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A-Z OF NATURAL FOODS
Nutrients and medicinal benefits
 

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Nature Cures foods

Consuming natural whole foods is the best way to stay healthy and avoid disease. Knowledge about what your body requires as fuel and how you can prevent many illnesses is important. It is worth taking a little time to prepare nutritious meals and use plenty of herbs and spices that have powerful medicinal properties but will not cause the adverse side effects that are the result of taking most pharmaceutical drugs. See the Medication Dangers page.

INDEX OF FOODS

 

FISH

 

 

MEAT AND EGGS

 

DAIRY

NUTS

 

SEEDS

 

 

GRAINS AND PSEUDO-GRAINS

 

SEAWEED CACTUS AND ALGAE

 

 

LEGUMES/PULSES

 

VEGETABLES

 

FRUIT

 

DERIVATIVES

HERBS AND SPICES

See the A-Z of Herbs and Spices

 

A-Z OF NATURAL FOODS AND DERIVATIVES

 

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Abuta (Abutta officinalis) See the A-Z of Herbs and Spices page.


Acai Berry (Euterpe oleracea, cabbage palm) 

In Brazilian herbal medicine, the oil of acai is used to treat diarrhoea and the root for jaundice. The grated fruit rind as a topical wash for skin ulcers and the seeds for fevers. In the Peruvian Amazon, the toasted crushed seeds are used for fever and the root is used for malaria, diabetes, hepatitis, jaundice, hair loss, haemorrhages, liver and kidney diseases, menstrual pain and muscle pain. See more about Acai Berries


Adzuki Beans (Paseolus angularis, adsuki, aduki, asuki, azuki, chi dou (Mandarin), feijao, field pea, hong xiao dou (Mandarin), red oriental, Tiensin red)

Adzuki beans are small red beans that originated in China and are also known as aduki or azuki beans. They are usually boiled with sugar and mashed into a sweet red bean paste that is used as a filling in many popular Asian desserts, including ice cream and in many savoury dishes. Adzuki beans, along with lentils and chickpeas, are a staple of the macrobiotic diet, which calls for the consumption of plenty of fibrous, protein-packed legumes. Like many other legumes, they are a good source of many phytonutrients.

Significant nutrients in adzuki beans: Protein, fibre, starchvitamin A, vitamin B1 (thiamine), vitamin B2 (riboflavin), vitamin B3 (niacin), vitamin B6 (pyridoxine), vitamin B9 (foliate), vitamin C, vitamin E and vitamin K. They are also good sources of calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, selenium, sodium and zinc. Since they are so low in calories and fat, yet high in nutrition they are ideal for those trying to lose weight.. Additionally, they are relatively easy to digest, so they should not cause flatulence like other beans do.


Agave (Agave schottii)

Agave nectar (syrup), is produced by the agave plants that grow in the volcanic soils of Southern Mexico. They are large, succulent plants that resemble cactus or yucca, but they are more closely related to the aloe vera plant. The Aztecs treasured the agave as a gift from the gods. Today it is used to produce tequila. Aztecs, Anasazi, Hohokam, and the Tohono O’odham, have used the agave for fibre, food, medicine, adult beverages and building materials for thousands of years.

The earliest known use was in the Techuacán Valley of Mexico 10,000 years ago. The agave contains polysaccharides which are bactericidal, and saponins and sapogenins that have antibiotic, fungicidal and antiviral properties. Agave syrup which has been refined contains very little nutritional value and high sugar content. In 2013, saponin in agave schottii was being investigated for cancer treatment.


Ajos Kiro or Ajos Caspi (Cordia alliodora) Described in depth on the A-Z of Herbs and Spices page.


Ajos Sacha (Mansoa alliacea) Described in depth on the A-Z of Herbs and Spices page.


Alfalfa (Medicago sativa)

Alfalfa is named "The Father of all Foods" because it contains just about everything the body needs for survival. It is a well-known herb to health conscious and has been used by the Chinese since the sixth century to treat kidney stones and to relieve fluid retention and swelling. It is rich in chlorophyll which is renowned for its cleansing qualities and is also a very nutritious source of many other elements such as glycine which can help to protect the stomach lining by promoting the production of mucous. Alfalfa nourishes the digestive, skeletal, glandular and urinary systems, detoxifies and enriches the liver, assists in weight loss, purifies the blood, aids digestion and acts as a general tonic. See more about Alfalfa


Algae and Seaweed

All seaweeds are algae, but not all algae are seaweeds. Seaweeds are easily visible, made of many cells and grow in the sea and there are red, brown and green types. Many algae, such as diatoms, are microscopic and consist of a single cell. Seaweed and algae have been harvested for food in China from at least 550 AD and in Japan as early as 1000 AD. New Zealand has around 850 native algae, a third of which are very common and the Māori traditionally use species of red and green seaweed as food. Marine algae have more concentrated nutrition than vegetables grown on land and there are hundreds of types of edible algae and more are being discovered all the time. See more about algae and seaweed


Alisma (Alisma plantago aquatica, Alismatis rhizoma, Alisma orientale) See the A-Z of Herbs and Spices page.


All Spice (Pimenta dioica, Jamaica pepper, pepper, myrtle pepper, pimenta, pimento corns, English pepper, new spice) See the A-Z of Herbs and Spices page.


Almonds (Prunus amygdalus)

Almonds are a dry fruit (not a nut) useful for convalescence, coughs and colds, strengthening the nervous system and increasing sexual vitality. Almonds are high in monounsaturated fats, the same type of health-promoting fats as are found in olive oil, which have been associated with reduced risk of heart disease. Externally, sweet almond oil and pastes made from the crushed nuts can help dry skin conditions and a scrub made from crushed almond stones can treat acne. See more about almonds.


Aloe Vera (Aloe barbadensis)

Aloe vera was known as the 'plant of immortality' by the ancient Egyptians and 'the wand of heaven' by the native tribes of the Americas because they were aware of its powerful properties that can assist the functions of the gastrointestinal tract and soothe, cleanse and help the body to maintain healthy tissues. See more about aloe vera.


Alum Root (Heuchera, cranesbill root, spotted cranes bill, wild geranium, crowfoot, dovefoot, American keno root) See the A-Z of Herbs and Spices page.


Amaranth (Amaranthus)

Amaranth seeds are tan or light brown in colour and are about the size of poppy seeds. Not a true cereal grain, amaranth is sometimes called a ‘pseudo-grain’ and has been referred to as a herb or even a vegetable. There are 60 species of Amaranth on the planet and it is a relative of the common pigweed. Some of these species of Amaranth are grown for their spinach-like leaves which are eaten as a salad while other species are grown only for ornamental or decorative purposes. Other species produce the tiny seeds that are so nutritious and sold mostly in health food stores. See more about amaranth.


Anchovies (Engraulidae)

Although small silvery fish caught off many coastlines are referred to as "anchovies," true anchovies live only in the Mediterranean Sea and off the coast of Southern Europe. Canned anchovies kept at room temperature last for at least a year. Anchovies are rich in many vital nutrients and contain the very rare newly discovered omega-7 fatty acid which has a host of health benefits. See more about anchovies


Andrographis (Andrographis paniculata, Indian echinacea, green chiretta) See the A-Z of Herbs and Spices page.


Angelica (Angelica sinensis, Dong quai, female ginseng) See the A-Z of Herbs and Spices page.


Anise (Pimpinella anisum) See the A-Z of Herbs and Spices page.


Annatto (Bixa orellana, Achiote) See the A-Z of Herbs and Spices page.


Apple Cider Vinegar See Vinegar


Apples (Malus domestica)

According to the latest research, the old saying, "An apple a day keeps the doctor away," is fact, not just folklore but scientific fact. The many important nutrients in apples especially fibre and flavonoids, help to keep the body healthy. Read more about apples.


Apricots (Prunus armeniaca)

Nutrients in apricots can help protect the heart and eyes, as well as provide the disease fighting effects of fibre. The high beta-carotene and lycopene activity of apricots makes them important heart health foods. Both beta-carotene and lycopene protect LDL cholesterol from oxidation, which may help prevent heart disease. They contain nutrients such as vitamin A that promote good vision. Vitamin A, a powerful antioxidant, quenches free radical damage to cells and tissues. Free radical damage can injure the eyes' lenses. The degenerative effect of free radicals, or oxidative stress, may lead to cataracts or damage the blood supply to the eyes and cause macular degeneration. Apricots are a good source of fibre, which has a wealth of benefits including preventing constipation and digestive conditions such as diverticulitis.

The apricot is an excellent food remedy for anaemia on account of its high content of iron. The essential amount of copper in the fruit makes iron available to the body. Apricot are useful in the healing of wounds, in expelling worms and as a general tonic. It can be applied with beneficial results in scabies, eczema, sun-burn and itching of the skin due to cold exposure.

Significant nutrients in apricots

Alanine, arginine, ash, aspartic acid, beta carotene, betaine, choline, cryptoxanthin, cystine, flavonoids, fructose, glucose, glutamic acid, glycine, histidine, insoluble fibre, isoleucine, leucine, lutein, lycopene, lysine, methionine, pectin, phenylalanine, phloridzin, phytosterols, proline, protein, quercetin, rutin, serine, soluble fibre, starch, sucrose, threonine, tryptophan, tyrosine, valine and zeaxanthin.

Vitamins: A, B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B9, E and K.

Minerals: Calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorous, potassium, sodium and zinc.


Arnica (Arnica montana, leopard's bane, mountain arnica, mountain tobacco, wolf's bane) See the A-Z of Herbs and Spices page.


Artichoke (Cynara scolymus, globe artichoke)

This is a thistle vegetable of Mediterranean origin and should not be confused with the Jerusalem artichoke. Artichoke contains the bitter components, cynarin and sesquiterpene-lactones which inhibit cholesterol synthesis and increase its excretion in the bile and results in cholesterol reduction in the blood. It also helps to cleanse and protect the liver against hepatitis and protects against skin cancer.

It also is a good source of silymarin, caffeic acid and ferulic acid, which help to protect the body from harmful free-radical agents.

It is also a rich source of vitamin B9 (folic acid) which acts as a co-factor for enzymes involved in the synthesis of DNA. Regular consumption of foods rich in vitamin B9 during pre-conception period, and during early pregnancy, help prevent neural tube defects in the newborn baby.

It is a good source of vitamin K which helps promote bone formation. Adequate vitamin-K levels in the diet help limiting neuronal damage in the brain; so are helpful in the treatment of patients suffering from Alzheimer's disease.

Significant nutrients in artichoke

Beta carotene, betaine, caffeic acid, carbohydrates, choline, cynarin, fatty acids,  ferulic acid, fibre, lutein, silymarin and zeaxanthin

Vitamins: A, B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B9, C, E and K.

Minerals: Calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorous, potassium, selenium, sodium and zinc.


Ash Gourd (Benincasa hispida, winter melon, white gourd, wax gourd, winter gourd, or ash gourd)

Ash gourd is a single species of tender annual vine believed to have originated in Java, Indonesia and is a member of the Cucurbitaceae family. It has been cultivated in China for over 2,000 years. In Chinese medicine the rind is used to treat urinary dysfunction and the seeds for vaginal discharge.

Being extremely low in calories, the ash gourd is used to treat obesity as it promotes metabolism and prevents sugar (carbohydrates) from being converted into fat. The shoots, tendrils and leaves of the plant may be eaten as greens.

It is alkaline and has a strong ‘antacid’ action. It maintains the pH of the body and counteracts the acidity created in the stomach because of the intake of acidic foods. It helps in treating constipation and tones up the general digestive system and can treat stomach ulcers. Cough, common cold, fever, influenza, bronchitis, sinusitis can be controlled without any side effects. Any kind of severe and chronic asthma can be cured with regular consumption. It can also help treat thyroid problems and  mouth cancer and protect the life of teeth and gums when a mouth gargle of the juice is done regularly. It is also an effective cure for pyorrhoea (bleeding of gums). It can also relieve insomnia.

The fruit is used to treat epilepsy, lung diseases, asthma, coughs, urine retention and internal haemorrhage. The juice of the fruit is effective in cases of mercury poisoning and snakebites.

A delicious sweet made by boiling the pulp in honey is used to treat general debility, to increase weight after sudden weight loss and treat weakness of the heart and anaemia.

People who suffer from an abnormally small amount of hair growth can try roasting the rind and seeds and then mixing it with coconut oil. The mixture when applied to the scalp can also be used as a treatment for dandruff.

Seeds of ash gourd are used as a home therapy to increase the sperm count. The seeds are cooked in milk and consumed directly. Sperm locomotion also amplifies considerably by eating ash gourd.

The rind is also used to treat diabetes and the seeds to expel tapeworms.

To kill parasites and worms, take a handful of ash gourd seeds and grind them. Eat it in the morning on an empty stomach. Two hours later, take two teaspoons of castor oil.

CAUTION: Castor oil should not be given to children below 5 years of age.

Significant nutrients in ash gourd: Acetoin, alunsenol, carbohydrates, chitinase, fibre, flavonoids, mucins, mutiflorenol, nonanal, octanal, protein, saponins, phytosterols and terpenoids.

Vitamins in ash gourd: B1, B2, B3, B5, B6 and C

Minerals in ash gourd: Calcium, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorous, sodium and zinc.


Ashitaba (Angelica keiskei koidzmi) Described in depth on the A-Z of Herbs and Spices page.


Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera, Indian ginseng, poison gooseberry, winter cherry) Described in depth on the A-Z of Herbs and Spices page.


Asparagus (Asparagus officinalis)

The asparagus is a member of the lily family. It grows easily in the home garden right in the flower bed - it is a perennial and can yield a harvest for decades. Asparagus can be planted as seeds or roots any time of the year.

Asparagus has 288 milligrams of potassium per 8oz. It also contains 3 grams of fibre which cleanses the digestive system. It has virtually no natural sodium so no bloating during PMS, has no fat or cholesterol, and 8 oz has only 40 calories. Asparagus has been listed as the number one source of vitamin K which studies have shown can help prevent osteoporosis and osteoarthritis. Vitamin K aids in bone formation and repair. It is also necessary for the synthesis of osteocalcin. Osteocalcin is the protein in bone tissue on which calcium crystallizes. It is also rich in vitamin A, vitamin B9 (foliate) and glutathione - an amino acid compound with potent antioxidant properties. Glutathione (GSH) is an antioxidant that protects cells from toxins such as free radicals. Asparagus also contains a good supply of protein called histones, which are believed to be active in controlling cell growth.

Asparagus can help reduce belly fat, prevent and treat urinary tract infections and kidney stones, reduce pain and inflammation, protects against cancer and will reduce the risk of heart disease as it protects blood cholesterol from peroxidation, prevents cellular damage that can lead to cancer and heart disease, reduces the accumulation of iron in the joints, which is thought to be a primary cause of rheumatoid arthritis and has anti aging properties.

There have been cases reported where asparagus has been able to eliminate cancerous tumours in the body completely. This may be due to it's ability to reduce the accumulation of iron in the body. Cancerous cells need iron to multiply. It'd antioxidant properties and vitamin K content are additional anti-cancer agents so regular consumption is obviously beneficial to both protect against and treat cancerous tumours.

Treatment for Medical Conditions

Place cooked organic asparagus in a blender and liquefy to make a puree. Store in the refrigerator (lasts 2-3 days). Take 4 full tablespoons twice daily, morning and evening. It can be diluted with water and used as a cold or hot drink. This suggested dosage is based on past reports, but larger amounts can do no harm and may be needed in some cases. Improvement can begin to show in about 2-4 weeks.

NOTE: Consuming asparagus can give the urine a strong odour but this is not harmful. It is due to the detoxification process which asparagus is capable of.

Asparagus is important for women who are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. Having a foliate deficiency has been correlated with increased risk of spina bifida (a spinal cord birth defect) and also anencephaly (a neural tube defect). Foliate helps to regulate embryonic and foetal nerve cell formation and may also help to prevent premature births.


Astragalus  See the A-Z of Herbs and Spices page.


Aubergine (Solanum melongena, egg plant, nightshade family)

In addition to featuring a host of vitamins and minerals, aubergine also contains important phytonutrients, many of which have antioxidant activity including phenolic compounds, such caffeic and chlorogenic acid, and flavonoids, such as nasunin. Research on aubergine has focused on an anthocyanin phytonutrient found in the skin called nasunin. Nasunin is a potent antioxidant and free radical scavenger that has been shown to protect cell membranes from damage. Nasunin has been found to protect the lipids (fats) in brain cell membranes. Cell membranes are almost entirely composed of lipids and are responsible for protecting the cell from free radicals, letting nutrients in and wastes out, and receiving instructions from messenger molecules that tell the cell which activities it should perform. Thus aubergines are good for the brain cells.

Eggplants/aubergines have a predominant phenolic compound found which is chlorogenic acid. This is one of the most potent free radical scavengers found in plant tissues. Benefits attributed to chlorogenic acid include antimutagenic (anti-cancer), antimicrobial, anti-LDL (bad cholesterol) and antiviral activities.

Significant nutrients in aubergine: Anthocyanins, caffeic acid, choline, nasunin, nicotinoid alkaloids, chlorogenic acid, vitamin A (retinol), vitamin B1 (thiamine), vitamin B2 (riboflavin),  vitamin B3 (niacin), B6 (pyridoxine), B9 (foliate), B12 (cyanocobalamin), vitamin D (secosteroids), calcium, copper, iodine, iron, magnesium, manganese and zinc.


Avocado  (Persea americana)

Components in avocados can contribute towards the prevention of heart disease. They can also boost the immune system in the elderly and improve male fertility. Avocado may be naturally high in fat, but most of it is the healthy, monounsaturated type, which is essential for plump, youthful skin and actually helps neutralise bad fat in other foods, meaning it could help with weight loss.

Avocado lowers bad cholesterol and is a good source of potassium, which helps the body flush out toxins. It also contains the most potent anti-ageing combination, vitamin E and vitamin C which mop up ageing free radicals and de-clog arteries. It also contains vitamin K and vitamin B6 and fibre.


See also

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Bacopa (Bacopa monnieri) See the A-Z of Herbs and Spices page.


Balloon Flower Root (Platycodon grandiflorum, Campanulaceae, jie geng) See the A-Z of Herbs and Spices page.


Bamboo Shoots (Bambusa vulgaris)

Bamboo shoots are the young sprouts of bamboo and their highly nutritious and medicinal properties have been known in the Asian community since the Chinese Tang Dynasty 2,500 years ago. Bamboo shoots can lower LDL cholesterol and protect the bowels due to their phytosterols and polyphenols which have been shown to have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects. They can also improve appetite and digestion, weight loss and cure cardiovascular diseases and cancer. The lignans in bamboo shoots have anticancer, antibacterial and antiviral activity. The shoots are free from residual toxicity as they grow without the need for hazardous fertilizers or pesticides.

Significant nutrients in bamboo: Omega-3 fatty acids, lignans, protein, fibre, vitamin B1 (thiamine), vitamin B2 (riboflavin), vitamin B3 (niacin), vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid), vitamin B6 (pyridoxine), vitamin B9 (foliate), vitamin C, calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorous, potassium, selenium, sodium and zinc.

The resin collected from the knots in the stems of bamboo is called tabashir and has powerful anti-aging properties due to its silica content. Silica enhances the function of iron, calcium, magnesium, potassium and boron.


Bananas (Musa acuminata, Musa balbisiana, Musa oriana)

One of our best sources of potassium, an essential mineral for maintaining normal blood pressure and heart function. Since the average banana contains 467 mg of potassium and only 1 mg of sodium, a banana a day may help to prevent high blood pressure and protect against atherosclerosis. In addition to these cardiovascular benefits, the potassium found in bananas may also help to promote bone health. Potassium may counteract the increased urinary calcium loss caused by a high-salt diet thus helping to prevent bones from thinning out at a fast rate.

Bananas have long been recognized for their antacid effects that protect against stomach ulcers and ulcer damage. Bananas work their protective magic in two ways: First, substances in bananas help activate the cells that compose the stomach lining, so they produce a thicker protective mucus barrier against stomach acids. Second, other compounds in bananas called protease inhibitors help eliminate bacteria in the stomach that have been pinpointed as a primary cause of stomach ulcers.

Japanese scientists have found that a fully ripe banana produces a substance called TNF which has the ability to combat abnormal cells and enhance immunity against cancer. They have pointed out that as the banana ripens it develops dark spots and or patches in the banana skin and the more patches it has the higher will be its immunity enhancement quality. According to the Japanese scientists who have carried out this research, banana contains TNF which has anti-cancer properties. They say that the degree of anti-cancer effect corresponds to the degree of ripeness of the fruit.

Bananas are good for elimination problems. A bout of diarrhoea can quickly deplete the body of important electrolytes. Bananas can replenish stores of potassium, one of the most important electrolytes, which helps regulate heart function as well as fluid balance. In addition, bananas contain pectin, a soluble fibre (hydrocolloid) that can help normalise movement through the digestive tract and ease constipation. Bananas also contain resistant starch, but this amount varies depending on their degree of ripeness.

Bananas are an exceptionally rich source of fructooligosaccharide, a compound called a prebiotic because it nourishes probiotic (friendly) bacteria in the colon. These beneficial bacteria produce vitamins and digestive enzymes that improve the body's ability to absorb nutrients, plus compounds that protect against unfriendly microorganisms. When fructo oligosaccharides are fermented by these friendly bacteria, not only do numbers of probiotic bacteria increase, but so does the body's ability to absorb calcium. In addition, gastrointestinal transit time is lessened, decreasing the risk of colon cancer. Green bananas contain indigestible (to humans) short chain fatty acids (SCFAs) that are a favourite food of the cells that make up the lining of the intestines. When these cells are well-nourished and healthy, the body's ability to absorb nutrients such as calcium can increase dramatically.

In some parts of the world, the banana skin is also consumed as it is a rich source of fibre, magnesium, potassium and vitamins B6 and B12. The banana skin contains much more soluble and insoluble fibre than the flesh. Dietary fibre promotes digestion and bowel movements and can reduce blood cholesterol levels. The skin also contains tryptophan, which increases serotonin levels in the body and this can ease depression because serotonin is a neurotransmitter in the brain responsible for balancing mood and emotions. The skin also contains lutein, a powerful antioxidant that protects the eye from free radicals and harmful frequencies of UV radiation from the sun. Lutein has been proven to reduce the risks of cataracts and macular degeneration. The best way to consume banana skin is to blend it. See the Nature Cures Daily Health Tonic for the recipe.

Cayenne pepper sprinkled on the inside of a banana skin and placed on the skin with a bandage will draw out any foreign object (splinters, etc) embedded in the flesh.

For warts, gently rough the outer surface of the wart with an emery board then place the inside of the banana skin and bandage. This may take some time but the wart should eventually disappear.


Banderol (Otoba acuminata, Otoba novogranatensis, Otoba parvifolia) See the A-Z of Herbs and Spices page.


Baobab (Adansonia digitata)

The baobab is found in the savannas of African and India, mostly around the equator. It can grow up to 25 meters tall and can live for several thousand years and is leafless for nine months of the year. The baobab's bark, leaves, fruit and trunk are all used. The bark of the baobab is used for cloth and rope, the leaves for condiments and medicines, while the fruit, called "monkey bread", is eaten. Sometimes people live inside of the huge trunks and bush-babies live in the crown.

Baobab can protect against cancer, heart disease, diabetes and wrinkles as well as fight colds, stomach upsets and boost the immune system.

Baobab is a super fruit which apparently has six times more vitamin C than an orange, twice as much calcium as a glass of milk and more iron than a steak, three times more anti-oxidants than blueberries and six times more potassium than a banana. It is also rich in histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, pectin, phenylalanine, saponins, sterols, threonine, tryptophan, ursolic acids, valine, triterpenoids beta-sitosterol, beta-amyrin palmitate, alpha-amyrin palmitate, triterpenes, vitamin B1 (thiamine), vitamin B6, phosphorous and magnesium.

The soluble fibre found in baobab fruit have been found to exert prebiotic effects which means it promotes the growth of healthy bacteria in the gut.


Barberry (Arctostaphylos uva-ursi, Berberis aristata, Berberidaceae, Indian barberry, daruharidra, daruhaldi, uva ursi) See the A-Z of Herbs and Spices page.


Barley (Hordeum vulgare)

This ancient grain, mentioned in the bible, is overlooked by today's culinary trendsetters, yet it is one of the grains with the greatest health benefits and has a good flavour and is very versatile. Barley can be used as a breakfast cereal, in soups and stews and as a highly nutiritious substitute for dishes such as risotto. It is a low-glycaemic grain, high in both soluble and insoluble fibre. It is a good source of vitamin B3 (niacin), has high concentrations of tocotrienols, the "super" form of vitamin E, selenium and provides lignans, which are phytochemicals that function as antioxidants, Women who consume lignans (also present in high levels in flaxseed) are less likely to develop breast cancer.

Soluble fibre helps the body metabolise fats, cholesterol and carbohydrates and lowers blood cholesterol levels, is cardio-protective. Insoluble fibre promotes a healthy digestive tract and reduces the risk of cancers especially colon cancer. Hulled barley, in which the outer hull (the bran) is left intact, contains more fibre and nutrients than other forms, such as pearl barley.

Hulled barley lowers blood cholesterol levels, protects against cancer especially colon cancer, is cardio-protective, protects against diabetes as it slows starch digestion, which help keep blood sugar levels stable.

The fibre found in barley provides food for the beneficial bacteria in the large intestine. This is important as the "good" bacteria can crowd out the disease-causing bacteria in the intestinal tract, resulting in greater health and disease resistance.

Green barley grass, which is the young shoots of barley, is rich in calcium, iron and many other minerals, all the essential amino acids, chlorophyll, flavonoids, vitamin B12, Vitamin C and enzymes. Green barley juice made from these sprouts is said to contain eleven times the calcium in cows' milk, nearly five times the iron in spinach, seven times the vitamin C in oranges, and, unusual for plant food sources, it contains 80 mcg of vitamin B12 per hundred grams. Barley greens are also rich in beta-carotene, vitamins B1, B2, B5, B6, B9 (folic acid). Because of this barley grass juice can be used to treat avitaminosis.

Barley grass juice is also used medicinally to heal stomach and colon disorders, duodenal ulcers, ulcerative colitis and is an effective anti-inflammatory. Research in Japan has also proven it an effective treatment for Alzheimer's disease, anaemia, arthritis, asthma, cancer, cellular damage from x-rays, diabetes, gastritis, heart disease, hepatitis, obesity, Parkinson's disease and peptic ulcers and useful for skin rejuvenation. It can also repair the DNA in the cells of the body and aid in the prevention of abnormal growths, aging and cell death. Barley grass is also extremely rich in antioxidants, including tocotrienols and one powerful antioxidant called tricin and it also also has antiviral activity.

Barley grass can be easily grown as a sprouting seed. See the Sprouts page for more information.


Basil (Ocimum basilicum) See the A-Z of Herbs and Spices page.


Bayberry (Myrica cerifera, Myrica communis, Myrica pensylvanica, candle berry, myrica, tallow shrub, waxberry, wax myrtle) See the A-Z of Herbs and Spices page.


Bay Leaf (Laurus nobilis, Cinnamomum tamala, sweet bay, true laurel, laurier d'apollon, roman laurel, noble laurel, lorbeer, laurier sauce, daphne) See the A-Z of Herbs and Spices page.


Beans  See Legumes


Bearberry (Arctostaphylos uva-ursi, Berberis aristata, Berberidaceae, Indian barberry, daruharidra, daruhaldi, uva ursi) See the A-Z of Herbs and Spices page.


Beef (lean, low fat, organic grass-fed)

Beef is a very good source of protein providing 64.1% of the daily value for protein in just four ounces. Lean organic beef also contains nutrients that protect the heart and prevent colon cancer. In addition to being a very good source of protein, lean, organic beef is a very good source of vitamin B12, and a good source of vitamin B6. Vitamin B12 along with vitamin B6 are two vitamins needed by the body to convert the potentially dangerous chemical homocysteine into other, benign molecules. Since high homocysteine levels are associated with an increased risk of heart attack and stroke, getting plenty of these B vitamins in the diet is important. A four-ounce serving of lean beef provides 48.7% of the recommended daily amount for vitamin B12 plus 24.5% of the RDA for B6. Diets high in vitamin B12 rich foods, especially if they are low in fat, are also associated with a reduced risk of colon cancer.

Organic beef is also a good source of the trace minerals selenium and zinc. Selenium that helps reduce the risk of colon cancer, is needed for the proper function of glutathione peroxidase, an important internally produced antioxidant that has also been shown to reduce the severity of inflammatory conditions like asthma and rheumatoid arthritis. Selenium is incorporated at the active site of glutathione peroxidase, which is particularly important for cancer protection. Glutathione peroxidase is used in the liver to detoxify a wide range of potentially harmful molecules, which might otherwise wreak havoc on any cells with which they come in contact, damaging their cellular DNA and promoting the development of cancer cells. For this and other reasons, foods rich in selenium are also associated with a reduced risk for colon cancer.

Lean beef is a good source of zinc, which is helpful for preventing the damage to blood vessel walls that can contribute to atherosclerosis and is also needed for the proper function of the immune system, making it a good nutrient for helping to prevent infections or recurrent ear infections. Lean, low-fat organic beef tenderloin can be a healthy addition to a good, whole foods diet.

Nutritional value of 100 g (3.63 oz) of lean beef mince

CALORIES

PROTEIN

SUGAR

FAT

CHOLESTEROL

OMEGA-3

OMEGA-6

FIBRE

SODIUM

192

9.4 g

0

12.7 g

62 mg

88 mg

427 mg

0

68 mg

  • Saturated fat 5.3 g

  • Polyunsaturated fat 0.5 g

  • Monounsaturated fat 4.8 g

  • Trans fat 0.8 g

Minerals

CALCIUM

COPPER

IRON

MAGNESIUM

PHOSPHOROUS

POTASSIUM

SELENIUM

ZINC

12 mg

0.1 MG

2 mg

19 mg

175 mg

289 mg

14.2 µg

4.5 mg


Vitamins

A

B1

B2

B3

B5

B6

B7

B8

B9

B12

C

D

E

K

-

0.05 mg

0.02 mg

0.08 mg

0.6 µg

0.4 mg

200 µg

37 mg

6 µg

2.6 µg

-

6 µg

0.4 mg

1.1 µg

 

Other components

BETAINE

CHOLINE

ASH

WATER

8 mg

67.4 mg

1.7 g

67.1 g

 

NOTE: µg is one microgram.


Beetroot (Beta vulgaris, Swiss chard, beets)

Beetroots are ideal for treating anaemia. With its high iron content, beetroot juice regenerates and reactivates the red blood cells, supplies the body with fresh oxygen and helps the normal function of vesicular breathing.

Beetroot also helps prevent spina bifida in babies when consumed during in pregnancy. Regular consumption also reduces the risk of heart disease, helps control cholesterol levels, stops the spread of cancer tumours, prevents diseases of liver, kidney and pancreas and treats ulcers in the stomach. It also strengthens the immune system, improves the vision and is good for eye redness treatment. It also reduces pain after intense physical training and is a useful refuelling food for tired muscles. It also eliminates hard stools, positively affects the colon, strengthens the lungs, regulates high blood pressure, improves bad breath which occurs due to indigestion of food, helps treat acne and creates healthy skin and reduces menstrual pain.

Beetroots possess beta-cyanin which gives them their deep red colour and provides the essential ingredient which can assist the body with recovery from many ailments.

Significant nutrients in beetroot: Carbohydrates, protein, fibre, anthocyanidins, vitamin B1 (thiamine), vitamin B2 (riboflavin), vitamin B6 (niacin), vitamin B9 (folic acid), vitamin C (ascorbic acid), vitamin P (citrin bioflavonoid), calcium, copper, iodine, iron, phosphorous, potassium and sulphur.

Make a raw juice with the following:

  • 1 beetroot

  • 1 carrot

  • 1 apple

  • 1 lemon

Wash and chop the ingredients before placing in a juicer of at least 900 watts then drink immediately. Do this three times a day for maximum benefit. See more powerful juicing recipes.

Swiss chard are the leaves and stems of the beetroot plant leaves and contain at least 13 different polyphenol antioxidants, including kaempferol, the cardio protective flavonoid that's also found in broccoli, kale, strawberries and other foods. Another of the primary flavonoids found in chard is a flavonoid called syringic acid. Syringic acid which has powerful blood sugar regulating properties. This flavonoid has been shown to inhibit activity of an enzyme called alpha-glucosidase. When this enzyme gets inhibited, fewer carbohydrates are broken down into simple sugars and blood sugar is able to stay more stable.

Swiss chard is a unique source of phytonutrients called betalains. Chard contains both red/purple betacyanin pigments as well as yellow betaxanthin pigments. In the red/purple stems of chard and the red/purple veins in the leaves, scientists have identified at least 9 betacyanin pigments including betanin, isobetanin, betanidin and isobetanidin. In the yellow stems and veins, at least 19 betaxanthin pigments have been identified, including histamine, betaxanthin, alanine, betaxanthin, tyramine-betaxanthin and 3-methoxytyramine, betaxanthin. These betalain pigments in chard have been shown to provide antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and detoxification support involving glutathione.

Significant nutrients in Swiss chard: Arginine, carotenoids, histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, lutein - zeaxanthin, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan, valine, vitamin A, vitamin B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B7, B9, vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin K, calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, selenium, sodium and zinc.

NOTE: Due to its oxalate content, individuals with already existing and untreated kidney or gallbladder problems may want to avoid eating Swiss chard.


Bell Peppers (Capsicum annuum, nightshade family)

Brightly coloured bell peppers, whether green, red, orange or yellow, are rich sources of some of the best nutrients available. To start with, peppers are excellent sources of vitamin C and vitamin A (through its concentration of carotenoids such as beta-carotene), two very powerful antioxidants. These antioxidants work together to effectively neutralise free radicals, which can travel through the body causing huge amounts of damage to cells. Free radicals are major players in the build-up of cholesterol in the arteries that leads to atherosclerosis and heart disease, the nerve and blood vessel damage seen in diabetes, the cloudy lenses of cataracts, the joint pain and damage seen in osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, and the wheezing and airway tightening of asthma. By providing these two potent free radical destroyers, bell peppers may help prevent or reduce some of the symptoms of these conditions by shutting down the source of the problem.

For atherosclerosis and diabetic heart disease, peppers also contain vitamin B6 and vitamin B9 (folic acid). These two B vitamins are very important for reducing high levels of homocysteine, a substance produced during the methylation cycle (an essential biochemical process in virtually every cell in the body). High homocysteine levels have been shown to cause damage to blood vessels and are associated with a greatly increased risk of heart attack and stroke. In addition to providing the vitamins that convert homocysteine into other beneficial molecules, bell peppers also provide fibre that can help lower high cholesterol levels, another risk factor for heart attack and stroke.

Red peppers are one of the few foods that contain lycopene, a carotenoid whose consumption has been proven to reduce the risk of bladder, cervix, lung, pancreas and prostate cancers. When tobacco smokers were evaluated, those who were also in the group consuming the most cryptoxanthin rich foods were found to have a 37% lower risk of lung cancer compared to smokers who ate the least of these health-protective foods. A common carcinogen in cigarette smoke, benzo pyrene, induces vitamin A deficiency.

Bell peppers also appear to have a protective effect against cataracts, possibly due to their vitamin C and beta-carotene content. Red peppers especially reduced the cataract operation risk. Sweet red peppers also supply the phytonutrients lutein and zeaxanthin, which have been found to protect against macular degeneration, the main cause of blindness in the elderly.

Vitamin C rich foods, such as bell and chilli peppers, provide humans with protection against inflammatory polyarthritis, a form of rheumatoid arthritis involving two or more joints.

NOTE: Bells peppers should be consumed with a fat rich natural food like olive oil, nuts or avocado so that beta-carotene can be absorbed by the body. Cooking bell peppers destroys 40% of their phytonutrients.

NOTE: Some people are unaware that they are allergic to foods from the nightshade family. See more on the Food Allergies page.


Bdellium Gum (Commiphora africana, Balsamodendron mukul, guggul, guggulu, gugul,mfalse myrrh, sweet myrrh) See the A-Z of Herbs and Spices page.


Bergamot (Monarda didyma, bee balm) See the A-Z of Herbs and Spices page.


Berries

All berries help to prevent varicose veins, ease rheumatoid arthritis, reduce the risks of cancer and have anti-bacterial properties. Berries are rich in vitamin C, vitamin K, vitamin B9 (folic acid), anthocyanins, fibre and contain many powerful phytonutrients. They all help the body make collagen, the protein needed to keep skin supple, smooth and healthy. Dark berries contain potent anthocyanins that are antioxidants that help the body cleanse itself of free radicals.

Blackcurrants in particular protect against UV skin damage and reduce the ageing effect of sunburn by neutralising free radicals. Cranberries and blueberries both help protect against cystitis by stopping harmful bacteria sticking to the urinary tract. Camu camu berries are the richest source of vitamin C after Acerola cherries and maqui berries are the richest source of many essential nutrients.

To find out more about each berry click the blue links.


Betel Nut. (Areca catechu innaeus, areca seed, betel nut palm) See the A-Z of Herbs and Spices page.


Bicarbonate of Soda

Because bicarbonate of soda is alkaline (that means it has a pH greater than 7), has a gritty texture, and gives off carbon dioxide when heated, it has many, many uses around the home. It can be used for everything from cleaning to deodorizing, tenderizing meat to leavening baked goods. 

Bicarbonate of soda has been shown to decrease dental plaque acidity induced by sucrose and its buffering capacity is important to prevent dental cavities. Other studies have shown that bicarbonate inhibits plaque formation on teeth and, in addition, increases calcium uptake by dental enamel. It is advisable to clean teeth after eating food with bicarbonate of soda alternating with a natural herbal toothpaste.

Bicarbonate of soda can also help to break up uric acid kidney and bladder stones. Take 1/2 a teaspoon in a small glass of distilled water every few hours until the stones have been passed.

Worms and Parasites: Take one quarter teaspoon of baking soda in the evening before bed to eradicate worms and parasites. Repeat for three days.

Toe Nail Fungus: Make a paste with 1 tablespoon of bicarbonate of soda and coconut milk. Apply to infected toes then place clean socks on and leave over night. Repeat if necessary.

Acne: Make a paste with 1 tablespoon of bicarbonate of soda and coconut milk. Apply to infected area and leave to dry then rinse off.

Only buy pure mined bicarbonate of soda which has not been tainted with chemicals during the production process.

Can be used with vinegar to unblock drains. Pour a glass of bicarbonate of soda into the sink or bath then add the vinegar. When it stops fizzing rinse away.


Bilberries (Vaccinium myrtillus, European blueberry, blaeberry, whortleberry, bulberry, whinberry, winberry, trackleberry, huckleberry, fraughan)

The bilberry plant is a close relative of the blueberry and is amongst the numerous species in the Ericaceae family. The bilberry has historical uses since the 16th century based upon both the dried berries and leaves of this shrub. The bilberries have four times the anthocyanidin content of blueberries which provides strength to capillaries, which, in turn, help in the normal circulation of blood throughout body and keep the brain and eyes fresh. Bilberries provide support for night vision by nourishing the visual purple component of the retina and protect eyes from eyestrain or fatigue and can improve circulation to the eyes.

