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The Happy Cooking Co Newsletter
Luscious Eggplant Parmigiana
Health Benefits of Winter Squash

A Variety of Health-Promoting Nutrients

Winter squash, unlike its summer equivalent, can be harvested very late into the fall, has a longer storage potential, and still provides an outstanding variety of conventional nutrients. Winter squash emerged from our food ranking system as an excellent source of vitamin A (in the form of beta-carotene), a very good source of vitamin C , potassium , dietary fiber and manganese. In addition, winter squash emerged as a good source of folate, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin B1, copper, vitamin B6 , niacin-vitamin B3 and pantothenic acid. How does this amazing array of nutrients support our health?

One of the most abundant nutrients in winter squash, beta-carotene, has been shown to have very powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.

Beta-carotene is able to prevent the oxidation of cholesterol in the body. Since oxidized cholesterol is the type that builds up in blood vessel walls and contributes to the risk of heart attack and stroke, getting extra beta-carotene in the diet may help to prevent the progression of atherosclerosis.

It may also protect against diabetic heart disease and may be useful for preventing other complications caused by free radicals often seen in long-term diabetes. Additionally, intake of foods such as winter squash that are rich in carotenoids may be beneficial to blood sugar regulation. Research has suggested that physiological levels, as well as dietary intake, of carotenoids may be inversely associated with insulin resistance and high blood sugar levels.
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The Flexiatrian Cookbook

Health Article of the Month
The Holistic Approach
  “The cure of a part should not be attempted without treatment of the whole. No attempt should be made to cure the body without the soul, and if the head and body are to be healthy, you must begin by curing the mind” Plato

What does it mean to be healthy?

HEAL-THY, Heal thyself

Hippocrates the father of medicine interpreted that many illnesses could be cured with foods alone. 400 B.C. We are part of nature and we respond to nature's law, we live symbiotically with plants; we provide Co2 and they provide to us O2 without it we die and they die

What are Vitamins?

Vitamins are organic substances that are required in small amounts in the diet. They are necessary for numerous special functions in the body and are essential for good health. They can be affected by environmental conditions such as light, heat and air food storage processing and cooking can all act to reduce the level of vitamins left in the food. Vitamins may be either fat-soluble or water-soluble

The fat-soluble vitamins are vitamins A, D, E and K. Fat-soluble vitamins can be stored in the body and so dietary sources are not needed every day.

The water-soluble vitamins are vitamin C and the B group of vitamins. The B group of vitamins includes B1, B2, B3, B6, B12, folic acid, biotin and pantothenic acid The body is less able to store water-soluble vitamins (with the exception of vitamin B12 which is stored in the liver) and so they are needed daily.

Water-soluble vitamins are more likely to be lost during cooking.

Vitamin A, was identified in 1913, was the first fat-soluble vitamin to be discovered. A light yellow crystalline compound, vitamin A is also known as retinol, a name given in reference to the participation of this compound in the functions of the retina of the eye. Vitamin A has also been called the "anti-infective" vitamin due to its role in supporting the activities of the immune system.

Retinol, or preformed vitamin A occurs only in foods of animal origin. Fruits and vegetables that contain certain carotenoids also provide vitamin A activity. Carotenoids are plant pigments, responsible for the red, orange, and yellow color of fruits and vegetables.
The body can convert certain members of the carotenoid family, including beta-carotene, alpha-carotene, and gamma-carotene, into vitamin A. These carotenoids are sometimes referred to as "provitamin A," and retinol as "preformed vitamin A."

Vitamin A stimulates several immune system activities, possibly by promoting the growth, and preventing the stress-induced shrinkage, of the thymus gland. Vitamin A is known to enhance the function of white blood cells, increase the response of antibodies to antigens, and to have anti-viral activity.

In addition, retinoic acid is needed to maintain the normal structure and function of epithelial and mucosal tissues, which are found in the lungs, trachea, skin, oral cavity, and gastrointestinal tract. These tissues, when healthy and intact, serve as the first line of defense for the immune system, providing a protective barrier that disease-causing microorganisms cannot penetrate.

Vitamin A is also necessary for normal cell growth and development. Although the mechanisms by which vitamin A promotes cell growth and development are not yet fully understood, it is known that retinoic acid is necessary for the synthesis of many glycoproteins, which control cellular adhesion (the ability of cells to attach to one another), cell growth and cell differentiation.

What are deficiency symptoms for vitamin A?

Dietary deficiency of vitamin A is quite common in developing countries, and is associated with the high incidence of blindness, viral infections, and child mortality that occurs in impoverished populations. Vitamin A deficiency primarily affects the health of the skin, hair, eyes, and immune system, though loss of appetite, bone abnormalities, and growth retardation are also associated with inadequate intake of this vitamin.

A tell-tale sign of vitamin A deficiency is hyperkeratosis, a goose bump-like appearance of the skin caused by excessive production of keratin (a protein found in skin) that blocks hair follicles. In initial stages, hyperkeratosis is found on the forearms and thighs, where the skin becomes dry, scaly, and rough. In advances stages, hyperkeratosis affects the whole body, causing hair loss.

Since vitamin A is a fat-soluble vitamin, vitamin A deficiency may be caused by a diet that is extremely low in fat and/or the presence of medical conditions that cause a reduction in the ability to absorb dietary fat, such as pancreatic enzyme deficiency, Crohn's disease, celiac spruce, cystic fibrosis, surgical removal of part or all of the stomach, gall bladder disease, and liver disease.
What can high-vitamin A foods do for you?
  • Preserve and improve your eyesight
  • Help you fight off viral infections
What events can indicate a need for more high-vitamin A foods?
  • Frequent viral infections
  • Night blindness
  • Goose bump-like appearance of the skin
  • Best Sources of preformed Vitamin A, are Milk and Eggs
Best Sources of provitamin A is found in :
  • carrots,
  • spinach,
  • bell peppers,
  • butternut squash,
  • Sweet Potato,
  • kale,
  • turnip,
  • winter squash,
  • collard greens,
  • Swiss chard ,
  • watercress,
  • dried apricots,
  • in plant foods it is present as its precursor, beta-carotene.
Vitamin A may play a role in the prevention and/or treatment of the following health conditions :
  • Acne
  • AIDS
  • Alcoholism
  • Atopic dermatitis
  • Cataracts
  • Cervical dysplasia
  • Diabetes
  • Dry Eyes
  • Fibro cystic breast disease
  • Hyperkeratosis
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Otitis media (ear infection)
  • Poor vision
  • Psoriasis
  • Thyroid disorders
  • Ulcers
  • Vaginitis
  • Varicose veins
  • Viral infections
A diet rich in Vitamin A and Vitamin C can work wonders for your health, by boosting your immune system and providing effective protection against cold, Flu and influenza

Happy Cooking Co - 549 South State College Blvd , Fullerton , CA 92831 - Phone (888) 867-4045
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