Step aside, tofu, tempeh, and seitan. There’s a new meatless-meal staple that’s making our mouths water.

Jackfruit is a high grade anti-oxidant owing to dense concentration of vitamin C. It strengthens immune function and protects from could, cold, flu, infections and critical conditions like Cancer and tumours.

Jackfruit is a powerhouse of energy. It can lend a quick boost of energy without disturbing the sugar levels in the body significantly.

Potassium controls sodium, maintains the  electrolyte balance along with regulating muscle function. All these roles make potassium a very healthy food for arresting high blood pressure and maintaining health of your heart.

The high fiber content in Jackfruit aids healthy digestion and an effective excretion which keeps the gastrointestinal tract clean and healthy.

Jackfruit contains dietary fiber that reduces the effects of toxin in the colon and protect from colon cancer. Additionally its constipation preventing properties prevent piles.

Jackfruit is a rich source Vitamin A and its equivalents that protect eyes from infections, improve eye sight and prevent vision related medical problems .

The anti-oxidant properties and high water content of Jackfruit keeps skin healthy, moisturized and reduces the wrinkles and dryness retaining the youthful texture of the skin.

The Jackfruit root has been found to be an effective remedy for asthma symptoms.

Jackfruit maintains good bone health with high calcium content and increases its density by reducing the calcium loss owing to healthy potassium content.

Jackfruit alleviates anemia by adding iron and increasing the iron absorption with Vitamin C  in the body. Other minerals in it improve the quality of blood.

Jackfruit comes from the mulberry family. It has thorny projections outside and soft flesh inside which is  intensely sweet and delicious in taste. It is typically found in South East Asia and finds its origins in India. Thailand and Vietnam are the largest producers and exporters of this fruit. Jackfruit is found in many varieties across countries and continents and is classified based on the softness of its flesh.

Jackfruit’s flesh is very high in fiber content. The taste and texture makes it a great fruit for jams, chutneys, candies, cakes and other sweet preparations.  Unripe raw jackfruit is used in savoury dishes and is cooked in gravies and spicy curries. The texture of unripe jackfruit is like mutton and so is its taste when cooked in spices which makes it popular amongst vegans and non-vegans alike. The seeds of Jackfruit are also eaten in boiled form as a snack in some countries.

It is a healthy fruit with almost no fats but high energy. The taste and preparations make it a delectable fruit which is easy to include in the meal plan. Unfortunately many countries get only canned jackfruit stored in sugar syrup or brine which is not as healthy as out-of-tree fruit. But this fact should not keep you from eating and enjoying this gorgeous fruit even if it is out of the can.

Scientific name: Artocarpus heterophyllus

Nutritional Value of Jackfruit:

It contains high amount of nutrient like vitamin, minerals, electrolytes, phytonutrients, carbohydrate, fiber, fat and protein.  Jackfruit is a good source of calorie but contains no cholesterol or saturated fats.

Jackfruit is rich in vitamins and minerals. Vitamin B5 content in Jackfruit fulfills about 25% of our daily requirement. Apart from Vitamin B5 Jackfruit is also a rich source of  Vitamin C, Magnesium and Potassium. The fat content of Jackfruit is very low at just about 0.64 grams. Though water is not a nutrient but it is pertinent to mention that Jackfruit is made up 80% water.

Health Benefits of Jackfruit:

Jackfruit contains high amount of carbohydrate and calorie that provides energy instantly. It is rich in antioxidants which protect from cancer, ageing and degenerative disease. Due to rich antioxidants it is good for eye sight and protects from conditions like cataract and macular degeneration. It is a good source of potassium which maintains fluid and electrolyte level in balance. Also it improves bone and skin health.

1. Optimizes Immune function:

Anti-oxidants are required by the body for scavenging free radicals. These are produced when oxygen reacts with certain molecules and kick starts a chain reaction which damages cell membranes and even DNA.

