As I watched people struggle to try to lose weight or change their diet in order to regain their health, I have observed the 98% rule over and over again: 98% of people who diet will gain back the weight and more. Usually in 6-12 months. I became curious about what it takes to be among the 2% who actually do succeed.

So I started talking to people who had succeeded and those who had failed, experts and regular folks, and I started researching how to make lasting change: I read every book and research study I could find! I discovered that there are several key elements necessary in order for change to occur and to stick; I call them “The Five Secrets of Change.”

While all five are required for most people to make lasting change, you can really begin to move the needle immediately with Change Secret #1. In this first of five parts series on making lasting change, we’re going to focus on making your changes small. You may have heard people talk about small steps before but there is a powerful scientific reason why small is the way to go: successful change has to be small because our brains are actually hard-wired to resist big changes.

Even though we may eally want to make a big change, we feel ready for it and our desire is strong, our brains perceive large changes as stress. The definition of stress is a perceived threat, real or imaginary. It doesn’t matter to the brain if it’s true or if it’s a real threat: the brain sees it the same way in either instance. Our brains will try to protect us and make us feel safe and comfortable again by bringing us back to where we were before, where it felt safe.

It’s actually been seen on MRI scans. Studies have shown that a part of the brain known as the amygdala, which controls our stress response, becomes activated if a patient is asked to make a big change. When scientists suggest something that represents a significant change in behavior or routine, such as losing 10+ pounds or changing jobs, the amygdala fires up and engages. It begins to try to bring you back to homeostasis, or the place where you feel more comfortable, by eliminating the stressor.

When patients were asked to make a smaller change, such as drinking more water or eating out less, the amygdala remained dormant and did not resist. The amygdala did not perceive the smaller goal to be a threat so there was no need to try to interfere and change the behavior.

So when you try a new exercise program and all of a sudden you think maybe I’ll skip the gym today, it’s not about willpower or being weak: your brain may actually be trying to alter your behavior to keep you in the safe comfortable place you were before where it is not stressful.

A study published in the Annals of Behavioral Medicine concluded that participants who made one small, potentially permanent change in either their physical activity or their food choices, lost more than twice as much belly fat, 2 1/2 more inches off their waistlines, and about 4 times more weight than those who tried traditional calorie restriction plans or physical activity guidelines. The successful changes were very small such walking 5 more minutes a day or drinking one less soda per day.

In my audio course launching in January called Finally Make It Happen, we look at how to break down your change goals into small action steps that fit easily into your life. We follow a unique prioritization process to get at where you should start and then we map out how to move forward step by step.

But you don’t have to take my course or wait another day to start making lasting change! You can begin today by choosing a small steps toward your goal and beginning with just one step at a time until it has become a new habit.

Study after study has shown that small changes are the most effective way to achieve long-term success, but we continue to want to take on too much too soon or make big, hard changes to get results faster. We’re setting ourselves up to fail because we cannot outsmart our own brains; they are only trying to keep us safe and comfortable by doing what they think we want.

It may be common sense and you may have heard it before, but as you know, common sense is not always common practice! Making small changes is the first secret to successful lasting change. Choose one small step that you can take today and you’ll be on your way to Finally Make It Happen. You can read about the other 4 secrets to making lasting change at

To your wellness and health: your true wealth!


Author: Inger Pols is the Editor of the New England Health Advisory and Author/Creator, Finally Make It Happen, the proven process to get what you want. Get a free special report on The Truth About Sugar: It’s Not All Equal. Learn more about Inger and receive her free bestselling ebook What Your Doctor Isn’t Telling You at

Article Photo: courtesy of samuiblue |


As we have read in previous articles, eating cholesterol-rich foods does not raise your cholesterol. If you eat too much cholesterol, your body will just produce less to compensate. But there are some foods that will raise your cholesterol. In the the prior two  articles, we looked at two foods that will raise your cholesterol levels: trans fats and fructose. In the final article of the cholesterol food raising series, we are going to look at a major cholesterol concern: the imbalance between omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids.

Omega 3 and omega 6 are both essential fatty acids, which means our body cannot produce them, we have to eat them. In a perfect food world, we would eat omega 3 and omega 6 in equal amounts and ingest a 1:1 ratio. In today’s food reality, however, that is rarely the case. Today many of eat 20-50 times more omega 6 than omega 3. That’s because omega 6 oils are commonly used for cooking and are prevalent in processed and restaurant foods, while omega 3 is taken in through eating fish like salmon, meat, eggs and vegetables. We just can’t eat enough of those to offset the omega 6 that we take in today.

Research shows that 99% of us are omega 3 deficient, and a recent study at Harvard directly linked omega 3 deficiency to death in an estimated 72,000-96,000 people a year. To put that in context, there are approximately 40,000 deaths a year due to breast cancer; this makes omega 3 deficiency something we need to pay attention to.

Omega 3s help reduce internal inflammation, which is linked to most every chronic condition that plagues us including – and especially – heart disease. They play a very important role in heart health as they inhibit the thickening of the arteries, lower the amount of lipids that circulate in our bloodstream, and help the arteries to relax. They also help reduce obesity by stimulating the hormone leptin which regulates food intake, body weight and metabolism, and they help prevent cancer cell growth.

In addition to directly impacting coronary heart disease and stroke, omega 3s can help reduce depression, improve mental clarity and focus, reduce dry or itchy skin, hair and nails, and help prevent autoimmune disorders and type 2 diabetes. Omega 3 is an essential fatty acid; it is essential because our bodies can’t make it. Fatty acids fall into three groupings: saturated, monounsaturated, and polyunsaturated. Let’s take a brief look at the science behind it so you can understand why it matters.

