The other day my husband and I were making vegetable juice and he asked me what the health benefits of celery were. I had to admit, I knew celery was healthy, but couldn’t come up with the reasons off the top of my head. I decided to do some research. Turns out, celery is not just good for carrying peanut butter to your mouth! It has a host of health benefits!
Zucchini is a great little vegetable that is low on calories and high on health benefits. In fact, a medium zucchini has only 33 calories, but still manages to make you feel full because of its fiber and water content! This makes zucchini an excellent choice if you are trying to lose weight or just eat healthier! Read on for more health benefits of zucchini!
I'm sure you've heard the buzz about fresh green juices. It seems everyone who's into health is drinking them! It can be a bit pricey to buy gree juices, but you can save a little money by making your own! The bonus is that you get a ton of nutrition and antioxidants in a serving of green juice. It is estimated that you get at least 5 servings of vegetables in a serving of juice! This is why I juice - my husband doesn't love to eat big salads like I do, and this is one way I can get lots of nutrition into him!
Do you like cauliflower? What’s your favorite way to make it? Numerous studies have shown that what you eat can have a big impact on your risk for cancer. Some of these studies have shown that cauliflower is especially beneficial for preventing certain types of cancer, such as breast, lung, stomach, colon and liver cancers.
With all the buzz about quinoa (pronounced keen-wah) in the last decade, the odds are that you have tried it. Did you feel like it lived up to all the hype? This naturally gluten-free whole grain has a very mild, nutty flavor, so for flavorful quinoa you must add plenty of seasonings. Eating 3 servings of whole grains every day can help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, colon cancer, high blood pressure, and obesity.
Quinoa is packed full of nutrients, so it is considered a superfood. Plus it is one of the least allergenic grains, so it’s great for those with wheat allergies.
Quinoa is a Complete Protein
Have you ever wondered what all the hype is about kale? Have you ever tried it? Kale is a nutrient-packed leafy green that has lots of health benefits. In fact, kale makes spinach pale in comparison to its nutrient content.
Kale and Diabetes
Kale has lots of fiber, which can benefit both type 1 and type 2 diabetics. A high fiber diet helps keep blood sugar levels down in both type 1 and type 2 diabetes, and people with type 2 diabetes may have improved cholesterol and insulin levels. Kale also contains an antioxidant, known as alpha-lipoic acid, that has been shown to lower blood sugar levels, increase insulin sensitivity, prevent oxidative stress changes, and decrease neuropathy.
Butternut squash is a member of the gourd family and has lots of nutritional benefits. Its skin is yellow-beige, but inside its bright orange. Its brilliant color comes from beta-carotene, an antioxidant you’re your body turns into vitamin A. Studies show that vitamin A helps keep your eyesight sharp by deterring macular degeneration. It also helps prevent breast cancer.
Gardening not only gives you exercise, but it gets you outside in the fresh air and sunshine. If you don’t enjoy other forms of exercise, gardening is a great way to get exercise without even realizing it! Doing something you enjoy is one of the best ways to get sustained energy.
You have heard of grounding the energy in your house. The human body needs to be grounded as well, and gardening provides that. By gardening with your gloves off (and even your shoes) you let positive ions go into the soil and negative ions into your body from the soil. This is called “earthing” and may sound far-fetched, but being outside has been proven to improve energy. To learn more about positive and negative ions and how they affect your body, check out this article: What Are Negative and Positive Ions?
Getting your skin in contact with the dirt also helps fight oxidative stress, which in turn gives you energy.
Beets benefit your body in a number of ways. They are very nutritious, yet low in calories. Beets’ rich purple color comes from betacyanin, a powerful cancer fighting agent. It has been found to be especially effective against colon cancer in several studies.
