Health Benefits

  • Some medical research suggests that excessive levels of omega-6 fatty acids, relative to omega-3 fatty acids, may increase the probability of a number of diseases and depression.Modern Western diets typically have ratios of omega-6 to omega-3 in excess of 10 to 1, some as high as 30 to 1, partly due to corn oil which has an omega-6 to omega-3 ratio of 49:1. The optimal ratio is thought to be 4 to 1 or lower.
    A high intake of omega-6 fatty acids may increase the likelihood that postmenopausal women will develop breast cancer.Similar effects were observed on prostate cancer.Other analysis suggested an inverse association between total polyunsaturated fatty acids and breast cancer risk.
  • Kidney beans are a very good source of cholesterol-lowering fiber, as are most other beans. In addition to lowering cholesterol, kidney beans' high fiber content prevents blood sugar levels from rising too rapidly after a meal, making these beans an especially good choice for individuals with diabetes, insulin resistance or hypoglycemia. When combined with whole grains such as rice, kidney beans provide virtually fat-free high quality protein. But this is far from all kidney beans have to offer. Kidney beans are an excellent source of the trace mineral, molybdenum, an integral component of the enzyme sulfite oxidase, which is responsible for detoxifying sulfites. Just one cup of cooked kidney beans supplies 177.0% of the daily value for molybdenum. Sulfites are a type of preservative commonly added to prepared foods like delicatessen salads and salad bars. Persons who are sensitive to sulfites in these foods may experience rapid heartbeat, headache or disorientation if sulfites are unwittingly consumed. If you have ever reacted to sulfites, it may be because your molybdenum stores are insufficient to detoxify them.
  • With about 30% of their calories from protein, lentils have the third-highest level of protein, by weight, of any legume or nut, aftersoybeans and hemp.Proteins include the essential amino acids isoleucine and lysine, and lentils are an essential source of inexpensive protein in many parts of the world, especially in West Asia and the Indian subcontinent, which have large vegetarianpopulations. Lentils are deficient in two essential amino acids, methionine and cysteine. However, sprouted lentils contain sufficient levels of all essential amino acids, including methionine and cysteine.
    Lentils also contain dietary fiber, folate, vitamin B1, and minerals. Red (or pink) lentils contain a lower concentration of fiber than green lentils (11% rather than 31%). Health magazine has selected lentils as one of the five healthiest foods. Lentils are often mixed with grains, such as rice or small pasta, which results in a complete protein dish.
    Lentils also have some anti-nutritional factors, such as trypsin inhibitors and relatively high phytate content. Trypsin is an enzyme involved in digestion, and phytates reduce the bio-availability of dietary minerals. The phytates can be reduced by soaking the lentils in warm water overnight. Lentils are a good source of iron.
  • Olives are a naturally bitter fruit fermented or cured with lye or brine to make them more palatable.
    Green olives and black olives are typically washed thoroughly in water to remove oleuropein, a bitter glycoside.
    Green olives are allowed to ferment before being packed in a brine solution. American black ("California") olives are not fermented, which is why they taste milder than green olives.
    In addition to oleuropein, freshly picked olives are not palatable because of phenolic compounds. (One exception is the throubes olive, which can be eaten fresh.) Traditional cures use the natural microflora on the fruit to aid in fermentation, which leads to three important outcomes: the leaching out and breakdown of oleuropein and phenolic compounds; the creation of lactic acid, which is a natural preservative; and a complex of flavoursome fermentation products. The result is a product which will store with or without refrigeration.
    Curing can employ lye, salt, brine, or fresh water. Salt cured olives (also known as dry cured) are packed in plain salt for at least a month, which produces a salty and wrinkled olive. Brine cured olives are kept in a salt water solution for a few days or more. Fresh water cured olives are soaked in a succession of baths, changed daily.[50] Green olives are usually firmer than black olives.
    Olives can also be flavoured by soaking in a marinade or pitted and stuffed. Popular flavourings include herbs, spices, olive oil, chili, lemon zest, lemon juice, wine, vinegar, and juniper berries; popular stuffings include feta cheese, blue cheese, pimento, garlic, cloves,jalapenos, almonds, and anchovies. Sometimes, the olives are lightly cracked with a hammer or a stone to trigger fermentation. This method of curing adds a slightly bitter taste.
  • Raw pineapple is an excellent source of manganese [(76% Daily Value (DV) in a one US cup serving)] and vitamin C (131% DV per cup serving). Mainly from its stem, pineapple contains a proteolytic enzyme, bromelain, which breaks down protein. If having sufficient bromelain content, raw pineapple juice may be used as a meat marinade and tenderizer. Pineapple enzymes can interfere with the preparation of some foods, such as jelly or other gelatin-based desserts, but would be destroyed during cooking and canning. The quantity of bromelain in the fruit is probably not significant, being mostly in the inedible stalk. Furthermore, an ingested enzyme like bromelain is unlikely to survive intact the proteolytic processes of digestion.
  • Rice is the staple food of over half the world's population. It is the predominant dietary energy source for 17 countries in Asia and the Pacific, 9 countries in North and South America and 8 countries in Africa. Rice provides 20% of the world’s dietary energy supply, while wheat supplies 19% and maize 5%.
    A detailed analysis of nutrient content of rice suggests that the nutrition value of rice varies based on a number of factors. It depends on the strain of rice, that is between white, brown, black, red and purple varieties of rice – each prevalent in different parts of the world. It also depends on nutrient quality of the soil rice is grown in, whether and how the rice is polished or processed, the manner it is enriched, and how it is prepared before consumption.
    An illustrative comparison between white and brown rice of protein quality, mineral and vitamin quality, carbohydrate and fat quality suggests that neither is a complete nutrition source. Between the two, there is a significant difference in fiber content and minor differences in other nutrients.
    Brilliantly colored rice strains such as the purple rice derives its color from anthocyanins and tocols. Scientific studies suggest that these color pigments have antioxidant properties that may be useful to human health. In purple rice bran, hydrophilic antioxidants are in greater quantity and have higher free radical scavenging activity than lipophilic antioxidants. Anthocyanins and γ-tocols in purple rice are largely located in the inner portion of purple rice bran.
    Comparative nutrition studies on red, black and white varieties of rice suggest that pigments in red and black rice varieties may offer nutrition benefits. Red or black rice consumption was found to reduce or retard the progression of atherosclerotic plaque development, induced by dietary cholesterol, in mammals. White rice consumption offered no similar benefits, and the study claims this to be due to absent antioxidants in red and black varieties of rice.
  • Some studies involving the health impact of sugars are effectively inconclusive. The WHO and FAO meta studies have shown directly contrasting impacts of sugar in refined and unrefined forms and since most studies do not use a population who are not consuming any "free sugars" at all, the baseline is effectively flawed. Hence there are articles such as Consumer Reports on Health that said in 2008, "Some of the supposed dietary dangers of sugar have been overblown. Many studies have debunked the idea that it causes hyperactivity, for example." Despite this, the article continues to discuss other health impacts of sugar. Other articles and studies refer to the increasing evidence supporting the links between refined sugar and hyperactivity. The WHO FAO meta-study suggests that such inconclusive results are to be expected when some studies do not effectively segregate or control for free sugars as opposed to sugars still in their natural form (entirely unrefined) while others do.

