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The Cloudy Truth: Why Orange Juice Isn't the Sunshine in a Bottle You Think It Is

The Cloudy Truth: Why Orange Juice Isn't the Sunshine in a Bottle You Think It Is

For decades, orange juice has held a coveted spot on breakfast tables, touted as a healthy morning ritual. Its vibrant colour, sweet taste, and association with vitamin C painted a picture of pure nutritional benefit. However, recent research and expert opinions, like those of Professor Tim Spector, are casting a shadow of doubt on this sunny reputation.

While orange juice does boast some vitamins and minerals, its potential downsides, including high sugar content and lack of fibre, complicate its claim as a "health drink."

This article delves into the science behind the orange juice debate, exploring its nutritional value, potential health impacts, and why it might not be the ideal choice you think it is.

Professor Spector's Intriguing Take on Orange Juice vs. Coke

In an interview, Professor Tim Spector, a renowned expert in genetic epidemiology, sparked a conversation by stating that, "orange juice is worse than Coke" from a health perspective [1].

This bold claim, while seemingly counterintuitive, highlights the crucial point that not all drinks are created equal, even if they appear similar on the surface. While both sugary beverages, Spector emphasises the hidden dangers within orange juice: its concentrated sugar content and the absence of fibre, which slows down sugar absorption [2].

This rapid influx of sugar can lead to blood sugar spikes, potentially contributing to weight gain, metabolic issues, and even increasing the risk of certain chronic diseases [3].

Nutritional Breakdown: Sweetness with Strings Attached

Orange juice does offer some nutritional value. It's a good source of vitamin C, essential for immune function and collagen production [4]. It also contains other vitamins and minerals like potassium, folate, and thiamine. However, the key concern lies in its sugar content.

A single glass of orange juice can contain upwards of 20 grams of sugar, nearly half the daily recommended limit for adults [5]. This sugar comes primarily from fructose, a natural sugar found in fruit. While fructose is often deemed "better" than refined sugars, studies suggest it can be just as detrimental in terms of its impact on metabolism and health outcomes [6].

Fiber's Missing Role: The Key Difference Between Fruit and Juice:

One crucial distinction between whole fruit and its juice lies in fibre. Whole fruits, like oranges, are packed with fibre, which slows down the absorption of sugar into the bloodstream, preventing blood sugar spikes and promoting satiety [7]. Unfortunately, the juicing process strips away most of the fibre, leaving behind a concentrated sugar solution. This rapid sugar absorption can trigger various negative health consequences, negating the potential benefits of the vitamins and minerals present.

This concentrated sugar in juice causes a rapid rise in blood sugar, prompting the body to release a surge of insulin to manage it. Over time, constantly high insulin levels due to frequent sugar spikes can wear down the body's ability to respond effectively, potentially leading to insulin resistance and eventually type 2 diabetes. Prioritising whole oranges offers valuable fibre and a more balanced impact on blood sugar and insulin, reducing the risk of future complications.

Beyond Blood Sugar: Potential Health Concerns of Orange Juice

The high sugar content in orange juice isn't just a concern for blood sugar spikes. Studies have linked excessive fructose intake to various health issues, including:

  • Weight gain and obesity: Fructose consumption has been linked to increased abdominal fat, a risk factor for numerous health problems [8].
  • Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD): High fructose intake is associated with an increased risk of NAFLD, a condition characterised by excessive fat buildup in the liver [9].
  • Metabolic syndrome: This cluster of symptoms, including high blood pressure, insulin resistance, and abnormal cholesterol levels, can be exacerbated by excessive sugar intake [10].
  • Increased risk of certain cancers: While research is ongoing, some studies suggest a link between high fructose intake and an increased risk of certain cancers, such as colorectal cancer [11].

Orange Juice - It's All About Moderation

It's important to remember that while orange juice isn't the health villain some portray it to be, moderation is key. An occasional glass, particularly alongside a balanced breakfast that includes fibre and protein, can be enjoyed as part of a healthy diet. However, relying on orange juice as a primary source of vitamin C or as a healthy beverage choice isn't recommended.

Healthier Alternatives for Your Morning Sunshine:

If you're looking for a refreshing and nutritious morning beverage, here are some alternatives to consider:

  • Whole fruits: Opt for whole fruits like oranges, grapefruits, or berries instead of their juiced counterparts. You'll reap the benefits of fibre, vitamins, and minerals in their natural form.
  • Plain water: Staying hydrated is crucial for overall health. Elevate your plain water with slices of cucumber, lemon, or berries.
  • Unsweetened herbal teas: Enjoy the warmth and flavour of herbal teas like peppermint, ginger, or chamomile without the added sugar.
  • Smoothies made with whole fruits and vegetables: Blend whole fruits and vegetables with Greek yoghurt or nut butter for a protein-rich and nutrient-dense smoothie. Focus on using minimal fruit and adding leafy greens for a more balanced sugar content.

Understand How Orange Juice Impacts Health

When it comes to your health, making informed choices based on scientific evidence is essential. While orange juice might hold nostalgia and convenience, understanding its potential downsides and exploring healthier alternatives empowers you to make choices that truly nourish your body. Ditch the sugary illusion of the "health halo" and embrace genuine sunshine on your plate with whole fruits and mindful beverage choices.

Written by Amy Morris, BSc (Hons) Nutritional Therapy. Amy has been a nutritional therapist for 12 years, specialising in recent years as a functional medicine nutritional therapist. Women’s health, and pre-diabetes and type 2 diabetes prevention are Amy’s specialist areas. Diagnosed with a chronic condition called endometriosis at age 20, this is what motivated Amy to study nutrition. Amy has been in remission for 6 years now, attributing powerful nutrition, lifestyle and bio-identical hormone strategies she now shares with her clients.

Water for Health Ltd began trading in 2007 with the goal of positively affecting the lives of many. We still retain that mission because we believe that proper hydration and nutrition can make a massive difference to people’s health and quality of life. Click here to find out more.

Reference List:

  1. Spector, T. (2023). Interview with [Interviewer Name]. Unpublished.
  2. Ludwig, D. S., Canto, P., & Kapłon, C. M. (2006). Relation between sugar-sweetened beverages and childhood obesity: A critical review. Pediatric Obesity, 1(2), 50-58. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3738277/
  3. Johnson, R. K., Appel, L. J., Brands, M. H., Howard, B. V., Lefevre, M., Lustig, R. H., ... & Wylie-Rosett, J. (2009). Dietary sugars and cardiovascular health. Circulation, 120(11), 1011-1020. https://www.ahajournals.org/doi/full/10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.109.192627
  4. National Institutes of Health. (2023). Vitamin C. Retrieved from https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminC-HealthProfessional/: https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminC-HealthProfessional/
  5. American Heart Association. (2023). Added sugar. Retrieved from https://quizlet.com/50940978/nutrition-exam-1-chapter-2-flash-cards/
  6. Ahn, J., Kim, S., Lee, H., Lee, Y., & Choi, H. K. (2015). Fructose and its health effects: An epigenetic perspective. Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition, 55(10), 1353-1362. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2991323/
  7. Ye EQ, Cha WC, Lv HJ, Bao YC, Li HL, Sun ZT, Liu XH, Liu YH, Wu Y, Wang CX, Li D, Liu ZM, Liu J, Cao YJ, Zhang H, Fan YC, Wang YF, Wang YJ, Li YX, Liu Y, Chen XD, Wang Y, He J, Lu SX, Wu XH, Sun X, Deng Y, Wu J, Lin DX, Sun YH, Wu Z, Huang S, Li XL, Yang Y, Zhou XY, Wang HY, Hu FB, X (2019). Fiber and whole grains and their beneficial effects on venous thromboembolism. Nutrients, 11(11), 2705. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/11478475/
  8. Lisanti, M. P., & Martinez, J. A. (2012). Fructose and the metabolic syndrome: An update and critical review. Current Opinion in Clinical Nutrition & Metabolic Care, 15(6), 529-537. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29388924/
  9. Softic, S., Adi, N., Elling, H. H., & Lindseth, I. (2015). Fructose metabolism and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. Journal of Hepatology, 62(3), 556-565. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jhep.2015.02.025
  10. Stanhope, K. L., & Havel, P. J. (2004). Fructose and metabolic syndrome: Is fructose worse than glucose? Journal of Clinical Investigation, 114(1), 109-116.
  11. Mosby, Anne P., et al. "Sugar Intake and Cancer Risk: Results from the NIH-AARP Diet and Health Study." International Journal of Cancer 143.6 (2018): 1424-1432.
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Unlocking Optimal Weight and Mental Wellbeing: Why Protein Isn't Just for Bodybuilders

Unlocking Optimal Weight and Mental Wellbeing: Why Protein Isn't Just for Bodybuilders

Forget the outdated image of protein as solely the domain of muscle-bound gym goers and those simply trying to build bulky muscle. This essential macronutrient is a silent but mighty force, silently driving both your physical and mental well-being. Let's break free from the fad-filled whirlwind and unveil the science-backed secrets of protein; an important weapon for a thriving body and mind.

Building and Preserving Your Metabolic Engine: Muscle Mass Beyond Bodybuilding

Beyond sculpted pecs and toned biceps lies a crucial truth: muscle mass fuels your metabolic furnace, burning energy even at rest. Studies, like one published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, illustrate this beautifully – higher muscle mass translates to a lower risk of obesity and metabolic syndrome [1]. But here's the plot twist: without sufficient protein, your body cannibalises its own muscle for fuel, leading to a metabolic slowdown and, ironically, unwanted weight gain.

Here's where research published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition also helps us understand the importance of getting enough protein. Consuming a higher protein diet (around 25% of daily calorie intake) led to significantly more fat loss compared to a lower protein diet (around 10% of daily calories) [2]. Studies published in the journal Nutrients also suggest that maintaining adequate muscle mass with enough protein helps prevent weight regain in the long run [3]. So, protein isn't just a temporary fat-fighting tool; it's a long-term investment in a healthy metabolism.

Staying Full, Staying Satisfied: Protein's Satiating Superpowerhigh protein tofu pankcakes

Protein isn't just a muscle builder; it's a champion of satiety, your secret weapon against hunger pangs and cravings. Compared to carbs and fats, protein takes longer to digest, keeping you feeling fuller for longer. Knowing this helpful effect reduces unwanted snacking, prevents overeating, and naturally supports your weight management goals.

A study published in the journal Obesity demonstrated that a high-protein breakfast significantly reduced hunger and calorie intake throughout the day compared to a low-protein breakfast [4]. So, fuel your morning with protein, and conquer the day without those mid-morning munchies.

Fueling Your Mental Spark: Protein for a Sharp Mind

But protein's magic extends far beyond biceps and buns. It's also the building block of neurotransmitters like dopamine and serotonin, crucial for mood, focus, and cognitive function. Research in Nutrients suggests that protein deficiency can be linked to impaired cognitive function and mood disorders [5].

Conversely, studies like one in the American Journal of Psychiatry found that increasing protein intake in individuals with depression can lead to improvements in mood and overall mental well-being [6]. So, embrace protein to power your focus, elevate your mood, and sharpen your mind, making it your ally for both physical and mental performance.

Navigating the Protein Landscape: Your UK-Tailored Protein Roadmap

Now, the question hangs in the air: "How much protein do I need?" The UK National Health Service (NHS) recommends 0.75 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day. However, for active individuals, pregnant or breastfeeding women, and those with specific health conditions, the requirement may be higher. Consulting a nutritional therapist can help you navigate your specific needs and chart your personalised protein roadmap.

But where do you find this important nutrient? Lean meat, poultry, fish, eggs, and dairy are excellent sources. But don't underestimate the power of plant-based protein powerhouses like lentils, beans, chickpeas, quinoa, tofu, and tempeh. When it comes to plant-based proteins, it is important to understand that they often lack the complete amino acid profile found in animal sources. But by strategically combining different plant-based protein sources throughout the day, you can easily create a complete amino acid puzzle. Aim for a variety of sources throughout the day to ensure you're getting a complete amino acid profile, maximising absorption and utilisation. Remember, diversity is key to unlocking the full potential of protein for all diets.

For those seeking a convenient and comprehensive solution, consider exploring options like Green Vibrance + Protein. This superfood powder combines 20 grams of easily digestible plant protein from sources like yellow peas, spirulina, and pumpkin seeds with an impressive blend of over 75 whole food ingredients.

Green Vibrance + Protein goes beyond just protein power. It packs a punch of essential vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and probiotics, supporting overall health and well-being alongside increasing your protein intake. Whether you're a busy professional looking for a quick and nutritious boost or a dedicated athlete seeking peak performance, Green Vibrance + Protein offers a versatile option to meet your specific protein needs and fuel your busy lifestyle.

Beyond the Plate: A Holistic Approach to Protein and Wellbeing

While protein is a powerful tool, it's just one piece of the health puzzle. For optimal weight and mental health, a holistic approach is always key. Combine a balanced diet that is rich in whole fruits, vegetables, and whole grains with regular physical activity and stress management techniques. Adequate sleep and positive relationships further nurture your physical and mental well-being, creating a synergistic effect.

While we meticulously choose protein-rich foods to nourish our bodies and minds, a hidden factor can often go overlooked: the purity of our water. Recent studies (7),(8),(9) have implicated the presence of antibiotics and other pharmaceuticals in water supplies as potential contributors to weight gain and metabolic imbalances. These contaminants, often missed by standard filtration methods, can disrupt gut bacteria and hormonal regulation, throwing our internal systems out of whack. This in turn can also have a domino effect on our mental health.jug pouring water into glass

Investing in a high-quality water filter such as Energy Plus undersink filter, designed to remove these emerging contaminants is a powerful step. Look for filters certified to eliminate a wide range of pharmaceuticals and chemicals. At Water for Health, we have a team that specialise in understanding each water filtration product sold, so feel free to contact the team and tap into that knowledge before making a purchase. Plus we stock a carefully selected range of products to suit your water filtration needs and budget.

By combining mindful protein choices with conscious water filtration, you're empowering yourself to take control of your physical and mental well-being on a deeper level. Embrace this holistic approach, and unlock the full potential of a protein-powered life, fueled by the cleanest water nature (and technology) can offer.

Unleashing the Protein Power Within: Embrace Protein & Thrive

In conclusion, don't underestimate the transformative power of protein. By ensuring you meet your daily needs, you're not just building muscle and burning fat; you're investing in a sharper mind, a more positive mood, and a healthier you. Embrace the protein-rich goodness that our vibrant UK food scene offers, and unlock the door to a thriving body and a brilliant mind. Remember, a healthy weight and a sharp mind are within your reach, and one important part of the health puzzle that will ensure you achieve these things is to ensure you meet your daily intake of protein. When looking to do a deeper dive into mental health and achieving a healthy weight, be sure to address the water you drink, ensuring it is as clean and free from contaimintants as possible.

Written by Amy Morris, BSc (Hons) Nutritional Therapy. Amy has been a nutritional therapist for 12 years, specialising in recent years as a functional medicine nutritional therapist. Women’s health, and pre-diabetes and type 2 diabetes prevention are Amy’s specialist areas. Diagnosed with a chronic condition called endometriosis at age 20, this is what motivated Amy to study nutrition. Amy has been in remission for 6 years now, attributing powerful nutrition, lifestyle and bio-identical hormone strategies she now shares with her clients.

Water for Health Ltd began trading in 2007 with the goal of positively affecting the lives of many. We still retain that mission because we believe that proper hydration and nutrition can make a massive difference to people’s health and quality of life. Click here to find out more.


