A Better Breakfast

A Better Breakfast
4.4 (87.97%) 118 votes

The antioxidant power of American breakfast fare is compared to a smoothie that contains berries, white tea leaves, and Indian gooseberry (amla) powder.


According to this study, by far the most comprehensive of its kind in history, there are only three whole foods on the planet that have more antioxidant power than cloves. One of them is amla—dried Indian gooseberries. Now, not only is it more powerful, but also more palatable. You could add a whole teaspoon of amla to a smoothie, and probably wouldn’t even taste it. Try doing that with a teaspoon of powdered cloves. One sip; you’d be on the floor!

Let’s look at the antioxidant content of some typical American breakfast foods: bacon [7] and eggs [+8], for example. A bowl of corn flakes [25] with milk [+9]. Egg McMuffin [16]. Pancakes [16] with maple syrup [+9]. Bagel [24] with cream cheese [+2].

Compare those to the smoothie I had this morning. A cup of unsweetened soymilk [16], a half a cup of frozen blueberries [+535]. Whoa! Alright? Already, I’ve got to shrink the scale way down. The pulp of a nice ripe Mexican mango [+124]. Note the mango alone has more antioxidants than the other breakfasts. A tablespoon of ground flax seeds, and my previous secret ingredient, a palmful of bulk white tea leaves [+101]—just throw them in there and blend them in.

Now, that used to be my breakfast smoothie, but now, a teaspoon of that gooseberry powder [+782], and we’re off the charts again. Look at it. That’s about four cents’ worth of amla—four pennies—and look what it does to my smoothie. 1,500 units of antioxidant power, and I haven’t even fully woken up yet! Way more than the five other meals combined. In fact, more than the average person gets in an entire week.

I could drink my smoothie and eat nothing but donuts the rest of the week, and most people still wouldn’t catch up. Notice, though, that even though I packed the blender with amazing stuff— blueberries, tea leaves—fully half of the antioxidant power came from that single teaspoon, that four cents’ worth of powdered gooseberries.

To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video. This is transcript contributed by Bruce A. Hamilton.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Images thanks to Stangoldsmith, Fir0002, H. Zell, Potesara, Miguel Andrade, Evan-Amos, NIH, Rumun999, and WJ Houtman via Wikimedia Commons, and Renee Comet for the National Cancer Institute.

According to this study, by far the most comprehensive of its kind in history, there are only three whole foods on the planet that have more antioxidant power than cloves. One of them is amla—dried Indian gooseberries. Now, not only is it more powerful, but also more palatable. You could add a whole teaspoon of amla to a smoothie, and probably wouldn’t even taste it. Try doing that with a teaspoon of powdered cloves. One sip; you’d be on the floor!

Let’s look at the antioxidant content of some typical American breakfast foods: bacon [7] and eggs [+8], for example. A bowl of corn flakes [25] with milk [+9]. Egg McMuffin [16]. Pancakes [16] with maple syrup [+9]. Bagel [24] with cream cheese [+2].

Compare those to the smoothie I had this morning. A cup of unsweetened soymilk [16], a half a cup of frozen blueberries [+535]. Whoa! Alright? Already, I’ve got to shrink the scale way down. The pulp of a nice ripe Mexican mango [+124]. Note the mango alone has more antioxidants than the other breakfasts. A tablespoon of ground flax seeds, and my previous secret ingredient, a palmful of bulk white tea leaves [+101]—just throw them in there and blend them in.

Now, that used to be my breakfast smoothie, but now, a teaspoon of that gooseberry powder [+782], and we’re off the charts again. Look at it. That’s about four cents’ worth of amla—four pennies—and look what it does to my smoothie. 1,500 units of antioxidant power, and I haven’t even fully woken up yet! Way more than the five other meals combined. In fact, more than the average person gets in an entire week.

I could drink my smoothie and eat nothing but donuts the rest of the week, and most people still wouldn’t catch up. Notice, though, that even though I packed the blender with amazing stuff— blueberries, tea leaves—fully half of the antioxidant power came from that single teaspoon, that four cents’ worth of powdered gooseberries.

To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video. This is transcript contributed by Bruce A. Hamilton.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Images thanks to Stangoldsmith, Fir0002, H. Zell, Potesara, Miguel Andrade, Evan-Amos, NIH, Rumun999, and WJ Houtman via Wikimedia Commons, and Renee Comet for the National Cancer Institute.

Doctor's Note

Be sure to check out my other videos on antioxidants and amla and don’t miss all my videos on ranking foods.

Also, check out my associated blog posts for more context: Açai to Zucchini: antioxidant food rankingsIs Caffeinated Tea Really Dehydrating?Top 10 Most Popular Videos of the YearHibiscus Tea: The Best Beverage?Flax Seeds for Prostate CancerTreating Breast Pain with Flax SeedsWhich Common Fruit Fights Cancer Better?; and Mushrooms and Immunity.

By the way, is breakfast really the most important meal of the day? Check out my new 2020 series on chronobiology

If you haven’t yet, you can subscribe to my videos for free by clicking here.

242 responses to “A Better Breakfast

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  1. Please feel free to post any ask-the-doctor type questions here in the comments section and I’d be happy to try to answer them. Be sure to check back for the other videos on antioxidants and don’t miss all the videos on ranking foods. And there are 1,449 subjects covered in the rest of my videos–please feel free to explore them!

    1. I have a problem with phlem in my throat. I am constantly clearing my throat. I think it is post nasal drip.
      Is there specific foods that could clear this up?

      1. This actually sounds like a symptom of refulx. Simple solution for thinning phlegm is drinking much more water/tea (don’t add sugar), and you can try “steaming” (https://sallysalmononline.com/2014/08/10/the-wonders-of-steaming-your-voice/) in the dry months as well as adding a humidifier, taking hot showers, etc. That constant cough or tickle in your throat, though, sounds more like silent reflux (http://www.healthline.com/health/silent-reflux#overview1). Luckily, refulx, GERD or LPR, can be treated by diet and small lifestyle changes! Don’t use PPIs though, more people have reflux due to low stomach acid than too much stomach acid; really what you want is to find the reason your lower esophageal sphincter isn’t closing/staying closed and avoid that pattern (sometimes it’s a specific food (or drink), set of foods,or habit: laying down or vigorous exercise too soon after eating). I recommend the book “Dropping Acid: the Reflux Diet Cookbook and Cure” Koufman, Stern, and Bauer, and you may want to get a diagnosis from an ENT, but like I said, be wary of PPIs.

          1. That was PPI with an eye rather than an el. It means Proton Pump Inhibitor. Usually a pill, taken to reduce gastric acid production.

    2. I have a sensitivity to caffeine products in which it makes my heart beat fast. Are the green tea leaves or white naturally have cafeeine in them?

    3. In stead of Amla Indian gooseberry powder One can rely on Chyawan prash which is rich in other life enhancing rich herbs.
      Ramesh Kumar Sharma

    4. Do you have a recipe for a good whole food green smoothie. You talk about having green smoothie to get that extra greens that we need I haven’t been able to find one that taste good without added sugar

      1. Hi Marisa,

        It’s a year later so who knows if you will see this. I hope you do. This is a tasty smoothie that began because I wanted to use the bushel of Cortland apples I bought for the winter. With a high strength blender (Vitamix), there’s no reason to remove the core, seeds or stem. Same with all the other ingredients. WHOLE food, dontcha know.

        I started with just 3 ingredients, apple, mandarins and walnuts. And water. Then I realized I could add GREENS for “free.” I mean, you eat the greens without the bitter taste. They turn the smoothie green but it has a fruity taste. It’s like a liquid dessert. So I started with kale and collards. These days I use kale, mustard greens, collards, turnip greens and fresh mint–that last one’s taste does come through. I think a restaurant review would call it a “minty undertone.”

        I change the ingredients all the time so I’ll just list everything I’ve used. To be sugar free, use water as the medium. I drink vanilla soy milk which has sugar. For the liquid I use just water, or water/soy milk, or straight soy milk. Silk makes a sugar-free soy milk.
        I still start with Cortlands, mandarins and walnuts. Then mix and match. This is 100% WHOLE food if you use water.

        from some to none:
        cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, nutmeg

        kale, any of several varieties; mustard, turnip and collard greens; fresh mint.

        Cortland apple, mandarin oranges, red grapes, black grapes, cranberries, blueberries, blackberries, dried goji berries

        walnuts, flaxseed, sunflower seeds

        Bon appetit!

    5. Hi! Because in europe i cant find amla as food suplement i’m wondering if 100% organic amla powder for hair treatment is the same?

      Thank you!

    6. Can you please give me a name of the white tea you use in your smoothie? I need a little more direction, please; there are lots of options on Amazon! Thanks.

  2. That sounds like an excellent antioxidant-rich breakfast smoothie! I really like your videos that introduce new recipes and I can’t wait to try this one!

    And I have two questions about this recipe:

    1- Are you concerned about the effects of soymilk on the nutritional value of your smoothie, as it has already been shown to block the benefits of tea http://nutritionfacts.org/video/soymilk-suppression

    2- Was the DHA-rich algae oil deliberately omitted for some reason (it seems only natural to throw some in to this recipe)?

