You’ve heard the argument for getting your 5-7 servings of fruits and vegetables a day, but maybe you need another reason to choose an apple over a Snickers bar and steamed veggies over buttered bread. In addition to weight loss, clearer skin, and a better feeling body, fruits and vegetables contain natural antioxidants that fight aging. The free radical theory of aging states that we age because our cells accumulate free radical damage from exposure to smoking, air pollutants, the sun, and chemicals. To fight premature aging of the cells you can eat foods high in antioxidants that counteract and fight free radicals.
Next time you go shopping toss these antioxidant rich foods in your basket and eat to good health!
This tree-like veggie is known in the health community for providing the most concentrated source of vitamin C, a premier antioxidant nutrient. Vitamin C provides support of the body’s oxygen metabolism and lowers the risk of chronic inflammation and cancer risk. If that wasn’t enough, broccoli contains several carotenoids, which function as key antioxidants.
You may skip over these fruits, but apricots pack a powerful punch of antioxidants including carotenoids and vitamin A, which is needed for cell growth and immune system function. This fruit is also good for your vision, full of potassium, and contains a healthy serving of fiber.
These fruits may already be your favorite topping for yogurt and granola or a sweet treat after dinner, but these small berries provide the body with specific antioxidants that can’t be found in any other food. In addition to high levels of vitamin C and anthocanines, raspberries contain ellagitannins, which make up 50 percent of a raspberries antioxidant effect.
This tiny fruit is packed full of queritrin and ellagic acid, which fight off the body’s cancerous cells to prevent cancer from developing. Try to eat an organic version of this fruit or drink cherry juice for your daily dose of these cancer-fighting antioxidants.
Contrary to the popular belief that this water-packed summer treat is made up of only water and sugar, watermelon is actually a nutrient dense food that is full of antioxidants. This melon is full of vitamin C and lycopene, which is associated with a decreased risk of prostate cancer.
This yummy vegetable contains some of the most powerful, polyphenol antioxidants including quercetin, which fights against cancer and heart disease, rutin which is anti inflammatory and anti-allergenic, and anthocyanins that help with urinary tract health, memory function, and graceful aging.
Probably one of the most commonly known antioxidant rich foods, these berries do pack a powerful punch of health, especially considering their small size. One cup of natural, wild blueberries contains more antioxidant capacity than 20 other fruits and vegetables. For blueberries their antioxidant power comes from the blue pigment in the berries, which protects against inflammation, Alzheimer’s disease, and other degenerative diseases.
This leafy green is already loved for its high levels of fiber, potassium, and multiple vitamins. In addition to being full of healthy goodness, spinach is full of the carotenoids luten and zeaxanthin, which protect the eyes from damage, fight against cataracts, and age-related macular degeneration.
9. Kidney Beans
You may already love beans as a source of protein, fiber, and nutrients, but kidney beans are also exceptionally rich in flavonoids, a class of antioxidants that helps fight aging and the presence of free radicals in the body.
You may already know that oranges are high in vitamin C, but this particular vitamin is the primary water-soluble antioxidant in the body. It works to prevent damage inside and outside the cells to prevent colon cancer. In addition it can reduce the severity of inflammatory conditions like asthma, osteoarthritis, and rheumatoid arthritis.
Are you trying to lose weight? Now you can have your fruit and your weight loss too. Most fruit contains excessive amount of natural sugars that quickly converts into fat when eaten in excess. There are some fruits that actually work to help burn fat. Adding more of these fruits to your diet can help with fat loss. While fruit has many natural healing compounds, sometimes its sugar content can be a problem for people interested in losing weight. However, some fruits actually help you to burn fat. Here are my picks for the Top 5 Fat-Burning Fruits:
Avocado: Loaded with healthy Omega 9 fatty acids (the same fats found in olive oil, olives, and macadamia nuts), avocados speed the conversion of fat into energy and boost the rate of metabolism.
Coconut: Coconut is rich with medium chain triglycerides (MCFAs) which increase the liver’s rate of metabolism by up to 30 percent, according to some experts. They also help keep you full so you’re less likely to snack on junk food. Coconut oil frequently aids the functioning of the thyroid gland. Coconut oil, coconut milk (not the low fat variety), coconut flour, and shredded (unsweetened) coconut all contain MCFAs.
Lemons: Excellent liver detoxifiers, lemons also alkalize our body. They may seem acidic based on taste but in the process of being metabolized by the body, they actually alkalize our bodily fluids and tissues. Maintaining the health of the liver is also imperative to the body’s ability to digest and burn fat, since the liver is one of the organs responsible for these functions.
Grapefruit: Many studies confirm that grapefruit is an excellent weight loss food. In one study at Johns Hopkins University, women who eat grapefruit daily shed almost 20 pounds on average in only 13 weeks, without changing anything else in their diet or lifestyle.
Tomatoes: Packed with vitamin C and the phytochemical lycopene, tomatoes stimulate the production of the amino acid known as carnitine. Research has shown carnitine helps speed the body’s fat-burning capacity by one third.
