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The Impressive Anti-Cancer Power of Berries

The Impressive Anti-Cancer Power of Berries

For disease prevention and health maintenance, berries of all colors have “emerged as champions.” Research has focused mainly on cancer prevention and treatment. Studies show that the anticancer effects of berries are partially mediated through their abilities to counteract, reduce, and also repair damage resulting from oxidative stress and inflammation. Berries may also have many other positive effects, such as boosting detoxifying enzymes.

One of the more remarkable effects is that of blueberries on natural killer cell counts. Natural killer cells are part of our immune system’s rapid response team against cancer cells, eliminating cancer cells through the activation of cancer cell suicide via death receptors. They’re called natural killers because they don’t require activation by prior exposure. We don’t want to wait until our second tumor before our immune system starts fighting.

We have about two billion of these soldiers circulating in our blood stream at any one time, but we may be able to get a troop surge with blueberries. Researchers had athletes eat about a cup and a half of blueberries a day for six weeks to see if that would reduce the oxidative stress of long-distance running. They indeed saw a blunting of the spike in oxidant stress. But that’s not what sets that study apart.

The number of natural killer cells in the blood typically decreases after prolonged endurance exercise, dropping by half to only about one billion—that is, unless we’ve been eating lots of blueberries. If you click on the video on the next page, you can see a graph comparing natural killer cell numbers with and without blueberries.  Those who ate blueberries retained close to the standard two billion cells. This is because six weeks of blueberries had doubled the resting number of natural killer cells up to over four billion. This has never before been demonstrated in humans. There was a study on goji berries, but despite a cup a day for a month, there was no significant change in the number of natural killers.

Another study, though, showed a significant increase in natural killer cell activity thanks to the spice cardamom. (Cardamom and blueberries—I never thought we’d be fighting cancer with blueberry muffins!) When researchers took some lymphoma cells in a petri dish and added cardamom, nothing happened. However, if we add some natural killer cells, about 5% of the cancer cells are wiped out. Add a little more cardamom, and our troops do better still. And then if we add more and more spice, then all of a sudden the natural killer cells are killing cancer like crazy—the same number of natural killer cells, but they’re now able to kill off ten times more cancer cells. While cardamom alone had no effect on cancer cells even at the highest dose, it seemed to enhance our natural killer cells’ killer instincts.

The same thing was found for black pepper: Black pepper alone, nothing, but when combined with natural killer cells, there seemed to be a boosting effect up to around 30 or 40% cancer cell clearance. If cardamom and black pepper are combined, they synergize and their individual effects are doubled. The researchers conclude that “Taken together, these data strongly suggest that black pepper and cardamom have the potential to markedly enhance the anti-cancer activity of natural killer cells.”

Exercise itself can improve immune function in general, but the blueberry finding is so far unique.

It is true that the blueberry study was funded by the North American Blueberry Council and the North Carolina High-bush Blueberry Council. However, just because the study was funded by blueberry councils doesn’t necessarily mean the science is suspect, but we would want to see the study independently verified, especially one so dramatic.

(For a convenient way to enjoy your berries, Leesa recommends you enjoy Chews4Health every day! Chews4Health is made with Goji, Noni, Mangosteen, Acai, Dulse, Kelp, Bladderwack, Nori, Vitamin B-12, Folic Acid, Alpha Lipoic Acid, Resveratrol,  Pomegranate, Blueberry, Cranberry, Raspberry!)

By Michael Greger, M.D.

A founding member of the American College of Lifestyle Medicine, Michael Greger, M.D., is a physician, author, and internationally recognized speaker on nutrition, food safety, and public health issues. Currently Dr. Greger serves as the Director of Public Health and Animal Agriculture at The Humane Society of the United States. Hundreds of his nutrition videos are freely available atNutritionFacts.org.

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Leesa A. Wheeler

Leesa A. Wheeler

Healthy Lifestyle Coach, Artisan, Author

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The 8 Most Nutrient-Dense Foods on Earth

The 8 Most Nutrient-Dense Foods on Earth

We  all know  which foods to avoid (right?). Despite the alluring  appeal of Oreos, Mountain  Dew or McAnything, processed foods provide  little nutrition and a whole lot of  risks. But when it comes to the good  stuff — what are the best foods to put  into our bodies? While experts all  agree we need a variety of foods for a  healthy diet, do you know which  are the healthiest of the bunch? The answers  may surprise and delight  you.

1. Spirulina: While the thought of eating lake algae  might  gross you out, spirulina is actually pretty tasty, especially  blended into a  smoothie or hidden in a chocolate bar. It has more  antioxidants than any other  food on earth and is loaded with protein and  minerals, making it the most  nutrient dense food.

2. Kale: According to Dr. Joel Fuhrman, kale is the  most  nutritious food, loaded with minerals, vitamins, fiber and amino  acids, as well  as important antioxidants that reduce inflammation and  can prevent cancer. It’s  also delicious and an easy  to prepare,  versatile food.

3. Hemp Seeds: What do you get when you combine  protein,  fiber, essential fatty acids, antioxidants, amino acids,  vitamins and minerals?  Hemp, of course. This easily digestible seed is  versatile, easy to use and  extremely tasty, too.

4. Chocolate: Yes, you read right. Cacao beans are so nutrient-dense that scientists haven’t even begun to identify all the  benefits  in the little bean yet. Don’t grab a Snickers though—the good  stuff is found  only in raw cacao beans or nibs (or really, really dark  chocolate). Minerals,  vitamins and tons of antioxidants are great for  your heart, skin, and release  chemicals in the brain that make you feel  like you’re in love. (Leesa recommends Vivani 85% organic dark chocolate!

