Tuesday, 5 November 2013

#Healthy Foods - Squash (Cucurbita)

Squash is the genus Cucurbita, belongs to family Cucurbitaceae and native to Mexico and Central America. In North America, squash is divided into summer squash or winter squash, depending on the maturity of squash when harvested, immature fruit called summer squash and mature fruit called winter squash.

A. Summer squash
Summer squash, particularly the yellow variety, is a very popular vegetable in the North America now a day. May and July are at their best and most readily available. You can also find fresh, frozen, or canned at any time of the year but it is more fragile and cannot be stored fresh for long periods of time, because of more tender-tasting and easily bruised.

Nutritional supplement
1. Carbohydrate
2. Protein
3. Fat (Omega 3 fatty acid)
4. Dietary fiber
5. Calcium
6. Copper
7. Manganese
8. Magnesium
9. Potassium
10. Iron
11. Zinc
12. Vitamin A
13. Vitamin B1
14. Vitamin B2
15. Vitamin B3
16. Vitamin B6
17. Folate
18. Vitamin C
19. Vitamin K
20. Etc.

Health benefits
A. Health Benefits according to studies
1. Antioxidative activity
In the investigation of water soluble polysaccharide fraction (WSP) from pumpkin fruits (Cucurbita maxima Duchesne) and its antioxidant effects found that the WSP can serve as an inhibitor of ascorbic acid oxidation. The efficacy was also affected by the total sugar content, according to the study of "Antioxidative activity of water soluble polysaccharide in pumpkin fruits (Cucurbita maxima Duchesne)" by Nara K, Yamaguchi A, Maeda N, Koga H.(a)2. Blood sugar
In the assessment of tetrasaccharide glyceroglycolipids obtained from pumpkin and theirs Glucose-lowering activity found that both compounds demonstrated significant glucose-lowering effects in streptozotocin- and high-fat-diet-induced diabetic mice, according to "Glucose-lowering activity of novel tetrasaccharide glyceroglycolipids from the fruits of Cucurbita moschata" by Jiang Z, Du Q.(b)

Anticancer and antiinflammatory activities
In the purification of an extract of Cucurbita andreana fruits yielded cucurbitacins B (1), D (2), E (3), and I (4) found that Compounds 1, 2, 3, and 4 inhibited the COX-2 enzyme by 32, 29, 35, and 27%, respectively, at 100 microg/ml. However these compounds did not inhibit the COX-1 enzyme at this concentration. Ibuprofen, naproxen and vioxx, commercial antiinflammatory drugs, were tested as controls for the inhibition of COX-1 and COX-2 enzymes at concentrations of 2.1, 2.5 and 1.67 microg/ml, respectively. Ibuprofen and naproxen exhibited 59 and 95% COX-1, and 53 and 79% COX-2 inhibitory activities, respectively. Vioxx showed specific COX-2 inhibition by 71%. Also, cucurbitacins 1 and 4 inhibited lipid peroxidation by 59 and 23%, respectively, at 100 microg/ml, according to "Anticancer and antiinflammatory activities of cucurbitacins from Cucurbita andreana" by Jayaprakasam B, Seeram NP, Nair MG.(c)

Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH)
In the assessment of extracts from Pygeum africanum, Serenoa repens and Cucurbita pepo and theirs effect in benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) and prostate cancer (PCa) found that A selective dichloromethane extract from the stem barks of Pygeum africanum revealed the highest antiandrogenic effect. Bioactivity-directed fractionation of this extract led to the isolation of N-butylbenzenesulfonamide (NBBS) indicating that extracts of the stem bark of P. africanum harbour androgen antagonistic activity. This compound may provide a novel approach for the prevention and treatment of BPH and human PCa, according to "Extracts from Pygeum africanum and other ethnobotanical species with antiandrogenic activity" by Schleich S, Papaioannou M, Baniahmad A, Matusch R.(d)

5. Etc.

B. Health benefits according to studies

1. Vitamin C
In the evaluation of pulmonary dysfunction. and it effects on pulmonary dysfunction found that At present, evidence from randomised-controlled trials is insufficient to recommend a specific role for vitamin C in the treatment of asthma. Further methodologically strong and large-scale randomised controlled trials are needed in order to address the question of the effectiveness of vitamin C in children with asthma but some outcome data showed effectiveness on lung function, symptom scores, IgE levels and inhaled steroid use. One small study showed a significant difference in % drop in FEV1 post-exercise, according to the study of "Vitamin C supplementation for asthma" by Kaur B, Rowe BH, Arnold E.(1)

2. Molybdenum
Molybdenum cofactor is vital for human enzymes, including xanthine oxidase, sulfite oxidase, and aldehyde oxidase, Deficiency may cause
a. Prenatal brain disruption, according to the study of "Prenatal brain disruption in molybdenum cofactor deficiency" by Carmi-Nawi N, Malinger G, Mandel H, Ichida K, Lerman-Sagie T, Lev D.(2)

b. Uniparental isodisomy with microcephaly and developmental delay, according to the study of "Maternal uniparental isodisomy is responsible for serious molybdenum cofactor deficiency" by Gümüş H, Ghesquiere S, Per H, Kondolot M, Ichida K, Poyrazoğlu G, Kumandaş S, Engelen J, Dundar M, Cağlayan AO.(3)

3. Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine)
a. Memory Improvements
In the investigation of Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine) and Memory Improvements found that The multivitamin improved speed of response on a measure of spatial working memory, according to ""Memory improvements in elderly women following 16 weeks treatment with a combined multivitamin, mineral and herbal supplement : A randomized controlled trial" by Macpherson H, Ellis KA, Sali A, Pipingas A.(4)

b. Anti cancer effects
In the observation of Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine) and its anti cancer effects found that vitamin B6 is involved in the methyl donor cycle ant thus, some of the antitumor properties of vitamin B6 may involve an indirect effect on the level of DNA or histone methylation. according to ""Vitamin B6 and cancer: from clinical data to molecularly mechanisms" by Sujol G, Docquier A, Boulahtouf A, Castet-Nicolas A, Cavaillès V.(5)

4. Etc.

C. Other health benefits
1. Antioxidants
Since summer squash contains several vitamins and minerals antioxidants, it enhances the immune system in fighting the forming of free radicals that causes oxidation, leading to aging, tumors, cancers, etc., according to the study of " Multifunctional antioxidants for the treatment of age-related diseases" by Jin H, Randazzo J, Zhang P, Kador PF., posted in PubMed (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20078105)

2. Healthy bone
Summer squash helps to ensure healthy bone structure, bone metabolism in absorbing vital calcium, building essential enzymes for building bones and aiding the mineral density of spinal bone, as a result of high amount mgmesium, according to the study of "Magnesium, zinc, copper, manganese, and selenium levels in postmenopausal women with osteoporosis. Can magnesium play a key role in osteoporosis?" by Odabasi E, Turan M, Aydin A, Akay C, Kutlu M., posted in PubMed (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18695768)

3. Lymphatic function
Magnesium in summer squash helps to maintain the proper ratio of potassium, thus enhancing the lymphatic function in regulating the body fluid, resulting in lessening the risk water retention cause of swelling.

4. Vitamin K
Vitamin K beside is best known for its function in aiding coagulation, it also assists the digestive system in absorption of calcium content from food, thus enhancing formation and maintenance of healthy bones, according to the study of "Ultrasound bone mass in patients undergoing chronic therapy with oral anticoagulants" by Rey-Sanchez P, Lavado-Garcia JM, Canal-Macias ML, Rodriguez-Dominguez MT, Bote-Mohedano JL, Pedrera-Zamorano JD., posted in PubMed (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21234621)

5. Zinc
Zinc beside enhancing the biochemical reactions in the body by stimulating activity in about 100 enzymes, it is a vital mineral for ensuring the prostate health. Deficiency of zinc causes enlarged prostate, sexual dysfunction, abnormal sperm production, etc., according to the study of "Zinc levels in seminal plasma are associated with sperm quality in fertile and infertile men?" by Colagar AH, Marzony ET, Chaichi MJ., posted in PubMed (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/192855977)

6. Etc.

Side effect

B. Winter squash
Difference from summer squash, it is harvested and eaten when the fruit is completely mature, the seeds within have matured fully and the skin has hardened into a tough rind. Winter squash can be stored for a long time and generally is cooked before eating.

Nutritional supplements
1. Carbohydrate
2. Protein
3. Fat (Omega 3 fatty acid)
4. Dietary fiber
5. Calcium
6. Copper
7. Manganese
8. Magnesium
9. Potassium
10. Vitamin A
11. Vitamin B1
12. Vitamin B3
13. Vitamin B5
14. Vitamin B6
15. Folate
16. Vitamin C
17. Etc.

Health benefits
A. Health Benefits according to studies
1. Cell wall polysaccharides
In the investigation of Cell wall polysaccharides of 'Scarlet Warren' winter squash ( Cucurbita maxima ) before and after thermal processing found that no difference was seen between raw and cooked samples. Likewise, the mobility of semimobile pectic polysaccharides was apparently unaltered by cooking. No change was detected in the rigid cellulose microfibrils on cooking, according to "Effects of cooking on the cell walls (dietary fiber) of 'Scarlet Warren' winter squash ( Cucurbita maxima ) studied by polysaccharide linkage analysis and solid-state (13)C NMR" by Ratnayake RM, Sims IM, Newman RH, Melton LD.(a)

2. See above Summer squash studies

B. Health benefits according to concentration
1. Vitamin A
Vitamin A is not only important in preventing types I diabetes, according to "A close relationship between type 1 diabetes and vitamin A-deficiency and matrix metalloproteinase and hyaluronidase activities in skin tissues" by Takahashi N, Takasu S.(1) but also may be associated with compromised bone health, according to "Vitamins and bone health: beyond calcium and vitamin D" by Ahmadieh H, Arabi A.(2)

