Top 7 Health Benefits of Kiwi

The kiwi fruit, fuzzy on the outside and bright green and sweet on the inside, is known for being extremely high in vitamin C. However did you know that kiwis are incredibly nutritious and packed with health benefits?

Top 7 Health Benefits of Kiwi

Kiwi Nutrition

This fruit originated in China. When it was first exported from China, the Europeans called it the Chinese Gooseberry. The fruit trees were introduced to New Zealand at the turn of the 20th century and cultivated there. As the fruit began to be exported from New Zealand the name was changed to kiwi, after the the kiwi bird which is also small, brown and fuzzy.

Kiwi grows on a shrubby tree that reaches a height of 30 feet. Italy is the top producer of the fruit, followed by New Zealand.

High in vitamins C, E and K, kiwi also supplies potassium, copper, folate, protein and fiber.

Top 7 Health Benefits of Kiwi

Top 7 Health Benefits of Kiwi

Kiwis are an excellent source of nourishment and nutrients and provide the following health benefits:

  1. High antioxidant food that fights free radical damage and helps to repair and maintain body tissues and systems. They are rich in polyphenols, which stimulate the immune system. The tiny seeds also possess strong antibacterial and anti-fungal properties.
  2. Regulates blood sugar while lowering fat in the bloodstream. Kiwi’s high quality glucose is bioavailable and feeds the neurons in the brain.
  3. Aids digestion and serves as a treatment for bowel and digestive disorders. Kiwi’s amino acids raise hydrochloric acid levels in the stomach, providing relief for acid reflux, Barrett’s esophagus, gas, abdominal pain, irritable bowel syndrome and bloating.
  4. One kiwi a day can lower the risk of stroke, blood clots and cardiovascular disease. The potassium in kiwi helps lower blood pressure, counteracts sodium and relaxes blood vessels throughout the body.
  5. The kiwi tree has been used as a medicinal plant in China for many years, treating ailments such as joint pain, bladder stones, and cancers of the liver and esophagus. Both the fruit and roots inhibit liver, lung and colon cancer cell growth.
  6. Kiwi contains serotonin, increasing sleep time and quality. Serotonin may also boost memory and mood and help with depression.
  7. Improves skin and respiratory health, and also prevents degenerative eye diseases. Kiwi contains an antioxidant called lutein that offers protection for these systems and the eyes, and helps to slow the effects of aging on the body.

Top 7 Health Benefits of Kiwi

How to Use Kiwi

Kiwi is readily available in the produce section at the grocery store or in the frozen foods section. Although the skin can be eaten, just like a peach skin, most people peel the fruit first.

The easiest way to peel a kiwi is to cut off each end, loosen the skin with a spoon and slide out the fruit. Enjoy kiwi raw in salads, smoothies, desserts and fruit bowls. Because kiwi has a tenderizing effect on other foods, add it last to salads and fruit bowls.

Kiwis can also be enjoyed by simply slicing one in two and scooping out the fruit. For the adventurous, wash the skin and experience eating kiwi like a peach. I have not tried this although I’ve seen others bite right into an unpeeled fruit. I’m willing to go for it, the next time I purchase this health boosting fruit!

Top 7 Health Benefits of Kiwi

Healthy Christmas Eve Treats

With Christmas on Tuesday, I chose to share recipes for healthy treats tonight rather than info about a supplement. Being plant based doesn’t mean we can’t occasionally enjoy snacks or treats. I’ve discovered there are healthy, and delicious, alternatives to sugar or dairy laden snacks.

Healthy Christmas Eve Treats

I tried out three new holiday suitable treats this evening, and a wonderful chai hot chocolate.

Healthy Rice Krispy Treats

This quick and easy recipe comes from Anthony William.

Ingredients:

1/2 cup raw honey

2/3 cup raw cashew butter

2 teaspoons alcohol-free vanilla

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

4 cups organic brown puffed rice cereal

Directions:

In large bowl combine honey, cashew butter, vanilla and sea salt. Add cereal, stirring well to coat. Line 9×9 baking dish with parchment paper. Spread cereal mixture in pan, pressing firmly. Chill in refrigerator at least one hour. Cut into bars. Makes 9-12 bars. Store in refrigerator.

