Posts Tagged ‘Healthy foods’

Green Tea Reduces “Bad” Cholesterol Levels

Wednesday, July 11th, 2012

Natural News Reports:

“Green tea has always been cited to improve a number of health benefits through its consumption. A recent study targeted LDL, or “bad” cholesterol and brought forth evidence that green tea reduces those levels. The question of how much and whether or not green tea should serve as a medical alternative remains to be seen; however, the overall benefits of green tea are difficult to ignore.

The study separated participants in two random groups: the first group who drank green tea and consumed green tea extract, and the second group that did not consume green tea. This study was staged for a period of time ranging from a few weeks up to three months, and the results showed that the former group who consumed high amounts of green tea had reduced levels of “bad” cholesterol. In fact, the participants who consumed green tea had a, on average, 7.2 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL) reduction in total cholesterol levels compared to the participants who did not consume green tea. These participants also had their “bad” cholesterol levels dropped by 2.2 mg/dL.

Another study done by researchers at Western University of Health Sciences dissected the correlation between green tea and serum lipid levels, as well as low-density lipoprotein (LDL) levels. Over the course of three to 24 weeks, researches conducted 20 trials that resulted in lower LDL cholesterol levels. Specifically, the participants showed a five to six point reduction in their levels.

Why does green tea lower LDL cholesterol

Green tea contains catechin polyphenols, specifically epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG). EGCG is a very powerful antioxidant that has been known to inhibit the growth of cancer cells, effectively lower LDL cholesterol levels, and also inhibit abnormal formation of blood clots.

The particular reason green tea is always cited as a superior health choice when it comes to tea, is its minimal processing. Green tea leaves are withered and steamed rather than fermented like black and oolong teas. This is what prevents the EGCG compound from being oxidized, resulting in its catechins and EGCG to be more concentrated.

Although green tea is not being “prescribed” for lowering LDL cholesterol levels, the evidence is clear that it can help with lowering the “bad” cholesterol levels. When consumed regularly, green tea contributes to an overall healthier lifestyle and even to the prevention of heart disease.

Sources for this article include:

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Try Nushie’s Natural Green Tea Ice Creamery. It tastes fabulous and is very healthy being non dairy and gluten free. It contains more than 15% steeped brewed and fresh organic raw Green Tea leaves. It also contains wheat grass which is full of anti oxidants as well as natural epicatechin compounds.


Flaxseeds can reduce cholesterol and blood lipid levels

Friday, November 4th, 2011

We all know that flaxseeds have wonderful health benefits, now they just keep getting better. Natural News reports that flaxseeds can reduce cholesterol and blood lipid levels.
“Bringing flaxseeds into your diet will definitely bring you good fortune, restore health, and protect you from the evils that your own body can produce.

There is a little gender-related controversy regarding the lowering of cholesterol levels via flaxseed consumption. In a study conducted by ISU professor Suzanne Hendrich of Iowa State University’s Nutrition and Wellness Research Center (NWRC), it was found that men’s cholesterol levels can fall much faster than that of a woman’s, upon the consumption of about 150 milligrams of flaxseeds (about three tablespoons) a day.

The study, which included 90 people of both genders, took place over a span of three months and looked at patients that all had high levels of cholesterol but no other underlying health-related conditions. According to Professor Hendrich, it is the flaxseed ‘lignans’ – a plant-based chemical compound group known for its protective health properties – that is responsible for helping lower cholesterol levels. “There are certainly some people who would prefer not to use a drug,” Hendrich says, “but rather use foods to maintain their health. This potentially would be something to consider.” Hendrich believes that where men in particular are concerned, the properties in flaxseeds make it a wonderful natural, long-term alternative for those who would rather opt for nature than drugs.

