via healthline

Overview

Apples are a popular and healthy fruit, and a big part of American culture and history. Apples are easy to cultivate and tailor to certain tastes because of their resilient genetic diversity. They also have antioxidant properties that help protect against cancer-inducing oxidative damage, which can lead to various health problems. The saying “an apple a day keeps the doctor away” has withstood the test of time because of the impressive health profile of apples.

But as you bite deep into an apple, you are confronted with something not so sweet in its core: tiny black seeds. Unlike the sweet tang of the fruit, the tiny black seeds are another story. They contain amygdalin, a substance that releases cyanide when it comes into contact with human digestive enzymes. But acute toxicity is rare if you accidentally eat some of the seeds.

How cyanide works

Cyanide is a chemical known as one of the deadliest poisons. It has been used in chemical warfare and mass suicide. Many compounds that contain cyanide—called cyanoglycosides—are found in nature, often in fruit seeds. Amygdalin is one of these.

Apple seeds, and many other fruit seeds or pits, have a strong outer layer resistant to digestive juices. But if you chew the seeds, amygdalin could be released in the body and produce cyanide. Small amounts can be detoxified by enzymes in your body. However, large amounts can be dangerous.

How much cyanide is lethal?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 1–2 mg/kg is a fatal oral dose of cyanide for a 154 lbs. (70 kg) man. Most apple cores contain around 5 apple seeds. However, this amount will vary based on the health of the plant. You would need to finely chew and eat about 200 apple seeds, or about 40 apple cores, to receive a fatal dose.

The Agency for Toxic Substances & Disease Registry (ATSDR) says that exposure to even small amounts of cyanide can be dangerous. Cyanide can harm the heart and brain, and even lead to coma and death. ATSDR adds that people should avoid eating the seeds of apples, and the pits of fruits that include:

  • peaches
  • apricots
  • cherries

Symptoms of cyanide poisoning can occur quickly. They include shortness of breath and seizures. Both can lead to loss of consciousness.

What about apple seed oil?

Apple seed oil is a byproduct of juice processing. It’s made from the raw apple pomace. The amount of amygdalin found in apple seed oil is generally very small.

People use it for its fragrance, to condition hair, and calm skin inflammation. Some studies suggest that it’s also a good source of antioxidants and shows some potential as an anticancer agent. Another study found apple seed oil to be active against bacteria and yeast.

The takeaway

Apple seeds contain amygdalin, a substance that releases cyanide into the blood stream when chewed and digested. However, apple seeds in small amounts do not contain enough cyanide to cause harm. However, it is better to spit out seeds to avoid any potential issues.


via Kiddle: The macadamia nut is the fruit of a tree that first came from the east coast of Australia. There is more than one kind of Macadamia tree. Only one kind is grown for food.

The tree is an evergreen (stays green all year long). It grows up to 25 feet (7.6 metres) high. It has groups of small white flowers. It grows best in subtropical (wet and always warm) climates. It needs well-drained soil (water can flow away easily) and 40 to 100 inches (1,000 to 2,500 mm) of rain a year.

The nutmeat (the soft part inside the shell that can be eaten) is mostly a creamy white color. Sometimes it looks a bit yellow. It has a flavor that many people like. Macadamias are eaten roasted (cooked) by themselves. They are used in cookies, cakes, pastries, and candies. People use them like almonds and cashews as part of cooked meals. This is an Oriental style of cooking.

The first commercial orchard was started in Australia in the late 1880s. Commercial production started in Hawaii during the 1920s. Production later spread to California, Mexico, and other places with warm climate.

Macadamias are poisonous to dogs. A dog usually needs 24 to 48 hours to recover fully after eating macadamias.The plant is in the Proteaceae family of flowering plants.

Description

Macadamia is an evergreen genus that grows 2–12 m (7–40 ft) tall.

The leaves are arranged in whorls of three to six, lanceolate to obovate or elliptic in shape, 6–30 cm (2–10 in) long and 3–13 cm (1–5 in) broad, with an entire or spiny-serrated margin. The flowers are produced in a long, slender, simple raceme 5–30 cm (2–10 in) long, the individual flowers 10–15 mm (0.4–0.6 in) long, white to pink or purple, with four tepals. The fruit is a hard, woody, globose follicle with a pointed apex, containing one or two seeds.

