Everyone knows that eating vegetables has profound health benefits. But, like all foods, not all vegetables are created the same. Some are better than others in terms of nutritional content, and overall contribution to vibrant health. If you look more closely at their phytochemical [plant-based chemical] content, or the growing amount of research into their specific effects on the body and disease, a few vegetables appear to be downright “miracle” foods!
One such group of veggies are those of the Brassica family; commonly known as cruciferous. These include broccoli, brussel sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, kale, radish, rutabaga, turnip and even arugula.
Sulforaphane is a phytochemical abundant in cruciferous vegetables, and it’s been getting a ton of attention from researchers. But it all starts with glucoraphanin.
Sulforaphane is produced when the enzyme myrosinase converts glucoraphanin, a glucosinolate (natural compound found in some plants), through a chemical reaction induced by damage to the plant, such as cutting or chewing. As such, glucoraphanin is known as the precursor to sulforaphane.
Chances are you can find fresh blackberries pretty easily in your local market. But black raspberries (Rubus occidentalis) are a different story. And they are worth seeking out.
All berries are good sources of antioxidants but black raspberries take top prize. According to Oregan State University Department of Food Science and Technology they contain almost three times the antioxidants of blackberries and more than six times the antioxidants of red raspberries.
They are also extremely high in anthocyanins, the antioxidant compounds that give purple foods their rich, unique color. And they are rich in ellagic acid, a powerful anti-cancer, anti-viral, and anti-bacterial compound.
In a minute you’ll see how to tell a black raspberry from a blackberry in your market. But first here are six amazing and proven benefits of black raspberries.
Trading saturated fats for added sugars and trans fats in our diet is among the worst lifestyle alterations to occur in modern history. We now know this is a recipe for obesity, heart disease, cancer and other chronic diseases.1,2
Many of these illnesses are now showing up in children, who are exposed to these ingredients even prior to birth through their mothers’ diets.
The preponderance of research shows that once you reach 18 percent of your daily calories from added sugar, there’s a 200 percent increase in metabolic harm that promotes prediabetes and diabetes.3
Fortunately, the low-fat recommendation — which flourished as a result of flawed science linking heart disease with saturated fat and the suppression of research showing sugar was to blame — is finally, albeit slowly, starting to lose its stronghold. (more…)
It’s one of the most advantageous veggies you can eat, and love it or hate it, broccoli offers an array of health benefits. And it’s about to get even more super. University of Illinois researchers have identified candidate genes controlling the accumulation of phenolic compounds in broccoli. Consumption of phenolic compounds, including certain flavonoids, is associated with a lower risk of coronary heart disease, type II diabetes, asthma, and cancer.
Sulforaphane in broccoli can also help to prevent or slow the progress of one of the most common forms of arthritis. Scientists have also discovered that broccoli protects the skin against the sun’s harmful ultraviolet rays.
Losing as little as 30 minutes of sleep per day on weekdays can have long-term consequences for body weight and metabolism, a new study finds. The results will be presented Thursday, March 5, at ENDO 2015, the annual meeting of the Endocrine Society in San Diego. “While previous studies have shown that short sleep duration is associated with obesity and diabetes, we found that as little as 30 minutes a day sleep debt can have significant effects on obesity and insulin resistance at follow up,” said lead study author Professor Shahrad Taheri, MBBS, PhD, professor of medicine at Weill Cornell Medical College in Qatar, in Doha. “This reinforces earlier observations that sleep loss is additive and can have metabolic consequences.” (more…)
Lentils may be individually small, but they pack one heck of a nutritious punch. They’re full of essential minerals and nutrients like potassium, iron, folate, zinc, and calcium – all of which are important for your body’s well being. And they provide one of the richest sources of dietary fiber on earth. If you haven’t already made lentils a part of your weekly diet plan, here are twelve reasons why you should seriously consider doing so.
The Top 12 Health Benefits of Lentils
1. High in dietary fiber. Here’s a fun lentils nutrition fact: just one cup provides you with 63% of your recommended daily allowance of dietary fiber. They contain both soluble and insoluble fiber — both of which are important for your overall health.
(Health Secrets) Can you imagine a supplement that protects every organ in the human body and has no significant side effects? This is the kind of claim that gets the FDA after the supplement industry, but in the case of lipoic acid, there’s plenty of research showing this claim may be true. What makes lipoic acid so special? Unlike drugs which possess a singularly defined molecular mechanism of action, lipoic acid is capable of producing multiple effects from its influence on a single gene.
Lipoic acid is a naturally occurring substance, essential for the function of different enzymes that take part in the mitochondria’s oxidative metabolism. (The mitochondria is the tiny furnace contained in each cell, in which food is burned and energy is produced – it is at the very core of life.) The excess production of free radicals occurring in this process results in oxidative stress being a big factor in the development of degenerative diseases. Lipoic acid has many biochemical functions in the human body to turn this process around:
Functioning as antioxidants
Chelating active metal ions
Protecting against oxidized forms of other antioxidants such as vitamins C and E
Modulating signaling transduction in several pathways
Even when our food choices aren’t the best, herbs and spices do more than just improve taste. They give any meal a nutrition boost. And according to a new study they may even reverse the damage from an unhealthy meal.
Researchers from Penn State University cooked up coconut chicken, cheese bread and a dessert biscuit for six men. The subjects were aged 30 to 65 and overweight but otherwise healthy. On one day the meal was served plain. On another day researchers added two tablespoons of a blend of nine herbs and spices to the meal.
After each meal the researchers drew blood from the subjects every 30 minutes for four hours. They found that antioxidant activity in the blood increased 13% after the spicy meal compared to the plain meal.
The spices and herbs also decreased post-meal insulin levels by 21% and triglyceride levels in the blood by as much as 31%. That in turn could reduce heart disease risk.
Magnesium is the fourth most abundant mineral in your body, and is the reason why vegetables are green. But few people fully appreciate the importance of this miraculous mineral.
The human genome project reveals that 3,751 human proteins have binding sites for magnesium.[i] And so far we know this one essential mineral activates over 350 biochemical processes in the body to keep things flowing.
Plants are green because they contain the light-harvesting molecule chlorophyll which bears a striking resemblance to human hemoglobin (with the difference that the latter contains an oxygen-binding iron atom and not magnesium).
Here are just seven good reasons to get more magnesium-rich foods in your diet today.
A study published in April 2014 compared two diets with overweight diabetic people.
One group ate the standard recommended diet by the American Diabetes Association, which was a low-fat, high carbohydrate, restricted calorie diet, as per the USDA dietary guidelines for a “healthy” diet. This group was assigned a “registered dietician with several years of diabetes education experience.” The group was encouraged to eat a diet that was 45-50% carbohydrates, while restricting calories and fats. As per the study: “the diet includes high-fiber foods (such as vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and legumes), low-fat dairy products, fresh fish, and foods low in saturated fat.”