Lycopene can be delicious.

Lycopene is a plant nutrient with powerful antioxidant properties. with many health benefits – sun protection, improved heart health and a lower risk of certain types of cancer. It can be found as a supplement but may be most effective when consumed from foods that are naturally rich in it – tomatoes, watermelon, pink grapefruit, and other red or pink fruits. It has been linked to health benefits ranging from heart health to protection against sunburns and certain types of cancers.

Antioxidants protect your body from damage caused by compounds known as free radicals. When free radical levels outnumber antioxidant levels, they can create oxidative stress in your body. This stress is linked to certain chronic diseases, such as cancer, diabetes, heart disease and Alzheimer’s.

Research shows that lycopene’s antioxidant properties can help keep free radical levels in balance, protecting your body against some of these conditions.

In addition, test-tube and animal studies show that lycopene may protect your body against damage caused by pesticides, herbicides, monosodium glutamate and certain types of fungi.

May Protect Against Certain Types of Cancer

For instance, test-tube studies show that the nutrient may slow down the growth of breast and prostate cancers by limiting tumor growth. Animal studies further report that it may prevent the growth of cancer cells in the kidneys. In humans, observational studies link high intakes of carotenoids, including lycopene, to a 32–50% lower risk of lung and prostate cancers.

A 23-year study in more than 46,000 men found that men who consumed at least two servings of lycopene-rich tomato sauce per week were 30% less likely to develop prostate cancer than those who ate less than one serving of tomato sauce per month. A recent review of 26 studies found more moderate results. Researchers linked high lycopene intakes to a 9% lower likelihood of developing prostate cancer. Daily intakes of 9–21 mg per day appeared most beneficial.

May Promote Heart Health

Lycopene may also help lower your risk of developing or prematurely dying from heart disease. That’s in part because it may reduce heart disease risk factors. More specifically, it may reduce free-radical damage, total and “bad” LDL cholesterol levels and increase “good” HDL cholesterol. High blood levels of lycopene may also add years to the lives of people with a combination of health conditions that can lead to heart disease. Over a 10-year period, researchers noted that individuals with that condition who had the highest blood lycopene levels had up to a 39% lower risk of dying prematurely. In another 10-year study, diets rich in this nutrient were linked to a 17–26% lower risk of heart disease. A recent review further associates high blood levels of lycopene with a 31% lower risk of stroke. Lycopene’s protective effects appear particularly beneficial to those with low blood antioxidant levels or high levels of oxidative stress. This includes older adults and people who smoke or have diabetes or heart disease.

May Protect Against Sunburn: Lycopene also appears to offer some protection against the damaging effects of the sun. In one small 12-week study, participants were exposed to UV rays before and after consuming either 16 mg of lycopene from tomato paste or a placebo. Participants in the tomato paste group had less severe skin reactions to the UV exposure.

Food Sources

Must have a rich pink to red color generally contain some lycopene. Tomatoes are the biggest food source, and the riper the tomato, the more lycopene it contains. Sun-dried tomatoes: 45.9 mg

Tomato purée  Guava  Watermelon  Fresh tomatoes  Canned tomatoes  Papaya  Pink grapefruit:  cooked sweet red peppers

Lycopene Supplements: Lycopene can be taken in supplement form. However, it may interact with certain medications, including blood thinners and blood-pressure lowering medications. One small study also found that 2 mg of daily lycopene supplements during pregnancy could increase your risk of preterm labor or low birth weight. In these cases , please speak to your doctor if you need help deciding whether to take Lycopene.

Hello, again, It’s Been A While

I am so sorry that I have not been here for a while. But I am sure you will understand.

I was in the hospital. I fell in my house and smashed up my face, including my nose.

I don’t know how it happened, but I must have tripped over something on the floor. I went flying right into the wall. Everything in my hand also went up in the air.

Please don’t worry, I am fine now. My ‘just got out of the boxing ring black marks’ are almost all gone.

I will be back very soon with Healthy Eating or Random Thoughts.

I Am Baaack—or at least I hope so.

I have been in the hospital. I fell in my house and smashed up my face. I don’t know why or how it happened, but I smashed it up face really well. In fact, I could have been in a boxing ring!

Thank goodness nothing was broken but my face was twice its normal size in a few areas.

I am not allowed to do much, so I will not be posting until hopefully next week.

In the meantime please think about any questions you might want to ask. I would love to have that ready to start with.

Please stay well and take care of yourself. We’ll be back to Healthy Eating or Random Thoughts soon.

PS: I am not posting my picture.

My Early Mother’s Day Gift.

