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Exploring the Potential Benefits of Superfoods in Medicine: Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

In a popular article from National Geographic, first published in April 2015, the potential benefits of blueberries, a very popular and well-known Superfood, was discussed as it relates to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

This NatGeo article references research being done by a group headed up be Dr. Joseph Francis at Louisiana State University (LSU). Dr. Francis’ life-long goal has been to study the effects of antioxidants, which are found in very high concentration in Superfoods such as blueberries, on various diseases including PTSD, cardiovascular disease, cancer, and other neurological disorders including Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease.

PTSD is a mental health condition that can develop in people who have experienced or witnessed a traumatic event. This disorder can cause a range of distressing symptoms such as intense anxiety, flashbacks, nightmares, and emotional numbness. Individuals with PTSD may also avoid situations, places, or people that remind them of the traumatic experience. The condition can significantly impact a person's daily life, relationships, and overall well-being.

In an initial study, published in 2014, the LSU group noted that within a PTSD model in rodents, caused by the traumatic event involving a threat to life (predator exposure) and psychological stress (constant changing of cage mates) the levels of specific biomarkers, including changes to neurotransmitters along the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis, were similar to those seen in patients suffering from PTSD.

In follow up to these finding, the LSU group published a paper in 2016 showing that a blueberry enriched diet fed to the rodents with PTSD reduced the levels of specific biomarkers noted in the earlier studies, and further improved the levels of anxiety observed in these animals as well.

These studies and articles are but just a few of the hundreds, if not thousands, of papers and articles written about the potential health benefits of blueberries and other so-called Superfoods. As noted by many scientific researchers, Superfoods are typically high in antioxidants which have been shown to help combat the effects of oxidative stress, including free radicals, and inflammation. The wide breadth of diseases which have been, and are currently being, studied with respect to the positive effects of Superfoods is constantly expanding. Here we discuss the effects on PTSD, but others include

cardiovascular disease, cancer, along with other neurological disorders including Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. As more and more research is published in peer reviewed journal articles, the benefits of including a variety of Superfoods in one’s daily food intake is becoming undeniable.

Researchers, including Dr. Francis and his team at LSU, continue to explore the therapeutic benefits of a variety of fruits, vegetables, herbs, and spices, in an effort to understand more fully the mechanistic actions that these compounds have and their future therapeutic role in so many diseases effecting humans all over the world.

Dr. Joseph Francis is also the founder of Pranam Superfoods. His enthusiasm for bringing the power of Superfoods to the world is infectious upon meeting him, and is driven by the legacy of both his father, and late wife. His father taught Joseph, while growing up in India, the power of natural ingredients to help those in need; Joseph applied this knowledge, along with that gained from his academic research at LSU when developing The Antioxidant Bar. The journey of developing a nutrition bar started when

his wife began aggressive chemotherapy for late-stage cancer. They knew the value that including antioxidants in her diet would bring, and together they worked to develop not only a healthy nutrition bar, but one that tastes great as well. This legacy drives Pranam Superfoods and Dr. Francis to continue to bring The Antioxidant Bar to the world, while Dr. Francis continues his academic research into the power of it’s ingredients, along with exploring other beneficial natural ingredients.

Until more is known, adding The Antioxidant Bar and other Superfoods into your daily intake of food is a tasty way to provide your body with the possible benefits that have been studied in a variety of animal models.

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