The distinctive taste of fresh-squeezed orange juice: each sip is tart yet refreshingly sweet, with the notorious pulp that sticks to your teeth. Because most people don’t have the time to squeeze oranges, many juice companies now provide fresh-squeezed juice in bottles on your grocer’s refrigerator shelves.
What consumers may not realize, however, is that some of these juices carry a warning label, which has been required by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) since 1998 for all unpasteurized juice. In the time between squeezing the fruit and filling the bottles, harmful bacteria can become present in the juice. Pasteurization, or heat treating the juice, is necessary to kill off bacteria such as salmonella and E. coli. Yet some juices, such as orange or carrot juice found in grocery stores’ produce sections, and many ciders sold at farmers’ markets, are not pasteurized, making up about 2 percent of all juice sold, according to the FDA. Some juice manufacturers believe that pasteurizing juice alters the nutritional value of the product, killing live enzymes that aid in digestion.
“Heating always results in some loss of nutrients, and some people want their juice as fresh as possible,” says Diane Barrett, a fruit and vegetable products specialist with the Department of Food Science and Technology at the University of California at Davis. “They may not realize there is a health risk in drinking it.”
About 2 percent of all juices sold are not pasteurized.
Unpasteurized juice accounted for 76 percent of contamination cases reported between 1993 and 1996, according to the Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition. Last year, the FDA reported that unpasteurized orange juice caused 402 cases of illness and one death due to salmonella in twenty states and three Canadian provinces.
For customers who want the safety of pasteurization but still want to maintain as much of the nutritional integrity of fresh-squeezed juice as possible, many companies have adopted minimal pasteurization methods, known as “lightly,” “ultra flash,” or “flash” pasteurization. The juice is heated quickly to a high temperature to kill bacteria, then cooled immediately.
One such company, Odwalla, has flash pasteurized all of its juices since December of 1999, beginning with its apple juice in 1996. “While a few consumers who are purists and prefer raw juice informed us that they wish our juices weren’t flash pasteurized, overall most consumers value the added measure of quality assurance that flash pasteurization provides,” says Erin Markey, Odwalla’s communications manager.
Depending on the type of juice being tested, the nutri-tional status of flash-pasteurized juice is comparable to fresh, unpasteurized juice, says Markey.
For example, an eight-ounce serving of fresh orange juice provides 250 percent of the recommended daily intake (RDI) of vitamin C. Odwalla’s flash-pasteurized orange juice contains 240 percent of the RDI of vitamin C, significantly higher than the amount that traditionally pasteurized juice offers, according to Markey.
However, Mickey Parish, a professor of food microbiology at the University of Florida Citrus Research and Education Center, says that flash-pasteurized juice is the same as pasteurized juice, for both methods substantially reduce enzymes and microorganisms. “The delicate flavor of freshly extracted, nonpasteurized citrus juice is negatively affected by any pasteurization treatment, whether traditional or flash,” he says.
Parish, who has conducted numerous studies on juice pasteurization, says that there are no definitive studies that compare the basic nutritional composition of juices that are non-pasteurized, flash pasteurized, or traditionally pasteurized. “However, it is known that thermal treatment of any kind will destroy some degree of vitamin C in citrus juice,” he says.
Heating juice also determines its shelf life, along with other determining factors such as juice pH, temperature of storage, and how long the juice is held at a certain temperature, says Parish. Flash-pasteurized juices have a refrigerator shelf life of between twenty and thirty days, whereas traditionally pasteurized juice, which is heated at higher temperatures for longer amounts of time, has a forty- to sixty-day shelf life. Pasteurized juices found at room temperature, such as those in aseptic juice boxes, were heated with the intention of inactivating all of the spoilage organisms and have an even longer shelf life, says Linda Harris, a specialist in microbial food safety at the University of California at Davis. Canned juice, for example, may have a shelf life of one year, according to the FDA.
In November of 1998, the FDA required all juice manufacturers to incorporate a Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point plan, designed to prevent hazards in food production. The plan covers all areas of production and processing—chemical, physical, and microbial
Name: Tori Hudson, N.D.
Hometown: Portland, Oregon
Occupation and accolades: Naturopathic physician and author of Women’s Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine (Keats, 1999); professor of gynecology and oncology at the Naturopathic College in Portland; named the 1999 physician of the year by the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians.
How did you become interested in alternative medicine?
For me, it was really an evolution of events. I grew up as a competitive athlete and was always conscious of nutrition and health. As a teenager and college student, I witnessed the environmental awareness, the self-help, and the back-to-the-land movements. In high school, I became a vegetarian. All of these things pointed to an alternative lifestyle that worked for me.
