The importance of phytochemicals and the efficacy of betaine, beta-carotene, and apigenin | Dr. Esther Lyuh

The importance of phytochemicals and the efficacy of betaine, beta-carotene, and apigenin | Dr. Esther Lyuh

Nov 17, 2022eunkyulPark

Lyuh Esther

drinking for 10 years

What is anti-inflammatory juice?


The content is not directly related to any  particular product  . This column was written with Dr. Esther Yeo's opinion based on facts, not Esther Formula's official position  .

hello. Lyuh Esther.
Two years ago, I appeared on JTBC's <Please Take Care of My Refrigerator> and introduced anti-inflammatory juice made from broccoli, celery, and parsley. The reason I gave this juice the name 'anti-inflammatory' is because of the powerful anti-inflammatory properties of a substance called apigenin in these vegetables. 
In fact, I have been making and taking apigenin juice every morning on an empty stomach for over 10 years. And thanks to this, they think they can manage their health while maintaining relatively low levels of inflammation. 
Apigenin, which has such an amazing effect, is a kind of defense substance that plants emit to protect themselves from the surrounding environment. And this substance is the reason why plants don't get cancer easily unlike animals. Therefore, today, I would like to take a closer look at the powerful defense substances of various plants, and introduce a simple recipe to consume them well.

A powerful antioxidant weapon 

It is buried right in the ground.

Phytochemical is a compound word of phyto, which means plant , and chemical, which means chemical substance. It is a substance produced by plants to protect themselves from pathogens and pests. Phytochemicals are also called the color energy of plants, because they are natural pigments that create the unique color of each plant. For example, tomatoes are red because of a phytochemical called 'lycopene'
When these colorful phytochemicals enter our bodies, they commonly perform powerful antioxidantsAntioxidant action is to suppress active oxygen, which attacks normal cells and DNA and causes various diseases including cancer and aging. In addition, it has also been reported that it increases immune function and detoxification, and reduces cell damage and cancer cell growth rate. Therefore, recently, the academic world is paying attention to revealing the types of phytochemicals and their infinite effects. 

recognize by color

colorful health secrets

One, 'Betaine' lowers homocysteine, a risk factor for cardiovascular disease.

Homocysteine ​​is a product of the metabolism of methionine, one of the essential amino acids, and is a necessary substance for our body. However, when homocysteine ​​concentration abnormally increases due to genetic defects, unbalanced nutrients, disease or lifestyle,  the risk of cardiovascular diseases such as coronary artery disease increases by aging blood vessels. Therefore, it is important to maintain homocysteine ​​at an appropriate level.  
Among the phytochemicals,  betaine is involved in the metabolism of homocysteine.  In addition, it plays a role in detoxification and protecting the kidneys. Betaine is  contained in plants such as beets and goji berries , and is known as a component that gives the plant its unique umami and red color. 
Recipe Tip: It is difficult to eat beets by themselves, so we recommend grinding them with apples and carrots to make ABC juice or use them as salad ingredients.

Two, 'Beta-carotene' becomes vitamin A in our body.

Beta-carotene is a relatively familiar ingredient. It is a kind of 'carotenoid' that plays a role in removing active oxygen to prevent damage to the photosynthetic machinery of plants due to light. Carotenoids are mainly contained in red, orange, and yellow plants, and about 600 types have been identified so far.
Beta-carotene is found in green leafy vegetables such as carrots, leeks and spinach, and algae such as spirulina and chlorella . When beta-carotene enters the body, it is metabolized in the liver and intestines and converted to vitamin A. Vitamin A is an essential nutrient for maintaining normal visual function and for cell growth and developmentTherefore, vitamin A deficiency is considered a major cause of visual impairment in children, from dry eye syndrome and night blindness, and is known to cause deterioration of epithelial cell function. This is what the phrase “carrots are good for the eyes” means.
Recipe Tip: Carrots contain a lot of beta-carotene in their skins, so it's best to wash them thoroughly and eat them without peeling them. In addition, beta-carotene is fat-soluble, so it is recommended to add a few drops of olive oil to juice or eat it as a salad with oil dressing.
Three, 'Apigenin' is excellent for lowering inflammation.

By far, apigenin has been one of the phytochemicals that have received the most attention in academia in recent years. Apigenin effectively lowers the body's oxidative stress and inhibits the pathways in which inflammatory molecules work to perform anti-inflammatory actions  [1]. In addition, several domestic and international journals have found that apigenin inhibits cell growth and induces apoptosis in various types of tumors [2-5].
So which plants contain these apigenins? Scholars consider broccoli, celery, and parsley to be among the richest in apigenin of all plants. 
Recipe Tip: Grind these vegetables with a little water for a simple, healthy juice for breakfast. However, for those who find it difficult to eat due to the lack of taste, try adding lemon or a small amount of honey.
Today, I introduced my opinion about phytochemicals. If you have any further questions, please feel free to ask. Thank you for always.

Esther  Lyuh, Doctor of Preventive Medicine, Seoul National University

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