  3. Excellent video. I do a daily smoothie of packed organic spinach blended with water, a super-ripe organic banana, some organic apple or organic carrot, chia seeds, stevia, ice, and (organic) raspberries, blueberries, peaches, or mango. I LOVE the idea of grinding white (or green) tea into the smoothie! So brilliant! Now I want to add amla powder… but where to get it? And since I am committed to organics, how can I be sure of its safe provenance? Thanks!!

          1. We have no Indian grocery store here so I’ve been buying the Terrasoul amla from Amazon SMILE too (Amazon Smile allows you to make a donation to Nutritionfacts dot org when you purchase there!yay!) …this most recent purchase was $13.99 for a 12 ounce bag of it.

      1. I am Dinesh Joshi from Jaipur Rajasthan India.I have 100 Amla trees at my farm.Where we produce pure organic amla and prepare amla fruit n amla powder as prescribed in Indian Ayurvedic literature.

  4. I looked in 3 Indian grocery stores before finding dried amla, along with frozen amla and candied amla (which is very tasty). Amazing how cheap it was, but the store owner cautioned me not to eat too much. How much amla do you recommend daily?

    1. This is something I’d like to know. Is there a level at which efficacy plateaus? Is there a level at which it becomes harmful? 

      I’m thinking a teaspoon or two a day won’t kill me, but it’s always good to know if there’s an upper limit that might be reached by a reasonable person with a reasonable diet (as opposed to someone eating several kgs of the stuff every day for 8 months, for example).

      1. I would also like to know if there is any risk associated with so many antioxidants, if I continue to eat antioxidant rich meals through out the day could I get to much? I am aware that too many antioxidants can themselves create DANA damage…

        Also, any problem with giving this stuff to my 2 year old son in his smoothies?

    2. Did the store owner say why you shouldn’t eat too much? Is it because of a laxative effect, or is it actually harmful? I have a teaspoon a day, and I feel great.

  5. Do all anti-oxidants give the same benefit or do some benefit one organ or prevent one disease, while another does something else good for you? What are the main benefits of anti-oxidants?

  6. I love this video! I appreciate that you are willing to share your personal life with us. It shows you really believe what you share in the videos and it gives us practical food ideas from which to start.

    Thanks to other posters here who have shared their ideas/smoothie recipes. I’m thinking of putting some amla powder in my oatmeal if I can find the powder.

    I’m not a huge fan of smoothies. My current morning breakfast consists of: steelcut oatmeal with cocoa power, bananas, raisins, vanilla extract, dried mango, ground flax and sometimes a small pinch of cinnamon and/or cloves.

    My directions: Add 3 cups water, 2 bananas, 6 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder (more or less to your taste, I probably do more like 10 tblspns) and about a tablespoon of vanilla extract to a blender. Also add spices if desired. Mix it all up good. Mix the blended mixture in a GIANT microwave safe bowl with 1.5 cups steelcut oatmeal. Cook in the microwave for 11 minutes (stiring once at 6 minutes and again at the end). Then let it sit over night in the microwave to finish cooking. This is usually enough to last for 5 days.

    When ready to eat, dish out the cooked chocolate oatmeal mixture into a bowl, top with ground flax seed, dried fruit and a lot of almond milk.

    When I warm up the individual serving with the topping in the microwave (1-2 minutes), the flax meal and dried mango get soft. It’s really yummy.

    Now, if I could add some amla powder, I would be doing pretty well! Maybe not as good as Dr. Greger’s smoothy, but still pretty healthy I would think.

    1. Thanks, Thea, for sharing your chocolate oatmeal recipe with us. I for one think the ingredients are as close to ideal as possible! I certainly will give your recipe a try and let you know what I think.

      1. BPCveg: You made my day! Thanks for the feedback. I’m *so* glad your family enjoyed the chocolate oatmeal.

        Yes, I made it up. I’m trying to make my vegan diet feel decadent, while still being healthy. I love chocolate… I haven’t historically liked oatmeal at all, but I think it is an important healthy breakfast. I surprised myself when I found that I actually like oatmeal with the chocolate and bananas cooked in — and with the dried fruit on top. Also, I don’t like cooking on the stove. I love the microwave. So, I kept experimenting until I found the right amount of microwave cooking (and a big enough container so it doesn’t ooze over).

        Here’s a couple more ideas for you to keep it interesting. These are ideas for flavor changes. I have either tried these already or am thinking about doing it:

        *a little bit of instant coffee to make a mocha version,
        *some almond extract for “chocolate-almond” flavor,
        *some dates in addition to bananas for added sweetness.
        *And of course, once I get my hands on it, I’m going to try adding the amla powder.
        *Also, while flax seed may have the most lignans, if I remember correctly, I believe that Dr. Greger said that chia seeds have more fiber. So, to mix it up, sometimes I use ground chia instead of flax. (Dr. Greger has a couple of videos on the importance of fiber.)

        I’m always looking for new ideas. Feel free to share if you come up with a yummy twist on the oatmeal.

        1. Wow! I hope that someday you create a blog with all of your recipes! Thanks also for providing some more variations on your oatmeal breakfast.

        2. Amla is sour. It will spoil the taste of this recipe. You want to consume Amla in a soup or with a salad ( I like kale, bean salsa, guacamole, onion and Amla powder.
          Of course smoothies would be an obvious way but looks like you do not care for smoothies…

    2. Great recipe Thea. You may want to consider the fact that heating anything over 110 degrees (pasteurization) kills the life force. For example, a carrot top will grow in a dish if cut off and watered, but not if it is pasteurized. All processed products sold in stores are pasteurized, including fruit and veggie juices.  

      All seeds are seeds, that is they have a life force that is the life that grows into the plant. When pasteurized, the life force is killed. When I make oatmeal, I put the seeds on or in after the oarmeal is cooked. When I make smoothies I use seeds at room temp (no cooking). I also grind the flax seeds before putting them into my Vitamix to break them open (otherwise they go right through you without releasing their nutrients). Just some ideas to consider.

      I ordered Alma powder from Superorganicfoods.com, the first time I have ordered from them. The price seemed reasonable. 

      When I make my smoothies, I throw in a hand full of spinach, a slice of red cabbage and some kale leaves and other superfoods. You can see my green smoothie recipe at thehealthandnutritioncenterdotcom. 


      1. There is no scientific evidence that heating foods kills the so-called “life force” (something which has no scientific meaning). If that were the case, then killing animals – and cooking them – would clearly kill the “life force” that provides us with nutrients… yet that is clearly not the case. Another case in point – heating tomatoes would clearly kill their life-force, yet scientific studies show that heating them releases anti-oxidants. As far as the scientific basis for debunking “life-force” claims, see the multitude of studies showing that seeds survive high temperature (and thus disprove your claim), available here…


        Let’s not mix superstition with science!

          1. A more scientific word to use than “life force” would be enzymes and antioxidants. Cooking kills almost all enzymes and antioxidants. Try to consider someone else’s point of view before throwing away the possibility that they might have something.
            John S
            PDX OR

            1. Thank you for being able to help both sides understand each other better, and obtain this helpful information. That is a true gift.

      2. I put flaxseed in my Vitamix made smoothies. I thought it liquified them. I don’t see any in what I drink so I assume the Vitamix pulverized them without me having to grind them.

  7. Please tell me where to get the kind of Amla Powder that you get. If I am going to do this I want to get the best that I can and there are always wannabees out there. Thanks.

    1. Jeane: This video is a series of videos on the subject of alma. If you check out the previous videos, I think you will see that Dr. Greger mentions that he got his powder from a local Indian store near his home. He shows a picture of the bottle, which may or may not be the brand that he got (I don’t know).

      I don’t have an Indian store in my city and as another poster mentioned, my preference would be for organic. I have been doing a search on-line for the powder. I did find a site that sells what looks to be high-quality (I’m familiar with the brand, but I can’t swear to the quality) organic amla powder. But it is rather expensive. I’m not sure if it is acceptable to post to other sites that sell things or not. So, I’ll just say that the site’s name is “Super Organic Foods” and the product is “Organic Amla Powder” .

      That’s as far as I have gotten on the subject. If you or anyone else comes up with a good source, organic or not, please share it with the rest of us.

  8. I ordered mine from mountainroseherbs.com since I have no Indian store in my small town. The amla they sell is organic…they have the dried fruit as well as the powder…I ordered both. I have used this source before several times and have had very good results from my orders. Hope this helps someone.

      1. I received both the dried and powdered amla from the mail order source mentioned in the above post…the dried amla is rock hard…not “squishy” like a raisin, and of course, the powder is…well….powder. These are not as nasty tasting (to me) as I was expecting, although I will have to grind the “dried” amla so it will be usable to mix with other foods or drinks. On the other hand, my husband had other words for “nasty-tasting”.

      1. Haha! So one pays $24.15 from one store and $22.95 from the other. With that small difference (if they haven’t gotten greedier and more expensive by time I check them out), I would go by other factors: customer service, state tax, and such.

    1. According to this video, yes: http://nutritionfacts.org/video/is-matcha-good-for-you/ I quote: “whopping loads of nutrition” and “never leave home without it”.

  9. I have looked at my local Indian Spice store and they had lots of kinds of Amla, but no powdered Amla. Is there a place online to buy it?

