Superfoods: Hype or Reality?
Have you ever wondered why certain foods are called superfoods and if they really are better than other foods? Research shows that some foods truly are super healthy and stand out above the rest when it comes to health and healing. The Macmillan Dictionary defines "superfood" as "a food that is considered to be very good for your health and that may even help some medical conditions."
Here are two top contenders:
Watercress, like beet juice, has been shown in studies to lower blood pressure. It contains similar high levels of the same nutrients found in beets. Beet juice was shown to lower blood pressure in three hours when people drank an 8.5 ounce glass of beet juice. With the watercress study, participants lowered their diastolic blood pressure by an average of 3.7 mm Hg in just three days. In other words, rats who ate watercress had lower blood pressure levels than the rats using medication to treat high blood pressure.
Watercress is also rich in a specific glucosinolate known as gluconasturtiin, which converts to PEITC in the human body. In fact, it contains more PEITC than any other cruciferous veggie. This is significant for fighting cancer. A 2015 study found PEITC has the ability to stop new blood vessels from forming to feed tumors, so tumors can't access blood supply and multiply.
PEITC also helps manage diabetes. Studies show regularly eating watercress may help manage diabetes and prediabetes. In a 2015 study, researchers compared two treatments—daily watercress extract (such as you would find in Garden's Best juice powder) and insulin—to compare how each worked to manage blood sugar levels in Type 2 diabetic rats. The findings revealed watercress extracts (200 mg/kg), or roughly 20 mg/kg in humans due to metabolic factors, has hypoglycemic and hypolipidemic effects.
Watercress is high in lutein, which is an antioxidant that is good for the eyes. Lutein along with zeaxanthin helps filter harmful high energy blue wavelengths of light and helps protect and maintain healthy cells in the eyes. Of the 600 carotenoids found in nature, only these two are deposited in high quantities in the retina (macula) of the eye, according to the American Optometric Association. The human body does not naturally make the lutein and zeaxanthin it needs, which is why eating watercress and other foods rich in these carotenoids is important. One cup of raw watercress contains 1961 mcg. of lutein and zeaxanthin.
Watercress is also excellent for low thyroid problems. It's good for the liver. It helps detoxify the body, and it's excellent for the immune system.
Açaí is an indigenous berry found in the rain forests of the Amazon. This fruit has been heralded for centuries as a healing, immune-stimulating, energy-boosting fruit. Research shows that it may help suppress and repair oxidative damage.
Studies show it promotes heart health. The berries are extremely high in anthocyanins, a type of antioxidant that supports balanced cholesterol levels. They are also rich in plant sterols that provide heart protective benefits, including supporting circulation, improving overall blood composition and relaxing the blood vessels.
Check out the weight loss potential of açaí. One interesting study found that pulp from the açaí berry had the ability to reduce fat deposits.
The berries are also good for the immune system. One study found that polyphenolic compounds extracted from these berries reduced the proliferation of malfunctioning cells by up to 86 percent. It is thought that açaí berry contains phytochemicals that can disrupt cell mutation at a molecular level, killing the affected cells before they multiply.
They have also been shown to reduce irritation, boost energy and promote skin health.
Cherie Calbom, M.S., holds a Master of Science degree in whole foods nutrition from Bastyr University. Known as "The Juice Lady" for her work with juicing and health, she is the author of 32 books, including her latest book The Juice Lady's Guide to Fasting. She and her husband offer juice cleanse retreats throughout the year, 30-Day Detox online and Garden's Best Juice Powder. "What You Can Do When Your Healing Doesn't Come" is one point from her teaching "7 Keys to Your Supernatural Healing." You can connect with Cherie at juiceladycherie.com.
This article originally appeared at juiceladycherie.com.
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