Fruit Facts: Pomegranate

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Pomegranates are nutritiously dense, antioxidant rich fruit which has been revered as a symbol of health. This fruit’s deep red juice contains polyphenols, isoflavones, ellagic acid, and punicalagians. These are elements researchers believe to make up a potent anti-cancer combo.

Pomegranate juice is good for your heart and blood vessels. They also have been shown to inhibit breast cancer, prostate cancer, colon cancer, leukemia and to prevent vascular changes that promote tumor growth in lab animals.

Several studies have shown this remarkable anti-cancer effect. Additional studies and clinical trials currently taking place are hopeful to reveal this fascinating effect on humans. I would recommend eating fresh pomegranates or buy the 100% organic juice if possible.

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Pomegranate seeds are juicy and crunchy. I love to snack on them in between my meals. They’re filling and satisfying to eat. Other antioxidant rich foods like blueberries, tomatoes, red and yellow peppers, nuts, whole grains, spinach, kale and so much more are important to incorporate in your diet.

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Sources:
Study: Cancer Chemoprevention by Pomegranate: Laboratory and Clinical Evidence

My #1 Tip for Eating Healthy.

Food Facts: Cauliflower

Cauliflower is an excellent source of vitamin C, and a very good source of folate and vitamin K.

According to whfoods website cauliflower is high in vitamin K, which act like as a direct regulator of our inflammatory response. In addition, one of the glucosinolates found in cauliflower—glucobrassicin—can be readily converted into an isothiocyanate molecule called ITC, or indole-3-carbinol.

I3C is an anti-inflammatory compound that can actually operate at the genetic level, and by doing so, prevent the initiation of inflammatory responses at a very early stage.

Like chronic oxidative stress and chronic weakened detox ability, chronic unwanted inflammation can significantly increase our risk of cancers and other chronic diseases (especially cardiovascular diseases).

Cauliflower, a cruciferous vegetable, is in the same plant family as broccoli, kale, cabbage and collards. These vegetables should be included in your daily meal plan to help facilitate detoxification.

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Resource:
For a more in-depth understanding of the benefits of cauliflower read it here at whfoods.com.

Food Facts: Apricots

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Apricots are high in vitamin A, which promotes good vision. According to whfoods.com vitamin A is a powerful antioxidant, quenches free radical damage to cells and tissues. Apricots are also a good source of fiber, vitamin C, potassium and tryptophan.

Researchers who studied over 50,000 registered nurses found women who had the highest vitamin A intake reduced their risk of developing cataracts nearly 40%.

Food Fact: Garlic

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(Photo: Jonathunder/Wikipedia)

Garlic’s numerous beneficial cardiovascular effects are due to not only its sulfur compounds, but also to its vitamin C, vitamin B6, selenium and manganese.  Garlic is a very good source of vitamin C, the body’s primary antioxidant defender in all aqueous (water-soluble) areas, such as the bloodstream, where it protects LDL cholesterol from oxidation.

Antibacterial and Antiviral Benefits
From a medical history standpoint, the antibacterial and antiviral properties of garlic are perhaps its most legendary feature.  This allium vegetable and its constituents have been studied not only for their benefits in controlling infection by bacteria and viruses, but also infection from other microbes including yeasts/fungi and worms. (One particular disulfide in garlic, called ajoene, has been successfully used to help prevent infections with the yeast Candida albicans.)

Very recent research has shown the ability of crushed fresh garlic to help prevent infection by the bacterium Pseudomonas aeruginosa in burn patients. Also of special interest has been the ability of garlic to help in the treatment of bacterial infections that are difficult to treat due to the presence of bacteria that have become resistant to prescription antibiotics.  However, most of the research on garlic as an antibiotic has involved fresh garlic extracts or powdered garlic products rather than fresh garlic in whole food form.

Overgrowth of the bacterium Helicobacter pylori in the stomach—a key risk factor for stomach ulcer—has been another key area of interest for researchers wanting to explore garlic’s antibacterial benefits.  Results in this area, however, have been mixed and inconclusive. While garlic may not be able to alter the course of infection itself, there may still be health benefits from garlic in helping to regulate the body’s response to that infection.

Studies:
Ghalambor A and Pipelzadeh MH. Clinical study on the efficacy of orally administered crushed fresh garlic in controlling Pseudomonas aeruginosa infection in burn patients with varying burn degrees. Jundishapur Journal of Microbiology 2009; 2(1):7-13. 2009.

Galeone C, Tavani A, Pelucchi C, et al. Allium vegetable intake and risk of acute myocardial infarction in Italy. Eur J Nutr. 2009 Mar;48(2):120-3. 2009.

