There are hundreds of types of olives, but some of the most popular are Manzanillo, Sevillano, Mission, Ascolano, Kalamata, and Barouni. Take your pick, because olives are one of the healthiest fruits for your heart, your bones, your skin, and your overall health. And don’t avoid them due to their high-fat content…that’s one of the benefits that make them so healthy! So, if you’ve got 5 minutes to spare, take an olive snack break.
Cut Your Cardiovascular Disease Risk
More than 75% of the fat in olives (and olive oil) is oleic acid, which is a monounsaturated fat that has been proven to help reduce your cardiovascular disease risk by lowering blood pressure. When you consume olives, oleic acid travels into your cells and has the ability to alter the signaling patterns at the cell membrane level, in this way helping to regulate blood pressure. And the prestigious journal BMC Medicine reports that olive oil (high-quality extra virgin olive oil that is) can decrease the risk of cardiovascular disease and death in people predisposed to heart disease.
Increase Your Antioxidant and Anti-inflammation Power
According to the European Journal of Cancer Prevention, olives are abundant in antioxidants, with antioxidant properties higher than those of vitamin E! Olives are rich in distinctive antioxidants, such as oleuropein, which helps keep LDL cholesterol from oxidizing in your body and causing your arteries to harden. Oleuropein also exhibits anti-inflammatory capabilities by helping to suppress the activity of nitric oxide synthase (iNOS), which contributes to inflammation. Another phenolic compound in olives called oleocanthal has demonstrated anti-inflammatory action that rivals the anti-inflammatory power of the drug ibuprofen.
The antioxidant and anti-inflammatory mechanisms in olives make this nutrient-dense fruit a notable cancer weapon. Compounds in olives have been shown to help activate two anti-cancer genes: one that inhibits the development of tumors and another that helps induce cancer cell death.
The International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Medicine sums up the health benefits of olives:
“Several studies have shown that the incidence of coronary heart disease and cancers is lowest in the Mediterranean basin as compared to other parts of the world because of the diet … rich in olives and olive products.
… Oleic acid, a monounsaturated fatty acid plays an important role in cancer prevention, while squalene showed anticancer effect …
Olive oil shows a role in the prevention of the development of carcinomas and olive oil may have chemopreventive properties against colon carcinogenesis …
Oleuropein is a powerful antioxidant and anti-angiogenic agent and shows a potent anti-tumor agent and cancer-protective effects.”
Oleuropein to the Rescue
Oleuropein in olives, along with other antioxidants such as Tyrosol, have been shown to increase life span. In lab studies, oleuropein increased longevity by 15% in treated cultures.
Along with the unique antioxidants hydroxytyrosol and squalene, oleuropein may help protect the skin from UV radiation. And studies have shown that olive oil infuses the skin with antioxidants when applied topically; so feel free to slather some olive oil on your skin when you are cooking!
Oleuropein has also been shown to help protect against the loss of bone mass. One hundred and twenty seven elderly men ate a Mediterranean diet high in olive oil for two years and saw an increase in a bone matrix protein called serum osteocalcin, as well as an increase in procollagen I N-terminal propetptide, which is another marker of bone health. Other antioxidant compounds in olives have been shown to activate bone-forming cells called osteoblasts.
Other benefits of olives include:
- Protecting against insulin resistance
- Keeping the liver healthy
- Providing antimicrobial and antibiotic assistance
- Stimulating testosterone production
- Delivering nutrients, such as vitamin A, for healthy vision
- Being a great source of copper, fiber, iron, and vitamin E
High-quality olives are easier to come by than high-quality olive oil. Always choose the extra-virgin variety of olive oil from a trusted source. Go local if you are fortunate enough to have an olive oil producer nearby.
Just a healthy dad here, with some quick points about Almonds.
Prunus amygdalus, Amygdalus communis or Amygdalus dulcisare a type of tree native to the Middle east and South Asia. The harvested seeds of this tree are known to us as the mighty Almond. Encased in a hard shell the edible seed inside has a thin brown skin and white flesh.
And the almond is indeed mighty.
