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Superfoods

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Superfood is a term sometimes used to describe food with high phytonutrient content that may confer health benefits as a result. For example, blueberries are often considered a superfood (or superfruit) because they contain significant amounts of antioxidants, anthocyanins, vitamin C, manganese, and dietary fiber.[1]

The term is not in common currency amongst dieticians and nutritional scientists, many of whom dispute the claims made that consuming particular foodstuffs can have a health benefit.[2] There is no legal definition of the term and it has been alleged that this has led to it being over-used as a marketing tool.[3]

Believe in them?

Personally I like to eat some grilled mushrooms on a daily basis. If what they say is true then they offer a lot of health benefits.

Perhaps the sceptical nature of this forum will disagree :D

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Isn't it a case that eating fruit is a better way of getting nutrients as taking a multivitamin doesn't give you the anti-oxidant benefits?

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Angel Delight! :huh:

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I don't understand how the benefits of antioxidants can be debated.

Free radicals are proven to be bad for you in various ways and antioxidants mop them up.

Sceptical article at this link:

http://scienceblog.cancerresearchuk.org/2009/06/24/what-are-antioxidants-and-are-they-good-for-us-part-1/

I find the notion of benefits from antioxidants appealing, and I do take them for a particular reason and with an obvious effect. So I don't doubt they make a difference, but there are clear causes for concern. Generally the jury is still out.

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Reading that article it appears it is clear cut - antioxidants are good for you, but too many is detrimental to health. I think that is true of just about every nutrient you could think of.

In short - eating foods that naturally contain antioxidants is probably ok, necking a load of supplements containing high concentrations of tocopherol probably isn't.

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Reading that article it appears it is clear cut - antioxidants are good for you, but too many is detrimental to health. I think that is true of just about every nutrient you could think of.

In short - eating foods that naturally contain antioxidants is probably ok, necking a load of supplements containing high concentrations of tocopherol probably isn't.

There's a second piece to the article as well.

I think the point is a bit more severe. The body does a good job of balancing the need for antioxidants and free radicals, and altering that balance has unknown consequences. They focus mostly on cancer treatment.

I take supplements to counter the effects of tobacco & alcohol. Otherwise I wouldn't be much interested.

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I don't understand how the benefits of antioxidants can be debated.

Free radicals are proven to be bad for you in various ways and antioxidants mop them up.

Propaganda! Where is freedom, if radicals cannot be free? ;)

(today's superfood - pasta)

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I am just about to have some of those new season massive sweet blueberries from Tesco. Who cares if they are a 'super' food or not. They taste amazing. :D

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I am just about to have some of those new season massive sweet blueberries from Tesco. Who cares if they are a 'super' food or not. They taste amazing. :D

New season? Where? Not convinced blueberries are in season anywhere in the world, except where forced in artificial conditions.

One of the little pleasures of July/August around here is picking them. On a good day it's a mini-triathlon: bike ride up into the moors (first on road, then off), then a walk out to the good blueberry-grounds, and finally a swim in the river after filling ones container with the delicious fruit.

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New season? Where? Not convinced blueberries are in season anywhere in the world, except where forced in artificial conditions.

One of the little pleasures of July/August around here is picking them. On a good day it's a mini-triathlon: bike ride up into the moors (first on road, then off), then a walk out to the good blueberry-grounds, and finally a swim in the river after filling ones container with the delicious fruit.

Who knows - it says it on the packet. :D

So where do you get yours ? And if so and they are natural there must be a season for them where you stay ?

Wild blueberries. Now that would be class.

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I don't understand how the benefits of antioxidants can be debated.

Free radicals are proven to be bad for you in various ways and antioxidants mop them up.

Antioxidants are particularly useful supplements for treating a range of neurological diseases. In MS for example resveratrol (grape skin extract / japanese knotweed) reduces MM9 enzyme which helps break down the blood - brain barrier. Uric acid (a powerful antioxidant) is a peroxynitrite scavenger and neuro protective.

Pine bark extract also effective.

Not by any means cures but useful in slowing progression by limiting damage of free radicals to demylinated nerves.

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Who knows - it says it on the packet. :D

So where do you get yours ? And if so and they are natural there must be a season for them where you stay ?

