Acne, most common in teenagers, is characterized by clogged pores on the skin, pimples and irritated blackheads. Food sensitivities may enhance this condition.
• High-Fiber Diet Benefits Acne - A doctor reported that patients who took one ounce of high-fiber breakfast cereal every day showed rapid clearing up of acne. He speculated that “a diet low in fat, salt, and refined carbohydrates and high in vegetable fibre” could be of value in the management of acne by reducing constipation which has been associated with this skin affliction.
Source: W. F. Kaufman, “The Diet and Acne,” [Letter], Archives of Dermatology 119:276, 1983
Acupressure, or shiatsu massage, is a traditional Far Eastern therapy based on applying gentle pressure with the fingers, hands, or feet at specific points on the meridians, or channels of electromagnetic energy flow, in the body. From the macrobiotic and holistic community, acupressure is moving into mainstream society. Its benefits, as part of a balanced lifestyle, are increasingly recognized, especially as a substitute for drugs and potentially harmful medications.
• Acupressure Beneficial to Pulmonary Patients - In a case-control study of 31 patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, medical researchers in Taiwan reported that acupressure was useful in reducing dyspnea as part of a pulmonary rehabilitation program.
Source: S. H. Maa et al., “Acupressure as an Adjunct to a Pulmonary Rehabilitation Program,” Journal of Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation 17(4):268-76, 1997.
• Acupressure Reduces Post-Operative Pain - In a study of the analgesic effect of acupressure on postoperative pain, Swedish scientists reported that stimulating 15 classical acupoints in one half of a group of 40 patients undergoing knee surgery resulted in a decrease in pain. The control group received stimulated in 15 points in the same area as the acupoints.
Source: D. Felhendler and B. Lisander, “Pressure on Acupoints Decreases Postoperative Pain,” Clinical Journal of Pain 12(4):326-29, 1996.
• Shiatsu Benefits Heart Patients - Sixty-nine patients in Denmark with severe angina pectoris were treated with acupuncture, shiatsu, and lifestyle adjustments and followed for two years. Forty-nine of the patients were candidates for bypass surgery. In comparison with a large prospective trial of cardiovascular patients, those receiving the alternative treatment had a rate of death and heart attack of 7 percent compared to 15 percent for patients undergoing angioplasty and 21 percent for those undergoing bypass surgery. Further, invasive treatment was postponed in 61 percent of the alternative patients due to clinical improvement, the number of net in-hospital days per year was reduced by 90 percent, and each patient saved on average $12,000.
Source: S. Ballegaard et al., “Cost-Benefits of Combined Use of Acupuncture, Shiatsu, and Lifestyle Adjustment for Treatment of Patients with Severe Angina Pectoris,” Acupunture Electrotherapy Research 21(3-4):187-97, 1996.
Traditional staples in Africa consisted of whole grain millet, rice, sorghum, teff, and other grains, as well as tubers, roots, seeds, nuts, and fresh fruits and vegetables, and small, modest amount of animal food. The value of traditional African foods and the harmful effects of modern foods are coming under increased review. See AIDS, Genetically Engineered Food, Infectious Diseases, Schweitzer, Seaweed, Seeds, Sugar, Whole Grains.
• Traditional Legumes High in Protein Digestibility - In a study of the protein quality of traditional diets, scientists at the University of Nigeria reported that the protein in African yambeans and pigeon peas was nutritious and highly digestible. “The need for its [yambean] reintroduction into the fare of the populace through increased production and appropriate processing technology is stressed,” the researchers concluded. “The results of this study can form a base for the standardization of Nigerian diets based on these legumes.”
Source: H. N. Ene-Obong and I. C. Obizoba, “Protein Quality of Some Nigerian Traditional Diets Based on the African Yambeann and Pigeon Pea,” Plant Foods and Human Nutrition 48(4):297-309, 1995.
• Dietary Status of Lese Women Healthy - People living in the Ituri Forest in the Democratic Republic of the Congo eat primarily manioc, groundnuts, rice, and other traditional foods. Carbohydrates make up 64 percent of their daily diet, protein 14 percent, and fat 22 percent. In a study of the relationship of diet to energetic status and ovarian function, British scientists reported that in a study of 64 Lese women of reproductive age, the low-fat, high-fiber diet was essentially healthy despite seasonal deficiencies.
Source: G. R. Bentley et al., “Dietary Composition and Ovarian Function Among Lese Horticulturist Women of the Ituri Forest, Democratic Republic of Congo,” European Journal of Clinical Nutrition 52(4):261-70, 1998.
• Traditional Remedy - Medical researchers in Senegal produced a cough syrup from gueira, a native plant that is as effective as codeine-based medicines imported from Europe. They also made a laxative from the lam plant. At the World Health Organization’s Collaborating Center of Traditional Medicine at the University of Illinois, these and other medicinal plants from Africa and around the world are available in a computer database.
Source: Thomas Land, “Folk Cures Gain Respect and Save Money,” Toward Freedom, April/May, 1991, pp. 17-18.
• Modern Diet and Spread of HIV - One of the most intriguing observations in Africa is the significant correlation between AIDS and upper-class status. This strongly suggests a possible association with environmental factors. Urban centers throughout Africa have been increasingly influenced by Western technology, including the typical American diet of refined sugars and flours, meats, eggs, dairy products, food additives, and other foods. In the highly Westernized city of Kinshasa, capital of the Republic of the Congo, this dietary pattern is far more typical of urban people in the upper income bracket.
“It seems plausible that the rapid modernization of Africa’s urban population, particularly for the upper class, may have set the stage for compromised immunity and thereby predisposed them to the pathogenic effects of the AIDS virus,” concluded Martha Cottrell, M.D. who gave seminars on diet and AIDS in West Africa.
The typical upper-class diet, based on the haute-cuisine of French and Belgian, includes imported red meats, eggs, white sugar, baked white-flour products, dairy, hydrogenated oils, and imported fruits and vegetables. “Heavy reliance on imported products has introduced high levels of artificial preservatives and agricultural chemicals to the urban elite’s food supply. Clearly this is not the kind of diet one would expect to support resistance to infectious diseases.”
By contrast, the native lower class diet includes locally grown fruit, cassava meal (a starchy root vegetable), avocados, red onions, and small amounts of fish, game, and insects. “In sum, the typical diet of low-income Kinshasans is basically low in protein, low in fat, and high in complex carbohydrates and fiber. By nutritional standards, this type of dietary pattern would clearly favor strong immunity.”
Source: Michio Kushi and Martha Cottrell, M.D., with Mark Mead, AIDS, Macrobiotics, and Natural Immunity (Tokyo & New York: Japan Publications, 1990), pp. 216-17.
Agriculture, the art of cultivating the land, developed about 8000 to 10,000 years ago following the retreat of glacial ice and the warming of the globe. Following the agrarian revolution that began in England in the 16th century, modern agriculture developed, based on livestock breeding, artificial soil supplements, monocropping, hybrid seeds, and other practices resulting in higher yields. See Organic Farming, Seeds, Whole Grains.
• Amazon Farming Methods Protected Ecosystem - New discoveries in the Amazon show that the traditional people in the rain forests utilized a sophisticated blend of agriculture and forestry to yield rich harvests and at the same time preserve the delicate ecosystem. The Kayapo of Brazil cultivated circular fields by felling several large trees so that their crowns fell on the periphery of the circle and by planting crops in between. Later the dead trees were burned, the rains washed the ash into the soil, and crops, including corn and rice, were planted in concentric circles.
Source: William K. Stevens, “Research in ’Virgin’ Amazon Uncovers Complex Farming,” New York Times, April 3, 1990.
• Andes Farming Methods Superior to Modern Practices - Traditional farming methods used in the Andes are more efficient and environmentally safe than modern methods. The native method, utilizing raised beds separated from one another by deep, water-filled channels, preserved vital nutrients, maintained soil fertility, and reduced pollution of downstream waters better than modern farming practices. The researchers recommended that farmers today return to native tilling methods.
Source: “Ancient Farming Methods in Andes Deemed Superior,” Boston Globe, July 8, 1993.
The AIDS epidemic began in the early 1980s and moved from gay men in the U.S. and Caribbean to both sexes and is now a worldwide epidemic. The relation between diet and acquired immune deficiency was largely ignored in the early years of the AIDS epidemic. In recent years, researchers have begun to focus on this connection, and, as in the case of heart disease and cancer, modern medicine is discovering that diet and nutrition are underlying factors in the spread of HIV and in the treatment of symptoms.
By 1999, an estimated 33 million people around the world were infected. The disease is spreading at the rate of 16,000 new infections per day. An estimated 27 million carriers are unaware of having the virus, UNAIDS, the United Nations agency in charge of controlling the disease reported. In 1997, 2.3 million people died of AIDS, nearly half of whom were women, and 460,000 cases involve children. More than 90 percent of the infections are in developing country.
In parts of Africa, one in four adults is infected with HIV and AIDS now rivals the world's greatest epidemics, according to the United Nations. Twenty-one million carriers are infected in Africa. In 13 sub-Saharan countries, HIV has infected 10 percent of adults and 25 percent or more in Botswana and Zimbabwe. In comparison, the Black Death of the Middle Ages killed an estimated 20 million people, about one-quarter of Europe's population, in four years. The influenza pandemic of 1918-1919 killed 20 million. In some African cities, the infection rate is one-third and in some prenatal clinics up to 70 percent of women tested carry HIV. Infection rates have been cut in some countries, such as Uganda, where the rate fell from 13 percent in 1994 to 9.5 percent in 1997. Thailand cut its rate from 2.7 percent to 2.3 percent in the same time. India with 4 million cases has the most number of infections in the world. In 1993, AIDS became the leading cause of death of Americans from 25 to 44.
• Macrobiotic Approach - In a study of diet and immune-deficiency disorders, including AIDS, two macrobiotic educators look at the emergence of HIV and other new viruses as a result of modern agricultural practices and patterns of food consumption that have disrupted traditional societies and ecosystems that have existed in harmony for thousands of years. HIV is believed to have acquired its virulence and elusiveness as a result of modern environmental and medical interventions, including monocropping, pesticide and chemical fertilizer use, and abuse of antibiotics and other drugs. As it made its way through depleted soil, a chemically weakened food chain, and immuno-suppressed blood systems, HIV gradually evolved into a stronger, more lethal virus.
Michio Kushi and Alex Jack also explore the possibility that some cases of AIDS are internally generated from the degeneration of cells into viruses as a result of dietary imbalance, especially high intake of sugar, sweets, fatty foods, oily and greasy foods, fruits, alcohol, and drugs and medications.
Source: Michio Kushi and Alex Jack, Humanity at the Crossroads, (Becket, MA: One Peaceful World Press, 1997).
• Controlling AIDS with Macrobiotics - In 1983 a group of men in New York City with AIDS began macrobiotics under the inspiration of Michio Kushi and Lawrence H. Kushi, D.Sc. They hoped to change their blood quality, recover their natural immunity, and survive this otherwise always fatal illness. In May, 1984, a research team led by Elinor N. Levy, Ph.D. and John C. Beldekas, Ph.D. of the Department of Immunology and Microbiology at Boston University’s School of Medicine and Martha C. Cottrell, M.D., Director of Student Health at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York, began to monitor the blood samples and immune functions of ten men with Kaposi’s sarcoma (a usual symptom of AIDS). Preliminary results indicated that most of the men were stabilizing on the diet. “Survival in these men who have received little or no medical treatment appears to compare very favorably with that of KS patients in general. We suggest that physicians and scientists can feel comfortable in allowing patients, particularly those with minimal disease, to go untreated as part of a larger [dietary] study or because non-treatment is the patient’s choice.”
Source: “Patients with Kaposi Sarcoma Who Opt for No Treatment” [Letter], Lancet, July 1985.
• Strengthening Natural Immunity with Macrobiotics At the International AIDS Conference in Paris in June, 1986, Elinor Levy and associates presented further findings concerning the men with Kaposi’s sarcoma who had been practicing macrobiotics. he researchers concluded:
1. Lymphocyte number increases over the first two years from diagnosis with Kaposi’s sarcoma in men who are following a macrobiotic diet. A linear regression analysis model predicts that lymphocyte number becomes normal within this two-year period.
2. During this time period the percentage of T4 cells does not change. The percentage of T8 cells possibly decreases.
3. These results compare favorably with those from any of the medical treatments reported.
4. There are several possible explanations for these positive findings including: a) the macrobiotic diet and/or lifestyle is of benefit to men with Kaposi’s sarcoma. b) The decision to become and remain macrobiotic selects for men with a better prognosis.
Source: Elinor Levy, J. C. Beldekas, P. H. Black, and L. H. Kushi, “Patients with Kaposi’s Sarcoma Who Opt for Alternative Therapy,” International AIDS Conference, Paris, France, 1986.
• Decreasing AIDS Symptoms with Macrobiotics - In a further report on the men in the macrobiotic AIDS study, Dr. Levy reported in 1988: “The large majority of subjects reported a decrease in AIDS-related symptoms, particularly fatigue (23/29) and diarrhea (17/19). The lymphocyte number in the subgroup of 19 subjects with Kaposi’s sarcoma alone tended to increase with time after diagnosis. Only two of this group of 19 lost more than 10 percent of their body weight during their participation in the study which ranged from several months to more than three years. Nine of the nineteen with KS have died, seven are alive more than three years after diagnosis with KS.”
Source: Elinor M. Levy, Letter to the American Cancer Society, March 3, 1988.
• Improving T-Cell Ratios for AIDS with Macrobiotics - After initial observations, the macrobiotic AIDS test group was expanded to twenty men. “As a group, the men have had significant improvement in their total T-cell numbers, notably in T4 counts, although T4/T8 ratios have not changed significantly,” Martha Cottrell reported. “Those with Kaposi’s sarcoma have shown the best survival rates, three going five years or longer. The approach has demonstrated effective in managing their condition while minimizing opportunistic infections and use of toxic drugs. They are all working full time and enjoying a quality of life atypical of most AIDS patients. Most of all, they are relatively free of the sense of hopelessness, helplessness, and victimization which tends to take hold of other AIDS patients. Thus the physical benefits— prolonging life and improving the immunocompetence—seems complemented by a range of psychological benefits.”
Source: Martha Cottrell, Letter to the American Cancer Society, March 14, 1988. See also Tom Monte, The Way of Hope (New York: Warner Books, 1990).
• A Multifactoral Approach - Challenging the conventional view that AIDS is caused by a virus, Robert Root-Bernstein, a professor of physiology at Michigan State University, contends that the disease is the result of numerous synergistic insults to the immune system, including illicit and prescription drug use and improper diet. “HIV infection may be an epiphenomenon of immune suppression rather than a necessary cause,” he explains in his book Rethinking AIDS. “Immune suppression may predispose people to HIV infection (just as it predisposes them to other opportunistic infections) rather than resulting from such an infection.”
