In Part 3 of what are the best foods to eat… let’s discuss our love (or not) for peas. Peas, I’ve discovered, are not only an important “superfood”, they’re more like a “power food”.
Peas are literally a treasure chest of hidden nutritional value…low in fat but high in protein, fiber, antioxidants and nutrients like vitamins C, A, B6, K, magnesium and beta-carotene, to name a few. Peas have strong anti-inflammatory properties which help prevent wrinkles, alzheimer’s, bronchitis, osteoporosis and arthritis. I just may have to get to like these little guys.
Researchers have found that peas contain a powerful compound that can help prevent healthy cells from becoming cancerous. They also help lower cholesterol.
Did you know…peas are recognized as one of the first food crops to be grown, dating back to 4800-4400 BC? And with over 15 varieties, surely there is a variety out there for each of us to fall in love with and enjoy.
Grow your own…
Growing green peas helps our environment by providing the soil with nitrogen resulting in less needed fertilizer. While fresh is always better, they’re not available year round. I’d stay away from canned but frozen peas are always available and they are just as good for you because freezing keeps most of the nutrients intact. So…pass the peas, please. Add peas to your next garden salad. Add them to chicken salad or your next casserole or soup…I know I will.
Memories...Years ago, when my daughter was just a toddler, one of the things she loved was a small Dixie cup half filled with frozen peas. She’d wander around the kitchen, Dixie cup in hand, munching on her peas while I was busy preparing dinner. And today, years later…she prefers frozen peas with her hot mashed potatoes. Some things never change.
The next “superfood” on my list I’d like to discuss is much sweeter for our taste buds…honey. Yes, honey…there’s something very special about honey…the right honey, that is.
Benefits are plentiful, thanks to the bees…
Honey is rich in flavonoids (antioxidants) which help reduce some cancers, heart disease and reduces ulcers, acid reflux and other gastrointestinal disorders.
I remember as a child my dad, a doctor who’s medical practice focused on a holistic approach to better health, would give me a spoonful of buckwheat honey when I had a bad cough. The antibacterial action of honey reduces cough and throat irritation.
Besides the benefits already stated, honey contains phytochemicals that support our immune system. The health benefits of honey have been documented since ancient times.
Did you know… Ancient Olympic athletes ate honey and dried figs to enhance performance.
The Raw Deal
Raw honey is the closest to the way bees make it. Amber in color, raw honey contain traces of wax and pollen and when you consume raw honey, you are actually immunizing your body against allergies…and that’s a good thing. Is it the real deal? First, I’d recommend buying it local and buy organic. Raw organic honey will turn opaque and will harden at room temperature.
On the Flip Side
Commercial, pasteurized, ultra-filtered honey will remain in a liquid form when stored at room temperature. And it has no medicinal value. Ultra-filtering removes pollen and hides the country or region of origin. According to the World Health Organization, the removal of these microscopic properties (pollen) leaves no way to determine whether the honey came from a legitimate and safe source.
According to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), “…the Chinese have illegally dumped tons of their honey, some containing illegal antibiotics, in the US market for years”.
Honey without pollen isn’t honey.
Buy the Best
Purchase local honey at farmers markets and “natural” stores like Trader Joe’s. In the US, pure honey cannot be sold with added sugar, unlike some other countries like China, for example, where they blend their honey with sugar syrups.
Buy the best quality and in small amounts. But, if you do buy honey at your grocery store, look for organic and read the label. Grocers prefer processed honey as it has a longer shelf life and that’s not a good thing…for you. So, honey is a “superfood” but only the raw, organic kind. Use it in small amounts and try it in your next cup of herbal tea. Store your honey away from sunlight and at room temperature.
Did you know that honeybees are not native to North America? Colonists brought the first bees to Virginia in the early 1600s and within 200 years, they had spread all across this great country including Central and South America. Support your local beekeepers. According to the Department of Agriculture there are more honey bee colonies today, actually at a 20 year high and honey production is at a 10 year high.
Update: Please read my blog “A Honey of a Retraction” for important information on the plight of the honeybee.
To be continued…
I welcome your feedback, shares and comments. If there is a possible “superfood” you would like me to research, please let me know and I’ll be happy to look into it for you.