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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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Onions on a neutral, mostly white background

Onions on a neutral, mostly white background (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Health Benefits of Onions

 

Onions are filled with vitamins, minerals and nutrients including Vitamin B, Vitamin C, chromium, flavonoids like quercetin, fibre, folic acid, iron, phytochemicals, which magnify Vitamin C’s effectiveness, polyphenols, potassium, and sulfur compounds

Onions may make you weep, but those tears should be ones of joy, for these potent veggies in the allium family have remarkable health benefits including but not limited to

 

Anti-cancer properties Due to powerful anti-oxidants like Vitamin C and quercetin, consuming onions on a regular basis can reduce your risk of breast cancer, bladder cancer, colon cancer, esophageal cancer, gastric cancer laryngeal cancer, lung cancer, oral cancer and ovarian cancer.  Quercetin has also been found to stall tumor growth

Arthritis Vitamin C and quercetin are both anti-inflammatory anti-oxidants, which can alleviate the uncomfortable inflammation often associated with osteo-arthritis and rheumatoid arthritis

Bites & Bee Stings Applying onion juice directly on a bee sting or mosquito bite is said to relieve the pain, itching and burning

 

Bone and teeth health Onions have been studied and shown to ward off the age-related progression of osteoporosis, or loss of bone mineral density, which can make bones fragile and more prone to fractures.  Vitamin C also repairs cartilage, ligaments and tendons, and is a must-have for healthy gums

 

Brain health Some findings have indicated that eating onions regularly may prevent memory loss as we age

 

Digestive health Consistently consuming onions can lessen your chance of developing stomach ulcers.  Onions also improve the digestion process as a whole by increasing the secretion of important digestive juices

 

Heart health Raw onions, in particular, stimulate the production of HDL aka “good cholesterol” and reduce LDL aka “bad cholesterol.”  Vitamin C helps to lower high cholesterol and combat atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries. Potassium prevents arrhythmia and can lower and regulate high blood pressure.  Onions are a cholesterol-free and fat-free food item

 

Immune system health Onions have powerful antibiotic, antimicrobial and antiviral properties that can help you steer clear or lessen the symptoms of everything from infections to the flu to food-borne illnesses to the HIV virus.  Onion juice combined with honey is a not-as-widely known home remedy for assuaging fever, relieving a cough and soothing a sore throat

 

Type 2 Diabetes Chromium helps regulate blood sugar levels

 

Women’s health Purportedly, consuming onions a few days before your menstrual cycle can help relieve some of the painful and uncomfortable symptoms

 

BEAUTY

 

Anti-oxidant properties The anti-oxidants in onions (namely flavonoid quercetin and Vitamin A) fight off cell-damaging free radicals and protect our bodies from the oxidative stress that often causes premature aging including fine lines and wrinkles.  These anti-oxidants also strengthen the hair and nails

WEIGHT LOSS

Fibre One medium-sized onion has 2 grams of fibre and any added fibre to your diet will help flush out your system and lead to more regular weight loss

Nutritional Intake One medium-sized onion is only an approximate 44 calories and is virtually devoid of fat, which makes it a terrific veggie to use in a wide variety of recipes, guilt-free

COOKING

 

A tantalizingly tasty appetizer sure to please health-or-weight conscious guests  is a batch of oven-fried onion rings.  Simply set your oven on high and cut 2 large sweet onions (such as Vidalia or Walla Walla) into 3cms thick slices.  In a bowl, combine 2 cups of flour, 2 teaspoons of paprika and 2 teaspoons of salt.  In a second bowl, mix together 2 cups of buttermilk and 4 eggs.  Add 1 cup of the flour mixture into the buttermilk and egg mixture.  In a third and final bowl, whisk together 3 cups of Panko breadcrumbs, 4 tablespoons of EVOO and 2 teaspoons of salt.  Dredge the onion slices first into the flour and seasoning bowl, then into the buttermilk, and finally into the Panko mix.  Arrange them in a single layer on a cooking-spray coated baking sheet and bake in oven for 15 to 20 minute until golden brown.

