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Are Your Telomeres In Trouble?

By: Dr. Al Sears, MDGreens

Living in the 21st century affords you many luxuries. High-speed computers… cell phones… air conditioning and LCD TVs. But the chemicals and industrial solvents that make them possible are poisonous. We’re now floating in a sea of space-age, lab-created, synthetic molecules. And they’re flowing through your blood as you read this letter.

They’re a part of life today, and we now have a new way of measuring their effect.

One of the things that happened is the environment is causing your telomeres to shorten.

Let me give you the example of the number-one risk factor for heart disease – high homocysteine levels.(1)

High homocysteine is a way to measure the inflammation that’s going on inside your body that’s being caused by all these foreign substances. High homocysteine then does more damage by blocking blood flow across your body and damaging the lining of your arteries.

And most doctors know nothing about another damaging effect of high homocysteine. It shortens your telomeres.

High homocysteine in your blood can triple the speed at which your telomeres shorten.(2)

One of the reasons homocysteine has such a damaging effect on these tiny tips to your DNA is that homocysteine cuts off telomerase.

Telomerase is the enzyme your body uses to rebuild the telomere. So the environment is giving you a double whammy. First homocysteine shortens telomeres, then it cuts off the enzyme your body uses to repair the damage.

Short telomeres are so prevalent in people with heart disease that having critically short telomeres is now an independent risk factor for heart disease.(3)

In a study published in the prestigious journal The Lancet, researchers found an association between short telomeres and atherosclerosis.(4) The people with short telomeres had accelerated aging of their blood vessels and had a buildup of plaque that correlated to arteries that acted 8.6 years older.

This increased risk extends into the very fiber of your heart muscle. In a study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, researchers discovered that people with heart failure had telomeres that were 40% shorter than normal.(5)

High homocysteine can cause strokes and heart attacks as well.(6)

One way to know if you’re at risk is by getting your homocysteine checked with a simple blood test from your doctor. I personally like to keep my patients’ levels at 7 or below.

The natural way to help keep your homocysteine in check and protect yourself from heart disease is to ramp up your levels of vitamin B.

Vitamins B6, B9 (also known as folic acid or folate) and B12 all help to convert homocysteine into methionine, the good guy. B9 also restores the action of telomerase, counteracting the worst effect of homocysteine.(7)

Methionine is one of the building blocks of protein. And without enough levels of B vitamins in your system, your body can’t convert homocysteine to methionine efficiently. This can lead to an overload of homocysteine racing through your blood.

To boost your B vitamins, here’s what I recommend:

Vitamin Food Source Supplement
B6 Chicken, fish, kidney, liver, eggs, bananas, lima beans, walnuts 25 mg
B9 (folic acid) Beef, lamb, pork, chicken liver, eggs, green leafy vegetables, salmon 800 mcg
B12 Lamb, beef, herring, mackerel, liver, oysters, poultry, clams, eggs 500 mcg
B2 (riboflavin) Liver, nuts, dairy, eggs, seafood, dark leafy greens 25 mg


Another way to turn homocysteine into methionine is with choline.

You may remember I’ve written to you about choline as a brain booster. But choline is also essential in the process that breaks down homocysteine into helpful amino acids like methionine.

Studies show that the more choline you have, the lower your homocysteine will be.(8) In one study, people who took in the most choline had almost 10% lower homocysteine.(9)

The best way to get more choline is to eat one of the “taboo” foods modern nutritionists tell you to stay away from – animal meat and eggs. You can also find smaller amounts of choline in cod, cauliflower, avocados, and bananas.

To supplement, look for choline citrate. In my view, it’s the best way to get high levels of choline, and there are no side effects. You need at least 425 mg of choline a day as a woman; 550 mg if you’re a man.

To Your Good Health,
Al Sears, MD

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Resources:
1. Levy D, Hwang S, et. al. “Associations of plasma natriuretic peptide, adrenomedullin, and homocysteine levels with alterations in arterial stiffness: the Framingham Heart Study,” Circulation 2007; 115(24):3079-85
2. Richards J, et. al. “Homocysteine levels and leukocyte telomere length.” Atherosclerosis. 2008;200(2):271-7.
3. Zhang W, Hui R, Yang S. “Telomeres, cardiovascular aging, and potential intervention for cellular senescence.” Sci China Life Sci. 2014;57(8):858-62.
4. Samani NJ, et al. “Telomere shortening in atherosclerosis.” Lancet. 2001;358(9280):472-3.
5. van der Harst P, et al. “Telomere length of circulating leukocytes is decreased in patients with chronic heart failure.” J Am Coll Cardiol. 2007; 49(13):1459-64.
6. McCarty M, Thomas C. “The Vascular Toxicity of Homocysteine and How to Control It.” Linus Pauling Inst. lpi.oregonstate.edu. Retrieved Nov 6, 2014.
7. Zhang D, Wen X, Wu W, Xu E, Zhang Y, Cui W. “Homocysteine-related hTERT DNA demethylation contributes to shortened leukocyte telomere length in atherosclerosis.” Atherosclerosis. 2013;231(1):1739.
8. Imbard A, et. al. “Plasma choline and betaine correlate with serum folate, plasma S-adenosyl-methionine and S-adenosyl-homocysteine in healthy volunteers.” Clin Chem Lab Med. 2013;51(3):683-92.
9.Lee J, Jacques P, Dougherty L, Selhub J, Giovannucci E, Zeisel S, Cho E. “Are dietary choline and betaine intakes determinants of total homocysteine concentration?” Am J Clin Nutr. 2010;91(5):1303-10.

Zinc Deficiency: An Epidemic?

By: Kelley Herring, Healing GourmetShrimp

When you think of the health benefits of zinc, you probably think of immune health first. Zinc supplements are the first thing many of us turn to when we feel a cold or flu coming on. And for good reason, because zinc is essential for a well-functioning immune system. But the benefits of this vital mineral go far beyond helping to ward off the common cold.

