Everything You Need To Know About Jackfruit, But Didn’t Know To Ask!

 

I first got acquainted with jackfruit a couple of years ago when a little place called Nectar Cafe near where I live started serving bar-b-que made with it. It was something I enjoyed ordering on a regular basis until, unfortunately, the place closed. 😩 Since then I’ve been trying to fill the void and I have bought entrees made by The Jackfruit Company and Upton’s Naturals that I’ve found at Earth Fare and Whole foods. These are pretty good, but no where near what Nectar made. I’ve also found it canned in brine at Trader Joe’s,  and have planned to see if I could replicate the cafe’s bar-b-que recipe, but haven’t gotten around to it yet. Hopefully this article will be what I need to finally spur me on.

If you aren’t familiar with jackfruit you really should give it a try! I’d personally like to see what the ripe fruit takes like, since it’s supposed to be similar to pineapple, mango and banana. Sounds great to me!

 

jackfruit in a bowl

Everything You Need to Know About Jackfruit — An Odd Yet Nutritious and Sustainable Food

What is jackfruit? And what does jackfruit taste like? Learn everything you need to know about the nutritious “miracle” fruit that may even help feed the world, including health benefits, where to find it, jackfruit recipes, and more.


Have you heard of jackfruit? One jackfruit tree can produce up to three tons of food from this huge and utterly unique fruit per year, providing an almost miraculous source of nourishment for people living in tropical countries!

Jackfruit is also increasingly being used in other parts of the world, particularly in the U.S., as a plant-based meat alternative because the young, unripe fruits soak up flavor well and have a stringy, “meat-like” texture when cooked.

You may have seen jackfruit popping up in stores and on menus — for example, jackfruit tacos and jackfruit BBQ sandwiches are popular ways to prepare it.

But what do you need to know about this food? And should it be something you look for and use in your own cooking?

What Is Jackfruit?

Jackfruit is a species of tree in the fig, mulberry, and breadfruit family.

The jackfruit plant originated in southwest India, where it grows abundantly. And then, it spread to other parts of India, southeast Asia, the East Indies, the Philippines, Thailand, Malaysia, and Indonesia.

It also grows in Africa and is relatively popular in Brazil and Suriname as well. Jackfruit trees typically grow in tropical and near-tropical conditions, but jackfruits can also be produced in Florida, Hawaii, and Australia.

The largest tree-borne fruit in the world, jackfruit can weigh up to 100 pounds and grow up to three feet long. (Though, the average size of the fruit is 10 to 25 pounds.)

The huge trees produce massive, green, oblong fruits with a bumpy, fleshy exterior. On the inside, jackfruit contains many pale-yellow, plump bulbs, which are edible and joined at the core. The seeds can also be cooked, eaten on their own, or ground into flour.

A ripe, unopened jackfruit has a strong, unpleasant odor. But the pulp of the opened fruit smells sweet.

What Does Jackfruit Taste Like?

When eaten ripe and raw, the taste of jackfruit is similar to pineapple, mango, and banana. When it’s unripe, the jackfruit has more of a neutral flavor, like a potato, and works well in savory dishes.

When it’s unripe, the jackfruit has more of a neutral flavor, like a potato, and works well in savory dishes.

A great thing about green jackfruits is they don’t have a strong flavor on their own, so they’re able to soak up herbs, spices, and other flavorings.

This allows the fruit to be made into plant-based versions of shredded chicken, pulled pork, or other meat-based meals.

Jackfruit can be made into a wide variety of dishes, both sweet and savory. And the seeds are often boiled or roasted and eaten as snacks. They are similar to chestnuts or macadamia in taste and flavor.

Jackfruit Nutrition

What is jackfruit? How to use jackfruit in a recipe.

Jackfruit isn’t only a fun and meatless way to add something new to your usual meals. It’s also packed with nutrients, including fiber and antioxidants.

Jackfruit benefits are impressive. One researcher even called jackfruit a “miracle” food because it provides so many nutrients and calories.

Two cups of jackfruit contain 310 calories and boast the following lineup of vitamins and minerals:

  • Fiber: 6 grams
  • Vitamin A: 20% of Recommended Daily Intake (RDI)
  • Vitamin C: 36% of RDI
  • Riboflavin: 22% of RDI
  • Magnesium: 30% of RDI
  • Potassium: 28% of RDI
  • Copper: 30% of RDI
  • Manganese: 32% of RDI

The seeds are especially nutritious. They are high in protein, potassium, calcium, and iron.

Jackfruit Benefits for Your Body

Here are eight ways jackfruit may benefit your health:

  • Good for your immune system. Jackfruit contains moderate levels of vitamin C, an antioxidant which helps your body fight free radicals and protects you from colds and other illnesses.
  • Improve your digestion. Jackfruit is packed with fiber, which helps improve digestion and prevent constipation.
  • May help prevent cancer. Jackfruit contains phytonutrients, such as lignans, isoflavones, and saponins, which have anti-cancer properties. Jackfruit also contains many carotenoids, which have been found to help protect against cancer.
  • Boost your energy levels. Jackfruit has B vitamins, particularly vitamin B6. And it’s high in complex carbs which can give you a boost of energy, without throwing your blood sugar levels out of whack. In fact, clinical trials conducted at Sydney University’s Glycemic Index Research Service have found that raw jackfruit has a lower glycemic load (increase in sugar/blood glucose level) than wheat or rice.
  • Help maintain blood pressure and heart health. Jackfruit also has moderate levels of potassium, which helps regulate blood pressure and reduce the risk of stroke and heart attack.
  • Support healthy vision. Jackfruit has vitamin A, as well as beta-carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin, which helps improve vision and protects eye health.
  • Support skin health and reduces aging. The water content in jackfruit helps keep your skin moisturized and youthful. And the antioxidants help slow the aging process.
  • Good for bone health. Jackfruit is high in calcium, which strengthens and helps promote healthy bones. The rick amount of magnesium helps with the absorption of calcium. And the high amount of potassium helps decrease the loss of calcium.

A Sustainable Choice for a Growing World

With its huge size, nutrient density, and crowd-pleasing taste, jackfruit could be one of the most promising solutions for sustainably feeding the world.

Jackfruit could be one of the most promising solutions for sustainably feeding the world.

Amazingly, one jackfruit tree can grow about 100 to 200 fruits in a year.

Compared to the intensive land and water resources necessary to produce meat, jackfruit is far more efficient as a global food source.

Danielle Nierenberg, president of Food Tank, which focuses on sustainable agriculture, told The Guardian this about jackfruit:

“It is easy to grow. It survives pests and diseases and high temperatures. It is drought-resistant. [
] It achieves what farmers need in food production when facing a lot of challenges under climate change.“

Researchers are also aiming to increase jackfruit consumption in India, where the food has fallen out of favor and often goes to waste. Making jackfruit a favorite staple food again could help feed millions of people who are facing food insecurity.

Where to Find Jackfruit

You may be able to find jackfruit as a whole fruit, sliced into sections, packed into cans, dried, or made into other products.

While your average chain grocer (outside of the tropics) may not sell jackfruit fresh, demand is rising fast and many stores are starting to sell it.

Specialty markets, such as Whole Foods and Sprouts Farmers Markets, will be more likely to have the fruit, or they may be able to order it for you. You can also look at your local Asian, Indian, or Caribbean food stores or find jackfruit products online.

Other names for jackfruit include jaca or chakka (in India), kathal (in Bangladesh), kanun (Thailand), nagka (in Malaysia) or “tree mutton” in Bengali.

Keep this in mind: Whole jackfruits sold in stores are on the sweeter side — versus the canned varieties, which are usually blander.

Most commonly, jackfruit comes in a can and is labeled “young” and “green” — namely because the younger it is, the less sweet it will be.

Canned jackfruit is usually packed with either brine or syrup (opt for the brine to avoid added sugars — although you may want to be mindful of the sodium content), and it can be drained and cooked any way you want.

So when shopping for canned jackfruit, you may want to look for “young green jackfruit packed in brine”(or salted water) on the label. Or you may be able to find “young jackfruit in water.”

Jackfruit Products Make Eating Jackfruit Easy

Packaged jackfruit is also becoming more available.

Upton’s Naturals is sold widely (including online from Thrive Market). The company makes jackfruit in a variety of flavors, such as bar-b-que, chili lime carnitas, Thai curry, sweet & smoky, sriracha, and original flavors.

The Jackfruit Company — whose mission is to transform world health, farmer’s livelihoods, and humanity’s eco-footprint for the better — is another option. The company makes an array of jackfruit products including curry, teriyaki, tex-mex, lightly seasoned, lemon-garlic and bbq jackfruit, plus prepared bowls, sweet ripe jackfruit, and a “naked jackfruit” product designed for food service.

You may also be able to find dehydrated jackfruit chips, jackfruit noodles, jackfruit powder and other products.

How to Cut Jackfruit

What is jackfruit? This is an image of what a jackfruit looks like on the inside.

The idea of cutting into a massive, thick-skinned orb can be intimidating. But it’s doable if you’re willing to put in the work.

Here’s a quick step-by-step video to help you prepare this bulbous fruit.

