WE ARE WHAT WE EAT
The BEST time to take care of our Health… is BEFORE we lose it.
Always eat and prepare whole foods, look for whole ingredients rather than refined. Refined foods are lacking vitamins and minerals that whole grains contain naturally, look at the nutritional labels. For a truly healthy focus, one that will boost your energy and improve your mental skills, include a wide variety of foods every day. A healthy diet consists of whole foods, foods that have their vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals, and enzymes intact, rather than extracted, refined, reformed, and rolled off the food factory lines in neat little packages that cheat you out of nutrition.
Improve your health by eating more fruits and vegetables and plant based foods. Try making your own green drinks, experiment with sprouting, and don't forget juicing. These regimens with kick start you health in a whole new direction.
Cook Food Below 190 degrees
Most researchers indicate at least a 50% loss of vitamin B in cooked foods. Some losses, such as thiamine, can be as high as 96% if food is boiled for a prolonged time. Biotin losses can be up to 72%, folic acid up to 97%, Inositol up to 95%, vitamin C up to 70 to 80%. Cooked proteins have only 50% bio-availability compared to uncooked proteins. As other food-quality factors decrease with time, foods also lose nutrients during storage and shipping. Exposure to light and heat breaks up the sensitive vitamin molecules; they are destroyed and cannot be regenerated. The anti-oxidant vitamins, especially vitamins E and C, are destroyed by oxygen in the air. Some nutrients are volatile and evaporate during normal drying.
The calculated intake of vitamins based on standard nutritional tables is inaccurate. Nutritionists normally take the values for raw foods and reduce them by 25%. This is not a true representation of the nutrient loss. Dr. Paul Kouchakoff of the Institute of Clinical Chemistry studied the influence of cooked food on our blood. Human bodies are very sensitive to harmful influences and react against them immediately. This is easily demonstrated by the analysis of blood during an infection, following trauma, and with exposure to noxious chemicals. The blood's response to these challenges to the homeostasis, or natural balance of the body, is to increase the number of leucocytes (white blood cells), to fight the invader. This phenomenon in relation to food had been known before the landmark work of Dr. Kouchakoff: the ingestion of food would cause a rise in the number of leucocytes in the blood. It was called digestive leucocytosis and was considered to be a normal physiological response to eating. But Dr. Kouchakoff went beyond the simple observation of the digestive leucocytosis and made a remarkable discovery. He found that unaltered food (i.e., not been overheated or refined in any way) caused no reaction from the blood.
But food that had been heated beyond a certain temperature (unique to each food), or food that was processed, always caused a rise in the number of white cells. He called this not a digestive leukocytosis, but a pathological leucocytosis, a reaction to a foreign invader. Kouchakoff tested a great variety of foodstuffs including water, salt, vegetables, cereals, nuts, honey, raw eggs, raw milk, raw fish, raw meat, butter, sour milk, etc. None of these, if fresh, unrefined, and not overheated, caused any reaction, but were seen as friendly foods not to be fought. These same natural foods, altered only by heating, caused a rise in the white blood count (leucocytosis), an expected reaction when dangerous foreign invaders invade the body. But the worst offenders, heated or not, were the processed foods--those foods that had been extracted, purified, stabilized, enriched, homogenized, sterilized, or otherwise changed from their natural state. These not only caused a reactive leucocytosis, but they elicited a change in the numerical relationship of the various types of white blood cells, a mobilization of the killer cells to fight a dangerous enemy! This included pasteurized milk, chocolate, margarine, candy, white flour, various concentrates, and any other processed food extant at the time, which was minuscule compared to what we eat today. Dr. Kouchakoff found that one way to at least soften the blow to the system of eating altered foods was to chew them thoroughly.
Each food has a critical temperature above which the food is no longer seen by the body as friendly. Some of the findings are highly significant, as they help to answer questions that have bemused us for years. Does boiling water (distillation), for instance, decrease its nutrient value? If Kouchakoff's findings have significance in relation to our health, then our methods of preparing and cooking food are clearly detrimental. The critical temperature for water is only 191° F, far below the 212° F used to distill water. The critical temperature for milk is also 191° F, but in the sterilization process now used to make packaged milk as free from deterioration as steel ingots, the milk is flash sterilized to a temperature of 281° F! That's almost 100 degrees over the temperature where the destruction of nutrients begins.
Six of the eighteen essential amino acids (Phenylalanine, Lysine, Threonine, Histidine, Tryptophane, Methionine) are heat labile meaning that when a certain amount of heat is applied (as in cooking), these particular amino acids are first denatured (unraveled) and then coagulated to an insoluble state in which they cannot be utilized by the body in the formation of polypeptide chains needed for cellular repair or replacement.
