Category Archives: antioxidants

The Everyday Foods Linked To Good Mental Health

Our Better Health

The foods can offset the impact of major life events, like divorce and unemployment.

Eating more fruits and vegetables is linked to a lower risk of depression new research concludes.

An extra four portions of fruit and vegetables per day can offset the impact of major life events, like divorce and unemployment.

The boost from more fruit and vegetables could counteract half the pain of getting divorced or one-quarter that of being unemployed.

The effect on mental well-being of eating 8 portions per day compared with none is even more dramatic.

These benefits come on top of the well-known protective effect against cancer and heart disease.

The conclusions come from an Australian survey of 7,108 people carried out every year since 2001.

All were asked about their diet and lifestyle.

The results showed that the more fruit and vegetables people ate, the less likely they were to be diagnosed with…

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13 Ways to keep free radicals away and why you should

I have always entertained a hint of confusion about free radicals and antioxidants. For one thing they are counterintuitive. Free is good normally and anti is against. Yet, we need antioxidants and don’t want free radical accumulation. What’s up with that?

So, I was most pleased to run across the following informed discussion of that very subject in The Conversation.

The holiday season is in full swing, and with it comes time for family celebration while gathering around tables full of delicious foods with seasonal spices! But it can also be a stressful time of year, with substantial meal preparation as well as stress in the gut from digesting highly caloric and rich foods. Your food choices can help reduce stress in your body.

Traditional holiday meals are laden with salt, fat and sugar, which can spike blood glucose and insulin levels when eaten in excess all in one day. They also, alas, can increase the amount of free radicals, or molecules with unattached electrons, in the body, which can do serious cellular damage.

We hear a lot about antioxidants, and we are encouraged to eat foods that are rich in them. But what exactly are they, and why do we need them? As a researcher who examines cellular damage, I will explain the oxidative process and why it’s important to curb it. Continue reading

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What Are Antioxidants?

This is actually a backward blog item. I began writing about coffee and its good and bad attributes. One of the good aspects of coffee is that it is a source of antioxidants. Fair enough. Then I read that coffee is actually the best source of antioxidants for most people. Wow! That is amazing. Why? Because, antioxidants are found in varying amounts in foods such as vegetables, fruits, grain cereals, eggs, some meats, poultry and fish, legumes and nuts. With all those excellent sources of antioxidants, coffee is the best source for most folks? I find that incredible. It seems a terrible statement on our collective diet. Of course, with 60% of the population overweight and 30% actually obese, maybe it’s not so strange. We have a lot of work to do when it comes to what we put in our mouths.

Blueberries are a berry good source of antioxidants

A little background. An antioxidant is a molecule capable of inhibiting the oxidation of other molecules. Antioxidants are intimately involved in prevention of cellular damage — the common pathway for cancer, aging, and a variety of diseases. Antioxidants may protect your cells against the effects of free radicals. Free radicals are molecules produced when your body breaks down food, or by environmental exposures like tobacco smoke and radiation. Free radicals can damage cells, and may play a role in heart disease, cancer and other diseases.

These names are counter-intuitive to me. Usually the prefix ‘anti’ suggests a negative while ‘free’ has positive connotations. However, in this situation, they are exactly the opposite. Antioxidants are very important in protecting our system as they fight free radicals that attack our cells.

Blueberries rank at the top of the fruit list for antioxidant content. Known for protecting your heart, blueberries also slow down and maybe even reverse the memory decline that comes with aging.
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5 Spices That Are The Most Powerful Antioxidants

Here is a list of the top 5 spices that rank highest in terms of polyphenol content, making them the ones that you should try hardest to incorporate into your diet. ORAC stands for Oxygen Radical Absorption Capacity, which estimates the spice’s anti-oxidant ability. These values come from The Mediterranean Zone.

Shades of Simon and Garfunkle, who knew that sage, rosemary and thyme would turn out to be super sources of anti-oxidants .

Tony

Our Better Health

Kara, selected from TreeHugger    January 5, 2015

Spices are a rich source of polyphenols, which means we should all be eating more of them. Polyphenols are powerful anti-oxidants that neutralize the free radicals formed by constant sun exposure and anti-microbial agents that are plants’ primary defense mechanism against microbiological attack. By ingesting foods that contain high levels of polyphenols, humans boost their immune systems, reduce cellular inflammation, and maintain an optimal balance between the good and bad microbes that live in our digestive tracts.