Each type of the three fats is made up of carbon atoms with hydrogen atoms to fill in the spaces around them. Saturated fatty acids are acids where all of the spaces around the carbon atoms are completely filled, i.e., saturated. As a result, they are very stable regardless of temperature. They are found mainly in dairy, red meat and chicken, but also in tropical oils like red palm oil and coconut oil. We can also make some saturated fat from eating carbohydrates.

While we are on the subject of saturated fats, let me dispel the myth that saturated fats cause heart disease. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition reported on a study done by Dr. Ronald Krauss which analyzed 21 existing studies that included nearly 350,000 people and found “no significant evidence that eating more saturated fat increases a person’ risk of heart disease or stroke.”

A British report looked at data from ten large studies which included more than 400,000 men and women over several years. They found that the number of heart attacks and strokes were smaller among those who consumed the most (whole fat) dairy products and a recent Swedish study confirmed the same result.

One reason saturated fat may have been labeled a bad guy is that the meat and milk we ingest today is very different than that which we consumed one or two generations ago.

Meat today is bombarded with growth hormones, antibiotics, environmental toxins like pesticides. These toxins remain in the fat cells of the animals we eat. When we eat them or drink their milk, we take in all of this and the result is health problems including low grade inflammation.

Just as we discussed before, occasional ingestion is fine, but when we eat large quantities every day, the inflammation is ongoing and this leads to an increased likelihood of oxidation and heart disease. Small amounts of grass fed meat and milk products will not lead to heart disease and can definitely be part of a balanced diet. So don’t take this as license to go eat a 16 oz porterhouse every night! But by all means, don’t stress about occasional meat or dairy and lose the guilt over a pat of butter on your vegetables. It won’t hut your health or your waistline to ingest good fats in moderate amounts.

Another finding was that if people cut back on saturated fats and replace them with polyunsaturated fats, they may improve their heart health. For every 5 % in total calorie intake from polyunsaturated fats the study participants’ risk of heart attack or heart-related death fell 10%. And the longer their diet remained polyunsaturated rich, the greater the benefits for heart health.

But if they replace the calories with refined carbohydrates, sugar and trans fats, they will increase their risk and they’d be better off enjoying a steak and some butter on their baked potato instead. Dr Krauss concluded, “I agree strongly with the notion that rather than focusing on further reductions in saturated fat per se… we should be thinking much more seriously about finding ways of increasing our intake of polyunsaturated fat.”

Ok, more on this in a minute. Let’s get back to our discussion about fats.

Monounsaturated fats are fatty acids have a double bond between two carbon atoms and they are missing two hydrogen atoms. They are called mono because of its single carbon double bond and unsaturated because not all of the spaces are filled: two hydrogen atoms are missing. Because the chain can bend at the double bond point, when you mix a large number of these chains together, it won’t be dense or compact; there will be room in between.

As a result, these acids are usually liquid at room temperature and are relatively stable, though not as stable as saturated fats because they are not packed as tightly. The most common monounsaturated fat is oleic acid and examples are olive oil, avocados, peanuts, cashews, pecans and almonds. Your body can also make monounsaturated fat from saturated fat as needed, another reason not to be afraid of saturated fat.

Polyunsaturated fats are missing several hydrogen atoms and they have two – or more – double bonds. As a result, since there are more than one double bond, they are called poly, meaning many. At each double bond, there is a kink in the chain, so they tend to be very loosely packed and remain liquid, even in colder temperatures. The good polyunsaturated fats are found in whole food sources such as nuts, seeds, fish, algae, leafy greens and krill. These are the foods that Dr. Krauss was encouraging we eat more of that have health benefits for us.

However, it’s really important to distinguish that not all polyunsaturated fats are healthy. While the good forms can yield great health benefits, other forms of polyunsaturated fats are not so good for us and can do great health harm. These are the polyunsaturated fats found in vegetable oils such as soybean (a staple in packaged goods), corn, sunflower or safflower oil. They are highly unstable fats and they can go bad, or turn rancid, easily when exposed to heat and light.

When they turn rancid, free radicals are created which travel around in your blood causing damage to just about everything they interact with. Free radical damage has been tied to cardiovascular disease, autoimmune diseases, Alzheimer’s, Parkinsons’s, cataracts, tumors, and aging.

The most common polyunsaturated fatty acids are omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids. They are called essential fatty acids because our bodies cannot make them; we must get them from the food we eat. But while polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats are good for us, some are better than others. The ones higher in omega 3 and the ones less likely to turn rancid, the ones found in whole foods rather than processed oils, are all good for us. But high heat processing of omega heavy oils is not desirable and not a good healthy fat source as we’ll see in just a minute.

So we started off by saying omega 3s can do a host of good. But let me just detour for a moment and share with you that rancid omega 3s can do a lot of damage. We need them, but we need to ensure that they do not turn rancid in our bodies. Antioxidants will mitigate this impact in the body, so regular antioxidant intake along with your omega 3s is a great preventive measure. Since fish oil is low in antioxidants, that is one reason why people like krill oil as an omega 3 supplement. Krill oil in addition to being a very pure omega 3 source contains antioxidants to help mitigate any free radical damage that may occur if oils turn rancid in your body.

Let’s go back to omegas 3 and 6. We need both of these essential fatty acids.

