Tag Archives: benefits

What is Zaatar?

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Zaatar is a spice and herb blend from the middle east. You can find in all the houses around the middle east. Even here in Canada, every middle eastern person i know has a bag in their kitchen! It’s that important!

Zaatar has an amazing and unique flavor that is aromatic, and tangy at the same time.

In arabic, Zaatar means thyme; it is actually a blend of dried thyme, sesame seeds and sumac. And it is this combination that gives Zaatar its unique flavor.

Zaatar is used through out the middle east , sprinkled on hummus, on grilled chicken, mixed in with feta cheese or combined with tomatoes and onions..Combined with olive oil, it makes a tasty paste for dipping bread.

Benefits of Zaatar (of course there are benefits!)

*Thyme: an antioxidant that has anti-inflammatory properties that benefit brain function and the heart. (When i was a kid my parents used to tell me to have Zaatar in the morning before school, it opens up the brain!)

*Sesame seeds: contains calcium, copper and a type of phystoterol that can reduce blood cholesterol levels and boost immunity.

*Sumac: this spice is a burgundy red powder with a somewhat lemony flavor. It is an antioxidant as well and is known to soothe stomach upsets.

See how beneficial Zaatar is for your health? And you’re going to love its taste!

You can make your own Zaatar or buy it, both the Zaatar and its ingredients are available at middle eastern food stores or speciality food stores.

One of the most common ways to eat Zaatar is to have a” Man’ouche”, a flat bread dough with zaatar and olive oil.

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Here’s how to do it the easy way!

Use a pizza dough for the flat bread.

Mix 2-3 tablespoons of Zaatar with olive oil till you get a rather liquid paste. Pour over the dough and cook in oven till crispy.

Cut it in slices and eat with yogurt, yummm!

This Zaatar pizza is very easy to freeze and tastes exactly the same when you warm it up again. Enjoy!

*images via, pinterest,medcookingalaska

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Why eat colorful?

We know that one of the basics of the mediterranean diet is to add more fruits and vegetables to our diet. And you always hear “eat colorful” for better health. Why?

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Eating a diet that varies in color is a crucial part of eating healthy according to the American Dietetic Association. “Intense color might even be nature’s nutrition labels”.

To get maximum disease-fighting power, choose foods that represent all colors of the rainbow:

-Red: contains lycopin, a phytochemical that may help protect against prostate and cancer.

Tomatoes, watermelon, red peppers, red grapefruit….

-Orange: rich in vitamin A, which helps keep your eyes, bones and immune system healthy.

Oranges, carrots, sweet potatoes, mango, pumpkin,tangerine, peaches…

-Green: rich in antioxidants, may reduce the risk of cancers and heart disease.

Broccoli, zuchini, kale, cucumber, spinach, brussel sprouts, cabbage, asparagus, parsley, green peppers, avocadoes, peas…

-Yellow: contain luterin, which helps against degeneration of eye structure with aging.

Squash, yellow peppers, corn…

-Blue, purple: full of antioxidants associated with keeping the heart healthy and the brain functioning optimally.

Blueberries, blackberries, eggplants, plums, grapes, raspberries…

-White: may help fight cancer, lower cholesterol and blood pressure, and fight bodily infections.

Onions, garlic, leeks, chives, scallions…

Now that you know your color chart, color your plate and have a healthy meal!

(The best way is to always have your fridge full with colors, so whatever you come up with for dinner, will surely be healthy!)

*image via pinterest

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Why drink lemon water?

Lemons are abundant on the mediterranean. We use a lot of lemon in our food and in our everyday life. As it turns out, lemons can be found everywhere and we can benefit from them wherever we are!

Lemon is a rich source of vitamin C. It contains vitamin B, and minerals like calcium, phosphorous, magnesium, as well as proteins and carbohydrates.

I do a cure of lemon water every 2-3 months, for a period of 1 month, and i have to say, my skin looks way better!

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Lemon water is a healthy drink, specially if taken in the morning. Daily consumption provides a number of benefits:

Good for the stomach: by drinking lemon water regularly, the bowels are aided in eliminating waste more efficiently.

Excellent for skin care: lemon is a vitamin C rich fruit that enhances your beauty, by rejuvenating skin from within. Daily consumption of lemon water can make a huge difference in the appearance of your skin; it acts as anti-aging and can remove wrinkles and blackheads.

Dental care: it relieves from bad smell and other problems related to gums.

Cures throat infection: it has anti-bacterial properties, therefore aids in fighting throat infections, sore throat and tonsillitis.

Good for weight loss: one of the major benefits of lemon water is that it acts as a great weight loss remedy.

Controls high blood pressure: controls also dizziness and nausea. it also reduces mental stress and depression.

Reduces fever: lemon water can treat a person suffering from cold, fever or flu.

