Superfoods for Dummies Review
Review of Superfoods for Dummies, Pocket Edition
Superfoods Book for Everybody
I have always had an interest in healthy eating, so I was fascinated when I came across the pocket edition of Superfoods by Dummies. The book is written by Brent Agin, M.D. and Shereen Jegtvig, M.S.
Dr. Agin is a family practice physician, and focuses on diet, nutrition, and wellness medicine. Shereen Jegtvig is a nutrition and health writer. The nice thing about the “for dummies” series of books is that they always give simple, clear instructions for the beginner, and this book is no different.
What Are Superfoods?
So what exactly is a superfood anyway? Although there may not be a universally accepted definition per se, a superfood is generally a food that has a much higher nutrient density and content. Superfoods also tend to improve health and reduce the chances of chronic disease.
Superfoods for Dummies goes through various aspects of these superfoods, and gives a glimpse of some of the foods we increase in our daily diets to support optimal health.
Chapter 1: Appreciating the Ageless Wonders of Superfoods
One potential effect of superfoods is to boost the immune system. Two examples are:
1. Resveratrol: a compound found in red wine, which has antiviral properties.
2. Garlic: works as a “natural antibiotic.” Louis Pasteur found that garlic killed bacteria in the lab.
Certain colorful fruits and vegetables contain flavonoids, which can reduce inflammation in the blood vessels, decrease cholesterol and blood pressure, and stimulate antioxidant activity.
Lose Weight and Protect Against Cancer:
1. Fresh fruits and vegetables are natural weight loss aids.
2. Lycopene, a phytochemical in tomatoes, may reduce the risk of prostate cancer and other cancers, according to the American Cancer Society.
3. Berries contain phytochemicals that trigger antioxidant reactions that neutralize damage to your cells.
4. Broccoli contains a chemical that has been found to slow the progression of hormone-sensitive cancers such as breast and ovarian cancer.
5. Several beans (legumes) are great sources of fiber, which has been associated with a reduced risk of colon cancer.
1. Vitamins A, E, and C help protect the skin. Good food sources include carrots (vitamin A), nuts and seeds (vitamin E), spinach (vitamins A and E), and broccoli, strawberries, and oranges (vitamin C).
2. Zinc and selenium. Zinc, found in pumpkin seeds and other sources, is active in collagen synthesis. Selenium has antioxidant effects that have been shown to reduce the risk of skin cancer. Selenium is found in nuts and fish.
3. Alpha Lipoic Acid (ALA). This is found in broccoli and spinach, and can help fight inflammation.
Pumping Up Your Pep:
1. Goji berries can help boost energy and enhance mood.
2. Chia seeds can be added to protein shakes to provide sustained energy throughout the day.
3. Quinoa is a protein-rich seed that packs a power punch.
Chapter 2: Bringing Superfoods Into Your Life
Start with the basics. Reduce or eliminate these kinds of foods from your daily diet:
1. Extra added sugar, including sucrose and high fructose corn syrup.
2. Saturated and trans fats, found primarily in meat, other animal products, and processed foods.
3. Extra sodium
Replace these foods with the following:
1. Healthy fats, such as omega 3, found in certain fish, flax, chia seeds, and pumpkin seeds.
2. Increase fiber, found in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
3. Healthy sources of protein, such as eggs, certain lean meats and seafood, nuts, and legumes.
Chapter 3: Singling Out Super-Duper Superfoods
This chapter tries to identify certain superfoods that pack an even greater nutritional punch than other superfoods. Here are some that are mentioned:
1. Salmon is found in cold ocean water, and has a high omega 3 content.
2. Popeye is right! Spinach is a leafy green vegetable rich in nutrients, including many important vitamins and minerals.
3. Tomatoes offer vitamins A and C, plus lutein, zeaxanthin, and lycopene.
4. Blueberries have high antioxidant value from anthocyanins found in the dark blue pigment.
5. Strawberries are a good source of vitamin C and are naturally sweet. The phytochemicals in strawberries can work as natural painkillers.
6. Whole grain oatmeal is high in fiber and protein, and may help lower cholesterol.
Chapter 4: Revving Up Your Dishes With Superfoods
1. Olive oil is a main feature of the Mediterranean diet. It contains oleic acid, and omega 9 monounsaturated fat. Virgin and extra virgin olive oils are rich in polyphenols, and help reduce the LDL (bad) cholesterol and raise the HDL (good) cholesterol.
2. Garlic’s distinct flavor and aroma are due to allicin, which is released when the clove is crushed or sliced. Garlic can add intense flavor to your dishes, with health benefits too.
3. Almonds are crunchy and delicious. They also contain polyphenols, vitamin E, magnesium, manganese, and copper. They can help with lowering cholesterol, improving anemia, and protecting the prostate.
4. Discover Mexico’s chia seeds, which contain the two antioxidants chlorogenic acid and caffeic acid, which are also found in coffee beans. Keep the chia seeds out of direct sunlight, and they will keep for 1-2 years.
Superfoods for Dummies, Pocket Edition: My Conclusion
This book gives a nice review of the concept of superfoods, and suggestions of incorporating some of the more commonly available superfoods into the daily diet. I think it is important to realize that superfoods only represent one facet of overall good health. A person who smokes, drinks alcohol excessively, is obese, and is sedentary is not suddenly going to leap into excellent health by adding a few superfoods. As an addition to an overall healthy lifestyle, however, there is definitely a place for these superfoods.
Superfoods for Dummies
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