    1. Increasing the amount of antioxidant rich food in your diet can be very beneficial and may help prevent cancer. Whether excessive antioxidants can be harmful depends on the individual and the source of antioxidants. For some people with specific mineral absorption issues some antioxidants can further reduce the bioavailability of minerals, which is often resolved by avoiding certain food combinations. If you are getting antioxidants from whole food plant based sources (rather than supplements) than I would suggest you keep trying to boost your antioxidant intake, just like Dr. Greger does!
      Just be cautious of supplements. For example, vitamins A and E are antioxidants, but studies have shown that excessive supplementation of these vitamins can cause toxic effects, and even decrease lifespan. Check out Dr Greger’s video on Antioxidant Vitamin Supplements: http://nutritionfacts.org/videos/antioxidant-vitamin-supplements/
      I hope this helps!

  10. If I understand correctly, amla has been used as an Ayurvedic medicine. Has it been studied as a daily nutritional supplement? Might it be too powerful in this role?

  11. jms asks the question that concerns me. There have been studies regarding ingesting too much vitamin C – which is abundant in Amla. If I remember correctly the conclusion was related to kidney stones or damage and the studies were done as a result of Linus Pauling’s claims. Perhaps that only related to supplements?? Please give us some more info about alma. I haven’t been able to find any info regarding other antioxidants in alma. Like others, I also have been unable to find it in stores.

    1. Amla is indeed one of the richest known sources of vitamin C, but it makes up only 0.3-1% of the fruit. Due to the astringency of Indian gooseberries, it would be difficult to reach the levels that have been found to be potentially harmful when given in supplement form. That’s the wonderful thing about ones nutrients from whole foods!

  12. I can’t find powdered amla anywhere! At Indian stores I can only find amla marketed as a hair tonic, in very small jars, and the powder is brown, not white as in the video–I have no idea if it is edible.

    Does anyone know a reliable source of amla powder? I live in Hong Kong. Although there are health food stores and Indian stores here I have struck out so far. I would be willing to have it shipped though.


    1. hongkonger18: After Dr. Greger’s video came out, there was a run on amla powder and the two sites that I wanted to purchase from both posted “out of stock” explaining that they had an unexpected run on the stuff. ;-)

      Since that time, both sites seem to have the powder back in stock. I don’t know if either site will ship to your location or not, but it might be worth checking out:



      If you don’t care whether or not the amla is organic, I would think that you could find it cheaper elsewhere.

      Good luck!

  13. Hello,
    Very interesting video! Thank you!
    I was wondering though, in a recent video about Amla versus diabetes ( http://nutritionfacts.org/videos/amla-versus-diabetes/ ), you show clearly that Amla reduces the fasting blood sugar.
    So, I was wondering if the consumption of Amla for someone with hypoglycemia would be dangerous or “having no effects” (as some whole food / plants sometimes helps with one condition but doesn’t affect the opposite condition) ?

    Thank you again

  14. The human body is wired to maintain blood sugar (glucose) levels in the blood by a number of mechanisms. Patients with type 2 diabetes who go on a low fat whole plant diet need to monitor their sugars closely as their medications can lead to low blood sugar. Given home glucose monitoring this is easily done under the direction of a knowledgeable health care provider. Patients with insulin dependent diabetes usually notice a decrease in their need for insulin and can easily make the appropriate adjustments working with their health care professionals. In nondiabetic patients there are some uncommon conditions that will cause “hypoglycemia” but in their absence the diagnosis of “hypoglycemia” can in fact be due to a variety of other conditions such as ketosis. Individual response to whole foods or processed foods can be varied so caution is always in order. This is especially true if you have a condition which may be worsened by a particular processed food. You want to avoid overcoming the bodies ability to maintain acceptable levels of blood sugar (glucose).

  15. Dr Greger,
    Thanks very much for your huge effort in educating folks like myself.  Your videos are the biggest “inspiration” that I’ve seen anywhere to go vegan.  I’m not far from it, thus, had questions for you.With almond milk – I like it the most of all non-dairy options.  Do you think some (those with no allergies to nuts) can still experience digestive problems with it and other non-dairy milks in general?  It seems to work very well for every purpose other than coffee, but I think I get flatulence/gassiness sometimes.  I’ve been purchasing it and plan on starting to make my own to avoid all additives, in case they might be irritating.With flax – after I start including it in diet (smoothies work the best),do you think there is adjustment period stomach wise?

    1.   Anyone can have or develop allergies to any plant foods. There are some
      that are more likely to cause problems than others. The “fancy” medical
      tests we do involving blood and skin tests can be helpful but not
      always. The proof is in the experience. The studies show that adults on a
      plant based diet have less allergies in general…
      http://nutritionfacts.org/video/preventing-allergies-in-adulthood/  and
      in children see
      http://nutritionfacts.org/video/preventing-childhood-allergies/. There is an adjustment period to going on a plant based diet
      due to increased fiber and other factors. Going on a vegan diet will
      have an effect on stools see..
      http://nutritionfacts.org/video/food-mass-transit/The intestinal tract
      is a complex ecosystem that needs time to adjust. Each patient is
      different. Congratulations on your progress. Good luck on your journey.

        1.   Vera, Thanks for picking up the mistake… Dr.Greger correctly added the link I intended to use… thanks Michael!!

  16. Hello,
    thanks for this great video!  
    the only amla i can get my hands on include 15% of Maltodextrin. 
    From what I can find online about Maltodextrin, it makes me wonder if to purchase it at all can you elaborate on Maltodextrin? and should I purchase the powder despite the Maltodextrin?

  17. Be careful with the amount of green tea that you put into your smoothie.  I grind the tea first to make it blend better although I have noticed that if I put more than a large spoonful in then I will get heart palpitations.  I looked this up online and apparently this is a common side effect with eating too much green tea.  Apparently green tea pills are now in vogue for weight loss and this is one of the complaints.  If you use white tea like the good doctor then perhaps you will avoid this as there is significantly less caffeine.  

  18. I am SO glad to have discovered this web site!  I love the short to-the-point videos, the great graphics, and the humor.  It turned me into a vegan.  On banyanbotanicals.com their quality control statement lists their limits for lead and mercury as 20 mcg per day, cadmium 6, and arsenic 10, and that they are within the safety guidelines of ANSI 173.  Is that good enough, or is it like having a cholesterol within the normal range but having a heart attack?

    1.  You should use products that don’t have any lead, mercury, cadmium and arsenic. In Dr. Greger’s video… http://nutritionfacts.org/video/some-ayurvedic-medicine-worse-than-lead-paint-exposure/ it appears that 1 in 5 had lead. You should be able to find products that have very little or preferably none. Your body doesn’t need any of those metals and even though your body can rid itself of them it is best to avoid. Congratulations on your transition to an improved diet. I think you will find it is a “healthy” journey although it is possible to be a “sick” or “fat” vegan. Check out Dr. Greger’s video’s on Vitamin B12 this past February to make sure your B12 intake is adequate. Other resources that are helpful and commercial free are Dr. John McDougall’s website and the website for the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine(PCRM). Good luck.

    1. A half gallon a day Kenton! I no longer do the teabags, though, but the bulk dried hibiscus flowers themselves. My current recipe is a handful of dried hibiscus flowers in 8 cups of water with a penny sized chunk of fresh ginger root, handful of fresh mint leaves, teaspoon of amla and erythritol to taste (3 tablespoons for me)–all blended up in a high speed blender and then sipped throughout the day. I sure miss my concoction when I’m on the road. Anyone have any suggestions for improving it even further (taste or nutrition-wise)?

      1. Have you tried the dried hibiscus flowers in your morning smoothie as well? If I were to cut open a zinger teabag and add to my smoothie, would that be recommended over cold brewed tea?

  19. I’m curious if there is such thing as too much of a good thing? I try to include in my current smoothie most of the items which Dr. Greger recommends in his videos in such a way that is most convenient to me, but what intake is too much if there is such a thing? I make a large smoothie and consume it throughout the day, the fruit content consists of 3 cups of OJ, 2 Bananas, 2 cups Soy Milk, 2 cups Blueberries, a mixture of Pineapple, Strawberries and Mango as well as a 2 cup mixture of Raspberries and Blackberries. Next I use 2 Tbsp ground Flax, 2 Tbsp Chia seed, 1 Tbsp Amla powder, 1 tsp 4:1 ratio Hibiscus powder, 1/2 tsp Holy Basil and finally a palm full of White Tea leaves. I wonder sometimes if this is overkill for daily consumption and ending up as expensive urine or is put to good use when spread out over the day?

  20. The smoothy had massive amounts of antioxidants. I had some questions:

    1. Is there some amount that is too much?
    2. Are there certain antioxidants that are better or worse than others for certain types of individuals, given differences in health, disposition, imbalances etc.? For example, ECGC from green tea has certain benefits that have been studied and is thought to have some superior benefits-I’ve heard.

  21. Dr. Greger,

    thanks so much for this site. it is a grat resource. you include amla in your smoothie. you also recently recommended fenugreek. I am concerned that both of these spices lower blood sugar by promoting insulin production. is that a good thing? I believe dr. joel fuhrman has said that drugs that promote insulin production may be bad for you in the long run.

  22. After seeing one of DR. Greger’s videos on gooseberries and triphala (a high oxidant powdered form that contains gooseberries and a couple of other berries) I was curious, though wanted to be cautious re. his warning about the often high levels of lead, mercury, cadmium and arsenic found in gooseberry and triphala powders. I found an online retailer (Z Natural Foods) that sells organic versions and when I asked them if that meant that they were tested for lead, mercury, cadmium, and arsenic they said yes. So based on believing them I’ve been getting triphala from them and using it in my smoothies.

