Our Better Health

Diet, Health, Fitness, Lifestyle & Wellness


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This ‘Superfruit’ Improves Memory and Cognitive Function

Eating blueberries could help improve memory and cognitive function, a new study finds.

Researchers recruited 47 older adults with mild cognitive impairment.

Some of them had the equivalent of a cup of blueberries in powder form each day for 16 weeks.

Others had a placebo powder.

Professor Robert Krikorian, who led the research, explained the results:

“There was improvement in cognitive performance and brain function in those who had the blueberry powder compared with those who took the placebo.
The blueberry group demonstrated improved memory and improved access to words and concepts.
Our new findings corroborate those of previous animal studies and preliminary human studies, adding further support to the notion that blueberries can have a real benefit in improving memory and cognitive function in some older adults.”

A second study examined older people who thought their memories might be declining, but who did not have a diagnosis.


They were split into four groups with comparison groups for fish oil and various other combinations.

Professor Krikorian said:

“The results were not as robust as with the first study.
Cognition was somewhat better for those with powder or fish oil separately, but there was little improvement with memory.”

It could be that the blueberries are better for people with some impairments and not so effective for those who are more healthy, Professor Krikorian said.

The study was presented at the at the 251st National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society (ACS).

MARCH 15, 2016
source: PsyBlog


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3 Tasty Foods That Protect The Brain From Ageing

Some foods can keep your brain young.

Blackberries, blueberries and strawberries all reduce cognitive decline related to age, research finds.

All three fruits contain high levels of flavonoids.

Flavonoids are powerful antioxidants that can also help reduce inflammation in the brain and body.

The research was carried out on data from 121,700 women, who were followed up over decades.

Dr Elizabeth Devore, the study’s first author, said:

“As the U.S. population ages, understanding the health issues facing this group becomes increasingly important.
Our study examined whether greater intake of berries could slow rates of cognitive decline.”

The results showed that high berry intake was linked to a delay in cognitive ageing equivalent to 2.5 years.

In other words: berries made their brains work as though they were 2.5 years younger.

Dr Devore said:

“We provide the first epidemiologic evidence that berries may slow progression of cognitive decline in elderly women.
Our findings have significant public health implications as increasing berry intake is a fairly simple dietary modification to test cognition protection in older adults.”

Berries are also one of the central components in the ‘MIND’ diet, which is linked to a reduced risk of Alzheimer’s disease.

Blueberries in particular seem to have a powerful effect on the brain.

One recent study looked at the effects of concentrated blueberry juice:

“Concentrated blueberry juice improves cognitive function in older people, new research finds.
Those who drank the juice also had better blood flow and activation in their brains as well as improvements to working memory.
The boost to brain power is likely down to the flavonoids in blueberries.”

Strawberries also have other research backing up their protective effects, as do walnuts.

The study was published in the journal Annals of Neurology (Devore et al., 2012).

source: PsyBlog


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12 Fresh Foods You Should Never Store Together

Your cart is bursting with colorful fruits and veggies, but days later, it’s all wilted and sad. Use these smart storage rules to keep foods fresher longer.

Cucumbers stand alone
Many fruits, such as tomatoes, bananas, and melons, produce ethylene gas, a ripening agent that speeds up spoilage. Cucumbers are super sensitive to this ethylene gas, so they need their own place or they’ll spoil faster. They’re actually more suited to hanging out on the counter than in the crisper drawer with off-gassing fruits, but if you want cold cucumbers, you can store them for a few days in the fridge (away from fruits). If you need to use them up fast, try this refreshing cold cucumber soup.

Treat herbs like fresh flowers
If you’re trying to cut back on salt or just add more flavor to your food, fresh herbs fit the bill, but don’t just toss them in the fridge. “Store fresh herbs just as you would fresh cut flowers,” says Dana Tomlin, Fresh Manager at Wheatsville Food Co-op in Austin, Texas. First, make sure the leaves are completely dry. Next, snip off the ends and place the herbs, stem down in a cup or mason jar with water. Most herbs do well when stored this way in the fridge. Basil, however likes to hang out at room temperature. You’ll still want to place it in a jar with water though. When the water gets yucky, drain and add fresh water. Most herbs stored this way are good for up to two weeks. Start your own herb garden to save money and get super-fresh sprigs.

Squash and pumpkins don’t go with apples and pears
Squash and pumpkins are well known for having a long shelf life but apples, another fall favorite (along with pears and other ripening fruit) shouldn’t be stored with them. According to Oregon State University Extension Service, it will cause the squash to yellow and go bad. Squash and pumpkins keep well at temps between 50 and 55 degrees Fahrenheit, which is cooler than room temperature but not as chilly as the fridge. Larger pumpkins and larger squash will last up to six months, but keep an eye on the smaller ones, as they usually last about three months. See what nutritionists do with pumpkin puree.

Bag your root veggies
Root vegetables such as carrots, yams, kohlrabi, beets, and onions are some of the most nutrient-dense veggies we can eat, since they absorb nutrients from the soil. To retain those good nutrients, store root vegetables in a cool, dark, and humid place. A root cellar is ideal, but most of us don’t have one. The next best option, according to ohmyveggies.com, is to place the veggies in a paper or plastic bag in the crisper. If you just toss them in the fridge—even in the crisper, they’ll soften and rot a lot quicker.

Give your berries a bath
Berries are delightfully sweet and easy to eat. The problem is, they can get moldy quickly if not stored properly. The culprit is tiny mold spores that want to make the little nooks and crannies of the berry skin their home. Tomlin says the first rule is to avoid washing them until you’re ready to eat them because moisture equals mold. What if you just brought home a Costco-size carton of berries and won’t be able to eat them all right away? You can extend their life by a few days by taking a few minutes to give the berries a bath in a solution of one cup vinegar to three cups of water. Let them soak briefly; then gently rinse in a colander. The vinegar will hinder the mold growth. Since berries don’t do well sitting wet, make sure to dry them thoroughly—lay them out on a paper towel and gently blot (or put a few paper towels in your salad spinner and dry them that way. Store the berries loosely in a container that is ventilated, or leave the lid partially opened.

berries

Separate your apples and oranges
Sometimes, we can’t just all get along. That’s the case with apples and oranges—trusted fruit bowl staples in still life paintings but frenemies in fridge life. Fruits give off a gas called ethylene, the ripening agent that will lead to faster spoilage of the produce around it, says author and chef, Matthew Robinson of The Culinary Exchange. Store apples in the fridge if you want to extend their shelf life. Oranges stored in the fridge (away from apples) should be placed in a mesh bag so that air can circulate around them. Plastic bags will only make oranges moldy.

