Posted by: godshealingplants | September 13, 2014

COCONUT OIL HEALTH BENEFITS

coconut oil GHP

HISTORY

Coconut oil is being used for thousand of years and has been a dietary and beauty staple for millennia. A lot of documented accounts will prove that it is widely used as a source of food and medicine by people of diverse cultures around the globe.

It’s a powerful destroyer of all kinds of microbes, from viruses to bacteria to protozoa, many of which can be harmful, and provides your body with high-quality fat that is critical for optimal health.

ABOUT

Coconut oil is an edible oil extracted from the kernel or meat of matured coconuts harvested from the coconut palm (Cocos nucifera).

Coconut palm tree

It has various applications in food, medicine, and industry. Because of its high saturated fat content it is slow to oxidize and, thus, resistant to rancidification, lasting up to two years without spoiling.

NUTRITIONAL VALUE

Around 50 percent of the fat in coconut oil is lauric acid, which is rarely found in nature. In fact, coconut oil contains the most lauric acid of any substance on Earth.

Our body converts lauric acid into monolaurin, a monoglyceride that can actually destroy lipid-coated viruses such as HIV and herpes, influenza, measles, gram-negative bacteria, and protozoa such as giardia lamblia.

This is undoubtedly part of what makes it so medicinally useful—both when taken internally and applied externally.

coconut-oil 3a

Coconut oil is comprised of medium chain fatty acids (MCFAs) that are easily digested and readily cross cell membranes. MCFAs are immediately converted by our liver into energy rather than being stored as fat.

Coconut oil is easy on the digestive system and does not produce an insulin spike in the bloodstream, so for a quick energy boost, we can simply eat a spoonful of coconut oil, or add it to our food.

Coconut oil in a bowl

To get more coconut oil into our diet, we can add it to tea or coffee, in lieu of a sweetener. It will also help improve absorption of fat-soluble vitamins, so taking a spoonful of coconut oil along with our daily vitamins may help boost their effectiveness.

HEALTH BENEFITS

In all, coconut oil offers a truly impressive array of health benefits when included in your daily diet. In addition to its antimicrobial properties, coconut oil is beneficial for: 

  • Maintaining healthy and youthful looking skin
  • Promoting healthy brain function
  • Promoting heart health
  • Providing an excellent “fuel” for the body and supporting a strong metabolism that can aid in weight loss
  • Strengthening the immune system
  • Supporting proper thyroid function 

HAIR BENEFITS

Coconut oil is also known for its hair benefits. Most women seem to prefer using it as a pre-shampoo conditioner. Simply massage the coconut oil onto dry hair and leave on for about an hour or longer. You could even leave it on overnight. Just wear a shower cap to protect your pillow. Then, wash and style as usual.

coconut oil for hair

When applied in this manner, the coconut oil inhibits the penetration of water into the hair strands, which would otherwise cause the cuticle, or surface of the hair shaft, to rise, making it prone to damage and breakage. Furthermore, when applied as a pre-wash treatment, a small amount of the coconut oil is able to penetrate deeper into the hair shaft during the wash, when the hair fiber swells slightly.  

This can also explain why so many rave about the oil’s ability to prevent “the frizzies” in humid weather—this is another feature of its hydrophobic activity. More porous types of hair may find coconut oil particularly beneficial, such as chemically treated hair, as well as those suffering with any type of scalp problems, including dandruff.

ORAL BENEFITS

Coconut oil mixed with baking soda makes for very simple and inexpensive, yet effective, toothpaste. It’s also a great alternative if you want a fluoride-free toothpaste.

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Click here for a home made recipe. HOMEMADE NATURAL FLUORIDE-FREE TOOTHPASTE

Another oral health technique where coconut oil can be quite beneficial is oil pulling.

