101 foods that could save your life – Part3

 Cabbage (Brassica oleracea capitata)

Did you know…in some cultures, a bowl of cabbage soup is given to newlyweds the morning after their wedding as part of a fertility ritual? Perhaps that’s where the concept for “cabbage patch kids” came from!
What’s the Story?
Cabbage belongs to the Brassicaceae (mustard) family, which includes other vegetables such as brussels sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower, and kale. The leafy head is the only edible part. It is eaten raw, cooked, and preserved. There are over four hundred different varieties of cabbage to choose from. Popular varieties include green, red, and savoy, and Chinese varieties like Chinese cabbage, bok choy, and napa cabbage.
A Serving of Food Lore…
Cabbage has been cultivated for more than 4,000 years and domesticated for over 2,500 years. The first pickled version was cabbage preserved in brine, created by soldiers in China and Mongolia. The builders of the Great Wall of China also were known to exist on cabbage for energy and stamina. Fermented and pickled cabbage made its way into Europe from the East, carried by Hun and Mongol warriors. Cultivation of cabbage spread across northern Europe into Germany, Poland, and Russia, where it became a very popular vegetable in local food cultures. The savoy cabbage variety found its first admirers in Italy. During extended exploration voyages, Dutch sailors practically subsisted on sauerkraut, a dish made from fermented cabbage. Sauerkraut’s high vitamin C content helped prevent scurvy. Cabbage and the traditional sauerkraut recipe were introduced into the United States by early German settlers.
Where Is Cabbage Grown?
China, India, Russia, South Korea, Japan, and the United States are the leaders in cabbage production, in that order. New York is the top producer within the United States.
Why Should I Eat Cabbage?
Cabbage is a good source of vitamin C and fiber. Red cabbage also contains anthocyanins, a phytochemical also found in blueberries, beets, and Bermuda onions. Sauerkraut is an excellent source of vitamin K and vitamin C, and a good source of folate, potassium, iron, and fiber. Sauerkraut is equally rich in the friendly bacteria lactobacillus acidophilus. However, it is also high in sodium whereas cabbage is not.
Home Remedies
Ancient Greek and Roman civilizations held cabbage in high regard as they felt it was capable of treating a host of health conditions. Romans developed an ointment made from lard and ashes of burnt cabbages for use in disinfecting wounds. Cabbage juice is often sold in health food stores as a popular home remedy for ulcers.
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CANCERS: Foods  found  in the crucifer family are rich in phytochemicals called glucosinolates, which may protect against cancer. Cabbage, especially raw sauerkraut (cooking cabbage appears to reduce these helpful plant chemicals), is rich in the anti-cancer compounds indole-3- carbinole (I3C), isothiocyanates (a type of beneficial compound found in Brassica vegetables), and sulforaphane. These compounds help activate and stabilize the body’s antioxidant and detoxification mechanisms, which, in turn, eliminate cancer-producing substances. Cabbage intake has been linked to a lower incidence of colon, lung, cervical, and breast cancer.
BREAST CANCER: The Polish Women’s Health Study included hundreds of Polish and Polish-born women in the United States. The study revealed that women who ate three or more servings of raw, lightly cooked, or fermented (sauerkraut) cabbage were seventy-two percent less likely to develop breast cancer as opposed to those women who only ate one and a half servings per week.
VIRUS: Scientists at Seoul National University in South Korea fed an extract of kimchi, a spicy Korean version of sauerkraut, to thirteen chickens infected with avian flu. A week later, eleven of the birds started to recover.
ULCERS: In a small study, participants who had stomach ulcers drank a liter of fresh cabbage juice daily for ten days. All ulcers had healed by
the end of the ten days!
Tips on Using Cabbage and Sauerkraut
• Cabbage heads should be large and compact without discolored veins.
• Look for stems that are healthy-looking, closely trimmed, and are not dry or split.
• Buying precut cabbage may not be worth it as the leaves may have already lost their vitamin C content.
• Store the whole head of cabbage in a plastic bag in the refrigerator. Try to use any remaining cabbage in the next two days.
• Cabbage can be prepared any number of ways including steaming, frying, boiling, braising, and baking.
• Cabbage can be used cooked or raw in dishes from corned beef and cabbage, soups and stews, to cold dishes such as coleslaw.
• Eating sauerkraut on a hot dog may reduce some of the harmful effects of nitrates and nitrites found in processed meats. Try it on a turkey sandwich with mustard or in a pasta salad.
• The sodium content is pretty intense but can be easily lowered by rinsing in a colander under cold water.
• Look for fresh sauerkraut. The friendly bacteria content is much higher than what you would find in pasteurized jars. Once opened, sauerkraut should be used within three days.
Vegetarian Polish Cabbage Rolls
This recipe contains eight powerhouse foods.
by Ma Tomich
Servings: 6 • Prep and cooking time: 90 minutes
2 cups brown rice, cooked
1 large head of cabbage
1 pound Boca crumbles or lean ground turkey
½ cup yellowonion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon black pepper
2 omega-3 eggs
½ cup vegetable broth
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 can diced tomatoes
1 can tomato soup
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Core cabbage, place in pot, and cover with water. Bring to boil. Lower heat to medium and cover with lid and cook until slightly softened. Remove cabbage and place on a dish to cool. Meanwhile, in a large pot, sauté onions and garlic in olive oil until transparent. Add crumbles, rice, egg, vegetable broth, and pepper. Mix well. When cabbage is warm to the touch, peel leaves and place on a cutting board. Divide mixture into six equal parts. Fill cabbage leaves and roll. Place rolls with folded end down into 9 × 13 baking dish. Combine soup and tomatoes in a separate bowl. Ladle over rolls. Cover rolls in aluminum foil and bake for 45 minutes or until cabbage is easily pierced with fork.
Calories: 360; Total fat: 11g; Saturated fat: 2g; Cholesterol: 60mg; Sodium: 760mg; Total carbs: 46g; Fiber: 11g; Sugar: 14g; Protein: 23g.
Cardamom (Elettaria, Amomum,  Aframomum)
Did you know…long  before toothbrushes, ancient Egyptians chewed cardamom seeds to clean their teeth?
What’s the Story?
