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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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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A stress reduction program using Transcendental Meditation significantly reduced mortality, myocardial infarction, and stroke in African-American patients with coronary heart disease, researchers reported.

A stress reduction program using Transcendental Meditation significantly reduced mortality, myocardial infarction, and stroke in African-American patients with coronary heart disease, researchers reported.

Those practicing TM had a 48% reduction in these outcomes according to Robert H. Schneider, MD, of Maharishi University of Management in Maharishi Vedic City, Iowa, and colleagues.

The TM group also had a change of −4.9 mm Hg in systolic blood pressure as reported online in Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes.

“Reduction in systolic BP may be a physiological mechanism for reduced clinical events in this trial since this magnitude of reduction has been associated with 15% reduction in cardiovascular clinical events,” Schneider and colleagues wrote.

African Americans are disproportionately afflicted with cardiovascular disease, at least in part possibly because of environmental and psychosocial stresses.

The TM program involves daily periods during which individuals sit quietly allowing the mind to drift into a “wakeful hypometabolic state,” which is characterized by physiologic changes typical of decreased stress.

Previous studies of stress reduction using TM have shown benefits for risk factors and various clinical endpoints in the general population.

Schneider and colleagues enrolled 201 black patients who had at least one coronary artery with 50% blockage.

In the study, they assigned participants to learn the meditation technique and practice it twice a day for 20 minutes, or to health education on cardiovascular health with instructions to engage in heart-healthy behaviors each day at home.

The study took place between 1998 and 2007, in two phases separated by a period of loss of funding in 2003 and 2004.

The primary endpoint was a composite of nonfatal stroke or myocardial infarction and all-cause mortality, while secondary endpoints included cardiovascular mortality, revascularization, and hospitalization for coronary heart disease or heart failure

More than half of the patients were men, and mean age was 59. About 60% were taking lipid-lowering medications, 44% were taking ACE inhibitors, and 35% were on calcium channel blockers

“In conclusion, this randomized controlled trial found that a selected mind-body intervention, the Transcendental Meditation program, significantly reduced risk for mortality, myocardial infarction, and stroke in African-American men and women with coronary heart disease. These changes were associated with reductions in BP and psychosocial distress,” Schneider and colleagues wrote

Limitations of the study included sample sizes that were not large enough to explore single endpoints, and varying duration for time spent in the study for some participants

The study also did not attempt to assess the potential benefits of other types of mind-body programs, so additional research will be needed.

Dr. Jorge Bordenave practices Integrative, Preventive & Clinical Cardiology.
He is NOAA / UHMS Certified Dive Medical Examiner, Associate Clinical Professor of Medicine, FIU Medical College and Clinical Assistant Professor of Medicine, Nova Southeastern University.

Dr. Bordenave’s practice is located at:

 4908 SW 8 street, Coral Gables, Fl. 33134.

They are open Monday thru Friday 9am to 5pm.

Phone: 305.446.2444

Website: www.miamiintegrativemedicine.com

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Primary source: Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes
Source reference:
Schneider R, et al “Stress reduction in the secondary prevention of cardiovascular disease: a randomized controlled trial of Transcendental Meditation and health education in African Americans” Circ Cardiovasc Quality Outcomes 2012; DOI: 10.1161/CIRCOUTCOMES.112.967406.

How Nutrition Is the Cornerstone of Health in Integrative Medicine

Since Integrative Medicine takes a holistic approach to improving and maintaining health for the mind, body and soul, it would be appropriate to explore the role of nutrition in the whole body approach. Learning how to eat and for what types of health conditions nutrition can treat, it is essential to make the most of an Integrative Medicine approach to becoming and staying well. No matter what you are using Integrative Medicine to treat your body for your overall health, to manage inflammation, to support your body’s ability to manage its diabetes, to maintain heart health, and to promote a stable mood, through an Integrative Medicine approach, can have real results.

