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April, 2011

Produce - The Key To Good Health

By Mark Mulcahy

Billboards tell us every day to eat burgers on white bread, TV commercials encourage us to eat quick, fast, processed food to make the most of our busy lives. Produce - Key To Good Health Unfortunately, advertisers don’t remind us that these diets which are high in refined foods raise sugar insulin levels quickly, leading to inflammation, which causes many diseases.

What can we do? Shopping at stores that carry Melissa’s organic produce is a good place to start, as there is also often a great selection of whole grain, minimally or unprocessed foods to choose from as well. Consider adopting an anti-inflammatory diet, eliminating all refined foods, sugar and foods high on the glycemic index. Anti-inflammatory diets generally call for lots of produce and every day new research shows that produce is a wonderful disease-fighting partner. Here are a few examples:

Broccoli
Cruciferous vegetables and leafy greens such as Melissa’s organic kale, cabbage, bok choy, broccoli and cauliflower are great choices if you’re worried about breast cancer. A great source of vitamin C and also rich in natural cancer-fighting plant chemicals, these are believed to help inhibit breast cancer cells from growing as quickly. Researchers at the Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University have found that sulforaphane – a compound found in cruciferous vegetables – has strong anti-cancer properties. Broccoli and broccoli sprouts have the highest amount, so they could be a major player in preventing prostate and colon cancer.

New research shows that men and women who regularly eat berries may have a lower risk of developing Parkinson’s disease. Ripe berries, no matter the color, are good for our bodies. Blueberries and blackberries are shown to have the most antioxidants, but it’s their vitamin C and fiber that make them a top-pick for breast cancer health. Men may also further lower their risk of Parkinson’s by regularly eating Melissa’s organic apples, oranges, grapefruit and other sources rich in dietary components called flavonoids. Flavonoids, also known as vitamin P and citrin, are found in plants and fruits.

Papaya contains papain, a protein-digesting enzyme. Together with other nutrients such as vitamin C and E, papain helps to reduce inflammation, and improves digestion and burn healing. Mushrooms such as the mild, smoky tasting shiitake, along with maitake, oyster, white button, crimini or portabella are revered for their immune-boosting properties. Most mushrooms have plenty of potassium, around 300 mg, lots of B vitamins, and up to 30 percent of your RDA of selenium, a trace mineral and antioxidant that is essential to good health.

Sweet Potatoes
Sweet potatoes are a good source of complex carbohydrates, beta-carotene, manganese, vitamin B6, C, and dietary fiber. Working together, these nutrients are powerful antioxidants that help heal inflammation. Perhaps Popeye did know what he was talking about. Spinach is a rich source of anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidative flavonoids and carotenoids. It’s a powerhouse of nutrients, including vitamins A, B2, B6, C, E, K, calcium, folate, iron, magnesium, manganese, potassium and tryptophan. Spinach is another item that is better organically as it regularly may contain high levels of pesticide residues. The organic produce department helps in your quest for better health. If you still aren’t sure where to start, ask for a sample of your favorite Melissa’s produce and you’ll be on your way.