Natural Health

#TBT – Rosemary – History and Benefits

Spices, herbs, tinctures and essential oils have been used for millennia to season our food, heal our bodies and boost our spirits. In our Throwback Thursday (#TBT) series, we at re:iimmune will take you back in history to learn how these gifts from Mother Nature have been used. We’ll focus on their use through the ages and beneficial purposes in regard to nutrition, natural health and household care. This week it’s the refreshing memory enhancer, Rosemary!

Native to the Mediterranean and Asia, rosemary or rosmarinus officinalis derives from the latin words for “dew” (ros) and “sea” (marinus) meaning “dew of the sea.”  Throughout time, this woody fragrant herb with evergreen like “needles” for leaves has been valued for its invigorating scent, for culinary enhancement and medicinal qualities. During the Middle Ages it was thought to be a love charm. Often, brides would wear a headpiece made of the herb. It has long been associated with improving memory and used as a symbol for remembrance for the dearly departed. Interestingly enough, modern studies are showing that the herb does positively enhance memory, speed and accuracy and helps keep one alert.

Rosemary has traditionally been used to improve circulation and is often used in massage to help decrease muscle cramps and soreness. Suffer from cold hands and feet? Mix a bit of rosemary oil into a carrier oil and use it to massage these areas regularly. It aids in circulation, so using it for massage is a wonderful. Even just inhaling the scent is ideal for helping to relieve migraines and headaches. If battling a cold, you might want to make yourself a rosemary tea. The eucalyptol within rosemary aids in loosening chest congestion and since it’s rich in anti-inflammatory tannins it also helps to soothe a sore throat.

If dandruff is an issue for you, try mixing a few drops of rosemary oil into your shampoo. However don’t apply the oil directly to your scalp as that could cause additional flaking. For centuries it’s been used, especially in the Mediterranean region, to stimulate hair growth.

In the garden, rosemary is a solid butterfly attractor and it helps ward off mosquitos! It likes very well drained soil and enough room to grow and can reach 4 feet high and spread out over 4 feet. Pruning it will help to keep it from getting lanky and it’s often used in topiary gardens as it holds beautiful shapes. It can also be grown in smaller containers both indoors and outdoors.

Last but not least, rosemary is a beautiful herb to cook with, perfectly pairing with meat, potatoes and other root vegetables, as well as enhancing many desserts. Along with the smell of pine trees, cinnamon and peppermint, rosemary is one of those scents closely associated with the holidays and all the comfort foods of the winter season.

Orange Upside Down Cake with Rosemary

DIY Mini Rosemary Wreath Garland

Lavender Rosemary Wax Melts

Eye Health and Nutrition

 

In regards to eye health, you have probably heard “Eat your carrots, they’re good for your eyes!” from mom several times throughout childhood. There are several foods that contain vitamins and nutrients essential for eye health. Protect your peepers by consuming more of the following. . .

Brightly colored Fruits and Vegetables – Yes, carrots are on the list of top foods for eye health. So are bell peppers, strawberries, pumpkin, corn and canteloupe and other yellow, orange and red fruit and veggies. Carotenoids are the compounds responsible for this bright coloring and help decrease the risk of many eye diseases. The Vitamin C found in many of these fruits and vegetables also lowers your risk of developing cataracts. Mom was right! Carrots and other foods which contain Vitamin A or retinol help your body to synthesize a pigment in your eyes that operates in low light conditions called rhodopsin. Vitamin A deficiency can lead to night blindness.

FishCold-water fish such as salmon, tuna, sardines and mackerel are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which offer protection against dry eyes, macular degeneration and cataracts. Tuna, Salmon, anchovies and trout have high levels of a type of omega 3 called DHA, a fatty acid esential for the health of the retinas but one that our bodies don’t make efficiently. We need to replenish DHA with food rich in this nutrient.  Low levels of DHA are linked to dry eye syndrome.

