Fabulous Delicious Nutritious Figs

By |January 11th, 2017|

Fresh juicy exotic figs are delicious and are also powerfoods that have been around since 8,000 BC. Dried figs are tasty too and filled with even more nutrients than the fresh ones.

The Middle East has thrived on figs and has used them in their cooking and to help heal many health concerns.

“Eat it as it cures various diseases among which are Piles, Gout and Arthritis” ~ Abu Darda, companion of Rasulullah 

5 Health Benefits of Figs 

  1. Reliefs Sore Throats: The fig fruit and leaves have been to relieve sore throats. A Korean study found that fig leaves destroyed oral bacteria.
  2. Helps with Weight loss:  Being high in fiber figs will keep you regular and can help with weight management.
  3. Reduces Cancer:
  • The phytochemicals in figs were found in one study to suppress cancer cell production.
  • The white fig dottato was found in another study to have unique cancer-fighting activity on melanoma cells. The researchers found this to give a new perspective in the development fig formulations being helpful in treating non-melanoma skin cancers.
  • Fresh fig “latex” has been found to be an anticancer substance with no adverse effects on the normal cells. It was also found that the latex in figs, dried or fresh, are helpful in treating stomach cancer according to research at Mazandaran University of Medical Sciences in Iran.

4. Lower High Blood Pressure: They are a good source of potassium, which helps to control blood pressure. “when people have an increased intake of potassium, a high intake of sodium is not associated with a high BP” stated in Brazilian Journal of Medical and Biological Research.

5. Alkaline Forming: They are highly alkaline, thus help to keep the body in balance with the high acidic diet most people consume.

And a few more health benefits:

A good traditional medicine for the treatment of anemia, cancer, diabetes, leprosy, liver diseases, paralysis, skin diseases, and ulcers according to the conclusion posted in the
US National Library of Medicine

Also, worldwide traditional medicine has used the fig as a poultices on tumors, warts, and wounds.

Fig Nutrition:

They are full of nutrients. They are a good source of essential minerals (calcium, cooper, magnesium, manganese and potassium) and vitamins such as K and B6.  Also, they have almost 5 grams of dietary fiber per serving and are sodium free, fat and cholesterol free. To learn more go to Fig Nutrition.

Figs according to a study, are dense in phenolic antioxidants.  Figs and dried plums had the highest nutrient score among dried fruits.

dried fig has a higher nutritional value then a fresh one.  One dried fig contains almost as much calcium as an egg.

Please Note: Figs contain high levels of oxalates and may be a concern. When you eat too many they can be a laxative creating diarrhea.  Also, they are high in sugar and you know what that means, do not eat too many.

“Figs, if seen in dreams, denote wealth and prosperity.” ~ Muhammad Ibn Sirin, Muslim mystic in the 8th century.

Fig Trivia

  • The fig tree is a symbol of abundance and fertility.
  • Fig tree leaves are dried and used in perfume and potpourri as they have a pleasant, woodsy-green fragrance.
  • The fig is often mentioned as a sign of peace and prosperity in the Bible.
  • The fig blossom is inside of the fruit; there are no blossoms on the tree! There are many tiny flowers producing crunchy little edible seeds giving figs their unique texture.
  • Adam and Eve clad themselves with fig leaves (Genesis 3:7) after eating the “forbidden fruit” from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil.


There is evidence of figs […]

Red, White, Orange and Brown Pulses Are Powerfoods

By |November 11th, 2016|

So, what are pulses?  Pulses are part of the legume family; they are the dried seed of the legume plants. Pulses come in many shapes, sizes and colours such as lentils, chickpeas, black beans and kidney beans to name a few.  They are full of so many health benefits and environmentally friendly.

“pulse crops such as lentils, beans, peas and chickpeas are a critical source of plant-based proteins and amino acids for people around the globe, as well as a source of plant-based protein for animals”~ United Nations International Year of Pulses.

Health Benefits of Pulses (Beans and Lentils)

  1. Helps Reduce Risk of Cancer Especially of Colon Cancer

Several cancers including the upper digestive tract, stomach, colon, rectum, and kidneys were found to decrease with a higher consumption of beans and lentils according to a Uruguay study between 1996 and 2004.
In three other studies with 101,856 participants it was found that a higher consumption of legumes reduced the risk of colorectal adenoma. 

  1. Helps with Weight Loss

Consumers of beans had healthier nutrient consumption levels, were less overweight and had 22% reduced risk of being obese and lower compared to non-consumers in a survey between 1999 – 2002.

Also, it was found that one serving of beans per day helped with weight loss in clinical trials with 940 participants at St. Michael’s Hospital, Toronto.

  1. Lowers Risk of Heart Attack

Pulses are a heart healthy food according to Pulse Canada.  Results from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) Follow-up study indicate that men and women who consumed legumes 4 or more times per week had a 22%  reduction in heart disease risk, compared with those who consumed legumes less than once a week.

In a 25 year study with 16,000 middle-aged men in a number of countries it was found that those who ate more legumes had 82% reduced risk of heart attack.