Healthy Christmas Eve Treats

Chai Hot Chocolate

I have missed hot chocolate during the winter months, since going plant based and eliminating sugar and dairy products from my diet. The delicious hot drink combines the goodness of chai with a sugar free, dairy free hot chocolate.

This wonderful drink is adapted from a recipe by Taking Route.

Ingredients:

For the chai spice – mix together in a small bowl

1 teaspoon ground cloves

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

2 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

3 teaspoons ground ginger

1 teaspoon allspice

For hot chocolate –

2 cups dairy free milk (I used almond coconut)

2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

2 tablespoons pure maple syrup

Directions:

In a saucepan mix together milk, cocoa powder, maple syrup and 1 teaspoon of the chai spice mix. Bring just to boiling point, whisking occasionally. Lower heat and simmer a few minutes. Pour into mugs. Makes two serving.

I topped the chai hot chocolate with a dollop of whipped coconut cream (available at health conscious grocery stores) and a sprinkle of cinnamon.

I carried out steaming mugs of chai hot chocolate and a small plate of the rice krispy treats to share with Greg around a crackling fire in the backyard fire pit. What a perfect winter evening!

Healthy Christmas Eve Treats

Healthy Christmas Eve Treats

Healthy Chocolate Chip Cookies

This great recipe comes from an Instagram friend, Leah’s Health.

Ingredients:

2 cups gluten free flour (I used a combination of almond and oat flour)

2 tablespoons Arrowroot Starch

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

1/4 cup pure maple syrup

3 tablespoons water

2 tablespoons melted coconut oil

1 teaspoon vanilla

3/4 – 1 cup dark chocolate chips, sweetened with stevia. (I used 1 cup of dark mini chocolate chips, sweetened with stevia)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. In a large bowl combine flour, arrowroot starch, baking soda and sea salt. Add maple syrup, water, coconut oil and vanilla, stirring just until combined. Add chocolate chips.

Form into large balls of dough, 2 – 3 tablespoons each, and flatten on cookie sheet. Makes 7 – 9 large cookies. Bake 8 – 10 minutes, until lightly browned. Don’t over bake.

Healthy Christmas Eve Treats

Gingerbread Bars

Finally, I adapted a recipe my grandson and I used a couple of nights ago. He made gingerbread cookies to give as gifts. I decided to try gingerbread bars, as his creations smelled so wonderful!

Ingredients:

3/4 cup of olive oil spread (rather than butter)

3/4 cup coconut sugar

3/4 cup molasses

1 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons cinnamon

2 teaspoons ground ginger

1/4 teaspoon allspice

1 flax egg (1 tablespoon ground flaxseed mixed with 3 tablespoons of water. Let set for 5 minutes.)

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

3 1/2 cups gluten free flour (I used oat and almond)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In large bowl whisk together olive oil spread, coconut sugar and molasses. Stir in flax egg. Add salt, spices, baking powder and baking soda. Using a wooden spoon add flour, half a cup at a time. If baking as bars, don’t allow dough to form into a ball. Chill mixture for 30 minutes in the refrigerator. Press into baking sheet. Bake 20-25 minutes, until toothpick inserted in middle comes out clean and edges are slightly browned. Cool completely. Cut into bars.

Or for cookies, add enough flour so that dough forms into a ball. Chill. Then roll dough out, between two sheets of parchment paper, to 1/4 inch thickness. Cut into shapes and bake 8 – 10 minutes.

I’m ready for Christmas Eve, with holiday songs to listen to, plant based meals to prep for the next day and healthy versions of traditional treats to snack on. I’ll enjoy some quiet, cozy moments late tomorrow night, appreciating the glow of Christmas tree lights and tea light candles…and a cup of chai hot chocolate and one of my healthy Christmas Eve treats.

 

Spicy Cloves Deliver Healing Benefits

I’ve always loved aromatic cloves. As a child I was most familiar with cloves as decorations on oranges and baked ham. And indeed, cloves have been used in cooking for hundreds of years.

Sweet and spicy cloves do more than flavor foods and drinks. They are full of healing benefits as well.

