The beautiful blooms of the lotus flower produces an edible seed, which,
in traditional Chinese medicine is said to be beneficial for the heart, tone the
spleen and kidneys, prevent insomnia, and calm the nerves. Lotus seeds have astringent
properties, which makes them helpful in relieving the symptoms of diarrhea and
improving appetite. In Buddhist traditions, the "Sacred Lotus" is a
symbol of vitality and purity.
Indicates Lotus Seeds Have Remarkable
a UCLA study conducted by plant physiologist Jane Shen-Miller, an ancient Lotus
(Nelumbo nucifera) seed germinated after lying dormant for 1,200 years; the oldest
seed ever found. The seed was discovered in the 1920s in a deposit of Lotus fruits
in a dry lake bed at Pulantien, China. It is "the oldest demonstrably viable
and directly dated seed ever reported," according to the report in the American
Journal of Botany. The seedling has been growing since March 1994, and continues
to demonstrate "robust" growth.
methyltransferase (MT), an important enzyme that participates in the repair of
age-damaged proteins, is present in all lotus seeds, and was found to be present
in this ancient seed. The enzyme, the shape and physiological characteristics
of lotus fruits, and the oxygen-free environment of the sedimentary strata in
which the lotus fruits had been preserved, all contributed to the exceptional
longevity of the seeds, the authors concluded.
of the potent anti-aging enzyme in lotus seeds, researchers have been finding
ways to use lotus seeds in modern cosmetic anti-aging products.
suggest you enjoy their benefits by using these tasty seeds in dishes like the
macro "deviled egg" recipe above, or when you make brown rice, try substituting
about a quarter of the amount of rice with lotus seeds and cook as you would for
brown rice. Remember to always take out the bitter green sprout before cooking.
J., Mary Beth Mudgett, J. William Schopf, Steven Clarke, and Rainer Berger. 1995.
Exceptional Seed Longevity and Robust Growth: Ancient Sacred Lotus From China.
American Journal of Botany, 82(11):1367-1380.
Kenneth. November 18, 1995. Ancient lotus seeds may hold anti-aging secrets. Austin
American Statesman, A22.]
Nutrient-Rich Winter Squash
deliciously sweet taste, comfortingly smooth texture, and lovely deep orange or
yellow colors are reasons enough to enjoy winter squash, but this nutrient-dense
food also provides a wealth of health benefits.
lovely, deep orange color shows how rich winter squash is in carotenoid compounds.
Carotenoids (also called provitamin A), are the types of Vitamin A compounds found
in vegetables. Retinol (also called preformed vitamin A), is the form of vitamin
A that is found in animals. When we eat carotenoids our body turns them into retinol.
A is crucially important for healthy vision; cell division and differentiation;
the immune, intestinal and respiratory systems; and the urinary tract. It has
been shown to play a role in blood sugar regulation, and to have powerful antioxidant
and anti-inflammatory properties.
research has linked vitamin A to reduced risk of colon and lung cancer, and reduced
severity of asthma, osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Vitamin A deficiency
is linked to many illnesses.
liver can store up to a year's supply of vitamin A; but this store becomes depleted
if a person is sick or has inflammation, or if they smoke. Vitamin A deficiency
has been linked to emphysema.
cup of baked winter squash gives you 145% of your RDA for Vitamin A. It is also
high in vitamin C, Folate, Potassium, Manganese and dietary fiber.
Wisdom: A Good Food for the Season
the 5,000 year old Asian system called The 5 Element Theory, or The 5 Transformations
(the term we use at Kushi Institute), natural cyclical changes such as the seasons
effect various aspects of human health. Understanding and using this system can
bring greater health and vitality.
are some of the associations with the season we have just entered, which is called
"early autumn" in The 5 Transformations:
Energy Direction: Downward
Organs: Stomach, spleen and
Taste: Naturally Sweet, like winter squash
Vegetables: Winter Squash and other sweet orange and yellow
vegetables which ripen in the Fall
is only a small amount of information on a very deep study. As we move into each
season the Kushi Institute Newsletter will include more information on the 5 Transformations
for that time of year.
5 Transformations are one of the key subjects in the Kushi Institute's Level 2
RC, Hu L, Molteni A. Vitamin A deficiency injures lung and liver parenchyma and
impairs function of rat type II pneumocytes. J Nutr. 2000 May;130(5):1159-65.
T, Molteni A, Latkovich P, Castellani W, Baybutt RC. Vitamin A depletion induced
by cigarette smoke is associated with the development of emphysema in rats. J
Nutr. 2003 Aug;133(8):2629-34. PMID:12888649.
K, Ito Y, Nakamura S et al. Relationship between serum carotenoids and hyperglycemia:
a population- based cross-sectional study. J Epidemiol 2002 Sep;12(5):357-66 2002.
Rebecca. The Whole Foods Encyclopedia. New York, NY: Prentice-Hall Press; 1988.
K, Alfthan G, Groop, L et al. Dietary intakes and plasma concentrations of carotenoids
and tocopherols in relation to glucose metabolism in subjects at high risk of
type 2 diabetes: the Botnia Dietary Study. Am J Clin Nutr. 2003 Jun; 77(6):1434-41
JM, Stram DO, Arakawa K, Lee HP, Yu MC. Dietary cryptoxanthin and reduced risk
of lung cancer: the Singapore Chinese Health Study. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers
Prev. 2003 Sep;12(9):890-8.
by Michio Kushi
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