Exercises to Avoid: French Press (aka Skullcrushers)


Lying-close-grip-triceps-press-to-chin-1“They should rename these to ‘elbow destroyers'” — me

Most of you are familiar with the French Press, aka Skullcrushers, a triceps exercise usually performed lying on a bench, elbows pointed at the ceiling and griping a bar while you raise and lower it to your forehead, or to a spot just above your head, all the while keeping your elbows stationary.

Great exercise, right? Hit those triceps, crank out some reps, get that country ham-sized meat blob hanging off the underside of your arm…

Eh…. not so much.

Lemme tell you a story.

By the time I was 45 I was having a lot of elbow pain whenever I tried to fully extend my elbows, especially my left. I couldn’t ride a bike because I couldn’t lean on the handlebars. When I did bench press, I couldn’t go all the way up. Tricep press downs were out of the question unless I went very light. Ditto for overhead dumbbell or barbell extensions.

Just about any sort of pushing movement was uncomfortable.

olecrenon-spurTurns out I had extremely large bone spurs on my elbows, large enough to interfere with extending my arm, especially my left arm. I also had bursitis and tendinitis.

All of this formed a perfect storm of bad in my left elbow and had started causing compression of my ulnar nerve, the result being if my left arm was in a bent position for a length of time, the pinkie, ring finger, and inside of my middle finger would start to get all numb and tingly. This especially happened at night and would wake me up from a sound sleep.

After a few months of this, I finally went to the doctor, an osteopath. I remember sitting in the exam room at the end of a hall. At the other end was the room where the doctor looked at x-rays. He had one of those lighted panels on the wall he clipped the x-rays on to. I could see him from where I sat in the exam room.

So I’m sitting there, he’s already taken the x-rays, and he’s into the room looking. I can see his back as he hangs them on the light board. And then I hear him say:

“Look at the size of those bone spurs!”

I figured that wasn’t a good thing.

Yep, had them on both elbows, and turns out I’d broken the left one and it had healed in such a way that it was causing even more problems. It had to come off.

Here’s the warning part:

The doctor told me he saw them all the time, especially in older lifters. They’re caused by doing single joint triceps exercises using heavy weight, exercises like skull-crushers/French press, triceps extensions, kickbacks, dumbbell and barbell extensions…. pretty much anything where the arm stays stationary and the elbow is the fulcrum for the motion. OK to do with light weight, not OK to do for years and years with heavy weight while ignoring the discomfort it caused. Even though I hadn’t done them in over a decade, the damage was already done.

I scheduled the surgery and a few weeks later I was being led out to the car by my wife, my arm in a sling and the bone spur chiseled off and ground down.

It healed up pretty well and in a few months my left elbow was feeling the best it had in years. No more numbness at night or when holding my arm bent (like at a keyboard).

I took advantage of the forced time off to do rehab on the right (rest and alternating ice and heat) and it was feeling pretty good too. I got back in the gym, was pressing again without pain, and could ride a bike no problem.

I still have some range of motion problems with my right arm, and over the last year it’s started to show the symptoms of ulnar compression as well, so I imagine surgery is sometime in the future for that one too. I have to wear a ulnar brace at night now to keep it from waking me up with the numbness and tingling.

The takeaway?

Just say no to French press (and all the other heavy, elbow movement only exercises).

Getting Started with a Lower Carb Diet – Some Tips


low-carb-diet-tipsThere seems to be more and more evidence building up that an excess of the wrong type of carbohydrates can be just as detrimental to your health as an excess of saturated fat when it comes to cholesterol levels. One of the best things you can do to help get your diet under control is limit carbohydrates, especially high glycemic index carbohydrates.

1. Keep a food diary. Write down everything you eat, what you were doing at the time, and how you felt both before and after you ate. This will help you figure out your temptations and the emotional states that encourage you to snack. Many people are surprised by just how much they are eating once they start keeping track.

2. If simply can’t resist the urge to cheat, allow yourself a treat, but make sure it’s a low-carb or low glycemic index carb treat. treat. There are plenty of low carb snack on the market today – keep some handy but don’t overindulge. Low glycemic index (GI of 55 or less) carbs include most fruits and vegetables, beans, minimally processed grains, pasta, low-fat dairy foods, and nuts.

3. When you get a hunger pang, wait it out for at least 10 minutes to see if it passes. Try drinking 8 ounces of cold water.

