Monday, June 30, 2014

Powerhouse Fruits And Vegetables Ranked In Order Of Nutrition

 | By Anna Almendrala
Posted: Updated: 

Scientists say that certain "powerhouse" fruits and vegetables can help stave off chronic illnesses like cardiovascular disease and certain cancers. But what exactly is a powerhouse food, and are some fruits and vegetables better than others when it comes to nutrients?
Dietary researcher Jennifer Di Noia, Ph.D., of William Paterson University set out to quantify exactly how good certain fruits and vegetables are for the human body. Out of 47 different foods she tested for nutrients, 41 made the cut to be considered "powerhouse" produce.
The results were published Thursday online in Preventing Chronic Disease, a peer-reviewed journal by the National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion. In a Q&A with HuffPost, Di Noia explains how she ranked each fruit and vegetable, and which ones didn't make the cut. The powerhouse list follows after the interview.
HP: How did you develop this classification system for fruits and vegetables?
JD: Powerhouse fruits and vegetables (PFV) are described in the literature as green leafy, yellow/orange, citrus and cruciferous items -- but a clear definition was lacking. So I decided to look at densities of key nutrients in foods belonging to the aforementioned groups. I thought it would be easier for consumers to have a PFV list as there is often confusion about which foods belong in which groups.
HP: How would you describe the points system?
JD: It is a nutrients-to-calories ratio that expresses the mean of percent daily values for the qualifying nutrients the food provides per 100 calories. So higher-ranking foods provide more nutrients-per-calories.
HP: What are some of the important nutrients you were looking for?
JD: Nutrients of public health importance as per the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and Institute of Medicine, i.e., potassium, fiber, protein, calcium, iron, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, folate, zinc and vitamins A, B6, B12, C, D, E and K.
HP: Why did some foods (raspberry, tangerine, cranberry, garlic, onion, and blueberry) not make the cut? People especially think blueberries are superfoods. 

JD: Absolutely. They were not included because they were not rich sources of the qualifying nutrients. Their health benefits are likely due in part to the presence of phytochemicals. Had I been able to incorporate phytochemical data in the calculation of nutrient density scores, they may have made the cut.

HP: How should people use this point system? How do you advise people change their diets using this ranking?

JD: The PFV list will help consumers know what PFV are and help them choose them as part of their overall fruit and vegetable intake. The scores may help focus consumers on their daily energy needs/how best to get the most nutrients from their foods.
Food: Nutrient Density Score
Watercress: 100.00
Chinese cabbage 91.99
Chard: 89.27
Beet green: 87.08
Spinach: 86.43
Chicory: 73.36
Leaf lettuce: 70.73
Parsley: 65.59
Romaine lettuce: 63.48
Collard green: 62.49
Turnip green: 62.12
turnip green
Mustard green: 61.39
Endive: 60.44
Chive: 54.80
Kale: 49.07
Dandelion green: 46.34
dandelion green
Red pepper: 41.26
Arugula: 37.65
Broccoli: 34.89
Pumpkin: 33.82
Brussels sprout: 32.23
brussel sprouts
Scallion: 27.35
Kohlrabi: 25.92
Cauliflower: 25.13
Cabbage: 24.51
Carrot: 22.60
Tomato: 20.37
Lemon: 18.72
Iceberg lettuce: 18.28
Strawberry: 17.59
Radish: 16.91
Winter squash (all varieties): 13.89
Orange: 12.91
Lime: 12.23
Grapefruit (pink and red): 11.64
Rutabaga: 11.58
Turnip: 11.43
Blackberry: 11.39
Leek: 10.69
Sweet potato: 10.51
Grapefruit (white): 10.47
white grapefruit

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Saturday, June 28, 2014

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Friday, June 27, 2014

8 Underrated Vegetables With Extraordinary Health Benefits

Reposted from
Via The Huffington Post | By Deborah Long | Posted: Updated: 
Your grandmother probably told you the same thing you tell your own grandchildren: Eat your vegetables; they’re good for you. And there are always certain veggies we focus on—leafy greens like spinach, broccoli, and the like. But scientific research shows that some veggies that we all write off (celery and mushrooms, anyone?) are actually nutritional all-stars, too. Read on to learn about the nutritional power—from helping reduce the risk of cancer to boosting your immune system—of these seemingly ordinary vegetables.
One word of caution: the chemical compounds in these natural gems are so potent they can interfere with some prescription drugs, so if you’re taking medication, check with your doctor or pharmacist before you add them.

