Posts Tagged ‘anti-oxidants’

Sex and the Mediterranean Diet

February 1, 2014

Blog # 139

Sexuality is a very important part of our human existence, both for purposes of procreation as well as pleasure.  Although not a necessity for a healthy life, the loss or diminution of sexual function may result in loss of self-esteem, embarrassment, a sense of isolation and frustration, and even depression. Therefore, for many of us it is vital that we maintain our sexual health. Loss of sexual function further exacerbates progression of sexual dysfunction—the deficiency of genital blood flow that often causes sexual dysfunction produces a state of poor oxygen levels (hypoxia) in the genital tissues, which induces scarring (fibrosis) that further compounds the problem.  So “use it or lose it” is a very relevant statement when it comes to sexual function, as much as it relates to muscle function.

Healthy sexual function for a man involves a satisfactory libido (sex drive), the ability to obtain and maintain a rigid erection, and the ability to ejaculate and experience a climax. For a woman, sexual function involves a healthy libido and the ability to become aroused, lubricate adequately, to have sexual intercourse without pain or discomfort, and the ability to achieve an orgasm.   Sexual function is a very complex event contingent upon the intact functioning of a number of systems including the endocrine system (produces sex hormones), the central and peripheral nervous systems (provides the nerve control) and the vascular system (conducts the blood flow).

A healthy sexual response is largely about adequate blood flow to the genital and pelvic area, although hormonal, neurological, and psychological factors are also important.  The increase in the blood flow to the genitals from sexual stimulation is what is responsible for the erect penis in the male and the well-lubricated vagina and engorged clitoris in the female. Diminished blood flow—often on the basis of an accumulation of fatty deposits creating narrowing within the walls of blood vessels—is a finding associated with the aging. This diminution in blood flow to our organs will negatively affect the function of all of our systems, since every cell in our body is dependent upon the vascular system for delivery of oxygen and nutrients and removal of metabolic waste products.  Sexual dysfunction is often on the basis of decreased blood flow to the genitals from pelvic atherosclerosis, the accumulation of fatty deposits within the walls of the blood vessels that bring blood to the penis and vagina.

Sexual dysfunction may be a sign of cardiovascular disease. In other words, the quality of erections in a man and the quality of sexual response in a female can serve as a barometer of cardiovascular health. The presence of sexual dysfunction can be considered the equivalent of a genital stress test and may be indicative of a cardiovascular problem that warrants an evaluation for arterial disease elsewhere in the body (heart, brain, aorta, peripheral blood vessels).  The presence of sexual dysfunction is as much of a predictor of cardiovascular disease as is a strong family history of cardiac disease, tobacco smoking, or elevated cholesterol. The British cardiologist Graham Jackson has expanded the initials E.D. (Erectile Dysfunction) to mean Endothelial Dysfunction (endothelial cells being the type of cells that line the insides of arteries), Early Detection (of cardiovascular disease), and Early Death (if missed). The bottom line is that heart healthy is sexual healthy.

Many adults are beset with Civilization Syndrome, a cluster of health issues that have arisen as a direct result of our sedentary lifestyle and poor dietary choices.  Civilization Syndrome can lead to obesity, high blood pressure, and elevated cholesterol and can result in such health problems as diabetes, heart attack, stroke, cancer, and premature death.  The diabetic situation in our nation has become outrageous—20 million people have diabetes and more than 50 million are pre-diabetic, many of whom are unaware of their pre-diabetic state! It probably comes as no surprise that diabetes is one of the leading causes of sexual dysfunction in the United States.

Civilization Syndrome can cause a variety of health issues that result in sexual dysfunction.  Obesity (external fat) is associated with internal obesity and fatty matter clogging up the arteries of the body including the arteries which function to bring blood to the genitalia.  Additionally, obesity can have a negative effect on our sex hormone balance (the balance of testosterone and estrogens), further contributing to sexual dysfunction. High blood pressure will cause the heart to have to work harder to get the blood flowing through the increased resistance of the arteries. Blood pressure lowering medications will treat this, but as a result of the decreased pressure, there will be less forceful blood flow through the arteries.  Thus, blood pressure medications, although very helpful to prevent the negative effects of hypertension—heart attacks, strokes, etc.—will contribute to sexual dysfunction.  High cholesterol will cause fatty plaque buildup in our arteries, compromising blood flow and contributing to sexual dysfunction.  Tobacco constricts blood vessels and impairs blood flow through our arteries, including those to our genitals. Smoking is really not very sexy at all!  Stress causes a surge of adrenaline release from the adrenal glands. The effect of adrenaline is to constrict blood vessels and decrease sexual function.  In fact, men with priapism (a prolonged and painful erection) are often treated with penile injections of an adrenaline-like chemical.