In fact, zinc is vital to your brain – for learning and consolidating memories and helping to regulate your mood. It has also been found to boost heart health, reduce the risk of diabetes and cancer, support the gastrointestinal system and reduce leaky gut, enhance athletic performance and even support hormonal health and fertility.

Unfortunately, most people don’t get enough of this crucial nutrient. According to the World Health Organization one-third of the world’s population – over 2 billion people – are deficient in zinc.

And while it is estimated that only 1 in 10 Americans are technically considered “zinc deficient,” a much higher percentage are still grossly insufficient.

And one of the primary causes is a grain-rich diet.

Zinc Binders in Grains Promote Deficiency

Despite scientific evidence to the contrary, the USDA still recommends grain-based foods as the foundation of a healthy diet. Unfortunately, as it relates to zinc, a grain-based diet is rich in copper, lignans and phytates – three compounds that can dramatically reduce the bioavailability and absorption of zinc.

And while many grain-based foods are fortified with zinc to improve their nutritional profile (on paper), research shows that zinc-fortified foods do not necessarily increase serum concentrations of zinc in the body.

What’s more, the forms of zinc that are most often used for fortification – including zinc oxide and zinc sulfate – are inorganic forms of the mineral, which are poorly absorbed.

But that’s not all… lifestyle factors and your own health status can also play a role in the levels of zinc in your body.

Are You Living a Zinc Deficient Lifestyle?

Excess consumption of sugar, alcohol, caffeine, and other competing minerals (including calcium, iron and copper) can all reduce zinc levels or increase your body’s requirement of it. Stress, infections, low stomach acid and certain medications can do the same thing.

Pregnant and nursing mothers should also be especially vigilant about zinc levels, as deficiencies are commonly associated with the bodily changes that come with pregnancy. And this is critical, because zinc deficiencies during pregnancy and lactation have been linked to miscarriage, low birth weight, and developmental problems in children.

And if you are vegetarian (or worse, vegan), your risk of a zinc deficiency is increased dramatically. That’s because about 44% of the zinc in the American diet comes from meat, fish and poultry. Even well-planned vegetarian diets fall short on zinc, according to research performed at the Agricultural Research Service (ARS). The ARS study also showed that 21 percent less zinc was absorbed from a vegetarian diet compared to an omnivorous one.

Add this decreased absorption to the lower zinc content of a vegetarian diet and you have a prescription for deficiency.

So How Much Zinc is Enough?

The recommended daily allowance (RDA) for zinc is currently 8-11 mg. However, like most RDA values, nutritional experts believe this is only a minimum acceptable level, at best.

In fact, studies show that our Paleolithic ancestors consumed an average of 43 mg of zinc per day from grain-free, legume-free, whole-food sources – the most bioavailable forms.

Today, modern Americans consume roughly 10 mg daily. But remember – it’s what you absorb that matters. If only 15 to 35 percent of the zinc you consume is absorbed (which is common) then you are likely deficient.  

With all of the factors that influence zinc metabolism, and the highly processed diets that most people consume, it’s easy to see how a deficiency in this critical nutrient has become epidemic.

And though it doesn’t get the press it deserves, you can be sure that this has negatively impacted the health and quality of life of millions. The authors of a review on zinc and human health, published in the Archives of Toxicology state:

“Zinc is an essential element whose significance to health is increasingly appreciated and whose deficiency may play an important role in the appearance of diseases.”

Symptoms of Zinc Deficiency

One reason why this epidemic goes unnoticed is because the symptoms of zinc deficiency are diverse and can be attributed to numerous other factors. These symptoms can include:
 
•    Acne
•    Anxiety
•    Asthma
•    Behavior Changes
•    Chronic Diarrhea
•    Dandruff
•    Delayed Wound Healing
•    Depression
•    Diarrhea
•    Fatigue
•    Frequent Infection
•    Hair Loss
•    Headaches
•    Impaired Memory
•    Joint Pain
•    Learning Disabilities
•    Loss Of Appetite And Taste Perception
•    Sensitive Skin
•    Severe PMS
•    Skin And Respiratory Allergy
•    Slowed Sexual Maturation
•    Unhealthy Weight Loss Caused By Loss Of Appetite
•    Vision Problems
•    White Spots In The Fingernails
 
The Most Absorbable Food Sources of Zinc

The best sources of zinc are the same foods our ancestors enjoyed including, grass-fed meats, wild seafood, and pastured poultry.

Food Serving Mg of Zinc
Oysters 3 oz 154 mg
Beef Liver 3 oz 4.5 mg
Beef 4 oz 4 mg
Lamb 4 oz 3.9 mg
Lobster 3 oz 3.4 mg
Pork 3 oz 2.9 mg
Duck Liver 3 oz 2.7 mg
Chicken 3 oz 2.4 mg
Chicken Liver 3 oz 2.1 mg
Turkey 4 oz 2 mg
Shrimp 4 oz 1.9 mg
Scallops 4 oz 1.8 mg

In addition to these foods being high in zinc (and devoid of zinc-binding substances that reduce its absorption), they are also rich in a compound known to boost zinc absorption: Protein!

Another effective way to increase zinc absorption? Add a grass-fed whey protein shake to your meals.  Whey protein is rich in cysteine and methionine – two amino acids that enhance zinc absorption.

You can also include zinc-rich nuts and seeds including pumpkin seeds (1 oz, 3 mg), cashews (1 oz, 1.6 mg), and almonds (1 oz, 0.9 mg) to boost your intake. But be sure to soak them to reduce the phytates that make zinc inaccessible to the body. (Better Than Roasted does the work for you… and they taste great!)