The name cardamom, also seen as cardamon, refers to three varieties from the ginger family: Elettaria, commonly known as green cardamom or true cardamom; Amomum, known as black cardamom;  and Aframomum, found and used mainly in Africa and Madagascar. All cardamom species have been used in cooking and for healing purposes. Cardamom has a strong, unique taste, with an intensely aromatic fragrance. It is often used in baked goods but can be found in such dishes as masala, meat loaf, sausages, curries, and in beverages such as chai, coffee, and tea throughout the world. Cardamom is especially popular across the Arab world.
A Serving of Food Lore…
Cardamom is thought to be native to India and southeastern Asia. It may have been brought to Europe around eight hundred years ago, and, by means of trade, introduced throughout the rest of the world.
Where Is Cardamom Grown?
Cardamom is cultivated mainly in India, but only a small share of its production is exported due to the large domestic demand. Guatemala, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Mexico, Thailand, and Central America are the main exporters of cardamom.
Why Should I Eat Cardamom?
Cardamom is loaded with essential oils that have high antioxidant properties.
Home Remedies
In India, green cardamom is used to treat a range of maladies such as periodontal infections, sore throats, lung congestion, tuberculosis, inflammation, and digestive disorders. It is also reportedly used as an antidote for both snake and scorpion venom.
T h e Amomum  species is used extensively  in traditional  Indian medicine.  Traditional  Chinese medicine uses cardamom  for treating stomachaches, constipation, diarrhea, and other digestive difficulties. Cardomon has been traditionally used as an antispasmotic.
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DIGESTIVE HEALTH: Cardamom possesses the ability to kill harmful H. pylori bacteria associated with ulcers. It also exerts a calming effect on the rest of the digestive tract and has been used to treat dyspepsia and gastritis.
ANTI-INFLAMMATORY: An animal study found that Swiss Albino mice who received cardamom extract daily for eight weeks had significant reductions in many markers of inflammation. Increased death of colon cancer cells was also observed in the group that received cardamom extract.
Tips for Using Cardamom
• Cardamom is sold in two ways: a high-quality ground and fresh in its pod, typically in the green and black varieties.
• Cardamom is best stored in pod form, because once the seeds are exposed or ground, they quickly lose their flavor.
• Keep ground cardamom in a cool, dry place in a tightly sealed container.
• For recipes requiring whole cardamom pods, a generally accepted equivalent is 10 pods equals 1½ teaspoons of ground cardamom.
• Green cardamom is traditionally mixed together with roasted coffee beans to make the Arabian coffee beverage called Gahwa.
• Add ground cardamom to flan, rice pudding, or hot breakfast cereals. Add whole cardamom to tea with milk or chai beverages.
• Cardamom is traditionally offered after dinner in Indian restaurants as a breath-freshener.
Fried Tofu in Curry Sauce
by Dave Grotto
Serves: 8 • Prep and cooking time: 25 minutes
You can substitute chicken or fish for the tofu, if you like. This recipe contains an amazing 10 powerhouse foods.
2 pounds firm tofu cut into ½? slices
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 large onions, peeled and quartered
1 large green pepper, sliced into 2? strips
1 teaspoon crushed garlic
1 teaspoon fresh grated ginger
3 teaspoons curry powder
1 (15-ounce) can tomato sauce
1 (10-ounce) can coconut milk
1 tablespoon whole cloves
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
1 cinnamon stick
Salt and pepper
Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat, sauté tofu pieces until crispy and browned. Remove tofu from skillet and set aside. Sauté onion and green pepper in skillet until onion is translucent; add ginger and garlic and cook for 2 to 3 minutes until fragrant, then stir in curry powder. Return tofu to skillet and add tomato sauce, coconut milk, cloves, cardamom, and cinnamon stick. Season with salt and pepper to taste and stir all together. Reduce heat to low and simmer for about 15 minutes.
Calories: 210; Total fat: 12g; Saturated fat: 7g; Cholesterol: 0mg; Sodium: 430mg; Total carbs: 17g; Fiber: 3g; Sugar: 11g; Protein: 11g.
Carob (Ceratonia siliqua)
Did you know…carob  is also known as “locust” or “St. John’s bread” because the “locusts”  that John the Baptist fed upon in the Bible in actuality were carob pods?
What’s the Story?
Carob is a member of the pea family. The fruit of the carob tree lies inside a long reddish-colored pod that grows up to a foot in length. Clifford, Santa Fe, Tylliria, Amele, and Casuda are among the most popular varieties. Locust bean gum is an extract from carob seeds which is used as a stabilizer in many commonly found foods. This is the most popular use for carob.
A Serving of Food Lore…
Carob most likely originated in the Middle East, where it has been cultivated for the past 4,000 years. It became popular in the Mediterranean region and from there spread throughout Europe. The Spaniards brought carob to Mexico and South America, while the British brought it to South Africa, India, and Australia. In 1854 carob arrived in North America and in 1873 the first seeds were planted in California.
Where Is Carob Grown?
Most carob is still grown in the Mediterranean region. Sicily, Cyprus, Malta, Spain, and Sardinia are the main producers in this area. California is the main grower of carob in the United States.
Why Should I Eat Carob?
Carob is a good source of fiber and protein; the minerals magnesium, calcium, iron, and potassium; and the vitamins A, D, and B. It contains the polyphenols catechin, gallic acid, and quercetin—all powerful antioxidants. Carob also contains tannins that work as antioxidants that aid the digestive tract.
Home Remedies
A popular remedy for digestive difficulties (diarrhea, nausea, vomiting) is a drink made with one tablespoon carob powder mixed with one cup of liquid, such as water, oat, almond, or rice milk. Ground leaves and bark of the carob tree have been used to treat or reduce the symptoms of syphilis and other venereal diseases. Chemicals called tannins that are found in carob can bind to and inhibit the growth of bad bacteria.
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HEART HEALTH: Subjects   with high cholesterol showed that those who consumed carob pulp—rich in insoluble fiber—had lower LDL
cholesterol and triglycerides, and improved LDL/HDL ratio.
WEIGHT MANAGEMENT: Another study on the benefits of carob pulp pointed to fat-burning properties of the fruit.
DIABETES: A study done on rats fed locust bean gum with a meal slowed the rate of food digestion, improved insulin response, and prevented rebound hypoglycemia, an abnormal lowering of blood glucose.
