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Summer’s bounty offers us so many health-promoting superfoods that it’s impossible to highlight any single one.

What are superfoods, exactly? you may be wondering. Superfoods are plant-based foods containing phytonutrients that help to prevent and/or treat the symptoms of disease. These phytonutrients are often part of the plant’s unique defense system, protecting it from the weather, water supply, pests, fungus and molds, and animals that may feed on them. When we consume these foods, ideally in an organic form to avoid the toxic burden of pesticides, we benefit from these phytochemicals. And when we consume a variety of these potent vegetables, fruits, herbs, spices, nuts, and seeds, rather than large portions of one to the exclusion of others, then we obtain maximum benefit.

Our access to these powerful fruits and vegetables ebbs and flows from season to season, but three of the most important ones I’ve been seeing lately at the supermarket are blueberries, cherries, and tomatoes. Here’s why you should be filling your shopping bag with these superfoods right now—and how you should prepare each of them to bring out their unique and satisfying flavor.


Despite their small size, blueberries rank as one of the most nutritious fruits we can indulge in. When consumed in moderation, these tiny powerhouses can lend us significant health benefits.

Blueberries are packed with antioxidants known as anthocyanadins, a subgroup of the phytonutrients known as flavonoids. Anthocyanadins are what form the colorful pigments that give many fruits and vegetables their colors, including the deep indigo of blueberries. Other phytonutrients found in blueberries are hydroxycinnamic acids, hydroxybenzoic acids, flavonols, resveratrol, and pterostilbene.

In addition to providing antioxidants, blueberries are a good source of fiber. And, like blackberries and strawberries, blueberries have a low glycemic index, thus favorably impacting blood sugar control. They are also a moderate source of vitamin K, vitamin D, and manganese.

Blueberries have been researched for the their potential positive impact on cardiovascular disease, neurodegenerative disorders, type 2 diabetes, and eye health, as well as cancer prevention. However, people dealing with oxalate-related health issues, like kidney stones or digestive problems, should avoid eating this berry.

Blueberries, like all other berries, should be organic. Because of their fragile skins, blueberries should only be washed just prior to consumption. And although the season of fresh locally grown blueberries is short, they can be frozen for three to six months, therefore extending their availability beyond the summer season.


For those of us who wait patiently for cherry season to arrive, it is hard to restrain ourselves and not overindulge in these sweet, tart berries. Luckily, we don’t need to, as they’re one of the summer’s healthiest fruits.

Cherries are not only delicious but also incredibly nutritious, delivering a multitude of phytonutrients that exhibit many health-promoting and disease-preventing benefits. They contain a range of potent antioxidants, including some that exhibit anti-carcinogenic, anti-mutagenic, and anti-inflammatory potential (like queritin, ellagic acid, and perillyl alchohol). In addition, cherries are also recognized for their ability to relieve the symptoms of gout and support the body’s circadian rhythms due to their melatonin content.

Though the cherry season is short, we can continue to benefit from this superfood by incorporating 1–2 ounce servings of organic cherry juice concentrate or 2-tablespoon servings of unsulfured and unsweetened dried Bing cherries into our menu through the remainder of the year.


Though the tomato is widely considered to be a vegetable, it is actually the fruit of the Lycopersicon esculentum plant. And, botanically speaking, it is not only a fruit but also a berry, since each tomato is formed from a single ovary.

For years, tomatoes have been prized for their lycopene, a phytonutrient that is actually the pigment associated with their deep red or orange color. In addition to lycopene, tomatoes are a treasure trove of many other phytonutrient antioxidants, including flavones, flavonols, hydroxycinnamic acids, carotenoids, glycosides, and fatty acid derivatives, as well as vitamin C. Tomatoes are also a good source of biotin (one of the B vitamins) and several minerals, including molybdenum, copper, and manganese.

The most familiar health benefit many of us associate with tomatoes is their antioxidant and anti-cancer potential. While not well researched for all types of cancers, tomatoes have been repeatedly shown to lower the risk of prostate cancer due to the presence of the phytonutrient alpha-tomatine, which exhibits the ability to alter the metabolic activity of developing prostate cancer cells as well as to activate cell death in fully formed prostate cancer cells. Research on alpha-tomatine has also been conducted for non-small-cell lung cancer.

The benefits of tomatoes have also been investigated in cardiovascular disease, bone health, and some neurological diseases, including Alzheimer’s.

