So, what are pulses? Pulses are part of the legume family; they are the dried seed of the legume plants. Pulses come in many shapes, sizes and colours such as lentils, chickpeas, black beans and kidney beans to name a few. They are full of so many health benefits and environmentally friendly.
“pulse crops such as lentils, beans, peas and chickpeas are a critical source of plant-based proteins and amino acids for people around the globe, as well as a source of plant-based protein for animals”~ United Nations International Year of Pulses.
Health Benefits of Pulses (Beans and Lentils)
- Helps Reduce Risk of Cancer Especially of Colon Cancer
Several cancers including the upper digestive tract, stomach, colon, rectum, and kidneys were found to decrease with a higher consumption of beans and lentils according to a Uruguay study between 1996 and 2004.
In three other studies with 101,856 participants it was found that a higher consumption of legumes reduced the risk of colorectal adenoma.
- Helps with Weight Loss
Consumers of beans had healthier nutrient consumption levels, were less overweight and had 22% reduced risk of being obese and lower compared to non-consumers in a survey between 1999 – 2002.
Also, it was found that one serving of beans per day helped with weight loss in clinical trials with 940 participants at St. Michael’s Hospital, Toronto.
- Lowers Risk of Heart Attack
Pulses are a heart healthy food according to Pulse Canada. Results from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) Follow-up study indicate that men and women who consumed legumes 4 or more times per week had a 22% reduction in heart disease risk, compared with those who consumed legumes less than once a week.
In a 25 year study with 16,000 middle-aged men in a number of countries, it was found that those who ate more legumes had 82% reduced a risk of heart attack.
- Improves Glycemic Index for diabetics
It was found in a study that adding beans and whole grains in the diet of diabetics there was an improvement in their glycemic index. Also, in another study, it was found that whole grain and legume powder reduced need for insulin in patients with coronary artery disease. Many Canadian dietitians recommend eating beans to individuals with diabetes.
- Filled with Good Protein
Wondering how to replace meat in your menu, add beans or lentils. They are a good source of protein, and when combined with a whole grain such as brown rice or millet they provide a complete source of protein without saturated fat. Beans have the highest protein content of all plant foods.
Pulses provide about 10% of the total food protein consumed in the world and have about twice the protein content of most grains. Learn more about: Protein Quality of Cooked Pulses.
- Full of Healthy Fiber
Pulses are a food high in soluble and insoluble fiber. Soluble fiber binds with bile (which contains cholesterol) in the digestive tract carrying it out of the body. A diet with fiber helps with lowering body weight according to research. Blood sugar levels can be stabilized with a high fiber diet according to research.
Why to Include Pulses in Our Diet:
- High in protein – 1/2 cup (4 ounces) of cooked beans is equivalent to eating two ounces of lean protein. The guidelines recommend that most adults eat about 5 1/2 ounces of lean meat a day.
- Lots of fibre – ½ cup serving of cooked dry beans has 4 to 10 grams of fibre.
- Rich in complex carbohydrates.
- Contain iron, zinc, calcium, selenium […]
Delicious nutty sunflower seeds are a popular snack which is undervalued. They may be small but sunflower seeds are a dense source of nutrients and full of extraordinary health benefits. Also, the sunflowers are beautiful flowers with an abundance of nutrition.
6 Health Benefits of Sunflower Seeds
- Lowers Cholesterol
The high-oleic-acid sunflower oil will lower both triglyceride and LDL cholesterol levels according to a study at the University of Sydney, Australia. Vitamin E is one of the antioxidants found in cholesterol particles and helps prevent free radicals from oxidizing cholesterol.
- Good for Young and Healthy Skin
They are abundant in Vitamin E which is vital for the care of the healthy skin by keeping it hydrated, and helps prevent damage created by the sun and pollution. Studies on dogs have shown that sunflower seeds and flax seeds helped to keep their skin and fur healthy and free from signs of damage even as they aged. Researchers believe that aging humans could have the same benefits.