When selecting jackfruit, remember this: Jackfruit is green when unripe, and then, it turns light brown and has a strong fragrance when ripe.

(Editor’s Note: All parts of the jackfruit contain a sticky, white latex “sap,” which can be used as an adhesive. You may want to use gloves or coat hands, knives, and work surfaces with vegetable oil prior to preparation and lay newspaper down if you try to cut a jackfruit. And a warning: There have been documented cases of anaphylaxis in people allergic to latex, so you may want to avoid this food if you have a latex allergy or are sensitive to latex.)

How to Cook Jackfruit

Much like tofu, unripe jackfruit absorbs the flavors it cooks but doesn’t have much flavor on its own. You can add it to a variety of dishes, such as curries, stir-fry’s, and chili, as well as soups, salads, and bowls.

If you’re looking to cook plain, canned jackfruit, the process varies depending on the different jackfruit recipes.

Usually, you want to start by draining the jackfruit, and then cooking it until it’s easy to shred, creating a meat-like consistency.

If you want to use jackfruit as a meat alternative, an important thing to consider is that jackfruit is much lower in protein than other meat alternatives — with only about three grams of protein per cup (though this is more protein than most other fruits). So you may want to pair it with protein-rich foods, such as lentils or beans.

Creative and Delicious Jackfruit Recipes

Here are six jackfruit recipes for using this unique fruit:

BBQ Jackfruit
This recipe is a perfect choice for your summer BBQ party! By cooking jackfruit with your favorite barbeque sauce, it’s an easy choice that is sure to please eaters of every persuasion.

Jackfruit Carnitas Tacos
Whether it’s Taco Tuesday or any other day of the week, tacos are always a winning dish. This recipe uses orange for a flavor pop and pairs the tacos with fresh, healthy add-ons like avocado and cilantro.

What is jackfruit? Learn how to cook jackfruit tacos with this recipe.

Jackfruit Carnitas Tacos image from The Fitnessista

Easy Jackfruit Curry
Made with a variety of spices, this dish is full of flavor for an appetizing meal served with quinoa, rice, or other grains. You can leave out the oil and use water instead to make this recipe oil-free.

Jackfruit “Crab” Cakes
This easy-to-make recipe is surprisingly good and similar in texture to the real thing. You can make these cakes without oil if you want (just put them on a cookie sheet, drizzle with lemon juice, and bake in a 375° oven for approximately 10 minutes on each side, or until they’re golden brown and firm to the touch).

Buffalo Jackfruit Dip
Having a party? Here’s the perfect snack. This spicy dip uses jackfruit as a replacement for more traditional chicken versions, and the end result is a healthier-but-still-delicious treat.

Mu Shu Jackfruit Lettuce Wraps
This light, airy Asian dish uses traditional spices to create a flavorful end result. You can eat these lettuce wraps hot or cold — they’re tasty either way!

The Final Word on Jackfruit

Jackfruit can be a nutritious and sustainable food that can provide important nourishment in tropical communities. And it offers an interesting way to expand culinary horizons around the world.

You can eat the whole fruit as is or choose products made with young jackfruits, like canned jackfruit. But like most foods, eating jackfruit closest to its whole form will give you the most health benefits.

As more people move away from animal products in the U.S. and around the world, jackfruit, with its “meaty” texture, is another, more sustainable (and often less processed) option for plant-based meat alternatives.

Overall, jackfruit can be a healthy and affordable local food option if you live in the tropics. But for those of us in more northern climates, it has to be imported. At Food Revolution Network, we’re big fans of local food. But if we’re going to import anything, it might as well be foods that are nutritious and environmentally friendly to grow.

So unless you live in a region where it grows, jackfruit is not likely to become a staple food for you. But it can be an excellent occasional ingredient for creative meals — and it might even help feed the world.

Tell us in the comments:

  • Now that you know, what is jackfruit, what do you think about it?

  • Have you eaten jackfruit? How? And what did you think?

  • Will you try it if you haven’t already?

Jackfruit reminds us never to judge a book by its cover. We'd miss out in so much tasty goodness!

Source: The Food Revolution

FYI, I’ve recently noticed you can now find jackfruit at certain discount places on-line like iHerb and Vitacost , and I’m sure the trend will continue as it becomes more popular and widely known.

 

Salud!

p.s. Be sure to subscribe to Self-help Health so you don’t miss any future posts, and tell your friends to do the same. Also check out my website’s To Your Health page and Evolution Made Easier blog for more helpful health tips, tools and information.

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A Quick Fix For That Sugar Craving?! Works For Other Foods As Well…..

 

As someone who came out of the womb saying “Dessert, please!” this caught my eye. I’ve heard about something similar to this before. but have never remembered to actually try it. But I could tell by the reaction I had just in reading the words and thinking about doing it as I read, it might be pretty effective. You’ve got nothing to lose by giving it a try and supposedly it works on all sorts of food cravings, not just sweets……

stop sugar cravings
Photo: junce/istockphoto

The 5-Second Trick to Stop a Sugar Craving

“If you just can’t stop yourself from eating one more doughnut, imagine sprinkling a tablespoon of coarse iodized salt (I’m not talking about delicious, flaky fleur de sel) on it and imagine what it would be like to take bite after bite, swallow after swallow of the ‘pinch your tongue’ super-saltiness. Do this visualization when the urge to consume the sweet stuff comes up, and you’ll have some serious problems just thinking about having a taste.”Moalem speaks from experience. “The first time I tried it, I was at dinner at a friend’s house, and they had made homemade doughnuts topped with Nutella for dessert,” he remembers. “I did the visualization with the salt shaker, imagined unscrewing the top, dumping it on the doughnut and taking a bite, and it immediately elicited a little bit of a gag reflex. I don’t think I could have eaten one if I were forced to.” We had a similar wow-that-actually-worked moment one afternoon when chocolate chip cookies were calling our name.

The reason the trick works is because even though most of us like salty foods, humans have a natural aversion to overly salted eats (think so much salt that your face contorts like you just ate something bitter). That may be because extremely salty or bitter foods signaled danger for our ancestors, as those foods were more likely to be poisonous, says Moalem, a neurogeneticist and evolutionary biologist by trade. Just thinking about what a cookie covered in salt would taste like is enough to make you turn away. It’s not limited to sweets either–the trick should work with whatever type of food you’re trying to cut back on, like any and all kinds of cheese (just us?).

For really hard-to-break cravings, you can even take it to the next level and actually pour salt on the food in question and take a bite (Moalem did it to cure his ice cream addiction and says it did the trick.) Once you take a bite of that now disgustingly salty treat, your brain will remember how much you disliked it. So the next time visions of candy, ice cream, cookies or whatever food floats your boat start dancing through your head, you’ll be a lot less likely to give in to the craving.

Salty Sweet Visualization Exercise reprinted from The DNA Restart by Sharon Moalem, MD, PhD. Copyright © 2016 by Sharon Moalem, MD, PhD. By permission of Rodale Books.

Read more: http://www.oprah.com/health_wellness/stop-sugar-cravings-sharon-moalem#ixzz5L33w56zd

 

Salud!

p.s. Be sure to subscribe to Self-help Health so you don’t miss any future posts, and tell your friends to do the same. Also check out my website’s To Your Health page and Evolution Made Easier blog for more helpful health tips, tools and information.

Disclaimer: Please note that any information here is provided as a guideline only, and is not meant to substitute for the advice of your physician, nutritionist, trained healthcare practitioner, and/or inner guidance system. Always consult a professional before undertaking any change to your normal health routine.

Reduce Stress (up to 65%!!) And Relax With This 8-minute Music Track

 

This is one of those self-help health aids I love finding out about because it’s so simple and enjoyable to use…… all you need to do is listen (it’s also mesmerizing to watch the video, if you’re not multi-tasking at the time). It’s a track titled Weightless by Marconi Union that was specifically created to have all sorts of harmonizing effects on the body and it’s been proven by neuro-science to reduce stress by an amazing 65%!! I first became aware of it a couple of years ago, but like that it happens to be featured in this particular article by Coert Engels because there are also some other music options listed you might like to check out.

I have included the 31-minute Weightless extended version at the beginning (no visual effects) and the 8-minute track is at the end of the post. The world can seem pretty frantic these days, so it’s great to have an easy way to de-stress and relax. Might be good to try if you’re having trouble sleeping, too. Enjoy!

Neuroscience says this one song reduces

anxiety by 65 percent

Thanks to modern research, we now know which piece of music to listen to in order to reduce our stress levels.

Check it out below and let us know what you think. We’ve also included 9 more songs that will increase your relaxation levels.

Neuroscientists discover a song that reduces anxiety

A team of UK neuroscientists conducted a study on sound therapy. Participants had to attempt to solve puzzles, which induced stress, while wearing sensors attached to their bodies. They then had to listen to different songs while researchers measured brain activity and recorded their heart rate, breathing, and blood pressure, reports Inc.com and Ideapod.

According to Dr. David Lewis-Hodgson of Mindlab International, which conducted the research, the top track to produce a greater state of relaxation than any other music tested to date was “Weightless” by Marconi Union, which you can listen to below.

It induced a 65 percent reduction in overall anxiety of participants and a 35 percent reduction in their usual physiological resting rates.

