The Wellness Pantry

Acai  Colombia/Brazil

Acai (ah-sigh-EE) is a high antioxidant energising berry that grows only in the Brazilian Amazon and on Colombia’s Pacific Coast.

Serving: Add 1 to 2 tablespoons of Acai to your favourite juice, smoothie or cereal once or twice a day 

Adzuki Bean Japan

Adzuki beans are cooked in rice used for celebratory occasions or in a traditional confection called manjū. We prize them for their ‘drying’ properties – their ability to absorb mucous and phlegm.

Agave South Africa and Mexico

A sweetener commercially produced in South Africa and Mexico from several species of the agave cactus. Agave nectar is sweeter than honey, though less viscous.

Agave syrup stores its energy as Inulin, also known as Fructans or Levulose. Inulin is typically found in roots or rhizomes and bypasses digestion in the stomach and small intestine and is actually digested in the large intestine. Inulin is beneficial in that it feeds the probiotic bacteria in our digestive system. This is absorbed slowly into the bloodstream giving it a low glycemic index.

Serving: Agave is very, very sweet – ½ a teaspoon is more than enough in drinks

Arame

Arame is a kind of seaweed. It is soaked in water and usually boiled together with vegetables in broth and added to salads and legumes to boost the mineral content of foods.

Cacao – raw Ancient superfood

Jam packed with antioxidants, magnesium and bliss nutrients that can help keep you energized, healthy and happy. Raw Cacao beans contain 10 grams of flavonol antioxidants per 100 grams, which is an incredible 10%. Research has also demonstrated that the antioxidants in cacao are highly stable and easily available to human metabolism. Raw cacao is the primary dietary source of magnesium, the most deficient mineral in western civilisation. Magnesium is the most important mineral for a healthy functioning heart. It also plays a key role in producing energy for the neurons in the brain from glucose.

Serving: 1 dessertspoon in a smoothie or use in sweet treats

Camu camu – Peru

Camu Camu (Mycaria Dubia) is a bushy tree that grows in black water rivers, especially along abandoned watercourses known as cochas. Each year, the river floods, bringing nutrients to the soil and avoiding the depletion associated with typical farming methods; these are ecosystems of great social and economic importance to the Amazon jungle in Peru. Growing in these swampy areas, it takes years for the tree to become mature enough to bear fruit. The fruit of the tree is approximately 2 centimeters in diameter and has a purplish red skin with a yellow pulp.

Traditionally, native medicine practitioners and herbalists have recommended Camu Camu for:

  • Strengthening the immune system
  • Improving symptoms of herpes infections, including mouth blisters, genital blisters, shingles blisters and other viral infections
  • Promoting energy and vitality of people with chronic immune dysfunction
  • Strengthening the nervous system
  • Supporting healthy levels of white blood cell formation
  • Detoxifying the body, especially the liver
  • Promoting health of upper respiratory organs, including lungs, sinuses, nasal passages
  • Promoting a healthy heart and circulatory system

Cats claw – Peru

Cats Claw (Uncaria tomentosa), commonly known as Uña de Gato, is indigenous to the amazonian rainforest in Peru. It has been used by the indigenous people of peru for thousands of years to maintain health and vitality and in particular to treat immune and digestive disorders.

The immuno-stimulant properties of Cat’s Claw help the body fight off infections and protect against degenerative diseases. By stimulating the immune system, it can also improve response to viral and respiratory infections. It has also anti-inflammatory properties which counters the bronchial oedema.

Chia seeds – Colombia

Chia is from the annual herb family of mint. Folklore dates chia back to pre-Colombian Aztec times, where the seed was used in pudding and bread recipes. Notably it was used by messengers of the day, who would consume it for endurance performance. The Chia seed contains essential minerals, phosphorous, manganese, calcium, potassium, sodium.

Being a complete protein, chia has all the 9 essential amino acids in proper proportions including other nonessentials. It has an amino acid score of 115%. A complete score is 100%. Those nine essential amino acids are: tryptophan, threonine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine+cystine, phenylalanine+tyrosine, valine, histidine.

Coconut sugar – Asia

Coconut Sugar is naturally low on the Glycemic Index (GI), which has benefits for weight control and improving glucose levels in people with diabetes. Its GI rating is 35. In comparison, most commercial honey is GI 55 and cane sugars are GI 68. 

Enoki Mushrooms – Japan

Long and thin, enoki mushrooms grow on tree trunks, roots, and branches in Japan. Grown and packaged in clusters, enoki mushrooms have a refrigerator shelf life of one week. Enoki mushrooms are high in niacin, providing 19 percent of the RDA for a 2,000-calorie diet. They are also considered a good source of iron and a good source of potassium at 236mg per serving.

