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Posts Tagged ‘ORAC’

Acai Berry vs Pomegranate

Pomegranates and Acai Berries – Powerful Superfoods

Pomegranates - Illustration of Punica Granatum The Acai berry and pomegranates are two of the most talked about superfoods in the health food industry. Both are an amazing natural source for many important vitamins and minerals. The question is; if you can only use one or the other which is better? This article is going to pit these two superfoods against each other and help you decide which one to pick.

In The Far Corner Wearing The Red Trunks We Have The Pomegranate!

The pomegranate is a sweet and tart tasting fruit that is native to Iran and northern India. There are many stories and legends surrounding this fruit, and it has been said that Helen of Troy used pomegranates to help make her more beautiful. Those legends all have some truth behind them, because the pomegranate is one of the healthiest fruits on the planet. Here are some of the main benefits you get from eating pomegranates:

  • Has a high level of antioxidants (10,500 on the ORAC Assay)
  • Is rich in vitamin C, A, E and folic acid
  • Reduces plaque in arteries and raises the levels of good cholesterol
  • Prevents enzymes from damaging cartilage
  • Fights cancer cells
  • Slows down aging

Those all sound great; now let’s take a look at how Acai stacks up

In The Near Corner Wearing The Purple Trunks We Have The Acai Berry!

Acai is a small purple berry that is native to the Amazon Rainforests. It is a staple for the native people, and has recently exploded in popularity around the world. It has an amazing flavor that is similar to a mix of chocolate and berries. Here is a look at what type of benefits you can get from Acai:

  • Has a high level of antioxidants (18,400 on the ORAC Assay)
  • Is a great source for essential fatty acids
  • Provides a boost of energy similar to coffee (without caffeine)
  • Fights cancer cells
  • Slows down aging
  • Contains high levels of fiber, amino acids, and Vitamins C, E, and B

Those are some pretty powerful benefits from a little berry, but are it enough to defeat the pomegranate?

And The Winner Is…

In a very close decision I have to give the win to the Acai berry. The determining factor is that Acai has a higher count of antioxidants (18,400 vs 10,500). Many of the benefits derived from these two fruits is based on their antioxidant power, so Acai takes that category hands down. The energy boost is very helpful for almost everyone, so that helps make it the more well-rounded superfood. The only edge pomegranates have is its ability to protect your cartilage and prevent arthritis.

-By: Carter Sinclair

If you would like to learn where you can get high quality Acai products without getting scammed just click here to avoid Acai Berry Scams.

To find out why acai is so healthy for you read about Organic Acai Berry.

Acai Berry Superfoods – Are Acai Berries Really That Healthy?

The Health Benefits of Acai Berries

Acai Berries on the Palm Tree"Acai Berries are superfoods!" We're hearing it everywhere now. But is it true? Are Acai Berries really that healthy? In time when every food seems to be artificial and medical companies stuff us with the newest cures for everything, some people try to find help using natural products to cure the various health problems.

Over time we forgot how powerful nature can be, after all we only duplicate its achievements in medicine. That is why a category of super foods has been invented, foods so packed with healthy nutrients that they can be called natural medicine or superfoods.

Probably the most wide spread family of superfoods are vegetables from 'Allium' family – vegetables like garlic, onions or leeks. This not very glamorous group of vegetables, contains flavonoids, which stimulate production of antioxidants in the liver, thus detoxifying your body.

Up until today  blueberries where one of the most famous superfoods. They have a high number of antioxidants (ORAC value), anthocyanins and phytochemicals, preventing aging, cancer and numerous brain diseases. Blueberries are the food of choice for many healthy people in Europe and the USA.

Recently, the spotlight has been taken off the Blueberries by a new berry, the Acai Berry.

Is the Acai Berry the #1 Superfood?

When acai berries where first introduced to the public eye, there were numerous talks about how healthy it is. However, publicity seemed to focus all of it's attention on the very high antioxidants level, leaving in the background wealth of other healthy details about this berry.

The first thing I want to mention about the Acai Berry, is the very high level of anthocyanins. Anthocyanins are located mainly in peels of vegetables/fruits. They offer a very powerful protection against harmful free radicals, which develop as a result of exposure to radiation, the UV light, smoking, smog and various other metabolic processes.

