We always watch our diet, it's harder when you get older to stay in control of your weight. One basic rule for us is, if it's white we do not eat it, like white potatoes. Our deciding factor is the glycemic index of the food items. Sweet potatoes decrease the risk of obesity, diabetes, heart disease and overall mortality while promoting a healthy complexion, increased energy, and overall lower weight.
One medium sweet potato (2" diameter, 5" long, approximately 114 grams) provides 162 calories, 0 grams of fat, 37 grams of carbohydrate (including 6 grams of fiber and 12 grams of sugar), and 3.6 grams of protein according to the USDA's national nutrient database.
One medium sweet potato will provide well over 100% of your daily needs for vitamin A, as well as 37% of vitamin C, 16% of vitamin B-6, 10% of pantothenic acid, 15% of potassium and 28% of manganese. You'll also find small amounts of calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, vitamin E, thiamin, riboflavin and folate.
Sweet potatoes are a great source of beta-carotene, a powerful antioxidant known to give orange vegetables and fruits their vibrant color, which is converted to vitamin A in the body. Consuming foods rich in beta-carotene may reduce the risk of developing certain types of cancer, offer protection against asthma and heart disease and delay aging and body degeneration.
Sweet potatoes are considered low on the glycemic index scale, and recent research suggests they may reduce episodes of low blood sugar and insulin resistance in people with diabetes. One medium sweet potato provides about 6 grams of fiber (skin on). The Dietary Guidelines recommends 21-25 grams of fiber per day for women and 30-38 grams per day for men.
Maintaining a low sodium intake is essential to lowering blood pressure, however increasing potassium intake may be just as important. One medium sweet potato provides about 542 milligrams. If you suffer from leg cramps at night you know potassium is a benefit.
Among men, diets rich in beta-carotene may play a protective role against prostate cancer, according to a study conducted by the Harvard School of Public Health's Department of Nutrition. Beta-carotene has also been shown to have an inverse association with the development of colon cancer.
Digestion and Regularity
Because of its high fiber content, sweet potatoes help to prevent constipation and promote regularity for a healthy digestive tract. Not only are they good for you but my elderly dog suffers from digestion issues. A little cooked sweet potatoes mixed into her food really seems to help, and she loves them.
For women of childbearing age, consuming more iron from plant sources appears to promote fertility, according Harvard Medical School's Harvard Health Publications. The vitamin A in sweet potatoes is also essential during pregnancy and lactation for hormone synthesis.
Sweet potatoes are high in both vitamin C and beta-carotene which offer an immunity boost from their powerful combination of nutrients. Vitamin C is important to help ward off cold and flu viruses, and plays an important role in bone and tooth formation, digestion, and blood cell formation. It helps accelerate wound healing, produces collagen which helps maintain skin’s youthful elasticity, and is essential to helping us cope with stress.
Choline is a very important and versatile nutrient in sweet potatoes that helps with sleep, muscle movement, learning and memory. Choline also helps to maintain the structure of cellular membranes, aids in the transmission of nerve impulses, assists in the absorption of fat and reduces chronic inflammation.
According to Duke ophthalmologist Jill Koury, MD, vitamin A deficiency causes the outer segments of the eye's photoreceptors to deteriorate, damaging normal vision. Correcting vitamin A deficiencies with foods high in beta-carotene will restore vision. Also, the antioxidant vitamins C and E in sweet potatoes have been shown to support eye health and prevent degenerative damage.
For more information:
Medical News Today
Health Benefits of Sweet Potatoes, by Megan JWare RDN LD
Written by Megan Ware RDN LD
Care 2 Healthy Living
9 Health Benefits of Sweet Potatoes
by Michelle Schoffro Cook
Turmeric is one of my favorite spices, I take it for my joints and this is a good recipe that you can use on your face. If you suffer from inflammation due to rosacea, acne, eczema or other skin issues this mask is worth a try.
There are many variations but below you will find the basic recipe. I find half the recipe is plenty for one application.
