Search Term: " Sushi "
Red Seaweed: the radiation protection superfood you're not getting enough of
February 23, 2017 07:59 AM
Seaweed is a common ingredient in Japanese cuisine. However, for the average American this mystical, slimy, spinach-like vegetable is something they only know from Sushi rolls or miso soup. Many may not even know it is edible, let alone know how to prepare a meal with it. While it may not look very appetizing to you, this green, red, or brown sea vegetable is high in essential nutrients and packs a variety of health benefits including cancer prevention and protection from radiation or oxidative stress.
"Red seaweed is a rich source of protein and various antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, trace elements, and other beneficial compounds not found in any other food."
10 foods that are healthy, except when they aren't
January 17, 2017 12:59 PM
On a diet and looking for those healthy foods to consume and lose weight? It is important when looking into those healthy foods to make sure they are really healthy. Some cereals can be a convenient and healthy breakfast but watch out for those sugary cereals they can cause a blood sugar spike and a crash before lunch time. Another healthy choice is Sushi but beware Sushi that is battered and fried can contain 200 more calories and three times the amount of fat.
"Popcorn, cereal, Sushi: We love them, and we may tell ourselves they are healthy. But are they? Most of the time, it depends on how they're prepared."
Detox your Body with Wasabi Rhizome
January 29, 2008 10:30 AM
The Wasabi rhizome, the underground fleshy stem of the wasabia japonica plant, is prized not only for its fiery flavour but also its effect in detoxifying the liver. However, make sure that you are getting the real McCoy since many restaurants in the USA do not use the genuine paste.
The wasabi is a plant of the cruciferous family, the same family as cabbage, broccoli, turnip, radish, horseradish and mustard, and is native to Japan and Korea and now grown on the Pacific coast of Canada. It grows best in temperate to cold climates, especially in mountainous areas where there are plenty of cold streams.
Anybody who regularly enjoys sashimi and Sushi should be familiar with the wasabi rhizome, that green lump of paste lying on the side of the plate. It is hot and fiery, although not in the same way as the chilli pepper that is fiery on the tongue and in the mouth. This tends to affect the sinuses more, and leaves a sweetish taste once the initial heat has dissipated. However, it is not always what it should be.
The last comment there refers to the practise, especially in the USA, of using dyed common horseradish as wasabi paste, so be careful of that since the two are not equivalent in the health benefits they impart to your body. Although of the same family as the horseradish, and sometimes termed the Japanese horseradish, ordinary horseradish does not have the same health benefits as genuine wasabi, and does not contain the same active ingredients so do not confuse the two.
Real wasabi is normally used grated, and there are specific techniques that should be used to grate wasabi rhizomes to bring out the fullness of the flavour. True grated wasabi should be of a natural pale greenish color rather than the brighter green normally associated with Sushi restaurant wasabi.
Traditionally, wasabi rhizome is used as a condiment with Sushi, although their leaves can also be used in salad dressings and or as a delicacy pickled in soy sauce or sake brine. The genuine vegetable is difficult to cultivate which explains why ordinary horseradish is dyed and used in its stead, and the vast majority of non-Japanese do not know the difference because it is likely to be all they have consumed under the name of wasabi. The health benefits of the genuine article, however, are considerable greater.
So that’s what it is, but what does it do? What are the health benefits of wasabi rhizomes and why are they considered to be so good for your liver? Wasabi rhizomes contain substances that are very effective in detoxifying you liver, and that are also very strong antioxidants that provide you with good overall health benefits in their capacity to destroy the free radicals created by the pollution of modern living.
The active antioxidants in the rhizome are precursors of isothiocyanates, which are known as phytochemicals. These are chemicals that can protect or prevent diseases through its antioxidant properties. The term ‘precursor’ means that the isothiocyanates are synthesized by your body from the nutrients contained in the wasabi rhizome. Other examples of phytochemicals that you may have heard of are carotenoids, flavonoids and polyphenols that also possess antioxidant properties.
Other antioxidants are vitamins A and E, which is why these are used in anti-wrinkle creams, since their anti-oxidant effect helps to prevent the free radicals destroying the skin cells in the dermis and epidermis that leads to the wrinkles associated with aging. Wasabi is equally effective as an antioxidant, although it has other properties that are important to your liver.
