Posted by: godshealingplants | August 23, 2014

POMEGRANATE HEALTH BENEFITS

Pomegranate GHP

HISTORY

Pomegranates have been enjoyed for thousands of years and are a symbol of hope and abundance in many cultures. They’ve been found in Egyptian tombs, eaten by Babylonian soldiers prior to battle and incorporated into Persian wedding ceremonies to symbolize a joyous future.

The pomegranate is native from Iran to the Himalayas in northern India and was cultivated and naturalized over the whole Mediterranean region since ancient times. It is widely cultivated throughout India and the drier parts of Southeast Asia, Malaya, the East Indies and tropical Africa. The tree was introduced into California by Spanish settlers in 1769. In this country it is grown for its fruits mainly in the drier parts of California and Arizona. 

ABOUT

The name for the pomegranate fruit is derived from Latin and literally means “seeded apple.” Only the seeds are edible and are found inside this large, hexagonal-shaped red fruit.

Pomegranate - seeded apple

An average pomegranate contains about 600 juicy seeds, also known as arils, which are encapsulated in white pith that are juicy and sweet. 

The fruit has a very leathery texture on the outside that may be orange-yellow, red or purple.

basket of pomegranates - different colors

The pomegranate is a neat, rounded shrub or small tree that can grow to 12 to 16 ft. in height. It has glossy, leathery leaves that are narrow and lance-shaped.

pomegranate tree ws

The attractive scarlet, white or variegated flowers are over an inch across and is self-pollinated as well as cross-pollinated by insects.

NUTRITIONAL FACTS

Pomegranate is a great source of ellagic acid, and antioxidant and punicic acid, an omega 5 polyunsaturated fatty acid which is highly beneficial for cell regeneration and proliferation. The juice of this fruit is an exceptional source of vitamin A, C and E and minerals such as calcium, phosphorous, potassium, iron, folic acid, niacin, thiamin, folates and riboflavin.  

The pomegranate fruit is low in calories, high in fiber, high in vitamins and high in phytochemicals that may promote heart health and help to prevent cancer. 

For more information click on the Pomegranate Nutritional Data 

HEALTH BENEFITS 

  • Arthritis Prevention – Studies have shown that both pomegranate seed oil and pomegranate fruit extract have anti-inflammatory effects that stop the destruction of joints caused by osteoarthritis.
  • Boosts Digestive ConditionPomegranate juice helps to secrete Pomegranate Juice wsenzymes with anti-bacterial properties that aid digestion and help to fight off hemorrhoids, nausea, dysentery, intestinal parasites, piles and diarrhea. You can also use pomegranate juice as a laxative to treat constipation.
  • Cures AnemiaThe high amounts of iron in pomegranates will raise hemoglobin levels in your blood to help correct anemia.
  • Eliminates Free RadicalsThe high levels of antioxidants like hydrolysable tannins or polyphenols in pomegranates help to minimize the effects of free radicals and remove free radicals from the body.
  • Fiber Source – A single pomegranate contains nearly a quarter of the USDA’s daily recommended amount of dietary fiber, which helps you feel full and maintain a healthy weight.
  • Fights CancerThe antioxidants in pomegranates are effective in clearing away some types of cancer, including breast, prostate and skin cancers.weight loss
  • Helps Lose WeightPeople are finding that pomegranates have a natural property that provides you with additional energy and cleanse the body, making it easier to lose weight.
  • Helps with Dry SkinPomegranates are often added to skin care products because they have a molecular structure that can penetrate deep layers of most skin types to provide additional moisture.
  • Improves Bone QualityThe enzyme inhibitors in pomegranate juice can help to prevent damage to the cartilage. It can also help to control cartilage degeneration to prevent osteoarthritis.
  • Keeps your Teeth Clean – Rich in polyphenolic flavonoids compounds with antibacterial properties, pomegranate juice has been found to be just as effective as prescription mouthwash at ridding the mouth of plaque, the bacteria that causes cavities and gingivitis.
  • Promotes Blood CirculationPomegranates are often used to help relieve blood clots.
  • Protects Cardiovascular HealthPomegranate juice can act as a pomegranate seed heartblood thinner and helps to remove plaque from the arteries that will help to minimize the risk of atherosclerosis. Consuming pomegranate juice can help lower LDL cholesterol and increase HDL cholesterol to improve heart health and reduce the risk of cardiovascular problems.
  • Protects from the SunConsuming pomegranate provides the skin with compounds that help to protect against free radical damage which can cause sun damage, cancer and sunburn. The oil of a pomegranate contains the antioxidant ellagic acid that can help to inhibit skin tumors to protect the body from skin cancer.
  • Reduces InflammationThe anti-inflammatory properties of pomegranates stems from its high vitamin C content that will help to manage asthma, sore throat, cough and wheezing.
  • Regenerates CellsPomegranate protects the epidermis and dermis by encouraging skin cell regeneration, aiding in the repair of tissues, healing wounds and encouraging circulation to skin that is healing.
  • Regulates Cholesterol – Pomegranates contain paraoxonase—a pomegranate ABCnaturally occurring enzyme in the body that helps keep LDL (bad cholesterol) from accumulating in arteries. In one study, subjects who drank pomegranate juice for two weeks had an 18% increase in production of the enzyme.
  • Skin Protection – Packed with potent antioxidants (including powerful ellagic acid), pomegranates help limit the damage of UV rays. They also defend against free radicals and increase collagen production.
  • Slows AgingPomegranates can help to prevent hyperpigmentation, age spots, fine lines and wrinkles that are often caused by sun damage.

SELECTION AND STORAGE

Look for: pomegranates that are round, plump and heavy for their size.

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Avoid: pomegranates that have cuts and bruises.

Seasonality: Fall through early winter

Store pomegranates up to a month in a cool, dry place or refrigerate up to two months. Refrigerate seeds in an airtight container up to 5 days. The fresh seeds deteriorate quickly once the fruit is opened.

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Seeds can also be frozen in an airtight bag for up to three months.

PREPARATION AND SERVING METHODS

Cutting a pomegranate can get messy and stain clothes, so wear an apron or an old shirt. First, fill a large bowl with water. Slice off the top, and then cut a slit through the skin of the pomegranate. Split the fruit open with slit facing away from you. Break the fruit into chunks under water and remove arils (seeds). The seeds sink, and the white membrane floats.

washing pomegranate

Discard skin and membranes. Drain the seeds and dry on paper towels.

Once you get past the multitude of seeds, its juice is tangy, sweet, rich and flavorful. This juice becomes the base for sauces and flavorings for drinks, savory dishes, and sweets, while the whole seeds are a simple delight eaten fresh or used as a colorful garnishing accent when sprinkled on salads and dishes.

Pomegranate spinach salad

CAUTION

Eating pomegranates might interfere with certain medications in the same way that grapefruit juice does. Be sure to ask your doctor or pharmacist about drug interactions.

REFERENCES

http://www.drfuhrman.com

http://mercola.com

Posted by: godshealingplants | August 15, 2014

CABBAGE FOR YOUR HEALTH

Cabbage CLWS

HISTORY

Cabbage has a long history of use both as a food and a medicine. It was developed from wild cabbage, a vegetable that was closer in appearance to collards and kale since it was composed of leaves that did not form a head.  

