Posted by: godshealingplants | April 11, 2014

ELDERBERRY BENEFITS

Elderberry GHP

Its botanical name is Sambucus Canadensis. For centuries, traditional European folk medicine has touted the benefits of elderberry extract for immune support, and now modern science is finally catching up.  

Recent studies have found that a commercial preparation of elderberry extract called Sambucol is more effective than other over-the-counter remedies at shortening the duration and severity of the flu.  

ABOUT

Elderberry, also called elder flower, is a tree that bears cream-colored flowers followed by dark purple berries in autumn.

Varieties include: American elder (Sambucus canadensis) and the European Elder (Sambucus nigra). And commonly named: Sweet elder, common elder, elderberry and sambucus.

Sometimes propagated as an ornamental shrub, the elderberry bush is a member of the honeysuckle family. It’s actually a small tree, with an abundance of delicate white flowers emerging as berry clusters generally between August and October, mostly in cool-to-warm areas of the country, like the Northeastern and Northwestern areas of the US and Canada. 

elder-tree-black

A uniquely American fruit familiar to the nation’s first inhabitants, traditional uses for elderberries by Indians, who made use of every little part of the plant, included tools crafted from the branches, such as arrow shafts and pipes, as well as the berries. 

Still a novelty to many Americans, this tiny black fruit yields an abundance of juice for its small size. When cooking elderberries for sauce, some may prefer a little extra sweetness. 

Part that are used medicinally are the leaves, flowers and berries. 

Its branches spread to 8 feet when laden with fruit, the plant itself growing about 12 feet under good conditions. In August through October, the glorious elderblossoms, or elderblow, are picked for jelly making. They are also used in pancakes and muffin batters to lighten and sweeten them.

jam

NUTRITIONAL FACTS

Content of Elderberry: Tannin, amino acids, carotenoids, flavonoids, rutin, vitamins A, B, C and riboflavin. All these vitamins work collectively to keep your body fit and healthy always.

These edible berries also hold a remarkable mineral content. Packed naturally with 9% iron, 8% potassium and 4% of calcium and phosphorus each, elderberries ensure the smooth functioning of all the bodily systems. 

Additionally, elderberries can be a great addition to your diet if you’re looking for a fiber rich fruit that can boost your digestive system. A single serving of elderberries is just enough to satisfy 28% of your daily fiber requirements and keep your digestive system working efficiently! 

HEALTH BENEFITS

Elderberries have been used not just for their unique tartness, but for many different traditional and Native American folk remedies. The dark berries are the good ones, with a history of treating conjunctivitis, cold and flu symptoms, reducing congestion, relieving arthritis pain, soothing upset stomachs, relieving gas, and for detoxification. 

Elderberries_Photo_2

Elderberry flowers are popular for making solutions to soften, tone, and restore the skin, relax sore muscles, and sooth burns and rashes. 

Here are some of the miracle-making properties in the elderberry plant: 

  • Anti-inflammatory. Compounds called anthocyanins lend elderberry its anti-inflammatory effect, which can help reduce the nasty aches, pains and fever that accompany the flu.
  • Break fever
  • Cleans and heals the colon
  • Clears congestion and inflammation
  • Elderberries are effective against both bacteria and viruses, and act to prevent viruses from entering cells.
  • Elderberry tea can help purify the blood.
  • Elderberry tea may inhibit influenza replication and boost immune system activity. People that take elderberry during cold and flu season report less symptoms than people who don’t take it.

Elderberry-tea

  • Elderberry tea reduces and deactivates the oxidation of the cardiovascular system.
  • Improves digestion
  • Improve heart health by lowering blood pressure
  • Improves nasal congestion. Tannin and viburnic acid, properties present in elderberries, help improve breathing and provide relief from nasal congestion.
  • It can help reduce swelling in the mucous membranes.
  • Its flowers when use as poultice can help reduce inflammation.
  • Lowers cholesterol
  • Reduce menopause symptoms
  • Supports the immune system. Antioxidants called flavanoids are also plentiful in elderberry, which help to stimulate the immune system.
  • The berries have high levels of tannins which work as a natural diuretic. They have twice the antioxidant properties of that of blueberries and cranberries.
  • The elder flower can help strengthen the upper respiratory tract. The flowers are effective at reducing phlegm and encouraging sweating.
  • The elderberry juice helps improve vision, especially night vision.
  • The juice of the berries can help improve digestion and elimination and are used to relieve arthritis.

WHERE TO BUY AND HOW TO USE 

You can buy elderberry extracts at most health food stores, though they can be expensive. To save money, it’s easy to make your own. Here’s a recipe for homemade elderberry syrup.  

elderberry-syrup

Ingredients:

1 cup black elderberries

3 cups water

1 cup raw local honey 

Directions:

Place berries and water in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 30 minutes. Crush the berries and strain of the skins. Allow to cool before stirring in honey. 

For best results, take one tablespoon daily when you’re well. You can take it on its own, or add it to fruit smoothies, kefir or yogurt. If you do come down with a cold or the flu, take a teaspoon every few hours until you recover.

Elderberry syrup is as good for kids as it is for adult, but it’s important to remember never to give products containing raw honey to children under 2. 

NOTE 

  • The berries should never be consumed raw. Since they contain hydrocyanic acid and alkaloids that can cause severe stomach upset.
  • Drinking a tea instead of taking a capsule is sometimes said to expedite the healing process, since the body can begin to absorb the nutrients immediately, without waiting for the capsule to dissolve and the contents to be broken down by the stomach.

SIDE EFFECTS

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Drinking more than 20 ounces of elderberry juice can result in diarrhea. Additionally, when eating elderberries in raw form it can result in vomiting and dizziness.

SOURCES 

 

Posted by: godshealingplants | March 25, 2014

GUAVA HEALTH BENEFITS

GHP - guava

HISTORY

The guava is believed to have originated in an area extending from southern Mexico into Central America. Since 1526, it has been common throughout all warm areas of tropical America, the West Indies, the Bahamas, and Bermuda. It was introduced to Florida in 1847 and was brought from there to the East Indies and Guam. It is likely that it spread from those regions to Asia and Africa. It was introduced to Hawaii in the early 19th century and is now common throughout the Pacific islands.

ABOUT

A guava is the sweet fruit of the guava tree, which grows in tropical regions of America and Asia. The genus consists of about 100 small trees and shrubs, with the Psidium guajava species being the most cultivated for food. The fruit can be eaten raw or used to flavor drinks, desserts, and sauces.

Guava tree

The plant grows in the form of either shallow-rooted shrubs or trees up to 33 feet (10.05 meters) in height. The leaves are green and leathery. In addition to fruit, the tree also bears fragrant white or pink flowers with four or five petals.

Guava trees need warm climates. They do best in areas with full sun. The fruit may be round, ovoid, or pear shaped and is 2-4 inches (5-10 cm) in diameter. Its thin skin is bright yellow in color, sometimes tinged with red. The flesh is white or orange-pink depending on the variety, and contains many small, hard seeds. The guava is characterized by a strong, sweet odor.

NUTRITIONAL CONTENTS

The guava is rich in vitamins A, B, and C, as well as beta carotene.

Principle Nutrient Value Percentage of RDA
Energy 68 Kcal 3.5%
Carbohydrates 14.3 g 11.5%
Protein 2.55 g 5%
Total Fat 0.95 g 3%
Cholesterol 0 mg 0%
Dietary Fiber 5.4 g 14%
VITAMINS    
Folates 49 µg 12.5%
Niacin 1.084 mg 7%
Pantothenic acid 0.451 mg 9%
Pyridoxine 0.110 mg 8.5%
Riboflavin 0.040 mg 3%
Thiamin 0.067 mg 5.5%
Vitamin A 624 IU 21%
Vitamin C 228 mg 396%
Vitamin E 0.73 mg 5%
Vitamin K 2.6 µg 2%
ELECTROLYTES    
Sodium 2 mg 0%
Potassium 417 mg 9%
MINERALS    
Calcium 18 mg 2%
Copper 0.230 mg 2.5%
Iron 0.26 mg 3%
Magnesium 22 mg 5.5%
Manganese 0.150 mg 6.5%
Phosphorus 11 mg 2%
Selenium 0.6 mcg 1%
Zinc 0.23 mg 2%
PHYTO-NUTRIENTS    
Carotene-ß 374 µg
Crypto-xanthin-ß 0 µg
Lycopene 5204 µg

HEALTH BENEFITS

AGEING: Ageing is the most common problem in our busy life. Ageing is mostly caused to natural factor like increase in age. But due to pollution, UV radiation and smoke ageing process has been stimulated at an early age and it is faster than natural. The main cause of ageing is free radical produced in our body due to high oxidative stress caused due to pollution. But antioxidants have proven to destroy these free radicals to slow the ageing process.

ANTITUMOR PROPERTY: Guava contains high amount of lycopene (5204 microgram) which is carotenoid phytonutrients. Lycopene has an anti-tumor property. Lycopene protects from oxygen free radicals as it actively fights to neutralize it. So eating guava will help to fight prostate cancer.

CONSTIPATION: Guava is one of the riches sources of dietary fiber. Its seeds, if ingested whole or chewed, serve as excellent laxatives. These two properties of guava help forming bowels, retaining water and clean your intestines and excretory system thoroughly. It is said that single constipation can lead to seventy two types of ailments. It is absolutely true. Every way to your total health goes through proper digestion and more importantly, proper excretion. Guava ensures both of these.

COUGH & COLD: Juice of raw and immature guavas or decoction of guava-leaves is very helpful in giving relief in cough and cold by loosening cough, reducing mucus, disinfecting the respiratory tract, throat and lungs and inhibiting microbial activity due to its astringent properties. Guava is one of richest in vitamin-C and iron which are proven to be preventive against cold and viral infections. In some areas in India, roasted ripe guava is used as a remedy against extreme cases of cough and cold and congestion.  

DIABETES: Guava contains good amount of dietary fiber. It is found that eating fiber rich food to reduce sugar spikes in diabetes patient.