The problem is that in today’s food supply, omega 6 acids are used heavily in processed foods. Vegetable oils such as corn oil, sunflower, soybean, cottonseed and safflower oil contain at least 50% omega 6 and very little omega 3. Corn oil, for example, has a ratio of 60:1 omega 6 to 3, while safflower oil has a ratio of 77:1. In addition, factory farming reduces the amount of omega 3s in meat, fish, eggs, and vegetables, and increases omega 6 because it is the base of most animal feed, also contributing to the imbalance.

A chicken that is free to eat its normal diet of grass and bugs will lay an egg that is a perfect balance of omega 6 to omega 3. However, the traditional vegetarian grain fed chicken will yield an egg that is more like 20:1 omega 6 to 3. Nature undisturbed knows to work in perfect balance, but our changes in farming have disrupted that balance and left us with an overabundance of omega 6 in our diets.

Ideally, we need a 1:1 ratio of omega 6 to 3, but up to a 4:1 ratio our bodies can still cope fairly well. Unfortunately, the typical American diet is more like a 20:1 up to a 50:1 ratio of 6:3 and that is why it is so important to eat more and supplement with omega 3s. Not only do we need them in isolation, but we need them to be in balance together with our omega 6 intake and our current diet is highly imbalanced in favor of omega 6s.

An imbalance will prevent all the wonderful health benefits we mentioned earlier from omega 3s from occurring.  In addition, too much omega 6 versus omega 3 has been shown to lead to inflammation, heart disease, weight gain, sterility, high blood pressure, digestive concerns, blood clots, inhibited immune function, and even cancer.

We covered a lot in this article series so let’s sum this all up. If you eat trans fats, fructose, or a processed food diet heavy in omega 6, cholesterol levels will be higher as a result because cholesterol is stepping in to try to help our bodies deal with the inflammation and the imbalance that ingesting these substances create. Forcing cholesterol levels higher to deal with these choices is not in our body’s best interest; so we should avoid eating these.

Artificially forcing cholesterol down without removing the cause simply inhibits the body’s ability to heal. It’s the old don’t shoot the messenger! Cholesterol is necessary for the body to deal with our choices: cholesterol isn’t the bad guy. In each case, it is helping our body to deal with the true bad guy: it’s a reflection of what is going on as our body tries to stay healthy, not an enemy.

We need to address the cause and remove these harmful substances from our diets so they don’t force our bodies to dispatch cholesterol continually to deal with their impact. That means limiting fructose consumption (no high fructose corn syrup!), avoiding trans fats (no products containing hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oil; even if the label says trans fat free, check for hydrogenation!) and balancing omega 3 and omega 6 intake.

Balance can be achieved by avoiding vegetable oils and processed and restaurant foods which are heavy in omega 6. Taking in good quality omega 3 such as eggs from chickens allowed to eat a natural diet (not vegetarian feed), wild sockeye salmon, grass fed meat and supplementing with a high quality omega 3 or krill oil will help restore balance and reduce internal inflammation.

To your wellness and health: your true wealth!


Author: Inger Pols is the Editor of the New England Health Advisory and Author/Creator, Finally Make It Happen, the proven process to get what you want. Get a free special report on The Truth About Sugar: It’s Not All Equal. Learn more about Inger and receive her free bestselling ebook What Your Doctor Isn’t Telling You.

Article Photo: courtesy of winnond |


In the second of three articles about the real foods that raise your cholesterol (animal products are not among them!), we are going to look at sugar and review a form of sugar known as fructose. (If you missed the first article on trans fats, you can read it here.)

Studies have shown that it matters what form the sugar takes, what the sugar’s source is, and that not all sugars react the same way inside our bodies.

Glucose and Fructose
To help you understand the difference between glucose and fructose and more importantly, why it matters, I have to cover a little science. Bear with me and I’ll try to keep it simple and brief.

Glucose and fructose are two of the most common forms of sugar. They are both simple sugars and they have the same molecular form. But they have a different structure and as a result, they are metabolized very differently in the body.

One recent study followed participants for only 10 weeks. During the study, 25% of the participants’ energy requirements came from consuming either glucose or fructose sweetened beverages. The weight gain of both groups was comparable. But the group that consumed the fructose drinks gained measurably more intra abdominal fat, or the fat that forms around the organs in the abdomen. This fat has been shown to be a risk factor for many chronic illnesses including heart disease.

The fructose group also developed insulin resistance. In other words, they became less sensitive to insulin, the hormone whose job it is to control blood sugar levels through the release of glucose into the blood. Insulin resistance can lead to metabolic syndrome, which has been shown to increase the risk of heart attack among other things. And metabolic syndrome is the precursor to type II diabetes.

A number of studies have now revealed significant health differences between the consumption of glucose and fructose so let’s look at the differences.

Glucose is the basis for all cellular energy. Since every cell in your body uses glucose, when you consume any glucose, your body utilizes it almost immediately. If you consume 120 calories of glucose, less than one calorie will be stored as fat because the rest essentially gets ‘burned up.’ Because it’s typically broken down in the cells, only a small amount of glucose will need to be broken down by the liver, the organ that performs carbohydrate metabolism and detoxification (among other roles.)

As mentioned above, despite having the same molecular formula, fructose has a very different structure. As a result, they are metabolized very differently. Unlike glucose, which is metabolized in the body’s cells, fructose is metabolized completely by the liver just like ethanol — a known toxin — according to Dr. Robert Lustig, Professor at the University of California at San Francisco Medical School.

