Health & Fitness:Alternative Health
The Gary Null Show - 04.15.22
Leafy Vegetables: Another “league of superheroes” among foods is found in the dark green leafy vegetables. This band includes spinach, kale, arugula, Swiss chard, cabbage, collard greens, and watercress. While they should be united in your diet, each eaten in turn, they all have individualized, singular health benefits. One thing they hold in common, however, is that they are high in carotenoids and other antioxidants that guard against heart disease, cancer, and problems in blood sugar regulation. To choose one example from among them, one cup of cooked kale provides over 1,300 percent of the daily requirement of vitamin K needed for maximum bone health. It is also rich in calcium and manganese, other nurturers of bone density. Like broccoli, kale contains the anti-cancer phytochemical sulforaphane. To note the value of a few more of the green leafy vegetables, look at cabbage, which contains manifold glutamine, an amino acid that contributes to the anti-inflammatory activities in the body. This acid also protects from infectious complications due to human papilloma virus (HPV). The juice from cabbage will quicken the healing of peptic ulcers. Now, turn to spinach. It is one of the best sources for iron. Per gram, it generally contains over 30 percent more iron than a hamburger. (Any diet heavy in spinach should include sufficient vitamin C to help assimilate the iron.) Spinach is also an excellent source of folic acid, calcium, copper, zinc, selenium, and omega-3 fatty acids. Although I can’t give details on every green leafy vegetable, let me end with two more. Watercress is a superb source of phytochemicals. It has been shown to be a diuretic and digestive aid as well as an aid in protecting against lung cancer and strengthening the thyroid. Collard greens supply ample quantities of immune response modulator diindolylmethane.
Legumes: The modern Western diet, especially in America, ignores most legumes at its detriment. Sometimes I think the only way that Americans would take to legumes would be if they came in a hamburger bun and were sloshed with ketchup and mustard. But, to be more serious, when I mention legumes, most people think of beans, peas, and lentils. However, alfalfa, clover, peanuts, and cashews are also legumes. These vegetables and grains are excellent sources of cholesterol lowering fiber. When you consume a legume, its fiber content helps you manage blood sugar levels. One cup of lentils can provide upwards to 65 percent of the minimum, daily necessary dietary fiber. With this high fiber content in a serving, when legumes are frequently included in meals, we are assured to have better gastrointestinal and colon health. Legumes in general contain energy-boosting protein and iron. Looking at specific entities in this group, black beans are rich in the potent antioxidant anthocyanidins, which promotes heart and vascular health. Green beans are excellent sources of vitamins C and K. Garbanzo beans, commonly known as chickpeas, are a superb source of molybdenum, which strengthens teeth and preserves tooth enamel. Another important legume that is not as familiar in the US as some of those just mentioned is adzuki beans. Originally from the Himalayas and standard in East Asian cooking, they are a rich source of magnesium, potassium, iron, zinc, and B vitamins. Very high in soluble fiber, the adzuki helps eliminate bad cholesterol from the body. In Japan, it is treasured for its kidney and bladder health-promoting function, and used in weight-loss programs. To maximize the benefits of legumes in the diet, combine them with whole grains. The reason for this recommendation is that legumes are very low in methionine, an essential amino acid that supports cellular life, while whole grains are replete with this amino acid, but low in lysine, which is abundant in legumes. A wholesome, integrated vegetarian diet will contain a balance of legumes and grains.
Mushrooms: My friends, who have travelled to the Yunnan province in China, mention how there some of the most prized edibles are the wide varieties of mushrooms. Where an average, un-health-conscious American would find his or her greatest culinary delight in choosing between cuts of steak, the Yunnan citizen is delicately discriminating between different mushrooms. A wealth of growing peer-reviewed science, which would recommend the Yunnan culinary emphasis, shows that many edible mushrooms are among the more important immune builders in the plant kingdom. In particular, medicinal mushrooms inhibit tumor growth, have anti-pathogenic and blood-sugar-lowering activities, and strengthen immunity. Among approximately 200 different varieties whose health-enhancing skills have been noted are the chaga, cordyceps, maitake, oyster, portobello, reishi, shiitake, and turkey tail mushrooms. Although it is possible to find all of these in fresh or dried form, at the moment in the US the shiitake mushrooms are the easiest to obtain. A list of the benefits obtained from mushrooms would have to mention their antiviral and antibacterial properties, which in different mushrooms have shown some effectiveness against a wide spread of pathogens, including those from polio, hepatitis B, influenza, candida, Epstein-Barr virus, streptococcus, and tuberculosis. The mutagenic benefits of mushrooms that one can read about in the scientific literature note how mushrooms can be enlisted in the fight against leukemia, sarcoma, and the bladder, breast, colon, liver, lung, prostate, and stomach cancers, even in advanced stages.
Onions: A rule of thumb is that the more pungent the onion, the greater its health benefits. It’s as if you could smell its disease-thwarting power. Onions are particularly important to include in diets for diabetics, for one, because they are rich in chromium, a trace mineral that helps cells respond to insulin. Moreover, refined sugar depletes the body’s chromium levels, so for anyone that has this sugar in his or her diet, onions are an excellent source of replacement. Onions are also rich in vitamin B6, vitamin C, manganese, molybdenum (essential in preserving tooth enamel), potassium, phosphorous, and copper. They are also just about the best source of quercetin, which works hand-in-hand with vitamin C in help the body eliminate bacteria and strengthen immunity. The onion’s health benefits don’t stop there. Inclusion of onions in the diet help individuals lower blood pressure and cholesterol, and strengthen bone health. Onions also have anti-inflammatory benefits, reducing symptoms related to inflammatory conditions, such as asthma, arthritis, and respiratory congestion. Some studies have noted that they lessen the adverse effects from colds and flus.
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