PowerFoods

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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 Butter to Buy:
Read […]

The Amazing Healing Power of Blueberries

By |October 12th, 2014|

Blueberries help protect you from cancer, keep your heart and brain healthy and even help you lose weight. I love their taste and consider them a powerfood.

“Have blueberries whenever you are low – destiny will change and you will be high.”
~ Adam Voichester

6 Top Health Benefits of Blueberries

1. More antioxidants per serving than all other fruits, vegetables, spices and seasonings.
Antioxidants are compounds in foods that neutralize chemicals called free radicals (unstable molecules), produced by oxidation in the human body. Antioxidants found in foods protect your cells from the effects of free radicals. Free radicals are produced when your body digests your food for energy and by environmental toxins. They can damage cells; have been linked to conditions such as heart and liver disease, cancer and weakened immune system.

2. Great for the Brain – They Improve Memory.
Blueberry juice improves memory in older adults. This is good news for us baby boomers!

“When it comes to brain protection, there is nothing quite like blueberries, call the blueberry the brain berry,” says Dr. James Joseph, at the USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University.

3. Anti-Cancer Benefits.
Studies with blueberries have found that breast cancer, colon cancer, esophageal cancer, and cancers of the small intestine were reduced. These studies were on human cells or laboratory animals so we are still waiting for more research, but so far research points to astounding healing powers. Good news is there is an increasing percentage of blueberry research focusing on anti-cancer benefits.

4. Good for the Heart.
Much research has shown how good blueberries are for the heart. “Women who ate at least three servings of blueberries and strawberries per week had fewer heart attacks. Blueberries and strawberries contain high levels of compounds that have cardiovascular benefits.”

5. Reduces Risk of Diabetes. One of the antioxidants found in blueberries, anthocyanins which give them their blue color has been found to lower risk of Type 2 diabetes. People who ate two or more servings of blueberries weekly reduced their risk of developing diabetes by 23 percent in one study. Blueberries are low on the Glycemic Index, so people with diabetes can easily consume them.

6. Help with Weight Loss. Want to activate those fat burning genes? Blueberries can do that with the catechins found in them. Eating foods full of catechins will double total weight loss, according to research at Tufts University. Blueberries may even help reduce belly fat.

Full of Nutrition!
Blueberries contain vitamin C, B complex, vitamin E, vitamin A, copper, selenium, zinc, iron, magnesium, manganese and potassium.

“Inflammation is a key driver of all chronic diseases,
so blueberries have a host of benefits,”
  ~ Ann Kulze, MD, of Charleston, S.C.

Blueberry Trivia

  • Blueberries were called “star berries” by Native Americans because the five points of blueberry blossoms make a star shape. Also, they believed that the ‘Great Spirit’ created the berries to feed their hungry children during famine.
  • The Shakers made the blue paint for the woodwork on their houses from sage blossoms, indigo, blueberry skins & milk.
  • The U.S. is the world’s largest producer of blueberries. If all the blueberries grown in North America in one year were spread out in a single layer, they would cover a four-lane highway from New York to Chicago.

Cucumbers, The Cool Summer Food

By |August 28th, 2014|

A tasty, juicy cucumber is a very cool addition to salads. This perfect summer veggie keeps your body hydrated, strong and happy.

Cucumbers Will Do Almost Everything We Hear!

Have you ever heard of those wives’ tale cucumber cleaning tips? I tried a few of them to find out if they really were true. Here’s what I found:

  • Cucumber to take the tarnish off stainless steel did not work any better than dish soap and cloth.
  • Polishing my shoes with cucumber was not fun! I had to clean up the seeds after. Using a damp cloth is much better.
  • Using cucumber to erase ink writing did not work at all!

The bad news is, cucumber is not a natural cleaner. The good news is, it’s loaded with health benefits.

Health Benefits of Cucumbers:

1. Hydrate Your Body.
Like watermelons, cucumbers are 95 percent water.

2. Help Flush Toxins from the body.
The high water content in cucumbers gets your urinary system moving. This is why they are in many detox recipes.

