The Diabetes Debate: Muscle Mania (part 3)

Katie: Today we’re discussing who’s to blame for Body’s recent diabetes type two diagnosis. We’re talking with special guest, Muscle.

Muscle: Wassup, yo.

Katie: Your Body’s blood glucose level, that’s what’s up. Any comments?

Muscle: Yeah, Dude. I have plenty of glycogen. Tell ‘em to put me in the game!

Katie: Glycogen? What’s that?

diabetes-debate-9.jpgMuscle: It’s this stuff that gives me energy. I store it until I need it. I’ve been dying to use it, man, but Brain’s been keeping me on the bench.

Katie: Did she say why?

Muscle: Straight up excuses. She’s busy, she’s tired, blah, blah, blah. I need to move, dude!

Katie: Will you exercising help Body lower her blood glucose level?

Muscle: Yo, man, I don’t know, I leave that brain stuff to Brain. All I know is that I store glycogen, when I move I use it, then I get more.

Katie: Where does glycogen come from? How do you get more?

Muscle: From the blood. It’s called glue…something. After I exercise, I suck in the glue thing, change it to glycogen, and save it so I’m always ready to move. I want to do squats so bad!

Katie: Wait, glue-something…do you mean glucose?

Muscle: Yeah, that sounds right. Can you ask Brain if I can do some squats?

Katie: Do you need insulin to suck in the glucose?

Muscle: The what?

Katie: The glue. Do you need insulin to take the glue-thing out of the blood?

Muscle: Nah, man, after I exercise I’m so hungry for it that I just take it. No insulin needed.

diabetes-debate-10_0001.jpgKatie: So if Body had exercised when she was insulin resistant, then you, Muscle, could have lowered her blood glucose level without insulin?

Muscle: If that’s what I said, then sure.

Katie: That’s amazing.

Muscle: Yes, I am. You should see me when I flex.

Katie: Muscle, my assistant just handed me some research. It says studies have shown that exercise can prevent or delay type 2 diabetes. One study showed that even if Body overeats, exercise will help her regulate her blood glucose level.

Muscle: Cool. I work with Heart a lot. She says she feels better when I move too.

Katie: I was just discussing the blood glucose level’s affects on the cardiovascular system with the Kidney Twins! Exercise is extra important for diabetics because diabetes increases Heart’s risk of a heart attack. Look at this study: exercise plus moderate weight loss—as little as ten pounds—lowers Body’s risk of type two diabetes by 58%!

Muscle: Sweet.

Katie: Let’s get Brain in here. We need to ask her about your squats.

Muscle: Cool, but before we talk to Brain, Bladder’s full again.

Katie: Then I suppose we’ll take a break. Stay with us: we’ll be right back.

Part 4

The Diabetes Debate: Blood Glucose Level With Me (Part 2)

Katie: Welcome back to Pass the Blame. We’re here with Pancreas discussing her body’s recent diagnosis of type two diabetes. And we have two special guests with us, organs who say they’ve been cleaning up after her for years. Let’s welcome the Kidney Twins!

diabetes 5Kidney 1: Hi, Katie. Hello, Pancreas. You certainly keep us busy.

Pancreas: Hmph, again with the finger pointing. I blame the system. If only the…Katie, why are you laughing?

Katie: Because the body is a series of systems and you blame the sys…never mind. Kidney, what did you mean when you said you clean up after Pancreas?

Kidney 1: Remember how she said that when glucose can’t enter a cell it stays in the blood? Well, after a while, the blood fills up with glucose. It’s not safe and somebody has to remove it.

Katie: That somebody is you?

Kidney 1: That’s correct. We remove glucose the way we remove anything that shouldn’t be in the blood. We turn it into urine so it can be pumped out of body.

Katie: Your twin doesn’t say very much.

Kidney 1: She’s calculating how much urine needs to be produced and it’s more and more these days. We’ve been working overtime.

diabetes-6.jpgPancreas: You’re not the only ones.