  • 1
    If you associate celery with diets, or think the stalks are nothing more than sturdy swizzle sticks for your Bloody Mary, think again. Evidence suggests there’s a world of health benefits in every crunch. Dieters count on celery because it’s low in calories—only 10 calories in a large stalk—but it also delivers phthalides, which are thought to act as a natural diuretic. Those same phtalides support the circulatory system, and can help to reduce high blood pressure.

    But the best reason to add celery to the grocery list: it just might rev up your sex life. According to Alan Hirsch, M.D., Director of the Smell and Taste Treatment and Research Foundation, celery contains pheromones, airborne sex chemicals, that are released when you chew on a stalk of the green stuff. It’s rumored that Casanova ate celery every day to keep his libido strong and if it worked for Casanova, we say pass the crudite.
  • 2
    One of nature’s most powerful tools for fighting breast cancer may already be sitting in your refrigerator. Mushrooms—from humble, button mushrooms to more exotic shitakes—have been shown to improve the body’s immune system and reduce risk of colon, stomach, and prostate cancer. In one study, eating mushrooms cut the risk of Chinese women getting breast cancer by 64%.

    Mushrooms also contain vitamin D and long-chain polysaccharides that can help boost your immune system to help you fight the common cold. To access all the nutritional goodness of mushrooms, be sure to cook them, rather than eat them raw.
  • 3
    Brussels Sprouts
    The Brussels sprout may be small, but don’t be deceived. Whether or not you’re a fan, the Brussels sprout is a cancer-fighting Jedi. Brussels sprouts contain more anti-carcinogenic compounds called glucosinolates, than any other cruciferous vegetable. One of these compounds, called sinigrin, causes cancer cells to self-destruct.

    More good news? Using a Brussels sprout extract, researchers at the National Institute for Health showed that the glucosinolates also are able to stabilize DNA in white blood cells by blocking offending enzymes.
  • 4
    You know that carrots are good for your eyesight. The beta-carotene that makes them orange is converted to vitamin A by your body and that can help protect you from macular degeneration, as well as glaucoma. Eating carrots can even help to improve night vision, which is important when driving after dark.

    What most of us don't know is that carrots are almost as good for our outsides as they are for our insides. According to research, carrots contain a powerful antiseptic compound that kills germs and can prevent infection and help wounds to heal more quickly. Shred them raw, cook them and mash them, or soak a cloth in carrot juice and apply it to the affected area. An NIH study found that peeled, shredded carrots inhibit food spoilage bacteria, which supports the theory that carrots have beneficial antiseptic powers.
  • 5
    If you slice an onion, and it makes you cry, rejoice! Those compounds that are bringing tears to your eyes are called thiosulfinates and they could keep you from having a stroke, according to some studies. Thiosulfinates act as a natural blood thinner and can keep blood platelets from clumping. In addition, the quercitin in onions has been shown to relax and dilate blood vessels, which also aids in stroke prevention.

    Onions are high in vitamin C, provide calcium, iron, folic acid, and dietary fiber. And, because they can kill the H pylori bacteria, they may also help to prevent—but not treat—stomach ulcers.
  • 6
    Bell peppers
    Crunchy, sweet, and delicious, bell peppers are also one of the most healthful foods you can eat. One red bell pepper will provide almost twice your daily allowance for vitamin C. Bell peppers also are an excellent source of vitamin B6, which is used by your body to help regulate metabolism and to enable the cells in your brain to communicate with one another.

    Bell peppers also contain minerals, including potassium, zinc, and manganese. According to The Linus Pauling Institute, their high levels of manganese may help to prevent osteoporosis.
  • 7
    Garlic has been credited with warding off everything from vampires to the plague. One whiff, and you know it’s powerful. It’s antibacterial and antiviral and fresh garlic may help to prevent some cases of food poisoning by killing E coli and salmonella bacteria. It’s been credited in studies with lowering blood pressure and cholesterol, protecting the heart, boosting the immune system, and regulating blood sugar levels.

    But what really pushed garlic onto our list is that according to research garlic may help protect against breast, colon and other cancers. And according to research done at the Mayo Clinic, garlic can kill the rogue cells that cause prostate cancer. Maybe that’s part of the reason the Mayo Clinic suggests that men with enlarged prostate—which includes 50% of men over the age of 60—use garlic to season their food.
  • 8
    What provides a daily dose of vitamin A, more vitamin C than an orange, and supports bone health with vitamin K and more calcium than an 8-ounce glass of milk? Kale. Yes, we all know kale is good for us, but here’s what you might not know about this nutritional powerhouse and why it made our list: It’s a good source of Omega-3 fatty acids, which means a diet that includes kale will give your brain a boost, helping to fight depression. Those same fatty acids, along with kale’s quercetin supply, will fight inflammation and can help to prevent or alleviate arthritis.

