Everyone knows that strawberries are delicious. However, did you know just what a nutritional powerhouse they are? Here are eight reasons to include strawberries in your diet.
One cup of strawberries contains over 13% of the RDA of dietary ﬁber, yet only 43 calories. The dietary ﬁber in strawberries helps to keep digestion regular, as well as lowers blood pressure and curbs overeating.
Strawberries contain a chemical compound called phenols. Anthocyanin, a particular phenol abundantly found in strawberries, lends the rich red color to the fruit. Though anthocyanin is known to have antioxidant properties within the fruit, it is debated as to whether the antioxidant agents in anthocyanin-rich foods can be absorbed into the body once digested. Fortunately, however, it is known that when anthocyanin-rich foods are consumed, the body's uric acid levels increase, which serves as an antioxidant agent.
The phenols in strawberries also ﬁght against many inﬂammatory disorders, such as osteoarthritis, asthma and atherosclerosis, by inhibiting the enzyme cyclooxygenase (COX) in the same way that the drugs aspirin and ibuprofen do. Strawberries, however, do not carry unwanted side effects like stomach and intestinal bleeding.
The combination of antioxidant and anti-inﬂammatory agents found in strawberries is well-known to ﬁght against the onset of many different forms of cancer. Thanks to the vitamin C, folate, and the ﬂavonoids quercetin and kaempferol that they also contain, strawberries are a delicious defense against potentially cancerous cells.
The Archives of Opthalmology recently published a study in which three or more servings of strawberries (and other fruits) per day can decrease the possibility of contracting age-related macular degeneration by over one-third.
The Vigorous Vitamin C
One cup of strawberries contains an incredible 136% of the RDA of vitamin C, an effective antioxidant that can help lower blood pressure, ensure a healthy immune system, and ward off the development of age-related ocular diseases, such as cataracts and macular degeneration.
One cup of strawberries contains 21% of manganese, an essential nutrient that acts as a powerful antioxidant and anti-inﬂammatory agent. By increasing the levels of superoxide dismutase (SOD), the enzyme responsible for protecting mitochonrdria exposed to oxygen, manganese not only helps to ﬁght the battle against free radicals and oxidative stress, but also lessens cellular inﬂammation -- another cause of numerous cardiovascular diseases.
Manganese is also great for the bones, helping in bone building and maintaining proper bone structure. The potassium, vitamin K, and magnesium in strawberries are also important for bone health
luni, 18 iulie 2011
Banana, the once-exotic fruit, has found its way into our daily lives. Whether sliced over cereal or blended in a smoothie, here are eight great reasons to include about four bananas a week in your diet.
One banana has 11% of the RDA of dietary ﬁber and only about 108 calories. The ﬁber in bananas not only keeps digestion regular, but also helps maintain low blood sugar and curbs overeating.
Lower Blood Pressure
Studies show that the high amounts of potassium in bananas (over 13% of the RDA) can lower one's blood pressure, which in turn lessens the possibility of atherosclerosis, heart attack and stroke.
Along with lowering blood pressure, potassium prevents the weakening of the body's bones. A high sodium intake, which is typical of many American diets, can cause excessive amount of calcium to be lost through the urine, which threatens not only the strength and general health of the bones, but also negatively affects blood clotting, proper muscle contraction, and normal nervous system function. The potassium found in bananas neutralizes the high amounts of sodium in one's diet, thus allowing for healthy amounts of calcium to remain within the body.
High Nutrient Absorption
The potassium in bananas is not the only means to ensure healthy levels of calcium in the body. Bananas also contain high levels of fructooligosaccharide (FOS) that--along with insulin--promotes calcium absorption. FOS further nourishes healthy bacteria in the colon that manufacture vitamins and digestive enzymes that boost the body's overall ability to absorb nutrients.
Healthy Digestive Tract
Bananas can diminish the uncomfortable effects of diarrhea and constipation. The high amounts of potassium in bananas can restock electrolytes that are easily depleted when suffering from diarrhea -- potassium being an important electrolyte itself. Furthermore, bananas can relieve the body from constipation and help restore regular digestion with pectin, a soluble polysaccharide that helps normalize the digestive tract.
