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  1. #11
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    Re: Health Benefits of J'can Foods

    I knew callalloo was extremely good for you and one of the better dark green vegetables(which they always say are extremely good for the body). I recall I was having bone pain(b/c of some meds I was taking-silly me- and I ate callalloo after not having it for some time and I swear the bone pain went away. Thats why livign where I live now I have to buy from grace or other places online to make sure i have some.[ QUOTE ]


    You could say that Callaloo, a leafy vegetable, plays a role in the Jamaican diet that is similar to the role Spinach plays in the American diet. But that would understate the importance of callaloo in the Jamaican diet. And those who have had both agree callaloo has more going for it than spinach. Steamed callaloo is often served with breakfast, lunch and dinner. It is cooked with codfish and used in soups. And it is used increasingly in non-traditional Jamaican dishes such as quiche and omelets etc.

    Callaloo is rich in nutrients including : iron and other minerals, vitamin C, flavonoids and other phytochemicals, calcium, and vitamin A. Callaloo has over four times the calcium, over two times the iron, and over two times the vitamin A compared to broccoli and other vegetables.

    Admittedly, broccoli, cauliflower and Brussels sprouts, like other vegetables will provide vitamin C, minerals, flavonoids and other phytochemicals but they are no match for our local callaloo (amaranth) in terms of calcium, iron or vitamin A. Callaloo has more than four times the calcium, two or more times the iron with more than twice the vitamin A as the American vegetables.

    [/ QUOTE ]

  2. #12
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    Re: Health Benefits of J'can Foods



    Yams are a good source of vitamin B6. Vitamin B6 is needed by the body to break down a substance called homocysteine, which can directly damage blood vessel walls. Individuals who suffer a heart attack despite having normal or even low cholesterol levels are often found to have high levels of homocysteine. Since high homocysteine levels are signficantly associated with increased risk of heart attack and stroke, having a good supply of vitamin B6 on hand makes a great deal of sense. High intakes of vitamin B6 have also been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease.

    Yams are a good source of potassium, a mineral that helps to control blood pressure. Since many people not only do not eat enough fruits and vegetables, but also consume high amounts of sodium as salt is frequently added to processed foods, they may be deficient in potassium. Low intake of potassium-rich foods, especially when coupled with a high intake of sodium, can lead to hypertension. In the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) study, one group ate servings of fruits and vegetables in place of snacks and sweets, and also ate low-fat dairy food. This diet delivered more potassium, magnesium and calcium. Another group ate a "usual" diet low in fruits and vegetables with a fat content like that found in the average American Diet. After eight weeks, the group that ate the enhanced diet lowered their blood pressure by an average of 5.5 points (systolic) over 3.0 points (diastolic). Dioscorin, a storage protein contained in yam, may also be of benefit to certain individuals with hypertension. Preliminary research suggests that dioscorin can inhibit angiotensin converting enzyme, which would therefore lead to increased kidney blood flow and reduced blood pressure.

    A Second Look at Yam, Diosgenin, and Menopausal Symptoms
    Many consumers have found products in the marketplace that promote wild yam or wild yam extracts as substances that can help provide a natural alternative to hormonal replacement in women who have reached the age of menopause. Many of these products are provided in the form of creams that can be topically applied. Even though the food itself is not usually promoted by natural products companies, these yam-containing products have sparked interest in the relationship between yam and menopause. Yams do contain some unique substances called steroidal saponins, and among these substances are chemicals called diosgenins. Because of similiarities between some forms diosgenin and progesterone, questions were initially raised about the ability of our body to convert diosgenin into progesterone, but research has shown that the answer here is clearly no. Diosgenin does, however, have an impact on hormonal patterns in studies involving animals, and may be helpful in lowering risk of osteoporosis, although we don't as yet have any human studies in this area.

    Wild yam also has some history of traditional use in herbal medicine, especially Chinese herbal medicine, as a botanical that can affect organ system function. While the focus here has been on kidney function, wild yam (or Chinese yam) has also been used to support the female endocrine system. For example, there has been traditional use of this root in conjunction with lactation. We've only seen one high-quality, peer-reviewed research study in which women were actually given wild yam (in the form of a topical cream) to determine the impact of this plant on menopausal symptoms. Although this research showed some very limited benefits from the wild yam cream - and no side effects - none of the symptom changes were statistically significant. In summary, we'd say that there's no research evidence to support the claim that yam has special benefits when it comes to menopause, but that more research is needed in this area because there is a clear connection between yam, diosgenin, and endocrine function that is not yet understood.