Oil pulling benefits

For additional information on oil pulling click here. OIL PULLING

SKIN BENEFITS

When applied topically, coconut oil helps to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles by helping to keep your connective tissues strong and supple, and aids in exfoliating the outer layer of dead skin cells, making your skin smoother

coconut oil for your skin

Bath soak: Adding coconut oil to your bath can help moisturize dry itchy skin (Make sure to scrub your tub afterward to prevent slipping!). Make sure the water is warmer than 76 degrees Fahrenheit though, otherwise the oil will turn to a solid.

Body scrub: Mix equal parts coconut oil with organic cane sugar in a glass jar. Use the scrub on dry skin prior to your shower or bath.

Cuticle cream: Simply rub a small amount of coconut oil around your cuticles to soften dry areas.

Deodorant: Applying a small amount of coconut oil directly onto your armpits can help keep odors at bay, courtesy of the oil’s antibacterial properties. If you prefer, you can add a small amount of baking soda, or make a homemade deodorant using coconut oil, baking soda and arrow root powder.

Eye cream: Apply a thin layer of coconut oil around your eyes to soften wrinkles and counteract thinning, sagging skin.

Face and body moisturizer: You can use it either by itself, or add your favorite essential oil. (Make sure you’re using a high quality essential oil that is safe for topical application.)

Facial cleanser: Massage a dollop of coconut oil onto face and neck. Wash off with wet washcloth and pat dry.

Facial scrub: Instead of sugar, mix coconut oil with baking soda, or oatmeal with a dash of cinnamon, for a gentle facial scrub.

Lip balm: You can either apply a small amount of coconut oil, as is, or make your own lip balm using coconut oil as one of the base ingredients. You can find all sorts of recipes online.

Makeup remover: Swipe on with a moist cotton ball. Wipe off with clean cotton ball or wet washcloth.

Shaving lotion: Apply a thin layer of coconut oil on area to be shaved, and shave as usual. The lauric acid in the coconut oil will also serve as an antiseptic for cuts that result from shaving.

OTHER BENEFITS

Besides its usefulness in the kitchen and bathroom, coconut oil deserves a place in your medicine cabinet as well—again courtesy of its antimicrobial and anti-viral activity.

coconut-oil 6

For example, coconut oil may be helpful in the treatment of:

Cold sores, mix in a small amount of oregano oil or baking soda, and apply at the first signs.

Ear infections; place a couple of drops into each ear canal. If the coconut oil has solidified, you can easily liquefy it by placing a small amount in a shot glass or other small container and placing it into a cup of hot water.

Fungal and/or yeast infections, such as athlete’s foot and ringworm. For fungal infections, you can mix in a small amount of oregano oil or tea tree oil.

Skin rashes and irritations, including chicken pox and shingles: Simply apply a small amount to the affected area.

HOW TO USE IT FOR COOKING

Coconut oil is ideal for all sorts of cooking and baking, as it can withstand higher temperatures without being damaged like many other oils (olive oil, for example, should not be used for cooking for this reason).

Cooking with coconut oil

Furthermore, coconut oil does not go rancid, which is a huge boon when you’re making homemade concoctions. Coconut oil that has been kept at room temperature for a year has been tested for rancidity, and showed no evidence of it. Since we would expect the small percentage of unsaturated oils naturally contained in coconut oil to become rancid, it seems that the other (saturated) oils have a powerful antioxidant effect.

HOW TO ENJOY

  • Add coconut oil to your preferred smoothie

Smoothie with coconut oil

  • Cook bananas in coconut oil with nutmeg, ginger and cinnamon.
  • Make hot cocoa and stir in a spoonful of coconut oil.
  • Make potato or Sweet Potato Pancakes cooked in coconut oil.
  • Melt over hot cooked grains, cereals and veggies.
  • Scramble eggs in coconut oil, or melt over hot, poached eggs.

Pancakes cooked with coconut oil

  • Spread over French toast, whole grain toast, muffins, pancakes and waffles.
  • Use in making salad dressings.
  • Use in bread baking or for making crackers like these Seeded Coconut Crackers.
  • Use organic refined coconut oil for sautéing, stir-frying and baking.

