica Mars, enlisted the aid of two

good friends to create a company that

would help them achieve their goal.

With actors Kristen Bell and Ravi Patel

enthusiastically joining the crusade,

they planned to provide therapeutic

“Plumpy’Nut” packets (a peanut-based

paste) to malnourished children

throughout the world. But how best

to accomplish this?

The Passion: Ending

Childhood Malnutrition

Their solution: Develop and

manufacture the best-tasting

snack bars in the world, and

make them “one for one”—

for every bar sold, a packet

of lifesaving food would be

given to a child. “We’re not

a company with a mission,”

Grinnell says. “We’re a mission

with a company!”

And to make sure that

mission was clear, they

named their product This Saves Lives.

Devlin’s kitchen became the testing

ground for endless iterations of snack

bar recipes, searching for the perfect

combination of clean, premium ingredients

and appealing flavors. “I tried all of

those bars, and was deemed ‘Chief Taste

Officer,’” Bell laughingly reveals.

Even after moving into production, the

company experienced serious setbacks.

On one occasion, they decided to scrap

100,000 bars because the recipe just

wasn’t quite right. Patel recalls, “I thought

we were going out of business—a moment

that happened several times!”

But they stayed focused on their mission

above all else. For Grinnell, “It wasn’t

about how many units sold, but how many

children we fed.” They partnered with

several established nonprofits, including

Action Against Hunger and Second Mile

Haiti, and forged ahead.

Now the bars can be found at more

than 16,000 locations across the U.S.,

including Starbucks nationwide. And

those Plumpy’Nut packets? More

than 11 million have found their way to

malnourished children, with more

being generated every minute.

“I will never forget the looks of despair

on the faces of the moms the first time I saw

children with severe acute malnutrition,”

says Grinnell. Remembering their faces and

their children every day keeps us striving

to do more and to do better—because

everyone deserves the chance to thrive.”

Neil Zevnik is a private chef in Los Angeles who tends to the culinary needs of the rich and famous; blogs about food, nutrition, and the environment for The Huffington Post;

and volunteers with marine mammal rescue whenever he can. Learn more at neilzevnik.com.

10 • SEPTEMBER 2019


trendWATCH

In the Spotlight:

Billy Blanks

Since the 1990s, his Tae Bo program has helped millions

of women and men rethink fitness while mixing

dance with martial arts and boxing. Now, the seventime

world karate champ is motivating Americans to

balance suitable exercise and sound nutrition in his

Celebrity Sweat national wellness tour /// By Chris Mann

“We’re going around the country teaching people about fitness and

showing people that if you make fitness a lifestyle instead of a trend you

can get more out of it,” says Billy Blanks, who at 64 still wakes at 4:30

a.m. to train and teach his new Tae Bo-inspired multilevel fitness program,

Billy’s BoomBoxing. “We’re talking to people about nutrition and exercise—and

how to find a good workout, because the workout has to fit your

personality. Everybody wants to be healthier and stronger, and feel good

about themselves.”

The author of Billy’s Power Meals also practices what he preaches when

it comes to eating. “I want to teach people how to live a healthy and strong,

vibrant life—and to show people they have the power to make choices and do

whatever they need to do to help themselves be the best they can be.”

What tips do you have for those looking

to start a fitness program and diet?

I would start helping people find a workout

they like. And don’t start out with an hour

or 45-minute workout. Start with a 15-minute

workout. Do that for a week or two. And

then gradually add minutes to it. Within two

to three weeks, you’ll probably be up to a

45-minute workout that you can handle. This

helps build up your confidence, and then the

workout starts to become a lifestyle. And

as you start to work out, don’t change your

diet. See what happens to your body within

two to three weeks of working out. You

start losing inches, you start losing weight.

Then you might say, “I want to take this or

that out of my diet and see what happens.”

I try to help people figure a way that their

personality can pick up a good workout and

a good diet—one with real eating where

they’re not walking around starving—that

they can do for a lifetime. I don’t want to

teach people about weight loss. If you want

to lose weight, you have the power to do

that. If you don’t want to lose weight, but

just want to get stronger, you also have the

power to do that.

Why is it vital to engage in fitness that

fits your personality type?

I’ve been doing Tae Bo for a long time, but

it might not be for you. Tae Bo is an exercise

I think anyone can do, and it’s fun. But I

think when you’re training people, you’ve

got to give them a chance to see what

fits their personality and what’s going to

drive them—what’s going to make them

want to be their best and get up 15 minutes

early or do it before they go to bed. Some

people like to box or do karate or run—or

do all of it. My goal is to teach people that

fitness comes from the inside rather than

the outside. If it’s coming from the outside,

then you’re never going to find a way to

help yourself get in shape. If you go from

the inside out then it’s going to make you

mentally feel better about yourself as well

as your body. If the mind’s not involved, you

can’t get the best out of yourself. People ask

what makes me tick. I say that I look and act

“My goal is to teach people that

fitness comes from the inside rather

than the outside. If it’s coming from

the outside, then you’re never going

to find a way to help yourself get in

shape,” says Banks.

just like my mind and will.

Your body will do anything

your mind and will allow.

Which real foods help power your days?

I eat to fuel myself. A lot of people don’t eat

carbs, but I do, because if I don’t, I won’t

have fuel to burn for the rest of the day. The

first thing I eat when I get up is a big salad

with high-octane vegetables that give me

all the antioxidants that I need. I eat some

fruit in the morning, too, for energy. I eat

a lot of pineapple, which is great for taking

down swelling and helping you heal quick.

Strawberries are a good fat burner, so I mix

them and cherries and green apples into my

salad. Then I add two egg whites, sometimes

three or four. Every now and then

when I feel like I need extra energy, I have

a bowl of pasta with turkey in the morning.

My wife is Japanese, so I eat a lot of green

vegetables and a lot of fish and chicken. She

does all the cooking and doesn’t believe

in processed foods. Sometimes I eat salad

three times a day. Eating all of the greens,

I feel lighter, my body feels vibrant. I really

don’t eat (red) meat. Every once in a while,

I go out and eat whatever I want, like a good

steak or a pint of vanilla ice cream. I say,

“I deserve this, because I train hard.”

Chris Mann is a wellness and fitness writer, natural health brand

storyteller, entertainment author and journalist, and digital-content

producer (ChrisMann.tv).

12 • SEPTEMBER 2019


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3:1 ratio of soluble to insoluble fiber. This

4

sugar- and gluten-free blend features three

fiber sources: organic chia seed powder,

organic psyllium husk, and Sunfiber AG

(organic galactomannan fiber). Use it daily

to promote healthy gut flora, digestive

health, and regularity.

Isn’t That Sweet?

Monk fruit extract, also called Luo Han Guo,

is a zero-calorie alternative to sugar, and it’s

known to be up to 200 times as sweet as

sugar with little to no aftertaste. NOW Monk

Fruit Organic Chocolate and Organic Vanilla

combine regular monk fruit extract with

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3

5

with these, add them to your favorite

beverages, stir into yogurt, and much more.

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14 • SEPTEMBER 2019


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4 Amazing Uses for

Celery Seed Extract

As with many plants, the ancient wisdom of using celery seeds to restore

health is being validated by modern science /// BY VERA TWEED

Worried about your blood pressure

rising? Got gout? Plagued by arthritis?

Wondering if a stressful job might give

you an ulcer? Celery seed—the fruit of

the common, everyday vegetable—can

come to the rescue.

While most of us know

celery as a crunchy snack often

slathered with peanut or

other nut butter—or as an

ingredient that adds

flavor to soups, stews,

sauces, and other

dishes—that’s only

part of its history.

Archaeologists have

unearthed medical texts

that describe celery

seeds as a pain reliever

in ancient Rome. And

for thousands of years, Eastern medicine

has used the seeds to treat many

ailments, including colds, flu, digestive

troubles, diseases of the liver and spleen,

water retention, and different types of

arthritis, including gout.

Now, the seeds’ healing powers are

gaining recognition in the Western

world. And celery seed extracts in

supplements offer a concentrated and

convenient way to benefit.

Lowering Blood Pressure

Both celery and celery seeds act

as a diuretic, helping to eliminate

excess water and salt that make blood

pressure rise. This is also how many

prescription blood-pressure medications

work, but the drugs also cause

side effects because they disrupt

the body’s balance of sodium and

potassium and reduce blood flow

to the brain. Celery does the job

without disturbing the body’s natural

mineral balance, doesn’t reduce

blood flow to the brain, and doesn’t

cause any other adverse effects. In

addition, celery seed extract helps

dilate blood vessels, another mechanism

that lowers blood pressure.

16 • SEPTEMBER 2019



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A study of 30 people with moderately

elevated blood pressure tested 75 mg

of a celery seed extract twice daily

(once in the morning and again in the

evening). Blood pressure began to drop

after a few weeks of supplementation,

and at the end of six weeks, it had fallen,

on average, from 139/85 to 131/76.

Celery and its seeds contain

phthalides, a specific category of

plant nutrients. Although other plants

also contain phthalides, the

unique composition of these

compounds in celery

produces its health

benefits. One

phthalide, 3nB

(short for 3-nbutylphthalide),

is

found only in celery,

and is believed to be

the key component that

lowers blood pressure.

The blood-pressure study

referenced above used an extract

standardized to contain 85-percent 3nB.

