Anthocyanins are a colorful way to prevent cardiovascular disease

Image: Anthocyanins are a colorful way to prevent cardiovascular disease

It is often said that presentation is everything when it comes to meals, but there’s an even better reason to fill your plate with colorful foods. The pigment that gives foods like berries their rich red and purple hues also doubles as powerful protection against cardiovascular disease.

Studies have shown that this pigment, anthocyanin, not only offers antioxidant effects; it also protects people from chronic diseases. Indeed, one of its most impressive feats is lowering the risk of the cardiovascular conditions that take millions of lives each year, such as stroke, heart attack, and atherosclerosis.

In a systematic review that involved more than 600,000 participants, British researchers looked at the impact that dietary anthocyanins had on cardiovascular events. They discovered that those who had the greatest dietary anthocyanin intake enjoyed a 9 percent reduction in their risk of developing coronary heart disease; when it came to death due to heart disease, their risk was 8 percent lower compared to those who consumed the lowest amount of anthocyanin.

The study, which was published in Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition, is the strongest argument yet for increasing your fruit intake. The Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion suggests that people eat a minimum of two servings of fruit per day; just 32 percent of Americans reach that goal.

Choose the right fruits

It’s easy to spot fruits that contain anthocyanins because of their red, purple and blue colors. Some of the best sources include strawberries, blackberries, grapes, pomegranates, cherries, blueberries, raspberries and bilberries. They can also be found in red cabbage, eggplant, and purple potatoes. It probably won’t come as much of a surprise to learn that the fruit’s skins contain the most anthocyanins given their rich color, so make sure you also eat the skin – and be sure to choose organic to avoid pesticide exposure. The review’s authors say that just one to two portions of berries per day are enough to get the anthocyanins you need to protect your heart.

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Anthocyanin’s many benefits

The review is supported by several other studies, including one from 2012 that was published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. That study showed a link between a higher intake of anthocyanin and significantly lower systolic blood pressure, arterial pressure, and pulse wave velocity. It also confirmed an earlier study that showed eight weeks of taking blueberry supplements reduced participants’ systolic and diastolic blood pressure by 6 and 4 percent respectively.

In addition, anthocyanins can help prevent neurological disorders such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease. They accomplish this by improving the communication between nerves and boosting blood flow to the brain. Their antioxidant effect also means they can stop brain damage caused by oxidative stress.

If you’re still not sold on the benefits of anthocyanins, consider this: They can fight cancer cells by attacking them and spurring cell death, in addition to activating the enzymes that rid your body of cancer-causing substances.

Studies have also shown that consuming foods rich in anthocyanins can lower your insulin resistance and protect beta cells in the pancreas, which helps normalize blood levels. That means anthocyanin-rich fruits can help inhibit diabetes.

Cardiovascular disease continues to be one of the top causes of death in America, affecting 84 million Americans and causing roughly one out of every three deaths. Those are very frightening statistics, so you owe it to yourself and your loved ones to consume more anthocyanins and take other steps known to reduce your risk, like exercising and eating as healthier diet overall.

A gynaecologist actually has to tell people not to keep fruit in their vagina.


Sometimes, there are no words.

Back in February, a rather jaw-dropping post appeared on Reddit’s r/sex thread.

The poster said that her marriage had hit a rocky patch, and she’d asked her husband what she could do to spice things up a bit.

His response was unconventional:

Recently, he asked me to stick different things in my vagina, like apples, pears, carrots, etc.. and keep in there all they so that he could eat them at night when he came home from work.


Why did she make this public? Well, she was worried about the adverse effects on her health that carrying fruit and veg around with her could have, and was asking for advice. She had taken some precautions already:

The fruits we buy are organic, and I spend a good deal of time cleaning them thoroughly.

Recently the post was featured on Cosmopolitan.

That brought it to the attention of actual real life gynaecologist Dr Jen Gunter, who used her medical expertise to answer the question.

So does she think it’s a good idea?


In a post bluntly titled It’s probably best if you don’t insert fruit and vegetables in your vagina, she concisely explains why it’s not a good idea.

We’ll save you the intimate details but the main potential risks she outlines are:

Inoculating the vagina with bacteria and fungi from the fruits/vegetables.

Abrasions from insertion.

Changing the vaginal ecosystem.

Irritant reactions.

And in particular, she points the dangers of bacteria growing:

This isn’t the same as an unwashed hand, this is leaving something in a dark, warm place with bacteria for hours or longer. Who knows if the yeast often normally present could get vaginal fruit to ferment. Bacterial growth would be a bigger concern if any small pieces break off and are left behind for days or weeks (it is not unrealistic to think some of the organic matter will soften and could break off).

Instead of Pharmaceutical Drugs, These Physicians are Prescribing Time in Nature and Fruit, Vegetables For Patients

In an age where pharmaceutical drug use is off the charts, a thoughtful group of physicians are using a novel approach and advising their patients to “take a hike” — literally. Park prescriptions have been around since 2008, but the idea is now spreading more widely throughout the U.S. — and around the world — as obesity and mental health disorders have continued to climb. In a similar vein, doctors are also writing prescriptions for fruits, vegetables and other wholesome food, which patients can “fill” at their local market. The result of these unconventional interventions is nothing short of inspiring.


The Healing Power of Nature

A whole new spin on writing prescriptions for patients has people moving — through green spaces, parks and forests, in lieu of popping pharmaceutical meds for what ails them. And it works.

San Francisco physician Daphne Miller is known for writing out “park prescriptions” like this:

  • Drug: Exercise in Glen Canyon Park
  • Dose: 45 minutes of walking or running
  • Directions: Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday at 7am
  • Refills: Unlimited

Dr. Miller feels it’s easier to maintain an exercise program when we’re outdoors, possibly because of the changing scenery, fresh air or, what she refers to as, “the camaraderie of the trail.” She’s written hundreds of park prescriptions for her patients — which have had great success in curbing a variety of health complaints. And she’s not alone in her unusual prescriptions. Many physicians — particularly pediatricians — are dispensing thousands of these prescriptions to not only get some exercise, but to do it out in nature.

Robert Zarr, a physician in Washington DC, was an early proponent of writing park prescriptions. At one point, he told an obese teen to skip using the bus one way to school and instead, walk through the park. She lost weight and felt happier.