This doesn’t mean that women should despair however. In another significant study conducted, women who added as little as 50 grams of ground flaxseed to their daily diets for four weeks were shown to have lowered LDL (bad) cholesterol levels by 18%, without touching the HDL (good) cholesterol levels. Gene Bruno, Dean of Academics at Huntington College of Health Sciences, wrote in his 2008 article that flaxseed research has also shown major serum lipid level reduction by about 8% – an effect traditionally achieved through the consumption of fish oils.

In another study involving only female volunteers and the consumption of 50 grams of flaxseed for a month, serum lipid levels went down by about 9%. Bruno also states that the lignans in flaxseeds have been found to possess anti-platelet activating properties – essential in preventing platelets in the bloodstream from clumping, rupturing, and creating harmful clots that can lead to heart-attacks and strokes, making flaxseed a premium health option.

Adding flaxseeds to your daily diet is not only highly beneficial for your health, but also very easy. Sprinkling a spoon or two of either whole or ground flaxseeds daily on your food will give you not only a good dose of omega-3 fats, but also both soluble and insoluble fiber – as well as will regulate your cholesterol levels.”

Try Nushie’s Natural organic flaxseed crackers. They are fabulous source of flaxseed and very tasty. Being dehydrated and not cooked they retain the benefits of the flaxseeds.

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Why eat Organic Food? It’s Just Common Sense!

Wednesday, August 24th, 2011

As the intelligent species on this planet we humans can be pretty dumb. We often use our intelligence to rationalise what are stupid decisions. In doing so we will call on all kinds of so called scientific data or the lack thereof to justify our decisions.

In the end, plain old common sense is mostly the best arbiter of what is good for us.

Take smoking for example. You would have thought that common sense told you that wrapping up plant matter in paper and adding chemicals to it to retard the burning and then inhaling the resultant smoke could not be good for you. Still for decades people did it and kept saying there was no science that linked smoking to bad health. Well hello! Wouldn’t the heavy breathing, incessant coughing, listless feeling and uncomfortable lungs have told you that anyway? The so called “scientific proof” of the link between tobacco smoking and bad health such as cancer, emphysema and heart disease only confirmed what common sense already told us.

Now take pesticides and defoliants. Agent Orange is a good example. Agent Orange was the code name for a herbicide developed for the US military.

The purpose of the product was to deny an enemy cover and concealment in dense terrain by defoliating trees and shrubbery where the enemy could hide. The product “Agent Orange” (a code name for the orange band that was used to mark the drums it was stored in), was principally effective against broad-leaf foliage, such as the dense jungle-like terrain found in Southeast Asia.

The product was tested in Vietnam in the early 1960′s, and brought into ever widening use during the height of the war. Agent Orange was a 50-50 mix of two chemicals, known conventionally as 2,4,D and 2,4,5,T. The combined product was mixed with kerosene or diesel fuel and dispersed by aircraft, vehicle, and hand spraying. An estimated 19 million gallons of Agent Orange were used in South Vietnam during the war.

Now you would have thought that spraying this mixture and then having your troops unprotected go into a battle zone with these toxins swarming around was pretty dangerous to their health let alone the innocent civilians who lived there. Well not apparently to the US Defence Department who denied its link to the cause of cancers and birth defects for decades. Agent Orange was eventually found to be contaminated with TCDD, or dioxin an extremely harmful chemical to humans.

Let me recount a story that is closer to home. Nushie’s mum was born in a beautiful valley surrounding the snowy river. Her family farmed the land which is one of the most productive farming areas in Australia. Upon being diagnosed with breast cancer high levels of DDT were detected in her body. This was the result of a build up of contaminants which came from heavy spraying of crops and the use of organochlorins for treating white ant infestation. The latter is now banned but usually the ban comes years after the dangers are “scientifically” detected. Common sense would have banned them far earlier.