Vegetable soup with coconut oil

  • Stir a spoonful into hot cooked soups, stews and chilies.

You can find extra virgin organic coconut oil, which is the best, at most health food stores.

Coconut oil bottle

SOURCES

http://mercola.com 

http://wikipedia.com

 

Posted by: godshealingplants | September 7, 2014

FENNEL PLANT, SEED AND OIL HEALTH BENEFITS

Fennel CLWS1

HISTORY

Ever since ancient times, fennel has enjoyed a rich history. Fennel was revered by the Greeks and the Romans for its medicinal and culinary properties. Roman warriors are said to have consumed fennel to make them strong. It was also thought to have the power to help people keep thin. Its Greek name marathon, which means “grow thin”, reflects the belief in its ability to suppress appetite.

Fennel was used by the ancient Egyptians as a food and medicine, and was considered a snake bite remedy in ancient China.

Fennel has been grown throughout Europe, especially areas surrounding the Mediterranean Sea, and the Near East since ancient times.

ABOUT

Fennel is a hardy, perennial herb with yellow flowers and feathery leaves.http://www.dreamstime.com/-image16700308 It is indigenous to the shores of the Mediterranean but has become widely naturalized in many parts of the world, especially on dry soils near the sea-coast and on riverbanks.

It is a highly aromatic and flavorful herb with culinary and medicinal uses and, along with the similar-tasting anise. This herbaceous plant reaches up to 2 meters (about 6 feet) in height with deep green feathery (lacy) leaves and bears golden-yellow flowers in umbels. Its stalks may be white or pale green and the bulb has a sweet taste with crunchiness that makes it refreshing when eaten raw or when used in salads or salsas.

Fennel is a perennial belonging to the large Apiaceae family as do carrots, parsley, dill and coriander.

NUTRITIONAL PROFILE

Fennel is an excellent source of vitamin C. It is also a very good source of dietary fiber, potassium, molybdenum, manganese, copper, phosphorus, and folate. In addition, fennel is a good source of calcium, pantothenic acid, magnesium, iron, and niacin.

fennel 5

Fennel seeds are concentrated source of minerals like copper, iron, calcium, potassium, manganese, selenium, zinc, and magnesium. They also contain several other vital vitamins as vitamin A, vitamin E, as well as many B-complex vitamins like thiamin; pyridoxine, riboflavin and niacin particularly are concentrated in the seeds.

NUTRITIONAL PROFILE – Bulb

NUTRITIONAL PROFILE – Seeds

HEALTH BENEFITS

Used for centuries in Asian medicine, even the essential oil made from Fennel upfennel is used for upset stomach relief. Clinical trials have found fennel to have skin-softening and anti-aging properties, and extracts have been found to ease colic in infants. Vitamin C is by far its most important nutritional attribute, but other minerals and phytonutrients combine to help prevent cholesterol build-up, high blood pressure, and colon cancer.

The high concentration of essential oils in fennel gives it the aromatic fragrant and flavor.  The anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties in fennel make it very useful in relieving many common ailments such as:

Anemia: Iron and histidine, an amino acid found in fennel, are both helpful in treatment of anemia. Whereas iron is the chief constituent of hemoglobin, histidine stimulates production of hemoglobin and also helps in the formation of various other components of the blood.

Blood Pressure: Fennel is a very rich source of potassium, which is an essential nutrient in our bodies and is vital for a number of important processes. One of the attributes of potassium is its quality as a vasodilator, which means that it relaxes the tension of blood vessels, thereby reducing blood pressure. High blood pressure is connected to a wide range of health issues, including heart attack, stroke, and atherosclerosis. A cup of fennel bulb in your daily diet will pump you full of potassium and all the benefits that come along with it.

Brain Function: Potassium, found in high levels in fennel bulbs and seeds, is an electrolyte, which means that it facilitates increased electrical conduction throughout the body. This includes connections within the brain, which is a veritable switchboard of electric currents. Potassium can help increase brain function and cognitive abilities through this quality. Also, fennel is a vasodilator, which means more oxygen reaches the brain and neural activity can work at optimal functionality.