Not only that, they also preserve delicate antioxidants within the fruit. While, you may have heard that red whine has a large number of anthocyanins, Acai has 10 to 30 times more, depending on the quality and ripeness of the berries. Acai berry is also very high on dietary fiber. 100 grams of Acai berries contain 45 grams of fiber.Acai Berries are rich in healthy unsaturated fats from omega family, which have been proven to help you with anything from your brain to preventing cancer. In Acai you will find mainly the most important omega-3 and omega-9 fatty acids.

Additionally, acai berries contain a lot of protein and amino acids. Acai has 19 different amino acids, which are crucial for growth, maintenance and repair of your body tissues. Our bodies can produce only 11 of these amino acids, so you have to supply the rest with your diet.

Acai also offers three different plant sterols: sigmasterol, campesterol and B-sitosterol. These three sterols are invaluable to health of your heart. This concludes the benefits of Acai Berries. Even if you don't believe in the weight loss hype of acai berries (acai berries are beneficial for weight loss due to stopping the carving for food), these berries are still the best choice of superfoods! With more than 100,000  (102,700 μ mol TE/100 gram),it is the world's antioxidant richest fruit known today!

The Health Benefits of Acai Berries

Acai Berry Helps for High Blood Pressure and Weight Loss

Acai Palm Tree The acai berry is growing in south America for many centuries. The amazing health benefits of the Acai berry started to get introduced to the western world during the late 90's and it took until 2005 until the Acai berries got introduced to a broad audience by Oprah Winfrey.

The Acai berry, pronounced "ah-sigh-ee". It is believed that the tribes of the Amazon in Brazil have used the benefits of this superfood for centuries already. The Amazon is the world's largest rain forest and one third of the population's plants and animals reside there. Here, in this remote region of the world, is where the acai berry has been discovered. The Amazon river has borders to eight different countries and supplies one fifth of the worlds freshwater.

The reason acai is so revered is because of its health promoting properties and high content of antioxidants. When eaten in proper quantities it provides our bodies with enough nutrition to help fight off the harmful effects of free radicals, it lowers high blood pressure, Acai berries decrease high cholesterol levels and helps to reduce joint pain. The Acai berry is also known to be very helpful for weight loss. Acai is also a marvelous source of energy for the human body. It helps to fight off infections, and strengthens the bodies immune system. Modern science is continually documenting the amazing health benefits of the acai berry. Today, the Acai berry has been recognized as one of the worlds top superfoods.

Acai is full of essential phytonutrients, trace minerals, amino acids, and vitamins. It boasts an ORAC score, a newly invented measurement of antioxidant levels, higher than any other fruit and vegetable tested to date on a gram for gram basis. It is rich in proteins and fiber content which aides in a healthy immune system and regulation of the body. Acai comes in a broad variety of foods such as freeze dried, which is the best way to preserve antioxidants, in fruit juices, pills and snack bars. There are many different companies that produce products that contain the acai berry. Companies such as Monavie, Xango, and Goji are top producers of health juice industry.

Research shows that certain acai products provide better nutritional value than others which comes at a higher cost. It's important to differentiate the true nutritional products from the cheap imitations. Science has shown today that freeze drying acai is the best way to capture the vital nutrients in this fruit. Some of the top products have plant-derived glucosamine, which has been scientifically shown to aide in healthy joint function. Some also have added heart health benefits originating from plant sterols, resveratol, and omega 3 fatty acids which makes maintaining healthy cholesterol levels easier.

The amazing health benefits of the Acai berry make it one of the worlds top superfoods.

Photo by: Agência de Notícias do Acre

A Word About Evolution

What is Evolution and where does it get us?

Charles Darwin - 12 February 1809 – 19 April 1882According to Charles Darwin, evolution is what supposedly brought us down from the trees and from the cave man to the computer geek. That's a long way, although only during the past 100 years we really made progress, with one extraordinary exception that is, and that was Greece. Right, the Greeks had warm and cold water in their private bathrooms 3000 years ago, while the rest of the world still peed on trees and bathed in the river. Anyway, that's another story. Evolution hasn't stopped in the last 11 million years and we can therefore relay on the fact that it won't stop tomorrow or the day after. The reason for that is that we are not done yet! A 100 000 years ago, the cave man thought that evolution probably had finished here, if he ever knew what evolution is, and he would have torn he's wife on her hair into the cave, thought her what he likes and what not, and that was evolution for him. But he actually had a good point of view, because he was looking at the monkeys in the trees. He was looking at how they behaved and he was laughing and thinking to himself how evolved he was, compared to those monkeys. Today we're looking at the same monkeys and we're thinking the same things, how is that for evolution?

