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Super Fish

By: Dr. Al Sears, MDSalmon

I admire the strength and supernatural endurance of Pacific salmon.

Their trip to the spawning ground may cover more than 2,000 miles. They travel day and night upstream against powerful swift currents.

They even swim UP waterfalls. They have to outrun predators like seals, orca whales, bears and human fishermen.

And amazingly, during this entire journey the salmon never eat. Instead, they live off the fat stored in their bright pink muscle tissue. In fact, their pink flesh is the secret to their physical power… and the incredible health benefits you can get from salmon.

Not to mention the taste. I’m a huge fan of wild-caught salmon. I try to cook some on the grill at least once or twice a week.

Salmon get their color when they feed on marine algae. They contain a red carotenoid called astaxanthin.

It’s what provides legendary endurance to salmon. And it can boost your energy and physical performance, too.

Astaxanthin is the most powerful antioxidant in the world. It’s 6,000 times more effective than vitamin C. It’s hundreds of times stronger than CoQ10 and vitamin E.(1) Here’s why.

Other antioxidants can only handle one free radical at a time. But astaxanthin is like a super-hero. It takes on more than 19 bad guys at once. It forms an electron cloud around itself. Free radicals get absorbed into the cloud. It neutralizes multiple attackers at one time.

That’s really important for athletes or anyone who keeps physically fit. You see, exercise has a ton of health benefits. But it also creates a lot of free radicals. You can’t really avoid them.

The harder you work out, the more free radicals you produce. If you run a marathon you could generate 12 times more free radicals than when you’re resting.

Astaxanthin helps your body recover from that damage. It patrols your muscles for free radicals. Then it eliminates them. Studies show it provides excellent recovery from muscle and heart damage following exercise.(2)

And it improves endurance. In 2008 Swedish researchers studied 40 male students. Half received 4 mg of astaxanthin every day. The other half received a placebo.

They measured muscle endurance by the number of deep knee bends the men could perform before becoming exhausted. After 6 months, the placebo group could only do 20% more squats. The astaxanthin group increased their squats by 55%. They performed three times better than the placebo group.(3)

Researchers also tested it in competitive cyclists. They gave bikers either 4 mg of astaxanthin a day or placebo. In four weeks, the astaxanthin group became over 5% faster. They cut more than 2 minutes from a 20 kilometer ride. The placebo group cut a paltry 9 seconds.(4)

You don’t have to be an elite athlete to benefit from astaxanthin. It can help boost the benefits you get from doing just moderate exercise, gardening, or my P.A.C.E. program. It allows you to work longer without getting tired. Over time that can add up to better strength and stamina for everything in your life.

Natural astaxanthin is produced only by microalgae. We can get it by eating pink sea creatures that feed on the algae. These include some trout, red sea bream, crab, lobster, shrimp, and other pink seafood. But salmon – especially sockeye salmon – is by far the richest source. Just make sure it’s wild-caught.

A typical 6-ounce serving of Atlantic salmon only gives you about 1 mg of astaxanthin. The same serving of wild Pacific sockeye salmon gives you 4-5 mg. Still, you’d have to be eating wild-caught salmon every day to get enough.

Supplements are available. But avoid the cheap brands. They’re usually synthetic, which is 20 times weaker than the natural version. They won’t give you the performance benefits you expect. It’s worth paying the extra money to avoid taking a worthless petrochemical pill.

Most studies show doses of 4 to 16 mg per day are effective. I recommend taking at least 10 mg per day of a naturally derived form to support strength and endurance. You should see results in about four weeks or less.

Keep in mind that astaxanthin is fat soluble. Take it with a meal or snack containing some healthy fats like butter, coconut oil, or eggs. The fat will help your body absorb the astaxanthin.(5)

And try to take it with your krill or fish oil. It will boost your heart, brain and immune system health.

To Your Good Health,
Al Sears, MD

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Resources:

1. Pandey, S. et al,”Anti Aging Therapy: Various Alignments to Control Premature Aging.” International Journal of Pharma and Bio Sciences 2010;V1(2).
2. Aoi, W., Naito, et al. “Astaxanthin limits exercise-induced skeletal and cardiac muscle damage in mice.” Antioxidants and Redox Signaling, 2003;5, 139-144.
3. Curt L. Malmsten and Åke Lignell. “Dietary Supplementation with Astaxanthin-Rich Algal Meal Improves Strength Endurance. A Double Blind Placebo Controlled Study on Male Students.” Carotenoid Science, 2008;Vol.13.
4. Earnest CP, Lupo M, White KM, Church TS. “Effect of astaxanthin on cycling time trial performance.” Int J Sports Med. 2011;32(11):882-8. PMID:21984399
5. Mercke Odeberg J, Lignell A, et al. “Oral bioavailability of the antioxidant astaxanthin in humans is enhanced by incorporation of lipid based formulations.” Eur J Pharm Sci. 2003;19:299-304.

