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Healing Foods Healing Foods Eat your way to a healthier life LONDON, NEW YORK, MELBOURNE, MUNICH, AND DELHI US Consultant Kate Curnes Ramos US Editor Constance Novis US Senior Editor Rebecca Warren DK UK Editor Susannah Steel Project Editor Shashwati Tia Sarkar Senior Art Editor Tessa Bindloss Editorial Assistant Christopher Mooney Managing Editor Dawn Henderson Managing Art Editor Christine Keilty Senior Jacket Creative Nicola Powling Jacket Design Assistant Rosie Levine Producer, Pre-Production Raymond Williams Senior Producer Jen Scothern Art Director Peter Luff Publisher Peggy Vance DK INDIA Senior Editor Chitra Subramanyam Senior Art Editor Balwant Singh Editor Ligi John Art Editor Prashant Kumar Assistant Art Editor Tanya Mehrotra Managing Art Editor Navidita Thapa DTP/CTS Manager Sunil Sharma DTP Designer Anurag Trivedi Photo Research Aditya Katyal First American Edition, 2013 Published in the United States by DK Publishing, 375 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014 13 14 15 16 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 001—187277—May/2013 Copyright © 2013 Dorling Kindersley Limited All rights reserved. Without limiting the rights under copyright reserved above, no part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise) without prior permission of both the copyright owner and the above publisher of this book. Published in Great Britain by Dorling Kindersley Limited. DISCLAIMER See page 352 A catalog record for this book is available from the Library of Congress. ISBN 978-1-4654-0853-2 DK books are available at special discounts when purchased in bulk for sales promotions, premiums, fund-raising, or educational use. For details, contact: DK Publishing Special Markets, 375 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014 or SpecialSales@dk.com Color reproduction by Opus Multimedia Services, India Printed and bound in China by South China (DK) Discover more at www.dk.com Contents INTRODUCTION 8 FOO; DS THAT HEAL 18 FRUITS 20 Orchard Fruits 20 Apples Apricots Peaches and Nectarines Pears Plums Kiwi fruit Figs Quince Cherries Vine Fruits 29 Grapes Berries and Currants 30 Blackberries Blackcurrants Blueberries Cranberries Elderberries Goji berries Mulberries Raspberries Strawberries Citrus Fruits 40 Lemon Lime Orange Grapefruit Tropical Fruits 41 Bananas Dates Mangoes Melons Papaya Pomegranate Pineapple Coconut Avocado Onion Family Garlic VEGETABLES 51 Brassicas 51 Broccoli Cabbage Kale Horseradish Roots, Tubers, and Rhizomes 83 Beets Carrots Radishes Potatoes Sweet potatoes Turmeric Ginger Fruiting and Flowering Vegetables 55 Sweet peppers Chiles Cucumbers Winter squashes Zucchini Corn Artichoke Eggplant Tomatoes Leafy and Salad Vegetables 66 Lettuce Spinach Watercress Mustard greens Arugula Dandelion Nettles Chicory (Belgian endive) Podded Vegetables 74 Green beans Okra Peas Bulbs and Stems 77 Asparagus Celery and Celeriac Fennel Rhubarb Fungi 91 Mushrooms NUTS 92 Almonds Cashews Chestnuts Hazelnuts Pine nuts Pistachio nuts Walnuts SEEDS AND SPROUTS 94 Sesame seeds Sunﬂower seeds Pumpkin seeds Flaxseeds Poppy seeds Hemp seeds Alfalfa seeds Chia Seeds Red clover seeds MEDICINAL HERBS 98 Astragalus Valerian root Chamomile Schisandra Marshmallow root Milk thistle St. John’s wort CULINARY HERBS 100 Basil Cilantro Parsley Rosemary Sage Thyme Dill Mint Oregano FERMENTED FOODS 122 Sauerkraut Kimchi Soy sauce Miso Tempeh CEREALS AND GRAINS 104 Amaranth Quinoa Spelt Rice Bulgur wheat Oats Rye Millet Barley Buckwheat MEATS 124 Chicken Beef Lamb Pork Turkey Venison Quail Squab Waterfowl Liver Kidneys DRIED BEANS 114 Adzuki beans Black beans Butter beans Chickpeas Kidney beans Lentils Mung beans OILY FISH 128 Salmon Herring Mackerel Sardines Trout Sea bass Tuna SPICES 116 Cardamom Cinnamon Coriander Cumin Fenugreek Juniper Licorice Nutmeg Pepper Saffron Star anise OTHER FOODS 130 Algae Seaweeds Aloe vera Wheatgrass Honey Stevia Maple syrup Blackstrap molasses Chocolate Milk Yogurt Keﬁr Eggs Tea Rose FATS AND OILS 120 Butter and Ghee Olive oil Sunﬂower oil Flaxseed oil Hemp seed oil Black seed oil RECIPES THAT HEAL 146 A Day of … Heart Health 148 A Day of … Good Digestion 150 A Day of … Liver Health 152 A Day of … Skin Health 154 A Day of … Healthy Joints 156 A Day of … Boosted Energy 158 A Day of … Stress Relief 160 A Day of … Men’s Health 162 A Day of … Women’s Health 164 A Day of … Healthy Pregnancy 166 RECIPE CHOOSER 168 BREAKFAST 176 SNACKS 194 SOUPS 208 LIGHT MEALS AND SALADS 222 MAIN MEALS 244 SWEET TREATS 284 DRINKS 304 OILS, DRESSINGS, AND EXTRAS 326 SUPPLEMENTS 338 INDEX BY HEALTH AREA 342 INDEX AND ACKNOWLEDGMENTS 346 About the Authors KEY TO ICONS These icons are used throughout to signpost you to dietary beneﬁts for different health areas. HEART AND CIRCULATION ENERGY BOOST DIGESTION MUSCLES AND JOINTS URINARY SKIN AND HAIR RESPIRATORY MIND AND EMOTIONS DETOX EYE HEALTH METABOLIC BALANCE MEN’S HEALTH IMMUNE SUPPORT WOMEN’S HEALTH Susan Curtis has practiced as a homoeopath and naturopath since the mid-1980s and is the Director for Natural Health for Neal’s Yard Remedies. She is the author of several books, including Essential Oils, and co-author of Natural Healing for Women. Susan has two grown-up children and is passionate about helping people to eat well and live a more natural and healthy lifestyle. Pat Thomas is a journalist, campaigner, broadcaster, and passionate cook. She is the author of several books on health and environment, and has worked with leading campaign organizations to outline sensible strategies for healthy and sustainable eating. She is a former editor of The Ecologist magazine and was the director of Paul McCartney’s “Meat Free Monday” campaign in the UK. She currently sits on the Council of Trustees of the Soil Association—the UK’s premier organic certiﬁcation body —and is the editor of Neal’s Yard Remedies’ natural health website, NYR Natural News. Dragana Vilinac, medical herbalist, comes from a family with a long lineage of traditional herbalists. Her life’s purpose is the exploration of the healing dynamics between plants, the planet, and people, and educating others in the subject. She has worked in the ﬁeld of western, Chinese, and traditional Tibetan (Bhutanese) medicines since the 1980s, and has been a consultant on international development projects related to herbal medicines in Europe and Asia. She has co-authored books with the theme of plants as food and medicine. Dragana is the Chief Herbalist for Neal’s Yard Remedies. Introduction “LET FOOD BE THY MEDICINE AND MEDICINE BE THY FOOD” HIPPOCRATES THE FOOD WE EAT HAS AN OVERREACHING EFFECT ON OUR HEALTH AND WELL-BEING, WHETHER WE ARE CONSCIOUS OF IT OR NOT. BECOMING MORE AWARE OF YOUR DIET AND THE HEALING PROPERTIES OF FOOD WILL HELP YOU TO MAKE NECESSARY ADJUSTMENTS TO MEET THE NEEDS OF YOUR BODY—AND IT WILL DO AN ENORMOUS AMOUNT TO MAINTAIN AND IMPROVE YOUR HEALTH. 10 HEALING FOODS INTRODUCTION The Protective Power Of Food Nutritional science has shed much light on the importance of “whole food”: we now understand that nutrients in our food work synergistically to promote health—and that processed food, denuded of many of its intrinsic nutrients, can promote disease. We also know of 50 or so essential vitamins, amino acids, minerals, and essential fatty acids that we need to get on a regular basis from our diet, and more than 1,200 phytonutrients found in fruits, vegetables, beans, grains, and animal products. A RAINBOW OF PHYTONUTRIENTS Phytonutrients are the bioactive compounds in plants (“phyto” means plant) that supply their color and ﬂavor. Although not essential to life in the way that vitamins and minerals are, they support health in a variety of ways. Antioxidants, for example, protect the body from free radicals, the unstable molecules that are produced through metabolism of and exposure to pollution, and which cause disease by damaging vital tissues and organs. Antioxidants by color COLOR PHYTONUTRIENT BENEFITS FOUND IN Green Lutein Protects eyes; boosts immunity; and supports healthy tissues, skin, and blood Kale, collard greens, cucumber, zucchini, peas, avocado, asparagus, green beans Chlorophyll Detoxifying; helps build red blood cells and collagen; boosts energy and well-being All leafy green vegetables, sprouted grasses, and microalgae Indoles Has anticancer properties; supports healthy hormone balance Brussels sprouts, broccoli, bok choy, cabbage, and turnips Source of vitamin A; has anticancer and heart-protective properties; protects mucous membranes Orange and yellow fruits and vegetables (peppers, squashes, carrots, apricots, mangoes, oranges, grapefruit) Source of vitamin A; has anticancer properties; protects eyes and brain; strengthens the immune system Red fish (e.g. salmon), eggs, most orange and yellow fruits and vegetables Lycopene Protects against heart disease, cancer (especially prostate), and vision loss Fresh and cooked tomatoes, watermelon, goji berries, papaya, and rosehips Anthocyanins Can help reduce the risk of heart disease, cancer, and neurodegenerative diseases Cranberries, strawberries, raspberries, cherries, and red cabbage Anthocyanins Fights free radicals; has anticancer properties; supports healthy aging Blueberries, eggplant, grapes, grape juice, raisins, and red wine Resveratrol Has anticancer properties; helps balance hormone levels Grapes, grape juice, red wine, mulberries, and cocoa Allyl sulﬁdes Boosts immunity; has anticancer and anti-inflammatory properties Onions, garlic, scallions, and chives Anthoxanthins Helps lower cholesterol and blood pressure; helps reduce the risk of certain cancers and heart disease Bananas, cauliflower, mushrooms, onions, parsnips, potatoes, garlic, ginger, and turnips Orange/yellow Carotenes (incl. alpha-, beta-, and delta-carotene) Xanthophylls (incl. zeaxanthin and astaxanthin) Red Blue/purple White INTRODUCTION HEALING FOODS Different Dietary Patterns While we would not advocate a rigid approach to a particular diet, there are things that can be gained and adopted from traditional diets. Humans are very adaptable and it is interesting to see the ways in which different cultures have adjusted their diets to remain healthy in widely different environments. TRADITIONAL DIETS inuit japanese The Inuit people of the Arctic have traditionally had very little access to cereals or fresh fruit and vegetables, but the manner in which they hunt and eat their mostly ﬁsh- and meat-based diet meets their nutritional needs. For example, vitamins and minerals that are derived from plant sources in other areas of the world are also present in most Inuit diets: vitamins A and D are present in the oils and livers of coldwater ﬁshes and mammals, for instance, while vitamin C is obtained through sources such as caribou liver, kelp, whale skin, and seal offal. Because these foods are typically eaten raw or frozen, the vitamin C they contain—which would be destroyed by cooking—is instead preserved. Traditional Japanese cuisine is rich in fat-soluble vitamins from seafood and organ meats and minerals from ﬁsh broth, and contains plenty of beneﬁcial lactofermented foods, such as tempeh and miso. Although portions tend to be relatively small, they are both ﬁlling and very nutrient-dense. In fact, Japanese people who follow this traditional diet tend to be some of the healthiest, least obese, and longest-lived people in the world. mediterranean Another traditional diet that has received publicity in recent years is the Mediterranean diet. This diet is based mainly on fresh vegetables and fruit with some whole grains, healthier oils like olive oil and those from fresh ﬁsh, red wine, and smaller quantities of meat. Studies throughout the world have shown that following a strict Mediterranean diet offers substantial protection against heart disease, cancer, and Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases. The biggest study into this diet has shown that it can reduce the number of deaths from these diseases; it also found that people who follow this diet show signiﬁcant improvements in health, and are nine percent less likely to die young. WHAT MANY OF THESE DIETS have in common is that they are plant-based, with meat reserved for feast days and occasional treats. They include plenty of oily ﬁsh so are rich in the omega-3 fatty acid DHA. Their overall balance of essential fatty acids is healthier (i.e. higher in omega 3 than 6, unlike modern diets), ancestral/paleolithic Also referred to as the caveman or hunter-gatherer diet, this modern nutritional plan is based on an ancient diet of wild plants and meat that early humans were likely to have habitually eaten during the Paleolithic era—a period of about 2.5 million years that ended around 10,000 years ago with the development of agriculture. Early humans were foragers who would have grazed opportunistically on seasonally available plants and not made the, often arbitrary, distinctions we do between weeds and crops and medicinal and culinary herbs. Although the huntergatherer diet comprises commonly available modern foods—mainly ﬁsh, grass-fed, pasture-raised meats, vegetables, fruit, fungi, roots, and nuts—it largely excludes dried beans, dairy products, grains, salt, reﬁned sugar, and processed oils, which deﬁne the Western diet (overleaf). Studies of the Paleolithic diet in humans have shown improved health and fewer incidences of diseases, such as diabetes, cancer, obesity, dementia, and heart disease. and they are high in antioxidants. People who follow these diets rely on seasonal fresh food produced without industrial chemicals, which means they eat a wide variety of nutrient-dense foods necessary for optimal heath throughout the year. They tend to eat sensible portions and rarely “snack” between meals. 