These free radicals have been associated with natural processes like ageing, skin wrinkling,  increased vulnerability to infections and diseases and more serious conditions like cancer and tumours. Vitamin C is a natural anti-oxidant but since it is water soluble and is not found in our bodies, you need to consume it through dietary sources.

Jackfruit is an excellent source of Vitamin C with a high content of 13.8 mg per 100 grams. Studies have shown that vitamin C  is a better anti-oxidant than compounds like Methanol and Ethanol. This makes vitamin C very effective against the free radicals in the body. The purification of our body by ridding it of free radicals  increases immune system function. It increases immunity to protect against common diseases like cough, cold and flu. It has also been found to form a strong resistance against infections.

2. High Energy Source:

If you are looking at quick energy boost than very few fruits come close to Jackfruit. Jackfruit contains high amount of carbohydrate and calorie but hardly any companion fat. It contains a healthy amount of simple sugar like fructose and sucrose that are easily digested by our bodies. The sugar in Jackfruit is  not only easy to digest but also comes from a category called “Slowly Available glucose” or SAG. This releases the glucose in our body in a restrained manner and therefore reduces the glycemic index of Jackfruit.

In simple words, diabetic people suffering from high sugar levels and sugar spikes can enjoy this deliciously sweet fruit without worrying about the glucose levels. However, if Jackfruit is regular part of your diet than make sure you add some physical activity to your routine to aid the digestion.

3. Maintains Blood Pressure and Cardiovascular health:

Potassium is one of the most important components that regulate blood pressure. Our body needs about 4700 milligrams of Potassium in a day. Optimum balance of potassium is key to controlling the right amount of sodium in our body. Potassium deficiency can make your sodium levels spiral out of control leading to substantial damage to heart and the arteries. Apart from this functionality, potassium is responsible for coordinating and maintaining muscle function which includes heart muscles as well.

Jackfruit contains good amount of potassium which is about 10% of our daily requirement. The ideal levels of  potassium is required to maintain fluid level i.e. to balance electrolyte also. All these different functions of potassium helps in maintaining ideal blood pressure and reduces the risk of stroke and heart attack.

4. Improves Digestion:

When you open up a Jackfruit and take a look at its flesh, it clearly shows a lot of soft fiber. This fiber is not just for show but actually does convert itself into important and significant amount of roughage. Jackfruit has 1.5 grams of roughage per 100 grams of serving which is considered excellent. Dietary fiber  makes for a laxative which adds bulk to your stools and soften them up. Both of these factors make it easy for your body to push them through the Anal passage. Thus it improves digestion and prevents constipation.

Jackfruit contains both soluble and insoluble fiber with soluble content of 25% of the total fiber. Soluble fiber is the one which is digested in our body and provides energy whereas insoluble just passes through the Gastrointestinal tract. The insoluble fiber actually adds bulk to stools and make for an expeditious exit. It keeps the tracts clean and reduce a build up in the intestines.

5. Colon Cancer and Piles:

Colon cancer is caused when there is damage to colon at cellular level and these altered cells continue to divide rapidly even when there is no requirement of new cells. Eventually they destroy the normal cells and also tend to travel to other parts of the body through blood stream. Colon cancer appears in its early stages as polyps in the colon lining and take a full blown cancerous form as it progresses.

Fruits like Jackfruit that are high on anti-oxidants help to clean toxins from the colon, keeping it in a good and healthy shape. Though it does not treat the cancer itself  but can definitely help in reducing the risk of developing this condition.

It also helps in alleviating and preventing piles. Piles are Haemorrhoids in the anal area and are basically made of  swollen blood vessels. It is a very painful condition and critical cases experience bleeding and excruciating pain while passing stools. One of the main causes of Piles is Chronic Constipation. Jackfruit prevents constipation due to its high fiber content and can help alleviating the symptoms.