    1. Organic Certification in the US requires growing on land that has no KNOWN prior history of persistent toxic exposure. Its unlikely that certified organic food would contain excessive amounts of toxins. US Organic Certification though generally does not require testing food for contaminants. Production methods are prescribed, but there is a very small possibility prior toxic land use could be unknown or not disclosed as required by law.

      I can tell you from first hand experience, being poisoned by imported foods from places like China and India, with their notoriously lax environmental laws, is a very real possibility.

  23. This is interesting, but why are antioxidants important for health? Aren’t the ratings for foods’ antioxidant values determing by a peice of laboratory equipment? Is there any proof that these numbers from the lab will translate into better health in some way? I’ve read that our bodies make their own antioxidants and that we need free radicals for healing and fighting bacteria, so would too many antioxidants hinder healing and weaken our immunity?

  24. Sticks to Your Ribs Rather than Your Buns Cinnabun

    – 1 cup millet
    – 3 cups water
    – 1 heaping tbsp Ceylon cinnamon http://nutritionfacts.org/video/the-safer-cinnamon/
    – 1 heaping tsp ground ginger
    – ¼ tsp ground cloves
    – ¼ tsp nutmeg
    – 2 handfuls raisins
    – 1 tbsp date sugar
    – 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
    – Pinch sea salt

    Place all ingredients in a pot and stir to combine. Bring to a boil. Turn off heat and leave pot on the hot burner, covered, until millet cooked and fluffy, about 40 minutes. Serve topped with flaxseed meal, nuts, and fresh fruit.

    Mix a cup of leftovers with 2 tbsp flaxseed meal, one sliced banana, handful almonds and top with a little boiling water or rice/almond milk.

    Bookmark my new Plant-Based Emporium Facebook page for all my latest recipes. https://www.facebook.com/PlantBasedEmporium?ref=stream&hc_location=timeline

    ~Complements of lovestobevegan

  25. Hi Doc, thanks for your website, I have newly discovered it and am excited to learn so much about nutrition. My question is whether Amla powder is safe to put in my children’s smoothies and home-made popsicles? I would probably put about a teaspoon per litre of mixture. Thank you!

  26. I work very hard to avoid “nuts, berries, seeds” for the obvious reason of diverticulitis. How do I use the blueberries (or another “seed” fruits) in order to have what sounds like wonderful benefits.

  27. My vitamix shake: 3/4 cup water, 1/4 cup pomegranate juice, 1 bannana, apple skin, flaxseeds, sesame seeds, almonds, cinnamon, turmeric, himalayan salt, carrot, kale, frozen blueberries, 2 frozen strawberries, frozen raspberries. Maybe cherries or canteloupe if I have it too. Basically anything healthy goes in!

    1. I’d like to hear Dr. Greger’s opinion on the claim that blending fruits and vegetables into a smoothie “destroys 90% of the nutrients” by whipping in air and thus causing oxidation.

      1. I’ve seen no credible studies to support that claim. There are of course a variety of nutrients involved. Processing has some effects. One study on preloading (i.e. eating a food before the regular meal) showed that a whole apple vs blending vs juiced had a different effect. The effect was total calories consumed. It was less with the whole apple and more with the apple juice… blending was in the middle.

      2. I have never seen a study on this and I don’t believe it to be true. It is a possibility some oxidation occurs but not at the rate described and most assuredly not a 90% reduction in antioxidant content.

        1. That is my feeling as well. The claim comes from Dr. Brian Clement of the Hippocrates Health Institute. He says that blending causes oxidation which leads to fermentation and putrification. He also talks about the “ill combination of fruits and vegetables” leading to more fermentation and putrification. He refers to this as “real science” yet does not quote a single study. To me it sounds like dogmatic nonsense. That is why I was hoping Dr. Greger might have more insight as he always relies on REAL science.

          1. PschMD: Agreed. While Dr. Greger can not possibly cover every study ever done, I am certain he would have covered a legitimate study on “ill combination of fruits and vegetables” if one existed. :-) Not that I speak for Dr. Greger. I’m just throwing in my 2 cents.

  28. One of the confusions faced by us mere mortals is differences in opinions of the experts. Definitely you are talking about an anti-oxidant rich smoothie there. Jeff Novick repeated warns people not to drink their calories, how juice/smoothies have a similar blood sugar response to sugary drinks, but not to eating whole fruit, that blending fruit into a smoothie (I’m not talking about juicing here) destroys much of the fiber. So I quit drinking smoothies. You make me want to start again. I wish there were one clear answer.

  29. My wife has stage 4 breast cancer and I daily prepare a my own anticancer green smoothie concoction for her which seems to help based on her appearance and test results. Sometimes I save a portion in the fridge to give to her later. Do vital phytonutrients, anti-oxydents, etc. evaporate within a certain amount of time? Would it be better to avoid saving such smoothies and just go with all freshly prepared? Or is any loss minimal within a certain amount of time?

  30. This meal does not have enough starch. The body needs starch for energy. If you’re eating this with oatmeal, then OK. This meal does not stand alone.

  31. does anyone know where to get amla powder specially the brand that Dr. Greger is showing here. Is it local or imported from India.

      1. Thanks for the link Thea, the only Amla powder I have had was a generous gift from Dr. Greger and I had no idea where I could find more. I found dried amla online but powdered is definitely the way to go. Thanks!

    1. I’ve recently bought Terrasoul brand certified organic amla powder from amazon.com; 12 ounce bag for $12, just saying if this is also of help to you. I use 1-2 teaspoons each day either in my oats or my dark berry concoction, which I alternate for breakfast. :-)

  32. Dr. Greger, Where can we get the Amla powder you use?. I’ve found many, but don’t necessarily trust the contents. Thanks!

  33. How does Camu Camu powder compare to Amla? The package I have claims an ORAC value of 2049 per 1/4 tsp serving (1 gram).

  34. OK. So there are lots of antioxidants in Amla. Is there any research that Amla actually results in any improved health outcomes? As we know there could be other chemicals in Amla that could be equally harmful, so without data on health outcomes, how can you recommend? I was recently diagnosed with breast cancer so I want to change my diet to foods and supplements that have evidence to support their effectiveness.

  35. Three questions: 1) Where to get bulk white tea leaves? 2) Can I use whole amla — and if so do I need to soak before blending? 3) Is there a nutritional difference between “traditionally dried” whole amla and dehydrated whole amla? Mountain Rose Herbs includes information that says the dehydrated version has more vitamin C. I already ordered the traditionally dried version so will use that for now!

  36. I have MGUS. I’ve gone on a plant based low fat high starch diet and feel great but its always like the sword of Damocles with the possibility of Multiple Myeloma hanging over me. I read some studies out of Australia that showed some promise of preventing or delaying Multiple Myeloma using Tumeric and black pepper combination and started taking that. Any other suggestions?

    1. Hi Fred. Thanks for sharing your story I cannot even imagine going through MGUS. Of course, check with your doctors and hopefully a dietitian about my claims because I am not an expert with this one. Maybe we can work backwards? From what I pulled it seemed that inferior bone health may be associated with the disease, especially for patients with osteoporosis. There is no protocol that differs from osteoporosis vs. MGUS. From what I see bone health may be at stake, so my logic is focus on foods and physical activity that strengthens bones. It is not amazing but perhaps a start? See here: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25319751

      Race seems to play a role,as well. I’ll let you explore the study if you’d like.

      Lastly, you asked about turmeric, I found a study that may be valuable: Is curcumin for monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance without risk?–letter. From what the review states it could be dangerous to use freely and needs to be administered under medical supervision.

      I did not expect to find the last study. I hope you take the proper precautions and talk to your doctor about turmeric, while boosting up on foods that support bone health.

      My warm wishes go out to you, Let me know how else I can help.

  37. Does the inclusion of fruit in smoothies separate the fructose from the fiber and create potential problems for people prone to hypoglycemia?

    1. Hi, dp. Thanks so much for reposting. For people prone to hypoglycemia smoothies and more fruit may be a good choice. There doesn’t seem to be anything wrong with smoothies. Dr. Greger addresses this in his Q&A are green smoothies good for you? And I follow-up to a similar question, here. If trying to limit foods high in the glycemic index here is a great list of foods with their glycemic index scores. Here are three videos on hypoglycemia.

  38. On Youtube I came across the following clip “Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn on Juicing and Smoothies”. In it he says he “hates smoothies”, and that they (smoothies) injure the liver and endothelial cells by separating the fiber from the sugars. A smoothie containing among other things Kale, chard, spinach, banana, various berries, amla, macha, fruit etc… is my normal start to the day. Your web site and Dr. Greger are my primary source of nutritional info and I would like to hear your/his opinion. Keep up the great web site and message! Thanks!

  39. Dr Caldwell Esselstyn
    advocates no oils or no smoothies as their is too much fructose in them. He recommends
    you eat rather than grind up your fruit as it can cause fatty liver and have a
    bad affect on your arteries. Regards, Dermot

    Any comment

  40. Hello Dr. Gregor. As this video was made some time ago, are there any new items that you put in your daily breakfast smoothy?
    Thank you,

    1. ann: FYI: Dr. Greger has a book coming out this December. I believe the book is supposed to include examples of meals that Dr. Greger himself eats. So, you question may be answered in a few months if it doesn’t get answered sooner here.