Because zinc supplementation can interfere with other important nutrients in the body, and most zinc supplements are poorly absorbed, it’s best to rely on getting this important nutrient from the whole food sources listed above.

And if you think you may have a zinc deficiency, simple and inexpensive tests are widely available. Often correcting low stomach acid with betaine HCL can dramatically increase the absorption of zinc and other nutrients you get from your food – no synthetic supplements required. As always, talk with your doctor.


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ED NOTE:  Kelley Herring is author of more than a dozen books on nutrition and natural healing. She is also the co-founder of Wellness Bakeries, which has just released their newest product – Better Bread – a 100% Paleo bread mix you can whip up in 5 minutes flat.

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References
1.    Michael Hambidge. Human Zinc Deficiency J. Nutr. May 1, 2000 vol. 130 no. 5 1344S-1349S
2.    Sturniolo GC1, Di Leo V, Ferronato A, D'Odorico A, D'Incà R. Zinc supplementation tightens "leaky gut" in Crohn's disease. Inflamm Bowel Dis. 2001 May;7(2):94-8.
3.    Zinc: Dietary Supplement Facts by CDC
4.    Chasapis CT, Loutsidou AC, Spiliopoulou CA, Stefanidou ME. Zinc and human health: an update. Arch Toxicol. 2012 Apr;86(4):521-34. doi: 10.1007/s00204-011-0775-1. Epub 2011 Nov 10.
5.    Prasad AS. Discovery of human zinc deficiency: 50 years later. J Trace Elem Med Biol. 2012 Jun;26(2-3):66-9.
6.    Hess SY1, Brown KH. Impact of zinc fortification on zinc nutrition. Food Nutr Bull. 2009 Mar;30(1 Suppl):S79-107.
7.    Brown KH1, Wessells KR, Hess SY. Zinc bioavailability from zinc-fortified foods. Int J Vitam Nutr Res. 2007 May;77(3):174-81.
8.    "Vegetarians, Watch Your Zinc!”. March 1998 , Agricultural Research magazine.
9.    Eaton SB, Eaton SB 3rd. Paleolithic vs. modern diets—selected pathophysiological implications. Eur J Nutr. 2000 Apr;39(2):67-70.
10.    Cordain L. The Nutritional Characteristics of a Contemporary Diet Based Upon Paleolithic Food Groups. JANA. 2002;5(3):15-24.
11.    Cordain L, Brand Miller J, Eaton SB, Mann N, Holt SHA, Speth JD. Plant to animal subsistence ratios and macronutrient energy estimations in worldwide hunter-gatherer diets. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2000, 71:682-92.
12.    King JC. Does zinc absorption reflect zinc status? Int J Vitam Nutr Res. 2010 Oct;80(4-5):300-6.
13.    Food and Nutrition Board, Institute of Medicine. Zinc. Dietary reference intakes for vitamin A, vitamin K, arsenic, boron, chromium, copper, iodine, iron, manganese, molybdenum, nickel, silicon, vanadium, and zinc. Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press; 2001:442-501.
14.    Prasad AS. Zinc deficiency in humans: a neglected problem. J Am Coll Nutr. 1998;17(6):542-543.
15.    Wapnir RA, Stiel L. Zinc intestinal absorption in rats: specificity of amino acids as ligands. The Journal of Nutrition [1986, 116(11):2171-2179]
16.    Kassarjian, Z., Russell, R. Hypochlorhydria: A Factor in Nutrition. Annual Reviews of Nutrition. 1989. 9, 271-285.
17.    Nutrient data for this listing was provided by USDA SR-21

The #1 Kitchen Tool You Need to Save Time and Money this Holiday Season

By: Kelley Herring, Healing GourmetCrockPot

With the holidays upon us, there are two things that most of us could use a lot more of: time and money. Today, I’ll show you how to save both time and money… and still eat like a king.

Unfortunately, many people think that eating right requires an array of chef skills, a big budget and spending hours upon hours in the kitchen. But nothing could be further from the truth.

In fact, with the help of one simple and inexpensive tool, you can feed your family the healthiest foods that money can buy. And you can prepare them in the time it takes to order takeout… for about the same price per serving.

All you need is a slow cooker!

The Easy, Old-Fashioned Way to Be a Great Cook

Slow cookers reached their peak popularity when they were introduced in the 1970s. Nearly every house in the suburbs had a Crock-Pot on the countertop. Over the years, this healthy and super-simple way of cooking became passé.

Thankfully, the versatile slow cooker has made a resurgence in recent years. And for good reason!

With little more than a few cups of liquid or sliced veggies, a sprinkle of seasoning or a pour of sauce, a slow cooker can turn even the toughest cuts of meat into buttery, fork-tender morsels.

Best of all, the slow cooker provides unparalleled convenience. Simply add your ingredients, turn the dial to low and come home to a moist, flavorful, nutrient-rich meal ready to dish up for your family.

Elegant, Fuss-Free Party Fare

And if you’re planning holiday parties this season – don’t overlook the many benefits a slow cooker can provide…

Not only will it free up your oven and stove top for other uses, but using the slow cooker almost guarantees a succulent, fuss-free meal that will take center stage at your table.

From beef and bison… to pork, lamb, chicken (and even seafood!), there’s no limit to the festive and delicious dishes you can create. Here are some of the best cuts of meat (and a few recipe ideas) for your slow cooker:
 
•    Lamb Shoulder: The rich flavor of lamb is perfect for the low, moist heat in a slow cooker. Add fresh sprigs of rosemary, lemon slices and juice, and chopped garlic for a Mediterranean-inspired meal with just five minutes of prep time.

•    Grass-Fed Beef & Bison Roasts: Make succulent fork-tender beef recipes like Slow Cooker Pot Roast, Slow Cooker Beef Bourguignon, hearty brisket and spiced corned beef, and simple shredded beef for Paleo French Dip Sandwiches with budget-friendly roasts.

