Before I get started, I would like to thank all those readers who sent congratulatory emails on the birth of my first grandchild. I had no idea there were so many grans amongst you and I’m delighted to be a member of this special club. Of course I wouldn’t be a true gran if I didn’t say that our little Emily, now starting to smile, is undoubtedly the most beautiful little 6 week old in the whole wide world. OK, OK, now I expect my email connection will be jammed by all the photos of grandchildren coming my way... Hehe! Non-members of the Gran Club will be relieved to know I respect that you have heard enough now about grandkids so I shall move on to the task at hand.
Please Don’t Colour Me Naughty
Ask the average South African consumer to name a food colouring, and most will come up with....? You guessed it! ..Tartrazine of course! According to SA legislation it’s the only colourant that has to be declared on food labels. Given that it's long been said to cause rashes and asthma in susceptible people, and has been linked to hyperactivity in children, it's "baddie" status is fairly well entrenched in consumers' consciousness. But how many South Africans know that a number of studies have linked several other widely used food colourings to behavioural problems in children?
As of this month food manufacturers in the European Union are given the choice of removing all food colors from their products or include this warning label clearly visible on the package: “dyes in this product may have an adverse effect on activity and attention in children.” The dyes that are specifically mentioned are: tartrazine (E102), quinoline yellow, (E104), sunset yellow (E110), carmoisine (E122), ponceau 4R (E124), and allura red (E129). (In SA Nestle Country Fresh's Neopolitan flavour ice cream and Beacon’s Liquorice All Sorts have four of the six named colourants.) When the UK based Southampton Report concluded artificial colours resulted in increased hyperactivity in children, it seems a doorway to natural colours was opened. Overseas, retailers in several markets are phasing out foods which contain the criticised artificial colours. All because of an increasing consumer demand for food free from synthetic colours linked with hyperactivity in children. In South Africa, Nestle has removed artificial colours from Smarties and Woolworths has launched a range of sweets which boast natural colours and natural flavourants. Sounds like a move in the right direction at last however the question now arises: “How will the “naturalness” of these natural colourants be monitored?” Remember natural colours are not available in their pure forms. They come from crops produced by farmers, so what about residual pesticides and fertilizers? Secondly most have to undergo a heavy extraction process involving chemical solvents. There is little control in SA as to what a trader imports and sells and not knowing the source could result in colours that are not of food quality.
The solution: Stick to uncoloured foods in their natural state. Any child with attention or learning problems should not be eating artificially coloured foods.
What your doctor might not have told you about statins
The fact that statins or cholesterol-lowering drugs cause serious side-effects is no longer disputed but did you know that there are now 900 studies proving their adverse effects? These include:
Muscle problems, polyneuropathy (nerve damage in the hands and feet), and rhabdomyolysis (a serious degenerative muscle tissue condition)
Pancreas or liver dysfunction, including a potential increase in liver enzymes
Cognitive problems and memory loss
Blood glucose elevations
Your doctor may also have forgotten to tell you that statins deplete your body of CoQ10, which can have devastating results. CoQ10 is essential for cellular energy production. Organs such as the heart have higher energy requirements and therefore require more CoQ10 to function properly. As your body gets more and more depleted of CoQ10, you may suffer from fatigue, muscle weakness and soreness, and eventually heart failure. If you are on statins please take the trouble to get a second opinion as to whether you definitely need to be because apparently 9 out of 10 patients put on statins don’t actually need to be. If you are convinced you are the 1 in 10 that does then for your heart’s sake please do supplement with 100mg of CoQ10 daily.