How to Benefit:
It’s easy to reap the weight loss rewards of these fruits. Use full-fat coconut milk and oil in curries, smoothies, or baking. Enjoy a grapefruit for breakfast or as a snack instead of something sweet. Make your own fresh salsa or add tomatoes to soups, stews, salads, or curries. Make fresh guacamole with minced onion, garlic, lemon juice, and chopped tomato and cilantro.
Super Health Bonus:
Not only will these fruits help with weight loss, they have plenty of other health benefits too. Avocado helps prevent heart disease. Coconuts help prevent cancer. Grapefruit gives the liver a boost. Lycopene is a powerful antioxidant that studies show cuts the risk of heart disease by 29 percent. http://www.care2.com/
Wake, smoothie, move, repeat. Wake, smoothie, move, repeat.
Green juices or smoothies have become part of everyday vernacular, almost as ubiquitous as a daily caffeine hit, among the health conscious anyway. But despite nutritious smoothies being a buzzword for years now (green smoothie is one of the biggest “trending” words in 2015), its widespread fame hasn’t changed the fact it’s rare for daily greens to be well executed.
And, here’s the clincher, because of this, it actually has little or none of the desired effects on your health and energy.
It’s touted as your daily equaliser, an input of nutrient dense and enzyme-rich liquid that can help make you feel great and perhaps help you look it too. It has the potential to deliver easily accessible nutrition to your system and can help you detoxify. If your health is in “credit”, then a green smoothie/juice can further create a bit of a buffer to nutritional and life stresses.
While the idea of grabbing a pre-mixed or pre-powdered greens together with a new, trendy milk or “mylk”, appears to be an efficient way of throwing in the good stuff while getting optimum benefits, the truth is it probably isn’t. There are improvements to be made, and lots of them.
GREEN SMOOTHIE MISTAKES
1. Using pre-mixed, pre-powdered greens and berries
There are an abundance of these fruits and vegetables in their fresh and whole form, with all their intact enzymes and catalysts at your local growers market. A minimal amount of dead, dried, pesticide and chemical farmed green powder is not of any benefit to anyone. Always go fresh when you can.
2. Using low-grade protein powder
Putting awesome fresh produce in your shake and then degrading it by adding a low-grade protein source is not the best way to go.
You’re potentially adding a whole bunch of hidden fillers, inflammatory agents or chemicals to what is supposed to be our remedy against these things! Look out for ingredients like colourings, preservatives and a list of inactive ingredients longer than the active ingredients.
3. Check your superfood blend
Adding superfood blends that only contain micro-doses of the superfoods that you were after is commonplace. Have you considered how much you are going to actually need of that exotic sounding “superfood”?
Some brands contain only contain one tenth or one hundredth of the star ingredient they are promoting, which will do little for your health, even though they are listed on the label and are a selling point for the product.
4. What’s your pre-made blend made of?
Using pre-made blends that have added ingredients for texture, consistency and shelf life need to be scrutinised closely.
Ingredients to avoid are inactive ingredients – they’re inactive because they haven’t been added for use in the nutritional content of the product, but are still put in the product, which means your body still has to process and deal with it.
While some natural sweeteners are OK, again without sourcing them yourself you have little control over their quality. Other sweeteners are flat out terrible for your system – high fructose corn syrup and maltodextrin are the big ones to look out for so avoid these at all costs.
GREEN SMOOTHIES COME GOOD
The main point is, we need to start questioning all ingredients. It doesn’t help anyone if the “healthy” ingredients are produced in an unhealthy way, with unhealthy fillers. The benefits and assurance of using some home ingredients like a quality honey, or some well sourced stevia are more beneficial and harmonious to your body.
The other thing to look out for is food derived from a wholefood.
Most of the beneficial elements, such as vitamins and minerals, found in wholefoods are only used by the body when consumed with the rest of the wholefood. A wholefood contains the needed catalysts and enzymes to help you break down and make use of the nutrients you need to get out of those healthy foods. Nature has already got a great system set up for us and unfortunately separating and prepackaging parts of the wholefood, or synthetically trying to recreate elements of it doesn’t necessarily work.
Yes, it’s a smoothie ingredient minefield out there!
HOW TO MAKE THE BEST GREEN SMOOTHIE POSSIBLE
1. Buy fresh, quality produce
Preferably from local markets or growers. This way you know (because you can ask) where your fruit and veg has been, how long it has (or hasn’t) been in storage and what sort of conditions it has been grown in. Go chemical-free, organic, and sustainably grown produce. Buy lots of it and buy variety.
We recommend a variety of colours and particular qualities (for example, avocado for fat, banana for potassium, etc). Mix it up, too; the number of documented benefits to a wide variety of fruit and veg is only made to look dull by the potentials, uses and benefits we haven’t discovered yet.
2. Pick a suspension fluid
All of the produce will be blended into oblivion so you’ll need something liquid to carry them for texture and enjoyment’s sake (even if you are about your hardcore health there’s nothing wrong with having a health dense and tasty smoothie). Try home-made nut milks, hemp milk or coconut water.
