Thursday, June 22, 2017

Egg Knowledge : Egg-ceptional Superfood

Pastured vs Omega-3 vs Conventional Eggs – What’s The Difference?

I love eggs and eat 3-4 of them for breakfast, every single day.
I don’t lose sleep over it, because research shows that they are good for my health.

But depending on what the hens themselves ate, the nutritional value of the eggs can differ greatly.

The Different Types of Eggs Are a Confusing Mess

There are several different types of eggs, which can leave people confused.
What all of them have in common is that they come from chickens, but they vary depending on how the chickens were raised and what they were fed.
  • Conventional Eggs – These are your standard supermarket eggs. The chickens are usually raised in an overfilled hen house or a cage and never see the light of day.

    They are usually fed grain-based crap, supplemented with vitamins and minerals. May also be treated with antibiotics and hormones.

  • Organic Eggs – Were not treated with antibiotics or hormones and received organic feed. May have had limited access to the outdoors.

  • Pastured Eggs – Chickens are allowed to roam free, eating plants and insects (their natural food) along with some commercial feed.

  • Omega-3 Enriched Eggs – Basically, they’re like conventional chickens except that their feed is supplemented with an Omega-3 source like flax seeds. May have had some access to the outside.

Conventional vs. Omega-3 Eggs
A study compared the fatty acid composition of 3 types of eggs: conventional, organic and omega-3 enriched .

  1. Omega-3 eggs had 39% less Arachidonic Acid, an inflammatory Omega-6 fatty acid that most people eat too much of.
  2. Omega-3 eggs had 5 times as much Omega-3 as the conventional eggs.
  3. There was very little difference between organic and conventional eggs.
  4. It is clear that hens fed an omega-3 enriched diets lay eggs that are much higher in Omega-3 than conventional eggs.
This is important because most people eat too little Omega-3.
Unfortunately this study didn’t measure other nutrients, only the fatty acid composition.

Conventional vs. Pastured Eggs

In 2007, Mother Earth News magazine decided to test the nutritional value of pastured eggs and received such eggs from 14 different farms.
They were measured in a chemical lab, then compared to the USDA standard conventional egg.
Pastured Vs Conventional Eggs
As you can see, eggs from pastured hens are more nutritious than the conventional eggs you might find at the supermarket.
They are higher in Vitamin A, E and Omega-3s. They are also lower in Cholesterol and Saturated Fat, but I don’t think that matters.
A study I found on pastured eggs produced similar results.

Other Terms For Eggs

There are other more loose and confusing terms, including Free Range and Cage Free, which may or may not be any better than conventional eggs.
Free range could mean that there’s a small window on the hen house where the hens have the option of going outside.
Cage free just means that they aren’t raised in a cage. They could still be raised in a smelly, dirty overstuffed hen house.

Take Home Message

At the end of the day, pastured eggs are your best bet. They are more nutritious and the hens were allowed free access to the outside and ate a more natural diet.
If you can’t get pastured eggs (like me) then Omega-3 enriched eggs will be your second best choice. If you can’t get either pastured or Omega-3 eggs, then try to find eggs that are either free-range, cage-free or organic.
But even if that’s not an option, then conventional eggs are still among the healthiest and most nutritious foods you can eat.
To sum up:
Pastured > Omega-3 > Organic > Free Range/Cage Free > Conventional.

This just goes to show that what we eat isn’t all that matters… it also matters what our foods eat.

Top 11 Superfoods That Can Save Your Life
Egg Yolks
Some people recommend that you ditch the yolks because of the cholesterol in them, but that is absolute nonsense.
The yolk is where all the nutrients reside. The white part of the egg mainly contains protein.
Therefore, ditching the yolk is just about the dumbest thing you could do.
Cholesterol in the diet doesn’t affect cholesterol in the blood and studies show that egg consumption has absolutely NO association with any disease. It is an old myth that refuses to die.
There are very few foods even close to as nutritious as eggs. One egg contains all the nutrients necessary to grow an entire baby chicken.
Eggs are rich in:
  • Protein – one large egg contains 6 grams of high quality protein with all the essential amino acids.

  • Lutein and Zeaxanthine – these antioxidants are powerful protectors against eye diseases.

  • Vitamins A, B2, B5, B12 and Iron, Phosphorus, Selenium and others.

  • Choline – Eggs are among the best dietary sources of choline, which is very important for brain health.
Eggs also score high on the satiety index, which is a measure of how fulfilling foods are. Studies show that eating eggs for breakfast can help you lose significant amounts of weight compared to a breakfast of bagels.
Eggs that are either pastured or Omega-3 enriched are the best choices.
Bottom Line: Eggs are among the most nutritious and fulfilling foods on the planet. The yolk contains almost all the nutrients, the white is mostly protein.

Dietary cholesterol provided by eggs and plasma lipoproteins in healthy populations

Fernandez, Maria Luz
Current Opinion in Clinical Nutrition & Metabolic Care: January 2006 - Volume 9 - Issue 1 - p 8–12
Ageing: biology and nutrition
Purpose of review: Extensive research has not clearly established a link between egg consumption and risk for coronary heart disease. The effects of egg intake on plasma lipids and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) atherogenicity in healthy populations need to be addressed.
Recent findings: The lack of connection between heart disease and egg intake could partially be explained by the fact that dietary cholesterol increases the concentrations of both circulating LDL and high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol in those individuals who experience an increase in plasma cholesterol following egg consumption (hyperresponders). It is also important to note that 70% of the population experiences a mild increase or no alterations in plasma cholesterol concentrations when challenged with high amounts of dietary cholesterol (hyporesponders). Egg intake has been shown to promote the formation of large LDL, in addition to shifting individuals from the LDL pattern B to pattern A, which is less atherogenic. Eggs are also good sources of antioxidants known to protect the eye; therefore, increased plasma concentrations of lutein and zeaxanthin in individuals consuming eggs are also of interest, especially in those populations susceptible to developing macular degeneration and eye cataracts.
Summary: For these reasons, dietary recommendations aimed at restricting egg consumption should not be generalized to include all individuals. We need to acknowledge that diverse healthy populations experience no risk in developing coronary heart disease by increasing their intake of cholesterol but, in contrast, they may have multiple beneficial effects by the inclusion of eggs in their regular diet.

The Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry

Volume 21, Issue 4, April 2010, Pages 261-267
Research article

Eggs distinctly modulate plasma carotenoid and lipoprotein subclasses in adult men following a carbohydrate-restricted diet☆


We previously reported that carbohydrate restriction (CR) (10–15% en) during a weight loss intervention lowered plasma triglycerides (TG) by 45% in male subjects (P<.001). However, those subjects with a higher intake of cholesterol provided by eggs (640 mg additional cholesterol, EGG group) had higher concentrations of high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol (P<.0001) than the individuals consuming lower amounts (0 mg of additional cholesterol, SUB group). The objectives of the present study were to evaluate whether CR and egg intake (1) modulate circulating carotenoids and (2) affect the concentrations of plasma apolipoproteins (apo), lipoprotein size and subfraction distribution. CR decreased the number of large and medium very low-density lipoprotein cholesterol subclasses (P<.001), while small low-density lipoprotein (LDL) were reduced (P<.001). In agreement with these observations, a decrease in apo B (P<.01) was observed. In addition, CR resulted in a 133% increase in apo C-II and a 65% decrease in apo C-III (P<.0001). Although an increase of the larger LDL subclass was observed for all subjects, the EGG group had a greater increase (P<.05). The EGG group also presented a higher number of large HDL particles (P<.01) compared to the SUB group. Regarding carotenoids, CR resulted in no changes in dietary or plasma α- or β-carotene and β-cryptoxanthin, while there was a significant reduction in both dietary and plasma lycopene (P<.001). In contrast, dietary lutein and zeaxanthin were increased during the intervention (P<.05). However, only those subjects from the EGG group presented higher concentrations of these two carotenoids in plasma, which were correlated with the higher concentrations of large LDL observed in the EGG group. These results indicate that CR favorably alters VLDL metabolism and apolipoprotein concentrations, while the components of the egg yolk favor the formation of larger LDL and HDL leading to an increase in plasma lutein and zeaxanthin.

Research (click here)  

Egg consumption and risk of coronary heart disease and stroke: dose-response meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies.