6. Vitamin A for Vision:

Jackfruit contains Vitamin A and its equivalent in form of Beta Carotene and Lutein Zeaxanthin. Beta Carotene gets synthesized and converts itself into Vitamin A. Vitamin A is an important nutrient  for eye health. It is an anti-oxidant that improves the vision and protects the eye from free radicals. It is also known to protect eyes from bacterial and viral infections by strengthening the mucous membranes that create a film on the cornea .

Lutein Zeaxanthin in Jackfruit is also known for its anti-oxidant properties that serve your eye sight effectively and impressively. It protects the eyes from intense and harmful  light waves like ultraviolet rays. This component is also considered monumental in improving your eye sight in dim lit and low light arenas. It is highly effective in preventing degeneration of the retina and reduce the risk of cataract and macular degeneration.

7. Skin Health and Ageing:

Ageing is caused due to natural factors like increase in age. But due to pollution, UV radiations and unhealthy lifestyle ageing is knocking at an early age and  is progressing faster than natural. The main causes of ageing are free radicals produced in our body due to high oxidative stress caused due to pollution.  Antioxidant rich diet including fruits like Jackfruit have proven to destroy these free radicals to slow the ageing process.

Eating Jackfruit also keeps skin moisturized and well hydrated due to high level of water content in it. Water reduces dryness and lend a supple appearance to your facial skin. This further reduces the light wrinkles and fine lines on skin making it look younger and glowing.

8. Asthma:

With an increase in pollution and weakened immunity, number of asthma cases being reported are increasing every year. Jackfruit has been proved beneficial to asthma patients. Asthma shows symptoms like extreme difficulty in breathing, wheezing and accompanying panic attacks. Like all COPD diseases, asthma needs to be managed and can be reversed.

Jackfruit and its extracts are now being explored to treat asthma and controlling its symptoms. Boiling the root of Jackfruit and consuming it is known to alleviate the symptoms of asthma.

9. Bone Health:

Jackfruit contains high amount of calcium which strengthens and promotes healthy bone health. Other bone related illnesses like Arthritis, Osteoporosis can also be managed and prevented with regular seasonal consumption of Jackfruit. High potassium in Jackfruit further decreases the loss of calcium through kidney thereby increasing calcium density in bone and strengthening it.

10. Anemia:

Anemia is a condition which is defined by reduction of red blood cells (RBC) or Haemoglobin in blood below the acceptable  minimum levels. This leads slow transportation of oxygen in the body leading to bouts of lethargy, constant tiredness, pale complexion and in some cases blacking out.

Jackfruit contains iron which can combat the deficiency of RBCs in the blood. The vitamin C content further enables an effective absorption of iron in the body. It is said that all iron that you get from dietary sources can pass right through your body without being absorbed if there is no Vitamin C in the body. Other minerals like copper and magnesium in Jackfruit improve the quality of blood.

Unless you’ve spent time scouring Indian rain forests or haunting the aisles of Asian markets, you may not have heard of jackfruit. This large, tropical superfruit is causing excitement in vegan and nonvegan circles, mostly because of its consistency and flavour once it’s been cooked. If coaxed with the right flavours, especially barbecue and Asian sauces, jackfruit mimics the taste and consistency of pulled pork or carne asada – if that’s your “thing”. Jackfruit is also all natural. You can find jackfruit in just about any Asian market, but the key is to buy canned, green unripe jackfruit in water, not in brine, and without preservatives. Ripe jackfruit has a different taste altogether, much like chewing gum, and is far too sweet for cooking. To prepare, cook it a bit, then douse in your favourite sauce before cooking a little longer. Since jackfruit takes on the flavour of whatever it’s cooked with, you can use just about any sauce, but those with a hint of sugar are best for a crispy, golden brown finish.

Amazing facts about Jackfruit:

Jackfruit is the largest tree borne fruit in the world which can weight from a mere 3 kilograms to 36 Kilograms! A full mature jackfruit can have a length of 92 cm and width that extends to 51 cm.

