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Rice

Rice is eaten by millions of people around the world, and organic brown rice is becoming the principal planetary grain of the 21st century. It contains a harmonious balance of nutrients and energy and is included in guidelines by all major scientific and medical associations. Brown rice is high in plant-quality protein, complex carbohydrates, dietary fiber, and vitamins and minerals. In temperate regions, short and medium grain are primarily used, while in warmer latitudes long-grain and basmati varieties prevail. Sweet rice is used for special dishes.

     Altogether an estimated 120,000 varieties of rice are grown in the world, representing two cultivated species: Oryza sativa (Asian rice) and Oryza glaberrima (African rice). About 70 percent of the world’s rice crop is now cultivated from high-yielding hybrid seeds developed as part of the Green Revolution beginning in the 1960s.

     See Diabetes, Peace, Prostate Cancer, Seeds, War-Restricted Diet, Whole Grains, Yellow Emperor’s Classic.

 

• Rice Protects Against Acute Hepatitis

In laboratory studies, Japanese researchers found that fermented brown rice tended to prevent the development of hepatitis, increased survival ratios, and protected the liver against the free radicals induced by copper accumulation in the liver.

Source: T. Shibata et al., “Inhibitory Effects of Fermented Brown Rice and Rice Bran on the Development of Acute Hepatitis in Long-Evans Cinnamon Rats,” Oncol Rep 15(4)869-74, 2006.

 

• Rice Helps Prevent Bladder Cancer

Japanese scientists reported that rats fed a diet high in fermented brown rice reduced the incidence of hyperplasia, dysplasia, and carcinoma in the bladders of the experimental group by 92 percent, 49 percent, and 38 percent respectively. The researchers concluded that a brown-rice based diet could be “a promising chemopreventive agent for human urinary bladder cancer.”

Source: T. Kuno et al., “Chemoprevention of Mouse Urinary Bladder Carcinogenesis by Fermented Brown Rice and Rice Bran,” Oncol Rep 15(3):533-8, 2006.

 

• Rice Improves Blood Sugar Levels

Pre-germinated brown rice improved postprandial blood glucose and insulin levels among 19 healthy young subjects in a Japanese study. “These results suggest that intake of PGBR instead of WR [White Rice] is effective for the control of postprandial blood glucose concentation without increasing the insulin secretion.”

Source: Y. Ito et al., “Postprandial Blood Glucose and Insulin Responses to Pre-Germinated Brown Rice in Healthy Subjects,” J Med Invest 52(3-4):159-64, 2005.

 

• Rice Beneficial for Cancer, Heart Disease, and Diabetes

In a review of international research on cancer, heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and other chronic disorders, a researcher at the American Health Foundation reported that increasing intake of rice, decreasing fat from 40 to 20 percent of calories, and ingesting from five to nine vegetables and fruits daily would be beneficial in reducing risk for these diseases.

Source: J. H. Weisburger, “Worldwide Prevention of Cancer and Other Chronic Diseases Based on Knowledge of Mechanisms,” Mutation Research 402(1-2):331-37, 1998.

 

• Rice Protective Against Stomach Cancer

In a case-control study in Marseille, French researchers reported that individuals who consumed higher amounts of rice were about 50 percent less likely to contract stomach cancer than persons who ate lower amounts of this food or no rice.

Source: J.Cornée et al., “A Case-Control Study of Gastric Cancer and Nutritional Factors in Marseille, France,” European Journal of Epidemiology 11(1):55-65, 1995.

 

• Brown Rice and Improved Control of Diabetes

In an intervention study in Singapore, researchers reported that 183 diabetic patients who took unpolished brown rice, reduced calories, and cut down on oily and fatty food improved self-care and long-term control of the disease compared to 95 patients in the control group.

Source: A. S. Tan, “Patient Education in the Management of Diabetes Mellitus,” Singapore Medical Journal 38(4):156-60, 1997.

 

• Unpolished Rice Prevents Beriberi

The nutritional superiority of unpolished rice attracted medical attention in 1886 when Japanese and Dutch researchers discovered that beriberi among prisoners could be prevented by providing inmates with unpolished rice from which thiamine, or vitamin B-1, had not bee removed. Despite the research by Sugenoya and Cornelissen, the superiority of brown rice was not completely accepted in medical circles until the 1920s.

Source: A. de Knecht-van Eckelen, “The History of Healing; Beriberi: “Kind of Paralysis,” Nederlands Tijdschrift voor Geneeskunde 141(24):1199-203, 1997.

 

• High-Fiber Brown Rice Diet Increases Cholesterol

Excretion In a case-control study, Japanese researchers reported that over a five-day period subjects given a high-fiber, low-protein diet containing brown rice had increased fecal weight, including increased excretion of cholesterol , compared to persons eating a polished rice or other low-fiber diet.

Source: K. Kaneko et al., “Effect of Fiber on Protein, Fat, and Calcium Digestibilities and Fecal Cholesterol Excretion,” Journal of Nutrition, Science, and Vitaminology  32(3):317-25, 1986.

 

• Sticky Rice Mixture Given to Thai Infants

In northeast Thailand, mothers customarily give their infants Kaw Yam, a native food made out of baked chewed banana and sticky rice, within 1 to 7 days after birth. The mothers believe the food will fill the child’s stomach and stop it from crying.  In a study of this practice, Thai scientists reported that traditional beliefs should be respected and combined, if necessary, with health education.

Source: S. Saowakontha et al., “Breast-feed-ing Behavior and Supplementary Food Pattern of Villagers in Udon Thani Province, Northeast Thailand,” Southeast Asian Journal of Tropical Medicine and Public Health 26(1):73-77, 1995.