Nuts – Pistachios, walnuts, almonds are also rich in omega-3 fatty acids and also offer healthy doses of vitamin E for eye health. Vitamin E helps protect membranes of cells throughout the body against free radicals, including parts of the eye. Cataracts may be formed due to oxidation in the lens of the eye and Vitamin E offers preventative help.

Leafy Greens – Spinach, kale, collard greens and seaweed are rich in luteins, nicknamed the “eye vitamin” as it is incredibly important for eye health. When we consume foods rich in lutein it is deposited in high quantities in the retina. It helps to fight free radical damage caused by exposure to sunlight, reduces eye fatigue and light sensitivity, protects against the development of cataracts. and halts the growth of cancerous cells. Lutein can also be found in those brightly colored fruits and veggies mentioned above!

Eggs – Another great source of both lutein and Vitamin A to protect against night blindness, dry eyes and general eye health and function.

Legumes – Kidney beans, black-eyed peas and lentils are good sources of zinc which assists the body in absorption of Vitamin A and reduce one’s risk of macular degeneration.

#TBT – Thyme – History and Benefits

Spices, herbs, tinctures and essential oils have been used for millennia to season our food, heal our bodies and boost our spirits. In our Throwback Thursday (#TBT) series, we at re:iimmune will take you back in history to learn how these gifts from Mother Nature have been used. We’ll focus on their use through the ages and beneficial purposes in regard to nutrition, natural health and household care. This week the focus is on the powerful protector and palate pleaser: thyme!

Thyme, the most common variety being Thymus vulgaris, is an evergreen herb with a fragrance Rudyard Kipling described as being, “like dawn in paradise.” There are a couple of possible origins for the name. It may be derived from the Greek thumos and/or the Latin fumus, which both mean “smoke” or the Greek word thumos can also signify courage. The Greeks burnt the herb as incense in their temples believing it a source of courage. Later, during the Middle Ages, ladies would give knights and warriors gifts embroidered with a bee hovering over a spray of thyme as a symbol of protection. Danish and German folklore listed wild thyme patches as a place favorable to find fairies.

Thyme does have some powerfully protective disinfecting and deodorizing properties. The disinfecting qualities of thymol, a primary component of the oil, has been useful in treating psoriasis, eczema and ringworm. It’s also useful in dental care, traditionally used to treat tooth decay, gingivitis, plaque and bad breath as it helps to kill germs. It can help keep those outdoor pests away too and treat the bites you may suffer from the little critters. For women, it’s been used to help improve progesterone production and relieve the symptoms of PMS and menopause. Thyme is also a powerful immune system booster, encouraging white blood cell formation and increasing resistance to germs and bacteria. This makes it a great herb to use in your defense during cold and flu season.

As for its culinary uses, it’s best known for flavoring meat dishes, soups and stews. In some parts of the Middle East it’s a vital ingredient for the condiment za’atar. Thyme is also a component of the bouquet garni and Herbes de Provence. It can be used fresh or dried and in its dried form it retains its flavour better than most other herbs.

DIY Lemon Thyme Upholstery and Carpet Deodorizer

Honey Roasted Beets with Balsamic and Thyme

Eczema Skin Salve DIY

#TBT – Rose – History and Benefits

Spices, herbs, tinctures and essential oils have been used for millennia to season our food, heal our bodies and boost our spirits. In our Throwback Thursday (#TBT) series, we at re:iimmune will take you back in history to learn how these gifts from Mother Nature have been used. We’ll focus on their use through the ages and beneficial purposes in regard to nutrition, natural health and household care. In honor of Valentine’s Day we are focusing on the rose!

Fossil evidence dates the rose as 35 million years old and there are around 150 species spread through the world. The Chinese were most likely the first culture to begin garden cultivation of roses, some 5,000 years ago. Throughout time the rose has come to symbolize romantic love and you are bound to love some of the surprising health benefits of this sweet smelling queen of flowers.