The Low Fat Lie

By: Kelley Herring, Healing GourmetEat Butter

On June 23rd, the cover of Time Magazine prominently featured two words: “Eat Butter.”

In an article titled, “Ending the War on Fat,” the venerable mainstream publication finally put to rest one of the most detrimental myths about health and nutrition – the myth that saturated fat is to blame for heart disease.

But what the magazine didn’t mention in this otherwise excellent article, was that Time played a big role in popularizing this deadly misconception in the first place!

The Seven Countries Study… or the 22 Country Study?

In 1961, Time featured physiologist Ancel Keys on the cover, with an article about his Seven Countries Study, which compared heart disease mortality rates and fat consumption across seven countries. His comparison showed a “remarkable relationship.”

The countries with the highest fat intake had the highest levels of heart disease. The countries with the lowest fat intake had the lowest levels of heart disease.

At the time, Jacob Yerushalmy, a PhD statistician at the University of California at Berkeley, pointed out that we had fat consumption data in 22 countries. So why wasn’t it called “The 22-Country Study?”

It wasn’t called that, because Ancel Keys started with the conclusion. He cherry-picked the countries that matched his pre-conceived notion and threw out the ones that contradicted it. And most of them did! When all 22 countries were analyzed, the “remarkable relationship” remarkably disappeared.

In fact, the complete set of data actually suggested that those eating the MOST saturated animal fat had LOWER rates of heart disease!

Yet, despite the obvious flaws in his research, Ancel Keys’ study formed the basis of the “lipid hypothesis.” Unfortunately, the butter bashing and anti-saturated fat campaigns were not the only harmful dietary dictates perpetuated during this period.

The Rise of Sugars, Grains & Seed Oils (and the Decline of Public Health)

From the 1960s onward, the medical establishment, government health organizations and the processed food industry simultaneously urged the public to replace these wholesome, natural foods with high-carbohydrate, grain-based processed foods and industrially-produced seed and vegetable oils. They even began vigorous campaigns to steer people away from real butter and to replace it with deadly trans-fats – in the form of so-called “better-than-butter” spreads.

It wasn’t long before grocery store shelves were filled with low-fat and fat-free fake foods.

It also wasn’t long before the public health began to take a dramatic turn for the worse. Excess dietary sugar and carbohydrates along with omega-6 rich industrial seed oils are clearly implicated in insulin resistance, obesity and chronic inflammation – all of which increase your risk for cancer, heart disease, diabetes and other degenerative diseases. It’s no wonder that the rates of obesity and disease began to skyrocket.

Forward thinking doctors, scientists and nutritionists have been warning against this unsound (and unproven) dietary dogma for decades. But it wasn’t until recently that mainstream medicine has finally begun to set politics aside and consider the science.

Saturated Fats Vindicated (Finally!)

The latest study to confirm the lack of evidence that saturated fat cause heart disease – and the basis for last month’s article in Time – was published in the Annals of Internal Medicine. This study reviewed more than 76 trials covering more than 650,000 participants. The authors concluded that,

“Current evidence does not clearly support cardiovascular guidelines that encourage high consumption of polyunsaturated fatty acids and low consumption of total saturated fats.”

In one fell swoop these respected researchers called into question nearly every standard nutritional guideline related to heart health. But this was certainly not the first major study to find no link between saturated fat and heart disease.

A previous analysis of 21 studies covering almost 350,000 people and spanning more than two decades was published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in 2010. According to the authors of this study, “Intake of saturated fat was not associated with an increased risk of CHD, stroke, or CVD.”

Or consider The Women's Health Initiative. This huge government study cost nearly $750 million. Among 20,000 women in the study who adhered to an extremely low saturated fat diet for eight years, the researchers found that there was no impact on obesity, nor any measurable risk reduction (incidence or mortality) for heart disease, stroke, colorectal cancer, or breast cancer.

