The health benefits of cabbage

The health benefits of cabbage include frequent use as a treatment for constipation, stomach ulcers, headaches, obesity, skin disorders, eczema, jaundice, scurvy, rheumatism, arthritis, gout, eye disorders, heart diseases, aging, and Alzheimer’s disease.
Did you know that the inexpensive, humble and widely used cabbage can practically work miracles? Cabbage is a leafy vegetable of Brassica family, and is round or oval in shape. It consists of soft, light green or whitish inner leaves covered with harder and dark green outer leaves. It is widely used throughout the world, and can be prepared in a number of ways, but most commonly, it is included as either a cooked or raw part of many salads. Cabbage is beneficial in curing various health ailments and a short list of those researched attributes are listed below:
Deficiency of Vitamin C
Scurvy is a disease commonly characterized by spongy and bleeding gums, cracked lip corners, weakened immune system, frequent infections and cold, premature aging, and depression.
CabbageRemedy: Cabbage is an abundant source of Vitamin C. You might be surprised to know that it is actually richer in vitamin C than oranges, which is traditionally considered the “best” source of that vital nutrient. Vitamin C, as one of the best antioxidants, reduces free radicals in your body that are one of the fundamental causes of premature aging. It also helps in repairing the wear and tear on the body through the course of your life. Therefore, cabbage is very helpful in treating ulcers, certain cancers, depression, immune system boosting, and defending against cough and cold. It can also speed up the healing process for wounds and damaged tissues, regulate the proper functioning of the nervous system, and reduce the effects and presence of Alzheimer’s disease and other degenerative neural diseases.
Deficiency of Roughage
This is a very serious deficiency but one that is commonly overlooked in the maintenance of personal health. A lack of roughage in food can result in constipation, which is the root cause of many other ailments and health hazards such as stomach ulcers, headaches, gastrointestinal cancers, indigestion and a subsequent loss of appetite. The dangers of roughage deficiency even extend to skin diseases, eczema, premature aging and hundreds of mild to serious conditions.
Remedies: Cabbage is very rich in fiber, the main health benefit of roughage. This helps the body retain water and it maintains the bulkiness of the food as it moves through the bowels. Thus, it is a good remedy for constipation and other digestion-related problems.
Deficiency of Sulphur
Sulphur is a very useful nutrient because it fights infections. A deficiency of sulphur can result in microbial infections and a greatly reduced rate in the healing of wounds.
Remedy: Again, cabbage is rich is sulphur. So, it helps fight infections in wounds and reduces the frequency and severity of ulcers.
Other Health Benefits of Cabbage
Cancer Prevention: Cabbage is a member of the Brassica family, also known as cruciferous vegetables. One of their most important celebrated benefits to health is their powerful antioxidant quality. This means that cabbage and other similar vegetables scavenge free radicals from around the body, which can be very detrimental to overall health and are major contributors to things like cancer and heart disease.
Cabbage also has a number of anti-cancer compounds, like lupeol, sinigrin, and sulforaphane, which are known to stimulate enzyme activity and inhibit the growth of tumors, which can lead to cancer. One study, performed primarily on Chinese women, showed a significant reduction in breast cancer when cruciferous vegetables like cabbage were regularly added to their diet.
Anti-Inflammatory Properties: Cabbage is known to accumulate a build-up of cadmium-binding complexes in its leaves, and one of the main components of that is glutamine. Glutamine is a strong anti-inflammatory agent, so consuming cabbage can reduce the effects of many type of inflammation, irritation, allergies, joint pain, fever, and various skin disorders.
Eye Health: Cabbage is a rich source of beta-carotene, so many people, particularly as they get older, turn to cabbage for its ability to prevent macular degeneration and generally promote good eye health and the delay of cataract formation. Beta-carotene has also been positively linked to reduced chances of prostate cancer, which is an extra bonus on top of the other anti-carcinogenic effects of cabbage!    Weight Loss: Cabbage is frequently recommended for people who want to lose weight in a healthy way. Since cabbage is packed with so many beneficial vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients, it is a healthy dietary option for people to eat a lot of, and it is quite filling, since it has high levels of fiber, which add bulk to the bowels. However, cabbage is extremely low in calories, only 33 calories in a cup of cooked cabbage. Therefore, people can go on the popular “cabbage soup” diet, and eat plenty of food to stay healthy, without gaining excess weight! Brain Health: Let’s not forget that cabbage is a very powerful brain food! The presence of Vitamin K and anthocyanins within cabbage can give a strong boost to mental function and concentration. These are primarily found in red cabbage, and vitamin K has been well-researched, although it is often called the “forgotten vitamin”. Vitamin K is essential in the production of sphingolipids, the myelin sheath around around nerves. This wrapping is what protects nerves from damage and decay. Therefore, consuming vitamin K can improve your defense against neural degeneration, Alzheimer’s disease, and dementia.
Furthermore, the anthocyanins in cabbage are a current area of research, but early indications point to it being a more powerful source of antioxidants than vitamin-C, and red cabbage has even more types of anthocyanins than normal cabbage. It also appears that the nutrient uptake is not limited by anything, and that people can eat as much cabbage as they want, and continue to accumulate antioxidants, which help fight off diseases, reduce chances of cancer, improve the nervous system, and increase brain function.
Bone Health: Cabbage, as well as all cruciferous vegetables, are great sources of minerals, like calcium, magnesium, and potassium. These three essential minerals are integral in the protection of bones from degradation and the onset of conditions like osteoporosis and general bone weakening.
CabbageBlood Pressure: The presence of potassium in cabbage also makes it a wonderful way to protect yourself from elevated blood pressure, which increases the risk of heart attack and stroke. Potassium is a vasodilator, which means that it opens up the blood vessels and eases the flow of blood, so it isn’t being forced in a stress-inducing way through constricted arteries and veins. Overall, cabbage is a great shield against many types of dangerous conditions!
Skin Care and Premature Aging: As mentioned already, cabbage has a wealth of different antioxidant sources, including vitamin-C, anthocyanins, sulphur, and other smaller sources, since it is a cruciferous vegetable. Antioxidants play a major role in skin health and the general toning and improvement of the body in response to the aging process. Free radicals can be an underlying cause of wrinkles, skin discoloration, spots, and many other conditions. Therefore, the antioxidants you gain by eating cabbage can cause a turn-around in your aging processes, leaving you feeling and looking healthy and young!
Muscle Aches: When certain bacteria ferment the sugars in cabbage, such as during the cooking of sauerkraut, lactic acid is released. It isn’t the easiest compound to find in a diet, but it has been shown to reduce muscle soreness and aches, so in some small way, cabbage can help general pain relief and muscle soreness, depending on how it is prepared.
Detoxification by cabbage
Cabbage acts as a good detoxifier too, meaning that it purifies the blood and removes toxins, primarily free radicals and uric acid which are primary causes of rheumatism, gout, arthritis, renal calculi, skin diseases, and eczema. This detoxifying effect of cabbage is due to the high content of vitamin C and sulphur in cabbage.
Other benefits of Cabbage
Cabbage, being rich in iodine, helps in proper functioning of the brain and the nervous system, along with keeping the glands of the endocrine system in proper condition. It is good for the brain and is useful in the treatment of neural disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease. The various other nutrients present in cabbage, such as vitamin-E, keep the skin, eyes and hair healthy. The calcium, magnesium, and potassium found in cabbage is very useful for a wide range of healh benefits. Cabbage can also be used for the treatment of varicose veins, leg ulcers, peptic and duodenal ulcers.
Basically, that very common component of your Chinese dishes could be a miraculous addition to your diet. Don’t be afraid to add cabbage to your daily diet, whether it is in your soup or salad, and that small change will help you live a healthier and longer life.
Cooked cabbage is how most people get it into their diet or system, but the cooking actually causes many of the nutrients to be lost, particularly the high levels of vitamin-C, and the other nutrients will become harder for the body to absorb. The best option is to eat the cabbage raw!