purpose. To assess the associations of plasma lutein and zeaxanthin and other carotenoids with the risk of age-related maculopathy (ARM) and cataract in the population-based Pathologies Oculaires Liées à l’Age (POLA) Study.
methods. Retinal photographs were graded according to the international classification. ARM was defined by the presence of late ARM (neovascular ARM, geographic atrophy) and/or soft indistinct drusen (>125 μm) and/or soft distinct drusen (>125 μm) associated with pigmentary abnormalities. Cataract classification was based on a direct standardized lens examination at the slit lamp, according to Lens Opacities Classification System III. Plasma carotenoids were measured by high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC), in 899 subjects of the cohort.
results. After multivariate adjustment, the highest quintile of plasma zeaxanthin was significantly associated with reduced risk of ARM (OR = 0.07; 95% CI: 0.01–0.58; P for trend = 0.005), nuclear cataract (OR = 0.23; 95% CI: 0.08–0.68; P for trend = 0.003) and any cataract (OR = 0.53; 95% CI: 0.31–0.89; P for trend = 0.01). ARM was significantly associated with combined plasma lutein and zeaxanthin (OR = 0.21; 95% CI: 0.05–0.79; P for trend = 0.01), and tended to be associated with plasma lutein (OR = 0.31; 95% CI: 0.09–1.07; P for trend = 0.04), whereas cataract showed no such associations. Among other carotenoids, only β-carotene showed a significant negative association with nuclear cataract, but not ARM.
conclusions. These results are strongly suggestive of a protective role of the xanthophylls, in particular zeaxanthin, for the protection against ARM and cataract.
Although cataract and age-related maculopathy (ARM) are leading causes of blindness in the elderly, 1 2 3 their pathogenesis is not clearly understood. In recent years, there has been increasing interest in the potential role of the xanthophyll carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin in the pathogenesis of these diseases. Lutein and zeaxanthin accumulate selectively in the retina and are particularly dense in the macula, where they are referred to as macular pigment. 4 Macular pigment is thought to protect against retinal damage by filtering out phototoxic short-wavelength visible light and by defending rod outer segment membranes from oxidative stress. 5 In three case–control studies, subjects with high macular pigment density had a reduced risk of age-related macular degeneration. 6 7 8 Some epidemiologic studies have also suggested that subjects with high dietary intakes and/or high plasma concentrations of lutein and zeaxanthin have a reduced risk of ARM, 9 10 11 12 although other studies did not evidence significant associations. 13 14 15 16 17 Lutein and zeaxanthin are the only carotenoids present in the lens, where they probably have similar functions (phototoxic blue light filtering and neutralization of reactive oxygen species). 18 19 Some epidemiologic data are suggestive of a negative association of cataract with lutein and zeaxanthin status, 20 21 22 23 whereas other studies found no association 24 or even a positive association. 25  
Epidemiologic data on the association of xanthophylls with the risk of ARM and cataract remain scarce, and partly inconsistent. Moreover, until recently, lutein and zeaxanthin in plasma could not be separated easily. Most studies have therefore assessed the associations of ARM or cataract with the combined plasma concentration of lutein and zeaxanthin, thereby limiting the chances of finding specific associations of lutein or zeaxanthin with these diseases. 
In the present report, we separately assessed the associations of plasma lutein and zeaxanthin as well as that of other carotenoids with the risk of ARM and cataract, in a Mediterranean population-based study. 
Materials and Methods
Study Population
The POLA (Pathologies Oculaires Liées à l’Age) Study is a prospective study, designed to identify the risk factors of age-related eye diseases (cataract, age-related macular degeneration). The methods used in the study this study have been published elsewhere. 26 Briefly, inclusion criteria were (1) being a resident of Sète (in southern France); and (2) being aged ≥60 years. According to the 1990 population census, there were almost 12,000 eligible residents, from which our objective was to recruit 3000 participants. The population was informed of the study through the local media (television, radio, and newspapers). We also contacted 4543 residents individually by mail and telephone, using the electoral roll. Between June 1995 and July 1997, we recruited 2584 participants. 
The present study uses data from this baseline examination, which included a standardized ophthalmic examination, an interviewer-based questionnaire, and fasting blood samples collected at home on the morning of the examination. After measurements were made on plasma (lipids, glucose, and antioxidants) and on red blood cells (superoxide dismutase), aliquots of plasma samples collected during the baseline examination were kept frozen at −80°C. In 2002 to 2004, plasma carotenoids were measured in these aliquots (which had never been thawed), for all participants recruited before April 1996 (n = 899). 
This research adhered to the tenets of the Declaration of Helsinki. Participants gave written consent for participation in the study. The design of this study has been approved by the Ethics Committee of Montpellier’s University Hospital. 
Ophthalmic Examination
Four ophthalmologists (Louis Balmelle, Jacques Costeau, Jean-Luc Diaz, and Fabienne Robert) performed the ophthalmic examinations. This examination included a record of ophthalmic history (in particular, lens extraction and year of the extraction); a measure of best corrected distance visual acuity in the right and left eyes; after pupil dilation, a standardized assessment of nuclear, cortical, and posterior subcapsular lens opacities at slit lamp examination according to the Lens Opacities Classification System III (LOCS) 27 and one 50° color photograph (Gold 100 ASA; Eastman-Kodak Company, Rochester, NY) centered on the macular area in each eye. 
Photographic Grading
After the film was processed, the retinal photographs were scanned, digitized, and recorded on compact discs (Kodak procedure). The digitized images were recorded in TIFF format, with 768 × 512 pixels. Finally, for evaluation, photographs were examined on a 17-in. (43-cm) computer screen. The total magnification was approximately ×31.5. 
For grading the photographs, we used the definitions and grids of an international classification. 28 We also used the standard photographs of the Wisconsin Age-Related Maculopathy Grading System, 29 to train the ophthalmologist and the technician in charge of the evaluation. Two levels of grading were then applied to the fundus photographs. A preliminary grading was performed by an ophthalmologist; for subjects in whom soft drusen or pigmentary abnormalities were present anywhere on the photograph, a detailed grading was performed by a specially trained technician who used the international classification system. 28  
All lesions that were classified as geographic atrophy or neovascular macular degeneration by the ophthalmologist were discussed and adjudicated by two of the authors. In four cases of probable late ARM, we also asked the ophthalmologists in charge of the patients for additional information on the history of the lesion. 
Classification of ARM
