By Jessie Szalay, Live Science Contributor
October 15, 2014
Spiny on the outside, sweet on the inside, pineapples are one fantastic fruit. Pineapples are members of the bromeliad family, and one of the few bromeliads to produce edible fruit, according to the biology department at Union County College. The fruit is actually made of many individual berries that fuse together around a central core. Each pineapple scale is an individual berry.
Pineapples’ nutritional benefitsare as fascinating as their anatomy. “Pineapples contain high amounts of vitamin C and manganese,” said San Diego-based nutritionist Laura Flores. These tropical treats are also a good way to get important dietary fiber and bromelain (an enzyme).
“As well as having high amounts of manganese, which is important for antioxidant defenses, pineapples also contain high amounts of thiamin, a B vitamin that is involved in energy production,” Flores said.
For all its sweetness, one cup of pineapple chunks contains only 82
calories. Pineapples are also fat-free, cholesterol-free and low in
sodium. Not surprisingly, they do contain sugar, with 16 grams per cup.
Here are the nutrition facts for raw pineapple, according to the U.S. Food
and Drug Administration, which regulates food labeling through the
National Labeling and Education Act: (more…)
by Sylvie Tremblay, MSc, Demand Media
Vegetables should help form the foundation of your diet — women need 2.5 cups daily and men need 3 cups, recommends the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Each cup of cucumber juice counts as 1 cup of veggies to help you reach these intake goals. In addition to the general benefits of a diet rich in vegetables — including a lower risk of obesity and some types of cancer, according to the USDA — drinking cucumber juice offers specific health benefits due to its nutrient content.
Drinking cucumber juice helps you reach your recommended daily intake of vitamin K. This vitamin helps you build strong bone tissue and nourishes your kidneys. It also plays an important role in blood clotting — it activates proteins that trigger blood coagulation, so that you can stop bleeding after suffering tissue damage. Consuming cucumber juice helps to fight the effects of vitamin K deficiency, which can include nosebleeds, bruising and bleeding gums.
Cucumber juice also provides a source of copper. Copper helps you make neurotransmitters, the family of chemicals your brain cells need to communicate. It helps you produce healthy red blood cells, strengthens your connective tissue and boosts your immune system. It protects you from free radical damage — cellular damage that develops when you’re exposed to environmental toxins or sunlight. The copper in cucumber juice also supports your active lifestyle, since your cells need copper to produce useable energy.
Cucumber juice serves as a vegan-friendly source of calcium, an essential mineral. Hydroxyapatite, the mineral tissue that adds strength to your teeth and bones, contains calcium, and getting enough calcium helps retain your bone density. Your muscles also use calcium to contract, and your nervous system relies on small amounts of calcium to help transmit nerve impulses. Getting enough calcium also helps maintain your body’s hormone balance, since calcium in your bloodstream helps control hormone release.
Considerations and Serving Tips
Cucumber juice has one major nutritional disadvantage compared to whole cucumber — it does not contain dietary fiber, the indigestible carbohydrate found in intact cucumber. If you drink cucumber juice as part of your daily vegetable intake, make sure you also eat whole veggies to boost your fiber intake. Whole grains, legumes and nuts also contain fiber. You can also utilize the fiber from cucumber after juicing — simply freeze the leftover pulp collected from your juicer, and use it to add fiber to pureed soups and sauces. In addition to enjoying cucumber juice on its own, you can use the juice as a base for healthy smoothies — try blending the juice with frozen melon balls and fresh mint, or with strawberries and basil, for a refreshing beverage.
Here’s a short list of what they can do for you:
1.They control cell damage, thus playing a role in preventing cancer. This is because sunflower seeds are a good source of selenium, which is a proven enemy of cancer.
2. They contain bone-healthy minerals. Besides calcium, your bones need magnesium and copper to stay strong. Sunflower seeds have both these minerals. As a bonus, they also contain Vitamin E, which helps ease arthritic pain.
3. They keep you calm. Yes! The magnesium in sunflower seeds is reputed for soothing the nerves, thus easing away stress, migraines and helping you relax.
4. They bring a glow to your skin. The star in this role: Vitamin E again, which combats UV rays and keeps skin youthful.
5. They ease every condition that’s inflammatory in nature, such as joint pain, gastric ulcers, skin eruptions, asthma and such.That’s because sunflower seeds are loaded with antioxidants.
Just ¼ cup of sunflower seeds a day can keep heart troubles away. These small seeds disallow ‘bad’ cholesterol from sticking to the walls of your arteries, thus preventing heart attacks.
With their crunchy, nutty taste, sunflower seeds can easily become a regular part of your daily diet. Sprinkle them on your salads, granola, stir-fries. Stir them into yogurt, pop them into sandwiches, rice, pasta, or knead them into your dough…the possibilities are as endless as the good qualities of these sun-loving seeds. (more…)
Packed with more vitamin C than an equivalent amount of orange, the bright green flesh of the kiwifruit speckled with tiny black seeds adds a dramatic tropical flair to any fruit salad. California kiwifruit is available November through May, while the New Zealand crop hits the market June through October making fresh kiwis available year round.
The kiwifruit is a small fruit approximately 3 inches long and weighing about four ounces. Its green flesh is almost creamy in consistency with an invigorating taste reminiscent of strawberries, melons and bananas, yet with its own unique sweet flavor.
Kiwifruit can offer a great deal more than an exotic tropical flair in your fruit salad. These emerald delights contain numerous phytonutrients as well as well known vitamins and minerals that promote your health.
Kiwi’s Phytonutrients Protect DNA
In the world of phytonutrient research, kiwifruit has fascinated researchers for its ability to protect DNA in the nucleus of human cells from oxygen-related damage. Researchers are not yet certain which compounds in kiwi give it this protective antioxidant capacity, but they are sure that this healing property is not limited to those nutrients most commonly associated with kiwifruit, including its vitamin C or beta-carotene content. Since kiwi contains a variety of flavonoids and carotenoids that have demonstrated antioxidant activity, these phytonutrients in kiwi may be responsible for this DNA protection.
The protective properties of kiwi have been demonstrated in a study with 6- and 7-year-old children in northern and central Italy. The more kiwi or citrus fruit these children consumed, the less likely they were to have respiratory-related health problems including wheezing, shortness of breath, or night coughing. These same antioxidant protective properties may have been involved in providing protection for these children.
Premier Antioxidant Protection
Kiwifruit emerged from our food ranking system as an excellent source of vitamin C. This nutrient is the primary water-soluble antioxidant in the body, neutralizing free radicals that can cause damage to cells and lead to problems such as inflammation and cancer. In fact, adequate intake of vitamin C has been shown to be helpful in reducing the severity of conditions like osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and asthma, and for preventing conditions such as colon cancer, atherosclerosis, and diabetic heart disease. And since vitamin C is necessary for the healthy function of the immune system, it may be useful for preventing recurrent ear infections in people who suffer from them. Owing to the multitude of vitamin C’s health benefits, it is not surprising that research has shown that consumption of vegetables and fruits high in this nutrient is associated with a reduced risk of death from all causes including heart disease, stroke and cancer.
Fiber for Blood Sugar Control Plus Cardiovascular and Colon Health
Our food ranking system also qualified kiwifruit as a very good source of dietary fiber. The fiber in kiwifruit has also been shown to be useful for a number of conditions. Researchers have found that diets that contain plenty of fiber can reduce high cholesterol levels, which may reduce the risk of heart disease and heart attack. Fiber is also good for binding and removing toxins from the colon, which is helpful for preventing colon cancer. In addition, fiber-rich foods, like kiwifruit, are good for keeping the blood sugar levels of diabetic patients under control.