Category Archives: Nutrition

amaranth grain

The High-Protein and Gluten-Free Amaranth Grain

amaranth grain

Amaranth is the general name for more than 60 different species of Amaranthus. Cultivated as a grain for 8,000 years, amaranth is classified as a pseudocereal grown for its edible starchy seeds. However, it is not in the same grain family as wheat and rice.

Top Benefits of Amaranth

Here are five reasons to eat this beneficial grain:

1. A Rich Source of Protein

Amaranth is exceptionally high in protein, providing nine grams per cup of cooked grain. Every single cell in the body needs protein. It is critical for building and strengthening muscle mass, supporting neurological function, aiding digestion, balancing hormones, and keeping a positive mood.

2. Gluten-Free

Since amaranth is gluten-free, it is an excellent alternative to people with wheat allergies or intolerances. Gluten sensitivity occurs when the body reacts to the protein found in the wheat plant (gluten). The more severe form of gluten intolerance is celiac disease, which leads to difficulty in digesting food. Gluten can also provoke other less severe symptoms, including bloating, diarrhea, abdominal pain, headaches, fatigue, skin problems, joint aches, leg or arm numbness, and even poor memory.

3. Reduces Inflammation

This pseudocereal can reduce inflammation, which is associated with nearly all health conditions. When the body experiences a buildup of dietary and environmental toxins, the immune system becomes overactive and activates defense cells and hormones that damage tissues.

4. Aids the Digestive System

Amaranth’s high fiber content helps in stimulating the digestive system to regulate the discharge of bodily waste. Due to fiber’s structure and the body’s incapacity to absorb it, fiber can pass through the digestive system without being absorbed by the stomach’s digestive enzymes. As a result, fiber carries waste, toxins, fat, and cholesterol particles out of the gut.

5. Lowers Cholesterol

A study published in the International Journal for Vitamin and Nutrition Research examined the impact of amaranth on the cholesterol levels of animals models. Results showed that consuming amaranth decreased low-density lipoprotein (LDL cholesterol) by 21 to 50%.

Where to Find Amaranth Grain

Amaranth is available for purchase in many health food stores. Since it is gaining popularity, it is sometimes available in major supermarkets, too.


How to Use Amaranth Grain

Amaranth grain has a toasted, nutty flavor that works well with many dishes. Here are a few ways to  incorporate amaranth into everyday meals:

  • Serve amaranth instead of white rice and pasta.
  • Combine amaranth with fruit and nuts instead of using oats.
  • Use amaranth as flour to make gluten-free bread or pastries.
  • Blend amaranth with fruit and veggie smoothies to add a nutty flavor.
  • Add amaranth to soups or chilis to create a thicker texture.
  • Make “rice cakes” by combining amaranth and honey.

When cooking amaranth grain, remember to use the ratio of 1/2 cup amaranth to 1 1/2 cups water. Heat the mixture in a saucepan until it boils. Then, reduce the heat and allow to simmer uncovered until the water is absorbed. This usually takes approximately 20 minutes. It is also more convenient to use a rice cooker instead.


Vitamin K2 Benefits

vitaminsSo, what are the benefits of Vitamin K2?  There’s been a lot of discussion about the essential nutrients, vitamins and minerals, but lately researchers are starting to recognize the one often-misunderstood vitamin that goes unnoticed.

A huge number of the population is deficient in vitamin K, principally vitamin K1 and K2.  Cees Vermeer, Ph.D. is a world’s leading authority on vitamin K2 from the Netherlands. He says that inadequacy in this vitamin is the rule rather than the exception, especially one form that is called menaquinon-7.  

There are several forms of vitamin K and the best foods to eat for vitamin K1, all of them cooked, are: kale, spinach, collard greens, beet greens, mustard greens and turnip greens. These vitamin K1 foods are involved in blood coagulation that helps to stop bleeding. When consuming this vitamin your intestines parcel it out in portions known as chylomicrons, and disperse it through your lymphatic system into your blood.

Vitamin K2 has two basic and crucial functions dealing with cardiovascular health and bone restoration.  Several other valuable things are helping to prevent osteoporosis and hardening of the arteries, directing calcium to places like your bones, optimizing sexual function, creating insulin to stabilize your blood sugar, suppressing genes that can promote cancer and enhancing your ability to utilize energy as you exercise improving overall performance.