During World War II, when British Royal Air Force pilots ate bilberry preserves before night missions, they discovered that their night vision improved afterwards so this berry was investigated and found to be very beneficial for the eyes. Bilberry works by improving the microcirculation and regeneration of retinal purple, a substance required for good eyesight. It is believed that this property is related to the high amount of anthocyanidins, a type of flavonoid that tends to prevent capillary fragility and strengthen the capillaries which nourish the eyes and is also found in blue berries.

They also contain phenolic components which have been found to exert anti-microbial activity against various human pathogens including cacillus and clostridium and prevents the development of associated diseases. Recent scientific findings also suggest the potential of bilberry extract in fighting antibiotic-resistant organisms.

Bilberries have been found to be a natural source of pterostilbene which is a compound that is believed to be significant in the prevention of colon cancer. They also have major antioxidants present in them, which help in improving the overall immune system of the body and can slow down age related degeneration.

Most of the parts of bilberry plant such as leaves and dried or ripe fruit are utilised in the preparation of herbal medicines.

NOTE: Those taking anticoagulant and anti-platelet drugs should cautiously use bilberry extracts as they may interact detrimentally or alter the effectiveness of the medication. Some recent studies have also warned against the usage of bilberry extracts in high concentrations as excessive consumption of bilberry may cause toxicity and result in fatal complications in some individuals.



Birch
(Betula) See on the A-Z of Herbs and Spices page.
 


Bissy Nut (Cola acuminate) See on the A-Z of Herbs and Spices page.


Bitter Kola (Garcinia kola, Garcinia afzelii) See on the A-Z of Herbs and Spices page.


Bitter leaf (Vernonia amygdalina, ewuro, hausas, ironweed, mujonso, onugbu, shiwaka, yorubas) See on the A-Z of Herbs and Spices page.


Black Beans (Phaseolus vulgaris)

Black beans can reduce the risk of heart disease. They also contain components hat can control blood sugar levels lower the risks of colon cancer, prevent anaemia and maintain the proper levels of iron and calcium in the body.  They are low in fat and cholesterol. To balance the diet, when meat and dairy products are reduce for cholesterol problems, all legumes are a healthy alternative providing the daily amounts of protein needed. Black beans are good sources of phytonutrients, protein, fibre, starchvitamin A, vitamin B1 (thiamine), vitamin B2 (riboflavin), vitamin B3 (niacin), vitamin B6 (pyridoxine), vitamin B9 (foliate), vitamin C, vitamin E and vitamin K. They are also good sources of calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, selenium, sodium and zinc.


Blackberries (Rubus fruticosus, bramble)

This delicious fruit has been cultivated in Europe for thousands of years, not only as food; the Europeans also used blackberry juice to treat mouth and eye infections. The North American Natives incorporated this wild bramble into their diet and made tea from its leaves to help reduce vomiting and aid digestion. In Oregon, you will find blackberry bushes everywhere, offering abundant free fruit in season. And stopping to take the time for some old-fashioned berry picking would be a healthy choice.

Blackberries may be one of the best anti cancer and anti-aging foods this planet has to offer. They are in the ORAC (oxygen radical absorbance capacity) top ten list. In the past, the main reason to eat blackberries was the vitamin C. Now it is known that they are also rich in polyphenolics, including antioxidant anthocyanin pigments. Also the seeds are high in ellagic acid which protects from cancer. Blackcurrants in also protect against UV skin damage and reduce the ageing effect of sunburn by neutralising free radicals.

Blackberries are a very good source of vitamin B9 (foliate), vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin K, copper, magnesium, manganese, potassium, fibre and pectin.


Black Cohosh (Cimicifuga racemosa) See the A-Z of Herbs and Spices page.


Blackcurrants (Ribes nigrum)

Black currant components can help the body make collagen, the protein needed to keep skin supple, smooth and healthy. Blackcurrants in particular protect against UV skin damage and reduce the ageing effect of sunburn by neutralising free radicals and they have anti-bacterial properties. They can also ease the pain of rheumatoid arthritis, prevent varicose veins and reduce the risks of developing cancer.

Blackcurrants are a rich source of vitamin B9 (foliate), vitamin C, vitamin K, anthocyanidins and fibre.


Blackcurrant Oil

Black currant oil is obtained by crushing the seeds of the black currant plant and has higher levels of the above nutrients. Black currant oil has also been found to contain high levels of GLA (gamma-linolenic acid) and vitamin C which can aid in autoimmune disorders, hair and nail problems and premenstrual tension.

Serum levels of LDL cholesterol are lowerered more through consumption of black currant oil than fish oil. This oil also can give relief of morning stiffness, pain reduction and relief of joint tenderness for rheumatoid arthritis sufferers. It is rich in linoleic acid (omega-3) and gamma-linolenic acid (GLA). This substance supports the body's manufacture of hormone-like substances known as prostaglandins which help regulate functions of the circulatory system. GLA assists the body with its energy processes and is a structural component of the brain, bone marrow, muscles and cell membranes.


Black Eyed Peas (Vigna unguiculata)

Components in black eyed peas can reduces the risk of heart disease, control blood sugar levels, lower the risks of colon cancer and prevent anaemia by maintaining proper levels of iron and calcium in the body. They are very low in fat and cholesterol and to balance the diet, when meat and dairy products are reduce for cholesterol problems, all legumes are a healthy alternative providing the daily amounts of protein needed. Black eyed peas are a good source of many phytonutrients, protein, fibre, starchvitamin A, vitamin B1 (thiamine), vitamin B2 (riboflavin), vitamin B3 (niacin), vitamin B6 (pyridoxine), vitamin B9 (foliate), vitamin C, vitamin E and vitamin K. They are also good sources of calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, selenium, sodium and zinc.


Black Pepper (Piper nigrum) See the A-Z of Herbs and Spices page.


Black Plum (Calyptranthes jambolana, Syzygium cumini, damson plum, duhat plum, jaam, jamblang, jambolan, jambul, jamun, Java plum, kalojam, wu mei) See the A-Z of Herbs and Spices page.


Black Seed (Nigella sativa, black cumin, habbatul barakah, kalonji, baraka) See the A-Z of Herbs and Spices page.


Blackstrap Molasses

Two teaspoons of black strap molasses contains 18% of the RDA for manganese, 7.3% magnesium, 13.3% of iron, 11.8% of calcium and 14% of copper. It is also a good source of inositol, vitamin B6 and selenium. One tablespoon provides 452mg of potassium. This makes it almost equal to the 467mg found in one small banana. Potassium helps to regulate the body's fluid and mineral balance. Potassium also regulates blood pressure and decreases the risk of stroke.

Black strap molasses can be beneficial to those suffering with arthritis, joint problems, eye problems, blood disorders, circulation problems, fluid retention, kidney problems, menstruation problems, high blood pressure, infertility in men, constipation, fatigue, memory loss, heart problems and depression.

Blackstrap molasses is just one type of molasses, the dark liquid by-product of the process of refining sugar cane into table sugar. It is made from the third boiling of the sugar syrup and is therefore the concentrated by-product left over after the sugar's sucrose has been crystallized.

Other sweeteners do not contain the nutrients of blackstrap molasses. Sugar and corn syrup only contain carbohydrates as the processing strips them of all nutrients. Honey and agave nectar possess some trace minerals, but nowhere near the amounts provided by blackstrap molasses. Artificial sweeteners, such as aspartame, may contain no or few calories, but they can cause many health problems and they provide no nutrition, whatsoever.

Some blackstrap molasses have added sulphur to prevent discolouration and bacterial growth. Seek out organic molasses which have not been through the sulphur process for a better taste and to prevent potential reaction to the sulphites. Blackstrap molasses may be kept in a cool cupboard or the refrigerator. Once opened, use it within six months.


Black Walnut Hulls (Juglans nigra, carya, Jupiter's nuts) See the A-Z of Herbs and Spices page.


Blessed Thistle (Carduus benedictus, Cnicus benedictus, Carbenia benedicta, St. Benedict thistle, holy thistle, spotted thistle, cardin) See the A-Z of Herbs and Spices page.


Bloater Fish

Bloater fish components can relieve symptoms of psoriasis, reduce the risk of heart disease, reduce blood pressure, maintain bone density, prevent anaemia, support cardiovascular health, lower triglycerides and cholesterol levels, lower risk of atherosclerosis, strengthen the bones, support joint cartilage, help regulate and stabilise the balance of collagen and minerals in bone and surrounding tissue, reduce free radical damage and inflammation, reduce risk of cancer including colorectal cancer, prostate cancer, breast cancer, blood cell or lymph cell-related cancers such as leukaemia, multiple myeloma, non-Hodgkins lymphoma, renal cell carcinoma, kidney cancer, protect against macular degeneration (AMD) of the eye, reduce the risk of dry eye syndrome, promote more youthful skin, alleviate skin blemishes, give good hair lustre, prevent hair loss and help with brain and eye development in infants. Pregnant and nursing women may benefit from eating oily fish to increase the amount of DHA in the diet.

Bloater Fish are rich in two fatty acids called eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and decosahexaenoic acid (DHA),  A 3oz. portion contains 2 g of essential omega-3 fatty acids and 20g of protein Contains vitamin B2vitamin B3, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, vitamin D, vitamin E, calcium, selenium, iodine; copper. For more details see Oily Fish

  • Bloater Fish are a type of whole cold smoked herring.

  • Kippers are split smoked herring.

  • Pilchards are a type of small herring

  • Sardines are younger smaller herring


Blood root (Sanguinaria canadensis, Bloodwort, Coon Root, Indian Plant, Indian Red Paint, Pauson, Red Indian Paint, Red Puccoon, Red Root, Sang-Dragon, Sang de Dragon, Sanguinaire, Sanguinaire du Canada, Sanguinaria, Sanguinaria canadensis, Snakebite, Sweet Slumber, Tetterwort) See the A-Z of Herbs and Spices page.


Bluebell (Agraphis nutans, Scilla nutans, auld man's bell, calverkeys, endymion, culverkeys, jacinth, ring-o'-bells, wild hyacinth, wood bells) See the A-Z of Herbs and Spices page.


Blueberries  (Cyanococcus)

Blueberries and bilberries are often confused as both have a dark blue, smooth skin but the bilberry is slightly smaller than the blueberry. Bilberries have been popular in Europe for centuries and blueberries were first widely grown in the U.S. in the 1920s.

Blueberries are very low in calories. 100 g fresh berries provide only 57 calories. Blueberries, like bilberries, have long been a remedy for poor vision and ‘night blindness’. Clinical tests have indicated that consumption of blueberries tends to improve visual accuracy and can help those with eye disorders such as pigmentosa, retinitis, glaucoma and myopia. They contain anthocyanin, a natural antioxidant, which lowers blood pressure, reduces clotting and improves blood supply to the nervous system. Anthocyanins also support and enhance the health of collagen structures in the blood vessels of the eyes, thus aiding in the development of strong healthy capillaries that can carry vital nutrients to eye muscles and nerves.

Other properties in blueberries also appear to assist in thinning the blood and stimulating the release of vasodilators. Blueberries and cranberries protect against cystitis and urinary tract infections by stopping harmful bacteria sticking to the urinary tract. They can also prevents varicose veins, eases rheumatoid arthritis, reduce the risks of cancer and have anti-bacterial properties. .

New evidence suggests that blueberries and cranberries contain an antioxidant that may slow down age-related motor changes, such as those seen in Parkinson's and Alzheimer's disease.

Blueberries contain a balanced mixture of the five major anthocyanins aglycons; delphinidin, petunidin, cyanidin, peonidin and malvidin bound to monosaccharides (glucose, galactose and arabinose). They are also a rich source of vitamin B9 (folic acid), vitamin C, vitamin K and fibre.


Blue Cohosh (Caulophyllum thalictroides, squaw root, papoose root, blue ginseng, yellow ginseng). See the A-Z of Herbs and Spices page.


Blue Flag ( Iris versicolor, blue iris, dragon lily, flag lily, fleur-de-lis, harlequin blue flag, iris ivy, liver lily, poison flag, snake lily, water flag, wild iris) See the A-Z of Herbs and Spices page.


Blue Vervain (Verbena hastata, Verbena azul, enchanter’s plant, herb of the cross, devil's medicine, bastard balm, juno’s tears, pigeon’s grass, pigeonweed, simpler’s joy, herb of grace, iron-weed, wild verbena, wild hyssop). See the A-Z of Herbs and Spices page.


Bok Choy (Brasica rapa var chinensis, Chinese cabbage, pak choy)

Glucoraphanin, which transforms into sulforaphane in the body, is found in brassicas like bok choy and blocks a key destructive enzyme that damages cartilage. Consuming plenty of these cruciferous vegetables can protect the joints and help to treat arthritis. Sulforaphane, which also helps with the detoxification in the liver and may prevent, or even cure, breast cancer. Brassicas can boost the immune system, prevent spina difida in newborns (if consumed during pregnancy) and prevent heart disease and many forms of cancer.

Bok choy is a good source of carotene, indoles, vitamin A (retinol), vitamin B1 (thiamine), vitamin B2 (riboflavin), vitamin B3 (niacin), vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid), vitamin B6 (pyridoxine), vitamin C (ascorbic acid), calcium, copper, iron, manganese, phosphorus, potassium and zinc.

To benefit from the fat soluble carotenoids in bok choy, it must be consumed with a fatty food such as nuts, seeds, oils, fish, avocado etc.


Bolaina or Mutamba Bark (Guazuma ulmifolia). See the A-Z of Herbs and Spices page.


Borage (Borago oficinalis) See the A-Z of Herbs and Spices page.


Bo Tree Figs (Ficus religiosa, ashwattha tree, bodhi tree, peepal tree, pippala tree) See the A-Z of Herbs and Spices page.


Boysenberries (Rubus ursinus × Rubus idaeus)

Boysenberries are a cross between a European raspberry, a common Blackberry, an American dewberry and a loganberry. They are a good addition to the diet for digestive health and contain powerful compounds that can provide protection for the brain and enhance cognitive function. They are also good for lowering blood pressure and help to remove excess plaque from the artery walls and they can help to fight infections and improve energy levels. They are a very good addition to the diet of pregnant women.

Significant nutrients in boysenberries

Beta-carotene, choline, lutein, omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, vitamins A, B1, B3, B5, B6, B9, calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorous, selenium, sodium, xeaxanthin and zinc.


Bran

Bran is the outer layer of whole grains such as oats, wheat and rice. In food processing, this outer layer is often stripped from the grains creating a smoother product, but one lacking in as many health benefits. It is made of insoluble dietary fibre and does not break down in the same manner as do grains stripped of it. Consuming bran may have tremendous benefits for the gastrointestinal (GI) tract, as a pro-biotic food, in combating heart disease and controlling weight.

Bran has natural antibacterial fighting properties and as pathogenic bacteria cause most ulcers, reducing harmful gut bacteria can reduce the chance of getting an ulcer. Soluble fibres attract water and form a gel, which slows down digestion by delaying the emptying of the stomach and creating a full feeling, which helps control weight. Slower stomach emptying may also affect blood sugar levels and have a beneficial effect on insulin sensitivity, which may help control diabetes. Soluble fibre can also help lower LDL blood cholesterol by interfering with the absorption of dietary cholesterol.


Brassicas (Brassicaceae, cruciferous vegetables, cruciferae)

The word brassica derives from bresic, a Celtic word for cabbage and they were originally named brassicas for the four equal-sized petals in their flowers that could be viewed as forming a cross like or crucifix shape. They are also known as cruciferous vegetables.

Glucoraphanin, which transforms into sulforaphane in the body, is found in brassicas and blocks a key destructive enzyme that damages cartilage. Consuming plenty of these cruciferous vegetables can protect the joints and help to treat arthritis. Sulforaphane, which also helps with the detoxification in the liver and may prevent, or even cure, breast cancer. Brassicas can boost the immune system, prevent spina difida in newborns (if consumed before and during pregnancy) and prevent heart disease and many forms of cancer.

Brassicas have a very high antioxidant content which cleanses the system and protects the lungs.

Significant nutrients in brassicas: Carotenoids, indoles, vitamin A (retinol), vitamin B1 (thiamine), vitamin B2 (riboflavin), vitamin B3 (niacin), vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid), vitamin B6 (pyridoxine), vitamin C (ascorbic acid), calcium, copper, iron, manganese, phosphorus, potassium and zinc.

NOTE: To benefit from the fat soluble carotenoids in brassicas, they must be consumed with a fatty food such as nuts, seeds, oils, fish, avocado etc.

NOTE: Avoid cabbage and kale if suffering from thyroid gland problems or bladder, kidney or gallstones.

Brassicas


Brazil Nuts (Bertholletia excelsa castania, castanheiro do para, para-nut, creamnut, castana- de-para, castana-de-Brazil)

These nuts are a great source of selenium, which improves the condition of the hair and nails, and boosts skin elasticity. Selenium also wards off opportunistic infections, keeps the muscles in the heart healthy and even helps with acne. Brazils also contain a good amount of zinc, which reduces ageing skin inflammation and eases dry skin problems like eczema and psoriasis that leave the skin more vulnerable to wrinkling.


Breadfruit (Artocarpus altilis)

The breadfruit is a species of flowering tree in the mulberry family (Moraceae) first discovered in New Guinea and native to the south Pacific islands where it is known as ulu in Hawaiian. It has been cultivated for over 3000 years and was introduced to the Western world by British explorers. The breadfruit is one of Earth’s highest yielding food crops.

A mature tree can produce around 205 kg (450 pounds) of fruit in one year and because of its remarkable nutritional content and perfect suitability for the sub-tropical regions where people are often facing starvation, it could be a solution to world hunger. In areas where mosquito-borne infections occur, such as malaria, burning bread fruit leaves acts as an effective mosquito repellent.

Fermented breadfruit flour is a nutrient-rich and gluten-free alternative to ordinary flour. One dessert bowl serving of breadfruit has more potassium than three bananas and it is rich in antioxidants, omega-3 fatty acids, protein, most of the vital minerals and other nutrients such as beta-carotene, the A, C and B vitamins and fibre.

Consumption of breadfruit can help to reduce cholesterol levels and inflammation and is chemo-protective. It is low in calories so an ideal choice for those that want to lose weight and has properties that can help child brain development and improve the condition of the hair and skin. It can also help with colon and digestive issues due to its high fibre content and is an ideal food for diabetics.


Brewer's Yeast 

Made from a one-celled fungus called Saccharomyces cerevisiae and is used to make beer, wine and bread. It tastes bitter and should not be confused with baker's yeast, nutritional yeast, or torula yeast. All those types of yeast are low in chromium.

Brewer's yeast is a good source of B-complex vitamins, chromium and selenium. The B-complex vitamins in brewer's yeast include B1 (thiamine), B2 (riboflavin), B3 (niacin), B5 (pantothenic acid), B6 (pyridoxine), and vitamin H or B7 (biotin) and B9 (folic acid). These vitamins help break down carbohydrates, fats, and proteins, which provide the body with energy. They also support the nervous system; help maintain the muscles used for digestion, and keep skin, hair, eyes, mouth, and liver healthy.

Brewer's yeast is a rich source of chromium which helps to lower blood sugar levels as well as improving glucose tolerance and reducing the amount of insulin needed. Chromium can also help to reduce body fat.

Brewer's yeast is used as a protein supplement and energy booster, so it may help maintain a healthy weight. Brewer's yeast helps to lower LDL ("bad") cholesterol levels in the blood and raise HDL ("good") cholesterol levels, can reduce acne and the risk of a second skin cancer and helps to prevent colds and flu.

Brewer's yeast is available in powder, flakes, tablet, and liquid forms. 1 - 2 Tbsp per day; may be added to food or dissolved in juice or water. Is is not recommended for children.

NOTE: Brewer's yeast does not contain vitamin B12 an essential vitamin found in meat, fish and dairy products. Vegetarians sometimes take brewer's yeast mistakenly believing that it provides B12, which can be lacking in their diet.

NOTE: If suffering from virus infection, candidiasis or yeast infections yeast is best avoided. It can cause flare ups of the herpes virus. It should also be avoided by those suffering from osteoporosis due to the high phosphorous content. Those suffering from headaches or migraines or Alzheimer's disease should avoid yeast products as should pregnant or breast feeding women.

NOTE: Some nutritional yeasts can interact with medications, especially brewer's yeast. Those who are on Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitor antidepressants (MAOIs) or Type 1 diabetes medication are especially at risk.


Broad Bean (Vicia faba)

It was 7,000 years ago, when the Hoabinhian people utilised the broad bean in their path towards agriculture, as shown by the seeds found in Spirit Cave, Thailand. Broad beans remained prominent and the seeds are mentioned in Hittite and Ancient Egyptian sources dating from more than 3,000 years ago as well as in the Bible.

Broad beans can reduce the risk of heart disease, control blood sugar levels in those suffering with diabetes, lower the risks of colon cancer and prevent anaemia. It helps to maintains the proper levels of iron and calcium in the body and is low in fat and cholesterol levels. To balance the diet when meat and dairy products are reduce for cholesterol problems, all legumes are a healthy alternative providing the daily amounts of protein needed.

Broad beans are a natural source of L-dopa which has shown to be pharmacologically active in patients with Parkinson's disease and can be incorporated into dietary strategies to manage Parkinsonian motor oscillations. L-dopa can help to correct the underlying deficiency of endogenous dopamine release in the striatum.

Significant nutrients in broad beans: Protein, fibre, starchvitamin A, vitamin B1 (thiamine), vitamin B2 (riboflavin), vitamin B3 (niacin), vitamin B6 (pyridoxine), vitamin B9 (foliate), vitamin B17, vitamin C, vitamin E and vitamin K. They are also good sources of calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, selenium, sodium and zinc.


Brocolli (Brassica oleacera)

Broccoli can help protect against cancer, heart disease, cataracts and stroke, due to their richness of flavonoids (antioxidants) and indoles. Broccoli contains powerful phytochemical antioxidants in the carotenoid family called lutein and zeaxanthin, both of which are concentrated in large quantities in the lens of the eye. When it comes to building strong bones, broccoli is a winner. Not only does a cup of broccoli contain the RDA for vitamin C, it also fortifies the immune system. Broccoli also has antiviral and anti-ulcer properties

Glucoraphanin, which transforms into sulphoraphane in the body, is found in brassicas like broccoli and blocks a key destructive enzyme that damages cartilage. Consuming plenty of these cruciferous vegetables can protect the joints and help to treat arthritis. Sulphoraphane, which also helps with the detoxification in the liver and may prevent, or even cure, breast cancer. Brassicas can boost the immune system, prevent spina difida in newborns (if consumed during pregnancy) and prevent heart disease and many forms of cancer.

Significant nutrients in broccoli: carotenoids, indoles, vitamin A (retinol), vitamin B1 (thiamine), vitamin B2 (riboflavin), vitamin B3 (niacin), vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid), vitamin B6 (pyridoxine), vitamin C (ascorbic acid), calcium, copper, iron, manganese, phosphorus, potassium and zinc.

To benefit from the fat soluble carotenoids in brassicas, they must be consumed with a fatty food such as nuts, seeds, oils, fish, avocado etc.


Brussel Sprouts (Brassica oleracea)

Glucoraphanin, which transforms into sulforaphane in the body, is found in Brussel sprouts and blocks a key destructive enzyme that damages cartilage. Consuming plenty of these cruciferous vegetables can protect the joints and help to treat arthritis.

Sulforaphane, which also helps with the detoxification in the liver and may prevent, or even cure, breast cancer. Brassicas can boost the immune system, prevent spina difida in newborns, prevent heart disease and many forms of cancer.

Significant nutrients in Brussel sprouts: Carotenoids, indoles, vitamin A (retinol), vitamin B1 (thiamine), vitamin B2 (riboflavin), vitamin B3 (niacin), vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid), vitamin B6 (pyridoxine), vitamin C (ascorbic acid), calcium, copper, iron, manganese, phosphorus, potassium and zinc.


Buckwheat (Fagopyrum esculentum)

Buckwheat is a fruit seed that is related to rhubarb and sorrel making it a suitable substitute for grains for people who are sensitive to wheat or other grains that contain protein glutens. Buckwheat flowers are very fragrant and are attractive to bees that use them to produce a special, strongly flavoured, dark honey. Buckwheat makes an ideal alternative to rice and can be made into porridge.

Significant nutrients in buckwheat:  protein, fibre, omega 6 fatty acids, alanine, arginine, aspartate, choline, cystine, glutomate, glycine, histidin, isoleucine, leucine, lutein and zeaxanthin, lysine, methionine, oleic acid, phenylalanine, proline, quercetin, rutin, serine, threonine, tryptophan, tyrosine, valine, copper, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, selenium and zinc. Also contains vitamin P, vitamin K, vitamin E and the B vitamins apart from vitamin B12.


Burdock (Arctium lappa) See the A-Z of Herbs and Spices page.


Butcher's Broom (Ruscus aculeatus, knee holly, box holly, sweet broom). See the A-Z of Herbs and Spices page.


Butter See Butter V Margarine


Butter Beans (Phaseolus lunatus, lima beans)

Components in butter beans can reduce the risk of heart disease and control blood sugar levels preventing diabetes. They also help to lower the risk of developing colon cancer and prevent anaemia. They maintain the proper levels of iron and calcium in the body and have low levels of fat and cholesterol To balance the diet, when meat and dairy products are reduce for cholesterol problems, all legumes are a healthy alternative providing the daily amounts of protein needed.

Butter beans are good sources protein, fibre, starchvitamin A, vitamin B1 (thiamine), vitamin B2 (riboflavin), vitamin B3 (niacin), vitamin B6 (pyridoxine), vitamin B9 (foliate), vitamin C, vitamin E and vitamin K. They are also good sources of calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, selenium, sodium and zinc.


Butterbur (Petasites hybridus) See the A-Z of Herbs and Spices page.


Butternut Squash (Cucurbita moschata)

The butternut squash is a large pear shaped golden-yellow pumpkin fruit. Botanically, the vegetable belongs to the Cucurbitaceae family of field pumpkins. It can be steamed and used similar to root vegetables as well as in sweet desserts.

Butternut squash contains many vital poly-phenolic anti-oxidants and vitamins and is 45 calories per 100g and is good for cholesterol controlling and weight reduction. It contains no saturated fats or cholesterol.

Significant nutrients in butternut squash: Protein, fibre, mono-unsaturated fatty acids, phytonutrients, vitamin B1 (thiamine), vitamin B2 (riboflavin), vitamin B3 (niacin), vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid), vitamin B6 (pyridoxine), vitamin B9 (foliate). It has plenty of natural poly-phenolic flavonoid compounds like alpha and beta carotenes, cryptoxanthin, lutein plus the minerals  iron, zinc, copper, calcium, potassium and phosphorus.

It has more vitamin A than that in pumpkin and most other vegetables in the curbitaceae family providing about 354% of RDA. Vitamin A is a powerful natural anti-oxidant and is required by the body for maintaining the integrity of skin and mucus membranes. It is also an essential vitamin for good eye-sight and can protect against lung and oral cavity cancers.

Butternut Squash seeds are a good source of dietary fibre that benefit the heart. In addition, they are rich in minerals, and numerous vitamins. The seeds are an excellent source of the health promoting amino acid, tryptophan. Tryptophan converts to the health benefiting GABA neuro-chemical in the brain.


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Cabbage (Brassica oleracea capitata)

Much research has focused on the beneficial phytochemicals in cabbage, particularly its indole-3-carbinole (I3C), sulforaphane, and indoles. These two compounds help activate and stabilize the body's antioxidant and detoxification mechanisms that dismantle and eliminate cancer-producing substances. Induces the production of Phase II enzymes in the liver, which bind to potential carcinogens and remove them from the body. Induces apoptosis, the self-destruct sequence the body uses to eliminate old or cancerous cells.

Beneficially affects the way in which steroid hormones, including oestrogen, are metabolized and the way in which the oestrogen receptors on cells respond to the hormone. Prevents excessive cellular proliferation. Helps to prevent colon cancer. When cabbage is cut, chewed or digested, a sulphur-containing compound called sinigrin is brought into contact with the enzyme myrosinase, resulting in the release of glucose and breakdown products, including highly reactive compounds called isothiocyanates. Contains sulforaphane, which helps with detoxification in the liver and may prevent, or even cure, breast cancer.

Glucoraphanin, which transforms into sulforaphane in the body, is found in broccoli, brussel sprouts and cabbage and blocks a key destructive enzyme that damages cartilage. Consuming plenty of these  cruciferous vegetables can protect the joints and help to treat arthritis. Sulforaphane, which also helps with the detoxification in the liver and may prevent, or even cure, breast cancer. Brassicas can boost the immune system, prevent spina difida in newborns, prevent heart disease and many forms of cancer.

Significant nutrients in cabbage: carotenoids, indoles, vitamin A (retinol), vitamin B1 (thiamine), vitamin B2 (riboflavin), vitamin B3 (niacin), vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid), vitamin B6 (pyridoxine), vitamin C (ascorbic acid), calcium, copper, iron, manganese, phosphorus, potassium and zinc.

Cabbage contains amazing anti-cancer and antioxidant compounds. Studies have shown that people who eat cabbage once a week compared to once a month slash their colon cancer risk by a third.

NOTE: Over consumption of cabbage, cassava, lima beans, sweet potatoes and Swede, which can result in depressed iodine / thyroid functions. People with thyroid gland problems or gall bladder or kidney stones should avoid cabbage.


Calamari See Octopus, Calamari and Squid


Calendula See Marigold


Calf's Liver

Calf's liver is an exceptionally nutrient-dense food as it is an excellent source of vitamin A, vitamin B2 (riboflavin), vitamin B9 (foliate), vitamin B12, copper and selenium; a very good source of protein, vitamin C, vitamin B3 (niacin), and phosphorus and  zinc and a good source of vitamin B5, vitamin B6 and iron. Although calf's liver is also high in cholesterol and saturated fat, its concentration of so many beneficial nutrients makes it an extremely healthful food.

First of all, calf's liver is a very good source of protein, providing 49.1% of the RDA for protein in just 4 ounces. In addition to being a very good source of protein, calf's liver is an excellent source of vitamin B12, foliate, and riboflavin, as well as a very good source of niacin and a good source of vitamin B6. A four-ounce serving of calf's liver provides an amazing 689.8% of the RDA for vitamin B12, 215.2% of the RDA for folate, 129.4% of the RDA for riboflavin, 28.0% of the RDA for B6, 48.0% of the RDA for niacin and 58.6% of the daily value for vitamin C.

Calf's liver is also an excellent source of copper and a good source of iron. Copper is an essential component of the enzyme, superoxide dismutase, which is important in energy production and antioxidant defences. Copper is also necessary for the activity of lysyl oxidase, another enzyme that is involved in cross-linking collagen and elastin, both of which provide the ground substance and flexibility in blood vessels, bones and joints. Copper's involvement in both antioxidant defence and joint tissue production may be why people with rheumatoid arthritis find copper helpful for relieving some of their symptoms.


Camphor (Cinnamonum camphora, Dryobalanops camphora) See the A-Z of Herbs and Spices page.


Camu camu berries (Myrciaria dubia)

The camu camue berry is one of the world's most abundant sources of vitamin C with as much as 60 times more vitamin C per serving than an orange. This antioxidant-rich berry from the Amazon is also a plentiful source of potassium, calcium, protein, beta carotene, amino acids and powerful phytochemicals. The vitamin C content of camu-camu fruits has been shown to range from about 1,882 milligrams to about 2,280 milligrams per 100 grams of fresh fruit. To put this into perspective, acerola cherries, which have long been considered the highest source of vitamin C contains around 1,678 milligrams per 100 grams.

Camu camu berries provide support for the nervous system and can help maintain healthy eyesight and prevent degenerative vision loss due to its rich vitamin A content. Included in the nervous system category is the brain, which also derives benefits from camu camu. Not only does the fruit help improve focus and prevent "brain fog," it can also help block the build-up of plaque in the brain that can lead to conditions like Alzheimer's disease. Many individuals suffering from depression have been able to stop their antidepressant medications after incorporating camu camu into their everyday diets.

It can also help with weigh loss and building healthy muscles. The body's ligaments and tendons are composed of collagen and the high vitamin c content of camu camu can help make them stronger and will also improve the strength and shine of hair. It also helps to cleanse the body of poisonous toxins which can damage reproductive function and potentially lead to infertility. It also assists the immune system against virus and other infections and is especially useful against the herpes virus.


Cantaloupe (Cucumis melo, muskmelon, melon, honeydew melon)

The cantaloupe is a member in the large Cucurbitaceae family which include squash pumpkin, courgettes, cucumber and gourd and like its relatives, melons grow on the ground surface as a trailing vine and they require honeybees for effective pollination. Melons are thought to have originated from India or ancient Persia or Africa.

Cantaloupe are very low in calories (100g fruit has 34 calories) It contains omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids and phytosterols. Melon is very rich in poly-phenolic plant derived compounds. It is an excellent source of vitamin A, (100g provides112% of RDA) one of the highest among fruits. It also contains choline, vitamin B3 (niacin), vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid), vitamin C, vitamin K, calcium, copper, fluoride, iron, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, selenium, sodium and zinc. It is also very rich in antioxidant flavonoids such as beta-carotene, lutein, zeaxanthin and cryptoxanthin. 100g provides 267mg of the electrolyte potassium.

Cantaloupe can help develop resistance against infectious agents and scavenge harmful oxygen-free radicals good vision, maintain healthy mucus membranes and skin, protect against lung, oral cavity colon, prostate, breast, endometrial, lung, and pancreatic cancers, protect eyes from age related macular degeneration disease in the elderly, help control heart rate and blood pressure offering protection against stroke and coronary heart diseases.


Capers (Capparis spinosa) See the A-Z of Herbs and Spices page.


Caraway Seeds (Carum carvi) See the A-Z of Herbs and Spices page.


Cardamom (Eettaria cardamomum) See the A-Z of Herbs and Spices page.


Carp Fish

Like all oily fish the carp can relieves symptoms of psoriasis, reduce the risk of heart disease, maintain bone density and prevent anaemia. Carp is a rich source of vitamins D and E, protein, EPA, DHA and omega-3 fatty acids.


Carrots (Daucus carota)

Carrots an excellent source of antioxidant compounds, and one of the richest vegetable sources of the pro-vitamin A carotenes. Carrots' antioxidant compounds help protect against cardiovascular disease and cancer and also promote good vision, especially night vision. They can also prevent blood clots and arterial blockages reducing the risks of heart disease. They also prevents a variety of cancers and protect against the damages caused by nicotine. They are also high in anti-ageing vitamin C and a good source of dietary fibre. Eating two carrots a day can lower bad cholesterol by 10%. Carrots contain vitamins C, vitamin K, vitamin B9 (folic acid), fibre, carotenes and boron

Cook or juice carrots to release nutrients from the tough cell structure to benefit from its high  beta-carotene content. Research has shown that people with low levels of beta-carotene in their blood are more likely to have heart attacks, strokes and certain cancers. This nutrient also protects against the sun's rays. Taking carotenoids equivalent to two large carrots a day gives a natural SPF of 2 to 4 in light-skinned people.

The raw juice of parsley, carrots and celery it is very valuable as nourishment for the optic system, also for the kidneys and bladder and as an aid in allaying inflammation of the urethra and genital organs.

Threadworms: can eliminate threadworms from children. A small cup of grated carrot taken every morning for three days, with no other food added to this meal, can clear these worms quickly.

Carrots can be grown in a container that is more than two feet deep such as a plastic refuse bin as the carrot flies, that attack them, cannot fly higher than two feet above the ground. Cut some holes in the bottom of the bin then add a layer of stones or broken pots for drainage. Then add sieved stone free soil and top with a good potting compost before sowing your organic carrot seeds. Grow some spring onions around the edges to provide even more protection.

NOTE: Carrots should always be consumed with a fat-rich food like olive oil, rapeseed and other plants and seed oils, fish, nuts, seeds or avocado so that beta-carotene can be absorbed by the body.

NOTE: Carrots have been proven to prevent cancers in those that smoke.


Cascara Sagrada (Rhamnus purshiana, sacred bark) See the A-Z of Herbs and Spices page.


Cashew Nuts (Anacardium occidentale)

Cashew nuts are actually seeds that adhere to the bottom of the cashew apple, the fruit of the cashew tree, which is native to the coastal areas of north eastern Brazil. Cashew apples are regarded as delicacies in Brazil and the Caribbean.

Cashews have a lower fat content than most other nuts and most of it is in the form of oleic acid, the same heart-healthy monounsaturated fat found in olive oil. They are a rich source of proanthocyanidins, a class of flavonols that starve tumours and stop cancer cells from dividing. They are also a good source of vitamin B17 which has been proven to protect against the development of cancer in many indigenous tribes who consume foods rich in this element.

Cashew nuts also contain beta-carotene, vitamins B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B9, C, E and K. They are also a good source of protein, copper, chromium, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, selenium and zinc and are known to improve the mood and so are useful when treating depression. One serving every three days can protect the heart, stabilise blood sugar, prevent gall stones, cancer, osteoporosis, obesity, nerve problems and pain and keep the hair and skin healthy.

NOTE: Pre-salted cashews should be avoided especially by those with high blood pressure. If salt is required then use Himalayan pink salt crystals or unrefined sea salt on unsalted cashews. A small handful of home salted cashew nuts can help to provide instant relief for leg and foot cramps.


Catnip (Nepeta cataria) See the A-Z of Herbs and Spices page.


Cat's Claw (Uncaria tomentosa, uña de gato, samento) See the A-Z of Herbs and Spices page.


Cattle Tongue (Pluchea carolinensis, cure-for-all, guerit-tout, salvia, sauge rouge, sourbush, sweetscent, tabak djab, tabac zombie, wild tobacco, zówèy mouten) See the A-Z of Medicinal Herbs and Spices page.


Cauliflower (Brassica oleracea)

A brassica containing compounds that may help prevent cancer. These compounds appear to stop enzymes from activating cancer-causing agents in the body, and they increase the activity of enzymes that disable and eliminate carcinogens. Contains both glucosinolates and thiocyanates (including sulforaphane and isothiocyanate). These compounds increase the liver's ability to neutralize potentially toxic substances. Many enzymes found in cauliflower also help with the detoxifying process. These enzymes include glutathione transferase, glucuronosyl transferase, and quinone reductase. Boosts the immune system. Prevents cancer. Prevents spina bifida. Prevents heart disease.

Brassicas are a good source of carotene, indoles, vitamin A (retinol), vitamin B1 (thiamine), vitamin B2 (riboflavin), vitamin B3 (niacin), vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid), vitamin B6 (pyridoxine), vitamin C (ascorbic acid), calcium, copper, iron, manganese, phosphorus, potassium and zinc.


Cayenne Chilli Pepper See Chilli Pepper


Celeriac (Apium graveolens var. rapaceum, celery root, German celery, knob celery, turnip rooted celery) See Celeriac under root vegetables


Celery (Apium graveolens)

Celery is very low in calories so therefore useful addition to the diet for those who are over weight or obese. It also relieves high blood pressure and is known for its calming effects and is used in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis. It contains good levels of vitamin C, vitamin Kcalcium, phthalides and fibre.

Celery Seeds

For many years, researchers and practitioners have been interested in the healing properties of celery seeds because they were documented as a natural pain reliever as far back as 30 AD in the Roman text ‘De Medicina’. Scientists have now identified the active ingredients in celery-seed extract, known as phthalides (pronounced "thalides"). This compound has been shown to help prevent and treat arthritis, asthma, gout, heart attack and strokes. It can act as a diuretic to reduce fluids, improve circulation, promote cleansing of toxins such as uric acid, reduce inflammation and relax the walls of arteries and veins. It also provides a calming effect and has antiviral properties. Celery seeds are also useful in the treatment of bladder, kidney and gall stones and they contain vitamins A, C and the B-complex.


