Friday, February 28, 2014

Cabbage, What is it Good For?

The Latest About Cabbage

by Dr. Mercola  

August 03, 2013
Cabbage doesn’t receive all the fan-fare that other members of the cruciferous vegetable family do, but it should. What is cabbage good for?
A better question might be, what isn’t it good for? As one of the most potent medicinal foods available, including cabbage as a regular part of your diet (two or three times a week, or, even better, four or five) may offer many significant health benefits.

Cabbage Has Cancer-Preventing Properties

The George Mateljan Foundation recently highlighted some of the latest news about cabbage and topping the list was its potential for cancer prevention.1 Nearly 500 studies have looked into this connection and revealed that cabbage’s anti-cancer powers are likely related to:
  1. Antioxidants
  2. Cabbage contains powerful antioxidants like vitamins A and C and phytonutrients such as thiocyanates, lutein, zeaxanthin, isothiocyanates and sulforaphane, which stimulate detoxifying enzymes and may protect against breast, colon and prostate cancers.
    Sulforaphane, also selectively targets cancer stem cells, and by doing so it effectively prevents the cancer from spreading and/or recurring. Antioxidants also help protect your body from oxidative stress.
    The George Mateljan Foundation noted:2
    Without sufficient intake of antioxidants, our oxygen metabolism can become compromised, and we can experience a metabolic problem called oxidative stress. Chronic oxidative stress in and of itself can be a risk factor for development of cancer.”
  3. Anti-inflammatory Properties
  4. You need some level of inflammation in your body to stay healthy, however it's also possible, and increasingly common, for the inflammatory response to get out of hand.
    If your immune system mistakenly triggers an inflammatory response when no threat is present, it can lead to significant inflammation-related damage to the body, a condition linked to cancer and other diseases, depending on which organs the inflammation is impacting.
    Cabbage contains a wealth of anti-inflammatory nutrients to help keep inflammation in check. Among them are anthocyanins, a type of polyphenol that’s particularly plentiful in red cabbage, although all types of cabbage contain anti-inflammatory polyphenols.
  5. Glucosinolates
  6. Glucosinolates are phytochemicals that break down into indoles, sulforaphane and other cancer-preventive substances. Indole-3-carbinol, for example, halts the cell cycle in breast cancer cells without actually killing the cells.3 The cell cycle is a rigidly controlled series of steps a cell must go through before it can divide in two, involving the duplication of the cell's contents and a final split.
    If you can alter specific components of the cell cycle, you can stop the growth of cancer cells without killing normal cells. Indole-3-carbinol interferes with the cell cycle in a way that turns off a gene for an enzyme important in the cell's growth cycle.
    Interestingly, different types of cabbage (red, green and Savoy) contain different patterns of glucosinolates, which suggests you should try to eat a variety of cabbage for the best health effects. The George Mateljan Foundation expanded:4
    “ … glucosinolates are cabbage's trump card with regard to "anti-cancer" benefits. The glucosinolates found in cabbage can be converted into isothiocyanate compounds that are cancer preventive for a variety of different cancers, including bladder cancer, breast cancer, colon cancer, and prostate cancer.”

Cabbage Is Rich in Vitamin K1 and B Vitamins

One serving of cabbage can provide you with 85 percent of your body’s daily requirement of vitamin K1, which deserves a special mention because many people are deficient in this vitamin. Vitamin K1 is a fat-soluble vitamin most well known for the important role it plays in blood clotting and bone metabolism, but it’s also a known Alzheimer’s disease preventive by helping to limit neuron damage in your brain.
Cabbage also contains healthy amounts of B vitamins, including folate (which is better than the synthetic form known as folic acid found in many supplements), vitamin B6, vitamin B1, and vitamin B5. B vitamins are not only important for energy, they may also slow brain shrinkage by as much as seven-fold in brain regions specifically known to be most impacted by Alzheimer’s disease.

Digestive Benefits and Ulcer-Healing Properties

Cabbage juice is one of the most healing nutrients for ulcer repair as it is a huge source of vitamin U (which is actually not a vitamin but an enzyme known as S methylmethionine). Research shows that vitamin U, administered as raw cabbage juice, is effective in promoting the rapid healing of peptic ulcers.5
Cabbage juice is also one of the strongest stimulants for your body to produce acid. This is a good thing, as many people have low stomach acid, which is the cause of their digestive problems, and will significantly increase the risk of infection. Having a few teaspoons of cabbage juice before eating, or better yet, fermented cabbage juice from sauerkraut, will do wonders to improve your digestion. Other compounds in cabbage that also have the potential to benefit your stomach and intestinal linings include glucosinolates, anti-inflammatory isothiocyanates, antioxidant polyphenols, and the amino acid-like substance called glutamine.