- Almonds are beneficial for those who have heart diseases and diabetes in their family
- Almonds increase your ability to regulates insulin. If you’re family has a history of these illnesses, it’s in your best interest to make almonds a regular part of your diet.
- Almonds also help with the decrease of low-density lipoprotein (LDL), a bad type of cholesterol.
Give them a try.
Vitamin C may not be the most glamorous antioxidant on the block, but that doesn’t mean it’s not still one of the most powerful. This miraculous nutrient has been shown to:
- Help prevent the oxidative damage that leads to degenerative diseases
- Accelerate wound healing
- Play an essential role in the production of collagen (a protein that holds the body together), carnitin (which aids the body in transforming fat into energy), and catecholamines (hormones produced by the adrenal glands)
- Help the body absorb iron
- Clear the body of harmful toxins
- Restore oxidized vitamin E to its healthful form
- Help metabolize cholesterol and bile acids, which may help reduce cholesterol and gallstones
Except for three species most animals produce vitamin C internally. Humans, along with primates and guinea pigs, can only get their vitamin C from their diets. Unfortunately, the recommended daily value for vitamin C is just 60 mg/d…far lower than vitamin C experts advise. But you can easily boost your vitamin C levels by eating a colorful diet of organically grown produce.
Follow Linus’s Lead
Despite his untarnished reputation and amazing accomplishments in the fields of chemistry and medicine, two-time Nobel Prize winner Linus Pauling came under fire for his controversial claims regarding the remarkable healing nature of vitamin C…that in large doses it could essentially forestall life-threatening illnesses such as cancer and heart disease. Since his death, however, research suggests that his vitamin C claims may not be all that far-reaching.
The healing power of vitamin C lies in its ability to prevent the free radical damage that contributes to aging and disease. It acts as a reducing agent, lending an electron to free radicals intent on damaging your cells and DNA. By adding an extra electron to these damaged molecules, vitamin C neutralizes them before they can do harm.
A 10-year study conducted by Dr. James Engstrom of UCLA showed that men who supplemented with 800 mg of vitamin C daily had less heart disease and lived up to 10 years longer than men who took just 60 mg of vitamin C a day—the recommended RDA!
Another study found that among 11,200 senior citizens, those who supplemented with high potency vitamins C and E had a reduced mortality rate of 42%, while those who took a low potency multivitamin experienced no beneficial effect on mortality. Forty other studies have shown that diets replete in vitamin C may help reduce the risk of cancer.
Fill Up Your Plate
To get your daily dose of vitamin C fill your plate with colorful fruits and veggies, like…
- Brussels sprouts
- Sweet peppers
For further protection, experts advise supplementing with 200-800 mg of vitamin C in liposomal or buffered form such as Ester-C to help prevent gastrointestinal upset.
Studies also show that focusing on your breathing can alleviate stress levels… stimulate brain growth… and reduce your risk of heart attack. Nonetheless, many of us neglect to address breathing habits as part of our overall health strategy.
“We take our breath for granted the way we take our heart beat for granted,” says Carla Ardito, a breathing expert at the Integral Yoga Institute in Manhattan. But, explains Ardito, the difference is fundamental, because unlike our heart beat, ” we can work on our breathing.”
The Steep Risks Of High Blood Pressure
Statistics indicate as many as 65 million Americans have hypertension (dangerously high blood pressure). Hypertension brings an elevated risk of…
- Heart attacks
- Kidney damage
Individuals with hypertension are often unaware of their condition—which is why it’s often called “the silent killer.” By the time symptoms appear, serious, irreversible damage may already have occurred.
Deep Breathing Offers Answers
Anderson and other doctors believe deep breathing offers answers—and a 2002 study suggests they’re right. In 2002, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved a device designed tolower blood pressure by teaching users to slow their breathing. The device, called RESPeRATE, measures your breathing pace by sensing chest or abdominal movements.
Users follow a series of chimes signaling inhales and exhales to slow their breathing from a typical rate of 16 to 19 breaths per minute to 10 or fewer. Clinical trials found blood pressure drops of 10 to 15 points for individuals who used the device for 15 minutes each day for 2 months.
