Foods from California

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

  While my father was an Ozarker, I grew up in rural southern Florida. In my late twenties I moved to California to accept the Chief's position in Nuclear Medicine at Harbor UCLA Medical Center. Even though I had lived and schooled in Miami, Florida, there were many life's experiences not available to me. Or I simply wasn't aware of them. One of the most enjoyable was discovering foods Californians ate that I hadn't seen before.

A short list includes fresh mushrooms of many sorts, whole artichokes steamed to perfection and then dipped in butter and pomegranates which actually grew in backyards much like citrus in Florida. Some foods just couldn't be found in California and I had to wait to get back to the South to enjoy them, such as BBQ ribs. But I want to tell you of the benefits of pomegranate.

It can reverse the process of atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) according to science as well as lowering blood pressure. It very powerfully protects the insides of the arteries from the damage caused by oxidation that comes from low density lipoprotein (LDL). So, if you are a heart or stroke patient this could be a very good choice. But pomegranate does more.

It appears to fight several of the most common forms of cancer, slowing the growth of prostate, colon, breast and lung cancer. On a lighter note you can likely stay younger looking longer as it supports the health of the skin's underlying connections. As a rule of thumb, if it is good for the skin; it'll be good for the brain, too. It is also one of nature's most concentrated sources of antioxidants. Fresh pomegranates are hard to find in these parts. You can find pomegranate juice in the grocery or health food stores and it is tasty. But watch out for added sweeteners.You can get supplements that are more convenient and more potent. Look for supplements standardized to 40% ellagic acid to be sure you are buying a top quality product usually found in the antioxidant section of health food stores. The suggested dose would be 500mg twice per day for most people.

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