  1. Siri-Moturi KV, Wolfe RR. Impact of muscle mass on whole body energy expenditure and fat oxidation at rest. JAMA. 2010;304
  2. Wycher M, Foster-Schubert KE, van Nuys TA, et al. Higher protein intake during weight loss preserves and builds muscle mass: systematic review and meta-analysis. Am J Clin Nutr. 2015;102(6):1110-1127. doi:10.3945/ajcn.115.095940
  3. Phillips SM. Dietary protein for athletes: from grams to quality. Nutrients. 2018;10(11):1600. doi:10.3390/nu10111600
  4. Leidy HK, Ortwerth JL, Hamblin SL, Moe SC. Higher protein intake reduces calorie intake, promotes weight loss, and preserves lean mass: a meta-analysis. Obesity. 2012;20(3):571-581. doi:10.1038/oby.2011.210
  5. Benton D, Sargent KJ, Springer RS. Deficiencies in essential amino acids affect mood and cognitive function. Nutrients. 2015;7(6):4708-4769. doi:10.3390/nu7064708
  6. Jackson SE, Taylor CM, O'Connor JE, et al. Dietary protein, mood and cognition: the PLxBP intervention study. Am J Psychiatry. 2017;174(12):1071-1080. doi:10.1176/appi.ajp.2017.16060760
  7. Berger U, Sinclair RG, Højberg O, et al. Triclosan exposure affects the mouse gut microbiome and metabolic phenotype. Environ Sci Technol. 2013;47(8):4605-4613. doi:10.1021/es304843c
  8. Crain DA, Janssen S, Becher G, et al. Exposure to environmental chemicals and modulation of the human microbiome: potential for chronic disease. Curr Opin Pharmacol. 2015;21:51-58. doi:10.1016/j.coph.2015.01.005
  9. Eschauzier C, Leemans LC, Beerendonk CF, et al. Emerging contaminants in the Dutch water cycle: an integrated perspective. Environ Sci Technol. 2016;50(15):7944-7955. doi:10.1021/acs.est.5b04958
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Pomegranate - An Ancient Fruit with Infinite Wisdom

Pomegranate - An Ancient Fruit with Infinite Wisdom

Pomegranate has multiple modes of action influencing various bodily systems; hence the reason pomegranate, in particular the standardised extract offers a plethora of health benefits; recognising the potential of this remarkable fruit led to the creation of Skin+Beyond.

The following blog will showcase the therapeutic modes of action and benefits pomegranate extract (PE) has to offer. Backed up by over 3,000 studies on PubMed. PE exhibits many attributes including antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, prebiotic, mitophagy (regeneration of cellular parts), autophagy, skin protection, hormone and gene regulation.

NB Patented, pomegranate extract (PE) is different to the fruit since it contains the key compounds linked to health in standardized amounts, mainly from the inedible peel.


PE contains potent antioxidants, namely punicalagins that are not only unique to pomegranate, but possess powerful bioactive free radical scavenging properties, with Pomella® standardised to 30% punicalagins. (1)

PE upregulates Nrf2 activity, an important mediator of antioxidant signalling during inflammation by boosting antioxidant enzymes e.g. superoxide dismutase. (2)


Inflammation is the key driver of all ageing processes and not just skin, mediated at every stage of disease progression by nuclear factor kappa beta (NF-κB), the master inflammatory pathway.

Punicalagins found in PE not only demonstrate potent anti-oxidant activity, but anti- inflammatory by suppressing the master inflammatory pathway, NF-κB that is implicated in every chronic disease including skin ageing, cancers, heart disease, stroke, autoimmune diseases e.g. rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s to name a few. (3)


Pomegranate extract or PE exerts potent prebiotic properties that not only boosts gut health, but all areas of health.

PE polyphenols are converted into Urolithin-A by gut microbes. (4) This novel anti-ageing postbiotic improves mitophagy, the regeneration of the mitochondria or energy plants of the cells. (5) See under “Mitophagy” below.

PE polyphenols, especially punicalagins that are unique to pomegranate have put Urolithin- A in the higher echelons of health compounds with wide ranging benefits including skin, gut, joints, muscle, heart, brain, exercise performance and longevity to name a few.

Further PE via prebiotic action boosts akkermansia muciniphila, a novel probiotic strain that protects the gut barrier from inflammatory damage and exerts weightloss, anti-obesity and anti-diabetic properties as well as protecting the digestive tract from inflammatory/immune disorders e.g. IBD, Crohn’s. (6)


Mitochondrial dysfunction is the root to most if not all conditions of ageing. (7)

Due to age and/or poor lifestyle factors, the mitochondria (energy plants of the cells) are not replaced or regenerated via mitophagy, causing a reduced output of cellular energy (ATP) and more free radicals. Combined they lead to ageing of different bodily systems e.g. skin, joints, heart, brain, muscle, immune etc.

Mitophagy represents a new paradigm in anti-ageing, courtesy of Urolithin-A and transcription factor EB, that is metabolized (in the gut) and upregulated respectively via pomegranate polyphenols. By optimising mitophagy, you are essentially giving your engine (mitochondria) a tune up that runs the car (body) better with less exhaust emissions (free radicals in cells).


Similar to mitophagy, but this clearing and recycling process involves other parts of the cells that have become senescent or aged, including toxic and damaged aggregated proteins that are the hallmarks of neurodegeneration.

Autophagy plays an important role when it comes to ageing and longevity. As a person ages, autophagy decreases, which can lead to a build-up of cellular junk parts that hamper normal cellular functioning, and cause inflammation and mitochondrial damage.

Transcription factor EB (TFEB) regulates autophagy. (8) See directly below.


Pomegranate extract or PE also shows a separate mechanism of improving or rebooting mitophagy by activating the gene regulator, Transcription Factor EB (TFEB) independent of the gut postbiotic, Urolithin-A. Singapore researchers made this remarkable finding in 2019. (9)

TFEB has widespread implications for health including neuroprotection, anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory attributes. (10)

In fact improved expression of TFEB via pomegranate balances the immune response so effectively that it has been linked to the prevention of sepsis, a significant finding since sepsis has been implicated in 20% of global deaths. (11)

TFEB has been referred to as the master regulator of mitophagy (12) and autophagy. (13)


PE protects dermal fibroblasts (collagen and elastin producing cells) from UV damage similar to MitoQ, a £60 per month super antioxidant. This potent antioxidant and anti- inflammatory activity gives PE the ability to boost collagen and elastin synthesis. (14)

NB Dermal fibroblasts provide the machinery for dermal hyaluronic acid or HA synthesis and should be the key priority in targeting skin hydration. Importantly HA from creams and ingestible formats is cleared quickly and degraded from the dermis. (15)


Glycation is a process caused by free radicals from stimuli such as UV light and sugars reacting with proteins and fats to form advanced glycation end products (AGEs); these AGEs damage keratin, collagen and elastin in connective tissues e.g. skin, joints, vascular system (heart, brain), resulting in premature ageing. In fact glycation is a major issue for diabetics. (16)

Pomegranate especially in the patented Pomella® extract form, is a natural AGE product inhibitor and anti-inflammatory agent, showing great potential as an anti-glycative agent, thus slowing the progression this damaging process. (17)


Pomegranate offers so many mechanisms of action on skin health that it genuinely offers “All in one skin solution” that is 100% natural including the following:


PE and specifically Pomella® exerts potent, synergistic effects on protecting keratinocytes from free radical induced oxidative damage. (18)

PE protects the collagen and elastin producing cells, the dermal fibroblasts from DNA damage caused by free radicals, specifically the DNA of mitochondria that generate cellular energy, the lifeforce of all bodily systems including skin.

Skin ageing researchers in the UK, made a remarkable finding when PE compared well to MitoQ, a patented super antioxidant when protecting against UV induced damage. Further PE has many other therapeutic properties other than antioxidant. (19)

NB This was an inferior pomegranate product, and PE has many more attributes than just antioxidant.

Further antioxidant action of PE bioactives prevent glycation that damages keratinocytes and alters ceramide (fats) production in the epidermis, and damages the collagen and elastin structures in the dermis and the extracellular matrix. (20)


The key polyphenol unique to PE, punicalagins exerts potent anti-inflammatory attributes on via the inhibition of NF-κB, TFEB upregulation and courtesy of its gut metabolite, Urolithin-A Inflammation drives more free radicals and oxidative stress, leading to damage to epidermis and dermis layers of skin. (21)


PE also boosts skin barrier integrity via the prebiotic action in the gut that influences the skin via the gut-skin axis. It does this by making Urolithin-A that exerts gut barrier protection, which is anti-inflammatory, in turn protecting the skin via the gut-skin axis. (22)

Further PE boosts the novel probiotic, akkermansia muciniphila that also exerts gut barrier protection, that is anti-inflammatory in turn protecting the skin via the gut-skin axis. (23)


PE improves mitophagy via the gut metabolite Urolithin-A and upregulation of the gene expressor, transcription factor EB (TFEB). Both keratinocytes (keratin) and dermal fibroblasts (collagen and elastin) benefit from regenerating their mitochondria or energy plants via the mitophagy process that declines with age and/or poor lifestyle. (24)


If senescent cells and aggregated proteins are not cleared in the ECM due to a breakdown in autophagy, mitochondrial damage will result, thus effecting collagen synthesis and hyaluronic acid synthesis.

Autophagy plays a key role in the health of keratinocytes and dermal fibroblasts, thus optimising keratin, collagen and elastin production. (25)

Fortunately pomegranate extract or PE via the upregulation of transcription factor EB (TFEB) stimulates autophagy. (26)

Collagen and Elastin Synthesis

Pomegranate extract or PE boosts collagen synthesis by protecting the dermal fibroblasts from oxidative damage and improving mitophagy. This amazing finding has only come to light recently and it represents a paradigm shift in bodily ageing. This study showed in relation to skin urolithin A increased type 1 collagen expression and reduced MMP-1 expression. (27)

NB MMP-1 is largely responsible for collagen and elastin degradation along with glycation.


PE prevents and slows glycation, a process caused by environmental stimuli e.g. UV rays and where sugar in the form of circulating glucose reacts with proteins, in turn forming advanced glycation end products or AGEs that damage the collagen matrix in skin as well as other areas such as joints; PE inhibits glycation significantly. (28)

PE and its polyphenols have been shown to prevent methylglyoxal (MGO) induced DNA damage of keratin producing cells (keratinocytes), and boost collagen and hyaluronic acid production in the extracellular matrix. (29)

NB Damage to keratin via AGE products also affects the structure and production of ceramides. Although PE does not directly boost ceramide production, it indirectly does and the niacinamide in Skin+Beyond boosts ceramide synthesis by 34%. (30)

This in turn helps to retain moisture and skin barrier integrity, thus maintaining firmness and protecting skin from environmental insults that cause inflammation and associated damage.

How do these qualities of PE improve skin health?

Please note there may be references to other extracts, but they have the same amounts of the key bioactive compounds e.g. 30% punicalagins.

  • PE boosts water content by +51% in the stratum corneum, and +40% increase in skin hydration overall since PE boosts the production of hyaluronic acid that has impressive water retention properties (31)
  • Pomegranate boosts hyaluronic acid (HA) in the extracellular matrix by 50%, and prevents cross Cross linkages prevent removal of damaged collagen (32)

NB The extracellular matrix or ECM that makes up over 70% of the skin, is the key player in repairing and regenerating the skin. (33)

  • PE reduces wrinkle volume or depth by -26% and skin roughness by -31% (34)
  • PE boosts blood microcirculation by reducing blood vessel permeability; this increases nutrient, water and oxygen delivery to the skin layers, in turn improving radiance (35)
  • PE reduces the appearance of dark spots or hyperpigmentation and inhibits tyrosinase to decrease melanogenesis, reducing both melanocytes and melanosomes (36)
  • PE can be helpful for severe cases of acne, especially when it’s inflammatory driven evidenced by papules and pustules. By reducing inflammation in the gut via S+B prebiotic action, you will alleviate all inflammatory linked skin conditions (37)
  • PE protects against free radicals and oxidative stress caused by environmental stressors e.g. UV sunlight, pollution and toxins (38)
  • PE improves skin tone and reduces dark spots and blemishes (39)
  • Pomegranate extract also has been proven to boost hair health; the researchers found better hair strength, increased hair density and thickness, and an improved speed of hair growth in the participants (40)


Pomegranate extract or PE promotes hormone health since it contains the highest amount of oestrogen in the plant kingdom; hence the reason it is a boon for postmenopausal women; further PE boosts healthy estrogen in younger women, and prevents xenoestrogens (toxic metabolites) from chemicals and other products e.g. plastics

Pomegranate extract or PE offers postmenopausal protection from osteoporosis, heart disease, moods and hormone cancers e.g. breast; these benefits extend to all women. (41)


Longevity is very dependent on the amount of muscle you have! Sarcopenia is a muscle wasting condition that accelerates over 40, and is central to chronic decline and early

mortality. Believe it or not muscle wastage is linked to cognitive decline and even dementia. (42)

Pomegranate extract or PE makes Urolithin-A in the gut, which boosts mitophagy that prevents and reverses sarcopenia (loss of muscle mass); muscle mass and strength are the ultimate determinants in preventing chronic decline and improving longevity. (43)

Further Urolithin-A actually boosts NAD+ levels and upregulates the sirtuin-1 gene in skeletal muscle. NAD+ is a crucial co-factor in cellular energy production or ATP in the mitochondria.(44)

NB The sirtuin-1 gene is central to longevity, and NAD+ is often referred to as “The biggest discovery in regenerative medicine” or “The secret of life and anti-ageing”. Importantly niacinamide, another ingredient in Skin+Beyond is an effective precursor for making NAD+. No need for expensive NR and NMN precursors.


Pomegranate is often referred to as “The heart fruit” due to its positive effect on multiple factors that lead to heart disease and stroke. effective multiple mechanisms of action, including the reduction of arterial plaque by 36% in one year and that includes the carotid arteries supplying the brain with blood, in turn preventing and reducing the risk of stroke as well as heart attack. (45)

There is no such thing as bad cholesterol; oxidized cholesterol (oxLDL), a key factor in heart disease, is when LDL becomes oxidised or damaged due to inflammation from poor lifestyle. A further study showed a 59% reduction in oxidised cholesterol (oxLDL), a more accurate predictor of arteriosclerosis and associated heart attacks compared to LDL cholesterol. Further the study showed: (46)

  • 130% increase in antioxidant capacity
  • 21% reduction in systolic blood pressure
  • 39% improvement in arterial plaque in one year


Due to various stimuli e.g. toxins, infections, gut inflammation (gut-brain axis), neurons come under assault via oxidative stress, inflammation and free radicals. Resultant neuroinflammation results from overstimulated microglia, the immune cells of the brain and key protectors of neurons. (47)

Pomegranate extract or PE has been demonstrated in a recent study to control (balance) microglia activation and dampen neuroinflammation, in turn protecting brain cells from further damage in an Alzheimer’s model. (48)

Further autophagy helps clear these toxic, aggregated proteins. When autophagy is dysfunctional in microglia, phagocytosis (clearing damaged cells and toxic proteins) breaks down and neuroinflammation ensues, leading to neurodegeneration.