Kidney 1: If you did your job and moved the glucose into the cells like you’re supposed to, we wouldn’t be up to our elbows in liquid waste!

Pancreas: Oh, boo hoo! I was working overtime way before you! I’m doing everything I can!

Kidney 1: It’s not enough! I’m not sure if what we do will be enough. The blood glucose levels are all over the place. It’s like a roller coaster in the blood stream and we’re going to lose Foot or Eyes!

Kidney 2: There, there, Kidney, don’t cry. Save the water for the urine. We’re not that far along yet. Brain is pushing the thirsty button almost constantly now, and body is drinking more. We’ll get ahead of it.

diabetes-7.jpgKatie: Ladies, can we agree that you all look exhausted and move on from there? Thank you. Now, what would happen if you all took a day off? What’s so bad about the blood glucose levels being high for a while?

Kidney 2: Glucose messes with the nitric oxide in the blood.

Kidney 1: The more glucose there is, the less nitric oxide there is. Nitric oxide makes the blood vessels relax and open wide.

Katie: So without sufficient nitric oxide, the blood vessels are stressed out?

Kidney 1: They become stressed, yes. They stay tight and hard and constricted which makes it harder for the blood to flow.

Katie: And if the blood can’t flow freely…

Pancreas: Then Body gets high blood pressure and eventually the body parts farthest from the heart don’t get enough blood.

diabetes 8Kidney 2: The nerves become damaged. It’s called neuropathy. Sometimes neuropathy causes pain or tingling and sometimes it causes numbness.

Katie: That’s why you’re worried about Foot; she’s far from the heart. Why are you worried about Eyes?

Kidney 1: High blood pressure can damage the blood vessels feeding the retina. When you mess with the retina, you mess with your vision. Eyes can lose focus or even become blind.

Katie: Wow, no wonder you ladies are working so hard.

Pancreas: We can’t give up.

Katie: We’ll be right back with a special guest who says she can help reduce Body’s glucose problem.

Part 3

The Diabetes Debate: Whose Fault is it? (part 1)

Katie: Welcome to Pass the Blame. I’m your hostess, Katie Robles. With us today is the talk of the body, Pancreas. Thanks for granting us this interview, Pancreas.

Pancreas: Happy to be here. I want to set the record straight.

Katie: Pancreas, your body has been diagnosed with diabetes type 2 and many organs are laying the blame on you.

Pancreas: It’s not my fault and they know it.

Diabetes Debate 1Katie: Isn’t diabetes—in its essence—a lack of insulin? And as the pancreas, isn’t it your job to make insulin?

Pancreas: I’ve been making insulin perfectly for decades, Katie. Decades! I’ve done my job.

Katie: You’re saying this problem is new? Everything was fine when your body was young?

Pancreas: Absolutely.

Katie: Don’t some children have diabetes? Couldn’t your body have been covering for you until now?

Pancreas: No, no, no. Juvenile diabetes is totally different: the pancreas in those cases can’t produce insulin. I can. I did. I do!

Katie: Calm down, please, Pancreas, we’re just trying to get the facts. Maybe it would help if you explain what it is that you do.

Diabetes Debate 2Pancreas: You know what glucose is?

Katie: Glucose…as in sugar?

Pancreas: Yeah, close enough. When you eat, the carbohydrates are broken down into glucose.

Katie: Carbohydrates?

Pancreas: You know: bread, pasta, rice, potatoes—

Katie: French fries?

Pancreas: Yes, and lentils, beans, fruits, milk products, and the list goes on. They all break down into glucose which is fuel for your cells. No glucose, no energy. Blood delivers the glucose to every cell in the body, but cells are paranoid: they don’t let just anything in. You have to have the right key.

Katie: Let me guess: insulin is that key?

Diabetes Debate 3Pancreas: That’s right. Without insulin, the cell doors stay locked tight and glucose stays in the blood.

Katie: And the cells have no energy?

Pancreas: Right.

Katie: And you say you still make insulin?

Pancreas: Yes, I do.

Katie: Then why is your body diabetic?

