By Dr. Mercola
There's little doubt that one of the best ways to improve your health is to make sure you're eating plenty of fresh, minimally processed high-quality vegetables, ideally locally-grown and organic, with a majority of them consumed raw (see my recommended list of vegetables below). One simple way to boost your vegetable intake is to juice them.
Juicing organic vegetables is highly recommended to patients in our clinic who are working to restore or improve their health. I am firmly convinced that juicing is one of the key factors to giving you a radiant, energetic life, and truly optimal health. I simply do not know of any other single nutritional intervention that has a more profound influence on health than eating and/or juicing fresh, organic vegetables.
You can review my comprehensive approach to how to juice on my vegetable juicing page
. Even better, review my nutrition plan
, which can help you take a comprehensive look at your overall health as it relates to food, and may even help you to change the way you think about eating.
Are All Vegetables the Same?
If you were to get all of your vegetables from conventionally farmed sources, this would be better for your health than eating no fresh vegetables at all. However, conventionally farmed vegetables are not your best choice. Organic vegetables are a much better option.
USDA Organic farmers (and many small, local organic farms
working without certification) must use different standards when growing vegetables. These standards include never using:
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) considers 60 percent of herbicides, 90 percent of fungicides, and 30 percent of insecticides to be carcinogenic, and most are damaging to your nervous system as well. In fact, these powerful and dangerous chemicals have been linked to numerous health problems such as:
Disruption of your endocrine system
Immune system suppression
Male infertility and reduced reproductive function
This information alone should give you pause when considering whether to buy local, organic vegetables or not. But I encourage you to do further research about organic versus conventional farming conditions. I believe that after researching the facts and statistics, you'll come to the conclusion that organic vegetables
are far more nutritious than conventionally farmed vegetables.
Conventional Fruit and Vegetable Pesticide Loads
Certainly helpful to your decision about which vegetables should be purchased organic and which conventional veggies may be safe, is the measured pesticide loads found on conventionally farmed fruits and vegetables. So if you need to work within a certain budget, use this information to help guide you to the best choices when it comes to lowering your overall pesticide exposure.
Of the 43 different fruit and vegetable categories tested by the Environmental Working Group and included in their Shoppers' Guide to Pesticides in Produce
, the following 12 fruits and vegetables had the highest pesticide load
, making them the most important to buy or grow organically:
Sweet bell peppers
In contrast, the following foods were found to have the lowest residual pesticide load, making them the safest bet among conventionally grown vegetables:
Sweet peas (frozen)
Sweet corn (frozen)
The Importance of Fresh Vegetables
Buying your vegetables from a local organic source is the ideal way to ensure that your vegetables are both fresh and high-quality. I strongly advise you to avoid wilted vegetables of any kind, because when vegetables wilt, they lose much of their nutritional value. In fact, wilted organic vegetables may actually be less healthful than fresh conventionally farmed vegetables!
Another reason to buy your organic vegetables from a local source is that fresher vegetables also contain the highest amounts of biophotons.
What are the Biophotons?
Biophotons are the smallest physical units of light, which are stored in and used by all biological organisms – including your body. Dr. Fritz-Albert Popp was the first to suggest that this light inside all biological organisms must originate, at least in part, from the foods you eat. When you eat plant foods, the light waves (photons) are thought assimilate into the cells in your body. The purpose of these biophotons is much more important than many have realized, because they are the transmitters of important nutritional bio-information used in many complex vital processes in your body.
Every living organism emits biophotons, or low-level luminescence (light with a wavelength between 200 and 800 nanometers). It is thought that the higher the level of light energy a cell emits, the greater the vitality and potential for the transfer of light energy to your body. In other words, the more light a food is able to store, the more nutritious it is when you consume it. Fresh, organic vegetables are naturally rich in this biophoton light energy.
Illness Can Occur When Biophoton Emissions are Out of Sync
Research by Dr. Popp also showed that the light emissions of healthy people follow a set of biological rhythms by day and night, and also by week and month. However, in his studies, the light emissions from cancer patients had no such rhythms and appeared scrambled, which suggests that their cells were no longer communicating properly. Likewise, according to Dr. Popp's research, multiple sclerosis patients were taking in too much light, leading to what he considered confusion on a cellular level.
