Great Food Choices as You Age - Power Food

Written by Rita Kennen

Put Power Food In Your Life

Success Television: Power food is a captivating term. What do you mean by power food?

Symptoms of depression, muscle aches and anxiety may actually be caused by an insufficient amount of magnesium in your diet.
Power foods can help your body ward off disease.
The power food - blueberries - is rich in anti-oxidants that fight disease.  
Kathie Swift: Power Foods is a marketing term I coined years ago to attract our guests at the ranch to a nutrition lecture during the I-know-everything-about-nutrition-era. And it worked out, the lecture was always packed because power is intriguing and captivating.

Kathie Swift: By power foods I am referring simply to healthy foods that have disease-fighting capabilities - foods that serve a purpose and improve your body's functioning. Take, for example, the beautiful blueberry that has the ability to ward off biologically damaging agents called free radicals, which aim to seek and destroy our cells. By eating blueberries, we are harnessing power to defend against biological cellular warfare. The humble blueberry is magnificent in its antioxidant protection.
Success Television: How essential is it to take vitamins every day?

Kathie Swift:  I believe vitamin and mineral supplementation may be VERY IMPORTANT for certain individuals. As an example, we know that folic acid prevents birth defects, but it also has a new role in the aging process along with its B-complex relatives, B6 and B12, in keeping a damaging substance called homocysteine in check. (Editor's note: High homocysteine levels are believed to be implicated in heart disease.)

Magnesium is one of my favorite minerals as it participates in hundreds of biochemical reactions, including neurotransmitter and neuromuscular function. That means that depression, muscle aching and anxiety may actually be magnesium deficiency in disguise.

I could go on and on with respect to this question, but will stress simply that since I took an amazing vitamins and minerals course in graduate school over 20 years ago, I have felt that medicine should elevate the lowly rank of vitamins and minerals in health and disease assessment.

We are finally getting there as better tools in the nutrition assessment trade become available to us allowing us to look through a new lens for optimal health and longevity. But we do need to get smarter about supplementation at many different levels.

(Kathie Swift R.D. M.S., a Nutrition Director for the health resort, Canyon Ranch in the Berkshires, Lenox, MA)

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