Eating for your overall health, perhaps the most important principle of Integrative Medicine, can be accomplished quite easily with some easy to follow principles. No matter what type of fruits and vegetables you eat, make sure they are in season, fresh and are grown without pesticides, antibiotics, hormones and other industrial agents. Eating as many colors and types of fruits and vegetables will ensure you are well protected against acute and chronic diseases. Whether fruits and vegetable are fresh or frozen, as long as you eat 8 to 10 servings per day, you will be served well.[i]

According to research, inflammation is becoming more widespread and is the culprit that causes many chronic and debilitating diseases. However, Integrative Medicine can help people reduce and manage their levels of inflammation, thereby reducing their chances of developing such serious diseases. Eating a balanced diet of protein, carbohydrates and fats is recommended. Variety really is the spice in your diet and is great to manage inflammation. Along with eating a wide variety of naturally colored fruits and vegetables and minimizing exposure to processed foods and toxins on and in foods, eating oily fish or taking fish oil supplements helps combat inflammation.[ii]

Integrative medicine, through its holistic approach, has a nutritional approach, along with medication, to help your body naturally manage its diabetes. With a 40-30-30 ratio of non-starch vegetables, lean protein and high fiber fruits and low-glycemic fruits respectively, the Integrative Medicine approach to supporting and not-stressing out your body while have a condition such as diabetes is very effective.[iii]

Eating to maintain your heart’s health is very essential because it provides blood which provides oxygen and nutrients to the rest of your body. Along with the theme of eating naturally through fruits, vegetables, fish, meat, nuts and oil (organic, when always possible), it is essential to make healthier choices when it comes to drinks, snacks and basic staples. Some examples of replacing poor heart healthy choices for better food choices includes: using flavorful herbs and spices instead of salt; replacing beer and spirits with red wine (in moderation of course); and replacing white bread and bagels with pita or sprouted bread.[iv]

Along with eating properly to maintain and support one’s organs and cardiovascular system, Integrative Medicine has not left out nutrition when it comes to supporting ideal mental health. Building on eating well through natural, organic and minimally processed foods, there are some specific recommendations to promote an even and healthy mood through nutrition. Specific suggestions include not skipping meals, eating foods to stabilize and minimize swings of blood sugar levels, increase consumption of omega-3 fatty acids, stay away from caffeine, minimize or avoid alcohol and ensure you have normal levels of necessary vitamins and minerals.[v]

As you can see, nutrition in the Integrative Medicine approach, is very integral to supporting both the physical body and the mind. Taking a serious approach to your nutrition will enable you to support your overall health. With advice from your Integrative Medicine practitioner, you will be able to maximize your health by becoming and staying well.

Dr. Jorge Bordenave practices Integrative, Preventive & Clinical Cardiology.
He is NOAA / UHMS Certified Dive Medical Examiner, Associate Clinical Professor of Medicine, FIU Medical College and Clinical Assistant Professor of Medicine, Nova Southeastern University.

Dr. Bordenave’s practice is located at:

 4908 SW 8 street, Coral Gables, Fl. 33134.

They are open Monday thru Friday 9am to 5pm.

Phone: 305.446.2444

Website: www.miamiintegrativemedicine.com

Posted by Axiom Administrative Services

 69 Appaloosa Lane, Bldg C, Ste. 201
Ormond Beach, Florida 32174
Phone/Fax: 800-888-6348                         
Website:    www.axiomadminserv.com
Integrated Healthcare Marketing Services



[i] The University of Arizona. Resources: Top Ten Tips For a Healthy Diet.  http://integrativemedicine.arizona.edu/resources.html  Accessed November 15, 2012.

[ii] The University of Arizona. Resources: Anti-inflammatory Diet.   http://integrativemedicine.arizona.edu/resources.html  Accessed November 15, 2012.

[iii] The University of Arizona. Resources: Healthy Meals for Diabetics.   http://integrativemedicine.arizona.edu/resources.html  Accessed November 15, 2012.

[iv] The University of Arizona. Resources: Choosing Foods for Heart Health.   http://integrativemedicine.arizona.edu/resources.html  Accessed November 15, 2012.

[v] The University of Arizona. Resources:  Dietary Tips for Better  Mental Health.   http://integrativemedicine.arizona.edu/resources.html  Accessed November 15, 2012.



Inflammation Part One


Inflammation  is a normal process that keeps us healthy. It is our body’s defense response mechanism to infection, injury or any noxious stimuli.