Even stress can influence your biophoton emissions, causing them to increase when stress increases. It's also known that cancer-causing chemicals alter your body's biophoton emissions, interrupting proper cellular communication, while certain natural substances can help to restore proper cellular communication.
For instance, Dr. Popp found that mistletoe appeared to restore biophoton emissions of tumor cells to a normal level! Interestingly, even conventional medicine confirmed that mistletoe extract does appear to have a beneficial effect on cancer1, with one study2 published in Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine showing that mean survival rates nearly doubled among breast cancer patients who received mistletoe extract.
An Important Tip for Gathering Valuable Light Energy
As regular readers know, I've long recommended eating a diet of mostly RAW food
to stay optimally healthy. This is because living raw foods have the highest biophoton energy. The greater your store of light energy from healthy raw foods (this should not be confused with your vitamin D
status, which is produced by the sun on your skin), the greater the power of your overall electromagnetic field, and consequently the more energy is available for healing and maintenance of optimal health.
I firmly believe it's only a matter of time before the importance of light energy in your health and well-being becomes more widely recognized and applied in the field of medicine. Until then, remember that your body is not only made up of tissue, blood vessels, and organs—it's also composed of light.
Reasons to Juice
As I mentioned at the beginning, one of the best ways to get ample amounts of raw vegetables into your diet is through juicing. Many people see juicing as inconvenient, but with the proper juicer, it's really not very time consuming at all. The fact is, many people initially think juicing will be a real chore, but most are pleasantly surprised to find it's much easier than they thought. There are three main reasons why you will want to consider incorporating organic vegetable juicing into your optimal health program:
- Juicing helps you absorb most of the nutrients from the vegetables. This is important because most of us have impaired digestion as a result of making less-than-optimal food choices over many years. This limits your body's ability to absorb all the nutrients from the vegetables. Juicing will help to "pre-digest" them for you, so you will receive most of the nutrition, rather than having it go down the toilet.
- Juicing allows you to consume an optimal amount of vegetables in an efficient manner. If you are a carb type, you should eat one pound of raw vegetables per 50 pounds of body weight per day. Some people may find eating that many vegetables difficult, but it can be easily accomplished with a quick glass of vegetable juice.
- You can add a wider variety of vegetables in your diet. Many people eat the same vegetable salads every day. This violates the principle of regular food rotation and increases your chance of developing an allergy to a certain food. But with juicing, you can juice a wide variety of vegetables that you may not normally enjoy eating whole.
Start by juicing only vegetables that you enjoy eating non-juiced. The juice should taste pleasant -- not make you feel nauseous. It is very important to listen to your body when juicing. Your stomach should feel good all morning long. If it is churning or growling or generally making its presence known, you probably juiced something you should not be eating. Personally, I've noticed that I can't juice large amounts of cabbage, but if I spread it out, I do fine.
Please review my comprehensive vegetable juicing
instructions for more information. To learn more about the ins-and-outs of juicing, you can also check out my three-part interview with Cherie Calbom, aka "The Juice Lady":
What are the Best Vegetables for Good Health?
My Recommended List of Vegetables
provides a guide to the most nutritious vegetables, and those to limit due to their high carbohydrate content. Remember: the greener the vegetable, the more nutritious it will be. Ideally, you'll want to juice vegetables that are appropriate for your particular nutritional type, which I'll summarize below. There is a basic test you can take to find out your nutritional type, which is detailed in my book, Take Control of Your Health
. Alternatively, you can take the free online Nutritional Typing test
As a general guide, the following list of vegetables details some of the best and worst vegetables for your health.
Highly Recommended Vegetables
Avocado (actually a fruit)
Green and red cabbage
Lettuce: romaine, red leaf, green leaf
Peppers: red, green, yellow and hot
Use sparingly due to high carbohydrate levels
Vegetables to Avoid
Tips to Make Your Juice Taste Better
If you would like to make your juice taste a bit more palatable, especially in the beginning, you can add these elements:
- Coconut: This is one of my favorites! You can purchase the whole coconut or use unsweetened shredded coconut. It adds a delightful flavor and is an excellent source of fat to balance your meal. Coconut has medium chain triglycerides, which have many health benefits. You can even add coconut water to your juice, which is an excellent natural source of electrolytes, especially potassium.