For a rich, deeply satisfying and yet healthier version of a classic French Onion Soup, just saute 8 cups of red and/or yellow onions in 2 teaspoons of olive oil in a Dutch oven or large pan over medium-high heat for 5 minutes.  Spoon in a ½ teaspoon of sugar, a ½ teaspoon of pepper, and a ¼ teaspoon of salt.  Bring heat down to medium now and let the mixture cook for a good 25 minutes, stirring often.  Add ¼ cup quality white drinking wine (preferably something dry) and let the alcohol burn off for one minute.  Then add 8 cups of lower sodium, reduced-fat beef broth and a ¼ teaspoon fresh chopped thyme, cover and put on a slow simmer for 2 hours.  When the soup is up, ladle one cup each into oven-proof crockpots, top with a thin slice of French bread, a 1 ounce slice of reduced-fat Swiss cheese and broil for a few minutes until the cheese is all bubbly and browned.

 

Or as  snack marinate in rapardsa sugar and cider vinegar, mix in your salads on just eat raw  Voila!

“It doesn’t matter how precisely the onion is cut as long as the person chewing it is happy.”  ~Padma Lakshmi

 

Onion_8174068

Onion_8174068 (Photo credit: SoraZG)

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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)

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Peas in pods.

Peas in pods. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This often taken for granted little legume is actually a tiny powerhouse of Vitamin C, Vitamin K, carotenoids such as lutein, flavanols, folic acid, iron, omega-3 fats, phenolic acids, phytonutrients including an important polyphenol called coumestrol, a wealth of protein and saponins

WELLNESS

Peas are not just for making eyes in your mashed potato snowman anymore.  Nutrition-savvy individuals have graduated the humble pea from its role as decoration or edible plaything and revere it now for its outstanding health benefits including but not limited to the treatment of the following diseases and conditions

Alzheimer’s disease Vitamin K can help limit brain damage in those afflicted with this neurodegenerative disease

 Anemia In order to prevent anemia, which is essentially a deficiency of oxygen-transporting red blood cells, folks, women especially, should make sure to regularly ingest adequate amounts of iron

 Anti-cancer properties Coumestrol is being actively researched as a promising protector against stomach cancer (aka gastric cancer).  Carotenoids reduce cell damage due to the burning of oxygen in the body.  Flavonoid-rich foods like peas are known to protect one from developing lung cancer and oral cavity cancerAnti-oxidant Vitamin C, combats cell-damaging free radicals, repairs tissue and significantly reduces your chances of developing a whole slew of cancers including cervical cancer, esophageal cancer, oral cavity cancer, pancreatic cancer, rectal cancer and stomach cancer. Vitamin K, lutein and phytoserols can also reduce your risk

Arthritis The phytonutrients in peas have anti-inflammatory properties, which are particularly effective in assuaging arthritic inflammation

Asthma Vitamin C successfully reduces common asthmatic symptoms such as wheezing

Bone & teeth health Vitamin K is critical for building bone mass.  Vitamin C is essential for healthy gums.  Vitamin C’s other impressive bodily tasks include repairing bones, cartilage, ligaments and tendons.   The omega-3 fatty acids found in peas also facilitate good bone health

Diabetes The high fibre content in peas slows down sugar absorption.  The anti-oxidants and phytonutrients inherent in peas actually prevent insulin resistance, otherwise known as Type 2 Diabetes

Digestive health Due to its rich fibre content, peas clean out the intestines and colon of toxic materials and can relieve constipation.  Vitamin A promotes healthy mucous membranes, which ensure proper functioning of the digestive system

 Eye health Lutein staves off cataracts and age-related macular degeneration.  Vitamin A supports healthy eye tissue and facilitates higher visual acuity.  Carotenoids like beta-carotene also promote healthy eyes

Heart health Peas’ wealth of fibre and phytoserols can help lower cholesterol.  Vitamin C is known to lower blood pressure and fight atherosclerosis.  Folic acid lowers homocysteine levels in the blood, which is grand news as high homocysteine is a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease. And fantastically, peas are a cholesterol-free food

 Immune system health Vitamin C is a champion immune system booster and can prevent almost innumerable infections and diseases (from the common cold to the HIV virus) and lessen symptoms and recovery time from those already afflicted.  A lack of iron can cause exhaustion and exhaustion compromises your body’s ability to fight off infections