Fish Oil can Slash the Risk of Breast Cancer by a Third
When you look at statistics about breast cancer, it's no wonder that the very mention of the disease causes dread in many women. Fortunately there's a lot of good news accumulating about specific ways to stop breast cancer from ever developing in the first place. A mounting body of data shows cruciferous vegetables like broccoli fight breast cancer and six studies have shown eating an apple a day can reduce the risk of breast cancer, too. Now the first study of its kind has revealed that postmenopausal women who regularly take fish oil supplements were found to have a 32 percent reduced risk of invasive ductal breast cancer -- the most common type of breast cancer. The research, which involved 35,000 women and took six years to complete, has caused great excitement among experts, yet the results are hardly surprising. Fish oils contain high levels of essential fatty acids that can reduce inflammation. Studies have already suggested they may boost brain cells, keep eyes healthy and protect men against heart failure as well as prostate cancer. But when it comes to fish oil it is of utmost importance to take only molecularly distilled, pharmaceutical grades. See our selection of imported fish oils which have been awarded the International Fish Oils Five Star Rating – the highest purity rating in the world.
Ditch the lunchtime sarnie
If you’re aiming to have a productive, energised afternoon, sandwiches make a far from ideal lunchtime food. Sandwiches may be tasty and convenient, but they do not represent prime fuel for those with jobs to do. There are two fundamental problems with this food. The first is that bread, even wholemeal bread, tends to release sugar relatively quickly into the bloodstream. The peak of sugar this produces can provoke a flood of insulin from the pancreas. This works to lower blood sugar levels, but a surge of this hormone can lead to lower-than-normal levels of sugar. As a result, brain and body energy levels can flag in the mid-late afternoon, coinciding with a natural lull in the body’s alertness and energy levels at this time. Some even struggle to stay awake. Sound familiar? Anyone feel like doing some research on the impact of sandwich-eating at lunch on productivity after lunch?
Then too, the reason that some people find themselves irresistibly drawn to sweet foods such as cakes and pastries at afternoon tea-time, seems to be linked to the sandwich they eat at lunch and the resulting dip in blood sugar levels.
That surge of insulin after a sandwich has long-term implications too, as excesses of insulin predispose to a range of issues including weight gain, type 2 diabetes and heart disease. The odd sarnie for lunch is unlikely to be too much of an issue. But eating this food lunch after lunch, week after week and month after month may result in problems over time.
The other major problem with bread is that wheat is a common cause of food sensitivity. Wheat sensitivity can manifest in any number of ways but perhaps the two most common manifestations are abdominal bloating/discomfort and fatigue. Try switching to a hot meal (e.g. meat or fish plus vegetables), salad or soup (preferably with meat in, to add sustenance and nutritional value) and notice the lasting improvement in your energy and effectiveness, in the workplace or out.
Diabetic drug causes heart attacks
If you look at the package insert for the diabetic drug Avandia you will read that Myocardial Infarction is listed as one of the side effects of this drug and they’re not kidding, because heart attacks it certainly has caused. Back in February, a Senate Finance Committee report revealed that not only is Avandia dangerous, but GlaxoSmithKline knows this and has deliberately tried to hide this crucial information from the public. The pharmaceutical giant has finally settled 700 lawsuits by individuals claiming they were harmed by the drug. Most had suffered heart attacks, but others had suffered a stroke or heart failure. A lawyer involved in these cases told Reuters that a fair number of people had also died. Glaxo will have to pay out about $60m to resolve these suits. In spite of all this an FDA advisory panel is still recommending that Avandia remain on the market. According to a study conducted by researchers from the Mayo Clinic, more than 90 percent of researchers who have published studies favorable to the controversial diabetes drug Avandia had a financial stake in the issue. Clearly it is not possible to know from clinical trials what will happen when a drug becomes available on the open market. Pharmaceutical companies are notorious for skewing the truth in order to get their next blockbuster drug approved for sale. These companies are money-hungry, multi-national corporate monsters that will stop at nothing to make an obscene profit, even if it means exposing their customers to harm. And would it be unfair to suspect that the FDA is conspiring with theses drug companies?
Focussing on Curcumin
Curcumin is the active ingredient of turmeric, which is the substance that gives curries and mustards their yellow colour. Curcumin comprises five percent of turmeric and has a surprising array of anti-oxidant, anti-cancer, anti-mutagenic, anti-biotic, antiviral, antifungal, antiamyloid, antidiabetic and anti-inflammatory properties. Its anti-inflammatory properties have been known in Chinese and Ayurvedic Medicines for thousands of years and are now been discovered by Western nutritional medicine. Curcumin has proven even better for relieving arthritis pains and stiffness than expensive pharmaceuticals, and without side effects.
