No Salt for You! Philadelphia Mandates Healthier Chinese Food |

No Salt for You! Philadelphia Mandates Healthier Chinese Food
Low Salt Chinese Food
Matt Rourke / AP

A monday Aug. 19, 2013, photo shows the Szechuan Hunan restaurant which is participating in new low sodium initiative in Philadelphia.

(PHILADELPHIA) — Amar Jones knows that high-salt Chinese takeout isn’t good for his high blood pressure. But the lure of shrimp with broccoli is hard to resist.

So he was heartened recently to hear that his favorite dish now has 20 percent less sodium thanks to a citywide effort to battle hypertension — a major risk factor for heart disease.

“People might think I’m being extreme, but you’re probably going to save some lives,” Jones said. “You might save my life.”

Organizers have recruited more than 200 eateries across Philadelphia for the city’s Healthy Chinese Takeout Initiative, which aims to reduce the food’s salt content by 10 percent to 15 percent.

(MORE: Salty Truth: Adults Worldwide Eating Too Much Sodium)

Participants have made several changes, such as flavoring orders with chilies or garlic instead of sodium; using less sauce; distributing soy sauce packets only on demand; and posting nutrition information.

It’s the latest effort by a major U.S. city to help people eat better. Many have already banned trans-fats, and some require restaurants to post calorie counts.

Philadelphia has focused on salt consumption because 37 percent of residents have high blood pressure. The number jumps to 47 percent for African-Americans, according to a 2012 survey by the Public Health Management Corp.

The multi-agency initiative, which began about a year ago, focuses on mom-and-pop Chinese joints because they are “an enormous industry” in the city, serving about 3 million meals a year, said Health Commissioner Donald Schwarz.

The dishes are cheap and easily available, especially in low-income minority neighborhoods that often lack supermarkets and access to fresh produce.

But many residents — and even takeout owners — didn’t realize how the meals affected their health, said Schwarz.

“In some restaurants, the restaurateurs were really taken aback by the amount of sodium in their food,” Schwarz said.

(MORE: Salt Sugar Fat: Q&A With Author Michael Moss)

Dietary guidelines recommend that Americans consume less than 2,300 milligrams of salt per day — about a teaspoon. Yet an order of chicken lo mein from local takeouts averaged 3,200 milligrams, while shrimp with broccoli had 1,900 milligrams.

Organizers offered a series of low-sodium cooking classes last summer with the goal of changing the ingredients but not the taste. Nine months later, salt content in those two dishes was down 20 percent in samples from 20 restaurants. Researchers plan to test the food again in a few months, and expand the program to other items.

Steven Zhu, president of the Greater Philadelphia Chinese Restaurant Association, recruited participants by saying healthier food could attract more customers. Still, some owners declined because they worried about losing business.

“Change is always not an easy process, and there was some reluctance in the beginning when we started this project,” said Grace Ma, director of Temple University’s Center for Asian Health.

Xue Xiu Liu, owner of Choy Yung Inn in the city’s Point Breeze community, said through a translator that he got involved to improve customers’ health. Business is about the same, Liu said.

Jones frequents the takeout because he works just up the block at the Arabic Institute. And he said he’s hardly alone, often joined by colleagues or neighbors.

“We’re always going in there, even if we don’t want to sometimes. There’s nothing else to eat,” Jones said. “You want something hot, you want something now, so you order from the Chinese store.”

The Food Trust, a Philadelphia-based organization that promotes healthy eating, praised the city for working with the takeouts instead of pointing fingers. The eateries are community gathering points and not going away anytime soon, noted spokeswoman April White.

“Let’s find ways to make everyone a part of the solution,” White said.

The Food Trust is not part of the study. Participants include the city health department, Temple University, Asian Community Health Coalition and restaurant association; the project is supported by local and federal funds.

[tag No salt for you]

Broccoli’s Benefits in Preventing Arthritis |

Broccoli’s Benefits in Preventing Arthritis168677482

Even if you’re not a fan of broccoli, your joints may be.

