Link

is

 

The Health Benefits of Peppercorns

 

Black peppercorns are actually berries that grow on the pepper plant in tropical climates.  Peppercorns are rich in Vitamin A, B-complex Vitamins such as niacin, pyridoxine, riboflavin and thiamin, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, calcium, carotenes, copper, cryptoxanthin, dietary fibre, iron, lycopene, magnesium, manganese, potassium and an essential oil called piperine

 

WELLNESS

 

Peppercorns (and ground pepper) are part and parcel of most kitchen pantries these days, but little may you know that they actually have a munificent range of outstanding health benefits including but not limited to

Anti-cancer properties Vitamin A, Vitamin C, carotenes, cryptoxanthin, lycopene, Zea-xanthin all have astounding anti-oxidant abilities that can fend off cell-damaging potentially cancer-causing free radicals.  Vitamin C is especially effective against cancers of the cervix, esophagus, oral cavity, pancreas, rectum and stomach.  Piperine, a chemical compound in pepper, may actually prevent the growth of breast cancer tumors

Anti-inflammatory properties Vitamin C wages battle against cell-damaging free radicals that often cause inflammation in those suffering from osteo-arthritis and rheumatoid arthritis

 

Digestive health Pepper increases hydrochloric acid secretion in the stomach, which aids in proper digestion of proteins and other foodstuffs.  If hydrochloric acid is running low, food tends to stay in the stomach and/ or intestines for a longer period of time, and this can result in constipation, diarrhea, flatulence, heartburn and indigestion.  Black pepper is also a diuretic, which will facilitate urination

Eye health Vitamin A is essential for healthy eye tissue and protects the eyes from age-related macular degeneration

Healthy bones and teeth Vitamin C is crucial for healthy gums.  Vitamin A is essential for strong teeth

Heart health Vitamin C can fight atherosclerosis and lower blood pressure.  Potassium controls the heart rate and blood pressure.  Lycopene prevents LDL, or “bad cholesterol” from doing damage to arterial walls

Immune system health Vitamin C is key in building and maintaining a strong immune system and warding off and lessening the symptoms of an almost innumerable amount of disease ranging from the common cold to the flu to the HIV virus.  Black pepper has known anti-bacterial properties, which can kill germs.  Black pepper is a great home remedy for thinning out nasal congestion

Vitamin absorption Piperine, an amine alkaloid, can increase the absorption of beta-carotene, B-complex vitamins and selenium

BEAUTY

Anti-oxidant properties Rich in Vitamin A, Vitamin C, carotenes, cryptoxanthin, lycopene, Zea-xanthin, these anti-oxidant superstars will do wonders for your hair, skin and nails and can prevent the signs of premature aging

 

WEIGHT LOSS

The outer layer of the black peppercorn, in particular, is highly effective in blocking fat formation in the body by breaking down fat cells.  It also stimulates the metabolic rate, sweating and is a terrific diuretic

 

COOKING

Naturally, pepper is used as a companion seasoning to salt on well, just about everything, but if you are mindful of your salt intake, you can use pepper as a stand-alone seasoning.  Why?  Well, besides the fact that it is delicious and healthy, it actually contains a minute amount of salt

Try this classic French dish, Steak Au Poivre, on for size. You can lighten it up by swapping some of the traditional high calorie higher-fat elements with healthier substitutes.   Choose two lean grass fed sirloin steaks, coat them with 2 teaspoons of Dijon mustard and press a tablespoon or so of black peppercorns into the flesh.  Sear the steaks on one side for about 4 minutes and finish them off in the oven at 350 degrees for an additional 7 minutes.

For the sauce, add a teaspoon of olive oil to the skillet and turn up to high.  Add a ¼ cup of quality red drinking wine, 1/3 cup low-sodium chicken or veggie broth and let reduce for 3 minutes.   Add 2 teaspoons of unsalted butter and a pinch of salt and remove from heat.  Once the mix has cooled a tad, add 2 tablespoons of low-fat sour cream and serve over the rested steaks.  Bon appetit

The disparity between a restaurant’s price and food quality rises in direct proportion to the size of the pepper mill.  ~Bryan Q. Miller

Link

Bucket of raw Abelmoschus esculentus (okra) pods

Bucket of raw Abelmoschus esculentus (okra) pods (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Health Benefits of Okra

 

This beloved Southern U.S. staple, and popular ingredient in   Africa, India and the Middle East, contains memorable amounts of Vitamin A, Vitamin B6, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Beta-carotene, fibre, folate, lutein, magnesium, manganese, niacin, (B3), thiamin (B1) and zeaxanthin

