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  • In nutrition, is there evidence for a category of “super” fruit and vegetables? Are there accepted definitions that make “superfruit” more than just a marketing term?

    Unfortunately, the answer to both questions is a firm “maybe.” In retrospect from the vantage of late 2014, the “super” in “superfruit” seems to have arisen chiefly from the novelty of a small number of ingredients that have not typically been part of Western diets. Also important was a period of giddy promotion by The Oprah Winfrey Show and The Dr. Oz Show circa 2008. The primary initial objects of the “buzz” and, let’s face it, hype, were probably only a handful of items that included acai berry, acerola, goji berry and pomegranate that were promoted as exhibiting unique health benefits.

    By late 2009, the producers of The Oprah Winfrey and Dr. Oz Shows were backpedaling from promotions that were widely presented as endorsements of superfruit greater nutrition and health advantages not shared by ordinary fruit and vegetables. Today the pendulum, after years of enthusiasm and attempts to add ever more exotic fruit and vegetables to the category, has swung back the opposite direction due to consumer fatigue.

    Novelty is important to the category. There are some superfruits, such as sea-buckthorn berries, which are widely consumed in Europe and Asia, yet barely known in America. Black currant is another item with tremendous nutritional value that is widely consumed in Europe, but has not taken off here. Given that black currant is equivalent in nutrition to recognized superfruits such as bilberry and cranberry, and far superior to acai berry, its slow launch into this market is a bit of a mystery.

    The next interesting developments in super foods at this point likely will not involve actual superfruit, but may encompass vegetables, as well. The “fruit” side of the category has been expanded very far already. Instead, emerging foods such as the extremely anthocyanin-rich black rice (the “forbidden” “longevity” rice) and the new black garlic may be the next wave to capture consumer attention. Asia, the source of many items considered to be superfruit in the US, is not immune to the category, as black garlic and black rice attest. Another super food in parts of Asia, again a vegetable, are “wild” and “mountain” varieties of bitter melon.

    Pomegranate, bilberry, blueberry, goji, cranberry and grape will continue to be popular because they have defined niches and histories of use. Moreover, each is backed by considerable science and on-going research. Other current superfruit entries may not continue to be so successful in the marketplace. Acai, despite its current presence, may not endure because there remains little or even no science behind it. In its native Brazil, acai is used for weight gain; in America, it is sold for weight loss. Both of these uses cannot be right and the lack of science already has caught up with many acai products.

    Superfruit As A Category
    The idea behind this marketing term is that these fruits are exceptionally rich in nutrients, perhaps especially antioxidants. Commonly known fruits seldom have been marketed as superfruits despite the nutrient density of many of them; the key is exoticism and marketing plus, usually, new taste or aroma sensations.

    Quality control can represent difficulties. Fruits from exotic locales may be hard to police for continuity in color, taste, nutrient content, and so forth. Fruits sourced from areas that continue to use leaded gasoline can bring special issues for testing and quality control. Moreover, many of the so-called superfruit are the subjects of limited cultivation, which means that suddenly demand can seriously distort availability and pricing.

    Superfruit As Antioxidants And The Changing Acceptance Of Orac Testing
    One common promotion of superfruit has been for antioxidant capacity, something often measured as ORAC. Oxygen radical absorbance capacity (ORAC) is a method of measuring antioxidant capacities in samples. ORAC includes more than just antioxidant capacity. Testing labs can break out fast- and slow-acting antioxidants, the status of free radical generation in terms of peroxide and hydroxyl radicals, and so forth and so on. At one point in time, it was thought that ORAC values of total antioxidant capacity of supplements would provide good guides to the overall health promoting capacities of these products. However, today it is realized that the role of antioxidants in the body is not so simple. For instance, supposed ORAC measures of the antioxidant value of vitamin E vary widely. Vitamin E has been reported as only slightly inferior to astaxanthin as an antioxidant and also as 550 percent less potent. Moreover, although vitamin E is a great antioxidant, two decades of clinical research has failed to demonstrate unequivocal health benefits. The consensus today is that there is no direct relationship between antioxidant activity per se and health activity.

    Matters get worse. Antioxidant claims are made for hundreds of nutrients, but this leads to a marketing paradox. To paraphrase a famous observation, if every supplement is an antioxidant, then being an antioxidant no longer is anything special. ORAC claims today do not carry the marketing punch that they carried a decade ago. ORAC claims may still be useful, but nutrients now need to demonstrate specific benefits. For instance, black currant offers more than just an extremely potent ORAC value — it also offers potent and proven protection for the brain and the eyes from its content of particular anthocyanins, including delphinidin-3-rutinoside and cyanidin- 3-glucoside. Similar protection is found with bilberry. Just presenting a high ORAC value will not confer these protections.

