Contrary to common assumption, amaranth is not a grain. It is the seeds of the amaranth plant, which can be sprouted or cooked (2-3 parts water to 1 part amaranth) to use in savoury dishes or as a healthy porridge, or they can also be ground to make a gluten-free flour. Amaranth can also be "popped", by heating it in a dry cast iron skillet, and used as a cereal.
Amaranth was a well used staple food by the Aztecs. In more recent times it has gained greater popularity due to the recognition of its many health benefits.
It has high protein, fibre, vitamin and mineral content, which is why it has been touted as a "super grain", and, it is very digestible and low-allergenic. Research has also shown amaranth to have beneficial bad cholesterol (LDL) lowering effects, and it contains generous amounts of anti-degenerative phytosterols
Its short required cooking time, amazing health benefits and slightly sweet-nutty flavour, make amaranth an awesome alternative to standard grains.
Apples, particularly green apple varieties, are a simple yet effective way to help cleanse the body and aid liver function. They are high in malic acid which helps to soften gallstones and remove stagnant bile from the liver.
Apples can also help to reduce over-production of histamine, making them an ideal food for people with allergies.
Apricots are a good plant-based source of iron. Iron is a hugely important mineral for enabling our red blood cells to carry oxygen to the cells of the body and carbon dioxide back to the lungs for removal from the body. This is of utmost importance for cellular health and the prevention of cell mutations.
The carotenes in apricots are also good for maintaining eye health and helping to prevent cancer.
Asparagus is a spring-time vegetable with a relatively short harvest season, so make the most of it when it is fresh and at its best.
Asparagus is a good vegetable source of protein, and is high in fibre. It promotes anti-inflammatory activity in the body and has an abundance of valuable nutrients including vitamins A, C and K, and B vitamins, potassium, iron, calcium, phosphorous, sulphur, magnesium, zinc and iodine.
Bend the asparagus spears and they will naturally break off the tough, harder cut end, which you can feed to the worms or compost, then lightly steam the tender spear-head lengths for a short time and they're ready to eat.
Avocados are very high in potassium and are a good source of monounsaturated fatty acids, most of the B vitamins ( except B12), vitamims A, C and E, magnesium and iron, plus many other minerals. All these attributes make avocados good for cardiovascular health, mental health, adrenal health, free radical protection, sustained energy levels and healthy skin,
Bananas are a good source of vitamins B2, B6, biotin, vitamin C, and magnesium and they are also very high in potassium and low in sodium making them good for cardiovascular health, mental health and energy production.
Blueberries are right up in the top of the list of the most antioxidant-rich fruits.
They are highly beneficial for helping to protect the body from oxidative stress, and subsequent tissue damage and degeneration.
They're good for helping to improve visual acuity and night vision, and prevention of macular degeneration.
And, like cranberries, they're good for preventing urinary tract infections.
Brazil nuts are one of the richest food sources of selenium. Selenium is an important mineral for liver detoxification, heart disease prevention and anti-inflammatory activity.
Brazil nuts are relatively high in calories therefore just a few brazil nuts can be a good healthy source of energy as well as nutritious protein, healthy poly-unsaturated fats, and vitamins and minerals.
Broccoli and Cauliflower
Broccoli and cauliflower have been grouped together here because they are both highly beneficial for cancer prevention.
Broccoli contains glucosinolates which are amazing anti-cancer phytochemicals. These compounds are particularly effective for helping to prevent breast cancer because they assist excretion of the form of oestrogen that is linked to breast cancer. These phytochemicals can also have the ability to ward off other types of cancer such as prostate and cervical cancer, and assist the liver to do its multitude of jobs more effectively.
Broccoli is also very rich in beneficial nutrients and fibre, and is a good source of lutein which can be good for the health of the eyes, helping to prevent macular degeneration.
Sprouted broccoli seeds are a highly rich source of all the afore-mentioned benefits.
The word buckwheat often makes many people think that it is a form of wheat but it is actually not a grass grain at all, it is a plant with fragrant flowers that produce fruit seeds (buckwheat groats).
It is gluten-free and a good alternative for people wih wheat allergies.
