Posts Tagged ‘Antioxidants’

Is Black Rice Healthier?

February 3, 2014 Written by JP

Most of us are familiar with brown, white and “wild” rice. But, how about black-purple rice? Have you tried it yet? Are you interested in it because of the positive media coverage from the likes of Dr. Oz? By the end of today’s column, you’ll likely know more about it and you can decide for yourself if it’s something you ought to add to your diet.

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Posted in Alternative Therapies, Food and Drink, Nutrition | 4 Comments

Red Palm Oil

May 20, 2013 Written by JP

Red palm oil (RPO) has been in the news lately because of a positive expose on The Dr. Oz Show. In the segment entitled, The 13 Miracle Solutions of 2013, RPO was touted as a veritable “miracle oil” primarily because it’s a rich source of antioxidants, such as carotenoids and tocotrienols, which are a potent and rare form of Vitamin E. How might this benefit your health? According to Dr. Oz and his guest, Bryce Wylde, just two tablespoons of RPO daily reduces the risk of heart attacks and stroke by clearing away arterial plaque. They go on to claim that RPO also slows the aging process by protecting the brain from neurodegeneration and skin from damage caused UV radiation. As if that wasn’t enough, apparently RPO can also increase your calorie burning potential or metabolic rate. All this for around “$14 per jar”. What a bargain!

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Posted in Food and Drink, Heart Health, Nutrition | 6 Comments

Healthy Optimism

January 22, 2013 Written by JP

In recent years, scientists from esteemed institutes of learning have identified an apparent link between an optimistic mindset and physical wellness. The latest entry into this topic comes from the Harvard School of Public Health. An analysis of nearly 1,000 middle-aged men and women determined that higher levels of self-reported optimism were associated with greater concentrations of serum antioxidants (carotenoids). The reason is likely due to a bidirectional effect in which “optimists are likely to engage in health behaviors associated with more serum antioxidants, and more serum antioxidants are likely associated with better physical health that enhances optimism”. This newly observed antioxidant effect may also, in part, explain why greater optimism has been continually linked to a lower risk of cardiac events and strokes.

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Posted in Alternative Therapies, Exercise, Mental Health | No Comments;

Healthy Gazpacho

December 24, 2012 Written by JP

The start of winter may not seem like the ideal time to recommend eating cold soup. But, in the case of gazpacho, a traditional Spanish soup, I simply can’t wait for the warmer days of spring or summer to sing its praises. My urgency is, in part, due to a recently published study appearing in Nutrition, Metabolism & Cardiovascular Diseases, the prestigious medical journal. A secondary reason is that current and prior research on gazpacho helps to prove a theory that I’ve long held: Drinking raw, blended vegetables is a wonderfully healthful practice, especially if you add some good fat to the mix.

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Posted in Food and Drink, Heart Health, Nutrition | No Comments;

Organic Food Debate

September 7, 2012 Written by JP

On a daily basis, headlines appear on your computer screen, radio and television that may lead you to question almost everything you think you know about how to stay well. The latest and most provocative example is a news item that puts into question the value of consuming organic foods. Conventional media outlets, including Reuters, have posted pieces with definitive sounding titles such as, “Organic Food No More Nutritious Than Non-Organic”. However, a closer look at the source data and current studies appearing in the scientific literature suggest that there’s more to the story than just this sort of headline.

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Posted in Food and Drink, General Health, Nutrition | 2 Comments

Pomegranate Juice Controversy

June 20, 2012 Written by JP

Pomegranate juice has been in the news lately for all the wrong reasons. In September 2010, the Federal Trade Commission filed a complaint against POM Wonderful LLC, a leading manufacturer of pomegranate extract and juice. In May 2012, an initial decision was announced which stated that some of the claims made in POM advertisements were deceptive in nature and/or overreaching. The order, put forth by Chief Administrative Law Judge D. Michael Chappell, specifically took note of representations that pomegranate extract and juice were capable of preventing, reducing or treating erectile dysfunction, heart disease and prostate cancer.

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Posted in Diabetes, Food and Drink, Heart Health | 3 Comments

Is Grape Juice Healthy?