Balancing Inflammation

to Relieve Pain

Temporary inflammation is the

body’s natural reaction to injury—

when you cut a finger, the redness

around it means your body is

working to heal the cut. But chronic

inflammation is a key component of

chronic pain. Anti-inflammatory drugs

used to treat arthritis and other pain

suppress some of the production of

inflammation in a way that leads to

side effects and health risks, but

celery works in different manner.

Rather than blocking internal

processes, celery seed extract restores

balance to the body’s prostaglandins,

natural chemicals that influence

inflammation. By balancing, rather than

blocking natural processes, the extract

can bring relief without harmful side

effects. In fact, a study of 70 people

suffering from arthritis pain tested

75 mg of a celery seed extract for three

Did You

Know?

A study of 70 people

suffering from arthritis pain

found that 75 mg of a celery

seed extract taken for three

weeks reduced pain and

improved flexibility

of joints.

weeks and found that the

extract reduced pain and

improved flexibility of joints.

Easing Gout & Relieving Ulcers

Many people have experienced relief

from gout by taking celery seed

extract. Gout can develop on its own

or can be triggered by diuretic drugs

that lower blood pressure, because the

drugs raise levels of uric acid. When

uric acid forms crystals, they cause

severe pain, often in the big toe.

While celery seed extract is a

diuretic, it has the opposite effect

on uric acid. Lab analyses of celery

seed have found that it contains

luteolin, a substance that reduces

unhealthy levels of uric acid by

blocking an enzyme that contributes

to its overproduction.

Celery seed is also an ancient

remedy for poor digestion, and more

recent examinations of its components

have found that it can help prevent or

relieve stomach ulcers. Lab analyses

show that it inhibits H. pylori bacteria,

which can cause ulcers in the lining

of the stomach.

How to Use Celery Seed Extract

Celery seed extract is available as

an individual supplement and is also

found in formulas. For extracts standardized

to contain 85% 3nB—noted

in the Supplements Facts—the usual

dose is 75–150 mg, twice daily. For

other extracts, follow product directions.

To relieve gout, some people take much

higher doses, such as 500 mg or 1,200

mg daily. It usually needs to be taken on

an ongoing basis to prevent gout from

recurring. Some formulas combine celery

seed with tart cherry extract, which also

reduces uric acid and helps relieve gout

and other types of pain.

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Contributing editor Vera Tweed has been researching and writing about supplements, holistic nutrition, fitness, and other aspects of healthy living since 1997. She is the author of

several books, including Hormone Harmony: How to Balance Insulin, Cortisol, Thyroid, Estrogen, Progesterone and Testosterone to Live Your Best Life.

18 • SEPTEMBER 2019


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theCBDscoop/USING CBD & HEMP FOR HEALTH & WELLNESS

CBD Terpenes 101

These compounds—

found naturally in

hemp and other

plants—provide a

wide array of health

benefits /// BY VERA TWEED

The popularity of CBD supplements—cannabidiol

from hemp that

can’t get you high—has attracted

attention to a related category of natural

substances: terpenes. Pronounced

“ter-peenz,” the word probably isn’t

part of your daily conversation, but

the effects of terpenes are very familiar

to all of us. When you walk in a

forest and the air seems fresher,

or you walk along a tree-lined

street and feel more relaxed,

you’re experiencing the effects

of terpenes released by the trees.

The distinctive aromas of

lavender, pine, cinnamon, nutmeg,

and other plants, as well as the unique

tastes of spices, come from the terpenes

within these plants. And terpenes in essential

oils give each one its unique characteristics

and aromatherapy benefits.

A type of natural plant chemical,

terpenes can be found in food additives

for flavor and in cosmetics for pleasant

scents. In addition, these plant compounds

offer a variety of health benefits.

Studies have found that the effects of

terpenes include calming inflammation;

relieving anxiety, depression, and

pain; calming allergies; protecting the

brain and nervous system; preventing

the growth of cancerous tumors; killing

harmful bacteria; stopping convulsions;

and improving sugar metabolism.

In aromatherapy, the power of terpenes

is harnessed through our sense of smell.

In massage, essential oils transmit terpenes

through the skin. In CBD supplements, the

natural terpenes from hemp can enhance

the healthful effects.

Did You

Know?

There are more than

540 different phytochemicals

in the

hemp plant.

Terpenes in Hemp

The hemp plant contains

hundreds of different phytochemicals.

In supplements, CBD plays the

lead and terpenes can play supporting

roles to create what researchers have

described as an “entourage effect.”

Although it’s estimated that there are

more than 100 different terpenes in

hemp, these are some of the main ones

that have been studied so far:

*

*

Caryophyllene: It calms inflammation

and helps relieve pain while protecting

the lining of the digestive system—

unlike anti-inflammatory drugs for

pain, which can damage the stomach.

Topically, it may help to relieve

inflammatory skin conditions.

ALSO FOUND IN: Black pepper, cloves,

rosemary, hops, and echinacea.

Humulene: The main ingredient in

hops that gives beer its telltale smell

and taste, humulene has a calming

effect, reduces inflammation, and helps

*

*

to relieve pain when taken internally or

applied topically. As a pain reliever, it

can also work as an aerosol. In addition,

it may help to heal wounds.

ALSO FOUND IN: Hops, sage, ginseng,

and echinacea.

Limonene: Nature’s source of that

familiar citrus smell, limonene helps to

relieve depression, enhances immune

function, and may help to relieve

heartburn. A small study of breast cancer

patients found that it can kill cancer

cells in very high doses, although this

type of use is limited because doses

high enough to be a possible cancer

treatment produce side effects such

as nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.

ALSO FOUND IN: Orange, grapefruit, lemon,

and lime peels; caraway and dill seeds.

Linalool: A key component of

lavender, linalool is believed to calm

neurotransmitters, producing a sedative

effect that calms anxiety and pain

and can reduce seizures. It may be

20 • SEPTEMBER 2019


*

the reason why natural essential oil of

lavender can help to heal burns without

scarring skin. In refined oils, however,

linalool may irritate skin.

ALSO FOUND IN: Lavender, clary sage,

bergamot, rosewood, patchouli, ho

wood, and sweet basil.

Myrcene: It helps to relieve pain by

blocking inflammation, and also has a

sedative effect, which can help to relax

muscles. Additionally, myrcene may

protect the liver against damage from

aflatoxin, a poisonous type of mold that

can contaminate grains and nuts.

Myrcene contributes to the sedative

quality of hops and other calming plants.

ALSO FOUND IN: Lemongrass, hops, bay

leaves, verbena plants, chamomile,

thyme, basil, and mangoes.

*

SHOPPING FOR CBD PRODUCTS

Some CBD supplements are extracts of only CBD, sometimes referred to as CBD “isolates.”

Others, often described as “full spectrum” or “broad spectrum,” contain additional components

from the hemp plant, such as terpenes.

Since individual body chemistry and health vary, there is no hard-and-fast rule about

which CBD product may work best for you. However, the entourage effect of CBD with

terpenes may magnify its benefits.

Pinene: The most common terpene

found in nature, pinene is the source

of that fresh pine aroma. It also

offers several health benefits. It’s a

bronchodilator, meaning that it helps

to open airways for easier breathing.

Additionally, it enhances communication

between neurotransmitters and may

help improve memory. It also acts

as a natural antibiotic and helps calm

inflammation.

ALSO FOUND IN: Pine and other conebearing

trees, eucalyptus, sage, rosemary,

frankincense, and ironwort.

Terpenes work together to produce their

effects. In supplements, this “entourage

effect” can enhance the benefits of CBD.

Contributing editor Vera Tweed has been researching and writing about supplements, holistic nutrition, fitness, and other aspects of healthy living since 1997. She is the author of several books, including

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naturalBEAUTY/PURE INGREDIENTS FOR SKIN & BODY

Brewed Beauty

The surprising topical benefits of tea /// BY SHERRIE STRAUSFOGEL

Tea—green, black, white, and red—is making

its way from the cup into beauty products.

Rich in antioxidants with anti-aging and

anti-inflammatory properties, green tea is

the most popular tea in skin care,

but interest in other varieties

is brewing.

Green, black, and

white teas come from

the same plant, Camellia

sinensis. What makes

them different is the

Did You

Know?

Rooibos isn’t technically tea,

but a brew made from the

South African Aspalathus

linearis plant. True tea comes

only from the Camellia

sinensis plant.

processing of the leaves. Fresh-plucked

green tea leaves are withered and

steamed, not fermented. Black tea

leaves are crushed and fermented, and

according to recent studies, black

tea has a similar amount of

polyphenol antioxidants as

green tea. Because white

tea is the least processed

of all varieties, it has the

most antioxidants. It is

made from leaves and buds

that are plucked the day before they

open, and then sun-dried.

Rooibos is a red herbal tea from

the shrub Aspalathus linearis, usually

grown on the western coast of South

Africa. It turns red during fermentation

and is not related to “true” tea. Rooibos

means “red bush” in Afrikaans and

references the deep crimson hue of

rooibos tea. Each of the teas has

distinctive skin care benefits:

Green Tea

Green tea is loaded with epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) and other polyphenol

antioxidants that shield the skin from sun damage, wrinkles, and signs of

aging. Green tea polyphenols also protect against skin cancer, both when

sipped and applied topically. Although anyone can benefit from this

ingredient, it’s especially ideal for sensitive skin exposed to pollutants.