Early and late ARM was defined according to the international classification, 28 on the basis of 50° color photographs centered on the macular area in each eye. Late ARM was defined by the presence of neovascular ARM or geographic atrophy within the grid (3000 μm from the foveola). Neovascular ARM included serous or hemorrhagic detachment of the retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) or sensory retina, subretinal or sub-RPE hemorrhages, and fibrous scar tissue. Geographic atrophy was defined as a discrete area of retinal depigmentation, 175 μm in diameter or larger, characterized by a sharp border and the presence of visible choroidal vessels. 
Soft, distinct drusen were larger than 125 μm in diameter, with uniform density and sharp edges, whereas indistinct drusen were of the same size with decreasing density from the center outward and fuzzy edges. Pigmentary abnormalities were defined as areas of hyperpigmentation and/or hypopigmentation (without visibility of choroidal vessels). Similar to the definitions used in the Blue Mountains Eye Study 30 and the Rotterdam Study, 31 early ARM was defined by the presence in at least one eye of (1) soft indistinct drusen (>125 μm) and/or (2) soft distinct drusen (>125 μm) associated with pigmentary abnormalities (hyper- or hypopigmentation), in the absence of late ARM. This definition of early ARM has high predictive value for incident AMD in the POLA Study, 32 as in the Blue Mountains Eye Study and the Rotterdam Study. 
Definition of Cataract
As in the other publications from the POLA Study, 33 34 35 the presence of cataract was defined as: NC or NO grades ≥4 for nuclear opacities, C grade ≥4 for cortical opacities, and P grade ≥ 2 for posterior subcapsular (PSC) opacities. This level of opacification corresponded to significant visual impairment in most participants. 
Eyes were classified as having a single type of cataract (nuclear, cortical, or posterior subcapsular) when only one type of opacity was present. The mixed cataract group consisted of eyes with various combinations of nuclear, cortical, and posterior subcapsular cataracts. Eyes that already had lens extraction formed a separate group (cataract surgery). All other eyes were considered to be free of cataract (NO, NC, and C <4 both="" div="" eyes="" in="" nbsp="" p="">
Interview Data
Data were collected by trained study personnel who were unaware of ARM or cataract status. A standardized interview was performed to assess, in particular, sociodemographic variables (e.g., marital status, educational level, major lifetime occupation); medical history (e.g., treated hypertension, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, knee or hip osteoarthritis); recording of all medications currently used; and history of smoking and light exposure. 
The interviewer then measured height, weight, waist, and hip circumferences and systolic and diastolic blood pressure. Body mass index was defined as: weight (in kilograms)/height squared (in meters). 
Biochemical Data
Plasma samples were analyzed for lutein, zeaxanthin, and 3′-dehydro-lutein as well as for other carotenoids, tocopherols, total cholesterol, and triglycerides using dedicated analytical methods. 28 These measurements were performed at DSM Nutritional Products (Kaiseraugst, Switzerland; headquarters, Heerlen, The Netherlands). None of the people involved in plasma carotenoid determination at DSM, had any access to eye diseases classifications or any other clinical finding, at any time of the study. 
Previous biochemical data included measurements in plasma (cholesterol, triglycerides; vitamins A, E, and C; and glutathione peroxidase) and in red blood cells (superoxide dismutase). Measurement of plasma glutathione peroxidase concentration (plGPx) was performed by enzyme-linked immunoassay (Bioxytech pl-Gpx-EIA; Oxis International SA, Portland, OR). Red blood cell superoxide dismutase activity (SOD) was measured by a spectrophotometric assay (Bioxytech SOD-525; Oxis International SA). Lipid-standardized plasma α-tocopherol was defined as: millimoles of α-tocopherol/(millimoles cholesterol + millimoles triglycerides). 
Missing Data
Among the 899 subjects with plasma carotenoid measurements, photographs gradable for ARM were available in one eye at least of 644 (72%) subjects. In the majority (82%) of cases, the absence of gradable photographs was due to technical failure (in particular, to problems with the flash system at the beginning of the study). Of those, 640 had complete data for all potential confounders and were used for the estimation of associations between ARM and plasma carotenoids. 
Similarly, cataract status was available in 881 (98%) of the 899 participants with plasma carotenoid measurements. Of those, 815 subjects had complete data for all potential confounders. 
Statistical Analyses
For each biochemical variable of interest, we determined the 20th and 80th percentile values, which formed three groups (low quintile, middle quintiles, high quintile). To take into account data from both eyes and their correlation, we used logistic generalized estimating equation (GEE) models for all analyses. 36 Age- and gender-adjusted odds ratio and 95% confidence interval (CI) were first obtained with the eye disease as the dependent variable, and age, gender, and the two nonreference quintile groups of the plasma carotenoid as the independent variables (A, adjusted analyses). Potential confounders were then added to the models to obtain multivariate odds-ratios (M, multivariate analyses)—that is, variables that had been identified in the POLA Study as significant risk factors for early or late ARM 26 37 38 or for each type of cataract. 33 34 35 39 For ARM, the potential confounders were therefore smoking, lipid-standardized α-tocopherol, plasma HDL cholesterol and BMI. For nuclear cataract, they were educational level, brown iris, smoking, plasma glutathione peroxidase (log10), annual ambient solar radiation, and plasma transthyretin. For cortical cataract, they were educational level, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, plasma glutathione peroxidase (log10), brown iris, annual ambient solar radiation, and leisure exposure to sunlight. For PSCs, they were educational level, oral corticosteroids, cancer, diabetes, occupational exposure to sunlight, and use of sunglasses. For mixed cataract, they were educational level, brown iris, diabetes, plasma glutathione peroxidase (log10) occupational exposure to artificial light, annual ambient solar radiation, and plasma transthyretin. For cataract surgery, they were educational level, smoking, diabetes, asthma, hypertension, plasma glutathione peroxidase (log10), and annual ambient solar radiation. For any cataract, they were educational level, plasma glutathione peroxidase (log10), brown iris, smoking, oral corticosteroids, cancer, cardiovascular disease, hypertension, diabetes, asthma, leisure exposure to sunlight, annual ambient solar radiation, occupational exposure to sunlight, occupational exposure to artificial light, use of sunglasses, and plasma transthyretin. 
Tests for trend were performed by entering the biochemical variable in the logistic regression as a three-category variable instead of two independent dummy variables. All analyses were performed on computer (SAS ver. 9.1; SAS Institute, Inc., Cary, NC). 
Plasma carotenoids were highly intercorrelated (Table 1) . The highest correlations were among lutein, zeaxanthin, and dehydro-lutein and among α- and β-carotene (r > 0.70). The other correlation coefficients ranged from 0.31 for α-carotene and lycopene to 0.62 for β-carotene and β-cryptoxanthin. 
