Health foods

September 23, 2009 RENU

  • Anti oxidants- Neutralize free radicals, which cause huge amounts of damage to cells. Free radicals are major players in the build up of cholesterol in the arteries that leads to heart problems,  the nerve & blood vessel damage seen in diabetes, the cloudy lenses of cataracts, the joint pain in osteoarthritis & rheumatoid arthritis, wheezing & airway tightening of asthma. Free radical damage contributes to the development & progression of virtually all degenerative diseases, including atherosclerosis, colon cancer, osteoarthritis, diabetes, & rheumatoid arthritis. Since they cause inflammation, both directly & by inciting the body’s inflammatory defense systems, free radicals also play a major role in asthma attacks.
  • Carotenoids- Reduce risk of heart problems, various cancers. Beta-carotene is a member of the carotenoids, which are highly pigmented (red, orange, yellow), fat-soluble compounds naturally present in many fruits, grains, oils, vegetables (green plants, carrots, sweet potatoes, squash, spinach, apricots, green peppers). Alpha, beta, gamma carotene are considered provitamins b’cos they can be converted to active vit A. Beta-carotene helps to protect vision, especially night vision. After beta-carotene is converted to vit A in the liver, it travels to the retina where it is transformed into rhodopsin, a purple pigment that is necessary for night-vision. Plus beta-carotene’s powerful antioxidant actions help provide protection against macular degeneration & the development of senile cataracts, the leading cause of blindness in the elderly.
  • Cruciferous vegetables- Belong to Brassica family. Broccoli, kale, cabbage, cauliflower, collards, brussel sprouts. Contains sulphur containing phytonutrients  sulforaphane & the indoles, which have significant anti-cancer effects b’cos they increase liver’s ability to detoxify. Phytonutrients in them work at a much deeper level to fight against free radicals by signalling our genes to increase production of enzymes involved in detoxification, the cleansing process through which our bodies eliminate harmful compounds. Provides cardio benefits too. Sulforaphane can help repair sun-damaged skin. Phytonutrient curcumin in turmeric & phytonutrient in cruciferous vegetables together could help promote men’s health by preventing prostate cancer.
  • Diuretic- Any substance that tends to increase the flow of urine, which causes the body to get rid of excess water.
  1. Asparagus: High in Folate, vit ACK, very good source of tryptophan, vit B1B2B6B3, manganese, fiber, copper, phosphorus, protein, potassium, low in sodium. Good source of iron, zinc, magnesium, selenium, calcium. It is diuretic due to Amino Acid asparagine in it, so treats problems involving swelling, such as arthritis & rheumatism. Carbohydrate called inulin in it increases friendly bacterial growth in gut. Pick firm, thin stemmed asparagus with deep green/purple closed tips. Use within 1-2days for good flavor. Wrap ends in damp paper towel, away from light in friz, since folate is destroyed by air, heat or light. Don’t worry if urine smells different when you eat asparagus.
  2. Avocado: Good source of vit K, B6, C, fiber, potassium, folate, copper. Oleic acid, a MUFA(Mono Unsaturated Fatty Acid) in it lowers total cholesterol & LDL cholesterol (bad), increases good HDL cholesterol. Good source of potassium. It increases absorption of health promoting carotenoids from vegetables. So add some to all foods everyday. Fights oral cancer. Tree ripened ones will have better flavor & will have slight neck rather than rounded. Or ripen firm avacado in paper bag, then keep in friz, stays 1wk. Sprinkle exposed surface with lemon juice to prevent browning.
  3. Beets: Rich in folate, very good source of manganese & potassium, good source of fiber, vit C, magnesium, tryptophan, iron, copper, phosphorus. Betacyanin, the pigment that gives it purple-crimson color is a powerful cancer fighter especillay colon cancer. It also protects against heart problems by dropping cholesterol & increasing good HDL cholesterol. Betaine in it helps lessen inflammations. Rich in folate. Beets & swiss chard are from same family, so their leaves taste the same. Cut most of the leaves & stems from root so they don’t absorb  moisture from root & store unwashed in crisper section of friz so stay for 4wks. Store unwashed greens in plastic bag.
  4. Bell peppers- Rich in Vit AC, 2 powerful anti oxidants. Very good souce of fiber, vit K, manganese. Good source of potassium, vit B1, E, tryptophan, copper. Vit B6 & folic acid in them are very important for reducing high levels of homocysteine, a substance produced during the methylation cycle (an essential biochemical process in virtually every cell in the body). High homocysteine levels have been shown to cause damage to blood vessels & are associated with a greatly increased risk of heart problems. Also provides fiber, a carotenoid called lycopene that prevents many kinds of cancer.  Vit C, beta carotene, folic acid, all found in bell peppers reduce risk of colon cancer. Beta-cryptoxanthin, an orange-red carotenoid found in high amounts in red bell peppers, pumpkin, corn, papaya, tangerines, oranges & peaches, lowers risk of lung cancer. Lutein & zeaxanthin pigments in red bell peppers protect against muscular degeneration, the main cause of blindness in elderly. Vit C & beta carotene fight against cataracts. Pick firm peppers that are heavy for their size. Available thoughout year but is a summer vegetable.
  5. Broccoli:  Rich in Vit ACK , folate & fiber. Good source of manganese, tryptophan, potassium, Vit B6 & B2, phosphorus, magnesium, protein, omega 3 fatty acids. Good source of vit B5, B1, B3, E, iron, calcium, zinc. Has  zinc & selenium, 2 trace minerals that act as cofactors in numerous immune defensive actions. When eaten with tomatoes, which is also recognized for fighting cancer, we see an additive effect. By eliminating Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori), it supports stomach health. Broccoli & other leafy green vegetables contain powerful phytonutrient antioxidants in the carotenoid family called luteinzeaxanthin, both of which are concentrated in large quantities in the lens of the eye. Good for strong bones as contains both calcium & vit C, which improves calcium absorption(milk has no vit C & high in calories.) Pick uniform colored with no yellowing firm clusters. Very perishable, so store in open plastic bag in crisper section of friz to keep for 1wk. If blanched & frozen, stays 1yr.