Adding more spices to your diet is one way to increase the number of polyphenols entering your body on a regular basis, although, as Dr. Barry Sears explains in The Mediterranean Zone, you need to have continual daily intake in order to benefit in the long term, since polyphenols are fully metabolized within 24 hours of being taken into the body.

Here is a list…

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The Importance of Zinc

Pumpkin seeds - great source of zinc

Pumpkin seeds – great source of zinc

Zinc is very important in the first line of defence in our bodies. This first line is represented by physical barriers, such as the skin and mucous membrane linings inside the body. Zinc is found in the mucous secretions of the respiratory system and on the surfaces of lungs and throat. It has an antimicrobial effect, so helps to kill inhaled bacteria and viruses before they get chance to take hold. Zinc is also secreted in the saliva and the mucous membranes of the digestive system to kill any ingested invaders.

Our Better Health

by Jane Cronin

Do you suffer from acne, stretch marks, white spots on your nails, poor wound healing, poor immunity? Zinc may have something to do with it. Here we discuss Zinc deficiency, causes, symptoms and why zinc is important.

Zinc is an essential trace mineral and is one of the most abundant to be found in the body.  It is naturally found in some foods, added to others and also available as a dietary supplement. You have approximately 2-3g with around 60% is in the muscles that support your skeleton and 30% is in the bones.   So if nothing else zinc plays an important part in keeping you upright.  The remaining 10% is found in the teeth, hair, nails, skin, liver, leukocytes (white blood cells), prostate, sperm and testes.

So what are some functions of Zinc in the body?

Zinc makes things happen

Zinc is used in by…

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How Healthy are Sweet Potatoes? – Infographic

Sweet potatoes are one of the healthiest foods you can eat.

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Goji Berry Benefits: 12 Facts About This Healthy Superfood

Goji BerriesYou can eat them raw or soak them in hot water before munching. Others prefer adding goji berries to trail mixes, smoothies or as a garnish on cereals, salads or yogurts. Basically, goji berries can be baked, cooked, steamed, and processed in any way after they are washed.

Must confess my ignorance about these fascinating berries. I  have ordered some from Amazon. Update: They came and I really liked their complex flavor. As Michelin would say, “Worth a detour.”

Caveats from WebMD: “There are herb-drug interactions with goji berries. If you take warfarin (a blood thinner) you should avoid goji berries. Goji berries may also interact with diabetes and blood pressure medicines, so check with your pharmacist about possible interactions.

“If you have pollen allergies you may want to stay away from this fruit. Case reports have linked goji berries consumption with skin photosensitivity, causing a skin rash on exposure to sunlight. They are also naturally rich in oxalate which may be a health issue in kidney problems.”

Tony

Our Better Health

The Huffington Post Canada     By Arti Patel     03/28/2014  

Even though goji berries date back to the early days of Chinese medicine, people (including celebrities like Madonna and Miranda Kerr) can’t seem to stop talking about this tiny scrunched up fruit.

“The sky is the limit when it comes to incorporating goji berries in your diet,” says health and nutrition expert Rosanna Lee based in Toronto.

Considered both a fruit and a herb, goji berries are typically found in Asian and European countries, but sold in bulk or packages across North America. Although they are a bit pricey, Lee says they include a long list of benefits.

“Goji berries are an excellent source of antioxidants,” she says, though she cautions against immediately believing all of the berries’ health claims. Helping to reduce cancer risk and its “fountain of youth” claims, for example, aren’t backed up by…

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What are the Amazing Health Benefits of Turmeric? – Infographic

I have friends from India who swear by the spice turmeric. Here are some reasons why.

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Tony

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Freezing Blueberries Improves Antioxidant Availability

Since blueberries are frozen soon after they are picked, “they are equal in quality to fresh,” Plumb explains. She analyzed the anthocyanin content of blueberries frozen for one, three, and five months and found no decrease in antioxidants over fresh berries.

Cooking with Kathy Man

Blueberries pack a powerful antioxidant punch, whether eaten fresh or from the freezer, according to South Dakota State University graduate Marin Plumb.

Anthocyanins, a group of antioxidant compounds, are responsible for the color in blueberries, she explains. Since most of the color is in the skin, freezing the blueberries actually improves the availability of the antioxidants.

The food science major from Rapid City, who received her bachelor’s degree in December, did her research as part of an honors program independent study project.

“Blueberries go head to head with strawberries and pomegranates in antioxidant capacity,” says professor Basil Dalaly, Plumb’s research adviser. In addition, blueberries are second only to strawberries, in terms of the fruits Americans prefer.