In the recently published book Tomatoland, subtitled “How Modern Industrial Agriculture Destroyed Our Most Alluring Fruit” the author Barry Estabrook devotes a chapter he calls “Chemical Warfare” to the plight of migrant labourers in Florida’s tomato growing region. The effect of the herbicides and pesticides sprayed on the tomato crops on the health of the labourers working there is horrific. Estabrook chronicles the tragic health consequences that the workers and their families have suffered as a result of this contamination.

I don’t know about you but common sense tells me it cannot be good for your health to eat food that has been sprayed with and consequently will have absorbed these harmful chemicals. And it just isn’t the plant that has been sprayed that is affected. All links in the food chain are affected, the cows that eat the grass or resulting feed that has been sprayed, the milk, the cheese and butter and all the processed food that comes from those ingredients. It goes on and on.

I have no doubt that the massive increase in cancerous tumours seen in the past 100 years is linked to the use of pesticides and herbicides that now infect our foods. It simply is common sense to stay away from food contaminated in that way.

Now the naysayers will demand scientific proof. As with smoking the “scientific” data may still be decades away but that shouldn’t deter us from following our common sense and avoiding the danger.

There are numerous studies now coming out that confirm some of the benefits of organic food. For example a recent study led by Dr. Amy R. Sapkota of the University of Maryland School of Public Health, provides data demonstrating that poultry farms that have transitioned from conventional to organic practices and ceased using antibiotics have significantly lower levels of drug-resistant enterococci bacteria. Why is this important? Well the use of antibiotics in conventional animal food production in the USA has public health concerns because it has been shown to contribute to the development of antibiotic resistant bacteria which could affect humans.

The study, recently published in Environmental Health Perspectives, is the first to demonstrate lower levels of drug-resistant bacteria on newly organic farms in the United States and suggests that removing antibiotic use from large-scale U.S. poultry farms can result in immediate and significant reductions in antibiotic resistance for some bacteria.

The cost of organic foods compared to the cost of mainstream food is often put up as an inhibiting factor to choosing organic over non organic. But can you put a price on your health? If you do then also factor in the saved medical bills as a result of eating healthy. Indeed, if cost is a factor then that may result in eating less which may not necessarily be a bad thing. Further, as consumers continue to choose more and more organic produce the cost will inevitably come down. At the end of this blog I have reproduced the most recent statistics relating to the increase in organic food consumption world wide.

NaturalNews reports that Organic foods and products are the fastest growing items in America’s grocery carts. Thirty million households, comprising 75 million people, are now buying organic foods, clothing, body care, supplements, pet food, and other products on a regular basis. Fifty-six percent of U.S. consumers say they prefer organic foods.

But when you buy an organic product make sure it is properly certified by an approved agency that it is organic. Certification is an audited process which checks every link in the chain of production and distribution to ensure the genuineness of the claim.

If common sense doesn’t get you then here are 5 additional compelling reasons among many others given by NaturalNews why we should buy organic foods and products:

1. Organic foods are produced without the use of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs). Consumers worry about untested and unlabeled genetically modified food ingredients in common supermarket items. Genetically engineered ingredients are now found in 75% of all non-organic U.S. processed foods, even in many products labeled or advertised as “natural.” In addition, the overwhelming majority of non-organic meat, dairy, and eggs are derived from animals reared on a steady diet of GM animal feed. Although polls indicate that 90% of Americans want labels on gene-altered foods, government and industry adamantly refuse to respect consumers’ right to know, understanding quite well that health and environmental-minded shoppers will avoid foods with a GMO label.