•    Grass-Fed Ground Beef: From a delicious Italian meal of Slow Cooker Bolognese with spaghetti squash, to German Meatballs and Cuban Picadillo, the slow cooker will make all of your favorite ground beef recipes simpler… and more delicious.

•    Gourmet Pork Shoulder & Sirloin: From traditional pork barbeque to Slow Cooker Tuscan Pork Loin Roast and Carnitas, all of your recipes using pork shoulder and sirloin turn out moist and juicy.   

And the options don’t end there. Your favorite ribs and chicken drumsticks will be “fall-off-the-bone” tender in the slow cooker. And if you’re a seafood lover, Cioppino and Shrimp Etouffee are two you have to try!

Now that you know the many ways the slow cooker can add more flavor (and precious time!) to your life, here’s another benefit…

Better Flavor, Healthier Meals

Slow cooking actually makes your meals healthier.

That’s right. Cooking protein-rich foods at high temperatures – even for short periods of time – promotes the formation of cancer-causing heterocyclic amines (HCAs).

But cooking in a slow cooker – at or below 212 degrees Fahrenheit – creates negligible amounts of HCAs. Cooking “slow and low” also infuses your meat with wonderful flavor, a tender texture, and mouthwatering moisture.

So now that you know the many culinary options you can create, which slow cooker is the best one to choose?

Choosing the Best Slow Cooker

There are a wide array of slow cookers on the market that will suit your budget and needs. Some are more high-tech with programmable options. Others are extremely simple with simple “low” and “high” settings.

One important factor that many people overlook is the material used in the vessel. Many times it is “non-stick” and contains PFOA/PFTE. You should avoid “non-stick” slow cookers as these compounds are hormone disruptors and are linked with certain types of cancers. You should also avoid using plastic liners. They are marketed as a way to achieve a quick cleanup, but they can also leach dangerous compounds into your food.

Opt for a slow-cooker with a ceramic vessel. This will keep your food free from harmful plastic and non-stick chemicals, while still ensuring a speedy cleanup.  

Another important factor is size. The vessel should be at least two-thirds full during cooking. If it isn’t, the meat will cook too rapidly and the results can be dry and overdone. Consider how many people you typically cook for when purchasing a slow cooker.

Finally, here are a few tips for making all of your slow cooker meals turn out perfectly:

•    Brown First, But Only Sometimes: Browning whole cuts of meat prior to adding to the slow cooker is not necessary. However, searing first in a stable fat (like beef tallow) will help the meat develop more complex flavors. For ground meat, brown prior to adding to the slow cooker. This will prevent clumping and allow the meat to absorb flavors more readily.

•    Go Easy on the Liquids: If you want to try your hand at a slow-cooker version of your favorite stovetop recipe, you will need to reduce the liquid. Slow cookers work by maintaining moisture inside of the sealed vessel, so any extra liquid will pool. A good rule of thumb when adapting your stovetop recipes is to decrease liquids by half.

•    Spice Wisely: Pungent whole spices like cloves, peppercorns, and bay leaves can overpower a dish if they are added at the beginning of the cooking time. Be sure to use them sparingly. On the other hand, ground spices, dried and fresh herbs and citrus juices tend to get “washed out” during the long cooking time. Adding these during the last two to three hours of cooking can help ensure your dish has a fresh, flavorful punch.

•    Seal It Up: If your slow cooker doesn’t seal properly, you may find your meals turn out too dry as much of the moisture can escape during cooking. Put a light coat of oil on the lid and inner rim to help ensure your slow cooker seals in the moisture.
   
•    No Peeking! While it’s tempting to peek at the mouthwatering progress inside your slow cooker, try to refrain. Each time you open the lid moisture and heat are lost and the required cooking time increases.

Bringing healthy, budget-friendly and delicious meals to the table needn’t be a chore. With a good slower cooker and your favorite cuts of grass-fed meat, poultry and sustainable seafood, you can create amazing dishes for special occasions…and every night of the week.

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ED NOTE: Kelley Herring is the Founder and Editor of Healing Gourmet the leading provider of organic, sustainable recipes and meal plans for health and weight loss. Be sure to grab Eating Clean & Saving Green: Your Guide to Organic Foods on a Budget and Eat Your Way Into Shape: Flip Your Body's Fat Blasting Switch and Melt 12 Pounds in 2 Weeks (includes a delicious 7 day meal plan!).  Claim your free copies here...

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REFERENCES

1.    Vaughn Barry, Andrea Winquist, and Kyle Steenland Perfluorooctanoic Acid (PFOA) Exposures and Incident Cancers among Adults Living Near a Chemical Plant Environ Health Perspect; DOI:10.1289/ehp.1306615
2.    Jägerstad M, Skog K. Genotoxicity of heat-processed foods. Mutation Research 2005; 574(1–2):156–172
3.    Sugimura T, Wakabayashi K, Nakagama H, Nagao M. Heterocyclic amines: Mutagens/carcinogens produced during cooking of meat and fish. Cancer Science 2004; 95(4):290–299.


This Mineral Mends Your DNA

By: Dr. Al Sears, MDDNA

Every hour of the day, your cells are under attack. Normally, this is ok because your cells have a built-in DNA repair system that fixes any damage. But when your cells are undernourished, they can lose the ability to repair themselves. And that’s bad news.

Part of the reason for the explosion of cancer in modern times is because we’re not repairing our DNA. Our bodies aren’t getting enough of the nutrients we need to make this process work.

But you can help protect yourself with a simple mineral. I’m talking about zinc.