2. Vitamin C
a. Asthma
Vitamin C is one of the key antioxidant vitamins which is abundant in the extracellular fluid lining the lung and low vitamin C intake has been associated with pulmonary dysfunction, such as asthma, according to the study of "Vitamin C supplementation for asthma" by Kaur B, Rowe BH, Arnold E.(3)

b. DNA Damage
Ascorbic acid (AA), known as vitamin C, has important antioxidant vitamin has exerted the activity in preventing (imazalil)IMA-induced cause of DNA damage, according to the stuyd of "The protective role of ascorbic acid on imazalil-induced genetic damage assessed by the cytogenetic tests' by Türkez H, Aydin E.(4)

3. Dietary fiber
Daily intake of right amount of fibers can prvent and treata. Diabetes, as Increased consumption of vegetables, whole grains, and soluble and insoluble fiber is associated with improved glucose metabolism in both diabetic and nondiabetic individuals. Improvements in insulin sensitivity and glucose homeostasis were more evident in participants following a plant-based diet compared with other commonly used diets, according to the study of "Efficacy of high-fiber diets in the management of type 2 diabetes mellitus" by Wolfram T, Ismail-Beigi F.(5)

4. Manganese
It is one of important trace in preventing osteoporosis, according to the study of "[Study of estrogen deficiency impact on manganese levels in teeth and mandible of rats after ovariectomy]. [Article in Polish]" by Rahnama M, Błoniarz J, Zareba S, Swiatkowski W.(6) and regulating blood sugar level, according to the study of "[An inadequate intake of manganese may favour insulin resistance in girls]. [Article in Spanish]" by Rodríguez-Rodríguez E, Bermejo LM, López-Sobaler AM, Ortega RM.(7)

5. Etc.

C. Other health benefits
1. Vitamin B1
Vitamin B1 beside is important in functioning as a co-enzyme for production of energy, it also helps to prevent nervous tension and muscle abnormalities by decreasing the effect of Beriberi that cause confusion, muscle wasting, nerve problems and a rapid heartbeat, according to the article "Beriberi " posted in Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beriberi)

2. Vitamin B2
Riboflavin or vitamin B2 beside plays a significant role in the production of energy in carbohydrate metabolism, it also aid iron in the formation of fresh red blood cells and immune system in producing of antibodies in the body, accorsing to the study of "Immunoglobulins can utilize riboflavin (Vitamin B2) to activate the antibody-catalyzed water oxidation pathway" by

LinkNieva J, Kerwin L, Wentworth AD, Lerner RA, Wentworth P Jr., posted in PubMed (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16386801)

3. Omega 3 fatty acid
Omega 3 fatty acid beside plays an vital role in lowering bad cholesterol (LDL) that reduces the risk of plague building up in the arterial wall, causing Coronary Artery Disease, (according to the study of "Omacor and Omega-3 Fatty Acids for Treatment of Coronary Artery Disease and the Pleiotropic Effects" by Kar S., posted in PubMed (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21975796), it also balances the ratio of Omega 3 and 6 fatty acid that lessens the risk of the production of prostaglandin hormone, leading to menstrual abnormal cramps and pain, according to the study of "Herbal and dietary therapies for primary and secondary dysmenorrhoea" by Proctor ML, Murphy PA., posted in PubMed (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed?term=Omega%203%20fatty%20acid%20and%20Cramps%20and%20pain)One small trial showed fish oil (omega-3 fatty acids), researchers wrote that to be more effective than placebo for pain relief. JAPANESE HERBAL COMBINATION: One small trial showed the herbal combination to be more effective for pain relief than placebo, and less additional pain medication was taken by the treatment group.

4. Folate
Folic acid beside is important for the production of red blood cells, and for the proper development of the brain and spine, according to the study of "Go folic!" by Bland J., posted in PubMed (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21853697) it also enhances the replication and maintenance of DNA and RNA., according to the study of "A folate- and methyl-deficient diet alters the expression of DNA methyltransferases and methyl CpG binding proteins involved in epigenetic gene silencing in livers of F344 rats" by Ghoshal K, Li X, Datta J, Bai S, Pogribny I, Pogribny M, Huang Y, Young D, Jacob ST., posted in PubMed (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16702315)

5. Tryptophan
Tryptophan beside is an amino acid required by the human body to process proteins by producing serotonin which helps to enhance the brain in regulating appetite and mood. Some of the serotonin are converted to melatonin, which aids sleep patterns, according to the study of "Tryptophan increases nocturnal rest and affects melatonin and serotonin serum levels in old ringdove" by Paredes SD, Terrón MP, Cubero J, Valero V, Barriga C, Reiter RJ, Rodríguez AB., posted in PubMed (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17222434)
6. Etc.

Side effect
1, Oxalates
Winter squash contains a measure amount of oxalates that can cause problem for some people who have untreated kidney and gallbladder diseases.
2. Etc.

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(a) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21604813
(1) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19160185
(2) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21967159
(3) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19160185
(4) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21986888
(5 http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20713332

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