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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

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5lores

The Heath Benefits of Pomegranates

 

Pomegranates are thick-skinned dazzlingly red beauties brimming with Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Vitamin K, calcium, ellagic acid, folic acid, magnesium, manganese, niacin, phosphorous, phytochemicals, polyphenols, punicalagins, potassium, riboflavin, thiamin and zinc

WELLNESS

These historically revered fruits have innumerable health benefits including but not limited to protect against and treatment of the following

Anemia Pomegranates are filled with iron and can cure anemia by elevating hemoglobin levels

Anti-cancer properties Pomegranates can prevent breast cancer, colon cancer, leukemia and prostate cancer, and can inhibit tumor growth and even, in some cases, induce apoptosis or cell death.

 

Anti-inflammatory abilities Vitamin C helps control arthritis and asthmatic symptoms such as coughing and wheezing

 

Bone health Calcium is crucial for strong, healthy bones.  Manganese helps form bone structures.  Pomegranate juice can also deter cartilage damage, which, in turn, prevents osteoporosis

 

Depression Pomegranates contain vital phytochemicals that stimulate serotonin and improve mood

 

Diabetes Pomegranate juice does not increase blood sugar levels, which is great news for diabetic folks

 

Digestive health Pomegranate juice aids in digestion and can help ease nausea.  The white membrane of the pomegranate is often used as a cure for diarrhea, dysentery, hemorrhoids and intestinal worms

 

Eye health Pomegranates are a great home remedy for conjunctivitis

 

Heart health Punicalagins (anti-oxidant compounds) lower cholesterol and blood pressure and increase the rate at which atherosclerosis (arterial blockages) dissolve.  Pomegranate juice has also been shown to improve blood flow and oxygen to the heart.   Magnesium normalizes blood pressure.  Potassium controls a healthy heart rate and also lowers blood pressure.  Pomegranate seeds actually prevent blood platelet aggregation, which can lead to hazardous blood clots

 

Immune system health Vitamin A and Vitamin C are extraordinary immune system boosters, which help fight off a wide variety of diseases, infections and viruses ranging from the common cold to the flu to HIV

 

Men’s health Studies indicate that pomegranate juice may be a natural, progressive treatment for ED, or erectile dysfunction

 

Menopause Pomegranate juice has been shown to relieve “hot flashes

 

Pregnancy Most doctors highly recommend folic acid to expectant moms as it increases blood flow to the unborn baby and can prevent neural tube birth defects

 

Women’s health Pomegranate juice can alleviate a UTI, or urinary tract infection

 

BEAUTY

 

Anti-oxidant properties Vitamins A, C and E are all powerful anti-oxidants that promote healthy hair and strong nails.

 

Skin health Pomegranate protects the skin from harmful UV rays, promotes cell regeneration, repairs tissues and speeds up wound healing.  The anti-oxidants in pomegranate juice will also prevent the signs of premature aging including age spots, fine lines and wrinkles.  Pomegranate can also sooth painful acne outbreaks and diminish scars

 

WEIGHT LOSS

 

Fibre A cup of the arils aka juicy pomegranate seeds actually contains a bountiful 7 grams of fibre.  As a snack, they will keep you feeling fuller longer and less likely to reach for empty calories.  They will also keep your body flushed out, which results in more consistent weight loss

 

Cooking / Consumption

 Fantastic in salads, yoghurt, sorbet, mix through vegetable dishes and curries to finish for colour, texture and zing

Marinate Meats in the juice , grill or just eat raw, naturally sublime

A wonderful compliment to your Sunday morning Belgian-style waffles or short stack of whole-wheat pancakes is this unique and sublime pomegranate syrup that is oh so easy to make.  All you need to do is combine 12 cups of pomegranate juice, 1.5 cups of sugar and 3 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice in a saucepan over medium heat until the sugar is completely dissolved.  Turn the mixture down to medium-low and allow it to reduce into syrup for about 50 minutes or so.  Let the syrup cool for a good half an hour and pour into pretty glass Ball jars

 

Interesting fact about pomegranates:  The pomegranate is one of the world’s oldest fruits and some scholars believe that it was actually the pomegranate, not the apple, which tempted Eve in the Garden of Eden.

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Passionfruit, Granadilla, Passiflora edulis 's...

Passionfruit, Granadilla, Passiflora edulis ‘s a half of fruit with skin, flesh and seeds ….Trái Chanh dây cắt nửa với vỏ, cơm và hạt … (Photo credit: Vietnam Plants & The USA. plants)

The Health Benefits of Passion Fruit

 

This native South American fruit is chock full of nutrients, vitamins and minerals including Vitamin A, Vitamin B2, Vitamin B6, Vitamin C, calcium, carotenoids such as Beta-carotene and lutein, choline, copper, fibre, folate, iron, magnesium, phosphorous and potassium

WELLNESS

The passion fruit has inspired amorous passion in many a health-minded individual as it is sublime in flavor and innumerous in health benefits including but not limited to

Anti-cancer properties Passion fruit juice, with pulp and seeds intact, is very high in fibre and serves as a powerful laxative, which will keep your colon clean and in less contact with cancer-causing toxins.  This means you are far less likely to develop colon cancer.  Vitamin A maintains healthy mucous membranes and can stave off lung cancer and oral cancer.  Vitamin C, as anti-oxidant, combats the oxidative stress caused by cell-damaging free radicals, repairs tissue and wards off quite a few forms of cancer including that of the cervix, esophagus, oral cavity, pancreas, rectum and stomach.  Lutein may also decrease your risk of developing cancer.

