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Posts tagged ‘antioxidant’

Two Berries Delay Brain Aging Two-and-a-Half Years

 Two Berries Delay Brain Aging Two-and-a-Half Years

A Harvard study published in the Annals of Neurology indicates that eating a diet high in blueberries and strawberries can slow brain aging and  cognitive decline by up to two and a half years.

Dr. Elizabeth Devore and her team of researchers at Harvard Medical School  analyzed data from the lengthy Nurses’ Health Study in 1976.   Questionnaires were completed every four years since 1980 to assess the  frequency of berry intake and the intake of 31 different phytonutrients called  flavonoids.  In 16,010 participants over the age of 70 between 1995 and  2001, cognitive function was tested every two years.

The researchers found that those participants who consumed a high amount of  blueberries or strawberries had slower decline in cognitive function test scores  during the follow-up period than those whose intake of these fruits was  lower.  The results were an average delay in cognitive decline due to aging  of up to 2-and-a-half years.

Both blueberries and strawberries are excellent sources of  flavonoids, which reduce inflammation.  This is possibly the  mechanism that is causing the positive brain health effects.  The same  study also found that a high intake of anthocyanidins and total flavonoids were  also linked to the beneficial cognitive effects.

Anthocyanidins are a type of flavonoids responsible for the red, blue, or  purple colors in berries and other foods.  While the effect of consumption  of other anthocyanidin and flavonoid-rich foods was not assessed as part of this  study, it is likely that they will have similar brain protective effects.   Other sources of anthocyanidins and flavonoids include:  blueberries,  cherries, cranberries, grapes, raspberries, and strawberries and to a lesser  extent in almonds, apples, cocoa, and peanuts.

Other research shows that they decrease free radical activity in and between  brain cells. They also inhibit the production of histamine, making them a  natural anti-histamine without the drowsy side effects of many pharmaceuticals.  Numerous studies show that anthocyanidins have anticancer and antitumor  activity, and one study concluded that anthocyanidins may demonstrate  chemotherapeutic activity against breast cancer.

When it comes to heart disease, anthocyanidins help reduce high blood  pressure and improve the body’s ability to metabolize fat. In tests on  rabbits, anthocyanidins demonstrated significant reduction in the  development of atherosclerosis. They also appeared to protect  against heart attacks linked to certain asthma drugs.  They even  have stronger antioxidant properties than either vitamins C or  E.

Adapted from The Phytozyme Cure.

By Michelle Schoffro Cook

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.

Top 10 Spring Superfoods

Top 10 Spring Superfoods

Spring is finally here and along with it starts the cascade of vibrant  superfoods.  Obviously, some take a little longer than others, but here are  my picks for the top 10 spring superfoods.  Enjoy!

Artichokes—A medium-sized artichoke is loaded with fiber (about 10 grams) and vitamin  C. It also contains plentiful amounts of the heart- and muscle-health minerals  magnesium and potassium.  It’s also high on the ORAC list of foods that have  high antioxidant values.  High amounts of antioxidants translate into reduced free radicals linked to aging and disease.

Asparagus—An excellent source of nutrients like vitamin K  which is necessary for bone health and folate, asparagus also contains good  amounts of vitamins C, A, B1, B2, niacin, B6, manganese, potassium, magnesium,  and selenium.  Its high folate content makes it especially good for pregnant women who have higher folate needs than most  people.

Chives—Potent in antibacterial, anti-yeast and  antifungal compounds, chives has many similar properties to its  relatives garlic and onion.  Chives also help boost glutathione levels in the  body.  Glutathione is a powerful detoxifier and anti-cancer compound.

Collards—Research shows that collards are among the best  foods for lowering cholesterol levels due to its superior ability to bind to  bile acids in the intestines.  Collard also shows excellent anti-cancer  properties thanks to its naturally-occurring components, including:  glucoraphanin, sinigrin, gluconasturtiian, and glucotropaeolin.

Kale—Proven to lower the risk of bladder,  breast, colon, ovary, and prostate cancer, kale is among the best superfoods  available.  Great for building healthy bones largely due to its high calcium  content, kale also improves the body’s detoxification systems by increasing  isothiocyanates (ITCs) made from the vegetable’s glucosinolates.  Researchers  have identified over 45 phytonutrients in kale, including  kaempferol and quercetin, giving it impressive antioxidant and  anti-inflammatory properties.

Rhubarb—High in fiber, vitamins C and K, rhubarb stalks (not  the leaves which are poisonous), rhubarb is an excellent spring food but most  people don’t know what to do with it.  Sorry, dumping cups of sugar into it for  jams and pies wrecks any superfood qualities this food might otherwise have.  I  enjoy it stewed or added to chutneys.

Spinach—Not just for Popeye anymore, spinach is high in  iron, calcium, beta carotene (which turns into vitamin A in your body), and  vitamin K, which is important for bone and blood health.  The chlorophyll gives  spinach their green color and is a powerful blood cleanser.  High in neoxanthin,  which is proven to aid prostate health, spinach also contains the phytonutrients  lutein and zeaxanthin which strengthen the eyes and help prevent macular  degeneration and cataracts.

Spring greens—Spring greens contain high amounts of calcium  and magnesium needed for strong bones, muscles, and a relaxed nervous system.   Like spinach, they also contain the blood cleansing  phytonutrient chlorophyll.

Strawberries—Just eight strawberries pack more vitamin C  than one orange.  Whether you want to evade heart disease, arthritis,  memory loss, or cancer, these berries have proven their ability to  help.

Watercress—If ever there was a vegetable made for smokers,  watercress is it.  In a study published in the American Journal of Clinical  Nutrition, researchers found that eating raw watercress daily increased the  ability of cells to resist free radical damage to DNA, which reduces the  risk of cell changes linked to cancer.  Their research showed that this protective benefit was pronounced in smokers.  But, anyone can  benefit from this spring nutritional powerhouse.  It is also high in beta  carotene (essential for skin and eye health), B-complex vitamins (important for  nerves, energy, and mood balance), and vitamin E (critical for skin and immune  system health).

By Michelle Schoffro Cook

Michelle Schoffro Cook, MSc, RNCP, ROHP, DNM, PhD is an international best-selling and twelve-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.

 

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