 Pregnancy Adequate intake of folic acid by mothers-to-be is highly recommended by doctors in order to prevent neural tube birth defects in newborn babies.  Proper iron intake can lessen the chance of a premature birth

 BEAUTY

 Anti-oxidant properties Due to their high levels of anti-oxidants including Vitamin C, carotenoids, flavonoids, phenolic acids and polyphenols like coumestrol, eating peas on a regular basis can prevent signs of premature aging such as fine lines and wrinkles.  These anti-oxidants will promote healthy, radiant skin, strong hair follicles and shiny locks and resilient nails less likely to chip or break

Iron Iron is essential for healthy skin, hair and nails

 WEIGHT LOSS

 Fibre One cup of peas has an amazing 7 grams of fibre!  Fibre will keep you feeling full and sated and less likely to grab blindly for empty calorie snacks between meals.  Also, that plethora of fibre will keep your body and bowels flushed out and result in more steady weight loss

 Nutritional intake One cup of peas has only 100 calories and yet is pleasantly sweet, tasty and satisfying.  That same serving has a mere 0.3 grams of total fat

 COOKING

 A lovely appetizer would most certainly be a steaming hot bowl of low-fat yet lusciously creamy and satisfying Green Pea Soup.  Merely heat a teaspoon of high quality olive oil in  a large pot over medium-low heat.  Add one large sliced onion and cook until softened, about five or so minutes.  Add 2 ½ cups of  chicken or veggie broth, ¾ teaspoon of tarragon, salt and pepper to taste and bring to a rollicking boil.  Add a bag of frozen sweet peas, bring down to a simmer and cook through until the peas are thawed.  Puree the mixture in a blender of with a boat motor until velvety smooth, and serve in pretty bowls with a dollop each of low-fat plain yogurt or sour cream, or chilled and served with mint in summer

As a simple side accompaniment:  Sweet Green Peas with Prosciutto.  In a large skillet over medium heat, add 4 tablespoons of quality EVOO, a handful of chopped prosciutto and one small minced onion.  Sautee gently for about 5-8 minutes, or until onions are softened and the prosciutto starts to crisp up.  Then add a pound of green peas and a tablespoon of water and cook until heated through.  Season with salt and freshly ground pepper to taste, and serve

Choose young peas in their pods, split open and fill with your favorite filling as a great little healthy finger food option

Being pretty on the inside means you don’t hit your brother and you eat all your peas – that’s what my grandma taught me. ~Lord Chesterfield

Peas in a Pod

Peas in a Pod (Photo credit: MrWoodnz)

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stock-photography-pumpkin-image16211462

The Health Benefits of Pumpkins

 

This beautiful squash is filled with Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, the Vitamin B-complex group including Vitamin B6, folate, niacin, pantothenic acid and thiamin, Vitamin K, calcium, copper, fibre, lutein, magnesium, Omega 3’s, phosphorous, phytoserols, potassium, tryptophan, Zea-xanthin and zinc

WELLNESS

Pumpkins are not just for Halloween carving anymore.  Health aficionados the world over have embraced this magnificent fruit for its pleasing taste, spectacular versatility in the kitchen and innumerable health benefits including but not limited to

Anti-cancer properties Adequate fiber in your diet will keep your body flushed out and your colon less likely to come in prolonged contact with potential colon cancer-causing toxins.  Vitamin A maintains healthy mucous membranes and can prevent lung cancer and oral cancer. Anti-oxidant Vitamin C, fights off cell-damaging free radicals, repairs tissue and diminishes your chances of developing quite a few forms of cancer including cervical cancer, esophageal cancer, oral cavity cancer, pancreatic cancer, rectal cancer and stomach cancer.  Tryptophan produces T-cells, which fight off cancer cells.  Vitamin K, lutein and phytoserols also take action to reduce your risk

Arthritis Pumpkin seed oil has value as an anti-inflammatory agent and is particularly effective against osteo-arthritis and rheumatoid arthritis

 

Asthma Vitamin C has been successfully shown to reduce typical asthmatic symptoms like wheezing in those afflicted

 