Buckwheat is a good source of magnesium and B vitamins (particularly vitamin B5/pantothenic acid) which are anti-stress nutrients that are important for healthy adrenal function.
It is also a good source of protein containing all the essential amino acids.
Buckwheat also contains rutin and quercetin which are flavanoids that promote good health. They act as antioxidants in the body, helping to prevent oxidation of LDL's (low density lipoproteins) which is a major contributor to cardiovascular disease. And, buckwheat is also high in potassium which is an important mineral for maintaining healthy blood pressure and a good source of fibre, phosporous and manganese.
Cabbage is good for the liver and helps with the prevention of cancer.
Raw-state cabbage is good, but if you want to reap the benefits of cabbage out of cabbage season, making sauerkraut is a great way to preserve it, and because it ferments, it not only pocesses all the wonderful nutrients already in the cabbage, but it also provides the body with good bacteria.
To make your own sauerkraut just finely shred/chop cabbage, then place in a large bowl with 1 to 3 tbsp's of natural salt per cabbage. Wash hands, then simply squeeze and knead the cabbagge and salt until it forms enough juice to cover the cabbage completely. Place in a jar and compress the cabbage to the bottom with the bottom of a glass or a potato masher, so that it is completely submerged under the cabbage juice. Sit it in the pantry to ferment for 1 to 6 weeks depending on desired taste; the longer you leave it the more sour it gets. Just continue to make sure the cabbage remains covered with its juice throughout the process. Making it in a glass coffee plunger could be ideal for keeping the cabbage submerged during fermentation. Once the fermentation process is complete, keep refrigerated in an airtight jar.
Cape gooseberries are ripe when the outer papery pod that incases them turns brown. They are a nice combination of sweet and tart flavour.
Cape gooseberries are from the nightshade family of plants, and like tomatoes, which are also from the same family, they have tiny little edible seeds in them and they are a source of vitamin C and fibre.
Cape gooseberries are also known as inca berries and golden berries amongst other names.
It stands to reason that cashews are so expensive because they're actually the seed of the edible cashew apple fruit that grows on cashew trees. With just one seed per fruit, their price is justifiable.
Cashew nuts are not sold with their kernel still on because the inner kernel contains a toxic resin called cashew balm which must be removed before eating them.
Cashews are a good source of monounsaturated fat, some B vitamins and vitamin A, and the minerals iron, magnesium, potassium, zinc and copper.
Consumed daily over a reasonable period of time, celery has been found to significantly help in reducing high blood pressure.
Cherries contain flavonoids that help in reducing pain signals and inflammation in the body by inhibiting the enzymes that trigger the pain and inflammatory response, with studies showing that the enzyme-inhibiting activity of the anthrocyanidins in cherries is comparable to some medications for pain relief.
Cherries also contain melatonin which is a hormone that helps promote good sleep. They are high in antioxidants and vitamin C, and research suggests that they may be beneficial for inhibiting cancer growth.
Coconut is high in lauric acid which is also a key fatty acid component of breast milk, making coconuts a highly compatible food for humans.
Coocnut promotes anti-viral and anti-bacterial activity in the body.
It is a very healthy form of saturated fat, and because coconut oil can increase metabolic rate, it means more fat is burnt rather than stored. Coconut oil is a good cooking oil as it remains highly stable under high temperatures in comparison to many other plant-sourced oils.
Coconut oil is great for moisturising and nourishing the skin, especially in summer due to its cooling effect.
Coconut is a good source of manganese, molybdenum, copper, selenium and zinc.
Cranberries are very good for helping to prevent and treat urinary tract infections. They help prevent bad bacteria from adhering to the walls of the urinary tract so that they can be flushed out with the urine. They are also good for helping to prevent kidney stones. And they are also a great source of valuable nutrients that help boost immunity against infections.
Drinking cranberry juice is the best way to get a good dose of their beneficial attributes when using them for medicinal purposes. Just make sure the cranberry juice you drink hasn't got sugar added to it, as sugar intake can lower immunity.
Dates are not everyone's favourite, but they really are very good for you.