 

• Rice Given to Nursing Infants in Africa

In a study of infant feeding practices in rural Senegal, French scientists reported that nursing mothers customarily gave a family diet centered around rice or millet and a watery millet gruel to their children in response to perceived breast-milk insufficiency.

Source: K. B. Simondon and F. Simondon, “Infant Feeding and Nutritional Status: The Dilemma of Mothers in Rural Senegal,” European Journal of Clinical Nutrition 49(3):179-88, 1995.

 

• The Food Guide Pyramid Features Brown Rice

Dietary Guidelines for Americans, the booklet that accompanies the U.S. government’s food pyramid, recognizes whole grains as the most important category of foods: “Eat foods made from a variety of whole grains—such as whole wheat, brown rice, oats, and whole grain corn—every day.” The U.S. government’s food recommendations call for whole grains to be the center of each meal. Brown rice is mentioned throughout the guidelines as the preferred form in which to eat rice.

 

• Brown Rice Aids Digestive Disorders

In a case-control study, Japanese researchers reported that over a five-day period subjects given a high-fiber, low-protein diet containing brown rice had increased fecal weight, including increased excretion of cholesterol, compared to persons eating a polished rice or other low-fiber diet. Brown rice, containing four times as much dietary fiber as polished rice, significantly increased beneficial bacteria, in the large intestine, Japanese researchers reported.   

     Consumption of brown rice (and barley) helped to decrease hepatic glucose production in 10 healthy subjects, Australian scientists reported. Lower glycemic load causes slower release of insulin and helps protect against diabetes and other digestive disorders.

Sources: K. Kaneko et al., “Effect of Fiber on Protein, Fat, and Calcium Digestibilities and Fecal Cholesterol Excretion,” Journal of Nutrition, Science, and Vitaminology  32(3):317-25, 1986. Y. Benno“ Effect of Rice Fiber on Human Fecal Microflora,” Microbiol Immunol 33(5):435-40, 1989. A. Thorburn, “Carbohydrate Fermentation Decreases Hepatic Glucose Output in Healthy Subjects,” Metabolism 42(6):780-5, 1993.

 

• Brown Rice Protects Against Cancer

Brown rice and other grains high in phytic acid may protect against cancer by suppressing oxidant damage to intestinal epithelium and neighboring cells, according to researchers at the University of Minnesota. The phytochemicals in whole grains further block initial DNA damage and suppress postinitiation processes of tumor development.          

     Brown rice contains inositol hexaphosphate, a natural substance that activates natural killer cell function and inhibits cancer.

Source: J. Slavin et al., “Whole Grain Consumption and Chronic Disease: Protective Mechanisms,” Nutrition and Cancer 27(1):14-21, 1997. Posit Health News 17:23-25, 1998.

 

• Whole Rice Reduces Risk of Diabetes

White rice and other starchy foods contribute to diabetes, according to Harvard University researchers. A 1997 study of 65,173 women who ate a high starch diet that was low in fiber had 2.5 times as much diabetes as women who consumed whole grains. “Bread, rice, and pasta should be in the whole grain form; brown rice and whole-grain pastas and breads,” explained Dr. Walter Willet, professor of epidemiology and nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health.

Source: Denise Grady, “Diet-Diabetes Link Reported,” New York Times, February 12, 1997.

 

• Brown Rice Protects Against Diabetes

In an intervention study in Singapore, researchers reported that 183 diabetic patients who took unpolished brown rice, reduced calories, and cut down on oily and fatty food improved self-care and long-term control of the disease compared to 95 patients in the control group.

Source: A. S. Tan, “Patient Education in the Management of Diabetes Mellitus,” Singapore Medical Journal 38(4):156-60, 1997.

 

• Vitamin B-12 Levels Normal in Children Who Eat Brown Rice

A nutritional analysis of vegan children 7 to 14 years old who had been eating brown rice for a period of from 4 to 10 years found no symptoms of B12 deficiency compared to an age-matched control group. Other blood values were normal, including red blood cell count, hematocrit, hemoglobin.

Source: H. Suzuki, “Serum Vitamin B12 Levels in Young Vegans Who Eat Brown Rice,” Journal of Nutrition, Science and Vitaminology 41(6):587-94, 1995.

 

• Brown Rice Behind Bars

The U.S. Bureau of Prisons began offering federal prisoners a choice of plant-based foods at every meal on Oct. 1, 2000. “The intent of the meatless alternatives is to meet the changing dietary habits and the religious dietary needs of the diverse inmate population,” a spokesperson noted. Whole grains, soyburgers, barbecued tofu, fried eggplant, and other foods will be made available at 98 prisons housing about 126,000 inmates.

 

• Asian Scientists Promote Brown Rice

In Los Banos, Philippines, the “Mecca for the world’s rice eaters,” former scientists for the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), the center of world rice biotechnology, are promoting the benefits of brown rice. In autumn 2000, 75 scientists attended the first meeting of Los Banos Pinawa (pinawa is the Tagalog word for brown rice). “If we can get the elite to start eating brown rice, we think the masses will imitate,” Dr. Ben Vergara, a retired IRRI plant physiologist, told the Asian Wall Street Journal. He said that brown rice contained 12% more protein, 100% more fiber, essential minerals and vitamin B, and far more of the anti-cancer compound, phytade, than white rice. “There are lots of new dishes being invested to make use of our wonderful brown jasmine rice,” exclaimed Dr. Kwanchai Gomez.