Dietary Benefits

Rose hips, the flowers which have swollen to seed are commonly used in tea and have been used throughout the ages to aid in relieving bladder infections, menstrual cramps and diarrhea. They are an excellent source of Vitamin C, a natural antioxidant which can block some of the damage that can result from exposure to toxins and helps to support the immune system The flower petals are also edible and can be mixed into salads! The petals contain polyphenols which research shows help to prevent cardiovascular disease as well as osteoporosis.

Skin and Hair Health

Rosewater is a perfect choice for sensitive and irritated skin. Along with balancing out oily skin, softening, deep cleansing and toning the skin, rosewater also provides relief from irritation and itching. Those battling acne will want to reach for the rosewater as it contains antibacterial properties to dry up the acne, a natural antiseptic called phenyl ethanol and its a good moisturizer to boot! Rose essential oil is also useful in maintaining a healthy scalp and hair and many swear by it’s ability to prevent hair loss.

Aromatherapy

No wonder the rose has become such a symbol of romance and considered an aphrodisiac. The scent of rose essential oil is known to boost the libido and reduce symptoms of sexual dysfunction. The oil has also been used to treat depression, stress, anxiety and headaches.

Ready to reap the rewards of the rose? Here are some links you might want to check out. . .

Rose Petal Iced Tea

Rosehip Jam

Homemade Rosewater

Whole Foods Spotlight – Orange

“One cannot think well, love well, sleep well if one has not dined well” – Virginia Woolf

It is in this spirit that we present re:iimmune’s new blog series “Whole Foods Spotlight” where we will focus in on a specific whole food, its nutritional benefits and provide you with a few links to some tasty recipes that may inspire you to add more of that particular food into your diet. 

After all, good health begins with good nutrition! Today it’s all about the juicy, sweet orange!

The first wild ancestor of the sweet orange we are familiar with today probably evolved in Australia and New Guinea. These early citron fruits made it to the Asian continent and spread west toward Africa. Citrons have been found in Egyptian tomb paintings from 1000 BC.  These fruits were not juicy and people mainly ate the rind of the fruit and used it for perfumes. Very early on it was used in India as a treatment for scurvy (Vitamin C deficiency). However, these citrons are not the ancestors of the modern orange. Either Chinese or Indian food scientists bred the pomelo and mandarin together sometime around 314 BC and developed both the bitter orange and the more familiar to Western culture, sweet orange. The word orange is derived from “naranga”, the word for orange trees in India. As oranges spread their way across the world throughout the centuries they have been prized for their sweet, juiciness and many health benefits.

Immune Support and Digestive Health

High Vitamin C content means oranges are a fantastic choice to drive away nasty germs and bugs and preventing colds, flu and ear infections. Vitamin C is also aids in the prevention of ulcers and the high fiber content of oranges ensure a healthy colon. Fiber also helps to reduce constipation and diarrhea.

Vision Protection

Loaded with carotenoids, oranges are a great choice in preventing night blindness and macular degeneration.

Healthy Skin

Sweet Orange Oil has been touted for its ability to stimulate collagen production, easing inflammation and improving the flow of blood to the skin and clearing clogged pores.

Heart Health

Oranges contain hesperidin which has been shown to lower both high blood pressure and cholesterol in animal studies. Most of this phytonutrient can be found in the peel and inner white pulp of the orange so it’s benefits are lost when the fruit is processed into juice. Vitamin C also helps to prevent arteriosclerosis which is hardening of the arteries.

Hopefully reading this made you long for an orange as much as writing it did for me! I’m off to peel one now. Hope you enjoy the links below . . .

Sliced Fennel, Orange and Almond Salad

20 Orange Essential Oil Uses

Make Your Own Dried Orange Peel

DIY Bath Salts/Benefits of Epsom Salt

Epsom Salt has many therapeutic qualities! Today we’ve got some reasons why this mineral compound, comprised of magnesium and sulfate, does wonders for the body and why you should incorporate a good soak in them to your wellness routine. We’ll also share some links to homemade bath salt recipes so you can try making your own concoctions to give to friends and family and enjoy yourself.

Magnesium deficiency is all too common and soaking in epsom salt can naturally boost internal levels of magnesium as it’s easily absorbed through the skin. This benefits many bodily functions including muscle control, boosting energy levels and the ability to eliminate harmful toxins. Epsom Salt also works to alleviate muscle tension, joint pain from inflammation and speeds up healing from bruises and sprains. Researchers have found that magnesium deficiency also has a profound effect on stress so a nice long soak in Epsom salt relaxes the muscles and the mind.

Epsom Salt also works wonders as a natural exfoliant to keep skin soft and smooth. It’s not as harsh as typical sodium chloride (table) salt so it’s less drying and irritating. The coarse texture is ideal for removing dead skin and it’s anti-inflammatory properties prevent irritation. You can also use it on hair that is prone to being oily in order to get more volume.  To do this, mix equal parts conditioner and Epsom salt and warming it in a pan. Work the warm mixture through your hair, leave on for 20 minutes then rinse thoroughly.  

Finally, it just feels heavenly to take a nice long soak in the tub! Here are links to several simple bath salt recipes for you to try out.

Lavender Mint Bath Salts

DIY Bath Bombs with Epsom Salt

Pink Lemonade Herbal Bath Fizzy

Candy Cane Bath Salts

Sinus Congestion Bath Soak

Vanilla Chai Scrub

Whole Foods Spotlight – Chickpeas

“One cannot think well, love well, sleep well if one has not dined well” – Virginia Woolf

It is in this spirit that we present re:iimmune’s new blog series “Whole Foods Spotlight” where we will focus in on a specific whole food, its nutritional benefits and provide you with a few links to some tasty recipes that may inspire you to add more of that particular food into your diet. After all, good health begins with good nutrition. . .including fiber rich chickpeas!

Chickpeas, also known as garbanzo beans or ceci, were one of the earliest cultivated legumes. Remains of chickpeas dating 7,500 years ago have been found in the Middle East where they remain a staple of the region’s various cuisines and they are enjoyed around the rest of the world as well. In fact, it’s the world’s second most widely grown legume just behind the soybean. Today, they are only found in the wild in areas of Turkey and Syria and it was likely domesticated there around 11,000 years ago.

Considered both a vegetable and protein, chickpeas are a staple in most vegetarian diets and are a great source of minerals including magnesium, manganese, copper and zinc. A 1 cup serving provides 270 calories, 4 grams of fat, 15 grams of protein and 13 grams of fiber. Fiber is one of many reasons to add this nutty legume to your diet. The average person needs about 21 to 38 grams of fiber a day and that serving of chickpeas meets about a third of your daily need. Fiber not only helps to keep you regular but chickpeas also contain soluble fiber which helps to lower bad cholesterol and thereby reduces hypertension and protects against heart disease.

You can find chickpeas dried, precooked/canned or precooked/frozen but many say that making them from scratch (in their dried form) leads to the best flavor and texture. If you do use the canned variety, be sure to rinse them thoroughly to remove excess sodium. If cooking the dried variety, be sure to soak them as you would any dried bean overnight prior to cooking them. This makes them more digestible, decreases cooking time and aids in nutrient absorption.

Need some recipe ideas to get you going? We’ve included links to a few recipes featuring the magnificent chickpea below!

Easy Chana Masala

Chickpea Avocado Feta Salad

Roasted Carrot and Garlic Hummus

#TBT – Lavender – History and Benefits

Spices, herbs, tinctures and essential oils have been used for millennia to season our food, heal our bodies and boost our spirits. In our Throwback Thursday (#TBT) series, we at re:iimmune will take you back in history to learn how these gifts from Mother Nature have been used. We’ll focus on their use through the ages and beneficial purposes in regard to nutrition, natural health and household care. Today we focus on the sweet benefits of lavender!

