Free Radical Reduction: What to Stash

Put free radicals in their proper place with these hall-of-fame foods.


Content Tools

Wheat germ, raw or toasted. Raw wheat germ has more nutrients than the toasted because it has not been subjected to heat. The toasted has better keeping quality and a flavor more acceptable to some palates. To give raw wheat germ a toasty flavor, toast about 1/2 cup in a 250-degree oven until light brown and add to the rest in the jar. The whole jar of wheat germ will taste toasted.

Wheat germ is a nutritional gold mine. It provides plenty of protein to repair and rebuild your cells, organs and tissues; generous amounts of vitamin E; and practically every member of the vitamin B complex in generous amounts.

Wheat germ provides a lot of the organic kind of iron that does not fight with vitamin E. Inorganic iron cancels our vitamin E. If you are taking an inorganic iron supplement on a doctor’s prescription, make sure you take vitamin E 12 hours later. Keep wheat germ in the refrigerator or freezer.

Bran. Coarse miller’s bran is available at health-food stores and can be added, as a source of additional fiber, to cereals and baked goods. Be sure to increase your liquid intake when you eat bran. Like wheat germ, bran should be kept refrigerated or frozen.

Whole-wheat flour. Preferably stone ground. Keep refrigerated or frozen and buy from a source where it’s kept refrigerated. Always warm your refrigerated flour before combining it with yeast. Place as much as you need in a 200-degree oven for 15 minutes.

Soy flour. A protein booster and an important cancer inhibitor. To greatly enhance the protein and protective value of your baked goods, combine 1/4 cup soy flour with 3/4 cup whole-wheat flour.

Carob powder. Carob often is used as a substitute for chocolate, and many people find the tastes similar. But, unlike chocolate, carob is naturally sweet, thus requiring fewer added sweeteners, and is far less caloric. Carob is in the same league as bran in regard to its fiber content, and its pectin helps drive down cholesterol.

Until your family becomes accustomed to the slightly different taste and aroma of carob, add 1 or 2 tablespoons of cocoa to the carob container. The whole thing will taste and smell like cocoa.

Pressed oils. Use sunflower, sesame, safflower, corn, canola or olive oil. Do not use cottonseed oil. Since cotton is not a food, its production is not regulated by safety precautions on the use of pesticides that govern food crops. We suggest also that you avoid solvent-expressed oils. Some of the solvent, usually hexane, may seep into the oil. Pressed oils are available at natural food stores. Keep them refrigerated.

Seeds for eating. Use sesame, sunflower, pumpkin and poppy seeds. Every seed contains that mysterious vitality that can produce a new plant. Seeds are nature’s storehouse of enzymes, vitamins, minerals, protein and unsaturated fatty acids so essential to the vitality of every cell in your body. Buy raw and unsalted. Sprinkle on salads and use in your baked goods — cookies, cakes, quick breads, kugels or for noshing.

Seeds for sprouting. Discover sprouts, the organic wonder food, and you’ll enjoy an explosion of antioxidants.

Consider this – Broccoli is the star of the anticancer vegetable kingdom. When broccoli seeds are sprouted, those antioxidant values skyrocket. Broccoli sprouts provide as much as 10 to 50 times more antioxidants than broccoli.

While similar experiments on other vegetables have not yet been publicized, it is logical to assume that their values, too, will increase when they are sprouted.

Alfalfa, mung, lentil, wheat, rye, triticale, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, raw peanuts, garbanzo beans and soybeans all sprout deliciously and bless you with fantastic nutrients. Get seeds from food stores, not from garden suppliers where seeds are frequently treated with fungicides.

Lecithin granules. Lecithin is a natural emulsifier. By keeping cholesterol circulating happily, it helps prevent the formation of clots in the arteries, thus giving you much better odds against atherosclerosis. Recent research reveals that lecithin increases by a factor of three the amount of cholesterol that can be dissolved in bile salts, the vehicle by which the body rids itself of excess cholesterol.

MIT scientists have determined that lecithin in the diet improves memory and actually can make one “smarter” by manufacturing acetylcholine, which helps the brain transmit nerve signals.

Lecithin granules and capsules are available at health-food stores. Food sources include brewer’s yeast, legumes, fish and wheat germ. Because lecithin is high in phosphorous, more calcium is needed to keep the proper balance. Sesame seeds, dry milk powder, green leafy vegetables and the bones found in canned salmon and sardines are good sources of calcium.

Beans, beans, beans. Use all kinds, especially soybeans. Most beans require presoaking. Exceptions are lentils, split peas and mung beans. Keep a tray of soybeans in water in your freezer and you will always have presoaked beans ready to go into your soup, stew or casserole. Unlike most beans, soybeans are not starchy. Because of their high protein content, they may be served occasionally as a substitute for meat or eggs. Serve them with a grain, like brown rice or bulgur, and you will enjoy a biologically complete protein.

Grains. Buckwheat, millet, whole barley, brown rice, bulgur, cracked wheat and oats are all good sources of nutrients and fiber, which combine with beans to provide a complete protein. (Vegetarians, take note.)

Molasses. Get the kind that is unsulphured, preferably blackstrap. Use as a sweetener instead of honey, or half-and-half with honey, until your family gets accustomed to its strong taste. It’s a terrific source of iron and a good source of calcium, potassium and B vitamins. Put a teaspoon in a cup of hot water for a caffeine-free “coffee” that gives you a lift and no letdown.

Arrowroot powder. This natural thickening agent, a source of protein and trace minerals, is derived from the roots of plants that pull minerals from the soil. It is a much more natural and nutritious food than cornstarch, which is highly processed.

Baking powder. Buy the kind that is aluminum- and sodium-free. You’ll find it at natural food stores, or make your own. To make your own baking powder, combine 1/4 teaspoon baking soda with 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar. This will give you the rising action of 1 teaspoon commercial baking powder.

Adapted from The Antioxidant Save-Your-Life Cookbook by Jane Kinderlehrer and Daniel A. Kinderlehrer, M.D.; copyright 2000 . Reprinted by permission of Newmarket Press, 18 E. 48th St., New York, NY 10017; .

Click here for the original article, Free Radical Reduction.