The Way You Prepare Your Cabbage Matters

Cabbage is best prepared as close to raw as possible, sometimes called tender-crisp, to preserve its many nutrients. Short-cooked and raw cabbage, for instance, were the only kind that had measurable cancer-preventive benefits in one study (long-cooked cabbage did not have measurable benefits!).6 Microwaving is another no-no for cabbage, as just two minutes in the microwave destroys many of the enzymes needed to convert the glucosinolates into cancer-preventive compounds.7
Steaming or sautéing your cabbage quickly, or eating it raw in coleslaw and salads is a better option. Cabbage can also be juiced, as mentioned, and fermented, which will provide your body with healthful amounts of beneficial bacteria and, if certain starter cultures are used, vitamin K2.
Cabbage can also be used as one of the primary vegetables for fermented vegetables. It should comprise at least 80 percent of your vegetable blend when making fermented veggies, so this is an incredibly efficient way to get more cabbage into your diet. Here’s a quick guide for how to make your own fermented cabbage (you can find more in-depth instructions here).
  1. Shred and cut your chosen veggies.
  2. Juice some celery. This is used as the brine, as it contains natural sodium and not only eliminates the need for sea salt but also keeps the vegetables free of the growth of pathogenic bacteria.
  3. Pack the veggies and celery juice along with the inoculants (starter culture, such as kefir grains, whey, or commercial starter powder, all of which can be used for vegetables) into a 32-ounce wide-mouthed canning jar. A kraut pounder tool can be helpful to pack the jar and eliminate any air pockets. We hope to have our new starter culture which is optimized with strains of bacteria that will make high doses of vitamin K2 sometime in early 2013 assuming our testing goes well.
  4. Top with a cabbage leaf, tucking it down the sides. Make sure the veggies are completely covered with celery juice and that the juice is all the way to the top of the jar to eliminate trapped air.
  5. Seal the jar store in a warm, slightly moist place for 24 to 96 hours, depending on the food being cultured. Ideal temperature range is 68-75 degrees Fahrenheit; 85 degrees max. Remember, heat kills both the good and the not so good microbes!
  6. When done, store in the refrigerator to slow down the fermentation process.

For a great smoothie recipe using red cabbage see my post HERE. My next goal is to start making my own fermented cabbage and fermented veggies!!

+JMJ+Today I am grateful for my productive wheat grass. The cold spell we had a while back really halted its growth and now it is abundant again. :)

Saturday, February 22, 2014

How to Select the Perfect Avocado

My go to avocado is the HASS variety. I prefer them over our Florida avocados because I feel they have more flavor and make creamier recipes. Maybe its just me but that is what I prefer. So how does one select avocados? I like to keep them in the house at different phases of ripeness so I can prolong their use and not have all of them become ripe at the same time. So I buy all shades from the unripe, just picked, light green color to the almost ripe color and firmness, and then I also grab some that are ripe. You get the idea. So here is a wonderful, short video demonstrating just how to select the perfect avocado for your recipes. Speaking of recipes, below the video I'll post a recipe showcasing this delicious fruit. It is actually a sweet recipe not a savory as you would expect. I use avocado in ways I never thought were possible, when making my raw food recipes. It truly is an incredible and versatile fruit. And just in case you are one of those people who gets super hungry between meals and want a healthier option for snack time, take a look at the article I posted below my recipe!!  And at the very end of the post I attached a short documentary that  reveals the integral role of bees and butterflies in the production of avocados, as well as the importance of other complex ecosystems in the fruiting processPeace.

Chocolate Vegan Mylk Shake (makes 32+ ounces)

by Elizabeth

5 ripe organic bananas

1 HASS avocado, organic if possible

1-2 C ice

5 T cacao powder, or use more or less to your taste

5 pitted Medjool dates

2 tsp vanilla powder 

1 C purified water

vegan chocolate chips, optional

In a blender, blend all of the ingredients except the chocolate chips, until smooth and creamy. Garnish with some chocolate chips and some cacao powder. Enjoy! 

Trust me, children loves this. Adults do too!!  No dairy needed! Beautiful.

Don't be afraid of the fat in is good for you and your waistline as long as the rest of your diet is clean and healthy!! A Beautiful thing.

