By David Blyweiss, M.D., Advanced Natural Wellness
July 8, 2016
- What is a superfood?
- Two super-fruits for super health
- Three more foods that fight aging and disease
Some of my patients want to know if there are specific foods that pack more power than others when it comes to fighting off disease and aging.
These are foods that we call “superfoods”. They contain an abundance of vitamins, minerals and nutrients that prevent almost every disease known to man.
Now, you might think these foods are expensive and hard to come by. That’s not true. And they don’t have to be exotic discoveries from the Amazon rainforests or African jungles. In fact, you probably have plenty of superfoods right in your own kitchen.
So when folks ask me about these foods, they’re often surprised at how easy it is to add more of them to their daily meals.
Here are some of my favorite superfoods that are so common you can eat them every day.
Two Super-Fruits for Super Health
Organic pomegranate should be at the top of your must-eat-daily list. That’s because these nutrient-dense fruits have about 20% more antioxidant power than açaí, cranberries, blueberries and green tea.
The list of health benefits is practically endless. Pomegranates reduce your chances of breast and colon cancer. They lower blood pressure, blood sugar and inflammation.
Additionally, this delicious fruit helps boost levels nitric oxide in your body. This compound relaxes your arteries, improves blood flow and decreases plaque build-up in your arteries. It even boosts erectile function in men.
If you’ve never tried pomegranate before, get adventurous. Pick one up the next time you’re at the market – just make sure it’s organic. (Or, you can try pure, all-natural pomegranate juice.)
Organic blueberries are one of my favorite treats. These little berries contain anthocyanins, which help reduce plaque in your arteries and lower blood pressure. They can even help slash your risk of heart attack by as much as 33%.
They also help boost brain signaling, which can keep your brain younger and smarter as you age. In fact, people who eat the most blueberries are able to delay cognitive aging by up to 2.5 years.
Blueberries also contain pterostilbene, an antioxidant that’s similar to resveratrol, but about four times more bioavailable.
In animal models it lowers blood sugar and improves insulin response. And it appears to be much better than resveratrol when it comes to brain function and Alzheimer’s disease. It may also offer protection against cancer of the lungs, breast and pancreas.
Three More Foods that Fight Aging and Disease
Extra virgin olive oil is a staple in my kitchen. I use it on almost everything I cook… and even some foods that aren’t cooked. And, of course, it’s a mainstay of the Mediterranean diet.
It’s loaded with natural antioxidants called polyphenols. These compounds can actually change the expression of genes associated with heart disease, obesity and type 2 diabetes. In effect, they shut down inflammation – which is at the root of most disease.
When you add olive oil to a Mediterranean way of eating, it offsets all of the risk factors for stroke and heart attack. It also counters obesity, shuts down inflammation and helps to ward off dementia. So it makes good sense to add it to all of your meals.
Cruciferous vegetables are an absolute must in any diet. They contain powerful phytonutrients called sulfuraphane and indoles that have anti-cancer properties.
These compounds work together to inactivate carcinogens and protect cells from DNA damage. They also help kill off damaged cells and prevent the formation of tumors.
Eating this type of vegetable can cut your risk of many different kinds of cancer, including breast, prostate, colon and lung cancer.
Veggies that fall into this category include arugula, bok choy, broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, collard greens, kale, mustard greens, radishes, rutabaga, turnips and watercress.
Green tea is another winner in my book. Green tea works at the genetic level. In fact, it can reduce damage to your genes by about 20%. This is a big plus when it comes to warding off age-related diseases.
Plus, people who drink about three cups of green tea each day have longer telomeres than people who don’t. (Telomeres, which are the protective caps on ends of your chromosomes, are a marker of your biological age.)
And they aren’t just a little bit longer… they’re a lot longer! Green tea drinkers have telomeres that are about five years younger than people who don’t drink it.
Green tea is also associated with reduced risk of three different causes of death: Heart disease, stroke and respiratory disease.
Simply invest in a good matcha, longjing or other green tea of your choice and enjoy several cups (hot or cold) each day.
These foods are by no means the only superfoods available to you. There are plenty of other foods – like turmeric, avocadoes, garlic, tomatoes and nuts – that also provide a multitude of health and anti-aging benefits.
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