The liver is your body’s chemical plant. That is where most of the chemical reactions take place that are essential for life. If your liver is unhealthy you can develop diseases such as hepatitis and cirrhosis, and a healthy liver is essential for life let alone a healthy life. Wasabi helps to detoxify and clean out your liver.
Apart from creating the wide variety of enzymes needed to process your food, and controlling the vast majority of the biochemistry of your body, your liver is also your detoxification plant that coverts toxins into biodegradable molecules that your waste disposal system can evacuate without harm. This occurs in two phases.
Phase I coverts the toxin to a form that your body can further process (the bioactive form), and Phase II breaks it down into a form that your kidneys can handle and eject it in your urine. Isothiocyanates are involved in the production of the enzymes that enable the chemical reactions of Phase II to proceed. They allow your body to cleanse itself of toxins, and without this process you would be less healthy and more prone to cancers and other undesirable conditions and diseases in your body.
It is becoming more important in this modern age with its increasing natural and synthetic pollution that your liver is working at peak efficiency. Your liver is equally as important to you as your heart and brain, and without it you cannot survive. Wasabi also contains glucosinolates that help the isothiocyanates to induce the production of Phase II enzymes, and it is general believed that eating this tuber cab help protect you against stomach, colon and breast cancers as well as help your cardiovascular system and blood clotting.
An interesting fact is how wasabi rhizome came to be traditionally served with raw fish. The isothiocyanates precursors, and the glucosinolates that wasabi also contains, apparently help to destroy the bacteria associated with raw fish, and help prevent disease and illness. It was likely found healthier to include a dollop of this green paste with your Sushi than not, and so the use of common horseradish might be somewhat questionable if it has less of an effect.
Make sure, therefore, that your have the real thing, and apart from any specific health considerations associated with eating raw fish, you are best advised to take it as a supplement to help Detox your liver rather than visit Sushi bars for your consumption. It will also help your wallet!
Wasabi Rhizome Cleanse - Supports Phase II Liver Detoxification - Wasabi Health Benefits
August 01, 2006 10:41 AM
Most people know of it as a pale-green lump on the side of their plates in Japanese restaurants—a hot, spicy accompaniment to Sushi or sashimi. The fiery yet sweet taste perfectly compliments the saltiness of soy sauce and the cool delicacy of raw fish. But wasabi is much more than a burst of culinary flavor, it has been used by traditional herbalists of Japan since the 10th century and is now being rediscovered by modern health practitioners for its stunning health benefits.
Wasabi has powerful detoxification properties, in particular, it supports the immune system and cleanses the liver. Wasabi contains precursors to phytochemicals called isothiocyanates that help remove toxic substances that are stored in the liver’s fatty tissues.
The rare wasabi plant is a natural, potent support to a healthy, cleansed liver that in turn affects the detoxification and cleansing of the entire body. Source Naturals is pleased to bring you this convenient, effective addition to your wellness program.
Wasabia Japonica - Rooted In Health
The wasabi plant (Wasabia japonica) grows naturally in the mountains of Japan in the gravel and sandbars of coldwater streams and rivers. Rare and difficult to grow, it takes three years for a wasabi root or rhizome to reach maturity. Because of its popularity, wasabi is now cultivated hydroponically and in cold, wet environments outside of Japan, such as in New Zealand and Oregon. Traditionally, the rhizome was freshly grated at the table with a sharkskin grater, popular with dishes such as seafood or udon noodles. Now wasabi is usually dried into powder form and made into the pale green paste familiar to most westerners. Often, however, restaurants do not serve real wasabi; since it is so rare and expensive, a dyed horseradish paste is served in most American restaurants.
What makes wasabi so special? It comes from a good family; the brassica vegetables in the cruciferae family include such health giants as broccoli, horseradish, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower and kale. All of these are well-known detoxifying plants, and wasabi appears to be the most amazing of them all, with detox capacities far beyond the others in the family because it is loaded with isothiocyanate precursors. This chemical not only gives wasabi its famous “fire,” it is likewise a fireball of detoxification properties.
Phase II Detox
The liver detoxifies the by-products of digestion and other harmful substances through a complex series of chemical reactions often referred to as Phase I and Phase II Detoxification. Phase I enzymes begin the process by taking the toxic molecule and changing it into a bioactive form. This process breaks down toxins. A second set of enzymes, Phase II, then neutralizes the toxin and makes it water soluble for elimination. Wasabi, with its long-chain isothiocyanate precursors, induces the Phase II enzymes. Simply stated, it is the sparkplug that starts Phase II enzymes on their work. This process, all done in the liver, supports the body’s ability to clean itself of impurities.