16 health-benefits-of-cucumber

16 Superb Health Benefits of Cucumber
Pick a handful of firm, dark green cucumbers and pop them into your shopping basket. Congratulations! You have just bought yourself a fruit (yes, the cool cuke is fruit, not a vegetable) full of good health!
Here is a short list of the impressive health benefits that a cucumber carries:
  • Keeps you hydrated. If you are too busy to drink enough water, munch on the cool cucumber, which is 96 percent water. It will cheerfully compensate!
  • Fights heat, both inside and out. Eat cucumber, and your body gets relief from heartburn. Apply cucumber on your skin, and you get relief from sunburn.
  • Flushes out toxins. All that water in cucumber acts as a virtual broom, sweeping waste products out of your system. With regular use, cucumber is known to dissolve kidney stones.
  • Lavishes you with vitamins. A B and C, which boost immunity, give you energy, and keep you radiant. Give it more power by juicing cucumber with carrot and spinach.
  • Supplies skin-friendly minerals: magnesium, potassium, silicon. That’s why cucumber-based treatments abound in spas.
  • Aids in weight loss. Enjoy cucumbers in your salads and soups. My favorite snack? Crunchy cucumber sticks with creamy low-fat yogurt dip.
  • Revives the eyes. Placing chilled slices of cucumber on the eyes is a clichéd beauty visual, but it really helps reduce under-eye bags and puffiness.
  • Cuts cancer. Cut down your risk of several cancers by including cucumber in your diet. Several studies show its cancer-fighting potential.
  • Stabilizes blood pressure. Patients of blood pressure, both high and low, often find that eating cucumber brings relief.
  • Refreshes the mouth. Cucumber juice refreshes and heals diseased gums, leaving your mouth smelling good.
  • Helps digestion. Chewing cucumber gives the jaws a good workout, and the fiber in it is great for digestion.
  • Smooths hair and nails. Silica, the wonder mineral in cucumber makes your hair and nails stronger and shinier.
  • Soothes muscle and joint pain. All those vitamins and minerals in cucumber make it a powerful enemy of muscle and joint pain.
  • Keeps kidneys in shape. Cucumber lowers uric acid levels in your system, keeping the kidneys happy.
  • Good for diabetics. Patients of diabetes can enjoy cucumber while also reaping its health benefits: cucumber contains a hormone needed by the cells of the pancreas for producing insulin.
  • Reduces cholesterol. A compound called sterols in cucumber helps reduce bad cholesterol.


Read more: 16health-benefits-of-cucumber

 

 

Cucumber cooler

cucumber cooler: pureed cucumbers, water, ice and sugar
                       Cucumber cooler     

Olive Oil Benefits


Most of the polyphenols in this list have been shown to function both as antioxidants and also as anti-inflammatory nutrients in the body. The very number and variety of polyphenols in olive oil helps explain the unique health benefits of this culinary oil.

Anti-Inflammatory Benefits

It's unusual to think about a culinary oil as an anti-inflammatory food. Plant oils are nearly 100% fat, and in a general dietary sense, they are typically classified as "added fats." Intake of too much added dietary fat can be a problem for many reasons—including reasons involving unwanted inflammation. So it's pretty remarkable to find a culinary oil that's repeatedly been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties and provide health benefits in the area of unwanted inflammation. Yet that's exactly the research track record that describes extra virgin olive oil. The anti-inflammatory strength of olive oil rests on its polyphenols. These anti-inflammatory compounds include at least nine different categories of polyphenols and more than two dozen well-researched anti-inflammatory nutrients. Research has documented a wide variety of anti-inflammatory mechanisms used by olive oil polyphenols to lower our risk of inflammatory problems. These mechanisms include decreased production of messaging molecules that would otherwise increase inflammation (including TNF-alpha, interleukin 1-beta, thromboxane B2, and leukotriene B4); inhibition of pro-inflammatory enzymes like cyclo-oxygenase 1 and cyclo-oxygenase 2; and decreased synthesis of the enzyme inducible nitric oxide synthase. In heart patients, olive oil and its polyphenols have also been determined to lower blood levels of C-reactive protein (CRP), a widely used blood measurement for assessing the likelihood of unwanted inflammation. They have also been found to reduce activity in a metabolic pathway called the arachidonic acid pathway, which is central for mobilizing inflammatory processes. These anti-inflammatory benefits of extra virgin olive oil do not depend on large levels of intake. As little as 1-2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil per day have been shown to be associated with significant anti-inflammatory benefits.

