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A-Z OF NATURAL FOOD
S AND DERIVATIVES

 

NOTE: To abide by Google's new algorithms' and to make this website 'mobile phone friendly'  the foods on this page are gradually being moved to their own pages and can be found by following the blue links below. Any foods considered to be a herb or spice can now be found by visiting the A-Z of Herbs and spices page.

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Acai Berry (Euterpe oleracea, cabbage palm) 

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 nutrients.

Significant nutrients in adzuki beans

Protein, fibre, starch, 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. 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.

Alfalfa (Medicago sativa)

Algae and seaweed

Almonds (Prunus amygdalus)

Amaranth (Amaranthus)

Anchovies (Engraulidae)

Apple cider vinegar See Vinegar

Apples (Malus domestica)

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.

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 asthma, coughs, epilepsy, internal haemorrhage, lung diseases, urine retention and viral infections such as smallpox. 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.

Cloves, ginger and mint leaves taken in conjunction with ash gourd can help to relieve some of the unpleasant side effects it can cause such as indigestion.

CAUTION: Castor oil should not be given to children below five 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.

Asafoetida (Ferula assa-foetida, hing)

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.

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.

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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 tumour necrosis factor (TNF) which has the ability to combat abnormal cells and protect against cancer. They have pointed out that as the banana ripens it develops dark spots and patches on the banana skin and the more patches it has the higher will be its immunity enhancement quality. 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.

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.

Barley (Hordeum vulgare)

Beans  See Legumes

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 192

  • Cholesterol 62 mg

  • Fat 12.7 g

  • Omega-3 fatty acids 88 mg

  • Omega-6 fatty acids 427 mg

  • Saturated fat 5.3 g

  • Polyunsaturated fat 0.5 g

  • Monounsaturated fat 4.8 g

  • Trans fat 0.8 g

Minerals

 

 

  • Calcium 12 mg

  • Copper 0.1 mg

  • Iron 2 mg

  • Magnesium 19mg

  • Phosphorous 175 mg

  • Potassium 289 mg

  • Selenium 14.2  µg

  • Sodium 68 mg

  • Zinc 4.5 mg

Vitamins

  • B1 - 0.05 mg

  • B2 - 0.02 mg

  • B3 - 0.08 mg

  • B5 - 0.06 µg

  • B4 - 0.04 mg

  • B7 - 200 µg

  • B8 - 37 mg

  • B12 - 2.6

  • D - 6 µg

  • E - 0.4 mg

  • K - 1.1 mg

Other components

  • Ash 1.7 g

  • Betaine 8 mg

  • Choline 67.4 mg

  • Water 67.1 g

NOTE: µg is one microgram.

Beetroot (Beta vulgaris, beets)

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.

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.

Find out more about each berry

Bicarbonate of soda

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. The monosaccharides in them have shown to possess antibacterial properties against Escherichia coli</ital.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Bloater fish

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.

Blueberry leaves are a good source of polyphenols that have powerful antimicrobial properties against fungi and Escherichia coli, Listeria monocytogenes, Salmonella typhi-murium, Staphylococcus aureus bacteria and are useful in preventing and treating urinary tract infections.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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. Cabbage prevents excessive cellular proliferation and 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

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.

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.

Carp fish

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.

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.

These nuts also contain polyphenols and salicylic acid that have powerful antimicrobial properties against fungi and the Propionibacterium acnes bacteria that causes acne.

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.

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)

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.

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, quercetin, calcium, 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.

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.

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.

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.

See more about citrus fruits

NOTE: Grapefruit can interact with many medications so cautions is advised by those taking drugs. See Drug dangers

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.

Clementines See Tangerines

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, starch, tryptophan, 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.

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 bronchitis, giardia, gonorrhoea, herpes, lice, influenza, tapeworms, throat infections, urinary tract infections and numerous other ailments caused by microbes. 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.

 

Health 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

Coffee

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.

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.

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

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.

  • 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.

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.

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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 fat 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.

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.

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 Wweat (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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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)

Eggs

Eggs have the highest quality source of protein available and the egg yolk contains almost every essential vitamin and many other important nutrients so should be part of all growing children's diets. Eggs are especially useful for foetal brain development and should be an essential part of the diet for pregnant women 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. and for the elderly or sick as they are easily digested and a rich source of so many nutrients essential for good health. 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. High cholesterol in the blood will not stem from consuming eggs as was the scare some years ago. Only 15% of the cholesterol in the blood comes from foods. The other 85% is made by the liver.

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 can be an important food that vegetarians should consume when they are unfertilised and therefore just a product produced by animals rather than an animal as such and they contain vitamin B12 which is often lacking in vegetarian diets.

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 also 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 the perfect meal to start off the day with.

Elderberries and flowers (Sambucus nigra)

Elephant foot yam (Amorphophallus paeoniifolius, konjac root, stink lily, white spot giant arum).

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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.

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.

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Game Birds See Poultry

Garlic (Allium sativa)

Ginger (Gingiber officinalis, Zingiber officinale)

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.

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.

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.

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.

Grapefruit peel contains terpenoids that are very effective against fungi.

Grapefruit seed extract is used for killing a wide variety of bacteria such as Salmonella, E.Coli, Staphylococcus  and Streptococcus, fungi including Candida, herpes, parasites and viruses. It is effective against more than 800 bacterial and viral strains, 100 strains of fungus, as well as a large number of single-cell and multi-celled parasites. It has also proven to be effective against food poisoning and diarrhoea. Many professionals, such as doctors, veterinarians, farmers and consumers praise its value and effectiveness.

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 shown to be effective against uterine fibroids. Drink three cups per day with freshly squeezed lemon juice and add honey to sweeten if desired.

The effects of 11 catechins, which are antioxidants in green tea, exhibit bacteria-killing activities, even at low levels. In some studies, green tea  demonstrated more antibiotic properties than some widely prescribed drugs such as tetracycline and vancomycin. It is also effective against the Shigella and Vibrio speicies of bacteria and viruses.

Green tea also 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, green tea is useful for stopping bleeding, healing sores and as a mouthwash for ulcers. It also has a direct antimicrobial effect on the plaque causing Streptococcus mutans bacteria by preventing its attachment to oral surfaces.

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 Soursop

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).

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Halibut

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

Hilsa fish

Himalayan pink salt crystals. See Salt

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%.

Honey acts as an expectorant for coughs and catarrh, sinusitis and hay fever and its 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. It also can reduce stomach ulcers and helps with treating gastro-enteritis.

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 and it 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 warm water, honey diffuses into the bloodstream in seven 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.

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.

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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
 

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.
 

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)

 

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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.

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

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.

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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.

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 but they also contain phytic acid which can reduce the availability of these minerals.

See Phytic acid

Edible seeds from plants in the legume family

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 limonene, 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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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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

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.

Mandarin See Oranges

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

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.

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)

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.

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

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.

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.

Mung bean s (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.

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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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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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See also the A-Z of herbs and spices

P

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. Papain in papaya and bromelain in pineapples are powerful enzymes that can reduce uterine fibroids naturally.

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 pathogenic bacteria and yeasts 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, lowers 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 also destroys intestinal parasites. Papain is proteolitic enzyme, which means that it digests proteins. Intestinal parasites are largely protein, the papain attacks it and causes parasite to die.

Home applications of papaya leaf and bark extracts can be used to deal with sore 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.

Parsnips (Pastinaca sativa)

Parsnips contain far more heart-friendly potassium and vitamin B9 (foliate) than carrots. Foliate is 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

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.

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.

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 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.

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 excessive antibiotic use, consuming lacto fermented pickles will address the balance of the flora growing in the intestines which in turn aids absorption and the production of many essential 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)

Pineapple (Ananas comosus)

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)

Piri piri root (Pyperus articulatus)

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.

See also the Plantain herb (Plantago major, Plantago lancelota)

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.

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.

Pomegranates are low in potassium and therefore are a good addition for people who are on a renal diet. A renal diet is generally low in protein, salt, phosphorus and potassium and is recommended for people who are suffering from renal problems like kidney stones and kidney failure.

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 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 itching. 

  • 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.

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 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 eight 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.

The powerful anti-inflammatory properties of pumpkin seeds have been shown to do better than most anti-inflammatory drugs but without the negative side effects. They also help to enhance the immune system and the oil from the seeds has powerful antimicrobial properties especially against Staphylococcus aureus. They also contain a natural fat that is toxic to parasite eggs known as curcurbitin which can paralyse 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.

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%.

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Quince (Chaenomeles, cydonia)

Quinoa (Chenopodium quinoa)

Native to South America. The pre-Columbian Incas saw it as a sacred food, calling it chisaya mama (mother grain). They planted the first seeds of the season in religious ceremonies using golden tools. Depriving the people of quinoa was one of the means the Spanish used to conquer the Incas. In recent years, people who value nutrition have begun to appreciate the wisdom of the Incas in esteeming this food which offers a host of health benefits.

Quinoa is classified as a type of seed (not a grain) of the goosewort plant, a relative of spinach and chard. Quinoa provides a complete protein, making it especially valuable for those who wish to eliminate animal protein from their diets. It contains all the essential amino acids, including lysine, which is crucial for growing and repairing body tissues. One serving of quinoa provides 9g of protein which is one more gram than a medium chicken egg. It also provides nearly half the daily minimum requirement for manganese and is a good source of copper and zinc. One serving of cooked quinoa (185 grams) provides 15% of the recommended daily intake of iron, and 5 grams of fibre, which is 21% the recommended amount. One serving of cooked quinoa provides 118 mg magnesium, 39.41mg carbohydrates, 31mg calcium, 318mg potassium, 13mg sodium, 2.02mg zinc.

Its high magnesium and vitamin B2 (riboflavin) content provides relief for migraine sufferers. Magnesium prevents the migraine pattern of constricting and rebound dilating of the blood vessels. Migraine sufferers who consume more magnesium in their diets have reported fewer headaches. Riboflavin's ability to promote cellular energy production has a beneficial effect on energy, brain and muscle cells metabolism, providing further protection against migraine attacks. Magnesium's ability to relax blood vessels also means eating foods high in this mineral helps reduce hypertension, heart arrhythmias and ischemic heart disease.

This seed-like grain has prebiotic properties, feeding the beneficial bacteria in the digestive tract. Since it is easily digested, the body can easily access the vitamins and minerals it contains. Quinoa also provides a good source of insoluble fibre, promoting healthy elimination processes, helping maintain colon health and preventing the formation of gallstones and boosts the liver's ability to eliminate toxins from the body.

People at high risk for cancer, as well as those with high blood pressure or cardiovascular disease are often advised to eat more whole grains, yet if they have celiac disease or other forms of gluten sensitivities, they must steer clear of many popular grain products. Quinoa is gluten-free, so those who cannot tolerate gluten can eat it.

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Rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus)

Rabbits were used for meat as far back as 1500 BC. The first recorded rabbit husbandry was in early Roman times where they were kept in walled rabbit gardens for food. This saved waste over bigger animals because the rabbit was all eaten and at that time there was no refrigeration. It was decreed by law in the Roman Empire that all young maidens be fed rabbit meat because it would make them more beautiful and more willing. In 1859 a single pair of rabbits was released in Victoria, Australia and, in just 30 years, gave rise to an estimated 20 million rabbits.