History

1828
Allan Cunningham was the first European to discover the macadamia plant.
1857
German-Australian botanist Ferdinand von Mueller gave the genus the scientific name Macadamia – named after von Mueller’s friend Dr. John Macadam, a noted scientist and secretary of the Philosophical Institute of Australia.
1858
Walter Hill, superintendent of the Brisbane Botanic Gardens (Australia), observed a boy eating the kernel without ill effect, becoming the first nonindigenous person recorded to eat macadamia nuts.
1860s
King Jacky, aboriginal elder of the Logan River clan, south of Brisbane, Queensland, was the first known macadamia entrepreneur, as his tribe and he regularly collected and traded the macadamias with settlers.
1866
Tom Petrie planted macadamias at Yebri Creek (near Petrie) from nuts obtained from Aboriginals at Buderim; 1882
William H. Purvis introduced macadamia nuts to Hawaii as a windbreak for sugar cane.
1888
The first commercial orchard of macadamias was planted at Rous Mill, 12 km from Lismore, New South Wales, by Charles Staff.
1889
Joseph Maiden, Australian botanist, wrote, “It is well worth extensive cultivation, for the nuts are always eagerly bought.”
1910
The Hawaiian Agricultural Experiment Station encouraged planting of macadamias on Hawaii’s Kona District, as a crop to supplement coffee production in the region.
1916
Tom Petrie begins trial macadamia plantations in Maryborough, Queensland, combining macadamias with pecans to shelter the trees.
1922
Ernest Van Tassel formed the Hawaiian Macadamia Nut Co in Hawaii.
1925
Tassel leased 75 acres (30 ha) on Round Top in Honolulu and began Nutridge, Hawaii’s first macadamia seed farm.
1931
Tassel established a macadamia-processing factory on Puhukaina Street in Kakaako, Hawaii, selling the nuts as Van’s Macadamia Nuts.
1937
Winston Jones and J. H. Beaumont of the University of Hawaii’s Agricultural Experiment Station reported the first successful grafting of macadamias, paving the way for mass production.
1940s
Steve Angus, Murwillumbah, Australia, formed Macadamia Nuts Pty Ltd, doing small-scale nut processing.
1946
A large plantation was established in Hawaii.
1953
Castle & Cooke added a new brand of macadamia nuts called “Royal Hawaiian”, which was credited with popularizing the nuts in the U.S.
1997
Australia surpassed the United States as the major producer of macadamias.
2012–15
South Africa surpassed Australia as the largest producer of macadamias.
2014
Macadamia nuts were responsible for the delay of Korean Air Flight 86 at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York City. This “nut rage incident” gave the nuts high visibility in the South Korean economy and marked a sharp increase in consumption there.


via theherbalbalance: Herbs and kids go together like two peas in a pod, with many lovely, gentle herbs that children readily respond to. These botanicals can be used to not only bring aid to little ones during times of illness but also to inspire children with the wonders of nature and the plant world. Yet, if we want to use herbs with a child for health reasons or for play, knowing how to find and use safe herbs for kids is of the utmost importance.

Safe Herbs For Kids

Herbs have a long history of use for helping families and their children to thrive and be healthy. I like to use safe herbs that are gentle and mild with children and have time-tested traditional use. Kids are more sensitive than adults and respond strongly to mild herbs while stronger herbs may cause unwanted reactions in little bodies. Some of my favorite plants to use with kids include gentle nervines and nourishing herbal plants which are wonderful for bringing a bit of herbal love to children.

When choosing which plant to use with your child, it is important to do your homework. Get a good children’s herbal book (recommended books below) and refer to it when needed. You can also follow the links offered throughout this article to learn more about individual herbs including their properties and how to use them. The herbs mentioned in this post are used by herbalists for children and are generally considered to be safe herbs for kids, however no herb is safe for every person, please see guidelines below for further information about using herbs with kids.

Nourishing Plants for Kids

These plants act like a nutritive food in the body and indeed the herbal assistance that comes from nourishing herbs is through their ability to offer high amounts of vitamins, minerals, and other phytochemicals that are easily absorbed. Boost the nutrient content of your food by adding these plants to foods such as salads, soups, and casseroles. They also make wonderful teas and infusions which can then be used to make kid-friendly herbal treats such as ice pops, smoothies, and even jello!

Examples of nourishing plants include:

  • Nettle (Urtica dioica), dry or cook before using
  • Oatstraw (Avena sativa)
  • Raspberry (Rubus idaeus)
  • Alfalfa (Medicago sativa)
  • Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale)
  • Seaweeds
  • Marshmallow (Althaea officinalis)
  • Rose hips (Rosa species)
  • Violet (Viola odorata)

Gentle Nervines for Kids

Nervines are plants that help to nourish and calm the nervous system. These plants are wonderful for helping to soothe nervousness and anxieties, for example when kids are nervous about the first day of school or a big performance coming up. These herbs also lend a calming hand when children have become so overtired and that they are wired. Nervines can help to ease away occasional insomnia as well as aches and pains including headaches. And these plants also assist in providing calm comfort during illness when rest is essential.

Examples of nervines for kids include:

  • Chamomile (Matricaria chamomilla)
  • Lemon balm (Melissa officinalis)
  • Spearmint (Mentha spicata)
  • Rose petals (Rosa species)
  • Lavender (Lavandula species)
  • Catnip (Nepeta cataria)

When Things Go Amiss

It is wonderful to be able to use natural remedies to help an ailing child feel better. You can put a little nurturing love and care into making and using herbal remedies with kids and when they feel that love, it helps them feel better! Herbs can be helpful to alleviate symptoms and speed recovery from stuffy noses, sore throats, coughs, and tummy aches. Along with the herbs listed here, look to nervines which are also helpful during illness offering calm support along along with antimicrobial properties in their own right.

Here are some examples of helpful herbs to use with sick kids:

  • Elder flower & berry (Sambucus nigra)
  • Violet & pansy (Viola species)
  • Anise seeds (Pimpinella anisum)
  • Cinnamon (Cinnamomum cassia)
  • Thyme (Thymus vulgaris)
  • Garlic (Allium sativum)
  • Marshmallow (Althaea officinalis)
  • Slippery Elm (Ulmus rubra)
  • Nervines listed above

Appropriate Dosing Of Herbs For Kids

It is just as important to know how to use herbs safely with your kids as it is to be able to choose safe herbs. An essential part of using herbs safely with children is giving them the proper dosage of the herb or herbs you have chosen. Herbalists have a couple different ways to figure out safe dosages of herbs for kids. These rules are based on weight or age of the child to figure the dosage and can be of great help.

