Purines and purine Levels in different Meats


Our body metabolises purines  -if there is inefficient enzyme action it can result in the build-up of uric acid. It then crystallises in joints, causing GOUT.

This Table from http://www.healthknot.com/natural_food_toxins.html below lists high-purine foods, in descending order. Those producing over 400mg/100g of uric acid are very high; foods between 100-400mg/100g are moderately high, and those below 100mg/100g are considered low in purines.

PURINES - FOOD CONTENT (uric acid mg/100g)



Herring, Atlantic




Brewer's yeast


Horse meat




Calf's thymus


Soybeans, dried


Venison, leg


Sprat, smoked


Herring roe


Pig's tongue


Sheep's spleen


Lamb (muscles)




Baker's yeast




Beef muscle


Ox liver


Chicken breast (w/skin)


Rabbit meat w/bone


Pig's heart


Veal muscle




Pig's spleen/liver




Ham, cooked


Cep mushrooms, dried


Poppy seed, dry


White bean, dry


Sardines in oil


Pork muscles


Lentil, dry


Calf's liver




Pork belly, smoked


Ox liver


Sausage (liverwurst)


Beef chuck/fore rib


Pig's lungs (lights)






Ox lungs (lights)




Chicken for roasting




Ox tong




Calf's spleen


Pork, hind leg


Sausage (jugdwurst)


Pig's kidney




Beef fillet/shoulder/sirloin




Pork fillet/shoulder


Chicken leg w/skin


Tuna in oil


Turkey, young




Ox kidney


Veal knuckle/leg/neck w/bone






Calf's lungs


Garbanzo beans, dry


Ox heart


Shrimp, brown


Raisins, dried (sultana)


Chicken liver








Pork chop w/bone




Sheep's heart




Venison, back




Sunflower seed, dry


Sausage salami


Mungo bean, dry




Pork sausage


Herring, cured


Pork chuck


Pork belly


Calf's kidney


Veal chop/fillet/shoulder


Barley w/o husk, dry


There are also some plant foods - like soybean and some beans/legumes - that have high nominal levels of purines,  but they are generally lower than in meats.

Exercise is good for you

Exercise changes the way our bodies work at a molecular level

9 May, 2017

By Andrew Thomas
NYR Natural News

Exercise is good for you, this we know. It helps build muscle, burn fat and make us all into happier, healthier people. But long before you start looking the way you want, there are other hidden, more immediate, molecular and immunological changes taking place inside your cells. Changes which could be responsible for protecting us from heart disease, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes – and even stave off old age and cancer

You may think that “molecular” changes may not be that much of a big deal. Surely it is fat loss and muscle gain that are the best outcomes of exercise? Actually, molecular changes affect the way genes and proteins are controlled inside cells. Genes can become more or less active, while proteins can be rapidly modified to function differently and carry out tasks such as moving glucose into cells more efficiently or protect cells from harmful toxins.

Type 2 diabetes causes all kinds of health problems, including cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, blindness, kidney failure and nerve damage, and may lead to limb amputation. The underlying cause is the development of a heightened inflammatory state in the body’s tissue and cells. This damages cells and can eventually lead to insulin resistance and, ultimately, type 2 diabetes.

The main risk factors for type 2 diabetes include obesity, a poor diet and a sedentary lifestyle. However, we have found that even low-intensity exercise, such as brisk walking, can increase the body’s insulin sensitivity. This means that people at risk of developing diabetes become less prone because they are able to metabolise glucose more efficiently.

In our study, we asked 20 sedentary people who were at risk of developing diabetes to walk briskly for 45 minutes, three times a week, for eight weeks. Although there was no change in their weight, blood pressure or cholesterol level, on average each participant lost a significant six centimetres from their waist circumference. And, more importantly, there was a reduction in their diabetic risk.

Immune system benefits

Interestingly, there were also exercise-induced changes in the participants’ monocytes – an important immune cell that circulates in the bloodstream. This led to a reduction in the body’s inflammatory state, one of the main risks for type 2 diabetes.

When our body is under attack from foreign invaders such as microbes, immune cells such as monocytes change into “microbe-eating” macrophages. Their main function is to fight infection in our tissues and lungs. There are two main types of macrophages, M1 and M2. M1 macrophages are associated with pro-inflammatory responses and are necessary for aggressively fighting off infections. However, in obese people who do not exercise, these cells become active even in the absence of infection. This can lead to an unwanted, heightened inflammatory condition which may “trigger” diabetes.

