Happy Independence Day to all the Pakistani brothers and sisters.
This member of the gourd family is cylindrical in shape and brilliant dark green in color, with a watery flesh and mild flavor. Though zucchini can grow to almost monstrous proportions, the smaller vegetables are the most flavorful.
Yams are members of the Dioscoreae family. Depending upon the yam variety, of which there are about 200, its flesh may be of varying colors including white, ivory, yellow or purple while its thick skin may either be white, pink or brownish-black. Their shape is long and cylindrical (oftentimes having offshoots referred to as “toes”) while their exterior texture is rough and scaly. Yams have a very starchy and slippery texture and when cooked, will either be creamy or firm, depending upon the variety. Their taste is earthy and hardy, with most varieties having minimal, if any, sweetness. Specific types of yams include Dioscorea alata (Hawaiian yam), Dioscorea batatas (Korean yam) and Dioscorea esculenta (sweet yam).
Protection Against Cardiovascular Disease
Yams are a good source of vitamin B6. Vitamin B6 is needed by the body to break down a substance called homocysteine, which can directly damage blood vessel walls. Individuals who suffer a heart attack despite having normal or even low cholesterol levels are often found to have high levels of homocysteine. Since high homocysteine levels are significantly associated with increased risk of heart attack and stroke, having a good supply of vitamin B6 on hand makes a great deal of sense. High intakes of vitamin B6 have also been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease.
Yams are a good source of potassium, a mineral that helps to control blood pressure. Since many people not only do not eat enough fruits and vegetables but also consume high amounts of sodium as salt is frequently added to processed foods, they may be deficient in potassium. Low intake of potassium-rich foods, especially when coupled with a high intake of sodium, can lead to hypertension. In the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) study, one group ate servings of fruits and vegetables in place of snacks and sweets, and also ate low-fat dairy food.
This diet delivered more potassium, magnesium, and calcium. Another group ate a “usual” diet low in fruits and vegetables with a fat content like that found in the average American Diet. After eight weeks, the group that ate the enhanced diet lowered their blood pressure by an average of 5.5 points (systolic) over 3.0 points (diastolic). Dioscorin, a storage protein contained in yam, may also be of benefit to certain individuals with hypertension. Preliminary research suggests that dioscorin c can inhibit angiotensin converting enzyme, which would, therefore, lead to increased kidney blood flow and reduced blood pressure.
A Look at Yam, Diosgenin, and Menopausal Symptoms
Many consumers have found products in the marketplace that promote wild yam or wild yam extracts as substances that can help provide a natural alternative to hormonal replacement in women who have reached the age of menopause. Many of these products are provided in the form of creams that can be topically applied. Even though the food itself is not usually promoted by natural products companies, these yam-containing products have sparked interest in the relationship between yam and menopause. Yams do contain some unique substances called steroidal ponins, and among these substances are chemicals called diosgenins.
Because of similarities between diosgenin and progesterone, questions were initially raised about the ability of our body to convert diosgenin into progesterone, but research has shown that the answer here is clearly no. Diosgenin does, however, have an impact on hormonal patterns in studies involving animals, and may be helpful in lowering risk of os.
Turnip is essentially a root vegetable that is a member of the Cruciferae family. This vegetable is usually grown in regions that experience temperate climates. It roughly resembles the size of an apple. The small and tender varieties are for human consumption while the bigger ones are kept for feeding livestock. The turnips are usually white in color from the bottom till halfway and become light purple, red or green according to the sunlight that has fallen on them, till the top. The leaves of the turnip are also edible and are eaten as turnip greens. Check out the nutritional value and health and nutrition benefits of eating turnips.
Tomatoes or juicy tomatoes contain lycopene, a red carotenoid pigment and phytonutrient that is also found in watermelon, pink grapefruit, pink guava, and papaya. Lycopene is responsible for the red color of tomatoes. In the tomato plant, lycopene helps in the process of photosynthesis and protects the plant from excessive light damage. Lycopene is a potent antioxidant, one of the estimated 600 naturally occurring carotenoids.
Although lycopene is not an essential nutrient for humans, it can accumulate in certain tissues and high intakes of lycopene may protect against some cancers and cardiovascular disease1. There are many mechanisms by which lycopene may protect against cancer. Lycopene is a potent antioxidant and can eliminate damaging free radicals in the body’s tissues, in addition to increasing production of the body’s own antioxidant enzymes2.
