Extreme remedies are very appropriate for extreme diseases. Hippocrates
Today is a second in a series of posts about the health benefits of certain ingredients in natural “superfood” potions and health shakes. Specialty stores dedicated to various natural remedies and organic meats and produce were around more than years ago but they have become large concerns in the last fifteen years.
One of the “superfood” products that contain the ingredients reviewed in this series of posts, is a protein powder marketed by BeachBody, the health and fitness business that distributes through independent “coaches” or agents. Bilberry, Camu-camu, and Goji berry (also known as Lycium) are all ingredients in the Shakeology supplement. The National Institute of Health (NIH) reports that bilberry, Vaccinium myrtillus‘s, high antioxidant content helps the liver process fats, lowers inflammation, and has cancer -fighting agents. In studies, mostly in mammals, they indicate positive cellular results. This is in addition to the other reported improvement in vision. Camu-camu, Myrciaria dubia, is a well-research anti-oxidant that counters systemic inflammatory diseases – such as Crohn’s disease, microbial infections, collagen-induced arthritis, and the inflammatory component of Alzheimer’s Disease. It (inflammation) is a factor in cardiovascular disease that Camu-camu antioxidants can reduce. Goji or Chinese Wolfberry, has been used in traditional medicines and general consumption documented for more than two thousand years. This berry has had positive effects on liver and kidney function as well as eye health. While scientific research is on-going, Chinese authorities have conducted research for decades to augment the ancient studies.
What are other reasons “superfood” is the new go-to for health-conscious adults? Poor diet of most in industrialized nations is one reason. The ingredients – including vegetables, fruits and grains, as well as livestock feed are less nutritious than decades ago. Our food is less nutritious because soil was depleted of natural minerals and ingredients through more than a century of heavy use. Fertilizers and chemical additives were created to grow faster and increase yields per cultivated acre, but this has not substantially increased the nutrition value. In an article in Scientific American magazine, this is substantiated.
Anyone who has eaten a non-hybridized home-grown tomato in recent times can identify it over general retail produce by taste and texture.
Available in protein shakes and other retail products, “superfood” additives are not well understood by the public. With the pharmaceutical industry constantly advertising a drug for any particular health condition but with side-effects that often include “death” as one potential outcome, there is public interest in other remedies. Which conditions may be controlled by diet, exercise, and some natural remedies?
Case study: Self
After age fifty-five, I became a regular shopper at a local organic market, first for better quality fruit and vegetables, and later for organic (additive and pesticide-free) produce, fresh fish and chemical -free chicken. Using some herbal ingredients and remedies for Men’s health-related complaints, I would advocate readers and bloggers do research, as experience has taught me that Big Pharma and the agri-industry does not hold all the answers. My own research began after suffering years of a periodic allergic reaction that caused angioedema in my intestine and soft tissues. It frequently required hospitalization. Yet the triggering cause was not found by medical professionals but was self-diagnosed.
In the year leading up to my diagnosis, I had taken medication prescribed to mitigate the then-unknown cause by suppressing the inflammatory effects. Daily use of this medication caused chronic acid reflux that persisted almost a year after ceasing use. This turned me to studying food and making different choices.
Some pharmaceutical medications are based on ingredients used for very long time by rural populations around the globe. One such remedy, glucosamine, was generally known to farming and ranching folk in the 20th Century, to relieve early symptoms of arthritis, yet medical professionals were quick to dismiss it without seeing extensive research. When glucosamine could be obtained in capsule form for pennies, many did not know about it. And yet within twenty years it became a wonder ingredient on every over-the-counter drugstore and grocer’s shelves. At ten times the original price.
Many of these ingredients in superfood have documented research to show their health benefits. And with the expense of medical care today, an extract of an herb, root, or berry might be an effective alternative or supplement to a Big Pharma product.