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Superfoods - Vitamins, Minerals And Other Nutrients
Superfoods - there's particular foods, that ounce for ounce, consist of far more vitamins, minerals, nutrients and antioxidants than any other foods, and can also help fight against cancer, heart attacks, strokes, arthritis and rheumatism, plus, most have anti-ageing properties as well. For anyone looking for foods to fight cancer, heart attacks, strokes, arthritis and rheumatism, superfoods can be an excellent help and the best superfoods are listed below :
Alfalfa Grass - the father of all foods - Alfalfa grass rejuvenates the whole system by boosting your strength, vigour and vitality. It contains all the known vitamins (per gram, alfalfa grass contains four times more vitamin C than citrus fruit) and minerals (the calcium content of alfalfa grass is so high, it's off the charts!!), plus digestive enzymes, phytoestrogen (plant based hormones), flavonoids, amino acids and chlorophyll.
Alfalfa grass is most commonly used for detoxifying and enriching the liver, assisting weight loss, strengthening and purifying the blood, aiding digestion and as a general tonic, a real boost to the immune system. You can buy alfalfa grass powder in a health store. It also comes in tablets and capsules too for ease of use.
Bee Pollen - bee Pollen is one of nature's unique and most powerful foods. It is flower pollen that is collected by bees when they land on the flower to collect nectar. Bee pollen offers a treasure trove of special plant nutrients and a wide range of vitamins, minerals, amino acids and enzymes. Bee pollen is made up of 5-25% amino acids, up to 40% carbohydrates, 5% fatty oils and up to 35% protein and it's why bee pollen is such a valuable supplement to the diet, because it supplies many of the dietary antioxidants, bioflavonoids and polyphenols that we are missing by not eating our recommended amounts of fruits and vegetables.
Bilberry - bilberry has been used for centuries, both medicinally and as a food in jams
and pies. It is related to the blueberry and is native to Northern Europe.
Bilberry fruit contains chemicals known as anthocyanosides, plant pigments that
have excellent antioxidant properties. They scavenge damaging particles in the
body known as free radicals, helping to prevent or reverse damage to cells.
Antioxidants have been shown to help prevent a number of long-term illnesses
such as heart disease, cancer, and an eye disorder called macular degeneration.
Bilberry also contains vitamin C, which is another antioxidant.
What's it made of ? - The key compounds in bilberry fruit are called anthocyanosides. These compounds help build strong blood vessels and improve circulation to all areas of the body. They also prevent blood platelets from clumping together (helping to reduce the risk of blood clots), and they have antioxidant properties (preventing or reducing damage to cells from free radicals). Anthocyanidins boost the production of rhodopsin, a pigment that improves night vision and helps the eye adapt to light changes.
Bilberry fruit is also rich in tannins, a substance that acts as an astringent. The tannins have anti-inflammatory properties and may help control diarrhoea.
Available forms - bilberries may be eaten fresh or in dried forms. Fresh or dried berries may be used to make bilberry tea. Bilberry extract should be standardized to contain 25% anthocyanidin. The extract contains the highest percentage of anthocyanosides, making it the strongest form of bilberry.
Precautions - bilberry fruit and extract are considered generally safe, with no known side effects. However, bilberry leaf and extract should not be taken in large quantities over an extended period of time because the tannins they contain may become toxic.
Possible interactions - anticoagulants (blood-thinning medication) -- In theory, because the anthocyanosides in bilberry may stop blood from clotting, there may be an increased risk of bleeding if you take bilberry with blood-thinning medication, including aspirin. The whole fruit may be safer in these instances. Ask your doctor before taking bilberry if you take blood-thinning medication.
Medication for diabetes - because bilberry appears to lower blood sugar, it could make the effects of diabetes medication stronger. Also, taking bilberry with other herbs that also lower blood sugar may result in hypoglycemia (low blood sugar). Herbs that also lower blood sugar include ginger, ginseng, fenugreek, and garlic. Do not take bilberry if you take medications for diabetes.