Break up your bananas
Banana hooks may show off bananas in their best light but the problem is, they will all ripen the same time, which means you’re either eating bananas for two days straight or tossing the rotting ones. Here’s a solution: Break up the bunch. Keep some in the fruit bowl on the counter to ripen and store others bananas in the fridge to delay the ripening process. If you missed your chance and you’ve got a glut of spotted bananas, use them in banana bread or toss them in the freezer to make banana “ice cream.” Bananas are good for your health—inside and out. Another idea: Try mashing them up to make a homemade face mask.

Don’t let onions and potatoes mingle
Fried potatoes and onions are a delish combo but don’t store them together before you cook them, as the onions will cause the potatoes to go bad. “It’s best to store items like potatoes and squash in an open-air wicker basket in a cool, dark place to preserve freshness,” says Tomlin. “You can store them in a paper bag, but just make sure they’re in a container where moisture or condensation can’t build up, which would make them soften and go bad faster.” A friendly neighbor for onions is garlic. They can be stored near each other without ripening or spoiling. Just store them in a well ventilated space, and keep the paper-like skin of the garlic intact until use.

Ripen avocados next to bananas
According to the 2017 survey conducted by Pollock Communications and the trade publication Today’s Dietitian avocado is number two on the list of the Top 10 Super Foods for 2017. Since avocados can be pricey, it’s important to store them correctly. “If your avocados are under-ripe, store them next to bananas. The gasses released from the bananas promote ripening,” says Tomlin. “If you need to extend the life of an avocado, store it in the refrigerator. It will slow the ripening process significantly.” For times you get a hankerin’ for a little sliced avocado on a sammie but can’t eat the whole thing, Tomlin suggests storing the cut avocado with the seed intact in an airtight container along with a sliver of a onion.

Tomatoes hate the fridge
Or is the fridge that hates tomatoes? A freshly picked garden tomato is undeniably delicious, but too much time in the fridge can make it mushy and bland-tasting. According to eatright.org, tomatoes can be stored in the fridge for two or three days but once you cut into it any unused tomato or any fruit and veggie should be placed back in the fridge to slow down the growth of harmful bacteria. But tomatoes kept at room temperature have more flavor. So, if you can, store them on the countertop. See the other foods you’re spoiling by putting them in the fridge.

Let carrots, celery, and, asparagus take a dip
Peanut butter on a crunchy stalk of celery is a snack that has stood the test of time (especially if you put raisins atop the peanut butter), but limp celery—not so much. Storing it in plastic is a no-no. The ethylene gas it produces has no where to go. Wrap the celery tightly in foil and after each use, re-wrap it snug. Or if you want grab-n-go celery, cut it up into sticks and submerge them in water in an airtight container. The same water bath works for cut-up carrot sticks and asparagus. Keep the rubber bands around the stems and cut off the fibrous ends. They are pretty tough and not tasty anyway. Place them in a tall drinking glass with enough water to cover an inch of asparagus. Find 30 more delicious snack ideas.

Let sweet corn chill—but not too much
The best way to enjoy this sweetheart of summer is to eat it fresh for maximum sweetness. If you must store it for a short time, you can place it in the fridge. “Keep ears cool in your refrigerator with the husks on to keep in moisture,” says Tomlin. Don’t wrap the corn in a plastic or paper bag. If possible, store them toward the front of fridge where it’s slightly warmer. “Corn will dry out and get starchy if it’s kept too cold because there’s not enough humidity to keep the kernel plumb,” says Tomlin. Keep the husks on for grilling corn on the cob.

BY LISA MARIE CONKLIN
source: www.rd.com


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Nutritional Strategies to Ease Anxiety

According the National Institute of Mental Health, anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the United States. That’s 40 million adults—18% of the population—who struggle with anxiety. Anxiety and depression often go hand in hand, with about half of those with depression also experiencing anxiety.

Specific therapies and medications can help relieve the burden of anxiety, yet only about a third of people suffering from this condition seek treatment. In my practice, part of what I discuss when explaining treatment options is the important role of diet in helping to manage anxiety.

In addition to healthy guidelines such as eating a balanced diet, drinking enough water to stay hydrated, and limiting or avoiding alcohol and caffeine, there are many other dietary considerations that can help relieve anxiety. For example, complex carbohydrates are metabolized more slowly and therefore help maintain a more even blood sugar level, which creates a calmer feeling.

A diet rich in whole grains, vegetables, and fruits is a healthier option than eating a lot of simple carbohydrates found in processed foods. When you eat is also important. Don’t skip meals. Doing so may result in drops in blood sugar that cause you to feel jittery, which may worsen underlying anxiety.

The gut-brain axis is also very important, since a large percentage (about 95%) of serotonin receptors are found in the lining of the gut. Research is examining the potential of probiotics for treating both anxiety and depression.

Foods that can help quell anxiety

You might be surprised to learn that specific foods have been shown to reduce anxiety.

  • In mice, diets low in magnesium were found to increase anxiety-related behaviors. Foods naturally rich in magnesium may therefore help a person to feel calmer. Examples include leafy greens such as spinach and Swiss chard. Other sources include legumes, nuts, seeds, and whole grains.
  • Foods rich in zinc such as oysters, cashews, liver, beef, and egg yolks have been linked to lowered anxiety.
  • Other foods, including fatty fish like wild Alaskan salmon, contain omega-3 fatty acid. A study completed on medical students in 2011 was one of the first to show that omega-3s may help reduce anxiety. (This study used supplements containing omega-3 fatty acids). Prior to the study, omega-3 fatty acids had been linked to improving depression only.
  • A recent study in the journal Psychiatry Research suggested a link between probiotic foods and a lowering of social anxiety. Eating probiotic-rich foods such as pickles, sauerkraut, and kefir was linked with fewer symptoms.
  • Asparagus, known widely to be a healthy vegetable. Based on research, the Chinese government approved the use of an asparagus extract as a natural functional food and beverage ingredient due to its anti-anxiety properties.
  • Foods rich in B vitamins such as avocado and almonds

These “feel good” foods spur the release of neurotransmitters such as serotonin and dopamine. They are a safe and easy first step in managing anxiety.