11 12 HEALING FOODS INTRODUCTION THE WESTERN DIET By contrast, the modern Western diet, also called the Western pattern diet, is characterized by high intakes of red meat, sugar and artiﬁcial sweeteners, high-fat foods, salt, and reﬁned grains. It also typically contains hydrogenated and transfats, high-sugar drinks, and higher intakes of processed meat. This diet, based on studies of western populations, is associated with an elevated incidence of obesity, death from heart disease, cancer (especially colon cancer), and other westernpattern diet-related diseases. The high consumption of grains—as breakfast cereals, breads, cakes, cookies, pasta, and so on—means that grain has become a signiﬁcant source of carbohydrate-energy, minerals, and, in the case of whole grains, of ﬁber and B vitamins. However, it is now thought that this reliance on cereals may come at a high cost to our health. Modern strains of high-gluten cereals, combined with an overreliance on wheat-based products and an industrial approach to the processing of grain-based foods, can place a strain on our digestive systems and nutrient balance. For example, an increasing number of people have developed gluten intolerance, or gluten sensitivity, which can vary from celiac disease to feeling bloated if they eat too many cereal-based foods in a day. Cereals contain what have been termed “antinutrients,” which may prevent the digestive system from absorbing several essential nutrients. The most researched antinutrients are the phytates found in the bran or outer hull of most grains, and which is part of a seed’s system of preservation—it prevents the seed from sprouting until conditions are right. The phytate known as phytic acid can block the absorption of essential minerals such as calcium, magnesium, copper, iron, and especially zinc, in the gut. This may be why a diet high in improperly prepared whole grains may lead to serious mineral deﬁciencies and bone loss, and why consuming large amounts of unprocessed bran often initially improves bowel regularity, but may lead to irritable bowel syndrome and, in the long term, other adverse effects. “It is now thought that reliance on cereals may come at a high cost to our health.” CARBOHYDRATES FATS Including reﬁned grains and starch Including polyunsaturated and animal fats 35% 45% 20% PROTEINS Including high levels of red and processed meats WESTERN DIET FIGURES In a Western diet, the main nutritional building blocks of fats, carbohydrates, and protein are often processed, nutrientpoor foods high in sugar, reﬁned grains, and saturated fats. So although cereals can be a useful part of a diet, they do require careful preparation because of their antinutrient properties. Many cultures throughout the world have developed ways of preparing types of grain for human consumption. Soaking, sprouting, and souring are very common aids for grain preparation, and ensure the neutralization of phytates, enzyme-inhibitors, and other antinutrients with which seeds are naturally endowed. Some traditional preparation methods involve complex, comparatively labor-intensive steps that produce what are now considered unusual foods from common grains, but which were once part of common dietary practices. The traditional sourdough method of preparing rye bread, for example, once widespread throughout eastern Europe, helps to make rye ﬂour far more digestible. Modern diets in general also tend to include a larger number of dried beans, and, more recently, soy derivatives. Although including beans in your diet can be a useful source of ﬁber and protein, these foods also contain phytates. The phytate in soybeans, for example, means they are low in calcium and one reason why they are less healthy than you might think, though fermenting helps to make soy a more nutritious food. It is interesting to note that the traditional Japanese diet includes a lot of soy, but it is usually fermented in the form of tempeh or miso. In addition, Japanese preparation techniques eliminate most of the antinutrients in other dried beans and in grains. Soymilk is not fermented and so can be a cause of digestive problems and calcium depletion, as well as being a fairly potent phytoestrogen—potentially useful for reducing hot ﬂashes in menopausal women, but not so suitable for children or everyone else. INTRODUCTION HEALING FOODS Variety Is The Spice Of Life The good news is that if you currently eat a modern Western diet, you can easily adapt your eating habits to dramatically improve your health. Including a variety of nutrient-rich, low-energy foods, such as vegetables and fruit, in your diet both helps with weight control and can have a positive effect on your health. Eating a varied diet ensures we get a steady supply of highly bioavailable nutrients that help reduce the likelihood of conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, anxiety, depression, arthritis, some types of cancer (including breast and bowel cancer), and heart and circulatory disease. DIETARY DIVERSITY No single food or food group can supply all the nutrients we need, which is why a diverse diet is so important. Research consistently shows that dietary diversity protects against the onset of type 2 diabetes, for example, by balancing out blood sugar levels and protecting against blood vessel damage. A varied, seasonal diet rich in plant foods can also lower your total risk of cancer and has been shown to protect against some very speciﬁc cancers of the digestive tract. To improve the balance and variety of your diet, choose foods like multigrain breads and granola that have variety “built in,” and eat side dishes and condiments, such as fruit and vegetable salads, sprouted seeds, fresh salsas, pickles, and chutneys. Stir-fries, casseroles, and soups with many ingredients are another easy way to increase diversity in your diet. Or, when grocery shopping, regularly buy a fruit or vegetable that is not familiar to you to prepare and eat. Following a varied diet also tends to be more satisfying and so reduces your sugar, salt, and saturated fat consumption—all risk factors for heart disease. Including more spices and herbs in your food can also boost its ﬂavor and nutritional density: adding a handful of chopped fresh herbs to lettuce in a salad, for example, can add up to 75 percent extra antioxidants to the food. Vary your diet TYPICAL DIET DIVERSE DIET BREAKFAST Wheat bran cereal with milk, sugar and banana; orange juice; tea with milk BREAKFAST Oatmeal made with milk, sprinkled with dried fruit, sunﬂower and pumpkin seeds, and seasoned with cinnamon and maple syrup; rosehip and hibiscus tea LUNCH Wheat bread, ham, cheese, and lettuce sandwich with mayonnaise for spread; a piece of fruit LUNCH Lentil soup (p212) made with ginger, turmeric, shallots, garlic and chile; served with slice of rye bread (p328) spread with butter; a piece of fruit DINNER Chicken (or other meat) served with a vegetable and rice DINNER Salmon with dill and tamari sauce (p268) served with an adzuki and mung bean salad (p226) with tomatoes and a mixed citrus and herb dressing SNACK Potato chips SNACK Multiseed crackers (e.g. wheat, pumpkin seed, ﬂaxseed, poppy seed) spread with Hummus (p196) made with chickpeas, tahini, coriander seeds, paprika TOTAL OF 13 FOODS TOTAL OF 35 FOODS Soughdough rye bread p328 Hummus with coriander p196 13 14 HEALING FOODS INTRODUCTION As Nature Intended The success of traditional diets, such as the Mediterranean and Inuit diets, in sustaining good health and well-being (p11) lies in the fact that they each contain a carefully balanced range of seasonal nutrient-rich foods that are available from local sources. To get the very best from locally grown fresh produce, however, it is worth considering buying organic, because foods that are produced this way contain more of the nutrients that make these seasonal foods so beneﬁcial to our health. LOCAL AND SEASONAL Adjusting your diet with the seasons can mean that, as well as being beneﬁcial for your body’s “energies,” you will eat more fresh foods that can be locally sourced. Choosing local and seasonal should also encourage you to make healthier choices, and can increase your general feeling of well-being as you become more in tune with the cycles of nature. This doesn’t mean that you need to become rigid or obsessive about what you eat and when; some foods, such as avocados or bananas, may simply not grow where you live. It is the principles you base your dietary habits on that is key. The 80:20 rule—eating 80 percent of local, seasonal, unprocessed foods and 20 percent of more exotic foods, or “treats”—is probably a good guideline. When people switch to more local, seasonal food, many ﬁnd they become more adventurous in their cooking and eating habits. If you unpack a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) box, for example, you may ﬁnd an unrecognized vegetable or fruit that you have to discover the best way to prepare, and hopefully you will look forward to preparing and eating it again next time it is in season. Or, you may become interested in learning how to preserve them—a more traditional and low-impact way of extending the natural season of foods throughout the year. contain fewer minerals than they did in the past. As soils become depleted of minerals, such as magnesium and zinc, for example, there is less for plants grown in this soil to draw up, and therefore less for us to absorb. Minerals that are particularly affected by these intensive farming methods are iron, zinc, copper, magnesium, and selenium, and their levels of depletion can be very signiﬁcant. An early study in the Journal of Applied Nutrition in 1993 reported that organically and conventionally grown apples, potatoes, pears, wheat, and corn in a suburban area of the USA were analyzed and compared for mineral content. On a per-weight basis, average levels of essential minerals were much higher in the organically grown produce than in the conventionally grown foods. The organic produce was, on average, 63 percent higher in calcium, 78 percent higher in chromium, 73 percent higher in iron, 118 percent higher in magnesium, 178 percent higher in molybdenum, 91 percent higher in phosphorus, 125 percent higher in potassium, and 60 percent higher in zinc. More recent studies have conﬁrmed this ﬁnding and interestingly, according to population studies, many people in the western world are becoming increasingly deﬁcient in these same minerals, leading to problems such as anemia, fatigue, subfertility, and poor immunity. Organic farming can help to halt this decline in mineral content. Levels of vitamin C, phenolic acids, and antioxidants also tend to be 60–80 percent higher in organic produce. Just as important from a health point of view is the markedly more benign balance of omega-6 and -3 fatty acids in organic meat and dairy produce as compared to conventionally produced foods. “It is not just what organic food contains, it is also what it does not contain that is important.” ORGANIC BENEFITS Organic food is produced using environmentally and animal-friendly farming methods on organic farms. These methods are now legally deﬁned in most countries of the world and any food that is sold as organic must be strictly regulated. Organic farming recognizes the direct connection between our health and how the food we eat is produced. Artiﬁcial fertilizers are banned and farmers develop fertile soil by rotating crops and using compost, manure, and clover in order. In contrast, modern