Blueberries - they not only taste great, but blueberries contain antioxidants known as anthocyanidins, some of the strongest antidotes to oxidative stress, which many scientists believe to be the cause of aging in humans. Research carried out at the US Department of Agriculture found that blueberries had the highest antioxidant capacity of 40 tested fruits and vegetables. Berries also contain a phytochemical called ellegic acid, which is thought to prevent abnormal cellular changes.
Blue Green Algae - blue-green algae, technically known as cyanobacteria, are microscopic organisms that are naturally present in lakes and streams. Blue green algae is probably the oldest or first life forms. They usually are present in low numbers. Blue-green algae can become very abundant in warm, shallow, undisturbed surface water that receives a lot of sunlight. When this occurs, they can form blooms that discolor the water or produce floating rafts or scums on the surface of the water
Algae is the most nutrient-dense and perfectly-balanced wholefood with an extraordinarily complete content of vitamins, minerals, amino acids, essential fatty acids and live enzymes.
Algae provides over 80% of the oxygen in the earth and provide a staple diet for countless plants and animals. Blue green algae is a valuable natural source of vitamins, minerals, amino acids, anti-oxidants and essential fatty acids. It has a high content of protein (62%), and rich in beta carotene, and antioxidant. It is up to 62% protein, super-rich in beta carotene and other antioxidants and is one of the highest of Chlorophyll, and Vitamin B12. It enhances physical and mental well-being.
Broccoli - if the other foods on this page for superfoods are "super" foods then broccoli should be a "mega-super" food. Researchers are finding a wealth of healthy compounds in this vegetable, which include two very powerful anti-cancer substances, sulforaphane and indole-3-carbinol. Sulforaphane destroys any carcinogenic compounds that you have ingested and then it creates enzymes that eat up any carcinogens left over from that reaction. Sulforaphane also kills the bacteria Helicobacter pylori which causes stomach ulcers and greatly increases the risks of gastric cancers.
Indole-3-carbinol helps your body to metabolise oestrogen, potentially protecting against breast cancer. Broccoli is also a good source of beta-carotene and potassium, which helps lower your risk of heart disease. Many therapists suggest eating broccoli at least three times a week and now we know why.
Italian for "cabbage sprout," broccoli helps protect us from a variety of diseases, including cancer, heart disease and macular degeneration. A veritable cornucopia of nutrients, it's rich in folate, fibre, vitamin C, beta carotene, iron, calcium and the phytochemical sulforophane, which protects against heart disease. This kinsman of the cabbage has also been shown to contain indoles, believed to prevent breast cancer by converting oestrogen into a less potent form. Those who don't enjoy the taste of this increasingly popular member of the cruciferous family can sprinkle broccoli sprouts over salads or on sandwiches. It can be refrigerated, unwashed and in an airtight bag, for four days.
Celery juice - this is of special interest to sufferers of arthritis, osteoarthritis and rheumatism. Meat eating can cause over-acidity which can lead to illnesses such as arthritis, osteoarthritis and rheumatism. Celery juice, made with an extractor or juicer, will help reduce acidity. It is credited with being one of the best treatments for the prevention of arthritis, osteoarthritis and rheumatism. Drink 1 glass daily.
Green Barley Grass - detoxer extraordinaire - barley grass contains just about every nutrient required by the human body, except vitamin D. It's very similar to wheat grass, and is easy to digest. It's a deep green leafy plant containing nutrients similar to that of leafy green vegetables, but with many times the level of vitamins, minerals and proteins. It has as much protein as meat, and is packed with goodness. Barley grass has 11 times the calcium of cows' milk, five times the iron of spinach, and seven times more vitamin C than orange juice. Barley grass is beneficial for all tissues and organs, especially the heart, lungs, arteries, joints and bones.
When it comes to the health advantages of barley grass, how long have you got? They're almost too numerous to list but here are a few anyway. It helps protect against pollutants, radiation, cancer, ulcers and digestive problems. It's a great energy booster, has exceptional anti-inflammatory and anti-ageing properties and strengthens your immune response. Finally, it's a great all-round body strengthener, giving your heart and circulation a boost and helping lower cholesterol.
If you're not managing to eat lots of green vegetables, then dehydrated barley grass is the convenient and nutritious answer. You can buy it from most health food stores. A 5g teaspoon is equivalent to 100g (4oz) of vegetables like raw spinach, kale, alfalfa sprouts or broccoli.
