Saturday, May 29, 2010

Asparagus: It' s Hidden Secrets

Asparagus a vegetable with long, tender shoots. It comes in several types,generally categorized as white, purple or green varieties. Asparagus is related to the lily family and a cousin to onion and garlic. Asparagus is one vegetable that still needs to harvested by hand,hence the cost being higher than most other vegetables. The color of the asparagus is determined by the amount of exposure to sunlight. Green asparagus is traditionally the most common variety we see in our local stores, while purple or white asparagus is available on a limited basis in specialty markets. White asparagus is the type that is most popular in Northern Europe. The white variety has less flavor then the green or purple. The purple variety is generally harvested when the stalks reach a height of approximately 3 inches. Once cooked purple asparagus provides a distinctive fruity flavor. Try it for some variety in your dinner, it is loaded with phytonutrients.


Asparagus can be boiled, steamed, sautéed, grilled, pickled, or served cold. It makes an enjoyable appetizer, or a good complement to salads, vegetable dishes, and soups. Asparagus can also be pureed and used for soups and soufflés.

At Their Best:

Asparagus is best when in season in your area, which in our begins in April and runs through June.

Asparagus is harvested throughout the year some where in the world, making it available year round. It is best when eaten within a couple of days of harvesting so if purchasing in the off season prepare it as soon as purchased to maintain the flavor. When it is in season in your local area prepare it within 1-3 days from purchase date, for the best taste.

Purchasing Asparagus

Select asparagus with stalks that are firm, crisp,with full heads and tightly closed without any discolored tops. Check the aroma of the asparagus it should not give off an fowl odor. The ends of the asparagus that have been cut should be moist and fresh in appearance, not dried or cracked. When dried or cracked you may be purchasing old asparagus.


Asparagus perishes easily. Fresh asparagus will last about 3 to 4 days while blanched asparagus can last for 9 months in the freezer. Do not wash asparagus before storing. Wash it just before using. To store fresh asparagus, wrap the stalks in a damp cloth or paper towel and place in a plastic bag that is not airtight. Airtight bags will trap moisture, causing the asparagus to become soggy and it begins to rot. Fresh asparagus can be stored by trimming an inch off the stem end, wrapping ends with a wet paper towel,then stand the spears upright in a glass container filled with a couple of inches of water. Place a loose plastic bag over the spear tips and store in the refrigerator.

Preparation is key to good tasting Asparagus.

Asparagus is one of the more underrated, as well as misunderstood, vegetables. Many people say they don't like it, myself included. Most often it is served over-cooked which makes it mushy, slimy and tasteless. This is how I recall asparagus tasting as a child. It was even worse when we ate it from a can,it was defiantly over cooked. I had a few opportunities in my life to have it prepared properly. I now enjoy it a great deal, as does my family. The bottom line is most people don't know how to purchase it, store it or prepare it.

Asparagus used as medicine: It has been used since early times as both a vegetable and a medicine. Asparagus has a long history of medicinal help for liver, kidney and heart disorders. It has been known to aid patients who suffer from kidney stones. It also has anti-inflammatory benefit which is great for those who suffer from arthritis. It works to detoxify the liver as well.

We can eat ourselves sick now lets try a new road and started a road to wellness through eating healthier. Juicing asparagus is a great way to get alot of detox and flood your body with rich nutrients. Remember organic is best!

Asparagus is low in calories, contains no cholesterol and is very low in sodium. And it's loaded with nutrients; a great source of the B vitamins (B1, B2, B3, and B6), high in calcium, magnesium and zinc, and a very good source of dietary fiber and protein along with other vitamins (A,C, E and K) and minerals (iron, phosphorus, potassium, copper, and selenium).

High Antioxidants benefits, like spinach and turnip greens. As well as a great source of folate and potassium. Research suggests folate is key in taming homocysteine, a substance implicated in heart disease. Several studies indicate that getting plenty of potassium may reduce the loss of calcium from the body. Green asparagus is an especially good source of vitamin C. Vitamin C helps the body produce and maintain collagen, the major structural protein component of the body's connective tissues.

Folate is a great anti cancer supplement beware avoid folic acid as a supplement, it may create some cancers. Look for future posts on folic acid and cancer.

COOKING ASPARAGUS: Asparagus should be cooked: "fast." Cooking time will vary depending on the thickness and age of the asparagus. Fresh asparagus requires less cooking. The asparagus should be cooked for only 2 to 6 minutes, just to a point where it's tender inside yet still crispy on the outside. Steaming will retain the most nutrients. It takes only a few minutes for those stalks to turn a bright green, showing that they are ready. You can also grill, sauté or roast asparagus. Any of those methods will bring out a unique sweet nutty flavor.

Check out a few websites on preparing asparagus before you cook it again.You can grill,saute,steam,roast or even make it in the oven. remember keep it simple and quick 2-6 min is the maximum cook time for perfect asparagus.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Day Care and Probiotics

Are your children in daycare?

A success story about children I've treated who suffer from frequent illnesses brought on from daycare interactions. Over the years I've treated several families whose children attend daycare. The most common link I noted with children in daycare is they have a rise in common infections, earaches,colds and respiratory like conditions. These children have presented to the office sick. They had been treated previously by the family physician with multiple doses of antibiotics. These children seemed to have frequent illnesses. Symptoms ranging from colds, viruses, earaches,respiratory infections and other common,children ailments.
After a consultation with parent and child I then created a plan for wellness.

Treatment starts with diet changes,cutting out sugars and junk snack foods, cut out most dairy products. Add more fruits and vegetables. Some children may need special testing for food allergies and nutritional testings.
Primary treatment is having a spinal adjustments to the child's health care protocols.

Please check out my two favorite website for children and chiropractic.
International Chiropractic Pediatric Association

Watching Day Care Children At Play

When you watch children of daycare age play, they stuff everything into there mouths toys and hands. Hands are always in there mouths,ears and noses. They are great at sharing germs with each other,they have not yet learned how to sneeze into there elbows, they sneeze all over each other. What can we do beyond washing hands and toys more frequently? We can add Probiotics to there diets.

A recent study shows the benefits of Probiotics.Do not be fooled by the yogurts on the market with added probiotics. First of all, yogurt all has probiotics so don't be fooled with labels. The amount of sugars in yogurt out ways the good benefits of most yogurt.

If you use yogurt as a source of probiotic choose plain yogurt, without any sugar or artificial sweeteners added. I suggest to patients to use plain non-flavored yogurt with fresh fruit or non sweetened frozen fruits.

Probiotic in the News

Probiotics are gaining interest for reducing the risk of upper respiratory tract infections such as the common cold. Some research suggests that milk fortified with a specific strain of probiotic, Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG (Culturelle) seems to modestly reduce the incidence of respiratory infections in young children in day care.8565 Lactobacillus GG seems to stimulate some measures of immune function.7756,7757 Some clinical research also shows that children attending day care who drink a milk product containing a specific combination of Lactobacillus acidophilus plus Bifidobacteria animalis (HOWARU Protect, Danisco) for 6 months have a 45% lower risk of developing flu-like symptoms compared to placebo.

As a preventative measure you can add Lactobacillus rhamnosus into a beverage and give it to your children daily. I like a combo probiotic to get general coverage for multiple issues.
My goal with treatment is to support children's immune system through diet,nutritional support and spinal correction for immune systems.

Start before the school year begins by having the children immune system boosted before the school starts. Give there immune system a boost starting in the summer.fore school starts.Remember your children's spines need to adjusted regularly as well as your own.

Please call if you have any questions or if you have a child who suffers from frequent illnesses.

Fun Facts

Asthma Suffers did you Know?

Fact # 1
Asthmatics who supplemented magnesium demonstrated significant improvements in their asthma symptoms and in their quality of life. Magnesium in this population exhibited anti-inflammatory properties as well.

Listen to a previous Clinical Rounds call entitled The Many Roles of Magnesium featuring Aileen Burford-Mason, Ph.D.

Source: Effect of Oral Magnesium Supplementation on Measures of Airway Resistance and Subjective Assessment of Asthma Control and Quality of Life in Men and Women with Mild to Moderate Asthma

Fact # 2
Giving birth to weak bones.

