What Makes a Food “Super”?

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You’ve probably seen quite a few stories in the media in recent years about the health benefits of a group a foods that some people have labeled as “superfoods.” But just what makes a food “super,” and which foods really deserve this label? And how do the positive attributes of these “superfoods” help contribute to good health and longer life?

In fact, while many researchers recognize the benefits of many of the so-called superfoods, the term has no specific medical, scientific, or legal definition. In general, however, superfoods tend to be low in calories while being high in many essential vitamins and nutrients. Many are excellent sources of antioxidants, which are believed to contribute to the prevention of chronic illnesses including cancer and heart disease. Other superfoods have anti-inflammatory properties, which can be helpful in preventing conditions such as cancer, arthritis, and atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries).

Superfoods have been credited with helping to prevent three of the most debilitating diseases affecting the U.S. population – cancer, heart disease, and diabetes. Lets look at each of these diseases and see how superfoods work to prevent them, as well as which foods are considered the most “super” in terms of their beneficial effects.


Claims for the cancer-fighting properties of superfoods center around two key compounds – antioxidants and phytochemicals. Antioxidants have been credited with inhibiting the production of free radicals, highly reactive chemical agents that can cause damage to cells that may result in cancer. Common antioxidants found in many superfoods include beta-carotene, vitamin C, and lycopene. Phytochemicals are naturally-occurring compounds found in plants. According to researcher Jed Fahey of Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, studies have shown that phytochemicals have the potential to protect cells from damage and mutation that lead to cancer. There are literally hundreds of phytochemicals found in a wide variety of plant foods.


Superfoods identified as particularly powerful cancer prevention agents include broccoli, spinach, berries, tomatoes, and carrots. A review of nutrition studies conducted by the World Cancer Research Fund and the American Institute for Cancer Research found that broccoli and all kinds of berries can protect against cancer of the mouth, esophagus, and stomach. A study by the National Institutes of Health showed that spinach also acts a preventive agent against those cancers. Lycopene, a substance found in abundance in tomatoes, has been show in laboratory tests to inhibit the growth of cancer cells in breast and lung tissue.

Heart Disease

The antioxidant properties of superfoods are also considered to help reduce the risk of heart disease, and some of the foods on the list of cancer-preventing agents are also among those thought to be best at preventing heart disease. For example, the antioxidant anthocyanin that is found in blueberries, is thought to reduce the accumulation of LDL cholesterol (or “bad” cholesterol) that can clog arteries and contribute to heart attacks and stroke. Spinach is another cancer-fighting superfood that does double-duty against heart disease.  In addition to antioxidants, spinach contains omega-3 fatty acids that prevent blood platelets from clumping together to form clots or buildup on the walls of arteries. It also contains folate that helps reduce the level homocysteine, an amino acid linked to the development of cardiovascular disease. Two other superfoods high in omega-3 fatty acids are salmon and soy protein, both of which are high on the American Heart Association’s list of heart-healthy foods.


The American Diabetes Association has compiled a list of superfoods that help prevent this debilitating disease. One thing all of them have in common is a low glycemic index, or GI, which measures the rise of blood sugar (glucose) after consuming a particular food. Foods with a low GI help maintain healthier levels of glucose, which can help in preventing Type 2 diabetes.

Some old friends among the superfoods that help prevent cancer and heart disease are also on the ADA’s list of diabetes fighters. These include spinach, tomatoes, berries and salmon. Whole grains, which are loaded with nutrients including folate and omega-3 fatty acids, are also recommended by the ADA. Other superfoods highly recommended by the ADA include nuts, sweet potatoes, and citrus fruit such as oranges, lemons, and grapefruit.


American Diabetes Association: http://www.diabetes.org/food-and-fitness/food/what-can-i-eat/diabetes-superfoods.html

Maeda N, Matsuraba K, Yoshida H, Mizushina Y. Anti-cancer effect of spinach glycoglycerolipids as angiogenesis inhibitors based on the selective inhibition of DNA polymerase activity. Mini Rev Med Chem. 2011 Jan;11(1):32-8.

World Cancer Research Fund / American Institute for Cancer Research (2007) Food, Nutrition, Physical Activity, and the Prevention of Cancer: a Global Perspective. Project Report. The American Institute for Cancer Research, Washington, DC.