Matcha

While matcha is technically a green tea, it’s a more potent version. Matcha

works similarly to green tea to help reduce redness, soothe the skin, and

protect the skin from UV rays and pollutants. It’s ideal for normal skin.

Black Tea

Black tea has been used in skin care formulas since China’s Ming

Dynasty. Black tea’s tannins are antioxidants that can shield the skin

from environmental damage, fight bacteria, hydrate, and nourish.

It’s also very high in caffeine, which plumps, de-puffs, and firms skin.

Its ability to absorb excess sebum makes it effective for oily skin.

White Tea

Since white tea is not processed, it has a higher polyphenol

content than green and black tea. White tea is antibacterial

and helps prevent dullness, spots, wrinkles, and sagging

skin caused by toxins and free radicals. Its antioxidants

benefit all skin types.

Rooibos Tea

Rooibos has wrinkle-fighting powers. It contains the

antioxidant enzyme superoxide dismutase, which

is responsible for disarming the most dangerous

free radicals, increasing cell turnover, and slowing

down the development of wrinkles. Rooibos is

recommended for dry skin or premature aging

22 • SEPTEMBER 2019


1Protect skin and

improve its texture

with Alaffia Rooibos

& Shea Antioxidant

Face Cream. Rooibos

tea protects skin from

damaging free radicals,

while unrefined shea

butter, virgin coconut

oil, and African wild

honey diminish fine

lines and renew

normal-to-oily skin’s

own moisture.

2Pamper your

hands while you

lather with Live Clean

White Tea & Cherry

Foaming Hand Wash.

White tea defends

skin and supports

its natural renewal

cycle. Vitamin E,

aloe vera, chamomile,

and cherry extract

leave hands clean,

moisturized, and soft.

The creamy lather

rinses easily, leaving

the scent of white tea

and cherries.

3Moisturize and

protect skin

with Alba Botanica

Hawaiian Green Tea

Sunscreen SPF 45.

Green tea, aloe vera,

and palm kernel oil

absorb quickly and

effectively to hydrate

sun-exposed skin.

Coral reef-safe

ingredients provide

broad-spectrum

protection that is

water resistant for 80

minutes. The lotion

absorbs quickly and is

ideal for daily wear.

2

1

4

3

5

4Scrub and purify

skin with Mad

Hippie Advanced Skin

Care 2 Minute Polishing

Mask. Organic matcha

tea, adzuki bean

powder, organic rice

bran, and organic oat

flower gently buff and

smooth skin. Detoxing

green and white clays

pull out impurities,

leaving skin soft and

glowing.

5Defend your skin

against free-radical

damage with Reviva

Labs Antioxidant

Skin Smoothing

Advanced Day Créme.

Black and green teas,

vitamins C and E,

and alpha-lipoic acid

help diminish fine

lines and wrinkles

while defending

against future damage.

Borage, rosehip,

flaxseed, and lavender

oils soften normal

to dry skin.

Sherrie Strausfogel is the author of Hawaii’s Spa Experience: Rejuvenating Secrets of the Islands (the first book to feature aromatherapy in its pages). Based in Honolulu, she writes

about beauty, spas, health, cuisine, and travel. Her work has appeared in more than 100 magazines, newspapers, guidebooks, and websites.

SEPTEMBER 2019 • 23


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The ultimate

handbook

for managing

stress, anxiety,

and depression

BY LISA TURNER

bout 21 million American adults

suffer from mood disorders such

as depression and bipolar, and 40

million have an anxiety disorder. What’s

worse, a report last year by the American

Psychiatric Association (APA) found that

40 percent of Americans are more anxious

than they were the previous year.

As for stress: three out of four adults say

they’re stressed, 45 percent report lying

awake at night, and 36 percent say they

feel nervous or anxious.

What all this means is that more

than a third of Americans struggle

with depression, anxiety, or stress—and

sometimes, all three. If you’re among

them, you don’t have to suffer. Natural

herbs, vitamins, and supplements can calm

anxiety, soothe stress, and ease depression

without the side effects of pharmaceuticals.

Check with your doctor first to identify

serious disorders, and if you’re taking

prescription medication, rule out any

interactions. Then try these nine moodfixing

solutions to feel better, faster.

PASSIONFLOWER

This flowering vine (Passiflora

incarnata) grows throughout

South America and in some parts of the

southern United States. It’s been used in

traditional herbal medicine for hundreds

of years for a variety of conditions, and

modern studies document the effectiveness

of passionflower in relieving stress

and anxiety. Passionflower appears to

work by increasing the brain’s levels

of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA),

a compound that helps regulate mood.

Some research shows that passionflower

is as effective as prescription antianxiety

medications without causing sedation

or impacting job performance. It’s also

helpful in promoting sleep. In one study,

people who drank passionflower tea

daily reported significant improvements

in sleep quality

HOW TO TAKE IT: Look for standardized

whole-plant capsules or extracts with

at least 0.8% flavonoids or isovitexin;

45–90 mg per day has been used for

26 • SEPTEMBER 2019


anxiety and stress. Pregnant women

should avoid passionflower..

SAFFRON

From the threadlike red stigmas

of the Crocus sativus flower,

saffron has been revered for centuries

as a culinary herb and a traditional

medicine to treat depression, anxiety and

inflammation. Saffron contains safranal

and crocin, compounds that may ease

depression by interacting with the brain’s

serotonin and noradrenaline system. The

antioxidants in saffron are also thought

to protect brain cells from oxidative stress,

linked with mood disorders. A number

of studies show saffron can significantly

reduce depression and, in some cases,

may be as effective as a prescription

antidepressant. Another study found

that people who took crocin along with

their antidepressants showed significantly

improved scores for relief of depression

and anxiety compared to those who

took a placebo or antidepressants alone.

SEPTEMBER 2019 • 27


Other studies show that saffron helps

treat depression related to premenstrual

syndrome (PMS).

HOW TO TAKE IT: Choose a saffron extract

or capsules standardized to at least 0.3

percent safranal; 15–30 mg a day has

been used for depression.

SAME (S-ADENOSYL-L-

METHIONINE)

This compound is naturally

produced in the body from methionine,

an amino acid found in certain foods. It is

important for many key cellular functions.

Researchers suggest that it may influence

the expression of genes involved in

depression, impact receptors and structures

that transport neurotransmitters,

or help create neurotransmitters. In one

study, 36 percent of people taking SAMe

with an antidepressant showed improvement

compared with a control group that

took a placebo with the antidepressant.

Additionally, 26 percent of the SAMe

group experienced a complete remission

of symptoms. One analysis found that

taking SAMe resulted in clinically

meaningful benefits to depressed patients,

and the supplement worked as well as

tricyclic antidepressants, a class of

prescription antidepressants.

HOW TO TAKE IT: Look for SAMe in blister

packs, since it degrades easily. Studies

have used 200–1,600 mg daily to treat

depression. If you have bipolar disorder,

ask your doctor before taking SAMe,

and don’t take SAMe with prescription

antidepressants or antipsychotics. Some

studies also suggest that you shouldn’t

take SAMe with St. John’s wort.

ASHWAGANDHA

This traditional Ayurvedic

remedy (Withania somnifera)

is considered an adaptogen—a substance

that normalizes and balances the body’s

own systems and stabilizes the body’s

response to stress. It’s rich in withanolides,

the active compounds in the ashwagandha

root, and appears to work by regulating

chemical signaling in the nervous system.

Ashwagandha has effects on anxiety similar

to those of prescription benzodiazepines.

Studies show that ashwagandha extract

improves resistance to stress and quality

of life, and one review concluded that

ashwagandha was significantly more effective

than a placebo or psychotherapy

at relieving anxiety and stress. Another

study found that ashwagandha reduced

levels of the stress hormone cortisol, and

significantly lowered stress and anxiety.

It may also act as a mood stabilizer in

treating symptoms of depression.

HOW TO TAKE IT: Look for capsules or

extracts standardized to 2.5–5 percent

withanolides, and don’t take it if you’re

pregnant; 500 mg has been used to treat

stress and anxiety.

28 • SEPTEMBER 2019


LEMON BALM

Also called melissa or Melissa

officinalis, this member of the

mint family has been used in herbal

medicine for hundreds of years to

relieve stress and anxiety. In studies,

compounds isolated from lemon balm

showed effects on mood, cognition,

and memory, and it works in part by

interacting with the brain’s neurotransmitters.

Studies show that lemon balm

can treat anxiety, stress, and insomnia.

In one study, lemon balm extract

reduced anxiety by 18 percent and

lowered insomnia by 42 percent.

Ninety-five percent of all subjects

responded to treatment, while 70 percent

showed full remission for anxiety and

85 percent showed full remission for

insomnia. Lemon balm may be even more

effective when combined with valerian.

HOW TO TAKE IT: Lemon balm is available

in capsules, tinctures, or essential oils;

Take the Spiritual Path to Stress Relief

Author of the bestselling books The Urban Monk and The Art of Stopping Time,

Pedram Shojai addresses the real-life issues that people deal with every day:

Money. Time. Energy. Sleep. Family. The Urban Monk philosophy is about

applying the lofty lessons he learned in years of practice as a Taoist monk to the

down-and-dirty nitty-gritty of real-life problems. The book is based on an ancient

Chinese practice called a 100-Day Gong, but applied to modern life. A gong is a

designated amount of time that you allot to perform a specific task every day.

