101 foods that could save your life – Part2

 Bananas (Musa sp.)

Did you know…the banana is not actually a tree but, in fact, the world’s largest herb?
What’s the Story?
Arabian slave traders are credited with giving the banana its popular name. In Arabic Banan means “finger.” There are over 100 varieties of bananas but the most popular worldwide are the Apple, Silk, or Manzana; Cavendish (the most common imported variety to the United States); Cuban Red; Gros Michel; Ice Cream or Blue Java; Lady Finger; Orinoco, sometimes called “hog,” “burro,” or “horse” banana; Popoulu; Valery; and Williams varieties.
A Serving of Food Lore…
The earliest cultivation of the banana is said to have originated in Malaysia over seven thousand years ago. Bananas then traveled to India, where they were discovered by Alexander the Great in 327 B.C. and continued to travel throughout the Middle East, eventually finding their way to Africa. In
1516, a Portuguese Franciscan monk brought banana roots with him to the Canary Islands and, soon afterward, they found their way throughout the Western Hemisphere. In the early 1900s, bananas began to be imported into the United States from Cuba. The term Banana Republics referred to those countries’ economies that were largely dependent on banana trade.
Where Are Bananas Grown?
Over 130 countries contribute to the fourth largest fruit crop in the world. The vast majority of the world production of bananas comes from countries in Latin America, followed by Southeast Asia, and a smaller contribution from Africa.
Why Should I Eat Bananas?
Bananas are a good source of vitamin C, B6, and fiber. Green bananas are an excellent source of resistant starch, which tends to be digested slower, thus not causing blood glucose to surge. Resistant starch may reduce the risk of many different types of cancer, especially colon cancer. Red bananas contain more vitamin C, beta-, and alpha-carotene than yellow bananas do. They are an excellent source of potassium, supplying about 300 to 400 milligrams per medium banana. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommends eating foods rich in potassium and low in sodium, which may help reduce the risk of high blood pressure and stroke.
Home Remedies
Many cultures use banana peel for eliminating warts and also for soothing mosquito bites. Try rubbing your skin with a banana peel after an insect bite to reduce the swelling, itching, and irritation that often results after a bite. The secret may be that the enzymes within the peel are helpful in reducing inflammation. At the very least, the cool peel against hot skin feels great.
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ULCERS: Animal research found that bananas caused the cells that line the stomach to produce a thicker protective barrier against acid. Bananas  were also found to contain  compounds  called protease inhibitors that help destroy harmful bacteria such as H. Pylori, believed responsible for most stomach ulcers today.
DIARRHEA: Researchers tested three different groups of children with diarrhea. One group was treated with a diet that included bananas; a second group received pectin; and in the third group the children were given plain rice. The “banana group” fared best—eighty-two percent of them recovered within four days.
REDUCED KIDNEY CANCER RISK: A large population study found that women who ate bananas four to six times a week reduced their risk of developing kidney cancer by fifty percent compared to women who did not eat bananas.
Tips on Using Bananas
• Select full-yellow bananas if you are going to eat them within a few days.
• Use fully ripe bananas, with speckles on the peel, for baking, mixing smoothies, or in recipes that specify mashed bananas.
• Keep bananas on a fruit dish at room temperature.
• If you want the bananas to ripen faster, place the bowl in the sun or ripen in a brown paper bag with a piece of apple or a tomato overnight.
• Storing bananas in the refrigerator will delay ripening but will turn the peels black.
• When peeling and slicing bananas that you won’t be serving immediately, dip them into lemon, lime, or orange juice to slow browning.
• Heating enhances the taste and smell of bananas. Slightly under-ripe fruits are best for cooking, as they hold their shape better.
• Eat them raw, cooked, or frozen. Bananas can be added to baked goods, hot and cold cereals, and desserts.
Banana-Blueberry Bread
by Nicki Anderson
Servings: 12 • Prep and baking time: 1 hour
Nothing smells or tastes as good as fresh-baked banana bread. My girls love Nicki’s banana bread toasted, too. This recipe contains five powerhouse foods.
1½ cups bananas, mashed
¾ cup blueberries (if frozen, thawand drain well)
2/3 cup light brown sugar
¼ cup canola oil
1 large egg white
1 large egg
1 cup all-purpose flour
¾ cup whole wheat flour
1¼ teaspoons cream of tartar
¾ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
½ teaspoon salt
Cooking spray
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine banana, brown sugar, oil, and eggs in a large bowl and mix until smooth. Combine flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt in another bowl and mix thoroughly. Add flour mixture to banana mixture, stirring until moist. Add blueberries. Spoon batter into an 8 × 4 loaf pan generously coated with nonstick spray. Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes or until toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool for 15 minutes before removing from pan, then cool completely on rack.
Calories: 132; Total fat: 5g; Saturated fat: 0.5g; Cholesterol: 18mg; Sodium: 19mg; Total carbs: 20g; Fiber: 1g; Sugar: 13g; Protein: 2g.
