Tag Archives: phytonutrients

Glorious grapes

GrapesGrapes have always been associated with health, and with good reason.  They are packed with antioxidants and phytonutrients.  One of their renowned phytonutrients, resveratrol, is said to increase the expression of three genes related to longevity. Even though they’re sweet, grapes are also good for diabetics, since they promote a better blood sugar balance and increased insulin sensitivity. And of course the skin is packed with fiber, which helps to promote good bowel health.

 

At this time of year, the local grapes are particularly fresh and delicious, so it’s a great time to enjoy them. Their unique texture and sweetness makes them a perfect addition to salads and desserts, but also a handy snack throughout the day.  Just wash them and put them in a bowl in the fridge to keep them fresh and ready for whenever a hunger pang strikes.

Recipes (see below):

Minted Green Grape Sorbet

Green Goddess Breakfast Smoothie

Read more

Crohn’s Disease – a veg diet can help

patient-with-crohnsGood news for those with this hard-to-treat disease. It turns out that a vegetarian diet is especially effective at both preventing and treating Crohn’s Disease.

Crohn’s disease affects as many as 780,000 Americans. It’s a chronic inflammatory disease of the gastrointestinal tract that usually affects the small and/or large intestine. The intestine becomes inflamed, sometimes resulting in dangerous blockages. It usually begins early in life. People with this disease experience periods of remission only to be followed by relapse. No-one knows what causes the disease, and currently there is no cure. Read more

Preventing Cancer – there’s plenty you can do!

Girl with bag of fresh foodMany people worry about getting cancer, but they don’t realize how much difference their food choices can make in whether they get cancer or not. When it comes to cancer, your diet can make all the difference.

The connection between the food we eat and cancer is anything but new. Scientists have long noticed the association with eating meat and cancer. For instance, Scientific American stated all the way back in January 1892 that “cancer is most frequent among those branches of the human race where carnivorous habits prevail.”

Studies have shown again and again that those following a plant-based diet have a lower risk of several kinds of cancer such as stomach, colon, prostate and pancreatic. Even smokers (and of course smoking is not recommended) can cut their risk of lung cancer by half if they eat a plant-food rich diet. Now, in the 21st century, scientists are discovering many of the ways plant foods help protect us from getting cancer. Read more

Choosing Healthy Chocolate

ChocolateWith Valentine’s Day almost here and Women’s Heart Health Day this month, many women are wondering how they can have their Valentine’s Day Chocolate and promote heart health at the same time. Well we have some good news for you, if you are willing to choose just the right chocolate!

Medical science has gone beyond folklore to investigate whether there are indeed health benefits to chocolate. Chocolate contains a group of phytonutrients called Flavanols. Phytonutrients are natural substances that are not vitamins or minerals but still have very valuable health-promoting properties. These flavanols, especially one called epicatechin, have been found to have several cardiovascular, health-enhancing effects.

Several studies have shown that chocolate modestly improves the function of the coronary arteries of the heart, while raising the good cholesterol and lowering the bad. Other studies document modest improvements in blood pressure. One study has even also shown modest improvements in memory.

However, not all chocolates contain the same amount of flavanols. It turns out that dairy- free, dark chocolate has by far the most health-promoting properties. Also, the chocolate with lower amounts of sugar in it performed the best. For those hot cocoa lovers, the best performing ones were also dairy-free and not processed with “alkali”. For those still looking for a sweeter chocolate, products sweetened with natural sugar alternatives such as LoHan, also call monk fruit, and stevia are reasonable alternatives.

A couple of caveats though. Chocolate does have plenty of calories. It is also high in fat, some of which is saturated. Overall though, when the right kind is chosen and eaten with discretion, most people can have their chocolate and a healthy heart too. Enjoy!

Breast Cancer – Plant Foods are Powerful

breast cancer 6October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, so it’s a good time to remind women and the men who love them that a plant-based diet is the best diet for both avoiding and battling the disease.

Breast cancer is a very complicated disease but here are just a few of the ways that a veg diet helps. Cancer, including breast cancer, can be caused by toxic chemicals found in the environment, called carcinogens, that greatly concentrate in animal tissue and then get transferred to us when we eat animal-derived foods. Also, other carcinogens called heterocyclic amines, or HCA’s for short, form when meat is cooked. By consuming a plant based diet you can avoid almost all of these dangerous carcinogens. Read more

Breast Cancer Update

Basket of fruit and vegetablesHere’s a bit of news on a large and complicated topic.  Eat your veggies to help prevent breast cancer!

Phytonutrients are powerful when it comes to preventing a variety of diseases, including cancer. Phytonutrients are substances found only in plant foods.  They are neither vitamins nor minerals, but are nevertheless vital for good health. A recent study found that those women with the highest intakes of phytonutrients called carotenoids had a reduced risk of estrogen-positive breast cancer by as much as a third, and a reduced risk of estrogen-negative breast cancer by almost half.

In another study, post-menopausal women with breast cancer who doubled their intake of plant foods, reduced their risk of recurrence of the cancer after treatment by almost 50%. Carotenoids are found abundantly in red, yellow and deeply colored fruits and vegetables such as carrots, sweet potatoes, spinach and kale.

Not surprisingly, those following a vegan diet have the highest plant food intakes of all. A recent study found that women following a vegan diet had a 34% lower risk of breast cancer, as well as a significantly reduced risk of other female cancers, such ovarian cancer.

Breast cancer is a complicated disease involving other lifestyle factors such as smoking, alcohol consumption and several others. However, diet is also a major factor.  Scientific research has shown again and again that you can give yourself the best chance of avoiding this disease by consuming generous amounts of health-promoting plant foods.