“We’ve really got this down,” he told the audience at a conference in Philadelphia. “I see this as no different from prescribing medicine for asthma or an ear infection.”

Obesity, diabetes and mental health disorders are an increasing problem for children in the U.S. — and it only takes a a few kids with symptoms of ADHD to cause disruption in the classroom, he says, where teachers begin to suggest parents speak with their pediatrician about Ritalin or other pharmaceutical interventions.

Because of a growing body of scientific evidence that contact with nature helps to prevent or ease many of the chronic illnesses associated with urban life, Zarr created an online database of around 350 green spaces in the district, so that physicians can type in their patient’s zip code and find a number of parks in the area. So far, the U.S. has at least 50 programs to get people out into nature for its healthy perks, but new programs are sprouting up all the time.

The trend is catching on in other countries too — like Australia, where experts are now discussing the health advantages of spending time in their natural parks. In the U.K., doctors are writing prescriptions for Green Gyms, where outdoor sessions are lead by members from conservation groups. Not only do the participants improve health and stamina, they also contribute to local green spaces with activities such as planting trees. Moreover, Japan has it’s own health and nature program called Shinrin Yoku, or forest bathing, that encourages people to spend time in the woods to reap a range of healthy benefits.

Back in the United States, prescriptions for outdoor time in nature aren’t the only ones doctors are writing, fruit and vegetable prescription programs are becoming popular as well.

Food As Medicine

In 1965, Jack Geiger — a physician and civil rights activist — founded an unusual community health center in the Mississippi Delta, where prescriptions for food were written for his malnourished patients. He asked grocery stores to send the bill for fruit, vegetables and other nutritious edibles to the health center’s pharmacy. At one point, the Office of Economic Opportunity (which funded the health center) questioned him about the program, he replied that when dealing with a diagnosis of malnutrition, food wasmedicine.

In the spirit of Dr. Geiger’s original health center, others have followed suit and established programs that prescribe nourishing food for people struggling with health issues. In 2013, Wholesome Wave and the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene launched a Fruit and Vegetable Prescription Program (FVRx), where participating physicians write prescription coupons that can be redeemed for fruits and vegetables at farmers markets across New York City. Similarly, Boston Medical Center created a Preventative Food Pantry that supplies supplemental and therapeutic foods to patients referred by their doctors. What’s more, Dr. Nimali Fernando of Yum Pediatrics in Virginia has fully integrated food and wellness into her practice — complete with garden-themed office and exam rooms, a teaching kitchen where a variety of cooking classes are held and cooking shows playing in the waiting room.

All in all, these programs are effective in reducing body mass index and stress, which leads to less chronic disease and improved health in the long run. But you don’t need to wait for a prescription — get out into nature and enjoy more fruit and vegetables. Your body, mind and spirit will be the better for it.

Eating Less Meat And More Fruit Could Save Lives

Report says eating more fruits and vegetables and less meat could reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
• Global mortality could decline by as much as 10 percent.
• Over a quarter of all greenhouse gas emissions arise from food production.

Millions of lives and trillions of dollars could be saved if people the world over ate more fruits and vegetables and less red meat, according to a new study. Such a shift in global eating patterns would also reduce the planetary burden of greenhouse gas emissions and help halt the worst effects of climate change.

The report, published Monday in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, argues that food-related emissions could fall between 29 and 70 percent by 2050 were the world’s population to adhere to certain dietary guidelines established by global health agencies. Global mortality could drop by as much as 10 percent — preventing as many as 8.1 million deaths per year — and between $1 trillion and $31 trillion could be saved.

Eating less of this, and more fruits and veget.

If those estimates seem to range pretty widely, it’s for a good reason. Marco Springmann, a research fellow at the Oxford Martin Programme on the Future of Food and the study’s co-author, said the strikingly different estimates reflect a number of different scenarios — for example, a scenario where people simply eat less meat and more produce, versus scenarios where everyone in the world goes vegetarian or vegan. While the latter cases may seem extreme, even a more modest change could dramatically aid humanity, according to the research.

“The size of the projected benefits, even taking into account all of the caveats about the unavoidable sources of uncertainty in our work, should encourage researchers and policy makers to act to improve consumption patterns,” the paper reads.

Over a quarter of all greenhouse gas emissions come from food production, and up to 80 percent of that comes from resource-intensive livestock.

Man-made carbon emissions are the principal force driving climate change and its scourge of world-changing effects, including droughts, rising sea levels and human health crises. Emissions have leveled off in the past two years, but global temperatures are still set to exceed a temperature threshold that scientists say humanity must avoid to stave off the worst consequences.

Under one scenario proposed by the paper, the combined people of Earth would need to eat 25 percent more fruits and vegetables and 56 percent less red meat in order to save 5.1 million lives per year and achieve a 29 percent reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.

Springmann pointed out that those figures are worldwide, and that in practice, different parts of the world would have to take different approaches. For example, while global fruit and vegetable consumption would have to go up by 25 percent, people in sub-Saharan Africa would have to begin eating 190 percent more produce. And while red meat consumption worldwide would have to drop by 56 percent, that figure would be more like 78 percent in high-income Western countries like the U.S.

If the planet were to go completely vegan, according to the report, it could prevent as many as 8.1 million deaths a year.

The authors of the report call on the world’s governments to encourage new eating habits. They also suggest that people use the data as a renewed call to purchase healthier food. But in places like America where corn remains king, major changes of the kind recommended in the report would require some substantial policy restructuring.

“Government sets the framework and sets the market in which we operate,” Springmann said. “If the government decided to prize food based on greenhouse gas incentives, that would make a huge impact.”

New Consumer Report guide breaks down the risks from eating 48 conventional fruit and veggies from 14 different countries

More than 85 percent of Americans are concerned about pesticide residue on their fruits and vegetables, according to a recent Consumer Reports survey of 1,050 people. However, many people are confused as to what to do about it, which is understandable, because if you aren’t growing your own food yet, buying organic isn’t exactly cheap.

The news about our food is everywhere, making it nearly impossible to avoid these days. But a lot of it is contradictory and can be difficult to decipher if you don’t know the facts. Are genetically modified organisms (GMOs) necessary to feed the world’s growing population, or are they destroying our planet one field at a time?