How Avocado Can Help with Weight Management

***Keep in mind Dr. Mercola is NOT a vegan so I disagree with him on some food issues***
February 22, 2014

By Dr. Mercola
Eliminating grain carbs is one of the best and easiest ways to normalize your weight and support your health, but when you cut down on non-vegetable carbs, you need to increase your intake of healthy fats.
Avocados are an excellent source. They're especially rich in heart-healthy monounsaturated fat that is easily burned for energy, which you need more of once you start to remove those carbs.
Improved weight management is in fact one of the health benefits of avocado consumption, according to recent research, and its high-fat, low-sugar content is part and parcel of this effect.
On most days, I will add a whole avocado to my salad, which I eat for lunch. This increases my healthy fat and calorie intake without seriously increasing my protein or carbohydrate intake. Since avocados are also high in potassium, they will also help balance your vitally important potassium to sodium ratio.

Avocado for Lunch May Help You Manage Your Weight

According to research published in the Nutrition Journal,1 eating just one-half of a fresh avocado with lunch may satiate you if you're overweight, which will help prevent unnecessary snacking later.2
The study also found that avocados appear helpful for regulating blood sugar levels, which is important for most people, considering that one in four American are either diabetic or pre-diabetic. As reported by the featured article in Medical News Today:3
"For their study, the researchers wanted to see how avocado consumption impacted a person's satiety, blood sugar and insulin response, and food consumption following a meal.
The investigators recruited 26 healthy, overweight adults. Over five sessions, participants were required to eat their normal breakfast followed by one of three lunch test meals. These were:
  • A standard lunch with no avocado
  • A lunch containing avocado (the avocado replaced other foods), or
  • A standard lunch with half of a fresh avocado added"
Over the next five hours, the participants were asked to rate their appetite using a visual analog scale. Blood glucose and insulin were also measured before lunch and at specific intervals over three hours following their meal.
Those in the latter group, who ate half an avocado with their standard lunch, reported being 40 percent less hungry three hours after their meal, and 28 percent less hungry at the five-hour mark, compared to those who did not eat avocado for lunch. They also reported feeling 26 percent more satiated after their meal compared to those who didn't eat avocado.

Why Majority of People Could Benefit from Eating Avocado

This is not very surprising when you consider that frequent hunger is oftentimes a major clue that you're not eating correctly. As a general rule, most people likely need upwards of 50-85 percent healthy fat in their diet, along with high amounts of vegetable carbs, moderate-to-low amounts of high-quality protein, and very little, if any, non-vegetable or grain carbs.
Fat is far more satiating than carbs, so if you have cut down on carbs and feel ravenous, thinking you "can't do without the carbs," remember this is a sign that you haven't replaced them with sufficient amounts of fat. You do want to make sure you're adding the correct types of fat though. Sources of healthy fats include:
Olives and olive oilCoconuts and coconut oil, as well as other unheated organic nut oils Butter made from raw grass-fed organic milk
Raw nuts, particularly macadamia nuts Organic pastured egg yolks Grass-fed and finished meats

The featured study also found that even though the addition of half an avocado increased the participants' calorie intake, it did not cause an increase in blood sugar levels, beyond what was observed in those eating the standard lunch. This is one of the major benefits of replacing non-vegetable carbs with healthy fats of all kinds, as fats in general do not negatively affect your blood sugar and insulin levels.

The Importance of Maintaining Optimal Sodium-Potassium Ratio

As mentioned earlier, avocados are also high in potassium, and may in fact be ideal for helping you balance your potassium to sodium ratio, which is critical for optimal health and disease prevention. Imbalance in this ratio can not only lead to hypertension (high blood pressure) but also contribute to a number of other diseases, including:
Heart disease and strokeMemory decline Osteoporosis Ulcers and stomach cancer
Kidney stones Cataracts Erectile dysfunction Rheumatoid arthritis

Heart disease, which is the second leading killer of Americans, is perhaps of particular concern. According to a 2011 federal study into sodium and potassium intake, those at greatest risk of cardiovascular disease were those who got a combination of too much sodium along with too little potassium.
The research, published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, was one of the first and largest US studies to evaluate the relationship of salt, potassium and heart disease deaths.
According to Dr. Elena Kuklina, one of the lead authors of the study at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), potassium may actually neutralize the heart-damaging effects of salt. Tellingly, those who ate a lot of salt and very little potassium were more than twice as likely to die from a heart attack as those who ate about equal amounts of both nutrients.
According to a 1985 article in The New England Journal of Medicine, titled "Paleolithic Nutrition," our ancient ancestors got about 11,000 mg of potassium a day, and about 700 mg of sodium. This equates to nearly 16 times more potassium than sodium. Compare that to the Standard American Diet where daily potassium consumption averages about 2,500 mg (the RDA is 4,700 mg/day), along with 3,600 mg of sodium.
The easiest way to achieve this imbalance is by consuming a diet of processed foods, which are notoriously low in potassium, while being high in both sodium and fructose—another dietary factor that is clearly associated with chronic disease, including heart disease. Bananas are typically recommended for their high potassium content. But with twice the potassium of a banana, and a minimal amount of fructose, avocados are an obviously better choice. When you add in the heart-healthy fats found in avocado, it stands out as a near-perfect food all around.

