Superfoods: Foods with benefits (part 4)

April 12, 2013

TeaTalking Health with Dr. Carter
Owner, Carter Drug Store

By Dr. Lester Carter

Hippocrates had it right around 300 B.C. when he advised, “Make thy food thy medicine, and thy medicine thy food.” (We’re slow learners as a race, aren’t we?) We discuss 10 superfoods. Traditionally defined, these foods have exceptional properties. A grocery list follows the discussion. It features the foods most frequently rated as “super.”

Please note that although there is currently an exciting trend toward vegetarianism (no flesh foods), vegan (no foods sourced from animals), and raw food diets, we list foods from both dairy and meat categories.


What other beverage is so healthy – and inexpensive?

Tea, especially green tea, has been highly praised for its health benefits, which are largely due to its high antioxidant content.

The following information comes from the Harvard Women’s Health Watch.

Green tea is the best food source of a group of antioxidants called catechins. In test tubes, catechins are more powerful than vitamins C and E in stopping oxidative damage. They also appear to have other disease fighting properties. Studies have found an association between drinking green tea and a reduced risk for several cancers, including skin, breast, lung, colon, esophageal, and bladder.

Benefits for lovers of green, black, and oolong teas include a lowered risk for heart disease. These teas help block the oxidation of LDL cholesterol, increase HDL, and improve artery function. In addition, a Chinese study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine showed a 46-65 percent reduction in high blood pressure risk compared with non tea drinkers.

The usual amount is three cups per day. Allow green tea to steep for 3-5 minutes to bring out the catechins. Decaffeinated, bottled ready-to-drink, and instant teas have less of these compounds.

Scopp of Chocolate Protein PowderWhey Protein:

Not just for body builders, whey protein is ranked #1 among protein substances for digestibility. That alone is enough to grant it superfood status. Of course whey protein comes from milk, but did you know that it is produced as a co-product of cheese making?

There is a lot of hype surrounding the benefits of whey protein.

For that reason, we reference the Mayo Clinic (MC) site. This prestigious hospital uses a grading system based on scientific studies to evaluate supplements. Here is the criteria for their grading system:

A. Strong scientific evidence for this use.

B. Good scientific evidence for this use.

C. Unclear scientific evidence for this use.

Looking at studies involving 32 health conditions, MC awards two “A’s” and four “B’s.” An “A” goes to whey protein, with the statement that it’s “an excellent source of protein”. The other “A” goes to hydrolyzed whey protein for its “effectiveness in preventing some allergies”.

Whey protein is frequently recommended for weight management. MC gives it a “B” as an appetite suppressant, stating that it has been “found to reduce short term food intake and may aid in reducing appetite.” On this basis, it also earns a “B” for facilitating weight loss. The third “B” is for the ability of whey protein to increase muscle mass and muscle strength. And, the last “B” is accorded for the evidence that whey protein may improve some symptoms of diabetes.

There are 26 more conditions currently under study that are graded “C”. These are ranked “may be useful”. They include acne, bone density, heart disease risk, reducing dental plaque, eczema in infants, exercise (performance and recovery), and high blood pressure. Learn more about the possible healthy effects of whey protein at www.mayoclinic.cmn/ health/whey-proteinl.

Continued next week: Your superfoods grocery list & marine phytoplankton


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