    Blood glucose levels
    It used to be believed that sugar raised blood glucose levels more quickly than did starch because of its simpler chemical structure. However, it turned out that white bread or French fries have the same effect on blood sugar as pure glucose, while fructose, although a simple carbohydrate has a minimal effect on blood sugar. As a result, as far as blood sugar is concerned, carbohydrates are classified according to their Glycemic index, a system for measuring how quickly a food we eat raises blood sugar levels, and Glycemic load, which takes into account both the glycemic index and the amount of carbohydrate in the food. This has led to carbohydrate counting, a method used by diabetics for planning their meals.

    Obesity and diabetes
    Studies on the link between sugars and diabetes are inconclusive, with some suggesting that eating excessive amounts of sugar does not increase the risk of diabetes, although the extra calories from consuming large amounts of sugar can lead to obesity, which may itself increase the risk of developing this metabolic disease.Other studies show correlation between refined sugar (free sugar) consumption and the onset of diabetes, and negative correlation with the consumption of fiber. These included a 2010 meta-analysis of eleven studies involving 310,819 participants and 15,043 cases of type 2 diabetes. This found that "SSBs (sugar-sweetened beverages) may increase the risk of metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes not only through obesity but also by increasing dietary glycemic load, leading to insulin resistance, β-cell dysfunction, and inflammation". As an overview to consumption related to chronic disease and obesity, the World Health Organization's independent meta-studies specifically distinguish free sugars ("all monosaccharides and disaccharides added to foods by the manufacturer, cook or consumer, plus sugars naturally present in honey, syrups and fruit juices") from sugars occurring naturally in food. The reports prior to 2000 set the limits for free sugars at a maximum of 10% of carbohydrate intake, measured by energy, rather than mass, and since 2002 have aimed for a level across the entire population of less than 10%. The consultation committee recognized that this goal is "controversial. However, the Consultation considered that the studies showing no effect of free sugars on excess weight have limitations."