The music track features guitar, piano and natural sounds generated electronically. The track also features Buddhist-like chants that can induce a trance-like state.

This magic didn’t happen by chance

The track was purposefully composed to induce a feeling of total relaxation. The group that created “Weightless”, Marconi Union, did so in collaboration with sound therapists. Its carefully arranged harmonies, rhythms, and bass lines help slow a listener’s heart rate, reduce blood pressure and lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol.

Lyz Cooper, founder of the British Academy of Sound Therapy told the Mail Online the song makes use of many musical principles that have been shown to individually have a calming effect. By combining these elements in the way Marconi Union has done, has created the perfect relaxing sound track.

What is the secret (or the science) behind the music’s ability to produce a state of increased relaxation?

Cooper explained that it contains a sustaining rhythm that starts at 60 beats per minute and gradually slows to around 50. While listening, your heart rate gradually comes to match that beat. The reason why the piece is eight minutes long is also carefully calculated as it takes about five minutes for this process, known as entrainment, to occur.

The fall in heart rate also leads to a fall in blood pressure

Even the harmonic intervals — or gaps between notes — have been chosen to create a feeling of euphoria and comfort, said Cooper.

“And there is no repeating melody, which allows your brain to completely switch off because you are no longer trying to predict what is coming next. Instead, there are random chimes, which helps to induce a deeper sense of relaxation.”

The final element is the low, whooshing sounds and hums similar to Buddhist chants. Which can put you in a trance-like state.

All beautifully orchestrated then to let you completely unwind.

Dr. Lewis-Hodgson told the Mail Online that brain imaging studies have shown that music works at a very deep level within the brain and stimulates the regions responsible for processing sound as well as ones associated with emotions.

In fact, he said, Weightless was so effective, many women became drowsy and he advised against driving while listening to the song because it could be dangerous.

This is sound advice (no pun intended :-)) at an opportune time.

The unforgiving pace and complexity of modern life has led to unprecedented stress levels. We really need to find a way to alleviate the effects of stress in our lives, not only because stress is unpleasant, but because it holds dire consequences for our health.

Scientific research has found time and again that stress is at the root of many health conditions including heart disease, obesity, depression, gastrointestinal problems, asthma, and more.

Music, as many of us have discovered, is a great stress buster and now we have the ultimate piece of music to help us fight it.

Listen now and let us know what you think

What did you think?

If you’re looking for something a little different, check out the following *9 songs we put together to reduce your feelings of anxiety.

“We Can Fly,” by Rue du Soleil (CafĂ© Del Mar)

“Canzonetta Sull’aria,” by Mozart

“Someone Like You,” by Adele

“Pure Shores,” by All Saints

“Please Don’t Go,” by Barcelona

“Strawberry Swing,” by Coldplay

“Watermark,” by Enya

“Mellomaniac (Chill Out Mix),” by DJ Shah

“Electra,” by Airstream

*You can find links to all these songs by clicking the “Source” link below….. 
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Related Self-help Health posts:

Salud!

p.s. Be sure to subscribe to Self-help Health so you don’t miss any future posts, and tell your friends to do the same. Also check out my website’s To Your Health page and Evolution Made Easier blog for more helpful health tips, tools and information.

Disclaimer: Please note that any information here is provided as a guideline only, and is not meant to substitute for the advice of your physician, nutritionist, trained healthcare practitioner, and/or inner guidance system. Always consult a professional before undertaking any change to your normal health routine.

Got Parasites? Join the Crowd! :-(

 

Even though mainstream medicine often overlooks parasites as a cause or contributing factor when it comes to ill health, these “little beasties” are so prevalent and factor into so many different health issues  that, early on, I wanted to be sure this site had at least some information about them to help raise awareness of the problems they cause.

I hate to say that  I’ve actually had this post in the works since I first created this blog years ago, but somehow the draft got lost in the queue. And I didn’t realize that until recently when 2 friends asked if I knew anything about parasites and I went to send them a link to this info and found it had never actually been published. A few days ago another friend asked me and I figured I’d better “hop to.”

So, here ya go…..finally…..belatedly

Got PARASITES? More Than Likely!

You constantly hear from the mainstream medical establishment how avoiding trans fats, high blood pressure, cholesterol, etc. are what you need to focus on, and certainly those things are important. But often little mention is made of parasites, heavy metals,  candida, or how an overly acidic pH level (see post on The All-important pH Factor) can wreck havoc with your health. And yet, these issues play a major role in a wide variety of unhealthy, even life-threatening, conditions. These factors also come up in regard to some of the cleanse routines featured on this blog,  so providing at least a quick overview here insures that you have some understanding of the part they can play in creating a toxic inner environment.

Parasites, in particular, get overlooked because people still think of them as a third world country problem, plus they can be pretty icky to even think about. Unfortunately they are a much bigger and more prevalent problem than most people imagine. Way back in 1990 a test sampling of the population of Elmhurst, NY showed that potentially 74.5% of the subjects were infected with intestinal parasites. And it’s now becoming clear that such test results are not some rare, isolated occurrence. Many people, whether they’re aware of it or not, are serving as a host (or hostess)—even when no one else is around. That’s because many Americans have bodies that are not only over-burdened by environmental toxins, but by the presence of a large variety of parasites as well

Sluggish digestion, eating an overly acidic diet, poor elimination, and the accumulation of toxic waste material in the colon form an ideal breeding ground for, in the words of National Geographic, “a sinister world of monstrous creatures that feed on living flesh: parasites” (wow, sounds like a trailer for some horror movie or The Walking Dead!). It’s something many of us don’t like to think about, but ignoring the issue can only make things worse. And if you are really intent on improving your health and/or cleansing and detoxing the body, it’s possible you’ll encounter some “little beasties” in the process, so it’s best to be forewarned.

Discover magazine published a feature article back in its August 2000 issue that stated: “Every living thing has at least one parasite that lives inside or on it, and many, including humans, have far more…” Most alternative healthcare practitioners have been aware of the problem parasites pose for some time, but the mainstream medical profession and scientific community are only just beginning to discover exactly how powerful these hidden inhabitants can be. The body is a collection of cells that work together, kept harmonized by chemical signals, and if an organism can control those signals—an organism like a parasite—it can have a far-reaching, even deadly, effect.

The combination of environmental toxins, an unhealthy diet, and parasites can cause any number of serious health issues. “In fact, parasites have killed more humans than all the wars in history”, National Geographic reported in its award-winning documentary, The Body Snatchers. I remember initially thinking that only people in under-developed countries had problems with parasites, and I was appalled at the thought that I might have worms and other things using me as some sort of rent-free housing. If you don’t believe parasites infect and affect people in America, just look at the pictures and read the thousands of personal stories on any number of websites. You will soon realize that this is a much bigger health issue in this country than you ever thought possible.

And you can’t always depend on testing to pick up the presence of parasites in your system. The test I had early on at the doctor’s office came back negative, but when I started doing some of my first colon cleanses I was both repulsed and intrigued when worms of various sizes and shapes started coming out, along with other toxins and waste. The good thing was that it provided validation that the cleanse I was doing was actually making a difference. But ridding my body of parasites was a slow and sometimes daunting proposition, and there were times when I wondered if I’d ever do a cleanse and NOT have some “little critters” show up.

Part of the problem is that you can pick up parasites in so many different ways. You can get them from contaminated food and/or water, unhealthy living conditions, your pets, eating raw fish or sushi, walking barefoot, etc. And the rise in international travel, use of day care centers, increased immigration, over-use of antibiotics, and propensity for some people toward having multiple sexual partners all add to the problem.  Even people staying in some of the very best hotels have been known to come home with bedbugs or other unfriendly organisms picked up from what they thought was a chic, pristine environment. And contrary to popular belief, once in our bodies, parasites do not confine themselves to the colon, but can settle in the lungs, liver, muscles, joints, brain, blood, skin, and even the eyes. Yuck! Now that’s the makings of a real horror movie!

Some signs of the presence of parasites in your system might be chronic abdominal pain, cramps or bloating, chronic fatigue, Crohn’s disease or colitis, constipation or diarrhea, food allergies, unexplained weight loss, skin rashes, a suppressed immune system—even tooth grinding or clenching. Parasites not only damage organs and tissues, but rob the body of nutrients, and emit toxic waste in the process. And many people who have problems with candida (a yeast that is a parasite in its own right), low pH readings (overly-acidic body), and/or heavy metals—all issues mentioned in previous blog posts—also have parasites. Each of these conditions seems to incline you toward the others, which only serves to compound the situation.

Another reason that dealing with parasites can be tricky is that they often go through various stages of development while in your body, and what kills the adult stage of an “alien invader,” unfortunately, does not work on the egg or larva, and vice versa. Most herbal remedies made to help rid the body of parasites contain green black walnut hulls, wormwood, and whole cloves. It’s believed that these three substances taken together will help rid a person of more than 100 types of parasites. The first two ingredients attack the adult stage of various parasites, while cloves kill the eggs. Other substances used to fight parasitic infestation are red clover, Pau d® Arco, vitamin C, pumpkin and papaya seeds, and wheat grass juice. Also, most parasites thrive on sugar, so eliminating that from your diet, at least temporarily, can also be of benefit.

