PowerFoods

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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.

 

 

 

8 Health Benefits (and Cautions) of Kale

By |November 12th, 2013|

kale and wood

Discover the newest superfood of the stars, its health benefits AND cautions.

“Every leaf of kale your chew adds another stem to your tree of life.” Ancient Turkish Saying

Kale was once called the ‘poor people food’ but now it’s the new trend. Celebrities like Angelina Jolie, Woody Harrelson, and Gwyneth Paltrow are all eating kale to feel better and keep the ‘sleek physique’ needed for stardom.

It is one of the my top Powerfoods!

Did you know?

  • There are over 50 varieties of kale
  • National Kale Day is celebrated on the first Wednesday of October.
  • Kale plants continue to produce late into winter. It is the perfect green for seasonal eating in fall or winter.
  • Kale needs a frost to become sweeter. The frost converts some of plant’s starch into sugar.
  • In Scotland, an invitation to “come to kale” was an invitation to dinner.
  • An adult hippopotamus at Washington D.C.’s National Zoo eats 10 pounds of kale a day!

8 Health Benefits of Kale:

1. Can help lower cholesterol levels.
The fiber fiber in kale binds bile acids and helps lower blood cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of heart disease. It’s best when kale is cooked instead of raw.

2. Kale is a detox food.
It’s filled with fiber and sulfur which are great for detoxifying your body and keeping your liver healthy.

3. Low in calories
A cup of chopped kale has only 33 calories. Great for weight loss!

4. Great at fighting many cancers
Kale is rich in organosulfur compounds which are known to figh cancer, especially colon cancer.

5. Supports a healthy immune system.
Kale is full of sulforaphane which helps which nourishes the immune system.

6. Visual Benefits.
Kale is abundant in two carotenoids, lutein and zeaxanthin, which act like sunglass filters preventing damage to the eyes from excessive exposure to ultraviolet light.

7. Supports normal blood clotting, antioxidant activity, and bone health.
The high amount of Vitamin K helps nourishes those activities in the body healthy.

8. Great for helping digestion and elimination.
It is very high in fiber.

All greens are nutritious, but kale stands way above the rest. Kale has more iron than beef per calorie. Very high in in Vitamin K, full of powerful antioxidants and much more. Read all about it: Kale Nutrition.

History:

  • “Kale is the one of the oldest forms of cabbage, originating in the eastern Mediterranean. Kale is thought to have been used as a food crop as early as 2000 B. C.” Laurie Hodges, Ph. D. Extension Specialist
  • Kale originated in Asia Minor and by the 5th century B.C., the preference was for the larger leaf that developed into the vegetable we now know as kale.
  • The plant was brought to Europe around 600 B.C. by groups of Celtic wanderers. Early historic records on the Romans called it Sabelline Cabbage.
  • Kale was a staple crop in the Scottish Islands because of its hardiness; the Scots grew it in kale yards. Almost every house had a kale yard and preserved kale in barrels of salt.
  • English settlers brought kale to the United States in the 17th century.
  • Russian kale was introduced into Canada (and then into the U.S.) by Russian traders in the 19th century.

How to Buy and Store Kale:

  • Always buy organic kale; it is grown with lots of chemicals making it one of the Dirty Dozen. The kale should be firm with fresh, with deeply colored leaves and hardy […]

Grapefruit For Weight Loss and Health Benefits

By |October 31st, 2013|

grapefuit for weight loss and health

Remember when a person gorged on grapefruit in 1980’s and seriously lost lots of weight?  It was highly restrictive but it turns out all those restrictions were not necessary.

Eat half a Grapefruit before each meal; it can help you lose up to a pound a week before sensible meals!

Or eat whatever you usually do and lose 3.6 pounds in 12 weeks. – Research at the Nutrition and Medical Research Centre at Scripps Clinic

 Strangely, researchers are not sure how this works. They do know something in the grapefruit balances your insulin levels.  This could  certainly cause weight loss but there may be other factors involved also.

Health Benefits of Grapefruits:

  • Full of pectin that binds to heavy metals flushing them out.
  • Has antiviral compounds that cleanse harmful viruses.
  • Grapefruit is an excellent intestinal and liver detoxifier.
  • Grapefruit is full of vitamin C, to help keep colds at bay.

 

Caution: Grapefruit juice interaction with drugs can be deadly.  If you are taking any of the medications listed here do not eat grapefruit. http://www.cbc.ca/news/health/grapefruit-juice-interaction-with-drugs-can-be-deadly-1.1253489

 

Did You Know?

Grapefruit trees can produce for 30-40 years.

 

The United States produced 1.23 million tons of grapefruit in 2006.

 

Grapefruit are hand-picked, no mechanical harvesting is used.

