Fruits and Veg Greens | Information - Docflowers

Fruits and Vegetables

Red BeetThe red beet (Beta vulgaris) is a plant in the Chenopodiaceae family. Among its numerous cultivated varieties, the most well known is probably the red or purple root vegetable also known as beetroot or garden beet. Ancient Romans used beetroot as a treatment for fevers and constipation, amongst other things. Today we know that beets of any color are high in many vitamins including A, B1, B2, B6 and vitamin C. Beets also contain calcium, copper, phosphorus, sodium, magnesium and iron. Beet leaves actually contain more iron than most other leafy, green vegetables. Beets are also said to fight cancer and protect against artery disease. Beets also help regulate blood pressure and act to cleanse the blood and liver. It has been suggested that the pigment molecule betanin in the root of red beets may act as an antioxidant.

Spinach Spinach (Spinacia oleracea) is an annual flowering plant in the family of Amaranthaceae originating in the area around ancient Afghanistan, Turkistan and Persia. Long ago, the Arabians used it in cases of throat and lung problems. Today we know that spinach has an unusually high nutritional value and is extremely rich in many health-supportive nutrients plus antioxidants, especially when eaten fresh, steamed, or parboiled. It is an excellent source of vitamin A and is especially high in lutein. It also contains vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin K, magnesium, manganese, and folate, and in fact, spinach is the richest land plant source that contains folate. It also contains betaine, iron, vitamins B2 and B6, calcium, potassium, folic acid. Spinach also provides copper, phosphorus, zinc, selenium, niacin and omega-3 fatty acids.

Kale Kale is a form of cabbage (Brassica Oleracea Acephala) and can be either green or purple. Kale has been around for at least 2000 years. The Greeks grew kale and long before the Christian era, the Romans cultivated this vegetable and may have even brought kale to Britain and France. The central leaves do not form a head as found in some lettuces and cabbage. Kale is a stand-out amongst vegetables as it is highly nutritious offering powerful antioxidant properties. Kale is thought to be an anti-inflammatory and is very high in beta carotene, vitamins C and K, lutein, zeaxanthin, and is fairly high in calcium. Kale and other brassica vegetables are good sources of indole-3-carbinol. This chemical boosts DNA repair in cells and in early studies appears to block the growth of cancer cells. More study needs to be done.

Aloe Vera Aloe vera (Aloe barbadensis) is a species of succulent plants that probably originated in the Sudan or possibly the southern half of the Arabian peninsula, Northern Africa, the Canary islands and Cape Verde. The use of aloe vera can be traced back 6,000 years and was even depicted on stone carvings in ancient Egypt. It is known as the "plant of immortality" and historically was used topically for various skin conditions to promote healing. Today we know that aloe vera extracts have antibacterial and antifungal properties which may help in treating minor skin infections such as boils and benign skin cysts. Internal intake of aloe vera as a juice has been linked with improved blood glucose levels in diabetics and with lower blood lipids in hyperlipidaemic patients.

Moringa Oleifera Moringa oleifera (family Moringaceae) is an exceptionally nutritious, rapidly growing vegetable tree with a variety of potential uses as all parts of the Moringa tree are edible. It is probably native to the southern foothills of the Himalayas and was utilized by the ancient Greeks, Romans and Egyptians for traditional medicinal and industrial uses. In our modern world, Moringa seems to be a medicinal and nutritional goldmine. is used for gum, animal forage, honey, rope, and perfume, among many, many other uses. The leaves are highly nutritious and are a significant source of beta-carotene, Vitamin C (more than oranges), protein (Moringa rivals milk and eggs in this regard), iron, and potassium. The leaves which can be eaten fresh, cooked or turned into powder, and the pods are said to help in increasing the flow of breast milk which is vital in underdeveloped and famine stricken countries. Although many more human trials are necessary, in recent years, Moringa preparations have been cited in some scientific literature as having antibiotic, hypotensive, antispasmodic, anti-ulcer, anti-inflammatory, hypocholesterolemic, and hypoglycemic activities. More study needs to be done on the use of Moringa.

Blueberry Blueberries are perennial flowering plants belonging to the genus Vaccinium (a genus which also includes cranberries and bilberries and belongs to the Rhododendron family) with dark-purple berries. It is one of the few fruits native to the U.S. and is likely still the most widely grown fruit crop in the United States today. For centuries, blueberries were gathered from the forests and marshes by Native Americans and were consumed fresh and also preserved. A tea brewed from blueberry leaves was thought to be good for the blood. The juice of the blueberry was used to treat coughs. The juice also made an excellent dye for baskets and cloth. Modern science knows that blueberries are an excellent source of dietary fiber, antioxidants and manganese. Especially in wild species of the berry, they contain substantial anthocyanins, other antioxidant properties and various phytochemicals all possibly having a role in reducing the risk of some diseases, including inflammation and certain cancers. Blueberries contain pterostilbene, proanthocyanidins, resveratrol, flavonols, and tannins, which in in-vitro studies have been shown to inhibit mechanisms of cancer cell development and tissue inflammation. More study is to be done.