    Some Superfruits And Vegetables Of Note

    No matter how one looks at American eating habits, it is clear that additional nutrition of the sort supplied by fruits and vegetables should be welcomed. For instance, less than ten percent of American teenagers consume the recommended daily allotment of fruits and vegetables. Here are some of the choices currently available:

    Bilberry — Wild blueberry (Vaccinium angustifolium) is a lowgrowing shrubs in the genus Vaccinium (family Ericaceae); it is a rich source of several different anthocyanins, bilberry is famous for supporting night vision and intestinal health as well as neurologic, metabolic and cardiovascular health; a similar fruit in terms of benefits and contents is the maqui berry (Aristotelia chilensis).

    Bitter Melon — Also known as bitter gourd (Momordica charantia), this vegetable is widely viewed as providing significant benefits in diabetes and, in its wild and mountain forms, for promoting longevity (see the Total Health website article on this topic).

    Cherries — The dark varieties are rich in anthocyanins, with tart cherries (Prunus cerasus) being especially rich in these nutrients; significant anti-inflammatory, especially for joint aches and pains and muscle pain and stress from exercise and overexertion; cardioprotective.

    Cranberry— Cranberries (Vaccinium macrocarpon) are best known for supporting urinary health, in particular inhibiting bacteria from attaching to the bladder wall Goji — Goji or wolfberry (Lycium barbarum) has been promoted for a large variety of benefits and conditions, including diabetes, high blood pressure, fever, and age-related eye problems.

    Mangosteen — Mangosteen (Garcinia mangostana) contains various anthocyanins, xanthones and tannins; useful for inflammation, intestinal and immune health.

    Pomegranate — Pomegranate (Punica granatum) is an ancient fruit famous for its healthful properties since ancient times; supports cardiovascular health, prostate health, metabolic health, exercise recovery and many other benefits; is on the coat of arms of many medical organizations stretching back to the high Middle Ages in Europe.

    Many or even most of the superfruits and vegetables beginning to make their names in the US have long records of promoting health in other parts of the world. These foods provide concentrated nutrition based on healthful phytochemical components. Some of the superfruits and vegetables, although exotic in origin, can readily be made a part of the daily diet. This, of course, is the best way to approach superfruits, i.e., move them out of the “exotic” category and into a daily use category. Small changes in habits can then be harnessed to provide real health benefits over the long run.

  • Editor's note: We love all things Chia. It has so many health benefits. Chia seeds are truly a superfood. We are very happy to promote one of our favorite product lines from Essential Formulas that incorporates the benefits of Chia with synergistic components like D3, CoQ10, Enzymes, and EPA and DHA.

    It’s no surprise that almost half of all supplement users taking fish oil are tired of fishy aftertaste. Now there is an even BETTER Omega-3 source that addresses those concerns. Amazingly, Chia seeds may contain MORE ALA Omega-3 than any other source on the planet—surpassing fish oil! CHIA OMEGA® is the pioneering product line that stands out by combining Chia Seed Oil with synergistic ingredients for specific health goals. Providing support for cardiovascular health and healthy cognition PLUS additional benefits, CHIA OMEGA® is the plant-based alternative people are searching for!*

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    CHIA OMEGA + D3 is one of the first products to combine cold-pressed Chia seed oil with highly bioavailable D3. Known to support both bone health and balanced mood, D3 is a synergistic addition to our Omega-3s, which also support joint comfort and mental cognition.*

    • Promote healthy absorption of dietary calcium*
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    • Vegetarian product

    Dallas-based Essential Formulas Incorporated (EFI) was established in 2000 as the sole U.S. distributor of world-renowned microbiologist Dr. Iichiroh Ohhira's award-winning probiotic dietary supplements and skin care products. A family-owned and operated business, EFI was founded on the philosophy of providing high-quality preventative, supportive and comprehensive pro-health products for the entire family. Pledging to provide premium all natural supplements and exceptional customer care, EFI continually strives to lead the industry in customer and retailer education in the use and efficacy of their innovative products, which include Dr. Ohhira's Probiotic, Dr. Ohhira's Propolis PLUS, Dr. Ohhira's Essential Living Oils (Vegan Certified), Dr. Ohhira's Probiotic Kampuku Beauty Bar and Magoroku Skin Lotion and the newly introduced CHIA OMEGA line of Omega-3 formulations. Both Dr. Ohhira's Probiotic formulations OMEGA CHIA dietary supplements are available at Peach Tree Natural Foods, Willner's Chemist, Apple Health Foods, Lassen's Natural Market, My Natural Market, and other fine health food stores across the country. For more information, visit:, or call 972.255.3918.

  • Dear Readers,

    Welcome to the July 2017 issue of TotalHealth Online.