Goji berries – China

Have been used for thousands of years in Chinese medicine to boost life-force or “chi” energy. The goji berry is sacred to the people of this remote region and they hold a special festival every year to honor and celebrate the life giving qualities of this extraordinary berry. n terms of overall nutrition Goji Berries are unmatched by any other food. They contain 18 kinds of amino acids (six times higher than bee pollen) and contain all 8 essential amino acids (such as isoleucine and tryptophan).
They contain 11.7% protein, and 328 calories per 100g! They also contain up to 21 trace minerals (the most powerful ones being zinc, iron, copper, calcium, germanium, selenium, and phosphorus)! Goji berries are the richest source of carotenoids, including beta-carotene (more beta carotene than carrots), of all known foods or plants on earth! They contain 500 times the amount of vitamin C, by weight, than oranges making them second only to camu camu berries as the richest vitamin C source on earth. Goji berries also contain vitamins B1, B2, B6, and vitamin E.

Serving: 1 dessertspoon every few days
Ginger, pickled Gari ガリ- Japan

Gari is a type of tsukemono (pickled vegetables). It is sweet, thinly sliced young ginger that has been marinated in a solution of sugar and vinegar. Ginger has antiseptic properties, and was originally eaten with sushi to counter the potential microbes in the raw fish.

Hijiki – Japan

Hijiki, a seaweed, is known to be rich in dietary fibre and essential minerals such as calcium, iron and magnesium. Hijiki aids health and beauty, and thick, black, lustrous hair is connected to regular consumption of small amounts of hijiki.

Lucuma – Peru

Lucuma is an excellent source of carbohydrates, fibre, vitamins and minerals. It smells divine and has a creamy citrus flavour. This exotic Peruvian fruit is known as the “Gold of the Incas” and is considered one of the lost crops of the Incas. Lucuma contains healthy doses of fibre, vitamins and minerals and is especially high in beta carotene, iron and niacin (vitamin B3).

 

Maca – Incas

An energising and revitalising superfood of the Incas, packed with vitamins, minerals, enzymes and all the essential amino acids. Grown at 4,000m above sea level in the Andean district of Junin by the Pumpush people who have been cultivating and consuming maca as a staple food for thousands of years. Contains unique alkaloids, which help stimulate the master glands that in turn may help optimise and balance the entire endocrine system.

Maca contains high amounts of vitamins, minerals, enzymes, all the essential amino acids and it contains nearly 60 phytochemicals. The extraordinary health benefits of Maca are due to the way it promotes optimal functioning of the hypothalamus and pituitary master glands. Maca contains unique alkaloids that stimulate the master glands, which in turn improves the overall functioning of the endocrine system.

Traditionally, native medicine practitioners and herbalists have recommended maca for :

  • Treating menopausal symptoms, such as hot flashes, vaginal dryness, and depression, as an alternative to hormone replacement therapy [HRT]
  • Stimulating and regulating the endocrine system
  • Regulating and normalizing menstrual cycles
  • Stimulating fertility in both men and women
  • Supporting the immune system
  • Increasing energy, stamina and endurance, reducing chronic fatigue
  • Enhancing libido, treating impotence
  • Revitalizing seniors, mentally and physically

Maca is essentially an adaptogen and therefore adapts to your bodies metabolism and particular needs to achieve an overall sense of wellbeing and optimal functioning. Through balancing and optimizing the functioning of the hypothalamus and pituitary master glands it also balances and optimizes the functioning of the adrenal glands, the thyroid and the pancreas. Because the levels of oestrogen, progesterone and testosterone are optimized this in turn helps regulate ovarian function and enables the adrenals to produce enough hormones to avoid symptoms during menopause.

Maqui – Chile

Considered the highest anti-oxidant fruit on the planet Maqui is a deep purple berry wild harvested in the pristine conditions of Southern Chile. Maqui is reported to stimulate weight loss, delays the ageing process and detoxifies and cleanses the body. Research is also showing that it’s a powerful anti-inflammatory and contains high levels of polyphenols and anthocyanins.

Serving: 1 teaspoon in a smoothie

Mesquite – Mexico

Used as a staple food for centuries by desert dwellers, this high protein meal contains good quantities of calcium, magnesium, potassium, iron and zinc, and is rich in the amino acid lysine as well. Its low GI of 25 helps maintain stable blood sugar levels. It has a sweet, distinctive wild flavour with a hint of caramel, which blends well into smoothies or other drinks, especially those made with cacao and maca. Mesquite was traditionally consumed as a staple food. It has an incredibly low GI and a high mineral content, and the reason why the GI is so low is partly because of that very high mineral content. Mesquite is high in protein and contains significant quantities of calcium, magnesium, potassium, iron and zinc. It’s also rich in the amino acid lysine.

