Chinese Botanical Medicine: Wikipedia Claims it is Fake, We are Certain it is Real


According to the World Health Organization, 80% of the world’s population uses herbal medicine. Are these hundreds of millions of people simply deluded by superstitious nostrums, as Wikipedia and so-called ‘skeptics’ imply? 

Modern conventional medicine has increasingly become a culture of scientific and historical denialism. Although claiming to be an objective discipline of consistent progress, the medical establishment more often than not denies the insights, discoveries, medical systems and methodologies of the distant past and non-Western cultures. Rather, Western medicine is racing more rapidly towards a retro-future with a blind faith in the promises of new engineered, synthetic drugs. Sadly, this pursuit is misconstrued as synonymous with important medical breakthroughs and the evolution of scientific medicine in general. Yet as the statistics show, modern medicine is on a collision course with itself. This is most evident in the increasing failures conventional medicine faces in fighting life-threatening diseases and the annual increases in iatrogenic injuries and deaths.

Upon graduation, every new physician repeats “I will not give a lethal drug to anyone if I am asked, nor will I advise such a plan.” The Oath composed by the wise Greek medical sage, Hippocrates, goes on to say “I will use those dietary regimens which will benefit my patients according to my greatest ability and judgement, and I will do no harm or injustice to them.” Hippocrates was a naturalist. Unlike physicians today, he was expert in the healing powers found in the natural world and was a keen observer about the health benefits of different foods, plants and herbs. However, modern allopathic doctors are not only largely ignorant about the natural world but also the epigenetic, environmental and behavior causes of diseases and the means to prevent them. They have also removed themselves from honoring the Hippocratic Oath.

How well has modern medicine lived up to its Oath? Adverse drug events (ADEs) are rising. They have become a plague upon public health and our healthcare system. As of 2014, prescription drug injuries totaled 1.6 million events annually. Every day, over 4,000 Americans experience a serious drug reaction requiring hospitalization. And over 770,000 people have ADEs during hospital stays.[1] The most common ADEs are hypertension, congestive heart failure, atrial fibrillation, volume depletion disorders and atherosclerotic heart disease.[2] According to the Centers for Disease Control, in 2016 there were 64,070 deaths directly associated with prescription overdoses; this is greater than the number of American soldiers killed during the entire Vietnam War.[3] For 2017, the CDC reported over 42,000 deaths from prescription opioid drugs alone.[4] Yet this figure is probably much higher due to the CDC’s practice of reporting statistics very conservatively and many cases not getting properly reported. So when we consider that there were over 860,000 physicians in the US practicing in 2016, potentially most physicians in America have contributed to ADEs.

No legitimate and highly developed alternative or natural medical practice has such a dismal track record of illness and death. Nevertheless, when a rare ADE, poisoning or death occurs Skeptics in the radical fringe Science-Based Medicine (SBM) movement, who rabidly oppose Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), are quick to report the incident as a national crisis and condemn the use of traditional natural medicine altogether. Yet if we look at the potential number of iatrogenic injuries and deaths over the last four decades since the start of the pharmaceutical and biotechnology boom in the late 1980s, we are looking at over 60 million ADE incidences caused by conventional Western medicine alone. This is nothing celebrate and no concerted national effort within the medical establishment nor among the followers of SBM is being made to challenge the dominant medical paradigm responsible for this crisis.

According to the World Health Organization, 80% of the world’s population uses herbal medicine. And this trend is increasing exponentially.[5] Skeptics have few viable and rational explanations to account for this trend. Since they regard traditional herbal medical systems as quackery, everyone experiencing relief or having a successful treatment from botanicals is simply having a placebo effect conversion experience. Fortunately in the US and other Western nations, the public is rapidly losing its trust and satisfaction with conventional Western medical practice and is seeking safer alternatives. With healthcare costs escalating annually and prescription ADE’s on the increase as more and more drugs are fast-tracked through federal regulatory hurdles, relying solely upon allopathic medicine is a dangerous bargain. Dr. Dominic Lu at the University of Pennsylvania and president of the American Society for the Advancement of Anesthesia and Sedation recommends that Chinese herbal and Western medicine might complement each other if we make the effort to investigate their synergistic therapeutic effects. Lu believes oriental concepts of human anatomy should be further included in higher educational health science curriculums.[6] In addition, we would also note that with conventional medicine in a crisis people are accessing the numerous resources on the internet to educate themselves about the medicinal properties of plants, herbs, supplements and foods as part of their personal therapeutic protocols.

In our previous article in this series exposing the scientific denialism and ideological agenda of Skepticism’s and Wikipedia’s role in promoting SBM’s regressive agenda to turn people away from non-conventional drug-based medicine, we tackled SBM’s and Wikipedia’s attack on acupuncture. In this segment we will focus upon Chinese botanical medicine. In mainland China, acupuncture and herbology are treated as separate disciplines; therefore we will only look at Chinese botanical medical.

Wikipedia has a noteworthy amount to say about traditional Chinese herbal medicine. However, its major criticisms rely heavily upon five-plus year old reviews of the peer-reviewed research. Some references in fact have nothing to do with Chinese herbology. The majority of clinical research into Chinese botanicals and medical preparations are only found in Chinese databases. Therefore, Western analytical reviews, including the Cochrane reports, are extremely limited, inconclusive and biased. Critics of TCM frequently criticize published Chinese research as “incomplete, some containing errors or were misleading.”[7] These are the same Skeptic criticisms Wikipedia levels against traditional herbal medical systems in general. With over 181,000 peer-reviewed research papers and reviews listed in the National Institutes of Health PubMed database referring to TCM, it is ridiculous and disingenuous to assume Wikipedia’s editors have scoured this massive body of science to make any sound judgement about TCM’s efficacy.

Under the heading “Chinese Herbology,” Wikipedia states, “A Nature editorial described TCM as “fraught with pseudoscience,” and said that the most obvious reason why it has not delivered many cures is that the majority of its treatments have no logical mechanism of action… Research into the effectiveness of traditional Chinese herbal therapy is of poor quality and often tainted by bias, with little or no rigorous evidence of efficacy.”[8] Nature’s editorial, which reflects the same ill-informed opinions frequent in Skeptical criticisms about natural health, does not cite any research to support its sweeping prejudiced opinion. The editorial is primarily a diatribe against the growing popularity of traditional medicine in the Chinese domestic market, estimated by the Boston Consulting Group to be worth $13 billion in 2006.[9] In addition, as noted above, Wikipedia’s sources include a review of herbal medicine published in the South African Medical Journal that only looked at six African botanicals, none which are part of the Chinese pharmacopoeia.[10]

We would be negligent to not state a serious concern that readers should be aware of regarding Chinese medicinal herbs and preparations. This has been rightly noted by the SBM writers and Wikipedia; that is the high levels of toxic contaminants, notably arsenic, lead and other toxic chemicals found in Chinese herbs and formulas being exported. However Wikipedia fails to note the real reasons for this warning. Rather it frames caution as a means to discredit Chinese botanical medicine altogether. The export of toxic herbs is largely due to the enormous and out-of-control environmental problem including toxic atmospheric particulate matter from over-pollution, toxic dumping and waste spills in water supplies and poor agricultural practices. However, in some countries such as Japan and Taiwan, federal regulations for the import and export of medical botanicals are stricter and clean, non-toxic botanical herbs and preparations are readily available. There remain very reliable sources for getting highly quality grown Chinese herbs.

One of SBM’s leading spokespersons David Gorski would like us to believe that Mao Tse-tung should be condemned for restoring traditional Chinese medicine in mainland China. [11] But this is a blatant half-truth. In fact, Gorski and his colleagues have far more in common with Chairman Mao based upon the historical facts. It was during Mao’s reign that classical Chinese medicine took an enormous leap backwards. The ancient system was originally banned during the Chinese Nationalist movement in the early 20th century because its leaders believed the old ways were preventing the nation from modernizing. Mao initially made a small effort to restore the practice when he came to power. However, it was after the Communist Revolution when Mao turned against traditional medicine. The Cultural Revolution again outlawed the practice. Traditional doctors who retained the most extensive knowledge and wisdom about classical Chinese anatomical theory and knowledge of medicinal herbs were systematically gathered for Communist conversion programs, imprisoned and/or killed. TCM nearly died out altogether from the mainland. Years later when the Communists attempted to resurrect the ancient medical wisdom, only a few hundred doctors could be found throughout the country with sufficient knowledge to start TCM anew. Yet Mao remained ambiguous. He wrote, “Even though I believe we should promote Chinese medicine… I personally do not believe in it. I don’t take Chinese medicine.”[12] Unfortunately what is commonly called Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) today is a partial reconstruction of the original ancient system that had developed over thousands of years. Much has been lost. The government’s effort failed. According to Dr. Brigetta Shea, “once the government decided to reinstate some form of China’s traditional medicine, they did it with an emphasis on combining it with Western medical theory. This shifted even acupuncture theory, as Western anatomical teaching was adopted and esoteric subtle anatomy was discarded.”[13] The result has been that TCM today is a mere shadow of what it was in the past, and is little more than a watered down system contaminated with Western reductionist medical theories. Fortunately, growing interest in TCM is inspiring young researchers and practitioners to travel to China, Taiwan, Japan and Korea to try to recover the more ancient classical medical teachings that were not included in the standardized TCM curriculums.

