Cocoa and Dark Chocolate

Cocoa and Dark Chocolate

cocoaDark Chocolate along with Red Wine has captured the most attention amongst the top-20 Sirtfoods. In fact, it is really Cocoa that is rich in a specific group of polyphenols called flavanols, especially epicatechin that is the actual Sirtfood.

In clinical studies flavanol-rich cocoa has shown impressive health benefits spanning many of the major afflictions of modern times. This is especially so in relation to heart health, where cocoa has shown promise in lowering blood pressure, improving blood flow to the heart, preventing blood clots, and reducing inflammation. Benefits may also extend to aiding in the prevention of diseases such as diabetes and cancer and enhancing memory performance.

So what chocolate exactly are we talking about here? Alas, the bulk of confectionary chocolate won’t deliver these profound benefits. Those products tend to be more sugar and milk than anything else.  As a consequence, the prevailing wisdom dictates that the darker the chocolate, the high the level of beneficial cocoa flavanols will be.

To be counted as a Sirtfood we are talking about chocolate with 85 percent cocoa solids. But in reality, that is a gross over-simplification. Much of the dark chocolate that we turn to as a ‘healthy treat’ has undergone a form of processing known as alkalizing (or ‘dutching’), which greatly diminishes the flavanol content, and thus the health benefits.

While in the USA these products are clearly labelled ‘processed with alkali’, unfortunately in the UK and in many other countries no such labelling requirements exist. This makes it difficult to know which brand to choose to reap the true benefits of the Sirtfood cocoa.

After investigation we have confirmed that the Lindt Excellence 85% Cocoa bar has not undergone Dutch processing and is, therefore our recommendation.

Just as a guide there is a huge range online at Amazon.


Strawberries An Amazing Rich Sirtfood

Strawberries An Amazing Rich Sirtfood

strawberriesStrawberries have a very low sugar content. They contain just one teaspoon of sugar per 100 kg. In addition, they have pronounced effects on improving how the body handles sugary carbohydrates. What researchers have found is that if we add strawberries to sugary carbs it has the effect of reducing insulin demand. This has the effect of turning strawberries into a sustained energy releaser. Strawberries are therefore a significant Sirtfood for weight loss and a healthy long-term diet.

Strawberries are included in the top Sirtfoods as they are a notable source of the sirtuin activator fisetin.

Strawberries offer an astonishing 129 percent of the daily requirements of vitamin C, a known infection fighter. They are also packed with manganese and folate, as well as potassium with its co-factoring enzyme, superoxide dismutase. Low in calories and fats, strawberries are a rich source of anthocyanins, ellagitannins, flavonols, terpenoids, and phenolic and ellagic acids, all phytonutrients which together multiply anti-inflammatory potential. Minerals like copper for the healthy development of red blood cells are in abundance, as are fluoride, iron, and iodine.

Besides being anti-cancer, strawberries also contain potential neurological disease-fighting and anti-aging compounds. What’s more, the free radical-zapping antioxidant activity is outstanding in strawberries, as are their blood glucose-leveling abilities.

However, consume strawberries in moderation because they still contain fructose, which may be harmful to your health in excessive amounts.

Strawberries are one of those unique fruits requiring no embellishment to make them one of the world’s most sought-after plant-based foods and one of the top-20 Sirtfoods.

You will find many of the nutritious strawberries recipes included in our New Sirtfood recipes and Best Sirtfood Recipes pages.

Black Coffee in the Morning and Green Tea in the Afternoon

As well as the recommended daily servings of green juices, you can consume other fluids freely throught all phases of the Sirtfood diet. These should include non-caloric drinks, preferably plain water, black coffee and green tea. Both coffee and green tea are Sirtfoods and there is now considerable research now that drinking both is linked with numerous health benefits.

We recommend that coffee be drunk black, without adding milk as some researchers have found that the milk can reduce the absorption of the beneficial sirtuin-activating nutrients. The same has been found for green tea although adding some lemon juice actually increases the assimilation of the sirtuin-activators.

