101 foods that could save your life – Part4

 Cinnamon

 
(Cinnamomum zeylanicum and Cinnamomum cassia)
 
Did you know…cinnamon was used in ancient Egypt to embalm the dead?
 
What’s the Story?
 
There are actually four types of cinnamon. Cinnamomum zeylanicum, more commonly known as “Ceylon,” is considered “true cinnamon.” The others are relatives with the most popular being cinnamomum cassia, also known as Chinese cassia or Indonesian cinnamon. Both come from the bark of an Asian evergreen tree. The bark is peeled off, dried, and allowed to form a roll—the common “cinnamon stick” that we know today. Though close in taste, Ceylon has a slightly richer and sweeter taste. Most of the cinnamon bought in the United States is the less expensive cassia variety.
 
A Serving of Food Lore…
 
Cinnamon has a long history. Ceylon cinnamon originated from the island of Sri Lanka. Chinese writings have documented use of cinnamon since
2700 B.C. Around 1000 B.C., West Asia, Europe, and Africa imported cinnamon from India and this began the spread of the spice. Cinnamon became really popular in Europe during the Crusades and its popularity grew throughout the world.
 
Where Is Cinnamon Grown?
 
The main countries that produce Ceylon cinnamon are India, Sri Lanka, Madagascar, and Brazil. Chinese cinnamon (cassia) is mainly grown in
China, Vietnam, and Indonesia.
 
Why Should I Eat Cinnamon?
 
Cinnamon is a source of manganese, iron, calcium, and fiber and contains cinnamaldehyde, cinnamyl acetate, and cinnamyl alcohol, substances that work as antioxidants in the body. Cinnamaldehyde reduces stickiness of platelets.
 
Home Remedies
 
The Chinese have believed that consuming cinnamon will improve your complexion and give you a youthful appearance. The people of India believe that chewing on a cinnamon stick will help to regulate the menstrual cycle, and their midwives and physicians use the spice for pain relief during childbirth. Gargling with a mixture of one teaspoon each of cinnamon and honey mixed into hot water has been used to battle bad breath.
 
Throw Me a Lifesaver!
 
ARTHRITIS: Researchers from Nanjing University in China evaluated 122 Chinese herbs for their effectiveness in reducing uric acid, the trigger for gout and arthritis flare-ups. Cinnamon cassia extract proved the most effective of them all for inhibiting the enzyme responsible for producing uric acid.
 
 
 
 
HEART HEALTH: Cinnamon has been shown to reduce lipids and have anti-inflammatory and platelet-adhesion properties. The results of a study demonstrated that intake of small amounts of cinnamon per day (no more than six grams or one-fifth of an ounce) reduced serum glucose, triglyceride, LDL cholesterol, and total cholesterol in people with type 2 diabetes.
 
 
 
 
TYPE 2 DIABETES: In an animal study, male rats who were given an extract of cinnamon had lower blood glucose levels. A human study found that giving cinnamon extract to type 2 diabetics significantly reduced their blood sugar levels.
 
 
 
 
BLOOD PRESSURE: In one  study,  rats  were  given  a sugar solution to increase their blood pressure. Then they were given ground cinnamon, cinnamon extract, or a placebo. The rats that were given the ground cinnamon and cinnamon extract had reduced blood pressure.
 
Tips for Using Cinnamon
SELECTION AND STORAGE:
 
• Cinnamon is available in ground and in stick form.
 
• To check for freshness, smell the cinnamon. Fresh cinnamon has a sweet odor.
 
• When buying cinnamon you need to be careful because Ceylon and Chinese cinnamon are often labeled the same. If you want the “true” Ceylon cinnamon, try buying it at a spice store or at an ethnic food mart.
 
• Cinnamon should be kept in an airtight container in a dark place. Ground cinnamon will start to lose flavor after six months. Stick cinnamon will last for one year.
 
• Though it may be tempting to buy the jumbo economy-size container of cinnamon, the optimal strategy is to buy small amounts to preserve freshness, taste, and phytochemical content.
 
PREPARATION AND SERVING SUGGESTIONS:
 
• Cinnamon sticks can be ground by using a coffee grinder or a cheese grater.
 
• Use cinnamon in desserts such as rice pudding, pies, and cakes.
 
• Use the spice to flavor meats. Cinnamon, along with cumin, turmeric, and ginger are a classic combination for flavoring Middle Eastern and
North African meat and poultry dishes.
 
• Mix cinnamon with coffee and drink as a hot beverage.
 
• Top whole grain toast with a little bit of butter, cinnamon, and sugar on top. Yum!
 
 
 
Banana–Cinnamon French Toast
 
 
 
 
This recipe contains four powerhouse foods. INGREDIENTS:
 
2 large bananas
 
8 slices whole wheat Italian bread
 
2 eggs
 
2 egg whites
 
1 cup vanilla soy milk
 
1 cup skim milk
 
1 teaspoon cinnamon
 
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
 
1 pinch nutmeg (fresh-ground)
by Sharon Grotto
 
Servings: 4 • Prep and cooking time: 15 minutes
 
DIRECTIONS:
Place all ingredients, except bread, in food processor and blend well. Transfer into a shallow mixing bowl. Take one slice of bread at a time and soak in mixture for one minute. Coat a nonstick skillet with vegetable oil spray and heat over medium-high heat. Place bread on skillet and cook each side for 3 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from frying pan and top with your choice of maple syrup, honey, fresh fruit, or preserves.
 
BREAK IT DOWN…
Calories: 310; Total fat: 19g; Saturated fat: 3g; Cholesterol: 80mg; Sodium: 380mg; Total carbs: 9g; Fiber: 2g; Sugar: 2g; Protein: 25g.
 
 
 
Cloves (Eugenia caryophyllus)
 
Did you know…during  the Han dynasty, people were required to put a piece of clove in their mouths to hide bad breath before they were allowed to talk to the Emperor?
 
What’s the Story?
 
Cloves are dried flower buds that come from the Evergreen clove tree. The English word “clove” stems from the Latin word clavus which translates to “nail.” Cloves have a sweet, warm flavor and smell. Cloves and clove oil are used in cooking, perfumes, and artificial flavorings.
 
A Serving of Food Lore…
 
Cloves originated in the Molucca Islands of Indonesia. The spice was first mentioned in Chinese writings during the Han dynasty over two thousand years ago. Arab traders brought cloves to the Venetians in Europe four hundred years later.
 
Where Are Cloves Grown?
 
The principle producer of cloves is Zanzibar in East Africa. Indonesia, Sumatra, Jamaica, West Indies, and Brazil are the world’s other top producers.
 
Why Should I Eat Clove?
 
Cloves contain manganese, vitamins C and K, magnesium, calcium, and fiber. Cloves also contain eugenol, a substance helpful for relieving pain, killing bacteria, and reducing inflammation.
 
Home Remedies
 
Make a paste from one-quarter teaspoon clove powder and one teaspoon cinnamon oil. Apply this to the forehead for headaches or to any other painful area. To relieve a toothache, chew on a clove or dip cotton in clove oil and apply it to the painful area.
 
Throw Me a Lifesaver!
HEART HEALTH: A few grams of cloves per day boosted insulin function while lowering cholesterol, according to two reports presented at the
2006 Experimental Biology meeting in San Francisco. The clove study found that all participants who ingested cloves, regardless of the amount,
showed a drop in glucose, triglycerides, and LDL (“bad”) cholesterol levels. Blood levels of HDL (“good”) cholesterol remained unaffected. Clove oil was found to inhibit lipid peroxidation, which can lead to heart disease.
 
 
 
 
INFLAMMATION: Eugenol, a component in cloves, has been found to inhibit enzymes and pathways that lead to inflammatory conditions in human cell studies.
 
 
 
 
YEAST INFECTION: An animal study found a reduction in yeast infections when clove oil was applied to the infected area.
 
 
 
LUNG CANCER: One study found that when mice with induced lung cancer were given an IV clove infusion, cancer growth was reduced.
 
 
 
 
PAIN: A human study found that clove oil may be helpful in dentistry before a needle is injected into the gums. The subjects in the study reported feeling less pain.
 
 
 
 
PREMATURE EJACULATION: One study found when a cream containing clove was applied to the penis, men were able to increase the length of time before ejaculation.
Tips on Using Cloves
SELECTION AND STORAGE:
 
• Choose whole cloves whenever possible. The powder form loses its flavor quickly.
 
• Fresh cloves release an oil when squeezed. Also, if a clove is fresh, it will float vertically.
 
• Whole and ground cloves should be stored in an airtight container in a cool, dark, dry place. Whole cloves can be kept for one year; ground cloves can be kept for six months.
 
PREPARATION AND SERVING SUGGESTIONS:
 
• Use a coffee grinder to grind whole cloves. Grind just before use.
 
• Use cloves in combination with other herbs to flavor meats.
 
• Add cloves when making pickles, stews, marinades, or wines.
 
• Add ground cloves to your favorite cake, cookie, or pie.
Clove Tequila Shrimp
 
by Chef J. Hugh McEvoy
 
Servings: 22 • Prep and cooking time: 30 minutes (but must be marinated overnight)
 
This recipe contains eight powerhouse foods. INGREDIENTS FOR SHRIMP BOIL:
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
 
1 pound large shrimp, raw
 
1/8 cup tequila
 
6 cups water
 
1 lemon, sliced
 
1 lime, sliced
 
2 green onions, chopped
 
1 teaspoon sea salt
 
1 teaspoon black pepper
 
1 teaspoon dried ground chipotle chili pepper
 
MARINADE INGREDIENTS:
 
1/8 cup lime juice
 
1/8 cup lemon juice
 
1 tablespoon tequila
 
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
 
1 cup Pinot Grigio white wine
 
1 tablespoon green onion
 
1 tablespoon chopped cilantro leaves
 
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
 
1 clove crushed garlic
GARNISH INGREDIENTS:
 
¼ pound thinly sliced prosciutto or smoked French ham
 
1 bag crostini
 
DIRECTIONS:
Add water, tequila, cloves, lemon, lime, green onion, salt, pepper, and dried chipotle peppers to a large sauce pot. Bring ingredients to a rolling boil. Add shrimp and cook just until shrimp turns pink (less than 5 minutes). Do not fully cook. Drain shrimp and run under very cold water. Peel and devein shrimp. Set aside for next step.
 
In a large bowl, blend together all ingredients for marinade. Place peeled shrimp into a large Ziploc bag. Add marinade to bag. Close tightly. Refrigerate marinating shrimp bag overnight or a minimum of twelve hours. Toast ¼? sliced French bread or use crostini. Brush toasted bread lightly with marinade. Place thinly sliced prosciutto or French smoked ham on toast. Remove shrimp from marinade and place over toast with ham. Garnish each tapas with cilantro.
 
