The recent article published on CNBC: Warren Buffett wants young people to know: Ignoring this is like ‘leaving a car out in hailstorms’.
Before we kick start to discuss about health revolution, what is more important is the discussion from recent Warren Buffett’s thought about the health of our young generation should adopt. He reminded all the young people today to take good care of their mind and body. Simple isn’t it? Is it really that simple?
From the article, Warren Buffett provide a superior analogy. Supposedly today, you are offered by him to buy a car of your dream which will be waiting for you at home. Yes, any car, regardless of prices and sizes, you can pick any car. However, this condition comes with a simple rule: “This will be the ONLY car you are ever going to get in your entire life.
Knowing that, what will be your mentality towards handling this dreamed car? If you are going to put ultimate care to your given dreamed car with attention and focus on this car’s conditions. Maybe you will want to put the car in your garage for those simple errands within short distances, changing the engine oil more often than the instructed frequency within the manual, or if there is a spot of rust, you are getting it fixed immediately.
What about your body? Shouldn’t we adopt a similar mentality of taking care of the dreamed car? “You have only one mind and body for the rest of your life”. If you are leaving it to rust and weather along the way, do you think your mind and body are able to carry out your aspirations and wishes in the later part of your life?
THE ANTIOXIDANTS REVOLUTION
A glass of orange juice, a side of steamed broccoli, corn on the cob. These are simple pleasures that you might enjoy now and then without even realizing that, together with other common foods and drinks, they are rich in antioxidants, which are critical disease fighters.
Back in the 1990s, supplements packed with these vitamins, minerals and other natural compounds were promoted as medical wonders. Many books, including bestsellers such as The Antioxidant Revolution and The Antioxidant Miracle, insisted that antioxidant supplements could dramatically slash the risk of heart attacks and cancer and even slow the ageing process.
However, today, mounting research suggests that the preventive and healing powers of antioxidants may extend beyond heart disease and cancer to include a wide range of chronic, painful and potentially devastating conditions. For example, doctors once believed that daily wear and tear on the joints caused osteoarthritis, the most common type of this degenerative condition. However, recent studies show that damage by free radicals – the destructive molecules that antioxidants fight against – may speed up the onset of osteoarthritis by attacking the cells form cartilage. Studies also show that certain cataracts and macular degeneration.
The most significant change since the first “antioxidant revolution” – apart from our knowledge that antioxidants are even more important that we thought – is that high-dose antioxidant supplements are not the simple answer to improving health and cutting disease risk. The real answer is food – the kinds of food we eat and how much of them we eat.
ANTIOXIDANTS WORK BEST TOGETHER
Many studies reiterate the fact that people who eat a diet containing plenty of antioxidant-rich foods seem to lower their risk of heart attack, cancer and various other chronic diseases. This promising research led scientists to wonder whether high doses of these same antioxidants – extracted from food and packed into pills – would provide even greater disease protection.
Studies evaluating the benefit of antioxidant supplements have had mixed results. Take vitamin E, for example. Past research showed that people who consumed a lot of it from antioxidant-rich food had 30 to 40 per cent fewer heart attacks than others whose diets included little. Yet several teams of scientists have compared large groups of people who took vitamin E supplements with others who took placebos. Most of these studies have found that people in both groups had the same risk of cardiovascular disease, raising doubts about the protective benefits of vitamin E.
There are several possible explanations for these disappointing results. For example, in some studies, people at risk for heart disease may have started taking the antioxidant supplements too late for them to do much good. However, mounting research suggests that antioxidants simply work better as a team. That is, individual antioxidants such as vitamin E may be more potent when you take them with other antioxidants – the way they occur naturally in food.
According to Dr.Jeffery Blumberg, the chief of antioxidant research at Tufts University in the US, all antioxidants found in foods interact in a very dynamic interrelationship, and it may be that, for optimal health, we need to eat antioxidant-rich foods that contain these complex mixtures of compounds. His research shows, for example, that vitamin E’s antioxidant power increases up to 300 per cent when the vitamin is combined in a test tube with certain flavonoids found in almonds.
That does not mean that Dr. Blumberg and other scientists have given up on vitamin supplements or any other antioxidant supplements. Many research studies are still investigating the possibilities of such therapies. But the most powerful evidence available to us today suggests that eating foods rich in antioxidants is the best way to defend yourself against diseases that are caused or worsened by the daily assault of free radicals.