It is thought that wild cabbage was brought to Europe around 600 B.C. by groups of Celtic wanderers. It was grown in Ancient Greek and Roman civilizations that held it in high regard as a general panacea capable of treating a host of health conditions.  

Cultivation of cabbage spread across northern Europe into Germany, Poland and Russia, where it became a very popular vegetable in local food cultures. The Italians are credited with developing the Savoy cabbage. Russia, Poland, China and Japan are a few of the leading producers of cabbage today.  

sauerkraut 3

Sauerkraut, a dish made from fermented cabbage, has a colorful legacy. Dutch sailors consumed it during extended exploration voyages to prevent scurvy. Early German settlers introduced cabbage and the traditional sauerkraut recipes were introduced into the United States. As a result of this affiliation, German soldiers, and people of German descent were often referred to as “krauts.”  

ABOUT

Cabbage is a leafy vegetable of the Brassica family, round or oval in shape, consisting of soft light green or whitish inner leaves covered with harder and dark green outer leaves. It is widely used throughout the world, eaten cooked or raw as salad and is a very popular vegetable. 

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NUTRITIONAL PROFILE

Cabbage is an excellent source of vitamin K and vitamin C. It is also a very good source of fiber, manganese, and folate. Cabbage is also a good source of molybdenum, vitamin B6, potassium, thiamin (vitamin B1), and calcium. 

HEALTH BENEFITS OF CABBAGE

The health benefits of cabbage include treatment of constipation, stomach ulcers, headache, excess weight, skin disorders, eczema, jaundice, scurvy, rheumatism, arthritis, gout, eye disorders, heart diseases, ageing, and Alzheimer’s disease. 

cabbage banner

OTHER BENEFITS OF CABBAGE

Cabbage, being rich in iodine, helps in proper functioning of the brain and the nervous system, apart from keeping the endocrinal glands in proper condition. Thus, it is good for brain and treatment of neurotic disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease. The various other nutrients present in cabbage such as vitamin-E which keeps the skin, eye and hair healthy, calcium, magnesium, potassium, etc., are very useful for overall health. The cabbage can also be used for treatment of varicose veins, leg ulcers, peptic and duodenal ulcers etc. 

HOW TO SELECT AND STORE

Choose cabbage heads that are firm and dense with shiny, crisp, colorful leaves free of cracks, bruises, and blemishes. Severe damage to the outer leaves is suggestive of worm damage or decay that may reside in the inner core as well.  

Cabbage head

There should be only a few outer loose leaves attached to the stem. If not, it may be an indication of undesirable texture and taste. Avoid buying precut cabbage, either halved or shredded, since once cabbage is cut, it begins to lose its valuable vitamin C content. 

Keeping cabbage cold will keep it fresh and help it retain its vitamin C content. Put the whole head in a plastic bag in the crisper of your refrigerator. Red and green cabbage will keep this way for about 2 weeks while Savoy cabbage will keep for about 1 week.  

green and red cabbage slaw

If you need to store a partial head of cabbage, cover it tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate. Since the vitamin C content of cabbage starts to quickly degrade once it has been cut, you should use the remainder within a couple of days.  

TIPS FOR PREPARING AND COOKING

Even though the inside of cabbage is usually clean since the outer leaves protect it, you still may want to clean it. Remove the thick fibrous outer leaves and cut the cabbage into pieces and then wash under running water.  

red cabbage

If you notice any signs of worms or insects, which sometimes appear in cabbage, soak the head in water with a table spoon of baking soda for 15-20 minutes. To preserve its vitamin C content, cut and wash the cabbage right before cooking or eating it. Since phytonutrients in the cabbage react with carbon steel and turn the leaves black, use a stainless steel knife to cut.  

To cut cabbage into smaller pieces, first quarter it and remove the core. Cabbage can be cut into slices of varying thickness, grated by hand or shredded in a food processor.  

Cabbage preparation

It is important to remember that we can allow the myrosinase enzymes in cabbage to do their natural work by slicing, shredding, or chopping raw cabbage and letting it sit for 5-10 minutes before cooking. Once the cells in cabbage have been broken apart through slicing, shredding, or chopping, the myrosinase enzymes in those cells can become active in converting the glucosinolates in cabbage into isothiocyanates (ITCs) which is beneficial for our health.  

HOW TO ENJOY

  • Thoroughly cleaned cabbage can be eaten raw, in fact, is very tasty and nutritious.
  • Sliced or grated raw leaves are added to vegetable salad preparations.
  • Fresh or pickled cabbage leaves are used as rolls, in filling, which iscabbage rolls 5 usually based on minced meat or vegetables in many parts of Central Europe, Balkans, and Asia-minor regions.
  • Combine shredded red and green cabbage with fresh lemon juice, olive oil, and seasonings such as turmeric, cumin, coriander, and black pepper to make coleslaw with an Indian twist.
  • Use it in a vegetarian stir-fry with onion, garlic, bell peppers and green chilies and mix it with steamed rice.
  • It makes a great soup with various ingredients that you enjoy. 

NOTE

Cabbage may contain “goitrogens,” certain plant-derived compounds, especially found in cruciferous vegetables like cauliflower, broccoli, etc.

cabbage banner 2  

Posted by: godshealingplants | August 9, 2014

BLUEBERRIES HEALTH BENEFITS

Blueberry GWTH

HISTORY

Blueberries have been present for centuries. They were gathered by Native Americans from bogs and forests. Wild blueberries are an important part of the diet of Native North American Wildlife, are often food of bears and many species of birds. Before the arrival of the white man in America, cranberries were consumed by the natives, this was observed by two American explorers, Lewis and Clark.

The blueberry became domesticated only in the 20th century. One of the first steps was to transplant wild blueberries to the fields for farming, and the first experiments were carried out by the Smithsonian institute in 1830.

ABOUT

There are three types of blueberries: highbush, lowbush and hybrid half-high. The most commonly planted blueberry is the highbush. Most blueberry breeding has focused on this species, so there are many varieties that range widely in cold hardiness and fruit season, size, and flavor.

The flowers are bell-shaped, white, pale pink or red, sometimes tinged greenish. The fruit is a berry 5–16 millimeters (0.20–0.63 in) in diameter with a flared crown at the end; they are pale greenish at first, then reddish-purple, and finally dark purple when ripe.

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They have a sweet taste when mature, with variable acidity. Blueberry bushes typically bear fruit in the middle of the growing season: fruiting times are affected by local conditions such as altitude and latitude, so the peak of the crop can vary from May to August depending upon these conditions.

Most blueberries grown for fruit are also handsome plants suitable for hedges or shrub borders. Dark green or blue-green leaves to 3 in. long change to red, orange, or yellow combinations in autumn. Spring flowers are small, white or pinkish, urn shaped and the summer fruit is very decorative.

Interesting fact:

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·       Blueberries are one of the only truly blue foods.

NUTRITIONAL FACTS

Blueberries are packed with vitamin C. In just one serving, you can get 14 mg of Vitamin C – almost 25 percent of your daily requirement. Vitamin C aids the formation of collagen and helps maintain healthy gums and capillaries. It also promotes iron absorption and a healthy immune system.

