Health Benefits of Cucumber | Healthy Food Master

Health Benefits of Cucumber

Health Benefits of Cucumbers

This vegetable belong to the Cucurbitaceae family such as pumpkin, and watermelon. Cucumbers are vegetable with high water content (around 95% water), they are naturally low in calories also low in fat, sodium and cholesterol. There is nothing better than good salad with Cucumbers in hot summer days because it will help you to stay hydrated. Not just in hot summer days you may eat cucumbers all year round because it’s loaded with nutrients, vitamins and minerals like B vitamins, Vitamin K, copper, vitamin C, potassium, and manganese. So it can help you to avoid nutrient deficiencies in your body. Let’s see the health benefits of this cool vegetable.

Antioxidant Properties. Antioxidant properties comes by containing of numerous antioxidants one of them is Vitamin C who is well-known and also beta-carotene. Antioxidant flavonoids are also contained in Cucumbers apigenin, quercetin, luteolin, and kaempferol,6 which provide more benefits. As instance quercetin many believe prevents histamine release. Kaempferol in other hand may help fight cancer and lower your risk of chronic diseases including heart disease.

Bone Health. low intakes of vitamin K in your diet may be associated with a higher risk for bone fracture. By eating a proper intake of fruits or vegetables you can provide vitamin K for example one cup of this vegetable provides 11% of your daily needs. Vitamin K is important mineral that can improve calcium absorption in the bones which is essential for optimal bone health.

Weight Loss and Digestion. Because Cucumber is high water content and low in calories makes it good diet for people who are looking for weight loss. The dietary fiber and high water content in this vegetable are excellent team to ridding the body of toxins from the digestive system, also aiding digestion. As a remedy for chronic constipation may be effective daily consumption of cucumbers.

Reduce bad breath. Bacteria in the mouth usually can cause bad breath, Fiber and water-rich vegetables such as cucumbers can boost your mouth’s saliva production, saliva in the mouth helps for washing the bacteria which cause the odor in the mouth.

Lowering Blood Pressure. Cucumbers contain potassium known mineral who is associated with lower blood pressure levels. For your body to function properly is crucial a proper balance of potassium inside and also outside your cells.

Reduces cholesterol. Because of compound called sterols who is contained in cucumber it helps to reduce bad cholesterol.

What Else Are Cucumbers Good For? helps in revitalizing the skin, drink cucumber juice daily can control hair fall, effective remedy for fight different kinds of cancer, good for dental health. Well Cucumbers are really powerhouse vegetable and adding them into your daily diet is no mistake.

Planting Vegetables in California, a Woman Finds Her Korean Roots | The Plate

For a Korean girl adopted by an American family at five-months old, the love affair with food started with the perilla leaf.

Better known to some as the sesame or shiso leaf, Kristyn Leach found the prickly green and purple leaf in a Korean seed book and fell hard. And she credits the experience with inspiring her to launch Namu, a California farm specializing in Asian vegetables.

For those who have eaten it, perilla is unmistakable. It tastes like something between mint and spinach, and you either love it or loathe it. Koreans will usually pickle it or wrap meat in it for Korean barbeque. Leach likened perilla, the first plants she grew, to something like an awakening, or a reincarnation. “The plant remembered me before I remembered it,” she says.

Leach was no stranger to vegetables or farming. Growing up in the community gardens of New York with blue-collar parents, Leach learned two lessons to live by that would end up defining her career: Be of service and grow food.

As part of a white American family, Leach didn’t have Korean family recipes or even know what Korean produce was, aside from the occasional Asian pear or odd cabbage from the market. By teaching herself about Korean seeds and produce, she learned who she was and opened up a door to her sense of identity and heritage. This, she says, empowered her to start Namu farm.

To make it happen, Leach started small. Five years ago, she subleased one acre of land in the hills of San Francisco from Sage, a non-profit in Berkeley, California. There, she was exposed to a wide variety of produce and found many farmers willing to show her the way.

