Why Juicing Works: A Cardiologist Explains by Dr. Joel Kahn

GreenSmoothie

Click on image to visit Dr. Kahn’s website.

Tonight my head is spinning like a centrifugal juicer after attending a lecture by Joe Cross, star of the documentary Fat Sick and Nearly Dead. The movie, which chronicles one man’s journey to health through juicing, moved me a few years ago to purchase my first juicer. It began what is now a regular practice of making fresh green juice several times a week and purchasing fresh cold pressed juice around town regularly.

Joe’s presentation on both using juicing as a method to “reboot” a sick body and mind and also as a supplement to an overall plant-based, whole foods diet was inspiring and medically very accurate. But why is it that juicing is an effective means of redirecting one’s health—whether the goal is vitality, weight loss, or even disease reversal?

Cells in the body require nutrients (i.e. vitamins and minerals) to function optimally. Many of these are referred to as micronutrients, to distinguish them from the macronutrient classes of fats, carbohydrates and proteins. When cells receive adequate micronutrients, you feel energized and full. On the other hand, many foods provide calories from macronutrients, but are devoid of the essential micronutrients cells crave. These are calorie-dense, nutrition-poor foods and this characterizes most processed foods.

Let’s look at a few more reasons why vegetables, legumes, seeds, and nuts are so powerful. They provide:

1. Fiber.

This is the indigestible portion of plants. Diets high in fiber are associated with lower risks of heart disease, colon cancer, diabetes, and obesity. In the Nurses Health Study, one of the longest-running studies of women’s health, women who ate more fiber were more likely to live longer. There is fiber in broccoli, beans and other members of the vegetable and fruit families, but none will be found in bagels, burgers and almost all other processed foods.

2. Phytonutrients.

These are a family of chemicals found only in plants that often give the color to v vegetables but also confer many health benefits. Many of these plant-based chemicals are anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer, such as the sulforphane found in broccoli. There are perhaps 10,000 of these health-promoting chemicals in the edible plant world. (You’ll never find phytonutrients in a bagel.)

3. Antioxidants.

Many chemicals found in plants confer a resistance to the damage that can occur to the human body from oxygen and the process of metabolism. Just as rust can destroy metal, oxidation can lead to diseased arteries or brain cells, and contributes to diabetes and other conditions. Within plants are chemicals such as carotenoids, polyphenols, and flavonoids that are natural antioxidants.

4. Omega-3 fatty acids.

These essential fatty acids, including DHA and EPA, are taken into cell membranes and used for the internal workings and repair of cells throughout the body. While seafood can provide Omega-3 fatty acids, they’re typically absent from other animal products. Flaxseeds, chia seeds, walnuts, hemp seeds, algae and soy are some of the plant-based foods rich in this nutrient class.

So …. how does this get us back to Joe Cross and juicing?

The USDA recommends five or more servings of vegetables and fruits daily while Canadian authorities set the bar higher, saying 10 servings a day is optimal.

In order to consistently ingest this large amount of plant-based material, we need to do some planning.

Some ideas to get your greens: preparing large salads, adding greens in soups, and blending smoothies with berries and greens for a power breakfast or a snack. Juicing is just one more tool you can use to build a plant-based nutrition program rich in phytochemicals, and it can make it easier to reach your goal of 5 to 10 servings a day of vegetables.

As Joe Cross said, “If you let people in white lab coats design your food, you’ll see people in white coats to treat your disease.”

Happy juicing!

DrJoelKahn

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

About the Author: Dr. Joel Kahn

Dr. Kahn is a Clinical Professor of Medicine at Wayne State University School of Medicine and Medical Director of Preventive Cardiology at the Detroit Medical Center. He is a graduate Summa Cum Laude of the University of Michigan School of Medicine. He lectures widely on the cardiac benefits of vegan nutrition and mind body practices.

Soul Food is Health-Friendly

soul food

 

The old way of cooking soul food resulted in health problems for many African Americans, like high blood pressure, obesity and diabetes. Dishes are being prepared very differently these days because of all the negative health consequences of the old methods. Advanced cooking methods and healthier ingredients are being used now to make dishes that are lighter and leaner.

This is not the same as your grandmothers soul food, which was full of unhealthy animal fat. This newer approach attempts to maintain the hearty flavors and satisfying textures produced by the older methods. What you want is to make the great classic dishes without harming your health.
For one thing, modern soul food meals don’t include the classic, artery-clogging fatback. Fatback is the name for the fatty layer along a pig’s back.The old style of cooking called for fatback to be added when making black-eyed peas, greens, and other vegetables.

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Many recent articles offer suggestions for eco-friendly date ideas and are sure to be helpful. One of the suggestions is to cook an organic meal. Cooking an organic meal with a significant other is a great way to be eco-friendly and get to know each other. Another great way to be eco-friendly and experience a green date is to go to organic and vegan restaurants. Here is a list of some restaurants that specialize in organic and vegan dishes.You can use the healthier smoked turkey necks for flavoring Southern meals, rather than the traditional fatback. Smoked turkey necks frequently have only 10% of the fat that the more commonly used fatback has.

Another difference in soul food recipes nowadays is the notable decrease in sodium. Instead of using salt as a main flavoring agent, which contributes to blood pressure problems, other spices are used. You can add plenty of flavor by using hot or savory spices like gumbo file, cayenne, onion powder and garlic.
A big revision in the way soul food is prepared today is the total absence of lard, the animal fat that was formerly used. Oils that are less heavy are more in demand among cooks these days. Like oil made from olives, peanuts, rapeseed or other vegetables.

An increasingly common difference in soul food dishes has come about due to their altered preparation techniques. Healthier techniques and methods of cooking are replacing the old tradition of deep frying food in lots of fat. People who are concerned about their health are now opting to braise, oven roast, bake, and broil rather than deep fry. Deep-frying is known to be more harmful to your health than these approaches.

Pork products are gradually decreasing in popularity as soul food staples as time goes by. Pork products have long been considered a significant causative factor for the higher rate of high blood pressure among African-Americans. Increasingly, dishes are based on chicken, fish and vegetables which are better for everyone’s health.
Given all the changes in soul food for the better, even Grandma would approve. Grandma’s tradition of just plain good food being served at family celebrations is kept going. But people who shift to this modern brand of Southern cooking will be healthier, and will be around to enjoy it longer.