- Cancer Reduced
The high Vitamin E in sunflower seeds is effective in cancer prevention. Studies at Harvard have shown that Vitamin E protects men from prostate cancer. Also, a study by the Texas Woman’s University suggests that it may reduce the risk of lung cancer.
- Reduces Risk of Diabetes
Through years of research, it has been found that a diet rich in nuts and seeds helps balance blood sugar levels reducing the chance of developing diabetes. U.S. National Library of Medicine gives a list of foods to always choose to help prevent diabetes and sunflower seeds are one of the foods.
“The world faces an epidemic of insulin resistance and diabetes. Our findings support preventing and treating these diseases by eating more fat-rich foods like walnuts, sunflower seeds, soybeans, flaxseed, fish, and other vegetable oils and spreads, in place of refined grains, starches, sugars, and animal fats.” ~ Dr. Dariush Mozaffarian, Tufts University.
- Depression Healed Magnesium
Sunflower seeds are a very good source of magnesium which has been found in research to heal depression.
6. Helps Prevent Heart Disease
Sunflower seeds are high in vitamin E which is known to help in preventing heart disease. In 1986, a study with 39,910 U.S. male health professionals aged between 40 to 75 in a Harvard study found that those who had a good amount of vitamin E had a much lower risk of dying of a heart attack.
Sunflower Seed Nutrition
Half a cup of husked sunflower seeds gives you in terms of daily requirement:
- An excellent source of vitamin E; gives over 116%.
- A great source of vitamin B1 of 69% and Manganese 68%.
- A good source of copper 63% and Magnesium 57%.
- Folate (B vitamin) with over 39%.
- Good protein of 29%.
Also, they are a good source of fiber, manganese, selenium, phosphorus, vitamin B6, niacin, phosphorus, and iron. See full details at Nutrition Data.
- The tallest sunflower grown was 30 feet, 1nch grown by Hans-Peter Schiffer in Germany verified on 28 August 2014 according to the Guinness Book of World Records.
- It is the national flower of Russia and the state flower of Kansas, USA.
- One of Van Gogh’s ‘Sunflowers’ paintings was bought by an anonymous buyer for $39.85 million.
- They are one of the most consumed seeds in the world.
- The Incas used the sunflower as an image of their sun god.
The sunflower seeds have been growing wild since 8,500 BC in North America. They have been eaten by Native Americans for over 5,000 years who grew large flowers for the seeds to […]
A sprig of delicious dill adds a unique flavor to your food and it is full of health benefits.
Dill’s name comes from the Norwegian word ‘dilla,’ meaning to soothe. Dill has been valued for its many health benefits as early as 1500 B.C. In ancient Egyptian papyrus manuscripts, it was documented as a remedy to soothe flatulence, relieve pain and act as a laxative and a diuretic.
6 Health Benefits of Dill
2. Helps with Digestion
Since very early times, dill was used to cure hiccups, stomachaches and bad breath. It has antispasmodic properties that relieve stomach pain and cramping. Ayurvedic medicine has used the dill seed for stomach problems for centuries.
3. Helps Prevent Bone Loss
Being a good source of calcium, it helps in reducing the bone loss that occurs after menopause. One tablespoon of dill seed contains 3 grams of calcium.
4. Reduces Bloating, Gas, Diarrhea and Constipation from Bacteria Overgrowth
Dill can help prevent bacterial overgrowth which is the cause of the above symptoms. The volatile oil of dill has been studied for its ability to prevent bacterial overgrowth.
5. Eugenol Oil in Dill Is Good as a Local Anesthetic
Eugenol oil has been used therapeutically by dentists as local analgesic agent as it lessens tooth pain.
6. Eugenol oil also has been found to reduce blood sugar levels in diabetics (more research is required).
Also we call it a Powerfood!
Dill is a good source of dietary Fiber, Niacin, Phosphorus, Zinc and Copper, and a very good source of Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Riboflavin, Vitamin B6, Folate, Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, Potassium and Manganese.
It is low in calories: half a cup of dill has only 2 calories!
For more details go to: Nutrition Data
- Dill was believed to protect against curses and witchcraft during European medieval times.