So, for example, meditation is a gong. Here are just a few of the 100 “gongs”

from The Art of Stopping Time.

PRACTICE GRATITUDE

Practicing gratitude is healthy. It helps paint a worldview of optimism and hope.

“Gratitude is good medicine,” says Shojai. “Multiple studies have shown that

people who practice it are consistently happier.”

STEP INTO NATURE

“Step outside today and learn from the ultimate teacher,” suggests Shojai.

“Nature is our guiding light when it comes to cycles and rhythms. Nature has all

the wisdom you need, packed into plain sight. We’ve simply forgotten to look.”

LIMIT EMAIL

Email is integral to our lives, but it’s become one of our biggest time-wasters.

“We’ve become slaves to the inventions that were created to make life easier,”

says Shojai. He suggests setting up chunk time for checking email, preferably

30–60 minutes in the late morning and another block toward the late afternoon.

“The key is to get in, handle it, and get out,” he says.

ALLOW TIME TO DIGEST THOUGHTS

When people have a whole backlog of stuff hanging out in their psychic space

waiting to be processed, it creates stress. As Shojai puts it, you have stuff on

your mind, yet life keeps coming at you. How do we fix this? Simple. We allow

time for digestion—mental digestion. “You have to honor the fact that it can

take some time to process certain information,” notes Shojai. “Exercising and

hiking are great places to do this. They get the body moving so you can

integrate your thoughts and process them in a healthy way.”

CHUNK TIME

Chunking time is assigning segments of time on your calendar for specific

activities and then keeping to the schedule. Email time (see above) is for checking

and responding to email. That’s it. Family time is for family, with no other distractions.

If you’re out to dinner, be with the person you’re eating with (texters and

phone-checkers, I’m looking at you). “The key to getting this is to let go of

the false notion that multitasking somehow makes us better,” says Shojai.

DECELERATE

“One of the main reasons people in modern cultures can’t sleep is the velocity

they carry into their evening hours,” says Shojai. In the deceleration gong you

pay close attention to your evening rituals as they slowly blend into sleep.

Pay attention to what you’re doing the 3–4 hours before bedtime. Can you hang

out in candlelight for a bit? Maybe get into a book instead of binge-watching

Netflix? Start doing this, asserts Shojai, and you’ll start to see improved quality

of sleep. “Your days will begin with more energy and enthusiasm, and your

stress levels will begin to come down.”

In the end, it’s really about the little things. Like smiling. “Smiling is really the

simplest example,” says Shojai. “It lights up someone else’s day and makes you

feel good too. It’s unbelievable how much different the day can be if you just

start smiling at people.” —Jonny Bowden, PhD, CNS

Visit theurbanmonk.com to learn more.

SEPTEMBER 2019 • 29


80–300 mg of lemon balm extract taken

twice daily has been used for anxiety.

OMEGA-3S

These fatty acids found naturally

in fish have been shown

to calm anxiety, ease depression, and

improve mood. They work partly by

reducing stress hormones, decreasing

brain inflammation, and supporting

neurotransmitter function. Research

suggests that people with different

forms of depression, including minor

depression, postpartum depression,

and suicidal ideation, may have lower

levels of omega-3s in their bodies. A

number of studies show that omega-3

supplements have significant effects

on reducing depression and managing

symptoms of bipolar disorder. In one

review, researchers found that people

who took omega-3s showed significant

improvement compared to those who

were taking a placebo, and those with

bipolar depression showed a 50 percent

improvement. In another study,

omega-3 supplements were as effective

as a common antidepressant.

HOW TO TAKE IT: It’s best to get omega-3s

from cold-water fish such as sardines,

mackerel, herring, or wild Alaskan

salmon. For supplements, choose one

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700–1,000 mg of EPA and 200–500 mg

of DHA daily.

L-THEANINE

This compound found in green

tea has a measurable calming

effect on the brain. In one study, people

who took L-theanine supplements produced

more alpha waves, a sign of

relaxation. L-theanine helps relieve

anxiety in part by interacting with

neurotransmitters in the brain, binding

to receptors for excitatory compounds

and enhancing production of relaxing

neurotransmitters. Research shows that

L-theanine can treat anxiety, sleep disturbances,

and symptoms of depression in

people with major depressive disorder.

In one study, people were subjected to

experimentally induced anxiety and given

either L-theanine or an antianxiety drug

The people who received L-theanine had

lower anxiety throughout the trial than

those who took the prescription drug.

HOW TO TAKE IT: Look for capsules,

tablets, or extracts, or drink matcha, a

powdered form of green tea that’s high in

L-theanine; studies have shown calming

effects at 200 mg of L-theanine per day.

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5-HYDROXYTRYPTOPHAN

(5-HTP)

This amino acid is an immediate

precursor of serotonin naturally produced

by the body. Because low serotonin is

linked with depression, anxiety, and

mood disorders, boosting the body’s

production can help. Some small studies

show that 5-HTP relieved symptoms

of depression, and one found that it

was as effective as a commonly used

prescription antidepressant. Research

also suggests that the effects are more

pronounced when 5-HTP is combined with

antidepressant medications, especially in

depression that’s resistant to drug therapies.

Other studies suggest that 5-HTP

improves sleep quality and duration,

especially when combined with GABA.

HOW TO TAKE IT: For mood enhancement,

studies have used 50–100 mg three times

a day, with meals; for sleep, 100–300 mg

before bed has been used.

B-COMPLEX VITAMINS

B vitamins are critical for a

healthy nervous system, and low

levels or deficiencies are linked with an

increased risk of depression and other

mood disorders. Several studies suggest

that B-complex supplements improve

mood, reduce stress, and enhance overall

quality of life. In one study of people

with depression, a B-complex vitamin

significantly improved symptoms of

depression and anxiety compared to a

placebo. Other research shows that a

combination of vitamin B 12

, vitamin B 6

,

and folic acid enhanced the effectiveness

of antidepressant medications compared

to a placebo.

HOW TO TAKE IT: Look for a B-complex

formula that contains a balanced blend

of all the Bs, and take one daily, or as

directed on the package.

LEARN MORE ONLINE

For links to the studies cited in this article,

visit betternutrition.com.

Lisa Turner is a chef, food writer, product developer, and nutrition

coach based in Boulder, Colo. She has more than 20 years of

experience in researching and writing about nourishing foods, and

coaching people toward healthier eating habits. Find her online at

lisaturnercooks.com.

30 • SEPTEMBER 2019


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CAN YOU TAKE

TOO MUCH

CALCIUM?

Calcium is essential for strong bones—that’s a fact.

But does this mean you need high doses of calcium

supplements? Will your bones crumble if you

don’t? Here’s what science has to say. BY VERA TWEED

After the FDA authorized a health

claim in 1993—that calcium

in foods and supplements may

reduce the risk for osteoporosis—calcium

became a widely marketed item. But

government nutritional surveys show

that most Americans still consume less

than the recommended amount from

food and supplements: 1,000 mg daily

for adults, and 1,200 mg daily for women

after age 50 and for men after age 70.

About three out of four women

over the age of 60, and nearly as many

teenage girls, fall short, as do about

half of boys and men in the same age

groups. And there are slightly smaller

but significant shortfalls among all the

other age groups.

More important: Are you deficient?

The answer isn’t as simple as saying,

“take so many milligrams a day and

you’ll be okay.” Just as a shortfall is bad

for your health, so is taking too much.

Excess levels of calcium can increase

risk for heart disease, kidney stones,

and possibly colon cancer. The amount

of calcium in your food, some health

conditions, and some medications can

all influence your calcium levels.

When it comes to taking calcium

supplements, individual needs really

do vary. In fact, scientists who analyzed

decades of calcium research concluded

that “the proper dosages of calcium

supplementation for people are actually

not clear.”

CALCIUM AND BONE HEALTH

In the human body, 99 percent of

calcium is found in bones and teeth.

The remaining 1 percent is in the blood,

where it’s essential for many functions,

including the contraction and relaxation

of blood vessels, muscle function, transmission

of signals through nerves, and

hormone secretion. If there isn’t enough

calcium in the blood, additional calcium

will be released from bones.

At the same time, bone continually

turns over, breaking down and rebuilding.

In later life, especially in women after

menopause, the breakdown is greater

than the formation of new bone, and

this leads to bone loss, fragile bones,

and higher risk of fractures.

Adequate calcium from food and

supplements helps to preserve bone in

older people, but there is conflicting

32 • SEPTEMBER 2019


SEPTEMBER 2019 • 33


evidence about whether calcium

supplements alone can prevent fractures.

One successful strategy for preserving

bone and reducing fracture risk is

taking vitamin D with calcium. Getting

regular exercise, such as walking or

running and doing resistance exercises,

is also important for bone health.

CALCIUM AND HEART DISEASE

In studies, the link between calcium

and heart disease is not clear. In some

studies of older women, calcium appeared

to lower risk for heart disease, but in

others, supplementing with 1,000 mg

per day or more increased risk. Men

taking more than 1,000 mg of calcium

in supplements also had higher risk

for heart disease. However, lower-dose

supplementation did not contribute to

heart disease.

In studies of calcium and blood

pressure, the results are also inconsistent.

In some cases, higher calcium intake

reduced blood pressure but in others,

it had no effect. Dairy products have

been found to lower blood pressure,

but it isn’t clear if their beneficial

effect came from calcium.