intensive agricultural practices have led to the reduction of many minerals and vitamins in the food we eat; ofﬁcial food composition tables in the USA and UK have shown that fruits, vegetables, meat, and dairy products all It is not just what organic food contains, it is what it does not contain that is important. Some synthetic chemicals commonly used in nonorganic agriculture are now known to potentially disrupt the nervous, circulatory, endocrine, and reproductive systems of humans. This may be even more of a problem in babies and children, INTRODUCTION HEALING FOODS whose organs are developing fast. Although most countries now set safety levels for pesticide residues in food, these are based on individual chemicals, and don’t take into account the cocktail effect of several pesticides, which are known to be more damaging in combination. Many food additives common in processed foods are also banned from organic food products; monosodium glutamate (MSG), Brilliant Blue, aspartame, and tartrazine, for example, are now being linked to health issues and behavioral problems in children. Organic standards also insist that animals are given plenty of space and fresh air to thrive and grow, guaranteeing that they are reared humanely and not routinely fed antibiotics to suppress disease or promote growth. Organic is kinder to the environment, too. Organic farming works with nature, not against it, and research shows that it’s better for birds, butterﬂies, and other wildlife. Organic farms are havens for wildlife and provide homes for bees, birds, and butterﬂies. In fact, plant, insect, and bird life is up to 50 percent greater on organic farms. Biodiversity is something to encourage both in our environment and on our plate. WHY CHOOSE ORGANIC? For optimal health, eat fresh organic seasonal vegetables and fruits. Organic produce contains higher percentages of many nutrients, as shown here. HOW ABOUT GM FOOD? Genetically modiﬁed (GM) crops provide another potential health hazard. GM foods, which have had their genetic material (DNA) altered to achieve desired changes in their characteristics, have been developed by seed and chemical companies as one means of responding to climate change and a growing global population, although GM technologies have consistently underperformed. There is legitimate concern about how carelessly GM foods have been assessed for safety, and evidence that they may have risks to human health and wildlife. In a recent French study in 2012, rats fed a lifelong diet of a bestselling strain of genetically modiﬁed corn developed more and bigger breast tumors, and experienced kidney and liver dysfunction. In the USA, GM foods don’t have to be labeled, in spite of overwhelming public support for such a requirement in a country where GM-adulterated food is so prevalent. In most countries in Europe, farm animals are fed GM foodstuff, but actual GM foods for human consumption are not yet accepted. Examples of GM foods include soybeans, corn, white rice, tomatoes, and Brazil nuts. 63% more 178% more CALCIUM MOLYBDENUM 78% more 91% more CHROMIUM PHOSPHORUS 73% more 125% more IRON POTASSIUM 118% more 60% more MAGNESIUM ZINC 15 16 HEALING FOODS INTRODUCTION Let Food Be Your Medicine Food is the bedrock upon which a healthy life is based, and is the body’s buffer against the stresses, strains, and the onslaughts of an increasingly toxic environment. Science has consistently shown that food can be used to support long-term heath as well as treat acute conditions. Ginger, for example, is a traditional remedy for nausea, honey can be as effective as conventional medicines at soothing nighttime coughs, saffron contains antioxidants that protect against age-related vision loss, garlic helps thin the blood, thus lowering the risk of stroke, and a diet rich in tree nuts can support heart health and even men’s fertility. As the cost, and acknowledged side effects, of conventional medical treatments rise exponentially, we owe it to ourselves to eat the most nutritionally dense, best-quality foods. Good food is everybody’s right, and in our view the best way to democratize good food is through the widespread use of organic farming and a greater attention to the concepts of local and seasonal. In reestablishing the fundamental link between food and health and exploring the beneﬁts of traditional diets we are not looking backward, rather we are taking the best of our inherited knowledge about food and farming and applying it to a modern future. For example, Chinese and Ayurvedic traditions have for thousands of years followed the concept that different foods have speciﬁc, healthy properties. Some foods, such as quail eggs, are considered energizing and full of concentrated life force while others, such as barley, are more soothing to the energies of the body. Traditional approaches to food also acknowledge the seasons: of recommending warming foods like oats and spices like cinnamon in winter; cleansing foods such as nettle or dandelion in spring; cooling foods like lettuce and cucumber in summer; and sustaining foods such as pumpkin and carrots in fall. The ﬁrst half of this book will help you to identify foods that have both stood the test of time as healing foods and are shown by modern research as being particularly relevant for helping to improve a health issue. The second half contains recipes, inspired by traditional cultural practices, that beneﬁt various parts of the body or internal systems. We hope that this information will both encourage and help you afﬁrm the connection between food and health and make food choices for yourself and your family that lead to lifelong optimal health. Food as medicine nausea coughs heart GINGER HONEY GARLIC has a recognized ability to quell feelings of nausea. is an ancient remedy for soothing coughs and other throat complaints. can help your body to ﬁght free radicals and lower blood pressure. liver memory cholesterol BRUSSELS SPROUTS BERRIES are a good source of sulfur, which enhances liver function. contain antioxidants, which can help to stave off mental decline NUTS & SEEDS contain unsaturated fats, which can lower cholesterol. INTRODUCTION HEALING FOODS SUPPLEMENTS A balanced diet is where health begins, but there are times when your diet may not provide all the nutrients you need. A Western diet and lifestyle can also leave us vulnerable to nutritional deﬁciencies including iron, calcium, magnesium, folic acid, vitamins B6, B12, C, and D. Most governments produce scientiﬁcally developed recommended dietary allowances (RDAs) to cover broadly healthy people of any age or gender. These are the basis for the Reference Daily Intake (RDI) values, which regulators use to create Daily Value (DV) packaging labels. RDAs are based on the lowest levels of nutrients required to prevent deﬁciency diseases, such as scurvy and rickets, and do not, as our tables on pages 338–41 illustrate, reﬂect the higher levels required for optimum health. This is why supplement nutrient levels are often much higher than RDA levels. Who will beneﬁt most from supplements? Even in healthy people, multivitamins and other supplements may help to prevent vitamin and mineral deﬁciencies. They also provide more nutrients than diet can alone, so they may help to protect against, or manage, certain diseases. However, the following categories highlight those people who can most beneﬁt from taking daily supplements: • People who have lost weight, who may be deﬁcient in a wide range of vitamins and minerals. • Vegetarians, who are more likely to be deﬁcient in vitamin B12, iron, vitamin D, zinc, iodine, riboﬂavin, calcium, and selenium. • Vegans, who are even more likely than vegetarians to be low in protein, selenium, and B12. • People living a typical “student lifestyle” and anyone not eating a balanced diet is likely to beneﬁt from a multivitamin supplement. • Elderly people living in their own homes, who are often deﬁcient in vitamin D, vitamin A, vitamin E, calcium, and zinc, and occasionally vitamin B1 and vitamin B2. • Smokers, who are most likely to be deﬁcient in vitamin C and zinc. • Premenopausal women, who have often been found to consume low amounts of calcium, iron, vitamin A, and vitamin C. • Pregnant women are often advised to take a folic acid supplement, and studies have shown that taking a multivitamin supplement before and during pregnancy leads to a healthier pregnancy and a healthier baby. • Anyone living in a colder climate who does not get regular sun exposure is likely to be deﬁcient in vitamin D, which can lead to, among other problems, an increased incidence of breast cancer, bowel cancer, depression, osteoporosis, Parkinson’s and heart disease. • Anyone who is under stress is likely to beneﬁt from taking additional B vitamins. • Many men and women experiencing problems with low fertility are deﬁcient in zinc. Are supplements safe? Generally speaking, taking nutritional supplements from reputable companies is extremely safe, but this doesn’t mean all supplements are appropriate for everyone. It is worth doing some research to ﬁnd out about the potential beneﬁts and risks of taking a supplement. There are many sources of information available to help you become well informed. If you are suffering from a speciﬁc disease, it is advisable to talk to a knowledgeable healthcare professional before taking a supplement. If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, only take those supplements speciﬁcally recommended for you to take during this time. While many vitamins, minerals, and herbs are known to safely prevent or treat a variety of diseases, they work by altering your body chemistry—just like any medicine. So before you take a supplement, make sure you know about how it might interact with any medications you may be already taking. Before you turn to supplements, bear in mind that using the information in this book may help you to replace depleted nutrients by eating more of a certain food. For example, if you need to replace lost potassium, you may choose to eat more bananas or drink coconut water, or eat more fresh berries to increase your vitamin C intake. 17 Foods That heal TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THE ENORMOUS VARIETY OF FOODS THAT HAVE INCREDIBLE HEALTH BENEFITS AND STAND AS A TESTIMONY TO “LET FOOD BE THY MEDICINE.” 20 FOODS THAT HEAL ORCHARD FRUITS Apples HELPS BALANCE BLOOD SUGAR LEVELS TACKLES DIARRHEA AND CONSTIPATION HELPS STRENGTHEN BONES HELPS LOWER CHOLESTEROL Available in many varieties, juicy, crunchy apples have been celebrated since antiquity for their health beneﬁts. They are high in pectin, a ﬁber, and slow-release sugars that help to improve heart health and regulate the body’s blood sugar levels. They also contain many important vitamins and minerals, and substances that promote, among other things, strong, healthy bones. What Is It Good For? BLOOD SUGAR REGULATION Fructose and antioxidant polyphenols in apples improve the metabolic balance and slow the rate at which sugar is absorbed into the bloodstream. GREEN APPLES Like other apples, green apples contain malic acid, a useful digestive aid. CONSTIPATION AND DIARRHEA Pectin has an amphoteric action. Paradoxically, it can provide relief from both constipation and diarrhea, depending on the body’s needs. PROTECTING BONES The ﬂavonoid phlorizin, found in apple skin, may help prevent bone loss associated with menopause, because it ﬁghts the inﬂammation and free-radical production that lead to bone loss. RED APPLES Antioxidants, which can protect against neurological damage associated with conditions, such as Alzheimer’s disease, are higher in red apples than in some other varieties. REDUCES CHOLESTEROL Pectin and other constituents, such as antioxidant polyphenols, reduce levels of “unhealthy” (LDL) cholesterol, and slow down its oxidation—a risk factor for atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries). Polyphenols also prevent free radicals from damaging heart muscles and blood vessels. How Do I Get The Best From It? THE WHOLE FRUIT YELLOW APPLES The pectin in yellow and all other apples helps lower the body’s absorption of excess dietary fats. Every part is edible. Supermarkets coat apples with wax to give a shine and keep them fresh over long periods, so always wash these apples before eating. GO ORGANIC AND LOCAL Buy organic, and from sources as local as possible, for the freshest fruit without chemical contamination. KEEP THE SKIN ON Peeling can remove more than half an apple’s ﬁber, vitamin C, and iron. How Do I Use It? A SIMPLE FOOD FOR RECUPERATION Grate 1 apple and allow to brown slightly to release the juices, making it