Superfood Recipes

While the season of organic local berries, cherries, and tomatoes is short, all three of these superfoods can be stored by canning, freezing, and dehydrating them, or by preparing them into sauces, salsas, and jams that can be enjoyed through the fall.

But for now, while the season lasts, embrace these flavors of summer and access their nutritional benefits with these easy recipes.

Super Blueberry Energy Bars


  • 1 cup chopped pitted dates
  • ½ cup almonds (or other nut of choice, such as pecan)
  • ½ cup raw pumpkin seeds
  • 2 tablespoons chia seeds
  • 2 tablespoons flax seeds
  • ½ cup blueberries
  • 2 scoops vega or hemp protein powder
  • ½ cup almond butter (or other nut butter of choice)

Food processor
8×8 pan

Place all ingredients in a food processor and process until well combined.

Press into the 8×8 pan and refrigerate for 1 hour. Cut into 6–8 bars and store in refrigerator until ready to eat.

Savory Cherry Compote


  • 1 pound Bing (or other sweet) cherries
  • 2 tablespoons raw sugar
  • 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
  • ¼–1 teaspoon fresh thyme, minced (or to taste)


Cook the cherries with the sugar in a skillet on medium-high for about 4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Gently stir in the vinegar and thyme and cook for 1 additional minute. Remove from stove.

Serving Suggestions:

Bake slices of premade polenta and top with fresh goat cheese and a dollop of warm cherry compote.

Cut the top off a 7-ounce wheel of brie. Place on a baking sheet and bake at 450 degrees Fahrenheit for 5–7 minutes, or until the brie is melted. Top the melted brie with warm cherry compote and serve with rounds of fresh baguette or crackers.

Prepare and grill lamb chops. Cook to taste. Serve with warm cherry compote and a mixed zucchini and summer squash salad.

Roasted Tomato Gazpacho


  • 10 medium tomatoes (beefsteak or roma), sliced
  • Cold-pressed extra-virgin olive oil
  • Small head of garlic
  • 1 large shallot
  • 1 medium red or orange bell pepper
  • 1 large English (hothouse) cucumber
  • ¼ cup packed fresh basil leaves
  • 1 tablespoon white balsamic or champagne vinegar
  • Himalayan salt
  • Black pepper
  • Avocado (optional)

Large baking sheet
2 ramekins

Turn oven to 375 F.

Line baking sheet with parchment paper. Place sliced tomatoes face-up on the baking sheet and then drizzle with olive oil and Himalayan salt.

Carefully slice off the top of the garlic bulb, exposing the cloves. Place in ramekin, drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkle with Himalayan salt. Place on baking sheet between tomatoes and cover with parchment paper.

Slice root end of shallot, peel off skin, place in ramekin, and then drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with Himalayan salt. Place on baking sheet between tomatoes and cover with parchment paper. Roast the tomatoes, garlic, and shallot for 1 hour, and then remove from oven and allow to cool.

While vegetables are cooling, turn the oven up to 475 F. Brush the bell pepper with olive oil and roast for 30 minutes. Check the pepper periodically and turn every 15 minutes with tongs to ensure the whole skin is charred black. Remove the pepper from the oven and allow to cool. When the pepper is cool, peel the skin and remove the seeds.

When the roasted vegetables are cool enough to touch, squeeze the garlic cloves and shallot out of their skins. Peel the English cucumber, slice lengthwise, and scoop and discard seeds.

Place the tomatoes, garlic bulbs (use enough to your taste), shallot, and all the juice from the pan and ramekins into the blender. Add the roasted pepper, cucumber, and basil. Puree till smooth. Add the vinegar, salt, and pepper to taste. Strain and cool in refrigerator overnight.

Serve in individual bowls topped with small chunks of avocado and garnish with fresh basil leaves.

Bon appétit.


(Original post on Bookshop)












Our eyes, often referred to as our “windows to the world,” are the organs that allow us to see and explore the possibilities of the world around us. To achieve this function, our eyes, like the rest of our body, need to be nourished and nurtured to remain healthy. Unfortunately, it is not till we reach midlife or have matured to develop symptoms of decline that many of us become aware of the need to support and protect our eyes.

