Dr. Barnard's Blog

The Physicians Committee

ED this VD? It’s not you, it’s meat.

February 14, 2014   Dr. Neal Barnard   men's health

 
 

Between 18 and 30 million men in the United States have erectile dysfunction. It’s certainly a topic everyone’s familiar with—the image of a little blue pill or two outdoor bathtubs is practically iconic. But most people don’t know that ED isn’t usually caused by stress, alcohol, or performance anxiety—it’s a result of blocked arteries. The cholesterol and saturated fat in animal products can lead to vascular problems, which in turn impede blood flow. Gorge on chicken wings and steak, and the only thing that will grow later is your waistline.

Over a six-year span, the U.S. government spent $172 million on penis pumps—expensive contraptions that try to draw blood flow through narrowed arteries. There’s a much less expensive solution: A low-fat, plant-based diet will reverse artery blockage, letting blood flow to where you need it. In fact, while processed meat products cause low-quality sperm, carrots and other vegetables can actually boost virility.

So to those who take their sweetheart out for a big steak dinner this Valentine’s Day only to discover that they’re having some technical difficulties later on, remember—it’s not you, it’s meat.  

Vegetarian? Yeah, Yeah, Yeah!

February 7, 2014   Dr. Neal Barnard   vegetarian, vegan

 
 

Years ago, while gazing out the window at the meadow surrounding their house, Paul and Linda McCartney watched lambs playing. They were having such a lovely time gamboling about in the sunshine. Paul and Linda then glanced at the sliced lamb on their plates. And that was it. It took only a moment to make the decision. Out with the meat, chicken, fish—all of it—and they never looked back. Ringo quit eating meat decades ago, too.

If a plant-based diet keeps these Beatles rocking after all these years, maybe it’ll do the same for you. Here are some recipes to get you going.

Sergeant Pepper Would Have Banged the Drum for This Red Pepper Hummus
Red Pepper Hummus

Red Pepper Hummus

Makes about 2 cups Red pepper hummus makes a delicious dip for fresh vegetables or pita wedges. It can also be used as a sandwich spread or as a filling in a wrap.

1 15-ounce can garbanzo beans, drained
1/2 cup water-packed roasted red peppers (about 2 peppers)
2 tablespoons tahini (sesame seed butter)
3 tablespoons lemon juice 1 garlic clove (or more to taste)
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin

Combine all ingredients in a food processor. Process until completely smooth, about 2 minutes.

Per 1/4 cup
• Calories: 87
• Fat: 3 g
• Saturated Fat: 0.4 g
• Calories from Fat: 31.2%
• Cholesterol: 0 mg
• Protein: 4 g
• Carbohydrates: 12 g
• Sugar: 1.1 g
• Fiber: 2.8 g
• Sodium: 57 mg
• Calcium: 37 mg
• Iron: 1.5 mg
• Vitamin C: 21.7 mg
• Beta-Carotene: 265 mcg
• Vitamin E: 0.3 mg

Source: Healthy Eating for Life for Women by Kristine Kieswer; recipe by Jennifer Raymond, M.S., R.D.

Mean Mr. Mustard Would Be All Over Our Broccoli…
Broccoli with Mustard Sauce

Makes 4 to 6 servings

This is royally delicious treatment for broccoli, a potent cancer-fighter.

1 bunch broccoli
1/4 cup seasoned rice vinegar
1 teaspoon stone-ground or Dijon mustard
1 garlic clove, pressed or minced

Break broccoli into bite-size florets. Peel broccoli stems and slice into 1/4" rounds. Steam until just tender, about 5 minutes. While the broccoli is steaming, whisk vinegar, mustard, and garlic in a serving bowl. Add broccoli and toss. Serve immediately.

Per serving (1/4 of recipe)
• Calories: 58
• Fat: 0.5 g
• Saturated Fat: 0.1 g
• Calories from Fat: 7.1%
• Cholesterol: 0 mg
• Protein: 2.5 g
• Carbohydrates: 12.6 g
• Sugar: 6.1 g
• Fiber: 3.4 g
• Sodium: 293 mg
• Calcium: 44 mg
• Iron: 0.7 mg
• Vitamin C: 66.3 mg
• Beta-Carotene: 946 mcg
• Vitamin E: 2.1 mg

Source: New Century Nutrition

A few extra options:

Yellow Soup to Match Your “Yellow Submarine”
Yellow Split Pea and Sweet Potato Soup

You’ll be in "Strawberry Fields Forever" with Our Strawberry Delight
Strawberry Delight

“Ain’t She Sweet”? Especially if She’s Eating These Waffles
Sweet Potato Waffles

Here's What They're Serving in the "Octopus's Garden"
Garden Stuffed Pitas

Cancer Prevention Can Start in the Checkout Line

February 5, 2014   Dr. Neal Barnard   cancer

 
 

