Dr Joseph Mercola

Many antioxidants – even some of the more potent ones – are unable to cross both your blood-brain and blood-retinal barriers to reach your brain, nervous system, and eyes. However, a breakthrough study reveals astaxanthin’s astonishingly rare ability to do just that.

With each passing year, it becomes increasingly important to protect your vital organs, especially your brain. What from? Free radicals and other substances that can cause oxidative damage, inflammation, and faster agEing.

The best way to get this protection is from antioxidant nutrients in healthy foods, whenever possible. However, to be effective, the nutrients must be able to cross through what are known as your blood-brain and blood-retinal barriers.

Your blood-brain barrier, or the tight junction of endothelial cells inside your brain’s capillaries, separates your brain’s blood vessels from your brain tissue. It allows oxygen and glucose to cross for proper functioning, but restricts other molecules to protect your brain cells.

Similarly, your blood-retinal barrier protects the tissue of your eye’s retina.

These important barriers defend your brain, central nervous system, and eyes against unwanted substances, like toxins and pathogens that may be in your blood. They also help maintain constant levels of nutrients, hormones and water.

However, only certain nutrients can pass through your blood-brain and blood-retinal barriers. Many important antioxidants that provide protection against free radicals and other damaging oxygen molecules can’t slip through easily.

Right before the turn of the twenty-first century, a researcher at Johns Hopkins University confirmed an important trait of what may be the most significant antioxidant ever discovered – astaxanthin.

Astaxanthin was indeed able to cross both the blood-brain and blood-retinal barriers to enter the brain and eye tissue – a rare ability for any antioxidant.

According to the 2013 U.S. State Indicator Report on Fruits and Vegetables, American consumption of vegetables and fruits is actually decreasing. The results from this most recent survey reveal…

• THE MEDIAN INTAKE FOR AMERICAN ADULTS OF FRUIT IS 1.1 TIMES A DAY AND FOR VEGETABLES, ONLY 1.6 TIMES DAILY.

• FOR AMERICAN ADOLESCENTS, THE MEDIAN INTAKE OF FRUITS IS 1.0 TIMES A DAY AND FOR VEGETABLES, ONLY 1.3 TIMES PER DAY.

• 37.7% OF ADULTS, AND 36% OF ADOLESCENTS REPORT CONSUMING FRUIT LESS THAN ONE TIME DAILY.

• 22.6% OF ADULTS, AND 37.7% OF ADOLESCENTS REPORT EATING VEGETABLE LESS THAN ONE TIME DAILY

I find these statistics alarming.

Even the U.S. Department of Agriculture urges everyone to fill half of every plate at meal times with fruit and vegetables.

There are many reasons why people don’t eat the recommended number of servings each day. And as you’ll soon see, just about all of these reasons can be easily overcome…

Fresh Organic Vegetables and Fruits – Are You Getting Enough?

Do you regularly consume five or more servings of vegetables and fruits each day?

Two of the most common reasons I hear for eating so few organic vegetables are availability and cost.

Aside from growing your own vegetables, I consider farmer’s markets to be the absolute best source for obtaining fresh, local, organic vegetables.

Shopping at farmer’s markets is a win-win. You support small, local organic farmers who may be struggling to survive in the world of big, commercial food production.

In return, you get direct access to many varieties of in-season vegetables and fruit that is often grown organically and without pesticides and herbicides (but please confirm with the farmers from whom you purchase).

5 Simple Ways to Fit More Vegetables Into Your Day

Here are some tips to help make eating vegetables – preferably raw – an easier and tastier part of your life:

1. Make them easy and quick to grab for snacks. Wash carefully to help remove dirt and any contaminants. Cut larger vegetables into ready-to-go, bite-size pieces. Store in your refrigerator in an airtight container.

2. Make vegetables the focal part of your meal. Rather than building your meal around meat or other protein foods, start with generous servings of leafy green and cruciferous vegetables. Fill at least half of your plate, and remember, potatoes don’t count!

3. Experiment with new recipes for raw vegetable salads and stir-fry. Use your imagination and try new combinations or look up recipes online. An abundance of tested and reviewed recipes await you! Mashed ripe avocado makes a tasty and healthy dip for cut up raw vegetables.

