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Garlic

Vamoos, vampires! I have garlic! Prolific in folklore and folk medicine, garlic can do just about anything. What about COVID-19? If only….

Garlic:

  • Is low in calories and rich in vitamin C, vitamin B6 and manganese
  • Reverses early heart disease by removing plaque buildup in arteries
  • Prevents and reduces the severity of common illnesses like the flu and common cold
  • Improves blood pressure for those with known high blood pressure (hypertension)
  • Reduces total and LDL cholesterol, particularly in those who have high cholesterol
  • Contains antioxidants that protect against cell damage and aging. It may reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.
  • Reduces lead toxicity and related symptoms
  • Increases estrogen levels in females, for improved bone health
  • Improves everyday flexibility of blood vessels reverses blood vessel damage due to chronic excessive inflammation
  • Lowers cancer risk in different body locations, including the upper digestive tract (including the mouth, pharynx, larynx and esophagus) as well as the stomach

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Approximately 20 grams (2-3 cloves) of garlic (in food form), 1-3 times per week translates into measurable benefits.

I’ve found fresh peeled garlic in the produce section of my grocery store. I keep it in the freezer and pull out a clove or two when I cook. It really helps me include garlic in my meal, because peeling often stopped me from using it. Any tricks to limit the smell?

*These posts, written ahead of time, were scheduled on March 22 to post on the appropriate date. There is great uncertainty as to what life will be like at the time they are being read.*

Figs

Figs just scream “California” to me! Fresh California figs are available from June through September; some European varieties are available through autumn. And dried figs are available all year. They have a unique taste and texture.

Figs:

  • Are a decent source of fiber
  • Contain B6, copper, and pantothenic acid
  • Have potassium to assist with blood pressure regulation

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Sun-dried or artificially dried fruit appears to have similar nutritional value

Fig bars…some people love them. I don’t. What’s your take on them?

*These posts, written ahead of time, were scheduled on March 22 to post on the appropriate date. There is great uncertainty as to what life will be like at the time they are being read.*

Eggs

I do not like green eggs and ham! I do not like them, Sam-I-Am. But I do enjoy breakfast eggs, especially when mushrooms, garlic, and cheese are added!

Eggs:

  • Are an economic way to obtain complete protein (containing all nine amino acids required by our bodies that we cannot make)
  • Are loaded with iron
  • Are high in choline, a nutrient that helps fight fat and is generally lacking in people’s diet
  • Change the pattern of LDL particles from small, dense LDL (bad) to large LDL, which is linked to a reduced heart disease risk
  • Are high in antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin are very important for eye health and can help prevent macular degeneration and cataracts

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Organic eggs are free from antibiotics, vaccines and hormones. Pasture-raised eggs are more nutritious than caged hens; Vitamin E levels were about 200% greater than vitamin E in the yolk of eggs from caged hens. Omega-3 enriched and pastured eggs may contain significant amounts of omega-3 fatty acids. Eating these types of eggs is an effective way to reduce blood triglycerides.

Organic, pasture-raised eggs may be available from local farms; check out the signs while driving local roads. (Two websites that list small local US farms are www.localharvest.org and www.eatwild.com. Both sites are searchable by zip code but are limited by who has registered with them.)

I’m not a connoisseur; I can’t taste the difference between organic, pasture-raised eggs and mass-produced ones. I know some people claim that they can tell. Can you?

*These posts, written ahead of time, were scheduled on March 22 to post on the appropriate date. There is great uncertainty as to what life will be like at the time they are being read.*

CHocolate – dark

[In the spirit of providing daily commentary, I’m adding digraphs, those two letters that unite to consistently form a single sound, to my A to Z posts.]

Yippee! I can include my favorite food, without even feeling guilty. I grew up in a family that loved chocolate (my mom found my dad’s Hershey bars hidden in his underwear drawer after he passed away). And my dad (and I) got blemishes from chocolate way into our later years.

CHocolate (dark):

  • Scores higher in antioxidants than any other food tested, which included blueberries and acai berries
  • Is loaded with fiber, iron, magnesium, copper, and manganese
  • Contain polyphenols and flavanols, anti-inflammatory compounds that help the heart and control inflammation-related diseases such as diabetes, liver cirrhosis, and degenerative diseases of the brain like Alzheimer’s
  • Lowers risk of developing heart failure
  • Improve blood flow, lower blood pressure, reduced oxidized LDL and improved brain function
  • Contains flavanols that improve blood flow to the skin to protect it from sun damage
  • Is a natural mood booster

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For the most benefit, buy non-alkalized chocolate that is 60% solids or higher. Some recommend 80+% but I don’t find that personally appealing.

