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Superfoods and Benefits including a Menu Example

Updated on June 12, 2014
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Integrative Healthcare Professional interested in sharing the message about health, wellness and the law of cure.

Superfoods are specific foods used to prevent and treat disease and maximise total wellness. Food can be utilized as medicine and finding the right nutrition for the following purposes are important:

  • Obesity
  • Anti-aging/Wellness
  • Diseases (Heart disease, Detoxification, Cancer, Inflammation, Functional foods)

Recent research has linked postprandial hyperlipidaemia (PPHL) with atherosclerosis independent of other risk factors (due to increased lipid peroxidation). Postprandial plasma triglyceride levels (3 to 4 hours post-meal) predict future myocardial infarction better than fasting triglyceride levels.

Anti-aging nutrition incorporates calorie restriction wherein the selective reduction of energy intake without compromising other essential nutrients is most powerful in reproducibly retard aging in mammals and reduce incidence of age-associated diseases, preserved physiological function and molecular fidelity with age when compared to other interventions like diet and exercise. A known potential calorie restriction mimetic is Resveratrol (a small molecule found in red wine) which is a Sirtuin activator that promote longevity. The benefits of Calorie restriction include:

  • Reductions in body weight and fat mass
  • Reduce plasma insulin and glucose
  • Increased insulin sensitivity
  • Delayed maturation
  • Lower blood lipids with increase HDL

It is however important to note that restriction of dietary protein or fat calories did not extend lifespan. Low fat diets actually reduce Androgens in Men which is not good as hormones are essential and requires cholesterol for synthesis. The key is to reduce carbohydrate intake as the body readily converts for example 200 grams of pasta into 150g of sugar which later turns this to fat causing PPHL which is bad [1]. Moreover, increased carbohydrate intake leads to increased hs-C Reactive Protein (hs-CRP), the single biggest risk factor for atherosclerosis and commonly referred to the new “LDL” for heart disease and predicts valvular events better than any other single parameter. CRP also reduces availability of Nitric oxide (NO) which causes vasoconstriction and promotes inflammation. Grains and Carbohydrates thus can be empty calories that poses more bad effects in the body such as decreasing DHEA (anti-aging hormone) and decreases Testosterone as revealed in the cases of Metabolic Syndrome.

Among the variety of available Super-Diets, the Atkins’ diet has the most scientific backing. However, each has its pros and cons and may not be easily administered or maintained.

List of 5 Superfoods and why they are Superfoods

(A) Broccoli

  • Cruciferous vegetables are rich in isothiocyanantes which protect the human body against carcinogenesis by inducing detoxification through Phase 2 conjugating enzymes in particular Glutathione S-Transferases (note: Glutathione is made from Glutamine, Cysteine and Glycine)
  • Extracts of Broccoli sprouts have 10-100 fold inducer activity of Phase 2 liver enzymes compared to mature broccoli (thus younger ones are better than mature ones though both are still beneficial); Mature broccoli contains indole compounds that induce both Phase 2 and Phase 1 enzymes (What we want to aim for is more Phase 2 activity and not so much Phase 1)
  • Anti-atherogenic; once week intake of broccoli sprouts significantly reduces total cholesterol and LDL and increased HDL cholesterol without recution in total cholesterol in Females; normalised Triacylglycerol
  • Contains Sulforaphane that arrests cell-cycle progression in G1 phase by significant down-regulation of cyclin D3. It also induced apoptosis and necrosis thus indicating protective effects inhibiting leukemic growth
  • Eradicates Helicobacter Pylori

(A) Tomatoes

  • Contains its predominant carotenoid Lycopene ( that reduces cancers (as it interferes with insulin-like growth factor 1-stimulated tumour cell proliferation)
  • Inhibits cholesterol synthesis and enhance LDL degradation

(C)Green Tea

  • Decrease risk of developing cancer of the ovary, oral cavity, colon, stomach and prostate attributed to the epigallocatechin gallate the mahor polyphenolic constituent present in green tea(EGCG)
  • Upregulates p21 an anticancer gene which slows cell cycle and thus protect against cancer in treatment of both androgen-sensitive and androgen-insensitive human prostate carcinoma cells
  • promotes apoptosis of human prostate carcinoma cells
  • Epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) activation is required for cervical cell proliferation; Green tea inhibits EGFR via EGCG
  • Protects against LDL oxidation and heart disease

(D)Soy

  • Contains isoflavones (primarily genistein and daidzein)
  • In some tissues, soy acts as a mild pro-oestrogen (bone and brain) while in others it acts as an anti-oestrogen (breast and uterus)
  • Normalises Oestrogen Activity
  • Has anti-carcinogenic effects on hormone-related cancers and that these effects may be related to their estrogenic, anti-estrogenic or other activities
  • Genistein is Ant-Carcinogenic and contributes to increases cell growth inhibition and apoptosis inducing effects of non toxic doses of docetaxel and cisplatin i.e. potentitates Chemotherapy drugs (could be a novel strategy for treating pancreatic cancer)
  • Contains Saponin which are anti-carcinogenic
  • Treats Androgen dependent and Independent Prostate Cancer (prostate cancer is an estrogen-driven cancer)
  • Studies reveal reduced heart disease in women

(E)Olive Oil [1]

  • Virgin olive oil has high content of Monounsaturated fats (MUFA) which gives it its beneficial effects; mainly oleic acid which produces membranes that are less susceptible to oxidative injury
  • Prevents oxidation, lowers total cholesterol and LDL due to high MUFA content
  • Decreases high blood pressure (5mL consumed per day over 4 weeks)
  • Prevents Cognitive Decline
  • Prevents Cancers
  • Anti-inflammatory


Other Superfoods include Turmeric, Garlic, Herbal Teas and Brassica Foods.

AN EXAMPLE OF A ‘PERFECT DAILY DIET’ WHICH INCLUDES AS MANY SUPERFOODS AS POSSIBLE

BREAKFAST

  • Scrambled eggs with Olive oil and Garlic and Tomatoes with Green Tea or Dandelion Tea
  • Salad Greens (e.g. Spinach, Tomatoes, Garlic, Olives, Onions)

LUNCH

  • Lean Salmon marinated with Garlic, Turmeric and Fibrous noodles along with Cauliflower and a Soy drink

SNACK/MORNING OR AFTERNOON TEA

  • Almonds (up to 68 grams per day)
  • Dark Chocolate

DINNER

  • Pan fried Chicken (marinated with garlic and herbs like rosemary) and Tofu steaks over Olive oil with Broccoli, A bowl of Miso soup and a glass of red wine

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