 

Some mature grapefruit trees can yield up to 1500 pounds of fruit in a season. The average yield is 350 pounds.

16 Health Benefits of Peaches

By |August 26th, 2013|

fuzzy peach

Who doesn’t love a juicy, tasty peach?

The good news is that peaches also have many health benefits and are low in calories!

Peaches  have been grown since the prehistoric times and were first cultivated in China where they are considered a symbol of immortality and friendship.

16 Reasons Peaches Are Peachy Keen for Your Body

  1. A peach is a great snack food for losing weight.  It can give you the feeling of being full, so you will eat less.   One peach contains about 35-50 calories and no fat!
  2. Peaches fight obesity-related diabetes and cardiovascular disease with its spectrum of anti-oxidants.   Texas AgriLife Research.
  3. Peaches keep the skin healthy.  The Vitamin A and C in peaches make them is a great moisturizers and are often used in cosmetics. It also helps in regenerating skin tissue.
  4. Peaches reduce hair loss by nourishing  the scalp.
  5. A stress reliever!  Peaches help reduce anxiety.  Peaches are often referred to as the ‘Fruit of Calmness’ in Hungary.
  6. Peaches have a positive effect in preventing cancer (due to it’s high selenium  content).
  7. Peaches are known to be helpful in removing worms from the intestines.
  8. Peaches have a diuretic effect – to cleanse your kidneys and bladder.child eating peach
  9. Can calm a stomach.
  10. Compounds in stone fruits can help with “metabolic syndrome,” according to Dr. Luis Cisneros-Zevallos, AgriLife Research food scientist. Study at the American Chemical Society in Philadelphia.  Cisneros-Zevallos  says: “Our work indicates that phenolic compounds present in these fruits have anti-obesity, anti-inflammatory and anti-diabetic properties in different cell lines and may also reduce the oxidation of bad cholesterol LDL which is associated to cardiovascular disease.”
  11. Those suffering from gout and rheumatism are recommended by dieticians to eat peaches because peaches tend to have a diuretic and a light laxative effect.
  12. Peaches are thought to be an aphrodisiac as well.
  13. Peach flowers have sedative properties .  A remedy for restlessness includes boiling peach flowers in water along with some honey.
  14. Peaches Inhibits tumour growth activity.  Peaches have excellent antimicrobial and antioxidant activity according to research.
  15. Chronic bronchitis, coughs and gastritis are helped with the medicinal tea of the leaves and bark of peach trees.
  16. Peach tea is used as a kidney cleanser In China.

Note: Detailed nutrition can be found at peach calories and nutrition.

“Life is better than death, I believe, if only because it is less boring, and because it has fresh peaches in it.” ― Alice Walker

peaches on vine

Peach Trivia

  • In China this fruit is a symbol of good luck, protection and longevity.
  • Renoir, encouraged students to improve their painting skills by reproducing the textures and colours of peaches.
  • This fruit is a member of the Rosaceae family and is a close relative of almonds.
  • August is the National Peach Month in the USA since 1982.
  • The peach tree is often considered to be the tree of life.
  • Georgia is the Peach State, although California produces about 50% of the USA peaches.
  • China is the biggest producer of peaches and Italy is the second.
  • “The world’s largest peach cobbler” is 11 feet by 5 feet and made every year in Georgia.
  • Close relatives of almonds, peach seeds are used as an almond oil substitute in cosmetic preparations.
  • Peaches have a long history of being used around the world.

Don’t Miss Out!

Peaches are sooo good and nutritious that you will want to get the most from your peaches.
Read How To Buy, Store and Cook Peaches.

Benefits of Saffron, the Most Expensive Spice on Earth

By |August 19th, 2013|

Where does saffron the most expensive spice come from?

The tiny red thread-like strands are the stigma from a small, purple crocus. It is the world’s most expensive spice. The reason it is so expensive is because each crocus flower provides only three stigmas that are picked and dried by hand during short annual flowering seasons.

To produce one ounce of saffron it takes tens of thousands of individual strands.  The good news is that a little goes a long way.  One or two threads can add flavour and colour to an entire pot of rice. In fact, too much can make food bitter.

When you see a large quantity of saffron at a reasonable price it is likely fake. Saffron, being so expensive has had clever marketers create imitation saffron in a big way around the world.  One of the big imitators are safflower petals because they look a little like saffron but are lacking the flavour of the real thing.

The name saffron comes from an arabic word Zafran.

Health Benefits of Saffron

For centuries, saffron has been used throughout the world as a spice to heal. Pharaohs and kings used it as an aphrodisiac but large amounts produce deathly narcotic effects.

