Sunday, April 19, 2009

Where have I been?

Two weeks without a new post begs the question. I am sorry to say that I need to take an open-ended hiatus from my blogs. My mother had a stroke on April 3rd, thus there has been no time to think about blogging. She is currently in a rehabilitation facility, but there are still many unknowns and many decisions to make.

I have LOVED blogging. I didn't know what to expect when I first started, but I have found that sharing my thoughts (both personal and professional) plus photos has actually brought me much happiness. So it is only because my time is needed elsewhere for the foreseeable future that I am putting all of my blogs "on hold".

Wherever you may be, enjoy the new life that comes with spring! I'll be back just as soon as I can be. :-)

Diana Dyer, MS, RD

Monday, April 6, 2009

Research: Daily intake of Broccoli Sprouts Helpful

(Photo: Broccoli Sprouts)

Helpful for what? Good question!

A recently published article showed that feeding 70 grams (a little more than 2 ounces of broccoli sprouts daily for two months to 48 people with a documented infection of Helicobacter pylori (the bacterium known to cause stomach ulcers that may ultimately lead to stomach cancer) significantly reduced several bio-markers of both infection and inflammation. For comparison purposes, a control group was fed the same amount of alfalfa sprouts for the same time period with no beneficial changes seen.

This study is the first that has been done in humans documenting this beneficial effect, which is important in and of itself. However, the really important point is that the values showing the reduced inflammation and reduced infection returned to their original levels two months after the intake of the broccoli sprouts was stopped.

Now I would venture a guess that consuming 70 grams of broccoli sprouts daily is going to be boring if not difficult, and that statement is coming from a "fan" of all things Brassica! What this study does not determine is the minimum consumption of broccoli sprouts needed to produce this benefical effect in a daily diet or even as a weekly intake, nor does it demonstrate that other brassica foods containing a level of the presumed active compound(s) would not also be effective.

However, as I mentioned, the study clearly showed that daily consumption was beneficial, was not harmful, and that stopping consumption permitted a return to potentially harmful levels of molecules indicating both chronic infection and inflammation.

Broccoli sprouts are commonly available in most grocery stores, available from a couple of different sources. I am not "promoting" the purchasing of any one brand (i.e., I have no financial connection to any company that creates this product for purchase). In fact, there is information on one website that tells where to purchase the same seeds that company uses (same as those used in this research study), which I may do for home sprouting. In the meantime, I will say that I purchase broccoli sprouts regularly and use them on salads and in place of lettuce in a sandwich or wrap.

My bottom line: That should be easy to guess! Strive for daily consumption, i.e., 365 days per year, of kale (or other Brassica vegetable, including broccoli sprouts) to obtain a daily intake of delicious, cancer-fighting and overall health-promoting foods.

Where kale is more than decoration on my plate!

Diana Dyer, MS, RD

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Mustard Greens - oh yeah, they have a bite!

(Photo: Fresh mustard greens and chopped garlic)

I can't tell you how many times I have gotten to the Farmers' Market too late to purchase mustard greens from Brines Farm. My hand practically jumped out to snatch the bag I saw on their table last Saturday. I did contain myself from "snatching" but very happily put my greens in my market bag already thinking about what I would do with them at home.

I actually ate a good third of the leaves raw (I shared some with my husband so he could taste them raw before I cooked them), enjoying the punchy taste, slightly bitter but not overwhelmingly so.

I simply stir-fried them in a bit of olive oil with fresh sliced garlic and some roasted red peppers.

The leaves cook down a lot quite quickly, the whole bag was only two generous servings (of course I did eat quite a few raw before putting them in the pan!). The slightly bitter taste mellows out when cooked. It only has a little bite and was a perfect complement to baked fish and roasted potatoes with rosemary.

Like other Brassica greens, these are a great source of vitamin C, A, E, folate, potassium, manganese, calcium, and are a downright powerhouse for vitamin K (one serving containing over 500% of the daily recommended dietary intake) for all those important blood clotting and bone building functions.

There has been some very preliminary research evaluating the role of vitamin K in type 2 diabetes, with supplementation of vitamin K1 (the type found in mustard greens) able to reduce insulin resistance in older men (but not older women).
"Effect of Vitamin K Supplementation on Insulin Resistance in Older Men and Women”
Authors: M. Yoshida, et. al., , Diabetes Care, November 2008, Volume 31, Pages 2092-2096.

I'm heading back next Saturday to see if I can get there early enough for some more! I want to save enough to add to a fresh green salad, so the bitter leaves can become an accent.

Where kale (and other Brassicas) are more than decoration on my plate!

Diana Dyer, MS, RD