Avocado May Also Help Preserve Your Heart Health

Previous research also suggests avocado may be among the healthiest foods you can eat to protect your heart and cardiovascular health. One such study, published in November, 2012,4 found that eating one-half of a fresh medium Hass avocado with a hamburger (made with 90 percent lean beef) significantly inhibited the production of the inflammatory compound Interleukin-6 (IL-6), compared to eating a burger without fresh avocado.
Also, just like avocado does not raise your blood sugar levels, fresh avocado did not increase triglyceride levels beyond what was observed when eating the burger alone, despite the avocado supplying extra fat and calories. According to lead author David Heber, MD, PhD, the findings offer "promising clues" about avocado's ability to benefit vascular function and heart health.
Researchers have also concluded that avocado can help improve lipid profiles in both healthy individuals and those with mild hypercholesterolemia (elevated cholesterol levels). In one such study,5 healthy individuals saw a 16 percent decrease of serum total cholesterol level following a one-week long diet high in monounsaturated fat from avocados. In those with elevated cholesterol levels, the avocado diet resulted in a 17 percent decrease of serum total cholesterol, and a 22 percent decrease of both LDL-cholesterol and triglycerides, along with an 11 percent increase of the so-called "good" HDL cholesterol.

Avocado—A Powerhouse of Good Nutrition

According to the California Avocado Commission, a medium Hass avocado contains about:
  • 22.5 grams of fat, two-thirds of which is monounsaturated
  • 3 grams of total carbohydrate
  • Less than one gram of fructose per one ounce serving
The fact that avocados are so low in fructose is another great boon of this fruit. They also provide close to 20 essential health-boosting nutrients, including:
  • Fiber (approximately eight percent of your daily recommended fiber intake)
  • Potassium (more than twice the amount found in a banana)
  • Vitamin E
  • B-vitamins
  • Folic acid
Due to its beneficial raw fat content, avocado also enables your body to more efficiently absorb fat-soluble nutrients (such as alpha- and beta-carotene, and lutein) from any other food eaten in conjunction with it. One 2005 study,6 found that adding avocado to salad allowed the volunteers to absorb three to five times more carotenoids antioxidant molecules, which help protect your body against free radical damage!

New Avocado Research

Dave Kekich is one of my good friends and he recently told me about an exciting phytonutrient called mannaheptulose, found in UNRIPENED avocados.  It seems to have many benefits that are ascribed to calorie restriction, but also seems to be really useful for increasing  strength and endurance. What I really like about it is that it’s not a supplement. What I have recently started doing is cutting up an unripe avocado into about 20 parts and freezing them. Then once a day I take out a piece and chew it.

Good News: Even Conventionally-Grown Avocados Are Free of Harmful Chemicals

Avocados are also one of the safest fruits in terms of chemical contamination,7 which means there's virtually no need to spend extra money on organic varieties. I even sent out more than six dozen samples of organic and conventionally-grown avocados for independent toxicology testing,8 and the results showed no detectable presence of herbicides or phenoxy herbicides in or on either variety .
The avocados I sent in were from a variety of growers in different countries, sold in several major grocery stores, including Whole Foods, and they all tested free and clear of harmful chemicals.  Moreover, should they have been exposed to some form pesticide, the thick skin will protect the inner fruit of the avocado from the chemicals. Either way, the extremely low risk of toxic contamination makes avocados a clear winner, and I strongly recommend making them a key part of your diet.

The Best Way to Peel an Avocado

Speaking of the skin, how you de-skin your avocado can affect how much of its valuable phytonutrients you get out of it. UCLA research has shown that the greatest concentration of beneficial carotenoids, for example, is located in the dark green fruit closest to the inside of the peel. In 2010, the California Avocado Commission issued guidelines for getting the most out of your avocado by peeling it the right way,9 To preserve the area with the greatest concentration of antioxidants, you're best off peeling the avocado with your hands, as you would a banana:
  • First, cut the avocado length-wise, around the seed
  • Holding each half, twist them in the opposite directions to separate them from the seed
  • Remove the seed
  • Cut each half, lengthwise
  • Next, using your thumb and index finger, simply peel the skin off each piece

