Posts Tagged ‘nutrients’

Cabbage- A baggage of health benefits

 

Apart from being my personal favourite, “Cabbage” is a delicious vegetable belonging to the “Brassica family” of the plant kingdom. The cabbage family is one of the most important vegetable family known for its nutritional benefits and cancer fighting ability.

Cabbage is known to be an excellent cleanser and is highly valued for its alkaline salts as well as mineral and vitamin contents. It is a good source of calcium, magnesium, potassium, vitamin C, vitamin K, beta-carotene and little of the eye healthy carotenoids, lutein and zeaxanthin. Cabbage also provides good amount of fiber. One cup of cooked cabbage give almost 4 g of fiber(Bowden, 2007). So many nutritional things packed in such a low-calorie food. Now, that’s why i call it “The baggage of health benefits.”

 Cabbage is also shown to possess antibacterial powers thus putting it in the class of antibiotic foods. In several different test tube studies cabbage is shown to destroy a variety of bacteria including H.Pylori bacteria, which is considered to be a cause of stomach ulcers. According to the naturopathic professionals, raw cabbage juice is used in such condition. The juice of cabbage is also known to be used beneficially in other health conditions like bladder infection and obstructive jaundice (Bakhru,2007).

Cabbage was valued in ancient Rome as a cancer cure. According to an author and researcher Laurie Deutsh Mozian, M.S., R.D., researchers came to know about cabbage’s quality of keeping breast cancer at bay after observing the diets of women living in Eastern European countries. They observed that these women were much less likely to develop breast cancer compared to the American women and the analysis of  the East European women diet revealed a high intake of cabbage and the analysis of cabbage showed that the candidate for this positive effect were the phytochemicals present in cabbage known as “indoles” (Bowden,2007,pp28, Bakhru, 2007). Years of research now show that these indoles alter the metabolism of estrogen in a favourable way, one that is likely to reduce the risk of cancer (Bowden,2007).

The cancer fighting ability of cabbage does not stop at indoles. Cabbage contains numerous other phytochemicals, anti-cancer and antioxidant compounds. All these compounds are shown by several researches to speed up the metabolism of Oestrogen which is shown to help prevent breast cancer and suppress the growth of polyps, a prelude to colon cancer. According to several studies, eating cabbage more then once a week has shown to cut men’s colon cancer odds by up to 66 % and eating as little as 2 tablespoons of cooked cabbage daily is said to protect against stomach cancer (Bakhru,2007,pp 79,80).

The red or purple variety of cabbage is a good source of anthocyanins, the pigment molecules that give blueberries the blue color and red cabbage the red color. Apart from providing beautiful colors to our fruits and vegetables, these guys act as powerful antioxidants. In one study these anthocyanins were found to protect animals against the damage produced by a known toxin. The antioxidant ability of anthocyanins to fight against free radicals is shown to make them powerful weapons against cardiovascular diseases. Anthocyanins are also known for their anti-inflammatory effects (Bowden,2007).

Although there are so many benefits found in cabbage, there are certain things to keep in mind. Cabbage is shown to rapidly lose its value through the process of cooking, even when done conservatively. Cooking is also shown to destroy some antioxidants, anti-cancer and estrogenic compounds, particularly indoles. For this reason, experts recommend including cabbage in vegetable salads, rarely cooking it and throughly chewing the raw or cooked cabbage (Bakhru, 2007).

WORD OF CAUTION:

Members of the cabbage family contain “goitrogens“. These are naturally occurring substances that may interfere with the function of the thyroid gland. Experts recommend people with hypothyroidism to consume this family of vegetables in moderation. In the absence of thyroid problems, there is no research indicating that intake of goitrogenic foods will have any negative impact on health (Bowden,2007, pp 29)

 

 ** The above information is for educational purposes only. There is absolutely no intension to diagnose, prevent, treat or cure any health problems or diseases. Consult your doctor for specific medical advice, diagnosis and treatment, advice on diet, herb and exercise.** 

References: 

1.Bakhru, H.K. (2007). Healing through natural foods. Mumbai, India: Jaico publishing house.

2. Bowden, J, Ph.D., C.N.S, (2007). The 150 Healthiest Foods on Earth, Beverly,M.A.: Fair Winds Press.

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Immunity Stimulating foods

Hello my holistic friends,

I think it is a good choice to start this new year by giving some boost to our immune system. This will help us be healthier and thus enjoy more fun- filled days with full energy and spark.

Our immune system is a complex interaction among cells of different parts of our body. These cells function by protecting our body from the foreign invaders. The big master,our brain along with the blood, the liver, the bone marrow,the lymph system, the spleen, the thymus gland, the skin and some endocrine glands all work together to make up our immune system.

We need an efficiently functioning immune system in order to maintain a good health and be able to fight off infections. The genetic makeup of a person is shown to greatly influence the immune system. Environmental factors also exercise a lot of influence on our immune system.

Diet is known to be one of the most important factors in building up our body’s immunity. Food contain different vitamins, minerals and many other important nutrients that help in stimulating the immune function which in turn increase the body’s resistance to various bacterial and viral infections as well as some type of cancerous growth that flourish or die according to the operation of the immune functions.

