Health Benefits of Strawberries

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   Researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health reported their findings in the August issue of the Journal of the American College of Nutrition. Using dietary intake records of approximately 27,000 of the women who participated in the decade-long Women’s Health Study, lead researcher Dr. Sesso looked at levels of strawberry consumption and several risk factors for heart disease. The findings revealed that women who ate the most strawberries – two or more servings per week – compared to those who reported eating none in the past month, were 14 percent less likely to have elevated C-reactive protein levels – a blood biomarker that signals the presence of inflammation in the body.

Strawberries are High in Antioxidants

   You’ve heard it before, but a diet high in vegetables and fruits can help you combat cardiovascular disease, cancer, and prevent or delay the onset of many of the effects of aging. Research at the USDA ‘s Agricultural Research Service at Lane, OK suggests that the high antioxidant levels in strawberries can help neutralize the destructive effects of free radicals in your system, while helping your body to repair its tissues by giving you an added boost of vitamin C.

Strawberries help your Body Combat Heart Attach, Stroke, and Alzheimer’s Disease

   A serving of strawberries will provide you with 210 mg of potassium, a mineral that will help regulate the electrolytes in your body, lowering your risk of heart attack and stroke. Strawberries are also high in folate, a key ingredient in the manufacture of red blood cells, and a possible aid in delaying the onset of Alzheimer’s disease.

   Strawberries, like other berries, are famous in the phytonutrient world as a rich source of phenols. In the strawberry, these phenols are led by the anthocyanins (especially anthocyanin 2) and by the ellagitannins. The anthocyanins in strawberry not only provide its flush red color, they also serve as potent antioxidants that have repeatedly been shown to help protect cell structures in the body and to prevent oxygen damage in all of the body’s organ systems. Strawberries’ unique phenol content makes them a heart-protective fruit, an anti-cancer fruit, and an anti-inflammatory fruit, all rolled into one. The anti-inflammatory properties of strawberry include the ability of phenols in this fruit to lessen activity of the enzyme cyclo-oxygenase, or COX. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like aspirin or ibuprofen block pain by blocking this enzyme, whose over activity has been shown to contribute to unwanted inflammation, such as that which is involved in rheumatoid and osteoarthritis, asthma, atherosclerosis, and cancer. Unlike drugs that are COX-inhibitors, however, strawberries do not cause intestinal bleeding.

   The ellagitannin content of strawberries has actually been associated with decreased rates of cancer death. In one study, strawberries topped a list of eight foods most linked to lower rates of cancer deaths among a group of over 1,000 elderly people. Those eating the most strawberries were three times less likely to develop cancer compared to those eating few or no strawberries.

  A study published in the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry analyzed eight strawberry cultivars for their content of protective plant compounds (phenols, flavonoids and anthocyanins) and their antioxidant capacities. Although the various cultivars differed significantly in the amounts of the various beneficial compounds each contained, all cultivars (Earliglow, Annapolis, Evangeline, Allstar, Sable, Sparkle, Jewel, and Mesabi) were able to significantly inhibit the proliferation of human liver cancer cells. Interestingly, no relationship was found between a cultivar’s antioxidant content and its ability to inhibit cancer cell proliferation, which suggests that this beneficial effect of strawberries is caused by other actions of their many beneficial compounds.

   Strawberries are an excellent source of vitamin C and manganese. They are also a very good source of dietary fiber and iodine. Plus, strawberries are a good source of potassium, folate, vitamin B2, vitamin B5, vitamin B6, omega-3 fatty acids, magnesium, copper, and vitamin K.

   Strawberries also contain an array of beneficial phytonutrients, including flavonoids, anthocyanidins and ellagic acid.

Reference links:

 Health Benefits of Strawberries: Enjoy a Low Calorie Way to Get Vitamins and Minerals

Rhubarb: Health Benefits

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  Rhubarb is a relative of buckwheat and has an earthy, sour or tart flavor. Although it’s typically eaten as a fruit, rhubarb is actually a vegetable that’s packed with health benefits and taste.
The stalky vegetable is 95 percent water and contains a myriad of vitamins and minerals, including potassium, vitamin A, vitamin C, dietary fiber and calcium. One cup of diced rhubarb contains about 26 calories, so it serves as a great low-calorie filler in desserts and savory pies.

