Category Archives: Health

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

 

Advertisements

Sesame Skin Street

Hi, and welcome to Sesame Skin Street! Skin health is brought to you today by the letters A, C, and E and by the number 3.

sesame skinLet’s learn the ABCs of eating for skin health. Ready?

sesame aA is for Vitamin A which helps the skin cells grow. Making new cells is how your skin repairs itself. Beta carotene converts into Vitamin A, so you should eat orange foods. Carrots are orange. What other foods are orange? Oranges, cantaloupe, sweet potatoes, and winter squash. Good job, you get an A…a Vitamin A+, to be exact! Your parents are so proud.

sesame c

C is for Vitamin C which helps synthesize collagen. Collagen keeps your skin smooth and taught. Strawberries, oranges, tomatoes, and broccoli are high in vitamin C. C is for Collagen, kids! You get a sticker.

 

sesame eE is for Vitamin E.

3 is for Omega 3. E and 3 work together to boost your immune system, reduce inflammation, and protect your skin from skin damaging, wrinkle causing free radicals. They’re found in similar foods such as nuts, seeds, fish, and olive oil.

 

Sing a song with me!

sesame 3A C E, 3 letters spell ace

Keep skin pretty on your face

Repair skin cells at a fast pace

Eat these foods after saying grace

Healthy fats are a power base

Leafy greens like nature’s lace

For orange foods we’ll make a case

Keep skin healthy in its place

By eating foods with 3 and ACE

 

Sesame Skin Street has been brought to you by the letters A, C, and E and the number 3.

 

And his flesh was restored and became clean like that of a young boy. Then Naaman and all his attendants went back to the man of God. He stood before him and said, “Now I know that there is no God in all the world except in Israel.”

2 Kings 5:14b-15a

 

Images courtesy of sesamestreet.org

Skin a Deer, I mean Doe

skin sound of musicDid you know that healthy weight loss habits like exercise and drinking plenty of water help keep your skin healthy and looking great? Next week we’ll look closer at foods that support skin health, but for today, we’re going to sing a silly song. This is to the tune of “Doe a Deer” from The Sound of Music.

 

skin musicSkin, an organ, the largest organ

Covers you from head to toe!

Skin, with pores, layers, and hair

needs hydration every day.

vitamins like A and E

give it health that you can see.

Skin protects you from disease

and that brings us back to skin!

 

“I will attach tendons to you and make flesh come upon you and cover you with skin; I will put breath in you, and you will come to life. Then you will know that I am the Lord.” Ezekiel 37:6

 

Images courtesy of The Wrap (sound of music), musicnotes.com (music)

Eating to Reduce Hypertension and Lose Weight

We’ve been learning about heart health for a while now and some of you may be wondering why a weight loss blog would spend so much time on one organ. It happens to be a very important organ, but still, what’s up with that? The answer is simple: the same habits that improve the health of your heart also help you lose weight. Exercising regularly, sleeping 7-8 hours each night, eating plenty of plant foods like vegetables…the weight loss habits and the heart health habits go hand in hand.

If you’re losing weight by developing healthy habits, I want you to know you’re getting a bonus: your heart is getting healthier every day. Lucky you! It’s not just about how great you look on the outside; you’re looking sexy on the inside too.

 

hypertension 6The Three Musketeers are great dinner companions so invite them onto your plate every chance you get. (If you invite Salt, do so cautiously; Salt belches and forgets his wallet, so a little of him goes a long way.) The Three Musketeers—or Three MagCalPots—are high in magnesium, calcium, and potassium which work to lower blood pressure which helps keep your heart beating long and strong. The following foods are high in all three MagCalPot elements:

Leafy greens

Seeds and nuts

Yogurt or kefir

Legumes

Fatty fish like salmon

Broccoli

Figs

Bananas and avocados are high in two of the three, so they can tag along. This list looks suspiciously like the ingredients in Fat Fish Fiber Fruit™. I wonder if the Three Musketeers are shareholders.

 

Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it. Proverbs 4:23

Obesity: Post Mortem is a Must-See

obesity post mortemObesity: Post Mortem is fascinating. It’s not for everyone, perhaps: there are people who would rather bathe in kale chips for a year than see a dead body cut open. But for those who can stomach it, I highly recommend watching it. The show offers a rare glimpse into the inner workings of an obese body. I’ve researched heart disease and type two diabetes for blog series on those topics and I have to tell you, I felt like Buddy in Elf when he sees Santa: “I know him, I know him!” except I was yelling “I read about that! I read about that!” at the TV.

