Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Safe Halloween

Have a safe and great Halloween, this is a great reminder:

Moderation is the key - Now that the kids collected all that candy, monitor how much they can have daily. Sugar has been proven to destroy the germ-killing ability of white blood cells for up to five hours after ingestion. It reduces the production of antibodies, proteins that combine with and inactivate foreign invaders in the body. It interferes with the transport of vitamin C, one of the most important nutrients for all facets of immune function. It causes mineral imbalances and sometimes allergic reactions, both of which weaken the immune system. It neutralizes the action of essential fatty acids, thus making cells more permeable to invasion by allergens and microorganisms."

Some great ideas to have around; 


Happy Halloween!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Foods High in Vitamin C

Here is a great article I found with a list of foods containing vitamin C, which we all could use with the flu season arriving:

 Summer Fruits High in Vitamin C

A healthy diet should include plenty of foods high in Vitamin C, and fortunately that is easy to do because a great number of foods are rich in this essential nutrient. Including these foods in your diet is not enough, however, if you want to take advantage of the Vitamin C benefit. You have to know how to prepare them properly for the maximum nutritional benefit.

About Vitamin C

Vitamin C is a water soluble nutrient necessary for repairing and maintaining cells and bones as well as fighting infections, improving cholesterol, and lowering both cancer and cardiovascular disease risks. One of the most interesting facts about Vitamin C, however, is that the body cannot store Vitamin C. It must continually be replenished through a healthy diet or regular nutritional supplements.
There are risks associated with taking too much Vitamin C in supplement form through capsules, lozenges, or pills. Overdosing on this nutrient can have several adverse affects, including headaches, diarrhea, nausea, and insomnia. Studies have shown, however, that ingesting extra Vitamin C through foods rarely leads to toxicity symptoms, making rich food sources of Vitamin C the best way to ensure a safe and adequate supply of the nutrient for all the body's needs.

List of Foods High in Vitamin C

Many fruits and vegetables are rich Vitamin C sources. While the proper daily dosage varies from 40 to 120 milligrams of the nutrient per day depending on an individual's health, age, and metabolism - some recommendations may even be as high as 1,000 milligrams - the foods richest in the nutrient that supply 10 percent or more of the recommended daily dosage include:
  • Sweet red bell peppers
  • Parsley
  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Strawberries
  • Mustard greens
  • Papaya
  • Grapefruit
  • Kiwi
  • Oranges
  • Cantaloupe
  • Cabbage
  • Tomatoes
  • Raspberries
  • Celery
  • Spinach
  • Pineapple
  • Watermelon
  • Tangerines
  • Limes
  • Cranberries
  • Guava
The exact dosage of Vitamin C in each fruit or vegetable depends on many factors, including how it is prepared and stored, the size of the serving, and how ripe the produce is. In general, a well ripened product has the highest levels of Vitamin C, though even unripe samples contain some of the nutrient.
Read More:;postID=384467147824299556

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Benefits of Apples

I heard than an apple a day keeps the doctor away, but 2 apples a day can keep the dentist away too. Biting an apple helps keep your gums healthy, but some people do not like eating apples. My suggestion is to think about juicing your apple and drinking it, you won't get the pulp, but you still get the great vitamins in the apple, and whenever possible buy organic; one apple makes about a 1/2 of cup of juice.

Apples are filled with soluble fiber (5 grams). This fiber has been shown to reduce intestinal disorders, including diverticulitis, hemorrhoids and possibly some types of cancer. It helps control insulin levels by releasing sugar slowly into the bloodstream. It cleanses and detoxifies, which helps eliminate heavy metals, such as lead and mercury. Apple pectin helps reduce cholesterol levels by lowering insulin secretion. In two studies researchers found that eating five apples a week lowered the risk for respiratory diseases like asthma. According to Chinese Medicine: Apples strengthen the heart, quench thirst, lubricate the lungs, decrease mucous and increase body fluids. Apple cider vinegar can help prevent the formation of kidney stones. Studies indicate that eating apples daily can reduce skin diseases. According to a Brazilian study, eating an apple before a meal helped women lose 33 percent more weight than those who didn't. An apple has only 50-80 calories and has no fat or sodium. Apples are packed with vitamins C, A, and flavonoids and with smaller amounts of phosphorus, iron and calcium. Apples provide a source of potassium which may promote heart health. So there you have it ... lots of good reasons why it is good for you to eat an apple a day!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Plants Contain Protein

People always ask the same question when I tell them I am a Vegan...."Where do you get your protein?" Plants, that's where I get my protein. I found this article that shows the protein and fat content of many vegetables, I was surprised myself to find out that plants have protein.