Cardiovascular Benefits

Many different cardiovascular problems—including gradual blocking of the arteries and blood vessels (called atherosclerosis)—have their origin in two unwanted circumstances. The first of these circumstances is called oxidative stress. Oxidative stress means too much damage (or risk of damage) from the presence of overly reactive oxygen-containing molecules. One of the best ways to help avoid oxidative stress is to consume a diet that is rich in antioxidant nutrients. The second of these circumstances is ongoing (chronic) and undesirable low-level inflammation. Undesirable and chronic inflammation can result from a variety of factors, including unbalanced metabolism, unbalanced lifestyle, unwanted exposure to environmental contaminants, and other factors. One of the best ways to help avoid chronic and unwanted inflammation is to consume a diet that is rich in anti-inflammatory nutrients. Any food that is rich in antioxidant and anti-inflammatory nutrients is a natural candidate for lowering our risk of heart problems, because it contains the exactly right combination of nutrients to lower our risk of oxidative stress and chronic, unwanted inflammation. Many foods contain valuable amounts of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds, but few foods are as rich in these compounds as extra virgin olive oil, and this fact alone accounts for many of the research-based benefits of this culinary oil for health of our cardiovascular system. In terms of antioxidant protection for our blood vessels, olive oil has been shown to lower risk of lipid peroxidation (oxygen damage to fat) in our bloodstream. Many of the fat-containing molecules in our blood—including molecules like LDL—need to be protected from oxygen damage. Oxygen damage to molecules like LDL significantly increases our risk of numerous cardiovascular diseases, including atherosclerosis. Protection of the LDL molecules in our blood from oxygen damage is a major benefit provided by olive oil and its polyphenols. Equally important is protection against oxygen damage to the cells that line our blood vessels. Once again, it's the polyphenols in olive oil that have been shown to provide us with that protection. One process we don't want to see in our blood vessels is too much clumping together of blood cells called platelets. While we want to see blood platelets clump together under circumstances like an open wound, where their clumping together acts to seal off the wound, we don't want this process to occur in an ongoing way when there is no acute emergency. Several of the polyphenols found in olive oil—including hydroxytyrosol, oleuropein and luteolin—appear to be especially helpful in keeping our blood platelets in check and avoiding problems of too much clumping (called platelet aggregation). There are also two messaging molecules (called plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 and factor VII) that are capable of triggering too much clumping together of the platelets, and the polyphenols in olive oil can help stop overproduction of these molecules. Olive oil is one of the few widely used culinary oils that contains about 75% of its fat in the form of oleic acid (a monounsaturated, omega-9 fatty acid). Research has long been clear about the benefits of oleic acid for proper balance of total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, and HDL cholesterol in the body. When diets low in monounsaturated are made high in monounsaturated fat (by replacing other oils with olive oil), research study participants tend to experience a significant decrease in their total blood cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, and LDL:HDL ratio. Those are exactly the results we want for heart health. In addition to these cholesterol-balancing effects of olive oil and its high oleic acid content, however, comes a new twist: recent research studies have shown that olive oil and its oleic acid may be important factors for lowering blood pressure. Researchers believe that the plentiful amount of oleic acid in olive oil gets absorbed into the body, finds its way into cell membranes, changes signaling patterns at a cell membrane level (specifically, altering G-protein associated cascades) and thereby lowers blood pressure. Interestingly, a recent laboratory animal study adds one note of caution for anyone wanting to bring the unique cardiovascular benefits of olive oil into their diet. This study found that cardiovascular benefits from olive oil and its polyphenols were not realized when the laboratory animals consumed too many calories and too much total food. This result suggests that olive oil—outstanding as it is in polyphenol protection of our cardiovascular system—needs to be integrated into an overall healthy diet in order to provide its expected benefits.

Digestive Health Benefits

Benefits of olive oil for the digestive tract were first uncovered in research on diet and cancers of the digestive tract. Numerous studies found lower rates of digestive tract cancers—especially cancers of the upper digestive tract, including the stomach and small intestine—in populations that regularly consumed olive oil. Studies on the Mediterranean Diet were an important part of this initial research on olive oil and the digestive tract. Protection of the lower digestive tract (for example, protection of the colon from colon cancer) is less well-documented in the olive oil research, even though there is some strongly supportive evidence from select laboratory animal studies. Many of these anti-cancer effects in the digestive tract were believed to depend on the polyphenols in olive oil and their antioxidant plus anti-inflammatory properties. One particular category of polyphenols, called secoiridoids, continues to be a focus in research on prevention of digestive tract cancers. Recent research has provided us with even more information, however, about olive oil, its polyphenols, and protection of the digestive tract. One fascinating area of recent research has involved the polyphenols in olive oil and the balance of bacteria in our digestive tract. Numerous polyphenols in olive oil have been shown to slow the growth of unwanted bacteria, including bacteria commonly responsible for digestive tract infections. These polyphenols include oleuropein, hydroxytyrosol, and tyrosol. Some of these same polyphenols—along with other olive oil polyphenols like ligstroside—are specifically able to inhibit the growth of the Helicobacter pylori bacterium. This effect of the olive oil polyphenols may be especially important, since overpopulation of Helicobacter bacteria coupled with over-attachment of Helicobacter to the stomach lining can lead to stomach ulcer and other unwanted digestive problems.

