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Superfoods to Boost Your Health

Beetroot


Beetroot increases our own endogenous antioxidants

Beetroot contains betacyanin a powerful antioxidant that increases the activity of glutathione peroxidase and glutathione-S-transferase, two antioxidant enzymes made in our liver that protect liver cells against free radical damage.

 

Beetroot protects against cancer

Consumption of beetroot also causes an increase in the number of colonic CD8 cells, special immune cells responsible for eliminating abnormal cells including cancer cells.

Regular consumption of beetroot also protects against cancer-causing nitrosamines which result from sodium nitrate, a preservative found in processed meats like salami, hot dogs, pepperoni, ham, bacon and spam.

Beetroot offers protection against heart disease

Beetroot studies show;

  • 30% drop in cholesterol.
  • 40% drop in triglycerides (the form in which fats are transported in the blood. Hypertriglyceridaemia is a significant risk factor for cardiovascular disease).
  • Increase in HDL (beneficial cholesterol).

The betaine in beetroot is anti-inflammatory

Beetroot contains betaine, a compound that lowers inflammatory markers. Betaine is also derived from choline found in egg yolk and soybeans. Phosphatidylcholines make up cell membranes.

Betaine lowers;

  • C-reactive protein
  • interleukin-6
  • homocysteine
  • tumour necrosis factor alpha

Inflammatory cytokines are linked to heart disease, cancer, osteoporosis, cognitive decline and Alzheimer's and type-2 diabetes.

Lower blood pressure with a beetroot blast

Drinking 2 glasses of beetroot juice a day can significantly reduce blood pressure. The nitrate in beetroot is converted into nitrite and then into nitric oxide. Nitric oxide lowers blood pressure because it signals the endothelium (the lining of our blood vessels) to relax.

Beetroot offers protection against birth defects


Rich in the B vitamin folate, which is essential for normal tissue growth. The daily requirement for folate is 400 micrograms. Just one cup of boiled, sliced beetroot contains 136 micrograms of folate.

Russian Borsht, a healthy way to consume beetroot

Tomato

Carotenoids in tomatoes are cancer-preventing antioxidants. Antioxidants such as caretenoids protect cells and other structures in the body from oxidative damage characterised by the inability of the system to detoxify or repair damage. Protects of DNA (our genetic material).

Tomatoes prevent heart disease

Tomatoes contain lycopene. Lycopene is a bright red carotene and carotenoid pigment and phytochemical found in tomatoes and other red fruits and vegetables, such as red carrots, watermelons and papayas. Lycopene may be the most powerful carotenoid antioxidant. Given its antioxidant properties, substantial scientific and clinical research has been devoted to a possible correlation between lycopene consumption and general health. Early research suggested some amelioration of cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes, osteoporosis, and even male infertility.

Lycopene protects against colon, prostate, breast, endometrial, lung, and pancreatic cancers. The health effects of lycopene are better when consumed with fatty foods, such as avocado, olive oil or nuts. Organic tomato sauces far surpass non-organic in lycopene content.

Tomatoes prevent prostate disease

Eating a tomato rich dite reduces the risk of prostate cancer. Cooked tomato are better as lycopene is a fat soluble caretenoid that is absorbed more effectively when consumed cooked and in oil. It has been found that eating tomatoes and broccoli together reduces prostae cancer risk even more. Amount needed is 1.4 cups of raw broccoli and 2.5 cups of fresh tomato. Lycopene-rich fruits and vegetables include tomatoes, apricots, pink grapefruit, watermelon, papaya and guava.

Drink green tea also to prevent prostate cancer.

In a study involving 130 prostate cancer patients and 274 hospital controls, men drinking the most green tea were found to have an 86% reduced risk of prostate cancer compared, to those drinking the least.

Tomato is a natural anti-inflammatory

A daily glass of tomato juice lowers the inflammation marker TNF alpha 35% in less than one month.