Spicy Cloves Deliver Healing Benefits

Origins of Cloves

Cloves are the dried flower buds of the Syzygium aromaticum tree, an evergreen that reaches a height of 30 feet. Its name originates from the Latin word “clavus,” which means “nail”. Clove trees typically grow in warm, humid climates such as Indonesia, Sri Lanka and Brazil. Tanzania leads the market, producing about 80 percent of the world’s clove supply.

Cloves are a good source of vitamins A, B1, B6, C and K. They also provide minerals such as potassium, manganese, iron, selenium, zinc and magnesium.

Spicy Cloves Deliver Healing Benefits

Healing Benefits of Spicy Cloves

Cloves can be used in the culinary arts and they are beneficial for the following health conditions:

• Heals infections and inflammation due to high anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties.

• Soothes coughs and colds with expectorant properties.

• Boosts the immune system with powerful antioxidants that fight off oxidative damage and free radicals.

• Promotes the production of gastric acids, which creates better digestion of food. Cloves ease indigestion and dyspepsia, as well as reduce gas pressure in the gut, lessening discomfort.

• Freshens breath and treats oral conditions such as gingivitis and periodontitis. The antibacterial property of cloves minimizes the growth of bacteria inside the mouth.

Clove oil can be used as a natural painkiller for toothaches. Its anesthetic property alleviates pain and discomfort that arises from cavities and other dental and gum problems.

Spicy Cloves Deliver Healing Benefits

How to Use Cloves

Cloves are readily available in grocery stores, whole or ground. Ground cloves may be used in a variety of recipes. Add dried cloves to hot apple cider or brew as a tea.

Try this healthy and flavorful hot drink:

Combine 1 whole clove, 1 stick of cinnamon (or 1/4 teaspoon of ground) with 2 cups water. Simmer on stove for two minutes. Add 1 teaspoon of raw honey if desired and 2 teaspoons non dairy milk such as almond or coconut.

Clove oil is also available.

Spicy Cloves Deliver Healing Benefits

Vegan Hot Chocolate

This time of year, as Christmas approaches and the night air becomes cold, I miss hot chocolate. I grew up drinking my mother’s made from scratch hot cocoa. Many holiday traditions included the warming drink.

Later in life I’d tear open a packet of hot chocolate mix, add hot water and instantly have this favorite winter drink. Since adopting a plant based lifestyle I have not enjoyed hot chocolate. Typically, the commercial varieties are full of processed sugar and dried milk.

Thankfully, I successfully adapted a recipe to create a healthy hot chocolate that is dairy and sugar free.

 Vegan Hot Chocolate

Vegan Hot Chocolate Recipe

Ingredients

1 can coconut milk, full fat

1 cup non dairy milk (I used almond coconut)

4 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

2 tablespoons maple syrup

Directions

In a small saucepan, whisk together canned coconut milk, non dairy milk, cocoa powder and maple syrup. Continue to stir over medium-low heat, until hot chocolate is heated through and well combined. Makes 2 servings.

Top with whipped coconut cream, tiny dark chocolate chips, sweetened with stevia, or peppermint leaves.

Vegan Hot Chocolate

Vegan Hot Chocolate

Hot Chocolate is Back!

Oh my, this hot chocolate is delicious. I savored it, sipping on the steaming liquid as I edited photos for tonight’s blogs.

The recipe is easy to adapt. One half a teaspoon of peppermint or pure vanilla extract could be added to change up the flavor. Leave off the whipped coconut topping if desired. Or, leaving it on, switch out the dark chocolate chips for unsweetened shredded coconut.

I’m so glad to have hot chocolate back in my life. This rich chocolate drink won’t be a nightly treat. However it’s good to know that if I am missing hot chocolate I now have a healthy option.

It will be perfect for Christmas Eve, with a Rustic Apple Galette!

Vegan Hot Chocolate

Schisandra Berry

Have you heard of schisandra berry? I had not. I learned about this medicinal berry, used for centuries in traditional Chinese medicine, in Liver Rescue, by Anthony William. Anthony included schisandra berry in his most recent book because its powerful antioxidants protect the liver.

There are other amazing benefits as well.

Schisandra Berry

What is Schisandra Berry?

Schisandra…Schisandra chinensis…has been used for thousands of years along with other ancient herbs like ginseng, goji berry and reishi. In the 1960s it was recognized as an “adaptogen agent”, following the discovery that the berry helps fight adrenal fatigue, heart disease and the negative effects of stress.