DIARRHEA & DYSENTERY: Guava is very rich in astringents which binds up loose bowels in diarrhea. These astringents are alkaline in nature and have disinfectant and anti-bacterial properties, thus help cure dysentery by inhibiting microbial growth and removing extra mucus from the intestines. Further, other nutrients in guava, such as vitamin-C, Carotenoids and potassium strengthens and tones up the digestive system and disinfect it. Guava is also beneficial in gastroenteritis due to reasons stated above. E

EYE HEALTH: Guava contains good amount of Vitamin A. As Vitamin A is antioxidants, so it becomes highly preferred food to be consumed to improve eye health. Due to high antioxidants guava protect eyes from free radicals. Also it effective to prevent retinal damage caused due to free radicals. Thus it improves eye vision and protect from cataract or macular degeneration.

HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE: Guava helps reduce cholesterol in blood and prevents it from thickening, thereby maintaining fluidity of blood and reducing blood pressure. Studies have shown that food stuffs which lack fiber (such a refined flour) add to blood pressure, due to quick conversion to sugar. Guava, being very rich in fiber and hypoglycemic in nature, helps reduce blood pressure.

IMMUNITY: Guava is an excellent source of Vitamin C. It contains 228 mg of Vitamin C which is equal to 338% of RDA required in the daily diet. With a high amount of Vitamin C, it is an antioxidants that increases the immune system function. It increases immunity to protect against common diseases like cough, cold and flu. It also increases immune system function to protect from infections.

INCREASE BLOOD PRODUCTION: Guava contains vitamins like Vitamin E, K, niacin, folate, pantothenic acid, Vitamin B6 and minerals like copper, manganese and magnesium which are important for blood formation. Also due to rich Vitamin C, guava increases body capacity to absorb iron.

MAINTAIN BLOOD PRESSURE: Guava contains good amount of potassium. Potassium is required to maintain sodium level. Also high potassium is required to maintain fluid level i.e. to balance electrolyte. Thus it helps to maintain high blood pressure, and it reduces the risk of stroke and heart attack.

PROTECT FROM CANCER: Guava is a rich source of antioxidants, phytonutrients and flavonoid that make it highly beneficial to protect from cancer. Guava contains high amount of Vitamin C which protects from oxygen free radicals. Free radicals are produced due to oxidative stress. These free radicals damage DNA of cells which turns it into a cancer cell. But antioxidants neutralize these free radicals and acts as a shield to protect DNA from free radicals. Also it contains high amount of lycopene which have anti-tumor property. As we know the main cause of cancer is free radicals and damage caused to DNA of cells. Guava contains antioxidants that protect from free radicals and lycopene prevents tumor growth. So with both these nutrient guava becomes healthiest food to prevent cancer. Lycopene is effective to protect from prostate cancer. Guava is effective to protect from colon, breast, mouth, skin, stomach, oral cavity and lung cancer.

SCURVY: Guava can outdo many other fruits, including orange and other citrus fruits, when it comes to concentration of vitamin-C, whose deficiency causes scurvy and which is the only remedy to it. It contains five times the vitamin-C in oranges. 

SKIN CARE: Guavas can help improve your skin texture and avoid skin problems more than the best of beauty creams or skin toner gels can do. This is chiefly due to the abundance of astringents in its fruits (more in immature ones) and in leaves. You can benefit from it either by eating the fruits (this help tighten your muscles apart from your skin) or by washing your skin with the decoction of its immature fruits and leaves. It will tone up and tighten the loosened skin. In addition to the astringents, guava is very-very rich in vitamin-A, B, C and potassium which are very good anti oxidants and detoxifiers and keep your skin glowing and free from aging, wrinkles and other disorders.

WEIGHT LOSS: Guava is very helpful for those who want to lose weight without compromising with their intake of proteins, vitamins and fiber. Guava, being very high in roughage and very rich in vitamins, proteins and minerals, but with no cholesterol and less digestible carbohydrates, is very filling and satisfies appetite very easily. Just have a medium sized guava in the lunch and you will not feel hungry till night. But ironically, it helps gaining weight in lean and thin people. This is probably due to its richness in nutrients, which keeps your metabolism right helping proper absorption of nutrients.

HOW TO SELECT AND STORE

Selection: Guavas are available in different varieties such as the Chinese Guava, Strawberry, Lemon, Apple and Mountain Guava. In tropical regions, they are available all the year round. 

24_-Гуава 

On ripening, the skin of the guavas generally turns from green to yellow, their flesh softens and they develop a fragrant fruity aroma. While purchasing guavas, make sure that you choose fresh fruits with their skins intact without any cuts, bruises or patches. Your choice of guava also depends upon the variety that you are buying. If you are buying pink guavas, choose the ones that are firm and devoid of soft spots. Their skin should be green with a yellow tinge. While buying white Thai guavas, make sure that they are free from blemishes or soft spots and their skin should be bright green in color, like a Granny Smith apple. Overly soft guavas or the ones with soft spots or discoloration should be avoided. 

When the guavas are picked from the tree, they are mature but not ripe. In other words, though the fruit has reached its optimum size and shape, the starches present in it have not been converted into sugar. These starches will get converted into sugar after a few days which will cause the fruit to soften and emit a wonderful guava fragrance. Ripe guavas generally have a characteristic color and aroma. 

Storage: Guavas can be stored at room temperature for a few days. Mature but green guavas can last for 2 to 5 weeks when kept at a regulated temperature between 46F and 55F and relative humidity of 85% to 95%. To hasten ripening, the guava can be kept wrapped in a paper with a banana or apple.  

GUAVA 4

Fully ripe guavas can be refrigerated for a few days. Pink and white guavas yield to gentle pressure if they are ripe. Ripe guavas can be kept in plastic bag or container and refrigerated for a few days. It is advisable to use them within a day or two. Unripe guavas can be stored in a plastic container or bag and can last for about two weeks.  

Freezing the guavas can make them last longer, even up to a year. To freeze a guava, cut it and place it in a freezer container. Cover it with light simple syrup and provide a little extra space in the container for expansion. 

HOW TO PREPARE

Guava is a nutritious fruit with edible seeds and skin. There are several varieties available, each one having a unique flavor and aroma. Before proceeding to eat guavas, it is necessary to wash them in cold running water to remove any dust and insecticide residues. The floral ends and remnants i.e. sepals should be removed and the tips ends should be cut with a sharp knife.  

guava_600x450

Guavas can then be cubed or sliced like an apple and should be eaten with their skin as the edible rind contains abundant amounts of vitamin C. Even the seeds can be eaten; and are very tasty and crunchy. Besides being eaten raw, guavas are often cooked to eliminate their strong odor as some people do not like it.  

HOW TO ENJOY

There are countless recipes for the use of guava in pies, cakes, puddings, jellies, and chutneys, and the fruit may even be dehydrated and powdered to flavor ice cream.

Here are some suggestions: 

Fresh Guava Juice with natural fruits .

1. Guava juice and nectar are refreshing drinks and are often used as an ingredient in cold or frozen drinks.

guava_jelly 2

2. Due to its unique flavor, guavas are often used to make jelly. They have a high content of pectin, a chemical substance that helps jelly to set. The juice from half ripe guavas can be combined with hibiscus flowers or low pectin fruits to make jelly. Guavas are also used in butters, jams, marmalades and preserves.

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3. Fresh guavas can be cubes and added to other tropical fruits in a salad. Guavas can also be used with cheeses. Another way to eat a guava is to simply cut it in half and sprinkle with a little lemon juice; and eat the flesh and seeds with a spoon, discarding the skin.

4. You can prepare a delicious salad by combining roasted guava with feta cheese. For this purpose, cut the guavas into thin round slices and marinate them with some chopped parsley, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, black pepper and salt.  

SOURCE: 

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

REFERENCES:

Posted by: godshealingplants | February 18, 2014

COCONUT BENEFITS

coconut colage GSP

HISTORY

Native to the Pacific, coconuts spread too much of the tropics on ocean currents before human intervention. It has been used throughout history in South Asia for a wide range of purposes.

Early Spanish explorers called it coco, which means “monkey face” because the three indentations (eyes) on the hairy nut resemble the head and face of a monkey.  

ABOUT

Cocos nucifera is a large palm, growing up to 30 m (98 ft) tall, with pinnate leaves 4–6 m (13–20 ft) long. Coconuts are generally classified into two general types: tall and dwarf. On very fertile land, a tall coconut palm tree can yield up to 75 fruits per year. 

SONY DSC

The coconut palm thrives on sandy soils and is highly tolerant of salinity. It prefers areas with abundant sunlight and regular rainfall. Coconuts also need high humidity for optimum growth, which is why they are rarely seen in areas with low humidity. 

The coconut provides a nutritious source of meat, juice, milk, and oil that has fed and nourished people all over the world for thousands of year.  

NUTRITIONAL CONTENTS

Coconut is highly nutritious and rich in fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Containing Potassium, Phosphorus, Calcium, Magnesium, Iron, sodium, Manganese, Zinc, Copper and Selenium. For more information  check out the Nutritional Data Facts 

HEALTH BENEFITS

For thousands of years coconut products have held a respected and valuable place in local folk medicine. 

In traditional medicine around the world coconut is used to treat a wide variety of health problems including: abscesses, asthma, baldness, bronchitis, bruises, burns, colds, constipation, cough, dropsy, dysentery, earache, fever, flu, gingivitis, irregular or painful menstruation, jaundice, kidney stones, lice, malnutrition, nausea, rash, scabies, scurvy, skin infections, sore throat, swelling, toothache, tuberculosis, tumors, typhoid, ulcers, upset stomach, weakness, and wounds. 

coconut

Modern medical science is now confirming the use of coconut in treating many of the above conditions. Many studies have been published in medical journals showing that coconut, in one form or another may provide a wide range of health benefits. Here are some of them:   

ANTIOXIDANT: Helps to protect the body from harmful free radicals that promote premature aging and degenerative disease, functioning as a protective antioxidant. Coconut oil does not deplete the body’s antioxidant reserves like other oils do. 

BACTERIA: Kills bacteria that cause ulcers, throat infections, urinary tract infections, gum disease and cavities, pneumonia, and other diseases. 

BLOOD GLUCOSE: Improves insulin secretion and utilization of blood glucose. 

CANCER: Helps protect the body from breast, colon, and other cancers and supports and aids immune system function. 

DIGESTION: Improves digestion and absorption of other nutrients including vitamins, minerals, and amino acids. Relieves symptoms associated with Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, and stomach ulcers. Improves digestion and bowel function and relieves pain and irritation caused by hemorrhoids. 

