Elderberries

Nutrient Fact Sheet

Nutrient Fact Sheet Elderberries Loula Natural

Elderberries

Elderberry (also known as Sambucus) is a common, shrubby tree that grows to approximately ten feet tall and reveals yellow and white flowers in early summer, followed by strong blue or black berries which generally ripen around September. Reputated for their medicinal benefits Elderberries have been a folk remedy for centuries in North America, Europe, Western Asia, and North Africa (Elderberry’s use as a flu remedy dates back to ancient Roman times)and the medicinal benefits of elderberries are again being investigated and rediscovered.

They are primarily recognised as providing natural support for the immune system and is growing in popularity as an effective remedy against flu and other similar viruses. There is an off the shelf cough syrup derived from Elderberries or check out here for an even better home made one. You can also make these Elderberry and Kefir Gummies for a great immune boosting kid friendly snack

Elderberry Collage Loula Natural

The list of attributes that the Elderberry boasts makes interesting reading. The berries are similar to black berries, blueberries and other dark purple fruit and vegetables in their anti-oxidant properties. They contain concentrated amounts of vitamin C, flavinoids, fruit acids, and anthocyanic (which help protect against cell damage) pigments. They are also an excellent source for vitamins A and B which may help them to have antiviral properties. This berry works as a simple cleanser of the body as well as an antioxidant. Supporting the liver, immune and circulatory system.

Their high antioxidant activity may help to lower cholesterol, to improve vision, the circulatory system and also boost the immune system. Through boosting the immune and circulatory system it may promote profuse sweating which helps to manage fevers. Therefore with Elderberry consumption, flu symptoms have been seen to resolve and improve within days

 Bioflavonoids and other proteins in the juice may destroy the ability of cold and flu viruses to infect a cell. People with the flu who took elderberry juice have reported less severe symptoms and felt better much faster than those who did not.

They are also seen to be a diuretic, an anti-inflammatory, an anti-catarrh, and may act as a mild laxative.

With all these properties they have been used through the ages to help treat and support the body through;

Most inflammatory conditions including UTI’s (they also may have a mild diuretic effect)

bronchitis, catarrh, coughs, sore throats, fevers, influenza,

high cholesterol,

constipation,

neuralgia, rheumatism, sciatica,

skin disorders

and even hay fever (since they also contain quercetin). 

Nutrient Fact File Elderberries Loula Natural PinElderberry causes few side effects when used in recommended dosages for five days or less, However, for people using it for lengthy intervals and those who are pregnant may want to ask the advice of their health practitioner, preferably someone knowledgeable about herbs and their potential side effects.

Gelatin

Gelatin

Gelatin is the same structural protein, collagen in humans,  found in many animals including cows. Collagen is a fibrous protein that strengthens the body’s connective tissues and makes up almost one-third of the human body.

Gelatin is rich in foods like bone broths. It is obtained by boiling skin, tendons, ligaments, and/or bones with water. It is usually obtained from cows or pigs but fish can also be used and a vegan source is found through using a seaweed called agar agar.

The highest concentration is founds in pig’s and chicken feet and ox tails. All these used to be a large part of a traditional diet. Our ancestors relished every part of the animal including all the gelatin-rich bony and cartilaginous bits of the animal. But the increasing appetite for muscle meat meant these unfashionable cuts were forgotten and as a result much of this gelatin has vanished from the diet.

However our bodies’ need for it has not. Although collagen makes up about 50% of the protein in animals, the quantity in the muscle meats is considerably lower. It has a different amino acid profile than muscle meats — no tryptophan or cysteine, but a great deal of glycine and proline. These are both necessary for growth and renewal of cells. This helps with healing and supports skin and hair growth. Lowering our intake of gelatin and raising our intake of low-collagen muscle meats has changed the amino acid profile of the common diet.

“gelatin is not a complete protein source because it is deficient in tryptophan and low in methionine content, however the digestibility is excellent and it is often used in feeding invalids and the high level of lysine (4 %) is noteworthy. More controversially, studies have shown that the consumption of 7 to 10 g/day can significantly improve nail growth rate and strength (17) and it also promotes hair growth (18). Gelatin has also been shown to benefit arthritis sufferers in a large proportion of cases (19).” (source)

Because Gelatin has the ability to break down and rebuild, it is able to repair and re-form wherever it is needed. This also helps its digestibility. It also absorbs water so can help in digestive transit and can help to form stool.

