August 2006 - Issue: 6

WHAT'S COOKING is a monthly bulletin to keep you informed about the healing power of food, great new recipes, individual success stories, and the latest from Dr. Fuhrman guiding you on the path to optimal health.

Dr. Fuhrman's Tip of the Month

Docoshexanoic acid (DHA) is a long-chain omega-3 fatty acid and is one of the crucial building blocks of human brain tissue. DHA has been shown to protect against dementia, depression, inflammatory diseases, attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), allergies, and to offer significant benefits for overall cardiovascular health.

Much of the publicity about the beneficial effects of these essential fats has focused on fish oils. One problem with fish oils is that the fat quickly turns rancid. Many people complain of burping, indigestion, a foul taste, and long lasting fish breath. I have also observed that rancidity of this fish fat places a stress on the liver. Patients of mine have had blood tests showing abnormal liver function when consuming fish oil and then have had these tests return to normal when the fish oils were stopped.

Fortunately, vegetable derived DHA, from micro-algae, is an alternative. However, even algae-derived DHA can become rancid if not cared for properly. When I was looking for an acceptable plant based DHA product, I tested some of the leading brands. They all returned high Thiobarbituric Acid (TBA) values, a test detecting oxidative rancidity. A contributing factor that seemed obvious was the lack of in-store refrigeration.

Since nothing was satisfactory, I went to great lengths to deliver the purest and freshest DHA product available on the market today. My DHA Purity is manufactured under strict conditions to ensure purity. Every step of the way, from production to packaging, transportation and storage, this product is kept refrigerated and handled to ensure optimal freshness.

In conjunction with a high nutrient, plant-based diet, I advise all people take a daily DHA supplement from a clean source. Early in life, DHA is supplied via the placenta and from breast milk. While adequate DHA is particularly important for pregnant and nursing women and young children, it is beneficial for all ages!

- Joel Fuhrman, M.D.
August Menu

August Adventure

Vegetarian Shish Kabob

Sunshine Slaw

Tri Color Spinach

Favorite Strawberry Nana Pie

Dr. Fuhrman's Online Members Support Center offers hundreds of delicious nutrient-dense recipes and menu ideas. Member Benefits
Food for Thought

Fish is a good source of EPA and DHA, long-chain omega-3 fats. Unfortunately, it's one of the most polluted foods which we eat. It can't be considered a safe source of these healthy fats.

Fish and fish oils have been shown to contain large concentrations of fat soluble petrochemicals, such as PCB’s and dioxins as a result of the dumping of toxic waste and raw sewage into our oceans. Fish and fish oils also contain mercury. According to the Center for Disease Control, 1 in 12 women of childbearing age in the United States have unsafe mercury levels (and the CDC’s threshold for safety is high). The major contributor to mercury build-up in the body is fish and fish oils, not dental fillings. Multiple studies have illustrated most of the body's mercury load comes from the consumption of fish.

For these reasons, I recommend consuming little or no fish. If you choose to consume fish, try to stay away from those high in fat and known to be high in mercury such as shark, swordfish, mackerel, pike, tuna, snapper, lobster, grouper, sea bass and bluefish. Instead, use the lower fat (less polluted) fish such as flounder, sole, haddock, scallops, squid, trout, hake, ocean perch, shrimp and tilapia. These are the lower fat fish which are less polluted.

Since we cannot rely on fish to assure sufficient consumption of Omega-3, it is still advisable to obtain your omega-3 fats by consuming the cleaner, plant sources such as walnuts, flax, chia, and hemp seeds and then using our DHA Purity to assure adequate levels of long-chain omega-3 fatty acids.

Read more on Fatty Acids and Fish Oil.

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What's Cooking at Dr. Fuhrman's?
  • This month's special: Dr. Fuhrman's DHA — BUY 1 get the 2nd 50% off!
  • We've narrowed down our top 4 veggie burger recipes and have fully enjoyed tasting all of the submissions! Look for the winner and runners up to be announced in next month's e-bulletin.
Next Month's Member Teleconference:

'Getting Your Kids to Eat Healthy'
Date: Wednesday, September 20, 2006
Time: 9:00 pm EDT

(SeeDr. Fuhrman's Online Member Center for details)

Recipe of the Month

Summer fresh fruit pies are always a hit! End your colorful picnic with this Favorite Strawberry Nana Pie. It's easy to make, and you won't have to turn on the oven in the heat of summer. Due to its' eye appeal and delicious taste, it's sure to be a favorite, and you're guaranteed to receive many compliments from all ages.

You can use any combination of fresh summer fruits, along with the bananas, and obtain wonderful results. What a great, fun way to get part of your five+ fruits a day!

Berries are high in antioxidants. So, if you want to help yourself stay young and healthy, be sure to eat plenty of them.

There are other delicious fruit pie recipes available to you in the Member Center Recipe Guide, along with hundreds of other delicious Eat to Live recipes.

Enjoy the rest of the summer and the energy that you receive from Eating to Live!

Dear Dr. Fuhrman,

I'm writing to share my excitement at the initial results that I experienced following your cholesterol lowering program. I'm a 43 year old man who found out this July (from my first physical in 13 years) that I had very high cholesterol - Overall 241, LDL 186, HDL 38, Triglyceride 85. My doctor wanted me to go on statin drugs, but I was familiar with your book and chose to first try lowering it by changing my diet. This Monday, after only 4 weeks on the program, a friend who works at a lab retested my blood, and the results were beyond my best expectations - Overall 161, LDL 110, HDL 41, Triglyceride 50 (as an added bonus I've also lost the "stubborn" 10 pounds I've had since my early 30s). Thank you for writing a nutrition book that's convincingly well researched (not another "flavor of the week" diet) that encouraged me to radically change how I eat - the results have been worth it!

Thanks again,
Ed Z.

Read more sucess stories on our testimonial page, click here

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Health and Science Facts

Omega-3 fatty acids are healthy fats that reduce inflammation, inhibit cancer development and protect our blood vessels. There are long-chain and short chain omega-3s. Short-chain omega-3 fats are found in flax, chia, and hemp seed, walnuts and some green vegetables. A small amount of these short chain fats (between 1% to 9%) are converted to long-chain omega-3 fatty acids by the body. Long-chain omega-3 fatty acids are also produced by marine algae and are the source of DHA and EPA in fish.

The basic building block of short-chain omega-3 fat is alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). Studies show that people have varying ability to convert ALA into DHA. Apparently, some people eating sufficient ALA from greens, flax and walnuts can achieve adequate levels while others, even if careful to consume more ALA, cannot. Conversion of ALA by the body to these more active longer-chain metabolites is inefficient: < 5-10% for EPA and 2-5% for DHA1. Men generally convert less than women.

The less fish eaten the more reliant the body is on this conversion and higher levels of ALA (short-chain fat) are required to produce sufficient levels of DHA. Thus, the total omega-3 requirements are higher for those who do not eat fish.

Because of the higher omega-3 fat requirement for vegetarians and for those not eating much fish, nutritional advisors typically encourage consuming high amounts of flax seed oil to permit the conversion of enough DHA. I do not agree with this advice. First of all, flax seed oil is an empty calorie food with little or no vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals and flavonoids that were present in the original seeds. Furthermore, we have a significant collection of data that indicates that the consumption of high doses of ALA from flax oil may increase, not decrease the risk of prostate cancer2. Whereas, flax seed consumption has been shown in multiple studies to lower the risk of both breast cancer and prostate cancer3; in contrast, flax oil and high ALA consumption has been linked to increased risk.

1. Davis, B. C. and P. M. Kris-Etherton. Achieving optimal essential fatty acid status in vegetarians: current knowledge and practical implications. Am J Clin Nutr 2003;78(3 Suppl):640S-646S. Brenna, J. T. Efficiency of conversion of alpha-linolenic acid to long chain n-3 fatty acids in man. Curr Opin Clin Nutr Metab Care 2002;5(2):127-32.

2. Brouwer IA, Katan MB, Zock PL. Dietary alpha-linolenic acid is associated with reduced risk of fatal coronary heart disease, but increased prostate cancer risk: a meta-analysis. J Nutr 2004 Apr;134(4):919-22

3. Demark-Wahnefried W, Price DT, Polascik TJ, et al. Pilot study of dietary fat restriction and flaxseed supplementation in men with prostate cancer before surgery: exploring the effects on hormonal levels, prostate-specific antigen, and histopathologic features Urology 2001 Jul;58(1):47-52.

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