Clark’s Rule

This rule is based on the weight of the child and assumes that the adult dosage is for a 150 pound adult.

To use Clark’s Rule take the weight of your child and divide it by 150.

For example, if your child weighs 38 pounds you would divide 38 by 150 (38/150 = .253 or ¼) so your child would take ¼ of the adult dosage (White et al., 1998).

Young’s Rule

Young’s rule for figuring dosage is based on the child’s age. To use, add 12 to the child’s age and divide the child’s age by this number.

Here is an example for a 6 year old child: 6+12 = 18, then 6/18 = .3 from which you can calculate the fraction of the adult dosage to use. In this case 1/3 of the adult dosage (Gladstar, 2001).

Although the herbs listed above are among the most commonly used herbs for kids, adjusting herb dosage for kids makes many herbs effective and safe for kids. Herbalist Rosemary Gladstar explains, “my experience has been that almost any herb that is safe for an adult is safe for a child as long as the size and weight of the child are accounted for and the dosage is adjusted accordingly” (Gladstar, 2001, pp. 163). She also says that these herbs should be “in small amounts for short periods of time only, and in conjunction or formulated with milder herbs” (Gladstar, 2001, pp. 163).

What to Watch For

Other safety precautions are important for everyone and especially children. Please keep in mind that no herb is safe for absolutely every person, just as strawberries and peanuts are not safe food choices for everyone. Please watch your child carefully for signs of negative reaction.

The Scratch Test

If you are not sure that an herb will be safe for your child or have never given him or her a plant before and want to be cautious you can perform a scratch test. Take a small amount of the herb, tea, or tincture and gently rub it on the inside of your child’s arm. Wait for 24 hours to see if there is any negative reaction before using the herb.

This guidance in no way takes that place of qualified medical care. If your child is very sick and/or not responding to your efforts please consult your doctor. As a parent your intuition about your child’s health is often the best guideline and it is important to listen to that wise voice.

Herbs are Fun Too!

If you want to engage your child in the world of herbalism even more check out our Introduction To Herbs For Kids series. With eight lesson on learning about herbs, it is written with a voice towards children and is full of ideas for playing with and learning about herbs including plenty of activities, recipes, and printables!

For a more in-depth study of using safe herbs with kids consider signing up for our Introductory and Intermediate Courses or our Herbarium membership all of which have resources available to aid in your herbal studies.


via The Tick And Mosquito: When it comes the time of the year when mosquitoes are crowding your home, and you are sick and tired of swatting them and wave them away with your hand, you start looking for other solutions to this problem. There is certainly good reason to — mosquitoes are not only annoying, they carry serious diseases. While controlling mosquitoes outside is the best way to address the root cause, you sometimes need to get rid of mosquitoes indoors. Controlling mosquitoes indoors can be a little more tricky, because you hate to use harsh chemicals or mosquito repellents with deet in an indoor environment. Making sure you have a safe indoor environment is a balance between keeping mosquitos and diseases away, but also making sure that things like drinking water and air quality are top-notch. To that end, we focus many of our tips below on plant-based solutions, as reviewed by the NIH. To help you control the indoor environment for you and your family, we have come up with a list of the ten best ways to get rid of mosquitoes indoors, but first, focus on the obvious fix:

FIRST AND FOREMOST: FIX YOUR SCREENS AND DOORS

Many bug and insect issues can be solved through patching obvious gaps in your window screens and doors. If you do not have window screens, get some. You don’t need them for every windows, only the ones you like to have open often. A good, basic door strip is not expensive and will keep bugs out. It will also give an added benefit of keeping cold and hot air, and even mice, out. As for screens, fix the ones you have with a simple patch kit, and if you have none you can retrofit any window with an easy adjustable screen. Natural Indoor Mosquito Solutions

NATURAL INDOOR MOSQUITO SOLUTIONS
Once you have addressed windows and doors, it is time to make sure the mosquitoes that do make it inside don’t touch you or your family. Here are some of our favorite, safe, natural ways to repel skeeters.

1. Ultrasonic Bug/Pest Repeller
Ultrasonic repellers have been around in some form for a while, but manufacturers are making them smaller, more attractive, and more affordable today. While it is difficult to prove, the ultrasonic devices are said to emote a radio frequency that will be very unpleasant for pests like mosquitos, bugs, and mice. The frequency is not picked up by humans or most pets, so you should not be affected by it. Anecdotes suggest that these repellers work well in many cases, and given that they also might keep mice and ticks away, could be worth a try. Best of all, there is no chemical be released, only radio waves.

2. Camphor Oil
Camphor has been found to have the longest lasting effects as a repellant. All you have to do is light camphor in a room with all the doors and windows closed and leave it like this for 15 to 20 minutes. Your room will be mosquito free in absolutely no time. Camphor has many other benefits too, such as being an herbal solution for muscle pain, better breathing, and sedation.