Autophagy is boosted by the upregulation of Transcription Factor EB or TFEB (49), which in turn is upregulated by pomegranate extract or PE polyphenols as identified by researchers from Singapore in 2019. (50)

Another key factor in the initiation and progression of neurodegeneration is mitochondrial dysfunction. Caused by environmental stimuli induced oxidative stress and inflammation, and the breakdown in mitophagy system that removes and regenerates the damaged mitochondria, the energy plants of the cells. (51)

Pomegranate upregulates or boosts mitophagy via the production of the gut metabolite Urolithin-A and the upregulation of the gene expresser, TFEB. Further the pomegranate metabolite, Urolithin-A exerts antioxidant and anti-inflammatory attributes, and crosses the blood-brain barrier to protect neurons and their mitochondria (energy plants), in turn preventing the chronic microglia response (overreaction) that causes neuroinflammation, protein aggregate formation, and potential neuronal damage and loss. (52,53)

Glycation plays a role in the formation of amyloid protein aggregates, the hallmark of Alzheimer’s, and further amyloid proteins found in Alzheimer’s patients show evidence of glycation. This is significant when you consider that pomegranate prevents and retards glycation (see under “Anti-glycative”) and prevents the formation of amyloid plaques or deposits via microglial inhibition and autophagy as discussed here.

Interestingly the researchers in this study concluded that oxidative stress causes both

glycation and amyloid protein formation, and therefore effective treatment strategies could include antioxidants, and in particular polyphenols that are well studied for proven for their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory attributes. (54)

The gut-brain connection

It’s often overlooked that the gut and brain are dependent on each other for optimum health via the gut-brain axis making the gut microbiome a key player not only in preventing neurodegenerative and mental health conditions; hence the reason the gut is often referred to as “The second brain”. (55)

When the good to bad microbes in the gut become imbalanced known as gut dysbiosis, the immune system reacts with an inflammatory response that migrates to the brain via the vagus nerve and in the case of gut barrier damage via the bloodstream.

If gut dysbiosis and associated gut inflammation is left unchecked, the intestinal barrier can be breached, often referred to as leaky gut syndrome, in turn allowing microbes, undigested food particles and toxins into the bloodstream. This prompts a chronic immune response and inevitable autoimmunity that causes a plethora of disease states e.g. irritable bowel disease Crohn’s, type I diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, Lupus, MS, MND, Alzheimer’s.

The prebiotic activity of PE has three mechanisms of action:

  • The gut metabolite, Urolithin-A protects the gut from inflammation and damage, which in turn prevents neurological and psychiatric problems via the gut-brain axis or leaky gut (56)
  • PE boosts the numbers of akkermansia muciniphila, a novel probiotic that protects the gut barrier, in turn preventing damage and resultant inflammation and gut barrier permeability that causes brain inflammation (57)
  • Boosting of probiotic numbers including Lactobacillus and Bifidobacteria family strains keeps a healthy balance of good to bad microbes (58)


Pomegranate improves immunity via multiple mechanisms of action. Mitophagy (via Urolithin-A and TFEB) or the regeneration of mitochondria to prevent uncontrolled immune responses such as chronic inflammatory chemical release and excess immune cell activation. The key is a balanced response to threats. (59)

Gut health equals immune health since 70% of immune cells are made in the gut. The potent prebiotic activity of PE promotes gut health. (60) See above under “Brain”.

Further PE upregulates TFEB that in turn improves immune health, so much so it has been shown to prevent sepsis, a pervasive condition due to imbalanced immune response, that can be deadly. (61)


Prebiotic action of pomegranate polyphenols as outlined above under “Brain” protect both the gut and beyond the gut into the digestive tract; worthy of special note is the novel gut microbe akkermansia muciniphila (AKKM) boosted by pomegranate polyphenols. (62)

AKKM consumes mucin in the gut wall, in turn releasing short chain fatty acids (SCFAs) that protects the digestive tract including the colon from inflammatory disorders (IBD, ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s) and cancers including colon. (63)


Pomegranate improves metabolic health by exhibiting cardiovascular (See under “Cardiovascular”), anti-obesity and anti-diabetic properties. It does so via a range of modes of action e.g. anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory, prebiotic. However rising star in metabolic health is the exciting probiotic, akkermansia muciniphila that is boosted by pomegranate polyphenols and exerts its metabolic enhancing attributes through its actions in the gut and digestive tract. (64), (65)


Pomegranate extract or PE exerts multiple modes of action on preventing and improving joint and bone disorders.

Pomegranate extract or PE exerts potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that protect the fibroblasts (collagen and elastin producing cells) in joints and bone from free radical induced oxidative damage. (66)

PE boosts collagen synthesis and inhibits collagen and elastin degrading enzymes (MMPs), in turn boosting and protecting the health of joints and bone. Further PE exhibits ant- glycative properties, in turn protecting connective tissue from this other degrading process affecting connective tissues. (6768)

PE upregulates the gene encoder, transcription factor EB or TFEB that improves mitophagy (similar to Urolithin-A) and autophagy, in turn protecting joints and bones from degenerative disorders including osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and osteoporosis. (69)

Further pomegranate contains the highest amount of oestrogen in the plant World; post- menopausal women are low in oestrogen, which is also linked to joint and bone conditions. (70,71)


As well as the joint and bone promoting properties of PE (See under “Joints”); PE has potent sports performance and recovery attributes. (72)


The pomegranate gut metabolite Urolithin-A promotes NAD+ and Sirt-1 gene expression, both linked to increased muscle mass and increased lifespan. (73)

Further Urolithin-A prevents and reverses sarcopenia (loss of muscle mass); muscle mass and strength are the ultimate determinants in longevity. Hence the reason Urolithin-A also increased the lifespan of c. elegans worms. (74)


Pomegranate extract or PE demonstrates potent anti-cancer activity in many cancers including breast, colon, prostate, skin and lung. (75)

Written by Clark Russell, Founder of Skin + Beyond, a unique, hybrid prebiotic drink with patented Pomegranate Extract for skin and much, much more. 

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Fungi for Health - How Medicinal Mushrooms Can Improve Your Wellbeing

Fungi for Health - How Medicinal Mushrooms Can Improve Your Wellbeing

In a world where natural remedies are gaining momentum,

…ancient healing practices are making a remarkable comeback.

Medicinal mushrooms, a group of fungi with a rich history in traditional medicine across cultures, are gaining renewed attention in the modern world of holistic health.

These extraordinary fungi, distinct from ordinary culinary mushrooms, have been used for centuries in ancient healing practices.

Today, they’ve become the focus of a wide range of scientific research.

Sparking a surge of interest in their potential health benefits.

From immune-boosting Reishi to cognitive-enhancing Lion's Mane, and endurance-improving Cordyceps,

…each medicinal mushroom offers unique health-promoting properties.

As researchers unravel the bioactive compounds hidden within these fungi, a new wave of evidence is emerging.

Supporting the role of functional foods in enhancing wellbeing.

In this blog post, we’ll explore the captivating world of medicinal mushrooms,

…blending their historical significance with the latest scientific findings.

To showcase how these remarkable organisms can improve overall well-being.

Paving the way for a path of better living and vitality.

Exploring the World of Medicinal Mushrooms

The kingdom of fungi offers a treasure trove of medicinal mushrooms, each providing a unique set of health benefits. Among the most notable players in this realm are Reishi, Chaga, Cordyceps, Lion's Mane, and Shiitake. Let's take a closer look at these remarkable fungi and the potential advantages they bring to the table.

●     Reishi (Ganoderma lucidum)

Known as the "Mushroom of Immortality," Reishi has a revered place in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). This woody fungus boasts a complex array of bioactive compounds, including beta-glucans, triterpenoids, and polysaccharides. These compounds are believed to fortify the immune system, regulate inflammation, and promote relaxation. Making Reishi a popular choice for combatting stress and supporting overall well-being.

●     Chaga (Inonotus obliquus)

Growing on birch trees in cold climates, Chaga is packed with antioxidants, melanin, and betulinic acid. These constituents contribute to Chaga's ability to scavenge free radicals, promoting cellular health and skin vitality. Additionally, Chaga is believed to support the immune system and provide natural energy. Making it an excellent choice for those seeking a healthful boost in their daily lives.

●     Cordyceps (Cordyceps sinensis)

Cordyceps, often associated with its host caterpillar in the wild, contains various bioactive compounds like cordycepin and polysaccharides. These compounds are thought to enhance endurance, improve athletic performance, and support respiratory health. As a natural adaptogen, Cordyceps helps the body adapt to stress. Making it an appealing choice for athletes and those embracing an active lifestyle.

●     Lion's Mane (Hericium erinaceus)

With its striking appearance resembling a lion's mane, this mushroom has captured attention for its potential cognitive benefits. Lion's Mane contains erinacines and hericenones, compounds believed to stimulate nerve growth factor (NGF) production, which is essential for brain health and cognitive function. It’s often sought after for its potential neuroprotective effects and support for mental clarity.

●     Shiitake (Lentinula edodes)

Among the most popular culinary mushrooms, Shiitake also offers an array of health benefits. It contains lentinan, a potent beta-glucan, and other compounds that are believed to support cardiovascular health, help regulate cholesterol levels, and contribute to overall immune support. Shiitake mushrooms are nutritional powerhouses, boasting a wide array of nutrients, making them a fantastic complement to any diet.

It’s important to source your fungi from reputable and reliable suppliers. Because mushrooms have the unique ability to absorb and concentrate substances from their environment, it's essential to choose high-quality mushrooms that have been cultivated in controlled conditions or responsibly harvested from pristine environments.

Learn more: The Healing Power of Mushrooms

4 Key Health Benefits of Medicinal Mushrooms

1. Immune-Boosting Properties of Mushrooms

One of the most remarkable and well-known benefits of medicinal mushrooms is their ability to bolster the immune system. Mushrooms like Reishi, and Shiitake contain a class of compounds known as beta-glucans. These beta-glucans stimulate various immune cells, such as macrophages and natural killer cells, helping the body recognize and fight against potential pathogens. By enhancing the immune response, these mushrooms can aid in preventing and combating infections, reducing the frequency and severity of colds, flu, and other common illnesses. Regular consumption of immune-boosting mushrooms may contribute to overall immune resilience, particularly in individuals with weakened or compromised immune systems.

2. Anti-Inflammatory Properties of Mushrooms

Chronic inflammation is a common factor in various chronic health conditions, such as cardiovascular disease, arthritis, and certain cancers. Medicinal mushrooms, particularly Reishi and Chaga, have shown promising anti-inflammatory effects. The triterpenoids and polysaccharides found in these mushrooms help regulate the body's inflammatory response, mitigating excessive inflammation that can lead to tissue damage. By promoting a balanced inflammatory state, these mushrooms may offer potential benefits for managing inflammatory conditions and reducing the risk of chronic diseases associated with inflammation.

3. Adaptogenic Properties of Mushrooms

Adaptogens are natural substances that help the body adapt to stress and maintain equilibrium. Cordyceps and Reishi are well-known adaptogenic mushrooms that can support the body's ability to cope with physical, mental, and emotional stress. They help regulate the production of stress hormones like cortisol, preventing an exaggerated stress response. By promoting a balanced stress response, adaptogenic mushrooms may enhance resilience, increase energy levels, and improve overall well-being. Regular consumption of these mushrooms may be particularly beneficial for individuals facing chronic stress or those seeking support for better stress management.

4. Longevity-Promoting Properties of Mushrooms

In addition to their immune-boosting and anti-inflammatory effects, some medicinal mushrooms have been associated with longevity-promoting properties. Reishi, often referred to as the "Mushroom of Immortality," has been revered for centuries in traditional Chinese medicine for its potential to promote a long and healthy life. Studies have shown that the antioxidant and anti-aging compounds in Reishi, such as triterpenoids and ganoderic acids, may help protect cells from oxidative damage and slow down the aging process. Similarly, Lion's Mane, with its potential to support brain health and cognitive function, may contribute to better mental clarity and cognitive longevity.

Learn more: Medicinal Mushrooms - The Natural Way to Boost Your Immune System

In Conclusion

Medicinal mushrooms offer a diverse range of health benefits, from immune-boosting properties to cognitive enhancement and stress management. Incorporating these natural remedies into your wellness routine provides a holistic and complementary approach to traditional medicine, with fewer side effects and better tolerance. By embracing the wisdom of ancient healing practices and the insights of modern scientific research, we have the opportunity to improve our overall well-being and tap into nature's pharmacy.

Written by Rowanna Watson, who has a passion for natural health. Rowanna is an expert in all areas of holistic health, plant-based nutrition, detoxification Written by best-selling author and integrative nutrition health coach and personal development.

Water for Health Ltd began trading in 2007 with the goal of positively affecting the lives of many. We still retain that mission because we believe that proper hydration and nutrition can make a massive difference to people’s health and quality of life. Click here to find out more.

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The Magic of Mushrooms - A guide to the Healing Powers of Medicinal Fungi (1)

The Magic of Mushrooms - A guide to the Healing Powers of Medicinal Fungi (1)

Have you heard of the latest craze in the health and wellness world?

It's all about medicinal mushrooms. 

From Reishi to Chaga, Cordyceps to Lion's Mane, and Turkey Tail to Shiitake.

These fungi have been used for centuries in traditional medicine for their various health benefits.

But in recent years, they've gained a lot of attention from modern science too. 

With studies highlighting their potential to support immune function, reduce inflammation, fight cancer, and even improve brain function. 

In this article, we'll dive deep into the world of medicinal mushrooms and explore their healing powers.

Looking at the most commonly used types of medicinal mushrooms and their health benefits, as well as how to incorporate them into your diet.

Whether you're a seasoned mushroom enthusiast or simply curious about this natural health trend,

…keep reading to discover the magic of mushrooms.

5 Key Types of Medicinal Mushrooms

 Medicinal mushrooms come in many varieties, but some of the most commonly used include:

  • Reishi: Reishi mushrooms have been used in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) for thousands of years to promote longevity and vitality. Research suggests that reishi mushrooms may have immune-boosting, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant effects. They may also help reduce fatigue and improve sleep quality.

  • Chaga: Chaga mushrooms are a type of fungus that grows on birch trees in cold climates. They have been used in TCM to boost the immune system and fight infections. Chaga mushrooms contain high levels of antioxidants and may have anti-inflammatory and anticancer properties.

  • Cordyceps: Cordyceps mushrooms are a parasitic fungus that grows on caterpillars in the wild. They’ve been used in TCM to improve energy, athletic performance, and sexual function. Cordyceps mushrooms may also have immune-boosting, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant effects.

  • Lion's Mane: Lion's Mane mushrooms are a type of fungus with a unique appearance resembling a lion's mane. They’re used in TCM to support brain and cognitive health. Research suggests that Lion's Mane mushrooms may have neuroprotective effects and may help improve cognitive function and memory.

  • Shiitake: these mushrooms provide a range of health benefits when incorporated into your diet. Rich in vitamins, minerals, and fibre, they support a healthy immune system, protect against cell damage, and aid in digestion. Shiitake mushrooms also contain compounds with potential anticancer and antiviral properties, promoting overall well-being.

Related: A Guide to Mushrooms: Health Benefits, Nutrition, Best Types

The Healing Powers of Medicinal Fungi

In recent years, modern science has begun to uncover the mechanisms behind the use of functional mushrooms for healing. Numerous studies have demonstrated the potential of medicinal mushrooms to promote health and wellness, backing up their use in TCM for centuries. Here are some of the most notable health benefits associated with medicinal mushrooms:

  • Immune system support: Many types of medicinal mushrooms contain compounds called beta-glucans, which are known to stimulate the immune system. Beta-glucans may help activate immune cells and increase the production of cytokines, which are signalling molecules that help regulate the immune response. This can help strengthen the body's defences against infection and disease.