FIBER: Coconut supplies an impressive 61% dietary fiber! 

FUNGI AND YEAST: Kills fungi and yeasts that cause candidiasis, ringworm, athlete’s foot, thrush, diaper rash, and other infections. 

HAIR: Promotes healthy looking hair and complexion and helps control dandruff. 

HEART: Is heart healthy; improves cholesterol ratio reducing risk of heart disease. Protects arteries from injury that causes atherosclerosis and thus protects against heart disease. 

INFLAMMATION: Reduces inflammation and supports tissue healing and repair. 

KIDNEYS: Helps protect against kidney disease and bladder infections. Dissolves kidney stones. 

LIVER & GALLBLADDRE: Helps prevent liver disease and relieves symptoms associated with gallbladder disease. 

OSTEOPOROSIS: Helps protect against osteoporosis. 

PANCREAS: Relieves stress on pancreas and enzyme systems of the body. Reduces symptoms associated with pancreatitis. 

PARASITES AND TAPEWORMS: Expels or kills tapeworms, lice, giardia, and other parasites. 

SKIN: Applied topically helps to form a chemical barrier on the skin to ward of infection. Reduces symptoms associated the psoriasis, eczema, and dermatitis. Supports the natural chemical balance of the skin and softens skin, helping relieve dryness and flaking. It also prevents wrinkles, sagging skin, age spots and provides protection from damaging effects of ultraviolet radiation from the sun. 

SOURCE OF ENERGY: Provides a nutritional source of quick energy and endurance, enhancing physical and athletic performance. Helps relieve symptoms associated with chronic fatigue syndrome. Coconut oil is also utilized by the body to produce energy instead of being stored as body fat like other dietary fats. 

SWEET CRAVINGS: Reduces Sweet Cravings and improves insulin secretion and utilization of blood glucose. The healthy fat in coconut slows down any rise in blood sugar and helps to reduce hypoglycemic cravings. 

TEETH: Helps prevent periodontal disease and tooth decay. Improves calcium and magnesium absorption and supports the development of strong bones and teeth. 

THYROID: Supports thyroid function. 

VIRUSES: Kills viruses that cause influenza, herpes, measles, hepatitis C, SARS, AIDS, and other illnesses. 

WEIGHT: Promotes loss of excess weight by increasing metabolic rate therefore it helps prevent obesity and overweight problems. 

ADDITIONAL HEALTH BENEFITS

In addition, coconut contains no Trans-Fats, is Gluten-Free, is non-Toxic, hypoallergenic, and also contains Antibacterial, Antiviral, Antifungal, and Anti-parasitic healing properties. Coconut helps to aid and support overall Immune System functions. 

HOW TO SELECT AND STORE

Unfortunately, most U.S. supermarkets do not carry fresh coconuts. However, they are widely available in ethnic grocery stores, such as Asian or Latino markets, farmers’ markets and health food stores. If you are unable to locate a source near you, try requesting them at your local health food store, as many will carry them upon request. 

Coconuts 5

Look for coconuts that feel heavy for their size and are without cracks. Shake the coconut. You should hear liquid moving around and the coconut should sound full.  

Avoid coconuts with eyes “that are damp, moist or moldy.”  

Coconuts are available year round; however their peak season is October-December.

Unopened coconuts can be stored at room temperature for up to 4 months. Place fresh grated coconut in a tightly sealed container (or plastic bag) and refrigerated for up to 4 days or frozen for up to 6 months. 

HOW TO PREPARE

The fruit can be eaten at different stages of its ripeness. The white flesh of the seed is used for cooking desserts, different savory dishes. The plant can provide coconut flour, which is often utilized in baking.  

coconut-flakes

If you would like a tasteful side dish for your meals, you can fix a simple coconut chutney recipe. Mix fresh shredded coconut meat, ginger juice, fresh mint and coriander leaves, minced garlic, thinly sliced red pepper, lemon juice, and coconut milk in a bowl. You can top this with toasted coconut meat prior to serving if you want to add a subtle sweet and tangy taste. 

HOW TO ENJOY

Coconut meat is so versatile that it can be eaten raw, cooked, or as a preserve. You can top your usual salads with shredded or grated and then lightly toasted coconut meat. You can use a blender to make it into smoothies as well, mixed with organic full-fat yogurt and fruits like bananas and berries. 

coconut dessert

SOURCES 

http://www.coconutresearchcenter.org/

http://mercola.com

http://www.westonaprice.org/knowyourfats/coconut-oil-studies.html

Posted by: godshealingplants | February 11, 2014

LEEKS AND THEIR BENEFITS

Leek collage GHP

HISTORY

Leek has been known and used for centuries for its medicinal properties, although nowadays it is used mainly as food or for flavor.

Thought to be native to Central Asia, they have been cultivated in this region and in Europe for thousands of years.

 Dried specimens from archaeological sites in ancient Egypt, as well as wall carvings and drawings, led archeologists Zohary and Hopf to conclude that the leek plant was a part of the Egyptian diet from at least the second millennium BCE onwards.

They also allude to surviving texts that show it had been also grown in Mesopotamia from the beginning of the second millennium BCE.

The leek was the favorite vegetable of the Emperor Nero, who consumed it in soup or in oil, believing it beneficial to the quality of his voice. And the Romans are thought to have introduced leeks to the United Kingdom, where they were able to flourish because they could withstand cold weather.

Today, leeks are an important vegetable in many northern European cuisines and are grown in many European countries.  

ABOUTLeek plant

Leeks are the largest member of the allium family that includes onions, garlic and chives. Rather than form a bulb, their leaves grow straight upwards wrapped tightly around each other to create what looks like a stalk, but isn’t. With a milder flavor and larger size, they work well added to everything from salads to soups, where they add beneficial fiber and bulk along with vitamins, minerals, antioxidant and polyphenols. 

COMPONENTS AND NUTRITION

Leeks are an excellent dietary food, which is very low in calories. They are composed primarily of water, about 90%. They also contain dietary fiber, minerals—nickel, potassium, iron, magnesium, calcium, manganese, phosphorous; vitamins A, C and K, folate, and moderate amounts of vitamins of the B complex (B1, B2, B3 and B6). They also contain phytonutrients. 

Take a look at their NUTRITIONAL DATA 

HEALTH BENEFITS

Leeks have been known since time immemorial for their medical properties. So, if you like the sharp flavor of leek, you can benefit from its juice and of all its excellent healthy properties that are good remedies for a wide range of disorders. Here are some of them:

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ANEMIA:  Thanks to its content in iron, which is essential for the synthesis of hemoglobin (the protein in red cells responsible for carrying oxygen throughout the body) leek can help fight various types of anemia, especially those resulting from iron deficiency. Its vitamin C content helps make effective iron absorption.

ANTIOXIDANT:  The polyphenols found in leeks are known to be strong antioxidants that fight against free radicals that cause chronic disease and aging.

BLOOD VESSELS:  The flavonoid kaempferol which is present in significant amounts in leeks provides protection to the linings of blood vessels, particularly against free radicals or reactive oxygen species. Kaempferol may also increase the production of nitric oxide in the body, a substance that acts as a natural dilator and relaxant of blood vessels, thus allowing blood vessels to rest and lower the risk of hypertension.

CANCER:  Leeks are a good source of allyl sulfides which have been shown to modify certain pathways associated with the growth of tumors.

CHOLESTEROL:  Leek does have an anti-cholesterol and anti-atherosclerosis action. It helps reduce both the absorption of cholesterol from the intestine, as well as the oxidation of LDL-cholesterol in the blood, thus preventing one of the first steps in the formation of atherosclerotic plaques.

DIGESTIVE HEALTH:  Leeks can help regulate intestinal function and motility, due to their content in fiber. They also help to repopulate the good bacteria in the colon, thereby aiding digestion and reducing intestinal bloating.

HEART DISEASE:  Studies have shown that members of the allium family have a slight blood pressure lowering effect and may help prevent platelets from clotting which could potentially lead to a heart attack. Leeks can help rid of homocysteine, a molecule that can be very detrimental to cardiovascular health.

HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE:  Leeks are high in potassium, which promotes diuresis thereby helping to lower and regulate blood pressure. That’s why leek juice is particularly recommended for people suffering from high blood pressure.

INFLAMMATORY DISEASES:  Leeks can fight chronic low-level inflammatory states such as diabetes, obesity and rheumatoid arthritis and inflammation of the urinary tract, by virtue of its polyphenol and kaempferol content. Leek juice can be used as a valuable aid for treating these inflammatory diseases.

NERVOUS SYSTEM:  Magnesium, phosphorous and folate are important nutrients needed for healthy functioning of the nervous system. They help improve concentration, memory and the brain’s ability to process information. Folate is also essential to prevent brain defects in babies.

PURIFYING THE BODY:  Perhaps the most characteristic action of leek juice is its purifying effect on the whole body, since it helps eliminate toxins from the body by enhancing the cleansing of the colon.

RESPITATORY TRACK:  Due to its content in volatile oils, leek juice does have a beneficial, balsamic action on the respiratory tract. So it can be used to relieve the symptoms associated with flu, cold and hay fever.

VITAMIN AND MINERAL BENEFITS:  Leeks contain vitamin C which is important in wound healing and collagen formation. Pyridoxine is important in efficient energy utilization. Vitamin K present in leeks is needed for blood coagulation and for metabolism of bone and connective tissues. Iron is required in the formation of hemoglobin while manganese functions as a coenzyme in many reactions in the body. Eating leeks regularly ensures that you get good amounts of these nutrients.

WEIGHT LOSS:  Leeks are great for weight loss programs as they have a low calorific value. Also, the significant fiber content helps keep one satiated for long and boosts metabolism. 

HOW TO SELECT AND STORE

Leeks should be firm and straight with dark green leaves and white necks. Good quality leeks will not be yellowed or wilted.. Since overly large leeks are generally more fibrous in texture, only purchase those that have a diameter of one and one-half inches or less.

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Try to purchase leeks that are of similar size so as to ensure more consistent cooking if you are planning on cooking the leeks whole. Leeks are available throughout the year, although they are in greater supply from the fall through the early part of spring.