3. Tulsi
Tulsi has been found helpful in killing mosquito larvae and keeping mosquitoes away. Simply plant a Tulsi shrub near your window as the shrub has properties which prevent mosquitoes from entering your house. Tulsi is an Indian herb which sometimes goes by the name “holy basil”, used for cooking in many Indian dishes. It is also known to be useful in treating mosquito bites when applied directly to the bite area.

4. Dry Ice
Because the carbon dioxide we exhale attracts mosquitoes, we are quite vulnerable to them. Dry ice emits carbon dioxide, and all you have to do is place some dry ice in a container and keep that container some distance away. When you see mosquitoes attracted to the container, close the lid. Although it is a time-consuming method, it is quite effective.

5. Garlic
With a strong pungent smell and mosquito larvicidal properties, garlic is one of the most efficient mosquito repellants on this list. All you have to do is crush a few garlic cloves and boil them in water for some time. Pour the water in a spray bottle and spray it around the room to prevent any mosquitoes from coming near you. Or, if you like cooking with garlic, heat up your favorite garlic-laden dish when you notice the mosquitoes are starting to get bad. You can get garlic at the grocery store, or find it here and have it shipped to your home.

6. Mosquito Traps
You can buy mosquito traps from the supermarket, find them online, or even make them at home. To make yourself a homemade mosquito trap, you need to cut a plastic bottle in half. Then, add brown sugar in hot water and mix it well. Once the mixture cools, pour it into the bottom half of the bottle and add yeast. Next, put the funnel half of the bottle on the bottom half in an upside down direction (with the bottle cap off). Wrap black tape around the bottle and place it in the mosquito vulnerable area. The solution needs to be changed periodically, according to directions.

7. Peppermint
A natural insecticide, peppermint can be sprayed as a mosquito repellant around your room, but it can cause skin irritation, so you must be cautious when spraying it. Also, the minty aroma of peppermint means that you do not have to be annoyed by the strong and pungent odors of bug sprays or other mosquito repellant remedies. One of our favorite natural repellent relies on peppermint as a main ingredient.

8. Tea Tree Oil
The anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties of this essential oil make it one of the most effective when fighting off mosquitoes. It’s smell keeps the mosquitoes at bay and all you have to do it dilute a few drops of the oil in a few drops of water and apply this to your skin to prevent mosquitoes from coming anywhere near you. Also known as melaleuca, this oil is also a well-known herbal antiseptic that treats cuts, cold sores, and bug bites. This is another oil that not only can keep mosquitoes away, but can also treat the bite if you are too late to prevent them.

9. Coffee Grounds
Wherever you find stagnant water in or around your house (for example, if there has been heavy rain and you find a puddle of water in your front yard), sprinkle some coffee grounds in it. This will force the mosquito eggs present in the water to float to the surface, and they will be deprived of oxygen, which means that they will be killed before being hatched. Thus, you will have prevented new mosquitoes from being born.

10. Mosquito Repellent Plants
Catnip and feverfew are a few plants which can repel mosquitoes, and you can easily plant them in your flowerbed or windowsill to prevent mosquitoes from entering your home. You can even place them in your garden. As for indoors, you might be able to get a house version of the plant, or perhaps plant a bunch of them near your doorstep.

All of these remedies have been proven to prevent mosquitoes from entering your homes, and they are quite successful when used correctly. So, make sure you follow the instructions we have provided, and you will be able to remove many of the mosquitoes in your house. Obviously, these solutions are best done in conjunction with some basic home improvement steps, such as making sure your window screens are all intact and in good condition, and check all of your doors to make sure they completely shut and seal out bugs and air. Also, be sure that the spaces around your doors and windows are well-sealed and there are not gaps. This technique will also help you prevent other infestations, such as those from boxelder bugs, mice, or flies.


via Almanac: Use these natural mosquito repellents and mosquito bite remedies to keep the mosquitoes away and get relief from itchy bug bites!

We love summer but staying away from mosquitoes is annoying. No one wants to wear long clothes in the heat just to prevent mosquito bites, but the bugs can be relentless.

It’s not all mosquitoes that feed on blood, though: male mosquitoes only drink nectar, whereas female mosquitoes nourish their developing eggs with protein-rich blood. To that end, the female mosquitoes prefer to bite ankles and wrists, where blood vessels are nearer to the skin’s surface. Ever noticed where you get bitten?

WHY DO MOSQUITO BITES ITCH?
When a mosquito bites you, it injects a small amount of saliva into the wound to stop your blood from clotting. Our bodies react to this foreign substance and, in defense, produce a protein called histamine. Histamine triggers the characteristic inflammation seen around mosquito bites, as well as the itching.

(Note: Though it’s rare, mosquito saliva can also carry encephalitis, malaria, West Nile virus, yellow fever. If you have any complications with bug bites (besides itching), check for symptoms of these other diseases.)

NATURAL BUG REPELLENT REMEDIES
Did you know: A higher body temperature and more sweat make you more likely to be bitten. A first step is to wash off any sweat and keep your body temperature down.