Even the denaturation involves structural changes in the protein molecule, which results in a loss of species specificity. The denaturation alters viscosity, surface tension and replicative utilization of biologically active proteins, which includes hemoglobins, myoglobins and enzymes as well. Digestive enzymes attack denatured proteins much differently than undenatured proteins and coagulation renders the protein irreversibly insoluble. So a source of raw protein with all the natural amino acids is helpful...properly balanced and readily available to the cells.
Cooking protein foods destroys four-fifths of the protein value. Heat, acids, trypsin and hydrolysis all cleave polypeptide chains, which make up enzymes--the functional units of cellular metabolism. As a result, some of the amino acids are denatured or lose their characteristic folding and the important catalytic activity is lost. So cooking of protein foods, prior to ingestion, can denature or unfold some of the amino acids required for cellular enzyme biosynthesis. A deficit of Iron, Copper, Zinc, Magnesium, Manganese, Potassium, Nickel, Molybdenum or Selenium, impairs enzymatic production and or function. Another remarkable finding was that if a cooked foodstuff is eaten along with the same food in the raw state, there is no pathological reaction. The raw food will neutralize the detrimental effects of the altered food.
If you cook foods at a temperature of 190°F or less, you will not elicit the digestive pathos's reaction in the blood. Saladmaster cooking system insures that food will cook below 190 F. with the vapo- valve technology. When foods are cooked, the energy fields are not able to resonate immediately with the body, so the body responds defensively until it can reorganize the energetic fields of the cooked food into patterns it can resonate with and absorb.
If a food is commercially processed and then cooked, not only does the white blood cell number increase, but there is a change in the ratio of the different white blood cell types to each other. He found that the critical temperature for initiating leukocytosis was when food was heated at around 191° F. Interestingly, the leukocytosis needed as little as 50 milligrams of cooked food to be initiated.
Green Drinks- Green Smoothies
What are Green Drinks Smoothies?
A blended Drink mixed with Greens and fruit. A good Smoothie is 60% fresh fruit mixed with 40% green leafy vegetables.
Handful of fresh organic spinach atop bananas, rice milk or water, peaches and almond butter into the blender.
~ Liquefy Stir Chop Pulse~ YUM!
Here are great greens for smoothies:
dandelion greens and kale (tons of calcium)
Then add some combo of fruits like:
I could go on and on. There's really nothing that can't be added into a green smoothie.
“Scientist have discovered that green juices increase the oxygenation of the body, purify the blood and organs, assist in the metabolism of nutrients and counteract acids and toxins. Green juices are the superstars of the nutrition world.” says Dr Robert Young.
10 Reasons to make a Green Smoothie part of your everyday!
1. Increases your daily intake of greens, which are alkalizing
2. Can help to eliminate symptoms of disease you may already be experiencing
3. Increases your daily nutrient uptake providing your body with essential vitamins and nutrients from a whole food source versus supplements, which are helful but are still processed.
4. Contains anti-inflammatory foods that your body is craving to reduce any pain and inflammation you may be experiencing
5. Chalk full of nutrients you may not have time to chew -a smoothie is quicker to consume than chewing a salad.
6. Easier to digest thus gentle on your digestive track allowing your body to use that extra energy for other activities
7. Can greatly reduce your risk of disease
8. Can assist in weight-loss and reaching your natural body weight
9. Great place to pack in omega oils, protein, and powdered greens for your daily doses
10. You may also notice the following amazing benefits as well….
•if you suffer from pain you may have some very noticeable pain relief by reducing inflammation
•improved sleep for those that experience restless nights
•decrease in PMS-this is a good thing!
•your hair may be shinier or dandruff disappears
•blood sugar stabilization- this is key for those suffering form diabetes
•improved digestion and regular bowel movements-this is so important for avoiding disease!
•decrease in cravings for sweets & processed foods-this is HUGE! and can lead to weight loss!
•increased desire to exercise, a feeling of well being
•your skin tone may get better, fewer blemishes to fuss over
•faster growing and stronger finger nails-no more chipping and peeling tips!
•New cravings for greens!! and for the way you feel after you drink a green smoothie!
Benefits of GREEN DRINKS Blending (smoothies and shakes)
1. Harder to overdose on fruit sugar. It is really easy to juice 10 carrots, 3 apples, 3 oranges and drink it all down, multiple times a day. That is a lot of fructose and it can seriously increase your blood sugar and insulin levels, which can increase your risk of developing diabetes and cardiovascular diseases. Not to mention getting you all tweaked out on sugar. Blending fruits and sweet vegetables retains the naturally occurring fiber in these plants which will help regulate the speed at which the natural sugars enter your blood stream.
2. Fiber, fiber, FIBER! Blending fruits and vegetables retains the fiber which acts like a broom to your digestive system. It cleans us out and keeps us regular.
3. Complete meal. Since the smoothie is packed full of fiber and nutrients (add an avocado for some good fats), you can have a glass or two as a meal and be completely satisfied for 2-3 hours.
4. Easy to clean. Cleaning a blender is loads faster than cleaning a juicer and you do not have to feel bad about tossing the pulp.
5. Add goodies. Adding flax seed to a glass of juice just ruins the whole juicy-ness you got going on. But with a blended smoothie you can add all kinds of great stuff: nuts, seeds, protein powder, green powders…
Why You Should Rotate Your Greens?
It’s good to rotate your choice of greens on a regular basis so that your nutrient intake is varied as you can end up with too much of a good thing. Plants carry a trace of alkaloids in their leaves that in very large quantities are poisonous, but in small quantities are harmless yet beneficial to your immune system. Alkaloids are essentially the protective element of the plant kingdom so that in nature no one plant would become extinct, forcing grazing animals to move onto another specimen, eating a good variety of greens. You don’t want an accumulation of alkaloids in your system so by rotating your greens often you will avoid this possibility of poisoning. The benefits of chlorophyll override the drawback of poisoning by alkaloids. That means, that even though people still get the alkaloid poisoning, the presence of chlorophyll in their body still helps to heal cancer, makes the body more alkaline and has other healing effects. That is why the green smoothies are so helpful, because you get a larger variety of greens. There are thousands of edible greens available to you so don’t worry too much about this but do check out your local market and start integrating sprouts, herbs, grasses, and leafy greens in rotation for juicing, smoothies and salads to be sure you have a nice mix. You really can’t eat too many greens if you rotate them well. I say the more the better and at every meal, every day! The ratio in them is optimal for human consumption; about 60% ripe organic fruit mixed with about 40% organic greens.
Fresh Green Mint
1 lime, peeled
10 stems fresh mint
2 large collard leaf or kale
3/4 large long English cucumber or 1 small
garnish with mint sprig
Blend all ingredients in Blender and enjoy!
1 lemon peeled
3/4 large English cucumber or one small
2 cups spinach
Blend all ingredients in Blender and enjoy!
Heavy Metal Help
1 bunch cilantro
2 cups Romaine Lettuce
1 bunch fresh parsley
3 stalks celery
1 lemon, juiced
Blend all ingredients in Blender and enjoy!
6 romaine leaves, chopped
4 kale leaves, chopped
1/2 cup fresh parsley sprigs
1/2 cup chopped pineapple
1/2 cup chopped mango
1 inch fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
Combine romaine, kale, parsley, pineapple, mango, ginger, and 1 1/2 cups water in a blender and blend until smooth.
1 bunch fresh parsley
1 cucumber, peeled
1 Fuji apple
1 ripe banana
1–2 cups water
Blend all ingredients in Blender and enjoy!
Parsley is a nutrient powerhouse containing high levels of beta carotene, vitamin B12, folate, chlorophyll, calcium, more vitamin C than citrus fruits, and just about all other known nutrients.
What are Antioxidants?
What are Antioxidants?
"Antioxidant" is the collective name for the vitamins, minerals, carotenoids, and polyphenols that protect the body from harmful free radicals.
The most well known antioxidants include the vitamins A , C , E , and the mineral selenium.
The carotenoids beta-carotene, lutein, and lycopene also have high antioxidant activity and are responsible for adding color to many fruits and vegetables. Carrots and pumpkins wouldn't be orange without beta-carotene, for example. Lutein, also important in eyesight, is abundant in leafy green vegetables. Lycopene is present in red fruits and vegetables, most notably in tomatoes.
Antioxidant content increased in the following foods when they were cooked: carrots, spinach, mushrooms, asparagus, broccoli, cabbage, red cabbage, green and red peppers, potatoes, and tomatoes.
Not surprisingly, peeling apples and cucumber decreased their antioxidant content to 33-66% and 50% of the amount in the unpeeled foods, respectively.
Antioxidants are compounds that help us fight against damage from oxidation. Our bodies are constantly reacting with oxygen as we breathe and as our cells create energy. But this process along with poor quality foods and pollution can create an abundance of highly reactive molecules in our system called free radicals.
What are Free Radicals?