A healthy lifestyle is of paramount importance towards the endpoint of achieving a health quality and quantity of life.  Intelligent lifestyle choices, including proper eating habits, maintaining a healthy weight, engaging in exercise, adequate sleep, alcohol in moderation, avoiding tobacco and stress reduction are the initial approach to treating many of the diseases that are brought on by poor lifestyle choices.  Sexual dysfunction is often in the category of a medical problem that is engendered by imprudent lifestyle choices.  It should come as no surprise that the initial approach to managing sexual issues is to improve lifestyle choices.  Simply by pursuing a healthy lifestyle, Civilization Syndrome can be prevented or ameliorated, and the myriad of medical problems that can ensue from Civilization Syndrome, including sexual dysfunction, can be mitigated.

In terms of maintaining good cardiovascular health (of which healthy sexual function can serve as a proxy), eating properly is incredibly important—obviously in conjunction with other smart lifestyle choices. Fueling up with the best and most wholesome choices available will help prevent the build up of fatty plaques within blood vessels that can lead to compromised blood flow. Poor nutritional decisions with a diet replete with fatty, nutritionally-empty choices such as fast food, puts one on the fast tract to clogged arteries that can make your sexual function as small as your belly is big!.

A classic healthy food lifestyle choice is the increasingly popular Mediterranean diet.  This diet, the traditional cooking style of the countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea including Spain, France, Greece, Cyprus, Turkey, Southern Italy, and nearby regions, has been popular for hundreds of years. The Mediterranean cuisine is very appealing to the senses and includes products that are largely plant-based, such as anti-oxidant rich fruits and vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds and legumes.  Legumes—including peas, beans, and lentils—are a wonderful source of non-animal protein.  Soybeans are high in protein, and contain a healthy type of fat.  Soy is available in many forms— edamame (fresh in the pod), soy nuts (roasted), tofu (bean curd), and soymilk. Fish and poultry are also mainstays of the Mediterranean diet, with limited use of red meats and dairy products.  The benefits of fish in the diet can be fully exploited by eating a good variety of fish.  Olive oil is by far the principal fat in this diet, replacing butter and margarine. The Mediterranean diet avoids processed foods, instead focuses on wholesome products, often produced locally, that are low in saturated fats and high in healthy unsaturated fats. The Mediterranean diet is high in the good fats (monounsaturated and polyunsaturated) which are present in such foods as olive, canola and safflower oils, avocados, nuts, fish, and legumes, and low in the bad fats (saturated fats and trans fats).  The Mediterranean style of eating provides an excellent source of fiber and anti-oxidants.  A moderate consumption of wine is permitted with meals.

Clearly, a healthy diet is an important component of a healthy lifestyle, the maintenance of which can help prevent the onset of many disease processes.  There are many healthy dietary choices, of which the Mediterranean diet is one.  A recent study reported in the International Journal of Impotence Research (Esposito, Ciobola, Giugliano et al) concluded that the Mediterranean diet improved sexual function in those with the Metabolic Syndrome, a cluster of findings including high blood pressure, elevated insulin levels, excessive body fat around the waist and abnormal cholesterol and triglyceride levels.  35 patients with sexual dysfunction were put on a Mediterranean diet and after two years blood test markers of endothelial function and inflammation significantly improved in the intervention group versus the control group. The intervention group had a significant decrease in glucose, insulin, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL—the “bad” cholesterol), triglycerides, and blood pressure, with a significant increase in high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL—the “good” cholesterol).  14 men in the intervention group had glucose intolerance and 6 had diabetes at baseline, but by two years, the numbers were reduced to 8 and 3, respectively.