(To read more:

Did you know that all plants contain protein?  Some plants, like peas, are very protein rich with 7 grams of protein in a 3.5 oz serving!  By combining several veggies together, you can actually create a protein-rich meal.
We’ve put together a chart to show the protein and fat content of many common vegetables courtesy of and the Vegetarian Resource Group:
Vegetable (100g) about 3.5 oz Protein content (g) Fat (g)
Asparagus 3 less than 1g
Eggplant 1 less than 1g
Broccoli 3 less than 1g
Brussels sprouts 3 1.4g
Cabbage 1 less than 1g
Carrot 0.5 less than 1g
Cauliflower 3 less than 1g
Celery 0.5 less than 1g
Fennel 1 less than 1g
Squash 1.5 less than 1g
Leek 1.6 less than 1g
Lettuce 0.7 less than 1g
Mushroom 2 less than 1g
Okra 2.4 1g
Onion 0.7 less than 1g
Peas 7 1g
Peppers 1 less than 1g
Potato 1.6 less than 1g
Pumpkin 0.5 less than 1g
Raddish 0.7 less than 1g
Spinach 2 less than 1g
Sweetcorn 2.5 1.5g
Tomatoes 2 1g
Turnip 0.8 less than 1g
Watercress 3 1g
Yam 2 less than 1g   

Monday, October 15, 2012

Immune-boosting foods for cold & flu season

Cold season is here, I found this great article from Dr. Fuhrman, a great reminder that food is our best medicine:

Immune-boosting foods for cold & flu season from Dr. Joel Fuhrman

Immune Boosting Foods
From Dr. Joel Fuhrman, author of Super Immunity.
The weather is beginning to cool down, and soon cold and flu season will be upon us. Cold and flu are a larger burden than we may think. Between treatments, illness-compromised productivity, and lost workdays, it is estimated that the common cold alone costs the U.S. $40 billion each year.1
We all know the basics for reducing exposure – wash your hands, avoid touching your face, and avoid being exposed to people who are already ill. However, exposure to these viruses is not the only factor here – excellent nutrition can reduce our vulnerability to infection and reduce the length and severity of illness if we do become infected.
Many micronutrients are required to support proper function of the immune system, and phytochemicals from colorful produce have additional anti-microbial and immune-boosting effects.  A well-nourished body houses a high-functioning immune system.
Mushrooms have a unique ability to activate the body’s natural immune defenses. Reishi and shiitake mushrooms enhance activity of natural killer (NK) cells, which attack cancerous and virus-infected cells.2, 3 Shiitake mushrooms protect against influenza infection in animal studies.4-6 Fortunately though, it is not only exotic mushrooms that benefit the immune system. Eating white button mushrooms daily was found to enhance immune defenses in mucosal linings such as those in the mouth and respiratory tract.7 Dendritic cells are another type of immune cell that protects the respiratory tract, and their activity is also enhanced by white button mushroom phytochemicals.8
Cruciferous vegetables
The cruciferous family of vegetables includes kale, collards, mustard greens, arugula, watercress, broccoli, broccoli rabe, cabbage, cauliflower, kohlrabi, and more. The bitter, spicy, or pungent flavors of these vegetables are provided by glucosinolates, which are converted into potent anti-cancer compounds called isothiocyanates (ITCs) upon chopping or chewing. In addition to their anti-cancer effects, ITCs also support the immune system and have antimicrobial properties. Cruciferous vegetable phytochemicals may enhance interferon activity, which is an important component of the body’s antiviral response.9, 10
Berries are powerful anti-cancer foods that also offer protection against viruses. Antioxidants called flavonoids, which are abundant in berries, have antiviral activity.11  In fact, if you do get the flu, taking anthocyanin-rich elderberry juice may even shorten the duration of your symptoms.12-14 Berries and grapes are also rich in resveratrol, another antioxidant phytochemical with strong antiviral effects – resveratrol has been shown to block the replication of influenza and other respiratory viruses.15-17 Plus, strawberries are high in vitamin C, which protects immune cells from oxidative damage.18 The benefits of berries go far beyond cold & flu protection. Flavonoid antioxidants like those in berries are not just antioxidants – flavonoids also act on signaling within the cell leading to many beneficial effects: flavonoids activate the body’s natural detoxification enzymes, block the growth of cancer cells, decrease inflammation, and support proper blood pressure regulation.19  Berries (and pomegranates) are also extremely rich in another antioxidant called ellagic acid, a compound known to block cancer cell and tumor growth.20-22
Onions & garlic
There is no convincing evidence for using garlic supplements for symptoms of the common cold.23  However, eating garlic and onions daily has clear benefits when it comes to cancer prevention, and may also help to build immune defenses, including macrophage, T cell, and NK cell activity.24, 25 Plus, several garlic phytochemicals have virus-killing activity against common respiratory viruses.26
By eating nutrient-dense plant foods (vegetables, fruits, beans, seeds and nuts) every day, you will provide your body with a spectrum of immunity-boosting phytochemicals, and you’ll get an additional perk too – these same foods protect against heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and other devastating chronic illnesses.
Read more:

