Beta-carotene is one of a group of red, orange, and yellow pigments called carotenoids. Beta-carotene and other carotenoids provide approximately 50% of the vitamin A needed in the American diet. Beta-carotene can be found in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. It can also be made in a laboratory.
Beta-carotene is used to decrease asthma symptoms caused by exercise; to prevent certain cancers, heart disease, cataracts, and age related macular degeneration (AMD); and to treat AIDS, alcoholism, Alzheimer’s disease, depression, epilepsy, headache, heartburn, high blood pressure, infertility, Parkinson’s disease, rheumatoid arthritis, schizophrenia, and skin disorders including psoriasis and vitiligo. [Source: NIH]
When shopping for bell peppers, many stores will carry a variety of colors including green, red, yellow and orange. I've even seen purple bell peppers. Red bell peppers are a more mature version of the other colors and has some nice nutritional characteristics. Green bell peppers have 340 mcg of beta-carotene per cup while red bell peppers have 840 mcg. Also, green bell peppers have 12% of the daily value of Vitamin A while red bell peppers have 105%. Red bell peppers also have more Vitamin C than green bell peppers [Source]. Beta-carotene is an anti-oxidant described here:
So if you haven't tried cooking with bell peppers before, try adding them to your stir-fries, salads, soups, or roasted vegetable recipes. If you're used to using green bell peppers, try mixing in red bell peppers and check out the flavor. They provide nice color and taste and deliver a good dose vitamins and anti-oxidants.
eBook now available!
Tears in the Rainforest Book Trailer
Publisher: Koehler Books - Imprint of Morgan James
Genres: Fiction, Action / Adventure, Romance
Order Options: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Powell's Books, Indie Bound
Chris Johnson, U.S. Customs Agent based in Seattle is given a demanding assignment in Malaysia. The country needs assistance in slowing the fast growing trade in illegal smuggling of exotic animals and protection of endangered species that are rapidly being wiped out.
With the assistance of Suhaimi Wahab, Malaysia’s Wildlife Crime Unit, and a defiant undercover agent named May Ling Kang, Chris becomes embroiled in the smuggling activities of ruthless gangs who use murder, kidnapping and corruption to enforce their business and to keep money and trade flowing.
Can Johnson save exotic species from extinction and stop the smuggling? Will the rainforests survive the slaughter? Read this exciting novel for insight into the dark world of endangered animal smuggling.
If you haven't tried raw ginger or turmeric in your cooking, it's something to consider. They are easy to prepare and add flavor. Turmeric is bright orange and ginger is a pale yellow or cream color. Turmeric and ginger make a nice combination in curries. Ginger goes well in stir-fries, soups, and even smoothies. Even better, they provide many valuable health benefits!
A study of 27,000 British participants 40 years or older found that diet was linked to risk of cataracts. The study concluded that vegetarians and vegans had the lowest risk of developing cataracts compared to those who ate meat, fish, or poultry. [NIH Abstract] The NIH defines cataracts as follows:
A cataract is a clouding of the lens in the eye that affects vision. Most cataracts are related to aging. Cataracts are very common in older people. By age 80, more than half of all Americans either have a cataract or have had cataract surgery.
More research is needed to determine how it reduces the risk of this condition, but diet affects so many parts of the body that it's not surprising that eye health is related to it as well. As more Americans adopt vegan or vegetarian diets, it will be interesting to observe if the prevalence of the condition decreases.
New fashion line Vaute Couture put its collection on the runway at New York's Fashion Week in February and was well received as discussed in this article from US News. The fabric for the line didn't include any leather, lamb skin, wool, or fur and was made from "organic, recycled, and high-tech fabrics."
As vegan fashion gains popularity on the runways of NY, it will most likely influence many other designers and retailers to consider vegan fabrics and clothing. Stella McCartney, for example, designs cruelty free fashion and retailers such as Target and Payless now sell vegan shoes.
It nice to see vegan fashion along with vegan diets hitting the mainstream. With more clothing options available to suit all budgets, those wishing to extend the vegan philosophy from diet to clothing and accessories can look good doing so and be on trend!
The experimental...methodology has demonstrated that supplementing prisoners' diets with physiological dosages of vitamins, minerals and essential fatty acids caused a reduction in antisocial behavior to a remarkable degree.
This conclusion from a British nutrition study on inmates was the result of comparing two groups, one which ate standard prison meals which typically didn't provide proper nutrition and the other which had food supplemented with vitamins, minerals, and essential fatty acids, found a reduction in anti-social instances.
Several research studies to date, including this one from 2002, support the powerful role diet has on behavior, especially its ability to influence good behavior and transform damaging conduct. The study also notes that poor diet can be easily "identified and remedied". One remedy is to eat enough vegetables, fruits, grains, and seeds, all elements of a vegan diet, to provide the nutrition everyone needs to feel great and act with good intentions!
Producing a sustainable environment can be a positive outcome of the vegan diet due to the more efficient use of water and land when compared to meat production. Greenhouse gasses also appear to be lessened. This graphic from CulinarySchools.org lays out the numbers and comparisons in a useful way!
Many top chefs around the world predicted that the next few years would see vegetables becoming the main attraction at restaurants and that the eateries that could do it well would benefit from eager customers wanting to try plant-based cuisine. The prediction seems to becoming true.
A top restaurant in the city where I live did an all veg menu for one night last month and it was impossible to get a reservation. In Cleveland, a meat and potatoes city according to this article, the vegan trend is on the up-tick. The Cleveland Vegan Society organized a fundraiser to raise money for a VegFest, and it sold out with over 400 people attending! A local vegan chef commented:
"I was totally shocked that it wasn't just a bunch of my Trekkie friends that usually hang out in their moms' basement," jokes Harouvis. "These were normal, professional, amazing people that were there. There were no secret handshakes. I was so excited. Whenever you find your people, you're just so happy."
The vegan society there also held a Vegan 101 workshop and sold out all 150 seats. These are just a few examples, but it's clear that the demand for healthier food options is growing and the interest in the vegan diet and lifestyle is expanding across the U.S.!
For the last three months (Nov, Dec, and Jan), wind farms in Spain produced the largest portion of its electricity requirement for the first time (more than 25%). According to this article from the Guardian, wind energy output was higher than that from coal or nuclear generators. Spain has a goal of deriving 40% of its electricity from renewable energy sources by 2020. It appears to be well on its way, setting a nice example for the rest of the world!
A recent study carried out in the UK by Oxford University and published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition concludes that vegetarian diets lowered the risk of heart disease among the 45,000 participants by 32%.
Overwhelmingly, those who identified with being vegetarian had lower blood pressure, cholesterol levels and body mass index (BMI) than those who ate meat and fish. The team found a 32% lower risk of hospitalization or death from cardiovascular disease among the non-meat-eaters. Source
Per the CDC, heart disease is the leading cause of mortality in both men and women and is caused in part by high blood pressure, smoking, and high LDL cholesterol. Other factors include diabetes, obesity, poor diets, excessive use of alcohol, and inactivity. Many of these factors are influenced by what we eat and a plant-based diet could help mitigate or overcome many of the contributors to heart disease. The results of this study support this approach to preventative health.
Make Simple Vegan Meals