The associations of plasma carotenoids with the risk of ARM are presented in Table 2 . Of the 640 subjects (1193 eyes) with complete data for ARM statistical analyses, 10 eyes (7 subjects) had late ARM, and 45 eyes (34 subjects) had early ARM. Because of the small number of subjects with late ARM, we pooled early and late ARM in all statistical analyses. Plasma lutein and zeaxanthin showed a strong inverse association with ARM. The association with plasma zeaxanthin was particularly strong. Compared with subjects who had low levels of zeaxanthin (<0 .04="" high="" levels="" of="" plasma="" subjects="" with="" zeaxanthin="">0.09 μM) had a 93% reduced risk of ARM. Globally, subjects with high total plasma lutein and zeaxanthin (>0.56 μM) had a 79% reduced risk of ARM compared with subjects with low total plasma lutein and zeaxanthin (<0 .25="" a="" adjustment="" affect="" and="" arm.="" association="" bmi="" carotene="" cholesterol="" class="revealLink tablelink" cryptoxanthin="" dehydro-lutein="" did="" for="" further="" hdl="" lipid-standardized="" lycopene="" materially="" not="" of="" plasma="" results="" reveal-id="T2" risk="" show="" significant="" smoking="" the="" tocopherol="" with="">(Table 2)
With respect to cataract, among the 1625 eyes (815 subjects) with complete data for cataract statistical analyses, 86 eyes (59 subjects) had nuclear only, 47 eyes (30 subjects) cortical only, 98 eyes (53 subjects) PSC only, and 93 eyes (66 subjects) mixed cataracts, and 94 eyes had cataract surgery (33 subjects with bilateral cataract surgery). The remaining 1207 eyes (574 subjects) without any type of cataract served as control subjects for all statistical analyses. 
As shown in Table 3 , after adjustment for age and gender, only plasma zeaxanthin showed a strong inverse association with nuclear cataract. Compared with subjects with low plasma zeaxanthin (<0 .04="" high="" plasma="" those="" with="" zeaxanthin="">0.09 μM) had a 75% decreased risk of nuclear cataract. The other types of cataract did not show any significant association with plasma zeaxanthin. Globally, the risk of any cataract was reduced by 43% in subjects with high plasma zeaxanthin. Similarly, subjects with high plasma dehydro-lutein (>0.07 μM) had a significantly (66%) reduced risk of nuclear cataract, compared with subjects with low plasma dehydro-lutein (<0 .03="" em="">P
= 0.05). By contrast, plasma lutein was not significantly associated with any type of cataract. Globally, total lutein, and zeaxanthin showed a trend toward an inverse association with nuclear, mixed, and any cataract that did not reach statistical significance. 
These associations were not materially affected by further multivariate adjustment. In particular, the associations of plasma zeaxanthin with nuclear cataract (OR = 0.23; 95% CI: 0.08 –0.68; P for trend = 0.003) and any cataract (OR = 0.53; 95% CI: 0.31–0.89; P for trend = 0.01) and of plasma dehydro-lutein with nuclear cataract (OR = 0.32; 95% CI: 0.10–1.02; P for trend = 0.04) remained statistically significant. The association of dehydro-lutein with any cataract became significant after multivariate adjustment (OR = 0.55; 95% CI: 0.31–0.97; P for trend = 0.04). 
As shown in Table 4 , plasma β-cryptoxanthin, α-and β-carotene, and lycopene did not show any significant associations with any type of cataract. However, the association of β-carotene with nuclear cataract became statistically significant after multivariate adjustment (OR = 0.38; 95% CI: 0.14–1.04; P for trend = 0.04). 
In the present study, high plasma zeaxanthin was associated with a markedly reduced risk of ARM and nuclear cataract. High plasma lutein and total lutein and zeaxanthin were also associated with a reduced risk of ARM, whereas they were not significantly associated with cataract. Although there were important correlations among carotenoids, we observed no important associations of ARM or cataract with the other studied carotenoids (α- and β-carotene, β-cryptoxanthin, lycopene), in line with the fact that only lutein and zeaxanthin are present in the retina and in the lens. 
With respect to ARM, our results are consistent with those of a recent cross-sectional study performed in the United Kingdom. 12 The authors reported a significantly (50%) reduced risk of early or late ARM (OR = 0.5; 95% CI: 0.2 –1.0; P = 0.05) in subjects with high plasma zeaxanthin (>0.05 μM), compared with subjects with low levels (<0 .03="" 0.3="" 0.6="" 95="" and="" association="" ci:="" did="" em="" lutein="" not="" plasma="" reach="" significance="" statistical="" the="" was="" weaker="" with="">P
= 0.12). In our study, the associations with plasma zeaxanthin and lutein were even stronger (OR = 0.07 and 0.31, respectively), and both were significant, perhaps because of to the higher values in the highest quintile of zeaxanthin (>0.09 μM) and lutein (>0.41 μM) in this Mediterranean population, probably associated with higher dietary intakes of these xanthophylls, which are mainly provided by leafy green vegetables such as spinach or broccoli. 
Previous studies did not differentiate lutein from zeaxanthin. In the Eye Disease Case–Control Study, plasma lutein and zeaxanthin (LZ > 0.67 vs. < 0.25 μM) was associated with a reduced risk of neovascular ARM, with estimates close to the present study (OR = 0.3; 95% CI: 0.2–0.6). 10 Dietary LZ was also inversely associated with neovascular AMD (OR = 0.43; 95% CI: 0.2–0.7)). 9 Similarly, a recent case–control study from the Netherlands showed a significantly reduced risk of neovascular ARM in subjects with high dietary LZ (OR = 0.41; 95% CI: 0.20–0.91). 11 In the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES III), high plasma levels of LZ tended to be associated with a reduced risk of late AMD (OR = 0.6; 95% CI: 0.2–1.9), but this association was far from significant. 13 Similarly, high dietary intakes of LZ tended to be associated with reduced risk of late ARM (OR = 0.5; 95% CI: 0.1–1.6), but this association was significant only in subjects younger than 80 years (OR = 0.1; 95% CI: 0.0–0.9). 13 In a case–control study nested in the Beaver Dam Eye Study, the association between late ARM and plasma LZ was not significant (OR = 0.7; 95% CI: 0.4–1.4 for LZ > 0.17 vs. LZ < 0.17 μM). 14 In a 50% random sample of the Beaver Dam Eye Study, no significant associations were found between dietary LZ and prevalent early or late ARM 15 or incident early ARM. 16 Similarly, there were no significant associations of dietary LZ with incident early ARM in the Blue Mountains Eye Study. 17  
With respect to cataract, we found an association of nuclear cataract with plasma zeaxanthin but not with plasma lutein. In a cross-sectional study performed in the United Kingdom, 40 a nonsignificant inverse association of nuclear cataract with both zeaxanthin (OR = 0.7; 95% CI: 0.4–1.4) and lutein (OR = 0.8; 95% CI: 0.4–1.5) was found. In a Spanish case-control study, no significant associations were found between dietary lutein or dietary zeaxanthin and the risk of cataract. 24 However, the statistical analyses did not distinguish the different types of cataract. Another case–control study performed in Spain showed an increased risk of cataract in subjects with high plasma lutein (OR =1.8; 95% CI: 1.1–3.1) or zeaxanthin (OR = 2.2; 95% CI: 1.3–3.7). 25 However, age distribution was very different between cases and controls and potential confounding by known risk factors was not accounted for. 