SBM founder Stephen Novella remarks, “TCM is a pre-scientific superstitious view of biology and illness, similar to the humoral theory of Galen, or the notions of any pre-scientific culture. It is strange and unscientific to treat TCM as anything else. Any individual diagnostic or treatment method within TCM should be evaluated according to standard principles of science and science-based medicine, and not given special treatment.”[14] The remainder of Novella’s argument is an example of taking TCM terms literally and not penetrating their deeper functions to discover their correlations with scientifically identified biomolecular substances and events. Novella also believes that the Chinese medical theories of qi and the acupuncture meridians share the same magical thinking as “ether, flogistum, Bigfoot, and unicorns.”[15]

The master physicians and pioneers of the advanced traditional medical systems of Greece, India, China and Tibet, were very skilled and astute in identifying metabolic disturbances in their patients. Although on the surface, the humors may appear to be outdated or primitive mythological terms, a deep study of the traditional medical texts reveals they have direct correspondences to biochemical and biological processes that are well known in modern medicine. For example, according to the recent translators of the enormous medical corpus composed by one of the world’s greatest medical doctors Avicenna in the 11th century, who revived the medical theories of Galen at the height of Islamic civilization’s golden age, Dr. Hakima Amri, professor of molecular biology at Georgetown University and Dr. Mones Abu-Asab, a senior scientist and expert in phylogenetic systematics at the National Institutes of Health, discovered the ancient descriptions of the humors have a direct correlation to properties of fats, proteins and organic acids  — the cornerstones of metabolic changes. Due to its linear and non-systematic way of analyzing health and disease, modern medicine focuses upon single metabolic pathways and fails to consider that these pathways work in concert and are co-dependent with others. For example, a patient with high LDL cholesterol will be prescribed a statin without fully understanding the biological imbalances that increased LDL. But traditional herbal systems, including Chinese botanical medicine, provide more parameters such as a tissue’s hydration and energy production in the case of abnormal cholesterol levels. Western medicine does not take into account hydration and energy production in making an accurate diagnostic assessment of the reasons for a patient’s cholesterol imbalance. This is where the ancient theory of humors, or the fundamental “fluids” in the body — traditionally defined as blood, phlegm and yellow and black bile —  provides clues.

Western medicine has no equivalent to what traditional systems refer to as “dystemperament” in a biological system or organ. Dystemperament was understood as an imbalance in a person’s unique personalized physical, genetic and psychological disposition. Today the rapidly growing discipline of Functional Medicine finds agreement with this principle for diagnosing and treating an illness. In fact, conventional medicine still endeavors to define the causes of many diseases at a singular cellular or molecular level. It also faces a serious predicament in being based upon a one-drug-one-target paradigm in drug research and development. Traditional systems, including Chinese herbology, being far more complete and efficient medical systems, don’t struggle with this dilemma. For half a century we have spent hundreds of billions of dollars on reductionist biomedical research to identify genes, proteins and metabolic biochemical changes that contribute to disease. But despite the enormous body of knowledge and data we have gathered from astronomic costly projects there have been few practical and meaningful results to find safe and effective treatments outside of prescribing potentially lethal drugs.

Most evidence-based medical reviews of research conducted on the efficacy of specific Chinese herbs fail to take into account that Chinese herbology is a complete system. It is unrealistic to research a single traditional Chinese herb and draw a definitive conclusion. An herbal concoction can include up to 18 or more ingredients, and these may be fermented or simmered for hours to produce pharma-therapeutic properties useful for the treatment of disease. This was noted in a Cochrane review of Chinese medical herbs for treating acute pancreatitis.[16] It is estimated that there are over 13,000 different medicinal ingredients found in the annals of Chinese medical texts and well over 100,000 unique decoctions and recipes. While the vast majority of substances used in Chinese medicinal preparations are plant-based, parts of animals and specific minerals may also be included.[17,18]

Regardless of the Skeptics’ and Wikipedia’s invective to diminish Chinese medicine’s efficacy and successes, TCM is booming and extraordinary research continues to pump out positive discoveries. Even Bayer Pharmaceutical purchased the Chinese herbal company Dihon Pharmaceutical Group in 2014 because of the huge potential for discovering powerful phytochemicals to treat a wide variety of diseases. Helmut Kaiser Consultancy in Germany predicts that annual revenues in Chinese botanicals will triple by 2025 from 2015 revenues of $17 billion.[19] A Morgan Stanley 2012 review found that even among Chinese physicians trained in Western medical schools, TCM is being used as the first line of defense against disease in 30% of medical cases.[20]

Curiously Skeptics and Wikipedia fail to acknowledge that the 2015 Nobel Prize in Medicine was awarded to China’s scientist Tu You-you for her use of the Chinese medical remedy artemisia to develop an anti-malarial drug.[21] In 2015, researchers at the Texas Biomedical Research Institute and the Center for Integrative Protein Science in Munich published their findings in Science of an alkaloid in an ingredient of the Chinese formula Han Fang Ji that protected human white blood cells from the Ebola virus.[22] And in 2006, the FDA gave its first drug approval to an ointment based upon Chinese botanicals, including green tea leaves, for the treatment of genital warts caused by human papillomavirus.[23] In a bioinformatics database analysis comparing phytochemicals in Chinese plants with the modern Comprehensive Medical Chemistry database of pharmaceutical drug ingredients, over 100 Chinese herbal phytochemicals had direct correlates with ingredients used in approved pharmaceutical drugs on the market.[24]

Taking one excellent example of the synergistic effects of herbal combinations in TCM is the duo Coptidis rhizoma and Evodia rutaecarpa. In classical Chinese medical practice, this formula has been given for centuries to treat gastric conditions including rapid healing of ulcers. Modern research has shown that together these herbs inhibit the bacterium Helicobacter pylori, which frequently accompanies ulcers. In the US approximately 20% of people under 40 years and over 50% of those above 60 years are estimated to have an H. pylori infection which can be responsible for gastritis, stomach and duodenal ulcers, gastric lymphoma and stomach cancer. The herbs were also found to contain limonene used in drugs as an antineoplastic molecule and gamalenic acid used in as an ingredient in pharmaceutical anti-tumor drugs.[25]

Finally, we might take a look at the 2017-2018 flu season. In fact, the influenza vaccine for this past season was a dud and failed to protect most recipients from infection. According to the CDC, the vaccine was 36% effective.[26] Almost 100 pediatric flu deaths were reported. However, later research at Rice University determined the vaccine was at best only 20% efficacy.[27] With conventional medicine and our federal health agencies failing to protect the public, tens of thousands of people experiencing the onset of flu-like symptoms rushed to purchase the Chinese herbal cold formula Nin Jiom Pei Pa Koa. The formula costs as little as $6 in New York City’s Chinatown. Pei Pa Koa is one of the most popular cold, flu and cough remedies across East Asia and Singapore. It was first formulated during the Qing dynasty in the 17th century. The results are often immediate. When we desire relief from a health condition that is all that matters.

Therefore, we have absolutely no need for Skeptics preaching from their bully pulpits. There is no need to read the vitriol of Science-based medicine’s priesthood. And we certainly have no need to refer to Wikipedia’s encyclopedia of biased misinformation parroting Skepticism’s paranoia and deceptive efforts to censor natural health. We don’t need any of them to tell us that the relief we experience after taking a medicinal herb or natural formula is only a placebo effect or a figment of our imagination because the scientific research doesn’t meet their standards. The fact of the matter is that the science will never meet their standards because fundamentalists, either religious or science-based, cannot be persuaded by factual evidence that conflicts with their ingrained psychological ideologies and fears. And this is the fundamental fallacy and blatant hypocrisy that runs throughout SBM Skepticism and Wikipedia. It is not “science-based” because it is impoverished of the necessary inquisitive open-mindedness that defines those who are authentic scientists. SBM is faith-based, and holds fealty with a grossly reductionist, petulant and brattish mentality incapable of seeing the forest from the trees. In his criticism of TCM, Novella brings the absurdity of Skepticism to a climax. “I maintain that there are many good reasons to conclude that any system [i.e. TCM] which derives from everyday experience is likely to be seriously flawed and almost entirely cut off from reality.”[28] However, for thousands of years there have been countless people who experienced and claimed the benefits from Chinese botanical medicine. We have no need for Skepticism’s scientific reductionist validation to prove the reality of natural medicine.

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6 Health Benefits of Liver Cleansing


Your liver is responsible for processing toxins in the body, so you’ll want to keep it working at its best. Sometimes, though, diet or lifestyle can catch up to us, and if that happens, a liver cleanse becomes necessary. With a cleanse, you’ll certainly get rid of all that toxic buildup, but there are lots of other perks as well.

6 Benefits of Liver Cleansing

Many people disregard liver cleansing, but there are many benefits associated with the practice. Not only does it jump start a healthy eating program, it may also help you lose weight. Just what can liver cleansing do for you?

1. Weight Loss

Your liver produces bile, which the digestive systems use to break down fat. And since liver cleansing promotes bile production, detoxing your liver might be just the place to start if you want to lose weight.

2. Immune System Support

Since the liver reduces toxins, among other things, it makes sense that a healthy liver is crucial to a strong immune system[1] [2] Cleansing your liver could even give your immune system a boost.

