The Cullman Center Weighs in on Moringa Leaf Protein

Moringa oleifera is a fast-growing, drought-resistant tree cultivated across the lowland dry tropics worldwide for its nutritious leaves. Despite its nutritious reputation, there has been no systematic survey of the variation in leaf nutritional quality across M. oleifera grown worldwide, or of the other species of the genus. These findings identify clear priorities and limitations for improved moringa varieties with traits such as high protein, calcium, or ease of preparation.

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The New Yorker highlights our work with the Moringa tree

On June 27 2016, The New Yorker magazine published an article that discusses research we are doing with a collaborator in Mexico on the tropical Moringa tree: Meet the Moringa Tree, An Overqualified, Underachieving Superfood Moringa oleifera, the most commonly farmed species, produces edible leaves that are unusually rich in protein, iron, calcium, nine essential… Read more »

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Broccoli sprout extract may protect against oral cancer recurrence.

A paper on which we collaborated was just published today in the journal Cancer Prevention Research. Doses of broccoli sprout extract were provided to healthy volunteers in order to assess the bioavailability of sulforaphane from those broccoli sprouts to the oral epithelium, and the ability of sulforaphane to trigger the signalling of protective responses in those cells. The paper’s… Read more »

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Is the vitamin and phytochemical content of fruit declining?

Graduate student Eleanore Alexander, and the Chemoprotection Center’s Dr. Fahey recently were invited to prepare a commentary on current fruit breeding practices. In it, they suggest that “To reverse the trend of decreasing vitamin and phytochemical content, consumers must demand fruits and vegetables that come from farms using better practices that result in higher nutrient… Read more »

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Summer Interns in the Chemoprotection Center

April showers bring May flowers.  And June brings summer interns, eager for laboratory experience.  We welcome Dana Pham-Hua from the University of Alabama at Birmingham (USA), and Elodie Viellet from Polytech Nice Sophia in France. Dana has just arrived, having completed her junior year at UAB where she is an American Chemical Society Officer, a Science and… Read more »

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Moringa health and economic benefits

Rachel Cernasky’s article looks at “superfood” fads and asks whether they can have benefits, especially to the people who live where they are being produced.

Moringa, with its nutrient and nutraceutical profile, might be such a novel plant. And it’s possible that its sale to rich countries may provide a useful cash supplement to tropical communities where it is grown.

Cernasky interviewed me for the article, and she reproduces my rule of thumb for the validity of a moringa product: the closer it is to real, fresh, unadulterated, unprocessed moringa leaves, the better.

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A Matter of Taste

The ability to detect bitterness probably evolved to help us avoid eating harmful substances. By shunning too many bitter substances, especially those present in healthful foods, we might be putting our long-term health at risk. For example, the glucosinolates in Brussels sprouts and its cousins, broccoli, kale, and other cruciferous vegetables, switch on many healthful processes in our bodies, and many medicines prevent or treat serious illness.

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. . . wheatgrass is not a superfood

The Center’s Dr. Fahey was recently quoted in an article in Modern Farmer that attempts to dethrone wheatgrass as a miracle-food or super-food.  Says he: “I am unaware of any credible scientific evidence that consuming wheatgrass or wheatgrass juice is any better or worse for one than consuming similar amounts of other green leafy vegetables.”

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New Coffee Claims Health Benefits of Broccoli

Although they did not get all the facts right, in an article you can read here, the Baltimore Sun spoke about work conducted at in the early days of the Cullman Chemoprotection Center that has now led to a broccoli-enriched coffee. “Coffee and tea were not part of the equation in the early days of… Read more »

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Will Progeria respond to phytochemicals like sulforaphane?

We recently received a small grant from the Progeria Research Foundation to study Progeria (Hutchinson-Gilford Progeria Syndrome), which is a devastating inherited disease.  The disease is genetic in that it is caused by a mutation(s) that was identified in the early 1990s by the [now] director of the NIH.  However, there is hope that certain… Read more »

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