Walnuts

Are antioxidants anti-anxiety?

Anxiety is thought to be correlated with a lowered total antioxidant state. It stands to reason, therefore, that enhancing your diet with foods rich in antioxidants may help ease the symptoms of anxiety disorders. A 2010 study reviewed the antioxidant content of 3,100 foods, spices, herbs, beverages, and supplements. Foods designated as high in antioxidants by the USDA include:

  • Beans: Dried small red, Pinto, black, red kidney
  • Fruits: Apples (Gala, Granny Smith, Red Delicious), prunes, sweet cherries, plums, black plums
  • Berries: Blackberries, strawberries, cranberries, raspberries, blueberries
  • Nuts: Walnuts, pecans
  • Vegetables: Artichokes, kale, spinach, beets, broccoli
  • Spices with both antioxidant and anti-anxiety properties include turmeric (containing the active ingredient curcumin) and ginger.

Achieving better mental health through diet

Be sure to talk to your doctor if your anxiety symptoms are severe or last more than two weeks. But even if your doctor recommends medication or therapy for anxiety, it is still worth asking whether you might also have some success by adjusting your diet. While nutritional psychiatry is not a substitute for other treatments, the relationship between food, mood, and anxiety is garnering more and more attention. There is a growing body of evidence, and more research is needed to fully understand the role of nutritional psychiatry, or as I prefer to call it, Psycho-Nutrition.

Uma Naidoo, MD, Contributor       APRIL 13, 2016, 9:30 AM


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7 Brain Boosting Foods to Eat More Often

Patricia Jurek, RD, MBA     May 3, 2016

For decades, scientists have viewed food as fuel, but the latest research suggests what you eat impacts your brain, too. In fact, study after study suggests adding certain foods to your plate can sharpen your mind, build new brain cells and may even help you remember where you left your keys.

With that in mind (pun intended), researchers at Rush University in Chicago developed the MIND (Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay) diet, which is basically a combination of the DASH diet and Mediterranean diet. The main difference: MIND stresses the importance of brain-boosting power foods, including nuts, berries and fatty fish. And research shows it’s remarkably effective.

According to the study published in Alzheimer’s & Dementia, seniors who closely followed the MIND diet slashed their risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease by a whopping 53 percent. Even those who only did a so-so job of following the plan had a 35 percent lower Alzheimer’s risk.

So, consider stocking up on these 7 brain-boosting staples to gain the MIND advantage:

1. Fish: This nutrient powerhouse boasts high-quality protein, important minerals, including iron and zinc, and heart- and brain-healthy omega-3 fatty acids. Studies show these powerful fats help reduce inflammation, increase blood flow to the brain and build new brain cells.

2. Olive oil: Thanks to a healthy dose of monounsaturated fats, olive oil is a simple and tasty way to boost brain cell activity and slow down an aging brain. A bonus: monounsaturated fats also help reduce plaque buildup on the inside of the arteries, ensuring your brain gets the blood it needs to perform at its best.

brain

3. Nuts: Like olive oil, nuts are rich in monounsaturated fats, but they also contain vitamin E, a powerful antioxidant linked to improved brainpower.

4. Berries: An anti-aging superstar, berries are loaded with disease-fighting compounds that improve brain function. Blueberries in particular seem to slow down the memory loss that goes with aging.

5. Leafy green veggies: Research shows people who load up on produce, especially those with deep, rich colors, have better focus and mental sharpness compared to those who skimp on fruits and vegetables.

6. Wine: Don’t drink? There’s no reason to start. But if you enjoy an occasional glass of wine, go for red—it packs greater brain benefits than white. Just be sure to resist a refill. People become more susceptible to the toxic effects of alcohol with age.

7. Beans: Loaded with fiber and protein, beans provide sustained energy and keep blood-sugar levels on an even keel. That not only keeps hunger pangs at bay, but improves mental focus, too.

On the flip side, foods to limit or avoid due to their potentially harmful effects on your brain function include fatty red meat, butter or stick margarine, cheese, sweets, and fried or fast foods.

The takeaway? The MIND diet is similar to other successful, healthy eating plans in this important way — eating whole, minimally processed foods, free of added sugar, sodium and harmful fats, is key to both a healthy mind and body.

Patricia Jurek, RD, MBA, is the manager for Henry Ford Macomb Hospital’s Center for Weight Management. Passionate about preventive disease management, Pat became a registered dietician to help people live long, healthy lives.
For more tips on healthy eating and more, visit our health and wellness blog at henryfordlivewell.com and subscribe to receive a weekly email with our latest posts.


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10 Foods That Fight Depression And Anxiety

Depression and anxiety can by caused by many things ranging from genetics to lifestyle choices. Although we can’t always cure depression on our own, we can make little changes in our lives to help fight it. One of the ways we can fight depression and anxiety is by eating foods that are good for our bodies and our minds.

1. Whole Grains Lighten Up Your Mood

If you’re looking to improve your mood quickly, grab a healthy, high fiber carbohydrate like whole wheat bread, muffins or pasta. Carbohydrates promote serotonin production; serotonin is the “feel-good” hormone that improves your mood and relaxes your brain and body. Not only that, but whole grains also help maintain a steady blood sugar level, which keeps you from dropping into that terrible “hungry” feeling.

2. Dark Chocolate Fights Against Depression

Although milk chocolate might actually contribute to depression, dark chocolate can aid in your fight against it, as long as you eat it in moderation, of course. The reason it can help fight depression? It’s large amount of antioxidants, as well as it’s ability to boost endorphins and serotonin.

3. Berries Bring You Joy

These tasty, delicious little fruits are packed with antioxidants and vitamins! Blueberries, blackberries, strawberries and raspberries should be incorporated into your diet as much as possible because not only do antioxidants boost your immune system and prevent cancer, but they can play a huge role in your fight against depression, too. You can throw them on your cereal, in your yogurt or smoothies, or enjoy them all on their own!

