NATURES BEAUTY - VANILLA

When something (or someone) is bland and unexciting, we usually say they are like vanilla. Simple, colorless, ordinary, easily overlooked – that describes vanilla accurately, right? Well, not exactly. The more you learn about vanilla – its origins, its popularity and what it takes to get it to our pantry shelves – you may refrain from ever describing anything or anyone as “just plain vanilla.”

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NATURES BEAUTY - CHAMOMILE

Have you ever suffered through a bout of insomnia and had someone tell you to try drinking a cup of chamomile tea to help you sleep? Chamomile is a daisy-like plant often employed in herbal medicine. Over the centuries as people have used it, chamomile has been touted to treat a wide range of ailments, from hay fever to menstrual cramps to ulcers, hemorrhoids and, of course, insomnia. Your shower gel, shampoo or skin-care lotion may contain chamomile, which is said to treat conditions such as sunburn .....

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NATURES BEAUTY - BARLEY

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.

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NATURES BEAUTY - PEAS

If you were like most kids, you probably turned up your nose at peas when they appeared on your dinner plate – and held your nose as you ate them. Hopefully, you are now mature enough to realize how very good for you peas are, and you no longer leave them to roll around on your plate untouched.


Interestingly enough, pea pods botanically are fruit because they contain seeds and developed from the ovary of a flower. Peas have been around a very long time. They were eaten in ancient India, Egypt and Greece. Back then, they were mostly grown for their dry seeds. Field peas were a staple of the diet during the Middle Ages. Fresh peas were called garden peas. Apparently these were quite the rage in 16th-century France. Today Canada is the world’s largest producer of peas. The work Austrian monk Gregor Johann Mendel did with peas laid the foundation for the modern science of genetics.


We know them mainly as little green balls, but peas are also occasionally yellow and (rarely) purple. They grown in a single row in pods that are about 2 to 3 inches long. Of course we’ve all heard the saying that some people are “as alike as two peas in a pod.”


Green peas are one of the most nutritious vegetables available.

They are full of health-promoting phytonutrients, minerals, vitamins and anti-oxidants. Included in these phytonutrients are some recently discovered green pea phytonutrients called saponins. When coupled with the other phytonutrients in green peas, these substances may help lower the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, which is currently becoming epidemic around the world.


Peas are a good source of vitamin C, which is known to help the body build resistance against infectious agents and eliminate harmful, pro- inflammatory free radicals. The abundant vitamin K in peas helps build bone mass. Fresh pea pods are an excellent source of folic acid. Peas are relatively low in calories and contain no cholesterol. They have phytosterols that help lower cholesterol levels. Other beneficial elements in peas include antioxidant flavonoids such as carotenes, lutein, zeaxanthin, vitamin A and B-complex vitamins such as pantothenic acid, niacin and thiamin. Peas are rich in essential minerals such as calcium, iron, copper, zinc and manganese. Recent research has shown green peas are a good source of omega-3 fats in the form of alpha- linolenic acid (ALA).


Peas contain high amounts of a polyphenol called coumestrol, which helps fight

stomach cancer. One cup of green peas contains at least 10 milligrams of coumestrol. The only people who would not benefit from including peas in their diets are those who have problems such as a kidney disorder or gout. Peas contain a compound called purines that will adversely people dealing with these health issues. However, if you want to control your weight; strengthen your immune system; prevent wrinkles, Alzheimer’s disease, heart disease and osteoporosis; promote vision and eye health; regulate blood sugar; reverse insulin resistance; and prevent constipation, please pile peas on your plate.

TANYA TYLER

Tanya Tyler is the Editor of Health & Wellness Magazine

more articles by Tanya Tyler