easier to digest. Take 1–2 large spoonfuls every hour or as needed. BAKED APPLES Core large apples, stuff with nuts, dried fruit, and spices, such as cinnamon, and bake at 350°F (180°C) until soft. ORCHARD FRUITS FOODS THAT HEAL Apricots PROMOTES CLEAR SKIN HELPS PROTECT EYE HEALTH PROMOTES BOWEL REGULARITY PROTECTS AGAINST FREE-RADICAL DAMAGE Native to eastern Asia, apricots were cultivated by the Chinese for thousands of years before they reached the rest of the world. Low in calories yet high in ﬁber and many key vitamins, apricots can be eaten fresh or dried, and the leaves and kernels can all be used. Medicinally, they can help improve digestion, promote clear skin, and protect vision. What Is It Good For? EYE AND SKIN HEALTH Its high beta-carotene content is beneﬁcial for aging eyes. Studies also show a regular high intake of nutrients such as vitamins C and E, zinc, and copper— all found in apricots—can reduce the risk of macular degeneration by 25 percent. They are also good for maintaining healthy skin. Flesh The very high levels of vitamin A in apricot promote healthy eyes and skin DIGESTIVE HEALTH Its high ﬁber content aids bowel regularity, which can help prevent constipation and even bowel cancer. ANTICANCER EFFECTS Its antioxidants can protect against free-radical damage linked to cancer and other diseases. The kernels also contain vitamin B17 (laetrile), shown in laboratory studies to kill cancer cells. How Do I Get The Best From It? EAT FRESH AND DRIED Both are rich in ﬁber, vitamins A, C, and E, and other key nutrients. Buy dried apricots without added sulﬁtes. APRICOT KERNEL The seed inside the stone is edible. As well as its anticancer properties, it helps remove toxins and strengthens the body’s defenses against disease. KERNEL OIL Use the oil, which is rich in monounsaturated fats and vitamins A, C, and E, for cooking and salad dressings. How Do I Use It? Kernel TO COUNTERBALANCE FATTY MEATS Pair with rich duck or goose meat, or include the dried fruits in stufﬁngs or chopped into lamb stews. LIGHTLY POACHED Poach fresh apricots in a light syrup of 1 part honey and 3 parts water. Add 6 crushed cardamom pods and ½ vanilla bean, and simmer until just tender. PICKLED APRICOTS Japanese umeboshi, or pickled plums, are actually apricots. Eaten with rice, they stimulate digestion and prevent nausea, including nausea from hangovers. The kernel inside the stone is a source of a healthy oil rich in vitamin B17 (laetrile), known for its cancer-ﬁghting properties 21 22 FOODS THAT HEAL ORCHARD FRUITS Peaches And Nectarines HELPS PREVENT METABOLIC SYNDROME FIGHTS FREE-RADICAL DAMAGE TO SKIN HELPS EXPEL EXCESS WATER Peaches originate from China, where they are considered an uplifting, rejuvenating fruit. Like other stone fruits, peaches and nectarines (a close relative) contain a balance of phenolic compounds— anthocyanins, chlorogenic acids, quercetin derivatives, and catechins—that work synergistically to combat metabolic syndrome (a group of risk factors that can lead to diabetes and heart disease). What Is It Good For? WEIGHT MANAGEMENT Their phenolic compounds are known to have antiobesity, anti-inﬂammatory, and antidiabetic properties, and regular consumption of both can help prevent metabolic syndrome. SKIN HEALTH Both are good sources of vitamin C, an essential component in the body’s production of collagen. They are also a good source of the antioxidant lutein, which helps ﬁght free-radical damage and supports healthy skin (and eyes). PEACHES These contain beta-carotene, lycopene, and lutein, which protect the heart and eyes. DIURETIC Rich in potassium, phosphorus, and magnesium, peaches and nectarines are an antidote to a high-sodium diet and can help remove excess water from the body. They are also mildly laxative. ANTICANCER Laboratory tests show that breast-cancer cells—even the most aggressive type—died after exposure to peach extract. How Do I Get The Best From It? EAT IN SEASON Eat ripe stone fruits as soon as possible after buying; they can quickly become overripe and lose their nutritional beneﬁts, and tend to bruise easily. PRESERVE FOR LATER Both peaches and nectarines make delicious jams and preserves. How Do I Use It? NECTARINES They have red, yellow, or white ﬂesh and are a source of vitamins A and C and beta-carotene. ANTIOXIDANT ICED TEA Slice 2 ripe peaches into a pan, add 2 cups water, and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat, add 8 green tea bags, and steep for 5 minutes. Gently squeeze the teabags as you remove them. Add a further 1 cup water and a little honey to sweeten, if you like. When cool, serve over ice with a mint garnish. BREAKFAST BAGEL Top a toasted bagel with soft goat or keﬁr cheese and nectarine slices. A little freshly ground black pepper on top will bring out the sweetness of the fruit. ORCHARD FRUITS FOODS THAT HEAL Pears LOW-ALLERGY FOOD HAS A MILD LAXATIVE ACTION HELPS CALM THE NERVES HELPS KEEP JOINTS SUPPLE Dozens of different varieties of pear are now available; most have paper-thin skins and a similar shape, although some, such as the Asian pear, look a little different. A cooling, uplifting, low-allergy fruit and an excellent source of water-soluble ﬁber, pears also contain useful amounts of beta-carotene and B vitamins, as well as traces of copper, phosphorus, potassium, and other essential elements. CONFERENCE PEAR What Is It Good For? Fresh pears like these have higher levels of fructose, glucose, and levulose—the sweetest of all natural sugars—in them than any other fruit. ALLERGY RELIEF Low in salicylates and benzoates, pears are less allergenic than many other fruits, and are often recommended in exclusion diets for allergy sufferers. Pear juice is often introduced as a ﬁrst juice to infants. Also good for recuperation after illness. CONSTIPATION Most of its ﬁber is insoluble, making it a good bulking laxative. NERVOUS EXHAUSTION Considered to be a cooling and soothing food. Vitamin C also triggers the production of norepinephrine and serotonin, neurotransmitters that can help lift mood. RHEUMATIC CONDITIONS Contains a combination of potassium, pectin, and tannins that help dissolve uric acid, making it ideal for those with rheumatic conditions, such as gout and arthritis. How Do I Get The Best From It? RED ANJOU PEAR KEEP THE SKIN ON Most of its vitamin C and dietary ﬁber is contained within its thin skin. RIPEN AT HOME Pears bruise easily when ripe. Buy them slightly underripe and let them ripen at home. Red-hued pears, such as Red Anjou and Red Bartlett, have more antioxidant anthocyanins than green, yellow, and brown varieties. DRIED Like most dried fruits, pears are high in sugar but are a good source of natural ﬁber. Eat just a few for a sustained energy lift. JUICE THEM Fresh pear juice is cooling and uplifting if you are feeling hot and anxious. How Do I Use It? UPLIFTING DRINK Boil dried pears in water for 15 minutes. Strain and reserve the hot liquid, allow to cool, then drink to relieve nervous exhaustion and symptoms of PMS. POACH THEM Cook fresh pears gently in a light sugar syrup or wine; add a little grated ginger or cinnamon, if you like. Serve while warm, sprinkled with toasted almonds. ASIAN PEAR These pears may sound exotic but there is no nutritional difference between these and regular varieties. 23 24 FOODS THAT HEAL ORCHARD FRUITS Plums HELPS PROTECT EYE HEALTH HAS A LAXATIVE ACTION HELPS BALANCE BLOOD SUGAR LEVELS SUPPORTS HEALTHY LIVER FUNCTION Plums, or gages, are members of the rose family and there are more than 2,000 varieties, including the greengage, Mirabelle, and damson. Plums have good antioxidant and detoxifying properties, are a metabolic stimulant, and contain chromium, potassium, selenium, and other minerals, as well as vitamin C and beta-carotene. Dried plums, or prunes, are a traditional treatment for constipation. What Is It Good For? PURPLE PLUMS Dark-skinned varieties with a red ﬂesh are richer in beneﬁcial antioxidants called anthocyanins than other varieties. PROTECTS EYESIGHT Its antioxidants can help prevent age-related macular degeneration (a major cause of loss of vision). CONSTIPATION Rich in stool-bulking ﬁbers, especially pectin, fructose, and sulfur, which help food to move effectively through the colon. Together with substances, such as sorbitol and isatin, these ﬁbers are responsible for the fruit’s well-known laxative effect. METABOLIC STIMULANT Contains useful amounts of calcium, potassium, magnesium, and the antioxidant beta-carotene. These nutrients help regulate heart rate, blood pressure, blood sugar levels, and water balance. Damsons in particular, are noted for their ability to stimulate appetite and digestion if eaten before a meal. GREENGAGES Like all plums, greengages are rich in potassium, beta-carotene, and ﬁber. DETOX Can initiate detoxiﬁcation and help improve liver function. As well as improving internal health, its detoxifying properties can help promote healthy skin. How Do I Get The Best From It? DRIED FRUIT Prunes are a good way to reap the beneﬁts of plums all year round. They contain both soluble and insoluble ﬁber, which help promote bowel regularity and balance blood sugar levels. VICTORIA PLUMS The antioxidants in these and other plums aid skin health. KEEP THE SKIN ON The skin is where most of its beneﬁcial antioxidants concentrate. How Do I Use It? BAKE THEM Slice some plums in half, remove the pits, and bake in an oven preheated to 350°F (180°C) until they are wrinkled. Eat them plain, or drizzle with a little yogurt sweetened with honey before serving. PRUNES Dried plums can help ease constipation. SWEETEN A RICE SALAD Add chopped plums and pistachio nuts to a cold brown-rice salad. Dress with extra virgin olive oil and a fruit vinegar, such as blackberry or raspberry. ORCHARD FRUITS FOODS THAT HEAL Kiwi Fruit PROMOTES COLLAGEN SYNTHESIS HAS A MILD LAXATIVE ACTION REDUCES TRIGYLCERIDES IN THE BLOOD PROTECTS AGAINST COLDS AND FLU Native to China, and sometimes called a Chinese gooseberry, this unusual-looking fruit is now grown all over the world in sunny climates. There are some nutritional differences between the two varieties, green and gold, but both are good for digestion and heart health. Their high vitamin C content also promotes skin health and boosts the immune system, ﬁghting off any inﬂammation. What Is It Good For? GREAT SKIN Vitamin C contributes to the formation of collagen and hastening the repair from sun and wind damage. GREEN KIWI Contains signiﬁcantly more ﬁber than gold kiwi fruit. HEALTHY DIGESTION Its mild laxative effect is linked to its ﬁber content. Two kiwis provide 20 percent of the daily recommended amount of ﬁber, and can aid digestion and maintain colon health. Also contains actinidin, an enzyme that aids the digestion of protein. HEART DISEASE Studies show that the high levels of ﬂavonoids and vitamins C and E in kiwis can reduce triglycerides (a type of fat) in the blood and the buildup of plaque in the arteries (atherosclerosis). The tiny black seeds contain vitamin E and omega-3 fatty acids, which act as natural blood thinners. IMMUNITY Vitamin C boosts immunity, ﬁghts off colds and ﬂu, and combats inﬂammation. How Do I Get The Best From It? EAT RAW ON ITS OWN Eat with a spoon, as you would a hard-cooked egg. The actinidin in green, but not gold, kiwis makes them incompatible with some foods, such as dairy produce, which they cause to curdle. GET COLORFUL Green kiwis contain larger amounts of ﬁber, while gold kiwis contain higher levels of vitamin C and potassium. How Do I Use It? A SUMMERY SMOOTHIE Blend the ﬂesh (seeds removed) of 1⁄4 watermelon, 2 peeled kiwi fruit, and a peeled banana in a blender. DETOX SOUP For a cold soup for 2, blend until smooth the ﬂesh of 1 galia or honeydew melon, halved, (reserve the shells to serve the soup in), 1 kiwi fruit, and 1 ripe pear (seeded), a handful of green grapes, grated fresh ginger (optional), and 3⁄4 cup aloe vera juice. Chill, pour into the melon shells, and garnish with chopped kiwi and fresh mint to serve. GOLD KIWI Gold kiwi contains large amounts of vitamin C, vital for boosting immunity. 