Topical Mosquito Repellents

  • Many readers claim that rubbing apple cider vinegar on your skin to repel insects. If you take in enough apple cider vinegar by putting it on foods you eat, you’ll develop a body odor that will repel insects, including black flies. One great and refreshing summer drink for this purpose is switchel, made from apple cider vinegar.
  • Lemon Eucalyptus oil is recommended by the C.D.C. to repel mosquitoes, as is picaridin.
  • Some people swear garlic works and swallow slivered garlic to ward off these summer pests. Others take garlic tablets or rub garlic juice directly on their skin.
  • If you are going to use a DEET repellent, do not use one with more than 25% DEET. Unlike the SPF rating in sunscreens, higher concentrations of DEET don’t mean more protection.

How to Get Rid of Mosquitoes in Your Yard

  • To keep mosquitoes to a minimum, eliminate their breeding sites on your property. They need standing water to lay their eggs in, so empty those puddles, old cans, buckets, and plant pots. If you have a pond, don’t worry—dragonflies love ponds, and they are a big mosquito predator.
  • It is thought that certain plants repel a broad spectrum of insects. Marigolds, chrysanthemums, asters, and pyrethrum daisies, as well as herbs such as basil, anise, and coriander, are all thought to repel insects. See more plants that repel mosquitoes.
  • Citronella candles are not proven to work, however the smoke repels mosquitoes. Or, burn a little sage or rosemary over coals to repel mosquitoes.
  • Add a bat house to your home! Did you know that one small brown bat can eat as many as 600 mosquitoes in one hour? Check this page for more information on bats and other creatures that eat annoying pests!
  • Be aware that using pesticides to get rid of mosquitoes can also harm more beneficial bugs like fireflies and dragonflies. Try some home remedies before making that decision!

MOSQUITO BITE RELIEF: HOME REMEDIES FOR BUG BITES AND ITCHING

  • It helps to ice the area of the bite to constrict the capillaries near the skin’s surface and reduce swelling.
  • If you are going to use a topical cream, stay away from caladryl and calamine lotions for mosquito bites; it’s better to apply a low-potency hydrocortisone and simple patience.
  • Remember not to scratch the bite; this will only make it worse. For itchy bites, rub on meat tenderizer or lemon juice. A paste of mashed garlic can also help make bug bites stop itching.
  • White vinegar is another remedy for relieving the itch of insect bites. Apply it in full strength. Don’t use vinegar if the area is raw. See more household uses for vinegar.
  • A paste of baking soda and water can provide much-needed relief to bug bites. Learn more about the countless household uses for baking soda.
  • Oatmeal can also help to provide itch relief—not only for bug bites.
  • Some people have luck with high doses of vitamin B1 (100 milligrams, two or three times a day), but it doesn’t work for everybody.
  • If you have an intense reaction to mosquito bites, consult your doctor.

We hope these natural mosquito repellents and bug bite remedies help you beat the bugs this season! Have some tips of your own? Please post in the comments below!


via FarmFresh: Potatoes are full of stuff that’s good for kids. In fact, compared to rice and pasta, potatoes give you a bigger bang for your buck in terms of healthy nutrition:

  • Carbohydrates: A good thing that’s getting a bad rap lately, carbs fuel both brains and bodies and are the main source of energy for growth and sports.
  • B Vitamins: Helps your body put carbs to work, providing energy and staying healthy.
  • Vitamin C: Essential for healthy skin, bones and hair.
  • Fiber: Every body needs it. You know why.
  • Folate: Helps your body make red blood cells.

Potatoes are not fattening

  • Potatoes are naturally fat free; it’s what you put on top of them that may need to be enjoyed in moderation.
  • If you’re looking for lower-cal, lower-fat potatoes recipes, check our recipe section.

Potatoes are satiating

  • Kids get hungry fast, so they need quality foods that help them feel full longer and provide the energy they need to keep going. Potatoes can help!

Kids will eat them

  • Of course there are lots of healthy foods to choose from. But all the Brussels sprouts in the world won’t help, if they just get pushed around the plate. After all, it’s not really nutrition until your child chews and swallows it.

The Great Back-To-School Spud-Off

These next two weeks—from September 3 through the 16th— we’re celebrating back-to-school time with a Facebook contest that’s all about kids who love of potatoes. A great way to kick off the new school year, our contest highlights how potatoes give kids the healthy nutrition they need to do well in the classroom. Best of all, we’re giving you a chance to win fun Back-To-School prizes — all you have to do is share why your kids love potatoes so much!

Entering is Easy

Submit a fun photo of your kid eating spuds and tell us what he or she loves so much about munching on potatoes. Then, share your post with your friends and family, encourage them to vote for your submission and share it with others. The six entries with the most votes will win prizes — including a grand prize of a $1,000 Visa gift card for school supplies.

So what are you waiting for? Click below to go to the contest page and submit your photo now. Good luck — this will be fun!


via Cure Joy: Blueberry pie, blueberry cheesecake, blueberry smoothies… what’s not to love about this delectable berry that makes delicious desserts even better? Well, there’s a lot more to it. Blueberries are an antioxidant powerhouse and are among the foods with the highest antioxidant content. They are loaded with vitamins C, B2, B6, E and K, resveratrol, gallic acid, lutein, zeaxanthin, copper, manganese, and fiber.

They are also extremely rich in a variety of polyphenols, anthocyanins (which give them their beautiful color) and phytochemicals, especially flavonoids. Native to North America, blueberries, like cranberries, have a rich folklore history of medicinal use by the Native Americans. These uses, which were once only thought to be anecdotal, are now the subject of intensive scientific research.

