Barley is one of the oldest domesticated cereal grains still being grown around the world today. It originated in Ethiopia and southeast Asia. It is most often used in bread and malted beverages such as beer (barley beer was likely one of the first alcoholic drinks humans developed). Over the centuries, barley water has been used for various medicinal purposes; it is good for clearing up urinary tract infections and is also said to be a good remedy for kidney stones.
What would our Thanksgiving Day feasts be without cranberries? This staple of our holiday dinner has a long, proud history in the United States. According to the Cranberry Marketing Committee (uscranberries.com), Native Americans used cranberries as a food staple as early as 1550. They ate them fresh and mashed them with cornmeal and baked them into bread. They used maple sugar or honey to sweet them. They also mixed cranberries with wild game and melted fat to make pemmican.
My mother loved decorating for the holidays. From the tree in the den to the lights around all the windows and a big Santa decal on the front door, she was all in. She would also hang a sprig of (fake) mistletoe, complete with sharp-
Ginseng is one of the most popular herbal medicines in the world, according to WebMD. The plant gets its name from a Chinese term meaning “person plant root” because the root is shaped like human legs. There are 11 species of ginseng. (Many other herbs are called ginseng, but they do not contain the active ingredient ginsenosides.) Ginseng grows in North America, where it is endangered in the wild, as well as Asia and Korea. It is especially prevalent in traditional Chinese medicine and holistic healing arts.
When something (or someone) is bland and unexciting, we usually say they are like vanilla. Simple, colorless, ordinary, easily overlooked – that describes vanilla accurately, right? Well, not exactly. The more you learn about vanilla – its origins, its popularity and what it takes to get it to our pantry shelves – you may refrain from ever describing anything or anyone as “just plain vanilla.”
Have you ever suffered through a bout of insomnia and had someone tell you to try drinking a cup of chamomile tea to help you sleep? Chamomile is a daisy-
OK, so it’s not really beautiful, what with all its spikes (its name means “thorny fruit”) and its inside pulp with its wrinkled appearance. And it smells awful, making you question the wisdom of opening it. It’s durian, an exotic fruit from Malaysia that is slowly making inroads to the United States.
Remember the scene in “The Wizard of Oz,” where the Cowardly Lion, awaiting his turn before Oz the Great and Powerful, sings a song about courage and asks, “Who put the ‘ape’ in ‘apricot’?” Well, thankfully, no one did. Who would eat it then? Instead we have a juicy fruit that has been around since ancient times and is enjoyed either fresh or dried. You can also indulge in apricot brandy or jam. The word “apricot” comes from a term meaning “early ripening.”
According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, ginkgo biloba is one of the best-
Most likely when you think of macadamia nuts, you think of Hawaii. In reality, macadamia is a genus of trees that are native to Australia. There are at least seven species of macadamia trees, but only two of them produce fruit that is non-
Who didn’t grow up watching those Popeye cartoons and envying the sassy sailor his guns, which popped up from his previously puny arms right after he ate a can of spinach? And who, despite that, didn’t turn up his or her nose when Mom put a bowl of spinach on the dinner table? Luckily, we’ve come a long way from despising spinach. It has quickly evolved into a must-
Although quinoa (pronounced keenwah) is the new trendy superfood, in reality it’s been around for thousands of years. It was the “mother grain” of the ancient Andean civilization; the Incans considered it sacred. It has recently been revived as a new crop of global interest.
When autumn arrives, the seasonal decorations come out. Among the cornstalks and scarecrows you’ll undoubtedly find see squat orange shapes and you’ll know it’s pumpkin time again.
Pumpkins, a cultivar of the squash plant, are also known as winter squash. They are native to North America, and according to the Illinois Department of Agriculture, the Land of Lincoln....
You almost have to feel sorry for school kids today. So many of them have peanut allergies, which means they are missing out on enjoying that age-
Peanuts are a great healthy snack. According to Planters.com (and they know their peanuts), eating nuts in moderation – including peanuts and most tree nuts....
If you were like most kids, you probably turned up your nose at peas when they appeared on your dinner plate – and held your nose as you ate them. Hopefully, you are now mature enough to realize how very good for you peas are, and you no longer leave them to roll around on your plate untouched.
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Who didn’t grow up watching those Popeye cartoons and envying the sassy sailor his guns, which popped up from his previously puny arms right after he ate a can of spinach?
And who, despite that, didn’t turn up his or her nose when Mom put a bowl of spinach on the dinner table?
Luckily, we’ve come a long way from despising spinach. It has quickly evolved into a must-
Spinach is an annual flowering plant that was first cultivated in ancient Persia (today’s Iran). When it was introduced to ancient China, it was called the Persian vegetable. Spinach belongs to the chenopod family, which includes beets, chard and quinoa. There are three varieties of spinach: savoy, which has dark green, curly leaves and is sold in fresh bunches in most supermarkets; semi-
Spinach packs a nutritional punch whether it’s fresh, frozen, steamed, boiled or flash fried. Low in calories, it is a good source of
vitamins A, B, C, E and K, as well as magnesium, manganese and folate. You will also find riboflavin, calcium, potassium and fiber in your spinach. Spinach is an excellent source of beta-
One source says the healthiest way to consume spinach is in juice form. Add a few leaves to your smoothie or blend it with other vegetables and fruit. Regular consumption of fresh, organic spinach juice has been shown to dramatically improve skin health.
Popeye probably didn’t realize spinach eases constipation and flushes out toxins from the colon. Spinach contains glycoglycerolipids, the main fat-
Although Popeye would have us believe spinach is nothing but iron and that’s why he was suddenly so strong after consuming some, spinach in fact contains substances that inhibit the absorption of iron. High levels of oxalate can bind to the iron to form ferrous oxalate, which means the body can’t use it. Another compound in spinach is oxalic acid, which blocks the absorption of calcium and iron. To counteract this problem, boil your spinach for one minute or pair it with a food that is high in vitamin C, such as oranges.
The story goes that a scientist miscalculated the iron content in spinach; a misplaced decimal point caused him to give spinach an iron value 10 times higher than it should have had. However it happened, Popeye’s message is still a good one: Eat your spinach!
Tanya Tyler is the Editor of Health & Wellness Magazine