THANKS SARAH AND RICKY

Black Beans are Good for You

Black beans are classified as legumes. They are in fact, the edible seeds of the plant. Like others, such as peanuts, peas, and lentils, black beans are prized for their high protein and fiber content. They also contain several other key vitamins and minerals that are known to benefit human health. Among other benefits, black beans may help strengthen bones. Black beans contain quercetin and saponins which can protect the heart. The iron, phosphorus, calciummagnesium, manganese, copper, and zinc in black beans all contribute to building and maintaining bone structure and strength. Black beans are high in protein and fiber.

Calcium and phosphorus are important in bone structure, while iron and zinc play crucial roles in maintaining the strength and elasticity of bones and joints. Roughly 99 percent of the body’s calcium supply, 60 percent of its magnesium, and 80 percent of its phosphorus stores are contained in bone. This means it is extremely important to get enough of these nutrients from the diet. Maintaining a low sodium intake is essential for keeping blood pressure at a normal level. Black beans are naturally low in sodium and contain potassium, calcium, and magnesium, all of which have been found to decrease blood pressure naturally.

Studies have shown that individuals with type 1 diabetes who consume high-fiber diets have lower blood glucose levels. Additionally, people with type 2 diabetes may have improved blood sugar, lipids, and insulin levels. One cup, or 172 grams (g), of cooked black beans contributes 15 g of fiber. The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommends 25 g of fiber per day based on a 2,000-calorie diet. This may vary depending on overall intake of calories.

The fiber, potassium, folate, vitamin B6, and phytonutrient content of black beans, coupled with its lack of cholesterol, all support heart health. This fiber helps lower the total amount of cholesterol in the blood and decrease the risk of heart disease. Vitamin B6 and folate prevent the buildup of homocysteine. When excessive amounts of homocysteine accumulate in the body, it can damage blood vessels and lead to heart problems. The quercetin and saponins found in black beans also aid in cardioprotection. Quercetin is a natural anti-inflammatory that appears to reduce the risk of atherosclerosis and protect against the damage caused by low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol. Research also indicates that saponins help lower blood lipid and blood cholesterol levels, which prevents damage to the heart and blood vessels.
Selenium is a mineral that is not present in most fruits and vegetables but can be found in black beans. It plays a role in liver enzyme function and helps detoxify some cancer-causing compounds in the body. Additionally, selenium may prevent inflammation and decreases tumor growth rates. Saponins prevent cancer cells from multiplying and spreading throughout the body. Fiber intakes from fruits and vegetables like black beans are associated with a lowered risk of colorectal cancer. Black beans are high in folate, which plays a role in DNA synthesis and repair, thus preventing the formation of cancer cells from mutations in the DNA.
Because of their fiber content, black beans help to prevent constipation and promote regularity for a healthy digestive tract. They provide fuel for the healthy bacteria in the colon. Dietary fiber is recognized as an important factor in weight loss and management. High fiber foods increase the sense of fullness after eating and reduce appetite, making an individual feel fuller for longer, thereby lowering overall calorie intake. Many studies have suggested that increasing consumption of plant foods like black beans decreases the risk of obesitydiabetes, heart disease, and overall mortality while promoting a healthy complexion and hair, increased energy, and overall lower weight.

Black Bean Soup

1 pound black beans 1/3 bay leaf 1 Large onion, sliced Salt to taste A few cloves chopped garlic 1 tsp. dry mustard powder.

Wash beans well & soak for 8 hrs. Place beans and liquid in large saucepan with bay leaf, bring to a boil over high heat. Skim off foam, lower heat and simmer partially covered till beans are tender, about 1 hour.

Add onion & cook 1 hour. Add salt and garlic. Cook, adding boiling water if necessary until beans are very soft and start to melt into liquid 1-2 hrs. more.

Remove bay leaf, turn off heat. Ladle beans into batches and puree in blender. Add dry mustard powder and dry sherry. Correct seasonings. Reheat and serve, adding ant garnishes you wish – slices of lemon, freshly chopped herbs, etc. AND ENJOY

Random Thoughts I wrote Long Ago

  1. The Temple of Isis is a temple of gold where we heal with sound and light. We pray to God for one and all in the hope we make things right.

2. I cook, clean and sweat all day. I’m only fourteen but there’s no time to play. I have no rights, I must obey or I will be beaten and sent away. Who am I and why am I here. What is it I am to do? Why can’t I speak up, why can’t I be heard, I am a person, too.

3. On the Versailles balcony looking over the formal gardens I sit and play I line up my toy soldiers, then knock them down as my nurse watches a blue jay. As part of the royal court I have many restrictions and must watch what I do. I can’t run or jump or yell, or sing as loud as the bell from the church across the way. But I’ve been told I will be running the country one day.

4. Father Guido prays in his own way to help right some of the wrongs as Isis’s vibrations fill the air with color and light and songs. People come here wanting to be healed, they bring their cares and woes. They beat on their chests just like the animals do and tell me of all their foes. I’m a man of God but still just a man and they ask so much of me. Who am I? Not what they see. I can only be who I can be.

