My Broccoli Seedlings

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Fall is approaching and this is the best time to start growing “Fall Vegetables”. These are vegetables that thrive best in cooler weather.

• Beets
• Broccoli
• Brussels sprouts
• Cabbage
• Carrots
• Collards
• Kale
• Kohlrabi
• Leeks
• Lettuce
• Mustard
• Swiss chard
• Turnips

I’m growing broccoli, carrots, and beets. In the two pots above are my broccoli seedlings. I started these indoors about a month ago, and now they’re ready to be transplanted. I planted the carrots and beets directly in the earth a few weeks ago, and I’ve also planted some carrots in a pot.

In New York, the weather is averaging between 75-82 degrees, and at night low 60’s, which by the way is perfect growing conditions for these plants. According to the broccoli seed package, the soil temperature should be between 75-85 degrees Fahrenheit, and maturation is 60-90 days. This is the best time to get these seedlings into the ground.

I love the Fall vegetables, especially broccoli, and my children love them too. Broccoli is extremely healthy for you. I read an article on Huffington Post titled, Broccoli Eaters Get More Out of Life, just the title alone intrigued me.

Well, researchers in New Zealand have found a link between eating a lot of fruits and vegetables, and linking it to eudaemonic well-being. Of course, I had to further research eudaemonic, which according to the dictionary, means happiness. I’m genuinely a happy person and I eat a fair amount of plant-based foods; nonetheless, I believe this is true. The original study is pretty interesting as well.

I’ll keep everyone updated on my broccoli journey. These just went into the earth this week. I think by early November they’ll be ready for harvesting. If there’s any frosting, I’ll have to cover them up with some agribon cloth. It’ll protect the plants from freezing. Wish me luck!

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Cruciferous Vegetables

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Cruciferous vegetables—cabbages, cauliflower, broccoli rabe—contain a powerful range of disease fighters. One particular hero, sulforaphane, may increase enzymes that lower the incidence of colon and lung cancers.

A study published in the August 2003 issue of the International Journal of Cancer suggests that eating lots of cruciferous vegetables may provide a significant survival advantage for women diagnosed with ovarian cancer. One of the most aggressive cancers, ovarian cancer claims the lives of 14,000 American women each year.

Try this recipe: Red cabbage, carrots, vegan mayo and almond slices.

A Light Summer Meal

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It’s 92 degrees today in NYC. It’s scorchingly hot! On a hot summer day like today, the only thing I desire to eat is a fresh green salad. I know, I eat a lot of salads but, now and then, I do enjoy a hot meal. However, today is not that day. I could not imagine myself consuming a hot meal today or even this week because we’re in the middle of a heatwave.

Eating a healthy salad on a hot summer day is much more suitable. According to the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, water makes up about 60% of the body’s weight and we need to consume about two quarts of water(or liquid) per day. Fruits and vegetables contain large amounts of water.

I found a table online that was prepared by Sandra Bastin, Foods and Nutrition Specialist and Kim Henken, Extension Associate for ENRI, it provides the water content of several popular raw fruits and vegetables. It was very informative because I had no idea that certain fruits and vegetables contained that many water percentage in them.

Take broccoli for instance, it’s a very weighty vegetable, and that actually coincides with the amount of water it has. Broccoli’s food weight in grams is about 44, the water weight is 40, and the percentage of water is has is 91%. According to this table fruits and vegetables contain large quantities of water in proportion to their weight.

Basically, a fresh raw salad or juice that has fruits and vegetables would be an excellent choice for a meal on a hot summer day. These foods will keep the body hydrated with enzymes, minerals, vitamins and water.

Healthy eating!

Superfoods

What is a superfood? I believe a superfood is any food that has the following characteristics: High nutritional density and low calories, high fiber, high in omega-3 fatty acids, loads of antioxidants and has to be rich in phytochemicals.