Nutritionists have rhapsodized about the various benefits of broccoli — the cruciferous vegetable is stuffed with vitamins A, B, K, C, as well as nutrients such as potassium, zinc and fiber — and arthritis sufferers may soon join them. Along with its cousins brussel sprouts, cauliflower and cabbage, broccoli contains sulfur compounds that can filter out carcinogens that promote tumor growth.

And the latest study, published in the journal Arthritis & Rheumatism, shows that those substances may also battle inflammation, which is at the root of osteoarthritis, a painful, degenerative joint disease in which cartilage that normally protects joints starts to wear away under the influence of the inflammatory factors. For the estimated 12.4 million people affected by arthritis in the U.S. these results are certainly welcome news.

Starting with studies in mice, the researchers found that animals that ate a diet high in the sulforaphane found in broccoli had significantly less cartilage damage and signs of osteoarthritis compared to mice who did not consume sulforaphane. The team then moved to human and cow cartilage cells, and found that the sulforaphane was equally effective in protecting these cells from damage. The sulfur-based compound, they say, may be blocking enzymes that contribute to inflammation in cartilage, and the scientists are starting a trial to see if broccoli can protect a small group of arthritis patients getting knee replacement surgery.

If that trial confirms these early results, that could help more people to avoid arthritis to begin with; although surgery can treat symptoms, protecting joints from irreversible damage would keep joints stronger for a longer period of time.

“Although surgery is very successful, it is not really an answer. Once you have osteoarthritis, being able to slow its progress and the progression to surgery is really important, study author Ian Clark, professor of musculoskeletal biology at the University of East Anglia said in a statement. “Prevention would be preferable and changes to lifestyle, like diet, may be the only way to do that.”

Not to mention that a broccoli-rich diet could lower risk of other chronic diseases like obesity, which prior studies have connected to…arthritis.

[tag Broccoli’s Benefits]

The pain, the pleasure and the health benefits » Natural News Blogs

Chilies: The pain, the pleasure and the health benefits

When you think of vitamin C, do you think of oranges or chilies? The surprising fact of the matter is that chilies have more vitamin C and beta carotene than oranges. Surprising fact number two: Red hot chili peppers are actually fruit from plants that are members of the nightshade family. This quirky product of nature has healing properties you wouldn’t normally associate with a hot bite that causes a distinct pain and burning sensation in your mouth, or for that matter, with something as ordinary as a chili. Exotic though it may be in some parts of the world, chilies have now become commonplace as a medicine. Fact is they are packed with nutritional and medicinal properties and it is said that including chili regularly in your diet can effectively control many an illness.

Let’s start at the very beginning. Chili is loaded with Vitamin A and C with a good measure of bioflavinoids. These nutrients enable blood vessels to cope with variations in blood pressure by increasing their elasticity. According to studies chilies have pain relieving abilities and their consumption could potentially relieve migraine and sinus headaches. It has been recorded that chilies can control the transmission of pain to the brain by virtue of a chemical substance in it called capsaicin. This chemical substance helps combat upper respiratory congestion and helps clear mucus from the throat. Chili is endowed with anti-bacterial properties and can prove itself in the treatment of sinus infections. The heat of chili is meant to prevent the spreading of cancer cells, more specifically to do with prostrate cancer.

According to current scientific thinking, capsaicin could be useful in the treatment of painful bone and joint conditions such as arthritis due to its powerful anti-inflammatory properties. And what with its ability to prevent or manage nervous debility, it may be a blessing for those suffering from diabetic neuropathy and has even been suggested for the treatment of herpes. Skin conditions such as psoriasis are also meant to be relieved by chili.

Chili for better digestion, increased metabolism and weight control

According to a study conducted by Duke University in North Carolina, USA, the chili pepper could be handy in the treatment of irritable bowel syndrome. It acts against H. Pylori bacteria and could be the best preventive therefore for stomach ulcers. There is also evidence to show the effectiveness of chili in weight control. Capsaicin can increase the body’s metabolism and the heat it generates can burn fat (this process is called thermogenisis), while the vitamin C and the beta carotene make it essential for maintaining the health of the mucus membrane in the nasal passages, lungs, intestinal tracts and urinary tracts. They are unique in their ability to build the body’s defenses against pathogens. New research has identified that chilies in your meal can reduce the amount of insulin your body needs to convert sugar to energy.