25 26 FOODS THAT HEAL ORCHARD FRUITS Figs REGULATES HEART RATE AND BLOOD PRESSURE HELPS STRENGTHEN BONES PROMOTES BOWEL REGULARITY Figs are a lovely, sweet, seasonal fruit, generally available from July to September, and can be enjoyed fresh or dried. Although each has its own beneﬁts, both fresh and dried ﬁgs are beneﬁcial foods for blood pressure thanks to their high potassium levels, and are also beneﬁcial for maintaining a good digestive system and improving bone health. PURPLE FIGS What Is It Good For? These ﬁgs are a good source of ﬁber, helping promote bowel regularity and reducing the risk of bowel cancer. BLOOD PRESSURE Fresh and dried ﬁgs contain large amounts of potassium, which is crucial for the smooth functioning of muscles and nerves, balancing ﬂuid levels in the body, and regulating the heart rate and water balance. Figs are an ideal healthy food to eat if you have high blood pressure. BONE HEALTH A good source of calcium, with one serving providing 10 percent of the daily recommended amount. Calcium is important in promoting the health and growth of bones. The potassium content of ﬁgs also helps reduce calcium lost through urine, meaning the body is able to absorb more calcium. DIGESTION AND CONSTIPATION A fantastic source of ﬁber. Regularly including ﬁber in your diet is vital for maintaining a healthy digestive system, which in turn reduces the chances of constipation. How Do I Get The Best From It? FRESH Compared to their dried counterparts, fresh ﬁgs are lower in calories and sugar. They are also higher in beta-carotene, which converts to vitamin A in the body. WHITE FIGS Like purple ﬁgs, this white variety is a rich source of ﬁber, as well as calcium, potassium, and other trace elements. DRIED Dried ﬁgs are available all year round. Compared to fresh ﬁgs, they contain more ﬁber, protein, calcium, potassium, magnesium, and phosphorus. They are also a great source of pectin, a form of soluble ﬁber, which is good for reducing blood sugar levels. They are, however, higher in calories and sugar. How Do I Use It? DRIED FIGS Dried ﬁgs retain and concentrate all the nutritional beneﬁts of the fresh fruit, although they are lower in beta-carotene. AS THEY ARE Dried ﬁgs make a great sweet snack. Eat them instead of candy or chocolate, especially if you are trying to lose weight. WITH CEREAL The health beneﬁts of ﬁgs make them a fantastic addition to your breakfast. Adding chopped ﬁgs to granola or oatmeal is a tasty way to include them in your diet. ORCHARD FRUITS FOODS THAT HEAL Quince SOOTHES STOMACH UPSETS CONTAINS ANTICANCER SUBSTANCES FIGHTS INFLAMMATION AND INFECTION HELPS MAINTAIN HEALTHY ARTERIES Quince is an ancient fruit native to the Middle East that is slowly ﬁnding its place again in the modern world. It boosts the immune system and beneﬁts heart health, while its juice is used to treat diarrhea and as a mouthwash and gargle to maintain gum health and treat mouth ulcers. This deeply fragrant fruit is too sour to be eaten raw, but cooking helps bring out its ﬂavor and nutritional beneﬁts. What Is It Good For? STOMACH SOOTHER Has an astringent quality that makes it a good general tonic for the digestive system. It is also mildly diuretic. ANTICANCER Laboratory studies have shown the leaf and fruit contain substances that inhibit the growth of colon and kidney cancer cells. FIGHTS FREE RADICALS Rich in antioxidant vitamins A, C, and E and unique phytonutrients, shown to have strong freeradical scavenging properties (free radicals are implicated in heart disease, diabetes, inﬂammatory conditions, and cancer). HEART HEALTH Rich in potassium, which promotes a regular heartbeat and helps remove excess water from the body. Its ﬁber and antioxidants can contribute to healthy arteries and the regeneration of arterial walls. How Do I Get The Best From It? BUY IN SEASON From September to November look for large ﬁrm fruits with a yellow skin. Paradoxically, for such a hard fruit, quinces can bruise easily so avoid any fruits with signs of damage or decay. Don’t store for long periods, and enjoy the fragrance they impart while it lasts. Seeds An extraction of the seeds produces a viscous substance, which is a traditional Middle Eastern remedy for sore throats and coughs MIX WITH WATER Several laboratory studies have shown that quince steeped in hot water has an immunity-boosting effect, and may help ease symptoms of allergic dermatitis. How Do I Use It? GOES WELL WITH APPLES Add chunks of tart quince to apple crisp, apple sauce, or apple pies to lift their texture, ﬂavor, and aroma. SWEETEN YOUR TEA Add a spoonful of quince jelly or preserve to green tea to sweeten, add scent, and further boost its antioxidant effect. A VERSATILE PRESERVE Quinces are high in pectin so they make wonderful preserves. Fruit Leaves Studies have shown that the leaves and fruit contain properties that can inhibit the growth of certain cancer cells An astringent fruit that has a general tonic effects, quince juice can be used to treat diarrhea and even as a mouthwash and gargle to maintain gum health and treat mouth ulcers 27 28 FOODS THAT HEAL ORCHARD FRUITS Cherries HELPS PROMOTE SLEEP HELPS INCREASE INSULIN PRODUCTION REDUCES POST-EXERCISE INFLAMMATION CAN HELP PREVENT GOUT Cherries—if you pick the correct kind—can rightly be called one of today’s superfoods. Montmorency cherries have the highest medicinal value because they are rich in antioxidants, are a good antiinﬂammatory, and are useful in the prevention and treatment of gout. They are also one of very few fruits to contain melatonin, which can help treat insomnia and jetlag and can encourage good sleep. What Is It Good For? A GOOD NIGHT’S SLEEP DARK RED CHERRIES Sweet cherries contain a signiﬁcant amount of perillyl alcohol (POH), a chemical that may help slow or halt certain cancers. Sour cherries are one of the few foods to contain signiﬁcant amounts of melatonin, a hormone produced naturally by the body as part of our sleep–wake cycle. Studies show that a glass of sour cherry juice before bedtime can promote sound sleep. ANTIDIABETIC Tart cherries may be useful in treating diabetes. Their abundant antioxidant anthocyanins can increase insulin production, helping regulate blood sugar levels. ANTI-INFLAMMATORY Rich in potent antioxidants that can help ﬁght inﬂammation. Drinking tart cherry juice has been shown to reduce post-exercise pain and inﬂammation in athletes and long-distance runners. ARTHRITIC CONDITIONS Gout, an inﬂammatory condition related to arthritis, is caused by an excess accumulation of uric acid in the blood. Both sour and sweet cherries have been found to lower levels of urates in the blood, and to reduce the risk of contracting gout. MONTMORENCY CHERRIES How Do I Get The Best From It? Studies show this sour, bright red variety is around 10 times more active at relieving pain than aspirin. CHOOSE FRESH IN SEASON Buy organic, in season, and as local as possible for the highest nutrient content. Alternatively, pit and freeze the fresh fruits to use through the year, or choose cherry concentrates and extracts. PICK SOUR OVER SWEET Sour cherries have higher antioxidant levels than other cherries. How Do I Use It? YELLOW AND RED CHERRIES A very sweet variety with useful levels of vitamin C and the antioxidant beta-carotene. DRIED CHERRIES Dried cherries can be added to cereals and yogurts. MAKE A CHERRY PIE Cherries don’t lose their medicinal value when cooked. This makes them an ideal ingredient for preserves and pies, strudels, and other desserts. ADD TO SMOOTHIES Sweet, pitted cherries are a great addition to a fruit smoothie. VINE FOODS THAT HEAL Grapes HELPS REDUCE THE RISK OF CANCER HELPS PREVENT HARDENED ARTERIES HAS A MILD DIURETIC ACTION HELPS BALANCE BLOOD SUGAR LEVELS For thousands of years every part of the grape plant, including the sap in the vines, has been used as medicine. Grapes, a natural diuretic, contain a variety of antioxidants, especially oligomeric proanthocyanidin complexes (OPCs), which contribute to everything from glowing skin to protection from heart disease and free-radical damage. OPCs are especially concentrated in grape seeds. What Is It Good For? RED GRAPES Anthocyanins are the most abundant antioxidant in red and black grapes. They protect the heart and have anticancer properties. ANTICANCER The high levels of ﬂavonoids, anthocyanins, stilbenes, and many other antioxidants, especially in dark-skinned grapes, have been found to reduce the risk of cancers of the breast and prostate caused by free-radical damage. Grape antioxidant dietary ﬁber (GADF) also helps lower the risk of colon cancer. The seeds, in particular, are high in the antioxidant resveratrol, which has anticancer and antiaging properties. CARDIOVASCULAR HEALTH Contains a wealth of antioxidants shown to prevent and reverse the effects of atherosclerosis (hardening of arteries). Red wine and grape juice are also high in resveratrol, which protects the heart. DETOX AND WATER BALANCE Contains high levels of potassium and very little sodium, which encourages the body to ﬂush out excess water and toxins. STEADYING BLOOD SUGAR LEVELS Contains slow-release carbohydrates that assist with blood glucose control. Its antioxidant and ﬁber mix can also help reduce the threat of metabolic syndrome (a group of risk factors that can lead to diabetes and heart disease). How Do I Get The Best From It? CRUNCH THE SEEDS Choose seeded varieties and eat the seeds—where OPCs, vitamin E, and linolenic acid all concentrate. Leaves The leaves are rich in antioxidant polyphenols, beta-carotene, and vitamin K, and are a traditional remedy for pain and inﬂammation WHITE GRAPES Flavonoid antioxidants known as catechins, which also give cocoa its medicinal power, are most abundant in white varieties. DRIED FRUIT When dried, fructose converts into a soluble ﬁber, fructan, which absorbs and removes cholesterol from the blood, and helps feed good bacteria in the gut. RAISINS How Do I Use It? IN A RICE DISH OR SALAD Raisins add ﬂavor and nutrition to a rice dish, while grapes add a touch of sweetness to a green salad. FREEZE THEM A cooling snack, frozen grapes have the same nutritional beneﬁts as fresh. Dried white grapes are an effective prebiotic, feeding good bacteria in the gut. 29 30 FOODS THAT HEAL BERRIES AND CURRANTS Blackberries HELPS REPAIR SUNDAMAGED SKIN HELPS REMOVE TOXINS FROM THE GUT HELPS LOWER BLOOD PRESSURE CONTAINS ANTICANCER SUBSTANCES Blackberries are high in antioxidants, of which anthocyanins are responsible for their deep purple color. Anthocyanins also ﬁght free-radical damage in the body and address a range of modern conditions including hypertension, diabetes, cancer, vision loss, poor liver function, and declining mental faculties. The berries also have detoxifying properties and promote gut health. What Is It Good For? Fruit SKIN HEALTH The berries are a great source of the antioxidant ellagic acid, which can help reduce damage done to skin from overexposure to sun. Ellagic acid also prevents the breakdown of collagen, the “scaffolding” that supports ﬁrm skin and prevents inﬂammation. These berries are a source of salicylic acid, which helps lower blood pressure HEALTHY GUT Contains both insoluble and soluble ﬁber, helpful for bowel regularity and removing toxins from the gut. HEART PROTECTIVE Blackberries contain salicylic acid, a compound with properties similar to aspirin (also known as acetylsalicylic acid), which could help protect against heart disease and lower blood pressure. ANTICANCER PROPERTIES Ellagic acid has been shown to stop the growth of cancer cells in laboratory tests. How Do I Get The Best From It? FRESH IS BEST The nutrients deteriorate quickly so eat freshly picked or within a few days of purchase. Eat at room temperature. LEAVES The leaves contain tannin and gallic acid, a natural antibiotic. Brewed in a tea, they are a traditional remedy for acute diarrhea, mouth ulcers, and bleeding gums. How Do I Use It? ADD TO A CRISP Add to an apple crisp for added ﬂavor and antioxidant beneﬁts. MAKE A VINEGAR Leaves Reserve the leaves and brew as a tea to treat an upset stomach and boost mouth health Blackberry vinegar adds a real lift to salad dressings and marinades. Mixed with a little water, the vinegar is also a useful remedy for sore throats and a fever. Cover fresh blackberries in white wine or apple cider vinegar. Store in a cool dark place for 3 weeks. Strain the vinegar into a pan, add 2 cups superﬁne sugar for every 2 cups strained liquid, and boil gently for 5 minutes. Decant into sterilized, tightly sealed bottles and use within a year. BERRIES AND CURRANTS FOODS THAT HEAL Blackcurrants HELPS REGULATE BLOOD PRESSURE PROTECTS AGAINST NEURODEGENERATION HELPS PROTECT AGAINST CATARACTS FIGHTS URINARY TRACT INFECTIONS High in vitamin C, with useful levels of potassium and phosphorus, blackcurrants also contain a range of different anthocyanins, antioxidants that protect against heart disease, cancer, and neurological disorders, such as Alzheimer’s disease. The fruits also have antibacterial properties and promote better vision. Too sour to eat fresh on their own, they make good cordials, syrups, and jams. What Is It Good For? HEART HEALTH Its potassium