  Rhubarb also has medicinal uses, as it is recognized – because of its high dietary fiber content – as a digestive system stimulant. It operates directly as a conveyor of bile salts, meaning it helps the intestine regulate the absorption of fats. Rhubarb is thus used as a laxative, anti-inflammatory and homeostatic in the treatment of constipation, diarrhea, jaundice, ulcers and more.
For those with high cholesterol, some studies have shown that rhubarb has the potential to lower cholesterol, because of its high fiber content. 

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Vitamin E Facts

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Vitamin E acts as a powerful antioxidant by neutralizing free radicals in the body that cause tissue and cellular damage. Vitamin E also contributes to a healthy circulatory system and aids in proper blood clotting and improves wound healing. Some studies have shown that vitamin E decreases symptoms of premenstrual syndrome and certain types of breast disease.

Other studies have shown that taking large doses of Vitamin E has decreased the risk of Coronary Artery Disease (CAD). Animal studies have suggested that vitamin E does slow the development of atherosclerosis, but the American Heart Association doesn’t recommend using supplements until the effects are proven in large-scale, carefully controlled clinical trials.

Nutritionists categorize vitamins by the materials that a vitamin will dissolve in. There are two categories: water-soluble and fat-soluble vitamins. Fat-soluble vitamins. vitamins A, D, E and K are stored in the fat tissues of the body for a few days to up to six months. If you get too much of a fat-soluble vitamin, it can be stored in your liver and may sometimes cause health problems. Vitamin E is a fat-soluble vitamin.

Vitamin E, also known as tocopherol, is a fat-soluble vitamin that is an essential nutrient for humans. It is believed that vitamin E is a potent antioxidant that protects cell membranes and other fat-soluble parts of the body, such as low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol from damage. It also appears to protect the body against cardiovascular disease and certain forms of cancer and has demonstrated immune-enhancing effects. Vitamin E may be beneficial for people suffering from asthma and rheumatoid arthritis. It may be effective in protecting against air pollution and some other toxins and is believed to be a useful supplement for preventing some neurological diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease. Vitamin E may also help protect skin from ultraviolet radiation and sunburns.
Vitamin E deficiency typically occurs as a result of a number of malabsorption syndromes and as a result of protein-energy malnutrition. It is possible that vitamin E deficiency in some individuals may be caused by genetic defects, fat malabsorption syndromes, as well as by a wide range of hepatobiliary, pancreatic, and intestinal disorders including cystic fibrosis, primary biliary cirrhosis, chronic pancreatitis, short bowel syndromes, Crohn’s disease, celiac disease, mesenteric vascular thrombosis, blind loop syndrome, intestinal pseudo-obstruction, intestinal lymphangiectasia, Whipple’s syndrome, and sclerodermal bowel disease. The effects of vitamin E deficiency in children can many times be reversed by supplementation with vitamin E.
Research using doses of vitamin E substantially higher than the recommended dietary intakes has provided evidence that it may be helpful for preventing preeclampsia and treating such diverse conditions as cardiac autonomic neuropathy (a complication of diabetes), menstrual pain, tardive dyskinesia, low sperm count, restless leg syndrome, acute anterior uveitis (inflammation of eye tissues), Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s Disease and rheumatoid arthritis. However, the evidence for its effectiveness in treating or preventing most of these conditions is inconclusive and more research is needed.
The primary condition that occurs as a result of vitamin E deficiency in humans is peripheral neuropathy which is characterized by the degeneration of axons in the sensory neurons. There are many other syndromes and long lasting effects of severe vitamin E deficiency. However, serious vitamin E deficiencies are rare in the U.S.
Supplemental vitamin E has been used in connection with the following conditions:

Anemia (may have other cause than vitamin E deficiency)
Burns (in combination with vitamin C for prevention of sunburns – but does not work as well as sunscreen)
Epilepsy (for children only)
Immune function (for elderly people)
Intermittent claudication
Rheumatoid arthritis
Tardive dyskinesia
Possibly Alzheimer’s disease

In addition to its antioxidant activity, vitamin E is also believed to act via other mechanisms, including direct effects on blood cell regulation, connective tissue growth, inflammation and cell division.

How Much Vitamin E Is Enough?
Women need 8 milligrams and men need 10 milligrams of vitamin E daily.

Sources of Vitamin E

Wheat germ
Vegetable oil and margarine
Whole grain products
Egg yolk
Peanut butter

Can You Have Too Much or Too Little?
It’s almost impossible to have a vitamin E deficiency, but too much can cause nausea and digestive tract problems.

