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Posts Tagged ‘compounds’

Introducing Superfoods to You and Your Family

What are Superfoods?

Raw Food Healthy Food - CarrotsIt is commonly known that our bodies require food for essential nutrients and energy, but some foods are better than others, and some are even better than that. These foods at the top of the list are known as superfoods, which are rich in vitamins and have been proven to improve your health and reduce your risk for many diseases.

What are the benefits of superfoods?

Superfoods are especially good for you because they’re rich in vitamins, minerals, and extra compounds that are good for your health and easy to process. Things such as omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, vitamins and minerals, and many things that are hard to pronounce. Superfoods have been involved in scientific studies to back up the health claims made for them.

How do I get these foods into my diet?

To begin using superfoods in your diet, start slowly. Change your snack of potato chips or candy to a cup of low fat flavored yogurt, and trade out lunch for a baked chicken sandwich with light mayo, a side salad, and some string cheese. Once you feel comfortable with this change, you can incorporate more super foods.

Getting your family and friends involved will provide a support system and make things even easier. It is a very simple change to make, and the benefits you’ll reap are priceless, but it does require that you do it and keep up with it. Don’t change your habits just long enough to loose a few pounds. I promise you’ll be much happier if you stick with it.

What about getting my kids to eat healthy?

The easiest way to get a child to eat healthy is to start young. Every parent has to go through the process of finding out what their kids love, what they will tolerate, and what will end up on the wall. This happens whether you choose to feed your child healthy or unhealthy food. The problem arises when you decide to make a change for the better and your child, who is used to (and loves) their current unhealthy eating habits, resists with full force.

But changing the eating habits of your whole family doesn’t have to end in tears with every meal. Just like anyone, kids need to be introduced to healthy eating slowly. This can be a positive change that you go through together, rather than against each other. There are just a few basic rules.

Pick your Battles

If your child loves carrots but feeds broccoli to the dog when you’re not looking, don’t fuss. Don’t cause a fight that will push them further and further into rebellion. Don’t give them broccoli for dinner. Instead mix a small amount in a homemade salad dressing, or a smoothie. Someday, their tastes may change and they decide to they love broccoli. It happens all the time.

Include your child in the preparation.

Many children love to assist in the kitchen. They feel important and it creates a great bonding opportunity. So let them help by washing or tearing vegetables, help them set the table, or even ask them to help you choose the food to make (within boundaries.) If your child is to the point they hate helping, ask them very nicely to do small things for you and give them lots of praise on what a great job they did without patronizing them. It helps build their willingness to do it again.

Make it fun

One way to encourage kids both to help in the kitchen AND to eat the food, is to make the preparation fun. Make the food into fun shapes or play kids music while you prepare. You could make the preparation into a game, make sound effects and be as silly as you want. You’ll be surprised to discover that you want to be in the kitchen more and more, too.

As with all diet changes, getting your child to eat healthy will take a little bit of work, some understanding, a healthy dose of creativity, and a whole lot of patience. It will also take compromises here and there. The end result is well worth the battle, though. So keep it up and one day your child will thank you.

By: Chrissy Dean

For an ever-expanding list of the superfoods and more help on changing your family’s eating habits, click here

What’s So Super About SuperFoods?

The Role of Antioxidants in Superfoods

Chemical Compound of Resveratrol Antioxidant Agent

Resveratrol Antioxidant

There is so much talk around superfoods lately and the health benefits of including them in your diet. As a doctor who specializes in anti-aging strategies, I can truly say that the addition of superfoods to your daily food intake optimizes health and lowers the risk of disease. When I recommend to my patients that they should add more greens and whole foods to their diet they inevitably want to know more about what, why, and how.

Superfoods – What are they?

Superfoods are whole foods that have been identified by leading nutritionists, and dieticians as being high in a variety of essential vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals – the substances in all plants that give them color, flavor and disease resistance. Superfoods contain more disease fighting compounds than other foods with similar amounts of protein or fat.

Although all fruits and vegetables contain vitamins and nutrients, some contain far higher amounts of these nutritional properties. These foods have become known as superfoods and the description is obvious when you learn more about their healthy powers. It’s as though nature loaded all the nutritional necessities into a wonderful array of foods for all to enjoy.

However, even though green foods are some of the most nutrient-dense foods on the planet, most people don’t eat enough servings to reap their benefits. Greens infuse your body with easily absorbed vitamins, minerals, amino acids, fiber, chlorophyll, enzymes, and alkaline minerals that help to neutralize acids in the blood and tissues.

Superfoods – Why are they important?

Without getting too technical let’s take a look at the three major benefits jammed packed in all superfoods and why they are so important: antioxidants, nutrients, and fiber.

Antioxidants

Antioxidants strengthen the immune system, muscles, bones and skin by protecting the body from wear and tear. As we age, cell-damaging “free radicals” begin to form due to stress, excessive exercise, extended sun exposure, and unhealthy processed and sugary foods. Antioxidants stabilize cell-damage and minimize the damage caused by free radicals.

ORAC stands for Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity of the measured fruit, spice or vegetable. This acronym is one of the critical anti- aging functions of superfoods. Experts recommend 3000-5000 points daily intake to slow down the aging process.

To give you a better idea of ORAC values see the table of Superfoods listed from USDA Agricultural Research Service, February 1999.

SAMPLE SUPERFOODS ORAC VALUES (PER 31/2-OZ SERVING)

  1. Blueberries – 2400
  2. Broccoli- 890
  3. Blackberries- 2036
  4. Kale- 1770
  5. Spinach- 1260

Nutrients

Most of these foods contain important vitamins and minerals needed in your diets but are usually lacking. They include Vitamin A, Vitamin C, and B vitamin folate, magnesium and potassium. Certain pnes also contain good carbohydrates, protein, and healthy fats.

Fiber

The recommended amount of fiber needed in a healthy diet is 25-30g/daily. The typical American usually takes in half that amount which is why I encourage eating more whole foods. They aid in digestion and the absorption of nutrients. Fiber increases insulin effectiveness and gives you a feeling of fullness while lowering your risk of disease.

Superfoods – How can I get enough?

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans is at least two servings of fruits and three servings of vegetables every day (America Journal of Preventive Medicine, April 2007). Unfortunately, only 11% of adults in the United States meet that guideline.

If you are a veggie lover but don’t know which foods are best for you, try adding a few of these Superfoods to your diet:

  • Apples
  • Beans and legumes
  • Blueberries and Bilberries
  • Broccoli
  • Flaxseed
  • Garlic
  • Sweet Potato (orange)
  • Salmon
  • Spinach
  • Green Tea / Olong Tea
  • Tomatoes

On the other hand if you don’t like the taste of vegetables but still want the superfood health advantages here is good news! There are powders and supplement formulas with high concentrations of superfoods that will help provide you with the anti aging benefits.

There’s no excuse for not getting all the healthy nutrient-rich greens and whole foods one way or another. The most important thing is to find a way to consume the recommended daily amount of superfoods in a way that works best for you.

By: Mark Rosenberg, M.D.
Mark Rosenberg, M.D. on the Institute For Healthy Aging http://www.vitalmaxvitamins.com