Free radicals are atoms or groups of atoms that are missing electrons. Free radicals bounce around looking to replace the missing electrons and cause our cells oxidative damage. They can damage proteins, cell membranes and even genes. Oxidative damage has been implicated in the cause of many diseases such as cancer and Alzheimer's and is also said to accelerate the aging process. Poor quality foods and environmental pollutions have exposed us to more free radicals than ever before. This is where antioxidants come in handy. They are rich in electrons and neutralize free radicals, stopping their oxidative damage in its tracks.
Where do you get antioxidants?
There is a wide variety of foods that are brimming with antioxidants, and they come in all different flavors, textures and colors. In fact you may notice that many antioxidant rich foods are very colorful. That is because in most cases, the color IS the antioxidant.
Top Antioxidant Foods
Beans — Small red beans and kidney, pinto and black beans are all choices rich in antioxidants.
Berries — Blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, strawberries and cranberries are among the top sources of antioxidants.
Fruits — Many apple varieties (with peel) are high in antioxidants, as are avocados, cherries, green and red pears, fresh or dried plums, pineapple, kiwi and others.
Vegetables — Those with the highest antioxidant content include artichokes, spinach, red cabbage, red and white potatoes (with peel), sweet potatoes and broccoli. Although the effect of cooking on antioxidant levels varies by cooking method and vegetable, one study showed that cooking generally increased levels among select vegetables.
Beverages — Green tea may come to mind as a good source of antioxidants, but other beverages have high levels, too, including coffee, red wine and many fruit juices such as pomegranate.
Nuts — Walnuts, pistachios, pecans, hazelnuts and almonds are some of the top nuts for antioxidant content.
Herbs — These may be unexpected suppliers of antioxidants, but ground cloves, cinnamon and ginger, dried oregano leaf and turmeric powder are all good sources.
Grains — In general, oat-based products are higher in antioxidants than are those derived from other grain sources.
And for dessert — Done forget that a piece of dark chocolate ranks as high or higher than most fruits and vegetables in terms of antioxidant content.
Try Sprouting, Delicious and Full of Nutrition.
Scientists have studied sprouts for centuries to better understand their high levels of disease preventing phytochemicals, and how they contribute to better health, from prevention to treatment of life threatening diseases. Major organizations including the National Institutes of Health, American Cancer Society and Johns Hopkins University have reinforced the benefits of sprouts with ongoing studies that explore various sprout varieties for their nutritional properties and to validate health claims.
According to Paul Talalay, MD, in the American Cancer Society NEWS, “broccoli sprouts are better for you than full-grown broccoli, and contain more of the enzyme sulforaphane which helps protect cells and prevents their genes from turning into cancer.” His findings are consistent with several epidemiologic studies that have shown that sprouts contain significant amounts of vitamins A, C and D.
Sprouts are widely recognized by nutrition conscious consumers and health care professionals as a “wonder food.” Sprouts are rich in sulforaphane, a cancer fighting compound. Sprouts like alfalfa, radish, broccoli, clover and soybean contain concentrated amounts of phytochemicals (plant compounds) that can protect us against disease. Sprouts also contain an abundance of highly active antioxidants that prevent DNA destruction and protect us from the ongoing effects of aging. Sprouts are tasty and delicious, and growing them is a simple process,
although it does require a few minutes of your time each day to get quality healthy sprouts.
Sprouts are rich in sulforaphane, a cancer-fighting compound.
Sprouts spring from newly germinated peas and beans. They add much in the way of nutrients-to-your diet, & they're tasty and inexpensive. There are many varieties, ranging from mild and crunchy mung bean sprouts to spicy and delicate radish sprouts. Raw sprouts are great in salads and sandwiches, and the sturdier varieties can also be stir-fried briefly.
They can be grown year-round, and provide an opportunity for simple gardening projects for limited spaces and for children. Seeds often used for sprouting include mung bean, soybean, lentil and alfalfa.
When purchasing seeds for sprouting, be sure to get seeds that have not been treated with a fungicide, insecticide or any other material. This type of seed is available at health food stores and many supermarkets.
To grow sprouts, begin with a clean, wide-mouth quart jar. This size jar allows you to grow up to two cups of sprouts with little difficulty. The wide mouth allows easier removal of the sprouts with minimal damage.
Cover the bottom of the jar with the desired amount of seed, generally not more than 1/4 cup. (Depending on the type of seed that is used, only one to two tablespoons may be required to fill a jar.)
Cover the mouth of the jar with cheese cloth and secure with a rubber band or screw-top ring, or use a commercially available screw-top sprouting lid. Soak the seeds for 8-12 hours in a volume of water at least double that of the seeds. This will soften the seed coat for sprouting.