It’s a low calorie and low glycemic index option to snack on for weight watchers and diabetics. Blueberries are also great for the skin, fight cancer, promote heart health, enhance digestion and slow down the aging process. You can reap the same benefits from raw or even frozen blueberries (freezing won’t ruin the antioxidants) and should prefer it over processed and sugary versions like jams, jellies, desserts, and drinks. Even baking alters their polyphenol content, as the American Chemical Society reported in a study.

Blueberry Nutrition Facts

These little berries aren’t known as a superfood for nothing.

Blueberries are packed with fiber, antioxidants, manganese, and vitamins B, C, and K.4
A one cup serving of blueberries contains only 84 calories but 4 gm of dietary fiber which keeps you feeling full longer.5
One cup of blueberries provides you with a whopping 25% of recommended daily vitamin C intake. This helps bolster your immune system, maintain strong gums, and promote collagen production in the body. The manganese content in blueberries helps develop healthy bones. The fiber keeps you regular and can help lower bad cholesterol levels.6
These little blue dynamos are also a fat-free, low-sodium fruit that makes for an excellent on-the-go snack.

How Blueberries Boost Brain Health

What has us most excited about blueberries though are the multiple benefits it has for the brain. Studies on animals have shown that the antioxidant properties of blueberries can even reduce brain damage in case of a stroke. Foods like blueberries have a free radical scavenging action and prevent neurodegeneration.7

Let’s find out some more perks of blueberries for brain health.

Maintains Brain Function
Blueberries are good for your brain in many ways. The polyphenols in blueberries have been associated with reduced risk of dementia, improved cognitive performance in normal aging and better cognitive evolution. High total polyphenol intake is also linked with better language and verbal memory along with learning in both animals and humans. Studies conclude that blueberry consumption also appears to have a noticeable impact on short-term memory and improve long-term reference memory after just eight weeks of supplementation.

The super fruit also helps prevent and fight Alzheimer’s Disease. In a study, 47 participants with mild cognitive impairment aged 68 and up were asked to supplement their diet with freeze-dried blueberry powder or a placebo powder. The 16-week study concluded that the blueberry group had improved memory, improved access to words and concepts along with better cognitive performance and brain function.
If there is an easier way to keep the years from showing on your brain, we don’t know about it!

Boosts Memory
We all know that memory often takes a beating with old age. But that can be fixed with blueberries. When wild blueberry juice was supplemented for 12 weeks to older adults, it improved their memory function immensely. Older adults with early memory decline and an increased risk for dementia were recruited for the study.
Blueberries have also shown to improve object recognition memory loss in rats. Even on a short-term consumption basis, the blueberry-enriched diet prevented and reversed object recognition memory loss in aging rats.
Make sure you add blueberries to your grocery list, especially when you’re nearing retirement age.

Improves Speed Of Decision Making
Blueberries are not only great for boosting memory, but also help in the decision-making process. According to a study, scientists observed that blueberry-fed aged rats took less time in decision making when presented with a choice. The rats that were fed with a two percent blueberry diet for three weeks didn’t mull over their decisions for long.
Enhances Your Spatial Memory

Can blueberries enhance your sense of navigation and direction? If research is to be believed, the phytochemicals and flavonoids in foods like blueberries help in reversing age-related deficits in motor function and spatial working memory. In an animal study, scientists demonstrated that aged rats fed with a two percent blueberry diet for three weeks exhibited a marked improvement in spatial working memory.13

With a serving of brain-friendly blueberries in your diet, you’re less likely to feel ‘lost’.

Improves Symptoms Of Depression
Another perk of consuming blueberries for brain health is that it keeps depression at bay. According to a study, blueberry definitely has a role to play in easing depression in older adults. When asked to supplement their diet with wild blueberry juice for 12 weeks, older adults showed diminished depressive symptoms.14
Another research highlights the antianxiety and antidepressant-like effects of polyphenol-rich foods like blueberries. They are mediated through several molecular and cellular pathways, which work together with one another.15

Selecting And Storing Blueberries
Blueberries are in season between July and September, so that’s your window for the freshest produce. When at the grocery store, steer clear of blueberries that look dull or too soft or squishy. Check the container for bluish stains or juices which could indicate bruised or damaged berries. Fresh blueberries will feel firm to the touch and have a plump appearance with a dark blue, velvety color. A silvery or waxy sheen on blueberries is normal.

You can store fresh blueberries in the container they are sold in. Fresh blueberries are perishable so stick them in the fridge as soon as you get home. Don’t wash them before refrigerating. Blueberries will keep best in the vegetable crisper drawer where they will last 3–5 days. When you’re ready to eat them, simply rinse them (gently) in cold water and drain. There is no need to soak berries in water to clean them. That’s it! You are ready to toss them into your favorite recipe or simply eat them as a healthy snack.

If you buy frozen blueberries, make sure to store them in the freezer either in their original packaging or in plastic freezer bags. Just in case you’re wondering, frozen blueberries are just as nutritious as fresh ones. Researchers at South Dakota State University found that freezing blueberries actually helps maintain its antioxidant properties by better preserving the anthocyanin content.

