So I live in the state of Georgia and I cannot go to the grocery store without seeing our famous nut somewhere. The Pecan. Next to the peach, it reigns supreme in this state. But pecans aren’t just eye candy on top of your favorite pie or mixed into a delectable dish. They are actually pumped with lots of benefits, most of which I’m sure you’ve never heard of it. Don’t believe me, check this out.
- Pecans are a rich source of many phyto-chemical substances that may contribute to their overall antioxidant activity. These include polyphenolic antioxidant ellagic acid, vitamin E, beta-carotene, lutein and zea-xanthin. Research studies suggest that these compounds help the body remove toxic oxygen-free radicals and thus, protect the body from diseases, cancers, as well as infections.
- These nuts are also a rich source of minerals like manganese, potassium, calcium, iron, magnesium, zinc, and selenium, all of which help in building strong bones, muscles, and skin, as well as strengthening immune functions.
- Contain plenty of monounsaturated fatty acids like oleic acid and phenolic antioxidants which fight off free radicals that cause cancer. A pecan rich diet can help to decrease total as well as LDL (bad cholesterol) while increasing HDL (good cholesterol) in the blood stream. Research studies suggest that the Mediterranean diet – which is rich in dietary-fiber, mono-unsaturated fatty acids, and antioxidants – can help to prevent coronary artery disease and strokes by favoring a healthy blood lipid profile.
- A great source of energy, providing 690 calories per 100 grams of pecans. They contain health benefiting nutrients, minerals, antioxidants and vitamins that are essential for wellness.
- Protective properties of the human body from certain forms of caner. This is done by ellagic acid which has anti-proliferating properties. It can inhibit DNA binding of certain carcinogens such as nitrosamines and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons.
- Have high amounts of vitamin-E. Along with rich amounts of gamma-tocopherol. This with Vitamin E, are powerful lipid soluble antioxidants, required for maintaining the integrity of cell membrane of mucus membranes and skin by protecting it from harmful oxygen-free radicals.
- Very rich sources of several important B-complex groups of vitamins such as riboflavin, niacin, thiamin, pantothenic acid, vitamin B-6, and folates, which work as co-factors for the enzyme metabolism inside the human body.
So, with all that being said, the Pecan is clearly a nut of choice concerning total body wellness. What are you waiting for? The facts are clear and I’m not just saying that as a Georgian.
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1.) Happy Fruit
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When most people think of Squash they tend to think of something that is eaten during the cold months, either oven roasted or added to hot soups and stews; but squash, including the “Winter” (gourd) varieties, make outstanding warm weather cold dishes as well. And the best cold dishes are served raw.
All squash varieties can be eaten raw. And there are a multitude of recipes, online and off, for raw squash dishes – soups, salads and even cookies. Raw squash is not just highly nutritious, it’s also delicious. This makes the squash family of fruits the perfect example of high nutrient foods that are often cooked, depleting them of a large portion of their vital nutrients, but need not be.
I’ll use the most popular and easy to find squashes as examples:
Butternut squash, per 100 grams (3.5 ounces/around ¾ of a cup cubed), contains 45 calories, 2 grams of fiber, a whopping 10,630 IU Vitamin A – 354% of the RDA (recommended daily allowance), 21 mg Vitamin C – 35% of the RDA, 1.44 mg Vitamin E – 10% of the RDA, as well as 5% of the RDA for Calcium, 7% of the RDA for Potassium, 9% of the RDA for Iron.
Zucchini contains only 20 calories per 124 grams (1 cup chopped) – which you could easily burn off just by chewing it thoroughly, 1 gram of fiber, 5% of the RDA for Vitamin A, 35% of the RDA for Vitamin C, 9% of the RDA for Potassium, 2% of the RDA for both Calcium and Iron.
Yellow Summer squash contains a mere 18 calories per 124 grams (1 cup sliced), 1.2 grams of fiber, 32% of the RDA for Vitamin C, and 2% of the RDA for both Calcium and Iron.