 

• Brown Rice Reduces Energy Costs

The Thai government led a campaign to promote brown rice in 1999 for health and environmental reasons. The national Electricity Generating Authority spearheaded an effort to reduce energy by 60% in the country’s 30,000 rice mills, most of which was going to produce white rice. King Bhumiphol, the nation’s monarch, endorsed the campaign with a public statement that he eats brown rice. Bangkok supermarkets, restaurants, and Thai airlines now regularly offer brown rice. In the Philippines, scientists reported that converting from white to brown rice would save 65% of total energy required in the milling process.Source: “Brown Rice: Beyond the Color,” The Asia Rice Foundation, 2001.

 

Rice Bran

Rice bran, obtained in the polishing of rice, is known as nuka in the Far East. It is used traditionally in soaps and compresses to treat the skin. Though it is not a whole food, rice bran is eaten in modern society as a dietary supplement and has similar cholesterol-lowering effects as oat bran. Rice bran oil also reduces serum cholesterol. See Natural Cosmetics.

 

• Rice Bran Plaster Aids Skin

In his book on home remedies, Michio Kushi explains the healing properties of nuka and how to make a rice bran plaster to help heal a variety of skin ailments.

Source: Michio Kushi, Basic Home Remedies (Becket, MA: One Peaceful World Press, 1994).

           

• Rice Bran Oil Protects Against Heart Disease

Rice bran oil protects against heart disease, according to research presented to the American Heart Association. In studies with monkeys, rice bran oil lowered harmful LDL cholesterol by up to 30 percent without reducing beneficial HDL cholesterol that helps prevent heart attacks. Rice bran oil was also found to contain substances that impede the deposit of cholesterol inside arteries.

Source: “Oil from Rice Aids Monkey,” New York Times, January 15, 1991.

 

Rye

Rye, a hardy northern grain, gives strong energy and is best known for producing chewy, dark bread. Like other whole grains, it strengthens health and vitality. It is especially good for excretory functions and respiration.

 

• Rye and Peas Protect Against Tumor Growth

In studies of the effects of foods high in phytoestrogens, researchers at the University of Rostock in Germany reported that phytoestrogen extracts from rye, green pea, and yellow pea seeds significantly inhibited the growth of trophoblast tumor cells. “Green and yellow pea seeds contain measurable concentrations of isoflavones and rye seeds contain lignans which can be isolated and used for special human diet programs,” the scientists concluded.

Source: A. Matscheski et al., “Effects of Phytoestrogen Extracts Isolated from Rye, Green and Yellow Pea Seeds on Hormone Production and Proliferation of Trophoblast Tumor Cells Jeg3,” Horm Res 65(6):276-88, 2006.

           

• Rye Inhibits Prostate Cancer

In a laboratory study, researchers in Sweden reported that rye and soy diets high in phytoestrogens delayed prostate tumor growth.

Source: M. Landstrom et al., “Inhibitory Effects of Soy and Rye Diets on the Development of Dunning R3327 Prostate Adenocarinoma in Rats,” Prostate 36(3):151-61, 1998.

 

Salt

Salt is essential to life, and all cultures and civilizations have utilized salt. Unrefined sea salt, evaporated from the ocean, preserves many of the minerals and trace elements refined from ordinary table salt. Refined table salt, high in sodium, is associated with high blood pressure, stomach cancer, osteoporosis, and bronchial irregularities. See Schweitzer.

           

• Medicinal Benefits of Salt 

Human blood corresponds with the ancient ocean in which life began, according to macrobiotic educator Michio Kushi. Salt is essential to strong blood, lymph, and bodily fluids, as well as digestion and nervous functioning. Sea salt is especially beneficial to the kidneys, bladder, heart, and small intestine. A salt pack reduces inflammation.

Source: Michio Kushi, Healing Foods, (Becket, MA: One Peaceful World Press, 1998).

 

• Dead Sea Salt Benefits Psoriasis and Healthy Skin 

Israeli researcher reported that in a study of five minerals abundant in Dead Sea brine, salts high in magnesium bromide and magnesium chloride had a strong antiproliferative effect on psoriasis and healthy skin cells compared with potassium salts or sodium chloride. “These results were obtained with both psoriatic and healthy skin fibroblasts, indicating that the inhibitory effect of the selected Dead-Sea minerals is present in healthy and psoriatic skin cells,” the scientists concluded.

Source: F. Levi-Schaffer et al., “Inhibition of Proliferation of Psoriatic and Healthy Fibroblasts in Cell Culture by Selected Dead-Sea Salts,” Pharmacology 52(5):321-28, 1996.

 

SARS

 

• Was SARS Genetically Engineered?

SARs, or Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, emerged early in the 21st century. By mid 2003, it had resulted in 8461 cases in 31 countries of which 804 proved fatal. The overall death rate researched nearly 10 percent. Although the WHO identified a new pathogen, a member of the coronavirus family never seen before in humans, as the cause of SARS, independent researchers reported that it could not be found in all patients and could only be isolated in the kidney cells of the green monkey. The unusual nature of the virus led geneticists at the Institute of Science in Society in Great Britain to speculate that that it was the result of genetic engineering.

Source: Mae Wan Ho and Joe Cummins, “SARS Virus Genetically Engineered?,” Institute of Science in Society, 2003.

 

Schweitzer, Dr. Albert

Looking back over four decades of medical work in French Equatorial Africa, Dr. Albert Schweitzer reported that he had never had any cancer cases in his hospital and that its occurrence among the African people was very rare.  He attributed the rise of degenerative diseases to the importation of European foods including condensed milk, canned butter, meat and fish preserves, white bread, and especially refined salt. “It is obvious to connect the fact of increase of cancer with the increased use of salt by the natives.  In former years there was only available the little salt extracted from the ocean.” Dr. Schweitzer himself practiced a semi-vegetarian philosophy which he called Reverence for Life.