Pancreas: Body was pumping in extra glucose for years and I produced extra insulin to compensate. It worked for a while, but eventually my keys didn’t fit the locks anymore.

Katie: Why is that?

Pancreas: I don’t know, but it’s the locks that changed, not the keys. I didn’t have a word for it at the time, but Brain has been reading pamphlets and she says it was Insulin Resistance. I worked overtime making insulin and that helped a little.

Katie: Body had no idea something was wrong?

Pancreas: Not consciously, no. Skin says she made a dark circle on the back of body’s neck, but Eyes never saw it, so Body kept doing her thing. Over the years a bunch of Belly Fat moved in, Body stopped exercising, and my insulin keys only worked part of the time. That’s when the finger pointing started.

Diabetes Debate 4Katie: What do you want our audience to know, Pancreas? Set the record straight for us.

Pancreas: I’m a hard working organ; always have been. My product is the key to glucose absorption in cells and if the key isn’t working, maybe they should blame the lock.

Katie: Pancreas, a few organs have noticed that because you produce so much insulin, body has been feeling hungry. Body eats more, more glucose circulates, and you make more insulin. I give no credence to the conspirators who claim you’re trying to wag the dog here, but why don’t you simply slow down insulin production?

Pancreas: Look, orders come in, I fill them. I’m not authorized to do anything else. But my production units are so overworked they’re starting to break down, so those conspirators might just get their wish.

Katie: Thank you, Pancreas. We’re going to take a short bathroom break because Bladder is full, but we’ll be back in a moment.

Part 2

Batman Fights Cancer (Exercise and Cancer Prevention)

You know Batman fights the Joker, Penguin, and Cat Woman, but did you know Batman fights Cancer as well?

A major study confirmed a link between exercise and cancer risk: namely, that the more you exercise, the lower your risk of cancer. The three cancers with the clearest connection (perhaps because they were the most studied) were breast, colon, and endometrial (lining of the uterus) cancers. This major study was an analyzed conglomerate of smaller studies. To be fair, one of the smaller studies did not find that exercise lowers your risk of getting cancer. It did, however, find that exercise lowers your risk of dying if you get cancer. Holy statistics, Batman, that’s still a good reason to take a walk.

batman cancer 1How does Batman the Exerciser lower cancer risk? There are three theories:

  1. Catwoman: Exercise regulates hormones, especially estrogen and insulin, which have been linked to certain types of cancers. When the hormones are out of whack, they allow cancer to thrive. Holy hormones, Batman, your iconic deep voice tells me your estrogen levels are very low.
  2. The Joker (Because colon jokes are always funny): Exercise keeps food—and any carcinogens you ingest— moving through the colon. That’s right, Batman, the more often you poop, the less likely you are to get colon cancer. The more you move your body, the more you move your bowels. Holy porcelain, Batman, we’re going to need more toilet paper!
  3. The Penguin: Exercise decreases body fat. Body fat is “an active organ” that produces hormones which lead back to Catwoman. Body fat also makes it harder for your organs to function and for blood to flow. For example, your liver’s main job is to remove toxins; fat slows down that process and creates the kind of toxic environment The Penguin loves. If blood doesn’t flow well, strong, and often, cells don’t get as much oxygen as they need and cellular trash isn’t removed efficiently which leads to less healthy cells. Holy waddling bird themed bad guy, Batman, let’s go swim to slim!

batman cancer 2So what came first? The Fat or the out of whack Hormones? The sluggish colon or the sluggish human? We’ll leave that to the chickens and the eggs because we know the solution: Batman the Exerciser!

Do you have to spend hours a day doing pull ups in a bat cave in order to decrease your cancer risk? Nope. One study showed you can shuffle along like the Penguin and still reap the benefits. Holy sneakers, Batman, just going for a walk can save my life! The study defined their “most active” subjects as exercising 7 hours a week and their “least active” subjects as exercising just 20 minutes a week. That’s a range as wide as Joker’s smile, but the study showed that all exercise helps reduce cancer risk: the more active the person, the lower the risk. Holy cancer prevention, Batman, let’s get moving!