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways…. Definitely a fallback pleasure food for me. I haven’t yet figured out if it’s better to eat it straight or combined in cookies or coating fruit. Your preferences?

*These posts, written ahead of time, were scheduled on March 22 to post on the appropriate date. There is great uncertainty as to what life will be like at the time they are being read.*

Dill

D is for donuts. Oh, wait, I can’t use that here. Darn (oops, another D word). Honestly, finding a healthy food that starts with D was a challenge. I considered DATES but I liked r DILL better. So here we go.

Dill is used in pickles, salad dressing, and fish dishes. Although native to southern Russia, western Africa and the Mediterranean region, it’s easy enough to grow elsewhere and then dry if you’re interested in the leaves. Seeds taste stronger and are more challenging to harvest.

Dill:

  • Contains a small amount of Vitamin C
  • And an even smaller amount of manganese

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Consider removing D from the A to Z Challenge if you’re writing about nourishment for a good life. (just kidding. maybe)

My grandparents used to own a corner store and it included a pickle barrel. I loved the smells coming from that corner of the store. Even today, my pickles need to be full sours (none of this half-sour stuff). How do you like your pickles? (OK that sounds a bit provocative, but I don’t mean it that way!)

*These posts, written ahead of time, were scheduled on March 22 to post on the appropriate date. There is great uncertainty as to what life will be like at the time they are being read.*

Carrots

“Eh, what’s up, Doc?” Bugs Bunny chewing on his always-present carrot was always good for a giggle. In hindsight, it’s fascinating that he was chewing on a healthy, naturally occurring food for rabbits. And people, also.

Carrots:

  • Are an excellent source of vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K, potassium, and fiber
  • Contain both Alpha- and Beta-carotene—compounds that gives carrots their orange hue—which:
    • have been linked to a decreased risk for developing certain breast and lung cancers
    • are converted to vitamin A, important for immune function, maintaining healthy cells, and activating carcinogen-metabolizing enzymes
    • may be tied to a lower risk of vision problems
  • Have been linked to lower cholesterol levels and improved antioxidant status
  • Positively impact bone mass with only small consumed amounts
  • Maintain 75% of their nutrients when quickly cooked
  • Have greater amounts of carotenoids, phenols, and vitamin C when organic, compared to non-organic carrots

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Sometimes, a whitish type coating forms on peeled carrots—especially baby carrots—called “white blush.” It’s actually a sign of dehydration and can be remedied by immersion in water.

I struggle with eating carrots, not sure why. Once I start, I enjoy them, but somehow there’s a threshold for me to cross. Any suggestions on ways to make them appealing, besides dipping them in chocolate 🙂?

*These posts, written ahead of time, were scheduled on March 22 to post on the appropriate date. There is great uncertainty as to what life will be like at the time they are being read.*

Blueberries

Who can resist that little pop of the skin and squirt of sweet-tart inside when you bite into a blueberry?

Blueberries:

  • Are low in calories but high in fiber, vitamin C, vitamin K, and manganese
  • Have the highest antioxidant capacity of all the popular fruits and vegetables. Flavonoids appear to be the berries’ antioxidant with the greatest impact.
  • Reduce DNA damage, which is a leading driver of aging and cancer
  • Reduce a predominant risk factor for heart disease by preventing oxidative damage to “bad” LDL cholesterol.
  • Lower blood pressure, with regular intake
  • Rich in anthocyanins, they are associated with a reduced risk of heart attacks
  • Aid brain function and delaying mental decline
  • Have anti-diabetes effects, improving insulin sensitivity and lowering blood sugar levels
  • Can prevent certain bacteria from binding to the bladder wall, which may help prevent UTIs
  • Appeared to improve Rheumatoid Arthritis symptoms
  • Have anti-inflammatory phytonutrients (pterostilbene) that remains accessible to the body much longer than most other fruits

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Some research suggests that frozen blueberries degraded, but still were able to provide as much antioxidant capacity as fresh. But using fresh berries probably is better than frozen whenever possible.

My favorite way to eat blueberries is with a dollop of sour cream. Any other suggestions?

*These posts, written ahead of time, were scheduled on March 22 to post on the appropriate date. There is great uncertainty as to what life will be like at the time they are being read.*