Acorn Squash contains 56 calories per 140 grams (1 cup cubed), 2 grams of fiber, 10% of the RDA for Vitamin A, 25% of the RDA for Vitamin C, 5% of the RDA for Calcium and 10% of the RDA for Potassium.
You may have noticed that most of the squashes I’ve listed contain substantial amounts of Vitamins A and C. In the case of butternut squash, there’s enough Vitamin A (Beta Carotene) in one serving to replace the most common dosage of its supplement form.
Vitamin A is vital to our health, and when it comes in the safe and natural Beta Carotene form, found in fruits and vegetables, it’s also quite safe in large doses and easily absorbed by the body.
- Our immunity is dictated by Vitamin A. White blood cells, which are responsible for fighting infection in the body, require Vitamin A.
- Vitamin A is essential to our eye health. It fights off age-related eye disorders, such as macular degeneration and cataracts, as well as improves night vision.
- Our bones and teeth require Vitamin A to maintain their integrity and strength.
- Vitamin A prevents the formation of painful urinary stones, by producing a compound called calcium phosphate, which prevents the formation of solid particles in the urinary system.
- Because Vitamin A is a powerful antioxidant, it prevents oxidative stress (a.k.a. cellular rust). By maintaining proper moisture retention in the body, the skin is protected from dryness, psoriasis, acne, even wrinkling and keratinization (a process that converts the cells beneath the skin into a hard keratin layer).
- Since cellular rust can also lead to cancer, among other ailments, Vitamin A is essential to its prevention as well.
Vitamin C is just as vital to our health as Vitamin A, and because it’s beneficial to other important aspects of our being, it’s one of the most popular single nutrients on the market.
- Vitamin C has been scientifically proven to reduce the severity of cold symptoms and shorten the duration of a cold,
- Keeps allergies and asthmatic symptoms under control by acting as a natural antihistamine,
- Its antioxidant properties help prevent cancer, by protecting cells and DNA from mutation and damage, as well as keeping the immune system strong.
- Vitamin C also prevents cataracts and improves vision, because it’s concentrated in the lens of the eye. If you have sufficient Vitamin C in your body the eyes are effectively protected from sunlight.
- Vitamin C also helps protect the skin from sunburn reaction caused by UVB radiation,
- It prevents cholesterol from oxidizing in the bloodstream, which greatly decreases the possibility of heart attack and stroke,
- It speeds the healing of cuts, burns and other injuries,
- And it is vital to collagen production – keeping skin firm, smooth and youthful-looking.
There are other highly useful nutrients in all four squashes and, I’m certain, at least a hundred more benefits, but these two nutrients are among the most vital to our continued good health and ability to heal. They are also the nutrients that are most often praised, and the hardest pushed in supplement form. This is because many people do not get enough of either nutrients to make a significant difference in their overall health and well-being. This is especially true of Vitamin C, which has a RDA that’s less than half what it should be. Eating high nutrient fruits and vegetables raw, particularly squash, would solve this problem.
In the West, people are foolishly trying to replace good nutrition with pills, while scarfing down crap (i.e. processed /greasy foods) on a daily basis. And it’s not working! Which is not surprising when you understand that no nutrient can operate alone in isolation. Nutrients are synergistic substances. They all require other nutrients, multiple nutrients, to function properly. And there are nutrients in fruits and vegetables that are yet to be discovered, their relationships to known nutrients yet to be defined. The Human body needs whole foods.
Diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and cancer are among the top killers of Americans and other Westerners. All of these illnesses can usually be traced back to poor nutrition and lack of movement, and therefore all are preventable, but require serious lifestyle changes. One step in the right direction is eating high nutrient foods, like squash, RAW. It’s easy to do and most varieties of squash taste just as good raw as they do cooked. It’s a painless way to improve your health and fight off illness and early, preventable death.