Why is the Mediterranean diet so good for our hearts and sexual health?  The Mediterranean diet is high in anti-oxidants—vitamins, minerals and enzymes that act as “scavengers” that can mitigate damage caused by reactive oxygen species.  Reactive oxygen species (also known as free radicals) are the by-products of our metabolism and also occur from oxidative damage from environmental toxins to which we are all exposed.  The oxidative stress theory hypothesizes that, over the course of many years, progressive oxidative damage occurs by the accumulation of the chemicals the accumulation of reactive oxygen species engender diseases, aging and, ultimately, death.  The most common anti-oxidants are Vitamins A, B-6, B-12, C, E, folic acid, lycopene and selenium.  Many plants contain anti-oxidants—they are concentrated in beans, fruits, vegetables, grain products and green tea.  Brightly colored fruits and vegetables are good clues as to the presence of high levels of anti-oxidants—berries, cantaloupe, cherries, grapes, mango, papaya, apricots, plums, pomegranates, tomatoes, pink grapefruit, watermelon, carrots, broccoli, spinach, kale, squash, etc.—are all loaded with anti-oxidants as well as fiber. A Mediterranean diet is also high in omega-3 fatty acids, a type of polyunsaturated fat present in oily fish including salmon, herring, and sardines.  Nuts—particularly walnuts—have high omega-3 fatty acid content.  Research has demonstrated that these “good” fats have numerous salutary effects, including decreasing triglyceride levels, slightly lowering blood pressure, and decreasing the growth rate of fatty plaque deposits in the walls of our arteries (atherosclerosis), thus reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease, stroke, and other medical problems. Mediterranean cooking almost exclusively uses olive oil, a rich source of monounsaturated fat, which can lower total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol while increasing HDL cholesterol. It is also a source of antioxidants including vitamin E.  People from the Mediterranean region generally drink a glass or two of red wine daily with meals. Red wine is a rich source of flavonoid phenols—a type of anti-oxidant—which protects against heart disease by increasing HDL cholesterol and preventing blood clotting, similar to the cardio-protective effect of aspirin.

The incorporation of a healthy and nutritious diet, such as the Mediterranean diet, is a cornerstone for maintaining good health in general, and vascular health, including sexual health, in particular.  The Mediterranean diet—my primary diet and one that I have incorporated quite naturally since it consists of the kinds of foods that I enjoy—is colorful, appealing to the senses, fresh, wholesome, and one that I endorse with great passion. Maintaining a Mediterranean dietary pattern has been correlated with less cardiovascular disease, cancer, and sexual dysfunction.  And it is very easy to follow.  It contains “good stuff”, tasty, filling, and healthy, with a great variety of food and preparation choices—plenty of colorful fresh fruit and vegetables, a variety of fish prepared in a healthy style, not fried or laden with heavy sauces, healthy fats including nuts and olive oil, limited intake of red meat, a delicious glass of red wine.  It’s really very simple and satisfying.  Of course the diet needs to be a part of a healthy lifestyle including exercise and avoidance of harmful and malignant habits including smoking, excessive alcohol, and stress.  So if you want a sexier style of eating, I strongly recommend that you incorporate the Mediterranean diet into your lifestyle.  Intelligent nutritional choices are a key component of physical fitness and physical fitness leads to sexual fitness.

Andrew Siegel, M.D.

Blog subscription: A new blog is posted every week. A direct link to be able to receive the blogs in the in box of your email is the following where you need to click on “sign me up!”

Author of: Male Pelvic Fitness: Optimizing Sexual and Urinary Health; in press and available in e-book and paperback formats in March 2014.

Author of Promiscuous Eating: Understanding and Ending Our Self-Destructive Relationship with

Author of Finding Your Own Fountain of Youth: The Essential Guide For Maximizing Health, Wellness, Fitness & Longevity  (free electronic download)

Facebook Page: Our Greatest Wealth Is Health. Please visit page and “like”:

Facebook Page: Men’s Pelvic Health. Please visit page and “like”:

You Tube page:


Coffee: Friend Or Foe?

January 12, 2013

Andrew Siegel, M.D.   Blog #90


I have always reasoned that a beverage that can make you more alert and focused and can help obviate fatigue and prevent car accidents is a very good thing—particularly so when it has a great aroma and taste and can warm you up when you’re chilled.  What an enjoyable social drink as well—let’s go out for coffee…no wonder the popularity of such establishments as Starbucks. Rarely a day is started in my home without the coffeemaker brewing robust coffee before the alarm goes off—what a terrific scent to awaken to.

Coffee is similar to tea in that a natural product—the coffee bean—is grown, harvested, roasted, grinded, and then its essence is obtained in liquid form by dripping boiling water through the grind.