  1. Improves Glycemic Index for diabetics

It was found in a study that adding beans and whole grains in the diet of diabetics there was an improvement in their glycemic index.  Also, in another study, it was found that whole grain and legume powder reduced need for insulin in patients with coronary artery disease.  Many Canadian dietitians recommend eating beans to individuals with diabetes.

  1. Filled with Good Protein

Wondering how to replace meat in your menu, add beans or lentils. They are a good source of protein, and when combined with a whole grain such as brown rice or millet they provide a complete source of protein without saturated fat.  Beans have the highest protein content of all plant foods.

Pulses provide about 10% of the total food protein consumed in the world and have about twice the protein content of most grains.  Learn more about: Protein Quality of Cooked Pulses. 

  1. Full of Healthy Fiber

Pulses are a food high in soluble and insoluble fiber. Soluble fiber binds with bile (which contains cholesterol) in the digestive tract carrying it out of the body.  A diet with fiber helps with lowering body weight according to research. Blood sugar levels can be stabilized with a high fiber diet according to research.

Why to Include Pulses in Our Diet:

  • High in protein – 1/2 cup (4 ounces) of cooked beans is equivalent to eating two ounces of lean protein. The guidelines recommend that most adults eat about 5 1/2 ounces of lean meat a day.
  • Lots of fibre – ½ cup serving of cooked dry beans has 4 to 10 grams of fibre.
  • Rich in complex carbohydrates.
  • Contain iron, zinc, calcium, selenium […]

Small Sunflower Seeds Are Packed With Nutrition

By |September 22nd, 2016|

Small Sunflower Seeds Are Packed With Nutrition

Delicious nutty sunflower seeds are a popular snack which is undervalued.  They maybe small but sunflower seeds are a dense source of nutrients and full of extraordinary health benefits.  Sunflowers are beautiful flowers with an abundance of nutrition seeds.

Nutrition of Sunflower Seeds

Half a cup of husked sunflower seeds will give you the following in terms of daily requirement.

  • An excellent source of vitamin E; gives over 116%.
  • A great source of vitamin B1 of 69% and Manganese 68%.
  • A good source of copper 63% and Magnesium 57%.
  • Folate (B vitamin) with over 39%.
  • Good protein of 29% .
  • Also are a good source of fiber, manganese, selenium, phosphorus, vitamin B6, niacin, phosphorus, and iron.

See full details at Nutrition Data.

6 Health Benefits of Sunflower Seeds

  1. Prevents Heart DiseaseSunflower seeds are high in vitamin E which has been known to help in preventing of heart disease. In 1986, a study with 39,910 U.S. male health professionals aged between 40 to 75 in a Harvard study found that those who got a good amount of vitamin E had a much lower risk of dying of a heart attack.
  2. Helps Prevent CancerThe high Vitamin E in sunflower seeds has been found to be effective in cancer prevention.  Studies at Harvard have showed that Vitamin E protects men from prostate cancer and a study by the Texas Woman’s University suggests that it may reduce the risk of lung cancer.
  3. Reduces Risk of DiabetesThrough years of research, it has been found that a diet rich in nuts and seeds helps balance blood sugar levels reducing the chance of developing diabetes.  U.S. National Library of Medicine gives a list of foods to always choose help prevent diabetes and sunflower seeds are one the foods.
    “The world faces an epidemic of insulin resistance and diabetes. Our findings support preventing and treating these diseases by eating more fat-rich foods like walnuts, sunflower seeds, soybeans, flaxseed, fish, and other vegetable oils and spreads, in place of refined grains, starches, sugars, and animal fats.” ~ Dr Dariush Mozaffarian, Tufts University.
  4. Maintains Young and Healthy Skin
    Sunflower seed are abundant in Vitamin E which is vital for the care of healthy skin by keeping it hydrated, and helps prevent damage created by the sun and pollution.  Studies on dogs have shown that sunflower seeds and flax seeds helped to keep their skin and fur healthy and free from signs of damage even as they aged. Researchers believe that aging humans could have the same benefits.
  5. Helps Lower Cholesterol
    It was found that high-oleic-acid sunflower oil lowered both triglyceride and LDL cholesterol levels according to a study at the University of Sydney, Australia. Vitamin E is one of the antioxidants found in cholesterol particles and helps prevent free radicals from oxidizing cholesterol.
  1. Depression Healed using Magnesium
    Sunflower seeds are a very good source of magnesium which has been found in research to heal depression. 


Fun facts about Sunflower Seeds

  • The tallest sunflower grown was 30 feet, 1 inch in by Hans-Peter Schiffer in Germany verified on 28 August 2014 according to the Guinness Book of World Records.
  • An anonymous buyer paid $39.85 million for one of Van Gogh’s ‘Sunflowers’paintings.
  • The sunflower was used by the Incas as an image their sun god.
  • The sunflower is the national flower of Russia.
  • Sunflower seeds are one of the most consumed seeds in the world. 