Previous studies have given results for pooled lutein and zeaxanthin, which may have obscured the association with cataract, if only zeaxanthin is associated with cataract. In our study, plasma total lutein and zeaxanthin were associated with an ORs of 0.53 for nuclear cataract and of 0.45 for mixed cataract, and with ORs close to 1 for cortical cataract and PSC. In a prospective analysis of the Beaver Dam Eye Study data, high dietary intakes of lutein and zeaxanthin were associated with a reduced risk of incident nuclear cataract (OR = 0.5; 95% CI: 0.3–0.8), 22 whereas in a subsample, the association with plasma lutein and zeaxanthin was in the same direction but did not reach statistical significance (OR = 0.7; 95% CI: 0.3–1.6). 41 In the Nutrition and Vision Project, high dietary intakes of lutein and zeaxanthin were associated with a reduced risk of nuclear cataract (OR = 0.52; 95% CI: 0.29–0.91), 23 whereas their associations with cortical cataract and PSC were not statistically significant. 42 Two large prospective studies also showed a reduced risk of cataract surgery in subjects with high dietary intakes of lutein and zeaxanthin. 20 21  
Although plasma lutein and zeaxanthin correlate highly, our results suggest a stronger association of plasma zeaxanthin than lutein, with the risk of ARM and cataract, consistent with the study from Gale et al. 12 40 The hypothesis of a more important role of zeaxanthin in retina and lens health is supported by several lines of evidence. First, the ratio of zeaxanthin to lutein is much higher in the central retina (1:1 in the macula, 2:1 in the fovea) 19 43 and in the lens (1:1) 19 than it is in the plasma (∼1:5 in the present study), suggesting that the eye preferentially accumulates zeaxanthin. Moreover, although both lutein and zeaxanthin protect liposomal membranes from light induced oxidative stress, zeaxanthin appears to be a better photoprotector during prolonged UV exposure, 44 perhaps because there is a different orientation of lutein and zeaxanthin in biological membranes. 44 Zeaxanthin is also particularly effective in protecting lipid membranes against oxidation by peroxyl radicals. 45 More data are needed on the specific associations of lutein and zeaxanthin with ARM and cataract, both at the biological and epidemiologic levels. 
Our study has several limitations. First, our sample underrepresents the older persons and overrepresents the middle and upper social classes, by comparison with the whole eligible population. 26 The subjects of this study may thus be healthier and have different lifestyles, in particular concerning diet and physical activity, than the general population. These differences are likely to have affected the distribution of plasma carotenoids or the prevalence of eye diseases. However, they are unlikely to have affected the association between eye diseases and plasma measurements. Moreover, although a selection bias cannot be dismissed, the prevalence rates of cataract and ARM and their associations with their known risk factors (i.e., smoking, diabetes, corticosteroids, and light exposure) are similar to those observed in other studies. 26 34 35  
Because samples were kept frozen at −80°C for approximately 7 years, it is possible that the observed carotenoid levels were underestimated in the present study due to long-term instability. For instance, for β-carotene, a 20% decrease in plasma level was observed over 7 years of storage at −80°C. 46 Because all samples were treated and stored in a similar manner, such a decrease is unlikely to have affected the associations between eye diseases and plasma measurements. 
The relatively small number of subjects affected by ARM and cataract constitutes another limitation. In particular, due to the very low number of subjects with late ARM, we were unable to separate early and late ARM in statistical analyses. Our results therefore reflect mainly the associations of plasma carotenoids with early ARM. The small number of subjects in some cataract types (in particular cortical cataract) may also have generated insufficient statistical power to detect associations with plasma carotenoids. In particular, this may be one reason for the absence of association of plasma xanthophylls with mixed cataract and cataract surgery. Indeed, it is rather surprising that these two groups of cataract, which usually include a large number of nuclear opacities, were not significantly associated with zeaxanthin, whereas nuclear cataract was. Although their odds ratios were not statistically significant, they were in the same direction and were not significantly different from the one for nuclear cataract. These negative relationships probably contributed to the global statistically significant negative association with “any cataract.” 
In addition, cataract was graded directly at the slit lamp according to LOCS III, instead of photographic grading. This method may have caused misclassification of cataract status and therefore may have biased the observations toward the null hypothesis. Another limitation is due to the high number of comparisons made (up to 48 for cataract). We therefore cannot exclude that some of the observed associations were due to a chance finding. 
In observational studies, the concern is always about confounding. We have therefore performed multivariate adjustments, to take into account all known risk factors for cataract and ARM. In addition to age, gender, and educational level, specific factors were used for the different types of cataract and ARM. The selected factors are those identified in previous analyses of the POLA Study for ARM 26 37 38 and cataract. 33 34 35 39 The associations of plasma zeaxanthin and lutein with eye diseases were not strongly affected by these adjustments. 
Because this study is cross-sectional, we cannot assume that the low plasma zeaxanthin and lutein levels preceded the development of cataract or ARM. It is possible that participants with eye disease have modified their diets after the development of visual impairment. These results must therefore be confirmed in prospective studies. Whether increasing dietary intakes of lutein and zeaxanthin, through dietary modifications or nutritional supplements, have a preventive effect against ARM or cataract can be established only by interventional studies. The results of a recent small interventional study have suggested that lutein supplements may improve visual function in subjects with geographic atrophy. 47  
In conclusion, in this Mediterranean population, high plasma zeaxanthin levels were associated with reduced risk of ARM and nuclear cataract. High plasma lutein levels were also associated with reduced risk of ARM. These data are consistent with previous epidemiologic studies and suggest that lutein and zeaxanthin may be important for protecting against ARM and cataract, in particular in its nuclear localization. These data should be confirmed by other studies—in particular, prospective epidemiologic and interventional studies. 
Appendix 1
The POLA Study Group
Coordination: Cécile Delcourt, Annie Lacroux, Sylvie Fourrey, Marie-José Covacho, Chantal Canet, Pierre Paillard, Alice Ponton-Sanchez, Roselyne Defay, Alain Colvez, and Laure Papoz (Principal Coordinator). 
Ophthalmology: Catherine Balme-Blanchard, Louis Balmelle, Didier Chinaud, Jacques Costeau, Jean-Luc Diaz, Catherine Dossa, Colette Gallinaro, Patrick Malan, Fabienne Robert, and Bernard Arnaud. 
Biology: Laboratoire de Biologie et Biochimie des Lipides, Montpellier: Jean-Paul Cristol, Martine DeLage, Marie-Hélène Vernet, Gilles Fouret, Françoise Michel, Claude Leger, and Bernard Descomps; Laboratoire De Toxicologie Biophysique, Montpellier: Pierre Mathieu-Daudé and Jean-Claude Mathieu-Daudé; and Institut National Agronomique, Paris: Frédéric Tessier and Inès Birlouez-Aragon. 