For instance, drinking a glass of orange juice at least 3 times a week may help reduce the risk of dementia by up to 76 per cent, thanks to its high content of antioxidants called polyphenols, according to study by US researchers. Meanwhile, a study in the Archives of Ophthalmology found that women who eat a diet that includes plenty of corn, pumpkin and other yellow vegetables – which are full of antioxidants called carotenoids that protect the eyes from free radicals – halved their risk of macular degeneration, which can cause blindness. In addition, an Italian study recently found that a small daily dose of antioxidants from a surprising source – dark chocolate (not milk chocolate) – lowered blood pressure better than most standard medications. How sweet is that?
FREE RADICALS – THE NECESSARY EVIL
Here is news that may leave you holding your breath: oxygen is toxic. You cannot live without it, of course, since every cell in your body requires oxygen to spark metabolism or the production of energy. However, 1 to 3 per cent of the oxygen you absorb never gets burned for energy. Instead, it reacts with naturally occurring metal compounds in your body to produce renegade molecules called free radicals.
There are many different types of free radicals, but they all share one thing: unlike normal molecules, they are missing a pair of electrons. This defect makes them dangerous since they will attack anything in their path in order to replace their missing parts. Free radicals are not entirely bad, though. In fact, your immune system produces them as part of your body’s overall defence mechanism, since free radicals kill bacteria and defuse viruses. However, in their quest for electrons, free radicals may also destroy healthy molecules, including proteins in cell membranes, fats and DNA.
In addition to the free radicals your body makes on purpose, exposure to certain triggers in the environment, including sunlight, air pollution, tobacco smoke and radiation (from microwave ovens or computers, for example), can produce these unstable molecules. It is also clear that the hormones flooding your body when you feel emotionally stressed or in a state of high tension produce free radicals.
Your body tries to keep these troublesome oxygen-borne molecules under control, but when levels rise too high, you experience a condition scientists call oxidative stress. Everyone undergoes at least a little oxidative stress now and then, but living in a chronic state of overwhelming oxidative stress seems to contribute to a long list of diseases.
ANTIOXIDANTS TO THE RESCUE
If free radicals are reckless marauders that disturb the peace in your body, antioxidants are the riot police. These various vitamins, minerals and other natural compounds generally tame the chaos with generosity instead of brute force. An antioxidant neutralizes a free radical by first surrounding it, then giving it a pair of its own electrons, which effectively ends the destructive behaviour. This gesture turns the antioxidant itself into a free radical since it is now missing a pair of electrons, but the new molecule is toothless and does no harm.
As we mentioned earlier, your body produces its own line-up of antioxidants. Many have names that sound as if they came straight out of a science fiction novel, such as superoxide dismutase and coenzyme Q10. These homegrown antioxidants are a talented lot; one, called lipoic acid, is particularly versatile, capable of recycling used-up antioxidants and thus restoring their effectiveness. However, your body makes only a portion of the antioxidant force needed to keep free radicals from taking over. What’s more, your naturally occurring levels of antioxidants decline with age. That is why it is critical to get reinforcements from antioxidant-rich foods and, in some cases, dietary supplements. Many dietary antioxidants have been studied thoroughly and have familiar names, such as vitamin C. Others belong to an emerging class of compounds that scientists are just beginning to identify and understand. All of them play a role in your diet.
ANTIOXIDANTS VITAMINS AND MINERALS
Your body can perform remarkable feats of chemistry, but it does have limitations. While your body can build proteins from amino acids, for instance, it cannot manufacture many of the raw compounds that are required to maintain daily functions and prevent disease. Instead, we rely on food for these critical compounds, known as vitamins and minerals. Not only is your body incapable of manufacturing its own vitamins and minerals, but it also has a limited capacity for storing them, which is why you need to restock your supply of vitamins and minerals frequently by eating a well-balanced diet that is founded on the consumption of a wide variety of foods.