    If all that good stuff isn’t enough to convince you, how about a longer life? Dr. Drew Ramsey, author of "50 Shades of Kale" says that the kaemferol in kale literally can turn on the genes that promote longer life.

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    Monday, June 23, 2014

    Eating fruits and vegetables early in life lowers heart disease risk by 40 percent as we age


    (NaturalNews) It is common knowledge that eating vegetables and fruits is part of a sensible diet, and yet millions of otherwise health-conscious people ignore this advice and continue to nosh on a variety of processed junk foods placing them at considerable risk to succumb to the leading killer of men and women in the US and western societies. Mortality statistics clearly show that more than half of all deaths each year are due to cardiovascular disease, a largely preventable illness that can squelch life in an instant or dramatically lower quality of life as the heart is strained to supply oxygen and nutrients throughout the body.

    Researchers from the Minneapolis Heart Institute have presented the results of their research to the American College of Cardiology's 63rd Annual Scientific Session that demonstrates how women who were eating a diet high in fresh fruits and vegetables as young adults were much less likely to have plaque build-up in their arteries 20 years later compared with those who consumed lower amounts of these foods. Prior studies have provided incidental evidence about the importance of eating a diet packed with fresh produce in its natural form, but this research provided documented proof by utilizing Coronary Artery Calcium (CAC) scans that show the percentage of arterial blockage in the heart by measuring vascular calcification.

    Micronutrients found in fresh fruits and vegetables lower inflammation and plaque buildup to slash cardiovascular risk factors

    Lead study researcher Dr. Michael Miedema commented "It's an important question because lifestyle behaviors, such as a heart healthy diet, are the foundation of cardiovascular prevention and we need to know what dietary components are most important." The study included 2,508 participants from the ongoing government-sponsored Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults (CARDIA) that analyzed diet over a 20-year period utilizing dietary food questionnaires. Research began in the mid-1980s with a group of men and women 18-30 years of age and has collected extensive data on medical, socioeconomic, psychosocial and behavioral characteristics.

    The scientists found that women who reported consuming the most fruits and vegetables (eight to nine servings a day for a 2,000-calorie diet) in their 20s were 40 percent less likely to have calcified plaque in their arteries in their 40s compared with those who ate the least amount (three to four servings a day) during the same time period. In their analysis, researchers controlled for smoking, exercise, consumption of red meat, sugar-sweetened beverages and other dietary and cardiovascular risk factors that correlate with atherosclerosis.

    Dr. Miedema concluded "These findings confirm the concept that plaque development is a lifelong process, and that process can be slowed down with a healthy diet at a young age... this is often when dietary habits are established, so there is value in knowing how the choices we make in early life have lifelong benefits." The researchers noted that fruits and vegetables are packed with vitamins, minerals, fiber, antioxidants and other things that are known to promote good health. The study underscores the importance of including 2.5 cups of vegetables and 2 cups of fresh fruits each day (8 to 10 servings) to slash cardiovascular risk by nearly half.

    Sources for this article include:

    About the author:
    John Phillip is a Certified Nutritional Consultant and Health Researcher and Author who writes regularly on the cutting edge use of diet, lifestyle modifications and targeted supplementation to enhance and improve the quality and length of life. John is the author of 'Your Healthy Weight Loss Plan', a comprehensive EBook explaining how to use Diet, Exercise, Mind and Targeted Supplementation to achieve your weight loss goal. Visit My Optimal Health Resource to continue reading the latest health news updates, and to download your copy of 'Your Healthy Weight Loss Plan'.

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    Thursday, June 19, 2014

    Amid Health Concerns, Nonprofit Urges EPA To Halt Apple Pesticide That's Already Banned In Europe

    Reposted from Reuters | Posted: Updated: 

    By Carey Gillam

    BRIAN YARVIN VIA GETTY IMAGES | Brian Yarvin via Getty Images

    April 24 (Reuters) - U.S.-grown apples are widely coated with a pesticide that has been newly banned in the European Union amid health concerns, and the United States is at least a year behind in a required scientific assessment of the pesticide, an environmental group said on Thursday.