While the biotech industry would adamantly disagree, the truth is that they aren’t sustainable, and they absolutely have not been proven safe to eat. Controversy continues to surround GMOs and their associated pesticides, and not just because of activists like the Food Babe, but because of emerging research that continues to unveil the harsh consequences of increased pesticide use in the U.S.


Traces of 29 chemicals detected in the average American’s body, CDC admits

Different foods are sprayed with varying amounts of pesticides. For example, eating one serving of green beans from the U.S. is 200 times riskier than consuming American-grown broccoli, according to Consumer Reports.

Strawberries have been known to carry upwards of 36 different types of pesticides, and 39 were found on raspberries, an important reminder to buy organic berries, as they often carry more chemicals than other fruits.

It’s unsurprising to learn that there are traces of 29 different pesticides in the average American’s body, as admitted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

“It’s not realistic to expect we wouldn’t have any pesticides in our bodies in this day and age, but that would be the ideal,” said Michael Crupain, M.D., M.P.D., director of Consumer Reports‘ Food Safety and Sustainability Center. “We just don’t know enough about the health effects.”

All organic produce falls into low- or very-low-risk categories, new assessment finds

Determining which foods are best to buy organic can be daunting; however, all you need is quick access to a few guides that can make grocery shopping easier. Consumer Reports recently released an excellent risk guide that places fruits and vegetables into five risk categories ranging from very low to very high.

Using 12 years of data from the Department of Agriculture’s Pesticide Data Program, and a few other sources, this new tool shows the risk of pesticide exposure from eating 48 conventional fruits and vegetables from 14 different countries.

The risk assessment includes the number of pesticide residues on each food, the frequency at which they were found and the toxicity of the pesticides. Since children are more susceptible to pesticide toxicity, the assessment is based on the risk to a 3 1/2-year-old child, estimated to weigh about 35.2 pounds.

Consumer Reports recommends buying any produce in the medium- to very-high-risk category organic. Different foods grown in different countries have varying risk levels. For example, celery grown in Mexico has a very low risk level, while U.S.-grown celery is listed as having a medium risk.

Cherry tomatoes grown in the U.S have a low risk level, while cherry tomatoes grown in Mexico have a high risk. Cucumbers grown in Canada have a low risk level, while cucumbers grown in Mexico and the U.S. have a high risk level.

On average, the report shows cilantro, grapes, green onions and mushrooms to be low-risk, while peaches, green beans, sweet bell peppers, sweet potatoes and tangerines are considered high- to very-high-risk.

For a complete list of the foods and their risk levels, click here.

Learn more:

Did you know you can rent out a fruit tree from an organic farmer?

A new trend beginning surface in the organic eating world is fruit tree rental programs being offered by local organic orchards. This is a great way to get organic fruit when you don’t have to time or space to grow tress at your home, or if you’re renting and can’t plant your own. It’s also a great way to save money on some fresh organic fruit!  According to

Renting one apple tree costs $55, and depending on the harvest, we could walk away with anywhere from 80 to 120 pounds of apples.  That works out to 68 cents to 45 cents per pound for organic apples!”

Here’s an excerpt from Earth First Farms‘ Rent-A-Tree FAQ page:

-Yield varies based on the tree, the year, and the weather, among other factors. We usually expect to harvest 2 or 3 bushels of apples from each tree in an average year. At about 40 pounds per bushel, that means 80 to 120 pounds of apples. In a bumper year, you may harvest up to five bushels from a single tree.

-Expect about 60% of your tree’s apples to be ready for fresh eating, and about 40% that you will want to juice, sauce, or make into pie filling.

-For more information about individual varieties, read our varietal descriptions.

-There are no guarantees as to picking dates, though we can give you estimates based on previous years. We test your apples as they begin to ripen, and when the sugar content shows that they are ready to pick, we let you know immediately.  We try to give you a week’s notice to plan a trip.

-All the apples from your tree can be picked in one trip to the farm.
The cost to rent a tree for the year is $55.

Renting a tree takes many of the limitations to living in the city out of the picture. Most of the work and maintenance will be done by the farmers who own the trees, while you get to reap the rewards of the harvest!

This new trend is still fairly unknown, however word travels quickly once people start to discover this great idea. One Cherry orchard in England has already rented out all of their trees through 2015 after a news story was doneabout their farm.

“Dallaway launched Rentacherrytree in 2008, and found renters for 300 trees almost immediately. By the following year he had let 500 trees, and this year his whole orchard is taken (bar the 500 trees he keeps aside to supply local markets and farm shops). Those who rent a cherry tree can come and see it in full bloom each spring, picnic in a field among the blossom, and then return in the summer to pick the fruit. They also receive a bi-monthly newsletter and are invited to a hog roast during the picking, and each September they can renew their option for the following year. (Roughly 500 trees become available again each September, so now is the time to join the waiting list for 2014.)”

Most orchards will keep you up to date via email about the progress of the tree you rented. Depending on the type of agreement you choose, you may be able to go and pick the fruit from your tree when it is ready for harvest or choose to have the fruit picked and shipped to you.

Find out if any farmers near you have and tree rentals or leasing programs. If they don’t, then talk to them about it! It’s a win for the farmer who is able to basically pre-sell his produce, and the consumer which will get awesome organic fruit at below wholesale prices.


Is Fructose As Addictive As Alcohol?

Fructose, which literally means “fruit sugar,”* sounds so sweet and innocent. And indeed, when incorporated into the diet in moderate amounts in the form of fruit – always organic and raw, when possible – it’s about as pure and wholesome as as a nutrient can get.

Toxic Fructose Addiction: The 800 Ounce Gorilla In The Room

Not so for industrially processed fructose in isolate form, which may be as addictive as alcohol,[i] and perhaps even morphine [ii] [iii]and which according to USDA research published in 2008 into major trends in U.S. food consumption patterns, 1970-2005, we now consume at the rate of at least 50 lbs a year — the ‘800 ounce gorilla’ in the room.[iv]

Our dietary exposure to fructose, of course, is primarily through either sugar (sucrose), which is a disaccharide comprised of 50% fructose and 50% glucose by weight, or through high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS), which is mostly a 55% fructose and 45% glucose blend of monosaccharides, but goes as high as 90% fructose and 10% glucose in HFCS-90 form.  Pasteurized fruit juices are another concentrated source of fructose, but increasingly even pasteurized fruit juice is being adulterated with additional sugar or HFCS for reasons that have mostly to do with protecting the manufacturer’s bottom line.