- Lemons and Limes: You can add half a lemon or lime (leaving much of the white rind on), which really brightens up the flavor of your juice.
- Cranberries: Researchers have discovered that cranberries have five times the antioxidant content of broccoli, which means they may help protect against cancer, stroke and heart disease. Limit the cranberries to about 4 ounces per pint of juice.
- Fresh ginger: This is an excellent addition if you can tolerate it. It gives your juice a little "kick"! And, as an added boon, researchers have found ginger can have dramatic benefits for cardiovascular health, including preventing atherosclerosis, lowering cholesterol levels, and preventing the oxidation of low-density lipoprotein (LDL).
Nutritional Typing and Juicing Vegetables
According to Nutritional Typing principles, if you are a carb type, vegetable juicing is STRONGLY recommended. With patients in our clinic, we strongly encourage carbohydrate types to juice if they expect to regain their health. If you are a mixed type, it is certainly useful to juice. However, protein types need to follow some specific guidelines to make it work for them, which I'll review below.
Do you know your nutritional type? If not, you can easily determine this by taking my free online nutritional type test.
Protein Types and Juicing Vegetables
If you are a protein type, juicing needs to be done cautiously. The only vegetables you should juice are your prime protein type vegetables, which are celery, spinach, asparagus, string beans and cauliflower (including the base).
Also, to make drinking vegetable juice compatible with protein type metabolism (which needs high amounts of fat), it is important to blend a source of raw fat into the juice. Raw cream, raw butter, raw eggs, avocado, coconut butter, or freshly ground flax seed are the sources of raw fat I most recommend. In addition to adding a source of raw fat to your juice, you may also find that adding some, or even all, of the vegetable pulp back into your juice helps make it more satisfying
Final Thoughts about Vegetables
The truth is, scientists really don't know all that much about nutrients, and taking isolated nutrients through supplements is not always a good idea. A much better way to get the vital nutrients your body needs is through eating whole, fresh organic vegetables. I recommend at least one third of your total diet be eaten raw, and a great way to do this is through incorporating juicing into your eating plan. Personally, I aim for consuming about 80 percent of my food raw, including raw eggs, dairy, and meat.
I want to emphasize that eating any vegetable is better than eating no vegetables at all, so don't get down on yourself if you're able to juice organic fresh vegetables only a few times a week. Even if you have to start slowly, I think you'll soon begin to notice positive changes to your health when you increase your fresh vegetable intake. Also, please review my complete nutrition plan
, which can help you take a comprehensive look at your health as it relates to food, and may even help you change the way you think about eating.http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2010/11/29/recommended-vegetable-list.aspx
November 09, 2013 | 19,398 views
By Dr. Mercola
Vegetables have an impressive way of offering widespread benefits to your health, and broccoli is no exception. When you eat broccoli you’re getting dozens, maybe even hundreds, of super-nutrients that support optimal, body-wide health.
Man-made substances just can’t compare, and that’s why, if you take just one piece of advice away from your childhood, make it this one: eat your broccoli!
5 Leading Benefits of Broccoli
We’ve compiled an extensive review of the health benefits of broccoli on our Broccoli Food Facts
page. This cruciferous veggie (in the same family as Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, and more) is one of the best health-boosting foods around, with research proving its effectiveness for …
Recent tests on cells, tissues and mice show that a sulfur-rich broccoli compound, sulforaphane, blocks a key destructive enzyme that damages cartilage.1 It’s thought that increasing broccoli in your diet may help to slow down and even prevent osteoarthritis.
Sulforaphane in broccoli has also been shown to kill cancer stem cells, thereby striking to the root of tumor growth, and the broccoli compound glucoraphanin
-- a precursor to sulforaphane – boosts cell enzymes that protect against molecular damage from cancer-causing chemicals.2, 3
Studies have also found that sulforaphane normalizes DNA methylation4 —a process that involves a methyl group (one carbon atom attached to three hydrogen atoms) being added to part of a DNA molecule, and therefore influencing its expression.