Schisandra’s name comes from the fact that the berries have a unique taste. They contain five distinct flavors: bitter, sweet, sour, salty and hot. That’s why schisdanra is often called “the five-flavored berry.” In traditional Chinese medicine, the flavors are important for understanding the way schisandra works. It’s said that the five flavors represent five elements that work in multiple meridians within the body to restore health.

This complex herb is high in vitamins C and E, and a host of phytochemicals.

Schisandra Berry

Schisandra Berry

Health Benefits of Schisandra Berry

The powerful antioxidants in schisandra berry promotes health in the following ways.

• Increases the liver’s adaptogenic abilities and protects liver cells from excess adrenaline damage and toxin overload. Helps increase oxygen to the liver and reduces toxic liver heat.

• Fights free radical damage and lowers inflammation. Lowering inflammation reduces the risk for diseases such as cancer, diabetes and heart disease. It halts hardening of the arteries, balances blood sugar and brings the body into balance.

• Supports the adrenals, which helps the body deal with the effects of stress.

• Eases stomach disorders and ulcers. Helps to heal a fatty liver.

• Protects the skin from the damaging effects of wind, sun exposure, allergic reactions, dermatitis, environmental stress and toxin accumulation.

• Improves mental clarity and function. Protects against neurological and psychiatric disorders, including neurosis, depression, schizophrenia, anxiety, alcoholism and Alzheimer’s.

Schisandra Berry

How to Use Schisandra Berry

Schisandra is available in a variety of forms. It can be purchased as a tincture, powder or capsule. Dried berries can be brewed to make a healing tea.

Add 2 – 3 teaspoons of dried schisandra berries to a cup of very hot water. Steep 15 – 30 minutes. Add other health boosters such as ginger, turmeric, cinnamon or licorice root.

You can order schisandra berry products below.

Schisandra Berry

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Or order dried schisandra berries by clicking link below.

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Shiitake Mushroom Benefits

I love mushrooms. The shiitake mushroom is the most popular variety in Asia and the second most popular in the world.

Shiitakes are available in most grocery stores, because of their versatility and meaty flavor, but did you know that they’re packed with nutrients and disease fighting properties?

Shiitake Mushroom Benefits

Shiitake Mushroom Nutrition

The shiitake is part of the Lentinula edodes species. It’s an edible mushroom native to East Asia. Because of its health benefits, it is considered a medicinal mushroom in traditional herbal medicine.

Shiitakes have a meaty texture and a robust earthy flavor, making them perfect to add to soups, salads and stir fries.

This fungus contains all eight essential amino acids along with a type of essential fatty acid called linoleic acid. It’s a good source of vitamins A, B12, C and D, protein, iron, niacin, pantothenic acid, manganese, phosphorus, selenium, zinc, potassium and magnesium.

Shiitake Mushroom Benefits

Shiitake Mushroom Benefits

Shiitakes are often called the “miracle mushroom”, due to their powerful immune boosting and disease fighting properties. Bring more shiitake mushrooms into the diet for these amazing benefits:

• Contains interferons that have strong antiviral effects on the body. These natural proteins inhibit the replication of viruses, bacteria, parasites and cancer cells.

• Slows tumor growth and reduces tumor activity while lessening the side effects of cancer treatments such as chemo and radiation.

• Strengthens the blood, preventing anemia.

• Regulates blood pressure, lowers cholesterol, and thins the blood, helping to prevent strokes and heart attacks.

• Fights obesity by increasing satiety, reducing food intake, delaying nutrition absorption and reducing plasma lipid (fat) levels.

• Boosts the immune system and combats diseases by providing important vitamins, minerals and enzymes and reducing inflammation.

• Reduces gum irritation and inflammation, helping to prevent gingivitis.

• Supports adrenal function and turns nutrients from food into useable energy. They also help balance hormones naturally and eliminate brain fog, which improves focus and cognitive performance.

• Supports bone health and reduces the risk of heart disease, diabetes, autoimmune diseases and some types of cancer.

• Improves skin health, reducing the severity of acne and preventing scarring.