Metabolism in the liver also creates by products that pose health challenges, especially if the liver is working hard all day. Some of the by products include toxic waste and uric acid (which raises blood pressure and can lead to gout.)

Because our liver has so many important jobs, it can get overloaded and burn out; since  we cannot live without it, the less burden we place on our livers, the better. Given the choice between glucose and fructose, it’s definitely better for our bodies to consume glucose, which can be processed predominantly in the cells of the body, over fructose since fructose taxes our livers.

In addition, there are several connections between fructose and fat. Remember that when we consume 120 calories of glucose only one is stored as fat. But when we consume 120 calories of fructose, 40 of those calories will be stored as fat! When it is metabolized, fructose is turned into free fatty acids, VLDL (the bad cholesterol), and triglycerides, which are stored in the body as fat.

The fatty acids also form fat droplets, which can accumulate in your liver and skeletal muscle tissues. These fat deposits can lead to non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and result in insulin resistance. Fructose is a carbohydrate that is metabolized in the body like a fat so no wonder it impacts our weight and our health so dramatically.

Fructose is not inherently bad. It is commonly found in the fruits and vegetables we’ve eaten for thousands of years. If we consume small amounts from fruits and vegetables throughout the day as our ancestors did, we might derive about 15 grams of fructose from our daily diets. (I did read an interesting report recently that stated the way we grow fruit today has increased the amount of fructose it contains, which would add to the burden.)  But this fructose would also be consumed along with the vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and fiber contained in the fruits and vegetables, which would also help to balance out the sugar intake.

If we increase our fructose consumption exponentially, as we have in recent years, with current estimates that a typical teenager takes in 73 grams a day just in sweetened drinks alone, (and for you non-soda drinkers you’re not off the hook: sugar comes plentifully in sports drinks, processed fruit juices and flavored milks), it’s not hard to see how this could pose metabolic challenges to our bodies and impact cholesterol and heart health.

Too much sugar or processed foods will start us on a road toward diabetes or insulin resistance. While that can occur with all sugars, as we just saw, fructose has an even more damaging effect due to its impact on very small LDL and Triglycerides. While there are many reasons to avoid diabetes as it poses numerous health risks, one of its greatest impacts is on heart health.

According to Dr. Frederic Vagnini, “It is apparent to me in my practice, and it is becoming more and more documented in the scientific literature that individuals with any type of heart ailment, be it a heart attack, stroke, peripheral vascular disease, angioplasty or bypass surgery experience, hypertension, or hyperlipidemia, will be found upon examination to have elevated glucose levels—that is, diabetes or pre-diabetes.

Dr. Vagnini makes it clear that it’s not just the diagnosis of diabetes, but the simple effect of elevated glucose levels. When we have elevated glucose over time we experience what is known as pre-diabetes, and the damage begins to occur, Often it can take years to go from pre-diabetes to full diabetes diagnosis, but during that time, significant damage to our heart health is steadily occuring.

For people with diagnosed diabetes, heart attack and stroke are the leading cause of death; heart attacks in people with diabetes are more serious and more likely to result in death. But even without a diagnosis of diabetes, as Dr. Vagnini has observed, elevated glucose is present in people experiencing any type of heart ailment, which makes it important to take action long before your blood sugar reaches the 125 level that constitutes a diabetes diagnosis. (Many doctors say healthy blood sugar should be below 80. If you want to learn more, you can read my article “The Diabetes Myth” here.)

Dr. Vagnini concludes, “Years ago, cholesterol became a household word because of the hundreds of millions of dollars spent on health education through the National Cholesterol Education Program of the Institutes of Medicine. Today glucose levels are just as important as cholesterol (hyperlipidemia) as a risk factor for heart disease; yet they are not given sufficient attention by medical practitioners.”

Maybe it’s time we start paying attention to the connection.

To your wellness and health: your true wealth!


Author: Inger Pols is the Editor of the New England Health Advisory and Author/Creator, Finally Make It Happen, the proven process to get what you want. Get a free special report on The Truth About Sugar: It’s Not All Equal. Learn more about Inger and receive her free bestselling ebook What Your Doctor Isn’t Telling You.

Article Photo: courtesy of Stuart Miles |


In this article, I’m going to cover a topic of concern for most men: prostate health. But this topic is important for female readers too. This information will likely be helpful to someone you love who does have a prostate AND you’ll also find much of this information applies to breast or uterine health as well. Many scientists consider prostate cancer in men to be the equivalent of breast cancer in women because it is brought about by the same conditions, factors and imbalances that simply manifest in different sexual organs because of gender. So ladies, there is something here for you, too.

What is the Prostate and How Does it Work?
The prostate is a small gland about the size of a walnut just below the bladder and in front of the rectum. The prostate wraps around the urethra, a tube that takes urine from the bladder out through the penis. The prostate makes the milky fluid that carries the sperm, which is made in the testicles, out through the penis during ejaculation.

As men get older, enlargement of the prostate is a common concern, affecting more than half of men by age 60 and an estimated 80% by age 80. As the prostate enlarges, it presses against the bladder, resulting in a disruption of the flow of urine, causing frequent urination, difficulty urinating, a weak urine stream or a feeling that the bladder has not fully emptied.

Looking at those statistics, it may seem that prostate challenges are inevitable. But research shows there is much we can do to prevent these problems. However, the conditions we create in our bodies do not appear magically overnight; they are the result of the many small choices we make each day. There are no quick fixes for good health, but the recommendations below can have a positive effect over time.

