Broccoli and breast cancer


About 50% of cancers in the world today are caused by failures in the regulation of the cell cycle, a cycle that starts with the formation of cells and ends with its apoptosis or programmed cell death. The regulation of this cell cycle is achieved by a protein called p53 (name assigned by its molecular mass). The protein p53 is a natural tumor suppressor and it is in charge of ordering the human cells when they came to an end of life and it's time to die, process known as apoptosis. Image: See credits under reference [7] below.


Family: Brassicaceae

Genus: Brassica

Common name: Broccoli


The best and worst places in the world to eat

The Oxfam food index


Oxfam is an international confederation of 17 organizations working in approximately 94 countries worldwide to find solutions to poverty and what it considers as injustice around the world [1]. Within their mission, Oxfam has helped more than 1,3 million people by bringing food, cash or vouchers to them, enabling also 3,9 million people to join different health promotion activities [1].

As part of their research, Oxfam has gathered data from global data sources, including the World Health Organisation (WHO), capturing aspects of the food market relevant to the statistics and allocating points between the minimum 0 and a maximum of 100 in a ranking that illustrates the best and worst places in the World to eatranking that illustrates the best and worst places in the World to eat. The interactive graphic illustrates how overconsumption, misuse of resources and waste affect each country ranking in the overall scale. Image: See credits under ref. [2] below.


Health benefits of raw garlic vs cooked garlic


Most of the health benefits of garlic are exerted by a bio-active compound called allicin, an active constituent that is curiously not directly present in garlic but produced as a result of activation of alliinase enzyme, this one present in garlic, after crushing, chewing or chopping of raw garlic [1]. Allinase enzyme, released after crushing, chewing or chopping garlic, acts on alliin (S-allyl cysteine sulfoxide) and converts this one into the bio-active compound allicin [3,5].

Allicin is active against many groups of bacteria, including Streptococcus mutans, Streptococcus sobrinus, Aggregatibacter actinomycetemcomitans, Fusobacterium nucleatum and Actinomyces oris among many others [12].

Allicin as well as other dipropenyl thiosulfinates present in garlic (1-propenyl allyl, and allyl 1-propenyl) are completely formed in about 18 seconds at 37 degrees C [10] after crushing, chewing or chopping raw garlic [10]. As we already mentioned the enzyme allinase is responsible for converting alliin (S-allyl cysteine sulfoxide) to allicin, however we neet to take into account that allicin is very unstable and decomposes quickly, being inactivated by heat [3,5] and gastric acids ph. Image: See credits under ref. [11] below. 


Family: Amaryllidaceae

Genus: Allium

Common name: Garlic


Antioxidants improve skin condition


As we already know, antioxidants are naturally occurring substances that are found in nature, in herbs, plants, fruits and vegetables. They play a very important role in our lives, as they are capable by themselves to stop oxidation, a process in which free radicals in our bodies are trying to get the electron they miss from other healthy molecules.

This process, also known as oxidative stress, damages the molecules to which free radicals got coupled, causing several types of damages in our bodies, as weakening and deteriorating our skin, if we talk about skin cells.

But what causes oxidation? Oxidation is nowadays caused by multiple factors, to name some of them we can mention environmental pollution, smoking and UV radiation among many others. Image: See credits under reference [4] below.


Family: Lytraceae

Genus: Punica

Common name: Granada


Will plants replace petrol as new source for plastics?

University research shows how plants could become the new source for plastics, paints and bio engineered medicines


Only in the US about 1,500 plastic bottles are consumed every second, using 17 million petrol barrels each year to produce plastic bottles! [1]. With these figures in mind it is not a surprise to hear that Dutch scientists from Utrecht University, looking for other more ecological sources to produce plastics, have managed to create the basic chemical blocks from which plastic is made, lower olefins, but this time not from petrol but from plants.

Lower olefins are the basic "Lego" building blocks present in plastics, cosmetics and drugs, and are made of two or four carbons produced by steam cracking of crude oil-derived naphtha, however oil reserves are not eternal and other sources for lower olefins were since long ago being investigated.

Utrecht University scientists are closely working with Dow Benelux, a chemical company that has already showed interest in the discovery and who'll probably be able to use such an innovative new technology for the production of organically developed bio-plastics, bio-paints and bio-medicines Image: See credits under ref. [3] below. 



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