Barley (Hordeum vulgare)
Did you know…the FDA now allows barley products to attach labels saying that barley “may reduce the risk of heart disease”?
What’s the Story?
Barley is a member of the grass family called Poaceae. There are more than fifty different varieties of barley grown throughout the world. It is one of the main grains fed to livestock, and only a small amount is used for human consumption, mainly for beer and other foods. Barley kernels must be first polished or “pearled” to remove the inedible hull. Barley malt is a fundamental ingredient in making beer.
A Serving of Food Lore…
The actual origin of barley remains unknown but many researchers believe it came from China or Ethiopia. Archaeologists have discovered that barley was one of the first grains domesticated in the Fertile Crescent by Egyptians some 10,000 years ago. Christopher Columbus brought barley to North America from Spain in 1493.
Where Is Barley Grown?
The top producers are Russia, Germany, Ukraine, France, Canada, Turkey, Australia, and the United States. North Dakota contributes most of the
United States’ grain.
Why Should I Eat Barley?
Barley is a good source of insoluble and soluble fiber. Beta-glucans, which lower cholesterol and aid in immune function, are found in the soluble fiber portion. In fact, barley is the richest source of beta-glucans compared to any other grain. It also contains B vitamins, iron, magnesium, zinc, phosphorus, and copper, and is one of the richest sources of chromium, which is important in maintaining proper blood glucose levels. Barley is rich in antioxidants, such as selenium, quercetin, and phenolic acids, which protect against damage to human body cells, and also contains a high concentration of tocols and tocotrienols, oils that help reduce the risk of cancer and heart disease.
Home Remedies
Barley has been used in a variety of home remedies throughout the centuries. Many cures are based on preparing a beverage of the grain boiled in water for an hour. For an upset stomach, or to soothe ulcers, drink the liquid straight. Mix in lemon juice for diarrhea. Making a paste from barley, turmeric, and yogurt in equal proportions is another common preparation. The paste can be rubbed on sunburned areas of the body. The same paste, mixed with one half glass of buttermilk and the juice from half a lime, may relieve the symptoms of bladder or kidney infection.
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CONSTIPATION AND COLON CANCER: Two rat studies showed promising results in treating vastly different illnesses. In one, constipated rats were fed barley, which increased bowel movements. In another, rats with colon cancer were fed varying high-fiber diets. The group on barley had significantly fewer tumors than the other groups.
HEART DISEASE: The beta-glucan fraction in barley, which is also found in oats and mushrooms, is associated with reducing the risk of heart disease.
DIABETES: A small human study showed promise in regulating blood glucose and improving insulin production when the subjects’ diet included barley.
Don’t Throw Me an Anvil!
Though barley is low in gluten, it is not gluten-free, so people with celiac disease should not use it in place of wheat.
Tips on Using Barley
• Whole barley comes hulled (also known as “pot barley”), pearled, cracked, flaked, and in flour forms. Barley malt, a natural sweetener made from the sprouted form of the grain, comes in either liquid or powdered varieties.
• Make sure you buy your grain from stores with high turnover. If you’re unsure of its freshness, check for evidence of moisture or condensation on
the packaging.
Barley should be kept in a Ziplocked plastic bag or container with a tight lid and stored in a cool, dry place.
• Rinse the grain under running water to remove dirt before cooking.
• Substitute twenty-five to fifty percent of the white wheat flour in a recipe with barley flour.
• Add hot water to cracked barley for a hot cereal.
• Add cooked barley to soups, stews, and salads.
• Adding barley flour increases soluble fiber in your diet.
Barley flakes are easy additions to granola, muesli, cookies, and muffins.
Barley Orzo Salad
by Chef J. Hugh McEvoy
Servings: 22 • Prep and cooking time: 20 minutes
This recipe contains seven powerhouse foods.
2 cups pearled barley
2 cups orzo pasta, cooked
4 cups water
½ cup fresh basil, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
Juice of ½ fresh lemon
1/8 cup Vidalia onions, chopped
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon fennel seed
1 teaspoon white pepper
Cook barley in boiling, salted water until tender—eight to ten minutes. Drain and reserve for next step. Fold herbs, onions, garlic, olive oil, lemon juice, vinegar, seeds, and spices into cooked barley. Fold cooked pasta [orzo] into mixture. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve hot or cover and refrigerate until chilled, then serve cold as a side dish.
Calories: 70; Total fat: 1g; Saturated fat: 0g; Cholesterol: 0mg; Sodium: 320mg; Total carbs: 15g; Fiber: 3g; Sugar: 0g; Protein: 2g.
Basil (Ocimum)
Did you know…in some parts of Italy, men still wear a sprig of basil in their lapel if they are looking for a mate?
What’s the Story?
Basil is an herb belonging to the mint family, Lamiaceae. The name is of Greek origin and means “royalty.” Basil comes in many different varieties, differing in shape, size, and color. Large-leaf Italian sweet, tiny-leaf bush, thai, lemon, and African blue are the most common cooking varieties.