Shiitake Mushroom Benefits

Using Shiitake Mushrooms

Fresh shiitakes can be used raw in salads and wraps, or added to soups, sauces, stir fries and a variety of dishes. These are typically available in the produce section of the grocery store.

Shiitake mushrooms are also available in dried, powder, capsule and tincture forms. See link below.

Mushrooms contain a moderate amount of purines, a chemical compound that breaks down into uric acid. A diet rich in purines may raise uric acid levels in the body, which could lead to gout. If you already experience the symptoms of gout, limit purine intake.

What’s your favorite shiitake mushroom recipe? I’ll be trying a new stuffed mushroom recipe next Tuesday!

Shiitake Mushroom Benefits

Order shiitake mushroom products below.

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Liver Rescue Book Club Meeting

With two blog posts to write tonight, I’m doing something I’ve rarely done. I’m doing a crossover post.

The book Liver Rescue, by Anthony William, released at the end of October. I preordered a copy, as did my mom and sister Linda. What better way to work through the amazing information within this hefty volume, than together.

Tonight we met for the first Liver Rescue Book Club meeting. Rather than share a recipe for Try This Tuesday, as I had planned, this post seemed more important. Trying new health related things goes beyond recipes and helpful gadgets. It can be gathering together to learn how to live in optimal health.

I hope our experience encourages others to create a health geared book club too!

Liver Rescue Book Club Meeting

Why a Book About the Liver?

This evening we covered the first two chapters of the book. Chapter one is introductory…and eye opening. Why would Anthony devote an entire book to liver health? Because it’s that important.

We are very aware of other organs and systems in the body. Our hearts beat. We draw breath into our lungs. The stomach growls when it’s empty. We think with our brains. Our bladders fill and our intestines rumble. We moisturize our skin or get goosebumps when something extraordinary happens.

Our livers though? We don’t give them a thought…until we are far gone in a catastrophic illness such as hepatitis, cirrhosis, or liver cancer. And yet the liver works incredible hard on our behalf, to keep the body functioning.

Anthony goes so far as to suggest that our livers are our best friends. It’s time, my mom, sister and I decided, to get to know this mysterious organ and do all we can to keep it healthy and happy, as many other ailments and illness are connected to liver health.

Liver Rescue Book Club Meeting

Liver Rescue Book Club

Our first meeting was a success. Mom prepared a delicious plant based meal that we shared with stepdad Walter. I’ll provide dinner next Tuesday. Linda will feed us the week after that.

The table cleared after dinner, the three of us opened our books and discussed the first two chapters.

Chapter Two explores the connection between liver health and the pancreas. A diet high in fat wreaks havoc on the liver, which then has a negative impact on the pancreas. Linda and I are very aware of pancreatic distress. We lost our father eight years ago to pancreatic cancer. This terminal cancer is on the rise. I know many, many people who have succumbed to this horrible disease. I want to do all I can to keep my liver and pancreas working well.

We talked about various sections in the first two chapters. And we expressed genuine gratitude for how miraculous the human body is. To encourage each other and keep us on track, we set a goal for next week. Each of us will keep a food journal over the next seven days, recording everything we eat. It’s possible, even on a plant based diet, to consume too much fat. Writing down what we eat raises awareness and allows us to see where problem areas might lurk.

I appreciate my mother and sister, for their willingness to improve their health and walk with me on this journey. Being the best we can be doesn’t have to be difficult. We intend to link arms and do this together…and have fun while we befriend our livers.

Liver Rescue Book Club Meeting

Order Liver Rescue, or Anthony’s other books, through my link below.

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Oregon Grape Root Benefits

Oregon grape root is a flowering perennial, related to the barberry plant. I learned about this herb in Liver Rescue, by Anthony William. Join me in discovering the healing benefits this plant offers, naturally.

Oregon Grape Root Benefits

Oregon Grape Root Info & Nutrition

Oregon grape is native to western North America and it is especially prevalent in the Pacific Northwest, as the name suggests. The herb is bushy, with shiny holly-like leaves. It is commonly found in mountainous regions and adapts more easily to its environment than the barberry herb does.

