PowerFoods

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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. It 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. […]

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|

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.

History:

  • Plums have been written about 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.
  • 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.
  • Pompey the Great in 65 B.C. introduced plums to Rome, and Alexander the Great eventually brought them to the Mediterranean.

“The branches of the aspen plum
To and fro they sway
How can I not think of her?
But home is far away”

Confucius

8 Plum Health Benefits:

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

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

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

4. 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.)

5.  Helps to 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.

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:

  • Plums are the second most cultivated fruit in the world.
  • More than one hundred varieties of plum stones were found on Henry VIII’s flagship the Mary Rose, which sank in 1545.
  • In Japan, February is the month for plums; 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.
  • The Chinese believe plums symbolize good fortune.
  • There are more than 140 varieties of plum sold in the United States.
  • 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:

  • 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 […]

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 […]

Juicy Peaches Are Amazingly Good For You

By |August 26th, 2013|

A delicious juicy peach has an abundance of health benefits and is low in calories!

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

16 Reasons Peaches Are Peachy Keen for Your Body

  1. Peaches keep the skin healthy.  The Vitamin A and C in peaches make them is a great moisturizer and are often used in cosmetics. It also helps in regenerating skin tissue.
  2. 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!
  3. Peach flowers have sedative properties.  A remedy for restlessness includes boiling peach flowers in water along with some honey.
  4. Peaches nourish the scalp which helps reduce hair loss.
  5. In China Peach tea is used as a kidney cleanser.
  6. A stress reliever!  Peaches help reduce anxiety.  Peaches are often referred to as the ‘Fruit of Calmness’ in Hungary.
  7. Peaches have a positive effect in preventing cancer (due to its high selenium content).
  8. Peaches are known to be helpful in removing worms from the intestines.
  9. Peaches have a diuretic effect – to cleanse your kidneys and bladder.
  10. Peaches fight obesity-related diabetes and cardiovascular disease with its spectrum of antioxidants.   Texas AgriLife Research.
  11. 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.
  12. 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 with cardiovascular disease.”

  13. 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.
  14. Can calm a stomach.
  15. Peaches are thought to be an aphrodisiac as well.
  16. Peaches Inhibit tumour growth activity.  Peaches have excellent antimicrobial and antioxidant activity according to research.
  17. Chronic bronchitis coughs and gastritis is helped with the medicinal tea of the leaves and bark of peach trees.

History of Peaches

Peaches have been grown since the prehistoric ages and were first cultivated in China. They are considered a Chinese symbol of immortality and friendship.  The Romans thought the peach originated in Persia; its Latin name reflects this: ‘Prunus persica’ meaning ‘Persian Apples ’.

  • Peach trees first came to America by Columbus on his second and third voyages.
  • The first peach orchard in the USA was established in Florida in 1565.
  • In 1779, peaches were harvested at the mouth of the Niagara River in Canada for local consumption.
  • By 1875, there were 375,000 peach trees in Ontario, Canada (not one of those varieties remains today).

Peach Trivia

  • Renoir encouraged students to improve their painting skills by reproducing the textures and colours of peaches.
  • Georgia is the home of “The world’s largest peach cobbler” which is 11 feet by 5 feet and made yearly.
  • Since 1982, August is National Peach Month in the USA.
  • China is the largest producer of peaches in the world and Italy is the second.
  • 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.
  • Close relatives of almonds, peach seeds are used as an almond oil substitute in cosmetic preparations.
  • This fruit is a member of the Rosaceae family and is a close relative of almonds.
  • The peach fruit is a symbol of good luck, protection, and longevity in China.
  • Peaches have […]

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.