Glycemic Index of Food

In my previous blog entry, I introduced my research experiment to point out that our eating style has something to do with evoking violent behaviors, like children who tend to lose their temper easily, adults who are apt to become violent out of blue, any cases of domestic violence, or crime in general. I hope you’ve got what I meant.

Quite possibly in Japan and in Europe recently, the concept of GI (glycemic index) of food has been commonly known and due to its numeric figures, we have become quite aware of what keeps our blood-sugar level flat and what rises up.  Accordingly, I believed that brown rice has been very popular as a healthy food based on glycemic index.

I conducted my research experiment in 1980s; not to brag about it, it was mostly the same era as Dr. David J. Jenkins presented glycemic index.  In those days, no one in Japan could have an idea that food had any effects on aggressive behaviors of children and adults so it was obvious that scientists would not willingly accept my ideas I stated in my book, “Child’s Delinquency is caused by food” published by Kodansha Co., Ltd.

Well, I need to warn you that this glycemic index has some errors you need to be careful about.  Sugar is half made of fructose which differs in composition as glucose (a factor to rise up blood-sugar level).  But fructose will transform into glucose by enzyme as it goes through a process being digested.  So if only the amount of glucose lies in food is picked up and calculated, the result is not accurate when it is properly proved by animal experiments.  Applying such results to the index is wrong.

Considering above, it is not true that fruit juice is healthy for its low glycemic index.  Depending on the amount of juice, it can become a factor to shoot up the blood-sugar level.  Time for food to be digested varies depending on its type.  Soupy food of course takes less time than solid one which requires us to chew a lot.  Here I want to point out that when we eat food containing lots of fiber, we need to chew thirty or fifty times.  Please be noted that such food does not raise blood-sugar level easily.  As you may know from my research experiment, sugar is the main factor for bringing up blood-sugar level.  Even though fruit juice does not rise up blood sugar level notably, it is not appropriate for diabetics because it is crucial for them to rise up their blood-sugar level.  Of course, diabetic people should not take either regular juice or even coffee if they contain granulated sugar.

For your reference, I cited glycemic index from Wikipedia.  By the way, have you noticed that world top tennis players often eat during break at Wimbledon?  They positively take in fructose because it instantly turns into glucose, energy.  Top athletes know that even banana can compensate for the loss of glucose (energy) in their muscle and brain during a game.

~ Delinquency is caused by food. ~ ② 

Rice is better than bread for breakfast.
Let’s compare how the blood-sugar level changes when having western-style meals, bread, and Japanese-style meals, rice.  What kind of physiological differences can be seen in students at school in the following three cases:  (Case 1) breakfast of a cup of coffee with sugar in it with pasty and a fried egg, (Case 2) breakfast of rice, miso-soup, boiled vegetables, grilled fish, and dried seaweed, a typical Japanese-style breakfast, and (Case 3) breakfast of a cup of coffee with sugar only.

I carried out a research test on seven college students to record their blood-sugar levels depending on their eating styles over three weeks.  I asked them to take rice for the first week, bread for the second week, and sugar for the third week.  The in-take calories for rice, bread, and sugar are all the same.  The result showed a striking high level of blood-sugar in 30 minutes when taking sugar.  But it was also found that the blood-sugar level also drops far lower (50) than the lowest level (100) before taking sugar in only two hours.

This also applies to children.  If they have a cup of coffee or a glass of milk only for breakfast, they are more likely to become hypoglycemia in 2 hours.  During the classes, they may feel cold sweat, heavy heart beat, or lose concentration.  I’m sure they do not care for studying at all under such condition.  In fact, the school where student violence is an issue, you can easily find empty juice cans all over the school hallway because many students go out of school property with their indoor shoes on to buy soft drinks when a break between second and third classes comes.

Comparing rice with bread, the blood-sugar level seems to drop a little quicker when taking bread.  This slight difference is due to the different forms of flour and grains.  Flour can be digested and absorbed faster than grains so glucose gets taken into body from the intestine much faster than rice.  Therefore, when we eat bread for breakfast, our blood-sugar level goes back to the original low level in a couple of hours.  When applied this to school kids, they will still be longing for lunch time during classes.

Even from the scientific perspectives, traditional Japanese food is capable of keeping our blood-sugar level in a stable state longer than any other food.  Thanks to that, we are able to concentrate in our activities without thinking about food.  This is also the reasons why a typical Japanese-style breakfast is subject to be looked upon again.

The old-fashioned starchy snacks are recommended.
Now let’s see specifically what kind of food causes hypoglycemia.  They are hard candies, chocolates, ice creams, soft drinks, and others that contain a lot of white sugar.  Sugar is composed of glucose and fructose, but its composition is so simple that it’s easily absorbed into body and thus, the blood-sugar level shoots up.