Adding gelatin to your diet can help your body in many ways:

– Good for joints and can help joint recovery (As you get older, your body makes less collagen, and individual fibers become increasingly cross-linked with each other. You might experience this as stiff joints from less flexible tendons, or wrinkles due to loss of skin elasticity).

-Is one of the main component of bones. May help with bone density and strength.

– Can help tighten loose skin

– Supports skin, hair and nail growth

– Can improve digestion since it naturally binds to water and helps food move more easily though the digestive track. Potentially relieving constipation or diarrhea.

-Bacteria feeds on gelatin so is beneficial for the digestion as a prebiotic.

– A source of protein and its specific amino acids can help build muscle.It has 18 amino acids, 9 of which are essential.

-Glycine is reported to help liver function, especially in detoxification

-Lysine is utilized in muscle building and calcium absorption.

–  Has been associated with improved metabolism and reduced cellulite. Therefore it has been used in weight management.

 -Treatment for non-seasonal allergies. The anti-inflammatory and healing benefits of Gelatin may help heal leaky gut symptoms. 

-Has been said to help promote duration and quality of sleep.

Kefir Gummies Recipe Pic Loula Natural

I especially love slipping gelatin in homemade Kefir Gummies, porridge, smoothies, soups, stews, bolognaise and even in iced coffee to help my 2 kids get the protein they need.

References

http://www.gelatin-gmia.com/images/GMIA_Gelatin_Manual_2012.pdf

http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs10068-014-0011-x#page-1

http://www.naturalhealth365.com/food_news/gelatin.html

Sweet Potato

Nutrient Fact Sheet

Nutrient Fact File Sweet Potato Loula Natural

Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes are native to Central America and are one of the oldest vegetables known to man. It is documented that they may have been consumed since prehistoric times as  sweet potato relics have been discovered in some Peruvian caves. Christopher Columbus first brought sweet potatoes to Europe after his first voyage to the New World in 1492.

They have a creamy texture with a sweet, warm and a little spicey flavour that makes them ideal for savoury dishes. However they are also great in cakes, cookies, smoothies and even to make ice-cream. Although peak season for sweet potatoes is October to March, they are a vegetable that is readily available, inexpensive, and delicious.

Depending upon the variety, there are around 400 different ones, the skin and flesh of the sweet potato may be almost white, cream, yellow, orange, pink, or deep purple. The Japanese and Korean white/cream and American yellow-orange flesh are most common.

Although sometimes referred to as ‘yams’ in the USA, sweet potatoes belong to an entirely different food family. They are also very different from the common potato.  Sweet potatoes are far more nutrient dense and healing. Their properties and uses are diverse, and when you choose sweet potatoes as a dietary root vegetable, you are getting a truly unique and superior type of potato. Some of the benefits include

  • They are high in vitamin B6. Vitamin B6 helps reduce the chemical homocysteine in our bodies. Homocysteine has been linked to degenerative diseases, including the prevention of heart attacks.
  • They are a good source of vitamin C. While most people know that vitamin C is important to help ward off cold and flu viruses, few people are aware that this crucial vitamin also plays an important role in bone and tooth formation, digestion, and blood cell formation. It helps accelerate wound healing, produces collagen, which helps maintain skin’s youthful elasticity (sweet potatoes make us look young- bonus!), and is essential to helping us cope with stress. The anti-oxidant properties also may help to prevent cancer
  • They contain some Vitamin D which is critical for immune system and overall health at this time of year. Both a vitamin and a hormone, vitamin D is primarily made in our bodies as a result of getting adequate sunlight. Vitamin D plays an important role in our energy levels, moods, and helps to build healthy bones, heart, nerves, skin, and teeth, and may support the thyroid gland.
  • Sweet potato’s are full of beta-carotene’s good for eyesight, immune system and digestive health.
  • Sweet potatoes contain some iron. Most people are aware that we need the mineral iron to have adequate energy, but iron plays other important roles in our body, including red and white blood cell production, resistance to stress, proper immune functioning, and protein metabolism, among other things.
  • Sweet potatoes are a good source of magnesium, which is the relaxation and anti-stress mineral. Magnesium is necessary for healthy artery, blood, bone, heart, muscle, and nerve function.

