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The Health Benefits of Cilantro

This year, I decided to grow cilantro in my little garden and I love it! Cilantro bears a strong resemblance to Italian flat leaf parsley and it is sometimes called Chinese parsley. It is native to the Mediterranean and Middle Eastern regions dating back to 5,000 BC. Today, cilantro is used in a variety of dishes including Indian, Chinese, and Latin American cuisines. It is also known as coriander; the seeds are used as a spice. Here are some of the health benefits of eating cilantro.

  • Cilantro contains numerous phytonutrients with antioxidant power. It also features a compound called dodecenal which has antimicrobial properties.
  • This plant is low in calories. 2 tablespoons of fresh cilantro contains less than 1 calorie!
  • Always look for leaves that are firm and green as they are the most nutritious . Avoid cilantro that is yellow or has brown spots. Try to get organic cilantro (or grow your own).
  • Cilantro contains a powerful antibacterial compound that has been shown to be twice as effective in killing Salmonella as commonly used drugs.
  • Food scientists say that cilantro might be developed as a tasteless food additive to prevent foodborne illnesses.
  • Studies have shown that the seeds of cilantro (coriander) help stimulate the secretion of insulin and lower blood sugar levels.
  • Coriander seeds were found in some studies to reduce the amount of damaged fats in cell membranes and lower levels of cholesterol and LDL.

References

Mateljan, G. (2007). The Worlds Healthiest Foods. Seattle, WA: George Mateljan Foundation.

The Health Benefits of Limes

Tired of lemons? Sick of grapefruit? Give limes a shot! I love citrus fruits and nothing beats a fresh splash of lime in a cold glass of water!  The amazing zesty flavor is perfect for that mid-morning pick-me-up. Limes are popular all around the world and are found primarily in the tropical regions. Famous for helping with scurvy, limes can help speed up the body’s natural healing process. Here are some of the health benefits of eating limes:

  • High in vitamin C, limes are great for boosting the immune system and protecting the eyes. They are also good sources of folate, calcium and potassium.
  • Need to incorporate more fiber in your diet? Can you stomach the tangy flavor of limes? These little citrus fruits are full of fiber, helping promote good digestion.
  • Limes have strong anti-viral properties and help in fighting off “bad” bacteria.
  • The folate found in limes has been shown to keep cholesterol levels low and prevent heart disease.
  • Feeling constipated? The acid in limes helps clean out the bowels and aids in waste elimination.
  • Rejuvenate your skin with a splash of lime juice. This has been known to help with dandruff, bruises, and rashes.
  • The high amount of potassium found in limes makes the juice beneficial for removing wastes. Try drinking lime juice and water when involved in a detoxification program.

References: Haigh, Charolette (2005). The Top 100 Immunity Boosters. New York, NY. Duncan Bird Publishers

The Health Benefits of Oats

When it comes to breakfast, oatmeal is probably one of the more popular dishes to enjoy. It’s easy to make and fills you up, helping you get through a busy morning. Oats can be added to many different dishes and are affordable enough to always keep in your kitchen. Here are some of the health benefits of eating oats.

  • Oats contain powerful antioxidants that can help to prevent disease in the body.
  • Oat bran is high in beta-glucan, a soluble fiber that can help lower blood cholesterol levels.
  • Studies have shown that regular consumption of oats may reduce the risk of heart disease in women.
  • If you are looking to lose some weight, oats contain properties that help you feel fuller faster. This helps to reduce food cravings and gives you long lasting energy.
  • Oats have been shown to help lower high blood pressure and reduce blood sugar levels.
  • Oats are an excellent source of vitamin E, thiamin, niacin, riboflavin, calcium, and iron. This makes them an important addition to our daily diet.
  • If you are looking to include more fiber in your diet, oats are a great source.
References: Reader’s Digest, Foods that Harm, Foods that Heal. 2004. Metro Books, New York, NY.

The Health Benefits of Cherries

Looking to incorporate more fruit into your diet? Choose cherries! They are one of the world’s oldest cultivated fruits and are enjoyed by millions worldwide. These tasty little berries are full of amazing nutrients that contribute to optimal health. These health benefits include:

  • Cherries are a good source of melatonin which helps promote sleep. Eat a handful of these juicy berries 20 minutes before bedtime to help you rest.
  • Rich in antioxidant substances, cherries are good immune system boosters and help to make disease-fighting compounds. Tart cherries are known to have the highest amount of antioxidants compared to other kinds.
  • Cherries have anti-inflammatory properties which have been shown to help ease rheumatoid arthritis and gout.
  • The nutrients found in cherries have been known to help prevent heart disease.
  • Queritin is rich in cherries and is known to ward off cancer.
  • Two types of flavonoids found in cherries help eliminate the byproducts of oxidative stress, thus helping to slow down the body’s aging process.
  • There are compounds in cherries that have been known to help stop migraine headaches in their tracks.