    We'd also like to add some information about yam and vitamin B6. Vitamin B6 has been an especially popular supplement with respect to premenstrual syndrome (PMS) in women, especially in conjunction with the depression that can be triggered by PMS. Some companies have also advocated the use of this vitamin for menopausal symptoms. One cup of baked cubed yam contains 24% of the Daily Value for B6, and we rank yam as a "good" source of vitamin B6 for this reason. In research studies, however, the dose of vitamin B6 required for help with PMS depression is about 50-100 milligrams - many, many times the Daily Value level of 2.0 milligrams. So if you're a woman, even though yam might be a food well-worth including in your meal plan in conjunction with PSM, the amount of vitamin B6 that you'd be getting from this food would be insufficient (by itself) to reach the therapeutic level shown to be helpful in research studies.

    Blood Sugar and Weight Control
    Yams' complex carbohydrates and fiber deliver the goods gradually, slowing the rate at which their sugars are released and absorbed into the bloodstream. In addition, because they're rich in fiber, yams fill you up without filling out your hips and waistline. And one more benefit, yams are a good source of manganese, a trace mineral that helps with carbohydrate metabolism and is a cofactor in a number of enzymes important in energy production and antioxidant defenses. You've just got to hand it to Mother Nature; when She brings forth a food, She makes sure it integrates everything needed to contribute to your health and vitality.
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  3. #13
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    Re: Health Benefits of J'can Foods



    Creamy, rich, and sweet, bananas are a favorite food for everyone from infants to elders. Sports enthusiasts appreciate the potassium-power delivered by this high energy fruit.

    Cardiovascular Protection from Potassium and Fiber
    Bananas are one of our best sources of potassium, an esssential mineral for maintaining normal blood pressure and heart function. Since the average banana contains a whopping 467 mg of potassium and only 1 mg of sodium, a banana a day may help to prevent high blood pressure and protect against atherosclerosis. The effectiveness of potassium-rich foods such as bananas in lowering blood pressure has been demonstrated by a number of studies. For example, researchers tracked over 40,000 American male health professionals over four years to determine the effects of diet on blood pressure. Men who ate diets higher in potassium-rich foods, as well as foods high in magnesium and cereal fiber, had a substantially reduced risk of stroke.

    A study published in the September 8, 2003 edition of the Archives of Internal Medicine also confirms that eating high fiber foods, such as bananas, helps prevent heart disease. Almost 10,000 American adults participated in this study and were followed for 19 years, during which time 1,843 cases of coronary heart disease (CHD) and 3,762 cases of cardiovascular disease (CVD) were diagnosed. People eating the most fiber, 21 grams per day, had 12% less CHD and 11% less CVD compared to those eating the least, 5 grams daily. Those eating the most water-soluble dietary fiber fared even better with a 15% reduction in risk of CHD and a 10% risk reduction in CVD.

    In addition to these cardiovascular benefits, the potassium found in bananas may also help to promote bone health. Potassium may counteract the increased urinary calcium loss caused by the high-salt diets typical of most Americans, thus helping to prevent bones from thinning out at a fast rate.

    Soothing Protection from Ulcers
    Bananas have long been recognized for their antacid effects that protect against stomach ulcers and ulcer damage. In one study, a simple mixture of banana and milk significantly suppressed acid secretion. In an animal study, researchers found that fresh bananas protected the animals' stomachs from wounds.

    Bananas work their protective magic in two ways: First, substances in bananas help activate the cells that compose the stomach lining, so they produce a thicker protective mucus barrier against stomach acids. Second, other compounds in bananas called protease inhibitors help eliminate bacteria in the stomach that have been pinpointed as a primary cause of stomach ulcers.