The wood of Jackfruit is used in making musical instruments, furniture and even in house construction. the distinct colour of Monks’ robes in South East Asia comes from the dye of this wood.

Jackfruit is also known to grow from the underground roots in some rare cases! In such situations the fruit actually cracks the ground over it and emerges outside.

Jackfruit is a wonderful fruit with wonderful health benefits. Its juicy sweet taste becomes even better when you know about the health benefits that you are going to derive from it.

Thank you for reading! Stay healthy, keep fit, and love being vegan!

Artichoke

Since ancient times, the artichoke has been used for liver and gallbladder conditions, ‘cleaning’ the blood, as well as the bladder. The Egyptians highly prized it as a health food and Plinius described it as the ‘food for the rich’ because of the health problems contributed to an excessive lifestyle choice in foods there were and are high in unhealthy animal fats that led to liver illnesses (such as cirrhosis), gout and a general run down condition.

The artichoke is very high in fiber, potassium, calcium, iron, phosphorus and other trace elements important for a balanced system. It is known to positively help poor liver function as well as lower the blood sugar, improve the appetite and digestion, is diuretic and may help some migraine conditions (most especially those caused by toxins in the blood), as it helps the body rid itself of excess water and moves toxins. Artichoke also has the added side effect of an improved skin luminosity.

In a poor diet of excessive drinking (most especially strong alcoholic drinks), high red meat and fat consumption, the artichoke can boost the liver’s ability to regenerate its cells.

The liver’s main function is the metabolic transformation of nutrients from the food we eat. It also detoxifies certain poisons. An over stressed liver obviously cannot function properly, which among other things results in poor assimilation of nutrients and increased toxins in the blood. This will eventually adversely affect the entire body causing numerous ailments that are often only symptomatically treated. What is amazing are the numbers of people who abuse their livers and hence their bodies, think they eat well, yet are suffering from a form of malnutrition – a word one associates with poverty and third world countries.

Artichokes only have about 25 calories. They are excellent for weight loss and maintaining optimum health. Artichokes are extremely filling and two or three of them will suffice for a complete meal with amazingly no fat, providing tons of fiber, and an abundance of vitamins.

Do buy organic when in season, they are relatively well priced. Artichokes are easy to prepare, you can steam steam them and serve with a little apple cider vinegar, or fresh lemon juice and olive oil. They are also superb with numerous plant based dips. Anti-aging is delicious, cheap and healthy!

~ Active Vegan ~

Anemia

There are several different reasons why people could suffer from anemia.  Anemia can be caused by three contributing factors: blood loss (iron deficiency anemia) malnutrition is a very rare cause in the developed world,  but mostly seen in poor rural areas.  Iron deficiency is most commonly caused by GI losses in males. With woman the higher possibility could be menstruation.  GI losses could be due to peptic ulcer disease, Nsaid use, or inflammatory bowel diseases, and malignancy. There is also the possibility of decreased red blood cell production,  or increased red blood cell destruction.

We are inspired to write this article today based on a chance meeting with member of public whose sister went vegan but gave up on her journey, due to peer pressure and ill advise from the medical profession, who convinced her that being vegan was it’s cause. Anemia can catch almost anyone off guard, millions of meat eaters suffer from anemia today.  One simply needs to be well informed as to how to avoid anemia with a healthy plant based diet, and a little supplementation in order to confirm good course.

Iron deficiency is the most common and talked about. Haemoglobin is the protein that iron sits in the middle of, and carries oxygen from the lungs to our muscles to the tissues. It’s very important that we have that haemoglobin otherwise people get very tired, lethargic, and may have other symptoms such as blue fingertips in some cases, irritability etc.

Good sources of iron: 

Fortified breakfast cereals, both hot and cold

Black strap molasses

Green leafy vegetables

Dried beans, such as black and kidney beans, and lentils

Whole grains

Enriched rice or pasta

Pumpkin seeds

Prune juice

Dried fruit, especially raisins

It is a good idea to combine these iron-rich foods with foods high in vitamin C because C helps your body use iron. For example, you might want to top your spinach salad with grapefruit sections or drink a glass of orange juice as you dig into your fortified cereal in the morning.