1 teaspoon of turmeric
1 teaspoon of raw organic honey
1 teaspoon of milk (or natural yogurt or kefir)
Add a bit oat flour, or any whole grain flour to thicken
Optional ingredients to add – you can add to the above mixture 1 tsp. of lemon juice (helps lighten the skin and good for oily skin) and/or a few drops of tea tree essential oil if you suffer from acne.
Why is this mask so great?
Turmeric is a good antioxidant, and an anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial agent. Honey is also an anti-bacterial and it moisturizes the skin well. Milk contains lactic acid, which is an alpha hydroxy acid and it exfoliates the skin. Together, these three ingredients make wonders for your skin.
Put turmeric into a little bowl, add honey, then milk or yogurt. Add a bit of flour to thicken up the mixture. You can adjust the amount of milk to make the paste more or less thick, but make sure it’s a firm paste that will stick to your face.
Turmeric is a dye and it can stain anything, so you don’t want it dripping off your face. Also use an old wash cloth, and towel that you don't mind getting stained.
This is gentle enough for all skin types, most people especially those with acne or eczema can benefit from this mask. It is recommend to use it 3 to 4 times the first week and then weekly afterward, depending on the needs of your skin.
As with any natural remedy, it’s important to listen to your body. If you show any signs of inflammation, or allergic reaction, stop using the mask.
This recipe makes more than enough for one application You can keep it in the fridge as long as the yogurt or milk stays fresh.
By Yuri Elkaim
Saturday I was at a festival and one of my customers was looking at the spices I had from Country Life Natural Foods, our Co-Op. She said, " I have no idea how to use coriander in cooking". That got me thinking, she might not be the only one. I happen to love this spice and use it in sweet baked items and in savory spicy dishes. It's one of my secret ingredients, that I could not live without. So maybe I can inspire you to try coriander in your next meal.
The thing that I find interesting about coriander is its the seed of the cilantro plant. Now I'm not a fan of cilantro but their flavors are nothing alike. Coriander has a lemon like aroma and flavor, and is used in both European sweet baked items and Indian curry dishes.
How coriander is prepared also greatly effects its final flavor, and also what other flavors its paired with. When left whole, its flavor is full of citrus, light and sweet. When ground, and the seeds roasted, it has a nutty aroma.
Coriander lends a roundness of flavor to the fire of chilies and makes lime taste sweet and tropical. Its earthy, lemony punch is perfect with all legumes, especially lentils. From lamb to pork to chicken, there's not a meat coriander can't improve, especially in a slow braise. Recipe for Picante Sauce
But I think coriander is best when paired with fruits, vegetables, and other spices. Apples, ginger, onions, and all types of calciferous vegetables are livened up by the spice. Coriander pairs well with black pepper, cumin, and herbs like thyme, parsley, and cilantro. It's an essential to homemade curry powders and some complex barbecue rubs. Recipe for Kansas City Barbecue Rub and Sauce.
My favorite use of coriander is in sweets, where its favor is halfway between lemon zest and cinnamon. It brightens and deepens buttery flavors, perfect for cookies, crumbles, and dessert sauces.
Favorite Sweet Spice Blend used in apple pies, fruit cake, baked fruits, spiced cookies, tea breads, even hot chocolate.
Makes about 1/2 cup
6 tsp. coriander ground
5 tsp. cinnamon ground
4 tsp. allspice ground
3 tsp. nutmeg ground
2 tsp. ginger ground
1 tsp. cloves ground
Mix all spices thoroughly and keep in an airtight container away from heat and light.
Spices are expensive, but you can get fresh large quantities of herbs and spices when you buy with our Co-Op .....Spice Prices
Spice Hunting/ Coriander Max Falkowitz
Turmeric is a pungent, yellow spice commonly used in Indian and Thai cuisine, including most curries. The health benefits of turmeric including anti-cancer properties, protection against Alzheimer’s, pain relief, and much more. What’s more, the flowers of the turmeric plant are stunning and add a lush, tropical aesthetic to any backyard or garden. Unlike many vegetables and herbs, flowering turmeric will not affect the roots and the flowers and leaves are actually edible themselves. Here’s how to grow turmeric.
