Vegetables a Holiday Favorite
Oh, tis the season for Family, festivities, eating and drinking (alcoholic beverages) more than one should.
As a Health and Fitness Expert (for over 24 years), the most common questions I get are related to what a person should eat for health and good wellness during the Holidays.
In my last two articles titled “Turkey” the best meat to eat and “Healthy Stuffing” I gave you my suggestions on these foods , what to look for and the health values of them.
In this article, I’ll explore some of the more popular vegetables eaten in the U.S. during the Holiday Season and their health values.
I want to go a little more in-depth with veggies due to the fact that End Results is the leading fitness Company on fitness and fighting cancer. Many vegetables have incredible cancer fighting agents and its well worth noting them.
We’ll look at the benefits of eating Kale, Green Beans, Sweet Potatoes / Yams, Onions, and Corn.
So, let’s look at Kale, a green leafy vegetable that has grown in popularity over the past 5 years.
Kale is a leafy veggie that is loaded with vitamin C, an antioxidant that may reduce the risk of Heart disease by lowering the levels of LDL (Low Density Lipids), or bad cholesterol. So, it is great for cardiovascular support.
Kale is high in iron higher than Beef (2.2 mg) even higher than Ostrich meat (2.3mg) yes Ostrich, a new source of meat. Iron is essential for good health, such as the formation of hemoglobin and enzymes, transporting oxygen to various parts of the body, cell growth, proper liver function and more.
Like most green leafy vegetables, Kale is high in Vitamin K which can help protect against various cancers such as ovarian cancer. It is also necessary for a wide variety of bodily functions including normal bone health, helps to prevent Heart disease and blood clotting. Also, increased levels of vitamin K can help people suffering from Alzheimer’s disease.
Kale is low in calorie, high in fiber and has zero fat. One cup of kale has only 36 calories, 5 grams of fiber and 0 grams of fat. It is great for aiding in digestion and elimination with its great fiber content. It’s also filled with so many nutrients, vitamins such as vitamin A, folate, calcium and magnesium.
Here’s what I really like about Kale on a personal level, it is a great anti-inflammatory food.One cup of kale is filled with 10% of the RDA of omega-3 fatty acids, which help, fight against arthritis, asthma and autoimmune disorders.
Kale is a great detox food. It’s filled with fiber and sulfur, both great for detoxifying your body and keeping your liver healthy. A favorite used in detoxifying smoothies. For great detoxifying recopies visit our website at endresultsfitness.com.
Green Beans are a holiday favorite of many people. Commonly referred to as string beans, the string that once was their trademark (running lengthwise down the seam of the pod) can seldom be found in modern varieties. It's for this reason (the breeding out of the "string") that string beans are often referred to as "snap beans." Green beans belong to the same family as shell beans, such as pinto beans, black beans, and kidney beans. However, since green beans are usually picked while still immature and while the inner beans are just beginning to form in the pod, they are typically eaten in fresh (versus dried) form, pod and all.
Green beans are an excellent source of vitamin K. They are a very good source of manganese, vitamin C, dietary fiber, folate, and vitamin B2. In addition, green beans are a good source of copper, vitamin B1, chromium, magnesium, calcium, potassium, phosphorus, choline, vitamin A (in the form of carotenoids), niacin, protein, omega-3 fatty acids, iron, vitamin B6, and vitamin E. Green beans have also been shown to contain valuable amounts of the mineral silicon, and in a form that makes it easier for us to absorb this bone-supportive and connective tissue-supportive nutrient.
Sweet Potatoes and Yams – in the United States, Yams and Sweet Potatoes are one in the same. There are two types of Sweet Potatoes (Yams), one with creamy white flesh and one with orange, the USDA labels the orange-fleshed ones "yams" to distinguish them from the paler variety. So, Yams are the Potatoes with orange flesh and Sweet Potatoes have white flesh. Some Sweet Potatoes can have a spectacular purple color as well. Now that we have that straight, let’s talk about Yams, Orange-fleshed sweet potatoes, may be one of nature's unsurpassed sources of beta-carotene. Several recent studies have shown the superior ability of sweet potatoes to raise our blood levels of vitamin A. Vitamin A is important for normal vision, the immune system, and reproduction. Vitamin A also helps the heart, lungs, kidneys, and other organs work properly.
Yams may be particularly beneficial for children. In several studies from Africa, sweet potatoes were found to contain between 100-1,600 micrograms of vitamin A in every 3.5 ounces—enough, on average, to meet 35% of all vitamin A needs, and in many cases enough to meet over 90% of vitamin A needs (from this single food alone). In some studies, sweet potatoes have been shown to be a better source of bioavailable beta-carotene, (an antioxidant) than green leafy vegetables.
Most recent research suggest that particularly when passing through our digestive tract, sweet potato and other color-related phytonutrients may be able to lower the potential health risk posed by heavy metals and oxygen radicals. That risk reduction might be important not only for individuals at risk of digestive tract problems but for all persons wanting to reduce the potential risk posed by the presence of heavy metal residues (like small amounts of mercury or cadmium or arsenic) in their diet. Anthocyanin and other color-related pigments in sweet potato are equally valuable for their anti-inflammatory health benefits.
Onions-You'll get the most out of this veggie's cancer-fighting antioxidants by eating it raw; I had a Friend whose Father would put two raw slices of onions between two slices of bread and eat a raw onion sandwich. Not for me but, cooking onions at a high heat significantly reduces the benefits of phytochemicals that protect against lung and prostate cancer. Try combining chopped raw onions with tomatoes, avocado, and jalapeño peppers for a blood sugar–friendly chip dip. Finish with a splash of lime juice.