The authors finally had to acknowledge that their results “…do not justify recommending low-fat diets to the public to reduce their heart disease and cancer risk.”

Thankfully, it seems that this madness is coming to an end. “It’s not saturated fat we should worry about," says cardiologist Dr. Rajiv Chowdhury, author of the study featured in the Time Magazine article. "It’s the high-carb or sugary diet that should be the focus of dietary guidelines.”

Question Conventional Advice, Follow Ancestral Wisdom

Hopefully, the message is clear: Conventional “low-fat diet” advice is counterproductive to your weight-loss efforts and your health. If you want to reduce your risk of disease and reach your ideal weight, pay attention to the TYPE of fats you eat, rather than the amount.

Here’s what you need to remember to choose healthy fats and avoid unhealthy ones…

•    AVOID OMEGA-6 FATS. These fats come primarily from vegetable and seed oils (such as corn, soybean, sunflower, safflower, canola, cottonseed, peanut, etc). To avoid these ingredients, eliminate commercially fried foods and most processed foods from your diet (including chips, baked goods, sauces and dressings, etc.). You should also avoid conventionally-raised meats. For example, the meat from grain-fed cows can have up to 50 times more omega-6 than omega-3s.

•    ELIMINATE TRANS FATS. Read the nutrition labels in your home and DISCARD anything with the word “hydrogenated.” You’ll be surprised at where these artery bombs are hiding. These industrial fake fats are positively deadly. In fact, the Institute of Medicine issued a claim that, “there is no safe level to consume.”

•    CONSUME OMEGA-3 FATS. The best dietary sources of these healthy fats are wild salmon, sardines and mackerel, pastured eggs, wild game and grass-fed beef and bison. Walnuts, flax seeds and hemp seeds are good sources, but do not have the same benefits as the animal sources above. You should also consider a fish oil supplement.

•    CONSUME SATURATED FAT. Saturated fat should come primarily from the meat and other products (butter, lard, tallow, dairy) from animals raised on their natural diet (ie. grass-fed cows, pastured pork, free-range chickens and wild game). Coconut oil is also a very healthy source of saturated fat.

•    CONSUME MONOUNSATURATED FAT. This is the heart-healthy fat best known for its association with the “Mediterranean Diet.” Good sources of these fats include nuts, avocados and olives as well as the oils produced from these foods (olive oil, avocado oil, macadamia nut oil, etc.) Naturally-raised meats and lard are also a good source of healthy monounsaturated fat.

Hopefully these recent studies – and the gradual awakening of the medical community – will mean that this dangerous dietary myth has seen its better days.

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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.    Walsh, Brian. Ending the War on Fat. Time Magazine. June 12th, 2014
2.    Norton, Amy. Study Fails to link saturated fat, heart disease. Reuters Health. Feb. 4, 2010
3.    Berkey CS, Rockett HR, Willett WC, Colditz GA. Milk, dairy fat, dietary calcium, and weight gain: a longitudinal study of adolescents. Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2005 Jun;159(6):543-50.
4.    Siri-Tarino PW, Sun Q, Hu FB, Krauss RM. Meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies evaluating the association of saturated fat with cardiovascular disease. Am J Clin Nutr. 2010 Mar;91(3):535-46. doi: 10.3945/ajcn.2009.27725. Epub 2010 Jan 13.
5.    Kuipers RS, de Graaf DJ, Luxwolda MF, Muskiet MH, Dijck-Brouwer DA, Muskiet FA. Saturated fat, carbohydrates and cardiovascular disease. Neth J Med. 2011 Sep;69(9):372-8.

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

Miracle Fatty Acid Adds Years to Your Life

By: Dr. Al Sears, MDFish Oil

Dear Health Conscious Reader,

Omega-3s may determine how long you’ll live – and it’s not just because they’re good for your heart.

Omega-3s may now have a profound effect on anti-aging by slowing down the shortening of telomeres.

What are telomeres? They’re protective tips that cap the ends of your DNA. Each time your cells divide, your telomeres get shorter. When your telomeres run down, cell division stops, and your life ends.

While this may sound like a clip from a science fiction movie, it’s real. And it’s about to change the world of medicine. Everything you’ve been told about aging is about to be transformed by this new science.

You may not have heard about this new breakthrough yet. That doesn’t surprise me.