The plant reaches two to six feet in height and produces small blackish-blue berries that resemble tiny grapes. Oregon grape berries are edible but not palatable, possessing an intensely tart flavor. It’s the golden yellow root that’s used medicinally. The herb is often substituted for goldenseal, as the two have similar properties.

Like goldenseal, the Oregon grape plant contains the same powerful alkaloid, berberine, making it an herbal antibiotic.

Oregon Grape Root Benefits

Benefits of Oregon Grape Root

Include this supplemental herb in the diet to receive these healing benefits:

• Improves liver health by killing viruses and bacteria inside the liver and preventing them from invading the heart. Oregon grape root improves bile production and reduces pathogenic activity in the intestinal tract, which allows nutrients to be absorbed better.

• Heals skin irritations and conditions such as psoriasis and eczema.

• Strengthens bone marrow and assists chemotherapy and radiation patients in their recovery.

• Soothes the digestive tract. The bitterness of this herb has a positive effect on the digestive system. It soothes and sedates the smooth muscles lining the digestive tract. Because it stimulates the flow of bile as well, the herb’s properties loosen wastes in the intestines and help prevent a myriad of complications such as constipation, stomach cramps, diverticulosis, hemorrhoids, gallbladder disease, and irritable bowel syndrome.

• Fights infections resistant to antibiotics, such as MRSA. Oregon grape root is effective in treating eye infections, skin wounds and urinary tract infections.

Oregon Grape Root Benefits

Using Oregon Grape Root

As a supplement Oregon grape root can be purchased dried to brew tea, and in tincture and capsule form. Use in the same way as goldenseal, for a couple of weeks at a time, with at least three weeks between use.

Order Oregon grape root supplements through the links below.

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Or order through this link:

 

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Brussels Sprouts Health Benefits

Brussels sprouts are cruciferous vegetables, a member of the brassica group. Other veggies in this family include cauliflower, broccoli and cabbage. Many people think they dislike Brussels sprouts, partially because they look like miniature cabbages.

Not only are they full of flavor, they are packed with nutrients as well. Learn more about this versatile vegetable and give them another try.

Brussels Sprouts Health Benefits

Brussels Sprouts Facts & Nutrition

These little vegetables became popular in Brussels, Belgium, which is where they get their name. They grow in clusters on a large single stalk. Brussels sprouts have been eaten regularly in Belgium since the 13th century, although it’s possible they go way back to Ancient Rome.

Brussels sprouts grew well in areas with cool climates, such as the Netherlands. Eventually these crops spread throughout the cooler parts of Northern Europe. Today, Brussels sprouts are enjoyed across Europe and North America. Several thousands of acres are planted in coastal areas of California, the US state that produces the highest yield of Brussels sprouts due to its coastal fog and cool temperatures year around.

High in antioxidants, Brussels sprouts are anti-inflammatory, and rich with vitamins A, C and K. They also contain folate, manganese, potassium, thiamin, fiber, omega-3s and iron.

Brussels Sprouts Health Benefits

Brussels Sprouts Benefits

The many health benefits of these veggies and their ease of acquiring and preparing should put them at the top of a grocery shopping list. Bring more Brussels sprouts into the diet to boost health in these ways:

• Sulfur compounds in Brussels sprouts cleanse the liver as they loosen old toxins and poisons in the cells. The sulfur bonds to the toxins and stays with them as they are flushed from the body.

• Lowers risk of cancer as they protect against free radical damage, or oxidative stress, and DNA-mutation.

• Strengthens bones. The high vitamin K content keeps the skeletal structure healthy and helps to prevent conditions such as osteoporosis or bone fractures due to loss of bone mineral density. Vitamin K also helps with blood clotting, bone calcification and turning off inflammation in the body.

• Boosts the immune system. Vitamin C acts as a protective antioxidant in the body, reducing inflammation and cell damage which results in protection against bacteria, viruses, toxins and other harmful invaders that can cause diseases.

• Reduces risks for heart disease, stroke, diabetes and neurodegenerative disorders. Vitamins C and K, antioxidants and omega-3s in Brussels sprouts work together to keep arteries clean from plague buildup, to lower cholesterol levels, to fight high blood pressure, to increase blood flow and to maintain healthy, strong blood vessels. These benefits reduce the chance of heart attack and other cardiovascular complications.

