Posts Tagged ‘Vitamin E’

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.

NUTS, SO MUCH MORE THAN A TASTY TREAT!

Brazil nuts come from a South American tree

Image via Wikipedia

Nuts are another amazing food that are not only good for snacking and baking, but actually help prevent many of the lifestyle diseases today that affect so many people.  Researchers are convinced that nuts – almonds, walnuts, cashews, Brazil nuts, pistachios, pecans, pine nuts, peanuts – are extremely beneficial to our health!  Ancient civilizations valued nuts as a source of energy; they were also available all year-long since they stored easily.  Nuts are a source of the  “good” fats in the much-touted healthy Mediterranean diet as well.  They are loaded with protein, fiber,  essential fatty acids, vitamins and minerals.  Nuts are portable, filling and keep you from eating more fattening and less healthy food.

Nuts contain compounds that help prevent heart disease by keeping the arteries open and blood flowing. They help improve the health of the artery lining as well.  They contain monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats that can help lower total cholesterol (as opposed to saturated fats which have the opposite effect).   They are high in Vitamin E, which also helps to prevent cholesterol from sticking to the artery walls and some nuts contain plant sterols, a cholesterol lowering substance.  These same compounds can help prevent gallstones too.

Nuts are beneficial in cancer prevention.  They are rich in antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids, which help fight free radicals.  Studies from Purdue University have also shown that the Vitamin E in walnuts and pecans kills certain cancer cells. The omega-3 in nuts also helps with memory loss and developing neuron-transmitters for brain function. Interesting how a walnut even looks like a brain!

Despite all the health benefits of nuts, recent studies have shown that only 5.5% of adults from age 19 – 50 consume them.  Perhaps it’s because nuts have a reputation for being fattening, which they can be, but not if you limit your intake to one ounce, or about a handful a day.  And some people do have nut allergies.

In a “nutshell” (I couldn’t resist), however, these nutritious treats are an invaluable part of your daily diet.

 

Information compiled from http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/nuts/HB00085,http://whfoods.org/ and The Doctor’s Book of Food Remedies, by Selene Yeager and the Editors of Prevention.