A recent study has shown that women who use certain types of injectable birth control run a greater risk of bone fracture than those women who do not use this form of birth control. It appears that these types of birth control, over time, will deplete bone mineralization thus increasing bone loss, making the bones weaker and thereby more susceptible to fracture. Birth control should not be setting you up for osteoporosis in years to come. Beware, be informed read what ever drugs you are using and research there side effects and know what you can do to prevent side effects. Know what other options you may have when researching choices.

Source: Long-Term Use of Certain Contraception Injections Associated With Increased Fracture Risk

Fact #3

More and more positive news continues to come out regarding the protective effects and anti-carcinogenic properties of vitamin K. It now appears that those with higher levels of vitamin K have a lower risk of developing Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma.

Vitamin K is actually a small group of chemical compounds with similar compositions. Vitamin K1 and vitamin K2 are the two primary forms of vitamin K that possess the most active properties in the human body.

Vitamin K1, found primarily in green leafy vegetables like spinach and kale, is most commonly associated with blood coagulation. Vitamin K2, primarily manufactured by our own intestinal bacteria, is normally associated with optimal bone health.

Source: Vitamin K May Protect Against Developing Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma, Say Mayo Clinic Researchers

Fact #4

Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), the omega-3 fatty acid found primarily in cold water fish and fish oil, was found, in adolescent boys, to increase activation of the pre-frontal cortex and improve reaction time when the test subjects were assigned tasks requiring sustained attention.

Source: Docosahexaenoic acid supplementation increases prefrontal cortex activation during sustained attention in healthy boys

Fact # 5

Glutamine supplementation in very low birth weight infants was shown to be hepatic or liver protective while it also reduced liver enzymes as well.

It is not uncommon for infants born with very low birth weight to have been born with liver problems that may require medical intervention.

Source:Protection effect of parenteral glutamine supplementation on hepatic function in very low birth weight infants

Healthy Fun Facts

Fact #1

Catechins, a family of polyphenols found in green tea, may help protect the eyes against glaucoma and other eye related diseases, according to recent research. The green tea compounds can travel from the digestive system into the tissues of the eyes.

Researchers analyzed eye tissue from rats that drank green tea and found that the lens, retina and other tissues absorbed significant amounts of the catechins. Catechins act as powerful antioxidants that protect sensitive eye tissue from oxidative damage which can be caused by UV radiation and other sources.

Source: Green Tea Catechins and Their Oxidative Protection in the Rat Eye

Fact #2

Older mice, mice that are known to have decreased immune function, were supplemented with vitamin E and demonstrated increased formation of T cells, a type of white blood cell called a lymphocyte which plays a major role in cell mediated immunity.

Long term Vitamin E use was also found to decrease the risk of contacting chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) in both smokers and non-smokers, according to the latest research.


Dietary Supplementation with Tocotrienols Enhances Immune Function in C57BL/6 Mice
Long-Term Use Of Vitamin E May Decrease COPD Risk

Fact #3

Certain women with a familial history of breast cancer that also have a specific mutation of the BRCA1 gene have demonstrated an increased risk in also developing ovarian cancer.
The BRCA1 gene is a tumor suppressor gene that when damaged or mutated can significantly increase the risk of developing breast cancer.

Source: BRCA1 gene mutations may explain more than 80% of excess number of ovarian cancer cases after breast cancer – a population based study from the Western Sweden Health Care region

Fact #4

Children with celiac disease have been found to have lower than normal levels of tryptophan and other associated amino acid precursors. These deficiencies can then lead to higher rates of depression and behavioral disorders. It was found in a recent study, that those children with celiac disease who complied with a gluten free diet experienced a decrease in the severity and frequency of depression and associated psychiatric behaviors.

Source: Gluten-free diet may alleviate depressive and behavioural symptoms in adolescents with celiac disease: a prospective follow-up case-series study

Fact #5

Women who consume a diet high in trans-fats have a significantly increased risk of developing endometriosis. This is in comparison to those women who consume a diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids, the type found in fish and flax seed. These women are found to have a significantly reduced risk of developing endometriosis.

Endometriosis is a pelvic inflammatory condition in which tissue similar to the lining of the uterus is formed elsewhere in the body. Endometriosis can cause scar tissue and adhesions that can then lead to debilitating pain.

Source: A prospective study of dietary fat consumption a
and endometriosis risk