Bladder health Eating pumpkin seeds can reduce your chance of developing bladder stones

 

Bone / teeth health Vitamin A is crucial for strong teeth.  Vitamin C is essential for healthy gums.  Vitamin C’s other helpful contributions include repairing bones, cartilage, ligaments and tendons. Potassium helps preserve calcium in the bones and proper calcium prevents osteoporosis.  The omega fatty acids found in pumpkin also promote good bone health

Depression Studies have indicated that ingesting pumpkin seeds can prevent depression

Diabetes Vitamin B6 helps regulate and maintain healthy blood sugar levels.  Fibre slows down blood sugar absorption.  Zinc also assists with insulin regulation.  Regular ingestion of lutein has shown promise against Type 2 Diabetes, in particular

 

Digestive health Fiber helps you digest your food more effectively and can ease constipation.  Magnesium aids in proper bowel function, as well.  Potassium can increase metabolism and aid in the productive digestion of carbohydrates

 

Eye health Vitamin A supports healthy eye tissue and facilitates higher visual acuity.  Vitamin A, lutein and Zea-xanthin protect the eyes from age-related macular degeneration.  Lutein also has the added benefit of preventing cataracts.  Zinc assists vitamin A in creating melanin, a pigment that protects the eye.  Proper zinc intake has been shown to award better night vision

 

Heart health Pumpkin seed oil can increase HDL, or “good cholesterol,” and decrease LDL, or “bad cholesterol.”  The phytoserols in pumpkin also reduce cholesterol.  Vitamin C taken on a regular basis can lower blood pressure and fight atherosclerosis.   Potassium lowers blood pressure, as well.  Magnesium regulates the pumping of the heart and relaxes the blood vessels.  Pumpkin is fat-free and cholesterol-free and pretty low in sodium, all good news for the heart

Immune system health Vitamins A, C, E, tryptophan and zinc all support a healthy immune system and can ward off a slew of ailments ranging from the common cold to the flu to the HIV virus

Men’s health Pumpkin seeds and pumpkin oil are said to thwart prostate enlargement due to their high concentration of zinc.  They also assist in healthy sexual functioning

Menopause Pumpkin seed oil purportedly alleviates some menopausal symptoms including hot flashes, aches and pains and headaches

 

Mood Vitamin B-6 produces GABA, an extremely important amino acid that operates as a neuro-transmitter in the central nervous system and results in a general feeling of calm and well-being.  Tryptophan produces serotonin, another essential neuro-transmitter that does wonders to elevate mood

PH balance Potassium regulates and maintains proper pH balance in the body

Sleep Pumpkin seeds contain a great deal of tryptophan, which is converted into serotonin and subsequently melatonin.  Melatonin is otherwise known as the “sleep hormone,” so eating a handful of pumpkin seeds before bed can result in a restorative night’s sleep

 

BEAUTY

Anti-oxidant properties Vitamins A, C and E all have tremendous success fighting the cell-damaging free radicals and oxidative stress that often cause premature aging.  All three of these help keep the skin more elastic and radiant, the hair more bouncy and lustrous and the nails more resilient

 

WEIGHT LOSS

Fibre A one-cup serving of mashed pumpkin has a generous 3 grams of fibre, which will keep your stomach feeling full and satisfied and your mind less likely to trick you into those empty calorie snacks between meals.  The fibre will also flush out your system more consistently, which results in a more steady weight loss

Nutritional Intake That same one-cup serving has only 49 calories and is virtually fat-free

COOKING / CONSUMPTION

 Why not try some sweet recipes such as pumpkin pannacotta, pumpkin and coconut ice cream or a twist to puree with chicken stock and a dash of vanilla,If your not feeling that adventures there are some classics below

Since pumpkin seeds are so nutrient-rich, why not make a big batch of roasted, toasted pumpkin seeds to munch on as a tasty, crunchy snack between meals?  All you need to do is gather the seeds, place them on a single layer in a baking pan, drizzle them with some good olive oil, sprinkle with salt and fresh ground black pepper, toss to coat and bake in a 375 degree oven for 7-10 minutes, or until light golden brown.