Organic barley grass is a cereal grain. Large proportions of barley crops are used as animal feed. It's also widely used for malting and is a key ingredient in beer and whiskey production. Two-row barley is commonly employed in German and English beer breweries, and six-row barley is used in American breweries. Barley is also used in soups and stews in Eastern Europe.
Most recently, barley grass has rightly become a popular healthy food. It's similar to wheatgrass but is more easier to digest. Barley grass has many nutritional and healthy benefits. Nutritionally, young barley leaves contain all the vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and detoxifying compounds, proteins and enzymes. In addition to chlorophyll and a bunch of vitamins, minerals and enzymes, it is also believed that barley grass has 30 times more vitamin B1 than milk, 3.3 times as much vitamin C, and 6.5 times as much carotene as in spinach, 11 times the amount of calcium in cow's milk, nearly five times the iron content of spinach, nearly seven times the vitamin C in oranges etc etc.
Barley grass contains an important element P4D1, which has been shown to be able to repair the DNA in the body's cells. P4D1 can help to prevent aging, and cell death. Scientific research shows barley grass juice could be better than steroid drugs but has fewer side effects. Doctors agree that barley grass juice is a helpful diet supplement in a variety of illnesses, including arthritis, migraine headaches, asthma, fatigue and gastro-intestinal disorders, and can help in achieving clearer skin. Barley grass is also credited to be beneficial in other illnesses such as diabetes. According to a scientific paper published in Diabetes and Metabolism, regular consumption of barley grass is beneficial in reducing the levels of cholesterol and oxygen free radicals in the blood of type 2 diabetics.
Many people have reported weight loss effect after drinking barley grass juice regularly. According to scientific research, it is because of the enhancement of the cytochrome oxidase enzyme system which is essential for cell metabolism. Barley grass also contains another enzyme: superoxide dismutase (SOD), a powerful antioxidant, which protects the cells against toxic free radicals which are thought to be a primary culprit in aging and many other diseases.
There are two common forms of consuming barley grass, as juice or as tablets. Like wheatgrass powder, barley grass powder is an easy way to make barley grass juice.
Nuts - selenium is found in Brazil nuts, which are actually one of the very few good sources of this mineral. Selenium is needed in the body to make the antioxidant enzyme called glutathione peroxidase, which helps prevent free-radical damage to your cells. Studies continue to show that people who eat selenium-rich food greatly reduce their risk of developing cancer and heart disease. Research also indicates that selenium helps the kidneys to clean toxins from the body more efficiently. Other sources include whole-grain cereals, seafood and seaweed.
Oily fish - the omega-3 oils found in oily fish, particularly salmon, mackerel,
herrings and sardines, may help prevent red blood cells from clumping and
blocking blood vessels. Oily fish are also rich in zinc, which helps prevent
prostate problems in men. The best fish for Omega 3 is wild Salmon, it's one of the best oily fish
for providing an excellent source of Omega 3. All fish is
a source of good-quality protein, vitamins, and minerals, but oily fish such as
salmon also contains omega 3 fats that reduce blood clotting and inflammation.
Omega 3 fats also help to prevent depression, and protect against the onset of dementia. Yep, it's true, fish really is an all-round brain food.
Organic liver - liver is rich in vitamin A and zinc, which are both high on the anti-ageing nutrient list and help to prevent hormone deficiencies. Liver also contains folic acid and other B vitamins, which could help prevent heart attacks and Alzheimer's. Furthermore, liver also contains chromium, which helps keep blood sugar levels down. Not everyone likes to eat liver; those who prefer not to, but who are happy to eat meat can buy desiccated liver tablets, though they are quite difficult to find in organic form. Vegetarians need to eat a varied diet and take vitamin A (up to 10,000 i.u.), or safer beta-carotene which is converted to vitamin A (but not readily in diabetics), and mineral supplements. It is not advisable for pregnant women to eat non-organic liver as it has a high retinal content.
