Omega 3 and Omega 6, probiotics, prebiotics, calcium  they're all huge selling points in today's media oriented conglomerate-supplied society.  Britain's supermarket shelves are filled high with products which claim to reduce bloating and gas, painful joints, etc., etc. popped very kindly into their wonderful products which are filled with salt, preservatives, animal products, heated fats (trans and hydrogenated fats), etc.  never mind how many different foodstuffs people eat in one go, fruit with proteins, carbohydrates and fats, never mind these digestive nightmares  just eat one pot of the magic yoghurt and at the drop of a hat excellent health appears!  Well, wouldn't that be nice? Yes.  But true? - definitely not!

Unfortunately, the general public are looking for a panacea  a cure all  for their ills  some miracle potion which can take away their ills.  What they don't realize is that we need to look at everything we place into our mouths and address issues such as the combination, the quality, the amount of heat processing involved, etc. Simple mono meals of fruit or salad are very easy to digest and don't sap our energy.  Foods which haven't been tainted by industry, chemicals added, etc. and those which have escaped heat processing such as fresh fruits, salads and vegetables and raw nuts and seeds, are the best buys!

Let's now take a look at quite what these ingredients are and exactly what sort of health level they are genuinely expected to provide.  Let's start with yoghurts:  Now most commercial yoghurts contain dairy milk.  Dairy milk has been proven time and time again to cause gastric distress in people who are allergic to dairy products, which amount to a lot of people worldwide.  Many people are what's known as lactose intolerant, especially those of Afro-Caribbean origin and Chinese people but also an increasing number of Western people are beginning to realize that they too are allergic or intolerant to dairy products.  So these may be the very products which are causing bloating, etc. in the first place!

All mammals take their mother's milk during infancy.  After they are weaned, they are sustained by other foods.  Most humans, however, have been convinced that cow's milk is an ideal food for humans and should be used all through adult life.  The milk of each species is well adapted for the young of that species, but the use of cow's milk in a child's (and adult's) diet causes excessive weight and complicated problems in adult humans, such as excess secretion of mucus, excess secretion of urine, constipation, diarrhoea, bowel impaction, nausea, gas and discomfort, increased blood pressure, oedema, and numerous digestive and respiratory problems.  Indeed, many doctors and scientists have come away from the view that dairy products are health-giving and blame dairy milk and its products for a growing number of health problems in children and adults including iron deficiency, obesity, cancer, heart disease, a range of respiratory disorders and allergies, etc.  There should be a transition period, during which a child eats other foods as well as nursing (on mother's milk preferably), but the time comes when milk is no longer needed.  The use of dairy products by human adults is unique in the animal kingdom - man is the only animal that is never weaned-except, of course, for domesticated animals, who lap up saucers of milk. 

The Truth About Calcium
Calcium is needed for proper bone and cartilage formation, for proper blood clotting, for muscle functioning, for hormone activation, for tissue formation.  Calcium influences capillary permeability. Calcium deficiency can cause headaches, heart palpitation, listlessness, sleeplessness, and affects nerve function and thought processes.  Adequate calcium supplies can help to keep cholesterol levels in the normal range.  Calcium activates numerous enzyme systems and normalizes the contraction and relaxation of the heart.  It is essential in the maintenance of the delicate acid/alkaline balance.

During the years of growth, 99% of the available calcium is utilized in the formation of bones and teeth.  Subsequently, extra supplies of calcium and other minerals are stored in the bones and drawn upon in emergencies for balancing the body chemistry.  A small percentage of the body's calcium is found in body fluids and tissues.

The calcium in cow's milk is of too crude a nature to be easily assimilated by the more delicate, subtle human organism.  Frequently, the coarser calcium attracts and absorbs the finer calcium in the human cells, robbing them of what little they had." (lan Rose.  Faith, Love and Seaweed, quoted in "Feeding Vegan Babies," Freya Dinshah, Ahimsa, Nov.-Dec. 1974) This may be one explanation for the fact that tetany (muscle cramps) frequently follows the ingestion of milk.

Calcium is abundant in plant foods and provides many times the required amount of calcium, in a better form which is more readily utilized by the human organism.  Indeed, Henry C. Sherman, Ph.D. Sc.D Professor of Chemistry at the Columbia University said that the dark green leaves are source of calcium, well utilized in nutrition. There are many non-animal foods in common use which are rich in calcium such as sunflower seeds, dried figs, pistachio nuts, brazil nuts, hazelnuts, almonds, kale and other greens and the calcium in these plant foods is readily available to the human organism, without stress and threat.