The World’s Healthiest Foods: Garlic

Food Fact: Grapefruit

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According to the WHFood’s website, grapefruit is rated one of the worlds’s healthiest foods. Grapefruit is an excellent source of vitamin C, a vitamin that helps to support the immune system. Vitamin C-rich foods like grapefruit may help reduce cold symptoms or severity of cold symptoms; over 20 scientific studies have suggested that vitamin C is a cold-fighter.

Vitamin C also prevents the free radical damage that triggers the inflammatory cascade, and is therefore also associated with reduced severity of inflammatory conditions, such as asthma, osteoarthritis, and rheumatoid arthritis. As free radicals can oxidize cholesterol and lead to plaques that may rupture causing heart attacks or stroke, vitamin C is beneficial to promoting cardiovascular health.

Owing to the multitude of vitamin C’s health benefits, it is not surprising that research has shown that consumption of vegetables and fruits high in this nutrient is associated with a reduced risk of death from all causes including heart disease, stroke and cancer.

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Prevent Kidney Stones
Want to reduce your risk of calcium oxalate kidney stones? Drink grapefruit juice. A study published in the British Journal of Nutrition found that when women drank 1/2 to 1 liter of grapefruit, apple or orange juice daily, their urinary pH value and citric acid excretion increased, significantly dropping their risk of forming calcium oxalate stones.

Fresh is always best! Juicing citrus fruits is much more beneficial than buying the boxed version. I eat a lot of citrus fruits for their nutritional values.

Drug Reaction: Check with your healthcare practitioner about consuming grapefruit juice if you’re taking pharmaceutical drugs. Certain pharmaceutical drugs combined with grapefruit juice become more potent.

References:
Study: Phytochemical in citrus fruits
Study: Grapefruit and oroblanco enhance hepatic detoxification enzymes in rats: possible role in protection against chemical carcinogenesis.
Study: British Journal of Nutrition
Warnings: Drug Reaction
More on: Vitamin C Rich Foods

Food Fact: Swiss Chard

According to the website WH Foods, Swiss chard is not only one of the most popular vegetables along the Mediterranean but it is one of the most nutritious vegetables around and ranks second only to spinach. It follows their analysis of the total nutrient-richness of the World’s Healthiest vegetables.

Health Benefits
The amazing variety of phytonutrients in chard is quickly recognizable in its vibrant colors, including the rich, dark greens in its leaves and the rainbow of reds, purples, and yellows in its stalks and veins.

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Virtually all of these phytonutrients provide antioxidant benefits, anti-inflammatory benefits, or both. In addition, many provide health benefits that are more specific and of special important to particular body systems.

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I love to juice them. This way I’m getting all of the natural raw enzymes and vitamins all in one glass. Whole Foods carries an organic brand I always get.

Nutritional Profile
Swiss chard is an excellent source of bone-building vitamin K, manganese, and magnesium; antioxidant vitamin A, vitamin C, and vitamin E; heart-healthy potassium; and energy-producing iron.

It is a very good source of bone-healthy copper and calcium; energy-producing vitamin B2 and vitamin B6; and muscle-building protein, and heart-healthy dietary fiber.

In addition, Swiss chard is a good source of energy-producing phosphorus, vitamin B1, vitamin B5, biotin, and niacin; immune supportive zinc; and heart-healthy folate.

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Here’s a great recipe I found on Lisa’s Project Vegan website . I normally juice my chard but after coming across Lisa’s recipe, I will surely give this one a chance. It looks and sounds tasty. I especially like the fact that the chard isn’t overly cooked down. It’s still intact.

Cranberries & Oats!

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Once you’ve eaten dried whole organic cranberries, there’s no turning back. However, it’s much more nutritious eating the unprocessed kind. Basically, fresh is best! Delicious cranberries are packed with vitamin C, fiber, manganese, vitamin K, and vitamin E.

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Cranberries are rich in phytonutrients, anti-cancer, cardiovascular, and digestive track benefits. It’s also an anti-inflammatory, supports the immune systems, and protects against UTI’s.

Oats

Significant Cardiovascular Benefits for Postmenopausal Women
Eating a serving of whole grains, such as oats, at least 6 times each week is an especially good idea for postmenopausal women with high cholesterol, high blood pressure or other signs of cardiovascular disease (CVD).

A 3-year prospective study of over 200 postmenopausal women with CVD, published in the American Heart Journal, shows that those eating at least 6 servings of whole grains each week experienced both:


    Slowed progression of atherosclerosis, the build-up of plaque that narrows the vessels through which blood flows, and
    Less progression in stenosis, the narrowing of the diameter of arterial passageways
    .

