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Organic quinoa

Organic quinoa is one of the nutritious superfood that can be incorporated in breakfast, lunch, diner.

The origin of quinoa

Quinoa is a seed whose origins come from South America where the plant Chenopodium quinoa has been cultivated for more than 6000 years. It is also called the “Gold of the Incas”. It was considered the “Mother seed” because of its exceptional nutritious properties and was a sacred food. However, with the arrival of the Spanish conquistadors, the cultivation of quinoa became prohibited and the use of the seed slowly disappeared until recently when it started being grown again in the USA. Indeed, quinoa health benefits were rediscovered and people started to show interest in the seed again.

quinoa plant
Quinoa belongs to the Chenopodium genus and is therefore closer to the spinach or beet rather than grains. Quinoa is usually of light-yellow color but other varieties exist with red, orange or black color. The taste is rather pleasant with a nutty flavor.

Quinoa health benefits

Quinoa is an exceptionally complete food rich in proteins and in all the essential amino-acids, fiber, phosphorus, magnesium, manganese, copper, calcium, iron, zinc, vitamin B and E. It is also gluten-free for people with gluten-intolerance. Quinoa is an amazing food source for vegans. Also, thanks to its nutritional properties, quinoa is a great food to increase energy levels (complex carbohydrates) and contains unsaturated fat (good fat). Its amino-acids content (especially lysine) helps promote the growth and repair of body tissues. It is said to be beneficial to people prone to migraines thanks to the magnesium (blood vessel relaxer) and vitamin B2 content (promotes energy production and synthesis of steroids and red blood cells) but also beneficial to promote a healthy heart. It has antioxidant activities to fight body toxins and the fiber content (soluble and insoluble) helps fight bad cholesterol levels, promote a healthy heart, lower the blood sugar in type 2 diabetes and contribute to a regular bowel movement.

easy quinoa recipes

Easy quinoa recipes

First of all, you should choose a brand of certified organic quinoa to ensure that the seeds have not been sprayed with chemicals. Where to find organic quinoa? You can find certified organic quinoa at your local health store or online just like any other organic products, in regular quinoa bags or quinoa in bulk or even in quinoa flakes. Quinoa is usually covered with saponins and therefore should be thoroughly washed in water before cooking to avoid the bitter taste but also toxicity. Most companies now pre-wash quinoa but wash it anyways to have peace of mind. Use:

– 1 cup of quinoa
– 3 cups of water
– Make the water boil, add the washed quinoa and cook for 10 to 15 minutes. Let it absorb the remaining water and voila.

Even though quinoa has a very pleasant taste, you can make it a amazing dish by adding salt, rosemary, chopped onions, cooked peppers, tomatoes. You can even make a sort of couscous using pieces of lamb, pork, chicken and a mix of vegetables.

As a morning breakfast, you can add other grains of your choice (flaxseeds, pine nuts, walnuts, sesame seeds) to your quinoa along with superfruits such as blueberries, rasberries, acai berries, tart cherries, goji berries, etc…..

Organic quinoa is an organic product that can become part of your balanced diet and that will contribute to your general well-being.

Acai berry juice

Acai berry is a purple berry that grows on the acai palm, a palm tree belonging to the Arecaceae family and that measures from 25 to 30 m high. Acai palms grow in Central and South America, in particularly in Brazil (in the Amazon forest) where the acai berry has been valued for centuries by locals for its amazing health properties. Acai palm leaves are used to make hats, baskets, and even in construction. Acai berries are small and round berries made of 80% of seeds that can be used as organic soil to feed plants.

Acai berry health benefits

Acai berry has gained in popularity in the past 10 years thanks to marketing efforts to position the fruit as a “superfruit” like goji berries, blueberries or tart cherry. It is now grown outside the traditional Amazonian crops to meet the high demand in Western countries. The marketing buzz was done around the acai berry health benefits.

1 – Indeed, acai berries are very rich in antioxidants and rate high on the Orac scale (see our previous article about tart cherry). Acai berries are packed with anthocyanins much like blueberries and this explains their deep purple color as well as their antioxidant capacity. They are also rich in polyphenols, another type of antioxidant often related to the “French paradox”. French people eat fatty food (cheese, white bread, pastries) but the heart disease rate is one of the lowest. It is believed to be due to the amount of red wine consumed in France as wine contains polyphenols. Acai berries are said to contain 20 times more the amount of polyphenols than of red wine.

2 – Also, acai berries contain high amounts of essential fatty acids (omega 6 and 9) just like argan oil that contribute to the promotion of good cholesterol while soothing inflammatory conditions and making the skin looks healthy.

3 – Acai berries are believed to be a valuable source of energy. As a matter of fact, in Brazil, acai berries are consumed as “acai na tigela” (acai bowl) that consists of acai pulp, granola and banana to provide energy.

4 – Other claims include easing the digestive system thanks to the high amount of fibers.

5 – Acai berries are a great source of vitamins and proteins to keep our good health.

acai berry supplementsAcai berries can be taken in various forms including raw, in acai berry supplements, acai berry tablets, acai berry juice, smoothies, jam or cereal bars. However, always check the ingredients to ensure that the product does not only contain acai berries partially. Organic acai berry juice that is pure is the best as you can measure the amount you wish to take daily and mix it with other juices or water.