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Prickly Pear Benefits

Prickly Pears, you may have seen them growing on the side of hills, but did you know their great health benefits? I actually juiced the red ones, but there are different types all with great benefits.

Prickly Pear which is also known as Cactus Pear or Opuntia has a number of health benefits. Prickly pear is found throughout the Americas. Prickly pear is noted for its antioxidant qualities and it is also rich in Vitamin C. It is a well known fact that Vitamin C is known for its ability to boost the body’s immune system. Many studies are underway to understand fully the health benefits of Opuntia or prickly pear. One of the important health benefits identified that in people that took prickly pear the Vitamin E levels have gone up indicating the antioxidant properties of the fruit.
Reports and studies also indicate that prickly pear also helps in diabetics. Using prickly pear regularly in diet results in the drop of glucose levels in blood. By reducing the glucose levels in the blood the hunger level is reduced. So it is useful in dealing with overeating problems as well.
Prickly pear has high fiber content and there are proofs that consuming food with high fibrous content will make people feel full for longer durations and the craving to eat reduces dramatically. All these factors point to possible benefits in the area of weight control as well.
One of the greatest advantages with prickly pear is that it is 100% natural way to reduce glucose levels in blood and to fight overeating habits. It is much safer than consuming a lot of chemical based supplements to control overeating that can possibly harm the digestive system.
In certain parts of the world including Mexico, prickly pear is used as a dietary supplement. Adding prickly pear to the regular diet it is possible to regularize the bowel movements resulting in healthy digestive system.
Another important benefit is to be seen in the ability of the prickly pear in reducing the hangover effect. A specific type of opuntia namely Indian Fig Opuntia seems to reduce the production of inflammatory mediators which cause the uncomfortable feeling in alcohol hangovers. Other related symptoms including nausea, dry mouth is also reduced with the help of Indian Fig prickly pear. The tests on the effectiveness of prickly pear in fighting hangovers show very promising results.
Prickly pear comes as good news to people that have pancreatitis problems. The fibrous fruit is used as colon cleansers giving relief to people that suffer pancreatic issues. As you can see there are many health benefits in prickly pear. Using prickly pear in your diet regularly you will be able to ward of many of the health complications discussed above. It is not necessary that one has to have any of the above health conditions to benefit from prickly pear. As there are no side effects in taking prickly pear people in all age groups can consume prickly pear without any fear.
There are many further researches conducted on prickly pear and their role in lowering cholesterol, nerve deterioration etc. Researches also indicate that prickly pear can be used as a health supplement to enhance one’s general health.
Read more:

Monday, October 8, 2012

Sea Veggies

Sea vegetables are a group of plants that grow in the ocean. You may hear them referred to as seaweed.

Sea veggies have been part of the diet of many native cultures in Asia and the Americas for thousands of years. These awesome veggies contain molecules that slow cancer growth, encourage cancer cell death and protect cells against radiation damage. They also stimulate the immune system, including the powerful natural killer (NK) cells, a type of white blood cell that is essential in rejecting tumors and virally infected cells.Seaweed offers a broad range of minerals including all of the 56 essential and trace minerals so important for our health. It also is a good source of folic acid, iodine, magnesium, calcium and some of the B vitamins. Eating too many processed foods or foods grown in mineral-depleted soil can result in a lack of minerals in the body, leading to cravings for salty or sugary foods. Adding sea vegetables to your diet can help balance your energy levels and alleviate cravings.
The most common sea vegetables used in the kitchen are nori (laver), kombu (kelp), wakame (alleria), arame, hijiki, agar-agar and dulse. Sea veggies can be used in soups and salads, to make sushi, shaken onto grains and beans in granulated form, and turned into delicious side dishes. Add a piece of kombu to beans or grains when cooking to up the mineral content and aid in digestibility. You’ll learn more about sea veggies and can try out some recipes in Kicking Cancer in the Kitchen!