3. Good for Treating High Blood Pressure.
Cucumbers with lots of potassium, magnesium and fiber help regulate blood pressure

4. May Help Fight Cancer.
Although research is just beginning, there’s a compound found in cucumbers called cucurbitacin has been found to fight cancer.

5. Help With Weight Loss.
A half-cup of sliced cucumber only has 8 calories and has high water content; it is a good food to add to the diet.

6. May Help Diabetes.
Cucumbers contain a hormone needed by the cells of the pancreas in order to produce insulin. This hormone has been found to be beneficial to diabetic patients. Compounds in cucumber seeds helped to control blood sugar levels in diabetic rats. Study 2011

7. Highly Alkaline-Forming Food.
Eating more alkaline-forming foods and less acid-forming foods like sugar, alcohol, bread and meat, is an important part of keeping a balanced diet.

8. May Help Reduce Cholesterol Levels.
Cucumbers contain sterols. According to research, sterols reduce LDL cholesterol by about 10 percent.

9. Reduce Risk of Heart Disease.
Cucumbers contain three lignans (lariciresinol, pinoresinol, and secoisolariciresinol) that research has shown to boost cardiovascular health.

10. Help Keep Bowel Movements Regular.
Cucumbers have good fiber and, again, because of high water content, are great for moving bodies of toxins from the digestive system. They can help constipation.

“To see cucumbers in a dream denotes that you will speedily fall in love. Or, if you are in love, then you will marry the object of your affection.” ­- Richard Folkard in ‘Plant Lore’ (1884)

Cool Cumbers Trivia Facts

  • The inside of a cucumber can be up to 20 degrees cooler than the outside air. Now you know why they are called cool. Add this to your cooling tips for hot summer days. 
  • They are in the family of pumpkins, zucchini, watermelon and other squashes.
  • A cucumber was slang for a dollar in the United States in the 1930s.
  • There are over 100 varieties of cucumbers!
  • Cucumbers were believed to have originated in India and spread through Greece and Italy.

How to Choose and Store Cucumbers:

  • Look for firm dark green cucumbers with no soft spots. If the cucumber bulges in the middle that means it’s filled with large watery seeds and very tasteless flesh.
  • Best to keep them refrigerated in the crisper.  They do not last long so note that they will not usually last for more than a week. If you get unwaxed cucumbers like I do they do lose moisture easily so keep them wrapped tightly in plastic. (I know — I don’t like to use […]

10 Health Benefits & Infographic for Avocados

By |July 27th, 2014|

Some people avoid avocados due to their high fat content. Most of us know by now that avocados have the kind of fat that actually help you lose weight!

Avocados are bursting with of other health benefits too, and are so strongly associated with fertility and aphrodisiacs that the Aztecs would lock up virgin daughters during avocado harvest time to keep them safe.  Read the details and check out the infographic below on this Powerfood.

“Either you run the day, or the day runs you. Or you eat guacamole.” John Rohn

10 Avocados Benefits

1. Nutrient dense fruit

Yes, they are actually a large berry with one seed. One avocado contains approximately 1/3 of the daily requirement of vitamin K and folate, lots of pantothenic acid, vitamin B6, vitamin C. 

Avocado has twice the potassium of a banana. It also contain vitamin E, niacin, and riboflavin. That is definitely nutrient dense!

2. A Source of Healthy Fat

They help increase good cholesterol. Avocados are full of fat, but adding avocados to the diet can increase HDL and decrease triglycerides.

3. Help Cure Cancer

Avocados will help your body make more glutathione than many other foods.  Glutathione has been found to help prevent some kinds of cancers.

Researchers found extracts from Hass avocados kill or stop the growth of precancerous cells that lead to oral cancer.  Avocado extract was found to inhibit prostate cancer.

4. Excellent as a First Baby Food

Dr. William Sears puts it as #1 on the top ten list of fruits for babies because avocado nutrition is well-suited for a baby’s growing development.

5. Stabilize Blood Sugar Levels

Avocado slows digestion which keeps blood sugar from spiking after a meal.

6. Avocados can Protect Unborn Babies

One avocado provides one third of your recommended daily intake of folate, which helps form a baby’s brain and nervous system. The USDA recommends avocados as one of the best sources for some of the nutrients needed when pregnant.