Dr. William J. Elliot, who headed some of the research, was surprised by the magnitude of slow-breathing’s impact on blood pressure—even though no one can quite explain why it works. It “is still a bit of a black box,” he says.
Health’s Hefty Price Tag?
More than a decade has passed since the FDA approved the RESPeRATE, but many are still unaware of the connection between slow-breathing and blood pressure. Part of the problem may be the high cost of leading slow-breathing devices. But the fact is, you don’t need to spend money to slow your breathing and improve your health.
Simply by focusing on your breathing, you direct energy into the parasympathetic nervous system, says Ardito. You send your whole body into a state of “relax and receive.”
Don’t Count Your Breaths
For best results, experts say you should never count your breathing or watch the clock. Counting or tracking the time impedes relaxation, which is key to the benefits of slow-breathing. Instead of a stopwatch or timer, some experts suggest using music as a regulator. Select a song (or set of songs) with a slow, regular rhythm, and allow your breathing to automatically adjust to the beat.
Recent research suggests that how many beans you eat is a strong predictor of how long you’ll live. Unfortunately, 96% of Americans fail to get even the paltry daily recommended intake of half a cup! Considering there are 13,000 varieties of legumes—from chickpeas to split peas to lentils—this bean dearth is hard to excuse.
Beans Reduce Your Risk of Death
Researchers from different institutions across the globe examined food intake in Japan, Sweden, Greece, and Australia. Only one food stood out as a contender for lowering risk of death—beans! And the type of bean didn’t seem to matter at all. In Japan soy is popular, in Sweden brown beans and peas are preferred, and in the Mediterranean, lentils, chickpeas, and white beans top the charts. All of these beans were linked to increased longevity.
Load Up on Legumes
Legumes are low in calories, high in protein, and full of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. They’ve got fiber, folate, vitamin B1, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, and copper, to name a few. All this goodness translates to bowel regularity, balanced blood sugar levels, low cholesterol, and optimal heart health! Not to mention, legumes fill you up fast… with fewer calories. They are the perfect weight loss and weight maintenance food.
Canned vs. Dried
A recent study published in Food and Nutritional Sciences indicates that canned beans are on par with dried beans when it comes to nutritional value. Plus, they’re much more convenient, as dried beans can take hours to cook up!
It’s worth noting that canned beans are a tad more expensive (20 cents more) and can have up to 100 times the sodium of dried beans. That’s because rinsing and draining dried beans removes some of the excess sodium…but this same process can also remove some vitamins and minerals, too. If you’re a fan of canned legumes, then opt for the “no-salt” varieties to ensure you’re not going overboard on the sodium.
As for flatulence, don’t let a little gas deter you from the nutritional wellspring of legumes! Research shows that although flatulence kicks into gear when you start adding legumes to your diet, your digestive system eventually gets used to it and the flatulence subsides. In other words, stick it out—the gas will evaporate in due time!
More and more evidence is showing you can’t beat the heart healthy benefits of beet juice. It provides long-lasting energy, improves circulation, lowers blood pressure, enhances oxygen uptake, and increases stamina. A new study from the American Journal of Physiology-Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology confirms that drinking beet juice regularly can improve exercise endurance.
Boost Exercise Stamina with Beet Juice
In this small-scale study 14 healthy males drank beet juice for 15 days. Scientists measured blood pressure and heart function both at rest and while the men performed progressive cycling. Results indicated that the heart required less oxygen and blood pressure was lowered.
Beet juice contains a high concentration of antioxidants and inorganic nitrates that help boost blood flow throughout the body—to the brain, heart, and muscles. It increases production of a molecule in blood vessels called nitric oxide. Nitric oxide helps the blood vessels relax and open up, thereby increasing oxygen flow to the heart and muscles so you can exercise stronger for longer.
Lower Blood Pressure with Beet Juice
Beet juice has also demonstrated a remarkable effect on blood pressure. A meta-analysis of studies from 2006-2012 showed very obvious reductions in blood pressure among the 254 people tested, especially in systolic blood pressure. When it comes to lowering blood pressure, beat juice outperforms whole beets. All it takes is one to two glasses of beet juice a day!
