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Blog: On Health. On Writing. On Life. On Everything.

Green Tea Doesn’t Prevent Breast Cancer--?

October 29, 2010

Tags: food, bancha, beverages – sugared, breast cancer, Breast Cancer Research – journal, British Medical Journal, green tea, Green Tea Doesn’t Prevent Breast Cancer--?, Lancet, New England Journal of Medicine, sencha, tea – green, tea –herbal

Japanese researchers just published a study that green tea doesn’t prevent breast cancer in the Journal Breast Cancer Research.

Whenever a study does not fit our expectations, we have to consider if we are dealing with a biased or otherwise flawed study.

Do these researcher want that we throw out green and herbal teas "because they don't prevent breast cancer"? We would assume that Japanese people would want to increase the sales of their Japanese tea, wouldn’t we? But that is as flawed as thinking that all American would want to boost the sales of American lettuce.

Medical science is confusing to lay people - and to doctors as well. Clearly, this study goes in the face of everything I am standing for ) or pretty much everything), and you could call me biased. I am. And that study did not convince me that green tea is not good for you – or me. (But clearly, I have a hard time arguing my case here!).

Looking into the research, two facts are interesting: The Breast Cancer Research journal is reputable – but certainly not The Lancet, The British Medical Journal or the New England Journal of Medicine. It clearly is a second tier journal. Why was this article not accepted by any of the biggies?

The other find is that the numbers are all over the place, even more varying with the bancha than with the sencha tea drinkers. Bancha is the cheap version of sencha. Could it be that people who can’t afford sencha can also not afford a healthier diet? We know that junk food has made inroads into the Japanese society. Sencha comes out sort of even – the claim that green tea doesn’t do anything against breast cancer comes mostly from the bancha drinkers.

Since we don’t know anything else about the lifestyle of the cohort, we do not know how healthy people lived otherwise.

Meanwhile, I suggest sticking with common sense and green tea for your health because sugared beverages are clearly not the answer.

The Old Boring Calcium Question

October 25, 2010

Tags: movement, food, bone health, boron, British Medical Journal, calcium, cancer, chromium, dairy, diabetes, fruit, grains - whole, heart attack risk, heart disease, hugging and kissing, legumes, light, manganese, magnesium, milk, nuts, obesity, osteoporosis, potassium, phosphorus, selenium, skin – dark-skinned people, sleep – sufficient, sulfur, sun, supplements, The Old Boring Calcium Question, vegetables, vitamin D

Chances are you are taking a calcium supplement because are health-conscious?

But do you really need it – or are you even harming yourself with your calcium pill?

It is true that bones need calcium for growth. What is not true is that calcium alone gives us stronger bones. Bones need far more than just calcium: Other minerals like potassium, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, chromium, sulfur, selenium, boron – and others – are necessary for bone health. Without these other minerals, calcium alone is pretty useless.

Besides, calcium pills – those fat bummers that are hard to swallow because of their size – are also hard to digest. As a physician, I have seen my share of undigested calcium pills popping up on x-rays, somewhere lying in the bowels, useless.

That milk is an unsuitable source of calcium, you have heard here before. Besides being an unhealthy food, the calcium from milk is also not as readily available as the calcium from vegetables, fruit, legumes, whole grains and nuts. The plant world is so abundant in calcium that adding vitamin D to milk as a selling argument comes close to a joke: Dairy is a cause for obesity, heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and so on.

For good bones you need a host of minerals – all conveniently available in plant foods – plus sun and exercise. Not so much sun, actually, as light. Even on an overcast day, a midday outdoors walk will trigger the necessary amount of vitamin D production beneath your skin. Inner-city people with dark skin are mostly at risk of osteoporosis because they need more sun exposure.

And if you don’t move, you will lose your bone strength fast. A little known fact: We are losing some bone every night, from being inactive during sleep. An active person will rebuild that loss (and more) the next day. An inactive person won’t.

A study in the British Medical Journal recently found that calcium supplement could increase the risk of a heart attack by thirty percent. Clearly, we have to rethink health: Health does not come from pills. It comes from a lifestyle that uses our body for which it is intended: joyful activity, fresh foods, sufficient sleep. And hugging and kissing, if you ask me.
Aspen eyes, by Peggy Peters

Iguazu Falls, by Xin Liu

Alexa Fleckenstein M.D. 2012, by Lolita Parker jr.

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