Gazpacho Soup

Daily consumption of gazpacho, a Mediterranean vegetable soup that combines tomato, cucumber, and sweet pepper, olive oil, onion, garlic, wine vinegar and sea salt, increases blood levels of vitamin C.

Black Beans


Black beans contain soluble fibre which;

  • Lowers cholesterol
  • Balances blood sugar levels

Blackbeans reduce sulphite sensitivity

Blackbeans contain molybdenum, a cofactor to sulphite oxidase, which breaks down sulphites. (Sulphites are preservatives). Symptoms of sulphite sensitivity include rapid heartbeat, headache.

Blackbeans are the highest source of legume antioxidants

Blackbeans are as rich in antioxidant compounds called anthocyanins as cherries and berries. Antioxidants prevent the oxidation of LDL by free radicals to prevent atherosclerosis. Black beans have the most antioxidant activity, followed in descending order by red, brown, yellow and white beans.

Black beans helps prevent heart disease

25 year study that examined food intake patterns and risk of death from coronary heart disease.

ood patterns were:

  • Higher consumption of dairy products in Northern Europe.
  • Higher consumption of meat in the U.S.
  • Higher consumption of vegetables, legumes, fish, and wine in Southern Europe.
  • Higher consumption of cereals, soy products, and fish in Japan.

Researchers found that higher consumption of legumes was associated with an 82% reduction in risk of heart disease.

Blackbeans are rich in magnesium and folate

Contain significant amounts of folate and magnesium. Folate is involved in methylation (break down) of homocysteine, DNA, toxins, hormones. Homocysteine is associated with high risks of cardiovascular disease and weakness in connective tissue particulary of arteries and veins. High levels of homocysteine are associated with increased risk of heart attack and stroke. Magnesium lowers blood pressure.

Replenishes Iron Stores

Blackbeans are rich in iron. Iron is a component of haemoglobin, which transports oxygen to all body cells, and is also part of enzyme systems involved in energy production.

Increases the endogenous antioxidant superoxide dismutase

Blackbeans are a good source of manganese, which is a cofactor in the antioxidant enzyme superoxide dismutase.

Parsley


Parsley contains two types of components that benefit health . The first is volatile oils including myristicin, limonene, eugenol and alpha- thujene. The second type is flavonoids including apiin, apigenin, crisoeriol and luteolin.

Parsley contains myristin which is anti-cancer

Myristicin, parsley’s volatile oil, inhibits tumour formation. Myristicin activates the enzyme glutathione-S-transferase, our bodies own antioxidant. Helps neutralise carcinogens (like the benzopyrenes in cigarette smoke and charcoal grilled food).

Parsley is high in antioxidants

The flavanoids in parsley, especially luteolin function as antioxidants. Excellent source of vitamin C and vitamin A, beta-carotene. Vitamin C is the body's primary water-soluble antioxidant, rendering free radicals harmless. Vitamin C is a powerful anti-inflammatory. Beta-carotene is a fat-soluble antioxidant that works in the fat-soluble areas of the body.

Parsley is good for the heart

Parsley contains folic acid, which lowers homocysteine a dangerous molecule that can directly damage blood vessels.

Parsley is anticancer

Parsley is rich in folic acid a critical nutrient for proper cell division and is therefore important for cancer-prevention in two areas of the body that contain rapidly dividing cells, the colon, and in women, the cervix.

Parsley offers protection against rheumatoid arthritis

Indicated for people with a rheumatic diathesis i.e. have joint pain and kidney troubles.

Pumpkin


Eating pumpkin supports men's health

In research studies, extracts from pumpkin including lycopene and cyptoxanthines reduce symptoms of benign prostatic hypertrophy BPH.

Pumpkin promotes lung health

Consuming foods rich in beta- cryptoxanthin, an orange-red carotenoid found in highest amounts in pumpkin, corn, papaya, red bell peppers, tangerines, oranges and peaches, significantly lower risk of lung cancer. Smokers consuming the most cryptoxanthin-rich foods were found to have a 37% lower risk of lung cancer compared to smokers who ate the least of these health- protective foods.