Dates are grown on date palms, and they are steeped in the ancient history of the middle East, where they are predominantly grown.
Dates are a good source of B vitamins, iron, potassium, magnesium, calcium, zinc, copper, manganese, phosphorous and selenium. They are also a great source of fibre and carbohydrates, and are very alkaline. The soluble fibre in dates can help decrease cholesterol absorption. It also slows the absorption of glucose which can help in maintaing balanced blood sugar levels for more sustained energy. This, along with their beneficial nutrients, makes them a good food for pregnant women to add to the diet during pregnancy and prior to labour.
Dates are also high in antioxidants and anti-cancer constituents.
Their high naturally occurring sugar content makes them ideal for sweetening recipes, whilst also adding all the benefits of their nutritional highlights. Or just eat them whole as a snack to reap their many benefits.
Elder berries have long been known to help fight off flu viruses. They appear on the elder (Sambucus nigra) tree in autumn. They can be good for enhancing the immune system, lowering fevers, relieving coughs, and they can help decongest and sooth the respiratory system. Plus they have good antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, and are a good source of valuable immunity vitamins: A and C.
Garlic is a real gift from nature with so many health benefits. It is antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, antithrombotic, antioxidant, anticancer, an immunity enhancer, detoxification aid and cardiovascular disease preventative.
Garlic contains vitamins A, C and E plus a range of B vitamins and it is a good source of selenium.
Garlic's long-standing history of medicinal use has withstood the test of time; a true testament to it''s awesome medicinal benefits.
A Globe artichoke plant can continue to grow for years. The edible heads are actually the flower buds of the plant before they open into a flower. They need to be picked before the thick leaves that surround the flower bud start to open as these get very fibrous and woody, which is why it is the Globe artichoke heart (inner portion of the bud) that is prized as the delicacy of the plant.
Globe artichokes contain many of the B vitamins, vitamins A and C, magnesium, manganese, calcium, phosphorous, potassium, iron and, chromium. They are a good source of inulin which is good for feeding the friendly bacteria in your digestive system, and inulin can also help with the management of blood sugar levels as well as cholesterol and triglyceride levels, making them good for diabetes and cardiovascular health, and they are also great for the liver.
Hemp hearts are basically de-shelled hemp seeds, or the inner part of hemp seeds.
They are highly nutritious, containing all the essential amino acids, with a 3 tablespoon serving containing approximately 10g of plant-based protein and they provide an ideal ratio of omega 3 and 6, along with a good array of vitamins and minerals, particularly magnesium, iron, folate, and zinc.
Simply adding a few tablespoons of hemp hearts to a smoothie gives it a smoother, creamier texture, plus all the added nutritional benefits that hemp hearts provide. Or sprinkle them on top of salads, or on baked dishes.
Jerusalem artichokes are a super good prebiotic food, making them great for helping to maintain the health of the digestive system and the immune system.
Prebiotic foods, like Jeruselum artichokes, provide a valuable food source for friendly bacteria in the gastro-intestinal tract, helping them to flourish and helping to prevent infiltration of detrimental bacteria.
Plants that contain inulin and fructooligosaccharides (FOS) are ideal for feeding good bacteria in the gut. Some other good prebiotic foods and herbs include asparagus, onions, leeks, chichory, dandelion and burdock.
Kiwifruit are not only a good source of vitamins A, C and E, they are also a great source of antioxidants, enzymes , minerals and fibre. They are ideal for boosting immunity, preventing free-radical damage, and helping to keep the bowels regular.
Lemons are great for alkalinising, cleansing and detoxifying the body. They aid digestion and assist liver function and have an anti-carcinogenic effect.
Lemons are a good source of vitamins C, B6, folic acid, and the minerals, potassium, calcium, magnesium and phosphorous.
Don't underestimate the humble lettuce when it comes to nutrition. Just because it is not touted as a superfood, it still has a lot going for it and even the fussiest of eaters don't seem to mind it.
