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!
Do you love the aromatic, spicy flavor of ginger? I have to admit that I didn’t used to love it, but it has grown on me and now I love it! Did you know that ginger’s amazing flavor comes along with a host of health benefits?
Ginger and Digestive Health
Also known as Dang Gui, Tang Kuei, and Chinese Angelica this herb helps to regulate hormonal balance. Because it helps regulate hormones, it prevents calcium loss due to hormonal deficiency. It is known as a women’s tonic. There is anecdotal evidence that it helps with menopausal symptoms.
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!
What vitamin C does for your body
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.
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.
Turmeric contains a compound called curcumin that has LOTS of health benefits. It is found in delicous things like curry powder and mustard. Here are a few of the benefits:
Turmeric is good for your heart
It can help with cancer and arthritis
It may help with Alzheimer's and Osteoporosis
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!
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.