References: Haigh, Charolette (2005). The Top 100 Immunity Boosters. New York, NY. Duncan Bird Publishers

The Health Benefits of Black Beans

Beans, beans, the tooting food…Ok, I’ll act mature now. Seriously though, I love beans! I like to put them in everything, even breakfast foods. They are a favorite in Mexico, South America, and the Caribbean; black beans’ popularity has been increasing around the world. They are fabulous in a variety of recipes and are available dried and canned. Here are some of the health benefits of black beans.

  • Black beans are a concentrated source of both dietary fiber and folic acid. This has been shown to help lower cholesterol levels. Black beans also contain magnesium, which can improve the flow of blood, oxygen, and nutrients through the body.
  • Research has shown that there are at least eight different flavonoids in black bean’s color coats, which bestow this little bean with potent antioxidant power.
  • Black beans are a great source of protein. One cup has at least 15 grams which can provide us with a significant amount of our daily requirement of protein.
  • Black beans contain sleep-promoting tryptophan.
  • These beans can provide sustainable energy while promoting stabilized blood sugar levels. Black beans contain vitamin B1, which is instrumental in converting sugar into usable energy, as well as phosphorus, which is a component of ATP (the fuel that powers our cells).
  • It’s not a secret that beans can cause gas. This is because we cannot digest oligosaccharides, which are sugars found in beans. These sugars are consumed by bacteria in the gut and cause gas. To help eliminate the gas-factor, soak the beans overnight, drain the water, and soak beans in new fresh water before cooking. Always rinse beans (even canned) before cooking.

References

Mateljan, G. (2007). The Worlds Healthiest Foods. Seattle, WA: George Mateljan Foundation.

The Health Benefits of Buckwheat

Buckwheat is a favorite for people who cannot tolerate gluten. Energizing and extremely nutritious, buckwheat is actually not a true grain but a fruit seed that is related to rhubarb. The French are famous for their buckwheat crepes and the Russians for blinis (crepes filled with caviar). Buckwheat is sold either unroasted or roasted. Unroasted buckwheat has a soft flavor whole roasted buckwheat has a more earthy and nutty taste. You can use buckwheat to make pancakes, crackers, noodles, and in just about everything tradition wheat or flour is used! Here are some of the health benefits of buckwheat.

  • New evidence shows that buckwheat may be helpful in the management of diabetes. Single doses of buckwheat seed extract lowered blood glucose levels by 12-19 percent. The component responsible for these effects is chiro-inositol.
  • One study found that women who consumed an average of three servings of whole grains daily, such as buckwheat, had a 21 percent lower risk of diabetes compared to those who ate one serving per week.
  • Diets that contain buckwheat have been linked to a lowered risk of developing high cholesterol and high blood pressure.
  • Buckwheat contains a good concentration of dietary fiber and magnesium. Fiber has been shown to reduce cholesterol levels while magnesium helps to promote blood vessel relaxation and blood circulation.
  • People with celiac disease can eat buckwheat. This is an intestinal disease associated with sensitivity to grains or other foods that contain the protein gluten.
  • Buckwheat contains sleep-promoting tryptophan.
  • A concentrated source of phytonutrients called flavonoids that include rutin, quercetin, and kaempferol are found in buckwheat. They are strong antioxidants that protect the cells from harmful free radicals in the body.

References

Mateljan, G. (2007). The Worlds Healthiest Foods. Seattle, WA: George Mateljan Foundation.

The Health Benefits of Hazelnuts

Do you love to eat nuts? Are you getting tired of snacking on almonds and peanuts all the time? Switch things up by eating hazelnuts! These delicious nuts are full of nutrients that promote optimal health.  In the world market, hazelnuts are second to almonds in terms of how many are produced.  Most hazelnuts are grown in Turkey and can be found in lots of baked goods. Here are some of the health benefits of eating hazelnuts.

  • Hazelnuts are a great source of omega-9 fatty acids. This is a “good fat” that has been shown to have a positive effect on health by lowering cholesterol levels, promoting healthy inflammatory responses, and protecting against certain types of cancer.
  • These nuts are full of vitamins B1, B3, B6, and E. They are also a good source of folate, iron, calcium, and magnesium.
  • The vitamin E content in hazelnuts can help protect us from the effects of pollution and other harmful toxins.
  • Hazelnuts contain an amino acid that can trigger cold sores. If you are prone to these blisters, it may be wise to eat a different kind of nut.
  • These nuts are a good source of protein and make a great snack on-the-go.
  • Hazelnuts are rich in potassium and can help people with high blood pressure.
  • The beta-sitosterol found in hazelnuts can help to reduce an enlarged prostate.