I was recently turned on to Kale. Most people know it as the main ingredient of the Green Drink, but I love to add it to my egg omelets as a substitute for regular spinach. It adds a little color, plus some substance to fill it out. Kale gives you more bang for your buck because it is low in calories and high in fiber. That’s effective in helping you feel fuller (from fiber) for longer periods of time throughout the day, which makes you not want to eat. It also has zero fat. One cup of kale only has 36 calories, 5 grams of fiber and 0 grams of fat. Fiber also helps with digestion and elimination of waste products. That brings me to nutrients: vitamins, folate (important for DNA synthesis) and magnesium (bone health) as well as iron are all present in kale. As a matter of fact, it has more iron than beef per calorie. Iron is necessary formation of hemoglobin and enzymes, transporting oxygen to various parts of the body, cell growth, proper liver function and more. You also get a wealth Kale is high in Vitamins K and C. Eating a diet high in Vitamin K can help protect against various cancers (antioxidants – carotenoids and flavonoids), enhance bone health and the prevent blood clots. Vitamin C is helpful for your immune system, your metabolism and hydration.
Kale is a great anti-inflammatory food. One cup of kale is filled with just 10% of the recommended daily value of omega-3 fatty acids, can fight against arthritis, asthma and autoimmune disorders. It is great for cardiovascular support by lowering cholesterol levels.
Did you know that per calorie, kale has more calcium than milk? It’s true. This aids in preventing bone loss, slowing osteoporosis and maintaining a healthy metabolism. Vitamin C is also helpful to maintain cartilage and joint flexibility.
Looking for a detox to help jump-start that diet? Kale is a great detox food. That’s because it’s filled with fiber and sulfur. Both of these substances are great for detoxifying your body (with waste elimination) and keep your liver healthy.
So give kale a try. The time for going green has never been better. I assure you that you won’t regret it.
Would it surprise you to hear that apples really can keep the doctor away? And not just the cardiologist. The gastroenterologist, trichologist and dermatologist may also see less of their patients. Modern research has proven that apples really can maintain a healthy heart and colon, give one a fuller head of hair, as well as smoother skin.
For as long as I can remember, apples have had a heart healthy reputation. Now, short-term and long-term research studies have explained the reasons why that reputation is well-deserved.
According to multiple studies that have taken place over the past several years, drinking 12 oz. of apple juice each day reduces oxidation of LDL (low-density lipoproteins – the bad cholesterol) by 20%, while eating two whole apples a day has a reduction of 9%. This is a very important discovery, because LDL cholesterol oxidation activates the formation of plaque on coronary artery walls. There was no explanation for why the juice was more effective than whole apples, but I think it’s reasonable to assume that more than two apples are needed to make 12 ounces of apple juice.
In a long-term research study, led by Dr. Victor Fulgoni, PhD. (the Iowa Women’s Health Study), which tracked more than 34,000 older Caucasian women for 18 years, a link between apple consumption and a lowered risk of dying from cardiovascular and coronary heart diseases was discovered.
I am aware that this research study is highly controversial, as there are many who believe that this particular study was conducted for the sole purpose of discrediting nutritional supplements. However, anyone who has actually read the study can plainly see that it actually disproved what some claimed was proven. That fact alone gives the data collected credibility. In any case, I see no valid reason to disregard the apple and heart disease mortality findings, particularly when you factor in the results of other recent studies, which don’t just demonstrate the causality between apple consumption and lowered heart disease rates, but explains them.
Another example of this would be the study the Department of Nutrition, Food and Exercise Sciences at The Florida State University, in Tallahassee, presented at Experimental Biology 2011, in Washington, D.C.. The researchers recruited 160 women and randomly selected which would eat daily servings of dried apples and which would eat the dried plums (prunes).
The participants received blood tests at 3 months, 6 months and 12 months. Each time the researchers looked for the markers of heart health. After one year, the women in the apple group experienced a 14% drop in their total cholesterol. Their LDL cholesterol was reduced by an average of 23%. In addition, levels of lipid hydroperoxide, a biochemical involved in the formation of heart-clogging plaques, and C-reactive protein, which is a marker of inflammation, decreased by approximately 1/3. Another benefit was that the women had lost an average of three pounds by the end of that year.
This study’s results are consistent with the other 80+ studies conducted since 2005, ALL of which suggest that apples are highly beneficial to heart health.