Avocado Is a Great Staple Food

I typically have an avocado every day and harvest many of them from my avocado tree. The easiest way to eat an avocado is raw, either added to your salad, which is what I typically do, or you can eat them alone. A dash of Himalayan salt and some ground pepper will spice up the flavor, if you like. But there are many other ways to include avocado in your diet as well. For example, you can:
  • Use avocado as a fat replacement in baking. Simply replace the fat called for (such as oil, butter or shortening) with an equal amount of avocado
  • Use it as a first food for babies, in lieu of processed baby food
  • Add it to soups
For hundreds of unique recipes that include avocado—from salads to dessert whip and everything in between—check out the California Avocado Commission's Website.10 If optimal health and weight is your goal, there's no getting around your diet. And contrary to popular belief, it's the sugar and fructose in your diet that is packing on unwanted pounds—not the fat! So, if you want to lose weight, you really need to pay careful attention to avoid sugars, and that includes all grains, even organic ones, as all grains quickly break down into sugar in your body.
Replace them instead with healthful fats such as avocado, and you'll be off to a good start. Avocados also provide close to 20 essential health-boosting nutrients, and enable your body to more efficiently absorb fat-soluble nutrients in other foods eaten in conjunction with it, so it's an excellent choice as a fat replacement or addition to virtually any dish. All in all, avocado may be one of the most beneficial superfoods out there, and may be particularly valuable if you're struggling with insulin and leptin resistance, diabetes, or any other risk factors for heart disease.

How Avocados are Made

This short documentary reveals the integral role of bees and butterflies in the production of avocados, as well as the importance of other complex ecosystems in the fruiting process.

+JMJ+Today I am grateful for the bees and the butterflies!!

Friday, February 21, 2014

Lowering Your Cancer Risk with Foods

Antioxidants. That word has been a buzz word for years when it comes to health. So how should we get our antioxidants? From a pill or from our food? Well, the good Dr. Greger shows you some scientific studies that once again proves we just can't bottle what we find in nature. Pure and simple message: Eat or drink your greens and fruits everyday. It doesn't matter how you do it, just do it. And I am talking about consuming them at every meal, and in abundance!!! Lowering one's cancer risk can be done by consuming antioxidant rich foods not supplements. Watch the video to hear more. Peace.

One of my favorite ways to get a good "shot" of antioxidants every morning is my beloved wheatgrass.

Prefer something fruity?? How about the Mango Banana Pudding recipe I posted yesterday??

Or my Purple Monster Bowl??

Or a simple green juice made from parsley, lemon and cucumber. You can add 1 green apple if you are new to green juices and want to add just a touch of sweetness.

You get the point--eat/drink your fruits and veggies!!

Today I am grateful for getting the boy's hair cut. Look at the cuteness!!!!!

The final picture is a keeper!!
P.S. We do have two more children, they are teenagers that do not let me photograph them anymore, sad but true.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Mango Banana Pudding

Who would ever think you could put kale in a pudding recipe?? That is one of the many things I adore about raw foods--the unexpected. I have learned to create recipes with ingredients I never imagined could "go together". I have explored new tastes, textures and aromas that have opened my senses to a whole new world. Everyday I learn something new and exciting. I am so grateful and I feel so blessed by this lifestyle. Today I was experimenting with the children's leftover smoothie and decided to make a thick, creamy pudding. The two ingredients that are crucial to its texture are avocado and chia seeds. The green component, merely for its powerful nutrients, is KALE. Don't let the green color scare you. Children think it is really cool especially if you call it 'green slime'. I ate kale for the first time in my life, over 4 years ago when I discovered raw, living foods. Here is my recipe:

Mango Banana Pudding

by Elizabeth

2 C frozen mango, allow to thaw

4 ripe bananas

1/2 of a Haas avocado

vanilla to taste

1 Tablespoon of Chia seeds

1 cup of raw kale

Blend all of the ingredients in a blender until creamy and smooth. Allow to "set up" for 30 minutes and then ENJOY! 

+JMJ+ Today I am grateful for my beloved kale.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Copy Kids

Copy-Kids DVD Trailer from Copy-Kids on Vimeo.

I think this would be the ultimate gift to give every new parent!! I wish this had been out when I started having my children 18 years ago!! But I still have had the opportunity to be a positive influence on all 5 of our children and I think they are doing great! Peace.
+JMJ+ Today I am grateful for children who are willing to try just about anything, at least once. 

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Fancy Berry Blend Smoothie and Soup

As many of you know, each and every morning I make our children a green smoothie of some sort. And then I use what is left in the blender as the base for my morning green soup. We alternate our greens and fruits to make different combinations--keeping it new and exciting is key! Lately this particular one is their "favorite".  I have also included the recipe for my soup that I made, using the leftover smoothie as my base. Enjoy!