Blueberries are beneficial for the nervous system and brain, cardiovascular system, eyes, and urinary tract, Dalaly explains. “Some claim it’s the world’s healthiest food.”

The United States produces nearly 84% of the world’s cultivated…

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Why Should I Eat More Dark Chocolate?

With Valentine’s Day a week away, it seemed timely to talk about chocolate. Dark chocolate.

Before starting, let me clarify that the word ‘more’ in the header assumes you are eating little or no dark chocolate at present because here in the U.S. we primarily eat milk chocolate. How much? Good question. Some 71 percent of the chocolate we eat is milk chocolate. And, how much total?

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The World Atlas of Chocolate puts the U.S. in 11th place worldwide in per capita chocolate consumption with a paltry 11.5 pounds per year. Switzerland is in first place with more than double that total.

As far as a definition of dark chocolate goes, the U.S. has no fixed percentage of cocoa content to define dark chocolate. In practice, however, it seems that 70 percent cocoa solids qualifies as dark chocolate.

But why eat more dark chocolate? Experience L!fe says, “Sure, chocolate’s exquisitely decadent. But its primary ingredient, cocoa, has triple the antioxidants of green tea, helps reduce cholesterol and blood pressure and improves insulin sensitivity.”

They quote Alice Medrich on it. “Alice Medrich, who is credited with bringing the chocolate truffle to the United States in the 1970s, says that when you taste chocolate without all the sugar, you become aware of its deep, earthy, nutty, and fruity flavors. She compares chocolate to wine and says that, like grapes, chocolate has a terroir that reflects the taste of the soil and climate where it’s grown.

“’Sometimes you’ll get some tropical fruit flavors or citrus flavors or cherry or even little hints of orange or coconut,’ says Medrich, author of the cookbook Seriously Bitter Sweet. ‘There are hundreds of flavor components in chocolate, and they can go to the sweet or the savory really easily.'”

FITDAY offers several benefits of dark chocolate, including:
Good for your heart. “Studies show that eating a small amount of dark chocolate two or three times each week can help lower your blood pressure. Dark chocolate improves blood flow and may help prevent the formation of blood clots. Eating dark chocolate may also prevent arteriosclerosis.

Good for your brain. Dark chocolate increases blood flow to the brain as well as to the heart, so it can help improve cognitive function. Dark chocolate also helps reduce your risk of stroke.

Dark chocolate also contains several chemical compounds that have a positive effect on your mood and cognitive health. Chocolate contains phenylethylamine (PEA), the same chemical your brain creates when you feel like you’re falling in love. PEA encourages your brain to release endorphins, so eating dark chocolate will make you feel happier.

Dark chocolate contains caffeine, a mild stimulant. However, dark chocolate contains much less caffeine than coffee. A standard 1.5 ounce bar of dark chocolate contains 27 mg of caffeine, compared to the 200 mg found in an eight ounce cup of coffee.

Helps control blood sugar. “The flavonoids in dark chocolate also help reduce insulin resistance by helping your cells to function normally and regain the ability to use your body’s insulin efficiently. Dark chocolate also has a low glycemic index, meaning it won’t cause huge spikes in blood sugar levels.

Dark chocolate contains theobromine which helps to harden tooth enamel, so unlike most sweets it lowers your risk of cavities. Theobromine also can help to suppress coughing.

The final positive from FITDAY is dark chocolate’s vitamin and mineral content. “The copper and potassium in dark chocolate help prevent against stroke and cardiovascular ailments. The iron in chocolate protects against iron deficiency anemia, and the magnesium in chocolate helps prevent type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease.”

Authority Nutrition
offers the following: “If you buy quality dark chocolate with a high cocoa content, then it is actually quite nutritious.

It contains a decent amount of soluble fiber and is loaded with minerals.
A 100 gram (about 4 ounces) bar of dark chocolate with 70-85% cocoa contains:
• 11 grams of fiber.
• 67% of the RDA for Iron.
• 58% of the RDA for Magnesium.
• 89% of the RDA for Copper.
• 98% of the RDA for Manganese.
• It also has plenty of potassium, phosphorus, zinc and selenium.

Aren’t we all ready for some good news on cholesterol? Well, Authority Nutrition says, “Dark chocolate improves several important risk factors for disease. It lowers the susceptibility of LDL to oxidative damage while increasing HDL and improving insulin sensitivity.”

In case you don’t remember, HDL is the good cholesterol and LDL is the bad. You want higher HDL numbers and lower LDL ones.

