Greens, Beans and Berries

Green, beans and berries  help make up a huge part of our diets (or at least they should). When choosing some nice addition to your meals consider this information:

 

The Fab Four?

-Beans (for their micronutrients and phytochemicals and for their protein and fiber).
– Greens (also for their micronutrients, phytochemicals and fiber).
– Berries (for their phytochemicals and antioxidants).
– Seeds (for their omega-3 fatty acids and phytochemicals).

Greens

Cruciferous vegetables include greens like broccoli, kale, green cabbage, cauliflower, bok choy, collard greens, and Brussels sprouts. The cruciferous vegetables get their name because their four-petal flowers resemble a cross or ‘crucifer’.

In this article, we will concentrate largely on the health benefits of the cruciferous vegetables.  Benefits include good gut health, protect against DNA damage and can help fight cancer.

High intake of fruits and vegetables, along with physical activity, has been shown to quadruple the survival rate of breast cancer patients, while specific intake of cruciferous vegetables may cut the risk of breast cancer recurrence in half.  The sulforaphane in broccoli seems to be the answer. Studies show that the compound can destroy cancerous stem cells and it might even prevent cells from becoming cancerous in the first place.

But broccoli is not alone in its cancer-fighting abilities. Spinach (a dark leafy green vegetable) and other cruciferous vegetables like cabbage and cauliflower are famous for being anti-cancer superstars. And kale can boost your immune system whether you eat it cooked or raw.

More info at: UC Davis

 

Smoothies

The good: One of the greatest benefits of green smoothies is that they are the absolute easiest way for many people to increase their daily greens intake and maximize phytochemical absorption in the gut. The reality is that you could never chew well enough to release all the nutrition in your greens. Smoothies take the “work” out of it — making all the good stuff readily available for your body to use.

And the more greens you can throw in that blender the better!. And don’t stop at ‘just’ smoothies; think about also blending green veggies into soups and sauces as well.

 

The bad: Because you drink a smoothie, the meal duration is shorter, so your body won’t ‘signal’ that you’ve taken in enough calories. The answer is to drink your smoothies slowly instead of gulping them on the run. Plus, adding flax seeds increases satiety and thickens the mix to help slow down consumption (and you’ll get some omega-3 fatty acids to boot).

 

The beautiful: If you find your green smoothie to be too bitter, you can combine fruit in. Blending berries and/or bananas (NOT apples) into a green smoothie will not just add natural sweetness–it might actually improve blood sugar control. By blending two of the Fab Four groups (berries + greens) together, you get greater nutrient absorption without risking rapid sugar absorption. Win-win.

More Information at: Nutrition Facts

 

Beans

Beans Are a Nutritional Powerhouse

The U.S. federal government recommends one-half cup of beans per day – and for good reason. Beans are an excellent sources of fiber and protein. They are high in iron, vitamin B1, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium and copper. They are also naturally low in sodium.

Eating a meal containing lentils or chickpeas will keep your blood sugar level stable for about 4-6 hours.  Even better, while beans are in your system, they ‘even out’ the effect of high glycemic foods like bread or rice.


But be careful of the cans…

 

Nutrition wise, there is not much difference between boiled, sprouted and canned beans – until we look at sodium levels.

The sodium in canned beans can be 100 times greater than that of beans we boil ourselves. Draining and rinsing canned beans gets rid of half that sodium BUT also removes some of the nutrients. To avoid that problem, cook your own beans or make sure to buy beans without added salt and keep the nutrient-rich bean juice called “aquafaba” (one of the most versatile egg replacers available).

More Information at: UC Davis 

Berries

Berries are a delicious, nutrient-rich gift of nature that help you fight cancer, reduce the risk of heart and lung disease, and even boost memory. This article captures the many benefits of this ‘little’ fruit. The Beautiful Berry.

Despite their small size, berries have gigantic health-promoting properties. One of the most well-known and important qualities of berries is their high antioxidant content. Compared to any other food (except spices), berries have the highest antioxidant content per serving.

You can prevent and reduce the risk of many metabolic and age-related afflictions by eating your berries. They can also fight cancer, reduce risk of heart and lung disease, boost memory and improve sleep.

Reasons Why Berries Seem to Be Effective Against Cancer

They slow down cancer growth and starve tumors of their blood supply.

In vitro studies show that relatively small amounts of cranberries suppress the growth of colon, brain, liver, ovarian, breast and oral cancer cells. However, those results were seen with total cranberry extracts using the whole raw fruit. Cranberry juice and sweetened cranberry products won’t yield the same results — again, the whole fruit is always best.

Still, studies show a 35% reduction in the recurrence of bladder infections when cranberries are added to the diet. Antibiotics are better at reducing the recurrence, but they come with side effects and the risk of increased resistance. So eat and drink (real) cranberries to prevent, but not treat your ailing bladder.

 

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