Source: Albert Schweitzer, M.D., Briefe aus dem Lambarenespital, 1954.

 

Science

In a study of creativity and modern thought, Alex Jack traces the decline and fall of holistic understanding in the agrarian, industrial, and scientific revolutions and describes how the modern diet (high in meat and sugar, dairy and processed foods) contributed to the development of the scientific method and the theory of gravity, evolution, germ theory of disease, and nutritional science. Case histories include Leonardo da Vinci, Columbus, Shakespeare, Descartes, Newton, Mary Shelley (author of Frankenstein), Darwin, Pasteur, and Fannie Farmer.

     “The enclosure movement of 16th through 18th century England . . . led to a dramatic change in agriculture and food preparation . . . In the 17th century, as a culmination of trends set in motion by the Crusades and the exploration of the New World, meat, poultry, dairy, and sugar, spices, and tropical fruits and vegetables started to become daily fare. In England and later throughout Europe, traditional fields and commons were hedged off and the scientific breeding of sheep and cattle came into vogue.

     “A major change in food precedes a major change in the life of an individual, society, civilization, or species. Following the Renaissance, a new model of the universe developed in conjunction with the new way of farming and eating. . . . Building on Copernicus, Kepler, Galileo, and Descartes, Newton perfected a model of the universe that made a sharp division between mind and matter. The Newtonian-Cartesian model, as it is often called, effectively hedged off and enclosed spirit, mind, and consciousness from daily life. . . .

     “The quantitative triumph of matter, the idea of the whole being reducible to the sum of its parts, the emphasis on an horizontal rather than a vertical dimension to life—the seeds of the modern mentality can all be seen in the grand synthesis presented in Newton’s Principia. Its algebraic order and geometric structure, like an elaborate 17th or early 18th century banquet, was served up in three courses complete with requisite appetizers (definitions and rules), sumptuous entrées (the theory of gravity), diverting side dishes (the precessional shift and motion of the tides), and associated desserts and ices (scholia and lemmas).

     “Eventually, the entire world was enclosed by the Newtonian synthesis. The modern system of colonialism and imperialism, spearheaded by the British Lion, spread around the world, and one by one traditional cultures and societies were hedged off or transformed into satellites circling a powerful, central sun. Haciendas, plantations, factories, etc. displaced family farms and small villages and towns, and modern architecture and city planning based on lines of force moving rectilinearly replaced older curvilinear structures. Newton was an early advocate of enclosure and enthusiastic about the new agriculture based on utility and profit. According to his secretary, he could not endure to see a weed growing in his own garden. Whether in his theories or on his own land, he could not appreciate diversity and complexity. His universe was depopulated of spirit, mind, and even seemingly useless, unproductive matter.”

Source: Alex Jack, Profiles in Oriental Diagnosis, Vol. I, II, III (Becket, MA: One Peaceful World Press, 1995, 1998, 1999).

Sea Vegetables

Edible seaweeds are among the most important foods in traditional cuisines. High in minerals, vitamins, and complex carbohydrates, they aid digestion, benefit the heart and circulatory system, and have a stabilizing effect on the brain and nervous system. Beside daily cooking, sea vegetables have many medicinal applications, as food and side dishes, teas, and external compresses.

     Japanese sea vegetables are usually stronger and especially recommended for superior health, medicinal cooking, and home remedies. Domestic varieties are suitable for ordinary cooking and cost about half as much. A variety of sea vegetable powders, flakes, pickles, and snacks is also available, though making them oneself is preferable. See Breast Cancer, Herpes, Hiziki, Infertility, Kombu, Nori, Nuclear Radiation, Prostate Cancer, Vitamin B-12, Wakame.

           

• Seaweed Inhibits Bacterial Infections

An American marine biologist noticed the lack of bacteria in penguin intestines and held the antibiotic qualities of seaweed responsible.

Source: J. M. N. Sieburth, Sciences 132:676, 1960.

 

• Seaweed Inhibits Breast Cancer

In Japan, tests on six groups of female rats showed that adding sea vegetables to the diet resulted in significant inhibitory effect on induced mammary tumorigenesis. “Tumor incidences were 35 percent (7/20), 35 percent (7/20) and 50 percent (9/18), respectively [for groups fed nori, kombu, and another type of kombu], whereas that in the control group was 69 percent (920/29),” investigators reported. The onset of tumors was also delayed in the seaweed groups, and the weight of tumors was lower.

Source: Ichiro Yamamoto et al., “The Effect of Dietary Seaweeds on 7,12-Dimethyl-Benz[a]Anthracene-Induced Mammary Tumorigenesis in Rats,” Cancer Letters 35:109-18, 1987.

 

• Seaweed Offsets Food Poisoning

Test-tube studies have found that seaweed extract is as effective as antibiotic drugs against common food-poisoning bacteria such as Staphylococcus aureus and Streptococcus pyogenes and E. coli; the fungus Candida albicans; and a bacterium associated with causing pneumonia.

Source: O. H. McConnell in H. A. Hoppe  et al., Marine Algae in Pharmaceutical Science (New York: DeGruyter, 1979).

 

• Seaweeds as Source of Vitamin B-12

A study of macrobiotic and vegetarian mothers suggested that nursing mothers with low vitamin B-12 levels could get an acceptable source of this nutrient by consuming sea vegetables that are naturally high in B-12. “The relatively high vitamin B-12 content of sea vegetables is thought to reflect a high content of vitamin B-12 producing microorganism[s] in these plants. Although these analyses need to be confirmed with further studies, sea vegetables may represent a potentially important source of this vitamin in the strict vegetarian diet.”