7. Improve Eyesight

The high amount of lutein and zeaxanthin in avocados can protect your eyes from age-related macular degeneration and improve your vision. One ounce of avocado contains 81 micrograms of lutein.

8. Have Low Pesticide Levels

“Avocados were the cleanest: only 1 percent of avocado samples showed any detectable pesticides.” Says Environmental Working Group The thick skin of the avocado protects it from absorbing pesticides.

9. Help with Weight Loss

It was found that those who ate half of a fresh avocado with their lunch had a 40 percent less desire to eat for 3 hours after lunch, and a 28 percent less desire to eat 5 hours after as compared with those who ate lunch with no avocado.

10.  Good for Sexual Health and Fertility

They are rich in Vitamin B6 and folic acid which regulate sexual hormone functions.  Also, Vitamin B6 and potassium boost testosterone production in males.  Being rich in heart healthy fats, the heart will keep beating strong; making sure that blood is flowing to the right places.

Perhaps those Spanish priests were on to something when they banned their parishioners from eating avocados. Avocados were a fertility fruit for the Aztecs and used as an aphrodisiac by the Mayans. Old folklore mentions the Aztecs […]

11 Health Benefits of the Beautiful Cherry

By |July 17th, 2014|

Cherries are delicious, beautiful, and in season now! National Cherry Day is on July 16th in the UK. Eat this superfruit before its short growing season comes to an end.

When you eat cherries, you enjoy much more than just their amazing taste. They’re packed with antioxidants and offer many health benefits, including help with insomnia, joint pain and belly fat. Cherries could be just what the doctor ordered.

Here are 11 good reasons to start eating this powerfood today!

11 Health Benefits of Cherries

1. Protection from Diabetes

Sweet cherries have a low glycemic index of 22, lower than apricots (57), grapes (46), peaches (42), blueberries (40) or plums (39). This makes them a better choice of a fruit snack compared with many other fruits, especially for diabetics.

2. Helps You Sleep Better

Tossing and turning at night?  Cherry juice to the rescue! Drink cherry juice 30 minutes after waking and 30 minutes before your evening meal. In a study, participants boosted their melatonin intake by following this routine. Cherries are a good source of melatonin.They have also been found to help with jet lag.

Note: there is a higher level of melatonin in tart cherries compared to sweet cherries.

“There’s no diet list I’ll follow that would rule out a cherry.” – Edgar A. Guest

3. Decreases Belly Fat

Tart cherries reduced belly fat in a study. Researchers found rats that were fed whole tart cherry powder, in a high fat diet, didn’t gain as much weight or build up as much body fat as rats that didn’t.

4. Helps Ward off Alzheimer’s

The Alzheimer’s Association includes cherries as one of the memory boosting foods because they are rich in antioxidants.

5. Reduces Risk of Stroke

Tart cherries provide cardiovascular benefits. The anthocyanins, which are the pigments giving tart cherries its red colour, may activate PPAR which regulates genes involved in fat and glucose metabolism and thus, reduce risk factors for high cholesterol, blood pressure and diabetes. – Research University of Michigan Health System.

6. Slows the Ageing of Skin

Cherries have the highest antioxidant level of any fruit. Antioxidants help the body fight the free radicals that make us look old. Drinking one glass of tart cherry juice daily slows down the ageing process, according to Scientists from the Michigan State University. Cherry juice is also recommended as an alternative treatment for other skin conditions.

7. Lowers Risk of Gout Attacks

Eating cherries lowers risk of gout attacks by 35 percent in a study with 633 gout patients, done by by Yuqing Zhang, professor of medicine and public health at Boston University. Gout patients who consumed cherries over a two-day period had a 35 percent lower risk of gout attacks, compared to those who did not eat the cherries. “Our findings indicate that consuming cherries or cherry extract lowers the risk of gout attack, the gout flare risk continued to decrease with increasing cherry consumption, up to three servings over two days.” said Zhang.

8. Reduces Muscle Pain

A cup and a half of tart cherries or one cup of tart cherry juice can reduce muscle inflammation and soreness studies suggest. A group of marathon runners drank tart cherry juice twice daily for seven days before their race. The group who drank the cherry juice group experienced less muscle pain after the race than those who drank another fruit drink.