Blueberries are dynamos of dietary fiber. Research has shown that most of us don’t get enough fiber in our diets. Eating foods high in fiber will help keep you regular, your heart healthy and your cholesterol in check. A handful of blueberries can help you meet your daily fiber requirement.

Blueberries3

Blueberries are an excellent source of manganese. Manganese plays an important role in bone development and in converting the proteins, carbohydrates and fats in food into to energy.

Blueberries are leaders in antioxidant activity. Antioxidants work to neutralize free radicals, unstable molecules linked to the development of cancer, cardiovascular disease and other age-related conditions such as Alzheimer’s. Substances in blueberries called polyphenols, specifically the anthocyanins that give the fruit its blue hue, are the major contributors to antioxidant antioxidant activity.

HEALTH BENEFITS

Below are reasons to consume blueberries daily

  • Blood sugar – Blueberries have a favorable impact on blood sugar, even for diabetics. Those who consumed at least three servings of blueberries a day saw significant improvement in their regulation of blood sugar.
  • Digestion – Blueberries offer antioxidant protection of the digestive tract by combating free radicals, some of which can cause cancer. This superfood plays a significant role in combating colon cancer.
  • Eye protection – Blueberries have been proven to protect the retina from unwanted sunlight and oxygen damage.
  • Heart – Consuming blueberries significantly lowers your risk of Blueberry heartdeveloping heart disease by regulating and relaxing arterial elasticity in the vascular wall. They also improve blood flow.
  • Improving memory/motor function – One study found that older adults (average age 76) fed blueberries daily for 12 weeks (2-2.5 cups per day) performed better on two different cognitive function tests, which included memory, than those who hadn’t consumed the superfood.
  • Nervous system – Blueberries contain a range of different antioxidants, all of which are beneficial to the human body. This range of nutrients provides nerve cells with protection from oxygen damage. Nerve cells are persistently at risk for oxygen damage, thus requiring continuous protection.
  • Protection from toxic heavy metals – Romanian chemists from the1365182_300 University of Bucharest discovered that blueberries protect against heavy metals. Blueberry extract created a force field that acted as a barrier against cadmium, protecting cells from toxic heavy metal damage.
  • Reduces risk of Alzheimer’s disease/dementia - Anthocyanin improves memory and mental fluidity, and can help protect against brain cell loss. Blueberries also stimulate nerve cell growth and facilitate better communication between nerve cell processes, in turn slowing the aging process.

Blueberries are one of our body’s greatest allies. Their ability to eliminate free radicals protects us from every day exposure to various forms of pollution, including pesticides, sun exposure and heavy metals.

HOW TO BUY

Blueberries are ripe when they are purchased. They do not continue to ripen after harvest.

Blueberry-4

Avoid buying watery, moldy, or soft blueberries. The fruit is past its prime if the containers are stained or leaking.

STORAGE

Store blueberries in the refrigerator; keep them unwashed, as they deteriorate quickly when wet. Fresh picked blueberries should last up to two weeks.

blueberries_1574959c

Blueberries perish quickly, so use them as soon as possible. They are also a great fruit to freeze.

SOURCE

http://Blueberry.org 

http://www.naturalnews.com 

http://www.sdstate.edu

Posted by: godshealingplants | July 18, 2014

TIPS FOR HEALTHY EATING

GET  YOUR PRODUCE LOCALLY 

Locally-grown produce is not only fresher; it will not have to be shipped across the globe to get to your dinner plate. Remember, food grown locally is not always organic. Though it may be grown just down the road and sold at your local farm stand, it may still be doused in pesticides and grown in chemical fertilizers. 

The organic certification process established by the federal government is expensive, and some small farmers  cannot afford it. This means some local foods are grown according to organic standards but are not “certified organic.” The only way to know for sure is to get to know your local farmer, so that you can learn about his practices. 

EAT ORGANIC 

The fewer chemicals used to grow your food, the better for all concerned. And the only way to ensure your food is as pure as possible, outside of talking to the farmer directly, is to look for the ORGANIC seal. There are a few different organic labels out there, but only one relates directly to foods: the USDA Organic seal.  

This seal is one of your best commercial assurances of organic quality, so when in doubt: if it doesn’t carry the USDA Organic seal, you might not be getting what you’re paying for. 

Growers and manufacturers of organic products bearing the USDA seal have to meet the strictest standards of any of the currently available organic labels. Certified organic crops cannot be grown with any of the following: 

  1. Synthetic pesticides
  2. Bioengineered genes
  3. Petroleum-based fertilizers
  4. Sewage sludge-based fertilizers

EAT YOUR PRODUCE RAW 

There are a myriad of health reasons why you should consume more of your food raw. Also from an environmental perspective, you can save some energy by forgoing cooking and eating raw or fermented veggies instead. 

EAT IN SEASON 

When you choose produce in season, you can shop locally and support farmers in your area – this is great for your local community and it will taste fresher and better too. 

FERMENT OR PRESERVE YOUR VEGGIES 

If you have a lot of summer fruits and veggies that you need to use up before they spoil, try your hand at preserving them so they are available to you year-round. You can also ferment your veggies, which is absolutely fantastic for your health, and they will keep for months in your fridge.  

GROW YOUR OWN 

Growing your own organic fruits and veggies is about as environmentally friendly as you can get. In the spring, try your hand at growing your favorites; it only takes a small parcel of land. If you’re thinking of planting veggies but are not sure where to begin, visit a few local plant nurseries around your home, especially those that specialize in organic gardening. The employees are likely to be great resources for natural planting tips that will help your garden thrive.  

Even if you only have access to a patio, you can still grow some of your own veggies using containers. Tomatoes, herbs, cucumbers, lettuce, and peppers are examples of plants that thrive in containers and there are a number of others that also do well in large, medium and small pots.  

TRY COMPOSTING

Organically grown leftover fruit and veggies scraps, leaves and grass clippings can turn into a valuable natural fertilizer if you compost them instead of throwing them in the trash. 

JOIN A CSA

(Community-Supported Agriculture)

PROGRAM 

With a CSA, you purchase a “share” of a farm directly from a farmer, and in return get seasonal produce each week throughout the farming season (some CSAs also include other products, like meat, honey, dairy and more). It’s an excellent way to get locally-grown, seasonal produce for your family.

 

Posted by: godshealingplants | June 25, 2014

PARSLEY BENEFITS

Parsley CL

HISTORY

Parsley is native to the Mediterranean region of Southern Europe. While it has been cultivated for more than 2,000 years, parsley was used medicinally prior to being consumed as a food. 

Today parsley oil is also extracted from the leaves and stems and used in commercial shampoos, soaps, perfumes and skin lotions. 

ABOUT

Parsley is an aromatic herb growing to about a 1 ft (0.3 m) tall and twice as wide. It has bright green multi-compound curly or flat leaves. The leaflets are finely divided and held at the end of long stems and the whole plant has a rounded, mound-like shape.

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If allowed to flower, it produces wide, flattened heads of tiny yellowy-green florets from June to August.

 2 kinds of parsley 2

There are two main varieties: Flat leaf parsley is mainly used for garnishing purpose as they have a stronger aroma, while curled parsley is used for adding flavor to soups and stews as they blend easily with any type of soup. 

