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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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sweetpotato

Parts utilized
Tops, leaves and edible roots.

Constituents and properties
• Source of polyphenolic antioxidants.
• Leaves have a high content of polyphenolics – anthocyanins and phenolic acids, with at least 15 biologically active anthocyanins with medicinal value.
• Polyphenols have physiologic funtions, radical scavenging activity, antimutagenic, anticancer, antidiabetes and antibacterial activity in vitro and vivo.
• Considered hemostatic, spleen invigorating.

Uses
Nutritional
Edible: Leaves and roots.
Has a higher nutritional value than the common potato.
Good source of vitamins A, B and C, iron, calcium and phosphorus.
High in complex carbohydrates and dietary fiber; deficient in protein.
Leafy tops eaten as vegetables.
A component of many traditional cuisines.
A staple food crop in some countries.
Industrial
Starch and industrial alcohol production.
Folkloric
Tops, especially purplish ones, used for diabetes.
Crushed leaves applied to boils and acne.
For diarrhea: Boiled or boiled roots.

Studies
Dengue – Like gatas-gatas (Euphorbia hirta), there have been anecdotal reports of the use of Ipomoea batatas in dengue, with improvement in platelet counts being attributed to decoctions of kamote tops.
Preparation: kamote tops are boiled in wate for 5 minutesr to extract the juice
Diabetes – Despite its “sweet” name, it may be beneficial for diabetes as some studies suggest it may stabilize blood sugars and lower insulin resistance.
• Purple Sweet Potato anthocyanins have antioxidative activity in vivo as well as in vitro.
• Hemostatic mistura of ipomoea balatas leaves, methods of preparation and use thereof — a Jinshuye styptic plant preparation, an invention made from the extracts of leaf and stems of Ipomoea batatas has qi and spleen invigorating effects, cooling the blood and stopping bleeding. Such a composition has the potential of use for ITP (idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura), radiotherapy- and chemotherapy-induced thrombocytopenia.
• Local Root Crops as Antioxidant: A 2006 study of commonly consumed roots crops in the Philippines (Kamote, Ipomoea batata; ubi, purple yam, Dioscorea alata; cassava, Manihot esculenta; taro or gabi, Colocasia esculenta; carrot, Daucus carota; yacon (Smallanthus sonchifolius) showed them to be rich sources of phenolic compounds with antioxidant acitivity, highest in sweet potato, followed by taro, potato, purple yam and lowest in the carrot.
• BIOACTIVE COMPOUNDS IN IPOMOEA BATATAS LEAVES: Results suggest the total phenolic content was positively correlated with radical scavenging activities of the sweet potato leaves.
Antidiabetic activity of white skinned sweet potato (Ipomoea batatas L.) in obese Zucker fatty rats: Results suggest the white skinned sweet potato has antidiabetic activity and and improves glucose and lipid metabolism by reducing insulin resistance.

• Sweet potato (Ipomoea batatas [L.] Lam ‘Tainong 57’) storage root mucilage with antioxidant activities in vitro: Mucilage might contribute its antioxidant activities against both hydoxyl and peroxyl radicals.

• Flavonoids: Leaf extract study isolated five news compounds: tiliroside, astragalin, rhamnocitrin, rhamnetin and kaempferol.
• Chitinases: Study identified new chitinolytic enzymes in sweet potato leaves. Chitinases catalyze the hydrolysis of chitin, the main structural component of fungal walls and arthropod integuments. Studies suggest it has other functions and has been proposed to play a role in the defense against pathogens. Chitinases are also useful in the production of biomedical and biotech products; used in the production of chitooligosaccharides, glucosamines and GlcNAc. Other applications are found in mosquito control and pathogenic plant fungi control.
• Antioxidant / Antiproliferative: Study demonstrated that the phytochemicals in sweet potato may have significant antioxidant and anticancer activities. The antioxidant activity was directly related to the total amount of phenolics and flavonoids in the extracts. The additive roles of phytochemicals may contribute to its ability in inhibiting tumor cell proliferation in vitro.

Source: http://www.stuartxchange.org/Kamote.html

Health Benefits

Sweet potatoes are excellent sources of plant proteins with very low calories.  Unlike other starchy root vegetables, it is very low in sugar, and in fact is a good blood sugar regulator.

As an anti-oxidant: Sweet potatoes have been found to contain a high amount of anti-oxidant, making it suitable in combating inflammatory problems like asthma, arthritis, gout, etc.

Diabetes: This fibrous root is suitable for diabetics’ consumption as it is a very good blood sugar regulator, helps to stabilize and lower insulin resistance.

Digestive tract, healthy: The significant amount of dietary fiber, especially when eaten with the skin, helps to promote a healthy digestive tract, relieving constipation and also helps prevent colon cancer.

Emphysema: Smokers and people who inhale second-hand smoke should regularly consume foods high in vitamin A as smoke has been found to induce vitamin A deficiency, causing a host of other health problems to the lungs.

Fetal Development: The high folate content is important and necessary for healthy fetal cell and tissue development.

