Ginger for Good Health!

There are many amazing foods that you can add to your meals in order to enhance the flavour and improve the nutritional value. Ginger is one such thing that is not only loved for its taste, but also for its health boosting properties for both your body and brain.

Whether you use ground ginger or purchase the root and chop, grate or slice it yourself, you will be able to enjoy the many health advantages.

One of the most appreciated uses of ginger is to tackle feelings of nausea, especially those brought on by morning sickness. It is also believed to be effective in reducing vomiting for post-surgery patients and is used regularly by those undergoing chemotherapy.

Ginger can be effective in alleviating muscle pain and soreness following exercise due to its anti-inflammatory properties. Although the effects are not immediate, it will contribute to lowered levels of pain and soreness when used day to day. The anti-inflammatory properties of ginger can also help to relieve the impact of osteoarthritis.

Consuming ginger regularly is thought to lower cholesterol levels, which is good news for the health of your heart. High levels of cholesterol can contribute to the onset of heart disease and it is possible to help limit your risk by taking control of your diet!

Now that you know some of the great advantages of including ginger in your diet, let’s take a look at some easy and delicious ways that you can include it in your diet.

Drinking ginger tea is a simple way to enjoy it. You can either buy ready made tea, or you can cut up a chunk of ginger and pour hot water over it. For extra flavour and nutrition you can include a dash of lemon juice.

Adding chunks of ginger to soup is also easy to do and you can use fresh or powdered for similar benefits. If you are going to blend your soup before you eat it then it is effortless to just include large pieces of fresh ginger as it will get blitzed anyway!

Ginger can also be used in moderation in baking and can give an interesting twist to many dishes. Always be sure to follow the recipe when you are using ginger so that you do not overwhelm your dish with this flavour.

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Burnt Corn, Kale and Lime Salad

Creating delicious variations on the traditional side salad is something that I love to do in the kitchen! This recipe requires minimal preperation and can be put together in the ten minutes before you serve your main meal. Kale is an ingredient that I tend to use a lot at home because of its amazing nutritious value. For those of you who don’t know, kale is among the healthiest foods in the world! With over 45 different flavonoids contained within, it provides a range of anti-inflammatory and antioxidant benefits. It is also great for lowering LDL cholesterol levels and lowering risk factors for cancer development.

Adding the juice of one lime to the salad dressing not only helps to bring out the flavour of the other ingredients but also brings a healthy boost to this side dish. They are a fantastic source of vitamin C and folic acid, the latter of which is important for cell growth and metabolism.

To make enough of this salad to serve six people, you will need the following ingredients:

2 x corns on the cob
1 tsp. smoked paprika
1 tsp. cumin
250g kale, shredded
Sea salt
1 avocado, cut into small chunks
A squeeze of honey

For the dressing:
The juice of 1 lime
A handful of coriander, torn

Burnt Corn, Kale and Lime Salad2Firstly, using a sharp knife, cut the corn away from the cobs and separate the corn into kernels. In a frying pan, dry fry the corn with the paprika and the cumin for about 10 minutes until the corn starts to blacken! Next, remove the pan from the heat and allow to cool.

In a large bowl, massage the kale with sea salt for ten minutes or until it becomes soft. Add the burnt corn, the avocado, the lime and the coriander. Toss well and serve!

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Carrot Salad with Broccoli, Coconut and Almonds

This recipe uses both solid and blended foods together to create a delicious meal that also has a range of consistencies. Broccoli and almonds mixed with the coconut milk, veg stock and lemon is such an amazing flavour as well as an incredible source of goodness! Lemons might be small but they are often referred to as powerhouses thanks to the high nutrient count within. Just one squeeze of lemon juice is enough to provide your body with a dose of phytonutrients and antioxidants! Lemon juice is also known to be healing with antibiotic effects. The almonds, which you will have to pre-soak before you get started, also contain a selection of antioxidants as well as a multitude of vitamins and minerals. Almonds are also a fantastic source of mono-unsaturated fatty acids which are essential for keeping LDL cholesterol levels down!

In addition to the nutrition, making this dish involves spiralizing the carrots which is a fun and interesting way to prepare them! If you don’t own a spiralizer yet then you can click here to buy one!

So to make this dish for four people, you’ll need the following ingredients!

4 medium carrots, spiralized
50g of almonds (soaked for 3-4 hours)
200g of broccoli
1/2 a tin of coconut milk
1/2 a cup of veg stock
Squeeze of 1 lemon
A large handful of pumpkin seeds
A large handful of currants
Salt and pepper

When making this dish, I prefer to steam the broccoli so that it’s soft but not overcooked!  However, if you don’t have a steamer then it’s absolutely fine to boil, just make sure  you don’t overdo it! Once the broccoli is cooked, combine it with the almonds, broccoli, coconut milk, veg stock and lemon in your food processor or blender. You should then blitz it well until it’s nearly a puree.  The next step is to thoroughly mix with the spiralized carrots and then top with currants and pumpkin seeds before you season with salt and pepper.  Yes, it’s that easy and super yummy too!