NUTRITIONAL PROFILE

Parsley is rich in many vital vitamins, including Vitamin C, B 12, K and A. This means parsley keeps your immune system strong, tones your bones and heals the nervous system. For additional information click on the following link: Parsley

Parsley 1

HEALTH BENEFITS

A sprig of parsley can provide much more than a decoration on our plate since its beneficial properties are: 

  • Antibacterial
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Antioxidant

Here are some of its healing properties: parsley10

  • Anemia-prevention
  • Anti-arthritis
  • Asthma treatment
  • Bad breath treatment
  • Bladder infection prevention and treatment
  • Blood tonic and purifier
  • Colic treatment
  • Constipation problems
  • Cough
  • Diabetes
  • Digestive aid
  • Gas reduction
  • Immune booster
  • Indigestion soother
  • Jaundice
  • Kidney health
  • Natural diuretic 

OTHER BENEFITS

Some people apply parsley directly to the skin for cracked or chapped skin, bruises, tumors, insect bites, lice, parasites, and to stimulate hair growth. 

HOW TO SELECT AND STORE 

Whenever possible, choose fresh parsley over the dried form of the herb since it is superior in flavor. Choose fresh parsley that is deep green in color and looks fresh and crisp. Avoid bunches that have leaves that are wilted or yellow as this indicates that they have been on the shelf too long. Like with other dried herbs, if you choose to purchase dried parsley flakes, try to select organically grown parsley since this will give you more assurance that the herbs have not been irradiated.

 parsley in a jar

Fresh parsley should be kept in the refrigerator in a plastic bag. It can also keep it in a jar filled with water if you will be using it soon. 

Frozen parsley

You can also freeze parsley in an ice cube tray and use it as you need it.   Although it will retain most of its flavor, it has a tendency to lose its crispness, so it is best used in recipes without first thawing.

COOKING TIPS 

Fresh parsley should be washed right before using since it is highly fragile. The best way to clean it is just like you would spinach. Place it in a bowl of cold water and swish it around with your hands. This will allow any sand or dirt to dislodge. Remove the leaves from the water, empty the bowl, refill it with clean water and repeat this process until no dirt remains in the water.

 parsley types

Italian flat leaf parsley holds up better to cooking since it has a stronger flavor than the curly variety and therefore is usually the type preferred for hot dishes. It should be added towards the end of the cooking process so that it can best retain its taste, color and nutritional value.  

SERVING IDEAS

There are a number of ways that parsley can be enjoyed in foods and beverages. It is widely used as a garnish, condiment, and flavoring. Here are some suggestions:

tabouli with parsley

  • Combine chopped parsley with bulgur wheat, chopped green onions (scallions), mint leaves, lemon juice and olive oil to make the Middle Eastern classic dish, tabouli.
  • Add parsley to pesto sauce.
  • Combine chopped parsley, garlic and lemon zest, and use it as a rub for chicken, lamb and beef.

Potatoes with parsley

  • Use parsley in soups and tomato sauces and sprinkle on potatoes.
  • Chopped parsley can be sprinkled on a host of different recipes, including salads, vegetable sautés and grilled fish.

PRECAUTION

Parsley is among a small number of foods that contain measurable amounts of oxalates. When oxalates become too concentrated in body fluids, they can crystallize and cause health problems. For this reason, individuals with already existing and untreated kidney or gallbladder problems may want to avoid eating parsley. When in doubt consult with your doctor. 

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SOURCES:

http://www.nutrition-and-you.com http://www.naturalalternativeremedy.com/category/herbs/ http://science.naturalnews.com

http://foodfacts.mercola.com/parsley.html

Posted by: godshealingplants | June 12, 2014

SWISS CHARD BENEFITS

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HISTORY 

Swiss chard is a plant that has a long history of being revered for its nutritional and medicinal qualities. Both the ancient Greeks and Romans honored these deep green leaves, using the juice as a decongestant. They also believed that the leaves could act as an antacid and a laxative.  

Even though it is called “Swiss” chard, it originated in Sicily and today remains an important part of Italian and Mediterranean cuisine. The name “Swiss” is named after the Swiss botanist, Koch, who first gave it its scientific name. 

ABOUT

Swiss chard is a member of the beet family, but it doesn’t produce an edible bulbous root. The dark green leaves and the juicy leaf-stalks are completely edible and have high nutritional value. Thanks to its broad range of nutrients, Swiss chard is a real superfood with a whole range of health benefits.

Swiss Chard Garden

There are a number of Swiss chard varieties, some of which have white, yellow, or orange stalks while others have red, pink, or purple stalks.  

NUTRITIONAL FACTS

The many health benefits attributed to chard are due to its impressive list of vitamins, nutrients, and organic compounds, which include vitamins K, C, and A, as well as vitamin E, riboflavin, and vitamin B6. In terms of minerals, Swiss chard has a wealth of magnesium, manganese, potassium, iron, sodium, and copper.  

Swiss Chard 2

Furthermore, in addition to dietary fiber, Swiss chard has a significant amount of polyphenolic antioxidants, phytonutrients, and enzymes that are unique and highly beneficial to your health. 

For added nutritional information please click on the following link: SWISS CHARD NUTRITIONAL FACTS 

Swiss Chard 5

HEALTH BENEFITS 

Blood Circulation: Iron and copper are both essential elements of red blood cells, and without those two minerals, people can develop anemia, which shows itself as weakness, fatigue, stomach disorders, and lack of concentration. By ensuring a proper amount of red blood cells by eating food like Swiss chard, you can increase circulation of the blood and oxygenation of essential organs within the body.The vitamin K it contains promotes healthy blood clotting and prevents excessive bruising and bleeding. 

Blood Pressure and Heart Health: The anti-inflammatory and Swiss Chard 7phytonutrient antioxidants found in Swiss chard, along with potassium, all contribute to reducing blood pressure and stress on the cardiovascular system. Some hypertension is due to pro-inflammatory enzymes within the body, which the organic compounds in Swiss chard are able to neutralize. Therefore, Swiss chard protects those who eat it from a variety of conditions like atherosclerosis, heart attacks and strokes. 

Blood Sugar Regulation: Swiss chard contains syringic acid and fiber, both of which help to regulate blood sugar levels. If you are at risk for diabetes or you have been diagnosed with diabetes, you should eat more leafy green vegetables such as Swiss chard. 

Bone Health: Swiss chard has a significant amount of calcium in those leaves, which means that Swiss chard is a major boost for bone health. Calcium, as well as the other minerals found in this vegetable help to stimulate bone growth and development, including magnesium and vitamin K. 

Brain Booster: Swiss chard is a valuable source of both potassium and vitamin K, both of which are found in significant amounts in the brain, and are integral parts of boosting cognitive development and abilities.  

Cancer Prevention: Like many leafy, green vegetables, Swiss chard has anti-cancer properties due to the huge amounts of antioxidants found in it. Antioxidants neutralize free radicals, which are the dangerous byproducts of cellular metabolism that can cause healthy cells to become cancerous. Swiss chard contains significant amounts of vitamin E, C, zinc, lutein, zeaxanthin, kaempferol, beta-carotene, and quercetin. Many of these have been connected to preventing a wide variety of cancers, specifically colon cancer. 

