What are nature’s best kept secrets for a healthy immune system? The secret may be in traditional food-based supplements.

Lots of people look to support their immune system naturally, using high quality nutritional and food-based supplements. Is there a scientific basis for this? What supplements should you be taking?

Omega-3 fatty acids EPA & DHA are essential for human health, and are very often low in modern diets. A 2017 study called “High DHA Fish Oil Linked to Immune Boost in Humans” published in the peer-reviewed Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry found that fish oil rich in these Omega-3s may help to modulate B lymphocytes in the human body.

It is interesting to note that high EPA & DHA cold water fish, and the extracted fish oil, have been relied on in places like Norway as a natural food/wellness provision for generations. This scientific validation of EPA & DHA fish oil is truly an example of science finally catching up to traditional food medicine!

Another study in the British Journal of Nutrition called “Immune Parameters Improved in Response to Fish Oil”  found that fish oil Omega-3 supplementation could improve a number of immune function markers as opposed to strength traninig exercise. It was found that fish oil supplementation could improve markers of both innate (zymosan phagocytosis, lysosomal volume, superoxide anion, peroxide of hydrogen) and acquired immunity (cluster of differentiation 4 (CD4), CD8, TNF-α, interferon-γ (IFN-γ), IL-2, IL-6 and IL-10 produced by lymphocytes). It was found that supplementation with fish oil improved these immune markers in the body, but strength training did not.

Another traditional food medicine is mushrooms/mycelia. You may have eaten Shittake fruiting bodies in your food without realizing you were taking in powerful medicine as well as a yummy food ingredient. The same goes for Maitake, Lion’s Mane and many other traditional food mushrooms/mycelia. Science is also finding that these mushrooms may have much to offer our immune system.

Well-known mycologist and star of the film “Fantastic Fungi” Paul Stamets was one of the most requested guests on the Joe Rogan Experience. Check out the fascinating interview here.

A 2017 meta-analysis published in the International Journal of Medicinal Mushrooms called “Medicinal Mushrooms in Human Clinical Studies. Part I. Anticancer, Oncoimmunological, and Immunomodulatory Activities: A Review” found “Numerous bioactive polysaccharides or polysaccharide-protein complexes from [medicinal mushrooms] seem to enhance innate and cell-mediated immune responses, and they exhibit antitumor activities in animals and humans. While the mechanism of their antitumor actions is still not completely understood, stimulation and modulation of key host immune responses by these mushroom compounds seems to be central. “

What other natural immune-boosting and balancing natural food supplements are there? Well you could peruse some of my previous writings in this blog on Pomegranate , Miso and Moringa. The truth is nature has a cornucopia of health-supporting foods, supporting immune response and the whole body. Start incorporating these foods into your diet, and check out the highest quality possible supplements in their categories and shop in a health food store!

Boneless Broth : Moringa Miso quinoa bowl recipe

This is a super easy recipe and is my go-to trick for preparing Moringa Miso.  I generally cook a fair amount of quinoa and keep it in the fridge.  So the first ingredient in this recipe is 1 cup of COOKED quinoa.  You could easily substitute brown rice if you don’t like quinoa.

The other bit of preparation is the vegetable stock, or you can substitute water.  Again, I keep an extra large mason jar of this pre-made in the fridge.  Vegetable stock is easy.  You just save the water from when you steam veggies, or take your leftover vegetable bits and boil them in some water, strain out the veggie bits, and voila – vegetable stock.  This is a valuable commodity and I’ll go into depth about this at a later juncture.

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1 cup COOKED organic quinoa (I used a mixed variety of red, white, etc.)

3/4 cup vegetable stock or purified water

1 tablespoon Boneless Broth Moringa Miso powder from the Food Movement

Bring the veggie stock, or water, almost to boil (just want to get the liquid good and hot) in a small sauce pan on the stove. Add the cooked quinoa, and remove the heat. After about 2 minutes, add the tablespoon of Moringa Miso powder, transfer to a soup bowl and eat when cool enough.

Possible upgrades:

  • your favorite herbs and spices – I love to add a dash of cumin and coriander, or some fresh cilantro
  • more seaweed – the Boneless Broth contains Dulse already, you’ll see those nutritious flakes in every bite – consider also adding some Nori flakes, or any other seaweed for more minerals and micronutrients
  • hot sauce – I put this in almost everything but Miso, and my cabinet is full of them. The other day just for the heck of it I added to this recipe a local habanero sauce and wooooooooo! I was glad I did.
  • ALSO – the Boneless Broth – Moringa Miso powder is offered for convenience. But some hardcore Miso connoisseurs like to make their own, or even just like to keep the fresh Miso paste in their fridge at all times.  In this case you could use 1 tablespoon of your Miso paste and 1 tablespoon of Moringa powder.  I’ve been meaning to make it that way (what I did before we had the BB product)

Look for more recipes coming up with this unique combination.  We’re also launching a smaller more kitchen-friendly size of Boneless Broth this Fall, so stay tuned for that.  Enjoy!