Most individual vitamins and minerals perform a lengthy list of important jobs. For instance, your body needs vitamin C to build a healthy immune system, brain cells and bones, to name just a few of its roles. Vitamin E, meanwhile, is necessary for many tasks, such as forming red blood cells and muscle, lung and nerve tissues. Both of these vitamins are powerful antioxidants, too. A healthy diet must also include a variety of minerals. One such mineral, selenium, is required to form certain enzymes that act as antioxidants.
You may be surprised to learn just how much you have in common with a tomato plant or a blueberry bush. Just as your body makes antioxidants to fend off disease, plants also produce chemicals that protect them against disease. Scientists have identified thousands of so-called phytochemicals (phtyo- is Greek for the ‘plant’). While they are not technically nutrients, many phytochemicals are known to be critical for keeping your body up and running. According to one antioxidant expert, we may eventually discover that some of these phytochemicals are essential to human health.
Growing evidence shows that phytochemicals play a wide variety of roles in the body, such as preventing the formation of blood clots and showing the spread of cancer cells. But perhaps the most attention had been focused on their potential as antioxidants. There are 2 main categories of phytochemicals that act as antioxidants: carotenoids and flavonoids. The information below will give you an idea of which foods fall into each category.
Fruits and vegetables that are yellow, orange or red tend to be good sources of these antioxidant plant chemicals. Think tomatoes, oranges, carrots and pink grapefruit. Some green vegetables, such as spinach and silverbeet, are full of carotenoids, too. Everyone has heard of beta-carotene, which your body converts to vitamin A, but studies show that several carotenoids with less familiar names are critical to our health, too.
These blue, blue-red and purple pigments are another important category of antioxidants (which technically belongs to a larger category called polyphenols) that may be particularly important in helping us fight diseases ranging from allergies to heart disease to cancer. One type of flavonoid, known as quercetin, appears to be particularly good for the cardiovascular system since it prevents LDL cholesterol from being oxidized (making it less likely to stick to artery walls). Red and yellow onions, cabbage, broccoli, red grapes and apples are all good sources of quercetin. Cocoa contains flavonoids called epicatechins, which are also thought to provide antioxidant benefits for the heart. These compounds, also found in tea, prevent blood clots, slow the oxidation of LDL cholesterol, improve blood vessel function and even reduce inflammation.
ANTIOXIDANTS IN ACTION: THE BENEFITS OF DEFUSING FREE RADICALS
Free radicals do not lie dormant in your body; neither do they simply go away. One expert quoted in The Antioxidant Miracle estimated that the DNA in every cell in the human body suffers about 10,000 ‘hits’ from free radicals each day. It is not surprising then that the oxidative stress that can result when your antioxidant support is not up to full strength can produce an array of debilitating conditions. However, if you balance your diet wisely and perhaps use antioxidant supplements as necessary (always under a doctor’s guidance), antioxidants may help with the following.
PROTECT YOUR HEART
Even though studies haven’t shown conclusively that antioxidant supplements prevent heart disease, there is no doubt that the food we eat must include frequent amounts of antioxidants to keep LDL cholesterol – the ‘bad’ one – from turning even worse. Oxidized cholesterol – that is, cholesterol that has been attacked by free radicals – is more likely to burrow into artery walls. Once cholesterol makes its way there, it is even more likely to become oxidized. When this happens, your immune system senses trouble and responds by sending white blood cells to the scene. These defender cells devour cholesterol, turning into frothy blobs called foam cells. As these fat-filled cells accumulate, they form raised patches called plaques, which narrow arteries. Plaques can erupt, blocking the artery and causing a heart attack.
Many studies have shown that people who eat fables have a lower risk of heart disease. Other goods sources of antioxidants include tea and wine; both these beverages contain high concentrations of flavonoids. Studies suggest that eating a diet high in flavonoids may lower the risk of heart disease by up to 65 per cent.
To lower the workload for your body’s own supply of antioxidants, you need to eat fewer sweets and starches, which appear to raise levels of free radicals. A US study undertaken at the University of California found that people whose diets included the largest number of high-GI foods had the highest levels of oxidized cholesterol, which is the kind most likely to cause heart attack.
PROTECT YOUR DNA
Free radicals can damage the DNA in healthy cells, which may alter their operating instructions and cause them to reproduce uncontrollably and form cancerous tumors. People who eat plenty of fruit and vegetables have a lower risk for some types of growth tumors in various ways, including by scavenging and demolishing free radicals.
