Superfoods That Give You the Most Bang for Your Buck

superfoods
Source: Mercola.com
Dr. Mercola
March 20, 2017

Ideally, food is your “medicine.” It’s certainly one of the best preventive strategy I can think of, and getting more raw organic foods and healthy fats in your diet are key considerations.

However, while any type of whole food is better than none, some choices can give you more bang for your buck than others.1

For example, while lettuce is a staple in most people’s homes, even if they don’t eat a whole lot of vegetables in general, and many may even spend the extra money on organic lettuce, there are far more cost-effective ways to get higher quality nutrients into your diet.

Below are 17 of my personal favorites in no particular order, with some added cost-saving and nutrition-boosting tips thrown in along the way.

1. Wild-Caught Alaskan Salmon

Research suggests eating clean fish like salmon, sardines or anchovies once or twice a week may increase your lifespan by more than two years and reduce your risk of dying from cardiovascular disease by 35 percent.2

However, the devil’s in the details, and when it comes to salmon, it’s quite crucial to buy the right kind.

What you’re looking for is wild-caught Alaskan salmon. Steer clear of all farmed and genetically engineered varieties.3 Virtually all salmon marked “Atlantic salmon” comes from fish farms, and researchers have shown farmed salmon may be one of the most toxic foods in the world.

Levels of healthy omega-3 fats are also reduced by about 50 percent in farmed salmon compared to wild salmon, due to the use of grain and legume feed.

Canned salmon labeled “Alaskan Salmon” is a cost-effective way to buy salmon, as it is far cheaper than whole salmon steaks. If you’re not a fan of salmon, you can get many of the same health benefits by eating anchovies or sardines, ideally canned in water rather than olive oil, as inferior grades of olive oil are typically used.

2. Avocado

In addition to being an excellent source of healthy fats, avocados also have other unique health benefits, including enhancing your body’s absorption of nutrients and inhibiting production of an inflammatory compound produced when you eat beef.4

They also contain compounds that inhibit and destroy oral cancer cells,5,6 and being very high in potassium avocados will help balance your potassium to sodium ratio.

Avocados are one of the safest fruits you can buy conventionally-grown, so you don’t need to spend the extra money for organic ones. Their thick skin protects the inner fruit from pesticides.

Another cost-saving measure is to keep them refrigerated. If you buy unripe avocado in bulk when they’re on sale, storing them in the fridge will significantly slow down the ripening process and save a bundle.

Simply place however many you want to use within the next day or two on the counter, and they’ll rapidly ripen.

3. Sprouts and Microgreens

Many of the benefits of sprouts and microgreens relate to the fact that, in their initial and early phase of growth, the plants contain more concentrated amounts of nutrients.7,8,9

As a result, you need to eat far less, in terms of amount, compared to a mature plant. Sprouts may be harvested within just a few days or a week of growth, while microgreens10 are typically harvested after two to three weeks, when they’ve reached a height of about 2 inches.

Essential fatty acids heighten and the protein quality of several vegetables improves when sprouted. Sprouts can also contain up to 100 times more enzymes than their full-grown counterparts, and help protect against chemical carcinogens.11 Watercress may be the most nutrient-dense of all.12,13

Sprouts and microgreens are easy and inexpensive to grow at home. They’re a particularly excellent choice during winter months, when outdoor gardening is limited or ruled out.

Another major benefit is that you don’t have to cook them. A simple way to dramatically improve your nutrition is to swap out lettuce for sprouts and/or microgreens in your salad, or on burgers, sandwiches or tacos.

Even a few grams of microgreens per day can “entirely satisfy” the recommended daily intake of vitamins C, E and K.14

4. Broccoli

Research shows this cruciferous veggie may reduce your risk for many common diseases, including arthritis, cancer, heart disease and more.

When you eat broccoli, you’re getting dozens of super-nutrients that support optimal, body-wide health, including fiber, the anti-cancer compounds sulforaphane15,16,17,18 and glucoraphanin,19,20 anti-inflammatory and free radical quenching phenolic compounds21,22,23 and immune-boosting diindolylmethane (DIM).24,25

Three servings of broccoli per week may reduce your risk of prostate cancer by more than 60 percent.26 Sulforaphane also helps raise testosterone levels, inhibits the retention of body fat, helps detox carcinogens27 and helps protect your muscles against exercise-induced damage.28

Ideally, choose raw broccoli, as frozen broccoli has diminished ability to produce sulforaphane. The enzyme myrosinase,29 which converts glucoraphanin to sulforaphane, is quickly destroyed during the blanching process.30

Even better, opt for broccoli sprouts, which can contain 20 to 50 times more chemoprotective compounds than mature broccoli.31,32

When using raw broccoli, steaming it for three to four minutes will optimize the sulforaphane content. Do not go past five minutes. If you want to boil your broccoli, blanch it in boiling water for no more than 20 to 30 seconds, then immerse it in cold water to stop the cooking process.

