My Guide To Buying Top
Superfoods In A Health Store
By Dr Gillian McKeith
? Copyright McKeith Research Ltd
I have always felt at home in health food stores and have the highest
respect for those who engage themselves in seeking to help people to
find and keep good health, which is also my lifelong mission.
I highly recommend them as the place to find the biggest range of
healthy foods and an excellent place to get good advice from
Of course there are many goodies in a health food store but here are
six of my favourites.
Incredibly Rich in Antioxidants
On of my top recommendations in the current series of „You Are What
You Eat‟ are Goji berries. What, I hear you ask is a Goji berry.
Discovered in the Himalayan mountains, Goji berries are regarded in
the Orient as an anti-aging, strength building superfood. This sacred
berry is so cherished by Tibetan monks that they traditionally honour it
for a two week celebration at the end of every year and many Chinese homes present it to honoured guests as a symbol of hospitality. Looking like a red coloured raisin, Goji berries contain 19 amino acids - the building blocks of protein. The berries are rich in up to 21 trace minerals including zinc, iron (up to 11mg per 100g!), copper, calcium, germanium, selenium and phosphorus. They also contain betasisterol, sesquiterpenoids (cyperone, solavetivone, an anti fungal compound), tetraterpenoids and polysaccharides which support the immune system. Goji berries contain the complete spectrum of food antioxidant carotenoids, including beta-carotene (a better source than even carrots) and zeaxanthin (supports the eyes). This berry is among the highest source of carotenoids of all known common foods. Gojis contain 500 times the amount of vitamin C, by weight, than oranges making them second only to camu camu berries as the richest known vitamin C source on earth. Plus vitamins B1, B2, B6 and vitamin E are bountiful.
Goji berries are so rich in antioxidants that they really are in a league of their own. Independent „ORAC‟ testing by Tufts University in the US shows that Goji berries are three times stronger in antioxidants than pomegranate and eight times richer than blueberries.
Goji berries are high in essential fatty acids, the healthy omegas, which are required for the body's production of hormones and the smooth functioning of the brain and nervous systems. In particular, linoleic acid is abundant.
The Goji berry is a nutritious powerhouse and is so very tasty. Eat them just the way they are as the perfect snack or add to cereal, trail mixes, yogurt,muesli and smoothies. Gojis make a sweet tea or use as a delicious garnish in exciting dishes. The Chinese favour them in savoury dishes such a rich stews and soups.
Goji Berry Shopping Tips: Buy them loose to sprinkle, organic ones are now available. They are also found in bars, juices, and in muesli. They are red hot at the moment so expect many more exciting Goji products in health stores.
A superior source of health boosting EFAs
It is rare when we in the field of Nutrition find a food as exciting as Hemp Seeds. I like to call it the „Perfect Seed‟, because in its raw state
it contains the most perfect ratio of the good fats that help you to burn and metabolise fat in the body. Hemp is also almost 30% protein which makes it the highest digestible protein content of all seeds. This form of protein from Hemp is so very absorbable and easy to uptake the nutrients. This is significant and it is important that you understand the ground-breaking elements of Hemp Seeds. I regularly use the raw shelled Hemp Seeds because they are loaded with life-giving enzymes and abound with phytonutrients, since they are still raw. The raw shelled version also tastes great and can be sprinkled onto salads, soups, casseroles, stews or just the way they are as the perfect snack!
Clinical trials conducted by Dr Callaway and a team of medical researchers from the Departments of Pharmaceutical Chemistry and Clinical Nutrition at the University of Kuopio, Finland, concluded that Hemp is a superior source of health boosting essential fatty acids (EFAs).
Research shows that EFAs are essential to good health and have many positive benefits. For example, they boost mental and physical energy, reduce the risk of heart disease, encourage hormonal balance, support healthy liver function, enhance the immune system and improve the condition of skin, hair and nails. The human body can‟t make EFAs and
these substances, which are vital to good health in mind and body, must be obtained from our daily diet from foods such as oily fish and nuts or by supplementation. They can also be obtained from hemp seed oil and, if Calloway's research in 2001 and other recent research on hemp is to be believed, this could be one of the best ways to obtain them.
