Antioxidants

The long list antioxidants benefits is growing by the day, so it's more important than ever to make sure they're part of your everyday health regimen. This part of the NorthStar blog discusses a variety of antioxidant topics, including the best options and how to get them.

  1. 9 Shocking Health Benefits of Eating Beets

    Eating beets benefitsYou know the superfoods: Kale…chia seeds…pomegranates…beets?

    I know, that last one may be shocking but there really are incredible health benefits to eating beets!

    So before you pass them by in the grocery produce section, read on. It’s time to start reaping the benefits of eating beets.

    1. Natural anti-inflammatory. Inflammation isn’t just the swelling at an injury. Inflammation is your body’s response to attack – any kind of attack. And it’s been linked to everything from wrinkles to heart disease, arthritis to cancer. So maintaining your body’s healthy inflammatory response is vital – which is why it’s the first benefit to eating beets on the list! Beets reduce chronic inflammation in two ways. They’re packed with the nutrient choline, which is good for inflammation. Plus, the betalains that contribute to beets’ distinctive red color are also powerful anti-inflammatories.

    2. Antioxidants. By now you know just how important antioxidants are to your overall health. And they're one of our favorite health benefits of eating beets. How they can fight back against free radicals, counter oxidative damage, and prevent disease. And guess which root vegetable is full of antioxidants? But not just common antioxidants that you could get in any fruit or vegetable. No, a benefit of eating beets is the uncommon one – the betalain I just mentioned is a powerful antioxidant linked to the prevention of many of the major, life-threatening conditions.

    3. Aphrodisiac. Since the ancient Romans, beets have been considered beneficial as a libido booster, but there’s reason for it. Beets contain nitrates, which increase blood flow – everywhere. In fact, nitrates are often used in artificial libido boosters because they work so well at increasing arousal. But now you can skip the artificial stuff and get the benefits by eating beets!

    4. Protect your brain and fight dementia. As you age, blood flow decreases, so you get less blood to the brain. It also means you also get less oxygen to the brain. Less blood and oxygen to the brain have been linked to reduced cognitive abilities and dementia. But since we’ve established that the nitrates in beets increase blood flow everywhere that means your brain, too!

    5. Cancer prevention. Not only are beets loaded with powerful and rare antioxidants, beet juice may slow the growth of certain cancer-causing compounds. So drink up!

    6. Diabetes. Among the antioxidants in beets is alpha-lipoic acid, which helps you battle diabetes in three ways. First, and probably most important, it helps lower blood glucose levels. But it has also been shown to increase insulin sensitivity, and prevent oxidative damage in diabetes patients. So if you already have diabetes, or if you’re trying to prevent diabetes, talk to your doctor about the benefits of eating beets.

    7. Energy levels and performance. You don’t have to be an athlete to reap the benefits of beets when it comes to energy and performance. Yes, professional cyclists and swimmers in studies of beet juice have seen statistically significant changes in their performance. However, the same factors that increased professional athletes’ performance may help people who are struggling with the activities of daily living. If you don’t have the energy to do what you need to do – if that’s pedal faster or climb the stairs with your groceries – there’s no reason beet juice won’t help give you the energy you need to achieve your goals.

    8. Heart health. So many superfoods end up at heart health, and beets are no different. This might be on the most important health benefits of eating beets. If you’re concerned about blood pressure and the cardio impacts of high blood pressure know this: in one study, a small serving of beet juice reduced resting blood pressure by 2%. And other studies have shown similar results, basically locking in beet juice as a good bet when it comes to heart health.

    9. Weight loss. The weight loss benefit of eating beets is easy – beets are high in fiber, which keeps you full, and low in calories, so you can eat a nice-sized portion, which helps keep you full. So looking to lose weight? Think beets.

    Sure, there are other, better known vegetables. But given the impressive benefits of eating beets, maybe it’s time to put down the potato every now and then and pick up a beet!

  2. What Is Oxidative Stress?

    What Is Oxidative Damage Whenever people talk about your health, they throw around words like “antioxidants” “free radicals” “oxidative stress” and “oxidative damage.” And that’s all fine and good, assuming you know what those words mean.

    But too often experts and specialists will discuss all this and not bother to explain what all this has to do with staying healthy. So let’s do it. Let’s talk about oxidative stress, oxidative damage, and free radicals – and what they all have to do with antioxidants and your health.

