The truth is that apples are cholesterol, fat, and sodium free. Apples contain essential minerals as chromium, iron, magnesium, and potassium.
I have always heard my grandmother say, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.” (No pun intended because I love your health column), but truthfully what is it about apples?
Apples belong to the family, Rosaceae, the same family as the pear. There are countless varieties of apples. Until reading the first section of Michael Pollans’ “The Botany of Desire,” I had no idea that different varieties existed. Historically, in mythology they were the fruit of the Gods. The apple was sacred to the Greek goddess of love, Aphrodite. The truth is that apples are cholesterol, fat, and sodium free. Apples contain essential minerals as chromium, iron, magnesium, and potassium. They also contain biotin and thiamine as well as vitamin C. In addition to their fiber quality, apples also are rich in phyto-chemicals, which fight against heart disease. They are rich in polyphenols that are anti oxidant that help fight against free radical damage to the body. Some studies have indicated that consuming the apple and its skin can help reduce the bad cholesterol (LDL) and even increase the HDL (the good cholesterol.) because the skin is rich in pectin. For me, I consume at least one to two apples per day. I might even cut an apple and spread it with almond butter before eating this delicious snack.
I am a 54-year-old postmenopausal female. I am very confused about the issue of soy. Some people state soy is good, while others state it is not! What is your opinion about soy?
Soy is a very controversial subject. Soybeans are a great source of protein, surpassing other vegetables and rivaling animal products. Soy protein is easily digested and is a wonderful source of dietary fiber. Soy protein has long been studied for its beneficial effect on lowering cholesterol. It also contains many phyto-chemicals that help prevent hormone-sensitive cancers, as breast and prostate. These phyto-chemicals may partly block receptors with plant estrogens known as daidzein and genisten. I would recommend reading the “The Whole Soy Story” by Kaayla T. Daniels. I usually suggest that both men and women consume two servings of soy per day. I believe soy can be beneficial in many respects regarding one’s health.
I have begun to have eye problems in my late 30’s. Both of my parents suffer from either cataracts or macular degeneration. I already consume many vitamins and I believe I eat a healthy diet. What foods can I add to my diet to help with my vision?
Although we think only of carrots as helping with our eyes, there are many other fruits and vegetables we should consume. Zeaxanthin, an antioxidant beneficial to the eyes is found in yellow corn, apricots, spinach, papaya, kale, amaranth, and mustard greens. For those unfamiliar with amaranth, it is a non-gluten grain similar to brown rice and millet. Luetin, another important antioxidant for the eyes is found in peas, spinach, carrots, and tomatoes. These carotenoids have been instrumental in reducing the risk of age related macular degeneration. I think you are wise in changing your diet based on your family genetics. I also recommend yearly eye examinations.
I enjoy having chocolate every day. One of my friends states that eating a darker type chocolate can have a benefit to my overall health. Is there any truth to this myth?
Eating chocolate to benefit overall health is not a myth! Several research articles have recently been published in medical journals concerning the benefits of products based on cocoa, (Theobroma cacao) and its cardiovascular effects. Chocolate, especially the darker quality contains high amounts of flavinoids that have been shown to have antioxidant and immuno-regulatory properties. A 2007 study reviewed five trials summarizing that diets rich in cocoa were associated with reductions in both systolic and diastolic blood pressures. As I tell my patients, eating one square of dark chocolate can have benefit to the cardiovascular system. For the chocolate lover I encourage them to read, “The True History of Chocolate” by Sophie D. Coe and Michael D. Coe.
I am the sole caretaker for my 85-year-old mother. She has mild dementia and seems to be getting worse over the last few months. She is already taking conventional medications as Aricept and Namendia. I have been reading about the benefits of ginkgo. Are there any other supplements or herbs that might help with her memory?
I can certainly relate to your situation. My grandparents had the misfortune of losing all their children. I was the caretaker for their health. I saw their health decline over a short period. I only wish that I could have used many of the supplements I use today for my patients with memory loss. The main use for ginkgo is to improve memory and alertness. It has been shown to lessen the damage and improve cerebral (brain) circulation due to its blood thinning properties. The substance that gives this herb its blood thinning properties is the ginkgolides. A recent study demonstrated the benefits of a specific gingko extract called EGb761 for anxiety and mild to moderate dementia.
Other supplements that have been used are phosphatidyl serine, acetyl L carnitine, and huperzine. I also recommend vinpocetine, which is from the vinka alkaloid plant. None of these supplements or herbs has been shown to reverse the condition, but many have been shown with efficacy to slow the disease’s progression. Since all herbs are drugs, I would consult a health care practitioner before administering to any individual.
I have been reading about Vitamin D3. Is it necessary to supplement extra Vitamin D3?
To improve overall health, Vitamin D3 is a useful nutritional tool. Those who live above 36 degrees latitude, which is drawing a line from Los Angeles to Washington DC, do require extra vitamin D3. Vitamin D3 is the only vitamin the body can manufacture from sunlight. Due to advertising and the risk of skin cancer related to the sun, we have now have millions of people who are vitamin D deficient. It is clear with current research that Vitamin D3 plays a wide role in overall health. It has been studied and found beneficial for bone health, relieving depression, cognitive enhancement, and treating multiple cancers. It is interesting that a study in 1940 revealed a connection between Vitamin D3 and protection from cancers.
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Patrick Fratellone, MD is the Executive Medical Director of Fratellone Medical Associates, LLP in New York City, New York. Before going into private practice, he was the Chief of Medicine and Director of Cardiology of the former Atkins Center for Com...