Fruit Fact: Grapefruits Fight Free Radicals

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Free radicals causes cells in our bodies to breakdown, and foods that are high in vitamin C can significantly reduce and prevent oxidative stress on our cells. Thus grapefruits, carrots, oranges and tomatoes to name a few, are exceptionally high in vitamin C.

Oxidative stress is now thought to make a significant contribution to all inflammatory diseases (arthritis, vasculitis, glomerulonephritis, lupus erythematous, adult respiratory diseases syndrome), ischemic diseases (heart diseases, stroke, intestinal ischema), hemochromatosis, acquired immunodeficiency syndrome, emphysema, organ transplantation, gastric ulcers, hypertension and preeclampsia, neurological disorder (Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, muscular dystrophy), alcoholism, smoking-related diseases, and many others.

An excess of oxidative stress can lead to the oxidation of lipids and proteins, which is associated with changes in their structure and functions.

Oxidative stress also causes premature aging and wrinkles. If you don’t want to look old before your time, choose the right foods.

The foods we choose to eat contributes to the health of our cells. What we put in our bodies everyday significantly affects us on a cellular level. If you choose to smoke, drink alcohol and take drugs, your cells will be damaged. If you choose to eat processed foods and junk foods, your cells will be damaged. It’s easy science. Know the facts and make wiser choices.

To read more about oxidative stress and to obtain the article where I found this information click here.

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Homemade Cranberry Sauce Recipe

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Fresh homemade cranberry sauce is one of the easiest side dishes to make on Thanksgiving Day. Make this simple dish in the morning, cool it on the stove, and place in the refrigerator until dinner time.  There are many variations to this simple dish, but the main ingredients will never change. All you need is a sweetener, some juice, and fresh cranberries.  For my recipe, I’ve added orange peels just to enhance the zest from the orange.

Ingredients:
1 bag (8 ounces) fresh organic cranberries
1 cup turbinado sugar or brown sugar
3 orange peel strips (optional)
1 cup of organic orange juice

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Directions:
In a medium saucepan combine cranberries, sugar, orange strips, and orange juice. Bring to boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to a low simmer and cook until thicken, 20-25 minutes. Remove from heat and cool.  

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Images by OrganicREADY

Facts:
Cranberry health benefits

Fruit Fact: Lemon

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Lemon water has an alkalizing effect in the body. Even if you drink it just before any meal, it will help your body maintain a higher pH than if you didn’t drink it.

The higher or more alkaline your pH, the more your inner terrain is resistant to minor and major diseases.

Lemons contain ascorbic acid (vitamin C), which demonstrates anti-inflammatory effects, and is used as complementary support for asthma and other respiratory symptoms. Plus, it enhances iron absorption in the body; iron plays an important role in immune function. Lemon also contains citric acid, flavonoids, B-complex vitamins, calcium, copper, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, and fiber.

I’m an avid lemon water drinker. It’s my morning, afternoon and night time go-to beverage. The best part is the vital nutrients this simple drink encompasses. I wouldn’t trade it for anything else.

Other great reads:
Ten Reason Why you Should Drink Lemon Water

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.