I dropped out of college in the early 1970s because I wanted to live more simply in nature. I wanted to walk the talk. So I decided to move to a subsistence farm situation, without electricity, in the foothills of southern Oregon. I learned carpentry, how to grow food, and about lay forms of medicine. That’s where I began studying herbal medicine, acupuncture, and nutrition. My friends in the community would come to me, and I’d treat them for things such as colds and bladder infections.
About six years later, I had an epiphany. I was doing carpentry at the time. It was 4 a.m., and I was hauling materials onto a roof. A voice came to me and said, “Tori, do you really want to be doing this when you’re fifty?” I went back to school for premed and soon after attended the naturopathic college in Portland.
What advice can you give to those considering alternative therapies?
Do some reading. Check out the local resources in your community and see what kinds of practitioners are available. Ask them some preliminary questions over the phone. If you still don’t know who to go to, find a licensed N.D. in your area. They have the broadest and most eclectic training of any physician—more so than an M.D. or a D.O.—and they understand quite a bit about all disciplines. So by virtue of their training, they are in the best position to be your point person. It’s the job of an N.D. to find medical doctors that are respectful of patients and know the value of alternative therapies. I consider it one of my jobs to create a team of health-care practitioners for my patients.
What alternative therapies are a daily part of your life?
I believe the fundamentals are a good diet, good nutrition, regular exercise, fresh air and sunshine, good water, avoidance of harmful substances and practices, rest and sleep, and spiritual influence. I practice all of these things. Beyond that, I use herbs on a frequent basis including mint, licorice, and ginger teas, and I take antioxidants and mineral supplementation on a regular basis. I’ll take other herbs and supplements as I need them.
Carotenoids for healthier lungs
Senior citizens with high levels of the antioxidants beta-carotene and alpha-carotene in their blood have significantly better lung function than those with low levels of the nutrients, according to a recent American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine study. The researchers first measured blood levels among 528 seniors and then assessed the subjects’ lung function, using standard medical lung tests. Both alpha- and beta-carotene are found in a variety of fruits and vegetables. The study also found that lycopene, an antioxidant present in spinach, slightly improves lung function.
Supplements for dialysis patients
Supplementing with amino acids may be a safe method for increasing the protein intake of dialysis patients, according to a recent Johns Hopkins study published in Kidney International. Dialysis patients have lower blood levels of protein than healthy people but often can’t get enough protein due to a poor appetite and other health problems, the researchers say. Up to 40 percent of dialysis patients have a lack of protein in the blood, which is the strongest predictor of death among the patients. The researchers hope that this treatment will increase survival and result in better health in dialysis patients.
Spices protect against radiation
Indian scientists have recently discovered that certain spices can prevent E. coli and other bacteria from being destroyed by radiation. In The Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, the researchers reported that chili powder offered the best protection against gamma rays; black pepper and turmeric also performed well in the study. The scientists theorized that the antioxidants present in the spices helped protect the bacteria’s DNA from radiation damage. They also suggested that, someday, their work could lead to the use of spice extracts to help protect cancer patients’ healthy tissues during radiation therapy.
Walnuts help lower cholesterol
The Annals of Internal Medicine reports that walnuts may help lower cholesterol when added to a healthy diet. When forty-nine people already eating a Mediterranean-type cholesterol-lowering diet replaced 35 percent of their daily fat intake (which consisted of olive oil) with walnuts, they lowered their total cholesterol levels an additional 4 percent over those who consumed just olive oil. The reasons why walnuts have these effects is still being determined, although researchers said that the nuts are high in polyunsaturated fats and contain a concentration of omega-3 fatty acids.
FDA wants fats listed
Trans fatty acids, the artery-clogging fat that’s found in foods such as margarine and processed cookies and crackers, may soon be listed in the “Nutrition Facts” panel that’s found on food packages. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) wants food labels to list trans fatty acids so that people who want to cut back on bad fats can have the information they need to do so. Under the FDA proposal, trans fatty acids would be listed on labels in the same category as saturated fats. If the FDA’s plan gets approval, you could see trans fatty acid amounts on food labels by next year.
A new immune herb
Andrographis paniculata, a popular herb used as a cold remedy, may soon be giving echinacea a run for its money. According to a study published in Phytomedicine, andrographis was found to significantly improve cold symptoms in a four-day, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. In the study, 158 adults with colds found that treatment with andrographis reduced many symptoms including earache, nasal drainage, sleeplessness, and sore throat. Research also suggests that andrographis can be taken at a lower dose as a preventive measure during the cold and flu season.
Red raspberries may prevent cancer
Red raspberries are starting to look as good as they taste. In fact, raspberries may be an important food for anyone interested in preventing cancer.
