How do you respond physiologically and viscerally when someone says, "eat your broccoli"? Spraying a plant hormone on broccoli — already one of the planet's most nutritious foods — boosts its cancer-fighting potential, and researchers say they have new insights on how that works.
Researchers published their findings, which could help scientists build an even better, more healthful broccoli, in the American Chemical Society (ACS') Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry (ACS Publications), says an October 16, 2013 news release from the American Chemical Society (ACS), "Maximizing broccoli's cancer-fighting potential." Spraying a plant hormone on broccoli -- already one of the planet's most nutritious foods -- boosts its cancer-fighting potential, and researchers say they have new insights on how that works.
John Juvik and colleagues explain that diet is one of the most important factors influencing a person's chances of developing cancer. One of the most helpful food families includes cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli, kale and cabbage. In fact, eating broccoli regularly has been linked to lower rates of prostate, colon, breast, lung and skin cancers. In that super food, glucosinolates (GSs) and the substances that are left when GSs are broken down can boost the levels of a broccoli enzyme that helps rid the body of carcinogens. One way to increase GSs is to spray a plant hormone called methyl jasmonate on broccoli. This natural hormone protects the plants against pests. Juvik's team wanted to determine which GSs and their products actually boost the enzyme levels when broccoli is treated.
They tested five commercial types of broccoli by spraying them in the field with the hormone and found that, of the GS break-down products, sulforaphane is the major contributor toward enhanced cancer-fighting enzyme levels, although other substances also likely contribute, say the researchers. Environmental conditions played a role, too. They say that this information could be used to identify superior broccoli and to breed even more healthful broccoli plants.
British scientists found that green leafy vegetables, especially broccoli boosts your body's natural defense system in a way that protects your arteries from becoming clogged.
According to a Sept. 4, 2009 Reuters article, "How broccoli can protect your arteries," by Kate Kelland. Editing by Ralph Boulton, scientists think broccoli is good for your heart. British scientists think they know why. Researchers at Imperial College London have found evidence that "a chemical in broccoli and other green leafy vegetables could boost a natural defense mechanism that protects arteries from the clogging that can cause heart attacks."
The study is funded by the British Heart Foundation charity and has been conducted on mice. However, results could apply to humans as well as the DNA systems are close enough for experiments in what hardens the arteries or prevents plaque from building.
Researchers found that sulforaphane -- a compound occurring naturally in broccoli and other brassicas -- might be able to "switch on" a protective protein which is inactive in parts of the arteries vulnerable to clogging. The research looked at molecular mechanism to find out why vegetables can reduce the building up of plaque in arteries.
The goal of the study is to explain why green vegetables promote healthy hearts. When arteries clog up, they do so in a variety of ways because there are bends and branches of blood vessels -- where blood flow is disrupted or slower -- which are much more prone to the build-up of fatty plaques that cause heart disease, according to the Reuters article.
You have vulnerable areas. Researchers looked at a normally protective protein known as Nrf2 is that's inactive. But the study showed that the sulforaphane in broccoli and other green leafy vegetables can protect those regions by switching on the Nrf2.
To read the technical research data, view the journal, Arteriosclerosis Thrombosis and Vascular Biology. The scientists used purified sulforaphane, not broccoli. Researchers said the next step was to test the effect of the chemical as it is found in vegetables.
What researchers actually have to do now is make some broccoli smoothies to compare with the effect of purified sulforaphane. The trouble with the study is that if the vegetable form proved less effective, there could be an argument for taking sulforaphane in pill form.
Recent studies have confirmed that what you eat can have both a positive and negative impact on your oral health
Shitake mushrooms are one example of helping to prevent tooth decay, based on a recent study by the Paediatric Caries Research Foundation. It's the lentinan in the mushrooms that have anti-microbial properties that target the type of bacteria causing tooth decay.
See the site of the Paediatric Caries Research Program - School of Dentistry. Researchers at that school of dentistry recently found that these mushrooms contain a sugar called lentinan which prevents mouth bacteria from growing in your mouth.
Lentinan, a beta-glucan also is used an an anti-tumor polysaccharide supplement that comes from from the shiitake mushroom, also known as lentinula edodes. Shiitake mushrooms are popular in Japan as a food and also on sale in most Sacramento supermarkets and natural food stores. They come in fresh or dried form. You also can buy shittaki mushrooms at the Sacramento Natural Foods co-op.
Raw onions and wasabi also stop bacteria growth in the mouth
Certain vegetables help form an acid-resistant film on your teeth. Raw onions and wasabi, a Japanese version of horseradish, also contain substances which stop bacteria growth.
Based on a 2010 lab-based study in The European Journal of Dentistry, the iron in broccoli may also help form an acid-resistant film on teeth. After exposure to an acid-based drink like cola, enamel erodes half as quickly when exposed to broccoli.
Shiittake mushrooms contains lentinan, a sugar which prevents mouth bacteria from growing
Not all sugars are bad for the teeth. For example lentinan is a sugar found in shiitake mushrooms that actually prevents mouth bacteria from growing. Some super-smile foods might surprise you. Shiitake mushrooms are one example.