Photo: Norwichnuts,

Read more:

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Foods To Lower Blood Pressure Naturally

This article has some great ideas to lower blood pressure naturally...

 Trying to learn how to lower your blood pressure naturally with better food and nutrition? Good idea!
High blood pressure is a common problem — so common, in fact, that one in three Americans suffer from it. People may have a genetic predisposition for high blood pressure, and stress and an unhealthy lifestyle often contribute to it. The main reason for high blood pressure, though, according to Dr. Joseph Mercola, author of Take Control of Your Health, is too much sugar.
Fruits Vegetables Blood Pressure
photo courtesy of almogaver
Controlling high blood pressure (hypertension) is important, because left unchecked, it can cause heart disease or stroke. Hypertension often lacks noticeable symptoms, so it is important to have regular physicals. Hypertension is generally diagnosed as a blood pressure reading above 140/80.
Medications designed to treat hypertension do not relieve the underlying causes, and are not always effective at lowering blood pressure. Over 50 percent of patients find that medication alone does not control their hypertension.
The good news is that lifestyle changes can help over 85 percent of those suffering from hypertension. Develop an exercise plan with the help of your doctor that incorporates aerobic exercise and strength training. Start slowly and aim to exercise consistently at least five days per week.  Reduce stress through yoga, meditation or prayer.
Dr. Mercola advises cutting out foods that are rapidly converted to sugar, such as pasta, bread, potatoes, rice and cereal. In addition, he recommends cutting out foods that are high in fructose, including fruit like mangoes, raisins and grapes.
Physician and author Matilda Parente, MD, recommends the following foods as part of an overall healthy lifestyle to reduce hypertension or prevent it.
Kale, collards and other leafy greens: These plants are easy to grow in your own yard and are high in fiber and vitamin A, and low in sugars. Recent research suggests that inorganic nitrates, found in these plants, may relax the blood vessels, allowing blood to flow more freely. Plant leafy greens in early spring, as soon as the soil is soft.
Green peas: Green peas also contain plenty of fiber and vitamins. Plant them early in the spring since peas tend to wither and dwindle when temperatures rise.
Tomatoes: The chemical lycopene, responsible for tomato’s bright color, is also a powerful antioxidant. Buy disease-free tomato plants and wait until after the last frost to plant them.
Sweet potatoes: Sweet potatoes contain fiber, vitamin A and antioxidants, as well. Sweet potatoes need warm temperatures and a long growing season to mature.
Winter squash: Also high in fiber, beta carotene and vitamin A, winter squash need plenty of room, fertile soil and a long growing season.
Berries: Dr. Parente says a recent study found that eating a cup of blueberries or strawberries weekly may prevent high blood pressure. Strawberries grow well in full sun and moist, rich soil. Blueberries, on the other hand, have very specific growing needs. Unless your soil is very acidic (4.5 to 5.5) you’re probably better off buying fresh or frozen berries.
Apricots: Apricots are a good source of fiber and potassium, which has been shown to reduce or prevent high blood pressure. Apricots thrive in climates with warm summers and mild winters. Avoid dried apricots, since they contain more sugar.
Bananas: Also high in potassium, bananas help remove excess sodium from the body, says Dr. Parente.
Cantaloupe: High in potassium and beta carotene, cantaloupe is refreshing alone, in fruit salads or blended in smoothies. Grow it in full sun in moist, rich soil.
Incorporating fruits and vegetables into your diet may do more than just reduce your blood pressure. Fruits and vegetables are low in calories, aiding in weight loss, and you’ll probably have more energy, as well.

Read more:

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

The Health Benefits of Pumpkin

It's October and that means Pumpkin Season is here! Pumpkins are not just decoration, they have great health benefits, here is an article I found on pumpkins:

Popular during fall holidays, the pumpkin is one of the most nutritious fruits available. Packed with disease-fighting nutrients, it offers numerous health benefits.
More than just a decorative Halloween candle holder or a pie filling to be eaten only once a year, pumpkin is one of the most nutritional foods available year round. Rich in antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals, both the flesh and seeds of the pumpkin provide many health-boosting nutrients.