BREAK IT DOWN…
Calories: 43; Total fat: 3g; Saturated fat: 0g; Cholesterol: 17mg; Sodium: 47mg; Total carbs: 1g; Fiber: 0g; Sugar: 0g; Protein: 3g.
 
 
 
Coffee (Coffea arabica, C. robusta)
 
Did you know…coffee is the second most traded commodity in the world, right after oil?
 
What’s the Story?
 
Coffee comes from an evergreen tree that produces red coffee “cherries.” The process starts by removing the skin of the cherry to reveal a green coffee “bean.” The coffee beans are then dried and roasted to make a brown bean.
 
Most coffee consumed comes from either arabica or robusta varieties of beans. Arabica coffee accounts for seventy percent of the world’s coffee production. It has a mild flavor and is aromatic. Robusta coffee comes from Southeast Asia and Brazil. It has a somewhat bitter taste and contains about fifty percent more caffeine than Arabica.
 
A Serving of Food Lore…
 
Coffee is thought to have originated in central Ethiopia in 850 A.D. and was brought to Yemen, where it has been cultivated since 1000 A.D. Coffee was mainly used for medicinal purposes until around one thousand years ago, when people began drinking it as a hot beverage. Coffee was always popular among Middle Eastern people but it took time for the beverage’s popularity to grow in Europe. Christians first thought that coffee was evil until the Pope tried some and thought it was delicious and blessed it. This began the start of the coffeehouse culture, which soon spread from Italy to France, England, and the Americas.
 
Where Is Coffee Grown?
 
Coffee is grown in over fifty-three countries worldwide. These countries have in common their southern latitude; they all lie along the equator between the tropics of Cancer and Capricorn, otherwise known as the “Bean Belt.” Brazil is the largest producer of coffee, followed by Colombia, Mexico, Guatemala, Costa Rica, Kenya, Indonesia, Yemen, and Vietnam. Hawaii and Puerto Rico also grow and produce coffee.
 
Why Should I Drink Coffee?
Did you know…moderate intake (three six-ounce cups per day) of coffee provides the same amount of hydration as an equal amount of water? This is especially true for “seasoned”  coffee drinkers.
 
Coffee doesn’t contain significant amounts of vitamins or minerals, yet its antioxidant properties are off the charts. It is one of the top antioxidant beverages consumed worldwide. Coffee contains phytochemicals such as chlorogenic acids, with similar antioxidant benefits to those found in fruits and vegetables that may improve glucose (sugar) metabolism. An average cup of regular coffee contains anywhere between 60 and 130 mg of caffeine. Caffeine is a stimulant that can help with alertness and may improve athletic performance; however, too much can cause jitteriness and irritability.
 
Home Remedies
 
Concoctions from the leaves and roots of the coffee tree have been used for fevers, colds, and pneumonia. Many people believe that administering a coffee enema detoxifies the liver while cleaning the colon. Coffee does have a laxative effect on many people.
 
Throw Me a Lifesaver!
 
PARKINSON’S DISEASE: In a study of over one million people, caffeine consumption was associated with a reduced risk of Parkinson’s disease in men (but not in women).
 
 
 
 
HEART HEALTH: Though coffee consumption has been associated with hypertension and elevated homocysteine, one study that followed
41,836 postmenopausal  women for fifteen years showed that coffee consumption  reduced the risk of cardiovascular  disease and other
inflammatory conditions.
 
 
 
 
LIVER PROTECTOR: In a study of more than 125,000 people, one cup of coffee per day cut the risk of alcoholic cirrhosis by twenty percent. Four cups per day reduced the risk by eighty percent!
MEMORY LOSS: A study done on elderly men showed that those who drank three cups of coffee per day had less memory loss than those who
did not. In another study observing an elderly population, University of Arizona researchers found that decaffeinated-coffee drinkers had a decline in
memory performance as the day wore on but this was not the case with caffeinated coffee drinkers.
 
 
 
 
TYPE 2 DIABETES: An eleven-year study with women found that those who consumed coffee (especially decaffeinated) had less risk of developing type 2 diabetes. A review of fifteen studies on coffee and type 2 diabetes, published in The Journal of the American Medical Association, found that people who regularly drank coffee were at lower risk.
 
 
 
 
BREAST CANCER: Human breast cancer cells responded positively to a treatment with caffeic acid and chlorogenic acid from coffee.
 
Tips on Using Coffee
SELECTION AND STORAGE:
 
• To select the best-tasting coffee beans, make sure they are freshly roasted and ground. The beans should be fragrant and free of any cracks.
 
• The darker the roast, the stronger and more bitter the flavor.
 
• Troubled by stomach pain when drinking coffee? Phenols, not phenolic acids, may be responsible. Reduced-acid coffees are now available.
 
• Keep coffee in an airtight container in a cool, dry place. Refrigerate ground coffee for storage of longer than a week but don’t freeze coffee as it causes moisture to accumulate and unwanted odors can be absorbed.
 
PREPARATION AND SERVING SUGGESTIONS:
 
• Grind coffee beans just before using. Finer grinds brew faster.
 
• For strong coffee, use two tablespoons of coffee for every six ounces of water.
 
• Using cold water will help maximize the flavor of the ground coffee beans.
 
• Run your coffee maker with a mixture of one part vinegar and one part water a few times each month. This eliminates buildup of oils that have become oxidized and can produce a bitter taste in your coffee.
 
• Use strong black coffee as an ingredient in cakes and other desserts for extra flavor.
 
• Leftover coffee grinds can be used in a marinade for meats.
Banana Mocha Swirls
 
Courtesy of Folgers
 
Servings: 2 • Prep time: 10 minutes
 
This recipe can be made with any prepared coffee; however, Simply Smooth is a nonacidic coffee that’s gentler on the stomach. This recipe contains five powerhouse foods.
 
INGREDIENTS:
 
1 cup Folgers Simply Smooth coffee, cooled
 
1 cup nonfat milk
 
5 heaping teaspoons dark cocoa powder
 
2 tablespoons agave syrup
 
1 large banana, sliced
 
½ cup ice cubes
 
DIRECTIONS:
Combine all ingredients in a blender until frothy. Pour into glasses and serve right away.
 
BREAK IT DOWN…
Calories: 190; Total fat: 1g; Saturated fat: .5g; Cholesterol: 0mg; Sodium: 70mg; Total carbs: 70mg; Fiber: 3g; Sugar: 36g; Protein: 6g.
 
 
 
Corn (Zea mays)
 
Baby corn is just sweet corn picked in its “infancy.”
 
What’s the Story?
 
There are five principal classes of corn: dent or field corn, flint corn, pop or Indian corn, flour corn, and sweet corn. Dent is the predominant type grown throughout the world. Sweet corn is the common “corn on the cob” that we eat today.
 
A Serving of Food Lore…
 
Archaeological studies indicate that corn was cultivated in the Americas at least 5,600 years ago. Corn, also known as maize, was domesticated in Mesoamerica, which in pre-Columbian cultures included southern Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, El Salvador, western Honduras, and parts of Nicaragua and Costa Rica. Corn spread to the rest of the world after Spaniards came to the Americas in the late fifteenth century and early sixteenth century. Today, there are over six hundred food and nonfood products made from corn.
 
Where Is Corn Grown?
 
The United States is by far the largest producer of corn, accounting for forty percent of world production, followed by Canada, China, Brazil, and many other nations. The “Corn Belt” includes the states of Iowa, Illinois, Nebraska, Minnesota, Indiana, Ohio, Wisconsin, South Dakota, Michigan, Missouri, Kansas, and Kentucky, with the first four states accounting for over fifty percent of corn production in the United States. About seventy-five percent of corn produced in the United States is fed to livestock.
 
Why Should I Eat Corn?
 
Corn is a good source of fiber, vitamin B1, folate, vitamin C, and pantothenic acid. Corn contains the phytochemicals beta-cryptoxanthin, lutein, saponins, alkaloids, sitosterol, stigmasterol, malic acid, palmitic acid, tartaric acid, oxalic acid, and maizenic acid, which have heart health and cancer-fighting properties.
 
Home Remedies
 
The entire corn plant has long been used in Native American cultures for medicinal purposes. Cornsilk is a well-studied tea that has diuretic properties, and, accordingly, has been used for difficult, painful, or frequent urination. Cornmeal boiled with milk has been applied to burns, inflammations, and swellings. Cornstarch, applied as a powder, may soothe chafing. Cornmeal mixed with castor or corn oil has been used to relieve skin irritations. In Chinese traditional medicine, corn has been used for gall-stones, jaundice, hepatitis, and cirrhosis. The cobs stripped of the fruit have been used to treat nosebleeds and unusual uterine bleeding. The hulls have been used to treat diarrhea in children.
 
Throw Me a Lifesaver!
HEART HEALTH: Corn is high in folate, a vitamin known to reduce homocysteine, an inflammatory marker attributed to heart disease.
 
 
 
 
LUNG CANCER: Corn  is rich in beta-cryptoxanthin, an orange-red carotenoid that may significantly lower the risk of developing lung cancer. One study evaluated the diet of 63,257 adults in Shanghai, China, finding that those who ate the most crytpoxanthin-rich foods had a twenty-seven percent reduction in lung cancer risk. Smokers who ate the crytopoxanthin-rich foods were found to have a thirty-seven percent reduction in risk compared to those who didn’t eat them.
 
 
 
 
COLON CANCER: Corn  is very high in phenolic compounds that may help in preventing colon cancer and other digestive cancers. Corn is also high in resistant starch that helps promote butyrate, a short-chain fatty acid found in the colon that may be beneficial in fighting colon cancer.
 
 
 
 
DIABETES: Cornstarch, a component of corn, was shown to improve glucose metabolism in normal and overweight women.
 
Tips on Using Corn
SELECTION AND STORAGE:
• Corn kernels come fresh, frozen, canned, and canned creamed.
 
• Avoid ears of corn with shriveled husks that look burned or have a dark-colored slime in the tassel.
 
• Leave the husks on and place corn, uncovered, in the refrigerator. Use within a few days for best quality.
 
PREPARATION AND SERVING SUGGESTIONS:
 
• Fresh corn can be boiled, steamed, microwaved, or roasted on the grill or in the oven.
 
• Enjoy cold in salads.
 
• Use polenta (the Italian word for cornmeal) as a pizza crust for a healthy pizza.
 