Children's Favorite Smoothie (makes ~ 36 OZ)

by Elizabeth

1 bag of TJ's Fancy Berry Blend (16 oz), frozen

5-6 bananas

2 Tbsp. chia seeds

2 Tbsp hemp seeds

1/2 of a Haas avocado

3 cups of Trader Joe's Organic Baby Romaine (mixture of red and green romaine)


Blend all of the ingredients until thick and creamy. 

Pear Topped Fancy Berry Blend Soup

1 bag of TJ's Fancy Berry Blend (16 oz)

5-6 bananas

2 Tbsp. chia seeds

2 Tbsp hemp seeds

1/2 of a Haas avocado

3 cups of Trader Joe's Organic Baby Romaine (mixture of red and green romaine)

****below are my extra additions to make the soup***

1/2 C broccoli sprouts

2 cups of raw purple cabbage

2 more bananas

3 organic pears, diced, for garnish

+JMJ+ Today I am grateful for all of the beautifully talented people on IG who are sharing their recipes and fitness tips. The more we all share this lifestyle and other healthful ones, the more people will see how attainable dreams and true health are!!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Reversing Cancer with a Plant Based Diet

Now here is a great story. A Texas major went vegan and now spreads the word to others. I have the same t-shirt as they do but mine is blue and white :) Just thought I'd share that. Anywho.....I wanted to share this article; I see it as a step in the right direction. Those in leadership using their position in a positive way, sharing the truth about health, diet, and the amazing benefits of veganism. Look at this,"The popularity of plant-based eating has also influenced at least six local restaurants to add vegan dishes to their menus." Now that is another step in the right direction. This is Texas guys!!!! You know how much they idolize their animal protein.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Cancer Fighting Foods

Today's cancer fighting food that I am focusing on is watercress. Not only is watercress beneficial for cancer prevention it also contributes to eye and heart health. And for those who would love to eat cruciferous veggies for their cancer  protection, but just cannot tolerate them "digestively" speaking, watercress may be a better option. Watercress can be quite strong and a taste that may take some getting use to for some. I personally really like the flavor but when getting the younger children to eat it I had to be a bit creative. My go to way to get massive amounts of greens into my youngest children is our morning green smoothie!! So of course I was going to add this amazing green to a new smoothie recipe. Raw watercress is best as cooking it inactivates the important enzyme myrosinase. But before I get to the recipe take a look at this article from Life Extension Magazine--just look at the amount of Vitamin K it contains!!!:

LE Magazine November 2007

Benefits for Cancer Protection, Vision, and Heart Health

By Erika Alexia Tsoukanelis
A startling 30-40% of cancers are directly linked to improper diet and related factors, according to a report published this year by the World Cancer Research Fund UK.1 Accordingly, there is no better time than now to diligently incorporate nature’s most powerful cancer-fighting foods into your daily diet.
The cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, and cabbage have long been held in regard for their anticancer effects. Their little-known cousin, watercress, also shows extraordinary potential in the realm of cancer prevention and management, as well as offering the culinary versatility of a delicious leafy green. The anticancer benefits of watercress may arise from its ability to increase the level of antioxidants in the blood and to protect DNA against damage.2 In fact, growing evidence suggests that watercress may lower the risk of prostate, colon, and breast cancers, and may counteract certain processes by which cancers proliferate and spread.3-7
Watercress is an excellent source of the antioxidants vitamins A and C, as well as vitamin K, an essential micronutrient for bone health. It is also a rich natural source of lutein and zeaxanthin, two carotenoid nutrients that are gaining attention for their ability to protect vision and support cardiovascular health.8
Given this wealth of health benefits, it is not surprising that Hippocrates, the father of modern medicine, built his first hospital in close proximity to a stream where watercress grew so that his patients would have ready access to this life-sustaining green.9

