Monday, June 6, 2011

Lingonberry Juice May Lower Blood Pressure

Lingonberries are a Scandinavian berry that is similar in taste and appearance to the cranberries native to North America. Finnish scientists have found that lingonberries, but not cranberries or lingonberries, or blackcurrants, may help lower blood pressure.
I have previously written about lingonberries for cancer nutrition.

A team of scientists led by Dr. Anne Kivimaki from the Institute of Biomedicine at the University of Helsinki found that hypertensive lab rats given lingonberries developed normal blood pressure. All of the berries tested contain antioxidant procyanidins, flavonols, and flavon-3-ols, but lingonberry juice contain about 200% more than the other juices. The difference in antioxidant content, which also depends on how the berries are harvested and turned into juice, seems to make the difference in treating blood pressure.

Where can you find lingonberry juice to give it a try? Most Whole Foods stores and IKEA stores carry it. Try it instead of orange juice for a month and see if blood pressure goes down.


Journal of Functional Foods
Published online ahead of print, doi: 10.1016/j.jff.2011.05.001
“Lingonberry juice improves endothelium-dependent vasodilatation of mesenteric arteries in spontaneously hypertensive rats in a long-term intervention”
Authors: A.S. Kivimaki, P.I. Ehlers, A.M. Turpeinen, H. Vapaatalo, R. Korpela

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Woman Sues Dunkin' Donuts Over Sugar in Coffee

There is just no way that sugar is a healthy food for diabetics, except on those rare occasions it's the only thing available to treat hypoglycemia. But a Philadelphia woman is suing the Dunkin' Donuts chain for serving her coffee with sugar in it. How could this be?

There may be some facts left out of the AP story but apparently the claim is this: Danielle Jordan asked for artificial sweetener to be added to her coffee on a visit to Dunkin' Donuts. She drank the coffee, felt dizzy, and made an emergency trip to a nearby hospital.

We don't know that Ms. Jordan is claiming that 5 grams of sugar in her coffee she didn't ask for was the problem, or whether she also ate 50 or 100 or 150 grams of sugar or more in donuts before she drank the coffee. Or how she can prove there was sugar in her coffee if she drank it all.

Can drinking coffee with sugar really make you sick?

If you weigh 100 kilos (220 pounds) and you eat two teaspoons (10 grams) of sugar, your blood sugar levels will probably go up about 30-50 mg/dl (2-4 mmol/L). If you weigh less, your blood sugar levels will go up more, and if you weigh more, your blood sugar levels will go up less.

If you eat a single donut, you might get a 100-200 mg/dl swing in your blood sugar levels. How much your blood sugar levels go up depends on what else you have in your stomach.

If you haven't eaten anything you are not supposed to before you consume a coffee with two sugars, you probably aren't go to feel anything. It's blood sugar levels going down that typically make you feel dizzy.

So maybe there is a lot to this story that isn't being told. Or maybe the plaintiff is claiming that eating sugar makes everybody else's blood sugar levels go up but made hers go down and Dunkin' Donuts ought to pay her for that.

It will be interesting to see how this story develops. But in the meantime, don't put sugar in your coffee, but don't worry about getting deathly ill from it if you do.

Friday, June 3, 2011

How You Can Prevent E. coli Infection at Home

A new strain of E. coli is killing people in Europe and threatening people in the USA. Here is what you can do to keep E. coli out of your home kitchen.

Wash the bottoms of your vegetables as well as the tops.

Most people hold vegetables under running water to rinse off contamination but forget to the vegetable over and wash the other side.

Keep rough-skinned fruits and vegetables separate from smooth-skinned fruits and vegetables.

Nooks and crannies in the rinds and peels of produce like cantaloupes harbor E. coli that can rub off on other produce. Keep fruit and vegetables with tough outer peels separate from others.


E. coli multiply 10 times faster at 30 degrees C/86 degrees F than they do at 20 degrees C/68 degrees F, and 100 times faster than at 30 degrees C than they do in the refrigerator. Just putting veggies and fruit in the frig as soon as possible greatly reduces contamination.

Remember that some kinds of acidity are good.

Acid in salad dressings kills bacteria. Think vinegar. Acid in your stomach kills bacteria. Don't take antacids before you eat salads. But eat salads because the bitterness in the vegetables stimulates your stomach to secrete digestive juices that kill bacteria.

Fight E. coli from the inside out.

E. coli does not do damage until it reaches your intestines. If it has to compete with friendly bacteria like Lactobacillus, it has fewer opportunities to latch on to the lining of the gut and multiply. Probiotic yogurts (whether they are made with milk or not) and probiotic supplements provide the bacteria that fight E. coli for you. Just be sure you use a product that has live cultures.

And even more ways to prevent E. coli infection include:

Cook hamburger and ground beef thoroughly. Ground meats can turn brown before disease-causing bacteria are killed, so use a digital instant-read meat thermometer to ensure the thickest part of the patty has been heated to at least 160°F. If you do not use a meat thermometer, avoid eating ground meat that is still pink. If you are served a rare hamburger in a restaurant, return the meat and ask that it be reheated and placed on a fresh bun with fresh condiments.
In the kitchen, keep raw meat separate from ready-to-eat foods. Wash utensils, counters, plates, and hands with hot, soapy water after they touch raw meat.

Avoid unpasteurized milk and juices, as well as alfalfa sprouts. Or know your source!

Be sure to wash fruits and vegetables, especially if they are to be eaten raw.

Avoid swallowing lake or pool water while swimming.

Make sure children (or adults) with diarrhea wash their hands thoroughly in warm, soapy water after using the bathroom. Anyone with diarrhea should avoid swimming in a public pool, sharing a bath or shower, and preparing food for others.

Keep fingernails trimmed. Dr. Michael Doyle and his team at the University of Georgia put hamburger contaminated with E. coli under the nails of volunteers. The subjects then washed their hands thoroughly, and the researchers measured how much bacteria was left. They found that volunteers who used nail brushes had the fewest bacteria. However, if the volunteers had long fingernails, even nail brushes weren’t effective for cleaning contamination from the hands.