A recent series of clinical findings at Hollings Cancer Center at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston confirms that red raspberries inhibit the growth of cancer cells, according to the Washington Red Raspberry Commission. Daniel Nixon, M.D., a cancer researcher and a strong advocate of healthy lifestyles, diet, and early cancer detection, is directing the studies. Nixon is also the president of the American Health Foundation.
Early indications are that daily consumption of 150 g (1 cup) of red raspberries slows the growth of abnormal colon cells in humans and prevents the development of cells infected with the human papilloma virus (HPV), a family of at least sixty viruses, several of which increase the risk of cervical cancer.
The benefit of raspberries may be associated with ellagic acid, a naturally occurring compound found in certain fruits and nuts. Research in the past decade confirms that ellagic acid is an effective antimutagen and anticarcinogen. It also has antibacterial and antiviral properties.
In its pure form, ellagic acid is very insoluble and biologically unavailable. Plants produce ellagic acid and glucose to form ellagitannins, water-soluble compounds that are easier for people to absorb through food. This implies that small amounts of ellagitannins may be more effective in the human diet than large doses of ellagic acid. However, more research is needed on the chemical structures of ellagitannins and their effectiveness as anticarcinogens.
Red raspberries are the highest source of ellagic acid yet discovered, with more than twice as much as strawberries and more than ten times as much as cranberries, two other rich sources. Other sources of ellagic acid include walnuts and pecans. The Meeker variety of raspberries, highest in ellagic acid, is grown in the Pacific Northwest.
Clinical evidence from Nixon’s investigations with colon cancer suggests that eating raspberries may produce ellagic acid concentrations at tissue sites such as the cervix. A new clinical trial will examine ellagic acid from raspberries in the prevention of cervical cancer.
The study, again directed by Nixon, will evaluate women with atypical squamous cells, a condition seen in as much as 10 percent of all Pap smears in the United States.
Make Your Own Calendula Ointment
When the air begins to hint of autumn but there are still plenty of sunlit hours after work, I know it’s time to put on my gardening gloves and make some medicine. Yes, medicine—early fall gardens are abundant with medicinal goodness, and now is the perfect time to put those botanicals on double duty.
This fall, why not treat the inevitable bumps and bruises, insect bites, and sprains to an herbal alternative? Calendula ointment is a versatile, all-natural remedy that treats a variety of minor skin ailments. The perfect addition to any natural medicine chest, this easy herbal preparation treats the stinging pain of bug bites and minor burns, eases tender bruises and sprains, and comforts inflammation due to a minor injury. Economical and quick, it’s a valuable addition to your first-aid supplies.
Toothpaste: Dr. Wolfe’s Aloe-Dent Herbal Tooth Gel
Tester Comments: Has a nice, herbal flavor.
Doesn’t foam up much. Clear gel rather than a white paste.
Size/Price: 3.5 oz./$8.95
Main Ingredients: Aloe vera concentrate, glycerin, clove extract
Contact Information: (800) 689-2563; www.aloedent.com
Toothpaste: U.S. DenTek’s Breath Remedy
Tester Comments: Has a strong taste—not unpleasant,
but a little bitter. Your mouth feels clean after using.
Size/Price: 3 oz./$7
Main Ingredients: Calcium carbonate, stevia, citric acid
Contact Information: (800) 433-6835; www.usdentek.com
Toothpaste: Auromere’s Herbal Toothpaste
Tester Comments: Thick brown paste; tastes medicinal,
but good if you like licorice. Not much foam.
Size/Price: 4.16 oz./$3.95
Main Ingredients: Fine chalk, neem, peelu
Contact Information: (800) 735-4691; www.auromere.com
Toothpaste: Tea Tree Therapy’s Tea Tree Toothpaste with Baking Soda
Tester Comments: Consistency is similar to traditional toothpaste.
Tea tree flavor not overpowering.
Size/Price: 5 oz./$5.25
Main Ingredients: Sodium biocarbonate, calcium carbonate, tea tree oil
Contact Information: (800) 990-4221
Toothpaste: Tom’s of Maine’s Cinnamint Natural Toothpaste
Tester Comments: The favorite; has a great flavor—
tastes like Big Red gum. Foams up well.
Size/Price: 4 oz./$3.55
Main Ingredients: Calcium carbonate, glycerin, cassia oil
Contact Information: (800) 775-2388; www.tomsofmaine.com
Can schisandra improve athletic performance?