Nutrients in Pumpkin

Pumpkin is low in fat and calories and rich in disease-fighting nutrients such as:
  • Alpha-carotene
  • Beta-carotene
  • Fiber
  • Vitamins C and E
  • Potassium
  • Magnesium
  • Pantothenic acid

Health Benefits of Pumpkin

The alpha-carotene and beta-carotene are potent antioxidants found in pumpkin and are pro-vitamin A carotenoids, meaning the body converts them to vitamin A. Vitamin A promotes healthy vision and ensures proper immune function. The beta-carotene in pumpkin may also reverse skin damage caused by the sun and act as an anti-inflammatory. Alpha-carotene is thought to slow the aging process and also reduce the risk of developing cataracts and prevent tumor growth. Carotenoids also boost immunity and lessen the risk of heart disease.
What’s so good about pumpkins, anyway?
Pumpkin meat is very high in carotenoids. They’re what give pumpkins their orange color-but that’s the least of their benefits. Carotenoids are really good at neutralizing free radicals, nasty molecules that can attack cell membranes and leave the cells vulnerable to damage.
Pumpkins are also high in lutein and zeaxanthin, which scavenge free radicals in the lens of the eye. Therefore, they may help prevent the formation of cataracts and reduce the risk of macular degeneration, a serious eye problem than usually results in blindness.
Besides carotenoids, lutein, and zeaxanthin, which are all antioxidants, pumpkins have a lot of common nutrients, like iron, zinc, and fiber. Iron, of course, is needed by red blood cells. Zinc deficiency may be related to osteoporosis of the hip and spine in older men. And fiber is important for bowel health.
What’s so good about pumpkin seeds, then?
Pumpkin seeds, also called pepitas, are very high in protein; one ounce of seeds provides about seven grams of protein. They also contain copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, and zinc. And their oil is high in phytosterols, plant-based fatty acids that are chemically so like cholesterol that they can replace it in the human body-contributing to the reduction of blood cholesterol levels.

More about pumpkin seed oil

Pumpkin seed oil is high in essential fatty acids (EFAs). EFAs have many benefits, among them the maintenance of healthy blood vessels and nerves and the lubrication of all tissues, including the skin. And as mentioned above, they can help reduce cholesterol levels in the blood.EFAs are not the only constituents of pumpkin seed oil. This oil also contains vitamin A, which (among other things) helps keep our eyes healthy and stimulates the T cells of the immune system to help fight off infection. And it has vitamin E, which acts like lutein and zeaxanthin to get rid of free radicals.
Tips for using pumpkins in the kitchen
- Bigger pumpkins have tougher meat than smaller ones; that’s why pie pumpkins, also called baking pumpkins, are so much smaller than the ones used for carving. But you can still cook and eat the meat of a carving pumpkin; it just won’t be quite as soft.
- If you don’t like the taste of pumpkin, try adding a small amount of orange juice.
- If you’re planning on cooking rather than carving the pumpkin, you don’t have to go to the trouble of scooping out the inside after you remove the top. You will have to remove the seeds, but after that you can just cut the entire pumpkin into pieces, remove the skin with a peeler, and boil the pieces in water for about 20 minutes. After the pieces have been boiled, drain the water and either mash the pieces by hand or puree them in a blender.
- A whole pumpkin can be stored at room temperature for up to a month, or in the refrigerator (if it’ll fit!) for up to three months.
- Besides pies-a traditional Thanksgiving favorite-pumpkin can be used to make pudding, custard, cookies, and of course pumpkin bread. But it’s also great as soup, or as a side dish for the main course of a meal.
- Pumpkin seeds can be sprinkled with oil and other flavorings and roasted at 300° for about 30 minutes. However, most nutritional experts believe that roasting weakens a lot of the nutrients, so they recommend that the seeds be eaten raw. Whole seeds can be added to steamed vegetables, salads, cereals, and cookies, and ground seeds can be added to burgers.
- Pumpkin seed oil can be used in recipes (it’s popular in Austrian dishes) or just taken by the teaspoon or tablespoon, like other EFA oils (for example, flax seed, evening primrose, borage seed, or black currant seed oils).
So the next time you’re carving a pumpkin and are tempted to just throw out the inside-don’t! Save it, cook (or bake) it, and eat it instead. And if you’re not into pumpkin carving, don’t pass by those small specimens in the Produce section.
Finally, if all that cutting and boiling is too much work or too time-consuming, get yourself a can of already-cooked pumpkin. There are lots of ways to enjoy the nutritional benefits of this uniquely American food.