Simply put, inflammation is the body’s physiological response to any injury, infection or any irritant.

Inflammatory processes are common and a normal defense response of the body, acting to protect against invading organisms and processes that affect that can potentially cause us harm.

Acute inflammation is an immediate, overwhelming response to a trauma, irritation, endo-toxins, bacteria, viruses, micro-organisms and other noxious stimulus. For example, whenever we cut ourselves or sustain any other type of injury, within a few milliseconds the inflammatory cascade becomes activated. Damaged cell membranes first release products of arachidonic acid metabolism, like prostaglandins and leukotrienes, as well as bradikinins and histamins all of which are substances that have an important role in an acute inflammatory process.

These chemical mediators cause an increased blood flow to the site of injury and are typically the cause of the initial localized pain associated with an acute inflammatory process. The increase flow of blood and fluid into the injured area, causes swelling and the increased vasodilation causes redness.

The immune system also becomes activated, and white blood cells, by a process called chemotaxis, arrive at the site of injury. Neutrophils are the white blood cells responsible in finding and eliminating any bacteria. It does so by engulfing these micro-organisms, and destroying them with potent enzymes within its cell structure. The neutrophils are helped in removing cellular debris by another type of white blood cell called macrophages.

Depending on the type of injury, the hematologic system can also be activated with platelets quickly clumping to form a localized blood clot to stop any potential bleeding.

In addition to these blood cell components the injured area is also flooded with other anticoagulant factors and chemicals that work together to protect the body from the potential damage.

In a healthy person, this response to injury or infection is quick and efficient, with resolution occurring before the immune system is chronically activated. After the acute process is contained and resolved, the skin eventually returns to its normal color and temperature.

An example of this would be with a flare up of gout. As uric acid levels increase they may precipitate and form crystals and deposit in the fluids and lining around the joints. This causes the area to become irritated and inflamed, manifested by redness, swelling and tenderness to the affected area. Another more common example of an acute inflammation is that of a common head cold.

In contrast, to an acute inflammatory response, a chronic low-level inflammation is a persistent inflammation due to chronic irritation by exposure to a noxious stimuli or an auto-immune reaction. Instead of a response by neutrophils and macrophages it is monocytes, lymphocytes and fibroblasts that typically predominate. As this inflammation continues indefinitely, other components of the body’s defense system become activated. The compliment system is activated to aid antibodies and phagocytic cells in removing noxious stimuli. Phagocytic cells that engulf and destroy invading cells and generate and produce many enzymes and chemicals like reactive oxygen species. The coagulation system is activated to limit bleeding, by forming a network of fine protein strands that localize to the area of injury. The kinin system of proteins is activated and acts as inflammatory mediators to cause vasodilatation and finally the fibrinolysis system is activated to limit and counter balance the coagulation system. Several different inflammatory mediators result from each of these systems, all of which form part of the immune response.

Reactive oxygen species are unstable compounds useful in eliminating various noxious threats if left un checked can lead to oxidative damage of nucleic acids and proteins, causing illness.

Chronic inflammation can become a state of continuous stimulation that for whatever reason, cannot seem to turn it self off. In these settings chronic inflammation leads to involvement of the immune system.

An immune system that cannot turn itself off, then turns against the body, producing a myriad of chronic diseases.

Some individuals may have a genetic predisposition to develop certain chronic inflammatory diseases.

Chronic inflammation can result from an acute inflammation, or develop slowly and have a delayed onset, lasting for months or years, and end with tissue destruction, tissue fibrosis or cell death.

In chronic inflammation, we don’t have the typical cardinal signs of heat, redness, swelling and pain as in an acute inflammatory process, and many times we are not even aware of an ongoing inflammation. Most low grade inflammation produce no identifiable symptom because it typically occurs in cells, tissues and organs deep within the body and often times we are not aware that the illness.

Examples of chronic inflammation include; atherosclerosis or hardening of the arteries, peptic ulcer disease, psoriasis, rheumatoid arthritis, pancreatitis, Alzheimers disease, inflammatory bowel disease, allergies, obesity, cancer, diabetes, asthma and many others.

from the book: “Change your Diet, Change your Health” (2012)