Zinc helps prevent – and reverse – this damage to your DNA. Studies show that zinc and zinc-containing proteins are some of the most important factors in repairing DNA breaks.(1,2)

And a study by the Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University shows that supplementing with zinc reverses cell damage.(3)

Add this latest finding to zinc’s list of health benefits:

  • Heart-health booster
  • Essential to your prostate and sexual performance
  • Can prevent pneumonia and speed the recovery from colds
  • Promotes wound healing

I see patients that have dangerously low levels of zinc all the time. As many as 40 percent of older people in the U.S. are deficient.(4)

That’s a shame because it’s easy to get the zinc you need for healthy cells. Zinc is in many foods we eat. Some good food sources of zinc(5) are:

Food Source of Zinc Mg per Serving % of DV
Oysters, raw, 6 medium 33.07 300
Beef Chuck, lean, cooked, 3 oz 8.73 79
Crab, Alaska King, cooked, 3 oz 6.5 59
Lamb Shoulder, cooked, 3 oz 6.21 56
Turkey, cooked, 1 cup 4.32 39
Pork Shoulder, cooked, 3 oz 4.2 38
Unsweetened Chocolate, 1 square 2.73 24
Yogurt, plain skim milk, 8 oz 2.2 20
Cashews, dry roasted, 1 oz 1.6 14

 

Your body absorbs about 40% of the zinc in your food. But you still want to eat foods with zinc because it will enter your body in its natural form. And that means it will bring with it all the trace minerals, enzymes, and co-factors that make it work so well in nature.

How much zinc do you need every day? If you go by the U.S. government’s recommended daily intake (RDI), you would only get a tiny amount: 8 mg a day for women and 11 mg per day for men. Even the most of the popular multivitamins you can buy only have 15 mg of zinc in them.

The problem with going by the RDI is that those amounts were established to make sure people got the bare minimum of a nutrient to prevent a dietary deficiency. The RDI has nothing to do with how much of something you should get for optimum health.

At the very least, you need three times the RDI, and twice as much as the average store-bought multivitamin gives you.

I recommend 30 mg a day of zinc if you’re currently healthy. You might need a little more depending on your activities and health. For example for athletes, pregnant women and prostate protection, I recommend 100 mg a day.

Also, it’s very important to stay away from high fructose corn syrup. Ingesting a lot of this sugar causes deficiencies in almost all of your important minerals including iron, calcium, magnesium and zinc.

 

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Editors Note:  Dr. Al Sears, M.D. is a board-certified clinical nutrition specialist. His practice, Dr. Sears' Health & Wellness Center in Royal Palm Beach, Fla., specializes in alternative medicine. He is the author of seven books in the fields of alternative medicine, anti-aging, and nutritional supplementation, including The Doctor's Heart Cure. To get his free special report on the proven anti-aging strategies for building a vibrant, disease-free life, go here now. You'll learn how to stop Father Time without giving up the foods you love.

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Resources:

1. Fenton A, Shirodkar P, Macrae C, Meng L, Koch C. “The PARP3- and ATM-dependent phosphorylation of APLF facilitates DNA double-strand break repair.’ Nucleic Acids Res. 2013;41(7):4080-92.
2. Sharif R, Thomas P, Zalewski P, Fenech M. “The role of zinc in genomic stability.” Mutat Res. 2012;733(1-2):111-21.
3. Song, et. al. “Dietary zinc restriction and repletion affects DNA integrity in healthy men.” Am J Clin Nut. 2009; Vol.90, No.2, 321-328.
4. “Zinc Deficiences A Global Concern.” Oregon State University. Sept.17, 2009.
5. National Institute of Health – Dietary Supplement Fact Sheet: zinc. www.nih.gov

The Overlooked Meat You Should Be Eating More

By: Kelley Herring, Healing GourmetLamb Chops

Do you know which meat has fewer calories, more cancer-fighting CLA, more omega-3’s and less saturated fat than beef?

It’s lamb!

Unfortunately, despite the delicious flavor and amazing nutritional profile of lamb, very little of this meat is enjoyed here in the United States.

In fact, Americans eat less than one pound of lamb per person per year. Compare that with lamb-loving New Zealanders and Australians (who enjoy 57 pounds and 30 pounds per person per year, respectively) and it’s easy to see how we’re missing out on the many health benefits of lamb.

Lamb: The “Multivitamin” Meat

Like other meats, lamb is an excellent source of nutritionally complete protein, providing all eight essential amino acids in the right ratios. But protein is not all you’ll get from lamb. It’s also a veritable multivitamin when it comes to nutrition.

In fact, a four-ounce serving provides:

•    41% of the RDA for Vitamin B12  - This vitamin is essential for healthy nervous and digestive systems, for energy production, to reduce heart-harming homocysteine and more.

•    49% of the RDA for Selenium - An antioxidant micronutrient that is vital for healthy cell division and cancer protection, thyroid health and detoxification.

•    39% of the RDA for Vitamin B3 – Helps convert food into fuel (glucose), is essential for the nervous system, helps the body make hormones, and is important for healthy circulation.

•    31% of the RDA for Zinc – A mineral with an important role in immune function, as well as the synthesis of proteins and DNA in the body.

•    23 % of the RDA for Phosphorous – A mineral needed for healthy bones and teeth, as well as aiding the body in using carbohydrates and fats and making protein.  

•    15% of the RDA for Iron - A mineral that is necessary to make hemoglobin and myoglobin, the proteins in red blood cells and muscles that help transport and store oxygen.

And the nutritional benefits don’t end there.

Get the Health Benefits of Fish… by Eating Lamb?

Lamb is also a good source of omega-3’s – the healthy fats typically found in cold-water fish -  that have been shown to reduce inflammation, boost brain health and guard against cancer and heart disease (to name just a few).  

In fact, ounce-for-ounce, lamb provides roughly 50% of the omega-3’s you’ll find in tuna!

With the current concerns about the health of our oceans and the often high cost of clean-sourced fish, enjoying lamb is an economical way to fortify your diet with a safe source of healthy omega-3 fats.