Tips for Using Carob
• Carob is available in powder, chips, and syrup. It comes prepackaged or in bulk at many health food stores.
• Once carob is brought home from the store you want to keep it in a cool, dry place, where it can be kept for up to twelve months. If you buy carob powder and lumps form, sift the powder in a flour sifter or strainer.
• If you are using carob powder as a substitute for cocoa powder, replace one part cocoa with 1½ to 2 parts carob. You must keep in mind that carob powder is similar in taste to—but not as flavorful as—chocolate.
• Powder: Use in cakes, cookies, candy, or pancakes.
• Chips: Substitute for chocolate chips in muffins and cookies.
• Add carob syrup or powder to warm milk for a hot chocolate substitute.
Carob Walnut Cake
This recipe contains five powerhouse foods. INGREDIENTS:
1 12-ounce bag carob chips
1 stick margarine
1 cup brown sugar
½ cup whole wheat flour
½ cup unbleached white flour
8 ounces dried English walnut halves
4 medium omega-3 eggs
¼ cup cocoa powder, unsweetened
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
½ teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon sea salt
½ cup powdered sugar
by Chef J. Hugh McEvoy
Servings: 32 • Prep and baking time: 60 minutes
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Melt carob chips in a double boiler and set aside. Cream brown sugar and 1 stick margarine in large bowl. Slowly beat in eggs. Add melted carob chips and vanilla, mixing well. Sift in cocoa powder, flour, salt, and baking powder. Blend just until smooth. Fold in walnuts. Place batter in a greased and paper-lined 9 × 12-inch cake pan. Bake until done—approximately 35 to 40 minutes. Let cool on rack and dust with powdered sugar.
Calories: 160; Total fat: 8g; Saturated fat: 1g; Cholesterol: 25mg; Sodium: 120mg; Total carbs: 22g; Fiber: 2g; Sugar: 8g; Protein: 8g.
Did you know…most  “baby”  carrots were once longer carrots that have been trimmed to size? True baby carrots are removed from the ground early.
What’s the Story?
Carrots belong to a diverse group of vegetables called “taproots.” They are unique as they grow downward into the soil rather than upward toward the sun. Carrots come in many different shapes and sizes but the most popular color is orange and the most popular size is seven to nine inches in length. Over forty different pigmented varieties are available that vary in the types of phytochemicals they contain. But the majority of cultivated carrots are usually orange, purple, yellow, or white. They all fall within the two basic categories: eastern (Asiatic) carrots or western (carotene).
A Serving of Food Lore…
The cultivation of carrots dates back thousands  of years. Native to central Asia and the Middle East, they soon spread throughout  the Mediterranean region. India, China, and Japan had established carrots as a food crop by the thirteenth century. In Europe, however, carrots did not gain favor until the Renaissance. During the seventeenth century, farmers started cultivating different varieties of carrots including the orange- colored variety we know today.
Where Are Carrots Grown?
China is the largest producer of carrots, followed by the United States, Russia, France, England, Poland, and Japan.
Why Should I Eat Carrots?
Carrots are an excellent source of carotenes, particularly beta-carotene. One cup of diced carrots provides roughly 686.3 percent of the RDA for vitamin A. Carrots are also a good source of fiber, manganese, niacin, potassium, vitamin B6, and vitamin C.
Home Remedies
Long ago, Greeks used carrots to cure stomach ailments and Romans ate carrots to improve their love life. Carrots also have other traditional
“roots”: During Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, for example, carrots are served in the shape of coins, as a symbol of future prosperity.
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HEART DISEASE: Multiple studies examined the association between high-carotenoid diets and reduced risk of heart disease. One of those studies, reported over ten years ago in a leading journal, followed 1,300 elderly persons who ate at least one serving of carrots and/or squash each day. The results showed that those who were on the carotenoid-rich diet had a sixty percent reduction in their risk of heart attacks compared to those who ate less than one serving.
CANCER: High carotenoid intake has been linked with a twenty percent decrease in postmenopausal breast cancer and up to a fifty percent decrease in the incidence of cancers of the bladder, cervix, prostate, colon, larynx, and esophagus. Extensive human studies suggest that a diet including as little as one carrot per day could conceivably cut the rate of lung cancer in half. Precancerous colon lesions in animals given diets containing carrots or falcarinol (a natural phytochemical in carrots) were much smaller than those in the control animals, and far fewer lesions had progressed to become tumors.
Though a large population study called CAROT showed that smokers who ingest beta-carotene supplements were more prone to lung cancer, a study from the National Cancer Institute found that lung cancer occurrence was higher in men whose diets did not supply a healthy intake of alpha- carotene.
DIABETES: Human research suggests that eating foods rich in carotenoids, like carrots, may aid in making insulin more effective, thus improving blood-glucose control.
EMPHYSEMA: Animal research conducted at Kansas State University showed that diets rich in vitamin A reduced lung inflammation and the occurrence of emphysema.
VISION: Beta-carotene helps to protect vision, especially night vision. Beta-carotene’s powerful antioxidant actions help provide protection against macular degeneration and the development of cataracts, the leading cause of blindness in the elderly.
Tips on Using Carrots
• Carrots that are deep orange in color contain the most beta-carotene.
• Avoid carrots that are cracked, shriveled, soft, or wilted.
• Carrots are best kept refrigerated in the crisper section, but don’t store them with fruits. Fruits produce ethylene gas as they ripen. This gas will decrease the storage life of the carrots.
• Peeling carrots may make them look pretty but generally it is unnecessary. Besides, peeled carrots lose some of their vitamins.
• Steaming, braising, roasting, and grilling are the preferred methods of preparing carrots. There is more nutrient loss when carrots are boiled. And though cooking carrots in a microwave may be a time-saver, there is a reduction in beta-carotene content when you do so.
• Season raw or cooked carrots with dill, tarragon, ginger, honey, brown sugar, parsley, lemon, or orange juice.
Roasted Carrot Butternut Soup
by Chef J. Hugh McEvoy
Servings: 12 • Prep and cooking time: 60 minutes
This recipe contains seven powerhouse foods.