Green superfoods help to regulate metabolism and burn fat. They are also high in minerals and vitamins. Drinking and eating raw green vegetables is the optimum way to receive these nutrients. chlorophyll is a substance that gives plants green color; green superfoods are high in chlorophyll. It increases the amount of hemoglobin and oxygen in the blood. Here are some of my favoirite green superfoods:

My favorite…

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Kale: Kale has been known to be the “new beef” and “queen of greens”. Just one cup of kale has 5 grams of fiber, 40% magnesium, 15% calcium, 36 calories, 180% vitamin A, 200% vitamin C, 1,020% vitamin K. Kale is also a high source of minerals such as iron, sulfur, phosphorus, potassium, copper and manganese. It also has anti-cancer fighting properties such as carotenoids, antioxidants, and flavonoids.

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Broccoli: Broccoli has a strong, positive impact on our body’s detoxification system, and researchers have recently identified one of the key reasons for this detox benefit. Glucoraphanin, gluconasturtiian, and glucobrassicin are 3 glucosinolate phytonutrients found in a special combination in broccoli.

Just one cup of raw broccoli has an excellent source of immune-supportive vitamin C 135.2%, anti-inflammatory vitamin K 115.5%, and heart-healthy folate 14.3%.

It is a very good source of free-radical-scavenging vitamin A 11.3% (through its concentration of carotenoid phytonutrients), enzyme-activating manganese 9.5% and molybdenum 6%; digestive-health-supporting fiber 9.4%; heart-healthy potassium 8.2% and vitamin B6 8%; and energy-producing vitamin B2 6.4% and phosphorus 6%. It is a good source of energy-producing vitamin B1, vitamin B3, vitamin B5, protein, and iron; bone-healthy magnesium and calcium; and antioxidant-supportive vitamin E and selenium.

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Wheatgrass: Wheatgrass is one of the main vegetables used when detoxifying through juicing. Although bitter, wheatgrass is a powerful healing and detoxifying ingredient that is loaded with chlorophyll, vitamins, minerals, enzymes, biophotons, and amino acids. It gives you the nutrients that accelerate and facilitate detoxification, particularly in your liver. The enzymes and amino acids found in wheatgrass can protect us from carcinogens like no other food or medicine. It strengthens our cells, detoxifies the liver and bloodstream,

The enzymes and amino acids found in wheatgrass can protect us from carcinogens like no other food or medicine. It strengthens our cells, detoxifies the liver and bloodstream, and chemically neutralizes environmental pollutants.

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Blue-Green Algae (BGA): Spirulina, Chlorella and more
The single-celled plants known as blue-green algae (BGA) are sold in health food stores as superior sources of protein, chlorophyll, carotenoid antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and disease-preventive phytonutrients. There are several types of BGAs, the most popular being spirulina and chlorella. These vegetables are watercress, parsley, cilantro, leek, chard, endive, mustard sprouts, spinach, algae and cabbage.

The existing research, while lacking in many regards, suggests that BGAs exert some significant and perhaps unique preventive-health effects, most likely due to their polysaccharides, antioxidants, nucleic acids, and peptides. Preliminary evidence suggests that they have the following benefits:

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  • Spirulina inhibits the infectious power of many viruses—including HIV, flu, mumps, enterovirus, measles, and herpes—probably because a sulfated polysaccharide called calcium spirulan prevents viruses from entering human cells
  • Chlorella helps prevent cancer and the growth of tumors, probably because its glycoproteins enhance the migration of T cells to tumor sites
  • Chlorella binds to toxic heavy metals and dioxin and helps eliminate them from the body
  • Chlorella protects the intestinal lining against peptic ulcers

    Resources:

    http://ahha.org/articles.asp?Id=26
    http://www.squidoo.com/what-is-chlorella-good-for?
    http://www.healingcancernaturally.com/cancer-diet-and-nutrition.html
    http://www.oprah.com/health/Can-a-Plant-Based-Diet-Cure-Cancer

  • How Much Broccoli Is Needed for Cancer Prevention?

    Recent studies have also provided us with a much better idea about the amount of broccoli that we need to lower our cancer risk. At the lower end of the spectrum, it looks like an average of 1/2 cup of broccoli per day—only 22 calories’ worth of broccoli!—is enough to provide some measurable benefits. Few people have broccoli on a daily basis. But a 2-cup serving twice a week would still meet this minimum average amount. It’s important to remember how little this amount actually in within the context of one week’s food. A person eating 2,000 calories per day would be consuming 14,000 calories per week. A 2-cup serving of broccoli twice a week would provide about 178 calories—only 1% of the total weekly calories! At the higher end of the spectrum, studies show that more broccoli might be needed to accomplish other cancer-preventing tasks.