Reviewing medical history, he shows that probably cases of of AIDS long predate the current epidemic and there are a number of cases without HIV infection. Reviewing current medical research, he argues that it is very difficult for a healthy person to get AIDS, even following sexual contact with someone who tests positive for the virus. “Alternative hypotheses to AIDS provide alternative frameworks for interpreting as valid some otherwise unexplainable treatments or ‘cures.' For example, a holistic approach to AIDS focusing on nutrition and behavior modification and emphasizing a positive mental image may bolster the immune system and simultaneously curtain exposure to drugs and infections, leading to improved health. This is a reasonable prediction of the cofactor and multifactorial theories of AIDS that differentiate them clearly from the HIV-only theory.”
Source: Robert Root-Bernstein, Rethinking AIDS: The Tragic Cost of Premature Consensus (New York: Free Press, 1993).
• Lifestyle Factors - In a review of AIDS research between 1981 and 1990, a senior medical researcher speculated that AIDS may not be caused primarily by a virus but may be the result of immunosuppressive behavior and lifestyle, especially the abuse of drugs and medications and improper diet. Dr. Peter H. Duesberg, professor of molecular and cell biology at the University of California, Berkeley and a pioneer in retrovirus research, concludes that AIDS is not a single infectious disease or syndrome but a set of separate conditions with different risk factors.
He cites the use of nitrite inhalants or “poppers” and other aphrodisiac drugs as well as prior use of alcohol, heroin, cocaine, marijuana, valium, and amphetamines as chief causes of loss of natural immunity in the gay community. In Africa, where AIDS is commonly known as “Slim Disease,” he noted that it does not appear to be contagious but rather fits the profile of malnutrition, apparently caused in part by modern foods.
The use of AZT, an anti-HIV drug, should be discontinued, he concludes, because it only weakens the immune system. “Doctors should treat each condition separately, and should seek to determine the underlying causes in each individual’s case; patients should insist on this approach from their doctors. But perhaps the most useful action for any such patient to take would be the ending of any risk behavior. Unfortunately, no studies have been done, but anecdotal case descriptions exist of AIDS patients who recover after ending drug use, sexual promiscuity, and prophylactic antibiotic use, and who improve their nutritional status.” Among the cases cited are thirteen AIDS survivors, including some who practiced macrobiotics, who have lived more than five years since their diagnosis.
Source: Peter H. Duesberg and Bryan J. Ellison, Policy Review, Summer, 1990, pp. 40-51 and Peter H. Duesberg, Inventing the AIDS Virus (Washington, D.C.: Regnery Publishing, 1996).
• Nutritional Research - In the first epidemiological study to assess dietary intake in homosexual men testing positive for AIDS, researchers in California found that the consumption of foods or supplements high in iron, vitamin E, and riboflavin significantly delayed the onset of symptoms. Vitamin C, thiamine, and niacin intake also approached levels of offering protection. “Additional studies are needed to determine whether dietary intake modifies the rate of developing AIDS in those who are HIV seropositive,” researchers concluded.
Source: B. Abrams et al., “A Prospective Study of Dietary Intake and Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome in HIV-Seropositive Homosexual Men,” Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes 6:949-58, 1993.
• AIDS and Maternal Nutrition - In the first study to show that maternal nutrition can affect the transmission of AIDS, researchers in Africa reported that a deficiency in vitamin A (found in dark green leafy vegetables, carrots, and tropical fruits, as well as some animal products) can increase transmission of HIV, the virus associated with AIDS. In a study of 567 pregnant women in Mawali infected with HIV, women with the most severe deficiency in vitamin A had a 32 percent chance of transmitting HIV to their babies, as compared to 7 percent with healthy amounts of vitamin A. The researchers further found that 93 percent of babies born to mothers with the most severe deficiencies died in the first year, compared with 14 percent of those born to mothers with healthy levels of vitamin A. Dr. Richard D. Semba of Johns Hopkins Hospital, leader of the research team, said that nutritional deficiency could explain why the AIDS epidemic has spread so much more extensively in Africa than in the U.S. or Europe.
Source: Richard D. Semba, “"Maternal Nutrition and Vitamin A Deficiency and Child Growth Failure during Human Immuno-Deficiency Virus Infection,” Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome Human Retrovirology 14(3): 219-22, 1997.
• Breast-milk Inhibits HIV - Breastmilk contains a substance that prevents HIV infection, according to researchers at Harvard Medical School and the Shriver Center for Mental Retardation. In laboratory tests, the mother's milk component dramatically inhibited the ability of an HIV protein to adhere to white blood cells, a binding mechanism that leads to infection. Even though breast-feeding can transmit HIV in some cases, the researchers concluded, that it was warranted in developing countries by women carrying the virus. The World Health Organization sanctions breastfeeding by HIV-positive mothers, but recommends that each case be determined individually.
Source: Richard Saltus, "Breast Milk Component May Cub HIV Spread, Scientists Say," Boston Globe, March 7, 1995.
• AIDS and Vitamin B-12 - Vitamin B-12 deficiency is associated with AIDS, according to researchers at Johns Hopkins University. In a study of 310 men with HIV, scientists found that those with normal levels of the vitamin remained free of the disease for about 8 years compared with four years for those low in this nutrient. B-12 plays a role in protein and DNA synthesis and strengthens cognitive and immune functions.
Source: E. Smith et al., “Dietary Intake of Community-Based HIV-1 Seropositive and Seronegative Injecting Drug Users,” Journal of Nutrition 12(7-8): 496-501, 1996.
• Was HIV Genetically Engineered? Investigating the possibility that AIDS, Ebola, and other new diseases are the result of biological weapons experiments, Dr. Leonard G. Horowitz, a dentist and medical re-searcher who has served on the faculties of Harvard and Tufts universities, researched the U.S. biological warfare program at Fort Detrick, Maryland, which received a $10 million authorization in the early 1970s to develop a genetically-altered retrovirus that would destroy the human-immune system as part of the “Special Virus Cancer Program.”
He quotes Dr. MacArthur, deputy director of the U.S. Department of Defense, who stated in classified Congressional testimony in 1970: “Within the next 5 to 10 years, it would probably be possible to make a new infective microorganism which could differ in certain important aspects from any known disease-causing organisms. Most important of these is that it might be refractory to the immunological and therapeutic processes upon which we depend to maintain our relative freedom from infectious disease.”
The secret biological warfare program was overseen by Dr. Henry Kissinger, National Security Adviser and later Secretary of State in the Nixon and Ford administrations; carried out by the National Cancer Institute, Merck, Sharp, and Dohme, the world’s largest pharmaceutical company, and Litton Bionetics, the nation’s largest bioweapons contractor; and involved Dr. Robert Gallo, the cancer virus researcher who went on to become the co-discoverer of HIV over a decade later.
Clandestine research, Horowitz theorizes, date back even further. In 1967, a lethal virus broke out in Germany and Yugoslavia among vaccine researchers. The epidemic, known as Marburg disease, was attributed to infected monkeys that had been brought to Europe from Africa. Horowitz traces the monkeys to a Litton medical research laboratory in Africa. The facility was located in an area of southeast Zaire that was secretly leased until the year 2000 to OTRAG, a German corporation with ties to NATO, the CIA, and Litton. The official purpose of OTRAG’s contract was to launch private communication satellites, but biowar experiments and other covert military activities may also have been conducted in this remote area (which is twice the size of England). In 1976, Ebola—the extremely contagious, highly lethal viral disease that is genetically identical to Marburg—broke out in Central Africa. It is in this “thinly populated” region—inhabited by 760,000 Africans—over which OT-RAG was granted “complete sovereignty and control” that AIDS also may have first emerged.
