My Mother-in-law asked me recently how to remove calcium from her body. Recent tests had shown some calcification; not only in her arteries, but also in the joints. My answer; get more vitamin K, particularly K2 into her diet. Most of us know that vitamin K is responsible for proper blood clotting, but this is vitamin K1. One can get K1 from eating leafy greens such as kale, spinach, asparagus, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, parsley, etc. K2 is somewhat harder to get, and is in fact lacking in healthy diets. The foods with the highest vitamin K2 content are: Hard cheese, soft cheese, egg yolk, butter, chicken liver, salami, chicken breast, ground beef, and natto. Aside from natto (which few Americans can tolerate from a taste standpoint-it’s a Japanese fermented soy product), the vitamin K2-rich foods are considered unhealthy. As a result, people eating seemingly healthy diets are setting themselves up for systemic calcification due to deficiency of vitamin K2. K2 protects against soft tissue calcification, including joint areas, and arteries. Calcium is a major contributor to arterial plaque, causing stroke, heart disease, and aortic stenosis. Luckily, vitamin K2 supplements are widely available, if you don’t get it in the diet. One of the best is Super K, or Super Booster, available from Life Extension.

Artichokes are amazing, even though they’re a pain in the but to cook and eat. But, they are worth the effort. Artichokes are packed with phytonutrients such as quercetin, rutin, gallic acid, and cynarin, all working to protect against many health risks including cancer, heart disease, liver dysfunction, high cholesterol, and diabetes. Artichokes rank in the top four of all vegetables, which was a surprise to me. Here are some tips for cooking and eating artichokes. 1). Cut of the stem, and trim off the very sharp leaves, and use your fingers to slightly open the leaves, allowing it to cook more effectively (I didn’t realize that the leaves had more of the ‘good stuff’ than the heart, which I like best). When you boil or steam your artichoke, you can tell when it’s done when the petal near the center pulls out easily. When eating, just pull out the petals from the outside, one at a time. You can either dip them in your favorite sauce, or use butter like I do. With your teeth, pull out the pulpy portion and discard the rest of the leaf. Continue this until all the petals have been removed. Use a spoon and remove the fuzzy center at the base and discard. What is left is the heart-my fave! Enjoy!

Stay well, John R Blilie, M.S.