Because high-fructose corn syrup contains free-form monosaccharides of fructose and glucose, it cannot be considered biologically equivalent to sucrose, which has a glycosidic bond that links the fructose and glucose together, and which slows its break down in the body. The attempt by the HFCS industry to re-label their product as “corn sugar,” which was recently denied by the FDA,[v] belies their anxiety about the differences, and also reveals growing awareness among the public of isolated fructose’s inherently toxic properties.

The reality is that fructose can cause far more damage than glucose, and we must look beyond caloric equivalences to understand this. While in times of need (e.g. starvation, post-workout glycogen depletion), fructose is as effective as glucose in replenishing glycogen stores, in “hypercaloric” states of excess consumption, it can lead to a process known as glycation whereby a sugar binds with protein or lipid molecules, often resulting in damage to cells and tissues.

For example, in vitro studies show that fructose damages proteins seven times more rapidily than glucose through a process known as protein fructosylation, which is when a sugar undergoes a Malliard reaction with a protein, which basically results in the caramelization (browing) of blood and tissue contents, “gumming up the works.” For example, if you try baking a pastry made with fructose, instead of white sugar, it will brown much more rapidly as a result of this Malliard reactivity.

Fructose actually shares great resemblance to alcohol (ethanol), such as being capable of stimulating dopamine production in our brain, as well as sharing similar metabolic pathways and effects on the liver (e.g. fatty liver). Their great similarities make even more sense when you consider that fructose can easily be converted into ethanol with a pinch of yeast in order to make alcoholic beverages.

So toxic is “purified” fructose that here at GreenMedInfo we have indexed research on over 70 adverse health effects associated with its excessive consumption, which include:

  • Insulin Resistance (32 studies)
  • Fatty Liver (22 studies)
  • Obesity (13 studies)
  • Metabolic Syndrome (19 studies)
  • Hypertension (10 studies)
  • Elevated Uric Acid (9 studies)
  • Elevated Triglycerides (14 studies)
  • Belly Fat (2 studies)
  • Cardiovascular Diseases (4 studies)
  • Liver Stress (6 studies)
  • Pancreatic Cancer (2 studies)
  • Leptin Resistance (2 studies)

To view the first hand research on 70+ forms of fructose toxicity click the hyperlink.

Like many foods consumed en masse, which may have a lesser known dark side (e.g. wheat), our global fixation on fructose may reveal something about it’s hitherto under appreciated addictive properties.

Fructose’s Drug-like Hold On Our Bodies 

Fructose addiction and alcoholism, in fact, share a number of parallels. In an article titled, “Fructose: metabolic, hedonic, and societal parallels with ethanol,” published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association in 2010, Robert H. Lustig, MD broke new ground by identifying the great similarities between these two substances.

Rates of fructose consumption continue to rise nationwide and have been linked to rising rates of obesity, type 2 diabetes, and metabolic syndrome. Because obesity has been equated with addiction, and because of their evolutionary commonalities, we chose to examine the metabolic, hedonic, and societal similarities between fructose and its fermentation byproduct ethanol. Elucidation of fructose metabolism in liver and fructose action in brain demonstrate three parallelisms with ethanol. First, hepatic fructose metabolism is similar to ethanol, as they both serve as substrates for de novo lipogenesis, and in the process both promote hepatic insulin resistance, dyslipidemia, and hepatic steatosis. Second, fructosylation of proteins with resultant superoxide formation can result in hepatic inflammation similar to acetaldehyde, an intermediary metabolite of ethanol. Lastly, by stimulating the “hedonic pathway” of the brain both directly and indirectly, fructose creates habituation, and possibly dependence; also paralleling ethanol. Thus, fructose induces alterations in both hepatic metabolism and central nervous system energy signaling, leading to a “vicious cycle” of excessive consumption and disease consistent with metabolic syndrome. On a societal level, the treatment of fructose as a commodity exhibits market similarities to ethanol. Analogous to ethanol, societal efforts to reduce fructose consumption will likely be necessary to combat the obesity epidemic.

While the parallel between fructose and alcohol consumption may seem strange, the intimate connection between what we eat and our psychological health is beginning to gain wider recognition, especially considering new research linking aggression to trans fatty acid consumption, episodes of acute wheat mania, and the widespread presence of opiates in common foods

It may come as a surprise to many, but there is a fructose-opiate infatuation deeply embedded within mammalian biology, which has been the subject of scientific investigation since the late 80’s. A study published in the European Journal of Pharmacology in 1988 found that both glucose and fructose were capable of antagonizing morphine-induced pain killing effects, likely due to the direct opioid effects of these sugars or their metabolic byproducts on the central nervous system. In fact, the researchers found that fructose was more potent than glucose in accomplishing these effects.

Could the narcotic properties of fructose, or one of its metabolic byproducts, explain why we would consume such vast quantities of something so inherently harmful to our bodies?

As it turns out, not only has fructose’s manifold toxic properties been studied, but researchers have also investigated what natural substances reduce fructose’s adverse effects.

GreenMedInfo contains research on 21 natural compounds with fructose toxicity attenuating action, including

·         Berberine

·         Fish Oil

·         Astaxanthin

·         Bitter Melon

·         Chlorella

·         Coconut Water

·         Garlic

·         Ginger

·         Holy Basil

·         Quinoa

·         Resveratrol

·         Spirulina

To view them all, you can visit our Fructose-Induced Toxicity page.

Ultimately, avoiding fructose in any other than its naturally embedded form in the intelligent and infinitely complex structures of food, e.g. fruit, is ideal. Food cravings for sweets, after all, may conceal unmet emotional or spiritual needs, so sometimes it is best to search deeper within for the answers. Or, using natural non- or low-calorie sweeteners like xylitol or steviamay also take the edge off an intense sweet tooth.

But, beyond the increasingly obvious adverse effects of isolated fructose to human health, is the “hidden” damage that fructose does to environmental/planetary health. This is because fructose from HFCS is invariably produced from genetically modified (GM) corn, which requires massive environmental inputs of harmful pesticides, glyphosate, gene products with the ability to transfer horizontally, and other unsustainable practices. The “hidden tax” of fructose consumption is the accelerating, GM-mediated destruction of the biosphere; a biosphere, mind you, without which human health and human existence, is not possible. 

