Why Dietary Antioxidants Matter: Timing Your Anti-aging and Disease Regime

I just read an excellent article (below) by Craig Weatherby for Vital Choice Seafood that made me stop and think about what I eat and where I get certain foods from and ‘when’ to eat them. I thought you would like to know what I do and where I get better quality food items to help save you some time and energy.

Wolfberries / Goji Berries / Red Juice

Since Young Living developed NingXia Red I’ve almost entirely stopped buying commercial juices. NingXia Red literally creams all other juices on the market, yes I do mean all. The antioxidant power cannot, and has not been matched by any other. NingXia Red is made from the puree of various berries and fruits, not over-processed fruit juice concentrates.  NingXia Red and chocolate milk - two great tastes that go together.

Additionally, the wolfberry (goji berry) puree for NingXia Red comes from a particular species of the wolfberry family from the NingXia Province. This is significant because ‘where’ a plant is grown can make all the difference in it’s nutritional properties. It’s a fact, the wolfberries coming out of the NingXia Province are superior in nutrition compared to those coming from any other place, Himalaya included.

Seafood / Fish / Dried Cranberries / Frozen Wild Blueberries

I get all of my seafood, fish, dried cranberries and frozen blueberries from Vital Choice Seafood. All of these are the best of the best that I have found anywhere. The blueberries alone are from wild plants (not hybrid or farms), they taste exactly like the blueberries I used to pick at a very remote bog in central Pennsylvania – they are divine – not at all like cultivated varities or forazen varities found in health food stores!

Fresh fish and seafood is not suppose to smell fishy when raw or cooked, many do not know this. Nothing smells more disgusting to me than the fish depatment at a store, natural or otherwise. The rule is, if it smells fishy it’s old and on it’s way out. The seafood and fish I get from Vital Choice never smells fishy, raw or during cooking, and the texture cannot be beat! I love the variety they carry too – and – nothing comes from a fish farm! They are by far the best!

Beef / Buffalo / Bison / Lamb /Chicken

All of these I always get at US Wellness. These are truly pasture raised animals. Not this fake pasture raised meats found in natural foods supermarkets (boy, does that deception bug me but I won’t get into that right now). Many years ago I discovered US Wellness and after cooking that first steak (beef) both the smell of it cooking and the flavor reminded me of my childhood on my grandfather’s farm – where we drank whole milk straight from the cow and had naturally grass pastured meats all the time. After my first bite I said, “oh my gosh… this is exactly like the meat we ate on Poppop’s farm, straight from the barn!” I wish more could know what they’re missing, life is not complete without the foods our body knows so well. By the way, truly grass-fed, pastured meats do contain a proper blance of Omega 3s to Omega 6s – not so with organic (organic regulations just are not what they used to be and are a far cry from the real deal).

Fresh Fruits / Vegetables

You’ve got to go local and in season for the best in regards to these. Being a plant geek for most of my life I am completely into the old varieties and heirlooms. The nutrition, flavor and texture cannot be beat. Most of these are very easily grown in the home garden, and even in containers. Every summer my container garden of herbs, edible flowers, and heirloom veggies stop traffic and bring me gobs of compliments and questions.

I make spray bottles of YL Essential Oils to ward off any pests to keep everything organic. I have a food dehydrator which we use for those bumper crops, nearly any fruit or veggie can be dehydrated at home.

This past summer while preparing Habinarro and Cayenne peppers for the dehydrator, Curt and I both got some pretty hot fingers and discovered that using several drops of therapeutic-grade YL Lavender essential oil applied to our washed hands completely removed the heat of the peppers! We also used several drops of Lavender on our knives and cutting boards after we were finished so the heat wouldn’t get onto any foods that were prepared later. It worked like a charm!

