Wonderful walnuts

Walnuts are a wonderful health-giving and nutritious snack. They provide protein, slow-release energy, potassium, magnesium, copper, zinc, and vitamins B6 and E. The oil contained in walnuts is very special. There is seven times more polyunsaturated fat than saturated fat. This in conjunction with the antioxidant properties of walnuts makes them an ideal treatment for anyone with heart, circulatory, high blood pressure and cholesterol problems.

Spanish and American scientists have discovered that eating a handful of walnuts a day significantly lowers cholesterol levels.

Engraved clay tablets dating from 2,000 B.C. showed walnuts growing in the hanging gardens of Babylon! And the Greeks and Romans treated them as a royal food. The most widely grown variety is the English walnut. I well remember my dad cracking walnuts at Christmastime, when I was a little girl. Add them to your shopping list this week…

Seeds

I have pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds on my breakfast each morning. In addition to nuts, cereals and pulses, seeds contain protein. They are a good source of vitamins E and B, and are full of dietary fibre. This is great for keeping the bowels regular.

Seeds make a useful contribution to soups, salads and casseroles. They are also a great snack when you are out and about.

Pumpkin seeds contain iron for healthy blood, magnesium for maintaining healthy cells and zinc for growth and development. Zinc aids the immune system, too.

Sunflower seeds are a useful source of vitamin E and an acid known as linoleic. This is necessary for the maintenance of cell membranes.

Sesame seeds contain vitamin E and calcium.

Sweet potatoes

I got into sweet potatoes big-time when we lived in the States. They are very popular in the Caribbean, and date back a long way. Indeed, Columbus brought them to Europe, and you will find them in every supermarket in England now.

Sweet potatoes contain starch, which is energy. They provide some protein, vitamin C, vitamin E and a huge amount of carotenoids, including betacarotene. They are considered to be strong in combating cancer.

Sweet potatoes are delicious in homemade juice. Try combining apple, celery, carrot and sweet potato.

Mashing this delicious vegetable with others, such as ordinary potatoes, parsnips or swede, is a great way to introduce them to children. Get them organically grown if you can.

Rice

Rice is the staple food for half the world’s population. It provides energy and protein. It originated in southern Asia and has been cultivated in India and China for 6,500 years.

Rice is used in natural medicine to cure digestive problems. The BRAT diet is enormously helpful for curing bouts of diarrhoea. The B is for bananas, the R is for white rice, the A for apples, and the T for white toast. I had occasion to try this last summer, and it really works!

New research suggests that eating rice bran may reduce the risk of bowel cancer. Certainly it helps to alleviate diverticulitis. I have always believed that brown rice is better for you than white, but too much brown rice can inhibit the absorption of calcium and iron.