        1. Patrick: Sorry it took me so long to get back to you. Dr. Greger did do a newer series on smoothies. I recommend checking it out. It’s hard to find series on this site, but I think the following video is the first of a more recent 5 part series on smoothies: http://nutritionfacts.org/video/are-green-smoothies-good-for-you/

          There is a “Next Video” link on the right side of the page. So, after you watch the first video, you can go through the series by clicking that link.

          One more idea for you: If you are able to get a hold of Dr. Greger’s book, How Not To Die, he includes details of what he recommends eating for breakfast, lunch and dinner all through Part 2 of the book. I’m not sure of which ones, but the book comes in several languages too if that would help.

  41. Hi Michael, I just came accross your breakfast smoothie by accident; mostly being interested in the antioxidant side of the equation. But your videos and articles have me hooked. Great work – thank you for sharing your passion with us.

    I’m concerned with the smoothie / juicing movement though. Whilst I see juicing as a whole other kettle of fish that needs to be ignored, I feel the need to get our nutrients in liquid form seems to stem from convenience. And whilst I love the taste of smoothies and the convenience, I’m also concerned we lose the benefits of chewing which I see as being critically important. I’d like to know what your take is on this and any evidence that smoothies are not impeding our digestive processes?

    I can only find evidence against it, these are just some such articles.

    Mastication and creation of a bolus is the first part of our digestive process and it seems that avoiding it means down-regulating many of the subsequent digestive processes:
    – Saliva and gastrointestinal functions of taste, mastication, swallowing and digestion

    There is obviously no point consuming anti-oxidants if you can’t absorb them. It seems that mastication is the first step to promoting the bioavailability of at least some antioxidants:
    – The Role of Dietary Fiber in the Bioaccessibility and Bioavailability of Fruit and Vegetable Antioxidants

    It also seems that chewing promotes the absorption of glucose and regulates some hormone functions associated with the digestive process:
    – Increasing the number of masticatory cycles is associated with reduced appetite and altered postprandial plasma concentrations of gut hormones, insulin and glucose
    – Improvement in chewing activity reduces energy intake in one meal and modulates plasma gut hormone concentrations in obese and lean young Chinese men
    – Mastication of almonds: effects of lipid bioaccessibility, appetite, and hormone response

    I really would love to hear your side of this and any evidence for the use of smoothies. Or do I just need to spend a minute savouring each mouthful; perhaps prolonging the gustation period and miming mastication?

    Tee Carter

    1. Don: When I look at the link you provided, I see the following sub heading in the article: “Detrimental effects of antioxidant supplements”. Notice how the subject is supplements, not antioxidants as part of a healthy whole plant food diet. Dr. Greger has addressed problems with supplements in more than one video and blog post. He generally agrees that supplements like say vitamin C may not be healthy. Below is a link to Dr. Greger’s overall nutrition recommendations (back in 2011). You can see that there are very few supplements on the list.

      Note: Dr. Greger is coming out with a book, “How Not To Die” in December that will have much more detailed and updated recommendations.

  42. Dr. Greger,
    What other ingredients are in your soymilk? Can you share what brand you use or do you make your own? If you make it, do you have a recipe?

  43. In the video about using soy milk with tea, I learned that soy milk neutralizes the benefits of the phytonutrients in the tea. I wondered why the white tea leaves were used in the soy smoothie and how that would be beneficial. The smoothie looks delicious and I just ordered alma powder because of this video. Thank you!

  44. I went looking for amla powder at my Indian grocery, and all they had
    were hair tonics, though I was assured it’s exactly the same pure fruit,
    I passed and opted for a mix of 3 herbs including amla, called triphala. Seems to be
    quite a bit of medical literature on it and it’s even listed on Sloan
    Kettering’s site. Interesting stuff! http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pm

    1. Perhaps consider ordering the REAL amla from Amazon…I buy Terrasoul brand and I need to re-order. It’s also certified organic.

  45. Great Video. I have 2 questions:
    Can amla be cooked with other foods? like soup or curry? Will its nutritive value decline?

  46. Please tell us what brand of AMLA POWDER to buy AND make a video about the product itself and how to use, buy and where best to purchase it from? TOO MUCH OUT THERE ONLINE and don’t know what’s right or real. Thank you!

    1. karolina, a VERY good brand of organic amla powder is TERRASOUL and I order mine from Amazon…I think it’s around $12 for a one pound bag…and I always use AmazonSmile so that my donation goes to nutritionfacts.org. Hope this helps you!

  47. sir,my father suffring from cancer ( in neck ),doctor adviced him redition for tretment,but they give us date in december.
    but i want to know about diet at present. that we can give at present .
    pls advice us about grains,vegetable,froutes

    1. pervez zahidi: I’m not an expert, but I have some thoughts for you. You might consider looking up Dr. Greger’s Daily Dozen. I think the Daily Dozen is a good starting place for a diet. From there, you might tweak the diet to especially include foods shown to fight cancer. There are a lot of videos on NutritionFacts which go over such foods. Here is the topic/summary page for cancer: http://nutritionfacts.org/topics/cancer/
      Good luck!

  48. I realize I’ve been eating amla wrong all these years. The right quantity would be eating in amounts similar to any other fruit. Much like those not used to a plant-based diet are not used to the taste, there is a further need to get used to the wide variety of sour, astringent, and bitter tastes of the healthier plants. Before I ate perhaps 2-3 amlalaki fruits a week; now I blend about 4-6 a day. Classical ayurvedic texts don’t mention any precautions; they do say that excess sour is harmful but amalaki is an exception. Contemporary authors often mention that it is heavy; anyone that has eaten the frozen fruit will notice that it is extremely fibrous. Even at the current quantity, I notice my hunger is significantly reduced for the rest of the day. As for daily antioxidant units, along with the ayurvedic herbs I take, some of which are covered in the study, I estimate mine to be somewhere in the tens of thousands.

    1. wow, amazing your knowledge of that medicinal system… I can’t find a reliable source or even a person who knows all this. would you mind sharing your sources of knowledge?

      where did you get your hands on the frozen product, it’s all here dried and presumably lost some antioxidant activity?

      thank you

      1. Other herbs include triphala, bhringaraj (eclipta alba), guduchi (tinospora cordifolia, main immunity herb) and others I took more often before such as manjistha (rubia cordifolia) and chyawanprash. There have been lots of smaller individual but still significant dietary changes over the years such as long pepper (pippali) favored over black pepper as well as other herbs common among other medicines as well as known elsewhere such as gotu kola or chrysanthemum tea. At least dozens of herbs are common with Chinese medicine and those can be found fairly easily, exception among the few I use being nardostachys chinesis (jatamamsi relative), non-sedative relative of valerian that rather energizes and likely can be classified as a nervine, over-harvested and it seems generally no longer available except where it grows.

        As for sources, there are places on the internet where doctors gather, share info, and have long discussions nearly everyday. Before those came about, I’ve gathered dozens of contemporary books as well as the main three texts: Caraka Samhita, Sushruta Samhita (haven’t carefully looked over it), and Ashtanga Hrdyam. I haven’t looked into it, but sources say there are 3 additional minor texts, as well as likely numerous or countless works locally in India. The first three are the most important with the first primary. I study mainly diet for myself and there are countless things in Caraka not mentioned elsewhere or by any contemporary ayurvedic doctor. It is well worth going back to the original sources. They knew back then amla should be eaten regularly (only fruit among a short list) and red rice (along with one other variety even rare in India today) is best.

      2. If you can’t find frozen at one market, hopefully there are others. I have two close by and within 30 minutes or so, more than a dozen. I vaguely recall perhaps one study showing a reduced (not positive) amount but it seemed still good enough, particularly compared to its high level compared to other fruits. There is also a study of a traditional preparation, where I think either the dried fruit or the powder, was soaked in amla juice, then dried, and repeated dozens of times. From what I remember, the ascorbic acid increase wasn’t significant enough to make me look for it.

        I sometimes blend other fruits such as pomegranate, papaya, pineapple, grapefruit, or pomelo, all with skin and seeds, whole (haven’t tried pineapple leaves yet). It could be healthier but I miss the taste of amla by itself. Blended, it’s much simpler than long chewing of several incredibly dense fruits, and the taste, love it.

        As for sources, the original texts of Ayurveda. Contemporary doctors make books for the masses, and if you want recommendations not mentioned anywhere except there, there’s a lifetime a study ahead. :)

          1. I have several dozen contemporary works and none of them, and sadly none of the numerous doctors I’ve spoken with, follow the traditional ways. Perhaps that is due to many historical changes such as Muslim invasion, though it could be more substantial changes have happened only recently in the last century as with yoga or the Western diet. For instance, red rice is said to be best (along with shastika [60 day harvested] as well as two others); they knew that long before the study (video by Greger) through observation. There are numerous dietary recommendations such as frequency, time of day, quantity, and what to eat. For instance, looking recently at the Astanga Hrdyam, there are numerous vegetables listed, including cruciferous, that are healthier than anything commonly eaten and available. So I seek the super bitter green leafys that only traditional peoples, like Asians or Native Americans eat. :)

              1. Interesting question. It’s not noted as such and I don’t think anyone has mentioned it being that. There is another variety, maybe extinct or likely if available, only in India, that I think is warming. There are many varieties of rice, and each of them come in various colors; that’d be a consideration. Here, I’ve seen red basmati (rarely) plus Burmese, and what I use, Thai. None of the grains, except oats, from what I remember, are warming in any significance; at least they are less warming than oats from what I remember, maybe buckwheat follows as a distant second. They could always be combined with other ingredients such as coriander, fennel, and I’d guess dill and mint; those are all still commonly used in Indian versions of “fried rice” such as pulao, briyani, or various one pot grain, legume, and vegetables dishes such as kitchari, which is what I eat daily. Turmeric too is heating and that’s combined with coriander in greater amounts when needed, as all ingredients are combined as such. Experimentation and direct observation are the ways.