On the other hand, M2 macrophages play a role in “switching-off” inflammation and are instrumental in "damping down" the more aggressive M1s. So a healthy balance of M1 and M2 macrophages is crucial to maintaining an optimal immune response to fighting infections – and it may help prevent the heightened inflammatory condition which comes from a lack of exercise and obesity too.

Other studies have also shown that exercise has a beneficial impact on tissues’ immune cell function and can reduce unnecessary inflammation. Exercise training in obese individuals has been found to reduce the level of tissue inflammation specifically because there are fewer macrophage cells present in fat tissue.

In addition, researchers have found a significant link between exercise and the balance of M1 and M2 macrophages. It has been shown that acute exercise in obese rats resulted in a shift from the “aggressive” M1 macrophages to the more “passive” M2 and that this reduction in the inflammatory state correlated with an improvement in insulin resistance.

Time to move

There is no definitive answer as to how much and what intensity of exercise is necessary to protect us from diabetes. Though some researchers have shown that while higher-intensity exercise improves overall fitness, there is little difference between high and low-intensity exercise in improving insulin sensitivity.  However, a new study has found that all forms of aerobic exercise – in particular, high-intensity interval training such as cycling and running – can effectively stop ageing at the cellular level. The exercise caused cells to make more proteins for their energy-producing mitochondria and their protein-building ribosomes. Researchers also observed that these “molecular” changes occurring at the gene and protein levels happened very quickly after exercise and that the effects prevented damage to important proteins in the cells and improve the way in which insulin functions.

Although you might not see the changes you want immediately, even gentle exercise can make a big difference to the way the body’s cells behave. This means that exercise could have far-reaching health benefits for other inflammatory associated diseases and possibly protect us against ageing and cancer too.


Fish oil (Krill Oil) component helps damaged brain, retina cells survive, shows research

April 21, 2017 Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center - fish oil.

NDP1, a signaling molecule made from DHA, can trigger the production of a protective protein against toxic free radicals and injury in the brain and retina, research shows for the first time.

A team of researchers led by Nicolas Bazan, MD, PhD, Boyd Professor and Director of the Neuroscience Center of Excellence at LSU Health New Orleans School of Medicine, has shown for the first time that NDP1, a signaling molecule made from DHA, can trigger the production of a protective protein against toxic free radicals and injury in the brain and retina. The research, conducted in an experimental model of ischemic stroke and human retinal pigment epithelial (RPE) cells, is available in Advance Publication Online in Nature Research's Cell Death and Differentiation.

Neuroprotectin D1 (NPD1) is a lipid messenger made from the omega-3 fatty acid docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) made on demand when cell survival is compromised. NPD1 was discovered and named in 2004 by Dr. Bazan and colleagues. Oxidative stress, resulting from the constant production of damaging free radicals, lays the groundwork for cell death. Cell death is accelerated by catastrophic events, like ischemic stroke, as well as neurodegenerative and blinding-eye diseases. The research team found that when systematically administered one hour after two hours of experimental stroke, NPD1 increased the production and availability of ring finger protein 146, which has been named Iduna. Iduna facilitates DNA repair and protects against a form of programmed cell death in stroke known as parthanatos by suppressing the production of a destructive protein called PARP. Their findings also include that NDP1 enhanced the production of Iduna and protection in two types of human RPE cells (ARPE-19 and primary RPE) undergoing uncompensated oxidative stress. The researchers found that the effect of NDP1 on Iduna activity peaked at six hours after the onset of the oxidative stress, A dose-dependent curve showed an increase of Iduna activity starting as 25 nM NPD1 in both types of human RPE cells. These results suggest that NDP1 selectively induces Iduna activity when uncompensated oxidative stress triggers the formation of NPD1 that in turn activates Iduna.