    We begin with "The Pill Problem," by Ross Pelton, RPh, PhD, CCN. "Several years ago when I wrote a book titled The Drug-Induced Nutrient Depletion Handbook, I was amazed to find that oral contraceptives deplete a wide range of nutrients from a woman's body. In fact, oral contraceptives deplete more nutrients than any other class of commonly prescribed drugs." Pelton discusses health problems that can develop from using oral contraceptives and suggests an new, natural, non-hormonal alternative with no spermicides. Pelton is the scientific director at Essential Formulas and a long time advertiser with TotalHealth magazine.

    Sherrill Sellman, ND, in "Finally—A Safe, Natural, Non-Hormonal Contraceptive With No Side Effects." Sellman introduces readers to Dr. Françoise Farron, a fiercely determined woman and biochemist, who is passionate about her mission to save the lives of women worldwide. After years of research, she has succeeded in bringing her vision of a truly safe and effective, non-hormonal contraceptive solution, called Smart Women's Choice, to market.

    Dallas Clouatre's, PhD, article, "Bone Broths are Good For What Ails You," provides us history on broths and observations, not from the scientific literature on the benefits of making your own bone broths. Clouatre includes a listing of the a few of the nutrients found in bone broths. And how it reacts with the bodies healing in response to illness.

    In "Organic Apple Cider The Versatile Superfood Staple" Ann Louise Gittleman, PhD, CNS gives us the health benefits of apple cider vinegar from her new book, The NEW Fat Flush Plan.

    Don't be insulted reading "Fibromyalgia—Orthostatic Intolerance (NMH & POTS) Made Easy by Jacob Teitelbaum, MD, when he refers to us as "bags of water." He explains how the body's autonomic nervous system directs the blood vessels in our legs to contract and send the blood back up to our brain and muscles where it's needed. Orthostatic intolerance is a major and treatable part of what causes disability in CFS and fibromyalgia. And research has shown that many people diagnosed with NMH and POTS actually have CFS or fibromyalgia. Read on, Dr. Teitelbaum is our contributing expert on CFS and fibromyalgia.

    Gene Bruno, MS, MHS, RH(AHG), describes symptoms and conventional treatments and also dietary supplements: primary and secondary recommendations in "Angina Pectoris" (chest pain or discomfort due to coronary heart disease). Important information for all of us.

    Gloria Gilbère, CDP, DAHom, PhD, presents "Crunchy Nutrition Chips," a healthy alternative to the usual chips available. You replace the potatoes with healthy veggies like, carrots or beets and lets you control the amount of salt on your chips.

    Elson Haas, MD, "Seasonal Health and Summertime Fun." Haas takes us on a journey through the seasons and specifically the summer season and its influence on us, eating, sleeping and exercise habits. Individually we are in charge of those habits. He gives us insight on keeping ourselves healthy through the summer season.

    Shawn Messonnier, DVM includes our look at pet health with his article on "Distemper in Pets."

    Best in health,

    TWIP The Wellness Imperative People

    Click here to read the full July issue.

    Click here to read the full July issue.

  • Below is my Master Formula to ensure optimal fat burning and overall vitality. I have taken the liberty of including select brand names for some of my favorite smart staples.

    Banish all of the fake fats that inhibit metabolism, dampen thyroid function and promote inflammation. Eliminate all hydrogenated fats and partially-hydrogenated fats like margarine, shortening and soybean oil and the foods they are contained in like French fries, chips, cookies, crackers and many commercially prepared foods. Eliminate cottonseed oil, canola oil, and commercial vegetable oils, egg substitutes, butter substitutes, cream substitutes and cooking sprays. Be sure to check labels where these imposters are often hiding out like salad dressings and sauces. Your body will thank you!