Another interesting thing about sweet potatoes is the antioxidant capacity of all their parts. Recent research has shown differences in consuming the flesh versus skin of the sweet potato. Both producing different concentrations of anthocyanin antioxidants. Purple-fleshed sweet potatoes (when you can find them- Asia has them fairly regularly) are a fantastic source of anthocyanins (especially peonidins and cyanidins) as the darker and more vibrant the colour of a vegetable the more antioxidants they contain. In one study, the antioxidant activity in purple sweet potatoes was seen to be up to 3 times higher than that of blueberries.

Since they are not actually a potato so therefore not a deadly nightshade, sweet potato can actually have a healing effect on your digestive system rather than an irritating one. The fibres in the sweet potato actually feed the bacteria and are classed as fermentable as a prebiotic (food for bacteria). This therefore helps to create a more balanced bacterial environment in your digestive system. Thus giving a digestive healing effect with an immune boost too.

Finally most kids love sweet potato- it is a great first food, great in the lunch boxes cold and as hot chips at dinner time. A simple way to get some amazing nutrients into kids without too many arguments. Try them in smoothies, juices and soups for a smooth creamy consistency and natural sweetness.

Sweet potatoes are traditionally been baked, roasted or mashed, but they can also be added to risotto, pasta or curry. Here are my recipes;

Here are my mouth watering recipes;

 Here are some other amazing recipes;

Sweet Potato Spaghetti- Healthy Living How To
Sweet Potato Spaghetti- Healthy Living How To 
Dark Chocolate Brownies Renew Whole Health
Dark Chocolate Brownies Renew Whole Health
Fudgey Brownies Jules Fuel
Fudgey Brownies Jules Fuel
Pumpkin Sweet Potato Cupcakes Veggie Converter
Pumpkin Sweet Potato Cupcakes Veggie Converter
Sweet Potato Breakfast Cookies- The Paleo Mama
Sweet Potato Breakfast Cookies- The Paleo Mama
Sweet Potato Chocolate Cake Homemade Mommy
Sweet Potato Chocolate Cake Homemade Mommy
Sweet Potato Chocolate Chip Cookies Homemade Mommy
Sweet Potato Chocolate Chip Cookies Homemade Mommy
Chicken with Sweet Potato Curry Sauce- La Healthy Living
Chicken with Sweet Potato Curry Sauce- La Healthy Living
Sweet Potato Quiche-Grok Grub
Sweet Potato Quiche-Grok Grub
Sweet Potato Pancakes-Healy Real Food Vegetarian
Sweet Potato Pancakes-Healy Real Food Vegetarian
Sweet Potato Hash- Stupid easy paleo
Sweet Potato Hash- Stupid easy paleo
Sweet Potato Chips- Healy Real Food Vegetarian
Sweet Potato Chips- Healy Real Food Vegetarian
Sweet Potato Apple Pancetta Hash- Gutsy By Nature
Sweet Potato Apple Pancetta Hash- Gutsy By Nature
Sweet Potato and Banana Pie Smoothie-Green Thickies
Sweet Potato and Banana Pie Smoothie-Green Thickies
Sweet Potato Recovery Shake Stupid Easy Paleo
Sweet Potato Recovery Shake Stupid Easy Paleo
Sweet Potato Gratin- Meatified
Sweet Potato Gratin- Meatified
Sweet Potato Crackers- The Coconut Mama
Sweet Potato Crackers- The Coconut Mama
Chickpea Stuffed Sweet Potatoes The Coconut Mama
Chickpea Stuffed Sweet Potatoes The Coconut Mama
Squash and Sweet Potato Lasagna Veggie Converter
Squash and Sweet Potato Lasagna Veggie Converter
Spicy Lime Sweet Potato Mash- Popular Paleo
Spicy Lime Sweet Potato Mash- Popular Paleo
Raw Carrot and Sweet Potato soup with Spinach- Green Thickies
Raw Carrot and Sweet Potato soup with Spinach- Green Thickies
Paleo Hash- The Sprouting Seed
Paleo Hash- The Sprouting Seed
Organic Sweet Potato Chips Whole Lifestyle Nutrition
Organic Sweet Potato Chips Whole Lifestyle Nutrition
Make Your Own Sweet Potato Chips- Healthy Living How To
Make Your Own Sweet Potato Chips- Healthy Living How To
Loaded Sweet Potato Fries- The Sprouting Seed
Loaded Sweet Potato Fries- The Sprouting Seed
Creamy Sweet Potato Mash Stupid Easy Paleo
Creamy Sweet Potato Mash Stupid Easy Paleo
Chilli Lime Sweet Potato Fries Popular Paleo
Chilli Lime Sweet Potato Fries Popular Paleo
BBQ Pork Stuffed Sweet Potatoes-Primally Inspired
BBQ Pork Stuffed Sweet Potatoes-Primally Inspired
Apple Sweet Potato Bake Stupid Easy Paleo
Apple Sweet Potato Bake Stupid Easy Paleo
Autumn Spiced Sweet Potato Bread-Soundness of Body and Mind
Autumn Spiced Sweet Potato Bread-Soundness of Body and Mind
 

