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General interest items edited by Janice Flahiff

Keep fruit and vegetables in daylight to boost nutrients

Sounds like a lot of work, but an interesting article.
Also wondering, as one of the commentators, if by the time we get the food home, will these cycles matter?

Natural Products News and Updates

Current Biology published a study regarding the best way to store fruits and vegetables to obtain the most benefit. The study found fruits and vegetables follow a 24-hour plant clock. Food crops can alter the internal chemical level throughout the day in order to ward off pests. Storing fruits and vegetables under the light-dark cycles helps them to preserve more nutrients. Glucosinates, a chemical with anti-cancer property is produced by cabbage in the day; refrigerated cabbage on the opposite produced less glucosinates. Further tests revealed many other crops (e.g., lettuce, spinach, courgettes, sweet potatoes, carrots and blueberries) also follow the same light-dark cycle. Please share your thoughts on the result of this study. How do you typically store your fruits or vegetables?

For the full article, click here.

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July 14, 2013 Posted by | Nutrition | , , | Leave a comment

[reblog]The World of Phytochemicals – FOOD, FACTS and FADS


From the article at The World of Phytochemicals | FOOD, FACTS and FADS

VegetablesVegetables (Photo credit: neonbubble)

Phytochemicals serve a wide variety of functions in plants to provide flavor, color but also to protect the plant from insects and microbes.  More than 2000 of these chemicals have been identified.   It has been known for 30 years that diets rich in fruits and vegetables are protective against some cancers and heart disease and for years vitamins and minerals were given the credit; now we know that more than likely it was the presence of the phytochemicals.  Now there is evidence that these compounds may protect against macular degeneration, cataracts, type 2 diabetes, stroke, and hypertension.

Most phytonutrients work together, so it is nearly impossible to put them together in a pill; therefore, it is obviously recommended that foods rather than supplements provide them.

How do phytochemicals work?  In general, they:

  • Act as hormone-inhibiting substances that prevent the initiation of cancer.
  • Serve as antioxidants that prevent and repair damage to cells due to oxidation.
  • Block or neutralize enzymes that promote the development of cancer and other diseases.
  • Decreases plague formation and formation of blood clots.

So what are some of them and where are they found?

  • Indoles, isothiocyanates:  Contain sulfur and may be protective against breast cancer.   Found in broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower.
  • Terpenes: Limonene is from the same family of compounds as taxmoxifen (an anti- breast cancer drug).  Found in oranges, lemons, grapefruit.
  • Flavonoids (Include tannins, phenols):  There are over 4000 of these.  Gives red wines and dark teas their bitter taste.  Found in apples, strawberries, grapes, green and black teas, red wine, purple grape juice, dark chololate.
  • Carotenoids (alpha, beta carotenes, lutein, zeathanin, lycopene).  There are more than 600 types that act as pigments in plants.  Fat intake increases absorption.  Found in dark green vegetables, orange, yellow and red vegetables and fruits.
  • Capsasin: Affects blood clotting and clots; found in hot peppers.
  • Curcumin: May inhibit enzymes that activate carcinogens.  Found in turmeric, a yellow-colored spice.
  • Resveratrol: Offsets artery-damage due to inflammation. Found in red wine, peanuts.
  • Organosulfur compounds: May speed production of carcinogen-destroying enzymes or slow proliferation of carcinogen-activating enzymes.  Found in chives, leeks, garlic, and onion.
  • Protease inhibitors: May suppress enzyme production in cancer cells, slowing tumor growth; inhibit hormone binding; inhibit malignant changes in cells.  Found in broccoli sprouts, potatoes, soybeans and other legumes.
  • Tannins: May inhibit carcinogen activation and cancer promotion; act as antioxidants.  Found in black-eyed peas, grapes, lentils, red and white wine, tea.

BOTTOM LINE:  Until more research is done, eat real whole fruits and vegetables, NOT supplementary pills or extracts.  By the way, taking antioxidant supplements have not been shown to be very effective if at all in disease prevention.  These phytochemicals work together to protect us from disease, so taking one alone will probably have no effect on health or longevity.