Horowitz speculates that fear of communism, black nationalism, and overpopulation (especially in neighboring Angola, which bordered Zaire and was a center of revolutionary political movements) fueled these medical experiments. (Ebola also broke out in South Africa whose apartheid-era government was committed to overthrowing Angola.) Through the late 1970s, USAID vaccination teams immunized more than 20 million people in Central Africa. In 1978-79, several years before AIDS appeared in America, Horowitz claims that the New York City Blood Center introduced an experimental hepatitis B vaccine in the gay male community which may have contained HIV or a monkey virus that mutated into HIV.
Dr. W. John Martin, director of the Center for Complex Infectious Diseases in Rosemead, Calif., and former director of the Viral Oncology Branch of the FDA’s Bureau of Biologics, the government’s principal agency in charge of vaccines, also suspects a contaminated vaccine of human origin gave rise to AIDS. “The mixing of vaccine viruses with others found in the cells and tissues used to develop the vaccine can potentially lead to the development of new recombinant mutants that are more adaptive and have wider host range than either of the original viruses,” he explains.
While Martin calls for analysis of the genetic components of vaccines used in early field trials in Africa containing monkey components, Dr. Robert Strecker, another AIDS researcher, contends that genetically HIV resembles bovine lymphotrophic virus (BLV) cultured in cows. He theorizes “the virus either mutated in cattle and sheep and then was artificially adapted to humans by growing in human tissue cultures . . . or the virus was actually constructed in a laboratory by gene manipulation.”
Source: Leonard G. Horowitz, Emerging Viruses AIDS & Ebola: Nature, Accident or Intentional? (Rockport, MA: Tetrahedron, 1997).
• AIDS Spread in Africa Vastly Overestimated - A growing number of African public health officials and researchers have expressed concern that World Health Organization estimates of AIDS in Africa are vastly overestimated because of an alarmingly high rates of false positive HIV results in populations tested. Moreover, the symptoms of AIDS, including weight loss, chronic diarrhea, high fever, and persistent coughing, are common to dysentery, tuberculosis, cholera, and other infectious diseases.
Some African scientists who question these results are worried that the claims of a continental AIDS pandemic in Africa will be used to justify massive, unregulated vaccine and drug testing programs using Africans as guinea pigs. Rather than behavior modification schemes, they suggest that governments and international agencies focus on structural poverty and unhealthy living conditions, including better nutrition and preventive health care.
Source: Richard Horton, “Truth and Heresy about AIDS,” New York Review of Books, May 23, 1996.
About two thirds of American men and one half of women drink alcohol occasionally. In moderation, alcohol has been part of a traditional diet. In populations eating substantial amounts of animal food, it can protect against some forms of heart disease (though it can contribute to others as well as breast cancer, colon cancer, and other malignancies). However, the abuse of alcohol is a major problem in modern society and associated with a wide range of personal, family, and social disorders and dependencies. About 3 to 5 percent of men and 1 percent of women are alcoholic. See American Cancer Society, Kuzu, Natto, Pancreatic Cancer, Soy Foods, Violence, Wine.
• Alcohol Acts as Both a Depressant and a Stimulant - “It produces effects that mimic those of many other drugs, such as opium, cocaine, Valium, and ether,” writes health researcher Stephen Braun. Because all blood from the digestive organs is shunted to the liver, it particularly affects that organ. Other effects include depressing brain function by interfering with a type of ion channel critical for the firing of neurons; impairing the brain’s ability to store new memories; and reducing reaction times and impairing coordination, thereby increasing the risk of accidents, especially while driving. Because it passes through the placenta barrier, alcohol can affect the embryo and lead to fetal alcohol syndrome. It also has an adverse effect on male sperm.
On the plus side, alcohol increases the receptivity of GABA receptors, reducing anxiety; boosts dopamine levels, producing a brief period of heady stimulation; releases endorphins, the body’s painkillers that give a “natural high”; and boosts levels of serotonin, a neurotransmitter, also associated with increasing self-confidence and motivation.
Source: Stephen Braun, Buzz: The Science and Lore of Alcohol and Caffeine (New York: Oxford University Press, 1996).
• Animal Food Creates Cravings for Alcohol - In traditional Far Eastern medicine, alcohol is classified as extremely yin, and its abuse results from an overly yang condition, usually the result of a diet high in meat, poultry, eggs, and other animal foods, as well as too much salt and excessive baked foods. Change to a diet centered on grains and vegetables reduces cravings for alcohol.
Source: Michio and Aveline Kushi, Macrobiotic Diet, (Tokyo and New York: Japan Publications, 1993).
• Chinese Medicines Control Alcohol - Traditional Chinese medicines used to treat arthritis, diabetes, and stomach disorders route alcohol away from the bloodstream, according to Japanese pharmacists. In animal studies, the bark and root cortex of the angelica tree, the plant ovary of the soapberry, the seeds of the camellia and horse chestnut, and the roots of the seneca snakeroot appeared to trap alcohol and transport it to the large intestine without absorption into the bloodstream, the scientists told the annual meeting of the American Chemical Society.
"No matter how much you drink, you would not get drunk," Masayuki Yoshikawa of Khyoto Pharmaceutical University said. "If you consume this before you have alcohol . . . the blood alcohol will not increase, in fact, it will decrease."
Source: "Ancient Remedies Found to Detour Alcohol from Blood," undated article circa 1995.
Following Congressional hearings, the U.S. Congress mandated the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to open the Office of Alternative Medicine (OAT) in 1993 and begin funding the most promising therapies, including macrobiotics, Native American medicine, homeopathy, music therapy, acupuncture, and other modalities. In 1998, the office was renamed the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, and Congress increased the annual budget from $20 million to $50 million.
Several medical schools, colleges, and universities have opened alternative medical centers. By 1998, 62 percent of medical schools in the U.S.—nearly two in every three—offered courses in alternative and complementary medicine.
The first public natural health clinic opened in Seattle in 1996. The clinic offers low cost natural therapies, including acupuncture, nutritional counseling, biofeedback, Chinese herbal medicine, and other alternative treatments to the public, especially low-income patients. The estimated cost of the pilot program, funded by the government, is $3 million.
Meanwhile, insurance companies are beginning to reimburse and encourage alternative medical practices. Oxford Health Plans became the first large medical insurer to offer alternative medicine coverage in 1997. No physician referral is required. The company cited a survey of its 1.5 million members showing that 33 percent had used some form of alternative medicine in the last five years. On the West Coast, Kaiser Permanente, the nation's largest HMO, offers reimbursement for acupuncture and other alternative medical services in California. Blue Cross/Blue Shield are experimenting with similar coverage in the Pacific Northwest.
In a widely publicized survey, the New England Journal of Medicine reported in 1993 that one in every three Americans used alternative medicine.
By 1998, the figure had risen to 42 percent, and the number of visits to alternative practitioners exceeded those to primary care physicians. See Acupressure, Asthma, Fibroymyalgia, Five Transformations, Multiple Sclerosis, Native American Diet, Pregnancy, Skin Problems, Yin and Yang.
Sources: D. M. Eisenberg et al., “Unconventional Medicine in the United States,” New England Journal of Medicine 328:246-52, 1997; M. S. Wetzel et al., “Courses Involving Complementary and Alternative Medicine at U.S. Medical Schools,” Journal of the American Medical Association 280:784-87, 1999; David M. Eisenberg et al, “Trends in Alternative Medicine Use in the U.S., 1990-1997,” Journal of the American Medical Association 280:1569-1575, 1998.
