super food

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.

Research

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-camuMyrciaria 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.

 

 

don’t smoke that mushroom

Eat it.

Compared to the years I served in the United States Navy, robust health and nutrition of sailors in the Nineteenth Century – the “iron men and wooden ships” of lore- was less a factor of the sea air than good fortune.  Logs of ships’ surgeons from that era contain reports of men lost overboard in storms at sea, accidents, cholera, dysentery,  over- consumption of alcohol leading to death, infections, sexually-transmitted diseases, run -ins with native populations )in the then- relatively isolated foreign ports), and poor diet.

In the years just after Desert Storm,  fresh dairy products, fruit, and vegetables became available fairly regularly at sea due to underway replenishment.   Even in the early 1990s,  it was not uncommon to have powdered eggs, and ultra-pasteurized milk ( the sort the US Army Veterinary Service certified as safe for consumption) in place of fresh more than a week out of port.

It leads me to wonder aloud,  whether the new health-consciousness of many activists for varied range-fed beef and compassionately-raised chicken,  organic vegetables and gluten-free choices, have filtered down to our armed forces.

Most of my peers who retired around 2009 -2010, know that the military began a renewed campaign to fight obesity – discharging members who failed to maintain a standard that – even with body-builders  – was difficult to achieve.   But we also know that society has gotten farther and farther away from healthy diets and regular exercise.

But there are choices.   Although,  I do not expect my local Pizza Port to alter the menus just yet.   And with virtually every town having small breweries popping up,  I do not believe “lite” beer is going to be on the minds of the young men and women today.   However, for those fewer of us, where the excesses of youth are around our waistlines, in our zeal to stay off medicines and out of hospitals,  may yet find ways to exercise moderately and eat tasty, and healthy, food.

When I heard about this Portobello mushroom pizza, I was skeptical.  It is remarkably tasty!

But this also has cancer-fighting properties as well as staying off my waistline.   And I surprised my doctor last Wednesday with my complete turnaround in health.   Thirty-five pounds lighter,  blood -chemistry all in the normal range,  and much happier.   He didn’t ask me how,  but when others may,  I’ll tell them, “Pizza, fish, Chinese food, fresh vegetables.  Yogurt.  And more cooking with garlic, turmeric, mushrooms, and herbal ingredients.”

That gives me the ability to enjoy a nice craft beer.   Guilt-free.    I’m still a Sailor, after-all.