4. Walnuts Supports Overall Brain Health

Like most nuts, walnuts are an excellent source of protein, fiber, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. What makes walnuts really stand out though, is the omega-3 fatty acids they also contain. In fact, walnuts are one of the richest plant-based sources of omega-3s, which can help lower depression and support overall brain health. So, the next time you’re feeling blue or anxious, grab a bag of walnuts to munch on.

walnuts

5. Salmon Boosts Brain Power

Speaking of omega-3s, fatty fish like salmon are also great sources of this fatty acid.Not only is fish great for boosting your brain health and fighting depression, but they are excellent for your overall health, too. Eating fish regularly can help improve circulation and reduce inflammation. The American Heart Association recommends eating two servings of salmon, or other fatty fish, a week.

6. Dark Leafy Greens Fight Anxiety And Depression

Dark leafy greens are probably the healthiest, most nutrient-dense food around. Spinach, kale and Swiss chard can help prevent cancer, boost your immune system and, of course, fight depression and anxiety.

7. Seeds Give You A Good Night’s Sleep

Munching on seeds to cure your crunchy cravings can help you cut down on calories. It can also help you fight depression! Flax seeds, chia seeds and hemp seeds are full of omega-3s, which we already know is great for our brains! Pumpkin seeds are also great for fighting depression because they are packed with l-tryptophan, an amino acid that is a precursor to melatonin, which we need for sleep. Pumpkin seeds also help increase serotonin levels.

8. Beans Can Lift Your Mood

We all know that beans are absolutely amazing for your overall health because they’re high in protein, iron, folate, carbohydrates and fiber, but low in cholesterol. So we all know beans are good for our heart, but did you know they’re also good for you mind, too? Beans have selenium in them, which can help lift your mood whenever you’re feeling low. Eat them mixed with rice, in a burrito or in a bean salad.

9. Avocado: Tasty Choice For Better Brain Health

This super food (and super delicious fruit) is an edible all-star because it contains tryptophan, folate and more of those brain-healthy omega-3s! However, even though it’s amazing for your health, it’s still high in fat and should be consumed moderately. To take advantage of it’s creamy tastiness, eat it thinly sliced on top of sandwiches and burgers, or in your salad.

10. Mushrooms: Superfood For Your Brain

Mushrooms are good for your mental health and here’s why: they help lower blood sugar levels, evening out your mood, and they promote healthy gut bacteria, and the gut is where 80 to 90 per cent of our body’s serotonin is manufactured. Mushrooms can be eaten a variety of ways and in a variety of dishes! Enjoy them raw in salads or throw them on your pizza, and fight depression and anxiety!


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13 of the Most Anti-Inflammatory Foods

What to eat to reduce inflammation and feel better.

By Franziska Spritzler / Authority Nutrition February 25, 2016

Inflammation can be both good and bad.

On one hand, it helps your body defend itself from infection and injury.

But on the other hand, chronic inflammation can lead to weight gain and disease.

Stress, unhealthy inflammatory foods and low activity levels can make this risk even worse.

However, some foods can actually help fight inflammation.

Here is a list of 13 anti-inflammatory foods that are supported by science.

1. Berries

Berries are small fruits that are packed with fiber, vitamins and minerals.

Although there are dozens of varieties, some of the most common berries include:

  • Strawberries.
  • Blueberries.
  • Raspberries.
  • Blackberries

Berries contain antioxidants called anthocyanins. These compounds have anti-inflammatory effects that may reduce the risk of disease.

Your body produces natural killer cells (NK), which help keep your immune system functioning properly.

One study found that men who consumed blueberries every day produced significantly more NK cells, compared to men who did not.

In another study, overweight men and women who ate strawberries had lower levels of certain inflammatory markers associated with heart disease.

Bottom Line: Berries contain antioxidants known as anthocyanins. These compounds may reduce inflammation, boost immunity and reduce the risk of heart disease.

2. Fatty Fish

Fatty fish are a great source of protein and the long-chain omega-3 fatty acids, EPA and DHA.

Although all types of fish contain some omega-3 fatty acids, these fatty fish are the best sources:

  • Salmon.
  • Sardines.
  • Herring.
  • Mackerel.
  • Anchovies

EPA and DHA reduce inflammation that can lead to metabolic syndrome, heart disease, diabetes and kidney disease, among others.

This occurs after your body metabolizes these fatty acids into compounds calledresolvins and protectins, which have anti-inflammatory effects.

In clinical studies, people consuming salmon or EPA and DHA supplements had decreases in the inflammatory marker C-reactive protein (CRP).

However, in another study, patients with atrial fibrillation who took EPA and DHA daily showed no difference in inflammatory markers when compared to those who received a placebo.

Bottom Line: Fatty fish contain high amounts of the omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA, which have anti-inflammatory effects.

3. Broccoli

Broccoli is extremely nutritious.

It’s a cruciferous vegetable, along with cauliflower, Brussels sprouts and kale.

Research has shown that eating a lot of cruciferous vegetables is associated with a decreased risk of heart disease and cancer.

This may be related to the anti-inflammatory effects of the antioxidants they contain.

Broccoli is rich in sulforaphane, an antioxidant that fights inflammation by reducing your levels of cytokines and NF-kB, which drive inflammation.

Bottom Line: Broccoli is one of the best sources of sulforaphane, an antioxidant with powerful anti-inflammatory effects.

4. Avocados

Avocados are a true “superfood.”

They’re packed with potassium, magnesium, fiberand heart-healthy monounsaturated fats.

They also contain carotenoids and tocopherols, which are linked to reduced cancer risk.

In addition, one compound in avocados has been shown to reduce inflammation in young skin cells.

In one study, when people consumed a slice of avocado with a hamburger, they showed lower levels of inflammatory markers NF-kB and IL-6 than participants who ate the hamburger alone (23).

Bottom Line: Avocados contain various beneficial compounds that protect against inflammation and may reduce the risk of cancer.

5. Green Tea

You’ve probably already heard that green tea is one of the healthiest beverages you can drink.

It’s been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease, cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, obesity and other conditions.

Many of its benefits are due to its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, especially a substance called epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG).

EGCG inhibits inflammation by reducing pro-inflammatory cytokine production and damage to the fatty acids in your cells.

Bottom Line: Green tea’s high EGCG content reduces inflammation and protects cells from damage that can lead to disease.

6. Peppers

Bell peppers and chili peppers are loaded with vitamin C and antioxidants that have powerful anti-inflammatory effects.