  • Mounting research suggests coffee may offer protection against a number of health concerns, including cancer, type 2 diabetes, heart disease and Parkinson’s. It also has athletic performance-enhancing benefits
  • Green tea has also been shown to improve heart, bone and vision health, and may protect against type 2 diabetes and cancer. Long-term consumption may also promote weight loss
  • Quality is paramount for both coffee and tea. The healthiest coffee is organic dark roast, ground from fresh whole coffee beans, consumed “black.” Also look for organic tea grown in a pristine environment.

coffee

While the research suggests you can have upwards of five cups of coffee per day without adverse effects, we believe this may be too much for many, especially with adrenal fatigue being so common. One way to balance the risks and benefits would be to limit your coffee consumption to one or two cups in the morning, and drinking green tea in the afternoon. Also remember that to achieve therapeutic benefits from coffee, it needs to be:

  • Organic: Most coffee produced today is heavily contaminated with pesticides. It’s actually one of the most heavily sprayed crops grown. So, any coffee you consume should be organic, pesticide-free coffee.
  • Fresh whole bean: You’ll want to purchase coffee in whole bean form and then grind it yourself to prevent rancidity. Pre-ground coffee may be rancid by the time you drink it.
  • Properly dried and roasted: The coffee should smell and taste fresh, not stale. If your coffee does not have a pleasant aroma, it is likely rancid and poor quality. Darker roasts may provide greater health benefits and be easier on your stomach than light roasts.
  • Black: Drink your coffee black, without sugar or cream. Add sugar and you’ll certainly ruin any of the benefits discussed above by spiking your insulin levels and causing insulin resistance.

coffee

Tea also has its issues. Green tea plants are known to be especially effective at absorbing lead from the soil, which is then taken up into the plants’ leaves.

Areas with excessive industrial pollution, such as China (where nearly 90 percent of the world’s green tea is produced), may contain substantial amounts of lead.

While the lead in the tea leaves is not thought to leach very effectively into the tea, if you’re consuming Matcha green tea (which contains the entire ground tea leaf), it’s especially important that it comes from Japan instead of China.

Both black and green teas are also naturally high in fluoride, even if organically grown without pesticides. This is because the plant readily absorbs fluoride thorough its root system, including naturally occurring fluoride in the soil.

So, as with coffee, when selecting tea, opt for organic (to avoid pesticides), grown in a pristine environment (to avoid fluoride, heavy metals, and other toxins from contaminated soil and water). A clean growing environment is essential to producing a pure, high-quality tea.

 


Sirtfood Diet Green Juice Salad

Sirtfood Diet Green Juice Salad

green juice salad 

The Sirtfood Diet Green Juice Salad, as a variation to the actual Sirtfood Green Juice includes all the same ingredients as the green juice plus 2 additional Sirtfoods: walnuts and olive oil. Delicious and very easy to make. If you love chilli, why not sprinkle with a chopped birds eye chilli to add yet another Sirtfood into the mix?

Prep and Total Time
Serves: 1
INGREDIENTS
  • Juice of ½ lemon
  • 1cm ginger, grated
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 handfuls kale, sliced
  • 1 handful rocket
  • 1 tablespoon parsley
  • 2 celery sticks, sliced
  • ½ green apple, sliced
  • 6 walnut halves
  • METHOD
    1. Put the lemon juice, ginger, salt, pepper and olive oil in a jar and shake to combine.
    2. Place the kale in a large bowl and pour over the dressing. Massage the dressing into the kale for 1 minute.
    3. Add all the other ingredients and mix together thoroughly.