Rabbit is lower in fat and cholesterol than chicken, turkey, pork, beef and lamb. A 100 g portion of rabbit has an average of just 150 calories. It is rich in vitamin B3 (pantothenic acid), vitamin B9 (foliate), vitamin B12 (cyanocobalamin), choline, betalain, omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids and high-quality proteins and is a good source of iron. Many women of childbearing age have iron deficiencies. It is also a rich source of calcium, magnesium, potassium, phosphorous, selenium, sulphur and zinc.

Rabbit is also 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 the body's hormones and neurotransmitters are made from these amino acids. See Addictions.

A leg of rabbit has the leanest meat (about 4 g of fat per 100 g). The saddle and shoulders have slightly more fat (about 8 and 12g of fat per 100 g). With an average of around 8 g of fat per 100 g, rabbit is one of the leanest types of meat. It is best to limit the fat content by removing any fat. Rabbit that is bought in cuts has usually already had the fat removed.

The limited amount of fat in rabbit consists for one third of saturated fatty acids and for almost two thirds out of cholesterol-friendly unsaturated fatty acids. Compared to many other types of meat, rabbit contains more heart-friendly omega-3 fatty acids. The favourable composition of the fats and the delicate flavour of rabbit meat is partly the result of the balanced feed of the animals containing amongst other things alfalfa and flaxseed.

Rabbit is one of the most nutritious and lowest calorie meats known to man and is especially suitable for special diets for those with anaemia, blood disorders, bone disorders, depression, heart disease, nerve disorders,  and fatigue, alcoholics and heavy drinkers, Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, dementia, tinnitus and those on powerful medications that can blocked absorption of vitamin B12 and expel  minerals, diets for the aged, low sodium diets and weight reduction diets especially to combat obesity.

Radishes (Raphanus sativus)

Radishes belong to the Brassica family and can be white, red, purple or black, long cylindrical or round in shape. They are eaten raw, cooked or pickled. The oil obtained from the seeds of radish is also used. The other parts of radish which are consumed are the leaves, the flowers, the pods and the seeds. Radish is also known as daikon in some parts of the world. Radishes may be considered under the general classification of large and small radishes. The large contain a little more than 85% water, but 50% less mineral elements than the small. The small radishes are used either whole or sliced to garnish salads, while the large radishes can be grated or shredded as an ingredient.

Raphanin is the main sulphur component found in radish seeds that inhibits the activity of viruses, some fungi and various bacteria including and Escherichia coli, Pneumococcus, Salmonella typhi, Shigella dysenteriae, Staphylococus and Streptococus strains.

Radishes contain a volatile ether which is particularly useful as a solvent for mucus or phlegm. They have also enzymes valuable in aiding the secretion of digestive juices. Because of their diuretic action they are valuable in cleansing the kidneys and the bladder. The juice of radishes blended with carrot juice is a wonderful aid in cleansing and in healing the mucous membrane of the digestive system as well as of the respiratory organs.

Radish is very good for the liver and  is a very good detoxifier to purify the blood. It is very useful for treating jaundice as it helps removing bilirubin and also checks its production. It also checks destruction of red blood cells during jaundice by increasing supply of fresh oxygen in the blood. The black radish and the leaves are best for this purpose.

Regular consumption of radishes can help to relieve and cure asthma, bronchitis, constipation, fever, gall bladder , kidney and liver disorders, haemorrhoids (piles), respiratory disordersurinary infections,  skin disorders and many forms of cancer. They are also useful for weight loss and can be used externally for insect bites.

Radishes are low in saturated fat and very low in cholesterol, a good source of vitamin B2 (riboflavin), vitamin B6 (pyridoxine), calcium, copper, magnesium, manganese and phosphorus and a very rich source of chlorine, dietary fibre, vitamin B9 (foliate), vitamin C and potassium, silicon, sodium and sulphur.

Raisins (Vitis Vinifera)

The raisin is a dried grape and the health benefits of consuming them include relief from constipation, acidosis, anaemia, fever, and sexual weakness. Raisins also help in weight gain, eye care, dental care, bone health, boils, skin diseases, damage to the internal organs, arthritis, gout, renal calculi, hair loss, heart diseases, tumours and even cancer. When ingested, raisins swell as the fibre present in them in dried form absorbs water. This helps giving relief in constipation.

Raisins, like all dry fruits, are very good for gaining weight, as they are full of fructose and glucose providing a lot of energy especially for athletes and body builders or those who want to put on weight, without accumulating cholesterol. This is further boosted due to many vitamins, amino acids and minerals (such as selenium, phosphorus etc.) in raisins which facilitate absorption of other nutrients and proteins in the body.

Acidosis is a state of increased acidity of the blood (also known as toxicity of the blood) or of the gases in our respiratory system, the source of acids for both being our stomach. This is very harmful for the body as it may give rise to a number of problems which raisins can protect from. Raisins are good source of potassium and magnesium (two of the most popular constituents of antacids, being basic in nature) both of which are very effective in reducing acidity. They neutralize the acids and thus help check acidosis.

Raisins are high in and many members of vitamin B complex which are essential for formation of blood. Copper helps the formation of red blood cells. Phenolic Phytonutrients, well known for their germicidal, anti biotic and anti oxidant properties, are present in abundance in raisins and help cure fever by fighting viral and bacterial infections. Raisins are known to stimulate libido and induce arousal, primarily due to L Arginine, which can treat problems in erection and help to widen arteries increasing blood flow to the brain and heart preventing heart attacks and strokes.

Raisins are one of the best sources of boron, a micro nutrient required by the body in very small amount as compared to other nutrients. This is  very necessary for proper bone formation and absorption of calcium. Boron is particularly helpful in preventing osteoporosis induced by menopause in women and is very beneficial for bones and joints. As it is rich in calcium it is also good for dental health.

Raisins contain polyphenolic phytonutrients which have anti oxidant properties which are very good for ocular health, as they protect eyes from damages caused by free radicals (oxidants), such as macular degeneration, age related weakening of vision, cataract etc. In addition, it contains very good amount of vitamin A, alpha carotene and beta carotenes, all of which are essential for a good ocular health. Catechin, a phenolic anti oxidant in raisins, prevents tumours and cancer of colon. The fibres in it help excretion of bile from the body, burning cholesterol for cardiac health. Oleanolic acid in raisins are a phytochemical thats protects teeth against tooth decay, cavities, brittleness of teeth etc. It effectively prevents growth of Porphyromonas gingivalis and Streptococcus mutans, two of the species of bacteria which are most responsible for cavities and other dental problems.

Raisins should be eaten with nuts or avocado as the fat in theses foods helps absorption of carotenoids.

NOTE: The longer raisins stick to the teeth, the better, as it ensures longer contact of oleanolic acid with the teeth preventing growth of bacteria. Boron in raisins also plays a very important role in checking growth of germs in the mouth as well promoting the health of bones and teeth.

Rampion (Campanula rapunculus)

The word 'rampion' means bellflower of Europe and Asia and North Africa and is derived from its Latin specific name, rapunculus, a diminutive of rapa (turnip). It is a garden vegetable possessing roots that similar to turnips and boiled tender like parsnips. They have anti-inflammatory benefits, which could be associated with a calmer pregnancy and more successful birth. Rampion contains inulin, a sugar substitute and it is often used in special dietary foods for diabetics.

It also contains calcium, iron, phosphorus, mucilage, cellulose, rubber resin, choline and mineral salts. This plant also has medicinal properties: it strengthens, invigorates and purifies the human system and is used to treat angina.

The rampion root is used as a vegetable for soups and as an accompaniment to meat dishes. It is also often eaten raw in salads. The leaves can be cooked in the same manner as spinach leaves. Its blue flowers are also very decorative in ornamental gardens.

Rapeseed oil (Brassica napus)

Rapeseed oil the lowest saturated fat of any culinary oil and less than half that of olive oil. In recent years Mediterranean produced olive oil has overtaken sunflower and vegetable oils in popularity and has been perceived as a healthy alternative. However Rapeseed Oil is as low in saturated fat as olive oil and high in good essential omega oils normally obtained from fish. The health conscious French nation  discovered rapeseed oil generations ago and the product is commonplace on supermarket shelves in that country. The British, it seems may well have shied away from embracing rapeseed oil as a serious healthy alternative to other cooking oils due to the unfortunate name. We are still a nation consuming too much saturated fat which can lead to symptoms such as obesity, high cholesterol, diabetes and heart disease. Rapeseed Oil has been shown to help reduce such symptoms when it is combined into a balanced diet.

Rapeseed oil contains the lowest saturated fat content of any oil (less than half that of olive oil), has 10 times more omega-3 than olive oil, is a good source of vitamin E and high in monounsaturated fats, omega-6 and omega-9.

Raspberries (Rubus idaeus)

Raspberries are the richest source of ellagitannin which the body converts into ellagic acid. Ellagic acid activates detoxifying enzymes in the liver, resulting in the clearing of cancer causing substances in the serum. It can also prevent carcinogens from attaching to cellular DNA and stimulate the immune system to effectively fight cancer cells and triggers apoptosis (self-destruction of cancerous cells) .

Raspberries also improve the management of obesity. The metabolism in fat cells is increased by the phytonutrients found in raspberries, especially rheosmin (raspberry ketone). By increasing enzyme activity, oxygen consumption and heat production in certain types of fat cells raspberries decrease risk of obesity as well as risk of fatty liver. Rheosmin decreases activity of a fat-digesting enzyme released by the pancreas called pancreatic lipase. This decrease in enzyme activity results in less digestion and absorption of fat.

Nutrients in raspberries are fibre, omega 3 fatty acids, vitamin B9 (foliate), vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin K, copper, magnesium and manganese. They also a rich source of the following anti-inflammatory and antioxidant phytonutrients: anthocyanidins, caffeic acid, catechins, chlorogenic acid, coumaric acid, cyanidins, delphinidins, ellagic acid, ellagitannins, epicatechins, ferulic acid, gallic acid, gallotannins, kaempferol, lambertianin, malvidins, pelargonidins, quercetin, resveratrol, sanguiin, stilbenoids, tiliroside and vanillic acid.

Fully ripe, organic raspberries contain far higher antioxidants and other phytonutrients. They should be refrigerated below 35-39°F (2°-4°C) and consumed within 2 days.

See also

Red Berries

Red berries help the body make collagen, the protein needed to keep skin supple, smooth and healthy. Cranberries help protect against cystitis by stopping harmful bacteria sticking to the urinary tract. They also prevent varicose veins, have anti-bacterial properties, ease the pain of rheumatoid arthritis and reduce the risks of cancer. They are a rich source of vitamins C, vitamin K, folic acid, anthocyanidins and fibre. Strawberries can help smokers reduce the risk of developing lung cancer. See more about Berries.

Red Cabbage (Brassica oleracea var. capitata rubra)

A 100 gram (about 3 oz) serving of raw red cabbage delivers 196.5 milligrams of polyphenols, of which 28.3 milligrams are anthocyanins. Consumption of red cabbage may be beneficial to increase chemo-preventive effects in neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's. See also Cabbage.

NOTE: People with thyroid gland problems, kidney or gallstones should avoid cabbage.

Red Kidney Beans (Phaseolus vulgaris)

A legume which reduces the risk of heart disease, controls blood sugar levels, lowers the risks of colon cancer, prevents anaemia, maintains the proper levels of iron and calcium in the body with low 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. Red kidney 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.

Reishi Mushrooms (Ganoderma lucidum, lingzhi, ling chi)

Reishi mushrooms are 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.

