Plants and Your Health


By Staff Reports

(DGIwire) — Today the healthiest dietary guidelines are built around a wide variety of nutrient-dense whole food choices.  A predominately plant-based diet that focuses on fresh leafy greens, non-starchy vegetables and fruits is now commonly recommended. When you include an appropriate amount of animal based proteins, including some red meat, the combination provides a myriad array of nutrients which new studies are consistently showing to be beneficial to our health.

Scientists believe that there are even more unknown compounds in these natural plant foods than those already discovered.  Beyond proteins, carbohydrates and fats, micronutrients, vitamins, minerals and various phyto-compounds play a key role in maintaining optimal health.

For example, cancer cells multiply due to an interference with the process that would normally cause them to die on a regular cycle like healthy cells do. This process is subject to strict programming in healthy individuals.

study published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences identified a specific nutrient called apigenin that has been shown to play a key role in regulating the growth of cancer cells by altering a very specific step in gene regulation that restructures cancer cells into normal cells that die as scheduled.

Apigenin is a natural flavonoid found in many fruits, vegetables and herbs like apples, oranges, celery, endive, parsley, onions, wheat sprouts and some spices such as oregano, tarragon, clove, cilantro, basil and chamomile.

The researchers also found that apigenin binds with an estimated 160 proteins in the human body. They discovered how apigenin is able to locate a specific protein and to enter the cell nucleus where it is able to stop abnormal cell growth in those cases in which the cell DNA has been damaged by cancer.

“Although the study used an isolate form of apigenin, following a diet rich in natural fruits, vegetables and spices may be a good way to get enough to prevent cancer occurrence.  This is undoubtedly a big reason behind the noted health benefits of the Mediterranean diet.  The actions of currently known nutrients are usually based on population studies that show a strong relationship between eating specific foods and better health.  How the nutrients contained within these foods work and if they work better when consumed with other compounds present in specific foods is still a mystery in most cases,” according to Tom Griesel, co-author of TurboCharged: Accelerate Your Fat Burning Metabolism, Get Lean Fast and Leave Diet and Exercise Rules in the Dust .

Griesel adds, “The beneficial effects of these nutrients, both known and unknown, are not limited to cancer. It makes sense to include a wide variety of the most nutrient-dense whole food choices available in your diet every day.”

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