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Monthly Archives: December 2016

The Relation Between Meat Consumption and Cance

One of the central philosophies of Global Healing Center is an adherence to a raw, organic, vegan diet. It’s also one of the most controversial. There are many reasons to adopt a vegan diet, such as religious beliefs, a desire to not harm animals, or simply to support one’s health. While we at Global Healing Center do love our animal friends, the reason we promote this lifestyle is because of the health benefits. One of the greatest health benefits of a vegan diet is a decreased risk of many types of cancer.

Meat Is Carcinogenic

There is a strong, well-documented, well-established relationship between the consumption of animal products and many types of cancer. An exhaustive nutritional study involving over half a million people found that those who eat large amounts of meat, particularly red and processed meat, faced a significantly higher cancer risk.[1]

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), processed meat is a carcinogen and red meat is “probably carcinogenic.”[2] Before you think this is fringe science or a new theory, consider that the American Cancer Society recommends that you limit your consumption of red and processed meat and other sources of high-fat protein, including chicken.[3]

The cancer risk from a diet high in animal protein (20%+ of total calories) is now considered to be on par with smoking. Unsurprisingly, a diet high in plant protein shows no such effect. This could be because plant-sourced protein does not stimulate growth hormones, like IGF-1 (insulin-like growth factor), animal protein does. [4]

IGF-1 in Meat Assists Tumor Growth

IGF-1 is a growth factor that promotes cell division in the body, which is a great thing if you’re a growing child. In adults, however, excess IGF-1 in the body can encourage the growth of tumors. The higher the levels of this hormone, the greater the risk of developing several types of cancer. IGF-1 helps transform normal cells into cancerous cells by both inhibiting normal cell death and stimulating cell division.[4, 5] These corrupted cells then metastasize to other areas of the body.[6]

Of course, there are other factors that promote cancer in the body. Methionine, an amino acid found primarily in animal products, promotes the growth of tumors and cancer.[7] It’s not only animal protein that elevates your cancer risk, however.

Saturated Fat Increases Cancer Risk

Consuming saturated fat from animal sources contributes to common types of cancer and decreases the likelihood of surviving a cancer diagnosis.[8] Pancreatic, prostate, breast, and colorectal cancer show the strongest correlation with saturated fat consumption.[9]

  • The saturated fat found in dairy and red meat increases your risk of developing pancreatic cancer.[10, 11, 12]
  • A diet high in saturated fat from foods like beef and cheese is linked to aggressive prostate cancer.[13]
  • Breast cancer risk and mortality increase with red meat and dairy consumption.[14]Survival rates actually dip significantly with high saturated fat intake after a breast cancer diagnosis. Alarmingly, animal product consumption during adolescence seems to predict breast cancer risk years before cancer development and diagnosis.[15, 16]
  • Up to 50% of all cases of colorectal cancer can be attributed to diet and lifestyle, specifically the consumption of dietary fat, red and processed meat, and dairy.[17] In fact, higher consumption of animal products before diagnosis predicts a higher risk of dying from this type of cancer.[18]

Meat and Pediatric Cancer

What a mother eats during pregnancy can increase or decrease the risk of the child developing some types of childhood cancer. Genetic changes linked to cancer can begin in the womb.[19]

Acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) is both the second most common childhood cancer and the second most common cause of mortality for children under 14. The risk of developing ALL is linked to maternal smoking habits[20] and the type of protein the mother consumed while her child was in utero. Eating plant-based protein such as beans, vegetables, and fruit during pregnancy seems to lower the risk of children developing this disease.[21,22]

Brain tumors, which account for 20% of the cases of childhood cancer, are linked to maternal diet during pregnancy.[23] In particular, the consumption of cured meat and sausage seems to significantly increase the risk of brain tumors.[24, 25] Consuming dairy or eggs while pregnant also boosts the risk of the child developing brain tumors. Conversely, a diet high in grains, fresh fish, and cruciferous and yellow-orange vegetables reduces the risk of developing brain tumors.[26]

Lifestyle Is Key to Prevention

Many complex and interconnected factors such as genetics, environment, exposure to hazardous material, and diet determine your cancer risk. Genetics play a significant role but, unfortunately, there’s not a thing any of us can do about the genes we’re born with. Nutrition, however, is something most of us can control. The best thing you can do to reduce your risk of cancer is to follow a raw, organic, vegan diet.