• Use resistant cornstarch to replace up to twenty-five percent of flour to increase fiber content of your baked goods.
Corn Chowder
 
 
 
 
 
This recipe contains five powerhouse foods.
Adapted from The Gathering Place by Graham Kerr
 
Servings: 6 • Prep and cooking time: 60 minutes
 
INGREDIENTS:
 
1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
 
2 cups yellowonion, finely chopped
 
6 ears of corn, kernels shaved off of the cob (substitute frozen corn if unavailable)
 
½ teaspoon thyme
 
1 teaspoon parsley stalks, finely diced
 
¼ teaspoon table salt
 
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
 
12 ounces evaporated skim milk
 
2 cups soy milk
 
2 tablespoons cornstarch
 
4 tablespoons dry white wine
 
GARNISH:
 
1/3 cup Canadian or veggie bacon, chopped
 
1/3 cup red bell pepper, finely diced
 
1 tablespoon parsley, chopped
 
DIRECTIONS:
Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Sauté the onion and ½ cup of the corn kernels until very soft, 12 to 15 minutes. Stir occasionally. Add thyme, parsley, salt, and pepper. Transfer onion mixture to blender and add ½ cup evaporated milk. Puree mixture for two minutes. Add remaining evaporated milk and blend for another three minutes or until smooth. Return to saucepan along with remaining corn. Rinse the blender with soy milk to pick up any ingredients left behind. Add to saucepan with corn. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for
10 minutes. Combine cornstarch with wine to make a slurry. Remove soup from heat and stir in slurry until thickened. Sauté bacon, pepper, and parsley over medium heat for three minutes. Set aside. Serve chowder in warmed bowls and top with 1 tablespoon of garnish.
 
BREAK IT DOWN…
Calories: 240; Total fat: 5g; Saturated fat: 1g; Cholesterol: 10mg; Sodium: 550mg; Total carbs: 39g; Fiber: 3g; Sugar: 13g; Protein: 12g.
 
 
 
Cranberries (Vaccinium macrocarpon)
 
Did you know…“craneberry,” as it was called by American Pilgrims, was given that name because the spring bush blossom  re sembled a crane. It was then shortened to “cranberry” sometime later.
 
What’s the Story?
 
Cranberries are one of three fruits native to the United States and Canada. They grow in fruit beds called bogs. The most common way of harvesting cranberries is to flood the fruit beds and “beat” the fruit loose using a specialized harvester. The floating fruit is then gathered and loaded onto trucks for delivery to a receiving station.
 
A Serving of Food Lore…
 
Historically used as both a culinary ingredient and as medicine by Native Americans, cranberries first became popular in our culture during the Revolutionary War. Henry Hall, a war veteran, planted the first commercial cranberry beds in Dennis, Massachusetts, in 1816. Today, cranberries account for nearly 40,000 acres across the northern United States and Canada, and over 300 million pounds of the berries were sold in 2004 to become fresh, frozen, juiced, dried, jellied, sauced, and even “pilled” products.
 
Where Are Cranberries Grown?
 
They are mainly grown commercially in Wisconsin, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Oregon, Washington, and also in the Canadian provinces of British
Columbia and Quebec.
 
Why Should I Eat Cranberries?
 
Cranberries are rich in fiber and are an excellent source of vitamin C and phytonutrients, such as flavonoids and proanthocyanidins (PAC). They contain more phenolic antioxidants than nineteen of the most popular consumed fruits according to a study published in the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry.
 
Home Remedies
 
A lot of the initial work with cranberries, especially with its role in fighting urinary tract infections (UTIs), was anecdotal. It was mom’s advice and she knew it worked. Now research is finding that mothers were right all along! The National Institutes of Health has twelve studies underway focusing primarily on further defining cranberries’ activity against UTIs.
 
According to Martin Starr, PhD, scientific advisor to the Cranberry Institute, cranberries are not only nutritious but have unique antiadhesion and antibacterial properties not found in other fruit:
 
There have been multiple clinical studies done using cranberry juice and it turns out that cranberry has unique antiadhesion properties that prevent certain harmful bacteria from sticking to cells in our body. This newer concept of antiadhesion is not just limited to UTIs [urinary tract infections] but potentially other harmful bacteria as well, including those responsible for stomach ulcers and gum disease.
 
Throw Me a Lifesaver!
 
CANCER: Multiple  studies  have found that flavonoid compounds including anthocyanins, flavonols, and proanthocyanidins, found naturally in cranberries, may be able to fight leukemia, breast, lung, colon, and potentially many other types of cancer.
 
 
 
 
HEART DISEASE: Flavonoids may also reduce the risk of atherosclerosis. The flavonoid and phenolic compounds in cranberries have been shown to reduce LDL (“bad”) cholesterol, a known risk factor for atherosclerosis, while potentially raising protective HDL (“good”) cholesterol. Amazingly, cranberry juice may be as effective in fighting heart disease as using the whole cranberry!
 
 
 
 
DIGESTIVE HEALTH: Cranberry juice has been shown to inhibit the bacteria associated with peptic ulcers, H. pylori. Though most ulcers are not life-threatening, H. pylori bacteria has been associated with stomach cancer, acid reflux disease, and gastritis. Cranberries’ properties have also been shown to help reduce diarrhea.
PERIODONTAL DISEASE: In a study that appeared in the Journal of the American Dental Association, a component of cranberry juice was
demonstrated to have the ability to stop bacteria from adhering to teeth and gums, thus reducing dental plaque and periodontal disease.
 
Tips on Using Cranberries
SELECTION AND STORAGE:
 
• Purchase prepackaged in plastic bags. Look for plump, firm, and bright berries.
 
• Besides raw cranberries, you can also purchase dried (usually sweetened), juice (sweetened and unsweetened), sauce, jelly, and even cranberry supplements.
 
• Store cranberries in the crisper section of the refrigerator, in their original bag, for up to four weeks, or in the freezer section for up to six months.
 
PREPARATION AND SERVING SUGGESTIONS:
 
• Unsweetened juice can be rather bitter tasting by itself, so it’s best mixed with equal parts of apple juice or any other sweet juice of choice. It also comes in the “cocktail” form, sweetened or artificially sweetened.
 
• Topping a bowl of cereal with a small handful of dried cranberries, tossing in a salad, or including as a focal point to almost any side dish (such as a cranberry pilaf) adds that “sweet-tart” taste that’s delightful.
Kamut-Cranberry Salad
 
by Chef J. Hugh McEvoy
 
Servings: 6 • Prep and cooking time: 60 minutes
 
This makes a great breakfast cereal alternative. Serve with maple syrup and cinnamon. This recipe contains six powerhouse foods.
 
INGREDIENTS:
 
12 ounces organic kamut berries
 
4 ounces Vidalia onions, chopped
 
2 teaspoons butter, unsalted
 
2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
 
1 teaspoon garlic cloves, chopped fine
 
1 ounce dried sweetened cranberries
 
2 ounces dry roasted pecans, unsalted
 
Kosher salt and black pepper totaste
 
DIRECTIONS:
Using a heavy sauce pot, cook kamut berries in one gallon of boiling salted water until tender, approximately 45 to 50 minutes. Drain cooked grain and reserve for next steps.
 
Using the pot the grain was cooked in, sauté chopped onion in extra-virgin olive oil and butter until lightly browned. Add garlic, sauté until just soft, then add cooked grain, nuts, and cranberries. Bring mixture up to a simmer. Season with salt and black pepper to taste. Remove from heat and serve immediately.
 
BREAK IT DOWN…
Calories: 261; Total fat: 10g; Saturated fat: 2g; Cholesterol: 3mg; Sodium: 60mg; Total carbs: 42g; Fiber: 7g; Sugar: 15g; Protein: 8g.
 
 
 
Cumin (Cuminum cyminum)
 
Did you know…cumin was used for both culinary and medicinal purposes in ancient Egypt? Egyptians not only seasoned their meats with it but also mummified their dead with cumin.
 
What’s the Story?
 
Cumin is related to coriander and is a member of the parsley family. Some countries consider caraway to be a foreign form of cumin and vice versa. That is why you may see cumin referred to as Roman caraway, Eastern caraway, Egyptian caraway, and Turkish caraway as you globe-trot in search of culinary adventure.
 
The seed component of the plant is what is mainly used as a spice and it is a key ingredient in both chili powder and curry powder. Cumin has a strong and sharp taste and is ubiquitous in the cuisines of Mexico, Thailand, and Vietnam. It is an inseparable part of the Indian curry masala and is also one of several spices for meat and poultry marinades in North African, Middle Eastern, and Mediterranean cooking.
 
A Serving of Food Lore…
 
Cumin’s origins are thought to range from the eastern Mediterranean region to India. Its use dates back to biblical times. The Romans and the Greeks used it medicinally—and cosmetically to induce a pale complexion. Cumin also symbolized greed at one time, particularly in the lore of the Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius, who came to be known privately as “Cuminus.” Much later, in Europe, cumin symbolized faithfulness. In Germany, guests of a wedding carried cumin, dill, and salt in their pockets during the ceremony to prevent the bride or groom from straying.
 
Where Is Cumin Grown?
 
Historically, Iran had been the principal supplier of cumin, but today the major producers are India, Syria, Pakistan, Turkey, and China.
 
Why Should I Eat Cumin?
 
Cumin is a source of iron. Rich in essential oils such as cuminaldehyde and pyrazines, cumin is associated with blood glucose–lowering effects.
 
Home Remedies
 
Some Middle Eastern countries consider the combination of cumin, black pepper, and honey a natural sexual aid. Cumin seeds mixed with milk and honey have been used during pregnancy to ease childbirth, reduce nausea, and increase lactation. In traditional medicine, cumin helps aid digestion. Cumin has antibacterial properties and has been known to protect against hookworm infection. In traditional Indian medicine, cumin seeds are smoked in a pipe with ghee (clarified butter) to relieve the hiccups.
 
Throw Me a Lifesaver!
ARTHRITIS: One study showed that rats that were given an extract of black cumin had reduced inflammation attributed to arthritis.
 
 
 
 
DIABETES: Rats who consumed cumin for six weeks had marked reduction in blood glucose, hemoglobin A1c, cholesterol, and triglycerides. Researchers also found cumin supplementation to be more effective than glibenclamide (an oral hypoglycemic medication to help control blood glucose) in the treatment of diabetes mellitus.
 
 
 
 
COLON CANCER: Cumin added to the diets of rats slowed down the formation of colon cancer cells.
 
 
 
ULCERS: Cumin was found to be highly effective at killing H. pylori, a bacteria associated with stomach ulcers.
 
Tips on Using Cumin
SELECTION AND STORAGE:
 
• Because cumin can lose its flavor quickly, fresh-ground seeds are preferable to cumin powder.
• Cumin seeds and cumin powder should be kept in a tightly sealed glass container in a cool, dark, and dry place. Ground cumin will keep for about six months, while the whole seeds will stay fresh for about one year.
 
PREPARATION AND SERVING SUGGESTIONS:
 
• Lightly roast whole cumin seeds to bring out the flavor before using them in a recipe.
 