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What’s So Super About Superfoods?


You’ve probably heard about “superfoods,” but what are they and what makes them “super”? Check out this article, which discusses 3 “superfoods” and how they contribute to a healthy lifestyle.

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Superfoods You Just Can’t “Beet”

Want to know what foods are best for a healthy mind and body? Read here about 3 “superfoods” that can help you maintain optimum health.

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The “Bs” Have It: Three Superfoods for Overall Health

In recent years, nutritional researchers have made significant progress in identifying the substances in our diets that promote health and those that undermine it. The knowledge they have gathered has given us a greater understanding of which foods do the most to promote overall health and wellness, and how those foods exert their beneficial effects.

Three foods that share the label “superfoods” for their positive influence on many aspects of health, also share the same first letter: B – bananas, blueberries, and beets.  Research has identified multiple health benefits from all three of these foods from lowering blood pressure to preventing heart disease to helping detoxify carcinogens in the body.


Bananas for Stress

Feeling stressed after a hard day at work? Don’t have a cocktail, eat a banana! Bananas are very high in potassium, which works to lower blood pressure, while being very low in sodium, which raises blood pressure. In fact, banana producers in the United States now may legally claim that their product reduces blood pressure and lowers the risk of stroke. High blood pressure is also one of the leading contributors to heart disease, so the benefits of bananas extend to the heart as well.

Bananas also have proven to be especially beneficial for kidney health. While a large body of research has indicated that eating fresh fruits promotes kidney function, the fruit that seem to offer the greatest protection against kidney cancer is the banana. A study reported in the January 2005 issue of the International Journal of Cancer found that women who ate four to six bananas per week had half the risk of kidney cancer as women who did not eat bananas.


Blueberries for Aging

Many of us worry about the natural effects of aging and look for ways to try to look and feel as young as possible. Few of us probably realize that having a handful of blueberries every day can help you do just that. Blueberries contain compounds called anthocyanins that research has shown may offer protection from oxidative stress, which underlies virtually all disorders commonly linked to aging – cancer, heart disease, and Alzheimer’s disease to name just a few.

In 2006 the journal Neurobiological Aging published studies conducted at Tufts University in Massachusetts that indicated a diet supplemented with blueberries actually reversed age-related decline in the region of the brain associated with memory formation and storage. More recently, researchers at the University of Arkansas Children’s Nutrition Center found that blueberries added to the diet of mice reduced the effects of atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries.


Beets to Fight Inflammation

The third of the “superfoods” contains a wide range of compounds that promote optimal health and help fight the chronic effects of aging. Research reveals that beets have particularly powerful antioxidant properties, which aid in repairing cellular damage. They have also been shown to fight chronic inflammation, which is linked to a wide range of diseases associated with aging including heart disease, atherosclerosis, and Type 2 diabetes. The fact that beets show both antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects means that a diet rich in beets is highly likely to have a positive effect on reducing the risk of cancer.

Adding fiber to the diet is recognized as an excellent way to promote colon and digestive health, and beet fiber seems to be particularly helpful in this regard.  Both beets and another root vegetable, carrots, contain pectin polysaccharides, substances that significantly increase these foods’ total fiber content. As a result, they may provide benefits above and beyond other vegetables in terms of promoting digestion and reducing the risk of colon cancer.

All Over-the-Counter

Perhaps the best part is that all of these super disease fighters are completely natural and readily available in any market. You don’t need a prescription to obtain them and there are no special instructions for taking them – just eat them regularly and in moderation for optimal health benefits. Of course, any time you consider a change in diet it is best to see a professional who can offer you advice on how to get the greatest benefit out of such a move. A specialist in integrative medicine in as excellent choice because he or she can help you incorporate diet as one part of a fully integrated and healthy lifestyle.


Bobek P, Galbavy S, Mariassyova M. The effect of red beet (Beta vulgaris var. rubra) fiber on alimentary hypercholesterolemia and chemically induced colon carcinogenesis in rats. Nahrung 2000 Jun;44(3):184-7. 2000.