3. Pick the right protein
If you are going to add a protein source, or a powder, do your research. Know your products. Do they use proprietary blends? Then guess what – it’s impossible to know what the hidden ingredients are. Are they transparent with the sourcing of their ingredients? If not, why not? Are they traceable sources? There are companies out there making the effort to nail these crucial factors in the products they deliver. It’s worth finding them and using them.
4. Get yourself an easy to clean, simple blender
You will make the money back on the cash you don’t spend on pre-packed, potentially low quality juices, and you will hit more variety and therefore more nutrition!
Red Hippo, run by Nick Dawe and Mitch and Ryan Barraclough, is an Australian company that provides synergistic protein blends, supported by science, and road tested by Olympians.
If you want to eat for long-term health, lowering inflammation is crucial.
Inflammation in the body causes or contributes to many debilitating, chronic illnesses — including osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, heart disease,Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and even cancer.
That’s why, as a doctor and founder of the Kaplan Center for Integrative Medicine, I recommend my patients eat a diet focused on anti-inflammatory principles.
Recent research finds that eating this way not only helps protect against certain diseases, but it also slows the aging process by stabilizing blood sugar and increasing metabolism.
Plus, although the goal is to optimize health, many people find they also lose weight by following an anti-inflammatory eating pattern.
Here, I’m sharing the 11 principles I recommend everyone incorporate into their diet for optimal health:
1. Consume at least 25 grams of fiber every day.
A fiber-rich diet helps reduce inflammation by supplying naturally occurring anti-inflammatory phytonutrients found in fruits, vegetables, and other whole foods.
To get your fill of fiber, seek out whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. The best sources include whole grains such as barley and oatmeal; vegetables like okra, eggplant, and onions; and a variety of fruits like bananas (3 grams of fiber per banana) and blueberries (3.5 grams of fiber per cup).
2. Eat a minimum of nine servings of fruits and vegetables every day.
One “serving” is half a cup of a cooked fruit or vegetable, or one cup of a raw leafy vegetable.
For an extra punch, add anti-inflammatory herbs and spices — such asturmeric and ginger — to your cooked fruits and vegetables to increase their antioxidant capacity.
3. Eat four servings of both alliums and crucifers every week.
Alliums include garlic, scallions, onions, and leek, while crucifers refer to vegetables such as broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, mustard greens, and Brussels sprouts.
Because of their powerful antioxidant properties, consuming a weekly average of four servings of each can help lower your risk of cancer.
If you like the taste, I recommend eating a clove of garlic a day!
4. Limit saturated fat to 10 percent of your daily calories.
By keeping saturated fat low (that’s about 20 grams per 2,000 calories), you’ll help reduce the risk of heart disease.
You should also limit red meat to once per week and marinate it with herbs, spices, and tart, unsweetened fruit juices to reduce the toxic compoundsformed during cooking.
5. Consume foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids.
Research shows that omega-3 fatty acids reduce inflammation and may help lower risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, cancer, and arthritis — conditions that often have a high inflammatory process at their root.
Aim to eat lots of foods high in omega-3 fatty acids like flax meal, walnuts, and beans such as navy, kidney and soy. I also recommend taking a good-quality omega-3 supplement.
And of course, consume cold-water fish such as salmon, oysters, herring, mackerel, trout, sardines, and anchovies. Speaking of which:
6. Eat fish at least three times a week.
Choose both low-fat fish such as sole and flounder, and cold-water fish that contain healthy fats, like the ones mentioned above.
7. Use oils that contain healthy fats.
The body requires fat, but choose the fats that provide you with benefits.
Virgin and extra-virgin olive oil and expeller-pressed canola are the best bets for anti-inflammatory benefits. Other options include high-oleic, expeller-pressed versions of sunflower and safflower oil.
8. Eat healthy snacks twice a day.
If you’re a snacker, aim for fruit, plain or unsweetened Greek-style yogurt (it contains more protein per serving), celery sticks, carrots, or nuts like pistachios, almonds, and walnuts.
9. Avoid processed foods and refined sugars.
This includes any food that contains high-fructose corn syrup or is high in sodium, which contribute to inflammation throughout the body.
Avoid refined sugars whenever possible and artificial sweeteners altogether. The dangers of excess fructose have been widely cited and include increased insulin resistance (which can lead to type-2 diabetes), raised uric acid levels,raised blood pressure, increased risk of fatty liver disease, and more.
10. Cut out trans fats.
In 2006, the FDA required food manufacturers to identify trans fats on nutrition labels, and for good reason — studies show that people who eat foods high in trans fats have higher levels of C-reactive protein, a biomarker for inflammation in the body.
A good rule of thumb is to always read labels and steer clear of products that contain the words “hydrogenated” or “partially hydrogenated oils.” Vegetable shortenings, select margarines, crackers, and cookies are just a few examples of foods that might contain trans fats.
11. Sweeten meals with phytonutrient-rich fruits, and flavor foods with spices.
Most fruits and vegetables are loaded with important phytonutrients. In order to naturally sweeten your meals, try adding apples, apricots, berries, and even carrots.
And for flavoring savory meals, go for spices that are known for their anti-inflammatory properties, including cloves, cinnamon, turmeric, rosemary, ginger, sage, and thyme.