A wonderful fall of winter appetizer, or meal in and of itself, is a rich, velvety Pumpkin soup.  Just sauté one small yellow onion and two garlic cloves in a tablespoon of quality olive oil until softened.   Sprinkle in one tablespoon of cumin and curry powder and toss gently until the veggies are well coated.  Add three cups of low-fat lower sodium chicken broth and one 15-ounce can of pumpkin puree and simmer over low heat for about 15 to 20 minutes.   Mix in one 12-ounce can of evaporated fat-free milk and cook for an additional 2 to 3 minutes.  Puree the mix in a blender until it reaches a smooth consistency.  Serve while hot in pretty white ceramic bowls with fresh cracked pepper and a smattering of those delicious toasted pumpkin seeds as garnish

And how could one possibly resist a good ol’ Pumpkin pie?  You shouldn’t resist it because like almost everything else, it can be skinnified without sacrificing its rich, creamy lusciousness.  Merely buy a low-fat unbaked pie crust in your freezer section and fill it with a mix of one 2 cups of pumpkin puree, one 2 cups of fat-free sweetened condensed milk, eight egg whites, a teaspoon of cinnamon and a ½ teaspoon each of ginger, nutmeg and salt.  Bake the pie crust first according to package directions.  Then pour in the filling and bake at 350 degrees for about 35 to 40 minutes and serve with a scoop of your favorite brand of low-fat vanilla bean ice cream or a nice dollop of fat-free whipped topping

“Only the knife knows what goes on in the heart of a pumpkin.”  ~Simone Schwarz-Bart

Pumpkins, photographed in Canada.

Pumpkins, photographed in Canada. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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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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English: Golden Flesh Yukon Gold Potato

English: Golden Flesh Yukon Gold Potato (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Health Benefits of Potatoes

 Potatoes are packed with Vitamin B6, Vitamin C, caffeic acid, carotenoids, complex carbohydrates, copper, fibre, folic acid, kukoamines, flavonoids, manganese, potassium and quercetin

 WELLNESS

 The humble yet historic potato got a bit of a bad rap in more recent times, with many folks falsely assuming it is a less healthy vegetable in part due to the deep frying frenzy.  But in all actuality, this innocuous-looking spud is relatively low in calories and fat and absolutely laden with outstanding health benefits including but not limited to

Anti-cancer properties Rich in fibre, eating a moderate amount of potatoes on a consistent basis will stimulate regular bowel movements and keep the colon clean and in less prolonged contact with toxic wastes that can result in colon cancer.   Anti-oxidant Vitamin C, in its role as an anti-oxidant, fights off cell-damaging free radicals and reduces one’s risk of developing cervical cancer, esophageal cancer, oral cavity cancer, pancreatic cancer, rectal cancer and stomach cancer.  Quercetin has been found to arrest tumor growth

Arthritis Vitamin C and quercetin are anti-inflammatory anti-oxidants, which can alleviate the troublesome inflammation often associated with osteo-arthritis and rheumatoid arthritis

Asthma Vitamin C can calm an asthma attack by reducing wheezing

Bone and teeth health Vitamin C is a must-have for healthy gums.  Vitamin C is also responsible for repairing bones, cartilage, ligaments and tendons

 Digestive health People sometimes avoid potatoes because they are “too starchy,” when in fact, the starch therein is predominantly “indigestible,” which basically means it passes through the stomach whole, adds helpful bulk to the diet and aids in healthy bowel movements

 Heart health Vitamin C can lower blood pressure and fight atherosclerosis.  B6 helps control levels of homocysteine levels in the blood, and high levels of homocysteine (an amino acid) have been linked to heart disease.  Potassium regulates the heart rate and blood pressure    Magnesium regulates the pumping of the heart and relaxes the blood vessels.  Adequate fibre can actually reduce cholesterol

 Immune system health Vitamin C is vital in strengthening the immune system as a whole and staving off a wide range of diseases and infections ranging from the common cold to influenza the HIV virus.  It can also lessen the severity of symptoms if one is already afflicted

Mood Vitamin B6 promotes a healthy nervous system and can regulate mood and promote peaceful slumber, as it is responsible for making neurotransmitters such as dopamine and serotonin.  Vitamin B6 also produces adrenaline and GABA.  Adrenaline enables us to react to and cope with stress in a healthy manner.  GABA is connected to relaxation and an overall sense of well-being