1 pound fresh baby carrots
1 pound fresh butternut squash, cubed
1½ cups Vidalia onions, chopped
4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 fresh garlic clove
12 cinnamon sticks
½ teaspoon fresh thyme
¼ teaspoon nutmeg, whole grated
12 fresh peppermint leaves
1 teaspoon dried whole bay leaves
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Roast carrots and squash until tender, approximately 20 minutes. In a large stock pot, sauté onions and garlic in olive oil until translucent. Add squash, carrots, chicken stock, bay leaf, and thyme. Bring to boil, reduce heat, and simmer 15 minutes. Remove bay leaf and thyme. Using a food processor, blend until very smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve in wide bowls. Garnish with single cinnamon stick, fresh grated nutmeg, and floating mint leaf.
Calories: 80; Total fat: 3g; Saturated fat: 2g; Cholesterol: 8mg; Sodium: 56mg; Total carbs: 12g; Fiber: 2g; Sugar: 4g; Protein: 3g.
Cauliflower (Brassica oleracea)
“Cauliflower is nothing but a cabbage with a college education.”
What’s the Story?
Cauliflower is a member of the Brassicaceae family that includes brussels sprouts, cabbage, and broccoli. It is a crucifer: a sulfur-containing vegetable that forms a compact head referred to as a “curd.” Cauliflower comes in several colors and varieties ranging from white to light green to purple. The three main varieties are white cauliflower, broccoflower (a mix between cauliflower and broccoli), and romanesco, which grows in a yellow-green color. White is the most common variety found in the United States, while the purple and green varieties are most appreciated in Italy.
A Serving of Food Lore…
Cauliflower originated in Asia Minor, where it has been cultivated since 600 B.C. From Asia Minor it moved to Italy, and around the sixteenth century it was brought to France and elsewhere in Europe, and across the channel to England. In the early 1600s, the English introduced it to North America, where it has been grown since.
Where Is Cauliflower Grown?
Cauliflower is grown in the United States, France, Italy, India, China, Canada, and Mexico. In the United States, California is the leading supplier.
Why Should I Eat Cauliflower?
Cauliflower is an excellent source of fiber and vitamin C, as well as a good source of the B vitamins biotin and folate. Cauliflower contains a phytochemical called sulforaphane, which helps the liver produce enzymes that block cancer-causing chemicals from damaging the body.
Home Remedies
Biotin, a water-soluble vitamin found in cauliflower, has been shown to control dandruff. Biotin also helps thicken nails and reduce splitting and cracking. Munching of crunchy foods such as cauliflower before bed may help stop jaw-clenching while sleeping.
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CANCER PREVENTION: In a study published in the British Journal of Cancer, researchers reported on the cancer-fighting properties of indole-3-carinol (I3C). This study showed that what we eat can influence cancer genes. Several other studies support this direction for further investigation into breast cancer. Researchers have seen that the chemical sulforaphane, found in cruciferous vegetables like cauliflower, stopped lung cancer cells in an animal trial, and helped kill off and stop the growth of prostate cancer cells in a test tube study on human cells.
RHEUMATOID ARTHRITIS: Researchers who followed a group of older women for over ten years found that those who consumed more cruciferous vegetables had a decreased risk of rheumatoid arthritis.
Tips on Using Cauliflower
• Look for white or creamy-colored heads. They should be firm, compact, and heavy when lifted.
• Keep cauliflower refrigerated, stem side up, to avoid moisture buildup and rapid spoiling, preferably in the crisper drawer, for up to five days.
• Remove the outer leaves and cut the florets where they meet the stem base. Rinse the florets in a colander under cold running water.
• To minimize the smell and nutrient loss, steam the florets for a short amount of time, no longer than three to five minutes.
• Cooking cauliflower in an aluminum pan causes the vegetable to yellow; cooking it in an iron pan causes it to turn blue-green.
• Eat cauliflower raw with veggie dip or salad dressing.
• Add raw cauliflower to green or mixed vegetable salads, and cooked cauliflower to soup, casseroles, or quiche.
• Mash cauliflower in with mashed potatoes.
Creamy Cauliflower Soup
from Lean Mom, Fit Family: The 6-Week Plan for a Slimmer You and a Healthier Family by Michael Sena and Kirsten Straughan
Servings: 6 • Prep and cooking time: 60 minutes
This recipe contains six powerhouse foods.
1 pound cauliflower flowerets, fresh
4 medium potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 large onion, chopped
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
3 cups reduced-sodium chickenbroth
2 cups skim milk or low-fat soymilk
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper hot sauce
2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves (or 1 teaspoon dried) Salt to taste
Sauté the onion in olive oil until translucent. Place cauliflower in a separate large saucepan, cover with water, and bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer until slightly tender. Drain off water. Add potatoes, sautéed onion, chicken broth, milk, pepper, and hot sauce, and return to simmer. Cook for about 40 minutes until all vegetables are fully cooked. Remove from heat. Place 1 to 2 cups of hot soup mixture into a blender and mix at low speed until smooth. Pour into separate container. Repeat with remaining soup mixture. Add salt to taste.
Calories: 190; Total fat: 7g; Saturated fat: 1.5g; Cholesterol: 5mg; Sodium: 115mg; Total carbs: 27g; Fiber: 4g; Sugar: 8g; Protein: 7g.
Celery (Apium graveolens)
Did you know…some  believe that it takes more calories to digest celery than those provided by eating it? This remains to be proven, but one thing is clear—celery is a great part of anyone’s diet!
What’s the Story?
Celery’s name is derived from the Celtic word meaning “water.” Celery belongs to the same family that includes carrots, fennel, parsley, and dill. There are three main types of cultivated celery: Chinese celery, which is closest to wild celery; celeriac, known for its mild, sweet taste and most popular in Europe; and var dulce (meaning “sweet”), a variety most commonly found in North America. The tender stalks in the center are called the heart.
A Serving of Food Lore…
Celery was first cultivated in the Mediterranean region about 3,000 years ago. It was presented to the winners of athletic games in Greece, much like we give bouquets of flowers today. The first use of celery as a culinary ingredient was as a flavoring and the earliest printed record of its use as a food is from France, dating to 1623. The Chinese also cultivated celery as early as the fifth century.
Where Is Celery Grown?