• Restores digestive health. Glucosinolates found in Brussels sprouts protect the sensitive lining of the digestive tract and stomach, reducing the chances of developing leaky gut syndrome or other digestive disorders. Sulfurs help to detoxify the digestive system while a high fiber content keeps it running smoothly.

• Protects eye and skin health. Vitamin C fights UV light damage that can lead to skin cancer and aging, while vitamin A offers protection against damage to the skin as well as the eyes. Consuming Brussels sprouts helps to slow aging, boost the skin’s immunity, and fosters new cell growth.

• Improves brain health. Brussels sprouts’ powerful antioxidants, vitamins C and A, and other nutrients stop oxidative stress and inflammation that are capable of damaging brain cells.

• Balances blood sugar and fights diabetes. Brussels sprouts contain an antioxidant known as alpha-lipoic acid, which has been shown to lower glucose levels. This compound increases insulin sensitivity and prevents pre-diabetes from turning into diabetes. It also helps reduce complications for those with existing diabetes by managing blood glucose and preventing further oxidative stress and inflammation.

Brussels Sprouts Health Benefits

Ways to Enjoy Brussels Sprouts

Brussels sprouts can be enjoyed raw in salads and slaws or run through a juicer with other veggies and fruits. They can also be lightly sautéed, steamed or roasted. Cooking Brussels sprouts lightly brings out a sweeter flavor while retaining crunch and nutrients.

This vegetable pairs well with other veggies such as onions, carrots, and garlic. There are many excellent recipes that can be found on Pinterest.

Try these Garlic Brussels Sprouts as a side dish or pair with roasted potatoes and sweet potatoes for a healthy and satisfying main dish. Just try them. Again. And reap amazing benefits.

Brussels Sprouts Health Benefits

Lentil Shepherd’s Pie

Cold weather makes me crave warm comfort food. This easy to pull together Lentil Shepherd’s Pie has all the right ingredients to quality as comfort food. Plus this plant based version, adapted from a recipe by budgetbytes.com, is full of healthy goodness, making it guilt free!

Lentil Shepherd’s Pie

Lentil Shepherd’s Pie

Ingredients:

1 cup cooked lentils

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 yellow onion, chopped

1 tablespoon olive oil

3 carrots, peeled and thinly sliced or chopped

3 celery stalks, thinly sliced or chopped

2 cups green peas, cooked

3/4 teaspoon sea salt

1 teaspoon dried thyme

1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1 tablespoon gluten free flour

1 cup vegetable broth

4 cups mashed potatoes

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a large skillet, sauté onion and garlic in olive oil, until softened. Add carrots and celery and continue to sauté until veggies are cooked through. Add salt, thyme, paprika and pepper to vegetables, stirring and continuing to cook.

Sprinkle flour, stirring to coat veggies. Add vegetable broth and peas. Simmer over low heat until gravy thickens slightly. Add cooked lentils. Mix well.

Turn veggie mixture into 2 quart oven proof casserole container. Top with mashed potatoes. Bake for 15 minutes, or until mixture is hot and bubbly. Turn oven to broil, if desired, and brown potato topping slightly. Watch carefully so Potatoes don’t burn. Let cool five minutes and serve. Makes 4-6 servings.

Lentil Shepherd’s Pie

Lentil Shepherd’s Pie Tips

I prepared the lentils in the pressure pot, using 1 cup dried lentils and 1 1/2 cups vegetable broth. Cook for 6 minutes and allow pressure to release naturally. Or lentils can be prepared in a small saucepan on the stovetop.

While lentils cooked, and cut up potatoes bubbled on the stove, I sautéed the pie filling. As the mixture simmered, I drained the potatoes and mashed them with a small amount of unsweetened almond coconut milk. Vegetable broth can be used too. Create a design on the mashed potato topping by using the tines of a fork.

I broiled the potato topping for 6 – 7 minutes, to brown slightly, checking often to prevent burning.

Enjoy!

This plant based Lentil Shepherd’s Pie was delicious! The veggie mixture was perfect. However, other veggies such as mushrooms could be added as well, making this recipe very adaptable.

Lentil Shepherd’s Pie goes into my weekly rotation, especially during the cold winter months! Let me know if you try this recipe.

Lentil Shepherd’s Pie