    For example, one study showed significantly higher urinary excretion of potential carcinogens from well-done, grilled meats given daily consumption of broccoli in the range of 9 ounces (250 grams) per day. That gram amount corresponds to approximately 1.6 cups of broccoli on a daily basis. We’ve also seen a study showing that “generous” amounts of broccoli can help optimize levels of antioxidants in the blood, especially beta-carotene and lutein. (Optimal antioxidant levels can help lower the risk of oxidative stress in healthy cells, which also helps lower their risk of becoming cancerous.) In this study, the term “generous” was used to describe consumption of broccoli in the amount of 3 cups daily. Once again, that amount would not be ridiculously high in terms of calories—3 cups would provide about 132 calories, or 6-7% of a 2,000-calorie diet. But it might be a greater amount that many people would want to consume on a regular basis.

    Description

    Broccoli is a member of the cabbage family, and is closely related to cauliflower. Its cultivation originated in Italy. Broccolo, its Italian name, means “cabbage sprout.” Broccoli’s name is derived from the Latin word brachium, which means branch or arm, a reflection of its tree-like shape that features a compact head of florets attached by small stems to a larger stalk. Because of its different components, this vegetable provides a complex of tastes and textures, ranging from soft and flowery (the florets) to fibrous and crunchy (the stem and stalk). Its color can range from deep sage to dark green to purplish-green, depending upon the variety. One of the most popular types of broccoli sold in North America is known as Italian green, or Calabrese, named after the Italian province of Calabria where it first grew.

    Other vegetables related to broccoli are broccolini, a mix between broccoli and gai-lin (Chinese broccoli), and broccoflower, a cross between broccoli and cauliflower. Broccoli sprouts have also recently become popular as a result of research uncovering their high concentration of the anti-cancer phytonutrient, sulforaphane.

    Nutritional Profile

    Broccoli is an excellent source of immune-supportive vitamin C, anti-inflammatory vitamin K, and heart-healthy folate. It is a very good source of free-radical-scavenging vitamin A (through its concentration of carotenoid phytonutrients), enzyme-activating manganese and molybdenum; digestive-health-supporting fiber; heart-healthy potassium and vitamin B6; and energy-producing vitamin B2 and phosphorus. It is a good source of energy-producing vitamin B1, vitamin B3, vitamin B5, protein, and iron; bone-healthy magnesium and calcium; and antioxidant-supportive vitamin E and selenium.

    Broccoli is also concentrated in phytonutrients. In one particular phytonutrient category—glucosinolates—broccoli is simply outstanding. The isothiocyanates (ITCs) made from broccoli’s glucosinolates are the key to broccoli’s cancer-preventive benefits.

    For an in-depth nutritional profile click here: Broccoli.

    References

    • Ambrosone CB, Tang L. Cruciferous vegetable intake and cancer prevention: role of nutrigenetics. Cancer Prev Res (Phila Pa). 2009 Apr;2(4):298-300. 2009.
    • Angeloni C, Leoncini E, Malaguti M, et al. Modulation of phase II enzymes by sulforaphane: implications for its cardioprotective potential. J Agric Food Chem. 2009 Jun 24;57(12):5615-22. 2009.
    • Banerjee S, Wang Z, Kong D, et al. 3,3′-Diindolylmethane enhances chemosensitivity of multiple chemotherapeutic agents in pancreatic cancer. 3,3′-Diindolylmethane enhances chemosensitivity of multiple chemotherapeutic agents in pancreatic cancer. 2009.
    • Bhattacharya A, Tang L, Li Y, et al. Inhibition of bladder cancer development by allyl isothiocyanate. Carcinogenesis. 2010 Feb;31(2):281-6. 2010.
    • Bryant CS, Kumar S, Chamala S, et al. Sulforaphane induces cell cycle arrest by protecting RB-E2F-1 complex in epithelial ovarian cancer cells. Molecular Cancer 2010, 9:47. 2010.