The Sprig is Up! Long regarded as a ho-hum herb, parsley is actually a staple in many cuisines.
- Parsley’s distinctive flavor comes from menthatriene, a volatile oil. Other volatile oils in the herb, especially myristicin, are known cancer fighters and have been shown in studies to prevent tumor formation
- The antioxidant properties of parsley’s flavonoids, vitamin C (also
a powerful anti-inflammatory), and pro–vitamin A carotenoids help your body ward off many chronic diseases.
- Rich in chlorophyll, parsley is a handy breath freshener. Great for toning down garlic or onion breath.
- A mild diuretic, parsley supports the body’s detoxification systems and may help ward off kidney and bladder problems.
- Parsley provides folic acid, an important B vitamin that supports cardiovascular health and helps prevent colon and cervical cancers.
Find more information about parsley including some delicious recipes here.
True or False: If you drink milk, you won’t get osteoporosis.
False: Osteoporosis has nothing to do with milk. It’s actually a bone-thinning disease tied to calcium depletion. The condition affects 10 million Americans, and another 40 million have its precursor, osteopenia. As mentioned, even though the United States is one of the top dairy consumers in the world, it still has one of the highest rates of bone fractures. And bone breakage is actually lowest in countries that consume small amounts of milk.
Ample research shows osteoporosis is about genetics and lifestyle, not milk consumption. In one of the most rigorous studies, researchers tracked nearly 78,000 women for 12 years and found that those who drank two or more glasses of milk daily broke more bones than women who rarely consumed milk.
The list of factors that steal calcium from bones reads like a description of the standard American diet: excess sodium, alcohol, animal protein, and caffeine.
The best way to prevent osteoporosis is to get plenty of weight-bearing exercise, like walking and yoga, and to eat a nutrient-dense, plant-rich diet. In 2003, when researchers from Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School looked at what more than 72,000 postmenopausal women ate over almost two decades, they didn’t find a significant link between milk and bone health. Instead, they discovered that those who ate the most vitamin D–rich fish (like salmon and sardines) lowered their hip-fracture risk by 33 percent.
For more Milk Myths, read “Do You Need Milk?”
True or False: You need lots and lots of calcium.
False: The USDA’s calcium recommendations likely are distorted by the industry, according to David Ludwig and Walter Willett. The 2010 Dietary Guidelines recommend 2 cups of milk daily for children age 2 to 3 years old, 2.5 for those from 4 to 8 years, and 3 for Americans older than 8. For most of us, that’s three servings of milk (or dairy) a day, all in service of hitting daily calcium intakes: 1,300 mg for teens, 1,000 mg for adults 50 and under, and 1,200 mg for those older than 50.
Take the milk quiz.
True or False: Organic milk is healthier than conventional milk?
True: Organic milk is healthier than conventional milk because organic farmers do not use antibiotics, feed laden with synthetic pesticides, and growth hormones. Plus, by law, organic cows must get some nourishment from grass, which is high in omega-3 fatty acids and CLA, an immune-enhancing fatty acid. Those nutrients end up in the milk. But all organic milk is not created equal.
Take the milk quiz.
One of the first signs that winter is over, asparagus is bursting with powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant nutrients.
- Recent research has shown that asparagus contains saponins, phytonutrients that fight inflammation and chronic diseases such as cancer. They also help with blood pressure and blood-sugar regulation.
- Asparagus is also rich in glutathione, vitamin C, beta-carotene, vitamin E and several flavonoids that make it an anti-inflammatory and antioxidant powerhouse.
- Inulin, a prebiotic, is found in asparagus (as well as in chicory root, Jerusalem artichoke and other foods). It helps nourish probiotic (good) bacteria in the large intestine that improves nutrient absorption and balances biochemistry while lowering the risk of allergies and many chronic diseases. Because asparagus is also high in fiber, it’s excellent for digestive health.
- High amounts of B vitamins in asparagus help lower blood levels of the amino acid homocysteine and contribute to heart health.
Happy National Spinach Day! Tips for enjoying this dark leafy green that packs a nutritional punch.
- Spinach contains more than a dozen flavonoids, which fight inflammation and cancer.
- In addition to flavonoids and carotenoids, spinach provides vitamin C, vitamin E, beta-carotene, manganese, zinc and selenium, making it an excellent antioxidant.
- Researchers are beginning to discover links between the health of our nervous system and the unique phytonutrients in the chenopod plant family, which includes spinach, beets and chard.
- Cooking spinach releases lutein — a carotenoid that helps prevent macular degeneration — making the nutrient more available to the body.
- The high level of vitamin K in spinach helps maintain strong bones.