Chaga Mushrooms (Inonotus obliquus, birch mushroom, cinder conk)

Rather than soft like a mushroom, chaga is hard, almost as hard as wood. It is unique, nothing like common mushrooms. In fact, chaga is the most nutritionally dense of all tree growths. Known by the Siberians as the “Gift from God” and the “Mushroom of Immortality,” this vibrant growth has been used by humans to support health for thousands of years. The Japanese call it “The Diamond of the Forest,” while the Chinese deem it “King of Plants.” For the Chinese that is saying a lot, since they have an immense history with countless plants.

Chaga is powerful, because it contains the nutrients of actual trees. Because of their special, biologically potent substances, trees live long, far longer than herbs. Some trees live as long as 10,000 years or more. Thus, they are the most powerful living beings in the world. Concentrating this power, chaga contains numerous B vitamins, flavonoids, phenols, minerals and enzymes. It is also one of the world’s densest sources of vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid) needed by the adrenal glands as well as digestive organs. It also contains vitamin B2 (riboflavin) and vitamin B3 (niacin) and vitamin D2 in significant amounts.

In particular, it is highly rich in special phenols which are pigment-like. These phenolic compounds are known as chromogenic complex. Chaga can be up to 30% chromogenic complex by weight. The chromogenic complex is highly protective for all tissues and is only found in chaga. In the cream base it is highly protective of the skin. Rubbed on the skin it even helps people develop a tan, because it contains the pigment melanin, the same pigment responsible for dark coloured skin. Chaga contains wild source minerals and is particularly high in calcium, caesium, copper, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, rubidium, silicon and sulphur. It also contains traces of barium, bismuth, boron, chromium, copper, germanium, manganese, selenium and zinc.

Its most potent ingredient is a special substance known as superoxide dismutase. This is an enzyme with great potency. Its function is to halt oxidation, especially the toxicity of a free radical known as singlet oxygen. This is the type of oxygen which is responsible for oxidizing and damaging the tissues, which results in aging. It is the same oxygen which rusts a nail. Superoxide dismutase blocks this damage by quenching the singlet oxygen free radical. The superoxide dismutase content per gram of chaga is exceedingly high and accounts for many of its historical powers.

Chaga is a health food which supports the entire system. The Siberians drink it daily. This is why they are long-lived. The chaga drinker lives 85 to 100 years, while the non chaga-drinking person, the Inuit, lives only about 50 years. This proves that natural phytonutrients, found in chaga, do make a difference. Yet, there is more traditional use that offers evidence. Ancient Chinese regarded it as a longevity factor, which is why they deemed it the most complete of all growths. Japanese and Koreans use it regularly, and look how powerful they are today. In much of Siberia, Russia and Eastern Europe it is an essential beverage. Chaga has been used as an essential whole food supplement for many years by Russia’s long-lived peasants, as well as long-lived villagers of Japan and Korea. These village people consume it as a daily beverage. They prefer it over common drinks such as tea and coffee.

Because of its cleansing properties, in primitive Siberia the chaga drink was known as “soup water,” although its taste is like a pleasant combination of tea and coffee. It is one of Russia’s state secrets for power and strength and was heavily used by champion Russian athletes, who defeated all others. The Russians discovered that certain plants help the body fight the effects of stress and disease. They called these plants adaptogens. They discovered that chaga is the most potent adaptogen known in the fight against premature aging and for prevention of serious diseases.


Chamomile (Chamomilla recutita, Roman chamomile, ground apple, whig plant) See the A-Z of Herbs and Spices page.


Chancapuedra (Phyllanthus niruri) See the A-Z of Herbs and Spices page.


Chaparral Leaf (Larrea tridentata) See the A-Z of Herbs and Spices page.


Chebulic Myrobalan (Terminalia cebula, Haritaki) See the A-Z of Herbs and Spices page.


Cheese

Chese contains calcium that can help to strengthens bones and teeth up until age 30-35 It can also help to prevent Alzheimer's disease in the elderly. Cottage cheese contains lactoferrin which increases bone density which can prevent and reverse osteoporosis. Lactoferrin is also a powerful suppressor of cancer and tumours and stops the spread of cancer cells to vital organs such as the lungs and liver.

Unpasteurised blue cheese is especially high in beneficial nutrients. The pasteurisation process reduces and even eradicates many of the beneficial properties of cheese and milk.

NOTE: Cheese is very high in cholesterol and animal fats and should be consumed in great moderation just two or three times a week at most. It should be avoided by anyone that is obese.

Unpasteurised cheese is a good source of protein, vitamin A, vitamin B1 (thiamine), vitamin B2 (riboflavin), vitamin B6 (pyridoxine), vitamin B3 (niacin), vitamin B9 (foliate), vitamin B12 (cyanocobalamin), vitamin D, calcium, phosphorous, magnesium and zinc.


Cherries (Prunus avium, Prunus cerasus)

Cherries are a very low calorie fruit and rich source of nutrients, vitamins, and minerals. Both sweet as well as tart cherries are packed with numerous health benefiting compounds that are essential for wellness.

Cherries are pigment rich fruits. These pigments are polyphenolic flavonoid compounds known as anthocyanin glycosides. Anthocyanins are red, purple or blue pigments found in many fruits and vegetables, especially concentrated in their skin, known to have powerful anti-oxidant properties. Scientific studies have shown that anthocyanins are found to act like anti-inflammatory agents by blocking the actions of cyclooxygenase-1, and 2 enzymes. Thus, consumption of cherries has potential health effects against chronic painful episodes such as gout arthritis, fibromyalgia (painful muscle condition) and sports injuries.

Research studies also suggest that anti-oxidant compounds in tart cherries help the human body to fight against cancers, aging and neurological diseases and pre-diabetes condition.

Cherry fruits are very rich in the stable anti-oxidant melatonin. Melatonin can cross the blood-brain barrier easily and produces soothing effects on the brain neurons, calming down nervous system irritability, which helps relieve neurosis, insomnia and headache conditions.

Further, they are also good source of minerals such as copper, iron, manganese, potassium and zinc. Potassium is a heart-healthy mineral; an important component of cell and body fluids that regulate heart rate and blood pressure.

The fruits, especially tart (Morello) cherries are exceptionally rich in health promoting flavonoid polyphenolic anti-oxidants such as lutein, zea-xanthin and beta-carotene. These compounds act as protective scavengers against harmful free radicals and reactive oxygen species (ROS) that play a role in aging, cancers and various disease processes.  The Morello or ‘sour’ cherry (Prunus cerasus) has been proven to reduce pain and inflammation for those with arthritic conditions. It can be found in powdered form in health food shops and as a conserve or jam in some supermarkets.

Anti-inflammatory property of cherries has been found effective in reducing heart-disease risk factors by scavenging action against free radicals.

Acerola or West Indian cherry has the highest level of vitamin C (1677.6 mg per 100g or 2796 % of RDA) than any other food and is very rich in  vitamin A (767 IU per 100 g)

NOTE: Despite their overall goodness, cherry stones are toxic. If a cherry pip is chewed, crushed, or somehow damaged, it automatically produces hydrogen cyanide. Symptoms of mild poisoning include headache, dizziness, confusion, anxiety, and vomiting. Larger doses can lead to difficulty breathing, increased blood pressure and heart rate, and kidney failure. Reactions can include coma, convulsions and death from respiratory arrest.


Chestnuts (Castanea sativa)

Chestnuts are low in calories and contain less fat than other nuts. they are rich in minerals, vitamins and phytonutrients that benefit health. They are chiefly made of starch when compared to other seeds and nuts, which are high in calorie, protein, and fat. Their nutrition composition is almost similar to that of other staple starch foods such as sweet potato, sweet corn, potatoes and plantain, but they are still good sources of minerals, vitamins and some good quality protein. They are also a good source of fibre,  providing 8.1 g (21% RDA) per 100g. Fibre helps lower blood cholesterol levels by limiting excess cholesterol absorption in the intestines.

 

Chestnuts stand out from other nuts and seeds for being exceptionally rich in vitamin C. 100g provides 43mg of vitamin C (72 % RDA). Chestnuts are also rich in vitamin B9 (foliate), which is quite unique feature for nuts and seeds. They are rich source of mono-unsaturated fatty like oleic acid and palmitoleic acids. Monounsaturated fats help lower LDL (bad cholesterol) and increase HDL (good cholesterol) levels which can prevent coronary artery disease and strokes.

 

The nuts are an excellent source of minerals such as calcium, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium and zinc. Potassium lowers heart rate and blood pressure, zinc helps prevent anaemia, magnesium and phosphorus are important components of bone metabolism.

 

They are also rich in the important B complex vitamins. 100g of nuts provide vitamin B3 (niacin), vitamin B6 (pyridoxine), 100% of vitamin B1 (thiamine) and vitamin B2 (riboflavin). Chestnuts are free in gluten so are ideal for gluten-sensitivity, wheat allergy and celiac disease. Chinese chestnuts are also a particularly good source of vitamin A.

 

Extracts from the chestnut leaves can effectively treat the MRSA (Methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus)  infection. See also Chestnut leaf extract.
 



Chia Seeds (Salvia hispanica)

 

Chia is a species of flowering plant in the mint family, (Lamiaceae), native to central and southern Mexico and Guatemala. Chia seeds can be a highly nutritious addition to the diet. Chia has up to 23% more protein content than that found in whole grains and cereals and chia’s protein is complete with all essential amino acids and is gluten free. These seeds also contain more calcium than milk, three times more iron than spinach and fifteen times more magnesium than broccoli.

 

The outer part of the seed is very rich in soluble fibre and this forms the gel, protecting the seed from drying out. The gel forms a physical barrier between the carbohydrates and the digestive enzymes that break them down. The carbohydrates are digested eventually, but at a slow and uniform rate. There is no insulin surge or spike needed to lower the blood sugar level after eating chia which is beneficial for diabetics. The water-retaining ability of the gel also helps level out the water intake and retains electrolyte balance.
 

Significant nutrients in chia seeds

 

Protein, fibre, omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, caffeic acid, chlorogenic acid, kaempferol, myricetin, quercetincalcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium and zinc. They also contain smaller amounts of vitamin B1 (thiamine), vitamin B2 (riboflavin), vitamin B3 (niacin), boron, copper, manganese, molybdenum and sodium.
 


Chicken See Poultry and Game Birds


Chickpeas (Cicer arietinum, garbanzo beans)

Regular consumption of chickpeas reduces the risk of heart disease, controls blood sugar levels, lowers the risks of colon cancer, prevents anaemia and maintains the proper levels of iron and calcium in the body. It is low in fat and cholesterol and to balance the diet ,when meat and dairy products are reduce for cholesterol problems, all legumes are a healthy alternative providing the daily amounts of protein needed.

Significant nutrients in chickpeas

Protein, fibre, vitamin B3 (niacin), vitamin B9 (foliate), isoflavones, phytochemicals, copper, calcium, iron, zinc, potassium and magnesium.


Chickweed (Stellaria media, stitchwort) See the A-Z of Herbs and Spices page.


Chicory (Chihorium intybus, Cichorium endivia, escarole, common chicory, blue sailors, succory, coffee weed, cornflower, endive, radicchio, Belgian endive, French endive, red endive, sugarloaf, witloof) 

Chicory is an erect perennial herbaceous plant of the daisy family, related to the dandelion and is native to Europe, North Africa, and Asia. Chicory use in herbal medicine has a long history and some of its health benefits have recently been confirmed by science. First recorded usage of it was in ancient Egypt where it was known to have health benefits for the liver and gallbladder. Chicory are prized for the leaves, roots and buds (chicons) which are all edible. The leaves and buds are used in salads and other dishes, while chicory roots are used as tea or a caffeine-free coffee substitute and additive.

It is very low in calories but highly nutritious and one of the richest sources of vitamin A amongst all green leafy vegetables which can nourish the eyes and improve and retain the vision. Chicory leaves are also recommended to be included in weight-loss diets especially to those who are high risk for diabetes mellitus. The inulin controls the level of sugar in the blood, decreases the level of LDL cholesterol in the blood and reduces a rapid heartbeat.

Chicory root contain inulin which feed the beneficial bacteria of the large intestine and these produce many beneficial substances, including short-chain fatty acids and certain B vitamins. They also promote further absorption of some minerals that have escaped the small intestine, including calcium and magnesium. Chicory has a mild laxative effect that is beneficial for digestive problems such as dyspepsia, indigestion and constipation.

Chicory is rich in beta-carotene that can fight and prevent cancer especially, colon cancer, and also contains intybin and chicorin which stimulates the appetite and digestion of food. It can also eliminate intestinal worms and parasites and clean the colon. It also promotes the production of urine, cleans the blood, circulatory system and the liver by eliminating toxins from them and improves bowel movement.

Dried chicory roots and leaf juice are used to treat jaundice and as protection against liver damage. The leaf juice mixed with water can clean up an enlarged liver and treat gallstones and liver stones by increasing the secretion of bile from the liver and gallbladder promoting urination and excretion of harmful substances.

Chicory consists of lactucin and lactucoprin which taste bitter but can act as a natural sedative for nervous system. A decoction of chicory root is beneficial for those with central nervous system disorders.

Leaves of chicory are used to treat cuts and wounds and as anti-inflammatory treatment for arthritis, gout, headaches and rheumatism to reduce swelling. The juice extracted from chicory leaves is widely used to reduce the sore breasts of lactating mothers.

Significant nutrients in chicory

All amino acids, choline, copper, fibre, magnesium, omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, selenium, sodium, vitamin B1, vitamin B2, vitamin B5, vitamin B6, vitamin B9, vitamin B12, vitamin C, vitamin E and vitamin K. It is an especially exceptional source of soluble fibre, beta-carotene, vitamin B3 (niacin), vitamin C, calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium and zinc.

NOTE: Chicory should be consumed with a fat-rich natural food like olive oil, nuts or avocado so that beta-carotene can be absorbed by the body.


Chilli Peppers (Capsicum anuum, nightshade family)

Chilli pepper is a gift to humanity because it has more health benefits than any other food or herb on earth. There are over 3000 scientific studies listed in the National Library of Medicine to support the use of chilli pepper in preventing and reversing many common health ailments. It has been used as a food, a spice and an herbal medicine for over 9000 years.

A fresh chilli pepper is nutrient rich and contains carbohydrates, starch, protein, fibre, vitamin C, beta-carotene, pectin, chlorogenic acid, capsaicin, histadine, beta carotene, iron, phosphorus, and calcium. Chilli peppers are also low in fat and contain the right kind of fat: 66% is linoleic and 5% as linolenic acid which are two essential fatty acids in the diet of humans.

The capsaicin in chilli peppers has been proven to protect DNA and cells from attack by toxic molecules such as from tobacco and other toxins. It can also prevent cancer by inhibiting the transformation of cells which eventually form cancer.

The following are just some of the conditions which chilli can be used to treat: allergies, arthritis, asthma, bacterial infections, blood circulation problems, cancer, colds and flu, constipation, depression, diabetes, diminished vitality, haemorrhoids, headaches, heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, indigestion, obesity, osteoarthritis and stroke.

It also nourishes the digestive system and assists in the body's utilisation of other herbs, when used in an herbal combination. Chilli pepper is well known for its benefits to the circulatory system and helps to balance the blood pressure and resist abnormal bleeding.

To benefit from chilli peppers powerful components, stir a quarter teaspoon of chilli pepper in water, herbal teas or juice and drink it 1-3 times a day or add a pinch of chilli pepper to all meals. Chilli pepper is hot, but it not harmful but it may be difficult to swallow for a beginning user. 

When applied topically, it helps relieve minor discomfort and can stop bleeding (internally and externally). Chilli powder can also be rubbed on toothaches, swellings and inflammations. A remedy for arthritis is to rub a little chilli pepper over the inflamed joint and wrap a flannel around it to remain throughout the night. The pain is usually relieved by morning. A little chilli pepper on a banana skin placed on the skin with a bandage will remarkably draw out any foreign object (splinters, etc) embedded in the flesh.

For a bleeding wound liberally flush the wound with a chilli pepper tincture or pack with chilli powder and apply pressure to the wound. Depending on the severity of the bleeding, also take 1-10 droppers full of the tincture in a few ounces of water in the mouth.

NOTE: It is said that chilli pepper can also works as quickly as a soluble aspirin in an emergency when someone is suffering a heart attack. However, there is no scientific proof that this is possible and it can be dangerous to administer chilli pepper to someone who is suffering from a heart attack. Experts say its use could lead to uncontrolled bleeding if the person is taking blood thinning medications. In addition, the pain of ingesting an unaccustomed dose of hot pepper could cause adrenaline to be released, increasing heart rate while reducing blood flow to heart and brain and causing increased death of tissues.

Reperfusion injuries, which is damage to tissues from the sudden return of blood and oxygen, could also occur. Some websites actually encourage the administration of liquid cayenne extracts to heart attack victims who have lost consciousness which is very dangerous advice.


Chinaberry Tree (Melia azedarach) See the A-Z of Herbs and Spices page.


Chinese Rhubarb Root (Rheum palmatum, Rheum rhaponticum, R. palmatum, Rhizoma rhe, false rhubarb, garden rhubarb, India rhubarb, pieplant, sweet round-leaved dock, Turkey rhubarb) See the A-Z of Medicinal Herbs and Spices page.


Chives (Allium schoenoprasum) See the A-Z of Herbs and Spices page.


Chlorella (Chlorella vulgaris, Chlorella pyrenoidosa, Chlorella algae)

A single-celled type of green algae super food containing large amounts of chlorophyll and it is known to be one of the most potent nutritional whole foods on the planet and is one of the best sources of chlorophyll (an internal cleanser and deodoriser) and the nucleic acids DNA and RNA. It has been shown to have a normalizing and strengthening effects on many tissues and metabolic pathways and this may be due to the unique ability of chlorella to reproduce itself extremely rapidly It can quadruple itself in 20 hours.

It can help with the detoxification process and is a superb chelator of mercury which may help in protecting against mercury induced conditions such as Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and Multiple Sclerosis. It can also help protect against degenerative brain and eye diseases associated with old age.

Chlorella can help to treat cardiovascular ailments (lowering cholesterol and triglycerides), liver conditions, kidney conditions, diabetes, hypertension, wound healing, combating anaemia by stimulating production of red blood cells, arthritis, digestive conditions, tissue detoxification (including detoxification of heavy metals), skin problems and strengthening of the immune function. It can also stimulate healing in the body and promotes growth in young individuals and allows repair to damaged tissues in mature individuals. It can also help to deodorise and freshen the breath.

If consuming a lot of mercury contaminated sea fish it is advisable to also consume chlorella and spirulina (blue/green algae). Due to it’s extraordinary ability to bind with toxic metals chlorella from South Korea which is grown indoors is the best choice or from Taiwan that is grown in sunlight but in a cleaner climate than any other country that produces chlorella.

Consume 1–5 teaspoons or more of chlorella powder per day. Greater health benefits may be gained at higher intake levels. Gradually increasing consumption allows the body to adjust to higher intakes. It can be added to many meals, snack and drinks.

  • First dose 1–5 gm (½ – 2 teaspoons) increase gradually each day thereafter.

  • Medicinal dose: 15–40 gm (2–5 rounded tablespoons) per day

  • Maintenance dose: 10–15 gm (1–2 rounded tablespoons) per day

  • Athletes dose: 45–60 gm (6–8 rounded tablespoons) per day

Gram for gram, chlorella provides 5 times the protein of eggs, over 15 times the phosphorous of spinach, 30 times the magnesium of milk and nearly 10 times the potassium of milk.

Significant nutrients in chlorella: Alanine, arabinose, asparagine, beta-carotene, chlorophyll, cysteine, cytosine, fatty acids, fibre, galactose, glucose, glutamine, glycine, guanine, lutein, lysine, mannose, nucleic acid, proline, rhamnose, serine, threonine, thymine, tryptophan, tyrosine, uracil and xylose.

Vitamins in chlorella: A, B1, B2, B3, B4, B5, B6, B9, B12, C, E and K1.

Minerals in chlorella: Calcium, copper, iodine, iron, magnesium, phosphorous, sodium and zinc.


Chokeberries (Aronia melanocarpa), black chokeberry (Aronia arbutifolia), red chokeberry (Aronia prunifolia)

The chokeberries are three species of deciduous shrubs native to eastern North America. Chokeberries have a high concentration of polyphenols and anthocyanins, stimulating circulation, protecting the urinary tract, and strengthening the heart. In many independent studies Chokeberry continues to show exceptional activity in fighting cancer. Juice from  berries is astringent and not sweet, but high in vitamin C and antioxidants. Chokeberries' rich antioxidant content may be beneficial as a dietary preventative for reducing the risk of diseases caused by oxidative stress. 

Black colour berries consist of significantly high amounts of phenolic flavonoid phyto-chemicals called anthocyanins. Total anthocyanin content is 1480 mg per 100g of fresh berries, and proanthocyanidin concentration is 664 mg per 100g. Scientific studies have shown that consumption of berries on a regular basis offers potential health benefits against cancer, aging and neurological diseases, inflammation, diabetes and bacterial infections.

They are also rich in flavonoid anti-oxidants such as carotenes, luteins and zeaxanthins. Zeaxanthin has photo-filtering effects on UV rays and thus protects eyes from age-related macular disease in the elderly (ARMD)

A good source of many antioxidant vitamins like vitamin-C, vitamin A, vitamin E, beta-carotene and vitamin B9 (foliate) and minerals like potassium, iron and manganese. 100 g of fresh berries provide about 35% of daily-recommended levels of vitamin C.

Laboratory analyses of anthocyanins in chokeberries have identified the following individual phytonutrients: caffeic acid, cyanidin-3-delphinidin, epicatechin, galactoside, malvidin, pelargonidin, peonidin, petunidin and quercetin. These flavonoid poly-phenolic antioxidants have proven health benefits through scavenging dangerous oxygen-free radicals from the body.


Chuchuhuasi (Maytenus macrocarpa) See the A-Z of Herbs and Spices page.


Cilantro See Coriander. (Coriandrum sativum) See the A-Z of Herbs and Spices page.


Cinchona Bark (Cinchona ledgeriana, Cinchona succirubra, Quinaquina officinalis, Quinaquina lancifolia, Quinaquina coccinea, Bois aux Fièvres, calisaya bark, China bark, Cinchona calisaya, Cinchona carabayensis, Cinchona ledgeriana, Cinchona officinalis, Cinchona pubescens, Cinchona succirubra, Chinarinde, Cinchonine, Écorce du Pérou, Écorce de Quina, Écorce de Quinquina Rouge, Fever tree, Fieberrinde, Jesuit's Bark, Kina-Kina, Peruvian Bark, Poudre des Jésuites, Quina, Quinine bark, Quino, Quinquina, Quinquina Gris, Quinquina Rouge, Red Cinchona Bark) See the A-Z of Herbs and Spices page.


Cinnamon  (Cinnamomum zeylanicum) See the A-Z of Herbs and Spices page.


Cinquefoil  (Potentilla reptans, five finger grass, finger leaf, five fingers, crampweed, shepherd's knot, silverweed) See the A-Z of Herbs and Spices page.


Citrus Fruits

Daily consumption of citrus fruits can prevent cancer of the stomach and the colon. In large amounts it reduces the risk of cataracts. It can also help the body absorb iron which reduces the risk of anaemia. Citrus fruits contain vitamin B9 (foliate), vitamin C, vitamin K, lycopene and fibre.

Citrus fruits include: lemons, limes, grapefruit, oranges and tangerines.


Clams

Clams are one of the top natural sources of vitamin B12 which is known to be a powerful agent against Alzheimer's disease and Dementia. They are also rich in vitamin C, copper, iron, manganese, potassium, selenium and zinc. Clams provide an excellent supply of manganese, a trace mineral which plays an important role in regulating blood sugar levels.

Lack of selenium in the body has proven to be a contributing factor in developing rheumatoid arthritis. Selenium is an essential nutrient which works with other nutrients to help fight oxidative stress, an imbalance which damages the joints. Crab, clams, halibut, oily fish, prawns and shrimps are some of the highest sources of this essential mineral. The high level of potassium helps to regulate blood pressure and zinc can prevent osteoporosis.


Clavo Huasca (Tynnanthus panurensis) See the A-Z of Herbs and Spices page.


Cleavers (Galium aparine, goosegrass) See the A-Z of Herbs and Spices page.


Clementines See Tangerines


Cloves (Syzygium aromaticum, Eugenia caryophyllata) See the A-Z of Herbs and Spices page.


Cnidium Monnieri Seed (Cnidium monnieri, she chuang zi) See the A-Z of Herbs and Spices page.


Cockles (Cardiidae)

Cockles are very high in protein and low in calories containing only around 60 per 100g and very low in fat. They also contain high levels of vitamin A (retinol), vitamin B1 (thiamine), vitamin B2 (riboflavin), vitamin B3 (niacin), calcium, iron and zinc.


Cocoa Beans (Theobroma cacao)

The cacao tree was first cultivated in 250-900 AD by the ancient Maya civilization in what is now Mexico and Central America
The Maya offered the beans to their Gods, used them as currency and for medicinal purposes to fight fatigue and gastrointestinal distress.

Cocoa contains a large amount of antioxidant flavonoids. Cocoa keeps high blood pressure down and reduce the blood's ability to clot, reducing the risk of stroke and heart attacks. The darker chocolate with the most concentrated cocoa will be the most beneficial. According to an Italian study, a small square (20g) of dark (bittersweet) chocolate every three days is the ideal dose for cardiovascular benefits. Eating more does not provide additional benefits.

Cocoa beans contain polyphenols (similar to those found in wine) with antioxidant properties which are health beneficial. These compounds are called flavonoids and include catechins, epicatechins and procyandins. The antioxidant flavonoids are found in the non fat portions of the cocoa bean.

Cacao helps stop food cravings so is useful for those suffering with obesity. It contains the metabolism revving nutrient, theobromine, and the endorphin, anandamide, which can curb emotional eating while reducing excess cortisol production.

Cocoa also contains theobromine is a very mild stimulant with a mild diuretic action (increases the production of urine). Theobromine can be toxic to animals like dogs, cats, parrots and horses. The cocoa bean also contains phenylethylamine which is a slight antidepressant and stimulant similar to the body's own dopamine and adrenaline. Cocoa and dark chocolate can increase the level of serotonin in the brain. Serotonin levels are often decreased in people with depression and in those experiencing PMS symptoms.

In addition to abundant magnesium, cacao contains significant amounts of the essential amino acid, tryptophan. Both are needed by the body to create the stress protective neurotransmitters, serotonin and melatonin. Serotonin is considered a primary neurotransmitter that plays a powerful role in mood regulation. Heat and cooking destroy tryptophan. Conventionally processed chocolate is low in tryptophan (roasted beans) compared to raw cacao, which typically contains 33% more tryptophan.

Cocoa beans are good sources of protein, fibre, starchtryptophan, vitamin A, vitamin B1 (thiamine), vitamin B2 (riboflavin), vitamin B3 (niacin), vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid), vitamin B6 (pyridoxine), vitamin B9 (foliate), vitamin C, vitamin E and vitamin K. They are also good sources of calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, selenium, sodium and zinc.

Among the Kuna people of Panama, who can drink up to 40 cups of cocoa (which contains epicatechins) per week, rates of stroke, heart disease, cancer and diabetes are less than 10%. The Kuna also live longer than other Panama inhabitants and do not develop dementia or high blood pressure. Drinking just two cups of cocoa per day has been proven to prevent memory decline in the elderly.

Cocoa beans contains a very low amount of caffeine, much less than found in coffee and tea.

Note: dark chocolate contains a lot of calories because of the large content of added fat and sugar. The sugar content in chocolate is worse than the fat content regarding negative effects on health.

Note: The health benefits of epicatechins found in cocoa beans are so striking that it may rival penicillin and anaesthesia in terms of importance to public health. Epicatechin is so important that it should be considered a vitamin. Currently, there are only 13 essential vitamins. An increase in the number of vitamins would provide significant opportunity for nutritional companies to expand their range of products. Flavonols like epicatechin are removed from many commercial cocoas because they tend to have a bitter taste.


Coccinia (Coccinia indica, Coccinia cordifolia) See the A-Z of Herbs and Spices.


Coconut (Cocos nucifera)

The Pacific Islanders believe that it is the cure for all illness, which is why the palm tree (from which coconuts are grown) is known as “The Tree of Life.” Coconut oil is thought to possess healing properties above and beyond that of any other dietary oils.

It has recently been discovered that coconut oil can reverse the effects of Alzheimer's disease. Two tablespoons per day taken with a yoghurt with live cultures especially kefir from unpasteurised milk and maqui powder or a similar dark berry fruit. Also cook with it as any other oil as it has  high temperature threshold. It can also help to lower triglycerides, improve memory and can resolve depression.

The main benefits of coconut oil are due to capric acid, caprylic acid, linoleic acid and lauric acid, all of which have powerful antiviral, antifungal, antibacterial and anti-parasitic properties. It also contains palmitic acid.

Eating coconuts are excellent for one’s immunity. If it is consumed in any of its various forms, raw coconut, pure cold pressed virgin oil, milk, juice, butter, desiccated or dried, it can help treat some of mankind’s worst and most resilient of illnesses such as influenza, giardia, lice, throat infections, urinary tract infections, tapeworms, herpes, gonorrhoea, bronchitis and numerous other ailments caused by microbial. Many bacteria infections have become resistant to antibiotics so the obvious choice is coconut as a natural cure.

 

Whether you’re eating the meat, drinking the juice, or consuming it as oil, coconuts are a delicious and nutritious source of fibre, vitamins, minerals and amino acids. It is a very rich source of of calcium, potassium and magnesium, as well as electrolytes. Coconut water is known to have the same electrolyte levels as human plasma and has even been used for plasma transfusions.

 

Benefits of Coconut

  • Appetite suppressant.

  • Helps with fat loss, BMI reduction and waist reduction.

  • Can reduce the amount of seizures in drug resistant epilepsy in children.

  • A powerful antioxidant.

  • Improves brain function in Alzheimer’s sufferers.

  • Helps improve types 1 and 2 diabetes.

  • Balances cholesterol and triglyceride levels, lowering the risk of heart disease

  • Is an instant form of energy.

  • A mouthwash for improved dental health and fresh breath.

  • Slows hair loss and promotes hair growth when rubbed into the scalp.

  • Hair conditioner.

  • Used with apple cider vinegar and/or parsley for a treatment for head lice.

  • Skin moisturiser.

  • Can help prevent stretch marks.

  • A natural deodorant.

  • A chemical free make up remover.

  • Lightens age spots

Coconut oil effectively inhibits the growth of harmful bacteria, that can cause cavities and mouth infections, without causing any harmful side-effects.

 

Its antioxidant properties also slow down the aging process by protecting the body from harmful free radicals.

 

Coconut oil is also known to treat skin disorders such as eczema, psoriasis and dermatitis and can heal anal fissures. Some health practitioners in Indonesia have long used coconut oil to effectively treat bed sores and other skin lesions. It's best to apply it to the area throughout the day and before going to bed.

 

Coconut oil can also relieve headaches when rubbed onto the temples and forehead.

 

Eating coconuts also supports the development of strong, healthy bones and teeth. It does this by improving the body’s ability to absorb calcium and magnesium. It also prevents osteoporosis, a condition in which the bones become thin and fragile and lose their density. This makes coconuts a good, healthy alternative for those who are lactose intolerant, but still want to have strong bones and teeth. Those who prefer a vegan diet can benefit from it as a good source of protein and fatty acids.

 

People were concerned in the past that it increased cholesterol and contributed to heart disease but this is a myth. It actually lowers cholesterol and reduces the chances of heart disease. This is because its fat content is simply changed into energy, lessening the likelihood of fat build-up in the arteries and heart.

 

Coconut oil contains healthy medium chain fatty acids which are changed into energy and ketones. Ketones feed the brain, prevent degeneration of brain tissue and help to restore and renew nerves after damage.

Toe Nail Fungus: Make a paste with 1 tablespoon of bicarbonate and soda and 1 tablespoon of coconut milk. Apply to infected toes then place clean socks on and leave over night. Repeat if necessary.

Navel (belly button) and other fungal skin infections: Rub a small piece of solid coconut oil around the belly button then cover with a cotton wool pad and stick with medical tape and leave overnight. Repeat as often as is necessary. It should clear up with in 2-3 days..

Worms and Parasites. To kill intestinal parasites and worms: a tablespoon of the freshly ground coconut should be taken at breakfast followed by a dose of castor oil after three hours. The process may be repeated till the cure is complete.

NOTE: Coconut fibre belongs to the class of compounds known as flammable solids. It easily catches fire upon ignition, so keep external sources of potential ignition, such as sparks, matches and lit cigarettes, away from coconut fibre at all times. Spontaneous combustion may also occur due to self-heating so is is best stored in the refrigerator. If coconut fibre ignites, use carbon dioxide or foam to extinguish the flames.

CAUTION: Castor oil should not be given to children below 5 years of age.

See Parasites and Worms page for more remedies.


Cod

Cod is a deep sea white fish belonging to the same family as haddock and monkfish and found in Arctic waters. One 4oz serving provides 119 calories, 29g of protein, which is about 53% of the RDA, 75% of the RDA of selenium and over 90% of the daily requirement of tryptophan. It is a rich source of omega 3 fatty acids, vitamin B3 (niacin), vitamin B12 (cyanocobalamin), vitamin B6 (pyrodoxine), phosphorus and potassium.

Cod and cod liver oil are good for preventing atherosclerosis and heart disease especially in in those who have diabetes, helps to improve the functioning of the human heart muscle, protects against clots which can cause ischemic stroke, can help to balance cholesterol and lower triglyceride levels, reduces the risk of leukaemia, lymphoma, kidney and colon cancer, lowers blood pressure, reduces the risk of Alzheimer's disease and age-related cognitive decline including macular degeneration, reduces the risk of arrhythmia, can improve mood and relieve depression and can help prevent inflammation caused by the sun's harmful rays on the skin.

Cod is best eaten poached or baked not fried. Fish should be consumed at least 3 times a week for optimum health.


Coffee See Coffee Dangers


Collard Greens  (Brassica oleracea)

A member of the brassica family. Collard leaves are very low in calories (30 cal per 100g) and contain no cholesterol but high amounts of soluble and insoluble dietary fibre, very high levels of high levels of vitamin K (426% per 100g) and vitamin A (222% RDA per 100g) Also contain flavonoid polyphenolic anti-oxidants such as lutein, carotenes, zeaxanthin, cryptoxanthin, phytonutrients di-indolyl-methane, sulphoraphane, rich in vitamin C (59% RDA per 100g), vitamin B9 (foliates) (42% RDA per 100g). Collard greens also contain vitamin B2 (riboflavin), vitamin B3 (niacin), vitamin B4 (adenine), vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid), vitamin B6 (pyridoxine), ironcalcium, copper, manganese, selenium and zinc

Collard greens have anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties, protects against flu like viral infections, maintain healthy mucus membranes, skin and eyes, increases the bone mass by promoting osteotrophic activity in the bone, helps to control LDL cholesterol levels and protects against haemorrhoids, constipation and cancers of the prostate, breast, cervical, colon, lungs, mouth, ovaries providing cancer cell growth inhibition and cytotoxic effects on cancer cells. They also limit neuronal damage in the brain of those suffering with Alzheimer's disease

The foliates in collard greens are important in DNA synthesis and when consumed during the preconception period can prevent neural tube defects (spina bifida) in the baby.


Comfrey (Symphytum officinale) See the A-Z of Herbs and Spices.


Copaiba Oil (Copaifera pauper) See the A-Z of Herbs and Spices.


Coriander (Coriandrum sativum, cilantro) See the A-Z of Herbs and Spices.


Corn  (Zea mays, Indian corn, jugnog, maize, sea mays, yu-shu-shu)

Yellow corn from or on the cob is a good source of fibre, starchvitamin B1 (thiamine), vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid), vitamin B9 (foliate) and vitamin C and vitamin K. They are also good sources of manganese and phosphorus.

Diets high in fibre-rich foods like corn - a serving provides 18.4% of the daily value for fibre - have been shown to lower high cholesterol levels, reduce the risk of colon cancer, and alleviate some of the uncomfortable symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome. In addition to its beneficial effects on the digestive system and the heart, the fibre found in corn can help stabilise blood sugar levels. If suffering from insulin resistance, hypoglycaemia or diabetes, corn may help balance blood sugar levels while providing steady, slow-burning energy.

Corn's contribution to heart health lies not just in its fibre, but in the significant amounts of vitamin B9 (foliate) . Foliate, which is  needed to prevent birth defects, also helps to lower levels of homocysteine, an amino acid that is an intermediate product in an important metabolic process called the methylation cycle. Homocysteine can directly damage blood vessels, so elevated blood levels of this dangerous molecule are an independent risk factor for heart attack, stroke, or peripheral vascular disease, and are found in between 20-40% of patients with heart disease. It also lowers the risks of spina bifida in babies.

NOTE: Corn oil is produced industrially using very high temperatures, bleaching and the toxic solvent hexane which make it a hazardous oil to use. Genetically modified corn has been altered (which has also altered it’s nutritional value) to withstand stronger solutions of pesticide, fungicide and herbicides which remain as residues on corn when it is ingested. Corn syrup is around 90% fructose which is also unhealthy so with all this in mind corn may no longer be considered a healthy food in the diet unless it is organically produced and not genetically modified.

Corn Silk (Zea mays, Indian corn, jugnog, maize, sea mays, yu-shu-shu)

Corn silk refers to the stigmas from the female flowers of sweet corn and resembles soft silk threads 10-20 cm long that are either light green or yellow-brown in colour. Corn silk is known to have diuretic, lithotriptic, cholagogue, antifungal, anodyne, demulcent, anti-hypoglycaemic, protective, alterative and stimulant properties.

A tea made from corn silk is useful as a diuretic and can help disorders of the bladder, gallbladder, kidneys, liver and small intestines such as bed-wetting, bladder and kidney stones, cystitis, jaundice, painful urination caused by an enlarged prostate gland, pancreatic damage and urinary tract infection.

It is also useful for the treatment of dropsy, gonorrhoea, gout, heart disease, hypertension (high blood pressure), oedema (water retention) and rheumatism. Corn silk extract is also a useful hypoglycaemic food for diabetes sufferers.

Corn silk contains protein, fibre, starchphytonutrients, alkaloids, cryptoxanthin, malic acid, oxalic acid, palmitic acid, resin, saponins, sitotsterol, stigmasterol, tannins, tartaric acid, vitamin A (retinol), vitamin B1 (niacin), vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid), vitamin K, fluorinemanganese, potassium and silicon.


Courgette (Cucurbita pepo, zucchini)

Courgette is one of the very low calorie vegetables with only 17 calories per 100 g. It contains no saturated fats or cholesterol. Its peel is good source of dietary fibre that helps reduce constipation and offers some protection against colon cancers. The dietary fibre also lowers cholesterol by attaching itself to bile acids that the liver makes from cholesterol for digesting fat. Because fibre binds so well with bile acid, thus crowding its ability to immediately digest fat, the liver is charged with producing more bile acid. The liver then draws upon even more cholesterol to produce bile acid, consequently lowering the overall cholesterol level in the body. Furthermore, the high levels of vitamin C and vitamin A prevent cholesterol from oxidising in the body's blood vessels, thus hampering the onset of atherosclerosis. Because dietary fibre promotes healthy and regular bowel movements, the high amounts of fibre in courgettes also help prevent carcinogenic toxins from settling in the colon.