And speaking of fats, here’s something else that may surprise you …

Lamb: A Mediterranean Staple with Many Health Benefits

Almost 40% of the fats in lamb come from oleic acid. This is the monounsaturated fat best known for its prevalence in the Mediterranean diet and a reduced risk of heart disease.

Lamb is also one of the best known sources of conjugated linoleic acid (CLA). This is a unique fat that is found only in the meat and milk of ruminants (ie. cows, goats, sheep). CLA has been associated with a plethora of health benefits, including improved immune function, reduced inflammation, healthy bone mass, as well as blood sugar regulation, weight loss and improved lean body mass!

Getting More Lamb in Your Diet

Lamb pairs well with Mediterranean spices and herbs including mint, basil, oregano, rosemary and thyme. It also goes well with more exotic flavors, reminiscent of Indian and Middle Eastern cuisine, including curries, cumin, coriander and allspice.

While the iconic rack of lamb makes a beautiful and delicious centerpiece for holiday gatherings or dinner parties, there are plenty of quick and delicious ways to put lamb on the table any night of the week:
 
•    Ground Lamb: Add a few simple spices to ground lamb for quick and delicious spin on traditional burgers. Or make Mediterranean meatballs infused with oregano, rosemary and thyme served over a bed of mixed greens or zucchini “noodles”.

•    Lamb Shoulder: Do you love the simplicity of set-it-and-forget it meals? Add this delicious cut of lamb to your slow cooker for a fork-tender, no-fuss dinner brimming with health benefits.

•    Leg of Lamb Steaks:  Get the taste of leg of lamb in a fraction of the time by choosing leg of lamb steaks. Marinate in a high quality olive oil, Mediterranean herbs and garlic overnight, then grill or broil for a dinner in 15 minutes flat.

And in the spirit of nose-to-tail eating and packing more nutrient-dense foods into your diet, don’t forget about the many unique culinary options lamb provides.

•    Lamb Sweetbreads: Crispy on the outside, juicy and succulent on the inside, this delicacy is a snap to prepare. Simply remove the membrane, dredge in coconut flour and fry in tallow or lard. They’re delicious served with balsamic vinegar or a squeeze of fresh lemon.

•    Lamb Liver: Exceptionally high in nutrients (including cancer-fighting choline), simply soak lamb liver in grass-fed milk, then sauté or fry in tallow or lard with onions. Not a liver lover? Puree well and pour into an ice cube tray and freeze. Include cubes of nutrient-dense lamb liver into meatloaf, meatballs, chili or meat-based “spaghetti” sauces.   

•    Lamb Tallow: Add lamb tallow to any lamb recipe for more flavor, richness and healthy fats.

With the many nutrition benefits and culinary options lamb offers, there’s no need to save it for a special occasion.

However, it is important to note that when choosing lamb, it should be grass-fed and finished to get the greatest health benefits. While vitamins and minerals may be comparable in grain-finished lamb, levels of CLA, omega-3’s and oleic acid will be up to 50% higher in grass-finished!

Stock up on grass-fed ground lamb, roasts, ribs, loins and organs for deliciously differently and versatile meals packed with nutrient and flavor.

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ED NOTE: Kelley Herring is the Founder and Editor of Healing Gourmet the leading provider of organic, sustainable recipes and meal plans for health and weight loss. Be sure to grab Eating Clean & Saving Green: Your Guide to Organic Foods on a Budget and Eat Your Way Into Shape: Flip Your Body's Fat Blasting Switch and Melt 12 Pounds in 2 Weeks (includes a delicious 7 day meal plan!).  Claim your free copies here...  

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REFERENCES

1.    Zervas G and Tsiplakou E. The effect of feeding systems on the characteristics of products from small ruminants. Small Ruminant Research, Volume 101, Issues 1—3, November 2011, Pages 140-149.

2.    G Demirelemail, J.D Wood, M Enser. Conjugated linoleic acid content of the lamb muscle and liver fed different supplements. Small Ruminant Research. Volume 53, Issues 1–2, June 2004, Pages 23–28

3.    Livestock and Meat Trade Data Lamb and mutton: Annual and cumulative year-to-date U.S. trade. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Washington, D.C.

4.    Jutzeler van Wijlen RP and Colombani PC. Grass-based ruminant production methods and human bioconversion of vaccenic acid with estimations of maximal dietary intake of conjugated linoleic acids. International Dairy Journal, Volume 20, Issue 7, July 2010, Pages 433-448.

5.    Nuernberg K, Fischer A, Nuernberg G, et al. Meat quality and fatty acid composition of lipids in muscle and fatty tissue of Skudde lambs fed grass versus concentrate. Small Ruminant Research, Volume 74, Issues 1—3, January 2008, Pages 279-283.

6.    Perlo F, Bonato P, Teira G, et al. Meat quality of lambs produced in the Mesopotamia region of Argentina finished on different diets. Meat Science, Volume 79, Issue 3, July 2008, Pages 576-581.

7.    Radunz AE, Wickersham LA, Loerch SC et al. Effects of dietary polyunsaturated fatty acid supplementation on fatty acid composition in muscle and subcutaneous adipose tissue of lambs. J Anim Sci. 2009 Dec;87(12):4082-91. Epub 2009 Aug 28. 2009.

8.    Scerra M, Caparra P, Foti F et al. Intramuscular fatty acid composition of lambs fed diets containing alternative protein sources. Meat Sci. 2011 Mar;87(3):229-33. Epub 2010 Oct 23. 2011.

9.    Serra A, Macciotta NPP,Mele M et al. Effect of weight of slaughter and feeding regimen on conjugated linoleic acid and trans fatty acid content in lamb meat: a meta-analysis approach. Italian Journal of Animal Science Year: 2010 Vol: 8 Issue: 2s Pages/record No.: 540-542. 2010.

