Health ingredients from Green Leafy Vegetables

The science of nutritional and food ingredients having health benefits / therapeutic benefits has developed very fast into a complex and comprehensive subject of “Clinical Nutrition”. Understanding strengths and limitations in nutritional and food ingredients is required to understand their utility and how to use nutritional supplements.

A link is acknowledged by experts to exist between consuming certain nutrients and the prevention of chronic diseases such as lifestyle diseases, cancer, heart disease etc. Most of these nuteients are present in Green Leafy Vegetables, which have almost disappeared from our daily diet.

It is necessary to bear in the mind that plant matrix of whole Dark Green Leafy Vegetable (DGLV) is composed of cells and tissues protected by lingo-cellulosic walls which are mechanically strong and impervious to digestive enzymes, have strong barriers for bio-availability. When cooked and consumed in a conventional way only about 3% of beta-carotene for example is bio-available ,. However, it is becoming increasingly clear that the nutritional ingredients may also be not fully bio-available and fully efficacious when isolated from raw material and used in their highly pure form.

Phytabolites products achieve a balance between two extremes: one extreme being whole/un-fractionated DGLV consumed in conventional way, and the other extreme being nutritional ingredients isolated in their purest forms. In Phytabolites products, the DGLV, rather than converting into isolates of various nutrient ingredients, is “fractionated” in first step. In next step, these fractions are further sub-fractioned or modified into fractions that are concentrates of ingredients. Since the nutrients recovered in the form of various concentrates are in cell-free from, they are 100% bio-available. Since these concentrates are associated with allied ingredients with which they are normally found within cells and may be deriving protection and supporting functionality from the allied ingredients; they may be providing better stability as well as better bioavailability and better functionality. For instance, beta carotene, a highly insoluble ingredient when transformed into pure crystal, is poorly bio-available when administered as suspension of pure crystals in oil. However, although chemical quantity of dissolved beta carotene in the product “LeImmune” would be much less, ALL of it is in cell free form, highly bio-available and is protected from oxidation by other anti-oxidants derived from leaves that includes alfa-tocopherol and xanthophylls.

Below are given some important ingredients of DGLV, which are 100% bio-available in Phytabolites products; hence, highly efficacious in providing the health benefits described below for them.

Dietary Fiber

Dietary fiber, insoluble and soluble types, are connected with several short term and long term health benefits. Recommended daily intake for average male (2200 calories per day intake) is about 25-35 gram per day and for average female (1500 calories per day intake) is about 17 to 25 gram per day; of which about 25 to 30% should be contributed by soluble fiber. Phytabolites offers products with a recommended blend of soluble and insoluble fiber. This can be given in the form of a powder that can be consumed as such or diluted in a glassful of water and consumed as a drink.

Dietary fiber provides several health benefits which include:

Insoluble fibers component derived from DGLV provides nitrogen to the colonic bacteria to support their growth so that they provide major bulk to the stools that maintains proper bowel movement and avoid constipation which may arise due to deficiency in dietary fiber. These bacteria also contribute to increase in level of Vitamin B12. It might be perhaps the reason that now a days there is a rampant deficiency of Vitamin B 12 in vegetarian people may be because of the inadequate consumption of the fiber from DGLV. There are several disorder related to deficiency of Vitamin B 12 including diabetes. These bacteria also help in acidity regulation. They are the most important dietary part to keep wellness.

The lignin in the fiber component derived from DGLV irreversibly binds (sequestration) with cholesterol, prevents re-absorption of cholesterol, and eliminates it from body through fecal matter.

Optimum fiber foods are considered as useful to decrease in the risk of disorders such as constipation, diverticula, irritable bowel syndrome etc,

Soluble dietary fibers are those constituents of food that are not digested in intestine, but are digested by bacteria either partially or totally when they reach in colon. In that process, the colon bacteria capable of digesting them also produce short chain fatty acids which on one hand provide nutrition to the colon wall and on the other hand, get absorbed, reach the liver and down-regulate cholesterol metabolism to reduce the level of cholesterol in the blood. In view of widely known side effects of statins, this aspect of dietary fiber may be significantly important for blood cholesterol management at reduce the dosage of statins.

Soluble fibers also lead to formation of gels in the stomach leading to slower absorption of carbohydrates and thus reducing the glycemic index of food, helping reducing Type II diabetes risk on account of effecting low blood glucose levels and improved insulin tolerance

In addition to these short term results, keeping good bowel movement may reduce risk of the long term disorders resulting from constipation such as hiatus hernia, hernia, piles, blood pressure, varicose veins etc.

Thus, dietary fiber, which by itself is not absorbed in the body as a nutrient, profoundly influences digestion process in many ways and the way nutrients are digested and utilized in the body.

Natural beta Carotene

As Pro-vitamin A:

Natural beta carotene ingredient is a pro-vitamin A. One mg of beta carotene is chemically equivalent to 1666 IU of vitamin A. Biologically, the potency becomes less if beta carotene contained in food is not fully released from the plant cells and is not fully absorbed in the digestive tract. On account of low bio-availability, although DGLV contains high quantity of beta carotene as determined by chemical analysis, nutritionists divide that content by a factor of 12 or 24, depending on their own opinion and conviction, to estimate bio-available beta-carotene from DGLV.

Beta Carotene as source of Vitamin A is superior to synthetic Vitamin A consumption for Vitamin A management. Excess consumption of synthetic Vitamin A is toxic and less consumption may give scope of deficiency of Vitamin A. Conversion of beta carotene into Vitamin A is very strictly regulated in the body to ensure that the conversion stops as soon as the level of Vitamin A in the body reaches to optimum; and the beta carotene that is not converted in Vitamin A is stored harmlessly in body fat beneath the skin awaiting future requirement of its conversion to Vitamin A with no restriction to uppermost limit. Beta Carotene has no toxicity at any level; beyond giving a yellow look to skin if consumed in highly excess quantity. Thus, beta carotene makes Vitamin A nutrition management very easy and most safe. This is especially a boon to pregnant women for whom optimum Vitamin A nutrition is critically important because deficiency of Vitamin A during pregnancy shall lead to impaired development of the infant, and the consequences of the same are never repaired in later part of life of the fetus after its birth throughout its life by any means.

That might be reason that the today’s young generation as a result of low consumption of DGLV by the mother and further by child is reflecting in impaired eye sights and requirement of the use of the spectacles in very young age.

Natural beta Carotene in Immunity: Natural beta - Carotene is known to enhance immune system as immuno-modulator by enhancing activity of “Natural Killer cells” that discharge the function of detecting foreign bodies in the body. It destroys foreign bodies by injecting lethal contents that lead to destruction along with infected and defective components (apoptosis) of the “non-self” objects, which get eliminated. The process of “Apoptosis” is different than just killing of the cell because a killed cell will still facilitate spread of the virus or bacterium contained in it; but the “Apoptosis” leads to total destruction of the DNA and RNA content of the infected cell. Thus, for the purpose of unsuspected entry of a pathogenic microbe that is new to our immune system, this mechanism provides “first line” immunity when antibody for the same is not available in the body on account of lack of vaccine/vaccination. This feature is very much valuable and is the only tool available to combat new pathogenic organisms and also to combat rapidly mutating bacteria and viruses that change their genotype with rapidity and frustrate the conventional route of combating them by the route of vaccination or antibiotics; such as in case of flue in general and bird flu, swine flu and SARS in particular, Multi-Drug Resistant bacteria and other microorganisms including Extra Exceptional Drug Resistant Tuberculosis (XRD Tuberculosis), new strains of pathogenic E. Coli etc. Such new threats first attack those whose immune system has become weak. Immune system becomes weak for various reasons, which includes various forms of stress, including physical stress such as daily exercise, exposure to pollutants etc.