If you absolutely cannot go all vegan, you should, at least, reduce your consumption of meat and dairy. Baby steps are an effective way to elicit change. Start by going completely meatless one day a week. After a month of “Meatless Mondays,” add a “Fruitarian Friday” or “Salad Sunday” to the mix. Continue in this manner until you feel comfortable with a primarily plant-based diet. To help, we have many healthy and delicious vegan recipes that include everything from complete dishes to sides and even desserts.

Going vegan will not guarantee that you’ll never develop cancer but it is a strategy that can help reduce your risk.

The Efficient Absorption of Nutrients

Bioavailability is the proportion of a nutrient the human body is able to absorb and use. You might think that when you eat an apple every iota of vitamin A, every antioxidant, and every mineral it contains is used by your body with total efficiency, but that’s not exactly the case.[1]

Bioavailability and Nutrient Absorption in the Body

Digestion is the mechanism by which the human body processes the nutrients from food. Digestion is a complex sequence of events and small inefficiencies can lead to larger problems down the line. Enzymes, organ health status, and even how well you chew your food can affect digestive system efficiency. How well the digestive system operates can directly affect the bioavailability of the nutrients in food, and, in turn, affect important processes like enzyme production and organ function. It’s all interconnected.

Before the body can use a nutrient, it must separate that nutrient from the food it’s contained within. This process begins in the mouth with chewing and is assisted by the enzymatic action of saliva. It continues in the digestive tract where food is broken down into macronutrients and micronutrients. Nutrients are absorbed by the intestinal lining, transferred into the bloodstream, and distributed for use or storage.[2]

Macronutrients vs. Micronutrients

Nutrients can be separated into two basic categories—macronutrients and micronutrients. Macronutrients include carbohydrates, proteins, and dietary fats. They’re required in large amounts and necessary for tissue growth and providing the body with energy.[3]Macronutrients are highly bioavailable and may be up to 90% utilized.

Micronutrients include vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and certain phytochemicals; examples include iron, iodine, vitamin A, and folate.[4] The bioavailability of micronutrients varies widely.[5] Though the body only needs them in trace amounts, they’re critical.[6, 7]Enzymes and hormones are responsible for the body’s most important processes. Imagine the negative health effects if micronutrients weren’t available to facilitate enzyme or hormone production.

Of all the micronutrient deficiencies, magnesium seems to be the most widespread. Magnesium deficiency has been linked to problems such as diabetes, hypertension, dementia, and osteoporosis.[8, 9, 10, 11]

Factors That Affect Bioavailability

Nutrient bioavailability may vary from one person to the next. Two different people can consume the exact same nutrient in the exact same form yet their bodies may absorb and use different quantities of that nutrient. There are a multitude of factors that influence individual absorption. In the case of vitamin B-12, if a person lacks intrinsic factor, a protein in the gut that helps the body absorb and use vitamin B-12, the vitamin will simply pass right through. Other factors that affect bioavailability include…

Digestive Disorders

Because bioavailability is heavily dependent upon the digestive process, a digestive system operating at less than optimal efficiency may not be, and probably isn’t, able to fully absorb and use all the nutrients it encounters. Nutrients in food may be absorbed at a rate as low as 20% or as high as 98%.[12] Crohn’s, IBS, and other inflammatory bowel conditions can severely impact the body’s ability to capture nutrients.

Age

Age is among the most influential factors that affect bioavailability.[13] Unfortunately, at least half of the children worldwide age 6 months to 5 years suffer from micronutrient deficiencies.[14] Without the right micronutrients in the right amounts, development can be affected and early infancy (0-6 months) and childhood (6-24 months) are two of the most critical periods of development. It’s one more reason to encourage breastfeeding; human breast milk is naturally rich in bioavailable nutrients.[15]

Supportive Nutrients

Some nutrients, when consumed together, support each other’s bioavailability. For example, calcium is best absorbed when it’s consumed alongside magnesium. Consumingvitamin C with plant-based, iron-rich food enhances the bioavailability of iron. This is why a varied, balanced diet is so beneficial; a variety of foods equates to a diverse selection of micronutrients that support and enhance each other.[16]

Orotates, which are highly bioavailable natural salts, were described in the 1970s by German researcher Hans Nieper. He recognized orotates as a component of a natural system of electrolyte carriers responsible for distributing minerals throughout the body.[17]Binding dietary minerals such as magnesium, zinc, potassium, lithium, and calcium to orotic acid can improve their bioavailability.[18]

Conversely, some micronutrient combinations interfere with each other. Tannins, which are polyphenols present in tea and wine, reduce the absorption of iron.[19] Found in nuts and seeds, phytic acid is an antinutrient that binds to nutrients and blocks absorption.

