Lemons are an amazing little fruit. You may not think about them much because of their sour flavor, but they are packed with vitamin C! In fact, one raw lemon (minus its peel) contains over half of your daily dose of vitamin C! This is why it has been commonly used to treat scurvy, which may make you think of pirates! Aye, matey, them there lemons will cure what ails ya! OK. Enough of the pirate talk for now!
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.
Chia seeds are having a moment right now. In fact, they are one of the most talked about superfoods, but what makes them so super? They are packed with rich in fiber, omega-3 fats, protein, vitamins and minerals, all of which are necessary for energy.
Chia seeds were originally grown in Mexico and were highly valued, even being used as money. Aztec warriors used them as an energy and endurance source and claimed that chia seeds could give them energy for 24 hours! In fact, chia seeds were known as “runners’ food” because they were used by runners and warriors when they had to run long distances or during battle.
A recent study in Journal of Strength and Conditioning found that chia seed provided the same energy benefit as a sports drink without all the added sugar or sugar substitutes.
An added benefit is that chia seeds help boost your metabolism and help burn belly fat! Studies show that by adding chia seeds to your diet, you can actually lower your visceral adipose tissue (or belly fat), which contributes to a lowered metabolism. Chia seeds also absorb a lot of water, so they help keep you hydrated and keep you feeling full for longer. They are also high in Zinc, which increases leptin, a hormone that your body uses to regulate your appetite.
Added benefits of chia seeds:
There are several ways to eat chia seeds.
Chia Seed Recipes
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.
When you think of spinach, do you think of Popeye? Well, spinach does a lot more than give you big muscles! Spinach is great for your skin and hair! It helps keep your hair moisturized, and helps all body tissues, including skin and hair be healthy and grow by increasing collagen. It also contains iron, which prevents hair loss due to deficiency.
Spinach is low in calories, yet high in vitamins and minerals that your body needs. Spinach contains magnesium that helps reduce the effects of stress on the body by keeping your blood pressure from spiking, says Beth Reardon, R.D., director of integrative nutrition at Duke Integrative Medicine in North Carolina. By eating 3 cups of spinach, you consume 40 percent of your body’s daily magnesium needs.
Spinach is full of chlorophyll, which helps block certain carcinogenic compounds generated from grilling. So, the next time you grill out, enjoy a delicious spinach salad on the side! Spinach also helps prevent asthma, improve bone health and promote regularity.
1 cup of raw spinach contains:
White tea could help you live a longer life, a study has found. Antioxidants contained in white tea may help reduce your risk for skin aging, cancer and arthritis. White tea is uncured and unfermented. One study has found that white tea has more cancer-fighting properties than other more processed teas. Other studies show that white tea thins the blood and improves artery function, thereby reducing the risk of stroke.
White tea also contains a specific type of antioxidant called Catechins. Catechins actually lower bad cholesterol and increase good cholesterol. This helps prevent hardening of the arteries. Researchers have also discovered that people who drink 2 or more cups of tea a day are 50% less likely to die after a heart attack.
White tea has been found in some studies to increase bone density. White tea also contains antibacterial and antiviral properties, which improves your immune system function. This helps your body guard against the common cold and flu. It also kills the bacteria that cause tooth decay and plaque. A cup of tea a day could make a difference in your health and beauty!
Artichokes are high on the list of foods that are packed full of antioxidants. In a recent study artichokes ranked number one as the vegetable with the most antioxidants. Artichokes reduce inflammation throughout the entire body because they contain an antioxidants. The reduced inflammation makes you more beautiful by decreasing puffiness and skin redness, and well as reducing wrinkles.
Artichokes contain lots of fiber, which helps the body rid itself of toxins. This can help your skin by fighting acne. Artichokes also contain antioxidants that are especially good for your liver and may prevent liver disease. According to folklore, artichokes have long been reputed to cure liver ailments and liver cancer, as well as curing hangovers. Just one artichoke contains about 25% of your daily requirement for fiber. Artichokes are very low in calories, just remember to watch out for high calorie dips!
Artichoke Nutrition Facts:
It is no secret that I love to travel. One of the places I have traveled several times is the Hawaiian Islands. One of the best things about the Hawaiian Islands is the amazing fruit they grow there - mangoes, bananas, pineapples, and more! Eating fruit directly off the tree, sun-ripened is amazing. On one visit, our little apartment had a mango tree in the yard, so each morning we would eat sun-ripened and warmed mangoes for breakfast! Soooo good… But back to the pineapples. We even went to the Dole Plantation on Oahu and took a tour to see the pineapple growing!
Hawaii is known as the place pineapple comes from even though Christopher Columbus actually brought them back from South America. People in South America use pineapple to treat digestive problems and inflammation. One cup of pineapple contains only 82 calories, but a whopping 131% of your recommended daily allowance of vitamin C! It also contains vitamin A, calcium, iron, thiamin, riboflavin, vitamin B-6, folate, pantothenic acid, magnesium, manganese, potassium, antioxidants and polyphenols like beta-carotene.
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.