Breast Milk, Secretion:  Lactating mothers can consume fennel juice regularly to increase the secretion of nutritious milk for their infants.

IMG_0036Cancer: The raw vegetable itself hasn’t been extensively studied in regards to cancer protection, but the fennel seed extract has, and the findings regarding cancer protection are quite impressive. It shows that the extract can not only inhibit the growth of tumors, thanks to its concentrations of flavonoids, alkaloids, and phenols, but that it can even be somewhat chemo-protective against the harmful effects of radiation during cancer treatment. Fennel seed extract has been found to be preventative of various breast cancer and liver cancer strains.

Colic: Polymeric and heavy molecules are useful in the treatment of renal colic. Such polymers, also called Phytoestrogens, are found in Anethole, a component of the essential oil in fennel. This attribute of fennel makes it quite helpful in the treatment of renal colic. Fennel has certain antispasmodic qualities which also help it relax smooth muscles and reduce the discomfort associated with the condition.

Constipation: Fennel seeds, particularly in powdered form, can act as a laxative. The roughage helps clear the bowels, whereas it’s stimulating effect helps maintain the proper peristaltic motion of the intestines, thereby helping promote proper excretion through the stimulation of gastric juices and bile production. Fennel is also commonly found in medicines that treat abdominal pain, diarrhea, Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), and other intestinal issues.

Diarrhea: Fennel is helpful in curing diarrhea if it is caused by bacterial fennel 3infection, because some components of the essential oil in fennel such as anethole and cineole have disinfectant and antibacterial properties. Some amino acids, such as histidine, can aid in digestion and the proper functioning of the digestive system, thereby helping to eliminate diarrhea due to indigestion. Fennel has long been used by indigenous cultures as a way to eliminate diarrhea.

Diuretic:  The diuretic property of fennel helps in the removal of toxic substances from the body through frequent urination. Thus, it helps to reduce inflammation that causes rheumatism and swelling. 

Eye Health: Using fennel in food helps protect the eyes from inflammation, as well as helping to reduce disorders related to premature aging and macular degeneration. This is due to the high abundance of antioxidants (vitamin-C and amino acids like Arginine which are very beneficial for rejuvenation of tissues and the prevention of aging), detoxifiers and stimulants. They are more specifically in fennel essential oil, as well as minerals like cobalt and magnesium.  Finally, the juice of fennel leaves and the plant itself can be externally applied on the eyes to reduce irritation and eye fatigue. 

Fennel is also a rich source of flavonoids, which are very useful in protecting against pigment cells dying due to oxidative-stress-induced death. By protecting against this destruction of the pigment cells, fennel can safely be classified as effective in eye health for numerous reasons.

Sweet FennelFlatulence: Fennel is very popular as an antiflatulent, due to the carminative properties of the aspartic acid found in fennel. Its extract can be used by everyone, from infants to the elderly, as a way to reduce flatulence and to expel excess gas from the stomach. It is commonly used in medicines to reduce symptoms of non-ulcer dyspepsia and flatulence in infants and young children.

Hair health:  The sulphur content together with all the right amino acids and essential oils in fennel help strengthen hair and reduce hair fall.

Heart Disease: Fennel is a great source of fiber, as mentioned above, but besides the advantages to digestion that fiber provides, it also helps to maintain healthy levels of cholesterol in the blood stream. This means that it can stimulate the elimination damaging LDL cholesterol, which is a major factor in heart disease, atherosclerosis, and strokes.

Immune System: 1 cup of fennel bulb contains almost 20% of the daily requirement of vitamin-C, which makes fennel quite a rich source of this beneficial element of our diet. Vitamin-C improves general immune system health, produces and repairs skin tissue, helps to form collagen, and also protects the blood vessel walls as an antioxidant against the harmful effects of free radicals that can frequently lead to heart disease!

