Posts Tagged ‘vitamin A’

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.

A CUP OF CHICORY

Beignet and Frozen café au lait at Café du Mon...

Chicory is an interesting and highly nutritious vegetable.  A relative of endive, it has many culinary uses – as an addition to salads, served with dips, sautéed or blanched – but it is mainly known for its association with coffee. When the roots are dried, roasted and ground they make a delicious, coffee-like drink with a robust, roasted flavor.  Caffeine- free, it is often blended with coffee to cut down on the amount of caffeine. Because it is more water-soluble than coffee, you don’t need much, making it an inexpensive beverage.

Chicory was brought to North America from Europe in the 1700’s and often served as a coffee substitute when coffee was scarce or too expensive.  It was a favorite drink of the French in Louisiana during the Civil War and is still popular at New Orleans’ famed Café du Monde. Chicory was cultivated along the Nile for thousands of years; ancient Egyptians and Romans used it to help cleanse the blood.

English: Curly endive Français : Chicorée fris...

Image via Wikipedia

Among its many health benefits, chicory is one of the richest sources of vitamin A, important for eye health, and contains Vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant. It is a natural laxative, is useful in treating liver disorders, helps lower cholesterol and is a natural sedative and anti-inflammatory for the nervous system.  Juiced with other vegetables, its nourishing properties are increased.

One of the keys to good health is variety.  No one fruit or vegetable does it all.  In fact health experts recommend the rainbow method, where the goal is to eat something of all colors most days.  So, as I sip my delicious cup of chicory, I know I am getting different nutritional benefits than from my usual cup of green tea.

Vary your morning routine and try a cup of chicory.  Drink it with milk, mix it with coffee or cocoa or try it plain, you’ll be surprised!  ♥

Information compiled from http://www.cafedumonde.com, http://www.coffeetea.about.com, www.theepicentre.com


 

THE GOOD SIDE OF DANDELIONS

 

Image by liangjinjian/jinjian liang

 

Dandelions have an awful reputation; we’re brainwashed into thinking the pretty yellow flowers are a nuisance weed we have to battle every year with a toxic herbicide.  In fact, they are an edible and very beneficial plant for soil and human health!

Dandelions store nutrients from air, water, and soil in their leaves, which are released into the soil when the leaves die and decompose. Their long roots aerate the soil and enable the plant to accumulate minerals, added to the soil when the plant dies.  Dandelions attract beneficial ladybugs and provide early spring pollen for their food.

Dandelions leaves rank in the top 4 green vegetables in overall nutritional value and are nature’s richest green vegetable source of beta-carotene and the third richest source of Vitamin A of all foods. The medicinal properties of dandelions are well known and commonly accepted throughout Europe. They act as a tonic and gentle diuretic to purify your blood, cleanse your system, and dissolve kidney stones.  They assist in weight reduction and cleanse your skin.  They improve your bowel function for both constipation and diarrhea and
 prevent or lower high blood pressure. The white sap from the stem and root is used as a topical remedy for warts and acne.

Dandelion flowers add color and diversity to the monoculture of the lawn.  Who doesn’t feel the nostalgia of blowing dandelion puffs as a child? With a change of heart, dandelions can be seen as a beneficial “wild herb” instead of a weed.

Consider what Emily Dickinson wrote about the dandelion – “Astonishes the grass”.


WILTED WEED SALAD

One person’s weeds are another person’s salad.  Many weeds, from violets to dandelions,can be eaten and are just as good as traditional greens and often considered delicacies.

Make sure you do not collect plants that may have been treated with a pesticide or weed-killing spray.

Ingredients and Supplies

Young dandelion greens

Wild mustard greens

Herbal Vinegar

Directions

  1. Steam dandelion and mustard greens together.
  2. Serve with herbal vinegar.

Violets, chickweed, mustard greens, purslane, and lamb’s quarters are also edible weeds you can add to your salad for spicy flavor, variety and nutrition to your salad.  Violets are rich in Vitamin A and C and purslane is high in omega-3 fatty acids.  Chickweed leaves are rich in minerals.  A WORD OF CAUTION: Be careful in identifying the weeds, and make sure they are pesticide free!