A Serving of Food Lore…
Basil origins can be traced back to India nearly 4,000 years ago. Basil was called “the Herb of Kings” by the ancient Greeks. It also has been found in Asia, Egypt, and around the Mediterranean. Some people believe that basil found growing around Christ’s tomb was taken to Rome and dispersed throughout Europe. The leaf became popular in sixteenth-century England and was carried to North America by English explorers.
Where Is Basil Grown?
Basil is grown commercially in Yugoslavia, India, Mexico, Italy, Israel, Morocco, and the United States. Within the United States, California is the main producer.
Why Eat Basil?
Basil is rich in rosmarinic and caffeic acid, which are phenolic compounds with strong antioxidant properties. Other phytochemicals in basil include orientin and vicerin, flavonoids that protect cells from damage; volatile oils, such as camphor and 1,8-cineole, that have antibacterial properties; and carotenoids such as beta-carotene.
Home Remedies
Basil appears in many simple preparations. A leaf tucked over a mouth ulcer may ease the sore’s pain. Try treating sore gums with a tea made from eight basil leaves in one cup of boiling water. Swish frequently with the tea. Treat an earache with the juice from ten basil leaves: With a dropper apply a drop or two into the ear canal. For hair loss or dandruff, massage the scalp with oil of basil. An hour later, wash your hair with cold water. Two to three crushed basil leaves mixed with water and rock salt may soothe indigestion. You may drink it hot or cold. A spoonful of a mixture of the juice of basil leaves and honey may help soothe a hoarse voice. At the very least you’ll enjoy a delicious beverage. Basil juice may also relieve itching. Massage the juice onto the trouble area. Basil also makes an excellent bug repellent!
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HEART HEALTH: A study conducted on rabbits found that when they ingested holy basil mixed with alcohol and water, the fatty component of cells did not become damaged as easily when exposed to stress, thus improving circulation and reducing heart disease. Another animal study found that rats who were having a heart attack and who were treated with holy basil had less damage to their heart tissue than rats who were having a heart attack and who were not treated with holy basil.
ANTIADHESION: Basil has been shown to make platelets, a component of red blood cells, less “sticky”—a process that may reduce the chance of blood clots forming.
IMMUNE RESPONSE: Rats who were administered holy basil had decreases in immune response to allergens.
ANTIBACTERIAL PROPERTIES: Oil of basil has demonstrated strong antibacterial traits, even with antibiotic-resistant types. It has been found particularly effective in killing harmful bacteria found in produce. Next time you order a salad out, ask for lots of basil.
Tips on Using Basil
• Choose leaves that are bright green and free from any brown or yellow spots.
• Basil only keeps a few days in the refrigerator.
• Place cut stems in water and keep them on the windowsill. Sprigs will remain fresh a week or more.
• Layer basil between sheets of waxed paper and freeze. The leaves will darken but they will retain their aroma and flavor.
• Fresh basil leaves can be covered with olive oil in an airtight container and stored in the refrigerator up to two months.
• When stored in a cool, dark, dry space, dried basil may last up to six months.
• Add leaves only during the last few minutes of cooking.
• Wash fresh basil under cold running water to remove dirt.
• Chop leaves by rolling them tightly into a cigar shape and chop to desired consistency.
• Place mozzarella cheese and a fresh basil leaf on top of a tomato slice for a simple and tasty tomato salad.
• Add basil to tomato sauce, stir-fry, and pasta shortly before serving.
• Stalks of basil can be added to bottles of vinegar and olive oil for added flavor.
Basil Pistachio Pesto
by Chef J. Hugh McEvoy
Servings: 20 (a serving is 1/8 cup) • Prep time: 10 minutes
This recipe contains four powerhouse foods.
1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup Parmesan cheese, shredded
¾ cup dry roasted pistachios
5 fresh garlic cloves
½ teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
8 cups fresh basil, chopped
Chill all ingredients. Combine all ingredients except cheese, salt, and pepper into a blender or food processor; blend until a smooth sauce forms. Add shredded cheese, blend until just smooth. Add salt and pepper—season to taste. Garnish with fresh, whole basil leaves. Serve immediately. Can be kept chilled; however, color and flavor fade with time.
Calories: 150*1; Total fat: 15g; Saturated fat: 3g; Cholesterol: 3mg; Sodium: 75mg; Total carbs: 3g; Fiber: 1g; Sugar: 0g; Protein: 3g.
Beans (Phaselous vulgaris)
Did you know…Mexican “Jumping Beans” are not actually beans at all? They are part of a seed shell that contains the larva of a small gray moth who is really behind all of the “jumping.”
What’s the Story?
There are over one thousand bean species, which are also known as pulses and legumes, in various cultures. Beans can be broken down into three basic categories: snap beans, which includes string and pole beans; shell beans, including lima beans and peas; and “dry” beans, which includes such varieties as black, kidney, garbanzo, Great Northern, navy, pinto, and red beans, to name a few. “Dry beans” come in both wet (i.e., canned) and dry (unhydrated) states. The term “dry” does not refer to the hydration state of the bean, but rather means that the bean variety is allowed to dry in the pod before harvesting.