Contrary to popular opinion, hemp seed oil won‟t make you high!
Hemp seed oil may be one of the best ways to ensure getting your EFAs not just because it is the only vegetable oil to contain all three EFAs needed in the human diet for good health – linoleic (omega 6
fatty acid) and alpha-linolenic acid (omega 3) and gamma linolenic acid (GLA), but because it is the only vegetable oil to contain a 3:1 ratio of omega 6 to omega 3 fatty acids which, according the World Health Association. Hemp is the optimum ratio for good health. Hemp
seed oil contains the perfect balance of the essential fatty acids required by the human body. It is truly the most perfect seed. Hemp Seeds Shopping Tips: Health stores stock shelled hemp seeds, hemp seeds with shells, hemp seed oil and capsules. Shelled hemp is also found in bars, mueslis, and wheat-free pastas.
Aloe Vera Juice
Tip Top Healer
Aloe is a plant rich in essential oil, amino acids, minerals, vitamins, enzymes and glycoproteins that is often used in beauty products to soothe, heal and rejuvenate skin but it can also be used to facilitate digestion and soothe digestive tract irritations.
Recent research suggests that aloe contains at least three anti-inflammatory fatty acids that are helpful for the stomach, small intestine and colon. It naturally alkalizes digestive juices to prevent over acidity - a common cause of indigestion - and it helps cleanse the digestive tract by exerting a soothing, balancing effect. As well as being a great digestive aid, aloe has other benefits. Aloe has a cleansing, healing and energizing effect on the body because it boosts blood and lymphatic circulation, as well as kidney , liver and gall bladder functions and a study published in the Journal of Nutrition Science in 2003 suggests that aloe juice and/or supplementation can also play a part in lowering cholesterol and reducing the risk of heart disease. In addition, a newly discovered compound in aloe, acemannan, is currently being studied for its ability to strengthen the body‟s natural resistance to decease and infection. Research has shown acemannan to boost T-lymphocyte cells that aid the immune system. Take a glug of aloe juice as an aperitif as the bitterness can stimulate digestive enzymes and acids to be produced in your stomach. The perfect welcome for your food.
Aloe Vera Shopping Tips: Health stores sell Aloe Vera juice, plain, flavoured, organic, or with added herbs. It is best in juice
form but you can also get it in tablets and capsules. Aloe gel, which is thicker, can be used on the skin for minor irritations and sunburn. I always keep mine in the fridge in summer as it feels more soothing.
One day, a friend asked me to pick up some mushrooms at the local market. I asked which mushrooms you would like me to get. After all, there are dozens of different types of mushrooms, I explained. “How about the lovely shiitake mushroom,” I offered. My friend declined,
saying that the „shiitake‟ sounded “too weird.” My friend insisted that I get her the “normal” conventional type. It‟s a pity, because some mushrooms are far better for our health than others. And yet even the “weird” mushrooms can be so very tasty for delicious recipes. Just
check out my You Are What You Eat Cookbook for fantastic Shiitake Mushroom dishes.
The problem is that some conventional mushrooms can negatively impact the balance of healthy flora in the body. If you suffer with overgrowth of Candida albicans (yeast) in the gut, for example, then I would never want you to be eating the regular conventional mushrooms. But there are other types of healing mushrooms that are great for your immune system, biochemical and flora balance and overall health. They are fine with Candida and can help the body in so many ways.
These great healing mushrooms would include: shiitake, maitake, and reishi.
These healthy mushrooms are so good for your body that I even grind them up, and use them in my formulations for immune defence that I give to my patients.
Maitake is known as the “king of mushrooms” in Japan. This great healing mushroom has been shown to activate T-cells and assist in destroying tumour cells.
Reishi is believed to have been used in ancient China for more than 1500 years.
This healing mushroom has been shown to have anti-tumour, anti-inflammatory and anti-viral properties.
Shiitake has been found to reduce the size of colon tumours in mice and is used to treat immune-related disorders ranging from colds upwards.
A brief survey of the US National Libraries of Medicines shows dozens of recent pieces of research into the health benefits of shiitake, reishi, and maitake mushrooms, and hundreds in the longer term. Of course, there are many more which have only been published in Japanese and Mandarin and have never been translated.