2. Organic foods are safe and pure. Organic farming prohibits the use of toxic pesticides, antibiotics, growth hormones, nano-particles, and climate-destabilizing chemical fertilizers. Consumers worry about pesticide and drug residues routinely found in non-organic produce, processed foods, and animal products. Consumer Reports has found that 77% of non-organic produce items in the average supermarket contain pesticide residues. The beef industry has acknowledged that 94% of all U.S. beef cattle have hormone implants, which are banned in Europe as a cancer hazard. Approximately 10% of all U.S. dairy cows are injected with Monsanto and Elanco’s controversial genetically engineered Bovine Growth Hormone, banned in most industrialized nations. Recent studies indicate that an alarming percentage of non-organic U.S. meat contains dangerous antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

3. Organic foods and farming are climate-friendly. Consumers are increasingly concerned about climate-destabilizing greenhouse gas pollution (CO2, methane, and nitrous oxide), 35-50% of which in North America comes from energy-intensive, chemical-intensive food and farming system. Organic farms and ranches, on the other hand, use far less fossil fuel and can safely sequester large amounts of CO2 in the soil. Twenty-four billion pounds of chemical fertilizers applied on non-organic farms in the U.S. every year not only pollute drinking water and create enormous dead zones in the oceans; but also release enormous amounts of nitrous oxide, a super potent, climate-destabilizing greenhouse gas.

4. Consumers are concerned about purchasing foods with high nutritional value. Organic foods are nutritionally dense compared to foods produced with toxic chemicals, chemical fertilizers, and GMO seeds. Studies show that organic foods contain more vitamins, cancer-fighting anti-oxidants, and important trace minerals.

5. Consumers care about world hunger, and the plight of the world’s two billion small farmers. Just about the only small farmers who stand a chance of making a decent living these days are organic farmers, who get a better price for their products. In addition study after study has shown that small organic farms in the developing world produce twice as much food per acre as chemical and GMO farms, while using far less fossil fuel and sequestering large amounts of excess CO2 in the soil. Yields on organic farms in the industrialized world are comparable to the yields on chemical and GMO farms, with the important qualification that organic farms far out-produce chemical farms under extreme weather conditions of drought or torrential rains. Of course, given accelerated climate change, extreme weather is fast becoming the norm.

The organic industry continues to grow worldwide. Here are some statistics regarding this burgeoning market.

• U.S. sales of organic food and beverages have grown from $1 billion in 1990 to $26.7 billion in 2010. Sales in 2010 represented 7.7 percent growth over 2009 sales. Experiencing the highest growth in sales during 2010 were organic fruits and vegetables, up 11.8 percent over 2009 sales 
Source: Organic Trade Association’s 2011 Organic Industry Survey 

• Australian sales of organic food is the fastest growing market in retail food and has consistently experienced double digit growth over the past 6 years. Australia leads the world with the most acreage of organically managed land (see further below).
• Organic food and beverage sales in the U.S. represented approximately 4 percent of overall food and beverage sales in 2010. Leading were organic fruits and vegetables, now representing over 11 percent of all U.S. fruit and vegetable sales. 
Source: Organic Trade Association’s 2011 Organic Industry Survey 

• Organic non-food sales in the U.S. grew 9.7 percent in 2010, to reach $1.97 billion. 
Source: Organic Trade Association’s 2011 Organic Industry Survey 

• Total U.S. organic sales, including food and non-food products, were $28.682 billion in 2010, up 9.7 percent from 2009. 
Source: Organic Trade Association’s 2011 Organic Industry Survey 

• In the U.S. mass market retailers (mainstream supermarkets, club/warehouse stores, and mass merchandisers) in 2010 sold 54 percent of organic food. Natural retailers were next, selling 39 percent of total organic food sales. Other sales occur via export, the Internet, farmers’ markets/ Community Supported Agriculture, mail order, and boutique and specialty stores. 
Source: Organic Trade Association’s 2011 Organic Industry Survey. 