    Free Radicals + Oxidative Stress + Oxidative Damage = SERIOUS Health Concerns

    Have you ever left a cut apple out on the counter too long? It turns brown, and starts to shrivel along the edges. The same thing happens with metal that’s been exposed to the elements for too long…

    That’s oxidative stress, and it doesn't just happen to apples or metal. It’s happening inside your body, too. This damage is actually caused by exposure to oxygen. See, as much as we need oxygen, being exposed to it creates something called free radicals – and they attack everything, from fruit to metal to human bodies.

    Free radicals are unpaired molecules on the hunt for a molecule to pair up with. They are created by internal exposure to oxygen, but also to external influences you’re exposed to every day like pollution, chemicals, even sunlight. In fact, so much of what you thought was “just aging” is actually tied directly to these free radicals you can’t avoid. So, since there’s no way to avoid them, you have to counter them.

    The free radical hunt for a molecule to pair with starts negatively impacting your healthy cells. This impact is known as oxidative stress, and it can change everything about your health. Your body fights back naturally, and more easily, when you’re younger.

    But as you age, and after a lifetime of this attack, your body stops being able to neutralize the oxidative stress as well. Eventually, the cells will begin to die and as they die, you get oxidative damage. Premature aging. Stiffness and aches in your joints. Even your organs and vital systems becoming less efficient.

    What Happens When You Don’t Stop Oxidative Stress?

    Since free radicals can attack any cell, they can cause oxidative damage throughout your body. As such, oxidative damage can be just as widespread.

    From your cardiovascular system, to your organs and glands, nerve cell damage, even to the youthfulness of your skin, nothing is immune from oxidative damage.

    And that’s why every conversation about maintaining your health includes at least some discussion of oxidative stress and damage. But even though you can’t avoid free radicals, you can push back against oxidative stress.

    So How Can You Stop This Harmful Process? 

    Antioxidants are the cornerstone of that push back. Known as “free radical scavengers,” antioxidants work by either limiting the formation of free radicals, or by donating a molecule to the free radical.

    Once a free radical has its second molecule, it is stabilized, which neutralizes the threat of further oxidative stress. So where do you find the antioxidants to protect your heart, your cells, even your youth? Look for fruits and vegetables with deep, and bright, colors. Some widely respected antioxidants include…

    • Açai fruit extract:This reddish-purple fruit comes from a palm tree in Brazil. But more importantly, it may have even more antioxidants than cranberries, raspberries, and blueberries.
    • Alpha-lipoic acid:  As an antioxidant, this chemical has been used to help protect everything from your brain to your skin.
    • Pomegranate fruit extract: Red wine and green tea are commonly used antioxidants – but pomegranate fruit juice has been shown to have three times the antioxidant power of either of them!
    • Quercetin dihydrate: A flavonoid found in many foods, it helps maintain healthy cholesterol levels, and may help reduce symptoms of allergies.
    • Curcuma longa root: This root, more commonly known as the spice  turmeric, may help promote a healthy inflammatory response, keeping you healthier, longer.
    • Tart Cherry: A supercharged antioxidant, which means it is overloaded with vitamins and minerals that help beat back the effects of oxidative stress and promote a healthy inflammatory response.

    But you can find antioxidants in vitamins and mineral, too. Vitamins and minerals like…

    • Vitamin C: This common vitamin acts as an antioxidant by boosting your immune system, maintaining oral health, helping avoid age-related vision issues, reducing the effects of sun exposure, and maintaining healthy blood sugar levels. It’s also believed to be a defense against oxidative damage, and the multiple health issues caused by oxidative stress
    • Beta Carotene: This colorful antioxidants is one of the most effective free radical scavengers around.
    • Zinc: It is involved in almost every aspect of cellular metabolism, growth, and repair. And unlike some other metals used in the body, zinc itself doesn’t oxidize quickly, so it doesn’t contribute to oxidative stress.

    The list of available antioxidants could go on and on (and on…) but the important thing to know is that an antioxidant can be one of the most powerful tools you have to maintaining your health.

    If you are looking for heart health, joint support, prostate protection, maintaining mental sharpness, even liking how you look in the mirror and oh so many more health concerns, then you must counter oxidative stress before it becomes oxidative damage.

    Knowing about oxidative stress – and knowing how to beat it back – is your key to good health.