Healing Mushrooms Shopping Tips: Find fresh oriental
mushrooms in specialist Chinese shops but for therapeutic strength supplements your local health store will have some options for you.
Sprouted Broccoli Seeds
Exciting new research has shown that sprouted broccoli seeds can support immunity and defend against damp and infection. Not only do sprouted broccoli seeds fortify your immune system with beta-carotene, and small but useful amounts of zinc and selenium (two trace minerals that act as cofactors in numerous immune defensive actions) but they are also a good source of vitamin E. A recent study reported in the Journal of the American Medical Association (Summer 2004) showed that vitamin E reduced the risk of colds by 20% and could play a key part in preventing and easing symptoms of common upper respiratory infections.
When broccoli seeds are sprouted (germinated) they reach their highest level of enzyme and nutrient activity and sprouted broccoli seeds are extraordinarily rich in isothiocyanates and sulforaphane - key immune support substances that research suggests can not only help protect against common infections but also help protect against life threatening ones.
Eating just over 100 grams of tasty sprouted vegetables every day for a fortnight has been shown to have clear protective effects against DNA damage in human blood cells. DNA damage is associated with cancer risk and sprouted vegetables can helps protect against this kind of damage. So the more sprouted vegetables you eat the more you
boost your immunity and the less likely you are to succumb to illness both now and in the future.
Broccoli Sprouts Shopping Tips: You can find fresh broccoli sprouts in many health food stores’ fridges. They also keep broccoli seeds so you can even grow your own in your kitchen, in much the same way your kids grow cress. Broccoli sprout extract can also be found in food supplements if you can’t get access to the fresh sprouts.
Flaxseeds are rich in essential fatty acids, in particular ALA, an omega-3 fatty acid. A recent MedLine check (MedLine provides access to the published peer-reviewed medical literature) revealed several thousand research articles on ALA, investigating its positive effects on numerous bodily processes and health conditions.
For example, Omega-3 fats can help reduce the inflammation that is a significant factor in conditions such as asthma, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and migraine headaches. Omega-3 fats are used to produce substances that reduce the formation of blood clots, which can reduce the risk of heart disease. But flaxseeds' Omega-3 fats are far from all this exceptional food has to offer. Flaxseeds are a good source of fibre that can lower cholesterol levels. A study published in the September 8, 2003 edition of the Archives of Internal Medicine confirms
that eating high fibre foods, such as flaxseed, helps prevent heart disease.
Flaxseed has been studied quite a bit lately for their beneficial protective effects on women‟s health. Flaxseed is particularly rich in lignans, special compounds also found in other seeds, grains, and legumes that are converted by beneficial gut flora into two hormone-like substances. These hormone-like agents demonstrate a number of protective effects against breast cancer and are believed to be one reason a vegetarian diet is associated with a lower risk for breast cancer. Lignan rich fibre has also been shown to decrease insulin and as insulin resistance is an early warning sign for diabetes, flaxseed may also provide protection against this disease.
In addition to lessening a woman's risk of developing cancer and diabetes, the lignans abundant in flaxseed can promote normal
ovulation and extend the second, progesterone-dominant half of the cycle thus helping to restore hormonal balance and fertility. Other studies suggest that the hormone balancing properties of flax also help reduce the risk of obesity. Lastly, new research indicates that Omega-3 rich foods, such as flax, can help boost mental function and beat
It‟s clear that flax could be one of the most important health-
promoting foods and nearly every system in your body can benefit from it's natural properties, including the cardiovascular system, immune system, circulatory system, reproductive system, digestive system, nervous system and joints. 2-4 dessertspoons daily of whole or ground flax should ensure you are getting enough essential fatty acid to boost your health and help you beat the bulge.
Flax Seeds Shopping Tips: Health stores stock a variety of flax seed products, although you may see it called linseed. It is precisely the same stuff. You can buy golden and brown
flaxseeds, ground or partially milled flaxseeds, sprouted flaxseeds, flax-rich bars, mueslis, and cereals. The oil is also available separately and makes a delicious dressing or can be put into smoothies or drizzled over pasta.
? Copyright McKeith Research Ltd