Reduce Chronic Diseases with Antioxidants!

Free radicals are molecules that are missing an electron, which makes them very unstable. Because of this instability, free radicals react quickly with other molecules in an effort to gain an electron. Antioxidants are substances that help protect your cell membranes from damage from free radicals by combining with the molecules and neutralizing them so that they cannot cause damage. This neutralization might reduce your risk of chronic diseases.
-Beta-Carotene. Beta-carotene belongs to a group of substances called provitamin A carotenoids, which your body converts to vitamin A. Beta-carotene is a yellow-red pigment that gives carrots and butternut squash their color and is responsible for 25 to 35 percent of the dietary vitamin A consumed by Americans. Studies published in the “New England Journal of Medicine” and the “Journal of the American Medical Association” found that a diet high in fruits and vegetables that contain beta-carotene might help reduce the risk of heart disease and cancer.
-Vitamin E. The fat-soluble vitamin E is often noted for its antioxidant properties. Specifically, vitamin E prevents oxidation of LDL cholesterol, which helps reduce the buildup of plaque on the walls of your arteries and can help reduce the risk of heart disease. Vitamin E also neutralizes free radicals before they can cause damage to the unsaturated fatty acids that build your phospholipid bi-layer, the membrane that surrounds your cells.
-Lycopene. Lycopene is a carotenoid that gives tomatoes their red color. Lycopene has been shown to have antioxidant properties, and researchers have determined that high intake of foods that contain lycopene might decrease incidences of cancer, heart disease and macular degeneration.
-Selenium. When you consume the mineral selenium, it combines with proteins in your body to create selenoproteins, which are antioxidant enzymes. Selenium might have the potential to slow the growth or tumors and high serum selenium is linked to a lower rate of death from prostate, lung and colon cancers.

Super Foods for Super Brains!

Super foods are packed with nutrients that have health-enhancing properties ranging from prevention of heart disease and cancer to improving skin tone and boosting memory and brain function. Their health benefits may be overstated but they do provide the recommended nutrients when included as part of balanced diet. Here are 5 super foods that help boost brain function and improve memory.
1-Milk is rich in vitamin B6, vitamin B12, calcium, magnesium and potassium – all of which are necessary for improving memory and cognitive functions. But what is especially beneficial to brain health is the milk protein, especially cow milk protein. The cow milk protein is made up of 20 percent whey protein and 80 percent casein protein. The whey protein is a mixture of alpha-lactalbumin, beta-lactoglobulin and serum albumin. A research study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition reveals that dietary protein rich in alpha-lactalbumin (cow milk protein in this case) improves cognitive performance in stress-vulnerable people by increasing brain serotonin activity levels.
2-Broccoli, a cruciferous vegetable from the cabbage family, is a super food because scientists have found that it can protect the brain following injury. Broccoli contains a chemical called sulforaphane that helps strengthen the protective network of capillaries called the blood-brain barrier (BBB). The BBB is a semi-permeable lining made of tiny capillaries; it protects the brain from ‘foreign substances’ which may injure the brain. The BBB also maintains a constant environment for the brain.
3-Potato may seem to be the least likely food for improving memory or brain function, but in fact the baked potato with flesh and skin and without salt is a very healthy, low calorie, high fiber food. It is a good source of vitamin C, vitamin B6, potassium and manganese – all of which are beneficial to brain health.
4-Mango is rich in vitamin C, vitamin B6 and vitamins K, A and E. Fruits like mangoes and banana are high in vitamin B6 content and are therefore good for brain health.
5-Honey is the oldest natural sweetener known to man. Honey is made up of equal parts of glucose and fructose and it contains a variety of B-vitamins, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium and anti-oxidants – all of which are good for brain health.

Eggplant: The New Miracle Super Food!

Eggplant is recognized by nutrition experts as a super food that helps maintain health. Here are three of the most popular benefits:
Diets rich in eggplants and eggplant extract may help reduce bad cholesterol. Some studies support this argument and other don’t. But we all know that diets rich in vegetables in general are good for keeping healthy cholesterol levels.
Eating eggplants is good for people who have type 2 diabetes. The high fiber and low soluble carbohydrate content in eggplants helps control the glucose absorption in the body. This is why the American Diabetes Association recommends eggplant.
Eggplant may help in the fight and prevention of cancer. Its high content of fiber may help reduce the risk of colon cancer. Some studies have found that eggplant contains compounds with high antioxidant activity. These compounds may help remove free radicals from the body and inhibits the growth of cancer cells.
Eggplant is an excellent addition to any healthy diet. Eggplants are:
an excellent source of potassium, magnesium, calcium and phosphorous
a good source of essential minerals such as copper, folic acid, magnesium, manganese, niacin and phosphorus,
a source of Vitamin B complex (B1, B6 and B12)

Besides minerals and vitamins, eggplant provides other important health benefits. This vegetable is free of fat, high in water and fiber, and low in soluble carbohydrates.
No wonder eggplant has become a favorite in low fat recipes and low carb dishes!