It’s one thing to read about the heart working harder when you have high blood pressure and it’s another thing to see the physical heart of a woman who had high blood pressure and see how thin and weak the muscle was by the end.

It’s one thing to read about how high blood pressure (and a weakening heart) leads to fluid build up in the lungs and it’s another thing to see a mortician squeeze water out of those lungs.

It’s one thing to read about fatty liver disease and it’s another to see what an enlarged fatty liver looks like, each microscopic cell so full of yellow fat that the organ appears orange-pink instead of blood red.

obesity post 2Obesity: Post Mortem proves that obesity does, indeed, affect internal organs. I don’t need to have faith that it does because I’ve seen it. That strengthens my faith in the logical opposite: exercising, drinking water, eating lots of vegetables and fruits and losing weight in the process is helping my organs.

Obesity: Post Mortem is a strong motivator. Whether you’re working to lose weight or to maintain a healthy weight, Obesity makes you want to stick with those healthy habits. Living a healthy lifestyle takes faith that what you’re doing makes a difference. You can’t always see the effect of your efforts right away. You can do everything right– eat well, exercise, sleep adequately, drink water– and not loose a pound for weeks. You have to have faith that your body is reaping the benefits cell by cell, system by system, on a level you can’t see yet.

So, pull up a chair, skip the popcorn (it is an autopsy, after all), and enjoy the show!

 

From the fellowship offering you are to bring a food offering to the Lord: the internal organs and all the fat that is connected to them. Leviticus 3:3

 

Images courtesy of Netflix.

Take Heart: Stress and Heart Health

“Limit stress” is probably the most difficult heart healthy habit to adopt because stressful situations are often out of our control. Many times you know exactly what is causing your stress but there is nothing you can do about it. Sometimes there are things you can do: change to a less stressful job, de-clutter your living spaces, send the children to Grandma’s for a month, break a big problem down into small actionable steps, etc., but sometimes all you can do is exercise and pray.

Why pray? It’s out of your control, but nothing is out of God’s control.

heart stressWhy exercise? Ongoing stress isn’t good for your heart because it raises your blood pressure. Exercise lowers your blood pressure therefore helping to “destress” your body. Stress saps your energy, exercise increases it. Stress robs you of sleep, exercise improves sleep. Stress produces stress hormones like cortisol and adrenaline, exercise reduces those and produces endorphins which are to the brain what chocolate is to womankind.

Sometimes looking at heart health can stress you out too. All of the do’s and don’ts can be overwhelming, especially if you have a long way to go to make your cardiologist proud. You don’t have to change everything all at once; you’ll drive yourself crazy and give up. The goal is a heart healthy lifestyle, so adding one healthy habit at a time and building on your progress is a good way to go. (NOTE: if you have had a heart attack or stroke, ignore me and do what your doctor tells you! If s/he says you should change many habits at once, do it! Those of us who haven’t almost died sometimes need a gradual approach because we’re lazy or stubborn or don’t think it’ll happen to us. Silly us.)

heart stress 2Here’s the list of recommendations to keep your heart healthy:

  1. Sleep 7-8 hours each night.
  2. Eat plants: Roughly half of what you eat should be plants: fruits, vegetables, nuts, grains (as in “not processed and looks like a grain”: rice, oatmeal, lentils, quinoa, etc., not bread or pasta even if they’re labeled “whole grain”.)
  3. Exercise 150 minutes (2.5 hours) per week.
  4. Don’t smoke.
  5. Limit stress.

Put a check next to the ones you already do. Great job! Now look at the ones you didn’t check. Which one is the most important for you to focus on first? If you’re pre-diabetic, start with exercise. If you’re trying to lose weight, replace half of what’s on your plate with plants. If you’re too tired to change your life, start with sleep. What measurable goals can you set to get that habit rolling? What specifically can you do today?

The holidays can be a stressful time. Make time to move your body and give yourself the gift of a stress free heart.

 

“Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me.” (said Jesus) John 14:1

 

References:

Anxiety and Depression Association of America https://adaa.org/understanding-anxiety/related-illnesses/other-related-conditions/stress/physical-activity-reduces-st

https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/exercising-to-relax

 

Images courtesy of: Amazon.com (stress balls), health.harvard.edu (stethoscope)