Immune System: Regular consumption of sweet potatoes strengthens the body’s immune system and develop resistance to infection.

Heart diseases: Consumption of this high potassium root helps to prevent heart attack and stroke. It helps maintain fluid and electrolyte balance in the body cells, as well as normal heart function and blood pressure.

Muscle Cramps: A deficiency in potassium can cause muscular cramps and greater susceptibility to injury. Make sweet potatoes a regular part of your diet if you exercise a lot, both for an energy boost and to prevent cramps and injuries.

Stress: When we are stressed, our metabolic rate rises, causing the body potassium levels to be reduced. By snacking on the potassium-packed sweet potato, it helps to rebalance the vital mineral, and helps normalize the heartbeat. This in turn sends oxygen to the brain and regulates the body’s water balance.

http://www.juicing-for-health.com/sweet-potato-health-benefits.html

Sweet Potato Ranks Number One In Nutrition

According to nutritionists at the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), the single most important dietary change for most people, including children, would be to replace fatty foods with foods rich in complex carbohydrates, such as sweet potatoes.

CSPI ranked the sweet potato number one in nutrition of all vegetables. With a score of 184, the sweet potato outscored the next highest vegetable by more than 100 points. Points were given for content of dietary fiber, naturally occurring sugars and complex carbohydrates, protein, vitamins A and C, iron and calcium. Points were deducted for fat content (especially saturated fat), sodium, cholesterol, added refined sugars and caffeine. The higher the score, the more nutritious the food.

http://www.foodreference.com/html/sweet-pot-nutrition.html

See also:

http://www.elements4health.com/sweet-potatoes.html
http://hubpages.com/hub/Health_Benefits_of_Sweet_Potato
http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=64
http://food-facts.suite101.com/article.cfm/nutritional_benefits_of_sweet_potatoes
http://www.ehow.com/facts_4797224_health-benefits-sweet-potatoes.html

pigeonpea

Chemical constituents and properties
Roots are considered antihelminthic, expectorant, febrifuge, sedative, vulnerary.
Seeds are rich in carbohydrates (58%) and proteins (19%).
Fair source of calcium and iron; good source of vitamin B.
Chemical studies reveal: 2′-2’methylcajanone, 2′-hydroxygenistein, isoflavones, cajanin, cahanones, among many others.

Parts used and preparation
Leaves, roots.

Uses
Folkloric
Decoction or infusionn of leaves for coughs, diarrhea, abdominal pains.
Tender leaves are chewed for aphthous stomatitis and spongy gums.
Pulped or poulticed leaves used for sores.
In Peru, leaves are used as an infusion for anemial, hepatitis, diabetes, urinary infections and yellow fever.
In Argentina, leaves used for genital and skin problems; flowers used for bronchitis, cough and pneumonia.
In China, as vermifuge, vulnerary; for tumors.
In Panama, used for treatment of diabetes (See study below).
In Indian folk medicine, used for a variety of liver disorders.
Nutrition
Used mainly for its edible young pods and seeds.
Others
Vegetable food crop ( seeds and pods) in South-East Asia.
As forage or hay.
Branches and stems for basket and fuel. (Source)

Studies
• Clinical studies have reported seed extracts to inhibit red blood cell sickling and potential benefit for people with sickle cell anemia.
Antiplasmodial constituents of Cajanus cajan: Study shows compounds from roots and leaves of CC showed moderately high in vitro activity against Plasmodium falcifarum strain.
Hypocholesterolemic Effect: Study on the stilbenes containing extract-fraction of CC showed a hypocholesterolemic effect possibly through enhancement of hepatic LDL-receptor and cholesterol 7-alpha-hydroxylase expression levels and bile acid synthesis.
Evaluation of traditional medicine: effects of Cajanus cajan L. and of Cassia fistula L. on carbohydrate metabolism in mice: Contradicting its traditional use for diabetes, CC did not have a hypo effect on sugar, aand at higher doses produced a hyperglycemic effect.
• Antimicrobial: Antimicrobial effect of leaf extracts of pigeon pea (Cajanus cajan (L.) millsp.) on some human pathogens : Study shows the plants extract to be inhibitory to some bacterial pathogens.
• Antimicrobial / Antifungal: Nigerian study on the antimicrobial effects of the ethanol and aqueous extracts of locally available plants, including C cajan, showerd inhibition against S aureus, P aeruginosa, E coli and C albicans. The extracts of C cajam produced wider zones of inhibition against C albicans.
• Hyperglycemic Effect: Study of the aqueous extract of C cajan leaves showed a hyperglycemic effect, suggesting a usefulness incontrolling hypoglycemia that may be due to excess of insulin or other hypoglycemic drugs.
• Hepatoprotective: Study of the methanol-aqueous fraction of C cajan leaf extract showed it could prevent the chronically treated alcohol induced rat liver damage and presents a promise as a non-toxic herb for therapeutic use in alcohol-induced liver dysfunction.

http://www.stuartxchange.org/Kadios.html

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Nutritional Value of Pigeon Pea (Red Gram, Toor, Congo Pea, Gunga Pea)
Pigeon Pea commonly known as Red Gram, Toor, Congo pea or Gunga Pea is yellow colored legume. It is cooked and used as food in day to day life.