Achieving and Maintaining a Healthy Prostate
Here are some of the things you can do to enhance prostate health (and if you are a woman, think breast health instead):

Eat a healthy balanced whole-food diet: Ensure you are consuming all the vitamins, minerals, trace minerals and phytonutrients your body needs. Take a whole-food supplement to cover any gaps. Eat more fiber, especially from vegetables, as vegetable fiber is shown to help with blood sugar and reduce the risk of prostate problems. Reduce or eliminate white sugars and flours from your diet and choose foods lower on the glycemic index that are rich in fiber and healthy fats.

Hormonal balance is important and I’m going to talk about balancing our sex hormones shortly. But you cannot balance your secondary (sex) hormones (i.e., testosterone and estrogen, which are very important to prostate health) when your primary hormones, like insulin, are out of balance. Balance your primary hormones by making sure that your blood sugar is regulated so that insulin is not a concern.

Reduce internal inflammation: It’s directly connected to prostate problems and tied to many cancers including prostate and breast. Johns Hopkins research shows that early stages of prostate cancer go hand in hand with chronic inflammation and that an anti-inflammatory diet can help correct this. Pay attention to high cholesterol not because cholesterol is bad; cholesterol is part of your body’s natural healing process. Rather, high cholesterol is an indication that inflammation is occurring in the body. Ubiquinol can help prevent the low-density lipoprotein (LDL) oxidation that causes inflammation in the arteries. Omega 3 can help reduce inflammation already present.

Cholesterol levels are important for another reason: Higher cholesterol typically indicates higher levels of estrogen in the body. (Estrogen levels are also usually higher in obese men.) Higher estrogen levels are shown to double the risk of stroke, significantly increase the risk of heart disease and increase thickening of the arteries. High estrogen levels are tied to prostate cancer as well, though some scientists think it hasn’t been studied enough because many men with high estrogen levels succumb to other diseases long before prostate concerns manifest.

Hormones are always about balance and our sex hormones are no different. When estrogen levels increase, it means that relatively speaking, there is less testosterone. (Or in women, less progesterone.) Testosterone is required to maintain a healthy prostate and men with higher levels of testosterone are better able to prevent prostate problems. Because it’s about balance, we either need to raise testosterone levels or eliminate the excess estrogen. Increasing testosterone can only be done effectively through a prescription medication that comes with a host of side effects.

But there are a number of ways to avoid excess estrogen, including reducing your meat and dairy intake. Humans are the only species on the planet whose adults drink milk (or consume large amounts through cheese, ice cream and other dairy products). Milk from perennially pregnant cows is, not surprisingly, laden with hormones such as estrogen. And the feed given to animals these days can interfere with animal hormones, leaving excess estrogens stored in their fat.

In addition, we are bombarded daily with estrogenic compounds called xenoestrogens. These compounds can mimic estrogen and take up estrogen receptor sites, leaving the body’s estrogen to wander looking for an available receptor site. This excess estrogen imbalances our normal hormone ratios. Xenoestrogens are found in petroleum-based products, plastics, herbicides, pesticides and fungicides. They are in car emissions, paint, nail polish, soap, lotion, food, water and the air.

Xenoestrogens result in an increase in belly fat or breast development in men as well as weight gain, allergies, sinus infections, fatigue, mood swings and the onset of andropause, the male equivalent of menopause. Andropause can result in impotence, low sex drive, low sperm count, low absorption of zinc, increased risk of heart disease, and not surprisingly, urination and prostate problems.

While we can reduce meat and dairy and improve our diets, we cannot control all the elements in our environment. This is where the supplement DIM (or diindolylmethane) that I speak about in my article on supplements everyone should take can help comes in. DIM is a phytonutrient that occurs naturally in cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cabbage and Brussels sprouts. It was discovered about 10 years ago, but its benefits are only just now being understood.

Taking DIM has the equivalent effect of eating three pounds of broccoli a day. DIM is a natural estrogen balancer in women and men. It can promote healthy estrogen metabolism and prevent estrogen dominance, and is also shown to protect against cancer, heart disease and to support healthy prostate tissue and prevent prostate enlargement.

The plant indoles in cruciferous vegetables have been shown to regulate hormone metabolism and not only manage estrogen in men, they have also been shown to support a more desirable testosterone function. DIM can help estrogen break down into its “good” metabolites, which are responsible for the positive things we hear about estrogen: protection of heart and brain activity.

Slow estrogen metabolism can result in too much active estrogen, or estradiol, in the body, which causes problems like weight gain, diminished sex drive, male pattern baldness and prostate enlargement. DIM increases the “good” estrogen metabolites, which serve as antioxidants in the body and simultaneously decreases the “bad” metabolites, which are not antioxidants and can cause cancer in the body.

I don’t normally recommend specific supplements, but many of us (male and female) are estrogen dominant as a result of our diets and our environment and thus have hormonal imbalance issues. For anyone concerned about estrogen metabolism or hormonal imbalance, or dealing with the physical manifestations of such, I recommend the BioResponse form of DIM, as it is a naturally occurring phytonutrient that is microencapsulated to ensure absorption.

Other Ways to Support Prostate Health
Maintain a healthy weight. Obesity is tied to many health issues including heart attacks, diabetes and prostate problems. Excess weight around the mid-section is a particular concern, as it’s far more detrimental to our health than weight gain anywhere else in the body. Gaining weight or enlargement of the breasts is also a concern as it reflects excess estrogen.