WELLNESS

Okra burst forth from its roots and staked claim on the world at large in recent years because of its delicious, grassy flavor and amazing health benefits including but not limited to

Anti-cancer properties Okra’s rich fibre content sweeps hazardous wastes from the intestines and colon and can help combat colon cancer.  Vitamin A, Vitamin C, beta-carotene and lutein are powerful anti-oxidants that fight off cell-damaging free radicals and reduce your risk of developing cancer

Asthma Vitamin C, taken in even low regular doses, has been shown to reduce typical asthmatic symptoms like wheezing in those individuals suffering from the affliction

Blood health Magnesium is responsible for the production of healthy red blood cells

Bone health / teeth health Vitamin A and Vitamin C build and sustain strong bones and teeth.  Vitamin C plays an important role in repairing bones, cartilage, ligaments and tendons.  Vitamin K stimulates calcium-binding in the bones

Diabetes Fibre helps normalize blood sugar levels in the body by slowing down sugar absorption in the blood

Digestive health Due to its rich fibre content, okra cleans out the intestines and colon of toxic materials.  Vitamin A is vital for healthy mucous membranes, which, in turn, are beneficial for proper functioning of the digestive tract.  Consuming okra helps produce probiotics, or good bacteria, and is a great way to ease constipation, gas and irritable bowel syndrome

 

Eye health Vitamin A maintains healthy eye tissue, promotes higher visual acuity and can protect the eyes from age-related macular degeneration

 

Healthy bones and teeth Vitamin C is essential for healthy gums.  Vitamin A and beta-carotene are both good for a strong and healthy set of chompers.  Some of Vitamin C’s other prominent tasks include repairing bones, cartilage, ligaments and tendons

Healthy pregnancy Folate is an absolute must-have B vitamin for women who are carrying as it promotes healthy growth of the baby and prevents birth defects.  Vitamin C also aids in proper development of the fetus

 

Heart health Vitamin C, taken regularly, can lower blood pressure and fight atherosclerosis.  Magnesium also helps to normalize blood pressure.  Pectin, a soluble fibre found in okra, has been shown to considerably lower cholesterol.  Okra also happens to be a cholesterol-free food

 

Immune system health Vitamin C is the immune system’s best friend and can help heal wounds, form healthy scar tissue and fight off a gamut of diseases and infections, from an annoying, everyday cold to influenza to the HIV virus

Kidney Disease Studies have shown that eating okra on a consistent basis can actually stave off the onset of kidney disease

 

BEAUTY

 Skin health Vitamin C promotes healthy skin and produces collagen

Anti-oxidant properties Anti-oxidants Vitamin A, Vitamin C, beta-carotene and lutein are all winning warriors against cell-damaging free radicals and work to maintain healthy, younger-looking, elastic skin, strong, resilient nails and bounce-back hair that is less prone to breakage and split ends

 

WEIGHT LOSS

 

Fibre A once cup serving of okra has a whopping 3.2 grams of fibre, which will keep your stomach feeling full and sated and your mind less likely to crave those empty calories that are detrimental to your diet.  The fibre will also flush out your system more regularly and keep you from feeling bloated

 

Nutritional Intake One cup of okra has a scant 33 calories and is virtually fat-free with a barely worth mentioning 0.1 grams per that same one cup serving

 

COOKING / CONSUMPTION

 

Okra is available year round, but is at its peak in the summer months.  Okra pods, when chosen, should be bright green in color

Okra can be slimy if not prepared correctly, and that has proven a turn-off to some, but do not let that dissuade you from trying this delicious and versatile veggie.  To cut down on the slime factor, utilize quick-cooking methods like flash sauteing or steaming, grilling and/or frying.  A friend of mine recently suggested that I cut a small “x” in the stem end of the okra pod and soak it in vinegar for 1/2 hour before cooking.  Apparently, this is a popular treatment in Morocco and Greece, but one that should be taken in consideration, of course, dependent on which recipe you plan to make, as vinegar is strong

Pickled okra is fun and easy to put together and can be stored and enjoyed for up to six months!  Make sure to invest in real one-pint canning jars that have those two–part sealing lids to keep the air out and maximize the pickling effect.  Just fill a jar with okra pods, one chopped garlic clove, one whole Chile pepper, ½ tsp. dill seeds, a cup of vinegar (either cider or rice wine vinegar), 1 cup water and 2 tbsp sea salt  Spoon the mixture over the okra (leaving a little space at the top of each jar), boil the jars submerged in water for 15 minutes and store them in a cool dry place for at least three weeks before eating