The Plant-Based Alternative to Bone Broth is…

Dr Axe, noted internet guru recently wrote the following on bone broth, “For thousands of years, there have been traditional foods like fermented vegetables and cultured dairy that have been touted for their health benefits. But one common healing food that is now being recognized — so trendy that it’s a staple of the Paleo diet and even bone broth shops exist now! — for its incredible health benefits is bone broth. Why? Because bone broth benefits are numerous and extensive.”

Dr Axe goes on to talk about the benefits of bone broth to

Treat leaky gut syndrome
Overcome food intolerances and allergies
Improve joint health
Reduce cellulite
Boost immune system

Now, all that may be well and good, but if you are a vegan, or even a pescitarian, boiling bones as part of your nutritional regimen is out of the question. Right? So is there an alternative to bone broth that is plant-based?

Earlier this year the Food Movement Co., long-running vegan functional foods company, came out with a product called Boneless Broth. The first flavor is Moringa Miso, and somewhat coincidentally with our opening quote – it is made from fermented foods and other nutrient-dense plants.  The formula combines fermented organic Soy (Miso), organic Moringa leaves and organic Dulse seaweed.

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So, can this plant-based alternative address some of the problems that folks are using bone broth to try and overcome?  Some of these may be hard to tell (not aware of any clinical research on reducing cellulite with bone broth) but the benefits to the digestive, immune and other body systems from Boneless Broth will come from the nutrients packed into these fermented and raw super foods.

Moringa has been called ‘the Miracle Tree’ and is used for many many health conditions throughout the world, and most importantly as a nutritive super vegetable. Researchers writing in the journal Food Science and Human Wellness observed, “Every part of M. oleifera is a storehouse of important nutrients and antinutrients. The leaves of M. oleifera are rich in minerals like calcium, potassium, zinc, magnesium, iron and copper [2]. Vitamins like beta-carotene of vitamin A, vitamin B such as folic acid, pyridoxine and nicotinic acid, vitamin C, D and E also present in M. oleifera[8]. Phytochemicals such as tannins, sterols, terpenoids, flavonoids, saponins, anthraquinones, alkaloids and reducing sugar present along with anti-cancerous agents like glucosinolates, isothiocyanates, glycoside compounds and glycerol-1-9-octadecanoate.”

With all of the rich nutrition packed into Moringa, it is hardly surprising that it has been researched as a super food (functional food) to help with many different health conditions. I’ve written about Moringa for years in my blog, since the Food Movement starting importing this rare food from around the world.

The next ingredient in Boneless Broth is organic freeze-dried Miso powder. Have you ever eaten in a sushi or traditional Japanese restaurant? Chances are you’ve had Miso soup.  But did you know it has some amazing health benefits as well?

Miso owes it’s highly satisfying savory taste to the interaction between protein phytochemicals called glutamates, and their interaction with various other peptides.  In fermentation the components of the original soy bean are transformed, made digestible, and given that unique “Umami” taste.

Studies indicate that Miso may lower blood pressure through the activation of the body’s dopamine pathways, may help to prevent stroke,  and to even protect against cancer and radiation exposure.

There is a definite connection between Miso’s unique properties, the Umami taste, and the presence of unique glutamates and peptides formed by fermentation.  In addition, the savory flavor may bet activating part of our pallet and our brain that is missing when we concentrate only on salty and sweet foods.

Writing about Miso, the bone broth guru Dr Axe says this “Eating miso in its most powerful, healing form — miso soup — is an easy way to improve digestion. Beneficial probiotics found in miso help combat digestive issues caused by an imbalance in gut bacteria, including constipation, diarrhea, gas, bloating and IBS. Probiotics are even beneficial for people suffering from serious conditions like food allergies, candida viruses, ulcerative colitis and leaky gut syndrome.”

So there you have it from the bone broth guru himself – Miso can help improve digestion.  Now, marketing a dietary supplement, companies can’t legally make claims like this about a product. But a Doctor, writing about whole organic foods as medicine, can feel free to make the above statement whereas a food company could not. Interesting paradox in a way, isn’t it?

It is also important that there are many different compounds in Miso formed by fermentation.  Because of the delicate probiotic nutrient nature of these plant chemicals, we recommend using HOT but not boiling water. (Boneless Broth can also be consumed cold).

Now the final ingredient in Boneless Broth is a seaweed called Dulse and it has a wonderful flavor and is loaded with minerals and even protein.  This seaweed is traditionally paired with Miso, and gives a great taste as well as an important nutritional boost.  How many of your favorite foods can you say that about? (Hopefully – lots!)

The feedback to Boneless Broth as a plant-based alternative to bone broth has been really great so far.  My hope would be that it can be so much more, in that a broad spectrum of nutrients (as presented in Moringa Miso) can provide a broad spectrum of benefit.  Look at Moringa or Miso individually and you will find research on a wide variety of health benefits from liver function, kidney function, digestive function, blood sugar balance and many stops inbetween.  What you start to see is that eating nutritive whole, fermented, raw, functional foods is an excellent strategy to protecting your most important asset – your health.  No bones about it.

 

Introducing Boneless Broth – the plant-based super food instant health drink!