“My heart that was rapt away by the wild cherry blossoms — […]

Everything Arugula – Benefits, Nutrition & How to Grow

By |June 27th, 2014|

Arugula with its aromatic, peppery flavour adds a wonderful dimension to a salad and to your sex life too.

Arugula is also known by other names such as salad rocket, garden rocket, roquette, rucola, rugula, or colewort. The scientific name of arugula is Eruca sativa.

 ”Arugula is an elixir that gives flavor to life.” – Dennis Lybeer

 9 Arugula Health Benefits

  1. Cancer fighting powerfood                
    Arugula is one of the brassica family vegetables along with broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage. These vegetables are high in fibre and antioxidants, and also rich in glucosinolates, studies show may reduce the risk of developing lung, prostate, breast, and pancreatic cancer.
  2. Rich in chlorophyll
    Chlorophyll can help to prevent liver and DNA damage from aflatoxins . To get the most chlorophyll in arugula, it is best to eat it raw.


  3. Hydrating leafy green
    Arugula is composed of mostly water; containing a 90% water so is a great hydrating and cooling food in the summer.
  4. Good for bone health
    Vitamin K is needed for bone health; it is needed for the absorption of calcium into the bones and teeth. Half cup of arugula contains 10.9 micrograms of vitamin K. Three cups of arugula daily will supply you with 100% of your bodies need of vitamin K. It also contains eight times more calcium than iceberg lettuce.
  5. Helps reduce inflammation in the body
    It contains indole-3-carbinol and isothiocyanates which have been shown to suppress the production of inflammation in the body.

  6. Cleanses and detoxifies the body.
    The fiber content helps clean out the colon promoting healthy bowel movements. The phytochemicals, antioxidants and essential minerals found in arugula help cleanse out toxins in the body.
  7. Protect the aging brain and cognitive decline
    Arugula is high in most of the B vitamins but contains especially high amounts of folate. In high-functioning older adults, low levels of folate have been shown to be a risk factor for cognitive decline.
  8. Weight loss
    Arugula in your diet can benefit you with so many nutrients and the extra benefit is that 2 cups contains only 80 calories, making it a good choice for those on a diet.

  9. Aphrodisiac
    Arugula has used as an aphrodisiac since the first century. Research has shown us that the trace minerals and antioxidants in dark, leafy greens are essential for our sexual health. They help block environmental contaminants which are thought to be negative to our libido.
    A study found that arugula leaf extracts boosted testosterone levels and sperm activity in mice. The results suggest that the phytochemicals and/or nutrients in arugula may have aphrodisiac properties. – Published March 2013 in Journal of Al-Nahrain University

“The rocket excites the sexual desire of drowsy people.”
– from a poem, by Virgil, one of Rome’s greatest poets.

 Trivia:

  • Arugula was used as a potent aphrodisiac during the ancient civilization of Rome.
  • Love potions were made using arugula and other herbs like lavender in ancient times.
  • Arugula seeds are pressed to make Taramira oil, used in pickling, cooking, and salad dressing in northern India.
  • Ancient Romans ate it for good luck.

Tips for eating or cooking:

This green is popular in Italian cuisine

Eating arugula raw will likely provide your body with more of the healthy isothiocyanates than eating cooked arugula.

Eating lightly cooked arugula, your body will absorb more of certain nutrients and carotenoids than when it is raw.

Please Note:

Arugula is relatively lower in oxalate content than that in spinach, purslane, mustard greens, celery, etc. The greens can be safely used during pregnancy and lactation.

Arugula Nutrition:

  • It is full of the minerals copper, calcium, iron, potassium, manganese and phosphorous.
  • High in Vitamin C, Vitamin A, and Vitamin K.
  • Also rich in thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B-6 (pyridoxine), and pantothenic acid.
  • Arugula is low in oxalates which is good because oxalates inhibit mineral absorption in the body. Spinach […]

20 Huge Health Benefits of Tiny Sesame Seeds

By |May 19th, 2014|

These tiny sesame seeds may be tiny, but they have huge health benefits. During the Middle Ages,  they were worth their weight in gold for many good reasons.