If you end up doing any colon or liver cleansing, then it’s likely you’ll come up against the parasite issue yourself, so, as they say in the Boy Scouts, “Be prepared.” In fact, Hulda Clark, the author of The Cure for All Diseases, believes that parasites and the toxic chemicals in our daily environment are at the root of almost any disease (she has found them present in 100% of the cancer patients she’s treated). Her book goes into great detail about the different types of parasites humans are susceptible to and what can be done to address the problem. She recommends that anyone considering following her liver cleanse protocol (mentioned in a Self-help Health blog post) always rid themselves of parasites first, or else the cleanse could end up being ineffective.

For extensive information on various parasites and the specific damage they do, you can read Dr. Clark’s book and/or visit her website, or go to www.appliedozone.com/parasites.html. You can also call 1-800-888-4353 to order an in-home parasite test kit offered by Dr. Ann Louise Gittleman through Uni-Key Health Systems.)

 An Ascaris adult wormAn adult louseEntamoeba histolytica, a protozoan parasite

(parasite images from CDC)

Parasites have far surpassed epidemic levels in the United States, with most sources estimating that a massive 85% of Americans have parasitic infections.  Because of this, we recommend a parasite cleanse every six months, care in choosing restaurants, and cleaning up after exposure to animals.

(Stay tuned for Part !! for more information on different ways to help rid the body of parasites naturally.)

Source: Excerpt from A Healthier You From the Inside Out

 


More on parasites, this time from The Health Wyze Report…..

Unfortunately, most conventional doctors are not trained in the treatment of parasites.  It’s only when parasites are visually seen that American doctors will suspect them, which usually requires a horrific case.  There are many symptoms of parasites that people express in daily life, believing that these are completely normal.  While sickness has become normal in the modern lifestyle, it does not have to be.  The amount of damage that can be caused by parasites is virtually limitless, because many are small enough to travel anywhere in the body through the bloodstream.  They exist by robbing the body of nutrients.  Parasites are the root cause of Lupus, with all other symptoms being secondary to the parasitic infection.  Therefore, Lupus cannot be cured without a parasite cleanse.  Of course, Lupus is said to be just another “incurable disease” and an “autoimmune disorder”, according to the conventional doctors.

Identifying The Different Parasites

  • Roundworms – Living in the stomach and intestines, these worms enter through under-cooked and contaminated food.  Remember that the manure which is used in farming may be contaminated with worms.  Always wash your hands after dealing with pets, or their feces.
  • Heartworms – It is extremely rare for these to occur in humans.  In the few cases which have been seen, they usually occur as a single worm in the lungs, rather than the heart.  They cannot be spread from one animal (or human) to another, but must be spread through mosquitoes.
  • Tapeworms – Enter the body through under-cooked beef, fish or pork.  They live in the lower intestinal tract.  Use gloves and wash thoroughly after preparing meat for consumption.
  • Pinworms – Living in the intestinal tracts and lungs, these small white worms come out at night to lay eggs around the anus. The eggs hatch and the worms reenter through the anus.  If the human scratches during this time, the eggs lay under the fingernails, spreading to wherever the person touches.  It is believed that they are small and lightweight enough to become airborne, leading people to inhale them.  This is how they can live inside the lungs.  Perhaps smoking does have a benefit, after all.
  • Hookworms and Threadworms – These can be found in contaminated drinking water, or they can enter directly through the feet.  They are tiny in size, and can enter through the soles of the feet, even without any open wounds.  Always wear shoes when walking outside.  These worms are unique because they have a lifespan of several years, and the eggs can incubate for up to 10 years.

Symptoms of Parasite Infection

  • Repeated diarrhea or constipation
  • Chronic, unexplained nausea, often accompanied by vomiting
  • Fatigue and weakness
  • Intestinal cramping
  • Unexplained dizziness
  • Foul-smelling gas
  • Indigestion
  • Bloating
  • Multiple food allergies
  • Loss of appetite
  • Itching around the anus, especially at night
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Difficulty maintaining a healthy weight (over or underweight)
  • Itching on the soles of the feet, often accompanied by a rash
  • Coughing blood (severe cases)
  • Palpitations (Hookworms)
  • Anemia
  • Facial swelling around the eyes (roundworms)
  • Wheezing and coughing, followed by vomiting, stomach pain and bloating (suggesting roundworms or threadworms)
 Source: The Health Wyze Report
More on parasites:

http://www.realfarmacy.com/eliminating-the-parasites-that-you-almost-certainly-have/

http://www.naturalnews.com/042262_parasites_hygeine_herbal_medicine.html

And here’s a site that lists a wide variety (eck!) of human parasites, how you get them and what the symptoms might be if you have them:

http://www.healthhype.com/list-of-human-body-parasites-symptoms-pictures-2.html

Information on intestinal worms:

https://www.healthhype.com/human-intestinal-worms-symptoms-pictures-treatment.html

 

Salud!

p.s. Be sure to subscribe to Self-help Health so you don’t miss any future posts, and tell your friends to do the same. Also check out my website’s To Your Health page and Evolution Made Easier blog for more helpful health tips, tools and information.

Disclaimer: Please note that any information here is provided as a guideline only, and is not meant to substitute for the advice of your physician, nutritionist, trained health care practitioner, and/or inner guidance system. Always consult a professional before undertaking any change to your normal health routine.

Got ants? Try these all-natural methods to send them on their way!

 

Okay, I have to admit that this post is “selfish” in the sense that I’m featuring this information so I’ll always know where to find it myself. It seems that every time I need to get rid of ants or friends ask me how to deal with them, I can never remember the various things I’ve heard to try. But now I’ll be able to just refer to this article that has some options I’ve read about before (but can’t remember when I need to! :-)) and some new ways, too. 

With warmer weather finally making it to my part of the country, I know that ants, whether inside or outside, are likely to be showing up, so I figure this is a great time to post this for future reference. Hopefully you’ll find it helpful as well! And I love that a number of the ideas feature using things that have smells I like…..

 

We all have our worst ant moments; mine happened when I was preparing to give my 5-year-old son his breakfast cereal, and discovered that the entire contents of the package were alive, moving with all the ants that had found their way in.

Maybe you’ve tried making a trail of sugar, with the idea of leading the little critters away from your home, but that hasn’t worked? So what to do?

Here are 10 tips for keeping those ants out of your house. Best of all, the “recipes” are all natural and involve items you’re likely to have in your home already.

1. DETERRENCE

The best way to get rid of ants is to prevent them from ever considering your home an easy target. Ants are tiny, and can find thousands of doorways that you didn’t even know about. But as much as you can, block those entryways.

2. caulk

Continuing on this theme, try sealing with caulk any windows, doors and any cracks the ants crawl through. This will also give you better temperature control and lower energy bills, and is one of the least risky methods if you have kids or pets.

If those two don’t work, try the next two deterrents:

3. VINEGAR

Clean surfaces in your home with a half-and-half solution of white distilled vinegar and water. As an added bonus, this is a great mixture to use for cleaning in general, replacing detergents with polluting phosphorus. Vinegar works because ants hate its smell, and the vinegar removes the scent trails they use to get around.

4. LEMON JUICE

Just like vinegar, lemon juice also seems to destroy those scent trails that ants follow. Try spraying lemon juice around the places you think ants are using for entryways.

lemon juice

5. PEPPERMINT OIL

Here’s another super-easy one to try. Clean off your surfaces really well, and then wipe them down with a clean damp cloth that has a few drops of essential peppermint oil on it. Ants seem to really dislike the smell, and it’s environmentally friendly, as well as safe for humans and children. Not to mention, your kitchen will smell minty fresh.

6. SPICES AND HERBS

Another deterrent to make your home smell awesome! Sprinkle black pepper, cayenne pepper, chili pepper, cinnamon, mint, chili pepper, cloves or garlic — whichever you have at hand — wherever you’ve seen ants and along your home’s foundation. You can also try placing bay leaves in cabinets, drawers and containers.

7. COFFEE GROUNDS

Sprinkle your used coffee grounds in the garden and around the outside of your house. If you can locate exactly where the ants are getting in, be sure to put some there. You should see them move away from your home because they dislike the smell of coffee grounds.

coffee grounds

8. CHALK AND BABY POWDER

Try drawing a line of chalk or sprinkle baby powder across the spot where the ants are entering your home. It works because talcum powder, an ingredient in both chalk and baby powder, is a natural ant repellent.

9. CUCUMBER OR CITRUS PEELS

You can repel ants by leaving these peelings in areas of known ant activity. That’s because cucumber and citrus peels are toxic to the types of fungi that ants feed on, so they don’t want to go anywhere near them.

10. DISH SOAP

Put a very thin line of dish soap around baseboards, windows, doors and wherever else the ants tend to gather. You can also try pouring dish soap directly onto ant hills or mix the soap with some water in a spray bottle.

Photo Credit: Thinkstock

Source: https://www.care2.com/causes/10-ways-to-keep-those-pesky-ants-out-of-your-kitchen


 

Also, here’s an upcoming event you may want to check out. Lots of big name presenters……

The Hay House World Summit starts Saturday, May 5th

Why Should You Be Part of the World’s Largest Health & Wellness Event?