Sirtfood Diet Green Juice

Sirtfood Diet Green Juice

sirtfood diet green juiceThe Sirtfood Diet green juice is a major part of the Sirtfood Diet. It is included amongst the recipes included in the Best Sirtfood Recipes page so we thought it would be helpful to include the recipe separately here. Even if you have no intention of following the diet, the juice is packed full of nutrients and would be a great addition to a regular diet. One important thing to note: We have researched carefully and you absolutely need to make this in a juicer, NOT a blender (or a Nutribullet or food processor or anything else other than a juicer). We have tried both ways out and can report that the blended version is a nasty tasting sludge, the juiced version is a reasonably nice tasting juice!

The Sirtfood Diet green juice will keep for up to 3 days in the fridge, so it’s well worth making up a big batch to save time. We usually make the juices up the night before to save time in the mornings. This Sirtfood Diet green juice is packed with nutrient rich Sirtfoods, great for anyone wanting a bit of a health boost and essential for anyone following the Sirtfood Diet.

INGREDIENTS
  • 75g kale
  • 30g rocket
  • 5g parsley
  • 2 celery sticks
  • ½ green apple
  • 1cm ginger
  • Juice of ½ lemon
  • ½ teaspoon matcha green tea
METHOD
  1. Juice all the ingredients apart from the lemon and the matcha green tea.
  2. Squeeze the lemon juice into the green juice by hand.
  3. Pour a small amount of green juice into a glass and stir in the matcha. Add the rest of the green juice into the glass and stir again.
  4. Drink straight away or save for later.

Sirtfood Snacks

Are there any worthwhile Sirtfood snacks ?  Snacking feels like a word loaded with negative connotations, conjuring images of sugar-loaded confectionary or salt-laden savoury products. The food industry knows only too well our weakness for all things sweet, salty and high in fat, and conspires to ensure they are never far from eyeshot as we go about our daily lives, an ever-present temptation.

Even if you’re up for making a healthier choice, it’s far from clear-cut, when snacks marketed as ‘all natural’ or with ‘no added sugar’ can sometimes be as high in sugars as their junk food counterparts. The only difference being that the sugars occur within the naturally sweet ingredients they use rather than the act of adding sugar itself. Take a look at the label and you’ll soon see that there can be spectacular amounts of sugar hidden away in so-called healthy snacks in the form of honey, maple syrup, agave, dried fruits (but read on for more about dates later), and so on. The upshot is the same – it’s still a high sugar snack, just a whole lot more expensive.

As a result, snacks can often end up detracting from the nutritional quality of the diet, when they could actually be a chance to positively enhance it. So what should we be snacking on? Are they any Sirtfood snacks? There are a number of the top 20 Sirtfoods that can be used as the basis for healthy Sirtfood snacks.

Nuts have to be the archetypal nutritious snack food, loaded with ‘good’ unsaturated fats, plant protein, fibre, and a wealth of vitamins, minerals, and polyphenols. With credentials like that it’s no wonder that regularly eating nuts slashes the risk of heart disease. And in complete contrast to other high fat snacks, regularly eating nuts is linked to having a slimmer waistline, likely due to their powerful satiating effect. Walnuts, in particular are a powerful sirtuin-activating food and a nice Sirtfood snack.   Best of all nuts are handbag and office desk friendly.

Next in the snacking stakes, and the perfect partner to nuts, is dark chocolate (ideally with an 80-85% cocoa content). This is another top-20 Sirtfood. Cocoa contains powerful naturally occurring plant compounds, known as flavanols, which are now the subject of intensive scientific research for their health benefits, especially for cardiovascular health. In fact, combine a few squares of dark chocolate with a small handful of nuts and you have just about the most cardio-protective snack going. And just like nuts, this is a snack that will comfortably slot in a handbag or tuck

As part of the Sirtfood Diet these Dark Chocolate Bites are a firm family favourite as one of the nicest Sirtfood snacks. It combines a host of health promoting polyphenols into an indulgent treat. Whilst Medjool dates are naturally very high in sugar (a staggering 66%!), eaten in moderation they actually have no noticeable blood sugar raising effects and are actually linked to having less diabetes and heart disease, thanks to their exceptional polyphenol content. This makes them one of the healthiest options for conjuring up a sweet treat.