Disease fighting Antioxidants: The reason Swiss chard is so colorful isSwiss Chard 3 because it is one of the most antioxidant-rich foods on the planet (antioxidants are responsible for the vivid colors in fruits and vegetables). It contains beta-carotene, vitamin E, vitamin C, zinc, lutein, zeaxanthin, quercetin, kaempferol, and many other disease fighting antioxidants. 

Eye Health: Swiss chard has a huge amount of beta-carotene, which has been linked in many ways to optimal eye health and a reduction in macular degeneration, glaucoma, night blindness, and other vision-related conditions. 

Hair Health: Biotin is an organic compound that has been directly linked to healthy hair, the stimulation of follicles, and as a way to increase luster and texture. Swiss chard also has significant amounts of biotin, among its many other beneficial compounds. It also has high amounts of vitamins C and A, both of which assist the hair follicles in the production of sebum. 

HOW TO BUY

In general, healthy chard exhibits stalks free of scarring and is an even color. Depending on the variety, it might be white, orange, bright pink or other similar colors.

Swiss Chard 6Swiss Chard 6

The consistency will be similar to slightly soft celery. Leaves should be deep green and not show evidence of withering or molding. Avoid leaves with small holes. If it’s kept in cool conditions, chard can be stored for up to several weeks. 

TIPS FOR PREPARING

Rinse Swiss chard under cold running water. Do not soak chard as this will result in the loss of water-soluble nutrients. Remove any area of the leaves that may be brown, slimy, or have holes.

Swiss Chard 1

Stack the leaves and slice into 1-inch slices until you reach the stems. Only the white stems of the Fordhook variety of chard are tender enough to eat. Cut stems into 1/2-inch slices discarding the bottom 1 inch portion.

COOKING TIPS

The leaves and stalks are both edible. In addition to enhancing recipes, chard makes an excellent side dish. Saute sliced chard (leaves and stems) with a little olive oil and minced garlic; season with salt and pepper. 

Swiss Chard 4

Fresh young chard can be used raw in salads. Mature chard leaves and stalks are typically cooked or sautéed; their bitterness fades with cooking, leaving a refined flavor which is more delicate than that of cooked spinach.  

SERVING IDEAS

  • Toss penne pasta with olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, and cooked Swiss chard.

Swiss Chard Salad

  • Add zest to omelets and frittatas by adding some boiled Swiss chard.
  • Use chard in place of or in addition to spinach when preparing vegetarian lasagna.

Swiss Chard Quiche

  • Chard is delicious when incorporated in quiches.
  • Boiling Swiss chard in an uncovered pot of water will help to release some of its acidity, making the vegetable sweeter.
  • You should start cooking the stalks before the leaves, as they’re thicker and will take longer to cook. 

PRECAUTION

Like spinach, rhubarb, purslane, and some other green leafy superfoods, Swiss chard contains significant amounts of oxalates. In people with kidney problems, foods that contain high levels of oxalates may lead to severe health complications. In addition, people with certain medical conditions, may be advised to limit their dietary intake of oxalate-rich foods, including Swiss chard and red chard, and to rotate green vegetables in their diets. 

REFERENCES

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chard

http://about.com

Posted by: godshealingplants | June 5, 2014

ROSEMARY BENEFITS

Rosemary CLG

HISTORY

Although rosemary is native to the Mediterranean, it now grows throughout much of the temperate regions in Europe and America.

Part of rosemary’s popularity came from the widespread belief that rosemary stimulated and strengthened the memory.

Rosemary essential oil

Rosemary oil was first extracted in the 14th century, and in the 16th and 17th centuries, rosemary became popular as a digestive aid in apothecaries. Recently, as modern research focuses on the beneficial active components in rosemary, our appreciation for this herb’s therapeutic as well as culinary value has been renewed. 

ABOUT

Rosemary grows as a small evergreen shrub belonging to the Labiatae family that is related to mint. Its leaves look like flat pine-tree needles, deep green in color on top while silver-white on their underside and produced pink, blue, or purple flowers. The word “rosemary” comes from the Latin words ros (meaning “dew”) and marinus (meaning “sea”).

Rosemary flower

It is used in many culinary dishes and is commonly used to flavor soups, sauces, and meats. In addition to being used in cooking, it has also been used as a natural remedy for a variety of ailments over the centuries. Studies have found that our ancestors weren’t wrong in using it medicinally.  

NUTRITIONAL PROFILE 

Rosemary is a good source of vitamin A, calcium and potassium.

For an in-depth nutritional profile of fresh rosemary, click here: Rosemary 

HEALTH BENEFITS

There are numerous researches done on the health benefits of Rosemary, here are just a few of them.

Rosemary evergreen

Anti-Aging – Rosemary is a popular ingredient in anti-aging skin creams because it helps reduce puffiness, stimulates cell regeneration, increases firmness, and improves overall skin tone. It is a natural anti-inflammatory and increases blood flow to the skin.

Antibacterial – Studies have found that rosemary has powerful antibacterial properties against H. pylori (the bacteria that causes stomach ulcers) and Staph infections.

Anti-Inflammatory – Rosemary contains two potent anti-inflammatory acids, carnosic and carnosol. One study found that these two compounds inhibited COX-2, an enzyme that causes pain and inflammation in the body. They also inhibited the production of excess nitric oxide, which also plays a role in the inflammatory process.

Better Circulation – Essential oil of rosemary is often applied topically as a natural remedy for poor circulation, though there have been no studies to prove this effect.

Cancer Prevention –  Rosemary contains carnosol which has been found Rosemary herb leaf sprig in flower isolated over white background.in studies to be a potent anti-cancer compound. Researchers have had promising results in studies of its efficacy against breast cancer, prostate cancer, colon cancer, leukemia, and skin cancer.

Digestive Health – Rosemary is often used to help treat digestive problems such as upset stomach, constipation, indigestion, and almost any other digestive related problem. It also helps to prevent food-borne illnesses when ingested with foods such as meat or eggs.

Diuretic Properties – Rosemary is a mild diuretic, which means that it can help get rid of bloating and water retention in the body. When rosemary is used regularly, it may help in the increase of urine flow and help the kidneys function at optimal levels to help get rid of excess water in the body.

Fresh Breath – Rosemary can be used as a natural mouthwash and is said to work very well. To make the mouthwash, soak fresh rosemary in a pint of heated water, then strain it and use it as a mouth rinse as often as you like. It will keep in the fridge if covered.

Immune Booster – Rosemary boosts the immune system thanks to its antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-carcinogenic properties. Because it is healing in so many ways, it boosts the overall health of the body.

Improved Memory –  Rosemary has long been believed to have memory-enhancing properties. In 1529, an herbal book recommended taking rosemary for “weakness of the brain.” Today, research has found that rosemary contains carnosic acid that has neuro-protective properties that researchers believe may protect against Alzheimer’s disease as well as the normal memory loss that happens with aging. Remarkably, even the smell of rosemary has been found to improve memory.

Liver Detoxification – Rosemary has been used to treat liver problems for hundreds of years. Hippocrates prescribed it for this purpose. One study found that rosemary extract reduces cirrhosis in rats given thioacetamide, a toxic compound that is toxic to the liver. It also prevented liver damage from tetrachloride in rats and mice.

Migraine Help – Rosemary has been a popular natural migraine remedy for centuries. Boil some rosemary in a large pot of water and pour it into a bowl. Place a towel over your head and lean over the pot to inhale the steam for about 10 minutes.