5. Broccoli: Mom was right, you should eat your  broccoli if  you want a healthy digestive system and to decrease your  risk of cancer.  Broccoli has a wide range of yumminess too, from soups  and stews to stir  fry.

6. Spinach: Popeye was onto something with that spinach   fixation. But skip the canned stuff and stick with fresh or frozen for  an  antioxidant, protein and fiber-rich burst of healthy goodness. Fresh  or cooked,  spinach’s sweet and hardy flavor brightens any meal.

7. Chia: The Aztec warriors may have died out, but  their  legacy is alive and strong in the chia  seed. This yummy,  unassuming ancient favorite is loaded with omega fats,  protein and  fiber. Dr. Weil says it’s a better choice than flax because “chia  is so  rich in antioxidants that the seeds don’t deteriorate and can be stored   for long periods without becoming rancid.”

8. Berries: Unlike other fruit, berries tend to be less  sugary and full of vital vitamins, minerals and those free-radical  avenging  antioxidants. Wild berries are always a great choice,  especially black  raspberries.

(Leesa recommends Chews-4-Health™!  Chews-4-Health™ Chewable Dietary Supplement is a delicious tasting, doctor formulated, natural chewable dietary supplement derived from the most nutrient-rich sources from around the world!  (Goji, Noni, Acai, Mangosteen, B12, Resveratrol, Folic Acid, Alpha Lipoic Acid, Dulse, Kelp, Bladderwrack, Nori, Raspberry, Blueberry, Cranberry, Pomegranate.)  Chews-4-Health™ brings together 16 ingredients from land and sea, uniting the antioxidant powers of exotic, life-enhancing super fruits with mineral-rich sea vegetables.  Fruits and berries offer tremendous health enhancing qualities and contain hundreds of naturally occurring vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, amino acids, enzymes, essential fatty acids, fiber phytonutrients. The 4 “Super Fruits” contained in Chews-4-Health™ are considered by many experts to be the most nutrient rich fruits the world has to offer. Our carefully selected super-fruit complex gives you the power of all 4 in one supplement.*

Antioxidants work by neutralizing the damaging effects of free radicals, rendering them harmless to your body. This helps protect your skin and body from the ravaging effects of premature aging*.  Chews-4-Health™ can be taken by the entire family, including children and pregnant women.  Chews-4-Health™ helps fill that empty nutritional void for those that don’t eat the recommended 4-9 servings of fruit/vegetables per day.   *These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. )

Written by Jill  Ettinger, Contributor to Holistic  Nutrition on AllThingsHealing.com

All Things Healing (allthingshealing.com) is an online  portal and community dedicated to informing and educating people across the  globe about alternative healing of mind, body, spirit and the planet at large.  We are committed to bringing together a worldwide community of individuals and  organizations who are working to heal themselves, each other, and the world. We  offer 39 healing categories, 80 plus editors who are experts in their fields, a  forum for each category, and an extensive “Find Practitioners” listing. Our  Costa Rica Learning Center and Spiritual Retreat is coming soon. Join  us!

7 ‘Tis the Season Superfoods

7 ‘Tis the Season Superfoods

 

When it comes to food, it’s hard to beat the holiday season. There are as  many decadent and delicious foods throughout the season as there are gifts.  Let’s face it: few holiday foods are healthy. Here are my choices for the top 7 ‘Tis the Season Superfoods. They not only taste great, they add serious  nutrition as well.

Apples—We’ve all heard the adage, “an apple a day keeps the  doctor away,” and provided that apple is an organic one, the saying holds some  truth. Apples contain important vitamins, minerals, and enzymes. They contain an  important phytonutrient called malic acid that helps improve energy production  in your body.

Beets—Recommended by holistic health professionals to help  purify the blood and cleanse the liver, beets are high in folate, manganese,  potassium, and vitamin C. The phytonutrient that gives beets their rich  purplish-red hue is a potent cancer fighter.

Cranberries—Originally used by the first people of North  America to treat urinary tract infections, cranberries and cranberry juice (the  real deal, not the sugar-laden stuff most grocery stores dispense) are excellent  holiday superfoods.

Pomegranates—This delicious fruit is super health-boosting.  From cancer-protection to heart disease-prevention, and so much more,  pomegranates are definitely ‘Tis the Season Superfoods.

Squash—Like its relative, the pumpkin, squash is an  excellent source of complex carbohydrates, fiber, and beta carotene, making it a  delicious and nutritious addition to your diet.

Sweet Potatoes—High in beta carotene, C, and B6, as well as  potassium, iron, and magnesium, sweet potatoes are naturally delicious and  nutritionally superior to white potatoes.

Walnuts—Walnuts are an important addition to your diet since  they offer high amounts of Omega 3 fatty acids needed to protect your brain,  maintain a healthy immune system, balance moods, and lessen pain and  inflammation in your body.

(Leesa  recommends Chews4Health as a convenient way to enjoy the benefits of Cranberries, Pomegranates, Blueberries, Raspberries, Goji, Noni, Mangosteen, Acai, B-12, Resveratrol and more! )

Michelle Schoffro Cook

Michelle Schoffro Cook, MSc, RNCP, ROHP, DNM, PhD is an international  best-selling and 12-time book author and doctor of traditional natural medicine,  whose works include: Healing  Recipes, The Vitality Diet, Allergy-Proof, Arthritis-Proof, Total Body  Detox, The Life Force Diet, The  Ultimate pH Solution, The 4-Week Ultimate Body Detox Plan, and The Phytozyme  Cure.  Check out her natural health resources and subscribe to her free  e-newsletter World’s Healthiest News at WorldsHealthiestDiet.com  to receive monthly health news, tips, recipes and more. Follow her on Twitter @mschoffrocook  and Facebook.

 

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