Getting More Blueberries Into Your Diet
Blueberries are versatile little fruits and there are dozens of ways to incorporate them into your daily diet. Toss fresh (washed) blueberries into salads and smoothies. You can add them to your bowl of cereal or your recipe for homemade granola. Fold them into pancake or waffle batter, or cook them down into a sauce and pour over pancakes or French toast. Slather blueberry jams and jellies onto your morning toast or pour yourself a glass of blueberry juice any time of the day. And, of course, blueberries taste delightful in muffins, pies, cobblers, coffee cakes, zucchini bread, scones, crumbles, and parfaits!


via SFGATE: Lasagna represents a delicious comfort food for many, containing hearty noodles, rich cheese, flavorful tomato sauce, as well as a range of vegetables or meats. While the specific nutrient content of lasagna depends on the ingredients you use, most lasagnas have a number of nutrients in common.

Carbohydrates
One of the nutrients found in lasagna is carbohydrate – sugar and starch. Carbohydrates provide energy to your cells, helping to fuel their day-to-day functions. Most of the carbohydrates in your lasagna probably come from the noodles – a 2-ounce serving of white lasagna noodles contains around 40 grams of carbohydrates. To determine the specific carbohydrate content of your brand of lasagna noodles, check the nutrition label. A small amount of carbohydrates comes from the tomato sauce in your recipe, as well as from any vegetables you include.

Protein and Fat
Lasagna – particularly meat lasagna – also provides a source of dietary protein and fat. Your body breaks down protein into amino acids, and then uses these amino acids to maintain healthy tissue throughout your body. While the amount of protein in your lasagna will vary depending on how much meat and cheese you use in your recipe, each ounce of meat and mozzarella cheese adds 7.3 grams and 6.8 grams of protein to your lasagna, respectively. However, both ground beef and mozzarella cheese also provide rich sources of saturated fat, so limit their use in your lasagna.

Vitamins and Minerals
The pasta, meat, cheese and tomato sauce in lasagna all contain B vitamins, a group of nutrients that help drive your body’s metabolism; while beef in lasagna provides a source of iron to promote healthy circulation. Adding vegetables to your lasagna can further boost your nutrient intake – adding zucchini and red pepper, for example, adds vitamins A and C to your meal.

Making Healthier Lasagna
Although lasagna is far from a typical health food, you can make healthy substitutions at home to increase the nutritional value of your meal. Instead of making lasagna using white noodles – which digest rapidly, causing blood sugar spikes after eating – select whole-wheat noodles to help stabilize your blood sugar. If you make your lasagna with meat, select 95-percent lean ground beef or chicken, and rinse the meat after cooking to wash away excess fat. Limit your use of cheese, sprinkling only a small amount on top, and choose low-fat mozzarella to reduce your fat intake. Finally, load your lasagna up with vegetables to boost the fiber, vitamin and mineral content of your meal. If you don’t like the texture of vegetable pieces in your lasagna, try pureeing the cooked vegetables right into the tomato sauce before assembling your lasagna to get the nutritional benefits of vegetables without significantly changing the lasagna’s texture.


via Berry HealthOxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity (ORAC), Anthocyanin, and Ellagic Acid Values

Curative aspects of the red raspberry have been of botanical interest since somewhere around 4 A.D. The leaves were made into teas and various parts of the plant were used for throat gargles, morning sickness remedies, digestive cures and the like. Today, new research suggests that eating red raspberries may prevent cancer by inhibiting the abnormal division of cells and promoting the normal death of healthy cells. Tests conducted at the Hollings Cancer Center at the Medical University of South Carolina have revealed that the human body readily absorbs the ellagic acid from red raspberries. This ellagic acid has been clinically shown to cause apoptosis (cell death) in certain
cancer cells.

Among several significant phytochemicals, red raspberries contain ellagic acid, a phenolic compound that has exhibited anti-carcinogenic effects against a wide range of carcinogens in several tissues. Ellagic acid contributes to significant inhibition of colon, esophageal, liver, lung, tongue, and skin cancers in studies with rats and mice, both in vitro and in vivo. By the same token, quercetin, one of the flavanols found in raspberries, has been found to be an effective anticarcinogen against skin, colon, and mammary cancers in rodents. Anthocyanins are also prevalent in red raspberries, working as antioxidants that protect against heart disease and age-related mental decline. What is interesting to note is the superior efficacy of eating red raspberries as opposed to taking the individual phytochemicals in the form of dietary supplements. Though we do not yet fully comprehend why this is so, it is clear the nutraceutical whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

Health Benefits
Red Raspberries contain strong antioxidants such as Vitamin C, quercetin and gallic acid that fight against cancer, heart and circulatory disease and age-related decline. They are high in ellagic acid, a known chemopreventative, and have been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties. Red raspberry ketones are currently being used in Japan as a weight loss supplement. Red raspberry seed oil is creating market interest in the cosmeceutical industry because it is rich in Vitamin E, omega-3 fatty acid and has a sun protection factor (SPF) of 24-50.