Children in old days were barely given snacks between meals, maybe once a day.  Still, they were satisfied and played energetically until dinner time.  They were usually so hungry that they would eat full meal.  This was all due to the merits that starchy snacks between meals.  The old-fashioned starchy between meals, like roasted chest nuts, sweat potatoes, candied sweet potatoes, okonomi-yaki, parched minced rice, soybean flour candies, sesame seed rice cakes, takes time to digest and they can stabilize the blood-sugar level for a long time.  Those between meals contain much less sugar and salt than snacks found in recent times.  They were firmer requiring us to chew more.  They contained more fiber, vitamins, and energy.

As you may be thinking by now, the blood-sugar level has a close relationship with eating style of children these days.  Many children in recent days have blood-sugar levels that go up and down rapidly because they eat between meals more often and what they eat usually contain much sugar.  For our children’s health and to prevent them from being delinquent, I truly suggest that we pay more attention to the blood-sugar levels.

~ Delinquency is caused by food. ~ ① Hypoglycemia makes you irritated and aggressive.

We tend to lose our temper somehow or become restless when we are hungry.  Quite a few people may have experienced that a small bite of food could settle down such irritation.

What causes you to get irritated is your blood-sugar level.  When you take food including a lot of sugar, the sugar instantly gets absorbed in the upper part of the small intestine and turns into glucose.  But it is so quick for sugar to be absorbed, so the blood-sugar level also shoots up.  This stimulates insulin to secrete, which aims to drop down the blood-sugar level.  Now the blood-sugar level drops down quickly as well so as to get lower than that of before eating sweets.  This state is referred as hypoglycemia.

Hypoglycemia makes a physically and mentally unpleasant state for people.  Some people may feel dizzy, cold sweat, or irritated.  Some may have heavy heart beat or lose concentration.  All such symptoms prevent us from effective activities at work and school.  When having hypoglycemia, we are apt to take a shortcut to bring up our blood-sugar level by eating sweets or drinking soft drink because we want to get out of the unpleasant state as soon as possible.  This is truly helpful to escape from hypoglycemia into high blood-sugar level.

But even if the blood-sugar level is back up again, as I stated earlier, it will go back down again even more quickly.  In another words, it is like a swing of the pendulum between hypoglycemia and high blood-sugar level.  As it repeats, continuously secreting abnormal amount of insulin, it shall result in a typical adult disease, diabetes. Also, abnormal secreted insulin urges to secrete too much adrenalin at the same time.  Adrenalin is a hormone which makes people become aggressive.  Adrenalin is the key factor to make us feel irritated or truculent easily and to lead us to shortsighted judgments based on which we are more likely to blame on others without accepting our own faults.

Too much adrenalin may cause serious problems with young people as more and more cases of school or domestic violence have been reported.  Some young people with abnormal amount of adrenalin get irritated so easily that they become violent by just a few words of warning.  In fact, there is a survey data indicating that delinquent children drink twice as much of soft drink as other children.  It is quite certain that hypoglycemia has something to do with delinquency.

In addition, when the blood-sugar level rapidly drops down, consumption of air in the brain also drops down.  Under such a condition, if you ever take insulin medication by mistake, you will more likely to have rapid decrease of respiration rate which can lead you into a coma.

If you have diabetes, either the blood-sugar level may rise double or it suddenly drops down unexpectedly.  In a low blood-sugar level state, our mind easily becomes unstable.  For example, we may suffer from an obsession or delusion.  We will have cold sweat often.  Such unstable mental states have high possibilities to lead us to cause traffic accidents or commit serious crime.  According to the data compiled by Ohio State Chief Probation Officer Lead, most of 106 inmates were found to have a record of abnormal blood-sugar level.

・・・continued to 『~ Delinquency is caused by food. ~② 』

Soy reduces hot flashes in menopause, study finds

Menopausal women should eat soy twice a day to ease hot flashes, according to scientists.
Researchers from the University of Delaware conducted the most comprehensive study to date on the effects of soy on menopause and found that daily servings reduced the frequency and severity of hot flashes by up to 26 percent. They reached the conclusion after reviewing 19 previous studies that examined more than 1,200 women.
Soy was first put forward as a natural treatment for menopause by Japanese researchers who noticed that women in the country, where soy consumption is high, experienced fewer hot flashes than Western women. Previous research into the subject proved inconclusive, but the Delaware scientists claimed that discrepancies in the findings were down to small sample sizes and inconsistent methodology.
“When you combine them all, we’ve found the overall effect is still positive,” according to Professor Melissa Melby, a medical anthropology professor and co-author of the study.
Ingesting at least 54 milligrams of soy isoflavones — chemicals in the legume that exert a mild estrogen-like effect — daily for six weeks to a year reduces menopause hot flash frequency by 20.6 percent and severity by 26 percent, compared to a placebo, the researchers said.
They also found that isoflavone supplements with at least 19 milligrams of genistein — one of the two main types of isoflavones — were more than twice as effective. Melby added, “Eating soy foods, or using supplements derived from whole soybeans, may work better for women.
” The findings were published in Menopause: The Journal of the North American Menopause Association.