 

The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. John 1:5

 

Resources:

National Cancer Institute, Physical Activity and Cancer, 2017

https://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/causes-prevention/risk/obesity/physical-activity-fact-sheet

American Institute for Cancer Research, More Evidence of Exercise for Cancer Prevention, 2016

http://www.aicr.org/cancer-research-update/2016/05_18/cru-More-Evidence-of-Exercise-for-Cancer-Prevention.html

Eat To Prevent Cancer Video and a Joke

Angiogenesis is your body’s ability to grow new blood vessels (think repairing wounds). In a TED talk, William Li explains how angiogenesis can also allow cancer tumors to grow out of control and how angiogenesis inhibitors can help slow or reverse tumor growth. angiogenesis-rewIt’s fascinating and I’m mentioning it here because there are many delicious foods that inhibit angiogenesis JUST AS WELL or BETTER than the drugs being developed to fight cancer through angiogenesis inhibition. If you’re short on time, the food part comes in the last five minutes.

angiogenisis3

Here’s the joke:

A guy goes into the doctor’s office. He has a banana stuck in one ear, a cucumber in the other ear, and a carrot up his nose.

The guy says, “Doc, I feel terrible. What’s wrong with me?”

The doctor says, “Well, first of all, you’re not eating right.”

 

Joke courtesy of Mikey’s Funnies: www.mikeysFunnies.com

Images courtesy of cisncancer.org (tumors), forum.lowcarber.org (chart)

Eating for Cancer Prevention (part 5 of 5): Curcumin

Kirk, coom in, it’s Scotty in Engineering! Curcumin!”

“Kirk here. What’s the matter, Scotty?”

“Captain, it’s Security! They’ve been brainwashed!”

“Brainwashed!”

“Aye, Captain. Security deployed to arrest an invading alien, but now they won’t stop! They’re arresting the crew.”

“Just fix it, Scotty. And curry!”

“Curry, Captain?”

Simon-pegg-star-trek-3“I said hurry, Scotty, hurry!”

Inflammation, like the Starship Enterprise’s Security force, is essential for keeping your body safe from invading microorganisms; inflammation helps to kill the invaders and start the healing process. But chronic inflammation, when the body ends up attacking itself, can lead to a galaxy of problems. Inflammation has been linked to cancer, Alzheimer’s, heart disease, and metabolic syndrome (which can lead to stroke and diabetes).

So what’s a Scotsman in outer space to do? Hit the intercom and say “Curcumin!”

(Not laughing? Re-read the first line of this post. Still not laughing? I blame your Scottish accent.)

curcuminCurcumin is a compound found in turmeric, a root that gives curry and mustard it’s yellow color. Curcumin is both a very strong anti-inflammatory and an antioxidant. (A green tea toast to that!) The bad news is that turmeric (and therefore curry) doesn’t contain a whole lot of curcumin; most medical benefits are seen from taking curcumin extracts, not from eating Indian food 24/7. That’s a bummer, because I was hoping that hitting our local Indian buffet could be considered “fighting cancer”. Sigh.

A bottle of curcumin extract will run your anywhere from $15-30. I’m not usually one to take extracts; I barely remember to take my daily multivitamin. But I also like the idea of giving my body a Star Trek spring cleaning.

kirk fightFirst there’s Kirk. He seeks out new life and new civilizations and, if they’re evil, he squashes them. He prevents evil empires from spreading to other planets, fights the enemy in hand to hand combat, and roots out injustice all over the galaxy. Curcumin stops cancer tumors from spreading, stops tumors from growing, and even reduces pre-cancerous lesions. Best to let Kirk coom in.