  • Improves Digestion by helping improve the circulation to the organs of digestion.
  • Reduces Fever as it contains the compound crocin, which scientists believe that helps in reducing fever.
  • Relieves Arthritis as it has anti-inflammatory properties.
  • Helps with Insomnia as it is a mild sedative. (a pinch of saffron taken with warm milk is common)
  • Saffron Extract Can Helps with Weight Loss from using the extract. In a study 100 percent of women who took the saffron extract supplement reported a decrease in hunger.
  • Eases Muscle Inflammation by helping the tissues to get rid of lactic acid.
  • Is an Anti-Depressant. It influences the serotonin activity in the brain.
  • Reverses Macular Degeneration. Scientists have found benefits of saffron for eyes.

Most of the world’s saffron is produced in Iran, but Spain is the largest exporter.

This is a good detailed resource.

IF you have a healthy recipe with lots of saffron in it, please let me know.

Health Benefits of Strawberries – The Queen of Fruits

By |July 22nd, 2013|

Juicy heart shaped strawberries have much more to offer beyond sweetness and flavour. The Strawberry is called ‘The Queen of Fruits’ In Asian countries because it's packed with health benefits.

Juicy Oranges are Full of Health Benefits for You

By |June 1st, 2013|

Delicious, juicy oranges are a healthy treat! They are popular with athletes because they can be easily eaten for a burst of energy.

Kiwi Benefits & Facts

By |March 15th, 2013|

kiwi benefits, fact and recipes

People are attracted to kiwi fruit because of it’s brilliant green color and exotic taste but the real uniqueness of kiwi comes from its health benefits. Read it’s 14 health benefits, interesting facts and how to use.

14 Health Benefits

1. Helps Your Digestions with Enzymes […]

Sea Vegetables (seaweeds) Health Benefits

By |February 25th, 2013|

 

Discover the amazing health benefits of this ancient PowerFood. Sea vegetables also have a broad range of  medicinal uses and have been used in Spas and therapeutic Baths for ages.

Popular misconception: Seaweeds are fishy tasting.

Properly harvested, dried and stored Seaweeds do not acquire a fishy taste.

Seaweeds are high in nutrients and in general contain more Minerals than Vegetables, Meat, Milk or Eggs.

MINERALS: Sea vegetables are excellent sources of most Minerals, especially: Potassium, Sodium, Calcium, Magnesium, Sulfur, Nitrogen, Iron, Zinc, Boron, Copper, Manganese, Chromium, Selenium, Bromine, Vanadium, Nickel.

VITAMINS: Most sea vegetables are excellent sources of the known vitamins (A, B’s, especially B12, C, D, E, and K) as well as essential fatty acids. Powdered Bladderwrack has been mixed with olive oil as a safe effective alternative to cod liver oil.

I will introduce 5 Wild Seaweeds that we harvest in our area of North Coastal BC Canada […]

10 Health Benefits of Lettuce

By |February 24th, 2013|

salad ingredients

Lettuce has been called ‘the perfect weight loss food’ and ‘rabbit food’ but it is so much more. With amazing healing benefits and 20% protein by calories it could be called ‘gorilla food’ instead.

Discover all the benefits and history of this amazing Powerfood, and its few concerns.

Note:  choose romaine lettuce if you can instead of iceberg.  Romaine has one of the highest nutritional values in the lettuce category.  Most people are familiar with iceberg lettuce, which has the lowest nutrition.

Comparing these two, romaine has…

Less sugars and sodium
Twice the protein
Twice the calcium
Three times the Vitamin K
Four times the iron
Eight times the Vitamin C
Seventeen times the Vitamin A (Nutritional data originally from USDA SR-21)

This follows the general rule to choose reds and green and dark coloured foods over whites.  This means that red and green leaf lettuce is more nutritional than iceberg also.

romaine lettuce

10 Health Benefits:

1.  Low Calorie Content and almost no fat.   

Lettuce has only 12 calories for 1 shredded cup.
This is why it is so good for weight loss.

2.  High in Fiber and Cellulose

Another reason it is good for weight loss.
This fiber also helps remove bile salts from the body. When the body replaces these salts it breaks down cholesterol to do so.  This is why lettuce is also good for your heart!

3.  Heart Healthy

Lettuce’s vitamin C and beta-carotene work together to prevent the oxidation of cholesterol.  This prevents the build up of plaque.

4.  Omega-3 Fatty acids.

Romaine lettuce has a 2/1 ratio of omega-3 to omega-6.  That’s a great ratio.
The fat content in lettuce is not significant UNLESS you eat a lot but we actually suggest you do.

5.  Complete Protein

Romaine lettuce has 20 % of its calories in protein. Like all whole foods, much of this protein is complete but that amount can be increased by combining with balancing proteins.

Question:  What does a 400 pound gorilla eat at the salad bar?

Answer:  Anything he wants to!