September 11, 2012 Posted by | Nutrition | , , , | 1 Comment

You Are What You Eat: Within-Subject Increases in Fruit and Vegetable Consumption Confer Beneficial Skin-Color Changes

From the Public Library of Science article

Fruit and vegetable consumption and ingestion of carotenoids have been found to be associated with human skin-color (yellowness) in a recent cross-sectional study. This carotenoid-based coloration contributes beneficially to the appearance of health in humans and is held to be a sexually selected cue of condition in other species…

Increased fruit and vegetable consumption confers measurable and perceptibly beneficial effects on Caucasian skin appearance within six weeks. This effect could potentially be used as a motivational tool in dietary intervention.

March 12, 2012 Posted by | Nutrition | , , | Leave a comment

The Trouble With Nightshades by Amy Croan MPH

Beware of nightshades


The Trouble With Nightshades by Amy Croan MPH.

from the 19th November blog item

Got aches and pain? Eliminating nightshades from your diet for a full 3 to 4 weeks is likely to provide total relief.

What are Nightshades?

Nightshades are part of the Solanaceae family of plants including tomatoes, tomatillos, hot and sweet peppers (not black pepper), potatoes (but not yams/sweet potatoes), eggplant, huckleberries, tobacco, pimento, paprika and cayenne, Tabasco sauce, and the poisonous belladonna and mandrake.

This ominous-sounding group of vegetables contains alkaloids, which can exacerbate arthritis, muscle tremors, paralysis and difficulty breathing. For especially sensitive people or those allergic to nightshades, these alkaloids can be fatal. For the rest of the population, it may encourage joint inflammation resulting in arthritis, of which there are about one hundred varieties, gout, or digestive problems and GERD, eczema and psoriasis. Alkaloids cause the bones to excrete calcium and other minerals and trace elements from the body.

Unless we are making a conscious effort, we are eating a much higher concentration of nightshades than we are aware. Nightshade spices are in most processed grocery store foods, including mayonnaise, salad dressings, salsa, and mixed spice packets just to name a few. But it’s also because we subconsciously seek them out because we crave them. They are high in potassium and counter the high sodium content in animal foods, i.e., meat and potatoes; cheese pizza with tomato sauce, etc. Unknowingly, we search for food combinations to make the appropriate balance.

The degree to which people can be affected by nightshades varies by individual and no medical research has definitively proven nightshades to cause or inflame arthritis, but testimonies and physician trials have shown enough relief that many medical practices recommend nightshade elimination from diets. Even a small amount ingested can cause minor irritations to death, depending on the individual.

Thousands of people who regularly received cortisone injections for arthritis pain relief have been able to discontinue the shots after three to four weeks without eating tomatoes, salsa, potatoes, eggplant and cayenne pepper.

Interesting Stats

  • Journal of Neurological and Orthopedic Medical Surgery: Of the 52% rigidly on the diet [without nightshades], 94% reported complete or substantial relief of arthritis.
  • Dr. Bruce Ames/Dr. Swirsky Gold: In a poisoning associated with a school lunch program, 61 of 109 school children and staff in Alberta, Canada, became ill, most within 5 minutes, after eating baked potato.
  • Potato neurotoxins have been shown to cause birth defects in rodents.
  • Positive correlation of appendicitis incidence rates with potato consumption.

Nightshades have been used and referenced in shamanism, witchcraft, and murder. They come with a history of both mystical danger and scientific caution. Some of the alkaloid properties have been used as anesthesia, and they are still a basis for potent narcotic medicine and sleeping pills.

It’s worth taking a nightshade-break in your diet for a few weeks to see if you feel better. I wouldn’t be surprised if you did! If you absolutely cannot, cooking the vegetables will reduce alkaloids by nearly half.

Related Reading:

Calcium For Bone Health: Not What You Thought

Tomatoes Are Evil

November 19, 2011 Posted by | Consumer Health, Nutrition | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment


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