Indigestion:  The essential oils in fennel increases the secretion of fenel oil wsdigestive juices, helping in reduction of stomach inflammation and in the absorption of nutrients from the food eaten. Since fennel also has anti-acidic qualities, it is used widely also as an antacid.

Joint Pain: Fennel seed oil is used as massage oil to cure joint pains.

Respiratory Disorders: Fennel is useful in respiratory disorders such congestion, bronchitis, and cough due to the presence of Cineole and Anethole which are expectorant in nature, among their many other virtues. Fennel seeds and powder can help to break up phlegm and prompt loosening of the toxins and buildup of the throat and nasal passages for elimination from the body and quicker recovery from respiratory conditions.

HOW TO SELECT AND STORE

Choose fresh fennel bulbs that are clean, firm and solid that are smooth and tightly layered with no cracks or bruises. Fat, rounded bulbs with white and pale green color will tend to be more succulent than thin or yellow ones. Avoid any with wilted leaves or dried layers.  

Fennel 8

There should be no signs of flowering buds as this indicates that the vegetable is past maturity. Fresh fennel should have a fragrant aroma, smelling subtly of licorice or anise. It is generally available year-round, however its peak season is from late fall through winter. Grocers sometimes incorrectly label fennel as “sweet anise.”

Store fresh fennel in the refrigerator crisper, where it should keep fresh for about four days. Yet, it is best to consume fennel soon after purchase since as it ages, it tends to gradually lose its flavor. While fresh fennel can be frozen after first being blanched, it seems to lose much of its flavor during this process. Dried fennel seeds should be stored in an airtight container in a cool and dry location where they will keep for about six months. Storing fennel seeds in the refrigerator will help to keep them fresher longer.

TIPS FOR PREPARING

The three different parts of fennel, the base, stalks and leaves, can all be used in cooking. Cut the stalks away from the bulb at the place where they meet. If you are not going to be using the intact bulb in a recipe, then first cut it in half, remove the base, and then rinse it with water before proceeding to cut it further.

fennel half

Fennel can be cut in a variety of sizes and shapes, depending upon the recipe and your personal preference. The best way to slice it is to do so vertically through the bulb. If your recipe requires chunked, diced, sliced or cut as directed in a recipe it is best to first remove the harder core that resides in the center before cutting it. The stalks of the fennel can be used for soups, stocks and stews, while the leaves can be used as an herb seasoning.

HOW TO ENJOY

Here are a few serving ideas:

  • Combine sliced fennel with avocados, and oranges for a delightful salad.
  • Fennel seed is widely used as a savory spice. It is principally added in cooking as a condiment and flavoring base.
  • Healthy sautéed fennel and onions make a wonderful side dish.

braised Fennel

  • Steam or sauté thin slices cooked al dente and serve with a tomato or cheese sauce.
  • The seeds are used to flavor breads, dough, cakes, biscuits, and cheese
  • Tomatoes make a good marriage with fennel.

Fennel recipe

  • Top thinly sliced fennel with plain yogurt and mint leaves.
  • Use pureed with or without cooked potato, creamed or with other vegetables or cook diced in vegetable broth.
  • You can also try some fennel in your favorite smoothie.

CAUTION

As usual, the principle of moderation applies.  Fennel has virtually no side effects when used as a food, or when used as a tea made from its seeds. 

fennel-seed-oil-763174

Certain components of the fennel essential oil such as Anethole, and a few chemicals present in the plant itself, besides being beneficial, can be dangerous if ingested in too large of a quantity.  You must remember that the compounds which can kill bacteria and microbes in low doses can be harmful for you too. Excess use of fennel can cause difficulty breathing, increased palpitations, irregular heart beat, and various neural problems.

 

10-mature-fennel-bulb

Always check with your licensed practitioner if you have any health concerns or problems.

REFERENCES AND SOURCES

Wood, Rebecca. The Whole Foods Encyclopedia. New York, NY: Prentice-Hall Press; 1988. 1988. PMID:15220.

http://www.naturalhealth365.com/tag/fennel-health-benefits

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

 

Posted by: godshealingplants | September 1, 2014

DATES FOR YOUR HEALTH

Dates for your health

HISTORY 

Dates were mentioned several times in the Bible and are probably ancestors to the oldest-known seed planted successfully in modern times.

