Jan 18, 2014

Food is Medicine: Fight Colds With Immune Boosting Soup Recipe - Real Food - MOTHER EARTH NEWS

Food is medicine when you choose natural, healthful ingredients. Discover the healthful properties of this cold and flu-fighting Immune Boosting Soup Recipe.

January 17, 2014
By Dale Pinnock

This one-pot wonder of an immune boosting soup is an absolute powerhouse when it comes to dealing with colds and flu. Photo by Martin Poole

Food is more than just fuel; it's key in helping us live longer, healthier lives. Looking carefully at the science of nutrition, Dale Pinnock uses his culinary skills to create practical, delicious dishes that are a pleasure to eat but also alleviate a variety of ailments and illnesses. The Medicinal Chef (Sterling Publishing, 2013) includes recipes that target the skin; joints; respiratory, digestive, metabolic, and nervous systems. The following excerpt provides an immune boosting recipe to fight colds and an explanation of how the ingredients serve your body.

Buy this book from the MOTHER EARTH NEWS store: The Medicinal Chef - How Can Food Help Us Become Healthier?

Many of us view food simply as the fuel we need to consume to keep us going. Things like carbohydrates and proteins — the macronutrients — are just that, providing energy and materials for growth and repair. But the thing is that food is so much more. As well as the macronutrients, there are the micronutrients: the vitamins, minerals, trace elements, and essential fatty acids. These are the keys that allow chemical events to take place in the body. Zinc, for example, is used to regulate our white blood cells and the way the brain uses and responds to its own chemistry; it even creates proteins that regulate inflammation. Essential fatty acids are the building blocks for hormones and a whole group of communication molecules that work to regulate pain and inflammation. The B vitamins turn food into energy, and magnesium is essential for more than 1,000 chemical reactions in the body. So it’s clear that getting enough vitamins and minerals will have a huge impact on our daily health.

Things get really exciting, however, when we start to look at the compounds in many ingredients that aren’t strictly nutrients, since none of them are essential for health, but which can deliver medicinal effects in their own right. Enter the phytonutrients. These are chemicals in plants such as color pigments, hormones and structural compounds. They are starting to be widely researched and are proving to have some wondrous effects. Chemicals in cherries can help beat insomnia. Chocolate can lower blood pressure. Red wine can protect us from heart disease. And that is just the beginning! When we put these things together, it becomes clear that what we eat can have a very profound effect upon our capacity to get better.
Goji Berries

Immune system health

No longer difficult to find in most health stores, goji berries contain a very special type of large sugar molecule called polysaccharides. These sugars have been shown to increase the production of white blood cells, the army of the immune system. This makes goji berries a useful ingredient during colds and flu, and for keeping the immune system strong at other times, too.


Onions are very high in a compound called quercetin, which has a mild but effective antihistamine activity. Allergies involve a localized release of histamine by white blood cells, which causes the inflammation and irritation.

Digestive system health

Onions, like all of the Allium family, are rich in a compound called inulin, which is a potent prebiotic. This will increase the numbers of “good” bacteria, which regulate virtually every aspect of digestive health.
Shiitake Mushrooms

Immune system health

Shiitake mushrooms are one among a few varieties of mushroom that contain a powerful, unique sugar called polysaccharides. There are many of these in nature, but the type found in shiitake mushrooms are beta-glucans, and these have been researched globally for more than 40 years. One area in which there is the strongest evidence is the effect they have upon the immune system. They have been shown to cause an increase in the production of white blood cells (our immune system’s army), and their response to pathogens or damaged cells. Just a small amount of these compounds daily can really give the immune system a bit of a boost.
Sweet Potatoes

Immune system health

Sweet potatoes contain a unique type of storage protein used by the plant as a food source during various stages of its growth cycle. Research carried out in China has shown that this protein may stimulate the production of white blood cells, possibly helping with immunity.
Olive Oil

Heart & circulation

Olive oil has been touted as a healthy oil for centuries, and in many cultures. Modern research has confirmed some rather beneficial properties in this widely used oil. Olive oil is very high in an omega-9 fatty acid called oleic acid, which has been shown in a lot of research to lower total (LDL) cholesterol levels, and improve the ratio between good (LDL) and bad (HDL) cholesterol. It also contains some unique antioxidants called polyphenols, which help to reduce platelet aggregation (basically, reducing clotting).
Chili Peppers

High blood pressure & circulation

Chili peppers contain a powerful phytochemical called capsaicin, which gives them their intense heat. Capsaicin causes the cells that line the inside of our blood vessels to secrete a chemical called nitric oxide, which is naturally produced by these cells (chile just gives them a kick in the right direction). Nitric oxide then tells the muscles in the blood vessel walls to relax, so the vessel gets wider. This has two benefits: firstly, the wider the blood vessel, the lower the pressure within it, and secondly, circulation to the extremities is improved.

Heart & circulation

Garlic contains some seriously potent chemical activity. It contains a powerful compound called ajoene, which interacts with something called the platelet aggregation factor, a compound in the body that regulates the rate and extent to which blood clots. Some surgeons and dentists even advise patients against eating garlic a couple of days prior to surgery in case it increases their bleeding. On a day-to-day basis, however, it can offer protection against clotting, helpful against strokes and heart attacks.

Colds & flu

Garlic contains a group of powerful essential oils — these are what make you smell like Buffy the Vampire Slayer’s inside pocket when you’ve eaten too much of it. These oils can only be removed from the body through the breath, rather than the usual routes of elimination through the bowels, and urine. As we breathe out they move through the respiratory tract and can kill off bugs and viruses, such as those that can cause colds and flu.