Sunflower Seed History

They have found wild sunflower seeds have been found as early as 8500 BC in eastern North America. Sunflowers have been eaten by Native Americans […]

The Thrill of Dill:  Healing and Taste Extraordinaire

By |August 4th, 2016|

A sprig of delicious dill adds a unique flavor to your food and it is full of health benefits.

Dill’s name comes from the Norwegian word ‘dilla,’ meaning to soothe. Dill has been valued for its many health benefits as early as 1500 B.C. In ancient Egyptian papyrus manuscripts, it was documented as a remedy to soothe flatulence, relieve pain and act as a laxative and a diuretic.

Dill tastes delicious and is also nutritious!

6 Health Benefits of Dill

1. Helps Protect Against Cancer
Dill’s volatile oils help neutralize benzopyrenes, a carcinogen, found in cigarette smoke, coal tar, charcoal grill smoke and trash incinerator smoke.

2. Helps with Digestion
Since very early times, dill was used to cure hiccups, stomachaches and bad breath. It has antispasmodic properties that relieve stomach pain and cramping. Ayurvedic medicine has used the dill seed for stomach problems for centuries.

3. Helps Prevent Bone Loss
Being a good source of calcium, it helps in reducing the bone loss that occurs after menopause. One tablespoon of dill seed contains 3 grams of calcium.

4. Reduces Bloating, Gas, Diarrhea and Constipation from Bacteria Overgrowth
Dill can help prevent bacterial overgrowth which is the cause of the above symptoms. The volatile oil of dill has been studied for its ability to prevent bacterial overgrowth.

Pickles and Potato Salad are two favorite foods with dill.

Pickles and Potato Salad are two of my favorite foods with dill.

5. Eugenol Oil in Dill Is Good as a Local Anesthetic
Eugenol oil has been used therapeutically by dentists as local analgesic agent as it lessens tooth pain.

6. Eugenol oil also has been found to reduce blood sugar levels in diabetics (more research is required).

Also we call it a Powerfood!

Dill Nutrition

Dill is a good source of dietary Fiber, Niacin, Phosphorus, Zinc and Copper, and a very good source of Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Riboflavin, Vitamin B6, Folate, Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, Potassium and Manganese.

It is low in calories: half a cup of dill has only 2 calories!

For more details go to: Nutrition Data


 Dill Trivia

  • Dill was believed to protect against curses and witchcraft during European medieval times.
  • It was thought to make one drowsy and was given to crying babies, which is why its original name, dilla also means “to lull.”
  • The Dill pickle is at least 400 years old.
  • Dill has been used to make green dye.
  • Dill was used by Hippocrates for cleaning the mouth.
  • Ancient soldiers applied burnt dill seeds to their wounds to help healing.

Dill History

  • 5,000 years ago, in Egypt, the first record of dill as a medicinal herb was found
  • Around 3,000 B.C. Babylonians grew dill in their gardens.
  • It is native to southern Russia, western Africa and the Mediterranean.
  • In the seventeenth century, it was found in many English kitchen gardens.
  • It is thought to have arrived in America with early settlers.

“Give your food a Thrill by adding some Dill!”- Roylin J. Picou, Poet

Quick Easy Yummy Pickles

Quick Easy Yummy Pickles

Yummy Recipes with Dill
Quick Easy Pickles Yummy pickles in just over one hour.
Creamy Potato Salad – Vegan Even if you are not vegan, you will love this recipe.
Yogurt Salad Dressing I love adding lots of dill weed to this salad dressing.

Pecans are Heart Healthy and Delicious

By |April 2nd, 2016|

Pecans are gourmet nuts with a delicious buttery taste and not just in a pecan pie. Also, pecans have an abundance of health benefits making them a great powerfood  addition to our meals and even our snacks!

‘Pecan’ means ‘a nut requiring a stone to crack’ it in Algonquian.  They are technically a fruit with a single stone or pit, surrounded by a husk, not really a nut.

6 Health Benefits of the Pecan

The research since 2000 clearly indicates that the pecan are a healthy addition to your diet as well as being tasty.

Lowers Cholesterol

study at the Loma Linda University found that eating a diet supplemented with pecans, gamma-tocopherol levels in the body doubled and bad cholesterol in the blood decreased by 33 percent.  “This study is another piece of evidence that pecans are a healthy food,” says researcher Dr. Haddad.

To hear more about what researcher Dr. Haddad has to say watch this video:

Helps  Keep the Heart Healthy

Pecans are rich in one form of vitamin E; gamma tocopherol which is helpful in preventing coronary heart disease.

High in Antioxidants

Foods that have a high antioxidant capacity can decrease the risk of cancer, coronary heart disease, and neurological diseases such as Alzheimer’s.  Also, pecans contain the highest antioxidant capacity compared to all nuts according to the largest USDA study of food antioxidants.

Protects Your Nervous System

Adding pecans to your diet are helpful in protecting the nervous system and may delay the progression of age-related motor neuron degeneration such as diseases like ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease. This is according to research at the Center for Cellular Neurobiology at the University of Massachusetts Lowell.