  3. What Is Oxidative Damage?

    What Is Oxidative Damage For years, you were probably taught that wrinkles, age spots, failing vision, , were all an inevitable part of getting older. Sure, they’re more likely to occur after you reach “a certain age” but they are not inevitable… in spite of what you may have learned. Those “inevitable” signs of aging are actually caused by oxidative damage. Not old age, at all. In order to understand oxidative damage, you first have to understand oxidative stress because oxidative stress causes oxidative damage. So…what exactly is oxidative damage? Continue reading →
  4. What Are Free Radicals? Everything You Need to Know…

    What Are Free Radicals?Once something becomes a popular topic – on the news, online, in forums, or around the coffee shop – it’s easy to get confused, or fall behind. Especially when it seems everyone else understands the conversation. That makes it doubly hard to raise your hand and admit you don’t know. So, for all of us who have been wondering what are free radicals, but didn't want to admit to not knowing, here’s the down and dirty… Continue reading →
  5. RegeneCell Ingredients: Feel Better & Look Younger within Days

    Benefits of AntioxidantsPeople, especially health professionals, talk a lot about how important the benefits of antioxidants are. You hear things like “take this supplement because it’s packed with antioxidants” and “get your fruits and veggies” and even “eat every color in the rainbow.” It’s great advice. Too often, though, doctors and nutritionists stop at the advice, without ever explaining themselves. But since we don’t expect you to follow blindly, we wanted to make sure you know why antioxidants are so important… Continue reading →
  6. RegeneCell Ingredients: Feel Better & Look Younger within Days

    RegeneCell IngredientsAging isn't just about getting older. There’s very little we can do about getting older, and truthfully, getting older can be a good thing. But we can fight aging – the tell-tale wrinkles, the more regular doctors’ visits, the ever lengthening list of specialists, even the physical changes. You don’t have to give into them without a fight. That’s why Dr. Mitchell Ghen developed RegeneCell – the single most comprehensive anti-aging supplement on the market. Dr. Ghen has brought together more than 70 of the most effective, most reputable anti-aging fighters to create the formula that will help you rejuvenate every system and every cell in your body! How did he do this? By identifying the 10 signs of aging – and then researching the RegeneCell ingredients you need to address every single one of them and more. Continue reading →
  7. The 5 Best Antioxidant Supplements to Fight Back Aging

    Best Antioxidant SupplementsYou know antioxidants are important to your health – but do you know why? Why you should be looking for the best antioxidant supplements… how they help keep you feeling young and vibrant…what they do for your overall health. How Antioxidants Combat “Corrosion” Inside Your Body Before any conversation about antioxidants can make much sense, we need to talk about free radicals and oxidative stress. Have you ever seen metal  that’s been left out and exposed to the elements? After a long enough time, it starts to rust. The process that causes that rust is called oxidation. The disturbing part is that a similar process is happening inside your body right now, and it’s called oxidative stress and oxidative damage. Continue reading →
  8. Dr. Ghen & RegeneCell – The Only Anti-Aging Team You’ll Ever Need

    RegeneCell Anti-Aging SupplementWhen researching anti-aging products, like RegeneCell, you've probably noticed the name Dr. Mitchell Ghen. Or maybe when reading about RegeneCell, you've run across his name. It makes you wonder - just who is Dr. Ghen, and what does he have to do with RegeneCell? Let’s take a closer look at RegeneCell and Dr. Ghen, both… Continue reading →
  9. RegeneCell Reviews – Does it Really Work… SURE DOES!

    RegeneCell antioxidant supplement RegeneCell is NorthStar Nutritionals premiere antioxidant supplement, designed to help you slam the brakes on aging and help you feel decades younger.  So it is likely that you heard that RegeneCell can help you keep… A brain so sharp you can be able to retrieve any piece of information--pin numbers, birthdays, phone numbers--on command Energy that keeps you going through your day Skin that wrinkles bounce off of like a trampoline And now, you’re curious to find out if RegeneCell really works, if it really is a premier antioxidant supplement. Just continue reading and you may be amazed at what our customers had to say about RegeneCellContinue reading →
  10. Polyphenols may reduce death risk by 30%

    Cheat death with polyphenols micronutrient magic

    Slowing down the hands of time is not only possible; it’s so much easier than you could ever imagine. And the key to performing this incredible anti-aging feat lies, as it so often does, in nature. Now you’ve probably heard of polyphenols before. And you might even know that they’re supposed to be good for you. But, if you’re like most folks, you probably don’t know much else about them… and for good reason. You see, the truth is, scientists and nutritionists didn’t know a whole heck of a lot about them, either, until less than 10 years ago. And that’s because there’s such a wide variety of them (over 8000!), and their chemical structure is incredibly complex.