Dietary fiber is necessary to the health of your bowels and the shape of your stools. And, as everyone knows, apples are dense with fiber; and a lot of it is contained in the skin. One medium-sized apple (malus domestica) contains approximately 2.4 grams of dietary fiber.
Fiber-filled foods like apples benefit bowel health, because the fiber helps bind together the bits of food in your small intestines as they move along to the colon, while also drawing water to the stool to make it softer and easier to pass. Apples act as a natural cleanser for the bowels, keeping the digestive system working properly. This is extremely important, because, to quote Dr. Bernard Jensen, “It is an indisputable fact that not only illness and old age but even death itself are due to the accumulation of waste products (within the body)… to the inability of the body to replenish its cellular structures and organs with fresh, vital nutrients.”
Nothing demonstrates the truth of that quote better than colon cancer. Colon cancer is the #2 cancer killer among women, world-wide, and the #3 cancer killer of men, world-wide. Fortunately, apples aren’t just useful for prevention. A recent study demonstrated that Oligosaccharides from apples killed up to 46% of cancer cells in a human colon, outperforming the most popular chemotherapy drug on the market by a wide margin, at every dose level and without the toxic side-effects of the drug.
In 2002, Japanese researchers at the Tsukuba Research Laboratory in Tsukuba, Japan discovered two natural compounds that aided hair growth. One of those compounds, Procyanidin B-2, came from unripe apples. Procyanidin B-2, a B type proanthocyanidin (a class of polyphenol- flavonoid), appears to control proteins in a way that makes new hair growth possible.
The first clinical study treated 29 balding men with apple Procyanidin B- 2. After 6 months, it was discovered that both vellus (“baby” hair) and terminal (regular/long) hair growth in the Procyanidin B-2 group was “significantly greater” than that of the placebo control group. This proved to be true in all known studies conducted with apple Procyanidin B-2.
In at least one of those studies, the researchers also noted an increase in hair diameter – an average diameter increase of 78.9%! And the ratio of thicker hairs was “significantly higher” than the placebo control group; and, as with the previous and following studies, the total number of hairs was also “significantly greater” than the control group. Great news for anyone suffering from male pattern baldness and thinning hair.
Ripe apples also contain Procyanidin B-2, though not as much as unripe apples. Keep in mind that the compound was applied topically to the scalps of the test subjects. So, there’s no need to make yourself ill, by eating multiple unripe apples, to attain the hair regrowth and thickening benefits of Procyanidin B-2.
There is a plethora of anecdotal evidence and first-person accounts of acne blemished skin being healed by consuming apples. There are even a few tales of wrinkles and fine lines being smoothed by applying apple slices and/or apple juice to the face. Such stories are all over the world wide web, in both video and blog form. And while some of these stories may strain the boundaries of credibility (wrinkle smoothing, for example), it’s highly improbably that the massive number of acne cure stories are all false.
After all, anything that improves bowel health will benefit your entire body. Fiber cleanses the pipes, so to speak; it moves waste, and the toxins created by that waste, out of the body properly. This means that those toxins do not have to plot a secondary escape route through the body’s largest organ – the epidermis (skin) – in order to leave your body and protect your health.
In addition, apples contain Pectin – a special kind of fiber. Pectin, whether it comes from apples or other fruits, has been proven to boost the immune system, among other things. In multiple recent studies, Pectin increased levels of interleukin-4, a compound that induces creation of infection-fighting mast cells. And anything that boosts the immune systems function is likely to keep acne at bay, because acne is (generally) caused by bacteria.
One young man on YouTube (Acne Erasing Secrets) says that he has stumbled onto a surefire acne cure: fasting on organic apples. He claims this organic apple fast – lasting three days at a time – can clear up acne- prone skin, when performed periodically.
Knowing that apples cleanse the bowels and boosts the immune system, I have no doubt that the an apple fast can work on people who’s acne issues are being cause by ordinary internal issues. However, if your acne is being caused by pore-plugging cosmetics or pharmaceutical drugs that contain corticosteroids, androgens or lithium, it is highly improbable that an apple fast will do you much good.