Studies have documented a variety of medical benefits associated with coffee intake.  Coffee beans contain anti-oxidants that can help mitigate cellular damage that can cause tissue inflammation, aging, cancer, and even death.  Surprisingly, a typical serving of coffee contains more anti-oxidants than a serving of blueberries or raspberries, with coffee being the major source of anti-oxidants for many Americans!  Coffee consumption lowers the risk for diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and cirrhosis of the liver.  Both caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee have been shown to be of equivalent benefit, so the stimulating effect of caffeine does not appear to play a role in the major health attributes of coffee.

Coffee does confer many positive benefits due to its caffeine content.  Clearly, it is quite effective in keeping those of us who are sleep deprived more awake, alert and focused, as well as better able to perform cognitive and motor tasks.  Caffeine has been shown to improve physical performance in endurance sports.  Caffeine reduces our awareness of muscle pain and the perception of how much effort we are expending during exercise.

Caffeine is useful for headaches, because they are often on the basis of dilation of the blood vessels supplying the brain. By constricting blood vessels, caffeine can alleviate headaches.  Several studies have demonstrated that high amounts of caffeine intake reduce the risk for developing Parkinson’s disease. Caffeine use has also been associated with a decreased risk for gallstones.

The problem is that regular caffeine users build up a tolerance to caffeine.  Ultimately, it can get to the point that the positive and stimulating effect of caffeine results from the alleviation of caffeine withdrawal symptoms, including drowsiness, difficulty in concentrating, and headache.

Caffeine has numerous other negative side effects as well. Too much caffeine can promote high blood pressure, a rapid pulse and, on occasion, an abnormal heart rhythm.  It not only may contribute to insomnia, but also promotes a significant disturbance in our sleep cycle. Caffeine can have harmful effects in pregnant women in terms of the potential for issues with miscarriage and fetal growth.

Caffeine is present in coffee, tea, soft drinks, energy drinks, chocolate and mocha ice cream, chocolate candy and chocolate drinks.  It is present in numerous over-the-counter pills, including both weight loss supplements and headache medications.  For example,

Starbucks Venti has 415 mg of caffeine, Grande 330 mg,

Tall 260 mg; Dunkin’ Donuts medium coffee 178 mg.; Snapple lemon tea (16 ounces) 62 mg; Mountain Dew 54 mg; Diet Coke can 47 mg; 5 hour energy drink 208 mg; a Red Bull 80 mg; and a Hershey’s Kiss has 1 mg.

The effect that caffeine has on a given individual is highly variable.  It truly has a profound stimulant effect on me.  After drinking a mug of strong black coffee in the morning I can literally feel a wave of alertness surging within.  If I am reading, I feel like my eyes sweep over the written words faster and with more comprehension and focus.  Whatever activity I am involved in, it becomes much easier to engage in the task at hand.  The downside to this is that if I ever consume caffeine after 2 PM, I can count on a night of tossing-and-turning insomnia.  It always amazes me how other people can drink coffee after dinner with minimal effects.  I have to resort to decaf.

Bottom Line: Coffee is much more our friend than our foe, as long as we exercise moderation.

Reference: Caffeine!  by David Schardt, Nutrition Action Health Letter, December 2012

Andrew Siegel, M.D.

Author of Promiscuous Eating: Understanding and Ending Our Self-Destructive Relationship with Food:

Available on Amazon in paperback or Kindle edition

Blog subscription: A new blog is posted every week.   On the lower right margin you can enter your email address to subscribe to the blog and receive notifications of new posts in your inbox.  Please avail yourself of these educational materials and share them with your friends and family.


Anti-Oxidants 101

September 21, 2012

Blog #76   Andrew Siegel, M.D.

The image above depicts a meal teeming in anti-oxidants.  It is actually my lunch from today, which is very Mediterranean is style.  In the large bowl is a terrific salad with mixed greens, tomatoes, cucumbers, carrots, red cabbage, onions, red pepper, olives, falafel and feta cheese; on the side is whole wheat pita bread with hummus; ice water with fresh lemon as a drink; for dessert, non-fat yogurt with fresh blueberries, strawberries and figs.  

Oxidation is a chemical reaction that occurs in the presence of oxygen and water: given sufficient time for the oxidative reaction to occur, the process is capable of altering physical appearances—and, unfortunately, not for the better. Oxidation is the process responsible for changing the original copper-colored Statue of Liberty into the greenish color it now appears.  Oxidation is responsible for changing the appearance of the exposed inner portion of a cut apple from white to a brownish discoloration. Oxidation corrodes the exposed iron on a scratch on our cars, causing rust.