It’s a free on-line event that lasts for 16 days and offers 100 lessons from the world’s leading experts and 15 inspirational films. Sign up now for immediate access to 4 amazing gifts from Deepak Chopra, M.D, Christiane Northrup, M.D., Louise Hay, and Anthony William.


You can find out more and sign up here: https://www.hayhouse.com

 

Salud!

p.s. Be sure to subscribe to Self-help Health so you don’t miss any future posts, and tell your friends to do the same. Also check out my website’s To Your Health page and Evolution Made Easier blog for more helpful health tips, tools and information.

Disclaimer: Please note that any information here is provided as a guideline only, and is not meant to substitute for the advice of your physician, nutritionist, trained healthcare practitioner, and/or inner guidance system. Always consult a professional before undertaking any change to your normal health routine.

Trouble Getting Some Zzzzzzs? Try These Sleep Aids

 

I’ve certainly had my share of sleep-deprived nights. For me, it’s usually not a matter of having trouble falling asleep, but waking up in the middle of the night and not being able to get BACK to sleep.

Anyway, if you’re looking for some natural ways to help you get a better night’s rest, then I hope you find the following information helpful. I haven’t tried all the things listed here, but the ones I’ve used so far that seem to make a difference are magnesium and tart cherries, either freeze-dried or in juice concentrate form (be sure you buy organic, since cherries are one of the most pesticide-laden crops around). FYI, 8 oz of Montmorency tart cherry juice has 4 times the melatonin of other kinds of cherries, so that’s what I always look for. I keep meaning to try kiwis, since I really like them, but usually eat them in the morning, so I want to see what happens if I eat them before bed.

 

High sleep index foods

You’ve probably heard of tryptophan, the amino acid that many people blame for their lethargy after Thanksgiving dinner. The body converts tryptophan into neurotransmitters, such as serotonin and melatonin, that help us relax. As a result, tryptophan-rich foods help us feel sleepy. Turkey, hummus, lentils and kelp are naturally high in tryptophan and contain many other beneficial nutrients.

*Bananas are also a great “sleep index” food: They contain tryptophan, potassium and magnesium, all of which are natural muscle relaxants. Cherries are a good source of melatonin, which can help us get more restful, reparative sleep.

And did you know that in one study, people who ate two kiwi fruits (see end of post for more about this) for more before bed got an extra hour of sleep at night? They woke up later and took less time to fall asleep.

Carbohydrate-rich foods are often excellent at promoting better sleep. A study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that high-glycemic carbohydrates, which increase sugar levels rapidly, encourage sleep when eaten about four hours before bedtime. Jasmine rice, potatoes, carrots, corn and honey are healthy options.

Calcium helps the brain use tryptophan to create melatonin. Specific food combinations, such as whole grain cereals and milk, peanut butter sandwiches, or cheese and crackers contain balanced amounts of calcium and carbohydrates. Calcium is also a natural muscle relaxant.

When to eat

Eating high sleep index foods calms the nervous system and triggers sleep-inducing hormones. But timing is everything. A large meal right before bedtime can interfere with sleep. Tryptophan takes at least an hour to reach the brain, so plan meals accordingly.

Avoid rich, high-fat foods close to bedtime. They require a lot of work to digest and may cause stomach trouble and heartburn. Also, moderate your beverages. Too many fluids will cause frequent trips to the bathroom during the night. In particular, caffeinated beverages stimulate the body and act as diuretics, a double whammy when trying to sleep.

Natural sleep aids

As noted, there is no shortage of sleep aids, either over the counter or by prescription. While these aids generally work in the short term, they come with a long list of detrimental side effects and can become habit-forming. In addition, these powerful drugs are known to interfere with a number of critical biological mechanisms. Remember, they’re not meant to be gentle, but rather to put you out like a light.

I recommend a combination of relaxing, non-habit-forming herbs: lemon balm, passionflower, vitamin B6 and small doses of melatonin, about 500 mcg, can be very helpful.

When taken together 15 minutes before bed, these herbs and nutrients help to promote a gentle state of relaxation and drowsiness. Even better, they help optimize the body’s natural repair processes during sleep. They also work to support numerous other areas of health and longevity as well.

One of the shortcomings of modern society is that every problem requires maximum response. But when it comes to healthy relaxation and restful sleep, you should take a softer, gentler approach.

High sleep index foods, together with calming supplements can help you relax, enjoy a restful sleep and wake feeling refreshed. Other excellent sleep-supportive measures include mindful relaxation techniques, such as meditation and deep breathing.

Getting a good night’s rest is one of the best things you can do for health and well-being. When you support your natural sleep rhythms and cycles with the right foods, supplements and healthy relaxation measures, you reap significant and noticeable benefits. In addition to greater physical energy, mental clarity and emotional balance, getting quality sleep each night results in stronger vitality and better overall health, naturally.

Source: http://easyhealthoptions.com/high-sleep-index-foods-nutrients-help-sleep-like-baby/

More details on kiwis…..

Kiwis — an Alternative to Tart Cherry Juice?

Kiwis are another fruit to add to your insomnia-fighting arsenal. In a study at Taiwan’s Taipei Medical University, scientists recruited volunteers to eat two kiwifruit one hour before bedtime. After four weeks, their quality of sleep improved significantly.

  • The amount of time it took to fall asleep decreased by 35.4 percent.
  • The amount of time spent lying awake after initially falling asleep reduced by 28.9 percent.
  • Sleep quality improved by 42.4 percent.
  • Sleep time increased by 13.4 percent.

Source: http://www.liveinthenow.com/article/drink-this-juice-to-extend-your-nightly-sleep-by-90-minutes

Turmeric milk, also called golden milk,  before bedtime is used by many people as a sleep aid (also see the link later in this post to the Self-help **blog on golden milk that includes a version where you don’t have to make a paste beforehand)……

Source : http://www.thepaleosecret.com/fbfreegift/morningdrinkfb/01/

**Also see this Self-help Health post on golden milk.

One of my favorite relaxation and sleep aids is lavender essential oil….rubbing a couple of drops on my hands and then inhaling, or dabbing on my wrists, temples or soles of my feed. Also, warm epsom salt soaks, and being careful of the amount of blue light I get at night by turning off the computer an hour or two before bedtime. I’ve also read where oranges, pineapples and passion flower tea are helpful. Chamomile tea is well-known for its relaxing, sleep-inducing quality, and the Mediterranean diet and olive oil are supposedly good for sleep, as well. And I read that most sleep disorders are connected to hormonal toxicity, so that’s something some people may need to address.

*And the peel of a banana apparently has 3 times as much magnesium as the fruit itself, which is probably why someone came up with a recipe for using “Banana Tea” as a sleep aid. All you do is wash a banana (be sure it’s organic), cut in half w/ peel on; cut off tips and boil 3 to 4 minutes in filtered/structured water, steep and drink the liquid. You can refrigerate the fruit  for use the next day in a smoothie (the peel is totally edible and high in nutrition, so you may try tossing that in, too), yogurt, oatmeal, or some other way.

And here’s some info about using magnolia tree bark as a remedy for stress and deeper sleep:

https://easyhealthoptions.com/tree-bark-less-stress-sleep-not-pillow/

Want more info? Here’s a in-depth post by Dr Joseph Mercola about sleep, the ramifications of not getting enough of it, best sleeping positions, and 50 ways to improve it, including eliminating EMFs, using 5-HTP and/or magnesium, going back to using incandescent bulbs, and more.

And apparently using “reverse psychology can also be a way of getting to sleep:

https://www.purewow.com/wellness/paradoxical-intention-sleep-remedy

Related Self-help Heath posts:

9 Yoga Poses For Better Sleep

What’s Not To Love About Cherries?!

Spirit Gate: Heart 7 Acupoint For Anxiety, Insomnia And More

Stay tuned for a post on how raising the head of your bed a few inches can promote better sleep, as well as help with varicose veins, detox the brain, and more!

 

Salud!

p.s. Be sure to subscribe to Self-help Health so you don’t miss any future posts, and tell your friends to do the same. Also check out my website’s To Your Health page and Evolution Made Easier blog for more helpful health tips, tools and information.

Disclaimer: Please note that any information here is provided as a guideline only, and is not meant to substitute for the advice of your physician, nutritionist, trained healthcare practitioner, and/or inner guidance system. Always consult a professional before undertaking any change to your normal health routine.

 

Wow! Lots of Edible Flowers to enhance your meals!

 

Wow, I was aware of some of these, but never realized there were so many options of edible flowers! I’m excited and relieved  that spring is finally showing its face (we had an extra cold winter) and things are starting to bloom. I volunteer in a community garden and we grow a number of the flowers and herbs listed here, so now I’ll know to be picking even more of a variety to use in my salads than I did before. Delightful to have the added color and nutrition!

 

List of Edible Flowers

List of Edible Flowers

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Before you venture out to the garden and harvest a bunch of flowers for the dinner table, it’s important to remember that some flowers are poisonous. Make sure you’ve made a positive identification of each variety you’re using. Obviously, you should avoid flowers that may have been sprayed with pesticides or other chemicals, so either grow your own organic flowers, or harvest them from a location you’re sure about. Organic or not, all flowers should be shaken and washed in cold water prior to use, as they may to be homes for insects.