4. Develop and focus on short term goals. Think about the 4 or 5 pounds you want to lose over the next month, not the 50 you want to lose overall.

5. Avoid added sugar at all costs. Highly sweetened foods make you crave more highly sweetened food.

6. Drink plenty of water water every day. As mentioned above, when a hunger pang hits, try drinking a glass of water instead of eating. Water, taken before and during meals, can dull the appetite by helping you feel full.

7. Support is important, and caring people can help one another succeed. You might notice as you start to see progress, some people will actually resent it. Don’t listen to the nay-sayers.

8. Substitute an activity for eating. When the cravings hit, do something instead of eating. Get up, walk around, take a break. This is especially helpful if you’re someone who tends to eat when you’re stressed.

9. Keep water handy to sip on.

10. Weigh yourself once a week at the same time. Weight fluctuates during the day. You can weigh more at night than in the morning.

11. Don’t shop when you’re hungry; you’ll end up buying impulse food.

12. Avoid finger foods that are easy to eat in large amounts.

13. Avoid consuming large quantities of diet sodas or other artificial sugar foods. Even though diet sodas are calorie free, their sweetness can kick-start cravings for more sweets. Same thing for anything sweet.

14. Keep crunchy foods like raw radishes, carrots, cauliflower and broccoli around. They’re low in carbs and are satisfying and filling.

15. Lose weight for yourself, not to please your husband, your parents or your friends.

16. Make the kitchen off-limits at any time other than mealtime.

17. If you’re just beginning a low carb diet, limit your carb intake to the suggested rate of 20 grams a day or less over the first two weeks. After only a few days of this, your appetite will decrease dramatically.

Glycemic Index and What it Means to You

baked-potatoLet’s talk about carbohydrates… and in particular, “white foods” as well as potatoes. One reason I wanted to mention this is because many health and fitness professionals trash talk potatoes about being a bad carbohydrate choice because of their high glycemic index. Some even say such things as “avoid any and all white carbohydrates”.

While white bread and refined white sugar are two of the worst things we can eat, I don’t agree with avoiding any and all “white carbohydrates”. All of the buzz has been about colorful foods and the protective antioxidants they contain. They tell you to focus on colors and stay away from white.

It’s true that colorful foods are great, but it is a big mistake to specifically avoid “white” foods. There are plenty of white foods that have specific nutrients that are hard to find elsewhere.

Onions and Garlic

Chock full of protective phytonutrients, vitamins, and trace minerals that aren’t easy to find elsewhere in a normal diet… such nutrients as allicin, quercetin (an important flavonoid), chromium, and other unique anti-inflammatory nutrients.


Cauliflower is loaded with vitamin C, fiber, minerals, and special compounds such as glucosinolates and thiocyanates, which are specifically abundant in cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbage.  And a little-known fact is that some of the compounds in cruciferous vegetables help to combat other estrogenic compounds in our food supply and environment and can help prevent excess belly fat.  So eat up on that cauliflower!


Not many people realize this, but even white mushrooms have high levels of unique nutrients and antioxidants. White mushrooms are high in a couple types of antioxidants called polyphenols and ergothioneine.


Now that also leads us to another example – white potatoes (which by the way, can also be found in red, yellow, purple varieties, etc). Many health professionals claim that potatoes are a bad carbohydrate because they are thought to have a high glycemic index. Glycemic index is not necessarily the most important factor in choosing your carbohydrates.

While a generalization can be made that most low glycemic index carbohydrate choices will help you lose body fat easier than high glycemic index choices, it is not all that it’s cracked up to be. There are many other factors that determine how your body will react to and process the carbohydrates you ingest, such as glycemic load and also how you combine the high GI food with other foods.

Using glycemic load as an example… it is known that watermelon has a high glycemic index. However, the glycemic load of a normal serving of watermelon is just way too low for your body to start packing on body fat just because you ate a high glycemic index fruit. You would have to eat such an enormous quantity of watermelon just to get enough grams of carbohydrates to have any negative glycemic effect, that it is just nonsensical.

Not to mention that watermelon is a great source of vitamins, minerals, and lycopene. There’s just no reason to avoid it simply because it has a high GI. My point is candy bars, cupcakes, and donuts make you fat, NOT watermelons, carrots or potatoes.

Food combinations are important in how your body processes the carbohydrates and the associated blood sugar and insulin response you receive. For example, if you mix a high glycemic index carbohydrate with an extra source of fiber, healthy fats, or even certain proteins, many times the blood sugar and glycemic response will be slowed down considerably by the way you combined the food.