Source: B. L. Specker et al., “Increased Urinary Methylmalonic Acid Excretion in Breast-Fed Infants of Vegetarian Mothers and Identification of an Acceptable Dietary Source of Vitamin B-12,” American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 47:89-92, 1988.

 

• Seaweed Revives African Economy and Raises Status of Women

After eucheuma, a seaweed imported from the Philippines, was transplanted to the east coast of Unguja Island in Tanzania, seaweed farming flourished and revitalized a community. According to medical researchers, the number of children suffering from malnutrition has decreased, the health of mothers has improved, and the seaweed industry has fostered self-employment and brought prosperity to the whole region. The seaweed harvesters are primarily women, and the social and economic status of women has risen substantially.

Source: Flower E. Msuya, “Seaweed Farmers of Zanzibar,” University of Dar es Salaam, Institute of Marine Sciences, Zanzibar, Tanzania, 1998.

 

Seeds

Organic seeds may be saved or obtained from a seed company. Standard, heirloom, or open-pollinated seeds refer to traditional nonhybridized seeds that give strong energy and produce the best quality crops and food. Several seed banks specialize in preserving traditional seeds that are in danger of extinction from modern farming and monoculture. See World Hunger.

 

• Terminator Seeds

A new technique that makes seeds sterile would end the centuries' old practice of saving seeds for the next planting. Hope Shand, research director for the Rural Advancement Foundation International in Pittsboro, N.C., said, "We call it terminator technology. It will force farmers to return to the same company year after year for their seeds."

     The USDA and the Delta and Pine Land Co. of Scott, Miss., patented the new procedure in 1998 for cotton seed. Developed through genetic engineering, the new seeds contain an array of new genes that when sprayed with a chemical compound turns off a "blocker" switch that normally allows the plant's seeds to be fertile. Used so far for cotton and tobacco, researchers say it will soon be tried on wheat, soybeans, and other crops.

     Jane Rissler, senior scientist at the Union of Concerned Scientists, said the seeds could lead to mass hunger in developing countries where farmers cannot afford to buy expensive genetically altered seeds. "The companies want to control all the seeds," Rissler said. "It gives lie to the notion that the biotechnology industry wants to feed the world." Delta and Pine, which was subsequently bought by Monsanto, and the U.S.D.A. have applied for patents for the new technology in 78 countries.

Source: "Sterile Seeds Patent Sparks Debate," Associated Press, July 23, 1998.

 

• Ancient Lotus Seeds Sprout

A 1288-year-old lotus seed from China produced a tiny green shoot. Scientists say it is the oldest seed ever to germinate and may hold clues to prolonging life. "This sleeping beauty, which was already there when Marco Polo came to China in the 13th century, must have a powerful genetic system to delay its aging," said Dr. Jane Shen-Miller, a botanist at the University of California.

     She obtained the brown, oval-shaped seeds from a dry lake bed that had once been the site of a lotus pond cultivated by Buddhists. Researchers speculated that the seed's thick shell and presence of a special protein-repair enzyme may have contributed to its longevity.

Source: “Scientist Germinates 1288-Year-Old Seed,” The Minnesota Daily, November 14, 1995.

 

• Seeds of Peace

Sunflower seeds were scattered in Kiev in June, 1996, to mark the completion of the official nuclear disarmament of Ukraine. The ceremony at the Pervomaisk missile base marked the end of a three-year process in which 1900 strategic warheads were prepared for destruction. U.S. Secretary of Defence William J. Perry, along with the Defense Ministers of Ukraine and Russia, planted sunflowers and wheat above the missile silos.

Source: One Peaceful World Journal 27:4, Summer 1996 and wire service reports

 

• Ancient Rice Seeds as a Solution to Modern Epidemics

Whole grain rice from ancient burial mounds was discovered in Japan in the late 1990s. Dating back thousands of years, the rice is a dryland variety that existed during the Jomon culture. Present day rice in Japan, America, and most other parts of the world is paddy rice, requiring intensive irrigation, while dryland does not require much moisture. The rice comes in seven colors, including red and black.

     According to macrobiotic educator Michio Kushi, who is growing the rice in Japan, it has much stronger vitality and life energy (ki) than present organic rice and may be strong enough to help offset modern diseases and epidemics, including a decline in human immune function as the result of environmental pollution.

     The ancient rice may be particularly helpful in protecting against the human form of mad cow disease and other prion disorders characterized by degeneration of the nucleus and DNA of cells. "Natural foods are gradually losing their ki because of the worsening environmental crisis, chemical contamination, and artificial seeds," Kushi explained in an interview. "As seed quality declines, the functioning of the brain, intestines, and ultimately the reproductive organs is affected. DNA in the sperm and egg govern our ability to reproduce. It is essential to secure the best quality seeds and food. The seeds must be cultivatable." The black variety, he said, was the strongest.

     In the Philippines, the International Rice Institute, which popularized the Green Revolution with hybrid seeds a generation ago, announced plans to introduce a new genetically engineered strain of rice that gives two to three crops a year and needs no sunlight. Commenting on this development, Mr. Kushi said that this rice was "so yin, no sunlight!" and would produce weakening effects. "I am hopeful that our macrobiotic community, along with the natural foods and organic agriculture movement, will be strong enough in the years ahead to offset the evolutionary crisis. I hope heirloom seeds can return to being the standard and that organic farmers, food processors, natural food stores, and natural foods consumers will resist the temptation to use less expensive hybrid seeds."

Source: Alex Jack, "Seeds of Future Harmony," One Peaceful World Journal 31:1, Summer 1997.