Star, the best dog ever!

Eggplant Good or Bad

Eggplant is a high-fiber, low- calorie food that is rich in nutrients and comes with many potential health benefits. From reducing the risk of heart disease to helping with blood sugar control and weight loss, eggplants are a simple and delicious addition to any healthy diet.

Eggplants are part of the nightshade family. Nightshades contain alkaloids, including solanine, which can be toxic. Solanine protects these plants while they are still developing. Eating the leaves or tubers of these plants can lead to symptoms such as burning in the throat, nausea and vomiting, and heart arrhythmias.

But if you are able…. Here is a great recipe.

18 oz. Roma tomatoes or artichokes 8 oz. eggplant 1 onion garlic

2 tbs. extra virgin olive oil Salt and Pepper 1 cup short grain brown rice 1 cup unsweetened Almond Milk 1/4 cup slivered almonds Fresh Basil

Heat the oven to 425. Rinse, trim, and thinly slice tomatoes and eggplant Chop the onion Trim and peel 4 garlic cloves. Put vegetables in a small baking dish with 2 tbsp. oil and a sprinkle of salt and pepper; toss to coat and spread into a single layer. Roast, stirring once or twice until the veggies are tender and browned in places, 30 to 45 minutes.

Meanwhile, put the rice in a medium saucepan with the almond milk, 1 cup water, a pinch of salt and bring to boil. Reduce heat until it bubbles steadily; cover and cook undisturbed until the rice is tender and liquid almost absorbed, 20 to 25 minutes. Fluff the rice with a fork, cover the pan and remove it from the heat.

When the veggies are done, remove the pan from the oven and turn on the broiler. Add the rice to the veggies and mash a little with a fork to make the mixture creamy; taste and adjust seasonings. Top the gratin with the almonds and broil , watching like a hawk until they begin to brown, 1 to 3 minutes.

IS GLUTEN FREE FOR YOU?

Gluten is a sticky, storage protein challenging for the digestive tract. It binds to the small intestinal wall where it can cause digestive and immune system problems. Gluten sensitivity is a major contributing factor with inflammatory and autoimmune diseases, but it is only bad for that people have a health condition such as celiac disease.

If that’s not you, giving up foods with gluten could cause you to fall short on nutrients like fiber and B vitamins.

Gluten-Free Buckwheat and Millet Bread  

Prep time 15 m     Cook 1 hr.     Ready in 1 hr. 15 min.

Ingredients:

1 cup buckwheat groats

½ cup millet

2 tbsp. sunflower seeds

2 tbsp. chia seeds

½ tsp. baking soda

½ tsp. salt

2 cups buttermilk

12 pitted prunes, chopped (optional)

Preparation:

Pre-heat oven to 450 degrees. Generously grease a loaf pan with butter. Grind buckwheat and millet in food processor until very fine. Add sunflower seeds, chia seeds, baking soda, and salt; pulse in the processor until incorporated. With the processor on, slowly pour buttermilk into mixture until a thick dough forms. Stir prunes into dough, then transfer to loaf pan, and cover with parchment paper.

Bake in pre-heated oven for 15 min. Reduce heat to 390 degrees, remove parchment paper and continue baking until bread is crusty but still soft on the inside, about 45 minutes more.

ENJOY!

SEARCHING CHILDHOOD TO UNDERSTAND TODAY A puzzle always starts with ‘begin here.’ For a Jigsaw it’s the corners. But when it’s your heart where do I begin? Deep in my body, in my gut and my abdomen. All broken, needing to be fixed. Child inside, if you are truly there then speak to me. Tell me of your sorrows, your disappointments, and hurts. I know there are many. I want to know your anger, your bitterness at having to fight for anything you needed. I want to know what it felt like to bring yourself up, to have no direction or help from our parents. I want to know your loneliness, your disappointments, your struggles, your fears. I know you are still in me and afraid. There is no more need for fear. They are gone and we are here. We survived. Not only did we survive, but we’ve made a good life, a great life. What is missing now is an understanding of what we went through during those early years. Remembering will make us whole, will take away the fears and the depression, will allow us to move on to an even better life, free and clear and clean. What will it be like to clean out all that garbage, to put it to rest, to not carry the emotional baggage anymore? To have energy, to be able to eat normally, to feel freedom from all the issues we have carried around for these eighty-five years. I am sorry to have taken so long to get here. We have both suffered but not for lack of trying to figure it all out. We just needed to get to this place with the willingness to face it all. I cannot undo all those years. But we are here now and I am ready. Ready to hear it all, know it all. It is up to you. You are the one who endured it. I will not put pressure on you, you have had enough of that in your young life. I will wait until you are ready. Let me know when we can begin to write our memoir.

s your heart