Rhubarb (Rheum rhabarbarum)

Dates back to 2700 BC where it was grown and used in China for medicinal purposes. Rhubarb is low in sodium and saturated fat which makes it a very good food to help prevent heart related diseases. It is an excellent source of vitamin C, high in vitamin K, dietary fibre and a good source of calcium. Can protect against diabetes, boost the immune system, fight infections, boost healthy cell growth, help strengthen bones and teeth, lower bad cholesterol and maintain a healthy and regular digestive system and dissolve mucus adhering to the walls of the colon. Rhubarb is also a good source of lutein, a compound that will care for the skin and eyes. To benefit from these nutrients rhubarb is best cooked until soft.

Red fruits and vegetables contain several beneficial antioxidants, such as lycopene and anthocyanins. These compounds help promote the health of heart, eyes and immune system, as well as help prevent cancer. Cooked rhubarb supplies a good dose of lycopene, but raw rhubarb supplies none.

Rhubarb contains a potent antimicrobial called rhein that is effective against the bacteria Bacillus megaterium, Escherichia coli, Salmonella enterica serovar Typhi and Staphylococcus aureus. Rhubarb is also useful to help expel parasites, eggs and larvae. It is not addictive like other colon movement stimulants and is very powerful even in a low dosage.

Rice (Oryza sativa)

Only brown or black rice is recommended because the nutritious part has not been removed during processing. Brown rice has a balancing effect on the intestines  and is useful for treating indigestion, wind, bloating, ulcers, colic, constipation and diarrhoea. Rice also produces quick energy, reduces the risks of colon cancer, helps to maintain the nervous system and reduces blood pressure and LDL cholesterol levels. Rice is a good source of malvidins, vitamin B1 (thiamine), vitamin B3 (niacin), vitamin K and fibre.

People who cooked with a blend of sesame and rice bran oils saw a significant drop in blood pressure and improved cholesterol levels, according to new research cooking with a combination of these oils in a variety of ways works equally as well as commonly prescribed high blood pressure medication.

NOTE: Rice cooked boiled dry in a pan can contain high levels of arsenic as it is reabsorbed by the rice and should only be consumed two to three times a week. It has been found that when cooked in the filter part of a coffee percolator, arsenic levels are reduced by 85%. Stove top percolators are not suitable, only the drip-brewers will work. However, cooking this way is time consuming as most coffee percolators run on ten minute cycles. White rice takes twenty minutes and brown rice takes forty minutes. Eventually a suitable machine may be developed for the sole purpose of cooking rice. See Arsenic.

Ricotta Cheese

An Italian made soft fresh cheese similar to cottage cheese and best sourced from sheep or goats. Can help with the body's production of glutathione which is a superb chelator of mercury which can be ingested from deep sea fish. This means it can help to prevent degenerative diseases of the brain and eyes as well as Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and multiple sclerosis.

Ricotta cheese Is a rich source of omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids, protein, vitamin A, vitamin B2 (riboflavin), vitamin B12, calcium, phosphorus, selenium and zinc.

Rocket (Eruca sativa, arugula, rokka, ruccola)

A nutritious green-leafy vegetable of Mediterranean origin. It belongs within the brassica family. Rocket can boost the immune system and prevent cancer and heart disease. It can also prevent spina bifida in new born babies if consumed during pregnancy.

It is rich source of certain phytochemicals such as indoles, thiocyanates, sulforaphane and iso­thiocyanates. Together, they have been found to counter carcinogenic effects of oestrogen and thus help protect against prostate, breast, cervical, colon and ovarian cancers by virtue of their cancer-cell growth inhibition, cytotoxic effects on cancer cells. In addition, di-indolyl-methane, a lipid soluble metabolite of indole, has immune modulator, antibacterial and antiviral properties. It is useful in the treatment of recurring respiratory papillomatosis caused by the Human Papilloma Virus and is in phase III clinical trials for cervical dysplasia.

Rocket is also a very good source of 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.

Root vegetables

Regular consumption of root vegetables can prevent blood clots and arterial blockages and reduce the risk of heart disease. It can also prevents a variety of cancers and protect against the damages caused by smoking tobacco. See Let Roots be Your Medicine

Rosehips (Rosa canina, dog rose fruit)

Orangey-red, oval berries, sometimes as much as an inch long. They're the fruit of the dog rose and found in hedgerows from August until November. Seeds should not be eaten because they can irritate the mouth and stomach.

Rosehips is one of the richest sources of vitamin C, but also A, D and E, iron, calcium, antioxidants and fatty acids. Rosehip syrup was given to children during World War II for its vitamin C content. One cup of 30 berries contains as much as 40 oranges.

Rosehips from the fruits of the dog rose contain polyphenols that can combat infection by the methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus bacteria and other gram-negative bacteria and yeasts. Powdered rosehip is three times better at reducing the pain of osteoarthritis than paracetamol, according to research at the University of Copenhagen, though just why is unclear. There were also none of the side effects associated with conventional painkillers such as constipation, diarrhoea or drowsiness or liver damage.

Make rosehip tea for a cold. Boil one tablespoon of fresh, ripe rosehips in two cups of water for ten to 15 minutes, and then strain, getting rid of any seeds. Traditionally used with cinnamon. Rosehip can also be used to make jellies and syrup.

Tip: Remove hairs from rosehips before use because they can cause irritation - they were used in joke itching powders.

Rutabaga See Swede

Rye (Secale cereale)

Rye is a hardy cereal grain said to have originated in Eastern Turkey. In Viking times harvesting and storing grain in their inhospitable climate was difficult so rye would be threshed and made into flat cakes with a hole in the middle allowing their unleavened bread to be hung up for storage.

Rye looks like wheat but is longer and more slender and varies in colour from yellowish brown to grey/green. It is generally available in its whole or cracked grain form or as flour or flakes that look similar to old-fashioned oats. Because it is difficult to separate the germ and bran from the endosperm of rye, rye flour usually retains a large quantity of its extremely high nutritional value in contrast to refined wheat flour.

56g of rye contains 188 calories, 33.6% fibre, alanine, arginine, aspartate, beta carotene, choline, glutamate, glycine, histidine, isoleucine, leucine, linoleic acid, linolenic acid, lutein and zeaxanthin,  lysine, methionine, oleic acid, palmitic acid, phenylalanine, proline, serine, threonine,  tryptophan, tyrosine, valine, vitamin A, vitamin B1 (thiamine) vitamin B2 (riboflavin), vitamin B3 (niacin), vitamin B6 (pyridoxine), vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid), vitamin B9 (foliate), vitamin K, calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorous, potassium, sodium and zinc.

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See also the A-Z of herbs and spices

S

Sago (Cycas revoluta, metroxylon sagu, sabudana)

Sago is a starch extracted from the pith or middle of the trunk of the huge sago palm stems. It is a major staple food for the lowland people of New Guinea and the Moluccas and the indigenous nomadic Penan jungle people of Borneo. It is very high in carbohydrates and calories but low in fibre, vitamin, mineral and protein content.

Salmon

Salsify (Tragopogon porrifolius, white salsify, goatsbeard, vegetable oyster, oyster plant)

Salsify is a vegetable whose root and leaves can be used for cooking purposes. Salsify is a member of the sunflower family and its varieties are named French Blue Flowered and the Mammoth Sandwich Island. It is cultivated in Central and Southern Europe, the United States, and in Asia (Taiwan) and is said to have originated in the Mediterranean.

Salsify contains no cholesterol or fat and is low in sodium. It also provides an excellent source of dietary fibre. It is also is a good source of inulin, vitamin A (retinol), vitamin B9 (foliate), vitamin C, calcium, phosphorus, potassium and magnesium.

Salt

Samphire seaweed (Salicornia europaea, glasswort, marsh grass, mermaids kiss, pickle weed, sea asparagus, sea beans, St Peter’s herb)

Samphire is one of the first plants to colonise mud flats and, when harvesting, it should be cut, never pulled up by the roots. The roots have a binding effect in the mud and thus allows other plants to take hold, eventually this leads to a new habitat that eventually takes over to the detriment of the samphire.

It is highly nutritious, very low in calories and rich in vitamins A, C and D and many important minerals often lacking in land- based crops and the young shoots can be eaten raw. When becomes older it can be cooked like spinach and then placed in sealed containers and frozen for later use. It is high in sodium so should be avoided by those with high blood pressure.

Sardines

Sauerkraut

This fermented cabbage dish is often closely associated with Germany, Alsace, and the Netherlands, although China and Korea also make their own versions. It contains lactobacilli plantarum and has been shown to give the immunity system a boost, along with helping with the digestion of lactose and reducing the growth of yeast.

There are only two ingredients in traditional sauerkraut: shredded cabbage and salt. The salty conditions promote beneficial acid forming friendly bacteria, which convert the natural sugars in the cabbage into lactic and acetic acid, which will preserve the cabbage and are good to ingest for the healthy bacteria level of the intestines.

Sauekraut Method

Shred or finely chop 5 pounds (2.25 kilograms) of cabbage and toss with three tablespoons of salt. Pack the cabbage and salt tightly into stoneware dish or glass jars, and cover with clean cloths, plates, and a weight such as a brick or a rock. Every day, open the containers to remove the natural scum which will form on the top, and then replace the cloth with a fresh one. After around 10 days to two weeks, the sauerkraut will have finished curing and it can be canned for storage for several years.

Other ingredients may be added like juniper, bay leaves or garlic. These spices add flavour to the sauerkraut without interfering with the curing process. In China and Korea, soured cabbage is often heavily spiced; the formidable Korean kimchi, for example, is used to add a kick to many Korean dishes. Despite containing only cabbage and salt, sauerkraut is a great addition to the diet; many early sailors realized that sauerkraut could help to prevent scurvy, for example.

NOTE: Avoid cabbage if suffering with thyroid problems, kidney & gallstones, joint problems or osteoporosis.

Savoury (Satureja hortensis, Satureja montana, Summer savoury, Winter savoury)

Savoury (savory USA spelling) is an aromatic herb similar in structure to thyme but with it's own unique taste and comes in two varieties; summer savoury and winter savoury. Thymol, one of the important essential oils in savoury, has scientifically been found to have antiseptic and anti-fungal properties .Carvacrol in savory inhibits the growth of several bacteria strains like E. coli, and Bacillus cereus. Carvacrol gives savoury it's pleasant tangy taste and marjoram like aroma.

The savoury plant, especially the flowering shoots, have anti-septic, carminative (anti-flatulence), digestive, expectorant (helps clear the throat) and anti-rheumatic (relieves joint pain) properties.

Prolonged cooking may result in the evaporation of savoury's essential oils so it should be added at the end of cooking meals. Fresh summer savoury leaves can be used in salads. It can be steeped in hot water for 20 minutes and consumed as a tea. It can also be used in soups, sauces and to marinate chicken, fish and meat dishes.

Significant nutrients of savoury: Aamphene, caryophyllene, carvacrol, fibre, linalool, myrcene, terpenoids, terpineol, thymol

Savoury contains an astonishing amount of vitamins and minerals. 100 g of dried savoury provides the following:

vitamin A (retinol)
vitamin B3 (niacin)
vitamin B6 (pyridoxine)
vitamin C (ascorbic acid)
iron
calcium
magnesium
manganese
dietary fibre

177%
25%
130%
83%
474%
210%
94%
265%
120%

Saw Palmetto Berry (Serenoa repens, sabal serrulata)

This is a palm like plant with berries that were a staple food and medicine for the Native American Indians. It is known to nourish glandular tissue, prevent and treat urinary tract infections and is used to nutritionally support the prostate gland and prevent enlargement. It contains properties which can reduce inflammation and strengthen the immune system.

