Category Archives: vegetables

Vitamin E supplements may increase risk of stroke

Vitamin E is an essential nutrient found in spinach, watercress, mustard greens, and many green leafy vegetables. Good sources of Vitamin E are oily plant seeds such as peanuts and sunflower kernels. Vitamin E acts like an antioxidant, and a deficiency of this vitamin causes degeneration of nerve cells and fragility of red blood cells that is generally diagnosed as hemolytic anemia. The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for d-alpha-tocopherol, which is the biologically active form of Vitamin E, is 15 mg (22.5 IU) for adolescents and adults.

Many people take Vitamin E supplements because consumption of antioxidant vitamins may reduce the risk of certain cancers.  The supplement are usually sold in capsules of doses of 200, 400 and 1000 IU, but more is not better.  A recent study of 118,765 subjects split relatively evenly between the placebo and vitamin E groups found that overall, supplemental vitamin E had no effect on the risk for total stroke; however, when examining the stroke subtypes, there was a 22 percent increase in risk for hemorrhagic stroke (intracranial bleeding), and a 10 percent decrease in ischemic stroke (blockage of the blood supply by a clot).[1]

It is not necessary to take Vitamin E supplements if you eat a nutritious diet with plenty of leafy greens and some nuts.

Learn more about vitamins

[1] Markus Schürks, et al., Effects of vitamin E on stroke subtypes: meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials, BMJ 2010; 341:c5702

Harvesting Rainbows and Turnips

In the spring, I planted seeds for radishes, broccoli, tomatoes and turnips in the pots of the penthouse.

Some garden vegetables and herbs sprouted from seeds that dropped from the plants that I had last year.  When I harvest lettuce, I only take the side leaves and let the center stem grow.  Eventually, the lettuce develops blooms like dandelions and, if I leave it alone, I get a pot full of lettuce the next year.  When I harvest dill, I always allow some of the yellow flowers to develop into seeds, and it comes back year-after-year.  The sunflowers that sprouted from dropped seeds had to be thinned out because there were just too many for my small pots.

I already had a nice crop of radishes this year, but the broccoli does not want to bloom.  I saw some small florets, but they were too small to pick and they opened into tiny blue flowers.  I have been eating some of the broccoli leaves.  They are thick and chewy like cabbage.  The turnips really surprised me.  They grew very fast, and I chopped the greens and diced the roots to make vegetable soup.

Yesterday, when I walked by the balcony, I saw a rainbow that was so close that it seemed to be growing out of one my planters.  I did not try to reach for it because it is a 20-story drop to the ground.