"These findings are significant because they show how NPD1, a lipid mediator made 'on demand,' modulates the abundance of a critically important protein (Iduna) toward cell survival," notes Nicolas Bazan, MD, PhD, Boyd Professor and Director of the Neuroscience Center of Excellence at LSU Health New Orleans School of Medicine. "This protein, relatively little studied, turns out to be key for cell functional re-programing and subsistence." DHA, found in fish oil, is an essential omega-3 fatty acid and is vital for proper brain function. It is also necessary for the development of the nervous system, including vision. A study from the Bazan laboratory published in 2011 found that DHA triggered the production of Neuroprotectin D1, a naturally occurring neuroprotective molecule in the brain derived from DHA. NDP1 bioactivity governs key gene interactions decisive in cell survival when threatened by disease or injury.

"The further unraveling of the molecular details of DHA-NPD1-Iduna expression signaling may contribute to possible therapeutic interventions for retinal degenerations and ischemic stroke." says Bazan.

Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center. "Fish oil component helps damaged brain, retina cells survive, shows research." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 21 April 2017.

Global survey shows we’re eating more packaged food

Global survey shows we’re eating more packaged food -  10 April, 2017.

Natural Health News — In spite of the evidence of its many benefits, fresh food compared to packaged food is playing a smaller and smaller part in our diets, according to a new global survey.

A new analysis of data from 54 countries shows that in the most developed countries in the world, the balance has shifted dramatically from fresh to packaged food.

The analysis, carried out by global research firm Euromonitor, revealed that the UK eats almost four times as much packaged food as it does fresh produce, a pattern repeated throughout most of western Europe and north America.

In some other highly populated, but less developed nations, such as China, India and Vietnam, consumers are still getting the majority of their calories from fresh food, but the trend suggests an eventual transition to more packaged food in these countries as well.

Convenience at a cost

According to the data, out of the nine major countries in the survey, Brazil’s population consumed the highest number of calories – 1,065 per person per day – as fresh food. The UK was second to bottom, with just 405 calories per day consumed as fresh food. Japan was ranked bottom with only 247 calories from fresh food per person per day.

Commenting on the report in the Guardian newspaper, Sara Petersson, nutrition analyst at Euromonitor International, said: “It is kind of the way we are today. The food we eat today is convenient. It is fast to consume and we don’t have to prepare it.” she said, adding, “Fresh food has played a smaller and smaller part in some families’ lives as the pace of life has speeded up over recent decades, working hours have increased and more women have entered the workplace.”

But convenience comes at a cost. Much packaged food is high in salt, sugar and fat and many nutrition experts believe the packaged food ‘revolution’ – built largely on ready meals and calorific cakes and biscuits – is held at least partly to blame for the rise in obesity in the US and Europe.

Calories from alcohol on the rise too

Euromonitor also reveals that in many countries – 28 of the 54 it looked at, including the UK – more calories are bought in the form of alcohol than soft drinks.

“With the current obesity crisis, a lot of bad press has surrounded soft drinks, especially sugar-sweetened beverages,” said Petersson in the Guardian. The government’s proposed sugary drinks tax is aimed at reducing child obesity. But the data on alcoholic drinks suggests that sugar-sweetened drinks are not the only problem when it comes to adults.

“Of course, the relationship between sugar consumption and obesity/diseases is still crucial,” she said. “However, given the even stronger evidence for the relationship between alcohol consumption and morbidity, this data cannot be disregarded.”

But it can be manipulated. For instance, Petersson notes that “Instead, this data could be used by soft drinks companies to argue against statements such as ‘soft drinks are primarily to blame for the obesity crisis’ or by policy makers/public health organizations to strengthen incentives against alcohol consumption.”

Learn More About Fructose and Gout


Harmful Health Effects Caused by Excessive Sugar Consumption

Foods taste sweet because they contain sugar which can be naturally occurring or added. What’s the main difference between the two?

By mindboggler mindboggler

Posted Monday, February 6, 2017 alternativenews.com

Naturally occurring sugars are the sugars found in whole foods, for instance, fruit, milk, vegetables, and some grains. Fructose and lactose in fruit and milk products, respectively, are naturally occurring sugars. On the other hand, sugars and syrups added to foods during preparation or processing, or added at the table are known as added sugars.

Added sugars function to enhance the flavor and texture of foods, to increase shelf life, and to make the foods palatable.

Americans consume at the average of 22 teaspoons of added sugars every day which is equivalent to 88 g of sugar or nearly 352 calories. The major sources of added sugars are regular sodas, cakes, candy, pies, cookies, energy drinks, and fruit drinks (fruit ade and fruit punch); dairy desserts and milk products (ice cream, sweetened milk and yogurt); and other grains (cinnamon toast, granola bar, and honey-nut waffles).