    The Environmental Working Group, a nonprofit health and environmental advocacy group, sent a letter to the Environmental Protection Agency asking for the agency to halt the use of diphenylamine, also called DPA, until a new analysis shows DPA levels on food are safe, the group said.

    DPA, which is sprayed on apples after they are harvested to help prevent browning, was first registered as a pesticide in the United States in 1947, according to the EPA.

    But recent concerns about the pesticide's potential links to cancer led the European Union to ban fruits containing more than 0.1 part per million of DPA. That regulation took effect in March.

    The EWG said consumers in the United States have reason to be concerned about their own consumption of DPA. The United States allows 10 parts per million of DPA residues in food. A 2010 USDA analysis of raw apples found DPA on 80 percent of the apples tested, EWG said.

    "Apples, apple juice and applesauce are staples in the diets of millions of children, so if there are potential risks to kids from DPA, we need to know now," EWG senior scientist Sonya Lunder said in a statement.

    U.S. Apple Association spokeswoman Wendy Brannen said DPA is safely used in U.S. apple production, and the residue levels on apples are well below tolerance levels set by the government.

    "There is no cause for concern and certainly not a safety issue pertaining to DPA use here in the United States," said Brannen.

    The EPA is required under the federal Food Quality Protection Act to conduct a scientific assessment of pesticides every 15 years. But the Environmental Protection Agency has not looked at DPA since the late 1990s.

    In its last report, the EPA said DPA was "not likely" to be carcinogenic, but said diphenylnitrosamine - an impurity of technical grade diphenylamine - was classified as a probable human carcinogen based on increased incidence of bladder tumors in rats. The agency also expressed concern about the "structural relationship to carcinogenic nitrosamines."

    The EPA said in a statement that its evaluation in 1997 found "reasonable certainty of no harm" and added that if new evidence challenges the safety of DPA, it will take action. (Reporting by Carey Gillam in Kansas City; Editing by Dan Grebler)

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    Monday, June 16, 2014

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    The Afternoon Snack That Can Help You Live Longer

    Reposted  |  By Jessica Girdwain  |  
    Posted: Updated: 
    As one of the cornerstones of a Mediterranean diet, nuts make an excellent addition to just about any meal. And now a study in The New England Journal of Medicine has found that eating roughly a handful of them daily is associated with a 20 percent lower risk of death. But while all nuts are healthy, each variety has its own unique benefits. We spotlight the standouts.
    • Macadamias
      Getty Images
      Though these nuts pack roughly 21 grams of fat per serving, most of it is the unsaturated kind—so you can nosh guilt free. Macadamias are an excellent source of two nutrients vital for healthy brain and nerve function: manganese (one serving delivers 66 percent of what you need daily) and the B vitamin thiamine (30 percent of your recommended dietary allowance).
      Serving size: 10 to 12 nuts, 204 calories
    • Brazil Nuts
      John E. Kelly via Getty Images
      The bad news: You can't eat a lot of them. Each of these Amazonian nuts contains about 33 calories—the equivalent of nearly 10 M&M's. The good news: You needn't go overboard to reap their health benefits. Just two nuts per day for 12 weeks can increase blood levels of the mineral selenium by 64 percent. Selenium is essential for proper immune function, as it helps build germ-fighting white blood cells.
      Serving size: 6 nuts, 186 calories
    • Almonds
      Robert Decelis Ltd via Getty Images
      Call them the skinny nuts. In a 2013 study in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, people who ate about one and a half servings of almonds with breakfast felt a 35 percent decrease in appetite an hour later. When the nuts were consumed as an afternoon snack, they quashed appetites by about two and a half times that, helping the subjects naturally eat less for the rest of the day.
      Serving size: 23 nuts, 164 calories
    • Pecans
      Paul Poplis via Getty Images
      A small study in The Journal of Nutrition found that people who consumed about three servings of pecans experienced as much as a 33 percent drop in oxidized LDL cholesterol (the kind that causes artery-clogging plaque to form). The pecan's power may lie in its high levels of heart-protecting antioxidants.
      Serving size: 9 halves, 196 calories
    • Pistachios
      Tom Grill via Getty Images
      Not only are pistachios the lowest-calorie nut of the bunch, but they're also rich in healthy unsaturated fatty acids. In a new study, a group that consumed 20 percent of their daily calories from pistachios for nearly six months had lower blood sugar and cholesterol levels—two risk factors for heart disease—and trimmed their waistlines more than those who ate a wholesome but pistachio-free diet.
      Serving size: 49 nuts, 159 calories