 

Brussel Sprouts

Nutrient Fact Sheet

Nutrient Fact File Brussel Sprouts Loula Natural

Brussel Sprouts

Although readily available almost year-round, the peak season for Brussels Sprouts is from September to March. Hence why many people associate with Christmas dinner as they’re always on the menu! They’re members of the cabbage family (brassica or cruciferous)―and they look like it, too. It is not certain where they came from or where they were first grown, but the first official description of them did appear in Belgium in the late 16th century, hence the name. They made their way to England in the mid-19th century and there gained great popularity. Today, the British (and Irish!) remain the world’s top consumers of Brussels sprouts.

They’re the sort of vegetable that divide opinion and people either love or hate them. The vegetable has a reputation for bitterness, but when properly cooked, sprouts offers complex flavour with a subtle crunch and almost nutty sweetness. When overcooked they lose flavour, texture and give off a strong odor, which probably puts people off. This smell is associated with glucosinolate sinigrin, an organic compound that contains sulphur: hence the smell. It also happens to be responsible for the cancer-fighting characteristics of Brussels sprouts.

I for one love them and my 4 year old daughter has recently declared them ‘her favorites at dinner, as we have had them quite a lot recently with them in plentiful supply in the supermarkets.

Brassica or cruciferous vegetables are highly regarded for their nutritional value. Vegetables included are cabbage, broccoli, cabbage, kale and turnips. Their properties have been widely researched and their role in oestrogen dominant cancer prevention and digestive and immune healing and strengthening is well known and they are enjoying renewed interest and of course recipes.

  • Vitamins A (cartenoids) and C, which may help against heart disease, cancer, and cataracts (1/2 cup of sprouts provides more than 80% of the recommended daily amount of vitamin C – way more than an orange for example)
  • Potassium, which may help to lower blood pressure and LDL cholesterol levels. 
  • Folate, which is necessary for normal tissue growth and may protect against cancer, heart disease, and birth defects
  • Iron, necessary for maintaining red blood cell count
  • Fiber, which aids in digestion and helps lower cholesterol (in Chinese medicine they are prescribed to improved digestive health). Can also support blood sugar levels
  • Selenium: associated with reduced risks of certain cancers, as well as increased male virility
  • All brassica family contain Indole-3-Carbinol which helps to break down oestrogen into its healing form (there are different forms of oestrogen one is cancer forming and the other cancer healing) and may also help repair DNA (read more about that here).
  • 3,3′-diindolylmethane (also know as DIM) is found in all Brassica vegetables. Which may contain potent antiviral, antibacterial and anticancer actions which can affect/boost the immune system. 
  •  Sulforaphane is a chemical compound found in the Sprouts (especially in broccoli sprouts but also in Brussel Sprouts) “induces the production of certain enzymes that can deactivate free radicals and carcinogens.” (source)

To simply cook them, trim any loose, yellow or damaged leaves, wash and then trim the base. Some people cut a cross in the base to make sure they cook evenly, but with smaller ones, it’s not necessary, as it can cause them to go mushy. Larger ones can be cut in half. Steam them for 10-15 minutes. Be sure to check them regularly so they don’t overcook as cooking times will vary, depending on size.

These vegetables also contain goitrogens, which may suppress thyroid function. This can interfere with those on hypothyroid medication. Like anything can be absolutely fine in moderation and cooking them can also reverse some of these goitrogenic actions (the 3,3′-diindolylmethane may be an anti-androgen which affects the hormones). In any doubt, please consult your practitioner trained in nutrition for further advice on your personal case.