Celeriac variety is grown widely throughout Europe. France, Germany, Holland, and Begium are the main producers, with fifty percent of the harvest going to the pickling industry. The var dulce variety of celery is grown year-round in the United States, primarily in California, Michigan, Texas, and Ohio. The largest harvest each year in the United States is called the “Thanksgiving Pull,” for the traditional preparation of stuffing for the turkey.
Why Should I Eat Celery?
Celery is a good source of vitamin A—the darker the green, the higher the level of vitamin A. Celery also contains vitamins C, B1, and B2; calcium; iron; magnesium; phosphorus; and potassium. The leaves contain many of these nutrients and can work well as a replacement for parsley. Celery contains phalides, which may help lower cholesterol, and coumarins, possibly useful in cancer prevention.
Home Remedies
Wild celery was used as a medicinal plant throughout the Middle Ages. People used it to “treat” conditions such as anxiety, insomnia, rheumatism, gout, and arthritis. Wild celery was also thought to provide strength and purify the blood. The Romans wore wreaths of celery leaves as an antidote against the intoxicating effects of wine and the ensuing headache. In Vietnam, celery has been used as a remedy for lowering high blood pressure. Celery also has a reputation as an aphrodisiac. Celeriac oil has a calming effect, is useful as a diuretic, and is a traditional remedy for skin complaints and rheumatism.
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CHOLESTEROL: In an animal study, celery juice significantly lowered total cholesterol by increasing bile acid secretion.
CANCER PREVENTION: Perillyl alcohol, present in the essential oil of celery seeds, has been shown to have anticancer properties. The National Cancer Institute is conducting human clinical trials with perillyl alcohol to investigate its effectiveness in halting breast cancer. Animal studies have demonstrated positive results in regressing pancreatic, mammary, and liver tumors and may hold hope for preventing and treating many other types of cancer.
ANTIBACTERIA AND FUNGI (MOLD): Celery contains polyacetylenes, substances highly toxic against fungi and bacteria. This compound also has anti-inflammatory effects and makes blood more slippery.
Tips on Using Celery
• The leaves of the celery stalk should be bright green and not wilted. Gently squeeze the middle of the stalk. If you hear a squeaky sound, the celery is fresh.
• Celeriac (celery root) comes in two varieties: a smaller knob version sold earlier in the fall and a larger knob version sold later.
• Rinse celery and place in a plastic bag. Sprinkle or add water to the plastic bag to maintain the freshness of the celery. Keep in the refrigerator’s vegetable bin, where it should last about two weeks.
• If you didn’t rinse the celery for storage, be sure to rinse it thoroughly to remove sand and dirt from its stalks before use.
• Cut the stalks just prior to serving them. If you need to prepare them well in advance, put the cut celery stalks in ice water for up to an hour before serving.
• Fill celery with peanut butter or low-fat cream cheese, or use as a healthy dip-scooper instead of chips.
• Sauté celery and add to your favorite soup or casserole. Add fresh to any salad.
Celery Slaw
from Charting a Course to Wellness: Creative Ways of Living with Heart Disease and Diabetes by Treena and Graham Kerr
Servings: 4 • Prep time: 10 minutes
This recipe has six powerhouse foods.
4 cups chopped celery
1 cup grated carrots
½ cup chopped yellowonion
½ cup chopped red bell pepper
½ cup raisins
¼ cup canola oil mayonnaise
¼ cup plain, nonfat yogurt
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
Combine celery, carrots, onions, red pepper, and raisins together in a large bowl. In a separate small bowl, combine mayonnaise, yogurt, vinegar, and mustard, and whisk until smooth. Add dressing to vegetables and mix well.
Calories: 163; Total fat: 5g; Saturated fat: 1g; Cholesterol: 6mg; Sodium: 342mg; Total carbs: 27g; Fiber: 4g; Sugar: 19g; Protein: 3g.
Chard (Beta vulgaris)
Did you know…Swiss chard is not native to Switzerland but rather Sicily? A botanist named it after his Swiss homeland.
What’s the Story?
Swiss chard is a member of the beet family but does not produce an edible bulb. There are many varieties of chard such as Fordhook Giant, Ruby Chard, Argenta, and Bright Lights. Fordhook is the most popular variety grown in the United States; other common varieties are bunched together under the label “Rainbow chard.” Chard’s taste is somewhere between spinach and beets.
A Serving of Food Lore…
The origins of chard can be traced back to ancient Babylonia. Aristotle wrote about chard in the fourth century B.C. During the Middle Ages, travelers from Italy brought it to North and Central Europe. From there chard traveled to the Far East and China. Today, chard is especially popular in Southern France, Catalonia, Spain, and Sicily, Italy.
Where Is Chard Grown?
Chard is grown in Italy, France, Spain, Holland, Switzerland, and the United States. California, Texas, and Arizona are the primary growers in the
Why Should I Eat Chard?
Chard is a good source of fiber and is an excellent source of vitamins A, C, and K. It is a good source of vitamin E, magnesium, potassium, iron, and mangenese. Chard contains the carotenoids zeaxanthin and lutein, which benefit vision.
Home Remedies
Chard has been used for the treatment of ulcers, tumors, leukemia, and other cancers. In South Africa, the drinking of chard juice is supposed to ease the discomfort of hemorrhoids. Chard juice has also been used as a decongestant and to neutralize stomach acidity.
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CANCER: Components in chard were found to inhibit cell proliferation of human cancer cells. A study performed on human breast cancer cells found that the flavonoids present in chard stopped the growth and DNA reproduction of the cells.
DIABETES AND HEART HEALTH: Several studies performed on diabetic rats found that feeding them chard controlled blood glucose and either reversed, stabilized, or prevented the negative effects of diabetes such as nerve damage and heart disease.
Tips on Using Chard
• Select chard leaves that are a bright green color with a crisp stalk. Avoid buying chard that is browning or yellowing or has small holes.
• Unwashed chard can be kept in plastic in the crisper drawer of your refrigerator for up to three days.
• Chard should be washed well under cold water to remove any dirt or sand. Next, trim the end of the stalk and cut the leaves into one-inch pieces.
• Avoid cooking chard in an aluminum pot because the oxalates it contains will cause the pot to change color.
• Use chard in place of spinach in lasagna or salads. The stem of chard can be used as a broccoli substitute.
• Add chard to eggs and pasta dishes for added nutritional benefits.