Spock

 

Then there’s Spock. Logical to a fault and owner of the coolest ears this side of Vulcan, Spock increases the knowledge of everyone around him. Curcumin raises the level of BDNF (Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor) in our brains. BDNF is what allows your brain to keep learning and growing throughout your life, and decreased levels of BDNF have been linked to depression and Alzheimer’s. So, curcumin makes you Spockier.

mccoyLast of our Star Trek spring cleaners is Doctor Bones McCoy. McCoy has a big heart and curcumin improves the function of the lining of the blood vessels, which affects blood pressure, clotting, and other important stuff that you need McCoy’s medical tricorder to observe properly. In short, curcumin helps prevent heart disease because “Darn it, Jim, McCoy’s a doctor, not a chef”.

If you do try curcumin supplements, please talk to your doctor or at least google the side effects first. They don’t sound bad unless you’re taking certain kinds of chemotherapy or trying to get pregnant.

“Scotty, is Security under control? The Ambassador from the Planet of Beautiful Bipedal Females is due to arrive any minute.”

“Aye, Captain, we’re all set. I’ve got the curry.”

“I said hurry, Scotty.”

“I did, Captain. The Ambassador has just beamed aboard.”

“I’ll come greet her in person. Kirk coomin’ down.”

 

Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean. Matthew 23:26

 

Images courtesy of: www.comicvine.com (security officers), www.worldtechtoday.com (Scotty), dejareviewer.com (Kirk), bigbangtheory.wikia.com (Spock), www.thezone.fm (McCoy), www.precisionnutrition.com (curcumin)

Eating for Cancer Prevention: Green Tea (Part 4 of 5)

teaI propose we answer two questions today: What is Green Tea? and Why do we care? The answers are: Tea and Molecular weeding.

All tea (Black, Green, Oolong, Ooshort) comes from the same plant; the way you harvest the leaves gives you different kinds of tea. Green Tea leaves get a steam bath instead of a sunburn, so they’re thought to have more cancer-fighting antioxidants, although a few researchers believe that all teas are created equal.

Green Tea is loaded with antioxidants which have been shown to help fight cancer. Antioxidants are just what they sound like if we all spoke Greek: “anti” means against and “oxidant” means oxygen, so antioxidants are against oxygen. That sounds kind of evil, doesn’t it? But oxygen can be evil if you’re a wrench in the rain.

antioxidants_benefitsWhen oxygen reacts with chemicals in the body, it creates useful chain reactions. Your body needs some of these oxygen chain reactions in order to, you know, live, but too many chain reactions lead to free radicals and cell damage.

Oxygen chain reactions are like mint plants in a garden. One mint plant is great; delicious leaves, lovely flowers. But mint plants spread aggressively by the root and can take over your garden in weeks. Antioxidants are the hands that pull extra mint plants out of the soil so you can make Mojitos, but still grow beans.

I’m not a tea drinker. I’ve tried. I have about twenty pounds of tea in my cabinet to prove how determined I was to become a tea addict. But I can’t help loving coffee, and maybe that’s not such a bad thing.

Green-TeaGreen Tea has up to 10 times the antioxidants compared to fruits and vegetables, but coffee has 3 times more antioxidants per cup than Green Tea. If I’m not thirsty enough to drink 9 cups of Green Tea per day, then 2 cups of coffee gives me more microscopic meds for my mug.

Of course, tea, coffee, fruits, and veggies all provide us with different antioxidants, so perhaps eating the full spectrum of antioxidants is wise. The best advice I found was actually in a comment on a medical website; the woman said that she consumes coffee with breakfast, tea in the afternoon, and red wine and dark chocolate after dinner. Does she have all of her oxidants covered or what?

antioxidantsGreen Tea is worth including in your diet, but if you’re not a fan of drinking it, try hiding some in foods you do enjoy. Mix Green Tea with Black Tea, add a cup to your smoothie or soup, or sprinkle the leaves into pasta sauce like you might with dried parsley flakes.

With the variety of things that can go wrong in our bodies, it makes sense to dose ourselves with a variety of antioxidants to clean up microscopically. Raise your glass of a plant-based beverage, be it bean, leaf, or grape, and let’s toast to our health!