• Cumin goes well with chicken.
 
• Add to legumes such as lentils, garbanzo beans, and black beans.
 
• Sprinkle on plain brown rice along with dried apricots and almonds for a tasty side dish.
Roasted Fish with Cumin Sweet Potatoes
 
by Nicki Anderson
 
Servings: 4 • Prep and cooking time: 1 hour, 10 minutes.
 
This delectable dish contains six powerhouse foods.
 
INGREDIENTS:
 
1 pound sweet potatoes, sliced ¼" thick
 
½ teaspoon ground cumin
 
1 tablespoon olive oil
 
4 catfish or other fish fillets (4–6 ounces each)
 
1 teaspoon chili powder
 
1 cup chopped yellow/greenzucchini
 
¾ cup diagonally sliced scallions
 
1 tablespoon fresh cilantr
 
DIRECTIONS:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a 13 × 9 baking dish, sprinkle potatoes with cumin and toss with oil to coat. Spread in even layer and roast until potatoes are browned, about 45 minutes. Remove from oven. Increase oven temperature to 450 degrees. Use wide spatula to gently turn potato slices. Arrange fish on top of potatoes. Sprinkle with chili powder and scallions. Return to oven and roast until fish is opaque in center, 8 to 10 minutes per inch of thickness. With wide spatula, lift a portion of potatoes with fish on top onto serving plates. Garnish with fresh cilantro.
 
BREAK IT DOWN…
Calories: 300; Total fat: 9g; Saturated fat: 2g; Cholesterol: 100mg; Sodium: 95mg; Total carbs: 25g; Fiber: 3g; Sugar: 11g; Protein: 30g.
 
 
 
Currants (Ribes)
 
“Zante currants” are not really currants at all. They are actually dried grapes and are often found in scones.
 
What’s the Story?
 
Currants are related to gooseberries and are not smaller versions of raisins. The English word “currant” has been used for this fruit only since 1550, taken from the fruit’s resemblance to the dried currants of Greece, which, in fact, are raisins made from a small seedless grape. The main varieties available are: red, black, white, green, and pink. Red and black are the most common type and are used for culinary purposes. White currants are an albino form of the red, and pink currants are a mix between the white and red.
 
A Serving of Food Lore…
 
Currants are native to Europe, Asia, and North America. Cultivation began in Europe in the 1500s and the first American colonists began cultivating them in the late 1700s. The black currant has been known in the United States as a “forbidden fruit” since 1911, when a ban was placed on the fruit because it caused disease to the white pine tree. Although the ban was lifted in 1966, several states still prohibit growing black currants.
 
Where Are Currants Grown?
 
Russia is the number one producer of currants. Poland, Germany, Ukraine, and Austria also grow currants commercially. There is very little commercial production in the United States; however, Oregon, Washington, and New York grow them at modest levels.
 
Why Should I Eat Currants?
 
Currants are an excellent source of vitamin C and fiber, and a good source of calcium, iron, potassium, and vitamins A and B. Currants are rich in the phytochemical ellagic acid, a phenolic compound that may reduce some cancers and cholesterol, and anthocyanins, which have shown anti- inflammatory and antioxidant properties.
 
Home Remedies
 
BLACK CURRANTS: Boiled  black  currant  juice  has been used for sore throats. The leaves have been used to reduce fevers and increase urination. Extract from the bark of the black currant tree has been used for hemorrhoids. Black currant jelly mixed with hot water has been helpful for colds.
 
 
 
 
RED CURRANTS: The  leaves  have  been  used  to relieve pain from arthritic symptoms, sprains, and dislocated bones. The fruit has been used as a laxative. It has also been used to prevent scurvy. Red currants have also been made into facial masks for firm skin.
 
Throw Me a Lifesaver!
CANCER: One study found that black currant juice stopped the growth of tumors in mice.
 
 
 
 
BLOOD PRESSURE: Currant seed oil was given to a group with mildly high blood pressure. Scientists attribute their significant decline in blood pressure to the gamma-linoleic acid found in the berry.
 
Tips on Using Currants
SELECTION AND STORAGE:
 
• Currants come fresh, dried, juiced, and in jams and jellies.
 
• Choose berries with the darkest colors. Currants can also be bought frozen.
 
• Keep currants refrigerated and use them within two days. Wash just before use. Fresh currants can be frozen.
 
PREPARATION AND SERVING SUGGESTIONS:
 
• Wash the berries in cold running water. Remove stems or leaves. Drain and pat dry.
• Use currants as a garnish for any dish.
 
• Add dried currants to brown rice.
 
• Top ice cream with fresh currants or a currant sauce.
Red Currant Grill Sauce
 
 
 
 
This recipe contains five powerhouse foods. INGREDIENTS:
FIRST STAGE:
 
½ cup fresh red currants
 
8 ounces red currant preserves
 
¼ cup fresh lemon juice
 
1 ounce fresh lemon zest
 
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
 
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
 
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
 
1/8 teaspoon chili powder
 
2 cups fat-free beef broth, unsalted
 
SECOND STAGE:
 
¼ cup Worcestershire sauce
 
¼ cup Burgundy red wine
 
4 ounces blackstrap molasses
 
¼ cup organic tomato ketchup
by Chef J. Hugh McEvoy
 
Servings: 38 • Prep and cooking time: 40 minutes
 
DIRECTIONS:
Combine first nine ingredients in a heavy saucepan. Mix until evenly blended. Bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat to a low simmer. Simmer mixture until it has reduced by one half. In a separate bowl, whisk together the remaining four ingredients. Add the second group of ingredients [the second stage] into the simmering sauce. Mix thoroughly until color is even. Simmer until sauce comes back to a boil. Reduce heat to very low. Serve sauce hot with grilled lamb, pork, or flavorful fish such as salmon or bluefish. Serve with a robust red wine such as Burgundy or Cabernet Sauvignon.
 
BREAK IT DOWN…
Calories: 30; Total fat: 0g; Saturated fat: 0g; Cholesterol: 0mg; Sodium: 54mg; Total carbs: 8g; Fiber: 0g; Sugar: 6g; Protein: 0g.
 
 
 
Eggplant (Solanum melongena L.)
 
Did you know…the Spanish called eggplant berengenas,  “the apples of love” whereas other Europeans called it mala insana,
“mad apple,” because they thought it caused insanity.
 
What’s the Story?
 
Eggplant, along with potatoes, tomatoes, and peppers, is a member of the nightshade family. Eggplant hangs from vines on a plant very much like tomatoes and comes in several widely available varieties such as classic (oval shape with purple color), Italian (small and mauve with white streaks), Japanese (white with purple streaks), pink, and green. Eggplant can be egg-shaped, oval-shaped, or balloon-shaped with a pear-shaped end, and has a somewhat bitter taste and spongy texture.
 
A Serving of Food Lore…
 
Eggplant is thought to have originated in southeast India around Assam and the adjoining area then known as Burma. From Southeast Asia it was brought by traders from the Middle East to the Mediterranean in the early Middle Ages. The Moors introduced eggplant to Spain in the twelfth century and it soon made its way throughout the rest of Europe. Four hundred years later, Spanish traders brought it to the Americas.
 
It was not until fifty years ago that eggplant was even considered acceptable to eat in the United States because many believed eating it caused insanity, leprosy, and cancer.
 
Where Is Eggplant Grown?
 
Most of the world’s eggplant is grown in China. Italy, Turkey, Egypt, and Japan also produce significant harvests of the vegetable. Florida is the largest U.S. producer of eggplant, accounting for more than thirty percent of the crop. New Jersey is the second largest, followed by California. Mexico exports eggplant to the U.S. during the winter.
 
Why Should I Eat Eggplant?
 
Eggplant is high in potassium, copper, folate, magnesium, and fiber. It contains flavonoids and phenols such as caffeic acid and chlorogenic acid, which may fight cancer, viruses, and harmful bacteria, and protect against damage to cells.
 
Home Remedies
 
In Asia, the roots are often used for coughs, phlegm, and sore throats. It is believed that crushing a baked, blackened eggplant and applying it to teeth and gums will promote a healthy mouth. This concoction is also said to stop bleeding gums and nosebleeds. Eggplant has been used as an antidote for poisonous mushrooms, to reduce hemorrhoids, soothe burns, and relieve cold sores.
 
Throw Me a Lifesaver!
 
HEART HEALTH: An animal study in Japan found that an anthocyanin unique to eggplant peels had anti–heart disease attributes. Rabbits with high cholesterol that were fed eggplant had decreased weight, total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, and triglycerides.
 
 
 
 
DETOXIFIER: A cell study found that eggplant triggered enzymes that detoxify and remove drugs and other harmful chemical substances in the human body.
 
 
 
 
LIVER CANCER: A cell study found that a component of eggplant called glycoalkaloids killed human liver cancer cells.
 
Tips for Using Eggplant
SELECTION AND STORAGE:
 
• Look for firm, shiny, smooth, deep purple skin. Avoid eggplant with cracked or shriveled skin, and stay away from brown, blue, or yellow eggplants.
 
• Eggplant is best used right away, but may be kept in the refrigerator’s crisper drawer for up to one week.
PREPARATION AND SERVING SUGGESTIONS:
 
• The skin can be peeled with a potato peeler or it may be kept on.
 
• To tenderize the eggplant and remove some of the bitter flavor, sprinkle the eggplant with salt, let it sit for 30 minutes, and then wash the salt off.
 
• Eggplant can be baked, roasted, steamed, fried, or sautéed. The eggplant is done when a fork goes through easily.
 
• Scrape out some of the middle of the eggplant and stuff it with vegetables and cheese, then bake.
 
• Add eggplant to stir-fry, lasagna, or other pasta dishes.
 
• Puree eggplant with lemon juice, garlic, and olive oil for a bread spread or vegetable dip.
Elisa’s Cheesy Spaghetti with Eggplant and Tomato
 
 
 
 
This recipe contains six powerhouse foods. INGREDIENTS:
 
1 box thin whole wheat spaghetti
 
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
 
1 eggplant cut into ½-inch cubes
 
1 pint (2 cups) grape tomatoes, cut in half
 
1 tablespoon onion powder
 
1 tablespoon garlic powder
 
8 ounces fresh mozzarella
 
¾ cup Parmesan cheese, grated
by Elisa Zied
 
Servings: 8 • Prep and cooking time: 50 minutes
 
DIRECTIONS:
Make spaghetti as directed and set aside. In a large, nonstick skillet, add two tablespoons of olive oil to the pan, and set on medium heat. Wash eggplant and cut into cubes. Set aside. Wash grape tomatoes and cut in half. Place eggplant and tomatoes into a large plastic baggie. Add onion powder and garlic powder to the eggplant and tomatoes. Add two tablespoons olive oil to the baggie. Seal the bag and shake vigorously until all ingredients are well mixed. Add eggplant and tomato mixture to the pan and lower heat to low-medium. Every few minutes, stir eggplant and tomato so they cook evenly. Cook for about 20 minutes or until eggplant is tender. Meanwhile, make sure to drain cooked pasta and put it back into the pot in which it was cooked. When eggplant and tomato mixture is thoroughly cooked, place in a large bowl lined with paper towels. Blot with more paper towels to remove excess oil. Add eggplant and tomato in with spaghetti. Cut up mozzarella cheese into cubes and add to pasta mixture. Set on low heat. Stir mixture for about 5 minutes until cheese is melted. Mix in grated Parmesan cheese and serve.
 