- It was thought to make one drowsy and was given to crying babies, which is why its original name, dilla also means “to lull.”
- The Dill pickle is at least 400 years old.
- Dill has been used to make green dye.
- Dill was used by Hippocrates for cleaning the mouth.
- Ancient soldiers applied burnt dill seeds to their wounds to help healing.
- 5,000 years ago, in Egypt, the first record of dill as a medicinal herb was found
- Around 3,000 B.C. Babylonians grew dill in their gardens.
- It is native to southern Russia, western Africa and the Mediterranean.
- In the seventeenth century, it was found in many English kitchen gardens.
- It is thought to have arrived in America with early settlers.
“Give your food a Thrill by adding some Dill!”- Roylin J. Picou, Poet
Yummy Recipes with Dill
Quick Easy Pickles Yummy pickles in just over one hour.
Creamy Potato Salad – Vegan Even if you are not vegan, you will love this recipe.
Yogurt Salad Dressing I love adding lots of dill weed to this salad dressing.
Pecans are gourmet nuts with a delicious buttery taste and not just in a pecan pie. Also, pecans have an abundance of health benefits making them a great powerfood addition to our meals and even our snacks!
‘Pecan’ means ‘a nut requiring a stone to crack’ it in Algonquian. They are technically a fruit with a single stone or pit, surrounded by a husk, not really a nut.
6 Health Benefits of the Pecan
The research since 2000 clearly indicates that the pecan are a healthy addition to your diet as well as being tasty.
A study at the Loma Linda University found that eating a diet supplemented with pecans, gamma-tocopherol levels in the body doubled and bad cholesterol in the blood decreased by 33 percent. “This study is another piece of evidence that pecans are a healthy food,” says researcher Dr. Haddad.
To hear more about what researcher Dr. Haddad has to say watch this video:
Helps Keep the Heart Healthy
Pecans are rich in one form of vitamin E; gamma tocopherol which is helpful in preventing coronary heart disease.
High in Antioxidants
Foods that have a high antioxidant capacity can decrease the risk of cancer, coronary heart disease, and neurological diseases such as Alzheimer’s. Also, pecans contain the highest antioxidant capacity compared to all nuts according to the largest USDA study of food antioxidants.
Protects Your Nervous System
Adding pecans to your diet are helpful in protecting the nervous system and may delay the progression of age-related motor neuron degeneration such as diseases like ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease. This is according to research at the Center for Cellular Neurobiology at the University of Massachusetts Lowell.
Do they Create Weight Gain?
Also, a study found that eating nuts did not increase weight, so a few pecans a day and can be eaten without gaining weight.
Pecans are Nutrient Dense
- They contain more than 19 vitamins and minerals including vitamin A, vitamin E, folic acid, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, oleic acid, vitamin B1, thiamin, magnesium, protein and zinc.
- Also, they are a good source of protein containing very few carbohydrates and are sodium-free.
- Approximately 20 halves contain 196 calories so you can eat 10 halves for less than 100 calories.
Above from: Nutrition Data
Fossil pecan remains show that the pecan tree was prehistoric.
Native Americans cultivated the wild pecan in the 1500’s.
They are native to the Mississippi valley. The world’s largest pecan nursery is located in Lumberton, Mississippi.
Fun Pecan Facts
- A pecan pie contains about 78 pecans!
- 80% of the world’s pecans are grown in the U.S.
- There are over 1,000 varieties of pecans and many are named for Native American Indian tribes (Cheyenne, Mohawk, Sioux, Choctaw and Shawnee).
- Texas adopted the pecan tree as its state tree in 1919.
- The pecan comes in many sizes: mammoth, extra-large, large, medium, small and midget.
- Before a pecan can be sold, first it is cleaned, sterilized, cracked and finally, shelled.
- Texas has over 70 million wild pecan trees; the pecan tree was officially designated the Texas state tree in 1919.
- The shell of a pecan is a great mulch for gardens.
If you’ve already decided you don’t like Brussels sprouts, it’s probably because at some point in your life someone served you some where their tasty, nutty, sweet flavor was boiled away. When you learn how to cook them properly, you may find them totally yummy!