    Improving Elimination
    Bananas are a smart move if you suffer from elimination problems. A bout of diarrhea can quickly deplete your body of important electrolytes. Bananas can replenish your stores of potassium, one of the most important electrolytes, which helps regulate heart function as well as fluid balance. In addition, bananas contain pectin, a soluble fiber (called a hydrocolloid) that can help normalize movement through the digestive tract and ease constipation. Bananas also contain resistant starch, but this amount varies depending on their degree of ripeness. In their lesser ripe stages, bananas score as low as 30 on the glycemic index (below 50 would be considered low). In their riper stages, this number usually rises to a moderate level in the 60's. All of the above features help place banana in a more favorable digestive light than might otherwise be expected for a sugary fruit.


    Protect Your Eyesight
    Your mother may have told you carrots would keep your eyes bright as a child, but as an adult, it looks like fruit is even more important for keeping your sight. Data reported in a study published in the June 2004 issue of the Archives of Opthamology indicates that eating 3 or more servings of fruit per day may lower your risk of age-related macular degeneration (ARMD), the primary cause of vision loss in older adults, by 36%, compared to persons who consume less than 1.5 servings of fruit daily.

    In this study, which involved 77,562 women and 40,866 men, researchers evaluated the effect of study participants' consumption of fruits; vegetables; the antioxidant vitamins A, C, and E; and carotenoids on the development of early ARMD or neovascular ARM, a more severe form of the illness associated with vision loss. Food intake information was collected periodically for up to 18 years for women and 12 years for men.

    While, surprisingly, intakes of vegetables, antioxidant vitamins and carotenoids were not strongly related to incidence of either form of ARM, fruit intake was definitely protective against the severe form of this vision-destroying disease. Three servings of fruit may sound like a lot to eat each day, but by simply tossing a banana into your morning smoothie or slicing it over your cereal, topping off a cup of yogurt or green salad with a half cup of berries, and snacking on an apple, plum, nectarine or pear, you've reached this goal.


    Build Better Bones with Bananas
    Build better bones by eating bananas? Yes, enjoying bananas frequently as part of your healthy way of eating can help improve your body's ability to absorb calcium via several mechanisms.

    Bananas are an exceptionally rich source of fructooligosaccharide, a compound called a prebiotic because it nourishes probiotic (friendly) bacteria in the colon. These beneficial bacteria produce vitamins and digestive enzymes that improve our ability to absorb nutrients, plus compounds that protect us against unfriendly microorganisms. When fructooligosaccharides are fermented by these friendly bacteria, not only do numbers of probiotic bacteria increase, but so does the body's ability to absorb calcium. In addition, gastrointestinal transit time is lessened, decreasing the risk of colon cancer.

    Green bananas contain indigestible (to humans) short chain fatty acids (SCFAs) that are a favorite food of the cells that make up the lining of the intestines. When these cells are well-nourished and healthy, the body's ability to absorb nutrients such as calcium can increase dramatically.

    Research published in the March 2004 issue of Digestive Diseases and Sciences underscores just how much bananas can improve nutrient absorption. In this study, 57 male babies (5-12 months) with persistent diarrhea of at least 14 days duration were given a week's treatment with a rice-based diet containing either green banana, apple pectin or the rice diet alone. Treatment with both green banana and apple pectin resulted in a 50% reduction in stool weights, indicating that the babies were absorbing significantly more nutrients.

    Also, to check how well their intestines were able to absorb nutrients, the babies were given a drink containing lactulose and mannitol. Lactulose is a compound that should be absorbed, while mannitol is one that should not be. When the intestines are too permeable, a condition clinicians call "leaky gut," too little lactulose and too much mannitol are absorbed. After just one week of being given the green banana-rice diet, the babies' were absorbing much more lactulose and little mannitol, showing that their intestines were now functioning properly. Some banana cultivars are also rich in provitamin A carotenoids, which have been shown to protect against chronic disease, including certain cancers, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes. How to identify which bananas contain the most carotenoids? Check the color of their edible flesh. Bananas whose flesh is more golden contain the most carotenoids.


    Reduce Kidney Cancer Risk
    About 190,000 cases of kidney cancer are diagnosed each year. Risk factors include smoking, high blood pressure, obesity, exposure to toxic chemicals such as asbestos and cadmium, and a high intake of fruit juices.