DNA methylation is a crucial part of normal cell function, allowing cells to "remember who they are and where they have been" and is indispensable for regulating gene expression.
DNA methylation also suppresses the genes for things you don’t want, such as viral and other disease-related genes, and abnormal DNA methylation plays a critical role in the development of nearly all types of cancer.
One study published in PLoS One,5 for instance, found that just four servings of broccoli per week could protect men from prostate cancer. One serving of broccoli is about two spears, so that's only 10 broccoli spears per week.
In this study, the researchers collected tissue samples over the course of the study and found that the men who ate broccoli showed hundreds of beneficial changes in genes known to play a role in fighting cancer.
3. Blood Pressure and Kidney Health
Sulforaphane in broccoli may also significantly improve your blood pressure and kidney function, according to yet another study in which hypertensive rats with impaired kidney function were given sulforaphane. The natural compound improved the rats' kidney function and lowered their blood pressure by normalizing DNA methylation patterns within their cells.6
4. Anti-Aging and Immune System Health
Sulforaphane also seems to stimulate a variety of antioxidant defense pathways in your body that can directly reduce oxidative stress and slow down the decline in your immune system that happens with age.7 In theory, this means that eating vegetables that contain sulforaphane, such as broccoli, could quite literally slow down the hands of time.
5. Heart Health, Especially for Diabetics
Sulforaphane encourages production of enzymes that protect the blood vessels, and reduces the number of molecules that cause cell damage -- known as Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS) -- by up to 73 percent.8 People with diabetes are up to five times more likely to develop cardiovascular diseases such as heart attacks and strokes -- both of which are linked to damaged blood vessels. Eating broccoli may help to reverse some of this damage.
Broccoli Benefits Your Eyes, Your Skin and Much More
The benefits of broccoli are seemingly endless. It’s also known, for instance, that broccoli:9
Supports your body’s detoxification, thanks to the phytonutrients glucoraphanin, gluconasturtiian, and glucobrassicin
Is anti-inflammatory (inflammation is at the root of many chronic diseases)
Contains the flavonoid kaempferol, which may fight allergies and inflammation
Contains significant amounts of fiber to facilitate better digestion
Supports eye health, thanks to high levels of the carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin
Benefits your skin, as sulforaphane helps repair skin damage
Is rich in beneficial nutrients like potassium, calcium, protein and vitamin C
May reduce blood sugar levels, as it contains both soluble fiber and chromium
Supports heart health and contains lutein, which may help prevent thickening of your arteries
The ‘Secret’ Way to Enhance the Health Benefits of Broccoli
I call it secret because so many people believe that the only way to eat broccoli is after it’s been roasted or steamed. Not so, as broccoli can also be enjoyed raw or even ‘tender-crisp’ – which is one of the best ways to protect its nutrient levels. However, an even better way to get the health benefits of broccoli is by eating its sprouts. Fresh broccoli sprouts are FAR more potent nutritionally speaking than mature broccoli, allowing you to eat far less in terms of quantity to get key therapeutic compounds like sulforaphane.
This is also an excellent alternative if you don’t like the taste (or smell) of broccoli. In terms of research, even small quantities of broccoli sprout extracts have been shown to markedly reduce the size of rat mammary tumors that were induced by chemical carcinogens. According to researchers at Johns Hopkins University:10
"Three-day-old broccoli sprouts consistently contain 20 to 50 times the amount of chemoprotective compounds found in mature broccoli heads, and may offer a simple, dietary means of chemically reducing cancer risk.”
When compared to either broccoli or cauliflower, which also contains sulforaphane,11 three-day-old broccoli sprouts contain anywhere from 10 to 100 times higher levels of glucoraphanin, compared to the mature varieties. Best of all, you can grow broccoli sprouts at home quite easily and inexpensively. Another major benefit is that you don't have to cook them. They are eaten raw, usually as an addition to salad, making them a super-healthy convenience food!