Serving: 1 tablespoon as a seasoning, it can be added to soups, sauces, casseroles, and virtually any vegetable or meat dishes, or sprinkled on desserts.

Mirin – Japan

Sweet sake for seasoning is a sweet yellow liquid composed of about 40–50% sugar and about 14% alcohol. It is used for cooking meat, fish or vegetables in broth.

Miso – Japan

Miso is classified into two basic types – white miso and red miso. White miso is made from rice or wheat; red miso is made from soybeans. The type of miso served varies depending on the region.

Nori – Dried Laver – Japan

Dried laver (seaweed) is pressed into a paper – thin sheet and dried. Dried laver is not soaked in water. It is used for maki-zushi and rice balls.

 

Sesame Seeds – Japan

Black sesame seed is often used as a topping for steamed rice. Rich in Omega 6 essential fatty acids and the black seed is used to tonify the kidney energy and support the adrenals. Black tahini is the base of Black Betty Bam, above.

White sesame seed is often ground and used as a topping or mixed together with vegetables. Both seeds are exceptionally rich sources of calcium.

Shiitake Mushrooms – Japan

Containing all eight of the essential amino acids, shiitake are also rich in Vitamin B12, Cobalamin, predominantly found in animal protein, an energy boosting vitamin that is so often lacking in the vegetarian diet.

They have natural antiviral and immune boosting properties and also contain a sizeable amount of the protein, interferon that aids in building immunity against cancer.

Soba – Buckwheat Noodles – Japan

Soba noodles are thin Japanese noodles made of buckwheat flour (soba-ko) and wheat flour (komugi-ko). They are roughly as thick as Italian spaghetti, and prepared in various hot and cold dishes. Buckwheat is very high in protein which has all of the amino acids essential for good health. The protein has also been shown to reduce cholesterol levels by absorbing Cholesterol in your small intestine.

Buckwheat reduces blood glucose levels by as much as 12-19% and is a naturally high in dietary fibre and lecithin.

Soybeans – Japan

Green soybeans Edamame are a crop of unripe soybeans harvested at the peak of ripening right before it reaches the “hardening” time. The word Edamame means “Beans on Branches,” as it grows in clusters on bushy branches. To retain the freshness and its natural flavor, it is parboiled and quick-frozen. In East Asia, the soybean has been used for over two thousand years as a major source of protein.

Edamame is consumed as a snack, a vegetable dish, used in soups or processed into sweets. As a snack, the pods are lightly boiled in salted water, and then the seeds are squeezed directly from the pods into the mouth with the fingers.

Tempeh témpé – Indonesia

Tempeh is a traditional soy product originally from Indonesia. It is made by a natural culturing and controlled fermentation process that binds soybeans into a cake form, similar to a very firm vegetarian burger patty. Tempeh begins with whole soybeans, which are softened by soaking and dehulled, then partly cooked.

Specialty tempeh may be made from other types of beans, wheat, or may include a mixture of beans such as fava and whole grains. The soy carbohydrates in tempeh become more digestible as a result of the fermentation process. In particular, the oligosaccharides that are associated with gas and indigestion are greatly reduced by the Rhizopus culture.

Vanilla – Mexico

Vanilla’s rich, warm and intriguing fragrance appeals to both men and women. Its aromatic warmth may offer comfort and nurturance for feelings of tension, anger and frustration. Vanilla is a climbing vine bearing flowers having both male and female organs. Only in Mexico does a natural pollination of the vanilla plant occur; grown anywhere else, it must be hand pollinated.

Wakame – Japan           

Dried wakame is a kind of seaweed. After it is soaked in water, it is used in making miso soup and adds great mineral content to other dishes especially when cooking legumes.

Wasabi – Japan

Japanese horseradish is the representative spice of Japan. It has a very strong taste. It is eaten with sashimi, sushi and soba. Wasabi is a rich source of chemicals known as isothiocyanates. These are the same anti-cancer chemicals found in broccoli and cabbage. These isothiocyanates appear to activate enzymes in the liver which detoxify cancer causing substances before they can do damage to the body. They also appear to interfere with other steps in the formation and metastasis of cancer cells. More importantly, they exert their anti-cancer effects without damaging normal cells.

Yacon – Peru
The yacón root from Peru is a distant relative of the sunflower. It grows in the warm, temperate Andean valleys at elevations below 3,500 m. Its delicious edible tubers, which are sweet and low in calories, hold a variety of benefits. It has a mild sweet flavour and an unusual moist, crunchy texture slightly reminiscent of fresh-picked apple, pineapple and watermelon.

Yacon acts as a pre-biotic and thereby helps the intestines to function efficiently and eliminate toxins and waste products from the body. It strengthens and activates the good bacilli like L acidophilus and B bifidum, which in turn helps enhance our immune systems and helps suppress putrefactive pathogens such as Candida albicans.

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