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Old 06-24-2007, 10:46 AM   #1
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Default Super foods

Awhile back, ripley started this thread on the foodee board with a list of "super" foods that I found extremely beneficial. Now they've added more to that list, and I found a very informative article about them here:


Superfoods: The Next Frontier
Move over, blueberries. There's a new pack of disease-fighting vittles in town

by Denise Foley


Had it up to here with broccoli? Join the club. But it's hard to take it off the menu when it's such a great source of vitamins and minerals. Still, is a little variety too much to ask?

Not anymore, thanks to research that's shifting the spotlight to a new generation of health-boosting foods--many of which do double or triple duty to help prevent illness. Here are six on the brink of superstar status.

1. Pomegranate
If you're going to have a martini, at least make it a pomegranate one. This fall fruit has higher antioxidant activity than red wine and green tea, which may be why a number of studies show it may prevent skin cancer and kill breast and prostate cancer cells. It also helps:

Fight Alzheimer's disease
Researchers at Loma Linda University found that mice who drank pomegranate juice experienced 50% less brain degeneration than animals that consumed only sugar water. The pomegranate drinkers also did better in mazes and tests as they aged.

Guard your arteries
A group of diabetics who drank about 2 ounces of pomegranate juice a day for 3 months kept their bodies from absorbing bad cholesterol into their immune system cells (a major contributing factor to hardened arteries), discovered Israeli researchers.

2. Kiwifruit
Don't judge this fruit by its cover: Under that bristly brown peel you'll find a bright green star bursting with antioxidants and full of fiber. Kiwifruit works to:

Protect against free radical damage

A study from Rutgers University compared the 27 most popular fruits and determined that kiwifruit was the most nutritionally dense. Plus, it makes the short list of fruits with substantial amounts of vitamin E, and contains more vision-saving lutein than any other fruit or vegetable, except for corn.

Lower blood-clot risk

In a 2004 study from the University of Oslo in Norway, participants who ate two or three kiwis for 28 days significantly reduced their potential to form a clot. They also got a bonus benefit: Their triglycerides, a blood fat linked to heart attack, dropped by 15%.

3. Barley
When some whole grains, such as wheat and oats, are processed, they lose their fiber content. Not so with barley, which is full of soluble beta-glucan fiber in its whole kernel or refined flour form. Studies show this particular fiber may:

Knock down bad cholesterol--by as much as 17.4%, according to USDA research.

A 2004 study found that adults with moderately high cholesterol levels who went on a low-fat American Heart Association diet began to see an improvement only when barley was added to the menu.

Decrease blood sugar and insulin levels

That makes barley a better choice for people with type 2 diabetes, says a 2005 Agricultural Research Services study.

4. Cranberry
This born-and-bred American berry is among the top 10 antioxidant-rich foods, making it a potent cancer protector. You know it helps treat urinary tract infection, and perhaps you heard it prevents gum disease, too, but did you know that these beneficial berries may:

Eradicate E. coli

Compounds in the juice can actually alter antibiotic-resistant strains, making it impossible for the harmful bacteria to trigger an infection. A small pilot study from Harvard Medical School and Rutgers University found that eating about 1/3 cup of dried cranberries yielded the same effect.

Help prevent strokes

Research on pigs with a genetic predisposition to atherosclerosis--narrow, hardened arteries that may lead to heart attack and stroke--found that those fed dried cranberries or juice every day had healthier, more flexible blood vessels.

5. Broccoli Sprouts
Yes, we've been through this--broccoli, good. The news: Broccoli sprouts are even better. At a mere 3 days old, they contain at least 20 times as much of disease-fighting sulforaphane glucosinolate (SGS) as their elders; SGS has been shown to:

Kill tumors

The chemical triggers enzymes in the body that either kill cancer cells or keep them from growing. Just 1 ounce of sprouts has as much SGS as 1 1/4 pounds of broccoli. That'll save you lots of chewing.

Protect your heart

People who ate about a half cup a day of sprouts lowered their total cholesterol by an average of 15 points, and women in the study raised their good cholesterol by 8 points--in just 1 week, found a Japanese pilot study.

Save your sight

Exposure to UV sunlight over time may lead to an eye condition called macular degeneration, which is the number one cause of blindness in US seniors. Researchers at Johns Hopkins determined that broccoli sprouts can protect retinal cells from ultraviolet light damage.

6. Kefir
This cultured milk drink stacks up in calcium--one 8-ounce serving contains 30% of the recommended daily intake--and contains more beneficial bacteria than yogurt. It may also:

Reduce food allergies

Baby mice fed kefir had a threefold reduction in the amount of an antibody linked to food allergies, say researchers at an agricultural university.

Battle breast cancer

Women age 50 and older who consumed fermented milk products had a lower risk than those who ate little or none.

Avoid triggering lactose intolerance

Kefir contains lactase, the enzyme that people with lactose intolerance are missing, say researchers at Ohio State University. And the taste? Like plain yogurt, just a little thinner.

Add a few of these superfoods to your diet daily. Search our Recipe Finder for tasty dishes.

(Posted March 2007)
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Old 06-24-2007, 11:12 AM   #2
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Broccoli sprouts? Is that sprouted seeds then?
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Old 06-24-2007, 11:47 AM   #3
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Yes, that's what they are. There's more info about them here.



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Old 06-24-2007, 11:55 AM   #4
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Sprouts are awesome! One of my favorite light meals is a bagel with cream cheese, a few slices of tomato, and lots of yummy sprouts.

Another thing I love is juicing pomegranates and mixing with cooled red tea and honey. Blend with a little ice and it's great.

The reason I babble on about this crap is one of my biggest problems with "good for you" stuff is knowing what the hell to do with it.
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Old 06-24-2007, 12:21 PM   #5
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Another superfood worth mentioning is the fruit of the prickly pear cactus, or at least its juice. It has long been valued in the chicano community as a hangover cure, but more recent research indicates that a cup of the stuff, taken daily, works to reduce blood sugar.
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Old 06-24-2007, 07:25 PM   #6
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Thanks Joy, you lil sweetie.


(Couldn't rep you again yet so this will have to do.)
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Old 06-25-2007, 02:03 AM   #7
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Cool, those sprouts look ideal for chucking in a sammich or something without thinking and being good for you. Will have to see where I can buy the seeds.
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Old 06-25-2007, 07:15 PM   #8
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Pookie, they're great in salads, too! They add a little bit extra of an interesting crunch. I don't care for them in large amounts, but I toss a few on my salads so I say I did my good deed for my body.

Oh and kefir? I love that stuff. It's divine, one of my favorite treat drinks. It's just hella expensive, but that makes it that much more special, the fact that we can't afford to drink a lot of it.
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Old 06-26-2007, 02:25 PM   #9
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i love sprouts in my salad too. They add a good texture and they really spread the dressing around well. You can use a lot less when there are sprouts on the salad.
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Old 06-26-2007, 02:34 PM   #10
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Sprouts are great! I've been eating them for years (usually organic) - they sell them here in the grocery stores already sprouted. They don't keep for very long tho.

Excellent on practically anything, especially sandwiches or salads. They don't like to be cooked at ALL - you should add them afterwards.

"Super food" is a bit of an exaggeration, but they're very good for you. There are many kinds of sprouts - my favorites at the moment seem to be sunflower and alfalfa. One type of sprouts - I forget which - didn't seem to agree with me. I wasn't that much into onion sprouts either, 'cos they're so oniony and it didn't seem to go much taste-wise with the sprout texture.
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Old 06-26-2007, 04:38 PM   #11
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Wow! Thanks for the info (and now I'm ready for dinner)!!
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