A Serving of Food Lore…
The first evidence of beans can be traced back some 20,000 years. The lima and pinto were cultivated by Mexican and Peruvian civilizations more than 7,000 years ago. Historians are unsure whether these two beans originated in Mexico, Peru, or Guatemala. Migrating tribes brought beans throughout the Americas. Spanish explorers introduced the beans from the New World to Europe in the 1500s. From there, Spanish and Portuguese traders carried them to Africa and Asia.
Where Are Beans Grown?
The United States is the sixth-leading producer of dry edible beans, behind Brazil, India, China, Burma, and Mexico. North Dakota and Michigan lead the nation in dry bean cultivation.
Why Should I Eat Beans?
Beans count as both a vegetable and a protein source in the United States Department of Agriculture’s MyPyramid food guide. They are one of the few vegetables that are rich in both protein and fiber, including both soluble and insoluble fiber to promote regularity, control cholesterol, and reduce the risk of certain cancers. Beans are an excellent source of potassium, folate, and magnesium, and are also a good source of manganese, molybdenum, and the B vitamin thiamine. Darker beans like black beans are as rich in antioxidant compounds called anthocyanins as grapes and cranberries. In fact, four out of the twenty top antioxidant-containing foods are beans. The 2005 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend that people consume three cups of beans per week. Unfortunately, the average American only meets one-third of that recommendation!
Home Remedies
Beans have long been a remedy for constipation as they are rich in fiber that promotes laxation.
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LONGEVITY: A study showed that those who ate beans regularly, more so than any other food, seemed to live longer across various ethnicities.
OBESITY: According to data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey of 1999–2002, bean-eaters are less obese than people who don’t include beans in their daily diet.
HEART HEALTH: Years of large studies offer conclusive data linking bean consumption and heart health. Let’s take a look at four of the best.
• Researchers from Arizona State University found significant reductions in total and LDL cholesterol in those subjects who simply added pinto beans to their diet.
• Following the dietary intake patterns of 16,000 middle-aged men from around the world for 25 years, a study found that higher consumption of legumes was associated with a whopping eighty-two percent reduction in risk of heart disease!
• A study of nearly 10,000 American adults found that those who ate the greatest amount of soluble fiber foods (at least 21 grams of fiber per day) had a fifteen percent reduction in risk of heart disease compared to those eating five or less grams daily.
• Beans are a main staple of the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet and the Portfolio diet, both effective in lowering blood
BREAST CANCER: The consumption of beans is associated with reduced risk for breast cancer in postmenopausal women.
DIABETES: Researchers compared two groups of people with type 2 diabetes who were fed different amounts of high-fiber foods. The group who ate a diet containing 50 grams of fiber a day had lower levels of both plasma glucose and insulin.
Tips on Using Beans
If you are not used to eating beans and are worried about being “gassy,”  start off by eating smaller amounts of beans such as 1/4 cup per day and increase up to 1/2 cup. Gas produced by eating beans is often due to a sudden introduction of fiber. Your body will adjust if you are consistent with your fiber intake and you will be less “windy” in no time!
• “Dry” beans come packaged or already cooked, either canned or frozen.
• If stored in a cool, dry place, dry beans can be stored for at least twelve months or longer.
• Canned beans can be stored up to twelve months.
• Cooked beans may be refrigerated for up to five days and frozen for up to six months.
• You can reduce up to forty percent of sodium by rinsing canned beans or by purchasing no-salt-added versions. Rinsing beans may also reduce gas production as well!
• Use a pressure cooker to speed up the cooking time.
• Bean soup and chili are two of the most popular ways to eat beans.
• Add beans to burritos or dips to increase nutritional value and add extra flavor!
• Do not add salt or anything acidic, like tomatoes, until after the beans have been cooked, to avoid longer cooking time.
Easy Pasta Fagioli
by Christine M. Palumbo
Servings: Twelve 1-cup servings • Prep and cooking time: 45 minutes
This recipe contains eight powerhouse foods.
½ cup white or yellowonion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 cans stewed tomatoes, 14.5-ounce can
2 cans reduced-sodium chicken broth, 14-ounce can
½ cup Italian leaf parsley, chopped
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
4 cans cannellini or Great Northern beans, drained and rinsed
½ pound ditalini pasta
Salt and black pepper to taste
Sauté onion in the olive oil. Add garlic and cook until soft. Add tomatoes, chicken broth, parsley, pepper, basil, and oregano. (If desired, lightly mash the tomatoes before adding them.) After bringing it to a boil, add the beans. Bring to a boil again, lower the heat, and simmer for ½ hour. In the meantime, boil water for the pasta. Cook the pasta and drain, reserving 2 cups of the pasta water. Add the pasta to the soup along with the pasta water. Serve with freshly grated Romano cheese along with crusty Italian bread.