3. Discourages Liver Stones

Liver stones, a product of diet, form because of too much cholesterol in the liver. [3] The extra cholesterol makes bile harden into tiny stones that can block the liver and gall bladder; you could even have up to 200 to 300 of these affecting your liver’s ability to detox. When you cleanse, though, somewhere between 100 to 300 of the stones could actually be purged from your body.

4. Supports Whole Body Detox

Since the liver removes toxins, turning them into harmless byproducts, there are usually small amounts of toxins in your liver. This is generally not a problem. Issues start, however, when there’s a buildup of too many toxins. That’s when you need to detox in order to get your liver working exactly as it should.

5. Boosts Energy

Some of the harmless byproducts the liver makes are actually nutrients the body will use. Whether from liver stones or too much toxic build up, some of those nutrients simply won’t make it back into the bloodstream. When that happens, your energy levels will likely drop, so liver cleansing will make you feel better because not only will you have all of your nutrients — but also all of your energy.

6. Increases Vitality

Remember that by cleansing the liver, you’re restoring it to peak efficiency. Reducing all that toxic buildup will make your skin look brighter and healthier. And since promoting bile production helps with fat breakdown, you’ll also tone your body easier and could even look and feel at least five years younger!

If you’re ready to make a change for the better, a liver cleanse might be a great start. You can get my recommended liver cleanse instructions here. You’ll also find valuable information in the following articles:

If you’ve performed a liver cleanse before, leave a comment below and let us know what difference it made for you!

References:

  1. Parker, G. A. & Picut, C. A. Liver Immunobiology. Toxicologic Pathology. 33 (1).
  2. Racanelli, V. & Rehermann, B. The Liver as an Immunological Organ. Hepatology. 43 (2, Supplement 1).
  3. Grünhage, F. et al. Increased gallstone risk in humans conferred by common variant of hepatic ATP-binding cassette transporter for cholesterol. Hepatology. 46 (3).

For all book lovers please visit my friend’s website.
URL: http://www.romancewithbooks.com

Canola Oil Impairs Brain and Memory


Canola Oil Increases Memory Loss

Think your cooking oil is safe and healthy? Canola oil producers claim that it’s the healthiest oil you can use, but science begs to differ. Unless significant weight gain and diminished memory are your idea of good health!

Canola oil has been heralded as a modern healthy alternative to olive oil, and ‘saturated fats’ like coconut and palm oil, backed by a big promotional push from North American growers. The Canola Council of Canada pulls no punches, calling it “the healthiest of all commonly used cooking oils.”[1] The marketing campaign appears to be working: canola oil consumption in the United States has nearly tripled since 2000, up to almost 3 million metric tons in 2017.[2]

When asked if canola oil is the same as rapeseed oil, the answer is both “yes” and “no.” Canola oil comes from the rapeseed plant, and was called rapeseed oil until the early 1970s, when a promotional campaign to rebrand the oil was devised in conjunction with genetic-modification to remove two of the plant’s undesirable elements, erucic acid and glucosinolates.

The Rapeseed Association of Canada took the opportunity to rename the plant, and “Can” for Canada, plus “ola” for oil, was born.[3] Producers are still keen to leave the rapeseed designation behind, hence their claim that this GM-version is a distinct type of plant. Essentially, it is a very comprehensive marketing campaign designed to confuse and lead the public to a foregone conclusion.

With more than 90% of U.S. crops and upwards of 80% of Canadian canola derived from genetically-engineered seeds, it’s almost certain that your bottle of canola oil comes from plants contaminated with chemical herbicides. Because processing removes the genetically-modified protein from the finished oils, producers consider it the same as conventional oil,[4] believing this production process removes all potential for harm. It is therefore marketed as being 100% safe for unlimited human consumption. But as the latest medical science points out, this oil is far from being a healthy choice for human brains and bodies.

Canola oil is often promoted as a low-cost alternative to olive oil, possessing the same health benefits. It’s even promoted as having a mere 7% saturated fat, compared to olive oil’s 15%. But what does science say about the healthfulness of canola? Until recent years, no data were available on the effect of canola oil intake in relation to increasingly common diseases, like Alzheimer’s disease. Canola oil had never been examined as a causal factor in the sixteen-fold increase in deaths from Alzheimer’s reported in 1991: a total of 14,112, up from just 857 deaths reported in 1979.[5]

In December 2017, researchers from Alzheimer’s Center at Temple University investigated the effect of daily consumption of canola oil on mice whose brains had developed both plaques and tangles, common brain characteristics for Alzheimer’s patients.[6] Mice in the control group received a typical diet, while mice in the experimental group were fed a diet supplemented with canola oil for a period of 6 months. At the beginning of the study, mice had the same body weight. They were put through three different tests involving memory functions and conditioning, such as mazes. Ability to navigate these environments demonstrated measurable brain function and emotional stimulation.

Their findings debunked the claims of Canola oil marketers, demonstrating negative impacts to bodies and brains. 

Mice who were chronically exposed to canola oil experienced a significant increase in body weight; a gain of nearly one-fifth of total weight recorded just six months earlier. Effects on the brain were equally undesirable. Mice showed impairments in their working memory, demonstrated by decreased problem-solving abilities. Together with reduced levels of beneficial brain proteins that mark synaptic integrity, or how well neurons are firing, the mice performed significantly worse on all tests as compared to control mice. Synaptic integrity can affect whether or not critical connections are made in the brain, something that is vital to a functional memory and enjoying a high quality of life. Canola oil impairs synaptic integrity, which greatly exacerbates the debilitating symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease.

Researchers concluded that their findings do not support the beneficial effect of regular canola oil consumption, nor does their data justify the current trend aimed at replacing olive oil with canola oil in your diet. Not when research has consistently shown that olive oil reduces the same brain plaques and unhealthy proteins that canola oil increases.[7] The same way that Big Pharma selectively publishes only favorable scientific research on drugs,[8] canola oil producers have cherry-picked data that is both contradictory and inconclusive when viewed in its entirety.[9] Meanwhile, consumption of extra virgin olive oil continues to deliver on its promise of being a true superfood.

A similar study was conducted by the same Temple University research group in June 2017,[10] but this time the focus was on olive oil and its effects on Alzheimer’s brain plaques and tangles. Mice were fed a diet of normal food, or food supplemented with extra virgin olive oil for six months. Compared with controls, the group fed olive oil demonstrated improvements in their prior behavioral deficits. Synaptic integrity also improved, thanks to a significant increase in steady-state levels of synaptophysin, a protein marker of synaptic integrity. In addition, brain plaque deposition decreased, thanks to reductions in insoluble peptides and specific proteins associated with the disease. Overall, their findings supported the beneficial effect of olive oil consumption on all major features of Alzheimer’s disease.

GreenMedInfo has over 70 abstracts on olive oil, demonstrating its healthful effects on over 150 different disease conditions, including Alzheimer’s disease and breast cancer. Start enjoying these benefits immediately by swapping out your canola oil today!

References:

About the author:

Sayer Ji is the founder of Greenmedinfo.com, a reviewer at the International Journal of Human Nutrition and Functional Medicine, Co-founder and CEO of Systome Biomed, Vice Chairman of the Board of the National Health Federation, and Steering Committee Member of the Global Non-GMO Foundation.

 

For all book lovers please visit my friend’s website.
URL: http://www.romancewithbooks.com

Yoga diet: Healthy foods for yoga practice


Diets to Improve Your Yoga Practice

1/12
1

Diets to Improve Your Yoga Practice

Most of us often wonder about the foods to eat before a yoga session. Especially, if you are a beginner, it is better to know what works and what doesn’t work as far as the diet one should eat before one’s yoga class is concerned. Here are 10 great foods to support your yoga practice that will give you a boost without having you bouncing off your mat!

Include Enough Proteins in Your Diet

2/12
2

Include Enough Proteins in Your Diet

Proteins are vital for the body and should definitely be included in one’s diet. Broccoli, soybeans, lentils, asparagus and spinach are some commonly found, protein-rich foods. Low-fat dairy products are also a rich source of protein. Ensure that your body receives the required amount of proteins daily.

Juices

3/12
3

Juices

You can consume juices that contain fruits or vegetables as a part of your yoga diet. You can get rid of the toxins in your body with the help of those juices. Also, you can feel refreshed after consuming them. Try to go for cucumber, kale or spinach juices.

Fresh Fruit

4/12
4

Fresh Fruit

Aside from being refreshing, delicious and constantly changing with the seasons, fresh fruits are generally high in fiber and antioxidants. They’re good for your health and they are a great way to satisfy your hunger during the day.

Lemon and water

5/12
5

Lemon and water

Put down the coffee and start your day with warm water with lemon. In addition to kick-starting your digestive system the healthy way, warm lemon water helps to alkalize the body, which helps control the development and spread of disease.

Banana

6/12
6

Banana

A banana contains soluble fiber, which digests slowly and won’t spike your blood sugar. Bananas are also stomach-friendly, and their natural sugars will help sustain you all through your workout practice.

Apples

7/12
7

Apples

The best thing about apples is that they contain sugar which gives you an instant energy boost. They also supply your body with fibre and vitamins. They also help to hydrate you, which is important before a workout.

Raisins

8/12
8

Raisins

Natural sugars are always preferable over other forms of sugar. Raisins can energies you before a yoga class with their natural sweetness.