Organized forces in the mainstream media and established medical community don’t want you to know about this. Even though the Nobel Prize was awarded last year for telomere research, the importance of this life-changing discovery has been ignored.

In fact, they say anti-aging is impossible.

But the truth is it’s now possible to slow down the shortening of your telomeres. I just read about it in a study in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), which confirmed the connection with Omega-3s.(1)

Just because you may not be hearing about this on the evening news, don’t let that stop you from taking advantage of this important scientific breakthrough.

You already know the many benefits of Omega-3s. Now it’s possible for you to add years to your life, simply by doing something you already believe in. It doesn’t get much better than that.

Here are three steps you can take to bulk-up on Omega-3s right now:

Step 1: Eat fresh fish three or four times a week.  I recommend coldwater, high-fat variety fish like:

Step 2: Eat more raw nuts and seeds.  For many years, nuts have gotten a bad rap for being high in fat. But in reality, nuts are a great source of Omega-3 and other life-enhancing nutrients. Here are some of my favorites:

Step 3: Take 3 to 5 grams of Omega-3 fish oil a day.  I recommend my formulation of Peruvian fish oil that packs two to three times the Omega-3s you find in leading brands, and five times more Omega-3s than a can of tuna – without the mercury. These oils can help you:

  • Strengthen your heart and blood vessels
  • Maintain blood pressure levels that are already within the normal range
  • Help support joint and muscle health
  • Keep your triglycerides (blood fat) in the safe range
  • Sustain healthy HDL (good cholesterol) levels
  • Boost your memory and brainpower
  • Protect your blood vessels and nerves

To Your Good Health,
Al Sears, MD

______________________________________________________________________________

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.

______________________________________________________________________________

Resources:

Ramin Farzaneh-Far, MD; Jue Lin, PhD; Elissa S. Epel, PhD; William S. Harris, PhD; Elizabeth H. Blackburn, PhD;Mary A. Whooley, MD. “Association of Marine Omega-3 Fatty Acid Levels With Telomeric Aging in Patients With Coronary Heart Disease.”JAMA. 2010;303(3):250-257, January 20, 2010.

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Lobsters & Telomeres

By: Dr. Al Sears, MDLobster

I found something interesting in my research the other day. An “under the radar” animal that only grows stronger and more fertile with age.

Its power never weakens. From birth to death, it never stops getting better and stronger.

But it’s not an animal you think of as being powerful and virile.

It’s the lobster.

Lobsters are part of an exclusive group of animals we call “biologically immortal.”

They only die if they get eaten or injured from a predator, or get a rare disease, but never from old age. They don’t have a built-in life expectancy in their cells.

They constantly are getting stronger, bigger and more virile. If left alone they get huge and can live for centuries. Every few years you’ll hear about someone catching a giant lobster. I’ve read about 25-40 pound and 140-year-old lobsters. And those are just the ones that have been caught.

Why do they grow so large and live so long?

It’s telomerase, the enzyme that helps rebuild and maintain telomeres.

In humans, telomerase production is turned off when you’re an adult. So our telomeres get shorter with time, creating older cells that result in everything we attribute to aging. Wrinkles, joint soreness, foggy memory and everything that goes along with it.

In lobsters, telomerase production is ramped up their whole lives.(1) So it’s a constant, abundant stream that helps keep their telomeres long and stops their cells from ever dying.

Even at our best, we will never live forever. But if you can maintain highly functioning telomeres you can produce cells that keep you looking and feeling younger.

I’ve discovered a nutrient that does just this.

You need to boost a little-known—but Nobel Prize winning—molecule in your body, nitric oxide (NO). NO can expand blood vessels, increase blood flow, improve muscle performance and help erectile dysfunction.

But what few people know is that it also helps maintain telomeres.

Recently, I read a study from Circulation Research that examined the effect of NO on telomere length. They performed a test by injecting a NO supplement into a culture of umbilical cord blood vessels. The cells from these blood vessels are perfect for testing because aging affects how they function, and they have an effect on aging themselves.

They found boosting NO helped maintain telomeres and reduced the number of the cells that died.(2) It helps to prompt your telomeres to create younger cells again—not the old ones most adults are stuck with—that keep you looking, feeling, and moving like a younger person.

It’s so critical that one German study found that even if your “normal” NO production is inhibited it can accelerate cell death, and affect your telomeres.(3)

In my practice, I recommend my patients take arginine—an amino acid that converts to NO when it enters the body—to boost their NO production.