Fresh leeks should be stored unwashed and untrimmed in the refrigerator, where they will keep fresh for between one and two weeks. Wrapping them loosely in a plastic bag will help them to retain moisture.leeks 5

If the leeks have any signs of roots, they can also be placed in a glass jar with about 1 – 2 inches of water and they will keep for months. A great experiment if you have kids or grandkids.

Cooked leeks are highly perishable, and even when kept in the refrigerator and will only stay fresh for about two days.

Leeks may be frozen after being blanched for two to three minutes, although they will lose some of their desirable taste and texture qualities. Leeks will keep in the freezer for about three months.

PREPARING AND COOKING

Cut off green tops of leeks and remove outer tough leaves. Cut off root and cut leeks in half lengthwise. Fan out the leeks and rinse well under running water, leaving them intact. Then you can cut them any desired length you want; either in chunks or thinly sliced.  

HOW TO ENJOY

The edible parts of the leek plant are the light green stalk (or stem) and its white bulb, while the dark green leaf sheaths are usually discarded because of their fibrous consistency. However, it would be wise to use the dark green leaves as well (finely minced or juiced), because they are the parts with the highest content in minerals and vitamins.

Although leeks have a sharp flavor, their taste is sweeter and more delicate than that of onions. Leeks can be used in a variety of dishes, either raw or cooked, or they can be used to prepare delicious juices.

Leek-Gruyere-Tart2

Leeks can be used to prepare soups, broths and sauces, as well as cut into thin slices and added to a variety of salads.

Leek juice can be prepared from the stalk, and leaves. The dark green leaf sheaths are very rich in minerals and vitamins. The leek juices blend very well with carrot and celery. 

CAUTION

Leeks contain very small amounts of oxalate and should be avoided by individuals who have a history of oxalate kidney stones. 

They are also high in nickel, thus its consumption should be avoided by individuals with nickel allergy. 

SOURCES

Posted by: godshealingplants | February 4, 2014

PRICKLY PEAR CACTUS “NOPAL” BENEFITS

Nopales God's Healing plants

HISTORY

Prickly pear cactus (Opuntia), called nopal in Spanish, is a plant native to Mexico and the American southwest that is now widely cultivated in many parts of the world, especially the Mediterranean regions.

It is a genus of the cactus family that consists of more than 300 species, all native to the Americas, and grows from the northern United States to Patagonia, where they grow wild.

Cactus has few demands on their management, resulting in remarkably high tolerance for nutrient-poor or subjected to poor methods of irrigation, fertilization and pest control soils. Therefore, it survives both in the desert and snow, from sea level to elevations of over 10,000 feet.

It is said to be a native of Mexico, where it is considered the symbol of identity of the Mexican people and is even included on the Mexican flag, depicting a Mexican golden eagle perched upon the Opuntia cactus, devouring a snake. 

ABOUT

The cactus plant is a tree that can reach 15 feet. Nopal has a woody trunk and large top, many oblong joints, small, yellow barbed spines, bright yellow flowers and red fruit with a juicy, white, sweet flesh and numerous black seeds. 

Nopales acerca

Its flowers are large and open, colors vary depending on the species and the time of its formation, can be white, yellow, orange, red or purple. The cactus fruit is called tuna. 

Only the young plant is eaten; older plants are too tough. Prickly pear cactus is also used for medicine. 

COMPONENTS AND NUTRITION

Prickly Pear Cactus is rich in calcium, potassium, phosphorus, sodium, and also contains, in various proportions, different carbohydrate or carbohydrate and nitrogenous components. Nopal is rich in fiber, vitamins (A, B, B2, C and K), riboflavin, vitamin B6, chlorophyll and protein. 

Several studies show how valuable it is to support health. Its nutrients support the immune, glandular, nervous, circulatory, respiratory and digestive system. 

Prickly pear cactus is used for type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol, obesity, alcohol hangover, colitis, diarrhea, and benign prostatic hypertrophy (BPH). It is also used to fight viral infections. 

Nopal contains fiber and pectin, which can lower blood glucose by decreasing the absorption of sugar in the stomach and intestine. Some researchers think that it might also decrease cholesterol levels, and kill viruses in the body. 

HEALTH BENEFITS

ANTIBIOTIC: The nopal is a natural antibiotics, this property is related to the crassulacean acid metabolism (CAM) in the plant, which in cacti inhibits or stops the growth of several bacterial species. Hence both the consumption of nopal as well as applying poultices from its leaves, have beneficial effects on wounds and skin infections. 

ATEREOSCLEROSIS: The Cactus has antioxidant and anti-Ateroesclerosisinflammatory components, they are in the form of polyphenols , sterols and glycoproteins. In addition and equally as important is that regular fresh nopal cactus juice concentrate or powder help to prevent the primary cause of heart disease. 

BLOOD PRESSURE: Each 4-ounce prickly pear provides 227 milligrams of potassium. A high-potassium, low-sodium diet can prevent high blood pressure or help you lower your blood pressure if it is already high. 

CANCER: The cactus contains a lot of dietary fiber, both soluble and insoluble. The insoluble dietary fiber absorbs water and gently supports the passage of food through the digestive tract and contributes significantly to regulate the movements of the whole system. In turn, the presence of these dietary fibers helps to dilute the concentration of potentially cancerous cells that arise in the colon. 3 Nopales hear

CARDIOVASCULAR SUPPORT: The antimicrobial and antioxidant effects of Nopal cactus (Prickly Pear) may promote excellent heart health. 

CHOLESTEROL: Nopal cactus fruit contains 3.7 grams of dietary fiber, which lowers levels of unhealthy LDL cholesterol. Another benefit of prickly pears is that they are free from saturated fat and cholesterol, which are cholesterol-raising components in many foods. 

COLON: The active ingredients found in the nopal, prevent the colon2absorption of excess fat and carbohydrates, so that an appropriate balance is maintained in the blood level and obesity is controlled. As a fibrous plant, cactus contains high levels of soluble and insoluble fibers. Soluble fibers support the uptake of glucose into the intestine while insoluble fibers reduce excess bile and potential carcinogens that may arise in the colon, through the absorption and excretion, helping to keep the body clean and in good condition. 

CONSTRIPATION: The fibers contained in nopal contribute to good digestion preventing constipation problems. 

DEPRESSION SUPPORT: Nopal cactus (Prickly Pear) helps to increase the production of tryptophan which is a precursor of serotonin (a neurotransmitter that affects our mood and sleep patterns) as well as niacin (which is a key vitamin for vitality and nutrient absorption).  

DIABETES: Regulation of blood sugar for patients with diabetes. 5 TunaThe 18 amino acids present in prickly pear cactus provide more energy and reduce fatigue by helping to reduce the level of blood sugar. Nopal strengthens the liver and pancreas by increasing insulin sensitivity, which simulates the motion of the glucose in the cells of the body where it is used for energy, thereby regulating the level of blood sugar. It also decreases the digestion of carbohydrates by reducing insulin production. 

DIGESTION: Vitamins naturally available in the nopal, such as B1, B2, B3 and C, plus minerals like calcium, magnesium, sodium, potassium and iron, assist in detoxifying the body in general. Its antioxidant power provides adequate protection from environmental toxins and reduces the harmful effects smoking or drinking alcohol. 

GASTRIC ULCERS: Vegetable fibers of the prickly cactus control excess gastric acid production and protect the stomach lining and intestines. 

HYPER GLUCEMIA – High blood sugar levels: It has been clinically 5 Cactus Leavesproven in studies that nopal helps reduce hyperglycemia before and after meals. The nopal cactus has been shown to contain a unique profile of high amounts of insoluble and soluble fibers. These dietary fibers levels help prevent rapid absorption of simple carbohydrates such as sugars in the blood stream during the digestion stage of a consumed meal. 

INMONOLOGICAL SYSTEM: The cactus contains vitamins A, B complex, C, minerals (calcium, magnesium, sodium, potassium, iron and fiber ( lignin, cellulose, pectin and mucilage ) which together with the 17 amino acids help eliminate toxins, detoxify and support the liver, other organs and the body in general. Environmental toxins (known as free radicals) caused by alcohol and cigarette smoke, among others, inhibit the body’s immune system. However consumption of nopal eliminates its presence. The phytochemicals present in the cactus are powerful allies for the immune system, so the body can optimally defend against attack by pathogens. 

LIVER AND PANCREAS: Compared to other plants the prickly pear liver and pancreascactus is very high in nutrients that help strengthen the liver and pancreas. The health of these two glands is very important to convert carbohydrates into glycogen which can be used as energy for the body. 

OBESITY: Due to the high amount of fiber the prickly pear cactus helps delay the time at which nutrients are absorbed and enter the blood and therefore facilitates removal. Similarly, plant proteins liquids are mobilized faster through the bloodstream, contributing to the reduction of cellulite and fluid retention. It is therefore recommended to take it with orange juice or other citrus. Also, the insoluble fibers it contains create a feeling of fullness, thereby lowering the hunger of the people and help a good digestion because it supports in regulating bowel movement. 

URINARY SYSTEM: The juice of nopal is used to reduce pain in the urinary system. 

ADDITIONAL HEALTH BENEFITS 

  • Eye health
  • Immune system boost
  • Increase in energy
  • Neutralization of free radicals
  • Protect cells from toxins
  • Protection against fluid retention
  • Protection from premature aging
  • Protects your liver
  • Reduces blood cholesterol
  • Reduces inflammation
  • Reduces the risk of blood clot 

The juice is great for reducing fever and the tuna fruit is ideal to combat excess bile, whose mail function is to assist in the Nopal juiceabsorption of fats. 

Also the pulp of the tuna fruit is very effective against diarrhea, and roasted leaves were used as a poultice (for pain and inflammation in cases of burn), while the root is extremely useful for the treatment of hernia, liver irritation, stomach. And a small paste helps with toothache. 

EXTERNAL BENEFITS 

COSMETIC: The cactus has many properties in chemical composition that can be used to develop cosmetics. Obviously, their use brings all your nutritional properties to benefit the skin and hair of humans. 

To do this, different processes have been used for soaps, creams for various applications like in shampoo, rinse, conditioners, masks, night cream, astringent lotion, shower gel, stylizing hair gel, ointment, eye shadows and other products derived from nopal. All this because the cactus has an excellent property to retain moisture in the skin. 

