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       Volume I - March 27, 2009

Super Heroes of the Nutrition World!
by Alice Osborne and Patty Liston

Did you know that there is a nutritional factor missing from almost everyone’s diet — one that nearly every function in the body relies on to function properly?

It’s not protein, water, carbs, fats, vitamins or minerals — it’s enzymes. No wonder so many people are exhausted and experiencing disease in record numbers. However, with plentiful amounts of enzymes along with important phytonutrients, the body can repair damage, slow the rate of aging, and even overcome illness.

Research has discovered the healing power of enzyme-rich foods, and the health improvements they provide are astounding. When people included enzyme-rich foods into their daily diets, they dropped excessive weight; overcame colitis, irritable bowel syndrome, arthritis, fibromyalgia, and many other illnesses. To top it off, they experienced an increase in energy and vitality.

A couple enzyme-rich foods to start adding to your diet immediately along with suggestions on how to do this:

Pineapple- its major enzyme is bromelain. Bromelain is a proteolytic enzyme (an enzyme that digests proteins) used to treat muscle injuries and aid digestion. It’s a natural anticoagulant that breaks down the blood-clotting protein fibrin, which helps to explain why results of at least two clinical trials suggest that the enzyme can help to improve the symptoms of angina and thrombophlebitis.

As well as thinning the blood, bromelain thins mucus, and thus benefits asthmatics and people suffering from chronic bronchitis. There is also evidence that bromelain triggers beneficial changes in white blood cells, and thus can improve immune function. Bromelain has potent anti-inflammatory properties, which promotes the healing of minor muscle injuries (sprains and strains). Studies also found evidence that it helps improve the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis.

When bromelain is applied topically, it speeds wound healing. Reasearch also suggests it has anti-cancer properties. (Recent studies have linked chronic inflammation to cancer, thus any anti-cancer action of bromelain is likely due to its anti-inflammatory properties.) The enzyme may also enhance the effect of the antibiotics amoxicillin, erythromycin, penicillamine, and penicillin. Bromelain aids digestion by enhancing the effects of the digestive enzymes trypsin and pepin. It also helps prevent heartburn and eases diarrhea, if either are caused by a deficiency of digestive enzymes.

Pineapple Mint Salad
Courtesy Eating Well

2 cups diced fresh pineapple (1/2 pineapple)
1/4 cup chopped red onion
2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
1/8 teaspoon salt

Combine pineapple, onion, mint and salt in a small bowl. (Serves 4)

Nutrition Information, Per serving: 42 calories; 0 g fat (0 g sat, 0 g mono); 0 mg cholesterol; 11 g carbohydrate; 1 g protein; 1 g fiber; 75 mg sodium; 117 mg potassium.
Nutrition bonus: Vitamin C (49% daily value).
1 Carbohydrate Serving
Exchanges: 1 fruit

  Download this recipe.

Baker Beach Salad
Courtesy Dole Pineapple Co.

3 cups fresh spinach
1 banana, sliced
1/2 cup raspberries or 1 orange, peeled, sliced
1/2 cup sliced radishes or cucumber
1/2 cup slivered carrots
6 ounces barbecued or smoked deli chicken, sliced
1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese, optional
1/4 cup fat free or reduced calorie Italian salad dressing

Arrange spinach on 2 salad plates. Arrange banana, raspberries, radishes, carrots and chicken over spinach. Sprinkle Parmesan cheese over each serving, if desired. Pour dressing over salads. (Serves 2)

  Download this recipe.

Papaya— its major enzyme is papain, which helps digest proteins, which is used like bromelain, to treat sports injuries, and other causes of trauma, and allergies. Papayas help prevent atherosclerosis and diabetic heart disease. They’re an excellent source of vitamin C as well as a good source of vitamin E and vitamin A, three very powerful antioxidants, which help prevent the oxidation of cholesterol. Only when cholesterol becomes oxidized is it able to stick to and build up in blood vessel walls, forming dangerous plaques that can eventually cause heart attacks or strokes. One way vitamin E and vitamin C exert this effect is through their suggested association with a compound called paraoxonase, an enzyme that inhibits LDL cholesterol and HDL cholesterol oxidation.

Papayas are also a good source of fiber, which has been shown to lower high cholesterol levels. The folic acid found in papayas is needed for the conversion of a substance called homocysteine into benign amino acids such as cysteine or methionine. If unconverted, homocysteine can directly damage blood vessel walls and, if levels get too high, is considered a significant risk factor for a heart attack or stroke. Papain promotes digestive health, provides anti-inflammatory effects and immune support, protects against macular degeneration and rheumatoid arthritis, promotes lung health, and when used with green tea, can protect against prostate cancer.

A Few Quick Serving Ideas:

Mix diced papaya, cilantro, jalapeno peppers and ginger together to make a unique salsa that goes great with shrimp, scallops and halibut.

Sprinkle papaya with fresh lime juice and enjoy as is.

Slice a small papaya lengthwise and fill with fruit salad.

In a blender, combine papaya, strawberries and yogurt for a cold soup treat.

Coconut-Papaya Rice
Serves 4 and is gluten-free!

1 cup uncooked long-grain rice
1/4 cup water
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 (14 ounce) can coconut milk (not cream of coconut)
1 ripe papaya, peeled, seeded and chopped (1 pound)

Heat all ingredients except papaya to boiling in 2-quart saucepan, stirring once or twice; reduce heat. Cover and simmer 19 minutes (do not lift cover or stir); remove from heat. Fluff rice lightly with fork. Cover and let steam 5 to 10 minutes.

Mash half of the papaya. Reserve 2 tablespoons chopped papaya. Stir mashed papaya and remaining chopped papaya into rice. Heat, stirring occasionally, until mixture is hot. Sprinkle with reserved papaya and, if desired, additional cinnamon.

  Download this recipe.

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