This spring, try eating more sunny orange foods to brighten up your health with powerful antioxidants that combat free radicals and fight disease. The pigments that give orange foods their coloring are from a class of phytochemicals that can give your health a longevity boost!
This lively color enhances not only your health, but also your mood. Ancient Chinese and Egyptian cultures used chromotherapy as a healing modality for various ailments. Orange was used to strengthen the lungs and increase energy levels. In addition to boosting your mood, orange-colored foods are full of vital nutrients that can combat disease.
Get a boost with beta-carotene
Bugs Bunny likes more than just the crunch of his carrots! One of 500 carotenoids, the plant-based beta-carotene not only improves our eyesight, it can delay the onset of aging and protect our skin from the sun’s damaging rays. Beta-carotene is a precursor to vitamin A, which forms and maintains healthy skin, teeth, and skeletal tissue. While vitamin A comes from animal sources such as eggs, meat, liver, dairy foods, and fish, beta-carotene sources are derived from plants.
Bite into Beta: The following list includes foods containing the highest amounts of this super antioxidant: carrots, pumpkins, sweet potatoes, collard greens, and spinach.
Word to the Wise: It is best to get your daily dose of beta-carotene from food, as supplementation may be difficult to assimilate into your body and may even increase your risk for certain diseases.
Peel away disease with PMF’s
You may want to think twice before tossing that orange peel! Despite its bitter taste, the dimpled skin actually contains a host of powerful compounds. Orange peel has been used in Chinese medicine for its digestive and cardiovascular benefits. Studies show that the citrus polymethoxylated flavones (PMF’s) improve LDL cholesterol, while reducing triglycerides.
Try a squeeze of limonin
In addition to vitamin C and PMF’s, citrus foods are bursting with even more nutritional bonuses! A bioactive compound called limonoid has been shown to protect against cancer and cardiovascular diseases. A study in the Journal of Agriculture and Food Studies demonstrated that the chemical structure of citrus flavanoids were linked to strong antioxidant activity.
Tasty Tip: The next time you mix fresh lemon juice and olive oil for your salad dressing, add some lemon or orange zest to the mix for an added antioxidant boost!
Enjoy the orange spice of life!
If you are a fan of curry, you will be happy to know that it contains a powerful disease-fighting compound called turmeric, a spice from the ginger family. Long known for its anti-inflammatory properties, turmeric has been used in Asia for thousands of years. The active compound responsible for its medicinal properties and wide array of health benefits is curcumin. Current research shows turmeric has anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties, and it may have possible benefits for Alzheimer’s, cancer, and arthritis. Also called “Indian Saffron,” turmeric imparts a yellow-orange coloring to yogurts, cheeses, salad dressings, and butter. Just two teaspoons contain almost 20 percent of your daily value of iron and manganese, while being a good source of vitamin B6. To liven up both your taste buds and plate, sprinkle some turmeric on your favorite grain or egg dish for bold flavor and a punch of color!
Food for Thought: Pregnant women and individuals with gallstones and gastrointestinal disorders should use caution before taking turmeric. Also, because turmeric is a natural blood-thinner, individuals about to undergo surgery and those taking blood thinners should take extra precaution.
Bonus tip: Special combinations of spices and herbs can protect your health and increase physical vitality. The 5 Elements of Health promotes a strong immune function and balances the energies of your whole body.
May you live long, live strong, and live happy!
Dr. Mao Shing Ni, best known as Dr. Mao is a bestselling author, doctor of Oriental Medicine and board certified anti-aging expert. He has appeared regularly on “Dr. Oz,” “The Doctors,” and “EXTRA.” Dr. Mao practices acupuncture, nutrition, and Chinese medicine with his associates at the Tao of Wellness in Santa Monica and Newport Beach. Dr. Mao and his brother, Dr. Daoshing Ni founded Tao of Wellness more than 25 years ago in addition to also founding Yo San University in Marina del Rey. To subscribe to his tip-filled newsletter please visit www.taoofwellness.com. To make an appointment for evaluation and treatment please call 310.917.2200 or you can email Dr. Mao at [email protected]