Part of a Complete Wellness Program
In the modern world, with so many pollutants, it is critical to your health and longevity that you cleanse these toxic compounds from your body. Wasabi, along with a whole food, high-fiber diet and reduction of alcohol consumption, supports the liver— the largest of the vital organs and the key to the digestion and elimination systems and most particularly, the body’s ability to cleanse itself. Source Naturals is pleased to bring you this exceptional product as part of your wellness program.
Depree, JA (1999) Flavour and pharmaceutical properties of the volatile sulphur compounds of Wasabia japonica. Food Research International: 31(5):329-337.
Morimitsu Y, et al. (2002) A sulforaphane analogue that potently activates the Nrf2-dependent detoxification pathway. J Biol Chem: 277:3456-3463.
Munday, R (2002) Selective induction of phase II enzymes in the urinary bladder of rats by allyl isothiocyanate, a compound derived from Brassica vegetables.
Nutrition and Cancer: 44(1):52-59.
Watanabe, M (2003) Identification of 6-methylsulfinylhexyl isothiocyanate as an apoptosis-inducing component in wasabi. Phytochemistry: 62(5):733-739.
Rose, P (2000) 7-methylsulfinylheptyl and 8- methylsulfinyloctyl isothiocyanates from watercress are potent inducers of phase II enzymes. Carcinogenesis: 21(11):1983-1988.
AHCC® Fact Sheet - from Now Foods.
December 08, 2005 10:20 AM
AHCC® Fact SheetNeil E. Levin, CCN, DANLA 6/30/05
LIKELY USERS: People needing increased activity of their Natural Killer cells; People seeking improved immune system response; People with a need for tissue repair; People with oxidative challenges; People seeking to increase liver function People defying aging or with a need to improve cellular integrity.
KEY INGREDIENTS: AHCC® (Active Hexose Correlated Compound)
MAIN PRODUCT FEATURES: AHCC® is a proprietary extract produced from specially cultivated and hybridized mushrooms. According to extensive research in humans, as well as numerous non-clinical studies, AHCC®supports immune system function through its effects on macrophages and NK (Natural Killer) Cells. NK cells and the intercellular mediators they produce are critical for the maintenance of healthy cell cycle function. AHCCR® has also been shown possess antioxidant properties, and supports healthy liver function.
ADDITIONAL PRODUCT USE INFORMATION & QUALITY ISSUES: AHCC® (Active Hexose Correlated Compound) is a patented ingredient that has been the subject of research studies. It is supported by the scientific staff in the laboratories of both NOW Foods and the raw material supplier, both of which have a mutual interest in protecting the integrity and efficacy of this product.
AHCC® is a rich source of polysaccharides such as beta glucan 1,3 and activated hemicellulose produced by enzymatic modification of organic medicinal mushrooms, including shiitake. It also has been shown to support normal levels of macrophages and cytokines, further strengthening the immune system.
This formula is suitable for vegetarians and is offered in Vcaps.
SERVING SIZE & HOW TO TAKE IT: As a dietary supplement, take 2 Vcaps® 3 times daily, preferably on an empty stomach.
COMPLEMENTARY PRODUCTS: Antioxidants, Astragalus, Colostrum, Dr. Verghese Liver Formula, Immune Renew, Indole-3-Carbinol (I3C), Inositol Hexaphosphate (IP-6),
PRODUCT SPECIFIC: None
GENERAL: Pregnant and lactating women and people using prescription drugs should consult their physician before taking any dietary supplement. When taking any new supplement, use common sense and cautiously increase to the full dose over time to avoid any potential problems. Packages may contain moisture or oxygen controlling packets or canisters that are not intended for consumption. In order to maintain maximum freshness, please do not remove these from your bottle (until the bottle is empty). Please recycle your container.
DISCLAIMER: Information given here may vary from what is shown on the product label because this represents my own professional knowledge and understanding of the science underlying the formula and ingredients. The information in this review should not be used as diagnosis, prescription or as a specific product claim.
Disclaimer: These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.
