Posts Tagged ‘strokes’

Red Palm Oil

I use a variety of oils. Olive oil for salads, salad dressings and even washing my face like they do in Greece; grape seed oil for sautéing and roasting; coconut oil for cooking, baking, moisturizing and swishing; avocado oil for dressings and face washing. Depending on the recipe, pumpkin seed and walnut oils are delicious alternatives in salad dressings too. All are tasty and nutritious, but not the powerhouse of the oil I’ve recently discovered, red palm oil. Red palm oil has been a staple in indigenous cultures for 5,000 years. According to ancient legends, red palm oil was a sacred food, revered for its healthful properties and entombed with the pharaohs of Egypt for their enjoyment in the afterlife.

Health Benefits

The high beta-carotene and lycopene content give red palm oil its color and numerous health benefits. The same antioxidants are found in tomatoes and carrots, but there are even more in red palm oil. The carotenoids help support the immune system, protect the skin from UV rays and improve eye health, as well as guard against osteoporosis, asthma, cataracts, macular degeneration, arthritis and liver disease. It’s high in Vitamin A and contains rare tocotrienols and tocopherols of the Vitamin E family. Studies funded by the National Institute of Health (NIH) have shown that tocotrienols can help reduce the effects of stroke by protecting the brain’s nerve cells. Tocotrienols also improve blood flow to brain cells, which can help to prevent Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. With red palm oil, cholesterol levels and blood pressure are improved. It’s also a potent anti-cancer food.

Cooking with Red Palm Oil

In addition to its many nutritional benefits, red palm oil is a stable oil meaning it has a high smoke point and remains nutritionally rich when cooked or heated. Its buttery taste makes it perfect for sautéing, baking, cooking or as a popcorn topper. Fried eggs are especially tasty when fried with red palm oil instead of butter. I’m a firm believer in eating a variety of nutritious foods for optimum health. Nutritionists say with fruits and vegetables, try to eat every color of the rainbow daily. Variety is important for oils too – no one oil does it all. And, it’s fun trying different ones for different applications. Go ahead and give this powerhouse oil a try. You can find red palm oil at Whole Foods or other natural food markets. Make sure to buy organic, raw, unrefined red palm oil. Once refined and processed, its color and nutritional benefits are destroyed. Information compiled from: www.droz.com and nutiva.com   For more green living tips, visit greenwithbetsy.com.

Go Bananas!

If you read my blog regularly, you know that I am a firm believer in local, seasonal eating.  But, I do have some exceptions, one of which is bananas.  I could never give up bananas and they certainly don’t grow in New England!  I start everyday with a nutrition-packed smoothie and banana is the mainstay ingredient.

Bananas are actually a super food in their own right!  Here’s how………

bananas

bananas (Photo credit: Fernando Stankuns)

Bananas’ natural sugars – sucrose, fructose and glucose – combined with fiber are a sustained energy boost; they are the number one fruit with leading athletes.  The potassium-packed fruit can also help boost brainpower and keep students alert.

Bananas contain tryptophan, a natural protein that the body converts to serotonin, the feel good hormone, and helps people suffering from depression, PMS, stress or SAD (seasonal affect disorder). The tryptophan also helps with insomnia, so have a banana before bed for the perfect bedtime snack.

Bananas are high in potassium, which reduces the adverse effects of sodium on blood pressure.   The fact that they are also low in salt makes it the perfect food to lower blood pressure.  According to the New England Journal of Medicine, a regular diet of bananas can cut the risk of death by strokes by as much as 40%!

No need for a laxative when bananas are a part of your diet.  The fiber in bananas can help overcome constipation and restore normal bowel function.  They also have a natural antacid effect in the body and offer relief from heartburn and intestinal disorders.  Bananas keep blood sugar levels up and snacking on them helps pregnant women avoid morning sickness.

For those rare occasions when you over imbibe, a milkshake made with bananas and honey calms the stomach, builds up depleted blood sugar levels and rehydrates the body.

I tried this remedy yesterday.  I rubbed the affected area from a mosquito bite with the inside of the banana skin to reduce swelling and irritation.  I’m so allergic to bites that I’ll try anything and happily the bite is better today!  Banana skins can also help kill off warts!

These are just a few of the many benefits of this exotic fruit.  While eating locally is the best way, nutrition-packed bananas are an important exception to the rule.   Make them apart of your daily diet.

An aside:  There is slightly more nutrition with riper bananas!

Information compiled from a physiological psychology lecture at CCNY and FDA.com.