Do they Create Weight Gain?

Also, a study found that eating nuts did not increase weight, so a few pecans a day and can be eaten without gaining weight.

Pecans are Nutrient Dense

  • They contain more than 19 vitamins and minerals including vitamin A, vitamin E, folic acid, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, oleic acid, vitamin B1, thiamin, magnesium, protein and zinc.
  • Also, they are a good source of protein containing very few carbohydrates and are sodium-free.
  • Approximately 20 halves contain 196 calories so you can eat 10 halves for less than 100 calories.

Above from: Nutrition Data

Pecan History

Fossil pecan remains show that the pecan tree was prehistoric.

Native Americans cultivated the wild pecan in the 1500’s.

They are native to the Mississippi valley.  The world’s largest pecan nursery is located in Lumberton, Mississippi.

Fun Pecan Facts

  • A pecan pie contains about 78 pecans!
  • 80% of the world’s pecans are grown in the U.S.
  • There are over 1,000 varieties of pecans and many are named for Native American Indian tribes (Cheyenne, Mohawk, Sioux, Choctaw and Shawnee).
  • Texas adopted the pecan tree as its state tree in 1919.
  • The pecan comes in many sizes: mammoth, extra-large, large, medium, small and midget.
  • Before a pecan can be sold, first it is cleaned, sterilized, cracked and finally, shelled.
  • Texas has over 70 million wild pecan trees; the pecan tree was officially designated the Texas state tree in 1919.
  • The shell of a pecan is a great mulch for gardens.

Pecan Recipes

Baked Sweet Potatoes

Cherry Pecan Dark Chocolate Bar

Roasted Brussels Sprouts


Walnuts: The Crinkly Powerfood

8 Health Benefits of Peanut Butter

5 Reasons To Love Brussels Sprouts and 7 Tips To Make Them Taste Better

By |December 12th, 2015|

If you’ve already decided you don’t like Brussels sprouts, it’s probably because at some point in your life someone served you some where their tasty, nutty, sweet flavor was boiled away. When you learn how to cook them properly, you may find them totally yummy!

Brussels sprouts look like mini cabbages and are in fact in the same family.

5 Health Benefits of Brussels Sprouts

1. Keeps Bones Strong and Healthy

Brussels sprouts are full of vitamin K, which is responsible for good bone health.  One cup of Brussels sprouts has over 270 percent of your daily vitamin K requirement. Studies have found vitamin K to be helpful in increasing bone density  and reducing fractures in osteoporosis patients.

2. Helps Fight Cancer

The research for how Brussels sprouts helps fight cancer is vast. Here are a few highlights.

  • Brussels sprouts are a cruciferous vegetable, which have been shown to lower overall cancer risk according to research at Oregon State University.
  • It was found that people who ate greater amounts of Brussels sprouts had a lower risk of cancer, as stated at the National Cancer Institute fact page.
  • Cruciferous vegetables have been found to help inhibit and regulate cancer-causing genes. Cruciferous vegetables are “key to eliminating cancer” according to research at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.
  • Also, Brussels sprouts are a glucosinolate-containing cruciferous vegetable, which a 1995 study found reduces colon cancer.

 3. Lowers Cholesterol

When Brussels sprouts are steamed, the fiber components bind with intestinal bile acids, helping them to pass out of the body. This creates a need in the body to replenish lost bile acids, using the existing supply of cholesterol, thus reducing it. Uncooked Brussels sprouts do have some ability to lower cholesterol, but it’s low compared to the process of steaming, according to the Western Regional Research Center.

4. Provides A Good Source of Protein When Combined with a Whole Grain

Brussels sprouts contain a good quantity of protein. There’s 4 grams of protein in one cup of Brussels sprouts. You will get the most protein when you eat them with a whole grain as they need the balance of other amino acids.

5. Promotes Weight loss

One cup of Brussels sprouts has only 56 calories. They are low in fat and have 4 grams of fiber. This fiber has many benefits for your digestive system and gives you that ‘full’ feeling. They are nutrient dense so your body is also satisfied long term.


Brussels Sprouts Trivia

  • They are spelled Brussels sprouts, NOT Brussel sprouts and NOT brussel sprouts.
  •  A team of scientists with local schoolchildren lit a Christmas tree in London, England from the energy of 1,000 Brussels sprouts!
  • Brussels sprouts are used in Chinese medicine to improve digestion.
  • Brussels sprouts are the most hated vegetable in Britain and America!


Brussels Sprout Nutrition

One serving of Brussels sprouts will meet your needs for vitamin C and vitamin K for the day. Brussels sprouts are one of the top 20 most nutritious foods as scored by the Aggregate Nutrient Density Index.

One cup of cooked Brussels sprouts provides:

56 calories
274 percent vitamin K
162 percent vitamin C
24 percent vitamin A
24 percent folate
18 percent manganese
14 percent potassium
14 percent vitamin B6
12 percent thiamine vitamin B1
10 percent iron
4 grams protein
4 grams fiber
270 mg of omega-3 fatty acids

Brussels sprouts also contribute to your daily need for calcium, providing 37 milligrams in one cup.