Watermelon

9/12
9

Watermelon

Watermelon helps to hydrate you and energies you before you get ready for your yoga class.

Masala Chai

10/12
10

Masala Chai

Masala Chai is the perfect hot beverage which helps to balance all body types, making it the perfect pick-up without the caffeine jitters that coffee gives you. The spices used, such as black pepper, ginger, cardamom, cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg, all help to provide relief from bloating and any digestive discomfort.

Salads

11/12
11

Salads

A good idea is to try a vegetable salad before your workout. Raw vegetables are foods that are alive and really refresh your system.

End Your Day with Ghee

12/12
12

End Your Day with Ghee

Ghee is clarified butter and is used medicinally in Ayurveda to balance the body and heal the digestive tract. It helps bind and eliminate toxins and provide relief from constipation.

 

For all book lovers please visit my friend’s website.
URL: http://www.romancewithbooks.com

Yoga diet: Healthy foods for yoga practice


Diets to Improve Your Yoga Practice

1/12
1

Diets to Improve Your Yoga Practice

Most of us often wonder about the foods to eat before a yoga session. Especially, if you are a beginner, it is better to know what works and what doesn’t work as far as the diet one should eat before one’s yoga class is concerned. Here are 10 great foods to support your yoga practice that will give you a boost without having you bouncing off your mat!

Include Enough Proteins in Your Diet

2/12
2

Include Enough Proteins in Your Diet

Proteins are vital for the body and should definitely be included in one’s diet. Broccoli, soybeans, lentils, asparagus and spinach are some commonly found, protein-rich foods. Low-fat dairy products are also a rich source of protein. Ensure that your body receives the required amount of proteins daily.

Juices

3/12
3

Juices

You can consume juices that contain fruits or vegetables as a part of your yoga diet. You can get rid of the toxins in your body with the help of those juices. Also, you can feel refreshed after consuming them. Try to go for cucumber, kale or spinach juices.

Fresh Fruit

4/12
4

Fresh Fruit

Aside from being refreshing, delicious and constantly changing with the seasons, fresh fruits are generally high in fiber and antioxidants. They’re good for your health and they are a great way to satisfy your hunger during the day.

Lemon and water

5/12
5

Lemon and water

Put down the coffee and start your day with warm water with lemon. In addition to kick-starting your digestive system the healthy way, warm lemon water helps to alkalize the body, which helps control the development and spread of disease.

Banana

6/12
6

Banana

A banana contains soluble fiber, which digests slowly and won’t spike your blood sugar. Bananas are also stomach-friendly, and their natural sugars will help sustain you all through your workout practice.

Apples

7/12
7

Apples

The best thing about apples is that they contain sugar which gives you an instant energy boost. They also supply your body with fibre and vitamins. They also help to hydrate you, which is important before a workout.

Raisins

8/12
8

Raisins

Natural sugars are always preferable over other forms of sugar. Raisins can energies you before a yoga class with their natural sweetness.

Watermelon

9/12
9

Watermelon

Watermelon helps to hydrate you and energies you before you get ready for your yoga class.

Masala Chai

10/12
10

Masala Chai

Masala Chai is the perfect hot beverage which helps to balance all body types, making it the perfect pick-up without the caffeine jitters that coffee gives you. The spices used, such as black pepper, ginger, cardamom, cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg, all help to provide relief from bloating and any digestive discomfort.

Salads

11/12
11

Salads

A good idea is to try a vegetable salad before your workout. Raw vegetables are foods that are alive and really refresh your system.

End Your Day with Ghee

12/12
12

End Your Day with Ghee

Ghee is clarified butter and is used medicinally in Ayurveda to balance the body and heal the digestive tract. It helps bind and eliminate toxins and provide relief from constipation.

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Yoga poses for full-body detoxification


Get fit this New Year with these yoga poses

Get fit this New Year with these yoga poses

With New Years on the horizon, let’s not forget that it’s time for some self-indulgence. And, what better, than a way to ensure that these celebrations are rubbed off in the healthiest ways? Let’s pledge that instead of welcoming this New Year with bloated body, sluggish feeling, and disastrous hangover after hours of dumping our bodies with sweets, alcohol, and junk food, we will kick-start the coming year with fitness and health.

Benefits of yoga

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Benefits of yoga

In yoga practice, it is believed that each new breath is a new moment. The best way about yoga is you can start with it anytime, anywhere, like literally! These yoga poses for detox would see increased energy, balanced hormones, improved digestion, and weight loss, apart from feeling fabulous. Read on to know which yoga poses can ensure you spiritual detoxification!

Revolved chair pose

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Revolved chair pose

You can start it right away while reading this. All you need to do is imitate a chair pose and bring your hands together at heart centre. Now breathe in to lengthen spine, and breathe out while twisting to the right (take left elbow outside of right thigh). Now repeat the breathing and start twisting on your left. Try this just 5 times a day on each side. This yoga pose is excellent in aiding digestion and stimulates the removal of toxins, while toning your abdominal wall.

Locust pose

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Locust pose

A great pose to strengthen your spine and correct your back posture. Just lie down on your stomach with your hands in parallel to your legs, touching your hips. Now pull your head in upward pose, simultaneously pulling your feet and knees off the ground. Count 10 and then relax. Repeat this 5 times a day. The pressure on you abdomen encourages digestion, thus stimulating the release of unwanted things within your body.

Spine twist

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Spine twist

This pose helps you relieve stress and detoxify your entire system. It initiates removal of unwanted toxins from your body, and stimulates fresh blood flow. Lie on your back with feet stretched outward. Now bring your palms at your shoulder level. Take a deep breath and pull your left leg over your right leg, and stretch your upper body in the opposite direction; twisting your spine. Stay in this position for at least five deep breaths, and then relax. Now repeat 5 times on each side.

Wide-legged forward bend

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Wide-legged forward bend

Stand with your legs wide apart, matching exact distance with your shoulders. Now start bringing your head to touch the ground while slowly expanding the distance between your legs. Embrace pain only if your body allows. It is not necessary to be able to head-touch the ground on your first day. Keep your efforts till the time you achieve this position. This folding pose squeezes the belly stimulating speedy digestion and circulation of blood throughout the body.

Three-legged downward facing dog pose

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Three-legged downward facing dog pose

All you have to do is stretch your hands, and steep your head inward below you heart, and stretch out your hips and legs outward. Now lift your left leg in the air in the downward dog pose and take deep breaths. Now repeat the breathing with right leg in the air. Try this out 5 times with each leg. This pose helps you mentally detoxify and stimulates the release of stress, sadness, depression and fear.

Plow pose

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Plow pose

This yoga pose requires you to lie straight on your back with arms by your hips. Now take a deep breath and pull your legs straight above your chest level, and slowly try to touch the ground by your head. Keep trying until you succeed. At first your belly might not approve, but soon it will give in, trust me. Benefits of this pose include, back muscle stretching, posture improving, proper functioning of ovaries, bladder and kidney. It also increases metabolism.

Shoulder stand Pose

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Shoulder stand Pose

Another pose that will help you instantly help you in cleansing your body off toxins. Start with lying on floor on your back. Bring your legs to your stomach now stretch them upward. Now bring your hands to support either side of your spine and help pull your belly in right angle position with the ground. Stay in this pose for 5 deep breaths, and then relax. Now repeat this 5 times.

Boat pose

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Boat pose

Want to lose that belly layer fast then try out this excellent pose that also helps in solving breathing problems. Sit down with your knees bent, and pull back your spine to touch the ground. Once you achieve this position, stretch out your legs outward. Now pull your upper body to touch your feet. Keep trying till you achieve the boat pose. Hold on for 20 second and then release your legs. Try this 5 times.

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Coconut Oil Fights Deadly Yeast Infections, Candida, Research Suggests


Coconut Oil Fights Deadly Yeast Infections, Research Suggests

A common food oil has been found to have potent antifungal properties that could literally save lives. 

The coconut palm is perhaps the world’s most widely distributed and versatile food-medicine, and has been prized and even revered by indigenous cultures for a wide range of health complaints since time immemorial. Increasingly, scientific evidence is emerging validating its traditionally ascribed health benefits, and more, including supporting brain healthprotecting the heart, and even reducing stress and depression.

But what of anecdotes referring to the presumed antifungal activity of coconut oil? Is there any basis in scientific research to make such claims? 

Indeed, a recent study led by researchers at Tufts University has found that coconut oil is highly effective at controlling the overgrowth of the opportunistic fungal pathogen Candida albicans in mice.

Published in the American Society for Microbiology’s journal mSphere, and titled Manipulation of Host Diet to Reduce Gastrointestinal Colonization by the Opportunistic Pathogen Candida Albicans,” the study identified C. albicans as the most common human pathogen, with a mortality rate of about 40% when causing systemic infections.

C. albicans is normally present in the human gastrointestinal tract, but antibiotics can destroy commensal bacteria that normally keep Candida populations within a healthy range. According to the study, compromised immunity is also a major cause of C. albicans overgrowth, and “systemic infections caused by C. albicans can lead to invasive candidiasis, which is the fourth most common blood infection among hospitalized patients in the United States according to the CDC.”