Lettuce contains the B vitamin choline which helps to maintain healthy cell membranes (the outer layer of your cells). Choline can help to aid memory, protect nerves and their myelin sheath coating to assist good electrical signaling in the nervous system, aid detoxification in the liver, assist the body's ability to process and emulsify fats and it can help prevent the build-up of gall and liver stones.
Lettuce is also a source of fibre, vitamins A, C, K, B1, B2, and B9, chlorophyll, calcium, potassium, chromium, iron, and manganese.
Although nutritional yeast is not really a wholefood, it deserves a place in amongst this healthy wholefoods section due to it being a valuable resevoir of nutrients.
Nutritional yeast is rich in amino acids, vitamins and minerals. As opposed to brewers yeast, it is generally grown on nutrient-rich sugar beets, that absorb many nutrients from the soil, plus the yeast also produces its own nutrients that are necessary for its cell replication as well, making nutritional yeast a highly nutritious, great tasting addition to food, with a slightly salty, sweet, nutty flavour.
Nutritional yeast is a particularly good source of plant based protein, and bio-available B vitamins and minerals such as selenium, iron, magnesium, potassium, zinc, chromium, and copper, making it good for liver health, diabetes prevention, cardiovascular health, and because it is a good plant source of protein and B vitamins, it is an ideal way for vegans to access these important nutrients for good health .
Oats (Avena sativa) are a great nerve tonic food. They are a good high fibre complex-carbohydrate, making them good for aiding more sustained energy levels. They can also help in regulating cholesterol levels.
Oats are a good source of A, E and B vitamins, and also magnesium, iron, calcium, phosphorous, potassium, zinc, selenium, manganese and copper.
Onion and Garlic
Onions and garlic have been included together here because they have similar health benefits. They enhance immunity, are anti-carcinogenic, assist liver detoxification, and help to reduce harmful pathogens and candida overgrowth in the digestive system. They are good for reducing blood glucose levels in diabetes and help to prevent cardiovascular disease.
Garlic and onions are a good source of minerals, plus vitamins C and K and B vitamins.
Sweet juicy organic oranges have got so much going for them!! Their vibrant colour, delicious taste, and abundance of bio-available nutrients. Not only are they a very good source of vitamin C as most people know, but they're also a good source of B vitamins. They're also high in carotenes, which combined with their good vitamin C content, makes them great for helping to maintain good eye health, healthy skin and good immunity.
A lot of people like to remove all the white pith that is between the flesh and the skin of the orange before eating it, but it can be good to leave some of it on if it is an organic orange because the flavonoid hesperidin which is in oranges is more concentrated in the pith and skin of the orange, and also pectin, both of which provide good ant-inflammatory activity and they can help in lowering high cholesterol and maintaining healthy blood pressure for better cardiovascular health.
Oranges are also a good source of folic acid making them a beneficial dietary addition during pre-conception and pregnancy to help prevent neural tube defects and premature birth.
Papaya contains papain which is an enzyme that aids digestion, particularly the digestion of protein. Papaya has amazing antioxidant properties which help to reduce free-radical damage in the body.
Papaya also has anti-microbial properties, plus it is a rich source of healing nutrients that are good for skin repair and immunity - vitamins A, C and E.
Peas are a great source of protein because unlike meat, they also contain fibre for better intestinal health, along with vitamin A, C, K and B vitamins, plus plenty of minerals including iron, magnesium, calcium, phosphorous and potassium, and antoxidants. Peas are not only a protein but also a complex carbohydrate making them good for more sustained energy levels.
Despite the name, peanuts are actually not nuts, they are legumes and lightly roasting them makes them easier to digest. Just don't roast them for too long and do it at a low temperature, so that they still maintain their nutritive qualities. They are a good source of B vitamins (except B12), vitamin E and beta-carotene, along with the minerals magnesium, phosphorous, potassium, calcium, iron, zinc, copper and manganese. They are also a good source of resveratrol which is awesome for antioxidant activity in the body. And they are abundant in healthy monounsaturated fats, along with protein and complex carbohydrates.
Pineapple contains bromelain, a group of enzymes that aid digestion and reduce inflammation and swelling in the body. Eat it fresh for best effects.