    • Aim for one to four tablespoons of Smart Fats per meal. Check out all the Smart Fat swaps coming up in this section.
    • Take Smart Supplements like ox bile or bile salts (a must if you don't have a gallbladder), and/or beet root concentrate or choline to optimize fat digestion.
    • Enjoy six to eight ounces of clean, organic protein (grass-fed beef, bison, lamb, poultry) and one to two servings of non-denatured whey from grass-fed A2 cows or non- GMO vegan pea and rice protein per day. For variety, or if you are vegan or vegetarian, eat Nasoya Non-GMO Organic Tofu several times a week. You can also feast on omega- rich wild caught salmon, Wild Planet Albacore Tuna and Skipjack Tuna, sardines as well as Vital Choice canned seafood and Oregon Choice seafood several times a week to help mobilize fat from storage and balance blood sugar.
    • Include five or more vegetable servings per day for protective antioxidants and phytonutrients.
    • Eat up to two low-fructose fruits daily (one cup of berries, one small peach, one small plum, 10 cherries, 12 grapefruit, one cup pineapple, one small orange, one small nectarine) per day for key vitamins and minerals.
    • Fill up on one to three smart starches daily for satiety and fiber (one small sweet potato or yam, 12 cup squash, 12 cup parsnips, rutabaga or turnips, or 12 cup peas or cooked carrots) or 12 cup non-gluten grains per day (brown rice, quinoa, buckwheat, and teff).
    • Dive into dairy with caution. Many folks are casein and lactose intolerant so cheese and milk are off limits-especially because casein sensitivities (casein is the protein in milk) typically accompany gluten intolerance. Most almond and rice-based cheeses also contain casein as an ingredient. Yogurt falls somewhere in between because the lactose sugar is predigested by the fermenting process, but casein still remains. Butter, cream and ghee, on the other hand, are digested as fats. The best dairy products are always pasture-raised and organic. If you love cheese, then choose the raw milk varieties. For the dairy tolerant, enjoy one to two full-fat dairy servings daily (eight ounces of plain Greek yogurt or four ounces full-fat cottage or ricotta cheese, or one ounce of hard cheese).
    • Select Smart Sips between meals like filtered water, decaffeinated organic green tea or cran-water and/or dandelion root tea to speed weight loss results.
    • Sprinkle Smart Seasonings like cayenne, mustard, turmeric, ginger, Ceylon cinnamon, dill, garlic, anise, fennel, cloves, cardamom, parsley, cilantro and cumin to jumpstart fat burning.
    • Sweeten with Smart Sweeteners like Organic SweetLeaf Stevia, Lakanto Monk Fruit, The Ultimate Life Xylitol (from birch), Now Erythritol, Now D-ribose, or Now Glycine to replace sugar and aspartame.

    Smart Fat Swaps
    Here are some of my favorite brand names of the most popular Smart Fats. While there are many other wonderful brands on the market, I am sure, consider this as a basic guide for more exploration: Tropical Traditions Coconut Oil, Nutiva Organic Hemp Seed Oil, Spectrum Safflower Oil, Spectrum High Oleic Safflower Oil, Spectrum High Oleic Sunflower Oil, Ellyndale Macadamia Nut Oil, Siberian Tiger Naturals Sea Buckthorn Oil, La Tourangelle Roasted Walnut Oil, Siberian Tiger Naturals Camelina Oil Carlson Fish Oil, Spectrum Toasted Sesame Oil, Theros or Lucini Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Olivado Extra Virgin Avocado Oil, Omega Nutrition Hi-Lignan Flax Oil, Siberian Tiger Naturals Extra Virgin Siberian Pine Nut Oil.

    Each of the following contains the equivalent of one tablespoon of the Smart Fat oils detailed above.

    • one tablespoon homemade mayo
    • one tablespoon nut or seed butter (peanut, almond, cashew, pumpkin, sesame)
    • one teaspoon Barlean's Heart Remedy Omega-7 Swirl
    • one tablespoon organic pastured butter or ghee (clarified butter)
    • two tablespoons shredded coconut
    • three ounces Thai Kitchen Organic Canned full-fat Coconut Milk
    • two tablespoons organic sour cream
    • one tablespoon organic pastured heavy cream
    • one tablespoon Tropical Traditions Coconut Cream
    • seeds such as one tablespoon pumpkin, chia, sesame, sunflower and hemp seeds
    • one ounce Vega savi seed snack (sacha inchi seeds)
    • three tablespoons ground toasted flax seeds
    • nuts such as seven almonds, two medium Brazil nuts, four walnut halves, six cashews, four pecan halves, three macadamia nuts, 15 pistachios, two tablespoons pine nuts
    • one quarter of a small avocado
    • eight large olives
    • three anchovy fillets

    Smart Supplements
    There may be many high-quality brands available which are not listed below. Since I have formulated and have been the spokesperson for Uni Key Health Systems for nearly 25 years, I am most familiar with the UNI KEY and Fat Flush brand name products. I am confident of their high quality and purity because they are third-party tested for heavy metals and contaminants, unlike some even larger, well-recognized name brands. You can always check the formulations and then find your favorites online or in health food stores.