The phytonutrients, fibre, vitamin A, vitamin B2 (riboflavin), vitamin B6 (pyridoxine), vitamin B9 (foliate), vitamin C, copper, iron, magnesium and zinc found in courgettes can fight many different types of cancer and deter the development of many disorders, including constipation, irritable bowel syndrome, stomach disorders, asthma, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, arteriosclerosis (blood vessel damage), heart attack and stroke, lowers blood pressure, contributes to normal physiological functions, participates in the production of sex hormones, protects mitochondria against oxidative stress and promotes healthy skin and proper wound-healing.

There are also components in courgettes that aid in reducing the symptoms of benign prostatic hypertrophy, a condition in which the prostate gland enlarges and leads to complications with urination and sexual functions in men.


Crab

Hard shelled crabs are more nutritious than soft shelled. They are a very high natural source of protein, vitamin B2 (riboflavin), vitamin B3 (niacin), vitamin B9 (foliate), vitamin B12, copper, magnesium, potassium, selenium and zinc. Although crab is high in cholesterol it also provides a rich source of omega 3 fatty acids and vitamin B3 which is known to raise the good HDL cholesterol in the body and lower LDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels.

Lack of selenium in the body has proven to be a contributing factor in developing rheumatoid arthritis. Selenium is an essential nutrient which works with other nutrients to help fight oxidative stress, an imbalance which damages the joints. Crab, clams, halibut, oily fish, prawns and shrimps  are some of the highest sources of this essential mineral. The high level of potassium helps to regulate blood pressure and zinc can prevent osteoporosis. Copper, together with zinc improves the absorption of vitamin D which aids in the absorption of calcium.


Cramp Bark (Viburnum opulus) See the A-Z of Herbs and Spices.


Cranberries and Cranberry Juice (Vaccinium macrocarpon)

Cranberries contain a compound that prevents bacteria from adhering to the walls of the bladder and rest of the urinary tract. This prevents the bacteria from spreading and eventually results in the halt of infection. Using cranberry on a regular basis may help prevent the formation of kidney stones. Cranberries also help the body make collagen, the protein needed to keep skin supple, smooth and healthy. Cranberries also has anti-bacterial properties and components that can ease rheumatoid arthritis, prevent varicose veins and reduce the risks of cancer.

Fresh cranberry juice is a powerful healing tonic filled with quinine, which changes to hippuric acid in the liver. Hippuric acid is able to assist in the removal of purines, uric acid, urea, and toxic build-up in the prostate, testicles, kidneys and bladder. It’s also an excellent preventative juice for men who are battling the increased risk of prostate cancer. It is also a good defence against yeast infections for women. Cranberries are a complex little fruit, being tested by scientists for their abilities in virus-fighting. If you are susceptible to colds, drink cranberry juice in the winter time. Cranberries are a rich source of anthocyanidins, vitamin B9 (folic acid), vitamin C, vitamin K and fibre.


Crayfish

Fresh water crayfish are one of the cleanest crustaceans to be found because they are not injected with artificial hormones like other meat and they usually come from lakes that are free from industrial or other toxic pollution. In addition, crayfish are very sensitive to polluted waters and have, in the past, been used to test the purity of lakes before other methods were invented to determine water purity.

Crayfish have an extraordinary sense of smell. It is estimated that 40% of their brain is devoted to the sense of smell, as opposed to less than 1% of a human's brain. Traditionally crayfish traps in most countries are baited with fish. Swedes use sunfish, shiners and herring while Louisiana Cajuns often entice the crawfish with gizzard shad and menhaden. However, crayfish can be enticed by most animal baits including squirrels, chickens as well as fish from the lake where the fishing takes place.

Consuming crayfish regularly can offer protection against Alzheimer's disease and other neurological disordersasthma, heart disease and strokes.

An 85 gram (3 oz) serving of cooked crawfish contains just 70 calories and 14 grams of protein along with trace amounts of fat and carbohydrates. It also contains 115 milligrams of cholesterol, which is 40 percent of the recommended daily limit of 300 milligrams for cholesterol for healthy people

Crayfish are a rich source of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, vitamin A, vitamin B9, vitamin B12, vitamin D, calcium, copper, iodine, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorous, potassium, selenium, sodium and zinc. They also provide  vitamins B2, B3, B5 and B6 and are a very rich source of all amino acids. Crayfish meat is also more easily digested than other types of meat because of the short muscle fibres.


Cress (Lepidium sativum)

One of the  lowest calorie green leafy vegetables (only 11 calories per 100 g raw leaves) and contains negligible fat. Cress leaves and stem contains gluconasturtiin, a glucosinolate compound that gives the peppery flavour and is believed to be cancer preventing by inhibition of phase I enzymes (mono-oxygenases and cytochrome P450s).

Fresh cress has more concentration of ascorbic acid (vitamin C) than some of the fruits and vegetables. 100 g of leaves provides 72% of RDA of vitamin C. It is very high in vitamin-K; 100 g provides over 200% of daily recommended intake. Cress is also an excellent source of vitamin A, and flavonoids, anti-oxidants like beta carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin.

Significant nutrients in Cress:  Carotenoids, indoles, vitamin A (retinol), vitamin B1 (thiamine), vitamin B2 (riboflavin), vitamin B3 (niacin), vitamin B4 (adenine), vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid), vitamin B6 (pyridoxine), vitamin C (ascorbic acid), calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium and zinc.

Cress contains components like isothiocyanates that also have health promotional and disease prevention properties.

Cress can help with weight reduction, prevent vitamin A deficiency, maintain normal connective tissue, prevent iron deficiency, help develop resistance against infectious agents by boosting immunity, promotes bone formation and strengthening, prevents osteoporosis, anaemia, cardiovascular diseases, controls heart rate, blood pressure and cholesterol, protects against colon and prostate cancers, helps with cellular metabolic functions, limits neuronal damage in the brain and has been proven to help sufferers of Alzheimer's disease.


Cucumber (Cucumis sativus)

Cucumbers' hard skin is rich in fibre and contains a variety of beneficial minerals including potassium, magnesium and silica which is an essential component of healthy connective tissue, which includes intracellular cement, muscles, tendons, ligaments, cartilage and bone. Cucumber juice is often recommended as a source of silica to improve the complexion and health of the skin, including swelling under the eyes and sunburn, plus cucumber's high water content makes it naturally hydrating.

The flesh of cucumbers is primarily composed of water but also contains vitamin C and caffeic acid, both of which help soothe skin irritations and reduce swelling. Cucumbers also possess cancer preventing and anti-tumour properties and reduce body weight, lipid metabolism and obesity related hormones levels. Cucumbers also contain alpha carotene, beta carotene, betalain, cryptoxanthin, lutien, phytosterols, zeaxanthin, vitamin A, vitamin B3, vitamin B5, vitamin B9 and vitamin K,

Cucumber's hidden benefits

  • Breath freshener: Take a slice of cucumber and press it to the roof of the mouth with the tongue for 30 seconds to eliminate bad breath. The phytochemicals will kill the bacteria in the mouth responsible for causing bad breath.

  • Energy booster: Cucumbers are a powerful alternative to caffeine filled beverages because of the B vitamins and carbohydrates. Consume cucumber instead of tea, coffee or sodas during the day. Cucumbers have been used for centuries by European trappers, traders and explorers for quick meals to avoid dehydration and starvation.

  • Garden pest repellent: Place a few slices in a small aluminium pie tin around the garden to remain free of pests all season long. The chemicals in the cucumber react with the aluminium to give off a scent undetectable to humans but which will make most garden pests flee the area.

  • Hangover cure: To avoid headaches and hangovers consume some cucumber slices before bed after drinking. Cucumbers contain enough sugar, B vitamins and electrolytes to replenish essential nutrients the body lost, keeping everything in equilibrium, avoiding both a hangover and headache.

  • Ink rubber: Take the outside of the cucumber and slowly use it to erase the ink, also works well on crayons and markers that the kids have used to decorate the walls.

  • Mirror demister: In the bathroom, rubbing a cucumber slice on a mirror will eliminate the fog and provide a soothing, spa-like fragrance.

  • Nutritious daily snack: Cucumbers contain most of the vitamins required every day; vitamin B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B9 and C and the following minerals: calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium and zinc.

  • Reduces wrinkles and cellulite: Rubbing a slice of cucumber on problem areas for a few minutes will cause the collagen in the skin to tighten, firming up the outer layer and reducing the visibility of both cellulite and wrinkles.

  • Shoe polish: Rub a freshly cut cucumber over the shoe, its chemicals will provide a quick and durable shine that not only looks great but also repels water.

  • Stainless steel polish: Take a slice of cucumber and rub it on the surface of sinks, taps etc. Not only will it remove years of tarnish and bring back the shine, but it won’t leave streaks and is free of hazardous cleaning chemicals.

  • Stress relief: Cut up an entire cucumber and place it in a boiling pot of water, the chemicals and nutrients from the cucumber will react with the boiling water and be released in the steam, creating a soothing, relaxing aroma that has been shown to reduce stress in new mothers and college students during final exams.

  • Toothache and gum pain relief: Bite a slice of cucumber in half and gently rub the soft inner part on the affected part of the gums.

  • WD40 alternative: Take a cucumber slice and rub it along the problematic hinge will remove squeaks.


Cumin  (Cuminum cyminum) See the A-Z of Herbs and Spices.


Cupuaçu (Theobroma grandiflorum) See the A-Z of Herbs and Spices.


Curry (powder mix) See the A-Z of Herbs and Spices.


Curry Leaf Plant (Helichrysum italicum, Murraya koenigii, kadi patta) See the A-Z of Herbs and Spices.


Cuttlefish

Cuttlefish belong to the same cephalopod mollusc family as the squid and octopus. It is a common ingredient in Mediterranean and Asian dishes where it is best quickly stir fried or slowly braised in moist sauce. Cuttlefish is low in total fat and very high in protein. It is a rich source of the B vitamins, particularly vitamins B2, B3, B6, B12 and also a good source of vitamin A and vitamin C, calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorous and zinc.


Cyani Flowers (Centaurea cyanu, cornflower, bachelor's button, bluebottle, boutonniere flower, hurtsickle) See the A-Z of Herbs and Spices.


 

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Daikon (Raphanus sativus var. longipinnatus)

Daikon is a large mild flavoured Asian radish eaten raw, pickled, juiced or cooked. Both the root and leaves of this brassica are edible. It can also be sprouted in a jar with a daily rinse of water. See the Micro Diet Sprouting page. Daikon has antibacterial. anti-inflammatory, antiviral and diuretic properties. It also contains digestive enzymes that help the body process proteins, oil, fat and carbohydrate particularly those found in raw fish. When daikon is cooked with kombu seaweed it makes a broth that removes dairy build up. The enzymes found in daikon can slow the production of a carcinogen found in the chemicals of many processed foods, and a few natural ones. This carcinogen, nitrosamine, will attack the stomach, but daikon is used to combat nitrosamine's effects. Daikon radish is extremely low in fat and cholesterol, but dense with nutrients, making it a great addition to the diet for the over weight or obese.

Raw daikon juice can help dissolve mucus and phlegm and aid in the healthy function of the respiratory system. Its ability to combat bacteria and viral infections may make it an effective combatant of respiratory disease such as bronchitis, asthma and flu. Applied topically or ingested, daikon juice has proven effective in preventing and treating acne and other skin conditions. It can also be used to cleanse the blood of toxins and support a healthy circulatory system.

The nutrients found in daikon can provide an increased immune function, protection against heart disease, DNA repair and protection, alleviation of cardiovascular disease and hypertension (high blood pressure), Alzheimer's and stroke prevention and slow down the aging process.

100 grams of daikon provides 34% the RDA of vitamin C. Daikon leaves have a much higher concentration of vitamin C. Daikon leaves are an excellent source of calcium, which helps promote healthy bone growth and may lower the risk of osteoporosis. Daikon also provides
vitamin B1 (thiamine), vitamin B2 (riboflavin), vitamin B3 (niacin), vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid), vitamin B6 (pyridoxine), vitamin B9 (foliate), calcium, choline, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, selenium, sodium and zinc.

A tea made with daikon, shittake mushrooms and kombu seaweed is used to lower fever and fight infection.


Damaina (Turnera diffusa) See the A-Z of Herbs and Spices.


Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) See the A-Z of Herbs and Spices.


Dates (Phoenix dactylifera)

Dates contain an impressive list of essential nutrients, vitamins, and minerals that are required for normal growth, development and overall well-being. Fresh dates are composed of simple sugars like fructose and dextrose. They replenish energy and revitalise the body instantly. For these qualities, they have been used to break the fast during Ramadan month since ancient times.

Dates are rich in dietary fibre, vitamin B2 (riboflavin), vitamin B3 (niacin), vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid), vitamin B6 (pyridoxine), vitamin K, calciumiron (11% RDA), copper, magnesium, manganesepotassium (16% RDA).

Dates contain health benefiting flavonoid polyphenolic antioxidants known as tannins. They are moderate sources of vitamin A. They also contain antioxidant flavonoids such as beta carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin.

Dates can protect from colon, prostate, breast, endometrial, lung and pancreatic cancers, stroke and coronary heart diseases, age-related macular degeneration, prevents LDL cholesterol absorption, protects the colon mucous membrane and eliminates cancer-causing chemicals in the colon.


Devil's Claw (Harpagophytum procumbens) See the A-Z of Herbs and Spices page.


Dill (Anethum graveolens) See the A-Z of Herbs and Spices.


Dogwood (Cornus mas), American dogwood (Cornus florida), Chinese or Japanese dogwood (Cornus machrophylla, Sung-yang, Celtis muku, Ehretia serrata), Common dogwood (Cornus sanguinea) Jamaican dogwood (Piscidia erythrina, Florida fish poison), Osier dogwood (Cornus stolonifera). See the A-Z of Herbs and Spices.


Dong Quai (Angelica sinensis) See the A-Z of Herbs and Spices.


Dragon's Blood (Dracaena cinnabari, sangre de drago) See the A-Z of Herbs and Spices.


Drumstick (Moringa oleifera, drumstick tree, horseradish tree, ben oil tree, or benzoil tree) See Moringa


Duck

Consumption of duck meat can improve the blood and iron levels hence preventing anaemia. Duck is a rich source of protein, vitamin B12, mono-saturated fats, iron and zinc. It is high in fat though so should be limited to once a month at the most.


Dulse (Palmaria palmata, dillisk, dilsk, red dulse, sea lettuce flakes, creathnach)

Dulse is a red algae that grows on the northern coasts of the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. The red algae is usually sun dried after harvesting from rocks then the powder is used as an alternative to salt or as a savoury condiment in various dishes.

As with blue and green algae, it has heavy metal chelating properties meaning metal molecules bind to the algae and are then transported out of the body. Consuming dulse regularly can help to heal poor digestive system, rebuild and maintain all glands in the body, increases metabolism and aid in weight loss, support healthy brain function, heal and cleanse the liver and due to it's high iodine content can keep the thyroid gland healthy.

Dulse is a rich source of potassium, phosphorous and iron and contains good amounts of protein, vitamin A, vitamin B1, vitamin B2, vitamin B3, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, vitamin C, vitamin E, calcium, chromium, copper, fluoride, iodine, magnesium, manganese, sodium and zinc.


Durum Wheat (Triticum turgidum)

Durum is the hardest variety of all wheat and has a higher protein, gluten and calorie content than other types of wheat. Durum wheat is milled and its endosperm is ground up into a product called semolina, which is then mixed with water into a thick dough that is forced through holes of different shapes to make different types of pasta. Semolina granules are used for cereals, desserts and couscous.

Durum wheat provides protein, fibre, omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids, vitamin B1, vitamin B2, vitamin B3, vitamin B5, vitamin B6, vitamin B9, calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorous, potassium, selenium, sodium and zinc.

NOTE: Unless it is stated that it is "100% whole grain" durum wheat is often refined and will therefore have far less nutritional value. Although most refined wheat is enriched with iron, thiamine, riboflavin, niacin and folic acid before being made into food, many of the vitamins removed are not returned and neither is any of the dietary fibre, which is essential for good health. Eating whole grains may reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and may also be associated with lower body weight so it is a good idea to always choose whole grains.



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Echinacea (Echinacea purpurea, Echinacea Angustifolia, coneflower) See the A-Z of Herbs and Spices.


Ecklonia Cava (Algas pardas, Agues Brunes, brown algae, brown seaweed)

Ecklonia cava is a rare edible marine brown algae species with a rich polyphenolic content. It was discovered by fishermen off the coast of Korea and offers incredible health benefits including the ability to restore blood pressure to normal levels which can greatly increase the human lifespan.

The active compound extracted from ecklonia cava is seanol that has been proven to be 100 times more powerful than any land based antioxidant because it stays working in the body for 12 hours instead of just the usual 30 minutes that land based antioxidants work for.

Also, unlike nearly all land based antioxidants that are water soluble, seanol's protective compounds can get into things like the fatty tissues of the brain and penetrate all three layers of human cells, including the outside, the oil-based cell membranes, as well as the DNA.


Eel (Anguilliformes)

Components in eels can relieve symptoms of psoriasis, reduce the risk of heart disease, maintain bone density and prevent anaemia. Eel is a rich source of vitamins D and E, protein and EPA, DHA and DPA omega-3 fatty acids.


Eggs

Egg white soothes the stomach and bowels and is therefore useful for heartburn, indigestion, diarrhoea and constipation. Externally, egg white (beaten to fluffy stage) is useful for soothing minor burns and inflamed skin.

Eggs are helpful in foetal brain development and very good for pregnant women to consume as they contain choline. They are also able to provide many of the essential nutrients need for correct brain function and should be a staple part of the diet for anyone suffering from psychological disorders. They are also very good for those that are involved in sports or any other activity that involves intense physical exertion, strength and stamina.

Eggs whites are high in cholesterol, which the arteries needs for repair, the brain requires for structure and the body needs to make vitamin D. They also have the highest quality source of protein available. Egg yolks also contain almost every essential vitamin and many other important nutrients.

Significant nutrients in eggs: Betaine, carotenoids, choline, cryptoxanthin, lutein and zeaxanthin, lycopene, omega-3 fatty acids and phytosterols.

Vitamins in eggs: A, B1, B2, B3, B5,  B6, B7, B9, B12, D, E and K.

Minerals in eggs: calcium, chromium, copper, fluoride, iodine, iron, lithium, magnesium, molybdenum, phosphorus, selenium, sodium and zinc.

One large egg contains about 78 calories and one medium sized egg contains around 66 calories which equates to about 131 calories per 100 grams which means they are a useful in the diets of those trying to lose weight.

NOTE: There are high levels of a protein called avidin in raw egg whites which binds to vitamin B7 (biotin) which may cause a deficiency of this vitamin if consumed over a few months. When cooked, avidin is partially denatured and binding to biotin is reduced. However one study showed that 30-40% of the avidin activity was still present in the white after frying or boiling so consumption of cooked egg whites should be limited to about three times a week whereas egg yolks, that contain most of the nutrients and no avidin, should be consumed more often. The other alternative is to eat extra foods rich in vitamin B7 the same day as eating egg whites. See vitamin B7.

The old saying 'Go to work on an egg' is good advice as a breakfast of eggs is a good meal to start off the day with.


Elderberry (Sambucus nigra)

Elderberries are able to help rid the body cells of toxins, increase circulation and purify the blood.


Elecampane (Inula helenium, horse-heal or marchalan) See the A-Z of Herbs and Spices.


Endive See Chicory


Ephedra Sinica (Ephedra sinica, Brigham, joint-pine, jointfir, ma huang, Mormon-tea) See the A-Z of Herbs and Spices


Eucalyptus (Eucalyptus globulus labill, blue gum) See the A-Z of Herbs and Spices.


 

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Fagara (Zanthoxyloides) See the A-Z of Herbs and Spices.


False Daisy (Eclipta alba) See the A-Z of Herbs and Spices.


False Pepper (Chamaelirium luteum, helonias root , devil's bit , blazing star , drooping starwort, fairy wand) See the A-Z of Herbs and Spices.


False Unicorn (Chamaelirium luteum) See the A-Z of Herbs and Spices.


Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare) See the A-Z of Herbs and Spices.


Fenugreek (Trigonella foenum)

Fenugreek greens, known as ‘methi’, either fresh or dried, are highly nutritious and one of the prominent leafy-greens featured in India and Pakistani cooking, with spinach, potato (aaloomethi), carrots, etc, and are used more than the seeds, which are more for medicinal use than culinary. Fenugreek seeds have many traditional uses, including nourishing the skin, respiratory system and pancreas. They also help the body to expel mucus and toxins and dissolve fat and are also high in nutrients.

They are a very good source of soluble dietary fibre; soaking the seeds in water makes their outer coat soft and mucilaginous, similar to chia seeds. Altogether 100 grams of seeds provide 24.6 grams, or over 65%, of the daily requirement for dietary fibre. Fenugreek seeds added to cereals and wheat flour (bread) or made into porridge, and given to nursing mothers may increase breast milk production.

Fenugreek  is high in nutrients such as vitamin A, vitamin B3, vitamin B5, vitamin B6, vitamin B9, vitamin B12 and vitamin C.

Fenugreek is a herb that can also be used to control diabetes, improve glucose tolerance and lower blood sugar levels due to its hypoglycaemic activity. It also stimulates the secretion of glucose-dependent insulin. Being high in fibre, it slows down the absorption of carbohydrates and sugars.

Soak two tablespoons of fenugreek seeds in water overnight. Drink the water along with the seeds in the morning on an empty stomach. Follow this remedy for a few months to bring down glucose levels. Another option is to eat two tablespoons of powdered fenugreek seeds daily sprinkled onto meals.

Ailments fenugreek can help to treat and protect against

  • Arrhythmia

  • Bronchitis

  • Colon cancer

  • Constipation

  • Diabetes type 2

  • Digestive disorders

  • High blood pressure

  • High LDL cholesterol

  • Liver disorders

  • Malaria

  • Mosquito born infections

  • Obesity

  • Pancreas disorders

  • Respiratory disorders

  • Skin disorders

  • Yellow fever

  • Water retention

Significant nutrients in fenugreek

Choline, fibre, gitogenin, isoleucine, hemicellulose, mucilage, neotigogens, pectin, protein, saponins, tannins, tigogenin, trigonelline diosgenin and yamogenin.

Vitamins in fenugreek

A, B1, B2, B3, B6, B9 and C.

Minerals in fenugreek

Calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, selenium, sodium and zinc.

NOTE: Excess intake of fenugreek seeds by pregnant mothers could put them at risk of premature childbirth and therefore it is inadvisable for pregnant women to consume fenugreek seeds.


Feverfew (Tanacetum parthenium) See the A-Z of Herbs and Spices.


Feverwort (Triosteum perfoliatum, agueweed, crosswort, eupatorium, horse gentian, Indian sage, sweating plant, teasel, thoroughwort, tinker's weed, tse-lan, vegetable antimony, wild coffee, wild ipecac, wood boneset) See the A-Z of Herbs and Spices.


Figs (Ficus carica)

A fig tree is a small tree with a cylindrical stem. It is found all over India. Bo Tree Figs come from a large fig tree that grows in the southern parts of Asia. The tree is holy to Buddhists and is used ritually and medicinally. The bo tree’s figs contain the greatest amount of serotonin when compared to all other figs and are able to significantly inhibit epileptic seizures by increasing the amount of serotonin that nerve cells transmit.

Figs contain a derivative of benzaldehyde which has been reported to be highly effective at shrinking cancer tumours. Figs also contain vitamin A, vitamin B9, vitamin C and vitamin K, calcium, magnesium, manganese, potassium, sodium and zinc.

Figs are rich in potassium and fibre which helps to stabilize the blood pressure of the body and they have anti-diabetic and anti-tumour properties and can reduce the levels of LDL cholesterol. They can also curtail appetite and improve weight-loss efforts hence helping with obesity and fig juice is also a potent bacteria killer in test-tube studies.

Figs promote good sleeping habits and protects against insomnia. They increase energy, promote stronger bones and are helpful in treating constipation due to their laxative effect. They also has a analgesic effect against insect sting and bites. The fruit is also given as a cure for piles and diarrhoea.

Figs lessen the acids in the stomach and therefore are great for pregnant women. They also increase sexual desire and promote overall longevity and good health.

Fig leaves

Fig leaves are best known for treating diabetes, but there are many other uses such as treating boils, cancer, cardiovascular disease, bronchitis, genital warts, fungal infections, liver cirrhosis, haemorrhoids, high blood pressure, ringworm, shingles, skin problems and ulcers.

The diabetic needs less insulin when on a treatment of using the fig leaf extract. The diabetic should take the extract with breakfast, first thing in the morning. An additional remedy is to boil the leaves of the fig in some freshly filtered or bottled mineral water and drink this as a tea.

Cardiovascular and Cancer patients should try drinking some freshly made fig leaf tea and eat some fresh figs daily.

Genital warts - Take one fig leaf and apply the milk or sap from the leaf to the affected areas.

Haemorrhoids - Place two or three of the leaves in one litre of water and bring to boil. Boil for at least 15 minutes. Remove from the fire and let the pot cool. Remove the leaves from the tea and use as a bath or apply to the affected areas.

Liver cirrhosis - Take 4 fig leaves, wash them thoroughly and pound them. Fill a medium glass with water (preferably bottled mineral water), add the leaves and drink this twice a day.

High blood pressure - Place 3 fig leaves in half litre of water. Boil for 15 minutes and drink daily.

Ringworm - Cut open a leaf and take the milk or sap. Rub on the ringworm. This procedure works very quickly for ringworm as well as scalp fungal infections, warts and boils.

Fig leaves can be used in decoction form to condition hair and treat fungal infections of the scalp.

Shingles: Place three to four fig leaves in 2 cups of water. Boil for a few minutes, let cool and remove the leaves. Take a wash cloth and dip in the water and apply to the affected area.

Stomach and Mouth Ulcers - Every day chew two fig leaves and swallow the whole leaf. People with advanced ulcers should do this in the morning on an empty stomach.

If the leaves are mashed, they can be used as a skin cleanser for acne and pimples.


Flax Seeds and Oil (Linum usitatissium)

Provides omega 3 (linolenic acid), omega-6 and omega-9 fatty acids. Omegas-3 fatty acids benefit the cardiovascular system, as well as the immune and nervous systems. It also contains some beta carotene (approximately 4,300 IU per teaspoon) and vitamin E (approximately 15 IU per teaspoon). Because flaxseed contains Omega fatty acids and because fatty acids play such a vital role in the body, supplementation with flaxseed oil may help with an assortment of conditions, including the following

Flax seed oil (sometimes referred to as flaxseed oil) is one of the best sources of omega-3 fatty acids. Moreover,  it's a primary source of the alpha-linolenic essential omega-3 fatty acid. Alpha-linolenic acid deficiency has been linked to:

  • behavioural changes

  • dry skin

  • growth retardation

  • high blood pressure

  • high triglycerides

  • impairment of vision and learning ability

  • immune dysfunction

  • low metabolic rate

  • mental deterioration

  • motor in coordination

  • oedema (swelling)

  • sticky platelets

  • tingling sensations in arms and legs

  • tissue inflammation

  • weakness

Women who consume flaxseeds or flaxseed oil are less likely to develop breast cancer because of the high levels of lignans and flaxseeds are known to improve symptoms of the menopause including hot flushes.


Frankincense (Boswellia sacra, olibanum) See the A-Z of Herbs and Spices.


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    Game Birds See Poultry


    Garam Masala (translated “hot spicy mixture”) See the A-Z of Herbs and Spices page.


    Garcinia Cambogia (Garcinia, malabar tamarind, brindall berry, kankushta) See the A-Z of Herbs and Spices.


    Garlic (Allium sativa) See the A-Z of Herbs and Spices.


    Gentian Root (Gentiana lutea) See the A-Z of Herbs and Spices.


    Ginger (Gingiber officinalis, Zingiber officinale) See the A-Z of Herbs and Spices.


    Ginkgo Biloba (Ginkgo biloba, maidenhair tree) See the A-Z of Herbs and Spices.


    Ginseng (Panax spp) See the A-Z of Herbs and Spices.


    Goat's Milk

    Useful alternative to cows milk because some anti-inflammatory compounds; short-chain sugar molecules called oligosaccharides are present in goat's milk. These oligosaccharides may make goat's milk easier to digest, especially in the case of compromised intestinal function. Goat's milk has also been shown to enhance the metabolism of both iron and copper, especially when there are problems with absorption of minerals in the digestive tract. These factors and others are likely to play an important role in the tolerability of goat's milk versus cow's milk. Allergy to cow's milk has been found in many people with conditions such as recurrent ear infections, asthma, eczema and even rheumatoid arthritis. Replacing cow's milk with goat's milk may help to reduce some of the symptoms of these conditions.

    Goat's milk is a good source of potassium, an essential mineral for maintaining normal blood pressure and heart function. Since a cup of goat's milk contains 498.7 mg of potassium and only 121.5 mg of sodium, goat's milk may help to prevent high blood pressure and protect against atherosclerosis.

    Goat's milk is a good source of low cost high quality protein, providing 8.7 grams of protein (17.4% of RDA) in one cup versus cow's milk, which provides 8.1 grams or 16.3% of RDA. The structure of humans and animals is built on protein. Half a pint of goat's milk also contains the following RDA: protein 17.3%, tryptophan 34.3%, vitamin B2 20%, vitamin D 31.1%, calcium 32.6%, phosphorus 27%, potassium 14.2% and 168 calories.


    Goats Rue (Galega officinalis) See the A-Z of Herbs and Spices.


    Goji Berries (Lycium barbarum, nightshade family)

    A member of the nightshade family (Solonaceae), which contains many other common vegetables such as potato, sweet potato, tomato, aubergine and pepper, as well as some poisonous plants like belladonna and deadly nightshade. Native to the Himalayan Mountains of Tibet and Mongolia, goji berries have the highest concentration of protein of any fruit. They are a very rich source of vitamin C, contain more carotenoids than any other food, have twenty-one trace minerals and are high in fibre. They contain 15 times the amount of iron found in spinach, as well as calcium, zinc, selenium and many other important trace minerals. They also contain natural anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial and anti-fungal compounds.

    Goji berries are known to act on the kidney and liver areas to help relieve lower back pain and can relieve dizziness and improve eyesight.

    They are most often consumed raw, made into a tea or extract, or as an ingredient in soups. and are commonly available in dried form and make a great snack eaten as is or added to muesli or oatmeal. They can also be soaked for a couple of hours in enough water to cover them. Then the soak water can be drained off and makes a delicious drink or both water and berries added to smoothies.

    NOTE: Avoid goji berries if taking medication for diabetes, high blood pressure or anti-coagulants (blood thinners) such as warfarin or aspirin.


    Golden Rod (Solidago canadensis, Solidago odora, Solidago virgaurea, Aaron’s rod, blue mountain tea, heathen wound herb, woundwort) See the A-Z of Herbs and Spices.


    Golden Seal (Hydrastis canadensis) See the A-Z of Herbs and Spices.


    Goose See Poultry


    Gooseberries (Ribes uva-crispa)

    Gooseberries are a significant source of vitamin A, vitamin C, fibre, calcium, phosphorous and potassium and also contain moderate amounts of protein, vitamin E, iron and magnesium. A serving of gooseberries provides one third of RDA of fibre which can help prevent constipation, as well as more serious conditions like colon cancer and heart disease. Gooseberries also provide 297 mg of potassium in a 4oz serving which is critical for human health, because it promotes normal function of nerve cells, muscles and heart. Potassium may also prevent abnormal heart rhythm and help maintain a healthy blood pressure. The high calcium content is also good for bones and teeth health.


    Gotu Kola (Centella asiatica) See the A-Z of Herbs and Spices.


    Grapefruit (Citrus paradisi)

    Grapefruit is low in calories (only about 40-60 calories per half a grapefruit) and a good source of fibre, pectin, potassium, magnesium, vitamin C, vitamin B1 (thiamine), vitamin B3 (niacin) as well as a fair source of vitamin B9 (folic acid) Grapefruits also contain bioflavonoids which are vitamin-like substances that have certain anti-cancer properties and other functions.

    Pectin is found in the pulp, as well as in the rind. It contains a soluble fibre that can bind to and lower cholesterol. For the most part it is not digested. In clinical studies, grapefruit pectin reduced circulating levels of “bad” LDL-cholesterol by about 12 percent. Grapefruit pectin also reduces narrowing of blood vessels with atherosclerotic hardening of the arteries by 50 percent. It also contains essential oils such as citral, limonene and pinene which can help with stress and fatigue.

    There is a misconception that grapefruit or grapefruit juice contains a “fat burner.” This has led to the recurring intermittent popularity of the “grapefruit diet,” sometimes also called the “Hollywood diet,” for weight reduction. There is no anti-obesity ingredient in grapefruits, but substituting grapefruit or unsweetened grapefruit juice for other dietary foods can dramatically reduce the number of calories consumed. It is this caloric reduction that causes weight loss, not the actual grapefruit. Tangerines, however, have been proven by Japanese scientists to contain nobiletin. Nobiletin has been shown to prevent the build-up of fat in the liver via stimulating the expression of genes involved in burning excess fat, and inhibiting the genes which are responsible for manufacturing fat.

    NOTE: The grapefruit continues to receive a lot of medical attention because it interacts with certain prescribed medications. Components of the grapefruit can influence the function of certain enzymes along the gastrointestinal tract or in the liver, and these interactions influence the rate at which certain medications can be broken down or removed from the body. Much of the past attention had focused on felodipine (marketed as Plendil), a popular medication for treating hypertension. When this occurs, the level of the blood pressure lowering medication in the body becomes too high, by as much as a five-fold increase. As a result, blood pressure may fall too low, causing symptoms of lightheadedness, dizziness, weakness or even fainting. It does not take much grapefruit or grapefruit juice to make this happen, especially if it is consumed on a regular basis. There is great individual variability, however, on who will and who will not be reactors.

    Another group of medications that interact with the grapefruit are the “statins,” which are now widely prescribed to lower blood cholesterol levels. There are many other medications, however, that also interact with grapefruits. A partial list (using drug generic names) would include alprazolam, atorvastatin, benzodiazepines, buspirone, carvediol, cerivastatin, cisapride, clomipramine, coumadin, cyclosporine, ethinyl, estradiol, felodipine, lovastatin, nifedipine, nimodipine, saquinavir, simvastatin, tacrolimus, testosterone, triazolam.



    Grapes
    (Vitis vinifera)

     

    Why is it an age old custom to take a gift of grapes to sick people? Because they have a blood cleansing affect helping to heal. Red and black grapes contain 20 known antioxidants that work together to fend off the free radical attacks that lead to disease. These antioxidants are concentrated in the skin, so always buy the most colourful grapes you can find. All grapes contain compounds that strengthen the capillaries and protect against thread veins and skin sagging.

     

    Recent studies have discovered that there are inorganic mineral compounds such as iridium and rhodium in grape seeds and colloidal gold in black grape skins which causes cancer cells to 'commit suicide' within 24 hours without affecting surrounding healthy cells.

     

    In a healthy person, cancer cell apoptosis is a normal, healthy part of biology. Every living system creates cancerous cells. There are hundreds or thousands of "micro tumours" in every human being living today, but cancerous cells in healthy people destroy themselves once they realize they're flawed. This cellular "realization," however, requires healthy cell communication, and that's dependent on the correct nutrients, minerals and proteins being available in the body.

     

    Leukaemia cancer cells exposed to grape seed extract are rapidly killed through a process of cell suicide known as "apoptosis". Around 76% of leukaemia cells committed suicide within 24 hours thanks to the ability of compounds found in grape seeds which activates a protein called JNK, which regulates apoptosis.

     

    Put simply, a tumour is the result of out of control cell growth. To assure that the cell cycle - the cell's process of duplicating itself to make more cells - goes smoothly, a large network of proteins tells other proteins what to do and when to do it. When any of these layers of protein regulation fail, cell growth can get out of hand. On the molecular level, JNK influences cellular functions by tagging other proteins with a phosphate chemical group (a process known as phosphorylation), a common mechanism cells use to turn enzymes on and off. Phosphorylation is so important that when JNK goes awry, a number of different disorders can result, such as cancer, diabetes or neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson's and Alzheimer's disease.

     

    This JNK activating compound cannot be found in seedless grapes (obviously) or grape seed oil as the process to make the oil removes it. Grape seed extract can be found as a supplement but if you can find grapes with the seeds intact it is perfectly safe to chew and swallow the seeds and may help in the fight against cancer. Why not try grinding the seeds (which do taste bitter) into a powder and adding to meals and drinks daily to take advantage of this healthy and nutritious source of cancer fighting food?
     


    Green Beans (Phaseolus vulgaris, runner beans, string beans, French bean, wax bean, pole bean)

    Fresh green beans are very low in calories (31 kcal per 100 g of raw beans) and contain no saturated fat. They are very rich source of dietary fibre and contain excellent levels of vitamin A, and the health promoting flavonoid antioxidants beta-carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin. Zeaxanthin is selectively absorbed into the retinal macula lutea in the eyes, so green beans offer some protection in preventing age-related macular degeneration in the elderly. Green beans also help to control heart rate and blood pressure and reduce LDL cholesterol levels

    Green beans also provides vitamin B9 foliates. Foliate along with vitamin B12 is one of the essential components of DNA synthesis and cell division and when consumed during preconception periods and pregnancy helps prevent neural-tube defects in the new born baby.

    They also contain good amounts of vitamin B6 pyridoxine, B1 thiamine and vitamin C. Beans also contain high amounts of iron, calcium, magnesium, manganese, and potassium which are very essential for body metabolism.


    Green Tea (Camellia sinensis)

    The polyphenols in green tea are classified as catechins. Green tea supplies six main catechin compounds; catechin, gallaogatechin, epigallocatechin, epicatechin gallate, epicatechin and apigallocatechin gallate or EGCG. Catechins aid in weight loss. L-theanine is an amino acid compound contained in green tea. L-theanine has been reported to have calming effects on the nervous system. Green tea is also used to improve mental alertness and thinking.

    It is also used for weight loss and to treat stomach disorders, vomiting, diarrhoea, headaches, bone loss (osteoporosis), and solid tumour cancers. Some people use green tea to prevent various cancers, including breast cancer, prostate cancer, colon cancer, gastric cancer, lung cancer, solid tumour cancers and skin cancer related to exposure to sunlight. Some women use green tea to fight human papilloma virus (HPV), which can cause genital warts, the growth of abnormal cells in the cervix (cervical dysplasia), and cervical cancer.

    Green tea is also used for Crohn’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, diseases of the heart and blood vessels, diabetes, low blood pressure, chronic fatigue syndrome, dental cavities (caries), kidney stones, and skin damage.

    Green tea has powerful anti-cancer properties. EGCG (epicallocatechin-3-gallate) is the major catechin found in green tea. This is the most powerful antioxidant known and has been proven to be extremely effective in fighting prostate, oesophageal, stomach, and mouth cancers and helps to stunt the growth of tumours. (polyphenols, caffeine). Also present in green tea are epicatechin and epigallocatechin.

    Green tea is extremely effective in fighting prostate, oesophageal, stomach, brain, cervical and bladder and mouth cancers. It also reduces iron-accumulation in instances of neurodegenerative diseases like dementia, Alzheimer's and Parkinson's, can activate the body’s defence system against TNF alpha proteins, TGF beta proteins which are involved in systemic inflammation, help protect against some autoimmune diseases, including Sjögren's syndrome and is beneficial in the treatment of periapical periodontitis.

