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

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    Just One Cup of Oats!

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    What’s a better way to gain the strength and energy to carry you through a hectic morning schedule than with a steaming bowl of freshly cooked oatmeal.

    According to a study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, confirmed that eating high fiber foods, such as oats, helps prevent heart disease. Just one cup cooked oats have 15.7% magnesium, 18% selenium, 68% manganese, 18% phosphorus, 15.9% fiber and 15.6% of zinc. If you add 1 cup of blackberries like I did here, you’ll be adding 30 mg of Vitamin C. Plus, 7.6 g of fiber, 184 mcg of beta carotene, and 1.68 mg of vitamin E.

    These antioxidants protect your cells from free radicals, which are molecules that cause damage to your cells and increase your risk of heart disease, cancer, stroke and possibly Alzheimer’s disease.

    Oats also contains vitamin E, calcium, iron, and vitamin K. When I start the day off with a bowl of oats it holds me until lunch time. It’s very filling!

    Source:
    http://archinte.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=215976

    Antioxidants and Good Food Sources

    Naturally occurring antioxidants help fight diseases in the body, boost immunity, and repair damaged cells. These antioxidants can be found in a variety of whole foods that nutritionists have been recommending for years, including fruits, legumes and whole grains.

    It’s important to include antioxidants in your diet because of their many health benefits, so try digging in to one of these especially antioxidant-rich foods like pomegranates, berries and veggies.

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    Vitamin C – As an antioxidant it protects proteins, lipids, carbohydrates, DNA and RNA from oxidation by free radicals. Foods like citrus fruits and their juices, berries, dark green vegetables (spinach, asparagus, green peppers, brussel sprouts, broccoli, watercress, other greens), red and yellow peppers, tomatoes and tomato juice, pineapple, cantaloupe, mangos, papaya and guava.

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    Vitamin E –
    Vitamin E is also a fat soluble vitamin. As an antioxidant it protects fats from oxidation, according to the Office of Dietary Supplements. Foods like vegetable oils such as olive, soybean, corn, cottonseed and safflower, nuts and nut butters, seeds, whole grains, wheat, wheat germ, brown rice, oatmeal, soybeans, sweet potatoes, legumes (beans, lentils, split peas) and dark leafy green vegetables.

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    Selenium –
    Selenium is a powerful antioxidant mineral that protects tissues from free radical damage. Foods like Brazil nuts, brewer’s yeast, oatmeal, brown rice, chicken, eggs, dairy products, garlic, molasses, onions, salmon, seafood, tuna, wheat germ, whole grains and most vegetables.

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    Beta Carotene –
    Beta-carotene is a form of vitamin A found in many foods that are dark orange, red, yellow and green vegetables and fruits such as broccoli, kale, spinach, sweet potatoes, carrots, red and yellow peppers, apricots, cantaloupe and mangos.

    Source:
    http://www.whfoods.com/

    What are the Health Benefits of Wheat Germ?

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      The health benefits of wheat germ are enormous. It is a grain fortified with vitamin E, folate (folic acid), phosphorus, thiamine, zinc, magnesium and essential omega-3 fatty acids and fatty alcohols. It is an excellent source of fiber.

    The grain of wheat which gives rise to a new plant when sowed is called the wheat kernel or wheat berry. It is the seed which gives birth to the embryo. The germ is that part of the wheat grain which helps in reproducing the plant and therefore has a high concentration of all the nutrients. The good healthy fat in the grain is mostly found in this part. The bran is the outer fibrous layer. The middle layer between the germ and the bran is known as the endosperm. It is this part which is actually milled for flour. When wheat is processed to make everyday all purpose flour, the germ and bran is removed and thrown.

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    THIS IS THE BRAND I BUY!

      More and more research shows the advantages of incorporating the germ in our daily diet. Due to high levels of nutrients, the germ is separated from the grain and made into health supplements. I love adding wheat germ to my oat meals, pancake mixes, muffins, and cake batters.

    Nutrients Behind the Health Benefits of Wheat Germ
    The nutrients which are found in the germ of wheat are as follows:

    •Fiber
    •Iron
    •Magnesium
    •Manganese
    •Protein
    •Omega-3 fatty acids
    •Phosphorus
    •Potassium
    •Selenium
    •Vitamin E
    •Zinc
    •Complex Carbohydrates
    •B Vitamins such as folate, Niacin, Thiamine and Vitamin B6
    •Calcium

    Health Benefits of Wheat Germ
    Vitamin E found in it, is a powerful antioxidant when it comes to skin health and beauty. Vitamin E boosts immunity and has anti-aging properties and can prevent heart diseases and even cancer. It can help control LDL cholesterol and triglycerides and promote cardiovascular health. Wheat germ protein aids in muscle development and does wonders to overall energy, stamina and wellbeing. It contains octacosonal which improves mental agility and alertness. It is used in supplements, especially the ones used in weight loss.

      It also improves metabolism and balances the hormones in the body which in turn helps to cope with stress. Vitamin B boosts immunity, aids digestion, gives healthy skin and enables the body to heal quicker from wounds. Folic acid brings down the homocysteine levels in blood and prevents damage to the arteries.

    Wheat Germ Oil
    The unsaturated oils extracted from wheat germ are a rich natural source of vitamin E. Wheat germ oil can be used as a supplement to boost your intake of this vitamin, which promotes red blood cell formation and supports your immune system. Vitamin E may have antioxidant properties which counteract cellular damage and reduce the harmful effects of environmental toxins. Some cosmetics companies promote wheat germ oil as a product ingredient that may moisturize skin and hair, diminish the effects of aging and reduce the appearance of scars.

    Resources:
    http://health.howstuffworks.com/wellness/food-nutrition/natural-foods/natural-weight-loss-food-wheat-germ-ga.htm
    http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/health-tip/HT00375/rss=6
    http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/what-should-you-eat/health-gains-from-whole-grains/index.html

    Pistachio

    Sometimes around the 4 O’clock hour at work I can get really famish. I always turn to a snack to try and hold me over until dinner time. I love to snack healthy. Today my snack of choice is pistachios. I love raw unsalted pistachios. Well, basically all raw nuts. This nut is so rich in vitamin E and polyphenolic antioxidant compounds. They’re also packed with many important B-complex (riboflavin, niacin, thiamin, pantothenic acid, B-6, and folates) which is essential for stress repair on a cellular and neurotransmitter level. Personally, I think it’s so delicious and healthy, it’s the perfect snack.

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