No matter what types of sugars are used, whether they are the natural sweetener like honey or raw sugar, a refined product like table sugar, or manufactured sugar like high-fructose corn syrup, all added sugars can pose health risks. Added sugar, especially taken in excess, can have harmful effects on metabolism and contribute to the development of many diseases.

The followings are 10 disturbing reasons why added sugars are considered detrimental to health.

Empty Calories and Tooth Decay

As you have probably heard many times before, added sugars like sucrose and high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) only provide you calories without the essential nutrients, for which they are called empty calories.  They are purely energy source and lacking proteins, essential fats, vitamin or minerals.

Eating sugars that make up 10-20 percent of calories or more can pose health issues besides contributing to nutrient deficiencies.

Acting as digestible energy sources that help to feed harmful bacteria in the mouth, sugars cause tooth decay.

Overloads You Liver

In order to understand why excessive added sugar intakes are harmful, it would be better for you to understand what they are made of.

Sugars are composed of equal parts of glucose and fructose. In the digestive tract, sugars are broken down into two simple sugars, glucose and fructose, before entering the bloodstream.

Glucose is found in and metabolized by every cell in your body. Conversely, fructose is only available for the body from your diet and solely metabolized by the liver.

Eating moderate amounts of fructose such as from fruit in a healthy person or you just finished an exercise won’t pose harmful effects as it will be turned into glycogen and subsequently stored in your liver. By contrast, eating a lot of fructose will overload the liver if the liver is full of glycogen, forcing the organ to turn the fructose into fat.

When large amounts of sugar taken repeatedly, this process will eventually lead to fatty liver and metabolic syndrome.

Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease

Taking excess fructose can lead to non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, which in the end can lodge in the liver. After turned into fat in the liver, fructose is shipped out as VLDL cholesterol particles. However, some of the fats stay behind and can lodge in the liver.

This eventually leads to non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), which is strongly associated with metabolic diseases. Studies have found that people with fatty liver consume up to 2-3 times as much fructose as the average person.

Insulin Resistance

Insulin, a very important hormone in the body, through a cascade of reactions that allows glucose (blood sugar) to enter cells from the bloodstream by the help of GLUT4 transporters and tells the cells to start burning glucose instead of fat.

However, taking too much sugar may overload the blood with glucose over time which is highly toxic and can cause complications in diabetes, including neuropathy and blindness.

The higher glucose in the blood the higher insulin are produced and secreted by the pancreas. As cells only allow the entrance certain amount of glucose for its optimal energy generating activities, too much insulin will eventually make the cells resist the docking of extra insulin to their receptors. This leads to, insulin resistance, meaning cells (insulin receptors) repel insulin.

Many studies have found that high sugar consumption is associated with insulin resistance which is thought to be a leading cause of many diseases, including metabolic syndrome, obesity, cardiovascular disease, and type II diabetes.

Type II Diabetes

Chronically high blood glucose (hyperglycemia) and insulin resistance cause the pancreas to produce higher levels of insulin that result in high insulin levels in your blood (hyperinsulinemia).

As insulin resistance becomes progressively worse, the pancreas that produces insulin at high capacity eventually becomes exhausted which cause the pancreas to produce less insulin, thus make the blood glucose levels remains high. This condition is diagnosed with type II diabetes.

Given that excess sugar intake can cause insulin resistant, it is no big wonder to see that people who excessively drink sugar-sweetened beverages have a higher risk of Type II diabetes.


Scientists believe that insulin and IGF-1 play some roles as important growth factors, via a cascade of reactions that enhance tumor cell proliferation. By that, they also believe that hyperinsulinemia (constantly elevated insulin levels, a consequent of excess sugar consumption) can contribute to cancer.

Moreover, the metabolic issues associated with excess sugar consumption are a known factor of inflammation which is due to elevated free radical levels, another potential cause of cancer. Many studies have shown that people who consume a lot of sugar are at a much higher risk of cancer.

Although fructose and glucose have the same calorific value, in the body, the two sugars are metabolized differently. Fructose is thought to cause seven times as much cell damage as does glucose because it binds to cellular proteins seven times faster. In addition, it releases 100 times the number of reactive oxygen species such as hydrogen peroxide, which kills everything in sight.