Other Health Benefits
- Stroke prevention – Researchers in Finland studied 9,208 peoplefor 28 years and discovered that those who frequently ate apples were less likely to suffer a stroke. Another recent study, from Wageningen University in the Netherlands, indicates that fruits with white flesh – such as apples and pears – can reduce stroke risk by 52%.
- Metabolic Syndrome – The name for a group of risk factors that occur together and increase the risk for coronary artery disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes. Apples have been studied in reference to metabolic syndrome and the research has proven that apples lower the risk of this condition. Apples contain phytonutrients / antioxidants that support heart health, and the soluble fiber in apples lowers your risk of heart disease by decreasing LDL cholesterol levels. In one study, people who had reported eating any form of apples within the past 24 hours had lower blood levels of C- reactive protein – a marker for inflammation, which signifies an elevated risk for both diabetes and heart disease.
- ￼Cancer prevention – The American Institute of Cancer Research (AICR) recently added apples to their list of Foods That Fight Cancer. ￼Their website states, “In laboratory studies, flavonoids such as ￼quercetin and the triterpenoids found in apples have slowed the ￼development of cancers of the colon, lung and breast in several ￼stages of cancer development. … Current research suggests that ￼protection may come as much from directly affecting cell growth as ￼from antioxidant activity.” There’s also the oligosaccharides study ￼that I mentioned earlier.
- Weight loss – Multiple studies have shown that eating apples, and even applesauce, on a regular basis will decrease your risk of developing abdominal fat. It seems that, in addition to the Fiber in apples making one feel fuller, longer, the Pectin acts as a natural appetite suppressant. Apples are also quite low in calories and sodium, which means you won’t consume many calories even if you are somehow able to wolf down a dozen of them; nor will you retain excess water weight. The minerals and other nutrients contained in apples can help control cravings, since most carbohydrate cravings are a result of blood sugar imbalance. In one study, subjects who ate apples (and pears) not only lost more weight than the subjects who consumed the same number of calories in oat cookies, but their blood sugar levels were also lower.
- Tooth whitening – It’s been scientifically proven that the malic acid in apples can actually whiten teeth. Malic acid is commonly used in commercial tooth whitening products, because it safely dissolves stains from the surface of teeth. So, if you want to whiten and brighten your smile, it’s as cheap and easy as chewing on an apple after meals.
Apples are a true super-food! Not only do they help the heart, the bowels, male pattern baldness, hair thinning and skin conditions like acne; they also protect against stroke, metabolic syndrome, cancer, assist with weight loss and even whiten teeth. That is a LONG list of achievements for just one fruit. An animal study conducted at Cornell University even suggests that apples may help prevent Alzheimer’s disease! More studies need to be done on that subject, of course, but still… The potential is astonishing.
I love carrots. Always have (in my adulthood), so it’s not a stretch for me to talk about the benefits of eating them. As a child, this wasn’t always the case. I used to see Bugs Bunny and other rabbit characters eat them and of course I followed suit. But the tastes just never wowed me; at least not like they advertised. But when I became an adult, an awareness of what was good for me trumped my tastes buds and before you know it, I was a carrot eating machine. Shredding raw carrots or boiling and mashing them up preserve their nutrients.
Carrots have many benefits, the most obvious of all being to aid in vision. Most people like to say they are “good for the eyes”, but it goes much deeper than that. Carrots are rich in beta-carotene, which is converted into vitamin A in the liver. Vitamin A is transformed in the retina, to a chemical called rhodopsin. The rods and cones of the eyes are responsible for light recognition and conversion. Rhodopsin, a purple pigment necessary for night vision, is consumed at the rods.
Beta-carotene has also been shown to protect against macular degeneration (tunnel vision) and senile cataracts. Some studies have shown that people who eat beta-carotene were able to lower their risk of macular degeneration by as much as 40%.
Carrots are also good for the prevention of cancer of the lungs, breasts and colon. Falcarinol is a natural pesticide in carrots that helps to protect its roots from fungal diseases. This chemical is shown to reduce cancer risk by as much as 33% in carrot eating mice.