Why Is Bioavailability Important?

Bioavailability has an especially big impact on cellular metabolism. Your body has an incalculable number of cells and each of those cells is a living, breathing, functional organism with a metabolism and a purpose. Red blood cells have a different function than lung cells, which have a different function than brain cells. What all those cells have in common, however, is that they need the right nutrients in order to do their job.

Real Nutrition vs. Synthetic Nutrients

Whole, real, organic food is the best source of nutrition. A properly balanced diet should provide all the macronutrients and micronutrients the body requires. It sounds simple but it will require planning and won’t happen by accident. Sometimes, life gets in the way and rigorous adherence to a balanced diet isn’t completely achievable at all times. While they’re not a replacement for food, nutritional supplements can help fill the gap between the nutrients you consume and the nutrients your body needs.

The best nutritional supplements offer plant-sourced nutrients. There is a difference between the vitamins and minerals naturally found in an orange, and the vitamins and minerals synthetically produced in a lab and used to fortify cereal. I only recommend organic, food-sourced supplements made in the United States by reputable brands who are transparent about their methods and adhere to the highest industry standards.

The Secret To Health

To learn more about cultivating a clean, healthy body, check out The Secret to Health. Recorded live in Houston, it’s my seminar that teaches the importance of complete nutrition and how regularly cleansing your body can help you get the most nutritional value from your food.

Ketogenic Fast for Rapid Weight Loss

Maintaining a healthy body weight is one of the best ways to support your overall health. Excess body fat increases your susceptibility to serious conditions like type II diabetes, high blood pressure, stroke, heart disease, sleep apnea, fatty liver, cancer, and joint problems.[1] Many fat-loss fads, diets, and pills come and go, and very few yield lasting results. Adopting a ketogenic diet is one strategy for losing fat that’s tried, tested, and proven effective.

Knowing this, I began my research into improving the typical ketogenic diet. People who are familiar with my work know that I’m always trying new cleanses, detox programs, and diet plans in my ongoing quest to discover new ways to improve my health. I kept coming across the many benefits of fasting, and I thought, “Why not combine principles of fasting with the best elements of a ketogenic diet and enjoy the best of both?”

What Is a Ketogenic Diet?

A ketogenic diet is a diet that provides fat and protein, but few or no carbohydrates. The body prefers glucose and glycogen, both derived from carbohydrates, as its primary source of fuel and it generally operates in a sugar-burning state known as glycolysis. Depriving the body of carbohydrates, however, forces it to use stored fat for energy. This special fat-burning mode, known as ketosis, quickly burns through fat reserves. It takes about 24-36 hours to completely burn through the glycogen stored in the muscles and liver. The catch? The body tells the brain to refuel on carbohydrates when blood sugar dips. In other words, your appetite kicks in and you feel hungry. This physiological response makes it a challenge for many people to adhere to a ketogenic diet long enough to enter ketosis.

What Is Fasting?

Fasting means avoiding food for longer stretches of time than usual, generally 12 or more hours. You may do this inadvertently if you ever skip breakfast or can’t fit lunch into your schedule. Fasting may support a healthy metabolism, encourage stable blood sugar, promote normal blood sugar, and offer other benefits for overall wellness.[2] There are many ways to fast. True, or absolute, fasting means completely abstaining from eating and drinking for a set period. Water or juice fasting allows for the consumption of certain fluids during the fast. Some people have the misconception that fasting is total starvation, but fasting is not starving—it’s simply committing to eating in accordance with a more regimented schedule.

Dr. Group’s Ketogenic Fast: The Best of Both

Both fasting and following a ketogenic diet prompt the breakdown of fat and encourage thebody to detoxify itself. Many of the worst toxins are stored in fat cells. When the body burns through fat reserves, toxins are released and expelled. And, not only does a ketogenic fast encourage the body to enter fat-burning mode, it discourages the body from storing new fat. This understanding prompted me to combine principles of fasting with a ketogenic diet to develop my 5-day, vegan ketogenic fast.