Lastly, Authority Nutrition says that “Studies show that the flavanols from cocoa can improve blood flow to the skin and protect it against sun-induced damage.”

I must confess that I had never heard dark chocolate could protect your skin from the sun, but as a skin cancer victim, I am very happy to learn it.

While I would like you to include dark chocolate in your diet, I hope that you know we are talking about reasonable amounts here. You don’t need to eat more than a couple of ounces a day to get the benefits mentioned above.

Tony

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How Healthy is Tea Drinking?

A lot of Americans consider tea to be the weak step sister of coffee. But, in the rest of the world that is not the case.

Tea U.S.A. Inc. says, “Tea is the most widely consumed beverage in the world next to water, and can be found in almost 80 percent of all U.S. households. It is the only beverage commonly served hot or iced, anytime, anywhere, for any occasion. On any given day, over 158 million Americans are drinking tea.

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“In 2012, Americans consumed well over 79 billion servings of tea, or over 3.60 billion gallons. About 84 percent of all tea consumed was Black Tea, 15 percent was Green Tea, and a small remaining amount was Oolong and White Tea.

“On any given day, over one half of the American population drinks tea. On a regional basis, the South and Northeast have the greatest concentration of tea drinkers.”

So, we drink a lot of tea. It tastes good, but how healthy is the habit?

According to some recent studies in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, tea drinking is very good, indeed.

Citing these studies, Dr. Marc Siegel of the NYU Langone Medical Center said that tea drinking is very good for bone health, it improves concentration and decreases the chances of some cancers, it helps the G.I. tract and has a positive impact on prostate cancer.

To reap these benefits a person needs to drink about three cups of tea a day. The only caveat is that the person not have high blood pressure or other health issue that could be adversely affected by tea.

Dr. David Samadi of Lenox Hill Hospital also noted that tea drinking reduces LDL cholesterol (the bad cholesterol) and increases HDL cholesterol (the good cholesterol). A healthy one-two punch.

Tea drinking benefits both the brain and the body, he said. There are cognitive benefits that actually create new brain cells. On the other hand, tea drinking also reduces food cravings so it is a great help in weight loss and weight control.

What is it that makes tea, any kind of tea, so beneficial to our bodies? Tea has some of the best antioxidants and flavinoids. Catechins which are very plentiful in green tea help in weight loss.

These antioxidants are also found in fruits and vegetables. So, if you aren’t eating enough fruits and veggies, you can catch up somewhat by drinking tea.

Dr. Samadi specified the EGCG as among the best antioxidants and they are found in tea. They actually slow down the progress of Alzheimer’s, he said. EGCG is short for epigallocatechin-3-gallate.

I am a fan of tea, in general, but mostly drink green tea. I have posted on it several times: Dr. Oz on Chia seeds and green tea, Green Tea for St. Patrick’s Day and every day, Green tea helps to fight flu.

Slainte.

Tony

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What Can I Eat to Keep My Brain Healthy? – Oleda Baker – Guest Post

Click anywhere to see these full size
Click anywhere to see these full size

As you can see from her photos, Senior Supermodel Oleda Baker is aging magnificently. I interviewed Oleda last December. She is a treasure trove of information on everything this blog stands for, namely weight control, healthy living and healthy aging, so I asked her if she would share some of her ideas with us. She has written 10 books on beauty and health. Her latest, written at the age of 75, Breaking the Age Barrier – Great Looks and Health at Every Age – was released in November 2010 and is available from Amazon or from her website www.oleda.com where she also sells her own line of health and beauty aids.

Foods that contain antioxidants, which neutralize harmful free radicals, are especially good for your brain. Free radicals damage your body and break down the neurons in your brain, so the many colorful fruits and vegetables that are packed with antioxidants are good for you in more ways than one.
tropical-fruit-smoothie
Too much alcohol has been linked to brain atrophy, because it can cause direct injury to the cells. The good news is that these cells can be rebuilt when people eliminate alcohol from the diet.

Scientists have shown that certain nutrients are essential for human brain function. Serious deficiencies in vitamin B12 and iron, for example, can lead to impaired cognition. Paying careful attention to diet helps protect the brain from developing problems with nerve cell signals that are involved in memory and cognition.

Food with high Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity (ORAC) scores are thought to help improve brain function. An ORAC score of around 5,000 units per day can have a significant positive effect on blood and tissue antioxidant levels.

