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July 31, 2012

Food As Medicine
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Are We Missing the Best Part?

Seeds contain the book of life. They have all of the genetic information necessary to create a new life. Thus, they contain various constituents that ensure their survival in nature. These powerful constituents have fantastic benefits for us when we consume them.

Grapefruit Seeds

The bitter seeds of a grapefruit contain extremely potent anti-microbial compounds. To use this therapeutically, the seeds are processed to make grapefruit seed extract (GSE). GSE is particularly effective at killing yeast such as candida albicans. [1. Krajewska-Kułak E, Lukaszuk C, Niczyporuk W. Effects of 33% grapefruit extract on the growth of the yeast–like fungi, dermatopytes and moulds. Wiad Parazytol. 2001;47(4):845-9.]

Grape Seeds

Grape seeds contain some of the most powerful antioxidants found on earth. These antioxidants are called proanthocyanidins (PCs) and have been shown to be greatly beneficial in treating venous and capillary disorders including venous insufficiency, varicose veins, capillary fragility, and disorders of the retina (e.g., diabetic retinopathy, macular degeneration). [2. Tousoulis D, Antoniades C, Tountas C, et al. Vitamin C affects thrombosis/fibrinolysis system and reactive hyperemia in patients with type 2 diabetes and coronary artery disease. Diabetes Care 2003;26:2749-2753.] They have also been shown to lower cholesterol and event reverse atherosclerosis. [3. Hertog MG, Feskens EJ, Hollman PC. Dietary antioxidant flavonoids and risk of coronary heart disease: the Zutphen Elderly Study. Lancet 1993;342:1007-1011.] [4. Maffei Facino R, Carini M, Aldini G, et al. Free radicals scavenging action and anti-enzyme activities of procyanidines from Vitis vinifera. A mechanism for their capillary protective action. Arzneimittelforschung 1994;44:592-601.] PCs have a great antioxidant effect compared with vitamins C and E.

Apricot Seeds

Apricot seeds, more specifically the kernel (the part inside the seed), are known for their ability to treat cancer.

The extraction process of a constituent in the apricot kernel called Laetrile (also called vitamin B17) was developed by Dr. Ernst Krebs, Jr., who pioneered the use of laetrile in cancer therapy. [5. Office of  Technology Assessment. Unconventional Cancer Treatments. Wahington D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1990.] Substantial amounts are actually found in peaches, cherries, berries, buckwheat, millet, alfalfa, and some strains of beans and peas.

Ralph W. Moss, one the worlds leading cancer researchers, talks about the political and scientific controversy that has surrounded laetrile in his book The Cancer Industry. He states, “Although spokespersons for orthodox medicine continue to deny that there have been many animal study data in favour of laetrile, this is contradicted by a number of studies, including – but not limited to – those at Sloan-Kettering.” (FYI: Sloan-Kettering is one of the top cancer research centres in the world). [6. Moss, R. W. The Cancer Industry: Unraveling the Politics. New York: Paragon House, 1989.]

 

Pumpkin Seeds

There is an old folk remedy that is often taught in herbal medicine that pumpkin seeds can help with eliminating parasites. The theory is that they paralyze the bugs and then, with the introduction of a mild natural laxative, they are eliminated. [7. Lipski, Elizabeth. Digestive Wellness: 4th Edition. McGraw-Hill 2011.] One of my students mentioned that on her farm, they give pumpkin seeds to their animals to help with parasite removal. There could be something to this!

Papaya seeds

Papain is an enzyme found in the seeds of a papaya. It works by breaking down the membranes of parasites, ultimately causing them to die. [8. Okeniyi JA, Ogunlesi TA, Oyelami OA, Adeyemi LA. Effectiveness of dried Carica papaya seeds against human intestinal parasitosis: a pilot study. J Med Food. 2007 Mar;10(1):194-6.] Eating about 1/4 cup of papaya everyday for 10 days has been shown to help with the elimination of parasites.

What Has Happened to our Seeds?

Seedless grapes. Seedless watermelon. Seedless cucumber. Seedless bananas (yes bananas). Seedless oranges. What happened to all of the seeds? One word… convenience.

We have bred our foods to make them more convenient by eliminating the most important part of the food.

In addition, many foods are made from genetically modified seeds which our immune systems do not recognize. Eating these foods can wreak havoc on our health, as Jeffrey Smith teaches worldwide.

Next time you’re at the market be sure to look for the whole food… seeds included.

– Josh