• Certified organic acreage in the United States reached more than 4.8 million acres in 2008, according to latest data posted by USDA. U.S. total organic cropland reached 2,655,382 acres in 2008, while land devoted to organic pasture totaled 2,160,577 acres. California leads with the most certified organic cropland, with over 430,000 acres, largely used for fruit and vegetable production. Fresh produce is still the top-selling organic category in retail sales. Meanwhile, the organic livestock sector has seen growth, with 2.7 percent of U.S. dairy cows and 1.5 percent of layer hens managed under certified organic systems. 
Source: U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service,

• Acreage managed organically in 2009 in the world totaled 37.2 million hectares, up 2 million hectares from 2008, according to data from The World of Organic Agriculture 2011. Of the total area managed organically, 23 million hectares were grassland. Counted in the report was data from 160 countries. Countries with the largest area of organically managed land were Australia (12 million hectares), Argentina (4.4 million hectares), and the United States (1.9 million hectares. The largest increase in organic agricultural land occurred in Europe, with an increase of one million hectares. Regionally, the greatest share of organic agricultural land was in Oceania (33 percent), followed by Europe (25 percent) and Latin America (23 percent).
Source: The World of Organic Agriculture: Statistics & Emerging Trends 2011. 

• According to Organic Monitor estimates, global organic sales reached $54.9 billion in 2009, up from, $50.9 billion in 2008. The countries with the largest markets are the United States, Germany, and France. The highest per capita consumption is in Denmark, Switzerland, and Austria.
Source: The World of Organic Agriculture: Statistics & Emerging Trends 2011

Eat organic, its good for your health and its just plain common sense!

Fast Food Consumption Drives Childhood Obesity: Family Education on Healthy Food is Essential to Healthy Lifestyle.

Monday, August 8th, 2011

The following article appearing in Science News 2nd August 2011 summarises the problem the US is facing with childhood obesity and Australia is not far behind. Approximately 1.5 million Australians under the age of 18 are overweight or obese. This is a startling 20% to 25% of that sub group of the Australian population. If this trend is not reversed soon the cost to Australian taxpayers in health expenses will be massive.

What’s in a Kids Meal? Not Happy News
ScienceDaily (Aug. 2, 2011) — High-calorie, high-sodium choices were on the menu when parents purchased lunch for their children at a San Diego fast-food restaurant. Why? Because both children and adults liked the food and the convenience.

However, the study of data compiled by researchers in the Department of Pediatrics at the University of California, San Diego, appearing this week in the new journal, Childhood Obesity, showed that convenience resulted in lunchtime meals that accounted for between 36 and 51 percent of a child’s daily caloric needs. In addition, 35 to 39 percent of calories came from fat and the meals provided more than 50 percent of the recommended total daily sodium intake for most children- and as high as 100 percent of sodium levels recommended for pre-schoolers.
“We found that families perceived fast-food restaurants as easy and cheap, and many were using fast food as a reward for their children,” said Kerri N. Boutelle, PhD, Behavioral Director of the Weight and Wellness Clinic at the University of California, San Diego and Rady Children’s Hospital-San Diego, who has studied childhood obesity, its causes and treatment for over 15 years. “Considering the high prevalence of fast-food consumptions by adults as well as kids, it’s important to recognize the impact of fast food and its impact on the current obesity epidemic in the U.S.”
The UC San Diego researchers surveyed 544 families with children entering a fast-food chain restaurant located inside Rady Children’s Hospital in San Diego, California at lunch time over a six-week period. Families were asked to retain and present their receipts from food purchases and complete a brief survey. Families were provided a $2 incentive to participate.
Families were asked to clarify their purchases: for whom each item was purchased, if items were shared, sizes of individual items (small, medium, large), whether soft drinks were regular or diet, what items were included in any combination meals purchased, and if there were any modifications to their order. For every purchased item, the surveyors asked for age and gender of the person eating it.
“The number of meals and snacks eaten away from home is believed to contribute to excess calories consumed by children, and this number has increased dramatically in the past 30 years,” said Boutelle. “On a typical day, a remarkable 30 percent of youth report consuming fast food.”
The purpose of the study was to evaluate the nutritional content and quality of food, as well as the reasons reported for dining at a fast-food restaurant. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the top reasons for going to this restaurant were “the children like the food” and it was “convenient.” Just over half the families reported the choice as “a reward for visiting the hospital” (about the same number as replied “hungry with no other options”).
But adults also overwhelmingly reported that they liked the food. The toys included with the children’s meals did not appear to be a top reason (49 percent said it didn’t enter into their decision “at all”).
The nutritional content of the food choices supported other published data on fast-food and dietary intake on children. The highest percentage of daily caloric needs represented by these meals (51 percent) was in the age 2 to 5 years. Menu items most frequently purchased for preschoolers were French fries, soda, chicken nuggets, cheeseburgers and hamburgers. Meals for older children years were similar, with the addition of hot apple pies (ages 6 to 11) and chocolate chip cookies (ages 12 to 18).
Of note, soda was purchased much more often than milk or juice when a drink was purchased. The researchers also observed that while healthier options such as apple dippers or fruit parfaits were available, families did not seem to choose them over more typical fast foods.
Strengths of this study were that purchase receipts were an objective measure of meal choices, and a large number of families — both economically and ethnically diverse — was polled. However, limitations included the lack of data on what was actually consumed, and that the study may have been influenced by the restaurant’s location inside a children’s hospital, limiting the choice of restaurants if not the food choices themselves.
“Bottom line, we need to educate families on making health decisions when in a fast-food restaurant,” said Boutelle, acknowledging that any intervention to decrease fast-food consumption will need to take into account that people of all ages simply like fast food.”