Exercise for physical health and to reduce stress. Research shows that as little as 15 minutes of exercise a day reduced the mortality rate of men with prostate cancer. As exercise intensity levels and frequency increased, so did survival rates. Men who exercised three or more hours a week (moderate to intense exercise like jogging, cycling, tennis or swimming) reduced mortality rates by 35%. Men who walked four or more hours a week reduced mortality by 23% while men who walked 90 or more minutes at a brisk pace had a 51% less risk of death than those who walked less than 90 minutes at a slower easier pace. Those who engaged in vigorous physical activity for five or more hours a week showed a significant reduction in mortality.

Engage in frequent sexual activity or masturbation. Studies show that carcinogens pool in seminal fluid and that releasing the toxins from your prostate regularly improves prostate health. It’s the ejaculation process that is beneficial. Improvements are shown at two times a week, with additional protection afforded at three or more times a week. (Dr. Oz recently commented that the average American has sex once a week, but that increasing the frequency to twice a week can add three years to your life.)

Release any buried anger and resentment. Holding onto it doesn’t serve you in any way and keeping negative emotions inside the body has a physical effect on our cells. Anger and resentment have long been correlated to cancerous cell growth in energy medicine and this idea is now being proven in research as well.  Negative feelings increase the stress level cortisol, a hormone that has been consistently found to repress the function of the immune system. When the immune system is not at the top of its game, the cancer cells that are present in every body have a better environment in which to multiply and can form tumor sites.

Suppression of anger, hate, grief or resentment can also the damage the emotional reflex center in the brain. Over time, this will result in a breakdown that will result in wrong messages being sent to the organ it controls, creating deformed or cancerous cell growth. Numerous studies of cancer patients have identified an unresolved conflict, or suppressed and unexpressed emotion, usually occurring several years before cancer emerged.

And when adrenaline is low, the environment is better for cancerous cell growth. High stress levels will deplete your adrenaline reserves enabling a cancerous environment. Let your feelings out and release stress in other ways such as meditation, deep breathing, journaling, music, and laughter. Laughter is a powerful stress reliever, so when you’ve had a bad day, find some friends you can laugh about it with, or watch a favorite funny movie and laugh out loud.

Research shows that vitamin D helps prevent a variety of cancers, including prostate and breast. In one study, supplementation was shown to reduce the PSA (prostate specific antigen) levels in men with prostate cancer. Another study revealed that men with high vitamin D levels were half as likely to develop aggressive forms of prostate cancer as men with lower levels, so get outside and get your daily dose of sunshine.

As for specific supplements or foods to enhance prostate health, there are many. There are a number of food studies that indicate the benefits of certain foods such as garlic, scallions, pomegranate, walnuts (for the omega 3s and gamma tocopherol, a form of vitamin E), coffee (for the antioxidants), cooked tomatoes (for the lycopene), bee pollen (for the zinc) and it never hurts to add more healthy foods to our diets.

There are also nutrient studies touting saw palmetto, zinc, boron, K2 and selenium but there are also risks of taking too much of these in supplement form. Generally speaking, taking any supplement in isolation limits its effectiveness. When you eat the foods themselves, or the food sources of the minerals and phytonutrients, it’s hard to overdose and they can offer great prostate health benefits.

By eating a balanced whole food diet and taking a whole-food supplement, you will be getting all the vitamins, minerals, trace minerals and phytonutrients you need together to absorb and fully utilize the benefits. That makes good sense for overall wellness as well as prostate health.

Author: Inger Pols is the Editor of the New England Health Advisory and Author/Creator, Finally Make It Happen, the proven process to get what you want. Get a free special report on The Truth About Sugar: It’s Not All Equal at

Photo Source: Microsoft Clip Art


We have all seen or heard horror stories around today’s “factory farms.” It is sometimes to hear or see it and go on eating business as usual.  We want changes to be made and at the same time, we know we need to get back to eating more vegetables and less processed foods. As a result, some of us choose to forego meat completely and opt for a totally plant-based diet (though the plant horror stories pour in daily as well! Even organic plants are increasing grown from GMO or compromised seeds or in soil that has contaminants so the need to be vigilant remains with all food purchases today.)

Going vegetarian has only become possible as a healthy lifestyle choice very recently.  In fact, there has never been a successful vegetarian society on record: every culture, tribe, or race has eaten some form of animal protein, whether it is game, fish, or insects. That’s because there are certain nutritional components such as vitamin B12 and essential fatty acids that our bodies require in order to function and until recently, these could not be acquired in supplement form.

Now it is possible to access these nutrients through pills, though research suggests that they may not be absorbed or applied as effectively as if we took them in directly from nature. Some choose the vegetarian lifestyle because they believe it’s healthier: they say it makes them feel better or have more energy — and it is certainly preferable in that regard to consuming processed food and empty calories. (We’ll talk more about the health benefits and risks shortly.)

Others make the choice as a means of affecting change or voicing discontent with today’s food practices, though many food insiders suggest that trying to change the system by removing your money from it is not the most effective strategy. Instead, they argue that more powerful change can be made by supporting sustainable and humane food practices like raising grass-fed beef, producing raw milk and giving your money to local family farms.

Almost every health guru is telling us to eat mostly plants these days and eating 50% of our calories from vegetables or having 9-13 servings of vegetables a day is becoming increasingly common as an eating goal, whether you are vegetarian or not. But there are key health differences and implications between eating ‘mostly’ plants and eating ‘only’ plants. Regardless of the reason you or your loved one chooses a vegetarian diet, there are some important health factors you need to take into consideration to ensure you thrive — and survive — on your plant-based plan.