    “Slow down time” with polyphenols

    Polyphenols are micronutrients that we obtain through our diet. Plants produce them naturally as a defense against ultraviolet radiation or aggressive pathogens. And we now know that they can protect us as well. They act as antioxidants in our bodies, shielding us against the damaging free radicals and inflammation that can lead to cancer, heart disease, diabetes, neurodegenerative diseases, osteoporosis and more. In other words, they essentially help us slow down time by sidestepping the devastating diseases of aging that send us hurtling faster and faster towards our own demise. Polyphenols are found in abundance in fruits, vegetables, tea, coffee and red wine. And if you’re eating a lot of those foods you may be getting enough of these important nutrients to slow aging down until it’s practically creeping along like molasses in January. (For more on the polyphenols found in tea, and how they could help you avoid diabetes click here to go to the NorthStar blog.) But the problem is, until very recently, we really didn’t know just how much “enough” actually was. And worse, as a result we had no way of knowing if people were getting anywhere near what they needed. (Although judging by the average American’s junk-food-based diet I think we can safely say that it’s not likely.) Heck, we didn’t even know how much the average person was taking in. So, as you can imagine, that made it tough to “prove” just how valuable polyphenols actually are.

    Slash premature death risk by 30%!

    But that’s when some brilliant researchers stepped in to save the day. A multinational team of scientists recently proved that polyphenols could slash your risk of a premature death by a mind-blowing 30 percent! The long-term study, published in the Journal of Nutrition, tracked 807 seniors for up to twelve years. Using urine tests, the researchers were able to pinpoint how many polyphenols their volunteers were eating. And using that data they were able to figure out exactly how many polyphenols are needed to have your best chance of cheating Father Time. It turns out the magic number is at least 650 milligrams of polyphenols every day. The problem, of course, is figuring out if you’re getting enough of these micronutrients… and the right kinds of them… in your daily diet. Eating lots of fruits and vegetables and drinking plenty of tea, coffee and red wine is a great start. But if you don’t… or can’t… always make the right dietary choices, getting enough polyphenols from what you eat can be a real challenge… or even impossible. That’s when a quality polyphenol-rich antioxidant supplement can come in handy.
    Look for supplements that say “anti-aging” on the label, or in the description, and ones that list fruits or vegetables in the ingredient list.  And if the bottle contains words like green tea, grape seed, Resveratrol and Astaxanthin, it’s a pretty safe bet that you’ve got your hands on a strong antioxidant formula.
  11. Protect yourself from the flu -- naturally

    With flu season right around the corner, and the lies about the so-called flu vaccine finally exposed you’re probably wondering how to protect yourself from the flu without risky shots or drugs. I’ve got the answer to that question. It’s time to “Flu Proof” yourself, of course. And my simple Flu Fighting Formula is just what the doctor ordered. You see, the key to protect yourself from flu is simply to shore up your immune system so it’s fired up and ready to fight off any ugly bugs that come your way. And you can help it do just that with a few easy-to-find and affordable supplements (you’re probably already taking a few of them anyway:
    • Vitamin D
    • Vitamin C
    • Vitamin E
    • Zinc
    • Selenium
    • Garlic
    • A probiotic
    Stock up on these immune boosters to protect yourself from the flu before the flu season is in full swing, and they could help you make it all the way through the winter with barely a sniffle.
  12. Help reduce heart failure from hypertension with antioxidants

    The cure for heart-failure found hanging on a vine

    If you’re living with risk of heart failure from hypertension, this scenario might sound frighteningly familiar… Just walking from the parking lot has you huffing and puffing like a freight train as you try to catch your breath. When you sit down for more than a minute, you're in danger of dozing off from sheer exhaustion. And perhaps worst of all, your legs are starting to blow up like circus balloons, and even your most comfortable shoes don't seem to fit well anymore. If you're not there yet, but are already battling high blood pressure, then you could have just gotten a glimpse into your gloomy future. Hypertension increases your risk of heart failure two to three fold. But help may have just arrived from an unexpected source -- the humble grape. It turns out grapes are much more than just tasty, they appear to be able to reduce the risk of , heart failure from hypertension (high blood pressure), , according to a study published in the Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry.