While the calcium-heart relationship

isn’t clear, the American Society for

Preventive Cardiology and the National

Osteoporosis Foundation have concluded

that calcium is safe as long as your daily

total from food and supplements doesn’t

exceed 2,500 mg for adults up to age 50,

and 2,000 mg after that.

CALCIUM AND CANCER

Some studies have linked calcium

with lower incidence of colon cancer,

especially a daily amount of 700–800

mg from food and/or supplements.

However, in one study of women who

took 1,200 mg of calcium daily for at

least three years, with or without

1,000 IU daily of vitamin D, there was

an increased risk of polyps that are

precursors of colon cancer.

In studies of men, an increased risk

for prostate cancer was seen among

those taking 1,300 mg of calcium daily

or more. But there was no link between

Why Calcium Levels Can Be Too Low or Too High

While it’s essential to get adequate dietary calcium, other factors, such as medications or

parathyroid disorders, can raise or lower calcium in the blood to unhealthy levels.

Not to be confused with the thyroid, there are four parathyroid glands in the neck, each

the size of a grain of rice. They regulate levels of calcium in the blood by secreting parathyroid

hormone to raise calcium levels and stopping release of the hormone to lower levels.

If you routinely take any medications, ask your pharmacist if they influence the way your

body uses, stores, or excretes calcium. And find out if calcium supplements are recommended.

These are some common reasons for unhealthy levels of calcium:

Calcium levels can be too low because of:

Low levels of albumin, a protein in

the blood

Underactive parathyroid glands

(hypoparathyroidism)

Low levels of vitamin D or magnesium

High levels of phosphorus

An inflamed pancreas

prostate cancer and lower daily intakes

of calcium (between 500 and 1,000 mg

from food and supplements).

CALCIUM AND KIDNEY STONES

Research on the link between calcium

and kidney stones has also produced

conflicting results. One study

of postmenopausal women found that

taking 1,000 mg of calcium and 400 IU

of vitamin D every day for seven years

increased risk for kidney stones by

17 percent. But another study found

fewer kidney stones among women

who took supplemental calcium or

ate more calcium-rich foods. Lack of

fluids and eating a lot of foods high in

oxalates—such as spinach, bran flakes,

rhubarb, beets, potato chips, French

fries, nuts, and nut butters—can also

increase risk for kidney stones.

WHAT TO DO

When it comes to ensuring that you’re

getting enough calcium, the first step

is to increase your intake of foods that

are naturally rich in the mineral. Milk

and other dairy products can provide

200–300 mg in a serving. An 8-ounce

serving of collard greens, broccoli rabe,

Calcium levels can be too high because of:

Overactive parathyroid glands

(hyperparathyroidism)

Cancer

An overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism)

Too much vitamin D

Sarcoidosis

Tuberculosis

Being immobilized for a long time

Calcium Tests

Levels of blood calcium can be tested during a medical check-up. In addition to identifying

your personal calcium needs, a test may help to detect hidden medical conditions.

or kale, or a 3-ounce serving of canned

sardines with bones, can deliver a similar

amount.

Fortified foods, including many cereals,

plant milks, and juices, contain added

calcium. Consuming these is essentially

like taking calcium supplements with

food. These are valid sources, as are

traditional calcium supplements in pills.

To determine your own need for

calcium supplements, check the calcium

content of the foods you typically eat

and add up your usual daily total. If you

take antacids that contain calcium, a

multivitamin, or other supplements,

calculate your average calcium intake

from these and add it to your food

sources to get a daily total. If it’s less

than the daily recommended 1,000 mg

(or 1,200 for women over 50 and men

over 70), fortified foods or calcium

supplements can make up the difference.

LEARN MORE ONLINE

For links to the studies cited in this article,

visit betternutrition.com.

Contributing editor Vera Tweed has been researching

and writing about healthy living since 1997. She is the

author of Hormone Harmony: How to Balance Insulin,

Cortisol, Thyroid, Estrogen, Progesterone and

Testosterone to Live Your Best Life and other books.

34 • SEPTEMBER 2019


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FREE eBook! Go to betternutrition.com to download your copy!

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The scoop on 8 popular diets:

• Clean Eating • Flexitarian

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WHY YOUR BELLY’S

Six sneaky

things that may

be upsetting

your gut

BY LISA TURNER

NOT

BETTER

You’re avoiding gluten, minimizing

carbs, and taking your supplements—

and you’re still experiencing

indigestion, bloating, stomach upset, or

constipation. It may be that common daily

habits are harming your gut. Check

out these six surprising gut-killers, and

make your belly better right now.

SEPTEMBER 2019 • 37


1YOUR SUPER-HEALTHY

DIET. Beans, lentils, cashews,

beets, cauliflower, apples, blackberries,,

and certain other plant

foods are nutrient-dense and loaded with

fiber—but if you’re sensitive, they can

wreak havoc on your digestive system.

These and other good-for-you foods are

high in FODMAPS (fermentable oligosaccharides,

disaccharides, monosaccharides,

and polyols)—carbohydrates

that aren’t fully digested and can be

fermented by gut bacteria, causing pain,

gas, bloating, constipation, and diarrhea

in some people. Even if you’re not

sensitive to FODMAPs, an increase in

high-fiber foods can overload your

digestive system and cause distress.

And some studies show that decreasing

fiber may improve constipation in people

following a high-fiber diet. For some,

even prebiotic fibers such as inulin

and FOS, designed to “feed” intestinal

bacteria, can cause gas, bloating,

cramps, abdominal pain, and diarrhea.

GUT-HEALTH GUIDELINES: We’re not

saying you should stop eating beans,

fruits, and vegetables; but if you’re

new to a high-fiber diet, start slow.

Add fiber-rich foods gradually

and drink plenty of water.

To make beans easier to

digest, soak them overnight

to remove oligosaccharides,

then drain

the soaking water before

cooking. And if you have

irritable bowel syndrome

(IBS) or other chronic gut

issues, consider a low-

FODMAP diet; studies show

it can improve symptoms.

Check out Healthy Gut, Flat Stomach:

The Fast and Easy Low-FODMAP Diet

Plan by Danielle Capalino, MSPH, RD,

for more information.

2COCKTAIL HOUR. That daily

drink not only harms your liver,

it may be messing with your

gut as well. Alcohol irritates the

stomach lining, interferes with gastric

acid secretion in the stomach, impairs

38 • SEPTEMBER 2019

muscle movement in the intestines, and

relaxes the esophageal sphincter, which

increases the risk of heartburn. Studies

also show that alcohol can cause an

imbalance in gut bacteria and increase

the numbers of harmful bugs.

GUT-HEALTH GUIDELINES: Drink in

moderation, and not every day. If you

do drink, switch to red wine. In one study,

hard liquor reduced beneficial bacteria in

the gut, while moderate amounts of red

wine increased good gut bacteria and

decreased harmful bacteria.

3THE KETO DIET. Short for

ketogenic, the Keto plan

drastically reduces carbohydrate

intake and replaces it with high

quantities of fat. While low-carb diets

have many benefits, they can cause

problems with digestive health. Studies

suggest that a diet high in saturated fat

tends to increase harmful gut bacteria

while diminishing beneficial bacteria.

Keto and other low-carb diets generally

tend to be higher in animal protein,

which may have an unfavorable impact

on the microbiome (nonorganic

versions). And if it’s not grass-fed, red

meat may promote the growth

A disruption in your body’s

circadian rhythm—lots of parties

or late-night work dinners—can

increase the risk of a variety of

gastrointestinal diseases.

of harmful intestinal bacteria and

potentially increase the risk of IBS and

other gut disorders. And some sugar

alcohols, used as sugar alternatives on

low-carb diets, can cause gas, bloating,

and other digestive issues.

GUT-HEALTH GUIDELINES: You don’t

have to ditch your low-carb diet, but if

you’re struggling with belly issues, be

careful with your saturated fat intake,

and skip those sugar alcohols.

4THAT STARBUCKS

ADDICTION. Coffee causes

an increase in stomach acid

and can lead to heartburn, acid

indigestion, or reflux. Caffeine also

stimulates peristalsis—the rhythmic

contractions of the intestines that move

stool matter—which can cause diarrhea

or loose stools in some people. And

drinking coffee can slow digestion:

caffeine increases the production of

adrenaline and noradrenaline, which

causes the heart to beat faster and can

result in decreased blood flow to the

intestines. It’s also a diuretic, which can

impact gastrointestinal health.

GUT-HEALTH GUIDELINES: None of this

means that you can’t ever drink coffee;

just moderate your consumption and drink

a full glass of water after every cup. If you

suffer from heartburn, gastroesophageal

reflux disease (GERD), or excess stomach

acid, try a lower-acid coffee, or switch to a

coffee substitute made from mushrooms

or adaptogenic herbs. And on a happier

note: Some studies suggest that coffee is

actually good for gut bacteria, increasing

diversity and promoting the growth of

some friendly strains.

5YOUR GO-GO

LIFESTYLE.

If your highaction

way of

life means fewer hours

of shut-eye, you may be

compromising gut health.

Lack of sleep increases

stomach acid, decreases

intestinal motility, and

hampers blood flow and

digestion. In one study,

only two nights of sleep deprivation

altered gut microbes and increased the

abundance of bacteria associated with

weight gain, obesity, and type 2 diabetes.