Papaya - papayas offer not only the luscious taste and sunlit colour of the tropics, but are rich sources of antioxidant nutrients such as carotenes, vitamin C and flavonoids; the B vitamins, folate and pantothenic acid; and the minerals, potassium and magnesium; and fiber. Together, these nutrients promote the health of the cardiovascular system and also provide protection against colon cancer. In addition, papaya contains the digestive enzyme, papain, which is used like bromelain, a similar enzyme found in pineapple, to treat sports injuries, other causes of trauma, and allergies.
Papayas may be very helpful for the prevention of atherosclerosis and diabetic heart disease. Papayas are an excellent source of vitamin C as well as a good source of vitamin E and vitamin A (through their concentration of pro-vitamin A carotenoid phytonutrients), three very powerful antioxidants.
These nutrients help prevent the oxidation of cholesterol. Only when cholesterol becomes oxidized is it able to stick to and build up in blood vessel walls, forming dangerous plaques that can eventually cause heart attacks or strokes. One way in which dietary vitamin E and vitamin C may exert this effect is through their suggested association with a compound called paraoxonase, an enzyme that inhibits LDL cholesterol and HDL cholesterol oxidation.
Papayas are also a good source of fiber, which has been shown to lower high cholesterol levels. The folic acid found in papayas is needed for the conversion of a substance called homocysteine into benign amino acids such as cysteine or methionine. If unconverted, homocysteine can directly damage blood vessel walls and, if levels get too high, is considered a significant risk factor for a heart attack or stroke.
Raspberries - raspberries are rich in phytonutrients for anti-oxidant, anti-microbial and anti-carcinogenic protection. Chief among these is ellagic acid, the potent cancer fighter. Raspberries have also been found to help prevent macular degeneration, and they contain manganese, vitamin C, riboflavin, folate, niacin, magnesium, potassium, dietary fibre and copper.
Raspberries have a long history - they can be traced all the way back to prehistoric times - but began to be grown widely in the 19th century, when many new varieties, including the loganberry and boysenberry, were developed.
Raspberries have a sweet, tangy taste that makes them a popular treat for snacks, desserts, salads, cereals, sauces, baking, jams, jellies and more.
Raspberries contain one of the most powerful antioxidants known; a series of ellagitannins which are converted into ellagic acid in your body. Many fruits contain ellagitannins, but your body cannot convert all sources into usable, beneficial levels of ellagic acid.
Ellagic acid has the ability to inhibit mutations within a cell's DNA, causing apoptosis (normal death) in cancer cells. In addition, research has found that it has anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties.
Raspberries are one of the few sources of ellagitannins that your body can transform into useful levels of ellagic acid. The very best way to get the ellagic acid is with extra fine ground raspberry seeds, combined with synergists.
Ellagic acid is one of the most exciting, promising, nutraceutical compounds to be discovered in the cancer care field in years. It is found throughout members of the berry family, but is found to be particularly concentrated in raspberries - particularly of the "Meeker" variety.
Mutation of cells is often caused by free radical damage - they are responsible for much ill health, from common symptoms of aging, all the way to potentially terminal cancerous diseases.
The cells in your body are in a continual cycle of birth (replication) and death. This replication is naturally controlled to ensure no mistakes (cancerous mutations) occur prior to cell division. If mutations are detected, the cell is instructed to die or not reproduce, thus protecting us from cancerous growth.
When cells ignore these signals, they become virtually immortal, reproducing indefinitely, while abandoning their intended function = growing as a tumor.
Science has proven that free radicals are responsible for mutated cell growth. This causes much ill health, from common symptoms of aging to potentially terminal cancerous growths. Science also has proven that free radical reproduction can be slowed or even stopped with antioxidant supplementation.
Raspberries contain one of the most powerful antioxidants known; a series of ellagitannins which are converted into ellagic acid in your body. Many fruits contain ellagitannins, but the body cannot convert all sources into usable, beneficial levels of ellagic acid. Finely ground seeds of raspberries, blueberries, strawberries and kiwis are rich sources of ellagitannins that your body can transform into useful levels of ellagic acid.
Research indicates that raspberry seeds are antibacterial and antiviral, protect DNA, reduce birth defects, prevent harmful transmutations of cholesterol, prevent heart disease, and promote cellular detoxification.