    Externally, tea is useful for stopping bleeding, healing sores and as a mouthwash for ulcers.

    Instead of drinking green tea, some people apply green tea bags to their skin to soothe sunburn and prevent skin cancer due to sun exposure. Green tea bags are also used to decrease puffiness under the eyes, as a compress for tired eyes or headache, and to stop gums from bleeding after a tooth is pulled.  Green tea  is also good to heal gum disease.

    Green tea is used in an ointment for genital warts. Do not confuse green tea with oolong tea or black tea. Oolong tea and black tea are made from the same plant leaves used to make green tea, but they are prepared differently and have different medicinal effects. Green tea is not fermented at all. Oolong tea is partially fermented and black tea is fully fermented.

    According to the U.K. daily requirements, 4 cups of tea contain the following nutrients: 10% vitamin B1 (thiamine), 25% vitamin B2 (riboflavin), 6% vitamin B6 (pyridoxine), 10% vitamin B9 (folic acid), 10-25% vitamin C (black tea 10%; green tea 25%), 45% manganese, 45% potassium, 16% calcium, 10% zinc, 45% natural fluoride, Additional components of the tea leaf are carotene, flavonoids, catechin, polyphenols, derived tannins, theaflavins, thearubigins, theanine, epigallocatechin gallate, caffeine, theophylline, and theobromine. Tea is the only natural source of fluoride for humans. Fluoride strengthens tooth enamel and decreases mouth bacteria. Tea makes a great mouthwash since it inhibits the growth of E. coli and Streptococcus

    NOTE: Non-heme iron is found in vegetables like spinach and kale. Tea, as well as green leafy vegetables has oxalates that block the absorption of iron. To assist the body in the absorption of non-heme iron from tea and those healthy green leafy vegetables, eat a couple of strawberries, an orange, tangerine or some mango if having tea with a meal or snack.

    Adding freshly squeezed lemon to green tea increases the DNA repairing catechins making it five times more powerful.

    Some deep sea fish are contaminated with high levels of mercury. Consuming green tea when eating seafood can help to prevent mercury from entering the bloodstream.

    Adding one teaspoon of milk to a cup of tea provides 25% RDA of calcium. Add honey (instead of sugar) to sweeten tea if desired, especially green tea, seed, flower, spiced and herbal teas for a truly beneficial and medicinal effect upon the system. Green tea is an excellent source of EGCG and the other catechins but adding milk to the tea can destroy the effects of the phenolics.


    Guanabana (Ammona moncata, graviola) See the A-Z of Herbs and Spices.


    Guava (Psidium guajava, goiaba, guayaba, djamboe, djambu, goavier, gouyave, goyave, goyavier, perala, bayawas, dipajaya jambu, petokal, tokal, guave, guavenbaum, guayave, banjiro, goiabeiro, guayabo, guyaba, goeajaaba, guave, goejaba, kuawa, abas, jambu batu, bayabas, pichi, posh, enandi)

    Pink or red guava is a good source of lycopene. Guava is sometimes called a "superfruit," as it has many health benefits. It can contain up to four times the amount of vitamin C found in oranges as well as vitamin A, and guava seeds are a source of omega-3 and dietary fibre. Guavas can be grown indoors in temperate climates. They can be juiced, made into jams or eaten fresh. Fresh guava is a very rich source of potassium. It contains more potassium than other fruits like banana weight per weight. It is also a moderate source of vitamin E, vitamin K, B complex vitamins such as B3 niacin, B5 pantothenic acid, B6 pyridoxine as well as minerals like magnesium, copper and manganese.


    Guayaba  (Psidium guayaba) See the A-Z of Herbs and Spices.


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    Halibut

    One of the most nutrient dense foods and a very good source of high quality protein. A 100g serving or about 3.5oz of dry cooked halibut contains 111 calories. A 100g serving of cooked halibut contains 23g of protein. One serving meets nearly 50% RDA.

    A serving of halibut meets more than 50 percent RDA of vitamin D and tryptophan 106.2%, protein 60.5%, omega-3 fats 25.8%, vitamin B3 40.4%, vitamin B6 22.5%, vitamin B12 25.8%, 0.2mg of iron, magnesium 30.3%, phosphorus 32.3%, potassium 18.6%, selenium 75.8%.

    Halibut helps to prevent and control high blood pressure, protects against fatal heart arrhythmia and can control triglycerides levels in the blood. Because it contains a healthy amount of magnesium, potassium, selenium, vitamin D and vitamins B6 and B12 it is a vital food to be eaten by people taking certain medications including diuretics, cholesterol lowering medications and diabetics. See the Drugs page.

     

    NOTE: Sea bass, turbot, sea bream and halibut are more likely to be contaminated with pollutants and mercury than other types of fish. Consuming ashitaba, green tea, chlorella, coriander, spirulina or sulphur-rich foods when eating these fish can help to stop mercury being absorbed into the bloodstream.
     


    Hawthorn Berries (Crataegus monogyna) See the A-Z of Herbs and Spices.


    Hazelnuts (Corylus avellana)

    Hazelnuts grow in large clusters on hazel trees and turn chocolate brown when ready. Usually harvested in the last week of September. Oleic acid, a monounsaturated fatty acid in hazelnuts, has been shown to lower bad cholesterol, while arginine, an amino acid, widens blood vessels and improves blood flow. 1 & 1/2oz of hazelnuts a day lowers the risk of heart disease.

    Hazelnuts may also help fight cancer. Portland University researchers found they contain paclitaxel, which is the active ingredient in drugs used to treat ovarian and breast cancers.

    They are a good source of fibre, antioxidants, vitamin B3 (thiamine), vitamin B6, vitamin B9 ( foliate), vitamin E, copper, manganese and potassium. Among nuts, they have the highest levels of monounsaturated fats.


    Hemp Seeds (Cannabis sativa)

    Hemp is 'super food'  belonging to the mulberry family which has been cultivated for over 10,000 years and was the first crop to be cultivated by mankind as a source of edible seeds and oil, a lubricant and as fuel. Hemp seeds have the most concentrated balance of nutrients available including complete protein, with essential fats and virtually no sugar, starch or saturated fat. Consuming raw hemp seeds aids in weight loss, increased and sustained energy, natural blood sugar control, reduction of inflammation and pain, lowered LDL cholesterol and blood pressure, improved cardiovascular and organ function, reduction of degenerative diseases, protection against creast, colon and prostate cancer, heart disease and strokes, reduction of PMS symptoms and cramps, improved recovery of muscles after intense exercise, improved skin and hair condition and a marked improvement of the immune system, metabolic rate and circulation. Consuming hemp seeds regularly can treat acne, arthritis and rheumatism, circulation problems, constipation, diabetes, dry skin, eczema, intestinal and digestive problems, obesity, prostate problems, psoriasis, respiratory conditions such as tuberculosis.

    Hemp seeds components protect the brain cells which can alleviate symptoms of anxiety and depression and improve the memory and mood. They also can protect against and help to improve symptoms of Alzheimer's disease, dementia and Parkinson's disease.

    The normal daily consumption for general health should be about 42 grams (4 heaped tablespoons) for an average sized adult. For larger than average people or to treat any of the above conditions it is advised that 55 grams (5/6 heaped tablespoons) is consumed daily. Make sure that the hemp seeds are organic and have not been heat sterilised in order to gain the benefit of high nutrition from them. Conditions of the above can be expected to improve within three months of daily consumption.

    Hemp contains all 20 required amino acids plus is a rich source of GLA,  omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids, alpha, beta and gamma globulin, enzymes, carotene, chlorophyll, edestin, lecithin, phospholipids, phytosterols, plant sterols, vitamin B1 (thiamine), vitamin B2 (riboflavin), vitamin B3 (niacin), vitamin B6 (pyridoxine), vitamin D, vitamin E, boron, calcium, copper, germanium, iodine, iron, magnesium, manganese, lithium, nickel, phosphorus, platinum, potassium, silver, sulphur and zinc.

    It has been reported that the human body ideally needs a balance of 3 or 4:1 of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids. Hemp seed is the only natural food that provides this perfect balance. Flaxseeds, almonds, soybean, walnuts and olive oil do not contain this correct balance and can lead to an unhealthy imbalance if consumed daily. The oils in hemp contain more beneficial omega-3 components than found in any fish or fish oil supplements.

    Hemp protein is free from tryspin inhibitors which block protein absorption and is free from oligosaccharides found in soy which cause stomach upset and gas. These seeds can be consumed by those with an intolerance to nuts, lactose, gluten or sugar and there are no known allergies to hemp. They are especially good for pregnant and nursing mothers, babies, body builders, the elderly or convalescent patient but are an amazing source of balanced nutrition and highly digestible protein for everyone.

    Hulled hemp seeds contain far less nutrients and if heated treated will have lost most of vitamin content. Hemp oil should not be used for frying only as a dressing ingredient.

    Hemps seeds can be added to any meals, salads, sandwiches and snacks and are ideal for sprouting on a windowsill in a jam jar using just a daily rinse of water. See the Micro Diet Sprouting page.

    Hemp is often included in bird seed due to its high nutritional content.


    Herbs  See the A-Z of Herbs and Spices


    Herring

    Herring is an oily fish close to the bottom of the food chain, contain lower levels of toxins (such as mercury and PCBs) than many other types of fish. Regular consumption of herring can relieve symptoms of psoriasis, reduce the risk of heart disease, reduce blood pressure, maintain bone density, prevent anaemia, support cardiovascular health, lower triglycerides and cholesterol levels, lower risk of atherosclerosis, strengthen the bones, support joint cartilage, help regulate and stabilise the balance of collagen and minerals in bone and surrounding tissue, reduce free radical damage and inflammation, reduce risk of cancer including colorectal cancer, prostate cancer, breast cancer, blood cell or lymph cell-related cancers such as leukaemia, multiple myeloma, non-Hodgkins lymphoma, renal cell carcinoma, kidney cancer.

    Herring consumption can also protect against macular degeneration (AMD) of the eye, reduce the risk of dry eye syndrome, promote more youthful skin, alleviate skin blemishes, give good hair lustre, prevent hair loss and helps with brain and eye development in infants. Pregnant and nursing women may benefit from eating oily fish to increase the amount of DHA in the diet.

    Herrings are rich in two fatty acids called eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and decosahexaenoic acid (DHA). An 85 gram (3 oz) portion contains 2 g of essential omega-3 fatty acids and 20 g of protein. Herring also contains  vitamin D, vitamin E, vitamin B12, vitamin B3, vitamin B2vitamin B6; calcium, selenium, iodine, copper. For more details see Oily Fish.

    • Bloater Fish are a type of whole cold smoked herring.

    • Kippers are split smoked herring.

    • Pilchards are a type of small herring

    • Sardines are younger smaller herring

     


    Hilsa Fish

    Regular consumption of hilsa fish can relieve symptoms of psoriasis, reduce the risk of heart disease, reduce blood pressure, maintain bone density, prevent anaemia, support cardiovascular health, lower triglycerides and cholesterol levels, lower risk of atherosclerosis, strengthen the bones, support joint cartilage, help regulate and stabilise the balance of collagen and minerals in bone and surrounding tissue, reduce free radical damage and inflammation, reduce risk of cancer including colorectal cancer, prostate cancer, breast cancer, blood cell or lymph cell-related cancers such as leukaemia, multiple myeloma, non-Hodgkins lymphoma, renal cell carcinoma, kidney cancer.

    Hilsa fish consumption can also protect against macular degeneration (AMD) of the eye, reduce the risk of dry eye syndrome, promote more youthful skin, alleviate skin blemishes, give good hair lustre, prevent hair loss and helps with brain and eye development in infants. Pregnant and nursing women may benefit from eating oily fish to increase the amount of DHA in the diet.

    Hilsa fish are rich in two fatty acids called eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and decosahexaenoic acid (DHA),  An 85 gram (3 oz) portion contains 2 g of essential omega-3 fatty acids and 20 g of protein. Hiulsa fish also contains vitamin D, vitamin E, vitamin B12, vitamin B3, vitamin B2vitamin B6; calcium, selenium, iodine and copper. For more details see Oily Fish.


    Holy Basil (Ocimum tenuiflorum, tulsi, tulasī) See the A-Z of Herbs and Spices.


    Honey

    The health benefits of honey - like all foods - depend on the quality of the honey. But in this case, the situation is even more extreme, because the pollen that collects on the bees' legs as they move from plant to plant is only as healthful and as diverse as those plants. In addition, the processing of honey often removes many of the phytonutrients found in raw honey as it exists in the hive. Raw honey, for example, contains small amounts of the same resins found in propolis. Propolis, sometimes called "bee glue," is actually a complex mixture of resins and other substances that honeybees use to seal the hive and make it safe from bacteria and other micro-organisms. Honeybees make propolis by combining plant resins with their own secretions. However, substances like road tar have also been found in propolis.

    Bee keepers sometimes use special screens around the inside of the hive boxes to trap propolis, since bees will spread this substance around the honeycomb and seal cracks with the anti-bacterial, anti-viral, and anti-fungal resins. The resins found in propolis only represent a small part of the phytonutrients found in propolis and honey, however. Other phytonutrients found both in honey and propolis have been shown to possess cancer-preventing and anti-tumour properties. These substances include caffeic acid methyl caffeate, phenylethyl caffeate, and phenylethyl dimethylcaffeate.

    In people with high cholesterol, artificial honey increases LDL (bad) cholesterol, while natural honey decreases total cholesterol 8%, LDL cholesterol 11%, and C-reactive protein 75%.

    Acts as an expectorant for coughs and catarrh, sinusitis and hay fever. Antiseptic and preservative properties help prevent food poisoning and relieve diarrhoea and vomiting. Externally, honey is a wound and burn healer, and has the ability to draw out bacteria and pus. It soothes mouth ulcers and is reputed to bring a boil to a head. Reduces stomach ulcers. Helps in treating gastro-enteritis and is a soothing remedy for minor wounds and burns.

    In people with type 2 diabetes, natural honey can cause a significantly lower rise in blood sugar than either dextrose or sucrose (refined sugars). Honey contains vitamin K, carbohydrate and sugar.

    Honey has long been recognized as a natural remedy. The bacteria-killing property of honey is named "the inhibition effect". Experiments conducted on honey show that its bactericide properties increase two fold when diluted with water. Research has shown that if you drink a 16 ounce glass of water containing four tablespoons of honey every day, you will experience improved levels of antioxidants in your system. Dark honey contains more antioxidants than light. Manuka honey is especially high in antibacterial qualities but is more expensive. Honey has powerful antimicrobial properties which can soothe raw tissues. Honey naturally attracts and retains moisture. When this is used in skin treatments, the skin is kept moist, soft, and elastic.

    Honey has a “protective effect” and contains as many antioxidants - which combat the free radical which can damage cells; as spinach, apples, oranges, or strawberries. There is also new research that suggests that the absorption of calcium increases as the amount of honey intake is upped.

    Honey cleans and heals wounds better than the medicines used in hospitals. Honey has the ability to maintain a moist healing environment, banish infection, promote new skin growth, and prevent scarring. Honey is also an effective treatment for burns. Bee sting therapy has proven useful for patients with M.S. and for arthritis suffers.

    Honey contains very small amounts of trace minerals and vitamin nutrients, making it a better choice than sugar. Although honey has 64 calories per tablespoon. You only have to use 25 - 40% to attain the same sweetening power as sugar.

    Although it gives great energy to the body, honey does not add weight. When accompanied by mild water, honey diffuses into the bloodstream in 7 minutes. Its free sugar molecules make the brain function better since the brain is the largest consumer of sugar, thus, reduces fatigue. Besides supplying the energy needed by the body for blood formation, honey helps in cleansing the blood. It has positive effects in regulating and facilitating blood circulation. It also functions as a protection against capillary problems and diseases of the artery.

    Honey has been used as a part of a natural beauty regime as far back as Cleopatra. Since honey is all-natural, it does not irritate the skin and is ideal for beauty products for sensitive skin. It’s antioxidants help support the skin's ability to rejuvenate from UV damage from the sun. The noted beautiful hands of Ancient Japanese women, devoid of all wrinkles, is attributed to their daily use of fresh honey as a hand lotion.

    For sore throats: Pour a teaspoon of honey into a large serving spoon, top off with lemon and swallow (without water) every few hours until symptoms clears up. Health-promoting compounds found in honey could make this ingredient a more attractive option for food makers currently using bulk sweeteners such as high-fructose corn syrup.

    Add honey (instead of sugar) to teas, especially green tea, seed, flower, spiced and herbal teas for a truly beneficial and medicinal effect upon the system.


    Honeysuckle (Lonicera pericylmenum, Lonicera japonica) See the A-Z of Herbs and Spices.


    Hops (Humulus lupulus) See the A-Z of Herbs and Spices.


    Horehound Root (white: Marrubium vulgare, black: Ballota nigra) See the A-Z of Herbs and Spices.


    Horny Goat Weed (yin yang huo, epimedium) See the A-Z of Herbs and Spices.


    Horse chestnut (Aesculus hippocastanum) See the A-Z of Herbs and Spices.


    Horseradish (Armoracia rusticana)

    Horseradish is low in calories and fat and contains a good amount of dietary fibre. The root also contains many volatile phyto-chemical compounds, which give its pungent character, such as allyl isothiocyanate, 3-butenyl isothiocyanate, 2-propenylglucosinlate (sinigrin), 2-pentyl isothiocyanate and phenylethyl isothiocyanate. It has been found that these compounds have been anti-oxidant as well as detoxification functions. Horseradish has good amounts of vitamin C which is a powerful water soluble anti-oxidant. 100g fresh root provides 29mg or 41% of RDA of vitamin C. It also contains moderate amounts of copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, potassium, sodium and zinc plus small amounts of vitamin B2 (riboflavin), vitamin B3 (niacin) and vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid), vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) and vitamin B9 (foliate).

    It is a potent gastric stimulant, increases appetite and aids in digestion. The volatile phytochemical compounds in the root stimulate salivary, gastric and intestinal glands to secrete digestive enzymes. Horseradish helps remove harmful free radicals from the body and protect it from cancers, inflammation and infections etc.


    Horsetail (Equisetum arvense, Vegetal silica, common horsetail, field horsetail) See the A-Z of Herbs and Spices.


    Ho Shou Wu (Polygonum multiflorum, he shou wu, fo-ti, flowery knotweed) See the A-Z of Herbs and Spices page.


    Huang Lian (Coptis chinensis, picrorhiza) See the A-Z of Herbs and Spices.


    Hydrangea (Hydrangea arborescens) See the A-Z of Herbs and Spices.


    Hyssop (Hyssopus officinalis, curdukotu, hastipippili, hisopo, yanagi-hakka) See the A-Z of Herbs and Spices .


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    Icoja (Unonopsis floribunda diels) See the A-Z of Herbs and Spices.


    Indian Gooseberry (Phyllanthus emblica) See the A-Z of Herbs and Spices.


    Indian Nettle (Acalphya Indica) See the A-Z of Herbs and Spices.


    Indian Tobacco See Lobelia


    Iporuro (Alchornea castaneifolia) See the A-Z of Herbs and Spices.


    Irish Moss (Chondrus crispus)

    Irish moss is an algae that is rich in nutrients and can support the glandular system, lungs and kidneys. It purifies the body's cells and strengthens the thyroid gland.


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    Jalapeno Peppers See Chilli Peppers
     



    Japanese or Chinese Knotweed (Fallopia japonica, Polygonum cuspidatum)
    See the A-Z of Herbs and Spices.
     



    Jasmine (Jasminum officinale) See the A-Z of Herbs and Spices.
     



    Jergon Sacha (
    Dracontium loretense) See the A-Z of Herbs and Spices.
     



    Jerusalem Artichoke (Helianthus tuberosus, sunroot, sunchoke, earth apple, topinambour)

     

    The Jerusalem artichoke (not to be confused with the globe thistle like artichoke) is the tuber of a species of sunflower native to eastern North America. It actually has no relation to Jerusalem and it is not even a type of artichoke, though both are members of the daisy family. The name was derived from a corruption of the Italian 'girasola articiocco', the Sunflower Artichoke, Girasola meaning 'turning to the sun,' an allusion to the habit it is supposed to have in common with many of the sunflower species. The North Italian word articiocco - modern carciofo - comes through the Spanish, from the Arabic Al-Kharshuf. False etymology has corrupted the word in many languages: it has been derived (though wrongly) in English from 'choke' and 'heart,' or the Latin hortus, a garden, and in French, the form artichaut has been connected with chaud, hot, and chou, a cabbage.

     

    The Jerusalem Artichoke is rich in the carbohydrate inulin (76%), which is a polymer of the monosaccharide fructose. Inulin contains fructans, which are food for beneficial bacteria in the gut but if the tubers are stored for any length of time, they will digest the inulin into its component fructose. Inulin (not to be confused with the hormone insulin) is a zero calorie, saccharine, and inert carbohydrate, which does not metabolize inside the human body, and therefore; make this tuber an ideal sweetener for diabetics and dieters when consumed fresh. They are an especially good addition to soups.

     

    Jerusalem artichokes contains 10% protein which is more than most other root vegetables and it’s particularly high in the sulphur-containing essential amino acids cysteine, homocysteine, methionine and taurine. These components are essential for maintaining the flexibility of connective tissue as well as helping the liver carry out detoxification which helps protect against cancer.

     

    It also promotes regular  bowel movements  which protects against bowel cancer. Regular consumption can lower the blood pressure, LDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels due to rich potassium content and prevent anaemia due to it's high iron content.  It lowers fats in the blood and helps to protect and cleanse the liver and protects against hepatitis and protects against skin cancer.

     

    Jerusalem artichokes have 650 mg potassium per 150 g. They are also high in iron and contain vitamin B1 (thiamine), vitamin B3 (niacin), phosphorus and copper.
     


     

    Jiaogulan (Gynostemma pentaphyllum) See the A-Z of Herbs and Spices.

     


     

    Jicama (Pachyrhizus erosus, Mexican turnip, Mexican yam)

     

    Jicama is a root vegetable similar to the sweet potato which has been consumed as a vegetable and used medicinally in central and South America for thousands of years. It is most commonly eaten raw seasoned with spices like chilli and fruit juices. It can be cooked but this will lose some of its powerful health benefits.

     

    Regular consumption of jicama can boost brain function and the immune system, build strong bones, help to manage diabetes, improve circulation and digestion, increase energy levels, lower blood pressure, prevent various types of cancer and heart disease and helps with weight management.

     

    The jicama tuber is a rich source of dietary fibre, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, potassium and vitamins B2, B5, B6, B9, C and E.

     

    NOTE: The tubers are highly nutritious but the rest of the plant (including the seeds) are poisonous.
     


     

    John Dory Fish (St Pierre, St Peter Fish)

     

    John Dory is a deep-sea white fleshed fish with a flat, round body shape, olive-yellow colour skin with a silvery white belly and one large dark spot on each side and grows to a maximum size of 2 ft (65 cm) and 7 lb (3 kg). It is a rich source of protein, EPA and DHA omega 3 fatty acids, vitamin B1 (thiamine), vitamin B2 (riboflavin), vitamin B3 (niacin), vitamin D and vitamin E, calcium, fluoride, iodine, magnesium, phosphorous and potassium and has traces of iron, selenium and zinc. Regular consumption of John Dory fish can protect the heart, lower blood pressure and nourish the bones and joints, skin, nails and hair.
     


    Juniper Berries (Juniperus communis) See the A-Z of Herbs and Spices.


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    Kale (Brassica oleracea acephala)

    Kale contains compounds that may help prevent cancer. These compounds appear to stop enzymes from activating cancer-causing agents in the body and they increase the activity of enzymes that disable and eliminate carcinogens. It is the sulphur compounds in this food that have been main subject of phytonutrient research, and these include the glucosinolates and the methyl cysteine sulfoxides. Although there are over 100 different glucosinolates in plants, only 10-15 are present in kale and other brassicas. Yet these 10-15 glucosinolates appear able to lessen the occurrence of a wide variety of cancers, including colon, breast and ovarian cancers. They also boost the immune system and can help to prevent heart disease.

    Kale is a rich source of beta-carotene, indoles, lutein and zeaxanthin, vitamin A, vitamin B1, vitamin B2, vitamin B3, vitamin B5, vitamin B6, vitamin B9, vitamin C, vitamin K, calcium and iron. Consuming kale before and during pregnancy can help to prevent spina difida (neural tube defects) happening in the new born baby.

    NOTE: Avoid kale if suffering with kidney or gallstones, joint problems or osteoporosis.


    Kamut (Triticum turgidum polonicum)

    A whole grain related to wheat, whose name is derived from the ancient Egyptian word for wheat. Kamut is richer in protein than most whole grains. One cooked serving contains 11.09g of protein. It is very high in dietary fibre, vitamin B3 (niacin), iron and zinc.


    Kava Kava (Piper methysticum) See the A-Z of Herbs and Spices.


    Kelp (Fucus vesiculosus)

    Kelp contains nearly thirty minerals which nourish the glands, especially the thyroid and pituitary. By enhancing the action of the glandular system, it helps balance the body's metabolism and rate at which it burns calories. Kelp, also known as seaweed, grows in the rich ocean beds, far below surface pollution levels. Because of its high nutrient content, this herb is reputedly beneficial for a wide range of applications. It is known to nourish the sensory nerves, brain membranes, also spinal cord and brain tissue. Kelp contains alginic acid which can help protect the body against the effects of radiation.

    NOTE: Tea and sour fruits should not be consumed immediately after kelp. Avoid kelp if suffering from hyperthyroidism. Pregnant women should limit their intake of kelp as it can affect the thyroid development of the baby.


    Kinnow Fruit: See Tangerines


    Kimchi (sauerkraut)

    Kimchi is an Asian form of pickled sauerkraut, kimchi is an extremely spicy and sour fermented cabbage, typically served alongside meals in Korea. Besides beneficial bacteria, Kimchi is also a great source of beta carotenecalcium, iron and vitamins A, C, B1 and B2. Kimchi is one of the best probiotic foods to add to the diet as it helps with the production of vitamin K2 which, in turn, helps with the utilisation of vitamin D in the diet.


    Kippers

    Kippers are an oily fish close to the bottom of the food chain, contain lower levels of toxins (such as mercury and PCBs) than many other types of fish. Regular consumption of kippers can relieve symptoms of psoriasis, reduce the risk of heart disease, reduce blood pressure, maintain bone density, prevent anaemia, support cardiovascular health, lower triglycerides and cholesterol levels, lower risk of atherosclerosis, strengthen the bones, support joint cartilage, help regulate and stabilise the balance of collagen and minerals in bone and surrounding tissue, reduce free radical damage and inflammation, reduce risk of cancer including colorectal cancer, prostate cancer, breast cancer, blood cell or lymph cell-related cancers such as leukaemia, multiple myeloma, non-Hodgkins lymphoma, renal cell carcinoma, kidney cancer.

    Kipper consumption can also protect against macular degeneration (AMD) of the eye, reduce the risk of dry eye syndrome, promote more youthful skin, alleviate skin blemishes, give good hair lustre, prevent hair loss and helps with brain and eye development in infants. Pregnant and nursing women may benefit from eating oily fish to increase the amount of DHA in the diet.

    Kippers are rich in two fatty acids called eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and decosahexaenoic acid (DHA). An 85 gram (3 oz) portion contains 2 g of essential omega-3 fatty acids and 20 g of protein. Herring also contains  vitamin D, vitamin E, vitamin B12, vitamin B3, vitamin B2vitamin B6; calcium, selenium, iodine, copper. For more details see Oily Fish.

    • Bloater Fish are a type of whole cold smoked herring.

    • Kippers are split smoked herring.

    • Pilchards are a type of small herring

    • Sardines are younger smaller herring

     


    Kiwi Fruit (Actinidia deliciosa, Actinidia chinensis, Chinese gooseberry, yang toa)

    Also known as the Chinese gooseberry, this fruit was, for marketing reasons, renamed kiwifruit by New Zealand exporters, after the kiwi, a brown flightless bird and New Zealand's national symbol, and also a colloquial name for the New Zealand people.

    Kiwifruit can protect against respiratory disorders, reduce asthma and the risk of cancer and detoxify the blood. They can reduce wheezing, chronic coughing and mucus production, especially in children suffering with respiratory disorders.

    Kiwis are a rich source of the antioxidant chlorophyll and an excellent source of vitamin C (even more than in oranges) and vitamin K, and a good source of vitamin E, copper and fibre. Kiwis contain as much potassium as bananas and the seeds contain omega-3 fatty acids. Kiwis are also a good source of magnesium and phosphorous. Always consume the skin as this provides triple the amount of fibre and vitamin C.


    Kohlrabi (Brassica oleracea gongylodes)

    Kohlrabi helps to boost the immune system. Regular consumption can also help to prevent cancer and, if eaten during pregnancy can prevent spina bifida occurring in the foetus. It also prevents heart disease. Kohlrabi contains vitamin C, calcium, iron, carotene and indoles.


    Kombucha (Camililias senensi)

    Kombucha is a raw, fermented, probiotic and naturally carbonated tea, most likely an ancient Chinese elixir, with some records extending back to the Qin Dynasty in 220BC. There is evidence that Genghis Khan and his men drank kombucha in the 12th century for vitality and strength. From Asia it travelled the Silk Road to Japan, Korea and finally Russia, where definite record keeping dates to the late 19th century.

    This type of fermented tea made using the leaves of the tea plant (Camililias senensi) is good for the stomach and overall wellbeing. Kombucha converts sugar into organic acids and contains several different types of organic acids. A major one is gluconic and glucoronic acids which specifically detoxify the liver and benefit the skin, hair, eyes and finger nails. It is also good for weight loss, increased mood, energy and high blood pressure. Kombucha has very little calories and sugar once properly fermented.

    Kombucha is made with water, tea, sugar and a fermenting culture called a SCOBY (Symbiotic Colony of Bacteria and Yeast). After steeping the tea leaves in boiling water and allowing to cool, SCOBY is added to the room temperature tea and allowed to ferment in a warm room (76-82° Fahrenheit) for 1-2 weeks.

    The following is provided by kombucha

     

    • Lactic acid: Found in Kombucha in its most potent form L-lactic(+). Lactic acid is essential for the digestive system.

    • Acetic acid: Its main function is to inhibit harmful bacteria. Acetic acid is used as a preservative because of this action

    • Malic acid: Is also used in the body’s detoxification process.

    • Oxalic acid: Encourages the cellular production of energy and is a natural preservative.

    • Gluconic acid: Is effective against many yeast infections such as Candida and thrush.

    • Butyric acid: Is produced by the yeasts and when working with gluconic acid, might help combat yeast infections such as Candida.

    • Nucleic acid: Work with the body aiding healthy cell regeneration.

    • Amino acid: A group of acids which are the building blocks of protein. The muscular system is made of proteins.

    • Enzymes: Are proteins that act as catalysts, speeding the rate at which biochemical reactions proceed.

     


    Kombu Seaweed (Laminaria japonica)

    Kombu seaweed is quite similar to wakame seaweed. Like wakame, it typically comes in the form of dried strips that are then soaked and added to food. Kombu is a little tougher than wakame, partly due to its higher fibre content. However, it softens considerably upon cooking. Kombu seaweed comes from kelp that grows around the north of Japan and possesses anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer, anticoagulant, antithrombotic and antiviral properties

    It is good source of tryptophan, valine, vitamin B2 (riboflavin), vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid), vitamin B9 (foliate), vitamin Cvitamin E, vitamin K, calcium, copper, iodine, iron, magnesium, manganese, molybdenum, potassium, phosphorus, selenium, vanadium and zinc. It is also known for its alginate content which has been linked to beneficial effects in preventing obesity.

    A tea made with daikon, shittake mushrooms and kombu seaweed is used to lower fever and fight infection.


    Krill Oil (Euphausia superba)

    This nutrient dense oil comes from krill a tiny, bottom-of-the-food-chain crustacean approximately one to six centimetres in length, and are a dietary staple for whales, small fish and seabirds. Krill exist in large numbers and are an integral part of the aquatic food chain. They feed on phytoplankton and are found in all the world's oceans. One species known as the Antarctic Krill makes up an estimated biomass of over 500,000,000 tons, which is roughly twice that of all humans on earth.

    The reason the oil from krill has gained popularity is because it contains the antioxidant astaxanthin. This is what gives the bright red pigment to the oil and is what colours krill and other crustaceans such as lobsters, crabs, and prawns. The oil from krill is reported to have a higher concentration of eicosapentaenoic acid and also reduce or eliminate the fishy burps associated with taking traditional fish oil.

    Inflammation is associated with Alzheimer's diseasetype 2 diabetes, heart disease, obesity, rheumatoid arthritis, cancer and many other chronic illnesses. The powerful antioxidants in krill oil can reduce inflammation and thus protect from and treat these disorders.

    The nutrients that taking one krill oil capsule per day will provide are astaxanthin, calcium, chitin, chromium, copper, iodine, lysine, omega-3 fatty acids, selenium, trimethylamine oxide, vitamins A, B6, B7, B9, B12, D, E and K and zinc.

    One advantage of taking krill oil over other ocean foods is that because of their small size and short lifespan, krill have no detectable mercury contamination.

    Benefits of daily consumption of krill oil

    • Healthy cell membrane formation.

    • Hormone production.

    • Development and functioning of the brain and nervous system.

    • Regulation of blood pressure, blood sugar, liver and pancreas function, immune and inflammatory responses.

    • Thyroid and adrenal activity.

    • Breakdown and transportation of cholesterol.

    • Healthy skin and hair.

    • Regulation of blood clotting (omega-6 encourages blood clot formation, whereas omega-3 oil reduces clotting, making the goal to achieve balance between omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids).
       

    NOTE: Individuals taking anticoagulants or blood thinners such as warfarin, heparin or high dose aspirin therapy should be aware that krill oil can increase the anti-coagulating properties of their medication, possibly prolonging bleeding time. It may also lower blood pressure and blood sugar levels, so patients taking medications for these conditions should check with a healthcare professional before beginning krill oil therapy.


    Kudzu Root Extract  (Pueraria lobatam Japanese arrowroot) See the A-Z of Herbs and Spices.


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    Lady slipper (Cypripedium areitinum, Cypripedium pubescens, Cypripedium calceolus, orchid, American valerian, nerve root, bleeding heart, moccasin flower, monkey flower, Noah's ark, slipper root, venus shoe, yellows) See the A-Z of Herbs and Spices.


    Lamb 

    Lamb can prevents anaemia, build and maintain body tissues and maintain the the nervous system. Lamb is a good source of protein, vitamin A, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, copper,  iron, manganese, phosphorus, selenium and zinc.

    NOTE: Lamb is very high in cholesterol so so should be limited to once a month for those with heart and circulation problems.


    Land caltrop (Tribulus terrestris, abrojos, al gutub, bai ji li, gokshura, puncture vine, tack weed) See the A-Z of Herbs and Spices.


    Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) See the A-Z of Herbs and Spices.


    Leeks (Allium porrum)

    Leeks belong to the Alliaceae family, together with onions and garlic. A flavonoid called kaempferol is present in significant amounts in leeks. Kaempferol provides protection to the linings of the blood vessels, particularly against free radicals or reactive oxygen species. Kaempferol also induces the increased production of nitric oxide, a substance that acts as a natural dilator and relaxant of the blood vessels allowing the blood vessels to rest and decreasing the risk of hypertension. Leeks are also good sources of vitamin Cvitamin B6 (pyridoxine) vitamin K, manganese and iron.


    Legumes (beans, pulses, peas)  

    Legumes are plants with seed pods that split into two halves. Legumes reduces the risk of heart disease, lowers LDL cholesterol, controls blood sugar levels, lowers the risks of colon cancer, prevents anaemia, maintains the proper levels of iron and calcium in the body. Legumes are low in fat & cholesterol levels. To balance the diet when meat and dairy products are reduce for cholesterol problems, all legumes are a healthy alternative providing the daily amounts of protein needed.

    Legumes are good sources of phytonutrients, protein, fibre, starchvitamin A, vitamin B1 (thiamine), vitamin B2 (riboflavin), vitamin B3 (niacin), vitamin B6 (pyridoxine), vitamin B9 (foliate), vitamin C, vitamin E and vitamin K. They are also good sources of calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, selenium, sodium and zinc.

    NOTE: Because all these legumes and pulses (as well as nuts, seeds and whole grains) contain high levels of phytic acid, which inhibits absorption of minerals such as calcium, iron, magnesium, nickel and especially zinc,  it is important to soak, ferment or sprout them. This reduces the phytic acid levels and is especially important for those suffering with anaemia, cancer, digestive, teeth or bone disorders, pregnant and menstruating women, those regularly performing intense physical activities and sports, anyone on medications, those that drink alcohol regularly, growing infants and children and the elderly.

    Soaking method

    Place one part kombu or kelp seaweed to six parts of legumes in the bottom of the pot then add the legumes of grains etc. Soak for twelve hours in a warm place in four parts of warm mineral water to one part legume. For best results, change the water once or twice. Lentils and whole dried peas require shorter soaking, while soybeans and garbanzos need to soak longer. Soaking softens skins and begins the sprouting process, which eliminates phytic acid, thereby making more minerals available. Soaking also promotes faster cooking and improved digestibility, because the gas-causing enzymes and trisaccharides in legumes are released into the soak water. Be sure to discard the soak water and rinse the legumes.

    After bringing legumes to a boil, scoop off and discard the foam. Continue to simmer for twenty minutes without lid at beginning of cooking to let steam rise (breaks up and disperses indigestible enzymes).

    For more information see phytic acid.

    Edible seeds from plants in the legume family include:


    Lemon (Citrus limonum)

    Lemon juice can act as an anti-acid for digestive problems and is a liver tonic, antiseptic, antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral and is a cleanser of blood, lymph glands and kidneys and a natural diuretic. Lemon is also good for treating acne, hiccups, heartburn, nausea, respiratory ailments, constipation, thrush, parasites and worms. Lemon is one of the very low glycaemia fruits so is also good for diabetics and citric acid in lemons can help to dissolve kidney stones. The abundance of phyto-chemical antioxidants and soluble as well as insoluble dietary fibre is helpful in the reduction of the risk for cancer, many chronic diseases like arthritis and from obesity and coronary heart diseases. Lemon also helps to regulate blood pressure and can alleviate depression, stress and anxiety and lemon juice is more effective in healing oral thrush in HIV patients than the standard remedy of gentian violet.

    Lemons contain 22 anti-cancer properties like limonine, hesperidin, naringin, naringenin, beta-carotene, cryptoxanthin, zeaxanthin, lutein and lycopene which slows the growth of tumours. Lemon is also a rich source of vitamin C, vitamin B9 (folic acid), vitamin K and fibre. They also contains a good amount of vitamin A, vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid), vitamin B6 (pyridoxine), calcium, copper, iron and potassium. There can be a large reduction of squamous cell carcinoma in those who ingest citrus peel due to the concentration of d-limonene oil in citrus fruit rinds which is a known inhibitor of breast, lung and colon cancers. Traditionally, lemon peel oil has been used to discourage intestinal parasites, while the vitamin C-rich juice and rind help to increase bone mineral density.

    The consumption of one lemon per day (including half of the rind and pith) can provide great protection against all the above ailments.

    Externally, lemon juice can help stop bleeding, is useful for rebalancing greasy skin and, as an essential oil, is recommended for verrucas.

