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brocolli

By Peter Jaret

April 13, 2000
Web posted at: 2:25 PM EDT (1825 GMT)

(WebMD) — Who would have thought that of all the brightly colored exotic offerings in the produce aisle — from curvy, golden-yellow peppers to inky purple eggplants — homely broccoli would become the superstar?

It’s true: In the category of most healthful vegetable, this cruciferous contender wins all the top honors.

This past February, when the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition published a paper that listed foods most likely to prevent colon cancer, what stood out? Broccoli. Scientists at the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston published an article in the same journal last October and noted that broccoli, along with spinach, helped to minimize risk for cataracts.

When another team of Harvard scientists looked at how diet might protect against stroke, broccoli’s benefits again came to the fore, in research published in the October 6, 1999 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Nutritious — and then some

When it comes to basic nutrients, broccoli is a mother lode. Ounce for ounce, boiled broccoli has more vitamin C than an orange and as much calcium as a glass of milk, according to the USDA’s nutrient database. One medium spear has three times more fiber than a slice of wheat bran bread. Broccoli is also one of the richest sources of vitamin A in the produce section.

But the real surprise is this vegetable’s potent cancer-fighting components.

At the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, Maryland, food chemist Dr. Paul Talalay has gone so far as to name his lab after “Brassica,” the genus that includes broccoli and cauliflower. Talalay and his team at the Brassica Chemoprotection Laboratory have discovered that broccoli is rich in substances called isothiocyanates — chemicals shown to stimulate the body’s production of its own cancer-fighting substances, called “phase two enzymes.” According to Talalay, these enzymes, in turn, neutralize potential cancer-causing substances before they have a chance to damage the DNA of healthy cells.

To test broccoli’s cancer-fighting power, Talalay fed rats hearty servings of the vegetable for a few days and then exposed them to a potent carcinogen known to trigger a form of breast cancer in the animals. Broccoli-munching rats were half as likely to develop tumors as animals on standard chow, according to results published in the April 1994 Proceedings of the National Academy of Science.

“Even those rats that did develop cancer ended up with fewer and smaller tumors, which is an important advantage in itself,” says Talalay.

More recently, scientists at Tokyo’s Graduate School of Agriculture have shown that isothiocyanates can block the growth of melanoma skin cancer cells, according to findings published in 1999 in the journal “Nutrition and Cancer.”

Good news for broccoli haters

If you don’t like broccoli, take heart: In 1997, Talalay and his researchers at Hopkins discovered to their surprise that broccoli sprouts, the week-old seedlings of the mature plant, are exceptionally rich in a form of isothiocyanate called sulforaphane — 10 to 100 times as rich as broccoli itself, in fact. More and more markets now carry the tender shoots, which are delicious on sandwiches and salads.

And keep in mind that broccoli is just one of many members of the cruciferous vegetable family, which includes cauliflower, kale, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, and bok choy — all of which appear to help protect against cancer.

When scientists at the World Cancer Research Fund reviewed 206 human and 22 animal studies, they found convincing evidence that cruciferous vegetables in general lowered risk for many forms of the disease, including tumors of the stomach, esophagus, lung, oral cavity and pharynx (throat), endometrium (lining of the uterus), pancreas, and colon.

How to enrich your diet

Need ideas for adding more of these vegetables to your diet?

Cauliflower makes a delicious addition to pasta primavera. Use penne pasta and you can boil the cauliflower and the noodles together — both require the same amount of cooking time.

Chopped red cabbage is a great addition to salads or chili. And if you’re not familiar with kale, try it in the savory Portuguese soup called caldo verde: Peel and finely chop two pounds of potatoes and boil for two minutes. Then add one bunch of chopped kale (about 6 to 8 cups) and cook for two more minutes. Season with a little salt and a splash of olive oil and you’re ready to eat.

http://archives.cnn.com/2000/FOOD/news/04/13/broccoli.benefits.wmd/

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The world’s most beautiful women, Cleopatra of Egypt and Yang Guifei of China loved to eat okra in their diets according to the history record.

