Wed 16 January 2013
Welcome to the 4th issue of Discover The Power of Healing Foods! newsletter.
In our previous issue we considered how free radicals and antioxidants are engaged in an ongoing fight. If you've missed that issue catch up here.
Free radicals are responsible for damaging our cells and weakening them
to the point that they can no longer fight disease. Free radical damaged
is believed to play a role in nearly every chronic illness, including
cancer and heart disease and to be the driving force behind premature
Antioxidants are the powerful arsenal at our disposal that can neutralize that damage and prevent any harm.
As free radicals are many and powerful, so must be our weapons to fight them.
In this issue we will discuss:
Phytochemicals (or phytonutrients) are naturally occurring compounds in plants and are a vast, relatively untapped source of natural healing.
These powerful plant compounds are potent agents formed by nature to work with the body to fight disease, rather than working against it, as drugs often do.
Phytochemicals are powerful ammunition in the war against cancer, aging, and most health disorders.
Carotenoids are the most common phytochemicals and fat-soluble compounds, belonging to a potent family of antioxidants numbering more than 600, 30 to 50 of which seem to have vitamin A activity.
They are responsible for the red, orange, green and yellow pigments found in fruits and vegetables.
The main carotenoids, or I should say, the better known ones, are beta carotene, lutein and lycopene (we'll consider the last two next time).
The liver uses the carotenoid beta carotene to manufacture vitamin A, so it's sometimes referred to as preformed vitamin A or provitamin A.
Researchers have described beta carotene as the most active of the carotenoids because of its higher provitamin A activity, but several other carotenes exert greater antioxidant effects even if they don't get transformed into vitamin A in the body.
This shows that you should never limit yourself to just one type of food because of its presumed antioxidant activity at the exclusion of all the others.
Beta carotene decrease the risk of cataracts and age-related macular degeneration and reduces the risk of heart disease and strokes. It protect against cancer by reducing oxidative and other damage to DNA.
After the body converts beta-carotene into vitamin A as needed, any leftover beta-carotene then acts as an antioxidant, breaking free radical chain reactions and preventing the oxidation of cholesterol.
It reduces the oxidation of DNA and disables reactive oxygen species molecules generated by exposure to sunlight and air pollution, preventing damage to eyes, lungs and skin.
Some people believe in taking high doses of beta carotene supplements (50,000 IU or more a day), but researchers have found that this may interfere with the normal control of cell division. I's best to take a carotenoid complex
containing a variety of carotenoids.
Better still, eat a variety of brightly coloured foods to get the full benefit of these wonderful compounds.
Beta-carotene is the predominant form in most green leaves and, in general the greater the intensity of the green colour the greater the concentration of beta-carotene.
Orange coloured fruits and vegetables typically have higher concentrations of provitamin A carotenoids, again directly related to the intensity of the colour.
Carotenoids are also found in various animal foods, such as salmon and other fish, egg yolk, shellfish, milk and poultry.
How many fruits and vegetables can you name that are a bright orange?
Once you thought about it, have a look at the following list and see how many you could name:
Then, let's not forget the green fruits and vegetables: How many can you name, better still, how many do you actually eat on a regular basis?
Here is a list:
So how are you doing so far? How many of these foods do you eat regularly?
If you're taking away just one thing from his newsletter, let it be this: Every day aim to eat 1 or 2 servings of each of the two groups mentioned above. Try different ones, get creative with recipes, but also don't forget that you can eat most of them raw and juice them too.
Raw foods are packed with nutrients whereas cooking tends to destroy them. So to get the most out of the antioxidant potential of fruits and vegetables, try to eat as many as you can in their unadulterated state and you will soon feel the difference in how you feel.
One serving is equivalent to:
Most of the antioxidants we need can be sourced from the food we eat. But the 'Five a Day' rule is nowhere near enough to provide us with all the nutrients we need to enjoy optimum health. Plus, the food we eat is often very poor in nutrients contributing very little toward the armament of antioxidants we need to fight free radical damage.
Did you know that in Japan people are encouraged to have 13 vegetables and 4 fruits daily? How about that?
If you feel you're nowhere near that goal and you need some help, here is a list of antioxidant supplements you might want to consider.
I hope you have enjoyed reading this newsletter. Beta carotene is not the only carotenoid antioxidant. As we mentioned earlier, lutein and lycopene are two other very important antioxidants. How can you benefit from them and where can you find them?
This is what I will discuss in the next issue of Discover the Power of Healing Foods! newsletter. You don't want to miss it!
Also, if this newsletter has raised some questions in your mind about antioxidants or you'd like specific information on them, dont hesitate to get in touch with me.
The next issue will be sent out on Wed 13th February 2013.
Until Next Time
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