One of the most popular herbs/flowers on the planet, lavender is believed to originate from the Meditteranean and parts of the Middle East and India. The name lavender has its roots in in the Roman word “lavare” which means “to wash” as it was used frequently to scent baths, hair and beds. The herb, which is a member of the mint family and contains high amounts of camphor, is known for deterring mice, fleas, mosquitos and other pests. Through the years, it gained quite  a reputation with ancient herbalists for its disinfecting and sanitizing abilities and it’s many healing qualities.

Here are some fun facts and uses for lavender . . .

  • In the language of flowers, lavender is associated with devotion, luck and success
  • High quality honey is often made from the nectar of the flowers
  • Most plants produce blue or purple flowers but there are some pink and yellow varieties
  • The herb is often used to promote sleepiness and calm relaxation
  • Lavender buds are covered in fine hairs which is where the oil comes from, extracted in a process called distillation
  • The plants do not produce seeds and are propagated by cutting or root divisions.
  • It is drought tolerant and can thrive even in very high temperatures
  • Lavender plants will attract bees and butterflies to your yard
  • A few whiffs of the oil are said to help with dizziness
  • According to some studies, in high doses it can destroy many common bacteria such as pneumococcus, streptococcus, diphtheria and typhoid
  • Highly beneficial in relieving muscle tension, aches, soreness and headaches
  • Used often in cooking meats and sweets, it’s part of the popular blend Herbes du Provence

 

DIY Lavender Sleep Balm

DIY Hand Sanitizer and Antiseptic Spray

Lavender Lemon Bars

2016 Health and Wellness Books

Did you receive a gift card this holiday season to the local bookstore? Today we offer up a few of the health and wellness books that came out in 2016 that you might want to check out! All descriptions are via each publisher’s website. Here’s to a healthy and happy 2017 and more great books to read!

 

Essential Oils Every Day: Rituals and Remedies for Healing, Happiness, and Beauty

Hope Gillerman – Harper Collins Books

“From Hope Gillerman, founder of the aromatherapy line H. Gillerman Organics, an indispensable guide to the fundamentals of one of our most ancient and aromatic healing tools, essential oils—nature’s most concentrated plant medicines.

Fragrant and wonderfully sensual, one hundred times more concentrated than dried herbs, essential oils are the ultimate in luxurious natural self-care. Pairing pleasure with potent healing, essential oils have been a therapeutic treatment of choice for thousands of years, from ancient Egyptian rituals to Chinese medicine, Ayurvedic treatments, and Aromatherapy. But while essential oils are accessible, versatile, and beautiful, few of us know how simple it is to harness their power.

Enter Hope Gillerman, founder of H. Gillerman Organics, a line of essential oil remedies beloved by celebrities, the fashion elite, and leaders of holistic healing. With passion and unparalleled expertise, Hope takes readers on a lively tour through the science and history of essential oils. Carefully culling the hundreds of oils out there to introduce readers to the forty truly must-have oils for home use, from lavender to jasmine and eucalyptus, she provides clear, quick, and easy-to-follow techniques for integrating them into daily life—as simple as breathing.

From topical applications for aromatic healing to crafting homemade blends, Essential Oils Every Day is a practical, beautiful guide to all the ways the power of essential oils will transform your everyday: better breathing; improved relaxation and focus; sounder sleep; healthier travel; natural beauty; and spiritual uplift.”

Eat Complete: The 21 Nutrients That Fuel Brainpower, Boost Weight Loss, and Transform Your Health

Drew Ramsey, M.D. – Harper Collins

“Named one of the top health and wellness books for 2016 by Well + Good and MindBodyGreen

From leading psychiatrist and author of Fifty Shades of Kale comes a collection of 100 simple, delicious, and affordable recipes to help you get the core nutrients your brain and body need to stay happy and healthy.

What does food have to do with brain health? Everything.

Your brain burns more of the food you eat than any other organ. It determines if you gain or lose weight, if you’re feeling energetic or fatigued, if you’re upbeat or depressed. In this essential guide and cookbook, Drew Ramsey, MD, explores the role the human brain plays in every part of your life, including mood, health, focus, memory, and appetite, and reveals what foods you need to eat to keep your brain—and by extension your body—properly fueled.