When we visited the world’s most productive land of okra, Kami rural area in Kowchi Prefecture, Japan, young and old are all in smile and look very healthy. When we asked the secret of their beautiful smile and good health in that area, their answers were great grace of okra.

The history of okra seems to be very old and it was cultivated in Egypt before the time of Cleopatra. The okra plant spread to many parts of the world during the Atlantic slave trade. During WWII, the shortage of coffee beans made them use okra seeds as a substitute for coffee. This incident made the word “okra fever”. Since then, okra’s popularity never disappeared from local markets to convenience stores throughout the world and throughout the year.

Okra contains vitamins A and C and is a good source of iron and calcium. It also contains starch, fat, ash, thiamine and riboflavin. No wonder, Cleopatra and Yang Guifei maintained their beauties. Probably, you want to know more specifically. Here it is:

For 1/2 cup sliced, cooked okra For 1 cup raw okra
Calories 25
Dietary Fiber 2 grams
Protein 1.52 grams
Carbohydrates 5.76 grams
Vitamin A 460 IU
Vitamin C 13.04 mg
Folic acid 36.5 micrograms
Calcium 50.4 mg
Iron 0.4 mg
Potassium 256.6 mg
Magnesium 46 mg
Calories: 33
Fiber: 3.2g
Total Fat: 0.1g
Protein: 2.0g
Carbohydrate: 7.6g
Vitamin A 660 IU
Vitamin C 21mg
Folate 87.8mcg
Magnesium 57mg

BENEFITS OF OKRA

  • The superior fiber found in okra helps to stabilize the blood sugar by curbing the rate at which sugar is absorbed from the intestinal tract.
  • Okra’s mucilage binds cholesterol and bile acid carrying toxins dumped into it by the filtering liver.
  • Okra helps lubricate the large intestines due to its bulk laxative qualities. The okra fiber absorbs water and ensures bulk in stools. This helps prevent and improve constipation. Unlike harsh wheat bran, which can irritate or injure the intestinal tract, okra’s mucilage soothes, and okra facilitates elimination more comfortably by its slippery characteristic.
  • Okra binds excess cholesterol and toxins (in bile acids). These, if not evacuated, will cause numerous health problems. Okra also assures easy passage out of waste from the body. Okra is completely non-toxic, non-habit forming, has no adverse side effects, is full of nutrients, and is economically within reach of most unlike the OTC drugs.
  • Okra fiber is excellent for feeding the good bacteria (probiotics). This contributes to the health of the intestinal tract.
  • Okra is a supreme vegetable for those feeling weak, exhausted, and suffering from depression.
  • Okra is used for healing ulcers and to keep joints limber. It helps to neutralize acids, being very alkaline, and provides a temporary protective coating for the digestive tract.
  • Okra treats lung inflammation, sore throat, and irritable bowel.
  • Okra has been used successfully in experimental blood plasma replacements.
  • Okra is good for summer heat treatment.
  • Okra is a supreme vegetable for those feeling weak, exhausted, and suffering from depression.
  • Okra is good for constipation.
  • Okra is good in normalizing the blood sugar and cholesterol level.
  • Okra is good for asthma. Okra’s vitamin C is an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory, which curtail the development of asthma symptoms.
  • Okra is good for atherosclerosis.
  • Okra is believed to protect some forms of cancer expansion, especially colorectal cancer.
  • Eating okra helps to support the structure of capillaries.
  • Some information shows that eating okra lowers the risk of cataracts.
  • Okra is good for preventing diabetes.
  • Okra protects you from pimples and maintains smooth and beautiful skin. We understand the reason why Cleopatra and Yang Guifei loved to eat okra.
  • There are other medicinal uses of okra, like its protection against trans fats.

Article: http://www.pyroenergen.com/articles07/okra-health-benefits.htm

Picture: http//www.excellexotics-kenya.com/images/veg/okra.jpg

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