Author Archives: hta

Vitamins and Minerals – Part 1

If our foods were the same as those of our predecessors, we would probably not need any supplements of vitamins and minerals. Our ancestors lived full healthy lives when vitamins were unknown, and minerals were earth materials not something one ate.

Unfortunately, our foods are not at all the same as theirs. Exhausted soils, chemical fertilizers, pesticides, refrigeration, storage, cooking, lifestyle, the inevitable pollution of our environment by toxic wastes, the deliberate pollution of our bodies by tobacco smoke and excessive alcohol, all negatively affect the vitamin and mineral content of our foods and of our bodies. More

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Vitamins and Minerals – Part 2

RDAs are the recommended daily amounts of micronutrients to avert nutrient deficiencies. In other words, and to remain with the same micronutrient as in the above example, enough vitamin C to avoid scurvy.

But is this the only thing that vitamin C does? All nutritionists and many other health professionals will tell you that vitamin C performs a large number of functions, the most important of which may be its antioxidant action. That is to say, its activity against free radicals which are the principal causes of heart disease, arthritis, premature aging, cancer and most other chronic degenerative diseases. But for this purpose, the RDA for vitamin C is woefully inadequate. More

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Our Bedrugged Lives

Some sixty-six years ago, an article with the above title (but not subtitle) appeared in the first quarterly of the Wine and Food Society, founded on the 20th of October 1933 in London, England. It was written by Professor Henry E Armstrong FRS, and its eminent sense is even more appropriate today than it was when the piece was written.
“We are in the throes, some of us believe, of a great social revolution,” wrote Professor Armstrong. “An era is upon us when food must have full scientific and ethical consideration and the social economics of supply must be the common care,” he wrote with emphasis in the original. The good professor went even further. “Food, in fact, in the near future, should not merely be something eaten but the care of statesmen.” More

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Focus on Food Allergies

One of the most intriguing questions that face today’s health professionals is the rampant rise of food allergies during the last fifteen years or more. People were allergic to foods before, but recently the numbers of sufferers have increased to the point of an incipient epidemic. Some people are allergic to so many foods, that finding something to eat is becoming a serious problem, never mind having a balanced diet. But before we go any further, it is important to clear up some confusion that exists around food allergies. More

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Foods and Blood Groups

A blueprint of body chemistry
Most people including the large majority of health scientists know blood groups from the viewpoint of blood transfusions. The fact that Blood Type O may be a donor to virtually all other types, while blood groups A, B and AB of the ABO group classification system have to be a lot more careful. Many people died on blood transfusion because this simple fact was unknown in earlier centuries, until scientists understood the simple intricacies of blood grouping.
But blood types seem to have some other important properties. They are indicative of certain levels of biological and biochemical functions and appear to determine the pattern of our diseases and our body’s nutritional preferences. In fact, our blood type seems to be a blueprint to much of our body chemistry; a guide to our nutritional absorption; and a cipher code to the diseases we are prone to, and the foods that can prevent them. More

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Look for Quality in Vegetables

Freshness galore
Nutritionists, many physicians, and absolutely all first class professional cooks agree that quality in vegetables is as much of primary importance for health, as for the preparation of foods worthy to be dignified by their inclusion in a “cuisine.” Yuan Mei, the Chinese poet-gourmet writes in his essay on cooking, that half the art of cooking is in buying fresh food, a statement with which no knowledgeable person will quarrel. A predecessor of mine and learned writer on food matters, Professor HM Armstrong FRS, whom I had occasion to quote in another article in this series, went several steps ahead of us all, one October day of 1933.
Addressing the Pharmaceutical Society of England at the opening session, he foretold them that, “once we are sufficiently provided with vegetable food of calculated quality, we shall be so healthy that nasty medicine will no longer be in demand.” He warned pharmacists that their occupation as pill-rollers would be in jeopardy, and therefore urged them to become greengrocers, dispensing not only the very best of vegetables, but also to act as skilled directors in their production, safeguarding their quality. I am sorry I never met Professor Armstrong. I would have liked to kiss him. But I was born too late for that. More

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The Benefits of the Traditional Mediterranean Diet

Cliches and staples
During the last few years the Mediterranean diet (Meddiet from now on) has ceased to be the regional food pattern of a specific region. It became an international affair, attaining first chic, then the status of a regular fad, the distinction of a pyramid, for some people a passing fancy, and finally the object of scientific studies, large international congresses, and clinical intervention trials. Somewhere along the way, a few things were forgotten.
The traditional Meddiet goes back to antiquity and has been often described as the food culture centered around the plant triad, wheat, vine and olive, or the principal foodstuffs produced from them, that is, wheat products, wine and olive oil. This has become a cliché nowadays, that you are bound to read in any serious discussion of the Meddiet. But few persons realize that this was first done to distinguish it from another triad of foodstuffs, namely barley, beer and seed oils, which were the contemporary staples of the Near East More

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Guarding against lung cancer

A no longer questioned link
The connection of lung cancer and smoking is no longer disputed. The number of studies documenting the connection is now beyond count. The fact that since women have started smoking, the incidence of female lung cancer has closely followed the proportion of smoking women, leaves little room for vacillation or doubt. Statistically speaking, the link between the frequency of lung cancer and the number of pack-years of smoking, remains indisputable and unequivocal. And the over 400 billion dollars that American cigarette manufacturers have agreed to pay as compensation, emphatically confirms the verdict of guilty as charged. More

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Is bran good for you?

The importance of fiber
As we all know, the discovery of the benefits of fiber is relatively recent. It all started with relevant observations of physicians and other health professionals in Africa. Many of our modern diseases associated with the digestive system, were generally absent in African populations, and even though by European standards African food left a lot to be desired, being both relatively monotonous and somewhat rough for European stomachs.
The health professionals involved were intrigued by this difference in disease patterns. Further observations showed that Africans digested their meals better than the European population. Soon the observant doctors came to the conclusion that the difference was in the amount of fiber the Africans ate with their foods, that “roughage” which appeared so crude by European standards. Increasing the fiber in their own diets showed that their hunch was right. Further tests left no doubt about the importance of fiber in the diet. More

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Frying and trans-fatty acids

You have probably repeatedly heard that frying as a cooking method is bad for you. You have been warned by food columnists, perhaps admonished by your doctor, and probably had other friends discuss with you the dangers of frying. Yet, you live in a country like Greece where frying is not only an everyday affair, but frequent enough to tickle or repel your nostrils at every step. At the same time, the people of this country have a pretty good health record, and are second only to the Japanese in expected life span at middle age. Surely there is a contradiction here somewhere. Are you expected to take these warnings seriously, or what? Let me tell you. More

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