|Friday Five: Gardening, Plants, and Health|
|Written by Heleigh Bostwick Friday, 17 May 2013|
We know that gardening often has emotional and physical benefits, but a recent study investigates the effects of diet and physical activity and reducing the risk of developing lung cancer. The benefits of other plants in the diet have also been documented including flaxseed, blueberries, and rosemary.
1. Puttering in the Garden
Gardening is an activity that everyone can participate in--smokers and non-smokers. The study found that working in the garden once or twice a week substantially reduced the risk of developing lung cancer.
2. A Nod to Salad Lovers
Salad consumption was looked at in the lung cancer study because it is considered a marker for the consumption of many vegetables. Consuming four or more servings of salad has a protective effect.
3. Add Rosemary to those Fries
Acrylamide, a chemical that forms during frying, baking or grilling carbohydrate-rich foods such as bread, potato chips, and French fries at temperatures above 120°C, is a known carcinogen particularly when it comes to breast cancer in humans. Adding rosemary before cooking has been found to significantly reduce acrylamide formation.
4. Stick to the Purples and Blues
Anthocyanins are pigments that give fruits, berries, and vegetables their purple-red-blue colors. Recen studies out of Denmark indicate that anthocyanin extracts may help prevent obesity.
5. And for the Guys…
Flaxseed, rich in omega 3-fatty acids and lignans stunts the growth of prostate cancer tumors. Flaxseed is derived from the seeds of the flax plant ((Linum usitatissimum)) whose flowers are pictured above.