Pregnancy Doctors often urge expectant mothers to take adequate amounts of folic acid in order to prevent neural tube birth defects in newborn babies

BEAUTY

 Anti-oxidant properties The anti-oxidants in potatoes, namely flavonoid quercetin and Vitamin C, war against cell-damaging free radicals and protect our bodies from oxidative stress, which often causes the signs of premature aging including fine lines and wrinkles.  These powerful anti-oxidants also ensure strong hair and resilient nails, both of which are less prone to breakage

Apply thinly sliced Potato to the eye area to remove puffiness

WEIGHT LOSS

 Energy Vitamin B6 is a favorite amongst athletes as it converts the carbs you eat into energy, and potatoes are filled with complex carbohydrates and vitamin B6.  It’s a win-win situation for those seeking more sustainable energy to get through the day and still fit in a good workout

Fibre One large potato has a munificent 6 grams of fibre!  This abundance of fibre will keep your belly full, your appetite saited between meals and your body flushed out on a regular basis, all of which will contribute to more steady weight loss

Nutritional intake Potatoes, contrary to popular belief, are actually relatively moderate in calories with one large baking potato having approximately 278.  That same potatoes has less than 1 gram of total fat

COOKING

 While, of course, very little else compares to a steaming bowl of mashed potatoes as comfort food, there are a multitude of unique potato-centric recipes out there for the savoring, the trick however is putting them with non fatty foods which in fact is possibly why its been given a bad rap

For a sumptuous yet healthy bowl of soup, try making a low-fat version of a  Leek and Potato Soup.  In a large pot, heat 2 teaspoons of oil and add 2 minced shallots, 3 sliced leeks and 1 pound of peeled and cubed Yukon Gold potatoes.  Cook on medium heat for about 5 minutes.  Add 1 cup of  chicken or veggie broth and 1 2/3 cups of skim milk.  Simmer on medium to medium-low heat for ½ an hour and then blend the mixture to a smooth consistency.  Serve in pretty soup bowls and garnish with chive snippets and add a handful of chai seeds for texture

Bake and fill with a greek yoghurt mix with mustard, fetta, avocado, smoked tomato and watercress for a tasty, healthy lunch

Roast with a little olive oil and sea salt as a snack with a little cumin and serve with a freshly made baba ganoush, beetroot dip or hommus

 must be a pretty decent sort of fellow.”  ~A.A. Milne

 

 

1 and a half russet potato with sprouts. Slice...

1 and a half russet potato with sprouts. Sliced (left) and whole (right). About 4 1/2 inches (11.5 cm) in length. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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The "hedgehog" style is a common way...

The “hedgehog” style is a common way of eating mangoes (left). A cross section of a mango can be seen on the right, not quite fully halving the fruit as the stone is not visible (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Health Benefits of Mangos

These fragrant, juicy, tropical delights are as healthy as they are delicious. Nutritionally, they are laden with Vitamin A, Vitamin B-6, Vitamin B-12, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, calcium, citric acid, copper, high fibre content, flavonoids like beta-carotene, lycopene. malic acid, manganese, pectin, phosphorous, potassium, tartaric acid, zinc and important compounds like quercetin

WELLNESS

Health-conscious folks around the globe have embraced this tantalizing fruit in part due its mouth-watering scrumptiousness, but mostly due to its incredible laundry list of health benefits including but not limited to Alkalization Citric acid, malic acid and tartaric acid all assist in alkalinizing the body

Anti-cancer properties Abundant with anti-oxidant compounds and vitamins like the almighty C and the ever-important beta-carotene, mangos can stave off various cancers including breast cancer, colon cancer, oral cavity cancers, lung cancer, prostate cancer and leukemia.

