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1. To Protect Against Cancer
Scientists at the University of California at Santa Barbara laboratories of Leslie Wilson, professor of biochemistry and pharmacology, and Mary Ann Jordan, adjunct professor in the Department of Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology, have shown how cruciferous vegetables (cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower) protect against the development of cancer at the cellular level. Their research is published in this month’s journal Carcinogenesis.
These vegetables contain compounds called isothiocyanates. The researchers studied one of these compounds called sulforaphane (SFN), which interferes with the reproduction of tumour cells.
“[SFN] has already been shown to reduce the incidence and rate of chemically induced mammary tumors in animals. [In the laboratory it has been shown that it] inhibits the growth of cultured human breast cancer cells, leading to cell death.” said Olga Azarenko, one of the researchers who made the finding.
For more details you can start with the press release from UCSB.
2. To Help With Cardiovascular health
In this study 1,224 people between 55 and 80 at high risk of cardiovascular disease were studied for one year. One group received advice on a low-fat diet while two groups received quarterly education on the traditional Mediterranean diet. (This diet is characterized by a high intake of cereals, vegetables, fruits and olive oil, a moderate intake of fish and alcohol and a low intake of dairy, meats and sweets.) One of the Mediterranean diet groups was provided with 1 liter per week of virgin olive oil and the other received 30 grams per day of mixed nuts.
The participants weight did not change during the year. However, the number of individuals with large waist circumference, high triglycerides or high blood pressure significantly decreased in the Mediterranean diet plus nuts group compared with the control group.
The authors conclude, “The results of the present study show that a non–energy-restricted traditional Mediterranean diet enriched with nuts, which is high in fat, high in unsaturated fat and palatable, is a useful tool in managing the metabolic syndrome.”
3. To Assist with Recovery from Surgery
research has confirmed the beneficial effects of plants and flowers for patients recovering from abdominal surgery.
A recent study by Seong-Hyun Park and Richard H. Mattson, researchers from the Department of Horticulture, Recreation and Forestry at Kansas State University, provides strong evidence that contact with plants is directly beneficial to a hospital patient’s health.
The study, published in the October 2008 issue of HortTechnology, was conducted on 90 patients recovering from an appendectomy. Patients were randomly assigned to hospital rooms with or without plants during their postoperative recovery periods.
Patients with plants in their rooms had significantly fewer intakes of pain medication, more positive physiological responses (lower blood pressure and heart rate), less pain, anxiety, and fatigue, and better overall positive and higher satisfaction with their recovery rooms than their counterparts in the control group without plants in their rooms.
The study suggests that potted plants offer the most benefit, as opposed to cut flowers, because of their longevity. Nursing staff reported that as patients recovered, they began to show interaction with the plants, including watering, pruning, and moving them for a better view or light. A number of studies have also shown that indoor plants make air healthier and provide an optimum indoor environment by increasing humidity, and reducing the quantity of mold spores and airborne germs.
American Society for Horticultural Science (2008, December 30). Flowering Plants Speed Post-surgery Recovery. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 30, 2008, from http://www.sciencedaily.com¬ /releases/2008/12/081229104700.htm
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