Aviles H, Belay T, Fountain K, Vance M, Sun B, Sonnenfeld G. (2003) Active hexose correlated compound enhances resistance to Klebsiella pneumoniae infectin in mice in the hindlimb-unloading model of spaceflight conditions. J Appl Physiol 95:491-496.
Burikhanov RB, Wakame K, Igarashi Y, Wang S, Matsuzaki S (2000) Suppressive Effect of Active Hexose Correlated Compound (AHCC®) on Thymic Apoptosis Induced by Dexamethasone in the Rat. Endocrine Regulations 34:181-188. Matsui Y, et al. (2002) Improved prognosis of postoperative hepatocellular carcinoma patients when treated with functional foods: a prospective cohort study. J Hepatol. 2002 Jul;37(1):78-86. PMID: 12076865 MatSushita K, et al. (1998) Combination therapy of active hexose correlated compound plus UFT significantly reduces the metastasis of rat mammary adenocarcinoma. Anti-Cancer Drugs 9:343-350. Sun B, Wakame K, Mukoda T, Toyoshima A. Kanazawa T, Kosuna K (1997) Preventive Effects of AHCC® on Carbon Tetrachloride Induced Liver Injury in Mice. Nat Med 51(4):310-315.
Ye SF, Ichimura K, Wakame K, Ohe M. Suppressive effects of Active Hexose Correlated Compound on the increased activity of hepatic and renal ornithine decarboxylase induced by oxidative stress. Life Sci. 2003 Dec 19;74(5):593-602. PMID: 14623030 Ye SF, Wakame K, Ichura K, Matsuzaki S (2004) Amelioration by active hexose correlated compound of endocrine disturbances induced by oxidative stress in the rat. Endocr Regul 38(1):7-13.
Mane Attraction - lustrous Hair...
June 14, 2005 08:19 AM
Mane Attraction by Chrystle Fiedler Energy Times, February 12, 2004
Everyone wants thick, lustrous hair. Think of the allure attached to the locks of Samson and Lady Godiva and-fast-forward to the present-the full heads of Antonio Banderas and Julia Roberts.
" We're naturally attracted to hair as humans; it catches the light, it frames the face, we like the feel of it," says Catherine Jones, ND, LAc, a resident naturopathic physician at Bastyr Center for Natural Health in Seattle, Washington. "Fair or not, historically in many cultures, rich, thick hair has been a sign of fertility and strength."
Along with that allure, latching onto natural ways to have great-looking hair gives you the benefits of looks and health. Every hair starts with a shaft that grows from a root. "The root is contained deep within the hair follicle," says Dr. Jones. "Each one has a sebaceous or oil gland, which supplies the hair with necessary lubrication as it approaches the surface of the scalp." Each hair follicle has its own growth cycle, including a resting period, the telogen phase, when hair falls out. Because of these constant hair phases, each of us loses, on average, about 100 hairs a day.
" The number of hairs the average person loses in a day tends to increase in the fall as the leaves fall from the tree and tends to decrease in the spring as the bulbs emerge from the soil," Dr. Jones says. "We really are connected to nature." Stress-due to rapid weight loss, infection, anemia, prolonged illness, hormonal changes, hypoactive thyroid disease, autoimmune conditions, eczema or psoriasis-can influence hair growth and loss.
Hair consists of proteins, lipids (fats), carbohydrates and pigment (gray hair has reduced pigment; white, none at all). Each shaft's structure is divided into a medulla, a cortex and an outer cuticle. " The cuticle is coated with an outside lipid-like layer, which protects the hair," says Dr. Jones. "As the hair grows out of the follicle, the cortex and cuticle become keratinized and harden." Dry or damaged hair is more susceptible to breakage. "The condition of the cuticle affects how the light reflects off the hair, giving it highlights and luster," Dr. Jones says. "Luster is affected both by what occurs inside the body as the hair is developing and what happens to the hair after it has grown from the shaft."
Sun, heat, moisture, pollution and hair products, dyes and bleaches can all dull the hair. "Applying chemical solutions to the hair, color, permanent waves or curl relaxers, damage the protein molecules that wrap around the shaft, leaving hair brittle and dull," says Christina Pirello, author of Glow: A Prescription for Radiant Health and Beauty (HP Books).
Conditioners and oils can leave a residue or weigh hair down. Hair sprays and products that contain alcohol can dry and damage the hair, as can using blow dryers and curling irons.