Additionally, in a recent article we wrote on the topic of Candida albicans and cancer, we explored the implications of a paper published in Critical Reviews in Microbiology, titled Candida albicans and cancer: Can this yeast induce cancer development or progression?“, wherein compelling evidence is presented that C. albicans overgrowth may play a significant role in carcinogenesis. If this is true, clearly natural ways to keep C. albicans levels at bay are needed by a global population increasingly afflicted by cancer as a primary cause of morbidity and mortality.

Like conventional cancer treatments like chemotherapy, conventional anti-fungal drugs carry with them significant risk of adverse effects, and their repeated use leads to the development of drug resistant strains of fungal pathogens, making natural approaches all the more attractive. The researchers hypothesized that a coconut-based dietary intervention might reduce Candida infection in mice. The study design and results were reported on ScienceDaily.com as follows:

“The team, led by microbiologist Carol Kumamoto and nutrition scientist Alice H. Lichtenstein, investigated the effects of three different dietary fats on the amount of C. albicans in the mouse gut: coconut oil, beef tallow and soybean oil. A control group of mice were fed a standard diet for mice. Coconut oil was selected based on previous studies that found that the fat had antifungal properties in the laboratory setting.

“A coconut oil-rich diet reduced C. albicans in the gut compared to a beef tallow-or soybean oil-rich diet. Coconut oil alone, or the combination of coconut oil and beef tallow, reduced the amount of C. albicans in the gut by more than 90% compared to a beef tallow-rich diet.

“Coconut oil even reduced fungal colonization when mice were switched from beef tallow to coconut oil, or when mice were fed both beef tallow and coconut oil at the same time. These findings suggest that adding coconut oil to a patient’s existing diet might control the growth of C. albicans in the gut, and possibly decrease the risk of fungal infections caused by C. albicans,” said Kumamoto, Ph.D., a professor of molecular biology and microbiology at Tufts University School of Medicine and member of the molecular microbiology and genetics program faculties at the Sackler School of Graduate Biomedical Sciences.”

These preliminary results have profound implications for the practice of medicine, according to a statement made to ScienceDaily by Alice H LIchtenstein, D.Sc., director of the Cardiovascular Nutrition Laboratory at the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University:

“This study marks a first step in understanding how life-threatening yeast infections in susceptible individuals might be reduced through the short-term and targeted use of a specific type of fat. As exciting as these findings are, we have to keep in mind that the majority of adult Americans are at high risk for heart disease, the number one killer in the U.S. The potential use of coconut oil in the short term to control the rate of fungal overgrowth should not be considered a prophylactic approach to preventing fungal infections.”

The first author of the study, Kearney Gunsalus, Ph.D. an Institutional Research and Academic Career Development (IRACDA) postdoctoral fellow at the Sackler School in Kumamoto’s lab, also offered his opinion on the study implications:

“We want to give clinicians a treatment option that might limit the need for antifungal drugs. If we can use coconut oil as a safe, dietary alternative, we could decrease the amount of antifungal drugs used, reserving antifungal drugs for critical situations.”

Previous research, available to view on GreenMedInfo.com, indicates that coconut oil is also an effective anti-fungal agent against the growth of dermatophytes, a type of yeast which can cause infections of the skin, nails, and hair because they can utilize keratin.

Treat and even prevent diabetes with ginger: Study finds it improves several markers of the disease


Image: Treat and even prevent diabetes with ginger: Study finds it improves several markers of the disease

Are you doing everything you can to avoid diabetes or control it if you already have it? It’s a frightening illness that can severely impact a person’s quality of life and even lead to death, so it’s only natural that people who are concerned about their health take steps to reduce their risk. Perhaps you’re already avoiding sugar, watching your diet, and getting plenty of exercise, but are you eating enough ginger?

A new study has demonstrated just how powerful ginger’s effects are in fighting this all-too-common disease. Seventy patients with type 2 diabetes participated in a double-blinded, placebo-controlled trial to assess how ginger could affect their glycemic status, inflammatory markers of the condition, and their lipid profile. A control group took a 1600mg placebo, while the ginger group took 1600mg of ginger daily. Measurements were taken at the beginning and end of the study to assess their blood lipids, blood sugar levels, tumor necrosis factor alpha, prostaglandin E2, and C-reactive protein.

The researchers found that those who underwent the ginger treatment had significantly lower levels of quite a few parameters. These include the important fasting plasma glucose, insulin, triglycerides, total cholesterol, and inflammation markers C-reactive protein and Prostaglandin E2. They also had lower levels of glycated hemoglobin, or HbA1C, which measures how much sugar is damaging the body’s red blood cells, and a measurement of insulin resistance known as HOMA.

The amount of ginger the patients took equated to 1.6 grams, which is not a very big amount; it’s roughly equivalent to just ¼ of a teaspoon. They took it in capsule form in doses of 800mg twice per day.

A family of diabetes fighters

Ginger comes from the same family of plants as turmeric, which was shown in a recent study published in the journal Diabetes Care to be 100 percent effective in preventing people with prediabetes from developing full-fledged diabetes.

In the placebo-controlled, double-blinded and randomized study, researchers in Thailand divided 240 prediabetic participants into groups, one of which was given 250 mg of curcuminoid daily, while the other served as a control. A variety of parameters were measured at the beginning of the study and every three months up until nine months, and the researchers reported that while 16.4 percent of those in the placebo group went on to develop type 2 diabetes, nobody in the curcumin group developed the illness.

That’s a remarkable accomplishment, and it is excellent news for the two out of five Americans aged 40 to 74 who are estimated to have prediabetes. After all, curcumin is found in turmeric, which is not only easy to find and affordable, but also very safe.

Consuming more ginger and turmeric is easy

It’s easy to incorporate more ginger and turmeric into your diet, and doing so can give you a fighting chance against diabetes in addition to many other health benefits. The two flavors complement one another well and can be used to create stews, curries, chicken dishes and aromatic rices for a one-two punch. The easiest way to consume more ginger and turmeric is by making a simple tea out of them; you can add flavors like cinnamon, lemon or honey if desired.

You can also add them, individually or separately, to smoothies or soups. Ginger has a more noticeable presence, so it won’t work in just any soup, but it does pair nicely with carrots and other vegetables.

Turmeric has a subtler flavor, which means you can add it to eggs, vegetables, smoothies and soups without worrying about affecting the flavor too much. Many people like to consume it with milk. Just remember to consume a small amount of black pepper with the turmeric to help your body absorb it.

Turmeric and ginger capsules are also available, but it’s important to get organic varieties from trusted sources to ensure you are getting a pure product.

What Are the Benefits of Hearts of Palm?


Story at-a-glance

  • Described as looking a little like asparagus minus the tip, hearts of palm are slightly more delicate but similar in taste to artichoke hearts and have a crunchy texture for culinary versatility
  • Cultivated and consumed by the ancient Mayans who lived in Mesoamerica from around 2600 B.C., hearts of palm can be harvested from several types of palm trees in Florida, Costa Rica and Brazil
  • Hearts of palm are an excellent source of protein and fiber, as well as potassium, vitamins B6 and C, calcium, niacin, phosphorus and zinc
  • Hearts of palm can even make a tasty main course meal, as when they’re chopped, they break into shreds that resemble fresh crab meat, and adding the right ingredients can turn them into delicious salads, dips and stir-fries

By Dr. Mercola

Even if you’re not a vegetarian, foods that pack a punch in the protein department often earn high marks for people savvy enough to manage their sources through something other than meat. One overlooked source is hearts of palm, which was cultivated and consumed at least as early as the ancient Mayans, who lived in Mesoamerica from around 2600 B.C.

Among other types of palms, one of the sources for this little-known food is a sabal palm, which incidentally is the official state tree of Florida. Other palm trees that produce them include coconut, acai and palmito, coming from, besides Florida, Costa Rica and Brazil, and the harvesting procedure is labor intensive, which can make them expensive.

However, as Paste Magazine1 explains, harvesting hearts of palm doesn’t require leveling forests since the types of palms that produce them are raised domestically in sustainable farmsteads in Costa Rica. The best part is that once harvested, the plant regenerates for two to three years. Considered a delicacy in some circles, hearts of palm are similar in taste to the artichoke hearts they’re often compared to. They’re also described as looking a little like asparagus, minus the tips.

These veggies — they can be called veggies since they’re plant derived — can be sliced to make a savory pizza topping as well as a soup or stir fry ingredient and, for all of their mildness, make a fresh, lively tasting salad ingredient. One good combo pairs it with slices of avocado for an extra punch of protein. Rarely raw, they’re usually canned or jarred and placed next to similarly packaged artichokes on store shelves.

The culinary versatility of “palm hearts” or “cabbage palms” may surprise you. One recipe notes their similarity in texture, when shredded, to crab meat to make “crabless cakes.” Seasoned with Old Bay, homemade mayo and Dijon mustard, they make a delicious main course meal.

