Tag Archives: antioxidants

Healthy Sources of Disease Fighting Lycopene

Lookin’ for lycopene? Do you even know what it is? If not, lycopene is what gives certain fruits and vegetables their vibrant red color. However, it does more than make your food look pretty. Lycopene acts as an antioxidant in your body, which means it protects your cells against damage from free radicals.

What all this means in everyday language is that lycopene has been connected with the reduced risk for certain diseases, including cancer and heart disease, and may even help stave off age-related macular degeneration.

While more research definitely needs to be done on the health benefits of lycopene, in the meantime you can’t go wrong with the food sources that provide the highest doses: (more…)

Fight Seasonal Allergies with Your Diet

According to WebMD, approximately 35 million Americans have problems with seasonal allergies associated with pollen, grass, flowers, and other plants.

Seasonal allergies can be a life-changing experience, making us cough and sneeze to the point of even avoiding social situations. While there are certainly prescription and over-the-counter medical remedies that you can seek out, there are actually natural ways you can go about easing symptoms through your diet.

Whether it’s mold, pollen, ragweed, or what have you, it’s possible to find seasonal allergy relief (red skin, itchy eyes, and those embarrassing sneezes) from what you eat and other natural remedies.

“Using nature-based products can be a very useful way to handle mild allergies and a useful adjunct for more significant allergies, and there are many types of treatments you can safely try,” says Mary Hardy, MD, director of integrative medicine at Cedars Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.

Here’s where you can begin:

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Raw Honey: a Superior Sweetener

HoneyHoney has been used to treat different ailments for thousands of years, but recently raw honey has been getting a lot of attention. It’s being touted for its nutritional benefits, its antibacterial properties and its ability to treat allergies. But are these claims too good to be true?

Raw honey, which is unprocessed and is as close to its natural state in the hive as possible, is a source of polyphenol, a rich antioxidant that may reduce the risk of cancer and heart disease. According to WebMD, a small study showed that people who ate four tablespoons had higher levels of antioxidants in their blood.

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Apples May Add Years to Your Life

Wow, we’ve all heard that an apple a day keeps the doctor away, but new research may make that claim seem quaint in comparison. If the findings in a new animal study proves to be true for humans as well, an antioxidant found in apples could extend your life by as much as 10 percent.

The current findings involved fruit flies – don’t laugh, they are used in hundreds of studies every year – and they help bolster similar findings when used with other test animals.

The fight to extend our life starts with the “bad guys” known as free radicals, which cause negative changes in our body related to the aging process and some diseases. The good news is that antioxidants help combat the effects of free radicals. Fruits and vegetables, particularly colorful foods like apples, tomatoes, broccoli, and blueberries are superb sources of antioxidants. (more…)

Antioxidants on Dr. Oz

Dr. Oz Medical ShowTune in to Dr. Oz Wednesday, March 9 for Ultimate Checklist: Antioxidants. This nutrient is present in many green leafy vegetables, but many people underestimate its importance in their daily diets. Antioxidants can help you body fight disease, cancer and even help you look younger.

How do antioxidants keep us from getting sick? By fighting unstable molecules, known as free radicals, that can cause cell damage. Find out why you should add broccoli, kale and Brussel sprouts to your shopping list, plus learn about a great drink that’s also chock-full of antioxidants.

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Nutritionists “Heart” Dark Chocolate

Joy Bauer is a registered dietitian and the nutrition expert for the Today Show. She’s also the best-selling author behind several health books including Your Inner Skinny. You can visit her at JoyBauer.com, or follow Joy on Facebook and Twitter.

Few nutrition research findings have brought me more pleasure than the discovery that chocolate can actually be good for you! We now have a large body of research showing that dark chocolate can help lower blood pressure, improve blood flow, reduce clotting, and benefit overall heart health. But before you dive head-first into the nearest heart-shaped box of candy this Valentine’s Day, here’s what you need to know about choosing chocolates with the most health power.