The sulforaphane content can be further optimized by eating it with mustard seed, daikon radishes, wasabi, arugula and/or cole slaw.33

5. Onions

Onions are another potent anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer food. Recent research shows people with the highest consumption of onions have a lower risk of several different types of cancer.34,35,36,37

Research has also revealed that the stronger the flavor of the onion, the better its cancer-fighting potential. In one analysis,38,39 shallots, Western yellow and pungent yellow onions were the most effective against liver cancer. The latter two were also particularly effective against colon cancer.

Onions also contain compounds known to protect against cardiovascular disease and neurological dysfunction or decline. They also help prevent obesity and diabetes, in part by inhibiting certain enzymes in your digestive tract, and by supporting healthy blood sugar control.

Antioxidants are most concentrated in the outer layers of the onion, so peel off only the outermost paper-like layer. Overpeeling can reduce important antioxidants and chemoprotective compounds by as much as 75 percent.40

On the upside, the anti-cancer compound quercetin does not degrade when cooked over low heat. Store whole, dry bulbs in a cool, dry, dark place with plenty of air movement to maximize shelf life.

6. Spinach

Spinach is also rich in cancer-fighting antioxidants, vitamin K1 (good for your veins and arteries), magnesium and folate, the latter of which is important for short-term memory and helps lower your risk for heart disease and cancer by slowing down wear and tear on your DNA. It also contains more potassium than banana.

One caveat and contraindication: If you have calcium oxalate kidney stones, spinach is on the list of foods to strictly avoid, as it is high in oxalate. Also keep in mind that boiling the spinach will leach valuable nutrients like vitamin C into the water. After 10 minutes of boiling, three-quarters of the phytonutrients in spinach will be lost, so you’re better off eating it raw, or lightly steamed or sautéed.

7. Coconut Oil

Coconut oil provides a mix of medium-chain fats, including C6, C8, C10 and C12 fats, the latter of which (lauric acid), is most well-known for its antibacterial, antimicrobial and antiviral properties.

The shorter-chained MCTs, on the other hand, are more readily converted into ketones, which are an excellent mitochondrial fuel. Ketones also help suppress the hunger hormone ghrelin, and coconut oil has been shown to aid weight loss and improve your HDL to LDL cholesterol balance.41

My new book, “Fat for Fuel,” explains many of the health benefits associated with a diet high in healthy fats, including coconut oil. Indeed, the ketogenic diet, featuring low net carb and high fat intake, has been shown to be beneficial for many chronic health conditions, including cancer, and can significantly improve your chances of weight loss.

One way to save money on coconut oil is to buy it by the gallon. Big box stores like Costco also tend to have better prices on such bulk items. Unlike other healthy oils such as olive oil, coconut oil is very resistant to oxidation that occurs once you open the jar or apply heat, so buying in bulk is not a major concern.

8. Fermented Cabbage

Cabbage tends to be inexpensive, and you can supercharge its health benefits by fermenting it, thereby also significantly extending its shelf life. The fermenting process produces copious quantities of beneficial microbes that are extremely important for your health, as they help balance your intestinal flora and boost your immunity.

These beneficial bacteria can even help to normalize your weight, and play a significant role in the prevention of type 2 diabetes, depression and other mood disorders.

9. Organic, Pastured Eggs

Free-range or pastured eggs are a relatively inexpensive and amazing source of high-quality nutrients, especially protein and fat. A single egg contains nine essential amino acids, high quality protein, lutein and zeaxanthin for your eyes, choline for your brain, nervous- and cardiovascular systems, and naturally-occurring B12.

Ideally, you’ll want to eat your eggs as close to raw as possible, such as soft-boiled or poached. Scrambled or fried eggs are the worst, as this oxidizes the cholesterol in the egg yolk. If you have kidney damage, you may want to discard the egg white. If you chose to use the egg white, avoid eating it raw unless it’s in combination with the yolk. Eating only egg white could potentially lead to biotin deficiency.