BREAK IT DOWN…
Calories: 370; Total fat: 15g; Saturated fat: 6g; Cholesterol: 20mg; Sodium: 300mg; Total carbs: 43g; Fiber: 8g; Sugar: 4g; Protein: 13g.
 
 
 
Eggs
 
Did you know…a hen can produce an egg every day?
 
What’s the Story?
 
Any way you crack them, all eggs contain a yellow yolk surrounded by a clear egg white (also known as albumin), all encased in a shell. Chicken eggs are the most widely consumed type of egg but other kinds such as duck, quail, and turkey are also eaten throughout the world.
 
When it comes to chicken eggs, there are basically two kinds to choose from: white and brown. White eggs come from hens with white feathers and white earlobes whereas brown eggs come from hens with red feathers and red earlobes. White and brown eggs have the same nutritional quality; notwithstanding many claims to the contrary, neither is better than the other. Fresh eggs are graded and sized by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). AA is the highest grade, followed by A and B. Size ranges from jumbo to extra large, large, medium, small, and peewee.
 
A Serving of Food Lore…
 
What came first? We may never know, but what is for sure is that eggs have been around a long, long time. Throughout history, the egg has been used to symbolize everything from fertility to nobility. Domesticated chickens can be traced back to 3200 B.C. in India. Full-blown egg production in the Middle East and Asia began as early as 3,500 years ago. Eggs were brought to the Western world in the fifth century A.D. Several hundred years later eggs were added to the list of foods not eaten during Lent because they were seen as luxurious. On Easter, people were allowed to begin eating eggs again, which explains their importance and popularity on that holiday.
 
Where Do Eggs Come From?
 
As with so many food essentials, China is the world’s largest producer of eggs, meeting its own needs and also supplying eggs to some neighboring markets. Other big suppliers are India, Mexico, the European Union, and the United States. Iowa, Ohio, Indiana, Pennsylvania, California, and Texas are, in that order, the United States’ leading producers.
 
Why Should I Eat Eggs?
 
The quality of egg protein is the highest of any whole food product, second only to human breast milk. Eggs are also a good source of the amino acid tryptophan, selenium, vitamin B2, and vitamin B12, and are one of the rare sources of natural vitamin D. Eggs are a good source of choline, which is important for brain function, gene regulation, and heart health. Eggs also contain lutein and zeaxanthin, two phytochemicals that may reduce the risk of cataracts and macular degeneration.
 
Home Remedies
 
Eggs have been used in a variety of ways for medicinal purposes. One popular remedy for colic consists of beating four to five egg whites and putting them on a piece of leather, sprinkling the mixture with pepper and ginger, and then placing the mixture over the child’s belly button. The age- old remedy of mixing one egg, a teaspoon of Worcestershire sauce, a dash of vinegar, a dash of Tabasco sauce, and a little salt and pepper reportedly has helped many in getting over a hangover. Be aware that from a food-safety standpoint, eating raw eggs is not a good idea!
 
Throw Me a Lifesaver!
 
CATARACTS AND MACULAR DEGENERATION: According to one study, people who ate foods high in lutein and zeaxanthin, such as eggs, had a twenty percent reduction in developing cataracts and a forty percent reduction in developing macular degeneration.
 
 
 
 
OBESITY: A report in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition presented promising research on the possible “hunger-fighting power” of eggs. An egg first thing in the morning may lead to reduced calorie consumption for the rest of the day.
 
Tips on Eggs
SELECTION AND STORAGE:
 
• Check for cracks before purchasing.
 
• Look for an expiration date on the side of the carton and only buy eggs that are refrigerated.
• There are varieties of eggs that are rich in omega-3 fats and are actually lower in cholesterol than regular eggs (180mg versus 215mg in a
large egg).
 
• Store your eggs in the refrigerator and they will stay good for about one month.
 
• Do not put them in the refrigerator door as they will be exposed to warmer temperatures when the door is opened. Keep them in their original carton.
 
• Egg whites freeze fairly well for several months.
 
PREPARATION AND SERVING SUGGESTIONS:
 
• Wash your hands, utensils, and work surfaces with hot, soapy water before and after handling eggs to prevent cross-contamination of salmonella.
 
• Cook until yolks are firm.
 
• Don’t keep eggs and egg products out of the refrigerator for more than two hours.
 
• Eggs are used in French toast, pancakes, quiche, soufflés, salads, and a variety of other dishes.
Cheesy Asparagus and Mushroom Scramble
 
by Elisa Zied
 
Servings: 4 • Prep and cooking time: 20 minutes
 
If you don’t like your veggies crunchy, sauté the asparagus and mushrooms first. This recipe contains three powerhouse foods.
 
INGREDIENTS:
 
8 large egg whites, raw
 
4 egg yolks, raw
 
1 cup asparagus, chopped
 
1 cup white mushrooms, chopped
 
4 slices low-sodium, light Swiss cheese, cut into small slivers
 
Salt and pepper to taste
 
Nonstick cooking spray
 
DIRECTIONS:
On medium heat, coat the bottom of a nonstick large frying pan with nonstick cooking spray. Put 4 whole eggs into a medium bowl. Remove egg yolks from 4 other eggs and add the remaining whites to the bowl with the whole eggs. Mix eggs and pour into the pan when heated. Let the eggs set for 1 minute. Slide the pan gently and bring eggs to center. Add asparagus, mushrooms, and Swiss cheese and stir gently for a few minutes until all ingredients are scrambled. Serve.
 
BREAK IT DOWN…
Calories: 190; Total fat: 11g; Saturated fat: 6g; Cholesterol: 233mg; Sodium: 270mg; Total carbs: 4g; Fiber: 1g; Sugar: 2g; Protein: 19g.
 
 
 
Elderberry (Sambucus nigra)
 
Did you know…the elder tree has been called “the medicine chest of the common people”?
 
What’s the Story?
 
There are over twenty species of elder trees in existence today. Formerly thought to be in the honeysuckle family Caprifoliaceae, elder is now classified in the Moschatel family Adoxaceae. The flowers, leaves, berries, bark, and roots have all been used in traditional folk medicine for centuries. The fruit goes into elderberry wine, brandy, and the popular drink Sambuca, which is made by infusing elderberries and anise into alcohol. When cooked, elderberry can be used to make pies and jam. Raw berries contain hydrocyanic acid (cyanide) and sambucine alkaloids, which can cause diarrhea and nausea. Their harmful effects can be deactivated simply by cooking the berries.
 
A Serving of Food Lore…
 
Elderberry gets its name from the Anglo-Saxon word “aeld” meaning “fire,” perhaps referring to its fiery red branches that hold the berries. Interestingly, Egyptians used elder flowers for healing burns. Many Native American tribes used elderberry, and its variants, in teas and other beverages. In the Middle Ages, legend held that its tree was home to witches and that cutting one down would bring on the wrath of those residing in the branches. As early as the seventeenth century, the British became known for homemade wine and cordials that were consumed for various health challenges including fighting the common cold. For the past several centuries, reference to the medicinal benefits of elderberry can be found in a variety of pharmacopoeias throughout greater Europe.
 
Where Are Elderberries Grown?
 
Elderberries are grown commercially in the Russian Federation and throughout Europe, particularly in Poland, Hungary, Portugal, and Bulgaria. They are also grown, on a smaller scale, in North America, in Nova Scotia, New York, Ohio, and Oregon.
 
Why Should I Eat Elderberries?
 
The berries contain more vitamin C than any other fruit except rose hips and black currants. Elderberries also contain vitamin A and carotenoids, flavonoids, tannins, polyphenols, and anthocynanins. Many of these phytochemicals have been shown to be powerful antioxidants with anti- inflammatory, antiulcerative, antiviral, and anticancer properties.
 
Home Remedies
 
Hippocrates and other healers have used elderberry as an anti-inflammatory, anti-rheumatic, diuretic, and laxative agent, as well as for the treatment of dysentery, stomach ailments, scurvy, and urinary tract problems. Warm elderberry wine is a remedy for sore throat and influenza, and induces perspiration to reverse the effects of a chill. The juice from the berries is an old-fashioned cure for colds, and is also said to relieve asthma and bronchitis. Infusions of the fruit are beneficial for nerve disorders and back pain, and have been used to reduce inflammation of the urinary tract and bladder.
 
Throw Me a Lifesaver!
 
INFLUENZA: Several studies have shown the effectiveness of elderberry in killing influenza strains A and B. In one study, sixty patients who had influenza-like symptoms for less than two days were randomized in a double-blind, placebo-controlled study. In those receiving elderberry extract, less medication was required and symptoms were relieved an average of four days earlier compared to those who had received the placebo. In another study with an elderberry-treated group, over ninety-three percent of participants experienced significant relief, including the absence of fever, within two days.
 
 
 
 
COLITIS: Rats with colitis received an extract of elderberry for one month. Compared to the control group, the elderberry-fed group had a fifty percent reduction in damage to the colon.
 
Tips on Using Elderberry
SELECTION AND STORAGE:
 
• Avoid picking berries that have become overripe. Wash well and strip from the stalks using a dining fork.
 
• Elderberries can be stored in the refrigerator for up to one week.
PREPARATION AND SERVING SUGGESTIONS:
 
• They can be frozen, canned, and made into pie filling.
 
• Elderberries can be added to apple pie or blackberry jam.
Fourth of July Elderberry Ice Cream Pie
 
 
 
 
 
 
This recipe contains two powerhouse foods. INGREDIENTS:
FOR THE CRUST:
 
1½ cups graham cracker crumbs
 
2 tablespoons honey
 
2 tablespoons butter, melted
by Sharon, Chloe, Katie, and Madison Grotto Servings: 8 • Prep and cooking time: 30 minutes. Freeze until firm: 3 to 4 hours
 
FOR THE FILLING:
 
12 ounces elderberries
 
¼ cup honey
 
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
 
1/3 cup water
 
1 tablespoon cornstarch
 
2 cups low-fat strawberry ice-cream or frozen yogurt
 
2 cups low-fat vanilla ice cream or frozen yogurt
 
DIRECTIONS (CRUST):
Place graham cracker crumbs, honey, and butter in a 9-inch pie plate. Mix and firmly press mixture to form pie crust. Place in freezer for thirty minutes.
 
