antioxidants

4 Reasons Coffee Is Good For You

4. If you’re over 65, coffee might help you avoid Alzheimer’s, according to researchers from the University of South Florida and the University of Miami. The study observed the memory and thinking processes of people in their sixties and above and reported that those with higher blood caffeine levels were less likely to have Alzheimer’s several years later. Coffee was the main or only source of caffeine for the study participants.

Most consumers seem to want superfoods like ‘Açaí from the Amazon,’ 'Inca Berries from Peru,’ 'Goji Berries from China’ and 'Cloudberries from Finland’ because they want some sort of miracle silver bullet, harvested from deep in the jungle, or gathered from the top of the purest mountain. It’s fetishistic, in the anthropological sense of the word: you’re the Don Quixote of the health food store, searching for the right combination of exotic antioxidants, that will let you live forever.

Nobody seems to want to hear that red cabbage will accomplish almost all the same things these 'magical’ berries will, for a fraction of the sugar, and 1/20th of the price. For some people, when superfoods are staring at them in the grocery store for $1.99, it seems too easy.
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biodiverseed

The power of marketing, as it applies to produce:

“Quinoa may deliver a complete protein—all of the amino acids you require—in a compact package, but rice and beans together actually do better. And like goji berries, blueberries and strawberries are packed with phytochemicals. The only problem is that lacking an exotic back story, food marketers can’t wring as exorbitant a markup from these staples: The domestic blueberry, for example, is periodically (and justifiably) marketed as a superfood, and in 2012, products featuring blueberries as a primary ingredient saw their sales nearly quadruple. But they only raked in $3.5 million—less than 2 percent of açaí-based product sales.

-Tom Philpott, “Are Quinoa, Chia Seeds, and other ‘Superfoods’ a Scam?” (from Mother Jones)

The lesson? Find your local superfoods. I assure you they are just as good. But, if you must have your Inca and Goji berries, it’s a hell of a better price point to grow them yourself.

3

‘Indigo Rose’ contains a pigment called anthocyanin. This pigment gives the fruit a deep purple, almost black color. Red tomatoes have a pigment called lycopene, orange tomatoes contain beta-carotene, and yellow tomatoes contain several other carotenoids. They are a pigment’s paradise, and hybridizers have taken full advantage of their kaleidoscope of colors.

The advantages of these “black tomatoes” are numerous—they contain higher levels of antioxidants and you can make a really metal BLT. ~LM

Things smell good for a reason

Antioxidants are natural food ingredients that protect cells from harmful influences. Their main task is to neutralize so-called “free radicals” which are produced in the process of oxidation and which are responsible for cell degeneration. Scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology in Jena, Germany, and the University of Lund, Sweden, now show that vinegar flies are able to detect these protective substances by using olfactory cues. Odors that are exclusively derived from antioxidants attract flies, increase feeding behavior and trigger oviposition in female flies. (Current Biology, January 2015).

Hydroxycinnamic acids are secondary plant metabolites and important dietary antioxidants. For animals as well as humans, antioxidants are essential components of a healthy diet, because they protect the cells and boost the immune system. Notably, they prevent the emergence of too many free radicals, mostly oxygen compounds, and therefore a metabolic condition, which is generally called oxidative stress. If an organism suffers from oxidative stress, free radicals attack its cells and weaken its immune system. In fruit flies, oxidative stress is induced by immune responses to toxins produced by pathogens in the food.

Hydroxycinnamic acids are found in high amounts in fruit. Since fruit is the preferred breeding substrate of fruit flies, scientists in the Department of Evolutionary Neuroethology at the Max-Planck-Institute for Chemical Ecology in Jena, Germany, took a closer look at these substances and their possible effect on the flies.

Fruit flies are not able to smell hydroxycinnamic acids directly. However, yeasts metabolize the antioxidants and produce ethylphenols. These volatile substances activate targeted olfactory neurons housed on the maxillary palps of the fruit flies, which express the odorant receptor Or71a. Interestingly, fly larvae which are also attracted by yeasts enriched with hydroxycinnamic acids using ethylphenols as olfactory cues, employ another odorant receptor for binding ethylphenols: Or94b, which is exclusively found in larvae, and which is co-expressed with Or94a, a receptor binding a general yeast odor. Because flies cannot smell the antioxidants directly, ethylphenols provide reliable cues for the presence of these protective compounds in the food. The perception of these odorant signals has a direct impact of the flies’ behavior: They are attracted by the odor sources, show increased feeding behavior and choose oviposition sites where ethylphenols indicate that antioxidants are present in the breeding substrate.

“This form of olfactory proxy detection is not only a phenomenon in insects. It has also been shown in humans, that odors that we perceive as pleasant or appetizing, are in fact derived from important and healthy nutrients, such as essential amino acids, fatty acids and vitamins,” Marcus Stensmyr explains. The scientist, who carried out the studies in the Department of Evolutionary Neuroethology together with his colleagues, has recently moved to a position as senior lecturer at the University of Lund.

