Barley is one of the oldest domesticated cereal grains still being grown around the world today. It originated in Ethiopia and southeast Asia. It is most often used in bread and malted beverages such as beer (barley beer was likely one of the first alcoholic drinks humans developed). Over the centuries, barley water has been used for various medicinal purposes; it is good for clearing up urinary tract infections and is also said to be a good remedy for kidney stones.



What would our Thanksgiving Day feasts be without cranberries? This staple of our holiday dinner has a long, proud history in the United States. According to the Cranberry Marketing Committee (, Native Americans used cranberries as a food staple as early as 1550. They ate them fresh and mashed them with cornmeal and baked them into bread. They used maple sugar or honey to sweet them. They also mixed cranberries with wild game and melted fat to make pemmican.



My mother loved decorating for the holidays. From the tree in the den to the lights around all the windows and a big Santa decal on the front door, she was all in. She would also hang a sprig of (fake) mistletoe, complete with sharp-edged leaves and white berries, from the lintel of the doorway between the living room and the kitchen. She and my father always shared the first kiss under the mistletoe after she put it up.


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You almost have to feel sorry for school kids today. So many of them have peanut allergies, which means they are missing out on enjoying that age-old staple of lunchtime yumminess: peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.

Peanuts are a great healthy snack. According to (and they know their peanuts), eating nuts in moderation – including peanuts and most tree nuts – can help keep your heart healthy. The U.S. Department of Agriculture in its dietary guide- lines for 2015 recommended consuming 5 ounces of nuts, seeds and soy products per week. Most peanuts and tree nuts contain signifi- cant amounts of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. They are naturally cholesterol free and con- tain 0 grams of trans fat. Added to a sensible diet, they can even help reduce LDL or bad cholesterol. Nuts are good sources of many other nutrients, such as dietary fiber, several B vitamins, antioxidant vita- min E, magnesium, potassium and copper. The DASH diet (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) touts eating four to five servings of nuts a week because eating them can help lower blood pressure. (Of course, you probably want to be careful about overindulging in salted peanuts.) According to a study, eating peanuts just two or more times a week was associated with a 58-percent lowered risk of colon cancer in women and a 27-percent lowered risk in men. Peanuts can also help fight gallstones. You can get these benefits from eating a daily tablespoon or

two of peanut butter. Try spreading it on your breakfast waffle or adding it to your morning smoothie.

Peanuts are an excellent source of resveratrol, a polyphenolic anti-oxidant that has been found to protect against certain cancers, heart disease, degenerative nerve disease, Alzheimer’s disease and viral and fungal infections. Resveratrol is also found in red grapes and red wine. Recent research shows peanuts are as rich in antioxidants as many fruits, rivaling blackberries and strawberries, and they have far more antioxidants than apples, carrots or beets. Your best bet is to buy organic peanut butter because it does not contain hydrogenated fats and sugar.

Peanuts, also known as goobers or groundnuts, are actually legumes and are related to peas, lentils and other beans. They play a significant role in nutrition all over the globe. Annual world peanut production is about 46 million tons. Peanuts are believed to have originated in Central America. Spanish explorers helped them spread to rest of the world. The popularity of pea- nuts in the southern United States can be traced to botanist George Washington Carver, who encouraged cotton farmers to grow peanuts instead of or along with cotton, which had

depleted nitrogen from the soil. Peanuts put nitrogen back into the soil. Carver is credited with coming up with more than 300 uses for peanuts, but he did not invent peanut butter.

One study indicates almost a quarter of children with a peanut allergy will eventually outgrow it. That’s good news for all those moms and dads who want to pass on the joy of a gooey peanut butter and jelly sandwich down to the next generation.


Tanya Tyler is the Editor of Health & Wellness Magazine

more articles by Tanya Tyler