           

Seitan

Seitan, also known as wheat meat, is a dynamic, rich-tasting food made from wheat gluten cooked with shoyu and kombu. High in protein and containing no cholesterol or saturated fat, it makes delicious stews, sandwiches, and casseroles. Its rich, dynamic taste makes it a favorite for vegetarian burgers and children’s lunches. It can be made at home or be purchased at the natural foods store. It is strengthening to the liver and gall bladder.

 

Selenium

Selenium is a trace mineral that helps protect cell membranes and other structures from damage by lipids. Functioning as part of the enzyme system, selenium’s role in the body parallels that of vitamin E whose antioxidant activity neutralizes free radicals. Intake of foods naturally high in selenium, such as whole grains, green leafy vegetables, and seafood, is associated with reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, cancer, and in normal fetal development.  See Selenium.

             

• Whole Foods High in Selenium Protect Against Prostate Cancer

Whole grains, vegetables, and other foods high in selenium may prevent prostate cancer. In a study of 33,737 men, researchers at Harvard University found that higher selenium levels were associated with a reduced risk of advanced prostate cancer. The scientists found that over a four-year period the men with the highest selenium levels had only one-third the risk of developing advanced prostate cancer as those with low selenium intakes. Researchers cautioned against taking selenium supplements, which may have adverse effects, and recommended that selenium be taken in whole form through daily foods.

Source: Edward Giovannucci, “Study of Prediagnostic Selenium in Toenails and the Risk of Advanced Prostate Cancer,” Journal of the National Cancer Institute 90(16):1219-24, 1998.

 

Sesame

Sesame seeds, native to the Far East, Middle East, Africa, and South America, are highly nutritious. They are used to make gomashio (sesame seed salt), tahini (sesame butter), and sesame oil. In Oriental medicine, sesame oil is used to treat arthritis, rheumatism, and ear and eye ailments. Sesame seed tea is used to darken the hair and treat menstrual irregularity.

 

• Traditional Use of Sesame

In his book on the energetics of food, Michio Kushi explains the uses of sesame oil for burns, eye and ear ailments, dandruff, and pains and aches, as well as the use of raw sesame seeds and gomashio for a variety of common conditions.

Source: Michio Kushi with Marc Van Cauwenberghe, M.D., Macrobiotic Home Remedies (Tokyo and New York: Japan Publications, 1985).

 

• Sesame Oil Beneficial in Treating Burns

Sesame oil is the key ingredient in a new Chinese ointment that aids in the healing of burn injuries. Chinese doctors reported that the herbal compound MEBO (“moist, exposed burn ointment”) resulted in dramatic improvement in severely burned patients after treatment. Altogether some 50,000 patients have healed unusually quickly when tested with the substance.

Source: Judy Foreman, “New Chinese Ointment May Aid in the Healing of Burn Injuries,” Boston Globe, November 23, 1990.

 

• Sesame Oil Lowers Cholesterol 

In laboratory experiments, researchers at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration reported that a diet high in sesame oil significantly lowered cholesterol levels in the liver of test animals.

Source: S. Satchithanandam et al., “Effect of Sesame Oil on Serum and Liver Lipid Profiles in the Rat,” International Journal of Vitamins and Nutrition Research 66(4):386092, 1996.

 

• Sesame Oil Beneficial for the Kidney and Heart

In an investigation of the effects of sesamin, a natural phytoestrogen found in sesame oil, Japanese scientists reported that in laboratory studies a diet high in this nutrient helped reduce renal hypertension and cardiac hypertrophy.

Source: S. Kita et al., “Antihypertensive Effect of Sesamin,” Biological and Pharmaceutical  Bulletin 18(9):1283-85, 1995.

 

 • Sesame Enhances Nutrition of Bread

In a study of the effect of adding sesame seeds to wheat flour bread, an Egyptian researcher reported that sesame products increased protein content of the loaf as well as mineral and total essential amino acids, especially lysine. The sesame also improved protein digestibility.

Source: T. A. El-Adawy, “Effect of Sesame Seed Proteins Supplementation on the Nutritional, Physical, Chemical, and Sensory Properties of Wheat Flour Bread,” Plant Foods and Human Nutrition 48(4):311-26, 1995.

 

Sewage Sludge

Toxic sludge, recycled into fertilizer from the incineration of medical and municipal wastes, and from mining, smelting, cement-making, and wood product manufacturing, has spread invisibly throughout the nation's cropland. Patty Martin, mayor of Quincy, Wash., focused public attention on the practice when local cattle and crops began to show debilitating effects and investigators discovered that wastes were being added to fertilizer without being listed as ingredients on the label.

     In Gore, OK a uranium-processing plant disposes of low-level radioactive waste by licensing it as a liquid fertilizer and spraying it over 9000 acres of grazing land.

     In Camas, Wash., lead-laced waste from a pump mill is hauled to farms and spread over crops destined for livestock feed.

     In Moxee City, Wash., dark powder from two Oregon steel mills is poured from rail cars into silos under a federal hazardous waste storage permit and then used as fertilizer. "When it goes into our silo, it's a hazardous waste," Dick Camp, president of Bay Zinc Co., said. "When it comes out of the silo, it's no longer regulated. The exact same material."

Source: "Toxic Chemicals Recyled into Fertilizer," Deja News, July 8, 1997.

 

• Sewage Sludge Kills Hundreds of Cows

At a family farm in George, hundreds of cows died from eating hat that was fertilized with sewage sludge. Andy McElmurray, the farm owner, said the animals languished, due to toxic pollutants in the sludge that ended up in the feed. “They wouldn’t respond to antibiotics. They wouldn’t respond to IV fluids. They wouldn’t respond to anything. They just ended up dying,” he said. “To me, of all the environmental issues, this is Mount Everest,” stated Dr. David Lewis, an EPA scientist.

