Brussel Sprouts

Brussel sprouts are part of the cruciferous family.  This little green vegetable is packed with nutrients.  It’s high in vitamin K which is good for bone health.  There’s also a good amount of vitamin C.  Brussels are high in fiber that aids digestion.  The omega 3 fatty acids can help the body with inflammation.  This winter vegetable is a good antioxidant that can lower cholesterol.  Don’t let the size fool you, brussel sprouts have great anti cancer properties.

Belgium is not the only place where brussel sprouts are popular.  They’re grown during the winter in Europe and North America.  So, get out the steamer, add a little olive oil and enjoy this delicious vegetable.

brussels-sprouts

 

Artichokes

Artichokes are in the thistle family.  They have been grown for centuries in various regions.  Optimal growing time for the Northern Hemisphere is March, April and May.

Artichokes are very beneficial to your health.  They promote digestion through increasing the bile flow which aids in digestion of fats.  And also aid digestive issues like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).  They’re a powerful antioxidant that can help with cancer prevention.  Eating artichokes can lower LDL cholesterol and increase HDL cholesterol.

Artichokes can be boiled or steamed.  Cut the sharp tips and stem before you cook.  When the leaves in the center pull away easily, it’s done.  You can enjoy either warm or cold.

artichokes1

artichokes

Pomegranates

Pomegranate, the other red fruit, is usually in season from September to January.  This nutrient dense food is high in vitamin C, potassium, B vitamins, fiber, folic acid, and iron.  They’re a great antioxidant that can help the body against free radicals and oxidation.  In fact, pomegranates are more powerful as an antioxidant than green tea, cranberries, or blueberries.  Some of the other benefits include: lowering blood pressure, preventing plaque build up in the blood vessels, lowering cholesterol, and inhibiting cancer growth.  This vibrant red fruit is great for the heart and blood vessels.

In Indian tradition the root chakra or muldhara is equated with the red color.  It’s said that if you consume red foods such as the powerful pomegranate it can strengthen this base chakra which grounds the body, provides security and confidence.  If you’re feeling ungrounded, break open a pomegranate and enjoy the sweet juicy seeds found inside.

pomegranate-73910_1280

Pumpkins

It’s autumn, that means pumpkins galore.  They’re not just for carving, pumpkins have a lot of great health benefits, and I’m not talking about the pie.  Pumpkins are contain fiber, potassium, vitamin C, and beta carotene which is a source of vitamin A and an antioxidant.  The pumpkin seeds contain amino acids used to make hormones in the body and can also help with cholesterol.  So when you go to the store to get the jack o’lantern buy an extra pumpkin to consume.

pumpkins

Lecithin

Lecithin, also known as phosphatidylcholine, is a fatty acid found throughout the body in our cells.

Function

  • regulates cholesterol
  • prevents plaque build up and hardening of arteries
  • protects liver, kidneys, and heart
  • helps with chemical pollutants
  • antioxidant
  • strengthens nervous system

Lecithin is found in fish, wheat, oatmeal, egg yolks, rice, bee pollen, and chocolate.

B3 or Niacin

B3 is also known as niacin and has two forms, niacin and nicotinamide or niacinomide.  They are both found in food, but niacin is good for fat metabolism where as nicotinamide is good for anxiety and fatigue.  Taking nicotinamide can cause flushing or red irritated skin.

Some functions of niacin are: breaks down amino acids, metabolizes of fats and carbohydrates, reduces cholesterol, helps nervous system and hormones.

Foods rich in niacin include: fish, meats, poultry, wheat germ, whole grains, prunes, dates, figs, and avocados.

Cholesterol

Cholesterol is used to make hormones and the bile that helps digest fats.  Cholesterol is usually referred to as LDL or low density lipoprotein and HDL or high density lipoprotein.  Most cholesterol is stored in the liver.  LDL transports the cholesterol from the liver to the body and HDL carries it back to the liver.