2. Garlic

Garlic does more than taste good and give you a pleasant breath before a hot date.
It is also very nutritious and contains several bioactive compounds.
Many studies in humans have examined the effects of garlic on cardiovascular health:
  • Garlic has been shown to lower blood triglycerides and cholesterol .

  • It can also reduce platelet aggregation, which theoretically could lower the risk of stroke .

  • One study also shows that garlic extract can significantly lower blood pressure.
Garlic may also kill microbes like bacteria and fungi.
One of the active compounds, Allicin, has also been shown to kill the super-bacteria MRSA, which is becoming an increasingly larger threat to the human race due to resistance to antibiotics.
You can get garlic extract from supplements, or simply add garlic to your foods. Fresh garlic is best, ditch the powder.
Bottom Line: Garlic is a very tasty herb that has been studied thoroughly for its health benefits. Several studies show that garlic can improve heart health.

3. Liver

Humans have been eating other animals for hundreds of thousands (if not millions) of years. For this reason, we have been genetically adapted to eating such foods throughout evolution.
However, our hunter-gatherer ancestors didn’t just eat the muscles of the animals, like most of us do.
No, they ate the organs too. Brain, kidneys, heart, bone marrow, liver and even testicles.
Organs are actually the most nutritious parts of the animal and the most nutritious of them all is the liver.
The liver is a remarkable organ that has hundreds of functions. It also concentrates many key nutrients like iron, B12 and some others. Liver is so nutritious that some people have called it nature’s multivitamin.
A 100 gram (3.5 oz) portion of beef liver contains :
  • 6.3 times the RDA for Vitamin A.
  • 2 times the RDA for Riboflavin (B2).
  • 12 times the RDA for Vitamin B12.
  • 7 times the RDA for copper.
  • It also contains massive amounts of other nutrients like Folate, B3, B5, B6 and others.
If you want to eat like a true hunter-gatherer, then you should eat some organ meats. Just one meal per week with liver will dramatically boost your average intake of many key nutrients.
Bottom Line: Humans adapted to eating plenty of animals and that includes organ meats like liver. Eating liver once per week will dramatically boost your intake of key nutrients

4. Kale

Kale is arguably among the most nutritious vegetables you can eat, calorie for calorie.
A 100 gram serving of Kale contains only 50 calories and 10 gram carbs (2 of which are fiber).
It contains 10 times the RDA of Vitamin K1, 2 times the RDA for Vitamin C and 3 times the RDA for Vitamin A (from beta-Carotene).
It is also rich in Calcium and Potassium.
Kale contains the bioactive compounds Sulforophane and Indole-3-Carbinol (also in Broccoli and other greens) that have been shown to help fight cancer in test tubes and experimental animals.
Kale may be even better for you than Spinach, because Spinach contains Oxalates, which can bind some minerals like Calcium in the intestine and prevent them from being absorbed.
Bottom Line: Kale is among the most nutritious vegetables you can eat, containing an incredible amount of nutrients compared to its caloric value.

