Diseases & Food


See also Super anti-ageing foods and Elixirs and Ageing Diseases


B vitamins (mainly folic acid, vitamins B6 and B12) have a protective effect on the brain in the same way as they do against heart disease and stroke, cancer and multiple sclerosis, – helps lower high blood levels of omocysteine, a damaging amino acid. Bs containedin fresh fruit and vegetables which are rich in antioxidents. Also beneficial are folic acid and B12.

Boost oestrogen levels by eating soya-based products such as milk and tofu as well as other phytoestrogens which are rich in folic acid – this is because HRT may protect against Alzheimer’s, heart disease and osteoporosis

Herbs such as ginkgo biloba and sage helps blood supply to brain. Also ensure DHEA and melatonin levels are sufficient.

Patients with mild Alzheimer’s disease or mild cognitive impairment benefit from
treatment with acetyl-L-carnitine, according to a meta analysis of 21 placebo-controlled, randomized, double-blind trials.


See heart disease diet.


Consume a minimum of six servings of fruit and vegetables daily – at least three vegetables and three fruits. In doing so, you are likely to reach the recommended daily recommended 152 milligrams of vitamin C and 9,000 IU’s of beta- carotene. More than 200 mg of vitamin C is an even better target for those with rheumatoid arthritis.

Eat more fish, and some nuts and beans as your protein source rather than chicken or meat, which, for the most part, do not have omega- 3’s. Fatty meats with a considerable amount of saturated fat pose an added problem: the saturated fat competes with the beneficial omega- 3’s for uptake by joint cells. At least one serving of fish, nuts or legumes is recommended daily and no more than 6 ounces of beef or poultry. Over the course of a week aim to have four servings of fish or the equivalent of 3 ounces every other day. On the off days, add in one or two tablespoons of nuts or half of a cup of beans. Limit omega-6 fatty acids to decrease inflammation. Also less omega-6’s in the diet will allow more beneficial omega-3’s to get to your joints. Check the ingredient list on the label of processed goods for those that contain corn, safflower or cottonseed oil and limit them. Canola, olive and soybean oil are good because they have more omega-3’s.

Consider taking a Vitamin D supplement. Milk contains 100 IU of vitamin D per cup but many people do not drink 4 cups daily. If you do not drink any milk, take a multivitamin or calcium supplement with 100 percent of the daily value for vitamin D (400 IU). After age 71, aim for 600 IUs daily. Spend some time in the sun.

Tropical juice that stops the pain of arthritis

Noni juice, an exotic juice from the South Sea Islands of the Pacific – it contains anti-inflammatory chemicals and antibacterial compounds that work to block the causes of joint pain, it is claimed. The fruit – which is found in places such as Tahiti and Hawaii – has been taken by inhabitants of the islands for centuries.

Noni has been found to contain a number of chemicals and enzymes that act against the inflammatory response that causes joints to become arthritic. Bromelain, an enzyme that is known to be anti-inflammatory, is also found in the stalks of the pineapple family. A licensed pharmaceutical drug is being developed from pineapple bromelain for treating victims of severe burns in hospitals. Noni contains complex sugars, known as mucopolysaccharides. It is known that people with arthritis have high levels of certain bacteria in their bowel which get into the bloodstream and are thought to play a key role in causing the inflammation in joint arthritis. ‘Mucopolysaccharides help promote the production of “good” bacteria in the bowel that drive out the “bad” bacteria which is thought to be responsible for the inflammatory response. It is also believed that the bacteria and bromelain work together to prevent the release of tumour necrosing factor [TNF], which is part of the body’s over-response to an attack on the immune system.’ NONI JUICE is not available in shops.
To find out where to buy it tel: 0870 458 3112.


Fresh vegetables and fruit, particularly raw, fresh juices – 40 per cent vegetables in diet, 40 per cent pulses (peas, beans or lentils) and grains (brown rice, quinoa, couscous, millet, buckwheat) and 10-20% proteins. Reduce animals fats and meat.

Replace cows milk with soya, Cut down on excess sugar and alcohol. Drink fruit juices and green tea which contains antioxidants called polyphenols that help block the growth of cancer cells, lowers blood pressure, protects against diabetes, arthritis, Alzheimer’s disease and allergies. See Super Anti-ageing foods.

Avoid foods that contain acrylamide a substance formed when carbohydrate is baked or fried. It may be present in foods such as crisps, chips, bread, biscuits, crackers and breakfast cereals.

Hetrocyclic amines – these are formed on the surface of meat when it is grilled or barbecued, especially when it is burned or charred. Although there is no direct evidence linking it to human cancer, studies in animals suggest it can promote cancer.

Salt – high salt intake is linked to stomach cancer. Its presence in foods such as bacon and other smoked, pickled and processed foods.

Calcium – high intakes of dairy food has been linked to prostate cancer. It is thought that the calcium may lower blood levels of D3, a cancer-protecting hormone.

Alcohol – High intakes are linked to cancer of the mouth, oesophagus, bowel, liver and breast.


There are two main types of diabetes mellitus: type 1, known as insulin dependent diabetes, and type 2, adult onset, non-insulin dependent diabetes. Type 1, which usually affects people under 40, develops if the body can’t produce any insulin. It is treated by insulin injections and diet, plus regular exercise. Type 2, the most common, usually affects over-40s, and is treated by diet and exercise, and sometimes with tablets or injections.

The main risk factors for type 2 diabetes are being overweight or obese, having a diet high in saturated fat and low in fruit and vegetables, consuming excessive alcohol, smoking and being inactive. Diabetics need to avoid animal fat, refined and particularly sugary foods. Eat small meals every three hours, with plenty of fibre-rich fresh fruit and vegetables, beans, lentils and whole grains (eg, oats); these contain slow- release carbohydrates to give your body glucose without sending your blood sugar levels rocketing. You can even eat a little sweet food afterwards, because the fibre slows down the sugar absorption into the blood, giving the body time to process it. Lots of water is vital (try for ten glasses daily between meals), partly to help swell the fibre. New research suggests that eating oily fish (eg, salmon, sardines, mackerel and tuna) improves blood sugar control. If you don’t like oily fish, try a 500mg omega-3 oil supplement three times a
day. The minerals chromium and magnesium also seem to help. I suggest taking a 200 microgram chromium sulphate supplement and a 50mg magnesium supplement once a day. Chromium-rich foods include apples, eggs, nuts, mushrooms, tomatoes and broccoli; magnesium is found in sunflower and pumpkin seeds, peanut butter and milk.

For more information, contact the Diabetes UK careline on 0845 120 2960;
< ahref="http://www.diabetes.org.uk">www.diabetes.org.uk

Heart Disease

A diet based on what the islanders of Crete eat can dramatically reduce the risk of dying from heart disease. French scientists had to stop their research ahead of schedule because the diet was proving so successful they felt it would be wrong to deprive the other patients of its benefits.

Coronary heart disease is not very common on Crete where the diet includes a high intake of alpha-linolenic acid (in olive oil) and plenty of fruit and vegetables, which are rich in antioxidants. The study, carried out in France, involved over 600
patients who had suffered a heart attack. Half were encouraged to eat more bread, more fish, less beef, lamb and pork, and to eat fruit every day. Butter and cream were off the menu and replaced by a specially developed margarine which had a high content of alpha-linolenic acid. Meals could be washed down with ‘moderate’ amounts of wine.

There are a number of ways to reduce blood pressure: avoiding salt (which can increase the pressure in the muscles around the heart), increasing intakes of calcium, magnesium and potassium, and thinning the blood by taking vitamin E, found in fish oils.

High levels of total cholesterol are bad for the heart because too much of the low-density variety, which carries fat from the liver to other parts of the body via the arteries, can lead to fatty deposits in the arteries. But it is beneficial to have high levels of high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, or HDL, becasue it takes fat away from the body tissues, including the arteries. A healthy balance between “good” (high density) and “bad” (low density) cholesterol can be maintained by taking

Antioxidants are plant-based foods that protect our systems from free radicals – scavengers that come from pollution, radiation, fried and burned foods, and sunlight. Free radicals damage cells by oxidising them and causing arterial damage, among other conditions. So, it’s important to take antioxidant vitamins A, C and E (ACE) plus fish oils, found naturally in certain foods and in supplements.

The fats we eat are also classified as “good” or “bad”. The good ones are unsaturated and contain omega-3 fatty acids, found in oily fish such as salmon and sardines, and omega-6 fats found in olives, nuts, seeds and seed oils. The bad ones, of course, are saturated and are found mainly in animal products such as red meat, butter and hard cheese.