Bell peppers contain the antioxidant quercetin, which has been shown to reduce one marker of oxidative damage in people with sarcoidosis.

Chili peppers contain sinapic acid and ferulic acid, which may reduce inflammation and lead to healthier aging.

Bottom Line: Chili peppers and bell peppers are rich in quercetin, sinapic acid, ferulic acid and other antioxidants with strong anti-inflammatory effects.

7. Mushrooms

Mushrooms are an incredibly healthy type of fungus, and thousands of varieties exist throughout the world.

They’re very low in calories and rich in all of the B vitamins, selenium and copper.

Mushrooms also contain lectins, phenols and other substances that provide anti-inflammatory protection.

A special type of mushroom called Lion’s Mane may potentially reduce the low-grade inflammation seen in obesity.

However, one study found cooking mushrooms decreased a large portion of their anti-inflammatory compounds, so it may be best to consume them raw or lightly cooked (38).

Bottom Line: Mushrooms contain several compounds that may decrease inflammation. Consuming them raw or lightly cooked may help you reap their full anti-inflammatory potential.

8. Grapes

Grapes contain anthocyanins, which reduce inflammation.

They may also decrease the risk of several diseases, including heart disease, diabetes, obesity, Alzheimer’s disease and eye disorders.

Grapes are also one of the best sources of resveratrol, another compound that has many health benefits.

In one study, people with heart disease who consumed grape extract daily experienced a decrease in inflammatory gene markers, including NF-kB.

Also, their levels of adiponectin increased, which is a good thing because low levels are associated with weight gain and an increased risk of cancer.

Bottom Line: Several plant compounds in grapes, including resveratrol, can reduce inflammation. They may also reduce the risk of several diseases.

turmeric

9. Turmeric

Turmeric is a spice with a strong, earthy flavor that’s often used in curries and other types of Indian dishes.

It has received a lot of attention for its content of the powerful anti-inflammatory nutrient curcumin.

Turmeric is effective at reducing the inflammation related to arthritis, diabetes and other diseases.

When people with metabolic syndrome took 1 gram of curcumin daily, they experienced a significant decrease in CRP when compared to placebo.

However, it may be hard to get enough curcumin to have a noticeable effect from turmeric alone.

In one study, overweight women who took 2.8 grams of turmeric per day had no improvement in inflammatory markers.

Eating black pepper along with turmeric enhances the effects. Black pepper containspiperine, which can boost curcumin absorption by 2,000%.

Bottom Line: Turmeric contains a powerful anti-inflammatory compound called curcumin. Eating black pepper with turmeric can significantly enhance the absorption of curcumin.

10. Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Extra virgin olive oil is one of the healthiest fats you can eat.

It’s rich in monounsaturated fats and a staple in the Mediterranean diet, which provides numerous health benefits.

Many studies have analyzed olive oil’s anti-inflammatory properties.

It’s been linked to a reduced risk of heart disease, brain cancer and other serious health conditions.

In one Mediterranean diet study, CRP and several other inflammatory markers significantly decreased in those who consumed 1.7 oz (50 ml) of olive oil daily.

The effect of oleocanthol, an antioxidant found in olive oil, has been compared to anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen.

However, it’s important to note the type of olive oil. Anti-inflammatory benefits are much greater in extra-virgin olive oil than in refined olive oil.

Bottom Line: Extra-virgin olive oil provides powerful anti-inflammatory benefits, which may reduce the risk of heart disease, cancer and other serious health conditions.

11. Dark Chocolate and Cocoa

Dark chocolate is delicious, rich and satisfying.

It’s also packed with antioxidants that reduce inflammation. These may also reduce the risk of disease and lead to healthier aging.

Flavanols are responsible for chocolate’s anti-inflammatory effects, and also keep the endothelial cells that line your arteries healthy.

In one study, smokers showed significant improvement in endothelial function two hours after eating high-flavonol chocolate.

However, make sure to choose dark chocolate that contains at least 70% cocoa (more is even better) in order to reap the anti-inflammatory benefits.

Bottom Line: Flavanols in dark chocolate and cocoa can reduce inflammation. They may also reduce the risk of several disease.

12. Tomatoes

The tomato is a nutritional powerhouse.

Tomatoes are high in vitamin C, potassium andlycopene, an antioxidant with impressive anti-inflammatory properties.

Lycopene may be particularly beneficial for reducing pro-inflammatory compounds related to several types of cancer.

One study found that drinking tomato juice significantly decreased inflammatory markers in overweight women. However, these markers did not decrease in obese women.

In a review of studies analyzing different forms of lycopene, researchers found that tomatoes and tomato products reduced inflammation more than lycopene supplements.

Lastly, it’s interesting to note that cooking tomatoes in olive oil can maximize the amount of lycopene you absorb.

Bottom Line: Tomatoes are an excellent source of lycopene, which can reduce inflammation and protect against cancer.

13. Cherries

Cherries are delicious and rich in antioxidants, such as anthocyanins and catechins, which fight inflammation.

Although the health-promoting properties of tart cherries have been studied more, sweet cherries also provide benefits.

In one study, when people consumed 280 grams of cherries per day for one month, their CRP levels decreased and remained that way for 28 days after they stopped eating cherries.

Bottom Line: Sweet and tart cherries contain antioxidants that reduce inflammation and the risk of disease.

14. Anything Else?

Even low levels of inflammation on a chronic basis can lead to disease.

Do your best to keep inflammation in check by choosing a wide variety of these delicious, antioxidant-rich foods.

P.S. If you are looking for the foods to avoid to reduce inflammation, then read this:Top 6 Foods and Ingredients That Cause Inflammation.

Franziska Spritzler has a BSc in nutrition and dietetics. She is a Registered Dietitian and Certified Diabetes Educator with expertise in carbohydrate-restricted diets for diabetes and weight management.


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9 Of The Best Foods To Make A Part Of Your Diet

October 3, 2014 by Mark DeNicola

We recently released an article entitled ‘10 Of The Worst Food Ingredients To Never Eat Again,’ which as the name suggests outlined 10 commonly found food ingredients we may want to consider cutting out of our diet. This article is designed to outline 9 (of the many foods) that would be an excellent addition to your diet.

This list is designed to be a starting point for a cumulative conversation. Once you have gone through the list, I encourage all of you to add your own great and healthy food finds to the list through the comment section below. If we all work together and share this growing list with our friends and networks we can make this a truly incredible resource for anyone looking to overturn their diet.