B12 anemia will result in stunted nerve growth,  numbness or tingling in the legs, toes and fingers, which can also be referred to a neurological condition. Also called pernicious anemia, this type of anemia is due to a lack of vitamin B12 in your diet. This B vitamin plays an important role in making red blood cells.  When you read the nutrition labels on packaged foods, look for foods fortified with vitamin B12. Here are some examples of processed foods that contain vitamin B12:

Fortified rice or soy milk

Fortified cereal or grain products

Some meat substitutes (check the labels for vitamin B12)

Dietary supplements, such as those labelled as containing B-complex

Nutritional yeast

You may want to consider taking a natural B12 supplement just in case, you have nothing to lose by doing so.

You may find articles such as these rather informative:  http://www.b12patch.com/blog/tag/vegan/

And http://veganvits.com/vitamin-b12-patch-8-patches/

You can purchase these on amazon:  http://www.amazon.com/Vitamin-B12-Patch-8-Patches/dp/B002EJ3OGM

Copper deficiency:  Copper is an essential mineral for many bodily functions, such as the production of enzymes that help the cells in your body function properly. Copper also is involved in the absorption and use of iron in the body. When copper is deficient in the body, symptoms of iron and copper deficiency become similar to each other. Often when anemia is suspected, health-care providers recommend iron supplementation and don’t consider having you increase your copper intake to correct for anemia. Symptoms include weakness, anemia, skin sores, cholesterol problems, immune system impairment and difficulty with breathing. Copper deficiency is rare but can develop in people who have had malabsorptive surgeries to promote weight loss, infants and children on a high cow’s milk diet and people suffering from Menkes disease. Infants deficient in copper exhibit failure to thrive, which is characterized by low growth in height, pale skin and irregular heart beats. Children born prematurely can experience rapid growth and have an increased need for copper. In adults, osteoporosis and thyroid disorders can result, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. Adults who have received total parenteral nutrition, or feeding through the veins, along with people who have had weight-loss surgeries have an increased risk of developing copper deficiency.

Copper can be found in nuts, seeds, beans and legumes, and the germ of grains. Cow’s milk is void of copper and can leach this mineral as well as iron, promoting anemia and deficiency of both minerals.

Folic acid – and B12 are required to help a red blood cell to mature.  Folic acid deficiency anemia happens when your body does not have enough folic acid. Folic acid is one of the B vitamins, and it helps your body make new cells, including new red blood cells. Your body needs red blood cells to carry oxygen. If you don’t have enough red blood cells, you have anemia, which can make you feel weak and tired. So it’s important that you get enough folic acid every day. Most people get enough folic acid in the food they eat. But some people either don’t get enough in their diet or have trouble absorbing it from the foods they eat.  Pregnant women who do not get enough folic acid are more likely to have babies with very serious birth defects. These include citrus fruits, leafy green vegetables, and fortified cereals. You may have a greater need for folic acid, this might happen if you are pregnant or have some medical problems, such as sickle cell disease. If your body doesn’t absorb enough folic acid, this might happen if you drink too much alcohol or have severe kidney problems that require dialysis, or should you be on certain medicines, such as some used for cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, and seizures.

Feel weak and tired,  light headed, forgetful, grouchy, lose your appetite and have trouble concentrating – these may all be symptoms of folic acid deficiency.

Your doctor will examine you and ask questions about your past health and how you are feeling now. You will also have blood tests to check the number of red blood cells and to see if your body has enough folic acid. Please do make a point of finding out if your doctor is a qualified plant based nutritionist. Most are not, and simply prescribe pills. This does not help root out the illness, it simply covers up the cause, and encourages further complications in years to come, besides you don’t want to take pills for the rest of your life.