                As far as pitta, a greater effect would be self-examination to see if there are personality traits that make one more “hot-headed”. :) Of common foods, long pepper is less warming, slightly sweeter, and for that reason, is valued for longevity while black isn’t as far as I know. Easily found in Chinese herb places under the Chinese name. The Ayurveda Encyclopedia is an excellent comprehensive work of ayurveda as it is practiced today, and I still look through it often for the fantastic dosha (drying/humecting/warming/cooling/…) properties listed of dozens of fruits, vegetables, grains, drinks such as coffee or tea, cooking herbs, sweeteners, meats, forms of dairy, etc, covering all the main food groups. It also has the most comprehensive info I’ve seen in various sections trying to summarize treatments for all the main categories of modern illness. For more evidence-based, there is Scientific Basis for Ayurvedic Therapies, as well as pubmed which I look through often as I try new herbs, usually sticking with those common and as they say generally regarded as safe, or want to investigate the nutrition of some fruit or vegetable. There are some excellent works that act sort of like a materia medica, Pole, Caldecott, or for more traditional or historical, the works by C.P. Khare. But if the concern is diet, The Ayurveda Encyclopedia as well as the original texts, supplemented with classical and modern works by other traditional medicines such as Chinese, will be great.

                  1. Some are Sanskrit only. I’d just grab all in English and see what you like. The last is what I’m now using for the Astanga, which I’ve only started looking at in recent months, before that mainly Caraka and contemporary works. Of the last link, this is one of the first things I looked for, what is recommended to regularly eat. Caraka has a few sentences too, in section 1 (sutrashana) ch 5. From Astanga, the 3rd link in fact, there are many vegetables there higher in nutrition than kale, watercress, or what we now normally eat.

                    ## Diet schedule:

                    • Wholesome food such as rice prepared with barley, wheat and sastidhanya.
                    • Soup prepared with masura (lens culinaris, lentil??), mudga (phaseolus radiatus, mung) and tuvara (hydnocarpus wightiana).
                    • Curries prepared with jivanti (Leptadenia reticulata), sunisannaka (Marsilia minuta), bala mulaka (Raphanus sativus, tender radish root), vartaka (Solanum melongena or male bustard?), tanduliyaka (Amaranthus spinosus [polygonates is better], spiny amaranth), vastuka (Chenopodium album, lamb’s quarters [in my area only 2 farmers that sadly only sometimes have it), karavella (Momordica charantia, bitter gourd), karkota (Momordica dioica, spiny gourd), patola (Trichosanthes cucumerina) and katukaphala.
                    • Fruits such as pomegranate, gooseberry.
                    • Rock salt and ghee etc. is advisable.
                    • After having food prepared with old sali rice, hot water is to be given and see that indigestion should not be happened.
                    • Mutton soup of the animals dwelling in desert like regions etc. are advised for quick healing of the ulcer.

                    ## Contraindicated foods:

                    • Freshly harvested grains.
                    • Sesamum seeds, black gram (heavy?).
                    • Alcoholic drinks, meat other than the animals dwelling in desert areas.
                    • Eatables prepared from milk and sugarcane juice [jaggery might be a substitute but perhaps processed still and maybe date powder or molasses are better].
                    • Sour, salt, pungent, alkaline substances etc. should be avoided (in excess or in certain seasons?).
                    • Food substances, which cause constipation, burning sensation, having the qualities of cold and heavy are also contraindicated, as they are responsible for aggravation of dosas in persons suffering from ulcers.
                    • Alcoholic drinks, which are strong, hot, dry and sour cause acute complications to the persons suffering from ulcers.

                  1. In the western tradition, the Hippocratic corpus, as well as the Persian Canon of Medicine (a synthesis of Greek, Roman, Persian, and Asian influences such as Ayurveda) remain central.If the goal is to live maybe at least 20-30% longer than what we think is possible (90-120), or at least make it to 100 and still be able to do tai chi, yoga, headstands, etc. [a video of a likely 80+ chinese guy standing on one finger comes to mind], like greats in any science, such as astronomy, or physics, there is no shortcut. :) For instance, there were 2 sentences plus one in another Indian philosophical work that I might have read one before, but never considered it’s importance. The subject relates to how to stay thin and at a healthy weight on diet alone. Ancients are like that, a small detail commonly known at the time needs only a few words of mention to make sure the work is encyclopedia, and for us, digging like an archaeologist lasts forever.

                  1. Maybe someday. :) For the moment, I like to stick to myself studying how to be as healthy as possible, and when chatting with others, I look for those to discuss the finer points of nutrition, ancient or otherwise, like for instance if we said x number of servings of vegetables a day, which ones should they be, quantity and frequency. There are places online where ayurvedic doctors gather and regularly discuss topics, though it is mostly herbal treatment of modern disease (India seems to be doing not so well and is catching up to us) rather than detailed discussion of the perfect diet.

                    Looking into other traditional diets and the foods traditional peoples eat has been quite helpful, and seems to be something not many do. 3 meals a day I think is unneeded if we were getting the truly high nutrient foods that exist in nature. Greger as well as several nutritionists have mentioned the low intake of nutrients compared to those eating wild (or traditional) plants. Much like 100% DV of Vitamin C is possible in 10 (?) calories of amla, many nutrients are significantly high in foods that once were, and should be still, available. For berries, there are likely numerous in North America that also are bitter, astringent, and sour like amla, and significantly higher in antioxidants that strawberries, blueberries, acai, etc. For other nutrients, see this chart:


                    It’s only been a few months since I discovered it, but high calcium green leafy vegetables should be 600+ mg per 100 g, possibly 700+. The chart should be 2x+ in the x-axis, and as is, is 3/4 empty. It is likely similar with all known nutrients. Extensive knowledge of ayurveda isn’t needed to find those foods, but it does help, as for instance, eating super bitter uncured olives, like the Greeks or other olive-centric people, that who knows, in one olive might have the oleuropein content of dozens of teaspoons of oil.

                    As an example of my last meal:

                    barley, red rice, job’s tears, purple millet, pancharatna dal (5 legume mix of split mung, black gram, “lentils hulled” (possibly toor), pigeon pea, chickpea), extra mung, adzuki, burdock, beets, purple potato, [one of the high calcium green leafys that has been a bit hard for me to find but hopefully becomes more available as with others], dandelion, bitter melon, mint, dill, coriander, rosemary, hibiscus, italian seasoning, garlic, ginger, purple onion, tomato, asafoetida, curry powder (coriander, fennel, cumin, mustard, turmeric, dill, rampe [?], curry leaves), kalonji, ajwain, cumin, fennel, jujube, flax, olive (farmers market seller I got it from didn’t bring leaves last time, those are great), tamarind, Chinese black vinegar, mango powder, black pepper, and long pepper. The next will be something similar with a variation in ingredients such as moringa, fenugreek leaves, and eggplant.

                    We don’t live among a people where it’s common to be healthy, and at age 100, still wake up, walk miles up a mountain, do some farming, and play with our great grandchildren out in the open fields. I’m not sure how possible it is to be that while living our modern life, but eating as chose to them, given what’s available, we can come close.

                    1. See a video by Dr. Greger, significantly higher in anti-oxidants. Same with any colored grain: blue/black/red corn, black barley, etc. Varieties such as short, medium, or long grained may have different effects though I’m not too aware of them. Thai, burmese, and sometimes basmati is available in NA.

                    2. Certainly lifestyle plays major part, I’m all for walking, but there are so many cars and distance spread between points

                      One other thing, I’m trying to add new foods to my regime, but (don’t know what’s up with my stomach), I’m getting food sensitivities (blood tests). So instead of adding, I’m reducing/eliminating foods, yes vegan, some beans, no gluten for me (high saliva antibodies). I would be happy to meet Dr.Lad, but he is a bit far for me.

                    3. I don’t have any experience with food sensitivities but I’d guess it is a perhaps a dosha or ama aggravation, meaning there is an excess of dryness, heat, water, or phlegm. Adjusting foods accordingly and you might be ok. Recently, I’ve been eating out a bit but I’m trying to get back to my ideal diet. I’ve been eating the better vegetables such as fenugreek leaves, moringa, cauliflower leaves, etc., combining grains, legumes such as mung, perhaps the best in your case, various roots, colored, green leafy, and spices for many years, slowly adjusting ingredients as I learn about the better vegetables. Today at a farmers market, I found someone that I might be able to convince to harvest one of the healthier wild amaranth varieties that he says grows everywhere on his farm. I’m not quite at the nutritional levels of villagers or natives that eat only wild plants but I’m trying to get there. Such efforts are well worth it.

                      I’m not convinced many suffer from gluten allergies; it may perhaps just be eating processed grains, even as whole wheat bread, rather than a balance of the grains cooked whole like rice, with barley among the most important. Since it is great for fiber, as well as beta-glutans and perhaps other reasons, it is highly valued and regularly consumed by many traditional peoples. It is terrific.

