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.


Boost Immunity with Shiitake Mushrooms

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Native to Asia, shiitake mushrooms are packed with vitamins and minerals and have been cultivated for thousands of years for culinary and medicinal purposes. The latest research published April 11 in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition confirms that shiitake mushrooms boost immunity.1380268871

Strengthen Your Immune System with Shiitake

Researchers from the University of Florida gave 52 healthy adults between the ages of 21 and 42 a four-week supply of dried shiitake mushrooms. Participants then ate one 4-ounce serving of shiitake mushrooms every day for four straight weeks. Researchers controlled for several variables:

  • No vegans are vegetarians were studied
  • Subjects could not drink tea or take antioxidant vitamins or probiotics before the study
  • Participants were instructed to limit alcohol to 14 or fewer glasses per week so that immune-enhancing activity wasn’t adversely impacted
  • Volunteers were allowed no more than 7 servings of fruits and vegetables per day

At the end of four weeks participants displayed better gamma delta T-cells and fewer inflammatory proteins.

Lead researcher Sue Percival explains: “If you eat a shiitake mushroom every day, you could see changes in their immune system that are beneficial. We’re enhancing the immune system, but we’re also reducing the inflammation that the immune system produces.”

Fight Cancer with Shiitake

Shiitake mushrooms are also celebrated for their cancer-fighting properties. They are rich in the polysaccharide lentinan, which scientists have isolated and used to treat various cancers, including stomach cancer. In addition to its anti-tumor properties, lentinan has also been shown to protect the liver, alleviate stomach problems like gallstones and ulcers, and help treat anemia. In fact, shiitake mushrooms are one of the most bioavailable sources of iron.

In short, shiitake mushrooms are an antiviral, antibacterial, 051069065-mushroom-saute_xlgand antifungal powerhouse that can even help protect against atherosclerosis and coronary artery disease when eaten regularly. An easy way to start adding shiitake to your diet is to use it to create a base for soups or stocks for making rice or quinoa. Add in some nuts, peppers, chicken, or tofu, along with your favorite seasonings

Pomegranates fight Aging and More

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The bark, leaves, flowers, fruits, and seeds of the pomegranate (Punica Granatum) have a long history of use as a medicine, particularly in the Middle East, India, and China.  The Chinese and South Africans use it to treat inflammation, rheumatism, irregular uterine bleeding and hemorrhaging, and abdominal pain.

In Unani medicine (a traditional practice of medicine in south-Asian countries and the Middle East), pomegranate is prescribed as a food supplement to treat diabetes.  Due to its potent antimicrobial properties, pomegranate has even been used to treat intestinal worms.Pomegranate_Image

Now, research is revealing the extract’s promising antioxidant and anti-cancer potential.

Say “No” to Aging with Antioxidants 

Without enough antioxidants, your body can’t fight off free radical damage, and becomes vulnerable to aging and disease. Pomegranate delivers a powerhouse helping of antioxidants when consumed internally as well as applied topically. Pomegranate’s antioxidant activity is fueled by ellagitannin compounds (punicalagins and punicalins being the standouts). It’s also packed with vitamin C—40% of the recommended daily value, in fact! These antioxidants, along with gallic acid and catechin, help accelerate wound healing, as well as repair sun-damaged, aging skin.

Experts have discovered that pomegranate increases the longevity of fibroblasts (cells responsible for collagen and elastin production).  Collagen and elastin work together to give strength and support to your skin.  A Medical College of Virginia study showed that the oil from pomegranate seed extract helps boost collagen production, thereby thickening both the outer and inner layers of the skin. 

Other studies suggest that pomegranate seed extract may demonstrate a prohibitive influence on some forms of skin cancer.  Snacking on pomegranate seeds is one way to benefit, but if you’re interested in the skin-saving benefits, seek out pomegranate seed extract oil in stand-alone form, or as an added ingredient in your skin care products.

Show No Mercy to Cancer Cells
An anti-inflammatory compound in pomegranate and pomegranate seed extract called punicic acid has been shown not only to reduce the inflammation that causes joint pain and arthritis, but also to fight cancer.  A 2002 study published in Breast Cancer Research and Treatment showed that pomegranate seed extract suppressed the growth of estrogen-dependent cancer cells in culture.  It also inhibited the ability of cancer cells to cross barriers and spread, and even increased apoptosis (cancer cell self-destruction).1082137839

A 2010 study in the International Journal of Oncology confirmed pomegranate’s influence on cancer cells, showing that cancer cell cultures treated with punicic acid experienced apoptosis at rates 91% higher than untreated cancer cells.  Research has shown that pomegranate seed extract effects prostate cancer in the same manner.  Pomegranate seed extract, along with pomegranate flower extract and pomegranate juice, has also shown promise in the treatment of colon cancer and leukemia.


