Benefits of Zucchini
As summer is around the corner, let’s talk about the summer squash zucchini! Nutritional Highlights: 🔹Zucchini and other summer squash are 95% water, limiting their nutrient qualities. 🔹Because of their high water content, zucchini are extremely low in calories with approximately 14 calories per 3½ ounce serving. 🔹Zucchini has a fair amount of potassium, carotenes, and vitamin C. Health Benefits: 🔹Zucchini and other summer squash possess anticancer properties similar to those of radishes, pumpkins and leeks. 🔹Because zucchini are 95% water, consuming them during summer months helps prevent dehydration. 🔹The carotenes found in zucchini can help protect the skin from the damaging effects of the sun. Tips on Preparing: Zucchini is a unique vegetable because of its ability to be utilized in baking. Muffins and breads made with zucchini are especially moist, with a mild flavor that pairs well with many berries. This summer, try grilling zucchini for a great BBQ dish, or even adding roasted pieces to whole-wheat pasta. For a quick addition to your salad, grate zucchini for a healthy garnish.
Benefits of Avocado
Avocados are an excellent source of monounsaturated fatty acids, as well as potassium, vitamin E, B vitamins and fiber. One avocado will have the potassium content of 2-to-3 bananas (about 1,000 mg of potassium). A 3-1/2 ounce (100g) serving is about ½ of an avocado and provides 160 calories, 2.0 g protein, 14.7 g fat, 8.5 carbohydrates and 6.7 g fiber. Avocados have the highest fruit antioxidant capacity in protecting against the formation of damaged fats (lipid peroxides) in the blood. In subjects with high blood cholesterol levels, avocado enriched diets improved blood lipid profiles by lowering LDL-cholesterol and triglycerides and increasing HDL-cholesterol, compared to high carbohydrate diets or other diets without avocado. The calories of the avocado seem to be offset by the promotion of satiety. For example, in a randomized single-blinded crossover study of 26 healthy overweight adults when the subjects ate one-half an avocado at lunch they reported significantly reduced hunger and desire to eat, and increased satiation as compared to the control meal. Newer Data: Treatment for acute myeloid leukemia currently involves chemotherapy regimens that only produce limited benefit to long-term survival. Canadian researchers identified a compound in avocados, avocatin B, as a substance that causes selective toxicity to the abnormal cells in AML. Specifically, their research using functional cell assays showed that avocatin B reduced the viability of AML stem cells without effects on normal stem cells. What they discovered was that avocation B was toxic to the cancer cells of AML because it inhibited their mitochondria – the energy producing compartment of cells. What is exciting about this research is the selectivity of the avocatin B as it had no effect on normal cells. Although there is obviously a lot more research required before avocatin becomes a proven treatment for AML, this line of research is clearly encouraging. Reference: Lee EA, Angka L, Rota SG, et al. Targeting Mitochondria with Avocatin B Induces Selective Leukemia Cell Death. Cancer Res. 2015 Jun 15;75(12):2478-88.
The Benefits of Cocoa
A study conducted by Harvard researchers back in 2013 shows that drinking hot cocoa may help improve mental function. One of the major contributors to impaired mental function as we age is reduced blood flow to the brain. Not surprisingly, natural approaches designed to improve blood flow to the brain show significant promise in the prevention and treatment of mild cognitive impairment. Of all the foods available on planet Earth, those produced from the bean of the cacao tree (Theobroma cacao) are the most magical, interesting, and delectable. The long standing love for chocolate is now being matched by scientific research on its health benefits when consumed in the right form. One of the key areas of research into the benefits of chocolate consumption is its effect on cardiovascular disease. Much of the benefits are attributed to its high content of flavanols, a type of polyphenol – antioxidants found in foods like cocoa, tea, berries, and wine. A growing amount of recent research suggests that: 🔹Chocolate flavanols are especially important in helping to protect against damage to cholesterol and the lining of the arteries. 🔹Chocolate flavanols help prevent the excessive clumping together of blood platelets that can cause blood clots. 🔹Frequent chocolate consumption is associated with a nearly 40% reduced risk for heart disease and a 30% reduced risk for a stroke.