                    4. spoken like a true practitioner, ama aggravation, hmm, which means a vata thing…
                      I have hard time finding organic fresh, any organic at a farmers market, certainly at significantly higher prices. A year ago, I asked a local farmer’s son what does he use on his filed…”20-20-20″ and plenty pesticides, which he assured me as being safe, he doesn’t wash. Dr Greger constantly criticized meat products, but non organic is no better, I check environmental working group’s dirty dozen. One cherry farmer told me this summer that organic is not really better, the standards inn the States are not what you would expect, he said the organic products are just sprayed in smaller quantities, but more often because of the fruit fly, i think from China.

                      Oh did you try a peony root?

                    5. :)

                      As Dr. Greger says, even if it’s not organic, it is still better than not eating it. If you get a high amount of vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, phytochemicals, etc. from eating the plants that constitute a good diet, that is grains, legumes, vegetables, fruits, nuts, and seeds, all whole, I’m pretty sure you’re still better off with that bit of pesticides. Besides, another study highlighted by Greger showed salt water was good at removing up to 100% of pesticides. I don’t worry too much about pesticides when I select the best foods I can possibly find. I try to also be economical: legumes (dal) and spices from indian markets, grains such as red rice, job’s tears, and purple millet from asian markets, hulled barley wherever found, raw nuts and seeds such as flax, walnut, and black sesame from anywhere, fruits such frozen amla, pomegranate, grapefruit, seeded grapes, apples, etc. wherever I can find them, most of the time non-organic, roots such as purple sweet potato, purple yam, burdock (asian markets), beets, purple potato, radish and horseradish, celeriac, etc. The higher nutrient bitter green leafy vegetables usually from ethic markets or farmers markets such as fenugreek leaves, moringa, and others I’m looking for. Cauliflower leaves from farmers markets: the only food I can find around here that ranks at the top of what calcium (600 mg per 100/g) should be for the best of the green leafys. etc.

                      Area, weather, soil quality, soil nutrients, etc make a difference, and in that case, organic can matter. One thing, most places are low in selenium. Of that, I do not believe in the idea an excess can cause toxicity, only perhaps an imbalance from not eating whole foods that can reduce the needed vitamins and minerals for selenium metabolism.

                      Of the food sensitivities, perhaps ama, low immunity, inflamation, toxins, phelgm, fat, etc. Barley and mung beans as the main grain and legume, as well as lots of bitter green leafys, find ones better than kale, chard, watercress, etc., or use those if you can’t find anything else, dandelion, nettle, the commonly available less bitter varieties of amaranth, those are not bad. There are immunity herbs such as guduchi & shilajit (similar to fulvic acid) or cleansing herbs such as manjistha (rubia cordifolia, also used in TCM) though a diet should be enough to show results in weeks. Do as best as you can. :)

              1. There were other replies that were once marked as spam but are now there you might have missed. :)

                I looked at Amazon India since I was curious about the price. Less than $60 for the whole set of Caraka.


                If you can find someone in India to send them to you. Volume 1 would be good enough to start. The other sections mainly cover illness though there is lots of philosophical and herbal info scattered throughout. There’s a section on rejuvenatives (rasayana, beginning of section 6, cikitsasthana) that has numerous formulas that include amla and other rasayanas.

        1. so practically speaking, where does one get English translations of these references? I looked on Amazon and some books have poor reviews. Any one(s) in particular?

  49. Why is there a discrepancy in antioxidant content of blueberries between this video and “How to Reach the Antioxidant RDA”?

    1. Some of it depends upon taste. Some people cannot tolerate Soy. Almond milk is easier to make at home and you can avoid the emulsifiers that the commercial brands add. Soy has more phytoestrogens so if that’s what you are trying to ingest they may be more beneficial for you.

    1. Thanks for your question Ron.

      Here is a video that explains the effect of juicing on in the video here.

      I believe juicing removes the fibre present in the fruit, whereas blending retains it. In this article, Dr Katz also gives you quick take on the subject:

      “If you’re concerned about your smoothies because you’ve heard that store-bought fruit juice doesn’t offer the health benefits of whole fruit, put your mind at ease. It’s true, the fiber is often removed from juice. And without the fiber slowing digestion of the sugar in fruit, the juice drives up your blood sugar rapidly. This can contribute to insulin resistance, a precursor to diabetes. But a smoothie made with whole fruit still has fiber.

      There is one other factor to consider, however—smoothies go down your gullet much faster than a piece of fruit. And research shows that we don’t register liquid calories as accurately as food we’ve chewed. So fresh, unpulverized fruit gets the upper hand. But just barely; enjoy that smoothie.”

      Hope this answer helps.

  50. I want to start adding both Amla Powder and Strawberry Powder to my smoothies, but how do I know I’m getting “the real thing”? There are lots of places that sell both online, but who knows what you’re really buying. I live in “rural” America so local shopping isn’t an option… any suggestions would be appreciated!

    1. I understand your pain Dwahine. I too live in a small community that hasn’t quiet reached the 21st century.  Therefore, many of my purchases are online.  1)  I check businesses online that have an excellent reputation for quality.  2)  Google- then read customers comments.  Hopefully some get more in depth than “It tastes good, etc.”  3)  Amazon is a choice…with many distributors & brands. I again study the customer comments. 4)  Finally, there are almost no brands of anything sold that cannot be googled & studied.Good luck!

  51. Hi Dr. Gregor (loved the “walking wisdom” you delivered on the recent youtube video!!) Can I please ask a question for the show: Blending vs juicing

    As part of efforts to improve my general diet and health, I started juicing, but after a while switched over to blending; (less waste, less cleaning, feeling more full etc) A typical mix is 80% vegetables, 20% fruit.

    Do you have any concerns about our GI tract’s ability to extract all the nutrients, vitamins etc from a blended smoothie like this versus the more “pure” juiced version, (based on starting with exactly the same amount / weight of ingredients for either method) Or is the only difference between the two methods the rate of absorption perhaps?

    Many thanks in advance and for all you are doing to help folks.

  52. You asked about blending v juicing and wondered if the body could extract all the nutrients from a smoothie. Our bodies have been made to be very efficient in obtaining those nutrients and your blended smoothie will provide all the nutrients plus more of the needed fiber-a much better choice. Dr. Greger makes this point in https://nutritionfacts.org/video/juicing-removes-more-than-just-fiber/ Check out other videos on smoothies at https://nutritionfacts.org/topics/smoothies/ which includes some precautions about relying on smoothies for your breakfast every morning. At least occasionally eating the whole fruit instead is a better strategy.

  53. I have connective tissue disease tested high on centromere part of my ANA bloodwork. I have gone to a more vegan diet with pea protein smoothies powdered goat’s milk(I have found cow’s milk is a trigger for inflammation in my body) and a banana for breakfast and wild caught salmon for lunch most days, some days a little chicken and the same for dinner with veggies, I have also added a three mushroom blend with reishi, shiitake and maitake, astragalus, vitamin D3 and Cod Liver oil. I am feeling much better now that I have done all these things. Is this enough antioxidants or should I be adding more things….the Amla or anything else you would suggest, as my Rheumatologist just wanted to put me on long term Prednisone. After a month I took myself off of that as it was making me sick. Thank you and any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

    1. Thanks for your comment Jessica.

      I am not a medical doctor, only a dietitian. Therefore, I will only speak about the context of inflammation and antioxidant rich diet.

      In terms of inflammation, I can tell you that eating a plant based diet is one of the most effective strategies to reduce this (see here and here).

      In regards to antioxidant rich diet, I highly recommend you watch this video.

      And I may also further add this summary about fish.

      Hope this answer helps.

  54. Hi Dr. Gregor – my family loves smoothies- and I love to pack it with nutritonal ingredients. I always add spices like cinnamon, nutmeg and black peppercorns- wondering if you recommend any fresh pairings for these, like coconut milk or bananas? I tend to buy the freshly ground spices and blends from RawSpiceBar. You can purchase spices from them here:
    RawSpiceBar Spices

  55. Hi, ana4021. You might want to see Dr. Greger’s take on coconut milk here and here. You can find all of his videos related to bananas here. Spices tend to be great. Although I would recommend going easy on the coconut milk, bananas are fine. Pack your smoothie with whatever whole, fresh, fruits, vegetables, grains, legumes, nuts and seeds taste good to you with your spices. I hope that helps!

  56. Hi Dr. Gregor – thanks so much for your post and love these smoothies- my kids love them and I like to stock with healthy stuff like maca, cinnamon, nutmeg and black peppercorns- do you recommend any fresh fruits or veggies that work best? Currently getting spices at RawSpiceBar, here and loving the freshly ground stuff:
    RawSpiceBar Spices

    1. Hey there,

      This video shows some of the most antioxidant rich foods. Maca, cinnamon, and nutmeg (in moderation) are all great additions!


  57. Hi OneRVer

    Many has been discussed about the type of fruit or the quantity one should eat in order to keep blood sugar under control, but there’s a great evidence on the benefits of a plant-based diet to control blood sugar, and new evidence don’t recommend to avoid or limit certain type of fruit, as Dr. Greger discussed in this video,

    This other video, in particular, talked about berries and their benefits on diabetes and glycemic control, and how much you should eat. So, try those blueberries, remember that they’re also full of antioxidants”

  58. OneveRV: You asked about the diabetic reading for grapes versus blueberries. I assume you are talking about glycemic index The research I did suggested that blueberries might be a better choice for you than grapes in your smoothie, although how MUCH is also a big factor. Blueberries are certainly a healthy food and if you are using fruit in your smoothie it makes sense to use them, being aware that frequent smoothies (ie relying on these for breakfast daily) can be problematic for diabetics as outlined in https://nutritionfacts.org/video/the-downside-of-green-smoothies/. Hope that’s helpful.