Direct from Mother Nature’s medicine cabinet, deep in the heart of the Amazon Rainforest of Brazil, healing acai berries dangle from acai palm trees. Recognizing the curative powers of acai centuries before it was introduced to the West, the Yanomani tribe refers to the acai palm as the “Tree of Life.”
Impressed with its restorative properties, which work from the inside out, Brazilians have dubbed acai “The Beauty Berry,” and the West is finally catching on.
In his New York Times #1 bestseller, “The Perricone Promise,” celebrated nutritionist / dermatologist, Dr. Nicholas Perricone, lists acai health benefits as the #1 Superfood.
“Superfood” is the health food industry’s stamp of approval for low-calorie, antioxidant-rich foods that lower your risk for life-threatening diseases such as cancer, diabetes and heart disease.
Acai, pronounced (ah-sigh-EE), isn’t your typical antioxidant-laden fruit. It is also high in essential fatty acids, amino acids and fiber, making it perhaps the most well-rounded, edible fruit on the planet.
This small but mighty fruit measures approximately 1-inch long and is colored varying shades of dark purple. Made up of 90% inedible seed, acai’s 10% edible pulp packs in more grams of protein than an egg and contains 15 times the amount of antioxidants as red grapes and 30% more antioxidants than blueberries.
In fact, its ORAC (Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity)–the scientific measurement of a nutrient’s antioxidant magnitude–is over 3500, the highest capacity of any fruit!
The Low-Down on Antioxidants
You’ve probably heard the buzz about antioxidants, but just what are they, and what role do they play in your health?
Antioxidants are phytochemicals, vitamins and other nutrients that prevent oxidation from occurring in your body. To understand oxidation, just imagine what happens to a cut apple when it is left uncovered for a couple of hours. It begins to brown and rot. The same process happens inside your body if it is not protected by antioxidants.
What causes the oxidation? Your body produces harmful byproducts called free radicals–unstable molecules that scavenge your tissues looking for electrons to steal. In the process, healthy tissues are destroyed, leading to aging and disease.
Unfortunately, we have entered an age of free radical overload, as our bodies are also attacked from the outside in via pollution, cigarette smoke and toxins from cleaning products and herbicides.
Antioxidants interrupt this destructive cycle by volunteering one of their own electrons, satisfying the voracious free radical before it can damage your cells.
Fortifying your body with antioxidant rich foods, particularly acai berries, halts the aging process, restarting long-lasting health and protecting against the oxidative stress that triggers diseases such as cancer and heart disease.
Acai’s Unique Composition
Acai health benefits have all the typical vitamins and minerals found in popular fruits, but also contains unique, never-before-seen plant compounds. Acai contains the potent antioxidants flavonoids and anthocyanins, which are responsible for acai’s rich color and thought to be the key to acai’s remarkable restorative and preventative powers.
Scientists have still not figured out the exact makeup of this Superfood. Dr. Stephen Talcott of the University of Florida discovered 50-75 active natural molecules in acai that have yet to be classified.
The Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry published Talcott’s study, which showed that acai health benefits were able to trigger apoptosis (cell death) in 86% of leukemia cells tested in vitro. Talcott was realistic but hopeful, explaining, “This was only a cell-culture model and we don’t want to give anyone false hope,” Talcott said.
“We are encouraged by the findings, however. Compounds that show good activity against cancer cells in a model system are most likely to have beneficial effects in our bodies.”
Antioxidants alone are enough to encourage indulgence in this decadent fruit. Add omegas 3-6-9 to the mix and acai health benefits truly earns its Superfood status. This perfect balance of omegas improves the look and feel of hair, skin and nails, and reduces inflammation inside the body.
Inflammation is recognized as one of the primary causes of life-threatening illnesses, such as cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer’s and cancer.
Acai health benefits also contains a healthy dose of fiber, amino acids and carbohydrates that boost your immune system and your metabolism, thereby slowing aging and promoting longevity.