  6. Brussel sprouts: Rich in Vit CK, very good source of Vit A, B6, B1, tryptophan, folate, manganese, fiber, potassium, good source of omega 3, iron, phosphorus, protein, magnesium, vit B2, E, copper, calcium. Available year round but are at best from autumn through early spring. Vit A & beta carotene, both play imp roles in defending the body against infection & promoting supple, glowing skin. Both soluble & insoluble fibers are present in equal amounts. Select firm, compact & vivid green ones free of yellowed or wilted leaves. Store in plastic bag in friz, stays 10days. Can blanch & freeze to stay for 1yr.
  7. Cabbage: Rich in Vit CK, very good source of Vit B6, folate, manganese, fiber, good source of omega 3, vit A, B1, B2, potassium, protein, magnesium, calcium.  Available year round but are at best during late fall & winter months.
  8. Carrot: Found throughout the year, but in season in summer & fall. Rich in vit A, very good source of vit CK, fiber & potassium. Good source of vit B1B3B6, manganese, phosphorus, magnesium, folate. Excellent source of anti-oxidants & richest vegetable source of pro vit A carotenes. Beta-carotene promotes good vision, especially night vision. Phyto nutrient called flacarinol in carrots promotes colon health. Pick deeper colored firm & smooth ones as deeper the orange color means, the more beta carotene. Stem end shdn’t be darkly colored. Since the sugars are concentrated in the carrots’ core, generally those with larger diameters will have a larger core and therefore be sweeter. The trick to preserving the freshness of carrot roots is to minimize the amount of moisture they lose. So store in coolest part of the refrigerator in a plastic bag or wrapped in a paper towel, which will reduce the amount of condensation that is able to form. Store away from apples, pears, potatoes etc that produce ethylene gas since it will cause them to become bitter. Green tops shd be cut off before storing since they will cause the carrots to wilt prematurely as they pull moisture from the roots. Wrap tops in a damp paper & keep in friz, but use soon or else will wilt quickly.
  9. Cauliflower: Best from December through March. It lacks the green chlorophyll found in other cruciferous vegetables b’cos, leaves shield the florets from the sun as they grow. Rich source of Vit CK, folate, fiber & good source of vit B5B6, tryptophan, omega 3, manganese. Pick clean, creamy white, compact ones, store in plastic or paper bag in friz stem side down so moisture don’t develop in clusters.
  10. Celery: Available throughout year but best in summer. Rich in Vit CK, good source of potassium, folate, fiber, manganese, Vit B6. Phthalides, an active compound, may lower cholesterol & coumarins, may prevent cancer by preventing free radicals from damaging cells. Phthalides, help relax the muscles around arteries & allow those vessels to dilate. With more space inside the arteries, the blood can flow at a lower pressure & so lowers BP. Phthalides also reduce stress hormones, one of whose effects is to cause blood vessels to constrict. Celery has a reputation among some persons as being a high-sodium vegetable, & BP reduction is usually associated with low-sodium foods. Since two stalks of celery only provide about 4% of the sodium DV, most individuals would be able to include 2 or even more stalks of celery in a day’s diet while keeping their total sodium intake below the DV by sticking with other low-sodium foods. Potassium & sodium, which are imp for regulating fluid balance, stimulates urine production, thus helping to rid the body of excess fluid. Celery lowers cholesterol. Choose crisp one that snaps easily, without yellow leaves. Store in sealed container or wrap in pl.bag/damp cloth in friz. Can’t freeze.
  11. Collard greens: Available year round but best from Jan through April. Like Kale & mustard greens, they are non head forming members of the Brassica family. The dark blue-green leaves that are smooth in texture & relatively broad distinguish them from the frilly edged leaves of kale. Rich in Vit ACK, manganese, folate, calcium, fiber, good source of tryptophan, potassium, Vit B2B6. It is rich in health promoting phytonutrients, 3main anti oxidants in foods Vit ACE, anti oxidant mineral manganese, so nutritional superstar. Vit E-rich Leafy greens slow loss of mental function. Pick firm, non-yellow, unwilted ones. Store unwashed in damp paper towel in pl.bag in crisper section of friz. Sooner they are eaten, the less bitter they will be.
  12. Egg: Is almost a whole food, has everything except vit C. Only source of B12 for vegetarians, which is good for nervous system. Both white & yolk do good. If have heart problems, BP, obesity, diabetes etc, then take only white as yolk has fat & cholesterol. Proteins in egg is the best as have all the Amino acids. So after mothers milk, egg is best in providing energy & nutrients. Has anti-oxidants too. Phosphorus keeps our mind sharp. Sulphur is good for hair. Vit A gives skin shine. Selenium & vit E protect from heart problems. Calcium good for bones. Carotenoids in it protect eyes & muscles. Indian omlette has salt & chilli powder, Americans use ham & cheese, Chinese add vegetables, Japanese make thick ones, Spains eat with tortilla, Italians eat as frittata. In 1yr 1hen lays 260 eggs. To lay each egg, it takes 25hrs & after 1/2hr rest again new egg formation starts. As hen ages, egg size also increases. White is 30g in weight, yolk is 20g & shell is 5g. Best hair conditioner than anything else. Good for skin too. Shell has more than 1500 holes which absorb flavors around. Highly populated bird in birds family.

Entry Filed under: Superfoods

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