The more I learn about this precious seed, the more I want to share it with other people. I’m an enthusiastic eater of all sorts of seeds, but sesame seeds in the form of tahini and oil are favourites of mine.

20 Health Benefits of Sesame Seeds

1. Full of Great Protein
Sesame seeds are full of high quality protein making up 20 percent of the seed with 4.7 grams of protein per ounce.

2. Helps Prevent Diabetes
Sesame seeds contain magnesium and other nutrients. Sesame oil has been shown to prevent diabetes, and it can also improve plasma glucose in hypersensitive diabetics.

3. Reduces Blood Pressure
The same study above reveals how sesame oil lowers blood pressure in diabetics. Sesame seeds are full of magnesium – a key nutrient known to help lower blood pressure.

4. Lowers Cholesterol
Sesame helps lower cholesterol levels, because it contains phytosterols that block cholesterol production. Black sesame seeds are especially high in phytosterols.

5. Good for Digestion
The high fiber content of sesame seeds helps the intestines with elimination.

6. For Healthy Skin
The high zinc content helps produce collagen, giving skin more elasticity and helping repair damaged body tissues. Regular use of sesame oil can reduce skin cancer. Learn more about Sesame Benefits For Your Skin.

7. Boosts Heart Health

Sesame seed oil can help heart health by preventing atherosclerotic lesions with the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compound known as sesamol.

8. Prevents Cancer
Sesame seeds contain anti-cancer compounds including phytic acid, magnesium and phytosterols. Sesame seeds have the highest phytosterol content of all seeds and nuts.

9. Helps Lessen Anxiety
Sesame seeds contain the stress-relieving minerals magnesium and calcium. Sesame also contains the calming vitamins thiamin and tryptophan that help produce serotonin, which reduces pain, assists moods and helps you sleep deeply.

10. Alleviates Anemia
Black sesame seeds are particularly rich in iron, so they’re highly recommended for those with anemia and weakness.

Sesame Seeds

Raw Sesame Seeds

I like to use Raw Organic Sesame Seeds and buy lots at the same time at a good price.

11. Protects from Radiation Damage to DNA
Sesamol in sesame seeds and sesame oil, has been shown to protect against DNA damage caused by radiation.

12. Relieves Arthritis
The high copper content in sesame seeds prevents and relieves arthritis, and strengthens bones, joints and blood vessels.

13. Protects Your Liver from Alcohol
Sesame helps protect you from alcohol’s impact on your liver, helping you maintain healthy liver function.

14. Prevents Wrinkles
Sesame seed oil prevents harmful ultraviolet rays of the sun from damaging your skin, thus preventing the appearance of wrinkles and pigmentation.

15. Encourages Bone Health and Prevents Osteoporosis
A handful of sesame seeds contains more calcium than a glass of milk. Also, the high zinc content of sesame boosts bone mineral density.

16. Help Your Baby’s Health

A sesame oil massage improves growth and improves sleep. Rashes on a baby’s skin — especially where the diaper is — can be protected with sesame seed oil by rubbing it in. As a bonus, sesame also helps reverse dry skin.

17. Good for Eye Health: In traditional Chinese medicine there is a relationship between the liver and eyes. The liver sends blood to the eyes to support functioning. Black sesame seeds are the best for this.


18. Good for […]

Flaxseed Health Benefits and Uses

By |April 25th, 2014|

Flaxseeds have been cultivated for their health benefits for 5000 years but it is only in the last few decades that nutritional science has realized just how good they are for us.

“Wherever flaxseed becomes a regular food item among the people, there will be better health.” Mahatma Gandhi.

I love adding flaxseeds to my meals and baking!  Let’s learn more about this Powerfood.

Essential  Flaxseed Health Benefits

1. Flaxseeds are one of the foods highest in soluble and insoluble fibre;
4 Tbsp flax meal = 8 grams of fiber.

  • Great for detoxing of the body. They contain a gummy soluble fiber called mucilage which protects intestinal flora.
  • Helps keep bowel movements regular eliminating toxins.
  • Blocks excess acidity thus improves digestion.
  • The fibre has cholesterol-lowering effects.
  • The high fiber helps stabilize blood sugar.