Bone Health Benefits

Support of overall bone health is another promising area of olive oil research. While most of the initial study in this area has been conducted on laboratory animals, better blood levels of calcium have been repeatedly associated with olive oil intake. In addition, at least two polyphenols in olive oil—tyrosol and hydroxytyrosol—have been shown to increase bone formation in rats. A recent group of researchers has also suggested that olive oil may eventually prove to have special bone benefits for post-menopausal women, since they found improved blood markers of overall bone health in female rats who had been fed olive oil after having their ovaries removed. Taken as a group, the above studies suggest that bone health benefits may eventually be viewed as an important aspect of olive oil intake.

Cognitive Benefits

Improved cognitive function—especially among older adults—is a well-known feature of the Mediterranean Diet. As the staple oil in that diet, olive oil has been of special interest for researchers interested in diet and cognitive function. In France, a recent study large-scale study on older adults has shown that visual memory and verbal fluency can be improved with what the researchers called "intensive use" of olive oil. In this case, "intensive use" meant regular use of olive oil not just for cooking, or as an ingredient in sauces and dressings, but in all of these circumstances. Equally fascinating to us in the area of cognition has been recent research on olive oil intake and brain function. In laboratory animals with brain function that had been compromised by lack of oxygen, consumption of olive oil helped offset many different types of brain-related problems, including unbalanced water content, unbalanced nervous system activity, and too easy passage of molecules across the blood brain barrier. This animal research has given scientists many further clues about the ways in which olive oil might provide us with cognitive benefits. The ability to help protect our brain during times of imbalance may turn out to be one of the special health benefits offered by this unique culinary oil.

Anti-Cancer Benefits

The polyphenols found in olive oil are a natural for helping us lower our risk of certain cancer types. Many types of cancer only get initiated when cells are overwhelmed by oxidative stress (damage to cell structure and function by overly reactive oxygen-containing molecules) and by chronic excessive inflammation. Since the polyphenols in olive oil act both as antioxidants and anti-inflammatory molecules, they are perfectly suited for lowering our cells' risk of oxidative stress and chronic unwanted inflammation. Research studies have shown that as little as 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil per day can lower our risk of certain cancer types, including cancers of the breast, respiratory tract, upper digestive tract, and to a lesser extent, lower digestive tract (colorectal cancers). In some research studies, the anti-cancer benefits of olive oil do not show up until the diets of routine olive oil users are compared with the diets of individuals who seldom use olive oil and who instead consume added fats that are more saturated in composition (for example, butter). While most of the anti-cancer research on olive oil has focused on its polyphenols and their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, several studies have uncovered other fascinating ways in which olive oil provides its anti-cancer benefits. These other ways include the improvement of cell membrane function in a way that lowers risk of cancer development and the altering gene expression in cells in a way that enhances their antioxidant defense system. A final important mechanism linking olive oil intake to decreased cancer risk involves protection of our DNA. The antioxidants in olive oil appear to have a special ability to protect DNA (deoxyribonucleic acids)—the key chemical component of genetic material in our cells—from oxygen damage. DNA protection from unwanted oxidative stress means better cell function in wide variety of ways and provides a cell with decreased risk of cancer development. There is also encouraging research on the potential for olive oil to help with control of certain cancers once they have already developed. For example, improvement of breast cancer status has been an area of particular interest in olive oil research. Here some of the research has focused on the secoiridoids in olive oil (especially oleocanthal), and its ability to help keep breast cancer cells from reproducing. Another example involves the ability of hydroxytyrosol (HT) in olive oil to trigger programmed cell death (apoptosis) in colon cancer cells. HT may be able to accomplish this anti-cancer effect by helping block the enzymatic activity of fatty acid synthetase (FAS). These cancer-controlling properties of olive oil and olive oil constituents are generally referred to as the "antiproliferative" properties of olive oil. We expect to see more future research in this area.

Description

Olive oil is made from the crushing and then subsequent pressing of olives. The fact that olives are rich in oil is reflected in the botanical name of the olive tree—Olea europea—since the word "oleum" means oil in Latin. Olive oil is available in a variety of grades, which reflect the degree to which it has been processed. Extra virgin olive oil is derived from the first pressing of the olives and has the most delicate flavor and strongest overall health benefits. See How to Select and Store for more information on these different grades of olive oil.

History

Olives, one of the oldest foods known, are thought to have originated in Crete or Syria between five and seven thousand years ago. Since ancient times, the olive tree has provided food, fuel, timber and medicine for many civilizations, and has been regarded as a symbol of peace and wisdom. The venerable oil of the olive has been consumed since as early as 3,000 B.C. It's not clear exactly how olive trees arrived in the U.S., but it's clear that the time frame was much later, during the 1500-1700's. Spanish colonizers of North America definitely brought olive trees across the Atlantic Ocean during the 1500-1700's, and while some may have been brought directly to the region which is now California, olive trees may also have been brought to the region from Mexico, where cultivation by the Spanish was already underway. Olive oil has been and still is a staple in the diet of many Mediterranean countries. The recent discovery that the Mediterranean diet, which features this prized oil, may be linked to a reduced risk of heart disease and other health conditions has caused olive oil to become very popular in the United States in the past few decades. Today, much of the commercial cultivation of olive oil is still centered in the Mediterranean region in such countries as Spain (36% of total production), Italy (25%), and Greece (18%). These countries—along with the remaining European countries—also consume about two-thirds of all olive oil that is produced. Regions of the world with quickly-increasing consumption and production of olive oil include South America (especially Chile) and Australia.