Swiss Chard Tacos with Carmelized Onion,
Fresh Cheese, and Red Chile
from Mexican Everyday by Rick Bayless
Servings: 6 (2 tacos each) • Prep and cooking time: 30 minutes
This unlikely taco filling is fantastic! Don’t worry about the huge volume of chard called for in the recipe; it cooks down considerably. This recipe contains seven powerhouse foods.
12-ounce bunch of Swiss chard(other greens can besubstituted)
1½ tablespoons of olive oil
1 large white or red onion sliced ¼-inch thick
3 garlic cloves, peeled and choppedor crushed through a garlicpress
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
½ cup reduced-sodium chicken broth or water
½ teaspoon salt
12 warm corn tortillas
1 cup crumbled queso fresco, feta, or goat cheese, for serving
¾ cup Frontera Guajillo Chile or Chipotle Salsa
Cut the chard crosswise into ½-inch slices. In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring frequently, until golden brown but still crunchy, about 4 to 5 minutes. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and stir for a few seconds, until aromatic, then add the broth or water, ½ teaspoon salt, and the greens. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover the pan (if you don’t have a lid, a cookie sheet works well), and cook until the greens are almost tender—about 5 minutes. Uncover the pan, raise the heat to medium-high, and cook, stirring continually, until the mixture is nearly dry. Taste chard and then season with additional salt, if you think it necessary. Serve with the warm tortillas, crumbled cheese, and salsa for making soft tacos.
Calories: 240; Total fat: 9g; Saturated fat: 3g; Cholesterol: 15mg; Sodium: 610mg; Total carbs: 35g; Fiber: 5g; Sugar: 3g; Protein: 10g.
Cherries (Prunus cerasus L. and Prunus avium L.)
Did you know…cherries are a natural pain reliever? The University of Michigan identified two plant pigments in cherries that block an enzyme (COX-2) believed to cause pain.
What’s the Story?
The cherry is a member of the rose family. It falls within the classification of a drupe, meaning that it is a fruit that contains a pit covered with edible flesh. The two main types of cherries are sweet and sour (also known as pie or tart). The sweet cherry includes many varieties such as Bing, Ranier, Lambert, Royal Anne, and Van. The Bing is the most popular type of eating cherry in the United States. The Montmorency cherry is the sour cherry most often used in pies. One cherry tree can produce enough cherries to make about twenty-eight pies.
A Serving of Food Lore…
Sweet cherries originated in two places: the Caucasus Mountains and Turkey. The sour cherry originated in Eastern and Central Europe. During the Norman invasion in 1066, the cherry was brought to England. In the seventeenth century, British and French settlers brought cherries with them to North America. Wild cherries (also known as chokecherries) are indigenous to North America and were spread across the country by the Native Americans. Cherry trees adorned French gardens in Midwestern settlements.
Where Are Cherries Grown?
Sweet cherries are grown throughout Europe and North America. Spain, Switzerland, France, Italy, Russia, and Germany are big producers in Europe. Sour cherries are grown in the United States, Russia, Germany, and Eastern Europe. Germany tops the world in cherry production, followed by the United States. In the United States, sweet cherries are grown in Idaho, Oregon, Washington, and California. Sour cherries are grown in Michigan, New York, and Wisconsin.
Why Should I Eat Cherries?
Cherries contain vitamins A, C, and the Bs; the minerals calcium, iron, and potassium; and fiber. Cherries are an important source for a variety of phytochemicals. Beta-sitosterol, a plant sterol that has been linked to lower blood-cholesterol levels, and anthocyanins give the cherry its red color and may also reduce inflammation and pain. Quercetin may help prevent heart disease. Amygdalin may reduce tumor growth and size. Ellagic acid may help fight bacterial infections and also cancer. Perillyl alcohol is an antioxidant that may have antitumor activity. Sour cherries have more phenolic compounds than sweet cherries and are also a natural source of free radical scavengers called superoxide dismutase (SOD).
Home Remedies
Native Americans used wild cherries (chokecherries) as a cough suppressant. Hot cherry pits have been used to heat beds on cold nights. Tart cherries have been used for tooth decay, prevention of varicose veins, and headaches. Cherries have been known to have laxative effects and can relieve constipation.
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CANCER: Studies  with tart cherries suggest that they contain substances that substantially reduce the formation of heterocyclic aromatic amines (HCAAs), the carcinogenic chemicals that occur from the charring of meat. A mouse study found that anthocyanins, a phytochemical in tart cherries, reduced colon cancer cell growth.
HEADACHE: Eating around twenty cherries a day may help with reducing headaches, according to researchers from Michigan State University.
EXERCISE-INDUCED MUSCLE PAIN: Men who drank tart cherry juice after performing weight-training exercises had less muscle pain and strength loss. (Women may also benefit but this particular study looked exclusively at men.)
GOUT, ARTHRITIS, INFLAMMATORY PAIN:  Black or Bing cherries have both antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, specifically a substance called cyanidin, which may shut down the pain caused by uric acid crystals. In one study, healthy men and women ate Bing cherries for twenty-eight days. Inflammation markers were reduced and remained low for days even after discontinuation of cherry intake. The inclusion of
cherries in the diet may be a powerful tool for preventing inflammatory disease before it becomes painfully apparent!
HEART HEALTH: A study done on men and women found that eating Bing cherries decreased certain blood markers of heart disease.
DIABETES: Anthocyanins in tart cherries were found to increase insulin production in animal pancreatic cells by fifty percent.
SLEEP: Tart Montmorency cherries are rich in the antioxidant melatonin, which may help in promoting sleep.
Tips on Using Cherries
• Cherries should be free from any dents or discoloration. One bad cherry can cause the entire batch to deteriorate quickly.
• Be sure the cherries you select are as ripe as you wish them to be. They will not ripen after they are picked.
• Place unwashed cherries in the refrigerator for up to one week.
• To freeze cherries, take the stems off and freeze on a cookie sheet. You can keep them in the freezer for up to 10 months.
• To pit a cherry, cut the cherry in half with a paring knife and pick out the pit.
• For cherry-stained hands, squeeze fresh lemon juice all over hands and rinse with warm water.
• Eat cherries by themselves or on top of ice cream, salads, and cereal. Mix into cookie and muffin batter, or even in a sauce on meat and fish.
• Use frozen cherries to make a cherry pie.
