The Flaming Vegan

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Not a Job for a Vegan
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Not a Job for a Vegan

During February of 2012, NASA was looking for men and women who would be willing to serves as taste-testers. The Agency wanted to test the reaction of everyday citizens to foods that might be loaded onto a future flight to Mars. Some of the considered items were put in view of the camera during a CNN program, one that aired on March 1, 2012.

Viewers of that program could see that NASA did not anticipate having any vegans in a spaceship that is headed for Mars. Mexican eggs, chicken and pork chops were among the various foods tested. One might wonder why scientists do not have a greater interest in providing a crew with lots of fruits and vegetables, especially since such foods contain compounds that can deliver proven health benefits.

That fact has not escaped the notice of NASA's scientists. However, those same men and women cannot ignore one equally important fact. That concerns the detected differences between fresh and dried crucifers.

Crucifers are those vegetables that belong to the cabbage family. Such vegetables are a great source of vitamins, minerals and fiber. Scientists have also found certain cancer-fighting chemicals within those same items, i.e. those foods that have been classified as crucifers.

Broccoli contains a compound known as sulforaphane. It appears to activate some of the enzymes that have the capacity to counter the effects of a carcinogenic substance. In other words, it keeps such a chemical from disrupting a metabolic pathway, one that exists within the human body.

Researchers have also made another discovery regarding the health benefits delivered by the vegetables in the cabbage family. Those scientific investigators have found that in addition to sulforaphane, broccoli contains something called indole-3-carbinol. It appears to affect the sex hormone metabolism that has been linked to prostate cancer.

Manufacturers would like to mash up a dried crucifer and put that dried material in a dietary supplement. However, the dry vegetables do not provide the same benefits as the fresh ones. Perhaps that explains why NASA's meal-planners do not focus more on the type of foods that are part of a vegan diet.

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