Calories: 273; Total fat: 5g; Saturated fat: 0g; Cholesterol: 0mg; Sodium: 647mg; Total carbs: 45g; Fiber: 9g; Sugar: 7g; Protein: 12g.
Blackberries (Rubus sp.)
Did you know…American Indian women ate blackberries to pre vent miscarriages?
What’s the Story?
Blackberries are shrubs that belong to the rose family. As a bramble, blackberry fields produce fruit every other year. There are many types of blackberries, including: Himalaya, Marion, Silvan, Evergreen, and Black Diamond. Evergreen blackberries are the main type sold. Blackberries are often used in hybrids such as boysenberry and loganberry.
A Serving of Food Lore…
The Evergreen blackberry was known to have grown throughout northern Europe and was especially prominent in England centuries before settlers brought them to the eastern United States in 1850. Migratory birds helped spread the seeds westward, where they took prominence along the Pacific Coast. The Himalaya blackberry came from Germany to the United States, but its true origins can be found in Asia. This type of blackberry is quite common in the Pacific Northwest. Blackberries can be found growing in abundance on the Cascade and Sierra Mountain ranges.
Where Are Blackberries Grown?
Chile, the United States, Guatemala, Mexico, Ecuador, and Romania are the world’s top growers. Oregon, California, Texas, Georgia, and
Arkansas top the list in the U.S.
Why Should I Eat Blackberries?
Blackberries  are high in antioxidants: An in vitro study found that blackberries  had the highest antioxidant capacity when compared  with blueberries, cranberries, strawberries, and raspberries. They are also rich in vitamin C, fiber, and in the phytochemicals tannin, flavonoid, and cyanidin, which have anticarcinogenic properties. Blackberries also contain catechins, such as quercetin, which is an antioxidant that can reduce the risk of heart disease and stop the action of histamine for people with allergies.
Home Remedies
A combination of distilled water and blackberries made into a drink and taken regularly in the morning is known to promote laxation. Either chewing on blackberry leaves or drinking the aforementioned beverage may help provide relief from bleeding gums and sore throats. To relieve and soothe burns, gently rub blackberry leaves on the burned area.
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COLON AND LIVER CANCER: Human cell studies have shown that components in blackberries capture free radicals and prevent damage to liver and colon cells.
LUNG CANCER: Studies done on human lung cancer cells have shown that blackberry extracts inhibited further growth of the cancer. A rat study demonstrated for the first time that an anthocyanin extract from blackberries (cyanidin-3-glucoside) inhibited tumor promotion and metastasis (the spreading of cancer cells).
ESOPHAGEAL CANCER: Blackberries have been shown to inhibit and reduce the growth rate of esophageal cancer in laboratory rats.
Tips on Using Blackberries
• Look for deep, even color with a glossy look to the berries.
• Look for dents or bruising as this will cause berries to deteriorate quickly.
• Keep them refrigerated. They can only be kept for one to three days and taste best when consumed immediately.
• Wash blackberries in cold water just before using. If you decide to freeze them, wash them in cold water and immediately place them in a freezer-safe container.
• Eat blackberries plain, in yogurt or cereal, or put them in a fruit salad.
• Make jellies or jams with frozen berries.
• Blackberries are great for use in pies, cookies, and bars.
• Ferment blackberry juice for homemade red wine.
Simple Blackberry Crisp
This recipe contains five powerhouse foods. INGREDIENTS:
4 cups blackberries, fresh or frozen
½ cup honey
3 tablespoons lemon juice
¼ cup + 1 tablespoon whole wheat flour
¼ cup + 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
¼ cup (packed) brown sugar
½ cup old-fashioned rolled oats
4 tablespoons margarine
by Sharon Grotto
Servings: 8 • Prep and baking time: 40 minutes
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Combine blackberries, honey, lemon juice, and one tablespoon each of the all-purpose and whole wheat flours in a large bowl. Spray 9? pie plate with nonstick cooking spray and pour in mixture. In separate bowl, combine remaining flours, brown sugar, oats, and margarine. Mix with fork until crumbly. Sprinkle over berry mixture. Bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown.
Calories: 220; Total fat: 5g; Saturated fat: 1.5g; Cholesterol: 0mg; Sodium: 50mg; Total carbs: 43g; Fiber: 5g; Sugar: 27g; Protein: 3g.
(Vaccinium angustifolium [wild] & Vaccinium corymbosum [cultivated])
Did you know…Native Americans believed that blueberries had magical powers and told stories of how the Great Spirit sent “star berries” to feed children during times of famine?
What’s the Story?
Blueberries belong to a group of flowering plants. The species are native to North America and eastern Asia. The two major types available in the United States are wild blueberries (lowbush) and cultivated blueberries (highbush). Wild blueberries are one of just three berries native to North America; the others are cranberries and Concord grapes.