Nutritional Profile of Hearts of Palm

Carbs have gotten a bad rap, even being blamed for the obesity epidemic, but you probably already know that not all carbs should be avoided, particularly those from vegetables, including hearts of palm. In hearts of palm, the sugars, in spite of the subtle sweetness you may taste in these veggies, are practically nonexistent. Whatever carbohydrates get broken down into glucose can be used for energy or stored for later use. Livestrong explains:

“A 1-ounce serving of hearts of palm provides 32 calories … Most of the calories in palm hearts come from carbohydrates. A 1-ounce serving has 7 grams of total carbohydrates, including energy-providing complex carbs and natural sugars.”2

Then there’s vitamin B6, of which a 1-ounce serving of hearts of palm provides 0.23 milligrams (mg), which is rich enough to supply your body with 18 percent of your Dietary Reference Intake (DRI), the nutritional recommendation put together by the National Institutes of Health (NIH).3 About 100 different enzymes in your body require vitamin B6, Livestrong notes, explaining some of the functions it maintains:

“Some of these jobs include the metabolism of carbohydrates, proteins and fats, as well as the synthesis of hemoglobin. Because of its role making hemoglobin, a deficiency of vitamin B-6 can cause anemia. You also need vitamin B-6 to produce neurotransmitters that help regulate your mood and sleep cycle.”4

Another plentiful benefit hearts of palm brings you is 258 mg of potassium, an “essential” nutrient that your body can’t produce on its own.5 Potassium alone helps lower your blood pressure by balancing the salt you eat; in fact, both potassium and salt are essential for health and life.

Hearts of palm also provide healthy amounts of vitamins A and E and trace amounts of copper, manganese and selenium. According to the U.S. National Nutrient Database for Standard References,6 1 cup of canned hearts of palm also supplies:

  • 11.5 mg of vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant
  • 0.638 mg of niacin, aka vitamin B3
  • 85 mg of calcium, which strengthens bones
  • 95 mg of phosphorus, which helps maintain healthy skeletal bones
  • 1.68 mg of zinc, for wound healing and proper thyroid function (more than half what is required for women per day)

Hearts of Palm: The Big Deal About Fiber

According to Nutrition Data,7 hearts of palm consumption constitutes a “very good” source of fiber, which is excellent, because most people in the U.S. barely get even half of what they should. In fiber, a 1-cup serving (146 grams) of hearts of palm provides 14 percent of the DRI.

Fiber is much more than a nutritional aspect that looms ever larger for people over a certain age. Getting adequate fiber throughout your whole life, even from childhood, helps “train” your body to eliminate waste naturally. When the foods you eat contain adequate fiber, you’re able to make use of the vitamins and minerals from the food you eat and literally flush the rest without the discomfort kids from 1 to 92 experience if they don’t get enough. Mom Junction asserts:

“If fiber intake is less, then constipation is the result. In a society where undue importance in media is given to unhealthy snacks like chips and chocolates, it is vital for a responsible adult to select fiber-rich foods for their family.”8

Fiber is much more crucial for health than most people realize and not just for adults. Further, if a food contains 5 grams of fiber or more per serving, it’s considered a high fiber food, and a good source has between 2.5 to 4.9 grams of fiber, assuming it’s also nutritious and not grain-based. How much fiber should kids be getting? According to Kids Health:9

  • Toddlers between 1 and 3 should get 19 grams per day
  • Kids between 4 and 8 years of age should get 25 grams per day
  • Girls between 9 and 13 should get 26 grams of fiber per day
  • Boys between 9 and 13 should get 38 grams of fiber per day

As for adults, my recommendation for daily fiber intake is 25 to 50 grams per 1,000 calories consumed, with vegetables, nuts and seeds making up the most nutritious sources.

Grains, including those in bread, buns, cereals, cookies, muffins and cookies (as well as rice and pasta), are often considered by conventional medicine to be the go-to source of all things fiber, so it’s no mystery as to why many aren’t aware there are a whole lot of issues with grains. In 1992, grains were deemed the foundation of the official U.S. Department of Agriculture Food Pyramid, but therein lies the problem. Forbes notes:

“The pyramid essentially dictates how most of us, and our children, eat. But the advice contained in this pyramid is dangerous. It is heavily influenced by corporate lobbyists who care more about the bottom line than your health. Is it any wonder America is so obese and saddled with chronic disease?”10

Recipes Featuring Hearts of Palm

One of the best things you can do for your children’s health is to serve them vegetables early and often rather than waiting until they’re 5 and then suggesting that eating vegetables is good for them! Vegetables are truly at the heart of a good diet. If you want your family to experience the full measure of nutrients for optimal health and vitality, eating hearts of palm in different ways may hit the “sweet spot” to appeal to their (and your) palate.

Versatility, as we discussed previously, is one of the hallmarks of this plant-based food, but the flavor and texture can lend itself to an array of nutritional benefits, and the culinary possibilities may surprise you. Below are three recipes from Food and Wine Blogs to get your creative juices flowing:11

Zesty Hearts of Palm and Avocado Salad

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of yellow cherry tomatoes
  • 1/2 of a small sweet onion cut into thin slivers
  • 2 14-oz. cans of hearts of palm, drained and sliced 1/2-inch thick
  • 1 avocado cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1/4 cup flat leaf parsley, coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon lime zest, finely grated
  • 2 Tablespoons homemade mayonnaise
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Procedure:

  1. In a medium-sized bowl, toss the cherry tomato halves with the sliced onions, hearts of palm slices, avocado and chopped parsley.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk the lime juice, olive oil, lime zest and mayo together, and season with salt and pepper.
  3. Pour the dressing over the salad ingredients, toss gently and serve immediately.

Quinoa, Artichoke and Hearts of Palm Salad

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups black quinoa (9 oz.), rinsed
  • 1/2 lemon
  • 3 medium artichokes
  • 1/2 cup avocado or extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup white wine vinegar
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 4 5-oz. jars of hearts of palm, drained and sliced ¼-inch thick
  • 1 small red bell pepper, diced small
  • 1 small yellow bell pepper, diced small
  • 6 inner leaves of Boston lettuce

Procedure:

  1. In a medium saucepan, boil salted water to cook the rinsed quinoa, stirring occasionally until al dente (about 20 minutes). Drain in a fine mesh sieve and spread onto a baking sheet to cool.
  2. Squeeze some of the lemon juice into a small bowl of water and set the lemon aside. Snap the outer leaves of each artichoke and use a sharp knife to cut off the leaves. Cut off the stem, peel the bottom, and use a spoon to scrape out the furry choke. Rub the lemon all over the artichoke bottoms and drop them in the lemon water.
  3. In a small saucepan of salted water, cook the artichoke bottoms over medium-high heat until tender (about 10 minutes). Drain, cool and dice into ½ inch pieces.
  4. In a large bowl, mix the oil with the vinegar and season with salt and pepper. Add the rest of the ingredients, tossing to coat. Mound the quinoa salad on the lettuce leaves to serve.

Hearts of Palm Salad With Cilantro Vinaigrette

Ingredients:

  • 2/3 cup cilantro leaves
  • 1 Tbsp. finely chopped shallot
  • 3 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 1 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
  • 2 tsp. honey
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt
  • 3 navel oranges
  • 2 14-oz. jars of hearts of palm, drained and cut diagonally into 1/2-inch slices.
  • 3 bunches of watercress cut into 2-inch lengths, discarding stem bottoms
  • 4 cups grape tomatoes, halved lengthwise

Procedure:

  1. In a blender, combine the first five ingredients and pulse until the cilantro is finely chopped, then add the olive oil in a steady stream to blend smoothly. Season with salt and pepper.
  2. Peel the oranges with a sharp knife, removing all the pith. Over a large bowl, cut between the membranes to section, then add the hearts of palm, watercress and tomatoes. Toss gently. Add the vinaigrette and toss to coat. Serve immediately.

Can Humans Harvest The Sun’s Energy Directly Like Plants?


Can Humans Havest The Sun's Energy Directly Like Plants?

Much like photosynthesis in plants, can human beings utilize light and water for their energy needs? New evidence suggests that it may be happening right now in each cell of your body.

In response to the title question, my answer is a definite “maybe.”

On the positive side, a recently published paper by Herrera et al. (1) argues that the answer is yes. The authors pinpoint melanin as the central player in the drama of photosynthesis, arguing that melanin, a black substance prominent in certain tissues, absorbs all visible wavelengths. Those concentrated photons could then drive the photosynthetic process in the same way as photons do in green plants and many single celled organisms.

 

The authors focus on the eye, which absorbs abundant light. They address a mystery of ocular function that remains unsolved: the retina stands as one of the most avid of the body’s consumers of energy; yet nearby capillaries are remarkably sparse, and therefore seemingly unable to meet those energy needs. Herrera et al. argue that the missing link could be melanin, which exists in unexpectedly high concentration in the eye. If melanin were a light antenna, collecting numerous photons, then that concentrated energy could drive metabolic processes just as they do in green plants. Melanin could resolve the energy problem.

 

Melanin exists not only in the eye, but also in many tissues. In a comprehensive review, Barr et al., (2) discuss many relevant features of melanin that support the authors’ hypothesis. First, melanin is an ancient protein, which may have been present at the inception of life. Second, its distribution is ubiquitous not only within, but also among, living organisms. Third, melanin in brain tissue increases with ascent up the phylogenetic ladder, reaching a peak concentration in man; it is invariably found in the brain’s strategic, highly functional loci. And, melanin responds to light, with semi-conductive properties. Hence, the provocative idea that melanin may be centrally involved in transduction of light energy into chemical energy gains traction from this evidence.

Our own work lends strong support to the idea that humans exploit light energy. Although we have not studied melanin, we have studied in considerable detail another light-absorbing substance that exists in higher concentration in the human body: water. Given water’s simplicity and pervasiveness through nature, many presume that water must be completely understood, but in fact little has been known about how water molecules organize themselves, and especially how they respond to light — until recently.