Pick your edible flowers in the morning, when they have the highest water content. Keep them on some dampened paper towel inside a sealed container in the refrigerator for as long as a week. You can revive wilted flowers by floating them in some ice water for a few minutes. Prepare them for eating just before serving in order to prevent further wilting.

Remove the stamens and styles from flowers before eating. Pollen can cause allergic reactions when eaten by some people, and it may overwhelm the otherwise delicate flavour of the petals. The exception here is the Violas, including Johnny-Jump-Ups and pansies, as well as scarlet runner beans, honeysuckle and clover. The flowers of these varieties can be enjoyed whole, and will probably be more flavourful this way.

This list of Edible Flowers is not comprehensive so if you notice a flower missing from this list, please do further research before you consider it edible. Don’t assume that all flowers are edible – some are highly poisonous.

Agastache BloomsAgastache – Anise Hyssop (Agastache foeniculum) is also sometimes known as licorice mint. Both the young leaves and the striking purple flowers have a mild licorice flavour. Pull the purple flower tubes away from the central structure of the flower and scatter them in salads or fancy drinks for a pop of colour and flavour.

Angelica – This relative of celery (Angelica archangelica) has licorice-scented pinkish flowers borne in large umbels. The flowers make an interesting addition to salads, but it is mostly grown for its stronger-tasting leaves.

Apple – Be sure to only try flowers from trees that have not been sprayed. Apple blossoms (Malus spp.) have an appealing but delicate flavour and scent. They work particularly well with fresh fruit salads. Use in moderation, as the flowers contain very low levels of poisonous chemicals.

Edible flowers arugula flowersArugula – Once this cool-season plant (Eruca vesicaria) begins to bolt, its leaves will have become tough and almost too spicy to eat. So let it bolt, and enjoy some of its very small, spicy, white or yellow flowers. They add a nice, unusual zing to salads.

Edible basil flowersBasil – Most growers use basil’s leaves (Ocimum basilicum) before the plant has flowered. After blooming, the character of the leaves changes and becomes less appealing, but the flowers can be eaten. They may be white to lavender, but they look stunning when sprinkled over pasta. Thai basil is sometimes allowed to flower before whole stems, with leaves attached, are harvested. The whole flower is edible.

Edible tuborous begonia flowersBegonia – both tuberous (Begonia x tuberhybrida) and wax (B. x semperflorens-cultorum) begonias have edible flowers with a slightly bitter to sharp citrus flavour. Tuberous begonia flowers contain oxalic acid, so should be avoided by people suffering from kidney stones, gout, or rheumatism.

Edible flowers of Bergamot, wildBergamot, wild – This plant (Monarda fistulosa) may be listed as bee balm, Monarda, Wild Bergamot, Oswego Tea, or Horsemint. The flowers (and the young leaves) have an intense flavour of mint with undertones of citrus and oregano. This plant that has a scent highly reminiscent of Earl Grey tea. Somewhat confusingly, the “oil of bergamot” used to flavour Earl Grey is actually derived from citrus peel from the Bergamot Orange. Monarda flowers are formed by large clusters of edible tubular petals that can be separated before adding to cakes, fancy drinks, or salads.

Borage edible flowersBorage – This familiar garden herb (Borago officnialis) has furry leaves and exquisite blue, star-shaped flowers. Both have a cooling taste reminiscent of cucumber. Try some of the flowers in a summer lemonade or sorbet – or a gin & tonic! They work particularly well as garnishes for gazpacho, cheese plates, or just sprinkled over salads.

Calendula Seeds in bloomCalendula – All “pot marigolds” (Calendula officinalis) have flower petals that are edible. They have a nice flavour that ranges from peppery to bitter, and they add bright yellow, gold, and orange colour to soups and salads. They may even tint some dishes like saffron does.

Edible chamomile flowersChamomile – Choose the German chamomile (Matricaria chamomilla syn. M. recutita) for its daisy-like flowers. They can be used fresh or dried, and make a particularly nice tea that tastes vaguely like apples. Drink the tea in moderation – some allergy sufferers may have a negative response. Otherwise, sprinkle the petals into salads and soups.

Chervil – The lacy leaves of this shade-loving herb (Anthriscus cerefolium) are topped by delicate white flowers borne in umbels. Both the leaves and the flowers have a very mild anise or licorice-like taste. Add chervil to your dishes just before serving to maintain the best flavour.

Edible flowers of chicoryChicory – All endive varieties (Cichorium endivia & C. intybus) produce, at summer’s end, tall stems with striking, sky-blue flowers. The petals can be pulled off and added to salads for their earthy, endive-like flavour. The unopened flower buds can also be pickled like capers.

List of edible flowers including chivesChives – The flowers of chives (Allium schoenoprasum) are ball-like clusters of hundreds of little florets that can be separated and scattered onto salads for colour and a mild onion flavour.

Shungiku edible chrysanthemum flowersChrysanthemum – The edible chrysanthemum and garland Chrysanthemum (both are Leucanthemum coronarium) that we offer produce both edible young leaves and appealing white daisy-like flowers with yellow centres, or flowers that are entirely yellow. The petals of both types are edible and faintly tangy.

Edible flowers of cilantroCilantro – This leafy herb (Coriandrum sativum) is also known as Coriander. In summer heat it is quick to bolt, and will send up tall umbels of white flowers. These have an intensely herbal flavour, just like the leaves, roots, and seeds of the plant, and can be used as a garnish where cilantro leaves would otherwise be used.

Edible clover flowersClover– The flower heads of clover (Trifolium spp.) are edible, and have a sweet, mild licorice flavour. In fact, the whole above ground plant is edible, but it’s best to grow clover as tender sprouts or to use the flower tubes in moderation as a salad garnish. Mature clover is tough to digest, and may cause bloating.

Blossoms of Cornflower Seeds in bloomCornflower – The pretty, blue flowers of cornflower (Centaurea cyanus) have a slightly spicy, clove-like flavour with a subtle sweetness. Cornflower petals look wonderful in salads. Use torn petals as a garnish, or whole flowers in fancy drinks.

Dame’s Rocket – The petals of this tall relative of mustard (Hesperis matronalis) are pink, lavender, or white, and always come in fours. Perennial Phlox looks similar, and also has edible flowers, but always have five petals. The petals (and the immature leaves) of Dame’s Rocket are worth adding to salads, but have a mild bitter flavour.

Edible dandelion flowersDandelion – The ubiquitous dandelion (Taxacum officinalis) is entirely edible. When picked small, and unopened, the flower buds have a surprising sweetness, reminiscent of honey. Young greens are also tasty either raw or steamed. Dandelion petals look very nice when scattered over pasta or rice. While dandelions are rather easy to come by, make sure to harvest them only from organic gardens. Avoid any grown near roads or picked from lawns where chemicals may be present. Check out this Self-help Health post on dandelion.

Edible day lilies flowersDay Lilies – The fleshy, short-lived flowers of day lilies (Hemerocallis spp.) are sweet, with a flavour resembling mild melon or cucumber. Make sure to cut the tasty petals away from the bitter base of each flower. Try them in salads! Eat in moderation.

How to Grow DianthusDianthus – Look for the large-flowered carnation (Dianthus caryophyllus), and cut the sweet tasting petals away from the bitter white base of each flower. The bright red and pink petals have a mild clove flavour and are great for desserts or salads.

Edible dill flowersDill – Stronger in flavour than the leaves, the flowers of dill (Anethum graveolens) can be used when cooking fish, or raw in salads. They are very small, yellow, and borne on tall umbels. Best used when they have just opened, as they set seed quickly.

Edible flowers English daisyEnglish Daisy – The low growing flowers (Bellis perennis) have a bitter flavour, but are entirely edible. They are small enough to use simply by sprinkling the petals onto salads or other meals, and will not overwhelm stronger flavours.

How to grow Florence fennel Selma Fino Fennel Seeds HR1089-1Fennel – Both the garden herb and the vegetable Florence fennel(both are Foeniculum vulgare) will eventually produce attractive and tall umbels of tiny yellow flowers that have the same mild licorice flavour as the leaves. These work very well in desserts!

Edible fuchsia flowersFuchsia – Avoid nursery-bought Fuchsia (Fuchsia x hybrida) flowers, as they may have been sprayed. Otherwise, the extraordinary looking flowers make great garnishes and have a slightly acidic flavour.

Garlic scapes

Garlic Scapes!

Garlic – Allowed to open, garlic flowers (Allium sativum) are pink to white, with florets that can be separated and inserted into salads for a mild garlic zing. However, allowing the plants to flower may divert energy that would otherwise go to the bulb. Many garlic growers prefer to cut the flower stems (scapes) before they open. These can be sautĂ©ed in butter for an intense, early summer side dish, or run through the food processor and mixed with Parmesan cheese, olive oil, and pine nuts for a sensational pesto.