Oxidation can promote the aging of our cells, the rusting of our cellular structure, if you will.  Insofar as humans are an immense array of cells organized into tissues and organs, oxidation is one of the processes responsible for causing aged, “rusty” human beings.

The oxidative stress theory hypothesizes that over the course of many years, oxidative damage occurs via the accumulation of by-products of our metabolism, from environmental toxins to which we are all exposed, and from the general wear and tear of our bodies. What results are free radicals, unstable oxygen compounds that contribute to DNA damage. These reactive oxygen species engender inflammation, aging, diseases, and ultimately, death. These reactive oxygen species adversely affect normal cell functioning. For example, free radicals can attack collagen and elastin (responsible for skin elasticity and tone), resulting in aged-appearing, wrinkle-laden, saggy skin. Free radicals can also damage cells in the eye, causing age-related macular degeneration, a leading cause of blindness.

The great irony is that oxygen is an absolute necessity for life, but reactive oxygen species can shorten life. What to do? Anti-oxidants can slow the oxidative damage process. These are vitamins, minerals, enzymes and natural food pigments that act as “scavengers” that can mitigate the damage caused by the reactive oxygen species. The most common anti-oxidants are vitamins A, B-6, B-12, C, E, folic acid, lycopene and selenium. Many plants contain anti-oxidants—they are found in beans, fruits, vegetables, grain products and green tea. The bright colors of many fruits and vegetables are a good clue as to the presence of high levels of anti-oxidants—so  give some thought to adding a rainbow of colors to your diet including pinks, reds, oranges, yellows, greens, blues, and purples.  For a few examples, pinks include pink grapefruit; reds include pomegranate and tomatoes; oranges include squash, oranges, carrots, cantaloupe, papaya, apricots and sweet potatoes; yellows include butternut squash, bananas, mango and lemons; greens include broccoli, spinach, kale, kiwi, avocado, and asparagus; blues include blueberries and Belgian endive; and purples include plums, red grapes, cherries, purple cabbage and eggplant.

In addition to a bountiful intake of anti-oxidants, minimizing exposure to first-hand and second-hand cigarette smoke as well as excessive ultra-violet radiation from sunlight can help control harmful free radical accumulation. As beneficial as anti-oxidants are, they carry some potential negatives, specifically when it comes to their intake via vitamin supplementation.  For example, excessive beta-carotene (Vitamin A) supplementation has been linked in some studies to an increased risk of lung cancer in smokers. Mega amounts of Vitamin E in those with heart disease or diabetes have been associated with an increased risk of heart failure. It seems that no one truly knows all of the risks associated with high vitamin supplement doses, nor for that matter, all of the salutary effects of anti-oxidants on the aging process. Hopefully, ongoing scientific studies will further elucidate this matter. For the meantime, the best advice is to consume your vitamins by eating your fruits and vegetables, especially brightly colored ones. If your diet is inadequate in these terms, vitamin supplements in moderate doses can be an excellent source of anti-oxidants and may be considered a beneficial dietary measure until proven otherwise.

The ravages of aging, exposure to sunlight, tobacco, alcohol, environmental chemicals, etc., are constantly damaging our cells.  When a cell is damaged, on occasion this aberrant cell can replicate, multiply and ultimately develop a blood supply of its own—when this occurs, it is known as a cancer. Food and nutrition can act as a promoter or killer of aberrant cells.  Plants contain anti-cancer compounds,  so consuming a variety of fruits and vegetables, particularly vibrantly colored ones can be a boon to our health. The following are a list of some of the pigments in fruits and vegetables that can have profound salutary benefits: Indoles, found in cruciferous vegetables such as cauliflower, broccoli and brussel sprouts; lycopene, a red pigment found in tomatoes, watermelon and pink grapefruit; carotenoids, an orange/yellow pigment found in carrots, corn and cantaloupe; anthocyanins, a blue/purple pigment found in blueberries and raspberries.

Here, then, is the take home message:  Choose a diet rich in plant-based foods from the colors of the rainbow—these will help to maximize the efficiency and effectiveness of your cells in staving off disease processes as well as many of the signs/symptoms of aging.  They will provide you with all the vitamins and anti-oxidants you need to for optimal health and wellness.

Andrew Siegel, M.D.