History of Brussels Sprouts

  • The name Brussels sprouts comes from Brussels, Belgium where they were first grown in quantity in the sixteenth century.
  • Brussels sprouts are said to have been developed from wild cabbages in the […]

Surprising Benefits of Sweet Potatoes & Tips For Cooking Them Right

By |December 10th, 2015|

You can mash them or bake them, or give them a quick fry and sweet potatoes are always delicious!

This starchy superstar is a delicious treat and has become a sentimental staple at Thanksgiving dinners. The good news is that sweet potatoes are actually very nutritious as well as being exceptionally delicious. Read on to discover their health benefits, their history and trivia, and tips for cooking them just right.

Don’t let the ‘sweet’ in sweet potatoes scare you.
They actually have a lower glycemic index then white potatoes. That means they are less likely to produce insulin resistance and its accompanying health problems, including weight gain. Sweet potatoes are a smart carb, very rich in carotenoids, vitamins A, B6, C, potassium, iron and fiber. They provide a wealth of health benefits and are a great addition to your meals.

Did you know that sweet potatoes were cultivated and consumed before the white (Irish) potato?

13 Surprising Health Benefits of Sweet Potatoes

1.  Maintains Healthy Blood Sugar Levels

Yes, sweet potatoes are sweet, but they have a low glycemic index meaning the sugar is released slowly into the bloodstream. Most consumed starchy foods raise blood sugar rapidly; with sweet potato you will not get a blood sugar spike, but you will get a steady amount of energy. Research at the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences found the Beauregard sweet potato to be a low-glycemic index food.

2. Treatment for Diabetes

A study of 61 people with type 2 diabetes saw that those who took the extract, Caiapo, from the sweet potato daily for 3 months had their blood sugar drop with no significant adverse effects.

Caiapo has been used without medical prescription for years in Japan as a food additive for prevention and treatment for diabetes.

“We’re hoping that diet, particularly the consumption of sweet potatoes, will become a more widely used tool in the treatment of diabetes. It has the potential to be more cost-effective than drugs.” – Dr. Jon Allen, CALS professor of food science.baked sweet potato-443x295

3.  Immune System is Strengthened

Sweet potatoes are high in vitamin C, Beta Carotene and vitamin E that support a healthy immune system and are powerful disease-fighting antioxidants.

4. Helps Keep the Heart Healthy

They are a great source of B6 vitamins, which break down homocysteine, a substance that contributes to the hardening of blood vessels and arteries. – Harvard University School of Public Health.

Also, being a good source of potassium, they help the heart by lowering blood pressure according to the American Heart Association. Potassium is also an important electrolyte that helps regulate your heartbeat.

5. Reduce the Chances of Stomach Ulcers

Functional Foods in Health and Disease did a study in 2012 on how effective sweet potatoes were in healing an ulcer. The sweet potato had a potent ulcer healing effect!

6. Good for Weight Loss

Sweet potatoes are a good source of dietary fiber, which slows down digestion so you eat less. This also helps with regular bowel movements.

7. Anti-Inflammatory Effects of Purple Sweet Potato

A study found the extract of the purple sweet potato to be anti-inflammatory.

sweet potato fries from care 2

Sweet Potatoes are High in Beta-Carotene (Vitamin A)

1 cup Sweet potato, cooked, baked in skin = 769 percent daily recommended intake of Vitamin A, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Vitamin A is an antioxidant that protects cells from damage caused by free radicals believed to contribute to some chronic diseases.

According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, Beta-Carotene also […]

Bell Peppers, Colourful Powerfood For Health

By |October 22nd, 2015|

Sweet bell peppers, with their terrifically tangy, sweet taste, add a lovely light crunchiness to meals. Their vivid bright colors of royal red, sunny yellow, bright orange or deep green adds vibrant beauty to any meal, whether it’s a salad or a stir fry.

5 Amazing Health Benefits of Sweet Bell Peppers

1. Lowers Risk of Prostate Cancer

Research studies of 12 years, found the relationship between vitamin C rich foods, particularly green peppers, lowered the risk of prostate cancer. Prostate Cancer and Prostatic Disease scientists attributed lycopene, β-carotene, vitamins E, C and A, and retinoids found in bell peppers may significantly reduce prostate cancer risk.

2. Helps Repair Bones

Collagen is a long, fibrous protein critical to providing your bones with tensile strength. Collagen needs vitamin C to synthesize collagen. U.S. National Library of Medicine note that red and yellow bell peppers have 4 times as much vitamin C as oranges.

3. May Help Protect Against Cancer

Red bell peppers are abundant in capsanthin, an antioxidant responsible for their brilliant red color. Some studies have shown that this carotenoid may help protect against cancer.

4. Great Food for Weight Loss

Sweet red peppers can activate thermogenesis and increases our metabolism without increasing our heart rate and blood pressure like the hot peppers do, research has shown.

