Tag Archives: health

Eat Your Fruits and Veggies



By Luigi Gratton, M.D., M.P.H.

When our mothers told us, “Eat your fruits and veggies,” they were right. They are an essential part of our diet, providing a wide range of vitamins and minerals that serve an array of important functions in the body. Many people, however, are still deficient in their fruit and vegetable intake.

Over the last several years, the U.S. Department of Health has recommended eating at least five portions of fruits and vegetables a day. Yet, only 1-in-7 achieve this quota. In fact, one-third of American adults eat only two servings of fruits and vegetables a day and are four times more likely to choose a processed snack instead. On any given day, about half the population eats no fruit at all.

There is a rainbow of reasons to eat a variety of colors from the produce aisle. Fruits and vegetables are virtually fat free, low in salt and an excellent source of fiber. Some fruits and vegetables, such as carrots and cantaloupe, provide Vitamin A, which maintains eye health and immunity.

Other fruits and vegetables, such as bananas and spinach, contain potassium, which is necessary for proper nerve and muscle functioning. Green vegetables, such as broccoli and asparagus, provide B vitamins, which are necessary for converting food into energy. But all fruits and vegetables contain phytonutrients, the health-promoting components of plants. Scientific studies show that phytonutrients can help protect seven key organs, including the eyes, heart, liver and skin, and they may also serve as antioxidants.

Current research has measured the total antioxidant power of various foods, citing fruits and vegetables at the top of the list. Antioxidants protect our bodies from free radicals that can cause damage to cellular membranes. Antioxidants also boost our immunity, help make our muscles stronger and support bone and skin health.

Since eating the recommended daily servings of antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables is not always realistic, try supplementing your diet with appropriate products. Herbalife’s Garden 7® dietary supplement protects your health with the powerful phytonutrient and antioxidant benefits found in seven servings of colorful fruits and vegetables. It also supports your body’s vital organs by providing them with key nutrients.

So, try to get in the habit of eating plenty of produce each day. It’s one of the biggest favors you can do for your body.


Add Color to Your Life
By Susan Bowerman, M.S., R.D., C.S.S.D.

Color-coding can be a useful device to introduce diversity into the diet. The different colors are important because the different plant chemicals they represent have different effects on the body. There are two purposes for this classification. First, it is meant to increase the diversity of the plant foods you eat. Second, it groups these according to mechanisms that the phytochemicals in each group provide. By eating regularly from each group, you will obtain a rich group of phytochemicals to help promote good health. And remember not to overdo a good thing: Fruits and vegetables have a lot of nutrients per serving, so always be sure to keep portion size reasonable.

Herbalife’s Garden 7® provides needed amounts of phytonutrients from the 7 color groups of fruits and vegetables and is a great way to ensure that you and your family (yes, even the kids!) are getting what you need on a daily basis.


Phytonutrients Take Center Stage
On the cusp of the millennium, researchers are busily uncovering a host of beneficial compounds in plant foods. While these phytonutrients aren’t essential by traditional definitions, they apparently reduce risks of diseases of aging.
grapesFor example, the isoflavones in soy products may reduce the risk of heart disease, osteoporosis, and several types of cancer. Certain flavonoids in blueberries may actually reverse nerve cell aging. And a wide array of comp ounds in fruits and vegetables may protect cell components against oxidative damage as well as vitamins C or E.

Indeed, cancer, heart disease, and Alzheimer’s disease may plague the middle-aged and elderly because of our limited knowledge of phytonutrients. Research in this arena, now less than two decades old, may relegate some of today’s ills to the history books—joining scurvy and pellagra.

Phytonutrients have provided the impetus for plant and nutrition scientists to work together because foods will continue to be the primary source of these compounds. While a few visionary plant scientists have improved the nutritional quality of foods, breeders have focused on increasing yields or warding off insects or diseases.