Bananas protect the healthy constitution of the stomach in two ways. Firstly, they trigger the production of mucus in the stomach, which provides a protective barrier against stomach acids. Secondly, bananas possess protease inhibitors, a substance that breaks down bacteria in the stomach that cause ulcers. (Moreover, protease inhibitor also obstruct the replication of certain cells and viruses, including HIV.)
A large study by the Internal Journal of Cancer illustrates that the probability of developing kidney cancer is greatly lessened by frequent consumption of fruits and vegetables, though especially bananas. For instance, the probability of developing kidney cancer in female subjects decreased by 50% when eating bananas four to six times a week.
One banana has an impressive 34% of the RDA of vitamin B6, which serves many important roles in the body's health. For example, the B6 in bananas acts as an anti-inﬂammatory agent that helps ward off cardiovascular disease, type II diabetes, as well as obesity. B6 also contributes to the maintenance of the lymphoid glands that ensure the production of healthy white blood cells that protect the body from infection. Finally, the vitamin B6 in bananas plays a pivotal part in cell formation and proper nervous system function, making one banana a day a healthy and delicious choice.
Containing more vitamin C than an equivalent amount of orange, the kiwi is a small fruit that packs a wallop of nutrition. The national fruit of China, where it has been called a macaque peach, vine pear, or hairy bush fruit, among other names, it was introduced to New Zealand at the turn of the last century. The kiwi was called the Chinese gooseberry before its name was changed to kiwifruit upon its move to the USA in the 1960s. Currently, Italy, New Zealand, Chile, France, Japan and the United States are the world’s top producers of kiwis.
Here are six health benefits of kiwis.
The fiber in kiwifruit may be an effective against a number of ailments. Researchers have found that diets that contain plenty of fiber can reduce high cholesterol levels, which may reduce the risk of heart disease and heart attack. Kiwis are also abundant in vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant that protects our bodies from free radicals that can cause oxidative stress and lead to a host of severe medical conditions, such as atherosclerosis that can cause heart disease.
Vitamin C has been shown to lower blood pressure, and thereby lower the chances of developing of hypertension, as well as cardiovascular disease. Vitamin C also ensures proper dilation of blood vessels, which may prevent atherosclerosis, high cholesterol, congestive heart failure, and angina pectoris. Having a few kiwifruit a day may also reduce the amount of triglycerides in your blood, avoiding blood clots and helping to protect cardiovascular health. Kiwi is a good source of vitamin E, magnesium, potassium, and copper, all of which may function separately or together to protect the cardiovascular system.
The vitamin C in kiwis is a powerful and effective water-soluble antioxidant, protecting our bodies from oxidative stress caused by free radicals. Excessive oxidative stress is associated with many different types of cancer, including lung, mouth, throat, colon, stomach and esophagus. Vitamin C also helps to regenerate your supplies of vitamin E (another useful antioxidant).
Bone and Connective Tissue Support
The vitamin C in kiwis is an indispensable water-soluble antioxidant that moves throughout the body, neutralizing all free radicals it comes into contact with. Free radicals can damage healthy cells, and cause inflammation in bone and connective tissue. Vitamin C can be of some help in reducing the severity conditions like osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
Kiwis are also a good source of potassium, which prevents the weakening of bones. A high sodium intake, which is typical of many American diets, can cause excessive amount of calcium to be lost through the urine, which threatens the strength and general health of bones. The potassium found in bananas neutralizes the high amounts of sodium in one's diet, thus allowing for healthy amounts of calcium to remain within the body.
Digestive Tract Health
The fiber in kiwis helps to move food through the stomach to the large intestine at a healthier pace. This keeps any one part of the digestive tract from having to work too hard and supports the ideal balance of chemicals and populations of microorganisms required for a healthy digestive system. Fiber is also good for binding and removing toxins from the colon, which is helpful for preventing colon cancer.
Blood Sugar Regulation
The fiber in kiwis helps move food through the digestive system at an even pace and regulates blood sugar absorption. An excess of sugar uptake all at once can produce an unwanted sugar spike. A lack of simple sugar uptake may produce a rapid blood sugar drop. Either extreme can upset blood sugar balance. The fiber in kiwis helps avoid both extremes.
Kiwi fruit contains more vitamin C than oranges and is especially effective against respiratory health problems such as wheezing, shortness of breath, asthma and cough. A famous study in Italy followed over 18,000 children aged 6-7 years only to find that those eating the most citrus and kiwifruit had 44% less incidence of wheezing compared to children eating the least fruit. Shortness of breath was reduced by 32%, chronic cough by 25%, and runny nose by 28%.
Over ninety percent of all tea sold in the West is black tea. All four varieties of tea (black, green, oolong, white) are made from leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant, but black tea generally has more flavour and caffeine than the others. Because black tea keeps its flavour for several years, it has long been an article of trade and bricks of black tea even served as a form of currency in parts of Asia into the 19th century.
Today, India, China, and Sri Lanka are the world’s largest producers of black tea. In the production of black tea, the leaves are first spread out on racks and blown with air to remove about a third of their moisture and make them pliable. Then they are rolled around to break their cell walls and release the sugars necessary for fermentation. To promote fermentation they are kept in a highly humid environment, which turns the leaves dark and develops black tea's strong flavor. Finally, the leaves are dried and shipped off to all corners of the globe. The health benefits of black tea focus on the same areas as the green, oolong, and white variety. Since they all come from the same plant, it’s only natural they would have similar benefits.
Black tea is abundant in antioxidants, such as flavonoids, demonstrated to prevent the oxidation of LDL cholesterol, preventing damage in both the bloodstream and at artery walls, and lowering the risk of heart disease. Additionally, it has been shown that black tea flavonoids are able to both improve coronary vasodilation and reduce clots. Polypehnols found in black tea are also very strong antioxidants, and the manganese in black tea may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease by helping cardiac muscle function.
Polyphenols in tea seem to help in preventing formation of potential carcinogens in the body, particularly in certain types of cancer, such as ovarian, lung, prostate, colorectal, and bladder. Other studies reveal that black tea may help prevent stomach, prostate, and breast cancer. A compound in black tea called TF-2 causes such cancer cells to go into apoptosis (programmed cell death) while normal cells remain unaffected. One study on oral cancer showed that consuming black tea can significantly reduce the risk of oral cancer, particularly in those who smoke cigarettes and use other tobacco products.
Skin and Hair Health
The antioxidants in green tea may help keep your skin from being plagued by acne, and in some cases have been demonstrated to function equally as well as the harsher benzoyl peroxide used in so many skin products.
Bone and Connective Tissue
Studies indicate that the bones of regular tea drinkers are stronger than those of non-tea drinkers, even when other variables were adjusted for. Scientists theorize it may be an effect of the powerful tea’s phytochemicals.
Digestive Tract Health
The tannins in tea have a therapeutic effect on gastric and intestinal illnesses and make it a great digestive aid, used in China as such for thousands of years. These tannins decrease intestinal activity and exercise an antidiarrheal effect. The polyphenols in green tea have been demonstrated to have an effect on intestinal inflammation suffered by people afflicted with conditions like irritable bowel syndrome.
Brain and Nervous System
Unlike high levels of caffeine found in coffee, the low amounts in black tea promote blood flow in the brain without over stimulating the heart. The caffeine in black tea hones mental focus and concentration and studies show that the amino acid L-theanine found in black tea can help you relax and concentrate more fully on tasks. Black tea has been shown to reduce levels of the stress hormone cortisol after a month of drinking four cups of tea daily. The caffeine in black tea might also give your memory the boost it needs for a few hours and some studies suggest that a regular tea habit may help protect against Parkinson's disease.
In moderation caffeine can be a benefit - in black tea it stimulates the metabolism, increases brain function and aids alertness. The caffeine in tea acts as more of a subtle stimulant, taking more than a few minutes to take effect, rather than hitting your system as quickly as coffee or cola. This effect is assisted by another compound found only in tea, theophylline. While caffeine chiefly targets the brain and muscles, theophylline stimulates the respiratory system, heart and kidneys. This helps maintain a healthy cardiovascular system.
Research suggests that catechin antioxidants in black tea may reduce oral cancers. Tea's polyphenols and tannin perform as antibiotics, preventing bacteria that cause tooth decay, and the polyphenols in tea can help to keep in check the bacteria that cause bad breath.
