Have You Tried Rhubarb?

Last weekend, I watched my son make rhubarb muffins with his grandma. He loved the whole experience, from going into the garden to pick the stalks to biting into a warm baked muffin. See the recipe at the end!

Rhubarb is a vegetable that has many medicinal qualities. Recent research has found several compounds that have anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory properties, as well as components that lower cholesterol and blood pressure. Among these beneficial compounds, are anthraquinones, plant chemicals that seem to be particularly potent cancer agents. Emodin, the most abundant anthraquinone in rhubarb, has been shown to fight cancer in three ways; it inhibits cellular proliferation, induces cell death in cancer cells and prevents metastasis (the spread of the disease).

Plus, this stalky red vegetable is also very high in antioxdants resveratrol, lutein and zeaxanthin, which are all important for eye heath.  Continue reading “Have You Tried Rhubarb?”

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Cranberry: My Thanksgiving Favorite!

cottage fallYesterday I celebrated Thanksgiving with family in Canada! The weather was warm, the leaves were beautiful and the food was fantastic. Similar to Thanksgiving celebrated in the United States, the table was covered in dishes filled with potatoes, salads, turkey, stuffing, gravy and my favourite, cranberries! I feel that one cannot really enjoy turkey without a side of that tangy fruit.

Packed with antioxidants and nutrients, the cranberry really is a super food. Cranberries contain phenolic antioxidants that keep bacteria from sticking to cells in the urinary tract, helping prevent infections. One study also has shown that these benefits may extend to men’s prostates, as well. They are also rich in fiber and vitamin C.

Instead of the regular run-of-the-mill canned cranberry sauce, I tried a chunkier cranberry chutney and it was deelish! Since Thanksgiving in the U.S. is still ahead, here is the recipe for Cranberry Chutney, thanks to ALIVE magazine! Continue reading “Cranberry: My Thanksgiving Favorite!”

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Watermelon Salad with Yellow Beets

Watermelon is in peak season in the U.S. from May to August, so now is the perfect time to pick up this juicy treat. Watermelon is actually packed with some of the most important antioxidants in nature. Watermelon is an excellent source of vitamin C and a very good source of vitamin A, as beta-carotene. Pink watermelon is also a source of the potent carotenoid antioxidant, lycopene. These powerful antioxidants travel through the body neutralizing free radicals. Free radicals are substances in the body that can cause a great deal of damage and have been linked to cancer, high cholesterol and diabetes.

Watermelon is quite tasty on its own, especially on a hot day, but for something different, add it to a green salad.  It will make a great side to salmon, chicken or steak.  It also is a yummy recipe on its own.

Watermelon and Yellow Beet Salad

Mixed Spring Greens
2 small beets (grilled, peeled and sliced)
4 or 5 thinly sliced pieces of watermelon
Goat cheese
Toasted pecans
Balsamic vinaigrette (use a light tasting oil, like grapeseed)

Toss the greens with the balsamic. Place in the middle of a plate. Add slices of beets and layer watermelon on top.  Sprinkle with goat cheese and pecans.

Watermelon and Yellow Beet Salad

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Antioxidants May Increase Fertility… in Men

A recent study showed that between 30% to 80% of male subfertility cases may be improved by oral supplementation with antioxidants. A supplement containing vitamin C and E, zinc, folic acid, lycopene, garlic oil and selenium is associated with a more than four-fold increased rate of pregnancy and live birth. They also found “mostly positive effects” on sperm concentration and motility.

Although the conclusions were based on limited evidence, Marian Showell, the lead author of the research paper published in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, says, “When trying to conceive as part of an assisted reproductive program, it may be advisable to encourage men to take oral antioxidant supplements to improve their partners’ chances of becoming pregnant.” This is important since about one third of infertility in couples is due to male factors.

Although taking supplements seems to improve quality of sperm, it is also key to note that the quality of sperm, overall,  has decreased over the years and may be attributed to smoking, obesity, and even agricultural chemicals.

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“Buzz Word” Definitions in the Natural Health Food and Supplement World

There are a lot of “buzz words” floating around the natural health and food industry, so I thought I would offer some simplified explanations of some of these terms.

Tannins: Antioxidants that give tea and pomegranates their taste.

Polyphenols: Polyphenols are antioxidants in plants that contribute in a unique way to an individual’s overall health. They are most commonly introduced to the body through the consumption of fruits and vegetables. Antioxidants fight free radicals, which have been known to cause cancer. Tannins are polyphenols. Red wine is rich in polyohenols.

Ellagic acid: Another potent antioxidant found in strawberries, raspberries and pomegranates. Ellagic acid has antioxidant, anti-mutagen and anti-cancer properties. Studies have shown their anti-cancer activity on cancer cells of the breast, esophagus, skin, colon, prostate and pancreas.

ECGC or Epigallocatechin gallate: The antioxidant found in green tea, it may provide health effects by protecting our cells from oxidative damage from free radicals. A number of chronic diseases have been associated with free radical damage, including cancer, arteriosclerosis, heart diseases and accelerated aging. It also has been linked to weight loss.

Are there any buzz words that you would like clarified?

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March 2023