Vitamin K2 refers to a collection of MK that are found in a variety of foods.  MK-4 regulates gene expression. It is important as all animals and humans are able to synthesize it from other forms of vitamin K.  You can obtain MK-4 from animal foods, but because the conversion process is inefficient and likely varies, depending on your health status and genetic factors.  Also, certain drugs as statins that lower your cholesterol and some osteoporosis drugs, inhibit the vitamin K conversion to MK-4.

Not receiving enough K2 might cause problems with heart disease, diabetes and osteoporosis. These are all signs of the K2 deficiency. Poor diet might also affect your vitamin K status. Increase your intake of green leafy vegetables for K1 and grass-fed raw dairy products and fermented foods for K2.  A general recommended guideline is around 150 mcg of vitamin K2 per day. Some others might recommend a slightly higher amount that is upwards of 180 to 200 mcg.  By eating 15 grams (1/2 ounce) of natto or fermented vegetables each day you can obtain healthy amounts of K2. If you choose to opt for a vitamin K2 supplement, make sure that it’s MK-7.  Also remember to take it with fat because it’s fat-soluble and won’t be absorbed otherwise. Don’t worry about overdosing on K2 as it appears to be virtually non-toxic, however, those who are taking vitamin K antagonists (drugs that reduce blood clotting by reducing the action of vitamin K) are advised to avoid MK-7 supplements.

Dr Fredda Branyon

Delicious and Nutritious Eats: Exotic Fruits from Asia

Apples, bananas, blueberries, and pineapples are among the many staple fruits we grew up eating. But it might be time to expand our culinary boundaries and try some of these exotic fruits from Asia, especially since they are chock-full of nutrition.


Deemed as the “king of fruits,” the durian hails from Southeast Asian nations, but is native to Brunei Indonesia, Malaysia, and possibly the Philippines, though disputes continue regarding the matter. Durian is a large fruit, usually up to a foot long and 6 inches wide, with a thick exterior covered in spikes, and a range of pale yellow to red flesh.

This exotic and controversial fruit has an unusual combination of sweet, savory, and creamy flavors all at once. It is widely celebrated for its extensive list of health benefits, including the ability to boost your immune system, reduce signs of anemia, remedy insomnia, stop premature aging, strengthen bones, improve digestion, lower blood pressure, protect against cardiovascular diseases, and prevent cancer.

Durian can also help manage diabetes, reduce inflammation of the joints, promote thyroid health, cure headaches, and lessen symptoms of stress, depression, and anxiety.

Rambutan rambutan

The rambutan fruit, also called Nephelium lappaceum, is an exotic fruit native to Southeast Asia. The fruit bears similarities to lychees with its thin, leather-like skin and multiple structures sticking out, almost like a sea urchin.

The rambutan is often referred to as a “super fruit” because of its tremendous health benefits. The fruit is rich in antioxidants that combat free radicals responsible for many diseases, including cancer, inflammation, and heart disease.

Jackfruit jackfruit

This native plant in India is a nutrition powerhouse. Jackfruit is loaded with antioxidants, B-vitamins, vitamin C, and magnesium. It also has a high percentage of carotenoids because of the vibrant yellow color of its pods. Further, jackfruit is a great source of flavonoids which, along with carotenoids, protect the body from cardiovascular disease, chronic degenerative diseases, and even cancer.

More recently, jackfruit has become a favorite ingredient in many vegan dishes. It unripe pods are an excellent substitute for meat in terms of texture.

Goji Berries Goji Berries

The Goji berry, otherwise known as the wolfberry, is a bright orange-red berry indigenous to China. This medicinal plant is thought to treat ailments in the eye, liver, and kidneys. This festive-looking berry has a sweet, tangy taste and is often dried like raisins. Goji berries are an excellent source of vitamin C, vitamin A, fiber, iron, zinc, and antioxidants. These berries also comprise all eight essential amino acids.

Mangosteen Mangosteen

Mangosteen, formerly belonging to the Sunda Islands in Indonesia, is referred to as the “queen of the tropical fruit” for its impressive health qualities.