Roast Lamb Loin with English Herbs

Lamb loin is one of the most delicious and treasured cuts of lamb. Cooked to medium rare, or to a pink color, it can be so tender and absolutely delicious. Yet many people think they do not like lamb.

If you want great lamb, it is important that the meat come from a breed used for eating, rather than wool. Sheep with wool often have a very strong and gamy flavor to their meat.

The lamb should be grassfed, as lamb tastes very much like what the animal was fed.

The roast must also be cut properly, with the natural bone and fat.

The rack of lamb split loin roast sold by U.S. Wellness Meats fits all these requirements perfectly. It comes from Katahdin sheep, a meat breed which is not used for wool. It is grassfed only.

And it is cut perfectly for roasting. The meat is in one piece, surrounded by the natural bone and a thin layer of the natural fat. Unlike supermarket lamb loins, the bones are not cut through. While cutting through the bones makes it easy to cut the meat into chops after roasting, it results in the loss of natural juices and flavor The uncut bones provide incredible flavor and juiciness to the meat, which is flavored by the bones and the fat. This also makes the meat more tender. The bones and fat are the two best spices you could have for this meat. The bones also make a perfect roasting rack.

In this recipe, I have added some English herbs that enhance the already wonderful flavor. There was a famous song that contained the words "Parsley, Sage, Rosemary, and Thyme..." Few people realize that these herbs form a traditional English flavor combination, one that is fantastic with lamb.

Rackoflamb0734

Serves 2 to 4.

INGREDIENTS

1 U.S. Wellness Meats rack of lamb split loin roast

1 teaspoon organic fresh parsley, finely chopped

1 teaspoon organic fresh sage leaves, finely chopped

1 teaspoon organic fresh rosemary leaves, finely chopped

1 teaspoon organic fresh thyme leaves, finely chopped

1 teaspoon coarse unrefined sea salt, crushed

2 tablespoons U.S. Wellness Meats extra virgin olive oil, early or mid-season

DIRECTIONS

  1. About an hour before you plan to cook the roast, combine all the other ingredients in a small bowl and mix well. Place the roast on a plate, and rub the mixture all over the meat, fat, and bones. Let rest at room temperature for about an hour.
  2. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  3. Place the lamb bone side down in small roasting pan. Place the pan in the oven, and roast for 25 to 30 minutes, until done to your taste. 25 minutes should give you a medium rare roast. Using a sharp, sturdy knife, cut between the meat and the bones, which will give you a cylinder of delicious boneless meat. Cut the meat into serving pieces. Enjoy the wonderful flavor!

describe the imageStanley Fishman is a cookbook author and blogger who is an expert on cooking grassfed meat. Stanley uses traditional flavor combinations and cooking methods to make the cooking of grassfed meat easy, delicious, and tender. Stanley has written two cookbooks that make it easy to cook grassfed meat —Tender Grassfed Meat: Traditional Ways to Cook Healthy Meat and Tender Grassfed Barbecue: Traditional, Primal and Paleo. Stanley blogs about real food and the cooking of grassfed meat at his blog Tendergrassfedmeat.com.

US Wellness Lamb

We get a lot of questions about our lamb, so we thought we would create a special blog post highlighting our lamb producers, offerings, and recipes. We’re happy to report that our lamb is also a Missouri product. Raised just south of US Wellness headquarters near Perry, MO our lambs are 100% grass-fed and grass-finished. They enjoy lush Missouri pastures and plenty of rainfall. We harvest a mix of hair sheep and a special old world breed of wool sheep noted for their meat quality. 

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We have a variety of grass-fed lamb products available through our online store. We’re thrilled to announce the newest addition to the lamb category - the Lamb Tenderlioin. This cut is second to none in tenderness. Its exquisite taste will have you hooked after just one bite.

What other lamb selections do we offer? We have some real rarities! Think organ meats (Lamb Liver, Kidney, Heart, etc.) and Marrow Bones. We also offer a variety of chops and roasts. Lamb Loin and Rib Chops are a griller's delight. Just fire up the grill and thow on some chops. Another specialty selection is Lamb Tallow. This can be used as an alternative for shortening, lard, or beef tallow. Add it to meat and vegetable dishes for added flavor with all the health benefits grass-fed fat offers. Unfortunately, we do not get tallow with every harvest, so we encourage you to order when it's available. To view all of our lamb selections, please visit our online store.

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We have a variety of lamb recipes available on our Pinterest page, but we wanted to share a few of our favorites. Here are some tried and true recipes:

- The Domestic Man: Lamb’s Feet Soup and Rolled Lamb Loin Roast

- The Urban Poser: Lamb Lollipops

Slim Palate: Lamb Curry

Balanced Bites: Greek-Style Lamb Meatballs

The Clothes Make the Girl: Moroccan Lamb Kabobs

We welcome your feedback! If you have any lamb recipes or cooking ideas, we'd love to hear them. Feel free to post below or link to any favorite recipes you want to share.

Photo of the Day: Missouri Lamb

DSCF1874

Enjoying lush spring grass near Boonville, MO.

Celebrating 11 Years!

When US Wellness Meats was founded back in 2000, we were raising and selling our grass-fed beef products only.  After a few short years in business we realized we needed to widen our horizons as there are so many other great products we could be offering!  So we started to branch out into grass-fed dairy and lamb products, and things continued to grow from there.  We would not be the company we are today without the other amazing farmers and producers who contribute to our business.    

We get customer questions weekly about the different sources of our products and where they are raised, so we decided an in-depth blog post would be a great way to address all of these questions at once!   