• Clinical Guidelines in Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) - In 1995, the Office of Alternative Medicine convened an expert panel to propose guidelines for clinical practice. Noting that estimated office visits to CAM providers (425 million a year) exceeded the number of visits to primary care physicians (388 million) and that Americans spent $10 billion annually on alternative therapies, the panel stated that it was important that the public be informed about the advantages and disadvantages of CAM.
While professional standards and practices need to be standardized, the panel questioned the assumption that recommendations for CAM must await clinical trial evidence. “Some would argue that the need for CAM to collect evidence in a format acceptable to conventional Western medicine (e.g., randomized trials) is itself a false premise. Reliance on empirical data from controlled experiments to infer effectiveness is a reductionist Western epistemology that is not shared by many of the cultures from which some CAM practices originate.” The report mentioned, for example, that acupuncture has been practiced for more than 3000 years, outspanning “the entire life of newtonian science by several millennia.” Organ-specific results are commonly less important than overall patient well-being, respecting the pa-tient’s personal experience, and dynamic relational issues. Conventional diagnostic models have little relevance, the panel noted, to traditional models of disease origin and development, especially those involving energy balance.
Like psychiatric and mental health therapies, CAM approaches are often not reproducible, because they are highly individualized or recognize an association between the dynamics of the clinician-patient relationship.
“In the long-term, a worthwhile goal is to develop holistic, cross-cutting practice guidelines that specify, for a patient with a given health problem (e.g., cancer), the full range of treatment options available in all areas of conventional medicine and CAM, the benefits and harms that can be expected from each choice, and the nature of the supporting evidence,” the panel concluded.
Source: “Clinical Practice Guidelines in Complementary and Alternative Medicine: An Analysis of Opportunities and Obstacles,” Archives of Family Medicine 6:149-54, 1997.
Alzheimer’s disease (AD) affects affects about 5 percent of elderly people in modern society, including many of those in nursing homes. It is also increasingly found in people under 65.
Memory loss and senility, its principal features, are associated in Far Eastern medicine with more expansive, dispersing foods, especially sugar, sweets, alcohol, and drugs.
Physiologically, Alzheimer’s bears similarity to the human variant of mad cow disease (but is not contagious), so that animal food consumption, especially low quality beef or chicken (grown with antibiotics and other chemicals) may also be a factor in its spread.
Medical studies have recently reported that nutrients found in whole grains and vegetables may help control the symptoms of this degenerative neurological disorder. See Fluoridation, Soy Foods, Water, Women’s Health.
• Folic Acid May Prevent Alzheimer’s - Folic acid, found in many green vegetables, may protect millions of people from Alzheimer's disease. Helga Refsum, a researcher at Norway's Bergen University, said, "The idea of reducing the risk of Alzheimer's disease by diet is a promising hypothesis." A study of 76 Alzheimer's patients in the Oxford Project to Investigate Memory and Aging (OPTIMA) at Oxford University found elevated high levels of homocysteine, an amino acid associated with higher risk of heart disease and stroke, and lower levels of folic acid and vitamin B-12 compared to a control group of 108 people the same age who did not have Alzheimer's. Alzheimer's is the fourth leading cause of death in the Western world.
Source: "Scientists Probe Link Between Diet and Alzheimer's," Reuters News Service, April 26, 1998.
• Fat Linked to Alzheimer’s - In a review of Alzheimer prevalence in 11 countries, a researcher reported that incidence of this form of dementia was associated with consumption of foods high in fat (including meat, eggs, poultry, etc.) and in total caloric intake. Fish consumption, on the other hand reduced the risk of developing AD. The researcher found that the diet just prior to the development of the disease is the most critical in determining the risk for developing AD. "Diets high in total calories including acidic drinks, alcohol, fat, salt and sugars promote trace mineral imbalances and elevated free radical production in the body. Several dietary components and supplements have been found effective in delaying the onset of AD, including antioxidants, estrogen (for post-menopausal women), fish or fish oil, and anti-inflammatory substances," the researcher concluded.
Source: Willaim B. Grant, Ph.D., "Dietary Links to Alzheimer's Disease," Alzheimer's Disease Review 2:42-55, 1997.
Amasake, a sweet, creamy beverage made from fermented sweet rice and popular in Far Eastern and natural foods cooking, makes a refreshing beverage or natural sweetener for puddings, pies, and other dishes. It can be made at home or bought freshly made, in plain, almond, apricot, and other flavors, from natural foods stores. Traditionally it has been used to strengthen the mother’s breast milk or stimulate energy and vitality. See Astronaut Diet.
Eating red meat could contribute to cancer, the American Cancer Society warned. Issuing stronger dietary recommendations than ever before in 1996, the ACS recommended curtailing all red meat, not just high-fat meat, as the Government recommends. It linked red meat with increased risk of colon and prostate cancer, as well as rectal and endometrial cancer.
The ACS also took aim at high-calorie, fat-free processed foods that contribute to overweight, noting that obesity is associated with colon, rectal, prostate, endometrial, and kidney cancers and breast cancer in post-menopausal women. As an alternative to meat, the society recommended beans, seafood, and poultry.
In another departure from current government policy, the society said that alcohol consumption increases, even a few drinks, can increase the risk of breast cancer and therefore it could not go along with federal guidelines that allow one or two drinks daily.
The society's four main guidelines were: 1) eat a diet high in whole grains, vegetables, and fruits; 2) eat a diet low in high-fat foods, particularly from animal sources; 3) maintain a healthy weight and perform moderate physical activity for 30 minutes or more on most days, and 4) limit or avoid alcohol. See Macrobiotics.
Source: Marian Burros, "Tough New Warning on Diet Is Issued by Cancer Society," New York Times, September 17, 1996.
Since the 1960s, the American Heart Association has cited faulty diet as the main cause of cardiovascular disease and continually revised its dietary guidelines in the direction of more whole, unprocessed foods.
The list of recommended daily foods includes a wide range of vegetables and fruits, including broccoli, cabbage, mustard greens, kale, collards, carrots, pumpkins, and winter squash; breads, cereals, pasta, and starchy vegetables including whole-grain bread and brown rice; low-fat meat and poultry, fish and seafood, nuts, dried beans, peas, and other meatless main entries including tofu; and vegetable-quality fats and oils.
The list of foods to avoid included whole milk, most cheeses, ice cream, and other high-fat dairy products; eggs (maximum 2 per week) and foods prepared with eggs; red-meat (except for lean cuts), cured meat, and organ meats; butter and other animal-quality fats and hydrogenated fats and oils; sugary desserts, store-bought desserts and mixes, and highly processed snacks.
Source: The American Heart Association Heartbook (New York: Dutton, 1980), pp. 65-66 and “The American Heart Association Diet” (Dallas: American Heart Association, 1985).
Animal manure poses a national environmental risk. Amounting to 1.3 billion tons a year in the U.S., it exceeds the amount of human waste by 130 times, and there are no national standards for treating it. See Water.
• Animal Waste Major Water Polluter - According to a report by the U.S. Senate Agricultural Committee, animal waste is the major water polluter in the U.S. For example, a single 50,000-acre hog farm in Utah creates more waste than the city of Los Angeles and has no sewage plant to treat it. Premium Standard Farms, the nation’s second largest hog producer, produces five times more waste than the city of St. Louis. The study found that 60 percent of the nation's rivers and streams were "impaired" by agricultural runoff. In 1996, for example, 40 animal waste spills killed 670,000 fish in Iowa, Minnesota, and Missouri, double the number of spills four years previously. Excess nutrients form agricultural runoff have flowed down the Mississippi River to the Gulf of Mexico where they have created a dead zone, in which no living organisms can survive, the size of New Jersey.