*Fructose: derived from Latin fructus (“fruit”) + -ose (“sugar”).

[i] Fructose: metabolic, hedonic, and societal parallels with ethanol. J Am Diet Assoc. 2010 Sep ;110(9):1307-21.  

[ii] Antagonism of the morphine-induced locomotor activation of mice by fructose: comparison with other opiates and sugars, and sugar effects on brain morphine. Life Sci. 1991 ;49(10):727-34.

[iii] Antagonism of antinociception in mice by glucose and fructose: comparison of subcutaneous and intrathecal morphine. Eur J Pharmacol. 1988 Feb 9 ;146(2-3):337-40.

[iv] USDA Economic Research Service, Dietary Assessment of Major Trends in U.S. Food Consumption, 1970-2005

[v] Packaging Digest, FDA rejects renaming of high-fructose corn syrup, 6/7/2012


How to wash the pesticide from produce.

Organically farmed produce is better than conventionally farmed produce. This statement has been backed variously by scientific studies and empirical evidence to that effect. However, organically farmed crops are not everybody’s cup of tea for all sorts of reasons, including that the wallet factor is high.The least we can do then, to help ourselves is thoroughly wash our fruit and vegetables, thereby making them cleaner and safer to consume. Some old fashioned cleaning materials either combined or used by themselves are known to reduce the impact of eating sprayed produce.

Practical and cheap

Hydrogen peroxide and white vinegar put separately into dark spray bottles and sprayed at the same time but separately on the fruit and vegetables, and subsequently rinsed in water is meant to render them clean.

Another simple and effective way to clean produce is by soaking it in water and adding sea salt or rock salt with lemon juice and letting it sit for ten minutes before rinsing out and using.

A slightly more ingredient and labour intensive cleaning mix is created by using vinegar, baking soda, grapefruit seed extract and one cup of water. Mix the lot and put the solution into a spray bottle. Spray the fruit and vegetables and leave for an hour before rinsing and using. Vinegar is a great bacteria killer and can be used just by itself to clean the produce, especially if you consider how much it would have been handled before you eat it.

Everything is energy

Finally, if we go by the theory that everything in the manifest world is ultimately energy, then why not change the energetic basis of the food we eat? Offering gratitude before eating and asking the food to enhance your health is one way – this is called using intention to change the nature of things. This is possible say the spiritual teachers and enlightened masters. For as the old saying goes: if you change the way you observe a thing, the thing that is being observed will change.

71% of Those Who Drank Coconut Water Lowered Their Blood Pressure.

Story at-a-glance

  • Water from young, immature coconuts offers a long and growing list of health benefits, distinct from the benefits of its counterpart, coconut oil
  • Coconut water is a powerhouse of natural electrolytes, vitamins, minerals, trace elements, amino acids, enzymes, antioxidants and phytonutrients, and is low in sugar, but pleasantly sweet
  • It’s great for post-exercise rehydration, but also has anti-inflammatory properties, protects your heart and urinary tract, is a digestive tonic, improves your skin and eyes, supports good immune function, and can even help balance your blood glucose and insulin levels
  • Coconut water is the richest dietary source of cytokinins, plant hormones that have anti-cancer, anti-aging, and anti-thrombolytic benefits in humans
  • Because coconut water is isotonic and sterile (upon coming out of the coconut), it is very similar to blood plasma and has been used intravenously in emergency situations for more than 60 years.
  • Coconut Water

I have long been a fan of coconut oil as one of the most health promoting of all plant-based fats.

I have spent nearly 15 winters in Hawaii where fresh coconuts off the tree are readily available.

Coconut oil comes from the “meat” of the coconut.

But today, I’d like to share a little information about coconut oil’s best friend:coconut water.

If you’ve ever picked up a fresh coconut in the grocery store and shaken it, you’ve heard the liquid sloshing inside—this is coconut water.

Both coconut water and coconut milk come from coconuts, but they are not the same thing.

Coconut Milk Versus Coconut Water

Coconut milk, known in Malaysia and Indonesia as “santan” and as “gata” in the Philippines, is a thick liquid made by grinding up coconut meat and then diluting it with plain water. Coconut milk is a rich source of healthy fat, protein, and energy and is often used in cooking, especially in Asian cuisine.

Coconut milk is comprised of about 50 percent fat/protein and 50 percent water, and this is what you commonly see in cans in the Asian section of your grocery store.

Coconut water, on the other hand, is a clear, light, refreshing liquid (95 percent water) extracted from young, green coconuts that have not reached maturity. These look much different than the brown hairy ones you commonly see in the produce section—they are white, smooth, and pointed on one end, flat on the other.

When you can find them, young coconuts will be in the refrigerated produce section because they are perishable.

Coconut water is the liquid part of the endosperm (kernel) of the coconut fruit. When coconuts are immature, the endosperm is semisolid and jelly-like. As the coconut matures, the endosperm becomes more solid and fibrous, developing into the firmer coconut meat with which you are familiar. As the coconut matures, the water inside is replaced by more coconut “meat” and air, so it’s best to harvest the water when the coconut is young.

It turns out that BOTH the “meat” and the liquid of coconuts are nutritional powerhouses!

“Dew from the Heavens”

Hawaiians call coconut water “noelani,” which means “dew from the heavens.” Many tropical cultures prize coconut water above all other beverages due to its rehydrating and health renewing properties. Not only is coconut water good for you, it’s good for plants too, having been traditionally used as a growth supplement in plant propagation. As a result of the rich volcanic soils and mineral-rich seawater in which coconut palms grow, coconut water’s nutritional profile is very impressive.

Coconut water is:

  • Rich in natural vitamins (especially the B vitamins), minerals, and trace elements (including zinc, selenium, iodine, sulfur, and manganese). Vitamins are necessary for the enzymatic reactions your cells need in order to function.
  • Full of amino acids, organic acids, enzymes, antioxidants, and phytonutrients.
  • Rich source of electrolytes and natural salts, especially potassium and magnesium.
  • Light, low calorie and nearly fat-free, as well as low in sugar but pleasantly sweet—contains about a fifth of the sugar of other fruit juices, like apple or grape juice, as well as containing a little fiber to moderate absorption.
  • Rich in cytokinins, or plant hormones, which have anti-aging, anti-cancer, and anti-thrombolytic effects in humans.