content helps maintain a regular heartbeat, and acts as a diuretic and blood-pressure regulator. Its antioxidants also help prevent damage to blood vessel walls, which can lead to atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries). BRAIN FOOD Anthocyanins, which give the berries their color, help protect the brain from the free-radical damage associated with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. BETTER NIGHT VISION Antioxidants in the fruit have been shown to improve night vision, relieve eyestrain, and help prevent cataracts. Fruit Weight-for-weight, blackcurrants contain three times as much vitamin C as oranges. Too sour to eat raw, make them into sweetened cordials to enjoy their beneﬁts URINARY TRACT INFECTIONS Has a similar antibacterial action to cranberries: regular consumption of the juice can help ﬁght urinary tract infections (UTIs). IMMUNITY-BOOSTING TONIC Its mixture of vitamin C and antioxidants is good as a general tonic to help protect and boost immunity, and heal wounds more quickly. How Do I Get The Best From It? ADD SUGAR Turn into preserves or add the fresh fruits to other sweeter fruits in desserts. A HEALTHY SEED OIL The oil is rich in vitamin E and several unsaturated fatty acids, such as alpha-linolenic acid and gamma-linolenic acid. Regular consumption may help skin conditions, such as eczema and dermatitis. USE THE LEAVES A tea made from the leaves can be used to treat coughs and sore throats. Leaves How Do I Use It? SYRUP Turn the fruit into a sweet syrup or cordial, which retains its antioxidants and other immunity-boosting phytochemicals. TEA Add a small handful of leaves to a teapot, cover with boiling water, leave to infuse for a few minutes, strain, and drink as required. Add the leaves to boiling water to make a tea that can help treat coughs and sore throats 31 32 FOODS THAT HEAL BERRIES AND CURRANTS Blueberries SLOWS THE GROWTH OF PROSTATE CANCER HELPS PREVENT COGNITIVE DECLINE EFFECTIVE AGAINST GASTROENTERITIS HELPS PROTECT EYE HEALTH Native to North America, blueberries have long been valued for their nutritional and medicinal properties. They contain antibacterial compounds that ﬁght off stomach bugs and antioxidants to prevent eye damage and improve both eyesight and memory. They also promote prostate health. Much sweeter than many small berries, they can be eaten fresh on their own to reap all the beneﬁts. What Is It Good For? PROSTATE HEALTH A rich source of concentrated proanthocyanidin compounds, which can slow the growth and spread of various cancers. Recent laboratory studies show that blueberry extract also signiﬁcantly slows the growth of prostate-cancer cells. IMPROVED MEMORY It may have a positive effect on the nervous system. Also studies show it can increase levels of dopamine—a vital neurotransmitter—thus improving memory. May also alleviate cognitive decline. HEALTHY GUT Contains anthocyanins, antibacterial antioxidants effective against causes of gastroenteritis, such as E. coli. Also combats the bacteria that cause diarrhea. Berries Studies show that blueberries have some of the highest levels of active antioxidants per serving of any food SUPPORTING VISION Anthocyanins can help improve eye health by protecting against retinal degeneration. They may also help prevent the eye condition glaucoma because of their collagen-enhancing properties. URINARY TRACT INFECTIONS Recent studies conﬁrm its usefulness in treating urinary tract infections (UTIs). How Do I Get The Best From It? BUY ORGANIC Blueberries belong to a “dirty dozen” list of fruits that generally have the most pesticide residues. Eating organic is the only way to avoid chemical contamination. LEAVES The leaves contain similar levels of antioxidants to that of the fruit. Use to prevent UTIs and regulate blood sugar levels. Leaves Tea made from the leaves can be used to prevent urinary tract infections and regulate blood sugar levels How Do I Use It? FOR BREAKFAST Add to cereal or yogurt, or freeze to preserve them for longer and include them in a breakfast shake or smoothie. LEAF TEA Pour boiling water on the leaves, infuse, strain, and drink as a tea that contains antibacterial and hypoglycemic properties. To freeze blueberries, spread them in a single layer on a large baking pan, and place in the freezer overnight. When completely frozen, transfer the berries to a freezer bag; force as much air out of the bag as possible. Return to the freezer for storage. 34 FOODS THAT HEAL BERRIES AND CURRANTS Cranberries FIGHTS URINARY TRACT INFECTIONS HELPS FIGHT GUM DISEASE HELPS ALLEVIATE HEAVY PERIODS HELPS PREVENT STOMACH ULCERS Native to North America, these rather sour red berries are packed with antioxidants and have a number of health beneﬁts. They are both astringent and antibacterial, helping, among other things, to promote good gum health. Beyond that they contain a unique substance that helps prevent infections from taking hold in the urinary tract, kidney, and bladder. What Is It Good For? Fruit Cranberries were used by Native American People to treat bladder and kidney infections URINARY TRACT INFECTIONS Contains nondialyzable material (NDM) that prevents infections of the urinary tract (UTIs), bladder, and even kidneys. PROTECTING TEETH The antioxidant proanthocyanidin, which gives the berries their bright red color, can inhibit enzymes associated with the buildup of plaque, acid formation in teeth, and receding gums. TONING AND ASTRINGENT Its astringent and slightly antiseptic nature helps alleviate heavy periods, diarrhea, upset stomachs, sore throats, and laryngitis. DIGESTION Preliminary research suggests that NDM may also prevent Helicobacter pylori bacteria from attaching to stomach walls, giving it a useful role in preventing ulcers. HEALTHY HEART Juice To get the best from cranberry juice, look for brands low in sugar Its high vitamin C and anti-inﬂammatory antioxidant content can protect against inﬂammation and heart disease by reducing oxidative stress caused by free radicals in the body. How Do I Get The Best From It? JUICE Fresh cranberry juice gives you the overall beneﬁts of the fruit. Sugar feeds bacteria that can cause urinary tract infections in the ﬁrst place, so look for unsweetened, varieties. Better yet, juice the berries yourself. Dried cranberries Adding the dried fruit to cereals and granola is a simple way to include more antioxidants in your diet DRIED Eat the dried berries to enjoy most of the fruit’s beneﬁts throughout the year. Only the vitamin C content is heavily diminished. How Do I Use It? MAKE A TEA Add 1 heaped tsp dried berries to 2 cups water in a pan. Simmer over low heat for 10–15 minutes, strain, and drink. IN BETWEEN BRUSHING Chew dried berries thoroughly to release their gum-protecting properties and to give gums a gentle massage. BERRIES AND CURRANTS FOODS THAT HEAL Elderberries HELPS FIGHT COLDS AND THE FLU HAS A MILD DIURETIC ACTION Elderberries are the fruit of a woodland tree common throughout Europe, North America, and Asia. It was once regarded as a complete medicine chest because all parts of the plant can be used medicinally. The fruits and ﬂowers, most commonly consumed today, have immunity-boosting and diuretic effects. The raw berries are an acquired taste, but cooking makes them more palatable. What Is It Good For? BERRIES STRENGTHENING IMMUNITY The ﬂowers are a traditional remedy for relieving lung congestion. They promote sweating and can cool fevers, and are also anti-inﬂammatory. Syrup made from the berries is a well-proven way to boost immunity at any time, but especially in winter against colds and ﬂu. Elderberries get their color from antioxidant ﬂavonoids that help prevent damage to the body’s cells. DETOX The fruits are known to have a mild diuretic and laxative action. How Do I Get The Best From It? PRESERVE THE FRUITS Raw elderberries are too sour for some tastes. Turning them into jams, preserves, compotes, and syrups is the best way to get the most beneﬁt from them. FLOWERS The ﬂowers can be used to make everything from a lightly sparkling elderﬂower “champagne” to a useful gargle to soothe sore throats. Chemicals in the ﬂowers may also help to reduce swelling in mucous membranes in the sinuses. How Do I Use It? A HEALING SYRUP Add 2 cups strained juice from the berries to 1 cup honey and mix together well. For colds and ﬂu, take 2 tsp as needed. ELDERFLOWER TEA Add 2–4 fresh ﬂower heads (or 2 tsp dried herb per cup) to a teapot, add boiling water, leave to infuse for a few minutes, strain, and drink as a tea to ﬁght coughs and congestion. MAKE A CORDIAL Place 2lb (900g) berries in a pan with 1 cup water. Simmer over low heat until the berries release their juice. Crush and strain, reserve the juice, and return to the pan with 1 cup superﬁne sugar and a 1in (2.5cm) piece of fresh ginger, grated (optional). Simmer for 1 hour. Strain and store in a tightly sealed sterilized bottle and chill. Use within 3 months. To drink, dilute to taste. FLOWERS The ﬂowers (and berries) may help relieve nasal congestion. 35 36 FOODS THAT HEAL BERRIES AND CURRANTS Goji Berries HELPS MAINTAIN MUSCLE STRENGTH SUPPLIES OXYGEN TO CELLS HELPS PROMOTE PEACEFUL SLEEP PROTECTS EYES FROM FREE-RADICAL DAMAGE These berries belong to the broader nightshade family that includes chile peppers and tomatoes. Also called wolfberries, they are rich in a combination of antioxidant nutrients that beneﬁt cardiovascular health, muscle health, and vision. They also contain a variety of carotenoids, including beta-carotene, known to boost metabolic processes and promote good sleep and memory. What Is It Good For? MUSCLE HEALTH Contains betaine, a nutrient that helps build muscle, and beta-sitosterol, which helps prevent the inﬂammation that causes sore muscles. METABOLIC SUPPORT Pyridoxine (vitamin B6) is involved in numerous metabolic processes, aids the production of energy, and boosts the oxygen-carrying capacity of red blood cells. One serving of the berries contains nearly half the daily requirement of pyridoxine. FRESH WOLFBERRIES Wolfberries don’t store or travel well, which is why they are eaten dried as goji berries. NEUROLOGICAL SUPPORT Betaine, used by the liver to produce choline, helps to soothe nerves, promote restful sleep, and has a role to play in enhancing memory. VISION Abundant in lutein and zeaxanthin, antioxidants that have a proven ability to protect and maintain eye health. ANTIOXIDANT BOOST Contains around 10 times the antioxidant capacity of blueberries, contributing to cardiovascular- and immunesystem health. It may also protect against degenerative and inﬂammatory diseases, such as diabetes and arthritis. Its high antioxidant levels also mean it is a healthy skin food. How Do I Get The Best From It? DRIED GOJI BERRIES The antiaging effects attributed to goji berries are due to their high antioxidant capacity. DRIED Wolfberries deteriorate quickly once harvested. Dehydrating them preserves their nutritional beneﬁts. Choose sulﬁte-free organic varieties to ensure a low toxic load. JUICE Choose goji berry juice if you don’t enjoy the dried fruit: it contains all the health beneﬁts of the dried fruit except the ﬁber. How Do I Use It? AS THEY ARE Eat as a snack during the day to boost energy or satisfy cravings. BREAKFAST FRUIT Soak in water and add to granola, oatmeal, fruit, yogurt, and smoothies, or add to home-baked breakfast bars. BERRIES AND CURRANTS FOODS THAT HEAL Mulberries HELPS RESTORE VITALITY RELIEVES TIRED EYES SOOTHES NERVES, PROMOTES SLEEP HELPS EASE BLOATING AND CONSTIPATION Mulberries are an ancient fruit with a long tradition of use as a medicine, including as a tonic for the whole body. All parts of the plant, from root to tip, can be used medicinally, though these days we tend to concentrate only on the fruit and leaves, which are high in antioxidant anthocyanins and cancerﬁghting resveratrol and vitamin C. They also protect against eye damage and act as a sedative. What Is It Good For? STRENGTHENING TONIC Can be used as a general tonic to restore vitality. The berries contain a useful amount of iron to beneﬁt the kidneys, liver, and blood, and also resveratrol (also found in grape seeds), which has anticancer properties. Their high antioxidant content helps prevent heart disease and diseases associated with chronic inﬂammation. BLACK MULBERRIES These dark berries have antiviral properties that are shown to be effective against the HIV virus. The fruit ripens to black. EYE HEALTH The fruit and leaves contain zeaxanthin, which helps protect eyesight. Traditionally, mulberry was used to combat “dry conditions,” such as dry skin and eczema, and a dry mouth and throat; its moistening properties can ease dry, strained eyes. SEDATIVE A tea made from the fresh fruit or a teaspoon of the fruit preserve steeped in water is a traditional remedy for insomnia. DIGESTIVE HEALTH Strengthens the digestive tract and can ease bloating and constipation. LOWERS FEVERS A cooling food, it can be useful for treating fevers and heatstroke. How Do I Get The Best From It? EAT DRIED Fresh mulberries don’t store well, so enjoy their beneﬁts in dried form—a good substitute for raisins. RED MULBERRIES Native to North America, these berries have antibacterial properties and can help ﬁght urinary tract infections (UTIs). Despite the name “red,” the berries turn a deep purple, almost black, at their ripest. Leaves Used to strengthen the liver and lungs, and treat fevers, colds, and eye infections. The leaves are antibacterial and antidiabetic MAKE A TEA FROM THE LEAVES The leaves, harvested after the ﬁrst frosts of the fall season, have antibacterial properties. BE GENTLE Picked fresh from the tree, the berries are a healthful treat, but they are more fragile than other berries so pick carefully. How Do I Use It? ADD THE LEAVES TO A SALAD The young, tender leaves can be eaten raw in salads. MAKE A JAM The berries are high in pectin and so make an excellent jam. A NATURAL SWEETENER Add dried berries to regular or green tea to gain extra nutrients. DRIED WHITE MULBERRIES Native to China, and the preferred food of silkworms. The fruit has a neuroprotective effect in humans. 