    Cardiovascular disease
    A number of studies in animals have suggested that chronic consumption of refined sugars can contribute to metabolic and cardiovascular dysfunction. Some experts have suggested that refined fructose is more damaging than refined glucose in terms of cardiovascular risk. Cardiac performance has been shown to be impaired by switching from a carbohydrate diet including fiber to a high-carbohydrate diet. Switching from saturated fatty acids to carbohydrates with high glycemic index values shows a statistically-significant increase in the risk of myocardial infarction. Other studies have shown that the risk of developing coronary heart disease is decreased by adopting a diet high in polyunsaturated fatty acids but low in sugar whereas a low fat, high carbohydrate diet brings no reduction. This suggests that consuming a diet with a high glycemic load typical of the "junk food" diet, is strongly associated with an increased risk of developing coronary heart disease.
    The consumption of added sugars has been positively associated with multiple measures known to increase cardiovascular disease risk amongst adolescents as well as adults.Studies are suggesting that the impact of refined carbohydrates or high glycemic load carbohydrates are more significant than the impact of saturated fatty acids on cardiovascular disease. A high dietary intake of sugar (in this case, sucrose or disaccharide) can substantially increase the risk of heart and vascular diseases. According to a Swedish study of 4301 people undertaken by Lund University and Malmö University College, sugar was associated with higher levels of bad blood lipids, causing a high level of small and medium low-density lipoprotein (LDL) and reduced high-density lipoprotein (HDL). In contrast, the amount of fat eaten did not affect the level of blood fats. As a side note, moderate quantities of alcohol and protein were linked to an increase in the good HDL blood fat.

    Alzheimer's disease
    It is suggested that Alzheimer's disease is linked with the western diet, which is characterised by high intakes of red meat, sugary foods, high-fat foods and refined grains. It has been hypothesized that dementia could be prevented by taking mono-supplements of specific vitamins or drugs, but studies have shown that this approach does not show appreciable results.
    Dietary pattern analysis considers overall eating patterns, comparing diets of people with Alzheimer's disease to diets of healthy controls using factor analysis. This analysis shows a major eating pattern for those with Alzheimer's characterised by a high intake of meat, butter, high-fat dairy products, eggs, and refined sugar, while the major eating pattern for those without Alzheimer's was characterised by a high intake of grains and vegetables.
    One group of experimenters compared a normal rodent diet (19% protein, 5% fat and 60% complex carbohydrate) with free access to water against the same diet but with free access to a 10% sucrose solution. The experimental results underscore the potential role of dietary sugar in the pathogenesis of Alzheimer disease and suggest that controlling the consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages may be an effective way to curtail the risk of developing the disease.

    Macular degeneration
    There are links between free sugar consumption and macular degeneration in older age.

    Tooth decay
    In regard to contributions to tooth decay, the role of free sugars is also recommended to be below an absolute maximum of 10% of energy intake, with a minimum of zero. There is "convincing evidence from human intervention studies, epidemiological studies, animal studies and experimental studies, for an association between the amount and frequency of free sugars intake and dental caries" while other sugars (complex carbohydrate) consumption is normally associated with a lower rate of dental caries. Lower rates of tooth decay have been seen in individuals with hereditary fructose intolerance. Also, studies have shown that the consumption of sugar and starch have different impacts on oral health with the ingestion of starchy foods and fresh fruit being associated with low levels of dental caries.

    Addiction
  • Tea contains a large number of potentially bioactive chemicals, including flavinoids, amino acids, vitamins, caffeine and severalpolysaccharides, and a variety of health effects have been proposed and investigated. It has been suggested that green and black tea may protect against cancer, though the catechins found in green tea are thought to be more effective in preventing certain obesity-related cancers such as liver and colorectal while both green and black tea may protect against cardiovascular disease.
    Numerous recent epidemiological studies have been conducted to investigate the effects of green tea consumption on the incidence of human cancers. These studies suggest significant protective effects of green tea against oral, pharyngeal, oesophageal, prostate, digestive, urinary tract, pancreatic, bladder, skin, lung, colon, breast, liver cancers, and lower risk for cancer metastasis and recurrence.teat