These findings demonstrate a further example of an individual neuronal pathway, which has a profound effect on the flies: from the odorant signal to olfactory neurons and dedicated odorant receptors to behavior (see also our press release “A Direct Line through the Brain to Avoid Rotten Food – A Full STOP Signal for Drosophila − Odor activation of a dedicated neural pathway by geosmin, an odor produced by toxic microorganisms, activates a hard-wired avoidance response in the fly”, December 7, 2012). The ethylphenol pathway as an olfactory proxy detection of dietary antioxidants shows yet another facet of the complex odor-guided behavior in fruit flies. The scientists will now try to identify further neural pathways involved in the detection of essential nutrients, which ultimately trigger the flies’ behavior.

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Celebrate Summer With These Antioxidant Cocktails

By Andrea K. Castillo

The summer season is so close we can taste it. That means a whole lot of fun in the sun, cook-outs, beach bodies, and a wonderful opportunity to try out some new cocktails! Antioxidant cocktails are having a moment right now; combining antioxidant rich ingredients like lime, berries, ginger, carrot, tea, and lavender with the spirit of your choice, these drinks have health benefits in the mix.

We’ve rounded up some of our favorite antioxidant cocktails with recipes for the season, so you can mix them up at your next get-together. Let’s get shaking!

1. Summer-ita, courtesy of Owl’s Brew

2. 5th Ave, courtesy of Hennessy  

3. Azzurre Lavender Honey Bee, by Cassandra Rosen of Azzurre Spirits

4. Ray of Sun, courtesy of Owl’s Brew

5. Azzurre Carrot Ginger Collins, by Cassandra Rosen of Azzurre Spirits

Antioxidant Cocktails To Try in NYC

1. Zen Why Sea, Almond Tribeca, New York

2 oz. Hendricks
¾ oz. House Lime Cordial*

* lime cordial recipe;
1 quart lime juice
1 quart sugar
½ cup green cardamom pods
1/3 cup black peppercorn
¼ cup lime zest

Do not boil!

Put all ingredients in sauce pan and stir constantly over medium heat until sugar is dissolved completely.  Remove from heat, cover and let steep for an hour. Fine strain, cool and store

Add to tin. Dash grapefruit bitters. Shake hard. Strain into martini glass with red wine float.

2. Persephone, Limani, New York 

1 ½ oz. Tito’s vodka
½ oz. Cointreau
Half of a lime
Topped with fresh pomegranate juice

Shaken and served up with a sugar rim garnished with a mint leaf.

3. Black Cherry Bittered Sling, The Palm Court, New York

 1 ½ oz. Blantons Bourbon

½ oz. Fresh Lime Juice

¾ oz. Simple Syrup

1 ¼ oz. Boylans Black Cherry Soda w/Cane Sugar

2 Dashes Fee Bros. Cherry Bitters

Garnish: Fresh Ground Nutmeg and three brandy soaked cherries

Method: Place all ingredients into mixing tin (except Cherry Soda), add large ice and shake vigorously, add cherry soda and tumble roll back and forth once, taste for balance, double strain over fresh ice, garnish and serve.

New research finds a possible correlation between milk consumption and brain health

New research conducted at the University of Kansas Medical Center has found a correlation between milk consumption and the levels of a naturally-occurring antioxidant called glutathione in the brain in older, healthy adults.

In-Young Choi, Ph.D., an associate professor of neurology, and Debra Sullivan, Ph.D., professor and chair of dietetics and nutrition, worked together on the project. Their research, which was published in the Feb. 3, 2015 edition of The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, suggests a new way that drinking milk could benefit the body.

“We have long thought of milk as being very important for your bones and very important for your muscles,” Sullivan said. “This study suggests that it could be important for your brain as well.”

Choi’s team asked the 60 participants in the study about their diets in the days leading up to brain scans, which they used to monitor levels of glutathione - a powerful antioxidant - in the brain.

The researchers found that participants who had indicated they had drunk milk recently had higher levels of glutathione in their brains. This is important, the researchers said, because glutathione could help stave off oxidative stress and the resulting damage caused by reactive chemical compounds produced during the normal metabolic process in the brain. Oxidative stress is known to be associated with a number of different diseases and conditions, including Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and many other conditions, said Dr. Choi.

“You can basically think of this damage like the buildup of rust on your car,” Sullivan said. “If left alone for a long time, the buildup increases and it can cause damaging effects.

Few Americans reach the recommended daily intake of three dairy servings per day, Sullivan said. The new study showed that the closer older adults came to those servings, the higher their levels of glutathione were.

"If we can find a way to fight this by instituting lifestyle changes including diet and exercise, it could have major implications for brain health,” Choi said.

An editorial in the same edition of The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition said the study presented “a provocative new benefit of the consumption of milk in older individuals,” and served as a starting point for further study of the issue.

“Antioxidants are a built-in defense system for our body to fight against this damage, and the levels of antioxidants in our brain can be regulated by various factors such as diseases and lifestyle choices,” Choi said.

For the study, researchers used high-tech brain scanning equipment housed at KU Medical Center’s Hoglund Brain Imaging Center. “Our equipment enables us to understand complex processes occurring that are related to health and disease,” Choi said. “The advanced magnetic resonance technology allowed us to be in a unique position to get the best pictures of what was going on in the brain.”

