Archive for April, 2016

Chokeberry (aronia) nutrition facts

Wednesday, April 6th, 2016

Health benefits of chokeberry

  • Chokeberries are low in calories and fats. 100 g of fresh berries carry 47 calories. Nonetheless, they are one of the nature’s richest sources of flavonoid anthocyanin antioxidants. In addition, the berries contain handsome levels of minerals, vitamins, as well as dietary fiber through their peel.
  • The oxygen radical absorbency capacity or ORAC (measurement of antioxidant strength of food items) demonstrates chokeberry with one of the highest values yet recorded among berries-16,062 micro-moles of Trolox Equivalents (TE) per 100 g.
  • Black chokeberries consist of significantly high amounts of phenolic flavonoid phyto-chemicals called anthocyanins. Total anthocyanin content is 1480 mg per 100 g of fresh berries, and proanthocyanidin concentration is 664 mg per 100 g (Wu et al. 2004, 2006). Scientific studies have shown that consumption of berries on regular basis offers potential health benefits against cancer, aging and neurological diseases, inflammation, diabetes, and bacterial infections. (- By Dr. Paul Gross, 2007-07-09).
  • Laboratory analyses of anthocyanins in chokeberries have identified the following individual chemicals: cyanidin-3-galactoside, quercetin, peonidin, delphinidin, petunidin, epicatechin, caffeic acid, pelargonidin and malvidin. These flavonoid poly-phenolic antioxidants have proven health benefits through scavenging dangerous oxygen-free radicals from the body.
  • Cancer research on anthocyanins in black chokeberry preparations was first used to inhibit chemically induced cancer in the rat esophagus, and was found to reduce the disease severity by 30-60% and that of the colon cancer by up to 80%. Effective at initiation and promotion/progression stages of tumor development, these berries can be a practical research tool and hold a promising therapeutic resource since they contain the highest amount of anthocyanins among native North American berries [J. Agric. Food Chem. 50 (12): 3495–500].
  • They are also rich in flavonoid anti-oxidants such as carotenes, luteins and zeaxanthins. Zea-xanthin has photo-filtering effects on UV rays and thus protects eyes from age-related macular disease in the elderly (ARMD).
  • Further, they are also good sources of many antioxidant vitamins like vitamin-C, vitamin A, vitamin E, beta-carotene and folate and minerals like potassium, iron and manganese. 100 g of fresh berries provide about 35% of daily-recommended levels of vitamin C.

Cantaloupe nutrition facts

Tuesday, April 5th, 2016

Health benefits of Cantaloupe

  • Wonderfully delicious with rich flavor, muskmelons are very low in calories (100 g fruit has just 34 calories) and fats. Nonetheless, the fruit is rich in numerous health promoting poly-phenolic plant derived compounds, vitamins, and minerals that are absolute for optimum health.
  • The fruit is an excellent source of Vitamin A, (100 g provides 3382 IU or about 112% of recommended daily levels) one of the highest among cucurbita fruits. Vitamin A is a powerful antioxidant and is essential for healthy vision. It is also required for maintaining healthy mucus membranes and skin. Consumption of natural fruits rich in vitamin A has been known to help protect from lung and oral cavity cancers.
  • It is also rich in antioxidant flavonoids such as beta-carotene, lutein, zea-xanthin and cryptoxanthin. These antioxidants have the ability to help protect cells and other structures in the body from oxygen-free radicals and hence; offer protection against colon, prostate, breast, endometrial, lung, and pancreatic cancers.
  • Total antioxidant strength measured in terms of oxygen radical absorbance capacity (ORAC) of cantaloupe melons is 315 µmol TE/100 g. The value for honeydew melon is 241 µmol TE/100 g.
  • Zea-xanthin, an important dietary carotenoid, selectively absorbed into the retinal macula lutea in the eye where it is thought to provide antioxidant and protective UV light-filtering functions. It, thus, offers protection of eyes from “Age-related macular degeneration” (ARMD) disease in the elderly.
  • It is a moderate source of electrolyte, potassium. 100 g fruit provides 267 mg of this electrolyte. Potassium is an important component of cell and body fluids and helps control heart rate and blood pressure. It thus offers protection against stroke, and coronary heart diseases.
  • The fruit also contains moderate levels of B-complex vitamins, such as niacin, pantothenic acid and vitamin C, and minerals like manganese. Consumption of foods rich in vitamin-C helps the human body develop resistance against infectious agents and scavenge harmful oxygen-free radicals. Manganese is used by the body as a co-factor for the antioxidant enzyme, superoxide dismutase. Commercially, muskmelons are being used to extract an enzyme superoxide dismutase (SOD), which plays a vital role as strong first-line antioxidant defenses inside the human body.