  59. Love the site.
    Only problem being I live in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and many of the things mentioned in the articles (i.e. amla, date sugar, unsweetened veggie milks) are nowhere to be found. And trust me- I’ve looked
    A pity our food market is so limited :(

    1. It is very easy to make your own date syrup or paste by blending dates. Also nut milks and oat milks can be made at home too. Amla is another word for gooseberry which you might find? Good luck :-)

  60. Hello Dr. Greger, my daughter, age 13, just had her gall bladder removed and her appendix. The gallbladder was not working (gallbladder disconesia- the kind with weight gain) and while in surgery, they discovered that her appendix was about ready to go too. Right now we eat breakfast smoothies (Blueberry, mango, and strawberry), sweet potatoes, kale, spinach, and a mix of stir fry veggies (but we eat them boiled). We also eat a little chicken, rice, oatmeal, eggos, and cottage cheese. There are two problems that I know of right now: 1) She is constantly nauseous, 2) I’m not sure how to adjust her diet now so she will adapt to having no gallbladder. We were already on a low fat diet before we knew what the problem was, because the gallbladder disconesia-was causing such rapid weight gain. Any ideas will be greatly appreciated. She has no other health issues, and was never ill before this happened. Thank you so much for your time and efforts in this matter.

  61. I would suggest to remove from the diet eggs, chicken and cottage cheese. They all are sources of fats which they can cause pain. Also is very important to drink at least 3 liters of water. i hope your daughter gets better.

    Yared, Health Supporter Volunteer.

  62. Hi!

    Yes! Tea impairs the absorption of iron when is consumed at the same time. The smoothie doesn’t contain iron.

    If you eat a food rich in iron like beans for example, you are not supossed to drink tea. On the contrary you should add vitamin C to enhance the absorption of iron. Vitamin c foods: lime, lemons, orange and peppers.

    1. It also impairs the absorption of other minerals (zinc) and even folate. Ofcourse if you’re eating a whole food plant based diet you should be getting plenty of folate through your other meals. Just don’t add tea leaves to everything.

  63. Hi, DBT. Much of what we know about nutrient absorption is derived from animal studies, which may or may not directly translate to humans. While it is true that tannins in tea may affect iron absorption, it does not appear to affect zinc absorption. You might be interested in this . Studies showing inhibition of folate absorption used folic acid supplements, and green or black tea. It is not clear what effect, if any, white tea might have on folate absorption from whole plant food sources. I hope that helps!

    1. Hi Christine. Thank you for your input.
      You are right. While (green) tea consumption showed a small adverse affect on zinc bioavailability, the effect was not statistically significant.
      https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7855098 It is true most studies used folic acid but there is one study where they meassured folate levels in pregnant women and found lower levels in heavy (green and oolong) tea drinkers.

      Eating white tea leaves with every meal isnt the greatest idea either way because of the influence on iron absorption.

  64. I started taking a teaspoon of amla a day. Within days, my resting heart rate has increased by 15 beats pr minute! I will stop taking it, but am very disappointed. I wanted all the benefits. Is this a known complication?

    1. Kristin,
      Thank you for your question. No I do not believe that is a known complication from using AMLA. Did you start taking something else around the same time (such as tea leaves in your smoothies, or any new supplements)? The caffeine can raise your heart rate. You may want to try again with a smaller dose of AMLA, maybe 1/2 tsp.There are many factors other than food that can affect your heart rate. Here are some interesting videos on heart rate variability. https://nutritionfacts.org/topics/heart-rate-variability/

  65. What does nutritionfacts.org and Dr. Greger advise re whether or not people should eat breakfast. Some studies say it is the most important meal of the day and that if you don’t eat it, especially protein, then you eat more calories later. A new study is saying the opposite, that breakfast skippers ate less calories each day than breakfast eaters. What do you advise? I try to stop eating at 6 pm and then have breakfast at around 7 am, but I eat three small meals a day.

    1. I’ve never heard Greger say anything about when you should eat or how many times a day you should eat. I think such questions are a red herring, a distraction from the much more important subject of WHAT you should eat. I don’t think when you eat matters. Sure, you have diurnal rhythms, your myriad internal systems probably work differently when you’re asleep, things are always in flux, but so what? The KEY to health is a* whole food plant-based diet without added oils, processed food and junk food*. That’s the deal. I’ve been a vegan five years now. I cheat about 20-30 meals a year, at friends’ houses for the holidays, summer barbecues, etc. The rest of the meals I eat at home, according to Greger’s dictates. That means I’m about 97% or 98% compliant. (Figure roughly 1000 meals a year.) My total cholesterol is 122 and the bad cholesterol (LDL) is 62. I’m 69 years old. I plan to still be working out in my 90s and still have my faculties intact, all other functions tip top.

      A further note on concerns about when to eat. I worked with a guy on a construction site as a college kid. He was part Indian. Here’s a story he told me one day: “This Indian was walking around the reservation with an alarm clock tied to his ankle. Some white guy saw the stupid Indian and sneered at him saying. ‘you big dope, why are you dragging around that alarm clock.’ The Indian looked at the white guy and smiled. ‘This way I can be like the white man. When the bell rings I know it’s time to eat, and when the bell rings again, I know it’s time to sit on the toilet, and when the bell rings a third time, I know it’s time for bed.’ ”

      His point was that when you’re hungry, it’s time to eat. Hope this helps.
      Mike Smyth

      ps: protein is another red herring. Don’t worry about it. Don’t even think about it. All the docs that cure chronic disease with diet–McDougall, Esselstyn, Barnard, Greger, Fuhrman–say the same thing. There are no reported cases in America of a protein deficiency. If you eat a whole food, plant-based diet, you’ll get all the protein you need.

  66. I have a long standing laryngo esophageal reflux per ENT Dr. (First diagnosed in 2010.) My GI Dr said my test for GERD were negative. I tend to go with my ENT because I could feel it. I have tried ginger tea, water with lemon, which they say it turns the body alkaline. I tried to eat non acidic food, but still have problems. My voice now is more hoarse than before. I am now taking Zantac 150 mga twice a day. (I cramps when I take Prilosec or Nexium.) I love smoothies. What smoothie mixture would help my esophagus, please? I heard strawberries. I’m scared to get Barrett’s disease. Please help. Thank you.

  67. AMLA – Indian Gooseberry. We have a lot of whole Amla fruit here and it is not tasteless. It is soooooo sour and astringent! I think this is the reason why its antioxidants are very high. I am not sure about powdered Amla. If it is tasteless then something has been removed from its original form. Take the apple for example. The original apple is very very bitter and sour. Scientists have developed a way to remove the astringency and we now have the juicy apple. However, its antioxidant value is much lower than the heirloom apple.

    For the white tea – the best way to get benefits from the tea plant is by infusing the leaves/buds in water, not by eating the whole leaf. Reason? Tea has one of the most potent antioxidants among all plants (e.g. EGCG, Catechins), but these compounds are not easily absorbed by the body. To increase its bioavailability, it needs to be infused in water (brewing time, the longer the better, at 85 degrees Celsius) so that the active compounds can easily pass through to the bloodstream.

    Thank you for the video!! Any questions about white tea, please let us know :-)

    1. Hi, You suggest the bioavailability of white tea antioxidants improve with brewing/infusion. My question is would that pertain also to matchaa or green tea powder, too? I’m wondering if should I be brewing my matchaa instead of adding it to my smoothies. Thanks for any suggestions.

      1. Hello TMR

        Brewing using accurate temperature will help preserve the phytonutrients, while steeping the phytonutrients into the water faster, making it more bioavailable. If you put them as powder in your smoothie, it may retain more antioxidant but may be less bioavailable and my just end up in your gut. So for my matcha, I whisk it first using 75 degrees-80 degrees C then add to the smoothie. Easier, less messier also and more aesthetic! You can also take few sip of warm, pure matcha before you pour it over your smoothie. The same for white tea. I brew, 85 degrees C, then add the liquid to my smoothie. I will keep the buds and will re-steep them throughout the day until the buds cease to give off flavor.

        Hope this helps!

  68. Dear Dr Gregor,

    I have been following a diet high in antioxidants (implementing a number of your recommendations, Amla powder, hibiscus tea, turmeric, berries, cruciferous vegetables, etc). However, I have not been able to find a rebuttal in his videos or book to the “too many antioxidants can actually be bad for you”. I’m other words, we are quite certain that drinking orange juice is much better than sugar water in not “spiking oxidative stress”. However, is it necessarily better to drink a smoothy containing amla powder, tumeric powder, cranberries, hibiscus tea, other berries, spinach, etc? Could such a massive amount of antioxidants actually be counterproductive?
    Looking forward to the reply as I have been taking the latter approach for some time now!
    Many thanks,

  69. I would like to start taking Amla. But you cautioned in another video that some powders might contain lead. However, you also said that none of the four samples that you tested contained lead. What brands did you test? And how can we test for lead at home? Thank you!

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