Ginger has a longstanding reputation as a useful remedy for the treatment of mild nausea, from morning sickness to motion sickness. It isn’t clear how it does this, but many people believe it works by stimulating the production of digestive juices.
Immune Boosting Soup Recipe

This one-pot wonder of a soup is an absolute powerhouse when it comes to dealing with colds and flu. Don’t be put off by the goji berries — these sweet treats were once hard to find, and cost the earth, but thankfully they can now be found cheaply in any health food store.


1 red onion, minced
1 green chile, minced
4 garlic cloves, minced
2-inch piece fresh gingerroot, minced
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 medium sweet potatoes, diced, skins left on
1 punnet shiitake mushrooms, sliced
2 handfuls goji berries
vegetable stock, to cover
salt and black pepper


Put the onion, chile, garlic, and ginger in a large pan with the olive oil. Cook over medium-high heat for about 5 minutes, until the onion softens.

Add the sweet potatoes and mushrooms to the pan along with the goji berries. Stir well, then add enough vegetable stock to cover all the ingredients. Simmer well for 10 to 15 minutes, until the potato is soft. Season with salt and pepper.

Carefully add the soup to a blender in batches, and blend into a smooth, vivid orange, spicy soup. Makes 4 servings.

Food is Medicine: Fight Colds With Immune Boosting Soup Recipe - Real Food - MOTHER EARTH NEWS:

Jan 14, 2014

"How Wood Dries" - "Removing Pith" - "Wood Tenderloin"

"Wood Tenderloin"

Published on Jan 13, 2014

Sam Angelo explains in simple terms how wood shrinks, expands, and moves during the drying process. This video will be an excellent tutorial on drying wood for woodturning and woodworking projects.

How Wood Dries - YouTube

Jan 13, 2014

7 Reasons You Need to Eat More Eggs

Many Americans were raised on the theory that eggs were loaded with artery-clogging cholesterol, and that eating them was a surefire way to promote coronary heart disease. That couldn’t be further from the truth, though. When Wake Forest University researchers reviewed some of the top scientific studies, they found no link between eating eggs and heart disease.

In fact, many leading health experts call eggs the perfect food. The white part and the yolk work together to bring you an ample serving of important vitamins, healthy fats, trace minerals, and other nutrients—all in one convenient, low-calorie package. After all, a single whole, large egg contains just 72 calories. They’re easy to cook, too—nature’s healthy version of convenience food. Here are seven reasons to put eggs back on your menu.

Instant Mood Boost

The Good News: Eggs contain a beneficial blend of omega-3 fatty acids, zinc, B vitamins, and iodide, nutrients that work together to battle fatigue and reverse bad moods.

Bonus Tip: Don’t be tricked by “free-range” eggs. The hens may still be housed inside of warehouses (but at least not in tiny cages)

Read More: 11 Instant Mood-Boosting Foods

Nourish Your Muscular System

The Good News: Eggs are one of nature’s best food sources, packaging muscle-protecting protein in a low-calorie food. The B12 in eggs also aids in muscle contraction, a must for avid gardeners!

Bonus Tip: Don’t be fooled by the word natural on your egg carton. “Natural” eggs could come from hens fed antibiotics and genetically engineered feed, two things banned in organic eggs.

Read More: How to Raise Backyard Chickens

Guard Against Cancer

The Good News: Women who eat higher levels of choline, a nutrient found in eggs, are 24 percent less likely to develop breast cancer, according to a recent study. One large egg boasts about 30 percent of your Recommended Dietary Allowance of choline.

Bonus Tip: Most of the choline is concentrated in the yolk, so be sure to include the whole egg in your omelet.

Read More: How Organic Are Those Eggs?

Feed Your Brain

The Good News: The choline in eggs helps keep your memory sharp while increasing the release of acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter that helps your brain store and recall information better. Eggs from hens raised outside on grass pastures also contain more omega-3 fatty acids that help power your brain.

Bonus Tip: Find a farmer who raises birds on pasture and supplements with organic feed. Eggs from chickens raised on grass produce eggs with much vitamin E, which scientists believe could help protect you from developing Alzheimer’s disease.

Read More: 11 Foods That Make You Smarter

Save Your Sight

The Good News: Eggs are a rich source of lutein and zeaxanthin, antioxidants that help stave off macular degeneration and cataracts. (Just be sure to eat the yolks!)

Bonus Tip: For an even more potent eye-protecting meal, mix lutein- and zeaxanthin-rich kale or spinach into your omelet.

Read More: 6 Healthy Fats You Should Eat

Slim Down

The Good News: Here’s a delicious way to lose weight! Researchers from Louisiana State University found that when obese people choose an egg breakfast over bagels at least five times a week, they lost 65 percent more weight. And Saint Louis University scientists discovered that eating eggs in the morning led to eating fewer calories throughout the rest of the day, too.

Bonus Tip: Organic, Animal Welfare Approved, and Certified Humane eggs ban the practice of routinely feeding antibiotics to hens.

Read More: 7 Slim-Down Food Swaps

Stop Extinction

The Good News: You can help preserve old-school chicken breeds based on the eggs you choose to eat. Industrial farming generally uses one or two different hen breeds, which threatens the diversity of the species’ gene pool. Luckily, demand for heritage breed eggs is causing a surge in other breeds—some that were or are on the verge of extinction!

Bonus Tip: Search LocalHarvest.org to find farmers in your area that raise heritage breed hens out on pasture.

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7 Reasons You Need to Eat More Eggs