    Research published in the January 2005 issue of the International Journal of Cancer suggests that regular consumption of whole fruits and vegetables, especially bananas, is highly protective. The results of this large population based prospective study (13.4 years) of 61,000 women aged 40-76, show that women eating more than 75 servings of fruits and vegetables per month cut their risk of kidney cancer 40%. Among the fruits, bananas were especially protective. Women eating bananas four to six times a week halved their risk of developing the disease compared to those who did not eat this fruit.,

    Salads, eaten at least once a day, were associated with a 40% decreased risk. Among vegetables, frequent consumption of root vegetables and white cabbage offered the most protection, providing a 50-65% decrease in risk. The conclusion drawn by the researchers: frequent consumption of fruits and vegetables, especially bananas, cabbage and root vegetables, may reduce risk of kidney cancer. Why these foods? Bananas and many root vegetables contain especially high amounts of antioxidant phenolic compounds. Cabbage is rich in sulfur compounds necessary for efficient and effective detoxification of potential carcinogens.

  4. #14
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    Re: Health Benefits of J'can Foods



    Capsaicin, the active ingredient in chili peppers, is so hot that it can make your mouth feel like it's on fire.

    This phytochemical exists in peppers, most likely, to deter animals from eating them, and is also the active component of pepper sprays used for self-defense. Yet for humans, when capsaicin is consumed in a somewhat diluted form, such as in hot sauce, chili peppers or cayenne peppers, it offers a myriad of health benefits.

    Chili peppers come in hundreds of different varieties, each with a unique flavor, color, shape and heat factor. Generally speaking, the hotter the pepper, the more capsaicin it contains.

    Scotch bonnet peppers are two of the hottest chili pepper varieties out there -- other than the fiery Indian chili pepper called Naga Jolokia (see the sidebar) -- followed by the somewhat milder Spanish pimentos and Anaheim and Hungarian cherry peppers.

    Other popular varieties that vary in their "hotness" include cayenne, chipotle, jalapeno and ancho.

    Ready to add a little spice to your life? Here are seven reasons to turn up the heat in your next meal.

    Fight Cancer
    A study published in Cancer Research found that capsaicin caused cancer cells to commit suicide. The substance caused almost 80 percent of prostate cancer cells to die in mice, and prostate tumors treated with capsaicin were about one-fifth the size of those in untreated mice.

    "Capsaicin inhibits the growth of human prostate cancer cells in petri dishes and mice," says lead researcher Dr. H. Phillip Koeffler, director of hematology and oncology at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and a professor of medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles.

    Further, researchers say capsaicin pills may one day be used to prevent the return of prostate cancer.

    Provide Pain Relief
    A topical form of capsaicin is a recognized treatment for osteoarthritis pain, and may also help alleviate pain from diabetic neuropathy.

    Capsaicin is also known to inhibit Substance P, a neuropeptide that is the key transmitter of pain to the brain. Substance P can cause swelling of nerve fibers, which may result in headaches and sinus symptoms. Studies have found that capsaicin both relieves and prevents cluster headaches, migraine headaches and sinus headaches.

    Prevent Sinusitis and Relieve Congestion
    Capsaicin has potent antibacterial properties that fight and prevent chronic sinus infections, or sinusitis. Because it is so hot, it also helps to stimulate secretions that help clear mucus from your nose, thereby relieving nasal congestion. This phytochemical may also help relieve sinus-related allergy symptoms.

    Fight Inflammation
    Capsaicin is a potent anti-inflammatory agent. It works by inhibiting Substance P, which is associated with inflammatory processes. Capsaicin is being looked at as a potential treatment for arthritis, psoriasis and diabetic neuropathy.

    Soothe Intestinal Diseases
    A Duke University study found that capsaicin may lead to a cure for inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). The substance can also help to kill bacteria such as H. pylori, which can help prevent stomach ulcers.

    Burn Fat and Lose Weight
    Capsaicin is a thermogenic agent, which means it increases metabolic activity. This, in turn, helps to burn calories and fat. Many popular "fat-burning" supplements on the market contain capsaicin, as the substance may significantly increase metabolic activity for over 20 minutes after it's eaten.