Fat-Promoting Effects

Not all foods are created equal as different foods can have different effects on our brains and the hormones that control food intake.

Studies show that fructose doesn’t have the similar satiety effect as glucose. In one study, participants were asked to drink either a fructose-sweetened drink or a glucose-sweetened drink. Afterward, the fructose drinkers were found to have much less activity in the satiety centers of the brain and felt hungrier.

Another study has shown that fructose didn't lower the hunger horomone ghrelin nearly as much as glucose did. As the calories from fructose in HFCS aren’t as fulfilling, this can translate into an increased sugar intake, thus increased calorie intake.

Highly Addictive

Similar to street drugs, sugar causes a release of dopamine in the reward center of the brain. Therefore, many people are susceptible to its addictive potential.

Exposures to sugar and many junk foods can cause massive dopamine release much more than we compared to that of foods found in nature, thereby people who are susceptible to addiction can become strongly addicted to sugar and other junk foods.

The best advice for those addicted to sugary foods is not ‘take them in moderation’, as the workable solution to addiction is abstinence.


The way sugar affects hormones and the brain is a recipe for disastrous fat gain that leads to decreased satiety and can get people addicted that results in you losing control over food consumption.

Many studies have shown a strong statistical association between sugar consumption and obesity. This applies to all age groups.

Raises Cholesterol (Oxysterol)

There is mounting evidence that sugar, not fat, can be one of the leading causes of heart disease via the harmful effects of fructose that lead to metabolic problems.

Excessive fructose intake (consuming fructose-sweetened, not glucose-sweetened, beverages) is associated with all major risk factors for heart disease, including raised triglycerides, small, dense LDL and oxidized LDL (due to oxidized cholesterol, also known as oxysterol, which is caused by elevated free radical levels), raise blood glucose and insulin levels and increased abdominal obesity that can happen as little as 10 weeks.

Furthermore, many observational studies have shown a strong statistical association between sugar consumption and the risk of heart disease.


Q&A: Does burnt food give you cancer?

8 March, 2017

By Simon Cotton
NYR Natural News

If you’re offered a plate of blackened barbecue food this summer, you might think twice about eating it.

It’s commonly thought that food that has been burnt could cause cancer. This is in part down to one particular molecule that forms when food is cooked at high temperatures, known as acrylamide. But while the chemical is a known potential toxin and carcinogen in its industrial form, the link between consuming it in food and developing cancer is much less clear.

The reason we even know about acrylamide’s potential dangers are down to a railway tunnel. Nearly 20 years ago, workers were building a tunnel through the Hallandsås ridge on the Bjäre peninsula in southern Sweden. Cows nearby started to show strange symptoms, staggering around and in some cases collapsing and dying. This prompted an investigation that showed that they had been drinking contaminated stream water and that the contamination was from a toxic molecule, acrylamide.

A common toxin

The construction workers had been using its polymer, polyacrylamide, as a crack sealant. This was, in itself, quite safe. But the polymer-forming reaction was incomplete, so some unreacted acrylamide was still present. The workers were tested to see if they also had unsafe levels of acrylamide in their blood, with a second “control” group of people who had no known exposure to industrial acrylamide used as a benchmark. However, it turned out that the control group also had surprisingly high amounts of acrylamide in their blood.

At first it was thought that burgers might be the source. Then high levels of acrylamide were found in potato products such as fried potatoes, as well as in coffee.

It then became clear that acrylamide formation was associated with carbohydrate-rich foods, rather than protein-rich ones, and with foods that had been heated above 120°C (250°F), that is food that has been fried, roasted or baked. This was a new discovery, but acrylamide must always have been formed in this style of cooking, ever since cooking was invented.

Chemical reactions

Acrylamide is formed in reactions between the natural amino-acid asparagine and some (naturally-occurring) carbohydrates. You don’t find acrylamide in uncooked or boiled food. Dairy, meat or fish products are much less likely to contain acrylamide. It doesn’t matter whether the food is “organic” or not, it’s the type of food that counts. Acrylamide is also formed when smoking tobacco.

A “golden rule” has been suggested: cook food until it goes yellow, not brown or black. This restricts acrylamide formation, though if you cook at too low a temperature you are less likely to kill off bacteria, so there is more risk of food poisoning.