Just in time for World Cancer Day this week, the World Health Organization released a new statistic stating that cancer cases worldwide are expected to increase by 70 percent over the next 20 years. This is grim news, but by eliminating just two things, cigarettes and processed meat, you can decrease your risk of 23 types of cancer. Click image to enlarge: By eliminating just two things, cigarettes and processed meat, you can decrease your risk of 23 types of cancer. CVS made strides in cancer prevention this morning by announcing plans to cease the sale of cigarettes by October. This is evidence that the massive shift in conversation surrounding tobacco products is working. Changes like this will save countless lives. But in order to reverse growing cancer rates, we need to focus our attention on the cancer-causing product of our generation: processed meat. Nearly everyone knows that smoking causes cancer, evidenced by the fact that you can’t light up a cigarette in schools, bars, airports, office buildings, or hospitals. However, the lack of public awareness about diet’s role in cancer isn’t limited to just the United States. In 2009, nearly 73 percent of Canadians were unaware of the link between diet and cancer. A recent U.K. survey shows that 49 percent of citizens are in the dark. If the public knew the direct correlation between processed meat and cancer, hot dogs and sausage wouldn’t be in school lunches, hospital cafeterias, or at every ballpark stadium. A study published in December showed that the link between animal products and cancer was as strong as the link between smoking and cancer. A review published in the journal Nutrition Research elaborated on how meat can cause colorectal cancer. In fact, the research linking meat and cancer goes all the way back to 1907. Joe Camel and the Marlboro Man have morphed into images of body bags and teens yanking out their teeth with pliers. Let’s ignite the same change in processed meat—the Oscar Mayer Wiener becomes a colostomy bag, and hot dog eating competitions turn into a hospital morgue. CVS should ban hot dogs, spam, and pepperoni. Hopefully by World Cancer Day 2015, both processed meat and tobacco will be off the shelves.

Dear Oikos: Take a Page from Joey Gladstone and Cut It Out!

February 2, 2014   Dr. Neal Barnard   dairy

 
 

The buzz over this year’s Super Bowl has been nearly overshadowed by the highly publicized commercial reunion of the three “dads” from the 90s classic Full House. It’s a shame that the uniting force for the comedic trio is Dannon’s Oikos Greek Yogurt, which employs John Stamos as a spokesperson. The Pantheon of Greek Yogurt Gods

While the reunion has produced some humorous late-night TV banter, yogurt has a serious downside. Dairy is strongly linked to ovarian cancer, and men who consume the most yogurt have a 52 percent high risk of prostate cancer. In the words of Stephanie Tanner: “How rude!” And the probiotic effects of yogurt have been overhyped even more than the Oikos commercial. In 2009 and 2010, Dannon paid legal settlements of more than $50 million related to their false-advertising probiotic claims. Yogurt is also a high-calorie, high-sugar product, with nutrition content similar to pudding and ice cream. If Stamos had really been consuming Oikos yogurt as much as Dannon would like us to believe, a real Full House reunion segment would feature Uncle Jesse needing a prostate exam and convincing Danny and Joey to go along with him for solidarity. As the physician snaps his rubber glove, Uncle Jesse exclaims, “Have mercy!” To get a cholesterol-free Full House fix, ditch Oikos and its marketing campaign, and check out this Jimmy Fallon skit:

Just Because the Weather’s Getting Cold, Doesn’t Mean You Have To!

January 22, 2014   Dr. Neal Barnard   other

 
 

Dr. Barnard's tips for preventing a cold

You hear it everywhere you go—a sniffle on the train or a cough in the grocery store. Cold and flu season is upon us, but that doesn’t mean you’re doomed to spend the next several months with a runny nose, nursing a low-grade fever. A healthful diet and a few smart habits can keep you from frequenting the pharmacy this winter.

The first step to warding off illness is boosting your immunity. Stay warm with layers of clothing: scarves, hats, mittens—even long johns! Viruses are sensitive to temperature, which is why a fever is your body’s natural defense. What you put inside your body, as well as outside, can help, too. Fats and oils impair immunity, while fruits and vegetables enhance it. The jury’s still out on the effectiveness of echinacea, but it can’t hurt!

When you’re out and about, you’ll want to minimize your exposure to viruses. Wash your hands, especially if you’re touching the same surface that may have been touched by someone who’s already sick. Humidity, the bane of summertime, is your friend come cold season. Dry air can irritate the throat and nasal passages, creating an entry point for viruses. So keep the air moist and your body hydrated.

If you’ve done all this, and you still feel a tickle in the back of your throat, pop a zinc lozenge or some vitamin C. The digestive system can only handle so much vitamin C, so consuming a large amount of it can help flush the virus out. While several glasses of fresh carrot juice might have enough vitamin C to help, store-bought orange juice is more of a sugary placebo than a treatment. Gargling hot salt water can also boost the blood flow to a sore throat.

Don’t be a hero and force yourself to go out in public if you have the option to stay home under quarantine. If you have to be around others, frequently wash your hands—and try to cough into your elbow rather than your palms—to lessen the spread of germs.

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