 

Students learn that water has three phases: solid, liquid and vapor. But there is something more: in our laboratory we have uncovered a fourth phase. This phase occurs next to water loving (hydrophilic) surfaces. It is surprisingly extensive, projecting out from those surfaces by up to millions of molecular layers. And it exists almost everywhere throughout nature, including our bodies.

 

This newly identified phase of water has been described in a recent book (3). The book documents the evidence underlying the existence of this phase, and goes on to show how that phase explains many familiar phenomena in straightforward terms. A central feature is that the phase builds from light, i.e., from absorbed electromagnetic energy. The more light that’s absorbed, the more extensive is the phase.

 

The existence of a fourth phase may seem unexpected. However, it should not be entirely so. A century ago, the physical chemist Sir William Hardy argued for the existence of a fourth phase; and many authors over the years have found evidence for some kind of “ordered” or “structured” phase of water. The fresh experimental evidence cited in the book and many papers not only confirms the existence of such an ordered, liquid-crystalline phase, but also details its properties. It is more viscous, dense and alkaline than H2O and has more oxygen since its formula is H3O2.  As a result, it has a negative charge. And like a battery, it can hold energy and deliver that energy as needed.

 

The presence of the fourth phase carries many implications. Here, I outline some basic features of this phase, and then deal with several of those implications including the role of light and energy. I then focus on some biological and health applications. [Note: the video below will explain the fourth phase of water if you want a comprehensive, easy to learn overview.]

 

Does Water Transduce Energy?

 

The energy for building water structure comes ultimately from the sun. Radiant energy converts ordinary bulk water into ordered water, building this structured zone. We found that all wavelengths ranging from UV through visible to infrared can build this ordered water. Near-infrared energy is the most capable. Water absorbs infrared energy freely from the environment; it uses that energy to convert bulk water into liquid crystalline water (fourth phase water) — which we also call “exclusion zone” or “EZ” water because it profoundly excludes solutes. Hence, buildup of EZ water occurs naturally and spontaneously from environmental energy. Additional energy input creates additional EZ buildup.

 

Of particular significance is the fourth phase’s charge: commonly negative (Figure 1). Absorbed radiant energy splits water molecules; the negative moiety constitutes the building block of the EZ, while the positive moiety binds with water molecules to form free hydronium ions, which may diffuse throughout the water. Adding additional light creates more charge separation.

Figure 1. Diagrammatic representation of EZ water, negatively charged, and the positively charged bulk water beyond. Hydrophilic surface at left. 

 

This process resembles the first step of photosynthesis. In that step, energy from the sun splits water molecules. Hydrophilic chromophores catalyze the splitting. The process considered here is similar, but more generic: any hydrophilic surface may catalyze the splitting. Some surfaces work more effectively than others. Melanin might be one of those.

 

The separated charges resemble a battery. That battery can deliver energy in a manner similar to the way the separated charges in plants deliver energy. Plants, of course, comprise mostly water, and it is therefore no surprise that water itself could exhibit similar energy conversion.

 

 

The stored electrical energy in water can drive various kinds of work, including flow. An example is the axial flow through tubes. Immersing tubes made of hydrophilic materials into water produces flow through those tubes (3), similar to blood flow through blood vessels (Figure 2). The driving energy comes from the radiant energy absorbed and stored in the water. Nothing more. Flow may persist undiminished for many hours, even days. Additional incident light brings faster flow (4). This is not a perpetual motion machine: incident radiant energy drives the flow — in much the same way that it drives vascular flow in plants and powers water from the roots to nourish trees taller than the length of a football field.

 

Implications of Light Energy

 

This energy conversion framework is rich with implication for many systems involving water. All that’s needed is water, radiant energy, and a hydrophilic surface. The latter can be as large as a slab of polymer or as small as a dissolved molecule. The liquid crystalline phase inevitably builds — and its presence must therefore play some role in the system’s behavior.

 

Let me provide a few representative examples.

 

One example is…yourself. By volume, two thirds of your cells’ content is water. However the water molecule is so small that making up that two-thirds volume involves numerous water molecules. If you count molecules, 99% of the molecules in your body are water molecules. Modern cell biology considers that huge fraction of molecules as mere background carriers of the “important” molecules of life such as proteins and nucleic acids. It asserts that 99% of your molecules don’t do very much.

 

However, EZ water envelops every macromolecule in the cell. So tightly packed are those macromolecules that little room exists for any but liquid-crystalline EZ water. Most of your cell water is EZ water. As elaborated in my earlier book (5), the ordered phase water plays a central role in everything the cell does.

 

What’s new is the profound role of radiant energy, which can power many of those cellular functions. An example is the blood flowing through your capillaries. That blood eventually encounters high resistance: capillaries are often narrower than the red blood cells that must pass through them; in order to make their way through, red cells need to bend and contort. Resistance is high. You’d anticipate the need for lots of driving pressure; yet, the pressure gradient across the capillary bed is modest. The paradox resolves if radiant energy helps propel flow through capillaries in the same way that it propels flow through hydrophilic tubes. Radiant energy may constitute an unsuspected source of vascular drive, supplementing cardiac pressure.

 

Why you feel good after a sauna now seems understandable. If radiant energy drives capillary flow and ample capillary flow is important for optimal functioning, then sitting in the sauna will inevitably be a feel-good experience. The infrared energy associated with heat should help drive that flow. The same if you walk out into sunlight: we presume that the feel-good experience derives purely from the psychological realm; but the evidence above implies that sunlight may build your body’s EZs. Fully built EZs around each protein seems necessary for protein folding and hence for optimal cellular functioning.

 

A second example of the EZ’s functional role is weather, which, as I will show, is not unrelated to health. Common understanding of weather derives from two principal variables: temperature and pressure. Those two variables are said to explain virtually everything we experience in terms of weather. However, the atmosphere also contains water: it is full of micrometer-scale droplets commonly known as aerosol droplets or aerosol particles. Those droplets make up atmospheric humidity. When the atmosphere is humid, the many water droplets scatter considerable light, reducing clarity; you can’t see distant objects as clearly as in drier conditions.

 

The Fourth Phase book presents evidence for the structure of those droplets (3). It shows that EZ water envelops each droplet, while hydronium ions occupy the droplets’ interior. Those internal hydronium ions repel one another, creating pressure, which pushes against the robust shell of EZ water. That pressure explains why droplets tend toward roundness.

 

How do those aerosol droplets condense to form clouds? The droplets’ EZ shells bear negative charge. Those shells should repel one another, precluding any condensation into clouds. Droplets should remain widely dispersed throughout the atmosphere. However, droplets do often condense into clouds, and the question is how that can happen.

 

The agent of condensation is the unlike charges that lie in between the droplets. Richard Feynman, the legendary Nobel Prize physicist of the late 20th century understood the principle, opining that: “like-likes-like because of an intermediate of unlikes.” The like-charged droplets “like” one another, so they come together; the unlike charges lying in between those droplets constitute the attractors (Figure 3).

 

The like-likes-like principle has been widely appreciated, but also widely ignored: after all, how could like charges conceivably attract? A reason why this powerfully simple concept has been ignored is that the source of the unlike charges has been difficult to identify. We now know that the unlike charges can come from the splitting of water — the negative components building EZ shells, while the corresponding positive components, the hydronium ions, provide the unlike attractors in between. With enough of those attractors, the negatively charged aerosol droplets may condense into clouds.

 

The like-likes-like principle operates not only in clouds but also in our bodies. Wherever two like-charged substances exist, a good possibility is that they hold together because of the opposite charges lying in between. Since those separated charges build from the energy of light, one might say that the self-organization of biological materials comes ultimately from light, just as the blood flow in capillaries might also comes from light.

 

We may be reluctant to call these light-driven processes photosynthesis, because they do not— as far as we know — produce sugars as end products. Nevertheless, the role of light in driving biological processes is clear.

 

 

Implications for Body Function

 

I present two implications of these light-driven processes: why your joints don’t squeak; and why dislocated or sprained joints will swell within seconds.

 

Joints are sites at which bones tend to press upon one another (Figure 4). The bones may also rotate, as during deep-knee bends and push-ups. You’d think that rotation under pressure might elicit frictional resistance, with some squeakiness, but joint friction remains remarkably modest. Why so?

 

Cartilage lines the ends of bones. Those cartilaginous materials do the actual pressing. Hence, the issue of joint friction reduces to the issue of the cartilaginous surfaces and the synovial fluid lying in between them. How does this system behave under pressure?

 

Cartilage is made of classic gel materials: highly charged polymers and water; therefore, cartilage is a gel. Gel surfaces grow EZs, so cartilage surfaces should likewise line themselves with EZs. EZ buildup — driven by light — creates many hydronium ions in the synovial fluid between those EZs. Additional hydronium ions come from the molecules within that fluid, creating their own EZs and protons. Thus, many hydronium ions will lie in the area in which two cartilaginous surfaces lie across from one another. The repulsive force coming from those hydronium ions should keep the cartilage surfaces apart — some investigators maintain that the cartilage surfaces never touch, despite heavy loads. That separation means that any rough spots, or asperities, will never come into contact as the respective surfaces shear past one another; and that in turn means low friction.