How to Select and Store

Since olive oil can become rancid from exposure to light and heat, there are some important purchasing criteria you should follow to ensure buying a better quality product. Look for olive oils that are sold in dark tinted bottles since the packaging will help protect the oil from oxidation caused by exposure to light. In addition, make sure the oil is displayed in a cool area, away from any direct or indirect contact with heat. When you shop for olive oil, you will notice a host of different grades are available, including extra-virgin, virgin, refined and pure:
  • Extra virgin is the unrefined oil derived from the first pressing of the olives and has the most delicate flavor Virgin olive oil is also derived from the first pressing of the olives but has a higher acidity level than extra virgin olive oil (as well as lower phytonutrient levels and a less delicate taste). Chemically, the difference between extra virgin olive oil and virgin olive oil involves the amount of free oleic acid, which is a marker for overall acidity. According to the standards adopted by the International Olive Oil Council, "virgin" can contain up to 2% free acidity (expressed as oleic acid), while "extra virgin" can contain up to 0.8% of free acidity. (For more technical information on olive oil, you may want to visit the International Olive Oil Council website at: www.internationaloliveoil.com.)
  • "Pure olive oil" is a phrase that is somewhat confusing, and perhaps also somewhat misleading. If you see the term "pure" on the label of an olive oil container, it typically means that the oil is a blend of refined and unrefined virgin olive oils. "Refined olive oil" is obtained from unrefined virgin olive oils, and it's only allowed to contain up to 0.3% of free acidity. However, while lower in free acidity than extra virgin or virgin olive oils, refined olive oil loses some of its unique nutrient content through the refining process. For this reason, we recommend the purchase of extra virgin olive oil over all other olive oil types, including "pure olive oil."
When considering these International Olive Oil Council (IOOC) standards, it is also important to know that the United States has refused to adopt IOOC standards for olive oil. For this reason, it is not nearly enough to see the words "extra virgin olive oil" on the label of a bottle purchased in the U.S. That wording, by itself, simply does not guarantee that you are getting extra virgin olive oil. Instead, you have to look a little further on the label for other reassurances that you are truly obtaining extra virgin olive oil. One such assurance is the presence of a COOC logo on the label. "COOC" stands for the California Olive Oil Council. This organization (and all of its members) have voluntarily agreed to adopt the strict IOOC standards for labeling of their oils. So if you see the COOC logo on an extra virgin olive oil bottle, you can feel confident that you are getting true extra virgin oil. You can also look for the initials "A.O.C." or "D.O.P." or "D.P.O." or "D.O" on the bottle. "A.O.C." stands for the French term "Appellation D'origine Controlée." "D.O.P." stands for the Italian "Denominazione d'Origine Protetta" (note that D.O.P. is also written as "D.P.O." in some other European countries). In Spain, a similar designation is "D.O." which stands for "Denominacion de Origen." Any of these initials provides assurance of quality with respect to extra virgin olive oils. Another term that you may see on a bottle of olive oil is "cold pressed." This term means that minimal heating was used when mechanically processing the olives to make oil. We like the idea of cold pressed extra virgin olive oil, because we believe that minimal use of heating, combined with the phytonutrient-rich first pressing of the oil, provides the strongest possible nutrient composition from an extracted oil. Proper storage techniques for olive oil are very important, not only to preserve the delicate taste of the oil, but also to ensure that it does not spoil and become rancid, which will have a negative effect on its nutritional profile. Even though olive oil's monounsaturated fats are more stable and heat-resistant than the polyunsaturated fats that predominate in other oils (especially the easily damaged omega-3 fatty acids found in flax seed oil, which should always be refrigerated and never heated), olive oil should be stored properly and used within 1-2 months to ensure its healthy phytonutrients remain intact and available. Research studies have shown compromise in the nutritional quality of olive oil after two months' period of time, even when the oil was properly stored. Proper storage of olive oil includes protection from light. There is debate about the ideal type of storage container. Tinted glass bottles are one of the best storage options for preventing unwanted contamination of the olive oil with packaging materials (as might occur, for example, with the use of dark plastic bottles in which very small amounts of plastic might migrate from the bottle into the oil). However, depending upon the degree and type of glass tinting, exposure to all light might not be prevented with the use of tinted glass. Metal containers for olive oil storage are also an option, although it is unclear about the potential for olive oil to be affected by the metal elements in the container. The transfer of olive oil to a sealed ceramic container is also an option. If you decide to purchase olive oil in a tinted glass bottle, we recommend that you store it in a lightproof area, like a cabinet with solid doors or closed pantry. If you decide to purchase in either plastic or metal containers, you may want to take the additional step of moving the oil into a ceramic container that can be sealed. If you aren't sure how quickly you will be using your olive oil, you may want to buy it in small-size amounts to avoid the problems that can arise with longer-term storage. Purchase only as much as you will use in one to two months and store away from light and heat. Protect your olive oil's flavor and antioxidants by transferring 7 to 10 days' worth of oil to a smaller bottle to lessen the oxidation that occurs when the oil is exposed to air. Leave this small bottle at room temperature for easy use, but refrigerate the rest. When chilled, olive oil will solidify slightly and turn cloudy, but once restored to room temperature, it will regain its normal appearance, and its quality will be better maintained. Although it may be convenient, definitely don't store your olive oil near the stove as the heat will damage it. While we haven't seen research that discusses declines in carotenoids and vitamin E for extra virgin olive oil, we have seen it for virgin oil. While this is not the type of oil we recommend, we still thought to include this interesting information here: Research conducted at the University of Lleida in Spain and reported in the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry found that levels of chlorophyll, carotenoids and antioxidant phenols dropped dramatically after virgin olive oil had been in storage 12 months-even under the best controlled conditions. Chlorophyll content dropped by as much as 30%; beta-carotene by 40%, and vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol) by 100%! Phenols, which are not only the main antioxidants in virgin olive oil, but are also responsible for its distinctive rich flavor, also dropped precipitously after 12 months storage. Research published in New Scientist magazine has confirmed that light destroys many of the antioxidants in olive oil. Researchers at the University of Bari, in southern Italy, compared oils stored in the light or in the dark for 12 months. Oils stored in clear bottles under supermarket lighting lost at least 30% of their tocopherols (vitamin E) and carotenoids. After just two months' exposure to light, peroxide (free radical) levels had increased so much that the olive oil could no longer be classified as extra virgin.