Mangosteen gained widespread popularity after scientists discovered its anti-cancer properties. This lesser-known fruit can even boost the immune system, maintain healthy blood pressure, repair damaged cells, preserve oral health, support cardiovascular health, prevent acne, and promote weight loss. Moreover, mangosteen is an exceptional source of vitamin C, which alleviates inflammation and kills infectious bacteria.

Langsat Langsat

Lansium parasiticum, also acknowledged as langsat or lanzones, is a tree species in the Mahogany family. The plant, bearing small edible fruits,  originates from western Peninsular Malaysia. This white-fleshed fruit has a similar outer appearance to baby potatoes, but is twice as nutritious. Langsat contains many essential elements like vitamins, proteins, carbohydrates, minerals, and dietary fiber in abundance. It is also a source of vitamin A, Thiamine, and riboflavin, which are vital for maintaining healthy eyes, skin, teeth, and body tissues.


New Food Trend, Koji

KojiConsumer behavior is beginning to change in regards to food and is embracing more traditional foods. They are also relearning ancient culinary methods such as fermenting. This could be one of the most positive food trends in many decades as these fermented foods are really important for optimal gut health and plays a crucial role in how the microbiome plays in our overall health and mental wellbeing.

Your microbiome is one of the environmental factors that drives genetic expression that turns the genes on and off, depending on which microbes are present.  According to research, many are deficient in beneficial gut bacteria.

Koji (Asperfillus oryzae) is now embraced by chefs around the world.  It is a type of fungus that has been used for millennia in China and Japan.  Asperfillus ferments and produces a number of enzymes known to be beneficial for animal and human health, which aids digestion and promotes a healthy gut.  Sake, soy sauce, rice vinegar and miso soup are Asian foods and beverages made with koji. Western chefs are experimenting and coming up with all sorts of new koji-fermented products.

Koji is used to tenderize meats, cutting the time required to dry and age the meat from 45 days to as little as 48 hours.  Koji looks a bit like rice pudding or little grains covered in powder. Over time the enzymes in the koji breaks down the connective tissue in steak and rids the meat of its moisture.  The meat is beginning to decompose, and that is what makes it so tender.

Another use for koji is to use it as a marinade for fish, chicken and vegetables.  Marinade for as little as 30 to 60 minutes and keep in mind that the food may burn faster than normal when cooked.  It’s salty enough so do not add extra salt. Koji can also be used as a salt substitute.

The fermentation process produces:

  • Beneficial healthy bacteria that promotes gut health
  • Beneficial enzymes
  • Certain nutrients, including B vitamins, biotin and folic acid
  • Increased bioavailability of minerals
  • Short-chain fatty acids that help improve your immune system function

Optimizing your gut health is a foundational step.  Most people have poor gut health and would benefit from eating more fermented foods.  Fiber serves as a prebiotic and is another important component. Ways that probiotic foods influence your health and well being are: enhancing nutritional content of the food, restoration of normal gut flora when taking antibiotics, immune system enhancement, improvement of symptoms of lactose intolerance, reduced risk of infection from pathogenic microorganisms, weight loss aid, reduced constipation or diarrhea, can help prevent allergies in children, antioxidant and detoxifying effects, reduced risk for helicobacter pylori, improvement of leaky gut, reduced urinary and female genital tract infections, improvement of premenstrual syndrome, improvement of and reduced risk for atopic dermatitis and acne, reduced risk for type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes, improved mental health, mood control and behavior, improvement of autistic symptoms and reduced risk of brain diseases.

Optimizing your microbiome could be a potent disease prevention strategy.

Dr Fredda Branyon

healthy foods

Low Carb Food Swaps

healthy foodsCarbohydrates are mainstay for lots of people who say they love all those comfort foods like macaroni and cheese, donuts, white rice and bread.  These sure aren’t the foods for someone who has healthy eating on the mind. These carbohydrates are just plain bad for you.

Not all carbs are the same though.  A lot of the good ones provide nutrition, containing things like protein, iron, fiber and B-vitamins.  Simple and complex are the two types of carbohydrates. A good way to separate them is simply substandard and sinful or sketchy.  Just remember to avoid them, as they contain a lot of sugar. The complex carbs are the ones that are commendable, constructive and correct.  