Cancer Protection

Cruciferous vegetables, such as watercress and broccoli, are well known for containing glucosinolates, phytochemicals that are hydrolyzed to produce isothiocyanates, which have been studied for their anticancer effects. Dietary intake of these compounds has been shown to counter breast, lung, colorectal, head and neck, and prostate cancers.3-7 Watercress is also an exceptionally rich dietary source of nasturtiin, the precursor of phenethyl isothiocyanate (PEITC).10 This compound inhibits the liver’s phase I enzymes, which are responsible for activating many carcinogens in animals, and induces the liver’s phase II enzymes, which are associated with enhanced excretion of carcinogens.
When human prostate cancer cells were exposed to PEITC, both proliferation (multiplication of cells) and tumorigenesis (production of tumors) were inhibited. This compound also triggered apoptosis, or the death of cancerous cells.11
Similarly, crude watercress extract was “significantly protective” against three stages of the carcinogenic process in human colon cancer cells. The stages investigated were initiation, proliferation, and metastasis (spread of cancer).12 Isothiocyanate compounds from watercress and broccoli were found to hinder the activity of matrix metalloproteinase-9, an enzyme that plays a role in progression of certain cancers by breaking down natural barriers in the body that impede the expansion of existing tumors. These watercress and broccoli-derived compounds were also shown to suppress a highly invasive breast cancer cell line.13
Furthermore, in laboratory models of cellular activity, watercress isothiocyanates restrained certain pro-inflammatory compounds that are associated with chronic inflammation and cancer.14
In addition, researchers at the University of Ulster recently published some of the most comprehensive and convincing work to date on the positive effects of raw watercress ingestion on certain biomarkers related to cancer risk. Sixty men and women, half of whom were smokers, participated in the study, which involved eating three ounces of raw watercress per day, in addition to the normal diet, for eight weeks. DNA damage to lymphocytes and plasma lutein, retinol, alpha-tocopherol, and beta-carotene were measured. Overall, there was a 17% reduction in basal DNA damage. Antioxidant blood levels increased, beta-carotene levels rose 33%, and lutein levels skyrocketed by 100%.2 Furthermore, smokers experienced greater DNA-protective effects from watercress than non-smokers.

Watercress Carotenoids Benefit the Cancer

Watercress is an abundant source of lutein and zeaxanthin, two carotenoids that may be particularly beneficial for the eyes and the heart.
High dietary intake of lutein and zeaxanthin is linked to a lower risk of advanced age-related macular (eye) degeneration, the most common cause of adult blindness.15,16 One cup of raw watercress contains over 1,900 mcg of lutein and zeaxanthin,8 suggesting that watercress consumption might help prevent the occurrence of vision-robbing macular degeneration.
Growing evidence suggests that lutein and zeaxanthin may also offer important protection for the cardiovascular system. Individuals with higher blood levels of lutein and zeaxanthin were found to have less atherosclerosis of the arteries of the neck than those with lower blood levels. Furthermore, people with higher blood levels of lutein were less likely to succumb to a heart attack than those with lower levels.16

Enjoying Watercress

Preparing watercress is simple. After trimming the stems, rinse the greens in cold water and dry on a paper towel or in a salad spinner. Use immediately, or store in a closed container in the refrigerator for up to four days. Watercress can take the place of lettuce in any salad, sandwich, or other recipe, and can be used as a nutritious garnish. Watercress can also be enjoyed lightly steamed, stir-fried, or in a soup.
Uncooked watercress may have greater cancer-fighting power than cooked watercress, as cooking inactivates the myrosinase enzyme that is responsible for hydrolyzing glucosinolates to beneficial isothiocyanates.17