Many trials with curcumin extracts have been documented that show how amyloid plaques, the toxic protein clumps known to form in the brain of Alzheimer’s patients, are suppressed by curcumin. Multiple laboratory studies have found that curcumin, along with DHA (an omega-3 essential fatty acid from fish oil) limited amyloid deposits, oxidative damage and cognitive deficits in mouse models. Our specially imported See Yourself Well DHA Essentials together with our Curcumin and Quercitin supplement make an excellent combination.
Curcumin also appears to be a potentially-powerful nutrient against cancer cells. Curcumin extracts have been used as an adjunct with orthodox cancer treatments to reduce dosages of toxic cancer drugs. It may also inhibit cancer development by inhibiting a certain enzyme system known as cytochrome P-450. There is other research indicating that curcumin may arrest the proliferation of cancer cells in various phases of the cell cycle. There is even data to indicate that curcumin can have what is known as an anti-angiogenic quality; in other words, it can help stop the spread of tumors. This is very important, because most people die from cancer because of this spreading (metastasis) to other healthy organs in the body. For tumors to grow, they require a constant supply of oxygen and nutrients. As they continue to grow, they develop new blood supplies to help maintain this flow of nutrients. By inhibiting the growth of new blood vessels, you can basically starve cancer to death. Epidemiological studies of people who have a high dietary intake of turmeric show a lower incidence of cancer among them.
Curcumin is considered non-toxic and even up to six grams of curcumin daily for extreme cases, such as cancer, have been declared safe. It can be taken daily as part of turmeric powder however for the curcumin to get into the bloodstream the turmeric needs to be combined with fats. It has also been discovered that heat helps absorption without decomposing the curcumin in turmeric. It’s a good thing that curry involves cooking with some sort of fat.
If your situation warrants higher supplementation our Curcumin and Quercitin supplement is an excellent combination that may well cover the whole gamut of inflammatory conditions. Please email me if you would like a complete list of benefits of this supplement. (NB:To be used with caution when on blood thinning medications). .
Q & A Section (new)
The gentleman at our local health shop recommended krill oil for my husband’s arthritis. Is there any advantage to taking krill oil rather than fish oil, as you seem to recommend.
When it comes to comparing fish oil with krill oil there is no contest. When evaluating omega-3 oils one needs to look at the essential fatty acid content, ie the EPA and DHA content. It is these fatty acids that do the heavy lifting when it comes to the anti-inflammatory properties of an omega-3 oil. The DHA and EPA content of krill oil is extremely low. Not surprising therefore that there are virtually no studies on animals or humans to substantiate the claims regarding the benefits of krill oil. The most objective way to begin looking at whether these claims are supported by research is to search www.pubmed.gov., using krill oil as the search term. Do this for yourself and you will see that only 21 papers appear, and most are absolutely useless from the perspective of human nutrition. For example, one of them is titled “Feed training of peacock bass”! Also none of the studies have been published in prestigious medical journals and the only worthwhile ones have apparently been commissioned and funded by Neptune Krill Oil. In view of this I am amazed that krill oil has even managed to find its way into the health shops with this incredibly scanty evidence. On the other hand if you search the pubmed website using fish oil as the search term, more than 16000 studies are listed, many of them published in medical journals. More studies have been done on Omega-3 from fish oil than any other nutrient in the world and the claims that it is an excellent anti-inflammatory for arthritis sufferers is hugely supported by research.
I am fully aware of the aggressive and highly deceptive marketing of krill oil that has taken place but this is always by a few people with a vested interest in Neptune Krill Oil. I have raised this issue with a director of the nutraceutical company that is pushing krill oil in South Africa and was promised that they would tone down some of the ridiculous claims being made in their brochure which I happened to pick up in a Dischem store. Whether this has been done or not I do not know but frankly, it saddens me that there are nutraceutical companies that are prepared to be just as deceptive as the corrupt pharmaceutical companies.