Pomegranates are very rich in antioxidants. They can help prevent and reduce plaque build-up in the arteries (aterosclerosis), which is a major componenent of cardiovascular disease.
Pumpkin is a good source of B vitamins and vitamin C. It is also very high in carotenes, which have good anti-cancer effects, and are good for eye and cardiovascular health, amongst many other benefits.
Pumpkin seeds are an amazing source of vitamins, minerals, protein, phytosterols and monounsaturated fats. Plus, they are a very good plant source of zinc, making them good for immunity and wound healing, and for helping to prevent prostate enlargement.
Reishi mushrooms (Ganoderma lucidum) have a long history of being highly priced for their beneficial medicinal properties, being coined the "elixir of life" in ancient times. Their many health-promoting benefits make them great for whole body rejuvenation.
Reishi mushrooms can be highly beneficial for supporting healthy immunity, liver function, cardiovascular health, stress adaptation and longevity. Studies have also shown reishi to be effective for anti-cancerous, anti-allergenic, anti-inflammatory, anti-viral, and anti-bacterial activity. Reishi mushrooms are a great general, rejuvenative tonic, assisting all organs to function more optimally.
A lot of people are a bit confused about soy due to varying rumours such as - it increases oestrogen in the body therefore males, or women with oestrogen predominance, shouldn't have it. But contrary to these rumours, soy actually regulates oestrogen depending on the body's needs rather than just increasing it, which is why soy can actuually help prevent some diseases that can arise more when there is high oestrogen, such as breast cancer.
Studies have shown that cultures that include some soy in their diet have a lower incidence of some cancers such as breast, colon and prostate cancer.
Studies have also shown soy to be very beneficial for lowering high cholesterol levels.
Soy products are also a good source of protein for non-meat eaters and they contain B vitamins, essential fatty acids, fibre and numerous minerals such as iron, zinc, manganese, phosphorous, magnesium, copper, calcium, and selenium.
If you do use soy products just make sure they aren't made from genetically modified soy beans, and organic is always best.
These are the differences between modern-day wheat and it's distant cousin, ancient spelt:
▪︎ Spelt is more nutrient-rich than wheat
▪︎ Spelt is easier to digest than wheat
▪︎ Spelt is higher in protein and fibre than wheat
▪︎ Use unripe (green) spelt for a more gluten-free option. There is gluten content in ripe spelt but it is molecularly more fragile than that of modernday wheat, making it less likely to trigger an unfavourable reaction in gluten intolerant people
▪︎ Spelt contains immune-stimulating and cholesterol-lowering constituents
Spinach is a great nutrient-rich, alkalising plant food. It is one of the richest sources of iron amongst leafy greens, and it is also a good source of magnesium, folic acid, vitamins A, C, E, K plus some B vitamins, and plenty of fibre. It's packed full of antioxidants that help protect the body from cancer. And it also contains lutein which is highly beneficial for maintaining good eye health
Tomatoes are a good source of vitamin C, K, and B vitamins, and also a very good source of lycopene, the carotene that gives them their red colour, which is known to be an awesome anti-cancer agent in the body, and also highly beneficial for eye health and prostate health.
It is funny how some foods look so much like a part of the human body and they are actually really good for that part. Looking like, and being good for the brain, the walnut is definitely one of those foods.
Walnuts are a good plant source of omega 3 fatty acids and alpha-linolenic acid. They are a good source of antioxidants, fibre, protein, vitamins A, C and E, B vitamins. mono-unsaturated fats and minerals.
Walnuts are beneficial for helping to prevent cardiovascular disease and cancer. They are a well-suited nut for people with type O blood.
Watermelon is beneficial nutrition and hydration all in one great tasting fruit.
Watermelon alkalises the body. It is a good source of vitamin A (from beta-carotene), and vitamin C, plus B vitamins, magnesium and potassium. Watermelon is also a great source of lycopene which is a carotene that has very good antioxidant activity in the body helping to protect the body from cancer and cardiovascular disease. The carotenes in watermelon also help in maintaining healthy eyes. And due to its very high water content, watermelon's nutrients are easily assimilated by the body.