Arthritis The important carotenoid Beta-carotene can reduce one’s chance of developing arthritis.  Anti-oxidant champion vitamin C does battle against cell-damaging free radicals that often cause inflammation in those suffering from osteo-arthritis and rheumatoid arthritis

Asthma Vitamin C is effective as an anti-histamine and can calm an asthma attack

Blood health The passion fruit contains a healthy dose of iron, and iron increases blood production.  Vitamin C works in tandem by preventing the loss of iron in one’s body

Bones / Teeth Mighty vitamin C is a must-have for healthy gums.  Vitamin A and beta-carotene are both crucial for strong teeth.  Potassium helps preserve calcium in the bones and increases their density and strength.  Calcium, in turn, prevents bone loss and osteoporosis

Depression Consumption of Beta-carotene, aka “Pro-Vitamin A,” can reduce one’s risk of suffering from depression

 

Digestive health Passion fruit makes for a highly effective laxative that can ease constipation.   It also shows promise in relieving hyperacidity and gastric ulcers.  B vitamins maintain healthy mucous membranes in the digestive tract

 

Eye health Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Beta-carotene and flavonoids all protect the eyes from free-radical damage and promote proper moistness of the eyes and higher visual acuity, especially at night

 

Heart health Adequate amounts of fibre can actually reduce cholesterol.  Potassium regulates the heart rate and blood pressure.  Magnesium regulates the pumping of the heart and also relaxes the blood vessels.  The B vitamins inherent in passion fruit juice can also lower cholesterol and stimulate proper blood circulation.  The many anti-oxidants in passion fruit inhibit the growth of cancer cells in the body.  And as luck would have it, passion fruit is a low-sodium food, which is always good news for those tending to their hearts

 

Immune system health Vitamin A, Vitamin C and over a dozen varying carotenoids found in passion fruit royally boost your immune system and can fend off a gamut of ailments ranging from the common cold to the flu to the HIV virus

 

Sleep disorders & Stress relief Vitamin B-6 is absolutely crucial in producing GABA, an extremely influential amino acid that serves as a neurotransmitter in the nervous system and results in a general calming effect and feeling of overall well-being.  Drinking a glass of passion fruit juice before bed can expedite a restful night’s sleep for the frustrated insomniac

 

BEAUTY

 

Anti-oxidant properties Vitamin A, Vitamin B2, Vitamin B6, Vitamin C, copper and potassium all play a strong role in maintaining healthy, lustrous hair that is less prone to breakage.  The anti-oxidant abilities of vitamins A & C do wonders in combatting cell-damaging free radicals and oxidative stress and preventing pre-mature aging

 

WEIGHT LOSS

 

Fibre One cup of passion fruit juice with pulp and seeds intact, provides an astounding    grams of fibre, which will fill you up and keep you flushed out on a regular basis, both which contribute to a more consistent and organic weight loss

COOKING / CONSUMPTION

 

Passion fruit curd is a wonderfully exotic spread for your Sunday morning scones, biscuits or short stack of pancakes and all it requires is ten passion fruits, a couple of eggs, some sugar, a bit of unsalted butter and a little stirring over low heat until thickened.  The curd can be poured into pretty glass jars and kept in the fridge for some time to relish when the mood strikes you

 

Passion fruit frozen yogurt or sorbet is downright delightful during the hot summer days and super simple to make.  But if you really want to get impressive with dessert, make a luscious passion fruit cheesecake.  The secret to extra creamy goodness is the combination of lite cream cheese and lite sour cream or Greek yogurt.  In order to truly reap the greatest benefits from this tropical fruit, use the pulp to make a simple syrup to pool on your finished cheesecake.  The black seeds make for a visually striking edible garnish with a lovely contrasting crunch

And a batch of Passion Fruit Mojito’s will go over well at any cocktail party.  Combine freshly strained passion fruit juice in a pretty rock glass or martini glass and mix in 2 TB.’s fresh lime juice, ½ teaspoon granulated sugar and some torn fresh mint leaves.  Muddle well, add ice, pour in 2 ounces of quality white rum and top off with club soda

History tell us that Spanish explorers saw the brilliant blooming flower of the passion fruit as a symbol of Christ’s crucifixion, or, the “Passion of the Cross.”

മലയാളം: പാഷൻ ഫ്രൂട്ട്

മലയാളം: പാഷൻ ഫ്രൂട്ട് (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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White necatrine and its cross section isolated...