So back to my point that white potatoes are actually a healthy carbohydrate as long as you eat them in the right form, with the entire skin, and please don’t ruin them by deep frying them into french fries! French fries are one of the most evil things ever invented for your health, but only because we ruin them by soaking them in a scorching bath oil in the deep fryer.

Keep in mind that potatoes contain so many vitamins and minerals that the list is way too long to even try. Also, as long as you eat the skins, you get a decent shot of fiber too.

On the topic of potatoes not being so bad, I don’t remember where I saw this referenced, but I recently saw a particular study that had participants eat something like 7-9 whole potatoes per day for several weeks. At the conclusion of the study, the potato eaters had consistently lost weight. I’d venture a guess that the reason the people lost weight is that they were probably so full from eating all of those damn potatoes that they actually consumed less calories than normal. An average sized potato only has about 100-120 calories, and I can surely imagine you’d be full constantly from eating 7-9 potatoes each day.

Now I would never recommend going to those extremes, but my point is that an occasional potato is not going to hurt your efforts to get lean, especially if you combine it with some other fibrous vegetables and a healthy fat and some protein. On that note, here’s a favorite recipe, using potatoes.

Lean-Body Potato Side Dish

  • Desired quantity of baby potatoes (I like to use this mixture I found recently at a health food store… it is a mixture of white, red, yellow, and purple baby potatoes)
  • 1 red pepper
  • 1 green pepper
  • 1 yellow pepper
  • 1 or 2 onions
  • a couple cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 or 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • a little salt and pepper to taste (I like using a sea salt instead of normal commercial salt)

Cut the baby potatoes into slightly smaller pieces and place in a steamer until soft all the way through. Slice up the peppers and onions into strips and add with the chopped garlic into a pan with the olive oil. Cook the peppers, onions, and garlic until tender, and then add the steamed baby potatoes. Stir it all together and serve. This is a delicious and healthy side dish that goes great with chicken or red meat.


Saturated Fat and Your Diet

saturated fats and your diet

saturated fats and your dietYou’ve been deceived into thinking that saturated fats are bad for you, but let’s look at some facts, some of which are a slap in the face to politically correct nutrition in this day and age where fats are admonished by many doctors, health “experts”, and the mass media.

Eating an adequate supply of healthy dietary fats is vital to your overall health. Fats are one of the main components in all of the cell membranes throughout your entire body. If you eat enough healthy natural fats, your cellular processes will proceed normally. If you eat man-made, heavily processed, chemically altered fats (damaged fats) that are found in most processed foods, your cellular function will be impaired. As these damaged fats become part of your cell membranes, the body will have to work harder to operate correctly and degenerative diseases can develop.

Healthy dietary fats are necessary for optimal hormone production and balance within the body and are therefore essential for the muscle building and fat burning processes. Other important functions that dietary fats play in a healthy body are aiding vitamin and mineral utilization, enzyme regulation, energy, etc.

We often hear “health experts” recommend restriction of dietary fat, claiming a low-fat diet is the key to good health, weight loss, and prevention of degenerative diseases. Restriction of any one macronutrient (protein, carbs, or fat) in your diet works against what your body needs and can only lead to problems. All three basic macronutrients serve important functions for a lean, healthy, and disease-free body. As Dr. Mary Enig, Ph.D, one of the leading fats researchers in the world, notes in several of her books and articles, there is very little true scientific evidence supporting the assertion that a high fat diet is bad for us.

If the health experts who admonish fat are correct, and a low-fat diet is the solution to good health, then why did traditional Pacific Islanders who typically obtained 2/3 to 3/4 of their total daily calories from fat (mostly from coconut fat), remain virtually free from heart disease, obesity, and other modern degenerative diseases until Western dietary influences invaded? Also, why did traditional Eskimo populations, consuming up to 75% of their total caloric intake from fat (mostly from whale blubber, seal fat, organ meats, and cold water fish), display superior health and longevity without heart disease or obesity?

Why did members of the Masai tribe in Africa remain free from degenerative diseases and maintain low body fat percentages on diets consisting of large quantities of raw whole milk, blood, and meat? What about the Samburu tribe of Africa, which eats an average of 5 times the quantity of dietary fat (mostly from raw whole milk and meat) as overweight, disease-ridden Americans, yet Samburu members are lean, healthy, and free of degenerative diseases? What about traditional Mediterranean diets, which are known to be very high in fat in some cases (sometimes up to 50-70% fat), and are also well known to be very healthy?

