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Acai Berry and other Top Superfoods

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Acai Berry and other Top Superfoods

Let me begin by explaining what superfoods are?
They are foods with supposed special health building characteristic or nutrient dense foods/beverages with health benefits. The most common claim we hear is that they are high in antioxidants level thus the name, “superfoods”. The word “Superfoods” is not an official allowed claim that food companies can put on their food labels. Its just a marketing strategy to encourage people to buy their products for some possible health advantage if they eat lots of these foods. Acai Berry and other superfoods can be quite expensive though. Non can cure an ailment or disease or even prevent it on their own. Even though they might benefit our health one way or the other, we must be careful as to what else they add to those superfoods once they hit the supermarket or our grocery stores. Can Acai Berry or other superfoods contain additional not so beneficial ingredients ?

1) Acai Berry: Fruit native to brazil from the acai palm tree. Acai Berry is rich in anthocyanins (soluble pigments that produce blue to red coloring in plants depending on their pH level), vitamin E, polyunsaturatedted  fats, calcium, copper, magnesium, vitamin K and are very high in antioxidants. Acai Berry is one of the fattest fruits due to its high in content in polyunsaturated Fatty Acids. Acai Berry is naturally bitter tasting so must it be sweetened. It just cannot be taken pure, is way too bitter. Look always for organic and wild crafted sources. The amount of antioxidants can vary by batch and manufacturers. Since it is so bitter, you must watch for sugars added.  This is one of the disadvatages of eating this fruit too much. Food companies must add sugar to their product to make it palatable, so insulin and blood glucose can get quite elevated by eating it. Always remember that with Acai Berry you must follow serving size due to its added sugar content.
2)  MACA: It contains a high protein nutritional value. Its a radish like plant grown in Peru used for libido and fertility. Root rich in PUFA, plant sterols, fiber, calcium, Magnesium, Phosphorus, selenium. MACA powered can cost up to 45$/LB. Can help manage lipids due to their sterol content.  MACA can also be used with protein shakes to increase the nutrient density without increasing the glycemic index of the shake. Research on Maca and libido and fertility can be found at this journal of medicine (Zenico Andrologia 2009 Apr:41(2)95-9.)
3) Mangosteen: Fruits that grows on certain evergreen trees in Asian/pacific countries. Rich in xanthones, high in antioxidants, strong anti inflammatory effect.  It has recently received bad rep due to being high in levels of lead and quality and productions issues, noted mostly when  imported from Thailand. You got to make sure is pure and not contaminated.
4) Goji  Berries: Very highly prized fruit in China. It contains Vitamin  A, Vitamin C, Fiber copper, iron, potassium, riboflavin, zinc, beta carotene, zeaxanthin, lycopene, protein, calcium and selenium. They are part of the nightshade family of foods. If you have issues with night shades vegetables or fruit you must be careful with Goji Berries.  1 oz of Goji Berry has approximately 6 to 10 grams of carbohydrates. It can also be pricey.
5) Blueberries: High in lutein, anthocyanins, ellagic acid (natural antioxidant found in numerous fruits and vegetables, is refered as a natural killer of cancer cells and can even stop cancer growth), vitamin C, Vitamin K and manganese. HIghest antioxidant levels in commonly consumed fruit.  Moderate Glycemic index  (43 compared to 30’s of other berries). Ellagic acid is a very strong apoptosis effect on cancer cells. Promegrante is also another fruit that contains high levels of ellagic acid. Even 1 cup of raspberries a day can also be used to prevent cancer due to its high ellagic acid content.  Blackberries and raspberries have similar nutrient profiles but with a lower glycemic index which make it a better alternatives for patients with high fasting insulin levels, Type 2 Diabetes or metabolic syndrome.