Summer Tomato-Rice Casserole

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3/4 cups long-grain brown rice
4 ripe large beefsteak-type tomatoes, 2 1/2 – 3 pounds, cored
1 cup shredded lite three-cheese blend, such as mozzarella, Jack and Cheddar
1 1/2 Tbsp. chopped fresh oregano, or 2 teaspoons dried
3/4 tsp. salt, divided
Ground black pepper
Pinch cayenne pepper
1 cup panko-style breadcrumbs
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tsp. dried oregano
2 tsp. extra virgin olive oil
Cooking spray

Preparation / Cooking Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Cook rice according to package directions; there should be 2 1/2 cups cooked rice.

Cut thin slice from bottom of each tomato, discard it, and slice each tomato crosswise into 4 thick slabs. In mixing bowl, combine cooked rice, cheese, oregano, ground and cayenne pepper and half the salt. In another bowl, use a fork to combine the panko, garlic, oregano, remaining salt, and olive oil. Season to taste with black pepper, and set aside.

Coat covered 2-quart heatproof casserole with cooking spray. Arrange 4 tomato slices to cover bottom of the casserole. Using half the rice mixture, cover tomatoes. Top with another 4 or 5 tomato slices, then remaining rice. Finish with another tomato layer, overlapping the slices to cover the rice completely.

Cover casserole and bake for 45 minutes, until casserole is moist. Uncover, and sprinkle topping evenly over casserole. Bake uncovered for 20-30 minutes, or until topping is lightly colored, tomatoes are very tender, and casserole is bubbly under the topping. Let casserole sit for 20 minutes, or serve lukewarm.

Makes 6 main servings (approx. 6 cups), 8 as side dish

Per 1- cup serving: 180 calories, 6 g total fat (3 g saturated fat), 24 g carbohydrate,
10 g protein, 4 g dietary fiber, 460 mg sodium.

Recipe taken from: AICR’s Weekly Health-e-Recipe e-mail from

Tuesday, June 1, 2010, Issue No. 298

Honey-Lime Tropical Salad

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1 cup watermelon, cubed and seeded

1 cup diced banana

½ cup seedless green grapes cut in half

½ papaya, peeled, seeded and cut into cubes

¼ cup fresh mint leaves, chopped

2 Tbsp. fresh lime juice

2 tsp. honey

1/3 cup plain nonfat yogurt

1-2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar

4 cups dark green leaves such as spinach, arugula or field greens, rinsed and torn

Preparation / Cooking Directions

Toss the watermelon, banana, grapes, papaya, mint leaves, half the lime juice and half the honey until well mixed. Set it aside. In a small bowl, stir together the yogurt and the remaining lime juice and honey. Toss the greens with the balsamic vinegar and divide the greens among four plates. Arrange the fruit mixture on top, distributing evenly. Drizzle with the yogurt dressing and serve.

Makes 4 servings. Per serving: 101 calories, 0 g total fat (0 g saturated fat), 26 g carbohydrate, 2 g protein, 3 g dietary fiber, 34 mg sodium

Taken from AICR’s Weekly Health-e-Recipes e-mail from

Tuesday, July 18, 2006, Issue No. 97

Whole Wheat Blueberry Muffins

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Nonstick cooking spray

1 cup whole-wheat flour

¾ cup all-purpose flour

½ cup firmly packed light brown sugar

1 Tbsp. plus 1 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. ground cinnamon

½ tsp. ground allspice

½ tsp. salt

1 cup nonfat buttermilk (or 1 cup of nonfat yogurt)

2 Tbsp. canola oil

2 Tbsp. unsweetened applesauce

1 egg, lightly beaten

1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries*

Preparation / Cooking Directions

*Note: Tossing unthawed frozen blueberries with two tablespoons of flour before adding them to the batter helps to keep them from turning the batter purple while the muffins bake.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Lightly spray a muffin tin with cooking spray. In a large bowl, combine the flours, brown sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, allspice and salt. In another bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, oil, applesauce and egg. Pour the buttermilk mixture into the dry mixture, stirring until it is just combined (do not over mix). Lightly stir in the blueberries. Spoon the batter evenly into the prepared muffin cups. Bake until the tops are golden, 20-25 minutes. Transfer the pan to a wire rack to cool slightly. Then transfer the muffins to cooling rack. Serve warm.

To freeze the muffins, store them in a zipper-lock storage bag and they will keep for up to a month. To reheat frozen muffins in the microwave, wrap them in a paper towel and heat on high for 30 seconds.