Mood Elevator –  Tests proved that smelling rosemary improved subjects’ quality of memory also found that their mood was significantly improved.

Pain Relief – It not only helps relieve the pain of migraines, but essential oil of rosemary can also be applied topically as a natural treatment for arthritis and other joint and muscle pains.

Respiratory Health – Rosemary is a great natural remedy for respiratory problems. Breathing in the scent of the essential oil may help with congestion due to colds, allergies, respiratory infections, and the flu. You may also boil fresh rosemary in a pot of water, place it in a bowl, and breathe in the steam to help clear the lungs and throat. This will also help with any sinus or head pain associated with respiratory conditions. 

HOW TO SELECT AND STORE

Whenever possible, choose fresh rosemary over the dried form of the herb since it is far superior in flavor. The springs of fresh rosemary should be free from yellow or dark spots.

Rosemary spice

When purchasing dried rosemary, try to select organically grown herbs since this will give you more assurance that the herbs contain no pesticide residues and have not been irradiated.  

Fresh rosemary should be stored in the refrigerator either in its original packaging or wrapped in a slightly damp paper towel. You can also place the rosemary sprigs in ice cube trays covered with either water or stock that can be added when preparing soups or stews.

Rosemary dried

Dried rosemary should be kept in a tightly sealed container in a cool, dark and dry place where it will keep fresh for about six months.

TIPS FOR PREPARING

Quickly rinse rosemary under cool running water and pat dry. Most recipes call for rosemary leaves, which can be easily removed from the stem. Alternatively, you can add the whole sprig to season soups, stews and meat dishes, and then simply remove it before serving.

HOW TO ENJOY

Rosemary is a wonderful herb for seasoning many dishes.

Rosemary on Potatoes

  • Add fresh rosemary to potatoes.
  • Add rosemary to tomato sauces and soups.
  • Include in salad dressings.
  • Purée fresh rosemary leaves with olive oil and use as a dipping sauce for bread.

Rosemary focaccia bread

PRECAUTIONS

For the most part, rosemary is considered safe with no side effects. However, pregnant women should avoid consuming large amounts of rosemary because it may lead to uterine contractions and miscarriage. People with high blood pressure should not take rosemary because it may raise blood pressure.

Rosemary as medicine

 SOURCES

 http://www.healthdiaries.com

REFERENCES

  • al-Sereiti MR, Abu-Amer KM, Sen P. Pharmacology of rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis Linn.) and its therapeutic potentials. Indian J Exp Biol 1999 Feb;37(2):124-30. 1999.
  • Calucci L, Pinzino C, Zandomeneghi M et al. Effects of gamma-irradiation on the free radical and antioxidant contents in nine aromatic herbs and spices. J Agric Food Chem 2003 Feb 12; 51(4):927-34. 2003.
  • Ensminger AH, Ensminger, ME, Kondale JE, Robson JRK. Foods & Nutriton Encyclopedia. Pegus Press, Clovis, California. 1983.
  • Ensminger AH, Esminger M. K. J. e. al. Food for Health: A Nutrition Encyclopedia. Clovis, California: Pegus Press; 1986. 1986. PMID:15210.
  • Fortin, Francois, Editorial Director. The Visual Foods Encyclopedia. Macmillan, New York. 1996.
  • Grieve M. A Modern Herbal. Dover Publications, New York. 1971.
  • Kelm MA, Nair MG, Strasburg GM, DeWitt DL. Antioxidant and cyclooxygenase inhibitory phenolic compounds from Ocimum sanctum Linn. Phytomedicine 2000 Mar;7(1):7-13. 2000. PMID:12240.
  • Malencic D, Gasic O, Popovic M, Boza P. Screening for antioxidant properties of Salvia reflexa hornem. Phytother Res 2000 Nov;14(7):546-8. 2000. PMID:12230.
  • Wood, Rebecca. The Whole Foods Encyclopedia. New York, NY: Prentice-Hall Press; 1988. 1988. PMID:15220.

 

 

Posted by: godshealingplants | May 27, 2014

APPLE CIDER VINEGAR BENEFITS

Apple cider vinegar GHP

Taking a tablespoon or two of apple cider vinegar every day is said  to cure everything from gout to allergies and more. It’s said that it is  important that the apple cider vinegar you take be organic and have the stringy-looking ball of  matter that either floats at the top or settles at the bottom of a bottle of the  vinegar and is the source of its sour, fermented taste.

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Here are some of the best documented and strongest health benefits of apple  cider vinegar.

1. It Helps Ease Stomach Cramps and Diarrhea

This is a proven apple  cider vinegar cure. The probiotics in the vinegar help ease diarrhea and the  pectins from the apples in the vinegar ease stomach cramps. Mix a tablespoon or two in water or your favorite juice to get the best results.

2. It Prevents Indigestion

Another proven health benefit is its ability  to stop indigestion before it starts. Simply mix 1 teaspoon of honey and 1  teaspoon of apple cider vinegar in a cup of water and sip it slowly a half hour before you eat something you know will cause you indigestion. You’ll be surprised that you feel  fine after eating!

3. It Helps Ease Nighttime Leg Cramps

This old folk remedy has a long  history of proof to its effectiveness. Simply mix a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar with honey to taste before going to bed and drink it slowly. Those  nighttime cramps shouldn’t bother you anymore. Do this every night before bed  for continuing results.

4. It Drains Your Sinuses

Do you have a stuffy nose due to allergies or  some other reason? Fix it with a teaspoon of straight apple cider vinegar in a cup of water. The harshness of drinking the vinegar without any flavoring  will help drain your sinuses and clear your nose.

5. It Helps Energize You

Apple cider vinegar is excellent for beating  exhaustion. The amino acids1013176_large it contains counteract the buildup of lactic acid  you can get after exercising or other intense physical activity. It’s also full  of electrolytes that help eliminate that tired feeling. Electrolytes are the  same thing that are in sugary sports drinks. A teaspoon of apple cider vinegar in chilled water has the same energizing effect without the sugar and artificial  colors and flavors.

Apple cider vinegar is also good for treating  heartburn, easing the pain of arthritis, whitening teeth, and so much more.

Here are some additional helpful hints:

  • Acne treatment: 1 part apple cider vinegar and 4 parts water in a solution dabbed on acne can help to treat your skin.
  • Allergy relief: 2 tablespoons of honey and 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar in a cup of water can help with allergies.
  • Bug bite help: a little straight or partially water-diluted vinegar can take the itch out of bug bites.
  • Dandruff treatment: straight apple cider vinegar (or a 1/2 vinegar/ 1/2 water solution) poured on your scalp and massaged in for a few minutes can help with dandruff and other irritated scalp conditions.
  • Detox bath: a cup or two of vinegar in a warm to hot bath is a fabulous detox.
  • Diuretic: drinking a spoonful  of apple cider vinegar in a cup of water can help with bloating, as it is a natural, gentle diuretic.

Apple Cider Vinegar drink

There are entire books written on the miracle of apple cider vinegar. Even  though many of its supposed benefits only have folklore to back them up, there  is enough concrete evidence of its many benefits that many people take it every  day as a general health tonic. Anyone looking to maximize their health could  definitely benefit from a daily dose of this amazing amber liquid.