While scientists have identified the source of acrylamide, they haven’t established that it is definitely a carcinogen in humans when consumed at the levels typically found in cooked food.

A 2015 review of available data concluded that “dietary acrylamide is not related to the risk of most common cancers”. Although, it added that a modest association for kidney cancer, and for endometrial and ovarian cancers in people who had never smoked, couldn’t be ruled out.

Meaty concerns

Going back to the barbecue, there are other chemicals in meat that could be a concern. These generally fall into two classes: polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs – compounds with several hexagonal “benzene rings” fused together) such as naphthalene and benzopyrene; and heterocyclic amines (HCAs). The PAHs are formed from meat fat and juices dripping onto flames in cooking, and HCAs are generated, again in cooking, from reactions between molecules including amino-acids and sugars.

Animal testing has shown exposure to high levels of chemicals such as these is linked with cancer, but these are levels of exposure much higher than humans would get from eating meat. Some studies do appear to have shown that meat that has been burned, fried or barbecued is associated with higher possibilities of certain cancers, but these links are hard to prove for certain.

If you are really concerned, you could reduce exposure risks by cooking in a microwave rather than over naked flames, and turning meat regularly. You could also eat less meat or replace the meat with vegetables when grilling.

Of course, your food may not be as tasty, since grilling, baking or toasting produce a lot of molecules that enhance flavour. But if you have a healthy diet with lots of fruit, vegetables and whole grain food, none of which contain acrylamide, things are easier.

It is all a question of proportion.


  • Simon Cotton is a Senior Lecturer in Chemistry, University of Birmingham.

Balancing your pH to prevent diseases

Balancing your pH to prevent diseases

Alkalizing the body is probably the best thing that a person can do to ensure good health and well-being. There is a direct relationship between a person’s pH and the oxygen content of his blood, and a tiny change in pH can have dramatic effects upon a person’s oxygen intake. An alkaline body pH may prevent diseases, and will help your body fight against existing ones by exponentially boosting a body’s oxygen intake. As a general rule, pathogens and cancers cannot survive in an oxygen-rich, alkaline environment.

One of the simplest ways you can make serious strides in your overall health and well-being is to balance your pH according to the author of the pH Miracle and a recent study performed at Washington University. The typical American diet is full of processed foods, chemicals and nutritionally depleted meals that affect the body’s acid-base balance. When this poor eating habit is paired with lack of exercise the result is often a case of acidosis causing havoc on your body, digestion and overall health.

Some foods are acidifying when consumed and others are alkalizing. So what you eat on a daily basis will change the pH levels of your entire system. The pH scale ranges from 0-14 (with acidic substances falling below 7 and basic substances falling above 7). Foods can either raise or lower your pH level, and this is based on the mineral content of the food not the actual pH of the food itself. Some are a bit tricky as in lemon juice which has a low pH, but has an alkalizing effect on the body when consumed.

Learn More About Uric Acid


Proof That Nuts Have Unlimited Health Benefits (NaturalOn)

There is a wide variety of nuts. Each has a different makeup, taste, and health benefit. In general, most nuts are good for you in more ways than one. The good news is that it does not take a large serving of nuts for you to reap the health benefits they have to offer. It only takes about 15 pecan halves or two dozen almonds each day to constitute a serving. The key is not in the amount, it is in the consistency. The benefits will be available for as long as you consume the nuts on a daily basis.

You may think you know what a nut is but you will be surprised to find out that there are as many different classes of nuts as there are types. Most nuts are considered a fruit. They start out as a pod that has both the seed and fruit of the plant. A botanical nut is what is referred to when the shell doesn’t open and the seed does not come out. Some examples of this are hazelnuts, acorns, and chestnuts.

Peanuts belong to the legume family, which includes beans and peas. A drupe is a fruit that contains one seed inside just as a cherry or peach does. Unlike those fruits, the seed is consumed rather than the outside of the fruit, such as walnuts, almonds, and pecans.
Nuts are nutritious An ounce of nuts has under 200 calories, about 5 grammes of protein, and 3 grammes of fibre. Nuts are rich in many vitamins and minerals including vitamin E, phosphorous, magnesium, copper, selenium, and manganese. The carbohydrate values vary between 2 to 8 grammes of digestible carbs per serving.