Natural sunlight (Vitamin D) is vital to calcium absorption.  Foods high in oxalic acid (such as spinach, chard, beet greens, chocolate and coffee) interfere with the absorption of calcium.  Wheat bran (a fragmented food) inhibits the absorption of calcium.  Such unnaturally large amounts of fibre can impair the body's ability to absorb calcium and other important minerals.  Natural sources of fibre don't interfere with the assimilation of calcium and other nutrients. (Hariand, Barbara and Hecht.  Annabel, "Grandma Called It Roughage"-FDA Consumers Publication 78-2087, U.S. Department of Health, Education and Welfare, July/August 1977)

Yoghurt - Probiotics and Prebiotics
Yoghurt is obviously subject to the same objections given for other dairy products (unfermented and fermented).  Lactobacillus acidophilus bacteria, lactobacillus bifidus bacteria and coli bacteria are normally present in the digestive tract of humans.  They are sometimes called "friendly" or "beneficial" intestinal flora and are necessary for human symbiosis and the proper absorption and utilization of foods.  These natural intestinal flora can be adversely affected (or destroyed) by taking antibiotics.  There has been some evidence that using yoghurt cultures for prolonged periods can also adversely affect the natural intestinal flora or impair the body's own ability to foster the development of such natural friendly bacteria.  One research team at Johns Hopkins Hospital even discovered a relationship to cataracts.

Here's an excerpt from a probiotic supplier which admits the drawbacks:  Even before they get into the stomach, the friendly bacteria in most acidophilus and soil-based organism formulations have a hard time surviving stomach acidity. Many die passing through the stomach. In addition, a great deal are dead and useless when you take them. They die in their capsules. Refrigeration is recommended to reduce the number that die, but many many studies have found that a large number of the supposedly active live bacteria in probiotics are dead by the time you take them. And researchers have found that most of your ordinary probiotics are contaminated by mold. Not exactly what you are looking for in a probiotic supplement.   Has this put you off yet?

Now, let's see, this might: Nutrition researcher Gordon F. Fraser, B.Sc. ("The Yoghurt Scare Is For Real," Let's Live Magazine.August 1970) says.  "Most commercial yoghurts contain harmful bacteria, of other than human origin, called bulgaricus bacillus; these die out in the human intestinal tract and do a great deal of harm to the system before dying."  He says that this culture dominates and destroys the beneficial, necessary intestinal flora which help to utilize food particles, keep down pathogenic germs, stimulate peristalsis, detoxify and create a soft. smooth stool.  Their main function is to aid in the nourishment of the cells and speed up the utilization of food.

This certainly should make one uneasy about the use of any yoghurt.  Why risk inhibiting or impairing your natural intestinal flora?  Why not, instead, stick to a natural diet devoid of animal products and abundant in raw fruits, salads, nuts and seeds  a diet of mostly raw plant foods - and have faith in your body's own ability to develop and foster its own beneficial intestinal flora?

Omega Fatty Acids
Regarding the much-touted Omega-3 fatty acids, Dr Barnard of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine argues that although these fatty acids can normally reduce the level of triglycerides in the blood which plays a role in heart disease, those found in fish are highly unstable.  The fatty acids found in fish have a tendency to decompose and unleash dangerous free radicals, which are linked to cancer, arteriosclerosis and premature ageing.  According to researchers at the University of Arizona, the Omega-3 fatty acids found in vegetables, fruit and beans are more stable than those in fish, in addition to being coupled with antioxidants, which can help neutralize free radicals.  Fish  particularly oil fish - can also contribute to cancer and neurological disorders as they contain carcinogens and neurotoxins - contaminants from polluted waters and poisons such as mercury, DDT, PCBs, dioxins, hormone disrupters and persistent organic pollutants (POPs), etc. This is why pregnant women, nursing mothers and children are advised to limit the amount of oily fish they consume.  Also about 40% of fish samples have so much bacterial contamination that they have already begun to spoil before they are sold.

The Physicians Committee argue that fish and fish oil contains an unhealthy amount of artery-clogging, saturated fat and that studies show that diets based on fish do nothing to reverse arterial blockages.  Moreover, blockages continue to worsen for patients who regularly eat fish.

In theory, there are three types of Omega fatty acids.  ALA (short chain fatty acids) comes from several plant sources, including flax seeds, walnuts and soya beans. The human body can convert short chain plant oils into long chain plant oils and the bonus of having these oils from plant sources is that they are not riddled with deadly poisons and they aren't destroying the environment.  According to Dr Justine Butler, you can in fact improve your conversion of this by avoiding eggs, meat and dairy products, which will reduce your cholesterol intake aswell.

The latest studies show that it's the ratio of Omega 6 to Omega 3 that's important anyhow, not how much Omega 3 you consume.  The best ratio is somewhere between 4:1 and 10:1 according to the World Health Organisation.  As Omega 6 tends to cancel out Omega 3 in the body, you can improve your ratio of Omega 3 simply by cutting down on foods which contain Omega 6.  The easiest way of doing this is to consume flax seeds (ground and/or sprouted are best to digest and absorb), hemp seeds (hulled are best) and walnuts  not in large quantities but regularly throughout the week.

'The Undigestible Truth about Meat' by Dr Gina Shaw
'Fish Frenzy  Balancing the Scales' article by Dr Justine Butler
The Life Science Course  T C Fry
'Get a Prebiotic with your Probiotic'

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