Vegetarians and Cholesterol
Many vegetarians I know are confounded by the fact that they have high cholesterol, convincing themselves that it must be genetic. While the first thing I would say is that many studies show that people with high cholesterol live longer than people with low cholesterol and 75% of those who suffer heart attacks have “normal” cholesterol so don’t stress yet, they can’t figure out why and they are afraid that they are at heart health risk.

(Cholesterol tests are not an accurate reflection of your heart health risk; if you want to know what actually does predict your heart health risk, you’ll want to read my article on the one test your doctor isn’t doing.)

What they don’t realize is that we need cholesterol; it plays several absolutely essential roles in a healthy functional body. While a popular advertisement suggests that we run on coffee drinks, in truth, our bodies run on cholesterol. Cholesterol keeps cell membranes from falling apart and plays an integral part in cellular repair. It builds brain and nerve tissue, supports the immune system, and maintains neurotransmitter and brain function.

Cholesterol is also a vital pre-cursor to many major hormones including testosterone, progesterone, estrogen, cortisol, and dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA). Cholesterol helps regulate mood, is required for synthesis of vitamin D and helps us digest fat-soluble vitamins such as A,D,E and K. We could not live without cholesterol!

The body manufactures about 75% of the cholesterol it needs; the rest we must take in from foods. Without adequate dietary cholesterol, the body may divert cholesterol to where it is needed most: cellular repair and healthy function in key areas, especially the brain. When this happens, there may not be enough left for use in hormone synthesis, which can cause hormonal imbalance or other concerns.

This is why some people (especially but not limited to women going through perimenopause) who do not eat enough cholesterol may experience more severe hormonal reactions and symptoms.

In fact, the body has a built-in mechanism to increase its cholesterol production to override a severe shortage. When cholesterol is not being consumed in appropriate levels, the liver will step in and actually overproduce cholesterol. If you were to be tested at that time, your cholesterol levels could be considered high, even though you would actually be cholesterol deficient.

If you don’t eat much cholesterol, or you’re on a low-fat diet, that could be the case for you. (But hopefully you know by now that low fat is NOT the answer – not for health or for weight loss.)

We have to eat cholesterol or our bodies will produce it for us. Eating foods high in cholesterol won’t raise your cholesterol. That’s because if you eat cholesterol, your body will just produce less: it’s one of life’s perfect balancing mechanisms. While we can make up to 75% and we need to eat the rest to survive,  if we eat more than 25%, the body just produces less and brings us back into alignment naturally.

We can get the cholesterol we need by eating a typical diet including meat and/or fish. If you are vegetarian you can get cholesterol from egg yolks (one of nature’s super foods), butter, cream or cheese. The problem arises for vegans as plants only contain trace amounts and not nearly the level needed to support healthy brain and cell function.

While plant products such as flax seeds and peanuts contain phytosterols, which are cholesterol-like compounds, research suggests that these compounds actually compete with cholesterol for absorption in the intestines. This poses a health challenge for vegans as there is no adequate non-animal source of cholesterol; flax is the next best alternative. Vegans will have to use all their available cholesterol for cell and brain function and there may not be enough left over for hormonal balance and other functions.

Before we leave cholesterol, there are three foods that actually WILL raise your cholesterol. If you think you eat healthy and yet your cholesterol levels are high, you likely have inflammation and sending in cholesterol is the body’s way of dealing with that. (If you want to learn more about the three foods that will raise your cholesterol and cause health problems, you can read my article on three foods that raise your cholesterol here.)

Vegetarians and Homocysteine
One marker that unlike cholesterol has been directly linked heart health is high homocysteine levels. High homocysteine is a reliable risk factor for heart attack, stroke, diabetes, cancer, neurological conditions such as Alzheimer and Parkinson’s, thyroid concerns, infertility, depression, digestive disorders and chronic pain.

High levels of homocysteine impact your body in a number of harmful ways including accelerating aging and depressing your immune system but it’s rarely tested for because it’s expensive and there isn’t a prescription available to treat it.

Studies have shown that many vegans and vegetarians have high homocysteine levels. One study showed vegans to have 50% higher homocysteine levels and vegetarians to have 30% higher homocysteine levels than their omnivore counterparts. This is because their bodies lack the B12 required for conversion processes that must occur since B12 is typically found in animal protein.

Vegetarians were found to have 37% less (and vegans 59% less) B12 than the omnivore group, enough to constitute clinical deficiency in 78% of the vegans and 26% of the vegetarians. The study also showed that people eating vegan and vegetarian diets lacked the essential amino acid methionine because the levels in plants are lower than those found in meat. Vegetarians and especially vegans need to look to add B12 to their diets through injections, sublingual (under tongue) or spray B12 supplements.

(To learn more about what homocysteine is, how it works, the conversion process mentioned briefly above and why homocysteine is so important, see my article on homocysteine.)

Vegetarians and Depression
A recent study showed that vegetarians were more likely to face anxiety, depression or mental disorders than the general population. When they adjusted for age,  gender and education, within comparable groups they saw a 2 to 3 fold increase in incidence rates.

We already learned that cholesterol runs the brain and regulates your mood, so a shortage will have an impact on brain function. In addition we learned of the important of cholesterol in hormonal balance. If your hormones are out of whack, mood swings and depression can occur.

We also know that omega 3 essential fatty acids are critical to brain function and balance. Many studies have shown improvements in mood through omega 3 supplementation. Because these fatty acids are essential, our bodies cannot make them; we must eat them. Fish oil capsules are a great way to get the required dose, but for vegetarians and vegans, it is much harder.