Fearful of the aging process? Try these orange guys. High levels of beta-carotene are known to act as antioxidants which aid in delaying cell damage done to the body over time and metabolism. Vitamin A protects skin from sun damage. Deficiencies of vitamin A are related to dry skin (causing the skin to wrinkle), hair and nails. This can make you look older. Vitamin A prevents this and the associated premature wrinkling. Vitamin A also helps reduce acne, unwanted pigmentation and blemishes, as well as evening out skin tone.
Carrots are known by herbalists to prevent infection. They can be used on cuts in mashed form due to their natural antiseptics properties.
Carotenoids (beta and alpha-carotene) as well as lutein are associated with a lower risk of heart disease. Regular consumption of carrots may reduce cholesterol levels. The soluble fibers in carrots bind to bile acids and help remove excess cholesterol from the body. Therefore, it’s no surprise that people who eat more carrots per week are less likely to suffer a stroke than those who don’t.
So remember, carrots not only add color to your plate, they provide cancer fighting punch and help you look younger. Why pass up on something like that.
Health researchers have long realized that eating a diet high in fruits and vegetables speeds up the rate at which Humans fight off infections like colds and flu, and even decreases one’s risk of becoming ill in the first place. Now, they have undeniable proof that this is because such foods are loaded with antioxidants – vitamins, minerals and enzymes that protect and repair cells from damage caused by free radicals – as well as other nutrients that increase immunity and boost overall good health.
Most of these immunity enhancing substances are sensitive to heat, and when the foods that contain them are cooked, those substances are either denatured or reduced. This is believed to be especially true of the three best known and most effective vitamin antioxidants:
Vitamin C – Nobel Prize laureate Linus Pauling believed that high doses of Vitamin C boosted immune system response and improved overall health. He has yet to be proven incorrect. The best sources of this powerful nutrient are berries (all of them), broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cantaloupe, cauliflower, grapefruit, honeydew, kale, kiwi, mangoes, nectarines, oranges, papaya, red, green or yellow peppers, snow peas, sweet potatoes, strawberries, and tomatoes.
Vitamin E – The need for Vitamin E increases as we age, because as we get older we become more susceptible to infections and illnesses. And this amazing nutrient has been shown to enhance even an already strong immune system, so long as its source is natural. And the best natural sources of Vitamin E are broccoli, carrots, chard, mustard and turnip greens, mangoes, nuts, papaya, pumpkin, red peppers, spinach, and sunflower seeds.
Beta Carotene – It doesn’t just enhance the functioning of the immune system, it also offsets much of the damaged caused by smoking and regular alcohol consumption. And unlike supplements, foods rich in beta-carotene pose no lung cancer risk. Synthetic beta-carotene supplements have been found to increase the risk of both colorectal and lung cancer in smokers, especially those who also consume alcohol. The best sources of this nutrient are apricots, asparagus, beets, broccoli, cantaloupe, carrots, corn, green peppers, kale, mangoes, turnip and collard greens, nectarines, peaches, pink grapefruit, pumpkin, squash, spinach, sweet potatoes, tangerines, tomatoes, and watermelon.
Immunity enhancing minerals are more resistant to heat than their more fragile vitamin counterparts, but even they can be lost through the cooking process. The most effective immunity boosting mineral antioxidants are:
Selenium – According to The American Society for Nutritional Sciences, “Selenium is essential for the efficient and effective operation of many aspects of the immune system in both animals and humans.” The best sources of Selenium are Brazil nuts, sunflower seeds, oat bran, wheat bran, rice bran, fortified breads, caviar, as well as must cook items like liver, shellfish (oysters, whelk, mussels), fish, bacon, pork chops, shrimp (prawns, camarones), lobster and crab.