A disruption in your body’s circadian

rhythm—lots of parties or late-night

work dinners—can increase the risk of

a variety of gastrointestinal diseases,

including IBS, GERD, and peptic ulcer

disease. And a high-stress job or lifestyle

can dramatically impact digestive health


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3 HERBS FOR GAS

Let’s get something straight. The word “bloating”? It’s the word du jour, and I hear it a lot. The thing is, most people who complain

about abdominal bloating don’t know that gas (not just water retention) is a major cause. This “bloat” is any abnormal swelling,

or increase in diameter, of the abdominal area.

A gut full of gas may sound trivial, but that constant pressure and resulting abdominal pain can be among the most annoying

symptoms a person can endure. It pales next to a brain tumor, but it can sure ruin a good day.

Gas can form anywhere in the digestive tract, but it largely comes from bacterial action in the large intestine, as a byproduct of

fermentation. Those bugs live off our waste. So if undigested carbohydrates make their way to the bacterial homeland, the microbes

break them down to simpler compounds, including some in gaseous form. Certain herbs can stimulate the secretion of digestive

juices that assist the body in digestion and can help to alleviate gas.

PARSLEY-FAMILY HERBS

The parsley family is famous for its collection of gas-suppressing seeds—think fennel, cumin, dill, coriander,

anise, and caraway. The theory is that the abundant essential oils in these seeds bump up digestive juices,

and may also kill bad bacteria.

In my mind, fennel is the world champion. In a recent Italian study, fennel and coriander were both found to

be natural bactericides. A 2016 study found that anethole, a major constituent in fennel seed, restored delayed

gastric emptying. In another trial, 95 percent of study participants taking an herbal mixture containing fennel, as

well as dandelion, St. John’s wort, lemon balm, and calendula, experienced complete relief of colitis symptoms,

including abdominal pain and cramping, within two weeks.

Use fennel, or any of these parsley family seeds, by taking them in capsules, tablets, or tinctures;

or chewing the whole seeds or drinking as a tea as needed.

GINGER

Ginger, a warming herb, is a first-aid kit on a plate. This time-tested remedy is used by nearly every culture

in the world as a treatment for gas. It reduces gut spasms, absorbs and neutralizes toxins in the GI tract, and

boosts digestive juice secretion, including bile and saliva. A recent paper reported that ginger enhanced fat

digestion by stimulating bile and pancreatic lipase enzymes. This spicy root contains constituents that soothe

the gut and aid digestion.

Prepare a tea and drink after a large meal to ease discomfort. Drink three times a day, or as much as needed

to lessen the bloating. I also recommend taking ginger in capsules and tinctures.

BLACK PEPPER

On the whole, warming herbs reduce gas and bloating, and black pepper is an excellent example. It is one

of the most valued herbs in Asia. Piperine, a main active constituent, has a reputation for increasing

bioavailability and absorption of nutrients. It works in part by increasing intestinal motility, which is known

to reduce gas. It is often combined with long pepper, a close relative. Long pepper tends to moisturize

tissues, such as those in the digestive tract, while black pepper tends to reduce excess moisture.

Use black pepper in tea or capsules. Start with 500 mg per meal and increase with each meal until you

have banned the bloat. —Karta Purkh Sighn Khalsa, DN-C, RH

and also lead to changes in gut microbiota,

reducing overall diversity, lowering

beneficial bacteria, and increasing

potentially harmful bacteria.

GUT-HEALTH GUIDELINES: As much as

possible, try to keep a regular sleep routine,

going to bed at the same time every night

and getting up at the same time the next

morning (preferably 8 hours later). And

practice good sleep hygiene: Avoid excessive

caffeine and alcohol consumption, as well

as screen time before bedtime; keep your

bedroom cool, dark, and quiet; and limit

nighttime snacking to small amounts of highprotein

food. If you’re overstressed and

have trouble sleeping, natural sleep aids

such as valerian root and melatonin can help.

6SKIPPING THE GYM. Regular

physical activity not only lowers

stress, encourages weight loss,

and reduces the risk of chronic

disease, it can also positively impact

intestinal bacteria and improve gut

health. If you’re not moving, the

digestive tract can’t move waste

through your system properly, leading to

constipation, IBS, and other gut health

issues. And recent studies suggest that

physical activity can improve gut flora,

promoting diversity and increasing

levels of beneficial bacteria.

GUT-HEALTH GUIDELINES: You don’t

have to be a superstar athlete to reap the

benefits of exercise. Any regular physical

activity, even at low-to-moderate intensities

(think walking, gardening, ballroom

dancing) is beneficial. The key is to find

an activity you like, and keep doing it!

Lisa Turner is a chef, food writer, product developer, and nutrition coach based in Boulder, Colo. She has more than 20 years of experience in researching and writing about nourishing foods, and coaching people

toward healthier eating habits. Find her online at lisaturnercooks.com.

40 • SEPTEMBER 2019


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eating4HEALTH/FOODS & MEALS THAT HEAL

Prostate Protection

Seven super foods that support this tiny but important gland /// BY LISA TURNER

For guys, prostate health is one of the

most critical areas of wellness. Prostate

cancer accounts for almost one-third of

newly diagnosed cancers in the United

States and is the second-leading cause

of cancer-related deaths in men in

the Western world. And nearly half of

American men over the age of 50 have

benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), an

enlargement of the prostate gland that

can cause uncomfortable urinary

symptoms, as well as bladder, urinary

tract, or kidney problems. The good

news: a handful of nutrients have been

shown to protect against BPH, reduce

the risk of prostate cancer, and keep

the prostate healthy. Some of the best:

Avocados contain

beta-sitosterol, a plant

compound that has been

linked with reduced

symptoms of BPH. Some studies also

suggest that plant sterols prevent or

retard prostate cancer formation and

progression. Avocado is also rich in lutein

and other compounds that may protect

against prostate cancer. Other foods high

in beta-sitosterol include wheat germ,

rice bran, soybeans, and peanuts.

RECIPE TIPS: Add diced avocados and red

onions to scrambled eggs; purée avocados

with cocoa powder and honey for a

healthy chocolate mousse; sauté onions,

jalapenos, and garlic, add broth and

chopped avocado, heat through, and purée

until silky for a creamy, dairy-free soup.

Tomato sauce,

and tomatoes in general,

are high in lycopene, a

carotenoid antioxidant that

helps protect against BPH and prostate

cancer. Studies show that increased tomato

consumption is linked with a lower risk of

prostate cancer, and other research suggests

that lycopene can slow the progression of

BPH. Tomato sauce is more effective than

raw tomatoes, since cooking makes

the lycopene more available to the body.

Adding olive oil further enhances its

absorption. Papaya, watermelon, red

peppers, and pink grapefruit are also

good sources of lycopene.

RECIPE TIPS: Sauté spiralized zucchini,

cherry tomatoes, and garlic, and smother

with tomato sauce and fresh basil; cook

tempeh and onions in tomato sauce for

vegan Sloppy Joes (see recipe, right); stuff

bell peppers with cooked quinoa, olives,

rosemary, tomato sauce, and cheese, and

bake until bubbly.

Pumpkin seeds are

loaded with zinc, a mineral

that's critical for prostate

health. Research shows

that zinc plays a role in prostate cell

functions and survival and may help

maintain DNA integrity. Studies suggest

that men with BPH and/or prostate

cancer have lower blood levels of zinc,

and insufficient zinc intake is also linked

to BPH. Dietary zinc is easier for the body

to absorb than zinc supplements. Sesame

seeds, almonds, legumes, eggs, and shellfish

are also good sources of this key mineral.

RECIPE TIPS: Purée pumpkin seeds, almond

butter, garlic, and kale for a nutrientpacked

pesto; make veggie burgers with

ground pumpkin seeds, onions, black

beans, mashed sweet potatoes, and spices.

Tempeh and other

forms of soy are high

in isoflavones, plant

compounds that help protect against

BPH and cancer. Soy isoflavones may

improve signs and symptoms of BPH,

and studies also suggest that soy

products decrease prostate cancer cell

growth, induce cancer cell death, and

regulate other cancer-related cellular

processes. It’s also a great protein

alternative to meat: some research

shows that people who follow a vegan

diet have a 35 percent lower risk of

prostate cancer. Tofu and edamame are

other good sources of soy isoflavones.

RECIPE TIPS: Cut tempeh into thin slices,

season with tamari, and sauté in olive oil

until crispy; coat tempeh with paprika,

cayenne pepper, garlic powder, and salt

for blackened tempeh burgers; steam

crumbled tempeh and use as a filling for

spring rolls.

Broccoli is rich

in glucosinolates, plant

compounds that protect

against prostate and other

cancers. In one study, increasing

cruciferous vegetable intake to more than

three servings per week was associated

with a 41 percent reduction in risk for

development of prostate cancer. Broccoli

is also high in vitamin C, an antioxidant

that can reduce the risk of prostate cancer.

Other vitamin C-rich foods include citrus

fruit, tomatoes, peppers, kale, kiwi, and

Brussels sprouts. Kale, cabbage, cauliflower,

arugula, and Brussels sprouts are also

high in glucosinolates.

RECIPE TIPS: Finely chop broccoli florets

and toss with cherry tomatoes, red onions,

and Caesar salad dressing; riff on fried rice

with broccoli florets, shiitake mushrooms,

scallions, and cooked quinoa; thinly slice

broccoli lengthwise, toss with olive oil and

sliced leeks, and roast until crispy.