Coconut water also has an alkalizing effect on your body, which can help correct the cumulative effects of acidifying foods that make up most diets today. For a complete nutritional profile, refer to the tables at the Coconut Research Center site. The list of health benefits of coconut water is impressive, and growing by leaps and bounds with each new scientific study.

Coconut Water’s Abundance of Health Benefits

Addressing every one of these areas is beyond the scope of one article, but I would like to touch on a few of the most impressive areas where coconut water may give your health a boost. According to Bruce Fife, author of Coconut Water for Health and Healing and one of the leading coconut experts, scientific research and clinical observation have shown coconut water to have the following broad-spanning health benefits:

Rehydration (water and electrolytes) Increased exercise performance Cardioprotective (rich in potassium and magnesium); helps regulate blood pressure, improve circulation, reduces plaque formation
Anti-inflammatory; reduces swelling in hands and feet Prevents abnormal blood clotting Aids in kidney function (preventing and dissolving kidney stones, UTI remedy)
Helps balance blood glucose and insulin levels Digestive tonic (rich in enzymes); feeds friendly gut flora Diarrhea andconstipation remedy
Anti-aging properties Enhances skin health (elasticity, age spots, wrinkles), improves wound healing Enhances eye health (cataracts, glaucoma)
Supports good immune function; antimicrobial (contains monolaurin) Helps prevent osteoporosis Anti-cancer properties

Perfect Electrolyte Balance from Mother Nature

Electrolytes are inorganic compounds that become ions in solution and have the capacity to conduct electricity. They are important for electrical signaling—and of course your brain, heart, muscles and nervous system are all bioelectrical systems. Your cells use electrolytes to maintain voltage across their membranes and carry electrical impulses to other cells.

Things like water balance and blood pH depend on your body’s proper electrolyte balance, and you can suffer severe medical problems if your electrolytes fall out of balance.

Fresh coconut water is one of the richest natural sources of electrolytes and can be used to prevent dehydration from strenuous exercise, vomiting, or diarrhea. You lose electrolytes (especially sodium and potassium) when you sweat, which must be replenished with food and water intake. Because coconut water naturally contains so many electrolytes, it’s been called “Nature’s Gatorade.”

Coconut water has five electrolytes your body needs:

  1. Potassium: The most important positive ion (cation) inside your cells; potassium regulates heartbeat and muscle function; coconut water contains 295 mg, which is 15 times the amount in the average sports drink
  2. Sodium: The most important positive ion in fluid outside your cells, and also the one most depleted with exercise, as you lose sodium through sweat and urine
  3. Magnesium: important for maintaining the electrical potential of your cells, proper muscle function, and preventing calcium overload
  4. Phosphorous: Plays important roles in bone health, but also in transferring energy throughout your body, helping your muscles contract, and regulating nerve function (partners with calcium)
  5. Calcium: Important for bone health (partners with phosphorous)

The ONLY “Sports Drink” I Recommend

For most average exercisers and athletes, sports drinks are not only a waste of your money, but more importantly, can actually worsen the health of most who use them. Less than one percent of those who use sports drinks actually benefit from them. Most sports drinks are loaded with things you DON’T want, like refined sugars, artificial colors and chemicals, none of which are in natural coconut water.

If you exercise for 30 minutes a day at a moderate to high intensity, fresh, pure water is the best thing to help you stay hydrated. It’s only when you’ve been exercising for longer periods, such as for more than 60 minutes, or in the heat, or at extreme intensity levels, where you are sweating profusely, that you may need something more than water to replenish your body.

Besides plain water, coconut water is one of the best and safest option to rehydrate yourself after a strenuous workout. If you need the electrolytes, it will provide them. If you don’t need them, then it certainly won’t hurt you. And as you’re learning, coconut water has a mountain of other health benefits in addition to rehydration, which no commercial sports drink in the world can provide. Depending on how much salt you’ve lost through sweating, you might even add a tiny pinch of natural Himalayan salt to your glass of coconut water.

One study in 2007 found sodium-enriched coconut water to be as effective as commercial sports drinks for whole body rehydration after exercise, with less stomach upset.

Coconut water is sterile when it comes out of the coconut, and extremely similar in composition to human blood plasma. These unique properties make it so completely compatible with the human body that it can be infused intravenously into your bloodstream. Physicians have actually used coconut water successfully as an IV fluid for more than 60 years, especially in remote regions of the world where medical supplies are limited and it has saved many lives. You can appreciate how safe and beneficial this natural beverage is, if it can be used intravenously!

Cytokinins: Secret Fountain of Youth Revealed!

Possibly the most important nutritional constituent in coconut water—more beneficial than the electrolytes vitamins and minerals and amino acids—is something you’ve likely never even heard of: cytokinins.

Cytokinins are phytohormones, or plant hormones. These hormones regulate the growth, development, and aging of a plant. Coconut water has been an important horticultural resource, used in the propagation of several plants, including orchids and traditional Chinese medicinal herbs. The cytokinins found in coconut water support cell division, and thus promote rapid growth.

But what does this have to do with humans?

Cytokinins have actually been found to exert an anti-aging effect on human cells and tissues. When human cells are exposed to cytokinins, aging slows down considerably. Cells treated with cytokinins don’t undergo the normal degenerative changes, so they don’t “act their age.” Researchers have suggested that if you consume a diet rich in cytokinins, you may experience anti-aging effects and have less risk for degenerative and age-related diseases. And coconut water is the richest natural dietary source of cytokinins.

Cytokinins have also been found to have anti-thrombolytic properties so may lower your risk for blood clots. But coconut’s heart benefits don’t stop there. They have also been shown to have anti-cancer effects.

According to Bruce Fife:

“In regulating cell growth, cytokinins prevent the mistakes that may lead to the development of cancer. Normal cells are kept healthy while cancerous cells are programmed to die, preventing them from growing and spreading. Subsequently, the anti-cancer effects of cytokinins have been well documented.”