Brussels sprouts look like mini cabbages and are in fact in the same family.
5 Health Benefits of Brussels Sprouts
1. Keeps Bones Strong and Healthy
Brussels sprouts are full of vitamin K, which is responsible for good bone health. One cup of Brussels sprouts has over 270 percent of your daily vitamin K requirement. Studies have found vitamin K to be helpful in increasing bone density and reducing fractures in osteoporosis patients.
2. Helps Fight Cancer
The research for how Brussels sprouts helps fight cancer is vast. Here are a few highlights.
- Brussels sprouts are a cruciferous vegetable, which have been shown to lower overall cancer risk according to research at Oregon State University.
- It was found that people who ate greater amounts of Brussels sprouts had a lower risk of cancer, as stated at the National Cancer Institute fact page.
- Cruciferous vegetables have been found to help inhibit and regulate cancer-causing genes. Cruciferous vegetables are “key to eliminating cancer” according to research at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.
- Also, Brussels sprouts are a glucosinolate-containing cruciferous vegetable, which a 1995 study found reduces colon cancer.
3. Lowers Cholesterol
When Brussels sprouts are steamed, the fiber components bind with intestinal bile acids, helping them to pass out of the body. This creates a need in the body to replenish lost bile acids, using the existing supply of cholesterol, thus reducing it. Uncooked Brussels sprouts do have some ability to lower cholesterol, but it’s low compared to the process of steaming, according to the Western Regional Research Center.
4. Provides A Good Source of Protein When Combined with a Whole Grain
Brussels sprouts contain a good quantity of protein. There’s 4 grams of protein in one cup of Brussels sprouts. You will get the most protein when you eat them with a whole grain as they need the balance of other amino acids.
5. Promotes Weight loss
One cup of Brussels sprouts has only 56 calories. They are low in fat and have 4 grams of fiber. This fiber has many benefits for your digestive system and gives you that ‘full’ feeling. They are nutrient dense so your body is also satisfied long term.
Brussels Sprouts Trivia
- They are spelled Brussels sprouts, NOT Brussel sprouts and NOT brussel sprouts.
- A team of scientists with local schoolchildren lit a Christmas tree in London, England from the energy of 1,000 Brussels sprouts!
- Brussels sprouts are used in Chinese medicine to improve digestion.
- Brussels sprouts are the most hated vegetable in Britain and America!
Brussels Sprout Nutrition
One serving of Brussels sprouts will meet your needs for vitamin C and vitamin K for the day. Brussels sprouts are one of the top 20 most nutritious foods as scored by the Aggregate Nutrient Density Index.
One cup of cooked Brussels sprouts provides:
274 percent vitamin K
162 percent vitamin C
24 percent vitamin A
24 percent folate
18 percent manganese
14 percent potassium
14 percent vitamin B6
12 percent thiamine vitamin B1
10 percent iron
4 grams protein
4 grams fiber
270 mg of omega-3 fatty acids
Brussels sprouts also contribute to your daily need for calcium, providing 37 milligrams in one cup.
History of Brussels Sprouts
- The name Brussels sprouts comes from Brussels, Belgium where they were first grown in quantity in the sixteenth century.
- Brussels sprouts are said to have been developed from wild cabbages in the […]
You can mash them or bake them, or give them a quick fry and sweet potatoes are always delicious!
This starchy superstar is a delicious treat and has become a sentimental staple at Thanksgiving dinners. The good news is that sweet potatoes are actually very nutritious as well as being exceptionally delicious. Read on to discover their health benefits, their history and trivia, and tips for cooking them just right.
Don’t let the ‘sweet’ in sweet potatoes scare you.
They actually have a lower glycemic index then white potatoes. That means they are less likely to produce insulin resistance and its accompanying health problems, including weight gain. Sweet potatoes are a smart carb, very rich in carotenoids, vitamins A, B6, C, potassium, iron and fiber. They provide a wealth of health benefits and are a great addition to your meals.