37 38 FOODS THAT HEAL BERRIES AND CURRANTS Raspberries MINIMIZES THE ABSORPTION OF FAT HELPS TONE THE UTERUS CONTAINS CANCERFIGHTING SUBSTANCES Recent studies conﬁrm that raspberries contain a vast array of antioxidants with a host of potential beneﬁts in regulating metabolism and ﬁghting diseases. One of these antioxidants is the antiinﬂammatory compound, ellagic acid, which is cancer-protective. The leaves can be used medicinally as a tonic in pregnancy, and in particular, preparing the uterus for a birth. What Is It Good For? RED RASPBERRIES Raspberries are high in beta-carotene, vitamin C, and folate. METABOLIC AID Preliminary research suggests rheosmin, a phenolic compound, can suppress the digestion and absorption of fat, and stimulate the metabolism. Another compound, tiliroside, has a similar action, and may also help regulate blood sugar levels. PREGNANCY AID The leaves are rich in tannins that may help tone and strengthen the uterus. However, only drink raspberry leaf tea during the last two months of pregnancy. CANCER FIGHTER Phytonutrients in red and black berries may inhibit the development of certain cancers. Particular studies have focused on the potential of black raspberries to protect against DNA mutations and inhibit the growth of tumors. In laboratory tests, black raspberries have halted the development of esophageal and colon cancer. The anti-inﬂammatory compound, ellagic acid, which is cancer-protective, may also help with bowel conditions. How Do I Get The Best From It? EAT ORGANIC Recent research on organic raspberries has shown the organic fruits to be signiﬁcantly higher in their total antioxidant capacity than nonorganic berries. Leaves The astringent leaves are traditionally taken as a tea in late pregnancy MAKE SURE THEY ARE RIPE BLACK RASPBERRIES Laboratory studies have proven that black raspberries have anticancer properties. Studies show that fully ripe raspberries contain signiﬁcantly more antioxidants than unripe fruits. How Do I Use It? MAKE A JAM Extend the short season of raspberries by preserving them as jam. MAKE A LEAF TEA Put 1 tsp dried leaves (or 2 tsp fresh) per 2⁄3 cup water in a teapot, cover with boiling water, leave to infuse for 10 minutes, strain, and drink as required. Raspberry leaf tea should only be drunk in the last 2 months of pregnancy; avoid it completely in the ﬁrst 2 trimesters. BERRIES AND CURRANTS FOODS THAT HEAL Strawberries HELPS PREVENT BLOOD VESSEL DAMAGE SOOTHES UPSET STOMACHS CONTAINS ANTICANCER SUBSTANCES Fresh strawberries are a high antioxidant food. As well as being a rich source of vitamin C, they contain manganese, folate, potassium, B vitamins, and the beneﬁcial ﬂavonoids, quercetin and kaempferol. In addition, they have heart-healthy properties, beneﬁt the digestive system, and are the only fruit to have seeds—a source of small amounts of omega-3 fatty acids—on their exterior. What Is It Good For? Leaves HEART HEALTH Apart from vitamin C, the berries are rich in quercetin and kaempferol, both of which can prevent “unhealthy” (LDL) cholesterol in the blood from oxidizing and damaging artery walls (atherosclerosis). Fresh or dried strawberry leaves can be used to make a tea that can soothe upset stomachs DIGESTION A tea made from the leaves is a traditional remedy to soothe acid indigestion. Fiber in the fruit can aid a sluggish bowel. ANTICANCER Contains the antioxidant compound ellagic acid that scavenges for, binds to, and helps neutralize cancer-causing chemicals in the body. How Do I Get The Best From It? EAT SEASONALLY Strawberries are grown all over the world and are available through the year, but they do not store well and quickly lose their nutrients once picked. They are most delicious and nutritious when eaten fresh in season. GO ORGANIC Most strawberries are treated with high amounts of pesticides and fungicides. Eating organic is the only way to avoid this chemical contamination. How Do I Use It? STRAWBERRY AND CUCUMBER SALAD Try this unusual and detoxifying combination: hull and halve 1lb (450g) strawberries and cut 1 cucumber into thin slices. Toss in a bowl and season with freshly ground black pepper (which brings out the ﬂavor of the strawberries). Blueberries make a nice additional ingredient so add a few, if you like. MAKE A TEA Stomach-soothing strawberry tea is best made from just-picked young strawberry leaves. Place a handful of fresh leaves in a teapot. Cover with boiling water and allow to steep for 5 minutes. Add honey, if you like, strain, and serve. If fresh leaves aren’t available, use dried. Berries Nutrients in strawberries help prevent cholesterol from damaging artery walls 39 40 FOODS THAT HEAL CITRUS FRUITS Citrus Fruits HELPS PREVENT KIDNEY STONES HELPS LOWER CHOLESTEROL AIDS HEALTHY DIGESTION HELPS REMOVE ACCUMULATED TOXINS This family of juicy fruits not only includes lemons, limes, oranges, and grapefruit, but also tangerines, mandarins, and less widely eaten fruits, such as pomellos and kumquats. Their vitamin C content is legendary, and regular consumption can help reduce the risk of heart disease, kidney stones, and infections of all kinds. They also boost good digestion and have alkalizing and detoxifying properties. What Is It Good For? LEMONS Lemons have antibacterial properties proven to ﬁght the Vibrio species of bacteria, responsible for cholera. KIDNEY STONES Lemons have the highest concentration of citrate; consuming dilute lemon juice or unsweetened lemonade daily has been shown to decrease the rate of stone formation. Orange juice may also help. HEART HEALTH Contain hesperidin, which can reduce symptoms of hypertension, and pectin (ﬁber) and limonoid compounds, which can slow atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) and reduce “unhealthy” (LDL) cholesterol in the blood. Antioxidant ﬂavones can also lower the risk of strokes in women. LIMES The vitamin K in limes is essential for healthy blood clotting. RELIEVES INDIGESTION Mixed with hot water, lemon juice can relieve heartburn, nausea, acid indigestion, and stomach aches. It may also have an antiparasitic effect. ALKALIZING AND DETOXIFYING Lemons are a natural diuretic and can help reduce swelling, inﬂammation, and edema (water retention). Also antibacterial, they ﬂush out the bacteria that cause urinary tract infections (UTIs). How Do I Get The Best From It? ORANGES Orange juice may help prevent kidney stones (calcium oxalate stone formation). USE THE PEEL Citrus peel is full of beneﬁcial antioxidants and has a high concentration of the fruit’s limonoids. Modern science shows citrus peel ﬁghts free radicals, balances blood sugar levels, and supports thyroid health. FOOD SYNERGY The vitamin C in citrus fruits helps the body absorb non-heme iron, a form of iron from plant sources, such as vegetables. How Do I Use It? A JEWELED SALAD GRAPEFRUITS High in vitamin C, these fruits can help reduce the severity of inﬂammatory conditions, such as asthma. Chop the fruit of 5 large peeled oranges and place in a bowl. Add the seeds of 1 pomegranate and its juice. Add the juice of 1 orange, 3 tbsp olive oil, chopped fresh mint, and pepper, and mix gently. MIX WITH WATER Start the day with a glass of warm water and lemon juice to alkalize and cleanse your system. TROPICAL FRUITS FOODS THAT HEAL Bananas HELPS STRENGTHEN BONES PROTECTS AGAINST ULCERS CONTAINS SLOWRELEASE SUGARS LOWERS RISK OF HEART DISEASE AND STROKE Bananas are an extremely versatile and healthy fruit. They are rich in potassium, which is essential for maintaining blood pressure at healthy levels, and are natural antacids, which makes them a soothing and healing choice for upset stomachs and ulcers. The ripe fruit consists of nearly 90 percent natural slow-release sugars—ideal for athletes and busy people alike. What Is It Good For? FRUIT The potassium in bananas lowers blood pressure and insures against brittle bones. BONE HEALTH Its potassium content slows the urinary calcium loss associated with a modern diet that is high in salt. Also contains prebiotic compounds that feed good bacteria in the gut. A healthy gut increases the body’s ability to absorb key nutrients such as calcium, which is crucial for bone health. SOOTHING THE STOMACH Has antacid effects that protect the stomach from ulcers. Also helps activate cells that build the stomach lining, and eliminates the bacteria that cause stomach ulcers. These antacid effects are also good for easing heartburn. ENERGY BOOSTER The fruit contains both quick-release glucose and slow-release fructose, so it supplies energy in 2 ways. CARDIOVASCULAR HEALTH An extremely good source of potassium and ﬁber. Studies show that potassium- and ﬁber-rich diets reduce the risk of stroke and heart disease. Potassium is also essential for the maintenance of a healthy level of blood pressure. FOR CONSTIPATION Its high ﬁber content helps bowel regularity and eases constipation. How Do I Get The Best From It? EAT RIPE FRUIT To get the most antioxidants, eat when the skin is yellow with a few brown or black spots, and the ﬂesh is ripe, almost to the point of spoilage. How Do I Use It? IN THE BLENDER Banana works well with many ﬂavors and helps to thicken the texture, so it is a good base for a fruit smoothie. TO SWEETEN CEREALS Add to your cereal or oatmeal as a natural sweetener and as an extra source of ﬁber. A FROZEN TREAT Bananas can be frozen and eaten as an alternative to ice pops, or puréed and served as an alternative to ice cream. Heart Like an artichoke, the outer bracts (leaves) and ﬂowers are removed to reveal a pale, edible heart FLOWER In some Asian cuisines, the ﬂower (or inﬂorescence) is eaten both cooked and raw. It is high in vitamin C and beta-carotene and is a traditional remedy for menstrual cramps. 