The aim of the 2011 study with shiitake mushrooms investigated the anticariogenic properties of shiitake mushrooms. See the site, The Effects of Fractions from Shiitake Mushroom on Composition.
Another study examined a component from shiitake (an edible mushroom) for the shiitake mushroom's effects on dental caries (caries research). Also see the site, Shiitake: The Legendary Healing Mushroom | The Food Medicine.
Another type of sugar from strawberries, raspberries, plums and cauliflower, Xylitol, also helps prevent cavities. See the site, What is Xylitol? How does consuming xylitol help to prevent cavities.
As for lentinan from shiitake mushrooms, a study by the Paediatric Caries Research Program found that these mushrooms contain that sugar called lentinan which prevents mouth bacteria from growing.
Broccoli also may help form an acid-resistant film on teeth to help prevent tooth decay
Other foods also are anti-microbial. For example, raw onions and wasabi, a Japanese version of horseradish, also contain substances which stop bacteria growth. Based on a 2010 lab-based study published in the European Journal of Dentistry, the iron in broccoli may help form an acid-resistant film on teeth. After exposure to an acid-based drink like cola, enamel erodes half as quickly when exposed to broccoli.
“To have a great smile, a diet rich in nutrient-dense foods will be your best ally,” said nutritionist Karen Krchma, according to an AACD news release. “This booklet provides a variety of wholesome and tasty recipes with healthful ingredients that will build and strengthen your teeth and gums.”
The American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (AACD) has reviewed a variety of research and from it has developed the Recipes for a Healthier Smile e-booklet featuring delicious new recipes using key ingredients to help keep your smile at its best. The free e-booklet, available at AACD - Smile Recipes features breakfast, lunch, snack, dinner, and dessert recipes using fruits, vegetables, grains, and other ingredients experts have identified as "super-smile" foods.
There are also tips on foods that can play havoc with your smile such as soda, dark berries and dried fruits, as well as a list of healthful smile ingredients and their specific benefits. A news release with more details is attached.
Why do Americans spent more than $1.4 billion annually on teeth whiteners?
Americans spend more than $1.4 billion a year on teeth whiteners so they can have a brighter smile. While these recipes don’t replace a visit to the dentist, they do provide a natural, cost-effective and delicious way to a healthier smile.
If you're an older person with yellowed teeth, ask your dentist whether the enamel already has eroded due to age from your teeth, in which case whitening may not work on the teeth of senior citizens or older adults with loss of enamel. Talk to your dentist to see whether it is advisable or not for whitening if you're over age 50.
Free e-recipes booklet online to help keep teeth brighter
Check out the free e-booklet that offers recipes to help keep teeth brighter and stronger. The AACD is sharing ingredients for a healthier smile. Recent studies, according to a May 1, 2012 news release from the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (AACD) have shown that what you eat can have both a positive and negative impact on your oral health.
The American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (AACD) wants to help uncover the smile secrets in your kitchen with a "Recipes for a Healthier Smile" e-booklet featuring delicious new recipes using key ingredients to help keep your smile at its best. The free e-booklet of recipes, available at the AACD site features breakfast, lunch, snack, dinner, and dessert recipes using fruits, vegetables, grains, and other ingredients experts have identified as “super-smile” foods.
There are also tips on foods that can play havoc with your smile (teeth, that is) such as soda, dark berries and dried fruits, as well as a list of healthful smile ingredients and their specific benefits. Although dark berries could stain your teeth, they have health benefits for your brain.
Dentist also is a gourmet cook who teamed up with a nutritionist and health coach to create the healthier recipes
Dr. Shawn Frawley, AACD member and Beverly Hills cosmetic dentist, also is a gourmet cook who worked together with nutritionist and health coach Karen Krchma to create these healthy, easy-to-make recipes online that you can download. These are recipes that everyone in the family can enjoy.
“The teeth and gums mirror what’s going on in the rest of your body. Therefore, what you consume influences the health of your smile,” said Dr. Frawley, according to the May 1, 2012 news release. “That’s why it’s important to think carefully about making the right food choices.”
The AACD is the world’s largest non-profit member organization dedicated to advancing excellence in comprehensive oral care that combines art and science to optimally improve dental health, esthetics, and function. Made up of more than 6,300 cosmetic dental professionals in 70 countries worldwide, the AACD fulfills its mission by offering superior educational opportunities, promoting and supporting a respected accreditation credential.
The AACD also serves as a user-friendly and inviting forum for the creative exchange of knowledge and ideas, and provides accurate and useful information to the public and the profession. For further information check out the Smart Health site on remineralization, or the Everyday health site on dental health.
Anti-cancer super foods list also names broccoli
Breast Cancer Awareness month back in October 2011 also symbolized research on what some nutritionists refer to as anti-cancer plant foods such as broccoli. Remember all the rumors that our vegetables don't contain the same amount of minerals as they did years ago? Well, they haven't changed much in 35 years. But have they changed a lot in 200 years?