6) Dark Leafy Greens:  They contain vitamins C, A, beta carotene, vitamin K, calcium, Magnesium and folate. They contain high lutein content and its used for macular degeneration prevention. Alkalinizing, Very low glycemic index but they are high in oxalates- potential for increased risk of kidney stones( Adequate mg and Vitamin K  lower this risk somewhat) Cadmium influences this risk and possible genetics. Highest nutrient density for very low caloric content.  Our blood work more efficiently on alkalinizing diet than on acidic diet.  When you eat food with high nutrient density you don’t produce metabolic acids .
7) Green tea ( Matcha) High in polyphenols called catechins. Contains EGCG which is the active ingredient of green Tea. Very strong anti cancer properties. Anti angiogenesis and theanine (used for anti anxiety benefits). Mildly stimulates basal metabolic rate however companies that sell this product emphasize on this too much. Only 5-10 % weight loss is noted when you take or drink pure green tea products. Weight management benefits. Stimulates nrf2 enzymes from detox pathways in our bodies. . Helps lower cholesterol ( 5 cups or more). Helps stabilize blood glucose. High in tannin content. Catechins are tannins, and they are anti-nutrient so they can blocks absorption of trace minerals like iron and decrease digestibility of proteins.  Anticancer activities that you can see with only 2-3 servings a day but for cardiovascular protection it must be taken for more than 5 servings/day. If you have somebody struggling with anemia, you have to understand that it might not be helping the anemia if you take too Green Tea too much.
8) Cacao / Dark Chocolate: They contain Cocoa phenols, antioxidants and Magnesium. The evidence shows that they can lower blood pressure and CVD risk ( due to its antioxidants/polyphenols, anti clotting activity). Cocoa can be a mood elevator- Theobromine (bitter alkaloid of the cocoa plant) can increase serotonin levels. Watch for toxicity with non organic cocoa products. The metal Lead was recently found in many cocoa products (cacao nibs and powders). When choosing cocoa products, choose for 70% cocoa or higher. The higher the cocoa content the more antioxidants it contains as it is more pure and less processed.
9) Beans/Legumes: High in fiber, protein, which helps lower Glycemic Index  content of foods. They are high in antioxidants. Rich source of resistant starch- used for gut health benefits since it can affect our Microbiome ( microorganisms that reside in our gut flora and bodies). High in lectins ( a type of protein that can protect the gut linings)  and phytates (antioxidants found in whole grains and legumes but that can block zinc and other minerals) and can even function as goitrogens (substances that can interfere with thyroid function). Cooking and fermentation lowers lectins and goitrogen activity.
10) Nuts and seeds: Strong evidence shows that tree nuts reduce risk of type 2 DM, cancer, cardiovascular disease and help cognitive health and even weight management. Make sure you rotate the ingestion of nuts and seeds to prevent allergic reactions. All nuts and seeds have similar nutrients profile. Some of the nuts and seeds you can choose from are: Almonds, Brazil Nuts, Pistachio, walnuts, cashews, chia seeds, hemp seeds, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, sunflower, peanuts. All are rich in some or another nutrient.

11) Garlic, Mushrooms, Cruciferous vegetables, Spices: Garlic: high in sulfur compound that aid in detox pathways, reduce
carcinogenic effects of nitrosamines (a compound containing a nitroso group, which are considered carcinogenic). Examples are:

Mushrooms: Maitake, shitake, arabinogalactins
Cabbage family: sulforophanes and indole 3 carbinol have strong anti cancer properties.
Cruciferous vegetables: They are high in goitrogens (foods or substances that disrupt thyroid function)
Spices: Turmeric, rosemary and others contain strong anti inflammatory properties.
Cinnamon: Can help in blood glucose regulation

Is there a really a perfect superfood? Is Acai Berry the most relevant of all?  Even green leafy vegetables can produce kidney stones due to high oxalate level. Exposure to Cadmium from smoking, second hand smoking, shellfish, liver meats etc. makes this risk even higher. So, while there is no perfect “superfood” , we must try to add some of this foods to our daily diets. Always remember that toxicity in our environment is rampant so buying organic foods must be at the top of our list when buying these foods. Acai Berry and SuperFoods


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