Kim Larson, a registered dietitian from the Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics, says that when it comes to carbs, the simple ones are composed of short-chain carbon molecules that basically head straight for your bloodstream and spike your blood sugar.  The complex carbs have longer chains of carbon molecules and take longer for your body to break them down, so the sugar isn’t dumped into our bloodstream.

As we have all learned, not all carbs are created equally!  Seven nutritionists were asked to submit their favorite low-carb “swaps” for those who want to lower their carb intake without giving up the flavor.  Some of their submissions were:

  • Sweet potato “toast”.  Skip the bread, peel the sweet potato, slice it up and pop the slices in the toaster.  Then you can top it with a number of flavors just to suit your own taste. Be inventive!
  • Mashed turnips.  They contain just 2/3rds of the calories and you get lots of fiber. Wash, peel and steam, or bake them like squash or traditional potatoes.
  • Fava bean flour.  These are known as broad beans and come in a pod similar to green beans.  Mature ones are bitter, so remove the pod and release the beans inside to use in many recipes, including salads. An excellent source of folic acid.
  • Lettuce wraps.  This process has been done for many years in restaurants, so individuals can do the same at home.  Cut down on the white bread and use the lettuce. Collard greens, kale, chard and lettuce leaves are a nutritious way to cut those calories on sandwiches.
  • Applewich.  Replace that bread with apple slices by cutting an apple so you have two circular slices ¼ inch thick, and spread each slice with nut butter.  Top with pumpkin seeds, cinnamon or cherries and press them together.
  • Whipped Cauliflower.  Potatoes have 2 grams of fiber, 1 gram of sugar and 21 grams of carbs.  Steamed cauliflower has 3 grams of fiber, 2 grams of sugar and only 5 grams of carbs.  This yummy alternate to potatoes is the only option now for that mashed, buttery goodness.
  • Carrot “noodles”.  Carrot noodles work well as an alternative dish for a pasta substitute.  You get fewer carbs and the texture is crunchy.
  • Spaghetti Squash.  Another pasta option like this can cut carbs and provide you with potassium, folate and fiber.  Slice the squash length-wise, place with cut side up in baking dish with ½” of water. Salt and butter and bake for one hour at 350 degrees.
  • Broccoli “rice”.  Toss broccoli florets into the processor then steam or sauté with a little salt and butter.  This brings a good serving of fiber, vitamin B6 and vitamin K to lessen your diabetes and heart disease risks.

Umm. Lets give it a try.

Dr Fredda Branyon

What’s the Deal with Cricket Flour?

The thought of eating crickets may be enough to trigger your gag reflex, but wait until you learn about their amazing health benefits. Cricket flour or cricket protein powder is made from 100% ground crickets. Labeled the “food of the future,” cricket species are quickly becoming an in-demand source of protein for many.

Cricket flour is a healthy alternative to wheat flour and can be incorporated into many recipes, including homemade protein bars, cookies, and bread. This new “it” protein might even replace other popular grain-free options such as almond and coconut flour.

Merriam-Webster describes entomophagy as “the practice of eating insects,” and a quarter of the world’s people now embraces this practice. However, most of the western population is still on the fence about joining the bandwagon. If you are among those reluctant to jump on board, keep reading and you might just change your mind.

An Excellent Source of Good Nutrition

There are nearly 2,000 types of edible insect species, including crickets. Not only are they accessible, but they can be highly nutritious. Cricket flour, in particular, is an exceptional source of nutrition that comprises all nine essential amino acids, making it a complete protein. In fact, cricket flour has nearly triple the amount of protein compared to steak. Cricket flour is also an excellent source of calcium, vitamins B12 and B2, iron, potassium, and essential fatty acids.

Good for the Environment

Beyond their fantastic contribution to good health, eating insects can also be great for the environment. Crickets are cheap, easy to farm, and comes with a minimal ecological footprint (the quantity of nature it takes to support). Crickets also require less infrastructure and do not mind living in dense populations. They also reproduce rapidly and have shorter life spans than livestock. In fact, crickets grow twenty times faster than cows, resulting in faster production and fewer resources needed.

Unlike livestock, crickets also carry a much lower risk of passing on diseases to consumers. And unlike other animals where there is a great deal of waste, the whole cricket can be consumed.