April 16, 2012 Written by JP

Fruit juice isn’t something that I normally recommend. Most bottled and fresh juices simply contain too much sugar – a dietary component that is already too plentiful in many diets. Then, there’s the issue of dietary fiber. The process of making juice removes the fibrous portion of fruits and vegetables, and concentrates the sweet liquid contained therein. This yields both negative and positive effects. On the one hand, the antioxidants, nutrients and phytochemicals that naturally occur in juice are often better absorbed when fiber is absent from the equation. But, without fiber, fruits and vegetable juices become more concentrated reservoirs of high glycemic carbohydrates which generally result in large fluctuations in blood sugar and insulin.

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Posted in Food and Drink, Heart Health, Memory | No Comments;

Chocolate Talk with Dr. Eric Ding

March 14, 2012 Written by JP

The integration of natural medicine and rigorous science is becoming increasingly evident in the current medical landscape. Dr. Eric Ding exemplifies the philosophical shift that is presently underway. For starters, he has allopathic credentials that are beyond reproach: graduating Johns Hopkins University with Honors in Public Health and Phi Beta Kappa, then going on to become the youngest student at Harvard to complete a dual doctoral program in epidemiology and nutrition. Dr. Ding is now a faculty member at Harvard Medical School and Women’s Hospital, and is also the director and founder of the non-profit Campaign for Cancer Prevention.

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Posted in Food and Drink, Heart Health, Interviews | 4 Comments

Sweet Potato Greens

September 2, 2011 Written by JP

I’m always on the lookout for “new” foods that I can add to my diet to keep things interesting. If these culinary additions happen to be delicious and nutrient dense, all the better. Sweet potato leaves are an excellent candidate that I’m planning to experiment with for two reasons. First and foremost, they bring robust nutrition to the table. A publication appearing in the October 2010 issue of the journal Nutrition Reviews proclaims that eating sweet potato leaves may “play a role in health promotion by improving immune function, reducing oxidative stress and free radical damage, reducing cardiovascular disease risk, and suppressing cancer cell growth”. All of these assertions and more are backed up by scientific studies in prestigious medical journals. There’s even evidence that eating sweet potato greens may protect consumers from age-related conditions such as macular degeneration. Secondly, according to a few of my foodie friends, these dark green leafy vegetables are quite versatile and can be used in place of other, more commonly used contenders including collard greens, kale and spinach. They can also be eaten raw as complementary or primary ingredients in salads. Perhaps best of all, they’re naturally low in calories (about 20 calories per cup) and have a very low glycemic load of only 2. I hope you’ll join me in trying out this traditional food which may be as new for you as it is for me.

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Posted in Food and Drink, Nutrition | No Comments;

The Secret Lives of Dates

August 26, 2011 Written by JP

In the field of nutrition, concepts are often sold in black and white terms, such as: “Sugar is bad for you” and “Vegetables are good for you”. On the face of it, this may seem reasonable enough. But, upon closer inspection it becomes evident that most foods are much more complex than that. For instance, let’s consider date fruits. They’re obviously very sweet and high in naturally occurring sugar. And yet, they possess some medicinal properties that defy expectations. A new study presented in the Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology reports that eating 6 dates daily for 4 weeks prior to delivery “significantly reduced the need for induction and augmentation of labour, and produced a more favourable” delivery outcome. A trial published in September 2009 determined that consuming 100 grams/day of dates (about 4 fruits) over a one month period resulted in a meaningful decline in triglyceride levels and did not raise the participants body mass index or fasting blood sugar. What’s more, a measurable decline in oxidative stress (lipid peroxidation) was noted. This latter finding is in accordance with prior investigations that have determined that dates and other dried fruits possess high antioxidant capacity. Even so, I still think dates are probably best enjoyed as an occasional treat because of their caloric density. My personal preference is to add 1 or 2 chopped dates to unsweetened Greek yogurt or to stuff a few dates with raw walnuts. These combinations contribute additional nutrition to the mix and lower the overall glycemic load.