The point is that during the past we evolved towards an unknown destination. Nobody can say or know what "the big plan" behind all that is, but we can relay on the fact that it isn't over yet. Even though many seem to believe that in December 2012 the end of the world will come, I'm already writing "Happy 2013" cards for my friends. We are not finished human beings and we have to evolve further, there is no way around that. I hear many voices talking about how old people will get who are today 20 years old. Most people I know estimate that today's young people will become about a 100 – 120 years old in average. I would top it with 150+ if the food they eat gets healthy and they take food supplements on daily bases.

If you think this is impossible, think back a bit, 300 years ago the average age of a human being was around 40 years, the people living then would never have believed that humans can get older than 100 years and yet; look at us today!

Master Hsu Yun died 120 years old in 1959In many remote regions of the world people become 100 years old and are still active members of the community. I know of a doctor who makes house visits in the countryside in China, the man is 103 years old! The regions where people get so old are interesting for scientists who study the anti aging process in these people. And that is more or less the way that superfoods got discovered. In some higher regions of China and in the Himalaya are many such villages where people get very old more or less without or with very little help of western medicine and pharmaceutics. In these region we find Goji Berries. You must have heard about those anti aging berries. Goji Berries are loaded with antioxidants, they contain 25 300 ORAC per 100 gram. (Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity) That's a lot. Antioxidants are fighting the free radicals in our bodies. The free radicals are what makes us age and makes us wrinkle. So the best known anti aging drugs today are antioxidants. 

But with Goji Berries, better known to the western world as "Wolfberries"* having around 25 000 ORAC, there are even better foods out there carrying even more of those anti aging angels. look at the Acai berry for example. Acai contains 4 times more antioxidants than Goji, 102 700 ORAC (determined from both hydrophilic and lipophilic sources, was 102,700 units per 100 g)! Raw Cacao is also amongst the top runners with a stunning 81 000 ORAC.

Goji Berries Wolfberries Dutch processed cacao powder is not bad either and much tastier to consume; it still contains more than 40 000 units per 100g chocolate. During the past few years only, have all these superfoods been discovered. It took thousands of years and we had to invent and develop all kinds of technology and techniques including the internet for communication and a new measuring scale called ORAC, to be able to just begin to understand what superfoods are and what they are capable of doing to our body AND our minds. We just begin to understand what we are supposed to eat to become 100 years old and even older. But we slowly do understand and this is where evolution leads us! This is what it is all about; at least for now, for our generation. Keep on reading here and elsewhere about superfoods. Gather all the information you can get about these miracle fruits and berries and spices. Learn, Stay Healthy and Evolve!

* The name Wolfberry doesn't have anything to do with the nutritionist David Wolfe, the nutritionist; it's more like a funny coincidence.

The photo of Charles Darwin was taken by Henry Maull (1829–1914) and John Fox (1832–1907) (Maull & Fox)

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.

Top Twenty Superfoods List – Part 2

Ten Great Superfoods

Seaweed Harvest Indonesia

Picture: Jean-Marie Hullot

Welcome to my second article on the top 20 superfoods. Last week, in my first article, I outlined my personal world top ten superfoods. This week I’m going to finish this superfoods list by looking at numbers 11 to 20. Once again I should mention that these are 10 great foods for all round diet and health. Eat all twenty consistently and you could add several more years in perfect health to your lifespan. And these superfoods are not even expensive!

To begin with; most fruits are healthy and good for you but one of the best weighs in at number 11.

11. The Blueberry: with 6552 ORAC per 100g, this little fruit is packed full of antioxidants which protect the eyes and cardio-vascular system. They also have anti cancer properties. The antioxidants are also found in abundance in blackberries and bilberries. Eat them or drink them all in smoothies, put them into your fruit salad or just eat them on their own. Lots of it!