    NOTE: It is not advisable to go out into sunshine after applying lemon to the skin.


    Lemon balm (melissa officinalis, melissa oil) See the A-Z of Herbs and Spices.


    Lemongrass (Cymbopogon citratus) See the A-Z of Herbs and Spices.


    Lentils (Lens culinaris)

    Regularly consuming lentils reduces the risk of heart disease, controls blood sugar levels, lowers the risk of colon cancer, prevents anaemia and maintains the proper levels of iron and calcium in the body. Lentils are very low in fat and cholesterol  therefore, to balance the diet when meat and dairy products are reduce for cholesterol problems, all legumes are a healthy alternative providing the daily amounts of protein needed.

    Lentils are a rich source protein, fibre, starchvitamin A, vitamin B1 (thiamine), vitamin B2 (riboflavin), vitamin B3 (niacin), vitamin B6 (pyridoxine), vitamin B9 (foliate), vitamin C, vitamin E and vitamin K. They are also good sources of calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, selenium, sodium and zinc.


    Lettuce (Lactuca sativa)

    Lettuce is a cooling, anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic and expectorant plant food. It is useful for ulcers, gastritis, colitis, irritable bowel syndrome, constipation, insomnia and anxiety. Lettuce contains enzymes than can protect against food poisoning bacteria. Its high levels of vitamin A and potassium means it can also protect the eyes and the heart.

    Externally, use lettuce as a poultice for swellings and bruises.

    Lettuce is an excellent source of beta carotenes, vitamin A,  vitamin K and potassium. It is also a good source of vitamin B6 (pyridoxine), vitamin B9 (foliate), vitamin B12, vitamin C, calcium,  iron and magnesium.


    Lima Beans  (Phaseolus lunatus) See Butter Beans


    Limes (Citrus aurantifolia)

    Limes contain flavonoids called flavonol glycosides, including many kaempferol related molecules. While these flavonoids have been shown to stop cell division in many cancer cell lines, they are perhaps most interesting for their antibiotic effects. In several villages in West Africa where cholera epidemics had occurred, the inclusion of lime juice during the main meal of the day was determined to have been protective against the contraction of cholera. (Cholera is a disease triggered by activity of the bacteria called Vibrio cholera). Lab tests indicate that human liver cells produce less apo B when exposed to limonin. Apo B is a structural protein that is part of the LDL cholesterol molecule and is needed for LDL production, transport and binding, so higher levels of apo B translate to higher levels of LDL cholesterol.


    Linden (Tilia cordata, Tilia platyphyllos, common lime; European lime; lime tree) See the A-Z of Herbs and Spices.


    Lingonberries (Vaccinium vitis-idaea, cowberry, fox berries, lingberry, lingoberry, mountain cranberry, partridge berry)

    The slightly sour tasting  lingonberry is related to the bilberry, blueberry and cranberry but is far richer in the polyphenols that are beneficial to health. They are a favoured food in Scandinavia, particularly Sweden. Regular consumption of lingonberries can prevent and treat conditions such as bacterial infectionsdiabetes type 2, fever, gastrointestinal disorders, gum disease, heart disease, obesity, urinary tract infections and water retention.

    See more about the Lingonberry.


    Liquorice Root (Glycyrrhiza glabra) See the A-Z of Herbs and Spices.


    Lobelia (Lobelia inflata, asthma weed, bladderpod, emetic herb, emetic weed, eyebright, gagroot, indian tobacco, lobelia herb, pan pien lien, pokeweed, puke weed, rag root, vomit root, vomit wort, wild tobacco) See the A-Z of Herbs and Spices.


    Lobster (Nephropidae)

    Hard shelled lobsters are more nutritious than soft shelled. Lobster has less saturated fat, calories and cholesterol than many other meats such as pork, extra lean beef and white chicken meat. For a lower fat or carbohydrate intake, lobster offers one of the best choices for protein consumption. 100g of lobster provides 21g of protein and 98 calories. They are a very high natural source of omega 3 fatty acids, vitamin B2 (riboflavin), vitamin B3 (niacin), vitamin B9 (foliate), vitamin B12, copper, magnesium, phosphorous, potassium, selenium and zinc. They also contain small amounts of vitamin A, vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid), vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) and vitamin E.

    Omega 3 fatty acid is beneficial for both the heart and the brain and can reduce the risk of heart attack and lower the blood pressure. Selenium aids the immune system and thyroid gland and may also help prevent heart disease. Bone and tissue diseases can be avoided by diets high in copper. The vitamin B12 is essential for healthy nerve and red blood cells. Phosphorus contributes to proper kidney functioning and lessens arthritis pain. Increased brain activity, a boosted immune system and a healthier reproduction system are all benefits from consuming zinc. Potassium also aids the heart's functions.


    Lomatium Dissectum (Lomatium cous, Lomatium geyeri, Lomatium macrocarpum, biscuit root) See the A-Z of Herbs and Spices.


    Loquat (Eriobotrya japonica)

    The loquat is a shrub-like species of flowering plant in the family Rosaceae, native to south-central China. The fruit is sometimes used as a sedative and is thought to reduce vomiting and excessive thirst. Loquat leaf tea is a traditional medicinal remedy for brain, colon, liver, pancreas and respiratory disorders, diarrhoea and inflammation as it contains potent antioxidants.

    It can also help to improve the mood and supports skin health. Compounds in the leaves also act as a mucolytic agent which can help to dissolve thick mucus that holds onto infectious and  toxic compounds. The vitamin B17 in the loquat leaves is known to help combat liver disorders as well as supporting the liver’s ability to process and eliminate poisons in the body

    Loquat leaf produces a variety of chemicals called triterpenes and one of the most important is tormentic acid that has been shown to increase insulin production which may help reduce the symptoms related to diabetes.

    The loquat leaf also produces a variety of acids that produce antigens which are antiviral agents. Two of these chemicals are called megastigmane glycosides and polyphenolic constituents and the triterpene chemicals may help prevent and treat rhinovirus (the common cold).

    One of the major drugs that is used to combat the side effects of chemotherapy is adriamycin and loquat leaf can help to reduce the side effects associated with this drug.

    The loquat and leaves are low in calories and contain high amounts of calcium, copper, fibre, iron, manganese, pectin, phosphorous, polysaccharides, potassium, vitamins A, B3, B6, B9 and B17 and phenolic flavonoid antioxidants such as chlorogenic, coumaric, ferulic, feruloylquinic, hydroxybenzoic, neo-chlorogenic and protocatechuic acids, triterpenes and epicatechins. Ripe fruits have more chlorogenic acid concentrations. They also contain small amounts of vitamin C.


    Lucuma (Pouteria lucuma)

    A genus of sapotaceous, the pouteria lucuma tree is native to Peru, Chile and Ecuador. It bears sweet and edible fruits and is known as 'Gold of the Incas'. It is gluten free and contains 329 calories per100g. It is an excellent source of antioxidants, fibre, beta carotene, vitamin B1 (thiamine), vitamin B2 (riboflavin), vitamin B3 (niacin), vitamin Ccalcium, phosphorus and iron.

    Lucuma significantly increases wound closure and promotes tissue regeneration and has anti-inflammatory, anti-aging and skin repair effects on human skin.

    Lucuma fruit powder has a distinctively sweet and fragrant taste that provides a natural sweetening to desserts without increasing blood sugar levels, unlike many sweeteners that offer empty calories therefore may be useful for diabetics and people with other health issues. Lucuma fruit powder can be added to any beverage, smoothie, yogurt, granola, pudding or pastry. Lucuma powder is ideal for making ice cream, cakes, cookies and pies to fortify the nutritional content of desserts. Lucuma also makes healthy baby food.


    See also

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    Maca (Lepidium meyenii, Peruvian ginseng) See the A-Z of Herbs and Spices.


    Macadamia Nuts (Macadamia integrifolia, Macadamia tetraphylla, Australia nut, Queensland nut, bush nut)

    Macadamia is native to the East Coast rainforests of North Eastern parts of Australia. Several parts of mineral rich, tropical and subtropical areas of Australia, Hawaiian Islands, Middle Americas, Brazil and South African regions are also places that this tree grows in abundance.

    100g of nuts provide about 718 calorie which is one of the highest values among nuts so should be avoided by those with obesity but could be a good addition to the diet for the underweight. 100g of macadamia provides 8.6 g or 23% of daily recommended levels of dietary fibre. They are a very good source of phytosterols such as sitosterol and they contain no cholesterol. They are free from gluten and often used in the preparation of gluten-free food formulas for patients with wheat gluten allergy and celiac disease. They are also a rich source of oleic and palmitoleic fatty acids which help lower total as well as LDL cholesterol and increase HDL (good) cholesterol levels in the blood.

    100 g of macadamia nuts provides 100% RDA of vitamin B1 (thiamine), 12% of vitamin B2 (riboflavin), 15% of vitamin B3 (niacin) and 21% of vitamin B6 (pyridoxine). They also contain small amounts of vitamin A and vitamin E. Both these fat soluble vitamins possess potent antioxidant activities, which serve to protect cell membranes and DNA damage from harmful oxygen free radicals.

    They are a rich source of calcium, iron, magnesium, manganese, selenium and zinc. Selenium is a heart protective micro-mineral and an important anti-oxidant cofactor for glutathione.

    Macadamia nuts are also rich in a recently discovered fatty acid know s omega-7, also known as palmitoleic acid, that has tremendous health benefits for diabetics and those at a risk of developing heart disease and metabolic syndrome. Palmitoleic acid is the first fatty acid found to act as a hormone in the body and this class of hormones has been called “lipokine”. Prior to this finding, all known hormones were either proteins (like growth hormone) or steroids (like oestrogen and testosterone).

    NOTE: Macadamia nuts are high in palmitic acid which raises the risk of heart attack and stroke by increasing arterial stiffness, triggering abnormal platelet clumping and raising LDL cholesterol levels and therefore should be limited in the diet as this cancels out the benefits of the omega-7 content. Anchovies are a better source of omega-7 fatty acids but they contain a high amount of sodium so should be avoided by those with high blood pressure.


    Mackerel

    Regular consumption of mackerel relieves symptoms of psoriasis, reduces the risk of heart disease, reduces blood pressure, maintains bone density, prevents anaemia, supports cardiovascular health, lowers triglycerides and cholesterol levels, lowers risk of atherosclerosis, strengthens the bones, supports joint cartilage, helps regulate and stabilize the balance of collagen and minerals in bone and surrounding tissue, reduces free radical damage and inflammation, reduces risk of cancer including colorectal cancer, prostate cancer, breast cancer, blood cell or lymph cell-related cancers such as leukaemia, multiple myeloma, non-Hodgkins lymphoma, renal cell carcinoma, kidney cancer, protects against macular degeneration (AMD) of the eye, reduces the risk of dry eye syndrome, promotes more youthful skin, alleviates skin blemishes, gives good hair lustre, prevents hair loss and helps with brain and eye development in infants. Pregnant and nursing women may benefit from eating oily fish to increase the amount of DHA in the diet.

    Mackerel are rich in two fatty acids called eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and decosahexaenoic acid (DHA)  An 85 g (3 oz) portion contains 2 g of essential omega-3 fatty acids and 20g of protein Contains vitamin D, vitamin E, vitamin B12, vitamin B3, vitamin B2vitamin B6; calcium, copper, selenium, iodine. For more details see Oily Fish


    Malabar Nut (Adhatoda vasica)

    This Indian nut is used to treat asthma and coughs and eliminates intestinal worms. It also supports cardiovascular function and healthy blood.


    Male Fern (Dryopteris Filix-mas) See the A-Z of Herbs and Spices.


    Mandarin See Oranges


    Mandrake (Mandragora officianarum, atropa mandragora) See the A-Z of Herbs and Spices.


    Mango (Mangifera indica)

    Known as the 'king of fruits' the mango originated about 4000 years ago in the sub-Himalayan plains and is a close relative of cashew and pistachio and today, is grown in India (known as safeda), South America and the Caribbean. There are over 1,000 different varieties of mangos.

    A serving of mango contains about 100 calories and 9% RDA of probiotic fibre, 25% of vitamin A, 11% vitamin B6, 76% of vitamin C, vitamin E, 25 different kinds of carotenoids, malic acid, pectin, quercetin, isoquercitrin, astragalin, fisetin, methylgallat, gallic acid, tartaric acid, and a trace of citric acid and abundant enzymes for breaking down protein. Also contain 9% copper, 7% potassium, 4%  of magnesium and calcium.

    Mango prevents cancer especially colon, breast, leukaemia and prostate cancers, lowers LDL cholesterol, promotes good eyesight and prevents night blindness and dry eyes, improves the sex drive, maintains the alkali reserve of the body, improves digestion of protein, boosts the immune system, helps production of red blood cells and prevents heart disease. It also improves memory, concentration and digestion.

    Mango leaves help normalise insulin levels in the blood preventing diabetes.  The traditional home remedy involves boiling leaves in water, soaking through the night and then consuming the filtered decoction in the morning. Mango fruit also have a relatively low glycaemic index of 41-60.

    Juicing the fruit from green mango and mixing with water and honey helps to cool down the body and relieves heat stroke.

    Mango can be used both internally and externally to clear clogged pores and treat skin conditions like acne, psoriasis, eczema, rashes etc.


    Maqui Berry (Aristotelia chilensis, Chilean wineberry, machuei, queldron, ach, koelon, clon )

    This is the recently discovered potent 'super fruit' of an evergreen shrub which grows abundantly and wild in the Valdivian temperate rainforests and the Patagonian mountain range and adjacent regions of Argentina and Chile. The berries are a staple food, medicine and part of rituals and ceremonies for the Mapuche Indians which are one of the longest-living cultures in the world. They use the stems, leaves and berries for many medicinal purposes.The leaves contain astringent and cleansing properties and are used to dress wounds. It is said that the Spanish Conquistadors were unable to defeat the Mapuche tribe due to their warriors strength and vitality through drinking a fermented form of the berries.

    The berry pulp of the maqui has a 27,600 value of antioxidants per 100g as compared to 16,700 per 100g of acai berry and are known to be the highest in antioxidants of any other known natural food. The anthocyanins give the berries their dark purple and blue colour and exhibit powerful anti-inflammatory activity, and do it as well as drugs for the same purposes, without the negative side effects. Anthocyanins are produced by plants for self-protection against sun, irradiation, diseases and biological enemies; maqui thrives in the harsh climate of central and southern Chile, necessitating the plant’s abundant anthocyanin production. The rich fertile soil where they grow is also a key factor in their potency.

    Regular consumption of these berries can help to prevent and treat age related macular degeneration, Alzheimer's disease, arthritis, asthma, colitis, dementia, diarrhoea, eye health, fever, haemorrhoids, migraine, Parkinson's disease, obesity, sore throat, skin inflammations, tumours and ulcers. They also fight oxidative stress, aid in prevention of atherosclerosis, high blood pressure and lower blood sugar, LDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels in the blood. They can also protect against some forms of cancer (such as colon cancer) and a number of inflammation-related diseases (including diabetes and heart disease). Maqui can also slow the aging process, increase metabolism, reduce mental decline, reduce pain and inflammation, increase healthy hair growth, promote detoxification and stimulate the immune system to fight against infection and diseases like HIV/AIDS.

    Raw maqui berries contain 138 milligrams of anthocyanins per 100g, which is comparable in number to blueberries and blackberries, and greater in number than strawberries, raspberries and grapes. Regular anthocyanin and vitamin C intake results in fewer wrinkles and dryness of the skin, whereas a deficiency can lead to premature aging and numerous skin conditions.

    Maqui berries are a rich source of fibre, vitamin A, vitamin C, calcium, iron, potassium, anti-inflammatory compounds and anti-aging polyphenols; anthocyanin, cumarin, cyanidin, delphinidin, malvidin, pelargonidin, peonidin, petunidin,  triterpenes, flavonoids and resveratrol. They also contain protein, omega 3, omega 6 and omega 9 fatty acids.


    Margarine See Butter V Margarine


    Marigold (Calendula officinalis) See the A-Z of Herbs and Spices.


    Marjoram  (Origanum majorana) See the A-Z of Herbs and Spices.


    Marrow (Cucurbita pepo, squash, field pumpkin)

    Including marrow in the diet can help decrease the risk of several serious medical conditions, including heart disease, stroke, osteoporosis, cancer, obesity, diabetes, hypertension and high blood cholesterol. The peel of marrow vegetables is rich in the carotenoid beta-carotene and should be eaten along with the flesh and with a fatty food such as avocado, nuts or vegetable oils like rapeseed or olive oil to be absorbed and get the maximum nutritional benefit. Beta-carotene is a powerful antioxidant that can inhibit free radical compounds from damaging cellular tissue and DNA. Marrow is an ideal nutritious vegetable to include in the diet when trying to lose extra weight.

    Marrow contains no fat or cholesterol and is low in sodium content. It is a very good source of dietary fibre, protein, vitamin A (retinol), vitamin B1 (thiamine), vitamin B2 (riboflavin), vitamin B3 (niacin), vitamin B9 (foliate), vitamin C (ascorbic acid), vitamin K, calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, zinc

    Although marrows can be stored for up to a week, their vitamin content will degrade the longer it is kept before eating. The vitamin C in marrow vegetables is particularly susceptible to heat, light and air exposure. To maximize vitamin availability, use it within three to four days of purchase and store in a cool, dark location and only cut them right before cooking and eating. They are best steamed but can be roasted, sautéed, fried or grilled. They are best not boiled because this leeches out all the vitamin C.


    Marshmallow Root (Althea officinalis, mallow, white mallow, common marshmallow, malvavisco, altea, hatmi, iviscus, ghasul, khitmi, khatmah, usubeni-tati-aoi) See the A-Z of Herbs and Spices.


    Mashua (Tropaeolum tuberosum, isanu, cubio, añu, ysaño, puel)

    The Mashua or Anu is a perennial climbing tuber/salad crop from the Andes related to the nasturtium. It has been cultivated since approximately 5500BC and has been an important food source for more than 9 million indigenous people living in the Andes mountains at elevations between 2500 meters and 4000 meters. One plant can yield up to 4 kilos of tubers. This, plus the ease of cultivation, makes it a good crop to grow for both human and animal consumption. Both the tubers and vigorous profusion of leaves are edible. The tubers contain isothiocyanates (mustard oils) that give them a sharp, peppery taste reminiscent of hot radishes when eaten raw  When cooked they turn sweet.

    Mashua is resistant to many insects, nematodes, fungi and other pathogens including the Andean weevil which attacks potatoes and other tuber crop. These insect repellent properties makes a very good companion plant but cabbage white butterflies are strongly attracted so it is best planted where birds can easily feast on caterpillars.

    The tuber has antibiotic and diuretic properties and can treat nephropathy (damage or disease of the kidneys), eliminate bladder and kidney stones, skin ulcers and kill lice. It also has anaphrodisiac effects and was used by Incas to feed troops to keep their mind on fighting and off of sex as it causes a drop in the levels of testosterone/dihydrotestosterone. In Bolivia it is used to induce menstruation as it has a beneficial effect on oestrogen in females. It has also been shown to prevent the development of cancerous cells in stomach, colon, skin, and prostate.

    Mashua is a good source of antioxidants such as delphinidin 3-glucoside-acetylrhamnoside , cyanidin 3-glucoside and delphinidin 3-sophoroside-5-acetyl rhamnoside, plus isothiocyanates (glucosinolates), all of the essential amino acids, protein, carbohydrates, carotenoids, tryptophan, valine, vitamin B2 (riboflavin), vitamin B3 (niacin), vitamin C, calcium, iron, phosphorus and potassium.

    NOTE: Mashua must be consumed with fatty foods like avocado, nut, seed or fish oils or olive oil in order to absorb the fat-soluble carotenoids.


    Melon (Cucumis melo, muskmelon, cantaloupe, gourd, honeydew melon)

    A member in the large cucurbitaceae family which include squash, pumpkin, courgettes, cucumber and gourd and like its relatives, melons grow on the ground surface as a trailing vine and they require honeybees for effective pollination. Melons are thought to have originated from India or ancient Persia or Africa.

    Melons are very low in calories (100g fruit has 34 calories) It contains omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids and phytosterols. Melon is very rich in poly-phenolic plant derived compounds. It is an excellent source of vitamin A, (100g provides112% of RDA) one of the highest among fruits. It also contains vitamin B3 (niacin), vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid), vitamin C, vitamin K, choline, calcium, copper, fluoride, iron, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, selenium, sodium and zinc. It is also very rich in antioxidant flavonoids such as beta-carotene, lutein, zeaxanthin and cryptoxanthin. 100g provides 267mg of the electrolyte potassium.

    Melon can help develop resistance against infectious agents and scavenge harmful oxygen-free radicals good vision, maintain healthy mucus membranes and skin, protect against lung, oral cavity colon, prostate, breast, endometrial, lung and pancreatic cancers, protect eyes from age related macular degeneration disease in the elderly, help control heart rate and blood pressure offering protection against stroke and coronary heart diseases.


    Menhaden (bunker, pogy)

    Menhaden have been called 'the most important fish in the sea' Small, silvery and packed with nutritional value, menhaden are filter feeders that consume plankton and in turn are food for striped bass and other important fish, as well as marine mammals and sea birds. They are in effect a critical link in the marine food web. But in 32 of the past 54 years menhaden were overfished and they are now at their lowest level on record. There are laws currently being put in place to stop the over fishing of this valuable fish which will hopefully bring  bring it back to healthy numbers.

    Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) fatty acids are among the most documented in nutrition research. However, a third key fatty acid, docosapentaenoic acid (DPA) has recently been shown to play probably the most powerful role in key health outcomes. Docosapentaenoic acid is an elongated version of EPA and has drawn the attention of scientists because it is present in relatively high levels in the diets of the Greenland Inuit people, a population group with exceptional cardiovascular health. Menhaden fish are a prime source of docosapentaenoic acid, as well as EPA and DHA, more so than other oily fish. Consumption of menhaden fish can reduce LDL cholesterol and contribute to the reduction of cardiovascular disease.


    Milk (cows)

    Consumption of milk can strengthen bones and teeth up until age 30-35 and may prevent Alzheimer's disease in the elderly. Full cream milk is a good source of protein, vitamins A, D, B1, B2, B3, B6, B9 and B12, calcium, phosphorous, magnesium and zinc.

    Cows’ milk contains different types of protein, including ones called A1 and A2. These two proteins digest quite differently from each other and, for some people, the presence of A1 protein can result in discomfort after drinking milk. It was thanks to Dr Corran McLachlan in 1997 in New Zealand that the impact of this difference in proteins was discovered. Having digestive issues with milk may not necessarily mean someone is lactose intolerant. It may be a reaction to an intolerance to the A1 protein  found in most milk. Some cows naturally produce milk containing only the A2 protein and no A1 protein and some milk producers are now selecting these cows for milk production and selling it to major supermarkets. Look for A2 Milk.


    See also Lactose Intolerance.

    Kefir is a fermented milk product that is a natural probiotic. Milk is not usually produced with Lactobacillus bulgaricus and Streptococcus thermophilus because it is not necessary to ferment milk before it is sold. Some milk manufacturers, however, have added these cultures to create a probiotic milk that is said to aid in digestion and may help those who are lactose intolerant digest milk. This milk contains approximately 500 million bacteria per half pint glass. Probiotic milk is often more expensive than regular milk and will clearly state on the label that it contains active cultures or is probiotic. See why you should drink Probiotic milk.


    Milk Thistle (Silybum marianum) See the A-Z of Herbs and Spices.


    Millet (Panicum miliaceum)

    The Hunzas, who live in a remote area of the Himalayan foothills, consume millet as their main staple food and are known for their excellent health and longevity.

    Millet is considered to be one of the most digestible and non-allergenic grains available and is one of the few grains that is alkalizing to the body. It is a rich source of fibre and low simple sugars. Because of this it has a relatively low glycaemic index and has been shown to produce lower blood sugar levels than wheat or rice. Ir can also reduce the effects of asthma, migraines and heart attacks, lower cholesterol, decreases triglycerides and C-reactive protein and protect against cardiovascular disease especially for those suffering from atherosclerosis or diabetic heart disease. The insoluble fibre in millet can also protect against gall stones.

    Millet is gluten free and acts as a prebiotic feeding the friendly bacteria in the intestines and hydrates the colon helping to avoid constipation. It is a rich source of fibre, protein, beta-carotene, choline, lutein and zeaxanthin, omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids, vitamin A (retinol), vitamin B3 (niacin), vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid) vitamin B9, calcium, copper, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus and potassium. It also provides alanine, arginine, aspartic acid, cystine, glutamic acid, glycine, histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, proline, serine, threonine, tryptophan, tyrosine and valine,  iron, selenium and zinc.


    Mineral Water

    Mineral water is a healthy alternative to tap water as it usually contains trace elements that are essential to human health. Depending upon it's source it can naturally contain minerals such as bicarbonate, calcium, fluoride, lithium, magnesium, potassium, silica, sodium and strontium. Water from natural springs, wells and mountain lakes contains minerals which are in the rocks through which it flows and these minerals all have a purpose within the human body. Modern day farming techniques have leeched many minerals from the soil so farmed food often is lacking in them especially magnesium. The best way to ingest the minerals needed is through drinking mineral water, whether carbonated or still, everyday.

    Drinking mineral water is especially important for the elderly and those on medications which can force the body to expel essential minerals in the urine such as diuretics.

    Tap water has no mineral content except fluoride and chlorine which are added artificially and, in many developed countries, also contains traces of medications administered to humans such as hormone replacement drugs and the contraceptive pill. See also the Mineral page.


    Mint (Mentha arvensis) See the A-Z of Herbs and Spices.


    Miso

    Miso is a traditional Japanese seasoning produced by fermenting rice, barley and/or soybeans with salt and the fungus kōjikinthe most typical miso being made with soy. The result is a thick paste used for sauces and spreads, pickling vegetables or meats, and mixing with dashi soup stock to serve as miso soup called misoshiru a Japanese culinary staple. Different varieties of miso have been described as salty, sweet, earthy, fruity, and savoury.

    Miso is low in fat and calories, yet it is a good source of all essential amino acids, some B vitamins, potassium, phosphorus, calcium, and iron. It is a good remedy for digestive complaints, intestinal infections, diminished libido, and even cancer. Daily consumption of miso is on a par with the old adage “an apple a day keeps the doctor away.” In fact Modern research has shown soy foods which are high in isoflavones, like miso, improve mental function, stabilize blood sugar levels in diabetics, and help protect against cancer, osteoarthritis, and coronary heart disease. In addition, because miso is fermented, there are none of the negative phytoestrogen hormonal effects associated with over consumption of soy products.

    Miso is not only high in protein and rich in vitamins and minerals, it is also a medicinal food proven to prevent damage from radiation exposure and heavy metal toxicity.

    Another great benefit from miso is that is natural source of probiotics or good bacteria which helps the body's immune system by keeping bad bacteria at bay and fighting off infections. Miso can help those that cannot eat dairy products which would normally supply them with probiotics. It can be found in most Asian groceries, as well as many health and natural foods stores.


    Mizuna (Brassica rapa var nipposinica, var japonica, Japanese mustard)

    Mizuna is a popular Japanese leafy salad vegetable similar other brassicas; rocket and mustard greens. It is high in fibre, carotenoids, vitamin A (retinol), vitamin B9 (folic acid), vitamin C (ascorbic acid), calcium, iron and contains glucosinolates which are antioxidants that help prevent certain cancers.

    Mizuna is a very good source of vitamin B1 (thiamine), vitamin B2 (riboflavin), vitamin B3 (niacin), vitamin B9 (foliate), vitamin B12 (cyanocobalamin), vitamin C,  (ascorbic acid), vitamin E, vitamin K, calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese and potassium.

    NOTE: Inspect mizuna leaves carefully before cooking for optimal quality. This vegetable is susceptible to flea beetles and slugs that can damage the leaves.


    Monk Fish

    The monk fish is a large, bottom-dwelling fish found in the coastal Atlantic region. Monkfish is a low-fat, low-calorie source of selenium, but is lower in omega-3 fatty acids than other fish. Monkfish is relatively low in mercury. Monkfish are typically sold as tails, livers or whole gutted fish. The firm, boneless white tail meat is called “poor man’s lobster” for its suggested flavour. Livers are eaten as sushi (ankimo) and most are exported to Asia for Japanese cuisine.

    There are 270 calories,12g protein (25% RDA), 1.3g of fat and less than 1g carbohydrate in one 3oz serving of monkfish. This makes monkfish a good source of lean protein. The body uses protein for muscle building and repair, as well as enzyme, hormone and antibody production.

    Of the fat in monkfish, the majority is monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fat, including omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids are essential nutrients which can help reduce triglyceride levels, and the risk of heart attack and stroke. These fatty acids have all but disappeared from the food supply and are obtained in their natural form through fish, like monkfish. It is a source of vitamin B3 (niacin), vitamin B6
    (pyridoxine), vitamin B9 (foliate), vitamin B12 (cyanocobalamin), calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorous, potassium, selenium, sodium and zinc.


    Moringa (Moringa oleifera, drumstick tree, horseradish tree, ben oil tree, or benzoil tree)

    Moringa is a tree native to parts of Africa and Asia and the name is derived from murungai/muringa, the Tamil/Malayalam word for drumstick. Currently, most Moringa comes from India, but it is also found in Thailand, the Philippines, Africa and Taiwan. The taste resembles horseradish and led to its nickname of the horseradish tree. Many underdeveloped countries rely on the Moringa to help with their malnutrition problems and some humanitarian aid organisations use it to help keep people’s nutrition levels up and prevent starvation.

    The nutrients in drumstick leaves are equivalent to seven times the vitamin C in oranges, three times the potassium in bananas, two times the protein in milk, four times the vitamin A in carrots and more iron than in spinach.

    The leaves which are rich in vitamins A, C and the B complex, can be cooked like spinach or they can be dried and used in soups or other recipes. The pods can be eaten like nuts and the roots can be diced up and used as a sauce similar to the use of horseradish.

    Unusual for plants, moringa is rich in protein containing the eight essential amino acids. It also contains thirty six of the known anti-inflammatory compounds. It is known to treat anxiety, depression, diabetes, skin disorders and sleep disorders. It can also provide a huge boost in energy and can even help provide a quicker recovery after a workout. It also protects the stomach lining and can treat ulcers, improves digestion and the immune system, improves the mood and lowers blood pressure.

    Because of the high calcium, iron and vitamin content, moringa leaves can be used as a wonderful tonic for infants, growing children and young adults, to promote strong and healthy bones and for purifying the bloodstream. To prepare the tonic, drumstick leaves should be ground with water, filtered and mixed with milk.

    Moringa leaf juice is very beneficial for pregnant women as it can help them with an easier delivery and reduce post-delivery complications. In India, drumstick leaves are boiled in water and salt, the water is drained and the leaves are served with ghee (clarified butter) to lactating mothers to increase breast milk. Six tablespoons of leaf powder will provide nearly all of the woman's daily iron and calcium needs during pregnancy and breastfeeding. Moringa leaves, flowers, and seeds are also useful in treating sexual problems.

    Moringa leaves are very useful in treating wheezing, asthma, bronchitis and tuberculosis. A soup prepared by boiling a handful of leaves in 3/4 cup water for five minutes and cooled is served to those with respiratory problems. A little pure unrefined sea salt, Himalayan salt crystals, black pepper and lime juice can be added to this soup.

    A soup prepared by boiling a handful of leaves in 177 ml of water for five minutes and cooled is served to those with respiratory problems. A little sea salt, black pepper and lime juice can be added to this soup.

    A teaspoonful of fresh moringa leaf juice mixed with black strap molasses and a glass of tender coconut water taken two to three times a day is a good remedy for digestive disorders. Drumstick leaf juice is also effective in treating urinary disorders, such as excessive urination.

    The leaves are an excellent source of protein that can rarely be found in any other herb or green leafy vegetable. Altogether 100 grams of fresh raw leaves provide 9.8 grams of protein or about 17.5% of the recommended daily amount. Dry, powdered leaves are a very concentrated source of many quality amino acids.

    Moringa seeds produce oil, also known as ‘ben oil’, which is a sweet, non-sticky oil that does not become rancid and can be used in salads. The seeds can also be eaten green, roasted, powdered or steeped for tea, or used in curries.

    Moringa has antibacterial properties and as such is very useful in preventing infections such as those of the throat, chest and skin. Moringa soup can be prepared from the leaves, flowers and pods and used for this purpose as an antibiotic.

    Moringa can act as a cardiac and circulatory stimulant and possesses antibacterial, antifungal, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antipyretic (reduces fever), antispasmodic anti-tumour and diuretic properties. The juice of the moringa flowers can improve the quality and flow of mothers’ milk when breast feeding and is useful for urinary problems as it encourages urination. In Haiti, villagers boil moringa flowers in water and drink the tea as a powerful cold remedy.

    If eaten raw, the moringa pods act as a de-wormer and can help to treat liver and spleen problems and relieve pain in the joints.

    The roots and the bark have all of the properties described above but are more concentrated so care must be taken when using them as medicines. The roots and bark are used for cardiac and circulatory problems, as a tonic and for inflammation. The bark is also an appetiser and digestive.

    The alkaloid spirachin (a nerve paralyser) has been found in the roots and the gum has diuretic, astringent (has a drying, tightening effect on tissues to aid in wound healing) and abortifacient (causes miscarriage) properties and is used to treat asthma.

    NOTE: Pregnant women should be aware of moringa’s ability to induce miscarriage.

    Ailments moringa can help to treat and prevent

    • Anaemia

    • Anxiety

    • Asthma

    • Arthritis

    • Bacterial infections

    • Boils

    • Bone disorders

    • Bronchitis

    • Cancer

    • Cholera  

    • Colds

    • Colitis  

    • Cystitis

    • Cramp

    • Depression

    • Diabetes type 2

    • Diarrhoea

    • Digestive disorders

    • Dysentery .

    • Ear infections

    • Erectile dysfunction

    • Eye infections

    • Epilepsy

    • Fungal and yeast infections

    • Gout

    • Heart problems  

    • High blood pressure

    • Hysteria

    • Inflammation

    • Joint disorders

    • Liver disorders

    • Malnutrition

    • Obesity

    • Orchitis .

    • Parasites and worms

    • Poor circulation

    • Prostate disorders

    • Respiratory disorders

    • Rheumatism

    • Sexually transmitted diseases

    • Scurvy

    • Skin disorders

    • Sleep disorders

    • Spleen disorders

    • Stomach ulcers

    • Throat infections .

    • Tuberculosis .

    • Urinary disorders

    • Urinary tract infection .

    • Varicose veins

    • Water retention

    Significant nutrients in Moringa

    All essential amino acids, beta-carotene, beta-sitosterol, caffeoylquinic acid, chlorophyll, fibre, kaempferol, oleic acid, quercetin, spirachin, terygospermin and zeatin.

     Vitamins in moringa

    A, B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B9 and C.

     Minerals in moringa

    Calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, selenium, sodium and zinc.

     

    External uses of moringa

     

    Used for their antibiotic, antifungal and anti-inflammatory properties, the seeds are roasted, pounded, mixed with coconut oil and applied to the affected area. Seed oil is used for the same purpose. Moringa seeds are effective against the skin-infecting bacteria Staphylococcus aureus and Pseudomonas aeruginosa as they contain the potent antibiotic and fungicide terygospermin. In Senegal and India, roots are pounded and mixed with salt to make a poultice for treating rheumatism and joint pains. In Senegal, this poultice is also used to relieve lower back or kidney pain.

    Moringa seed oil is useful in treating conjunctivitis. Fresh drumstick leaf juice mixed with lime juice can be applied to treat pimples, acne and blackheads. Dried and powdered bark of the drumstick root can be used for fungal skin infections. Crushed drumstick leaves are used as a domestic cleaning agent and powdered seeds are used for clarifying honey and sugarcane juice and for purifying water.
     


    Mosambi juice (Citrus limetta, sweet lemon juice)

    This is a very sweet and not acidic fruit. It is a good source of vitamin C, copper and iron. It can prevents scurvy and enhance digestion by promoting the release of saliva, which assists to digest food quickly. The flavonoids present in mosambi juice enhance the digestive process through stimulating the secretion of bile, digestive juices and acids. The other compounds in mosambi juice are also beneficial for the peristaltic motion (swallowing).

    Mosambi juice cures constipation and the acids present can eliminate toxins found in the bowel tracts. It is also beneficial for people with stomach upsets, dysentery, diarrhoea and loose stools since it is rich in potassium. It also helps avoid vomiting and nausea and improves immune system. Regular intake of the mosambi juice has been known to improve the function of the heart, which ensures proper blood circulation and is good for the skin and can reduce pigmentation, spots and blemishes.


    Motherwort (Leonurus cardiac, thow-wort, lion’s ear, lion’s tail) See the A-Z of Herbs and Spices.


    Mountain Mint (Pycnanthemum muticum) See the A-Z of Herbs and Spices.


    Mucura (Petiveria alliacea) See the A-Z of Herbs and Spices.


    Mugwort (Artemisia vulgaris, cronewort, common wormwood, wild wormwood, felon herb, St. John's plant, chrysanthemum weed, sailor's tobacco, moxa, naughty man, old man, old uncle Henry, muggons) See the A-Z of Herbs and Spices.


    Mulberries (Morus alba)

    Mulberries are a super fruit which grow on trees and are cultivated in the warm regions of Asia, Africa and America. The leaves of the mulberry tree contain nutrients that are used as a food for silkworms and grow in bunches called “drupes”. They is also used as a hair loss remedy, anti-inflammatory and antibiotic.

    Mulberries are known to improve blood circulation and are beneficial as an anti-inflammatory that helps to lower the blood pressure and reduce the risk of blood clots and strokes and prevent heart disease. Mulberries also strengthen the kidneys, promote the metabolism of alcohol and cleanse the liver, They also prevent flu, coughs and colds and help with gastritis and chronic hepatitis and. improve the digestive system, enhancing the appetite level.

    Mulberry juice is extremely beneficial for post-operative patients as it accelerates healing, improves blood circulation and prevents the onset of infection. It is often used to speed up recovery after giving birth and is used as an inflammatory solution after surgery. Mulberry juice may also help to alleviate some of the symptoms of anaemia.

    Mulberries contain compounds that support balanced sugar and control blood sugar in diabetic patients. The flavonoids present in mulberries prevent the rise and fall of sugar level so it is highly effective to prevent any complications in diabetic patients due to sugar level spikes.

    Mulberries are especially beneficial to the heart’s health as they strengthen the nervous system and reduce bad cholesterol thus preventing the blockage in flow of blood.

    They also promote proper body fluid production which helps those suffering from dehydration. People suffering from body fluid deficiency should take 10g of mulberry daily.

    They also promote the melanin production in hair and help to maintain the natural colour of the hair. People with grey hair can benefit with regular intake of mulberry and it's juice applied directly on the hair can revive the hair roots and stimulate healthy hair growth again.

    Drinking a daily glass of mulberry juice also improves vision. It has a high content of Vitamin A which strengthens the eye sight and relieves eye strain, which is ideal for people who spend hours on a computer. It also protects eyes from free radicals which is the cause of eye sight loss and retina degeneration.

    Mulberries contain high levels of anti-oxidants which stunt the growth of cancerous tumours especially prostate cells. Resveratrol, an antioxidant, which is found plentiful in mulberries helps to promote heart health and overall vitality.