Tea is full of substances called "tannins," which studies have shown have the ability to fight viruses such as influenza, dysentery and hepatitis. One such tannin named "catechin" helps suppress tumors. Black tea also contains alkylamine antigens, which help boost immune response.
Grilled Seafood Kabobs Recipe
1 lb large shrimp – cleaned
1 lb large mushrooms
1 lb fresh sea scallops
17 oz bottled barbecue sauce
4 tablespoon stone ground dijon mustard
1/3 cup honey
8 each wooden skewers
2 lb fresh fruit
Combine the barbecue sauce, honey and mustard in a bowl and mix well. Place alternating groups of shrimp, sea scallops and mushrooms on the skewers. Place completed kabobs in a baking pan. Spoon the marinade over the kabobs and allow to set over night in the refrigerator. Grill over direct heat for 7 to 8 minutes or until the shrimp have turned pink, turning frequently to prevent burning. Baste with marinade and use a covered grill to insure smokey flavor. Garnish with fresh fruit.
Seafood Italian Lasagna Recipe
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup flour
2 cup crushed garlic
2 cup milk
2 cup chicken broth
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon basil
2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup chopped green onions
15 uncooked lasagna noodles
1 cup cottage cheese
2/3 cup cooked shrimp cut bite size
2/3 cup cooked bay scallops bite size
2/3 cup crab meat cut bite size
1/3 cup dry white wine
Heat butter in a large saucepan over low heat until melted. Add garlic. Stir in flour and salt. Cook, stirring constantly until bubbly. Remove from heat. Stir in milk, broth and white wine. Return to stove and heat to boiling, stirring constantly. Boil for 1 minute. Add mozzarella cheese, onions, basil and pepper. Cook over low heat until cheese is melted, stirring constantly. Spread about 1 1/2 cups of the sauce in an un-greased 9X13 pan. Top with 5 uncooked lasagna noodles, overlapping as needed. Spread the cheese over the noodles. Spread with another 1 1/2 cups of sauce and then top with another 5 lasagna noodles. Spread seafood over this layer and top with another 1 1/2 cups of sauce. Cover with the last 5 lasagna noodles and top with all of the remaining sauce. If desired, top with 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese. Bake, uncovered at 350 degrees for about 40 minutes or until the noodles are tender. Let stand for 15 minutes before cutting.
Paella Seafood Recipe
4 lb chicken-serving size pieces
1/4 cup sake plus 2t
2 tablespoon soy sauce
5 3/4 cup chicken stock
16 clams little neck in shell
1 tablespoon ginger root, minced, fresh
1 cup green onions, chopped
3 cup rice short grain uncooked
1/4 cup cilantro leaves chopped
1 tablespoon chili sauce
1 lb shrimp whole, raw
1/2 teaspoon saffron threads crushed
1 1/2 lb mussels in shell
1/4 cup oil, olive plus 2t
1 1/2 tablespoon garlic minced
1/4 lb sausage
1 cup snow peas julienne
Shell, devein and butterfly the shrimp. Scrub mussels and clams and soak in several different changes of water until needed. Cut sausage in thin diagonal slices and steam, 15 minutes. Pre-heat the oven to 350/F. Combine the chicken, chili sauce and 2T of the sake in a bowl-set aside. Combine shrimp, 1T of the soy sauce and 1T of the sake in another bowl and set aside.Dissolve the saffron in some of the chicken stock and set aside. Heat 1/4 cup of the olive oil in a large skillet: medium high heat. Add chicken pieces a few at a time, cook until browned on each side. Set aside until all are browned. Pour off fat from skillet then add remaining 2T olive oil, garlic and gingerroot. Cook for 1 minute then add green onion and cook 30 seconds more. Now add the steamed sausage and cook 1 more minute then add the rice and stir until it is all coated. Pour in the chicken stock, dissolved saffron, remaining 1/4 cup of sake and remaining 1T soy sauce. Bring to a boil and cook over medium heat for 10 minutes. Add the snow peas, shrimp and chicken pieces and cover with rice mixture. Arrange clams and mussels on top, sticking up so they will open. Bake uncovered at 350/F for 30-40 minutes or until clams and mussels are open. Sprinkle the cilantro over the top and serve from the pan together with green salad and crusty bread.