Grapes are an ideal food to take to friends in hospital. They are superbly nourishing, and help to treat anaemia, arthritis, gout, rheumatism and fatigue. They are easy to assimilate so are very helpful for convalescents. Grapes are packed with antioxidants which protect against cancer, heart disease and circulatory problems.
Always wash them thoroughly and source organic. In India, when family and friends visit someone in hospital, they give the patient a massage instead of a gift. What a lovely idea!
Certain medications do not mix with grapefruit, so do check it out.If you are not taking any contra-indicated pills, grapefruit is a magnificent way to start your day! Half a grapefruit gives you your daily supply of Vitamin C. Check out pink grapefruits, too, which are sweeter. This fruit is an excellent source of potassium and bioflavanoids. These are important for your heart and circulation. The soluble fibre pectin helps with the elimination of cholesterol. Pink grapefruit gives you antioxidant caratenoids which helps to protect you from heart disease and cancer. Vitamin A, which is great for the skin, the mucous membranes and the immune system is derived from the betacarotene in grapefruits. All round good fruit!
Bearing in mind the foods that are kind to our bodies, selecting those that can help us to heal, and eating in a peaceful way, this is an excellent start. However, yoga postures will keep the abdomen toned and the digestive tract running smoothly.
Just one yoga posture a day can make an enormous difference. Try the ‘cat stretch and breath’ (Marjariasana). This exercise will keep your spine supple, will tone your abdomen and will offer you a moving meditation. Come on to all fours. Check that your wrists are dropping down straight beneath your shoulders. Check that your fingers are spread (take your index finger to your thumb if you suffer with migraines). Check that your knees are dropping straight down from your hips and that your big toes are stretching back and away. Now focus on the base of your spine. As you breathe in, turn up the tail, abdomen moves down, chest fills with air and the head moves up to look at the ceiling (on a soft neck.).As you breathe out, tuck under the tail, abdomen draws up, air leaves the chest and the chin comes in to touch the chest. Proceed like this. Everytime you breathe in, you dip the back, and everytime you breathe out you arch the back. Once you are focussed on your breathing, you will be uniting body, mind and breath. This is a great moving meditation, which will calm you and bring you into a peaceful place all of your own!
Ginger has been used in India and China as both a culinary and a medicinal plant since 5,000 B.C. In Indian Ayurvedic medicine, it is considered to be one of the most important remedies. It cures nausea, travel sickness, and morning sickness in pregnancy.It relieves sore throats, coughs, colds and bronchitis, and is great in a hot drink with honey. It has been proved that ginger is more effective in the treatment of arthritis than anti- inflammatory drugs.
Apparently, garlic was brought to Britain by Roman centurions who put fresh cloves between their toes to prevent foot rot! Of course, some of the used cloves took root and soon became firmly established. For centuries garlic was the most widely used medicinal plant in the world.New research has shown its benefits in heart and circulatory conditions, as it helps to eliminate cholesterol..It also reduces the amount of unhealthy fats which are produced by the liver. Athlete’s foot, constipation, diarrhoea, indigestion, bronchitis, cataarh, sore throats and colds can all be helped by garlic. And it’s great for flavouring Indian and Italian dishes!
Fennel tea is recommended for hot flushes. It has been used by the Greeks, the Romans, Anglo-Saxons and the American Puritans. It was a diet aid for Roman women, whilst the Puritans found that it staved off hunger during their long church services. Fennel tea is good for coughs, bronchitis, flatulence and digestive problems. It stimulates the liver and is a useful diuretic. It is helpful for kidney stones and cystitus. Seventeenth century herbalists recognised fennel as both a food and a medicine. It is often grown for its attractive feathery leaves. Try fennel tea as a change from coffee.
Dates have been a vital food crop for 5,000 years. They are a rich source of minerals and instant energy.They are rich in iron, and this is easily absorbed. Those suffering with anaemia and illnesses which produce chronic fatigue symptoms do very well on dates. The readily available energy is great fo all of us. So, dates are not just for Christmas, they’re for life!
Choosing foods which heal rather than harm you is adhering to the yogic principle of ahimsa.Eating in a calm, peaceful way is respecting the sattvic state of being. Cashew nuts are packed with soluble dietary fibre, vitamins, minerals and health-promoting phyto-chemicals that help protect us from diseases and cancers. They are rich in monounsaturated fatty acids which help lower harmful LDL cholesterol while increasing good HDL cholesterol. Cashew nuts supply manganese, potassium, copper, iron, magnesium, zinc and selenium. They are rich in the B vitamins and an enzyme which is particularly helpful for the eyes. One of my students told me that a handful of cashew nuts per day is equivalent to one Prozac tablet!
Caraway seeds prevent wind and indigestion. It is an aromatic herb and in many parts of Europe folk chew a few seeds before a meal. Adding seeds to bean and cabbage dishes prevents flatulence. You’ll often find caraway seeds as an ingredient of children’s cough medicine. Herbal folk-lore recommends caraway to be used as a mild diuretic and to increase the production of breast-milk. Chewing the seeds freshens the breath!
Two sticks of celery only contain seven calories! This vegetable is rich in potassium which helps to maintain healthy blood pressure. Celery also helps the kidneys to function efficiently and to hasten the excretion of waste. It contains an anti-inflammatory agent which can relieve gout. It was used in the Orient to treat hyper-tension. Steaming or lightly boiling celery helps to reduce nitrate levels. And it is delicious!