Date palms were brought to America’s Western coast by Spanish missionaries in the late 1700s. Medjool dates, which originated in Morocco, were introduced in the U.S. in 1927.  Medjools are not only one of the most prominent varieties – they are the only one that can be picked and eaten fresh. 

ABOUT 

Date palms begin to bear fruit at three to five years, and are fully mature at 12 years. Cultivated in arid regions of the world, wild populations can still be found around Jordan and the border between Iran and Iraq.

Dates growing on a tree

Dates are oval-cylindrical, 3–7 cm long, and 2–3 cm in diameter, and when ripe, range from bright red to bright yellow in color, depending on variety.

 variety of dates

NUTRITIONAL VALUE 

Dates are a good source of various vitamins and minerals. It’s a good source of energy, sugar and fiber. Essential minerals such as calcium, iron, phosphorus, sodium, potassium, magnesium and zinc are found in dates.  It also contains vitamins such as thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, folate, vitamin A and vitamin K. 

HEALTH BENEFITS 

Dates are one of the very best sweet and versatile foods that can regulate the digestive process. It can significantly boost energy levels in people within half an hour of consuming it. The American Cancer Society recommends an intake of 20-35 grams of dietary fiber per day, which can be supplied through dates. It is also said that taking one date per a day will help you to maintain your eye health all your life. They are commonly known to be quite effective in guarding against the problem of night blindness.

 Dates 5

Here are some of the benefits of dates:

Abdominal Cancer: Research has pointed towards dates being a legitimate way to reduce the risk and impact of abdominal cancer. They work as a useful tonic for all age groups, and in some cases, they work better than traditional medicines, and are natural, so they don’t have any negative side effects on the human body. They can be quickly and easily digested for a quick boost of energy. 

Allergies: One of the most interesting facets of dates is the presence of 3 dates wsorganic sulfur in them. This is not a very common element to find in foods, but it does have a worthwhile amount of health benefits, including the reduction of allergic reactions and seasonal allergies. According to a study done in 2002, organic sulfur compounds can have a positive impact on the amount of suffering people experience from SAR (Seasonal Allergic Rhinitis), which affects approximately 23 million people in the United States alone. Dates are a great way to somewhat stem the effects of those seasonal allergies through its contributions of sulfur to the diet. 

Anemia: Dates have a high mineral content, which is beneficial for many different health conditions, but their impressive levels of iron make them a perfect dietary supplement for people suffering from anemia. The high level of iron balances out the inherent lack of iron in anemic patients, increasing energy and strength, while decreasing feelings of fatigue and sluggishness. 

Bone Health and Strength: The significant amounts of minerals found in ttar_medjool_dates_vdates make it a super food for strengthening bones and fighting off painful and debilitating diseases like osteoporosis. Dates contain selenium, manganese, copper, and magnesium, all of which are integral to healthy bone development and strength, particularly as people begin to age and their bones gradually weaken. So, eat your dates and give a boost to your bones! 

Constipation: Dates are often categorized as a laxative food. This is why dates are so frequently eaten by people suffering from constipation. In order to achieve the desired laxative effect of dates, you should soak them in water over night. Then, eat the soaked dates in the morning like syrup to get the most optimal results. Dates have high levels of soluble fiber, which is essential in promoting healthy bowel movements and the comfortable passage of food through the intestinal tract, which can relieve symptoms of constipation. 

Diarrhea: Ripe dates contain potassium, which is known as an effective Dattelnway of controlling diarrhea. They are also easy to digest, which further helps alleviate the unpredictable nature of chronic diarrhea. The soluble fiber in dates can also help relieve diarrhea, by providing bulk to the bowel movements and promoting normal, healthy functioning of the excretory system. 