Excess consumption of beta carotene and building up its storage inside the body may work out to be an excellent strategy against birds-flu, swine flu, and many other new pathogens that may emerge and throw up challenge of epidemics of the diseases for which vaccines and treatments are not available. With increase in risk of emergence of such pathogens, “non specific immunity”, which is also termed as “Innate Immunity” is becoming an important factor as a defense against new diseases. A recent episode of this nature is the Ebola epidemic in African countries which is continuing as a global scare. As on 1st March, 2015, in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, out of 14263 laboratory confirmed cases of Ebola infection, 9660 ended in death of the patients. Currently ongoing epidemic of Swine Flu in several states of India, about 1000 people have died. The victims include people of all economic strata, including rich and well known celebrities too. At present, there is nothing more efficient than Natural Killed Cells that provide you a comprehensive protection from risk of infection from a large number of varieties of pathogenic microorganisms for which vaccines are not available or are in short supply.
Carotenes are also important for skin health and fertility.

  • Xanthophylls

  • Lutein, a xanthophyll, is an important constituent for macula in the eye and in cases of age related macular degeneration, is thought to achieve regeneration too.

  • As excellent anti-oxidant to combat ageing.

  • As excellent anti-oxidant for providing protection from cancer. As excellent anti-oxidant which helps in cholesterol lowering effect.

Chlorophylls

Chlorophylls have been advocated for “internal body cleansing” and deodorization effect. They are also useful as food colour. The salt of chlorophyll called chlorophyllin helps in removing toxic material including nephrotoxic material which is helpful in Chronic kidney Disease.

Alpha tocopherol

Alpha-tocopherol is the preferentially absorbed and accumulated form of vitamin E in humans.

They are fat-soluble anti oxidants that have many functions in the body.

Besides their own utility as a nutrient, their presence in nutritional compositions protects other components that are more oxidation sensitive than themselves.

Vitamin E combined with other antioxidants, like zinc and vitamin C, has indicated a protective effect against the onset and progression of AMD (Age Related Macular Degeneration), also help protect against the damaging effects of free radicals which contribute to the development of chronic diseases such as cancer.

Vitamin E also may block the formation of nitrosamines, which are carcinogens formed in the stomach from nitrites consumed in the diet. It also may protect against the development of cancers by enhancing immune function.

Vitamin K

Vitamin K1 is found chiefly in leafy green vegetables is believed to play a role in bone growth and the maintenance of bone density.

Calcium

Calcium a mineral necessary for a healthy diet and is necessary for life. It builds stronger, denser bones early in life and helps in keeping bones strong and healthy later in life. Long-term deficiency can lead to rickets and poor blood clotting. Osteoporosis is a risk for menopausal women in case of calcium deficiency, in which case the bone deteriorates and there is an increased risk of fractures.

Calcium supplements are recommended to be taken with food. It is recommended to take supplements with food to aid in absorption. Calcium coming through natural supplements keep the same soluble in intestine so that they can be more efficiently absorbed. For the people who have lactose intolerance, green leafy vegetables are an excellent source of dietary calcium.

Natural sources of calcium are safer than inorganic sources from the point of view of risk of kidney stone and alkalosis from consumption of inorganic calcium.

Iron

Need of iron to the body is well known. Its deficiency leads to anemia. Green leafy vegetables are considered as a rich source of iron. Green leafy vegetables, thus, are very valuable source of preventing and treating anemia in view of the fact that inorganic supplements are poorly absorbed and create gastrointestinal problems for several people. They are safe also because over consumption as inorganic iron, that can potentially be toxic, organic form of iron is not toxic.

Magnesium

It helps in control of blood pressure and it also involved in regulation of proper potassium balance in the body

Alpha linolenic acid

α-Linolenic acid, a n−3 fatty acid, is a member of the group of essential fatty acids. They are called essential fatty acids because they cannot be produced within the body and must be acquired through diet. Studies have found evidence that α-linolenic acid is related to a lower risk of cardiovascular disease. The weight of the evidence favors recommendations for modest dietary consumption of α-linolenic acid (2 to 3 g per day) for reducing the risk of the primary and secondary incidence of coronary heart disease

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