ANTIOXIDANT SUPERFOODS

The recent surge of interest in antioxidant superfoods — the most significant of which is:

Pomegranates— is a fruit cultivated in Mediterranean countries, India, Israel, China, Japan, Russia, Afghanistan, California and Arizona. When compared to other antioxidant rich fruits and substances such as red wine and green tea, it has the highest concentration of antioxidants. Consumption of pomegranate juice may play a role in warding off heart disease, diabetes, prostate cancer, dental problems and erectile dysfunction.

Antioxidants protect cells and repair damage caused by free radical oxygen molecules. Diets high in antioxidants have been touted to ward off conditions such as heart disease, cancer, and visible signs and effects of aging.

In a small study, researchers found the test subjects who consumed a daily cup of pomegranate juice for three months had improved blood flow through their arteries . . . while blood flow deteriorated in the control group given a placebo juice. Yet another study showed a cup of pomegranate juice a day for a year reduced arteriosclerosis and decreased systolic blood pressure, thus increasing cardiovascular health.

In another study, a daily consumption of 40 grams of pomegranate juice for eight weeks resulted in a decrease in total cholesterols, LDL, HDL, and LDL/HDL ratio.

Other fruits given high antioxidant rich super fruit status have been lining food shelves and are popping up in juice stores all over the country, and their manufacturers offering promises of improved health. The reality of all these superfoods is that there is minimal research evidence to support all their claims, most of their “evidence” is in anecdotal testimony. However, many health experts do believe that a diet rich in whole food sources of antioxidants helps to promote optimal health. So eat and drink these superfoods to your preference . . . maybe one day research will catch up to the claims . . . until then, enjoy.

Acai—grown in Brazil; claims to remove wrinkles, cleanse the body of toxins and quickens weight loss; high in antioxidants, 19 amino acids, dietary fiber, many vitamins and minerals

Goji Berries—China; claims anti-aging, prevention and treatment of cancer, diabetes, arthritis and digestive problems, and weight loss; antioxidants include beta-carotene and lycopene, 19 amino acids, 21 trace minerals, high vitamin C and E

Mangosteen—India and Asia; claims neutralizing free radicals, support of cartilage and joint function, healthy respiratory system and other traditional medicinal properties; carries antioxidant, but lacks in other content

Noni—Pacific Islands; claims to boost immune system, increased energy and physical performance, and users believe it helps cure cancer; while it has a moderate antioxidant potency, and a small amount of vitamins and minerals

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information resources: IDEA Health & Fitness Association and American Council on Exercise

 

 

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