A Serving of Food Lore…
Native Americans have gathered blueberries from the woods and bogs for generations and were the first to make preserves from blueberries, and to use blueberry juice to dye clothing. Colonists learned to dry blueberries from the Wampanoag Indians. Blueberry juice became an important staple for Civil War soldiers to protect themselves against scurvy.
Why Should I Eat Blueberries?
Because wild blueberries contain less water and are smaller than highbush varieties, they tend to be more nutrient-dense when comparing equal volumes. There are 1,600 wild blueberries to the pound, compared to 500 of the cultivated blueberries. Fresh blueberries have an Oxygen Radical Absorption Capacity (ORAC) value of 2400 per 100 grams. Blueberries are rich in phytochemicals such as phenolic acid, anthocyanins (the pigments that make blueberries blue), and ellagic acid, a natural compound that may inhibit tumor growth. Fresh and frozen blueberries contain high amounts of anthocyanins but very little is found in dried forms.
Home Remedies
Native Americans found that blueberries helped reduce morning sickness, coughs, and headaches. The leaves were used to make tea and were thought to help purify the blood.
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MEMORY AND COGNITIVE FUNCTION: Animal research has shown promise for using blueberry extract in the areas of improving balance, coordination, and memory, even in those challenged with Alzheimer’s disease.
CANCER: Several  studies  have reported promising results for compounds in blueberries as effective inhibitors of cancer. Both wild and cultivated blueberries were found to be effective in inhibiting androgen-sensitive prostate cancer.
ANTIBACTERIAL: Blueberries, like cranberries, contain compounds that prevent the bacteria responsible for urinary tract infections from attaching to the bladder wall.
HEART HEALTH: Scientists at the University of California, Davis, the University of Maine, Orono, and the School of Medicine at the University of Louisville, Kentucky, found that blueberries may help protect against cardiovascular disease. According to researchers at the University of Prince Edward Island in Atlantic Canada, rats fed diets containing wild blueberries for six weeks experienced decreased stroke-induced brain damage.
Tips on Using Blueberries
• Fresh blueberries should be deep blue and covered with a chalky white “bloom.”
• Check for damp, moldy, or decayed berries.
• Frozen blueberries should move freely in the bag. If they are frozen in one clump, most likely they have been thawed and refrozen.
• Blueberries will last for seven to ten days if refrigerated.
• Do not wash the berries before storing.
• For freezing, spread unwashed berries on a cookie sheet and place it in the freezer until the berries are frozen, then transfer to a plastic freezer bag. They’ll keep for up to a year.
• Rinse fresh blueberries and pat dry.
• Frozen berries don’t need to be washed before eating. Let thaw at room temperature before adding them to uncooked dishes.
• When adding fresh berries to batter, dust them first with flour, to keep them from settling.
• Toss some in a salad or on cereal, eat as a snack, or make a blueberry pie!
Bursting Blueberry Bread Pudding
This recipe contains six powerhouse foods.
by Chef Cheryl Bell
Servings: 12 • Prep and cooking time: 90 minutes
3 cups nonfat milk
3 large eggs
5 to 6 cups day-old torn whole wheat French bread or whole wheat bread
½ cup granulated sugar
¼ cup honey
¼ teaspoon almond extract
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ teaspoon lemon or orange zest (optional)
2 cups fresh blueberries (may also use frozen)
3 tablespoons whole wheat flour
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Spray an 11 × 7 baking dish. Whisk together milk, eggs, sugar, flavorings, and zest. Add bread and let stand for 10 to 15 minutes. In a separate bowl, “dust” blueberries with flour and discard excess flour when done. Add blueberries to bread mixture. Pour into the prepared baking dish. Set baking dish in a larger pan and add about 4 cups of hot water to make a steam bath for the pudding. Bake for 1 hour or until bread pudding is set and is lightly browned on top. Serve warm with traditional rum raisin, caramel, or lemon sauce. It’s also great topped with fresh fruit or served straight up!
¼ cup granulated sugar
¼ cup honey
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/8 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
1 cup boiling water
1 teaspoon butter
LEMON SAUCE (optional)
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 lemon, juiced
In a large saucepan, add sugar, honey, cornstarch, salt, and nutmeg. Gradually stir in boiling water. Simmer over low heat, gradually stirring until sauce thickens. Remove from heat; stir in butter, lemon zest, and lemon juice. Serve drizzled over bread pudding.
Calories: 230*2; Total fat: 3g; Saturated fat: 0mg; Cholesterol: 45mg; Sodium: 170mg; Total carbs: 46g; Fiber: 2g; Sugar: 30g; Protein: 6g.
Broccoli (Brassica oleracea Italica)
Did you know…broccoli rabe, or turnip broccoli, is not really broccoli but rather comes from the turnip family?
What’s the Story?
Broccoli is a member  of the cruciferous  family Brassica oleracea, specifically  from the Italica cultivar, and is closely related to cabbage, cauliflower, kale, collard greens, and brussels sprouts. There are two main types of broccoli, heading and sprouting. Heading broccoli is by far the most common. You’ll recognize the sprouting type by its stalk with many florets growing from it.