Source: "Large Amounts of Animal Manure Pose Environmental Risks," Associated Press, December 28, 1997; Stan Grossfeld, “Animal Waste Emerging as U.S. Problem,” Boston Globe, September 21, 1998.
• Animal Waste and Pollution of Chesapeake Bay - The outbreak of pfisteria piscida, a microorganism that has decimated fish populations in Chesapeake Bay, the nation's largest and richest coastal estuary, has been linked with animal wastes along Maryland's rural Eastern Shore, site of one of the country's largest concentration of poultry farms. Physicians further confirmed that people who eat contaminated fish were at risk of coming down with a mysterious illness first observed by local fisherman that is characterized by chronic difficulties with learning and memory, as well as skin rashes and respiratory problems. Even young, vigorous men were unable to remember simple, basic things.
Excess nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorous from the poultry farms have polluted rivers in the region and are believed to have turned the organisms, first identified in 1992, from a benign spore lying on the bottom of streambeds, into a powerful toxin. The Eastern Shore, encompassing part of Maryland, Delaware and Virginia, has 625 million chickens, and the poultry industry is growing at a rate of 20 percent yearly. "When you've got such a huge concentration [of animals] with literally millions of tons of waste, the land is not going to be able to absorb it," Chad Smith a local environmentalist noted.
Source: David Lauter, "Livestock Wastes Pose Health Threat," Los Angeles Times, September 21, 1997.
Initially, penicillin and other antibiotics proved to be extremely effective, saving the lives of millions of people who otherwise would have died. However, the euphoria surrounding these “miracle drugs” quickly began to fade. Streptomycin almost completely lost its effectiveness after two months of use, especially on pulmonary tuberculosis. It also left many patients deaf or permanently dizzy. However, because the life-saving benefits still clearly outweighed the drawbacks, postwar physicians continued to prescribe strong drugs like these, and they became the treatment of choice for most acute conditions.
Within several decades, they began to be used prophylactically to prevent future infection, as well as remedially to treat existing disease, and antibiotics were routinely added to livestock feed, over-the-counter pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, and other non-prescription products.
In the United States, 240 million doses of antibiotics are prescribed every year, almost one per person. One of every three hospital patients receives an antibiotic, and physicians routinely administer antibiotics for everything from the common cold to pneumonia.
Altogether, medical use accounts for 60 percent of antibiotic use. The other 40 percent is used in livestock feed to promote rapid growth. By 1980, 75 percent of all cattle in the United States received antibiotics, 90 percent of swine and veal calves, 50 percent of sheep, and nearly 100 percent of chickens and poultry. The drugs not only were used to prevent infection but to fatten up the animals and ensure maximum growth—and thus profits.
In recent years, research has shown that antibiotics can interfere with the production of red blood cells, the metabolism of vitamin B-12, and kill benign or beneficial bacteria in the intestines that synthesize Vitamin K, biotin, riboflavin, panthothenate, and pyridoxine. These nutrients are all associated with proper immune function and protection against disease. Side-effects associated with antibiotic use and misuse include diarrhea, rashes, fever, allergic reactions, hemolytic anemia, bleeding, bone marrow toxicity, and disorders of the kidneys, liver, and central nervous system. The rapid spread of candida albicans and other acute infections has been associated with chronic antibiotic use that has disrupted the normal homeostasis in the digestive system and enabled the selection of pathogenic strains of yeast, fungi, bacilli, and other microorganisms. See Drug-Resis-tance, Infectious Diseases.
• End of the Antibiotic Era? In a review of the history and therapeutic use of antibiotics, two medical researchers in Texas document how the modern science was lulled into complacency. “The scientific community grossly underestimated the remarkable genetic plasticity of these organisms and their ability, through mutations and genetic transfer, to develop resistance to antibiotics,” they explain. “Antibiotic resistance has made potential killers out of bacteria that previously posed little threat to mankind. The indiscriminate and reckless use of antibiotics has led to a fast ap-proaching crisis in which human dominance of the planet is threatened by single, elementary cells of the microbal world.”
Source: J. W. Harrison and T. A. Svec, “The Beginning of the End of the Antibiotic Era?,” Parts I and II, Quintessence International 29(3):151-62, 1998 and 29(4):223-29, 1998.
• Overprescription of Antibiotics - Abuse of antibiotics is contributing to disease, according to researchers at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center. Every year doctors write 12 million antibiotic prescriptions—one in every five—for colds, bronchitis and other viral infections for which antibiotics are useless. "Every time we use an antibiotic, we run the risk of promoting antibiotic resistance, or drug resistance, by bacteria," said lead scientist Ralph Gonzales.
In the last 10 years, an epidemic of Streptococcus pneumoniae that is resistant to penicillin drugs has developed and is a leading cause of ear and sinus infections, meningitis, and other common illnesses.
Source: R. Gonzales et al., “Antibiotic Prescribing for Adults with Colds, Upper Respiratory Tract Infections, and Bronchitis by Ambulatory Care Physicians,” Journal of the American Medical Association 278(11)"901-4, 1997.
• Dangers of Antibiotics - In a critique of modern medicine and agriculture, a noted public health official presents evidence that the overuse of pharmaceuticals is creating an epidemic of new drug-resistant diseases.
“The sheer magnitude of this assault [the creation of new diseases by antibiotic-resistant microbes] is staggering. For four decades now, we have thrown hundreds of tons of antibiotics against our Hollywood imagination of microscopic enemies. In the process we have sown seeds for a whole new array of actual germs and diseases. . . . We favor simple technological fixes for complex disease entities, while our medical complex fosters a near-sighted one-germ, one-chemical mentality. Together, these positions contribute to a world view that encourages the proliferation of new chemotherapeutic agents, and in turn, the proliferation of new disease entitles. . . . The answer clearly does not consist of throwing more troops into a losing battle.”
Source: Marc Lappé, When Antibiotics Fail: Restoring the Ecology of the Body, (Berkeley, CA: North Atlantic Books, 1986).
• European Meat Tests Positive for Drug-Resistant Bacteria - In samples from a European Union-licensed meat-processing plant, German researchers found that 8 percent of minced beef and pork samples tested positive for vancomycin-resistant enteroccoi (VRE), antibiotic resistant strains of bacteria associated with human infections.
Source: G. Klein et al., “Antibiotic Resistance Patterns of Enterocci and Occurrences of Vancomycin-Resistant Enterococci in Raw Minced Beef and Pork in Germany,” Appl Environ Microbiol 64(5):1825-30, 1998.
• WHO Calls for End to Antibiotics in Livestock Feed - The World Health Organization has recommended phasing out the use of antibiotics to promote livestock growth. “Farms are factories of drug resistance,” stated Dr. Stuart Levy, director of the Center for Adaptation, Genetics, and Drug Resistance at the Tufts University School of Medicine. “The non-therapeutic misusage is just causing more multi-drug resistance in human therapy. They can transfer resistance, whether it’s something we eat or touch or waste that’s tilled into another source.”
Source: Stan Grossfeld, “Animal Waste Emerging as U.S. Problem,” Boston Globe, September 21, 1998.