To read more on cranberries click here!

Oats click here

Food Fact: The Avocado

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Consider adding avocado to salads, and not only on account of taste!

Recent research has shown that absorption of two key carotenoid antioxidants—lycopene and beta-carotene—increases significantly when fresh avocado (or avocado oil) is added to an otherwise avocado-free salad. It supports cardiovascular health, promotes blood sugar regulation, anti-cancer benefits, and optimizes absorption of carotenoids.

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    One cup of fresh avocado (150 grams) added to a salad of romaine lettuce, spinach, kale, tomatoes, and carrots increased absorption of carotenoids from this salad between 200-400%.

Wide-Ranging Anti-Inflammatory Benefits

The ability of avocado to help prevent unwanted inflammation is absolutely unquestionable in the world of health research. The term “anti-inflammatory” is a term that truly applies to this delicious food.

Avocado’s anti-inflammatory nutrients fall into five basic categories:

  • Phytosterols, including beta-sitosterol, stigmasterol, and campesterol (protects from cancer)
  • Carotenoid antioxidants (prevent chronic disease), including lutein, neoxanthin, neochrome, beta-cryptoxanthin, zeaxanthin, violaxanthin, beta-carotene and alpha-carotene
  • Other (non-carotenoid) antioxidants, including the flavonoids epicatechin and epigallocatechin 3-0-gallate, vitamins C and E, and the minerals manganese, selenium, and zinc
  • Omega-3 fatty acids, in the form of alpha-linolenic acid (approximately 160 milligrams per cup of sliced avocado)
  • Polyhydroxylated fatty alcohols (PSA)s (suppresses inflammation)
  • Source:
    Whole Foods: Avocado

    Food Fact: Cranberries

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    A substantial number of recent studies have shown that whole fresh cranberries consumed in dietary form—in comparison with purified cranberry extracts consumed in either liquid or dried supplement form—do a better job of protecting our cardiovascular system and our liver.

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    This rule about whole/fresh dietary intake of cranberries appears to apply to the antioxidant benefits, anti-inflammatory benefits, and anti-cancer benefits of cranberry. The cancer-preventive benefits of cranberries are now known to extend to cancers of the breast, colon, lung, and prostate. The bar for cranberries are as high as blueberries. They’re powerhouses of aniti-cancer fighting properties.

    Basically, fresh is best! However, it’s easier at times to open up a can of cranberries for the holidays. I know based off of experience the length of time that goes into preparing a Thanksgiving feast. Cranberry sauce was the last thing from my mind to prepare, so I was that person who opened cans of jellied cranberry sauce. I also grew up watching my mother do it, so I did eventually. This year, my aunt is hosting and preparing the feast, so my contribution will be a fresh salad and guess what…fresh cranberries. After reading about the benefits of cranberries, I will never open up another can of jellied cranberry sauce in my house. As for my parents house, that’s another story.

    Cranberries health highlights:
    Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)
    Cardiovascular Benefits
    Immune Support
    Antioxidant Protection
    Anti-Cancer Protection
    Digestive Tract Benefits

    For an in-depth reading click here

    Food Fact: Radishes

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    Radish is rich in folic acid, Vitamin C and anthocyanins. The leaves of the radish plant actually contain more Vitamin C, protein and calcium than their roots. They have been used to treat kidney and skin disorders, fight cancer and even soothe insect bites.

    These nutrients make it a very effective cancer-fighting food. It is said that radish is effective in fighting oral cancer, colon cancer and intestinal cancer as well as kidney and stomach cancers.

    Radishes contain Vitamin C, zinc, B-complex vitamins and phosphorus. All of these are very effective in treating skin disorders such as rashes and dry skin. Mashed raw radish can be used as a soothing and refreshing face pack.

    Dieters can benefit greatly from radishes, as they are low in calories, cholesterol and fat. They also contain a lot of roughage and contain a lot of water. Because of its high roughage content, it is also very useful in treating both piles and constipation. Radish juice helps to soothe the digestive system and detoxify the body.

    Radish is a natural diuretic. This makes them effective in preventing and fighting urinary tract infections. Radish juice helps to cure the burning feeling during urinary tract or bladder infections, as it is an excellent kidney cleanser.

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    This root vegetable can be enjoyed either raw or cooked, as well as in juice form. It makes an excellent addition to salad dishes like the one I did here. I grilled my salmon, made a great organic salad (my farmers market pick) and dressed it with fresh squeezed lemons.

    Resources:

  • http://www.organicfacts.net/health-benefits/vegetable/health-benefits-of-radish.html
  • http://voices.yahoo.com/the-health-benefits-radishes-846353.html