Like the rest of the body, the deterioration of the eye is a product of genetic risk and the accumulation of free radical damage, referred to as oxidative stress. There are numerous sources of free radical exposure and oxidative stress, including:

  • Excess unprotected sunlight exposure
  • Chronic inflammation (a central theme in all degenerative disease associated with aging)
  • Toxic substances generated by our metabolism as well as through the foods we eat, the air we breathe, the beverages we drink, and the recreational and pharmaceutical medications individuals may choose to take or be prescribed to take
  • Ionizing radiation (such as from X-rays)

In addition, a poor diet devoid of phytonutrients and lacking in antioxidant vitamins and minerals (like vitamins A, C, E, zinc, and selenium) increases our risk of eye disease, and so does our intake of pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, artificial sweeteners, modified fats, dyes, flavors, preservatives, and refined and processed foods.

Other potential triggers for eye damage are many age-related diseases and the medications and therapies used to treat them. Among these diseases are hypertension, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, hypo- and hyperthyroidism, multiple sclerosis, and cancer.

So what can we do to take control of our health and to protect our eyes from decline? We can acknowledge the role of genetics while avoiding or minimizing exposure to those substances that are obvious insults to our cellular and systemic health. We can also be aware of the symptoms of age-related eye disorders and develop a thoughtful and appropriate action plan.

Age-Related Macular Degeneration

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a deterioration of the eye’s macula, the light-sensitive tissue lining the back of the eye.

The macula’s task is related to central vision and the ability to see fine details clearly. At present, there are several identified causes of macular degeneration, including the formation of deposits referred to as drusen under the retina and the growth of abnormal blood vessels. Dry or atrophic macular degeneration is not associated with drusen or abnormal blood vessels, while wet or exudative macular degeneration is a product of the growth of abnormal blood vessels under the retina. Regardless of the cause, macular degeneration can result in blurry vision and a distortion or permanent loss of vision.

Natural Remedies to Prevent and Treat Age-Related Macular Degeneration The Age-Related Eye Disease (ARED) Study demonstrated a significantly reduced risk of vision loss from moderate and severe macular degeneration through the intake of the antioxidants zinc, beta-carotene, and vitamins C and E. Beyond those antioxidants, the intake of lutein and zeaxanthin, two antioxidant-rich phytonutrients, helps protect the eyes and reduces the risk of macular degeneration. In addition to antioxidants and phytonutrients, omega-3 fatty acid (DHA) is central to the health of the retina.


Cataracts are essentially a clouding of the eye’s lens, resulting in a range of symptoms including blurred or dimmed vision, sensitivity to light and glare, seeing a “halo” around lights, poor nighttime vision, altered color vision, double vision, and the frequent need to change eyeglasses or contact lenses. Cataracts develop with aging and injury to the eye. They can also be caused by:

  • Diabetes
  • Previous eye surgery or trauma
  • Extensive use of steroid drugs
  • Excess free radicals in the presence of inadequate antioxidants
  • Cigarette smoke
  • Exposure to heavy metals such as cadmium, nickel and lead.

Natural Remedies to Prevent and Treat Cataracts

The importance of an organic plant-rich diet cannot be exaggerated. In addition, the strategic and therapeutic use of antioxidants—including but not limited to s-acetyl glutathione, vitamin C, mixed tocopherols and carotenoids, as well as other important antioxidant-rich phytonutrients such as luteinand zeaxanthin –can be helpful.

Feasting your eyes on the bountiful supply of antioxidant-rich, organic, locally grown fruits, vegetables, and herbs is not just a necessary tool to prevent and treat age-related disorders of the eye, but an essential building block of healthy aging.



( Original post on BoomShop )













Plant foods contain thousands of different natural chemicals referred to as phytochemicals or phytonutrients. “Phyto” is, in fact, the Greek word for plant. Phytonutrients are actually part of a plant’s defense system, protecting it from environmental challenges including insects, fungus, and UV radiation. Plant foods rich in phytonutrients include vegetables, fruits, whole grains, nuts, seeds, and legumes.

Having a diet rich in phytonutrients is essential to life and a central part of disease risk reduction. It’s also proven to support healthy aging. Phytonutrients exhibit a wide range of health-supporting benefits, including but not limited to:

  • Antioxidant potential
  • Immune support
  • Anti-inflammation
  • Anti-microbial
  • Chemoprevention
  • Collagen support
  • Gastrointestinal support
  • Stress reduction
  • Hormone modulation

There are so many exceptional phytonutrients that I can’t list them all. So to introduce their importance and potential impact to our health, healing, and vitality, I have highlighted a few for you to consider as you indulge in the abundance of summer’s bounty.