Mangosteen The wonderful healthful benefits of Mangosteen (Garcinia Mangostana L.) have been recognized in Southeast Asia for more than 400 years but the whole Mangosteen fruit has been used and revered for thousands of years. Mangosteen is a small, purple and about the size of a tangerine. It has been traditionally used to control pain, reduce fever and to ward off infections of every kind. It also has been used to protect against disease, increase energy, and as a natural anti-inflammatory. Unique for its appearance and flavor, the unusual Mangosteen is often touted as the queen of tropical fruits. In recent years several studies have shown that this beneficial fruit may be helpful in preventing heart disease, improving immune response, treating acne and even fighting cancer. More research is sure to be done on the benefits of Mangosteen.

Noni Noni (Morinda citrifolia) is an evergreen shrub or small tree native from Southeast Asia to Australia and appearing throughout the tropics. In Polynesia, Noni has been traditionally as a dye but it also has a history of use in cases of skin infections and as a topical preparation for joint pain. The macronutrients in Noni reside in the fruit pulp, as the actual Noni juice has sparse amounts of macronutrients. The main micronutrients of Noni pulp powder include vitamin C, niacin (vitamin B3), iron and potassium. Vitamin A, calcium and sodium appear in lesser amounts. Although not well studied for any health condition, in laboratory research, Noni has shown antioxidant and immune stimulating properties. More study needs to be done all fronts.

Apple Pectin Pectin is the complex carbohydrate fiber compound found in all plant cell walls and tissues but especially in apples and especially in the skin which contains a whopping 75% of an apple's fiber. There are well over 9,000 varieties of apples in the world. More than 7,000 of those are grown in the United States alone. The use of apples dates back thousands of years. Today, apple pectin is linked to lower cholesterol levels by decreasing the amount of circulating LDL (bad cholesterol). It may also help in weight loss and maintenance of a healthy digestive tract, healthy cardiovascular system, it may reduce and prevent gallstones, and it may help to normalize blood glucose levels. More studies need to be done on all fronts.

Pineapple Pineapple (Ananas colossus, family Bromeliaceae) is the common name for a tropical plant and its sweet, versatile, edible fruit widely grown in Hawaii and other tropical climates. Pineapples are loaded with vitamins and minerals and are a good source of manganese. Pineapples also contain significant amounts of the vitamin C and vitamin B1. Pineapple contains the enzyme bromelain, which breaks down in the body and aids in the digestion of protein. Consumers of pineapple have claimed that pineapple has some benefits for certain intestinal disorders. Others believe it serves as a pain reliever.

Papaya The papaya is the sweet orange colored fruit of a plant in the genus Carica (Carica papaya). The fruit has been cultivated for at least hundreds of years and is native from southern Mexico to the Andes. It is peeled and eaten fresh, dried or juiced. The juice has a component known as lycopene which some believe may offer immune system stimulation. Some claim that papaya seeds could be used as an antibacterial agent for the dangerous bacteria Escherichia coli, Staphylococcus aureus and Salmonella typhi. More work needs to be done on all these possibilities. Papaya seed extract may protect the kidneys in toxicity-induced kidney failure but again, more studies need to be done.

Rose Hips When the sweet-smelling petals fall off a rose, what is left is a rose hip, the round base to which the petals were attached. The rose hip is the seed pod, the "fruit" of the rose plant. More often than not, it is red or orange, but the hip can even be dark purple to black. Rose hips are particularly high in vitamin C content, and are one of the richest plant sources, although the content can range from 0.03 to 1.3%. Rose hips also contain some vitamins A and B, essential fatty acids and antioxidant flavonoids. Roses were probably first cultivated in ancient Persia and brought to Greece and Rome. Roses have been used medicinally by the Romans, the Chinese, Native Americans and more. Today we have to be careful not to use rose hips from gardens which have been treated with pesticides. Roses for rose hips are cultivated without the use of dangerous pesticides.

Bilberry The bilberry is a relative of the blueberry. It is any of several species of low-growing shrubs in the genus Vaccinium (family Ericaceae, Vaccinium myrtillus) bearing deep purple edible berries. Bilberries contain anthocyanin pigments. Throughout the centuries, bilberry leaves were used to treat gastrointestinal ailments, diarrhea, scurvy, applied topically for various conditions of the skin, or made into extracts or infusions. The leaves have been used to make teas. Some laboratory studies have shown preliminary evidence that the use bilberries may have some effect on eye disorders including macular degeneration. Excessive consumption of large amounts of bilberries is not recommended.