These examples of high fat diets and the associated excellent health of traditional populations around the world go on and on, yet it seems that many doctors, nutritionists, and media outlets still ignore these facts and continue to promote a diet that restricts fat intake.

The problem is that the good fats (the natural unprocessed health promoting fats) have gotten mistakenly lumped together in nutritional advice with the deadly processed fats and oils that make up a large percentage of almost all processed food that is sold at your local grocery store, restaurant, deli, fast food joint, etc. These deadly processed fats are literally everywhere and almost impossible to avoid unless you know what to look for and make smart choices in what you feed your body with.

I’m not recommending following a super high fat diet. Active individuals that exercise on a regular basis certainly also need adequate supplies of healthy carbohydrates for energy and muscle glycogen replenishment as well as good sources of protein for muscle repair. The above examples of the high fat diets of traditional populations and their corresponding excellent health were simply to prove the point that you don’t need to be afraid of dietary fats as long as you make healthy natural choices and stay within your daily caloric range to maintain or lose weight.

Following is a list of some of the healthiest fatty foods (some will surprise you) as well as some of the deadliest fatty foods to avoid at all costs:

The Healthy Fatty Food Choices:

Coconut fat

Coconut fat is approximately 92% saturated fat, yet surprisingly to most people, is considered a very healthy natural fat. The health benefits of coconut fat lie in its composition of approximately 65% medium chain triglycerides (MCTs). Specifically, about 50% of coconut fat is a MCT called lauric acid, which has very potent anti-microbial properties helping to enhance the immune system. Also, MCTs are more easily utilized for immediate energy instead of being stored as body fat. Coconut oil is also an excellent cooking oil for stir-frying, etc. since saturated fats are much more stable and do not oxidize like polyunsaturated oils when exposed to heat and light, which creates damaging free radicals. The best sources of healthy coconut fat are organic coconut milk, virgin coconut oil (available at http://coconut-info.com), or fresh coconut.

Extra virgin olive oil

Olive oil is approximately 71% monounsaturated, 16% saturated, and 13% polyunsaturated. Choose “extra virgin” olive oil, which comes from the first pressing of the olives and has higher quantities of antioxidants. Unlike most other oils on supermarket shelves, extra virgin olive oil is not extracted with the use of harmful industrial solvents and is one of your healthiest choices for liquid oils. Try making your own salad dressing by mixing a small amount of olive oil with vinegar. This is healthier than most store bought salad dressings, which are usually made with highly processed and refined (chemically damaged) soybean oil extracted with industrial solvents.

Dark, bittersweet chocolate (>70% cocoa)

The cocoa bean is a very concentrated source of antioxidants and responsible for part of the health benefit of dark chocolate. The fat portion of the cocoa bean (cocoa butter) is a healthy natural fat, composed of approximately 59% saturated fat (mostly healthy stearic acid), 38% monounsaturated fat, and 3% polyunsaturated fat. I’ll limit the description of healthy chocolate to ONLY dark bittersweet chocolate with >70% cocoa content.

Most milk chocolates are only about 30% cocoa, and even most dark chocolates are only about 55% cocoa, leaving the remainder of those products composed of high amounts of sugar, milk fat, corn sweeteners, etc. Look for a quality dark chocolate that lists its cocoa content like Chocolove Extra Dark (77%) or Dagoba New Moon (74%), which contain mostly cocoa and very little sugar. Keep in mind that although dark chocolate can be a healthy treat, it is still calorie dense, so keeping it to just a square or two is a good idea.

Avocados or guacamole

The fat in avocados (depending on where they’re grown) is approximately 60% monounsaturated, 25% saturated, and 15% polyunsaturated. Avocados are a very healthy natural food that provides many nutrients, fiber, and healthful fats, while adding a rich flavor to any meal. Try sliced avocado on sandwiches or in salads or use guacamole in wraps, sandwiches, or quesadillas.

High fat fish such as wild salmon, sardines, mackerel, herring, trout, etc.: Just about any fish or seafood are good sources of natural omega-3 polyunsaturated fats, but the higher fat fish listed above are the best sources of omega-3’s. Due to the radical switch to a higher proportion of omega-6 polyunsaturated fats like soybean oil, corn oil, safflower oil, etc. in our food supply during the middle of the 20th century, the average western diet is currently way too high in omega-6’s compared to omega-3’s, which wreaks havoc in your body. This is where good omega-3 sources like high fat fish, walnuts, and flax seeds can help bring you back to a better ratio of omega-6/omega-3.