 

“Those who trust in their riches will fall, but the righteous will thrive like a green leaf.” Proverbs 11:28

Images courtesy of fitnessandhealthadvisor.com (tea), greenteaforweightlosstips.com (tea plant), www.lookgreatnaked.com (antioxidant chart), bloomfieldbathblog.com (awesome antioxidants)

Cancer Fighting Dinner Recipe

We’ve talked about how garlic, beans, and cruciferous vegetables fight cancer, but we haven’t talked about how to prepare them in a delicious, easy, fast way for dinner. There’s a recipe below. BOOM, baby! Now you know.

Beans and GreensBeans and Greens

Ingredients:

1 Tb olive oil OR 3 strips bacon, chopped

1 onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 Tb chicken or beef bullion paste (or 1 packet/cube)

2-3 Tb water

4-8* cups cruciferous vegetables, frozen or fresh, chopped (broccoli slaw, kale, Cole slaw, cauliflower, etc)

1 can beans or 2 cups cooked beans, rinsed and drained

Parmesan cheese, optional

Salt to taste

*If using cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, measure 4 cups. If using kale or some other vegetable that shrinks when it cooks, measure 6-8 cups. If you hate cruciferous vegetables, use spinach. At least it’s green.

 

Directions

Heat 12″ frying pan or 6 Qt stock pot over medium or medium high heat. Add oil or bacon (fry until brown). Add onion and garlic, saute until tender. Add vegetables, bullion, and water. (If using frozen vegetables, you might not need the water.) Cook until tender, stirring occasionally. Add beans, stir. Taste, add salt, stir, taste again, repeat as necessary. Serve over rice or by itself.

 

Say to him: ‘Long life to you! Good health to you and your household! And good health to all that is yours! 1 Samuel 25:6

Eating for Cancer Prevention (3 of 5): Cruciferous Vegetables

broccoli gunHow do cruciferous vegetables fight cancer? That’s just it: they fight. They’re warriors. Cruciferous vegetables are the military of Food-dom. They kill cancer cells and defend against terrorist-toxins.

The key is getting the ammo into the guns. The ammo is sulfur containing chemicals called glucosinolates. Think about the taste of broccoli, kale, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts; there’s something in the taste of cruciferous vegetables that packs a punch. Some websites called it sulfur, others called it mustard oil; it’s the same thing that makes horseradish potent, skunks stink, and rotten eggs smell. Mmm, the thought makes one hungry, does it not?

So in one part of the plant cell is the ammo: glucosinolates. In another part of the plant cell is an enzyme called myrosinase. Sounds like a sandwich spread made of rosin and it’s mine, but we’re going to call it Gun. When you chew, juice, or chop the plant cells, the ammo and Gun are free to join. Loaded guns, as we know, are more effective weapons than empty ones. These glucosinolate and myrosinase loaded guns are cancer fighting sulfur compounds.

120403153531-largeDo sulfur compounds sound familiar? That’s the secret to garlic’s cancer effectiveness too. If you want to know more about how sulfur compounds fight cancer and kill tumor cells, read my post on Garlic for cancer prevention. I don’t want to repeat myself, but all of that applies here.

I know what you’re thinking: Tumors are like enemy countries; the body knows where they are and can focus an attack. But what about toxin terrorists that roam the body; the ones that can start a new battlefront anywhere, any time? I’m glad you asked.

The Cruciferous Military doesn’t just ride in with guns blazing; it also organizes the Let’s Incapacitate Venom Enzyme Rangers (or L.I.V.E.R.), an Anti-Toxin-Terrorism Task Force that removes carcinogens from the body. Detoxification has two phases: Phase One is a transport visa and Phase Two is handcuffs.

In Phase One, the toxin is burned with oxygen and enzymes to make it water (rather than fat) soluble. This makes it easier for the body to remove the toxin (pee is water, not fat); it’s essentially giving the toxin a travel visa.

unclesam-worldwarii-poster-6201139-oPhase Two’s handcuffs are made of enzymes and sulfur. Once a toxin is handcuffed, it can’t do any damage and can safely be shipped to the small intestine (which leads to the colon and eventually to the light of day). However, L.I.V.E.R. doesn’t have detention cells. If there aren’t enough handcuffs, the toxins remain free to circulate the body on their travel visa and are now called “free-radicals”. Free-radicals can do more damage that the original toxins. Cruciferous vegetables provide the sulfur that L.I.V.E.R. needs to make enough handcuffs to safely transport toxins out of the body.