After soaking, drain off the water and rinse the seeds. After the rinse water has been drained off, invert the jar and prop it at an angle with seed distributed evenly along the side of the jar. By placing the jar at an angle, the sprouts will have good drainage and air circulation (Figure 1).
Keep the jar in a dark place, at 68° to 70°F. Sprouts grown in a light location will turn green and may be bitter and tough.
Continue to rinse the sprouts two to four times a day until they have grown to the desired length. Always be sure excess water is drained off the sprouts; if the sprouts remain in the water they could ferment and spoil (Figure 2).
Some seeds need only to be sprinkled over a moist cloth or paper towel to sprout. Again, keep the seeds in the dark while they sprout, and keep them moist.
Most sprouts will take two to five days to grow to their optimum size. Wash them thoroughly to remove the seed coat, if necessary. Sprouts may be kept for one to two weeks in the refrigerator if kept in a sealed container. Sprouts may be frozen by blanching them over steam for three minutes and cooling them in ice water. Drain them and pack into freezer containers.
One cup of raw mung bean sprouts contains 48 calories, 6.5 grams of protein, 1.5 grams of fat, and 5.6 grams of carbohydrate. One cup of cooked bean sprouts contains 48 calories, 6.6 grams of protein, 1.8 grams of fat, and 4.6 grams of carbohydrate.
In addition, sprouts are a good source of minerals and vitamins, particularly vitamins B1, B2, and C.
Make fresh pressed Juice
Benefits of Juicing (no pulp)
Juicing is an easy way to provide yourself with a high level of quality nutrition.
Making fresh juices and drinking them every day is one of the best routines you can develop.
Juices are delicious, nourishing and super-healthy. When you juice, you use more fruits and vegetables than you could actually eat. As a result, you are drinking a densely packed amount of vitamins, minerals and other plant-based nutrients.
1. Quick nutrition. The nutrients in freshly squeezed/pressed juice enter your bloodstream almost immediately after consumption since there is no fiber for your digestive organs to deal with.
2. Easy digestion. Because of the lack of fiber the digestive organs do very little work. This is ideal for people with shifty digestive tracts and is great for those looking to cleanse and heal.
3. Energy! Because of the quick nutrition absorption your body is instantly replenished and revitalized. Great for Liver detoxification.
4. No bloating. After chugging a tall glass of juice you still feel light and it will not ruin your appetite. You’ll still be hungry 30 minutes later.
5. Variety. You can not blend everything. Ever try blending a carrot? It is rough.
The body can quickly absorb larger amounts of nutrients from juices than from solid foods because the process of digestion that is necessary when you eat whole foods is bypassed.
Raw fruits and vegetables contain many substances that enhance health, and juicing benefits the body by providing the most concentrated and readily absorbed source of these substances.
Another one of the major health benefits of juicing is that it is an easy way to get beneficial enzymes, which are primarily found in raw foods, into the body. Enzymes in fresh fruits and vegetables have the vital role of converting food into body tissue and energy. Enzymes are also involved in metabolism, so one of the more valuable health benefits of juicing is that it can increase metabolic rate. Juicing also ensures that the body is getting sufficient amounts of phytochemicals, substances in plants that are considered among the most powerful ways to fight disease. While most people do not eat enough raw fruits and vegetables to obtain the amount of phytochemicals that would make a difference, it is relatively easy to drink enough juice to obtain sufficient amounts of these powerful nutrients. In addition, antioxidants and other immune enhancing properties are concentrated in juices.
Watch the movie Fat Sick and Nearly Dead
Drink a whole spectrum of rainbow. This means you should consume as wide a spectrum of colors of fruits, vegetables and greens in your juice as possible. Mind you, you don’t have to follow this guideline for EACH and EVERY juice that you prepare, just make sure that you are making juices from produce in all colors over the period of week or month.
Each plant pigment is associated with some special nutritional values: chlorophyll, carotenes, flavonoids – by drinking a variety you ensure the most nutritional benefits.
Lemon Ginger Juice Concentrate
1 organic lemon & zest included
1 piece of ginger 3 tablespoon size
Process with juicer and keep concentrate in jar in fridge. Add to warm water or cold for a great tea. Add maple syrup & cayenne if desire.
Lemony Apple Juice
1″ slice of ginger
Juicing Tip: Juice the apples with their skins on. The skin is the most abundant area of the apple for flavonoid content. This healthy juicer recipe also makes a great remedy for colds.
1 cup of spinach
2 stalks of celery including leaves
Juicing Tip: Juice cucumbers with their skins on. The dark green skin is a great source of chlorophyll, a phytochemical that can help build red blood cells.
Grapefruit, Carrot, and Ginger Juice
2 chopped grapefruits (peel and pith removed)
5 chopped carrots
1 inch fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
Process all ingredients in a juicer. Stir and serve immediately.