The level of vitamin B12 will be checked too. Some people whose folic acid levels are too low also have low levels of vitamin B12. The two problems can cause similar symptoms.

So up your greens, bean and fortified foods! The following list will point you in the right direction:

Dark leafy greens (spinach, collard greens, turnip greens, mustard greens, romaine lettuce)

Asparagus

Broccoli

Citrus fruits (papaya, grapefruit, oranges, strawberries, raspberries)

Beans, peas, lentils (lentils, pinto beans, garbanzo beans, black beans, navy beans, kidney beans, lima beans, split peas, green peas, green beans)

Avocado

Okra

Brussel sprouts

Seeds and nuts (sunflower seeds, peanuts, flax seeds, almonds)

Cauliflower

Beets

Corn

Celery

Carrots

Squash (both winter and summer squash)

Spleen dysfunction – together with the bone marrow are responsible for healthy red blood cell production. The spleen plays an important role in fighting infection. It helps to kill bacteria, and to destroy worn-out or damaged red blood cells and damaged platelets. There are a few reasons why a spleen would need to be removed, including disease, damage, or splenomegaly – enlargement of the spleen. There are ways to help keep your spleen healthy and functioning properly, one of which is a healthy diet. Your spleen is approximately the size of your fist and is tucked up under the left side of your diaphragm. It is an organ that we seldom think about, but its role in fighting infections is vital. Your spleen needs proper nutrition in order to function properly. Your diet can help to keep your spleen healthy.

A well-balanced diet is best for a healthy spleen. Your diet should consist of a variety of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, beans, nuts, and seeds. Foods that are organically grown are better for your spleen than non-organic foods. You should also include foods like beetroot, celery, fennel, dill, garlic, kidney beans, parsley, pumpkins and turnips. These foods help to keep your spleen energetic and strong. Eating the wrong foods can de-energize your spleen so that it performs sluggishly.

Vitamin C –  Below are some great sources of Vitamin C, which help absorption of iron.

Guava

Bell pepper cooked and raw

Kiwi fruit

Orange

Grapefruit juice

Vegetable juice cocktail

Strawberries

Brussels sprouts, cooked

Cantaloupe

Papaya, raw

Kohlrabi, cooked

Broccoli, raw and cooked

Edible pod peas, cooked

Sweet potato

Tomato juice

Cauliflower, cooked

Pineapple, raw

Kale, cooked

Mango

B6 –  Vitamin B6 is the primary vitamin for processing amino acids used in production of proteins and is also needed to make a variety of hormones including serotonin, melatonin, and dopamine. Vitamin B6 plays a role in a variety of biochemical reactions in the human body including the metabolism of amino acids and glycogen, the synthesis of nucleic acids, hemoglobin, sphingomyelin and other sphingolipids, and the biosynthesis of neurotransmitters including serotonin, dopamine, norepinephrine, and gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA). While vitamin B6 deficiency is not common in most developed regions of the world, it still occurs. Typical symptoms of vitamin B6 deficiency are microcytic, hypochromic anemia, seizures, dermatitis, confusion, and depression. Vitamin B6 deficiencies in infants are usually demonstrated by electroencephalogram abnormalities and seizures, while in adults B6 deficiency symptoms include chapped and cracked lips, tongue inflammation, stomotitis, anemia, irritability, confusion, and depression. Unfortunately, these symptoms are not limited only to vitamin B6 deficiencies. Vitamin B6 deficiency usually is a result of a malabsorption syndrome, uremia, cancer, cirrhosis, alcoholism, old age, and pregnancy. When taken with folic acid and vitamin B12, vitamin B6 can support healthy homocysteine levels. Abnormal levels of homocysteine have been linked to heart disease and stroke as well as to osteoporosis and Alzheimer’s disease.