Betacarotene in pumpkin is a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory

The betacarotene in pumpkin prevents cell mutations that can lead to cancer. Prevents the oxidation of cholesterol in the body. Oxidised cholesterol builds up in blood vessel walls. Betacarotene prevents atherosclerosis.

Other health benefits of caretenoids

  • Additionally carotenoids balance blood sugar.
  • Beta-carotene helps reduce the risk of colon cancer by protecting colon cells.
  • Beta-carotene's anti-inflammatory effects reduce the severity of asthma, osteoarthritis, and rheumatoid arthritis.
  • The potassium helps to lower blood pressure.
  • The vitamin C reduces the severity of asthma, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and prevents the progression of atherosclerosis and heart disease.

Pumpkin contains fibre to reduce the risk of heart disease and colon cancer

In addition to its ability to lower high cholesterol levels, which reduces the risk of heart disease, the fibre found in pumpkin prevent s cancer- causing chemicals from attacking colon cells. High fibre foods are associated with a reduced risk of colon cancer.

Chickpeas


Chickpeas are one of the highest sources of isolflavones.

Chickpeas lower risk of the breast, prostate gland and colon cancer.

Isoflavones act as weak oestrogens allows them to bind to oestrogen receptors and block the detrimental effects of oestrogen  much like a natural tamoxifen without side-effects.

Chickpeas improve bone health

Isoflavones consumption reduce s bone loss and slow calcium loss. Ipriflavone, a synthetic isoflavone drug prescribed in Europe, is metabolised in the body into daidzein, and has potent effects on reducing bone resorption in post-menopausal women.

Chickpeas relieve menopausal symptoms

Studies have found that isoflavones relieve menopausal symptoms including hot flushes and increases bone density in postmenopausal women.

Chickpeas lowers risk of heart disease

Chickpease contains soluble cholesterol-lowering fibre.

Soluble fibre in chickpeas;

  • Lowers total cholesterol
  • Decreases LDL cholesterol
  • Increase the beneficial HDL cholesterol

Prevents blood sugar levels from rising too rapidly after a meal.

Chickpeas contains molybdemum which detoxifies sulphites

Contains the trace mineral, molybdenum, a component of the enzyme sulphite oxidase, which is responsible for detoxifying sulphites. If you have ever reacted to sulphites, it may be because your molybdenum stores are insufficient to detoxify them.

Chickpeas prevent heart disease and osteoporosis

Lowers both total and LDL "bad" cholesterol Chickpeas balance blood sugar to prevent insulin resistance and diseases associated with insulin resistance. Chickpeas provide calcium content as about the same as yoghurt and close to milk.

Phytoestrogen consumption may reduce lung cancer

There have been many studies examining the health benefits of phytoestrogens; including isoflavones (soybeans and non GM non processed whole soy bean products including soy milk, tofu and tempeh, chickpeas and red clover), lignans (rye grains, linseeds, carrots, spinach, broccoli, and other vegetables) and coumestrol (beans, peas, clover, spinach and sprouts).

Food Containing the Highest Sources of Isoflavones and Lignans

  • Red clover is the richest source of isoflavones , mainly biochanin A and formononetin, with lesser amounts of genistein, daidzein.
  • The second richest source of isoflavones is Kudzu root with 200 mg/100 g.
  • Soy comes in third with 37.3 - 140.3 mg/100 g. It is the richest source of the single isoflavone genistein.
  • Chickpea have 1.15 - 3.60 mg/100 g total isoflavones.
  • Pumpkin, teas (especially green), and berries are the next richest known dietary sources of phytoestrogens.

Carina is available to lecture for your group or institution on this subject.

Carina Harkin BHSc.Nat.BHSc.Hom.BHSc.Acu. 

Carahealth Galway, Acupuncture, Naturopathy, Homeopathy, Herbal Medicine, Nutrition, Nutritional therapy, Flower essences, Iridology, Short Courses, Cosmetic Acupuncture

 
 
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