Posts tagged: healthy foods

When Your Banana Turns Brown

When Your Banana Turns Brown
Graphic: © herbs-info.com. Image source – Pixabay (PD).

When it comes to keeping the doctor away, bananas and apples go hand in hand. The tropical fruit is loaded with nutrients such as vitamin C, potassium, and fiber that support optimal health. The only downside to this super fruit is its relatively short shelf life.

You probably discard your bananas the moment they turn brown. But as it turns out, you’re throwing away the “good stuff.” Wondering what we’re talking about? Read on for evidence-backed health benefits of fully ripe bananas.

Health Benefits of Overripe Bananas

Concerned that the brown spots on your bananas are a sign of going bad? The Greater Chicago Food Depository shows that when your banana turns brown, they’re still safe for consumption – and laden with more health benefits. [1] You should only be concerned when there are traces of mold or strange odors.

According to a 2014 study in the International Food Research Journal, the ripening process in a bananas leads to changes in its chemical composition and antioxidant content. [2] The researcher discovered that the level of sugar content and antioxidants, such as vitamin C was significantly higher in the fully ripened stage. Antioxidants eradicate harmful free radicals and strengthen the immune system – hence helping fight infections and even hinder cancer development. [3]

How to Use Fully Ripe Bananas

Ready to go bananas for ripe bananas? Fully ripe bananas not only taste great, but they’re also great for your body. So next time your bananas turn brown, consider adding them in your cakes, smoothies, baked goods, or even ice cream.

Please note that this content should never be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinicians.

References:

[1] The Greater Chicago Food Depository (2019). SALVAGEABLE FRUIT AND VEGETABLE GUIDELINES https://www.chicagosfoodbank.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/SALVAGEABLE_FRUIT_AND_VEGETABLE_GUIDELINES.pdf.

[2] Fernando, H. R. P. et al. 2014. Changes in antioxidant properties and chemical composition during ripening in banana variety ‘Hom Thong’ (AAA group) and ‘Khai’ (AA group) https://search.proquest.com/openview/1b760d990874817658b2984b0e393a19/1?pq-origsite=gscholar&cbl=816390.

[3] National Cancer Institute (2019). Antioxidants and Cancer Prevention https://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/causes-prevention/risk/diet/antioxidants-fact-sheet.

13 Great Probiotic Foods You Should Be Eating

13 Great Probiotic Foods You Should Be Eating
Graphic: © herbs-info.com. Image sources – see foot of article.

Do you want to promote your heart health, reduce depression, improve digestive health, and even get better-looking skin? Research shows that probiotics – which are live organisms (mainly beneficial bacteria) – could provide all sorts of health benefits for your brain and body. While you can easily get probiotics from supplements, several fermented foods are rich in the healthy microorganisms, as shown below:

1. Kefir: This fermented dairy product is made from fermented kefir grains and milk. It contains up to 34 strains of probiotics.

2. Sauerkraut: Sauerkraut is made from fermented vegetables such as cabbage, and is quite popular in Germany.

3. Kombucha: The centuries-old probiotic drink is basically a fermentation of black tea originating from Japan.

4. Coconut Kefir: Not a fan of dairy? Fermenting kefir grains and the juice of young coconuts offers most of the probiotics contained in traditional dairy kefir – plus it tastes great.

5. Natto: Natto is a Japanese dish made from fermented soybeans. It contains several probiotics, including the potent Bacillus subtilis strain.

6. Yogurt: Arguably the most popular and easily accessible probiotic food, yogurt is processed from milk – especially from grass-fed sheep, goats, and cows.

7. Kvass: This ancient beverage has roots in Eastern Europe, and it’s made by fermenting barley or rye. Alternatively, you can use root vegetables, beets, and probiotic fruits.

8. Raw Cheese: Unpasteurized and raw cheese is high in probiotics such as acidophilus, bulgaricus, bifudus, and thermophilus.

9. Apple Cider Vinegar: This popular drink can significantly ramp up your probiotic intake while providing other health benefits.

10. Salted Gherkin Pickles: Salted gherkin pickles are a little-known source of probiotics, but quite potent.

11. Brine-Cured Olives

12. Tempeh: Tempeh is an Indonesian product created by fermenting soybeans.

13. Miso: Miso is a Japanese spice made by fermenting brown rice, barley, or soybean with Koji, a fungus.

Please note that this content should never be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinicians.

Infographic Image Sources:
Kefir – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Kefir-grains-90grams.jpg
Sauerkraut – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Wesselburenkraut_19.06.2012_18-35-26.jpg
Kombucha – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Kombucha_Mature.jpg
Coconut Kefir – https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Beneficio-do-kefir.jpg
Natto – https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Natto_dsc04765.jpg
Yogurt – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Cacik-1.jpg
Kvass – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Mint_bread_kvas.jpg
Raw Cheese – https://pixabay.com/photos/raw-cheese-cheese-dairy-food-3606079/
Apple Cider Vinegar – https://pixabay.com/photos/apple-apple-juice-beverage-bottle-3782737/
Salted Gherkin Pickles – https://pixabay.com/photos/pickled-cucumbers-homemade-preserves-1520638/
Brine-cured olives – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Olives_vertes.JPG
Tempeh – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Sliced_tempeh.jpg
Miso – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Miso_Soup.jpg

American Researchers Found That Steaming Broccoli

American Researchers Found That Steaming Broccoli
Graphic: © herbs-info.com. Image source – Wikipedia – lic. under GFDL v1.2

Cruciferous vegetables such as collard greens, kale, watercress, Brussels sprouts, and broccoli are widely celebrated from their anti-cancer effects. [1] According to a study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, the mode of preparation affects the nutritional content of broccoli – and in particular, the sulforaphane yield. [2]

Sulforaphane is an active compound found in cruciferous vegetables that is formed when inactive glucoraphanin interacts with the enzyme myrosinase. It’s has been shown that sulforaphane has potent anticancer properties against prostate cancer cells, breast cancer, and colorectal cancer. [3][4][5]

According to the study, steaming broccoli for a few minutes increases the sulforaphane content by eliminating an inhibitory heat-sensitive protein known as the epithiospecifier protein, but retaining myrosinase. (Ps: The epithiospecifier protein inactivates sulforaphane, while myrosinase facilitates the activation of glucoraphanin into sulforaphane).

Boiling broccoli for more than a minute is believed to destroy most of the myrosinase – hence reducing the cancer-fighting abilities of broccoli. Additionally, some water-soluble nutrients such as folate, B-vitamins, and vitamin C may leach into the boiling water – reducing the nutrient content of the broccoli.

Please note that this content should never be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinicians.

References:

[1] Cruciferous Vegetables and Cancer Prevention https://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/causes-prevention/risk/diet/cruciferous-vegetables-fact-sheet.

[2] Impact of Thermal Processing on Sulforaphane Yield from Broccoli (Brassica oleracea L. ssp. italica) https://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/jf2050284.

[3] Singh AV. et al. 2004. Sulforaphane induces caspase-mediated apoptosis in cultured PC-3 human prostate cancer cells and retards growth of PC-3 xenografts in vivo. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14514658/.

[4] Li Y. et al. 2010. Sulforaphane, a dietary component of broccoli/broccoli sprouts, inhibits breast cancer stem cells. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20388854.

[5] Wu QJ. et al. 2013. Cruciferous vegetables intake and the risk of colorectal cancer: a meta-analysis of observational studies. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23211939.