Dark Chocolate Bits Recipe-Sirtfood Snack

Makes 15–20 bites sirtfood snacks

120g walnuts

30g dark chocolate (85 per cent cocoa solids), broken into pieces; or cocoa nibs

250g Medjool dates, pitted

1 tbsp cocoa powder

1 tbsp ground turmeric

1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

the scraped seeds of 1 vanilla pod or 1 tsp vanilla extract

1–2 tbsp water

Place the walnuts and chocolate in a food processor and process until you have a fine powder.

Add all the other ingredients except the water and blend until the mixture forms a ball. You may or may not have to add the water depending on the consistency of the mixture – you don’t want it to be too sticky.

Using your hands, form the mixture into bite-sized balls and refrigerate in an airtight container for at least 1 hour before eating them. You could roll some of the balls in some more cocoa or desiccated coconut to achieve a different finish if you like. They will keep for up to 1 week in your fridge.

Cinnamon-Another Powerful Sirtfood

Cinnamon-Another Powerful Sirtfood

cinnamon

Cinnamon can activate your sirtuin genes.

Cinnamon appears in the Sirtfood Diet as a top 40 Sirtfood, with the most unequivocal research showing maximum benefit comes from combining Sirtfoods together. Sirtfoods are so named because they contain substances that activate Sirtuin or ‘skinny’ genes, the same genes as exercise and fasting.

While always known that cinnamon lowers blood sugar we didn’t for sure know why. Now brand new research presented just this month at the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology showed it is by activating Sirt-1.
And with it acting at a genetic level researchers say benefits go beyond blood sugar making it a metabolic powerhouse with anti-aging properties.

Scientists have long suspected that cinnamon can help prevent blood-sugar spikes and protect against insulin resistance, a risk factor for diabetes. But how, exactly, has remained a mystery—and while some studies have suggested a strong effect, others have been inconclusive.

Amy Stockert, associate professor of biochemistry at Ohio Northern University Raabe College of Pharmacy, has been studying cinnamon for years. In 2015, her research showed that type 2 diabetics who took daily cinnamon supplements saw greater reductions in blood sugar than those who took a placebo.

Some of these effects lasted even after participants stopped taking the supplements, says Stockert, which suggested that lasting changes had been triggered at the cellular level. “We started to suspect that one of the proteins involved in gene expression was being influenced by cinnamon,” she says.

Her new research focuses on Sirtuin-1 (also called Sirt-1)—a protein that’s active in insulin regulation. “We know that Sirt-1 acts on another protein that affects how glucose is transported,” says, “so it made sense that it might be the key player.”

Scientists know that Sirt-1 is activated by resveratrol, an antioxidant found in red wine that’s been touted for its anti-aging and cholesterol-lowering properties. Cinnamon contains similar compounds, known as phenols, which Stockert thought might also bind to Sirt-1 molecules in the same way. She and her colleagues used a computer model to test this hypothesis and discovered that the cinnamon phenols had similar, sometimes even stronger interactions with the protein.

This suggests that the phenols in cinnamon also activate Sirt-1, providing a possible explanation for their beneficial properties. “If that’s true, it means cinnamon is doing more than just lowering blood sugar,” says Stockert. “It’s acting on a protein that affects lipid metabolism, cell growth changes, and the expression of a variety of genes.”

Stockert’s previous research found that people who consumed 1 gram a day of cinnamon saw blood sugar reductions comparable to what would be expected from prescription drugs. But she believes that even smaller quantities—like those used in cooking and seasoning—could also have benefits.

“If cinnamon interacts with this enzyme in the way our model suggests, it could possibly be linked to anti-aging, antioxidant control, a lot of really important health benefits,” she says. “And it shouldn’t take one gram a day to see those effects.”