While acai berries are a powerful fruit, so are many other fruits such as blueberries or other vegetables and a mix of both should be part of the daily diet. So it is a great idea to incorporate acai berries in our diet but let’s keep aware of unverified commercial health claims over acai berries such as weight loss, sexual performances and more and always read the label of organic products to ensure they are truly organic.

By the way, acai is pronounced AH-SAH-EE if you ever visit Brazil 🙂

Blueberry benefits

Blueberry is a plant that belongs to the Ericaceae family and the Vaccinium genus. Blueberries come originally from North America and have been praised since centuries for their blueberry benefits. They are also found in Canada, Europe and Southern Hemisphere and the fruits reach maturity from May to August or September. Blueberry is one of the rare food of indigo color that is induced by the content of anthocyanin, a pigmentation present in some plants that protects from UV light (acting as a sunscreen) and that is also a powerful antioxidant. Blueberry High BushBlueberry plants grow typically in acidic soils but nowadays, blueberries are mostly mass-produced (high bush blueberries) to meet the demand although low-bush (wild) blueberries are still available. For example, Maine in the USA, produces 25% of the blueberries and is the biggest producer in the world. Organically-grown blueberries is easily achieved because they are typically less attacked by pests than any other fruits.

Blueberry benefits

Blueberries can be eaten row, but they are also sold as frozen blueberries, as blueberry jams, dry blueberries, blueberry juices or blueberry smoothies. They became part of the superfruits family much like goji berries, acai berry or tart cherry, as studies have shown the great health properties of blueberries, including their:

– high antioxidant properties (one of the highest thanks to the content of anthocyanin mentioned earlier)
anti-inflammatory and anti-aging properties.

As a matter of fact, in a USDA Human Nutrition Research Center laboratory, scientists found our that eating fresh blueberries on a daily basis could slow down the aging process as well as the loss of mental capacity and memory loss by regenerating brain cells.

Blueberries are also rich in Vitamin B, C, E, and:

– help promote a good vision as well as
boost the immune system.

They are also:

– beneficial to the urinary tract against infections as they block the growth of bacteria much like a natural anti-biotic and a natural anti-bacterial.

They promote a:

– healthy heart by getting rid of the bad cholesterol

They are a:

– mood-enhancer and a natural anti-depressant

Organic blueberries or organic blueberry juice can become part of the daily diet for a maximized healthy lifestyle.
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Blueberry stains on clothes so if it ever happens to you, soak your garment in 1 liter of warm water mixed with 1 spoon of vinegar 🙂

The super fruits and a close-up on organic tart cherry juice

What are super fruits?

Super fruits are fruits that are promoted through the evidence of the health benefits they provide. Super fruits are rich in nutrients and antioxidants and can be included in the daily diet for general wellness. Super fruits include rare fruits that are attractive for their novelty and that are sold as raw materials to the neutraceuticals, functional food and beverages companies to produce healthy fruit juices, smoothies or fruit blends.

The effectiveness of super fruits for their health benefits is determined via the ORAC scale (oxygen radical absorbance capacity) that calculates their antioxidant power (to fight aging and degenerative diseases). The higher a fruit ranks, the higher its antioxidant capacities are. Super fruits include blueberry, acai berry, pomegranate, blackberry, goji berries (wolfberry) or noni to name a few. However, other fruits commonly known from the general public can also fall under this category for their high content of antioxidants even though they are not bringing novelty to the market. Such fruits include grape, mango, cranberry, tart cherry and much more.

Tart cherry juice health benefits

The tart cherry also known as Montmorency cherry or the “healing cherry”, a cherry commonly grown in Michigan, USA.
Tart cherry has been used for centuries in traditional medicine to soothe inflammatory conditions (it works like ibuprofen without side-effects) and pain associated with arthritis, muscle pain, back pain, gout (by lowering the uric acid) and diseases from the nervous system.
Tart cherry has high antioxidant effect (they contain 6 times the amount of melatonin than other cherries; melatonin is a derivative of seratonin that promotes good sleeping cycles) and therefore, tart cherry is said to be used to combat insomnia. On the ORAC scale mentioned earlier, tart cherry juice rates very high with 12,800 ORAC units per 100g. Tart cherry is also rich in in the following: potassium, calcium, vitamins A, C, B6, E and folic acid.

How to use organic tart cherry juice and where to find it

certified organic tart cherry juiceOrganic tart cherry juice is said to be more effective that any other form (such as dry fruits for example or capsules) because the beneficial nutrients are conserved and therefore, the ORAC values remain. To benefit fully from this healthy tart cherry juice however, it is preferable to choose a 100% natural pure juice free of artificial preservatives, fillers, additives, refined sugar and GE (genetically engineered) cherries and if possible, even favor a certified organic tart berry juice. It is also good to eat fresh tart cherries as much as a hand full a day if available at the grocery store. Like for any other organic products, always check the label to ensure it is truly organic and pure juice.

Organic tart cherry juice can be found in health food stores or online. It is recommended to drink 2 spoons to half a glass a day depending on what you wish to achieve (maintenance of good health or treat a condition).
Tart cherry growers were asked by the Health Authorities in the States to increase the demand in this super fruit and to promote its health benefits so it seems that we will hear more and more of this powerful fruit and hopefully, see more studies related to its health benefits.