PURCHASE AND CONSERVATION

1 How to buy

In Mexico fresh nopales are readily available in the market or at any supermarket. In the United States they are available in Mexican grocery stores or in some large supermarkets that have fresh Mexican vegetables. 

Sometimes nopales can be bought in bags where it has been cut into strips or small squares. If you use whole fresh nopales, however, you will have to remove the thorns before eating it fresh or cooking. 

2 Nopales in bags

If you are going to cook with your nopales the same day, keep them in a plastic bag in the refrigerator, it can be kept well for several days. 

CLEANING AND COOKING 

No matter how you prepare nopales, it will be necessary to remove the thorns first. This is done by taking the stalk carefully in one hand and in the other a very sharp knife. 

1 Nopales how to prepare

Using a sharp knife, scrape the nopal at the base of each spine so that it is separated from the stalk. Work slowly and carefully. 

HOW TO EAT 

The use of nopal is diverse: it could be used in juices, sweets, sauces, salads, stews, jams, broths, soups and many other ways, is also found in a dehydrated powder form which you can use in smoothies, soups, juices, etc. 

5 Nopales salad

 

SOURCES

http://about.com 

http://www.wikipedia.org/

http://naturalnews.com

Posted by: godshealingplants | January 17, 2014

Sugar Cane Blackstrap Molasses

sugar cane black strap molasses

HISTORY

Dating back to the earliest American colonies, blackstrap molasses was brought into the United States from the sugar cane plantations in the Caribbean.

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Since it was less expensive than sugar, it was the most used sweetener of its time. 

ABOUT

Molasses is the byproduct or “waste” from processing sugar cane into unhealthful table sugar. Refined table sugar creates blood sugar and insulin instability while providing no nutrients. It actually robs nutrients, especially minerals, out of the body if consumed enough. 

Once sugar canes are harvested and machines are used to press the juice out of the cane. The sugar cane roots go very deeply into the soil, commonly 15 feet down and ranging from 6.5 to 19 feet – deep enough to bypass nutrient depleted topsoil that have become the norm and take in more nutrients. That juice is boiled then put through centrifugal machinery to extract the sugar crystals from the liquid. There are three grades of molasses: sulphured, unsulphured, and blackstrap.

Sugar cane 3

Sulphur is used to process unripe green sugar cane. This chemical sulphur is not so good for most human consumption. Sun ripened sugar cane is processed without using sulphur. So unsulphered molasses is a better choice. The third boiling necessary to extract table sugar from sugar cane or beet sugar produces a thick dark substance known as blackstrap molasses, which is the most nutrient dense of all.

Whereas the toxic and unhealthy refined sugar is destined for our supermarket shelves, the highly nutritious molasses – which contains all the minerals and nutrients absorbed by the plant – is more likely to be sold as livestock feed instead.

Fortunately, the nutritional value of molasses is becoming better-known, and various grades of molasses are now being sold to us as baking ingredients, sugar substitutes and mineral supplements. This is especially true of blackstrap molasses, the highest and most nutritious grade of molasses. (Make sure you buy organic and unsulphured.) 

MINERAL CONTENT

Two tablespoons of blackstrap molasses also contains 18 percent of Molasses in a bowlour RDI of manganese (which helps produce energy from proteins and carbohydrates), 9.7 percent of our RDI of potassium (which plays an important role in nerve transmission and muscle contraction), 5 percent of our RDI of vitamin B6 (which aids brain and skin development) and 3.4 percent of our RDI of selenium, an important antioxidant. 

BENEFITS

Good for hair – One serving (two tablespoons) of blackstrap contains approximately 14 percent of our RDI of copper, an important trace mineral whose peptides help rebuild the skin structure that supports healthy hair. Consequently, long-term consumption of blackstrap has been linked to improved hair quality, hair regrowth in men and even a restoration of your hair’s original color! Click here for more information about blackstrap’s hair benefits.

Good for bones – High in calcium and magnesium – Like all whole foods, blackstrap molasses contains a mineral profile that has been optimized by nature for superior absorption. For example, two tablespoons of blackstrap contains 11.7 percent of our RDI of calcium and 7.3 percent of our RDI of magnesium. This calcium-magnesium ratio is ideal, since our bodies need large quantities of magnesium to help absorb similarly large quantities of calcium. Both of these minerals aid the growth and development of bones, making blackstrap a good safeguard against osteoporosis and other bone diseases.

Laxative qualities – Blackstrap is a natural stool softener that can improve the regularity and quality of your bowel movements.

Rich in iron – Two tablespoons of blackstrap contain 13.2 percent of our RDI of iron, which our bodies need to carry oxygen to our blood cells. People who are anemic (including pregnant women) will greatly benefit from consuming 1-2 tablespoons of blackstrap molasses per day. 

Safe sweetener for diabetics – Unlike refined sugar, blackstrap molasses has a moderate glycemic load of 55. This makes it a good sugar substitute for diabetics and individuals who are seeking to avoid blood sugar spikes. Moreover, one serving of blackstrap contains no fat and only 32 calories, making it suitable for a weight loss diet.

HOW TO ENJOY

The best way to take blackstrap as a supplement is to mix between 1-2 tablespoons of it in a cup of boiling water and then drink it once the water has cooled. Some people prefer drinking the mixture through a straw. This should be done daily, ideally first thing in the morning when you need the energy most.

ginger-molasses-bread

It can also be added to shakes, smoothies and is widely used in baking and cooking. 

HOW TO PURCHASEBlackstrap bear rabbit

You should purchase blackstrap that is organic and unsulfured.

Two reputable brands of molasses that sell natural, unsulphured blackstrap are Grandma’s Molasses and Brer Rabbit Molasses, though other good brands can be found in health food stores.

SOURCES

http://beforeitsnews.com

http://www.naturalnews.com

Posted by: godshealingplants | January 8, 2014

STEVIA BENEFITS

STEVIA GSHP WS

HISTORY

The plant has a long history of medicinal use by the native Guaraní tribes, having been used extensively by them for more than 1,500 years. The leaves have been traditionally used for hundreds of years in both Brazil and Paraguay to sweeten local teas and medicines, and as a “sweet treat”.

ABOUT

Stevia is a small perennial herb belongs to the Asteraceae family of the genus Stevia. Its scientific name is Stevia rebaudiana. Some commonly known names are honey leaf plant, sweet chrysanthemum, sweetleaf stevia, sugarleaf…etc.

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The stevia plant grows 2-4 feet in height with slender, branched stems and flourishes well all over temperate and some parts of tropical regions. It is being cultivated as commercial crop in Japan, China, Thailand, Paraguay, and Brazil..

Almost all the parts of the plant taste sweet; however, the sweet glycosides are typically concentrated in its dark-green serrated leaves. The Guarani Indians of Paraguay have used its leaves to sweeten drinks and foods and in various traditional medicines for hundreds of years. In modern times, it is widely used in foods all over the world.

NUTRITIONAL VALUE

  • Stevia herb parts are very low in calories. Its dry leaves are roughly 40 times sweeter than sugar. The sweetness of sugar in stevia is due to several glycoside compounds including stevioside, steviolbioside, rebaudiosides A-E, and dulcoside.
  • Stevioside is a non-carbohydrate glycoside compound. Hence, it lack of properties that sucrose and other carbohydrates have. Stevia extracts, like rebaudioside-A, are found to be 300 times sweeter than sugar. In contrast to sugar, however, stevia extracts have several unique properties such as long shelf life, high temperature tolerance, non-fermentative; but contain near-zero calories.
  • In addition, stevia plant has many sterols and antioxidant compounds like triterpenes, flavonoids, and tannins. Some of flavonoid polyphenolic anti-oxidant phyto-chemicals present in stevia is kaempferol, quercetin, chlorogenic acid, caffeic acid, isoquercitrin, isosteviol…etc. Studies found that kaempferol can reduce risk of pancreatic cancer by 23% (American journal of epidemiology) [1].
  • In addition, being a herb, stevia contain many vitals minerals, vitamins that are selectively absent in the artificial sweeteners.

HEALTH BENEFITS

Stevia extract has been in use by native South Americans (where it is known as caa-he-éé or kaa jheéé) to reduce weight; to treat wound infections, inflammatory conditions, swelling in the legs and as a tonic to treat depression.

Stevia-right-corner
A number of studies show that Stevia can be beneficial in the treatment of many health conditions. Stevia is believed to have anti-bacterial, anti-septic, anti-microbial, anti-oxidant, anti-glycemic, and anti-hypertensive properties which may help with hypertension (high blood pressure), diabetes, chronic fatigue, indigestion, upset stomach, heartburn, weight loss, cold and flu, gingivitis, tooth decay, cavities, dandruff and hair loss, brittle bones or osteoporosis, streptococcus, candidiasis, bacterial infections and skin conditions such as cuts, wounds, rashes, itchiness, blemishes, acne, seborrhea dermatitis, dermatitis, eczema, and wrinkles. It may also improve energy levels, strengthen immune system, stimulate mental activity, and may also help in withdrawal from tobacco and alcohol addiction.

ADDITIONA HEALTH BENEFITS

Dandruff and Hair Health: Stevia concentrate is believed to be beneficial for dandruff, dry scalp, and dull, dry and thin hair. People have noticed stronger, dandruff-free and rejuvenated hair after the regular use of Stevia. Simply mix 3-4 drops of Stevia concentrate into your regular shampoo and wash as normal. Also, after shampooing, using stevia tea as a conditioner and rinsing it out after 5 minutes can help retain natural hair color and strength.

Diabetes: Studies and researches show that Stevia may stabilize stevia235025blood sugar levels, increase insulin resistance, may even promote insulin production by promoting the pancreas health, discourage glucose absorption in the blood, and inhibit candidiasis – a yeast infection that flourish with sugar. Stevia is a great low carbohydrate, a low calorie sugar alternative and the steviol glycosides are not metabolized by the body and are excreted in the urine without getting accumulated in the body. A Study also suggests that Stevia may inhibit the craving for sweet and oily or fatty foods. Drinking tea made with crushed raw Stevia leaves or with its extract or tea bags two to three times daily may help with hyperglycemia. To make Stevia tea, heat – not boil one cup of water and let a tea bag or 1 teaspoon of its leaves steep in it for 5 -7 minutes. Drink it hot or cold. Or 3-4 drops of Stevia extract can be added to warm or cold cup of water. Also stevia can be used as a natural alternative to any other artificial sweetener being used. And it is much better for your health.