Did you know that sweet potatoes were cultivated and consumed before the white (Irish) potato?
13 Surprising Health Benefits of Sweet Potatoes
1. Maintains Healthy Blood Sugar Levels
Yes, sweet potatoes are sweet, but they have a low glycemic index meaning the sugar is released slowly into the bloodstream. Most consumed starchy foods raise blood sugar rapidly; with sweet potato you will not get a blood sugar spike, but you will get a steady amount of energy. Research at the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences found the Beauregard sweet potato to be a low-glycemic index food.
2. Treatment for Diabetes
A study of 61 people with type 2 diabetes saw that those who took the extract, Caiapo, from the sweet potato daily for 3 months had their blood sugar drop with no significant adverse effects.
Caiapo has been used without medical prescription for years in Japan as a food additive for prevention and treatment for diabetes.
“We’re hoping that diet, particularly the consumption of sweet potatoes, will become a more widely used tool in the treatment of diabetes. It has the potential to be more cost-effective than drugs.” – Dr. Jon Allen, CALS professor of food science.
3. Immune System is Strengthened
Sweet potatoes are high in vitamin C, Beta Carotene and vitamin E that support a healthy immune system and are powerful disease-fighting antioxidants.
4. Helps Keep the Heart Healthy
They are a great source of B6 vitamins, which break down homocysteine, a substance that contributes to the hardening of blood vessels and arteries. – Harvard University School of Public Health.
Also, being a good source of potassium, they help the heart by lowering blood pressure according to the American Heart Association. Potassium is also an important electrolyte that helps regulate your heartbeat.
5. Reduce the Chances of Stomach Ulcers
Functional Foods in Health and Disease did a study in 2012 on how effective sweet potatoes were in healing an ulcer. The sweet potato had a potent ulcer healing effect!
6. Good for Weight Loss
Sweet potatoes are a good source of dietary fiber, which slows down digestion so you eat less. This also helps with regular bowel movements.
7. Anti-Inflammatory Effects of Purple Sweet Potato
A study found the extract of the purple sweet potato to be anti-inflammatory.
Sweet Potatoes are High in Beta-Carotene (Vitamin A)
1 cup Sweet potato, cooked, baked in skin = 769 percent daily recommended intake of Vitamin A, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
Vitamin A is an antioxidant that protects cells from damage caused by free radicals believed to contribute to some chronic diseases.
According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, Beta-Carotene also […]
Sweet bell peppers, with their terrifically tangy, sweet taste, add a lovely light crunchiness to meals. Their vivid bright colors of royal red, sunny yellow, bright orange or deep green adds vibrant beauty to any meal, whether it’s a salad or a stir fry.
5 Amazing Health Benefits of Sweet Bell Peppers
1. Lowers Risk of Prostate Cancer
Research studies of 12 years, found the relationship between vitamin C rich foods, particularly green peppers, lowered the risk of prostate cancer. Prostate Cancer and Prostatic Disease scientists attributed lycopene, β-carotene, vitamins E, C and A, and retinoids found in bell peppers may significantly reduce prostate cancer risk.
2. Helps Repair Bones
Collagen is a long, fibrous protein critical to providing your bones with tensile strength. Collagen needs vitamin C to synthesize collagen. U.S. National Library of Medicine note that red and yellow bell peppers have 4 times as much vitamin C as oranges.
3. May Help Protect Against Cancer
Red bell peppers are abundant in capsanthin, an antioxidant responsible for their brilliant red color. Some studies have shown that this carotenoid may help protect against cancer.
4. Great Food for Weight Loss
Sweet red peppers can activate thermogenesis and increases our metabolism without increasing our heart rate and blood pressure like the hot peppers do, research has shown.
Also, they are low in calories being 92 percent water (1 green peppers, sliced cup = 18 calories 1 red peppers, sliced cup = 28 calories). Source: USDA
5. Can Help Prevent Anemia
They are high in Vitamin C which is needed to fully absorb iron.