2. Flaxseed Lignans Fight Cancer, Infection and More

  • Flaxseeds Reduce Prostate Cancer: Research studies show lignans can slow the growth of prostate cancer cells.
  • Flaxseeds help with Breast Cancer Survival: Three studies followed thousands of women diagnosed with breast cancer were published at PubMed Central® 1. 2. 3. They found “Lignans might play an important role in reducing all-cause and cancer-specific mortality of the patients operated on for breast cancer.”
  • Lignans seem to have antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral properties.
  • Lignans may reduce pre-menopausal symptoms, promote fertility and prevent Type 2 diabetes.

3. Flaxseed Omega-3 Essential Fatty Acids Reduce Inflammation.

  • Many chronic diseases (heart disease, arthritis, asthma, diabetes) are developed from too much inflammation; this is enhanced by having too little Omega-3 intake. Flaxseed oil can be a real help.

Benefits of essential fatty acids:

  • increases “good” Cholesterol levels
  • for organ health
  • keep joints supple
  • a healthy brain; very important when a child’s brain grows the fastest, in utero and during infancy.
  • a healthy heart and arteries
  • can nourish immune system
  • help keep bones strong
  • for a smooth skin

4.  Flaxseed Meal is Low Carb, Low Glycemic Index, and Gluten Free.

  • Although flaxseeds are not a grain, they have a similar vitamin and mineral profile and are often used in grain type recipes.
  • For those on a low carbohydrate diet, or a gluten free diet, flaxseed meal is perfectly safe.  It has a low glycemic  index of 32 and with it’s high fiber is good for weight loss.

Flaxseed Trivia:

  • Hippocrates used flaxseed for relief of intestinal discomfort.
  • The Egyptians used linen (made from flax seed) to wrap their mummies.
  • Christ wore linen in his tomb. Homer tells of sails made of linen in his Odyssey.
  • Laws were passed requiring people to consume flax seeds for its health benefits by King Charlemagne in the 8th century.
  • Flax was one of the original medicines, used by Hippocrates himself.
  • Some flax varieties are  grown for oil, some for their fiber to make linen.

Flaxseed History:

  • Stone Age: Flax remnants were found in Stone Age dwellings in Switzerland.
  • Around 3000 BC:  flaxseed was cultivated in Babylon.
  • 8th century: King Charlemagne passed laws requiring his subjects to consume it because he believed in its health benefits.

Flaxseed Nutrition:

  1. Contains high quality protein; 4 Tbsp flax meal = 6 grams of protein.
  2. Contain vitamins B-1, B-2, C, E, and carotene.
  3. Contain many minerals (iron, zinc, and trace amounts of potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, and calcium)
  4. Has vitamin E and carotene, two nutrients which aid the metabolism of the oil.
  5. Contain over a hundred times more of a phytonutrient lignin, than high lignin food such as wheat bran, buckwheat, rye, millet, oats, and soybeans.

Flaxseed History:

  • Stone Age: Flax remnants were found in Stone Age dwellings in Switzerland.
  • Around 3000 BC: flaxseed was cultivated in Babylon.
  • 8th century: King Charlemagne passed laws requiring his subjects to consume it because he believed in its health benefits.

How To Get Flaxseeds Into Your Diet

 First you need to know the varieties of flaxseeds and […]

Types of Cabbage

By |January 30th, 2014|

 040811_1819_CabbagetheB1.jpg

Green Cabbage: the most common variety; is pale green in colour with tightly compacted leaves. 

red cabbageRed Cabbage: this dark purple red cabbage is similar in taste to the green cabbage but with coarser leaves. Red cabbage has almost 3,000 times more anthocyanins (an antioxidant) as green cabbage

Bok Choy: A Chinese cabbage with dark green leaves and white stems. Has the highest beta carotene and vitamin A content. (see right)Bok choy stems are white and watery-crisp, while the leaves are deep green and very tender. The flavor of bok choy reminds us of baby spinach or swiss chard, and we love it in stir-fries, brothy soups, and steamed mixed vegetable dishes.