To combat hair-raising havoc, feed your hair natural nutrients for health. Silica and plants that contain silica/silicon both strengthen hair and promote growth. "Silica is a good mineral for hair health," says Walter Siegordner, founder of The Aurora Group, a personal care company. "It helps in the keratinization process of the cells that produce hair."
" Silica is a mineral that is involved in the synthesis of bone and connective tissue," adds Dr. Jones. "The hair follicle contains connective tissue so silica may promote the health and function of the follicle itself." Silica-containing herbs include nettles (Urtica dioica), horsetail (Equisetum arvense), oatstraw (Avena sativa) and alfalfa (Medicago sativa).
Sea plants like seaweed and kelp also provide vital nutrients. "Sea plants are essential ingredients in many natural shampoos and can be used to fortify damaged hair," says Pirello. "They're rich in vitamin A that prevents the build-up of dead skin cells, which can clog the hair follicles, inhibiting the growth and health of the hair, and also contain vitamin B, linked to the prevention of oily hair, baldness and dandruff. Calcium found in sea plants is essential to the structure of the hair shaft."
Eaten on s daily basis, sea plants are rich in nutrients that help maintain healthy, shiny hair, free of split ends, Pirello says. Try wakame in soups and salads, kombu or kelp in bean and vegetable dishes, nori in Sushi, and hiziki and arame as side dishes. Since hair health is affected by digestive health, the fiber found in whole grains also helps. "Fiber prevents accumulation in the intestines that can result in the formation of toxins," says Pirello.
Miso, she adds, is especially good hair food. It "is rich in living enzymes that ease digestion, fortify the quality of the blood nourishing the body and hair, and provide us with essential oils, vitamins and minerals."
Key nutritional support includes adequate protein and amino acids, essential fatty acids such as cold-pressed flax seed oil and fish oil, copper, vitamin A, vitamin E, vitamin D, biotin, iron and vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid). Zinc and selenium can help combat the effects of hyperthyroidism, which can result in thinning, lackluster hair.
Vitamin C can boost adrenal health. "When the adrenals are overtaxed and become fatigued, hair follicles will go into a resting phase," says Dr. Jones. (If you have a medical condition, she adds, check with your health care practitioner first before taking supplements.)
In Traditional Chinese Medicine, hair is associated with the kidneys' qi, energy that originates in these organs, and with blood quality. " From the traditional Chinese perspective, excess amounts of fat, protein, dairy, sugar, alcohol and salt in the diet acidify the body, damage the Kidney qi and are not good for the hair," says Dr. Jones. A diet rich in vegetables and grains is a great way to support healthy hair. "Iron and mineral-rich foods are considered blood builders and hair tonics. Foods such as blackstrap molasses, seaweed, nettles, and the herb polygonum multiflorum (also known as He Shou Wu and Fo-Ti) have been used throughout the years. Fo-Ti has also been used to prevent graying of the hair and support the immune system."
" Hair is extremely strong but at the same time it's extremely delicate," says Barsoum Bouchar, a cosmetologist and owner of the Virtuoso Salon in Birmingham, Michigan. "Many products work against the hair texture, so the cuticle is always raised. This causes tangles and split ends. With blow dryers, chemicals, colors and styling elements, the hair is tremendously abused." If you don't have to chemically treat the hair, he says, don't.
When replenishing the hair it's important to remember that it's composed of 97% protein and 3% moisture, says Bouchar. Shampoo cleanses the hair and removes buildup. "A moisturizer brings moisture back into the hair and smoothes the cuticle down, which is what makes hair shiny and gives it bounce. The one key ingredient in both shampoo and moisturizers is aloe vera. It heals the hair." " Avoid products with harsh surfactants like sodium laurel sulfate and propylene glycol," warns Siegordner. "These decrease the circulation in the scalp, reducing the pathway for nutrition to the hair bulb." Conditioners that aren't natural can also cause build-up. "When you apply heat to the hair through blow drying or styling, you end up 'burning' the hair," says Bouchar.
To stimulate hair growth, add a few drops of essential oils of rosemary, lavender and thyme to jojoba and almond oils, and rub into the scalp. Leave it overnight and then rinse it off. " Essential oils have antimicrobial and antifungal properties, stimulate the circulation to the hair follicles and combat dryness. They also smell good," says Dr. Jones.