Bell Pepper Trivia
- They are technically a fruit because they grow on a flowering plant and contain seeds
- Sweet bell peppers are not hot! As measured in ‘Scoville Heat Scale’ a sweet bell pepper scores 0, while a jalapeno pepper scores between 2,500 and 4,000 and those Mexican habaneros 200,000 to 500,000 units!
- According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture: Between 2007-2011, China produced 51 percent of the world’s bell peppers making them the largest bell pepper growers, followed by Mexico, Turkey and Indonesia.
Bell Pepper Nutrition
- High in Vitamin C – Green, sweet bell peppers have 2 times as much vitamin C as oranges; red and yellow bell peppers have 4 times as much. One cup of chopped green bell peppers provides 119.8 milligrams. Red peppers contain almost 300 percent of your daily vitamin C intake.
- Contain Many Healthy Antioxidants (capsanthin, violaxanthin, lutein, quercetin and luteolin) which are associated with many health benefits. Source: Authority Nutrition
Allergy or Sensitivity to Bell Peppers
Bell peppers are part of the nightshade family, which also includes potatoes, tomatoes and eggplant. For those who are sensitive to nightshades, they could trigger inflammation in the body and contribute to arthritis. There are no scientific studies to confirm this, but many health professionals have made the observation that some are sensitive to nightshade produce. It has been suggested that this sensitivity to nightshades is a unique sensitivity to solanine.
There are people with pollen allergy may also be sensitive to bell peppers. When bell peppers are eaten in moderation they don’t usually have any adverse health effects.
Green peppers are native to Mexico, Central America and South America.
Christopher Columbus brought sweet peppers back to Europe where they quickly became a popular ingredient in Spanish cuisine.
Sweet bell peppers can be orange, yellow, red, purple, brown, black, ivory or green, depending on the stage of ripeness and the variety. Green bell peppers are fully developed, but not ripe.
All sweet bell peppers start out […]
Kabocha Squash can turn your kitchen into a fall food festival. With its bright orange color and rich, sweet delicious flavor, it can add a delightful dynamism to any meal. Learn below about its health benefits and how to find and cook it properly.
All squash is good for your health, but Kabocha Squash is my favorite because it tastes so good! Read about Squash the Powerfood.
5 Kabocha Squash Health Benefits
Excellent High Source of Beta-carotene
Beta-carotene converts to vitamin A in the body. Many of the Kabocha health benefits come from the benefits of vitamin A and the powerful antioxidant properties of beta-carotene.
1. Good for Healthy Eyes
Vitamin A is essential for good vision. Often poor sight at night and dry eyes are signs of a vitamin A deficiency according to the University of Maryland Medical Center.
One cup of Kabocha Squash has 93 percent of the amount of Vitamin A required for the day.
2. Helps Decrease Heart Disease
In a study of 1899 men aged 40 to 59 years, it was found that those with higher amounts of Vitamin A had a decreased risk of incident CHD. Kabocha squash is very high in vitamin A.
3. Good for Weight Loss – Low in carbohydrates
One cup of Kobocha Squash has only 40 calories compared to Butternut Squash, which has 60 calories.
4. May Help Fight Cancer
The American Institute for Cancer Research reports that squash may help fight cancer and heart disease while protecting your vision, immune system and skin.
5. Good for Healthy Skin
It is high in vitamin A. Research sited by the University of Maryland Medical Center has found vitamin A to be important for skin health and skin problems due to aging.
Kabocha Squash Trivia
It is known as Japanese squash. It is similar to Butternut Squash, but much sweeter. Its growing season lasts well through the winter.
Portuguese sailors took the Kabocha Squash with them from Cambodia to Japan in 1541. Their name for it was Cambodia abóbora and the Japanese shortened it to Kabocha.
- All the hard-shelled squashes are uniquely from the western hemisphere as far back as 3,000 BC. They were honored by the natives as being one of the ‘Three Sisters’ (Beans, Corn and Squash). These were sustenance foods for many of the ancient people.
- Europeans did not get to eat squash until after Columbus. In northern Europe they did not grow well as the climate was too cool and the summer season too short. France and Spain embraced the squash and created many unique varieties.