Beet, Apple, and Mint Juice
1 small beet, chopped
5 carrots, chopped
1 apple, cored and chopped
1/4 cup fresh mint sprigs
Juice beet, carrots, apple, and mint sprigs through a juicer. Stir and serve immediately.
1/2 head broccoli (or 6 leaves kale), chopped
1 cucumber, chopped
4 stalks celery, chopped
1/4 cup fresh parsley sprigs
Juice all ingredients through a juicer. Stir and serve immediately.
Cruciferous veggie benefits
Optimize Your Cells' Detoxification / Cleansing Ability
For about 20 years, we've known that many phytonutrients work as antioxidants to disarm free radicals before they can damage DNA, cell membranes and fat-containing molecules such as cholesterol. Now, new research is revealing that phytonutrients in crucifers, such as cabbage, work at a much deeper level. These compounds actually signal our genes to increase production of enzymes involved in detoxification, the cleansing process through which our bodies eliminate harmful compounds.
The phytonutrients in cruciferous vegetables initiate an intricate dance inside our cells in which gene response elements direct and balance the steps among dozens of detoxification enzyme partners, each performing its own protective role in perfect balance with the other dancers. The natural synergy that results optimizes our cells' ability to disarm and clear free radicals and toxins, including potential carcinogens, which may be why cruciferous vegetables appear to lower our risk of cancer more effectively than any other vegetables or fruits.
Recent studies show that those eating the most cruciferous vegetables have a much lower risk of prostate, colorectal and lung cancer-even whencompared to those who regularly eat other vegetables:
In a study of over 1,000 men conducted at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, WA, those eating 28 servings of vegetables a week had a 35% lower risk of prostate cancer, but those consuming just 3 or more servings of cruciferous vegetables each week had a 44% lower prostate cancer risk.
In the Netherlands Cohort Study on Diet and Cancer, in which data was collected on over 100,000 people for more than 6 years, those eating the most vegetables benefited with a 25% lower risk of colorectal cancers, but those eating the most cruciferous vegetables did almost twice as well with a 49% drop in their colorectal cancer risk.
A study of Chinese women in Singapore, a city in which air pollution levels are often high putting stress on the detoxification capacity of residents' lungs, found that in non-smokers, eating cruciferous vegetables lowered risk of lung cancer by 30%. In smokers, regular cruciferous vegetable consumption reduced lung cancer risk an amazing 69%!
Human population as well as animal studies consistently show that diets high in cruciferous vegetables, such as cabbage, are associated with lower incidence of a variety of cancers, including lung, colon, breast and ovarian cancer. Now, research published in the International Journal of Cancer (Zhao H, Lin J) suggests that bladder cancer can join the list.
University of Texas researchers analyzed the diets of 697 newly diagnosed bladder cancer cases and 708 healthy controls matched by age, gender and ethnicity. Average daily intake of cruciferous vegetables was significantly lower in those with bladder cancer than in healthy controls.
Those eating the most cruciferous vegetables were found to have a 29% lower risk of bladder cancer compared to participants eating the least of this family of vegetables.
Crucifers' protective benefits were even more pronounced in three groups typically at higher risk for bladder cancer: men, smokers, and older individuals (aged at least 64).
Diagnosed in about 336,000 people every year worldwide, bladder cancer is three times more likely to affect men than women, according to the European School of Oncology.
Crucifers' well known cancer-fighting properties are thought to result from their high levels of active phytochemicals called glucosinolates, which our bodies metabolize into powerful anti-carcinogens called isothiocyanates.
Isothiocyanates offer the bladder, in particular, significant protection, most likely because the majority of compounds produced by isothiocyanate metabolism travel through the bladder en route to excretion in the urine, suggested the researchers.
Reviewing 94 studies that evaluated the relationship between Brassica vegetables and cancer, researchers found that in 67% of the case control studies, eating these vegetables was associated with a reduced risk of cancer. In 70% of the studies, cabbage consumption was associated with a lower risk of cancer, especially of the lung, stomach and colon.
In addition to its cancer-preventive phytonutrients, cabbage is an excellent source of vitamin C, an antioxidant that helps protect cells from harmful free radicals.
How many weekly servings of cruciferous vegetables do you need to lower your risk of cancer? Just 3 to 5 servings-less than one serving a day! (1 serving = 1 cup)
To get the most benefit from your cruciferous vegetables, be sure to choose organically grown vegetables (their phytonutrient levels are higher than conventionally grown), and steam lightly (this method of cooking has been shown to not only retain the most phytonutrients but to maximize their availability).