For hair that's not chemically treated, "a vinegar rinse cleanses the hair, removes build-up and boosts shine," says Bouchar. Use one part vinegar to ten parts water, apply after a shampoo, comb though and rinse it off. To naturally lighten the hair, use the same ratio in a lemon rinse for five minutes for, say, four days in a row, and then stop.
If you want to color your hair, choose natural elements, too. "The best natural dye is henna," says Bouchar. "It's organic, just like hair is." Blonde hair becomes warmer with a coppery tone, brunette hair takes on a mahogany hue, gray hair looks like highlights.
To find a good natural hair stylist, Bouchar suggests asking which products they use and why. If your hair is chemically treated, it's especially important to work with a stylist you trust for the best care.
Keep your eye on the big picture when it comes to hair health. "Be proactive and treat the body holistically," urges Dr. Jones. "Nourish the glands, the organs and the vessels that are responsible for getting the necessary nutrients to the hair follicle. Pay attention to the physical, emotional and mental aspects of health. Once hair is lost it may come back but it will likely be thinner than it was before. It's important to take care of what you have."
Go Green - green foods may be the SWAT team that sets you free...
June 12, 2005 05:27 PM
Go Green by Chrystle Fiedler Energy Times, December 4, 2003
If you feel like your busy life is holding your health hostage, green foods may be the SWAT team that sets you free. "Green foods are worth a king's ransom as far as your health is concerned," says Betty Kamen, PhD, author of Betty Kamen's 1,001 Health Secrets (Nutrition Encounter). "Green foods capture solar energy, using it to produce chlorophyll, which gives it its distinctive green color. Since we obtain our food by eating these plants or by eating the animals that eat these plants, this process is the source of human life."
"Green foods are renewal foods," says Ryan Bradley, ND, of the Bastyr Center for Natural Health in Kenmore, Washington. "They help to counteract the nutrient depletion caused by stress and by caffeine intake. They're nutrient dense, grounding, balancing, and soothing in their energetic nature."
Ideally, your meals should supply you with greens, but "...99.9% of the population doesn't get three to five [daily] servings of leafy green vegetables like kale, collard greens and spinach," says Jordan Rubin, NMD, PhD, CNC, author of Patient Heal Thyself (Freedom Press). Green foods can bridge that gap.
"Green foods have become popular because it's a convenient way to get your servings," says Dr. Rubin. "You get the equivalent of two large salads with one serving of powdered green food. It's nutrient dense and low calorie so it's a great addition to any diet. It satisfies the brain so you don't feel hungry."
"Everyone can benefit from green food supplementation," adds Dr. Kamen. "It's a concentrated supplier of everything that's good about vegetables."
Chlorophyll for Health
The key ingredient of green foods is chlorophyll, the green blood of plants. The benefits for humans from chlorophyll can be profound. A study of individuals at high risk of developing liver cancer because of their exposure to environmental toxins showed a 55% reduction in noxious compounds when these people supplemented their diets with a semi-synthetic chlorophyll derivative with properties similar to those of chlorophyll (Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 2001 Dec 4; 98(25):14601-6).
"This research supports the long-standing notion that chlorophyll, and green foods, can play a role in detoxification in the liver, and thus 'cleansing' the blood," says Dr. Bradley. "It's a good addition to any detox protocol. Test tube evidence also suggests that chlorophyll inhibits mutations in human cells."
Chlorophyll is antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory. It can help fight anemia, improve digestion and elimination, and act as a mild diuretic. It also helps friendly bacteria in the gut reproduce and thereby possibly boost immunity.
Green, Green Grasses
Fast-growing plants, such as wheat and barley cereal grasses, contain the most chlorophyll and the deepest green color.
"Wheat grass was one of the country's first multi-vitamins," says Dr. Rubin, who is also the author of Restoring Your Digestive Health (Twin Streams Health). "Certified organic cereal grasses pull a vast number of nutrients from the soil."
"The solar-powered factory in the leaves of the young grass plants is almost beyond comprehension," says Dr. Kamen. "Sprouted grains have exceptional nutritive value and high amounts of certain vitamins and minerals."
The blue-green microalgae spirulina is a chlorophyll powerhouse.
"Spirulina is high in protein, up to 65%, and the blue pigment of this blue-green algae, phycocyanin, has antioxidant, antiviral and antifungal properties," says Dr. Rubin.