    Grapes fight free radicals

    Of course, this isn't the first time I've sung the praises of the grape. It was over four years ago that I shared the news about the cancer-fighting power packed into those teeny-tiny little grape seeds. And just like back then, the focus of these new findings is trained on the antioxidants and polyphenols crammed into the delicious fruit. Researchers believe these natural nutrients have the ability to light a fire under several key genes, bumping up their defense against the disease-linked oxidized molecules known as free radicals. (Free radicals are associated with at least fifty different diseases, including cancer and heart disease, and are essentially responsible for the process of aging. But that's a story for another time.)

    "Master antioxidant" wards off heart failure

    In the eighteen-week animal study, rats with high blood pressure--and who were at high risk for heart failure--were fed a grape-enriched diet. The results were impressive to say the least. The grape diet reduced both heart-muscle enlargement, and fibrosis, and improved the diastolic function (the lower number on your blood-pressure readings) of the heart. Just as exciting, the scientists were able to pinpoint just how it is the grapes accomplished these impressive feats. The key turns out to be something we've talked about before in the Guide to Good Health, and that's glutathione. Over three years ago, when I first introduced you to the "master antioxidant," I explained how it can help keep your skin looking fresh and young from the inside out. But glutathione can do a heck of a lot more than just bring the telltale signs of aging to a standstill. This powerful protector works to neutralize free-radicals before they can cause lasting damage. And this means it can be a potent weapon against all kinds of diseases, including--it turns out--heart failure. Now, the thing is grapes aren't actually full of glutathione themselves. Instead they bump up the activity of the genes that are responsible for producing the antioxidant, reducing the risk of heart failure from hypertension. And of course, don't forget, grapes ARE full of all kinds of other disease-fighting antioxidants and polyphenols. The University of Michigan scientists plan to do more testing to find out even more about how the grapes make such great heart-helpers. But there's no need to wait around for those results, you can start snacking on heart-healthy grapes right away. But one word of caution: you should make sure that the grapes you choose are organic. They'll cost a few cents more, but the investment is well worth it. Grapes routinely end up on the "Dirty Dozen" list for pesticide contamination. And the last thing you want to do is trade one health problem for another. And although whole foods are usually best, when grapes aren't an option you may be able to also reap many of the same grape benefits with a high-quality supplement.
  13. Organic tomatoes higher in vitamin C and lycopene

    You say tomato I say organic

    Hear that? No, me neither. Fortunately, the cat calls from the anti-organic crowd's cheap seats are getting harder and harder to hear these days. (Yes, Stanford researchers, I'm looking at you.) A few years back I told you about a Spanish study that found that the juice from organic tomatoes were higher in disease-fighting polyphenols than factory-farmed versions. Now a Brazilian study, published in the journal PLOS ONE, is adding more juice to the organic tomato's glass. Researchers from the Federal University of Ceara in Brazil compared tomatoes from conventional and organic farms. Naturally...and I do mean NATURALLY....the organic tomatoes, that hadn't spent their entire lifetime bathed in artificial pesticides and fertilizers, weighed substantially less than their chemically-treated doppelgangers. But, more importantly, the organic tomatoes were found to be higher in disease-fighting nutrients including vitamin C and the antioxidant lycopene. They were also richer in palate-pleasing natural sugars than their cardboard-like conventional cousins.
  14. Resveratrol effects may reduce hearing loss by acting as a COX-2 inhibitor

    Protect your hearing with resveratrol

    If you’ve been paying any attention to natural news the past few years, you’ve no doubt heard of the the potent antioxidant resveratrol, which has been labeled a cancer fighter, and is considered by many to be an anti-aging superstar. What you may not know, is another of resveratrol’s effects may be to help ward off noise induced hearing loss. This hard working multi-tasker promotes heart health, brain function, and circulation. And, despite what one poorly constructed study implied, the extract even appears to support insulin regulation, normal blood pressure, and cholesterol control. The key to resveratrol's effects lies in the supplement's antioxidant nature. You see, antioxidants naturally fight the inflammation that's at the heart of countless diseases and assaults on your health. And, according to a study of the effects of resveratrol published in the journal Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, it's this same inflammation-fighting ability that, may offer some surprising protection for your hearing.