Scallops (molluscs)

There are 35 calories in one scallop and they are low in fat. A 3oz serving of scallops provides les than 1g of fat.. Calorie breakdown: 46% fat, 20% carbohydrates, 34% protein. !00g of scallops provides 21g of protein. Scallops are rich in omega 3 fatty acids, vitamin B12, choline, magnesium, potassium, phosphorous, selenium and sodium, They also provide smaller amounts of vitamin B1 (thiamine), vitamin B2 (riboflavin), vitamin B3 (niacin), vitamin B6 (pyridoxine), vitamin B9 (foliate), vitamin C (ascorbic acid), calcium, copper, iron, manganese and zinc. The daily recommended amount of selenium per day is 55mg, a 3oz portion of scallops provides 22.2mg.

Sea bass

Seaweed

Seaweed can protect against cancer and is a useful rich source of vitamin K, carotenoids, calcium, iron and iodine. Land-based crops are often deficient in many minerals due to intense farming techniques whereas the oceans are still mineral-rich so they can be a good addition to the diet for this reason. See also Algae and Kelp

Seeds

Seeds are concentrated in many nutrients and compounds that can helps to maintain prostate health relieve bowel problems reduce the risk of heart disease, prevents anaemia, treat skin problems such as psoriasis and eczema and help to reduce menopausal symptoms. Seeds contain zinc, vitamin E, calcium, protein, omega fatty acids.

People who cooked with a blend of sesame and rice bran oils saw a significant drop in blood pressure and improved cholesterol levels, according to new research. The researchers found cooking with a combination of these oils in a variety of ways worked as well as commonly prescribed high blood pressure medication.

NOTE: Because all seeds (as well as legumes, nuts and whole grains) contain high levels of phytic acid which inhibits absorption of minerals such as calcium, iron, magnesium and zinc it is important to soak, sprout or ferment them before consumption. For more information see phytic acid.

See more about individual seeds

 

Semolina

Semolina is a milled product of durum wheat used in pasta. See durum wheat for nutritional value and benefits.

Sesame Seeds and Oil (Sesamum indicum)

Sesame seeds are high in calories and 100 g of seeds provide 573 calories. Sesame seeds and oil reduce LDL cholesterol, help to prevent coronary artery disease and stroke, are good for growth especially in children, helps with DNA synthesis, helps reduce anxiety and neurosis, assists with red blood cell production, enzyme synthesis, hormone production, as well as regulation of cardiac and skeletal muscle activities, protect the nervous system, organs, metabolism, eyes, muscles, skin and hair, provide relief for rheumatoid arthritis. maintains respiratory health and prevents colon cancer, migraines, osteoporosis and PMS.

The seeds are especially rich in mono-unsaturated fatty acid oleic acid, which comprise up to 50% fatty acids in them. Oleic acid helps to lower LDL or "bad cholesterol" and increases HDL or "good cholesterol" in the blood. 100g of seeds provide 32% RDA of protein. They also contain sesamol (3, 4-methylene-dioxyphenol), sesaminol, furyl-methanthiol, guajacol (2-methoxyphenol), phenylethanthiol and furaneol, vinylguacol and decadienal. Sesamol and sesaminol are phenolic anti-oxidants.

Sesame seeds are also a good sources of vitamins B1 (thiamine), B2 (riboflavin), B3 (niacin), B6 (pyridoxine) and B9 (folic acid). The seeds are also a very rich source of calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, selenium and zinc.

100 g of sesame provides 25% of recommended daily intake of B9 folic acid and 28% of B3 niacin. Folic acid is essential for DNA synthesis. When given to expectant mothers during the preconception period and pregnancy, it can prevent neural tube defects in the baby.

Shellfish, Crustaceans, Snails and Molluscs

Most shellfish is naturally low in total fat and saturated fat, and only moderate in cholesterol content. That means it can still fit into a heart healthy diet. Portion control and ways of cooking are important though. Frying or baking using butter or other animal fats will greatly increase cholesterol levels. A 4oz portion 2 or 3 times a week is recommended by Nature Cures.

Shellfish is important for male fertility and provides nutrients for blood, bone and muscle functions. It also helps in the prevention of cancer. They are a rich source of protein, omega 3 fatty acids, vitamin B12, EPA, DHA, zinc, selenium.

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.

Shellfish includes clams, cockles, crab, cuttlefish, lobster, mussels, oysters, periwinkles, prawns, scallops, shrimp, whelks. Click links for more information about each shellfish.

Shrimp See Shellfish

Soursop (Annona muricata, guanabana, guyabano, graviola, custard apple)

Soya beans (Glycine max)

Soya beans 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. Soya can also lower fat and cholesterol levels.

Soybeans can balance the diet by providing protein when meat and dairy products are reduced for cholesterol problems and, like all legumes, are a healthy alternative providing the daily amounts of protein needed. Soya beans are a good source of 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.

Edamame beans are the young soy bean pods popular in Asia. They are the only healthy plant version of complete protein and all the above nutrients and regular consumption can help with weight loss.

NOTE: Over consumption may have negative effect on the oestrogen hormone.

Spices

Spices have many powerful properties and have been sued for centuries for this reason. They can reduce inflammation, help fight cancer, relieve symptoms of menopause and fight colds and all bacterial, fungal and viral infections due to their volatile concentrated oils. See the A-Z of Herbs and Spices page for more information.

Spinach (Spinacia oleracea)

A carotenoid found in spinach has been found to help with the treatment of prostate cancer. To absorb carotenoids from foods containing them must be consumed with fatty foods such as olive or sesame oil, nuts, nut or fish oils or avocado etc.

Popeye made himself super strong by eating spinach, but he may also have been protecting himself against arthritis, colon cancer, heart disease, osteoporosis and other diseases at the same time. The vitamin K provided by spinach is almost 200% of the suggested daily requirement in one serving of fresh spinach leaves and over 1000%  in one serving of boiled spinach (which contains about six times as much spinach). Vitamin K1 activates osteocalcin, the major non-collagen protein in bone.

The nutrients in spinach can also help with conditions in which inflammation plays a role such as asthma, osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Since beta-carotene and vitamin C have anti-inflammatory properties, they can be helpful for reducing symptoms in some patients. In addition, the magnesium and vitamin B2 (riboflavin) in spinach, two nutrients of which it is an excellent source, may help to reduce the frequency of migraine attacks in people who suffer from them. Spinach also improves the learning capacity and motor skills and may significantly lessen brain damage from strokes and other neurological disorders.

Cooked spinach is an excellent source of iron which is important for menstruating women who are at risk of iron deficiency. Boosting iron stores with spinach is a good idea, especially because, in comparison to red meat, a well known source of iron, spinach provides iron for a lot less calories and is totally fat-free. Iron is an integral component of haemoglobin, which transports oxygen from the lungs to all body cells, and is also part of key enzyme systems for energy production and metabolism. During pregnancy and breast feeding the need for iron increases. Growing children and adolescents also have increased needs for iron. One serving of boiled spinach will provide 35.7% of the daily suggested requirement for iron.

Spirulina (Arthrospira platensis, Spirulina fusiformis, Spirulina maxima, Spirulina platensis, blue-green algae)

Spirulina is a simple, one-celled organism of the cyanobacteria family that got its name from the Latin word for ‘helix’ or ‘spiral’ because of its spring-like physical characteristic. It is a blue green nutrient rich algae that grows in warm fresh alkaline waters. The use of spirulina as a food source dates back to the 9th century and it is believed the Aztecs used it in 16th century Mexico. In the 1950's a European scientific mission discovered it being harvested and sold in markets as flat cakes known as "dihé" which were part of the native tribes staple food.

Today, these 'super food' algae are being used around the world to help treat illness and are being seriously discussed as a sustainable source of food with the potential to end world hunger. Unlike most plants, which need to be cultivated and nurtured, spirulina is a survivor, able to withstand extreme temperature variations and neglect and still thrive. According to studies, spirulina is being successfully used to treat a wide variety of ailments, including those who’ve been poisoned by arsenic-contaminated water which is common place in some countries such as Bangladesh.

Spirulina can help to promote the growth of healthy bacteria in the intestines and boost the immune system. Spirulina is 65-71% complete protein compared to beef, which is only 22%, and lentils, which is only 26%. Two tablespoons of spirulina contains enough protein for one day.

It also lowers the risk of stroke and cancer, strengthens the heart and connective tissues and lowers inflammation. When accompanied by selenium rich foods, spirulina will prohibit the growth of breast cancer cells. It is also a good detoxifier and can cleanse the colon preventing colon cancer and protects the kidney cells. It also increases neurotransmitter formation in the brain promoting mental clarity.

Spirulina can also chelate (bind to) heavy metals, such as mercury often found in large deep ocean fish, and therefore is a good accompaniment to seafood dishes.

NOTE: Avoid spirulina if suffering from a seafood or iodine allergy, a metabolic condition called phenylketonuria (PKU), multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis or lupus . If pregnant or nursing or have hyperthyroidism, consult a healthcare provider before taking spirulina. It may interfere with medications to suppress the immune system.

Dosage of spirulina should be increased gradually due to its detoxification properties which may cause mild itching, sleepiness and flatulence during the  process until the body is cleansed.

Spirulina, like any blue-green algae, can be contaminated with toxic substances called microcystins. It can also absorb heavy metals from the water where it is grown. For these reasons, it is important to obtain spirulina from a trusted source.

Ailments that can be treated and prevented by spirulina consumption

Allergies, Alzheimer's disease, anaemia, arsenic poisoning, asthma, candida infections, cholesterol imbalance, Crohn's disease, colitis, eye disorders, diabetes, digestive disorders, gastritis, heart disease, hepatitis, herpes, influenza, kidney disease, liver disease, malnourishment, nasal congestion, high blood pressure, HIV (Aids), hypoglycaemia, Parkinson's disease, rhinitis and senility.

Significant nutrients in Spirulina: Protein, antioxidants, alanine, arginine, aspartic acid, carotenoids, chlorophyll, cystine, beta carotene, glutamic acid, glycine, histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, mucopolysaccharides, phenylalanine, phycocyanin, proline, serine, threonine, tryptophan, tyrosine, valine, vitamin A (retinol), vitamin B1 (thiamine), vitamin B2 (riboflavin), vitamin B3 (niacin), vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid), vitamin B6 (pyridoxine), vitamin B8 (inositol), B9 (folic acid), vitamin B12 and vitamin E.

Fatty acids in spirulina:
Myristic, palmitic, palmitoleic, heptadecanoic, stearic, oleic, linoleic and gammalinolenic.

Minerals in spirulina: Calcium, copper, chromium, germanium, iron, iodine, magnesium, manganese, phosphorous, potassium, selenium, sodium and zinc.

NOTE: In order to absorb the fat-soluble carotenoids in spirulina, it should be consumed with a fatty food such as avocado, fish, nuts or vegetable oils. To absorb the iron it should also be consumed with a vitamin C rich food.

Sprats

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

Spring onions (Allium cepa, green onions, negi, naganegi)

Spring onions are immature onions, but the name may refer to several members of the onion family. The green and white parts of the vegetable are edible and all of it should be used when adding to meals.

Spring onions are a very good source of fibre, choline, vitamin A (retinol), vitamin B1 (thiamine), vitamin B2 (riboflavin), vitamin B3 (niacin), vitamin B9 (foliate), vitamin C,  (ascorbic acid), vitamin E, vitamin K, calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese and potassium.

NOTE: Always leave spring onions for ten minutes after chopping them to allow the production of the powerful antioxidant allicin to take place. Once they are being cooked this ceases.