Therapeutic-grade Essential Oils as Dietary Supplements

Only the highest quality essential oils can be used in cooking and/or taken internally, such as Young Living. While most only think of essential oils for their aromatherapy benefits there is much more behind the scenes.  blood-clove-health-anatomy2

For instance, therapeutic-grade Clove essential oil can help unclump blood as seen in these two images.

Clove essential oil is in the Thieves essential oil blend, as well as: ImmuPower essential oil, K&B Tincture, Longevity softgels, ParaFree softgels, and Thieves Ultra Toothpaste is the absolute best!

Clove (Syzgium aromaticum) essential oil is one of the most powerful antioxidants of all essential oils. Clove oil can help prevent cellular DNA damage. It is also strongly antimicrobial and antiseptic, antiviral, anti-inflammatory and antiffungal.

You need to know that clove essential oil is considered a ‘hot’ oil, spicy and can irritate the skin and mucous membranes so care must be taken. When used topically, always use a carrier oil – 1 drop clove to 4 parts V-6 (carrier oil).  blood-clove-health-anatomy

Clove can also be used in cooking as a flavoring. Use a light touch though these essential oils are extremely potent. They say one drop of peppermint oil equals about 28 cups of peppermint tea – so ALWAYS use your Young Living oils mindfully – learn more about cooking with essential oils.

The above are just some of the things we do to make sure we are getting our dose of antioxidants but to also make sure the antioxidants we are getting are coming from the best possible sources available.

The benefits of a great diet are many and will ultimately show up on your face. What you eat, and choose not to eat, is directly reflected in your face through the condition of your skin. Beautiful skin starts with what you put into your mouth. So for those who are seeing signs of aging or have bad skin tne or complexion… take these tips I’ve shared and apply them to your daily life, they will make a huge difference!

Here’s that terrific article by Craig Weatherby for more great tips…

Starch Fuels Aging … Fruits and Veggies Fight Back by Craig Weatherby

Boston team quantifies the dangers of sugary diets with regard to aging and disease; Antioxidant-rich fruits and veggies block the free radicals created by junky foods

This week brought news that underlines the dangers of America’s sugary, starchy diets … but led us to evidence that colorful plant foods can blunt some effects of junky foods.

First, let’s hear the bad news.

Diabetes researchers at Children’s Hospital Boston just published an interesting experiment in which they tested the effects of sugary, starchy diets on the “antioxidant capacity” of people’s blood.

The antioxidant capacity of blood is a measure of its ability to control the potentially damaging “pro-oxidant” compounds called free radicals.

Why does this seemingly arcane blood measurement matter?

Key Points

  • Clinical study links sugary/starchy diets to increased oxidative stress from free radicals.
  • Conversely, diets low in sugar and refined starches reduced free radicals and oxidative stress.
  • USDA study finds food-borne antioxidants blunt oxidative stress generated by digesting lower-nutrient foods; Timing of antioxidant food consumption seen as key to optimal benefit.

As the Children’s Hospital researchers wrote, “Oxidative stress, caused by an imbalance between antioxidant capacity and reactive oxygen species [free radicals], may be an early event in a metabolic cascade elicited by a high glycemic index (GI) diet, ultimately increasing the risk for cardiovascular disease and diabetes.” (Botero D et al. 2009)

By “high-glycemic”, they mean a diet high in sugars and starches that produce rapid, steep rises in blood sugar levels … an effect that, over time, can lead to diabetes.

In other words, sugary, starchy, high-GI diets yield lots of free radicals, which damage cells and promote inflammation. As a result, an excess of free radicals increases your risk for cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

The Boston-based doctors enrolled 12 overweight or obese men aged 18-35, and assigned them either to a diet with a low glycemic index (GI) rating or a high-GI rating.

A week later, they measured the total antioxidant capacity (AOC) of the men’s blood, and on day 10 they measured cardiovascular disease risk factors in their blood.

As they reported, “… total antioxidant capacity was significantly higher during the low-GI vs. high-GI diet …” (Botero D et al. 2009)

In other words, diets low in sugars and refined starches left the men’s bodies better able to prevent the ravages of uncontrolled free radicals.