    Protect Your Heart
    Capsaicin may help to protect the heart by reducing cholesterol, triglycerides and platelet aggregation. It may also help the body dissolve fibrin, which is necessary for blood clots to form. Further, cultures around the world that use hot peppers liberally in their meals have significantly lower rates of heart attack and stroke than cultures that do not.

  5. #15
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    Re: Health Benefits of J'can Foods

    I love Habeneros! We grow them in the garden during summer. Right now my plants are overloaded with them. I put them in homemade salsa and dice them up to freeze them. I also will eat them raw with meals. Great stuff!! [img]/forums/images/graemlins/70409-waytogo.gif[/img]
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  6. #16
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    Re: Health Benefits of J'can Foods

    Thanks Blackstar for the info, we grow calloo, pepper and suesummba. I did not know about the peppers, have lots of those too.

  7. #17
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    Re: Health Benefits of J'can Foods



    Susumba (also known as gully bean) has anti-spasmodic, sudorific, stomachic, and demulcent (soothe and protect mucuous membranes) properties.

    The leaves are prepared and used on the skin to relieve a range of complaints. It is good for persons suffering from stomach complaints, lack of appetite and cold-related ailments. It is also a remedy for athlete's foot. Persons suffering from oral thrush can use a mouthwash from the fruit to gain relief from this complaint.
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  8. #18
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    Re: Health Benefits of J'can Foods



    The fruit of the breadfruit tree is a nutritious and starchy staple crop for many areas of the Pacific and Caribbean. Nutritional analysis reveals that the starchy breadfruit is also a relatively good source of iron, calcium, potassium, riboflavin, and niacin. The nutritional composition of breadfruit varies, depending on the method of preparation. For example, the phosphorus content is 3479 mg/100g in fresh breadfruit, 4291 mg/100g when roasted, and 2738 mg/100g when boiled.

    The latex is also used medicinally as a massage ointment to treat broken bones, sprains, and bruises. The latex and mashed leaves are often used to treat fungal infections, indicating that this mixture may have antimicrobial properties. In the West Indies, the leaf is collected when yellow and brewed into a tea to reduce high blood pressure and control diabetes.

    The bark has exhibited cytotoxic activity in bioassays against leukemia. Both the bark and the roots show antimicrobial activity and potential as anti-tumor agents.

    The male inflorescences of Artocarpus have been burned as a mosquito repellent, or toasted and applied topically to relieve toothaches.

  9. #19
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    Re: Health Benefits of J'can Foods



    Gungo peas are very low in saturated fat, cholesterol and sodium. They are also a good source of protein and copper, and a very good source of dietary fiber, folate and manganese. A detailed comparative study of the nutritional aspects of green and matured pigeon pea seeds favours the consumption of pigeon pea as a vegetable than as a matured grain.

  10. #20
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    Re: Health Benefits of J'can Foods



    The health benefits of ginger have been known for over 2000 years.

    In traditional Chinese medicine, ginger is used to calm upset stomachs, soothe nausea and stop diarrhea. Other traditional health practitioners also understood the health benefits of ginger - it has been widely used in Europe to help relieve menstrual cramps, treat the symptoms of the common cold and ease headaches. One of the newest reports of the health benefits of ginger is that it may stop cancer from growing and spreading.

    What Is Responsible for the Health Benefits of Ginger?
    The health benefits of ginger come from chemicals called volatile oils, specifically gingerols and shogaols, that also give ginger its spicy, pungent taste. Those oils stimulate your body to produce more digestive juices and help neutralize the stomach acids that cause cramping, nausea and diarrhea. Ginger is also a natural decongestant and antihistamine, which makes it a natural treatment for head colds.

    Research Supports the Health Benefits of Ginger
    There are several studies that support the traditionally known health benefits of ginger. Those include:<ul type="square">[*]Two studies about the health benefits of ginger in helping pregnant women with morning sickness showed that ginger root preparations were more effective than a placebo.[*]A clinical trial that proved that ginger root helped prevent seasickness better than a placebo.[*]Preliminary results in animal trials show that ginger seems to prevent or slow the rate of tumor growth in cancer.[/list]The nutritional value of ginger includes lipids, proteins, carbohydrates, many minerals and vitamins, plus trace nutrients. In some places it is used as a vegetable because it also contains potassium, phosphorus, vitamin C and riboflavin.

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