Here are the starting 9, in no particular order:

1) Berries

Blueberries, blackberries, raspberries and acai berries are just 4 of the many delicious berry varieties that are easy to find and ready to be a part of your regular diet. Berries are amongst the most antioxidant rich foods out there, with the acai berry topping the list in that department. Antioxidants, as most of us already know, are credited as being quite powerful in preventing cancer, heart disease, aging and much more. Another factor that sets berries apart is their high levels of phytochemicals, which help to protect the cells within your body from damage. (1)

2) Avocados

Like berries, avocados also serve as a source of antioxidants however they also come with a very high natural fibre content that aids in digestion and helps to regulate blood sugar. For those, like me, who are looking to gain a bit of weight but in a healthy way, avocados are one of the best solutions out there with approximately 200 calories for every 100 grams consumed. (2) Because of their ability to cleanse the intestines, avocados are also considered as one of the ways to cure bad breath, which may come in handy with the next item on the list.

3) Quinoa

It’s fast and easy to prepare and is quickly establishing itself as one of the best gluten-free alternatives to pasta. Quinoa is high in protein, a good source of riboflavin, part of the B family of vitamins and is low in calories by comparison to any of its wheat or grain based counterparts. Just be sure to rinse your quinoa thoroughly before cooking it to remove any saponin, a toxic chemical. (4)

4) Potatoes

We’ve all heard that spinach and broccoli are incredibly healthy for us, but did you know that one red potato contains approximately an equal amount of folate to a cup of spinach or broccoli. (6) Folate, which is also a part of the B family of vitamins, support red blood cell production and helps nerves to function properly. (5) If you can however, opt to buy and consume organic potatoes as often as possible, as they made our previously released list of the 12 Most Chemically Ridden Produce Items You Should Buy Organic.

oatmeal

5) Oatmeal*

I put the asterisk next to oatmeal to signify that I’m not suggesting all oatmeals are equally as beneficial for you. Many oatmeal options exist and unfortunately most pre-packaged ones tend to contain a number of chemicals and artificial sugars that outweigh the benefits the oats on their own offer your body. When I say oatmeal I’m referring to actual rolled oats, which can still be prepared by simply mixing in some boiling water. By simply adding fresh fruit and/or organic honey you can quickly make your bowl of oatmeal taste just as good -if not better -than what they managed to accomplish in the pre-packaged alternative. Oats offer manganese, phosphorus, copper, vitamin B1, biotin, which helps to prevent hair loss and much more. (7)

6) Hemp Seeds

On their own, most of us would probably find hemp seeds a difficult food item to incorporate as a part of our regular diet, primarily due to their strong, nutty taste. But used in moderation, such as being sprinkled on a salad or added to a fruit or vegetable smoothie, hemp seeds are a very high quality protein source. They also feature both omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids which ties them to an ability to boost your immune system and combat fatigue. (8)

7) Almonds

Almonds are certainly not the only nut worth considering to make a part of your regular diet, but they make this list because they contain the most fibre -about 3 grams per ounce. Almonds also happen to be rich in vitamin C and are an antioxidant (a recurring theme amongst this list). (9) I particularly love soaking almonds in water (which I change twice daily) for a couple of days prior to eating them, I personally find that it brings out the flavour more profoundly while softening the overall texture. Soaking the almonds also happens to make them easier on your system to digest, so it is certainly something worth considering.

8) Peanut Butter*

Like oatmeal, peanut butter also comes with an asterisk next to its name due to the differentiation that has to be made between brands such as Skippy, Jif or Kraft and organic peanut butters whose ingredient list consists of nothing more than organic peanuts. If you opt for the second option peanut butter provides you with healthy fats, fibre, potassium and nutrients like vitamin E and B6. (10)  Peanut butter is also pretty filling and even makes for a great addition to any smoothie looking for an extra protein boost.

9) Lentils

Lentils make for a great main ingredient in a hearty soup, an awesome consistency provider to a vegetarian burger patty and a great base to many spreads amongst many other things. In addition to this lentils also just happen to help lower cholesterol, aid with digestion, reduce your risk of heart disease and provide you with protein. (11)

Sources:

(1) http://www.everydayhealth.com/diet-nutrition-pictures/amazing-health-benefits-of-berries.aspx#01

(2) http://www.undergroundhealth.com/15-amazing-health-benefits-of-eating-avocados/

(3) http://authoritynutrition.com/11-proven-health-benefits-of-garlic/

(4) http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/diana-herrington/7-benefits-of-quinoa_b_3363619.html

(5) http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=nutrient&dbid=63

(6)http://www.fitnessmagazine.com/recipes/healthy-eating/superfoods/the-10-healthiest-foods-on-the-planet/#page=4

(7) http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=54

(8) http://www.livestrong.com/article/217904-hemp-seeds-health-benefits-or-hype/

(9) http://www.everydayhealth.com/diet-and-nutrition/0406/why-you-should-go-nuts-for-nuts.aspx#03

(10) http://www.healthambition.com/health-benefits-of-peanut-butter/

(11) http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-5488/7-Health-Benefits-of-Lentils.html


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Goji Berry Benefits: 12 Facts About This Healthy Superfood

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 scientific research.

And these berries aren’t for everyone either — anyone who uses blood thinners or takes diabetic medication may have a negative reaction eating goji berries, according to WebMD. When in doubt, ask your doctor first.

But if you’re just looking for ways to eat a handful of berries here and there, you can make just about anything with them. Add goji berry powder when baking or soak them to blend in with a smoothie.

What Are Goji Berries? 

A raw goji berry is about the size of the tip of your pinky finger, if not smaller. However, these size berries are difficult to find in North America and are native to parts of Asia (usually in China) and Europe.

The Health Claims 

Goji berries have been used in traditional Chinese medicine for thousands of years, says health and nutrition expert Rosanna Lee.

Some even claim these berries are natural remedies for diabetes, hypertension, malaria or even fever. However, Lee says a lot of these claims may not be true. “At present, there is still inconclusive evidence from research for such claims to be made.”

They Have Other Names

Sometimes goji berries are called wolf berries. They have also been referred to Chinese wolfberries and Tibetan goji.

Goji Berries

Where Can I Buy Them? 