Cruciferous vegetables also help promote healthy estrogen metabolism in the body, so there’s a link to hormonal cancers. I didn’t get that far in my research, but I thought it was worth mentioning.

Keep your Military strong by recruiting cruciferous soldiers several times per week. Brussels sprout bullets for everyone!

 

“Come, we must deal shrewdly with them or they will become even more numerous and, if war breaks out, will join our enemies, fight against us and leave the country.” Exodus 1:10

 

Eating for Cancer Prevention: Beans (Part 2 of 5)

NCI_Digestive_torso_largeSeeing as how beans are known as the “musical fruit”, it should come as no surprise that beans have a strong link to the colon, and specifically to colorectal cancer. For those of you in the decades between middle school biology and the all-too-real anatomy lesson of a required colonoscopy, your colon is another name for your large intestine.

Your small intestine absorbs nutrients from the food you eat. The large intestine sucks the water out of what’s left, leaving behind stool or poop. It’s a good system, but when things go wrong, they go very wrong: colon cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in the United States. There is hope, however: research suggests that roughly 30% of colon cancers could be prevented by a change in diet and lifestyle.

beansBack to the beans.

I’m not talking about fresh green beans, although they are delicious and I encourage you to eat them whenever possible. I’m talking about the Legume Family: lentils, kidney beans, black beans, navy beans, split peas, and so on.

The Legume Family are police officers; it’s a proud tradition dating back to Creation. These Bean Cops enforce the law, direct traffic, and even manufacture Kevlar bulletproof vests.

bean cop dnaLaw enforcement: The first Bean Cop tool of the trade is folate. Cells need folate (ie folic acid) to make and repair DNA when they divide. Folate helps the cells to follow DNA laws and divide perfectly. When folate is lacking, mistakes are made. This is why pregnant women are asked to take extra folic acid; their baby begins life as a dividing cell and the fewer mistakes, the better.

bean cop trafficTraffic: Bean Cops have access to large amounts of fiber and that fiber keeps traffic flowing in the gut. Researchers aren’t sure why increased fiber lowers the risk of colon cancer, but they suspect is has something to do with fiber’s ability to move waste and carcinogens out of the body quickly. Think back to the last time you left a concert, a festival, or a sporting event: traffic crawls and bottlenecks until that blessed whistle blowing, hand waving man in uniform arrives. How could moving waste along not be a good thing, right?

bean cop kevlarKevlar: Resistant starch is starch that resists being digested and Bean Cops are full of it. Resistant starch makes it all the way through the digestive track to the colon untouched. Once in the colon, resistant starch becomes food for the friendly bacteria that turn it into food for colon cells. This resistant-starch-fueled-bacteria-byproduct makes the colon cells stronger; it acts like a Kevlar vest to protect the colon and prevent leakage. Imagine what’s in your colon. Now imagine that leaking out of your colon and into your body cavity, even on a microscopic level. That’s why resistant starch Kevlar is so important.

In countries where the Legume Family is consumed several times each week, the morbidity rate for colon cancer is lower than in, say, the U.S. of A., where legume consumption is low. That means that if you do get colon cancer, Bean Cops can help you not die from it. (Protect and Serve is their motto, after all.) In one study, lab rats with chemical-induced colon cancer were fed beans. These rats developed 50% fewer tumors than the rats who didn’t eat beans!

I’m not suggesting that you trade in your Thanksgiving turkey for a bunch of beans, but if you’re supposed to bring a side dish to a gathering this week and you’re not sure what to prepare, try Three Bean Cop Salad.

 “Take wheat and barley, beans and lentils, millet and spelt; put them in a storage jar and use them to make bread for yourself.” Ezekiel 4:9a