Health MATTERS:  out of the Ordinary   

Tell me you’re not sick & tired of hearing/seeing/reading all the publicity to do with all things Kale?  How about Açaí?  Pomegranate is so last year! (even though I just bought a bottle of pomegranate vinegar).

veggieYes, we know (or have been repeatedly informed) that they’re wonderful for us, but now we take for granted the ordinary food staples that sound less glamorous.  Fruits and vegetables like celery, grapes, mushrooms and bell peppers – stuff we probably have more of in our kitchens.  Why should they be ignored? I always root for the underfruit!

Researchers are discovering new reasons to get excited about the old standbys.  So maybe we shouldn’t let “superfoods” crowd out staples that are just as nutritious.  They can work together as a team.  Let’s discuss:

universe4Celery – what’s a dip platter without this crudite? Now, back on the must-eat list as a potential cancer fighter with it’s top source of a flavonoid called apiginen.  Researchers recently discovered that when pancreatic cancer cells were treated with apigenin, 44 percent of the cells died.  Apigenin activates a chemical reaction inside diseased cells, causing them to self-destruct.  While eating celery can’t cure pancreatic cancer (you’d never be able to eat enough), over time a diet containing apigenin-rich foods my help prevent the disease.

universe7Grapes – we  like them because they taste so refreshing and the skins are bursting with Resveratrol, the same superstar antioxidant that helps make red wine good for your heart (providing you don’t drink the whole bottle yourself).  Resveratrol may also aid in boosting immunity by helping increase levels of a molecule that kills bacteria and viruses.  Adding more grapes to your diet may even protect you from contracting infections in the first place.  So drink up eat your grapes!

universe5Mushrooms are like magic – science shows they may help prevent breast cancer by lowering estrogen levels.  Fungi have also been thought to be heart healthy and immunity boosting for years.  A study showed that when postmenopausal women consumed 13 grams of mushroom powder (the equivalent of 1 ½ cups of white button mushrooms) per day for three months, their estrogen production dropped by 27 percent.

universe6Bell Peppers – researchers have long known that smokers have a lower risk of developing Parkinson’s disease characterized by a loss of brain docells that make dopamine.  No doctor would encourage lighting up, but there may be another way to get the benefit: peppers.  They’re a safe source of nicotine, which may protect dopamine producing cells.  Eating peppers (mostly bell peppers) twice a week or more is associated with at least a 30 percent reduced risk of Parkinson’s.  This according to Susan Searles Nielson, PhD, who did a study which was published in the Annals of Neurology.  Interesting stuff indeed.

What’s good too is that you can incorporate at least three of these items into a breakfast omelette, salad or pasta sauce. Try grapes in a chicken salad sandwich, they’re delicious.



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