Beautiful Beneficial Basil

By Sue Mount

I grow basil in my hydroponics system, and use it just about every day in salads. I love the sweet aroma, taste and added kick it gives to salads.

Basil is far more than just a tasty herb for Italian sauces, salads and pesto. It contains a ton of phytonutrients that are necessary for balance within the body.

Try to use fresh basil instead of dried. Either grow it outdoors in its own pot (so that you can bring it in when the weather gets cold) or grow it in your garden during the spring and summer. Down in Florida here, it thrives year long. I have to cut it back occasionally as it can grow quite large. I dry it in my dehydrator when I do cut it back, and although I prefer using fresh basil, there is always dried on hand.

Basil is a storehouse of minerals, including potassium, magnesium, manganese, iron and copper:

Potassium is necessary for cellular respiration, and important in regulating blood pressure. Each cell in the body has a potassium-sodium pump, and works on an intricate balance of these two minerals.

Magnesium is a mineral which is lacking in most of our diets. It’s estimated that up to 80% of Americans are deficient in magnesium. Restless leg syndrome abounds here in the U.S., and is easily alleviated with a proper dose of magnesium. I find that when I exercise I have to increase my magnesium intake. If you find that you have restless leg syndrome, you may want to increase your magnesium intake, as this nutrient not only benefits your sleep (restless leg syndrome contributes to insomnia) but also your heart. Magnesium is very important to the cardiovascular system of the body, and helps prevent heart attacks. Eating basil regularly will increase your magnesium levels.

Manganese is used by the body as a co-factor to the enzyme, Superoxide Dismutase (SOD), which provides cellular repair and acts as a powerful antioxidant. Manganese also helps form connective tissues, helps absorb calcium, aids in proper functioning of the thyroid, balances sex hormones, regulates blood sugar, and increases metabolism of fats and carbohydrates.

Iron is a necessary component of hemoglobin inside the red blood cells, and increases oxygen within the blood cells.

Copper is essential to the body and is the third most prevalent mineral in the body. It helps with bone formation, circulation, heart rhythm, hair growth (rumor has it that copper can reverse grey hair), is necessary for the eyes, and slows aging.

In addition to minerals, basil has Vitamin A, essential for healthy eyes, skin and mucus membranes, is a powerful antioxidant and has anti-cancer properties; Vitamin K, which is necessary for blood coagulation and bone strengthening; Vitamin C, the number one immune system booster, and powerful antioxidant; and contains folate, a water soluble B vitamin necessary for cardiovascular health, mental health, neural development (folic acid is prescribed to pregnant women to prevent neural defects in their babies) and as a cancer preventative.

You can also find essential oils in basil, such as citranellol, linalool, eugenol, citral, limonene and terpineol, which are anti-inflammatories, cancer preventatives and anti-bacterial.

Basil is a great addition to your daily diet. Grow it, eat it, love it!

Beautiful Beneficial Basil Pesto Recipe:

Ingredients

2 cups packed fresh basil leaves
1 or 2 cloves garlic
1/4 cup pine nuts
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Sea salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Directions:

Combine the the first three ingredients in a food processor and pulse until coarsely blended. Add in Parmesan cheese. Slowly add the oil and process until fully incorporated and smooth. Season with salt and pepper.

 

Sue Mount is the co-owner of Perfect Waters, LLC. She is an energy healer and provides testing services and alternative health consulting.

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The Many Benefits of Beets

Delicious, healthy beets
Delicious, healthy beets
Beets are amazing! They are low calorie, and contain little or no fat. They are naturally sweet, so they can satisfy your cravings while keeping you slim and trim! They do contain carbohydrates, so they are source of energy for the body, but also contain fiber, important for the intestinal tract.

Per Wikipedia:

The beet has a long history of cultivation stretching back to the second millennium BC. The plant was probably domesticated somewhere along the Mediterranean, whence it was later spread to Babylonia by the 8th century BC and as far east as China by 850 AD. Available evidence, such as that provided by Aristotle and Theophrastus, suggests the leafy varieties of the beet were grown primarily for most of its history, though these lost much of their popularity much later following the introduction of spinach. The ancient Romans considered beets an important health food and an aphrodisiac.

The beet became highly commercially important in 19th century Europe following the development of the sugar beet in Germany and the discovery that sucrose could be extracted from them, providing an alternative to tropical sugar cane. It remains a widely cultivated commercial crop for producing table sugar.

Important Nutrients

Beets contain many important nutrients, including calcium, manganese, copper, magnesium, phosphorous, folic acid, iron, niacin, Vitamins B-5, B-6 and C – a powerful antioxidant (the leaves contain more Vitamin C than the roots).

Beets are great for cardiovascular health, as they contain glycine betaine, which lowers homocysteine levels within the blood – this inhibits platelet clotting and lowers plaque formation in the blood vessels. The potassium found in beets will lower heart rate, and counteracts too much sodium in the blood. The cells of the body work on an intricate balance of sodium, potassium and water. An imbalance in any of these can cause cellular death.

Don’t throw the greens out, as they contain flavonoids, Vitamin A and carotenoids, more so than the root of the plant. Flavonoids are cancer fighters. Vitamin A is essential for good vision, and maintaining mucus membranes, also great for your skin. Carotenoids have many physiological functions; most importantly, they are free radical scavengers.

The folic acid in beets contributes to DNA synthesis within the cells.

The powerful nutrients in beets cleanse the colon, the gallbladder and the liver. Studies have shown that beets are powerful anti-cancer vegetables, particularly for colon and lung cancer.

Remember, antioxidant means anti-aging; eating beets daily can halt or even reverse the aging process!

How do you eat beets?

