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Posts Tagged ‘body cells’

Two Servings of Fruit and Five Servings of Vegetables

What are antioxidants?

An antioxidant is either: 1) a chemical compound or substance that inhibits oxidation. Or 2) a (natural) substance, such as Vitamin E, Vitamin C, or beta carotene, thought to protect body cells from the damaging effects of oxidation.

Antioxidants can be found naturally occurring in whole foods where they are usually found in groupings; or they are synthetically manufactured and sold as supplements, usually featuring only one single antioxidant rather than several.

What Are Free Radicals? Do We Need Antioxidants?

Oxidation occurs when free radicals (highly reactive, high-energy particles) ricochet wildly throughout the body and damage cells. Free radicals can be produced within the body by natural biological processes or introduced from outside via tobacco smoke, toxins, pollutants and sub-optimal eating habits. Free radicals are believed to accelerate the progression of cancer, cardiovascular disease, rheumatoid arthritis, chronic fatigue, and age-related diseases. Antioxidants found in fruits and vegetables help neutralize free radicals in the body.

It is generally recommended that people eat 7 servings of fruit and vegetables a day: 2 servings of fruit and 5 serves of vegetables. Most people do not eat the recommended amounts of fruits and vegetables each day. Additionally, most fruits and vegetables grown industrially do not contain the same nutritional benefits that are available in organically grown whole foods and also contain more toxins (free radical sources) for the body to combat.

Why Are Antioxidants Found in Plants?

Photosynthesis is the process whereby plants convert light energy from the sun into stored physical energy (nutrition). Photosynthesis exposes plants to a massive number of free radicals. Plants produce antioxidants to protect themselves from damage by these free radicals. Antioxidant plant pigments, primarily carotenoids and polyphenols that are responsible for the bright

colors of many orange, red, blue and purple fruits, berries and algae, provide most of this protection. Research has shown that human ingestion of these plant-based antioxidants result in similar protection for humans. Research also shows that antioxidants work synergistically (where the combined effect is greater than the sum of the individual effects) and are far more effective when a spectrum of antioxidants are ingested, rather that individual isolated compounds. For example, the herb, thyme, contains over 20 separate antioxidants alone.

Additionally, when foods are grown organically, without the use of synthetic pesticides and herbicides, the plant must get stronger (via struggle) – thus imparting to itself more nutrition – in order to survive. While foods grown industrially with the liberal use of synthetic herbicides and pesticides, rely on the chemicals to protect them, and therefore do not contain the same available nutrition as organically grown foods by as much as 60% less.

What Are ORAC Units? How Many Do We Need?

ORAC, short for Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity, is a standardized measurement of the total antioxidant power of a substance which is its ability to neutralize oxygen free radicals. The more free radicals a substance can absorb, the higher it's ORAC score. Nutritionists recommend that we consume around 5000 ORAC units per day to significantly impact antioxidant activity in the body and reduce free radical damage. To give you perspective, one half cup serving of fruits or vegetables provides approximately 500 ORAC units. If you're not eating at least 10 servings of fruits and vegetables a day (preferably organically grown), you're not getting the recommended amount of ORAC units to neutralize the damage caused by free radicals in your body every day. Considering the amounts and exposures to the many and varied sources of toxins in today's world, a better guesstimate of necessary ORAC units necessary would be 7000 ORAC per day.

Whole Foods vs Supplements

If you supplement with single-dose antioxidants, or a combination of a few isolated antioxidant nutrients, you are probably not be getting the benefits you need. While isolated nutrients may have powerful antioxidant benefits in vitro (test tube,) they have significantly less benefits in vivo (body). Whereas foods high in antioxidants have proven benefits in both humans and in vitro, it is known that a diet rich in fruits and vegetables can help prevent cancers, coronary heart disease and strokes. Synthetic antioxidants may actually increase cancer risk. In fact, every large clinical trial that has used isolated antioxidant nutrients has failed to show benefit for cancer and cardiovascular disease. Most isolated antioxidant nutrients are chemically, and structurally, different to those found in real foods; and do not have the desired effect in the human body. Research has found that whole tomato powder but not lycopene, a carotenoid found in tomatoes, inhibited prostate carcinogenesis in rats, which demonstrates the superior functionality and efficacy of whole-food nutrition compared with high dose, isolated nutrient, supplementation.

What is a Superfood?

A superfood is a type of food that is believed to have more significant health benefits than any other type of food due to their specific phytonutrient content. For instance, blueberries are considered a superfood because they contain significant amounts of antioxidants, phytoflavinoids, vitamin C, and potassium,which are believed to provide important health benefits.

How to Get Your Daily Requirements of 5000-7000 ORAC Units

You can eat the recommended 2-3 servings of fruits and 5-7 servings of vegetables daily, choosing high quality organically grown fruits and vegetables.

You can choose a blend of certified organic whole superfoods, providing a wide spectrum of nutritional and antioxidant benefits and preferably in powder form. For example a blend such as: certified organic raw unrefined cacao powder, dried coffee fruit extract, certified organic freeze-dried pomegranate powder ;certified organic freeze-dried goji berry powder, certified organic freeze-dried acai berry powder, certified organic whole dried dunaliella salina marine microalgae, certified organic freeze-dried blueberry powder, certified organic freeze-dried raspberry powder, certified organic freeze-dried strawberry powder, certified organic freeze-dried olive juice extract. A blend such as this provides all the nutrition and antioxidant benefits of each whole food together with the benefits of all of the whole foods together. One serving of such a blend would provide the daily recommended ORAC requirements.

What Form of Blended Superfood Should I Consume?

Hands down you should look for a powdered form where the superfoods contained within have been freeze dried, thus putting the nutrition and antioxidants in suspended animation, undamaged. Adding the powder to your own liquid (water, juice, soy milk, etc.) makes a quick and easy fortifying drink.

You need to pay attention to how the superfood was processed (freeze dried) and to the quality of the superfoods contained in the powder (organic).

A helpful feature would be individual serving packets rather than the large jar for ease of portability.

-By: Kathy Kirk

Kathy Kirk grew up gardening in Ohio and Pennsylvania. She has a BS Degree from Cornell University in business. Currently she lives in the back country of San Diego County where she grows organic herbs and garlic. In the past she has formulated her own skin care and nutrition from her own garden. Now Kathy is an Independent Representative for One Group and the Miessence, Mivitality and MiEnviron products, including the Superfood Probiotic InLiven, Fast Track Liquid Probiotic, and Berry Radical Antioxidant – all whole food superfoods and certified organic. Miessence and MiVitality comprise the first extensive range of 100% Natural Certified Organic Personal Care Products in the world that are certified organic by both the Australian Government and the USDA. And they are formulated to food grade standards. Kathy is committed to being a voice of common sense in the "green" world and supporting others in trusting their own good common sense. You can read her other articles at her blog www.honestskincare.blogspot.com – Her website is http://www.honestskincare.mionegroup.com where you can shop the Miessence products. Kathy can be reached at honestskincare@gmail.com and she welcomes you, your questions and comments.