That is changing. Projects have sprouted up to screen germplasm for specific phytonutrients or to find ways to increase or preserve them in cultivated varieties. Following are just a few examples of this new wave:

Genetic engineering has produced tomatoes with up to three times more lycopene—the cancer-preventing red pigment—than normal and a shelf life several weeks longer. Autar K. Mattoo and colleagues at the ARS Vegetable Laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, inserted a gene that retards plant aging, or senescence, along with a promoter that is triggered by ripening. The engineered tomatoes accumulate more lycopene and other antioxidants during the longer ripening stage. This novel approach should work in other fruits and vegetables.

Tissue culture at the ARS Western Regional Research Center in Albany, California, is producing tomatoes with 10 times more lycopene than store-bought tomatoes. Betty K. Ishida and colleagues grow tomatoes in test tubes kept at cooler temperatures, which triggers certain genes to produce the enzymes that increase lycopene production, she says. She is searching for the specific genes responsible and other ways to activate them.

Environmental and genetic factors also make a difference. Cantaloupes grown at the ARS Subtropical Agricultural Research Center in Weslaco, Texas, differed in beta carotene levels by 500 percent, depending on the soil, the cultivar, and fruit size, says Gene E. Lester. Now Lester and colleagues are embarking on a project to understand the postharvest storage factors, as well as the environmental and genetic factors that affect phytonutrient levels in a variety of fruits and vegetables.

Breeding will be central to putting produce with enhanced phytonutrients on the table. Broccoli is a good source of compounds that may inhibit cancer. But there’s good potential for increasing the crop’s potential anticancer punch. Mark W. Farnham in the ARS Vegetable Research Unit at Charleston, South Carolina, and Jed Fahey at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland, found that the supposed anticancer precursor—glucoraphanin—exhibits a thirtyfold difference in Farnham’s inbred broccoli lines.

Storage can affect phytonutrient levels, says Irwin Goldman of the University of Wisconsin. Onions that have been in cold storage up to 90 days show more antiplatelet activity. This can reduce cardiovascular disease risk by interfering with the clumping of blood platelets—the first stage in clot formation.

Have a Heart



By Luigi Gratton, M.D., M.P.H.

Want to enjoy a long, active life full of energy and vitality? You’ll have to put your heart into it. Maintaining a strong, healthy cardiovascular system is essential to your overall health and quality of life. So why wait? Start making life choices today that will give you the heart of a champion–and the life of a winner. Hereare a few ideas to get you started:

Get your body moving. Studies show that moderate physical activity can strengthen the heart. Regularexercise–jogging, weight lifting, playing sports–is key to a healthy heart and a rich and fulfilling life. Not interested in playing sports or joining a gym? Try walking. Taking 6,000 to 10,000 steps every day is terrific for your heart. A pedometer, available at any sporting-goods store, can help you keep track of your steps throughout the day. Try different types of exercise, find the ones you really enjoy, and make them a regular part of your life.

Forget the fast food. Junk the junk food. Create a heart-healthy diet. That means healthy protein, healthy fatty acids like Omega-3s, lots of water and plenty of fruits and vegetables. The way you eat is important, too. So don’t skip meals. Schedule regular times for meals and snacks. And try not to eat anything within a few hours of going to bed.

And speaking of going to bed… it’s time to get some shut-eye. Sleep deprivation has been linked to anincreased risk of heart problems. We’re busy people, and it can be tempting to shave off an hour or two of sleep to “be more productive.” Resist that temptation. Think of it this way:For eight hours of every day of your life, the most productive activity you can engage in for your health is sleeping. So, have a good night–and you’ll have a great life.


By Luigi Gratton, M.D., M.P.H.

There are nearly 100,000 miles of arteries, veins and capillaries in your body. They allow nutrient-rich bloodto nourish the cells and organs of your body. But when they’re blocked, it can result in heart attack orstroke, the #1 and #3 leading causes of death in the United States.

Obesity is a major risk factor for heart disease. Your heart health alone is reason enough to lose any extraweight you’re carrying. But is there anything else you can do to support your heart health?

