Foods

Melon Sangria : Great for Summer

melon sangria

Melon sangria

Ingredients

  • ~3 cups of mixed melon balls (watermelon, cantaloupe, honeydew)
  • 2-4 tablespoons of honey, adjust to taste
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • ¼ cup to ½ cup of grappa, adjust to taste – can also use pisco or a clear grape brandy
  • 1 bottle of moscato wine, chilled
  • ~ 1 ½ cups of sparkling water, chilled

To serve and garnish:

Instructions

  1. Place the melon balls in a large pitcher, add the honey (2 tablespoons to start), lime juice, and ¼ cup of grappa. Mix gently and let rest in fridge for 1-2 hours or until 1 hour before serving.
  2. Add the moscato wine, mix gently, taste and add more honey or grappa if desired. Keep in mind that you will top it off with sparkling water right before serving, so it’s okay if it’s on the sweeter/stronger side. Refrigerate for another hour.
  3. Right before serving, add ice (or frozen melon balls as ice cubes), lime slices and mint leaves to garnish, and top off with sparkling water. You can prepare the final mix in the pitcher or serve it directly into glasses with melon ice cubes and top off each glass with the sparkling water.

Notes

For a mocktail sangria variation, omit the moscato wine and the grappa, and replace with a sparkling white grape juice and sparkling lemonade.

Health and Disease

Cooked Mushrooms Prevent Cancer

mushrooms2

Mushrooms contain specialized lectins (ABL) that recognize cancer cells, and prevent the cells from growing and dividing.1,2 Mushroom phytochemicals enhance the activity of natural killer cells, which are specialized immune cells that attack and destroy virus-infected and cancerous cells.3

Mushrooms are unique in their breast cancer preventing (anti-aromatase) effects
Frequent consumption of mushrooms (approximately 1 button mushroom per day) has been shown to decrease the risk of breast cancer by 64%.4 Mushrooms are thought to protect against breast cancer particularly because they inhibit an enzyme called aromatase, which produces estrogen. Mushrooms are one of the very few foods that inhibit aromatase (pomegranate is another), and several varieties of mushrooms, especially the commonly eaten white button and portobello mushrooms, have strong anti-aromatase activity.5

Mushrooms protect against all cancers
Consumption of mushrooms does not only protect against breast cancer. In addition to anti-aromatase activity, white, cremini, portobello, oyster, maitake, and reishi mushrooms have all been shown to have a wide variety of anti-cancer properties. These effects have been studied in relation to stomach, colorectal, breast, and prostate cancers.6-14

Mushrooms add unique flavors and textures to vegetable dishes, and are delicious paired with fresh herbs. Combining mushrooms with the onion family, green and cruciferous vegetables, and beans, creates delicious, healthful, and powerfully protective meals. Remember that mushrooms should only be eaten cooked: several raw culinary mushrooms contain a potentially carcinogenic substance called agaritine, and cooking mushrooms significantly reduces their agaritine content.15,16

 

References
1. Yu L, Fernig DG, Smith JA, et al. Reversible inhibition of proliferation of epithelial cell lines by Agaricus bisporus (edible mushroom) lectin. Cancer Res 1993;53:4627-4632.
2. Carrizo ME, Capaldi S, Perduca M, et al. The antineoplastic lectin of the common edible mushroom (Agaricus bisporus) has two binding sites, each specific for a different configuration at a single epimeric hydroxyl. The Journal of biological chemistry 2005;280:10614-10623.
3. Borchers AT, Krishnamurthy A, Keen CL, et al. The Immunobiology of Mushrooms. Exp Biol Med 2008;233:259-276.
4. Zhang M, Huang J, Xie X, et al. Dietary intakes of mushrooms and green tea combine to reduce the risk of breast cancer in Chinese women. Int J Cancer 2009;124:1404-1408.
5. Grube BJ, Eng ET, Kao YC, et al. White button mushroom phytochemicals inhibit aromatase activity and breast cancer cell proliferation. The Journal of nutrition 2001;131:3288-3293.
6. Hara M, Hanaoka T, Kobayashi M, et al. Cruciferous vegetables, mushrooms, and gastrointestinal cancer risks in a multicenter, hospital-based case-control study in Japan. Nutr Cancer 2003;46:138-147.
7. Zhang CX, Ho SC, Chen YM, et al. Greater vegetable and fruit intake is associated with a lower risk of breast cancer among Chinese women. Int J Cancer 2009;125:181-188.
8. Martin KR, Brophy SK. Commonly consumed and specialty dietary mushrooms reduce cellular proliferation in MCF-7 human breast cancer cells. Exp Biol Med 2010;235:1306-1314.
9. Fang N, Li Q, Yu S, et al. Inhibition of growth and induction of apoptosis in human cancer cell lines by an ethyl acetate fraction from shiitake mushrooms. J Altern Complement Med 2006;12:125-132.
10. Ng ML, Yap AT. Inhibition of human colon carcinoma development by lentinan from shiitake mushrooms (Lentinus edodes). J Altern Complement Med 2002;8:581-589.
11. Adams LS, Phung S, Wu X, et al. White button mushroom (Agaricus bisporus) exhibits antiproliferative and proapoptotic properties and inhibits prostate tumor growth in athymic mice. Nutr Cancer 2008;60:744-756.
12. Lakshmi B, Ajith TA, Sheena N, et al. Antiperoxidative, anti-inflammatory, and antimutagenic activities of ethanol extract of the mycelium of Ganoderma lucidum occurring in South India. Teratog Carcinog Mutagen 2003;Suppl 1:85-97.
13. Cao QZ, Lin ZB. Antitumor and anti-angiogenic activity of Ganoderma lucidum polysaccharides peptide. Acta pharmacologica Sinica 2004;25:833-838.
14. Lin ZB, Zhang HN. Anti-tumor and immunoregulatory activities of Ganoderma lucidum and its possible mechanisms. Acta pharmacologica Sinica 2004;25:1387-1395.
15. Toth B, Erickson J: Cancer induction in mice by feeding of the uncooked cultivated mushroom of commerce Agaricus bisporus. Cancer Res 1986;46:4007-4011.
16. Schulzova V, Hajslova J, Peroutka R, et al: Influence of storage and household processing on the agaritine content of the cultivated Agaricus mushroom. Food Addit Contam 2002;19:853-862.