Lycopene is an anti-oxidant carotenoid, which can inhibit tumor growth Arthritis Anti-oxidant vitamin C is a champion warrior against cell-damaging free radicals that often cause inflammation in individuals suffering from osteo-arthritis and rheumatoid arthritis Diabetes help Mango leaves, in particular, can help regulate healthy insulin levels and are quite low on the glycemic index. The flesh of mangos also purportedly reduces blood glucose

Digestive health Mangos are fibre-rich, with 5 whole grams in one mango alone. A high fibre diet can do wonders to keep your digestive system in good working order and flush your body regularly of potentially harmful toxins and waste materials. Mangos have been recently closely studied to show that they have high levels of prebiotics, which produce beneficial bacteria in the belly that can ward off various diseases

Eye health The wealth of Vitamin A and important flavonoids like beta-carotene in mangos are both essential for high visual acuity and are known to combat night blindness and keep eyes moist Healthy bones and teeth Vitamin C is a must for healthy gums. Vitamin A and beta-carotene are crucial for healthy teeth Heart health Vitamin C, fibre and pectin are all known to lower “bad cholesterol” aka LDL cholesterol, fight atherosclerosis and lower blood pressure. Potassium helps control a healthy heart rate and can also lower and regulate blood pressure. Lycopene halts LDL, or “bad cholesterol,” from damaging arterial walls

Immune system health Vitamins A, glorious Vitamin C and a whole slew of crucial carotenoids in mangos, mightily boost your immune system and can ward off a wide variety of ailments ranging from the common but pesky cold to influenza to the HIV virus

Sexual health Due to their plethora of Vitamin E, it has been suggested that mangos may actually help ignite your libido Stress relief Vitamin B-6 is absolutely crucial in producing GABA, an extremely important amino acid, which serves as a neurotransmitter in the central nervous system and can promote a general calming effect and feeling of well being

BEAUTY

Anti-oxidant properties Vitamin A. Vitamin C and beta-carotene all combat the cell-damaging free radicals that may result in premature aging.

They keep your hair follicles healthy and your nails strong. Skin-wise, mangos can actually be applied topically to the face to unclog pores and prevent breakouts and blemishes

WEIGHT LOSS

Body fat / Metabolism

Mangos are considered one of the top of the crop fruits on the market when it comes to speeding up metabolism and studies have shown that eating mangos may actually aid in reducing body fat.

Mangos reduce the level of a hormone called leptin, which is produced by fat cells. Leptin is also responsible for the regulation of appetite

COOKING

Mangos are magnificently luscious eaten in the raw, as-is. However, if you desire to get a little fancy in the kitchen, there are quite a few lovely recipes that are easy and fun to make

Mango salsa has become all the culinary rage these days and is phenomenal as a stand-alone dip for home baked tortilla chips or as a bright and punchy relish for your favorite white fish steak. It only takes but a few minutes to dice up a nice, fresh mango, add one chopped jalapeno pepper, some minced red onions, a few shredded coriander leaves, a good squeeze of lime juice and some salt and pepper to taste.

For a truly surprising and satisfying appetizer, whip up a batch of chilled mango and melon soup with avocado greek style yoghurt. Imagine it as a sort of fruity gazpacho. Just combine a couple of ripe mangos, your favorite melon, the juice of some limes, and a pinch of two of fresh minced ginger for a savory, spicy kick and avocado mashed with mango.

If BBQ’d proteins are your culinary thing, then mangos make for incredibly tangy and tasty glazes and marinades for a myriad of seafood, chicken and light game meats, breasts, drumsticks or thighs. Break out your blender and toss in some fresh mangos, a squirt or two of lemon or lime juice, a turn of high quality olive oil, some minced garlic, one or two of your favorite spicy capsicum, a dash of vinegar and salt and pepper to taste

Or just chargrill some fresh mango cheeks lightly with fresh asparagus, pancetta and spinach for a fabbo breakfast

Mango lassis are THE most popular and beloved recipes in India and you will often find them in Indian restaurants the world round. Their consistency most resembles a cross between a smoothie and a thick milkshake. If you want to keep them on the healthy tip, just use low-fat yogurt! They are the perfect body coolants for a sweltering summer’s day

“Sometimes, a Sunday afternoon needs a whole mango to be kept entirely for oneself, and eaten in one sitting.” ~Alison Pill

Mango and its longitudinal section

Mango and its longitudinal section (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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A Korean Pear, Korean natural monument #74.