Besides superior nutrition, pastured chickens are much healthier than factory farmed chickens and therefore have a far lower risk of producing eggs infected with salmonella. To find a free-range pasture farm in your local area, check out www.eatwild.com or www.localharvest.org.

Keep in mind that eggs sold as “cage-free” does not mean the chickens were raised under ideal conditions. They’re not raised in cages, but they may still not have access to the outdoors. So, there are still significant differences between “cage-free” and “free range” or “pastured” eggs. To identify better commercial producers and brands, see the Cornucopia Institute’s egg report and scorecard, which ranks 136 egg producers according to 28 organic criteria.

10. Berries

Berries are loaded with vitamins, minerals and micronutrients that impart a host of health advantages. Importantly, their antioxidant power helps keep free radicals in check and fights inflammation. Some of the most important antioxidants in berries are anthocyanins, flavonols, ellagic acid and resveratrol, which studies say help protect your cells and fight off disease.

Blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, cranberries and blackberries are known as some of the world’s best dietary sources of bioactive compounds associated with a reduced risk of heart disease, neurodegeneration, diabetes, inflammation and cancer. One way to prevent waste — as berries can get moldy within days if you don’t eat them — is to buy frozen berries and simply thaw what you need. Frozen berries also tend to be less expensive pound-for-pound compared to fresh berries.

11. Kiwi

If you need vitamin C, which helps support immune function, look no further than the kiwi. One medium-sized fruit provides 117 percent of your daily recommended intake. They’re also a good source of fiber, vitamins E and K, potassium and antioxidants that help ward off chronic disease. Interestingly, kiwis have also been shown to help lower blood pressure.42

Acerola cherries are far better but they are not available commercially and need to be grown in subtropical environments. They are less than 10 percent the size of a kiwi and have more vitamin C. I have two trees that supply me with 50 to 75 or more cherries a day for about 8 months out of the year, which supplies me with many grams of a complete vitamin C matrix.

12. Raw Yogurt and Kefir

While most commercial yogurts are little more than glorified desserts loaded with sugar, yogurt and kefir made from cultured raw, organic grassfed milk are a real superfood, providing an array of healthy bacteria that support optimal health, along with high-quality protein, calcium, B vitamins and even cancer-fighting conjugated linoleic acid (CLA).

If you want to know which commercial yogurts are healthy and which are not, refer to The Cornucopia Institute’s Yogurt Report. Their investigation found many products being sold as yogurt do not even meet the standards for real yogurt. The report also includes a comparative cost analysis of commercial yogurt brands.

The good news is many organic yogurts are actually less expensive, on a price-per-ounce basis, than conventional, heavily processed yogurts (although some of the organic brands of yogurt actually contained some of the highest amounts of sugar). Your absolute best bet — and also your least expensive — is to make your own kefir or yogurt using organic grassfed milk. It’s a simple process requiring nothing more than the milk, some starter granules and a few mason jars.

13. Grassfed Beef and Beef Liver

Swapping grain-fed beef from concentrated animal feeding operations for organic grassfed beef is well worth the added price, as you get higher quality nutrients and less exposure to antibiotics and pathogenic bacteria. As for organ meat, it is a nutritional powerhouse, loaded with vitamins, minerals, amino acids and other compounds vital to your health, many of which Americans are deficient in.

Liver is particularly packed with nutrients. In fact, it contains more nutrients, gram for gram, than any other food, including choline, B vitamins, bioavailable iron, vitamin D and CoQ10.

You can save money by buying directly from a farmer and then freezing the meat. To ensure you’re getting the highest quality possible, look for the American Grassfed Association’s certification. Their website also allows you to search for AGA approved producers certified according to strict standards that include being raised on a diet of 100 percent forage; raised on pasture and never confined to a feedlot; never treated with antibiotics or hormones; born and raised on American family farms.

14. Grassfed Raw Butter

Butter, when made from grassfed cows, is rich in CLA, known to help fight cancer and diabetes. Butter is also a rich source of easily absorbed vitamin A and other fat-soluble vitamins (D, E and K2) that are often lacking in the modern industrial diet, plus trace minerals such as manganese, chromium, zinc, copper and selenium (a powerful antioxidant).

About 20 percent of butterfat consists of short- and medium-chain fatty acids, which your body uses right away for quick energy. Real butter also contains Wulzen Factor, a hormone-like substance that prevents arthritis and joint stiffness, ensuring that calcium in your body is put into your bones rather than your joints and other tissues. The Wulzen factor is present only in raw butter and cream; it is destroyed by pasteurization.

Here, you again have the option of making your own butter from raw grassfed milk. You may also find unpasteurized grassfed butter at your local farm or farmers market. The next best is pasteurized butter from grassfed cows, followed by regular pasteurized butter common in supermarkets.

Even the latter two are healthier choices by orders of magnitude than margarines or spreads. Just beware of “Monsanto Butter,” meaning butter that comes from cows fed almost entirely genetically engineered grains. This includes Land O’Lakes and Alta Dena.

15. Mushrooms

A number of different mushrooms — including shiitake, maitake and reishi — are known for their immune-boosting powers. In fact, some of the most potent immunosupportive agents come from mushrooms, and this is one reason why they’re so beneficial for both preventing and treating cancer. Long-chain polysaccharides, particularly alpha- and beta-glucan molecules, are primarily responsible for the mushrooms‘ beneficial effect on your immune system.

They’re also rich in protein, fiber, vitamin C, B vitamins, selenium, calcium, minerals and antioxidants, including some that are unique to mushrooms. One such antioxidant is ergothioneine, which scientists are now beginning to recognize as a “master antioxidant.”

When it comes to mushrooms, make sure they’re organic, as mushrooms tend to absorb and concentrate toxins from soil, air and water. Growing your own is an excellent option, but avoid picking mushrooms in the wild unless you are absolutely sure you know what you’re picking. Some mushrooms are guaranteed lethal and have no known antidote.

16. Kale

The nutritional density of kale is virtually unparalleled among green leafy vegetables, boasting all essential amino acids and nine non-essential ones. One-half cup of raw kale provides 100 percent of your daily requirement of vitamin A, 340 percent of your vitamin K and 67 percent of your vitamin C. It’s also loaded with both lutein and zeaxanthin, which are important for good eyesight. Gram-for-gram, kale even contains more calcium than milk.

Like many other superfoods on this list, kale contains potent chemoprotective agents, including the phytonutrient indole-3-carbinol — which has been shown to aid DNA cell repair and slow the growth of cancer cells — and sulforaphane. Its anti-inflammatory capabilities have also been shown to help prevent and even reverse arthritis, heart disease and several autoimmune diseases.

17. Whey Protein Concentrate

Whey protein, a byproduct of milk and cheese, has been linked to a variety of health benefits, including:

Helping your insulin work more effectively, which helps maintain your blood sugar level after a meal Promoting healthy insulin secretion, which is imperative for optimal health
Helping to promote your optimal intake of proteins, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals needed for your overall wellness Helping you preserve lean body tissue (particularly during exercise) as it delivers bioavailable amino acids and cysteine
Supporting your immune system, as it contains immunoglobulins Maintaining blood pressure levels that are already within the normal range

Whey protein concentrate (not to be confused with the far inferior whey protein isolate) is an ideal choice as it’s a rich source of amino acids.

It’s also the best food for maximizing your glutathione levels as it provides all the raw materials for glutathione production (cysteine, glycine and glutamate). Glutathione is your body’s most powerful antioxidant and has even been called “the master antioxidant.” It is a tripeptide found inside every single cell in your body. When shopping for a whey protein, be sure to look for a product that is:

  • Cold pressed
  • Derived from organic grassfed cows
  • Free of hormones
  • Toxin-free
  • Free of artificial sweeteners and sugar

    Read More At: Mercola.com

 

The Incredible Health Benefits of Berries

The Incredible Health Benefits of Berries

Source: GreenMedInfo.com
Valerie Burke, MSM
November 2, 2015

How can one food group offer so many incredible health benefits, from preventing heart attack, stroke and dementia to protecting you from the flu? The answer is phytonutrients, and berries are simply loaded. Reading this “berry primer” will have you snatching them by the handfuls.

As the rock stars of the fruit kingdom, berries are some of the most disease preventive foods on the planet, coveted by our hunter-gatherer ancestors for millennia. Modern science is now revealing why these little red and purple beauties have been so revered—their high levels of polyphenols and other nutrients provide health benefits from head to toe.

Berries boost your immunity and calm inflammation because they’re packed so full of antioxidants, vitamins and fiber—in fact, they contain some of the highest antioxidant levels of all foods. Berries protect your heart and brain and slow down aging—and they’re a cancer cell’s worst nightmare. They’re also lower in sugar than most other fruits so less likely to destabilize your insulin.

You may have heard references to polyphenols, flavonoids, flavanols, anthocyanins, and other technical terms. These can be confusing, so before we get into health benefits, let’s review some basic berry nomenclature to build a foundation for your appreciation.

Phytochemicals 101

A berry is scientifically defined as a fleshy fruit produced by the ovary of a single flower, which includes fruits not commonly considered berries such as grapes, bananas, tomatoes, cucumbers, and eggplants—but excluding strawberries and raspberries. Although various horticultural camps disagree about what constitutes a berry, this article will focus on the common culinary classification, what we see at the market labeled as “berries.”

The naturally occurring compounds primarily responsible for berries’ nutritional value are the following:

·      Phytochemicals (sometimes called phytonutrients) are naturally occurring plant compounds with protective or disease preventive properties. The thousands of phytochemicals are divided into three categories: phenolic acids (which are polyphenols), flavonoids, and stilbenes/lignans.[1]

·      Polyphenols are the most abundant natural antioxidants in our food supply. Examples include resveratrol (grapes), ellagic acid (nuts and berries), capsaicin (hot peppers), epigallocatechin gallate or EGCG (green tea), quercetin, tannins, and diferuloylmethanes (found only in turmeric).[2]

·      Flavonoids are the most diverse group of polyphenols (there are 4,000!). Flavonoids are what give berries and other fruits and veggies their vibrant colors, as well as stellar antioxidant properties. Plants produce flavonoids to protect themselves from parasites, oxidative injury and harsh climatic conditions. Flavonoids benefit more than 200 different diseases with 79 different pharmaceutical actions, including cardioprotective, neuroprotective and antineoplastic. Flavonoids are divided in several subclasses, including flavanols (includes catechins and proanthrocyanidins), flavones, isoflavones (soy), and anthocyanins.

·      Anthocyanins are pigments giving plants (including berries) their deep red, purple and blue colors. The darker the berry, the more anthocyanin it contains. This pigment has significant cardioprotective, neuroprotective and antitumor properties, as well as many others.

Berries and Your Heart

One of the most remarkable gifts from berries is the protection they afford your heart, which results mostly from their anthocyanin content. Anthocyanins support the endothelial lining of your circulatory system by improving blood pressure, reducing oxidative stress and inflammation, enhancing capillary strength, inhibiting platelet formation, and preventing the buildup of arterial plaque.

One in three US adults now has high blood pressure,[3] and multiple studies show the benefits of blueberries for blood pressure and overall heart health. A study published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics[4] involving high-risk postmenopausal women found that consuming one cup of blueberries daily for eight weeks reduced blood pressure and arterial stiffness, possibly due to increased nitric oxide production.

Women who consume more than three servings of blueberries and strawberries per week were found to have a 32 percent lower risk of heart attack. One cup of mixed berries per day has been shown to lower blood pressure and raise beneficial HDL. Blueberries offer additional protection from type 2 diabetes by stabilizing blood sugar levels and improving insulin sensitivity. In a scientific review of the cardioprotective benefits of anthocyanins, researchers wrote:[5]

“Epidemiological studies suggest that increased consumption of anthocyanins lowers the risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD), the most common cause of mortality among men and women.

Anthocyanins frequently interact with other phytochemicals, exhibiting synergistic biological effects but making contributions from individual components difficult to decipher. Over the past 2 decades, many peer-reviewed publications have demonstrated that in addition to their noted in vitro antioxidant activity, anthocyanins may regulate different signaling pathways involved in the development of CVD.”

This is Your Brain on Berries…

Berries are some of the best foods you can eat to lower your risk for Alzheimer’s disease and other neurological disorders. A Chinese study[6] found the incidence of dementia (Alzheimer’s, vascular and other forms) was more than 500 percent higher for those who did not consume berries on a regular basis. A team of international researchers reviewed the science of berries’ neuroprotective effects and drew the following conclusions:[7]

Berries significantly reduce the risk for multiple types of dementia

·      Strawberries decrease oxidation and build neurological health

·      Bilberries protect against arterial and neural damage

·      Black currants discourage the formation of beta-amyloid plaques, which are common in dementia

·      Blueberries are associated with improved memory and learning, as well as reduced radical oxidation species that harm brain cells

The benefits of strawberries for your brain is at least partly explained by a recently discovered compound called fisetin, a flavonol similar to quercetin that’s found in strawberries and several other fruits and vegetables. Research published in Aging Cell[8] found fisetin prevented mice who were programmed to develop Alzheimer’s disease from actually developing it. Pamela Maher’s research team identified numerous ways in which fisetin works on metabolic pathways to reduce age-related cognitive decline, including raising intracellular glutathione levels and reducing brain inflammation, all of which she summarized in a 2009 paper.[9]

If you’re simply feeling blue, maybe you need to EAT more blue! Low dopamine levels can result in depression and other mood disturbances, but anthocyanins and proanthrocyanidins help your brain produce more dopamine.[10] [11] Or try some goji berries, shown to substantially increase feelings of well-being and improve cognitive performance after only two weeks.

Cancer’s Worst Enemy

There is evidence that berries (particularly blueberries, possibly because they’ve been the most studied) can help protect you from cancer, including breast, colon, liver and melanoma.

Blueberries are found to induce apoptosis (cell death) in virulent breast cancer cell lines. An isolate in blueberries named pterostilbene (related to resveratrol) was shown to selectively kill cancer stem cells and suppress the adverse effects of radiation. In fact, pterostilbene has demonstrated anti-cancer activity against breast, colon, gastric, esophageal and prostate cancers. However, blueberries aren’t the only berries with anticarcinogenic effects. The acai berry shows promise in treating leukemia and colon cancer, as well as supporting overall immune function, metabolism and arthritis. Bilberry inhibits colon cancer and leukemia. Blackberries and black raspberries have been demonstrated to be antiproliferative.

The bottom line is, if you want to capitalize on the healing power of berries, an excellent strategy is to incorporate them into your diet on a daily basis—and the more variety the better. To maximize antioxidant benefits, go organic. One study[12] found that organically grown blueberries have significantly higher concentrations of phenol antioxidants and anthocyanins than conventionally grown, as well as significantly higher total antioxidant capacity.

Each berry has its own special complement of phytochemicals, so add multiple types of berries to your list next time you’re hunting and gathering at your local farmers market.

Berry Special Health Benefits

Cranberry: Sixteen different studies support the efficacy of cranberries for treating and preventing urinary tract infections, but did you know they also combat MRSA?

Strawberry: Improved lipid profile, reduced cardiovascular and type 2 diabetes risk; protection from esophageal cancer; eight strawberries have more vitamin C than a medium sized orange

Raspberry: Support for esophageal cancer, erectile dysfunction and low sperm count

Goji Berry: Protects male reproductive organs from damage by endocrine disrupting chemicals, such as BPA

Black Currant: Support for brain power mood, allergies and rheumatoid arthritis

Elderberry: Inhibits influenza A and B as effectively as amantadine or Tamiflu

Blackberry: Suppo

Schisandra berry: Improves mitochondrial function

Read More At: GreenMedInfo.com
_________________________________________________________________

© November 2nd, 2015 GreenMedInfo LLC. This work is reproduced and distributed with the permission of GreenMedInfo LLC. Want to learn more from GreenMedInfo? Sign up for the newsletter here http://www.greenmedinfo.com/greenmed/newsletter.


References

[1] UC Davis Nutrition and Health Info-Sheet: Some Facts About Phytochemicals

[2] UC Davis Integrative Medicine Program: The Power of Polyphenols July 28, 2015

[3] CDC High Blood Pressure Facts

[4] Johnson SA et al. Daily Blueberry Consumption Improves Blood Pressure and Arterial Stiffness in Postmenopausal Women with Pre- and Stage 1-Hypertension: A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Clinical Trial. Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics 2015 March;115(3):369-377

[5] Wallace TC. Anthocyanins in cardiovascular disease. Adv Nutr. 2011 Jan;2(1):1-7. doi: 10.3945/an.110.000042. Epub 2011 Jan 10.

[6] Wei, CJ et al. Risk factors for dementia in highly educated elderly people in Tianjin, China. Clin Neurol & Neurosurg. 2014 July;122:408 http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.clineuro.2014.04.004

[7] Subash S. et al. Neuroprotective effects of berry fruits on neurodegenerative diseases. Neural Regen Res. 2014 Aug 15; 9(16): 1557–1566.

doi:  10.4103/1673-5374.139483

[8] Currais A. et al. Modulation of p25 and inflammatory pathways by fisetin maintains cognitive function in Alzheimer’s disease transgenic mice. Aging Cell. 2014 Apr;13(2):379-90. doi: 10.1111/acel.12185. Epub 2013 Dec 17. PMCID: PMC3954948

[9] Maher P. Modulation of multiple pathways involved in the maintenance of neuronal function during aging by fisetin. Genes Nutr. 2009 Dec; 4(4): 297–307. doi:  10.1007/s12263-009-0142-5

[10] Dobberstein LJ. “Brain Protective Effects of Proathocyanidins.” Wellness Resources April 7, 2014

[11] Rahman MM. et al. Effects of anthocyanins on psychological stress-induced oxidative stress and neurotransmitter status. J Agric Food Chem. 2008 Aug 27;56(16):7545-50. doi: 10.1021/jf800930s. Epub 2008 Jul 29.

[12]Wang SY. et al. Fruit Quality, Antioxidant Capacity, and Flavonoid Content of Organically and Conventionally Grown Blueberries. J Agric Food Chem. 2008 July; 56 (14):5788–5794  DOI: 10.1021/jf703775r

Berries vs. Pesticides in Parkinson’s Disease

Source: NutritionFacts.org
Dr. Greger
July 13, 2016

DESCRIPTION: Berries counteract the neurotoxic effects of pesticides in vitro, potentially explaining why berry consumption is associated with lower risk of developing Parkinson’s disease.

Why are purple foods so good for you? Learn the science of why these pigmented choices are good for heart, brain health

Purple foods
Source: NaturalNews.com
David Gutierrez
April 19, 2016

You’ve probably heard that purple foods — from blueberries to purple versions of foods such as potatoes — are particularly good for your health, and you may have wondered what’s behind this effect. In fact, it literally is the purple color itself that’s good for you — the pigments that give foods their purple color are a family of potent antioxidants known as anthocyanins.

Studies have linked anthocyanins to lowered risk of cancer, cardiovascular disease, neurological disease, cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s disease. They also appear to help control — and possibly prevent — obesity and diabetes, in part by inhibiting certain digestive enzymes and helping control levels of blood sugar. They are potent anti-inflammatories, and are therefore also likely to reduce the risk of most chronic diseases.

Think “purple”

So how can you boost your intake of these super-antioxidants? Primarily by eating deep red, blue and purple fruits and vegetables. This includes all berries, including strawberries, as well as other fruits including cherries, pomegranates and plums.

Some vegetables are only high in anthocyanins if you pick the variety with the right color: purple sweet potatoes, red onions and purple cabbage, for example. Other high-anthocyanin vegetables include beets and eggplant. In the case of eggplant, be sure not to throw away the skin, as that’s where most of the anthocyanins reside. The skin is also high in fiber, potassium and magnesium.

The skins of red and purple grapes are of course a good source of anthocyanins, which also makes red wine a good source of this antioxidant. Along with resveratrol (another powerful antioxidant), anthocyanins may be responsible for many of the remarkable health benefits of red wine.

All of the above are foods that are relatively easy to come by. But if you’re in the mood for something that’s less common in the US diet, there are some other anthocyanin-rich foods you can try. One of these is guava fruit, and particularly the blue-green peels. Another is black rice, or, if that’s too expensive, Kerala Red rice. Both of these are natural varieties of rice — not to be confused with genetically modified “Golden Rice.”

Continue Reading At: NaturalNews.com

Permaculture Style Front Yard Winter Vegetable Garden Tour

Source: GrowingYourGreens
April 5, 2016

John from http://www.growingyourgreens.com/ takes you on a tour of his front yard permaculture style urban raised bed vegetable garden. In this episode you will learn what John grew in the Winter in his frontyard organic garden in Zone 9b.

You will discover how he is growing different fruits, berries and vegetables, as well as learn many of the varieties of vegetables he grows in the fall and winter season.

Along the way you will learn a few things about growing food in the frontyard of a standard American tract home in the suburbs and how much food you can truly grow in the frontyard that can help to feed a family of 4 easily.

Documentary Explores Link Between Mood and Diet

Source: Mercola.com
Dr. Mercola
January 9, 2016

The connection between your food and your mood has been the focus of occasional scientific inquiry over the past couple of decades.

Your diet can have a pronounced biochemical effect on your mental health, but the reverse is also true—your emotional state can influence the foods you choose, as well as being a major force behind food cravings.

Dr. Brian Wansink1 of Cornell University, author of more than 200 articles and books about the psychology of eating, is featured in the PBS documentary “Food on the Brain.”

This program explores the psychology of eating and provides tips and tricks for making better food choices when faced with the overwhelming number of products in supermarkets today.

Your Foods Influence Your Moods—And Vice Versa

The average supermarket now carries 43,844 different products.2 How can you even begin to make good choices when there are so many products from which to choose? Going shopping can be overwhelming.

Shoppers report that an abundance of choice can make decision-making difficult, and five percent of shoppers will simply walk away empty-handed when the scope of choices makes selection too overwhelming.3

Research has shown that an unprocessed food based diet, including fermented foods to optimize your gut flora, supports positive mood and optimal mental health.

For example, dark chocolate, berries, coffee, bananas, omega-3 fats, and turmeric (curcumin) tend to boost your mood, whereas sugar, wheat (gluten), and processed foods have been linked to poor mood.

But the influence also works in the other direction. Studies show that your emotional state may significantly control the types of foods you choose, as well as how much food you’re inclined to eat.

Could Avoiding Overeating Be as Simple as Thinking Happy Thoughts?

A series of fascinating studies4 by Cornell University’s Food and Brand Lab (run by Dr. Wansink) were designed to explain the mechanisms by which negative and positive moods influence your food choices.

Researchers found that individuals select healthy or “indulgent” foods depending on whether they’re in a good or a bad mood, respectively. They discovered that if you think about what you’re grateful for, you’ll eat up to 77 percent healthier.

Why would this be?

Individuals in positive moods who make healthier food choices are often thinking more about future health benefits than those in negative moods, who focus more on immediate taste and sensory experience. Researchers wrote:

“When people are in a good mood, things seem okay and they can take a big picture perspective. This kind of thinking allows people to focus on the more abstract aspects of food, including how healthy it is…

Conceptually, when people feel uncomfortable or are in a bad mood, they know something is wrong and focus on what is close in the here and now.

We hypothesized and demonstrated that this kind of thinking gets us to focus on the sensory qualities of our foods – not things that are more abstract like how nutritious the food is.”

The research team suggests that if you’re in a bad mood and you want to reduce your temptation to overeat, or not eat the wrong thing, try focusing on something other than the present. If you want to change your eating, change your thoughts—think of something you’re grateful for.

Comfort Foods May Not Be So Comforting After All

The healing power of comfort food may be overrated, if you believe the results of a recent study.5 Researchers at the University of Minnesota found that indulging in comfort food has little effect on how quickly you recover from a bad mood.

The study was funded by NASA in hopes of finding a way to improve the mood of astronauts on space missions. Astronauts tend to lose weight in space, where work demands are high and the food is generally bleak and uninspiring.

Individuals who didn’t soothe themselves with food found their moods bouncing back just as quickly as those who indulged in “comfort food.”6 Even when comfort food helped with mood, the effects were short-lived.

In a previous study,7 Dr. Wansink’s research team found that, contrary to popular belief, people tend to eat “comfort foods” as a reward, rather than in response to sadness or stress.

About 86 percent of those surveyed reported seeking out comfort foods when they were in a happy mood, as opposed to 36 percent reporting eating comfort foods when feeling down.

Tips and Strategies to Prevent Overeating

Being mindful of your eating is important, but sometimes mindfulness alone isn’t enough. Many human behaviors are driven by unconscious emotions, and eating patterns are no exception. There are ways to clear out these unconscious emotions, which I’ll be addressing shortly, but it’s also nice to have a few psychological tools to “trick” your body into eating less. Dr. Wansink discusses a few of these in the featured documentary.

Smaller Plates Equal Smaller Portions

Although calorie counting is not an effective approach to weight loss, portion control can be important, particularly if you are inactive or have a sluggish metabolism. Westerners typically consume much larger portions than they need. One way to control portions with minimal effort is by using smaller plates. This seems to work by way of an optical illusion—food portions appear larger on a smaller plate, which tricks your brain into serving and eating smaller portions.8

Plate size has been found to affect how much you eat by 25 percent! Interestingly, the same applies to glassware and utensils. If you want to reduce your intake of sweetened drinks or alcohol, use tall, thin glasses instead of short, wide ones. Similarly, using a smaller fork9 and cutting your food into smaller pieces10 seems to reduce consumption.

If you’re using larger plates, choose plates of a color that contrasts greatly with your food, but with a color similar to the tablecloth. Dr. Wansink also mentions a “half-plate” rule. He says, “It doesn’t matter what you eat as long as half your plate consists of fresh vegetables and fruits.”

I would generally agree, provided you’re not consuming junk food or processed foods. Remember also that a large portion of those vegetables are best consumed raw. Make sure to drink plenty of pure filtered or spring water every day, as sometimes thirst masquerades as hunger.

A 2010 study found that drinking two cups of water prior to meals is an effective way to reduce food intake, especially for middle-aged and older adults.11 Another scientific review concluded that drinking ice water prior to a meal, in lieu of a sweetened beverage, may result in your eating less.

Continue Reading At: Mercola.com