Posts Tagged ‘disease prevention’

A Koop full of ironies

January 29, 2010

At first I thought I was seeing some sort of Saturday Night Live-style spoof on The Weather Channel, but then it became clear this commercial was no joke, but rather part of the big misinformation campaign against health-care reform.

Here is the former icon of our so-called health-care system — which is really a disease-care system — telling of his multiple health problems. Sure, he’s 93, but that’s no excuse for being unhealthy. We know that old age alone does not necessarily cause ill health — but a lifetime of lifestyle and dietary habits may be a contributing factor, the same way, just as C. Everett Koop told us, smoking causes cancer and heart disease.

Ideally, all of us should strive to be healthy and functional until the day we die. Unfortunately, most Americans spend the last 12 years of their lives in a state of ill health, dysfunction and reduced quality of life. Few are willing to make positive changes, and so we expect medicine or insurance or the government to bail us out of this health deficit. Ultimately, none of them can or will.

I don’t know who paid for Dr. Koop’s joint replacements, pacemakers and stent, but I have my suspicions. Why shouldn’t everyone have the same quality coverage?

Olive oil may help fight disease

January 24, 2010

Most health experts agree one of the best dietary fats to use regularly is extra-virgin olive oil. This oil, a mainstay in the Mediterranean Diet, is high in heart-healthy monounsaturated fats and also contains disease-fighting phytonutrients.

Scientific studies now indicate these properties of extra-virgin olive oil may provide protection against disease.

For example, researchers writing in Journal of Nutrition found two biophenols found in extra-virgin olive oil — protocatechuic acid and oleuropein — prevent oxidation of LDL cholesterol. LDL is known as the “bad” cholesterol because when it oxidizes it can deposit on artery walls.

Other research indicates olive oil may help fight breast cancer. Researchers reporting in Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers and Prevention found that among residents of Northern Italy those who consumed higher amounts of raw salad vegetables and olive oil had significantly reduced risk of breast cancer. Other studies have indicated extra-virgin olive oil can reduce the risk of some cancers, such as colon cancer, by influencing the metabolism of the intestines.

Olive oil contains 77 percent monounsaturated fat with only 9 percent polyunsaturated fat. Other good sources of monounsaturated fat include almonds and avocados.

While most other dietary oils are virtually absent of phytonutrient phenols, extra-virgin olive oil, obtained from the whole fruit using the cold-press technique, is very high in phenols. Other sources include fruits, vegetables, cocoa, and red wine.

Extra-virgin also is the tastiest and has less than 1 percent natural acid. It is best consumed raw on salads or used in low-heat cooking. Though the polyunsaturated portion is relatively low, this fat is subject to oxidation at high heat, and heat also may destroy the valuable phytonutrients in the oil.