For a brief overview of the process through which cruciferous vegetables boost our ability to detoxify or cleanse harmful compounds and examples of how specific phytonutrients in crucifers work together to protect us against cancer, see our FAQ: Optimizing Your Cells' Detoxification/Cleansing Ability by Eating Cruciferous Vegetables.
Promote Gastrointestinal Health
Recent research has greatly advanced scientists' understanding of just how Brassica family vegetables such as cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, kale and Brussels sprouts may help prevent colon cancer. When these vegetables are cut, chewed or digested, a sulfur-containing compound called sinigrin is brought into contact with the enzyme myrosinase, resulting in the release of glucose and breakdown products, including highly reactive compounds called isothiocyanates. Isothiocyanates, which include sulforaphane and indole-3-carbinol, and are not only potent inducers of the liver's Phase II enzymes, which detoxify carcinogens, but research recently conducted at the Institute for Food Research in the U.K. shows one of these compounds, allyl isothicyanate, also inhibits mitosis (cell division) and stimulates apoptosis (programmed cell death) in human tumor cells.
Sulforaphane may also offer special protection to those with colon cancer-susceptible genes, suggests a study conducted at Rutgers University and published online in the journal Carcinogenesis.
In this study, researchers sought to learn whether sulforaphane could inhibit cancers arising from one's genetic makeup. Rutgers researchers Ernest Mario, Ah-Ng Tony Kong and colleagues used mice bred with a genetic mutation that switches off the tumor suppressor gene known as APC, the same gene that is inactivated in the majority of human colon cancers. Animals with this mutation spontaneously develop intestinal polyps, the precursors to colon cancer. The study found that animals who were fed sulforaphane had tumors that were smaller, grew more slowly and had higher apoptotic (cell suicide) indices. Additionally, those fed a higher dose of sulforaphane had less risk of developing polyps than those fed a lower dose.
The researchers found that sulforaphane suppressed enzymes called kinases that are expressed not only in animals, but also in humans, with colon cancer. According to lead researcher, Dr. Kong, "Our study corroborates the notion that sulforaphane has chemopreventive activity…Our research has substantiated the connection between diet and cancer prevention, and it is now clear that the expression of cancer-related genes can be influenced by chemopreventive compounds in the things we eat."
Promote Women's Health
Much research has focused on the beneficial phytonutrients in cabbage, particularly its indole-3-carbinole (I3C), sulforaphane, and indoles. These two compounds help activate and stabilize the body's antioxidant and detoxification mechanisms that dismantle and eliminate cancer-producing substances. I3C has been shown to improve estrogen detoxification and to reduce the incidence of breast cancer. In one small human study, researchers found that after I3C was given for 7 days, the rate at which estrogen was broken down through the liver's detoxification pathway increased nearly 50%. In addition, recent research is showing that it's not only how much estrogen a woman has that puts her at risk for breast cancer, but how her estrogen is metabolized. The route of estrogen metabolism via 2OH (2-hydroxylation), 4OH or 16OH pathways determines how active and possibly mutagenic a woman's estrogen actually is. I3C has been shown to promote the formation of the most benign estrogen metabolite, the 2OH form.
A case control study published in the journal Cancer Research confirmed that women who eat more Brassica family vegetables have a much lower risk of breast cancer. In this study of over 300 women in Shanghai, China (where Brassica vegetables such as Chinese cabbage are frequently consumed), the women's urinary levels of isothiocyanates (a type of beneficial compound found in Brassica vegetables) directly correlated with their breast cancer risk. Those women with the highest isothicyanate levels (i.e., those women consuming the most Brassica vegetables) had a 45% lower risk for breast cancer compared to those with the lowest levels of isothiocyanates.
This significant protective effect is not all that surprising considering that the isothiocyanates provided by Brassica vegetables, such as cabbage, are capable of numerous breast cancer-inhibiting actions including:
* inducing the production of Phase II enzymes in the liver, which bind to potential carcinogens and remove them from the body
* inducing apoptosis, the self-destruct sequence the body uses to eliminate old or cancerous cells
* beneficially affecting the way in which steroid hormones, including estrogen, are metabolized and the way in which the estrogen receptors on cells respond to the hormone
* and preventing excessive cellular proliferation
Sulforaphane, potentially by altering gene expression, increases the production of antioxidants and detoxification enzymes, both of which help eliminate carcinogenic compounds, thus preventing tumors. In laboratory animals, sulforaphane has reduced breast tumor occurrence by more than 40%. One of the ways in which sulforaphane works its protective magic is by stimulating the production of glutathione, one of the body's most important internally produced antioxidants which plays a significant role in several liver detoxification pathways. An in vitro study published in the Journal of Nutrition suggests that sulforaphane can even help stop the proliferation of breast cancer cells in the later stages of their growth.