Chocolate owes its health benefits to a category of antioxidants called flavonoids. Flavonoids and other beneficial phytochemicals are found in cocoa solids, and dark chocolate contains a higher proportion of cocoa solids than milk chocolate, making it the more heart-healthy choice.  That’s because milk chocolate contains more added milk and sugar, which dilutes the cocoa content. White chocolate contains no cocoa solids, only cocoa butter, which means it’s not officially chocolate and doesn’t deliver any health-promoting flavonoids. (more…)

Research Finds Dark Roast Coffee Best for Getting Antioxidants

Good news if you like your cup of Joe dark roasted like I do! Researchers at the University of British Columbia have discovered that coffee’s antioxidant benefits seem to be traced to valuable compounds developed during the roasting process. According to previous research on coffee and health, java drinkers are less likely to die of heart disease, develop a malignant brain tumor and suffer from gout.

Coffee beans in their natural state are green. According to the study, food scientists found that the antioxidants found in dark roasted coffee that’s brewed actually comes from the process of green beans being browned under high temperatures. Previous studies believed the antioxidants came directly from the caffeine or the green coffee beans- not the roasting. The research is to be published in Food Research International.

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The New Mexico Diet Rich in Healthy Green Chilies

New Mexico is known for cuisine that reflects the combination of the Native American, Mexican, Spanish, and American cultural traditions. A few of the most common foods found in this style of diet are blue corn, enchiladas, sopapillas, and red and green chilies. Green chilies are harvested when they are green and turn to a red color as they ripen. Green chilies are typically known for their somewhat mild, bitter taste and sinus cleansing heat, but the nutritional benefits are often overlooked.

Green chilies are extremely rich in vitamins A and C (the dried version higher in vitamin A while the raw or fresh version is higher in vitamin C). In fact, a single green chili contains six times more vitamin C than an average sized orange. Green chilies are also a good source of the antioxidant beta-carotene, vitamin B and E, and iron and potassium which allows them to help block the body’s absorption of cholesterol and help promotes normal body functioning.

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Indulge in the Health Benefits of Hot Chocolate

This time of year, it’s cold outside and when we get home we want nothing more than the comfort of a warm drink. One popular choice is hot chocolate, but those who are looking for weight loss you may avoid it, feeling as if it’s a poor diet choice. After all, a drink made with chocolate must not be a part of a healthy diet, right? Not necessarily.

Research completed in 2003 at Cornell University showed that hot chocolate contains more antioxidants per cup than red wine or tea and offers an even tastier way to get those high levels of antioxidants into your diet. Research has proven that antioxidants can help prevent cancer, heart disease, and age-related macular degeneration. In order to obtain the same amount of antioxidants that you will find in a cup of hot chocolate, you would have to drink two to three cups of green tea, or two glasses of wine. Drinking hot chocolate is a healthier choice for you than eating a similar amount of chocolate because of its lower amount of saturated fats. (more…)

10 Foods Loaded with Antioxidants and Phytochemicals

This is sponsored content by Chef John Procacci, Healthy Chef Creations.

BroccoliOrganic fresh fruits and vegetables are one of the best sources of antioxidants, helping to deter the negative effects of free radicals in your body. Free radicals are the “the bad guys.” These unstable molecules enter your body just looking for a fight. They wreak havoc on cells and have been implicated in all kinds of crimes against your good health like arthritis, premature aging, cataracts, even heart disease and cancer.

Antioxidants are “good guys,” like FBI agents whose job it is to keep those delinquent free radicals on the run. But the good agents need your help. Once you are of voting age your body stops producing enough antioxidants. To aid the good-guy agents, you need to ingest fresh fruits and vegetables and their organic versions turn out to be the best source of antioxidants.

As an example, broccoli, a cruciferous vegetable, is thought to contain more cancer-preventative nutrients than any other plant. It does this by aiding the liver’s production of phase II detoxification enzymes, which protect against chemical carcinogens, promoting scavenging of the nasty free radicals. Broccoli sprouts contain 30-50 times more of these protective chemicals than are found in mature broccoli plants. (Source: E. Wagner, “What’s Missing from Multi-Vitamin Supplements?”, ND-LE Magazine, Jan. 2005) (more…)