Stockert recommends buying cinnamon—whole or ground—from reputable spice companies. Her team is now studying the effects of cinnamon on fat cells and hope to expand their research to muscle and liver cells, as well.

You can add cinnamon to oatmeal, toast, butternut squash, chili and more. It is also recommended that it be added to other Sirtfood-based meals.

This isn’t the first time cinnamon’s been touted for its health benefits beyond blood sugar control—and it’s certainly not the final word. But given the low risk and reported benefits, it seems a worthwhile addition to your diet, if you like the taste.


Lovage -A Sirtfood With Benefits

Lovage -A Sirtfood With Benefits

lovageLovage, a member of the parsley family, is a widely-used herb in parts of Europe and southwest Asia. It’s an extremely versatile plant possessing flavors of both celery and parsley but much stronger. Lovage is delicious and also extremely high in the sirtuin-activating compound quercetin and is one of the main ingredients of the Sirtfood Green Juice.  Lovage offers a number of health benefits, including supporting kidney health, fighting harmful organisms and supporting joint health.

Here are some of the well-researched benefits of Lovage.

1. Lovage Fights the Risk of Kidney Stones

Lovage is an aquaretic or a type of diuretic that encourages urination without electrolyte loss. The increased urination flushes the urinary tract to potentially help avoid kidney stones.

2. Lung Support

Traditional herbal medicine uses lovage to loosen phlegm in the lungs, which in turn improves airflow, breathing, and oxygen intake. In one trial eucalyptol, the active chemical compound in lovage that reduces lung irritation, produced significant, positive results within four days

3. Soothes Rough Spots

It turns out lovage is loaded with compounds that may soothe rough patches in the body. Compounds in lovage that provide this benefit include limonene, eugenol, and quercetin. Studies involving limonene have shown it provides soothing effects throughout the body, although it has been especially noted to help reduce issues associated with colitis.

4. Promotes Healthy Skin

Lovage is recommended as a natural way to fight skin conditions like dermatitis and acne. The exact mechanism of action is not fully understood, but traditional skin care approaches include lovage in their routines.

5. Fights Harmful Organisms

Scientists have found lovage to be one of the most potent extracts against organisms like E. coli, Salmonella, H. pylori, and H. influenzae.

6. Eases Digestion and Relieves Gas

The soothing benefits of lovage are very effective and it’s even a great remedy to soothe the digestive tract, reduce bloating and relieve gas.

7. Supports Joint Health

The herb is considered a natural remedy for joint discomfort associated with gout and rheumatic swelling of the joints. In addition, it doesn’t cause any terrible side effects.

8. Natural Allergy Support

The soothing effects of lovage naturally help fight the symptoms of allergies. But when it comes to allergies, lovage goes a bit farther. Quercetin, a compound present in lovage, inhibits histamine release and alleviates skin irritation typically caused by sensitivity to environmental irritants.

9. Menstrual Support

Among its many traditional uses, lovage is reported to provide relief from menstrual discomfort. Its high nutrient density combined with its powerful soothing benefits may explain why adding lovage to the diet prior to the beginning of a menstrual cycle may support well-being.

10. Excellent for Recipes

Lovage is a wonderful addition to your favorite recipes, adding taste and increasing your meal’s nutrient value. It’s often used as a replacement for celery, although it’s more pungent so most recipes recommend using about half the amount of the celery called for. The leaves make an excellent salad, and the seeds are used as a spice and often sprinkled over salads and soups. Lovage can even be brewed as an herbal tea. It’s rich in B-complex vitamins, essential for energy, and vitamin C which supports skin and immune system health.

Lovage is safe, natural and can easily be found as a food or herbal supplement!

Red Onions A Powerful Sirtfood

Red Onions A Powerful Sirtfood

red onionsOnions are one of the most popular vegetables worldwide.  While most children dislike their pungent and bitey flavor, most adults embrace and use them regularly.   Red onions contain twice as many antioxidants as any other form of onion making them a powerful part of an anti-inflammatory diet and Sirtfood lifestyle. Red onions are one of the top 20 Sirtfoods.