DIRECTIONS (FILLING):
While crust is freezing, dissolve cornstarch in water and mix with elderberries, honey, and vanilla extract in a medium saucepan, bring to a boil, cook until thickened (about two minutes). Let sauce cool completely.
 
Place softened strawberry ice cream on top of frozen pie crust. Layer ½ of berry sauce over ice cream. Layer vanilla ice cream over berry sauce. Layer top of vanilla ice cream with remaining berry sauce. Wrap with plastic wrap and freeze 3 to 4 hours or until firm.
 
BREAK IT DOWN…
Calories: 260; Total fat: 8g; Saturated fat: 3.5g; Cholesterol: 15mg; Sodium: 160mg; Total carbs: 48g; Fiber: 3; Sugar: 30g; Protein: 4g.
 
 
 
Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare)
 
Did you know…Puritans  referred to fennel as the “meeting seed” as they would chew it during their long church services?
 
What’s the Story?
 
Fennel is composed of a white or pale green bulb with stalks that are topped with feathery green leaves and flowers that produce fennel seeds. All parts of the fennel plant are edible. Fennel has a sweet aromatic flavor and aroma. Varieties include Cantino, Fino (Zefa Fino), Herald, Perfection, Sirio, Sweet Florence, and Tardo (Zefa Tardo). Fennel is popular in southern European cooking.
 
A Serving of Food Lore…
 
Fennel is native to southern Europe and southwestern Asia. It was known to the ancient Greeks and spread throughout Europe by Imperial Rome. Legend has it that the Battle of Marathon, the town for which the famous race is named, was fought in a field of fennel. Greek mythology reveals that fennel was favored by Dionysus, the Greek god of food and wine, and that knowledge of the gods was passed on to man via a fennel stalk.
 
Where Is Fennel Grown?
 
Wild fennel is the form mainly cultivated in central and eastern Europe, while sweet fennel is grown mainly in France, Italy, Greece, and Turkey. Much of the seed of European commerce comes from India. In the U.S., California and Arizona are the top producers.
 
Why Should I Eat Fennel?
 
Fennel is a source of fiber, folate, and potassium. It contains a significant amount of vitamin C. Fennel also contains the phytochemicals anethole and other terpenoids that have been shown to have anticancer, anti-inflammatory, and digestive properties.
 
Home Remedies
 
Chinese and Hindus used it as a snakebite remedy. The seeds are utilized in many herbal medicines to reduce gas and intestinal colic, allay hunger, and diminish indigestion. In the first century, it was noted that after snakes had shed their skins, they ate fennel to restore their sight. It has since been used as a wash for eyestrain and irritations. Fennel seed is widely used in India as an after-dinner breath freshener and also to help in digestion.
 
Fennel has also been used as a diuretic, to stimulate lactation, and to help with yellow jaundice, gout, and occasional cramps. Chinese medicine prescribes fennel for gastroenteritis, hernia, indigestion, and abdominal pain, to resolve phlegm, and to stimulate milk production.
 
Throw Me a Lifesaver!
 
COLIC: About forty percent of infants who received fennel seed oil showed relief of colic symptoms, as compared to only fourteen percent in the placebo group.
 
 
 
 
CANCER: The phytonutrient anethole, which occurs naturally in fennel, has been shown to reduce the gene-altering and inflammation-triggering molecule called NF-kappa B. It also helps reduce tumor necrosis factor (TNF), a cancer-signaling molecule, thus enhancing cancer cell death.
 
 
 
 
STOMACH RELIEF: Anethole and other terpenoids have been known to inhibit spasms in the intestinal tract, acting as a gas-relieving and cramp-relieving agent.
 
Tips on Using Fennel
SELECTION AND STORAGE:
 
• Select fennel bulbs that are whitish or pale green in color and firm without signs of damage.
 
• Store fresh fennel in the refrigerator crisper for up to four days.
 
PREPARATION AND SERVING SUGGESTIONS:
• The three different parts of fennel—the base, stalks, and leaves—can all be used in cooking.
 
• Use it for meats and poultry, but even more for fish and seafood.
 
• Toasting fennel seeds accentuates their flavor. They can be added to meat dishes for an authentic Italian flavor. Sauté fennel seeds with sliced peppers, onion, and sausage for a quick pasta sauce.
 
• Fennel is often combined together with thyme and oregano in olive oil–based marinades for vegetables and seafood.
Baked Stuffed Garlic Fennel
 
 
 
 
 
This recipe contains three powerhouse foods.
by Chef Cheryl Bell
 
Servings: 4 • Prep and cooking time: 60 minutes
 
INGREDIENTS:
 
2 fennel bulbs
 
1 cup chicken or vegetable broth
 
¼ cup minced garlic
 
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
 
2 tablespoons seasoned whole wheat breadcrumbs
 
Kosher salt and black pepper to taste
 
DIRECTIONS:
Heat oven to 375 degrees. Spray an 11 × 9-inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. Trim the frilly tops off of the fennel bulbs. Remove outer skin that may be thick and tough. Cut fennel bulbs vertically into ¼-inch-thick slices. Lay slices flat in the baking pan, keeping slices intact. Add the chicken broth to the baking dish. Place 1 teaspoon of minced garlic on top of each fennel slice. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, if desired. Cover pan tightly with aluminum foil and bake for 45 to 50 minutes, or until fennel can be pierced through with a fork without any resistance. In a small bowl, combine the Parmesan, breadcrumbs, and pepper. Remove fennel from oven and sprinkle Parmesan mixture over fennel slices. Bake uncovered for 10 to 15 minutes, or until the crumbs are lightly browned. Serve right away with pan juices.
 
BREAK IT DOWN…
Calories: 80; Total fat: 1g; Saturated fat: .5g; Cholesterol: 0mg; Sodium: 380; Total carbs: 16g; Fiber: 4g; Sugar: 2g; Protein: 4g.
 
 
 
Figs (Ficus carica L.)
 
Did you know…according  to the Bible, the first known fashion statement was made with fig leaves?
 
“Then  the eyes of both [Adam and Eve] were opened and they realized that they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.”
 
 
What’s the Story?
GENESIS 3:7
 
Figs are commonly thought of as a fruit but they are actually inverted flowers with the seeds being the actual fruit. There are hundreds of different varieties of figs but the most popular are the Celeste, Brown Turkey, Brunswick, and Marseilles. In the United States, the Calimyrna and Black Mission are most common.
 
A Serving of Food Lore…
 
The fig is a symbolic fruit that dates back to ancient and biblical times and is the most frequently mentioned fruit in the Bible. Figs were revered by Cleopatra for their health benefits, and Greek Olympians not only ate figs but wore them as medals for their accomplishments. Figs were introduced to the United States in 1669. Spanish missionaries were the first to bring figs to California, planting them in a mission in San Diego in the mid-1700s. They became known as “Black Mission” figs. The golden-brown Calimyrna (formally known as “smyrna”) variety arrived from Turkey and was brought to California in 1882.
 
Where Are Figs Grown?
 
Turkey and Greece are the leading producers of figs in the world. The United States comes in third place with figs grown in California, Texas, Utah, Oregon, and Washington. However, one hundred percent of all harvested dried figs and ninety-eight percent of all fresh figs in the United States are grown in California’s San Joaquin Valley, primarily in Fresno, Madera, and Merced counties.
 
Why Should I Eat Figs?
 
Figs are higher in fiber than any other fresh or dried fruit per serving, containing about five to six grams per ¼ cup (about three figs). They are rich in potassium, calcium, magnesium, and iron, and are also an excellent source of polyphenols, plant-based chemicals thought to play a role in fighting disease. Research reports that figs are one of the healthiest dried fruits, with “superior quality” antioxidants.
 
Throw Me a Lifesaver!
 
SKIN DISORDERS: Figs contain a substance called Psoralens that, when combined with exposure to ultraviolet light, has shown success in treating several skin diseases and certain forms of lymphoma in some studies.
 
 
 
 
DIGESTION: Figs are naturally high in fiber and contain digestive enzymes that promote regularity and can aid in digestion.
 
 
 
WEIGHT MANAGEMENT: Fiber  may play a role in making people feel full faster and slowing absorption of calories.
 
 
 
 
HEART HEALTH: Antioxidants called phenols, found specifically in dried figs, decrease damage and mutations to individual cells in the body, possibly offering a protective effect against heart disease and cancer.
 
 
 
 
DIABETES: The type of fiber found in figs may reduce the risk of developing adult-onset diabetes (type 2) by slowing down the digestion and absorption of sugars in foods.
 
Tips on Using Figs
SELECTION AND STORAGE:
• Fresh figs: Choose figs that are slightly soft and bent at the neck. They can only be refrigerated for approximately 2 to 3 days after harvest.
 
• Dried figs: The white “frost” that occurs on figs is called “sugaring” and it is a natural occurrence when sugars from the fig rise to the surface. Keep refrigerated to reduce “frost.”
 
• Figs also come in juice concentrate and pastes.
 
• Figs are one of the first recorded fruits to be dried and stored for food. Dried figs can be stored for six to eight months without loss of quality. Unopened, they will last for up to two years!
 
PREPARATION AND SERVING SUGGESTIONS:
 
• For baking and cooking, just snip off the stem and slice, chop, or puree as the recipe suggests.
 
• Dipping the blade of your knife in hot water helps prevent sticking when cutting.
 
• Fresh and dried figs can be processed and used in baked products, jams, jellies, and preserves.
 
• Diced figs are a great topping for salads.
 
• Mix in chopped figs with oatmeal or on top of any cold cereal.
 
• Soak figs for thirty minutes, puree, and add to tomato sauce to sweeten it.
Moroccan Chicken with Figs
 
by Chef Kyle Shadix
 
Servings: 8 • Prep and cooking time: 60 minutes
 
For a vegetarian version, substitute the chicken with seitan (wheat gluten—I’ve fooled many a nonvegetarian with it!). This recipe contains ten powerhouse foods.
 
INGREDIENTS FOR SAUCE:
 
1½ cups coarsely chopped yellowonions
 
2 tablespoons freshly ground ginger
 
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
 
½ teaspoon ground coriander
 
½ teaspoon ground cumin
 
1½ cups tomato sauce
 
2 cups peeled and cubed white potatoes
 
1½ cups fresh or dried figs cut into halves
 
INGREDIENTS TO ACCOMPANY CHICKEN/SEITAN:
 
2 pounds seitan or other chicken substitute, cut into 1–2? square pieces
 
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
 
½ cup fresh cilantro, chopped
 
Salt and pepper to taste
 
DIRECTIONS:
Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in saucepan and sauté onions and fresh ginger until tender. Add cumin and coriander to onions and ginger mixture and stir until spices are cooked. Add all other sauce ingredients in the saucepan and set aside. Heat ¼ cup olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the chicken, seitan, or other chicken substitute and brown, cooking for 2 to 3 minutes on each side. Pour the sauce over the seitan or other chicken substitute and simmer, covered, over medium heat until cooked through, 30 to 45 minutes. Serve over rice. Garnish with chopped cilantro.
 