    Reverse inflammation with grapes

    Researchers at the Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit wanted to find out if resveratrol effects had any influence on noise-induced hearing loss. You see exposure to loud noise doesn't just rob people of their hearing it can also interfere with sleep and communication, and is linked to increases in blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugar. So, in other words, the researchers were getting a whole lot of bang for their study buck. Since subjecting people to deafeningly-loud rock concerts seemed like a bad idea the scientists turned to rats to carry out their experiment. They dosed up the rodents on resveratrol and then exposed them to loud noise for a long period of time. After having the rats rock out to loud noise, the scientists noticed something interesting. The rats' bodies were reacting to the noise much like they would with a sport's injury or arthritis...with inflammation. Being exposed to the noise triggered an increase in COX-2 proteins. You may already be familiar with COX-2s because of the drugs that are often used to combat them, called COX-2 inhibitors. They include Celebrex, Vioxx, and Bextra...although two of the three have been removed from the market because of side effects. When you have an injury or disease, COX-2 enzymes pump out prostaglandins that cause the pain, swelling, and inflammation that goes with it. And COX-2 inhibitors drive back that inflammation. (And, unfortunately, bring along a boatload of potential side effects for the ride.) And here's where things got REALLY interesting.

    Reduce hearing loss naturally

    The scientists observed that the resveratrol effects significantly inhibited the COX-2 and, as a result, significantly reduced the rats' hearing loss. In other words, the resveratrol had literally protected those little rodent ears from the effects of the noise. Resveratrol had acted as an all-natural COX-2 inhibitor, dousing the inflammation without any of the potentially dangerous drug side effects! Now, with so many good reasons to recommend resveratrol, it's not like I need another one...but it looks like I just got one, anyway. If you've read about resveratrol effects in the GTGH before, and you're already taking it, that's great -- you're giving your ears some much-needed added protection! If not, talk with a doctor skilled in natural healing about what this all-natural COX-2 inhibitor may be able to do for you.
  15. Berries may lower heart attack risk

    Slash your risk of heart attack by a third with this fruit

    It's the kind of "prescription" I love to write. "Eat a bowl of these and you won't need to call an ambulance tonight...or me in the morning." If you guessed that the bowl was chock full of statins, well, I’m actually not talking about a drug at all, I’m talking about berries. A new study published in the journal Circulation has found that eating at least three servings of strawberries and blueberries a week can lower heart attack risk in women by an astounding one third!

    32 percent lower heart attack risk!

    Researchers from Harvard School of Public Health and the University of East Anglia in the U.K. teamed up for a study involving 93,600 women ages 25 to 42 who were registered with the Nurses' Health Study II. Every four years for 18 years, the women completed detailed questionnaires about what they ate. It turns out that the ladies who had a fondness for blueberries and strawberries...eating at least three servings a week...had a 32 percent lower risk of heart attack when compared to the women who ate the berries just once a month or less. And before you ask, the answer is "yes," they did indeed take into account other risk factors that could have affected the results, like exercise, age, family history, smoking, caffeine and alcohol consumption, and high blood pressure. And even then the findings still stood strong. In fact, the difference in risk was still there even when the light- and non-berry eaters ate lots of other kinds of fruits and vegetables...making the argument for berry-eating an even stronger one.

    Flavonoids fight heart disease

    Now, we don't need to dig too deeply to figure out how those berries likely accomplished this impressive feat. As I've told you before, berries are brimming with heart-friendly compounds including healthy flavonoids. And, as you know, flavonoids are antioxidants that protect our cells against damage. Berries are particularly rich in a special flavonoid called anthocyanins. If you've ever heard of the "French Paradox," these are the flavonoids that are often credited with this phenomenon. According to researchers, heart-friendly anthocyanins may be the real key to the berries' abilities. It's believed that these special anti-inflammatory flavonoids help dilate arteries, reduce artery stiffness, and fight plaque buildup, making them a natural to lower heart attack risk. If you don't happen to be a blueberry or strawberry fan, don't despair; there are other foods that are rich in anthocyanins. The list includes cherries, concord grapes, cranberries, bilberry, red onions, plums, black raspberry, muscadine grapes, red raspberry, red cabbage, blackberry, açaí fruit, red wine, blackcurrant, eggplant, black rice, and, for the more adventurous, purple corn and violet petals. Oh, and if you're a guy, although this study was conducted on women, there's no reason to not believe the same or similar findings would apply to you as well. And since berries are good for all of us, regardless of our gender, we should all make them a part of our regular diet anyway. Just be sure the ones you pick are organic!
  16. Resveratrol benefits people with heart disease and more