Energy Booster: Dates are high in natural sugars like glucose, fructose, and sucrose. Therefore, they are the perfect snack for an immediate burst of energy. Many people around the world use dates for a quick afternoon snack when they are feeling lethargic or sluggish. 

Healthy Heart: Dates are quite helpful in keeping your heart healthy. dates 3When they are soaked for the night, crushed in the morning and then consumed, they have been shown to have a positive effect on weak hearts. Dates are also a rich source of potassium, which studies have shown to reduce the risk of stroke and other heart related diseases. Furthermore, they are suggested as a healthy and delicious way to reduce the levels of LDL cholesterol in the body, which is a major contributing factor heart attacks, heart disease, and stroke. Therefore, when taken twice a week, dates can seriously improve the overall health of the heart. 

Intestinal Disorders: The nicotine content in dates is thought to be beneficial for curing many kinds of intestinal disorders. Continuous intake of dates helps to inhibit growth of the pathological organisms and thus, they help stimulate the growth of friendly bacteria in the intestines. In terms of digestive issues, dates contain those insoluble and soluble fibers, as well as many beneficial amino acids which can stimulate the digestion of food and make it more efficient, meaning that more nutrients will be absorbed by the digestive tract and enter your body for proper usage. 

Nervous System Health: The vitamins present in dates make it an ideal medjool-dates wsboost to nervous system health and functionality. Potassium is one of the prime ingredients in promoting a healthy and responsive nervous system, and it also improves the speed and alertness of brain activity. Therefore, dates are a wonderful food source for people as they begin to age and their nervous system becomes sluggish or unsupported, as well as for people who want to keep their mind sharp. 

Night Blindness: The benefits of dates are extensive, and are commonly employed to fight off various conditions affecting the ear, nose, and throat. When the leaves of the date palm are ground into a paste and rubbed on and around the eyes, or when dates are ingested orally, it has been shown to reduce the frequency of night blindness, and this solution is commonly used in rural areas where dates grow as an alternative medicine. 

SELECTION AND STORAGE

Dates are readily available in groceries year around. Some varieties of fresh, soft, good-quality fruits, however, are found from September through December.

Buying and choosing dates

In the stores, one may come across soft, semi-dry, and dried types put for sale. At home, store them at room temperature in cool place inside an air-seal container where they stay well for several months.

PREPARATION AND SERVING METHOD 

Although dates carry tremendous nutritional values, great care should be taken in their selection because their surface is very sticky, which often attracts various impurities. Therefore, you should only consume dates that are processed and packaged properly. Also, make sure to wash them thoroughly before you eat them, as this will help remove the impurities present on the surface.

Here are some serving tips:

bowl of dates

  • Dry and soft dates are usually eaten raw.

Stuffed dates

  • They can be stuffed with fillings such as almonds, walnuts, candied orange and cream cheese.

Dates-orange-spinach salad

  • Dates can  be chopped and used with fruit salad and in a range of sweet and savory dishes.

date-clam-granoa-008-copy-e1289278757485

  • Your family will love this delicious date nut bread.

Date - almond - smoothie

  • Smoothies made with dates tasted fantastic.

Date pie crust

  • Pie crust made with dates and nuts are delicious and healthy.

CAUTION

Dates are a wonderful snack all by themselves. But make sure you eat them in moderation, as fruits can contain high levels of fructose that can harm your health. 

dates (1)

SOURCE 

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

http://naturalnews.com 

http://mercola.com

 

Posted by: godshealingplants | August 23, 2014

POMEGRANATE HEALTH BENEFITS

Pomegranate GHP

HISTORY

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

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

ABOUT

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

Pomegranate - seeded apple

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

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

basket of pomegranates - different colors

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

pomegranate tree ws

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

NUTRITIONAL FACTS

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

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

For more information click on the Pomegranate Nutritional Data 

HEALTH BENEFITS 

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

SELECTION AND STORAGE

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

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Avoid: pomegranates that have cuts and bruises.