BREAK IT DOWN…
Calories: 370; Total fat: 13g; Saturated fat: 2g; Cholesterol: 65mg; Sodium: 360mg; Total carbs: 37g; Fiber: 7g; Sugar: 24g; Protein: 29g.
 
 
 
Flax (Linum usitatissimum)
 
Did you know…oil from flax is also known as “linseed” oil when it is used to make paints, varnishes, lacquer, and ink?
 
What’s the Story?
 
Flax is a plant that is native to southwest Asia and southeastern Europe. Its Latin name means “most useful,” as all parts of the flax plant have been used historically for a variety of purposes. The seed of flax is small and full of oil. It has a nutty flavor and can be used in many different culinary dishes. Flax is mostly grown for its nutritional value but it also is widely used for various commercial nonfood products such as in paints, ink, and linoleum.
 
A Serving of Food Lore…
 
Flax cultivation can be traced back to 3000 B.C. in Babylon. In fact, linen made from flax fiber was used to wrap Egyptian mummies. About six hundred years ago, Hildegard von Bingen used flax meal in hot compresses for the treatment of both external and internal ailments. In the United States, early colonists grew small amounts of flax for home use, but it wasn’t until 1753 that commercial production began. Following the invention of the cotton gin, forty years later, flax production declined to a minimum.
 
Where Is Flax Grown?
 
Canada is the leading producer and exporter of flax, followed by China, the United States, India, the European Union, and Argentina. States with the greatest flax production in the U.S. include North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota, and Wisconsin.
 
Why Should I Eat Flax?
 
Flaxseeds are a rich source of omega-3 fats. They are an excellent source of soluble and insoluble fiber, beneficial for regulating cholesterol, blood glucose, and digestion. Flax is a superb source of lignans, plant compounds that act like a weak form of estrogen. Some scientists believe that lignans may protect against certain kinds of cancer, particularly breast and colon cancer.
 
Home Remedies
 
Flax is known as a “blessed plant” that can bring good fortune, restore health, and protect against witchcraft. Historically, flax has been used to relieve abdominal pains, coughs, boils, skin abscesses, and constipation.
 
Throw Me a Lifesaver!
 
HEART DISEASE: Women who added fifty grams of ground flaxseed each day for four weeks to their daily diet lowered their total cholesterol by nine percent and LDL (“bad”) cholesterol by eighteen percent. Flaxseed also reduces inflammatory markers associated with increased risk for heart disease.
 
 
 
 
PROSTATE CANCER: Lignans, a fiber compound found in flax, slowed tumor growth in prostate and breast cancer patients.
 
 
 
 
BREAST CANCER: A mouse study showed that flaxseed may enhance the effectiveness of the cancer drug tamoxifen in halting the growth of breast cancer. Women with high levels of enterolactone (a weak phytoestrogen), linked to high lignan intake from foods like flax, have been shown to experience a fifty-eight percent reduction of breast cancer risk.
 
 
 
 
COLON CANCER: An animal study found supplementation of flaxseed oil to be effective in preventing colon tumor development whereas corn oil, mostly omega-6 fats, promoted tumor growth.
 
 
 
 
DIABETES: The addition of flax or components of flax in animal studies slowed the onset of type 2 diabetes and protected kidneys from the typical damage caused by diabetes.
ATTENTION DEFICIT HYPERACTIVITY DISORDER (ADHD): A pilot study conducted in India evaluated the effect of flax oil on behavior in children with ADHD. There was significant improvement in their symptoms, reflected by reduction in total hyperactivity scores.
 
Tips on Using Flax
SELECTION AND STORAGE:
 
• Whole flaxseed  is available  either in bulk or packaged and can be found at health food stores, some supermarkets,  or direct from manufacturers.
 
• The color of flax makes little difference when it comes to taste or nutritional value.
 
• Flax oil is sold in liquid and gelatin capsules. Your greatest health benefit is from ground flaxseeds.
 
• Look for flax-enriched breads and cereals.
 
• Flax oil should be kept refrigerated. Milled flax may be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 90 days, and whole flaxseed may be stored at room temperature for up to one year.
 
PREPARATION AND SERVING SUGGESTIONS:
 
• Grind flaxseeds fresh in a coffee grinder whenever possible.
 
• Do not cook with flax oil as it burns easily. Flaxseed oil works best in cold foods.
 
• You can sprinkle milled flax on cereal, salads, soups, casseroles, baked breads, and other cooked foods.
 
• Replace high-saturated-fat ingredients like butter with milled flax. Three tablespoons milled flax equals 1 tablespoon butter, margarine, shortening, or vegetable oil.
 
• Replace eggs, too! For every egg, mix 1 tablespoon milled flax with three tablespoons water in a small bowl and let sit for one or two minutes.
Cinnamon-Walnut Granola
 
From The Amazing Flax Cookbook by Jane Reinhardt-Martin
 
Servings: 25 (½ cup) • Prep and cooking time: 40 minutes
 
This recipe contains five powerhouse foods.
 
INGREDIENTS:
 
7½ cups old-fashioned oatmeal
 
1 cup walnuts, chopped
 
1 cup coconut, shredded
 
½ cup flaxseed, ground
 
½ cup brown sugar
 
½ cup canola oil
 
½ cup honey
 
½ tablespoon cinnamon
 
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
 
DIRECTIONS:
Preheat oven to 275 degrees. In a mixer bowl, combine oats, coconut, walnuts, and ground flaxseed. In another bowl (microwavable), combine brown sugar, oil, honey, cinnamon, and vanilla. Cook on high in microwave until mixture starts bubbling. Pour mixture over oat mixture and mix well. Spray cookie sheet with nonstick spray. Spread mixture thinly onto cookie sheet. Bake for 15 minutes. Stir and bake for an additional 15 minutes or until oats are toasted. Cool and store in an airtight container.
 
BREAK IT DOWN…
Calories: 233; Total fat: 11g; Saturated fat: 2.5g; Cholesterol: 0mg; Sodium: 14mg; Total carbs: 29g; Fiber: 4g; Sugar: 10g; Protein: 5g.
 
 
 
Garlic (Allium sativum)
 
Did you know…garlic is known universally as “the stinking rose”?
 
What’s the Story?
 
Garlic is a member of the lily family and is closely related to the onion, shallot, and leek. There are two common classifications of garlic: hardneck and softneck. Wild garlic is of the hardneck variety; domestic garlic may be either hardneck or softneck. Popular hardneck varieties include Roja, German Red, and Valencia. Silverskin, artichoke, and Italian are the most popular “softneck” varieties.
 
A Serving of Food Lore…
 
Although there isn’t a lot of information about garlic’s history of domestication, inscriptions on the Cheops pyramid in Egypt told of the wonders of garlic. Indians referred to garlic some 5,000 years ago and Babylonians used it 4,500 years ago. Ancient writings tell of garlic’s use in China as far back as 4,000 years ago. The center of origin for garlic is thought to be a region that stretches from China to India.
 
Where Is Garlic Grown?
 
China and the United States lead in domestic production. Garlic grows wild in central Asia, predominantly in Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan. Gilroy, California, is often referred to as the garlic capital of the world and every year it celebrates by hosting an annual garlic festival.
 
Why Should I Eat Garlic?
 
Though garlic contains many nutrients, you’d have to eat quite a bit to achieve an appreciable level of nutrition. But what garlic lacks in nutritional value, it more than makes up with phytochemicals attributed to protecting your body from harm, such as allicin, a bacteria killer; saponin, a cholesterol soaker-upper; and coumaric acid, a cancer-fighter, to name a few.
 
Home Remedies
 
Garlic is the original crime fighter! It battles villains inside and outside the body from vampires to the dreaded “evil eye” (malocchio in Italian) to the common cold.
 
Egyptian slaves were fed garlic to keep their strength up. Roman soldiers ate garlic to inspire them and give them courage.
 
Throw Me a Lifesaver!
 
ANTIMICROBIAL/ANTIFUNGAL AGENT: Louis Pasteur demonstrated how, under laboratory conditions, garlic killed bacteria and acted as an effective antibacterial. The amount of allicin produced in one clove of garlic after chopping was found to be effective against killing vancomycin- resistant Enterococci and methicillin-resistant  Staphylococcus aureus in two recent studies.
 
 
 
 
HEART HEALTH: A randomized, double-blind human study found that after 12 weeks of garlic supplementation, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) was reduced by eleven percent. In another study involving 261 patients, those taking garlic extract for sixteen weeks had lowered their cholesterol levels by twelve percent and their triglycerides by seventeen percent. A ten-month study evaluated the effect of aged garlic extract (AGE) on the lipid profiles of men with moderately high cholesterol. Platelet adhesion and fibrinogen (makes blood sticky, increasing risk of clotting) was reduced by approximately thirty percent in subjects taking AGE.
 
 
 
 
REDUCED RISK OF PREECLAMPSIA DURING PREGNANCY: Researchers in London found that garlic may help to boost the birth weight of babies and decrease preeclampsia complications at birth.
 
 
 
 
CANCER: Nearly thirty studies have shown that garlic has some cancer-preventive effect. The evidence is particularly strong for a link between garlic and prevention of prostate and stomach cancers.
 
Tips on Using Garlic
SELECTION AND STORAGE:
 
• A “bulb” usually contains between ten and twenty individual cloves of garlic. Fresh garlic should be plump and firm with tight skin.
 
• Garlic is also available in powder, flakes, and oil form, as well as chopped and pureed versions.
 
• Store in a cool, dark place—do not refrigerate!
 
• Frozen: Garlic can be peeled, pureed, and frozen for longer storage.
 
PREPARATION AND SERVING SUGGESTIONS:
 
• Peeling, crushing, and cutting garlic increases the number and variety of active compounds including an enzyme called allinase that produces diallyl disulfide (DADS). Don’t cook with it right away! Scientists recommend waiting 15 minutes between peeling and cooking garlic to allow the allinase reaction to occur.
 
• Garlic can burn easily, so brown it carefully.
 
• Make peeling easy: Press a clove with the broad side of a large knife until the skin splits and then it can be pulled off.
 
• Roasted: Simply put unpeeled heads of garlic in a roasting pan, sprinkle with olive oil and rosemary, and roast at 350 degrees for 30 to 40 minutes. Elephant garlic is delicious prepared this way.
 
