eggs

Whether you scramble them, fry them or bake them in a quiche, eggs are an all-natural food with a laundry list of health benefits. Eggs remain a healthy choice even for those concerned about their cholesterol levels. 

Inflammation– Eggs are a rich source of the B vitamin choline. In addition to helping your body produce new cell membranes and healthy nerves, choline can reduce chronic inflammation. Chronic inflammation occurs when your body’s natural healing process goes haywire. Instead of healing, inflammation wreaks havoc on your body –increasing the risk of heart disease and diabetes. 

Protein– Getting enough protein is essential for health. Dietary protein builds muscle, boosts the immune system and allows for healthy skin and nails. However, not all protein is created equal. Certain sources of protein are highly utilized by the body while others are not.

Weight Loss- Trading in your morning breakfast of cereal and a bagel in favor of eggs can accelerate weight loss. In a study published in the October 2008 issue of “International Journal of Obesity,” 150 men and women dieters were assigned a breakfast either with or without eggs. The group that started their day off with two eggs lost 65 percent more weight than the non-egg eating group. The researchers hypothesize that the protein in the eggs helped curb the dieters’ appetites throughout the day.

Degeneration- Macular degeneration is one of the leading causes of blindness in the United States. Eggs are bursting with a pair of nutrients — lutein and zeaxanthin — which protect your eyes from damage caused by free radicals and sunlight exposure. In a study conducted by researchers at the University of Massachusetts Lowell and published in the October 2006 issue of the “Journal of Nutrition,” subjects who consumed just one egg per day significantly boosted the levels of lutein and zeaxanthin in their blood.

red onions 

A flavorful addition to many dishes, the versatile onion is low in calories and provides healthy phytochemicals, flavonoids, sulfur compounds and heart-healthy allicin. Onions rank sixth among the world’s leading vegetable crops; approximately 7 percent grown are red onions. Red onions have a sweet mild flavor and can be added to stews, soups, cooked vegetables or sauces.

Identification The onion is one of the oldest vegetable crops there is and likely grew wild on most continents. Onions were used in the middle ages for medicinal purposes, such as protection against the plague and to ward off evil spirits. A perennial herb, the onion plant is characterized by long stalks with greenish-white flowers and a fleshy, thin-skinned underground bulb. The red onion varieties include Italian red onion, creole onion and red torpedo. Nutrition- Red onions contain 64 calories per cup. They provide 5 percent DV, or daily value, for carbohydrates, 4.9 g of protein and no fat or cholesterol. A good source of fiber, one cup of onions has 2.7 g, or 11 percent DV. Onions provide vitamins C, at 20 percent DV per cup, vitamin B-6, with 10 percent DV and folate, with 8 percent DV. The mineral content includes 4 percent DV for calcium and magnesium, 2 percent DV for iron, 7 percent DV for potassium and 10 percent DV for manganese per cup, based on a 2,000-calorie diet. Onions are also one of the best food sources of chromium, which may enhance the action of insulin and help metabolize carbohydrates, fat and protein. Antioxidants Tannins and anthocyanins account for red onions being one of the best natural sources of quercetin, an antioxidant flavonoid with anti-fungal, anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. Quercetin is heat-stable and transferable to cooking water. The Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry published a study from a number of international universities that concluded that cooking onions by blanching, frying and microwaving did not decrease the antioxidant activity of the bioactive compounds. Antioxidants help fight cancer, and the quercetin in onions may prevent intestinal polyps, help curb the common cold, treat psoriasis and inhibit many viruses including cold sores. Allicin Red onions provide allicin, an organic sulfur compound responsible for the taste and smell of onions. When an onion is minced or chopped, enzymes produce sulfenic acid, which releases allicin that provides protection against inflammation, allergies, bacteria and thrombosis. Allicin is heart healthy and may prevent cancer, reduce symptoms of diabetes and inhibit platelet aggregation. Cancer- Stomach cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in the world. The University of Southern California conducted a study to investigate the effect of allium vegetables, such as onions, on stomach cancer. Trials involving a large number of Chinese subjects found an inverse relationship between onion consumption and stomach cancer. Results, published in Asian Pacific Journal of Cancer Prevention in 2005, suggested onions as a viable protector against cancer of the stomach. Cooked or Raw Although onions offer nutritional value regardless of whether they are raw, fried, boiled or baked, the journal Prostaglandins Leukotrienes Essential Fatty Acids suggests that raw onion is a more potent inhibitors of blood platelet aggregation than cooked. The effects of raw versus boiled onion were compared by the Department of Biological Sciences in Kuwait using rabbit and human platelet-rich plasma. Results of the study showed boiling onion extract reduced the slowing down of blood coagulation.

mushrooms

Mushrooms are big favorites of mine, but if you’re just starting to learn about their medicinal properties, I don’t blame you for being confused about which ones are, or aren’t, good for you. Mushrooms have been used for thousands of years both as food and for medicinal purposes. They are often classified as a vegetable or a herb, but they are actually fungi. Today, mushrooms are enjoyed for their flavor and texture. They can impart their own flavor to food or take on the flavor of other ingredients. Their flavor normally intensifies during cooking, and their texture holds up well to usual cooking methods, including stir-frying and sauteing. t was already known that mushrooms offer high-quality protein, vitamins, unsaturated fatty acids and fiber, but a precise carbohydrate breakdown had been elusive. Mushrooms are low in calories, high in fiber, and contain many important vitamins and minerals. Some also have medicinal properties such as complex carbohydrates that strengthen the immune system. 

Why are edible mushrooms considered a healthy food? In terms of nutrition they contain:

  • Protein – Most mushrooms have a high protein content, usually around 20-30% by dry weight. This can be useful for vegetarians or anyone looking to increase the protein content in their diet.
  • Fiber – Helps lower cholesterol and is important for the digestive system.
  • Niacin and other important B vitamins – As certain B vitamins are found in animal tissue but not plants, this can be another good supplement for vegetarians.
  • Vitamin D – Essential for the absorption of calcium.
  • Copper – Aids in helping the body absorb oxygen and create red blood cells.
  • Selenium – An antioxidant that helps neutralize free radicals, thus preventing cell damage and reducing the risk of cancer and other diseases. Mushrooms contain more selenium than any other form of produce.
  • Potassium – An extremely important mineral that regulates blood pressure and keeps cells functioning properly. A large portobello mushroom is said to have more potassium than a banana.
  • Other important minerals – Such as phosphorous, zinc, and magnesium.
  • Low levels of fat, calories, and sodium
  • No cholesterol

Yet the nutritional value of mushrooms can be measured in more ways than just strictly dietary. Further health benefits are gained from:

  • Polysaccharides – Complex carbohydrates that stimulate the immune system.
  • Enzyme inhibiting activity – Mushrooms can inhibit the production of certain enzymes such as aromatase, which the body uses to make estrogen. This could reduce the risk of breast cancer.
  • Triterpenes – Steroid-like molecules that inhibit histamine release and have anti-inflammatory properties.

Not all types of mushrooms have the same levels of vitamins, minerals, and medicinal properties. Do a little research if you have special health needs or goals. Of course, don’t forget to take taste into account!

by Seven Lovaste'

7Lovaste': Executive Creative Director; Organic Positive Living Wellness Sage

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