The following fruits have the highest ORAC scores (numbers are based on
1/2 cup of each):

BLUEBERRIES: 6,500
BLACK PLUMS: 4,500
BLACKBERRIES: 3,800
RASPBERRIES: 3,000

Other fruits and vegetables have good ORAC scores as well, but somewhat less punch. Some food producers place ORAC scores on their products, so you can look for them as you shop.

Drink plenty of water, too. Your brain is about 80 percent liquid and needs to be well hydrated to function well.

The following is a drink … or Smoothie … that I have taken for years in order to get my antioxidants. I have it for lunch 4 or 5 times a week. If you do the same, you’ll be giving the cells in your body, including your brain, a real boost. Of course, you could interchange the berries to taste.

Here’s what you need:

- A blender
- Large container of Vanilla Yogurt (32 oz.)
- 2 to 3 cups of blueberries
- 1 to 1/12 cups of strawberries (I keep both berries in the freezer at all times).
- 1 or 2 Bananas 
- Honey

Here’s what you do:
– Put defrosted blueberries and strawberries into blender. – Add cut banana in large pieces and drop in blender. – Put about ½ of the container of Yogurt in blender to start.

– Mix well, then add more yogurt to almost fill blender leaving room for honey…sweeten to taste. (I like mine on the sweet side) Before pouring into containers turn blender to Liquefy or Puree for best results. If you still have yogurt left pour the Health Drink into one glass and add remaining yogurt to blender, mix again.

This will produce 4 to 5 glasses of delicious, fortifying health drink. Have one
 glass now and put plastic sandwich bags over each of the others. Refrigerated, they last for several days.

Oleda

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Walnuts Cut Diabetes Risk – The Telegraph

“Nuts to you!” Takes on all new meaning with the latest info from The Telegraph in London. The Telegraph is reporting, “Eating walnuts just two or three times a week can reduce the risk of type two diabetes by a almost a quarter, according to new research.

“A study of nearly 140,000 women in the US shows regular helpings of a small portion of nuts can have a powerful protective effect against a disease that is threatening to become a global epidemic.

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“Women who consumed a 28 gramme (one ounce) packet of walnuts at least twice a week were 24 per cent less likely to develop type two diabetes than those who rarely or never ate them.

“The latest findings, published in the Journal of Nutrition, are not the first to highlight the anti-diabetic effects of walnuts, with earlier research showing similar benefits.

“However, this is thought to be one of the largest studies to find regularly snacking on them can help prevent the condition. Continue reading

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Anti-Inflammatory Food Pyramid – Infographic

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February 14, 2013 · 5:33 pm

Oleda Baker on the Benefits of Quercetin- Guest Post

Click on this to see full size

Click on this to see full size

As you can see from her photos, Senior Supermodel Oleda Baker is aging magnificently . I interviewed Oleda last month. She is a treasure trove of information on everything this blog stands for, namely healthy living and healthy aging, so I asked her if she would share some of her ideas with us. She has written 10 books on beauty and health. Her latest, written at the age of 75, Breaking the Age Barrier – Great Looks and Health at Every Age – was released in November 2010 and is available from Amazon or from her website www.oleda.com  where she also sells her own line of health and beauty aids including Quercetin.

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Science has proven that antioxidants are beneficial to our health. One of the most prominent dietary antioxidants, Quercetin, is a flavonoid found in fruits, vegetables, tea, wine and many supplements. Quercetin is also an anti-inflammatory. Unfortunately, it is not possible to get sufficient antioxidants from diet alone because you cannot physically eat a sufficient amount of vegetables and fruits in a given day. On the positive side, supplements are available.

Quercetin promotes the thermogenic processes which increase your metabolism. This will increase your energy level without the unwanted effects of caffeine or other stimulants. Quercetin helps your body burn excess carbohydrates and fat, while providing antioxidant support for your body’s needs.

Fresh fruits and vegetables are an excellent source of Quercetin

Fresh fruits and vegetables are an excellent source of Quercetin

Quercetin is a Free Radical scavenger helping to reduce oxidation within cells in order to fight off the damaging effects of these unstable molecules. As unstable free radicals move throughout the body they are able to bond to healthy/stable molecules in healthy cells. Once in the cells these free radicals damage cell membranes, chromosomes, and enzymes. This damaging of the cells will affect the rate of aging by accelerating the aging processes. Free radicals weaken the immune system, reducing the body’s ability to fight off infection from germs and viruses. A weakened immune system cannot fight off the effects of stress or overwork. Quercetin works to rid the body of these harmful unstable molecules, helping to prevent and repair the damage caused.

If Quercetin is this good how do I get it into me?
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