    • Bile Extracts or Bile Salts: A MUST if you have had your gallbladder removed for long-term gallbladder and liver support. Very helpful for short term use for those with fat metabolism issues and symptoms. I like Biotics Beta Plus. Dosage: Take two to three tablets per meal.
    • Bile Digestive Aids: Look for a formula that contains a combination of beet root concentrate, lipase and powerful antioxidant enzymes. These ingredients improve digestion and promote bile production. I like Biotics Beta-TCP. Dosage:Take two to three tablets daily with meals.
    • Liquid Phosphorus: Help break down gallstones to ensure proper flow with a liquid phosphorus supplement. I like Biotics Super Phosphozyme Liquid. Dosage: Take 30 drops in water once or twice daily.
    • Choline: Ramp up metabolism with this liver lover by improving fat digestion and clearing away excess estrogen trapped inside fat cells. Choline can regenerate the part of your liver that makes bile and is the go-to supplement to heal a fatty liver. It is a powerful detoxifying and emulsifying agent that breaks down fat, increases nutrient absorption and balances brain hormones. I like Nature's Way Choline Bitartrate. Dosage: Take one 500 mg capsule, three times per day.
    • Liver Support Formula: Feed your liver with nourishing and detoxifying ingredients like artichoke and chlorophyll and taurine. These super food and nutrient stars purify and oxygenate the blood while providing antioxidant protection. I like UNI KEY Liver- Lovin Formula. Dosage: Take two capsules, two times daily with meals.
    • Lipotropic Formula: Choline, inositol, and methionine are the ultimate fat-blasting trio, which can also transform excess estrogen into estriol-the anti-cancer estrogen. I feel most comfortable with a product that also provides gentle liver support and blood sugar balance with ingredients like blended milk thistle, Oregon grape root, dandelion root and lipase. I like UNI KEY Weight Loss Formula. Dosage: Take one capsule, three times daily with meals.
    • Non-GMO Sunflower or Soy Lecithin: Lecithin has an emulsifying action on fats and helps break them down while also contributing to healthier bile production. I like Now Lecithin Granules. Dosage: Take one to two tablespoons of lecithin granules per day in smoothies or sprinkled on salads as a garnish.
    • GLA (Gamma Linolenic Acid): The most balanced source of this essential fatty acid from the omega-6 tribe comes from cold pressed black currant seed oil which stimulates brown fat activity for optimized fat burning. Both Solaray and Health from the Sun offer black currant seed oil. I like UNI KEY GLA-90. Dosage: Take 360 to 900 mg daily for weight loss, PMS, diabetic neuropathy or psoriasis and eczema.
    • CLA (Conjugated Linoleic Acid): Omega-6 fatty acids from safflower oil prompt the body to burn stored fat as energy. Also helps to maintain lean muscle mass and provides powerful antioxidant properties. Both Now and Natrol offer CLA. I like UNI KEY CLA- 1000. Dosage: Take 3,000 to 6,000 mg daily.
    • High Lignan Flax Oil: This high ALA product comes in liquid and softgels. The best brands I have found include Barlean's and Omega Nutrition. Dosage: Take one to three tablespoons per day.
    • Fish Oil: Fish oil now comes to us in different flavors like orange and lemon, which avoids the fishy taste and burps. Available in both liquid and softgels under the Carlson and Nordic Naturals brand. Dosage: Take 1,000 to 4,000 mg per day.
    • Flax Seeds: A rich source of lignans, omega-3s, and fiber, flax seeds should be ground and cold milled for optimum digestion and assimilation of the omegas. Dosage: Take one to four tablespoons per day.
    • Chia Seeds: Another plant-based omega-3 rich source, chia seeds can be consumed in either the whole or ground state. Dosage: Take one to four tablespoons per day.
    • Whey Protein: Look for a non-denatured whey protein concentrate from grass-fed cows which provide natural CLA as well as building blocks of glutathione, the most valuable antioxidant in the body so important for the liver. Whey is high in the amino acid leucine which triggers fat loss and preserves lean muscle mass. Choose formulas from the purer, non-mutated A2 milk, rather than A1 milk which has been associated with diabetes and cardiovascular disease. I recommend Fat Flush Whey Protein. Directions: Use one scoop or 20 grams of protein per smoothie.
    • Vegan Protein: Look for a blend of non-GMO pea and rice that provides a complete protein source of essential amino acids. Pea is high in lysine, typically deficient in rice, while rice provides cysteine and methionine, which are lacking in pea protein. I recommend Fat Flush Body Protein. Directions: Use one scoop or 20 grams of protein per smoothie.
    • Fermented Protein: Fermentation makes protein easier to digest and removes certain anti-nutrients, like phytates and tannins, which bind to key minerals. Look for a blend of pea protein balanced with complete plant-based protein sources like amaranth and quinoa. I recommend Body Ecology's Fermented Protein Shake-I especially like the immune-boosting impact of the mushroom blend. Directions: Use one scoop or 15 grams of protein per smoothie.
    • Blue Green Algae: Nature's most nutrient dense superfood, blue-green algae contains 65 vitamins, minerals, amino acids and essential fatty acids. Be sure to get a wild-harvested, non-GMO formula. I like E3Live. Dosage: Take 1 tablespoon or more daily in a smoothie or water.
    • Targeted Probiotic: Look for a probiotic formula with the revolutionary strain Lactobacillus fermentum ME-3, which helps support healthy glutathione levels-a key to healthy liver function. I like Essential Formula's Reg'Activ Detox & Liver Health. Dosage: Take 2 capsules daily, 30 minutes before a meal.
    • Full Spectrum Magnesium: Magnesium Glycinate, Magnesium Malate, Magnesium Taurinate, and Magnesium Orotate are the most absorbable forms of this crucial mineral that supports stress relief, sound sleep, regularity, heart health and ATP production for balanced energy. I like UNI KEY Mag-Key. Dosage: Take two to three capsules, three times daily.
    • Rhodiola: This outstanding product is a stress-relieving adaptogen known for extending longevity and physical endurance. It helps increase the body's resistance to environmental stress. Choose a brand that offers products based on the pioneering Russian research of Dr. Zakir Ramazanov that are produced by water-only extraction and freeze-drying to lock in purity and potency. I like Ameriden Rhodiola. Dosage: Take 100 to 400 mg daily.
    • Progesterone: This bioidentical hormone therapy can outsmart hormonal weight gain. Natural progesterone should be derived from wild yam and stated as USP Progesterone on the label. This easily applied topical product balances an irregular or difficult menstrual cycle and eases PMS, perimenopausal and menopausal systems, as well as water and salt retention. I like UNI KEY ProgestaKey. Dosage: Apply one pump (20 mg) onto chest and neck area according to the life cycle schedule on the container.
    • Melatonin: This antioxidant hormone is essential for curbing elevated cortisol before bed, which can create insomnia and intermittent awakenings all through the wee hours of the morning. When cortisol goes up, melatonin comes down. This impacts deep, restful sleep and your ability to lose stubborn tummy fat and overcome sugar cravings, leading to insulin resistance. Dosage: Take 1 to 9 mg, 30 minutes before bed.
  • For plant-centric foodies like myself, fall harvest is one of the best seasons of the year, and for good reason. With fruits and vegetables taking center stage, now is the time to load up on edible powerhouses that are packed with vitamins, minerals and disease fighting antioxidants to keep you feeling strong, energized and on the top of your game all fall. These types of foods are considered the best way to reduce risk for chronic diseases, achieve and maintain a healthy weight and live a longer, healthier life.