Onions contain

organosulfur compounds,

phytochemicals that can

protect against BPH and

prostate cancer. Garlic, leeks, scallions,

and other members of the allium family

have similarly protective effects. One

study found that men who ate the most

garlic and onions had lower rates of

prostate cancer. Research has also shown

a preventive effect of allium vegetables

against prostate and other cancers, and

one study found that men with the

42 • SEPTEMBER 2019


PHOTOGRAPHY: PORNCHAI MITTONGTARE; FOOD STYLING: CLAIRE STANCER; PROP STYLIST: ROBIN TURK

Spicy Sloppy Joes

With Tempeh

Serves 4

This flavorful, easy-to-make

entrée swaps tempeh for the

traditional ground beef, with

lots of garlic and onions simmered

in a rich tomato sauce.

Our version is pleasantly spicy;

skip the jalapeño pepper to dial

down the heat. Serve it with a

side salad of arugula, avocado

cubes, and pumpkin seeds for

extra prostate protection.

highest intake of onions, garlic, and

scallions had a significantly lower risk

of prostate cancer.

RECIPE TIPS: Cook finely chopped onions

with honey, white balsamic vinegar, and

minced rosemary until soft for onion

jam; cut yellow onions into thick slices,

brush with olive oil and garlic powder,

and grill until tender; sauté onion rings

in olive oil, drop an egg into the center,

cook until firm, and top with minced

cilantro and salsa.

1 Tbs. olive oil

1 small yellow onion, diced

1 green bell pepper, diced

1 large jalapeño pepper,

seeded and minced

1 package tempeh, crumbled

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 cup tomato sauce

4 Tbs. ketchup

1 Tbs. regular or vegan

Worcestershire sauce

2 tsp. mustard

4 gluten-free or whole-grain

hamburger buns

1. Heat oil in large skillet over

medium-high heat. Add onion,

bell pepper ,and jalapeño ,

and cook 2 minutes, or until

just tender. Stir in tempeh,

and cook for 5–7 minutes

longer, until tempeh is lightly

browned, stirring frequently

to avoid burning.

2. Stir in garlic, tomato sauce,

ketchup, Worcestershire

sauce, and mustard. Reduce

heat and simmer, covered,

7 minutes, until vegetables

are cooked through and

➐ Green tea is high in

catechin antioxidants, especially

epigallocatechin-3-gallate

(EGCG), which has been linked in a

number of studies to reduced risk of

prostate and other cancers. In one study,

green tea catechins significantly reduced

the incidence of prostate cancer in men with

an elevated risk. Research shows that

prostate cancer risk declines with increased

consumption of green tea, especially in

men drinking five or more cups per day.

flavors are blended. Season

to taste with salt and pepper.

3. Place bottom half of each

bun on four individual

plates. Divide sloppy joe mix

between roll bottoms. Cover

with bun tops and serve

immediately.

Per serving: 430 cal; 24g prot;

18g total fat (3g sat fat); 53g carb;

0mg chol; 830mg sod; 2g fiber;

12g sugar

RECIPE TIPS: Purée matcha green tea

powder with honey and coconut milk,

freeze in an ice cream maker, and serve

between cookies for an ice cream

sandwich; whisk matcha into melted

white chocolate chips and form into

balls for truffles; stir matcha and ginger

powder into waffle batter and serve

with warm honey.

Lisa Turner is a chef, food writer, product developer, and nutrition

coach in Boulder, Colo. She has more than 20 years of experience in

researching and writing about nourishing foods, and coaching people

toward healthier eating habits. Find her at lisaturnercooks.com.

SEPTEMBER 2019 • 43


asktheNUTRITIONIST/ANSWERS TO YOUR FOOD QUESTIONS

Eat Like a Greek!

Adopt this style of Mediterranean eating to enjoy tasty food, promote

longevity, and protect against many diseases.

/// BY MELISSA DIANE SMITH

: Do you think there is one

cuisine or cooking style that

is healthier than others?

—Tanya W., Madison, Wis.

I’m biased (full disclosure:

a:Perhaps

I’m half Greek!), but I think one of

the healthiest and easiest ways to cook

is Greek, especially low-carb Greek. That

means skipping the pita and baklava, and

preparing poultry, meats, fish, shellfish,

and a wide variety of vegetables using

the key ingredients of olive oil, lemon,

garlic, and flavorful herbs. Eating Greek is

not only satisfying and tasty, but it helps

protect against degenerative disease and

promotes longevity.

The Mediterranean diet is based

on the traditional Greek diet and other

similar food patterns of nearby countries.

It centers around eating real food and

emphasizes extra virgin olive oil and other

healthy fats, seafood, and a wide variety

of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and

legumes. Refined grain products, refined

vegetable oils, trans-fats, processed meats,

and foods with added sugars are avoided

or discouraged. It was ranked as the best

diet of 2019 according to U.S. News &

World Report.

Benefits of the Mediterranean Diet

Numerous scientific studies show that a

Mediterranean-style eating plan can offer

widespread health benefits, including

increased life expectancy, reduced risk

of major chronic disease, and improved

quality of life. Some research highlights:

Heart Disease. The Mediterranean diet

has been found to reduce the burden, or

prevent the development, of cardiovascular

disease (CVD), and to improve markers

of CVD, such as waist-to-hip ratio, blood

lipids, and markers of inflammation.

Cognitive Decline. The Mediterranean

way of eating helps brain health too.

One study with 1,864 participants found

that those who followed the diet were

less likely to develop dementia and they

experienced better cognitive performance

in many areas, especially memory.

Cancer. A review of 83 studies published

in October 2017 in the journal Nutrients

suggested that the Mediterranean diet

may help reduce the risk of cancers such

as breast cancer and colorectal cancer,

and help prevent cancer-related death.

Another study, published in October 2015

in JAMA Internal Medicine, found that

women who ate a Mediterranean diet

supplemented with extra-virgin olive

oil had a 62 percent lower risk of breast

cancer than those who ate a low-fat diet.

Other Benefits. Other studies have

shown that the Mediterranean diet is

linked to lower incidence of depression

and lower risk for type 2 diabetes. It also

improves blood sugar control more than

low-carbohydrate, low-glycemic index,

44 • SEPTEMBER 2019


and high-protein diets among people

managing diabetes.

A 2016 scientific review concluded:

“In the era of evidence-based medicine,

the Mediterranean diet represents the

gold standard in preventive medicine,

probably due to the harmonic combination

of many elements with antioxidants and

anti-inflammatory properties.”

How to Go Greek

If you’re interested in a Greek-style

Mediterranean diet, include these foods:

Olive Oil. Use extra virgin olive oil when

preparing foods. Olive oil is loaded with

beneficial monounsaturated fatty acids

and powerful antioxidants, and has been

linked to many health benefits, including

less inflammation, better brain health,

protection against heart disease and stroke,

and the ability to help fight cancer.

Some people think that olive oil

shouldn’t be used in cooking, but that’s

not true. Research shows that with its

high monounsaturated fatty acid and

antioxidant content, olive oil stands up

well to heat. One study published in

2018 found that extra virgin olive oil is

the most stable cooking oil.

Lemons, another staple in Greek cuisine,

provide vitamin C and bioflavonoids as

well as smaller amounts of B vitamins and

minerals. Research shows that consuming

lemon juice controls high blood pressure,

dizziness, and nausea; may help provide

relief from indigestion and constipation;

and soothes respiratory disorders.

Lemons are used in many popular

Greek dishes, including baked chicken

Athenian, broiled lamb chops, shrimp

scampi, and avgolemono soup, the Greek

version of chicken soup (which is made

with chicken, lemon, eggs, and rice).

Garlic is one of the earliest documented

examples of plants employed for treatment

of disease and maintenance of health.

Hippocrates, the revered physician

who said, “Let food be thy medicine, and

medicine be thy food,” prescribed garlic

for a variety of conditions.

Modern research indicates that garlic

may help improve heart health in a number

of ways, may protect against cancer,

and is a triple threat against infections,

boasting antibacterial, antiviral, and

antifungal properties.

Herbs. Instead of loading foods primarily

with salt, Greek cooking uses a variety

of aromatic herbs, including oregano,

marjoram, dill, fennel, mint, rosemary, sage,

thyme, and parsley. Each herb has medicinal

benefits and adds its own appeal.

Fish and Seafood. Fish and shellfish

are an important part of the Greek diet.

Sardines, a great source of EPA and DHA

omega-3 fatty acids, are one of the most

commonly eaten fish in Greece. Baked or

broiled fish, such as trout, with olive oil,

lemon, and seasonings is a simple, nutritious

entrée that is easy to fix.

Shrimp and scallops, which are both

high in protein and very low in fat, are

the most common types of shellfish used

in Greek dishes. They’re also “fast” foods,

taking less than 10 minutes to prepare.

Souvlaki. One of the best-known

Greek foods is souvlaki or kabobs—small

grilled pieces of meat on a skewer, with

or without vegetables. Souvlaki is typically

made from chicken, lamb, beef, or pork

and also can be made with shrimp, scallops,

or pieces of a firm fish such as sea bass,

mahi-mahi, or swordfish.