Take a closer look at the food choices you’re making. It’s also important to eat enough protein to maintain or build your lean muscle mass, and watch your intake of “good fats” and “bad fats.” Fish is a good sourceof Omega-3 fatty acids–“good fats” that are essential for heart health.
Make sure to include plenty of colorful fruits and vegetables in a nutrient-rich diet. Some foods are considered particularly heart healthy–garlic, almonds and certain fruits and vegetables. A great way tochoose your fruits and vegetables is to use color as a guide. In general, the deeper the color, the more nutrient-rich it is. Different colors in dicate variety of nutrients. See the chart below for the phytonutrientseach provides:

It’s often difficult to get all the nutrients you need from your diet alone, especially when you’re watching portion sizes and calories. And with our busy lifestyles, we’re often tempted to reach for fast food, which is often unhealthy food. That’s why so many people have discovered the benefits of supplementation. If you’re not meeting your daily requirements through food, supplements can fill in the gaps in your diet, insuring that you’re getting all the nutrients you need.
Losing weight is one of the most important steps you can take for your cardiovascular health. But don’t stop there. Make sure you’re doing everything you can–eat right, exercise, get regular checkups and take supplements.


By Lou Ignarro, Ph.D.

Heart disease is the #1 killer of Americans today. According to the American Heart Association’s estimates,1.2 million Americans will have a first or recurrent heart attack in 2008; approximately 452,000 will die as a result.

Worldwide, heart disease kills approximately 17 million people per year–that’s almost one third of all deathsglobally. The Atlas of Heart Diseas e and Stroke, released by the World Health Organization, estimates that by 2020, heart disease and stroke will be the leading cause of both death and disability, with thenumber of fatalities projected to increase to more than 20 million a year.

In Mexico, heart disease has been the leading cause of death for the last 20 years, while in Europe, cardiovascular disease kills 4 million people each year. About half of the world’s cases of cardiovasculardisease occur in the Asia Pacific region; 1.3 million people die of cardiovascular disease annually in Russia; and, according to a study released by the New England Journal of Medicine, cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in China.

While these statistics paint a bleak picture, they also present a huge opportunity to promote the benefitsof a healthy, active lifestyle. When I think about optimal cardiovascular health, here’s what comes to mind:

  • Maintaining a healthy weight
  • Making sure you get lots of antioxidants from your diet (fruits and vegetables) and through supplementation
  • Participating in some form of aerobic exercise on a daily basis
  • Making sure you are well hydrated and get plenty of sleep–much of the repair and regenerative work of the body occurs while we sleep

Additionally, taking Herbalife’s Niteworks® dietary supplement powder mix helps promote Nitric Oxide (NO) levels and maintain blood pressure in the normal range. Herbalife® Core Complex softgels target four key indicators of heart health: cholesterol, triglycerides, homocysteine and oxidative stress.

Healthy Kids



  • Avoid giving your kids a high-sugar snack before a practice or game. Too much sugar causes energy peaks, followed by a crashing low which leaves them tired, irritable and unable to concentrate.
  • Offer your kids a healthier snack alternative, such as fruit. It’s a naturally sweet snack that also contains fiber and vitamins they need.
  • Watch the high-sugar breakfasts. Kids’ cereals contain about 52 percent more sugar than adult cereals and have less protein and fiber.
  • Be careful of sugar-sweetened sodas. Each 12-ounce carbonated soft drink contains the equivalent of 10 teaspoons of sugar and 150 calories.
  • Beware of fruit-flavored drinks. They often contain as much added sugar as soft drinks and also tend to be high in calories and low in valuable nutrients.


How do you know if your kids are dehydrated? One way to check hydration level is to note the color of the urine. “People who are optimally hydrated should urinate every one to two hours,” says Luigi


Gratton, M.D., M.P.H. “And tell your kids that their urine should look more like lemonade, and less like apple juice. Darker color usually means more concentrated urine, an indication that kids need to increase fluid intake.”

Watch your child for other signs and symptoms of dehydration during exercise, such as muscle cramping, or feeling light-headed, nauseated, headachy or faint. Remember, proper hydration is important for kids’ athletic performance, energy and overall health.