Benefits for Your Heart and Urinary Tract

High levels of mineral ions, especially potassium, in coconut water have been found to help prevent heart attacks. And coconut water has been found to have blood pressure benefits. In one study, 71 percent of people who drank coconut water experienced lower blood pressures.

Similar benefits have been found if you have problems with urinary stones. Dr. Eugenio Macalalag, director of the urology department of the Chinese General Hospital in the Philippines, reported that coconut water was effective in treating his patient’s kidney and urethral stones. He reported that his patients who drank coconut water two to three times a week experienced a significant reduction in stone size and expulsion, eliminating their need for surgery.

Pesticide, Chemical and Environmental Considerations

The most common variety of coconut being grown today for harvesting coconut water is a high-water yield dwarf hybrid variety that CAN be heavily fertilized and sprayed with pesticides. This makes it very important for you to select organic coconut water and organic fresh coconuts.

It is important to make sure the coconuts and coconut products you purchase are certified organic and sustainably raised. Regular coconut palms grow to be 80 to 100 feet tall, and because workers have to climb up and pick the coconuts, more manageable dwarf varieties have been cultivated that average about nine feet tall. There are environmental concerns as well, related to the intense market demand for coconuts and their products.

According to Josefine Staats, the founder of KULAU Coconut Water:

“Coconut palms are often cultivated in industrial-style monocultures geared towards efficiency. But plantation economies with the sole focus of maximizing their yield often severely damage fragile ecosystems. There are a few (who profit), but many others are left to deal with the ecological consequences.”

SO Much More Than a Sports Drink

Coconut water is one of Nature’s perfect foods—it is hard to say enough good things about it. It’s the perfect replacement for juice or soda. Please remember to read the label, to make sure it’s as pure and unprocessed as possible. Of course, drinking it fresh from the coconut, as opposed to bottled, is the ultimate choice.

I’d like to close with a quote from Jean Yong (et al), who published a comprehensive review of the potential impact on human health of this amazing natural elixir:

“The recent discovery of other medicinal values of coconut water signifies a good potential in improving human health. Better insights and understanding of the functions and properties of the individual components of coconut water will, therefore, help us to better utilize this marvelous and multidimensional liquid with special biological properties from nature.”

So next time you’re searching for a cool, refreshing after-workout beverage, crack open a coconut and experience its rejuvenation for yourself!.

Fruit consumption and risk of type 2 diabetes: results from three prospective longitudinal cohort studies.


Objective To determine whether individual fruits are differentially associated with risk of type 2 diabetes.

Design Prospective longitudinal cohort study.

Setting Health professionals in the United States.

Participants 66 105 women from the Nurses’ Health Study (1984-2008), 85 104 women from the Nurses’ Health Study II (1991-2009), and 36 173 men from the Health Professionals Follow-up Study (1986-2008) who were free of major chronic diseases at baseline in these studies.

Main outcome measure Incident cases of type 2 diabetes, identified through self report and confirmed by supplementary questionnaires.

Results During 3 464 641 person years of follow-up, 12 198 participants developed type 2 diabetes. After adjustment for personal, lifestyle, and dietary risk factors of diabetes, the pooled hazard ratio of type 2 diabetes for every three servings/week of total whole fruit consumption was 0.98 (95% confidence interval 0.96 to 0.99). With mutual adjustment of individual fruits, the pooled hazard ratios of type 2 diabetes for every three servings/week were 0.74 (0.66 to 0.83) for blueberries, 0.88 (0.83 to 0.93) for grapes and raisins, 0.89 (0.79 to 1.01) for prunes, 0.93 (0.90 to 0.96) for apples and pears, 0.95 (0.91 to 0.98) for bananas, 0.95 (0.91 to 0.99) for grapefruit, 0.97 (0.92 to 1.02) for peaches, plums, and apricots, 0.99 (0.95 to 1.03) for oranges, 1.03 (0.96 to 1.10) for strawberries, and 1.10 (1.02 to 1.18) for cantaloupe. The pooled hazard ratio for the same increment in fruit juice consumption was 1.08 (1.05 to 1.11). The associations with risk of type 2 diabetes differed significantly among individual fruits (P<0.001 in all cohorts).

Conclusion Our findings suggest the presence of heterogeneity in the associations between individual fruit consumption and risk of type 2 diabetes. Greater consumption of specific whole fruits, particularly blueberries, grapes, and apples, is significantly associated with a lower risk of type 2 diabetes, whereas greater consumption of fruit juice is associated with a higher risk.


In three prospective cohorts of US men and women, we found that the associations with risk of type 2 diabetes differed significantly among individual fruits: greater consumption of blueberries, grapes, apples, bananas, and grapefruit were significantly associated with a reduced risk of type 2 diabetes. Most of these associations were quite consistent among three cohorts. Additionally, differences in the glycemic index/glycemic load values of fruits did not account for the association of specific fruits with risk of type 2 diabetes. Moreover, greater fruit juice consumption was associated with an increased risk, and substitution of whole fruits for fruit juice was associated with a lower risk, except for strawberries and cantaloupe.

Results in relation to other studies

In eight previous prospective studies, the association between total fruit consumption and risk of type 2 diabetes was examined,2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 and the results were mixed. Similar to previous analyses in the Nurses’ Health Study3 and the Finnish Mobile Clinic Health Examination Survey study,2 the current findings supported an inverse association between total fruit consumption and risk of type 2 diabetes, but not in other studies.4 5 6 7 8 9 In contrast to total fruit consumption, evidence on consumption of individual fruits or fruit groups with risk of type 2 diabetes is limited and incomplete. In four prospective studies, consumption of citrus fruit was not associated with a lower risk of type 2 diabetes.5 6 7 8 Apple consumption was inversely associated with risk in the Women’s Health Study29 and in the Finnish study,30 but not in the Iowa Women’s Health Study.31 In addition, greater consumption of berries was associated with a lower risk in the Finnish study,2 but not in the Iowa Women’s Health Study.31 In our previous analyses that focused on anthocyanin rich fruits, intakes of blueberries, strawberries, and apples were associated with a lower risk of type 2 diabetes.32 Consistently, in a clinical trial, increased consumption of berries improved glycemic control among people with diabetes.33 Our current investigation extended the evidence in this regard and found novel, inverse associations for grapes, bananas, and grapefruit.