What has been tested is comparing broccoli grown 35 years ago to broccoli grown today....The mineral levels are similar to what they were 35 years ago, back in the 1970s. But that don't tell us what they were at the turn of the century or before. Even though, broccoli still has pretty good health benefits when eaten in moderation.
Even the USDA currently is touting the health benefits of broccoli still rich in minerals after 35 years of testing for changes, according to a study published recently in the journal Crop Science. Locally, in the Sacramento and Davis regional areas, also recent U.C. Davis studies on the health effects of broccoli and Spirulina show specific health benefits. Eaten in moderation, are broccoli and spirulina superfoods?
Current research with broccoli at U.C. Davis suggests that consumption of broccoli is associated with a reduced risk of breast (1), prostate (2), bladder (3), lung, colon, thyroid, and stomach cancer in addition to cancer of the respiratory tract and reproductive organs (4). In light of this research, the American Cancer Society recommends consuming broccoli as part of a balanced diet that includes foods from a variety of plant sources.
Scientists at U.C. Davis also found that spirulina has health benefits. "We found that nutrient-rich spirulina is a potent inducer of interferon-gamma (13.6-fold increase) and a moderate stimulator of both interleukin-4 and interleukin-1beta (3.3-fold increase)," says Eric Gershwin, professor and chief of the Division of Rheumatology, Allergy and Clinical Immunology at UC Davis, according to the article, "Discover how stress causes cancer and how to heal within."
"Together, increases in these cytokines suggest that spirulina is a strong proponent for protecting against intracellular pathogens and parasites and can potentially increase the expression of agents that stimulate inflammation, which also helps to protect the body against infectious and potentially harmful micro-organisms."
[In the body, the preferential increase in the production of interferon-gamma over interleukin-4 would shift the immune system towards mounting a cell-mediated immune response instead of a humoral response. A cell-mediated response includes the activation of T-cells and antibodies that work with macrophages, another type of immune system cell, to engulf invading micro-organisms and cancer cells in the body.]
Broccoli's super health benefits: Eat in moderation. Too much can overstimulate your thyroid
Broccoli has important health benefits, and minerals measured in broccoli florets have not declined in the past 35 years. New research shows that broccoli florets in the study were tested for levels of calcium, copper, iron, potassium, magnesium, manganese, molybdenum, sodium, phosphorous, sulfur and zinc.
Results indicated significant cultivar differences in floret concentrations of calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, sodium, phosphorous and zinc, but not of potassium, manganese, molybdenum or sulfur. There was no clear relationship between mineral concentration and the date of the release year in that new study.
According to an October 13, 2011 USDA news release by Sharon Durham, "USDA research demonstrates new breeds of broccoli remain packed with health benefits," research performed by scientists at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and published recently in the journal Crop Science has demonstrated that mineral levels in new varieties of broccoli have not declined since 1975, and that the broccoli contains the same levels of calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, potassium and other minerals that have made the vegetable a healthy staple of American diets for decades.
"This research provides data on the nutritional content of broccoli for breeders to consider as they further improve this important vegetable," said Edward B. Knipling, administrator of the Agricultural Research Service (ARS), USDA's principal intramural scientific research agency, according to the USDA news release. "The research demonstrates how ARS is helping to find answers to agricultural problems that impact Americans every day, from field to table."
A team of three scientists evaluated the mineral content of 14 broccoli cultivars released over a span of more than 50 years: ARS geneticist and research leader Mark Farnham at the agency's U.S. Vegetable Laboratory in Charleston, S.C.; plant physiologist Michael Grusak at the USDA-ARS Children's Nutrition Research Center (CNRC) in Houston, Texas; and Clemson University scientist Anthony Keinath.
The researchers grew the 14 cultivars in two field trials in 2008 and 2009, and harvested florets for testing. "Our studies show that not much has changed in terms of mineral content in the last 35 years in a crop that has undergone significant improvement from a quality standpoint and that was not widely consumed in the United States before the 1960s," said Farnham, according to the news release.
"For broccoli cultivars grown during the past 35 years, when hybrids became the standard cultivar, evidence indicates that mineral concentrations remain unchanged," said Farnham, according to the USDA news release. "As broccoli breeders continue to improve this crop in the future, data from this study can serve as a very useful guide in helping breeders understand the variation in mineral concentrations they should expect among their breeding stocks and also provide a realistic baseline that should be maintained as other characteristics are manipulated in the future."
As USDA's chief scientific research agency, ARS is leading America toward a better future through agricultural research and information. ARS conducts research to develop and transfer solutions to help answer agricultural questions that impact Americans every day. ARS work helps to accomplish the following: ensure high-quality, safe food and other agricultural products, assess the nutritional needs of Americans, sustain a competitive agricultural economy, enhance the natural resource base and the environment, and provide economic opportunities for rural citizens, communities and society as a whole. For further information check out, "Breast cancer risk in premenopausal women is inversely associated with consumption of broccoli, a source of isothocyanates, but is not modified by GST genotype." Authors are Ambrosone CB, et al. The study is published in the Journal of Nutrition. May, 2004. But be careful as too many cruciferous vegetables can overstimulate your thyroid gland.