4. Make it a goal to try at least one new vegetable a week, and find creative ways to add it into your regular diet. See something you don’t recognise at your local farmer’s market? Just ask. Growers are delighted to share preparation tips and may even provide a sample. As a general rule, the more colourful the vegetable, the higher the levels of antioxidants.

5. Sign up for a vegetable cooking or raw food preparation course. Many natural food grocery stores and co-ops offer free or low-cost cooking and raw food preparation courses. You’ll return home with recipes and renewed enthusiasm. Or, look for classes and ‘how-to’ articles online.

And here’s another way to load up on healthy vegetables…

Juicing: The Ultimate Way to Get Healthy Green Foods

Juicing is an excellent way to get multiple servings of greens.

One of the simplest – and increasingly popular – ways to pack multiple servings of healthy raw vegetables into your daily eating is to juice.

With freshly made juice, you increase your absorption of available nutrients (with the exception of fibre). Plus you can consume vegetables and green foods that you might not normally eat at meals.

One of our favourite juicing recipes combines fresh organic celery, collard greens, kale, fennel, cucumbers, limes, and frozen unsweetened cranberries.

Other suggested vegetables for juicing include the ‘green’ grasses, green cabbage, parsley, and spinach.

The Little-Known ‘Green Superfood’ Benefit

Soda drinks can upset your body’s fragile pH balance, but before I share with you this little-known “green food” benefit, take just a minute and answer the following questions

1. Do you drink any type of soda or carbonated water?

2. Do you eat a high-protein diet?

3. Do you eat a moderate amount of dairy foods, breads and grains?

4. Do you eat processed or artificially sweetened foods and beverages?

5. Do you use products containing soy and whey isolated proteins?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, you might be surprised to hear that eating green leafy foods might offer you some additional health benefits.

Whenever your body digests food, it becomes either acid-forming or alkaline-forming and affects your body’s acid-base balance. Your body’s acid-base (or pH) balance is very delicate and must remain within a narrow range for optimal health.

The typical diet tends to be much more acid-forming with its large amounts of commercially produced meats, eggs and dairy, processed foods, breads, cereals, sweetened foods and beverages, and soft drinks. Artificial sweeteners, breads, and cereals are extremely acid forming, and all of these acid foods can affect your body’s ability to maintain your pH within its optimal range.

Some nutritional experts recommend consuming at least 60 percent of your diet as alkaline foods, and the remaining 40 percent as acid foods.

Green superfoods can help provide balance if you are consuming a lot of acidic foods. A few of the top alkaline-forming foods include vegetables such as alfalfa, barley, wheat grasses, beets, broccoli, cabbage, kale, and spinach.

As for beverages, green tea is alkaline-forming, while, coffee, alcohol, black tea, and any type of soda are acid-forming.

Beyond Leafy Green Vegetables – The Power of ‘Green’ Superfoods

Leafy green foods are one key to promoting an optimal pH balance for your body.*

There’s a type of green food – cereal grasses – that you may be less familiar with than other greens like broccoli and spinach. But what grasses offer nutritionally is extraordinary.

Cereal grasses are the young grass stage of wheat, barley, alfalfa, and oat plants.

Cereal grasses have a long history of use. Use of barley dates back to 7000 B.C., and ancient Asian and Middle Eastern cultures reportedly used young wheat and barley grasses in their everyday diets. Even gladiators were said to eat barley for strength and stamina.

Starting in 1925, and for the next 30 years, scientists began taking a closer look at U.S.-harvested cereal grasses in their dehydrated, whole food form. The many nutritional benefits that emerged from these extensive studies were credited to the grasses’ supply of chlorophyll and vitamins. The most important nutrients in cereal grasses were found to be:

• PHYTOPIGMENTS SUCH AS CHLOROPHYLL, PHYCOCYANIN, AND CAROTENOIDS

• THE PLANT STEROL ESTER, BETA-SITOSTEROL

• ANTIOXIDANTS SUCH AS SUPEROXIDE DISMUTASE AND BETA-CAROTENE

• VITAMINS B1, B2, B6, B12, PANTOTHENIC ACID, AND FOLIC ACID

• POTASSIUM, CALCIUM, IRON, PHOSPHORUS, AND MAGNESIUM

In my opinion, organic greens such as young wheat, barley, oat, and alfalfa grasses offer an outstanding source of nutrients that you might not normally get in your everyday diet.

*For further information and references, please visit the below website and we would also suggest you conduct your own research.

www.wakeup-world.com