Wild blueberries. Now that would be class.

Huh? As I said, I pick them.

Around here is Dartmoor, where lots of them grow. But I've also feasted on them while on holiday: they grow in upland areas throughout central/northern Europe. I have fond memories of gathering them from Norway and Sweden in the north to the Italian Alps in the south.

In my experience they're the second most abundant bounty of nature, after blackberries. That probably applies pretty-much throughout the UK, unless there are areas where wild mushrooms are so super-abundant as to beat them.

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I don't understand how the benefits of antioxidants can be debated.

Free radicals are proven to be bad for you in various ways and antioxidants mop them up.

When it comes to biology, simple explanations have a habit of being both appealing and wrong..

Look at it this way: Evolution has had roughly 4 billion years to work on the problem of free radical damage. Thinking that you can make a huge difference by changing your diet radically is a bit naive. There certainly is some evidence that large amounts of antioxidants can actually act to protect cancer cells from themselves, though.

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When it comes to biology, simple explanations have a habit of being both appealing and wrong..

Look at it this way: Evolution has had roughly 4 billion years to work on the problem of free radical damage. Thinking that you can make a huge difference by changing your diet radically is a bit naive. There certainly is some evidence that large amounts of antioxidants can actually act to protect cancer cells from themselves, though.

Not quite true, for a few reasons.

1. Evolution clearly hasn't 'solved' the problem of oxidation. That's why, as a simple example, old folk have saggy skin. As another simple example humans don't produce their own ascorbic acid, which is more or less essential - quite an evolutionary oversight, wouldn't you say? Evolution's had a long time to do a lot of things that it hasn't done. Many parts of many animals are very poorly 'designed'.

2. Life expectancy has increased dramatically in a very short period of time (when considered on evolutionary timescales, at least). Evolution may not yet have fully caught up with diseases caused by the long term degenerative effects of free radicals.

3. Modern lifestyle factors may have increased the likelihood of long term free radical damage (sunbeds, for instance)

Now, if there was a possibility that you could potentially reduce the long term damage caused by free radicals by eating a diet rich in AO, and only very limited evidence in particular circumstances that this was likely to be bad for you - then why wouldn't you?

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Now, if there was a possibility that you could potentially reduce the long term damage caused by free radicals by eating a diet rich in AO, and only very limited evidence in particular circumstances that this was likely to be bad for you - then why wouldn't you?

So.. you'd do something where there was little if any evidence that it worked and a small amount of evidence of marginal harm..? Fair enough, but 'superfood' is probably not the right term here.

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Not quite true, for a few reasons.

1. Evolution clearly hasn't 'solved' the problem of oxidation. That's why, as a simple example, old folk have saggy skin. As another simple example humans don't produce their own ascorbic acid, which is more or less essential - quite an evolutionary oversight, wouldn't you say? Evolution's had a long time to do a lot of things that it hasn't done. Many parts of many animals are very poorly 'designed'.

2. Life expectancy has increased dramatically in a very short period of time (when considered on evolutionary timescales, at least). Evolution may not yet have fully caught up with diseases caused by the long term degenerative effects of free radicals.

3. Modern lifestyle factors may have increased the likelihood of long term free radical damage (sunbeds, for instance)

Now, if there was a possibility that you could potentially reduce the long term damage caused by free radicals by eating a diet rich in AO, and only very limited evidence in particular circumstances that this was likely to be bad for you - then why wouldn't you?

One of the theory's about MS is that it developed (virtually non existent before Agricultural revolution) in a culmuluative impact fashion as follows

1. Agricultural revolution sees more livetock moving from grass feeding to grain so lowering the Omega 3 content of food

2. Industrial revolution see large % of population move into work under cover so reducing Vitamin D levels

3. Pollution and diet amongst other factors increases oxidative stress

4. Improved hygiene reduces modulating effect of parasites on immune system

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So.. you'd do something where there was little if any evidence that it worked and a small amount of evidence of marginal harm..? Fair enough, but 'superfood' is probably not the right term here.

Surely placing a daily dosage limit minimises the risk of any damage? In many cases there is sufficient evidence on the balance of probabilities that to increase intake up to a certain level is beneficial with side effects only occuring at higher intake ranges.