41 42 FOODS THAT HEAL TROPICAL FRUITS Dates PROMOTES BOWEL REGULARITY CONTAINS SLOWRELEASE SUGARS HELPS MAINTAIN A REGULAR HEARTBEAT SOOTHES COUGHS AND SORE THROATS The date palm, one of the oldest trees cultivated by man, has its origins in the desert around the Persian Gulf. Immunity-boosting dates are high in potassium, supply slow-release sugars, and provide a range of other essential nutrients, for example, they are a good source of ﬁber, protein, minerals including magnesium, manganese, selenium, and zinc, and trace elements, such as boron. What Is It Good For? FRESH DATES SUPPORTING DIGESTION A great source of soluble and insoluble ﬁber, aiding digestion and promoting bowel regularity. Also contains tannins, which have an astringent quality that is useful for treating stomach upsets and intestinal troubles. When ripe, the berries of the date palm tree are sweet and have the texture of a ﬁrm pear. BALANCING BLOOD SUGAR High in sugar, dates still defy the dogma that all sugar is bad. Their sugar is released slowly, so they beneﬁt blood sugar control. Their soluble ﬁber content also aids blood glucose regulation. HEART HEALTHY SEMIDRIED DATES Semidried dates are not as sweet as dried dates, but retain all the gut-friendly ﬁber and nutrients. A very good source of potassium, an essential mineral that maintains proper muscle contractions, including those of the heart. Potassium also promotes a healthy nervous system and efﬁcient metabolism by the body. The soluble ﬁber in dates also helps to lower “unhealthy” (LDL) cholesterol levels in blood. COLDS AND FLU As an infusion, extract, syrup, or paste, dates are a traditional remedy for sore throats, colds, and bronchial catarrh. How Do I Get The Best From It? DRIED The drying process concentrates all the nutrients so just a few dates will supply good amounts of nutrients and ﬁber. Look for dates that have not been treated with sulﬁtes. FRESH Fresh dates are usually only available for a few weeks in late summer, often from specialty supermarkets. They contain much more vitamin C than the dried fruit. How Do I Use It? IN CEREALS AND BREADS DRIED DATES These dates provide all the beneﬁts of the fresh berries in a concentrated form. Adding chopped dates to granola makes a great healthy breakfast. Dates are also a staple ingredient of sweet loaves, such as date and nut bread. A SWEET SUBSTITUTE Dates are a delicious, sweet yet healthy snack, and can be eaten as a replacement for candy or chocolate. TROPICAL FRUITS FOODS THAT HEAL Mangoes FEEDS GOOD BACTERIA IN THE GUT CONTAINS ANTICANCER SUBSTANCES HELPS PROTECT EYE HEALTH PROTECTS AGAINST COLDS AND FLU Throughout Asia, the mango has both spiritual and medicinal signiﬁcance. It is the national fruit of India, Pakistan, and the Philippines, and the national tree of Bangladesh. Mangoes are high in the antioxidants beta-carotene and vitamin C, and so are good for boosting the immune system, protecting eyesight, and aiding digestion. They also help neutralize free-radical damage in the body. What Is It Good For? Mango ﬂesh DIGESTION Contains enzymes that aid the breakdown and digestion of protein, and also ﬁber, which keeps the digestive tract working efﬁciently. Dietary ﬁber has more long-term beneﬁts as well, lowering the risk of developing colon cancer, heart disease, type-2 diabetes, and diverticular disease. Contains prebiotic dietary ﬁber, which helps feed good bacteria in the gut ANTICANCER EFFECTS Laboratory tests show the triterpene compound, lupeol, a kind of plant hormone found in mangoes, is effective against both prostate and skin cancers. EYE HEALTH Rich in beta-carotene, a powerful antioxidant that helps reduce the effects of free-radical damage in the body, including the skin and eyes. It also helps prevent agerelated macular degeneration (loss of vision). IMMUNITY An average-sized mango contains up to two-thirds of the daily recommended intake of vitamin C, which plays a key role in boosting the immune system and so helps reduce the incidence of colds and ﬂu. How Do I Get The Best From It? KEEP IT FRESH Eat as fresh as possible. Mangoes bruise easily, so unless you are using them immediately, buy hard fruits and let them ripen at home. When you can’t ﬁnd fresh, dried mango is a good substitute. ADD DAIRY Studies suggest the bioavailability of beta-carotene in the fruit improves by 19–38 percent if combined with a little dairy. How Do I Use It? QUICK MANGO SMOOTHIE Blend 2 peeled, chopped mangoes, 1 cup cold milk or yogurt, and 11⁄2 tbsp honey, until smooth. MANGO SALSA Dice and mix 1 ripe mango, ⁄2 red onion, 1⁄2 sweet red bell pepper, 1 small cucumber, 1 small ﬁnely chopped jalapeño chile, and 3 tbsp each lime juice and chopped fresh cilantro. Season and serve with ﬁsh. 1 Green mango In Southeast Asia, green mango is used shredded in salads. Green mangoes have more vitamin C and more pectin than ripe mangoes, but have a very sour taste 43 44 FOODS THAT HEAL TROPICAL FRUITS Melons HELPS PROTECT EYE HEALTH HELPS KEEP BLOOD VESSELS SUPPLE HELPS SPEED WOUND HEALING Aromatic melons are, perhaps surprisingly, members of the gourd family, which includes cucumber and squash. They were ﬁrst cultivated in Persia and northern Africa nearly 4,000 years ago, and later by ancient Greeks and Romans. Rich in beta-carotene, vitamin C, and assorted antioxidants, they are good for immune support. They also contain potassium, which normalizes blood pressure. What Is It Good For? HONEYDEW It has the highest sugar content of any melon, but also contains vitamin C, folate, and potassium. EYESIGHT Melons derive their bright color from the antioxidant beta-carotene, important for skin and bone health and for preventing age-related macular degeneration (loss of vision). Cantaloupes also contain lutein and zeaxanthin, which are good for eye health. BLOOD FLOW Citrulline, an amino acid in the rind and ﬂesh of watermelon, can stimulate the production of nitric oxide, which relaxes and expands blood vessels, lowering blood pressure and enhancing blood ﬂow. BLOOD PRESSURE Contains a useful amount of potassium, a natural diuretic that helps to normalize blood pressure. Watermelons are rich in lycopene, which helps lower the risk of heart disease. WATERMELON WOUND HEALING The citrulline in watermelon plays a role in the production of the amino acid arginine, which boosts immune function and speeds wound healing. Red-ﬂeshed watermelon is a rich source of the plant pigment lycopene, which helps lower the risk of heart disease. How Do I Get The Best From It? DETOX Melons are an excellent food for light detox days. Their water content (around 95 percent) is highly mineralized, and has an alkalizing and diuretic effect. GENTLE ON YOUR TUMMY Easy to digest, it also provides useful carbohydrates for energy. EAT THE SEEDS The dried seeds contain healthy unsaturated fats and ﬁber, and make a nutritious addition to savory dishes. How Do I Use It? CANTALOUPE This is the most nutrient-dense melon: a single serving provides around half your daily vitamin C and A needs. SPICE UP YOUR CANTALOUPE Sprinkle a little freshly ground black pepper onto cantaloupe slices to enhance their ﬂavor. RAINBOW SALAD Slice watermelon, kiwi, and soft goat cheese into cubes, serve on bed of arugula or watercress, dress with balsamic vinegar, and scatter with sesame seeds. TROPICAL FRUITS FOODS THAT HEAL Papaya CONTAINS NATURAL DIGESTIVE ENZYMES HELPS FIGHT INFECTIONS HELPS LOWER CHOLESTEROL REDUCES CATARACT AND GLAUCOMA RISK Also called paw paw or tree melon, papaya has become a commercial crop that is now widely available. It is known to have antibacterial properties and promotes good digestion, and almost every part of the plant can be used. In the West, we tend to focus only on its brightly colored orange ﬂesh, which is a good source of antioxidant carotenoids, such as beta-carotene, that protect eyesight. What Is It Good For? Ripe fruit DIGESTION Contains the enzymes papain and chymonpapain. Both have been shown to aid digestion, prevent constipation, and, in combination with the fruit’s natural ﬁber, cleanse the colon. Papain is also helpful in healing and preventing stomach ulcers. Contains vitamins E and C and beta-carotene, giving it potent antioxidant properties FIGHTS “BUGS” The seeds are effective against salmonella, E. coli, and staphylococcus infections. They can be used to support liver function and have an antiparasitic function, which helps rid the body of intestinal parasites. HEALTHY FIBER Its natural ﬁber helps control blood pressure and regulate levels of “unhealthy” (LDL) cholesterol in the blood. Its dietary ﬁber is also important in preventing diseases, such as bowel cancer. EYE HEALTH The beta-carotene and vitamins C and E in papaya help reduce the risk of cataracts, glaucoma, and age-related macular degeneration (loss of vision). Seeds Papaya seeds are rich in fatty acids and papaya oil. They have a sharp, spicy taste and can be used in place of pepper How Do I Get The Best From It? DON’T THROW THE SEEDS AWAY The seeds are edible either fresh or dried. They have a peppery ﬂavor and can be used in cooking. JUICE IT Papaya juice helps restore the good bacteria in the stomach, which is especially important after an illness or taking antibiotics. GO GREEN Papain, a beneﬁcial digestive enzyme, is found in greatest abundance in green, unripe papayas. How Do I Use It? MAKE A CHUTNEY To beneﬁt from the high concentration of papain in unripe papaya, make a spicy chutney for meats and cheeses. SHRIMP AND PAPAYA Arrange cooked large shrimp and papaya slices on a bed of lettuce. Drizzle with a dressing of walnut oil, lime juice, Dijon mustard, honey, salt, and pepper. Unripe fruit The highest concentrations of the beneﬁcial digestive enzyme papain are found in the unripe fruits 45 46 FOODS THAT HEAL TROPICAL FRUITS Pomegranate REDUCES THE RISK OF PROSTATE CANCER HELPS KEEP BLOOD VESSELS SUPPLE BLOCKS ENZYMES THAT DESTROY CARTILAGE PROVIDES ANTIVIRAL PROTECTION Native to modern-day Iran and Iraq, pomegranate has been used as a folk medicine for thousands of years. The juice contains substances that support a healthy prostate and antioxidants to maintain the elasticity of the arteries. All parts of the plant are used as medicine in the Ayurvedic traditions; in the West, the arils (seeds) and their juice are most valued for their antiviral and antibacterial properties. Seeds What Is It Good For? Oil from the seeds contains isoﬂavones similar to those found in soy MEN’S HEALTH Drinking a glass of the juice every day has been shown to lower levels of prostate-speciﬁc antigen (PSA) in men. (The higher a man’s PSA level is, the greater his risk of death from prostate cancer.) HEART PROTECTIVE Its polyphenol compounds keep arteries elastic and so help lower blood pressure and the risk of heart disease and stroke. It also stops free radicals from oxidizing “unhealthy” (LDL) cholesterol in the blood and causing plaque to build up on artery walls (atherosclerosis). JOINT HEALTH Antioxidant ﬂavonols have been shown to signiﬁcantly reduce the activity of proteins that cause inﬂammatory conditions, such as arthritis. Preliminary studies show that pomegranate extract (equivalent to one glass of juice) can block the production of an enzyme that destroys cartilage in the body. FIGHTS INFECTION The juice has antiviral properties, and studies show that extracts of the fruit are effective against dental plaque. How Do I Get The Best From It? EAT THE SEEDS The fruit is a high-ﬁber food, but only if you eat the seeds, which also contain unsaturated fats, beneﬁcial isoﬂavones (plant hormones similar to those found in soy), and other micronutrients. POMEGRANATE MOLASSES This concentrated form of the syrup contains all the nutritional values of pomegranate. How Do I Use It? Rind Pomegranate rind is used in many medicinal traditions for making teas and gargles. Recent studies show it contains chemicals that are antibiotic and have cancer-ﬁghting properties AS A “VINEGAR” Pomegranate molasses is a delicious substitute for balsamic vinegar in dressings, marinades, and glazes. SUPERFRUIT SALAD Combine pomegranate seeds with pear, pineapple, and orange segments, chopped fresh mint, and lettuce. Drizzle with a honey-sweetened dressing. A drizzle of pomegranate molasses brings a tangy, sweet-sour ﬂavor and an antioxidant boost to a simple salad dressing of olive oil, lemon, and black pepper. 48 FOODS THAT HEAL TROPICAL FRUITS Pineapple EASES SYMPTOMS OF INFLAMMATORY BOWEL ENHANCES SPERM QUALITY SPEEDS RECOVERY FROM SPORTS INJURIES Thirst-quenching and cooling, pineapple is a good source of manganese, which can boost men’s fertility, and contains signiﬁcant amounts of vitamin C. The core contains the proteolytic enzyme bromelain, a powerful anti-inﬂammatory used to treat bowel and joint problems. Its antiinﬂammatory and astringent quality makes it a good choice for treating sore throats. What Is It Good For? INFLAMMATORY BOWEL The juice can ease the symptoms of colitis, an inﬂammatory bowel condition marked by abdominal pain and bloating, diarrhea, wind, and dehydration. Most bromelain is concentrated in the core and stem. However, researchers have found that the juice provides enough of the enzyme to have a medicinal effect. MEN’S FERTILITY Its high manganese content helps restore vitality and can help boost fertility by improving sperm motility. Flesh An excellent source of vitamin C, ﬁber, and manganese, an essential cofactor (chemical compound) in cellular energy production STAYING FLEXIBLE Bromelain has shown promise in treating and preventing inﬂammatory conditions, such as arthritis, and may facilitate recovery after sports injuries. DIGESTION Bromelain extract is an effective digestive aid, while using the juice as a marinade for meat dishes helps tenderize them, making them more easily digestible. How Do I Get The Best From It? FRESH IS BEST The nutrients and enzymes disappear quickly once cut or cooked. When ripe, almost to the point of spoilage, the fruit’s antioxidant levels are at their highest. EAT THE CORE Bromelain concentrates in the ﬁbrous core of the f