Nuts (any and all – walnuts, almonds, peanuts, cashews, macadamias, etc.)

Nuts are great sources of healthy unprocessed fats as well as minerals and other trace nutrients. Macadamias, almonds, and cashews are great sources of monounsaturated fats, while walnuts are a good source of unprocessed polyunsaturated fats (including omega-3’s). Try to avoid nuts that are cooked in oil. Instead, choose raw or dry roasted nuts.

Seeds (sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, flax seeds)

All of these seeds are great sources of natural unprocessed healthy fats. In particular, flax seeds have received a lot of attention lately due to their high omega-3 content. However, keep in mind that omega-3 polyunsaturated fats are highly reactive to heat and light, and prone to oxidation and free radical production. Therefore, freshly ground flax seed is the only way to go. Instead of using the store bought ground flax seed, you can buy whole flax seed and use one of those miniature coffee grinders to grind your own flax seed. Try grinding fresh flax seed into your yogurt, cereal, or even your salad. If you’re using a flax oil, make sure it’s a cold-pressed oil in a light-proof refrigerated container, and use it up within a few weeks to prevent it from going rancid. NEVER cook with flax oil!

The fat in organically raised, free-range animals

This is where most people have been misinformed by the mass media. Animal fat is inherently good for us, that is, if it came from a healthy animal. Human beings have thrived on animal fats for thousands of years. The problem is, most mass produced animal products today do not come from healthy animals. They come from animals given loads of antibiotics and fattened up with hormones and fed un-natural feed. The solution is to choose organically raised, free-range meats, eggs, and dairy. At this time, the price is still a little higher, but as demand grows, the prices will come down. I’ve found an incredible website that actually offers free-range grass-fed meats delivered right to your doorstep at very reasonable prices. Believe me, it’s very hard to find grass fed meats at any grocery stores, so I was pleased to find this site.

The Deadly Fatty Foods

Hydrogenated oils (trans fats)

These are industrially produced chemically altered oils subjected to extremely high pressure and temperature, with added industrial solvents such as hexane for extraction, and have a metal catalyst added to promote the artificial hydrogenation, followed by bleaching and deodorizing agents…..and somehow the FDA still allows this crap to pass as food. These oils aren’t even worthy of your lawnmower, much less your body! They’ve been linked to obesity, heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and more. Even small quantities have been shown in studies to be dangerous. If you care about your health, check the ingredients of everything you buy, and if you see partially hydrogenated oils of any kind, margarine, or shortening, protect yourself and your family by choosing something else.

Refined oils

Even if the oils are not hydrogenated, most oils on your supermarket shelves are refined, even most of the so called “healthy” canola oils. Most refined oils still undergo the high temperature, high pressure, solvent extraction, bleaching, and deodorizing processes.

Anything labeled vegetable oil, soybean oil, corn oil, cottonseed oil, safflower oil, and even many canola oils have been damaged by this refining process (unless they say “virgin” or “cold expeller pressed”). This damages the natural structure of the fats, destroys natural antioxidants, creates free radicals, and produces a generally unhealthy product. Take note that the explosion of heart disease in the middle of the 20th century coincides quite nicely with the rapid increase in the use of hydrogenated and refined oils in the food supply.

Anything deep fried

Including tortilla chips, potato chips, French fries, donuts, fried chicken, chicken nuggets, etc. All of this crap shouldn’t even pass as real food in my opinion!

Homogenized milk fat

Milk fat is a very healthy fat in its natural raw state. Milk and beef from grass fed organically raised cows is known to have higher quantities of healthy fats like conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) and omega-3 fatty acids compared with grain fed cows.Traditional populations around the world have thrived in perfect health while consuming huge quantities of raw, non-pasteurized, non-homogenized, full fat dairy products.

Once again, food processing ruins a good thing by pasteurizing and homogenizing milk fat, rendering it potentially dangerous inside the human body. Unfortunately, you will find it almost impossible to find raw milk in the US unless you personally know a farmer. Check out http://www.realmilk.com for more info on the benefits of raw milk and to find out if it’s available near you.

As an alternative, cultured dairy products like yogurt have at least had beneficial microorganisms added back to them making them better for you. Realistically, since you probably won’t find raw milk, sticking to skim milk is the best option to avoid the homogenized milk fat. If you use butter for cooking, your best option is grass-fed butter.