Seeds - although bones obviously need calcium to remain strong and healthy in later life, they also need the osteoporosis-fighting nutrients magnesium and zinc. Sesame seeds are rich in both magnesium and zinc, plus, sesame seeds contain high levels of calcium. Mix them with other foods or use tahini (sesame seed paste) instead of butter.
Soya beans - recent research has shown that soya beans contain materials that can be converted by digestion and fermentation to genistein and daidzein, which help prevent breast cancer and prostate cancer and also form a natural hormone-replacement therapy for those in the menopause. Referred to as 'plant oestrogens', they are, in fact, a type of flavonoid, which is a good oestrogen balancer. To receive all the benefits soya has to offer, eat tofu, soya yoghurt, soya flour and soya milk, but especially more fermented soya products such as miso and tempah.
Spirulina - spirulina, often called the dieters best friend. Spirulina is a cultivated or farmed micro-algae, with one of the richest protein contents of all natural foods. Spirulina contains 60 to 70 per cent complete protein. Meat, on the other hand, consists of only about 25 per cent complete protein. It's also thought that spirulina can help control blood sugar and cravings, so is a key food for dieters and can be used to assist weight loss and as a general nutritional foundation. Mix one teaspoon of Spirulina in juice first thing in the morning for a refreshing wake-up call.
Tea - Green tea or black tea - green tea and black tea, are both rich in the antioxidant called catechins. Studies suggest that catechins protect the artery walls against the damage that causes heart disease and prevents formation of sticky blood clots.
towards the recommended eight cups of fluids daily, which is the minimum to avoid
Tomatoes - cancer-fighting tomatoes - if you're looking to stack your odds against cancer, then eat plenty of tomatoes and tomato products. The healthy habit of eating tomato products has been linked with reduced risks of gastric, lung, and prostate, cancer. The anti-cancer properties in tomatoes seem to be related to their antioxidant levels, particularly from their lycopene, beta-carotene, vitamin C, and phenols.
Walnuts - walnuts have the highest antioxidant activity of all nuts, which means they provide good protection against cancer. They are brimming with vitamin E, which is excellent for heart health. Studies have shown that eating them can reduce the risk of a heart attack from between 15 and 51 per cent.
Rich in cholesterol-lowering plant serums and omega 3 oils, walnuts have a very high ratio of polyunsaturated to saturated fats. They have similar benefits to oily fish in terms of reducing cholesterol levels, according to a study published in the Journal of Nutrition last year. Regular consumption can also guard against diabetes.
The key ingredients of walnuts are alpha-linolenic acid, an essential fatty acid that improves heart health and cholesterol levels, reducing the risk of sudden death from abnormal heart rhythms. They are also a good source of protein and dietary fibre.
Water - ok, it's not a food, so water can't technically be called a superfood, but this is one of the most important things to consume - Dehydration affects about 60% of the UK population. Stimulants, such as tea, coffee and alcohol, increase our need for water as they cause dehydration and thus increase the potential for kidney problems. The average adult must drink at least 1.5 litres of water daily to flush out toxins, maintain good health and adequate hydration.
Wheatgrass - power packed - the nutritional properties of wheatgrass are similar to barley grass, but since the actual wheatgrass itself, is virtually indigestible, it needs to be juiced. You can buy a wheat grass juicer or simply take the capsules, powders or tablets now widely available. Be warned that the taste of wheat grass is rather pungent, almost medicinal. But the benefits are worth it. Research shows it's an excellent source of calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, and zinc. It's even been referred to as 'the richest nutritional liquid known to man'. The health benefits of wheat grass are many and varied: principally, it provides exceptional nourishment, restores the endocrine system, enhances immunity, assists digestion and promotes weight loss due to its high enzyme content and cleansing effect.
Whole-grains - whole grains include brown rice, wholemeal bread and porridge, all keeping bowels regular and efficient to prevent toxins, that have been processed by the liver and sent to the intestines, from re-entering the blood. Whole-grains are also rich in vitamins E and B, which keep your nervous system healthy. Brown rice contains methionine, which forms enzymes that fight free radicals.
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