Tips for Preparing and Cooking

Tips on Preparing Extra Virgin Olive Oil

We suggest using extra virgin olive oil in dressing salads and a variety of cooked foods. We don't recommend cooking with extra virgin olive oil (see below). One of our favorite recipes featuring extra virgin olive oil, which can be used on both salads and cooked vegetables, is our Mediterranean Dressing:
  • 3-5 TBS extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 TBS fresh lemon juice
  • 1 clove garlic chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste
The Healthiest Way of Cooking Extra Virgin Olive Oil: A Word About Heating Different manufacturers list different smoke points for their olive oils, and some manufacturers list a temperature very close to smoke point as their maximum limit for safe heating of the oil. While these temperatures might be correct for avoiding large amounts of some harmful substances that can be created through heating of the oil, they are not correct limits for preserving the unique nutrients (especially polyphenols) found in high-quality, extra virgin olive oil. Oxidation of nourishing substances found in extra virgin olive oil, as well as acrylamide formation, can occur at cooking temperatures very closer to the 300F/148C range. For these reasons, we don't recommend cooking with extra virgin olive oil. For more details, see Is it OK to cook with extra-virgin olive oil? and George's video "Why I Don't Cook with Extra Virgin Olive Oil". Research studies on the heating of olive oil are fairly extensive, and some of the issues involved with olive oil heating are difficult to summarize in a single paragraph. For this reason, we've created a special article on our website entitled, " Is it OK to cook with extra-virgin olive oil?"

How Much Protein Does 1 Egg Have?


Concerns

How Much Protein Is in the Egg Yolk vs. the Egg White?
Egg yolks are high in cholesterol. Photo Credit icetocker/iStock/Getty Images
Although eggs are a good source of protein, egg yolks are high in dietary cholesterol, which increases your risk for heart disease when consumed in excess. The USDA notes that while egg whites are cholesterol-free, egg yolks contain about 184 milligrams of dietary cholesterol in just one large yolk. For this reason, the University of Maryland Medical Center suggests limiting whole eggs to four weekly. However, if you choose egg whites instead of whole eggs or egg yolks, you don’t have to limit your eggs to just four per week.

 
How Much Protein Does 1 Egg Have?
One egg, without the shell, provides 6 g of protein. Photo Credit crash shell egg image by Pali A from Fotolia.com

Eggs sometimes get a bad reputation because of their cholesterol content and because they are among the most likely triggers of food allergies along with peanuts, fish, nuts, shellfish, milk and soybeans. But an egg also offers high nutrient value with 13 vitamins and minerals, high quality, easily digested protein, healthy unsaturated fats and antioxidants, all for fewer than 100 calories, according to IncredibleEgg.org.

Nutrition Facts

One large 2 oz. whole egg without the shell contains 6 g protein. Of this protein, 3 g is contained in the egg yolk and 3 g in the egg white.

Additional nutritional information for one large egg without the shell, according to Kathleen Mahan in “Krause’s Food, Nutrition, & Diet Therapy,” includes 75 g water, 80 calories, 6 g fat, 274 mg cholesterol in the yolk, 1 g carbohydrate, 28 mg calcium, 90 mg phosphorus, 1 g iron, 65 mg potassium, 69 mg sodium, 55 mg zinc, 260 IU vitamin A, 0.04 mg thiamin, 0.15 mg riboflavin, a trace amount of niacin, 0 mg ascorbic acid and 24 mg folic acid.

Protein

Each large egg contains 6.3 grams of complete protein -- protein with a balanced amino acid profile, that provides each of the amino acids you need in your diet. Your body uses amino acids -- the nutrients obtained from protein -- as building blocks to build new proteins, cells and tissues. The protein in one egg provides 12 percent of the daily protein requirements for an average 135-pound person, and 9 percent for an average 180-pound person.

Benefits

Eggs provide a valuable source of protein and an inexpensive ingredient useful in cooking. Protein helps a person feel full longer and contributes to a healthy weight. Egg yolks provide a good source of choline that contributes to fetal brain development and prevention of birth defects. Choline helps adults maintain the structure of brain cell membranes and transmission of nerve impulses to muscles, according to IncredibleEgg.org. Bioavailable lutein and zeaxanthin antioxidants in egg yolks help prevent macular degeneration, an age-related blindness.

Controversey

Many adults read contradictory information about what foods to eat and what to avoid to lower the risk of cardiovascular disease, the number one cause of death in America. Many Americans avoid eggs because of their cholesterol content although, according to Eleanor Whitney and Sharon Rolfes in “Understanding Nutrition,” the American Heart Association approves an intake of up to four eggs a week and some research suggests that one egg per day is not detrimental for healthy people. However, some people are sensitive to cholesterol in their diet, and as a result the American Heart Association still recommends limiting your cholesterol intake.

Considerations and Risks

Persons on a strict low cholesterol diet must limit the use of egg yolks. Food manufacturers and most supermarkets offer several nonfat, no cholesterol egg substitutes. Limiting saturated fat is, for most people, more effective at lowering blood cholesterol than limiting dietary cholesterol, according to Eleanor Whitney and Sharon Rolfes in “Understanding Nutrition.”

To prevent food-borne illnesses, use clean eggs with intact shells. Cook eggs until whites are firmly set and yolks begin to thicken. Even pasteurized eggs should not be eaten raw, according to Eleanor Whitney and Sharon Rolfes in “Understanding Nutrition.” Raw eggs are commonly found in Caesar salad dressing, eggnog, cookie dough, hollandaise sauce and key lime pie.