5. Coconut Oil

Coconut Oil
Coconut oil is the best cooking oil you can use.
It consists almost entirely of saturated fats, which makes it very resistant to high heat.
Most of the fatty acids in it are of medium length, so-called Medium Chain Triglycerides (MCTs).
The most abundant fatty acid in coconut oil is the 12-carbon Lauric acid.
Medium chain triglycerides are the perfect fats for weight loss, because they can increase satiety and boost metabolism compared to other fats.
Additionally, the Lauric Acid has been proven to have antimicrobial properties and is an efficient killer of pathogens like bacteria, viruses and fungi.
Coconut oil also leads to improvements in cardiac risk factors like cholesterol and triglycerides.
Bottom Line: Coconut oil is the best choice for cooking at high heats. It also has powerful health benefits and may help you lose weight compared to other fats.

6. Sweet Potato

Sweet Potato
I don’t always eat starch, but when I do… my favorite is without a doubt the sweet potato.
Sweet potatoes are very nutritious and rich in some key nutrients like Vitamin A, Vitamin C and Potassium.
They are also relatively rich in fiber, a 100 gram serving supplying about 3 grams.
If you want to eat carbs, then you should definitely stick to healthier ones like sweet potatoes.
Bottom Line: Sweet potatoes are without a doubt among the healthiest starchy foods around.

7. Blueberries

Blueberries are incredibly tasty and fairly nutrient rich compared to their caloric value.
Where blueberries really shine is in their antioxidant content. The ORAC, a measure of the antioxidant value of food, places blueberries close to the top.
One study in obese men and women with metabolic syndrome showed that blueberries significantly lowered blood pressure and markers of oxidized LDL cholesterol.
Another study in older adults showed that blueberries can improve memory.
Then there are plenty of studies in experimental animals and test tubes showing that compounds in blueberries may help prevent cancer.
They are also relatively low in carbohydrates, which makes them the perfect fruit for people on low-carb diets (Blueberries + Whipped Cream = Awesome).
Bottom Line: Blueberries are very rich in antioxidants and have a relatively low carb content which makes them perfect for people on carb-restricted diets.

8. Seaweed

Iodine is a nutrient that is very often lacking in modern diets.
This nutrient is crucial for thyroid health and the thyroid is very important for the health of the rest of the body.
A deficiency in iodine can lead to hypothyroidism, fatigue, mental retardation and many diseases.
Unfortunately, most of the foods we eat today are relatively low in iodine. However, a lot of iodine is concentrated in the sea and seafoods are excellent sources of this nutrient.
A great way to make sure you don’t lack iodine is to eat some seaweed once or twice a week. It’s actually very tasty. As an alternative, you can supplement with Kelp tablets, which are relatively cheap and supply all the iodine you need.
Bottom Line: Seaweed is an excellent source of Iodine, a nutrient that is lacking in the modern diet and is incredibly important for thyroid health.

9. Salmon

Salmon is one of the “fatty” fishes – meaning that it contains a large proportion of calories as fat.
These fats are primarily Omega-3 fatty acids, which most people don’t get enough of.
Eating oily fish like salmon 1-2 times per week pretty much satisfies your body’s need for Omega-3 fats.
Additionally, salmon is very rich in high quality proteins and many nutrients. These include Potassium, Selenium, Vitamins B1, B3, B6 and B12.
Eating fatty fish regularly is associated with a lower risk of dementia and cardiovascular disease.
I personally find salmon (and other fish) to be incredibly fulfilling. I feel stuffed even though I’ve only eaten half as many calories as I would have in a regular meal.
If you can get it, wild salmon is best. Otherwise, farmed salmon is a cheaper alternative but still very healthy.
Bottom Line: Salmon is very rich in Omega-3 fatty acids and nutrients. It is a good idea to eat fatty fish once or twice a week.

10. Cod Fish Liver Oil

Fish Oil Capsules
The easiest way to add Omega-3s to your diet is to supplement with fish oil.
The best fish oil is cod fish liver oil.
A tablespoon of it contains a total of 2,6g Omega-3 fatty acids, which is more than the recommended daily intake.
It is also the only good source of Vitamin D3 in the diet.
One tablespoon actually supplies 1350 IU, which is more than double the RDA. This may be enough to prevent deficiency symptoms for most people.
Many people in Western countries, especially those who live in Northern climates, are deficient in this vitamin. A deficiency in D3 can have various consequences, including an elevated risk of cancer and diabetes.
Cod fish liver oil is also very rich in Vitamin A, one tablespoon supplying 13500 IU or almost triple the RDA.
If you don’t eat much Omega-3 from animal foods, then consider supplementing with a tablespoon of cod fish liver oil every day.
Bottom Line: Cod fish liver oil is one of the best sources of Omega-3 fatty acids, Vitamin D3 and Vitamin A.

11. Grass-fed beef

Despite having been demonized in the past, meat is actually very healthy.
Humans have been eating meat throughout evolution… and we’re literally made of meat.
Despite the fear mongering, studies show that unprocessed red meat does NOT raise your risk of disease.
Meat is among the best sources of protein, it is rich in healthy fatty acids and plenty of vitamins and minerals. It is also a good source of creatine, carnosine and carnitine, as well as other unique nutrients that you can’t get from plants.
If you can, it is by far the best to eat meat from animals that have been naturally fed, such as grass-fed beef.
Compared to grain fed, grass-fed beef contains more Omega-3 fatty acids, more CLA, more antioxidants, more vitamins and minerals.
If you can’t buy grass-fed for some reason, eating grain-fed meat is still a healthy alternative.

No comments: