Monthly Archives - June 2017

Whole Foods Spotlight: Barley

Barley is an often overlooked member of the whole grains family. This is a shame because it contains a wealth of nutrients essential to our health. Our skin, bones, muscles, digestive system and more can benefit by adding more of this whole food into our diet and the parts of the plant can be used in many ways.

Barley grass is the seedling of the plant and the young shoots are rich in amino acids, antioxidants and chlorophyll which combats harmful toxins and detoxifies the body. Hulled barley (also known as pot or scotch) is eaten after removing the inedible outer hull. In this form it takes a long time to soak prior to cooking. Pearl barley is hulled and processed, the bran is removed and polished which lessens the cooking time but strips away so much of the nutritional value that it can no longer be considered a whole grain. There are also flakes and flours made from both hulled and pearl varieties.

Osteoporosis Prevention

The phosphorus found in barley promotes good health of bones and teeth. When it comes to calcium, this whole grain has milk beat, containing 11x greater calcium content! It also contains copper which may aid in reducing symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis by helping cell regeneration. Copper also supports collagen and elastin production, making bones and joints more flexible.

Immune System Boost

It has nearly twice as much Vitamin C than oranges and helps to reduce the chances of cold and flu. It also contains a good amount of iron, helping to prevent fatigue and anemia, regulates blood volume and aids in kidney function as well.

Healthy Skin

The selenium found in barley helps preserve skin elasticity and prevent loosening. Selenium works with vitamin E in the body to protect and strengthen the cell membranes, the protective coating around cells. It also helps with healing inflammation in the skin.

Intestinal Wellness

Finally, it is a great source of fiber and acts as a fuel source or prebiotic for the beneficial bacteria in our large intestine and the byproduct of it fermenting in our system creates butyric acid, the primary fuel for intestinal cells. The grain helps to protect the colon and helps to prevent the development of gallstones.

 

Barley, Spinach and Mushrooms

Barley Fried Rice with Marinated Shrimp

Slow-cooker Breakfast Barley

Whole Foods Spotlight – Cashews

 

Native to Brazil’s Amazon rain forest, cashew trees bear copious amounts of a false fruit called a cashew apple. Botanically, the nut we consume is a drupe or a stone fruit with a hard outer shell enclosing the edible kernel. Cashews spread throughout the world thanks to Indian and Portuguese explorers and is enjoyed both as a sweet snack and in the preparation of curries and other dishes.

They provide a host of valuable nutrients, vitamins and minerals that make them a great choice in a healthy diet. Particularly abundant is copper which is necessary for the production of hemoglobin, elastin and collagen and offer protection to nerve fibers. There are .6mg of copper in a one ounce serving of roasted cashews, around 30% of the recommended daily intake. They also offer magnesium, phosphorus, manganese, zinc, potassium, selenium and calcium.

Cashews sometimes get a bad rap for being high in fat. However, the fats contained within are essential, monounsaturated fatty acids which actually assist the body in lowering harmful LDL-cholesterol and increasing the good HDL cholesterol. Diets which include monounsaturated fatty acids help to prevent stroke and coronary artery disease.

Vitamin K, needed for proper blood clotting and preventing excessive bleeding, is also abundant in cashews. As is vitamin B6 which helps maintain a healthy nervous system, boost mood,balance blood sugar levels and acts as a natural pain reliever.

There are also antioxidant compounds in the nut, including proanthocyanidins which are being researched for their ability to stop the growth of certain cancer cells by preventing them from dividing. Cashews are of particular interest to researchers in the study of colon cancer.

The cashew and other nuts have also been researched for their ability to lower the risk of gallstones. The Nurses’ Health study collected dietary data on 80,000 women over a twenty year period and concluded that women who eat at least one ounce of nuts or nut butter each week have a 25% lower risk of developing gallstones.

Other than grabbing a handful as a snack or throwing some into a granola mix, there are plenty of delicious ways to incorporate cashews into your meal planning. Below are some links to delicious recipes that include cashews!

 

Slow Cooker Cashew Chicken

Crunchy Pea Salad with Bacon & Cashews

Pumpkin Chickpea Cashew Curry