Apples for Your Heart






Can eating an apple help protect you from metabolic syndrome—a cluster of symptoms related to an increased risk of heart disease? It’s possible, say researchers who analyzed data from the 1999-2004 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. In the survey, people who reported consuming any form of apples within the past day were 27 percent less likely to have symptoms of metabolic syndrome—like high blood pressure or a waist measurement of over 40 inches (for men) or 35 inches (for women)—compared to those who didn’t. The apple eaters also had lower levels of C-reactive protein, a marker of inflammation whose presence in the blood suggests an increased risk for heart disease and diabetes.
While a one-day snapshot doesn’t represent a long-term dietary pattern, the study shows that eating apples “is associated with broad metabolic advantages,” notes lead investigator Victor Fulgoni, Ph.D. This study adds to a growing body of evidence indicating apples benefit the heart. Last year, the Iowa Women’s Health Study reported that, among the 34,000-plus women it’s been tracking for nearly 20 years, apples were associated with a lower risk of death from both coronary heart disease and cardiovascular disease. Some years earlier, Finnish researchers studying dietary data collected over 28 years from 9,208 men and women found that frequent apple eaters had the lowest risk of suffering strokes compared with nonapple eaters.

Guilt-Free Orange Creamsicle Ice Cream

Guilt-Free Orange Creamsicle Ice Cream

Found on dessertbulletblog.com

Guilt-Free Orange Creamsicle Ice Cream

Mmmm, creamy and dreamy Orange Creamiscle Ice Cream… made guilt-free! It’s the classic ice cream shop flavor that’s aromatic, bright and refreshing, except this healthified version is made without heavy cream, eggs, sugar or artificial flavorings. Yes, it’s possible! You’d never know it’s low-fat and sugar-free, I promise! Soft, rich and creamy without the heavy [...]

Nutrition Facts About Romaine Lettuce

10 Nutrition Facts About Romaine Lettuce

Romaine Lettuce

Crisp romaine lettuce is a highly nutritious leafy green to use in a green smoothie. It has a mild flavor that is easily masked by fruit so it’s perfect if you’re new to green smoothies or making it for picky eaters.
You can add an entire head of lettuce to a fruit smoothie and not impact the taste at all. I typically toss in an entire head of romaine in my morning smoothie. It provides 106 calories and gives me a super jolt of nutrition first thing in the morning.

Health Benefits

Want to maximize the health benefits of your salads? Start with romaine lettuce for a salad guaranteed to be packed with nutrients. The vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients and fiber found in romaine lettuce are especially good for the prevention or alleviation of many common health complaints. Due to its extremely low calorie content and high water volume, romaine lettuce—while often overlooked in the nutrition world—is actually a very nutritious food. Based on its nutrient richness, our food ranking system qualified it as an excellent source of vitamin A (notably through its concentration of the pro-vitamin A carotenoid, beta-carotene), vitamin K, folate, and molybdenum. Romaine lettuce also emerged from our ranking system as a very good source of dietary fiber, four minerals (manganese, potassium, copper, and iron), and three vitamins (biotin, vitamin B1, and vitamin C).

Salad Days Keep Your Heart Young

Romaine's vitamin C and beta-carotene content make it a heart-healthy green. Vitamin C and beta-carotene work together to prevent the oxidation of cholesterol. When cholesterol becomes oxidized, it becomes sticky and starts to build up in the artery walls forming plaques. If these plaques become too large, they can block off blood flow or break, causing a clot that triggers a heart attack or stroke. The fiber in Romaine lettuce adds another plus in its column of heart-healthy effects. In the colon, fiber binds to bile salts and removes them from the body. This forces the body to make more bile, which is helpful because it must break down cholesterol to do so. This is just one way in which fiber is able to lower high cholesterol levels. Equally beneficial to heart health is Romaine's folic acid content. This B vitamin is needed by the body to convert a damaging chemical called homocysteine into other, benign substances. If not converted, homocysteine can directly damage blood vessels, thus greatly increasing the risk of heart attack and stroke. In addition, romaine lettuce is a very good source of potassium, which has been shown in numerous studies to be useful in lowering high blood pressure, another risk factor for heart disease. With its folic acid, vitamin C, beta-carotene, potassium, and fiber content, romaine lettuce can significantly contribute to a heart-healthy diet.

Description

The words lettuce and salad are practically interchangeable since most salads are made predominantly with the green crispy leaves of lettuce. Most varieties of lettuce exude small amounts of a white, milky liquid when their leaves are broken. This "milk" gives lettuce its slightly bitter flavor and its scientific name, Lactuca sativa since Lactuca is derived from the Latin word for milk. Lettuce can be classified into various categories with the most common being:
  • Romaine: Also known as Cos, this variety of head forming lettuce has deep green, long leaves with a crisp texture and deep taste.
  • Crisphead: With green leaves on the outside and whitish ones on the inside, this variety of head lettuce has a crisp texture and a watery, mild taste. The best known variety of crisphead lettuce is iceberg.
  • Butterhead: These types of lettuce feature tender large leaves that form a loosely arranged head that is easily separated from the stem, a sweet flavor and a soft texture. The best known varieties of Butterhead lettuce include Boston and Bibb.
  • Leaf: Featuring broad, curly leaf varieties that are green and/or red, the leaf lettuces offer a delicate taste and a mildly crispy texture. Best known varieties of leaf lettuce include green leaf and red leaf.
While vegetables such as arugula, watercress and mizuna are not technically lettuce, these greens are often used interchangeably with lettuces in salads.