Safe to Eat

Although the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommends keeping bugs out of your food, the federal agency allows the consumption of crickets for as long as they are produced, packaged, warehoused, and shipped in a sanitary and wholesome manner. In layman’s terms, the crickets must be raised for consumption and not found in the wild.

What They Taste Like

The taste is nowhere near as horrendous as you may think. Cricket flour has a mild, somewhat nutty flavor, with no hint that you are munching on insects. Besides, the crickets being finely ground should eliminate any woes and worries you may have.

Buy from Reputable Sources

Considering the many advantages of cricket flour, it comes as no surprise that the product is becoming a staple in many households. If you are feeling adventurous, make sure to buy crickets from trustworthy sources. Avoid catching and consuming crickets at random since you can never be sure of what they eat, or if they have been exposed to pesticides.


Healthy Hair Growth

It is best to avoid the toxic commercial shampoos and hair treatment products in promoting healthy hair and scalp.  Rely on what nature has supplied us, which is high quality burdock oil. Achieve those shiny locks and receive the other therapeutic effects.

This oil is also known as Bur oil and burdock root oil extract that is extracted from the leaves and root of the burdock plant that is native to Europe and has been naturalized in North America.  It has been used for centuries by various cultures, thus its various names. Burdock oil has been used in food and drinks, cosmetics and medicines.

The root is sometimes used as food and the seeds can be used to make a decoction to lower fevers, while all of the parts of the plan are used for medicinal purposes like joint problems, acne treatment and hair growth and scalp maintenance.  This product has also been marketed for hair loss, with products available in cosmetic stores that can be massaged onto your hair 3 times a week for maximum results. This will help to restore the function of your hair follicles and sebaceous glands to further protect against scalp dryness.  The oil is very popular in Japan for hair wellness and also for skin care.

Burdock oil has vitamin A and essential fatty acids that can help strengthen our hair by nourishing your scalp.  This is definitely something I need to try. The older I get, the less hair I have. It can also help with scalp infections and irritation caused by dandruff.  Mucilage, tannins, and inulin are also contained in the burdock plant that can provide beneficial action.

Any safety issues are rare, except for individuals specifically at risk such as causing an allergic reaction in those who are sensitive to certain flowers and herbs as ragweed, daisies, marigolds and others.  Those individuals with allergies, along with women who are pregnant and breastfeeding, should avoid using this oil. It might also increase the risk of bleeding during and after surgery.

Your blood sugar may be reduced or increased by the use of burdock oil so diabetics should watch their levels and avoid using the oil.  It can also cause electrolyte imbalance and skin allergies. Consulting a natural holistic practitioner before using it, especially when doing so for therapeutic benefits, would be advised.  If you take an anticoagulant or medication that slows blood clotting, they will interact with burdock. Taking them might increase the chances of bruising and bleeding. Some of these drugs are aspirin, clopidogrel, diclofenac, ibuprofen and warfarin.

Dr Fredda Branyon


E-Cigarettes Harmful

E-Cigarettes Harmful

There was a surprising article written by Honor Whiteman that revealed the harm that e-cigarettes can have for our oral health.  They are marketed as a safer alternative to conventional cigarettes, but when it comes to our oral health, new research suggests that vaping may be just as harmful as smoking.

An article was published in the journal Oncotarget revealing that researchers had found the chemicals present in electronic cigarette vapor were just as damaging, and in some cases even more damaging to the mouth cells, as tobacco smoke.  This can lead to an array of oral health problems that include gum disease, tooth loss and even mouth cancer.

The battery-operated e-cigarette devices contain a heating device and a cartridge that holds a liquid solution. The device vaporizes the liquid when the user “puffs” on the device resulting in vapor being inhaled.  E-cigarettes do not contain the highly harmful tobacco, a highly harmful component of conventional cigarettes, but they do contain nicotine and other chemicals, including flavoring agents.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that the e-cigarette usage has increased in recent years, especially among the young people.  About 16% of high-school students in 2015 reported using the devices where only 1.5% used the devices in 2011. There is little known about the long term effects of vaping on the health, but e-cigarettes are considered to be safer than conventional smoking by many.

