Top 10 antioxidant-rich foods you need to add to your diet

Image: Top 10 antioxidant-rich foods you need to add to your diet

Source: NaturalNews.com
Russel Davis
May 4, 2017

Antioxidants promote a healthier body by eradicating free radicals, which can weaken the immune system and lead to a variety of diseases. An article in Medium.com states that food is the primary source of essential antioxidants. Certain food groups such as berries, nuts, and leafy greens are touted for their high antioxidant content.

Below is a list of the top 10 foods with the highest antioxidant content.

  1. Berries – Berries are excellent sources of polyphenols, micronutrients, and fiber. Various studies have already established that consuming berries, whether fresh, freeze-dried, or juiced, provide superior protection against heart diseases and certain types of cancers. Blueberries are especially recognized for having the highest antioxidant levels among berries. Other sources of antioxidants include strawberries, cranberries, raspberries, and goji berries.
  2. Green tea – Green tea has been cultivated for centuries because of their high antioxidant properties that help prevent the onset of certain cancers including breast, pancreatic, colorectal, and lung cancer. Green tea is also known to reduce the risk of inflammatory diseases such as diabetes, liver disease, and inflammatory bowel disease.
  3. Leafy greens – Leafy green vegetables such as spinach and kale contain essential phytochemicals that counter the effects of inflammation and carcinogens.
  4. Pomegranates, cherries, grapes, and raisins – Grapes are best known for their high polyphenol content, which is essential in keeping certain types of cancers in check. The high antioxidant levels in grapes and raisins were also tied to lower risk of heart disease, hypertension, diabetes, and diabetes-related complications. Pomegranates and cherries are also known to contain high antioxidant levels.
  5. Dark chocolate – Dark chocolate is rich in the antioxidant flavonoids. In fact, just one oz. of dark chocolate contains twice as much antioxidants as red wine.
  6. Plums and prunes – Both plums and prunes are regarded as superfoods for their high antioxidant content. According to recent studies, one plum contains as much antioxidants as a handful of blueberries.
  7. Nuts – Nuts are an excellent source of antioxidants called polyphenols. A recent study presented at the annual meeting of the American Chemical Society revealed that walnuts contain twice as much antioxidants as those found in other nuts such as pecans, macadamias, cashews, and pistachios.
  8. Ground cloves – Spices such as ground cloves are not only packed with flavor, they are found to have very high antioxidant content. Other antioxidant-rich spices include turmeric, garlic, ginger as well as cinnamon and oregano.
  9. Kidney beans – Kidney beans have been a kitchen staple for years. These humble legumes contain high amounts of antioxidants.
  10. Artichoke hearts – Artichoke hearts are also found to contain high levels of essential antioxidants.

The research community has long established that antioxidants are essential in maintaining a healthy body. These compounds help protect the body from the harmful effects of free radicals. Free radicals are unstable body molecules that lack electrons. These molecules steal electrons from the nearest healthy cell, which in turn makes the cell sick and prompts a chain reaction within the body. Free radical formation can be caused by exposure to toxins and pollution, smoking, and other environmental factors.

An article in the GlobalHealingCenter.com likens this process to cleaning a fish a tank. The fish tank resembles the body, while the gunk and grime that form in it at are the free radicals. Antioxidants act as bottom-feeder fishes that suck up all the dirt in the tank. In the same manner, antioxidants scavenge the body for free radicals and eliminate them by slowing down or inhibiting the body’s oxidation process. High antioxidant levels in the body may help keep certain diseases in check such as cancer and cardiovascular diseases. Antioxidants were also associated with improved eye health, immune system and slower aging process.

Learn more about plant nutrients at Nutrients.news.

Read More At: NaturalNews.com

Sources include:

Medium.com

GlobalHealingCenter.com

Blog.FoodNetwork.com

UMM.edu

Prevention.com

MedicalNewsToday.com

NBCNews.com

DailyMail.co.uk

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Eat This, Not That for Longer Life

eating the right foods

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

You’ve probably heard that “eating right” can go a long way toward keeping you healthy, while it stands to reason that if you don’t, just the opposite will happen — at least sooner than it might have otherwise.

It turns out this is more than just conjecture, since a new study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), reports that if you eat the right foods in the right amounts, your risk of dying from heart disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes — among the most common killers in the U.S. — could be cut nearly in half.

That’s pretty impressive, but what does “eat the right foods” even mean? It turns out there’s a “substantial body of evidence” showing that “suboptimal” diets are undeniably culpable in causing the development of these illnesses, collectively known as cardiometabolic diseases (CMD), for several reasons. Specifically:

“Dietary factors studied have included individual nutrients (macronutrients, micronutrients, minerals, vitamins, electrolytes, and phytochemicals), foods, and overall dietary patterns.”1

Lead study author Renata Micha, from the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University in Boston, said the scientists’ most important finding of the review was that scientists now understand more about which foods would help keep people in the U.S. from dying prematurely from these diseases.

The challenge, however, is getting people to sit up and take notice. But instead of focusing on foods that are bad for you, Micha asserts that a more compelling approach might be to emphasize the merits of eating beneficial foods and the nutritional aspects they offer.2

Good Foods, Bad Foods and How They Affect Your Health

If you’re at a loss regarding what’s really good for you and what’s really not, the study examined several types of foods to clarify their good and bad aspects.

Researchers combed through numerous studies, including National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys between 1999 to 2002, and 2009 to 2012, for evidence regarding what foods and/or dietary components affect your health most. Those included:

Vegetables Fruits Processed and unprocessed meats Soybean and corn oils
Omega-3 fats Sugary drinks Seafood Grains, nuts and seeds

Of the 702,308 deaths from the top three diseases, 318,656 were determined to be a result of dietary factors from eating too much — or not enough — of these foods or dietary components.

Not surprisingly, information from this study echoed what scientists had already concluded regarding how the right foods can help, such as heart health.3

Not eating enough nuts and seeds was tied to 59,374 deaths; too much processed meat like bacon was tied to 57,766 deaths; too little fatty fish, such as salmon and sardines, were implicated in 54,626 deaths, and not enough vegetables to 53,410 deaths.

Additionally, 51,695 deaths were tied to too many sugar-sweetened beverages. Interestingly, the study showed that more women than men die of cardiometabolic diseases due to unhealthy diets.

Additionally, younger and less educated people, blacks and Hispanics are at greater risk than older, more educated and white people.4

Eat More of These Foods for Optimal Health

In the U.S., most people follow family tradition for meals so that generally, they’ll consist of protein (meat), vegetables such as potatoes or corn, grains including bread, rice or pasta, a salad and, often, dessert.

That’s not all bad, but there are factors to consider. One is portion size, and the unfortunate trend nowadays is that too many people get too much of a good thing. Optimal amounts of good foods for a healthy diet, the study showed,5 will include:

  • 3 pieces of fruit a day
  • 2 cups of cooked or 4 cups of raw veggies per day
  • 5 1-ounce servings of nuts or seeds per week (about 20 nuts per serving)
  • 8 ounces of seafood weekly
  • 1 5- to 8-ounce serving of red meat per week

Meat and Seafood: Eating to Optimize Your Health

Protein is necessary for good health, but serving sizes are critical because your body can only use so much.

Excess protein requires your body to rid itself of excess nitrogen waste from your blood, stressing your kidneys, and may lead to dehydration. It can trigger the pathways rapamycin (mTOR) and GCN2, involved in cancer and aging.

Most people eat twice as much meat as they need, but how it’s cooked is another factor to consider. Grilled meat, for instance, undergoes a chemical reaction that may produce heterocyclic amines (HCAs), advanced glycation end products (AGEs) and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), each linked to deadly diseases.

As for chemically “enhanced” and processed meats, including bacon, salami, pepperoni, ham, pastrami, hot dogs, some sausages and hamburgers, you may be interested to know they’re now classified as carcinogenic (along with tobacco and asbestos), as studies show they can cause cancer in humans.

Further, they may cause male infertility. Most meat sold in the U.S. comes from animals raised in concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs), associated with antibiotic-resistant disease. Organic pastured meats have a better nutritional profile overall with far lower risk of pesticide contamination.

There’s also a reduced risk of contamination with drug-resistant microorganisms that can cause illness.

Regarding seafood, there are factors that have changed the dynamics over past decades. Some of what was once considered good for you is now potentially toxic, including shrimp and tuna, two of the most popular.

Fish from all over the world are now largely compromised due to toxic waste, fish farming operations and mercury contamination, which become cumulative as large fish consume smaller ones — all factors to consider when choosing seafood.

Salmon, an excellent source of omega-3 fats, must be wild-caught Alaskan salmon, not farmed.

Why You Need Omega-3 Fats, Nuts and Seeds

To improve your health and advance your life, add optimal amounts of omega-3 fats, as well as nuts, seeds, fruits and vegetables to your diet (if you haven’t already). At the same time, eliminate sodas, as well as processed meats and meats from CAFOs.

Omega-3 comes from both animal and plant sources. The primary animal sources are krill oil and fish oil, which provide eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), which are heart protective, and in fact markedly reduce the risk of heart attack, stroke and premature death.6

What sets krill oil apart from fish oil is that its omega-3 fats are in a much more absorbable form that’s ready to be used by your body. The primary plant sources of omega-3s are flaxseed, chia and hemp.

That introduces the topic of healthy nuts and seeds, specifically tree nuts (peanuts have the name, but are actually legumes, and not one I recommend) and seeds.

A handful of raw nuts is a great snack and contains healthy fats, fiber, protein, antioxidants and minerals and, as such, is great for your heart and may even help control your weight.

Eating raw seeds, such as pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds, with their high level of good fats and oils, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, helps boost your immune system, fights free radicals and may help improve insulin levels, as well as benefit your heart and immune system.

The Facts About Soda and ‘Not Enough Fruits’

One of the dietary components identified by the study involved fruit, with an admonition that people don’t eat enough, which they attributed to 52,547 deaths. Closely connected is the fact that in the study, soda was a definite no-no, and there are exacerbating circumstances for both.

Regarding fruits, they offer many vitamins, enzymes and minerals, but should be eaten in moderation due to fructose content. Drinking fruit juices with added sugars does not provide the same benefit as consuming whole fruits.

Another important point is to eliminate high-fructose corn syrup, or HFCS. In a laboratory, HFCS is considered similar to table sugar, but contains higher levels of fructose. Some manufacturers say it contains no more than 55 percent fructose (with 45 percent glucose), which is comparable to white sugar.

But tests show the fructose in HFCS can reach as high as 65 percent, which explains why HFCS is so much worse for you than refined sugar. Soda consumption, even sugar-free soda, packs on pounds rather than helping you lose. Artificial sweeteners in diet sodas are not a suitable replacement for HFCS, as they’re linked not only to weight gain, but to diabetes, insulin resistance and leptin resistance.

It’s worth noting that soda and fruit juice have something in common: Both can cause gout. Plus, one study showed that women who had a single soda or a 6-ounce glass of fruit juice had a 74 percent and 41 percent higher risk, respectively, of this debilitatingly painful foot problem.7

Something else you should know is that virtually all processed foods contain HFCS, and much of it is hidden. My best recommendation for fructose is to limit it to 25 grams per day, from all sources, and as little as 15 grams a day if you’re diabetic or have chronic health issues (including the fructose from whole fruits).

Another thing to note is that pesticides render some of the most delicious and nutritious fruits and vegetables rather contaminated. The “Dirty Dozen” list8 for 2016 reports the most pesticide-sprayed fruits and vegetables. Peeling them can greatly diminish the hazards contained in these fruits, but then you’re also losing some of the most valuable nutrition. There’s also the “Clean 15” list of the least contaminated.

Excess Salt Isn’t the Problem — Not Enough Potassium Is

The featured study also noted that ingesting too much salt was tied to 66,508 deaths. However, it’s an unbalanced sodium-potassium ratio that leads to hypertension. Studies show that 1 in 3 adults in the U.S. have high blood pressure.9 To say that maintaining balanced levels is crucial for health is not an understatement.

Potassium may be one of the least understood minerals. Suffice it to say that it’s crucial not just for optimal health, but for life. Unfortunately, however, only about 2 percent of the U.S. adult population gets the recommended daily index (RDI) of 4,700 milligrams (mg) per day; the other 98 percent get far less than that.10

Potassium needs to be kept in proper balance with sodium in your blood; if you consume too much sodium, which is common if you eat a lot of processed foods, you’ll have an increased need for potassium. With enough potassium in your diet, your hypertension and stroke risks diminish.Also, when you eat the right vegetables, so too does your risk of developing heart disease.

Potassium is an electrolyte and as such, helps conduct electrical charges in your body, along with calcium, magnesium, calcium and chloride. It’s important to help maintain a balance between the chemical and electrical processes in your body.

What Makes Potassium so Important

Potassium is considered a “major” mineral because it helps your muscles contract, regulates your body fluids, balances low blood sugar, transmits nerve impulses and lowers blood pressure. Leafy greens are one of the best potassium sources.

While getting the right amount can decrease your risk of stroke and heart disease, not getting enough can cause your blood sugar to plunge and kick in symptoms such as weakness, trembling, sweating and confusion. Further, low levels can contribute to the development of kidney stones and high blood pressure.

One of the amazing things about including potassium-rich foods, such as beet greens, avocados, bananas, wild-caught salmon, raw organic, grass-fed yogurt and black beans, in your diet is how quickly your body responds by lowering your risk of such problems, including that of heart disease. Also, organic is always best.

How to Change Your Eating Habits Without Becoming Overwhelmed

While there’s no “silver bullet” in regard to foods that will eliminate your risk of developing these or any other disease, the study’s senior author, also dean of the Friedman School at Tufts University, Dr. Dariush Mozaffarian, believes the way the food system is set up needs to change.

Mozaffarian’s advice for people who feel overwhelmed by the prospect of changing their eating habits is to choose one area to improve and nail it down before moving on to another.

An example, you might start your quest for better health by eliminating HFCS or soda, which undoubtedly would bring about a huge health improvement. With each upgrade, your risk factors for these and many other diseases will begin to diminish, and you’ll even feel better. To quote Micha, “Eating healthy is key, and if we remember that simple fact, most of us can have healthier and better lives.”11

Read More At: Mercola.com

 

Are These Holiday Regulars Actually Healthy?

Source: iHealthTube.com
December 8, 2016

In this week’s edition of natural health news, find about a couple of common holiday foods and how they can actually provide health benefits. Also find out what is being learned about saturated fat. Is it different than what we’ve been told?

Magnesium — A Key Nutrient for Health and Disease Prevention

S0urce:Mercola.com
Dr. Mercola
December 28, 2015

Magnesium is the fourth most abundant mineral in your body. More than 3,750 magnesium-binding sites have been detected on human proteins,1 and it’s required for more than 300 different enzymes in your body.

In short, magnesium plays an important role in a wide variety of biochemical processes, including the following:

Creation of ATP2,3 (adenosine triphospate), the energy molecules of your body Action of your heart muscle Proper formation of bones and teeth
Relaxation of blood vessels Regulation of blood sugar levels Activating muscles and nerves
Helping digest proteins, carbohydrates, and fats Serving as a cofactor for RNA and DNA It’s also a catalyst for neurotransmitters like serotonin

As is the case with vitamin D, if you don’t have enough magnesium, your body simply cannot function optimally, and insufficient cellular magnesium levels set the stage for deterioration of metabolic function that can snowball into more serious health problems.

For starters, magnesium is critical for the optimization of your mitochondria, which have enormous potential to influence your health, especially the prevention of cancer.

In fact, optimizing mitochondrial metabolism may be at the core of effective cancer treatment. But your mitochondrial function is also crucial for overall good health, energy, and athletic performance.

Optimizing Mitochondrial Function with Magnesium

Mitochondria are tiny organelles, originally thought to be derived from bacteria. Most cells have anywhere from 1 to 2,000 of them. Your organs need energy to function properly, and that energy is produced by the mitochondria in each cell.

Since mitochondrial function is at the very heart of everything that occurs in your body, optimizing mitochondrial function (and preventing mitochondrial dysfunction) by making sure you get all the right nutrients and precursors your mitochondria need is extremely important for health and disease prevention.

As explained by Rhonda Patrick, Ph.D., in the video above, magnesium plays an important role. Patrick has done extensive research on the link between mitochondrial metabolism, apoptosis and cancer, and on the effects of hyperthermic conditioning on muscle growth.

High-intensity interval training helps optimize athletic performance by increasing your oxidative capacity, meaning the ability of your muscle cells to consume oxygen. Your oxidative capacity relies on your mitochondria’s ability to produce ATP by consuming that oxygen inside the cell.

As noted by Patrick, “You want your ATP production to exceed your ATP consumption, in order to enhance or maximize your performance and avoid muscle fatigue.”

You can increase your oxidative capacity in two ways:

  • Increasing the total number of mitochondria in your cells by engaging in high intensity interval exercises. However, in order for new mitochondria to be created, you must have sufficient amounts of magnesium.
  • Increasing the efficiency of your mitochondria to repair damage and produce ATP. This process also requires magnesium as a co-factor.

Common Causes for Magnesium Deficiency

A century ago, we were getting an estimated 500 milligrams (mg) of magnesium from the food we ate, courtesy of the nutrient-rich soil in which it was grown. Today, estimates suggest we’re only getting 150 to 300 mg a day from our food supply.

As noted by Patrick, eating a diet rich in calories and poor in micronutrients (read processed foods) is a primary risk factor for magnesium deficiency, for the simple reason that magnesium resides at the center of the chlorophyll molecule.

Chlorophyll, as you may know, is what gives plants their green color. Most Americans eat far too few fruits and vegetables, which may explain why more than half of the American public is deficient in magnesium.

In addition to not getting sufficient amounts from your diet, magnesium is also lost through stress, lack of sleep, alcohol consumption, and prescription drug use (especially diuretics, statins, fluoride and fluoride-containing drugs such as fluoroquinolone antibiotics).

Magnesium levels can also decline in the presence of certain hormones, such as estrogen. If you have elevated insulin levels — which an estimated 80 percent of Americans do — you’re quite likely to have low magnesium levels.4

Increasing your magnesium intake may actually go a long way toward improving your condition, or warding off insulin resistance and diabetes in the first place. In one study,5 prediabetics with the highest magnesium intake reduced their risk for blood sugar and metabolic problems by 71 percent.

A second study6 also found that higher magnesium intake reduces the risk of impaired glucose and insulin metabolism and slows progression from pre-diabetes to diabetes.

According to the authors, “Magnesium intake may be particularly beneficial in offsetting your risk of developing diabetes, if you are high risk.” The mechanism by which magnesium controls glucose and insulin homeostasis appears to involve two genes responsible for magnesium homeostasis.7

Magnesium is also required to activate tyrosine kinase, an enzyme that functions as an “on” or “off” switch in many cellular functions and is required for the proper function of your insulin receptors. Last but not least, digestive problems such as Crohn’s disease and leaky gut impair your body’s ability to absorb magnesium, which is yet another cause of inadequate magnesium levels.

As noted by Dr. Dean, it’s quite possible that magnesium insufficiency is part of why health problems such as heart disease, diabetes, and high blood pressure are so prevalent these days. It may also play a role in fibromyalgia,8 magnesium deficiency is a well-recognized factor in migraines.9

Continue Reading At: Mercola.com

 

Top 20 Addictive Foods: Are You Hooked?

Source: GreenMedInfo.com
Margie King, Health Coach

Let food be thy medicine.  Just don’t let it be thy drug. 

Can’t resist a slice – or two or three – of pizza?  You may well be addicted.

Researchers from the Department of Psychology at the University of Michigan and the New York Obesity Research Center at the Mount Sinai – St. Luke’s Hospital in New York wanted to know what foods felt addictive to real people.[i]

They posited that highly processed foods may trigger an addictive response in some people that leads to unintended overeating.  And they observed that these foods share common traits with highly addictive drugs.

Like other drug problems, they say, “food addiction” is characterized by:

  1. Loss of control over consumption;
  2. Continued use despite negative consequences; and
  3. Inability to cut down despite the desire to do so.

And neuro-imaging studies show similar brain patterns in “food addicts” and drug addicts.  In particular both show increased activation of the reward regions of the brain in response to food cues – just like other addictions.

Although you may have your own suspicions, human studies haven’t confirmed which foods are most likely to trigger an addiction.  Animal studies suggest that highly processed foods like Oreo Double Stuf cookies, cheesecake, and icing set off binges.

To get a better handle on what foods are most likely to get the better of people, the researchers asked about 500 people to complete a Yale Food Addiction Scale (YFAS) survey to determine which of 35 foods were most associated with problem eating behaviors.  Problem behaviors included trouble cutting down on the food, or losing control over how much of the food was eaten, or feeling that you aren’t eating enough of the food.

The foods in the survey fit into four categories:

  1. Chocolate/French Fries: high in both fat and refined carbohydrates/sugar
  2. Cheese/Bacon: high in fat but not refined carbohydrates/sugar
  3. Pretzels/Soda: high in refined carbohydrates/sugar but not fat
  4. Broccoli/Chicken: low in both fat and refined carbohydrates/sugar

In general, the researchers found that processed foods high in fat and having a high glycemic load, were most frequently associated with addictive eating behaviors. The glycemic load measures how quickly a standard serving of a particular food will spike your blood sugar.

There was an interesting exception. The researchers found that men had more of a problem with some unprocessed foods (e.g., steak, nuts, cheese) than women did.

Here’s the list:

  1. Pizza
  2. Chocolate
  3. Chips
  4. Cookies
  5. Ice Cream
  6. French Fries
  7. Cheeseburger
  8. Soda
  9. Cake
  10. Cheese
  11. Bacon
  12. Fried Chicken
  13. Rolls (plain)
  14. Popcorn (buttered)
  15. Breakfast Cereal
  16. Gummy Candy
  17. Steak
  18. Muffins
  19. Nuts
  20. Eggs

Although some of the foods on the list are unprocessed, the researchers observed that processing tends to result in a higher concentration of addictive substances in a food with the addition of fat, carbs, and sugar. In other words, the dose of fat and sugar you get in cake or pizza is much higher than you would find in nature. And, they note, the combination of fat and sugar in a single food rarely occurs in nature.

Continue Reading At: GreenMedInfo.com