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How Anti-Oxidants Can Change Your Life
By Dr. Jay Lipoff
“When you are right you cannot be too radical; when you are wrong, you cannot be too conservative.”
– Martin Luther King, Jr.
Antioxidants deserve more attention because they help to remove free radicals or unstable molecules, which can lead to cancer and even premature aging. They are unstable in the sense that they have an incomplete number of electrons around them, which makes them more reactive then their balanced counterparts. Humans typically produce oxygen-containing molecules, which will then try to steal electrons from other molecules. This is how the damage occurs. It looks similar to rust on a car or an apple that turns brown.
Antioxidants can stabilize these radicals and help prevent any future damage they could cause. A new study by the Department of Food Science at Louisiana State University Agricultural Center in Baton Rouge just discovered that black rice has the same antioxidant power as blueberries. Better yet, it has more fiber, less sugar, can lower cholesterol and costs less. Rice is nice!
Most people know about Vitamins A, C, E, Beta-Carotene and lycopene. Let’s take a closer look at some of the more important ones you may not have been aware were so beneficial. These could be bought for tremendously high prices or you could eat a balanced diet and get your antioxidant power from having solid nutrition.
Beta-Carotene can be found in orange foods like apricots, cantaloupe, dark greens, kale, mangoes, papaya, peppers, pumpkin, spinach, squash and sweet potatoes. It is a powerful antioxidant.
Lycopene is found in apricots, pink grapefruit, papaya, guava, tomatoes and watermelon. It can guard against aging of the skin, may prevent Cancers of the prostate and mouth, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis and male fertility problems.
Lutein has been touted for helping the eyes and can be ingested by consuming a diet with lots of dark, green leafy vegetables like collard greens, kale and spinach.
Phytochemicals are nutrients from plants and there are lots of different ones. For example, Flavonoids, like Resveratrol and Quercetin, are believed to be really powerful antioxidants. These lifesavers are found in apples, blackberries, blueberries, cherries, cranberries, grapefruit, grapes, pomegranate, red wine, soy and strawberries.
Glutathione is produced in the liver and aids your metabolism and your immune system. It can be found in fresh fruits, meats cooked rare and raw to uncooked vegetables. Heat can remove the glutathione content. That is why cooking your food less or eating it raw is healthier. Great sources are apples, asparagus, avocado, carrots, grapefruit, spinach and tomatoes. Studies have shown oral supplementation is not well absorbed so the recommendation is to increase its precursors or eat foods to help its production occur naturally in the body.
Things like N-Acetyl-Cysteine, which has been shown to help glutathione production in cases of acetaminophen overdose. Also vitamin C, Undenatured Whey Protein, selenium, milk thistle and Alpha-Lipoic Acid (from Omega 3 fatty acids) have been shown to boost levels of glutathione. Foods like asparagus, broccoli, avocado, spinach, garlic and fresh unprocessed meats can get you there as well.
Some research has found glutathione to be helpful in treating Parkinson’s disease, Liver Cancer and lowering Blood Pressure in Diabetics. The bottom line to all of this is to eat a well-balanced diet that includes lots of variety and color in your foods. The less over-cooked your food is, the better it is for you. Eat smart.
Does This Smell Fishy To You?
People talk about Omega 6 and Omega 3 essential fatty acids, but do you know why? We can’t make them on our own so we either have to eat a diet rich in these nutrients or supplement with fish oil caplets. There are plenty of sources of foods with Omega 6 in them but few with Omega 3.
Omega 6s are found in raw nuts, seeds, legumes and oils such as borage oil, flax seed oil, grape seed oil, sesame oil and soybean oil. Because people crave carbohydrates and snack of foods high in refined oils, many people are consuming too many of these types of fatty acids. That can be a problem. We need to cut back on these, and balance our levels by increasing our Omega 3 intake. Keep reading and I will explain.
The main components of Omega 6 fatty acids are Linolenic Acid (LA), Gamma - Linolenic Acid (GLA), Dihomogamma Linolenic Acid (DLA) and Arachidonic Acid (AA). These function to increase inflammation, blood clotting, water retention and can raise blood pressure.
However research suggests supplementation of GLA alone can be beneficial in opening blood vessels, regulating water loss, promoting healing, healthier skin, reducing menstrual cramps, lowering cholesterol and boosting the immune system. Some studies have found it also decreases arthritis pain, fights cancer and may help diabetics.
Omega 3s are found in flax seeds, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, avocado, Brazil nuts, dark, leafy vegetables, olive oil and fatty, cold-water fish like Alaskan salmon, mackerel, sardines and anchovies. If you are going to add cold-water fish to your diet, get wild caught fish from the coldest waters available and broil or bake them. They are rich in Omega 3 fatty acids, where some farm-raised fish do not have healthy levels.
Farm-raised fish just hang out, may not be fed chemically free grains and don’t develop healthy meat from their lack of swimming against currents. They end up with less protein, their meat is gray until colored, they have a higher fat content and contain unhealthy Omega 6 levels. A 2004 study in Environmental Science and Technology reported higher levels of polybrominated diphenyl ether (PBDE) in farmed salmon than in wild salmon. PBDE cause reproductive toxicity and may also cause cancer.
The main components of Omega 3 fatty acids are Alpha-Linolenic Acid (ALA), Eicosapentaenoic Acid (EPA) and Docosahexaenoic Acid (DHA). These function to increase heart health, lower cancer and Alzheimer’s risk, reduce allergies, Rheumatoid symptoms and PMS symptoms, as well as, improve memory, mood, your eyes, skin, hair and brain function. Where do I sign up for this?
Studies recommend we have a greater ratio of Omega 3:Omega 6, around 2:1 to 10:1, instead of 1:10 – 20 like we do. Consuming Omega 3 and Omega 6 in a healthy ratio can really help us fight disease and stay healthy. The wrong ratio can lead to an inability to utilize the Omega 3 fatty acids ingested and cause symptoms such as depression, obesity, hyperactivity and violence. In fact, a 2002 study in the British Journal of Psychiatry found prison violence dropped 37 percent just by supplementing inmates’ diets with Omega 3.
Did you know there is an Omega 9? The main component is Oleic Acid (OA). A good source of Omega 9 is olive oil. It helps to reduce the risk of heart disease and arteriosclerosis. Pure EPA contains a healthy blend of all three Omega 3 EPA, Omega 6 GLA and Omega 9 OA. If you try this as a supplement, make sure your source of Omegas is from cold-water fish and it is clearly labeled with what kind it includes.
The difficult part of choosing fish from any area in the world now is due to pollution. For years we have been warned to not consume too much predatory fish because they keep accumulating dangerous levels of Mercury. Over months and years fish continue to accumulate the poisonous metal in their bodies from the fish they eat and it never leaves, until it is passed on to you.
Since the huge BP oil spill in the Gulf and the Nuclear contamination of the waters off the coast of Japan, where are we supposed to get healthy fish? These are times I think more about eating grains and nuts for my Omegas.
Eat smart and shop smarter. I’m taking next week off so I’ll see you next time.
These topics come from my book, “Back At Your Best; Balancing the Demands of Life With the Needs of Your Body.” It is available in book and Kindle format at Amazon, www.BAYBBook.com and at my office.
Thank you to everyone who has email questions. If you have any type of personal health concerns or questions, feel free to email me at DrJay@BackAtYourBest.com. I will answer them in private or in this section in a week or two.
Dr. Jay M. Lipoff is the owner of Back At Your Best Chiropractic & Physical Therapy, LLC, which is located in the Wildewood Shopping Center. He received his Bachelor of Science degree from Syracuse University in 1990, a Doctorate of Chiropractic (D.C.) from New York Chiropractic College (NYCC) in 1994 and he became a Certified Fitness Trainer (CFT) in 2005.
Dr. Lipoff is an Executive Board Member, International Chiropractic Association Council on Fitness and Sports Health Science; has a radio segment: Back At Your Best in 5 Minutes or Less, Co-Founder, Drug Free Training USA; Member, NY Strength-promoting the importance of physical conditioning; Board Member of Public Relations Committee, Maryland Chiropractic Association; has done over 15 nationally broadcasted radio interviews, has articles in print and referenced in over 100 print papers, magazine and on websites, President, Wildewood Business Network-promoting better business relations and community outreach.
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