The flavonoids (a phytonutrients)in onions tend to be more concentrated in the outer layers of the flesh. To maximize your health benefits, peel off as little of the fleshy, edible portion as possible when removing the onion's outermost paper layer. Even a small amount of "over peeling" can result in unwanted loss of flavonoids.
Onions, like garlic, are members of the Allium family, and both are rich in sulfur-containing compounds that are responsible for their pungent odors and for many of their health-promoting effects.
Human studies have shown that onions can help increase our bone density and may be of special benefit to women of menopausal age who are experiencing loss of bone density. In addition, there is evidence that women who have passed the age of menopause may be able to lower their risk of hip fracture through frequent consumption of onions. "Frequent" in this context means onion consumption on a daily basis! Onion has repeatedly been shown to lower our risk of several cancers, even when we consume it in only moderate amounts. Colorectal cancer, laryngeal cancer, and ovarian cancer are the cancer types for which risk is reduced with moderate amounts of onion consumption.
Corn on the cob or off is great as long as it’s cooked. A study in the Journal of Agricultural Food and Chemistry, found that the longer Corn was cooked the higher the level of antioxidants like lutein, several studies show that an increase in macula pigmentation decreases the risk for eye diseases such as age-related macular degeneration which combats blindness in older adults. You can get health-supportive antioxidant benefits from all varieties of corn, including white, yellow, blue, purple and red corn. Recent research has shown the antioxidant benefits from different varieties of corn actually come from different combinations of phytonutrients. In the case of yellow corn, it's the antioxidant carotenoids leading the way, with especially high concentrations of lutein and zeaxanthin. In the case of blue corn, it's the anthocyanins. There's one particular hydroxybenzoic acid in purple corn—protocatechuic acid—that's also been recently linked to the strong antioxidant activity in this corn variety.
Corn is a good source of fiber. It’s a vegetable that gives us plenty of chewing satisfaction, and its high ratio of insoluble-to-soluble fiber is partly the reason. When you look at foods as a whole, they contain many different types of fiber, and when certain types of fiber reach the lower part of our large intestine (especially certain types of soluble fiber) they can be metabolized by intestinal bacteria into short chain fatty acids or what I’ll refer to as SCFA. This process not only helps support healthy populations of friendly bacteria in our large intestine, but also provides a direct supply of energy (in the form of SCFAs) to the cells that line our large intestine. With this benefit of this extra SCFA energy supply, our intestinal cells can stay healthier and function at a lower risk of becoming cancerous. Recent research has shown that corn can support the growth of friendly bacteria in our large intestine and can also be transformed by these bacteria into SCFAs. These SCFAs can supply energy to our intestinal cells and thereby help lower our risk of colon cancer.
Given its good fiber content, its ability to provide many B-complex vitamins including vitamins B1, B5 and folic acid, and its notable protein content (about 5-6 grams per cup), corn is a food that would be expected to provide blood sugar benefits. Fiber and protein are key macronutrients for stabilizing the passage of food through our digestive tract. Sufficient fiber and protein content in a food helps prevent too rapid or too slow digestion of that food. By evening out the pace of digestion, protein and fiber also help prevent too rapid or too slow uptake of sugar from the digestive tract up into the bloodstream. Once the uptake of sugar is steadied, it is easier to avoid sudden spikes or drops in blood sugar.
Numerous studies have examined the ability of corn to improve overall nourishment, especially when combined with legumes. Researchers conducting these studies have been interested in absorption of minerals like zinc, calcium and iron, as well as overall energy and protein intake. Maize (corn)-bean meals (typically consumed in the form of porridge that combines these foods) have been shown to help improve overall nutrient status and to help provide outstanding nutrient richness in the diet.
Green Peas, We don't usually think about green peas as an exotic food in terms of nutrient composition—but we should. Because of their sweet taste and starchy texture, we know that green peas must contain some sugar and starch (and they do). Though delicious, Peas have been proven to fight cancer. One study in the International Journal of Cancer found that daily consumption of Peas along with other legumes lowers the risk of stomach cancer. Peas contain a unique assortment of health-protective phytonutrients. One of these phytonutrients—a polyphenol called coumestrol—is the nutrient most associated with stomach cancer protection. The unique phytonutrients in green peas also provide us with key antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits. Daily coumestrol intake from these legumes is approximately 2 milligrams or higher.
Included in these phytonutrients are some recently-discovered green pea phytonutrients called saponins. Due to their almost exclusive appearance in peas, these phytonutrients actually contain the scientific word for peas (Pisum) in their names. When coupled with other phytonutrients in green peas—including phenolic acids like ferulic and caffeic acid, and flavanols like catechin and epicatechin—the combined impact on our health may be far-reaching.
Even though green peas are an extremely low-fat food (with approximately one-third gram of total fat per cup) the type of fat and fat-soluble nutrients they contain is impressive. Recent research has shown that green peas are a reliable source of omega-3 fats in the form of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). In one cup of green peas, you can expect to find about 30 milligrams of ALA. Peas have essential omega-6 fatty acid (, about 130 milligrams) in one cup. This very small but high-quality fat content of green peas helps provide us with important fat-soluble nutrients from this legume, including sizable amounts of beta-carotene and small but valuable amounts of vitamin E.
Pease remember to eat your veggies because, they provide some powerful cancer fighting nutrients, fiber and great taste.
End Results Health & Wellness has developed unique exercise programs to help prevent certain illnesses, improve fitness levels, and improve the quality of your life. For more details about our Fitness, health and wellness programs please contact us at email@example.com, or visit us on our website at endresultsfitness.com. Also, call us at 310-378-4866.
This article was written by Curtis Mann Co- Owner and Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist.
Information for this News Article was obtained from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Mayo Clinic, Live Strong Foundation, and the American Cancer Society.