A Korean Pear, Korean natural monument #74. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Nashi, or “Asian Pears” are absolutely packed with fibre with an average of 4 grams per medium-sized pear and a whopping 10 grams per large pear!  As if this wasn’t reason enough to revere the Nashi, they are also packed with Vitamin C, Vitamin K, copper, manganese and potassium

 

WELLNESS

 

These crisp and juicy fruits are a long-standing favorite amongst the health and fitness crowd due to their outstanding health benefits including but not limited to

Anti-cancer properties Due to their abundance of fibre, pectin in particular, eating Nashi pears will flush potentially hazardous toxins from your colon and help prevent colon cancer.  Pectin has also been shown to have effectiveness against prostate cancer

 

Bone and teeth health Vitamin C, Vitamin K and manganese are essential for healthy bones.  Vitamin C builds collagen, prevents brittleness of bones and maintains strong teeth.  Vitamin K aids in bone mineralization

 

Colon health / Digestive health Due to its high amount of fibre, Nashi pears are a terrific edible tool to regulate your digestive system and can stave off diverticulitis, irritable bowel syndrome, painful hemorrhoids and even colon cancer

Diabetes Pectin, an insoluble fibre found in Nashi pears, is useful in the treatment of diabetes as it is said by some sources to slow down the body’s absorption of glucose

Eye health Vitamin C can prevent cataracts and macular degeneration

Heart health Vitamin K ensures that your blood can properly coagulate.  High fibre, as present in Nashi pears, reduces high cholesterol and high triglycerides and can stave off heart disease.  Nashi pears are virtually fat-free as well as being cholesterol-free and sodium-free

 

Immune system health Anti-oxidant Vitamin C repairs the body’s tissues, heals wounds and fights off all sorts of infections and diseases ranging from the common cold to the flu to the HIV virus

 

BEAUTY

 

Anti-oxidant properties Anti-oxidant super power Vitamin C and copper both help build healthy collagen, which result in more elastic skin less likely to show signs of aging.  Vitamin C also improves hair quality and promotes strong, resilient nails

 

WEIGHT LOSS

 

Fibre The wealth of fibre in the Nashi pear will keep you feeling full longer and far less likely to reach for empty, fattening calories between meals.  It will also keep your bowels more regularly flushed out, which can result in more consistent weight loss

 

Metabolism Copper is essential for the production of energy and chomping on a tasty Nashi can give you a good boost when you feel that listless afternoon lull or right before your daily workout

Nutritional Intake Yet another reason to celebrate the Nashi is that a medium-sized pear has only a mere 50 calories

COOKING

 

For a totally unique take on a traditional appetizer, place a smear of blue cheese on a  wedge of Nashi pear and wrap it with prosciutto

Pears make a sweet and texturally interesting addition to a wholegrain sandwich with cos lettuce, chicken and dijon flavoured butter and it is a great way to sneak some healthy fruit into your child’s daily diet

Speaking of cheese as we have, a pear, Gorgonzola and balsamic glazed onion pizza or flatbread is scrumdelicious.  You can even add some walnuts for added health benefits and a little extra crunch

Pears stand up well smoked chicken breast stir-fries with , a dash of white vinegar and some minced fresh ginger. I love them chargrilled and served with a wild rocket, roast pumpkin, persian fetta and cranberry salad

A pear tart is always a lovely contribution to a bake sale or a potluck pick family gathering.  All you need to do is pre-purchase a simple tart shell or some dough, shape into an attractive fluted pie pan, add some lemon juice-infused Bartlett pear quarters and bake for just shy of an hour

And of course, for a truly simple, sublime and elegantly-colored party-pleaser, simmer some quality whole peeled pears with quality red drinking wine, fresh lemon and orange juice, sugar, vanilla extract, cinnamon and cloves.  The deep crimson color of the pear on a white plate definitely has the wow factor or saffron poached for a zany finish

“A man watches his pear-tree day after day, impatient for the ripening of the fruit. Let him attempt to force the process, and he may spoil both fruit and tree. But let him patiently wait, and the ripe pear at length falls into his lap.” ~Abraham Lincoln

Nashi pear tree in bloom

Nashi pear tree in bloom (Photo credit: Wikipedia)