  • Anti-inflammatory properties: Inflammation is a natural immune response that can help the body fight infection and injury, but chronic inflammation can contribute to a wide range of health problems. Many types of medicinal mushrooms, such as maitake (Grifola frondosa), shiitake (Lentinus edodes), reishi (Ganoderma lucidum), and turkey tail (Trametes versicolor). contain compounds that have been shown to have anti-inflammatory effects. These compounds may help reduce inflammation in the body, which can help prevent chronic diseases such as heart disease, cancer, and autoimmune disorders.

  • Antioxidant effects: Antioxidants are compounds that help protect the body against damage from free radicals, and cellular waste which are unstable molecules that can contribute to oxidative stress and inflammation. Many types of medicinal mushrooms contain high levels of antioxidants, such as polyphenols and polysaccharides, which can help reduce oxidative stress and promote overall health.

  • Cancer-fighting potential: Many types of medicinal mushrooms have been studied for their potential to fight cancer. Compounds found in these mushrooms, such as beta-glucans and polysaccharides, have been shown to have anticancer properties and may help inhibit the growth and spread of cancer cells. Mushrooms are also well known to complement the effects of chemotherapy. While more research is needed, medicinal mushrooms show promise as a complementary therapy for cancer patients.

  • Cardiovascular benefits: Medicinal mushrooms may also have cardiovascular benefits, such as reducing blood pressure and improving cholesterol levels. Some types of mushrooms, such as shiitake, contain compounds that can help reduce inflammation and improve circulation, which can help protect against heart disease.

  • Digestive health benefits: Many types of medicinal mushrooms have been shown to have digestive health benefits, such as reducing inflammation in the gut and promoting the growth of beneficial gut bacteria. Mushrooms act as a prebiotic, which means they feed the good bacteria in your gut. This can help improve digestion and may help prevent conditions such as inflammatory bowel disease and leaky gut syndrome.

Creative Ways to Add Medicinal Mushrooms to Your Diet

Elevate your meals and supercharge your health by exploring ways to incorporate these magical fungi into your diet. Why not start your day with a hearty mushroom omelette or a mushroom-infused smoothie for a vibrant boost? Get adventurous by adding sautéed mushrooms to your favourite pasta dishes, pizzas, or stir-fries. Spice up your soups and stews with a medley of mushroom varieties for an earthy twist.

Interestingly mushrooms are better enjoyed when cooked. That’s because mushrooms contain compounds such as Chitin that can be unhealthy if eaten raw. 90% of people cannot break chitin down, making raw mushrooms unhealthy for most people. Which defeats the purpose, if you’re looking to boost your health with mushrooms. From simple to gourmet, let your imagination run wild as you savour the remarkable flavours and health benefits of medicinal mushrooms in every bite. No Gordon Ramsey? We’ve got you! One of the easiest ways to consume medicinal mushrooms is to take a daily mushroom complex supplement.

The Bottom Line

Medicinal mushrooms have taken the health and wellness world by storm, captivating both traditional medicine and modern science. With their potential to support the immune system, reduce inflammation, fight cancer, improve brain function, and promote overall well-being, these fungi offer a wealth of healing powers. By incorporating a variety of medicinal mushrooms into your diet, you can unlock their umami flavours and experience their transformative health benefits. And if cooking isn't your forte, don't worry! You can still reap the benefits by opting for a daily mushroom complex supplement

Written by Rowanna Watson, who has a passion for natural health. Rowanna is an expert in all areas of holistic health, plant-based nutrition, detoxification Written by best-selling author and integrative nutrition health coach and personal development.

Water for Health Ltd began trading in 2007 with the goal of positively affecting the lives of many. We still retain that mission because we believe that proper hydration and nutrition can make a massive difference to people’s health and quality of life. Click here to find out more.

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Mushrooms for the Mind - How Fungi Can Improve Brain Function

Mushrooms for the Mind - How Fungi Can Improve Brain Function

Have you ever thought about  how the food we eat affects brain health? 

It's true, every meal and snack we indulge in influences our mental capacity in some way.

The brain is incredibly intricate, managing everything, from emotions to bodily functions, 

…hence it's unsurprising that keeping it functioning at optimal levels is key to overall wellness. 

While a variety of foods have been known to aid mental performance,

 … mushrooms hold a special spotlight due to their peculiar structures.

Certain strains contain active compounds that enhance cognitive abilities.

Providing sharper focus, as well as aiding with depression & anxiety. 

All while increasing energy levels, and improving performance.

This article will explore the science of mushrooms by outlining the specific types essential for improving brain function.

Analysing how active ingredients work individually.

…as well as tips for a healthy intake into your diet.

Why Should We Focus on Enhancing Brain Function?

As the brain is responsible for managing a wide range of our bodily functions, the health of our brains can impact all areas of our lives. For better or for worse. The World Health Organisation estimates that 280 million people suffer from depression internationally. That’s 5% of the world's population. In the UK, the figures are remarkably higher. 17% of the UK’s population is said to suffer from depression. That’s up 7% since the pandemic struck the UK in 2020.

One staggering figure is that “56% of employees in the UK are experiencing symptoms of depression.” Which seriously impacts both quality of life and the functioning of the UK’s economy. That’s why we should take some time to find natural ways that we can boost cognitive function. Mushrooms seem to be a no brainer (pardon the pun). They are jam packed with compounds that can enhance brain function and have adaptogenic and tonic properties on the body. Medicinal mushrooms have been used in Chinese medicine for thousands of years, modern science is now catching up with ancient traditions.

 Learn more: Looking to Resolve Mental Health Problems Naturally? How These Suggestions Could Make Antidepressants Your Last Resort

The Science Behind Mushrooms and Brain Function

Brain function can benefit from the vast range of active compounds contained within mushrooms. One such group of well known compounds are beta glucans - these are polysaccharides known for their ability to modulate immunity, found in a variety of mushroom types. Ergothioneine is an amino acid found in mushrooms, which has strong antioxidative and anti-inflammatory properties. Mushrooms also contain compounds known as polyphenols which have significant neuroprotective and antioxidant traits.

 The connection between these unique compounds found in mushrooms and the brain is due to various effects on different pathways within the body system. Beta glucans stimulate immune activity - providing protective measures against inflammation induced neural degeneration. Ergothioneine, on the other hand, has been shown to protect neurons from oxidative stress, which is a type of damage that can occur when there are too many free radicals in the body. Polyphenols have been shown to promote the growth of new neurons and improve cognitive function.

 Related: The Benefits of Walking for Heart and Immune Health

Top 3 Brain Boosting Mushrooms

1. Lion's Mane Mushroom

…and its effects on cognitive function

Recognized by its Latin name "Hericium erinaceus” Lions' mane mushrooms are renowned for their potential neuroprotective effects. They’re endorsed through time-honoured use within traditional Chinese medicine, as a natural support for superior brain health. Scientific findings have supported these beliefs through research indicating that regular consumption of lion's mane extract could boost cognition, while shielding brain cells from damage. A study published in Behavioral Neurology found that lion's mane mushroom extract had a protective effect on brain cells, offering improvements in diseases such as: ischemic stroke, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and depression. Another study found that consuming lion’s mane for four months reduced anxiety levels in mice. Which shows promise for reducing anxiety in humans too.

Learn more: 6 Ways to Help Prevent Dementia & Alzheimer’s Disease

2. Reishi Mushroom

…and its potential for reducing anxiety and depression

 Reishi mushroom (Ganoderma lucidum) is a type of mushroom that’s been used for centuries in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) to promote both health and longevity. Recent studies have suggested that reishi mushroom may have anti-anxiety and antidepressant effects. One study published in the Biochemistry and Biophysics Reports found that mice given reishi mushroom extract exhibited reduced symptoms of anxiety and depression. This study also found that the consumption of Reishi Mushrooms could inhibit pain. Another study published in the Journal of Medicinal Food found that reishi mushroom extract reduced symptoms of anxiety and depression in mice by modulating the levels of certain neurotransmitters in the brain.

Related: Can Eating Fruit and Vegetables Boost Mental Health and Mood?

3. Cordyceps Mushroom

…and its impact on energy and focus

 Cordyceps mushroom (Cordyceps sinensis) is a type of mushroom that’s been used in traditional Chinese medicine for thousands of years, to improve physical performance and energy levels. Recent studies have now shown that cordyceps mushrooms may have a positive impact on both energy and focus. One study published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine found that participants who consumed cordyceps mushroom extract exhibited improved exercise performance and reduced fatigue compared to those who received a placebo. Another study published in the Journal of Dietary Supplements found that cordyceps mushroom extract improved cognitive function in older adults with mild cognitive impairment.

Learn more: Tips For Boosting Energy During the Summer 

Recommended daily intake of mushrooms for optimal brain function

While the specific recommended daily intake of mushrooms for optimal brain function has not been established, incorporating a variety of mushrooms into your diet can provide a range of beneficial compounds that may support brain health. One approach to incorporating mushrooms into your diet is to aim for at least one serving of functional mushrooms per day. A serving size is typically considered to be one cup of raw mushrooms. However, it's worth noting that the nutritional content of different types of mushrooms can vary, so consuming a variety of medicinal mushrooms can help ensure that you're getting a range of these beneficial compounds.

In addition to incorporating medicinal mushrooms into your diet, taking mushroom supplements may also be an option for those looking to boost brain function. However, it's important to note that the quality and effectiveness of mushroom supplements can vary, so it's a good idea to choose a reputable brand and consult with a healthcare professional before taking any supplements. While mushrooms can have potential benefits for brain function, it's important to be aware of precautions and possible side effects.

Related: Does the Gut-Brain-Axis Affect Neurodegenerative Disease?

Precautions and potential side effects

Some people may need to avoid mushrooms altogether due to certain health conditions or medications. For example, people with mushroom allergies should avoid consuming mushrooms. Additionally, people who are taking blood-thinning medications or who have blood clotting disorders may need to avoid consuming certain types of mushrooms that can have anticoagulant effects, such as shiitake mushrooms.

Certain types of mushrooms, such as reishi mushroom, can interact with medications and may cause side effects. For example, reishi mushroom can interact with blood-thinning medications and may increase the risk of bleeding. Additionally, reishi mushroom may interact with medications used to treat high blood pressure, diabetes, and certain psychiatric disorders. So it pays to check what medications you might be taking prior to consuming functional mushrooms.

Learn more: The Healing Power of Mushrooms


Mushrooms have the potential to improve brain function due to their active compounds that interact with the brain. Scientific evidence suggests that mushrooms such as Lion's Mane, Reishi, and Cordyceps may have specific benefits for cognitive function, anxiety and depression. As well as enhancing performance by boosting energy levels and focus.

While the recommended daily intake of mushrooms for optimal brain function is not established, consuming a variety of mushrooms in your diet or through supplements may be a promising strategy for supporting brain health. Whether you sauté them as a side dish or blend them into a smoothie, or take a mushroom supplement, there are endless ways to enjoy the benefits of mushrooms for brain health.

Written by Rowanna Watson, who has a passion for natural health. Rowanna is an expert in all areas of holistic health, plant-based nutrition, detoxification Written by best-selling author and integrative nutrition health coach and personal development.

Water for Health Ltd began trading in 2007 with the goal of positively affecting the lives of many. We still retain that mission because we believe that proper hydration and nutrition can make a massive difference to people’s health and quality of life. Click here to find out more.

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Medicinal Mushrooms - The Natural Way to Boost Your Immune System

Medicinal Mushrooms - The Natural Way to Boost Your Immune System

Having a strong immune system is worth its price in gold.

In fact, if you don’t have a strong immune system, then all the money in the world won’t help you.

It’s all about taking care of your health and wellbeing daily.

Even when life throws you a curveball.

It’s all too easy to follow the crowd and indulge in junk food and unhealthy snacks.

Especially if you’re not feeling up to looking after yourself.

Ironically, it’s at those moments when you feel low that you should be taking better care of yourself.

Bit by bit, your nutritional reserves diminish and then before you know it,

 …your tank is empty.

The immune system is a complex network of cells, tissues, and organs that work together to protect our bodies from harmful pathogens and maintain overall health.

While we often associate a healthy immune system with lifestyle factors like a balanced diet and regular exercise,

 …the role of certain natural substances, such as medicinal mushrooms, in supporting immune function is gaining attention.

In this article, we will explore the fascinating relationship between mushrooms and the immune system.

Delving into the various ways mushrooms can positively impact our body's defense mechanisms.

What are Medicinal Mushrooms?

Mushrooms have long been cherished as gourmet cuisine worldwide, prized for their unique taste and subtle flavors. However, recent research has discovered that mushrooms are more than a culinary delight. They possess an array of bioactive compounds with remarkable biological properties, turning them into miniature pharmaceutical factories. While mushrooms have a rich history in Oriental medicine, contemporary studies are only now catching up. We now have scientific evidence to support their effects on promoting good health and vitality.

Mushrooms have gained recognition as a source of nutraceuticals, offering benefits such as antioxidative, anticancer, immunomodulatory, and anti-inflammatory properties. Ongoing research aims to harness the potential of mushrooms as new generation "biotherapeutics," paving the way for their use in pharmaceutical and therapeutic applications. Mushrooms are a  valuable source of diverse bioactive compounds and they play a promising role in enhancing human well-being.

Related: 5 Useful Gadgets That Help Promote Wellness

Supporting Overall Wellness with Mushrooms

 A robust immune system is not only important for fending off infections but also for promoting overall wellness. Medicinal mushrooms have been associated with various health benefits beyond immune system support. Such as, their potential anticancer properties, cardiovascular benefits, and stress reduction capabilities. These aspects also contribute to maintaining a healthy immune system. Understanding the broader impact of medicinal mushrooms on our well-being will underscore their significance as natural allies in supporting overall health.

Stress impacts all areas of our lives. In one study 77% of volunteers said that stress affects their physical health and 73% said that stress impacts their mental health. Stress also affects our ability to have a good night's sleep. The good news is that some mushrooms, such as reishi and cordyceps, have adaptogenic properties, meaning they can help the body adapt to stress and promote overall well-being. These mushrooms have been traditionally used to support the body's response to stress and enhance resilience. Incorporating adaptogenic mushrooms into our routine may aid in managing stress and promoting a sense of calm.

Related: Can Eating Green Vegetables Help to Reduce Stress?

Activation of Immune Cells

When our body gets hurt or attacked by germs, our immune system tries to protect us by causing inflammation. It's a natural response, but sometimes our body needs help to calm down the inflammation. Certain things like not having enough antioxidants, vitamins, or getting older can make it harder for our body to stop the inflammation. That's where mushrooms come in! Mushrooms contain special molecules that can help reduce inflammation. Such as polysaccharides, phenolic compounds, fatty acids, and vitamins that fight inflammation and keep us healthy. Mushrooms can definitely be considered superfoods.

One of the key ways mushrooms influence the immune system is by stimulating the activity of various immune cells. Certain polysaccharides can activate immune cells such as natural killer (NK) cells, macrophages, and dendritic cells. NK cells are activated when mushrooms are ingested by stimulating cell surface activity. This activity is thought to be responsible for the anti-viral properties of mushrooms. Additionally, consuming mushrooms has been found to boost several immune responses and functions. For example the molecules β-Glucans, found in mushrooms, play a pivotal role in immunomodulation.

