Botanical Nutrition

by Rob Seeman official blogger of the health food movement


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Discover Amazing Plant-Based Pre-Workout Mix!

maca-root-powder-extract.jpgI’ve been trying an experimental new protocol (at a number of top secret research facilities) and I’m finally able to share some of the results with the world.

That’s right : it is coming soon; our Maca rainbow whole food pre-workout.  While these are not published clinical trials – the gold standard of food supplements – you can bet that everyone involved has been impressed with the results!

One of the secrets; at least the only one I can divulge at this time – is a TRIFECTA of Maca rainbow energy. Yes, that’s right folks we’re combining Red Maca , Black AND Yellow Maca (organically grown in the Andes mountains in their raw state) to find out – the amount of whole food synergy is this combination is astounding.

More on this, and the other important whole food ingredients in this formula, to come.

 


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The Movement Awakens

I haven’t written much here lately, as it has proved to be a busier year than I could have previously imagined.  The Central Midwest (and indeed the entire US!) is seeing some tremendous growth in natural markets and we’re all thankful for this continued progress in bringing people healthy and organic food and supplements.WEMLacuma

Lucuma by Marika Malkerson for the food movement co. 2015

The Food Movement has seen some tremendous growth this year, but I mostly wanted to give a shoutout to artist Marika Malkerson who has done lots of fantastic botanical artwork for us.  The image of super fruit Lucuma is just one example of her tremendous contribution and her husband is an amazing emcee as well!  You can expect to see this on THM’s Hempfit Vanilla Lucuma protein coming very soon.

I have a huge backlog of research to write about, and I’m promising myself to delve into that in 2016.  Until then – eat better, feel better and leave the world a better place than you found it.  Happy Holidays to all – regardless of your faith (or lack thereof).  We all have much to be grateful for.

 


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Polyphenol-rich whole food supplement and Prostate Cancer : a double-blind placebo-controlled study

This scientific study comes to us from the journal Prostate Cancer and Prostatic Disease, and it is an amazing validation of the ‘whole food’ approach to healing.  To cut to the chase; this supplement consisted of equal parts (of 100 mg each per dosage) of Broccoli, Pomegranate, Turmeric and Green Tea taken 2x per day. To make it even more inspiring they didn’t use standardized Curcumin they used whole Turmeric (Curcuma longa) root as any self-respecting Hindu chef or Western herbalist would do.

ProstateCancerInfographic

The average age of the men in this study was 74, and the researchers concluded “This study found a significant short-term, favourable effect on the percentage rise in PSA in men managed with AS and WW following ingestion of this well-tolerated, specific blend of concentrated foods. Its influence on decision-making suggests that this intervention is clinically meaningful, but further trials will evaluate longer term clinical effects, and other makers of disease progression.”

In the meantime, as has been said so many times before, what in the world do you have to lose by including these amazingly healthful foods in your daily diet? Why would anyone over the age of 30 NOT be eating Broccoli, Turmeric, Pomegranates and drinking Green Tea (not to mention a long list of other health foods you can find easily sprinkled around this very blog).  If you think they haven’t been proven as effective preventive measures then you just haven’t been reading the right stuff on the internet. Try going here instead.


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New research shows Maca root contains compounds which stimulate the body’s own cannabinoid system

Talk about being on the cutting edge of science here, folks.  Now more than ever, scientists are furiously researching the activity of our body’s own endocannabinoid system (ECS) as a major factor in some very important areas of brain and Central Nervous System functioning.  Now, research by Z Hadju et al published just yesterday shows that Maca root aka Lepidium meyenii or Lepidium peruvianum (yes that amazing Peruvian super food you may have heard me talk about just a little bit) contains compounds which may have important effects on various protein targets in the ECS system.  These compounds, called N-alkylamides (NAAs), have an effect that is described as cannabomimetic.

redmaca

This is fascinating not just because it gives one more exciting insight (from a thoroughly reductionist standpoint, mind you) of how dynamic plants are.  It is especially timely because it parallels a re-visitation our society and our scientists are having with cannabinoids.  New pharmaceuticals, dietary supplements and brain therapies are being developed around these stunning new developments and the potential for tapping into our body’s own regulation mechanisms.  Which is, clearly, what plant medicines do best because of their own internal regulatory mechanisms and unique things like secondary metabolites.