12. Goji Berries: at number 12 in my list is the Goji berry. There isn’t anything that this great berry doesn’t do! Goji berries are a fantastic superfood. Wait for it- it contains anti-aging and anti-tumor properties, its packed with vitamin C, antioxidants, selenium, zinc and calcium. Goji berries are also high in omegas which are needed for the efficient working of the nervous systems and the brain. Not only are Gojis very healthy, they also taste great! Use them with your cereal, yogurt, in a smoothie, in muesli or dry frozen, just on their own.

13. Sauerkraut: At number 13 its raw sauerkraut. This superfood even increases your libido. Sauerkraut is rich in vitamin C and has been used in the past to treat constipation.

14. Oregano:Belongs in almost any food! Oregano is extremely rich in antioxidants, with more than 200’000 ORAC, so rich that it at the very top of the list of almost any food. This herb is great for improving digestion and the immune function. It also has anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties. Add it to stews and soups but make sure its after cooking or you’ll lose all its goodness.

15. Raspberries: On the 15th place is one of the world’s most eaten superfoods, the humble Raspberry. These are high in fiber and folic acid as well as containing ellagic acid which has been proven to have anti-cancer properties.

16. Carrots: At 16 it’s the humble carrot, loved by humans and by rabbits! These contain antioxidants such as zeaxanthin and lutein which protect against cancer but are also great for protecting the lungs, the eyes and skin.

17. Turmeric: weighs in at number 17. Stacked full of Curcumin which contains also extremely high amounts of antioxidants, 159’000 ORAC units/100g, has anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory properties, is incredibly good for the skin and for the sexual stamina.

18. Sea Weed: Seaweed is alkalizing and detoxifying and so powerful that you only need to eat small quantities. You can get it dried and mix it in salads. Seaweed contains lots of protein, calcium, iron, iodine and magnesium. In fact in much higher quantities than any land plants.

19. Slippery Elm Tree Tea: can help assist recovery from stress related disorders, from surgery, inflammation and gastro-intestinal disorders. The Native Americans and the pioneers of the wild west used the inner bark of the Slippery Elm Tree for food to survive and for a medicine to heal. To gain real benefits you need to drink 2-3 cups a day. DO NOT use Slippery Elm Tree products until talking to your doctor.

20. Water: Water has it’s place in this superfoods list because we need water for an efficient brain function! It is most essential for more than that; we need water for our circulation, digestion, stamina, a healthy skin and in fact every bodily function that you can think of. So drink plenty of it!!

Those are my personal top twenty superfoods. Most of these healthy foods are cheap and most of them are also easily available anywhere near to where you live, so be sensible and grab a superfood instead of a burger!

By: Paul I. Costelo

Paul Costello is the vice principal of a high school, a writer and a father. He is interested in superfood diet and health and has a great web site at: http://www.ultimatedieting.info

Is Acai Really the Best Superfood?

What is a superfood?

Acai Berries Grow on Palm Trees in BrazilYou sure have heard about superfoods, and maybe even which foods are considered to be “super”. Today we’ll look into why these foods are considered super and which of them you should include in your daily diet.

A superfood is a food that has a very high phytonutrient content that many believe benefits a person’s health in a significant way. It’s believed that including a variety of superfoods in the daily diet can improve the immune system, ward off diseases like cancer, help the body age more smoothly and help the body fight fat.

Supefoods will usually contain a good mix of nutrients, including Vitamins A and C and other essentials like protein and fiber. The best superfoods are those that contain a healthy mix of these things so that the food can provide a solid helping of beneficial nutrients in one serving.

Some of the most famous superfoods include:

  • Blue-Green Algae
  • Green Tea
  • Goji Berries
  • Mangosteen
  • Oregano
  • Spinach
  • Acai Berries
  • Turmeric
  • Blueberries

As an example, blueberries contain fiber, antioxidants, Vitamin C and manganese but regardless of your knowledge about superfoods, you’ll want to include Acai Berries and Goji Berries into your superfood mix.

What is Acai and why is it a superfood?

Acai is a berry that’s found primarily in the rainforest regions of Brazil. It’s a dark blue berry that grows on palm trees in Brazil, the locals eat it fresh, or in smoothies. They also eat it with granola or yogurt and even make ice cream out of it. Depending on the region, the fruit might be used in sweet or salty confections, and new uses are being found for it each day.