Makes 12 muffins. Per muffin: 112 Calories, 3 g Total Fat (<1 g Saturated Fat), 19 g Carbohydrates, 3 g Protein, 2 g Dietary Fiber, 262 mg Sodium.

Recipe taken from: AICR’s Weekly Health-e-Recipe e-mail from

Tuesday, March 7, 2006, Issue No. 78

Blueberry Health Benefits

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   Want to retain your memory? Try a blueberry. Lower your risk factors for some cancers? Make blueberries part of your diet. How about a great natural source of antioxidants for optimum health? That’s right, true blues.

   The long list of health benefits associated with blueberries is becoming as well known among the general public as it has been for many years in the health and research communities and with professional growers. From Newsweek to the Wall Street Journal and beyond, it’s almost impossible now not to hear something good, make that great, about blueberries.

   “When it comes to brain protection, there’s nothing quite like blueberries, according to Tufts neuroscientist James Joseph,” as recounted in Newsweek (6/17/02). "’call the blueberry the brain berry,– says Joseph, who attributes the effects to its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compounds.” In the Wall Street Journal (4/29/03), a recent article on reversing memory loss noted “blueberries . . . had the strongest impact” in a study showing aging rodents behaved more like their younger counterparts when fed several different fruits.

   In fact, blueberries are a standout fruit in the 5 A Day The Color Way™ for Better Health Program, the nation’s largest public-private nutrition education initiative. With the goal of increasing fruit and vegetable consumption to 5 A Day for 75 percent of Americans by 2010, the program recommends that consumers should Eat Your Colors. Of course that means blueberries as one of the top fruits and vegetables in the Blue/Purple category. According to the program, blues and purples lower the risk of some cancers and promote urinary tract health, memory function, and healthy aging with their varying amounts of health-promoting phytochemicals such as anthocyanins and phenolics, currently being studied for their antioxidant and anti-aging benefits.

For easy reference, the list from many sources of reported blueberry benefits includes:

improved vision
clearing arteries
more antioxidants for disease protection
strengthening blood vessels
enhanced memory
stopping urinary tract infections
reversing age-related physical and mental declines
promoting weight control.

   “We now know that blueberries are one of the best sources of antioxidants, substances that can slow the aging process and reduce cell damage that can lead to cancer,” according to the American Institute for Cancer Research.

Besides all the health benefits blueberries are delicious.

Processed foods and Chemical additives

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Have you ever thought about the fact most food either has been processed and or contains chemicals not meant for humans to consume. Our bodies are designed to process natural sources of nutrients not preservatives and dyes made in a lab. The term Junk food pretty much now covers most of the food we consume. Yes i know scientists deem most of the additives safe for consumption but they have said that about allot of things. Science doesn’t have the facts straight all the time look at how many medications that were deemed safe in the past that either now contain warning labels or have been pulled off the shelf entirely due to new found problems in their consumption. Food also has had allot of do’s and don’ts change through out the years. Eggs are one, they say don’t eat them due to cholesterol then say do eat them for the omega3 fats. Margarine and butter also have had there days of do and don’ts. Seems our scientists and medical researchers need to do more complete studies before announcing there findings. So are we going to believe those whom so far have proven to be a shaky source of facts thus far or will we choose to eat what is meant for us the things that the earth provides. Its up to the individual to choose but i at least suggest you read the labels on the packages before you eat the food inside for now on so at least you understand the facts of what is in your food. I know i will eat some of the foods that had been processed and have chemical additives due to both the convenience and fact i just like them. Just limit the amount of processed foods and foods with chemical additives and eat more fresh foods. You may find you will feel a little better and fresh foods taste so much better.

Cooking Oils, Which are more Heart Healthy?

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The cooking oils below are low in saturated fats and trans fats. Some have high concentration of monounsaturated fats such as olive oil. Use corn oil, safflower oil, sunflower oil, soy oil or canola oil if you wish to fry foods as these oils have higher smoke point. It is best not to fry with olive oil as its has a low smoke point.

canola oil
flax seed oil
peanut oil
Olive Oil
safflower oil
corn oil
sunflower oil
soy oil

Foods That Contain Omega-3 Fatty Acids

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omega-3 Fatty Acids are a good way to help control cholesterol levels
Below is a list of some foods that contain the omega-3 Fatty Acids

Salmon, flax seeds and walnuts, scallops, cauliflower, cabbage, cloves, mustard seeds, halibut, shrimp, cod, tuna, soybeans, tofu, kale, collard greens, and Brussels sprouts.

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