While consuming plenty of fruits and vegetables is always a good health habit, new evidence reveals that the green leafy vegetable watercress may be particularly beneficial. This lesser-known member of the broccoli family provides a rich source of isothiocyanates, remarkable compounds that scientists now believe may help fight a wide range of cancers. New evidence shows that watercress consumption protects delicate DNA against damage that could trigger cancer, while increasing levels of protective antioxidants in the blood. Watercress provides a plentiful amount of lutein and zeaxanthin, carotenoids that are essential for macular (eye) and cardiovascular health, as well as essential vitamins A, C, and K. Try adding some of this versatile vegetable to your salads and meals today.
If you have any questions about the scientific content of this article, please call a Life Extension Health Advisor at 1-800-226-2370.
Nutritional Content of Watercress
In addition to its beneficial content of cancer-fighting compounds, watercress is an excellent source of vitamins A, C, and K, lutein, and zeaxanthin.
One cup of raw watercress (34 grams) contains:8
Calories 4
Total Carbohydrates 0 g
Dietary Fiber 0 g
Sugars 0 g
Protein 1 g
Total Fat 0 g
NutrientsPercent of
Daily Value
Vitamin A1598 IU32%
Beta-carotene959 mcgN/A
Lutein and zeaxanthin1961 mcgN/A
Vitamin C14.6 mg24%
Vitamin E0.3 mg2%
Vitamin K85 mcg106%
Folate3.1 mcg1%
Calcium40.8 mg4%
Magnesium7.1 mg2%
Phosphorus20.4 mg2%
Potassium112 mg3%
Sodium13.9 mg1%
Manganese0.1 mg4%
1. Available at: Accessed August 2, 2007.
2. Gill CI, Haldar S, Boyd LA, et al. Watercress supplementation in diet reduces lymphocyte DNA damage and alters blood antioxidant status in healthy adults. Am J Clin Nutr. 2007 Feb;85(2):504-10.
3. Pledgie-Tracy A, Sobolewski MD, Davidson NE. Sulforaphane induces cell type-specific apoptosis in human breast cancer cell lines. Mol Cancer Ther. 2007 Mar;6(3):1013-21.
4. Higdon JV, Delage B, Williams DE, Dashwood RH. Cruciferous vegetables and human cancer risk: epidemiologic evidence and mechanistic basis. Pharmacol Res. 2007 Mar;55(3):224-36.
5. Fowke JH. Head and neck cancer: a case for inhibition by isothiocyanates and indoles from cruciferous vegetables. Eur J Cancer Prev. 2007 Aug;16(4):348-56.
6. Hu J, Straub J, Xiao D, et al. Phenethyl isothiocyanate, a cancer chemopreventive constituent of cruciferous vegetables, inhibits cap-dependent translation by regulating the level and phosphorylation of 4E-BP1. Cancer Res. 2007 Apr 15;67(8):3569-73.
7. Juge N, Mithen RF, Traka M. Molecular basis for chemoprevention by sulforaphane: a comprehensive review. Cell Mol Life Sci. 2007 May;64(9):1105-27.
8. Available at Accessed July 13, 2007.
9. Available at http:/ Accessed July 5, 2007.
10. Palaniswamy UR, McAvoy RJ, Bible BB, Stuart JD. Ontogenic variations of ascorbic acid and phenethyl isothiocyanate concentrations in watercress (Nasturtium officinale R.Br.) leaves. J Agric Food Chem. 2003 Aug 27;51(18):5504-9.
11. Chiao JW, Wu H, Ramaswamy G, et al. Ingestion of an isothiocyanate metabolite from cruciferous vegetables inhibits growth of human prostate cancer cell xenografts by apoptosis and cell cycle arrest. Carcinogenesis. 2004 Aug;25(8):1403-8.
12. Boyd LA, McCann MJ, Hashim Y, et al. Assessment of the anti-genotoxic, anti-proliferative, and anti-metastatic potential of crude watercress extract in human colon cancer cells. Nutr Cancer. 2006;55(2):232-41.
13. Rose P, Huang Q, Ong CN, Whiteman M. Broccoli and watercress suppress matrix metalloproteinase-9 activity and invasiveness of human MDA-MB-231 breast cancer cells. Toxicol Appl Pharmacol. 2005 Dec 1;209(2):105-13.
14. Rose P, Won YK, Ong CN, Whiteman M. Beta-phenylethyl and 8-methylsulphinyloctyl isothiocyanates, constituents of watercress, suppress LPS induced production of nitric oxide and prostaglandin E2 in RAW 264.7 macrophages. Nitric Oxide. 2005 Jun;12(4):237-43.
15. Coleman H, Chew E. Nutritional supplementation in age-related macular degeneration. Curr Opin Ophthalmol. 2007 May;18(3):220-3.
16. Ribaya-Mercado JD, Blumberg JB. Lutein and zeaxanthin and their potential roles in disease prevention. J Am Coll Nutr. 2004 Dec;23(6 Suppl):567S-87S.
17. Getahun SM, Chung FL. Conversion of glucosinolates to isothiocyanates in humans after ingestion of cooked watercress. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 1999 May;8(5):447-51.

When making this smoothie I wanted to keep it as colorful as possible. The little ones get really excited on the days that I keep the "green" smoothie bright pink or purple. They think it tastes better. Proof that color really is important when it comes to food and taste perception for children. If it looks good they think it tastes good. Even though they love the ones that turn out green or brown or gray. If you make them sweet enough with organic, ripe fruits they will  love them. It is so important to use quality produce.
The trick to keeping this recipe bright purple/pink was adding a big chunk of organic purple cabbage. I have also found that sprouts, in this case broccoli sprouts, do not change the color of berry smoothies.
Ok, here is our recipe:

Mixed Berry Watercress Smoothie (makes about 38 oz)

by Elizabeth

1 cup of water

5 ripe, organic bananas

2 cups raw watercress

1 cup mixed baby greens

1 cup broccoli sprouts

2 T chia seeds

10 oz organic frozen mixed berries

hemp seeds for garnish

Blend all of the ingredients in a high speed blender until smooth. Serve as a smoothie or as a soup garnished with hemp seeds. Enjoy!

Serve as a Smoothie

Serve as a Soup

+JMJ+ Today I am grateful for a relaxing weekend, just doing a bunch of nothing!!

Banana Cream Pie Smoothie Lately I've been blessed with fresh, green, Florida coconuts from my neighbor's trees. We enjoy drinking...