Oh yes , my other gripe with krill oil is on the manufacturing side. Although the promotional literature claims that krill oil is free of heavy metals, mercury, PCB's and dioxins, there is no evidence of molecular distillation, steam distillation, or any specifics as to how their raw ingredient from the sea is without contaminants, never mind the fact that this marine species is subjected to the same polluted waters of any other marine species. When it comes to fish oil, purity is non-negotiable, so always look for a brand that has the IFOS 5 star rating on the label. You cannot get any purer than that so your protection against ingesting contaminants is guaranteed.
Omega-3 from fish oil is one supplement that I recommend for absolutely every South African. We do not consume enough fatty, cold water fish in our diets and the EPA and DHA they contain are crucial to our health. These compounds are also pivotal in preventing a variety of devastating diseases you want to avoid, including heart disease, cancer, diabetes, depression and Alzheimer's.
Caution: Individuals on blood thinners should get medical advice before using any omega-3 supplement.
If you have a health related question email it to me and I shall reply to you personally. However should I feel that others may benefit I would like to publish your question in one of my newsletters, with no names mentioned of course.
Also if there is any topic you would like me to discuss in one of my newsletters please let me know and I shall do my best to comply.
Health benefits of rooibos tea
Thanks to Mirko Albrecht, Chef and Nutrition Consultant from Germany, for this contribution. Since I cannot fit more than one recipe into this newsletter, Mirko has kindly offered that you can email him at Albrecht71-Albrecht@web.de should you like more recipes using rooibos tea.
Rooibos tea is completely free from caffeine and ideal for kids. It contains some minerals and trace elements such as magnesium, potassium, calcium, copper, iron, fluoride, manganese. Rooibos Tea has anti-allergic effects, because the average 150 ml cup of Rooibos Tea contains about 1,4 mg – 1,7 mg Quercetin, a bioflavonoid that inhibits production of histamine and other biogenic amides such as tyramine and phenyl ethylamine.
Rooibos Tea increases the activities of phase II liver detoxifying enzymes. It contains the enzyme super-oxide-dismutase (SOD), identified in studies at the Institute for Science of Aging at Al-CHI Medical University, Japan. The Redbush Tea increases the ratio of reduced Glutathione (GSH) to oxidised Glutathione (GSSG) by 500-600%.
Drink Redbush tea and live according to the maxim “let food be your medicine”.
Healthy Rooibos Polenta Squares with a Yoghurt-Orange Filling (no baking required)
½ litre Rooibos tea
¾ to 1 cup corn semolina (polenta/maize meal)
1 cup yoghurt (I prefer 100 % pure)
1 to 1 ½ fine diced orange
¼ to ½ cup chopped nuts of choice (I prefer walnuts, hazelnuts or cashews)
Natural sweetener of choice (eg stevia)
¼ to ½ tsp. fructooligosaccharide powder (available from health shops)
Bring Rooibos tea to boil. Add natural sweetener and reduce heat until tea is simmering. Slowly add corn meal one handful at a time to the simmering tea, all the while stirring quickly with a long handled wooden spoon to prevent lumps. This mixture must become thick while cooking. If necessary add more corn meal. Now add Inulin (FOS) powder to semolina (do not cook it any longer) and stir it gently till you have an homogeneous mixture. Pour the mixture into a shallow rectangular dish and let it cool completely. Cut into squares.
In separate bowl, mix yoghurt, nuts, orange and natural sweetener together. Refrigerate at least 1 hour. Now lay some of the polenta squares on a plate. Spread yoghurt-orange crème on these and top with another polenta square.
Instead of corn semolina you can use semolina of millet or rice.
Let me tell you a bit about FOS powder. FOS is short for fructooligosaccharide (also known as Inulin) derived from chicory root and other natural sources of Inulin. I prefer FOS powder for this Rooibos cake because it has a strengthening effect on the intestinal barrier and a reduction of potentially pathogenic bacteria in our intestinal system. Fructooligosaccharide taste is comparable to sugar and has a beneficial effect on the immune system.
Thanks Mirko! We look forward to seeing what you have in store for us next month!
That's all from me folks. Until next time I wish you all everything that is Ayoba!