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.

Moringa drawing.jpg

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!

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.

boneless broth 2

‘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

Moringa : Super Foods Best Kept Secret

Have you heard of Moringa, known as ‘the Miracle Tree’? If not, you’re not alone – but this may be a super food you really want to look into.  Known as the “miracle tree”, it may be one of the best kept secrets in health food in the US – but its impact has been felt all around the world.

Moringa

The plant, latin binomial Moringa oleifera, is native to India, and is now grown on many continents.

The Food Movement began importing Moringa in 2011, and since that time demand and presence in the US natural marketplace has steadily grown.  One of the reasons for this is that of all the ‘green foods’ one can choose as a supplement – Moringa has some really unique phytochemical benefits beyond the usual suspects of chlorophyll and vitamins.  The leaves provide a source of complete protein, and are an unusually rich source of nutrition.

A 2017 review in the Asian Pacific Journal of Tropical Medicine concluded ” ..due to its high nutritional value and several medicinal properties, this tree may act as a nutritional and medical alternative for socially neglected populations.”

moringa facts

Another review in the journal Phytotherapy Research found that “A rapidly growing number of published studies have shown that aqueous, hydroalcohol, or alcohol extracts of M. oleifera leaves possess a wide range of additional biological activities including antioxidant, tissue protective (liver, kidneys, heart, testes, and lungs), analgesic, antiulcer, antihypertensive, radioprotective, and immunomodulatory actions. A wide variety of polyphenols and phenolic acids as well as flavonoids, glucosinolates, and possibly alkaloids is believed to be responsible for the observed effects. ”

Due to these unique properties it has been labeled “the miracle tree” and groups like Trees for Life have planted millions of the plant across starvation-ravaged African nations.  In addition to providing nutrition and medicine from the leaves and pods, the seeds of the Moringa tree can also be used to purify brackish water and are recommended for such purposes by the World Health Organization.

The Food Movement has sought to combine these benefits – the unique health-giving properties of the tree – along with the beneficial social and environmental impact; by selling organic Moringa in the US to raise money for groups like Trees for Life.  Whether your interest is in Moringa’s ability to combat hunger and lack of clean drinking water on a global scale; or if you’re just looking for health benefits for yourself – Moringa can be a true miracle.

 

Study shows Moringa, Soy & Mushroom soup powder higher in nutrients than other soup powders

The journal Food Science & Nutrition recently published interesting study from India, as it shows the practical applications of three ‘super foods’ as a whole food soup mix.  Cooked Moringa & Soy were combined with a few other ingredients (corn starch, salt and preservative).  The study, entitled Formulation and nutritional evaluation of a healthy vegetable soup powder supplemented with soy flour, mushroom, and moringa leaf, is linked here.

Moringa The Food Movement

Compared to other soup powders, this combination of super foods (they used the highly beneficial Oyster mushrooms) was found to have thee “Highest content of vitamin D, minerals, protein, and fiber” as well as Vitamin C.

study.jpg

 

Moringa : Whole Leaf Super Food Nutrition

Moringa oleifera is  a tree native to the southern foothills of the Himalayas in northwestern India and widely cultivated in Africa, Central and South America, Sri Lanka, India, Mexico, Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines.

Moringa The Food Movement

I’ve been really interested in Moringa for a number of years. It has quite a reputation internationally as one of the world’s most nutritious foods. As an herbalist, I’ve been intrigued by the possibilities of a food that offers so much benefit to anyone ingesting it, and also hope to those looking for dynamic botanical solutions to the problems of world hunger.  There are so many aspects of Moringa oleifera to consider.  For now, we are looking primarily at the leaf as a dynamic source of nutrition, though the ‘drumstick’ fruit pods are  very commonly eaten as well.  The roots and the seeds, when harvested, provide other diverse benefits.

This is an extremely important plant! It is a complete protein, contains a good deal of nutrients including calcium, iron, magnesium, is a complete protein source and contains many different vitamins and unique phytochemicals.  It would be ridiculous to ‘standardize’ or extract this plant, it is a leaf vegetable used across the world for many years.

Yet it has been virtually absent from the U.S. market. Unfortunately what little I myself have found on the market has been of very low quality.  As I’ve worked with the Food Movement to find a premium raw  material internationally (which we have finally secured – more on that to come) I have come to appreciate why it is so easy to get it wrong with Moringa.

(The Food Movement biodynamic freeze-dried Moringa whole leaf powder will be available here in September.)

Initially, suppliers of Ayurvedic herbs would offer Moringa leaf powder at a surprisingly low price.  Then, we found that some suppliers would only offer it as an extract, because the fresh raw material was often easily contaminated with potentially harmful microbes.  I myself believe that the only preparation one should consider is the whole leaf.  It is, after all, a food.

There is definite misinformation out there causing some to consider something other than whole leaf Moringa.  Just look to the wiki page on Moringa oleifera and you find this nugget of (mis)information

“Some of the calcium in moringa leaves is bound as crystals of calcium oxalate[14] which may inhibit calcium availability to the body. It is not clear whether the calculation of the reported amount of calcium in moringa leaves includes such non-bioavailable calcium.”

However, the reference they provide only documents that Moringa contains calcium oxalate (which it does, and many plant sources of calcium do) not that calcium oxalate is a non-bioavailable calcium. A study published in 1999 in The Journal of Nutrition found that calcium oxalate indeed was a bioavailable form of calcium. The researchers concluded “Thus, calcium bound as a small, neutral, calcium salt such as calcium oxalate does not have to be dissociated prior to absorption. Possibly other small compounds would be similarly absorbed. These results alter our current understanding of calcium bioavailability from foods and therapeutic agents.”

Anybody good at doing wikipedia edits?  I believe many people who have a negative opinion of calcium in plants as “non-bioavailable” would benefit from seeing this study.

Oh, and if the waters weren’t all ready murky enough for you… now Dr Oz has entered the arena…

Stay tuned to this bat channel for more examinations of the many healing aspects of Moringa to come.  Harvest time is now!