Carrot Salad with Broccoli, Coconut and Almonds

Spiced Coconut Kale with Avocado

The key to making a proper kale salad taste good is to not cook the kale!  You just need to give it some love and soften it with an acidic ingredient or dressing. In my view this side is perfect for any main dish! Eating this dish regularly alongside your main meals also brings a nutrition boost to any meal. Kale is one of the healthiest leaves on the planet and can really help to reduce your LDL cholesterol levels. It has also been explored extensively for its potential cancer preventing abilities. It is believed to reduce the risk of developing at least five different cancers (bladder, colon, breast, ovary and prostate). With over 45 different flavonoids contained within, with both antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, kale is an absolute winner for your the health of your body.

The addition of avocado and almonds to this recipe also ensures you are getting a good dose of good fat that is essential for many functions in the body. Getting an adequate amount of good fat through your foods can also help towards your weight loss goals. Both of these ingredients will also help to keep your cholesterol levels at an optimum level, and will also help to protect against heart disease!

 

kale avocado saladTo make a big bowl to divide between everyone at the dinner table, find the following ingredients:

For the salad:

 

A bunch of kale, torn into pieces and chunky stems removed

40g of coconut flakes
1 avocado, peeled, pitted and diced
A large handful of almonds, toasted
 

For the dressing:

 

1 shallot, finely chopped
Juice of 1 lemon
2 Tbsp. of olive oil
1 Tbsp. of apple cider vinegar
1 tsp. of dried chilli flakes
1 tsp. of maple syrup
 

This is a really quick and easy one to make! First you have to do whisk the dressing ingredients together in a small bowl. Once it is combined, put the kale in a large serving bowl and pour half the dressing over the top.  You can then use your hands to massage the dressing into the kale for a few minutes in order to soften it.  Next, add the coconut flakes, avocado and toasted almonds and mix together well. Finally, pour in the rest of the dressing and serve.  YUM!

 

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kale avocado salad3

Garlic Peas and Kale with Smashed Avocado

This dish works well as a main meal for one or as a side dish for two or more. The combination of green vegetables with the healthy fats of the avocado mean that you are getting a dose of nutrition that’s difficult to rival! The four large handfuls of kale that you’ll use in this recipe are seriously beneficial for your body as kale is known to lower levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol. Not only that but it is also rammed full of vitamins and nutrients, such as vitamins A, C and K, manganese, copper and fiber among many others! The high antioxidant count of kale also makes it amazing for protecting your body against cancer – it is a leaf that truly deserves the superfood label!

The use of pumpkin seeds brings a massive serving of magnesium into this dish which is essential in keeping your heart, bones and teeth healthy, not to mention the proper function of your blood vessels and bowels. Pumpkin seeds are also a fantastic source of zinc which the body needs to keep your eyes and skin healthy, whilst also ensuring proper cell growth. The high omega-3 fatty acid count in avocados provides your body with the good kind of fat that it craves as well as a decent dose of protein. Fresh avocados contain a huge amount of antioxidants, most notably lycopene and beta-carotene which greatly help to reduce cell damage.

Sound like a meal that you want to enjoy?! Then make sure you have the following ingredients:

2 tbsp. of coconut oil
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 onion, thinly sliced
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
400g of frozen peas
4 large handfuls of kale, stems removed
1 avocado, roughly chopped
A handful of pumpkin seeds

garlic_peas

To begin, melt the coconut oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Once the oil has started to get hot, you can add the garlic, onion and peas until the garlic and onion start to soften. After a few minutes the peas should start to soften and cook too. Next, add the lemon zest and juice, kale, avocado and pumpkin seeds. You should then season with sea salt and ground pepper. The next step is to take a potato masher and roughly mash the mixture. Be sure to add in a decent drizzle of olive oil while you are doing so. Your Garlic Peas with Smashed Avocado is now ready to enjoy as it is or to add on to the side of another meal! The creamy mixture is sure to go down a treat with guests as an original addition to the menu!

garlic_peas

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Why Turmeric is the New Kale!

Turmeric is a spice that is most commonly associated with curry dishes, beyond this it is also a very versatile ingredient that has a huge range of health benefits. The spice itself is a derivative of the root of the Curcuma longa plant, which has an orange flesh and a rough brown skin.

As well as being used in cooking, turmeric also has other useful properties, most commonly being hailed as an anti-inflammatory in some Eastern medicine practices. The conditions that it is believed to treat are wide and varied from flatulence to jaundice and toothache to chest pain. Studies suggest that turmeric prevents cholesterol oxidising in the body which contributes greatly to the protection of your cardiovascular system. Due to turmeric being able to encourage the liver to increase the amount of messenger proteins that are being produced, it is in turn able to reduce cholesterol in the body. Many studies also now suggest that turmeric is a a great defender against certain neurodegenerative problems, such as Alzheimer’s disease. Less commonly it has also proved useful as a dye for textiles.

Getting more turmeric into your diet doesn’t have to be a difficult process. If you love curry then you can happily slip a teaspoon or two into your recipe; this will work well regardless of the type of curry you are making, be it meat, fish or vegetable. You can also use turmeric in many other recipes such as to sautée vegetables or even in soups.

When it comes to vitamins, turmeric is a fantastic source of vitamin B6, this is essential for maintaining your blood vessels and preventing heart disease. This spice is also a great source of iron, manganese, potassium and fibre. Iron has so many amazing benefits, especially for muscle and brain function. Similarly, manganese and potassium ensure healthy bones as well as blood pressure and blood sugar levels respectively.

As you can observe, turmeric is an all round excellent spice for both its medicinal properties and flavour qualities; one  that should be included in your everyday diet!

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