    By now I'm sure you've heard the term 'superfoods,' and know they pack a serious punch for optimal health benefits. These types of foods are rich in phytochemicals and have a high level of nutrient value. Consider this: with superfoods, there are no side effects. And for an added bonus, they put you in a good mood, so what's the downside? That's just it-there is none. Soon, leaves will start to change color, and the wind will blow a little cooler. So now's the time to start thinking about which fresh autumn superfoods to incorporate in to your diet to boost your health.

    Half the battle is having a plan and being aware of what foods can give you the most benefit. When the food option is not available or convenient for your routine, consider the supplement counterpart to complement your diet.

    Cranberries provide more disease-fighting antioxidants than any other fruit and vegetable on the table. This berry is a popular part of many Thanksgiving feasts. Best known for its ability to fight off urinary tract infections (UTIs), cranberry also has many more disease fighting qualities. Cranberries have a high concentration of phenols, which are good for fighting cancer, stomach infections, heart disease and strokes.

    Try adding cranberries to leafy green salads, sprinkle dried cranberries on cheese and cracker boards or incorporate into cookie recipes, spreads, dips and try cranberry sauce on your favorite fish or poultry.

    If you want an added boost or are simply unable to find fresh cranberries at your local farmers' market, supplement with Cran-Max, a highly concentrated whole berry cranberry ingredient found in a variety of natural supplement products. This particular cranberry ingredient has gone head-to-head against prescription antibiotics for prevention of bladder infections and was found to be equally effective and better tolerated.1,2,3


    Next on my list: pumpkins, which provide beta-carotene, potassium, vitamin C and soluble fiber. Pumpkins also contain trigonelline and nicotinic acid that can help lower blood sugar, inhibit the accumulation of triglycerides in the blood and suppresses the onset of diabetes. Furthermore, pumpkin can help support immune function and prostate health for men.4

    Incorporate pure pumpkin into pies, muffins, cookies, soups, bread, and ravioli. Roasted pumpkin seeds are a great addition to a home-made trail mix or sprinkle them on your oatmeal or breakfast cereal.

    You may also try using pumpkin seed oil. Pumpkin seed oil has been used in salad dressing, ice cream and other food products, and is believed to benefit people at risk of BPH, irritable bowel syndrome, high cholesterol and certain parasitic infestations.

    Walnuts rank No. 1 for the healthiest and highest potency of antioxidants among all other popular nuts including peanuts, pecans, cashews, Brazil nuts and almonds. Walnuts are rich in polyphenols, compounds that can support heart health by lowering levels of blood cholesterol, which?improves blood flow and cools inflammation related to heart disease. Walnuts are wonderful for cheese and cracker boards, pies, stuffing, hummus, breads and dark chocolate fudge.