Here is my favourite way of making them;

 

Brussel Sprouts with Bacon and Hazelnuts Loula Natural1

Here are some other recipes;

 

Roasted Rustic Brussel Sprouts- Dj Foodie
Roasted Rustic Brussel Sprouts- Dj Foodie
Roasted Brussel Sprouts- Low Carb One Day
Roasted Brussel Sprouts- Low Carb One Day
Roasted Brussel Sprouts with Honey and Currants-Homemade Mommy
Roasted Brussel Sprouts with Honey and Currants-Homemade Mommy
Roasted Brussel Sprouts-Cheeseslave
Roasted Brussel Sprouts-Cheeseslave
Roasted Brussel Sprouts and Broccoli- The Rising Spoon
Roasted Brussel Sprouts and Broccoli- The Rising Spoon
Roasted Beets Brussels Sprouts and Carrots- Gutsy By Nature
Roasted Beets Brussels Sprouts and Carrots- Gutsy By Nature
Roast Potato Brussel Sprouts and Bell Pepper with Sausage- The Rising Spoon
Roast Potato Brussel Sprouts and Bell Pepper with Sausage- The Rising Spoon
Pancetta Red Onion and Brussels Stupid Easy Paleo
Pancetta Red Onion and Brussels Stupid Easy Paleo
Garlic Ginger Brussel Sprouts- Stupid Easy Paleo
Garlic Ginger Brussel Sprouts- Stupid Easy Paleo
Chicken and Brussel Salad- Popular Paleo
Chicken and Brussel Salad- Popular Paleo
Brussels with Bacon and Aged Cheddar- Whole Green Love
Brussels with Bacon and Aged Cheddar- Whole Green Love
Brussels Sprouts Lemon Garlic Glaze-Healy Real Food Vegetarian
Brussels Sprouts Lemon Garlic Glaze-Healy Real Food Vegetarian
Brussel Sprouts with Pine Nuts- Thank Your Body
Brussel Sprouts with Pine Nuts- Thank Your Body
Brussel Sprouts with Cranberry Brown Butter- Oh Lardy
Brussel Sprouts with Cranberry Brown Butter- Oh Lardy
Brussel and Bacon Salad- The Sprouting Seed
Brussel and Bacon Salad- The Sprouting Seed
Balsamic Brussels Sprouts with Bacon- Peace Love and Low Carb
Balsamic Brussels Sprouts with Bacon- Peace Love and Low Carb
 

Homemade Dried Cranberries

Dried Cranberries Loula Natural

Homemade Dried Cranberries

There are so many fresh cranberries in the shops at the moment. I have been making lots of pots of cranberry and orange sauce to give as gifts this year but also wanted some dried cranberries to make my water kefir, add to our homemade muesli, crockpot oatmeal, to make cranberry energy balls and cranberry and orange cookies/muffins for my kids snacks. I had no idea I would be creating so many recipes from such a simple ingredient!

Cranberries are rich in anti-oxidants but are probably best known for containing proanthocyanidins (also found in apples, cacao, cinnamon, green/black tea, bilberries, blackberries, grape seed and acai). This nutrient is a tannin and supposedly acts as a barrier to help to prevent too many certain bacteria’s from sticking to the walls of the uterus and bladder hence why cranberries are often recommended in UTI infections. However it will also prevent the same thing happening in the stomach lining so can also be very useful in digestive healing and strengthening.

However the proanthocyanidins  have many other important roles such supporting the production of collagen to maintain elastin. These are the main components of connective tissue which makes up skin, organs (stomach and intestines for example), joints, blood vessels, and skeletal and smooth muscles. Cranberries have also been seen to be very active against cancer in terms of tumour growth and proliferation as it is seen to activate the natural inbuilt cell-death function.

Here is a great link to find more info on cranberries health benefits Drying the cranberries in the dehydrator helps to retain many of these health boosting nutrients whilst maintaining the complex flavour and goodness of the fruits in their natural form.

How to make Homemade Dried Cranberries

Ingredients

Packet of fresh cranberries (you could also use thawed frozen cranberries)

Directions

I simple cut the fresh cranberries in half (just to increase yield!) and added to my dehydrator tray. I dehydrated at 100 degrees F for 24 hours.

Use them as snacks in themselves or to make my water kefir, add to our homemade muesli, crockpot oatmeal, to make cranberry energy balls and cranberry and orange cookies/muffins for my kids snacks.  What do you use them for?

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