I hope this article has shed some light on the truth about dietary fats and made you realize their importance in a healthy diet.

Top 10 Foods for Health and Longevity

top 10 healthy foods

Twenty-four hundred years ago, Hippocrates, the “father of modern medicine” said, “let food be your medicine and let medicine be your food.” Today, there is overwhelming scientific evidence to suggest that Hippocrates was right on the mark. More than 9000 scientific studies over the past 4 decades had shown the effects of different types of food on our health and that food is our best medicine.

Here are ten foods science has proven can help you live a healthier, longer life:


These are a major source of the strong antioxidant lycopene. Lycopene reduces the risk of cancer by 40% – notably prostate, lung, and stomach cancers – and increases cancer survival. Tomato eaters function better mentally in old age and suffer half as much heart disease. Concentrated tomato sauces (found on pizza and in pasta sauces) have five times more lycopene than fresh tomatoes and canned tomatoes have three times more than fresh.


Olive Oil

Olive oil a major part of a Mediterranean diet, shown to help reduce death from heart disease and cancer. Heart attack survivors on a Mediterranean diet had half the death rates of those on an ordinary low-fat diet, recent research shows. A famous researcher, Ancel Keys, once declared olive oil the main dietary reason for remarkably low mortality rates among Mediterranean populations. Olive oil, unlike other vegetable oils, is high in antioxidant activity.


Red Grapes

This includes red grape juice and wine. Certain red grapes have moderate antioxidant power. However, purple grape juice tops other juices in antioxidant activity, having four times more than orange or tomato juice. Red wine has about the same antioxidant capacity as purple grape juice or tea. French research shows that drinking red wine in moderation increases longevity.



These are one of our early evolutionary foods and ultra-compatible with survival. Recent Harvard University research found that eating more than 5 ounces of nuts a week cut heart attack deaths in women by over 40% and helped prevent deadly irregular heartbeats in men. Almonds and walnuts lower blood cholesterol. Nuts are high in fat, but most is good-type monounsaturated and/or omega-3 fatty acids.

Unsalted, fresh nuts are the best kind.


Whole Grains

The more whole grains you eat, the lower your odds of death, a new University of Minnesota study suggests. Middle-aged women who ate slightly more than one whole-grain food per day had a 15% lower death rate than women eating lots of refined processed grains. That calls for more whole-grain dark bread and cereals such as “all bran” and “old-fashioned” oatmeal. Whole grains contain anti-cancer agents and help stabilize blood sugar and insulin, which may promote longevity.


Salmon & Other Fatty Fish

These contain high amounts of the type of fat – omega-3 fatty acids – that performs miracles throughout the body, fighting virtually every chronic disease known. Without it, your brain cannot think, your heart cannot beat properly, your arteries clog, and your joints become inflamed. You need at least an ounce a day or two servings of fatty fish a week. Both red and pink canned salmon, sardines, mackerel, herring, and tuna are rich in the essential omega-3’s.



One of the best antioxidant-rich foods, say Tufts University researchers. Blueberries are so powerful in retarding aging in animals that they can block brain changes leading to decline and even reverse failing memory. How much should be eaten? The human equivalent of the amount used in animal studies is a half-cup of frozen or fresh blueberries a day.



This herb is packed with nutrients known to help fend off cancer, heart disease, aging, and other health problems. Garlic has prolonged cancer survival time and extended animal lifespans by about 5%, which in humans might add about four years, German researchers have found. A tip from researchers at Penn State: let crushed garlic “rest” about ten minutes before cooking it, to preserve its disease-fighting agents. Garlic is the featured herb in this month’s “Herbal Corner” section below.



This super health-promoter is second among vegetables only to garlic in antioxidant capacity. Spinach is also rich in folic acid, which helps fight cancer, heart disease, and mental disorders. In animals, it protects aging brains from degeneration, according to studies performed at Tufts University. New University of Kentucky research shows folic acid may help prevent Alzheimer’s Disease. Both raw and steamed spinach contain high antioxidant and other essential nutrient content.



Green and ordinary black tea pack the same amounts of antioxidants and have equal benefits, experts say. Harvard researchers recently found that drinking one cup of black tea a day cut heart-disease risk in half. Be sure to make ice tea from loose tea or tea bags; instant tea and bottled teas contain minimal antioxidants, tests at Tufts University show.