Vitamin B6 can be found naturally in a number of foods including:

White potatoes with skins and other vegetable

Non-citrus fruits

Cereals

Soy-based meat substitutes

Fortified cereals

Beans

Bananas

Nuts

Avocados

Spinach

Legumes (beans, peas,garbanzo beans)

Millions across the globe suffer from anemia today, but this can be avoided when you eat a wide variety of healthy plant based foods daily. Combine your foods that are high in C with foods that are high in iron for better absorption. Omit sugar as much as possible or switch to a healthier form thereof such as black strap molasses. Decrease unhealthy fatty processed foods. Omit animal based foods. Decrease intake of coffee and black tea. Decrease alcohol intake.

You do not need iron from any animal derived product.  All of your iron and other nutrients are naturally sourced from a healthy well balanced plant based diet. Take the natural, healthy route rather, together with a supplement of vegan B12 as back up.

Stay healthy, do good to yourselves, do good to others, and do good to the planet always.

~ Active Vegan ~

Benefit from seeds!

Quality of health increases through regular consumption of seeds.

Seed are not just excellent for birds, they benefit humans tremendously, and they are a superfood source that you really do want to incorporate into your daily meal plan!  You can eat them in larger quantities as a main course, grind them into butters,  flax seed can be used as a healthy egg substitute (1 t flax to 3 part water),  you can pop them into smoothies,  drinks and make desserts with them,  sprinkle them over any dish including salads and sandwiches, or use them in smaller quantities as garnishes for other foods. They’re inexpensive, convenient, and tasty. Here’s a brief rundown of some of the most commonly eaten seeds:

Flax seeds: Flax seeds are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, zinc, iron, calcium, and Vitamin E, and are a great addition to your diet. Newer food products that may contain them include cereals and crackers, but you can buy plain flax seeds as well. Flax seeds must be chewed thoroughly though to get the benefits. Since it’s difficult to completely chew this small seed, a better option is to grind them in a blender, food processor, or coffee grinder. Once they’re ground, you can add them to smoothies, bread dough, baked goods, and hot cereals. You can also use them as a healthy egg substitute in cooking and baking (1 t ground flax to 3 part water = 1 egg).

Chia seeds: great omega 3 to omega 6 ratio at slightly more 6 than 3, ALA, anti-inflammatory, laxative, soothing for the digestive tract calcium, copper, manganese, phosphorus, zinc, protein, fiber, different varieties vary quite a bit in nutritional make up. Great for breakfast, desserts and smoothies!

Hemp seeds: Commonly thought of as a “hippie” food, hemp has some significant health benefits. Hemp seeds are rich in protein, calcium, fiber, and omega-3 fatty acids. While hemp contains trace amounts of tetrahydrocannabinol, one of the compounds found in marijuana , you will not feel any effects by consuming products containing hemp. Stunning form of well rounded protein and amino acids! Versatile to almost every available dish you can think of. Best consumed in it’s raw form.

Pumpkin seeds: Pumpkin seeds, also known as pepitas, are chock full of magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, tryptophan, and iron. They’re also a good source of copper, zinc, and Vitamin K. You can buy prepackaged pumpkin seeds at most supermarkets, or you can make your own. Scoop out the seeds from a pumpkin’s inner cavity, rinse them off and dry them, then roast them for the best flavor.

Sesame seeds: Not just good on bagels or in Asian dishes, sesame seeds can jazz up salads, cereals, and yogurt. This tiny seed is loaded with copper and manganese, and also has plenty of calcium, magnesium, tryptophan, and iron. Toasting sesame seeds really brings out their flavor. Sesame seeds are a surprising source of the bone-building mineral calcium, great news for folks who have trouble tolerating dairy products. And seeds are a rich source of vitamin E. The only drawback: Some seeds are quite high in fat. Sunflower and sesame seeds provide about 80 percent of their calories as fat, although the fat is mostly of the heart-smart unsaturated variety.

Sunflower seeds: You can buy these shelled, but it’s more fun to buy them whole and crack open the hulls. Sunflower seeds are a tremendous source of Vitamin E and are also rich in Vitamin B1. Also a fantastic base for dips!