The different associations of individual fruits with diabetes risk may be due to the heterogeneous composition of these foods. Firstly, blueberries, apples, and red or black grapes contain high levels of anthocyanins.12 In mice with diabetes, bilberry extract rich in anthocyanins can activate adenosine monophosphate-activated protein kinase, enhance glucose uptake and utilization in white adipose tissue and skeletal muscle, and reduce glucose production in the liver.34 Our previous analyses also showed that levels of anthocyanin intake were inversely associated with risk of type 2 diabetes.32 In the current study, further adjustment for anthocyanins did not substantially change the associations for individual fruits, suggesting that the inverse associations of individual fruits are likely due to other constituents of these foods. Both red and white grapes contain high levels of resveratrol in skin.35 In mice, a high fat diet with 0.04% resveratrol increased insulin sensitivity at 24 months compared with the same diet without resveratrol.36 However, randomized controlled trials examining the effects of supplementation of resveratrol on glucose metabolism have generated inconsistent results.37 38 39 Prunes, peaches, plums, apricots, and apples contain chlorogenic acid,40 41 42 43 which may potentially mediate the beneficial effects of coffee consumption on diabetes risk.44 In rats, chlorogenic acid reduces glucose dependent insulinotropic peptide secretion by slowing glucose absorption in the intestine.45Moreover, chlorogenic acid increases muscle glucose uptake in mice with diabetes.46Finally, grapefruits contain high amounts of naringin.12 In rats, naringin inhibits dipeptidyl peptidase 4 similarly to sitagliptin, a dipeptidyl peptidase 4 inhibitor used for the treatment of diabetes.47 Inhibition of dipeptidyl peptidase 4 increases glucagon-like peptide 1, which subsequently leads to improved glucose tolerance.48 In contrast to these specific fruits mentioned above, cantaloupe was associated with an increased risk of type 2 diabetes in the current analysis. Melons have lower levels of phytochemicals than the aforementioned fruits.12 None the less, little evidence exists regarding the effects of melons on glucose metabolism. Although other fruits may also be beneficial for glucose metabolism, significant associations between other specific fruits and risk of type 2 diabetes were not found in the current and previous investigations.5 6 7 8

The glycemic index/glycemic load values of fruits did not seem to be the factor that determined their association with type 2 diabetes in the current study, although in a clinical trial, increased consumption of low glycemic index fruits improved glycemic control among people with diabetes.33 In recent meta-analyses, a higher dietary glycemic index/glycemic load was associated with a greater risk of type 2 diabetes.4950 In the Nurses’ Health Study and Health Professionals Follow-up Study, the associations between dietary glycemic index and risk of type 2 diabetes were positive, although the associations for dietary glycemic load were not significant.51 52 53 None the less, the contribution of total fruit consumption to dietary glycemic load was rather small (about 10%) in these populations. Of individual fruits, the top three contributors to dietary glycemic load were bananas (3-4%), apples (2%), and grapes (1%). In contrast, the relatively high glycemic load values of fruit juices13 along with reduced levels of beneficial nutrients through juicing processes11 12 (for example, the glycemic load values per serving are 6.2 for raw oranges and 13.4 for orange juice, and fibre levels per serving are 3.1 g and 0.5 g, respectively) may explain the positive associations between fruit juice consumption and risk of type 2 diabetes. Moreover, the difference in the viscosity of foods is also an important factor affecting postprandial blood glucose dynamics. Fluids pass through the stomach to the intestine more rapidly than solids even if nutritional content is similar.54 For example, fruit juices lead to more rapid and larger changes in serum levels of glucose and insulin than whole fruits.55 56 Although these mechanisms may potentially explain the diverse associations for individual fruits, further research is apparently needed to confirm our findings on specific fruits in relation to type 2 diabetes and to further elucidate underlying mechanisms.

Strengths and limitations of this study

The present study has several limitations. Firstly, measurement errors were inevitable in the estimates of fruit consumption, especially for individual fruits with lower consumption levels.17 18 Adjustment for energy intake and use of cumulatively averaged intake levels can reduce the magnitude of measurement errors to some extent.26 Generally, random errors in exposure assessments attenuate true associations toward the null. Secondly, the possibility of false positive findings may exist because we examined the associations of multiple fruits in the current investigation without adjusting for multiple comparisons based on a priori hypotheses. Meanwhile, most associations were consistent across three cohorts, and the associations for blueberries, grapes, and apples remained statistically significant even after applying the Bonferroni correction, a conservative method correcting for multiple comparisons. Thirdly, in our food frequency questionnaires, intakes of some individual fruits (apples and pears; peaches, plums, and apricots) were combined because these fruits have similar nutrient profiles. Therefore we could not determine whether the associations for these combined fruits can be ascribed to a specific individual fruit. Fourthly, we cannot exclude the possibility of recall bias in the assessments of diet based on the food frequency questionnaires. However, the prospective study design and exclusion of participants with chronic diseases at baseline should minimize such bias. Fifthly, although in the multivariable analysis we considered a multitude of lifestyle and dietary factors, including other individual fruits, residual or unmeasured confounding may still exist. Finally, our study populations primarily consist of health professionals with European ancestry. Thus our findings may not be generalized to other populations.


Our findings suggest that there is significant heterogeneity in the associations between individual fruits and risk of type 2 diabetes. Greater consumption of specific whole fruits, particularly blueberries, grapes, and apples, was significantly associated with a lower risk of type 2 diabetes, whereas greater fruit juice consumption was associated with a higher risk. The differences in the associations between individual fruits were not accounted for by variation in the glycemic index/glycemic load values of individual fruits. Overall, these results support recommendations on increasing consumption of a variety of whole fruits, especially blueberries, grapes, and apples, as a measure for diabetes prevention.

What is already known on this topic

  • Total fruit consumption is not consistently associated with a lower risk of type 2 diabetes
  • The possible heterogeneity among individual fruits regarding the associations with risk of type 2 diabetes has not been examined
  • The associations with risk of type 2 diabetes are different among individual fruits
  • Greater consumption of specific whole fruits, particularly blueberries, grapes, and apples, is significantly associated with a lower risk of type 2 diabetes, whereas increased consumption of fruit juices has the opposite association
  • In addition, the associations of individual fruits are not determined by their glycemic index or glycemic load values

What this study adds



Source: BMJ