White necatrine and its cross section isolated on a white background (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Benefits of Nectarines

 

These non-fuzzy fruits that are often confused with peaches contain Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Beta-carotenes, bioflavonoids, calcium, carotenoids, fibre, folic acid, iron, lutein, magnesium, natural sugars, pantothenic acid, potassium, phosphorous, pyridoxine and thiamine

WELLNESS

 

The smooth nectarine has long-earned its favorable ranking amongst health-minded individuals who loves its white or sweet yellow-pinkish flesh and its outstanding health benefits including but not limited to

Anti-cancer properties Vitamin A, Vitamin C, beta-carotene and lutein are all mighty anti-oxidants that help stave off certain forms of cancer.  Carotenoids reduce cell damage due to the burning of oxygen in the body.  Lutein may also decrease your risk of developing cancer.  Eating nectarines on a more regular basis has been shown to prevent one from developing oral cavity cancer, in particular

Arthritis Anti-oxidant Vitamin C fights off free radicals that often cause inflammation in individuals afflicted with osteo-arthritis and rheumatoid arthritis

 Blood health Magnesium produces healthy red blood cells in the body

Bone health / teeth health Vitamin A and Vitamin C (in its form as ascorbic acid) build and maintain healthy and strong bones and teeth.  And speaking of Vitamin A, beta-carotene is a crucial anti-oxidant that actually turns into Vitamin A in the body!  If you don’t have enough beta-carotene in your diet, you will consequently not have enough Vitamin A and that could lead to poor or even abnormal bone development.  Vitamin C plays an important role in repairing bones, cartilage, ligaments and tendons

Digestive health Potassium can increase metabolism and aids in the proper digestion of carbohydrates.  The nectarine’s rich fibre content can relieve constipation

Eye health Beta-carotene promotes healthy vision and can prevent age-related macular degeneration.  Nutrient lutein also supports healthy eyes

Heart Health Vitamin C is known to lower blood pressure and fight atherosclerosis.  Both potassium and fibre are phenomenal substances for the heart.  They can help keep your cholesterol levels in check and lower your blood pressure, as well.  Nectarines have no cholesterol, no saturated fat and no sodium, all of which are huge plusses for those taking careful stock of their heart

Immune system health Vitamin C is an incredible champion for the immune system and can help heal wounds, form healthy scar tissue and ward off innumerable infections and diseases ranging from the common cold to the flu.  Vitamin A maintains healthy mucous membranes

pH balance Potassium regulates proper pH balance in the body

BEAUTY

 Skin health Vitamin C keeps skin tissue strong and produces collagen

Anti-oxidant properties Vitamin A, Vitamin C, beta-carotene and lutein are powerful anti-oxidants in their own right and help fend off cell-damaging free radicals.  Vitamin A and lutein promote healthy, supple skin.  All of these anti-oxidants strengthen the hair and nails and make them strong and less prone to splitting and breakage

WEIGHT LOSS

 

Fibre Since nectarines are a great source of dietary fibre with    2.4 grams per medium-sized fruit, eating them will allow you to feel full longer, and can thus keep your appetite at bay, reduce your cravings for empty calories and reduce your overall calorie consumption

 

Metabolism Potassium is said to improve your metabolism, which can help you keep moving and exercising more regularly and as a result, speed up weight loss

Nutritional Intake Nectarines are extremely low in calories with approximately 50-60 in one medium-sized fruit.  They are sodium-free, have no saturated fat and only half a gram of total fat

COOKING / CONSUMPTION

Make sure the ones you choose have tight, wrinkle-free skin and a slight give to them when you press them with a finger

They are wonderful eaten raw, and especially with the skin on, as it maximizes their nutritional effectiveness, not to mention gives you additional fibre

Spend a homey day rolling up your sleeves and getting messy in the kitchen making a batch of Nectarine jam or jelly that you can enjoy spread  your Sunday morning biscuits or scones, or bottle with a self-designed label, ribbon, and give away as thoughtful gifts for Christmas

Nectarines make for sweet and unique inclusions when chopped up and combined in a spicy-sweet salsa or ceviche

Looking for a scrumptious and impressive appetizer that is oh so simple to put together?  Just slice some Fresh heavy rye bread and spread with goat cheese (herbed or plain), place a ripe nectarine on the cheese, drizzle with a little honey and sprinkle with toasted almonds

Nectarines, especially when combined with peaches, plums orange juice, chopped garlic cloves, onion and red peppers, butter substitute, honey and soy sauce make for lip-smacking sweet and sour sauces perfect for Asian-style or fusion stir-fries utilizing your favorite lean proteins such as chicken breast or pork

A nectarine cobbler is a nice break from the traditional peach one and is as luscious as it is easy to compose.  Merely melt some butter in an oven-proof baking dish, mix flour, sugar and milk into a batter, pour into the baking dish, scatter a whole bunch of beautiful, fresh nectarine wedges across the batter, bake at in a moderate oven for an hour and serve with greek style yoghurt or soured cream

“What wondrous life is this I lead! Ripe apples drop about my head; The luscious clusters of the vine Upon my mouth do crush their wine; The nectarine, and curious peach, Into my hands themselves do reach; Stumbling on melons, as I pass, Ensnared with flowers, I fall on grass.”

 ~Andrew Marvell

English: nectarine Deutsch: Nektarine

English: nectarine Deutsch: Nektarine (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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English: A grapefruit cut in half.