  • High in polyphenolic compounds known for their anti-cancer properties.
  • Contain strong antioxidants such as Vitamin C, quercetin and gallic acid.
  • Have a high ORAC level – ORAC is a measure of the antioxidant capacity of a substance. Red raspberries with an ORAC of 24 µmole/TE/g are similar to blueberries, well known for their antioxidant values.
  • Raspberries have been shown to inhibit the production of COX-I and COX-II enzymes. Anti inflammatory products like ibuprofen and aspirin, inhibit COX-I and COX-II resulting in the reduction of pain associated with arthritis, gout and other inflammatory conditions.
  • Eating whole berries has been shown in scientific studies to be more beneficial than taking the individual phytochemicals in the form of dietary supplements.
  • Red raspberry oil is creating interest in the cosmeceutical market (skin care products which provide health benefits). The oil from raspberry seeds is rich in Vitamin E, Omega-3 fatty acids and has a sun protection factor (SPF) of 25-50.
  • Red raspberry ketones are currently being used in Japan as a weight loss supplement in a pill form and as an external patch.


via Babykid CenterBlueberry not only is delicious but also contains a lot of nutrients. Though it ranks the second when compared to strawberries, blueberry is a common type. Thanks to having the antioxidants, blueberries are highly appreciated when mentioning to the fight against free-radicals.

It is noticed that mothers enjoy using it in the meals for kids. Consequently, the interesting problem is how to make blueberry baby food a quick and easy manner. Do you know this? Well, it’s here.

By What Means Can We Make Blueberry Baby Food?
In fact, we can combine it with a myriad of cuisines, your preferred dessert – blueberry cheesecakes, for example. Or even, cookies for breakfast or a piece to decorate the top your pizza is also a good idea. Obviously, there is incredible for meet everyone’s eating demands.

On the other hand, blueberry is the top choice of most parents, who have babies starting to eat the solids. In comparison with the baby cereals, this replacement is healthy.

Instead of purchasing it from the grocery, it believes that kids will prefer what you make yourself. By this way, you likely determine what the internal ingredients are and what objects are 100 percent of organic.

The Necessary Things

Fresh blueberry:

You can follow the majority of the people, who picks up the packaged items. However, it should know that you probably get the optimal nutrient and taste well if chosen to utilize the fresh blueberry.

Frequently, the canned fruits will have the high content of sugar. According to the nutrition experts, there are something parents should avoid using for babies, especially when they are under one-year-old.

Another worse one is to make babies become picky eaters when only eating the cuisines with sugar. Like that, it is not good for health.

Others Healthy Fruits & Ingredients:

It is necessary to balance the flavor. Instead of sugar, you are able to utilize pears, applesauce, or banana – the natural sweeteners. Once choosing to use these sweeteners, you do not need to find a lot of ingredients in order to make baby food have sweet.

In additional to that, it does not deny adding the nutritious ingredients as long as the kids can receive. Inevitably, the packaged fruits don’t have to be bad, but the best is to select the fresh kind.

Apart from the difference in the flavor, the shelf-life is also an issue, particularly, in case you plan to freeze, reheat, or enable the puree to thaw to serve in several days.

The Way to Make Blueberry Baby Puree
#1. It selects the precise kind and stores properly. It remembers to pick up organic when purchasing. If it sees bruises, you should not choose because they are easily squishy. The good blueberries are often deeply-colored – brilliant blue-shaded.

It must wash them before placing in your fridge. Then, it uses a bowl with a lid to place your blueberries. A bag/ case is also okay. If preferred, you likely put them in a freezer bag. Don’t forget to remove the excessive air before laying in your freezer.

Although the stored blueberries in the refrigerator have the shelf-life ~ two weeks and more, it recommends that you ought to utilize them as soon as possible.

#2. In fact, it probably utilizes blueberry in some of the manners. One of them is to make a natural yogurt. Simply, it only needs to mash them up. It is great when we do not have to add anything to it.

Do you plan to do this? Well, it requires your blueberries that are fresh from your freezer.

#3. If you want to make blueberry baby puree, you need to prepare a ½ cup of water and a cup of blueberries. It boils the water and remember to decrease the heat when adding the blueberry to here.

It takes about 15 minutes so that the blueberries are softer. If they are frozen before, the time will be more. Hence, it adds some nutrient fruits to your blender. It starts blending it and adds water as long as you recognize that your puree gets consistency.

#4. You can also add the baby oatmeal to your puree recipe. In case you want a variety of ingredients. It doesn’t know that you have recognized when making yourself, the recipe and ingredients are to spend on your need and your baby’s preference. You likely add any nutrient ingredients as long as they are healthy and serve right away when completing.

#5. If you want to use the puree for a long period of time, you should put them in the containers and place in the fridge. These containers must be BPA-free. It avoids using the normal plastic, which is not good for health.

Once storing in the fridge, the shelf-life will likely go for 3 days while it will be able to last up 3 months if put in the freezer. You just need to thaw it when you want to serve.

Final Thoughts
Aside from that, there are also other preferred recipes that you likely try, blueberry pancakes, custard, for example. In general, all they are the flexible ingredients, which are commonly utilized. It makes sure that the little kids will like your preparation.

Let’s experience fun in your own kitchen when making yourself the dish for your love baby. This is very convenient because not only you know the internal ingredients (it ensures the health) but also he/she can be changed the appetite regularly.

It hopes that this article is useful for those parents want to know how to make blueberry baby food at home. Happy take care for children enjoy!

Source: Babykid Center | How To Make Blueberry Baby Food Quickly And Easily