Author of Promiscuous Eating: Understanding and Ending Our Self-Destructive Relationship with Food

Available on Amazon Kindle:


June 15, 2012

Andrew Siegel, M.D.    Blog # 62


By juicing, I am not referring to the use of anabolic steroids, but the liquefaction of fruits, vegetables and whatever other components one would like to blend up into a healthy concoction.  Consuming fresh, raw vegetables and fruit converted into juice is a means of helping to maintain vitality and wellness.

Generally speaking, there are two kinds of juicers—those that separate the juice from the solid components (fiber), and those that blend the liquid juice components and the solid fiber component.  A carrot juicer, an example of the former, will separate the sweet carrot juice from the rough fiber that is discarded, yielding a sweet, delicious, carbohydrate-rich but fiber-poor drink.  An example of the latter is the Vitamix, which beats up into a liquid pulp all of the component ingredients, e.g., a smoothie with soy milk, bananas, apples, blueberries, spinach, celery, carrots and almonds.  This concoction is also sweet and delicious, but in addition to vitamins, minerals, trace elements, anti-oxidants and phyto-nutrients, retains the all-important fiber that provides us with numerous advantages and benefits.

Fiberrefers to the part of plant foods that our bodies are not capable of digesting.  It passes through our bodies relatively unscathed, providing no calories, and is one of our key protective measures against obesity. Fiber does all sorts of wonderful things for our bodies including: increases our satiety and fullness because of the bulk and volume of the insoluble matter; promotes intestinal motility and thus bowel regularity; slows carbohydrate absorption and the conversion of complex carbohydrates to simple sugars, thus modulating digestion and controlling blood glucose levels; and decreases the absorption of cholesterol.

Whenever nature provides us with a nutrient that is potentially harmful to our health, it usually limits access to that nutrient.  With sugar—potentially dangerous in high doses—nature has also included the antidote, fiber.  Juicers that separate the sweet juice from the pulpy fiber have allowed us to cheat nature by eliminating the safety mechanism.  For example, 12 ounces of carrot juice have approximately 120 calories of sugar; this is not necessarily bad unless you are carrying extra pounds that you are trying to eliminate.  Carrot juice is a delicious taste treat and better than drinking a can of soda, but is not very filling because of the absence of fiber and is a bolus of rapidly absorbed sugar that stimulates an insulin spike, which promotes storage as fat.  To get the same caloric load from carrots, you would have to eat about 4 average-sized carrots—something that not many people would necessarily do.  It would take a good deal of time and chewing effort and I would venture to say that those who desire a carrot as a snack would stop at one, maybe two at the most.  Nature’s unit is one carrot; with the juice, there is no such unit.  As opposed to the juice, the carrot is filling, the sugar absorption is slower and the insulin spike much less pronounced. The key point is that is that if you are going to juice, use juicers that retain the fiber.  You can still enjoy delicious, fulfilling—and incredibly healthy—drinks.

Juicing facts:

  • If you dislike the taste of vegetables, juicing with fruit added for sweetness will help you get an adequate daily intake of vegetables.  Very few of us consume the recommended 6-8 daily servings of vegetables, so juicing makes it easier to achieve this goal.
  • Juicing allows us to add a wider variety of vegetables to our diet than we would typically consume, as opposed to the habit that many of us have of eating virtually the same vegetables every day.
  • It is entirely possible to train our taste buds away from the fat-sugar-salt snack habit that so many of us have.  Eventually you can get to the point that you actually develop cravings for your juicing concoctions.
  • Raw juicing is of theoretical advantage since heating can sometimes damage or alter micronutrients.
  • Juicing facilitates absorption of nutrients since it mechanically “pre-digests” foods; the liquid slurry is much more easily absorbed than the intact components.
  • Retaining the pulp (fiber) is preferable and desirable.
  • Juicing makes for a great snack or meal supplement and a fabulous replenishing drink after a good workout.
  • Choose organic when possible.  You can use any combination of vegetables and fruits.  Using a variety of brightly colored fruits and vegetables will assure a broad range of nutrients and anti-oxidants.  Being creative can yield some great concoctions.  You can supplement with nuts, seeds, dried fruit, etc.
  • Juices are very perishable so it is best to consume them right away.
  • Citrus fruits can neutralize the bitter taste of dark, leafy green vegetables.
  • With devices like the Vitamix, in addition to juicing, you can also whip up smoothies, hummus, soups, nut butters, etc.

Andrew Siegel, M.D.

Author of Promiscuous Eating: Understanding and Ending Our Self-Destructive Relationship with Food

Now available on Amazon Kindle