This outcome prompted us to look for anti-sugar measures … and we found encouragement in clinical results published jointly by scientists from the USDA, UC Davis and the University of Maine.

This team set out to tackle a key question: Does it matter when you eat colorful, antioxidant-rich plant foods?

The answer, as it turns out, is “yes”.

Before we review that study’s outcomes with regard to timing of antioxidant intake, let’s review the reasons why dietary antioxidants matter.

Free radicals, antioxidants, and aging

When unstable oxygen molecules called “free radicals” grab electrons from the chemical compounds that form our cells’ membranes, energy centers (mitochondria), and genetic material (RNA and DNA) that common chemical reaction is called “oxidation”.

Oxidation is the same chemical process that rusts iron, and it is an important driver of aging and disease.

Free radicals are a normal byproduct of food metabolism … but these pro-oxidants get created in excess when we consume refined carbohydrates (sugars and white starches), and that excess can overwhelm the body’s internal antioxidant network.

Our bodies’ own network of antioxidants usually controls free radicals pretty well, but the excess generated by eating starchy, sugary foods can overwhelm that system.

Uncontrolled free radicals can damage the linings of our arteries and promote the inflammation that underlies and drives major degenerative diseases from Alzheimer’s, cancer, cataracts, and macular degeneration to diabetes.

Meals high in sugars and starches generate swarms of free radicals and downstream inflammatory effects in the body. And browned bread crusts and meats contain sugar-protein compounds that generate free radicals and inflammation.

Thankfully, the available lab and clinical research suggests that the antioxidants in whole grains and colorful plant foods such as berries and greens can help control meal-generated free radicals (Natella F et al. 2002; Kay CD et al. 2002; Mazza G et al. 2002; Ko SH et al. 2005).

In addition, plant-borne antioxidants exert generally anti-inflammatory influences over cellular genetic switches called transcription factors.

But the USDA-UC-Maine team’s findings point to timing as a factor in the ability of antioxidant-rich foods to control the free radicals generated when we eat meats, dairy, sugars, and refined fats and starches … which lack the antioxidants abundant in whole plant foods (i.e., vitamins C and E and various phytochemicals).

Clinical tests find timing critical to a key benefit of food-borne antioxidants
Researchers from the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) measured the blood antioxidant capacity (AOC) of subjects in a series of five clinical trials.

They found that antioxidant-rich foods blunted the oxidative stress generated by eating meals high in protein and refined carbohydrates and fats (Prior RL et al. 2007).

When the participants ate antioxidant-rich fruits – such as blueberries, grapes, and kiwifruit – the antioxidant capacity of their blood rose during the critical few hours following a meal.

But those antioxidant-rich foods reduced oxidation the most when they were eaten as part of a meal … or soon thereafter.

Conversely, participants who consumed protein, carbohydrates, and fats without substantial antioxidants showed a decline in the blood’s antioxidant capacity (AOC).

The results indicated two things:

  1. Consuming antioxidant-rich foods during meals reduces the oxidative stress associated with eating.
  2. Timing is important, because the antioxidants in colorful plant foods don’t linger very long in the blood.

The USDA study also determined whether the various fruit or berries consumed increased the water-soluble or fat-soluble antioxidant capacity of participants’ blood, measured on a standard scale called oxygen radical absorbance capacity (ORAC).

To get this data, the researchers conducted five clinical trials with six to 10 subjects per experiment. Blood samples were taken from the subjects before and after they ate a prescribed meal, to measure their blood’s AOC.

Eating blueberries or grapes with a meal yielded an increase in water-soluble AOC, while blueberries also increased the fat-soluble AOC of participants’ blood.

Cherries eaten with the meal increased the fat-soluble, but not the water-soluble AOC of participants’ blood.

Surprisingly, neither prunes (dried plums) nor prune juice altered either measure of antioxidant activity, despite plums’ high ranking on the standard ORAC scale.