How to Grow Your Own Broccoli Sprouts
Broccoli sprouts look and taste similar to alfalfa sprouts, and are easily grown at home, even if you’re limited on space. I strongly recommend using organic seeds, and a pound of seeds will probably make over 10 pounds of sprouts. From the researcher’s calculations mentioned earlier, this can translate to as much cancer-protecting phytochemicals as 1,000 pounds (half a ton) of broccoli!
I used to grow sprouts
in Ball jars over 10 years ago but stopped doing that. I am strongly convinced that actually growing them in soil is far easier and produces more nutritious and abundant food. It is also less time consuming, as with Ball jars you need to rinse them several times a day to prevent mold growth. Trays also take up less space than jars. I am now consuming one whole tray of sprouts every 2-3 days, and to produce that much food with Ball jars I would need dozens of jars. I simply don't have the time or patience for that. You can find instructions on how to grow sprouts by viewing a step-by-step guide at rawfoods-livingfoods.com
Broccoli is Only One “Superstar” Veggie
There’s no doubt that broccoli is a vegetable you should strive to eat frequently, but like most foods if you eat it too often you may grow tired of it or even develop an aversion to it. Fortunately you don’t have to because there are so many vegetables to choose from that you can’t possibly get tired of them..
As an example, you can easily consume several different types of raw vegetables each day just by thinking outside the box for your lunchtime salad. My current salad consists of about half a pound of sunflower sprouts, four ounces of fermented vegetables, half a large red pepper, several tablespoon of raw organic butter, some red onion, a whole avocado and about three ounces of salmon or chicken.
You could also add some raw broccoli or broccoli sprouts, asparagus, garlic, tomatoes, celery, parsley, spinach, zucchini and so on. The key is to branch out beyond plain lettuce. Of course, you can also get creative with your recipes. The New York Times12 recently featured several broccoli recipes that sound delicious, including broccoli, quinoa and purslane salad, broccoli stem and red pepper slaw and roasted broccoli with tahini garlic sauce. If you’re bored with broccoli, give these recipes a try (and do share how they taste by commenting below!).
Best Pract Res Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2013 Aug;27(4):617-28. doi: 10.1016/j.beem.2013.07.004. Epub 2013 Aug 17.
Effects of age on male fertility.
Centre for Reproductive Medicine and Andrology/Clinical Andrology, Domagkstrasse 11, D-48149 Muenster, Germany. Electronic address: Michael.Zitzmann@ukmuenster.de.
Later parenting is considered by many to have advantages, parents-to-be may feel themselves more stable to rear children. In addition, many men start a second family later in life. Thus, paternal age becomes an emerging issue. Aging affects male fertility by a scope of factors, which are not fully understood to date. Generally, the amount of produced sperm cells as well as their motility decreases with age, as testicular histological architecture deteriorates. Decreased fecundity and an increased risk for disturbed pregnancies occur with advancing paternal age. Some rare autosomal dominant pathologies are clearly related to paternal age. Altered patterns of epigenetics/gene expression in aging sperm seem to affect a range of neurocognitive disorders and also metabolic dyshomeostasis across generations. Such effects refer to men older than 40 years and may have impact on socio-economic issues. Nevertheless, councelling of older men seeking paternity should be patient-oriented and weigh statistical probabilities against the right for individual life-planning.
Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
aging and sperm, aging fathers, epigenetics and fertility, male fertility, paternal age
Hum Mol Genet. 2013 Jun 4. [Epub ahead of print]
New evidence for positive selection helps explain the paternal age effect observed in achondroplasia.
Molecular and Computational Biology Program, University of Southern California, Los Angeles 90089, California, United States of America.