Once you boost NO production, over time, your telomeres will be better, and you should feel the difference creating younger cells makes on your body.

Another study I read from the National Academy of Science of the United States of America used a common biological marker in cells from blood vessels to test the effect of arginine (plus citrulline and other antioxidants) on telomeres, and cell death.

After a few treatments with arginine, the number of cells that showed signs of age-related deterioration decreased and telomeres were better maintained.(4)

You can get arginine either from arginine-rich foods like red meats, nuts, spinach, lettuce, seafood and eggs or by supplementing.

If you prefer supplementing, I recommend taking 50mg daily of arginine. It’ll help you kick-start your body’s production of NO drastically which will help maintain your telomeres.

But for even better results take 50mg of citrulline with your arginine. It helps maximizes the effectiveness of arginine.

You see, arginine metabolizes in the intestines and the liver. From there it converts into NO. But, after long-term or heavy use, its effectiveness can waver because of arginase.

After heavy use, arginase blocks arginine’s NO conversion in the liver. Citrulline can block arginese activity, and allow arginine to convert freely into NO.

It also can boost your NO itself because it enters the kidney converting quickly into arginine and absorbing. Raising plasma and tissue levels of arginine and enhancing NO production.(5)

By taking them together citrulline should provide you an additional NO boost, and help you get the most out of your arginine. Giving you a powerful NO-boosting one-two punch for your telomeres.

______________________________________________________________________________

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.

______________________________________________________________________________

Resources:

1. Klapper W, et. al. “Longevity of Lobsters is Linked to Ubiquitous Telomerase Expression.” FEBS Lett. 1998; 143-6.
2. Vasa M, et. al. “Nitric Oxide Activates Telomerase and Delays Endothelial Cell Senescense.” Circulation Research. 2000; 540-542.
3. Scalera F, et. al. “Endogenous Nitric Oxide Synthesis Inhibitor Asymmertic Dimethyle L-Arginine Accelerates Endothelial Cell Senescence.” Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology. 2004; 1816-1822.
4. Hayashi T, et al. “Endothelial Cellular Senescence is Inhibited by Nitric Oxide: Implications in Atherosclerosis Associated with Menopause and Diabetes.” PNAS November 7, 2006.; 17018-17023.
5. Romero M, et. al. “Therapeutic use of Citrulline in Cardiovascular Disease.” Cardiovasc Drug Rev., 2006 Fall-Win

Shrimp with Garlic, Chili, and Mushrooms

I never touch farmed shrimp. Wild shrimp have so much more flavor, are raised naturally, and without antibiotics or other additives. Obviously, these were the shrimp eaten by our ancestors, (not the modern farmed version). However, most of the shrimp available in the U.S. is farmed, often imported from farms in Thailand or Vietnam, under conditions that have been criticized by some authorities. Fortunately, U.S. Wellness Meats has some excellent frozen wild shrimp available, and this shrimp is perfect for this recipe.

I have experimented with several traditional Spanish dishes for sautéed shrimp. Some combined shrimp with garlic and a touch of hot pepper. Others combined shrimp with mushrooms. And there are many variations on both recipes, some using paprika. All of them use a fair amount of olive oil to sauté the shrimp. All were good, but none were special. This one is special, in my opinion, and combines shrimp, garlic, mushrooms, paprika, hot pepper, olive oil, and my own addition—butter. I like it the best.

I want to share an important tip for thawing frozen shrimp. Take them out of the freezer for 3 hours, then place them in a colander, and run a gentle stream of cool water over them, rotating them under the stream until they are thawed. It only takes a few minutes. This is best done with plastic gloves, to protect your hands against any sharp edges. If you use another method, it is likely that the water released by the thawing will soak into the shrimp, and the shrimp will be soggy when cooked.

Another tip for cooking frozen shrimp, an old one that is well known by many cooks, is to place the thawed shrimp in a bowl, and sprinkle them lightly with sea salt. This really improves the flavor, and makes them taste fresher.

I might mention that eating shrimp during the holiday season, especially New Year's Day, is believed to bring good luck for the new year by many cultures. It certainly is a delicious theory to try out!

2 USW Shrimp Med

Serves 2 to 4.