 

For such a mechanism to actually work, some kind of built-in restraint should be present to keep the repelling hydronium ions in place. Otherwise, they may be forced out of the local region, compromising lubrication. Nature provides that safety net: a structure known as the joint capsule envelops the joint. By constraining the dispersal of hydronium ions, that encapsulation ensures low friction. That’s why your joints don’t ordinarily squeak.

 

Regarding swelling, the second issue under consideration here, osmosis evidently plays a role. Since the cell is packed with negatively charged proteins, the cytoplasm should generate an osmotic draw similar to the osmotic draw generated by diapers or gels. Physiologists know that it does.

 

A peculiar feature of cells, however, is their relatively modest water content. Compared to 20:1 or higher for many common gels, the cell’s water-to-solids ratio is only about 2:1. That limited water content may come as a consequence of the macromolecular network’s stiffness: cellular networks typically comprise tubular or multi-stranded biopolymers tightly cross-linked to one another. The resultant stiffness prevents the network from expanding to its full osmotic potential.

 

 

If those cross-links were to disrupt, however, then the full power of osmotic draw would take effect; the tissue could then build many EZ layers and therefore hydrate massively, bringing huge expansion (Figure 5). That’s what happens when body tissues are injured, especially with dislocations. The injury disrupts fibrous macromolecules and cross-links, eliminating the restraining forces that keep osmosis at bay; EZ buildup can then proceed virtually unimpeded.

The reason why swelling can be so impressive is that the cross-link disruption occurs progressively. Breaking one cross-link results in higher stress on neighboring cross-link; so disruption progresses in a zipper-like fashion. When that happens, the osmotic rush of water into the tissue can continue practically without restraint, resulting in the enormous immediate swelling that is often seen. The tissue will return to normal only when cross-links repair and the matrix returns to its normally restraining configuration.

 

 

Water and Healing

 

During childhood illness, grandmothers and doctors will often advise: “drink more water.” In his now-classical book, sub-titled Your Body’s Many Cries for Water: You Are Not Sick, You Are Thirsty (6), the Iranian physician Fereydoon Batmanghelidj confirms the wisdom of this quaint advice. The author documents years of clinical practice showing reversal of diverse pathologies simply by drinking more water. Hydration is critical.

 

Batmanghelidj’s experience meshes with evidence of healing from special waters such as those from the Ganges and Lourdes. Those waters most often come from deep underground springs or from glacial melt. Spring waters experience pressure from above; pressure converts liquid water into EZ water because of EZ water’s higher density. Unlike bulk water, EZ water absorbs light in the UV-wavelength region of 270 nanometers. The more light absorbed, the higher the EZ concentration. Certain spring waters and glacial melt (7) show a spectrometer peak in this 270-nanometer region, suggesting that their therapeutic benefits could come from the relatively high EZ content.

 

EZ water should rehydrate tissues better than ordinary water because of its higher dipole moment. To appreciate this argument, picture a bean with positive charge localized at one end, negative at the other. The positive end of that dipole orients toward the negatively charged cell, which then strongly draws in that dipole. The larger the dipole moment, the stronger will be the draw. Since EZs contain masses of separated charges, or large dipoles, that water should hydrate cells better than ordinary water. Now under study, that feature may be particularly important for promoting good health.

 

 

Negative Charge and Anti-Oxidants

 

Humans are considered neutral, but I suggest that we bear net negative charge. Most physical chemists would disagree. They reasonably presume that all systems tend toward neutrality because positive charge attracts negative charge. The human body being one of those “systems,” we assume that the body must be neutral.

 

Not all systems are neutral, however. The earth bears net negative charge, while the atmosphere bears net positive charge. Water itself can bear charge: Anyone watching MIT professor Walter Lewin’s stunning demonstration of the Kelvin water dropper (8), where separated bodies of water eventually discharge visibly onto one another, will immediately see that bodies of water can bear net charge. If doubt remains, then the experience of getting an electric shock from touching certain kinds of drinking water (which my colleagues and I have personally experienced) should eradicate that doubt.

 

Charges can remain separated if input energy keeps them separated — something like recharging your cell phone battery and creating separated negative and positive charges at the battery’s terminals. Since we constantly absorb electromagnetic energy (light) from the environment, the theoretical possibility exists that we may bear net charge.

 

Consider the arithmetic. Cells make up some 60% of your body’s mass, and they are negatively charged. Extracellular tissues such as collagen and elastin are next in line, and those proteins bear negative charge and adsorb EZ water, which is negatively charged. Only some of the smaller compartments remain positively charged with protons (low pH), and they commonly expel water: urine, gastrointestinal system; sweat, and expired air (containing hydrated CO2 or carbonic acid). They rid the body of positive charge. The net charge should be negative, and an ordinary voltmeter connected between your clasped fingers and ground will confirm that negativity.

 

So, the body makes every effort to maintain that negativity by ridding itself of protons. It is as though maintaining negativity is a “goal” of life. Plants do it easily: they connect directly to the negatively charged earth. Animals need to struggle a bit more to maintain their body’s negative charge, but greater mobility compensates for that struggle.

 

How does our body’s negative charge relate to the benefits of anti-oxidants?

 

Answering this question returns us to elementary chemistry. Recall that “reduction” is the gain of electrons, while “oxidation” means electron loss. Oxidation strips molecules of their negative charge, acting against the body’s attempt to maintain that high negativity. To guard against such loss we employ anti-oxidants. Simply by maintaining proper negativity, anti-oxidants may keep us healthy.

 

 

The Future

 

Water’s centrality for health is nothing new, but it has been progressively forgotten. With the various sciences laying emphasis molecular, atomic, and even sub-atomic approaches, we have lost sight of what happens when the pieces come together to form the larger entity. The whole may indeed exceed the sum of its parts. 99% of those parts are water molecules. To think that 99% of our molecules merely bathe the “more important” molecules of life ignores centuries of evidence to the contrary. Water plays a central role in all features of life.

 

Until recently, the understanding of water’s properties has been constrained by the common misconception that water has three phases. We now understand that it has four. Taking into account this fourth phase allows many of water’s “anomalies” to vanish: those anomalies turn into predictable features. Water becomes more understandable, and so do entities made largely of water, such as oceans, clouds, and human beings.

 

Central to the existence of that fourth phase is light, for light energy builds that phase. Ambient infrared light — literally free energy, is sufficient to maintain that phase. Additional light expands the phase. The examples above imply that through the vehicle of water, humans exploit that light to drive many processes. This energy source may help explain why some people can get by with little or no food intake (9). And, it may explain the basis of the various light therapies (10).

 

As Herrera et al. suggest (1), light may be critical for humans, just as it is for plants and bacteria. Nature has not deprived humans of the advantages of exploiting light. The role of melanin in the process described above has not yet been fully explored, although the melanin could conceivably absorb visible light and then emit the absorbed energy in the infrared band. That could power appreciable EZ buildup, charge separation, and therefore energy to run the cell.

 

Do humans photosynthesize?

 

Clearly, humans exploit light. I’ve described a water-mediated mechanism by which light energy gets transformed to other kinds of energy. The process bears some resemblance to photosynthesis, or at least the initial step of photosynthesis, in which light splits water into positive and negative components. Subsequent steps are less clear, and that’s why, on the question of human photosynthesis, I suggested a definite “maybe.” Herrera and colleagues might be on a productive course.

 

 

Various presentations describe these fresh understandings on light and water (11-13). A fuller, detailed synthesis appears in the above-mentioned book (3).

 

References

 

  1. Herrera, A.S., Esparza, M., Ashraf, G, Zamyatnin, A., and Aliev, G., Beyond mitochondria, What Would be the Energy Source of the Cell? CNS Agents in Medicinal Chemistry, 15:32-41, 2015.
  2. Barr, F. E., Saloma, J. S. and Buchele, M. J. Melanin: The organizing molecule. Medical Hypotheses 11; 1-140, 1983.
  3. Pollack G. H.  The Fourth Phase of Water: Beyond Solid, Liquid, and Vapor. Seattle: Ebner and Sons, 2013.
  4. Rohani M and Pollack GH: Flow through horizontal tubes submerged in water in the absence of a pressure gradient: Mechanistic considerations. Langmuir 2013 29(22):6556-61. doi: 10.1021/la4001945
  5. Pollack G. H. Cells, Gels and the Engines of Life: A New Unifying Approach to Cell Function. Seattle: Ebner and Sons, 2001.
  6. Batmanghelidj F.  Your Body’s Many Cries for Water: You Are Not Sick, You Are Thirsty. Don’t Treat Thirst with Medications. Falls Church: Global Health Solutions, 1997.
  7. So E, Stahlberg R, and Pollack GH: Exclusion zone as an intermediate between ice and water. in: Water and Society, ed. DW Pepper and CA Brebbia, WIT Press, pp 3-11, 2012.
  8. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oY1eyLEo8_A&feature=related
  9. Straubinger, P  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/In_the_Beginning_There_Was_Light
  10. Azeemi, S. and Raza, S., A Critical Analysis of Chromotherapy and its Scientific Evolution. eCAM 2005;2(4)481–488  doi:10.1093/ecam/neh137
  11. University of Washington faculty award lecture http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XVBEwn6iWOo
  12. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JnGCMQ8TJ_g.
  13. Recent TEDx talk http://youtu.be/i-T7tCMUDXU .