English: A grapefruit cut in half. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Health Benefits of Ruby Red Grapefruit

The big, beautiful ruby red is absolutely bursting with vitamin A, vitamin C, beta-carotene, fibre, lycopene and naringenin

WELLNESS

 

This sweet and tangy citrus fruit has won over the hearts and palettes of health conscious foodies and home cooks because of its effervescent sunshine punch of flavor and its significant health benefits including but not limited to

Adrenal gland health Vitamin C has been researched to prove critical to proper adrenal gland function

Anti-cancer properties Vitamin C is a mighty anti-oxidant that combats the cell-damaging free radicals that can cause various cancers including those of the cervix, esophagus, oral cavity, pancreas, rectum and stomach.  Naringenin is a flavonoid anti-oxidant, which has been shown to stimulate cell repair in patients suffering from prostate cancer.   And, as if that weren’t enough, ruby reds also contain beta-carotene, yet another flavonoid anti-oxidant that fights off free radicals

Arthritis Anti-oxidant vitamin C de-activates those sinister free radicals that often cause inflammation in folks suffering from osteo-arthritis and rheumatoid arthritis

Eye health Vitamin A is essential for the proper maintenance of healthy eye tissue and can protect the eyes from age-related macular degeneration and promote higher visual acuity for all

Healthy bones and teeth Vitamin C is essential for healthy gums.  Vitamin A and beta-carotene are both good for healthy teeth

Heart health Lycopene stops LDL, or “bad cholesterol” from doing damage to arterial walls.  The various anti-oxidants in ruby red grapefruit, lycopene included, have been known to lower triglycerides.   The ruby red’s high fibre content helps lower cholesterol.  Vitamin C has the capacity to lower blood pressure and fight atherosclerosis.  The ruby red grapefruit is also a cholesterol-free food, and that is always great news for those loving their heart

Immune system health Vitamin C is the world heavyweight champ when it comes to building and maintaining a healthy immune system and warding off and lessening the symptoms of an almost innumerable amount of disease ranging from the common cold to influenza to HIV

Kidney health Drinking grapefruit juice, in particular, is rumored to be an excellent means of preventing the formation of kidney stones

BEAUTY

Anti-oxidant properties This ruby red princess of citrus fruits is an absolute amalgam of anti-oxidants including vitamins A and C, beta-carotene and naringenin, all of which combat the cell-damaging free radicals that can cause premature aging.  In your defense, they keep your hair follicles healthy and well-maintained for proper hair growth and your nails resilient and less prone to easy breakage

Vitamin C This superpower vitamin helps build healthy collagen and can ward of age-related wrinkles and fine lines and result in firmer more elastic skin overall

WEIGHT LOSS

This delicious, nutritious and succulent fruit is a waist watcher’s dream as it is low in calories (a mere 102 for a whole grapefruit) high in fibre (4 grams per fruit) and cholesterol-free.  This fruit is a snack that will never leave you disappointed.  Its tangy sweetness will enliven your taste buds and keep you feeling full and sated.  The wealth of fibre will keep your digestive system on track and flush out your body, resulting in a more steady weight loss

 

COOKING

 

Ruby red grapefruits are sublime when eaten all natural, sliced in half with a sharp knife and scooped out with a silver spoon.  They can be a simple and simply delicious part of a balanced breakfast a replete with some lightly buttered whole wheat toast and a soft boiled egg sprinkled with sea salt, or as a mid-morn or mid-afternoon pick-me-up snack

Ruby red grapefruit wedges are pretty-in-pink additions to a festive fruit salad to bring to your next backyard family gathering or potluck pick company picnic.  Or, you can toss together a savory salad filled with grapefruit wedges, bitter chicory, red-wine vinegar, honey, olive oil and your favorite spices, to taste

A sweet, salty and slightly spicy and surprising appetizer is a ruby red grapefruit and lobster meat ceviche mingled with other popular citrus juices, a jaunt of fresh cilantro and a dash of red chili flakes.  Take that, taste buds!

Ruby red grapefruit cupcakes are sure to be a hot-seller at the next spring bake sale or a hit with the kids at the next class birthday party.  Plus, you are sneaking in a bit of healthiness disguised as dessert into their diets, which is always good

On a slow Saturday, simmer up and serve some brilliantly colored ruby red grapefruit marmalade that is pure delight when spread on French crepes or slathered on already buttered fresh baked scones

Ruby red grapefruit gelato or sorbet is a thirst-quenching body-cooling summer treat

And for an intoxicatingly delicious nightcap, add some freshly squeezed ruby red grapefruit juice to your favorite liquor libation (vodka and gin work just fine) and shake the night away…

 

Interesting fact about the Ruby Red Grapefruit:  Ruby Red Grapefruit is the official emblematic fruit of the big state of Texas where it is said to have originated. 

 

 

This photograph shows two pink grapefruits (Ci...

This photograph shows two pink grapefruits (Citrus ×paradisi), one of the two cut in pieces. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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stock-photo-side-view-of-a-stuffed-turkey-on-a-bed-of-italian-flat-leaf-parsley-being-carved-61453081Health Benefits of Turkey

Just one mere serving of turkey has over half the daily recommended intake of protein. In addition, turkey meat is laden with B-complex vitamins, biotin, choline, copper, folate, folic acid, iron, magnesium, omega-3 fatty acids, phosphorous, potassium, selenium, tryptophan and zinc

WELLNESS

The grand news about this beloved and historical poultry product is that it isn’t just a tasty staple protein; it also has a slew of terrific health benefits including but not limited to

Anti-cancer properties Tryptophan produces T-cells, which in turn, fight off cancer cells. Selenium is a vital anti-oxidant that combats cancer-inducing free radicals in the body. Recent studies have shown that a portion of turkey eaten daily, minus the skin, lowers the risk of pancreatic cancer, in particular

Anti-inflammatory properties Turkey meat has a marked amount of omega-3 fatty acids, which can help alleviate arthritis and asthma

Blood sugar/Insulin Vitamin B6 is in abundance in turkey meat and helps regulate and maintain healthy blood sugar levels. High protein foods like turkey can help keep insulin levels within a preferred range

Heart health White skinless turkey meat is quite low in saturated fat. It is also pretty low in sodium, which is great news for folks with high blood pressure. Turkey has been proven to lower LDL cholesterol

Immune system health Selenium aids in the healthy functioning of the immune system. Tryptophan is a serotonin-producing amino acid that generally strengthens the immune system

Insomnia Tryptophan produces the neurotransmitter, serotonin, which calms mood, promotes overall well being and makes one far more likely to fall asleep with ease

Mood Tryptophan produces serotonin, an important neuro-transmitter that does wonders to elevate mood

Muscle health As turkey meat is rich in protein, moderate in carbs and low in calories, consuming it in conjunction with healthy exercise, can build strong and healthy muscles

Protein Turkey actually provides more protein per ounce than chicken! There are, in fact, 32 grams of protein in one 4 ounce serving, and protein-rich foods help regulate digestion

Thyroid health Selenium is crucial to healthy functioning of the thyroid

BEAUTY

Anti-oxidant properties Selenium is an anti-oxidant that combats cell-damaging free radicals that can result in premature aging.  Anti-oxidants help promote smooth, elastic skin, shiny hair and strong nails

WEIGHT LOSS Since turkey is a terrific source of protein, and relatively low in calories, it will award guilt-free, healthy nourishment that will keep you feeling full and satisfied, and far less likely to reach for empty snacks during the course of your day

Energy Turkey meat is a great source of B6 and niacin, both of which are vital for energy production

COOKING

When you are able to do so, buy an organic turkey as it generally has a higher nutrient content

Also, contrary to widespread belief, cooking turkey with the skin on is perfectly fine and recommended. The fat will NOT seep into the meat, and the skin will keep the meat from drying out.  However, you will want to remove the skin before actually consuming it

For a super juicy and tender American style Thanksgiving centerpiece, try one of the many “brine recipes” out there.  I did so a few years ago and my family still raves about how amazingly “un-dry” the bird was

But remember, turkey isn’t just for the holidays or the occasional reduced-guilt deli sandwich, the sky is the limit as far as creative recipes go…

Make a turkey and asparagus frittatta with egg  and several low fat cheeses of your liking. Fold and mold together a gourmet ground turkey meatloaf and serve it with whipped polenta and a side of garlicky sautéed spinach.  Or how about a tantalizing low-fat turkey tetrazzini made with whole quiona, low salt chicken broth, light cheese and low fat milk, or even a sumptuous turkey pot pie bubbling in a healthy, earthy crust made of brown rice and spinach?

stock-photo-close-up-of-a-plate-of-sliced-turkey-breast-butternut-squash-and-dressing-88623058 

“I have no desire to crow over anybody or to see anybody eating crow, figuratively or otherwise. We should all get together and make a country in which everybody can eat turkey whenever he pleases. ~Harry S. Truman

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Leeks

Leeks (Photo credit: karenandbrademerson)

Health Benefits of Leeks

This delicately sweet and stalky vegetable is absolutely laden with vitamins, nutrients and minerals including vitamin A, vitamin B2, vitamin B6, vitamin C, Vitamin K, anti-oxidants, calcium, copper, flavonoids, folate, high fibre, iron, manganese, molybdenum, niacin, potassium, sulfides and thiamin

WELLNESS

Leeks are still a somewhat overlooked member of the royal family of allium vegetables, which include their more popular cousins, garlic and onions.   But leeks have since been invited to the ball, or at least to the kitchen of many health-conscious individuals in the know who have come to discover and revere their subtle, pleasing flavor and rightful wealth of health benefits including but not limited to

Anti-cancer properties Vitamin C helps combat cell-inflaming free radicals that can cause cancer.  The sulfides in leeks have been shown to slow down the growth of malignant tumors.  The leek’s plentitude of fibre keeps the bowels regular and the colon clean and less likely to develop colon cancer

Anti-inflammatory properties Leeks have been found to alleviate the inflammation often associated with arthritis and diabetes

Digestive health Leeks are a great source of fibre and can promote healthy digestion and ease constipation with their laxative properties.  Leeks also contain prebiotic carbohydrates that promote the growth of healthy bacteria in the lower intestine

Edema Otherwise known as fluid retention, edema often occurs with pregnancy, exposure to excessive heat and as a result of kidney or liver disease.   Leeks are natural diuretics and can alleviate uncomfortable swelling by ridding the body of excess fluid

Heart health Leeks contain several different anti-oxidant sulfinites that convert to allicin in the body.  Allicin has been shown to decrease the potential for heart disease as it lowers blood pressure, reduces LDL, or bad cholesterol, raises HDL, or good cholesterol, and prevents blood clots.  Kaempferol is an important flavonoid, which helps to protect the linings of our blood vessels from damage.  Iron is essential to the production of healthy hemoglobin.  Folate is key to keeping homocysteine from overproducing and causing heart disease

Immune system health Vitamin C, of course, is the ultimate immune system booster and can successfully fend off a plethora of infections and viruses ranging from the common cold to influenza to HIV.  Vitamin A is also no slouch when it comes to fighting infections, and does so by strengthening the mucus linings throughout the body and by activating our white blood cells.  Allicin is an anti-bacterial sulfur composite that has displayed effectiveness against strains of coli and staphylococcus

