Since it’s Spring time, many experience seasonal allergies this time of the year. The Mediterranean diet could help those with allergies such as hay fever by boosting their immune system. The Mediterranean diet is chock full of healthy foods like grapes, tomatoes, and nuts. These foods provide the most benefits based on their antioxidant properties. Antioxidants are known for their disease-fighting ability. They work to sop-up the so-called free radicals left over in the body as a byproduct of a cell’s day-to-day functions.
In 2007, British scientists surveyed the parents of nearly 700 children in the Greek island of Crete to assess their respiratory symptoms and dietary habits. They found that at least twice a day, eight out of 10 children ate fresh fruit, and two-thirds ate fresh vegetables. The health benefits appeared to be strongest in terms of respiratory problems. Children who followed this healthy diet were less likely to develop air or skin allergies, or asthma symptoms.
Watch the video below by CTV’s health reporter Monica Matys:
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I have recently been introduced by a friend of mine to a new fruit named Açaí. It has only been exposed to the West a couple of years ago. Since not too many people have heard of it, I decided to introduce it here, with an emphasis on its extraordinary antioxidant effect and its benefits to our health.
Açaí is a fruit that grows on the Açaí Palm Trees in the Amazon rain forest of Brazil. The Açaí berry is small in size (smaller than a grape) and is dark purple in color. Açaí is mostly seed, covered in a small amount of pulp. In fact, about 80% of the Açaí berry is seed, which is not eaten.
While Açaí may be small in size, it packs a nutritional punch unlike any other food in the world. Açaí is one of the highest antioxidant fruits in the world. Açaí has 10 times the antioxidant level of grapes and twice that of blueberries. Açaí has 10 to 30 times the Anthocyanins of red wine. The Açaí berry is very rich in healthy Omega fats. Nearly 50% of the Açaí berry is fat - with 74% of the fat coming from healthy unsaturated fats such as Omega 3, Omega 6 and Omega 9. Açaí is also a good source of proteins. 7.59% of the weight of the Açaí pulp is from amino acids. 19 different amino acids have been identified in Açaí . Since amino acids are the building blocks of protein, it is no surprise that you have over 8 grams of protein in a 100 gram serving of Açaí . Moreover, it contains a lot of vitamins and minerals. Vitamins A, B1, B2, B3, C and E are all present in Açaí . In addition, potassium, calcium, magnesium, copper and zinc are all found in Açaí . As for fiber, there are about 14 grams of fiber in every 100 grams of freeze dried Açaí powder.
Due to their high content of fat, Açaí berries will go rancid very quickly, usually in a day or two. Therefore, if you don’t live in the Amazon rain forest, getting fresh Açaí berries can be close to impossible. But to get it to the West, Açaí can come in two forms and at a very expensive price: frozen pulp or freeze dried powder.
What are Free Radicals?
We are all made up of atoms. Atoms that have a full outer shell of electrons tend to be stable. Atoms that do not have a full outer shell of electrons want to get another electron very badly so they can be stable and inert. These unstable atoms are called Free Radicals.
Free radicals tend to move quickly to try to steal an electron from whatever molecule happens to be around them. Of course, whoever they steal an electron from becomes a new free radical and the process is like a domino effect. Our body performs many functions and there will always be some free radicals created. However, if the level of free radicals gets too high in the body, you can run into major problems. Numerous diseases and health issues have been linked to high levels of free radicals.
One of the more common types of free radicals are oxygen free radicals. These are oxygen atoms missing an electron. You know that rust you see on the side of your car - well the same thing basically happens inside our body. Oxidative stress is what it’s called when oxygen free radicals start to cause damage in your body.
What causes Free Radicals?
Breathing, eating, moving - basically living! Yes, basically any stress we put on our body can cause free radicals. While obvious things like polluted air, smoking, stressful events and unhealthy foods can cause free radicals - many “healthy” activities can also create free radicals. Almost any type of exercise will put stress on our body, and all this stress on our muscles creates free radicals.
Antioxidants to the rescue
So, how do you turn a free radical into a harmless cell? You give the free radical the extra electron it so desperately wants. What substance can supply this extra electron? You guessed it - antioxidants. Antioxidants are any substances that prevent or slow the oxidation process. Remember, free radicals cause oxidation - and antioxidants prevent oxidation. Antioxidants work by donating an electron to a free radical so it becomes a stable oxygen molecule.