The education is in fact simple and the food choices are not only simple but tasty. Good food is not about wearing a sackcloth! It is simply about smart informed choices. Simple choices such as low GI (Glycemic Index) foods. Less refined sugar, no trans fats. At Nushie’s Natural we believe healthy food is not only good for you but tasty as well. Try our low GI ice creamery. No transfats and no refined sugars. It is also organic, dairy and gluten free and tastes fabulous.

How healthy are low GI foods. Very healthy indeed!

Wednesday, May 11th, 2011

The Glycemic Index (GI as it is commonly known) is a measurement of the quality of carbohydrates in a particular food and how fast 50 grams of this carbohydrate raises blood glucose levels, (and consequent insulin secretion and effects produced by the pancreas) as it is digested.

The GI ranks carbohydrates on a scale from 0 to 100 according to the extent to which they raise blood sugar levels after eating. Foods with high GI levels and which are rapidly digested and absorbed result in marked fluctuations in blood sugar levels. Low GI foods are slowly digested and absorbed and therefore produce gradual rises in blood sugar and insulin levels. Low GI foods have been proven to have benefits for health.

Low GI diets:

  • improve both glucose and lipid levels in people with type 1 and type 2 diabetes, and
  • reduce insulin levels and insulin resistance

Recent studies from Harvard School of Public Health indicate that the risks of diseases such as coronary heart disease and type 2 diabetes are strongly related to the GI of the overall diet. The World Health Organisation in 1999 recommended that we base our diets on low GI foods in order to avoid the common diseases of affluence such as obesity, coronary heart disease and diabetes.

Low GI foods are most fruits and vegetables, legumes, nuts and wholegrains and fructose. High GI foods include corn syrup, most ice creams, starches, rice, glucose and sucrose.

A low GI diet can also help reduce stress. By providing a steady low release of glucose to the blood stream through a low GI diet, the body is able to have a long lasting supply of energy which can maintain a high performance at work, or be used for extra leisure activities and a good general mood.

Stress is a major factor affecting our overall health today Stress is a non-specific ailment that affects the body as a whole. The immune system is depress arising allergies and prone to get sick. The digestive system does not function effectively and the absorption of nutrients is reduced.

Managing stress involves a good diet. A low GI diet can prove beneficial by improving digestive function, enhancing the immune system and providing a long lasting and steady supply of energy (glucose) to maintain an active life style.

Try Nushies Natural Ice Creamery. It is an all natural plant based food that is not only lactose and gluten free but also low GI. A fabulous healthy alternative to unhealthy high GI foods.