Drawing upon cutting-edge scientific research, Dr. Ramsey identifies the twenty-one nutrients most important to brain health and overall well-being—the very nutrients that are often lacking in most people’s diets. Without these nutrients, he emphasizes, our brains and bodies don’t run the way they should.

Eat Complete includes 100 appetizing, easy, gluten-free recipes engineered for optimal nourishment. It also teaches readers how to use food to correct the nutrient deficiencies causing brain drain and poor health for millions. For example:

  • Start the day with an Orange Pecan Waffle or a Turmeric Raspberry Almond Smoothie, and the Vitamin E found in the nuts will work to protect vulnerable brain fat (plus the fiber keeps you satisfied until lunch).
  • Enjoy Garlic Butter Shrimp over Zucchini Noodles and Mussels with Garlicky Kale Ribbons and Artichokes, and the zinc and magnesium from the seafood will help stimulate the growth of new brain cells.
  • Want to slow down your brain’s aging process? Indulge with a cup of Turmeric Cinnamon Hot Chocolate, and the flavanols found in chocolate both increase blood flow to the brain and help fight age-related memory decline.

Featuring fifty stunning, full-color photographs, Eat Complete helps you pinpoint the nutrients missing from your diet and gives you tasty recipes to transform your health—and ultimately your life.”

 

The Sleep Revolution: Transforming Your Life, One Night At A Time

Arianna Huffington, Penguin/Random House

“We are in the midst of a sleep deprivation crisis, writes Arianna Huffington, the co-founder and editor in chief of The Huffington Post. And this has profound consequences – on our health, our job performance, our relationships and our happiness. What is needed, she boldly asserts, is nothing short of a sleep revolution.  Only by renewing our relationship with sleep can we take back control of our lives.

In her bestseller Thrive, Arianna wrote about our need to redefine success through well-being, wisdom, wonder, and giving. Her discussion of the importance of sleep as a gateway to this more fulfilling way of living struck such a powerful chord that she realized the mystery and transformative power of sleep called for a fuller investigation.

The result is a sweeping, scientifically rigorous, and deeply personal exploration of sleep from all angles, from the history of sleep, to the role of dreams in our lives, to the consequences of sleep deprivation, and the new golden age of sleep science that is revealing the vital role sleep plays in our every waking moment and every aspect of our health – from weight gain, diabetes, and heart disease to cancer and Alzheimer’s.  

In The Sleep Revolution, Arianna shows how our cultural dismissal of sleep as time wasted compromises our health and our decision-making and undermines our work lives, our personal lives – and even our sex lives. She explores all the latest science on what exactly is going on while we sleep and dream.  She takes on the dangerous sleeping pill industry, and all the ways our addiction to technology disrupts our sleep. She also offers a range of recommendations and tips from leading scientists on how we can get better and more restorative sleep, and harness its incredible power.

In today’s fast-paced, always-connected, perpetually-harried and sleep-deprived world, our need for a good night’s sleep is more important – and elusive — than ever. The Sleep Revolution both sounds the alarm on our worldwide sleep crisis and provides a detailed road map to the great sleep awakening that can help transform our lives, our communities, and our world.”

 

Eat Dirt: Why Leaky Gut May Be the Root Cause of Your Health Problems and 5 Surprising Steps to Cure it

Dr. Josh Axe – Harper Collins

Doctor of Natural Medicine and wellness authority Dr. Josh Axe delivers a groundbreaking, indispensable guide for understanding, diagnosing, and treating one of the most discussed yet little-understood health conditions: leaky gut syndrome.

Do you have a leaky gut? For 80% of the population the answer is “yes”—and most people don’t even realize it. Leaky gut syndrome is the root cause of a litany of ailments, including: chronic inflammation, allergies, autoimmune diseases, hypothyroidism, adrenal fatigue, diabetes, and even arthritis.

