fruit

Aronia Berry – The Exotic Fruit Right At Home

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Chances are you’ve seen headlines about various exotic super berries with astounding health benefits, such as the acai from the Amazon… the maquiaroniaberry from Patagonia and the goji berry from China.  These berries from around the world have all made headlines in recent years for their remarkable healing properties.

Little do most people know, however, that there is a far lesser known North American berry about to stake it’s claim as a truly remarkable super berry: Aronia.

Off the Charts Antioxidant Power!

Aronia berries are rich in anthocyanins, the substance that gives this fruit its deep shade of purple.  Anthocyanins have been shown to reduce systemic inflammation and levels of C-reactive protein, a byproduct of inflammation.  If left unchecked, inflammation is the spark to many chronic and life-threatening diseases, including cancer.

Aronia berries are also high in plant-based super-antioxidants called proanthocyanidins that help boost circulation by strengthening capillary walls and act as an overall tonic for the cardiovascular system.

Proanthocyanins also suppress enzyme breakdown of collagen and alleviate allergies.

Full-Body Health Benefits

The aronia berry also possesses extreme anti-bacterial, anti-viral and anti-diabetic properties… This fights arterial plague formation… reduces serum cholesterol, shields the liver and kidneys from toxins, lowers blood sugar and balances insulin production.  Enriched with flavonoids, the aronia berry also protects against peptic ulcers, eye inflammation and urinary infection.

Cancer Protection

The aronia berry has shown exciting promise as an anti-cancer agent.  Research suggests aronia berries may help defend against tumor formation in the bladder, breasts, colon, lungs, ovaries, and skin. Preliminary studies indicate that the berry may even slow the progression of glioblastona, a lethal form of brain cancer.

New Berry on the Block!
Aronia has been commercially cultivated in Russia since the 1940s and in aroniaEurope since the 1950s.  But it wasn’t until 2009 that the Midwest Aronia Association formed in Iowa in order to provide information and other resources to those interested in growing this super-healthy berry.  Now, the Association has members in California, Illinois, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, New York, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wisconsin and Ontario, Canada.  This means that if you don’t already have aronia products available on your local store shelves, you should soon (and in the meantime, you can also look online for internet retailers).

When it comes to choosing a quality product, you’ll be glad to know that aronia berries are naturally pest-resistance and need no agricultural toxins.  That said, you should still look for bushels stamped with the USDA organic certification label to make sure you’re benefitting from 100% pure antioxidant advantage.

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Avocado and it’s Health Benefits

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Avocado is great and it achieved this distinction because many nutritionists claim it not only contains everything a person needs to survive — but it has also been found to contribute to the prevention and control of Alzheimer’s, cancer, heart disease, diabetes and other health conditions.

The avocado (Persea gratissima or P. americana) originated in Puebla, Mexico and its earliest use dates back to 10,000 years B.C. Since AD 900, the avocado tree has been cultivated and grown in Central and South America. In the 19th century, the avocado made its entry into California, and has since become a very successful commercial crop. Ninety-five percent (95%) of U.S. avocados are gown in Southern California.

The avocado, also called the alligator pear, is a high-fiber, sodium- and cholesterol-free food that provides nearly 20 essential nutrients, including fiber, is rich in healthy monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats avocado-on-a-wooden-table(such as omega-3 fatty acids), vitamins A, C, D, E, K and the B vitamins (thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, biotin, vitamin B-6, vitamin B-12 and folate) — as well as potassium.

Foods naturally rich in omega-3 fatty acids, such as avocados, are widely acknowledged as the secret to a healthy heart, a brilliant brain and eagle eyes.

Dr. Daniel G. Amen, a clinical neuroscientist, psychiatrist, brain-imaging expert and author of the New York Times bestseller Change Your Brain, Change Your Life counts avocados as one of the top brain-healthy foods that can help prevent Alzheimer’s Disease.

That’s not only because of the avocado’s health benefits omega-3 fatty acid content but also its…

Vitamin E content — An international journal called Alzheimer’s Disease and Associated Disorders, reported its findings from years of clinical trials — high doses of Vitamin E can neutralize free radicals and the buildup of proteins to reverse the memory loss in Alzheimer’s patients; reverse symptoms of Alzheimer’s in the early stages and retard the progression of the disease;

Folate content — helps to prevent the formation of tangled nerve fibers associated with Alzheimer’s.

The virtues and benefits of the avocado are too numerous to mention.

But Here Are Just a Few More Avocado Health Benefits That Its Nutritional Profile Provides:

  • Monounsaturated Fats — These types of fats help control triglycerides in the bloodstream, lower blood cholesterol and control diabetes.
  • Folate — This water-soluble B vitamin promotes healthy cell and tissue development. According to the National Institute of Health’s Office of Dietary Supplements, “This is especially important during periods of rapid cell division and growth such as infancy and pregnancy. Folate is also essential for metabolism of homocysteine and helps maintain normal levels of this amino acid.”
  • Lutein — This is a carotenoid (a natural pigment) that protects against cataracts and certain types of cancer, and reduces the risk of macular degeneration, the leading cause of blindness in adults 65 years of age and older. Avocados contain 3 or more times as much lutein as found in other common vegetables and fruits.
  • Oleic acid and Potassium — Both of these nutrients also help in lowering cholesterol and reducing the risk of high blood pressure.