A Serving of Food Lore…
Broccoli has been around for at least 2,000 years and was first seen in the region of Asia Minor now known as Turkey. From Asia Minor it spread to Italy and Greece and eventually made its way throughout the rest of Europe. In the early nineteenth century, Italian immigrants carried the vegetable with them to North America. It was not popular with non–Italian Americans and took another century to catch on and be grown commercially. The first commercial harvest was celebrated in the borough of Brooklyn, New York, in 1920.
Where Is Broccoli Grown?
Canada, Japan, Hong Kong, Mexico, and the United States are the top contributors to broccoli production. Ninety percent of the broccoli grown in the United States comes from California’s Salinas Valley and Santa Maria. In the winter months, the vegetable becomes available from Arizona, Texas, Florida, and Washington.
Why Should I Eat Broccoli?
Broccoli is an excellent source of vitamin C and a good source of vitamin A, mainly in the form of beta-carotene. Broccoli also contains folic acid, calcium, and chromium. Broccoli is rich in many plant compounds such as indoles and isothiocynates, which have been shown to have cancer- fighting properties. Broccoli sprouts are one of the most concentrated sources of an antioxidant called sulforaphane glucosinolate. Scientists discovered that a handful of three-day-old broccoli sprouts contained as much as twenty to fifty times as much sulforaphane glucosinolate as 114 pounds of regular broccoli!
Home Remedies
Getting vitamin C from fresh foods in the treatment of sinus infections is a plus, and broccoli, rich in C, along with other foods (like berries and citrus fruits), is eaten to both treat and prevent sinus problems. Used as a base of various juice blends, broccoli has long been advocated for relieving symptoms of herpes outbreaks. Now some scientists believe they may have found out why. Researchers at Northeastern Ohio University College of Medicine in Rootstown, Ohio, tested human and monkey cells and found that a naturally occurring compound present in broccoli (and other vegetables like cabbage and brussels sprouts), called indole-3-carbinol (I3C), may inhibit the herpes virus from reproducing.
Eating foods rich in calcium, such as broccoli, can also help prevent headaches and cramps from the menstrual cycle.
Throw Me a Lifesaver!
HEART HEALTH: Human studies have shown that people with mild to moderate LDL (“bad”) cholesterol levels (and potentially at risk for heart problems) who consumed a beverage containing broccoli and cauliflower juice showed a decrease in LDL levels.
CANCER: There are over three hundred studies investigating the health benefits of sulphur-containing compounds such as sulforaphane glucosinolates, found in broccoli and, to a much greater extent, broccoli sprouts, in fighting breast and prostate cancers. Studies have shown that sulforaphane stopped the growth of breast and prostate cancer cells.
The growth of thyroid and goiter cancer cells slowed when they were treated with sulphur-containing substances in broccoli called indole-3- carbinol and diindolylmethane (DIM).
ULCERS: Sulforaphane in broccoli may prevent the growth of H. pylori bacteria, often attributed to causing stomach ulcers and other ailments. Even strains of bacteria that have been found resistant to antibiotics were effectively reduced in the presence of broccoli.
Tips on Using Broccoli
• Look for firm stalks and compact heads that are dark green in color.
• Place unwashed broccoli in an open bag in the refrigerator or in the crisper drawer.
• For best taste, use the broccoli within one to two days of buying.
• Cut off the thick stalk. If you don’t care for the fibrous outside layer you may use a vegetable peeler to remove it up to the florets. Cut the florets and stems into spears.
• Cooking broccoli may increase its cancer-killing properties. Researchers at the University of Illinois found that when broccoli was heated, the number of sulphoraphanes that fight cancer was enhanced.
• Steam broccoli until it is fork-tender but still crisp. It should be bright green in color.
• Stir-fry broccoli with carrots, snow peas, chicken (or any animal protein or vegetable protein such as tofu), and soy sauce.
• Eat raw with your favorite dip or in a salad for added flavor.
Family Favorite Broccoli Frittata
by Nicki Anderson
Servings: 8 • Prep and cooking time: 75 minutes
This recipe contains six powerhouse foods. If your kids aren’t too keen on broccoli, this dish will certainly turn them around. Loaded with flavor, this is a dish even the pickiest of eaters will love!
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
½ cup onion, chopped
3 large egg whites
1 large egg
1 cup skim milk
½ teaspoon garlic salt (to taste)
½ teaspoon garlic, minced
¼ teaspoon black pepper
1 16-ounce package frozen broccoli, thawed and drained
½ cup whole grain bread crumbs
¾ cup low-fat sharp cheddar cheese, grated
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Sauté onion and garlic in oil until onion is tender; set aside. Combine egg whites, egg, milk, salt, and pepper in large bowl. Stir in thawed broccoli, bread crumbs, cheese, and onion with egg mixture and mix thoroughly. Add all but ¼ cup of cheese and again, mix well. Carefully pour entire mixture into a 9 × 5 glass loaf pan. Sprinkle with leftover cheese and bake for one hour or until knife inserted in center comes out clean. Let cool for 5 or 10 minutes, slice in 1? slices, and serve.