Gingivitis: Study shows that antibacterial properties of Stevia may help with gingivitis, cavities, tooth decay and mouth sores. It may suppress the development and reproduction of infectious organisms in the gums and teeth, inhibit the growth of plaque and may improve overall oral health. People who have used Stevia as a mouthwash have reported significant decrease in gingivitis and other mouth infections. Simply gargling with Stevia mouthwash and brushing with Stevia added to the toothpaste may be beneficial. To make Stevia mouthwash, add 3-4 drops of Stevia extract in half a cup of lukewarm water or steep half a cup of tea with its leaves or teabag and gargle three to four times daily especially in the morning and at night. For toothpaste, mix 2 drops of Stevia extract to the regular toothpaste.

Heartburn and Indigestion: People in Brazil, Paraguay and Bolivia have been using Stevia tea to soothe upset stomach, heartburn, and to improve indigestion and gastrointestinal function. Drinking Stevia tea after every meal may serve as a digestive aid and relieve heartburn and stomach pain.

High Blood Pressure (Hypertension): A few longer term studies done over a period of 1 and 2 years show that stevia may lower elevated blood pressure levels. Simply drinking Stevia tea twice daily may help stabilize the blood pressure levels.

Osteoporosis: A study performed on chickens shows that by adding Stevia leaf powder to chicken feed it significantly increased calcium metabolism in the chickens and had 75% decreased eggshell breakage. A patent application for possible Osteoporosis treatment with Stevia suggests that stevia may help promote absorption of calcium in the body and help improve bone density. Suggested remedy is to make Alfalfa and stevia tea by steeping half teaspoon each for 5-7 minutes. Drink it two to three times daily. Adding vitamin D powder to the tea or taking its supplements can be beneficial too.

Weight Loss: Recent medical research suggests that being low at liquid_stevia_plain_600carbohydrates, calories and sugar Stevia may be beneficial in weight management. One preliminary research suggests that Stevia may interfere with the functions of hypothalamus and may aid weight loss by curbing the hunger sensation. Hypothalamus is a part of the brain which controls hunger, thirst and fatigue along with its other functions. Anti-glycemic activity of Stevia may also control blood glucose levels which is one of the major causes of weight gain. Stevia works as a tonic to increase energy levels in people battling for weight loss. Suggested remedy is to drink one cup of Stevia tea or mix 10-15 drops of Stevia concentrate in one cup of cold or warm water. Drink it 15 minutes before every meal.

Wrinkles and Other Skin Conditions: Stevia is believed to be a remarkable healing agent for skin disorders. Its antioxidant, antibacterial and antiseptic activity may help with wrinkles, skin blemishes, dermatitis, eczema, acne outbreaks, scarring, rashes, itchiness and chapped lips. A small amount of Stevia concentrate applied directly onto the affected skin may promote the healing process. To smooth out the wrinkles, before going to bed, apply a paste made by crushed Stevia leaves or its liquid concentrate evenly all over the face and let it dry for fifteen to twenty minutes. Wash and pat dry your face and apply a few drops of extra virgin coconut oil on the face and leave it on over night to benefit from its antioxidant effects.

SELECTION AND STORAGE

In its natural habitat, stevia plant leaves are harvested when required. However, most of stevia that is made available in the markets is grown under green house conditions or at least in supervised farming.

stevia-field

If you grow your own stevia plant in the backyard, pick leaves with short stem for immediate use. In general, fresh leaves are sun-dried, powdered and stored in an airtight container for future use.

To store, place it in cool, dark, humid free place, like you do for other dried herbs, where it will stay fresh for several months.

HOW TO ENJOY

Fresh stevia plant leaves can be used directly in drinks as strawberry-yogurt-smoothie steviasweetener. However, most often its dried powder or stevia syrup that is used in cooking.

Remember to use dried stevia sugar in small proportions, as it is nearly 30 times sweeter than cane sugar. Roughly, one teaspoonful of dried leaves powder is equivalent to one cup of sugar; therefore, use it in small quantities adjusting the amount to achieve your desired levels of sweetness.

You can also make stevia syrup by adding a cup of hot water to 1/4 cup of fresh, finely crushed leaves. This mixture is allowed to settle down for 24 hours, filtered, and then refrigerated. You may also want to buy stevia sugar which is a white, crystalline powder, approximately 300 times sweeter than cane sugar.

SERVING TIPS

  • Use to sweeten tea sweets, sauce, confectionary, and soft drinks.
  • It can then be added in jam, yoghurt, ice creams, smoothies, deserts, and sorbets

natural-canning_400

SAFETY AND SIDE EFFECTS

There are not any reported side effects of Stevia when taken in moderation.  It has been used by Guarani tribes of Paraguay for centuries without any adverse effects.

Based on intensive global researches and scientific reports, The World Health Organisation (WHO) of the UN and Food and Drug Administration of the US had approved the use of Steviol glycosides as safe and has established an acceptable daily intake of 4mg per kg of body weight.

If you are taking any medication or are pregnant or breastfeeding, consult your physician before using Stevia therapeutically.

Resources:

Growing Stevia.

American journal of epidemiology [1]

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

http://www.webmd.com/vitamins-supplements/ingredientmono-682-STEVIA.aspx?activeIngredientId=682&activeIngredientName=STEVIA

http://longevity.about.com/od/lifelongnutrition/a/stevia-extract.htm

http://www.stevia.com/Stevia_Article/Frequently_asked_questions_FAQ/2269

Posted by: godshealingplants | December 30, 2013

BLACK EYED PEAS – HEALTH BENEFITS

Black eyed peas GsHP

HISTORY

The black-eyed pea, also known as the cow pea, is thought to have originated in North Africa, where it has been eaten for centuries. It may have been introduced into India as long as 3,000 years ago, and was also a staple of Greek and Roman diets. The peas were brought to the New World by Spanish explorers and African slaves. The earliest records are from 1674 when they were introduced to the West Indies. They have become a common food in the southern United States, where they are available dried, fresh, canned, and frozen. 

FOLKLORE

With their characteristic black spot, or “eye,” on cream-colored skin, black-eyed peas are among the most recognizable legumes. Also known as black-eye Susans or cowpeas, they are traditionally enjoyed in the form of Hoppin’ John – a southern United States specialty featuring black-eyed peas and rice – they are said to bring “good luck” when eaten on New Year’s Day. The peas represent pennies or coins, and are served with collard greens to represent money and cornbread to represent gold. 

ABOUT

Black-eyed peas are a variety of the cowpea and are part of the 220px-Black-eyed_pea_pods_on_plant_in_Hong_Kongfamily of beans & peas. Although called a pea, it is actually a bean. Both peas and beans are legumes, and both have edible seeds and pods. They are available dried, frozen and canned and offer several health benefits when included in a well-balanced diet. They make a good addition to soups, stews and salads and are also a healthy side dish. 

Black-eyed peas are part of the legume family that is known as being a primary source of plant protein. Protein helps with maintaining healthy muscles, bones and cartilage. Black-eyed peas also contain vital nutrients, such as B vitamins, vitamin E, iron and potassium. They can even help with weight loss because they’re filling but low in calories. A half-cup serving has only 80 calories, making black-eyed peas an excellent choice for anyone trying to drop excess weight. 

NUTRITIONAL VALUE

Like most beans, black-eyed beans are rich in the best sort of fiber – soluble fiber – which helps to eliminate cholesterol from the body. They are a good source of folate, potassium, copper, phosphorous and manganese. As a high-potassium, low-sodium food they help reduce blood pressure. Black-eyed peas also contain vital nutrients, such as B vitamins, vitamin E and iron. 

hoppin_john

Not only are they low in fat, but also supply high quality protein which provides a healthy alternative to meat or other animal protein. Beans also contain protease inhibitors which frustrate the development of cancerous cells. 

HEALTH BENEFITS

Black-eyed peas have so many health benefits here are a few of them: 

  • Aids the digestive system and the colon: Due to its high fiber content it helps with elimination and keeps cancer at bay. Fiber is a nutrient that helps regulate your digestive system, and increasing your intake could help alleviate constipation and symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome. Fiber also helps keep your cholesterol levels healthy by preventing cholesterol from being absorbed into your bloodstream, which reduces your risk of developing heart disease. Additionally, high-fiber foods keep you feeling full, since they are digested slowly — which is important for weight control.
  • Good for the heart: It contains fiber, flavonoids no cholesterol and therefore is advantageous for the heart.
  • Good for the stomach: It helps with problems associated with the stomach, pancreas as well as spleen.
  • Helps in weight loss: Low in fat and calories makes them a nutritious accessory for a weight-loss diet plan. A diet which is lower in fat and calories can help you slim down, avoids putting on weight and safeguards you from numerous health problems, which includes cardiovascular disease, diabetes and also depressive disorders.
  • Helps with the bladder: It has been confirmed to be useful in reducing blockages or even discomfort related to urination problems.
  • Lowers cholesterol level: Cowpeas are well known because of their capability to reduce the plasma cholesterol within your body. This really is aided by them being recognized like an excellent method of obtaining proteins as well as dietary fibers, and it has a comparatively lower glycemic index.
  • Rich in anti-oxidants: The anti-oxidation property restricts the growth of the cancerous cells within the body. 

Black-eyed Pea Selection

Select dried black-eyed peas that are smooth skinned and creamy white. If purchasing from “bulk bins,” be sure the store has a good turnover of beans so that you are getting “new” not “old” beans that have been sitting in the bin for 6 months or more. 

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How to cook black-eyed peas

Soaking is not essential for black-eyed peas, but cooking time can be shortened if they get a quick soak in hot water (as opposed to a longer one in cold water, like other beans). Place dried peas in a pot, cover with water, and bring to a boil for 2-3 minutes. Remove pot from heat and allow to stand for 60-90 minutes. Drain water and replace with fresh, cold water for cooking – or if you skipped the hot-soaking step, just rinse and add cold water. Place on stove and bring to a boil in a pot with a lid. Once boiling, reduce to a simmer, tilting the lid slightly to allow steam to escape, and leave to cook for up to an hour, or until tender. 