Also, they are low in calories being 92 percent water (1 green peppers, sliced cup = 18 calories 1 red peppers, sliced cup = 28 calories). Source: USDA

5. Can Help Prevent Anemia

They are high in Vitamin C which is needed to fully absorb iron.

Bell Pepper Trivia

  • They are technically a fruit because they grow on a flowering plant and contain seeds
  • Sweet bell peppers are not hot! As measured in ‘Scoville Heat Scale’ a sweet bell pepper scores 0, while a jalapeno pepper scores between 2,500 and 4,000 and those Mexican habaneros 200,000 to 500,000 units!
  • According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture: Between 2007-2011, China produced 51 percent of the world’s bell peppers making them the largest bell pepper growers, followed by Mexico, Turkey and Indonesia.

Bell Pepper Nutrition

  • High in Vitamin C – Green, sweet bell peppers have 2 times as much vitamin C as oranges; red and yellow bell peppers have 4 times as much. One cup of chopped green bell peppers provides 119.8 milligrams. Red peppers contain almost 300 percent of your daily vitamin C intake.
  • Contain Many Healthy Antioxidants (capsanthin, violaxanthin, lutein, quercetin and luteolin) which are associated with many health benefits. Source: Authority Nutrition

Allergy or Sensitivity to Bell Peppers

Bell peppers are part of the nightshade family, which also includes potatoes, tomatoes and eggplant.  For those who are sensitive to nightshades, they could trigger inflammation in the body and contribute to arthritis. There are no scientific studies to confirm this, but many health professionals have made the observation that some are sensitive to nightshade produce. It has been suggested that this sensitivity to nightshades is a unique sensitivity to solanine.

There are people with pollen allergy may also be sensitive to bell peppers. When bell peppers are eaten in moderation they don’t usually have any adverse health effects.


Green peppers are native to Mexico, Central America and South America.

Christopher Columbus brought sweet peppers back to Europe where they quickly became a popular ingredient in Spanish cuisine.

bell peppers whole varietyHow to Select

Sweet bell peppers can be orange, yellow, red, purple, brown, black, ivory or green, depending on the stage of ripeness and the variety. Green bell peppers are fully developed, but not ripe.

All sweet bell peppers start out […]

Kabocha Squash – Superstar of Squashes

By |September 18th, 2015|

Kabocha Squash can turn your kitchen into a fall food festival. With its bright orange color and rich, sweet delicious flavor, it can add a delightful dynamism to any meal. Learn below about its health benefits and how to find and cook it properly.

All squash is good for your health, but Kabocha Squash is my favorite because it tastes so good! Read about Squash the Powerfood.

5 Kabocha Squash Health Benefits

Excellent High Source of Beta-carotene

Beta-carotene converts to vitamin A in the body. Many of the Kabocha health benefits come from the benefits of vitamin A and the powerful antioxidant properties of beta-carotene.

1. Good for Healthy Eyes

Vitamin A is essential for good vision. Often poor sight at night and dry eyes are signs of a vitamin A deficiency according to the University of Maryland Medical Center.

One cup of Kabocha Squash has 93 percent of the amount of Vitamin A required for the day.

 2. Helps Decrease Heart Disease

In a study of 1899 men aged 40 to 59 years, it was found that those with higher amounts of Vitamin A had a decreased risk of incident CHD. Kabocha squash is very high in vitamin A.


3. Good for Weight Loss – Low in carbohydrates

One cup of Kobocha Squash has only 40 calories compared to Butternut Squash, which has 60 calories.

 4. May Help Fight Cancer

The American Institute for Cancer Research reports that squash may help fight cancer and heart disease while protecting your vision, immune system and skin.

 5. Good for Healthy Skin

It is high in vitamin A. Research sited by the University of Maryland Medical Center  has found vitamin A to be important for skin health and skin problems due to aging.

Kabocha Squash Trivia

It is known as Japanese squash. It is similar to Butternut Squash, but much sweeter. Its growing season lasts well through the winter.

Portuguese sailors took the Kabocha Squash with them from Cambodia to Japan in 1541. Their name for it was Cambodia abóbora and the Japanese shortened it to Kabocha.

Winter squash, or Pumpkin on its tree

Squash History

  • All the hard-shelled squashes are uniquely from the western hemisphere as far back as 3,000 BC. They were honored by the natives as being one of the ‘Three Sisters’ (Beans, Corn and Squash).  These were sustenance foods for many of the ancient people.
  • Europeans did not get to eat squash until after Columbus. In northern Europe they did not grow well as the climate was too cool and the summer season too short. France and Spain embraced the squash and created many unique varieties.

How to Buy and Store Kabocha Squash

  • Look for a squat pumpkin shape with hard knobby looking skin.
  • It weighs an average of three pounds and has spotted or blotchy dark green skin.
  • Make sure the squash is not soft or pitted. The stem should be intact and look fresh also.
  • Buy Kabocha at your farmers market grown locally and organically if possible, to be sure it has not traveled thousands of miles to get to you.
  • Store up 1 – 3 months in a cool dry location that has good air circulation.