Cherry Oatmeal Bake
This recipe contains five powerhouse foods. INGREDIENTS:
½ cup dried tart cherries
½ cup quick oats, uncooked
¼ cup agave syrup
½ teaspoon salt
2 cups skim or soy milk
¼ cup egg substitute
½ teaspoon almond extract
Adapted from the Cherry Marketing Institute
Servings: 4 • Prep and cooking time: 50 minutes
Combine cherries, oats, agave syrup, and salt in a medium bowl. Stir in milk, egg substitute, and almond extract. Spray four 10-ounce custard cups with a nonstick cooking spray. Divide mixture evenly between the cups. Place filled cups on baking sheet. Bake in pre-heated 350- degree oven for 30 to 40 minutes or until the centers are slightly soft. Serve warm.
Calories: 210; Total fat: 3.5g; Saturated fat: 0g; Cholesterol: 0mg; Sodium: 330mg; Total carbs: 39g; Fiber: 3g; Sugar: 27g; Protein: 7g.
Chocolate (Theobroma cacao)
Did you know…chocolate  may be healthy for humans but the antioxidant theobromine found in chocolate can be toxic to dogs, cats, parrots, and horses?
What’s the Story?
Chocolate comes from fruit pods of the cacao tree. (Cacao is the Aztec word for “chocolate.”) The pods contain seeds that are turned into a paste called chocolate liquor. Many chocolate products are made from the liquor. There are three varieties of cocoa available today: Criollo, Forastero, and Trinitario. Forastero accounts for nearly eighty percent of world chocolate production.
A Serving of Food Lore…
According to the Mayan and Aztec legends, cacao was discovered by the gods in a mountain in South America. The cacao tree is believed to have originated in the foothills of the Andes in the Amazon, and in South America. From there, the Mayans brought the cocoa tree to Central America. The first documented commercial shipment of cocoa beans occurred in 1585 between Veracruz, Mexico, and Seville, Spain. The first cocoa beverage outside of South and Central America was served in Italy in 1606. Soon after, cocoa spread throughout Europe. The Spaniards introduced the cacao tree to the Philippines, and finally, to the West Indies and the United States.
Where Is Cocoa Grown?
The largest producing countries are Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, and Indonesia. The Criollo variety is found in Ecuador, Nicaragua, Guatemala, and Sri
Lanka. Forastero, which means “foreigner” in Spanish, is now the predominant variety cultivated in Africa. Trinitario is grown mainly in Trinidad.
Why Should I Eat Cocoa?
Cocoa beans contain minerals such as magnesium, calcium, iron, zinc, copper, potassium, and manganese. They also contain vitamins A, B1, B2, B3, C, E, and pantothenic acid. Cocoa has more phenolic phytochemicals and a higher antioxidant capacity possibly than any other food, including green tea, black tea, red wine, and blueberries.  Flavonoids  found in chocolate  include the flavonols,  notably epicatechin,  catechin,  and proanthocyanidins. It is also a rich source of the antioxidant theobromine. Many dark chocolate products with a high percentage (seventy percent) of cocoa contain more of these type of antioxidants, but that is not always a guarantee. Processing of cocoa can cause substantial losses so look for cocoa products that boast of its flavonol content. Cocoa also contains some caffeine. An eight-ounce serving of cocoa provides not more than 5 to 10 mg of caffeine, less than the amount found in coffee, black tea, and cola, which typically ranges anywhere from 20 to 120 mg.
Home Remedies
Cocoa butter is an old-time favorite to reduce the appearance of stretch marks. Aztecs were the first to use cocoa medicinally for stomach and intestinal complaints. Native Indians used cacao to cool fevers. In 1672 it was noted that chocolate could cure “pustules or swellings” of sailors who did not eat a “fresh diet.”
Throw Me a Lifesaver!
HEALTHIER SKIN: Though chocolate is often blamed for contributing to skin breakouts, a study found that women who regularly consumed a high-flavonol cocoa beverage showed increased hydration, and decreased roughness and scaling.
DIARRHEA: A study conducted by researchers at Children’s Hospital & Research Center in Oakland, California, discovered that flavonoids in cocoa beans can combat diarrhea.
HEART HEALTH: Several human studies have shown that flavonoid-rich dark chocolate improves endothelial function and reduces LDL (“bad”) cholesterol, lowering the risk for heart disease. Studies have shown that adding chocolate to one’s diet lowers blood pressure as compared to people who do not eat chocolate.
DIABETES: A human study found that the flavonols in dark chocolate increased nitric oxide in the subjects tested, which improved insulin sensitivity and blood flow and lowered blood pressure.
COUGHS: A team of researchers discovered that theobromine, a derivative found in cocoa, is nearly a third more effective in stopping persistent coughs when compared with codeine, currently considered the best cough medicine. The use of theobromine as a cough suppressant is still being investigated.
COLON CANCER: Researchers from the University of Barcelona in Spain found that antioxidants in cocoa may be effective in suppressing genes that trigger colon cancer cell growth.
COGNITIVE FUNCTION: Dr. Bryan Raudenbush, a researcher from Wheeling Jesuit University in West Virginia, discovered that verbal and visual memory were significantly higher in those subjects who consumed milk chocolate as opposed to dark chocolate.
Tips on Using Chocolate: (Do you really need any? Ha!)
• Chocolate comes in a variety of forms such as cocoa powder; dark chocolate, also known as “bittersweet” milk chocolate; and baking chocolate. White chocolate is not chocolate.
• Avoid purchasing chocolate that has a grayish tone, white spots on the surface, or small holes.
• Chocolate will keep for several months at room temperature or refrigerated or frozen.
• When melting chocolate, be careful to keep its temperature under 120° F (49° C), because overheating will alter its flavor.
• Make a chocolate fondue and dip strawberries, cake, mango, watermelon, or just about any fruit you can think of.
• In Spanish and Mexican cuisine, chocolate is used to flavor sauces for seafood and poultry.
Giselle’s Dairy-Free Birthday Cupcakes
by Giselle Ruecking
Servings: 24 cupcakes • Prep and cooking time: 25 minutes
My goddaughter, Giselle, has battled severe asthma all of her life. Dairy products, for her, were a powerful trigger for attacks, which meant that she couldn’t eat many items we take for granted, like regular birthday cake. So, her parents came up with this delicious recipe that Giselle and her family have now enjoyed for the past fourteen years. This recipe contains three powerhouse foods and is a “lifesaver” for those with dairy allergies.