    An 85 grams (3 oz) portion of mulberries also contains nine grams of protein. They are also a rich source of anthocyanin, flavonoids, lutein, zeaxanthin, alpha carotene and beta carotene, fibre, vitamin A, B1 (thiamine), B2 (riboflavin), B3 (niacin), B6 (pyridoxine), B9 (foliate), C, E and K, calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorous, potassium, sodium and zinc.

    NOTE: In order to absorb the fat-soluble carotenoids in mulberries they must be consumed alongside a little oil which can be from nuts or coconut, avocado or any seed or vegetable oils.


    Mullaca (Physalis angulate) See the A-Z of Herbs and Spices.


    Mullein (Verbascum thapsus) See the A-Z of Herbs and Spices.


    Mung Bean and Mung Bean Sprouts (Vigna radiata)

    The mung bean is a member of the Leguminosae family, the third largest family of flowering plants. These green-coloured, oval beans are widely grown and consumed in India, China, Japan, Bangladesh, as well as certain regions in Southeast Asia, Africa, South America, and Australia. Mung beans have a high protein content and are rich in fibre, which aids in digestion and absorption of food. They play a vital role in cholesterol metabolism which controls blood cholesterol levels. As compared to whole mung beans, the carbohydrate content in mung bean sprouts is (4-6 g). This, coupled with a low sugar content, makes it a good choice for people with diabetes. They are cholesterol free and low in fat making them a good choice for obesity diets.

    Mung beans and mung bean sprouts are rich sources of vitamin A, vitamin B1 (thiamine), vitamin B2 (riboflavin), vitamin B3 (niacin), vitamin B6 (pyridoxine), vitamin B9 (foliate), vitamin C, vitamin E and vitamin K. They are also good sources of calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, selenium, sodium and zinc.

    Mung beans are known to enhance the immune system and are easily digestible so recommended for people with a weak digestive system. They also have anti-carcinogenic properties and certain proteins present in their cotyledons have antifungal and antibacterial properties. Their ability to neutralize toxicity makes them an important ingredient of detoxification diets.

    Externally mung bean powder serves as an effective facial scrub and is used in various homemade herbal scrubs and face packs for acne treatment.

    See the Alfalfa page to find out how to grow these nutritious bean sprouts in the kitchen using a jam jar and water.


    Mushrooms  (Asidiomycotina, fungus, fungi (plural), agaricus, bolete, mycelium)

    Mushrooms are part of the fungi kingdom and medicinal mushrooms primarily belong to the fungi phylum basidiomycetes. They boost the immune system by stimulating white blood cells and have anti-cancer properties. They also prevent blood clots by thinning the blood.

    In general, mushrooms are low in fat and calories and high in carbohydrates and protein. They also contain lentinan, d-fraction, vitamins B1 (thiamine), B2 (riboflavin), B3 (niacin), B7 (biotin), vitamin B9 (folic acid), vitamin C, vitamin K, calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, phosphorous, potassium, selenium, sodium and zinc.

    The phytochemicals present in mushrooms block the activity of the aromatase enzyme, which facilitates the production of oestrogen. Blocking this enzyme would decrease the production of oestrogen, which in turn helps control and possibly prevents the growth of hormone-dependent breast cancer cells.

    In addition to reported immune stimulant and anticancer properties, mushrooms used for medicinal purposes are described as having antioxidant, antihypertensive, cholesterol-lowering, antiviral, antibacterial and anti-parasitic effects. Some varieties of healing mushrooms are edible and others are inedible. Historically, inedible mushrooms with medicinal properties were heated in hot water and made into a tea or broth.

    NOTE: Consuming too many mushrooms may cause hypoglycaemia in some people with diabetes and can cause itching. Mushrooms can cause herpes attacks in those that carry the virus.

    Types of common edible and medicinal mushrooms

    Agaricus (meadow mushroom, common mushroom, button mushroom, white mushroom, table mushroom and a medicinal mushroom known as agaricus blazei. White button mushrooms have been found to block the conversion of the enzyme steroid alpha-reductase to dihydrotestosterone. Dihydrotestosterone is associated with an increased risk in the development of prostate cancer.

    Basidiomycete mushroom (boletus badius) Many bioactive substances have been identified in the basidiomycetes phylum. These include polysaccharides, glycoproteins, triterpenoids and fungal immunomodulatory proteins. The specific bioactive components vary depending on the species. Active hexose correlated compound is a mixture of polysaccharides, amino acids, lipids and minerals derived from cocultured mycelia of several species of Basidiomycete mushrooms.

    Chaga mushroom is a parasitic fungus which lives on the birch trees. It has been taken as a tea for centuries by some Eastern civilisations and has proven to be anti aging.

    Chanterelle or chantrelle mushroom

    Cordyceps is widely used in traditional Chinese medicine.

    Hericium erinaceus also known as Lion's mane

    Kombucha is a typoe of fermented tea.

    Maitake. The key component of the maitake mushroom is beta glucan (a polysaccharide). Beta glucan is thought to have immune-stimulating effects as well as the ability to activate certain cells and proteins that attack cancerous cells, can enhance the immune system, fight  viruses, inhibit tumour growth, prevent the development of cancer in normal cells, lower blood sugar and lower blood pressure. This edible mushroom is considered safe but it may interfere with anti diabetes drugs because of its ability to decrease blood sugar.

    Meshima Prevents of breast cancer.

    Oyster 1 large oyster mushroom contains 52 calories, 59.2mg Omega-6 fatty acids, 14% RDA fibre, vitamin A, vitamin B1 (thiamine), vitamin B2 (riboflavin), vitamin B3 (niacin), vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid), vitamin B6 (pyridoxine), vitamin B9 (foliate), choline, betalain, calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, phosphorous, potassium, selenium, sodium and zinc.

    Phellinus linteus -- called song gen in Chinese medicine, sang-hwang in Korean and meshimakobu in Japanese.

    Portabella (portobello, portabello) A variety of agaricus mushroom, called agaricus bisporus, falls under this category. When fully matured, white button mushrooms grow to become portobello mushrooms.

    Reishi (ganoderma lucidum, lingzhi, ling chi) is a known anti-inflammatory used to treat headaches, menstrual problems, constipation. Cardiovascular benefits include help in lowering blood pressure and cholesterol levels, helps relieve allergies and asthma, known to stimulate non specific immune response, can fight off viruses and has anti-tumour activities, helps control type II diabetes, improves over-all health and immunity, promotes regular sleeping patterns. The reddish-orange type of reishi mushroom is best because its polysaccharides contain the highest levels of immune-stimulating properties. Contains beneficial polysaccharides and ganodermic acids. Studies confirm reishi’s good results, especially in treating hepatitis and bronchitis. Side effects may cause mouth dryness, bleeding from the nose and bloody stools.

    NOTE: Reishi mushrooms can be placed in hot water and taken as tea, hot chocolate, mocha or Latte as an alternative to coffee.

    NOTE: Avoid reishi mushrooms if taking medication for anti-hypertensive, blood sugar lowering medications and anti-coagulants or are pregnant.

    Shiitake mushrooms (Lentinus edodes) has high antioxidant ability for boosting the immune system, decreasing cholesterol levels, and for anti-aging. Lentinan, derived from shiitake, has been injected as an adjunct treatment for cancer and HIV infection. A tea made with daikon, shittake mushrooms and kombu seaweed is used to lower fever and fight infection.


    Mussels

    Mussels have been cultivated for almost 800 years and have been used as a food source for more than 20,000 years. Mussels are one of the most natural, organic products available in today's market. They are a rich source of vitamin B12 and provide a readily absorbed source of vitamin C, amino acids, iron, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, selenium and zinc. They have more omega 3 fatty acids than any other shellfish and far more than any other popular meat choice today. Mussels are much lower in omega 6-fatty acids than any other meat choice. As an extra-lean meat, mussels are also low in sodium, fat and cholesterol and high in protein. Fifteen (15) mussels provide the equivalent protein of a 6oz. steak.


    Mustard Greens and Seeds (Brassica juncea) See the A-Z of Herbs and Spices.


    Myrrh (Commiphora myrrha) See the A-Z of Herbs and Spices.

    Traditionally, the properties of myrrh resin have been highly favoured for soothing muscles and wounds. Myrrh nourishes mucous membranes with its cleansing effects. The extract, when combined with water, is excellent as a comforting gargle for a scratchy throat.


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    Nasturtium (Tropaeolum majus) See the A-Z of Herbs and Spices.


    Navy Beans (Phaseolus coccineus)

    Navy beans reduces the risk of heart disease, control blood sugar levels, lower the risks of colon cancer, prevent anaemia and maintain the proper levels of iron and calcium in the body and are low in fat and cholesterol. To balance the diet when meat and dairy products are reduce for cholesterol problems, all legumes are a healthy alternative providing the daily amounts of protein needed. Navy beans are good sources of protein, fibre, complex carbohydratesvitamin A, vitamin B1 (thiamine), vitamin B2 (riboflavin), vitamin B3 (niacin), vitamin B6 (pyridoxine), vitamin B9 (foliate), vitamin C, vitamin E and vitamin K. They are also good sources of calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, selenium, sodium and zinc.


    Nectarines (Prunus persica)

    Nectarines originated in China are now produced all over the world. China, Greece, India, Italy and the USA are now the major producers of this nutritious fruit. Elements like iron, phosphorus and potassium are abundant in nectarines and vitamin A and vitamin C are present in double the amounts as compared to peaches. Nectarines contain small but healthy concentrations of antioxidants and are a good source of beta-carotene, beta-cryptoxanthin, lutein, zeaxanthinvitamin B1 (thiamine), vitamin B2 (riboflavin), vitamin B3  (niacin), vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid), vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) and vitamin B8 (inositol),. They also contain magnesium, vitamin B9 (folic acid), vitamin E and vitamin K in moderate amounts. It also contains small amounts of copper, manganese and zinc.

    The yellow flesh of nectarines is rich in bioflavonoids, especially carotenoids. These pigments are antioxidants that help to protect against cancer and other diseases by reducing the cellular damage that is caused when the body burns oxygen. Nectarines are a good source of potassium and fibre, both of which are nutrients which keep the heart healthy and help to promote healthy cholesterol levels and good gut health due to their rich fibre content. Nectarines are a low-calorie fruit which makes it a perfect food for people who want to lose weight. They contain just 44 calories per 100 grams and no saturated fats.


    Neem Leaves (Azadirachta indica) See the A-Z of Herbs and Spices.


    Nettles (Urtica dioica, stinging nettle, common nettle) See the A-Z of Herbs and Spices.


    Noni Plant (Morinda citrifolia) See the A-Z of Herbs and Spices.


    Nori (Enteromorpha, porphyra, seaweed)

    Nori is an edible red seaweed that is popular in East Asia, especially Japan and is used to wrap sushi. Made from porphyra and/or enteromorpha species of algae, nori often comes in thin sheets and has a black-purple colour which turns a deep green when toasted. Nori is one of the rare vegetables that contains cobalamin, a type of vitamin B12, in the form that’s bio-available to humans so is an excellent choice for vegetarians and vegans and others who avoid meat and dairy products.

    Nori has the lowest dietary iodine among all seaweed products meaning it is a more suitable choice for those who need to watch their intake of this mineral such as people with thyroid problems.

    Nori made from the porphyra species of algae contains porphyran which appears to have cancer-preventive properties. In a  Korean study on gastric cancer cells, porphyran was found to induce cancer cell death as well as inhibit the spread of malignant cells.

    Nutritious nori snack

    • Fold a nori sheet in half, unfold again and brush the inside half sheet lightly with sesame oil using a pastry brush.

    • Sprinkle some sea salt or Himalayan salt crystals on the inside half.

    • Fold, press and cut into bite size strips.

    • Place in a baking sheet, making sure the strips are arranged with intervals so as to avoid sticking.

    • Place the baking sheet in the oven preheated to 250 degrees Fahrenheit (120 degrees centigrade) and toast the strips for 15 minutes or until crisp.

    • Take out and place the crispy strips in a cooling rack and repeat the process for the remaining nori sheets.

    • To store, place in an airtight glass jar. They can be re-toasted should they lose their crispiness during storage.

    Nori is a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin A, C and D, calcium, phosphorous and potassium. It is low in calories so good for weight loss but high in sodium so should be avoided by those with high blood pressure.

    Significant components of Nori seaweed

    Omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins A, B1, B2, B5, B9, C and D, calcium, choline, copper, iron, magnesium, phosphorous, potassium, selenium and zinc.


    Nutmeg (Myristica fragrans) See the A-Z of Herbs and Spices.


    Nuts 

    Nuts can boost the immune system, lower cholesterol levels, reduce the risk of heart and other age related diseases and prevent osteoporosis. Nuts are high in vitamin E which is good for eyes, skin and hair. Nut oils are particularly nutritious and more beneficial and tastier than some vegetable oils. Nuts are a good source of protein, lignans, polyphenolic antioxidant ellagic acid, beta-carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin, vitamin B1 (thiamine), vitamin B2 (riboflavin), vitamin B3 (niacin), vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid), vitamin B6 (pyridoxine), vitamin B9 (foliate), vitamin E, calcium, iron, magnesium, manganese, potassium, selenium and zinc.

    For more information about individual nuts follow the links below.

    NOTE: Peanuts are actually classed as legumes but just as nutritious as nuts. Both legumes and nuts are the new pods of plants and the classifications have been confused over time.

    Nut Oils

    Nut oils are a not only tastier than vegetable oils but contain all the above nutrients in a concentrated form which is an especially good way for those suffering from diverticulosis to gain the benefits as they should avoid seeds and nuts which can become lodged in the diverticular pockets in the bowels causing pain, inflammation and infection.


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    Oats (Avena sativa)

    This healthy grain can improve reproductive disorders, reduce high LDL cholesterol levels, protect the heart, support the immune system, lower blood sugar, reduce the risk of childhood asthma, prevent cancers especially colon and breast cancer and calm the nerves.

    Oats are very helpful in convalescence and in the treatment of heart disease, high blood pressure, varicose veins, constipation, haemorrhoids and diabetes. They also inhibit the growth of helicobacter pylori in the intestines and are useful in weight-reduction diets.

    The beta glucan in oats significantly enhance the human immune system's response to bacterial infection. Beta glucan not only helps neutrophils (the most abundant type of immune cell) navigate to the site of an infection more quickly, it also enhances their ability to eliminate the bacteria they find there. The avenacin present in the roots, especially the roots tips of oats also have antimicrobial and antifungal properties.

    Oats are a rich source of protein, carbohydrates, insoluble fibre, omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids, vitamins B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B9, calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, selenium and zinc.

    Apply externally for soothing inflamed, itchy or cracked skin.

    NOTE: Over consumption of oats, which contain purines, can cause problems for those suffering with gout or bladder or kidney stones.

    Oat straw (Avena sativa)

    Oat straw heals osteoporosis, mends bones, relieves cramps and strengthens teeth. Oat straw contains high amounts of the bone-building compounds, calcium and other minerals which promotes bone strength. It stimulates the release of luteinizing hormone which triggers ovulation in females and testosterone in males. Since luteinizing hormone boosts hormone levels also stimulate cell growth, it is a good reason to add oat straw as a part of a bone building protocol.

    Oat straw extract has a positive impact on cognitive performance in healthy individuals. Due to the high Vitamin B complex content it is as an effective herbal remedy for anxiety and stress. Oat straw's calming qualities also strengthens nerves and encourages a restful night's sleep. It is also a good allopathic medicine for treating panic attacks, depression, nervous exhaustion and calming hyperactive children.

    Oat straw contains benzaldehyde, beta carotene, beta ionone, beta sitosterol, betalain, caffeic acid, campesterol, carbohydrates, caryophyllene, chlorophyll, ferulic acid, lignin, limonene, p-coumaric acid, phytoestrogens, phytosterols, quercetin, scopoletin, saponins, silicic acid, sinapic acid, stigmasterol, vanillic acid, vanillin, vitamins A, B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B9 (foliate) and E, calcium, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, selenium and zinc.

    Taking oat straw daily can greatly improved the cognitive function including attention,  concentration, focus and memroy abilities in elderly adults.

    To make an infusion (herbal tea) pour a cup of boiling water over the ripe dried stems of oat straw, leave to steep for 10 minutes then strain and drink it. Honey can be added to sweeten it.


    Octopus, Calamari and Squid (Marine cephalopods)

    It is advisable to not remove the skin of the octopus while cooking because the skin provides the best health benefits. Some small breeds of octopuses are eaten alive as a novelty food. If cooked well with aromatic spices, octopus can be a very tasty and highly nutritious low fat food. Octopus and squid contain one of the highest cholesterol content among sea foods at 221mg for every 3 oz serving size. But, because they also contain high levels of vitamin B3 (niacin) and taurine, they can also help to increase good cholesterol levels. The answer is to limit weekly consumption to once or twice a week to benefit from all the other highly nutritious qualities of octopus and squid.

    A cooked octopus or squid contains approximately 139 calories per three ounce portion and is a rich source of vitamin B2 (riboflavin), vitamin B3 (niacin), vitamin B12, copper, potassium and selenium. They are an excellent source of taurine (a sulphurous amino acid) that helps reduce cholesterol from blood vessels therefore preventing formation of blood clots in the body. It helps fight vitamin A deficiency and further reduces the chances of night blindness. It is also a rich source of zinc that helps fight harmful metals and minerals present in the body which are consumed along with the food. Vitamin B2 (riboflavin) helps reduce homocystein levels in the body therefore reducing rates of heart strokes, heart attacks and deaths from heart disease. Octopus and other sea foods are often suggested instead of meat to people who are suffering from heart injuries or heart disease. Vitamin B2 also helps reduce the frequency of migraine headaches. People who have high sugar levels or diabetes are suggested these marine cephalopods to control sugar levels, because they are a good source of vitamin B3 (niacin). Potassium helps control high blood pressure. Octopus works as an aid in brain development in children and, as it contains plenty of zinc, can also boost the immune system.

    The octopus as a food is a remedy to fight diseases like Alzheimer's disease, asthma, atherosclerosis, bronchitis, cardiac arrhythmia, depression, diabetes, dysmenorrhoea, eczema, macular degeneration, pancreatic insufficiency, Parkinson's disease, rickets and many other diseases. People who eat octopus have a far lower risk of developing cancers of mouth, throat, stomach, colon, rectum, lung, breast and prostate.

    The omega-3 contained in octopus and squid delivers 85% more DHA omega-3s to the heart, brain, joints and eyes. It's known to combat everything from fatigue and poor memory, to vision problems, joint pain, mood swings and depression.


    Oily Fish and Non-oily Fish

    Fish are high in first class proteins and, in some cases, as a rich source of healthy oils. White fish such as cod, have lean flesh with most of their fats and oils stored in the liver. By comparison, oily fish store most of their oil within the muscular flesh and contain far more of these healthy oils than non-oily fish.

     

    Oily fish

    Non-oily fish

    • Anchovies

    • Bloater fish

    • Catcha

    • Carp

    • Eel

    • Herring

    • Hilsa

    • Jack

    • Katla

    • Mackerel

    • Orange roughy

    • Pangas

    • Pilchards,

    • Salmon

    • Sardines

    • Sprats

    • Swordfish

    • Trout

    • Tuna (fresh only)

    • Whitebait

    • Ayr

    • Catfish

    • Cod

    • Dover sole

    • Flounder

    • Flying fish

    • Grouper

    • Haddock

    • Halibut

    • Hoki

    • John Dory

    • Kalabasu

    • Lemon Sole

    • Ling

    • Monk fish

    • Parrot

    • Plaice

    • Perch

    • Pollack

    • Pomfret

    • Red/grey mullet

    • Red fish

    • Rock Salmon/dogfish

    • Sea bass

    • Skate

    • Snapper

    • Tuna (tinned)

    • Whiting

     

    • Bloater fish are a type of whole cold smoked herring.

    • Kippers are split smoked herring.

    • Pilchards are a type of small herring

    • Sardines are younger smaller herring

     

    It is important to have some fat in the diet because it helps the body absorb many fat soluble nutrients and it is a good source of energy and a source of the essential fatty acids that the body can't make itself. Oily fish are one of the most concentrated sources of the polyunsaturated omega-3 fatty acids EPA, DHA and DPA which have been found to lower triglycerides and cholesterol levels. They are also an excellent source of vitamin B12 which promotes cardiovascular health as it is intricately tied to keeping levels of homocysteine in balance; homocysteine can damage artery walls, with elevated levels being a risk factor for atherosclerosis.

     

    The omega-3 fatty acids are connected to a decreased risk for several types of cancer, including breast, colorectal and prostate cancer. Regular omega-3 intake has been proven particularly effective against the blood cell or lymph cell-related cancers such as leukaemia, multiple myeloma, and non-Hodgkins lymphoma. Consumption of oily fish also presents substantial protection against renal cell carcinoma, the most common form of kidney cancer.

     

    The high levels of omega-3 essential fatty acids in oily fish offer substantial protection against macular degeneration (AMD) of the eye, a condition in which fine vision deteriorates, resulting in central vision loss and is the leading cause of blindness in people over 50. Studies also strongly suggest that the consumption of omega 3 fatty acids also reduces the risk of dry eye syndrome, a common cause of ocular complaints

    Omega 3’s also lock moisture into skin cells, encouraging the production of strong collagen and elastin fibres, which contribute to more youthful looking skin. They are also known to alleviate skin blemishes and maintain good hair lustre. They also provide nourishment to hair follicles, helping hair grow healthy and preventing hair loss. A rich supply of proteins is also important for hair growth.

     

    They are also a superb source of bone-building calcium and contain surprisingly high concentrations of vitamin D, a nutrient not so readily available in the diet. Vitamin D prevents unwanted inflammation and helps bones in their absorption of calcium. Lack of sunlight on the skin can cause vitamin D deficiency and is on the rise in northern hemisphere countries so oily fish a good choice to consume during the winter months. For many years, researchers have known that vitamin D participates in the regulation of cell activity. Because cell cycles play such a key role in the development of cancer, optimal vitamin D intake may turn out to play a significant role in the prevention of various types of cancer.

     

    Oily fish are a great source of phosphorus too, a key mineral in strengthening the bone matrix. Recent studies also show that the omega 3s found oily fish support joint cartilage and help regulate and stabilize the balance of collagen and minerals in bone and surrounding tissue. They are also a good source of selenium which is a mineral with powerful antioxidant activity and regular dietary intake has been associated with a reduced risk of cancer.

     

    Oily fish is rich in protein, which provides amino acids. The human body use amino acids to create new proteins, which are the foundations for cells. Proteins form the basis of muscles and connective tissues, antibodies that keep the immune system strong and deliver oxygen and nutrients throughout the body.

     

    Consuming oily fish regularly lowers triglycerides and cholesterol levels and strengthens the bones, supports joint cartilage, helps regulate and stabilize the balance of collagen and minerals in bone and surrounding tissue and reduces free radical damage and inflammation. It can also reduce the risk of dry eye syndrome, promote more youthful skin, alleviate skin blemishes, give good hair lustre and prevent hair loss and helps with brain and eye development in infants. Pregnant and nursing women may benefit from eating oily fish to increase the amount of docosahexaenoic acid in the diet. 

    Ailments oily fish can help to treat and prevent

    • Anaemia

    • Atherosclerosis

    • Bone disorders

    • Cancer

    • Hair and nails disorders

    • Heart disease

    • Leukaemia

    • Macular degeneration

    • Psoriasis

    • Skin Disorders

    Significant nutrients in oily fish

    Docosahexaenoic (DHA) docosapentaenoic acid (DPA) and eicosapentaenoic (EPA) omega-3 fatty acids, and protein.

     

    Vitamins in oily fish

     

    B2, B3, B6, B12, D and E

     

    NOTE: Unnaturally fed farmed fish is often lacking in some nutrients such as vitamin D.

     

    Minerals in oily fish

     

    Calcium, copper, iodine, iron, phosphorous, selenium, strontium and sulphur.
     


    Oje (Ficus insipida) See the A-Z of Herbs and Spices.


    Okra (Abelmoschus esculentus, lady fingers, gumbo)

    Okra is a highly nutritious green edible pod vegetable. This perennial flowering plant belongs to the mallow family and the pods are very low calorie vegetables providing just 30 calories per 100 g and contain no saturated fats or cholesterol. The rich fibre and mucilaginous content in okra pods help in smooth peristalsis of digested food particles and relieves constipation.

    This is a supreme vegetable for those feeling weak, exhausted and suffering from depression. It absorbs water and ensures bulk in stools relieving constipation, feeds the good bacteria (probiotics), binds to excess cholesterol and toxins and stabilises cholesterol and the blood sugar levels to provide good protection against diabetes. It is good for the vision and lowers the risk of cataracts. It also maintains healthy mucus membranes and skin, treats acne, helps to develop immunity against infectious agents, reducing episodes of cold and cough and asthma, strengthens the bones, treats lung inflammation, sore throat and irritable bowel syndrome and helps to protect against colon, liver, kidney, lung and oral cavity cancers.

    Okra has constituents such as polyphenolic molecules that can help reduce blood glucose levels and control diabetes. A 2011 study found okra to have both anti-diabetic and anti-hyperlipidemic properties. Cut the ends off of a few okras and prick them in several places using a fork. Soak the okras in a glass of water overnight. In the morning, discard the okras and drink the water on an empty stomach. Do this daily for several weeks. Also, include okra as a vegetable in the diet.

    The pods contain healthy amounts of vitamin A, and flavonoid anti-oxidants such as beta carotenes, zeaxanthin and lutein. It is one of the green vegetables with highest levels of these anti-oxidants. To benefit from the beta carotene content, okra should be consumed with olive oil, nuts or avocados to allow absorption.

    Fresh pods provide about 22% of RDA vitamin B9 (foliates) per 100 g. Consumption of foods rich in foliates, especially during the pre-conception period helps decrease the incidence of neural tube defects in the offspring. The gumbo pods provide about 36% of daily-recommended levels of the anti-oxidant vitamin C which helps the body develop immunity against infectious agents, reduce episodes of cold and cough and protect the body from harmful free radicals.

    Okra are rich in B-complex group of vitamins; vitamin B1 (thiamine), vitamin B3 (niacin), vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid) and vitamin B6 (pyridoxine). The pods also contain good amounts of vitamin K.  Vitamin K is a co-factor for blood clotting enzymes and is required for strengthening of bones.

    The pods are an also good source of calcium, iron, magnesium, manganese and potassium.

    Okra helps lubricate the large intestines due to its bulk laxative qualities. The okra fibre absorbs water and ensures bulk in stools. This helps prevent and improve constipation. Unlike harsh wheat bran, which can irritate or injure the intestinal tract, okra's mucilage soothes, and okra facilitates elimination more comfortably by its slippery characteristic. Okra binds excess cholesterol and toxins (in bile acids). These, if not evacuated, will cause numerous health problems. Okra also assures easy passage out of waste from the body. Okra is completely non-toxic, non-habit forming, has no adverse side effects, is full of nutrients, and is economically within reach of most individuals unlike over-the-counter drugs.

    During World War II roasted okra seeds were given as a substitute for coffee beans. The benefits have not been studied but they are sure to be better than coffee. See Dangers of Coffee

    NOTE: Okra should be consumed with a fat rich natural food like olive oil, nuts or avocado so that beta-carotene can be absorbed by the body.


    Oleander Leaf (Nerium Indicum, laurier rose, dogbane, rosebay) See the A-Z of Herbs and Spices.


    Olives (Olea europaea)

    Green and black olives are high in monounsaturated fat and Vitamin E. They also contain polyphenols and flavonoids which have anti-inflammatory properties. The combination of these health boosting elements allows olives to protect the heart against diseases. 

    Antioxidants and the “good fat” eradicate the free radicals that are responsible for oxidizing cholesterol. Vitamin E together with the monounsaturated fat protects cells and fight off free radicals produced during cellular energy production. Both green and black olives contain polyphenols and flavonoids that have anti-inflammatory properties. These can help in lowering the inflammation caused by arthritis. The combination of monounsaturated fat and Vitamin E is a great health benefit. High intake of these nutrients lowers the risk for colon cancer. Olives can help reduce the intensity and frequency of hot flashes menopausal women experience.

    Olive Oil

    Olive oil reduces cholesterol and protects against heart disease and slows the aging process. It can also treat infections and inflammatory skin diseases. It contains good levels of vitamin E, mono-unsaturated fats and omega-3 fatty acids as well as the nutrients listed under olives above.

    The Mediterranean diet uses plenty of olive oil and have far less heart disease and live longer. It is recommended that around two teaspoons should be consumed daily but no more than three teaspoons.

    Warm olive oil is good for loosening and removing hard wax build-up in the ears.

    Olive Leaf (Olea europaea) See the A-Z of Herbs and Spices.


    Onion  (Allium cepa)

    Regular consumption of onions can help to prevent cancer and circulatory disorders and prevent heart disease. It is particularly useful in reducing the development of bladder cancer in smokers. Onions contain vitamin C, vitamin K, vitamin B9 (folic acid), chromium, quercetin and allicin.

    NOTE: After chopping onions always leave them to sit for ten minutes to allow for the production of allicin to take place.


    Oranges (Citrus aurantium)

    Oranges are an excellent source of vitamin C - just one orange supplies 116.2% of the daily value for vitamin C. Vitamin C is the primary water-soluble antioxidant in the body, disarming free radicals and preventing damage in the aqueous environment both inside and outside cells. Inside cells, a potential result of free radical damage to DNA is cancer. Especially in areas of the body where cellular turnover is especially rapid, such as the digestive system, preventing DNA mutations translates into preventing cancer. This is why a good intake of vitamin C is associated with a reduced risk of colon cancer. Free radical damage to other cellular structures and other molecules can result in painful inflammation, as the body tries to clear out the damaged parts.

    Vitamin C, which prevents the free radical damage that triggers the inflammatory cascade, is thus also associated with reduced severity of inflammatory conditions, such as asthma, osteoarthritis, and rheumatoid arthritis. Free radicals also oxidize cholesterol. Only after being oxidized does cholesterol stick to the artery walls, building up in plaques that may eventually grow large enough to impede or fully block blood flow, or rupture to cause a heart attack or stroke. Since vitamin C can neutralize free radicals, it can help prevent the oxidation of cholesterol.

    Citrus appears to offer the most significant protection against esophageal, oro-phayngeal/laryngeal (mouth, larynx and pharynx) and stomach cancers. A class of compounds found in citrus fruit peels called polymethoxylated flavones (PMFs) have the potential to lower cholesterol more effectively than some prescription drugs, and without side effects. Although a variety of citrus fruits contain PMFs, the most common PMFs, tangeretin and nobiletin, are found in the peels of tangerines and oranges. Grating a tablespoon or so of the peel from a well-scrubbed organic tangerine or orange each day and using it to flavour tea, salads, salad dressings, yogurt, soups, or hot oatmeal, buckwheat or rice may be a practical way of achieving some cholesterol-lowering benefits.

    Oranges' health benefits continue with their fibre; a single orange provides 12.5% of the daily value for fibre, which has been shown to reduce high cholesterol levels thus helping to prevent atherosclerosis. Fibre can also help out by keeping blood sugar levels under control, which may help explain why oranges can be a very healthy snack for people with diabetes. In addition, the natural fruit sugar in oranges, fructose, can help to keep blood sugar levels from rising too high after eating.

    The fibre in oranges can grab cancer-causing chemicals and keep them away from cells of the colon, providing yet another line of protection from colon cancer. And the fibre in oranges may be helpful for reducing the uncomfortable constipation or diarrhoea in those suffering from irritable bowel syndrome. In addition to oranges' phytonutrients, vitamin C and fibre, they are a good source of lycopene, vitamin A (in the form of beta-carotene), vitamin B1 (thiamine), vitamin B9 (foliate), vitamin K, potassium and calcium.

    To reduce the risk of calcium oxalate kidney stones drink  ½ to 1 litre of orange, grapefruit or apple juice daily which will increase the urinary pH value and citric acid excretion and significantly dropping the risk of forming calcium oxalate stones.

    An orange a day may help keep ulcers away. People who have tested positive for H. pylori should increase their consumption of vitamin C-rich foods since this may help them combat the infection.


    Oregano (Origanum compactum) See the A-Z of Herbs and Spices.


    Oregon Grape Root (Berberis aquifolium, Berberis vulgaris, Berberis aristata, Tinospora cordifolia) See the A-Z of Herbs and Spices.


    Organ meats (liver, kidney, heart, sweetbreads, tongue, tripe)

    Organ meats are highly nutritious, cheaper than normal cuts of meat with plenty of Coenzyme Q10 which is vital for brain and heart functioning and is severely lacking in anyone taking medications such as beta blockers, blood sugar lowering drugs (such as metformin) and cholesterol lowering medications (such as statins and lipator). These all affect the body's levels of CoQ10. Being an excellent source of iron too, organ meats can help prevent anaemia and blood disorders. One of the following should be consumed at least a week.

    Heart

    Heart has a higher protein content than normal cuts of meat. It is also an excellent source of vitamin B1 (thiamine), vitamin B2 (riboflavin), vitamin B3 (niacin), vitamin B9 (foliate), vitamin B12 (cyanocobalamin), vitamin C (ascorbic acid), calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, selenium, sodium, zinc and coenzyme Q10. In addition, beef heart contains amino acids that can improve metabolism and compounds that promote the production of collagen and elastin. Heart is best served stuffed with a whole  grains such as quinoa, chestnuts, mushrooms, onions and herbs like sage or thyme.

    Kidney

    To prepare kidneys, rinse them in cold water and, for a milder taste, soak in chilled water with a teaspoon of pure sea salt to each quart of water for one to two hours. From there, the kidney can be broiled, sautéed or braised. Kidneys provide a good source of protein, omega 3 (fatty acids), omega 6 (fatty acids), vitamin A (retinol), vitamin B1 (thiamine), vitamin B2 (riboflavin), vitamin B3 (niacin), vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid), vitamin B6 (pyridoxine), vitamin B9 (foliate), vitamin B12 (cyanocobalamin), vitamin C (ascorbic acid), calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, selenium, sodium and zinc.

    Liver

    Liver is an excellent source of high quality protein; contains an abundance of vitamin A and several B vitamins; is an excellent source of vitamin B9 (foliate) and iron. It is the number one food source of copper and contains Coenzyme Q10, which is important for cardiovascular function. Liver should be cooked in olive oil until it is light pink as cooking too much can cause it to toughen. Chicken livers are excellent cooked with coconut milk, ginger, cumin and coriander.

    Sweetbreads

    Sweetbreads are the thymus and pancreas glands of a calf or young cow, lamb or pig. Wash the sweetbreads and soak them for 2-3 hr in cold, slightly salted water (refresh several times). Blanch before cooking to make them firmer and easier to handle (lamb sweetbreads, 2-3 min; calf sweetbreads, 7-10 min). Cool and remove the membrane, the veins and the fat covering them. Dry well. A 28 g (1 oz) serving provides 34% of the recommended daily amount of vitamin C, 3% of iron and 6% of zinc. Sweetbread is also a good source of vitamin B1 (thiamine), vitamin B3 (niacin), vitamin B12 (cyanocobalamin).

    Tongue

    Tongue can be stewed, boiled or poached and is often pickled, or served roasted like roast beef. Before final prepping and serving the skin of the tongue is usually removed. An excellent supply of vitamin B12, a vitamin involved in metabolism. A 3oz.serving of cow tongue has 44.3% of the RDA of vitamin B12, which the body can store. Cow tongue contains around 14% of the RDA of vitamin B2 (riboflavin)  and vitamin B3 (niacin) It also provides 23.2% RDA of zinc per serving and a good level of protein. This mineral resides in every cell of the body and it impacts the immune system, fertility, vision and senses of taste and smell. It acts as an antioxidant as well, giving the tissues and organs protection from free radical damage. One serving of cow tongue also contains 16% RDA of selenium and approximately 12% RDA of iron and phosphorus.

    Tripe

    Tripe must be cooked it for at least 2-3 hours to make it tender. Then it can be served in salad, as an ingredient in soups, casseroles or stews, or as a main dish all by itself. It is a good source of choline, protein, omega 3 (fatty acid), omega 6 (fatty acid), vitamin B2 (riboflavin), vitamin B3 (niacin), vitamin B9 (foliate), vitamin B12 (cyanocobalamin), calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, selenium, sodium, zinc.


    Oysters (Ostreidae)

    Oysters can be consumed in several forms such as boiled, smoked, canned, raw, roasted, baked, shelled, fried, stewed, steamed, pickled or grilled. Oysters are a good source of protein, with low fat content. The protein obtained is of fine quality and can be easily digested, as compared to that present in chicken and beef. There are 45 calories in one oyster weighing 55g.

    Oysters are a great source of tyrosine, vitamin A (retinol), vitamin B1 (thiamine), vitamin B2 (riboflavin), vitamin B3 (niacin), vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid), vitamin B9 (foliate), vitamin B12 (cyanocobalamin), vitamin C (ascorbic acid), vitamin D, calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, selenium, sodium and zinc. Oysters are also high in cholesterol and should be eaten in moderation by people at risk of heart disease or stroke. Raw wild caught Eastern oysters provide 320IU (80% RDA) of vitamin D per 100 gram serving, There is 269IU (67% RDA) in six medium oysters.

    Oysters are regarded as the most concentrated natural source of zinc, which is essential for maintaining a strong immune system, healing wounds and preserving senses of taste and smell. Inadequate supply of this mineral leads to health problems such as slow growth, poor appetite, decreased wound healing, loss of hair, impaired senses and chronic infections.


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    Paico Leaf (Chenopodium ambrosoides) See the A-Z of Herbs and Spices.


    Pan Pien Lien See Lobelia


    Papaya (Carica papaya, paw paw, papaw, tree melon)

    The parts the papaya that are used medicinally are fruit, seeds, stems and leaves. Papaya is an excellent source of dietary fibre, foliate, vitamin A and E. It also contains small amount of vitamin B1 (thiamine), vitamin B2 (riboflavin), vitamin B3 (niacin) calcium and iron. It is also very rich in antioxidant nutrients flavonoids and carotenes, very high in vitamin C and low in calories and sodium.

    It is rich in enzymes called papain and chymopapain which helps with the digestion, particularly it breaks down the proteins from the food into amino acids.

    The elderly produce less of the digestive enzymes in the stomach and pancreas, which leads to ineffective digestion of proteins which leads to an excess amount of undigested protein and an overgrowth of the bad bacteria in the gastrointestinal system and not enough of amino acids to perform all important chemical reactions. 

    The papain enzymes are produced in the skinny peel of papaya. The combination of these enzymes repels insects during the ripening, without this protection papaya fruit would not survive. Eating papaya after a meal makes for better digestion prevents bloating and chronic indigestion. It lowers the inflammation in the body, alleviates the pain caused by sport injuries, relieves the severity of rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis, prevents cataract formation, lowers the risk of emphysema in smokers, helps with nausea and constipation and benefits ailments of cardiovascular and gastrointestinal systems..

    Because of its high antioxidant content, it prevents cholesterol oxidation and is a preventative treatment against atherosclerosis, strokes, heart attacks and diabetic heart disease. It strengthens the immune system preventing recurrent colds and flu and helps the body to fight the cancer.

    After treatment with antibiotics eating papaya or drinking its juice replenishes the good intestinal bacteria, which was destroyed by the antibiotic treatment. Papain destroys intestinal parasites. Papain is proteolitic enzyme, which means that it digests inert (non-living) proteins. Intestinal parasites are largely protein, the papain attacks it and causes parasite to die.

