Flavonoid Foods

Flavonoid foods, green tea, red wine good for health – these buzzwords have been doing the round for some time now. Are you confused about what it really means to you and your family health?

Scientists have been able to identify thousands of flavonoid compounds in the natural world… and it has opened up a whole world of healing potential for mankind. Flavonoid compounds are found in colorful fruits and vegetables and herbs. Grains, nuts and legumes are rich in flavonoids.

The process of metabolism gives rise to unstable oxygen molecules that cause damage, heart disease, cancer, diabetes and more. You can prevent and rectify this damage by the consumption of antioxidants that are found in foods. Antioxidants are powerful substances that aid in removal or reduction of free radical oxidative damage. Powerful antioxidants include beta-carotene, Vitamins C and E, Selenium and lutein. You can get them aplenty in fruits and vegetables, nuts and grains as well as some meats, poultry and fish. Little wonder that mamma asked you to complete your veggies before you left the table.

Flavonoid Foods

Benefits of flavonoids

The most powerful role of flavonoids is their antioxidant capabilities. Their advantages range from anti-cancer properties to anti-inflammatory properties and anti-allergic properties. Typically flavonoids aid in reduction of blood levels of cholesterol and triglycerides. Flavonoid-rich foods are said to aid in skin disorders, gout and fibromyalgia and varicose veins. It is known to bring relief to allergies, asthma and sinusitis.

Green tea and black tea contain nearly 25% flavonoids. So you can do wonders for your health when you drink your next cuppa! The same goes for your wine intake. Red wines are known to provide these beneficial flavonoids, thereby reducing the risk of developing atherosclerosis. So drink to your heart! Moderate red wine drinking has been known to result in increasing HDL (good cholesterol) levels and preventing abnormal blood clots. This accounts for the better heart health of the French in spite of consuming large amounts of lard.

Different flavonoid compounds

Flavonoids called polyphenols are found in green tea, red wine, soy and pine tree bark. Citric flavonoids are found in tangerines, oranges and other citric fruits. The berry family, blackberries, blueberries, strawberries, cranberries and cherry are particularly rich in flavonoids. Other dietary sources of flavonoids are beans, apples, spinach, cocoa, onions, honey, lettuce, asparagus and Brussels sprouts. Herbs such as dill, thyme, basil, coriander, peppermint and anise add not just flavor to your food but plenty of flavonoids.

Autism Gluten Free Diet

The University of California Davis Health System conducted a study with autistic kids born in the 1990s and noticed that they tended to suffer gastrointestinal problems such as constipation, diarrhea, food allergy, vomiting and the like. It is felt that persons suffering PDD (pervasive developmental disorders) and autism may have problems digesting gluten and casein as these substances form peptides that act much like opiates within the body.
Gluten Free Diet
It is not an allergy or sensitivity to these foods. It is largely due to their inability to properly break down certain proteins. This results in altered behavior, perception and responses. These findings have recently been confirmed by researchers at Johnson & Johnson’s Ortho Clinical Diagnostics. In fact research done in the US and Europe reports that in a significant number of autistic children, their urine was noticed to contain peptides.

When children with autism are given a diet free of gluten and casein, they are likely to show reduced symptoms and improved social and cognitive behaviors and speech. Eliminating gluten and casein from the diets of autistic children has shown improvement, ranging from mild to tremendous. But there is a lot of skepticism about whether a gluten and casein free diet (GFCF diet) can help at all since clinical trials have not been conclusive. While there are reports of parents having reported improved eye contact and better behavior, others have noticed minor or no difference at all.

Gluten is found in wheat and most grains, starches, malt etc. Casein is found in milk and milk based products like cheese, butter, ice cream, yogurt and whey. It is indeed a hard task to work on a diet that is completely free of gluten and casein. Check for products that are gluten free targeted at those who suffer gluten intolerance as in Celiac Disease. These days the products also come in casein-free options.

Consult your physician before you embark on a GFCF diet. Ensure that the child gets sufficient fiber, vitamins and minerals. Foods that come within a GFCF diet include eggs, meat, poultry, fish, nuts, rice, quinoa, potato, soy, fruits, vegetables, oil and corn, among others.

Benefits of Pumpkins

Don’t relegate pumpkins to just the Halloween season – to carve out faces and use as lanterns. Instead this time round, enjoy the benefits of pumpkins… and you would not believe the ways in which this humble vegetable can help our bodies!

Nutritious and delicately flavored; pumpkins are rich in vitamin C, beta-carotene, calcium, potassium and minerals; low in fat and sodium and cholesterol free. Pumpkins are popular as the dieter’s best pal. Pumpkins are a good source of fiber; the beta-carotene in pumpkins delays aging and prevents cancer as well as heart disease. Water content in pumpkins is about 90%. One cup of pumpkin contains about 180 calories. Fresh pumpkins can be used for cooking; canned pumpkin purée can serve well for cakes and pumpkin bread. Fresh pumpkin purée can be made by roasting the pumpkin.

Choosing pumpkins

In case you decide to use fresh pumpkins instead of canned pumpkin puree, make sure you choose the right pumpkin.

  • Sugar or pie pumpkins are the best varieties to make bread, muffins, pie, etc. They have thick stems and more flesh.
  • Choose pumpkins that weigh heavy.
  • Choose pumpkins that are evenly colored.
  • Choose pumpkins that are small and sweet.
  • Avoid large field grown pumpkins as they are very fibrous, these pumpkins are used mainly as jack-o-lanterns for Halloween.
  • Pumpkins should have dark orange flesh.
  • A medium sized sugar pumpkin weighing about 4 pounds will yield about 11/2 cups of purée.
  • Make sure there are no soft spots on the pumpkin.

Choosing pumpkins

Fresh pumpkin puree

  • Heat oven to 350 F.
  • Divide the pumpkin into halves and remove the seeds.
  • Remove the fibrous/gristly pulp.
  • On a baking sheet place the pumpkins (cut side downwards).
  • Bake for about an hour, check if the pulp is tender and soft, by piercing it with a fork.
  • Spoon out the soft pulp and use it for any recipe.

Benefits of pumpkin seeds

The seeds found within the pumpkin are chockfull of nutrients too. Roast them, even season them and you have a wonderful snack that is full of goodness. Pumpkin seed oil is said to have health-promoting potential. It is believed to have curative properties for urinary tract infection as well as unsaturated fatty acids and most vitamins.

If you thought that the benefits of pumpkins were restricted to health issues, you couldn’t be further from the truth! Use it as a beauty aid to soothe and protect your skin.

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