Beet juice full of antioxidants
Beet juice full of antioxidants
Many people enjoy the benefits of raw beets through juicing. You can juice the whole beet, root and leaves, thereby obtaining the full benefit of the plant. Juice about a quart of beets, then add apple juice or carrot juice or other ingredients. Beet juice is powerful – it will begin detoxing you immediately; add only a couple of ounces to your glass.

Beets can be cooked in a soup (borscht), baked, steamed or even pickled (substitute Stevia for sugar for the healthiest version of pickled beets)!

Sue Mount is the co-owner of Perfect Waters, LLC. She is an energy healer and provides testing services and alternative health consulting.

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Fermented Foods – How important are they?

Fermented Food – Dairy for beginners
Fermented food is a lost art, however, it is experiencing a resurgence in popularity among certain groups. One of the most important steps to good health is making sure we have healthy bacteria in our intestines.

Beneficial bacteria help food digest, produce nutrients and prevent harmful bacteria from wreaking havoc. We are host to about 100 trillion microorganisms, weighing between 3 to 5 lbs that live inside our digestive tract. When approximately 85% of the microorganisms in our gut are the friendly variety then we enjoy good overall health.

A probiotic is a live microbial feed supplement which beneficially affects the host animal by improving its intestinal microbial balance.‎

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Our digestive tract is one long tube from start to finish. It protects us from potentially harmful materials from entering our tissues, organs and blood in the same way as our skin protects us. Food inside the digestive tract is not technically inside the body, since it is not inside the cells.  Food goes through an involved process of being broken down into elements that the blood and cells can use. Food and lifestyle affect the ratio of beneficial to harmful microorganisms. From the moment we are born we live in a symbiotic relationship with bacteria.

Fermented Food – Sauerkraut
In order to support a large population of friendly or pro-biotic bacteria in our digestive passage, we need to consume lacto-fermented foods. These include yogurt, fermented vegetables, fruit chutneys and non-vinegar pickles. These cultured foods are raw so they have abundant enzymes and their vitamins and minerals are easily digested and absorbed. Beneficial bacteria also produce essential nutrients such as vitamin B12 and Vitamin K.

Friendly bacteria stimulate antibody production in the blood and increase the strength of the immune system. They decrease allergic reactions from incompletely digested proteins, toxins and outside allergens. Good bacteria prevent harmful substances from entering the bloodstream and causing organ damage. A healthy system produces natural antibiotics, hydrogen peroxide and acid compounds that protect us against infection.

Having a large healthy bacterial population in the digestive tract does the following:

  • Strengthens the immune system
  • Eliminates hives, allergic rashes, acne and other skin conditions
  • Reduces the effects of seasonal allergies
  • Improves digestion and maintains healthy bowel movements
  • Reduces or eliminates a large range of symptoms including asthma, joint pain, ear and throat infections
  • Maintains healthy cholesterol levels
  • Breaks down and rebuilds hormones

Sugar feeds bad bacteria that consume good bacteria. Good bacteria take up space in the gut. This prevents organisms that are harmful to health from taking up residence. Fungi, parasites and bacteria that cause food poisoning have little chance when the gut is healthy.

Dysbiosis, a bacterial imbalance, is common in Western society thanks to diets high in sugar and meat, but low in pro-biotics. This imbalance encourages yeasts and putrefactive bacteria to flourish, instead of beneficial bacteria. In turn, toxins build up and damage the sensitive microvilli brush border that lines our intestinal wall. When this area is healthy we assimilate nutrients and toxins cannot pass through the gut wall into the bloodstream.

Some substances that kill off friendly bacteria are:

  • Sugar
  • Prescription antibiotics and medicines
  • Mercury from dental fillings
  • Poor diet containing processed foods
  • Herbicides and pesticides
  • Chlorine
  • Fluoride
  • Alcohol
  • Stress

The modern diet also causes inflammation of the gut and excessive intestinal permeability (leaky gut syndrome), leading to conditions such as Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, and irritable bowel syndrome. Allergies, systemic candida, eczema, autoimmune disease, arthritis, and even mental illness have all been linked to dysbiosis.

The best way to insure a large population of beneficial organisms in the gut is to consume fermented foods. Most cultures use some type of fermentation to preserve their food. Every country has their specialty.

  • Sauerkraut from Europe
  • Yogurt from the Balkans
  • Kefir from Caucausus
  • Kim chee from Korea
  • Kvass from Russia
  • Kombucha from China
  • Miso from Japan

Miso – Fermented Soy Beans
Fermented foods are good for us because of all of the good bacteria (lactobacilli) that proliferate when they are fermented. Lactobacilli are found on the surface of all living things but they are especially prolific on the leaves and roots of plants growing in or near the ground. The byproduct of these lactobacilli is lactic acid that not only preserves vegetables and fruit perfectly, but also promotes the growth of healthy flora in the intestines. We can consume pro-biotics in capsule form but why not eat delicious fermented foods that our bodies were designed to have?

Any food today that is pickled used to be a fermented item before mass production. Once industrialization took place and fermentation started to happen on a grand scale, results varied so vinegar was used instead of letting the fermentation happen naturally. The product was then pasteurized killing all of the beneficial lactic-acid producing bacteria. Milk suffered the same fate. This is too bad since lactic acid not only preserves vegetables and fruit perfectly, but also promotes the growth of healthy flora in the intestines.

Walking exposes us to soil rich with good bacteria
Another good source of friendly bacteria is healthy soil. We are exposed to many species of friendly bacteria when we are outdoors, playing and working in relatively unpolluted areas. Gardening and hiking in the woods are two of the best ways of exposing ourselves to friendly bacteria on a regular basis. Make walking outside and eating pro-biotic fermented foods a part of your daily life.

Thank you for your interest in the article Fermented Foods – How important are they?

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