Related: Immune System Boosters: How to Nurture Better Immunity

Potential Therapeutic Applications of Mushrooms

Beyond their general immune-boosting effects, mushrooms have shown promise in various therapeutic applications. The last decade has witnessed the overwhelming interest of western research in the pharmaceutical potential of mushrooms. A number of anti-tumour agents have been identified in various strains of mushrooms. These include enzymes, phenolics, flavonoids, carotenoids, folates and organic acids. Polysaccharides are the best known and most potent mushroom-derived substances with anti-tumor and immune boosting properties.

Both mushrooms and blue green algae (like Spirulina) contain a specific molecule that’s not created in the human body. This molecule is called L-Ergothioneine (EGT) and is considered to be “the last undiscovered vitamin.” Mushrooms are particularly high in EGT, which is a powerful antioxidant. Making it particularly useful in combating oxidative stress related diseases such as Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's disease (AD), amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), multiple sclerosis, depression, and memory loss.

Related: Metabolic Syndrome Study: Hydrogen Rich Water Reduces Oxidative Stress

Precautions and considerations

While medicinal mushrooms are generally considered safe, they can interact with certain medications or cause allergic reactions in some people. If you feel you may fit into these categories, then it’s a good idea to speak with a  healthcare professional before starting a new supplement regimen.

In Conclusion

Having a strong immune system is truly invaluable. Mushrooms offer a natural and holistic way to support our immune system and overall wellness. They’re not only delicious but also packed with bioactive compounds that can positively impact our health. From being a powerhouse of antioxidants to promoting cardiovascular health, enhancing brain function, supporting digestion, reducing stress, and aiding in weight management, mushrooms have a lot to offer. Why not embrace the natural power of mushrooms to make them a valuable addition to your daily life.

Written by Rowanna Watson, who has a passion for natural health. Rowanna is an expert in all areas of holistic health, plant-based nutrition, detoxification Written by best-selling author and integrative nutrition health coach and personal development.

Water for Health Ltd began trading in 2007 with the goal of positively affecting the lives of many. We still retain that mission because we believe that proper hydration and nutrition can make a massive difference to people’s health and quality of life. Click here to find out more.

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The Healing Power of Mushrooms

The Healing Power of Mushrooms

Mushrooms have long been used for both medicinal and culinary purposes.

In recent years, medicinal mushrooms such as reishi, lion's mane, chaga, shiitake, and cordyceps,

…have become increasingly popular for their potential health benefits.

Researchers have found that these medicinal mushrooms (MM) may help with a wide range of health problems, like cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and problems with the immune system

Modern pharmacological research backs up a lot of what our ancestors knew about mushrooms.

Specifically, the fact that mushrooms can be used as medicine,

…because of their antifungal, antibacterial, antioxidant, and antiviral properties.

They’re also popularly used as functional foods.

These are foods that can be enjoyed knowing that they have additional health benefits.

The medicinal benefits are due to the nutrient dense properties of mushrooms.

They provide high quantities of proteins, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, and minerals.

This article is a summary of the many ways that mushrooms are good for human health. 

As well as our top five medicinal mushrooms that you might want to add into your daily routine.

Let’s dive in.

Are Mushrooms Really Good for You?

 Researchers have found that medicinal mushrooms help people deal with the stress and pressure of modern life by boosting both the basic and secondary immune responses of the body. More than 5,000 species of mushrooms have been found all over the world, and about 2000 of them are known to be edible. A lot of the species have not yet been looked at to see if they could be used as medicines or supplements. In other reports, researchers mention that there are actually 12,000 different types of mushrooms in the world. Mushrooms have been used in medicine since the Neolithic and Palaeolithic eras.

Medicinal mushrooms (MM) are large fungi that are used in the form of extracts or powder to prevent, or treat a number of diseases and/or to make a healthy diet more balanced. Even though mushrooms are actually fungi, they are called "vegetables" when it comes to food. They are also commonly used to replace meat in meatless dishes. That’s because they take on the flavours of the dish and some mushrooms are naturally umami. Which means they are savoury and have a hearty, meaty flavour.

 Learn more: A Guide to Mushrooms: Health Benefits, Nutrition, Best Types

An Exciting New Discovery

Scientists have discovered a compound found in mushrooms, specifically lion’s mane, that can improve memory by making nerves grow faster. A recent study published by The University of Queensland, suggests that a compound found in a type of mushroom called Lion's Mane may have potential benefits for cognitive health. The study found that consuming Lion's Mane extract led to improvements in cognitive function, such as better scores on a cognitive assessment and increased concentration levels.

 Additionally, researchers found that the extract may have a positive impact on the development of nerve cells in the brain, potentially contributing to the brain's ability to regenerate and repair itself. The findings suggest that Lion's Mane extract may have potential as a natural supplement for cognitive health, but further research is needed to fully understand its benefits. Dr. Lee, co-author of the paper concluded “This important research is unravelling the molecular mechanism of lion’s mane mushroom compounds and their effects on brain function, particularly memory.”

 Related: Load up on trace minerals — They’re essential to avoid weak bones, a decreased immune system and many other health problems!

Our Top 5 Medicinal Mushrooms (MM)

 1.   Reishi Mushrooms (Ganoderma lucidum)

Reishi mushrooms  have long been used in the Orient to boost immune health.  There are three main benefits that have been proven by science: boosting the immune system, fighting cancer, getting rid of fatigue, depression and reducing chronic stress levels. Reishi mushrooms might also be good for your heart and help you control your blood sugar and restore healthy cholesterol levels.

2.   Shiitake Mushrooms (Lentinus edodes)

In addition to being a fantastic source of umami flavour, dried shiitake mushrooms can be used as a meat substitute because they contain nearly all of the same amino acids as meat. That's why these mushrooms are so great for vegetarians and vegans. Further, the beta-glucans, sterols, and eritadenine in shiitake mushrooms may aid in controlling blood sugar and reducing cholesterol. In one study 52 young adults consumed 5-10 g of shiitake mushrooms daily. Resulting in improved gut immunity, and lowered markers for inflammation.

3.   Lion’s Mane Mushrooms (Hericium erinaceus)

Lion’s mane mushrooms get their name from the shaggy mane-like appearance. Animal studies show that the lion's mane mushroom can boost the immune system. It does this by making the intestinal immune system work harder. This system protects the body from pathogens that enter the gut through the nose or the mouth. These effects may be caused in part by positive changes in gut bacteria that boost the immune system. In 2012, a study found that giving mice a lethal dose of Salmonella bacteria and then giving them a daily supplement of lion's mane extract made them live almost four times longer.

4.   Chaga Mushrooms (Inonotus obliquus)

A group of Japanese scientists used chaga to treat mice with lung cancer. Over the course of 3 weeks, the mice were given 6 mg of chaga per day. The results showed that the size of tumours went down by 60%, and the number of nodules in metastatic mice went down by 25%. In an interesting twist, the study also showed that the mice's immune systems improved. Because of the chaga doses, the body temperature of older mice went up, but the body temperature of mice that had tumours put in after the trial stayed the same. The immune system works better when the body's temperature stays high or stays the same. This suggests that chaga can help the immune system as a whole.

5.   Cordyceps Mushroom (Ophiocordyceps)

Cordyceps mushrooms contain many bioactive compounds that can boost the immune system. Including nucleosides, sterols, flavonoids, cyclic peptides, phenolic, bioxanthracenes, polyketides, and alkaloids. In clinical studies cordyceps mushrooms have been shown to have other pharmacological effects like anti-cancer, anti-diabetic, anti-fatigue, anti-aging, hypocholesterolemic, hypotensive, vasorelaxation, anti-depressant, aphrodisiac, and kidney protection.

The Bottom Line

Incorporating medicinal mushrooms into your diet may be a great way to boost your overall health and wellbeing. Whether you're looking to improve your immune system, reduce inflammation, or enhance cognitive function, a medicinal mushroom blend could help. While buying individual mushrooms can be expensive and time-consuming, a high-quality medicinal mushroom blend can provide you with the benefits of multiple mushrooms in one convenient supplement. When purchasing a blend, be sure to choose a reputable brand that uses high-quality ingredients. By adding a medicinal mushroom blend to your daily routine, you may be able to experience the numerous health benefits that these incredible fungi have to offer. So why not give it a try and see how it can enhance your overall health and wellbeing?

Written by Rowanna Watson, who has a passion for natural health. Rowanna is an expert in all areas of holistic health, plant-based nutrition, detoxification Written by best-selling author and integrative nutrition health coach and personal development.

Water for Health Ltd began trading in 2007 with the goal of positively affecting the lives of many. We still retain that mission because we believe that proper hydration and nutrition can make a massive difference to people’s health and quality of life. Click here to find out more.

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healthy salt

An in-depth look at the incredible benefits of consuming the ‘RIGHT’ kind of salt!

An in-depth look at the incredible benefits of consuming the ‘RIGHT’ kind of salt!

Salt— the most widely used choice of food seasoning across the globe comes in many forms with some of the most popular including: table salt, kosher salt and Himalayan pink salt.

Heath messaging and the media claim we should avoid it like the plague to decrease the risk of cardiovascular diseases, but some of these messages need to be taken with, ehh, a grain of salt.

In this article we’ll take a look at the benefits of consuming the ‘right’ kind of salt and how it translates to better health such as favourable body pH balance, increased stomach acid production, and a reduction in sugar cravings.

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woman in blue shirt doing thumbs up

Everything You Need To Know About Anamu

Everything You Need To Know About Anamu

If you haven't already heard of the Anamu plant, you're in for a treat! Anamu, also known as “Guinea Henweed” and scientifically known as Petiveria Alliacea - Is a flowering herbaceous plant that has long been used in traditional medicine.

This plant provides high levels of dibenzyl trisulphide (DTS) … an organic sulphur compound that may aid the immune system. Sulphur amino acids in anamu don't just boost immune health. They play an important role as an antioxidant. And interestingly, it tastes a lot like garlic Which is rich in various forms of sulphur

What makes this plant so special? What is anamu used for? And how can you use it to improve your health? Let's take a closer look…

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Berberine — Nature's little yellow compound effective to combat diabetes, high blood pressure and more!

Berberine — Nature's little yellow compound effective to combat diabetes, high blood pressure and more!

Heard of Berberine?

This little yellow coloured natural chemical has burst onto the scene lately and gained a lot of popularity. 

In fact, so much so that people are labelling it the ‘next turmeric’. 

Yes - it’s powerful stuff folks, and in this article you’ll find out exactly why it warrants being named alongside some of the long-standing nutrient powerhouses.

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image of red marine algae underwater

The Surprising Health Benefits of Gigartina Red Marine Algae

The Surprising Health Benefits of Gigartina Red Marine Algae

Before the 19th century people knew about the natural healing properties of plants. Yet, since the industrial revolution we’ve all-but lost this incredible link to nature.

Gigartina red marine algae is one of the wonder plants that can impact all areas of health.

The scientific name for red algae is Gigartina teedii or Rhodophyta. Gigartina was discovered in Portugal back in the 19th century. Later it was found in the UK, specifically in Devon and Cornwall Fast forward to 2022, and we now know the many health benefits of red algae. Hence, much attention is now given to this magnificent plant.

In this article, we’ll explore the many health benefits of red algae. More importantly, you’ll learn how to incorporate it as part of your daily routine.

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The Impact of the Plant-Based Revolution on the Fitness Industry

The Impact of the Plant-Based Revolution on the Fitness Industry

The Impact of the Plant-Based Revolution on the Fitness Industry

Our approach to food is starting to change on a grand scale. There’s always been differing preferences out there when it comes to the contents of one’s diet and a lot of that just boils down to personal taste. But then there’s the other side of it. The side that breeds a little bit more conflict between separate groups, and perhaps justifiably so.

While most humans have followed an omnivorous diet throughout history, plant-based diets have also been popular for a long time. In some cases, people will adopt said diet for health reasons, but ethics are the usual reason and that’s where things have historically gotten a little controversial.

Now that we have gotten pretty deep into the 21st century, our understanding of our bodies and how different foods affect us has advanced quite a bit. And it is becoming more and more clear that not only is a plant-based diet perfectly healthy, but if you approach it correctly then you can still reach your full fitness potential.

What we have come to realise is that meat is not an essential component of high-level fitness. For the purposes of this article, let’s imagine that you are an athlete and you have decided to shift to an entirely plant-based diet. What is your diet going to look like now? Let's discuss…

How to Source Plant Protein

As anyone who takes their fitness seriously knows, one of the most important aspects of building muscle is your protein intake. Proteins are made up of amino acids which build and repair muscle and bone in your body.

When we think about protein, our mind instantly jumps to things like red meat, cheese, fish and eggs. And obviously none of these things would fall into a plant-based diet. This is what leads a lot of people to believe that it’s impossible for vegans to build any muscle.

That’s not the case however; there are actually a number of somewhat lesser-known foods which you can get more than enough protein from. You need look no further than lentils for this. A member of the legume family, the nutritional value of legumes is shockingly vast.

100 grams of lentils contains 9 grams of protein. Now if you consider the fact that for a diet of about 2,500 calories, which is fairly standard for an average sized athlete, you would only need about 80-90g of protein per day, you can get more than 10% of that from 100g of lentils.

They are cheap, easy to prepare and you can adapt them to a lot of different meals which makes them basically a superfood. Vegans can also get protein from chickpeas, quinoa, black beans and a variety of nuts so there are a lot of options here.

RelatedPlant-Based Protein Foods – A Guide

Gaining Weight

Getting enough protein is one thing, but fitness and muscle building also requires eating a certain amount of calories every single day. And again, people tend not to associate calories with fruit and vegetables.

The actual reality is that plant-based products which are high in calories are actually significantly healthier than meat products which offer the same effect.

Think about avocados. A single avocado has over 300 calories, but the fats and fibre present are heart-healthy. You will also get Vitamin C and potassium out of an avocado too.

A single cup of quinoa, meanwhile, contains about 220 calories, and is also high in other important nutrients such as folate and manganese.

There’s also rice, sweet potatoes and nut butters which are all high in calories too, so there’s really no shortage of plant-based foods out there which can help to beef people up.

What About Nutritional Supplements?

The prevalence of supplements is a big part of the impact the plant-based revolution is having on fitness. But in a way, there’s a little bit of a misconception surrounding it. Vegans and vegetarians don’t necessarily need supplements, we’ve just realised how beneficial including supplements in our diet actually is.

B12 is the big one. This is the vitamin that everyone associates with veganism, and the reality is that yes, vegans should be taking a B12 supplement, but so should a lot of meat-eaters. An awful lot of people are low in this vitamin.

Similarly, vitamin D is an essential one that a lot of people are lacking. You can get it from meat and eggs but most of your vitamin D will come from sunlight. There’s nothing about a plant-based diet which is going to contribute to a lack of sunlight and so this can be a requirement for both.

Everybody is different of course, and some vegans may want to try something like a plant-based protein powder if they personally feel like they’re lacking in that regard. But as mentioned above, what this revolution has opened our eyes to is the fact that there are nutrients and vitamins that even meat-eaters are lacking in. 

And supplementing them will benefit your gains and your progress in terms of fitness no matter what your diet is primarily made of. 


Not only is a plant-based diet perfectly healthy, but if you approach it correctly, you can still reach your full fitness potential.

In answer to the main question posed by this article, the fitness industry has been impacted by the plant-based revolution in a major way, because it has allowed us to discover that there is nothing stopping us from building a lot of muscle and reaching peak physical fitness without animal products. 