Of course, as always, it is good to exercise caution in the consumption of chilies. You don’t want to eat too much of it. And chili therapy may or may not be a good enough substitute for proper medical advice. That said, chilies are great for cooking with, adding a touch of flavor, healthfulness and even color to your meal. And an unexpected gift of the chili is that is stimulates the release of endorphins, the pleasure hormone.


As antibiotics continue to fail, use garlic instead to kill MRSA and superbugs

Garlic has been used as an antibiotic, antiviral and antifungal for centuries. But most probably consider it a lightweight, outdated folk medicine against serious bacterial infections. Antibiotics gave modern allopathic pharmaceuticals an illusion of legitimacy from 1928, when penicillin was discovered, until today.

So the mindset became why bother with that nasty tasting foul smelling garlic stuff when you could pop some antibiotic pills or be injected with the latest new miracle drug that seemed to work well without much fuss.

But there has been much fuss

The first fuss was how antibiotics didn’t distinguish between good and bad bacteria. Synthetic pharmaceuticals are equal opportunity killers.

So much of the intestinal flora, containing billions of beneficial bacteria for digestion, protection, vitamin production and total body immunity signaling, were neutralized along with the infectious bacteria.

During and after a round or two of antibiotics, supplementing with probiotics became a ritual among those who knew about synthetic antibiotics’ dangers.

Fluoroquinolone-based synthetic antibiotics also create neuropathy. Sometimes neuropathy would manifest as mild nerve problems and insomnia, but too often very painful and crippling long term side effects occurred, leaving victims without hope.

Major fluoroquinolone antibiotics are Cipro, Leviquin, Avelox, and Floxen (

The final blow is the superbug scare. The most common superbug is Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). Due to extreme overuse of antibiotics over decades, 70% of which is used for livestock, bacteria learned how to defeat essentially simple chemical compound antibiotics by gene swapping among them.

MRSA started out in hospitals and nursing homes, but soon spread into community contagion. MRSA likes to infect nostrils and skin. There are several carriers of MRSA whose immune systems prevent their becoming infected. But carriers can spread what they’re carrying. If MRSA gets into the blood, it can be fatal.

At first the antibiotic vancomycin was about only the super hero antibiotic that could stop MRSA. But now, those clever little MRSA critters have developed a strain, CC5, which is able to dupe and get around even vancomycin (

Time to get back to garlic

Garlic allicin extracts have recently been used successfully on MRSA victims. Allicin is the main active compound in garlic. It is released upon crushing or chewing raw garlic, but unfortunately it oxidizes rapidly and much of its bacteria killing ability is lost.

Garlic antibiotic solutions: Be unafraid and chew raw garlic directly or quickly after crushed if using as an antibiotic; or simply use a supplement or cream (for external MRSA sores) that contains allicin in a preserved state. These are available and recommended for serious bacterial issues.

Results obtained in the UK using allicin supplement creams took slightly longer than what synthetic antibiotics used to do, but were very effective. Garlic contains other sulfur compounds that bolster the immune system. Big Pharma products either dampen or overexcite the immune system. Overexciting the immune system results in cytokine storms that often cripple or damage with various neurological autoimmune diseases.

Since allicin and garlic’s other compounds are more complex than synthetic antibiotics, bacteria strains becoming resistant to garlic or allicin is unlikely. The complexity is too much for infectious bacteria to handle, and garlic overuse in livestock is also unlikely.

Another issue resolved by using garlic-based concentrated allicin is nerve damage from fluoroquinolones. There are no known side effects, other than the occasional mild allergic reaction, from garlic.

Allicin leaves friendly gut flora bacteria alone. So garlic’s allicin offers an effective solution away from Big Pharma antibiotic’s side effect issues, while offering other health benefits (