Cherry fruit nutrition facts

Monday, April 4th, 2016

Health benefits of cherry fruit

  • Cherries are one of the very low calorie fruits. Nonetheless, they are rich source of phytonutrients, vitamins, and minerals. Both sweet as well as tart cherries are packed with numerous health benefiting compounds that are essential for wellness.
  • Cherries are pigment rich fruits. These pigments, in fact, are polyphenolic flavonoid compounds known as anthocyanin glycosides. Anthocyanins are red, purple or blue pigments found in many fruits and vegetables, especially concentrated in their skin, known to have powerful anti-oxidant properties.
  • Scientific studies have shown that anthocyanins in the cherries are found to act like anti-inflammatory drugs by blocking the actions of enzymes cyclooxygenase-1 and 2. Thus, consumption of cherries may offer potential health effects against chronic painful episodes such as gout arthritis, fibromyalgia (painful muscle condition) and sports injuries.
  • Research studies also suggest that anti-oxidant compounds in tart cherries can help the human body to fight against cancers, aging and neurological diseases, and pre-diabetes condition.
  • Cherries compose of melatonin anti-oxidant. Melatonin can cross the blood-brain barrier easily and has soothing effects on the brain neurons, calming down nervous system irritability. It, thus, can help relieve neurosis, insomnia and headache problems
  • Further, they are also small source of zinc; and moderate sources of iron, potassium, and manganese; and good source of copper. Potassium is a heart-healthy mineral; an important component of cell and body fluids that regulate heart rate and blood pressure.
  • The fruits, especially tart cherries are exceptionally rich in health promoting flavonoid poly phenolic anti-oxidants such as lutein, zea-xanthin and beta carotene. These compounds act as protective scavengers against harmful free radicals and reactive oxygen species (ROS) that play a role in aging, cancers and various disease processes.
  • Anti-inflammatory property of cherries has been found effective in reducing heart-disease risk factors through scavenging action against free radicals.
  • Acerola or West Indian cherry has exceptionally very high levels of vitamin-C (1677.6 mg per 100 g or 2796 % of RDA) and vitamin-A (767 IU per 100 g).

Black currants nutrition facts

Saturday, April 2nd, 2016

 

 

Black currants are one of very popular, summer season berries. Indeed, they are incredibly rich in several valuable health benefiting phyto-nutrients, and anti-oxidants that are vital for our health.

