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Do You Know Why Mint Is So Healthy? Find Out!

Curious about using mint in your recipes? Mint (Mentha) is a perennial herb indigenous to Europe, with over 25 different species across the globe. One of the most common varieties is peppermint (Mentha aquatic), which is more potent and typically associated with culinary and medicinal use. 

Menthol, the active ingredient in mint that gives it its characteristic flavor, is more concentrated in peppermint (Mentha piperata) than in spearmint (Menthe spicata), and is considered an aid in digestion and a stomach-calmer. Oil of peppermint has also been used to stop the growth of bacterial, viral and fungal infections, and to address asthma, sinusitis, allergy-related colds and other respiratory issues. Nutritionally, peppermint is a good source of vitamins A and C, along with manganese, and copper.

Opt for fresh mint as it provides more flavor and look for leaves that are brightly colored. Wrap the mint leaves in a damp paper towel that loosely holds the leaves and place them in a sealed plastic bag. They should keep for several days in the fridge.

Here are some great recipes that incorporate mint: 
Minted Guacamole & Pomegranate
Honey Ginger Lemonade

Why You Should Add Fennel To Your Summer Herb List

Want to add a Mediterranean twist to your summer vegetables? Try fennel! This aromatic herb is part of the Umbellifereae family and native to areas surrounding the Mediterranean Sea and the Near East. Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare) is related to parsley, carrots and dill, with a taste similar to that of anise or licorice. The bulb, stalks and green leaves are all edible, as are fennel seeds that come from the yellow flowers it produces.

Fennel offers a variety of nutrients - it:

  • Has a unique combination of phytonutrients including the flavonoidsquercetin and rutin
  • Is an excellent source of vitamin C, making it a good way to support a healthy immune system
  • Is a good source of fiber, folate and potassium.

Fennel has also been used to address backache, low libido, loss of appetite, and as a natural way to treat infantile colic. It is a well-known remedy for flatulence and other gastrointestinal issues as well. Topically, fennel has also been used to treat snakebites.

Since fennel can quickly lose flavor, it is best to eat it right after purchase. However, refrigeration in the vegetable crisper can preserve its taste for up to four days. You can extend the freshness of dried fennel seeds by storing them in an airtight container away from light and moisture for up to six months.

Try this light and delicious fennel recipe: 
Strawberry, Fennel, And Arugula Salad

Coriander: Summer Spice Of The Week

Derived from the seeds of the coriander plant (Coriandrum sativum), coriander is a culinary spice that is part of the parsley family. 

Coriander is notable for many health benefits, including:

It has also been used around the world to treat a variety of health concerns including digestive disorders, heatstroke, anxiety and insomnia. Nutritionally, coriander is a very good source of dietary fiber and calcium.

Depending on the form it is in, coriander can be kept for up to a year. Ground coriander should stay fresh for six months, but whole seeds should last about a year. Make sure that both coriander seeds and powder are stored in a tightly sealed glass container away from heat and light. Before grinding the seeds, consider soaking them in cold water for about ten minutes to help revive the essential oils.

Here are some delicious recipes with coriander to try: 
Chickpea & Broccoli Masala Curry
Heirloom Tomato Gazpacho

Dr. Weil’s Summer Garden

Take a tour of Dr. Weil's summer garden in British Columbia. Filled with fruits, vegetables and flowers, there is always a bountiful supply of food for body and soul. (Part one of three).

Are Your Heels Dry and Cracked?

It’s not uncommon to slip on a pair of sandals after a long winter only to discover dry and cracked heels. Find out what causes this, ways to promote healing, and the type of shoes to avoid if you want to prevent cracked heels in the future!

Dry and cold weather, prolonged standing and walking, and some types of footwear such as flip flops and other open-heeled shoes can all create cracks (also known as "fissures") in the skin of your heels. These simple, protective steps can help prevent further damage and promote healing:

  1. Exfoliate. Use a wet pumice stone in the shower and gently rub your heels and calluses. This will help reduce the thickness of the calluses and allow lotions to better penetrate these areas.
  2. Moisturize. Moisturizers can help resolve most small fissures, but if you have serious cracks, look for a product designed for feet and heels that has glycolic and/or salicylic acids, which may provide deeper penetration of the skin. Slather it on before bed, and then cover your feet with a pair of cotton socks.
  3. Choose appropriate footwear. Open-backed shoes such as flip-flops allow the skin in the heel area to expand and crack. Opt for closed-back shoes at least until your feet heel.

 

Let’s Play

3rd July, 2013 Dear Plum Village Siblings, Upper Hamlet enters the summer season with the trees and plants fully clothed in green and the graceful pathways surrounding the Thénac (Thệ Nhật Sơn) plateau are shaded once again. A few tents have already sprung up to be shelter for the early arrivals. Lay volunteers are slowly