NATURES BEAUTY - BARLEY

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.

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NATURES BEAUTY - CRANBERRIES

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.

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NATURES BEAUTY - MISTLETOE

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-edged leaves and white berries, from the lintel of the doorway between the living room and the kitchen. She and my father always shared the first kiss under the mistletoe after she put it up.

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NATURES BEAUTY - MACADAMIA NUTS

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-toxic to humans. Australia is still a major producer of macadamias, but in recent years, South Africa has surpassed it to become the largest macadamia producer in the world. Brazil, Indonesia, Kenya and New Zealand also grow macadamia trees. Plant collector William H. Purvis introduced macadamia trees to Hawaii in 1881, proposing them as a windbreak for sugar cane plants. Later, the Hawaiian Agricultural Experiment Station encouraged growers to plant macadamia trees in the Kona District to supplement coffee production in the area. Ferdinand von Mueller, a German-Australian botanist, named the tree in honor of John Macadam, a Scottish-Australian chemist.


One type of macadamia tree produces smooth-shelled nuts and the other produces nuts that have a rough shell. Once you get the nuts out, you hold in your hand a crunchy treasure trove of nutrition. Macadamia nuts are a great source of a number of essential antioxidants, vitamins and nutrients, including thiamin, vitamin B6, manganese, iron, calcium, magnesium, potassium and phosphorus. All these elements help the body function at its optimum levels. The nuts are gluten and cholesterol free.


Macadamia nuts have monounsaturated fatty acids that help lower

LDL (bad) cholesterol and increase HDL (good) cholesterol levels, so that means they are good for your heart. Compared to other common edible nuts, such as almonds and cashews, macadamias are high in total fat and relatively low in protein, and they also have one of the highest calorific values among nuts. And while dieters generally avoid eating macadamia nuts because of this high caloric count, that monounsaturated fat may actually help you lose weight. The nuts’ omega-7 fatty oils control the burning of fat and curb the appetite, and the palmitoleic acid in the nuts increases fat metabolism and reduces fat storage. Macadamia nuts are one of the only foods that contain palmitoleic acid. Macadamia nut oil replenishes palmitoleic acid in the body, which in turn helps keep your skin and hair hydrated and delays the process of skin and cell aging as well. That’s why many different anti-aging products use macadamia nut oil. This oil can also help prevent and/or repair hair breakage by improving your hair’s elasticity and strength. Massage it into your hair and scalp and then use it on your body after you take a shower. In addition, macadamia nut oil is good to cook with. It is healthier than olive oil and has a higher smoke point, so you can cook with it at higher temperatures without having the oil break down and lose its flavor.

Wherever they come from, macadamia nuts would be a good addition to your diet. In Australian Aboriginal languages, the nut is also called bauple, jindilli and boombera. We can use the universal language of a smile to say they’re really good.

TANYA TYLER

Tanya Tyler is the Editor of Health & Wellness Magazine

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