You may have seen last week’s highly publicized study targeting fish and fish oil as a cause of increased prostate cancer. Published in the online edition of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, the authors state that EPA, DPA and DHA (the fatty acids derived from fatty fish and fish-oil supplements) are associated with a 71 percent increased risk of high-grade prostate cancer, a 44 percent increase in the risk of low-grade prostate cancer, and an overall 43 percent increase in risk for all prostate cancers. These figures are enough to scare any man away from eating even one more salmon dinner.
Thoughts on Healthy Aging
This may seem to be a radical stance, but I believe it is mistake to think that illness and disease are an inevitable part of the normal aging process. Although we may think of aging in relation to outward appearance, the way we look reflects only certain aspects of age, some of which are superficial–such as gray hair and laugh lines. How we think and feel inwardly–including our energy and zest for life–and the way our brain, bones, digestion, immune system, and the rest of our body functions is a much more accurate indication of our aging status.
Recipe: Jen’s Peach Buckle
This healthy fruit dessert is a favorite in our home. Bursting with naturally sweet peaches, there’s little sweetener required—just a touch of pure maple syrup is all that’s needed.
The cake-like bottom layer is made with a combination of gluten-free grains, and tangy buttermilk makes it tender and light. A crumbly layer of shredded coconut and rolled oats creates a slightly sweet and crunchy topping. Just before serving the warm cake, I drizzle lightly sweetened heavy cream over each portion. Because I’m always looking for ways to boost the nutrient profile of recipes, I add a bit of powdered whey to the cream to provide immune enhancing nutrients.
Can You Trust Your Herbal Products?
Over the past several decades, the demand for medicinal herbal products has grown by leaps and bounds—as a result, the marketplace is flooded with thousands of herbal offerings, with more appearing every day. Not too long ago, if you wanted herbs, you pretty much had to grow or wild craft them yourself. But today, herbs and herbal formulations are dispensed by holistic healthcare providers, or can be self-prescribed by perusing the offerings at health food stores, pharmacies, “big box” stores, or on-line. Even the local gas station convenience store carries an assortment of caffeine-laced herbal energy drinks. The positive side of the flourishing herbal products industry is that people are recognizing the healing potential of medicinal plants, and are seeking an alternative to pharmaceutical drugs. At the same time, I have significant questions and concerns that I believe need to be addressed.
St. John’s Wort: An Ally Against Cancer
With the warm days of summer approaching, I begin to look for the sunny beauty of the humble little flowering plant, St. John’s wort (Hypericum perforatum). Called St. John’s wort because it blooms around the feast day of John the Baptist (June 24th), the plant grows prolifically in southern Oregon, particularly along roadsides and in meadows. The bright yellow five-petaled flower resembles a halo; when pressed, the flowers release a crimson liquid that symbolized to early Christians the spilled blood of their beloved St. John.
Improve Your Health With Black Pepper
Although it’s often said, “You are what you eat,” it’s more accurate to say, “You are what you absorb.” You may be eating a perfect diet and taking handfuls of supplements, but if you aren’t absorbing what you’re consuming, your body won’t have the raw materials needed for energy, maintenance, and repair. Without proper absorption and assimilation of nutrients, health problems inevitably arise.
One of my favorite botanicals for improving digestion and absorption is black pepper (Piper nigrum), which is the dried fruit of a flowering tropical vine. I find it interesting that black pepper plays such a prominent role in our cuisine, and that so many of us enjoy grinding fresh black pepper onto our food at the table. Along with adding flavor to our plate, we’re taking advantage (perhaps intuitively) of the health promoting benefits of this ancient spice, which include the ability to enhance the absorption of many of the medicinal nutrients in food. Although black pepper is well established in Western cuisine, the use of the spice originates in south India, where it has been appreciated for thousands of years not only for its culinary appeal, but also for its myriad health benefits.