Tag Archives: fruit

Excellent Elderberries

At the end of the 19th century a sailor accidentally discovered that cheap port wine coloured with elderberries relieved his arthritis. This may have been the basis for a number of experiments on the medical benefits of elderberries.

Sambucus nigra – European or black elder – may be the cultivar most often used for medicinal purposes throughout the world and over decades and centuries of application. Modern research holds that elderberries may have anti-inflammatory, antiviral, and anti cancer properties.

They contain flavonoids which place elderberries in the category of “antioxidant-rich,” capable of preventing cell damage. One study suggested that the elderberry extract called Sambucol could shorten flu duration by up to three days.

Other traditional uses of elderberry flowers are as external antiseptic washes and poultices to treat wounds, and as an eye wash for conjunctivitis and eye inflammation. It’s been used for cosmetic purposes for millennia due to the reputation of distilled elderberry flower water to soften, tone, and restore the skin and lighten freckles. The flowers can also be steeped in oil to make a lotion that relaxes sore muscles and soothes burns, sunburn, and rashes.

Chemicals in both the flowers and berries may help diminish swelling in mucous membranes like sinuses and help relieve nasal congestion. Herbalists still use it to soothe children’s upset stomachs and relieve gas. Elderberries are reputed to have diuretic and detoxifying properties, and therefore considered good for weight management.

Some doctors recommend that pregnant and breastfeeding women avoid eating elderberries.

Elderberries are a very good source of vitamin A, providing 17 percent of the daily value, but that is eclipsed by it’s infection-fighting vitamin C content giving a massive 87 percent – reportedly more than any other plant besides black currants and rosehips. Other prominent ingredients in elderberries include iron (13 percent of the daily value) as well as potassium, vitamin B6, and lots of betacarotene.

The Food Standards Agency recommends cooking elderberries to destroy toxins present in the raw berries – some people find that eating raw elderberries makes them feel nauseous, while others suffer no ill effects.

Looking for things to do with elderberries – here are a few ideas from Wildcraft Vita

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Delightful Dates

  Dates are Great….the fruit that is…not the going out with another person sort of date. I mean I’m sure that can be great too, but that’s not what this blog’s about.

The Date is the fruit of the date palm, thought to originate in Iraq, but now grown all over the world, from Australia to Spain, from China to America. Not surprising that it has spread so far when you know that it has been cultivated for at least 8000 years and even appears in fossil records from 50 Million years ago!

Dates provide a wide range of essential nutrients, and are a very good source of potassium. The sugar content of ripe dates is about 80% so it is pretty high on the Glycemic Index (between 30 and 50 depending on the type of date). That doesn’t make them particularly healthy, but it does make them a great ingredient in cakes where they can be used as a substitute for refined sugars. Banana and Date loaf is a classic ‘healthy’ cake and is ideal for using up browning bananas.The rest of the date consists of protein, fibre, and trace elements including boron, cobalt, copper, fluorine, magnesium, manganese, selenium, and zinc.

Having enough fibre in your diet can help to maintain a healthy gut. It is believed that one of the causes of colon cancer is that food has too slow a transit time in the gut leaving the the colon to interact with carcinogens for a longer period. Low levels of dietary fibre also lead to constipation and bloating as well as making it uncomfortable to go to the toilet. During times of life when constipation is more likely e.g. during pregnancy, it may be a good idea to increase your fibre intake, and adding dates to your diet is an easy way to do this.

There has also been a study which suggested that eating dates in the final four weeks of pregnancy has positive effects regarding labour. Women who had six dates daily were compared to women who did not eat dates. The date-consuming group had greater mean cervical dilation, higher proportion of intact membranes, higher proportion of spontaneous labour and shorter latent phase of labour.

Dates have even been suggested as a healthy and delicious way to reduce the levels of LDL cholesterol in the body, which is a major contributing factor heart attacks, heart disease, and stroke. Therefore, when taken twice a week, dates can seriously improve the overall health of the heart.

I hope you enjoy your dates this week – fruity or otherwise 🙂

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Amazing Apples

Apples are ace – I’m talking about the fruit, not the computers.

I’m not saying they’re not ace, I’m just not talking about them here.

An average apple weighs about 242g (that’s over half your daily minimum fruit and veg intake right there) and has approx 126 cals. You might think ‘but I could have a pot fat free yoghurt or a biscuit for that amount of calories’ and you would be right, but they wouldn’t provide you with phyto nutrients and antioxidants that reduce your risk of cancer. They wouldn’t boost your immune system with a dose of vitamin C or support your body and help combat PMS with a range of vitamin B’s. They wouldn’t reduce your risk of colon cancer by being rich in dietry fibre which not only keeps your gut healthy but also reduces your LDL cholesterol keeping your heart healthier.

Flies fed on apples lived 10% longer than their apple deprived brothers and sisters. In tests, rats fed on a diet rich in apples, were shown to increase muscle and reduce obesity. They even showed an increase in acetylcholine production ( a neuro transmitter) which led to a reduction in cognitive decline.

They are cheap, easily available, last for ages in the fridge and take no preparation apart from a quick wash. You don’t even need to peel them, because their skin is good for you!

So do yourself a favour – Eat an Apple.

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