Sprouts (beans, seeds, whole grains and nuts)

Considered as wonder foods, sprouts rank as the freshest and most nutritious way of consuming beans, grains, nuts and seeds. By a process of natural transmutation, sprouted food acquires vastly improved digestibility and nutritional qualities when compared to non-sprouted embryo from which it derives. Sprouted foods have been part of the diet of many ancient races for thousands of years. Even to this day, the Chinese retain their fame for delicious mung beansprouts`. Sprouts provide all the essential vitamins and minerals. They should form a vital component of our diet. Sprouting requires no constant care but only the daily rinsing of water.

Sprouts are good sources of many phytonutrients plus 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.

See the Sprouting for a Healthy Micro-Diet page to find out how to grow sprouts using a jam jar and water.

Squash (Cucurbita pepo)

Squash can help to prevent cancer of the prostate and reduces the risk of heart disease, contributes to the health of the retina and lens of the eye and strengthens the immune system. Squash is a good source of vitamins C and K, beta-carotene and fibre.

Squid See Octopus

Strawberries (Fragaria x ananassa)

Strawberries protect the lungs against tobacco smoke, encourage cancer cell death and therefore protect against cancer. They also protect against brain aging and are a powerful anti-oxidant.

Nutritionist Ronald Prior, who devised the now well-known ORAC (Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity), which measures the antioxidant activity in foods, recommends we eat at least 3,500 ORAC units a day to protect from oxidative stress, which contributes to aging. Since strawberries are the fourth highest-rated fruit in ORAC, they are a good addition to the diet.

Strawberries, like other berries, are famous in the phytonutrient world as a rich source of phenols. In the strawberry, these phenols are led by the anthocyanins (especially anthocyanin 2) and by the ellagitannins. The anthocyanins in strawberry not only provide its flush red colour, they also serve as potent antioxidants that have repeatedly been shown to help protect cell structures in the body and to prevent oxygen damage in all of the body's organ systems. Strawberries' unique phenol content makes them a heart-protective fruit, an anti-cancer fruit, and an anti-inflammatory fruit, all rolled into one. The anti-inflammatory properties of strawberry include the ability of phenols in this fruit to lessen activity of the enzyme cyclo-oxygenase, or COX. Non-steriodal anti-inflamatory drugs like aspirin or ibuprofen block pain by blocking this enzyme, whose over activity has been shown to contribute to unwanted inflammation, such as that which is involved in rheumatoid and osteoarthritis, asthma, atherosclerosis, and cancer. Unlike drugs that are COX-inhibitors, however, strawberries do not cause intestinal bleeding. Strawberries and blueberries prevent age-related decline in cognitive function and protect against macular degeneration.

Strawberries are an excellent source of vitamin C, vitamin K and manganese. They also qualified as a very good source of dietary fibre and iodine as well as a good source of vitamin B2 (riboflavin), vitamin B5, vitamin B6,  vitamin B9 ( foliate), omega-3 fatty acids, copper, iron,  magnesium and potassium.

Sunflower Seeds and Oil (Helianthus annuus)

"Keep your face to the sunshine and you cannot see the shadow. It is what sunflowers do" Helen Keller

The sunflower’s name comes from the Greek 'helios', meaning sun and 'anthos', meaning “flower” and 'annus' meaning annual was from Linnaeus, as it was the only flowering plant known to him that lived for a single season. Sunflowers are very easy and enjoyable to grow but need plenty of sunshine and water as they are vigorous plants and some species can grow up to a height of ten or twelve feet. The large heads provide hundreds of nutritious seeds and the flowers are very attractive to bees.

There are powerful components in sunflower oil and the seeds that can reduce cholesterol and protect against heart disease. They can also slow down the aging process and help to fighting infection and inflammatory skin diseases. The seeds and oil of the sunflower are very rich sources of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, copper, magnesium, manganese, phosphorous, selenium, and vitamins B1, B3, B6, B9 and E.

Swede (Brassica napus, rutabaga)

The word rutabaga has been derived from the Swedish word ‘rotabagge’ where ‘rota’ means ‘root’. Commonly known as Swede, Swedish turnip or yellow turnip, rutabaga is a member of the genus Brassica.

Regular consumption of Swede can increase milk production capacity in lactating mothers. It also can increase and enhance stamina and digestion. Swede also helps in reducing wheezing in asthma patients, reduces the risk of cataract formation, supports the structure of capillaries, helps in decreasing stroke mortality, can lower high blood pressure and provides relief from constipation.

 

It also boosts the immune system, prevents cancer and heart disease and, when consumed by pregnant women before and during pregnancy, it can prevent spina bifida in the new born baby. Swede is also good to include in the diet when suffering from colds and coughs.

 

Swede can be steamed, boiled and mashed, sautéed, baked or roasted. They make a great addition to soups and dishes with a little sweetness like honey or dried fruit. As a snack cut the Swede into cubes and boil them. Toss them with raisins, chopped walnuts and a little honey. Swedes can be served fresh in salads or chopped up and served with crunchy vegetables as a snack.

 

170 g of Swede contains 66 calories. It is a good source of fibre and omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. It has a high content of carotene, vitamin C, vitamin B9 (foliate), choline, calcium, magnesium, phosphorous and potassium. Swede also provides vitamin A (retinol), vitamin B1 (thiamine), vitamin B2 (riboflavin, vitamin B3 (niacin), vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid), vitamin E, vitamin K, iron, sodium, zinc, copper, manganese and selenium.

Sweet Potato (Ipomoea batatas)

The earliest cultivation records of the sweet potato date to 750 BC in Peru, although archaeological evidence shows cultivation of the sweet potato may have begun around 2500-1850 BC. It was after 1740 that the term 'sweet potato' began to be used by American colonists to distinguish it from the white potato.

When Spanish explorers first arrived in the New World they were searching for an ocean route to India and its legendary treasures of gems, gold, silk, silver and spices. It was in the New World, now known as the Americas, that they discovered the nutritious food crops being grown by the native inhabitants that were very easy to produce and store. Three of them were corn, the white potato and the sweet potato.

Being a tropical plant, the sweet potato was found before the Irish potato by Columbus in the West Indies, Balboa in Central America and Pizarro in Peru. Like corn, it was not found growing wild, but had been cultivated by the Incan and pre-Incan tribes in Sao Paulo and Brazil for thousands of years. They had developed many varieties, as is shown by their ancient pottery. In most places in Latin America, the sweet potato is called ‘camote’, but the Incans called it ‘batata’ which is the origin of the word ‘potato’. Sweet potatoes have been one of the staple foods for the native tribes of the Americas for many centuries and they also make a permanent red dye from the mixed juices of limes and sweet potatoes.

The sweet potato was carried back to Spain and then to Italy, from where it spread to Austria, Germany, Belgium and England before the first white potatoes arrived. The Irish accepted white potato readily, but it took 200 years for the English to accept them being fit for human consumption. In contrast the sweet potato immediately became a treasured and expensive delicacy and the white potato became known as the Irish potato.

Its alleged aphrodisiac properties could be the reason for its popularity in the upper classes of 16th century England and King Henry VIII was said to consume huge amounts of sweet potatoes, especially spicy sweet potato pie. Now it is widely grown in Asia and southern Russia, the Pacific islands, tropical America and in the United States as far north as New Jersey.

Outside of the tropics, sweet potatoes only thrive in warmer temperate climates and loose sandy soil that is well drained and only produce seed in the tropical climates. In northern climates, new plants are obtained by planting roots, or cuttings of the vines, in beds. The sprouts that form are then replanted in a field, one sprout to a ‘hill’ of soil. Once they are established, they require very little watering and, unless attacked by the numerous diseases and insect pests to which they are subject, develop many potatoes in each hill. Sweet potatoes produce more pounds of food per acre than any other cultivated plant, including corn and the white potato.

Sweet potatoes are related to Morning glory and other vines but not yams as often thought and, unlike white potatoes, the leaves are also edible and nutritious whereas white potato leaves, and white potatoes that have turned green, contain 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.

Because white potatoes are members of the nightshade family, which some people have intolerances to, sweet potatoes are a good substitute. Although some people call sweet potatoes yams, the true yams originated in China and are a different plant related to the lily.

Health benefits of sweet potatoes

  • Anaemia: Because they contain iron and help with the production of red and white blood cells, they can prevent and treat anaemia.

  • Cancer: A protein isolated from sweet potatoes has recently been shown to slow the growth of colon cancer cells by 65%. It also inhibited lung and oral cancers by 50%. Other lab research has shown that sweet potato also potently inhibits leukaemia, lymphoma and liver cancer cells. And in studies on humans, eating this vegetable, either alone or with other foods, has been associated with reducing the risk of kidney cancer by 56%, gallbladder cancer by 67% and breast cancer by 30%, when consumed three times a week). They are rich in flavonoids which help to protect against all these cancers.

  • Diabetes: Sweet potatoes contains natural sugar which controls and stabilises the sugar levels in the blood. Not only do they have a low glycaemic index, but they have been shown in a clinical trial to help reduce blood sugar levels and improve insulin sensitivity in adults with type II diabetes. This may be due to their chromium content. The vitamin A in sweet potatoes can help to prevent retinal disorders that are common in people with diabetes.

  • Digestion and colon cancer: They contain high amounts of dietary fibre and thus prevent constipation and even colon cancer.

  • Emphysema: Most smokers have a lack of vitamin A and have problems with emphysema (air sacs damage). Sweet potatoes rejuvenate the respiratory system and prevent emphysema because of the high amounts of carotenoids that they contain. 100 g tuber provides 19218 µg of vitamin A and 8509 µg (micrograms) of beta-carotene.

  • Eyes: Regular consumption of sweet potatoes can improve the health of the eyes due to the rich content of vitamin A.

  • Foetal development: They are extremely beneficial to consume during pregnancy because they have high levels of folic acid which is necessary for foetal tissue health maintenance.

  • Hair disorders: The beta-carotene in the sweet potatoes prevents hair damage and improves hair growth.

  • Heart attacks and strokes: They can control and maintain normal blood pressure and balance the electrolytes due to their content of potassium. The high amount of vitamin B6 helps the function of the heart and prevents heart attacks, strokes and digestive issues.

  • Immune System: The vitamin D in sweet potatoes can help to support the immune system and is very important for maintaining the health of the thyroid gland, bones, teeth, skin and heart.

  • Obesity: One study has shown that sweet potatoes reduce appetite and food intake.

  • Premenstrual tension: The magnesium and iron contained in the sweet potatoes help to treat menstrual symptoms both before and during menstruation.

  • Stress: They contain high amounts of magnesium that helps the whole body system and functions as anti-stress agent.

  • Muscles and nerves: Components in sweet potatoes can help to normalise the heart beat and the nerve signals that are sent to the brain. The germanium and selenium also help to build muscles and prevent muscle cramps and minimise swelling.

  • Skin and mucous membranes: Vitamin A is required by the body to maintain integrity of healthy mucus membranes and skin and the anthocyanin in purple skinned potatoes can remove wrinkles, dark circles around eyes and help to reduce puffy and swollen eyes. After boiling the potatoes with their skins on keep the water and use it to clean the face for blemish free healthy skin.

Significant nutrients in sweet potatoes

Sweet potato provides 90 calories per 100 g whereas white potatoes contain 70 calories per 100. They also contain no saturated fats or cholesterol and are a good source of dietary fibre.