Beets are rich in folate, which helps prevent anemia and neural tube birth defects, such as spina bifida. In studies done on animals it was found that the antioxidant activity from beets could help prevent heart disease by lowering total cholesterol and triglycerides and raising HDL (good) cholesterol. Beets also help reduce chronic inflammation, which has been linked to conditions such as Alzheimer’s, heart disease, osteoporosis and diabetes.
Beets have a somewhat sweet taste which comes from their high sugar content. In fact, beets are used in the production of refined sugar. Raw beets are crunchy and can be somewhat tough, but when cooked their texture becomes soft and buttery. Look for beets that come in a bunch rather than loose beets. Bunch beets are fresher and will cook faster. Their leaves can also be cooked and eaten and have a flavor similar to chard.
Basil is great to detox your liver. If you overate or drank too much the previous day, give your liver a break and add some basil or pesto to your breakfast.
Inflammation & Swelling
A study found that Holy Basil can reduce swelling by up to 73%.
The essential oils contained in basil lower inflammation, which is at the root of Inflammatory Bowel Disease. Basil also improves digestion by supporting healthy bacteria in the gut.
Basil oil combats the bacteria that cause acne.
Try this recipe from Health.com: Boil a handful of fresh basil leaves in 1 cup of water for 10 minutes; let the liquid cool. Dip a cotton ball into the liquid, pat it on your breakout zones, wait 10 minutes, then splash with water; repeat once or twice a day.
Holy Basil helps with stress by reducing cortisol, your stress hormone. Basil is considered an adaptogen, which means it helps your body adapt to stress. It helps your body normalize and deal with the effects of stress. Try adding basil to your iced tea after it has steeped.
Basil can help with arthritis by reducing the inflammation that the disease causes.
When you are menstruating, you lose iron. Basil is an excellent source of iron, containing the same amount as spinach! Eat plenty of iron rich foods during your period.
Basil contains powerful antioxidants that help protect the lining of the blood vessels from free radical damage. This helps prevent arterial clogging, heart attacks, and stroke. It can also help the muscles in your blood vessels relax and contract, thereby promoting healthy blood pressure. It also helps prevent blood clots.
Basil has been found to reduce circulating blood glucose, which helps prevent diabetes. It can also lower triglycerides and cholesterol, which diabetic patients often suffer from high levels.
Basil has many antibacterial properties. One of the many ways you can take advantage of this is to wash your veggies in a solution with 1% basil or thyme oil. Doing this kills bacteria that can cause diarrhea. Scientists are doing studies about basil’s effects on antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Studies are showing that basil is effective in killing powerful bacteria strains. Basil essential oils may be effective in treating viruses and infections.
The antioxidants in basil help prevent cancer. They do this by keeping chromosomes from becoming altered or damaged. They can also target harmful cells, such as cancer cells. Basil can also help protect healthy tissue from the harmful effects of radiation and chemotherapy.
Depression & Anxiety
Some people consider basil to be an antidepressant. It can help stimulate the neurotransmitters that regulate the hormones that are responsible for making us feel happy.
Basil has traditionally been used in some countries as a natural aphrodisiac. It is believed to cause arousal and to support healthy sexual function.
I wrote this post after spending the morning making pesto. I have two basil plants that have been VERY prolific! I started wondering what the health benefits were. I hope you enjoy this vegan version of pesto!
Vegan Basil Pesto
4 cups loosely packed basil
1/2 cup olive oil, more if needed
1 tablespoon lemon juice
3-4 tablespoons nutritional yeast
1/2 cup pine nuts or other kind of nuts (I have used blanched almonds or walnuts)
1 teaspoon salt
Place the basil into your food processor. Turn on processor and drizzle oil into processor as its running. Process for 15-30 seconds. Add the rest of the ingredients and continue processing until smooth. If it needs more olive oil to process smoothly or reach the correct consistency, then add some.
I am a Duke Integrative Medicine trained Health Coach located in Charlotte, NC. I hold a B.S. and M.A. in Wellness Management. I have a passion for health and for helping others achieve the healthy life they desire.