This news should have you seeing red – and orange and yellow – when you shop for vegetables, since carotenoids (which tend to have these pigments in them) may be one of the most potent types of antioxidants for fighting cancer. In particular, some research studies have revealed low rates of prostate cancer among men who consume many tomatoes and cooked tomatoes products, which contain the carotenoid lycopene. One study found a 64 per cent reduction in prostate cancer among men who ate the most foods rich in beta-carotene, a carotenoid that’s found in carrots and other yellow or orange fruit and vegetables.
CONTROL THE COMPLICATIONS OF DIABETES
High blood sugar appears to speed up production of some unusually nasty free radicals. These destructive molecules probably cause many of the complications that make diabetes so frightening, such as blindness, nerve damage and kidney failure.
Some of the promising signs we have seen so far suggest that antioxidants could alleviate some diabetes symptoms. For instance, European studies have shown that dietary supplements containing alpha-lipoic acid (found in spinach, broccoli and red meat) may relieve the pain and discomfort of diabetic neuropathy. Scientists in India have shown that the antioxidant compound curcumin, which gives the spice turmeric its yellow colour, slowed kidney damage in diabetic rats. The antioxidants resveratrol (found in red wine) and quercetin (apples and onions are good sources) had a similar effect.
Some phytochemicals may even offer protection against diabetes itself. In a Finnish study of more than 4300 non-diabetic men and women who were studied closely over a period of 23 years, those who ate the most of a type of carotenoid found in citrus fruit, red capsicum, pawpaw, coriander, corn and watermelon appeared to cut their risk of type 2 diabetes by 42 per cent.
DEFENSE AGAINST DEMENTIA
Brian cells of people diagnosed with devastating cognitive conditions show evidence of damage by free radicals. What’s more, free radicals seem to be one cause of the clumps of proteins in the brain, called amyloid, that are characteristic of some types of dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease.
No one is sure how to prevent dementia, but eating more oranges and wholegrain bread could be a good start. Human studies offer clues that vitamin C and E may our brain’s best defence. Dutch researchers asked more than 5000 people over the age of 55 about their diets, and then followed them for six years. In the end, people who consumed the most foods containing vitamin C reduced their risk of dementia by 34 per cent, while a diet rich in vitamin E appeared to be even more protective, slashing the threat of dementia by nearly half.
It is less clear whether taking high doses of antioxidants will an even better job of safeguarding the brain from cognitive decline. One study published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that taking daily supplements containing 2000 IU of vitamin E – or about 66 times more than you will find in a multivitamin – appeared to slow the onset of dementia. However, other studies have failed to show that vitamin E supplements protect the brain. This may again, be due to different effects of vitamins when they are isolated as supplements, compared to the complex synergy in food (The US Alzheimer’s Association doesn’t recommend the use of antioxidant supplements.)
MAINTAIN GOOD EYESIGHT
Tired jokes about rabbits not wearing glasses aside, there is absolutely no doubt that carrots are good for eye health (although they won’t do anything to sharpen your eyesight.) and as anyone who has come across rabbits in the garden knows, they eat many other plants besides carrots, and so should you. Here is why.
Carrots are loaded with beta-carotene, which the body converts to vitamin A – an essential nutrient for healthy eyes. Nevertheless, the latest research suggests that other antioxidant phytochemicals may also be critical for preserving vision. Take lutein, another carotenoid like beta-carotene, which is found in the hefty amount in spinach, cabbage and many leafy herbs. Retina cells at the back of the eyeball soak up lutein, apparently to ward off free radicals. When researchers analyzed the diets of more than 1700 female volunteers in three US states, they found that women under the age of 75 who ate plenty of food rich in lutein and zeaxanthin, another carotenoid, appeared to halve their risk of macular degeneration, which is leading cause of vision loss in older people.
Consuming plenty of foods filled with these antioxidants may help to prevent cataracts, too. So eat carrots, by all means, but do not forget to also eat leafy greens, pumpkin, corn or peas, all of which are good sources of lutein and zeaxanthin, as well egg yolks, honeydew melon and kiwifruit.
Just Staying Healthy, That Is True Wealth and True Happiness
Article written above is mainly derived from FOOD CURES from Reader’s Digest