History

Native to the eastern Mediterranean region and western Asia, lettuce has a long and distinguished history. With depictions appearing in ancient Egyptian tombs, the cultivation of lettuce is thought to date back to at least 4500 BC. The ancient Greeks and Romans held lettuce in high regard both as a food and for its therapeutic medicinal properties. In China, where lettuce has been growing since the 5th century, lettuce represents good luck. It is served on birthdays, New Year's Day and other special occasions. Christopher Columbus introduced varieties of lettuce to North America during his second voyage in 1493. Lettuce was first planted in California, the lettuce capital of the United States, by the Spanish missionaries in the 17th century. Its popularity across the US did not become widespread until centuries later with the development of refrigeration and railway transportation.

How to Select and Store

Regardless of the type, all lettuces should feature crisp looking, unwilted leaves that are free of dark or slimy spots. In addition, the leaves' edges should be free of brown or yellow discoloration. Lettuces such as Romaine and Boston should have compact heads and stem ends that are not too brown. Since different types of lettuce have different qualities, different methods should be used when storing. Romaine and leaf lettuce should be washed and dried before storing in the refrigerator to remove their excess moisture, while Boston lettuce need not be washed before storing. A salad spinner can be very helpful in the drying of lettuce (and other salad ingredients as well). These lettuces should be either stored in a plastic bag or wrapped in a damp cloth and stored in the refrigerator crisper. To store arugula, watercress and other types of salad greens that are sold with their roots attached, wrap the roots in a damp paper towel and place the entire greens in a plastic bag. Romaine lettuce will keep for five to seven days, Boston and leaf lettuce for two to three days, while fragile greens such as arugula and watercress ideally should be prepared the day of purchase. All types of lettuce should be stored away from ethylene-producing fruits, such as apples, bananas and pears, since they will cause the lettuce leaves to brown.

Tips for Preparing and Cooking

Tips for Preparing Romaine Lettuce
To clean lettuce, first remove the outer leaves and with one slice cut off the tips of the lettuce since they tend to be bitter. Chop the remaining lettuce to the desired size and discard the bottom root portion. Rinse and pat dry or use a salad spinner if you have one available to remove the excess water. Wash greens such as arugula and watercress like you would spinach. Trim their roots and separate the leaves, placing them in a large bowl of tepid water and swishing them around with your hands. This will allow any sand to become dislodged. Remove the leaves from the water, empty the bowl, refill with clean water and repeat this process until no dirt remains in the water (usually two or three times will do the trick). Make sure your leaves are spun or patted dry before adding dressing so as not to dilute flavor.

How to Enjoy

A Few Quick Serving Ideas
  • Give sandwiches extra crunch (and nutrients) by garnishing with lettuce leaves.
  • When it comes to salads, the only limitation is your imagination. Be creative: use a variety of different lettuce types and add your favorite foods. Whether they're vegetables, fruits, seeds, nuts, whole grains, whole wheat croutons, soy products, meats or cheeses, most every food goes well with lettuce.
  • For an interactive meal that is both unusual and fun, arrange nuts, diced vegetables, chicken and/or baked tofu and romaine lettuce leaves on a large plate. Everyone then has the chance to make their own lettuce pockets by placing their favorite fillings in a lettuce leaf and making a breadless sandwich wrap.
For some of our favorite recipes, click Recipes.

Individual Concerns

Nutritional Profile

Romaine lettuce is an excellent source of vitamin A (in the form of carotenoids), vitamin K, folate, and molybdenum. In addition, romaine lettuce is a very good source of dietary fiber, manganese, potassium, biotin, vitamin B1, copper, iron, and vitamin C. It is also a good source of vitamin B2, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin B6, phosphorus, chromium, magnesium, calcium, and pantothenic acid. For an in-depth nutritional profile click here: Romaine Lettuce.

In-Depth Nutritional Profile

In addition to the nutrients highlighted in our ratings chart, an in-depth nutritional profile for Romaine lettuce is also available. This profile includes information on a full array of nutrients, including carbohydrates, sugar, soluble and insoluble fiber, sodium, vitamins, minerals, fatty acids, amino acids and more.

Introduction to Food Rating System Chart

In order to better help you identify foods that feature a high concentration of nutrients for the calories they contain, we created a Food Rating System. This system allows us to highlight the foods that are especially rich in particular nutrients. The following chart shows the nutrients for which this food is either an excellent, very good, or good source (below the chart you will find a table that explains these qualifications). If a nutrient is not listed in the chart, it does not necessarily mean that the food doesn't contain it. It simply means that the nutrient is not provided in a sufficient amount or concentration to meet our rating criteria. (To view this food's in-depth nutritional profile that includes values for dozens of nutrients - not just the ones rated as excellent, very good, or good - please use the link below the chart.) To read this chart accurately, you'll need to glance up in the top left corner where you will find the name of the food and the serving size we used to calculate the food's nutrient composition. This serving size will tell you how much of the food you need to eat to obtain the amount of nutrients found in the chart. Now, returning to the chart itself, you can look next to the nutrient name in order to find the nutrient amount it offers, the percent Daily Value (DV%) that this amount represents, the nutrient density that we calculated for this food and nutrient, and the rating we established in our rating system. For most of our nutrient ratings, we adopted the government standards for food labeling that are found in the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's "Reference Values for Nutrition Labeling." Read more background information and details of our rating system.

Frappuccino

Cold Brew Mocha Frappe | Mocha Frappuccino Recipe
                           
Serves: 1 
INGREDIENTS 1 teaspoon sugar 1/4 teaspoon dry pectin 1/4 cup cold 2% milk 3/4 cup espresso coffee  
Flavors: 
1 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa or Quick drink mix, 1 Tablespoon of liquid coffee flavoring (vanilla, hazlenut, almond, almond roca, raspberry, Irish crème) 1 Teaspoon liquid baking flavorings (i.e. cinnamon, praline, etc.) 
PREPARATION Get blender out and ready. Add 3/4 cup of hot coffee and mix with your sugar for 30 seconds at a low speed (too high and you get too much froth) to give sugar a chance to dissolve. While running pour in the cold milk, add the remaining ingredients and choice of flavorings, blend for 1 minute and serve!