    If you're in need of a supplement, try English walnut. The nut of the English walnut contains chemicals called fatty acids, which might be useful as part of a cholesterol-lowering diet. It also contains chemicals that can expand blood vessels, possibly improving circulation and the way the heart works.

    If you have a sweet tooth, then you're in luck. My next fall superfood contains various nutrients and enzymes that can help calm everything from a cough to blemishes. Honey has long been known to treat numerous health conditions and boost overall health. This amazing bee-product possesses antibacterial, antifungal, antiseptic, and antioxidant properties - making it one of the most beneficial foods to consume.

    Sticking with the antibacterial benefits of honey, one study published in the journal Microbiology found that "honey prevented a type of streptococcus pyogenes from inhibiting the healing of wounds."5

    Researchers found that only a small amount of honey was needed to kill off the majority of bacterial cells on infected skin of wound sites. More than that, honey could even be utilized to prevent wounds in the first place.

    To make it a part of your fall diet, add honey to Greek yogurt or use it in place of sugar in recipes. Be sure to try a teaspoonful of honey when suffering with a cough or sore throat. For a supplemental choice, try honey lozenges. These are an obvious choice when dealing with a cold, but these are also an excellent source for honey when you're feeling well, and would like to continue in good health.

    Butternut Squash
    Butternut Squash rounds out my list of fall superfoods. Butternut squash grows on a vine, and comes from the gourd family - a cousin of pumpkin. It is low in fat and provides a large dose of dietary fiber. Squash is packed with carotenoids, giving it its tangerine glow. This veggie is nutrient rich providing folic acid, omega 3s, potassium, and magnesium. Additionally, beta carotene, found in squash, has been shown to protect against heart disease as well as help as a deterrent against some cancers.

    Not coincidentally, most of the foods on this list provide dietary fiber. Dietary fiber is found mostly in vegetables, whole grains, fruits and legumes, and is probably best known for its correlation with constipation. However, fiber foods can provide other health benefits as well, such as lowering your risk of diabetes and heart disease and maintaining a healthy diet.

    Fall superfoods provide a cornucopia of delicious options, so dig in now.

    1. Cranberries vs antibiotics to prevent urinary tract infections. A randomized double-blind noninferiority trial in premenopausal women. Archive of Internal Medicine 2001;171(14):1270-8.
    2. A randomized trial to evaluate effectiveness and cost effectiveness of naturopathic cranberry products as prophylaxis against urinary tract infection in women. The Canadian Journal of Urology. 2002;9(3):1558-1562.
    3. Results of a randomized, double-blind study on the prevention of recurrent cystitis with GynDelta® (500 mg Cran-Max®). The Gynecologist’s and Obstetrician’s Journal. January 2007.
    4. Vahlensieck W1, Theurer C, Pfitzer E, Patz B, Banik N, Engelmann U. Effects of pumpkin seed in men with lower urinary tract symptoms due to benign prostatic hyperplasia in the one-year, randomized, placebo-controlled GRANU study. Urol Int. 2015;94(3):286-95. doi: 10.1159/000362903.
    5. Sarah E. Maddocks, Marta Salinas Lopez, Richard S. Rowlands, Rose A. Cooper; Manuka honey inhibits the development of Streptococcus pyogenes biofilms and causes reduced expression of two fibronectin binding proteins. Microbiology, March 2012 158: 781-790, doi: 10.1099/mic.0.053959-0
  • The term “Superfood” was first used in the 1990s when a cookbook that was co-written by Dr. Michael Van Straten, a practitioner of alternative medicine, appeared in the bookshops. It was titled Superfoods and it claimed to provide the reader with information regarding various nutrients to help the body improve resistance against diseases and stress. Since that time, “superfoods” is primarily associated with fruits, vegetables and any other food products that are considered to be healthy for the body.

    As time progressed, however, nutritious Mother Nature made foods that once held the superfood distinction, were overthrown by exotic foods, as if they were the only ones now worthy of the superfoods monarchy. In fact, the superfoods term has been used so frequently by food and product promoters over the past decade, the public now believes that these exotic foods have near-magical qualities to compensate for their high prices.

    Whenever a scientific study provides evidence regarding a positive effect of some chemical property or properties found in a so-called superfood, that superfoods promotional influence is instantly boosted and more companies can jump on the superfood bandwagon.

    This is yet another reason why food promoters are constantly searching for yet undiscovered sources of remarkable nutrients. The public is continuously bombarded with new food products that allegedly can provide all sorts of healthy benefits to the body single-handedly. Over the years, the term “superfood” has retained its appeal to the public but it is now used mainly to create hype about a product to make it more marketable. With all the marketing gimmicks aside, what really constitutes a superfood?

    Up until now, there is no scientifically accepted definition of “superfood.” As mentioned, the term is generally used to refer to foods that are jam-packed with nutrients and can provide health benefits to your body1 Contrary to the marketing claims, there is no food product—no matter how exotic—that can single-handedly provide all of your health needs. Limiting yourself to eating these so-called superfoods can actually result in an impaired, one-sided diet that can do you more harm than good.