Antioxidants are natural substances in plant-quality foods that possess health-giving benefits. Whole grains, vegetables, and fruits contain a variety of active phytochemicals known as antioxidants that help control the oxidation of free radicals, normal but highly reactive substances which in excess can injure cell membranes. Natural antioxidants include phenolic compounds, terpenoids, pigments, and some forms of vitamins A, carotenoids, vitamin C, vitamin E, and selenium. Foods with the highest antioxidant activity include soybeans, cabbage, ginger, garlic, licorice, umbelliferous vegetables, and citrus fruits. Antioxidants reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, hypertension, diabetes, and several forms of cancer. See Carotenoids, Lignans, Selenium, Smoking, Vegetables, Vitamins A, C, E.
Appendicitis, the acute inflammation of the appendix, tends to strike younger people, aged 10 to 30. It commonly occurs on holidays or special occasions following a large meal. It is the most common cause of abdominal surgery in the U.S. A ruptured appendix is potentially life-threatening.
• Operations Higher Among Meat Eaters - In a study comparing the rates of appendectomies among 11,000 vegetarians and nonvegetarians, British researchers reported that the percentage who had this procedure was higher among lifelong meat eaters (10.7 percent). In contrast, lifelong vegetarians had a 7.8 percent appendectomy rate, while those who had stopped eating meat had 8 percent. “The results suggest that people who do not eat meat have a 50 percent lower risk of requiring an emergency appendectomy than those who do,” the scientists concluded.
Source: P. Appleby et al., “Emergency Appendectomy and Meat Consumption in the U.K.,” Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health 49(6):594-606, 1995.
As part of a balanced diet, apples can help keep away serious illness. High in flavonoids, pectins, and other phytochemicals, apples can help protect against cardiovascular disease and certain cancers, especially lung and colon.
• Apples Protect Against Lung Cancer - In a study of flavonoid intake and risk of lung cancer in Finland, scientists reported that of all major dietary flavonoid sources, the consumption of apples protected men and women better than other fruits and vegetables. Those who ate the highest amount of apples had 58 percent lower lung cancer than those who ate the lowest.
Source: P. Knekt et al., “Dietary Flavonoids and the Risk of Lung Cancer and Other Malignant Neoplasms,” American Journal of Epidemiology 146(3):223-30, 1997.
Arthritis, a painful bone and joint disease, affects millions of people. Major forms include osteoarthritis, the painful hardening of bones and joints in the hands or spine, which affects primarily older people, especially men. Rheumatoid arthritis, involving the inflammation and swelling of the joints, especially in the hands and feet, appears primarily in women aged 25 to 50. A balanced diet has benefited some people with arthritis. Excessive animal food and salt appear to be connected with osteoarthritis, while potatoes, tomatoes, and other nightshade plants have been associated with rheumatoid arthritis. See Fibromyalgia, Fish, Lupus, Nightshades, Sesame, Vegetarian Diet.
• Macrobiotic Approach - The macrobiotic approach to arthritis, including a classification of the different types of arthritis, dietary guidelines, home cares, and case histories, is included in several books devoted to this subject. Some arthritis is believed to be caused by strong animal food intake, especially chicken and eggs, while another type is associated with tropical fruits and vegetables, especially nightshades.
Source: Michio Kushi with Charles Millman, A Natural Approach to Arthritis (Tokyo and New York: Japan Publications, 1988) and Aveline Kushi, Cooking for Health—Arthritis (Japan Publications, 1988).
• Low-Fat Diet Relieves Rheumatoid Arthritis - Fat-free diets have produced complete remissions in six patients with rheumatoid arthritis. Doc- tors at Wayne State University in Detroit reported that when a low-calorie, low-fat diet in which chicken, cheese, safflower oil, beef, and coconut oil were eliminated, stiffness and swelling of joints disappeared within days. Patients remained symptom free for up to fourteen months, only to experience short-term recurrences within usually 24 to 48 hours of eating foods which were high in fat. “We conclude that dietary fats in amounts normally eaten in the American diet cause the inflammatory joint changes seen in rheumatoid arthritis.”
Source: Charles P. Lucas and Lawrence Power, “Dietary Fat Aggravates Active Rheumatoid Arthritis,” Department of Medicine, Wayne State University, Detroit, Michigan, 1989.
• High-Fat, High- Sucrose Diet Contributes to Arthritis - In laboratory experiments, rats fed a diet high in fat and sucrose developed abnormal stiffness, reduced energy, and other adverse morphological and structural changes.
Source: R. F. Zernicke, “Long-Term, High-Fat-Sucrose Diet Alters Rat Femoral Neck and Vertebral Morphoolgy, Bone Mineral Content, and Mechanical Properties,” Bone 16(1)25-31, 1995.
• Vegan Diet Helps Arthritis Patients - In a study of 43 patients with rheumatoid arthritis, researchers reported that those assigned to a vegan diet rich in lactobacilli had changes in fecal microbial flora associated with improvement in rheumatoid arthritis activity.
Source: R. Peltonen et al., “Faecal Microbial Flora and Disease Activity in Rheumatoid Arthritis During a Vegan Diet,” British Journal of Rheumatology 36(1):64-68, 1997.
• Arthritic Patients Improve on a Vegetarian Diet - In a case control study, rheumatoid arthritis patients assigned to a vegetarian diet had a significant decrease in platelet count, leukocyte count, calprotectin, total IgG, IgM rheumatoid factor, and other biochemical and immunological variables compared to those assigned to an omnivore diet. The researchers concluded that “dietary treatment can reduce the disease activity in some patients with rheumatoid arthritis.”
Source: J. Kjeldsen-Kragh, et al., “Changes in Laboratory Variables in Rheumatoid Arthritis Patients During a Trial of Fasting and One-Year Vegetarian Diet,” Scandinavian Journal of Rheumatology 24(2):85-93, 1995.
ASIAN DIET PYRAMID
The Traditional Healthy Asian Diet Pyramid reflects Eastern dietary traditions historically associated with good health and was developed in 1995 through a series of conferences organized by nutritionists and epidemiologists at Cornell University, Harvard School of Public Health, and the Oldways Preservation & Exchange Trust.
"The nutrient composition of the traditional rural Asian diet is very similar to the Mediterranean diet in that both are largely plant-based and both pyramids recommend that meat be consumed no more than once a more or more often in very small amounts," explained T. Colin Campbell, Cornell professor of nutritional biochemistry and a developer of the Asian Diet Pyramid. In a press conference introducing the new model, Campbell noted that dairy products are largely absent in Asian diets and are associated with lower rates of osteoporosis than in the West.
Source: 1995 International Conference on the Diets of Asia, Oldways Preservation & Exchange Trust, 1995.
Asthma, a chronic narrowing of the airways to the lungs, affects about 15 million Americans. Between 1980 and 1993, the incidence of this disease increased by 66 percent and deaths went up118 percent. Asthma appears to be caused primarily by excessive dairy food and fat consumption. See Dairy, Vegetarian Diet.
• Asthma and High-Fat Diet - In a Swedish study of 478 men born in 1914, researchers reported that asthma was not related to smoking history but more common in men with a high fat intake. Intake of carbohydrates, vitamin C, and iron was also lower. “Men with asthma have a significantly higher intake of fat than men without asthma,” researchers concluded.
Source: K. Strom et al., “Asthma But not Smoking-Related Airflow Limitation Is Associated with a High Fat Diet in Men,” Monaldi Archives of Chest Diseases 51(1)16-21, 1996.
• Whole Grains, Vegetables, and Other Foods High in Vitamin E Protect Against Asthma - A diet high in foods containing vitamin E may protect adults from asthma, the American Lung Association reported. In a study of 77,866 women, Harvard researchers found that eating foods high in this nutrient such as whole grains and vegetables reduced the risk of asthma.