This is the reason many experts say vegetarians are less likely to develop heart disease, so long as they don’t overdo the saturated fat. A meat-free diet contains less saturated fat, but more fibre and other nutrients such as magnesium, potassium folate, and antioxidants. A report by US scientists said that vegetarians tend to have a healthier body weight, and are less likely to develop heart disease, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, and prostate and colon cancers.

This is supported by research done by the Oxford Vegetarian Society, which found that vegetarians are 30% less likely to develop heart disease and 39% less likely to develop cancer than meat-eaters. Eating more fruit and veg is recommended by doctors and nutritionists this is because the chemicals that give them colours are called carotenes and flavonoids, which are also antioxidants, as is the selenium found in nuts, bread, cereal, poultry and fish. Bioflavonoids are found in tea, red
wine, apple skin and oranges.

Read: Stop that Heart Attack! by Dr Derrick Cutting (Class, (pounds) 14.99)

Contact: British Heart Foundation: 0207 935 0185 ( www.bhf.org.uk)

Chest, Heart and Stroke Scotland: 013-1225 6963 ( www.chss.org.uk)

Food for the heart:


Studies have found that garlic and onions can protect the arteries by lowering blood pressure and levels of “bad” LDL cholesterol while raising levels of “good” HDL cholesterol.


A maximum of two units of alcohol a day can help lift droopy HDL cholesterol levels, according to Dr Derek Cutting, author of Stop that Heart Attack. Red wine contains flavenoid antioxidants, which reduce “bad” LDH cholesterol, so in theory red wine could help stop fat being deposited on the arteries.


Eggs are now welcomed as part of a healthy heart diet. The yolk contains vitamins A and E – both protective antioxidants.


Walnuts are the nuts with the highest overall antioxidant activity as well as being rich in cholesterol-lowering plant serums and omega-3 oils. Walnuts have a 7:1 ratio of polyunsaturated to saturated fat, offering one of the highest proportions of
good fat which can reduce cholesterol. They are also a rich source of protein, dietary fibre – a known cholesterol cutter – and provide Vitamin E, a potent antioxidant and aggressive heart defender. Walnuts have been shown to contain high levels of alpha-linolenic acid which makes arteries more elastic, allowing them to expand and increase blood flow in response to demands on the body. A study in the British Medical Journal found that women who ate nuts at least five times a week had a 35% lower risk of coronary heart disease than those who didn’t. Nuts also supply the antioxidant vitamin E.


Pumpkin seeds are highly nutritious and a valuable aid in the prevention and treatment of cardiovascular disorders. They are rich in vitamin E, and are a great source of omega-6 and omega-3 essential fatty acids, crucial for protecting against heart disease. Flax seeds contain alpha-linolenic acid, omega-3 and omega-6 EFAs, which reduce cholesterol, blood pressure, plaque formation and cardiac arrhythmia.


Not only does it contain lots of vitamin C, but it can also be a tasty substitute for salt: too much salt in our food can cause hypertension, or high blood pressure, due to fluid retention.


Because it contains bioflavonoid antioxidants, tea can help protect against heart disease. Research also indicates that drinking green tea lowers total cholesterol levels, as well as improving the ratio of good (HDL) cholesterol to bad (LDL)
cholesterol. Green tea also inhibits the abnormal formation of blood clots, so is useful in combating thrombosis, heart attacks and strokes.


Tomatoes contain large amounts of vitamin C. They also contain Lycopene in their red pigment. This acts as an antioxidant, neutralising free radicals that can damage cells in the body. Only recently, studies have revealed that lycopene may have twice the punch of another well-known antioxidant betacarotene. Tomatoes also contain alpha and beta-carotene, vitamin C, potassium, chromium, and fibre. In a recently published study, men who had the highest amount of lycopene in their body fat were half as likely to suffer a heart attack as those with the least amount of lycopene in their body fat.


A SMALL but mighty nutritional force, the blueberry was ranked number one in antioxidant activity in a recent study when compared to 40 other fresh fruits and vegetables. Just one serving of blueberries (a large handful) provides as many
antioxidants as five servings of carrots, apples, broccoli or squash. The extraordinary health and anti-ageing benefits of the blueberry include their role in lowering your risk of cardiovascular disease and, most likely, cancer.