    Unless you've been living under a rock for the last couple of years I'm sure you've heard about the benefits of resveratrol, the powerful anti-aging “red wine antioxidant”.  In fact, I've written a lot about heart-friendly resveratrol’s benefits. You've probably also read about the so called "French Paradox" that allows our friends in France to eat a diet that's heavy in red meats, carbs, fats, and rich sauces and yet, still maintain slim physiques. Not to mention an impressively low incidence of heart disease. I've shared the news about the exciting anti-aging potential locked inside this grape skin extract. And I've told you how resveratrol benefits may help in the fight against pancreatic cancer. In one study, it appeared to increase the effectiveness of chemo against cancerous cells, while at the same time offering protection to the healthy ones. A number of studies have even found that resveratrol is a good candidate for helping with insulin regulation, high blood pressure, and cholesterol control. And one study even found that the supplement can increase blood flow to the brain, likely improving cognitive performance. To put it simply, this stuff is impressive. Or...is it? That's the question on many people's minds after a rash of recent headlines questioned the extracts' reputation. Critics point to the results of a recent study as evidence that resveratrol doesn't improve insulin sensitivity or help with cholesterol control. Confused yet? Don't be. Their claims simply don't hold much water, and I'll explain why.

    Finding the flaw

    The study that the mainstream media has seized upon was published in October in the journal Cell Metabolism. And, if you listen to the mainstream reports, it concluded that there were no significant improvements in insulin sensitivity or cholesterol in women given the extract when compared to a control group. And they're right...technically. But the results don't tell the complete story. Not by a long shot. In fact, there's a truck-sized flaw running right through the middle of their argument. You see, the fifteen women who participated in this study (you read that right -- not fifteen thousand or fifteen hundred...just FIFTEEN women) were completely healthy to begin with. They didn't even have any insulin sensitivity or cholesterol problems to correct! No, sadly, I'm not joking. It turns out that none of them even had a history of diabetes or cardiovascular disease. In fact, all of the women underwent a complete medical evaluation at the start of the study and, well, let's just say the phrase healthy as a herd of horses springs to mind.

    Tallying up the resveratrol benefits

    So, did three months of a resveratrol supplement significantly improve perfectly healthy, non-obese women's already healthy metabolic function? Well, no. And does this matter to any of us? Well, no. Let's face it, a stack of research has already shown us the many things this powerful antioxidant can do for our health. Heck, even the researchers in this study that the mainstream is crowing about acknowledge that resveratrol has shown benefits for people with heart disease, pre-diabetes, diabetes, and cholesterol problems. You know, people like most of the rest of us. (Frankly, what puzzles me...well, beyond why they would test resveratrol on women who are already healthy, of course... is where these researchers even managed to find fifteen post-menopausal women in their fifty's that were so darn healthy anyway.) The bottom line is, this new study doesn't reveal anything new about the resveratrol benefits. And it doesn't tell us a thing about its potential for helping to prevent future problems, either. But when you weigh all of the evidence my money is still squarely on resveratrol. However, unlike the too-low 75 mg dosage that was used in this study, I generally recommend 200 mg a day (or 100 mg if it's part of a comprehensive anti-aging or heart formula). Check with your own naturopathic doctor to find out what's the best choice for you. P.S. -- When you sit down at your Thanksgiving table today go ahead and serve yourself a healthy helping of cranberries. It turns out this holiday favorite is packed with resveratrol. Just be sure you're reaching for the real thing and not that canned variety, which is chock-full of preservatives, processed sugar, and BPA. Happy Thanksgiving!
  17. The produce solution to lowering stroke risk

    Try tomatoes to lower stroke risk

    I've sung the praises of tomatoes to you before. I told you how the heart-healthy antioxidant lycopene, found in tomatoes, can help keep your arteries young. Now, in a study published in the journal Neurology, the unassuming fruit has been linked with a lower stroke risk. Researchers in Finland found people with the highest amount of lycopene in their blood had a 55 percent lower stroke risk than people with the lowest amounts of lycopene. And it gets even better. When the researchers honed in specifically on strokes due to blood clots that percentage shot up to 59 percent!
  18. Antioxidants in apples could be your colon’s best friend

    Speaking of mom's, aren't they also the ones who taught us that "an apple a day keeps the doctor away"? Do you think she knew about the antioxidants in apples way back when? Well, it looks like Mom is really on a roll here because once again her advice is paying off. According to a study published in the Journal of Leukocyte Biology the antioxidants in apples...called polyphenols...have shown great promise as a natural anti-inflammatory. Researchers tested apple polyphenols on mice and found that the antioxidants in apples suppressed T cell activation preventing colitis...an inflammation of the lining of the colon...in the mice. And, of course, this finding could lead to treatments for all kinds of other bowel-inflammation problems as well including Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis, and even colorectal cancers. Now let's just hope that the scientists stick to the natural apple polyphenols when developing these new therapies. Because you and I both know that as soon as Big Pharma gets its grubby little hands on the research a patented, expensive, and synthetic version is likely not very far behind.
  19. The health benefits of Brussels sprouts