There are 3 essential fatty acids: ALA, EPA, and DHA. The challenge to vegetarians is that you cannot get EPA or DHA from plants. (An algae-based DHA product is now  available but there are questions as to whether or not it is absorbed or utilized fully effectively, though something is always better than nothing!) ALA can be ingested from plant sources such as flaxseed, chia and hemp. While these seeds offer the greatest concentrations, they each pose another challenge. Hemp is not always easy to acquire or work with.

Flaxseed competes with cholesterol receptor sites and needs to be ground in order to be digested. While best fresh, flax seeds can be ground in advance and stored in the freezer, but there is some evidence that after age 45, we don’t absorb the oil by-product as well. Purchasing flaxseed oil is an option but it cannot be heated or it will damage the ALA and drinking it straight can be a challenge.

Lastly chia seeds have an omega 6-3 ratio of 3-1. We need to be eating omega 3 and omega 6 oils in a ratio of 1:1. In todays world, that ratio can sometimes be off by 1-20 or even 1-50 with all the omega 6 oils and oil products we consume. So while chia can help, it also adds to the omega 6-3 imbalance burden (though again, for some vegetarians, this may well be necessary and worthwhile.)

You can also get ALA from walnuts and pumpkin seeds, though in much smaller doses. Soy and canola also contain small amounts of ALA, but given the negative health impacts, they are best avoided.

Even if you eat enough ALA, the then body has to convert it to EPA and DHA. If you eat enough and you are very healthy, that may work fine. But some people will struggle converting ALA efficiently and if you have other issues going on that impact your ability to convert effectively, your body — and your brain — will be affected because it will not be able to convert enough to keep you healthy and mentally strong.

To learn more, you can read about my article on omega 3s.

Vegetarians and Soy
I am working on a full article on soy, coming soon. But for now I just want to mention soy briefly here because many vegetarians use soy as a protein alternative. Fermented soy foods such as miso, tempeh, natto, and traditionally fermented soy sauce have long been a nutritional staple in many cultures and they offer tremendous health benefits.

However, unfermented soy is no longer grown or processed in a way that affords us health benefits. Soy is an endocrine disruptor, which we discussed in the prostate and breast health article. It takes up the estrogen receptor sites, blocking estrogen from getting into cells and leaving it circulating throughout the blood stream. This excess estrogen can lead to hormonal imbalance, development of breasts in boys and men, and prostate and breast cancer concerns as well as thyroid problems, to name but a few of its many health concerns.

Soy milk, soy cheese, tofu, soybean oil, and many commercial artificially created soy sauce varieties are not health foods but rather pose health risks; they should be minimized.  If you’re looking to use soy, stick with fermented soy products.

Vegetarians and Diabetes
Contrary to what we might think of living a healthy plant lifestyle, vegetarians actually struggle with diabetes. The largely vegetarian country of India now faces the highest incidence level in the world and it is continually rising. That’s because in India, as the middle and upper classes have emerged, sedentary jobs are on the rise and Western food habits have invaded. Long known to be lovers of sweets, Indians love the sugar that is now plentiful, as well as the fried and processed foods we eat in the West, which may be vegetable-based but are no less healthy.

While some people lose weight on a vegetarian diet, others gain weight as they seek to satiate themselves with bread and pasta and empty carbohydrates that covert quickly into sugar. They also tend to gain weight in the more dangerous place, the abdomen.  They may lack enough healthy fat in their diets and so their bodies seek to store more.

It’s important to combine healthy fat and protein with vegetables so vegetarians need to look for good fat sources such as olive and flaxseed oils, avocados, and coconut oil and be sure they are getting adequate protein from other sources such as quinoa. (For more information on diabetes and why food combining is so important, see my article on The Diabetes Myth.)

Some people thrive on a vegetarian diet: they look good and they feel good. Others grow very thin, frail and weak: when you see them they look pale and move slowly. I read a study awhile back that stated that only about one-third of the population could be successful on a vegetarian diet.  That study assumed that you aggressively supplemented for missing nutrients and ate all the varied nuts, seeds, legumes and other foods needed to round out a balanced nutritional profile.

Taking all of that into account, they found that still only about a third of us could be healthy on a vegetarian diet. So if you have chosen a vegetarian lifestyle for any reason, you need to pay close attention to your body and listen to what those close to you see and share with you. I cannot tell you how many former vegetarians have told me their lives changed the day they went back to eating small amounts of animal protein. That may not be you but I have personally observed strong healthy adults turn into overweight or abnormally thin versions of their former selves on vegetarian diets.

I’ve tried to go vegetarian and for me, I did not thrive. But it works for many people I know. Just not all.  If you look and feel great and you are able to procure all the micronutrients that you need, then you may be among the third of the population who will do fine on a vegetarian diet. But be wary of persuading your family, friends or co-workers to join you because what works for you may well not work for them (especially children).

If you begin to see your body shift over time that you don’t like, or if you’re not willing to devote the time and energy it takes to plan your diet thoroughly, then you may want to consider making some changes that will enable you to support your morality along with your health.

Whether you go vegetarian or not, we can all benefit from more a more plant-centric diet and from avoiding processed foods. That’s common ground we can all agree on!

To your wellness and health: your true wealth!


Author: Inger Pols is the Editor of the New England Health Advisory and Author/Creator, Finally Make It Happen, the proven process to get what you want. Get a free special report on The Truth About Sugar: It’s Not All Equal. Learn more about Inger and receive her free bestselling ebook What Your Doctor Isn’t Telling You.

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