If your blood pressure is between 140/90 and 160/100 mmHg, you’ll probably be advised to make lifestyle changes, such as cutting down on alcohol, salt and saturated fats in your diet, eating five portions of fruit and vegetables a day, exercising more and losing weight if you are too heavy. Some people with a blood pressure in this range may be prescribed medication if they are older or have increased risk of heart disease and stroke because they have high cholesterol, smoke, or have already had a stroke or heart attack. If your blood pressure is consistently over 160/100mmHg, you’ll most likely be given tablets and be advised to change your lifestyle. Some people may find their blood pressure difficult to control even with medication.

Can diet and lifestyle help?

The two main lifestyle risk factors for high blood pressure are smoking and eating a diet high in saturated fats. Smoking causes arteries to narrow. If you smoke and have high blood pressure, your arteries will narrow much more quickly. Saturated animal fats and some vegetable oils, such as palm and coconut oil, increase the amount of cholesterol in the blood, which can clog arteries. Coupled with hypertension, this puts you at a greater risk of heart disease and stroke. Cut down on red meat, avoid processed meat products such as sausages, pate and bacon, and eat low-fat dairy products.
For information and a free booklet on hypertension call the Blood Pressure
Association (BPA) on 020 8772 4994.


As recommended by nutrionists avoid diets and think of making improving your lifestyle and health as people on diets tend to revert to their bad habits. Avoid carbohydrates that provide little nutrition such as fast carbs – white breads, noodles, rice, sugars and deserts. Eat a piece of fruit, 20 minutes prior to main meals – this boosts blood sugar and means that you are not so hungry when you eat your main meal. Increase exercise and cut back on alcohol as it stimulates appetite.


Research shows that those taking Zotrim – a combination of three South American herbs – shed around five pounds in a month.

Zotrim promotes a physical feeling of fullness caused by a delay in the emptying of contents from the stomach which means the brain is getting signals that the stomach is fuller for longer which leads to less food being eaten at main meals and a cut in snacking.Taking the herbal tablets delays the rate at which the stomach empties by an average of 20 minutes. Zotrim contains active ingredients including caffeine from the herbs Yerbe Mate, Guarana and Damiana and can be bought over the counter.


Fizzy drinks, dairy food and dieting …are you at risk of brittle bones?

Fizzy drinks, dieting and even eating dairy products can increase the risk of developing osteoporosis. Excessive dieting can not only weaken the bones because there is no “load” for the bones to bear and also because anorexia and bulimia can result in lowered levels of the hormone oestrogen and calcium if lost from the bones.

High protein diets – some doctors believe that diets rich in egg, meats and fish may be a primary cause of osteoporosis.

Consuming lots of protein makes the body acid and to neutralise it, the body takes sodium and then calcium from the bones.

Other contributors to the disease:

Lack of exercise/too much exercise

Bones need weight-bearing exercise to stay strong.

Drinking too much alcohol

Alcohol reduces calcium absorption from the gut and stimulates cells which break down bone. It also increases the excretion of magnesium – another key mineral which keeps bones strong.

SMOKING has a toxic effect on bone – it blocks the activity of bone-building
cells, reducing the amount of calcium and other minerals which can be laid down.


CAFFEINE in coffee, cola-drinks, tea and chocolate contributes to bone loss
because it encourages calcium to be lost from bones to the blood and increases the amount excreted through urine. Studies have found that people drinking three or more strong coffees a day have a significantly lower bone density than those who don’t drink caffeine at all.


Rather than diary foods which make the body acidic you should obtain calcium from fresh fruit, dried fruit, grains, nuts and seeds, as well as vegetables including baked beans, is more easily absorbed.


VITAMIN D – a vitamin made on exposure to sunlight – is needed for the body to
absorb dietary calcium and lay it down in bones. The vitamin can be obtained from fortified dairy products, egg yolks, saltwater fish and liver as well as sunlight.


NEW research indicates that the value of nutrients found in fruit and vegetables in keeping bones strong is underestimated. Most studies on bone health have focused on calcium. However, potassium appears to slow the excretion of calcium from the body while increasing rates of bone formation. Also magnesium may be as important as calcium for keeping bones strong. The mineral zinc – found in wholegrains, oysters and leafy green veg – helps make new bone cells, while vitamin C makes collagen, a vital component of bone.


Endocrine (hormonal)disorders