Red onions are also a rich source of the flavonoid antioxidant and major sirtuin-activating nutrient quercetin and the polyphenol antioxidant anthocyanin.  These antioxidants prevent the oxidation of dietary and cellular fatty acids.  They are very powerful free radical scavengers that neutralize cancer cell growth and dramatically reduce whole body inflammation.

The anti-oxidant flavonoids are extremely rich in the outer layers of the onion.  Many people will peel off the first few layers and lose much of these critical nutrients.  Be sure to utilize the outer, fleshy edible portions as much as possible.

How Many Red Onions to Eat?

Simmering onions in a soup or broth will damage some of the anthocyanins but not the sirtuin-activating quercetin.  The quercetin moves into the soup or broth.  The lower the heat the more nutrients will be contained in the soup or broth.  Studies have shown that 4-7 servings of red onions each week (equivalent to about 2-3 onions) have been associated with the greatest benefit in reducing colorectal, oral, laryngeal, esophageal & ovarian cancer.

Red onions should be stored in a cool, dry area with good airflow.  Until they are opened they should not be stored in a refrigerator or plastic bag as both of these have been shown to speed up spoilage.  Once opened, it is best to store in refrigeration.  Avoid any onions that are wet, soft, bruised or have dark spots or mold on them.

Frequently Asked Questions With Red Onions

1.  Do I Need to Purchase Organic Onions?  

Because onions are covered in a thin skin and are very sharp and pungent they repel pests.  They are not highly sprayed with toxic herbicides and pesticides and therefore can be purchased non-organic without significant risk from toxic chemical exposure.

2.  How Do I Reduce the Effect Onions Have on My Breath?

You can reduce the negative effects onions and other sulfur-rich foods (garlic, shallots, radishes) have on your breath by consuming green veggies, bitter herbs such as dandelion, parsley or cilantro and herbs such as rosemary, fennel and peppermint.

We often advise people to consume another Sirtfood, parsley or make a green Sirtfood juice on days when you are consuming a lot of raw onion.

3.  Do I Get the Same Benefits from Cooked Onions as I Do with Raw Onions?

No, you will certainly lose much of the nutrient content but you will still get some of the benefits so it is better to consume cooked onions than no onions at all.

 

Sirtfood Spices-Chilli And Turmeric

Sirtfood Spices-Chilli And Turmeric

Sirtfood spices chilli and turmeric are amongst the top 20 most effective sirtuin activators.sirtfood spices

Whilst there is a major focus on the health benefits of eating fruits and vegetables, don’t let that divert focus from other elements of our diet that are as good. None more so than the culinary Sirtfood spices, which contain similar health-enhancing plant compounds (aka phytonutrients) as fruits and vegetables but often in much more effective amounts, which means a little spice can go a long way to boosting health.

Turmeric

Turmeric boasts a long history of use in Asia for both its culinary and medicinal uses. Its use as a staple ingredient in traditional Indian cooking is thought to be one reason for the significantly lower cancer rates in India compared with Western countries. Amongst its numerous active ingredients, it is the curcumin content that is believed to explain many of turmeric’s health benefits, which in addition to anti-cancer properties, include anti-inflammatory effects, and even benefits for preventing weight gain and obesity.

Turmeric advice: Curcumin is poorly absorbed by the body, but there are ways to improve this. Using turmeric in cooking, especially with fat, helps improve its absorption, as does the addition of black pepper.

Chillisirtfood spices

The heat in chilli comes from a substance called capsaicin, and the more capsaicin in a chilli, the hotter it is. And recent research suggests that spicing up our food with chilli could be a life saver, concluding that eating hot spicy foods three or more times a week is associated with a 14 percent lower death rate compared to eating them less than once a week.

Chilli advice: As a general rule of thumb, the hotter the better – but don’t exceed what is comfortably tolerable.