Greek Yogurt and Tzatziki. Like regular

yogurt, Greek yogurt is packed with

gut-beneficial probiotics, but it is thicker

because the yogurt has been strained to

remove the liquid whey. This reduces its

lactose content and makes it higher in

protein. People following a Greek diet

often eat Greek yogurt with fruit, or they

eat tzatziki, a dip made with Greek yogurt,

cucumbers, olive oil, and herbs.

Hummus. For Greek-style snacking,

try veggie sticks with hummus, a dip that

has been eaten for thousands of years. It’s

made with garbanzo beans, garlic, sesame

tahini (sesame seed butter), and olive oil.

Greek Salad and Horiatiki Salad.

Made with tomatoes, red onion, cucumber,

olives, feta cheese, olive oil, and red wine

vinegar, both of these salads are common

side dishes. The difference is that Greek

salad also contains lettuce and Horiatiki

salad does not.

Greens. A high intake of greens is a key

component of the Mediterranean diet.

Spinach is a green used in many recipes,

including horta vrasta, a traditional side

dish made with boiled greens topped with

salt, pepper, olive oil, and lemon juice.

The Greek diet also makes extensive use

of endive, dandelion greens, and chicory.

Dolmades are stuffed grape leaves

typically filled with rice, herbs, and

sometimes meats. Grape leaves are

low in calories and have a very high

antioxidant content—about 10 times the

antioxidant activity of grape juice or pulp.

Fresh Fruit. Instead of ice cream or

Greek pastries, reach for strawberries,

grapes, fresh figs, oranges, or apples.

If you don’t like all Greek foods or

have food sensitivities, personalize the

diet.I eat more lamb and beef than fish,

and I avoid grains and tomatoes. This

allows me to avoid symptoms from foods

that cause me problems and still enjoy the

many health benefits of the Greek diet.

Melissa Diane Smith, who

specializes in using food as

medicine, is an internationally

known journalist and holistic

nutritionist who has more than 20 years

of clinical nutrition experience. She is the

cutting-edge author of Going Against GMOs,

Going Against the Grain, and Gluten Free

Throughout the Year, and the coauthor of Syndrome X.

To learn about her books, long-distance consultations,

nutrition coaching programs, or speaking, visit her

websites: melissadianesmith.com and

againstthegrainnutrition.com.

more at betternutrition.com

For links to the studies cited in this article,

visit betternutrition.com.

Do you have a question for the nutritionist? We would

love to hear from you. Please email your questions to

bnaskthenutritionist@gmail.com.

SEPTEMBER 2019 • 45


healthyDISH/RECIPE MAKEOVERS FULL OF MODERN FLAVOR

Fiery Labor Day BBQ Sauce

Say goodbye to the summer grilling season and turn

up the heat with this habanero-infused sauce

/// BY JONNY BOWDEN, PHD, CNS, AND JEANNETTE BESSINGER, CHHC

If you think Chef Jeannette is kidding about the “fiery” in the title of this recipe, let me

alert you: she’s not. This is hot stuff, largely thanks to the intense flavor and spice of

the habanero pepper, one of the strongest types of chili pepper. (Chili peppers are

themselves a member of the Capsicum genus, which means they’re filled with capsaicin,

the pain-killing, metabolism-boosting ingredient that makes them so fiery as well as so

good for you!)

The thing about making your own BBQ sauce is that you control what goes in

there—no artificial ingredients, much less sugar than the store-bought kind, and no highfructose

corn syrup, which most commercial BBQ sauces are loaded with. There’s nothing

here but top-quality, high-flavor, fresh ingredients. And seriously folks, this sauce, in Chef

Jeannette’s words, is kickin’. So use caution. Only the brave need apply! —Dr. Jonny

FEATURED INGREDIENT: Blackstrap Molasses

I’m often asked if there are any sweeteners that are actually good for you. One that always

comes to mind is blackstrap molasses.

Molasses is a byproduct of sugar refining that contains all the nutrients from the raw

sugarcane plant. Since the roots of sugarcane grow very deep, they are able to receive a

pretty broad range of minerals and trace elements that are usually lacking in the topsoil.

During the refining process, sugarcane plants are boiled to a syrup from which the crystals

are extracted. Then they’re boiled two more times, both of which produce molasses. Each

successive boiling produces a molasses with less sugar. Blackstrap molasses comes from

the third (and final) boiling and has the least amount of sugar of the three boils—but

more of the vitamins, minerals, and trace elements found naturally in the sugarcane plant.

Blackstrap molasses is very dark and has a robust, somewhat bitter flavor. It’s used in a

variety of dishes as a sweetener and coloring agent. It’s also widely accepted as a “health

food.” It can be used in any number of recipes and is particularly suitable for gingersnaps,

soy-based sauces, licorice, canned baked beans, and—homemade BBQ sauces!

Blackstrap molasses is a very good source of iron, potassium, calcium, and magnesium,

and an excellent source of manganese and copper. It also contains a small amount of the

cancer-fighting mineral selenium. There are all sorts of claims about the health benefits

of taking blackstrap molasses as a nutritional supplement, some of which are far-fetched.

But where there’s that much smoke, there’s probably a fire somewhere, and there’s no

doubt that this sweet staple is packed with health-promoting nutrients.

To my taste buds, blackstrap molasses is wonderfully delicious and rich, and a nutrientdense

sweetener that I feel good about recommending for most people. Best bet: Look

for unsulfured blackstrap molasses from organic sugar.

NOTES FROM THE CLEAN FOOD COACH

The slow cooker method really helps develop the flavors of this sauce, but if you

don’t have a small one, you can prepare this recipe on the stovetop. After the garlic

has cooked, sprinkle the Sucanat evenly over the onion mixture to melt it. Add the

remaining ingredients, bring to a simmer, lower heat to medium, and cook for about

15 minutes until it thickens and gets a little glossy. Watch liquid level while simmering

and stir in a little more broth or water if it gets too thick. Cool and purée until smooth.

Fiery Homemade BBQ Sauce

Makes about 2 cups (6 servings)

1 Tbs. coconut oil

1 large yellow onion, finely diced

6 garlic cloves, minced

1 habanero pepper, seeded and finely

chopped (or more, to taste)

¾ cup vegetable broth (or water)

½ cup raw apple cider vinegar

½ cup fresh-squeezed lime juice

1 6-oz. can tomato paste

¼ cup Sucanat (or packed brown sugar or

monk fruit, for a no-added-sugar option)

3 Tbs. dark rum

2 Tbs. blackstrap molasses

1 Tbs. Dijon mustard

1 Tbs. Worcestershire sauce

¾ tsp. salt

½ tsp. dried thyme

1. Heat oil in large skillet over medium high

heat. Add onion, and cook about 4 minutes,

until starting to soften. Add garlic, and cook

30 seconds.

2. Remove from heat and transfer contents

to a small slow cooker (1-1½ quarts). Stir

in remaining ingredients from habanero

through thyme, and mix well.

3. Cover, and cook on high 1½–2 hours

until mixture comes to a simmer. Remove

insert, stir well, recover, and let sit about

1 hour. Purée cooled sauce until smooth

(an immersion blender works well for this).

Transfer to storage container and keep

refrigerated for up to 2 weeks.

Per serving: 130 cal; 2g prot; 2.5g total fat

(2g sat fat); 23g carb; 0mg chol; 690mg sod;

1g fiber; 16g sugar

PHOTOGRAPHY: PORNCHAI MITTONGTARE; FOOD STYLING: CLAIRE STANCER; PROP STYLIST: ROBIN TURK

46 • SEPTEMBER 2019


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SEPTEMBER 2019 • 47


cookwithSUPPLEMENTS/EASY WAYS TO BOOST YOUR NUTRITION

Health-Boosting Smoothie

The list of apple cider vinegar (ACV) benefits is extensive. Add it to your

smoothies and other drinks to reap its benefits /// BY MAUREEN FARRAR

Pear-Berry Blast

Serves 2

With plentiful vitamins and minerals, such

as vitamins A, C, and K, iron, magnesium,

and phosphorus, pears provide gut-friendly

fiber that aids in digestion. Fiber helps ferry

food through the digestive system without

the fear of food particles being caught in the

large intestine’s pockets. Apple cider vinegar

assists in this work by providing nutritious

enzymes that help break down food as it

passes through the digestive system. Improving

digestion and supporting the body by ensuring

the proper absorption and distribution of

nutrients, pears and ACV combine to create

the perfect drink for digestion!

1 Tbs. apple cider vinegar

1 medium pear, peeled and cored

1 cup raspberries

1 cup blackberries

2 cups purified water (pH-balanced)

1. Combine all ingredients in a large

blender.

2. Blend on high until thoroughly

combined and frothy.

3. Consume immediately or store tightly

sealed and unrefrigerated up to 4 hours.

Per serving: 100 cal; 2 g pro; 1 g fat; 25 g

carb; 10 g fiber; 13 g sugar

Excerpted from Apple

Cider Vinegar Drinks

for Health: 100 Teas,

Seltzers, Smoothies,

and Drinks to Help You

Lose Weight, Improve

Digestion, Increase

Energy, Ease Colds,

Relieve Stress, and Look

Radiant by Britt Brandon

(Adams Media,

2018).

editor’s pick

Comvita Apple Cider Vinegar with Manuka Honey

PHOTOGRAPHY: PORNCHAI MITTONGTARE; FOOD STYLING: CLAIRE STANCER; PROP STYLIST: ROBIN TURK

48 • SEPTEMBER 2019


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