WHERE TO GROW
Turmeric does best in a hot, humid environment. In general, turmeric is only recommended for hardiness zones 9 and warmer if growing outdoors. However, it can be grown over summer outdoors in colder zones if dug up and brought inside over winter or grown in containers year round.
Plant turmeric somewhere where it will receive full sun or light shade. In areas with cooler summers, you should grow in full sun to have a better shot at a successful crop. In hotter areas, it will do well with a little afternoon shade.
Even when growing turmeric outdoors, you may want to consider growing it in a container that can be moved indoors once temperatures drop. Containers will also help to keep the soil warm and moist, essential to maintaining the plant to maturity. Choose a container that is at least 12 inches deep and equally as wide.
WHEN TO GROW
Turmeric takes 8-10 months to fully mature. It is dormant over winter, even in tropical climates. In general, turmeric plants do not do well when temperatures drop below 65° F. Plant in the early fall in zones 9-11. Plant in late spring (well after frost) in northern grow zones.
Plant turmeric in rich, well-drained soil. It can grow in most any type of soil, but drainage will only help and thick, clay soils will make it more difficult to care for. Test the pH of the soil to make sure it is between 6.0 and 7.8.
Turmeric is grown from rhizomes (root cuttings) much like ginger, not from seed. In fact, turmeric does not propagate seeds. It can be a bit difficult to find sometimes. You can find turmeric root at Indian stores, specialty nurseries or online. Whole Foods usually carries it. Only plant healthy, firm rhizomes and avoid any that appear to be rotting or diseased.
Plant small rhizomes or pieces with at least 1 or 2 buds (facing up) about 2 inches deep. Water and keep the soil moist but not soaking wet until they sprout. Transplant if necessary once the plants are at least 2 inches tall. Keep them spaced about 16 inches apart. Thin if necessary to give them plenty of room to breath and flourish.
WATERING & CARE
Turmeric needs to be watered frequently. Keep in mind, it is normally a tropical plant. Frequent misting with a spray bottle can help, particularly when growing indoors. Keep the soil moist, particularly in hot, dry climates. Water less frequently in cooler climates and try to keep the soil from ever getting soggy.
Turmeric will benefit from bi-monthly feedings of a good organic fertilizer or compost tea.
Harvest turmeric root 8-10 months after planting. While the leaves and stems are edible, most people harvest turmeric only for its roots. Most herbs can be harvested throughout the growing season, but turmeric root is best if harvested all at once when mature. Dig up the rhizomes and save a few pieces to plant for the following season. When planting in the spring in cooler climates, you can harvest before the first frost of the fall but will not yield much turmeric. Best to bring the plants indoors for the winter and harvest in early spring.
Turmeric is dormant over winter. In warmer climates, the roots can be left in the ground and will survive and sprout new flowers in the spring. In colder climates, you need to transplant to containers and/or move your turmeric indoors. If you live in an area with mild winters where freezing ground is only of small concern, you may be able to mulch over your turmeric for the winter to protect them until the spring. In general, only growers in zones 7b-11 should leave turmeric outside over winter. The roots will survive as long as they don’t freeze.
TIPS & ADVICE
Use gloves when peeling turmeric root as they may stain your hands yellow.
Boil turmeric for 45 minutes, peel and dry for about a week. Then grind into the fine yellow powder used in curries and other spices.
Store roots in a cool, dark place until use.
Aphids and mites by be attracted to turmeric, but most insects in the U.S. are not interested in the plant. Spray them off with a hose.
Turmeric is one the most thoroughly researched plants in existence today. It's medicinal properties and components (primarily curcumin) have been the subject of over 5600 peer-reviewed and published biomedical studies. In fact, our five-year long research project on this sacred plant has revealed over 600 potential preventive and therapeutic applications, as well as 175 distinct beneficial physiological effects.