Hollyhocks edible flowersHollyhock – The large, brightly coloured flowers of common hollyhocks (Alcea rosea) have almost no flavour of their own, but they sure look nice cut into salads or sprinkled over desserts. Be sure to use the petals only – cut these away from the central structure of the flower just before serving.

Honeysuckle – The long flower tubes of various honeysuckle species are edible, but Japanese honeysuckle (Lonicera japonica) is best, with its distinctly honey-like flavour. Do not eat the berries that follow, or any other part of the plant, as they are all poisonous.

Impatiens – The flowers of Impatiens (Impatiens walleriana) may be bright white or shocking red, but the petals are edible and have a surprisingly sweet taste. They can be torn into salad or mixed into fancy drinks.

Johnny-Jump-UpJohnny-Jump-Up – This plant (Viola tricolor) produces masses of small, brightly coloured flowers that have a faint wintergreen taste. They look great served on cakes, served with soft cheeses, or as a topping for salads. Use the whole flower intact.

French LavenderLavender – Pull the clustered flowers of lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) apart and sprinkle a few pieces onto chocolate cake. Submerge one or two pieces in a glass of chilled champagne. The sweet, intensely floral flavour of lavender should be used with restraint, but adds an incredible to pop savory dishes as well as desserts.

Edible flowers lemon bergamotLemon Bergamot – Like its wild cousin above, Lemon Bergamot (Monarda citriodora) has a perfume-like, intense, almost astringent quality, but it is strongly scented with citrus. Use portions of the flower conservatively in drinks or desserts or in herbal teas.

Lilac – Like lavender, the flowers of lilac (Syringa vulgaris) have an intensely floral, almost perfumey flavour with lemon undertones. A little goes a long way, but one or two individual flowers added to a summer punch looks wonderful and tastes very refreshing.

Gold Gem Edible FlowersLemon Marigold Tagetes tenuifolia

Edible marigold flowersMarigold – Both French marigolds (Tagetes patula) and African marigolds (T. erecta) produce flowers that are technically edible, but the pungent scent is probably worth avoiding. African marigold flowers are used as a food colourant in Europe, but have only been approved for use as a poultry feed additive in the US. However,T. tenuifolia has a refreshing citrus, lemony flavour, and its petals work well torn into salads or smart drinks.

PeppermintMint – All mint varieties (Mentha spp.) have minty-flavoured, edible flowers that may be sweet or lemon-scented, or even with chocolate overtones depending on the type.

Edible Nasturtium flowersNasturtium – All garden nasturtiums (Tropaeolum majus) produce edible flowers and leaves. Even the fresh seeds can be pickled like capers. Curiously this familiar garden flower is a cousin of the Brassica family (cabbage, broccoli, mustards, etc
). All parts of the nasturtium have a pleasant, sweet, peppery flavour. The flowers can be used whole to decorate salads and a variety of other foods, but you may want to remove the long spur at the back of the flower, as this is the nectary and may harbour small insects.

*For more on nasturtiums, check out the link to an article at the end of this post.

Edible pansies flowersPansy – The flower petals of the familiar garden pansy (Viola x wittrockiana) are edible and highly decorative. The petals have little flavour, but the whole flower can also be used. It has a grassy, wintergreen undertone that works well in fruit salad.

Edible pea flowersPea – Edible garden peas (Pisum sativum) produce edible flowers that look great in salads. Serve a blend of peas in a meal: shelled peas, pea tendrils, pea pods, and some flowers for garnish. Note: Ornamental sweet peas are poisonous.

Perennial Phlox – Be certain that you’ve got the tall-growing perennial garden Phlox (Phlox paniculata), and not the inedible annual, creeping type before you try the flowers. The perennial type bears pink to white flowers with five petals that have a pleasant, peppery flavour. They look great and taste great in fruit salads.

Primrose – With its bland, but highly colourful flowers, primrose (Primula vulgaris) is worth cultivating if only to tear its petals into a few summer salads. The flower buds can also be pickled, steamed, or fermented into wine.

Queen Anne’s Lace – The Wild Carrot (Daucus carota) produces tall umbels of exquisite, tiny, white flowers, each one marked by a blood-red centre. Although this plant is grown for its decorative, edible flowers, it can cross-pollinate with its close relative the carrot, so if you happen to be growing carrots with the intent of saving seed, avoid this plant in your garden. The flowers of Queen Anne’s Lace have a mild, carroty flavour. Be absolutely certain that the plant you are harvesting is not the invasive weed known as Wild or Poison Hemlock (Conium maculatum), which looks very similar. The stems of Queen Anne’s Lace are hairy, while Poison Hemlock has smooth, hollow stems with purple spots.

Garden party rose seeds FL2061 1Rose – Another surprisingly edible garden flower is the rose (Rosa spp.). Although its petals are intensely perfumed, their flavour is subtler and a bit fruity, with complex undertones that depend on the variety and soil conditions. The petals of all roses are edible, but you should remove the bitter white base of each petal. Be sure to use only rose flowers that have been organically grown from a reliable source, as nearly all nursery or cut flower roses will have been treated with pesticide.

Rosemary edible flowersRosemary – It takes nimble fingers to pull the strongly scented flowers of rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) from between the tightly packed leaves. The leaves contain more oil than the flowers, but both are similar in flavour. Use the flowers as you would the herb. Flowers are deep blue to pink, depending on the soil.

Safflower edible flowersSafflower – The dried yellow flowers (Carthamus tinctorius) are sometimes sold as Mexican saffron, and used like saffron as a food dye. Otherwise, fresh petals can be torn into salads, soups, and sauces. They have a very mild flavour of their own.

Sage makes the list of edible flowersSage – The deep blue flowers of sage (Salvia officinalis) add an interesting mild-sage flavour to salads or savory dishes. Pull individual flower tubes from the stems and use with discretion, as the taste is strong.

Scarlet runner bean edible flowersScarlet Runner Bean – The flowers of this vine (Phaseolus vulgaris) are vivid, intense red, and also delicious. They make excellent garnishes for soups and salads, providing a real visual high note.

Large Leaf Organic SorrelSorrel – Like the leaves of sorrel (Rumex acetosa), its flowers have a strongly lemony flavour, and can be scattered over salad or used in sauces. The flavour comes from oxalic acid, so should be avoided by those with kidney conditions or rheumatism.

Squash-BlossomSquash – Both male and female flowers of all squash and zucchini varieties are edible, and have a faint squashy flavour. It may be sensible to only use the male flowers, as they will not form fruits. They can be torn into salads or stuffed with savory items like herbs and goat cheese, and then fried in a light tempura batter. There are many squash blossom recipes online.

Edible sunflower flowersSunflower – It’s still a little known fact that unopened sunflower (Helianthus annuus) buds can be steamed or sautĂ©ed in butter and served whole. They have an artichoke-like flavour. Alternately, the petals can be pulled from the edge of the opened flower and added to soups and salads. Their flavour is somewhat bitter.

Violet – Many varieties (Viola spp.) are suitable for decorating food. They come in a range of sweet, perfumed flavours, and a wide range of colours. Some of the tiniest violet flowers make the best additions to cakes, drinks, and salads.

(You can get seeds for these plants at westcoastseeds.com, the source of this article, as well as elsewhere.)

Source: https://www.westcoastseeds.com/garden-resources/articles-instructions/list-edible-flowers/

*Dr. Joseph Mercola recently did an article about growing and eating nasturtiums that includes the following highlights:

  • Nasturtiums — colorful flowers that are fast and easy to grow — provide edible blooms known for their peppery tang
  • As their name suggests, you can be “nasty” to nasturtiums because they do well in lean soil and thrive even when somewhat neglected
  • Nasturtiums not only contain beneficial amounts of vitamin C, beta carotene, iron and manganese, but they also boast the highest lutein content of any edible plant
  • Some of the purported medicinal uses for nasturtiums include fighting bacterial and fungal infections, neutralizing free radicals, promoting hair growth, soothing colds and coughs and treating skin conditions

You can read the full article here.

Update 7/3/18: Here’s even more on edible flowers, this time from an article by Mary Houston featured in La Casa Day Spa’s newsletter. It also includes some recipes at the end…….