Acts as blood purifier: diseases like cholera and malaria can be treated with lemon water as it acts as a blood purifier.

Try drinking a cup of warm water with lemon in the morning, for a month, and see the results yourself!

It’s very simple; a cup of warm water and the juice of half a lemon. DO IT.

*image via pinterest

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Dates are good for you!

My father is 75 years old and looks at least 10 years younger. Off course my mom says it’s because she feeds him right!

For as long as i remember his snack consists of a plate with: 3-4 dates, some almonds, walnuts and hazelnuts. he always said it was more than enough to fill him up and give him energy.

During the Holy month of Ramadan, people break their fast with dates. When i was a kid i always heard that dates had enough nutrients to sustain you if you were fasting.

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-The health benefits of dates do not stop with protein, dietary fiber and vitamins. With their natural sugar content, dates are also great energy boosters. The best part is that dates are free from cholesterol and contain very low fat. This is one of the prime health benefits of dates.

-The minerals that a serving of dates provides to the body include calcium, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, and selenium. Dates are an excellent source of iron for pregnant women who need the mineral for their own good health and the health of the baby.

-Dates can be introduced in your daily diet very easily. They can be an excellent snack and are a healthy alternative to fattening desserts. Besides the numerous health benefits of dates, another good thing about them is that they can be stored for a long time.

-Loaded with fiber, dates are able to fill you up and keep your bowel habits regular. They are an excellent source of potassium and provide numerous other important vitamins and minerals;  quite a powerhouse packed in a tiny, portable package!

-Dates are free of saturated fat, trans fat, sodium and cholesterol.  Including dates into a daily diet contributes to keeping your heart healthy.

-As an ingredient to any recipe, dates provide the perfect natural alternative to added sugars.

Some of the things dates are good for:

Intestinal disorder

Sexual weakness

Diarrhea

Intoxication

Blood pressure.

*image via npr

 

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The wonder spice

Ginger is a wonder spice, did you know that?

Sure it is not a spice you will find a lot in Mediterranean dishes, but since it is available to us, and it is healthy, why not use it in our daily life?

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Here are 7 top benefits of ginger(and a bonus!)

-Ginger clears up the sinuses that tend to flare up from time to time.

-Feeling nauseaus? Chew on ginger.

-Gas? Ginger helps reduce flatulence.

-Joint pain? Ginger, with its anti-inflamatory properties, can bring relief; pour some ginger essential oil into your bath to help aching muscles and joints.

-Chewing ginger post-operation can help overcome nausea.

-Ginger tea with some lemon drops is a cure for throat and nose congestion.

Menstrual cramp relief.

And here is a benefit I discovered on my own!

15 years ago I was scheduled to travel on a certain day, but that same day I woke up with a terrible flu, my throat and nose were congested so I really thought of postponing my trip.

But my ever resourceful mom gave me a small bag with little pieces of ginger inside, peeled, and advised me to chew on them when the plane takes off and lands.

(Being the good daughter that I am), I did as she said, and believe me, when I chewed my little piece of ginger I felt my nose, throat, and ears open up in a second (a little like a cartoonish character where there is a whoosh coming from the ears? That’s exactly how I felt!).

So we have another benefit, ginger relieves from blocked ears!

 

 

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Eggplant salads

Eggplant is an excellent source of dietary fiber, which can help protect against colon cancer and keeps the digestive system regular. The vitamins in eggplant consist primarily of vitamin A (in the form of beta-carotene), B vitamins, folate and vitamin C.

Eggplant is also rich in minerals, boasting a large quantity of potassium, magnesium, calcium and phosphorous.  Once you realize how beneficial eggplant is to your health, you may want to give more consideration to it becoming a regular part of your diet.

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Today I will share with you two very simple salads made with eggplants that you will love! (Because they are very easy, and good!).

Grilled eggplants with balsamic vinegar:

. 3 to 4 medium eggplants

. 6 to 8 cherry tomatoes (you can always use normal tomatoes, that’s the beauty of Mediterranean cuisine, it is so flexible!)

.Flakes of parmesan cheese

.Some chopped parsley

.Balsamic vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper to taste

Wash the eggplants, cut them into slices of almost 1 inch of thickness, place them on the grill (I use my electrical grill) over medium heat, until they are soft.

Remove them, and cut the slices in the middle being careful not to remove the skin.

Place them in a plate, add the sliced tomatoes, cheese, and the parsley.

In a small bowl mix some balsamic vinegar, the olive oil, salt and pepper. Pour over the eggplants and mix.

There you have it, a delicious eggplant salad!

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Green onion and eggplant salad:

.1 big eggplant or 4 medium ones

.3 green onions, chopped

.1 clove of garlic, mashed

.1 big tomatoe, diced

. Lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper

Place the eggplants on a baking sheet in the oven under the grill, until the skin begins to burn, u can poke it with a fork to see if it is soft.