How to Enjoy

The flavorful peas are used to make a variety of tasty dishes like: soups, salads, fritters, and casseroles; they can also be puréed into a hummus-like spread; or sprouted. 

Here is a great recipe: 

Texas Caviar Recipe

texas-caviar

Prep time: 15 minutes

Yield: Serves 4-6.

INGREDIENTS
  • 4 cups of cooked black-eyed peas (2 15-ounce cans, rinsed and drained)
  • 8 green onions, just the green parts thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
  • 3 jalapeño chile peppers, stems and seeds removed (wear gloves! do not touch your eyes after handling them!), finely chopped
  • 2 plum tomatoes, diced, or 1/2 cup of canned diced tomatoes, drained
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, seeds and stem removed, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • Salt and black pepper, to taste
METHOD

  1. In a medium bowl, stir together the black-eyed peas, green onion greens, cilantro, chopped jalapeño, tomatoes, bell pepper, and garlic.
  2. In a separate bowl, whisk together the olive oil, lime juice, and cumin.  Pour over the the black-eyed pea mixture.  Stir to coat.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

Best chilled for several hours.  Serve cold as a side salad or with tortilla chips.

Posted by: godshealingplants | December 10, 2013

Brussels Sprouts Benefits

Brussel Sprouts GHP

History

While the origins of Brussels sprouts are unknown, the first mention of them can be traced to the late 16th century. They are thought to be native to Belgium, specifically to a region near its capital, Brussels, after which they are named. They remained a local crop in this area until their use spread across Europe during World War I. Brussels sprouts are now cultivated throughout Europe and the United States. In the U.S., almost all Brussels sprouts are grown in California.

About

Brussels sprouts are members of the Brassica family and therefore kin to broccoli and cabbage. They resemble miniature cabbages, with diameters of about 1 inch. They grow in bunches of 20 to 40 on the stem of a plant that grows as high as three feet tall. Brussels sprouts are typically sage green in color, although some varieties feature a red hue. They are oftentimes sold separately but can sometimes be found in stores still attached to the stem. Perfectly cooked Brussels sprouts have a crisp, dense texture and a slightly sweet, bright, and “green” taste.

Brussel Sprouts plant

Brussels sprouts are available year round; however, they are at their best from autumn through early spring when they are at the peak of their growing season.

Nutritional Benefits

Brussels sprouts is an excellent source of vitamin A, C, E and one of those few vegetables that have traces of the B vitamins.

In the minerals department, this “tiny cabbage” is rich in manganese, potassium iron, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, molybdenum, and even some omega-3 fatty acids and protein.

Some of the known disease-fighting phytochemicals include coumarins, dithiolthiones, glucosinolates, indoles, isothiocynates, phenols and sulforaphane.

Health Benefits

Brussels sprouts provide numerous health benefits including:

  • Anti-inflammatory benefits
  • Antioxidant properties
  • Cancer prevention
  • Cardiovascular support
  • Digestive support

Anemia: Brussels sprouts have high iron content, a vital mineral that together with vitamin B6 release energy used in the manufacture of red blood cells for the prevention of anemia.

Blood pressure: As with most vegetables, the high amount of potassium in this food helps regulate the body’s cells that are essential for most metabolic processes, including maintaining a normal blood pressure.

Bone and dental health: The high calcium content in Brussels sprouts aids in maintaining high bone density and dental health.

Cancer prevention: The Brussels sprouts together with the others in the same family, i.e. broccoli and cabbage, offer anti-oxidant indole, and other compounds that are unique for preventing cancer.

Cardiovascular support: Various necessary compounds are packaged into these “little cabbages” to work synergistically to help regulate blood circulation for the prevention of inflammatory problems in, and the support of, the cardiovascular system.

Colon health: Brussels sprout has anti-inflammatory effect that help prevent chronic inflammation that leads to certain bowel conditions. When eaten, its dietary fiber is important for normal bowel work and protects the colon from cancer-causing damage.

Common cold and flu: A cup of Brussels sprouts contain more Vitamin C than an orange making it an ideal vegetable for the prevention of common cold and flu.

Digestive system: The amino acid glutamine in Brussels sprouts juice is very gentle and calming on the digestive system, detoxifying, repairing ulcers, healing and regenerating. For therapeutic purpose, take this juice in small amounts three times a day on an empty stomach. Mix with some carrot and celery juice if the taste is unpalatable for you.

DNA protection: When Brussels sprouts is taken daily it can help stabilize the DNA inside the white blood cells through the activity of sulphotransferase.

Energy booster: The protein, nutrients and rich enzymes found in Brussels sprouts provide energy to the body, keeping the body free from fatigue.

Immune system: A compound called histidine in Brussels sprouts is found to be useful in treating allergies and regulating the T-cells in our immune system.

Pregnancy support: Brussels sprouts is high in folate (B9) which helps in fetal development. Before and during pregnancy, folate prevents the occurrence of neurological defects, such as spina bifida, in the fetus.

Vision: The precursor Vitamin A makes this vegetable essential for maintenance of a perfect vision. The high anti-oxidants help prevent cataract and various other eye problems.

Weight loss: The high protein and low fat/calorie content make this vegetable ideal to be included in a weight loss diet.  Its rich nutrients keep your body cells satiated, preventing cravings and bingeing.

Wounds, cuts and injury: Protein and manganese help repair broken tissues when the body sustains a cut or injury. The potassium is helpful in blood clotting and folate aids in healing wounds. A perfect food to eat in bigger amount when healing from an injury or surgery. 

How to Select and Store

Good quality Brussels sprouts are firm, compact, and vivid green. They should be free of yellowed or wilted leaves and should not be puffy or soft in texture. Avoid those that have perforations in their leaves as this may indicate that they have aphids residing within. If Brussels sprouts are sold individually, choose those of equal size to ensure that they will cook evenly.

brussels-sprouts01

Keep unwashed and untrimmed Brussels sprouts in the vegetable compartment of the refrigerator. Stored in a plastic bag, they can be kept for 10 days. If you want to freeze Brussels sprouts, blanch them first for three to five minutes. They will keep in the freezer for up to one year.

Tips for Preparing and Cooking

Before washing Brussels sprouts, remove stems and any yellow or discolored leaves. Wash them well under running water to remove any insects that may reside in the inner leaves.

Brussles sprouts cook quickly and taste the best when they are cut into small pieces. We recommend either cutting them into quarters or chopping them into smaller pieces and then letting them sit for 5 minutes before cooking to enhance their nutritional benefits.

The Healthiest Way of Cooking Brussels Sprouts

Steaming Brussels sprouts is the best way for maximum nutrition and flavor.

steamed-brussels-sprouts-19145257

Fill the bottom of a steamer pot with 2 inches of water. While waiting for the water to come to a rapid boil. Depending if you half them or quarter them steam for 5 – 6 minutes.

While Brussels sprouts are usually served as a side dish, they also make a nice addition to cold salads.

How to Enjoy

  • Since cooked Brussels sprouts are small and compact, they make a great snack food that can be simply eaten as is or seasoned with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Combine quartered cooked Brussels sprouts with sliced red onions, walnuts or almonds, plus cranberries or raisins. Toss with olive oil and balsamic vinegar for an exceptionally healthy, delicious side dish or salad.

RECIPE

ROASTED BRUSSELS SPROUTS, QUINOA & POMEGRANATE SALAD

br-sprouts-quinoa-salad-21

Courtesy of: Camilla – http://powerhungry.com/2013/03/roasted-brussels-sprouts-quinoa-pomegranate-salad/

Prep time: 5 mins

Cook time: 45 mins

Total time:  1 hour

Serves: 6

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 pound Brussels sprouts, trimmed and  quartered lengthwise
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1-1/2 cups water
  • 1 cup quinoa, rinsed
  • 1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 15-ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • ⅔ cup pomegranate arils
  • Leaves from 1 bunch flat-leaf Italian parsley, chopped

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Roast Brussels sprouts: Preheat oven to 450°F. Toss Brussels sprouts with 1 tablespoon oil; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Arrange, cut sides down, on a large rimmed baking sheet. Roast 40 to 45 minutes, without turning, until outer leaves are tender and very dark brown. Cool to room temp on sheet.
  2. Cook Quinoa: Meanwhile, bring the water and quinoa to a boil in a medium saucepan set over medium-high heat. Reduce heat, cover, and cook 10 minutes. Remove from heat and let sit 10 minutes (with lid still on). Transfer to a large bowl, fluff with a fork and let cool.
  3. Finish Salad: Add the cooled Brussels sprouts to quinoa in bowl. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil, lemon zest, lemon juice, chickpeas, pomegranate and parsley; toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper or your favorite spices. Serve, or cover and refrigerate for up to 1 day.
Posted by: godshealingplants | November 20, 2013

SWEET POTATOE / YAM BENEFITS

Sweet Potatoe collage

HISTORY

Cultivation of sweet potatoes, which are native to Peru, dates back to 750 BCE. Sweet potatoes are native to Central America and are one of the oldest vegetables known to man.

Christopher Columbus brought sweet potatoes to Europe after his first voyage to the New World in 1492. By the 16th century, they were brought to the Philippines by Spanish explorers and to Africa, India, Indonesia and southern Asia by the Portuguese. Around this same time, sweet potatoes began to be cultivated in the southern United States, where they still remain a staple food in the traditional cuisine.

When the sweet potato was introduced to the United States in the 1700s it was given the name “yam” to distinguish it from other sweet potatoes and from the white “Irish” potatoes.

ABOUT

These tuberous roots are among the most nutritious foods in the vegetable kingdom. They are packed with calcium, potassium, and vitamins A and C. Sweet potatoes are often confused with yams. Yams are large, starchy roots grown in Africa and Asia. Because of the common use of the term “yam,” it is acceptable to use this term when referring to sweet potatoes. Sweet potatoes contain an enzyme that converts most of its starches into sugars as the potato matures. This sweetness continues to increase during storage and when they are cooked.

Variety

There are about 400 varieties of sweet potato, some more rare than others, differentiated by their skin and flesh color, ranging from cream, yellow, and orange to pink or purple.

WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN SWEET POTATOES AND YAMS?