Why is it is so difficult to demonstrate that herbs can improve human athletic performance? Sport performance is both physical and mental and can even depend on the weather. Stimulant herbs such as guarana (Paullinia cupana) and ephedra (Ephedra sinica) can improve performance, but the high levels required to make significant improvements noticeably alter metabolism. This means that people participating in experiments can detect whether they’ve been given a placebo. Furthermore, stimulant use is illegal in international competition. Adaptogenic herbs such as Korean ginseng (Panax ginseng), Siberian ginseng (Eleutherococcus senticosus), licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra), and schisandra (Schisandra chinensis) aren’t stimulants and are thought to improve performance by increasing an athlete’s ability to handle stress. But how do you prove that taking ginseng, for example, won the football game?
Even in a less complex competition than football, such as sprinting 100 meters, the placebo effect would be so strong that if an athlete believed that schisandra could improve performance, the odds are that her performance would be excellent regardless of whether she took schisandra or a placebo. We’d need to compare the same runner running real 100-meter races sixteen to twenty-four times with schisandra and sixteen to twenty-four times with a placebo to possibly detect any effect from adaptogens. The 100-meter finishing-time differences among a group of elite runners are only fractions of a second, so it’s nearly impossible to determine whether winners win with schisandra or superior talent, training, or track conditions. In fact, athletic performance is more easily tested on animals, as they are not affected by the placebo effect and can be placed in controlled situations. Also, they do not necessarily know when a race is real or when it is just practice or staged.
Schisandra berry is used in traditional Chinese and Russian medicine for liver and heart disease, shock, weakness, and fatigue. It’s considered an adaptogen that can improve athletic performance.
Horses are bred to be athletes, so they’re good study candidates for herbs and performance, though they’re seldom used because they’re so large. In a Chilean study, schisandra improved speed and recovery in thirty trained polo and racehorses. All horses ran a test race after being given a saline solution placebo. One week later, all horses were given saline plus 48 g of schisandra extract, and ran the races again. Schisandra treatment decreased the heart and breathing rates right after exercise, and these rates returned to normal more quickly than with the placebo. Racehorses decreased their 800-meter time by two seconds, an advantage of six lengths. Polo horses ran longer and at varying speeds, but also recovered from running faster when treated with schisandra.
In a Hong Kong study, rats were forced to run to exhaustion for three hours, which causes measurable muscle damage. Rats retreated with schisandra extract for three days prior to exercise suffered less exercise-induced muscle damage than untreated rats.
The major active phytochemicals in schisandra are lignans of the dibenzocyclooctane group. Dibenzocyclooctane lignans consist of an 8-membered carbon ring with two 6-membered rings attached. Picture a cartoon of a teddy bear’s head—a rounded octagonal face with two hexagonal ears on top.
Schizandrin and gomosin A are the best-known lignans from S. chinensis, but more than thirty closely related lignans have been identified and are known collectively as schizandrins.
Schizandrins are known to be powerful antioxidants and liver protectants. Lignan-rich extracts of schisandra have significantly improved hepatitis in humans and protected rats from deadly liver damage due to carbon tetrachloride poisoning.
Liver protection from schizandrins is thought be the key to schisandra’s effect on athletic performance. Very strenuous exercise takes its toll on the muscles and liver. The liver makes enzymes to detoxify and eliminate the unwanted byproducts of our metabolism. Strenuous exercise greatly increases the need for these enzymes, and their levels in the liver and bloodstream rise markedly. If enough enzymes aren’t made, muscle recovery after exercise is abnormally slow, and muscle damage and pain may be greater. If recovery drags on, or the liver isn’t healthy, the demands on the liver may be great enough that it can’t even protect itself adequately.
In the horse and rat studies, schizandrins lowered key liver enzyme levels, shortened recovery time, reduced muscle damage, and reduced the effort needed to attain a certain level of performance. In other words, the animals adapted to the stress of exercise better.
Measuring “liver recovery” provides an objective way to study the effect of adaptogens on athletic performance. After the track meet is over, a runner knows whether he’s run fast races, but not what his levels of liver enzymes are. Milk thistle (Silybum marianum) also has a group of related phytochemicals called silymarins that are known to protect the liver. Silymarins are flavonolignans—hybrid stru-ctures of flavonoids and lignans—thus bear some similarity to schizandrins. Interestingly, milk thistle is already marketed to athletes, but mainly to help detoxify anabolic steroids. Perhaps both schisandra and milk thistle will be athletic performance enhancers in the next few years.
Hancke, J. L., et al. “Schizandra chinensis.” Fitoterapia 1999, 70:451–471.
Ko, K. M, et al. “Protective effect of a lignan-enriched extract of Fructus schisandrae on physical exercise induced muscle damage in rats.” Phytotherapy Research 1996, 10:450–452.
By Sarah Kelch