To keep us in good health, our gut relies on maintaining a symbiotic relationship with trillions of microorganisms that live in our digestive tract. When our digestive system is out of whack, serious health problems can manifest and our intestinal walls can develop microscopic holes, allowing undigested food particles, bacteria, and toxins to seep into the bloodstream. This condition is known as leaky gut syndrome.

In Eat Dirt, Dr. Josh Axe explains that what we regard as modern “improvements” to our food supply—including refrigeration, sanitation, and modified grains—have damaged our intestinal health. In fact, the same organisms in soil that allow plants and animals to flourish are the ones we need for gut health. In Eat Dirt, Dr. Axe explains that it’s essential to get a little “dirty” in our daily lives in order to support our gut bacteria and prevent leaky gut syndrome. Dr. Axe offers simple ways to get these needed microbes, from incorporating local honey and bee pollen into your diet to forgoing hand sanitizers and even ingesting a little probiotic-rich soil.

Because leaky gut manifests differently in every individual, Dr. Axe also identifies the five main “gut types” and offers customizable plans—including diet, supplement, and lifestyle recommendations—to dramatically improve gut health in just thirty days. With a simple diet plan, recipes, and practical advice, Eat Dirt will help readers restore gut health and eliminate leaky gut for good.

Whole Foods Spotlight: Black Eyed Peas

“One cannot think well, love well, sleep well if one has not dined well” – Virginia Woolf

It is in this spirit that we present re:iimmune’s new blog series “Whole Foods Spotlight” where we will focus in on a specific whole food, its nutritional benefits and provide you with a few links to some tasty recipes that may inspire you to add more of that particular food into your diet. After all, good health begins with good nutrition! This week we focus on the protein/potassium powerhouse.  . . black eyed peas!

If you are from the southern United States, chances are you’ll have your black eyed peas on New Year’s for good luck. If you don’t know about this tradition, check out this article on americanfood.about.com . Today we want to share some of the amazing health benefits packed in this powerful little pea, which is actually a bean.

Black eyed peas are used in cuisines throughout the world. In the southern region of the United States, “Hoppin’ John” is perhaps the traditional dish folks would have on New Year’s to ensure their luck. In Portugal, black eyed peas accompany cod and potatoes. Egyptians call them “lobia” and use them in very popular rice dish cooked with garlic, onions, tomato juice and meat.  Meanwhile, in Vietnam they are used in a sweet sticky rice and coconut milk dessert called chè đậu trắng and in India they are used in many ways, including a curry made with black eyed peas and potatoes. A popular traditional street food of Brazil is called akara, which originates from Nigeria. The black eyed peas are peeled, mashed and then the paste is used to form balls which are then deep fried. They are usually served split in half and stuffed with Vatapá (a dish made of bread, shrimp, coconut milk, finely ground peanuts and palm oil mashed into a creamy paste) and a condiment called caruru which is made from okra, onion, shrimp, palm oil and peanuts or cashews. Akara is topped with diced green and red tomatoes, fried sun-dried shrimp and homemade hot sauce. There are so many delicious ways to use this simple little bean!

Not only are black eyed peas delicious, they are highly nutritious. They are packed with potassium and protein. Potassium helps to regulate blood pressure which lowers your risk of heart disease and it supports muscle and bone health too. Getting cramps in your legs or feet? Foods rich in potassium are the first things to reach for. As for protein, they are a smart alternative for those who don’t eat meat. Protein supports the health of most of the parts of your body including muscles, skin, hair and nails and it also helps your cells repair and grow while providing you with energy.  Dried black-eyed peas contain 6.7 g of protein per ½ cup and the same size serving of canned black eyed peas contain 5.7 g.  Be sure to rinse canned beans of any kind to reduce sodium and to help prevent problems with flatulence. They are a great high fiber, low calorie food to rely on if you are trying to achieve or maintain a healthy weight.

We already provided a couple of links to some seriously great black eyed pea recipes above but here are a few more very simple ways to incorporate more of this whole food into your diet. . .

Black Eyed Peas and Dill Potato Skillet

Hot Black Eyed Pea Dip

Black Eyed Pea Salad