antioxidants

  1. Antioxidants found in wild mountain fruits

    These weird fruits pack a powerful punch

    If you've never trekked up Mt. Everest, you've missed out on the exotic fruits that grow out in the Himalaya Mountain Range.

    Now, I'm no endurance climber, but the latest research has got me setting my sights eastward to Nepal -- where Mt. Everest is -- and the surrounding regions of India and Tibet.

    That's where the "mountain people" have been picking and eating the wild fruits from the trees and shrubs of the area for centuries to maintain good health, since they've got little to no access to modern medical facilities.

    And now, in a recent study published in Food Chemistry, Indian researchers found out why: These fruits have tremendous antioxidant potential, thanks to bioactive compounds called "phenolics."

    Some of the weird fruits with tongue-twisting names they looked at in the study included kilmora (a.k.a. "tree turmeric," a source of berberine), a type of fig called "bedu," a type of wild strawberry called "kiphaliya," and a type of apricot called "chuli."

    But there were three fruits in particular that turned out to be GOLDMINES of antioxidant activity:

    • Harad (Terminalia chebula, a.k.a. haritaki or "Ink Nut"), which has been shown to fight bacterial infections (including fighting some nasty bugs like Staphylococcus and H. pylori), prevent liver toxicity, heal ulcers, fight diabetes (by reducing blood sugar and stimulating insulin activity), and even kill cancer cells.
    • Anwla (Phyllanthus emblica, a.k.a. amla or "Indian gooseberry"), which is a fruit that comes from the emblica tree, which Hindus consider sacred as the home of the Hindi god Vishnu. High in vitamin C, it's proven to relieve gut problems (including ulcers) and protect the liver.
    • Kaphal (Myrica esculenta, a.k.a. kafal, kaiphal, or "Bay-berry") is used by Ayurvedic practitioners to fight allergies and asthma.

    Now, these fruits might seem a little far-fetched, but the science of them makes sense to me.

    We know that phenolic compounds -- including gallic acid, catechin, chlorogenic acid, caffeic acid and p-coumaric acid -- are known to reduce free radicals. And that antioxidant activity is so miraculous for your health because it can actually slow down the aging process, protect your organs, and keep disease at bay.

    If the Himalayas aren't on your list of places to vacation this year -- or any year, for that matter -- you can fortunately find some of these fruits in supplement form.

    Harad is frequently included in the Ayurvedic herbal formula called "triphala," and kaphal as part of an Ayurvedic formula for respiratory support. You can also find a traditional Ayurvedic preparation of anwla on its own, in powder form.

    And, if all else fails, stick with the tried-and-true by loading up on any of the antioxidant-rich dark berries that you can find at your local supermarket (or, better yet, farmer's market).

  2. Fight cataracts with these nutrients

    The key to saving your vision

    If your eyes feel like they need a defogger, then you've probably got cataracts.

    You're hardly alone. Some 20 million seniors -- and half of everyone over the age of 80 -- are peering through cataract haze right now.

    If you don't have them yet, let's keep it that way. You can start by boosting your intake of antioxidants, because new research finds these critical nutrients can slash your cataract risk.

    The healing power of antioxidants is built right into the name: they fight the damage caused by oxidative stress -- precisely the damage that leads to cataracts.

    As a result, the study finds women who get the most of these nutrients from diet have a 13 percent lower risk of the condition. (If the study bothered with men, I'm sure it would've found the same thing.)

    That sounds a little on the low side to me, and that's because it didn't look specifically at the best antioxidants for eye protection -- only total antioxidants. So if you REALLY want to make sure you don't get the condition, focus on the great granddaddy of all antioxidants: vitamin C.

    One major study found that every 1 mg/dl boost in blood levels of C will slash your cataract risk by more than a quarter.

    If you want to up your own intake, pass on the orange juice. It's more sugar than C. The best food sources of this vitamin aren't oranges anyway -- they're bell peppers, broccoli and Brussels sprouts.

    To get what you really need, however, take a supplement. Shoot for at least 1,200 mg per day. If you find it makes you gassy, split the dose into 600 mg twice a day or 400 mg three times a day.

  3. The secret source of antioxidants

    Coffee is loaded with antioxidants -- but most of them never make it into your cup. Find out here how to get what you're missing.
  4. Melanoma linked to skin, not sun

    The bright rays of the sun don't cause skin cancer. New research shows the real risk factors are in your skin already -- in the pigments you were born with.
  5. Boiled coffee helps seniors live longer

    A new study on famously long-living islanders finds the secret to their incredible lifespans could be as simple as boiled coffee.
  6. Yes, you do need your antioxidants

    A study claims antioxidants can't protect against stroke and dementia -- but it looked only at the low levels people get from diet, not the high levels proven in studies.
  7. Organics beat conventional foods in new study

    A new study finds that organic meats have fewer germs and organic produce has fewer pesticides than conventional foods.
  8. Cherries for osteoarthritis isn't as sweet as it sounds

    The nanoparticles turning up in everything can cause autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis.
  9. Caffeine is good for your brain

    Isn't it funny how often "bad" habits turn out to be good ones? Just look at caffeine in general and coffee in particular -- for years we've been told they're to be avoided. But caffeine is more than just a stimulant -- it's a safe stimulant that can protect your brain.
  10. How berries boost your brain

    Despite what you've heard, you don't NEED to eat fruits and vegetables to stay healthy -- and some of them are outright bad for you.

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