#1: Carotenoids

There are more than 600 carotenoids in fruits and vegetables, and they provide the color in red, orange, and yellow fruits and vegetables. Some familiar carotenoids include beta-carotene from carrots, lycopene from tomatoes and watermelon, and lutein and zeaxanthin from kale, spinach, and collard greens, as well as rosemary and oregano. Carotenoids function as antioxidants, protecting our cells and organs from the damaging effects of free radicals. The consumption of lycopene has been associated with prostate cancer risk reduction, while lutein and zeaxanthin protect our eyes from cataracts and age-related macular degeneration.

#2: Flavonoids

Flavonoids are a range of phytonutrients with a multitude of health benefits. Green tea rich in catechins may reduce the risk of cancer and neurodegeneration. Hesperidin found in citrus fruits provides antioxidant protection, reduces inflammation, and is associated with degenerative disease risk reduction. Quercetin found in apples, onion, berries, and kale acts as a potent anti-inflammatory and antihistamine. Quercetin may also reduce the symptoms of asthma and the risk of heart disease.

#3: Phytoestrogens and Lignins

Phytoestrogens, familiar to us through studies on reproductive cancers, modulate estrogen and have the potential to block internally produced estrogen from binding to cell receptors. Phytoestrogen has a weaker effect on cellular growth than our own naturally occurring estrogen and therefore provides protection to cells.

Soy, particularly in fermented forms like tofu, a central part of many Asian diets, delivers a rich supply of isoflavones, a type of phytoestrogen that protects against reproductive cancers. The transformation of soy into foods abundant in the Western diet, such as soy milk and yogurt, has sparked a lot of debate. Evidence suggests that fermented soy confers more benefits than other types of soy, and this fact is a major difference between the Asian and Western diets. Isoflavones may also support bone mineral density and reduce the risk of age-related bone loss.

Lignins are primarily found in flaxseeds and sesame seeds. When milled or ground, the lignins are released, and, like phytoestrogens, they modulate hormones by blocking estrogen receptors.

#4: Resveratrol

Familiar to us through the Lyon Heart Study and the health benefits of modest amounts of red wine, Resveratrol is abundant in grapes and concentrated in red wine and purple grape juice. Beyond it’s cardiac protective benefits, resveratrol the form of Trans-methylated resveratrol, protects our DNA and cells from the damaging events of free radical attack and inflammation. In addition, resveratrol has been studied for it’s effect on chemoprevention and neuro-degeneration and life extension. In combination with several other phytonutrients, resveratrol participates in the formation of new mitochondria, referred to as mitochondrial bio-synthesis, a process for rebuilding new parts of the cells machinery necessary for energy production.

#5: Ellagic acid

Research on the health benefits of raspberries, strawberries, and pomegranates has revealed the presence of ellagic acid, a phytonutrient that benefits our health in several ways. Ellagic acid has been shown to support the process of liver detoxification (the transformation of toxic environmental substances) as well to slow the growth of cancer cells. In order to reap these benefits, berries must be organic, as they are often exposed to the pesticides that are a major part of the toxic burden affecting our health and risk of disease.

#6: Sulfurophane Glucosinolate

For many years, we have been told to eat our cruciferous vegetables—broccoli, cauliflower, kale, cabbage, and Brussels sprouts—because of their ability to reduce the chance of developing diseases, including cancer. Glucosinolates give the cruciferous vegetables their distinct sulfur odor and flavor. When gently cooked and digested, these phytonutrients are transformed into chemicals that may arrest the growth and development of neoplastic tumors.

#7: Curcumin and Piperine

Turmeric, a spice central to an Indian diet for millennia, gives curry its yellow color. In recent years, its health benefits (particularly its anti-inflammatory effects), have made it one of the most popular phytonutrients in the US. The anti-inflammatory effect of turmeric is due to its curcuminoid phytonutrients. Research to date has identified curcumin as the primary curcuminoid delivering its therapeutic quality.

The absorption of curcumin from dietary curry or turmeric is rather limited, and so curcumin has created a strong presence in the supplement industry. However, as in the case of food, the bioavailability is poor. To increase bioavailability, piperine, a phytonutrient derived from black pepper, is added, which enhances absorption by 2,000%.

As we consider maturing with great health and vitality, it becomes clear to all of us that nature has an incredible power to provide food that reduces our risk of experiencing the chronic degenerative years associated with aging, and that also increases our potential to add quality years to our lives.


(Original post at )