    When you sit down for that big turkey dinner and all the trimmings today I’m going to ask that you be sure to grab a helping of a side dish you probably let pass right by you each year. I’m talking about the Rodney Dangerfield of vegetables, the lowly Brussels sprout. Even with all of the health benefits of Brussels sprouts, this veggie that just doesn’t get any respect. Now I can practically hear your groans as you argue against having to eat these much-maligned veggies. “They stink!” “They’re mushy.” “They’re bitter and just don’t taste good.” And, frankly, I can’t really argue with you because, to be honest, you’re totally right. Well…sort of. Let me explain. The thing is most of us have never had the opportunity to eat a Brussels sprout cooked correctly. Want to know how I know? Because if we had been served these nutritional powerhouses cooked the right way we’d be loading up our plates with this delicious cousin of the cabbage and even going back for seconds. The problem comes down to one thing…overcooking. When you overcook a batch of Brussels sprouts the heat causes a chemical reaction that releases glucosinolate the compound that gives the vegetables that well-known bitter taste and stinky sulfur smell that’s earned them top billing on the “Most Hated” list for kids and adults alike. Overcooking also eliminates some of the health benefits of Brussels sprouts by removing their natural nutrients. But what if I told you that a well-cooked Brussels sprout is both deliciously sweet and packed with good-for-you nutrients like antioxidants, vitamin C, vitamin A, folic acid, vitamin A, thiamine, B6, potassium, and fiber? The solution is simple, cut a small “x” in the stem of each sprout to help them cook faster and then boil, steam, or…my favorite…bake (just toss them with some olive oil and a dash of sea salt and pepper before baking) your fresh sprouts for no longer than 7 minutes. The result is a delicious vegetable that you’re going to want seconds on when they get passed to you today at your holiday table. Have a safe, happy, and delicious Thanksgiving!
  20. 2 key antioxidants help battle breast cancer and may stop it returning

    I remember when a friend of mine got cancer, her oncologist told her to stop taking vitamins. They might protect the cancer cells and get in the way of your treatment, he warned. But that‘s a bunch of baloney. Take your vitamins, especially if you‘re battling breast cancer. A recent study found that women with breast cancer who took two key antioxidants following their diagnosis significantly cut their risk of recurrence. For this study, researchers recruited about 5,000 women with invasive breast cancer. About six months after surgery, the women answered questions about their vitamin usage. Then, the researchers followed the women over the next four years. Here‘s what they found... Unfortunately, the cancer returned in 532 of the women. But the women who took two key antioxidants during the first six months following their diagnosis slashed their recurrence risk. In fact, women who used vitamin C for more than three months had a 38 percent lower risk of recurrence. Plus, they had a 44 percent lower mortality risk (compared to those who didn‘t use the vitamin). The benefits for taking vitamin E were even greater. Researchers found that women who took vitamin E for three months or more reduced their recurrence risk by 48 percent. Plus, they reduced their mortality risk by 43 percent compared to non- vitamin takers. According to the study‘s authors: "There is a widespread concern that the use of antioxidant supplements during cancer treatment may protect tumor cells from the oxidative damage induced by cancer therapies, thereby reducing the effectiveness of treatment and increasing risk of mortality. We found no evidence that vitamin use during the first six months following diagnosis had a detrimental effect on breast cancer outcomes." That‘s putting it lightly. I‘d say a 38 to 48 percent reduction in recurrence rates is huge news! Every oncologist should give these antioxidants to their breast cancer patients. But it will never happen. Most oncologists only want to tell you about drugs. Drugs like Avastin. Avastin is mainly used to treat lung and colon cancer. But the FDA approved its use for breast cancer back in 2008 based on evidence that it could add up to five months to a woman‘s lifespan. It works by cutting off the supply of blood vessels to a tumor. But since 2008, study after study has shown that Avastin does not extend the lifespan of a woman battling metastic breast cancer. Yet oncologists, Big Pharma, and patients groups want to keep it on the market. Tragically, this may do more harm than good. The FDA will make the call about Avastin‘s sometime in June. I‘ll keep you posted. But in the meantime, if you want to keep cancer out of your life for good, keep taking your vitamin C and vitamin E.

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