savoy cabbageSavoy Cabbage: is round and green-yellow in colour, with crinkled leaves and is less compact than the green cabbage. Their flavor is mild and earthy, and the leaves are tender even when raw. Good  sliced thinly in soups and stir-fries. When you buy it should be crisp – not wilted!

nappa cabbage chinese 450Napa  Cabbage:  also called Chinese or celery cabbage.  Napa cabbage doesn’t look like head cabbages. It has long light green leaves that flower off of thick, white stalks.  It has a lovely mild flavor with a peppery kick that is delicious in salads or stir-frys.

brussel sproutsBrussel Sprouts:  They don’t just look like tiny cabbages, they are! . If you find them sold on the stalk,  know that they will keep for several weeks if chilled.

Plum Crazy! 8 Health Benefits and Fascinating Facts

By |December 6th, 2013|

plum health benefits

I love plums!

The best things about them are that plums are a low-calorie powerfood that won’t spike your blood sugar levels and are full of health benefits.

8 Plum Health Benefits:

1.  Great for Relieving constipation and digestive problems.
Filled with dietary fiber.

2.  Protects your heart.
A medium fresh plum contains 113 mg of potassium that helps manage high blood pressure and reduce risk of stroke.

3.  Protect against cancer and cell damage.
Cleans up harmful free radicals with the anthocyanins, reddish-blue pigment in some plums.

4.  Prevent diabetes.
Plums have a low glycaemic index so eating plums can help you control your blood sugar and reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes according to the Dieticians of Canada.

5.  Improves bone health.
In a study one group ate prunes, the other group ate dried apples and both took calcium and vitamin D supplements. The prune group had substantially higher bone mineral density in the spine and forearms.  (Florida State and Oklahoma State universities Research.)

6.  Low in Calories.
This is very beneficial when dieting. A small plum contains only 30 calories.

7.  Plums destroy breast cancer cells.
Plum extracts can kill breast cancer cells in their most aggressive forms; the surrounding healthy cells were not harmed by the treatment. (ScienceDaily.com)

8.  Improves brain memory.
Plums are full of antioxidants that have been shown to slow the development of Alzheimer’s. (The University of Harvard Health Research.)  They also contain anthocyanin and quercetin, beneficial for preventing brain cell-breakdown.

“You can’t evoke great spirits and eat plums at the same time.” – George William Russell

Plum Trivia:

  • The Chinese believe plums symbolize good fortune.
  • More than one hundred varieties of plum stones were found on Henry VIII’s flagship the Mary Rose, which sank in 1545.
  • February is the month for plums in Japan; there are plum blossoms everywhere.
  • Umeboshi (Japanese pickled plums) were thought by the samurai to combat fatigue.
  • Plum trees are grown on every continent except Antarctica.
  • There are more than 140 varieties of plum sold in the United States.
  • Plums are the second most cultivated fruit in the world.
  • At least 2,300 people in the U.S. are listed on whitepages.com with the last name “Plum.”
  • Plums can be as large as a baseball or a small as a cherry.
  • Plums were on the menu at the first Thanksgiving dinner in 1621.

Plum Nutrition:

  • Yummy, succulent plums only have 46 calories per 100 g, contain no saturated fats and are full of minerals and vitamins.
  • Plums and prunes help increase the absorption of iron into the body, which may be due to the fact that they are a good source of vitamin C. This has been documented in published research.

There are more than 80 nutrients found in plums. Read more at Plum Nutrition

Plum Cautions:
Plums and Oxalates:  For those with a history of kidney stones are advised to avoid eating plums. For more information about: Oxalic Acid

History:

  • Writings of plums show up as early as 479 B.C.  The plum tree was significant in Chinese mythology.  It was often carved on jade and was associated with wisdom.
  • Pompey the Great in 65 B.C. introduced plums to Rome, and Alexander the Great eventually brought them to the Mediterranean.
  • Japanese plums originated in China. Japanese plums were introduced to the U.S. in the late 19th century.
  • It is thought that plums were one of the first fruits domesticated by humans.

“The branches of the aspen plum
To and fro they sway
How can […]

Umeboshi Plums – The Samurai PowerFood

By |December 5th, 2013|

Umeboshi plum

These Japanese pickled plums were thought by the samurai to combat battle fatigue.