You can add these avocado benefits to your diet in many ways:

      1) The easiest way is to cut the avocado in half and sprinkle it with herbal seasoning or maple syrup.

2) Chop the avocado and add it to a salad, or use it as a topping or side garnish for soup.

3) Mash an avocado and spread it on bread or a bagel (in place of butter or cream cheese).

4) Cut an avocado in half and fill the little hollow (left after you remove the pit) with your favorite healthy topping such as herbed rice or couscous.

5) Make an avocado dressing or the crowd-pleasing guacamole dip to add flavor to raw or steamed vegetables. You can easily find many avocado recipes online.

Blended with fruit, avocados make a rich and delicious snack, side dish or dessert — and produces highly-nutritious baby food which delivers “good fat” for baby’s brain and physical development.

Before you indulge in avocados to your heart’s content, however, remember that they have lots of calories because of their fat content. According to WebMD, “A medium-sized avocado contains 30 grams of fat, as much as a quarter-pound burger”.

That’s why diet experts have long urged Americans to go easy on avocados in favor of less fatty fruits and vegetables. But now nutritionists are taking another look.

They’re finding that most of the fat in an avocado is monounsaturated — the “good” kind that actually lowers cholesterol levels. Thanks to this new understanding, the U.S. government recently revised its official nutrition guidelines to urge Americans to eat more avocados.

Pomegranates

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Pomegranates have been prized for their nutrition value for more than 4,000 years, especially in the ancient world of the Middle and Near East.

Now, research shows that this time-honored fruit can fight heart disease…support healthy cholesterol levels…lower blood pressure…relieve stress…improve your sex life…and, according to a brand-new study, even slow down the aging process of DNA.

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Pomegranate Benefits: An Anti-Aging Super Food

In November of 2011, scientists from the ProbelteBio laboratory in Murcia, Spain conducted a month-long study of the effects of pomegranate extract. The study focused specifically on the pomegranate’s rich stores of antioxidants (important compounds that prevent age-related cell damage).

The research team recruited two groups of volunteers. The first group was given extracts of the whole pomegranate fruit in capsule form (extracts included the pith or membrane, peel, and seeds). The second group received a placebo.

The research team was highly impressed with their results. Those who took the pomegranate extract showed a significant decrease in a specific, important marker linked to cell damage.

That marker, known as 8-Oxo-DG, can have detrimental effects such as:

      • Lessened brain function
      • Weakening of muscles
      • Impaired kidney function
      • Decrease in liver productivity
    • Aging of the skin

Sergio Streitenberger, lead researcher at ProbelteBio, believes the study “demonstrates that the regular consumption of this pomegranate extract can slow down the process of DNA oxidation.”

The pomegranate’s ability to decrease 8-Oxo-DG suggests that it wields significant power as an anti-aging super food.

Why Antioxidants Are The Ideal Anti-Agers

Antioxidants are crucial for preventing and reversing aging because they stop damage wrought by destructive free radicals.

“One way to look at aging is to think of it as rusting,” Streitenberger said, “or oxidizing.” Free radicals oxidize our body’s molecules. Everyday we take in these dangerous compounds in the food we eat, the beverages we drink, and even the air we breathe. “We get old because we fall apart cell by cell,” said Streitenberger.

Sandeep Prabhu, assistant professor of immunology and molecular toxicology at Penn State, says that foods especially rich in antioxidantsPomegranate_Image—such as pomegranates—qualify as anti-aging super food because they have “the ability to neutralize harmful molecules in our cells.”

Once free radicals reach the DNA of our cells, Streitenberger warns, “the damage is cumulative and significant.” This is why the ProbelteBio study is so astounding. For any food to so effectively guard against the aging process “would be a significant breakthrough,” says Streitenberger.

A Pomegranate A Day…Unbelievable Benefits

Some scholars believe the forbidden fruit said to have tempted Eve in the Garden of Eden was actually a pomegranate, not an apple. It could have been a mistranslation, because the word pomegranate comes from the Middle French pomme garnete, literally “seeded apple.”

Therefore, you might consider the pomegranate as the deluxe version of the apple, capable of so much more than simply keeping the doctor away.

But it’s important to remember that experts say the most potent pomegranate benefits come from consuming the whole fruit, not just the delicious seeds. Most commercial juices draw their content only from the seeds, and contain only small quantities of the powerful antioxidants that protect against aging. The real powerhouses are the inedible rind, hulk, and white pith.

These non-seed parts of the fruit are described as “inedible” not because they are toxic, but due to their bitter taste and unpleasant texture. With that in mind, heath practitioners recommend that you consider taking a supplement pill or health drink made with extracts of the whole fruit.