Health benefits of black currants

  • Black currants carry significantly high amounts of phenolic flavonoid phytochemicals called anthocyanins. Scientific studies suggest that consumption of blackcurrants can have potential health effects against cancer, aging, inflammation, and neurological diseases.
  • Black currants have anti-oxidant value (Oxygen radical absorbance capacity- ORAC) of 7950 Trolex Equivalents per 100g, which is one of the highest value for fruits after chokeberries, elderberry, and cranberries. Red currants, however, possess comparatively less ORAC value of 3387 TE.
  • They are an excellent sources of antioxidant vitamin, vitamin-C. 100 g of fresh currants provide more than 300% of daily-recommended intake values of vitamin C. Research studies have shown that consumption of fruits rich in vitamin C helps the human body develop immunity against infectious agents and also help scavenge harmful oxygen-free radicals from the body.
  • Black currants carry small but significant amount of vitamin A, and flavonoid anti-oxidants such as beta-carotene, zea-xanthin and cryptoxanthin levels. 100 g fresh berries provide 230 IU of vitamin A. These compounds are known to have antioxidant properties. Vitamin A is also required for maintaining integrity of mucusa and skin, and essential for healthy vision. Furthermore, consumption of natural fruits rich in flavonoid anti-oxidants helps to protect from lung and oral cavity cancers.
  • Fresh blackcurrants are also rich in many essential vitamins such as pantothenic acid (vitamin B5), pyridoxine (vitamin B-6) and thiamin (vitamin B-1). These vitamins are essential in the sense that human body requires them from external sources to replenish and required for metabolism.
  • They also carry good amounts of mineral iron. 100 g currant berries provide about 20% of daily recommended levels. Iron is an important co-factor for cytochrome oxidase guided cellular metabolism and red blood cell (RBC) production in the bone marrow.
  • Additionally, the berries are also a very good source of other important minerals like copper, calcium, phosphorus, manganese, magnesium, and potassium, which are very essential for body metabolism.

Acai berry nutrition facts

Friday, April 1st, 2016

Health benefits of acai berry

  • Acai berry has very good levels of anti-oxidants, minerals, and vitamins that have health benefiting and disease preventing properties.
  • Unlike other berries and fruits, acai has high caloric values and fats. 100 grams of berries provide about 80-250 calories depending up on the preparation and serving methods. In fact, fresh acai berry has been the staple nutritious diet of native Amazonian for centuries.
  • Acai berry contains many polyphenolic anthocyanin compounds like resveratrol, cyanidin-3-galactoside, ferulic acid, delphinidin, petunidin as well as astringent pro-anthocyanidin tannins like epicatechin, protocatechuic acid and ellagic acid. Scientific studies suggest that these compounds have been claimed to act as anti-aging, anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer functions by virtue of their anti-free radical fighting actions. In addition, tannins found to have anti-infective, anti-inflammatory, and anti-hemorrhagic properties.
  • Primary research studies suggest that ellagic acid in acai has anti-proliferative properties by virtue of its ability to directly inhibit DNA binding of certain carcinogens (nitrosamine toxins) in the food.
  • Acai berry is also rich in medium chain fatty acids like oleic acid (omega-9) and linoleic acid (omega-6). These compounds help reduce LDL-cholesterol level and raise good HDL-cholesterol levels in the body and thus help cut down heart disease risk. Additionally, the essential fats in acai help prevent skin dryness by maintaining adequate moisture in the skin.
  • Acai pulp has good levels of dietary fiber. Adequate fiber in the diet helps clear cholesterol through the stools.
  • ORAC value (oxygen radical absorbance capacity) of acai berry is thought to be at mid-level range for fruits, higher than that of oranges but less than pomegranate.USDA so far has not validated exact ORAC value for acai.
  • Acai berries contain a good amount of minerals like potassium, manganese, copper, iron, and magnesium. Potassium is an important component of cell and body fluids that helps controlling heart rate and blood pressure. Manganese is utilized inside the human body as co-factor for the antioxidant enzyme, superoxide dismutase.
  • Further, they are rich in B-complex vitamins and vitamin-K. Niacin, vitamin B-6 (pyridoxine) and riboflavin are found in adequate amounts in them. These vitamins are function as co-factors and help body in the metabolism of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats.

 

Acai uses in traditional medicine

  • Acai berry extraction being used by Amazon natives as a treatment remedy for diarrhea, parasitic infections, hemorrhages, and ulcer treatment.
  • A kind of decoction obtained from crushed acai seeds has been in use for the treatment of fever.
  • Decoction obtained from the acai roots has been found useful in the treatment of menstrual pain, liver diseases, malaria in Peruvian culture.