Nutrition Facts and Information about Pigeon Pea: Pigeon Pea is rich is potassium, phosphorus, magnesium and calcium. It has good amount of iron and selenium and small amount of zinc, copper and manganese.

Vitamin Content of Pigeon Pea: Pigeon Pea has good amount of Vitamin A, Niacin and small amount of thiamin, riboflavin, Vitamin B6, folate and pantothenic acid.

Calorie Content of Pigeon Pea: 100g of Pigeon Pea has 343 calories. Calories from fat are 12.

Health Benefits of Pigeon Pea: Pigeon Pea cures cough, poisoning effect, gas troubles, acidity, stomach pain and piles. It makes a balanced human food, quells swelling of internal organs and with water it cures intoxicating effects.

http://www.organicfacts.net/nutrition-facts/pulses/nutritional-value-of-cowpea-and-pigeon-pea.html

asparagus

Asparagus has so many health benefits, it should be added to the healthy diet. Asparagus is great as a detox vegetable, an anti-aging vegetable, and no surprise – an aphrodisiac, and much more.

The asparagus is a member of the lily family. It grows easily in the home garden right in the flower bed – it is a perennial and can yield a harvest for decades. Asparagus can be planted as seeds or roots any time of the year.

Here is a list of some of the health benefits of asparagus followed by a list further explaining those health benefits.

Asparagus:

1 – can detoxify our system

2 – has anti-aging functions

3 – is considered an aphrodisiac

4 – can protect against cancer

5 – reduces pain and inflammation

6 – can prevent osteoporosis and osteoarthritis

7 – reduces the risk of heart disease

8 – can help prevent birth defects

While there is every kind of supplement on the market to address these health issues, too often Americans turn to pills as a main source of nutrition. Pills should only be used as a supplement and not in the place of whole foods. For example: folic acid is highly recommended in today’s diet especially for women who may become pregnant. However, folic acid is the supplemental form of folate. Folate is naturally found in asparagus. In the interest of good health, whole foods are always recommended before supplements.

The Reasons Asparagus Keeps Us Healthy:

1 – As a detox – asparagus has 288 milligrams of potassium per cup. Potassium is known for reducing belly fat (see belly fat link below). It also contains 3 grams of fiber which cleanses the digestive system. It has virtually no natural sodium so no bloating during PMS, has no fat or cholesterol, and one cup has only 40 calories. According to a clinical dietician at UCLA Medical Center, asparagus in the ultimate in detox vegetables.

2 – For anti-aging purposes – asparagus is rich in potassium, vitamin A, and folate. It is also very high in glutathione – an amino acid compound with protent antioxidant properties; a must as an anti-aging deterrent. Glutathione (GSH) is an antioxidant that protects cells from toxins such as free radicals.

3 – As an aphrodisiac – the asparagus is considered a psycho-physiological aphrodisiac because of its shape. It is said to trigger the mind to have a physiological response. The French word for asparagus is asperge; asperge is a slang word for penis.

4 – Against cancer – asparagus in high in folate which is now known to be an important protection against cancer. Note: Folate is found naturally in leafy green vegetables, and citrus fruits. While folic acid is said to be the same as folate, folic acid is the supplemental form. It is always recommeded that you get health benefits from eating healthy whole foods.

5 – Reducing pain and inflammation – it is the folate that helps reduce inflammation.

6 – Preventing osteoporosis and osteoarthritis – asparagus has vitamin K which studies have shown can help prevent osteoporosis and osteoarthritis. Vitamin K aids in bone formation and repair. It is also necessary for the synthesis of osteocalcin. Osteocalcin is the protein in bone tissue on which calcium crystallizes. Asparagus has been listed as the number one source of vitamin K.

7 – Reducing the risk of heart disease – it is the folate that has been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease.

8 – Preventing birth defects – getting enough folate (doctors often recommend the folic acid supplement) is especially important for women who are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. Having a folate deficiency has been correlated with increased risk of Spina Bifida (a spinal cord birth defect) and also anencephaly (a neural tube defect). Folate helps to regulate embryonic and fetal nerve cell formation and may also help to prevent premature births.

Additionally, studies have shown that the nutritional benefits of asparagus can help prevent and treat urinary tract infections and kidney stones. Overall, asparagus is rich in potassium, vitamin A, folate, glutathione, and vitamin K. It is high in fiber, has no sodium, is low in calories and has no cholesterol or fat.

You may notice some asparagus spears are thick and some are thin. The thick ones are best for roasting or steaming. I find steaming the best and also very quick. The thin spears are ideal for the grill or if you are planning to sautee.

For optimum health benefits it is suggested that asparagus be eaten raw.

Before eating, the woody stem should be removed from both the thick spears and the thin. Peel only the thick spears before cooking.

Source: http://hubpages.com/hub/10-Super-Health-Benefits-of-Asparagus

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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