FLOWER POWER

History of Eating Flowers:
Flowers have been included in food as far back as we have records. Ancient Greek, Roman and Chinese herbalists recorded medicinal and culinary uses for flowers. The early Incas, Aztecs and Hindus included flowers in their most important rituals. Nearly every early civilization recognized calendula, whose petals were served as food and piled on altars. Information also is available on the use of edible flowers from the medieval and Victorian periods.
Historical Names:
The Romans recognized calendula blooming on the first day of the month, so they named it accordingly. The valued petals of saffron (Crocus Sativus) were preserved for medicinal uses, so calendula was used to infuse a similar golden color in cooked dishes. Calendula was commonly referred to as “pot marigold” by medieval monks who used it in their cooking pots. The monks also named the wild pansy (Viola Tricolor). These little purple and yellow flowers are the parents of the larger modern hybrid pansy. Bee balm (Monarda Didyma) is very popular with bees but also was used as a poultice for bee stings. Early carnations were called “Pinks” by the Victorians. The species were pink in color but they also had ruffled petals that looked as if they were cut with pinking shears.
List of Flowers (and their main flavot attributes):
Anise Hyssop, (sweet & licorice-like)
Arugula Flowers (spicy or peppery)
Banana Blossoms (bitter when raw)
Basil Flowers (lemony or minty)
Bee Balm (citrus)
Borage (cucumber)
Burnet (cucumber)
Carnations (sweet)
Chamomile (apple-like)
Chicory Flowers (bitter)
Chive Blossom(onion-like)
Chrysanthemum (tangy)
Clover (sweet)
Coriander (strong herbal flavor, to be used before cooking)
Cornflowers AKA Bachelor’s Button (clove-like)
Dandelion (sweet when young, bitter when mature)
Day Lily (light and sweet)
Dianthus (spicy)
Dill Flowers (stronger flavor than leaves or seeds)
Elder Flower (sweet)
English Daisy (mildly bitter)
Fennel Flower (sweet and licorice-like)
Gardenia( sweet)
Hibiscus (citrus)
Honeysuckle (sweet)
Jasmine (sweet)
Johnny Jump-Ups (wintergreen-like flavor)
Lavender (sweet)
Lilac (citrus)
Linden (honey)
Mallow Flowers (sweet)
Marigolds AKA Calendula (spicy or peppery)
Marjoram (milder than the leaf)
Mustard Flowers (mustardy)
Nasturtiums (sweet and spicy)
Pansy (mildly sweet)
Primrose (sweet)
Queen Anne’s Lace (carrot-like)
Roses (sweet)
Sage Flowers (lighter flavor than sage)
Squash Blossoms (like squash)
Sunflower (artichoke-like)
Thyme Flowers (milder thyme flavor)
Tiger Lily (turnip-like)
Tulip (lettuce-like)
Violet (sweet)
Yucca Flowers (mildly sweet)
Zucchini Flowers (zucchini-like)
Identification:
There are similarities among edible flowers that likely helped our ancestors decide on their safety. The majority of edible flowers are also butterfly staples, as the larvae eat the petals as a major food source. If they had contained dangerous compounds, the larvae would have likely succumbed. Our ancestors also knew that the flowers of culinary herbs like sage, lavender and oregano contained lower levels of the same constituents as the foliage. Their brave experimentation allows us to eat these edible flowers today without concern. Unfortunately, the poisons present in such flowers as monkshood (Aconite) were discovered in the same manner.
Uses
Historically, flower petals were eaten most often fresh in salads or as garnishes. The petals of carnation, bee balm, borage, sage, violet, nasturtium, day lily and calendula were commonly eaten. They were thought to be cleansing for the body as well as attractive. It was common to dry the petals and include them in tea blends. Popular tea flowers were hibiscus, rose, jasmine and bee balm.
  • Bee balm was used as a tea substitute when black tea became unavailable during the Boston Tea Party in 1773.
  • To preserve violets, medieval monks would make a sweet syrup from the petals.
  • The Victorians, who associated edible flowers with elegance, candied the flowers of violet and borage to decorate cakes and desserts.
  • In China still today day lilies are used in foods, and are often stuffed and also used as snacks with tea. We all have tasted Jasmine Tea. You often find them in Sweet & Sour soups and dishes.
  • The Indians use calendula to spread on top of rice, and marigold is the poor man’s saffron. They also use Rose petals and Rose Water for firey personalities and to cool down an over-acidic body or simply as a lovely cool drink with yogurt and water… Lassi.
  • In the Chelsea Market in Great Britain they sell a huge variety of flowers for teas and other uses.
  • The French love their lavender, in tea to relax and de-stress; a sprig of lavender in Champagne
  • Lavender flowers on top of a chocolate cake, and small lavender flowers in sorbets.
  • The Greeks like to eat their big meal in the middle of the day (very sensible by the way), and their lighter meal in the evening. They often make an omelet with squash flowers as their later meal.
  • The American Indians used the whole white clover plants in salads and made a medicinal tea of white clover blossoms for coughs and colds.
WARNING: Not all flowers are edible. Make sure the flowers you are about to eat are edible. Search on line. Also make sure you don’t eat flowers from florists or off the side of the road. They should come from pesticide free gardens that are grown on good soil. Flowers have varying degrees of nutritional value depending on how and where they are grown: roses are high in Vit. C; lilies in Vit. A and C; and Nasturtiums in C and minerals.
Here are a few flower recipes:
A SALAD OF FLOWERS AND HERBS
Ingredients:
  • One head red leaf lettuce, cleaned and torn
  • 1 cup mixed herbs (marjoram, thyme, oregano or herbs de Provence)
  • Picked over and cleaned 1 cup petals, day lilies, roses and nasturtium
  • Dressing:
  • 1/2 cup pink grapefruit juice from grapefruit
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 5 turns freshly ground black pepper
  • Grated zest of one orange
  • 1/2 cup grape seed oil
Directions:
Toss together in a large bowl the lettuce, herbs and flowers.
Combine all the dressing ingredients except the oil in a 12-ounce jar with a lid. Cover and shake. Allow to sit for about 15 minutes; then pour in the oil. Shake well again. Store chilled. Stream 1/4 cup dressing around the edge of the bowl and toss to coat.
DAY LILY FRITTERS
Ingredients:
  • 1 cup unbleached white flour or Einkorn flour which has less gluten and is very light (good for delicate flowers)
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 cup ice cold soda water or apple cider
  • 2 to 3 cups grapeseed oil for frying
  • 1 to 2 pounds of fresh day lily buds
Directions:
In a small to medium-sized bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt together until fully mixed. Add 1 cup of cold soda water (be sure it’s ice cold as this will help your batter crisp up nicely) and gently whisk, being careful not to over-mix. A few lumps in the batter are ok and preferable to an over-mixed batter as you don’t want the gluten to develop.
In a small heavy skillet or saucepan, heat the grapeseed oil over medium heat. The oil should be just a little more than an inch deep and should reach a temperature of about 350 F to 375F. I rarely take a temperature reading, instead I simply drop a bit of batter into the oil as a test. If it starts to sizzle and bubble right away, the oil is ready. It’s important to make sure the oil is hot enough because hot oil prevents your batter from absorbing too much oil as it fries.
Once your oil has reached temperature, grab your day lily buds by the stem and dip each one into the batter. It’s ok for the green stem to stick out of the batter; it will fry up and be delicious to eat as well. I find working in small batches is best, no more than 5 fritters in the oil at a time to properly monitor them. Drop each battered bud into the oil carefully to avoid splashing, and allow it to fry for about 1 minute or until crisp and golden; then flip it on the other side using tongs and fry it for about another minute. Remove the fritter from the oil and place it on a sheet of paper towel to absorb any excess oil. Eat warm, with a sprinkle of sea salt or your favorite dipping sauce. Bon Appetit.
RAW DAY LILY APPETIZER
Ingredients:
  • 3 cups leaves and soft tops of wood sorrel
  • 1 cup pine nuts, soaked for 30 min.
  • Âœ tsp. Celtic sea salt
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and finely minced
  • 35-40 unopened day lily buds
Directions:
Rinse wood sorrel and place it together with nuts, salt and garlic in the food processor. Blend until the mix resembles a thick paste. If necessary, add a touch of water to achieve the desired paste consistency. Separate the petals of the lily buds a little, and place œ tsp. of the pesto between or on top of the buds. Serve as an appetizer.
DAY LILY SALAD
Ingredients:
  • 2 cups day lily buds (about 50 buds), sliced
  • 1 cup torn lettuce
  • 1/2 medium cucumber, sliced
  • 1 medium tomato, diced
  • 2 celery ribs, sliced
  • 1/4 cup shredded red cabbage
  • 3 radishes, sliced​
Directions:
Mix and add salad dressing of your choice
RECIPE FOR PANSY CREPES
Ingredients:
  • 3-4 free range organic eggs
  • 6 Tbs. of organic grape seed oil (or split with raw melted butter)
  • 2 Tbs organic sprouted spelt flour, Einkorn flour or a combination mixed with buckwheat flour
  • Alcohol free vanilla extract, 1/4 to 1/2 tsp.
  • Honey or stevia — just a bit (optional)
  • 1 cup of pansy flowers.
  • Butter for pan or oil
  • CrĂȘ​pe pan is best but not necessary.
Directions:
Beat ingredients together
Melt 1Tbs butter in pan or more if needed
Heat until sizzling
Take a small ladle full of batter and put in center of pan and swirl the pan until it reaches around the pan. Drop a handful of pansies onto the cooking crĂȘpe.
They should cook pretty quickly, then flip to the other side — less than a minute.
Add your favorite topping — berries, or syrups, jams or jellies
The first crĂȘ​pe is a throw away. For some reason, they never come out well. But it tastes delicious so go for it.

 

Salud!

p.s. Be sure to subscribe to Self-help Health so you don’t miss any future posts, and tell your friends to do the same. Also check out my website’s To Your Health page and Evolution Made Easier blog for more helpful health tips, tools and information.

Disclaimer: Please note that any information here is provided as a guideline only, and is not meant to substitute for the advice of your physician, nutritionist, trained healthcare practitioner, and/or inner guidance system. Always consult a professional before undertaking any change to your normal health routine.

 

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