 

Sources for this article include:
http://www.md-health.com
http://altmedicine.about.com
http://wellnessmama.com
http://www.naturalnews.com

Posted by: godshealingplants | May 16, 2014

CHIA SEEDS THE ANCIENT FOOD OF THE FUTURE

CHIA THE FOOD OF THE FUTURE

HISTORY

For centuries this tiny little seed was used as a staple food by the Indians of the south west and Mexico. Known as the running food, its use as a high energy endurance food has been recorded as far back as the ancient Aztecs. It was said the Aztec warriors subsisted on the Chia seed during the conquests. The Indians of the south west would eat as little as a teaspoon full when going on a 24 hour forced march. Indians running form the Colorado River to the California coast to trade turquoise for seashells would only bring Chia seed for their nourishment.

ABOUT

Chia (Salvia hispanica) is an annual plant in the mint family. 

A planta da Chia

Also known as “lime-leaf sage,” plants reach a height of a little over 3 feet at maturity. Clusters of blue to purple to white flowers develop on spikes forming at the end of each branch. Seeds are oval and approximately 2 mm (0.08 inches) long and 1 mm (0.04 inches) wide. The shiny seed coat varies in color from cream to charcoal grey with darker irregular markings or specks.

NUTRITIONAL FACTS

Ounce for ounce, chia seeds have more omega-3 fatty acids than salmon! Chia is one of the most concentrated sources of omega-3 in any food. It also contains high amounts of omega-6.

2 tablespoons of chia seedAccording to research they contain “Essential fatty acids alpha-linolenic and linoleic acid, mucin, strontium, 30% protein, Vitamins A, B, E, and D, and minerals including calcium, phosphorus, potassium, sulphur, iron, iodine, copper, zinc, sodium, magnesium, manganese, niacin, thiamine, silicon, and anti-oxidants.”

2 tablespoons of Chia = 7 grams of fiber, 2 grams of protein, 205 milligrams of calcium, 5 grams omega-3

HEALTH BENEFITS

Anti-inflammatory PropertiesA number of arthritis sufferers have reported reduced pain and inflammation after a few weeks of taking Chia seeds. The high concentration of omega-3 helps to lubricate joints and keep them supple. Additionally, Omega-3s are converted into prostaglandins which are known to have both pain relieving and anti-inflammatory effects.

AntioxidantsChia seeds are an excellent source of antioxidants containing even more antioxidants than fresh blueberries. The high amounts of antioxidants in Chia seeds also keep the oils from going rancid – contributing to a long shelf life.

Brain PowerEFAs are known to make cell membranes more flexible and efficient making nutrients more readily available and nerve transmission more efficient. This helps to improve brain function (including memory and concentration).

Control blood sugar - The unique combination of soluble and insoluble fiber helps to slow the body’s conversion of food into sugar. Preliminary research shows that chia seeds could help people with diabetes control their blood sugar levels and protect their hearts. Animal studies show that chia-rich diets lower LDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels, while increasing HDL cholesterol. The white-seeded variant of chia, called “Salba” also helped control blood sugar, in addition to maintaining blood pressure and C-reactive protein.

Detoxification and EliminationSimilar to psyllium, the swelling action of Chia in the body helps to cleanse and soothe the colon, and absorb toxins while lubricating and strengthening peristaltic action.

DiabetisChia has the ability to help the body regulate carbohydrates and the sugars they turn into. When ingested, the chia seeds, in whatever form they were eaten, form a type of barrier inside the stomach. This barrier helps to slow the ingestion of sugar into the blood stream. This is especially helpful for diabetics who are unable to process sugars properly.

Enhances EnergyThe word “Chia” comes from the Mayan language chia geland means strength. Chia seeds are a balanced blend of protein, carbohydrates, fats and fiber. It is said that 1 tablespoon of Chia can sustain a person for 24 hours. Athletes have reported that Chia seeds help them perform at optimal levels for much longer periods of time.

High Quality ProteinChia seeds contain about 20% protein, a higher percentage than found in many other grains such as wheat and rice. Chia seeds contain strontium which helps to assimilate protein and produce high energy.

Protect against cancer - Though few studies have been done, early animal research has suggested that chia may have a protective benefit against cancer. Research from Argentina, for example, showed that chia seeds inhibited growth and metastasis of tumors in rats.

Regulate the digestive system - Chia has a reputation for helping to maintain and restore intestinal because of the unique fiber content.  Chia seeds help to promote regularity, and are easily digested. It digests slowly, and helps keep the colon hydrated.

Stabilizes Blood SugarChia seeds slow down the rate at which complex carbohydrates are digested and then assimilated into the body. The soluble fiber helps to stabilize blood glucose levels resulting in steady, sustained energy.

Supports Heart Health can help reduce Blood PressureThe seeds contain one of the highest known plant sources of essential fatty acids (omega-3 and omega-6). EFAs cannot be synthesized by our bodies however, it is very important that we get enough to support our immune, cardiovascular, nervous and reproductive systems. EFA deficiency is quite common in North America.

Weight LossThe essential fatty acids contained in Chia seeds helps to boost metabolism and promote lean muscle mass. The seeds are sometimes added to food to provide bulk and nutrients while adding very few calories. For these reasons, many people have found Chia quite useful in weight loss and weight maintenance.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

  • They are Gluten-Free
  • They make an excellent Egg Replacement substitute for the vegan vegetarian, since the outer layer of chia seeds swells when mixed with liquids to form a gel. This can be used in place of eggs to lower cholesterol and increase the nutrient content of foods and baked goods. To make the egg replacement, mix 1 tablespoon of chia seeds with 3 tablespoons of water and let sit for 15 minutes.
  • They also support beautiful skin, hair and nails.   

HOW TO CONSUME AND ENJOY

They can be eaten raw, soaked in fruit juice.

Chia health bars

You can also make puddings with them and they can be sprinkled on cereals and can be incorporated into baked goods including breads, cakes, biscuits and energy bars.

chia sprouts

When seeds are sprouted, the vitamin content multiplies considerably and they can add a spicy, warm flavor to meals. Sprinkle soaked or sprouted seeds over any dish or tossed salads.

Chia stores well, without deterioration.

WHERE TO BUY

They can be found in most health food stores and many other stores carry them also.

 

SOURCES

Melissa Romero, “The Powerful Health Benefits of Chia Seeds,” Washingtonian, February 27, 2012, http://www.washingtonian.com/blogs/wellbeing/healthy-eating/the-powerful-health-benefits-of-chia-seeds.php

P.J. Skerrett, “A Chia Pet for Diabetes?” Harvard Health Publications, December 17, 2010, http://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/a-chia-pet-for-diabetes-20101217923

Poudyal H., et al., “Lipid redistribution by a-linolenic acid-rich chia seeds inhibits stearoyl-CoA desaturase-1 and induces cardiac and hepatic protection in diet-induced obese rats,” J Nutr Biochem 2012 Feb; 23(2):153-62, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21429727

Chicco AG, et al., “Dietary chia seed (Salvia hispanica L.) rich in alpha-linolenic acid improves adiposity and normalizes hypertriacylglycerolaemia and insulin resistence in dyslipaemic rats,” Br J Nutr 2009 Jan;101(1):41-50, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18492301

Espada CE, et al., “Effect of Chia oil (Salvia Hispanica) rich in omega-3 fatty acids on the eicosanoid release, apoptosis and T-lymphocyte tumor infiltration in a murine mammary gland adenocarcinoma,” Prostaglandins Leukot Essent Fatty Acids 2007 Jul; 77(1):21-8, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17618100

 

Posted by: godshealingplants | May 8, 2014

PERSIMMON HEALTH BENEFITS

Persimmon GSHP

HISTORY

The persimmon tree has been cultivated for centuries in its native land of China where it was nicknamed “Apple of the Orient.” It was later grown in Japan and Korea and came to California in the mid 1800s. There are thousands of varieties. Most persimmon trees are either male or female. Many are grown specifically for the fruit which can readily be found in supermarkets during season. Persimmon (Diospyros kaki L. – Greek for “fruit of the gods”), its common name ‘kaki’.