INGREDIENTS

1 pound U.S. Wellness Meats wild caught raw brown shrimp, thawed

1 teaspoon coarse unrefined sea salt

4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, preferably Spanish

4 tablespoons pastured butter

6 cloves organic garlic, coarsely chopped

1 teaspoon hot chili flakes

1 teaspoon mild paprika, preferably Spanish, (smoked paprika is also great in this recipe)

1 cup crimini mushrooms, coarsely chopped

DIRECTIONS

  1. Place the shrimp in a bowl and sprinkle with the sea salt. Stir well, and let sit at room temperature for 10 minutes.
  2. Place the olive oil and the butter in a large frying pan over medium heat. Heat until the mixture is hot and bubbly.
  3. Raise the heat to medium high, and immediately add the garlic, chili flakes, and paprika. Stir the spices into the butter and oil, mixing well, for about twenty seconds.
  4. Add the shrimp, and stir-fry until the shrimp turn opaque, about 2 minutes.
  5. Add the mushrooms, and stir-fry until the mushrooms are cooked, about 1 to 2 minutes.

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.

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

Five Ways to Save Big on Healthy Foods

By: Kelley Herring, Healing GourmetVeggies

Have you ever thought that it’s just too expensive to eat organic, healthy and sustainable foods? If so, you’re not alone. In fact, the number one reason people say that they don’t eat as healthfully as they should is due to the “high cost.”

Last week, Bernard M. wrote in to U.S. Wellness Meats with this comment:

“When you are a seriously seasoned senior living on a fixed income, it is not possible to live organically. I buy organic as much as I can afford, but not completely. Also it's hard to know if stuff is legitimately organic. Purchasing online is complex and usually more expensive due to shipping costs.”

While it’s true that eating organic can be expensive, it doesn’t have to be. With a little planning and careful selection, you can enjoy the highest quality foods… for roughly the price of a drive-thru meal.

Today, I’ll show you five simple ways to save big on the healthiest foods and to ensure that you’re getting what you pay for.

#1 - Enjoy Healthy, Budget-Friendly Cuts of Meat

If you’re on a tight budget, filet mignon probably won’t be making a regular appearance at your dinner table. But that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy delicious, healthy and tender meat dishes.

The key lies in the cut.  

Here are three great choices from US Wellness Meats that are sure to please the palette, and are easy on the wallet too.

•    Roasts: Choose budget-friendly roasts, briskets and flatirons to create mouthwatering, low-fuss meals in the slow cooker. Whether you choose grass-fed beef or gourmet pork roasts, you can enjoy these money-saving meats for just $0.50 - $0.70 per ounce. Tender, shredded meats, cooked slow and low, are perfect served over mixed greens for a protein-packed salad, added to easy, baked frittatas, or enjoyed in gluten/grain free wraps and buns for a Paleo sandwich.

•    Grass-Fed Ground Beef: Hearty beef Bolognese, quick and easy stuffed peppers or cabbage leaves, and simple and festive beef “taco” salads are just a few of the delicious recipes you can make on the cheap with this staple. At just $2 per 4-ounce serving, keep grass-fed ground beef on hand for whipping up a delicious penny-pinching meal in minutes.

•    Mock Filet Mignon: For special occasions, use filet mignon’s more budget-friendly cousin: teres major. You’ll get virtually the same succulent, juicy flavor for less than half the price ($2.50/oz. for filet mignon vs. $1.06/oz. for teres major)Shrimp Cocktail

#2 – Be Smart with Seafood

While you’ll pay a premium for individual flash-frozen wild fish, sustainable shrimp is a more budget-friendly option. At just $0.90 per ounce, you can enjoy gourmet shrimp dishes like Shrimp Scampi, Shrimp Fra Diavolo, Coconut Shrimp and much more for around $5 per 6-ounce serving.

#3 – Choose Organics… Selectively

While I don’t advocate the use of pesticides (or other agro-chemicals), there are a number of conventional fruits and veggies that you can eat without much concern for pesticide contamination.

Here are the “clean 15” foods found to have low levels of contaminants:

  • Asparagus
  • Avocados              
  • Bananas                
  • Blueberries           
  • Broccoli                 
  • Cabbage                
  • Garlic                    
  • Kiwi
  • Mango
  • Onions
  • Papaya
  • Pineapple
  • Shelling peas
  • Sweet corn
  • Watermelon

In general, foods with shells (like nuts and seeds) and inedible peels or rinds (like bananas, oranges or mangoes) can be purchased conventionally with little concern for chemical exposure.