Like other greens, spirulina can help you cut calories. "When you nourish the body and the brain with nutrient-dense and low-caloric food, it satisfies that impulse to keep eating." Spirulina is also high in B vitamins such as riboflavin, niacin and pantothenic acid, all commonly depleted nutrients. B vitamins are critical players in overall metabolism, and are vital to nerve and adrenal function.
Spirulina contains the minerals potassium and magnesium, plus iron. "It's been scientifically validated that [spirulina's iron is] comparable to the absorption from an egg," says Dr. Bradley. "It may benefit patients that are anemic. It's also a great choice for vegans who are looking for plant sources of iron."
In addition, the spirulina compounds called phycocyanins may control inflammation and lower the risk of cancer.
"Spirulina stimulates the part of the immune system [natural killer cells] responsible for our ability to fight off viruses and survey our tissues internally and detect and kill cancerous tissue," says Dr. Bradley.
Like spirulina, chlorella stimulates your natural killer cells to fight bacteria and viruses, and to strengthen your defenses.
"Chlorella is the richest food on the planet in chlorophyll," says Dr. Kamen. "It's also high in protein and rich in beta-carotene and minerals.
"One of the truly amazing facts about chlorella is its ability to oxygenate the blood," Dr. Kamen continues. "If your blood doesn't have enough oxygen, you can become listless and lethargic. Chlorella actually increases your hemoglobin, the oxygen transporter in your blood, so there is more oxygen present. It provides the necessary fuel for making healthy cells, and the result is renewed energy and vitality."
Both spirulina and chorella also contain omega-6 fatty acids that have anti-inflammatory benefits and can improve the behavior of your blood vessels. In addition, they provide vitamin B12.
Green Foods from the Sea
Seaweed and other sea vegetables like kelp offer a green foods bonanza. Seaweed is low in calories but, like spirulina, offers a wealth of nutrients.
"Most seaweed provides a rich supply of many essential nutrients, including protein, calcium, iodine and zinc," says Bradley Willcox, MD, co-author of The Okinawa Program (Potter). "Iodine is essential to the function of the thyroid gland, which needs it to make hormones that regulate your body's metabolism. Lignans, the cancer-fighting phytoestrogens have been found in high quantities in seaweed, mostly kelp, which could conceivably provide some protection against certain types of cancers."
Lower rates of breast cancer were reported in Japanese patients eating a diet high in kelp (Nutr Cancer 1983; 4:217-22). Kelp has also been shown to reduce DNA damage induced by several known carcinogens (Mutat Res 1993; 303:63-70).
Sea greens contain omega-3 fatty acids, fats that boost heart health. "Sea vegetables may prove to be a more sustainable source of omega-3 fatty acids than the dwindling fish populations," says Dr. Bradley.
To incorporate sea greens into your diet, start by putting them on your lettuce and tomatoes.
"Sea vegetables can make a great addition to salads," says Dr. Bradley. "They're high in nutrition and add flavor because of the sodium. They also add texture, giving salads more crunch."
Other ways to green up your diet:
* "Kelp comes packaged in three-foot-long dried strips and is prepared by cutting the long strips into smaller two- to three-inch strips and boiling them for about ten minutes. You remove the kelp, and then you can use the broth in soups, salads and other dishes. Kelp simmered with vegetables or tofu and served in miso soup is an Okinawan favorite," says Dr. Willcox.
* Wakame (one of Dr. Willcox's favorites), a type of kelp, has a taste and appearance that may remind Westerners of spinach lasagna.
* Nori seaweed can be used to wrap Sushi and rice balls and also to season salads, soups and noodles.
"Seaweed tastes great and if used wisely, should not tip you into sodium overload," says Dr. Willcox.
Go for the Green
More and more people are realizing and enjoying the benefits of green foods. Dr. Bradley recommends keeping your green foods consumption simple. Add powdered greens, dried tablets and liquids to juice, mix them into smoothies or a protein shake, and sprinkle the powder on salads. Mixed in water, greens can be used as a morning tonic and help replace some of the nutrients like magnesium and B vitamins depleted by coffee and other caffeinated beverages, which act as diuretics.
"Incorporate a green drink into your diet once or twice a day," says Dr. Bradley. "It's the least expensive (health) insurance policy you can have."