It is really not a fruit, but a large, round, succulent berry, with a smooth, thin peel of variable color (from yellow to brilliant orange), depending on the degree of ripening. The pulp is soft, creamy, almost gelatinous when the fruit is fully ripe. 

ABOUT

The persimmon tree grows from 30 to 70 feet in height.

Persimmon treeIt is a tree with drooping branches and leaves and has a tropical look. Its leaves begin as a pale yellow-green and mature into a shiny green. Tea can be made from the leaves.

The female persimmon tree produces single cream-colored flowers persimmon_flowerswhile the male flowers have a pink tint to them and are born in clusters of three.

Persimmon fruit varies in color from light yellow orange to dark orange red. They can weigh as little as a few ounces to more than 1 pound.  The shape of the fruit varies from spherical to acorn shaped.

persimmon smoothyA tree will produce a large crop of edible fruit and, as with most fruit trees; the fruit comes during the summer months. The fruit is sweet when ripe but has an extremely bitter taste if eaten before it has ripened.

Persimmons are usually not juiced but are eaten on its own, pureed or used for making smoothies. They are highly fibrous, delicious and nutritious. 

NUTRITIONAL FACTS

Persimmon is an excellent source of a few known phytonutrients:

  • cryptoxantin that gives it the brilliant orange color
  • catechins, gallocatechins are anti-oxidants from the flavonoids family, known to have anti-inflammatory and anti-hemorrhagic properties
  • anti-tumor compound betulinic acid
  • beta carotene, lycopene, lutein, zeaxanthin, and cryptoxanthin are anti-oxidants that help neutralize free-radicals and prevent oxidation and cancer 

Picture 004

Persimmon is rich in vitamin A, C, the B vitamins. In the minerals department, it is dense-packed with calcium, potassium, iron, manganese, phosphorus and copper. 

For more information check out the NUTRITIONAL DATA link. 

HEALTH BENEFITS

Persimmon does have laxative and diuretic properties and is particularly recommended for people suffering from liver problems. It is also an energy-dense fruit. That’s why it is recommended for children, people playing sports and people who are physically or mentally tired.

Below are various therapeutic and healthy properties of this very sweet fruit:

Ageing protection: Free radicals damage skin cell and stimulated ageing which is faster than normal. But antioxidants and phytonutrient reverse the ageing effect and protect from early ageing.

Cancer fighting: Persimmon contains highly beneficial nutrient which protect from free radicals. Free radicals are responsible for cancer. But antioxidants and phyto-nutrient neutralizes these free radicals and prevent DNA damage. Cells with damaged DNA turns into a cancer cell. So persimmon fruit is effective to protect from the root cause of cancer.

how-to-grow-persimmons-wsCold and flu:  Thanks to its content in vitamin C, persimmon is highly effective in enhancing the immune system function and can help relieve the symptoms of flu and cold, as well as many other infectious or inflammatory conditions.

Constipation:  Due to its high content in fiber and water, persimmon does have excellent laxative properties that can be a powerful natural remedy for constipation.

Diuretic effect:  Persimmon does have excellent diuretic properties, due to its high content in potassium and calcium. Eating a persimmon a day is an effective way to prevent or relieve water retention. Daily consumption of persimmon is better than the use of diuretic drugs, since persimmon does not cause potassium loss which is associated with many known diuretics.

Eye protection and nourishing: Eye retina damage is the cause of eye vision loss. Retinal damage is caused due to free radicals. Persimmon fruit contains a vast amount of nutrient like antioxidant Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin K and phytonutrient zeaxanthin. These nutrients are extremely important to protect eye retinal damage. Also it protects from cataract or age related macular degeneration.

High blood pressure:  Helps reduce high blood pressure and prevent many heart conditions associated with hypertension.

Improve Digestive system: Persimmon fruit provides a high amount of fiber. Fiber provides roughage during digestion which is essential to improve digestion process. Also eating persimmon fruit prevent constipation.

Liver health and body detoxification:  Persimmon is an excellent source of anti-oxidants which play a key role in liver health and body detoxification. Anti-oxidants help neutralize toxins and other harmful substances in the body, prevent and treat the damages caused by free-radicals.

Natural energizer:  Persimmons are highly digestible fruits and also provide a lot of readily available energy (in the form of sugars) to sustain any energy-requiring activity. That’s why they are particularly recommended for children and people who practice sports or other physical activities.

Stress, tiredness and fatigue:  Due to their high content in sugars and potassium, persimmon juice can help reinforce the body with energy and relieve the symptoms of stress, fatigue and tiredness without the need to use special energetic and nutritional supplements. 

SELECTION AND STORAGE 

To check if persimmons are ripe, lightly depress the fruit. If it’s hard, it’s not yet ripe, do not eat unless you’re certain that you’ve got the non-astringent variety. 

Persimmon ws 3

Fully ripe persimmons are soft to the touch and have a good overall orange coloring. The skin will appear transparent and should be smooth.  

To speed up the ripening process, put persimmons out at room temperature. Storing them in the fridge will slow down the ripening process. 

HOW TO CONSUME AND ENJOY

Persimmons are eaten fresh, dried, raw, or cooked. When eaten fresh they are usually eaten whole like an apple or cut into quarters, though with some varieties it is best to peel the skin first.

persimmon-frozen

One way to consume very ripe persimmons, which can have the texture of pudding, is to remove the top leaf with a paring knife and scoop out the flesh with a spoon.

Riper persimmons can also be eaten by removing the top leaf, breaking the fruit in half and eating from the inside out. The flesh ranges from firm to mushy, and the texture is unique.

persimmon jelly

Persimmons can also be used to prepare delicious sauces, creams, jams, jellies, marmalade, compote, smoothies and can be incorporated into salads. They make a delicious sorbet.

CAUTION

Due to its high content in sugars, persimmon is not recommended for people suffering from diabetes, obesity or overweight.

Dried persimmons have even higher sugar content because in its dried state, the sugars are more concentrated. 

907

SIDE EFFECTS

Eating persimmon fruit provides many health benefits. It contains high amount of tannin which is the risk factor.

Eating persimmon fruit with an empty stomach can cause diarrhea. Also eating in excess also cause diarrhea due to its high tannin content. So be safe and eat persimmon in limited quantity. 

Again, diabetes patients should stay away from it as it contains high amount of sugar. 

SOURCES 

 

 

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