Nuts are rich in antioxidants Antioxidants are the components that keep free radicals that naturally occur in our bodies under control. They are fine when they maintain a healthy level but too many can damage your cells and it puts you at risk of contracting serious diseases. Nuts also contain polyphenols which prevent oxidative stress through the neutralisation of free radicals preventing them from harming your cells. There is a test that can gauge how much a food is able to fight the free radicals and it is called the ORAC. The study showed that walnuts had an ORAC that was larger than fish.

Nuts are an effective tool for weight loss programmes While they are not necessarily a low-calorie food, participants of a weight loss study found that those who ate nuts on a regular basis realised an average loss of 2 inches around their waist which was more than those who consumed olive oil. Pistachios are a great food for those trying to drop a few pounds. Also, people who included almonds in their daily regime lost almost three times more weight than those who did not eat almonds.

Nuts Reduce cholesterol and triglyceride levels Pistachios have been proven to reduce triglycerides in those with diabetes and people who were overweight. The 12-week clinical showed that the obese people had a triglycerides level that was 33% lower than the other groups. Almonds and hazelnuts were proven to lower the LDL cholesterol as well as reduce the total cholesterol level and increase the good cholesterol levels (HDL). Other similar studies found that an ounce of peanuts, walnuts and pine nuts combined together and consumed daily for six weeks lowered all cholesterol levels. The lowered all levels except the good levels in women who suffered from metabolic syndrome. An additional clinical showed that macadamia nuts were as effective in lowering cholesterol levels as following a low-fat diet.

Nuts Help people with metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes When it comes to type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome, nuts have proven themselves to be a major benefit for those with either disease. They are a low carb food so they fit right into a low-glycemic diet. They don’t raise blood sugar levels and actually contribute to reducing them. A clinical study showed that those who ate 25 grammes of pistachios two times per day enjoyed a 9 percent reduction in their fasting blood sugar. The group also found lower blood pressure levels and CRP, or the C-reactive protein, which is a precursor to heart problems.

Adding nuts to your diet can cut your chances of stroke and heart attack With the way that many nuts are able to lower your blood pressure and cholesterol levels, you should add them to your diet daily if you want to reduce your chances of having a heart attack or a stroke. Those two vitals are what are responsible for cardiovascular issues.

Benefits Broken Down by Nuts

  • Walnuts – These popular nuts are effective in preventing heart disease. They contain an abundance of omega-3 fatty acids and help the blood flow more smoothly in order to avoid heart issues.
  • Pistachios –With their high level of fibre, pistachios help oversee the smooth transition of the foods you consume through your colon.
  • Almonds – Almonds are rich in vitamin E, magnesium, and manganese. They are important in maintaining your brain health, help lower blood pressure levels, and reduce blood sugar readings by 30 percent after patients have eaten a meal.
  • Cashews – The antioxidant properties of cashews are valuable in reducing the blood pressure levels in those suffering from metabolic syndrome.
  • Brazil nuts – The compound that brazil nuts have in abundance is selenium. These nuts help with cancer, thyroid issues, autoimmune problems, AIDS, asthma and heart disease.


Vitamin D can protect against colds, flu — study claims

Taking extra vitamin D can protect against colds, flu and other respiratory infections, said a study Thursday which reopened a debate on the usefulness of over-the-counter supplements.

A review of 25 clinical trials in 14 countries, some with conflicting results, yielded "the first definitive evidence" of a link between vitamin D and flu prevention, researchers claimed in The BMJ medical journal.

The effects were strongest for people with very low levels of the nutrient which is found in some foods and can be synthesized by the body when the skin is exposed to ultraviolet light.

Many people, especially in grey, cloudy climes, do not have enough vitamin D.

Scientific studies over the years have delivered contradictory conclusions on the topic.

Some have shown that low levels of the vitamin increase the risk of bone fractures, heart disease, colorectal cancer, diabetes, depression, Alzheimer's disease and death.

Others said there is no evidence of a link to disease risk.

For the new study, researchers from the Queen Mary University of London conducted the biggest-ever survey of trials involving nearly 11,000 people.

The bottom line is that the protective effects of vitamin D supplementation are strongest in those who have the lowest vitamin D levels, and when supplementation is given daily or weekly rather than in more widely-spaced doses," lead researcher Adrian Martineau said in a statement.