Tips for Eating or Cooking:

  • Cooked Kabocha Squash texture is similar to that of a potato. It is delicious baked, steamed, stuffed or pureed.
  • Works well as a substitution in recipes that call for pumpkin or sweet potatoes.
  • Eat the peel! It is soft, delicious and makes preparing it […]

Health Benefits of Tomatoes

By |July 15th, 2015|

Your body loves the immense health benefits of tomatoes—even if the only way you’re enjoying them is in a hearty tomato sauce or refreshing juice. Tomatoes help keep your heart healthy and prevent cancer.

“A world without tomatoes is like a string quartet without violins.” Laurie Colwin, Home Cooking

6 Tomato Health Benefits

The red colour of the tomatoes is what makes them so good for us. Scientists have found that what makes tomatoes beneficial is their high quantity of lycopene, the phytochemical that creates tomatoes’ ruby red complexion. Lycopene is a powerful antioxidant that inhibits free radicals, which are a destructive substance in the body. It binds to free radicals, keeping them from creating cell damage that can result in diseases such as heart disease and cancer.

Tomatoes’ strongest health benefit is their ability to reduce the risk of heart disease. You can also find lycopene in other red foods like watermelon, apricots, red grapefruit, guava and papaya.

tomato benefits1. Helps Reduce Risk of Heart Disease
• The highest average intake of lycopene was linked to almost a 30 percent reduction in the incidence of cardiovascular disease and coronary heart disease.
• “We’ve shown quite clearly that lycopene improves the function of blood vessels in cardiovascular disease patients. It reinforces the need for a healthy diet in people at risk from heart disease and stroke,” says Dr Joseph Cheriyan from the University of Cambridge.
• Lycopene concentrations in the blood have been found to be protective in the early stages of narrowing of the arteries. When your arteries are narrowed, blood flow to the heart slows down. The research found that people with high levels of lycopene in their blood have lower rates of heart disease.
• A diet rich in tomatoes was found to increase “good” HDL cholesterol levels by 15.2 percent.
• A diet high in tomato products reduced “bad” LDL cholesterol levels by 13 percent in one Finnish study.
In one study observing people with an average age of 54 years from 10 European countries, lycopene may be at the root of the cardio-protective power of a diet rich in vegetables.
• Tomatoes are high in potassium, which helps regulate blood pressure.

2. Lowers Risk of Cancer
Tomatoes are rich in beta-carotene and lycopene, help lower some types of cancer and slow down the rate of other types of cancer.
• Tomatoes reduce breast cancer due to high amounts of carotenoids (alpha-carotene, beta-carotene, lutein, zeaxanthin, lycopene and total carotenoids), according to research from the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.
• Tomatoes may help prevent prostate cancer. This study found that men who ate more than 10 portions of tomatoes or tomato products per week have an 18 percent reduced risk of prostate cancer compared to men who ate less than ten.
• Consuming tomatoes and tomato-based products have been shown to lower the risk of a variety of cancers. The cancers that lowered the most were lung, stomach and prostate cancer. Research also indicated that tomatoes may help prevent cancers of the breast, cervix, oral cavity, colorectum, esophagus and pancreas. “It is critical to recognise that the current evidence regarding dietary intake and lycopene blood concentrations reflects consumption of tomatoes and tomato products rather than purified lycopene supplements,” notes the Oxford Journals.

3. Increase Fat Burning
• Tomatoes help produce the amino acid carnitine, which helps speed the body’s fat-burning capacity by more than 30 percent.
Tomato juice has been found to reduce weight, body fat and size of the waist.

4. Supports Healthy Skin and Hair
• Tomato components help fight […]

12 Health Benefits of Olive Oil With Infographic

By |February 21st, 2015|

Homer the famous Greek poet called olive oil “Liquid Gold.” Considering the phrase “you are what you eat,” what would happen if you consumed “Liquid Gold” daily?

”If my cuisine were to be defined by just one taste, it would be that of subtle, aromatic, extra-virgin olive oil.” – Alain Ducasse

12 Health Benefits of Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1. Helps Reduce Type 2 Diabetes
A Mediterranean diet rich in olive oil, has been shown to reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes by almost 50 percent compared to a low fat diet, according to this Spanish study.

2. Weight Loss
Olive oil makes you feel full. In one study, participants ate low-fat yogurt over a period of three months. The yogurt was enriched with one of four edible fats: lard, butterfat, grapeseed oil and olive oil. “Olive oil had the biggest satiety effect. The olive oil group showed a higher concentration of the satiety hormone serotonin in their blood. … participants also reported that they found the olive oil yogurt very filling.” says Professor Peter Schieberle, Head of the TUM Chair of Food Chemistry and Director of the German Research Center for Food Chemistry. 

3. Good for a Healthy Heart
Olive oil slows down aging of the heart. Those who consume olive oil regularly are less likely to develop cardiovascular diseases.

4. Helps lower bad cholesterol and raise good cholesterol. Twenty-eight outpatients given olive oil supplements once a day for six weeks had a decline in total bad cholesterol to good cholesterol ratios.