• Garlic and salads: Rub the salad bowl with a cut clove of garlic before putting in the salad greens.
Sicilian Spread
 
 
 
 
 
This recipe contains five powerhouse foods.
 
 
Servings: 8 • Prep time: 15 minutes
 
INGREDIENTS:
 
16 ounces sun-dried tomatoes inoil, drained and rinsed, coarsely chopped
 
1 anchovy fillet, pureed with some of the tomato
 
½ cup kalamata olives, coarsely chopped
 
4 cloves garlic, minced
 
¼ cup capers, coarsely chopped
 
DIRECTIONS:
Blend ingredients, serve with crackers. Also makes a great sandwich spread. You won’t even know the anchovy is there!
 
BREAK IT DOWN…
Calories: 80; Total fat: 5g; Saturated fat: 0.5g; Cholesterol: 0mg; Sodium: 330mg; Total carbs: 8g; Fiber: 2g; Sugar: 0g; Protein: 2g.
 
 
 
Ginger (Zingiber officinale)
 
Did you know…at one time, it was popular to sprinkle fresh ginger in steins of beer at English pubs, hence the name and origin of
“ginger ale”?
 
What’s the Story?
 
Though often referred to as a root, ginger is actually a reedlike herb that has rough, knotty rhizomes (underground stems). There are several different varieties to choose from, including the most popular kind, called Jamaican, African/Indian that features a darker skin, and Kenyan varieties that come in white, red, and yellow.
 
A Serving of Food Lore…
 
The origins of ginger can be traced back to southeastern Asia, China, and India, where its use as a culinary spice dates back at least 4,400 years. Romans brought ginger from China nearly 2,000 years ago and its popularity spread throughout Europe. In the 1850s, many English and Irish pubs and restaurants featured fresh ginger on every table, much like salt and pepper today. Spaniards brought ginger to the Western Hemisphere, introducing it throughout South America and Mexico.
 
Where Is Ginger Grown?
 
India, China, Indonesia, Nigeria, the Philippines, and Thailand currently are the main ginger producers. In the United States, ginger is grown mostly in California, Hawaii, and Florida.
 
Why Should I Eat Ginger?
 
Ginger is a rich source of powerful antioxidants such as gingerols, shogaols, and zingerones.
 
Home Remedies
 
Ginger has been used as a home remedy through many generations for treating a variety of conditions. It has been taken internally for loss of appetite, stomach upset, diarrhea, stomachache, colic, dyspepsia, flatulence, post-surgical pain, motion and morning sickness, general and chemotherapy-induced nausea, rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, migraine headache, upper respiratory tract infections, cough, and bronchitis. Topically, it has been used for treating thermal burns and as an analgesic.
 
Throw Me a Lifesaver!
 
MORNING SICKNESS: A double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial found that 125mg of ginger extract consumed four times per day for four days significantly reduced morning sickness in women less than 20 weeks pregnant. A trial investigated the effect of 1.05 grams of ginger on nausea and vomiting among women less than 16 weeks pregnant. Fifty-three percent of women consuming the ginger capsule reported a reduction in both nausea and vomiting associated with pregnancy.
 
 
 
 
MOTION SICKNESS: Two double-blind studies showed that ginger had a significant effect on preventing and treating motion sickness.
 
 
 
 
OSTEOARTHRITIS: In a randomized, double-blind study, researchers found that those participants with osteoarthritis who had consumed ginger extract experienced much greater reduction in knee pain than those in the control group.
 
 
 
 
CANCER: A mouse study found that the antioxidant 6-gingerol, which gives ginger its flavor, resulted in fewer tumors and their size was considerably smaller than those of mice who did not receive gingerol.
 
 
 
 
OVARIAN CANCER: Ginger induced apoptosis (programmed cell death) and autophagy (cells digesting themselves) in ovarian cancer cells. Ginger was also effective at controlling inflammation, thus stopping the cancer cells from growing.
COLON CANCER: Ginger was found to protect against the formation of colon cancer in mice injected with cancer cells.
 
Don’t Throw Me an Anvil!
 
Ginger has blood-thinning qualities and may be contraindicated if you are on blood thinners. Check with your doctor or a registered dietitian for advice on the inclusion of ginger.
 
Tips on Using Ginger
SELECTION AND STORAGE:
 
• Ginger can be found fresh, pickled, dried, or in powdered form.
 
• Choose fresh ginger that is free from bruises, and light brown to cream in color.
 
• Fresh ginger should be stored at room temperature.
 
PREPARATION AND SERVING SUGGESTIONS:
 
• Fresh ginger provides the freshest taste and can be shredded, finely minced, sliced, or grated, and does not have to be peeled.
 
• Fresh ginger can be successfully substituted for ground ginger and should be done at a six-to-one ratio, fresh to ground ginger respectively.
 
• The center of the root is more fibrous and contains the most powerful flavors.
 
• When shredding, be sure to shred in the direction of the fibers.
 
• Slice fresh ginger and enjoy on top of a bed of lettuce or boil to make a soothing tea.
 
• Use dried or powdered ginger to spice up any main dish or to make a delicious marinade.
 
• Use pickled ginger as an accompaniment to main Asian dishes or to beautifully garnish a meal.
 
 
 
Strawberry Ginger Sauce (or Dressing)
 
 
 
 
Every ingredient in this recipe is a powerhouse food. INGREDIENTS:
 
1½ cups strawberries (stems removed)
 
1½ tablespoons honey
 
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
 
2 teaspoons fresh grated ginger
by Cynthia Sass
 
Servings: 6 • Prep time: 10 minutes
 
DIRECTIONS:
In a blender or food processor, combine all ingredients and blend until smooth. Refrigerate and use as a dressing (great on spinach salad), dip, or topping.
 
BREAK IT DOWN…
Calories: 20; Total fat: 0g; Saturated fat: 0g; Cholesterol: 0mg; Sodium: 0mg; Total carbs: 6g; Fiber: 1g; Sugar: 5g; Protein: 0g.
 
 
 
Goji Berries (Lycium, Wolfberries)
 
Did you know…the term “goji”  refers only to the Tibetan variety of Lycium berry that is indigenous  to the Tibetan and Mongolian regions?
 
What’s the Story?
 
There are more than forty species of the goji berry, also known as “wolfberry.” The more commonly consumed variety of goji berry is Lycium barbarum. The berries, small and orange to light red in color, are filled with seeds. The taste is somewhat like a cross between a cranberry and a cherry. They are shade-dried before packaging. Goji can be eaten raw, cooked, consumed as juice or wine, brewed into a tea, or prepared as a tincture.
 
A Serving of Food Lore…
 
The goji plant hails from Tibet and Inner Mongolia and has a 3,000-year history in Chinese and Eastern medical traditions. The use of goji was first described in the Chinese Materia Medica, published nearly 2,000 years ago.
 
Where Is Goji Grown?
 
The Chinese have been growing goji for thousands of years and the plant continues to be cultivated throughout China and Tibet. Ningxia, located in northwest China along the Yellow River, is often referred to as the goji capital of the world. There is even an annual two-week festival to honor the goji berry. It is also grown as a cultivated plant throughout Asia, the Middle East, Great Britain, and North America.
 
Why Should I Eat Goji Berries?
 
Although goji contains a wide variety of nutrients and trace minerals, this berry is not especially rich in any one vitamin or mineral. However, its concentration of the plant chemicals beta-carotene and zeaxanthin more than makes up for any shortfall in nutrient density.
 
Home Remedies
 
Whatever ails you! Goji has been used to treat inflammations, skin irritations, nosebleeds, and aches and pains. In Chinese medicine, goji is recommended for long life, sharp eyesight, and healthy liver function, to boost sperm production, and to improve circulation, among other benefits.
 
Throw Me a Lifesaver!
 
HEART HEALTH: Goji fruit extracts significantly reduced blood glucose, total cholesterol, and triglycerides, and at same time markedly increased high-density lipoprotein (“good”) cholesterol levels after rabbits consumed them for ten days.
 
 
 
 
INSULIN RESISTANCE: Diabetic rats who were treated with goji for three weeks had significant decreases in triglycerides, weight, and cholesterol, and had improved insulin sensitivity.
 
 
 
 
CANCER: An extract  of goji stopped the spread and encouraged death of liver cancer cells in a cell study. Another cell study showed that goji inhibited leukemia cancer cells, and a mouse study showed that goji enhanced the killing effect of radiation therapy.
 
Tips on Using Goji Berries
SELECTION AND STORAGE:
 
• Goji can be purchased at Chinese supermarkets and herb shops and health food stores.
 
• Goji berries are processed into a variety of other forms including juice, powdered, and dried.
 
• Store in a cool, dry place.
 
PREPARATION AND SERVING SUGGESTIONS:
 
• Goji berries can be eaten right off of the vine!
• Wash and then soak dried goji berries for fifteen minutes before eating.
 
• Dried goji berries can be eaten alone as a snack food or as a great addition to a trail mix.
 
• Throw a handful of berries into a smoothie.
 
• Top off hot or cold cereals, stews, or baked goods and cereal bars with some berries.
Goji Berry Rice Pudding
 
by Chef J. Hugh McEvoy
 
Servings: 6 • Prep and cooking time: 90 minutes (but chill at least two hours)
 
This recipe contains seven powerhouse foods.
 
INGREDIENTS:
 
3 ounces dried goji berries
 
3 ounces seedless golden raisins
 
½ cup quick-cooking long-grain brown rice
 
1 cup water
 
3 cups 2% milk or soy milk
 
¾ cup agave syrup or honey
 
3 omega-3 eggs
 
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
 
1 teaspoon sea salt
 
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
 
DIRECTIONS:
Using a large, heavy sauce pot bring water to a rolling boil. Add salt and rice. Cover, reduce heat, and cook rice until done, approximately 15 to 20 minutes. Stir in milk and sugar. Cover and cook over very low heat for approximately 1 hour. The mixture should look like thin oatmeal. Whip eggs to a froth. Add vanilla and cinnamon. Slowly add about 6 ounces of hot mixture to beaten egg mixture to temper the egg. Blend until smooth. Then add egg mixture to hot rice, stirring constantly. Blend until smooth. At very low heat, cook until mixture thickens, about 2 minutes. Add goji berries and raisins. Mix until even. Remove from heat immediately. Portion into six Pyrex or ceramic dessert dishes. Chill in refrigerator at least two hours or overnight. Serve garnished with fresh mint leaves and powdered cinnamon.
 
BREAK IT DOWN…
Calories: 217; Total fat: 4g; Saturated fat: 2g; Cholesterol: 77mg; Sodium: 174mg; Total carbs: 39g; Fiber: 1g; Sugar: 28g; Protein: 6g.
 
 
 
 

 

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