Lets look at some of the immunity stimulating foods:

CARROTS

  • One of the richest sources of antioxidant beta-carotene.
  • Shown to strengthen the immune defense against both viral & bacterial infections.
  • A study done by Dr. Ronald R. Watson, Ph.D., at the university of Arizona on 60 older men and women, average age of 56, showed that betacarotene increased the percentage of natural killer cells and activated lymphocytes and T-helper cells. This study showed that the more intake of beta-carotene, the greater increase in protective immune cells. According to this study, once the beta-carotene intake was stopped, the immune cells returned to the pre- experiment levels. Thus a diet high in carotene rich foods, such as carrots, could provide immune stimulating beta-carotene.
  • Carotene rich foods besides carrots are mangoes, papaya, orange, green leafy vegetables, pumpkin and curd-yoghurt.

Curd or Yoghurt

  • Curd or Yoghurt has been regarded as an age old fighter of disease as well as powerful protector against infections.
  • Studies have shown that the intake stimulates atleast two vital immunity components,1. natural killer cells, 2. gamma interferon. 
  •  The first large scale study of effects of yoghurt on immune system  done by Dr. George M. helpern M.D. of the University of California School of Medicine at Davis and his colleagues showed that people consuming 450 gms of yoghurt a day for upto four months had five times more infection- fighting gamma interferon in their blood then non-yoghurt eaters. This study involved 68 persons between age 20 to 40. Out of these 68 participants, one-third were not given yoghurt in diet, one-third got yoghurt with active live cultures and remaining got yoghurt that had been heated to destroy the live cultures. Only the yoghurt with live active cultures of lactobacillus bulgaricus and streptococcus thermophilus, which are standard in yoghurt worldwide, showed stimulated interferon.
  • Another year long study done by immunologist Dr. Halpern, involving 120 young and elderly adults showed that eating 170 gms of yoghurt a day significantly reduced the number of days the subjects had hay fever attacks especially from grass pollens. Yoghurt eaters were found to have few symptoms of hay fever and allergies and those eating yoghurt daily were shown to have  about 25 percent less cold in a year compared to non-yoghurt eaters.

Fruits and Vegetables

  • Contain large number of compounds that can boost immunity including beta-carotene and vitamin C
  • A study done at a German Cancer Research Center in Heidelberg compared the blood of male vegetarians with the meat eaters and found that the white cells of the vegetarians were twice as deadly against tumor cells then those of the meat eaters.
  • Vegetarians are also found to contain more levels of carotene in their blood which can greatly help strengthen the immune system.

Garlic

  • Shown to greatly help stimulate immune functions.
  • Possess anti-bacterial and anti viral properties which are shown to be partly due to its ability to enhance immune functioning.
  •  In a study done by Benjamin H.S. Lau, M.D. of the School of Medicine at Loma Linda University, garlic intake found to stimulate the power of T-lymphocytes and macrophages, which play an important role in immune system functining.
  • Shown by another study that a small amount of 1.8 gms of garlic, about half a clove, can result in an increase in natural killer cell activity.

Mushrooms

The healing power of Shiitake mushrooms has been long known by the practitioners of traditional chinese medicine.

In 1960, Dr. Kenneth Cochran, at the University of Michigan, isolated an anti viral substance called lentinin from the shiitake mushroom which showed a strong immunity boosting activity.

Zinc Rich foods

  • Foods high in zinc content are shown to enhance immune system functioning.
  • Zinc has been shown to help in the production of antibodies and T- cells as well as other white blood cell activity.
  • Experiments done on animals show that when they are deficient in zinc, they cannot efficiently fight off attacks by viruses, bacterias and parasites.
  • Adults and childrens deficient in zinc, have been shown to have more cold and respiratory tract infections.
  • Dr. Nicola Fabris, Ph.D., at The Italian National Center on Ageing in Ancona, gave 15 mg of zinc daily to a small group of people over the age of 65 and found that their blood levels of homones as well as T- cells increased to be equal to the levels seen in young people.
  • Main vegetarian food sources of zinc are milk, beans, whole grain cereals, nuts and seeds, especially pumpkin seeds. 

An Immunity mix – recipe taken from the book “AN ANSWER TO CANCER is never giving it a chance to start by Sharma, Mishra and Meade.”

Ingredients:

6 part turmeric

3 parts ground cumin

3 part ground coriander

6 parts ground fennel

1 part powdered dry ginger

1 part ground black pepper

1/4 part ground cinnamon

a. Mix the spices together and store in an airtight container in a cool place, away from sunlight.

b. Heat 1 tsp of spice mixture in 1 Tbsp of ghee until the mixture releases aroma. remove from heat immediately, so it won’t burn.

c. Put this spiced ghee on rice, vegetables or other foods (vegetables can be cooked with this spice mixture).

According to H. Sharma M.D., R. K. Mishra G.A.M.S. and J. G. Meade Ph.D., the authors of the book “An Answer To cancer”, taking this combination of spices regularly with each main meal of the day, may boost the immune system and enhance digestion(Sharma, H., Mishra, R.K., & Meade, J.G. 2002, pg 48).

Hopefully this will help all of  us include some of these foods in our daily diet and be healthier.

Have a healthy and fun filled 2010.

 

****The above information is for educational purposes only. Consult your doctor for specific medical advice, diagnosis and treatment.****

Referances:

1.Sharma, H., Mishra, R.K., & Meade, J.G. (2002). The Answer To Cancer. New York: Select books, Inc.

2.Bakhru, H.K. (2007). Healing through natural foods. Mumbai, India: Jaico publishing house.