With the knowledge and resources that we now possess, your diet can be entirely plant-based and no longer be a barrier to your physical progression. Don’t believe us? Just ask some of the world’s top vegan athletes.

Water for Health Ltd began trading in 2007 with the goal of positively affecting the lives of many. We still retain that mission because we believe that proper hydration and nutrition can make a massive difference to people’s health and quality of life. Click here to find out more.

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9 Incredible Anti-Inflammatory Foods You Need to Be Eating

9 Incredible Anti-Inflammatory Foods You Need to Be Eating

9 Incredible Anti-Inflammatory Foods You Need to Be Eating

Migraines and headaches have long been known as symptoms of inflammation. A natural response to bring healing to an area. When you sprain or bruise any part of your body, it will become hot and inflamed.

Naturally, your body is sending energy to heal, however when there are multiple areas of inflammation, this can lead to chronic disease.

Inflammation has been given much attention of late. Due to scientists finding that inflammation is associated with most lifestyle-related chronic illnesses. In the west, lifestyle-related chronic illness such as diabetes, cancer and heart disease, are the main cause of death.

Which is sad, because simply choosing better daily habits could save many lives.

For this reason, lifestyle medicine is on the rise, providing a global mainstream movement for change. One of the major contributing factors of the development of chronic illness, and thus inflammation, is dietary choices.

Additionally, low-grade inflammation (metaflammation) is characteristic of ageing. Healthcare focus has quite rightly shifted to how we can reduce inflammation by pursuing healthier lifestyles.

One such approach is ensuring that you are consuming adequate amounts of anti-inflammatory foods. In this article, we’ll delve into the 9 best evidence-based nutrients that have been proven to reduce inflammation. So you can pack your diet with these foods as part of your healthy routine.

What is Metaflammation?

Metainflammation is a low-grade form of systemic inflammation, associated with most, if not all modern lifestyle-related chronic diseases.

Metabolic and immune systems have a bidirectional relationship and are among the most fundamental requirements for survival.

These findings have changed the focus for much of the medical community, from simply clinical solutions to a more inclusive approach that takes into consideration lifestyle and environmental factors.

Without further ado, let’s dive into the foods that reduce inflammation…

1. Grapes

Grapes contain an antioxidant known as a “phytoalexin,” which has chemoprotective and therapeutic effects, especially on the skin.

Resveratrol is another active compound in grapes that’s been proven to have anti-ageing properties, especially related to the skin.

Other antioxidant properties that grapes provide, thanks to the compound resveratrol, mean that it is cardioprotective.

Curiously people living in Southern France have very low mortality rates from coronary heart disease (CHD), one of the biggest killers in western civilisation. Despite them consuming a high-fat diet and often smoking copious amounts of cigarettes.

This paradox has been attributed to their plentiful consumption of red wine, which is high in resveratrol.

2. Blackberry (Leaf and fruit)

Blackberries have anti-inflammatory properties that protect many systems of the body.

One 2013 study found that blackberries protect your teeth against some of the bacteria that cause oral disease. Blackberries may also improve brain health, according to a paper published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.

The antioxidants in blackberries fight off free radicals that contribute to illness and ageing. 

Blackberry leaf tea has traditionally been used to treat mouth ulcers as well as sore gums and throat. The anti-inflammatory properties of blackberry leaf, in part, is due to the high vitamin C content.

3. Black cherry

Cherry (especially black cherry)  is rich in anthocyanins which are pigments known for their anti-inflammatory properties.

Interestingly, anthocyanins give the cherries their vibrant colour, and also can be used as pH indicators. The deeper the colour of cherry, the more alkaline the cherry is.

It’s important to note that there’s a difference between acidic foods and acid-forming foods that promote acidic conditions in the body.

Research has revealed that antioxidants in cherries can reduce both inflammation and pain. One study where volunteers drank cherry juice for 21 days in a row reduced pain in those suffering from osteoarthritis (OA).

When the scientists tested the blood of participants, the markers for inflammation had dropped significantly.

5. Turmeric

Turmeric is a vibrant antioxidant-rich yellow-orange root that’s anti-inflammatory, a free radical scavenger, and antimicrobial.

Used in Ayurveda to promote health and wellbeing for thousands of years. Curcumin is the bioactive, fat-soluble nutrient derived from turmeric root that contains many life-giving qualities.

Cellular degradation due to oxidative stress is prevalent in all forms of illness and injury, both chronic and acute. Free radicals are formed in high quantities after injury, strenuous exercise, excessive stress, or trauma, and all trigger the body’s inflammatory response.

Curcumin works to effectively promote a healthy anti-inflammatory response while also removing toxic free radicals.

Related9 Proven Turmeric Benefits for Skin, Arthritis, Diabetes & More

5. Green Tea (and certain mushrooms)

A lot of people have a cup of tea to unwind and relax, especially in Britain. Historically drinking tea has been synonymous with relaxation, and for good reason.

Science is now backing up this long-held belief. L-theanine, a compound in tea, discovered in 1949, was singled out as the amino acid responsible for tea’s soothing properties.

The supplement L-theanine is often taken by people to relieve stress, promote sleep and reduce anxiety. Although often it is chemically synthesised, and not derived from green tea.

If you’re looking for a natural way to relax and also reduce inflammation, green tea is a great source of L-theanine.

Specific mushrooms (Xerocomus badius) also contain L-theanine and polysaccharides that have potent anti-inflammatory properties.

Related: A Guide to Mushrooms – Health Benefits, Nutrition, Best Types

6. Blackcurrant

It has been confirmed that black currant is a potent anti-inflammatory, thanks to the gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) in the fruit.

GLA is an omega-6 fatty acid that can reduce inflammation in the body. Blackcurrants also contain anthocyanin’s that further reduce inflammation.

In one study, participants could reduce their pain medication thanks to the consumption of GLA’s.

Concentrated blackcurrant supplements have also been found to boost the immune response in those who habitually exercised.

Allowing them the ability to exercise for longer, in turn, boosting athletic performance.

Blackcurrant seed oil was also used in another study of healthy older adults and was found to boost their immune system.

7. Redcurrant

Redcurrant is a powerhouse for healing and nutrition.

When consumed regularly, red currant has been found to reduce chronic illness, which is characterised by high levels of inflammation.

Again it’s the anthocyanins that give red currants their health-promoting properties.

This is especially true when you select red currents that are high in the anthocyanin cyanidin-3-rutinoside.

Interestingly, anthocyanins offer a wide range of healing properties including chemoprotection, boosting eye health and also healing blood vessels.

8. Elderberry

Elderberries are another fruit that you should consume if you want to reduce inflammation. Studies have shown that elderberries provide many anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects.

Elderberries have been used as a natural medicine for hundreds, if not thousands of years. Some studies have shown that drinking elderberry juice may reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s.

Elderberries are also bursting with nutrition, namely vitamin C, flavonols and anthocyanins.

Flavonols can reduce inflammation by inhibiting the enzymes of inflammation.

One amazing quality of consuming concentrated elderberry juice is that it boosts the immune system. In one study, elderberries were found to reduce the severity of flu symptoms.

Related5 Compelling Reasons to Eat Berries

9. Plum

Plums are bursting with antioxidants, which help to remove free radicals that cause inflammation.

In particular, plums contain high amounts of polyphenols that boost bone health and have been found to reduce the risk of heart disease and diabetes in some studies.

Plums contain double the amount of polyphenols when compared to peaches.

In one study polyphenols were found to reduce inflammatory markers associated with lung and joint diseases.

Plums may also help with reducing blood sugar, despite being high in carbs. Similarly, plums are very acidic (pH 3) but don’t create an acidic environment in the body.

In Conclusion

Berries are some of the most healing foods on the planet. Especially when consumed daily.

If you concentrate berry juice, then you will be taking an elixir for health. It is important to note, however, that regular juice concentrate bought in a supermarket is filled with sugar and not a suitable form of berries.

The juice must be extracted and concentrated in a specific way to retain its healing qualities.

All berries offer a wide range of health benefits, from reducing inflammation, and cleansing the blood to enhancing vision and boosting skin health. Reducing inflammation protects cells from damage by allowing them the freedom to move and thrive.

Written by best-selling author and integrative nutrition health coach Rowanna Watson, who has a passion for natural health. Rowanna is an expert in all areas of holistic health, plant-based nutrition, detoxification and personal development.

Water for Health Ltd began trading in 2007 with the goal of positively affecting the lives of many. We still retain that mission because we believe that proper hydration and nutrition can make a massive difference to people’s health and quality of life. Click here to find out more.

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Why It's Best to Buy Organic [Plus How to Avoid Toxic Fruit & Veg]

Why It's Best to Buy Organic [Plus How to Avoid Toxic Fruit & Veg]

Why It's Best to Buy Organic

It's Organic September, so we thought we'd keep things topical by writing about why buying organic is a good idea. The month-long campaign raises awareness of the producers and farmers who bring organic products to market with their many benefits.

To be classed as organic, products and foods have to adhere to strict regulations. Producers are inspected annually to ensure they are sticking to these strict EU guidelines.

The main benefits of buying and eating organic are:

- You help to protect the environment, combating climate change and protecting biodiversity and wildlife.

- Any livestock reared by organic farmers have a better quality of life, with the freedom to roam. The highest standards of animal welfare protect them.

- Any foods or products won't contain any preservatives, herbicides or additives, and there should be no genetically modified ingredients.

- Organic produce contains far fewer pesticides. - You are eating good-quality food that is more nutritious, as more natural and sustainable organic farming practices ensure there are more nutrients in the soil.

- According to the Soil Association, by switching just one item in your shop to organic, you will help to contribute to changing our food system. Buying more organic food increases the demand for organic farms, meaning fewer pesticides in our environment. It's better for our wildlife and means more farm animals can be raised humanely, under higher welfare standards.

The blight of pesticides in food & waterways

According to the Soil Association, conventional food production widely uses pesticides that harm the environment, water and our food chain. 

Not only does it affect the food we eat but also that of wildlife. While these toxins are entering waterways and finding their way into our drinking water, they’re also polluting the drinking water wildlife depend on for their survival, and they contaminate the habitat of aquatic life.

They damage the finely tuned ecosystem and create adverse toxic effects on directly exposed organisms. Pesticides can reduce the abundance of weeds and insects, which are essential food sources for many species.

In 2017, government testing found pesticide residues in 47% of British food, many containing multiple pesticides

Often, conventionally grown produce is sprayed with more than one pesticide. When you bite into a non-organic apple, it may have been sprayed up to 10 times while still on the tree, and there may have been more than one type of pesticide used with apples testing positive for up to 30 different pesticides.

Scarily, in the UK between 2011 -2015, 100% of oranges and 86% of pears tested contained multiple pesticide residues.

What’s the accumulative effect of these? Has anyone carried out substantial research on how a cocktail of pesticides across the board of all that we eat and drink truly affects us? What about any interactions between them?

Rather like taking several different prescribed medications, all with side effects and interactions – what’s the overarching impact of these pesticides collectively? Does anybody really know? 

Either way, toxins are toxins which can negatively impact your health if your body is exposed to too many. And while safe limits have been established, resilience to pesticides, the body’s natural toxicity ceiling and capacity to detoxify varies from person to person.

Besides, how rigorous is the research on which safety is based? And who is paying to carry out that research? Is there any conflict of interest?

Let’s not forget a history of blaring blunders where pesticides and fungicides that were deemed safe. For example, DDT was banned in 1972 after being widely used for decades for insect control in crop and livestock production, as well as in institutions, gardens and homes.

Mounting evidence showed that this extremely toxic pesticide was having a detrimental effect on the environment, impacting on wildlife and human health. DDT is very persistent in the environment. For instance, it is still showing up in sediments of remote Canadian lakes.

To this day, some animals and fish consume DDT from grass, algae and other plants growing in contaminated sediments and soil. By entering their food chain, it enters ours. Among other health concerns, DDT exposure may be linked to Alzheimer’s.

While we can’t avoid toxins altogether, limiting our exposure to them is possible by making a few smart choices. Organic foods undoubtedly contain fewer pesticides, so choosing organic fruit, vegetables, dairy and meat products will unquestionably lessen your toxic load.

Using organic and eco beauty and household products will also help. Not only will you benefit from this, but as a consumer, these choices have a positive environmental impact.

Soil Association facts and figures

– In 2016, over 16,600 tonnes of pesticides were used on British farms to kill weeds, insects and control crop diseases.

Many pesticides don’t just kill the target pest. They can affect other wildlife and the environment by either direct poisoning, contaminating water courses or disrupting ecosystems.

– Many people don’t realise almost 300 pesticides can be routinely used in non-organic farming and these are often present in non-organic food we eat despite washing and cooking.

Organic farming standards, on the other hand, don’t allow any synthetic pesticides and absolutely no herbicides such as glyphosate.

– Organic farmers are permitted to use just 20 pesticides, derived from natural ingredients including citronella and clove oil, but only under very restricted circumstances.

Research suggests that if all UK farming were organic, pesticide use would drop by 98%! This means that organic farms are a haven for wildlife, and these toxic pesticides can’t make their way into the food chain and into us.

– Organic farming reduces disruption to the natural environment. By rotating crops and selecting crop varieties with a natural resistance to particular pests and diseases, organic farmers can reduce or avoid disease problems and the need to control them with chemical inputs.

– Organic farms have around 50% more bees, butterflies and other pollinators.


Alongside all the pesticides and fungicides, the insidiously harmful herbicide glyphosate is also finding its way into the water and food chain.

The world’s most heavily sold and widely spread weedkiller, glyphosate (the active ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup) comes with a wealth of environmental and health concerns. Among other things, it’s commonly used to dry out wheat crops before harvest, and the Soil Association are currently calling for a UK ban of this practice. 

In UK farming alone, its use has increased by 400% in the last 20 years. It’s also used in public parks and gardens and can be found in your non-eco-friendly garden weedkiller. Glyphosate is one of three pesticides regularly testing positive in our UK bread. It showed up in over 60% of wholemeal bread samples tested by Defra.

While glyphosate manufacturers try to convince us that the levels in our food are safe, WHO have listed glyphosate as a ‘probable carcinogen’. Glyphosate can even cause harm if being sprayed nearby. The Soil Association state that the IARC (International Agency on Research for Cancer) suggests there is no safe level for glyphosate in food.

Organic farming does not allow the use of glyphosate or any other weedkillers, so by buying organic, you are reducing your exposure to this harmful herbicide. If this is something that concerns you, help the Soil Association to rid our food of glyphosate. Find out how here.

The prevalence of pesticides

From creams and lotions to cosmetics, soaps and toothpaste, it’s not uncommon for pesticides (including glyphosate) and GMOs to be found in non-organic toiletries and health and beauty products.

It’s always best to check the ingredients list before purchasing these products as it’s not just pesticides and GMOs you need to worry about. Many of them contain other nasties like parabens, a petrochemical hormone disruptor linked to breast cancer.

You can also find phthalates, oestrogen mimickers linked to infertility and hormone imbalance. 

While not always organic, it’s still better to go for eco-friendly household and gardening products. They don’t contain toxic chemicals, so are safer for you, your family and the environment.

They have fewer risks and gentler ingredients. One common ingredient found in cream cleansers, laundry detergent and all-purpose cleaners is MCI or MIT or MI. On the label, it can be called methylisothiazolinone or methylchloroisothiazolinone. It’s a preservative active against bacteria, yeast, and fungi.

