Eat Eggplants to Protect Your Brain 

Growing up, my mother never cooked or grew eggplants.  I’ve heard stories of my late grandfather growing it, which he referred to them as Garden Eggs. In my adult life, I’ve grown to love the taste.  I grow and cook them, and I even got my mother to enjoy growing and cooking with them too.  Eggplants are extremely healthy and versatile to cook with.  It is a very good source of dietary fiber, vitamin B1, copper, manganese, vitamin B6, niacin, potassium, folate and vitamin K.  Eggplants also contains phytonutrients; such as nasunin and chlorogenic acid.  The nasunin is the antioxidant responsible for providing your brain with food.

In animal studies, nasunin has been found to protect the lipids (fats) in brain cell membranes. Cell membranes are almost entirely composed of lipids and are responsible for protecting the cell from free radicals, letting nutrients in and wastes out, and receiving instructions from messenger molecules that tell the cell which activities it should perform. Nasunin is located in the purple skin of the eggplant so don’t peel it.  It’s job is to search and defeat free radicals.

According to Rice University, free radicals are atoms or groups of atoms with an odd (unpaired) number of electrons and can be formed when oxygen interacts with certain molecules. Once formed these highly reactive radicals can start a chain reaction, like a dominoe effect. Their chief danger comes from the damage they can do when they react with important cellular components such as DNA, or the cell membrane.  Free radicals are basically bad for you and they are everywhere.  They can break down healthy cells and multiply.

What are free radicals?

Free radicals are highly unstable and reactive molecules that damage living cells. These can come from everyday pollution and other common stressors, like the ones listed below:

  • Everyday air pollutants
  • Smog / UV rays
  • Up to 80% of free radical damage is caused by the sun (1). Always wear a broad spectrum SPF!
  • Lack of sleep and exercise
  • Stress
  • Illness
  • Fried foods
  • Alcohol & Tobacco
  • Pesticides

Oxidative stress occurs when there are too many free radicals running amuck.  It leads to stressed out cells that are broken down and weakened. Then, diseases like cancers, cardiovascular disease, emphysema, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, ulcers and a boatload of other inflammatory diseases can developed.

Free radicals are also associated with aging skin.  That’s right!  Sunblock isn’t the only defense for aging.  What you feed your body/cells is extremely important too. Eating dark leafy greens and high pigmented fruits that are rich in vitamin C helps to protect your cells and support fighting off free radicals.  Don’t forget to eat up your eggplant too because it will protect your skin from aging prematurely.

Did you know?

The high purple skin pigment on eggplants is also a form of protection for the plants. Researchers at the US Agricultural Service in Beltsville, Maryland, have found that eggplants are rich sources of phenolic compounds that function as antioxidants. Plants form such compounds to protect themselves against oxidative stress from exposure to the elements, as well as from infection by bacteria and fungi. If we eat the eggplant, these antioxidants protects us. Can you name a fast food chain that can do that? I think, NOT!

Resources:  
Protective effects of dietary nasunin on paraquat-induced oxidative stress in rats.

Eggplant: Medical News Today

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Lemon Water Before Bedtime

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My tall glass of fresh lemon water before I hit the sack will assist my body in detoxification. Lemon water is also a good source of vitamin C and antioxidants. It also contains vitamins (such as vitamin B, riboflavin), minerals (such as calcium, magnesium, phosphorus), proteins and carbohydrates. Lemons are highly acidic but they contain the good acids that your body needs. Your body has a fine PH balance that must be maintained and lemon water helps it. A pH less than 7 is said to be acidic. The ideal pH is slightly alkaline between 7.30 to 7.45. You can test your pH levels regularly by using a piece of litmus paper in your saliva or urine first thing in the morning before eating or drinking anything.

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If your body is not alkaline, as it should be, then you could have a series of health problems from heartburn and acid reflux that many suffer with on a daily basis; digestive issues, and irregularity. An acidic body can wreak havoc on your allergies, especially if you are an asthmatic, or suffer from frequent headaches. It also prevents constipation.

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Lemon water helps indigestion by
taking a fresh lemon and squeezing it into a warm glass of water in the morning before breakfast and then once again before dinner. This assists in and improves digestion. Lemon water makes your liver secrete more bile and thereby helps in digestion for detoxing the liver. Eating an alkaline diet also is beneficial for an alkaline body. Foods that’s are alkaline of course. Here are some key steps to living an alkaline lifestyle:

  • Eating a plant-based diet
  • No alcohol consumption
  • Exercising, yoga and meditation
  • Cut out processed foods and sugar
  • Drink alkaline water

Sounds easy right!

Source:
Water Benefits Health

My Healthy Breakfast Trio

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Oat meal with 3 tsp of wheat germ added and bananas. My favorite antioxidant powerhouse smoothie with spinach, blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, watermelon, OJ and ice. Lastly, my fresh lemon water. Simple, yet packed with an adequate amount of my daily natural vitamin intake.

The additional wheat germ will give me more fiber on top of the oats, vitamin B, folate, niacin, calcium, zinc, and iron.

Bananas are packed with potassium, fiber, vitamin C and B6, and manganese.

My spinach berry smoothie has: antioxidants, vitamin C and K, fiber, folate, omega-3, copper, magnesium, vitamin E, potassium, vitamin A, iron, vitamin B6, B3, B2, B1, E, protein, selenium, choline, calcium, phosphorus, and manganese.