Given the sheer density of research performed on this remarkable spice, it is no wonder that a growing number of studies have concluded that it compares favorably to a variety of conventional medications.
1. Lipitor/Atorvastatin (cholesterol medication):
A 2008 study published in the journal, Drugs in R & D, found that a standardized preparation of curcuminoids from Turmeric compared favorably to the drug atorvastatin (trade name Lipitor) on endothelial dysfunction, the underlying pathology of the blood vessels that drives atherosclerosis, in association with reductions in inflammation and oxidative stress in type 2 diabetic patients.
2. Corticosteroids (steroid medications):
A 1999 study published in the journal, Phytotherapy Research, found that the primary polyphenol in turmeric, the saffron colored pigment known as curcumin, compared favorably to steroids in the management of chronic anterior uveitis, an inflammatory eye disease. A 2008 study published in Critical Care Medicine found that curcumin compared favorably to the corticosteroid drug dexamethasone in the animal model as an alternative therapy for protecting lung transplantation-associated injury by down-regulating inflammatory genes. An earlier 2003 study published in Cancer Letters found the same drug also compared favorably to dexamethasone in a lung ischaemia-repurfusion injury model.
3. Prozac/Fluoxetine & Imipramine (antidepressants):
A 2011 study published in the journal, Acta Poloniae Pharmaceutica, found that curcumin compared favorably to both drugs in reducing depressive behavior in an animal model.
4. Aspirin (blood thinner):
A 1986 in vitro and ex vivo study published in the journal, Arzneimittelforschung, found that curcumin has anti-platelet and prostacyclin modulating effects compared to aspirin, indicating it may have value in patients prone to vascular thrombosis and requiring anti-arthritis therapy.
5. Anti-inflammatory Drugs:
A 2004 study published in the journal, Oncogene, found that curcumin (as well as resveratrol) were effective alternatives to the drugs aspirin, ibuprofen, sulindac, phenylbutazone, naproxen, indomethacin, diclofenac, dexamethasone, celecoxib, and tamoxifen in exerting anti-inflammatory and anti-proliferative activity against tumor cells.
13. Oxaliplatin (chemotherapy drug):
A 2007 study published in the International Journal of Cancer found that curcumin compares favorably with oxaliplatin as an antiproliferative agent in colorectal cell lines.
14. Metformin (diabetes drug):
A 2009 study published in the journal, Biochemitry and Biophysical Research Community, explored how curcumin might be valuable in treating diabetes, finding that it activates AMPK (which increases glucose uptake) and suppresses gluconeogenic gene expression (which suppresses glucose production in the liver) in hepatoma cells. Interestingly, they found curcumin to be 500 times to 100,000 times (in the form known as tetrahydrocurcuminoids(THC)) more potent than metformin in activating AMPK and its downstream target acetyl-CoA carboxylase (ACC).
Another way in which turmeric and its components reveal their remarkable therapeutic properties is in research on drug resistant- and multi-drug resistant cancers. We have found no less than 54 studies indicating that curcumin can induce cell death or sensitize drug-resistant cancer cell lines to conventional treatment. We have identified 27 studies on curcumin’s ability to either induce cell death or sensitize multi-drug resistant cancer cell lines to conventional treatment.
Considering how strong a track record turmeric (curcumin) has, having been used as both food and medicine in a wide range of cultures, for thousands of years, a strong argument can be made for using curcumin as a drug alternative or adjuvant in cancer treatment.
How to Incorporate Turmeric Into Your Diet
Use certified organic (non-irradiated) turmeric or better yet grow your own and incorporate the spice into your daily meals. Nourishing yourself, rather than self-medicating with ‘nutraceuticals,’ should be the goal of a healthy diet. One way we eat turmeric on a daily basis is in our scrambled eggs in the morning. I also take it in larger doses when I feel I'm coming down with something. I take 1/2 tsp of ground dried turmeric add honey until it's a paste and wash it down with water. I have included a recipe on my blog "Roasted Cauliflower with Turmeric & Ginger" it's tasty and good for you.
