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Sunday, September 25, 2011

Rainbow Colored Plate is Full of Health

Posted by Dr Prahallad Panda on 8:06 AM Comments

The American Dietetic Association is encouraging consumption of rainbow of foods, coloured fruits and vegetables.
The beneficial effects range from anti-aging to prevention of different types of cancers.
From the exhaustive list of the active ingredients in coloured fruits those can be beneficial to health, some are enumerated below.
1. Green:
  • Chlorophyll.
2. Orange and deep yellow:
  • Beta-carotene;
  • Lycopene,
  • Potassium,
  • Vitamin C, etc.
3. Purple and blue:
  • Lutein,
  • Zeaxanthin,
  • Resveratrol,
  • Vitamin C,
  • Fiber,
  • Flavonoids,
  • Quercetin etc.
4. Red:
  • Lycopene,
  • Ellagic acid,
  • Quercetin, and
  • Hesperidin etc.
5. White, tan and brown:
  • Beta-glucans,
  • EGCG (Epigallocatechin gallate),
The beneficial effect of green leafy vegetables by providing vitamins and other trace elements has long been known.
Green leafy vegetables traditionally include cabbages, cauliflowers, lettuce, spinach, kale, broccoli, and some herbs like parsley and dill.
These contain a lot of;
  • Fiber,
  •  Polyphenols,
  • Group B vitamins,
  • Vitamin A,
  • Vitamin C  and
  • Trace elements.
Some of the properties of the active ingredients found in the fruits and vegetables can be;
Beta-carotene is a precursor of vitamin A, which has profound effect on the eye health and is an anti-oxidant.
Resveratrol has anti-oxidant and anti-cancer properties.
Lutein, from Latin luteus meaning "yellow" is a xanthophyll and one of 600 known naturally occurring carotenoids. It is employed by organisms as an antioxidant and for blue light absorption. It is helpful for retinal health.
Zeaxanthin is one of the two primary xanthophyll carotenoids contained within the retina of the eye. Within the central macula, zeaxanthin is the dominant component, whereas in the peripheral retina, lutein predominates.
The lignans are one of the major classes of phytoestrogens, which have estrogen-like properties and also act as antioxidants. Lignans can competitively bind to the oestrogen receptors in the breast tissue and interfere with binding of estrogen produced in body, thereby blocking the cancer promoting activity. Lignans such as podophyllotoxin are therefore being studied for their possible effects on breast, prostate and colon cancer. Lignans are also good antioxidants, scavenging free radicals that may play a role in some diseases.
The major component in a lignan called secoisolariciresinol diglucoside (SDG) is the main precursor of enterodiol and enterolactone, active phytoestrogens in humans. SDG is an antioxidant. SDG has been seen to reduce bad cholesterol and increase in HDL resulting chances of atherosclerosis.
EGCG (Epigallocatechin gallate) is a powerful anti-oxidant.
β-Glucans (beta-glucans) are polysaccharides. β-glucans can have effect in maintenance of normal blood cholesterol concentration.
Hesperidin is a flavanone glycoside (flavonoid). It contributes to the maintenance of integrity of the blood vessels. Hesperidin reduces cholesterol, blood pressure, prevents bone density loss, protective against sepsis and has anti-inflammatory effects. It is a potential sedative.
Quercetin is the aglycone form of a number of other flavonoid glycosides. It has Antiviral (inhibition against HIV-1 reverse transcriptase), Anti-Cancer (pancreas, colorectal cancer, prostate and skin) and Anti-inflammatory (Reducing prostaglandin D2 production). It eases Metabolic Syndrome by increasing energy expenditure through increased mitochondrial production; reduces blood pressure and obesity by reducing LDL cholesterol levels.
Quercetin and resveratrol combinedly inhibit production of fat cells.
Ellagic acid has antiproliferative and antioxidant properties. The anti-proliferative properties of ellagic acid can be due to its ability to directly inhibit the DNA binding of certain carcinogens; including nitrosamines and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons.  As with other polyphenol antioxidants, ellagic acid has a chemoprotective effect in cellular models by reducing oxidative stress.
Lycopene has been considered a potential agent for prevention of some types of cancers, particularly prostate cancer; and also has antioxidant properties.
Chlorophyll imparts green colour, which may act as an anti-oxidant.
It is paradoxical that consumption of some vegetables and fruits may create problems.
  • Ingredients present in cabbage may cause hypothyroid goitre.
  • Absorption of iron, calcium and certain other minerals may decrease, if taken along with green leafy vegetables.
  • Fibres after fermentation in the intestine may cause flatulence and discomfort in the abdomen.
  • Grape juice may be contraindicated in patients on blood thinners.
  • Banana may be a bad diet for patients with end stage kidney disease due to its phosphorous content.
Balanced consumption of green leafy vegetable and fruits may help people in many ways.
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