In addition to wanting to farm Korean vegetables, Leach also wanted to try the natural farming methods used in Korea, i.e. creating a no-till, biodynamic and organic farm; food you could trace back to its source.

This type of farming is not for the faint of heart or will. Succeeding takes years, but it was something she was determined to do the way her Korean ancestors had done, to “have a place within nature, and not one that’s dominating it.”

When Leach first began growing perilla, she brought some to chef Dennis Lee at Namu Gaji, an acclaimed modern Korean restaurant in San Francisco owned by Lee and his two brothers. California is home to a huge Korean population and in recent years Korean food and chefs have become much more mainstream. Kimchi and bi bim bap are showing up on menus around the U.S., now, but not so much back then. Lee was so impressed with Leach’s leaves, he asked her to grow chilies for Namu Gaji and soon after, Namu the farm was born. (Namu means “tree” in Korean, and emphasizes the branches of their collaboration.) Now Namu produces more produce than Namu Gaji needs—beans, peanuts, and more. Extra produce goes to Korean community centers and an Asian women’s shelter in the bay area. Recently, Namu has partnered with the Kitazawa Seed Company, the largest distributor of Asian seeds outside of Asia, to release Korean chili seeds with plans to sell a new heirloom crop each year.

Last fall Leach traveled to Korea for the first time to find seeds to bring back home. She worked on a farm and met Korean farmers, including Ms. Pyeon, an heirloom preservationist and farmer in Joellanam-do. They bonded over natural farming practices and preserving seeds, including the perilla leaf. Pyeon has three different varieties including the stone perilla, the wild ancestor of the perilla plants Leach grows.

Every September, Koreans celebrate Chuseok—think Korean Thanksgiving but over three days. It commemorates the year’s harvest and thanks the ancestors. This year at Namu, Korean drummers gathered at the farm to sow the cover crop seed and finish with a big feast. Leach says of the experience, “I felt more Korean than ever.”

Jeanne Modderman is a photo producer for National Geographic’s photo community Your Shot with a love for storytelling, art and good food. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram.

Ask Well: Does Boiling or Baking Vegetables Destroy Their Vitamins? – NYTimes.com

Ask Well: Does Boiling or Baking Vegetables Destroy Their Vitamins?

Question:

To what extent does heating (boiling, baking) foods like vegetables destroy vitamins?

Asked by Bartolo

Answer:

It’s true that cooking methods alter the nutritional composition of fruits and vegetables, but that’s not always a bad thing. Several studies have shown that while cooking can degrade some nutrients, it can enhance the availability of others. As a result, no single cooking or preparation method is best, and that includes eating vegetables raw.

Many people believe that raw vegetables are packed with more nutrition than cooked vegetables, but, again, it depends on the type of nutrient. One study of 200 people in Germany who ate a raw food diet found that they had higher levels of beta carotene, but their plasma lycopene levels were well below average. That’s likely because fresh, uncooked tomatoes actually have lower lycopene content than cooked or processed tomatoes. Cooking breaks down the thick cell walls of many plants, releasing the nutrients stored in them.

Water-soluble nutrients like vitamin C and vitamin B and a group of nutrients called polyphenolics seem to be the most vulnerable to degradation in processing and cooking. Canned peas and carrots lose 85 to 95 percent of their natural Vitamin C. After six months, another study showed that frozen cherries lost as much as 50 percent of anthocyanins, the nutrients found in the dark pigments of fruits and vegetables. Cooking removes about two-thirds of the vitamin C in fresh spinach.

Depending on the method used, loss of vitamin C during home cooking typically can range from 15 percent to 55 percent, according to a review by researchers at the University of California, Davis. Interestingly, vitamin C levels often are higher in frozen produce compared with fresh produce, likely because vitamin C levels can degrade during the storage and transport of fresh produce.

Fat-soluble compounds like vitamins A, D, E and K and the antioxidant compounds called carotenoids fare better during cooking and processing. A report in The Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry concluded that over all, boiling was better for carrots, zucchini and broccoli than steaming, frying or serving them raw. Frying vegetables was by far the worst method for preserving nutrients.