Typically, goji berries are found in dried packages or sold by weight at bulk food stores, specialty food stores, herbal stores or at markets in Chinatown, for example.

What Do They Taste Like?

Goji berries have a natural tinge of sweetness with a very slight herb-like aftertaste. They also contain tiny seeds (which contain fibre) that add a nice texture to your meals.

How Do You Eat Them?

You 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.

But They Can Be Expensive 

A 500-gram bag of dried goji berries costs about $15 to $20 at most natural food stores and online. However, prices may vary depending on claims of whether they are organic, naturally sourced, or combined with other ingredients to make a unique trail mix, for example. Organic goji berries have been known to sell for $30 to $40, but you can buy the cheapest bags at local Asian stores.

Healthy, Glowing Skin?

Similar to the benefits you get from eating other berries, goji berries are loaded with beta-carotene (a pigment found in plants and fruits) which helps promote healthy skin.

Protect Your Health … All Over Your Body 

Goji berries have also been known to help boost the immune system and protect the eyes — talk about a super fruit. And like other berries, goji berries are also an excellent source of vitamin C and can reduce tough cold symptoms.

Packed With Antioxidants 

Goji berries are an excellent source of antioxidants because of their oxygen radical absorbance capacity (ORAC) value. An ORAC value indicates a food’s antioxidant power on a relative scale, Lee says.

Yes, They Are Healthy 

As a plus, goji berries are low in calories, fat-free and are packed with fibre — which also helps you manage weight and go the bathroom on a regular basis.


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The 11 healthiest foods in the world

Grown without chemicals and loaded with nutrition, these 11 foods will keep you (and the planet) healthy for life.

By Rodale News Thu, Mar 08 2012

WHOLE FOODS: Full of nutrition and easy on the planet. 

J.I. Rodale, the man who founded Rodale Publishing, launched the organic farming movement in America. A strong believer in the power of food to heal, he knew long before organic went mainstream that producing the healthiest food meant growing it in the healthiest soil — soil enriched naturally with organic matter, not synthetic, petroleum-based fertilizers that can rob it of vital nutrients and minerals. In a 1947 issue of Rodale’s first magazine, Organic Gardening, J.I. Rodale outlined “The Rodale Diet,” a simple recommendation of easily accessible healthy foods, grown without the use of toxic chemicals that, if followed 20 to 30 percent of the time would “give disease a smart punch in the solar plexus.” And 65 years of nutrition science have proved him right. All of the foods he recommended back in the ’40s, studies are finding, contain the highest amounts of disease-fighting antioxidants, essential fatty acids, and other vital nutrients that are deficient in the modern American diet. If you want to follow “The Rodale Diet,” here’s what you need to get started.

Fish

J.I.’s take: “Here is an animal that, unlike cattle, does not eat food raised with chemical fertilizers. It feeds in waters rich with minerals, prominent among which is the most valuable element, iodine.”

Why it’s healthy: Saltwater fish, to which Rodale was referring, are the most commonly consumed, and one of the healthiest, sources of protein consumed worldwide. Even today, saltwater fish still don’t eat food raised with chemical fertilizers, but the problem is, they’re becoming harder and harder to find. Overfishing has ballooned since J.I. Rodale’s day, and the list of saltwater fish that have managed to continue to exist in healthy amounts is getting shorter by the day.

How to get it: Go with the safest fish to eat, namely wild fish living in sustainably managed fisheries, such as wild Alaskan salmon and wild-caught Pacific sardines. There are a number of farmed fish that are raised without damage to their surrounding environment, but some, such as farmed tilapia and catfish, are fed corn that may be have been genetically modified and grown with pesticides.

Kelp

J.I.’s take: “Kelp is rich in potassium. It is believed that the reason there is a complete absence of hay-fever cases in the Orient is the fact that the Japanese and Chinese eat liberally of this product.”

Why it’s healthy: An edible form of brown algae, kelp contains more than just potassium. It’s rich in iodine, protein, magnesium, and other minerals at levels higher than most land vegetables. It’s also rich in the omega-3 fatty acid EPA.

How to get it: “Overall, kelp harvesting is a sustainable practice that can have low impact on the marine environment if done right,” says Matthew Huelsenbeck, marine scientist with the conservation organization Oceana. However, he adds, some kelp farmers have started introducing genetically modified varieties, which can escape and contaminate the surrounding environment, and kelp grown in waters near polluting industries could be contaminated with heavy metals. “About 80 to 90 percent of kelp on the market comes from China — a species called Japanese kelp,” he adds. Because the name is confusing, it can be hard to know where your kelp is coming from. So stick with domestically raised kelp: Maine Coast Sea Vegetables sells kelp raised in the Gulf of Maine.

Mushrooms

J.I.’s take: Grown in beds of rich organic matter, mushrooms were grown without the use of any pesticides, he said, “because it would kill out the very spores which are needed to develop into mushrooms.” Not only that, but they’re rich in iron and protein.

Why they’re healthy: Mushrooms are not just healthy, they’re vital in boosting your immune system and preventing infections, and they’re becoming increasingly valuable tools in medicine, where research is finding that mushroom compounds can fight diseases such as breast cancer. But nowadays, commercial mushroom producers do use heavy amounts of insecticides, says Thomas Wiandt, an organic mushroom farmer in Ohio and owner of Killbuck Valley Mushrooms. “Common practice is to grow them in caves, or cavelike structures,” he says. Those areas provide optimal breeding grounds for insects, so the crops are often misted with insecticides (which are different types of pesticides than fungicides, which aren’t used because they would kill of the spores mushroom need to grow). U.S. Department of Agriculture tests have detected 14 insecticide residues on mushroom crops. “Not only that, a mushroom has a highly absorbent surface,” Wiandt says.

How to get them: Get the health benefits without the toxic chemicals — go organic.

Coconut

J.I.’s take: “A good source of fats and carbohydrates,” coconuts also “provide excellent exercise for the teeth.” Coconut palms also didn’t require heavy doses of synthetic, petroleum-based fertilizers.

Why it’s healthy: Though high in saturated fat, coconut products, particularly coconut oil, are proving to be exceptionally healthy. Studies on populations that consume high quantities of coconut oil have found lower rates of heart disease, and coconut oil is one of very few sources of lauric acid, which helps your immune system fight bacterial and viral infections.