Source: R. J. Troisi et al., “A Prospective Study of Diet and Adult-Onset Asthma,” American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine 151(5):1401-08, 1995.
• Use of Alternative Medicine for Asthma Increases - In a survey of 564 physicians and medical professionals using alternative medicine for asthma, researchers at the University of California at Davis reported that dietary and nutritional approaches were the most prevalent and useful treatment option.
Source: P. A. Davis et al., “The Use of Complementary/Alternative Medicine for the Treatment of Asthma in the United States,” Journal of Investigational Allergology and Clinical Immunology 8(2):73077, 1998.
Astronauts on the Moon, Mars, and Jupiter are slated to eat brown rice, lentils, seitan, whole wheat tortillas with tofu sour cream, kale, broccoli, garden peas, watercress, and desserts sweetened with amasake. In 1998 researchers at Cornell University announced that they have developed 50 basic dishes featuring all-plant quality foods that can be grown hydroponically in mineral-rich water in space.
Most of the proposed dishes passed a U.S. Army taste test, with a broccoli and mushroom dish scoring the highest. The research was sponsored with a half-million-dollar grant from NASA, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.
Source: Jane E. Brody, “What to Serve for Dinner, When Dinner Is on Mars: Menu Is Vegetarian Only—If You Can Get a Table,” New York Times, May 19, 1998.
Hyperactivity, attention deficit disorder (ADD), and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) affect an estimated 10 to 15 percent of young males (and a lesser number of females) in the U.S. and are characterized by restlessness, mood swings, inability to focus, and trouble relating to peers. Ritalin, the principal drug prescribed for ADD, can cause negative side effects including nausea, heart palpitations, high blood pressure, irregular heartbeat, liver damage, and anorexia.
High energy foods, including meat, eggs, poultry, sugar, chocolate, soft drinks, french fries, and chips and other salty snacks, appear to be a factor in the development of ADD. However, medical studies have found diet and behavior a complex subject, with sensitivity and reaction to foods highly individualized.
Food additives (including artificial colors and flavors), salicylates, and sugar are also suspected of causing abnormal behavior in some youngsters.
See Breast-feeding, Children’s Health, Crime and Diet, Hypoglycemia, Mental Illness, Sugar.
• Parents Attribute ADHD to Sugar - In a study on awareness of ADHD, African-American parents of children at high risk for this disorder were more likely to attribute their child’s symptoms to excessive sugar than whites (59 percent compared to 30 percent).
Source: R. Bussing et al., “Knowledge and Information about ADHD,” Social Science and Medicine 46(7):919-28, 1998.
• ADHD Linked to Low Fatty Acids - In a case-control study on altered fatty acid metabolism, nutritionists at Purdue University reported that 53 children with ADHD had lower concentrations of key fatty acids in their blood and plasma than 43 control subjects. Many of these children exhibited symptoms of essential fatty acid deficiency. The precise reason for the lower fatty acid concentrations was not clear.
Source: L. J. Stevens, “Essential Fatty Acid Metabolism in Boys with ADHD,” American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 62(4):761-68, 1995.
• Nutritional Therapy for ADHD -
In a study of the effect of nutritional therapy on ADHD, Texas researchers reported that a polysaccharide (complex carbohydrate) supplement and a phytonutritional product containing flash-dried vegetables and fruits decreased the severity of ADHD and associated symptoms of Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD) and Conduct Disorder (CD) in all 17 children after 2 weeks. The scientists concluded that symptoms of ADHD may be reduced by the addition of plant-based substances to the diet.
Source: K. D. Dykman and R. A. Dykman, “Effect of Nutritional Supplements on ADHD,” Integr Physio Behav Sci 33(1):49-60, 1998.
• Food Colors - Hyperactivity, learning disabilities, and allergic reactions are epidemic in modern schools and have been associated with chemicals, artificial food colors and flavorings, and highly processed foods. In the U.S., estimates of hyperactivity in schoolchildren range from one in three to one in 20, while in England and other countries where food colors are regulated, only one in 2000 is reported hyperactive.
Source: D. Divoky, “Toward a Nation of Sedated Children,” Learning, March 1973, pp. 6-13.
Autism, in which the child does not develop close personal relationships and lives in a world of his or her own, usually appears between one and three, and symptoms persist throughout life. Medically, autism is considered irreversible.
• Sonic Rebirth - Simulating the sound of the mother’s voice in utero, Alfred Tomatis, M.D., the French expert in the effects of sound and music on human development, has helped relieve hundreds of cases of autism by recreating the sound of the mother’s voice in embryo and playing it back to the autistic child to reestablish the sonic contact that was disrupted in the womb. “The vocal nourishment that the mother provides is just as important as her milk,” he explains. For adopted children or children whose mother is dead or incapacitated, he uses the filtered music of Mozart, which has a similar effect. Dr. Tomatis recommends a natural diet high in whole grains, fresh vegetables, and less dairy food, especially yogurt, for optimal hearing and development.
Source: Don Campbell, The Mozart Effect (New York: Avon Books, 1997).
• Recovery from Autism with Macrobiotics and Music - In 1973, Judy and Dick Harvey adopted James, an orphan from Vietnam who was later diagnosed as autistic. The boy loved to eat french fries, cheese, candy, and salty foods, but discontinued these, along with dairy, red meat, eggs, poultry, and refined sugar following a consultation with educator Michio Kushi. Through macrobiotics and participation in classical music, he overcame his disabilities, went on to study at the University of Nebraska where he majored in math and physics, and is now living a normal life.
Source: Judy Harvey, “Overcoming Autism with Diet,” One Peaceful World Journal 29:1, Winter 1997.
The Upanishads, or early Forest Teachings in India, extol food as the essence of physical, mental, and spiritual development. The Taittiriya Upa-nishad, for example, states: “From food are born all creatures; they live upon food, they are dissolved in food. Food is the chief of all things, the universal medicine.”
The Caraka Samhita, the principal text of Ayurveda, the traditional medicine of India, dates to the 1st or 2nd century A.D. It also emphasizes the central importance of diet in personal health and development of humanity.
“The use of beneficial food is the only cause of growth of a person, while the use of food that is injurious is the cause of disease.”
“It is in consequence of this deterioration [in diet] that there took place a corresponding deterioration in the sap, purity, taste, potency, post-digestive effect and quality of herbs. In this manner, righteousness dwindles in each succeeding age by one quarter and the proto-elements too suffer deterioration, till eventually the world comes to dissolution.”
Sources: Shree Purohit Swami and W. B. Yeats, translators, The Upanishads (London: Faber and Faber, 1937) and Ram K. Sharma and V.B. Dash, translators, Caraka Samhita (New York: Auromere, 1983).
Azuki beans (also spelled aduki) are small, oval-shaped red or brown beans traditionally eaten in the Far East and now cultivated in the U.S., South America, and elsewhere. Azuki beans contain less fat and oil than other beans and like other beans help reduce cholesterol, regulate blood pressure, and inhibit protease and other substances associated with tumor development. See Beans.
• Traditional Use - In his book on home remedies, educator Michio Kushi explains that azuki beans are beneficial to the kidney, bladder, and reproductive functions. They are used in medicinal dishes and drinks such as Azuki Bean Tea to help regulate kidney function, dissolve kidney stones, counter heavy animal food intake, and smooth bowel movement.
Source: Michio Kushi, Basic Home Remedies (Becket, MA: One Peaceful World Press, 1994).