By Sayer Ji, Food Matters
In terms of U.S. fruit consumption, blueberries rank only second to strawberries in popularity of berries. Blueberries are not only popular, but also repeatedly ranked in the U.S. diet as having one of the highest antioxidant capacities among all fruits, vegetables, spices and seasonings. They do have a short season and are quite expensive if you buy them at the grocery store when fresh. Studies have shown the frozen berries are just as nutritious even after 3-6 month of being in your freezer and easier on your pocket book, along with being available year around.
We are always thinking about the glycemic index of the food we eat and berries are considered low in terms of their glycemic index (GI). GI is a common way of identifying the impact of a food on the blood sugar level once it's consumed and digested. In general, foods with a GI of 50 or below are considered "low" in terms of their glycemic index value. Studies show the GI for blueberries as falling somewhere in the range of 40-53 depending on their sweetness.
This is also one of those fruits that grow very well in North Central AR. The Arkansas County Extension office has an excellent pamphlet on the varieties that are best for this area ....Click here, then look under Herbs & Berries for the PDF file "Growing Blueberries". To Download the 4 page pamphlet click on the PDF file.
Blueberries have a rock star reputation among fruits because they contain high levels of phytochemicals, particularly anthocyanins. Anthocyanins are a pigment and are responsible for the berries intense blue color.
North American Indians, the Chinese and the Europeans used this powerful substance in their traditional herbal medicines. These medicines, typically derived from dried leaves, fruits, roots and seeds, contained anthocyanins naturally present in the plant.
Today, researchers report that anthocyanins likely play a role in:
American Institute of Cancer Research
Health Benefits Of Blueberries: 5 Reasons To Eat More Blueberries By Amy Boulanger, Jun 12, 2013
Salt, is addictive and let's face it everything tastes better with a little salt on it. I use to salt everything, even before I tasted the dish, it was a habit that was hard to change. Now, I don't salt anything or try not to use any prepared products. If I use a can of green beans, I drain the beans and rinse them before using them in the recipe. This will take some of the sodium out of the product. I can honestly say I don't miss salt, and now I'm sensitive to salt even if the recipe calls for a small amount.
One of the best reasons to curb your salt intake is to control high blood pressure. The CDC’s Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend a maximum sodium intake of 2,300 milligrams per day about (1 tsp). If you are over 51 the recommendation is 1,500 milligrams less than a (1/2 tsp) per day. This lower amount also applies to you if you already have high blood pressure, diabetes, or kidney disease. Read the labels, foods that contain 140 mg or less per serving are defined as low sodium. Reality is only about 10% of our daily salt is added during cooking or from the salt shaker on the dinner table. Most of our salt is in the processed foods we eat everyday. For many of us, daily consumption of salt is two to three times higher than the recommended amounts.
Studies have shown those that cook regularly and use herbs daily will reduce their salt intake long term. I'm like most cooks I have a cupboard of herbs and spices but I don't really know what and how much to add to my recipes.
According to the American Spice Trade Association
These spices are the most effective in replacing salt in your recipe:
Black pepper, garlic powder, curry powder, cumin, dill seeds, basil, ginger, coriander and onion.
How Much To Add At First
1/4 tsp. of most ground herbs and spices for 1 pound of meat (4 servings)
1/8 tsp for 2 cups of soup or sauce
When it comes to cayenne pepper or garlic, add in small increments because it intensifies in flavor. Remember it's easier to add more than to remove.
As a general rule, when using dried herbs use half the amount compared to fresh herbs.
When To Add Fresh Herbs
Add fresh herbs at the end of the cooking time or just before serving as the flavor can be lost during long periods of cooking. Add delicate herbs like basil, chives, cilantro, parsley, marjoram, mint and dill leaves at the end of cooking or just before serving. Herbs like oregano, rosemary, tarragon, thyme and dill seeds may be added
around the last 20 minutes of cooking.
