Friday, April 14, 2017

Ten Superfoods for Great Health

Garlic
Garlic is probably best known for its odour and for warding off vampires! This
vegetable’s part of the onion family and is used in Ayurvedic medicine for
heart, digestive, and joint problems and in Traditional Chinese Medicine
(TCM) for respiratory and digestive problems. Herbalists especially value its
antiseptic and immune-boosting properties.
To make medicinal garlic syrup, dissolve two tablespoons of brown sugar in
a pan over a gentle heat and then stir in the juice from one to four crushed
cloves of garlic and a dash of lemon juice. Cool and seal in a sterilised jar or
bottle. Take one teaspoon of the syrup at the first sign of a cough or cold.
Keep medicinal garlic syrup refrigerated and use within seven days after you
open it. Keep away from the skin because garlic oil can cause skin irritation.
Avoid excess garlic during pregnancy, because it can cause digestive upset or
heartburn, and while breastfeeding because babies don’t like the smell of it in
breast milk!


Watercress
Watercress is a pungent, dark green plant that grows in running water and is
packed with no less than 15 vitamins and minerals, most importantly iron.
Nutritionists, herbalists, and naturopaths use watercress to treat skin problems,
weakness, and fatigue.
For a nutritious summer cold soup, blend two generous handfuls of washed,
organic watercress in a blender with half an avocado, some sprigs of parsley,
some chopped cucumber, a squirt of lemon juice, and a glass of water until
smooth. Add a dash of seaweed salt and eat immediately. Delicious!
Avoid excess watercress if you have kidney disease.


Ginger
Ginger is a superfood because it enhances circulation, contains valuable
antioxidants that may help prevent cancer, is antiseptic, aids digestion, and
stops nausea.
Simply add grated fresh ginger to porridge, soups, steamed vegetables,
stewed fruits, or herbal teas to warm the body and boost circulation. You can
also tie chunks of ginger in muslin in your bathwater for a warming bath in
cold weather.
Don’t take large quantities of ginger during pregnancy, if you’re on any sort of
blood-thinning drug such as Warfarin, if you have gallstones, if you suffer
from heat and flushes, or if you have a fever.


Nettle
Nettle leaves are rich in minerals and high in fibre. Herbalists and nutritionists
use them to treat skin, kidney, and heart problems and for detoxing
the body.
To make nettle tea, don some thick gloves to avoid stinging, pick a handful of
young nettle tops (the top 4 to 6 inches are best), and infuse in freshly boiled
water in a teapot for 10 minutes. Strain, pour, and drink, sweetening with
honey to taste if you like. Use several times a week to aid healthy skin, hair,
and bones.

Always wear gloves when picking nettles to avoid stings. Use young leaves,
preferably in the spring, and never consume them raw – always pouring boiling
water onto them to kill off the sting before eating or drinking. Avoid
leaves near roadsides because they may be polluted. Don’t drink nettle tea
every day because this can stress the kidneys.


Sunflower Seeds
Many types of edible seeds are now becoming part of people’s everyday
diets. Sunflower seeds (actually the kernel from sunflower hulls rather than
the actual seed) contain healthy fatty acids, are a great source of dietary fibre
and protein, are rich in minerals, and are packed with plant compounds called
phytosterols that help maintain healthy cholesterol levels in the body.
These nutrients mean that sunflower seeds can help protect your heart,
maintain good circulation, and regulate blood pressure and cholesterol
levels, to name just a few of their benefits! Other excellent seeds with similar
benefits are pumpkin seeds and sesame seeds.
Grind sunflower, pumpkin, and sesame seeds, plus a couple of nuts if wished
(such as almonds, walnuts, or brazil nuts), for a few seconds in a small coffee
grinder. Add this mixture to cereals, smoothies, rice, and so on for a nutritious,
protein-rich boost.
Always try to get the freshest organic seeds that you can and store them in a
cool, dark place to stop the oils in them going rancid.