Take it out from the oven, peel it, and smash it with a fork until it is coarsely pureed.

Add to this mixture, the tomatoes, green onion, garlic, and add the lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper to taste.

And voila, a Mediterranean eggplant speciality full of taste and flavor!

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 Try them and let me know how you liked them!

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6 reasons you should eat chocolate!

Dark chocolate that is! Who doesn’t love chocolate? From kids, to adults, even grandparents!

Well I have great news for you, chocolate is good for you! Studies show that dark, rich, delicious chocolate is good for more than curing depressed, heart broken individuals!

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1-Good for your heart

Dark chocolate improves blood flow and may help prevent the formation of blood clots, and help reduce your risk of strokes.

2-Good for your brain

Dark chocolate contains several chemical compounds that have a positive effect on our mood and cognitive health. Chocolate contains phenylethylamine (PEA), the same chemical your brain

creates when you feel like you are falling in love. (See the connection, love+chocolate=valentine!!)

3-Helps control blood sugar

Dark chocolate has a low glycemic index, meaning it won’t cause huge spikes in blood sugar levels.

4-Full of antioxidants

Free radicals are implicated in the aging process and may be a cause of cancer, so eating antioxidant rich foods like dark chocolate can protect you from many types of cancer and slow the signs of aging.

5-Contains theobromine

Dark chocolate contains theobromine, which has been shown to harden enamel. That means that dark chocolate, unlike other sweets, lowers your risk of getting cavities. (Get your children used to dark chocolate ASAP!)

6-High in vitamins and minerals

Dark chocolate contains some of the following vitamins and minerals in high concentration:

-Potassium

-Copper

-Magnesium

-Iron

The copper and potassium in dark chocolate help prevent against strokes and cardiovascular ailments. The iron in chocolate protects against iron deficiency, and the magnesium helps prevent type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease.

So, are you ready to switch to the dark side? Be sure to stick to the healthy chocolate with 70% cocoa, and of course, eat with moderation…Like everything else!

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10 things almonds are good for!

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Almonds are a great snack, to munch on at home, take to your work place, even for kids, mix in some dried raisins and apricots, they will love it!

Research has shown that 90 percent of the fats in almonds are unsaturated, and the nuts are high in protein, fiber, calcium, magnesium, potassium, vitamin E, and other antioxidants. Almonds contain the most nutrients in comparison to all other nuts.

Benefits:

1-The brain: it contains many nutrients that help in the development of the brain.

2-Regulates cholesterol: effectively controls cholesterol levels.

3-The heart: reduces the risk of heart diseases and helps avoiding heart attacks.

4-Skin care: almonds help in improving the complexion of the skin.

5-Regulates blood pressure

6-Prevention of cancer: almonds improve the movement of food through the colon, thus preventing colon cancer.

7- Diabetes: help in reducing the rise in sugar and insulin levels after meals.

8-weight loss: the monosaturated fat contained in almonds satisfies the appetite and prevents over-eating.

9- Constipation: almonds are rich in fiber.

10-Boosts energy: almonds help in energy production.

I got used to eat almonds and dates as a snack instead of a bar of chocolate or a piece of cake. Try it for a few days, see how well you will feel!

*image,pinterest

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How often do you exercise?

Regular exercise can help protect you from heart disease and strokes, high blood pressure, obesity, back pain, osteoporosis, and can help improve your moods and help you to manage better your stress.

At least 30 mn of daily exercise is required; walking, swimming, yoga, whatever makes you happy! I can walk for an hour if I don’t feel it’s an exercise. Do what you enjoy best, alone, with friends..Don’t think about it like an obligatory sport, take it easy, go for a walk around town, look at the windows, take your child for a walk in the woods, have an evening walk with your husband…The possibilities (and benefits are endless!).

I am the first to admit I am not the sportive type, hate feeling obliged to go to the gym, I prefer walking, as fun, not sport! But sometimes life obliges you to take action; I broke my femur 3 years ago, and I have an iron rod with screws in my leg. It hurts like hell sometimes, and I can’t do anything about it. My doctor advised me to swim. He said it’s the best sport for my leg (that took the fun out of swimming!). So now I’m obliged to swim, all year long.

That was what swimming was for me before!

 

Don’t wait for something to happen to you to do it. We all know it’s a must to keep healthy, so why do we procrastinate?! Human nature I guess…But today we are going to change that! Get up, put on comfortable shoes, and go for a walk. Anywhere. Just do it! (remember the Nike ad?). You will feel much better afterwards, and you will thank me for pushing you. (not for the blisters, but for how good it made you feel).

Have a healthy and happy weekend! xo

 

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