Folks, over at the Food Movement we are ringing in the New Year in a really special way! We are soon unveiling our brand new Boneless Broth product line, with our first recipe – Boneless Broth Moringa Miso.

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‘Lots of us try to add some nutritional benefit to our lives by supplementing with super foods. There are lots of good ones out there; but this new Boneless Broth formula combines three heavy-hitters for a trifecta of souper foods!

Our new formula contains

-freeze-dried organic Red Miso (made from non-GMO soy beans)

-organic Moringa oleifera leaf (known as the ‘Miracle Tree’)

-organic Dulse flakes – a treasure trove of ocean nutrition in the form of a delicious seaweed that has been called “bacon of the sea” for its savory, meaty flavor

What you get is an amazing instant soup mix dietary supplement; that is to say you are getting complete proteins, minerals, antioxidants – and lots of unique constituents like the dipocolonic acid in Miso that makes it a powerful detoxifying food!  This is a daily nutritional supplement made 100% from organic food.

And – get ready for this – it contains no sugar.  It is naturally savory, full of umami flavor – if you will, and deeply satisfying.  It is a great way to start and end your day, and for anywhere inbetween.

Check out our special introductory offer on Boneless Broth Moringa Miso

What makes Miso the ultimate umami souper food?

Miso is the most prevalent form of fermented food in the world, traditionally made from fermented soybeans, aspergillus oryzae culture (koji) and salt.  Other ingredients are frequently incorporated such as grains, sea vegetables, mushrooms and scallions.

Miso is a traditional soup which has been popular in Japan for hundreds of years, and is linked back to origins in China in the 3rd century BCE  and another fermented food called Hishio.

Food Movement Miso

Have you ever eaten in a sushi or traditional Japanese restaurant? Chances are you’ve had Miso soup.  But did you know it has some amazing health benefits as well?

Miso owes it’s highly satisfying savory taste to the interaction between protein phytochemicals called glutamates, and their interaction with various other peptides.  In fermentation the components of the original soy bean are transformed, made digestible, and given that unique “Umami” taste.

Studies indicate that Miso may lower blood pressure through the activation of the body’s dopamine pathways, may help to prevent stroke,  and to even protect against cancer and radiation exposure.

There is a definite connection between Miso’s unique properties, the Umami taste, and the presence of unique glutamates and peptides formed by fermentation.  In addition, the savory flavor may bet activating part of our pallet and our brain that is missing when we concentrate only on salty and sweet foods.

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うま味 Umami : the Fifth Taste of Super Foods

Umami, known as the fifth taste, is a Japanese word うま味 meaning “pleasant savory taste.” Are you falling into the American taste trap of too much salty, too much sweet and not enough of anything else? Well, don’t fast forward by bitter or pungent, either… but you really will benefit from exploring the savory protein flavor known as Umami.

boneless broth mushroom bowl

In 1908 Japanese scientist Kikunae Ikeda coined the term for his discoveries around the taste by combining the words for Umai うまい meaning delicious and mi 味 meaning taste. In 1985 Umami was recognized as the scientific term for the taste of amino acid compounds called glutamates, and nucleotides.

We now know through the work of scientists studying Umami that this taste has its own unique receptors in the human palette.  Before this discovery in the early 21st century it was largely considered to be an enhancement to other flavors or tastes. Certain amino acids, such as glutamate, react with certain nucleotides to greatly intensify the perception of this taste. Research indicates that when the Umami taste is already exhibited in glutamate rich foods, the nucleotide inosinate can increase the Umami by a factor of 8.

An article in Popular Science observes, “All those strong-flavored, highly concentrated foods, like anchovies, prosciutto, Parmesan, sun-dried tomatoes, olives, fish sauce, Marmite, blue cheese, miso: those are the ones that are packed with available glutamate.”

I have long been a fan of vegetable broths and soup stocks as a way to get lots of nutrition (and healing comfort) into the body in a tasty way.  One of the most savory broths is Miso, a traditional Japanese fermentation generally made from soybeans and aspergillus oryzae (Koji) and some times other ingredients such as seaweed, barley, or rice.  Miso is also one of the most Umami foods, and correspondingly – one of the richest dietary sources of Glutamate.

Glutamate is a neurotransmitter which is one of the most abundant molecules, and most common excitatory neurotransmitters, in the brain.  It is also a precursor to the inhibitory neurotransmitter amino acid GABA, which is often found to one of the greatest factors in relaxation and mental focus.  The metabolism of glutamate is critical to both excitatory and inhibitory neurotransmitters.

Glutamate is also used by the body to help excrete excess nitrogen, and to produce energy as part of the citric acid cycle, being involved in the metabolism of pyruvate and alpha-ket o glutamic acid.  This process is an intrinsic part of the creation of energy at a cellular level.

The taste of Umami, whether from a rich seaweed miso broth, from fermented fish, or from mushrooms, can be correlated with not just delicious taste; but potentially also great health benefits.  A small number of individuals may have an allergic reaction to glutamate rich foods, and to glutamate rich food additives such as MSG (mono-s odium glutamate) which is sometimes added to foods as an intense flavor enhancer. For the majority of us, glutamate rich foods can be an important way to get our savory souper foods!