Bbq Grilled okra is a fun and tasty backyard BBQ alternative.  Keep the pods whole, toss them in some fresh lemon juice, drizzle them with some quality EVOO, sprinkle them with a gentle amount of sea salt and a little fresh cracked black pepper and coriander to taste and place them right on the outside grill (or inside grill pan) for about five minutes each side.  The charred flavor well compliments that okra’s natural grassy goodness

For a healthy spin on a traditional Louisiana comfort food, concoct this easy, lean but still hearty and satisfying Chicken and Sausage GumboIn a Dutch oven, combine 2 tbsp all-purpose flour and 1 tbsp. canola oil over medium-high heat for three minutes.  Add 1 chopped onion, 1 cup sliced okra, 1 cup chopped celery, 4 minced garlic cloves, a ½ teaspoon (or more depending on how spicy you like it) Cajun seasoning, a ½ teaspoon thyme, 1 bay leaf, 2 cups lean chicken breast, 1 cup light Italian turkey sausage, ½ cup sliced red bell pepper, ½ cup sliced green bell pepper, 2 cups diced tomatoes and one 1 cup of chicken broth.  Bring it to a boil and then let simmer for 6-10 minutes and serve over brown rice

My Favorite Tempura Okra  in a crisp light batter with smoke paprika and tatziki

Fun Fact about Okra:  The seeds in okra are sometimes roasted in a skillet until browned and then cooled and ground as a coffee substitute!

Okra fruits

Okra fruits (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Link

This amazing superfood has a component that makes them blue is called Anthocyanin, wild berries have over 40 percent more power busting ability so if you can grow your own even better. Its one of the many antioxidants in blue berries and they also contain truckloads of Vitamins A,B,C,K, selenium, copper, iron, zinc, phosphorous and plenty more, not only is it great for weight loss, anti aging and cancer fighting, it can help reduce belly fat the hardest fat to move read on for how

Wellness

Depression its known to reduce the affects of this debilitating illness

Anti inflammatory high antioxidants, phytochemicals, vitamins and minerals attribute to this success

Cancer in particular of the colon, liver and ovaries due to Ellargic acid and pterostilbene, anthocyanin, copper & vitamin c

Heart Health  The dye released from the pigments in the skin of the blueberry, called anthocyanin is the source of powerful antioxidants used by the body to fight off high blood pressure and help strengthen blood vessels, leading to healthier blood pressure levels

Urinary tract infections Epicatechin works to prevent bacteria from attaching to the lining of the bladder tissue. This causes the bacteria to be eliminated through your urine rather than attaching to the bladder wall, where they start multiplying and ultimately causing infection.  Fructose, the sugar found naturally in fruit, may also be beneficial by interfering with bacterial adhesion

Eye Health degeneration can be delayed or prevented due to the antioxidant properties carotenoids, lutiens and zeaxanthin.Flavonoids such as resveritol, quertin and rutin. Anthocyanosides is excellent in the slowing of macular degeneration, cataracts, myopia and hypermetropia

Alziemers disease and brain health  The antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of blueberries build a protective coat around the brain to fight signs of aging and deterioration. There is also evidence that blueberries may help to prevent Alzheimer’s disease and other neurological disorders

Constipation the vitamins, sodium, copper, fructose and acids improve digestion and fiber eliminates constipation

Weightloss

Belly Fat In one animal study of rats that consumed two percent of their diet as blueberries had dramatic results after 90 days in they had significantly less belly fat

Low Calories & High Fiber only 78 calories in one cup and 3.8 gms of fiber a great choice for weightloss

High Antioxidant consumption New research from the University of Florida found that people who consume more antioxidants weigh less, even when they don’t eat fewer calories. The researchers developed an index that ranks the number of calories consumed from plant-based foods compared with overall daily calorie intake called the phyto chemical index, or PI score. A totally plant-based, vegan diet (excluding hard liquor and refined sugars)

Beauty

Anti Aging due to Anthocyanin it’s believed to be the most powerful of all

Healthy Nails & Scar reduction by rubbing in blueberry oil every evening

Cooking

No need to cook they are fantastic raw, however if you get your hands on them when they are plentiful and in season

You can freeze them and snack on them as they are

Roast them and mix with some wilted spinach, pan fried salmon fillet, chilli, almond flaxseed oil dressing to speed up the metabolism

Blueberry and maple syrup ice cream, maple syrup is full of good stuff too

Make a yummy summer blue berry trifle with ricotta, chai seed & spelt sponge, lemon myrtle jelly

Whiz them in your favorite smoothie

Blend some with watermelon and mint, top with greek style yoghurt and whole berries for a fantastic summer soup

With Facts that they achieve anti aging, reduced belly fat and depression, you can’t afford not to eat blue berries today, so go on treat yourself to these tasty morsels and get some and give yourself a fighting chance