1. Still scared of eggs? Read this before you give up your omelet pan…

    Still scared of eggs? Read this before you give up your omelet pan

    I consider eggs to be the perfect food. Thirty years ago, when I was telling my patients to eat all the eggs they wanted, the medical literati and the surgical Aztecs were telling them to limit their egg consumption to one egg a week. Most patients thought, "If they're THAT dangerous, I won't eat ANY eggs. What does Dr. Douglass know?"

    You couldn't really blame them-at the time, it was me vs. basically every other health authority out there.

    But I really started defending eggs as the perfect food about 20 years ago when I was writing for the National Health Federation's Health Freedom News. By then, the egg was in total disrepute. Cholesterol phobia had gotten so bad that cardiologists were telling their patients to eat the white of the egg but throw out the yolk. This was the worst possible advice they could give them, since egg white, especially cooked egg white without the counterbalancing effect of the yolk, is nutrition-free, about as good for you as skim milk or Egg Beaters.

    In fact, getting carried away with eating (raw) egg white on its own can lead to a biotin deficiency- a serious matter, especially in expectant mothers. (As a side note, the best two sources for biotin are liver and egg yolks. Some grains and vegetables do contain biotin, but the amounts are miniscule compared to those animal foods. Just another reason you should eat like a lion-not like a lemming.)

    Eventually, the news seeped out that maybe eggs and cholesterol weren't so bad after all.

    69 billion reasons not to worry about salmonella from eggs

    At one point, there was a flurry of concern stemming from claims that eggs were a major source of salmonella contamination. Reports stated that the shell was impregnated with salmonella and not cleanable. Before answering this half-truth, let's look at a little chicken anatomy. Yes, eggs come out of the chicken's anus (euphemistically called a cloaca). So they are contaminated with excrement at delivery-no doubt about it.

    But that really isn't a problem if you use some common sense. Just use an abrasive pad to clean the shell before you crack the egg. If you're really paranoid about the "salmonella menace," soak the eggs in hydrogen peroxide for 20 minutes before cracking them. And always look for cracks in the shells when you purchase eggs. A cracked egg is a reject.

    The bottom line? There are 69 billion eggs produced and eaten yearly! The salmonella infection rate is 0.003 percent. You are about as likely to win the lottery as you are to get sick from an egg. And if you eat fresh farm eggs, the likelihood of your catching salmonella is reduced to about 0.0000001 percent. It just won't happen. At the risk of flogging the salmonella non-issue to death, I will add that most salmonella cases are mild and not even reported to a doctor.

    A lesson in food preservation from an unlikely looking source

    Now, as for rotten eggs: I've certainly known a few bad eggs in my time, but not one of them has ever come out of a shell. Rotten eggs aren't a problem, because the egg is perfectly designed for safe storage. Eggs are so beautifully engineered that you can keep them for months in a cool environment without worrying that they'll go bad.

    The hen, dumb as she appears, knows a few things about food preservation. The egg white is a shield against invading bacteria. The white contains conalbumin, a powerful protein that prevents invading bacteria from getting iron-which is essential to their growth and multiplication. So any bacteria that try to invade the egg die of iron deficiency anemia.

    Here's what to do

    (1) Eggs are by far the cheapest way for people to remain healthy-the most economical way to a perfect diet for pennies a day. I bought eggs for a penny apiece when I lived in Turkey. Today supermarkets carry all sorts of different egg varieties that can range in price anywhere from 99 cents to $3 a dozen. The ones claiming to be organic are generally the most expensive. They may or may not be of the same quality as the ones you buy directly from the farmer, but there's an easy way to tell if you're getting what you paid for. The color of the higher quality yolk will be a bright orange, and the yolk itself will be firm and round. Cheaper, lower-quality eggs will have paler yellow yolks that are flat and easily broken. This is one case where it's worth it to pay a little more.

    (2) Eat all the eggs you want, raw or cooked. If you are allergic to eggs, it is almost certainly due to the heated protein of the egg white. If you eat the eggs raw, mixed in other foods, the allergy won't be triggered.

  2. The herb that's 42 times better for you than an apple

    The herb that's 42 times better for you than an apple

    The American Chemical Society (ACS), one of the pre-eminent scientific organizations in the world-and one with a degree of integrity far above any medical group I know of-has come out with a report to warm the heart of any barefoot doctor.

    Herbs have higher antioxidant activity than fruits, vegetables, and some spices, including garlic, report scientists in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, the journal of the ACS.

    Oregano came out way ahead of all other herbs in antioxidant power-from three to 40 times as much. In comparison to the antioxidant activities of a few select fruits and vegetables, the potency of oregano was well ahead. Oregano has 42 times more antioxidant activity than apples, 30 times more than potatoes, 12 times more than oranges, and four times more than blueberries. One tablespoon of fresh oregano, for example, contains the same antioxidant activity as one medium-sized apple. The other herbs with an antioxidant punch, in order of potency, are dill, garden thyme, rosemary, and peppermint.

    Shiow Y. Wang, Ph.D., of the USDA's Beltsville Agricultural Research Center, studied and compared the antioxidant activity of 39 commonly used herbs. "People should use more herbs for flavoring instead of salt and artificial chemicals," he said.

    Here's what to do:

    Now that you can buy fresh herbs as you would any other vegetable in most supermarkets, you should treat them like any other vegetable-to derive the nutrition from them as well as the enhanced flavor.

  3. Save yourself time and trouble--don't fall for the self-exam scam

    It is sad but still true--breast self-exams are a waste of time. To most people (including most doctors), it is very difficult to distinguish between a lump of mammary gland and a lump of cancer.
  4. Seizing morning - or "mourning" disease

    In the last Daily Dose, I told you about a few ways to avoid mosquito bites…but I didn't mention what a lot of readers must have concluded is the most obvious (and easy) way to avoid mosquito bites: Simply staying inside.

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