For example I take 500mg of Inosine a day. This precurser to Uric acid is knowe to be neuroprotective (uric acid provides about 50% of the bodies anti oxidants). Clinical trials using 1-2 grams per day have concluded no significant side effects. Indeed body builders often take 2-3 grams.

Above 2 grams runs the risk of developing kidney stones.

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So.. you'd do something where there was little if any evidence that it worked and a small amount of evidence of marginal harm..? Fair enough, but 'superfood' is probably not the right term here.

You're taking the studies out of context. The ones that show marginal harm are generally high dose studies, using concentrations of AO in excess of what you would find in foods - even so-called superfoods.

Outside of these studies there is vast evidence that it works - people who have healthy diets live longer and healthy diets are generally rich in AO. As I said in a previous post, I'm not advocating taking mega-doses of tocopherol in isolation, or any other nutrient for that matter. Probably every nutrient you can think of is poisonous in excess. But you can, to a significant degree, improve your long term health by eating the right foods. Do you disagree?

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Huh? As I said, I pick them.

Around here is Dartmoor, where lots of them grow. But I've also feasted on them while on holiday: they grow in upland areas throughout central/northern Europe. I have fond memories of gathering them from Norway and Sweden in the north to the Italian Alps in the south.

In my experience they're the second most abundant bounty of nature, after blackberries. That probably applies pretty-much throughout the UK, unless there are areas where wild mushrooms are so super-abundant as to beat them.

There must be plenty in Sunny Jockland then. I will have to go searching.

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There must be plenty in Sunny Jockland then. I will have to go searching.

There should be (well, bilberries, not blueberries). There are certainly lots in the Lake District at the right time of year. Just make sure that you can distinguish between them and sheep droppings. There may be similar-looking berries from other plants (e.g. heather) in the same place, and I've no idea whether or not those are edible or definitely worth avoiding.

It can take a while to pick enough for a decent mouthful, but it's worth it. It's also rather obvious that that's what you've been doing when you're left with purple hands and lips. :)

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There should be (well, bilberries, not blueberries). There are certainly lots in the Lake District at the right time of year. Just make sure that you can distinguish between them and sheep droppings. There may be similar-looking berries from other plants (e.g. heather) in the same place, and I've no idea whether or not those are edible or definitely worth avoiding.

It can take a while to pick enough for a decent mouthful, but it's worth it. It's also rather obvious that that's what you've been doing when you're left with purple hands and lips. :)

Yes making sure what to pick and not is certainly rather important. Looked at some online thing yesterday with UK berries. Rather a lot that are fairly similar with different results. Some highly toxic some highly tasty.

Blackberries and raspberries I know. I may extend my knowledge out to bilberries too. How adventurous. :D

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You're taking the studies out of context. The ones that show marginal harm are generally high dose studies, using concentrations of AO in excess of what you would find in foods - even so-called superfoods.

Outside of these studies there is vast evidence that it works - people who have healthy diets live longer and healthy diets are generally rich in AO.

That's not evidence.. (post hor ergo propter hoc) to be posh.

As I said in a previous post, I'm not advocating taking mega-doses of tocopherol in isolation, or any other nutrient for that matter. Probably every nutrient you can think of is poisonous in excess. But you can, to a significant degree, improve your long term health by eating the right foods. Do you disagree?

I'm highly dubious about antioxidants in the diet having much effect on health. I tend to be very dubious about any claims in the whole food-health area, it's a minefield to say the least.

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That's not evidence.. (post hor ergo propter hoc) to be posh.

I'm highly dubious about antioxidants in the diet having much effect on health. I tend to be very dubious about any claims in the whole food-health area, it's a minefield to say the least.

Pure anecdote but many people with MS (I have clinically isolated syndrome) find that using a variety of antioxidants (Inosine, resveratrol, polyphenols, Vitamin C&E) are helpful in managing flare up of symptoms such as Optic Neuritis. There is clinical studies to support the use of these anti oxidants as they have neuroprotective qualities.

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  • 312 Brexit, House prices and Summer 2020

    1. 1. Including the effects Brexit, where do you think average UK house prices will be relative to now in June 2020?


      • down 5% +
      • down 2.5%
      • Even
      • up 2.5%
      • up 5%



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