There are certain de novo germline mutations associated with genetic disorders whose mutation rates per generation are orders of magnitude higher than the genome average. Moreover, these mutations occur exclusively in the male germ line and older men have a higher probability of having an affected child than younger ones, known as the paternal age-effect. The classic example of a genetic disorder exhibiting a PAE is achondroplasia, caused predominantly by a single nucleotide substitution (c.1138G>A) in FGFR3. To elucidate what mechanisms might be driving the high frequency of this mutation in the male germline, we examined the spatial distribution of the c.1138G>A substitution in a testis from an 80-year old unaffected man. Using a technology based on bead-emulsion amplification, we were able to measure mutation frequencies in 192 individual pieces of the dissected testis with a false positive rate lower than 2.7x10-6. We observed that most mutations are clustered in a few pieces with 95% of all mutations occurring in 27% of the total testis. Using computational simulations, we rejected the model proposing an elevated mutation rate per cell division at this nucleotide site. Instead we determined that the observed mutation distribution fits a germline selection model, where mutant spermatogonial stem cells have a proliferative advantage over unmutated cells. Combined with data on several other PAE mutations, our results support the idea that the PAE, associated with a number of Mendelian disorders, may be explained primarily by a selective mechanism.
PMID: 23740942 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]
Common Genetic Disease Linked to Father’s Age
1 hour ago
Genetic mutation of a testis stem cell actually gives the disease an edge, making older fathers more likely to pass it along to their children
Scientists at USC have unlocked the mystery of why new cases of the genetic disease Noonan Syndrome are so common: a mutation that causes the disease disproportionately increases a normal father’s production of sperm carrying the disease trait.
When this Noonan syndrome mutation arises in a normal sperm stem cell it makes that cell more likely to reproduce itself than stem cells lacking the mutation. The father then is more likely to have an affected child because more mutant stem cells result in more mutant sperm. The longer the man waits to have children the greater the chance of having a child with Noonan syndrome.
Noonan Syndrome is among the most common genetic diseases with a simple inheritance pattern. About one of every 4,000 live births is a child with a new disease mutation. The disease can cause craniofacial abnormalities, short stature, heart defects, intellectual disability and sometimes blood cancers.
By examining the testes from 15 unaffected men, a team led by USC molecular and computational biologists Norman Arnheim and Peter Calabrese found that the new mutations were highly clustered in the testis, and that the overall proportion of mutated stem cells increased with age. Their computational analysis indicated that the mutation gave a selective edge over non-mutated cells.
“There is competition between stem cells with and without the mutation in each individual testis,” said Arnheim, who has joint appointments at the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences and the Keck School of Medicine of USC. “But what is also unusual in this case is that the mutation which confers the advantage to testis stem cells is disadvantageous to any offspring that inherits it.”
The new findings also suggest an important new molecular mechanism to explain how certain genetic disease mutations can alter sperm stem cell function leading to exceptionally high frequencies of new cases every generation.
The Arnheim and Calabrese team included USC postdoctoral research associates Song-Ro Yoon, and Soo-Kung Choi, graduate student Jordan Eboreime and Dr. Bruce D. Gelb of the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City. A paper detailing their research will be published on June 6 in The American Journal of Human Genetics
This research was supported by the National Institute of General Medical Sciences grant number R01GM36745 and the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (National Institutes of Health) grant number HL071207.
More Recent Articles
- . Recent studies have shown that 76% of new mutations originate in the paternal lineage and provide unequivocal evidence for an increase in mutation with paternal age.
- Impact of age on male fertility.
- Paternal Age and Risk of Autism in an Ethnically Diverse, Non-Industrialized Setting: Aruba
- Older Fathers Linked to Kids' Autism and Schizophrenia Risk Don't blame older mothers for their offsprings' developmental problems. A new study finds "there is probably much more reason to be concerned with the age of the father" Read more: http://healthland.time.com/2012/08/23/older-fathers-linked-to-kids-autism-and-schizophrenia-risk/#ixzz24Tl8tE00
- Rate of de novo mutations and the importance of father's age to disease risk. Kong A, Frigge ML, Masson G, Besenbacher S, Sulem P, Magnusson G, Gudjonsson SA, Sigurdsson A, Jonasdottir A, Jonasdottir A, Wong WS, Sigurdsson G, Walters GB, Steinberg S, Helgason H, Thorleifsson G, Gudbjartsson DF, Helgason A, Magnusson OT, Thorsteinsdottir U, Stefansson K. Nature. 2012 Aug 22;488(7412):471-5. doi: 10.1038/nature11396. PMID: 22914163 [PubMed - in process]