    Vitamins and minerals usually work in synergy and thereby need to work with one another in order to be able to provide what the body needs. This is a fact that is usually overlooked by people in their desire to get a one-way ticket to good health. Superfoods also work in synergy, and therefore—in more cases than not—it is wise to consume them as a package, or the whole food.

    Food scientists can easily isolate one or two components of a superfood, and even though those components might look good based on a study or two, nature doesn’t work in isolation. This is why you don’t find a single isolated tocopherol (an isomer of vitamin E) in a food like almonds, but instead an array of mixed tocopherols, all of which work in synergy. Research has even shown that when we consume only one form of vitamin E (alpha tocopherol), it is at the detriment of the other forms, which potentially harms the body.2

    Berry, Berry Good
    The members of the berry kingdom are great examples of superfoods. These edible, fleshy and colorful fruits are full of antioxidants that can actually help in reversing and preventing diseases that are associated with free radicals.3 Free radicals are unstable molecules that react with various body chemicals, causing irreversible damage to our cells.4 As a person grows older, the damage caused by free radicals often worsens, which may speed up the process of aging and contribute to age-related health concerns. Antioxidants can help prevent premature aging by quenching the destructive action of free radicals.5 Berries, especially those with dark color, have one of the highest concentrations of antioxidants—flavonoids and anthocyanidins—found in nature.6

    Anthocyanidins play an important role in memory function and can help decrease the rate of a person’s mental decline. Actually, a study was able to show that age-related cognitive decline reduced by about 1.5 to 2.5 years just by eating berries at least once a week.7 In addition, the same antioxidant can also fight the development of macular degeneration, an eye disorder usually brought about by old age.8

    The risk of cancer and heart diseases, on the other hand, can be reduced by various flavonoids, especially quercetin.9 The immune system already has its own troop of cancer-fighting cells, but a study has shown that quercetin can greatly increase the number of anti-cancer cells in the body.10 It also can regulate cholesterol and blood pressure levels, which are two primary factors for heart disease.11

    Vitamin K
    However, berries are not the only sources of nutrients that can fight heart disease. Green leafy vegetables are a great source of Vitamin K, which can also decrease the risk of cardiovascular diseases. Unbeknownst to many, vitamin K works hand in hand with Vitamin D. Osteocalcin, a protein hormone present in Vitamin K, binds Vitamin D into your bones thus promoting bone health and prevents it from being deposited in your blood vessels.12 Thus, protecting your blood vessels from being clogged and decreasing the risk of heart disease.

    Nature is full of colors. More than just aesthetics, the different colors of natural products can actually give you a clue to the nutrient levels in them. Although some fruits or vegetables may have more nutrients than others, this does not mean that they are the only ones that provide the nutrients that you need. The next time that you eat, make sure that you have a colorful plate in front of you. This is your true and surefire ticket to good health.


    1. MedicineNet. (n.d.). Definition of Superfoods. Retrieved from
    2. Chen H, et al. Mixed tocopherol preparation is superior to alpha-tocopherol alone against hypoxia-reoxygenation injury. Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2002 Feb 22;291(2):349-53.
    3. Paredes-López O, et al. Berries: improving human health and healthy aging, and promoting quality life. Plant Foods Hum Nutr. 2010 Sep;65(3):299–308. doi: 10.1007/s11130-010-0177-1.
    4. WebMD. (n.d.). Free Radicals. Retrieved from
    5. WebMD. (n.d.) Antioxidants – Topic Overview. Retrieved from
    6. Stibich, Mark. (2014, May 1). Anti-Aging Properties of Berries. Retrieved from
    7. Park, Alice. (2012, April 26). Brain Food: Berries Can Slow Cognitive Decline. Time
    8. Wang JJ, et al. Genetic susceptibility, dietary antioxidants, and long-term incidence of age-related macular degeneration in two populations. Ophthalmology. 2014 Mar;121(3):667–75.
    9. Knekt P, et al. Flavonoid intake and risk of chronic disease. Am J Clin Nutr. 2002 Sep;76(3):560–8.
    10. Brito AF, et al. Quercetin in cancer treatment, alone or in combination with conventional therapeutics? Curr Med Chem. 2015 Aug 12.
    11. Dower JI, et al. Effects of the pure flavonoids epicatechin and quercetin on vascular function and cardiometabolic health: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover trial. Am J Clin Nutr. 2015 May;101(5):914-21. doi: 10.3945/ajcn.114.098590. Epub 2015 Feb 25.
    12. Mercola. Without Vitamin K2, Vitamin D May Actually Encourage Heart Disease. (2011, July 16) Retrieved from