We’ll start at the beginning…  

missouri, grass-fed beef
Beef: Our beef is raised in the heart of the Midwest.  Most of our current production comes from three of the founding members of the company located in Northeast Missouri and West Central Illinois.  We enjoy long summers with abundant rainfall to keep our pastures green most of the year.  We bale plenty of those warm weather grasses in the summer so the cattle enjoy those same grasses when snow is on the ground.   
 tasmania, grass-fed beef
We also source hard to come by cuts (such as hangar steaks, flanks, etc) from a farm run by personal friends of ours in picturesque Tasmania.  This island is the ideal place for grazing animals as they have a temperate climate that allows for grazing year round, and no hormones or GMOs are even allowed on the island.  Both our Midwest and Tasmania cattle are 100% grass-fed and grass-finished.  
grass-fed lamb, mutton
Lamb: Our lamb is also a Missouri product.  Raised just south of US Wellness headquarters near Perry, MO our lambs are 100% grass-fed and grass-finished.  They enjoy lush Missouri pastures and plenty of rainfall.   
grass-fed bison, grass-fed buffalo, bison, buffalo
Bison: Our bison are roaming around the open pastures of the Dakotas and Northern Plains and our farmers there are dedicated to improving the native grasses of the area, and ensuring the natural way of life bison have been accustomed to for decades.  Our bison products are 100% grass-fed and grass-finished.   
grass-fed buffalo, grass-fed bison
Pork: All of our pork products are GAP-certified, meaning they are raised in the best conditions possible.  Our pork comes from Heritage Acres which is a group of small, local Missouri farmers providing the finest quality, antibiotic-free pork.   
 
Poultry: We actually have two different poultry farms raising animals for US Wellness Meats.  Oaklyn Plantation in Darlington, South Carolina raises all of our free range 20-lb chicken bundles and ships those direct from the farmDue to growing interest and frequent customer requests, Oakland Plantation also started raising soy-free chickens in the summer of 2011.     

Our second producer is in Oklahoma, and they raise free range birds for our smaller chicken packages.  All of their birds are raised under sunny Oklahoma skies on a non-GMO feed ration, in addition to the grass, sticks and bugs they enjoy on a daily basis.
 
Rabbit: Gourmet rabbit is one of the best kept secrets here at US Wellness Meats.  Our rabbit comes from a small farm in Michigan.   

Seafood: Our seafood products come from Vital Choice, one of the premier wild-caught seafood providers in the country.  Their products are certified sustainable, and most products are caught off the west coast and surrounding waters.  The only exception is our wild-caught raw shrimp which comes from a different company fishing off the coast of Mexico.
 
Dairy:  We are very lucky to be able to source grass-fed dairy products, without any added growth hormonesOur Pure Irish Kerrygold Butter is grass-fed from Irish cattle.  We have two different Amish dairies- one in Indiana, the other in Pennsylvania, who supply us with raw, grass-fed cheese as well as four different varieties of goat cheese.   
 
Olive Oil: One of the newest additions to our store is Extra Virgin Olive Oil, produced by Chaffin Family Orchards in Oroville, CA.  Most of their trees are over 100 years old and all the olives are hand-picked.  They use the animals on their farm to help with trimming and pruning – check out the goats on weed control!  
grass-fed goat, olive oil, olive tree 
We have carefully collaborated with like-minded farmers and individuals that hold their products to the same standards we believe in for our company. Long story short, we have built our business over the past eleven years while respecting our animals and our environment. We enjoy the products, just like our customers, so it remains our goal to offer the best selection possible.  

Featured Farmer Dinner

The US Wellness crew had an amazing meal on February 27 at Thyme Square Cafe's Feature Farmer Dinner, where US Wellness was the “featured farmer”. Thyme Square Café is located just across the river in scenic Quincy, IL and is one of our best wholesale customers.

Thyme Square

The five course meal featured our Beef Brisket, Whole Chicken, Rabbit Striploin and Lamb Chops, in an effort to showcase the wide array of meat cuts we offer. Chef Cory Shupe and his staff did a remarkable job preparing every course and explaining to the sold-out restaurant exactly how everything had been prepared.

The mouth-watering menu is below, along with some photos and comments.

Thank you again to Chef Cory Shupe and his staff for a delicious dinner and a wonderful evening!

Appetizer: Amuse Bouche

Bite-size morsel to tease & wet the palette…

grass-fed beef brisket

This was our Beef Brisket – corned and served with cabbage on a small biscuit. Don’t let its size fool you – it was small but the flavor was incredible!

1st course: Chicken galantine, grilled ciabatta, tart cherry mustard & marinated olives

Our Whole Chicken, including homemade broth, organs, etc…very, very healthy! This dish contains the chicken broth, which is a superfood itself, but also all the organs: liver, kidney, etc and all the health benefits they provide. The grilled ciabatta was an excellent side dish and we loved the tart cherry mustard!

2nd course: Braised rabbit risotto with wild mushrooms & Italian parsley

rabbit

Rabbit striploin served over rice with creamy mushroom sauce and chunks of wild mushrooms topped with parsley. This was a hands down US Wellness favorite! For many of us it was the first time trying rabbit, and we were more than pleasantly surprised! The rabbit striploin was very tender and lightly seasoned to give it a clean, crisp flavor.

3rd course: Lamb chops with roasted potatoes, rosemary, carmelized onions and grilled lemon

Lamb rib chops – amazing. Our lamb comes from the Katadin and Dorper breeds, which are hairsheep, meaning they do not produce wool. This leads to a fresh, clean flavor. The 6 oz lamb chops were amazingly tender with an outstanding flavor - we could have all eaten twice as much!

4th course: Coffee cream profiteroles topped with toasted pistachios; served with spiced hot chocolate

spiced hot chocolate

Some of the best hot chocolate we have ever had! It actually contained cayenne pepper, which we would have never guessed. It was completely addicting and we could have drank a gallon of it!

We went home full and happy! We had a great evening and met many new friends who had plenty of questions to ask about grass-fed meats.

US Wellness Meats(Jim, Jen, Tressa, Amanda, John)

Please leave us your comments – we love to hear from our readers and customers!

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