How to Buy and Store Kabocha Squash
- Look for a squat pumpkin shape with hard knobby looking skin.
- It weighs an average of three pounds and has spotted or blotchy dark green skin.
- Make sure the squash is not soft or pitted. The stem should be intact and look fresh also.
- Buy Kabocha at your farmers market grown locally and organically if possible, to be sure it has not traveled thousands of miles to get to you.
- Store up 1 – 3 months in a cool dry location that has good air circulation.
Tips for Eating or Cooking:
- Cooked Kabocha Squash texture is similar to that of a potato. It is delicious baked, steamed, stuffed or pureed.
- Works well as a substitution in recipes that call for pumpkin or sweet potatoes.
- Eat the peel! It is soft, delicious and makes preparing it […]
Your body loves the immense health benefits of tomatoes—even if the only way you’re enjoying them is in a hearty tomato sauce or refreshing juice. Tomatoes help keep your heart healthy and prevent cancer.
“A world without tomatoes is like a string quartet without violins.” Laurie Colwin, Home Cooking
6 Tomato Health Benefits
The red colour of the tomatoes is what makes them so good for us. Scientists have found that what makes tomatoes beneficial is their high quantity of lycopene, the phytochemical that creates tomatoes’ ruby red complexion. Lycopene is a powerful antioxidant that inhibits free radicals, which are a destructive substance in the body. It binds to free radicals, keeping them from creating cell damage that can result in diseases such as heart disease and cancer.
Tomatoes’ strongest health benefit is their ability to reduce the risk of heart disease. You can also find lycopene in other red foods like watermelon, apricots, red grapefruit, guava and papaya.
1. Helps Reduce Risk of Heart Disease
• The highest average intake of lycopene was linked to almost a 30 percent reduction in the incidence of cardiovascular disease and coronary heart disease.
• “We’ve shown quite clearly that lycopene improves the function of blood vessels in cardiovascular disease patients. It reinforces the need for a healthy diet in people at risk from heart disease and stroke,” says Dr Joseph Cheriyan from the University of Cambridge.
• Lycopene concentrations in the blood have been found to be protective in the early stages of narrowing of the arteries. When your arteries are narrowed, blood flow to the heart slows down. The research found that people with high levels of lycopene in their blood have lower rates of heart disease.
• A diet rich in tomatoes was found to increase “good” HDL cholesterol levels by 15.2 percent.
• A diet high in tomato products reduced “bad” LDL cholesterol levels by 13 percent in one Finnish study.
• In one study observing people with an average age of 54 years from 10 European countries, lycopene may be at the root of the cardio-protective power of a diet rich in vegetables.
• Tomatoes are high in potassium, which helps regulate blood pressure.
2. Lowers Risk of Cancer
Tomatoes are rich in beta-carotene and lycopene, help lower some types of cancer and slow down the rate of other types of cancer.
• Tomatoes reduce breast cancer due to high amounts of carotenoids (alpha-carotene, beta-carotene, lutein, zeaxanthin, lycopene and total carotenoids), according to research from the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.
• Tomatoes may help prevent prostate cancer. This study found that men who ate more than 10 portions of tomatoes or tomato products per week have an 18 percent reduced risk of prostate cancer compared to men who ate less than ten.
• Consuming tomatoes and tomato-based products have been shown to lower the risk of a variety of cancers. The cancers that lowered the most were lung, stomach and prostate cancer. Research also indicated that tomatoes may help prevent cancers of the breast, cervix, oral cavity, colorectum, esophagus and pancreas. “It is critical to recognise that the current evidence regarding dietary intake and lycopene blood concentrations reflects consumption of tomatoes and tomato products rather than purified lycopene supplements,” notes the Oxford Journals.
3. Increase Fat Burning
• Tomatoes help produce the amino acid carnitine, which helps speed the body’s fat-burning capacity by more than 30 percent.
• Tomato juice has been found to reduce weight, body fat and size of the waist.
4. Supports Healthy Skin and Hair
• Tomato components help fight […]