Calories: 200; Total fat: 12g; Saturated fat: 6g; Cholesterol: 60mg; Sodium: 398mg; Total carbs: 13g; Fiber: 3g; Sugar: 5g; Protein: 11g.
Buckwheat (Fagopyrum esculentum Moench)
Did you know…Thomas Jefferson and George Washington  were among the first Americans to grow buckwheat?
What’s the Story?
Contrary to popular belief, buckwheat is not a cereal grain but rather a fruit. It is a seed that is closely related to the rhubarb plant. The Dutch named it after the beechnut, which it resembles. There are several varieties of buckwheat but the most popular comes unroasted or roasted and is also known as “kasha.” Buckwheat also produces flowers from which bees make a dark, rich-flavored honey.
A Serving of Food Lore…
Buckwheat originated in central and western China and it was cultivated there in the tenth to the thirteenth centuries. The Crusaders brought it to Russia and Europe by the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. It was first introduced to the United States by the Dutch in the seventeenth century, and has been used for human and animal consumption ever since. Buckwheat hulls are also used as filling in specialty pillows for the head, body, and eyes.
Where Is Buckwheat Grown?
Japan is the main producer of buckwheat, followed by Russia, Poland, Canada, France, and the United States. The three largest growers in the
United States are Missouri, New York, and Pennsylvania.
Why Should I Eat Buckwheat?
Buckwheat is high in fiber, magnesium, B vitamins, and manganese. It contains flavonoids such as rutin, which helps lower bad cholesterol levels and maintain proper blood flow. Buckwheat has lignans, such as enterolactone, which may protect against breast cancer and heart disease. It contains the beneficial antioxidants vitamin E, tocotrienols, selenium, phenolic acids, and phytic acid.
Home Remedies
The Chinese Army feeds buckwheat to its soldiers because they believe it gives them more strength and stamina. The Hopi Indians gave their women an infusion of the whole buckwheat plant to stop bleeding after giving birth.
Throw Me a Lifesaver!
Rats and mice who were fed buckwheat flour had lower cholesterol levels, less body fat, and fewer gallstones than mice that were not fed buckwheat flour. Prematurely aging rats that were fed buckwheat flour had improved immune cell function compared to those who didn’t consume it. A study done on diabetic rats found that buckwheat concentrate added to rat chow decreased their glucose levels by twelve to nineteen percent after eating. And buckwheat studies with humans also are showing promise—for appetite control. A study in 2005 found that people felt fuller after consuming buckwheat compared to other grains.
Tips on Using Buckwheat
• Bulk buckwheat should be free from condensation, clumping, or “webbing,” a sure indication of pest infestation.
• When buying prepackaged buckwheat, check the expiration date and make sure the bag is free of moisture.
• Buckwheat can be stored up to a year in an airtight container if kept in a cool, dry place.
• Buckwheat flour should be kept in the refrigerator, where it will last a few months.
• Buckwheat should first be rinsed under cold running water to get rid of dirt.
• To prepare, use one part buckwheat to two parts water. Bring buckwheat and water to a boil. Cover it and allow it to simmer for 20 minutes.
• Use buckwheat flour in combination with wheat or all-purpose flour to make bread, muffins, cookies, and pancakes.
• Use cooked buckwheat as a hot cereal. Add berries, brown sugar, or cinnamon for extra flavor. Add cooked buckwheat to salads and soups for added health benefits and flavor.
Buckwheat Banana Bread
from Gluten-Free 101 by Carol Fenster
Servings: 12 (2 slices each) • Prep time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 40 minutes
This recipe contains seven powerhouse foods.
2 large eggs
¾ cup skim milk
1/3 cup canola oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 medium bananas, mashed ripe
1½ cups Bob’s Red Mill gluten-free all-purpose flour blend
½ cup cream of buckwheat cereal(Pocono brand by Birkett Mills)
¾ cup packed brown sugar
1½ teaspoons xanthan gum
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon, ground
¼ teaspoon nutmeg, ground
¼ cup walnuts, chopped
¼ cup raisins
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Generously grease 3 mini 5 × 3-inch nonstick pans. In a medium bowl, beat eggs, milk, canola oil, vanilla, and bananas with electric mixer on medium speed until thoroughly blended. Add dry ingredients (flour through nutmeg) and blend thoroughly on low- medium speed. Gently stir in nuts and raisins. Transfer batter to prepared pans. Bake 35 to 40 minutes or until loaves are nicely browned. Remove from oven. Cool pans on wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove bread from pans and finish cooling on wire rack. Cut each loaf into 8 slices.
Calories: 250; Total fat: 10g; Saturated fat: 1g; Cholesterol: 35mg; Sodium: 300mg; Total carbs: 39g; Fiber: 3g; Sugar: 21g; Protein: 5g.

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