Original source:

The Best Natural Anti-Aging Facial Mask for Your Skin!

How would you like a professional anti-aging facial mask that can keep your skin looking young but do it without the expense of going to a spa? This article will show you how to make a wonderful mask in the comfort of your home.

Facial masks are a good way to thoroughly and deeply cleanse and nourish your skin. Although there are many masks that you can buy at a drug store, I think you will find this one to be even more nutrient dense than anything in the marketplace. It is my favorite facial mask. Before I give you the recipe and directions, I’d like to first discuss the:

5 Key Ingredients!
The five key ingredients for this anti-aging facial mask are packed full of antioxidants and beautifying properties. They are easy to combine and can become part of your natural anti-aging skin care routine.

Ingredient 1 – Chocolate!
Ingredient 2 – Avocado!
Ingredient 3 – Green Tea!
Ingredient 4 – Honey!
Ingredient 5 – Oatmeal!

・・・・・・・・・For more Information and the full article is here.・・・・・・・・・・

Sign of spring: Cherry Blossom Season

Although it has not been so long since the New Year began, the first Cherry Blossom season in Japan has started here in a tropical island Okinawa. 

The bright pink petals of Prunus campanulata = Taken on 16th, Yaedake, Motobu-cho
Cited from Okinawa Times

Cherry Blossom has always been symbolized as the advent of spring among the Japanese.  Anybody feels happy when cold, dark winter ends and bright, warm spring comes. 
In a tropical island Okinawa, the lowest temperature it can get is around 10 degree Celsius, so cherry blossoms start blooming earlier than any other areas in Japan.  Also, cherry blossoms found in Okinawa are different from Prunus yedoensis, most popular and generally seen all through Japan.  It is a peculiar kind of cherry, which is called Prunus campanulata whose petals are vivid pink as you can compare the photos.

Okinawa has a milder and warmer climate than any other areas in Japan, but still the temperature gets coldest in January.  As if to prove it, there is a traditional Okinawan event called, “Muchi.”

“Muchi” is a rice cake wrapped in Shell ginger leaf.  This event is practiced on December 8th of lunar calendar (falls on January 19th this year) to wish for the safety, well-being, and prosperity of the family, especially for the children’s health and growth.  The family offers Muchi to altars thanking for peaceful life and then share the offerings.  It is believed that it’s usually the coldest time of the year when “Muchi” day comes around as people say, “Muchi bi-sa,” “Cold day.”  That is why people of Okinawa become more attentive to health of their family and themselves around this time. 

During such a cold winter day, I assume that people in Okinawa would bear the cold winter wind but go through the rest of winter time as they enjoy and appreciate the beauty of cherry blossoms.

Cherry blossoms will gradually start blooming from south to north all through Japan and it will be around beginning of April when full bloom of cherry is expected around Tokyo. 

Reference: Okinawa Times

Written by
Akiko Sugahara, Tomomi Tanaka

The anti-inflammatory diet: Eating foods to heal your body

I would like to share this article about a healthy diet focusing on the anti-inflammatory foods.  This is worth reading.
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Anti-Inflammatory Foods
According to Karen Lamphere, MS, CN, most diseases have an underlying etiology involving inflammation. Conditions like arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease, asthma, allergies, heart disease, cancer, Alzheimer’s and diabetes can be made worse or better depending on a person’s diet. Lamphere, a nutritionist based in Edmonds, Washington, prescribes a diet of anti-inflammatory foods as a way to help her clients with inflammatory diseases heal as well as ensure her healthy clients stay healthy.

What is an anti-inflammation diet?
The anti-inflammation diet is comprised of healthy, wholesome, unprocessed foods.

Anti-inflammatory fats are a cornerstone of this diet. Lamphere recommends foods high in omega-3 fatty acids, such as wild salmon, sardines, herring, anchovies, flaxseed, hempseed and walnuts. In addition, other anti-inflammatory fats include extra-virgin olive oil, avocado oil, flaxseed oil, hempseed oil and walnut oil.

Fruits and vegetables are high in inflammation-reducing antioxidants. “Fruits and vegetables high antioxidants are important, especially onions, garlic, peppers and dark leafy greens,” says Lamphere. She adds, “These are high in inflammation-fighting carotenoids, vitamin K and vitamin E.”