Umeboshi means dried plum and the botanic name is Prunus ume.  It is technically part of the plum family, before it’s turned into umeboshi but it looks like an apricot.

Japanese pickled plums have many medicinal qualities. They are highly effective in balancing a highly acidic body with its highly alkalizing effect which helps with fatigue, digestion, and helping eliminate toxins.  In Japan this is what they use instead of an aspirin and instead of an apple a day it is an umeboshi a day as preventive medicine.

I do need to warn you if you have not eaten one of these pickled plums they are very strong in taste and not a taste we in the west are accustomed to.  I love them! In the 70’s they were introduced to my diet when I became a macrobiotic.

“The abrupt, searingly tart, tangy, salty taste jolts the eyes open, shakes the stomach awake, sandpapers off any staleness from the tastebuds and gets the day off to an unforgettable start.” (Clearspring, 2009)

Watch for more to come in this article about all the wonderful benefits, history of and recipes of this unique powerfood.

Discover the benefits of regular plums at Plum Crazy:  8 Health Benefits and Fascinating Facts

Holy Basil Benefits

By |November 14th, 2013|

Holy BasilHoly basil has proven through thousands of years of applied use and recent research to offer a host of health benefits.

It is used in over 300 Ayurvedic herbal preparations, but is best known in the west as Tulsi Tea or in single herb supplements.  It has many applications beyond health, and that is why it is considered ‘holy’ in India.

 Health Benefits:

1. Adapting To and Resisting Stress

Holy basic is considered an adaptogenic herb.

Adaptogins have the ability to switch from stimulating to sedative effects based on the bodies needs. This balancing effect thus ‘adapts’ to the situation and  allows one to deal with challenging environments. Modern life has many challenges, both physical and psychological.

One interpretation of this effect is that holy basil reduce the negative effects stress has on the body by supporting the adrenals.

2.  Highly Alkaline – Helps Detox

Like many green plants Holy Basil is alkaline forming – so much so it traditionally used when a person is fasting so the body doesn’t  become too acidic during the temporary cleansing process.  

3.  Powerful anti-oxidant

Protects the body  from free radical destruction and ROS (reactive oxygen species) which contribute to disease and aging.

Faculty of Science researchers at Annamalai University, Tamil Nadu, India found that Holy Basil exhibits antioxidant activity and supports the body’s natural response to oxidative stress. They also found it to be supportive of the body’s normal lipid and protein oxidation levels, and normal antioxidant defense reactions.  

4.  Immune Support and Balance

Strengthens and balances the immune system to prevent infections but also reduce adverse immune reactions like asthma.

5. Powerful anti-inflammatory
Reduces chronic inflamation that is involved in many degenerative diseases including cancer and arthritis.  It to help inhibit COX-2 (inflammatory enzyme)Anti-inflamtories  usually help stabilize blood sugars and thus help weight control.

My Own Experience with Holy Basil:

I had two large Tulsi plants in my living room. They were both over one yard (one meter) high and wide.
Each day I would pinch off three to five fresh leaves and eat them raw – on the advice of an Indian healer.

Once my daughter had a cough which would not go away. When she saw a doctor she would told she had asthma and proscribed a puffer. Instead we just feed her tulsi leaves and her body balanced out completely within 2 days. I can’t be sure she had asthma or that the tulsi was the deciding factor in balancing her but we do know it helped.  Holy basil is well known to help with coughs.

Unfortunately those two plants died. I’m not a great gardener so I don’t know what happened but I plan to grow more.

Holy basil in front of templeReligious, Spiritual and Other Benefits:

  • Tulsi opens the heart and mind and nourishes the brain for experiences of meditation and enlightenment.
  • Tulsi is consider sacred by the Hindus since it is sacred to both Vishnu and Krishna.
  • It is said to balance the energetic system – with particular nourishment to the third eye chakra.
  • Many homes in India have a least two tulsi plants in front or with their homes to bring peace and prosperity.
  • There are also plants in front of temples.
  • Tulsi plants are known to purify the air and ward off mosquitoes.