In an article in the NY TImes, celebrity food author and philosopher Michael Pollan talks about the cannabanoid network “A brain chemical that sharpens the senses, narrows your mental focus, allows you to forget everything extraneous to the task at hand (including physical discomfort and the passage of time) and makes you hungry would seem to be the perfect pharmacological tool for Man…” While this is extremely relevant to research on compounds such as CBD extracted from industrial hemp (and therefore legal in all 50 states) it may apply to many botanicals in different ways, as well as to our body’s own intrinsic production of compounds such as anandamide (named for the Vedic word ananda, meaning bliss).

 


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White Mulberies : an impressive nutrient-dense super food

If you haven’t yet heard of White Mulberries, botanical name Morus alba, you probably will.  They have recently been getting a lot of attention including an over-the-top proclamation from Dr Oz that these berries will “change peoples’ lives.” !!

You will be happy to know, that there is indeed some science behind these amazing claims. (People, at least here in Chicago, LOVE Dr Oz, and that gives him a lot to live up to, right?)  I decided to delve into the science on White Mulberries to examine what some of the well-documented benefits are.

whitemulberries

First, lets look at some of the research that has been done on the potential health benefits of the White Mulberries, the actual fruiting berries. (There is other research done on the leaves for some of the same benefits.) If you want to see an abstract of these studies visit http://www.pubmed.gov and search for the PMID listed.  These are just a  few of the most interesting studies done on Whilte Mulberries

  1. The juice of the Mulberry fruit may be useful in the prevention of foodborne viral infection.PMID:24350883
  2. Pyrrole alkaloids from the fruit have been shown to activate macrophages, an important part of the immune system.PMID:23164765
  3. Researchers identified a number of antioxidant stilbene compounds in White Mulberries, including resveratrol, oxyresveratrol, and mulberroside A. PMID:24023529
  4. Researchers have also examined the antidabetic and antioxidant effects of a number of phenolic phytochemicals PMID:23936259
  5. Another study indicated that the anthocyanins from White Mulberries fruit prevented diabetes in Zucker diabetic fatty rats. PMID:24137248

In just this handful of studies, you can start to see that these little berries have an amazing amount of antioxidant and health-giving potential. They appear to be able to active macrophage immune cells and may have anti-aging and cell-protective abilities. To add to the total package, the dried berries taste delicious!  They can really satisfy the sweet tooth of even the most jaded junk food junkie.

(DISCLAIMER : This writer does not condone animal testing.  In doing research, we are forced to consider the results of animal testing because it is still valid and relevant.  However, many of these same studies could be done in human volunteers or using in vivo modeling if the scientific system at present wasn’t dead set on continuing to use animal-testing as a mainstay of research.  I believe in my heart of hearts that one day we will progress beyond this methodology.)


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Dr Oz Defends Monsanto

dr-oz

If you work in the natural products industry, you may have mixed feelings about TV personality Dr Oz.  I personally am thankful for the attention he has brought to nutritional supplements, but I often find myself forced to take issue with his seemingly infinite wisdom. (One 400 mg capsule of Moringa? Would you eat 400 mg of Spinach? But, I digress…)

The latest from Dr Oz may truly shock you and make the late Rachel Carson roll over in her grave.  While seemingly all of the civilized world has come out against GMOs (and Monsanto in particular), Dr Oz has chosen to speak out in favor of genetically-modified organisms, saying they are the same as Organic.  See his comments here.

gmo protest chicago

Meanwhile the nation of Peru has recently passed a 10 year ban on GMOs. For further reference, here is a list of countries that have banned GMOs unlike the United States which has inexplicably sided with the interests of big business rather than the interests of the general health of the American people.

In fact, the lack of required GMO labeling in the US lends a lot of credibility to the Organic movement.  At least someone is required to demonstrate that their food has not been genetically-modified, if only the growers and processors of Organic food.

I will say this; while I respect the right of others to disagree or to believe that genetic modifications to food are not harmful, I hope that Dr Oz will be taken to task for his broad statements in favor of GMOs.  One of the largest arguments against GMOs is that there is VERY LITTLE research into what their actual effects on the human body are.

For 8 other reasons to avoid GMOs catch the foodie buzz at Organic Authority.


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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!