Seeds are the “eggs” that contain the nutrients needed to nourish the growth of a new plant. So their high nutrient content shouldn’t come as a surprise. What’s surprising is that we generally relegate these nutritional wonders to the occasional snack rather than making them staples of our diet. Adding more seeds to your meals shall strengthen your body as well as nourish your mind.

With their gold mine of healthy minerals and their niacin and folic-acid contents, seeds are an excellent nutrition package. They are among the better plant sources of iron and zinc. In fact, one ounce of pumpkin seeds contains almost twice as much iron as three ounces of skinless chicken breast. And they provide more fiber per ounce than nuts. They are also great  sources of protein.

Edible seeds are an important part of a raw food diet mainly for the essential fatty acids (EFA’s) they contain. EFA’s are polyunsaturated fats that the human body cannot produce, so they must be obtained from our diets. There are two groups of EFA’s; they are omega 3’s and omega 6’s. The omega 3 fatty acids are alpha linolenic acid (ALA), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). The omega 6 essential fatty acids are linoleic acid (LA), gamalinolenic acid (GLA), and arachidonic acid (AA).

These EFA’s found in seeds balance and regulate energy production, blood circulation, nerve function, inflammation, hormone regulation, recovery from exercise, immune function, cell growth, and much more. A diet high in animal products and processed foods is high in omega 6’s which compete for the same metabolizing enzymes needed by the omega 3’s for assimilation. Most people’s diets don’t contain enough omega 3’s which upsets the important balance required for good health. When omega 6’s are consumed in excess they use up the metabolizing enzymes making them unavailable for omega 3 metabolism, so it makes complete sense to stop consuming ‘animal products’, and up your seed intake for optimum health and balance.

It’s common for people to consume over 20 times more omega 6 than omega 3, and this type of imbalance is associated with significant health issues including heart disease, stroke, cancer, Alzheimers, diabetes, mood disorders, arthritis, osteoporosis, inflammation, and obesity. Experts vary in their opinions of the ideal ratio with guidelines ranging anywhere from omega 6 to omega 3 of 4:1 to 1:2. When consuming a well balanced raw food diet including seeds, it should be easy to fall within these guidelines.

Research shows that eating seeds and the EFA’s they contain can elevate mood, improve brain function and development, and build a healthy circulatory system to name just a few. You can now see how including edible seeds in your daily diet shall go a long way in improving your health.

Like nuts, which are actually large seeds, edible seeds are best if soaked before eating, except hemp which does not have enzyme inhibitors. Edible seeds can be put into smoothies, ground and sprinkled over salads, mixed in raw recipes, or blended with citrus juice to make a super healthy salad dressing. These are just a few of the ways to make seeds and their magical EFA’s part of your daily diet.

We would very much love for you to share your recipes and inspirations with us, and to use this platform to share with others in order to encourage everyone on the right track!

https://www.facebook.com/ActiveVegan

~ Active Vegan ~

Embrace the little avo!

Avocado is one of the world’s most perfect foods. It is easily digested and contains over 25 essential nutrients including iron, copper, magnesium, and essential fatty acids that help the body to function optimally. Avocados increase the body’s ability to assimilate nutrients, so they are a wonderful addition to green leafy salads to ensure proper absorption of all the vitamins and minerals. They are also an excellent source of glutathione which helps to boost the immune system, strengthen the heart, rebuild the nervous system, and slow the aging process. The monounsaturated fats in avocados reverse insulin resistance which helps to steady blood sugar levels. Due to its nutritional profile, it is one of the closest foods to mother’s breast milk, being a complete and easily assimilable food with protein ratios that are equal to breast milk. Avocados are high in folate which is essential for women in childbearing years and is also known to aid in preventing strokes and reducing the risk of heart disease. Try adding a few avocados to your diet each week and enjoy the benefits of this delicious and health promoting food.

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