Source: “Sewer Sludge Stinks,” Organic Consumers Association, July, 2003.

 

• Plants Susceptible to Toxins in Sewage Sludge

Sewage sludge, a toxic mixture of municipal and industrial wastes that is recycled in fertilizer for farms and gardens, contains low levels of PCBs, dioxins and furans, cholorinated pesticides, carcinogenic polynuclear-aromatic hydrocarons, heavy metals, bacteria, viruses, parasitic worms and fungi, industrial solvents, asbestos, petroleum products, etc.

     In scientific tests, sewage sludge has been found to be mutagenic, causing inheritable genetic changes in organisms. It releases toxic metals into ground water, wildlife, and crops. Research indicates that some toxic metals and organic industrial poisons can be transferred from sludge-treated soils into carrots, cabbage, spinach, lettuce, chard, and other crops. Livestock grazing on plants treated with sewage sludge may ingest the pollutants. For example, sheep eating cabbage in sludge-treated soils developed lesions of the liver and thyroid. Pigs fattened on sludge-grown corn had high levels of cadmium in their tissues. Dioxin levels in humans rose after eating beef or cow's milk produced from affected soils.

Source: "New U.S. Waste Strategy: Part 2: Sewage Sludge," Environmental Research Foundation, August 28, 1997.

 

Sexual Vitality

Sexual function disorders, including low sexual desire, sexual aversion disorder, premature ejaculation, and pain during intercourse, are widespread in modern society. The role of diet in contributing to sexual vitality and fulfillment is beginning to move from a focus on aphrodisiacs to daily food. See Impotence, Sexual Vitality.

 

• Diet and Sex

After counseling thousands of people, macrobiotic educator Michio Kushi concluded that diet has a profound influence on sexuality. “Female sexuality depends upon the smooth flow of upward, yin energy in the body. At the moment of orgasm, sensations originating in the vagina and clitoris radiate up through the pelvis and along the primary channel to the upper chakras [energy centers]. Animal foods are strongly charged with the opposite or downward (yang) energy, and when eaten in excess inhibit the natural unfolding of upward energy in the female body. Animal foods tighten and constrict the chakras and can limit the range of pleasure and depth of emotion that a woman experiences during sex. . . . This is a leading cause of the inability to achieve orgasm during intercourse.”

     In women, he observed, animal food consumption is also connected with fibroid tumors, blockages in the Fallopian tubes, dermoid cysts, vaginal discharge, and in extreme cases cancer of the ovaries, uterus, or cervix—conditions which can interfere with healthy sexuality.

     In men, excessive animal food intake can lead to prostate enlargement, premature ejaculation, or exclusive “concentration on orgasm without the more total involvement of the mind and emotions.” Meanwhile, sugar, dairy food, tropical fruits, and other more expansive (yin) food can diminish sexual vitality and lead to impotence.

     “The complex carbohydrates in whole grains, beans, and fresh local vegetables have a number of advantages in helping to promote sexual harmony,” Kushi reported. “Because they are slowly broken down and absorbed into the bloodstream, they provide a slow, steady supply of energy. This contributes to endurance and staying power.” In particular, he recommended brown rice, miso soup, root vegetables such as burdock, carrot, and jinenjo (Japanese mountain potato), beans (especially azuki beans), sea vegetables, and gomashio (sesame seed salt) to enhance sexual potency, as well as a special recipe for Vitality Stew.

Source: Michio Kushi with Edward and Wendy Esko, The Gentle Art of Making Love (Garden City Park, N.Y.: Avery Publishing, 1990).

 

Sexually Transmitted Diseases

The United States has the highest rates of STD of any country in modern society and no comprehensive approach to this epidemic, according to a panel of the Institute of Medicine, a branch of the National Academy of Sciences. Common STD include chlamydial infection, syphilis, gonorrhea, herpes, and hepatitis B virus. STD are associated with infertility, cancer, birth defects, and miscarriages. Rates of gonorrhea are 150 per every 100,000 compared with 18.6 in Canada and 3 in Sweden. One-quarter of new cases are adolescents. See Herpes.

 

Shiitake Mushrooms

Shiitake, a mushroom native to the Orient, is used in naturals foods cooking and holistic health care. Dried are preferred for medicinal use, while either fresh or dried may be used in soups, stews, and casseroles. Its strong antitumor effect is now coming under close medical scrutiny. See Wakame.

 

• Traditional Use

Educator Michio Kushi describes the traditional medicinal use of shiitake mushrooms to help dissolve animal fat in the body and help relax a contracted or tense condition and presents recipes for several teas in which shiitake are the main or supplemental ingredient.

Source: Michio Kushi, Basic Home Remedies (Becket, MA: One Peaceful World Press, 1994).

 

• Shiitake Have Strong Antitumor Effect

Japanese scientists at the National Cancer Center Research Institute reported that shiitake mushrooms had a strong anti-tumor effect. In experiments with mice, polysaccharide preparations from various natural sources, including the shiitake mushroom commonly available in Tokyo markets, markedly inhibited the growth of induced sarcomas resulting in “almost complete regression of tumors . . . with no sign of toxicity.”

Source: G. Chihara et al., “Fractionation and Purification of the Polysaccharides with Marked Antitumor Activity, Especially Lentinan, from Lentinus edodes (Berk.) Sing. (An Edible Mushroom),” Cancer Research 30:2776-81, 1970.