While you can save a lot by being selective, you can save even more when you…

#4 – Buy Local and Seasonal

Joining a local CSA or co-op can help you save a bundle on farm-fresh veggies and fruits. Not only will you save money because you are buying direct, but less time from farm-to-table means you’ll get more nutrients too.

In fact, the Institute of Food Research found that up to 45% of nutrients in fresh vegetables are lost by the time they reach your plate!

Check out www.localharvest.org to find CSAs in your area.

#5 – Shop Online

While internet shopping can be overwhelming and sometimes expensive, there are several companies that make it easy - and even offer free (or inexpensive) shipping.

A few places you can find great deals include Vitacost, Amazon and Swanson’s Vitamins. If going the Amazon route, check out their Prime program – if you tend to purchase the same foods you’ll save a lot when you buy in bulk or get on their auto-ship program.

You CAN’T Afford To Not Eat Healthy

Still think you can’t eat healthy on a budget? Consider this:

According to the Journal of the American Medical Association, more than 75% of the money spent on health care is spent on chronic conditions including heart disease, stroke, cancer, diabetes, and arthritis.

And yet more than 70% of all chronic conditions are preventable with a healthy diet and lifestyle! When it comes to eating healthy, the truth is that you just can’t afford not to.

To learn how you can save $4,400 on your groceries in the next year (including 100 Organic, Sustainable Foods on the Cheap and 15 Organic Menus for Under $5) pick up my free guide – Eating Clean and Saving Green. Click here to start saving on the healthiest foods today.

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REFERENCES

1.    Average fast food cost for a family of four is $16 or $4/serving. Anna Martin, Nutrition, Family and Consumer Sciences, Advisor, at the University of California
2.    Savings on food not wastedCenters for Disease Control and Prevention.  Chronic Disease Overview.
3.    Processed Foods to Blame for Obesity and Chronic Disease, healingsearch.com, http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/2814253.stm
4.    Fast Food Nation, Eric Schlosser, p. 120
5.    US Dept of Ag, Ag Economic Research Service
6.    NY Daily News: Frozen Vegetables Are More Nutritious Than Fresh, Study Says; March 5th, 2010.
7.    Supermarket Psychology: How Your Grocery Store Entices you to Spend More, Kelleigh Lewis on March 21, 2011

Six Toxic Fish (Plus Safe and Delicious Alternatives)

By: Kelley Herring, Healing GourmetShrimp Cocktail

Fukushima. The Gulf oil spill. Polluted fish farms. Genetically engineered salmon.

While seafood – and omega-3 rich fish in particular – has always been an excellent source of vital nutrients, widespread contamination has left many of us wondering…

What fish is safe?

Unfortunately, more than 90 percent of the seafood consumed in the United States is imported. What’s more, a report by Food & Water Watch, found that less than 2% of the 860,000 imported seafood shipments were visually inspected and less than 1% were actually tested for contaminants.

If that’s not enough, there is an industry-wide “bait-and-switch” that is occurring. Fraudulently labeled seafood is turning up in cans, restaurants and even in your local grocery.

In today’s article, I’ll show you how you can protect yourself from the health-harming contaminants found in seafood and the clean options that will provide you with power-packed nutrition.

“Fishy” Seafood and The Safer Options

#1 Imported & Farm-Raised Catfish: Also called Basa and Swam, almost 90 percent of catfish comes from Vietnam – a country with loose regulations on the use of dangerous antibiotics and other chemicals.

Safer Catch: Like catfish, pollock is a mild, white fish with a delicate flavor that’s naturally low in mercury. Look for pollock from the US, Canada and Norway which provide the most eco-friendly harvesting.

#2 Eel: Also called unagi, eel is primarily farmed in China.  Toxic nitrofuran – a powerful carcinogen – and many other drugs and pesticides are used to reduce the spread of disease in eel pens. Eel is also highly contaminated with mercury and cancer-causing PCBs.

Safer Catch: Swap eel for squid – an eco-friendly option that is low in contaminants, a great source of protein and easy to prepare.  

#3 Atlantic Flatfish: These fish – including sole, flounder and halibut – are high in contaminants. They also have a long history of being overfished, contributing to the collapse of our oceans.  

Safer Catch: Swap Atlantic halibut for Pacific halibut– a delicious option that’s environmentally friendly.