When To Add Dried Herbs and Spices
Dried herbs and spices that have been ground will loose their flavor quickly and it's best to use in short cooking recipes or near the end of longer cooking recipes. Mild herbs such as basil and parsley are best added near the end of the cooking. The more robust herbs such as thyme will hold up to longer cooking periods.
Open your cupboard and use some of those herbs and spices they're only getting older. I have found I need to add more herbs and spices to my dishes to get the WOW factor from the recipe.
The Fine Art of Salt Substitution: Herbs and Spices Are the Key to Cutting Sodium Intake at Home
Cooking With Herbs: http://www.med.umich.edu/pfans/docs/tip-2013/cookingwithherbsandspices-0513.pdf
The first item you need is a brown paper bag, like the ones from the grocery store, so next time they ask paper or plastic, say paper. Now that you have your bags, and you will need 2 of them one for the potatoes and one for the onions. What you don’t want is to have your potatoes and onions in close proximity, as gases from the onions can hasten sprouting in your potatoes.
If you have a whole puncher it would be easier but I didn't have one so I cut out triangles out along the seams of the bags which worked just as well. I then created a fold down the front and back of the bag and cut out sections in the middle of the bag. Place your produce in the bag and clip shut. Keep it out of direct light and in a cool place. I was amazed at how much longer my potatoes lasted in the bag. Give it a try.
Every year the International Herb Association chooses an 'Herb of the Year", this years selection is the genus Artemisia. This diverse herb family contains many different plants, from the highly decorative Artemisia ludoviciana 'Silver King' to the delicious and tender French tarragon (Artemisia dracunculus 'Sativa'). You my know an Artemisia by the name Sweet Annie, Mugwort, Wormwood, Tarragon, Sloutherwood and Sagebrush. Artemisia has a long history, and has been used to protect, heal, create tasty beverages and even decorate our homes.
Many Artemsia’s have silvery foliage that is fernlike but the foliage and form of Artemisia’s varies widely. Some have dark green narrow leaves, others have broad leaves. The shape and form of Artemisia varies from small rounded bushes, to sprawling mats, with many variations in between. There are even species that form small trees.
Artemisia dracunculus 'Sativa', commonly know as French tarragon is a perennial herb with long, light green leaves and tiny greenish or yellowish white flowers. French tarragon is a culinary herb that has a sweet anise flavor, and can be used in salads, sauces and soups. It's also great pared with shellfish, fish, chicken and turkey.
Sun: Full Sun to Part Sun
Soil type: Sandy or Loamy
If you are purchasing the plant be aware that Russian tarragon (Artemisia dracunculoides) is very closely related to French tarragon but has no anise flavor at all. Sometimes they are mislabeled so ask to taste a leaf to make sure you are getting French tarragon. There is also a Mexican tarragon, which is not in the same family as the French or Russian. It's a marigold (Tagetes lucida), grown as an annual. The leaves have similar oils to those of French tarragon so can be used as a culinary stand-in for French tarragon. When purchasing tarragon, make sure plants in four inch pots have at least three green shoots, and buy them in the spring to plant in your garden before the summer heat sets in.
Medical Benefits of Artemmisis annua 'Sweet Annie'
The Reason I will be growing Artemesia is for the medical benefits. Recent research has isolated a chemical, artemesinin, that is quite effective in killing the malaria parasite in the blood and it is sold as a prescription medicine in Africa, Asia and Europe. This anti-malarial compound is isolated from Sweet Annie, (Artemisia annua). This plant is also used in the treatment of fungal pneumonia’s common to AIDS patients along with treating bacteria infections like Lyme disease.
Recipes on blog using French terragon
Herbed Feta Toasts
International Herb Association (www.iherb.org)
Examiner.com Artemisia Herb of the Year
This classic herb provides delicate flavor with minimal effort by Andrew Yeoman Fine Gardening
Old farmers Almanac