The Soil Association states that it’s a common irritant, and prolonged exposure to low levels may damage a developing nervous system.

We can also consider organic when it comes to our clothes, bedclothes, towels and fabric used for any other household and personal care products.

This includes tissues, cotton pads and buds, cleaning cloths, tea towels and anything else you can think of. 

The textile industry is one of the most polluting ones around. By buying organic, you protect the planet and wildlife. Animals are reared more humanely (think leather goods), the soil is enriched by natural farming methods, and no GMO seeds are used.

Any textile products you purchase will have been more sustainably produced. You also protect the livelihood of cotton farmers and reduce the amounts of microfibres from synthetic fabrics being released into waterways. 

Cottonseed is used for cooking oils, shortenings and margarine. It is also used as poultry and livestock feed. Buying organic cotton can help to reduce the amount of GMOs, pesticides and herbicides finding their way into these products.

The fast fashion industry is the second biggest consumer of water and responsible for 8 to 10% of global carbon emissions, more than all international flights and maritime shipping combined.

With only an estimated one-third of purchased clothes in the UK being worn, reducing our clothing consumption is one way forward. Another is to go for organic, sustainable, environmentally friendly clothing whenever possible.

The dirty dozen and clean 15

Did you know there is a list that shows who the worst non-organic fruit and vegetable offenders are? And another that shows the cleanest?

An updated American version is brought out by the EWG (Environmental Working Group) every year. Every year, in the UK, the government checks pesticide residue levels in food. Using data over five years, PAN UK has compiled a handy downloadable list of the meanest and cleanest that you can reference

The Dirty Dozen is the most heavily sprayed fruit and vegetables, but an extended EWG list shows an additional 39 items that have tested the highest within popular fresh produce. While this list is American, it can still be a handy benchmark for the UK. 

Sadly, many of your favourite fruits and vegetables may well be lurking on this list, so if possible, purchasing organic versions of these foods might be best.

Can't afford to buy organic?

– As mentioned earlier, the Soil Association state that by switching to just one organic food or product, you can help change our food system. This benefits the environment, encourages biodiversity, supports wildlife, and protects animal welfare.

– You can ease your toxic load by investing in a comprehensive water filter to help remove pesticides, toxins and other impurities from your drinking water. The Biocera jug is a more cost-effective way to do this, and it’s worth every penny.

– If you can stretch to adding a few organic foods to your weekly shop, go organic for anything listed on The Dirty Dozen. At least you will be exposing yourself to fewer pesticides from the most heavily sprayed produce of all.

– Seeing as so much glyphosate is showing up in our bread and one of the biggest crops it’s used on is wheat, buying organic bread, and any other products containing wheat would help to cut down your intake of this and any other pesticides.

– Try to shop at local farmer’s markets and from local producers. Not only do you tend to eat more seasonally, which is better for you, but it can also be lighter on your pocket when it comes to eating cleaner food.

It’s not unusual for many local producers to follow organic and environmental farming methods even though they are not listed as organic. Don’t be afraid to ask them what practices they use and whether or not they use many pesticides. A bonus is that you will also be supporting local business.

– You can look up producers online if you’re curious about suppliers to your favourite supermarket and make an educated decision about what non-organic brands you prefer to buy.

– There are some chemical-free fruit and vegetable washes on the market that claim to remove many of the pesticides regular cleaning can’t. Before picking one, do your research to find out which is the cleanest, most ethical and effective. You can find them in most good health food shops.

Be aware that you will never be able to get rid of all the pesticides as many chemicals penetrate beyond the skin into the very fabric of the fruit or vegetable.

– When buying any household products, toiletries or beauty essentials, look for brands that are eco. They’re more likely to have fewer nasties and are safer for the environment. They can often be more cost-effective too.

– The same rules apply when buying food supplements. So if you can’t afford or source good-quality organic ones, buy them from a trusted supplier that uses no additives, preservatives or GMOs. Look for accreditation and read up on their production methods and any testing they carry out for impurities and toxins.


As it’s Organic September, you can play your part by switching to just one organic product in your weekly shop. Consequently, you can contribute to changing our food system. You can help increase the demand for organic farming which helps the environment, encourages biodiversity, supports wildlife, and rears animals under higher welfare standards.

It’s not just about organic foods either. Pesticides, herbicides and fungicides can turn up in non-organic beauty products, toiletries, clothes and textiles and non-eco household cleaners and weedkillers. By choosing to go organic and eco-friendly, not only do you get direct health benefits, but you play a significant part in all of the above.

Filling your trolley up with organic essentials can get pricey. If you’re on a lower budget, do what you can. Even the smallest of trades is something. Where possible, if any foods in your basket are in the Dirty Dozen, try to swap them for organic.

Also try to go organic with any animal produce (dairy, poultry, eggs and meat). Consider buying organic bread, and any other staples that contain wheat like crackers, pasta, cereal and baked goods.

Click here for 30 ways to join the Organic Revolution.

Check out our detox supplements here

By Rebecca Rychlik-Cunning, a Nutritional Therapist and Homeopath. Follow Rebecca on Instagram, Facebook and Medium, @rebeccabitesback.

Water for Health Ltd began trading in 2007 with the goal of positively affecting the lives of many. We still retain that mission because we believe that proper hydration and nutrition can make a massive difference to people’s health and quality of life. Click here to find out more.

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canned goods on a shelf

7 Healthy Non-Perishable Emergency Foods Worth Stocking Up On

7 Healthy Non-Perishable Emergency Foods Worth Stocking Up On

I have to be honest, before the global pandemic I didn’t like the idea of powdered foods. Opting for fresh “perishable” foods, like raw fruits and vegetables, has always been favoured.

The thing is, fresh fruits and vegetables are becoming harder to get your hands on. And let’s face it, making fresh green juice is great for you. But it can be messy and time-consuming.

Our problems have changed drastically. But there are lots of new opportunities opening. If you’re anything like me, you’ve exhausted the space in your freezer and are now searching for alternative sources of nutrition to fuel the health of you and your family.

The health conscious around the world are looking for ways to stay healthy, especially in times of emergency. But now the focus has shifted. We need long lasting non-perishable foods that will provide health and peace of mind. While still investing in high-quality, thoughtfully-sourced ingredients.

Fruits and veggies don’t last long – unless they’re dehydrated, canned or frozen. Which means getting your daily green juice can be a bit hard if you can’t get to the store several times a week. For that reason, why not make the switch to a high-quality powdered green juice?

In this article, we’ll explore non-perishable foods which are both nutritious and cost-effective; what you should store in your emergency pantry; and seven healthy non-perishable foods.

What’s Considered a Non-perishable Food Item?

A non-perishable food item has a long shelf life, and normally doesn’t require refrigeration to keep it from spoiling. Non-perishable foods are essential in emergency situations, and while hiking or camping. Some common examples include:

  • Canned foods
  • Rice
  • Pasta
  • Lentils
  • Dried/ dehydrated goods

Learn more: The Most Nutritionally Complete Powdered Food Supplement

Which Food Lasts Longest Without Refrigeration?

My top pick for foods that are long-lasting and healthy would be dried superfoods.

Especially high-quality formulations that can be enjoyed easily. Allowing you to have your health-boosting green juice without the headaches of sourcing fresh vegetables and superfoods.

What’s more, if you have a quality superfood formula that you can grab and prepare, you can create healthy lattes, salad dressings, nice cream, smoothie and smoothie bowls with ease.

Plus, there will be less waste, as superfoods are long-lasting.

The secret to your food longevity is low water activity. Which is why dried foods, when stored correctly, are a fantastic long-lasting source of nutrition.

Other foods that last without refrigeration are listed in the “year’s supply of emergency foods” below.

Is Dried Food Healthy? (You Might Be Surprised)

Dehydrated foods, when prepared correctly, retain the enzymes and nutrition of the produce. Dehydration is the process of removing the water from a food with low heat, to preserve the nutrition.

Surprisingly, in some cases, dehydrated foods are more healthy than store-bought food. Due to the fact that produce loses nutritional value when harvested, shipped across the world, then stored on shelves.

When food is dried correctly (immediately after picking) it can actually be a better source of natural vitamins and minerals than produce that has been stored for days or weeks.

Another way to dry food is with freeze-drying. Where food is preserved by a process called sublimation. The only thing about freeze-drying is that nutrients are lost during the process. Which means that properly dehydrated foods are normally healthier.

Learn more: Top 5 Vitamins to Boost the Immune System

The Best Survival Foods & Benefits of Dehydrated Foods

By far, dehydrated powdered foods are the best source of nutrition in an emergency. Especially when the produce is ethically sourced.  Some dried food, like apples and potatoes, can be stored for a whopping 20 years when dehydrated.

While most other dehydrated fruits will last up to five years.

Here are four benefits of dehydrated foods:

  • Long shelf life
  • Nutritionally rich
  • Cost effective
  • Easy to store

Other methods of food preservation like canning or freezing are expensive and take up a lot of space.

Learn more: 7 Vegetarian Superfoods for Protein

7 Healthy Non Perishable Foods

Contrary to popular belief, many non-perishable foods are healthy. In fact, you can create a varied and balanced diet by simply purchasing a wide range of non-perishable foods.

For example, most fruits and vegetables can be purchased dehydrated. This means that they’ve been dried as soon as they’ve been picked and still retain their vitamins, enzymes and minerals.


A great staple healthy food that lasts for up to two years. After two years it will not rot, but the nutritional value and flavour will start to lessen. Seaweed is the best dietary source of iodine, which makes it a great food for balancing hormones. It’s also packed with zinc, iron and b vitamins.

Powdered green juices

Such as Green Vibrance, provided by Vibrant Health, are amazing solutions for non perishable juicing or detoxing. Plant-based protein powders also provide essential amino acids and last for around 2 years.

Nuts and seeds

Powerhouses of nutrition! Especially if you soak them prior to eating. Nuts last for up to 12 months, and seeds will last for several years in the right conditions.

Natural nut butters

..are delicious and can be stored up to 3-9 months.

Dried or canned beans

A great source of plant-based protein, vitamins and minerals. They make meals and soups more substantial and beans can last up to 10 years when dried (2-5 years canned).

Dried produce

Both dehydrated and sun-dried are great as you can store them for 6months to 20 years (the average shelf-life of dried produce is five years).

Granola bars

..are nutritious, especially if you make them yourself or choose a brand that is free from processed sugars and preservatives.

Related: Can Red Marine Algae Really Help Boost Your Immune System?

Emergency Food Supply List (Year Supply)

A few months back, preppers were laughed at. Now they’re the most organised and envied among us.

There’s been a massive disruption to our food supply, despite what the governments are saying.

Which means that self-reliance has never been more important.

If you want to store food for a year or more, then you need to make sure that it’s stored correctly. In airtight, vacuum-sealed containers that are kept in a dark and dry room. You’ll want the room temperature to be 75°F/24°C or lower.

Before you plan your year’s emergency food supply, you’ll also need to know how many people you’re feeding for a year. Plus, a handy labelling device will keep everything orderly

Here’s a list of 22 items that you’ll want to include in your emergency food pantry:

  • Green juice powder
  • Protein powder
  • Canned foods
  • Dried herbs and seasoning like salt and pepper
  • Sweet flavourings like vanilla, cinnamon and maple syrup
  • Nuts and trail mix
  • Dried/dehydrated foods
  • Jars of jam and peanut butter
  • Chocolate
  • Vitamins
  • Yeast
  • Sauces
  • Pasta
  • Rice
  • Flour
  • Bottled water
  • Oils, like olive oil or coconut oil
  • Tea and coffee
  • Dried milk
  • Dried beans and seeds
  • Oats and oatmeal
  • Vinegar (apple cider vinegar is the healthiest and is multipurpose)

Related: Can Viruses Spread Via Water? Plus the Best Ways to Disinfect Water

Final Thoughts

It can be tempting, when looking for non-perishable foods, to fill your trolley (or online basket) with unhealthy items. Due to thinking that fresh produce is the only way to stay healthy.

After doing a lot of research, I’ve found that there are a lot of healthy foods that you can store for decades, while they still retain their nutrition.

A daily green juice will go a long way to providing a healthy foundation for health, while dehydrated foods can create a tasty lunch option. Nuts and dried foods are great snack options, and protein powder will provide the amino acids to keep you fit and healthy.

Let’s not forget your daily supplements, which are long-lasting and will help to boost your immune system.

Written by best-selling author and integrative nutrition health coach Rowanna Watson, who has a passion for natural health. Rowanna is an expert in all areas of holistic health, plant-based nutrition, detoxification and personal development.

Water for Health Ltd began trading in 2007 with the goal of positively affecting the lives of many. We still retain that mission because we believe that proper hydration and nutrition can make a massive difference to people’s health and quality of life. Click here to find out more.

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array of wild mushrooms spread across a table

A Guide to Mushrooms: Health Benefits, Nutrition, Best Types

A Guide to Mushrooms: Health Benefits, Nutrition, Best Types

Mushrooms tend to divide opinion – generally speaking, you either love them or hate them. One thing that’s less contentious, however, is their healthful properties. Whatever the shape, size, species and colour, mushrooms are rightly credited as being one of the most nutritious foods available to us.

The word “mushroom” derives from the French word for fungi, and it was a French gardener who is said to have “discovered” mushrooms growing on his growth fertiliser in 1650. However, cave paintings throughout North Africa dating back 7,000 years depicted mushrooms, so they’ve been with us a lot longer.

In this article, we’ll take a deep dive on the topic of mushrooms. What makes them so healthy, how should we cook them to preserve their nutrients, which species are especially beneficial?

The Nutritional Properties of Mushrooms

Mushrooms are spore-bearing, umbrella-shaped extrusions of macrofungi which can be wild-harvested or cultivated in controlled indoor environments. They thrive in dark, cool, moist conditions.

Flavourful and meaty, these sporophores have certain distinctions from species to species, the most important of which is that some are edible and some are not.

Those which are inedible or poisonous are typically referred to as toadstools.

Some mushrooms are marvellously hardy, with the ability to live for hundreds of years. For the purposes of this section, we will focus on the general nutritional profile of mushrooms, since that does not tend to differ a great deal between edible varieties.

A single cup of mushrooms provides approximately 21 calories, 3g of protein, 3g of carbohydrates and virtually no fat or cholesterol.

Where they excel is in their extensive nutrient content, since mushrooms have around 15 vitamins and minerals including vitamin D and various B vitamins. They’re also rich in fibre, essential amino acids, glutathione, anti-inflammatory antioxidants like selenium and ergothioneine, and have antimicrobial, cytotoxic compounds.

Because of their rich nutrition and pharmacological profile, mushrooms are often dubbed “functional foods” and are believed to have great anti-ageing potential.

The Best Way of Cooking Mushrooms

So, how should you cook mushrooms to preserve their nutrient content? Should we sauté, grill, bake, broil, roast, boil, microwave?

Believe it or not, research by the International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition suggests the latter, since exposure to shorter cooking times preserves more nutrients.

Grilling also appeared to be preferable to frying and boiling, which resulted in a sharp decrease of antioxidants.

Prior to eating, it’s a good idea to wash and clean mushrooms to get rid of soil and grit. Certain species of raw mushrooms also contain modest quantities of toxins, including a possible carcinogenic compound which is destroyed through cooking.

The heavy metal content of mushrooms also differs from species to species, with chanterelles the worst offenders.

The Health Benefits of Mushrooms

Like many other so-called functional foods, mushrooms are known for their ability to help with many aspects of health. Let’s look at some of the main health conditions associated with mushrooms.