Clarke, JD, Riedl K, Bella D, Schwartz SJ, Stevens JF, Ho E. Comparison of Isothiocyanate Metabolite Levels and Histone Deacetylase Activity in Human Subjects Consuming Broccoli Sprouts or Broccoli Supplement. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, 2011; 110930085450000 DOI: 10.1021/jf202887c

Elbandy MA and Abdelfadeil MG. Stability of betalain pigments from a red beetroot (Beta vulgaris). Poster Session Presentation. The First International Conference of Food Industries and Biotechnology & Associated Fair. Al-Baath University, North Sinai, Egypt. Available online at: www.albaath univ.edu.sy/foodex2010/connections/ Posters/6.pdf. 2010.

Galli RL, Bielinski DF, Szprengiel A, Shukitt-Hale B, Joseph JA. Neurobiol Aging. 2006 Feb;27(2):344-50. “Blueberry supplemented diet reverses age-related decline in hippocampal HSP70 neuroprotection.” Neuroscience Laboratory, USDA-ARS Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University, 711 Washington St., Boston, MA 02111, USA.

Lee CH, Wettasinghe M, Bolling BW et al. Betalains, phase II enzyme-inducing components from red beetroot (Beta vulgaris L.) extracts. Nutr Cancer. 2005;53(1):91-103. 2005.

Rashidkhani B, Lindblad P, and Wolk, A. Fruits, vegetables and risk of renal cell carcinoma: A prospective study of Swedish women. International Journal of Cancer. 2005 Jan; 113 (3): 451-55.

Wu X, Kang J, Xie C, Burris R, Ferguson ME, Badger TM, Nagarajan S. USDA Arkansas Children’s Nutrition Center, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, Little Rock, AR 72202, USA. J Nutr. 2010 Sep;140(9):1628-32. Epub 2010 Jul 21. “Dietary blueberries attenuate atherosclerosis in apolipoprotein E-deficient mice by upregulating antioxidant enzyme expression.”

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What Is Mind-Body Medicine?

Mind Body Medicine

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In the past two-hundred years science and technology has seen exponential growth. Every decade a new breakthrough is made. People all over the world are being saved from terrible diseases all thanks to these breakthroughs. But what if there was a treatment option that slipped by, a type of medicine that people have used for thousands of years to cure all kinds of diseases and live a better life? It’s not a fantasy, it’s called mind-body medicine and it is changing the way people look at health.

As much as modern medicine has evolved it still has its limitations. You can’t cure every single problem with pills, surgery, etc. Some problems need to be looked at from a different angle. That is where mind-body medicine comes in. It is a unique form of medicine that looks at treatment of the whole body. They don’t just target specific parts of the body like the heart, lungs or brain. They see the whole system and treat it accordingly.

Mind-body medicine has been around for a long time. It was only a few hundred years ago that doctors started treating the mind and body as separate entities. Although there is indeed validity to this there are still some drawbacks. For problems like depression and stress it can be hard to cure the root cause. Unlike a headache, stress is not as tangible. Therefore giving someone medication isn’t always the answer.

A mind-body practitioner will utilize specific relaxations techniques like meditation, journaling, tai-chi, chi-gong, journaling, art therapy and aroma therapy to help alleviate stress. Each of these techniques is well-known and has its own merit.

In the mid-seventies a man by the name of Dr. Benson from Harvard Medical School started to study mind-body medicine to see its true effects on people. He found through extensive research that relaxation techniques like meditation improve people’s health in all aspects. With that evidence the world of mind-body medicine has become more and more popular.

As the world continues to evolve mind-body medicine will continue to grow. Eastern medicine practices like meditation and yoga have already become widespread in the western world. To fully heal people and make new strides in science eastern and western medicine must come together to act as one.

That is the direction the world is headed in and renowned integrative medicine practitioner Dr. Jorge Bordenave knows this. That is why he has embraced mind-body medicine and utilizes its tactics to heal people of their most troubling problems. Dr. Jorge Bordenave is located in Miami, Florida and works diligently to help people using a holistic approach.

With treatment from Dr. Bordenave you can rest easy as he focuses on treating the root causes of your health problems. No more medications and no more stress. Let Dr. Bordenave be the change you have been looking for.  Embrace mind-body medicine and live a better life.

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