Pregnancy Insuring that expectant mother’s have enough folate in their diets during pregnancy can help prevent birth defects in unborn babies

BEAUTY

Anti-oxidant properties Leeks are laden with well-known anti-oxidants vitamins A and C, as well as several other lesser known ones such as carotenes.  These anti-oxidants war against cell-damaging free radicals and promote more taut, radiant skin, strong, shiny hair and buff, healthy nails

WEIGHT LOSS

 

Leeks are extremely low in calories with only 54 in a one-cup serving and all but zero fat.  They are also high in fibre (1.6 grams in that same one-cup serving) and this fibre will keep your bowels moving on a more regular basis, flush out excess waste and toxins and result in a steadier, healthier weight loss

 

COOKING

 

Leeks can be eaten raw, sautéed, steamed, baked, boiled and even microwaved.   They are at their peak flavor during the spring months.  Choose organic leeks, as they tend to be richer in flavor and higher in nutrient content.  Do remove the top thick green leaves of the stalks and give them a very good swirl in a large pot of water to rid them of any dirt or grime before usage

Pan-stewed leeks make for a one-dish vegetarian winter wonder of a meal in and of itself, but if you prefer, they are the perfect side accompaniment to your favorite protein, going particularly well with flaky white fish very simply prepared

You can smash those luscious melted down leeks right into a steaming pot of russet potatoes to add some extra fibre and delectable sweetness to your mashies

Braised baby leeks in white wine with a splash of truffle oil is my personal favorite

Young leeks can be cut directly into a gourmet health salad, especially one composed of delicate mixed greens, walnuts, dried raisins, herbed goat cheese and a light and lovely lemon vinaigrette

Leeks make for a subtle and savory topping alternative to onions when making a more refined homemade pizza

Treat your loved ones to a leek and mushroom quiche or a leek, ham and Gruyere frittata for a Sunday brunch that will not be soon forgotten

Or, if you really want to wow your guests at your next fancy dinner party, whip up a white ceramic serving vessel of vichyssoise, or chilled cream of leek, onion and potato soup

 

Leeks

Leeks (Photo credit: mindwhisperings)

Interesting facts about leeks:  The leek is actually the national emblem of Wales.

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A blood orange, sliced to show the flesh

A blood orange, sliced to show the flesh (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Health Benefits of Blood Oranges

Vitamin C (ascorbic acid), folic acid and anthocyanins are truly the superstars here in this beautiful little citrus fruit although it also contains good amounts of Vitamin A, calcium, fibre, potassium and water

WELLNESS

Two blood oranges a day will certainly help keep the doctor away because that is all it takes to fulfill the recommended RDA of Vitamin C and folic acid.  Factor in the blood orange’s fair to trace amounts of other essential nutrients, and you will understand why health-conscious individuals have happily incorporated the blood orange into their daily diets.   Health benefits of this little beauty include but are not limited to

Anti-cancer properties Vitamin C is a mighty anti-oxidant, which combats the oxidative stress caused by cell-damaging free radicals, repairs tissue and staves off various forms of cancer including that of the cervix, esophagus, oral cavity, pancreas, rectum and stomach.  Anthocyanins are the compounds that give blood oranges their dazzling color with the added benefit of having anti-oxidant abilities.  Anthocyanins hunt down free radicals and not only prevent them from rapidly reproducing, but also induce apoptosis, or quite literally, cell death.  Folic acid is crucial in the development of healthy red and white blood cells

Adrenal gland health Vitamin C has been researched to prove critical to proper adrenal gland function

Arthritis Vitamin C’s anti-oxidant super powers deactivate the free radicals that cause the uncomfortable inflammation generally associated with osteo-arthritis and rheumatoid arthritis

Bone health Potassium works to help preserve calcium in the bones and increase their strength, density and longevity

Brain health Proper potassium intake markedly improves brain function by regulating healthy electrical conductivity.  Potassium can also help prevent such neurological afflictions as epilepsy

Diabetes Anthocyanins are anti-oxidant flavonoids said to be useful in preventing diabetes as they appear to lower blood sugar levels.  Anti-oxidant vitamin C has also been shown to offer protection against diabetes as it prevents the oxidative stress caused by free radicals.  However, citrus fruit in general should be eaten with doctor approval as it has the potential to adversely affect glucose levels in some individuals
Eye health Vitamin A has been found to protect against age-related macular degeneration and to promote higher visual acuity in the general population by way of maintaining healthy eye tissue

Healthy bones and teeth Vitamin C is essential for healthy gums.  Vitamin A is good for the teeth and for the skeletal tissue.   Calcium is critical for strong bones and teeth

Heart health Vitamin C is known to lower blood pressure and fight atherosclerosis.  Folic acid has been shown to lower homocysteine levels in the blood, and high homocysteine is a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease.  Anthocyanins utilize their amazing anti-oxidant abilities to war against oxidative stress, protect our blood vessels and lower LDL, aka “bad cholesterol” and increase HDL, or “good cholesterol.”  Potassium is vital in regulating the heartbeat and it lowers blood pressure

Immune system health Blood oranges have substantial amounts amount of vitamin C.  Savoring these citrus delights on a regular basis will boost your immune system and give it the capacity to prevent innumerable infections and diseases and lessen symptoms and recovery time from those already afflicted.  Anthocyanins are useful in preventing bacterial infections in particular

Muscle health Potassium assists in the proper growth of muscle tissue, plays an important role in proper muscle contraction and relaxation and helps keep our nerves and reflexes fast and sharp.

Pregnancy Folic acid is highly recommended for expectant mothers as it forms vital red blood cells, helps with brain and spine development and can prevent neural tube birth defects in unborn babies

BEAUTY

Anti-oxidant properties Vitamins A & C and the flavonoid anthocyanins all have superb success in fighting against the cell-damaging free radicals that often cause premature aging.  All three of these help keep the skin more elastic, the hair more bouncy and the nails more resilient

WEIGHT LOSS

 

Citrus fruits are great weight loss tools as they are high in fibre, high in water content and low in calories; and blood oranges are no exception.  Eating blood oranges will keep you feeling full and satisfied and far less likely to grab for empty calories between meals.   They do this by regulating blood sugar levels in the body and consequently curbing appetite

COOKING

Of course, eating blood oranges straight out of their peels is a grand delight in and of itself.  However, if you wish to get a little fancier on the kitchen front, there are numerous ways to incorporate them in your daily snacks and dishes

Blood orange wedges rubbed with mint make for pretty and tasty little companions in a summer fruit salad ensconced in a carved watermelon bowl

Sliced blood oranges stand up well to braising and are a fun and unique accompaniment to spicy pan-roasted chicken breasts.  Simply sprinkle them with some salt and your favorite herb (rosemary in particular is wonderful), dot with light butter, bathe in   chicken or vegetable broth and bake for about an hour

Blood orange slices can be placed atop succulent white fish, topped with a patty of butter substitute, a spoonful of minced garlic and some snipped, fresh herbs and baked in parchment paper for a quick, easy and sublime entrée with a definite wow factor for presentation

Spend a rainy Saturday afternoon getting sticky with the kids while making a deep crimson red blood orange marmalade that can be spread on toast, slathered between a  sandwich or placed on a toast point with goat cheese for an enticing appetizer

Blood orange sorbet or gelato is downright divine and looks stunning served in a fancy see-through ice cream glass with a sprig of mint.  And a startlingly red-tinted blood orange panna cotta looks, feels and tastes downright sinful

And speaking of sinfully sweet (but semi-healthy!) indulgence, squeeze some fresh blood orange juice and shake up a tangy blood orange cocktail with vodka, triple sec and stevia

English: Slices of Blood Oranges Deutsch: Sche...

English: Slices of Blood Oranges Deutsch: Scheiben einer Blutorange (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Interesting fact about Blood Oranges:  Temperature and light affect the color and intensity of blood oranges and most are actually cultivated under volcanic conditions on Mount Etna in Sicily, Italy!

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English: A "red" Kiwi fruit Deutsch:...

English: A “red” Kiwi fruit Deutsch: Eine “rote” Kiwi (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Health Benefits of Kiwi

This fuzzy, exotic fruit with the dazzling

green interior is a tropical treasure trove of vitamins, nutrients and minerals including more vitamin C per serving than oranges, vitamin E, Actinidain (a protein-dissolving enzyme), carotenoids, calcium, chromium, copper, fibre, flavonoids, folic acid, iron, magnesium, phytonutrients, potassium and zinc

WELLNESS

Kiwis make people smile, and not only for their tangy punches of flavor and vibrant pops of color, but also because they have an amazing array of health benefits including but not limited to

Anti-cancer properties Vitamin C is a powerful anti-oxidant, which combats the oxidative stress caused by cell-damaging free radicals

Arthritis Vitamin C, as anti-oxidant, deactivates the free radicals that cause the uncomfortable inflammation often associated with osteo-and-rheumatoid arthritis

Bone health Magnesium and potassium, as prevalent in kiwis, can help prevent age-related bone weakening and loss

Diabetes Due to its inherent fibre-richness, the kiwi fruit is a wonderful edible means of regulating blood sugar levels

Digestive health Actinidain, an enzyme found in kiwi, easily dissolves protein and helps with healthy, stress-free digestion.  The kiwi’s wealth of fibre can ease constipation and prevent various other intestinal conditions and discomforts

DNA The kiwi fruit’s high content of important anti-oxidants, with Vitamin C being just one, has the uncanny ability to well-protect our DNA from the oxidative stress associated with cell-damaging free radicals.  This is why anti-oxidants are so important in the proactive fight against cancer

Eye health Vitamins A, C and E, and carotenoids, have been shown to protect against macular degeneration and promote higher visual acuity

Heart health Eating kiwis on a regular basis have been proven to reduce blood clotting.  Vitamin C is known to lower blood pressure and fight atherosclerosis. Chromium helps regulate the heartbeat. The abundance of fibre in the kiwi fruit can lower cholesterol. Potassium also plays an important role in protecting the blood vessels and heart and lowering blood pressure, as well.

Immune system health Kiwis have an extraordinary amount of vitamin C.  One serving alone has over 200% the RDA! Eating kiwis will do wonders in boosting your immune system and staving off various infections and diseases.

