Until modern times herbs has been a fundamental part of what we consume for the benefit of our health. However, there is an alarming rise of our dependence on prescriptive drugs which bring on side effects causing even more health problems. We are no longer getting better from having herbs in our diet but in fact getting worse due to an addiction to medication which is leaving many in a poor condition.
Patricia Ferguson of Greenleaves Herbal Healthcare explains more about our dilemma while providing ways to make a change and improve your health.
Download Greenleaves – The importance of herbs for more information.
Below is a list of foods for those who are not accustomed to a variety in their diet.
Bananas – energy produced in bananas are great for the human body. The energy is made as a sugar or starch.
Green bananas contain starch but needs to be cooked for consumption. Ripe bananas/plantain has turned starch to a sugar energy source.
Black Eye Peas – Used in many dishes contain magnesium, iron, folate and protein.
Egusi – contains highly nutritious plant oil from protein rich melon seeds. Used in many West African cooking dishes such as soups.
Gari – cassava root is high in fibre. A popular dish is Eba which adds Gari to boiling water to make a thick round ball shape.
Okra – contains Vitamin A, B folic acid, calcium, zinc and the okra seeds are rich in protein. Laxative properties treating irritable bowels, heals ulcers and is used to sooth gastrointestinal track.
Quinoa – is an amino acid-rich (‘complete’ protein) seed which includes all nine essential amino acids; and is also a source of manganese, magnesium, iron, copper and phosphorus.
Semolina – full of carbohydrates good for energy and a source of iron, and protein.
Yam – comes in hundreds of varieties and is a great source of carbohydrates and also provides fiber, potassium, vitamin C, manganese and vitamin B6.
Carbohydrates are quick energy foods like – sugars and starches.
Fats are the slowest burning source of energy which is made up of fatty acids.
Saturated fats – visible fats like butter, lard, blubber. Most saturated fats come from animal flesh. Animal flesh is usually contaminated and holds animal waste products and steroids.
Unsaturated fats – Good fats for the body. Which help circulate and break up cholesterol and come from raw foods. Once cooked or processed these fats become harmful. Monounsaturated fats, polyunsaturated fats and omega 3 are types of unsaturated fats.
Protein is made up of amino acids found in vegetables and meats. However, the protein in meat is not balanced and does not contain the amino acids required by humans (1983 Llaila O Afrika). Also, meat is full of decaying waste and cholesterol of the dead carcass.
Vitamins and Minerals are essential for the human body to function correctly. Vitamins and minerals boost the immune system, support growth and development, and help maintain healthy cells and organs.
Vitamins are either fat-soluble vitamins — A, D, E, and K — dissolve in fat and can be stored in your body. Or vitamins are water-soluble and include vitamins C and the B-complex which dissolve in water for the body to absorb them. These vitamins are not stored by the body and can easily pass through, so these vitamins must to be taken every day.
Minerals come from elements which come from the soil and water that is absorbed by plants. The body needs larger amounts of minerals, like calcium, to grow and stay healthy.
Minerals include – calcium, chromium, copper, iodine, iron, selenium, and zinc.
FRUITS AND VEGETABLES
They need to be increased in our daily diet if we are to see, feel and experience a healthier lifestyle.
Download our Food Guide for a list of food groups and their nutritional benefits.
NUTS & SEEDS
Nuts and seeds are very nutrient-dense and provide large amounts of calories, fats, complex carbohydrates, protein, vitamins, minerals and fibre. Plus nuts and seeds have trace minerals like magnesium, zinc, selenium and copper.
Brazil nuts are the highest food source of the essential mineral selenium.
Cashews have more iron than other nuts.
Pine nuts good for manganese.
Sunflower seeds are the richest source of vitamin E.
Pistachios are the best nut source of lutein, a phytochemical important for eye health.
We need to eat a selection of nuts and seeds daily. Some nuts and seeds (flax, walnuts) are excellent sources of essential fatty acids, and some (sunflower seeds, almonds, hazelnuts) are good sources of vitamin E.
Many studies on the health effects of nuts and seeds show benefits related to cardiovascular (heart/blood) health, possibly because of their high ratio of unsaturated to saturated fat, their high fibre content, their antioxidant and phytochemical content, or perhaps how all of these factors work together in the body. (NAVS 2009)
However for those who can not eat nuts or seeds beans and lentils are the best alternative, also leafy greens, canola oil and soy products for the omega 3s.
Flax seed allergy is relatively rare, and is generally safe for people with allergies to other nuts and seeds.
— References —
– Queen Afua (1991)
– Dr Llaila O. Afrika, (2004)
– North American Vegetarian Society (2009)
However, very few times are we corrected and made to understand that our health is not that of main stream society.
Milk is a product we drink in great quantities without the understanding of what it really is. We drink this substance because we are told too often it contains calcium which we assume comes from no other source.
Studies have concluded that adults of colour have a higher percentage of those who are unable to absorb from milk. It is worth mentioning that the change to become unable to absorb from milk happens during childhood with no signs or symptoms of intestinal abnormality as if to indicate this may be a natural process. However, it must be mentioned that studies have concluded that a great percentage of northern Europeans and their descendants ARE able to absorb from milk even as adults. Hence why milk consumption is promoted in western society.Yes, as infants we do drink milk (from the mother) that is rich in essential nutrients. A mother’s milk contains lactose a milk sugar containing sugar glucose and galactose which is absorbed by the body. But as the years pass and children are weaned off the mother’s milk they naturally begin to decrease the ability to absorb the nutrients from milk any more (malabsorption).
It is for us to realise that what is good for some does not apply to the whole. Now we are much more fortunate to have a selection of milk alternatives such as milk made from rice, almonds and oats.
For more information download Lactose Intolerance