Flax Seeds
Flax seeds are rich in fibre, essential fatty acids, minerals, and lignans, which
are special compounds that may play a role in preventing breast cancer and
other cancers and aid ovulation in women. Flax seeds help keep your bowels
regular; can support heart, liver, and brain function; and aid hormonal balance
and joint mobility.
Place two tablespoons of flax seeds in a coffee grinder together with a teaspoon
of sesame seeds (black or white) and a dash of seaweed or herb salt.
Then grind for a couple of seconds to make a fine condiment that you can use
daily, sprinkled on any savoury dish or eaten directly as a healthy snack food.

Buy the seeds whole, and preferably organic, and store in an airtight container
in a cool, dark place, or in the fridge, to keep them fresh.


Lecithin
Lecithin (phosphatidylcholine) is usually made from soybeans or eggs. It is a
valuable source of choline, which is part of the family of B vitamins. Lecithin
can aid memory and brain function, support your nervous system, help
healthy liver and gall bladder function, and aid fat metabolism.
Add one to two tablespoons of lecithin granules to your food every day, such
as in smoothies, on cereals, or on rice.
Buy organic and GMO-free (that is, made from non-genetically modified ingredients)
lecithin when possible. Don’t heat the granules because doing so
destroys their health benefits, although you can add granules to warm food
as a thickener. Fresh lecithin tastes pleasant and nutty. If it tastes nasty and
bitter, the oil in it has gone rancid and it needs to be discarded.


Bioflavonoids
Bioflavonoids are plant compounds, found in fruits, vegetables, tea, and even
red wine, which may help improve circulation and protect against cardiovascular
disease and certain cancers.
To get more bioflavonoids in your diet, replace your usual black tea or coffee
with health-giving green tea, which has higher levels of bioflavonoids. For
great taste, place a heaped teaspoon of green tea leaves per person in a
teapot and pour on freshly boiled (but not boiling) water. Allow to steep for
only a few seconds and then pour off all the liquid into cups and drink. Don’t
leave to steep because the tea becomes bitter and unpleasant.


Seaweed
Seaweed is part of the staple diet in Asia and has also been eaten in Scotland
and Ireland for centuries. Sea vegetables are incredibly nutrient-rich and contain
special compounds that may bind with heavy metals and remove them

safely from the body. Seaweed is a good source of the mineral iodine, which
is important for the thyroid gland and for healthy teeth and bones.
To incorporate seaweed in your diet, try using seaweed salt or dried sheets
of nori seaweed, which may be shredded and added to rice as a topping, or
laid flat, covered with rice and then rolled to make sushi rolls.
If you are hypothyroid and taking thyroxine, you should take your medication
at least several hours apart from consuming seaweed, because its iodine content
may interfere with the effective uptake of the drug.

Sprouted Seeds
Sprouting refers to the practice of germinating seeds, pulses, and nuts until
they start to sprout. They can be grown easily and inexpensively year-round,
even in small spaces with just a jam jar and some water and light. Sprouted
seeds are rich in vitamins, minerals, protein, fibre, and live enzymes.

To sprout, put a heaped teaspoon of seeds (alfalfa, mungbean, and fenugreek
are all good but any seed or pulse may be used) into a jam jar and cover the
open end with mesh or cheesecloth held in place with a thick rubber band.
Soak the seeds for a few hours, then drain and place the jar at an angle on a
draining board or window sill. Rinse each night and morning with clean water
until little shoots appear and then start to sprout. This process normally
takes five to eight days, depending on the type and size of seed, and room
temperature. The sprouts are then ready to rinse and eat as a snack or as a
tasty, nutritious addition to salads, sandwiches, and so on.

For best results, use good quality, organic seed and good quality water, such
as filtered water. Don’t let your seeds become water-logged because they’ll go
mouldy. Make sure that all water is drained off after rinsing and that air can
circulate in the jar at all times. Avoid direct sunlight and heat and keep sprouts
in an even, warm temperature.

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