Sweet potatoes contain more fibre, iron, vitamins C, B9 and K and potassium but less sodium than the white potato. They also contain betaine, choline and vitamins A, B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, D and E.

They contain high amounts of beta-carotene and vitamin A which helps to maintain the health of bones, eyes and also improves the immune system.

The anti-oxidants beta-carotene, manganese, selenium and vitamins A, C and E can improve the condition of the skin and help to treat arthritis, asthma and gout.

Sweet potatoes are extremely rich in minerals such as: calcium, chromium, copper, germanium, iron, magnesium, manganese, molybdenum, nickel, phosphorous, potassium, selenium, silicon and zinc which regulate and maintain the overall health of our body.

NOTE: Sweet potatoes are also rich in omega-6 fatty acids which are inflammatory and low in omega-3 fatty acids which are anti-inflammatory, therefore the best way to consume them would be with a high omega-3 food to balance the ratio of these important fatty acids. See Fatty acids

Swiss Chard (Beta vulgaris)

Swiss chard are the leaves and stems of a species related to the beetroot plant and share the same botanical name. The leaves 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 syringic acid which has powerful blood sugar regulating properties. This flavonoid has been shown to inhibit activity of an enzyme called alpha-glucosidasewhich means 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 nine 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 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 and beetroot leaves.

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Tangerines (Citrus reticulata blanco var tangerina)

Tangerines are in the mandarin family. Satsuma, kinnow and the popular clementine are sister fruits and are easy to peel and highly nutritious. People who have a difficult time digesting oranges can find tangerines more agreeable.

The two flavonoids found in tangerines are tangeretin and nobiletin. Tangeretin is 36 times more powerful than hesperestin at halting the proliferation of breast-cancer and skin cancer cells. The flavonoid nobiletin has been shown to be almost as strong. Both of these flavonoids can also function as blood thinners and are anti-inflammatory, so with a liberal supply of vitamin C, there is good indication that tangerines may help prevent heart attacks.

Nobiletin prevents obesity and protects against Type II diabetes and atherosclerosis, which is the underlying disease responsible for most heart attacks and strokes. 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. It also lowers bad cholesterol levels.

Nobiletin also prevents cancer of the stomach and the colon. In large amounts reduces the risk of cataracts. Helps the body absorb iron and reduces the risk of anaemia.

Tangerines are a good source of beta cryptoxanthin, which has been shown to reduce the inflammation that is caused by arthritis. They also provide a generous supply of eye-protecting lutein.

A small tangerine has vitamin A, vitamin C, naringenin, naringin, hesperetin, carotenes, xanthins and lutein; several times higher than in a large orange. They’re also a good source of beta-cryptoxanthin, lycopene, nobiletin, tangeretin, vitamin A, vitamin B1, vitamin B2, vitamin B3, vitamin B5, vitamin B6, vitamin B9 (foliate), vitamin K, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium and fibre.

Tapioca (Manihot esculenta)

Tapioca comes from Cassava or Manioc and is a popular tropical crop native to the Amazon, Brazil, Colombia and Venezuela as well as the Caribbean islands. It is derived from the cassava or manioc root, a tuberous root indigenous to South America. But now it is now cultivated in mass quantities in parts of Asia and Africa.

Tapioca is high in calories and carbohydrates and provides small amounts of choline, omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids, protein, vitamin B5, vitamin B6 and vitamin B9 but is rich in the minerals calcium, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorous, potassium, selenium, sodium and zinc.

Tatsoi (Brassica narinosa, Brassica rapa var. rosularis, rosette pak choi, flat cabbage)

Tatsoi is an Asian green leafy brassica similar to bok choy which can be eaten raw in salads or sprouted. Tatsoi is a rich source of beta-carotene, vitamin A, vitamin C and vitamin K and also contains good amounts of calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium and zinc. See the Nature Cures Micro Diet Sprouting page.

Tea (Camililias senensis)

It is no wonder the British are a nation of great tea drinkers like the Chinese. Tea is a highly beneficial, medicinal and nutritious alternative to coffee that has so many dangerous side effects and very little nutritional benefit due to the coffee bean roasting process and pesticide use. Tea leaves are simply dried so they do not lose their essential nutrients. See Dangers of coffee.

In moderation, tea is a useful nervous-system stimulant and can reduce mental and physical stress and producing feelings of relaxation plus improve cognition and mood. It regulates breathing, digestion and circulation and is useful for diarrhoea, sinusitis, flu, herpes, and teeth cavities. It an also reduce the risk of strokes, stabilizes the heart, calms the nerves, regulates the heart beat, regulates bodily fluids and prevents dehydration, good for water retention sufferers, promotes healthy eyes and skin, aids in building bones and healing wounds, inhibits the growth of many pre-cancerous tumours, can lower LDL cholesterol and increase the blood levels of HDL good cholesterol.

Tea can also help to maintain precise communication between the central nervous system and the brain. There are also the nutrients found in tea that helps speed up the body’s metabolism through the break down of fat, help in the prevention of heart disease, lowers the risk of strokes in the elderly and helps in the prevention of kidney failure.

Black and green maintains steady blood sugar levels so is good for those suffering with Type II diabetes. Also persons suffering from water retention (enema) may benefit greatly from drinking tea and should eat a banana or two per day as well. Drinking three cups a day can also lower the blood pressure.

Green tea, and to a lesser extent black 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 an excellent source of EGCG and the other catechins but adding milk to the tea can destroy the effects of the phenolics.

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.

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 carotenoids, 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

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, lemon or some mango if having tea with a meal or snack.

Adding one teaspoon of milk to a cup of tea provides 25% of the recommended daily amount of calcium. Full cream milk is best drunk with tea to absorb the carotenoids which are fat-soluble. 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.

Teff (Eragrostis tef)

Teff is believed to have originated in Ethiopia between 4000 and 1000BC. The grain can be used by celiacs (the gluten in teff does not contain the a-gliadin-fraction that causes a reaction in those with celiac disease) and has a high concentration of protein, carbohydrates, fibre, vitamin B1 (thiamine), aluminium, barium, boron, calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, phosphorus and zinc.  It is considered to have an excellent amino acid composition, including all essential amino acids for humans and is higher in lysine than wheat or barley.

It helps the body absorb calcium and decreases the amount of calcium that is lost in urine. If teff is fed to children with foods rich in the amino acid arginine, it can increase collagen production and boost the activity of bone-building cells helping to prevent osteoporosis in later life. It can also prevent recurring outbreaks of cold sores from the herpes simplex virus, genital herpes and shingles.

Tempeh

A great substitute for meat or tofu, tempeh is a fermented, probiotic-rich grain made from soy beans. A great source of vitamin B12, this vegetarian food can be sautéed, baked or eaten crumbled on salads. If prepared correctly, tempeh is also very low in salt, which makes it an ideal choice for those on a low-sodium diet.

Thymus Extract

Glandular or organotherapy, which refers to the use of animal tissues or cell preparations to improve physiologic functioning and support the natural healing process, first gained popularity in the early to mid 1900s. The idea of homeopathic glandular therapy was first introduced around 200 years ago.

Thymus extract as a nutritional supplement in capsule and tablet form is usually derived from young calves (bovine). It is commonly used to treat primary immune deficient states, bone marrow failure, autoimmune disorders, chronic skin diseases, recurrent viral and bacterial infections, hepatitis, allergies, chemotherapy side effects and cancer. Most basic and clinical research involving oral and injectable thymus extract has been conducted in Europe.

Clinical trials in humans suggest promising results in terms of allergies, asthma, cancer, chemotherapeutic side effects, cardiomyopathy, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, HIV/AIDS, immune system stimulation, liver disease, respiratory tract infections, systemic lupus erythematosus and tuberculosis. However, not all study results agree and properly randomized, double-blind clinical trials are still needed in many fields.

Future areas of research include (but are not limited to) rheumatoid arthritis, warts, urinary tract infections, psoriasis, eczema, alopecia (hair loss) and appendicitis.

Tofu

A very good source of protein, specifically soy protein, as well as numerous other nutrients necessary for good health. Prevents breast cancer. Reduces prostate cancer. Lowers blood cholesterol levels. Reduces the risks of osteoporosis and eliminates the symptoms of menopause. Research on soy protein in recent years has shown that regular intake of soy protein can help to lower total cholesterol levels by as much as 30%, lower LDL (bad cholesterol) levels by as much as 35-40%, lower triglyceride levels, reduce the tendency of platelets to form blood clots, and possibly even raise levels of HDL (good cholesterol).

All of this sounds very good for people trying to avoid atherosclerosis or diabetic heart disease. High LDL cholesterol levels can lead to a build up of cholesterol deposits in the blood vessels. If these deposits get too large or break, they can cause a heart attack or stroke. Triglycerides are a form in which fats are transported in the blood, so high triglyceride levels, which are often seen in diabetes, can also contribute to the development and growth of these dangerous cholesterol deposits and heart disease. And blood clots can be another major problem for people with heart disease, since they can precipitate a heart attack or stroke. Soy protein, however, can address all of these issues, leading to a greatly reduced risk of heart disease.

Soy has also been shown to be helpful in alleviating the symptoms associated with menopause. Soy foods, like tofu, contain phytoestrogens, specifically the isoflavones, genistein and diadzein. In a woman's body, these compounds can dock at estrogen receptors and act like very, very weak estrogens. During perimenopause, when a woman's estrogen fluctuates, rising to very high levels and then dropping below normal, soy's phytoestrogens can help her maintain balance, blocking out estrogen when levels rise excessively high, plus filling in for estrogen when levels are low. When women's production of natural estrogen drops at menopause, soy's isoflavones may provide just enough estrogenic activity to prevent or reduce uncomfortable symptoms, like hot flashes. The results of intervention trials suggest that soy isoflavones may also promote the resorption of bone and therefore inhibit postmenopausal osteoporosis.

Additionally, most types of tofu are enriched with calcium, which can help prevent the accelerated bone loss for which women are at risk during menopause. Calcium has also been found useful in rheumatoid arthritis, a condition in which calcium may help to reduce the bone loss that can occur as a result of this disease. Tofu is a good source of calcium. Four-ounces supply about 10% RDA for calcium and contain only 70-90 calories. Tofu contains vitamin B9 (folic acid), protein, isoflavones, calcium and iron.

Tomatoes (Lycopersicon esculentum, Solanum lycopersicum, nightshade family)

Carotenoids found in tomatoes (and everything made from them) has been extensively studied for its antioxidant and cancer-preventing properties. The antioxidant function of lycopene - its ability to help protect cells and other structures in the body from oxygen damage - has been linked in human research to the protection of DNA (our genetic material) inside of white blood cells. Prevention of heart disease has been shown to be another antioxidant role of lycopene. Lycopene has also been shown to help protect not only against prostate, but breast, pancreatic and intestinal cancers, especially when consumed with fat-rich foods, such as avocado, olive oil or nuts. (This is because carotenoids are fat-soluble, meaning they are absorbed into the body along with fats.)

In addition to lycopene, tomatoes are rich in nutrients that have been shown in many studies to be helpful for all of the above conditions. For example, tomatoes are an excellent source of vitamin C and vitamin A, the latter notably through its concentration of carotenoids including beta-carotene. These antioxidants travel through the body neutralising dangerous free radicals that could otherwise damage cells and cell membranes, escalating inflammation and the progression or severity of atherosclerosis, diabetic complications, asthma, and colon cancer. In fact, high intakes of these antioxidants have been shown to help reduce the risk or severity of all of these illnesses. Lowers the risk of prostate, mouth, oesophagus, stomach, colon cancers, reduces heart disease and stimulates mental and physical activity in the elderly.