Rx to Wellness

Herbs for Memory Loss

ginko

Memory herbs

Memory loss and other cognitive conditions are issues that a large number of people start to worry about as they age. A lot of us are conditioned by the media to believe that these problems are natural and inevitable consequences of aging, something that happens to us regardless of how well we look after ourselves. Of course, this is not true. Our brains are capable of creating new brain cells at any given age, and diet plays an essential role in how often, and how effectively, they can do so. Although most natural wholefoods contain properties that can help keep our minds in good shape, studies show that the three herbs listed below are particularly effective in this regard.

Bacopa monnieri

Bacopa monnieri, or brahmi, is a thick-leafed herb native to the wetlands of East and Southeast Asia, and is well-known for its brain-boosting properties. It is particularly venerated in Ayurvedic medicine, where it is regularly prescribed for numerous cognitive conditions such as brain fog, poor memory and concentration, and even depression. A large number of studies confirm that Bacopa is good for our minds. For example, a study published in Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine in 2012 found that it could “improve attention, cognitive processing, and working memory partly via the suppression of AChE activity.” (1) Another study, featured in Neuropsychopharmacology, discovered that Bacopa could improve memory and recall abilities. (2) Like most brain-boosting foods, Bacopa monnieri can take a while to work. Taking 150 milligrams of it three times a day for a two-month period, for instance, will provide better results than taking the same amount of it over a one-month period.

Ginkgo biloba

There’s a good reason why Ginkgo biloba supplements are one of the most popular herbal remedies in Europe and the United States: the leaves of this unique tree, which is one of the longest-living species in the world, is a fantastic mental aid. For example, a study published in Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology in 2014 showed that Ginkgo extracts could “improve working memory function in middle-aged individuals.” (3) A study featured in the September 2013 edition of Toxicology and Industrial Health even found that Ginkgo, along with vitamin C, could correct mental deficits caused by chronic exposure to fluoride. (4) Taking between 240 and 600 milligrams of Ginkgo biloba up to three times a day is optimum for correcting memory-related issues. As with Bacopa, positive effects don’t usually manifest immediately; give it at least a month.

Gotu kola

Gotu kola (Centella asiatica) is a member of the parsley family that grows in the Himalayas. It was (and still is) used to treat countless medical conditions in India and China, including varicose veins, skin lesions, insomnia and blood circulation. However, like Bacopa and Ginkgo, gotu is best-known for its positive impact on our minds. For example, a study published in Ayu in 2013 found that gotu kola, along with other herbs within the Medhya rasayana group, are “quick in action and bring about improvement in memory faster when compared with Yogic practices.” (5) A review published one year earlier also noted that gotu has neuroprotective properties and was reported to treat deficits associated with Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and oxidative stress. (6) Taking one or two 500 milligram capsules of gotu kola a day is a great way to boost our memory naturally and without side effects. Alternatively, gotu can be consumed in tea form. Its bitterness can be masked by adding some honey or lemon. Sources for this article include: (1) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov (2) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov (3) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov (4) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov (5) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov (6) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov