The Colors Of Health

Veg_5

dorota.sssBy Dorota Trupp, Nutritionist | A Reblog | According to a new study by the Harvard School of Public Health, eating plenty of brightly coloured fruits and vegetables helps prevent neurological disease. The combination of nutrients in these foods also enhances your brain function, making you a happier, more optimistic person.

So, you may ask, what is it about colourful fruits and vegetables that makes them so special? Well, it turns out that a heightened level of antioxidants is the magic ingredient that benefits our neurological health.

Previous studies have pointed to the link between positive brain function and antioxidants, especially vitamin E. The Harvard study focused on a type of antioxidant known as a carotenoid, a natural pigment that gives vegetables and fruits their bright colouring, from yellow through orange, red and deep green. It found that carotenoids have particularly strong health-enhancing qualities – so strong, in fact, that individuals whose diets contained large amounts of this antioxidant were revealed to be more likely to exercise and have an advanced degree!

In addition, when we look at the cultures that consume natural foods rich in carotenoids, we see that they are generally very healthy and experience a lower mortality rate because of chronic illness.

I bet that any parent who reads this will want their children to consume more-colourful veggies and fruits to ensure they have a better start in life!

Brightly Coloured Vegetables

Which fruit and vegetables are the most beneficial?

Any of the brightly coloured fruits and vegetables at your local fresh food market are a good choice. But remember that variety is important. Include on your shopping list vegetables such as carrots, tomatoes, pumpkin, red paprika, sweet potatoes, beetroot, broccoli, kale, spinach, brussels sprouts, asparagus and herbs such as parsley, dill, thyme, coriander and basil. Fruits that are abundant in carotenoids include apricots, mangoes, cherries, strawberries, other berries, citrus fruits and cantaloupe.

This is really just a rough guide. The main thing is that the brighter, more intense is the colour of a plant, the richer is its antioxidant content.

3-7 servings of colourful vegetables and fruits a day

How many servings do I need to get the full health benefits?

It’s been recommended that you should have somewhere between 3–7 servings of colourful fruits and vegetables each day – the more you have, the better it will be for you!

A Taste of Happiness

Should I eat these foods raw or cooked?

All fruit should be consumed raw, when it is at its ripest – this is when it will contain the highest levels of antioxidants and vitamin C. The best option is to buy naturally ripened fruit from your local farmers market or organic grocery store.

Some of the vegetables mentioned above may need to be cooked to make them easier to digest. When you do this, add some butter from grass-fed animals, which is also abundant in antioxidants such as vitamins A, D, E and K2. In salads, you can use extra virgin olive oil, which contains vitamins E and K. To maximise the bioavailability of the antioxidants in vegetables, don’t forget to mix them with ‘good’ fats, such as those found in animal-sourced fats, nuts and unprocessed vegetable oils.

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Images:  Lead Photo; A Google Image. All other images by: The Trupp Cooking School

References

Ryan Jaslow, ‘ALS risk reduced by eating brightly coloured vegetables, study suggests’, CBS News, 29 January 2013, http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-204_162-57566420/als-risk-reduced-by-eating-brightly-colored-vegetables-study-suggests/

EurekaAlert!, ‘Eating bright-colored fruits and vegetables may prevent or delay ALS’, 29 January 2013, http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2013-01/w-ebf012513.php

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Bloglink:  http://www.truppcookingschool.com/blog/2013/07/23/the-colours-of-good-health/

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Excessive omega fatty acids may make inflammation worse, not better

Salmon Plated

By: Randy Shore, Postmedia News  | A Reblog  | Research at the University of B.C.’s Okanagan campus is calling into question the value of fish-oil based supplements as a way to combat cardiac and inflammatory disease.

Fish oil supplements fed to mice already on a diet rich in vegetable oil interfered with the ability of tissues in the gastrointestinal system to repair themselves, according to recent research by Sanjoy Ghosh published in the British Journal of Nutrition.

Additional unpublished results point to a similar effect on cardiac tissues.

The cellular disruption that led to tissue injury — called oxidative stress — appears to be caused by the combination of omega-6 fatty acids in vegetable-based oils and the omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil, according to Ghosh, an assistant professor of biology.

In the past 50 years, North Americans have replaced much of the saturated fat in their diet with unsaturated fats, dramatically increasing their consumption of omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids and altering the balance of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids.

Previous studies of human populations that consume large amounts of omega-3 fatty acids as part of their normal diet suggest a protective effect against cardiac and inflammatory disease.

But when researchers added the omega-3 rich fish oil to the diet of mice to see if it would reduce the inflammation caused by omega-6 rich vegetable oils, they were stunned when it made matters worse.

“Our hypothesis is that levels of omega 6 are so high in our bodies that any more unsaturated fatty acid — even omega 3, despite its health benefits — will actually contribute to the negative effects omega 6 PUFA have on the heart and gut,” said Ghosh. “When there is too much [polyunsaturated fatty acid], the body doesn’t know what to do with it.”

This is not the first time that Ghosh has produced findings that turned popular notions about nutrition and health on their head.

As a graduate student Ghosh discovered by accident that so-called “heart healthy” oils rich in Omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids inflicted damage to the hearts of rats and neo-natal pigs.
The result was so shocking that Ghosh was turned down for publication by all the major scientific journals.

‘Vegetable-based oils like corn and canola were promoted to the public as a healthier alternative to animal-based fats, but there was never any research that said they are any healthier’

The results of the rat-based study were eventually published by the journal Nutrition in 2004.
Subsequent research vindicated Ghosh and opened up a new line of scientific inquiry questioning popularly held notions about the health benefits of vegetable-based oils.

“Vegetable-based oils like corn and canola were promoted to the public as a healthier alternative to animal-based fats, but there was never any research that said they are any healthier,” said Ghosh.

In fact, recent research has linked excessive levels of omega-6 to colitis, insulin resistance, diabetes and obesity, he said. And people’s attempts to “balance” omega-6 levels with omega-3 supplements may be damaging their health.

‘There is no magic pill that fixes a bad diet’

“There is no magic pill that fixes a bad diet,” he said.

“The vast majority of studies that show omega 3 oils are beneficial are based on eating fish, not pills,” he said. “When you eat a lot of fish you automatically eat less of other oils and it’s a healthier balance.”

The polyunsaturated fats in vegetable oils have only been added to the human diet very recently, roughly coinciding with a steady rise in diet-related illness, he said.

A diet rich in saturated fats and healthy unsaturated fats will promote a more natural balance of fats

A diet that includes foods rich in saturated fats, such as cheese and butter, and healthy unsaturated fats, such as those in olive oil and nuts, will promote a more natural balance of fats, not unlike the Mediterranean diet, he said.

Photo: A Google Image

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Bloglink:  http://life.nationalpost.com/2013/01/23/excessive-omega-fatty-acids-may-make-heart-health-worse-not-better-b-c-researchers/