Citrus Fruits and Tea Can Help Lower Ovarian Cancer

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New research reveals that women who consume foods containing flavonols and flavanones (two forms of dietary flavonoids) cut their risk of developing epithelial ovarian cancer.  This is amazingly good news for women, because ovarian cancer is currently the 5th leading cause of cancer death among women.  About 20,000 women in the U.S. are diagnosed with ovarian cancer each year.


An Extremely Deadly Cancer 

Ovarian cancer is one of the deadliest of all cancers affecting women.  One of the reasons this type of cancer is so terribly dangerous is that it is nearly impossible to detect early.  Only about 19% of ovarian cancer is diagnosed before the cancer has spread, after which point treatment is usually not effective.

Making matters worse is the fact that the ovaries are tiny organs located deep within the abdominal cavity.  This makes it extremely difficult to pinpoint symptoms specific to the ovaries.  Sadly, such symptoms are all too often mistaken for other far less serious health issues until it is simply too late.

The good news is that there are choices you or your loved ones can make to lower ovarian cancer risk.  Most recently, scientists at the University of East Anglia (UEA) discovered that tea and citrus fruits and juices can lower ovarian cancer risk.

How Tea and Citrus Prevent Ovarian Cancer 

The UEA study followed the dietary habits of 171,940 women between the ages of 25 and 55 for more than three decades.  The research team found that those who consumed food and drinks high in flavonols were less likely to develop ovarian cancer.

Flavonols are found in…drinking-tea-woman2

  • Tea
  • Red wine
  • Apples
  • Grapes

Consumption of flavanones was also associated with lower incidence of ovarian cancer.

Flavanones are found in …

  • Citrus fruits
  • Citrus juices


Two Cups A Day
The consumption of just two cups of black tea every day was associated with a whopping 31% reduction in ovarian cancer risk.  Black tea also slashes your risk of diabetes.  A study of elderly people living in the Mediterranean islands showed that people who consumed 1-2 cups of black tea a day had a 70% lower chance of having or developing Type 2 diabetes.

A Groundbreaking Study 

The UEA study was the first large-scale study to examine how the substances in black tea and citrus fruits and juices affect the risk of ovarian cancer.  The study’s authors concluded that very simple and inexpensive changes in food intake could have a drastic effect on reducing ovarian cancer risk.


Tomatoes can Help Reduce the Risk of Prostate Cancer

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What’s the second most common cancer in men worldwide?  Prostate cancer… and it’s much more prevalent in developed countries.  Experts believe that higher rates of prostate cancer in industrialized nations are partially due to the Western diet and lifestyle.  Researchers from the Universities of Bristol, Cambridge, and Oxford recently identified three dietary components that may help slash your risk for prostate cancer.


Lycopene, an antioxidant found in tomatoes, stood out as the all-star prostate cancer-fighting nutrient.

10 Tomatoes a Week Keep the Doctor Away! 

The study, published in Cancer, Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention, is the first “dietary index” to track dietary components and their effects on prostate cancer.  Researchers compared the diets and lifestyle behaviors of 1,806 prostate cancer patients between the ages of 50 and 69 with 12,005 cancer-free men.  They discovered that selenium, calcium, and lycopene effectively reduced prostate cancer risk, with lycopene showing the most influence.

FACT: Men who consumed 10 portions a week of tomatoes or tomato products (like baked beans or tomato juice) had an 18% reduced risk for developing prostate cancer!

Lead researcher Vanessa Er, from the School of Social and Community Medicine at the University of Bristol and Bristol Nutrition BRU, explains: “Our findings suggest that tomatoes may be important in prostate cancer prevention.  However, further studies need to be conducted to confirm our findings, especially through human trials.  Men should still eat a wide variety of fruits and vegetables, maintain a healthy weight and stay active.”


Researchers also analyzed lifestyle factors, particularly the anti-cancer lifestyle recommendations for diet, physical activity, and body weight set forth by the World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF) and the American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR). While the suggestions of these two organizations are pertinent to overall cancer prevention, they aren’t targeted at prostate cancer prevention, and researchers determined that only dietary recommendations lowered prostate cancer risk. This study confirms that a high intake of fruits, vegetables, and fiber helps lower your odds of a prostate cancer diagnosis.

The Anti-Cancer Effects of Lycopene

Lycopene is a carotenoid found in fruits such as the tomato, apricot, guava, and watermelon.  It has been shown to shield against toxins that damage DNA and cells.  Previous studies have shown that lycopene suppresses androgen receptor expression in prostate cancer cells in vitro, and decreases prostate cancer cell proliferation.  Lycopene has also been shown to protect against cardiovascular disease and macular degeneration (the primary cause of vision loss in people over 60).

To increase your lycopene consumption, add some tomatoes, grapefruit, asparagus, parsley, and carrots to your diet.  You’ll notice the results from the inside out, as lycopene also helps your skin maintain a radiant, healthy glow.