Pregnancy Folic acid, as found in kiwis, is very important for expectant mothers as it helps prevent neural tube birth defects in unborn babies

 

Respiratory health Vitamin A is successful in treating respiratory ailments and has been shown to lessen the severity of asthma symptoms such as wheezing

Sleep disorders Kiwis have been studied to show that a fair intake of the fruit could actually improve and alleviate any sleep-related issues or problems

BEAUTY

Anti-oxidant properties Vitamins A, C and E, as well as carotenoids are super-house anti-oxidants, which protect the body from cell-damaging free radicals and instead promote smooth, elastic skin, shiny, supple hair and strong, hearty nails.  Zinc also plays a role in doing this

WEIGHT LOSS

Energy Magnesium boosts your energy level, so grab a kiwi before you hit your daily workout

Fibre One serving of kiwi has about 5 grams of fibre, which will keep your bowels regular and contribute to a more steady, healthy weight loss

COOKING

 A sliced or decoratively carved kiwi makes for a delightful addition to any fancy fruit salad

Kiwi’s sweet tanginess makes it a natural for a whirl in the blender.  You can make it with almost any other zippy fruit of your liking, such as strawberries, for a luscious body-cooling summer smoothie

If you have a long, happily lazy Saturday stretched out in front of you, roll up your sleeves and make some lovely and unique kiwi jams or jellies

Kiwi is also a terrific component to add to a glistening sauce or glaze for your favorite lean protein such as pork tenderloin or white meat chicken skewers, blend and used on tough cuts of meat as a natural tenderiser before cooking

Add kiwi slices to your fresh fruit tart for pops of pretty color and punches of tropical taste

Some folks throw bits of kiwi into their homespun whole grain pancakes

And speaking of kiwi bits, toss them into a tropical summer salsa to serve with baked chips or as a garnish atop a seared white sea bass

Kiwi is always a pleasant surprise when added to a fresh tuna salad or a sweet and spicy shrimp ceviche

And aim to really impress your guests at your next al fresco gathering with a tray of kiwi-mint juleps

Kiwi fruit

Kiwi fruit (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Interesting fact about the kiwi fruit:  It was actually named after New Zealand’s national bird, the kiwi bird, due to its semblance of features

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Capsicum annuum ripe fruit

Capsicum annuum ripe fruit (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Health Benefits of Jalapeño Peppers

This feisty little Spanish pepper is chock full of nutritional goodness including a wealth of vitamins A, C and K, some of the B complex, a small amount of E as well as capsaicin, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, potassium and zinc

WELLNESS

If you can stand the heat, then you most definitely want these spicy hot little beauties in your kitchen as they boast some profound health benefits as detailed below:

Anti-cancer properties Due to its high concentrations of vitamin C (one single pepper has more than a day’s worth of the recommended dosage), jalapenos have extraordinary antioxidant capacities that can combat damaging free radicals and markedly slow down cell degeneration.  Capsaicin is particularly powerful in the fight against prostate cancer as it induces the bad cells to undergo apoptosis and quite literally, kill themselves

 Bone health Due to their gamut of internal minerals, jalapenos can play a vital role in developing and maintaining strong and healthy bones

Heart health Capsaicin has been shown to reduce cholesterol and triglycerides and aid in healthy blood clot formation. Vitamins A & C are important bioflavonoids that strengthen the blood vessels

Immune system Vitamin C is a champion prizefighter when it comes to combatting bacterial and viral infections, or at the very least lessening the symptoms, of the common cold and influenza.  The heat in jalapeno peppers provides wonderful relief from nasal congestion

Migraine relief Capsaicin is a long-known home remedy for migraine relief.  Capsaicin inhibits Substance P, a neuropeptide that is considered a main brain pain transmitter

BEAUTY

Antioxidant abilities Jalapenos are laden with vitamins A & C, both of which have widely known and revered antioxidant capabilities and can combat cell damaging free radicals and promote younger more supple looking skin, more structurally sound and lustrous hair and stronger nails less prone to breakage

WEIGHT LOSS

Metabolism booster Capsaicin is the very compound in jalapenos that actually gives them their notorious heat.  Eating jalapenos, in fact, slightly raises the body’s core temperature, increases the metabolic rate and thus assists with weight loss.  Also, that same fiery heat has been shown to decrease appetite

COOKING

Jalapeño peppers are green at harvest and while still half-ripe.  It is not until they are fully ripe that they turn that scorching crimson red color.  They can be eaten raw, baked, fried, sautéed or blended.  When picking them up in the produce aisle, be sure to look for peppers that are solid, smooth, shiny and wrinkle-free

Pickled jalapeños make for wonderful snacks on their own, or, as a tangy, tasty topping for your favorite nacho platter

Jalapeño poppers are always an appetizing party pleaser with their ooey gooey insides of either reduced fat cream cheese, ricotta or cottage.  For an interesting and slightly healthier variation, you can lightly coat them in beaten egg and panko breadcrumbs or wrap them in prosciutto and bake them in the oven.

As for main courses, the sky is the limit.  Jalapenos are used in hundreds of luscious dishes; everything from tomato, cucumber and jalapeno pepper summer gazpacho to pineapple and jalapeno pork chops to lime-Jalapeno chicken.

You can surprise your friends, family, try Dark Chocolate Mousse, sorbet, Bickies and Bread with specks of baked  jalapeno

Interesting fact about Jalapenos:  They were the first pepper ever to be launched into space on the NASA shuttle!

 

Immature jalapeno capsicum annuum var annuum

Immature jalapeno capsicum annuum var annuum (Photo credit: Wikipedia)