But when it comes to cooking vegetables, there are always tradeoffs. A method may enhance the availability of one nutrient while degrading another. Boiling carrots, for instance, significantly increases measurable carotenoid levels compared with raw carrots. However, raw carrots have far more polyphenols, which disappear once you start cooking them.

And while many people think microwaving is bad for food, vegetables cooked in a microwave may have a higher concentration of certain vitamins. A March 2007 study looked at the effects of boiling, steaming, microwaving and pressure cooking on the nutrients in broccoli. Steaming and boiling caused a 22 percent to 34 percent loss of vitamin C. Microwaved and pressure-cooked vegetables retained 90 percent of their vitamin C.

The bottom line is that no one cooking or preparation method is superior for preserving 100 percent of the nutrients in a vegetable. And since the best vegetables are the ones you will actually eat, taste should also be factored in when deciding on a cooking method. The best way to get the most out of your vegetables is to enjoy them in a variety of ways — raw, steamed, boiled, baked and grilled. If you eat a variety of fruits and vegetables on a regular basis, you don’t have to worry about the cooking method.

The pain, the pleasure and the health benefits » Natural News Blogs

Chilies: The pain, the pleasure and the health benefits
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When you think of vitamin C, do you think of oranges or chilies? The surprising fact of the matter is that chilies have more vitamin C and beta carotene than oranges. Surprising fact number two: Red hot chili peppers are actually fruit from plants that are members of the nightshade family. This quirky product of nature has healing properties you wouldn’t normally associate with a hot bite that causes a distinct pain and burning sensation in your mouth, or for that matter, with something as ordinary as a chili. Exotic though it may be in some parts of the world, chilies have now become commonplace as a medicine. Fact is they are packed with nutritional and medicinal properties and it is said that including chili regularly in your diet can effectively control many an illness.

Let’s start at the very beginning. Chili is loaded with Vitamin A and C with a good measure of bioflavinoids. These nutrients enable blood vessels to cope with variations in blood pressure by increasing their elasticity. According to studies chilies have pain relieving abilities and their consumption could potentially relieve migraine and sinus headaches. It has been recorded that chilies can control the transmission of pain to the brain by virtue of a chemical substance in it called capsaicin. This chemical substance helps combat upper respiratory congestion and helps clear mucus from the throat. Chili is endowed with anti-bacterial properties and can prove itself in the treatment of sinus infections. The heat of chili is meant to prevent the spreading of cancer cells, more specifically to do with prostrate cancer.

According to current scientific thinking, capsaicin could be useful in the treatment of painful bone and joint conditions such as arthritis due to its powerful anti-inflammatory properties. And what with its ability to prevent or manage nervous debility, it may be a blessing for those suffering from diabetic neuropathy and has even been suggested for the treatment of herpes. Skin conditions such as psoriasis are also meant to be relieved by chili.

Chili for better digestion, increased metabolism and weight control

According to a study conducted by Duke University in North Carolina, USA, the chili pepper could be handy in the treatment of irritable bowel syndrome. It acts against H. Pylori bacteria and could be the best preventive therefore for stomach ulcers. There is also evidence to show the effectiveness of chili in weight control. Capsaicin can increase the body’s metabolism and the heat it generates can burn fat (this process is called thermogenisis), while the vitamin C and the beta carotene make it essential for maintaining the health of the mucus membrane in the nasal passages, lungs, intestinal tracts and urinary tracts. They are unique in their ability to build the body’s defenses against pathogens. New research has identified that chilies in your meal can reduce the amount of insulin your body needs to convert sugar to energy.

Of course, as always, it is good to exercise caution in the consumption of chilies. You don’t want to eat too much of it. And chili therapy may or may not be a good enough substitute for proper medical advice. That said, chilies are great for cooking with, adding a touch of flavor, healthfulness and even color to your meal. And an unexpected gift of the chili is that is stimulates the release of endorphins, the pleasure hormone.

KS