 

• Shiitake Protects Against Clotting

Japanese scientists reported that in laboratory experiments dried shiitake prevented the formation of blood clots in the lungs in test animals.

Source: M. Otsuka et al., “Influences of Shiitake-Fructo-Oligosaccharide Mixture on Experimental Pulmonary Thrombosis in Rats,” Yakugaku Zasshi 116(2):169-73, 1996.

 

Shoyu

Shoyu, or natural soy sauce, is one of the basic seasonings in Far Eastern, natural foods, and macrobiotic cooking. In the natural foods store, there are many types available. Ordinary shoyu, containing fermented wheat and sea salt, is the most suitable for daily use. 

     Tamari, often confused with shoyu, is the byproduct of the miso-making process and is thicker and richer in taste. Tamari is used as a special seasoning.

     Shoyu aids in digesting grains and vegetables and is used in traditional remedies such as shoyu bancha tea to strengthen the blood, relieve fatigue, and neutralize overacidity.  See Mental Illness, Miso.

 

• Protective Effects of Shoyu

In a review of the health benefits of shoyu, the quality assurance department of Kikkoman, a major producer, cited recent scientific studies showing that soy sauce enhanced gastric juice secretion, possessed antimicrobial activity against Staphylococcus and other bacteria, contained an antihypertensive component, and exhibited anticarcinogenic effects.Laboratory experiments have found that the active ingredients in shoyu inhibit stomach and liver tumors.

Source: Shigehiro Kataoka, “Functional Effects of Japanese Style Fermented Soy Sauce (Shoyu) and Its Components,” Journal of Bioscience and Bioengineering 200(227-34), 2005.

 

• Shoyu Inhibits Stomach Cancer

The high rate of stomach cancer in Japan caused some Japanese scientists to speculate that a diet high in soy sauce might be a factor. However, researchers at the University of Wisconsin observed just the opposite. In laboratory tests, mice given fermented soy sauce experienced 26 percent less cancer than mice on the regular diet. Also soy-supplemented mice averaged about one-quarter the number of tumors per mouse as the control group. Soy sauce “exhibited a pronounced anticarcinogenic effect,” the researchers concluded.

     In subsequent studies, the scientists further isolated the characteristic flavor components of shoyu that inhibited the anticarcinogenetic effects.

Sources: J. Raloff, “A Soy Sauce Surprise,” Science News, 139:357, 1991; S. Kataoka et al., “Inhibition of Benzo[a]pyrene-Induced Mouse Forestomach Neoplasia and Reduction of H2O2 Concentration in Human Polymorphonuclear Leucocytes by Flavour Components of Japanese-Style Fermented Soy Sauce,” Food and Chemical Toxicology 35(5):449-57, 1997.

 

Skin Problems

Healthy skin is closely associated with daily diet as well as sunlight, which helps the body produce vitamin D. Excessive consumption of foods high in fat and cholesterol, simple sugars, and dairy causes increased skin ailments. See Breast Cancer, Ginger, Natural Cosmetics, Rice Bran, Sesame, Watercress.

           

•  Diet and Skin Conditions

In a comprehensive approach to natural health and beauty, several macrobiotic cooking teachers and an Ayurvedic teacher describe special foods, remedies, and applications for skin problems of all kinds.

Source:  Aveline Kushi, Wendy Esko, and Maya Tiwari, Diet for Natural Beauty, (Tokyo and New York: Japan Publications, 1991).

 

• Low-Fat Diet Protects Against Skin Cancer

In a two-year dietary intervention trial involving 133 patients with skin cancer, researchers at the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston reported that 75 patients randomly assigned to a 20 percent low-fat diet had fewer occurrences of cancer than controls consuming the average modern diet containing 38 percent fat.

     Participants in the intervention group attended eight weekly diet classes and monthly follow up classes with a dietitian and were instructed to increase their intake of carbohydrate, especially whole grains, vegetables, and fruit, to compensate for reduction in fat intake. Recurrence of cancer, i.e., cumulative numbers of skin cancers per patient per time period, were 0.21 and 0.19 for the control and intervention groups respectively after 8 months and 0.26 and 0.02 and the second 8-month period, a drop of more than ten times.

     “These data indicate that a low-fat diet can significantly reduce occurrence of a highly prevalent form of cancer,” the scientists concluded.

Source: H. S. Black et al., “Evidence That a Low-Fat Diet Reduces the Occurrence of Non-Melanoma Skin Cancer,” International Journal of Cancer 62(2):165-69, 1995; S. Jaax et al., “General Guidelines for a Low-Fat Diet Effective in the Management and Prevention of Nonmelanoma Skin Cancer,” Nutrition and Cancer 27(2):150-56, 1997.

 

• Milk-Free Diet Reduces Dermatitis

In a study of 100 infants with dermatitis, Finnish researchers reported that a milk-free diet was able to control symptoms in all patients. The average age of the children was 7 months and duration of breast-feeding was associated with progression of the symptoms.

Source: E. Isolauri et al., “Elimination Diet in Cow’s Milk Allergy,” Journal of Pediatrics 132(6):1004-09, 1998.

 

• Dermatologists Set Up Nutritional Task Force

In 1998 the American Academy of Dermatology announced at its annual meeting the formation of a task force on nutritional and alternative therapy. “The use of herbal remedies and other alternative therapies for skin disorders goes back hundreds of years,” the AAD said. Numerous skin disorders, speakers at the meeting noted, result from nutritional excesses or deficiencies or are accompanied by nutritional problems.

Source: “Diet May Affect Skin Cancer Prevention,” Journal of the American Medical Association 279(18):1427-28, 1998.

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