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Posted in Food and Drink, Nutrition, Women's Health | 2 Comments

Black Chokeberry

August 24, 2011 Written by JP

Black chokeberry (Aronia melanocarpa) isn’t exactly a household name. A select group of researchers in Poland are trying to change that and with good reason. At least five studies conducted over the past decade suggest that A. melanocarpa extracts may be the medicine of the future for patients living with metabolic syndrome. Anthocyanins, a class of antioxidants found in black chokeberries, appear to counter various pre-diabetic and pre-heart disease related risk factors associated with metabolic syndrome. A daily dosage of 300 mg of black chokeberry anthocyanins (100 mg / thrice daily) has been shown to: improve circulation, increase antioxidant enzyme levels and reduce numerous cardiovascular and diabetic threats including high blood pressure, fasting glucose, LDL cholesterol and triglycerides. At the moment, the availability of black chokeberry extract is somewhat limited. However, the need to find effective and safe options for metabolic syndrome is growing at a fast clip. This may provide the perfect circumstance to introduce this obscure berry to a wider audience.

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Posted in Diabetes, Heart Health, Nutritional Supplements | No Comments;

Roasted Tomato Bisque Recipe

August 1, 2011 Written by JP

When I was a kid, being served tomato soup was one of the worst forms of punishment. It wasn’t intentional, but that’s how my psyche and taste buds interpreted it. The stranger thing is that I actually enjoyed many other foods made from tomatoes, especially ketchup and marinara sauce. Perhaps my taste buds have matured, but I now enjoy tomato soup when it’s prepared to my liking, which is code for “when cream is added”. And while it’s true that most people enjoy foods with added cream, not everyone chooses to eat them. It could be that they’re sensitive to lactose, trying to lose weight or vegan. Whatever the reason, cream can be problematic for certain individuals and when entertaining a crowd. Read more »


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Posted in Diet and Weight Loss, Food and Drink, Recipes | 8 Comments

Green Coffee Extract

July 29, 2011 Written by JP

Last week, I stopped into a popular coffee shop and ordered a large, iced Americano. While waiting to pay, I noticed an advertisement for a new line of icy, fruit flavored drinks that featured green coffee extract. That’s right, green coffee. Combining coffee and fruit may seem like an odd pairing, but, in reality, the flavor of raw coffee beans bears little to no resemblance to the brewed forms of coffee enjoyed the world over. Taste issues aside, you may be wondering why green coffee extract would be included in summery drinks and/or so called “functional foods” in the first place. Read more »


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Posted in Diet and Weight Loss, Food and Drink, Nutritional Supplements | 2 Comments

Ecklonia Cava Research

July 11, 2011 Written by JP

What do natural health aficionados and oceanographers have in common? Well, for one thing, they’re part of a small minority of people who are familiar with an edible brown algae known as Ecklonia cava. In alternative and integrative medical circles, a “unique polyphenol complex” derived from E. cava is marketed under the name of Fibroboost or Seanol. The manufacturer and resellers of the product claim that it possesses both fat and water soluble antioxidants which are capable of addressing and improving a wide array of conditions and diseases. But are the implied claims made in the product literature and on various websites accurate and responsible? Read more »


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Posted in Exercise, Heart Health, Nutritional Supplements | 2 Comments

Plastic Danger Revisited

May 16, 2011 Written by JP

There’s a fine line between being informed about the dangers in the environment and being paranoid about every move you make. An imbalance in this perspective could lead one not to exercise because there’s pollution in the air, avoid fruits and vegetables because they contain pesticide residues and even to become a recluse for fear of germs spread through casual contact with other human beings. Clearly, a balance needs to be struck. Read more »


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Posted in Children's Health, Detoxification, Women's Health | 4 Comments

Chocolate News You Can Use

May 6, 2011 Written by JP

At this years Natural Products Expo West, a new line of cocoa-based supplements received a great deal of attention. This is the latest example of a renewed sense of excitement surrounding the health potential of Theobroma cacao extracts and foods. However, not everyone is ready to embrace chocolate as a health food. Some health authorities are hesitant about giving their seal of approval, citing concerns ranging from increased cardiovascular risk to obesity. Who are we to believe? Should we place our faith in supplement manufacturers who suggest a broad array of health benefits or the skeptics that still consider chocolate merely candy? Read more »


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Posted in Diet and Weight Loss, Food and Drink, Heart Health | 7 Comments