The research team exposed gum tissue of nonsmokers to either tobacco or menthol-flavored e-cigarette vapor and found that tobacco-flavored vapor contained 16 milligrams of nicotine, while the menthol flavor contained 13-16 milligrams of nicotine or no nicotine.  All e-cigarette vapors caused damage to gum tissue cells comparable to that caused by exposure to tobacco smoke. When the vapors from an e-cigarette are burned, it causes cells to release inflammatory proteins, which is turn aggravate stress within cells and result in damage that could lead to various oral diseases.

Even though it is a fact that nicotine is a known contributor to gum disease, the e-cigarette flavoring appears to exacerbate the cell damage caused by e-cigarette vapor, with menthol-flavored vapor causing the most harm.  

Another study published in the Journal of Cellular Physiology revealed a high rate of mouth cell death with exposure to e-cigarette vapor over just 3 days and killed 53% of mouth cells.  E-cigarette vapor was pumped into the chamber at a rate of two 5-second puffs every 60 seconds for 15 minutes a day and performed over 1, 2 or 3 days.  Upon analyzing the vapor-exposed epithelial cells under a microscope, the researchers identified a significant increase in the rate of cell damage and death.  It was found that with exposure to e-cigarette vapor, the number of dead or dying cells rose to 18%, 40% and 53% over 1, 2 and 3 days, respectively. This leads researchers to believe that their findings are a cause for concern as over the longer term, it may also increase the risk of cancer.

Dr Fredda Branyon


Broccoli May Slow Age Decline

BroccoliA foundational aspect of a healthy diet is to eat plenty of fresh vegetables.  A healthy diet can help to lower your risk for many chronic diseases, including type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke and certain cancers.  This is especially ideal if you eat organic foods to avoid pesticides and GMO’s.

Vegetables contain antioxidants and disease-fighting compounds that you won’t find in other foods and are rich in vitamins, minerals and fiber.  Inflammation can be reduced with phytochemicals and eliminate carcinogens. Others regulate cell reproduction, apoptosis and DNA maintenance. A potent anti-aging effect is in certain plant compounds.  Broccoli is probably best known for its anti-cancer activity that also contains an enzyme that researchers believe may slow age-related decline in health by restoring your metabolism to more youthful levels.  A basic premise of aging is that as you age, your cells’ ability to produce energy declines, and cell repair and maintenance declines as well. Degeneration then sets in.

The enzyme nicotinamide mononucleotide (NMN) plays a role in producing nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD), which is a compound involved in mitochondrial health and energy metabolism.  Research has shown that your body loses its capacity to create NAD with age. When NMN is dissolved and administered in water, it takes 3 minutes for the compound to appear in the blood. There it is quickly converted into NAD in multiple tissues.

For health and longevity, eat your greens!  NMN is also found in cucumbers, cabbage, avocado and other green vegetables.  Studies have shown that people with higher vegetable intake has lower risks of high blood pressure and stroke, lower risks of certain types of cancer, reduced risk of kidney stones and bone loss, higher scores on cognitive tests, higher antioxidant levels, lower biomarkers for oxidative stress, lower risk for Alzheimer’s disease, lower risk for eye diseases and fewer digestive problems.

Research has revealed the following list of health benefits associated with broccoli such as osteoarthritis, cancer, high blood pressure, heart disease, kidney disease, diabetes, neurodegenerative diseases and allergies.  Water and nutrient rich veggies as well as broccoli also support healthy liver function, which in turn promotes optimal functioning of your natural detoxification systems. Broccoli also contains a good source of healthy fiber, which is broken down into short-chain fatty acids by your gut bacteria that has been shown to lessen your risk of inflammatory diseases.  

Broccoli is most well known for its anti-cancer activity, an effect attributed to a naturally occurring sulfur compound called sulforaphane.  Some researchers have suggested broccoli as a key part of an anti-cancer diet. A study recommended that 3 or 4 servings of broccoli per week was found to reduce men’s risk of prostate cancer by more than 60%, a higher intake of cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli also lowered the risk of bladder cancer in men by as much as 50%.  Men with detectable amounts of isothiocyanates in their bodies had a 36% lower chance of developing lung cancer over 10 years. Also, eating broccoli 3 to 5 times per week has been shown to lower the risk of liver cancer, and to help prevent the development of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease. Research also shows that sulforaphane can kill cancer stem cells, thereby slowing tumor growth, helping to detoxify carcinogens, causes apoptosis in colon, prostate, breast and tobacco-induced lung cancer cells, reduces the number of reactive oxygen species molecules that cause cell damage by as much as 73%, plays a role in activating more than 200 different genes, and normalizes DNA methylation.  Sulforaphane may also benefit autistic children.

