Superfoods – back to basics

Superfoods are “natural nutritionally dense” foods, which also have extra synergistic health benefits which come from the “antioxidants” and “phytochemicals”. Let’s look at both of those statements in a bit more depth.

When a food is “nutritionally dense”, it means that the food has high levels of essential vitamins and dietary minerals that we know are required by human beings. That includes vitamins A, B, C, D, E, K and so on, and  dietary minerals such as Calcium, Iron, Potassium, Magnesium, Zinc and so on. But of course many foods contain these things. In fact, all foods we eat every day (even junk food!) contains at least some vitamins and minerals, so what’s this all about?

They key difference is that superfoods have an unusually high concentration of nutrients for their size, when compared to other normal foods. For example, the humble cucumber is mostly – 90% or thereabouts – water, so to get any decent levels of nutrients from a cucumber you’d have to eat an awful lot of them!

Superfoods are so potent that even as much as a handful can give you a decent sized portion of nutrients, sometimes providing your entire recommended daily allowance (or more) for individual vitamins or minerals all in one go. Now that’s truly super! Few foods show such high levels of nutrients in such small quantities, and that’s why superfoods are so beneficial. They can provide nutrition like you’ve never felt before.

Kyani Sunrise

OK next up, antioxidants and phytochemicals. These may be new to you, so I want to explain them a bit more before we get any further.

Let’s start with antioxidants. These are natural chemicals which prevent creation of free radicals inside the body. Free radicals cause oxidation,  a process which damages cells when they react with oxygen. This damage is linked to many unpleasant conditions including premature ageing, degenerative diseases and some cancers. Antioxidants are like soldiers which stop the oxygen from damaging cells and in theory reduce the risk of illness. Probably the most widely known, Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) is an antioxidant which we require for various internal processes.

Secondly, phytochemicals. These are natural chemical compounds found in plants and animals, but which are not required for human survival. As humans we need some vitamins and dietary minerals for the various chemical reactions inside our bodies to work properly – that’s why they’re called “essential” , but we’re only just starting to really see the real potential health benefits of these new ingredients. Lots of the astonishing anti-cancer and anti-heart disease properties of superfoods are reported to come from various phytochemicals. Only a few year ago nobody talked about phytochemicals at all, now they’re commonplace.

Superfoods contain lots more than just strong concentrations of all the essential nutrients we need, they also contain large levels of phytochemicals and antioxidants making them even more powerful!

Here’s the big summary: Since we are human , and so we require different essential vitamins and minerals to live. If we don’t get enough of these elements, our bodies stop working so well. Modern research and new scientific discoveries have suggested that there may be new and more powerful nutrients that can provide anti-ageing, anti-cancer and anti-heart disease benefits. Superfoods are foods which mix of all this goodness together, and they taste great too – so there’s  no reason not to start eating superfoods as part of a healthy eating diet.

Click here to check out a list of the world’s most powerful superfoods, all available from your local supermarket – http://www.SimpleSuperfoods.com/go/jajenkins


Fucoidan And Its Connection To Cancer

Fucoidan (sulfated alpha-L-fucan), considered one of the ocean’ greatest treasures is a sulfated polysaccharide and found primarily in the cell walls of algae and seaweed, such as kombu, limu moui, wakame, hijiki, and bladderwrack. Within the molecular structure of Fucoidan is the presence of fucose which is a healing sugar however not to be confused with fructose. Fucose is also found abundantly in human breast milk, boosting the babies immune system and fighting off any virus or disease.

Seaweed, also known as sea vegetables, is considered a natural source of healthy food and nutrition, have been part of the coastal societies diet for centuries. In our western world seaweed is not a component in many diets probably because of its texture and bad taste.

What has been found in the studies is that fucoidan exhibits a wide range of properties beneficial to maintaining optimal health such as anti-viral, anti-bacterial, anti- inflammatory, anti-tumor and anti-cancer properties. It appears to stop the production of new blood vessels in cancerous tumors blockading the food for them to grow and also stimulates the death of certain cancer cells. Unfortunately, even though there is lots of evidence from the scientific community that fucoidan can have a dramatic effect on cancer, it can not be promoted as such.

This is just the start of us hearing about this amazing substance. It not only shows the benefits on cancers, it is also being tested in the treatment of HIV.