Sweet Potatoes

The many varieties of sweet potatoes (Ipomoea batatas) are members of the morning glory family. The skin color can range from white to yellow, red, purple or brown. The flesh also ranges in color from white to yellow, orange, or orange-red.

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Sweet potato varieties are classified as either ‘firm’ or ‘soft’. When cooked, those in the ‘firm’ category remain firm, while ‘soft’ varieties become soft and moist. It is the ‘soft’ varieties that are often labeled as yams in the United   States.

Yams

Yams are closely related to lilies and grasses. Native to Africa and Asia, yams vary in size from that of a small potato to a record 130 pounds (as of 1999).

African yam

There are over 600 varieties of yams and 95% of these crops are grown in Africa. Compared to sweet potatoes, yams are starchier and drier.

NUTRITIONAL BENEFITS

Sweet potatoes, a super-food, are one of the highest ranked vegetables on the nutrition scale with many established health and well being benefits. They’re high in fiber, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin B6, potassium and manganese. Their lower GI index stabilizes blood sugar, which means they’re also a good choice for diabetics. When cooked accordingly, not fried or deep-fried, they are relatively low in calories with an average of 95 calories per sweet potato.

Sweet potatoes are excellent sources of plant proteins with very low calories. Unlike other starchy root vegetables, it is very low in sugar, and in fact is a good blood sugar regulator.

The following link will give you additional Nutritional information: http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/vegetables-and-vegetable-products/2667/2

HEALTH BENEFITS 

Anti-Inflammatory: Sweet potato has anti-inflammatory properties thanks to the vitamin C, vitamin B6, beta-carotene, and manganese it contains. They are just as effective in curing both internal and external inflammations. Lowered inflammation has been shown in brain tissue and nerve tissue throughout the body following the consumption of sweet potato. 

Anti-oxidant:  Sweet potatoes have been found to contain a high amount of anti-oxidant, making it suitable in combating inflammatory problems like asthma, arthritis, gout, etc. 

Arthritis: Beta-carotene, magnesium, zinc, and vitamin-B complex make sweet potatoes a hugely important food source for managing arthritis. The water where sweet potatoes are boiled can also be applied externally on joints to ease the associated pain of arthritis. 

Asthma: Sweet potatoes are effective for curing congestion of the nose, bronchi and lungs, thereby giving relief from asthma. Its typical aroma helps in this property. 

Blood Sugar: The carotenoids in sweet potato can help your body respond to insulin and stabilize your blood sugar. Sweet potatoes also have a significant amount of Vitamin B6, helping resistance to diabetic heart disease. Their high content of soluble fiber aids in lowering both blood sugar and cholesterol, and their abundance of chlorogenic acid may help decrease insulin resistance.  

Bronchitis: The concentration of vitamin-C, iron and other nutrients help to cure bronchitis. Sweet potatoes are believed to be capable of warming up the body, possibly due to the sweetness and other nutrients that impact body temperature. This property is also beneficial for people suffering from bronchitis, along with its powerful effect on congestion. 

Cancer: Beta-carotene, the champion antioxidant and anticarcinogenic substance, is the pigment responsible for the color of the peel of the sweet potatoes. The beta carotene and vitamin-C contained in sweet potatoes are very beneficial for curing various types of cancer, mainly those of the colon, intestines, prostrate, kidneys and other internal organs. 

Diabetes:  This fibrous root is suitable for diabetics’ consumption as it is a very good blood sugar regulator, helps to stabilize and lower insulin resistance. 

Digestive tract, health:  The significant amount of dietary fiber, especially when eaten with the skin, helps to promote a healthy digestive tract, relieving constipation and also helps prevent colon cancer. Research has found that they may also help to cleanse heavy metals such as arsenic and mercury from the digestive tract. 

Emphysema:  Smokers and people who inhale second-hand smoke should regularly consume foods high in vitamin A as smoke has been found to induce vitamin A deficiency, causing a host of other health problems to the lungs. 

Fetal development:  The high folate content is important and necessary for healthy fetal cell and tissue development. 

Heart diseases:  Consumption of this high potassium root helps to prevent heart attack and stroke. It helps maintain fluid and electrolyte balance in the body cells, as well as normal heart function and blood pressure. 

Immune System: Being very rich in beta carotene, which is a major antioxidant, along with vitamin-C and B-complex vitamins, iron and phosphorus, sweet potatoes are excellent immune system boosters that can defend your body from a wide variety of conditions and afflictions. 

Inflammation: Like the common potato, sweet potatoes also have anti-inflammatory properties, although they do not belong to the same family as common potato. This is primarily due to the presence of beta-carotene, vitamin-C and magnesium. It is equally effective in curing internal and external inflammation.

Lower GI: Sweet potatoes also have a lower glycemic index (GI) than regular white potatoes. The glycemic index is a measure of how quickly blood glucose levels rise after eating.  Foods that have a lower glycemic index release sugar over a longer period of time, meaning you feel fuller for longer. Eating foods, like the sweet potato, will diminish your hunger and cravings and the consumption of extra calories.

Muscle cramps:  A deficiency in potassium can cause muscular cramps and greater susceptibility to injury. Make sweet potatoes a regular part of your diet if you exercise a lot, both for an energy boost and to prevent cramps and injuries. 

Other Benefits: They are effective for helping people quit addictions like smoking, drinking and taking certain narcotics. They are good for the health of the arteries and veins, as they protect their walls against hardening. The high concentration of beta carotene (an alternative form of vitamin-A) and phosphorus are excellent for both ocular and cardiac health. 

Stomach Ulcers: Sweet potatoes have a soothing effect on the stomach and the intestines.  B-complex vitamins, vitamin C, beta carotene, potassium and calcium are all very effective in curing stomach ulcers. Moreover, the roughage in sweet potatoes prevents constipation and the resultant acid formation, thereby reducing the chance of ulcers. The anti-inflammatory and soothing properties of sweet potatoes also reduce the pain and inflammation of the ulcers. 

Stress:  When we are stressed, our metabolic rate rises, causing the body potassium levels to be reduced. By snacking on the potassium-packed sweet potato, it helps to rebalance the vital mineral, and helps normalize the heartbeat. This in turn sends oxygen to the brain and regulates the body’s water balance.

BENEFITS FOR YOUR HAIR AND SKIN

Eyes: Take two slices and place them on your eyes. As mentioned before, anthocyanin helps in reducing pigmentation and has anti-inflammatory properties that will help in getting rid of dark circles, wrinkles and puffiness of eyes.

Face: Boil sweet potatoes. Let them cool and then mash them. Add a tablespoon of honey and spread this over your face. Let it stay for 20-30 minutes and wash off. You can also add 2-3 teaspoon lemon juice to it in case you have oily skin.

Feet: In case you have dry feet and cracked heels, instead of cooling the water in which the sweet potatoes were boiled completely, let it remain a little warm and soak your feet in it. It will help in getting rid of painful cracked heels.

Hair: Sweet potato works really well for your hair as well. With the abundance of different nutrients, the nourishment it provides to thirsty strands is almost unmatched. Take one big sweet potato, 1 cup yogurt, 1 tablespoon honey and 1 tablespoon of olive or almond oil. Blend all the ingredients until the mixture is smooth, apply it and let it sit for 15-20 minutes. For those who have very dry hair, you can also add 2-3 tablespoon of coconut cream with the rest of the ingredients

Toner: After boiling sweet potato, do not throw away the water. It is packed with nutrients that can help in improving your skin texture and clear your complexion. After boiling sweet potatoes, strain the water. Store this water in a bottle and keep it in the refrigerator to cool down. Use this sweet potato water as a toner for skin. This natural toner will help to absorb impurities, deep cleansing your pores and soothing irritated skin.

HOW TO SELECT AND STORE

Choose sweet potatoes that are firm and do not have any cracks, bruises or soft spots. Avoid those that are displayed in the refrigerated section of the produce department since cold temperature negatively alters their taste.

yam_sweetpotato

Sweet potatoes should be stored in a cool, dark and well-ventilated place, where they will keep fresh for up to ten days. Ideally, they should be kept out of the refrigerator in a cool, dry, dark place not above 60°F /15°C.

Do not store in plastic bag, make sure they are stored in a cool, dark, and well-ventilated cupboard away from sources of excess heat.

If you purchase organically grown sweet potatoes, you can eat the entire tuber, flesh and skin. Yet, if you buy conventionally grown ones, you should peel them before eating since sometimes the skin is treated with dye or wax; if preparing the sweet potato whole, just peel it after cooking.

As the flesh of sweet potatoes will darken upon contact with the air, you should cook them immediately after peeling and/or cutting them. If this is not possible, to prevent oxidation, keep them in a bowl covered completely with water until you are ready to cook them.

HEALTHY WAYS OF COOKING

Patates-sucrees-en-morceaux-surgelees

Sweet potatoes can be:

    • Baked
    • Boiled
    • Eaten Raw
    • Fried (use very little oil)
    • Juiced
    • Pureed
    • Steamed

NOTE: We never suggest microwaving anything since it kills all the properties leaving nothing but empty calories.

HOW TO ENJOY

  • Baked sweet potatoes are delicious even when served cold and therefore make a great food to pack in to-go lunches.
  • Purée cooked sweet potatoes with bananas, maple syrup and cinnamon.  Top with chopped walnuts. The fat content of the walnuts will help you get optimal absorption of the beta-carotene in the sweet potatoes.
  • Steam cubed sweet potatoes, tofu, and broccoli. Mix in raisins and serve hot or cold with a curried vinaigrette dressing. Once again, the oil in the vinaigrette will help you improve the bioavailability of the sweet potatoes’ beta-carotene.

Here is a delicious recipe and instructions from “Blue Apron”. Just click on the link below.

Winter Sweet Potato Salad

Warm Winter Salad with Sweet Potatoes

 

SOURCES:

http://www.blueapron.com/recipes/warm-winter-sweet-potato-salad-with-beluga-lentils-cider-vinaigrette

http://www.loc.gov/rr/scitech/mysteries/sweetpotato.html

http://mercola.comhttp://www.stylecraze.com/articles/amazing-benefits-of-sweet-potatoes-for-skin-and-health/

http://naturalnews.com

http://avthomasproduce.com/sweetpotato.html

 

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