I don’t imagine gorillas gain all that muscle by just eating lettuce but here is a short video of one doing that very thing!

6.  Helps with Insomnia

The white fluid that you see when you break or cut lettuce leaves is called lactucarium.

This has relaxing and sleep inducing properties similar to opium but without the strong side effects. Simply eat a few leaves or drink some lettuce juice.

7.  Lettuce is Alkaline Forming

The minerals in lettuce help to remove toxins and keep your acid/alkaline balance in order.  Once you are balanced on this level there are a host of benefits including greater energy, clearer thinking, deep restful sleep, and youthful skin. To read more go to Balance Your Body – With Alkaline Balance.

8.  Low Glycemic Index

Lettuce has an average glycemic index of 15 but because it has so few calories its glycemic load is considered zero. For anyone watching their blood sugars for medical reasons this is great.  Low glycemic index also is great of weight management.

9.  Whole live food

Lettuce is almost always eaten raw which has many micronutrients not found in cooked or processed food.  Eating raw food also adds vital energies not isolated or recognized by nutritional science.

The large food corporations have not found a way to package lettuce long term or stick it in cans or boxes.  Let’s hope they never do!
In fact, lettuce is one of the few foods which can be found organic and prewashed already in bins for you to eat immediately.

10.   Lettuce Tastes […]

12 Coconut Oil Health Benefits

By |February 18th, 2013|

Coconut oil once thought as a heart disease causing saturated fat is now been proclaimed  ‘the healthiest oil on earth.’

Discover how this transformation came about and the top 12 benefits of this newly declared PowerFood.

How Did Coconut Oil Get a Bad Reputation?

  • It started because coconut oil is saturated oil.  Saturated oils were understood  to raise blood cholesterol and cause heart disease.
  • A specific study 40 years ago then seemed to verify this concern.  Yes, it did increase heart disease.

But what no one at the time seemed to take into account was that this study was done on hydrogenated coconut. Now the problems with hydrogenated oils are well documented by numerous studies.  Even the general unhealthy theory of saturated fats is now suspect.

Coconut oil has been used throughout Asia and the Pacific for thousands of years as both a food and a medicine.

In tropical climates like Polynesia, Sri Lanka and the Yucatan where they have a diet high in coconut oil, the people are healthier, have less heart disease, cancer and colon problems than unsaturated fat eaters. It is now accepted that there is good cholesterol and there are good saturated fats.

To quote Dr. Mary Enig: “The research over four decades concerning coconut oil in the diet and heart disease is quite clear: coconut oil has been shown to be beneficial.”

coconut oil health benefits

Health Benefits of Virgin Coconut Oil (cold pressed):

1. Thyroid-stimulating:
Research shows that coconut oil contains medium-chain fatty acids accelerate that stimulates metabolism, gives you more energy.

2. Get candida in check:
Coconut oil has a good quantity of caprylic acid in it which is well known to kill off excess candida by targeting harmful bacteria.

3. Lowers cholesterol:
It is rich in lauric acid which protects your heart by reducing total cholesterol and increasing good cholesterol.

4. Helps with weight loss:
Here is an interesting fact about coconut oil; even though it is a fat, it actually helps weight loss! Read more here: Weight Loss With Coconut Oil.

The healthy medium chain fatty acids do not circulate in the bloodstream like other fats; they are sent directly to the liver and are converted into energy.  Thus, the body does not store the fat in coconut oil as fat; it uses it to produce energy instead.

5. Helps keep diabetes in check:
Coconut oil  does not produce an insulin spike in your bloodstream.  Instead, it helps in controlling blood sugar by improving the secretion of insulin.  Note: This is not a free pass to eat a lot of sugar and other dumb carbs.

6. Reduces heart disease: studies on people in the Pacific Islands found that their total caloric was 30 – 60% from fully saturated coconut oil and have nearly non-existent rates of cardiovascular disease.

7. Helps absorption:
Combining Vitamin E supplements with coconut oil through the skin was a good alternative for those with gastrointestinal malabsorption diseases.  Study in Canada 1999 University of Western Ontario

8. Supports the immune system.
It is rich in lauric acid, a nutrient that supports the body’s immune system.

9. Good for the skin:
When applied externally it forms a protective antibacterial layer protecting the infected body part.  Also, speeds up the healing process of bruises by helping to repair damaged tissue.  http://www.doctoroz.com/videos/coconut-oil-super-powers-pt-2

10. Nourishing for the brain:
Studies show that it improves cognitive function, and stalls or even reverses neurodegenerative diseases in their early stages. It has been shown to help with Alzheimer’s Disease.

11. Ancient medicine:
Coconut oil is part of Ayurvedic medicine for 5000 years in India.

12. Speeds Recovery:
People in Panama drink a glass […]