References: Haigh, Charolette (2005). The Top 100 Immunity Boosters. New York, NY. Duncan Bird Publishers

The Health Benefits of Parsley

Known primarily for it’s detoxification and deodorizing properties, parsley is one of the most popular herbs in the world. The Greeks wore crowns of parsley at their banquets to stimulate their appetite! The Romans believed that nibbling on parsley sprigs would allow them to drink more wine without getting drunk. Today, it is used in a variety of dishes and even as a garnish for fancy foods. Here are some of the health benefits of parsley.

  • Parsley is used to fresh breath and detoxify the body. This comes from chlorophyll, the same substance that makes it green. Dozens of studies have shown the ability of chlorophyll to purify and rejuvenate the body.
  • This herb has been known to stop bacterial growth in wounds and deactivate many carcinogens. It also helps to counteract inflammations.
  • In Asian traditions, chlorophyll was used to treat anemic conditions and aid in helping the kidneys function.
  • In Turkey, diabetics use parsley to reduce blood glucose.
  • Ten sprigs of parsley contain 556 mg of the eye-protective carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin. It also has 505 mg of beta-carotene, 164 mcg of vitamin K, and 842 IUs of vitamin A.
  • A special variety of parsley is grown for its root. This root is said to have medicinal properties for the stomach.

References

Bowden, J. (2007). The 150 Healthiest Foods on Earth. Beverly, MA: Fair Winds Press.

The Health Benefits of Brown Rice

I am a big brown rice eater! I love pairing this type of rice with everything from breakfast foods to desserts. White rice goes through a complete milling and polishing process that results in the loss of 70-90 percent of its B vitamins, large amounts of phosphorus, iron, and manganese. The United States requires that white rice be enriched with some B vitamins and iron but there are at least 11 other nutrients that are lost and never replaced. If you are a rice lover like us, brown rice is definitely the way to go! Here are some of the health benefits of eating brown rice.

  • Just one cup of brown rice will provide you with 88.0% of the daily value for manganese.
  • Brown rice contains minerals with strong anti-oxidant activity. It is a great source of manganese which is a component of an antioxidant enzyme that protects cells from free-radical damage. This rice also contains selenium which is important for maintaining thyroid hormone metabolism.
  • There are ample amounts of fiber in brown rice which is important for maintaining healthy digestion and bowel movements.
  • If you need some help falling asleep at night, brown rice contains sleep-promoting tryptophan.
  • White rice goes through a complete milling and polishing process that results in the loss of 70-90 percent of its B vitamins, large amounts of phosphorus, iron, and manganese. The United States requires that white rice be enriched with some B vitamins and iron but there are at least 11 other nutrients that are lost and never replaced.
  • Eating a serving of whole grains, such as brown rice, at least six times each week is an especially good idea for postmenopausal women with high cholesterol, high blood pressure or other signs of cardiovascular disease. One study showed that postmenopausal women who ate brown rice six times a week slowed the progression of atherosclerosis, the build-up of plaque that narrows the vessels through which blood flows, and lessened the progression in stenosis, the narrowing of the diameter of arterial passageways.

References

Mateljan, G. (2007). The Worlds Healthiest Foods. Seattle, WA: George Mateljan Foundation.

The Health Benefits of Garlic

We’ve all heard about garlic and its amazing ability to ward off vampires. 🙂 Did you know that eating garlic has other great benefits for your body? The ancient Egyptians believed that garlic was not only bestowed with sacred qualities but it enhanced the endurance and strength of the slaves that built the pyramids. Garlic is used all around the world in a variety of recipes. Some people enjoy eating garlic cloves raw! Here are some of the amazing health benefits of garlic.

  • Chopping, slicing, or pressing on a garlic clove before cooking actually enhances the health-promoting properties along with letting it sit out for about 5 to 10 minutes before cooking or eating.
  • Cooking garlic for more than 45 minutes generates a substantial loss of nutrients. If you cook garlic for 5-15, you will preserve the health benefits.
  • Numerous studies have shown that regular consumption of garlic can lower blood pressure and decrease platelet aggregation, serum triglycerides, and LDL cholesterol.
  • Garlic may help prevent atherosclerosis and diabetic heart disease while reducing the risk of a heart attack or stroke.
  • Like onions, garlic is an anti-inflammatory because it contains sulfer containing phytonutrient compounds. This makes it useful for helping attacks of asthma. It can also help reduce the pain and inflammation of osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
  • Researchers suggest that garlic may be a potent remedy in warding off a common cold. It has also been noted that garlic has strong antibiotic properties, even on bacteria strains that have become resistant to many drugs.
  • Some studies show that eating garlic two or more times a week can help lower your risk of colon cancer.
  • Garlic contains a concentrated source of calcium, vitamin B1 and phosphorus, protein, and tryptophan.

References

Mateljan, G. (2007). The Worlds Healthiest Foods. Seattle, WA: George Mateljan Foundation.