1. Swiss Chard
You will find the Swiss chard in the Chenopod food family, together with the spinach and beets. This green is a superb source of the vitamins E, C and A (in the form of beta-carotene), and the minerals zinc and manganese. By eating the Swiss chard, you get plenty of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agents in your body.
The George Mateljan Foundation reported that, “The range of phytonutrients in chard is even more extensive than researchers initially suspected, and at this point in time, about three dozen antioxidant phytonutrients have been identified in chard, including betalains (both betacyanins and betaxanthins) and epoxyxanthophylls. Many of these antioxidant phytonutrients provide chard with its colorful stems, stalks, and leaf veins.”
The betalin pigments in this vegetable (found in beets as well) aid your body’s Phase 2 detoxification, which starts when degraded toxins are bound to other molecules so that they can be excreted from your system. Other nutrients in the Swiss chard are magnesium and vitamin K1, which support your bone health.
The potent Swiss chard also contains a flavonoid called syringic acid, which may help regulate blood sugar and provide benefits to those suffering from diabetes, along with kaempferol, a flavonol that may help fight cancer and lower your risk of chronic conditions (heart disease included).
Although the avocado is classified as a fruit, it is very low in fructose at the ‘expense’ of its richness in healthy monounsaturated fat and potassium. Scholar research has also confirmed the avocado’s ability to support vascular function and heart health.
If you put it in your daily salads, it will increase your healthy fat and calorie intake without raising your protein or carbohydrate intake by much.
An avocado is substantially high in potassium (it has more than twice the amount found in a banana) and will help balance your crucially-important potassium-to-sodium ratio. Avocados also provide next to 20 essential health-boosting nutrients, such as fiber, vitamin E, B-vitamins, and folic acid. You can eat it raw, and you can use the avocado as a fat substitute in recipes calling for butter or other dense oils.
Boon of avocados: they’re conventionally grown, which makes them one of the safest fruits you can buy. It is so because their thick skin protects the inner fruit from pesticides.
Vegetable sprouts offer some of the highest amounts of nutrients available from greens, which includes vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and enzymes that help protect against free radical damage to the body.
For instance, the fresh broccoli sprouts, are far more potent than whole broccoli, allowing you to eat far less in terms of quantity. Research has found that 3-day old broccoli sprouts consistently contain from 10-100 times the amount of glucoraphanin (a chemo protective compound found in the mature broccoli).
The compound glucoraphanin also appears to have a protective influence against toxic pollutants by improving your ability to eliminate or excrete them.
Sprouts are far less expensive if grown at home rather than purchased, so we recommend you grow your own sprouts if possible. For starters you can try broccoli sprouts, watercress sprouts, and sunflower sprouts.
The hot garlic is rich in the minerals calcium, manganese, phosphorus, selenium as well as vitamins B6 and C, so it is beneficial for your bones and your thyroid. It is deemed that much of the garlic’s therapeutic effect comes from its sulfur-containing compounds, such as allicin, which give it its characteristic strong smell and taste.
Other health-promoting compounds in garlic include oligosaccharides, arginine-rich proteins, and flavonoids. There is research demonstrating garlic’s healing effects on more than 160 different diseases!
In general, its benefits fall into 4 main categories:
- reduces inflammation (reduces the risk of osteoarthritis and other disease associated with inflammation)
- boosts immune function (it has antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral, and anti-parasitic properties)
- improves cardiovascular health and circulation (protects against clotting, retards plaque, improves lipids, and reduces high blood pressure)
- it is toxic to 14 kinds of cancer cells (including breast, brain, lung, gastric and pancreatic cancer cells)
To boot, garlic may be effective against drug-resistant bacteria, and research reveals that as allicin digests in your body, it produces sulfenic acid, a compound that reacts with precarious free radicals faster than any other known compound.
Being a valuable source of plant-based protein, fiber, vitamin C, B group vitamins, calcium, and minerals, mushrooms are great antioxidants. They contain polyphenols and selenium, which are common in the plant world, as well as other antioxidants characteristic only of mushrooms.
One such antioxidant is ergothioneine, which scientists are now prone to recognize as a ‘master antioxidant.’ A study, published in the journal Nature, elaborated the importance of ergothioneine, which is fairly exclusive to mushrooms, describing it as ‘an unusual sulfur-containing derivative of the amino acid- histidine,’ which appears to have a very specific role in protecting your DNA from oxidative damage.
Besides, some of the most potent immune-supportive agents are found exactly in mushrooms, and this is one reason why they are so good for preventing and treating cancer.
Long-chain polysaccharides, particularly alpha and beta glucan molecules, are primarily responsible for the mushrooms’ beneficial effect on your immune system.
Merely 1 cup of kale will overwhelm your body with disease-fighting vitamins K, A, and C, along with its ‘respectable’ amounts of copper, manganese, B vitamins, fiber, potassium and calcium. With each serving of kale, you will also find more than 45 distinctive flavonoids, which have both antioxidant and anti-inflammatory function in the body.
The kale is also a good source of cancer-fighting sulforaphane and indole-3-carbinol. Up to date, the kale has been found to lower the risk of at least 5 types of cancer, including breast, bladder, colon, ovary, and prostate cancer. The glucosinolates in the kale (and other cruciferous vegetables) break down into products that help protect DNA from damage.
On the one hand, some research suggests that raw kale is best for cancer prevention, but on the other, studies suggest that lightly cooked is best, in part because it improves the kale’s ability to bind with bile acids in your digestive tract.