Lycopene has received the most attention for its possible protection against prostate cancer in men2. Many studies have found that men with higher intakes of tomatoes and tomato products have a lower risk of prostate cancer. Based on these studies, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved a qualified health claim regarding the relationship between tomatoes and prostate cancer, stating “very limited and preliminary scientific research suggests that eating one-half to one cup of tomatoes and/or tomato sauce a week may reduce the risk of prostate cancer”.
Several studies have examined the relationship between lycopene levels in the body and the risk of cardiovascular disease. Lower levels of lycopene in the body tend to be associated with early atherosclerosis and a higher risk of heart attack.
Did You Know?
Tomatoes can be many other colors besides red, including yellow, orange, green and purple. The next time you visit your local farmers market, look for heirloom tomatoes. Although they look quite different from the standard red tomatoes in the supermarket, people often say their taste is far superior.
Tomato sauce and ketchup have higher lycopene contents than raw tomatoes.
Lycopene, like other carotenoids, is fat-soluble, which means it must be eaten with fat to be absorbed in the gastrointestinal tract. As little as 3-5 grams of fat in the meal is usually sufficient for lycopene to be absorbed.
Spinach is a dark green leafy vegetable native to Southeast Asia. This crop has been used as a source of food for centuries in Asia, and it had reached Europe by the eighth century CE, ensuring that spinach would follow along on the ride to the New World. Most markets which stock produce of any form carry spinach, often year-round, and it can also be found in the canned and frozen form. There are a huge number of ways to use spinach, and this green is extremely popular in many corners of the world.
Radish is a vegetable with thin white skin and white flesh, this vegetable can be eaten raw ( appetizer and salads) or cooked (the ingredient in soup dishes). To retain the freshness and crunchiness of this vegetable it is advised to soak it in a cold water.
Radish, the well-known part of your salad, is a root crop, pungent or sweet in taste with a lot of juice. Radishes can be white, red, purple or black, long cylindrical or round in shape. They are eaten raw, cooked or pickled. The oil obtained from the seeds of radish is also used. The other parts of radish which are consumed are the leaves, the flowers, the pods and the seeds.
The scientific name of radish is Raphanus Sativus which belongs to the Brassicaceae family. Radish is also known as Daiken in some parts of the world. The benefits of radish against certain ailments and on certain body parts are listed below:
Jaundice: Radish is very good for the liver and the stomach and it is a very good detoxifier too, that is, it purifies the blood. It is miraculously useful in jaundice as it helps to remove bilirubin and also checks its production. It also checks destruction of red blood cells during jaundice by increasing supply of fresh oxygen in the blood. The black radish is more preferred in jaundice. The leaves of the radish are also very useful in the treatment of jaundice.
Piles: Radish is very rich in roughage, i.e. indigestible carbohydrates. This facilitates digestion, retains water, cures constipation (one of the main causes for piles) and thus gives relief in piles. Being a very good detoxifier, it helps heal up piles fast. Its juice also soothes the digestive and excretory system and this also relieves piles.
Urinary Disorders: Radishes are diurectic in nature, i.e. increase production of urine. Juice of radish also cures inflammation and burning to feel during urinating. It also cleans the kidneys and inhibits infections in the kidneys and urinary system. Thus it helps a great deal in curing urinary disorders.
Weight Loss: Radishes are very filling, i.e. fills your stomach and satisfies your hunger easily without giving you many calories, as they are low in digestible carbohydrates, high in roughage and contain a lot of water. It is a very good dietary option for those determined to lose weight.
Cancer: Being a very good detoxifier and rich in vitamin-C, folic and anthocyanins, radish helps cure many types of cancer, particularly those of the colon, kidney, intestines, stomach and oral cancer.
Leucoderma: The detoxifying and anti-carcinogenic properties of radish make it useful in the treatment of Leucoderma. The radish seeds are used in this case. They should be powdered and soaked in vinegar or ginger juice or cows urine and then applied on the white patches. Eating radish also aids the treatment of Leucoderma.
Skin Disorders: Vitamin-C, phosphorus, zinc and some members of the vitamin-B complex, which are present in radish, are good for skin,