Herbs and spices include compounds to fight inflammation. Lamphere explains, “Turmeric, oregano, rosemary, ginger and green tea contain bioflavonoids and polyphenols that reduce inflammation and limit free radical production.”
She adds, “Some of the most potent anti-inflammatory vegetables are peppers and the spices derived from them, such as cayenne pepper. All chili peppers include capsaicin (the hotter the pepper, the more capsaicin it has), which is a potent inhibitor of substance P, a neuropeptide associated with inflammatory processes.”


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This Web site includes lots of useful articles that shall meet your interests and needs.  Check it out!

Hirayama Ikuo and Heart of Great Perfect Wisdom Sutra (Hannya Shingyo)

Last year, I introduced in my radio show about Mr. Ikuo Hirayama and his handbook.  The book compiles all his paintings of Master Tripitaka bringing Heart of Great Perfect Wisdom Sutra, Hannya Shingyo, from India to China.  The book also includes sutra of Hannya Shingyo.  I had a chance to ask the producer of the book to talk about Mr. Hirayama’s life.

Not many people can instantly recognize what Hannya Shingyo is.  Some people may remember a movie, “Little Buddha” starring Keanu Reeves.  In the last scene of the movie when a monk passes away, Hannya Shingyo is recited.

Hannya Shingyo is the shortest sutra; therefore, it is difficult to understand, especially for the idea of emptiness which can be interpreted as no five senses.  (There is truly nothing to appreciate by our senses.)  No fear or anxieties exist.  Since it shall deny all the ordinary joy that we usually find in our life, we may tend to repel where we can find our happiness. 

Then, is it impossible for human beings to acquire a tranquil mind that overcome diseases, pains, or even deaths unless they sit in Zen meditation for 5 hours every day?  This is unreasonable! 

When Mr. Hirayama was 15 years old, he was working as a student-worker in Hiroshima.  Unfortunately, his work site happened to be at the hypocenter of the blast of the atomic bomb was dropped.  He was the only one survived.  Later in his life when he became a junior in college, he was dying from leukemia, an idea came up to his mind.  It was to draw one painting of Master Tripitaka bringing back sutra.  This became his debut work as an artist.  Surprisingly, his disease extinguished, and he was endowed with a prolonged life to pursue drawing 200 pieces of Silk Road.

After that, he started his journey on his own expense for the purpose to contribute 12 pieces paintings of Silk Road and Master Tripitaka to Yakushi-ji Temple.  He went on the journey for almost 200 times and would spend ten million yen for a caravan each time.  He always took his wife along.  For some paintings, he would use premium paints specialized for Japanese Paintings, which cost over 10 million yen each.  During his journey, he was attacked and pointed a gun by pirates.  I assume that the total cost for his journey would reach as much as 10 billion yen.

The way of his life is just like Master Tripitaka.  I am greatly impressed by high caliber of his paintings and beauty of his exceptionally clear drawings, and above all, I can feel a power full of life.

Hannya Shingyo is difficult to understand, but when we concentrate on our own missions and ambitions in life, the macrocosm would miraculously coordinate all the conditions so that we will have no fears or anxieties.  Mr. Hirayama had a big ambition that he wanted to leave his paintings.  He had no fears toward anything, even to his own death.  He did not worry about the cost of 10 billion yen that he would need for his journey.  He believed that he could accomplish his mission as he sold his paintings on the way.  He had such a strong faith that he had no fear or anxiety to earn money and made a miracle happen. 

Hannya Shingyo is difficult to understand, but if we have an ambition and pray with a benevolent mind, there shall be a way ahead.  The pirates did not hurt Mr. Hirayama.  He could manage to go on his journey.  His paintings would heal many people’s mind and provide power that would last for hundreds of years.

His mission was accomplished due to the couple’s love.  Mr. Hirayama and his wife supported and cheered up each other all the time so he could sketch in the sunbaked desert or in the Himalayas where it goes down to 40 degrees below zero.  It may not be easy to get rid of all the worries, but if you concentrate on the bigger hope, just like looking up to the Polestar without paying attention to anything else, as you look back, you’ll find that you have made a big accomplishment that is much more worthwhile than your five senses.  This is what I think Mr. Hirayama is trying to tell us even after his death: great way of life that Hannya Shingyo preaches us

You can buy Mr. Hirayama’s handbook at Tokyo Shoseki Co. Ltd.  It has many incredible paintings of the landscapes between capital of Tang and Silk Road, over the Himalayas, up to India, and backwards.  You may find a used copy for about 800yen. 

(Cited from Hirayama Ikuo Museum Official Homepage)