Vitamin D is thought to protect against respiratory infections, including bronchitis and pneumonia, by boosting levels of antibiotic-like peptides in the lungs, said the team.

This fits with an observation that colds and flu are more common in winter and spring, when vitamin D levels are lowest.

It may also explain why vitamin D seems to protect against asthma attacks, they said.

In an editorial published with the study, experts Mark Bolland and Alison Avenell said it should be viewed as a hypothesis in need of scientific confirmation.



Does healthy always mean expensive?

12 January, 2017

This time of year many of us turn our thoughts to healthy eating.

I was struck by reports of recent research which suggest that most shoppers operate under an ‘intuition’ that more expensive food is the healthier choice.

The soon to be published studies in the Journal of Consumer Research rightly suggests that while this may be true for some foods, it is by no means true across the board.

Reports on the studies were interesting because, as usual, the default position was to blame the consumer for being so silly and not really understanding the issue or the science.

But when it comes to the cost of healthy eating the ‘science’ can be very misleading.

Misleading ‘science’

The relationship between health and the price of food can be evaluated in a variety of ways, from price per calorie to price per average portion. Look at it one way and healthy food can seem prohibitively expensive. Look at it another way and it isn’t.

For instance, in 2014 researchers conducted a study which looked at changes in the price of 94 food items in the UK in the decade from 2002 to 2012.

Results showed that foods classified as healthier (such as fruit and vegetables) were more expensive per calorie than less healthy foods. The healthy foods increased more sharply in price over time, and in 2012 were three times more expensive on average per calorie than unhealthy foods.

By this kind of calculation a pound of sugar is better value than a pound of vegetables – a ludicrous notion to anyone other than a number cruncher who is disconnected from the reality of eating and health.

Nutrition, not calories

In contrast, when researchers from the USDA compared the prices of 4,439 “healthy” and “less healthy” in a variety of ways, including price of edible weight, price per average portion, and price per calorie, they drew a different conclusion.

When price of edible weight or price per portion were used as a baseline, the researchers found healthy foods – vegetables, fruits, wholegrains, dairy – were more affordable than most protein foods like lean roast beef, chicken breast, or canned tuna and other less healthful foods that typically include high levels of saturated fat, added sugar, and/or sodium.

In another study, when US researchers compared nutrient dense foods to junk foods, they found that energy-dense foods were the least expensive, and also more resistant to inflationary price hikes.

False economies

Eating well can cost more. On average, according to Harvard researchers, the healthiest diets cost about $1.50 (£1.20) more per day than the least healthy diets.

Not much for a middle income household to absorb, but admittedly more difficult for those on the lowest incomes who spend, proportionately, more of their total income on food.  But, just to put that figure in perspective, it’s about the same cost as a family size bottle of nutritionally dead diet cola per day. With information and education it’s doable – and the savings, in terms of healthcare costs later in life are immense.

Just plain food

It should be noted here that these surveys are talking about everyday foods and not the exotics which are the mainstay of the ‘clean eating’ fad, many of which can be ridiculously expensive.

Don’t get me wrong. Some of these niche foods are very nutritious but they belong in the world of supplemental nutrition rather than the centre of the plate. And, as research has shown, some can bring hidden problems.

Consider the avocado. A recent report in the Guardian asked, noted that the unprecedented international appetite for this unique fruit is indirectly fueling illegal deforestation and environmental degradation. Avocados require lots of water, are sprayed with endless pesticides and the people who pick them for us are working for slave wages.

Looked at from that perspective it’s not such a ‘clean’ food. And of course, many of the nutrients you find in avocados can also be found in other, cheaper, foods. Sunflower seeds are a richer source of vitamin E. You can get vitamin K in broccoli and cabbage, monounsaturated oil in extra virgin olive oil, olives or lamb and folate in everyday pulses and vegetables, such as lentils and cauliflower.

Consumers’ belief that healthy food has to be more expensive does not arise in a vacuum. More often than not it’s a result of what we are told – often by very powerful and very expensive marketing campaigns and well-heeled, well-connected food gurus.

In a world where as many people are malnourished as they are hungry we have to find a way to push past the myth and find our way back to a more democratic view of better food for all.

Pat Thomas, Editor