Brazil nuts originate from the South American rainforests, especially abundant in the amazon. Brazil nut trees can live to be more than 500 years old, and require the presence of a specific orchid that attracts the particular bee that is needed to pollinate the flowers. Unable to be farmed, Brazil nuts are harvested from wild trees without harming the rainforest.
Brazil nuts are rich in the mineral selenium, a powerful antioxidant that is beneficial for thyroid and cardiovascular health as well as detoxification in the liver. A single Brazil nut contains more selenium than most supplements!
Brazil nuts are also rich in monounsaturated fats, which are great for cardiovascular and brain health. They are also a good source of magnesium and calcium, which will help to keep your bones strong and also help with stress.
For best results, try to eat 3 raw Brazil nuts every day. They are also a great addition to salads and are yummy ground up and put in yoghurt or on muesli.
Quinoa, pronounced keen-wa, was the staple food of the Incas. It is gluten-free, has the highest protein content of any grain and contains many nutrients including calcium, iron, zinc and B vitamins.
The seed coating contains saponins which can irritate the intestines, so quinoa must be soaked and washed under running water thoroughly to remove these. Quinoa is available from most health food shops.
Preparation of quinoa:
1 cup quinoa + 1 1/2 cups cold water
- Soak overnight then rinse under running water OR soak for 15 minutes then rinse under running water for 5 minutes. The first option is more effective and better for the environment as it uses less water.
- Drain quinoa well in a fine sieve.
- Place quinoa in a pot and add the water.
- Bring to a boil, cover with a tight fitting lid, and turn the heat down to simmer.
- Cook for 20 minutes.
- Remove from heat and allow to sit five minutes with lid on.
- Fluff gently with a fork and serve.
Quinoa is delicious on it’s own or served with anything you would normally use rice for.
You can tell when quinoa is cooked as the edge of the seed separates as a white spiral and the seed turns clear.
Try adding the rinsed grain to soups and casseroles or use it as a porridge.
Have you been asking yourself what the craze is with wheat grass? Wheat grass is a fantastic companion to a healthy diet, as it contains high levels of chlorophyll, the nutrient that gives it its deep green hue.
Chlorophyll is structurally very similar to haemoglobin, the molecule responsible for carrying oxygen around our bodies, and therefore is said help oxygenate our body.Chlorophyll is traditionally used as a blood cleanser and alkaliser, so is great for detoxification.
Wheat grass contains 82 of the 92 minerals found in soil, including calcium, magnesium, iron and zinc. It also has B vitamins, vitamin C, vitamin E and vitamin A.
Eating the grass provides little nutrition as our digestive system cannot break down the cellulose int the plant to release the minerals. Wheat grass should therefore be consumed juiced.
A special expresser is required to juice wheatgrass. Top of the line juicers can sometimes have an attachment, or you can buy a manual one to clamp on the bench.
To grow your own wheatgrass, use a seedling tray filled with organic soil. cover soil with whole wheat grains and put a piece of newspaper on top. Soak thoroughly daily. When the grains have sprouted (2-4 days) remove the newspaper and leave in a sunny position. Water daily.
Wheat grass should be consumed within 12 hours of juicing, but ideally straight away to maintain its nutrient value. Most people don’t mind the taste, but you can follow with a slice of orange to help if you don’t like the taste of wheatgrass.
Don’t want to buy a juicer? Wheat grass juice shots can be purchased at most juice bars for around $2, so try it today!
Kale is a little known vegetable with amazing healing properties. It is an ancient member of the cruciferous family, the same family as broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower. Kale boasts the highest antioxidant ability of any leafy green vegetable! As well as this it is very high in calcium and chlorophyll and contains magnesium, potassium, iron, folate, vitamin C, B2, B3 and E, and contains high levels of the carotenoid lutein, which reduces the risk of cataracts and eye degeneration.
Kale can be found mainly at markets that sell organic produce or organic food supermarkets such as Wray Organics and Mrs. Flannery’s. Organic food deliveries often have Kale available too. It is available in green and purple varieties and can be curly like the picture above or more flat.
Use it as you would spinach or silverbeet – try it in stir-frys, curries, stews and use it instead of spinach in quiche or spinach and feta pie! The possibilities are endless so be imaginative!
Flaxseeds, also known as linseeds, have multiple benefits. Flaxseeds are high in the the essential fatty acid Omega 3, lignans, fibre and protein.
Flaxseeds is the best source of omega 3 from vegetarian sources, as this nutrient is mainly found in fish. Omega 3 is essential for your brain, nervous system, immune system and reproductive system function. It helps to reduce inflammation and keep your cell membranes flexible and healthy.
Lignans are antioxidants which protect against heart disease, arthritis, cancer and other health issues. They are phytoestrogens, which means that they have a balancing effect on oestrogen levels in the body, balancing hormones and preventing disorders of the reproductive system.
Flaxseeds are high in soluble and insoluble fibre. This fibre has a lubricating effect in the digestive system, helping to relieve constipation, promote healthy bacteria levels and assists in the removal of toxins via the bowel.
Flaxseeds can be bought as the whole seed or as the oil. Avoid pre-ground flaxseed products such as flax meal and LSA, as the beneficial oils in the flaxseeds are very delicate and would have oxidised and gone rancid. Always buy flaxseeds oil cold pressed and from a fridge. Store your flaxseed oil in the refrigerator.
Make your own LSA using the recipe here.
Red dulse is a seaweed available form most good health food stores and organic markets. Unlike most other seaweeds, red dulse has a mild pleasant taste without the ocean like taste most other seaweeds have.
Sea vegetables are rich in nutrients, with dulse containing vitamins A, B1, B2, B3, B6, B12 and E as well as iron, calcium, potassium, magnesium, iodine, chromium, zinc and other trace elements.
It is great for vegetarians and a must for vegans as their diet is low in B12, which is not found in many plant products.
Iodine deficiency is very common due to the depletion of Australian soils, so adding some dulse to your diet can help to improve your levels of this essential nutrient, which is essential for thyroid health and breast cancer prevention.
Red dulse can be found in flakes or dried in larger pieces. The flakes can be sprinkled on salads, soups, stocks, savory dishes or used to ‘salt’ cooking water as in with rice or potatoes.
Make sure that you buy your dulse organic, to reduce the possibility of it being radiated which damages the vitamin content. Sea power are a good brand, available in most health food shops or online here.
Many people think of grapefruit as being sour and unpalatable – but they can actually be quite delicious if served correctly.
Grapefruits are packed full of powerful antioxidants such as vitamin C and citrus bioflavonoids. Pink or Ruby grapefruits are particularly high in antioxidants. They contain good levels of lycopene, the same antioxidant that gives tomatoes and watermelon their red hue.
Grapefruit helps detoxification, reduces allergies and boosts your immune system!
Many people eat grapefruit as part of their detoxification routine. Grapefruit is best to be consumed at night, after dinner as it down regulates phase one and up regulates phase 2 detoxification, which naturally occurs as you sleep.
Try eating half a grapefruit or drinking 200ml of unsweetened grapefruit juice an hour before bed.
To improve taste, try sprinkling cinnamon on your grapefruit, for an aromatic flavour. You could even sprinkle a little xylitol on top to make it sweeter if you like.
Buckwheat is a little known grain with great medicinal properties. Although the name contains ‘wheat’ buckwheat is in fact not a wheat at all, but an ancient gluten-free grain.
Buckwheat is one of the few grains that has alkaline properties, meaning that it has an antiinflammatory effect in the body, improving blood pH. This makes it useful for inflammatory disorders such as arthritis, autoimmune disease, endometriosis and diabetes.
Buckwheat is high in vitamin C and rutin, having powerful antioxidant activity. It is also a good source of protein, being high in the feel good amino acid tryptophan.
Buckwheat has been studied extensively, with its intake being linked to lower cholesterol levels, better cardiovascular health and lowered risk of diabetes. It also has been found to be beneficial for breast cancer and gall stone prevention.
You can buy buckwheat as a flour, the whole grains, in pasta and even as a pancake mix.
Try these ideas to include buckwheat in your diet:
- Use as a flour substitute in all your favourite recipes. This works especially well in sauces where a thickener is required.
- Make buckwheat pancakes! The Orgran one (available at coles) is great and really easy to use.
- Soak some groats (this is the grain with the husk removed) in water for 30 – 60 minutes.
- Rinse very well (until water runs clear).
- Drain and store anywhere out of direct sunlight at room temperature.
- Rinse and drain every 4-8 hours
- 2 or 3 times.
- Once you see the sprout growing out they are done. This should take 8-12 hours after your final rinse.
You can use the sprouts in salad or they make a yummy breakfast served with fruit, yoghurt and LSA YUM!
Beetroot has been used for centuries as a food, dye and even a source of sugar. It’s no wonder beetroot has been so popular – it’s packed with antioxidants, is great for detoxification and is a great source of energy.
The scarlet red colour of beetroot is due to a combination of betacyanin (yellow) and betaxanthin (purple) pigments. These phytochemicals are potent antioxidants, showing promise in studies for the prevention of cardiovascular disease and cancer.
Beetroot is also one of the highest sources of the nutrient betaine. Betaine helps with liver detoxification, stomach acid production and also improves mood boosting levels of serotonin, relaxing the mind. Betaine also helps increase levels of the amino acid carnitine, which helps with energy production and fat metabolism.
When most people think of beetroot they refer to the canned variety, but fresh is much better! Canned beetroot has added sugar, and has a lot of the goodness cooked out of it.
So how do you eat it fresh? There are several delicious ways that you can prepare whole beetroot.
The easiest way to prepare beetroot is to boil it. Trim the leaves off (if still attached) and put beets into a pot and cover with cold water. Bring to the boil and cook until you can stick a skewer or knife in easily.
Once cooled, peel the skin off with your hands by pushing gently – it should peel right off! Boiled beetroot is delicious cut into cubes and put into salads.
Another easy method, roasting beetroot is done like any other veggie. Put on a tray, coat with a little macadamia or olive oil and roast at around 180 degrees for 30-40 minutes. Stick a knife in to see if it is cooked.
Like boiled beetroot, you should be able to peel the skin off easily with your hands. Try making a beetroot puree or dip by adding tahini or yoghurt.
This method preserves the most antioxidants. Simply peel the skin off and grate. It works well to peel the skin off half and use the other half to hold on to. Grated beetroot is great in salads, and has a fresher flavour than cooked, try it!
Beetroot juice is a great source of antioxidants, and makes other vegetable juices taste sweeter. try with celery, carrot and cucumber – yum!