Sunday, May 22, 2011

Four health foods that you can benefit from

Every few years a new "health food" hits the shelves and the entire world begins raving about the  health benefits  that will cure everything from A - Z.   Many of these disease fighting properties can be found in common natural foods without spending all the money.

This article will examine some of the health benefits bestowed from consumers of acai, goji, pomegranate and spirulina.

Acai

Acai is a fruit from the acai palm tree which is native to Central and South America.  Its desired nutrient is anthocyanins.  Scientist have found that anthocyanins do offer cancer inhibiting cell growth compounds and reduces the risk of cardiovascular diseases.  This includes the lowering of blood pressure.

Down side is the juice of acai can be prohibitively expensive.  Alternate sources of anthocyanins are apples, cherries, grapes, radishes, blueb erries and nearly all purple, blue or red fruit or vegetable.

Goji

Also known as wolfberry.  Goji is a red-orange berry most commonly found in China.

The desired nutrient in goji are carotenoids.   Goji is rich in beta-carotene, which the body converts into retinol, a form of vitamin A that may boost the immune system.

Again, the juice of goji is expensive.  Alternate sources of beta-carotene are leafy greens such as spinach, collard greens and kale.

Pomegranate

This seeded fruit was originally grown in  Iran and in the Himalayas.

The desired nutrient here is polyphenols, which are compounds that provide protection to plants.  These compounds are also helpful in human consumption providing protection against certain diseases.  One study has demonstrated that pomegranates may provide protection against age related mental decline.

Polyphenols are found in concord grapes, red wine, artichokes, parsley, strwberries and all forms of teas.

Spirulina

Spirulina is a type of blue algae that grows in warm, alkaline water.   Spirulina is composed of up to 70 percent protein, which helps the body repair damaged tissues and build bones, skin and muscle.  Unfortunately, the risk of contamination is high though, because spirulina is highly absorbent and can cause contamination from heavy metals and other toxins.

Some alternate food sources are lean meats, dairy products, nut, especially almonds and soybeans.

References:

"Everyday Miracle Foods" Feeling Good Oprah Magazine
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