We have added a new topic to our ongoing conversation about good health. Historically, macronutrients, vitamins, minerals, fish oil and fiber have been the center of nutritional advice (McDowell, 2013). But to enhance our diets maximally toward good health we must understand how to utilize phytochemicals (or phytonutrients) from plants. There is a tremendous growing body of research on phytochemicals use for therapeutic purposes.

What we used to call Vitamin P (flavonoids), Vitamin U (glucosinolates and indoles) and Vitamin Q (ubiquinone) were dethroned from vitamin status because specific deficiency symptoms could not be established; and they were simply called phyto-chemicals and classified as secondary metabolites.  What is the definition of a secondary metabolite?

Secondary metabolites are organic compounds that are not directly involved in normal growth, development or reproduction of an organism.  Unlike primary metabolites, absence of secondary metabolites does not result in immediate death, but rather long-term impairment of the organism’s survivability and fecundity. (Fraenkel GS. May 1959. The raison d’Etre of secondary plant substances. Science 129 (3361): 1466-1470)

Long-term impairment of an organism’s survivability sound frighteningly like the very conditions experienced by the increasing millions of people engulfed  in the pandemic of the chronic degenerative disease—CDV, diabetes, cancer, IBD and Alzheimer’s—just to name a few.   It is now understood and acknowledged that the diminished intake of alive colorful foods, fresh fruits and vegetables which are loaded with a diverse array of phytochemicals, could be the cause. Too often, our body is quite simply not fully nourished with plant based nutrients to defend itself against chronic illness (see NutritionFacts.ORG for more information).

Why has the USDA recommended the 5-to-10 servings-a-day of Fruits and Vegetables for all Americans?  Our plate, claim the USDA, should be half filled with vegetables and fruit at each meal.  The scientific evidence now demonstrates that a healthy diet of live foods gives the body what it needs to heal, repair and defend itself.  Health in large part is a matter of feeding the body a diversity of fresh high active foods with rich nutrient density. Your mission then is to help your body with a healthy and diverse plant based diet to fortify your body with nutrients for healthy functioning (for more news on recent research read The Guardian)

Most Americans Eat Much Less than Recommended Amounts of Fruits and Vegetables, Guenther et al. Sept. 2006, J. Amer. Dietetic Assoc. Vol. 106, Issue 9 Pg. 1371-1379.

“Americans need to consume more fruits and vegetables, especially dark green and orange vegetables and legumes.  Nutritionists must help consumers realize that, for everyone older than age 3 years, the new recommendations for fruit and vegetable intakes are greater than the familiar five serving a day.”

It’s not only the baby boomers who are looking in the mirror and thinking wow, I’ve got to slow down this aging process to look and feel better.  People at younger and younger ages are experiencing the debilitating diseases of aging, including those that impair neurological functioning.

Research by L Rossi et al., in their peer-reviewed paper, Benefits from Dietary Polyphenols for Brain Aging and Alzheimer’s Disease, Neurochem Res 2008, Vol. 33 Issue 12, Pg. 2390-2400, add to the mounting body of scientific evidence the awareness that “diets rich in polyphenols are preventative and can even reverse the aging process.”

The researchers summarized the characteristics of the most studied food polyphenols that were shown to have potential anti-aging and brain protective activities.  Foods that due to their polyphenol content were able to scavenge free radicals, chelate redox metals, down regulate inflammatory activities, and of concern to baby boomers, have components that are able to cross the blood-brain barrier and protect for healthy cognitive functioning of the brain.  Rossi et al.’s bottom line is to eat a wide variety of polyphenol rich foods daily.

According to food researchers Elizabeth Devore ScD, Jae Hee Kang ScD, Monique Breteler MD/PhD, and Francine Grodstin ScD (2012), greater intakes of blueberries and strawberries were associated with slower rates of cognitive decline.  Additionally, in further supporting evidence, greater intakes of anthocyanidins and total flavonoids were associated with slower rates of cognitive decline.  This is good news for all of us IF we incorporate this ever-growing body of knowledge seriously into our dietary habits. Devore et al. summary statement couldn’t be clearer:  Higher intake of flavonoids, particularly form berries, appears to reduce rates of cognitive decline in older adults. (Devore EE, Kange JH et al, Dietary Intakes of berries and flavonoids in relation to cognitive decline. Annals of Neurology, Vol. 72, Issue 1, Pg. 135-143, July 2012.)

Clinical Notes:

Speaking of protecting the supporting the cognitive functioning of our brains, our wonderful Blueberry Extract will be back in 2 to 3 weeks.  And, not only that but over the next 2 months we are bringing in 8 to 12 new products, most of which are formulas that we have been diligently researching for two years.  We are very excited about this.  Stay tuned.

As to the above discussion on secondary metabolites that this is the whole point of the Therapeutic Food Supplements.  To enable you to give your body what it needs in the way the phytonutrients to support its healthy functioning.

My typical morning supplementally starts with:

  • 4 tabs of Organic Chlorella
  • 2 capsules Phyto Power
  • 2 capsules Cruciferous Sprouts
  • 4 capsules Ultra Minerals
  • 1 capsule Fructo Borate
  • 1 capsule Blueberry Extract
  • 1 heaping tablespoon  Beta Glucan Synbiotic Formula

 

Taking care of the land, educating children, feeding ourselves in nutritious and delicious ways, and bringing communities together at the table:  this is the common language of Slow Food. It was the values of taste and pleasure that brought me into this movement, but it is the values of social justice and preservation of biodiversity that keep me engaged.  These are the values we need in order to live together on this planet.

(Alice Waters, Vice President, Slow Food International).

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