Seasonality: Fall through early winter

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

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

PREPARATION AND SERVING METHODS

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

washing pomegranate

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

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

Pomegranate spinach salad

CAUTION

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

REFERENCES

http://www.drfuhrman.com

http://mercola.com

Posted by: godshealingplants | August 15, 2014

CABBAGE FOR YOUR HEALTH

Cabbage CLWS

HISTORY

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

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

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

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

ABOUT

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

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NUTRITIONAL PROFILE

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

HEALTH BENEFITS OF CABBAGE

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

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OTHER BENEFITS OF CABBAGE

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

HOW TO SELECT AND STORE

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

Cabbage head

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

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

green and red cabbage slaw

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

TIPS FOR PREPARING AND COOKING

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

red cabbage

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

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

Cabbage preparation

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

HOW TO ENJOY

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

NOTE

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

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Posted by: godshealingplants | August 9, 2014

BLUEBERRIES HEALTH BENEFITS

Blueberry GWTH

HISTORY

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

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

ABOUT

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

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

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

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

Interesting fact:

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·       Blueberries are one of the only truly blue foods.

NUTRITIONAL FACTS

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

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

Blueberries3

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

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

HEALTH BENEFITS

Below are reasons to consume blueberries daily

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

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

HOW TO BUY

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

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

STORAGE

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

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

SOURCE

http://Blueberry.org 

http://www.naturalnews.com 

http://www.sdstate.edu

Posted by: godshealingplants | July 18, 2014

TIPS FOR HEALTHY EATING

GET  YOUR PRODUCE LOCALLY 

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

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

EAT ORGANIC 

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

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

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

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

EAT YOUR PRODUCE RAW 

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

EAT IN SEASON 

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

FERMENT OR PRESERVE YOUR VEGGIES 

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

GROW YOUR OWN 

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

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

TRY COMPOSTING

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

JOIN A CSA

(Community-Supported Agriculture)

PROGRAM 

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

 

Posted by: godshealingplants | June 25, 2014

PARSLEY BENEFITS

Parsley CL

HISTORY

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

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

ABOUT

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

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

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

NUTRITIONAL PROFILE

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

Parsley 1

HEALTH BENEFITS

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

  • Antibacterial
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Antioxidant

Here are some of its healing properties: parsley10

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

OTHER BENEFITS

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

HOW TO SELECT AND STORE 

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

 parsley in a jar

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

Frozen parsley

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

COOKING TIPS 

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

 parsley types

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

SERVING IDEAS

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

tabouli with parsley

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

Potatoes with parsley

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

PRECAUTION

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

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SOURCES:

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

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

Posted by: godshealingplants | June 12, 2014

SWISS CHARD BENEFITS

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HISTORY 

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

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

ABOUT

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

Swiss Chard Garden

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

NUTRITIONAL FACTS

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

Swiss Chard 2

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

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

Swiss Chard 5

HEALTH BENEFITS 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

HOW TO BUY

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

Swiss Chard 6Swiss Chard 6

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

TIPS FOR PREPARING

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

Swiss Chard 1

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

COOKING TIPS

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

Swiss Chard 4

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

SERVING IDEAS

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

Swiss Chard Salad

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

Swiss Chard Quiche

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

PRECAUTION

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

REFERENCES

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

http://about.com

Posted by: godshealingplants | June 5, 2014

ROSEMARY BENEFITS

Rosemary CLG

HISTORY

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

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

Rosemary essential oil

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

ABOUT

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

Rosemary flower

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

NUTRITIONAL PROFILE 

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

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

HEALTH BENEFITS

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

Rosemary evergreen

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

HOW TO SELECT AND STORE

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

Rosemary spice

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

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

Rosemary dried

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

TIPS FOR PREPARING

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

HOW TO ENJOY

Rosemary is a wonderful herb for seasoning many dishes.

Rosemary on Potatoes

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

Rosemary focaccia bread

PRECAUTIONS

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

Rosemary as medicine

 SOURCES

 http://www.healthdiaries.com

REFERENCES

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

 

 

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