5. Helps with Bone Health
People who consume olive oil have higher levels of osteocalcin protein which has a protective effect on bone, according to a two-year study.

“Italians … seemed never to die. They eat olive oil all day long … and that’s what does it.” – William Kennedy

6. Reduces Ear Aches Caused by Ear Wax
Too much wax in the ears can cause ear aches. Olive oil can help soften and remove ear wax.

7. Lowers Depression 
In a study, it was found that those who consumed trans fats regularly had a 48 percent higher risk of developing depression, compared to those who consumed olive oil

8. Repair Damaged Hair
Olive oil used as a deep conditioner can soften your hair and help repair damage. Also, eating olive oil helps hair from the inside-out because it is rich in vitamins A, B-1, B-2, C, D, E, K and iron.

9. Protects Against Colon Cancer & Ulcerative Colitis

Olive oil can protect against bowel cancer according to research in 28 countries. Also, those with a high consumption of oleic acid (component of olive oil) had a 90 percent lower risk of developing ulcerative colitis compared to those with a low consumption.oil on skin
10. Nourishes Your Skin
Olive oil moisturizes by penetrating deeply into the skin without clogging pores, unlike what many commercial skin moisturizers do. It does this so well that it is often used for skin conditions like eczema or psoriasis.

11. Reduces Skin Cancer
Melanoma, a dangerous type of skin cancer, can be slowed down by consumption of olive oil which is rich in antioxidants, a study conducted by Dr. NivaShapira from Tel Aviv found. Dr. Shapira says that consuming olive oil and other Mediterranean foods, could be countering the oxidizing effect of the sun. Interesting fact:  only three in every 100,000 residents of countries in the Mediterranean develop any form of skin cancer.

12. Improves Digestion 

Olive oil increases the production of peptides, which support healthy digestion.

More of a visual learner? Check […]

Why We Love Creamy Peanut Butter

By |December 7th, 2014|

Peanut butter is diversely delicious. It is great with bananas or jam in a sandwich and goes very well with many fruits and vegetables. It is also surprisingly filled with health benefits. It is high in protein and healthy oil which can help with diabetes, weight loss, and Alzheimer’s disease. No food is perfect, though; there are some cautions with peanuts. Hopefully, you are not one of the 1% that is highly allergic to peanuts.

November is National Peanut Butter Lover’s Month.  Interesting to note that 65 million pounds of peanut butter will be eaten by Americans during the month of November.

“Man cannot live by bread alone; he must have peanut butter.”  – James A. Garfield

8 Health Benefits of Peanut Butter

1.  Good for Your Heart
Studies found peanuts lowered the risk of cardiovascular and coronary heart disease.

2. Helps Reduce Hunger Making it Good For Weight Loss
Eating peanuts and peanut butter helps control hunger without leading to weight gain.

3. Lowers Colon Cancer
Eating peanuts and peanut butter may reduce colon cancer in women.

4. Helps Protect Against Alzheimer’s Disease and Memory Impairment
A study found that those getting the most niacin from foods were 70 percent less likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease. Peanuts are one of the foods highest in niacin.

5.  Prevent Gallstones
Individuals eating five or more servings of nuts per week had a 25 percent to 30 percent lower risk of getting gallstones compared to those who rarely or never ate nuts in two studies. Although peanuts are technically classified as a legume, they were considered nuts for these experiments, so peanuts are actually the most commonly consumed ‘nut’ in the world.

6. Full of Healthy Fat
All of the fat in peanut butter is heart-healthy monounsaturated fat. A study found that insulin-resistant adults who ate a diet high in mono-saturated fat had less belly fat than people who ate more carbohydrates or saturated fat.

7. Lowers Type 2 Diabetes
Eating peanuts can reduce the risk of diabetes according to a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

8. High in Valuable Nutrition
Peanut butter has protein as well as potassium — which lowers the risk of high blood pressure, stroke and heart disease. It also contains fiber for your bowel health, healthy fats, magnesium to fortify your bones and muscles, Vitamin E and antioxidants.

Caution: Peanuts and Aflatoxin
Peanuts are susceptible to molds and fungus — some of which are highly toxic. A fungus called Aspergillus flavus produces a carcinogen that is twenty times more toxic than DDT, called aflatoxin. (To read all about these molds and the best way to minimize the risk, click here.)

History of Peanut Butter
Peanut Butter Lovers Day started on November 4, 1990. It marks the anniversary of the first patent for peanut butter, applied for by Dr. John Harvey Kellogg on November 4, 1895.

Peanut Butter Trivia

  • In the early 1900’s, peanut butter was found in tea rooms as a fancy food for rich people.
  • The USA has had two Presidents elected who were peanut farmers: Thomas Jefferson and Jimmy Carter.
  • In one acre of land, there is enough peanuts to make 30,000 peanut butter sandwiches.
  • Before graduating high school, the average child will have consumed 1,500 peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.
  • Women and children like creamy peanut butter and men prefer crunchy.

Best Peanut […]