1½ cups whole wheat flour
1½ cups all-purpose white flour
¾ cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking soda
½ cup cocoa powder
2 teaspoons white vinegar
¾ cup canola oil
½ teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup vanilla soy milk
1 cup cold water
Place all ingredients in a large bowl and mix for three minutes. Pour mixture into cupcake baking cups until two-thirds filled. Bake at 350 degrees for 12 to 15 minutes. Poke with toothpick to test if done.
Calories: 150; Total fat: 8g; Saturated fat: .5g; Cholesterol: 0g; Sodium: 160mg; Total carbs: 19g; Fiber: 2g; Sugar: 6g; Protein: 2g.
(Coriandrum sativum)
Did you know…the name “coriander” is derived from the Greek word koris, which means “bug.” It may have earned this name be cause of the “buggy,” offensive smell that it has when unripe.
What’s the Story?
Coriander is considered both an herb and a spice since both its leaves and its seeds are used as a seasoning condiment. Fresh coriander leaves, more commonly known as cilantro, resemble Italian flat-leaf parsley, a close family member. The seeds have a flavor that is similar to citrus peel and sage. Ground coriander is a major ingredient in curry powder, certain Belgian-style beers, and other aromatic dishes. Coriander is often used commercially as an ingredient to make medications more palatable. It is also used as a flavoring in gin, pickles, and sausages, and as a component of makeup and perfumes.
A Serving of Food Lore…
The use of coriander can be traced back over seven thousand years, making it one of the world’s oldest known spices. It is native to the Mediterranean and Middle Eastern regions and has been in Asia for thousands of years. Coriander was cultivated in ancient Egypt and is mentioned in the Old Testament. (“And the house of Israel called the name there of Manna: and it was like coriander seed, white; and the taste of it was like wafers made with honey.” Exodus 16:31.)
It was used as a spice in both Greek and Roman cultures, the latter using it to preserve meats and flavor breads. Coriander seed and leaf were widely used in medieval Europe for their ability to mask the taste and smell of rotten meat. In 1670, coriander was brought to the British colonies in North America. It was one of the first spices cultivated by early settlers.
Where Is Coriander Grown?
Most coriander is produced in Morocco, Romania, and Egypt. China and India also offer limited supplies. Fresh coriander production can be found throughout Central and South America and in the United States.
Why Should I Eat Coriander?
Coriander’s volatile oil is rich in a variety of phytonutrients including carvone, geraniol, limonene, borneol, camphor, elemol, and linalool. Coriander contains flavonoids including quercetin, kaempferol, rhamnetin, and epigenin and also contains active phenolic acid compounds, including caffeic and chlorogenic acid, which have been found helpful in fighting cancer, diabetes, and heart disease. Coriander is a source of iron, magnesium, and manganese.
Home Remedies
Coriander is promoted as an aphrodisiac in The Tales of the Arabian Nights. It is thought to increase the appetite and is still widely used in tonic and cough medicine in India. Coriander has been used for the relief of anxiety and insomnia in Iranian folk medicine. Recent experiments in mice may provide the secret to its enduring usage for anxiety.
Throw Me a Lifesaver!
DIABETES: When coriander was added to the diet of diabetic mice, it helped stimulate their secretion of insulin and lowered their blood sugar.
HEART HEALTH: Coriander was given to rats that had been fed a high-fat and -cholesterol diet. The spice lowered total cholesterol and triglycerides significantly.
ANTIBACTERIAL: Researchers isolated a compound in coriander called dodecenal, which in laboratory tests was twice as effective as the commonly used antibiotic drug gentamicin at killing salmonella.
DIGESTIVE HEALTH: Researchers examined the effects of coriander combined with other spices on digestion and found the spice mix
enhanced the activities of pancreatic digestive enzymes and also stimulated bile flow and secretion.
Tips on Using Coriander
• Fresh leaves should look vibrantly fresh and be deep green in color. They should be firm, crisp, and free from yellow or brown spots.
• Buy whole coriander seeds instead of coriander powder since the latter loses its flavor more quickly.
• Both seeds and powder should be kept in an opaque, tightly sealed glass container in a cool, dark, and dry place. Ground coriander will keep for about four to six months, while the whole seeds will stay fresh for about one year.
• Fresh coriander should always be stored in the refrigerator with its roots in a glass of water and its leaves covered with a loosely fitting plastic bag. Fresh leaves will last about three days.
• Clean coriander by placing it in a bowl of cold water and swishing it around with your hands. Empty the bowl, refill it with clean water, and repeat this process.
• Coriander seeds can be easily ground with a mortar and pestle or an electric spice grinder.
• Over low heat, combine vanilla soy milk, honey, coriander, and cinnamon in a saucepan for a delicious beverage.
• Add coriander seeds to soups, broths, and fish.
• Adding ground coriander to pancake and waffle mixes will give them a Middle Eastern flavor.
Lime-Cilantro Dressing
Adapted from Mexican Everyday by Rick Bayless
Servings: makes 1½ cups (12 servings) • Prep time: 15 minutes
Don’t skimp here: Use fresh lime juice—it’s worth it. Add one-quarter cup of honey for a sweeter option. This recipe contains six powerhouse foods.
½ cup canola oil
¼ cup olive oil
¼ cup honey (optional)
1/3 cup fresh lime juice
½ teaspoon lime zest, grated
½ cup (packed) cilantro, roughly chopped
1 serrano or 1 jalapeño, stemmed and roughly chopped(optional)
1 teaspoon (or less) salt
Combine oils, lime juice, honey, lime zest, cilantro, salt, and chiles in a blender jar and blend until smooth. You may want to start off with ½ teaspoon of salt and add more if needed. Store in the refrigerator until ready for use. Shake well immediately before pouring on tender greens, raw or cooked vegetables, or any dish that warrants that fresh lime-cilantro flavor!
Calories: 150; Total fat: 14g; Saturated fat: 1.5g; Cholesterol: 0mg; Sodium: 100mg; Total carbs: 7g; Fiber: 0g; Sugar: 6g; Protein: 0g.

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