Although the antioxidant level in cooked tomatoes is significantly raised vitamin C is lost during the heating process.

Tomatoes contain beta-carotene, copper, lycopene, manganese, molybdenum, phosphorous, potassium and vitamins B3, B6, B7, B9, C, E and K.

NOTE: In order to absorb the fat-soluble beta carotene, in tomatoes and other vegetables, they must be eaten with fat-rich foods such as cold-pressed nut, seed or other plant oils like coconut, olive, rapeseed, sesame oil or fish oils or avocado. Although the antioxidant level in tomatoes is significantly raised when they are cooked, vitamin C is lost during the heating process.

Torula Yeast (Candida utilis)

A species of yeast that grows on wood sugars obtained as a by-product of the paper manufacturing process, on sugar cane or on sulphite liquors. It is rich in glutamic acid which gives it a smoky, savoury taste. Torula yeast has become a popular replacement for the flavour enhancer E621 monosodium glutamate (MSG) among manufacturers marketing 'natural' products.

It is also used in pet foods, in beekeeping and as an attractant in traps designed to control olive flies.

Torula yeast is a rich source of fibre, protein, vitamin B1 (thiamine), vitamin B2 (riboflavin), vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid), calcium, iron, phosphorous, potassium and sodium. It also contains some vitamin A and vitamin C but does not contain vitamin B12 as some mistakenly believe.

NOTE: if suffering from any virus infections, especially herpes, candidiasis or yeast infections yeast extract and products are best avoided. 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.

Some nutritional yeasts can interact with medications. Those who are on Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitor antidepressants (MAOIs) or Type 1 diabetes medication are especially at risk.

Tree Turmeric (Cosceinium fenestratum, Berberis aristata) See the A-Z of Herbs and Spices.

Trout

Tuna (fresh only) 

Turbot

Turkey See Poultry and Game Birds

Turnips and Turnip Greens (Brassica rapa, neep)

Turnip greens are supercharged with so many different nutrients, their consumption can help prevent or heal a wide range of health conditions and bacterial infections. Since turnip greens are an excellent source of vitamin A (through their concentration of carotenoids such as beta-carotene), vitamin E and dietary fibre, two examples of conditions for which they may be of special importance are rheumatoid arthritis and atherosclerosis. Turnips prevent blood clots and arterial blockages, reduce the risks of heart disease, prevents a variety of cancers, especially colorectal and protects against the damages caused by nicotine.

Brassicas like turnips are also a good source of 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, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium and zinc.

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Veal

Veal from calves contains far less fat than lean beef. It is a particularly good meat to add to the diet as an easily digested protein source especially for those that are elderly, poorly, obese, alcoholic, taking medications or having digestion or bowel problems.

Veal is a very rich source of protein, vitamin B12, vitamin B3 (niacin), zinc and contains a good amount of  the following nutrients: alanine, arginine, ash, aspartic acid, cystine, decanoic acid, dodecanoic acid, eicosatetraenoic acid, fatty acids, glutamic acid, glycine, hexadecanoic acid, histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, octadecadienoic acid, octadecanoic acid, octadecatrienoic acid, octadecenoic acid, phenylalanine, proline, serine, tetradecanoic acid, threonine, tryptophan, tyrosine, valine, vitamins B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B9, B12, E, calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorous, potassium, selenium, sodium and zinc.

Venison

Venison is  a very lean, highly nutritious and a very healthy alternative to other red meats but is sadly neglected in the modern diet. A 4oz serving of venison provides 82% RDA of protein and just 216 calories and only 2.2g of fat. It also provides the following RDA of essential nutrients tryptophan (112.5%), vitamin B1 (257.8%), vitamin B2  (44.1%), vitamin B3 (42.1%), vitamin B6 (27.5%), iron (31.5%), phosphorus (29.5%), selenium (28.6%) and zinc (65.3%).

In comparison to beef, a well known source of iron, venison provides well-absorbed iron for less calories and fat. Iron is an integral component of haemoglobin, which transports oxygen from the lungs to all body cells and is also part of key enzyme systems for energy production and metabolism. Venison is especially valuable for menstruating, pregnant or lactating women, those suffering with anaemia, blood disorders, Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's disease, depression and for growing children and adolescents who have increased needs for iron.

Vetch (Vicia sativa)

Bitter vetch was one of the first domesticated crops. It was grown in the Near East about 9,500 years ago, starting perhaps even one or two millennia earlier during the pre-pottery Neolithic age. Vetch has been found at Neolithic and Eneolithic sites in Bulgaria, Hungary and Slovakia.

Vetch is a good source of vitamin B17 which is a the staple food consumed daily by some indigenous tribes that still do not develop any cancers to this day.

Vinegar

Vinegar is anti bacterial, anti-fungal, cooling and decongestant and can help to cleanse the liver. See Liver Cleansers. All vinegars are good but apple cider vinegar and white wine vinegar having even more powerful healing and cleansing properties. Some of the other benefits of vinegar are:

Regular consumption of raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar can also promote weight loss and it is a good source of acetic acid. Studies have found that obese people who consumed acetic acid daily for 12 weeks enjoyed a significant decrease in body weight, abdominal fat, waist circumference and triglycerides. The acetic acid also helps prevent build-up of body fat and certain liver fats. Take one tablespoon per day in warm water.

Apple cider vinegar contains pectin, a water-soluble fibre that promotes bowel movements. This makes it a great natural treatment for constipation. Add two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar to a glass of water and drink it three times a day. Add apple or grape juice to the mix to make it more palatable.

The body produces insulin to manage the level of sugar in the blood. The anti-glycaemic effects of apple cider vinegar help improve insulin sensitivity. People who have insulin resistance should have a dose of apple cider vinegar with each meal. Mix one teaspoon of apple cider vinegar with one glass of filtered water. Drink this three times daily to steady the stomach’s digestion rate, which in turn increases the time the body has to process new sugars and keeps the blood sugar levels more stable. See Diabetes.

Apple cider vinegar helps remove stains and kill bacteria in the mouth and gums. Gargle with apple cider vinegar every morning and then brush teeth as usual. Regularly eating apples also helps, as the crunchy fruit scrubs the teeth like a toothbrush.

Use externally for spots, acne, bruises, burns, insect bites, rashes, sprains and sunburn. It also can help to fade age spots and can soothes tired and aching feet. Vinegar also makes an effective and powerful natural household cleaner. See Health and Hygiene.

A solution of apple cider vinegar and water, mixed in equal proportions, makes a wonderful natural hair conditioner as it helps to nourish the hair, giving it a shine and soft texture. It is also effective as a home remedy for dandruff as it destroys the fungus that causes dandruff and restores the pH balance of the scalp. To treat dandruff, apply a 50/50 mixture of water and apple cider vinegar to the scalp, leave it on for 15 minutes to an hour and then rinse it out. Follow this remedy once or twice in a week.

NOTE: Do not take apple cider vinegar in excess for more than two weeks as it may decrease potassium levels in the body.

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Wakame (Undaria pinnatifida)

Wakame has been farmed by the Japanese since the Nara period of 710 AD to 794 AD. It is the brown algae used to flavour Asian soups and salads and often found in miso soup and sushi rolls. It contains the carotenoid called fucoxanthin that helps promote fat burning proteins and promotes the synthesis in the liver of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), the fatty acid  found in fish oils. Consuming wakame regularly can help with weight loss and blood sugar control which can help to prevent and treat diabetes.

Walnuts (Juglans regia)

An excellent source of omega-3 essential fatty acids, a special type of protective fat the body cannot manufacture. Walnuts' concentration of omega-3s (a quarter-cup provides 90.8% of the daily value for these essential fats) has many potential health benefits ranging from cardiovascular protection, to the promotion of better cognitive function, to anti-inflammatory benefits helpful in asthma, rheumatoid arthritis, and inflammatory skin diseases such as eczema and psoriasis. In addition, walnuts contain an antioxidant compound called ellagic acid that supports the immune system and appears to have several anticancer properties. Walnuts are a very good source of manganese and a good source of copper.

Adding walnuts to your diet can be an important step in improving your cardiovascular health. Walnuts are an important source of monounsaturated fats-- approximately 15% of the fat found in walnuts is healthful monounsaturated fat. A host of studies have shown that increasing the dietary intake of monounsaturated-dense walnuts has favourable effects on high cholesterol levels and other cardiovascular risk factors. In addition to their heart-protective monounsaturated fats, walnuts' concentration of omega-3 essential fatty acids is also responsible for the favourable effects walnut consumption produces on cardiovascular risk factors. Omega-3s benefit the cardiovascular system by helping to prevent erratic heart rhythms, making blood less likely to clot inside arteries (which is the proximate cause of most heart attacks), and improving the ratio of good (HDL) cholesterol to potentially harmful (LDL) cholesterol. Omega-3s also reduce inflammation, which is a key component in the processes that turn cholesterol into artery-clogging plaques.

Since walnuts contain relatively high levels of l-arginine, an essential amino acid, they may also be of special import when it comes to hypertension. In the body (specifically within those hard-working blood vessels), l-arginine is converted into nitric oxide, a chemical that helps keep the inner walls of blood vessels smooth and allows blood vessels to relax. Since individuals with hypertension have a harder time maintaining normal nitric oxide levels, which may also relate to other significant health issues such as diabetes and heart problems, walnuts can serve as a great addition to their diets.

Walnuts have often been thought of as a "brain food," not only because of the wrinkled brain-like appearance of their shells, but because of their high concentration of omega-3 fats. Your brain is more than 60% structural fat. For your brain cells to function properly, this structural fat needs to be primarily the omega-3 fats found in walnuts, flaxseed and cold-water fish. This is because the membranes of all our cells, including our brain cells or neurons, are primarily composed of fats. Cell membranes are the gatekeepers of the cell. Anything that wants to get into or out of a cell must pass through the cell's outer membrane. And omega-3 fats, which are especially fluid and flexible, make this process a whole lot easier, thus maximizing the cell's ability to usher in nutrients while eliminating wastes--definitely a good idea, especially when the cell in question is in your brain.

Walnuts also contain an antioxidant compound called ellagic acid, which blocks the metabolic pathways that can lead to cancer. Ellagic acid not only helps protect healthy cells from free radical damage, but also helps detoxify potential cancer-causing substances and helps prevent cancer cells from replicating.

Melatonin, a hormone produced by the pineal gland, which is involved in inducing and regulating sleep and is also a powerful antioxidant, has been discovered in walnuts in bio-available form, making them the perfect evening food for a natural good night's sleep.

NOTE: Eat just five walnut halves a day to receive full benefits. If consumed before bed they will help to provide a restful sleep.

Wasabi (Wasabia japonica)

Wasabi is a paste made from the ground up root of this cruciferous Japanese brassica vegetable. It has been used for centuries in Japan because it can kills harmful food-borne bacteria, reduce blood pressure, kill cancer cells, improve bone strength and liver function, detoxify the body of free radicals and improve gut actions. It is naturally anti-viral, anti-microbial, anti-bacterial and stimulates the body's natural immune system.

Glucoraphanin, which transforms into sulforaphane in the body, is found in brassicas like wasabi 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.

Wasabi may cause temporary inflammation of the throat and sinuses but can help to reduce inflammation in other parts of the body.

Many unscrupulous restaurants and manufacturers will create a cheaper wasabi substitute from mustard, horseradish and food colourings. This does not provide the same set of nutritional benefits as real wasabi so care needs to be taken to ensure that the wasabi being consumed is actually from the wasabi plant itself.