Other compounds found in broccoli that are health promoting are glucorphanin, phenolic compounds, dilndolylmethane, vitamins and minerals.

If you lightly steam your broccoli it will boost the sulforaphane content.  Ideally, try to use fresh broccoli. Adding a myrosinase-containing food such as mustard seed, daikon radishes, wasabi, arugula and cole slaw can further optimize the sulforaphane content.  So grab that broccoli and make it part of your diet. It’s your choice to delay that aging and those chronic health risks that accompany that aging.

Dr Fredda Branyon


Fake Olive Oil?

Over the past 35 years the consumption of olive oil has increased more than 10-fold in the U.S.  It has gone from 29 metric tons (MT) in 1980 to 327 MT in 2015. Oil became more widely used with the popularity of the Mediterranean diet and made the oil a $16 billion a year industry.  It has also led to fraud and corruption.

Larry Olmsted, an investigative journalist and food critic reveals in his book, “Real Food/Fake Food,” a dark side of this normally healthy food.  Tests reveal that anywhere for 60 to 90% of the olive oils sold in American grocery stores and restaurants are adulterated with cheap, oxidized omega-6 vegetable oils.  Some of these are sunflower oil or peanut oil and non-human grade olive oils that are harmful to health in a number of ways. The extra virgin is often diluted with other less expensive oils as hazelnut, soybean, corn, sunflower, palm, sesame, grape seed and walnut.  They will not show on the label, but it will be difficult for most people to discern that their olive oil is not 100% pure.

We can no longer think the extra virgin olive oil if high quality just because it comes from Italy.  Most of what is now exported from Italy is not their best product. The mafia has infiltrated virtually all areas of the olive oil business, including harvesting, pricing, transportation and the supermarkets.  They’ve infiltrated the entire food chain from farm to fork. At least half of all the extra virgin olive oil sold in Italy is adulterated as well. 


In the U.S. the chances of getting the real McCoy is even slimmer, with as much as 90% of it being adulterated.  

Pure olive oil that’s minimally processed contains health-promoting antioxidants and phenolics, providing it hasn’t been oxidized. If it has been, it might already be on the verge of going bad. The “use by” or “sell by” date on the bottle doesn’t mean a lot, as there is no regulation assuring that the oil will remain of high quality until that date.  You really need to know the “pressed on” date or “harvest” date because olives go bad almost immediately after being picked. Those dates should be less than 6 months old when you use it.

Consider buying olive oil from countries besides Italy that also produce very fine, high quality oils.  Some countries are Australia, Chile, South Africa and even California produces some high-quality oils. Look for the stores, such as gourmet stores, where taste testing is allowed and encouraged.  Once you taste a good olive oil, you can never go back to the bad stuff.

Keep your olive oil in a cool, dark place, purchase smaller bottles to ensure freshness and immediately replace the cap after each pour.  Putting one drop of astaxanthin into the bottle will help to protect it from oxidation. You can identify defective olive oil by rancidity, fusty flavor, moldy flavor and wine or vinegar flavor. Some tips in choosing your olive oil are:

  • Harvest date-choose early or fall harvest
  • Color and flavor-an almost luminescent green color
  • Labeling terms-ensure it’s labeled “extra virgin”
  • Storage and tasting-find a seller who stores oil in a clean, temperature-controlled stainless steel container topped with an inert gas as nitrogen
  • Storage and use-keep in a cool and dark place, replace cap immediately
  • Bottles-those that protect against light
  • Quality seals-Organization like California Olive Oil Council and Australian Olive Association
  • Prolonging freshness – by adding the astaxanthin to the bottle.

Now that you know the facts between the fake and the real, just get out there and enjoy everything you cook with your “real” high-quality extra virgin olive oil!

Dr Fredda Branyon