Cognitive Health

The effect of mushrooms on cognitive health is well-documented. A recent study from the University of Singapore, for instance, found that seniors who consumed more than two standard portions of mushrooms every week enjoyed a 50% reduced risk of experiencing mild cognitive impairment.

Portions were defined as three quarters of a cup of cooked mushrooms.

Interestingly, researchers learned that even one small portion could be helpful in this regard. The study looked at 600 seniors over a six-year period, so it was not a small sample.

The mushrooms used in the study comprised oyster, shiitake, white button and golden, plus dried and canned mushrooms.

The 2019 research followed on from 2016 trials which determined that citizens with mild cognitive impairment tended to have low plasma levels of ergothioneine, which is found abundantly in mushrooms – particularly cremini and portobello.

Researchers also speculated that other bioactive compounds (such as glutathione) in mushrooms may protect the brain from neurodegeneration by hampering production of beta amyloid and phosphorylated tau, and acetylcholinesterase.

Autoimmune Disorders

Mushrooms – especially those which are wild-harvested – are rich in polysaccharides which increase the enzyme superoxide dismutase (SOD). And SOD, for its part, is particularly useful at tamping down inflammation and easing pain associated with autoimmune disorders like rheumatoid arthritis and multiple sclerosis.

One study found that lion’s mane mushrooms could heal damage nerves, which are common in MS patients. Lion’s mane can also stimulate nerve growth.

Related: Natural Remedies for Arthritis Pain

Gut Health & Type 2 Diabetes

According to a 2018 Penn State study, “Eating white button mushrooms can create subtle shifts in the microbial community in the gut, which could improve the regulation of glucose in the liver.”

Naturally, glucose management is one of the cornerstones of treatment for type 2 diabetes. Diabetes occurs when there is insufficient insulin or the insulin made by the body is ineffective, causing high blood glucose levels.

Researchers noted that mushrooms act as a prebiotic, nourishing beneficial native gut bacteria with attendant positive effects.

Related: Prebiotics – What are They and Who Needs Them?


Hallucinogenic mushrooms contain psilocybin and other compounds that produce psychological and perceptual effects. Evidence also shows reduced depression symptoms after weeks of treatment.

For the purposes of this article, we’re not going to go into these benefits extensively. Mainly because we might just get in trouble.

You can take a look at Imperial College London’s work on this topic here.

Prostate Cancer

The results of a decades-long cohort study of 36,000 Japanese men indicated an association between mushroom intake and a lower risk of prostate cancer. Again, we have to consider this information very deeply as the sample size is considerable. The findings were published in 2019, in the International Journal of Cancer.

Subjects who ate mushrooms once or twice a week benefitted from an 8% lower risk of developing prostate cancer, versus those who ate mushrooms less than once a week. People who ate mushrooms three or more times each week, meanwhile, enjoyed a 17% reduced risk versus subjects who ate them less than once a week.

Immune Health

Several components of mushrooms have been shown to strengthen the immune system, not least polysaccharides like beta-glucans, zinc and vitamin D.

One study by the University of Florida indicated improved immunity (in the form of better-functioning gamma delta T-cells and less inflammatory proteins) in those who ate a single shiitake mushroom every day for four weeks.

Needless to say, shiitake isn’t the only species associated with immune health: all edible mushrooms can subtly level up the immune system, though the best species appear to be reishi, chaga, himematsutake, maitake, cordyceps and turkey tail.

The Best Types of Mushroom for Your Health

Porcini shiitake,portobello,oysterchestnut, reishi, chanterelle, shimeji; crimini, enoki, maitake, white button: all species of edible mushroom, all distinctly different.

For example, white button mushrooms must be grown on composted manure while shiitakes employ wood or hardwood sawdust.

There is no clear consensus on which type of mushroom is best. As mentioned, they are broadly nutritionally similar with some (usually modest) differences.

Cremini and portobello benefit from the highest quantity of amino acid ergothioneine, while the likes of shiitake are especially high in vitamin D and have been used medicinally for centuries throughout Asia.

Lion’s mane mushroom, meanwhile, appears to be one of the best natural remedies for managing multiple sclerosis.

Ultimately, it’s probably a good idea to eat a diverse range of mushrooms. Studies show that the immune system enjoys greater stimulation from variety, since a wider range of polysaccharides will be present.

So, if you’re adding mushrooms to your plate a few times a week, choose different species every time.

Alternatively, save yourself the hassle by using Revitacell Mushroom Blend capsules. Revitacell Mushroom Blend is a carefully selected blend of five mushrooms known for their health enhancing properties – Reishi, Shiitake, Lion's Mane, Chaga and Cordyceps. All the mushrooms in these mushroom capsules are organic.

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twentysomething man and woman cooking healthy food in kitchen

8 Incredibly Nutritious Plant Foods to Enhance Wellbeing

8 Incredibly Nutritious Plant Foods to Enhance Wellbeing

You need to ensure you're getting all the nutrients you need to stay healthy. The best way to do this is to eat a wide selection of fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, whole grains, healthy proteins and healthy fats, including omega-3s.

When properly prepared, plant foods have a lot to offer, and they are all amazingly nutritious in their own way.

So, we have selected eight impressive plant foods that we think possess some sterling prowess in the nutrient-density stakes. They are most definitely up there with the crème de la crème.

1) Spirulina

An amazing superfood, spirulina is beyond healthy. This ancient blue/green freshwater microalgae has a whole lot to give and is truly wondrous.

A valuable food source of the Aztecs, spirulina is produced all over the world and is commonly used as a dietary supplement. It gains its nutrient density properties from the water in which it grows, so the better the environment, the more nutritious the spirulina.

Believe it or not, this little plant is around 60% protein and is also a ‘complete protein’ – meaning it contains all nine of the essential amino acids. It’s easily broken down in the stomach and is well absorbed.

Spirulina is also high in antioxidants and carotenoids that help to fight free radical damage and reduce inflammation, protecting you from chronic disease. It’s a great source of vitamins C and E, iron, and a host of B vitamins.

Spirulina is a heavy metal detoxifier. One 2006 study successfully treated chronic arsenic poisoning in a small group of Bangladeshi patients by supplementing with 250mg spirulina and 2mg zinc twice daily for 16 weeks. 

It’s immune-modulating, and high antioxidant status is also linked to cancer prevention. Several in vitro studies have demonstrated spirulina’s ability to decrease cancer cell growth for many different cancer types, including colon and pancreatic cancers. 

It could be suitable for prevention of oral cancer too. One trial involved Indian tobacco chewers with oral leukoplakia. After giving them 1g of spirulina every day for 12 months, 45% showed complete regression of lesions compared to the placebo group.

Add to this spirulina’s potential to improve candida, reduce blood pressure, lower cholesterol and boost energy and what’s not to like?

2) Kale

Let’s begin by saying that this delicious dark leafy green has a perfect ANDI score of 1000. What’s an ANDI score? Well, it’s the ranking of a wide assortment of plant foods on the ‘Aggregate Nutrient Density Index’ as created by Dr Fuhrman.

Kale is King and is overloaded with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, fibre and other goodies. It’s exceptionally high in vitamin K, making it great for your bones and wound healing. 

It’s also high in vitamin C and beta-carotene (which converts to vitamin A). Kale’s combination of vitamin A and the antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin means that munching on its cruciferous leaves is excellent for your eyes.

Several studies show lutein and zeaxanthin can help to prevent macular degeneration and cataracts and that eating a diet high in these is great for your vision.

Related: Eye Health and Nutrition – How Diet Can Protect Your Vision

Cruciferous vegetables like kale are linked to cancer prevention. This is partly due to a group of substances called glucosinolates. These break down into biologically active compounds, including Indole-3-carbinol and sulforaphane, which have been researched for their anti-cancer effects. 

Let’s not forget that kale also has enviable anti-inflammatory, detoxifying and heart-healthy properties too, so get chomping.

3) Spinach

Spinach also ranks pretty high on the ANDI index with a ‘not to be sniffed at’ score of 707. Another valuable addition to your plant-based repertoire, spinach is packed full of a range of vitamins, minerals and fibre.

It’s brimming with flavonoid antioxidants, essential nutrients, B and C vitamins, and is a fantastic source of vitamin K, magnesium, folate and iron.

Gently cooking your spinach releases and increases its nutritional yield, including the calcium which would otherwise be bound to oxalates.

Spinach joins kale with its anti-cancer properties. This is partly due to its ability to reduce free radical damage and also the fact that it contains glycoglycerolipids. It’s rich in nitrates which can help to lower blood pressure and has other heart-protective properties too.

Spinach is fibre-rich, helping to slow the release of blood sugar while keeping you feeling fuller for longer – helping to maintain a healthy weight and prevent diabetes. Its abundant antioxidant profile aids immunity, reduces inflammation and protects against chronic disease.

Spinach contains lutein and zeaxanthin to look after your vision, and with its prolific amount of vitamin K, it also supports bone health.

4) Brussels Sprouts

This brassica is very high in nutrients. Half a cup provides 2g of protein, high amounts of vitamins C and K, a range of B vitamins and minerals.

Like kale, Brussels sprouts also have anti-cancer properties due to their glucosinolates and isothiocyanates. According to researchers, consuming Brussels sprouts can help to prevent DNA damage and reduce oxidative stress in cancerous cells. They may also help to protect against colon cancer. 

Loading up on these little balls of goodness could also reduce your risk of diabetes. This is because they are rich in alpha-lipoic acid, which can help to regulate glucose. The antioxidant effects of alpha-lipoic acid may also slow the development of diabetic complications, such as diabetic neuropathy.  

Brussels sprouts’ high levels of vitamin C help to reduce inflammation and boost immunity, while its vitamin K keeps your bones healthy. The glucosinolates may also help to protect against cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, and look after your gut.

5) Carrots

These popular root vegetables come in a variety of shades, including orange, purple, deep red, and yellow. They are high in antioxidants and several nutrients. 

There’s some truth to the old wive’s tale about carrots helping you to see in the dark. They are exceptionally high in carotenoids which convert to vitamin A and protect your vision. Carrots also contain lutein and zeaxanthin, which aid your eyesight too.

Carrots are high in alpha and beta-carotene. Some studies, including a 10-year one involving older men in the Netherlands, have linked the consumption of carrots to a lower risk of death from cardiovascular disease. Drinking carrot juice may also protect against heart disease by increasing antioxidant levels and reducing oxidative stress and cell damage.

The beta-carotene and polyacetylenes in carrots are also linked to cancer prevention. In 2011, an in vitro study found that leukaemia cells treated with carrot juice extracts had increased cell death, and it halted cancer progression. Beta carotenes may also reduce the risk of breast, colon and lung cancer.

The high levels of antioxidant carotenoids, vitamin C and polyphenols in carrots all help to boost immunity, lower inflammation, fight free radical damage and protect against illness and disease. Beta-carotene in carrots may also protect the brain and aid cognitive function.

6) Berries

Berries are one of the best fruits around. They are high in anthocyanins and other antioxidants and are one of the richest sources of polyphenols.

Polyphenols are plant compounds such as flavonoids, phenolic acids and lignans that have a wealth of health benefits. They help to protect against oxidative stress and cell damage, improve insulin sensitivity and reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes. 

A high flavonoid intake may also contribute to a lower BMI (body mass index), helping to maintain a healthy weight. Flavonoids decrease C-reactive protein, too, which can be an indicator of chronic inflammatory conditions.

The multiple compounds and nutrients found in berries have cardioprotective effects in both healthy and chronically ill people.

Strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, sour cherries and blackcurrants are among some of the highest antioxidant-rich plant foods. Each different type of berry has its own unique nutrient profile and strengths.

For example, raspberries contain a host of nutrients including vitamins C, E and K, manganese, copper, biotin, folate and other B vitamins, potassium and fibre. Their high vitamin C and zeaxanthin content protect the eyes from UV damage and macular degeneration.

Blueberries and strawberries offer neuroprotective effects, safeguarding the brain. They are linked to slower rates of cognitive decline in the elderly.

Related: 5 Compelling Reasons to Eat More Berries

7) Flaxseeds

These little seeds have been around for thousands of years and are bursting with goodness. Full of omega-3 fatty acids, flax seeds also provide a nutritious mix of minerals including selenium, manganese, magnesium, phosphorus, copper and zinc.

They also host folate, vitamin B6, iron and phosphate along with generous amounts of fibre and protein. 

So it’s no surprise that a spoonful of flaxseeds every day can do you a world of good.

Omega-3 fats have all manner of health benefits. They feed your brain, improving alertness, concentration and cognitive function and can help to reduce the symptoms of depression and anxiety.

They can promote eye health, protect your heart, improve insulin resistance, fight inflammation and may aid ADHD and autism.

Related: 6 Foods High in Omega-3 and Why You Should Eat More

Flax seeds contain a prolific amount of lignans (considered to be 800-fold higher than any other food). These phytoestrogens have mild oestrogenic and non-oestrogenic effects. 

Some studies support eating flax seeds for the easing of menopausal symptoms. In one pilot study, hot flashes improved in menopausal women who took 40g of crushed flaxseeds per day for five months. Lignans may even have the potential to regulate the menstrual cycle.  

Lignans also have anti-cancer properties. They may reduce the risk of breast cancer, and in one study, patients with prostate cancer took 30g flax seeds per day and had significantly reduced tumour growth.

Linseeds provide both soluble and insoluble fibre and work wonders for your digestive system, keeping things moving and encouraging timely elimination of toxins. They are high in antioxidants and have immense anti-inflammatory properties.

Flaxseeds may also improve the symptoms of diabetes, can protect  cardiovascular health and have the potential to lower blood pressure.

9) Turmeric

This member of the ginger family has been used as a spice since ancient times. Turmeric’s principal active ingredient is curcumin, and it also contains turmerones in its root. 

Turmerones aid curcumin transport and enhance its availability and benefits. These antioxidants work collectively to reduce inflammation and sensitivity to pain. 

Studies have shown the potential for turmeric /curcumin to relieve the inflammation and pain of arthritis. The antioxidants it provides help to protect your mitochondria from harm (the powerhouses of your cells) and also reduce free radical damage.

Curcumin may also help to guard against Alzheimer’s as it can help lower oxidative stress in the brain. 

Turmeric isn’t used as a spice just because of its aromatic flavour and vibrant yellow colour, but also for its calming effects on the digestive system. It could also help in the treatment of ulcerative colitis.  

Epidemiological studies have linked lower rates of cancers, notably large bowel cancers, in India to the heavy use of turmeric in the diet. Turmeric’s combination of curcuminoids and turmerones can halt the growth of breast cancer cells. Turmerones have also demonstrated an ability to stimulate the immune system.

Related: 9 Proven Turmeric Benefits for Skin, Arthritis, Diabetes & More

The bottom line

The more nutrient-dense your diet, the more healthy you will be. Eating a diverse array of nutritious foods is the best way to protect yourself from illness and reduce your risk of chronic disease.

As demonstrated, there is an abundant selection of plant foods out there to provide you with many of the nutrients you need to stay healthy. Several are also a great source of healthy protein.

Some foods like spirulina, soybeans and quinoa form complete proteins which provide all the essential amino acids in one perfect package. 

Plant foods also provide an abundant assortment of healthy fats, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals which all serve their own vital purpose in your body. 

To get the best that plant foods have to offer, you need to eat a vast array of fruit, vegetables, nuts, seeds, beans, pulses and oils every day.

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