Antioxidant Superfoods

These “super foods” are known for providing very high levels of antioxidants:

Acai Berry: Nature’s energy fruit, Acai berries (pronounced ah-sigh-ee) have one of the highest known ORAC scores (insert score), making them one of the most potent antioxidant foods known. They are also a great source of amino acids and essential fatty acids. The fruit of a palm native to the rainforests of the Amazon, acai berries look like a cross between a blueberry and a grape, however, they taste like a blend of berries and chocolate. Because they are highly perishable, acai berries can be eaten fresh only in South America. The rest of the world can enjoy acai berries’ health benefits via frozen, juiced, dried, powdered or supplement products. Benefits of acai berries include: strengthened bone and muscle tissues, reduced inflammation, improved vision and mental clarity, and better regulated blood pressure, glucose, and cholesterol levels.

Blueberries: Blueberries are a nutritional powerhouse, topping the antioxidant super foods list. With the highest antioxidant count of any fresh fruit, their antioxidant punch is delivered via a powerful combination of Vitamin A, C, E, and bioflavonoids such as proanthocyanins, anthocyanins, ellagic acid, pterostilbene, and resveratrol. Antioxidant-rich blueberries have been shown to boost the immune system, prevent infections, lower the risk for heart disease and cancer, improve vision and brain health, and prevent urinary tract infections. The Anthocyanins help to provide anti-diabetic effects as well.

Cruciferous Vegetables -- Cauliflower: A member of the brassica family (like broccoli, kale, cabbage and brussel sprouts) cauliflower has sulfur-containing phytochemicals that help increase enzymes that prevent cancer. An antioxidant-rich source of vitamin C, cauliflower is high in fiber, and a good source of bioflavonoids, indoles and allicin.

Broccoli: contains a powerful range of disease fighters. Broccoli lowers the incidence of cataracts and fights birth defects.

Sprouts of any variety: Sprouts are a highly nutritious food, easily digested, and a great source of protein and vitamin C. Sprouts boost your immune system. Add them to any dish. Once a seed starts growing into a vegetable (grain, legumes, beans or buckwheat) it is a sprout. Sprouts provide a concentrated source of life force, the purest combination of vitamins and enzymes, and all forms of nutrients necessary for optimal health and life. Add sprouts to everything you eat, but try not to cook them so as not to destroy their perfect nutrients.

Nuts and Seeds: raw, unsalted nuts and seeds add Omega 3 oil to your diet -- a handful of these everyday are great for heart health and can dramatically decrease your risk of cancer and diabetes. A handful of raw, unsalted nuts between meals is satisfying and helps to keep hunger pangs under control, and reduces visible signs of aging, while providing many health benefits.

Sesame seeds contain Lignans, including sesamin and seasoning which help to lower cholesterol, they are also a good source of calcium, phosphorous, zinc and copper to help maintain strong bones.

The alpha linolenic omega 3 fatty acids in walnuts reduce inflammation in arteries and lower LDL - the bad cholesterol. A great source of antioxidants, vitamin E, selenium and magnesium, they also reduce the risk of developing heart disease, diabetes and cancer.

Beans and Lentils: One of the most nutritious foods available, beans such as pinto, kidney, navy, black, and soybeans, chickpeas, peas and lentils contain antioxidants, folic acid and potassium. Beans are an excellent source of protein, such that when mixed with grains like barley or oats, they provide all the amino acids required by the body to make complete protein. They are a staple for a vegetarian diet. Their low glycemic ranking helps to lower blood sugar and maintain lower blood sugar levels, which is a key consideration in an anti-diabetic diet. Vitamin rich, yet low in fat, calories and sodium, beans provide some essential fatty acids (mostly omega 6, however soybeans are rich in omega 3s). The anti-oxidant phytochemicals provide anti-aging dietary benefits. Chickpeas and lentils can even be ground into a high protein, low glycemic flour. Eating beans and lentils will help to reduce cholesterol and obesity.

Yogurt and Kefir: probiotics contained in yogurt and kefir aid the immune system. They are also a great source of calcium, which helps to burn fat, promotes strong bones and a healthy heart.

"Probiotic" Partners in Health: The origin of fermented foods and cultured milk products goes so far back that it is rumored to predate recorded history. This is perfectly in keeping with my philosophy that the most ancient foods have survived for a reason—they continue to be instrumental to the survival of our species. Fermented and cultured foods may well represent our first experience with what researchers now call "functional" foods—foods that actively promote optimal health.

The fermented foods scientists consider "probiotic" are primarily yogurt and kefir.

Yogurt: Like the milk it's made from, yogurt is a very good source of calcium, phosphorus, and protein. Unlike milk, real yogurt also contains probiotics, the good bacteria your digestive system needs to process and benefit from all the other things you eat. One, Lactobacillus casei , boosts immune response.

Bell Peppers and Chili Peppers: high in antioxidant carotenes and flavanoids, peppers contain twice as much vitamin C as citrus fruit, and help to burn fat.The health benefits derived from peppers range from relieving headaches to arthritis relief. High levels of casaicinoids provide extraordinary anti-inflammatory, analgesic, anti-cancer, and heart-healthy benefits.

Onions and Garlic, Chives, Leeks, Shallots and Scallions: contain flavanoids that stimulate the production of glutathione. Glutathione enhances the livers ability to eliminate toxins and carcinogens. These foods are at the top of the list for cancer prevention.

of Garlic, particularly raw garlic: lowers blood pressure lowers cholesterol (by raising HDL - “good“ cholesterol) reduces risk of hardening of the arteries and blood clots reduces risk of stomach cancer reduces toxins destroys infection-causing viruses and bacteria and helps fight tumours and infections

Alliums

Alliums, the botanical family that includes leeks, onions, and garlic, share many remarkable traits. They can help lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Research suggests they inhibit the growth of prostate, stomach, and colon cancer cells. They also have antibiotic properties—so they can ward off germs as well as vampires.

Whole Grains

Barley: this ancient grain is a low-glycemic grains, which helps to keep blood sugars stable, and it is high in both soluble and insoluble fiber. Soluble fiber helps the body to metabolize fats and carbohydrates, while lowering blood cholesterol levels. Insoluble fiber helps keep your digestive tract healthy, by moving food quickly through. Barley is also a good source of selenium, which has been shown to reduce the risk of colon cancer, and Niacin, which helps to protect the cardio-vascular system.

Buckwheat: loaded with protein and high in amino acids, buckwheat is low on the glycemic scale and stabilizes blood sugar (reducing risk of Diabetes) while lowering cholesterol, reducing hypertension and risk of heart disease. Buckwheat acts like a grain in cooking, however, it is actually the seed of a broadleaf plant. It is gluten-free, which is good for those with gluten allergies or Celiac disease, yet is high in protein and amino acids such as Lisine and arginine, which when combined with beans, becomes a complete protein. Japanese Soba noodles are made from buckwheat, and are gluten free and full of protein - a healthy substitute for wheat pasta.


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