A randomized, controlled trial that seeks to determine the precise effect of milk consumption on the brain is still needed and is a logical next step to this study, the researchers said.

Eating for Healthy Skin

If you want beautiful skin, then you know the drill: drink lots of water, get plenty of rest, wear sunscreen, don’t pick your zits! But know this, you can eat your way to beautiful skin, too!

Stinging Nettle

Stinging Nettle is a healthful plant that can be grown in most gardens and found in most health food stores. Nettles are high in antioxidants and have antibacterial and anti inflammatory properties. Seap the leaves (or above-ground parts of the plant) in hot water to make a tea that’s great for sensitive and eczema-prone skin.

Eggs

Eggs are full of selenium, lutein, and zeaxanthin, powerful antioxidant minerals that protect your skin from UV damage. Do you know this means? It means more time hanging out at the diner eating omelettes and less brown spots!

Fennel

Fennel is a strong detoxifier with antibacterial properties. This super food—which taste a bit like black licorice—is great for those who suffer from acne and cellulite. It increases elasticity, stimulates blood circulation, and heals and soothes aggravated skin.

Leafy Greens

Greens like swiss chard, mustard greens, kale, and spinach and packed with minerals, fiber, beta-carotene, and vitamin A. This combo is crucial to those who have dehydrated or acne-prone skin. Eating the leafy greens raw is best (think salads and pressed juice), but they still pack a punch once they’ve been heated.

Avocado

Avocados are high in oleic acid, a polyunsaturated fatty acid that increases skin’s elasticity and healing ability. If that isn’t enough, they’re a good source of biotin, antioxidants, vitamin C, and vitamin E (most of the goodies found in your hair, skin, and nail vitamins). So what if guac is more? Show your waitress the money!

Research team treats brain injuries in mice using bone marrow stem cells and antioxidants

Researchers of CEU Cardenal Herrera University (CEU-UCH) for the first time transplanted bone marrow stem cells into damaged brain tissue while applying lipoic acid (a potent antioxidant), with the aim of improving neuroregeneration in the tissue. This new way of repairing brain damage, which combines cellular treatment with drug therapy, has shown positive results, especially in forming blood vessels (a process called angiogenesis) in damaged areas of the brains of adult laboratory mice. Angiogenesis is a process that is essential to the recovery of damaged neural tissues. The investigation was led by José Miguel Soria López, deputy director of the Institute of Biomedical Sciences at CEU-UCH, and its results were published in the international medical journal Brain Injury.

Professor Soria, who is affiliated to the Department of Biomedical Sciences at CEU-UCH, heads the investigative group ‘Strategies in Neuroprotection and Neuroreparation’, which carried out the investigation in cooperation with the Andalusian Molecular Biology and Regenerative Medicine Centre (CABIMER), located in Sevilla, and the Mediterranean Ophthalmological Foundation, located in Valencia. The research team used the experience they obtained from their previous investigations on the neuroregenerative efficiency of lipoic acid to develop a new remediation strategy for patients of brain damage. This new therapy combines the transplantation of bone marrow stem cells into the brain – in this case, the brains of adult rats – with the administration of the potent antioxidant lipoic acid.

Lipoic acid is already used in the treatment of degenerative diseases such as multiple sclerosis or diabetic neuropathy. Professor Soria concluded from previous researches he conducted at CEU-UCH that it has the ability to increase the creation of blood vessels, which speeds up cerebral immune response after an injury and stimulates the restoration of damaged tissues. Several other researches, for their part, proved that after brain damage stem cell therapies using a patient’s own bone marrow induce functional improvements. The two therapies – one cellular; the other one pharmacological – were both applied in this research so as to evaluate their combined effect.

New blood vessels

Angiogenesis – the process that forms new blood vessels – in the treated neuronal tissue began only eight days after the application of this new, combined therapy. CEU-UCH professor Soria says that “although bone marrow stem cells disappear from the brain tissue where they were transplanted after only 16 days, new cells keep forming. To put it another way, brain tissue is regenerated by new cells that appear in the brain as a result of stem cell transplantation. This proves the regenerative efficiency of the new combined therapy.”

The research also shows how the blood vessels that formed after the treatment grow into the damaged area of the brain. “They act as a kind of scaffolding to that area that allows microglia cells to migrate,” professor Soria says. “In the damaged area, they contribute to regeneration.” He adds that “the application of both treatments results into high angiogenic activity, which is crucial for an efficient recovery of the damaged brain area.” According to Soria, “the laboratory mice that recovered fastest from brain injuries were those that had a higher density of regenerated blood vessels.”

Taking into consideration brain damage is, especially among children and adolescents, one of the leading causes of disability and death in the developed world, the good results that were obtained from the combination of the two therapies make the research team very hopeful. “Combining an antioxidant such as lipoic acid with bone marrow stem cells has proven to be an effective remedy,” Soria observes. The team plans to conduct future research into similar combined therapies.

Enjoy this Sunday morning with a cup of matcha. Delicious, healthy and sustained boost for your Sunday adventures.

Visit www.aoimatcha.com to learn more about matcha manufacturing, cultivation, health benefits and recipes.

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