Many ketogenic diets advocate the consumption of animal-based fat and protein. But, that sort of diet increases your risk of kidney stones, cancer, and cardiovascular disease.[3, 4]Conversely, a low-carb, plant-based diet is incredibly beneficial for overall health and wellness.[2] I constructed this ketogenic diet to be vegan and based it around nuts and fatty fruits like olives, coconut, and avocados—all of which provide fatty acids, fiber, micronutrients, and phytonutrients.

A ketogenic diet can boost overall wellness. Studies have found that people who follow a ketogenic diet experience better, more stable moods.[5] Some individuals report feeling profoundly happy, peaceful, and at ease.[6] There’s also evidence to suggest that fasting promotes good physical health at the cellular level.[7, 8]

Can Turmeric Support Gut Health?

The innumerable health benefits of turmeric may seem like a recent discovery, but it has a long history in the Ayurvedic tradition, especially for digestive and gut health. In fact, this brilliant gold spice has been appreciated in India for over four thousand years. When used in conjunction with other bioactive herbs, turmeric encourages normal digestion and regulates digestive hormones, bile, and gastric acid.[1, 2]

Traditional Therapeutic Uses of Turmeric

Many of the recent headlines pertaining to turmeric focus on its effects on inflammation and cancer. However, in India and other South Asian countries, there is a well-established history of using turmeric for a wide range of traditional remedies. In Nepal, powdered turmeric root is applied to bruises, wounds, swollen joints, and sprains. Indian folk medicine prescribes turmeric for respiratory and liver health, and to stimulate appetite.[3]The benefits of turmeric are largely owed to a powerful class of antioxidants called curcuminoids, collectively referred to as curcumin, and turmeric is the only source.

Effects of Turmeric on the Gut and Digestive System

The idea of gut health might bring to mind images of probiotic supplements or fermented foods. Those are applicable but there are a lot of different ways to promote gut health, and it seems that consuming turmeric is one of them. The clinically established benefits of turmeric extend throughout the body, and it has specific actions that support gut and digestive health.

Turmeric and the Intestines

Curcumin supports digestion by relaxing the smooth muscles of the digestive tract and gently pushing digested food through the intestines. It also discourages gas and bloating.[3]

Turmeric and the Colon

A healthy, well-balanced colon is essential to gut health, digestive tract comfort, and the growth of beneficial bacteria. Curcumin facilitates balance between the microbiota and the immune response in the colon.[4]

Curcumin encourages the colonic crypts—glands on the inner surface of the colon—to regenerate and heal.[4] This can be especially beneficial when leaky gut or hostile organism overgrowth are present.

Curcumin suppresses EGR-1, a protein that may allow damaged DNA to get coded. In other words, curcumin acts as the quality control agent and ensures that cells replicate proteins properly.[5] Further, curcumin drives apoptosis—the body’s natural method of recycling old, worn out cells.[4]

Turmeric and the Stomach

Turmeric offers a multi-tiered approach to protecting the integrity of the stomach lining. First, turmeric inhibits enzymes that compromise stomach health.[6] It also boosts the secretion of stomach mucous—the primary defense against damage from gastric acid and other irritants.[4]

It’s also worth mentioning that, in animal models, curcumin disrupts the growth of harmful organisms and eradicates them from the body while helping to repair the stomach lining.[2]

Turmeric and the Liver

In the liver, turmeric helps increase cholesterol elimination by boosting bile production.[6]There are a number of ways to encourage normal cholesterol levels and consuming foods that help your body use its cholesterol stores is one of them. Combining regular turmeric consumption with fiber-rich meals even more effectively cleanses your system of cholesterol by trapping and ushering it to the colon for elimination.[7]

Curcumin also protects liver cells from damage caused by toxins such as peroxide, galactosamine, tobacco smoke, and household chemicals.[3]

Turmeric, Digestive Wellness, and Gut Health

Turmeric’s therapeutic value makes it a natural choice for supporting gut and digestive health. There’s no shortage of scientific evidence supporting the link between a healthy gut, a robust microbiome, and overall well-being.

This connection inspired us to combine our best gut health supplements into one comprehensive kit—the Gut Health Kit™. It’s your ticket to complete gut health in just 30 days. The Gut Health Kit will cleanse, balance, and support your gut, and strengthen your microbiota. Optionally, you can add Global Healing Center’s Liquid Turmeric Extract to the kit for an extra, digestive-health boost.