The Pumpkin is a winter squash native to North America, and is one of the world’s oldest domesticated plants, having been cultivated as early as 7,500 to 5,000 BC in Mexico. They are most commonly grown for food and aesthetic purposes, featuring prominently in both the American holiday Thanksgiving, and the Pagan holiday of Halloween (as carved jack-o-lanterns). Unusually, China and India now account for half the world’s production of pumpkins. Pumpkins and their seeds have been used as folk medicine by Native Americans for centuries, as well as in Germany and south-eastern Europe.
Lycopene bright is a bright red carotenoid hydrocarbon found in tomatoes and other red fruits and vegetables, such as red carrots, watermelons, grapefruits, and papayas. Carotenoids like lycopene are the reason for the bright orange–red colours of fruits and vegetables. They also perform various functions in photosynthesis, and protect photosynthetic organisms from excessive light damage. Lycopene is the reason that tomato sauces turn plastic cookware orange. Tomatoes and tomato-based sauces, juices, and ketchup account for more than 85% of the dietary intake of lycopene for most people, as it is the most common red vegetable that people eat.
Green Tea is a type of tea that does not undergo the same withering and oxidation process as Oolong or Black tea does. It originated in China, but is now grown in other countries across East Asia. The use of the plant is extremely important to Chinese history and is considered by many to have helpful properties. It is mentioned in ‘The Classic of Tea’ written by tea master Lu Yu between 760 and 762. Lu Yu was considered the Sage of Tea for his contributions to tea culture. His book was the first piece of writing created on the process of cultivating and brewing tea. The history of Green tea in medicine is centuries old, with many uses being attributed to the drink. It also contains caffeine which may have aided its reputation as a useful and healthy plant.
The Flax plant is cultivated in areas that have a temperate climate, such as around the Mediterranean. It is grown for its seeds, which can be ground into a meal or turned into linseed oil, a product often used in nutritional supplements. It is also used to make textiles. Linen is exclusively made from woven fibres of the flax plant. The earliest evidence of humans using wild flax as a textile comes from the present-day Republic of Georgia, around 30 thousand years ago. Ancient Egypt used the Flax plant extensively, as temple walls had paintings of flowering flax, and mummies were embalmed using linen. Egyptian priests wore only linen, as flax was considered a symbol of purity. Phoenicians traded Egyptian linen throughout the Mediterranean and the Romans used it for their sails. Flax seeds contain omega-3s, and also have notable amounts of fibre.
Selenium is a mineral that is found in soil, naturally occurring in water and some food. The mineral occurs in two forms: organic and inorganic. Most Selenium is stored in the skeletal muscle, storing roughly 28% - 46% of our body’s Selenium supply. Selenium (from the Greek Selene meaning "Moon") was discovered in 1817 by Jöns Jacob Berzelius and Johan Gottlieb Gahn, in Sweden. In 1954, the first specific biological functions of Selenium were discovered in microorganisms by biochemist Jane Pinsent. It was discovered to be essential for mammalian life in 1957. In the 1970s, it was shown to be present in two independent sets of enzymes. Selenium is a popular supplement due to its properties. The mineral supports the normal function of the immune system, as well as contributing to the protection of cells from oxidative stress, which reduces damage from free radicals.
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