Zinc – According to the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, “Zinc is known to play a central role in the immune system, and zinc-deficient persons experience increased susceptibility to a variety of pathogens. The immunologic mechanisms whereby zinc modulates increased susceptibility to infection have been studied for several decades. It is clear that zinc affects multiple aspects of the immune system, from the barrier of the skin to gene regulation within lymphocytes. Zinc is crucial for normal development and function of cells mediating nonspecific immunity such as neutrophils and natural killer cells. Zinc deficiency also affects development of acquired immunity by preventing both the outgrowth and certain functions of T lymphocytes such as activation, Th1 cytokine production, and B lymphocyte help. Likewise, B lymphocyte development and anti-body production, particularly immunoglobulin G, is compromised. The macrophage, a pivotal cell in many immunologic functions, is adversely affected by zinc deficiency, which can dysregulate intracellular killing, cytokine production, and phagocytosis. … In persons suffering from marginal zinc deficiency, clinical signs are depressed immunity, impaired taste and smell, onset of night blindness, impairment of memory, and decreased spermatogenesis in males. Severe zinc deficiency is characterized by severely depressed immune function, frequent infections, bullous pustular dermatitis, diarrhea, alopecia, and mental disturbances.”
So, basically, without sufficient Zinc in your diet your health and ability to function normally, and even procreate, are severely compromised. The best sources of Zinc are beans, whole grains, wheat germ, dried watermelon seeds, pumpkin and squash seeds, dark chocolate and cocoa powder, peanuts, fortified cereals, dairy products, and must cook sources like lamb (mutton), crab, roast beef, veal liver and oysters.
Immunity enhancing phytonutrients and flavonoids are also highly sensitive to heat; some scientists claim even more so than vitamins. The most renowned for their immunity enhancing abilities are:
Quercetin – A phytonutrient that fights inflammation and helps to reduce allergies as well as boost immune response. As a matter of fact, in a two recent studies, Quercetin was able to significantly strengthen immunity in both Humans and animals exposed to the flu virus. This amazing nutrient can be found in the skin of the fruits like apples, red and black grapes, blueberries, blackberries, cherries. It’s also found in onions, capers, lovage, chamomile tea, green tea and other foods and beverages.
Luteolin – A flavonoid widely considered a super-nutrient. In addition to boosting immune response, studies have shown that Luteolin is an active “scavenger” of free radicals and may help protect the body against the damage of radiation and chemotherapy. Nearly all fruits and vegetables contain flavonoids. But Luteolin is found most abundantly in celery, green bell peppers, artichokes, blueberries, carrots, rosemary, fresh thyme, fresh peppermint, parsley and other fruits, veggies and herbs.
To insure that you stay healthy year round and avoid nutritional deficiencies, be sure to eat the RDA (Recommended Dietary Allowance) of the aforementioned vitamins and minerals.
How much do you need?
Vitamin C – 90 mg. for men, 75 mg. for women. Smokers: 125 mg. for men and 110 mg. for women.
Vitamin E – 15 mg for both men and women.
Beta-carotene – There’s no RDA for beta-carotene, but the Institute of Medicine claims that taking 3 to 6 mg. daily may lower your risk of chronic diseases.
Selenium – 55 mg. For both men or women
Zinc – 11 mg. for men, 8 mg. for women. If you’re a strict vegetarian, you may require as much as 50% more dietary zinc, because your body absorbs less zinc when you have a diet rich in plant-based foods.
Unfortunately, there is no RDA for any phytochemicals or flavonoids, so there’s no clear-cut amount of Quercetin or Luteolin to aim for. But as long as you eat a diet high in the raw fruits and vegetables that contain those nutrients you should be fine.
The immune system is highly complex and has yet to be fully understood and explained by scientists, but one thing is abundantly clear – you can greatly increase it’s efficiency and stay out of the doctor’s office by simply eating a high nutrient diet. And one of the main benefits of eating raw, living foods is that you will preserve and consume more of the nutrients that bolster your immune system.
Eating large amounts of raw fruits and veggies may sound inconvenient, but when you consider how much time you’ll save on food prep and cooking, not to mention the amount of money you’ll save on nutritional supplements and medical bills, it’s actually more advantageous than eating cooked foods. And if you feel that you absolutely must cook some of your fruits and veggies, remember that steaming and boiling have been shown to preserve more of the nutrients than other cooking methods.
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