Spinach is so rich in vitamins and minerals. It’s also concentrated in health promoting phytonutrients such as carotenoids and flavonoids that will provide you with powerful antioxidant protection.

My smoooooothie!!!

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Blueberries, strawberries, mangos, raspberries, ice and almond milk. It’s soooo delicious. I love this! I feel awesome eating healthy and clean.

This is a great way to up your antioxidants intake. Juicing and drinking smoothies just makes consuming your fruits and vegetables easier. It supports a healthy immune system. Plus, your body is getting all the raw enzymes, valuable vitamins and nutrients it needs.

Juice on!

Yerba Maté – The Antioxidant Powerhouse Tea

    Yerba Mate (yer-bah mah-tay) has the “strength of coffee, the health benefits of tea, and the euphoria of chocolate” all in one beverage.

There are many legends surrounding yerba mate, and it’s known to the Argentine Gauchos (cowboys) as their “liquid vegetable”, and to the native forest peoples who have survived periods of drought and famine by drinking yerba mate as the “Drink of the Gods”.

According to a recent study published in the Comprehensive Reviews in Food Science and Food Safety they found that Yerba maté drinks contained up to 100-fold higher amounts of antioxidants and polyphenols compared to the mainstream non-tea-based drinks, and Guayakí Yerba Maté had the largest antioxidant and polyphenol content among the tea-based drinks.

    Yerba Mate contains 11 polyphenols. Polyphenols are a group of phytochemicals. Phytochemicals are recently-discovered compounds that act as powerful antioxidants and are considered to exhibit anti-cancer effects in mammals by strengthening an organism`s natural defenses and protecting it against cellular destruction (i.e. lycopene in tomatoes, flavonoids in blueberries, and isoflavones in soy).


The University of Illinois associate professor of food chemical and toxicology Elvira de Mejia stated, “The caffeine derivatives in mate tea not only induced death in human colon cancer cells, they also reduced important markers of inflammation.

The study suggests that the mate tea compounds not only have potential as anti-cancer agents but may also be effective against other diseases associated with inflammation. Her study was published in Molecular Nutrition & Food Research in latter part of 2011.

Yerba Mate Is Packed With Nutritional Health Benefits

• Vitamins: A, C, E, B1, B2, Niacin (B3), B5, B Complex

• Minerals: Calcium, Manganese, Iron, Selenium, Potassium, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Zinc

• Additional Compounds: Carotene, Fatty Acids, Chlorophyll, Flavonols, Polyphenols, Inositol, Trace Minerals, Antioxidants, Tannins, Pantothenic Acid and 15 Amino Acids.

• Theophylline, theobromine, and caffeine

There are many positive scientific studies on the benefits of yerba mate tea, and as you can see above with all the nutrients it has, it makes sense why it’s known as “The Drink of God’s”.

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I’m not a big coffee drinker but, occasionally I would have a cup whenever I need a kick in the butt. Well, this past weekend I picked up my Yerba mate and it’s really a pick-me-upper. After my research, I’m even more pleased with the information and all the natural vitamins and minerals in it.

Resources:
http://www.patexia.com/feed/compounds-in-mate-tea-induce-death-in-colon-cancer-cells-2306
http://zeenews.india.com/ayurveda/yerba-mate-brew-bumps-off-colon-cancer-cells_1032.html

Fiber, Chlorophyll and Antioxidants: Benefits from Green Juicing

Fiber

The blended green juice recipe favored by Dr. Oz, also a surgery professor at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons in New York, is chock full of fiber. Fiber aids digestion, prevents constipation, and helps you control your weight because it adds bulk to your diet to make you feel full. Oz’s drink blends the juices of lemon, lime, apple, parsley, ginger root, cucumber, celery and spinach. Drinks made in a juicer do not have the benefit of fiber.

You should consume 38g fiber if you are a man aged 19 to 50 and 25g fiber if you are a woman of the same age. After age 50, men need 30g fiber and women need 21g according to U.S. Dietary Reference Intakes guidelines.

Chlorophyll

Green juice is rich in chlorophyll, which gives greens their color. Chlorophyll helps your body detoxify. For example, it may inhibit absorption of environmental pollutants like dioxin and also help your body excrete them quicker, says K. Morita, lead author for a study published in “Environmental Health Perspectives.”

Chlorophyll also enhances oxygen transport in your body and is a top nutrient for balancing your body’s pH by helping to reduce acidity. Low-grade acidosis may contribute to fatigue as well as other health concerns, including kidney stones and lower growth hormone levels, which lead to more body fat and loss of lean muscle mass. Author Gillian McKeith includes carrot, celery, cucumber, spinach, fennel, ginger root, parsley and alfalfa sprouts in her version of the drink. Both McKeith’s and Oz’s versions of the green juice have the benefit of chlorophyll.

Antioxidants

Green juices are antioxidant-rich beverages, notes Estitta Bushkin and Gary Bushkin in the “Better Nutrition” magazine article, “Anti-Aging with Antioxidants.” Antioxidants protect your cells from damage by free radicals, which are produced when your body breaks down food and caused by exposure to environmental factors like tobacco smoke. Free radicals may have a role in diseases such as cancer and heart disease. Both versions of the juice offer the benefit of antioxidants.