Cabbage's role as a staple vegetable in Polish cuisine may be why the breast cancer risk of Polish women triples after they immigrate to the U.S., rising to match that of U.S.-born women, suggests research presented at the American Association for Cancer Research's 2005 annual cancer prevention meeting in Baltimore, MD.
The study included hundreds of Polish women and Polish-born women in the U.S. who are part of the Polish Women's Health Study, a case-control breast cancer study. Participants were given a food frequency questionnaire that assessed their cabbage consumption when they were 12 to 13 years old and as adults.
Compared with women who ate only one serving or less of cabbage per week during adolescence, those who ate four or more servings were 72% less likely to develop breast cancer as adults.
In Poland, women typically eat an average of 30 pounds of cabbage and sauerkraut per year, while American women consume just 10 pounds per year. Polish women also traditionally eat more raw cabbage and sauerkraut in salads or as a side dish.
Although the lowest rate of breast cancer was found among women who consumed high amounts of raw- or short-cooked cabbage during adolescence, high consumption during adulthood also provided significant protection even among women who had eaten little cabbage during adolescence.
Proper cabbage preparation and cooking methods are essential for receiving its cancer-preventive effects:
Cabbage provides anti-carcinogenic glucosinolates, which are formed by the activity of myrosinase enzymes released when cabbage is sliced or chopped. Cooking denatures the myrosinase enzyme, thus stopping the production of glucosinolates.
In the body, the breakdown products of glucosinolates are thought to affect both the initiation phase of carcinogenesis-by decreasing the amount of DNA damage and cell mutation-and the promotion phase, by blocking the processes that inhibit programmed cell death and stimulate unregulated cell growth.
Cabbage foods were categorized as raw (raw sauerkraut and fresh cabbage), short-cooked (steamed sauerkraut and cabbage), and long-cooked (hunter's stew, cabbage rolls, and pierogi). Cabbage's protective effect was seen only for raw and short-cooked cabbage, not long-cooked, which was eliminated from the analysis.
To promote the production of the most glucosinolates, slice or chop your cabbage and let sit for 5-10 minutes before cooking, and cook lightly, steaming or sautéing for 5 minutes or less.
Peptic Ulcer Treatment
Raw cabbage juice is well documented as being remarkably effective in treating peptic ulcers. In one study, 1 liter of the fresh juice per day, taken in divided doses, resulted in total ulcer healing in an average of 10 days. The high content of glutamine, an amino acid that is the preferred fuel for the cells that line the stomach and small intestine, is likely the reason for cabbage juice's efficacy in healing ulcers.
Red Cabbage Protective against Alzheimer's Disease
In Alzheimer's disease, an increase in the production or accumulation of a protein called beta-amyloid protein results in brain cell damage and death from oxidative (free radical) stress. Antioxidant polyphenols abundant in red cabbage, particularly its anthocyanins, can protect brain cells against the damage caused by amyloid-beta protein, suggests a study published in Food Science and Technology.
Red cabbages contain significantly more protective phytonutrients than white cabbages:
The vitamin C equivalent, a measure of antioxidant capacity, of red cabbages is six to eight times higher than that of white cabbage.
A 100 gram (about 3 ounces) serving of raw red cabbage delivers 196.5 milligrams of polyphenols, of which 28.3 milligrams are anthocyanins. White cabbages yield 45 milligrams of polyphenols including .01 milligram of anthocyanins per 100 grams. Summing up their study results, the researchers concluded: "additional consumption of vegetables such as red cabbage may be beneficial to increase chemopreventive effects in neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's."
Consumption of cruciferous vegetables, such as cabbage, is known to reduce the risk of a number of cancers, especially lung, colon, breast, ovarian and bladder cancer. Now, research reveals that crucifers provide significant cardiovascular benefits as well.
Researchers from the University of Hawaii have shown that, at the tiny concentration of just 100 micromoles per liter, a phytonutrient found in cruciferous vegetables, indole-3-carbinol, lowers liver cells' secretion of the cholesterol transporter, apolipoproteinB-100 by 56%! Apolipoprotein B-100 (apoB) is the main carrier of LDL cholesterol to tissues, and high levels have been linked to plaque formation in the blood vessels.
When liver cells were treated with I-3-C, not only was apoB-100 secretion cut by more than half, but significant decreases also occurred in the synthesis of lipids (fats), including triglycerides and cholesterol esters. (Maiyoh GK, Kuh JE, et al., J Nutr.)