The ORAC scale is based on test tube measurements, so scientists at Cornell University propose a new measure of antioxidant activity called the cellular antioxidant activity (CAA) assay, which tests antioxidant compounds’ activity inside cells.

As expected, eating a meal low in antioxidants – animal protein plus refined carbs and fats – cut participants’ blood AOC and produced an increase in oxidative stress.

Lead author Ronald Prior said it’s not just what you eat but when you eat it that matters: “Phytochemicals in foods have varying degrees of bioavailability and generally are cleared from the blood 2-4 hours after they’re eaten. Ensuring that your body has a steady supply of antioxidant-rich foods can help combat oxidative stress throughout the day.” (WBA 2007)

And he went on to add this important note on the quantity of antioxidant-rich foods needed to yield measureable effects on someone’s blood AOC:
“The more calories you take in the more dietary antioxidants you need. It takes about 2.5 servings of antioxidant containing fruits and/or vegetables in a meal … to prevent oxidative stress following the meal.” (WBA 2007)

The USDA-UC-Maine team appended an important caveat: “Without further long term clinical studies, one cannot necessarily translate increased plasma [blood] AOC into a potential decreased risk of chronic degenerative disease.” (Prior RL et al. 2007)

The research was funded by the Wild Blueberry Association of Maine, but it seems unlikely the highly experienced, credible USDA team was influenced by this link.

• Botero D, Ebbeling CB, Blumberg JB, Ribaya-Mercado JD, Creager MA, Swain JF, Feldman HA, Ludwig DS. Acute effects of dietary glycemic index on antioxidant capacity in a nutrient-controlled feeding study. Obesity (Silver Spring). 2009 Sep;17(9):1664-70. Epub 2009 Jun 18.
• Kay CD, Holub BJ. The effect of wild blueberry (Vaccinium angustifolium) consumption on postprandial serum antioxidant status in human subjects. Br J Nutr. 2002 Oct;88(4):389-98.
• Ko SH, Choi SW, Ye SK, Cho BL, Kim HS, Chung MH. Comparison of the antioxidant activities of nine different fruits in human plasma. J Med Food. 2005 Spring;8(1):41-6.
• Mazza G, Kay CD, Cottrell T, Holub BJ. Absorption of anthocyanins from blueberries and serum antioxidant status in human subjects. J Agric Food Chem. 2002 Dec 18;50(26):7731-7.
• Natella F, Belelli F, Gentili V, Ursini F, Scaccini C. Grape seed proanthocyanidins prevent plasma postprandial oxidative stress in humans. J Agric Food Chem. 2002 Dec 18;50(26):7720-5.
• Prior RL, Gu L, Wu X, Jacob RA, Sotoudeh G, Kader AA, Cook RA. Plasma antioxidant capacity changes following a meal as a measure of the ability of a food to alter in vivo antioxidant status. J Am Coll Nutr. 2007 Apr;26(2):170-81.
• Wild Blueberry Association of North America (WBA). USDA Study Examines Antioxidant Status Changes After Meals. Nov. 30, 2007.

Evelyn Vincent, Young Living Essential Oil Distributor, North Carolina~~ Place an Order Here ~~

Evelyn Vincent

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"There is nothing in a caterpillar that tells you it's going to be a butterfly." ~ R. Buckminster Fuller

About Evelyn Vincent

As a classical Feng Shui practitioner, Native Plant Landscaper, and Young Living Distributor, Evelyn brings a background of living naturally to her business. Also trained in Space Clearing and Labyrinth Design & Facilitation, her passion for balanced and harmonious living and lifestyle is an inspiration to others. Essential oils play a large role in creating surroundings of beauty and peace - from shifting stagnant energy to insect pests to cooking - the vitality of therapeutic oils and natural products helps restore the connection to self and nature. Please contact Evelyn if you have questions or need assistance.

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