#4 Imported & Farm-Raised Shrimp:  One of the dirtiest seafoods sold is imported farmed shrimp. Chemical residues, antibiotics and an assortment of other contaminants have been found in farmed shrimp.

Safer Catch: While avoiding imported, farmed shrimp can greatly reduce your exposure to contaminants, it’s important to note that 70 percent of domestic shrimp comes from the Gulf of Mexico. With the recent oil spill, this raises concern for the health of these shrimp stocks. Your best bet is MSC-certified wild-caught Pacific shrimp from Oregon.

#5 Farmed Atlantic Salmon: Due to cramped quarters, rampant disease and a steady diet of “fish meal”, farmed salmon is rife with chemical contaminants ranging from pesticides and antibiotics to PCBs. In fact, fish consumption data shows that 800,000 U.S. adults eat enough PCBs from farmed salmon to exceed the allowable lifetime cancer risk 100 times over! Also of concern is the FDA’s consideration to allow genetically engineered salmon to be sold, unlabeled, in the near future.

Safer Catch: Avoid chemical contaminants and “Frankenfish” by choosing only wild Alaskan salmon.

#6 Atlantic Bluefin Tuna: According to the New York Times, Atlantic bluefin tuna have the highest levels of mercury and have reached near-extinction levels. Choosing more eco-friendly tuna varieties (like albacore or yellowfin) may not be the answer, either. Oceana  - a non-profit ocean protection group – collected 1,215 samples  from seafood vendors from 2010 to 2012. They found that 59% of tuna is not just mislabeled but it is almost entirely compromised of escolar - a fish once banned by the FDA.

Safer Catch: Swap tuna for smaller (but just as flavorful) Atlantic mackerel and sardines.  You’ll enjoy all of the health benefits of omega-3 rich fish, without the high levels of mercury and contaminants…not to mention questionable contents.

Keeping Healthy Fish on Your Plate and In Our Oceans

As the use of chemicals and unnatural agricultural practices soars to meet global food demand, it becomes increasingly more important to take a closer look at the origins of your food.

Know your farmer and your fishermen. Read labels. Ask questions.

While the health effects of these chemicals may not be immediately felt, their long term impact on human health is indisputable. Protect your health tomorrow by saying “no” to contaminated seafood today!

 

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ED NOTE: Do you love rich, buttery desserts… but not the grain or sugar? Then check out Kelley’s one-of-a-kind program called Guilt-Free Desserts. You won’t believe just how easy it can be to make extraordinary dessert creations that are as healthy as they are delicious!

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References
1.    Ronald A. Hites, Jeffery A. Foran, David O. Carpenter, M. Coreen Hamilton, Barbara A. Knuth, Steven J. Schwager. Global Assessment of Organic Contaminants in Farmed Salmon. Science 9 January 2004: Vol. 303 no. 5655 pp. 226-229 DOI: 10.1126/science.1091447
2.    Ronald A. Hites, Jeffery A. Foran, David O. Carpenter, M. Coreen Hamilton, Barbara A. Knuth, Steven J. Schwager. Global Assessment of Organic Contaminants in Farmed Salmon. Science 9 January 2004: Vol. 303 no. 5655 pp. 226-229 DOI: 10.1126/science.1091447 Lymbery, P. CIWF Trust report, "In Too Deep - The Welfare of Intensively Farmed Fish" (2002)
3.    EWG. PCBs in Farmed Salmon. Jane Houlihan. July 2003.
4.    Miyazaki,W., Iwasaki, T. Takeshita, A. Polychlorinated Biphenyls Suppress Thyroid Hormone Receptor-mediated Transcription through a Novel Mechanism J. Biol. Chem. 2004 279: 18195-18202. First Published on February 25, 2004, doi:10.1074/jbc.M310531200
5.    Schantz, SL., Widholm, JJ and Rice, DC. 2003. Effects of PCB exposure on neuropsychological function in children. Environ Health Perspect 111 (3): 357-576.
6.    Import Alert: Government Fails Consumers, Falls Short on Seafood Inspections. Food and Water Watch. May 30th, 2007
7.    New York Times. In China, Farming Fish in Toxic Waters. 12/15/2007
8.    Oceana Study Reveals Seafood Fraud Nationwide. February 21, 2013
9.    New York Times. Bluefin tuna and an ocean of troubles. Published: Monday, February 4, 2008
10.    Environmental Defense Fund. Seafood Selector.

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