How to get it: Every part of the coconut is valuable — even the shells are being used as water filters in some areas. In J.I. Rodale’s day, coconuts were probably harvested wild, but now, coconut palm plantations have taken over Southeast Asia, where most of the world’s coconuts are grown. Plantations deplete the soil of nutrients and increase pest problems — increasing the need for synthetic fertilizers and pesticides. But it might be hard to find certified-organic whole coconuts, so opt instead for organic coconut products, such as Dr. Bronner’s certified-organic and Fair Trade coconut oil or Body Ecology organic Coconut Water.

coconut

Watercress

J.I.’s take: “Watercress is never grown with chemical fertilizers. It grows along brooks and other running waters and … it contains more iron than spinach.”

Why it’s healthy: It’s not just an iron powerhouse. Scientists have also found that the antioxidants in watercress can battle breast and lung cancers, and a study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that eating just three ounces a day boosts your levels of certain antioxidants by 100 percent.

How to get it: You probably won’t find much wild watercress in grocery stores, but hydroponic watercress (grown directly in water) is the most commonly available type. The benefit: Few pesticides are needed in hydroponic operations, and the plants are still grown without synthetic fertilizers.

Wild berries

J.I.’s take: Wild fruit trees grow without chemical help, and even cultivated cranberries and other berries, in Rodale’s day, were rarely treated with pesticides.

Why they’re healthy: Wild berries, wild blueberries in particular, have higher levels of antioxidants than their cultivated counterparts. One Canadian study found that wild blueberries can counteract inflammation and insulin sensitivity, two factors that, when abnormal, can contribute to arthritis and diabetes. Rodale was particularly fond of mulberries, huckleberries and blackberries, all of which have a higher antioxidant content than cultivated berries.

How to get them: Wild blueberries can be found in the freezer section of your grocery store (the season for fresh wild blueberries is very short), but for other wild berries, you’ll have to go out foraging during spring and summer.

Wild rice

J.I.’s take: Rodale seemed fascinated by this wild grass that grew in swamps and wanted his readers to send in more information about its cultural significance.

Why it’s healthy: Native to the Great Lakes regions of Wisconsin, Michigan, Minnesota and parts of Canada, wild rice has been hand-harvested in canoes by Native American tribes that live in those areas for over a thousand years. Not technically a grain but a grass, wild rice is rich in protein, fiber and B vitamins. Since it grows wild, there is no need for toxic pesticides or water-polluting fertilizers, and it’s harvested in the least environmentally damaging way possible.

How to get it: Most “wild rice” on store shelves isn’t wild at all but a hybrid product cultivated in paddies. Keep an eye out for wild rice that’s actually wild, sold by companies like Eden Foods and Native Harvest.

Wild game

J.I.’s take: Rodale liked wild game because it was “free of the taint of chemical fertilizers” since the animals forage for food in the wild. But he was first turned on to it as a healthy superfood by a physician who was prescribing diets of wild game to patients with high blood pressure.

Why it’s healthy: Wild animals aren’t just free of the taint of chemical fertilizers; they’re also free of hormones, antibiotics and even the antibiotic-resistant bacteria so common in factory-farmed animals, according to a study published last year in the journal Applied and Environmental Microbiology. Meat from deer, elk, wild boar and other feral creatures also has fewer calories, less saturated and total fat, and even lower levels of cholesterol. The primary concern with wild game is lead contamination; hunters use leaded bullets, fragments of which can get introduced into the meat.

How to get it: J.I.’s advice? “Go to the hunting regions during the proper season. Many of the resorts serve venison and other game meats.” But you don’t really have to travel that far in this day and age. A number of online retailers sell wild game meats. Just be sure to ask about whether the retailer tests for lead.

Maple syrup

J.I.’s take: “I strongly recommend that white sugar be dispensed with entirely and that maple syrup be substituted,” Rodale wrote.

Why it’s healthy: Overrefined and nutritionally void, white sugar comes from chemically intensive sugar cane and sugar beets — Rodale’s reasoning for eliminating it from his diet. Now, sugar beets aren’t just pesticide-heavy, they’re also being genetically modified to grow faster so Americans can have access to more cheap sugar we don’t need. You need just a small amount of maple syrup to sweeten your coffee, baked goods, or oatmeal, and it’s actually good for you. Scientists recently discovered more than 50 compounds in maple syrup known to battle cancer and heart disease.

How to get it: Find organic maple syrup at any grocery store or visit your farmers market to get the good local stuff. Don’t fall for “pancake syrup” that’s mostly high-fructose corn syrup dyed brown with “maple flavoring” added.

Honey

J.I.’s take: “Natural honey is full of living hormone-like qualities, which makes it a valuable adjunct to the diet.”

Why it’s healthy: Honey is rich in antioxidants and is often used as an antiseptic treatment on wounds. As Rodale said, it also contains phytoestrogens, and studies on Greek honey have found that those phytoestrogens can blunt the growth of breast, prostate and endometrial cancers. Honey also has a low glycemic index, so using it to sweeten tea or coffee won’t lead to energy-busting blood sugar drops later in the day.

How to get it: The best honey is raw, local honey from a nearby farmer. A recent test by Food Safety News revealed that more than 75 percent of the honey sold in the U.S. is so heavily processed and filtered, a process that removes all of the pollen in honey, that it would flunk quality standards set by most of the world’s food agencies, including the Food and Drug Administration.

Nuts

J.I.’s take: J.I. valued nuts — particularly walnuts, pecans, filberts and pine nuts — because the trees on which they grew lived in soils rich in organic matter that had built up for centuries. That soil enriched nuts with minerals and protein.

Why they’re healthy: Today, nuts are grown on trees raised in plantations that, unless certified organic, have resorted to heavy doses of chemical fertilizers. But find a certified-organic nut supplier, and you’ll get all the protein and minerals that J.I. valued without the extra dose of pesticides. In addition, walnuts and pine nuts are good sources for essential fatty acids that protect your brain, heart and bones.

How to get them: If you’re having a hard time finding organic nuts at the store, take a walk. Though pecan and pinyon (pine nut) trees grow wild only in certain areas, walnut trees exist pretty much everywhere. Just keep an eye out for trees bearing large green shells that resemble green apples. Crack one open and the nut is resting inside a soft casing that will dye your hands brown.

source: Rodale.com   www.rodalenews.com