    Home applications of leaf and bark papaya extract is used to deal with mouth gums and toothaches and papaya peel can be used for skin wounds that do not heal quickly as it encourages renewal of muscle tissue.

    Parasites and Worms: The digestive enzyme papain in the milk juice of the unripe papaya is a powerful anthelmintic for destroying parasites especially roundworms. A tablespoon of fresh juice and equal quantity of honey should be mixed with three to four tablespoons of hot water and taken as a dose by an adult. This should be followed two hours later by a dose of 30 to 60 ml. of castor oil mixed in 250 - 375 ml. of lukewarm milk. This treatment should be repeated for two days, if necessary. For children of 5 to 10 years, half the above doses should be given.

    Papaya seeds

    Papaya seeds are also good to eliminate worms and parasites. They are rich in a substance called caricin which is a very effective medicine for expelling roundworms. The alkaloid carpaine found in the leaves has also the power to destroy or expel intestinal worms. They are given with honey. Papaya seeds must be dried in the shade, powdered and kept in a bottle. Two teaspoons of powder is mixed with a glass of milk and honey. Drink this at bedtime. Repeat for 3 consecutive days. Papaya 'milk,' that comes out when the green fruit or trunk of the tree is cut, can be collected. About 3 or 4 teaspoons (15-20 minutes) of this 'milk' is mixed with an equal amount of honey and stirred into a cup of hot water. If possible, drink along with a laxative such as senna or prunes.

    CAUTION: Castor oil should not be given give to children below five years of age.


    Paprika (Capsicum annum, nightshade family) See the A-Z of Herbs and Spices.


    Paruva Brava (Pyloccarpus jaborandi) See the A-Z of Herbs and Spices.


    Parsley (Petroselinum crispum) See the A-Z of Herbs and Spices.


    Parsnips (Pastinaca sativa)

    Parsnips contain far more heart-friendly potassium and vitamin B9 (foliate) than carrots. Foliate required for the creation of healthy cells, and having insufficient levels of it has been linked to cancer and birth defects.

    They are an excellent sources of soluble and insoluble dietary fibre, 100 g root provides 4.9 mg. Adequate fibre in the diet helps reduce blood cholesterol levels, obesity and constipation conditions. Parsnips contain more fibre than potatoes and can be cooked in exactly the same way (roasted, baked, steamed and mashed) as a sweet tasting alternative.

    A portion of cooked parsnips contains only 55 calories. They are a good source of choline, falcarinol, falcarindiol, panaxydiol, methyl-falcarindiol, vitamin B1, vitamin B3, vitamin B5, vitamin B6, vitamin B9, vitamin C (17% of RDA), vitamin E,  calcium, copper, iron, potassium, manganese and phosphorus. Manganese. helps nourish the nerves and brain and aids in the coordination of nerve impulses and muscular actions. It helps eliminate fatigue and reduces nervous irritability.

    Use parsnips instead of sugar. In Europe, parsnips were used to sweeten jams and cakes before sugar was widely available and helped the jam to set.

    Parsnips leaves and stalks, bruised, are beneficial in the treatment of cancer and asthma.


    Partridge See Poultry and Game Birds


    Passionflower (Passiflora incarnata) See the A-Z of Herbs and Spices.


    Passion Fruit (Passiflora edulis)

    This is a very nutritious vine fruit native to Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay and northern Argentina. Passion fruit contains components which have the ability to kill cancer cells. It's also used as a pain reliever, anti-seizure, sedative and anti-inflammatory medicine. It can help with disorders such as constipation, diarrhoea, colitis, menstrual disorders, cough, hoarseness and sore throat and it can cure chronic allergy symptoms. It can also help with the recovery of liver and kidney disorders, as well as trigger immune enhancement and increase the strength of antibodies in the blood.

    Passion fruit pulp is used to relax the nerves and relieve headaches and neurastenia (chronic fatigue, weakness, no appetite, inability to concentrate and insomnia).

    It contains the nutrients carotene, citric acid, harman, harmalin, harmine, harmol, isoviteksin, krisin, passaflorine, viteksin, vitamin A (retinol), vitamin B1 (thiamine), vitamin B2 (riboflavin), vitamin B3 (niacin), vitamin B6 (pyridoxine), vitamin C (ascorbic acid), protein, fibre, calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus and potassium.


    Pau d'arco (Tabebuia serratifolia, Tabebuia impetiginosa, tahuari) See the A-Z of Herbs and Spices.


    Peaches (Prunus persica)

    Peaches are native to China from where they spread to rest of the world via ancient silk route. Eating peaches can help to protect from lung and oral cavity cancers, help the body develop resistance against infectious agents and scavenge harmful free radicals, maintain good vision, maintain healthy mucus membranes and skin, regulate heart rate and blood pressure, protect against aging and various disease processes.

    They are low in calories (100g contains 39 calories) and contain no saturated fats. They are a source of antioxidants, beta carotene, betalain, choline, cryptoxanthin, lutien, zeaxanthin, vitamin B2, vitamin B3, vitamin B5, vitamin B9, vitamin C, vitamin E and vitamin K. They also contain many vital minerals such as calcium, copper, fluoride, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorous, potassium, selenium and zinc. Being sodium free they are a very good addition to the diet for those suffering with high blood pressure.


    Peanuts (Arachis hypogaea, earthnuts, ground nuts, goober peas, monkey nuts, pygmy nuts, pig nuts)

    Peanuts are a member of the legume family rther than being an actual nut. Consuming peanuts can reduce the risk of heart disease, control blood sugar levels, lower the risk of colon cancer, prevent anaemia and maintain the proper levels of iron and calcium in the body. To balance the diet when meat and dairy products are reduce for cholesterol problems, peanuts are a healthy alternative providing the daily amounts of protein needed.

    Peanuts are good sources of phytonutrients, protein, fibre, starchvitamin A, vitamin B1 (thiamine), vitamin B2 (riboflavin), vitamin B3 (niacin), vitamin B6 (pyridoxine), vitamin B9 (foliate), vitamin C, vitamin E and vitamin K. They are also good sources of calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, selenium, sodium and zinc.


    Pears (Pyrus communis)

    Pears make good energy-boosting snacks and are reasonably low in calories and can be eaten quite freely. Pears are very unlikely to trigger allergic reactions, so can be used in exclusion diets. They contain hydroxycinnamic acids, which act as antioxidants. Eat pear with the skin, not just for the fibre, but also because chlorogenic acid tends to accumulate in pear skin.

    Pears are a good source of fibre, beta carotene, betalain, choline, phytosterols, vitamin A, vitamin B3, vitamin B5, vitamin B9, vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin K, calcium, copper, fluoride, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, selenium, sodium and zinc.

    Pear's fibre does a lot more than help prevent constipation and ensure regularity. Fibre has been shown in a number of studies to lower high cholesterol levels, good news to people at risk for atherosclerosis or diabetic heart disease. Fibre in the colon binds to bile salts and carries them out of the body. Since bile salts are made from cholesterol, the body must break down more cholesterol to make more bile, a substance which is also necessary for digestion. The end result is a lowering of cholesterol levels. Fibre also binds to cancer-causing chemicals in the colon, preventing them from damaging colon cells.

    This may be one reason why diets high in fibre-rich foods, such as pears, are associated with a reduced risk of colon cancer. Additionally, the fact that low dietary intake of copper seems to also associated with risk factors for colon cancer (increased faecal free radical production and faecal water alkaline phosphatase activity) serves as yet another reason in support of why this fruit may be very beneficial for colonic health.

    Try drinking lots of pear juice if suffering from shingles. It contains antiviral caffeic acid, which fights the virus.

    Pears are often recommended by healthcare practitioners as a hypoallergenic fruit that is less likely to produce an adverse response than other fruits. Particularly in the introduction of first fruits to infants, pear is often recommended as a safe way to start.


    Peas (Pisum sativum)

    Starchy and sweet green peas or garden peas are one of the ancient cultivated vegetables grown for their succulent nutritious green-pods. Pea is a quick growing, an annual herbaceous vine that requires the trellis to support growth. It flourishes well in well-drained, sandy soil supplemented with adequate moisture and cool weather conditions. Short stalked green pods appear during late winter or spring. The pods measure about 2-3 inches long, swollen or compressed, straight or slightly curved, filled with single row of 2-10 light-green coloured, smooth edible seeds. 

    In general, the pods harvested while they are just short of reaching maturity, at the point when their seeds are green, soft, sweet and edible as raw. Allowing the pods to mature further would make the seeds less sugary and turn colour to light-green to yellow. Pea tendrils are also edible. They are delicate, tender top shoots of young pea plants, featuring flavour akin to peas. The tendrils and leafy-shoots are favoured in cooking as well in salads.

    Green peas are one of the most nutritious legume vegetables, rich in health benefiting phyto-nutrients, minerals, vitamins and anti-oxidants. Peas are relatively low in calories on comparison with beans, and cowpeas. 100 g of green peas provide only 81 calories, and no cholesterol. Nonetheless, the legumes are a good source of proteins, and soluble as well as insoluble fibre.

    Fresh pea pods are excellent source of B9 folic acid. 100 g provides 65 µg or 16% of recommended daily levels of foliate. Foliates are required for DNA synthesis inside the cell. Well established research studies suggest that adequate foliate rich foods in expectant mothers would help prevent neural tube defects in the newborn babies. Foliate rich food may also protect against and help in the fight against cancer.

    Fresh green peas are very good in ascorbic acid (vitamin C). Contain 40 mg/100 g or 67% of daily requirement of vitamin C. Vitamin C is a powerful natural water-soluble anti-oxidant. Vegetables rich in this vitamin helps body develop resistance against infectious agents and scavenge harmful, pro-inflammatory free radicals from the body.

    Peas contain phytosterols especially ß-sitosterol. Studies suggest that vegetables like legumes, fruits and cereals rich in plant sterols help lower cholesterol levels in the body.

    Garden peas are also good in vitamin K. 100 g of fresh leaves contains about 24.8 µg or about 21% of daily requirement of vitamin K-1 (phylloquinone). Vitamin K has found to have a potential role in bone mass building function by promoting osteo-trophic activity in the bone. It also has established role in Alzheimer's disease patients by limiting neuronal damage in the brain.

    Fresh green peas also contain adequate amounts of anti-oxidants flavonoids such as carotenes, lutein and zeaxanthin as well as vitamin A (provide 765 IU or 25.5% of RDA per 100 g). Vitamin A is an essential nutrient required for maintaining health of mucus membranes, skin and eye-sight. Further, consumption of natural foods rich in flavonoids helps to protect from lung and oral cavity cancers.

    Peas are good sources of protein, fibre, starchalpha lipoic acid, vitamin A, vitamin B1 (thiamine), vitamin B2 (riboflavin), vitamin B3 (niacin), vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid), vitamin B6 (pyridoxine), vitamin B9 (foliate), vitamin C, vitamin E and vitamin K. They are also good sources of calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, selenium, sodium and zinc.


    Pecan nuts (Carya illinoinensis)

    Pecan nuts come from is a very large sized deciduous tree belonging to the hickory family, Juglandaceae originating in South America. They are rich source of energy, provide 690 calories per 100g. They are rich in monounsaturated fatty acids like oleic acid and an excellent source of phenolic antioxidants. Regular addition of pecan nuts in the diet helps to decrease LDL cholesterol and increase HDL cholesterol levels in the blood as well as treat anaemia and blood disorders. Their high protein content can be a useful alternative to eating meat.

    Pecans are a good source of protein, lignan, polyphenolic antioxidant ellagic acid, beta-carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin, vitamin B1 (thiamine), vitamin B2 (riboflavin), vitamin B3 (niacin), vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid), vitamin B6 (pyridoxine), vitamin B9 (foliate), vitamin E, calcium, iron, magnesium, manganese, potassium, selenium and zinc.


    Peelu (salvadora persica arak, miswak, siwak) See the A-Z of Herbs and Spices.


    Peppercorns (Piper nigrum) See the A-Z of Herbs and Spices.


    Peppermint (Mentha piperita) See the A-Z of Herbs and Spices.


    Pepperwort (Lepidium meyenii, ayak chichira, ayuk willku, ginseng andin, ginseng Péruvien, lepidium peruvianum, maca maca, maca Péruvien, maino, maka, Peruvian ginseng, Peruvian maca, maca root, peppergrass) See the A-Z of Herbs and Spices.


    Perilla leaves (Perilla frutescens, kkaennip, sesame leaves, shiso leaves) See the A-Z of Herbs and Spices.


    Periwinkle Flower (Vinca minor, Vinca major, myrtle) See the A-Z of Herbs and Spices.


    Periwinkle Snail  (Littorina littorea, edible sea snail)

    Periwinkles are herbivorous snails that graze on algae growing on rocks and seaweed in the intertidal zone. Periwinkles can help relieve congestion and aid in maintaining balanced circulation. 


    Persimmon Fruits (Diospyros kaki, food of the gods)

    Persimmon fruits belong to the family of ebenaceae of the genus diospyros. They are low in calories (70 calories per 100 g) and fats but is rich source of dietary fibre. Persimmons contain health benefiting phytonutrients flavonoid polyphenolic antioxidants like catechins and gallocatechins as well as the important anti-tumour compound betulinic acid. They can also help to prevent age related macular disease in the elderly.

    Fresh persimmons contain anti-oxidant compounds like vitamin Abeta-carotene, cryptoxanthin, lycopene, lutein and zeaxanthin. Together, these compounds functions as protective scavengers against oxygen-derived free radicals and reactive oxygen species (ROS) that play a role in aging and various disease processes. They are also a very good source of vitamin C, (especially native Chinese and American persimmons providing 80% RDA), vitamin B1 thiamine, vitamin B6 pyridoxine, vitamin B9 folic acid, potassium, manganese (15% RDA), copper (12% RDA), phosphorus.


    Pheasant

    Pheasant is very low in fat and one of the richest sources of the essential amino acids and is therefore a good choice for helping to overcome nerve or neurological disorders as many neurotransmitters are made from these amino acids.. See also Poultry and Game Birds.


    Phyllanthus Amarus (Phyllanthus niruri) See the A-Z of Herbs and Spices.


    Pickles

    Pickles can be made by storing prepared vegetables, herbs and spices in vinegar, a weak brine solution, by dry salting or allowing the vegetables to ferment without salt. The best way to gain the benefits of consuming the friendly bacteria caused by the fermentation process is to avoid pickles made in vinegar as this kills the friendly bacteria outright.

    Lacto fermentation is a traditional and most healthy method of making pickles without using vinegar. Pickles made in this manner are alive and rich in probiotics. In this age of antibiotics consuming lacto fermented pickles will address the balance of the flora growing in the intestines which in turn aids absorption and production of nutrients.

    See the Pickling page for ways to make healthy brine pickles.
    See the Fibre and The Colon page for reasons why the body needs beneficial bacteria.


    Pigeon See Poultry and Game Birds


    Pilchards (Sardina clupea pilchardus)

    Various small, oily fish within  the herring family of Clupeidae. Oily fish close to the bottom of the food chain, contain lower levels of toxins (such as mercury and PCBs) than many other types of fish.

    Consuming pilchards relieves symptoms of psoriasis, reduces the risk of heart disease, reduces blood pressure, maintains bone density, prevents anaemia, supports cardiovascular health, lowers triglycerides and cholesterol levels, lowers risk of atherosclerosis, strengthens the bones, supports joint cartilage, helps regulate and stabilize the balance of collagen and minerals in bone and surrounding tissue, reduces free radical damage and inflammation, reduces risk of cancer including colorectal cancer, prostate cancer, breast cancer, blood cell or lymph cell-related cancers such as leukaemia, multiple myeloma, non-Hodgkins lymphoma, renal cell carcinoma, kidney cancer, protects against macular degeneration (AMD) of the eye, reduces the risk of dry eye syndrome, promotes more youthful skin, alleviates skin blemishes, gives good hair lustre, prevents hair loss and helps with brain and eye development in infants. Pregnant and nursing women may benefit from eating oily fish to increase the amount of DHA in the diet.

    Pilchards are rich in two fatty acids called eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and decosahexaenoic acid (DHA),  A 3oz. portion contains 2 g of essential omega-3 fatty acids and 20g of protein Contains vitamin D, vitamin E, vitamin B12, vitamin B3, vitamin B2vitamin B6; calcium, selenium, iodine; copper. For more details see Oily Fish

    • Bloater Fish are a type of whole cold smoked herring.

    • Kippers are split smoked herring.

    • Pilchards are a type of small herring

    • Sardines are younger smaller herring

    NOTE: Tinned pilchards in tomato sauce is high in sugar, salt and unnecessary fats and should be avoided. Best purchased fresh or tinned in brine.


    Pineapple (Ananas comosus)

    Pineapple has been part of traditional medicine in Central and South America for hundreds of years, where practitioners recommend it to improve digestion and lessen inflammation. Pineapple can also rehydrate the body and is useful to consume after bouts of diarrhoea, during fevers and when taking diuretic medication. It is a very nutritious addition to the diet with many compounds that can maintain optimum health when consumed regularly. Read more about pineapples.


    Pine (Pinus aphremphous, Pinus koraiensis, Pinus sabiniana, Pinus sibirica, Pinus sylvestris, Pinus taeda) See the A-Z of Herbs and Spices.


    Pine Nuts (Pinus sibirica, Pinus koraiensis, Pinus sylvestris, Pinus aphremphous, Pinus taeda, Pinus sabiniana)

    Pine nuts are the small edible seeds of pine trees such as Pinus sibirica and Pinus koraiensis. They are high in calories 100g provides 673 calories. Pine nuts contain the essential fatty acid pinolenic acid useful in weight loss by curbing the appetite. Pinolenic acid triggers the release of hunger-suppressant enzymes cholecystokinin and glucagon-like peptide-1 and has LDL lowering properties by enhancing hepatic LDL uptake. They also provide oleic acid that helps to lower LDL cholesterol and increases HDL cholesterol.

    Pine nuts are an excellent source of vitamin E; contain about 9.33 mg per 100g (62% of RDA), free from gluten, an excellent source of B-complex group of vitamins such as vitamin B1 (thiamine), vitamin B2 (riboflavin), vitamin B3 (niacin), vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid), vitamin B6 (pyridoxine), vitamin B9 (foliate), calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, selenium, zinc and one of the richest sources of manganese which helps the body develop resistance against infectious agents and scavenge harmful oxygen-free radicals.


    Pinto Beans (Phaseolus vulgaris)

    These legumes reduce, the risk of heart disease, control blood sugar levels, lowers the risk of colon cancer and prevent anaemia. They maintain the proper levels of iron and calcium in the body and are low in fat and cholesterol. To balance the diet when meat and dairy products are reduce for cholesterol problems, all legumes are a healthy alternative providing the daily amounts of protein needed. Pinto beans are good sources of phytonutrients, protein, fibre, starchvitamin A, vitamin B1 (thiamine), vitamin B2 (riboflavin), vitamin B3 (niacin), vitamin B6 (pyridoxine), vitamin B9 (foliate), vitamin C, vitamin E and vitamin K. They are also good sources of calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, selenium, sodium and zinc.


    Pippali Fruit (Piper longum) See the A-Z of Herbs and Spices.

    Pippali is a pepper which has been used extensively in Ayurvedic medicine to address digestive disorders and obesity.


    Piri Piri Root (Pyperus articulatus) See the A-Z of Herbs and Spices.


    Pistachio Nuts (Pistacia vera)

    The pistachio has been around since Biblical times and was even mentioned in the book of Genesis. It is one of only two nuts to receive this distinction. Pistachios help to reduce the risk of macular degeneration, the most common cause of visual loss in older individuals. They are a good source of two important carotenoids, lutein and zeaxanthin, compounds which help to ward off this common eye condition. Carotenoids are also strong antioxidants that help to offset cell injury and damage. They also contain a good amount of fibre, protein, vitamin B1 (thiamine), vitamin B6 (pyridoxine), copper, fluoride, manganese and phosphorous. They also contain small amount of vitamin B2 (riboflavin), vitamin B3 (niacin), vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid), vitamin B7 (biotin), vitamin B9 (foliate)

    A handful of pistachio nuts a day can help lower LDL cholesterol and raise HDL cholesterol levels in the blood because they contain monounsaturated fats and phytosterols. Pistachios are one of the very best food sources of plant based phytosterols. They are also less likely to promote fat storage because of their slow absorption and the stabilizing effect they have on blood sugars.


    Plantain (Musa paradisiaca)

    Plantain is a banana-like fruit native to most of Europe and northern and central Asia, but has widely naturalised elsewhere in the world. They are cooked and used in savoury dishes similar to tuber roots like potatoes and were one of the staple sources of carbohydrates for larger populations in Asia, Oceania, Africa, and Central Americas for centuries. They are higher in calories than bananas at 122 per 100 grams but contain more vitamin A and vitamin C. They are also a good source of fibre. As in bananas, they too are rich sources of B-complex vitamins, particularly high in vitamin B6 (pyridoxine).

    Fresh plantains have more potassium than bananas. 100 g fruit provides 499 mg of potassium (358 mg per 100 g for bananas). Potassium is an important component of cell and body fluids that helps control heart rate and blood pressure, countering negative effects of sodium. They are also a good source of iron, magnesium and phosphorous.


    Plums (Prunus domestica)

    Plums are relatives of the peach, nectarine and almond and prunes are dried plums. The ability of plums (and prunes) to make iron more available is probably related to the high vitamin C content of this fruit. Prunes are an excellent natural laxative to relieve constipation. Plums and prunes also have a high content of unique phytonutrients called neochlorogenic and chlorogenic acid. These damage preventing substances are particularly effective in neutralizing a particularly destructive oxygen radical called superoxide anion radical and they have also been shown to help prevent oxygen based damage to fats, such as the fats that comprise a substantial portion of brain cells or neurons, the cholesterol and triglycerides circulating in the bloodstream and the fats that make up cell membranes. Adding plums or prunes to the daily diet with any other two fruits is beneficial and protective against age related macular degeneration.

    Plums and prunes are also a good source of beta-carotene, vitamin A, vitamin K, dietary fibre and potassium and contain traces of alanine, arginine, aspartate, glutamate, glycine, histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, proline, serine, threonine, tryptophan, tyrosine, valine, choline, lutein and zeaxanthin, oleic acid, vitamin B1, vitamin B2, vitamin B3, vitamin B5, vitamin B6, vitamin B9, vitamin E, calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorous, potassium and zinc.

    NOTE: Consuming plums with some nuts or other fatty foods like avocado, vegetable, seed or fish oils will aid absorption of the fat soluble vitamin A and carotenoids.

    NOTE: Those suffering with kidney and gallstones, joint problems or osteoporosis should avoid plums and prunes as it is thought they have an affect on calcium.


    Poke root (Phytolacca americana, Phytolacca decandra, ink berry, pigeon berry, poke berry, poke bush, poke sallet, red weed) See the A-Z of Herbs and Spices


    Pomegranates (Punica granatum)

    The pomegranate has properties that can clear arterial plaques, lower risk of atherosclerosis, alkalise the blood, stop diarrhoea, prevent kidney stones and reduce erectile disorder.

    Pomegranates have quite a history, from the writings of Greek mythology, to the Persians believing that pomegranate seeds would make them invincible in battle. The name “pomegranate” means “seed-filled apple,” and the Babylonians connected this explosion of seeds to the resurrection. When caravans set out on long journeys across the scorching desert, they would load up on these tough red globes because they were one of the few fruits able to withstand the heat of the sun and sand and still provide life-giving juice.

    New studies coming out of Israel are revealing that pomegranate juice not only lowers oxidized cholesterol, which produces plaque and hardening of the arteries, but is able to reduce plaques already present. This is a big deal for the many millions who have eaten themselves into high blood pressure. Antioxidant chemicals in red wine, ginger, tomatoes and pomegranates help preserve paraoxonase in the blood; which not only prevent lesions, but also breaks them down when they form. The significance of this is stunning. It’s possible that drinking a few ounces of this powerful juice a day could help atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) to retreat to the point where patients could avoid evasive procedures like angioplasty and bypass surgery.

    The predominant antioxidant polyphenols found in pomegranates are punicalagins which protect the endothelium, a tissue that covers the internal areas of blood vessels.

    The ellagitannins in pomegranates have a beneficial impact on human gut flora, inhibiting the growth of pathogenic clostridia and  staphylococcus aureus.

    Pomegranates are also a good source of vitamins B1 (thiamine), B2 (riboflavin), B3 (niacin), C and K, as well as calcium and phosphorus and are high in fibre.


    Poppy Seeds (Papaver somniferum)

    The seeds are obtained from the dry fruits (pods) of the poppy plant and entirely free from the opium. The opium alkaloids are synthesised, stored and metabolised in the latex of the poppy plant which permeates all parts of the plant, except the seeds. The poppy is a biennial herb of East Mediterranean, and Asia Minor origin belonging to the Papaveraceae family of the genus: Papaver. Poppy seeds are mostly found in India, China and Afghanistan.

    The unique flavour is because of many fatty acids and essential volatile oils. The seeds are especially rich in oleic and linoleic acids. The oleic acid in poppy seeds acts as anti breast cancer agent by blocking a cancer causing oncogene and may obstruct the progression of Adrenoleukodystrophy (ALD).

    Poppy seeds outer coat is a good source of dietary fibre.100g of seeds provide 51% RDA. Poppy seeds can lower LDL (bad) cholesterol and increase HDL (good) cholesterol levels in the blood, helping to prevent coronary artery disease and strokes. Much of this fibre is metabolically inert content which helps increase bulk of the food by absorbing water down the digestive tract and thereby easing constipation problems.

    The seeds are excellent source of B vitamins B1 thiamine, B2 riboflavin, B3 niacin, B5 pantothenic acid, B6 pyridoxine and B9 folic acid. Poppy seeds also contain good levels the minerals calcium, copper, iron, potassium, magnesium, manganese and zinc

    Poppy seeds can help in the production of red blood cells, regulate growth and development, sperm generation, digestion and nucleic acid synthesis, help to control heart rate and blood pressure, relieve constipation, soothe nervous irritability, cure ear and tooth aches, reduce bone loss associated with osteoporosis, porosis and improve skin conditions such as eczema.

    Other benefits of poppy seeds

    • Poppy seed paste can be used as external agent treating burning sensation, itches and relieve pain.

    • Poppy seed paste along with lime reduces itchy sensation. 

    • Along with honey, poppy seed can be used as home remedy to treat dysentery. 

    • Poppy seeds have appetising qualities. A juice containing poppy seed is considered refreshing and a tonic.

    • Poppy seeds contain trace amounts of opium alkaloids such as morphine, thebaine, codiene, papaverine etc. When consumed in food, these compounds produce a minimal effect on the human nervous system.

    NOTE: Many people can be intolerant so excess consumption of poppy seeds should be avoided.


    Pork

    Ounce for ounce, pork tenderloin has less fat than a chicken breast. Pork also contains most of the nutrients that exist in poultry such as protein, B1 (thiamine), vitamin B2 (riboflavin), vitamin B3 (niacin) vitamin B6 (pyridoxine), vitamin B12, iron, phosphorous, sodium, zinc, fat and cholesterol with the addition of vitamin and potassium.

    Unfortunately though, pork also has some of highest saturation of fats and cholesterol among meats. It is also very high in sodium, particularly cuts that are cured. These two aspects can contribute to dietary imbalances that lead to health problems like obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease. However, pork contains more nutrients than poultry and greater amounts of the nutrients they share.

    Bacon and other cured meats often contain added sodium, sugar and other preservatives, such as nitrates, that may raise blood pressure or increase the risk for cancer. To limit risk, always choose fresh meats or packaged products that contain no preservatives and consume sparingly, just a couple of times, a month along with a diet rich in fibre and fruit and vegetables. Pork chops are the leanest and contain the least sodium. They also contain the most vitamin B1 and vitamin B2. Better quality pork will yield better nutrition. High quality pork is distinguishable as grey/pink and firm and outlined by a thick layer of white fat which should not be consumed.


    Potato (Solanum tuberosum, nightshade family)

    The potato belongs to the Solanaceae or nightshade family whose other members include tomatoes, aubergines and peppers. Potatoes originated in the Andean mountain region of South America and have been cultivated by the Indians living in these areas for between 4,000 and 7,000 years. Unlike many other foods, potatoes were able to be grown at the high altitudes typical of this area and therefore became a staple food for these hardy people. Potatoes were brought to Europe by Spanish explorers who "discovered" them in South America in the early 16th century.

    Since potatoes are good sources of vitamin C, they were subsequently used on Spanish ships to prevent scurvy. They were introduced into Europe via Spain, and while they were consumed by some people in Italy and Germany, they were not widely consumed throughout Europe, even though many governments actively promoted this nutritious foodstuff that was relatively inexpensive to produce. The reason for this is that since people knew that the potato is related to the nightshade family, many felt that it was poisonous like some other members of this family. In addition, many judged potatoes with suspicion since they were not mentioned in the Bible. In fact, potatoes initially had such a poor reputation in Europe that many people thought eating them would cause leprosy.

    Potatoes are useful for easing indigestion, colic, gastritis, ulcers and constipation. Externally, they useful for minor burns, sunburn, inflamed skin, skin infections, chilblains and even headaches. Potatoes are among the 12 foods on which pesticide residues have been most frequently found. Therefore, individuals wanting to avoid pesticide-associated health risks may want to avoid consumption of potatoes unless they are grown organically.

    They are a good source of fibre, carbohydrates, asparagine, caffeic acid, carotenoids, flavonoids, quercetin, kukoamines, patatin, tryptophan, vitamin B1 ( thiamine), vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid), vitamin B6 (pyridoxine), vitamin B9 (folic acid), vitamin C, copper, potassium and manganese.

    New potatoes are also a source of potassium and vitamin C is highest in freshly harvested new potatoes.

    Potatoes are low in sugar, virtually fat free and very low in sodium and are around 100 calories less than white rice or pasta. They are best baked and consumed with the skins to preserve and concentrate all the nutrients.

    Green potatoes

    White potatoes that have turned green and the potatoes leaves contain a compound called solanine which is poisonous. Solanine is a steroid glycoside of the saponin group found in plants from the nightshade family, which in large doses, can cause gastrointestinal disorders such as diarrhoea and vomiting, hallucinations, paralysis and death.

    One of the triggers for solanine to develop in a white potato is exposure to light, especially fluorescent light. Therefore, it is essential to store potatoes in a dark place, preferably between 50°F and 65°F. If potatoes must be stored in a lighted place, they can be kept in a brown paper bag loosely closed to allow for air circulation.

    NOTE: Cooked potatoes are not a concern when it comes to acrylamide, a potentially toxic and potentially cancer causing substance. However, fried, processed foods made with potatoes, such as potato chips and French fries, are considered among the highest risk of foods when it comes to acrylamide exposure. This is a reason to avoid or minimise intake of these foods. See Acrylamide Dangers.

    See also Sweet Potato.


    Poultry and Game Birds

    Chicken and turkey are the most common types of poultry, but this category of meat also includes pigeon, emu, guinea fowl, pheasant, ostrich, goose and duck. Most common types of poultry yield the same nutrition, with considerable amounts of protein, vitamin B3 (niacin), vitamin B6 (pyridoxine), vitamin B12, iron, phosphorous, zinc, sodium, fat and cholesterol. Duck has substantially larger proportions of all these nutrients. Pheasant, chicken and quail are the leanest of poultry, while duck and goose are more fatty.

    Poultry nutrition can depend on the part of the bird from which the meat is cut. Chicken and turkey contain two types of meat: dark and white. Dark meat, which usually comes from the lower portion of the body like the legs, is more fatty than white meat like breast. However, white meat tends to taste drier. Duck and goose contain only dark meat and substantially more fat and cholesterol. Removing the skin from poultry can reduce its fat and cholesterol content by almost 50 percent. Frying poultry is far less healthy than roasting. Game birds tend to have richer amino acid content and will not be injected or fed with unnatural substances such as antibiotics and hormones. Pheasant is particularly nutritious and the hen is better nutritionally than the cock.

    Consumption of poultry and games birds can improves the blood and concentration levels and prevents and treats anaemia.


    Prawns and Shrimp

    Prawns and shrimps are an extremely good source of protein, yet are very low in fat and calories, making them a very healthy choice of food. Although shrimps and prawns have a high cholesterol content, they are low in saturated fat, which is the fat that raises cholesterol levels in the body. For this reason, there is no need to avoid eating shrimps or prawns. A 4 oz (115g) portion of shrimps contains almost half the recommended daily protein needed and only 112 calories and less than 1g of fat.

    Shrimps and prawns are rich in omega-3 fatty acids which help prevent heart disease, circulatory problems and many other types of illnesses. These valuable fats lower triglyceride levels and have many other benefits for heart health.

    Prawns and shrimps also contains high levels of vitamin B12, vitamin E, iodine, iron, phosphorous, potassium, selenium and zinc and have smaller quantities of calcium, magnesium and sodium. Many of these nutrients are essential for healthy skin, bones and teeth.


    Prickly Ash (Zanthoxylum clava-herculis, Zanthoxylum americanum) See the A-Z of Herbs and Spices.


    Prickly Pear (Nopal cactus, barbary fig cactus, opuntia, Indian fig, prickly pear cactus, tuna cardona, westwood pear)

    The prickly pear possesses two different edible sections: the pad of the cactus (nopal), which is treated as vegetable and the pear (tuna) which is used as fruit. Prickly pear has been used in Mexico to treat diabetes for over 1,000 years and is one of the most used natural products in Central America. A single dose of prickly pear can lower blood sugar in people having type 2 diabetes by 17 to 46%

    It is the only plant to contain 24 of the known betalains, which are potent anti-inflammatory agents. Betalains are polyphenolic pigments found in beetroot. Betalains give prickly pears their purple, red and yellow colours. Prickly pear juice power comes from its ability to fight chronic inflammation.

    The pads of prickly pear fruit contain a wide range of amino acids. This includes the 8 essential amino acids, which our bodies don’t produce. This is a plant that provides more essential amino acids than most other sources. The mucilage found inside the sticky pads of the stem contain polysaccharides which are found in immune system stimulating plants.

    Prickly pear is rich in vitamin C, fibre, flavonoids, antioxidants, calcium and potassium.


    Propolis (beeswax)

    Propolis has a long history of medicinal use, dating back to 350BC, the time of Aristotle. Greeks used propolis for abscesses; Assyrians used it for healing wounds and tumours; and Egyptians used it for mummification. Bees collect sap from trees and mix the resin with beeswax to make propolis for their hives. It has antiseptic, anti-inflammatory and anaesthetic properties. It contains albumin, vitamin B1 (thiamine), vitamin B2 (riboflavin), vitamin B6 (pyridoxine), vitamin C, vitamin E, calcium, copper, iron, magnesium and zinc. Propolis contains almost 500 times more vitamin P (bioflavonoids) than is found in oranges.

    Propolis is a resinous substance that's used in traditional medicine both topically and orally to help treat a wide range of health conditions such as genital herpes, rheumatoid arthritis, cervicitis, cold sores,  canker sores and infections caused by bacteria, tuberculosis,  viruses (including flu, H1N1 “swine” flu, and the common cold), fungus and infections of single-celled organisms called protozoans. Propolis is also used for cancer of the nose and throat; for boosting the immune system; and for treating gastrointestinal problems including Helicobacter pylori infection in peptic ulcer disease, vaginal infections, colds, parasitic infections such as giardiasis, infertility in women, wounds, gingivitis, periodontal disease and other dental problems.

    Propolis taken as a tincture can treat the common cold, influenza, microbes, parasites, stomach ulcers and respiratory problems.

    Make a Honey and Propolis Tincture

    Place 100 ml of honey in a jar and stir in the tincture you need:

    5ml (1 teaspoon) of tincture = 100 drops: this will mean 1 drop in each 1 ml of honey. Thus a teaspoon of honey will contain 5 drops of tincture. Take the honey as is, or add it to rooibos tea or warm water, so that the alcohol is removed.

    For 10 drops a day, add 10 ml (2 teaspoons) tincture to the 100 ml honey and have 1 teaspoon a day. (Or 2 x ½ teaspoon).

    For very intensive treatment, eg: getting rid of parasites or a stomach ulcer, take 10 drops 3 x a day, before meals. Do this for a week and then reduce to 5 drops 3x a day for the second week. Afterwards, take 5 drops a day.


    Prunes See Plums and Prunes


    Pumpkin and Pumpkin seeds (Curcubita pepo)

    Pumpkin contains about 90% water with a comparatively low percentage of carbohydrates. While rich in sodium, potassium, magnesium and iron, they are rich also in chlorine and phosphorus. They have laxative qualities and their diuretic properties do not irritate the kidneys.

    Pumpkin, especially the seeds, protect skin and mucus membranes from the ageing effects of free radicals and contributes to the health of the retina and lens of the eye. It also maintains optimum thyroid function and blood sugar levels, lowers LDL cholesterol levels, increases HDL cholesterol levels, is good for bone and nerve health and protects against osteoporosis, strokes and coronary heart disease. Regular consumption is also therapeutic to those afflicted with arthritisbladder and urinary problems and can protect against cancers such as prostate, breast, lung, ovarian and stomach and improves the immune response.

    Pumpkin seeds,  also known as pepitas, have important health benefits for men, as they have properties that can inhibit prostate cell multiplication. This may be due to the high zinc content, omega-3 fats, phytosterols and the carotenoids content.

    Pumpkin seeds are anti-parasitic and used to treat worms and other parasites. They contain a natural fat that is toxic to parasite eggs. Curcurbitin in pumpkin seeds has shown anti-parasitic activity since it has the ability to paralyze worms so they drop off the intestinal walls. The Chinese used pumpkin seeds to treat acute schistosomiasis and tapeworm infestations.

    An infusion, prepared from the seeds after they are peeled and crushed, will kill parasites and help in expelling the tapeworm. It will be necessary to fast for a day and empty the intestines by taking the juice of boiled dry prunes. The next day, three or four tumblers of this pumpkin seed infusion should be taken.

    NOTE: Avoid prunes if suffering with gall or kidney stones, joint problems, osteoporosis or thyroid problems

    Pumpkin seeds have very high protein content and are rich in beta carotene  and mono-unsaturated fatty acids oleic acid, the vitamins B1 thiamineB2 riboflavin, B3 niacin, vitamin C, vitamin E and vitamin K and minerals  chlorine, copper, iron, manganese, phosphorus and zinc. The pumpkin seed has one of the highest contents of phytosterols of all nuts and seeds. Phytosterols and cholesterol are similar in terms of their structure, which may be why they reduce blood cholesterol levels. Phytosterols also have inhibitory effects on certain forms of cancer. Tryptophan is abundant in pumpkin seeds, which can relieve anxiety and depression.

    The powerful anti-inflammatory properties of pumpkin seeds as been shown to do better than anti-inflammatory drugs without the negative side effects.

    NOTE: Raw pumpkin is delicious when very finely grated and served in combination with finely grated carrots and beetroot, etc., as a base for salads. Cooking pumpkins destroys their nutritional content and increases the carbohydrate content more than 50%.
     


    Purslane (Portulaca oleracea, Portulaca sativa, duckweed, fatweed, pigweed, pursley, pussley, verdolagas, wild portulaca)

    Purslane is a very common but highly nutritious weed with many powerful health benefits when consumed regularly. It can be eaten as a cooked vegetable and is great to use in salads, soups, stews or any dish you wish to sprinkle it over. Purslane is antibacterial, anti-scorbutic, depurative, a diuretic and a febrifuge. See more about purslane.


    Psyllium Husks (Plantago ovata)