There are several health and wellness products on the market that contain this substance, making it much easier to include it in your diets.

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Fucoidan the Miracle Nutrient

Fucoidan the “miracle nutrient”? is a sulfated polysaccharide found mainly in various species of brown seaweed such as kombu, limu moui, bladderwrack, wakame, mozuku, and hijiki (variant forms of fucoidan have also been found in animal species, including the sea cucumber)

Beginning around 1970 researchers began studying fucoidan, and since that time fucoidan has been cited in over 700 studies published in the National Library of Medicine’s data base. www.pubmed.com The overall findings of this body of research, coupled with evidence provided by a long history of use of the fucoidan-bearing seaweed in areas such as Tonga, Hawaii and Japan indicates that fucoidan might be used as a safe, nutritional answer to a wide variety of health complaints.

Historical medicinal uses of seaweed are vast and ranged from topical burn and goiter therapy to the softening of tumors. These ancient civilizations may not have known that it was the fucoidan contained in these plants that gave them their beneficial properties, but they did know the plants offered powerful healing benefits.

The renowned longevity and good health of the Tongan people, especially statistically lower incidences of cancers and other diseases that plague the Western world, has piqued the interest of the medical and scientific communities who are keen to unlock the secret of this gift from the sea.

By absorbing trace minerals and vitamins from the nourishing waters, limu moui contains no less than 77 nutrients, including C, E and multiple B vitamins, selenium, beta-carotene, protein, iodine, calcium and iron. But the key ingredient of limu that is attracting the most attention is an essential sugar compound?a polysaccharide or glyconutrient?called fucoidan.

Medical treatments today focus on drugs and surgery, but there is a growing awareness in the health community of the tremendous potential of natural alternatives, especially researched super nutrients like the fucoidan found in limu moui. Fucoidan contains all of the eight simple sugars. These simple sugars are necessary for cell-to-cell communication and a healthy immune system. Although these nutrients are essential, there lacking in most of our diets.

There are two studies out of Canada that show fucoidan may be a potential therapy for Alzheimer?s disease. One study showed that fucoidan inhibited the advancement of several chronic degenerative diseases, including hardening and narrowing of the arteries (atherosclerosis), heart attack (myocardial infarction) and Alzheimer?s disease.

Fucoidan has potent anticoagulant and antithrombin activities that prevent harmful blood clots from forming in blood vessels. This is important because right now the drugs used to treat and prevent clot formation are difficult to use and can be downright dangerous if not monitored closely. This is one of the most studied areas for fucoidan with at least 50 studies on the subject as evidenced by a National Library of Medicine Pub Med search.

The use of fucoidan as a possible new cancer therapy is a key area of interest in the scientific and medical communities. There are more than 50 studies related to fucoidan and cancer. Glyconutrients are credited with combating breast, gastric and lung cancers, as well as leukemia. Most of the studies are still taking place in animal model, but the exploration is yielding some interesting and potentially therapeutic findings.

Fucoidan?s activity appears to be antiangiogenic. Antiangiogenesis is a hot topic in anti cancer therapy. To put it simply, fucoidan appears to stop the production of new blood vessels in cancerous tumors. We do not want cancerous tumor to make new blood vessels because that supplies them with the food to grow. With that in mind, consider what researchers at Fukuoka University in Japan found after they investigated whether fucoidan could counter cancerous tumors through antiangiogenesis. They found that both natural fucoidan and over-sulfated fucoidan both appear to block blood vessel formation “known as angiogenesis” which usually accompanies the growth of malignant tissue in cancerous tumors.

Cutting off a tumor?s blood supply is just one way of fighting cancer. Another way is to get the cancer cells to die through a process called apoptosis, or programmed cell death. Apoptosis occurs naturally in the live cycle of a cell, when cancer begins taking over cells and making them grow wildly out of control, or proliferate, rather than dying at their prescribed time. Fucoidan has been found in several studies to promote apoptosis in cancer cells.

Inflammation plays a role in many diseases, including cardiovascular disease, Alzheimers’s disease, arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease and many others. Swedish scientists from Lund University in Malmo found that fucoidan inhibits the adhesion molecules known as P and E selectins, appeared to improve symptoms of inflammatory bowel disease in mice, and points to the crucial role that this type of selectin-inhibition, may play in the treatment of the disease in humans.

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