This makes the bile acids easier for your body to excrete, which not only has a beneficial impact on your cholesterol levels, but also on your chances of cancer -bile acids have been associated with an increased risk of cancer.
Similar to other green veggies, the spinach is rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, including vitamin A, folate, iron, potassium, calcium, selenium and zinc. Flavonoids contained in the spinach also help protect your body from free radicals, while offering anti-inflammatory benefits and antioxidant back support.
As reported by the George Mateljan Foundation: “While this mixture of conventional nutrients gives spinach a unique status in the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory department, it is the unusual mixture of phytonutrients in spinach that “seals the deal” in terms of its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory components.
In terms of flavonoids, spinach is a unique source of methylenedioxyflavonol glucuronides, and in terms of carotenoids, its difficult to find a more helpful source of lutein and zeaxanthin. The epoxyxanthophyll carotenoids neoxanthin and violaxanthin are also welcomed constituents of spinach leaves.”
These greens are a close relative to the above-mentioned kale, so they are very similar in nutritional aspect. Collard greens are high in vitamin K and phytonutrients – namely, caffeic acid, ferulic acid, quercetin, and kaempferol –which help lower oxidative stress in your cells while fighting inflammation. Collard greens contain glucosinolates called glucobrassicin that can convert into an isothiocyanate molecule called indole-3-carbinol, or I3C, a compound with the ability to activate and prevent an inflammatory response at its earliest stage.
Phytonutrients in collard greens, specifically diindolylmethane and sulforaphane, have been clinically proven to combat breast, ovarian, cervical, prostate, and colon cancer cells. They help prevent their evolution and even help prevent them from forming in the first place. Noteworthy, collard greens are especially high in fiber, with more than 7 grams per cup, making it ideal for digestive support. They are also particularly useful for maintaining healthy cholesterol levels.
As put by the George Mateljan Foundation: “In a recent study, steamed collard greens outshined steamed kale, mustard greens, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and cabbage in terms of its ability to bind bile acids in the digestive tract.
When this bile acid binding takes place, it is easier for the bile acids to be excreted from the body. Since bile acids are made from cholesterol, the net impact of this bile acid binding is a lowering of the body’s cholesterol level. It’s worth noting that steamed collards show much greater bile acid binding ability than raw collards.”
For the best collard greens flavor and texture, choose slightly smaller leaves than the toughest outer layer.
Tomatoes, when organically grown are packed full of nutrition, including a variety of phytochemicals that boast a palette of health benefits.
Tomatoes are an excellent source of zeaxanthin, lutein, and vitamin C (which is most concentrated in the jelly-like substance that surrounds the seeds), as well as vitamins A, E, and the B group vitamins, manganese, potassium, and phosphorus.
Some not so well-known phytonutrients in tomatoes include:
- Flavonones: naringenin and chalconaringenin
- Flavonols: rutin, kaempferol, and quercetin
- Hydroxycinnamic acids: caffeic acid, ferulic acid, and coumaric acid
- Glycosides: esculeoside A
- Fatty acid derivatives: 9-oxo-octadecadienoic acid
Tomatoes are a particularly concentrated source of lycopene — a carotenoid antioxidant that gives produce like tomatoes and watermelon their pinkish or reddish color. The lycopene’s antioxidant activity has long been suggested to be more powerful than that of other carotenoids such as beta-carotene, and research suggests it may significantly lower your risk for stroke and cancer.
Lycopene from tomatoes (including unsweetened organic tomato sauce) has also been thought helpful in treating the prostate cancer. Interestingly enough, when cooked, the bioavailability of lycopene increases rather than decreases, making cooked tomatoes, such as tomato sauce, a particularly healthy option.
The cauliflower per 1 serving of contains up to 77% of the recommended daily value of vitamin C. It is also an asset of vitamin K, protein, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, magnesium, phosphorus, fiber, vitamin B6, folate, pantothenic acid, manganese and potassium.
The cauliflower is a good source of choline, a B vitamin known for its role in brain development, and contains a variety of anti-inflammatory nutrients to help keep inflammation in check, including I3C, which may operate at the genetic level to help prevent the inflammatory responses at its foundational level.
Certain compounds in cauliflower also show anti-cancer effects. According to the National Cancer Institute: “Indoles and isothiocyanates have been found to inhibit the development of cancer in several organs in rats and mice, including the bladder, breast, colon, liver, lung, and stomach.”
The cauliflower may help your body’s ability to detoxify in multiple ways. It contains antioxidants that support Phase 1 detoxification along with sulfur-containing nutrients important for Phase 2 detox processes. It is the glucosinolates in the cauliflower that activate detoxification enzymes.
Moreover, the cauliflower is a ‘store’ of fiber as well, so it has momentous digestive benefits. You can eat it raw, add it to salads, or use it in your cooking any way you like. The cauliflower can even be seasoned and mashed for a healthier version of mashed ‘potatoes.’ And did you know that the latest craze is cauliflower pizza crust?
The George Mateljan Foundation stated:”Researchers have determined that the sulforaphane made from a glucosinolate in cauliflower (glucoraphanin) can help protect the lining of your stomach.
Sulforaphane provides you with this health benefit by preventing bacterial overgrowth of Helicobacter pylori in your stomach or too much clinging by this bacterium to your stomach wall.”
And a closing bonus: Bone broth!
Bone broth contains a variety of valuable nutrients, including collagen, calcium, and bone marrow, in a natural form which your body can easily absorb and use. Particularly, homemade bone broth may help reduce severe joint pain and inflammation, promote strong bones, and boost hair and nail growth too.
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George Mateljan Foundation
National Cancer Institute