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Thinking like a cabbage is good for you”
We all know…. eating fruits and vegetables is good for you, because they’re FULL of anti-oxidants, which help “fight” oxidative stress. And oxidative stress is what ultimately “kills you”.
Vegetables are not ALWAYS full of anti-oxidants.
Understanding how the cabbage in your salad THINKS, will ensure you get more of those healthful anti-oxidants.
Supermarket cabbages are still thinking
This might be a little disturbing – but vegetables continue to BE….. for some time after they have been harvested.
Their BE-ing means that they are able to respond to the environment they find themselves in. The environmental influences we know they’re sensitive too, include both light and temperature.
A day in the lands
Now, a cabbage BE-ing in the ground has a few things that it needs to concern itself with….
The biggest concern is AVOIDING being eaten !
Since as a plant, running away is not a viable option, the cabbage needs to evoke chemical defences. In the case of a cabbage, one the chemical weapons which is deployed is 4 methylsulfinylbutyl, 4MSO for short, a cabbage glucosinolate.
This cabbage glucosinolate is bad news for bugs, contemplating a cabbage dinner, because it causes some serious indigestion, BUT, good news for humans, enjoying a cabbage salad. The glucosinolates are part of the anti-oxidant brigade – lab studies have shown they have anti-cancer powers.
A pesticide that is good for you, go figure.
When the bugs bite
Now turning up the “pesticide” factory is hard work, so it is wise to only do it when it is absolutely necessary.
Turns out, the toughest time of the day, for a cabbage, is early morning. This is the time, most bugs are looking for dinner………….. their plan, to seek out some delicious greenery early in the day, park off and keeping feeding, until they’re absolutely satiated.
So, this is the time, cabbage’s need to be on their guard. Cabbage’s use their internal clock to ramp up glucosinolate production, as soon as the new day dawns. Ensuring the levels are highest, 4- 8 hours after sunrise, when potential pests are most active.
What winds up the cabbage clock ?
Nature runs on clocks – thanks to the presence of “clock genes”. These clock genes, typically respond to
Researchers from Rice University found, store bought vegetables were no exception. When they manipulated the day-night cycle and temperature, they were able to influence glucosinolate production.
Cabbage must experience warm days and nights
The team discovered, the store bought cabbages needed to experience both day and night, and warm temperatures, to keep the glucosinolate factory running smoothly.
When cabbages were stored
- IN THE LIGHT – something that happens in many supermarkets that leave the lights on permanently
- IN THE DARK – something that happens in your fridge
- IN THE COLD – something that happens in your fridge too
The factory failed to come on line – resulting in a tea party for bugs.
NB. A bug party, means there is less glucosinolate around, less gluocsinolate means less anti-cancer chemicals in your cabbage salad.
Keep cabbage clocks ticking
Getting your body’s clock synchronized to the circadian rhythm is a health move.
So is eating cabbage….
But for optimal results, you want to eat cabbage’s with synchronized clocks.
Probably the easiest way to get it right, it to grow your own. Okay, easiest is relative, growing vegetables in your back garden is potentially hard work i.e. not easy. But, if you’re up to the task, you want to pick and eat them before noon.
For the rest of us, who think a vegetable garden would be cool, but it is not something we’re up to doing. Watch how you store your shop bought veggies. The standard practice of putting them somewhere dark and cold, might not be giving you optimal nutrition.
Your cabbage needs to think it is under attack to fully benefit you.
If you don’t add a little oil to your salad, it really doesn’t taste terribly good, the calorie count is seriously low, but so is the nutrient count ….
Antioxidants are good for you, one way to increase their levels is to eat sweet potatoes that have been electrocuted before being cooked.
Getting kids (and husbands) to eat their vegetables is frequently an uphill battle. Getting that broccoli to slide down, could just require a name change.
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