The nutritional content of the acai berry is varied and beneficial. It is considered to be a superfood because it contains an essential mix of nutrients that a superfood must have. The acai fruit has an enormous high concentration of antioxidants (more than 100,000 ORAC * units per 100 gram), which is the highest concentration on antioxidants in an edible fruit known so far.  Acai Berries also contain a good amount of fiber, a small amount of fat and protein.

Acai Berries are a rather new addition to the long line of antioxidant rich health foods that are considered superfoods today. Currently, for those of us who don’t live in Brazil and don’t have easy access to the berry, there are many options. These include drinking a juice blend that contains acai (or acai berry that’s offered as is), freeze dried acai berries are by far the best choice as they contain the most of the antioxidants and the nutriton after they are packed.

Daily more superfoods are discovered and it is very likely that there will be soon more fruits and greens for us to add into our daily diet.

* ORAC = Oxygen radical absorbance capacity – The measurement for Antioxidants which kill Free Radicals in our system. Free Radicals are the main cause for our aging process.

Dietotherapy with Superfoods

Superfood is Beneficial for your Health

Blueberries are Superfoods with lots of antioxidantsSo what exactly are superfoods? According to wikipedia, superfood is a term that sometimes is used to describe food with high phytonutrient and antioxidant content that some may believe confers health benefits as a result. For example, blueberries are often considered a superfood (or superfruit) because they contain significant amounts of antioxidants, anthocyanins, vitamin C, manganese, and dietary fiber. Phytonutrients or phytochemicals are plant derived chemical compounds that are known for their potential health promoting properties.

Phytochemicals have been used as therapeutic drugs for millennia. A popular example of this is salicin, which has pain relieving and anti-inflammatory properties which was originally extracted from the white willow tree and later synthetically produced to create the commonly used over the counter drug aspirin. Superfoods though as a modern term are more specifically found in the form of everyday foods we can eat to enhance our overall health, as opposed to specific herbal applications to help remedy specific body ailments.

An example of a modern superfood which we eat everyday that is also a remedy to a disease are oranges, tangerines and other fruit which are rich in vitamin C, can counteract scurvy which is a disease due to vitamin C deficiency. Garlic also behaves as a food and as a remedy for bacillary dysentery.

That being said, knowing which types of phytochemicals are found in which types of plants is great to know if we are looking to relieve and help heal specific ailments. It is interesting to note that there is no legal definition of the term ‘Superfood’. For example dieticians and nutritional scientists for the most part do not use the term superfoods as a common term among their peers. Also many claim that consuming particular foodstuffs do not actually confer an actual health benefit. To me this is actually quite shocking because it obvious to me that some foods will have a completely different impact on the body than others.

I don’t need a nutritionist to tell me this, I can actually feel the difference bodily. Not only that but taking food as medicine has been practiced by ancient cultures for millennia. The Chinese especially come to mind, they even have a specific term called Dietotherapy – which refers to the treatment of disease by taking common foodstuffs.

These foodstuffs in China are sometimes called by the name of medicinal foods. Modern western medicine though does not recognize everyday ‘food’ as medicine, so knowing this you can understand why western nutritionists and scientists frown on the term superfoods.

Simply put, food contains the various nutrients which provide the energy supply for the body’s growth and activities. Nutrients are essential for people during illness to overcome pathogenic factors and repair tissue damage, and to resist and prevent diseases while in good health. All foods have different chemical composition and nutritional values, so it makes sense that some foods will invigorate and heal more so than others.

Superfoods come in all shapes and sizes and there is no definitive ‘superfood list’. This is simply because it is not an official diet and medical term, as stated above. So why is phytonutrient or phytochemical content important to knowing what food are superfoods?

Quite simply as I stated above, phytonutrients or phytochemicals are plant derived chemical compounds that are known for their potential health promoting properties. Some animal derived foods are also known as superfoods.

Here is a good list I have compiled of some of the top superfoods that you can incorporate into your life:

SUPERFOOD ORAC*
Cloves, ground 314,446
Sumac, bran, raw 312,400
Cinnamon, ground 267,536
Sorghum, bran, hi-tannin 240,000
Oregano, dry 200,129
Turmeric, ground 159,277
Acai berry, freeze-dried 102,700
Cocoa, dry, unsweetened 80,933
Cumin seeds 76,800
Maqui berries, powder 75,000
Parsley, dried 74,349
Holy Basil, dried 67,553

*ORAC = Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity (Antioxidant Measurement Scale)

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