Water

Watercress (Nasturtium officinale, rorippa)

Hippocrates knew about the powerful properties of watercress and even built his hospital next to a river where watercress grew wild so he could give it to his patients.

Watercress detoxifies the blood and warms and stimulates the system. It also aids with digestion and can help those prone to arthritis, bladder stones, eczema gout, kidney stones, rheumatism and psoriasis. It also helps to clear catarrh in chest infections.

The inorganic mineral compounds in watercress of iridium and rhodium protect against cancer. The compound, phenylethyl isothiocyanate, which gives watercress its peppery taste, is also able to interfere with the function of a protein that plays a critical role in cancer development.

Externally, watercress can be helpful for boils, cold sores, haemorrhoids, rashes ulcers and wound healing.

Watercress is also a good source of beta carotene, choline, lutien and zeaxanthin, quercetin, vitamins A, B1, B6, B9, C, K and E plus minerals calcium, iodine, iron, magnesium, phosphorous, potassium and zinc.

Watermelon  (Citrullus lanatus)

Watermelon contains 90% water, 50 calories, citrulline, vitamin C, has just a trace of fat without cholesterol and is an important source of potassium. It reduces the inflammation that contributes to conditions like asthma, atherosclerosis, diabetes, colon cancer and arthritis. It is fat free, nutritionally low in calories and considered an ideal diet food and is high in energy, making it a great energy booster. Watermelon can also relieve post exercise muscle soreness due to it's citrulline content. Watermelon seeds help the body eliminate excess water.

Wheat (Triticum sativum, hard red winter, hard white, durum)

Regular concumption of wheat can prevent cancer of the colon, lower the risk of breast cancer, prevent and cure arterial blockages and hence lower the risk of heart disease. Wheat contains good levels of fibre, protein, caprylic acid, lauric acid, myristic acid, palmitic acid, palmitoleic acid, stearic acid, oleic acid, linoleic acid, linolenic acid, gadoleic acid, histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, cystine, phenylalanine, tyrosine, threonine, tryptophan, valine, arginine, alanine, aspartic acid, glutamic acid, glycine, proline, serine, vitamin A (retinol), vitamin B1 (thiamine), vitamin B2 (riboflavin), vitamin B3 (niacin), vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid), vitamin B6 (pyridoxine), vitamin B9 (foliate), calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium and zinc.

NOTE: Avoid wheat if suffering from gluten intolerance or intestinal upsets as it can irritate the stomach lining. Amaranth or quinoa are good alternatives. See Food Allergies.

Wheatgrass (Triticum aestivum)

Wheatgrass is the young wheat cereal and that has concentrated amounts of the the nutrients listed above for wheat.

Wheatgrass can be beneficial in promoting the production of haemoglobin which is responsible for carrying oxygen in the blood. Adequate amounts of haemoglobin in the blood can help with improving blood sugar related disorders, improving healing of wounds and infections and can help prevent infections. Wheatgrass has anti-inflammatory properties that are beneficial for arthritis. Other benefits include prevention of grey hair, reduction of high blood pressure and lowering of cholesterol.

Health disorders wheatgrass can help to treat are anaemia, arthritis, asthma, atherosclerosis, bowel disorders, bronchitis, cancer, colds, constipation, diabetes, dysentery, eczema, flatulence, fluid retention, haemorrhage, hypertension, infertility, insomnia,  jaundice, joint pains, menstruation, mental debility, sterility, obesity, Parkinson’s disease, weakness, tooth problems and tuberculosis.

Wheatgrass can be grown easily at home as a sprout see the Nature Cures Micro Diet Sprout page.

Whelks (Buccinum undatum)

Whelks are carnivorous snails living below the tide line and often found in and on lobster pots. There are 137 calories in a 100g of whelks plus 65mg cholesterol and 24g of protein, 26mcg vitamin A (retinol), 0.026mg vitamin B1 (thiamine), 0.107mg vitamin B2 (riboflavin), 1.050mg vitamin B3 (niacin), 0.208mg vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid), 0.342mg vitamin B6 (pyridoxine), 6mcg vitamin B9 (foliate), 9mcg of vitamin B12 (cyanocobalamin), 4mg vitamin C, 65mg choline, 57mg calcium, 1,030mg copper, 5mg iron, 86mg magnesium, 141mg phosphorus, 347mg potassium, 49mg selenium, 206 gm sodium and 1.63mg of zinc.

Whelks also provide the following important phytonutrients: 1.556g alanine, 2.468g arginine, 2.563g aspartic acid, 0.187g cystine, 3.669g glutamic acid, 1.495g glycine, 0.488g histidine, 0.828g isoleucine,1.903g leucine, 1.465g lysine, 0.603g methionine, 0.824g phenylalanine, 1.182g proline, 1.110g serine, 1.068g threonine, 0.309g tryptophan, 0.759g tyrosine and 1.037g valine.

Whey and Colostrum

Whey is converted to powders from milk solids.

Colostrum is raw unpasteurised milk from the mother cow's first feeding of calves, which is converted into a powder.

Both whey and colostrum must come from bovine sources that are grass fed and not hormone or antibiotic injected in order to boost the presence of glutathione in the human body when ingested. Glutathione is an vital amino acid located within every cell of the human body.

Whey and colostrum contain proteins like alpha lactalbumin which is is rich in sulphur containing amino acids. Heating or pasteurization destroys the delicate disulphide bonds that give these proteins their bioactivity. Whey and colostrum which is non-heated preserves bioactive amino acids like cysteine.

Glutathione is a potent antioxidant, protecting fatty tissues from the damaging effects of free radicals. The antioxidant activity of glutathione is attributed specifically to the presence of cysteine in the compound. Glutathione also plays a vital role in the detoxification of harmful substances in the liver such as drugs and pollutants and can chelate (attach to) heavy metals such as lead, mercury and cadmium. As an immune system booster and a detoxifier it can help the body repair damage caused by stress, pollution, radiation, infection, drugs, poor diet, aging, injury, trauma and burns. Glutathione has the potential to fight almost any disease, particularly those associated with aging, since free radical damage is the cause of many of the diseases of old age. It can also treat chronic fatigue syndrome.

Whitebait Fish

Relieve symptoms of psoriasis, reduces the risk of heart disease, maintains bone density and prevents anaemia. Whitebait is a rich source of vitamins D and E, protein, EPA, DHA and omega-3 fatty acids.

Whole grains

 

Cereal grains that contain cereal germ, endosperm and bran, in contrast to refined grains, which retain only the endosperm and far less nutrients. Whole grains are an essential daily dietary requirement due to the fibre and nutritional content which allows absorption and manufacture of nutrients in the intestines by feeding the friendly bacteria in the gut. Whole grains also aid digestion and expulsion of waste materials. They are quite often lacking in the modern day diet which is likely the cause of many illnesses and diseases.

  • Amaranth is not a grain but a seed and is high in fibre and nutrient rich, with a high concentration of lysine, an essential amino acid.

  • Barley flakes: made from lightly toasted pearled barley rolled into flakes.

  • Buckwheat is a distant cousin to rhubarb and is not related to wheat or other grains at all.

  • Bulgur wheat partially cooked cracked wheat. It’s quick cooking and delicious in grain salads like tabouleh.

  • Cracked wheat refers to wheat berries that have been cracked into small pieces.

  • Farro belongs to the wheat family. It’s rich in fibre, magnesium, and vitamins A, B, C and E.

  • Kamut an ancient Egyptian wheat which was recently rediscovered. Kamut is richer in protein than most whole grains.

  • Millet This mild, very digestible grain is suitable for a wheat free diet. It also has a good balance of essential amino acids

  • Pearl Barley is lightly milled to retain all of the germ and at least two thirds of the bran

  • Popcorn has a hard protein outer layer covering its inner starch layers

  • Quinoa is a small dried seed (not a grain) containing high protein, fibre, magnesium, coenzyme Q10 and many other nutrients

  • Oats are a good source of B vitamins and minerals, including calcium, phosphorus and iron.

  • Rye is a high-protein, low-gluten grain is more slowly digested than other grains.

  • Spelt has 30% more protein then wheat but also contains gluten..

  • Steel cut oats are steamed and cut whole oat groats (hulled grains).

  • Teff is an ancient grain which is a rich source of calcium, magnesium, boron, copper, phosphorus and zinc. Teff contains twice as much iron as wheat and barley. This grain can be used by celiacs (the gluten in teff does not contain the a-gliadin-fraction that causes a reaction in those with celiac disease)

  • Vetch is one of the first cultivated grains. It is a good source of vitamin B17 which is a the staple food consumed daily by some indigenous tribes that still do not develop any cancers to this day.

  • Wheat high protein grain but can cause irritation to the intestines and many other health issues. See Food Allergies

NOTE: Flour can be made from many other foods besides grains. Good choices are coconut flour, rice flour and flour made from nuts and seeds. Invest in an electric flour mill to experiment making your own nutritious flour without any unhealthy additives or processes often used to make shop bought flour.

 

NOTE: Because all these grains (as well as legumes, nuts and seeds) contain high levels of phytic acid which inhibits absorption of minerals such as calcium, iron, magnesium and zinc it is important to soak, sprout or ferment them before consumption. For more information see Phytic acid.

 

NOTE: Barley, rye, spelt and wheat contain gluten which many are unaware they may be allergic too. See Gluten Intolerance.

 

NOTE: Whole grains contain lectins which many also do not realise they cannot tolerate. See Lectin Intolerance.

Winged Beans (Psophocarpus tetragonolobus, goa bean, asparagus pea, four-angled bean, princess pea, winged pea)

The Asian winged bean is known as ''a supermarket on a stalk'' because it combines the desirable characteristics of the green bean, garden pea, spinach, mushroom, soybean, bean sprout and potato. Save for the stalk, virtually the entire plant is fit for human consumption, from flowers and leaves to tuberous roots and seeds. The winged bean seed rivals the soybean in quantity and quality of its protein. Studies have shown that like many other legumes, when combined with corn it has the protein value of milk.

The amazing versatility and very nigh nutritional value were only discovered in the western world around 2007. The leaves are like spinach in taste and nutritive value; the flowers, sweetened by nectar, can be sautéed to produce a food that resembles mushrooms; the immature pods are like green beans; the immature seeds are like green peas; the mature dry seeds are like soybeans, and the roots of many varieties produce tubers like potatoes, but are much richer in protein than the potato, yam or cassava. One Indonesian researcher has produced a coffee substitute by roasting and grinding the seeds and has made a tobacco substitute from the dried leaves. Even the dried pod left after the seeds are removed can be used.  It can be grown in poor, sandy or clay soils without added fertilizer because bacteria that grow on its roots are capable of capturing large amounts of atmospheric nitrogen and converting it to a form usable by the plant. In fact, if the winged bean stalk is ploughed back after all edible portions of the plant have been harvested, it will add nitrogen to the soil.

Winged beans contain tocopherol rich oil which improves utilisation of vitamin A in humans. Also contains beta sitosterol an effective compound for treating benign prostatic hyperplasia and for lowering LDL cholesterol levels. The betulinic acid and erucic acid compounds in winged beans have been proven to be effective against various types of cancers especially skin, lung, cervical, breast, colon and prostate cancers.

Winged beans are rich source of beta sitosterol, betulinic acid, delphinidin, erucic acid, quercitin, phytonutrients, protein, fibre, starch, 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.

X

Xigua See Watermelon

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Yacon Root