Podcast of May 19

Seeds! The encapsulated, dormant collection of molecules that will become a plant with a bit of water & growing medium, is what I’m talking about in this podcast.

the best way to get all the benefits of your chosen seed or seeds is to eat them fresh, raw & organic. And sprouting them is a very good idea too – activates all those enzymes.

Sunflower   Helianthus annuus

% Daily needs  in 1/2 cup

vitamin E  82%
copper   70%
vitamin B1   43%
manganese  34%
selenium  34%
phosphorus  33%
magnesium  28%
vitamin B6  28%
folate  20%
vitamin B3 18%


% Daily needs  in 1/2 cup


small amounts of b vitamins thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, vitamin B-6 and folates.


According to Assyrian legend, when the gods met to create the world, they drank wine made from sesame seeds. Interesting…….

Sesame seeds were one of the first crops processed for oil as well as one of the earliest condiments. The addition of sesame seeds to baked goods can be traced back to ancient Egyptian times from an ancient tomb painting that depicts a baker adding the seeds to bread dough.

% daily needs in 1/4 cup

phosphorus 32%
iron 29%
zinc 25%
molybdenum 24%
selenium 23%
vitamin B1 23%
fiber 17%

contains the lignans sesamin and sesamolin

sesames have very high levels of Phytoserols


Salvia hispanica, commonly known as chia, is a species of flowering plant in the mint family, Lamiaceae, native to central and southern Mexico and Guatemala.

Chia has been dubbed a Super Food –

28g contains :
11 g  fiber
4 g protein
9 g  Fat (5 of which are Omega-3s)

% daily needs in 28 g

Calcium: 18%
Manganese: 30%
Magnesium: 30%
Phosphorus: 27%

They also contain a decent amount of Zinc, Vitamin B3 (Niacin), Potassium, Vitamin B1 (Thiamine) and Vitamin B2.

low carbohydrate- most of that is fibre – that high fibre content makes them good for your gut – just remember that you will need to soak them for at least 10 minutes before you use them

high in antioxidants

here’s the bliss ball recipe from a few podcasts back

Flax Seeds

or Linum usitatissimum has been cultivated since ancient times – the “usitatissimum” part of its name means “of greatest use”

daily needs in 28 g

omega-3 fats  133%
vitamin B1 19%
copper 19%
manganese 18%

when you are cooking as long as the temperature does not go above 150, the ALA is mostly  preserved, so you get that omega goodness as well as the gut good fibre

remember from a few weeks back?
ALA is the only antioxidant that can cross the blood brain barrier, it can also regenerate other antioxidants

Saffron, Nigella & a bit of Mindfulness

podcast of May 5

today’s show starts off with a reading from John Kabat-Zinn’s Wherever you go, there you are – I just love this book – and am astonished I’ve never seen it before.

I talk about

Saffron & Nigella

Saffron is native to Southwest Asia and some areas of Europe, and is very easy to grow. A good, well-drained soil will do the trick. Put in a little bone flour when you work your soil up.
To produce saffron, the stigmas must be painstakingly handpicked, cut from the white style and then carefully laid on a sieve and cured over heat to deepen the flavour- which is why it is the most expensive spice in the world.

Saffron has many medicinal uses: as an aphrodisiac, a  diaphoretic (causes sweating, good thing if you want to hurry a virus on its way), carminative (prevents gas, good for the digestion that is) and to bring on menstruation. Research is showing it to be a great addition to our cancer-prevention arsenal.
alfa-crocin, is being used in Japan as a treatment of age related mental impairment.

Saffron mixed in liquorice and milk makes an effective topical application to induce hair growth in Alopeica – I think perhaps you may also find your scalp a lovely tone of gold, not to mention the lolly smell of liquorice!)

Saffron has also been used for Asthma, Insomnia, Arteriosclerosis, and
Macular degeneration

Almond Milk with Saffron & Cardamon

Soak 10 almonds overnight in water. Grind saffron with mortar and pestle. Add saffron, a pinch of ground cardamon, almonds and 1 cup of your choice of milk in a blender and puree. Boil, stirring constantly to prevent the milk from sticking to the pan. Pour into glass and add honey.

Nigella is also very easy to grow, spread seeds into your half to full sun cottage-y border in Autumn for a lovely showing of feathery foliage and star-like flowers in early summer. It is 20-30 cm high and if it’s happy will self-seed, so it will always be with you.

Nigella seed has an astonishing array of benefits! I use it in my clinic for hypertension and Type 2 Diabetes – it reduces fasting glucose, decreases insulin resistance, increases beta-cell function, and reduces HbA1c (glycosylated haemoglobin)

research has shown Nigella to be effective against
Helicobacter Pylori Infection, Asthma
Chemical Weapons Injury
Viral tonsillitis
Colon Cancer
Opiate Addiction/Withdrawal

traditionally used as an anticonvulsive  – eg Epilepsy

recipe ideas:

toast them & put in a Chicken tagine, why not put some saffron in too?

They’re  part of the spice mixture called panch phoran, along with fenugreek, mustard, fennel and cumin seeds, common in Bengali dishes.

They are found in and on many different Mediterranean breads – pide, naan, bagels

Antioxidants & Free Radicals

podcast from April 21 here

and a wee summary for you,

Antioxidants & Free Radicals

what are they?

An antioxidant is a molecule that inhibits the oxidation of other molecules. Oxidation is a chemical reaction that can produce free radicals, leading to chain reactions that may damage cells. Antioxidants such as thiols or ascorbic acid (vitamin C) terminate these chain reactions.

and the  free radicals they neutralise?

An atom or group of atoms that has at least one unpaired electron and is therefore unstable and highly reactive. In animal tissues, free radicals can damage cells and are believed to accelerate the progression of cancer, cardiovascular disease, and age-related diseases.

and they interact how?

To understand the way that free radicals and antioxidants interact, let me tell you a little about cells and molecules – here’s a simple version:  Our bodies are composed of many different types of cells, those cells are composed of many different types of molecules. Molecules consist of one or more atoms of one or more elements (periodic table, anyone? ) joined by chemical bonds.

If you were awake in Science class, you may remember that atoms consist of a nucleus, neutrons, protons and electrons. protons are positively charged particles in the atom’s nucleus that determine the number of electrons (negatively charged particles) surrounding the atom. Electrons are involved in chemical reactions and are the substance that bonds atoms together to form molecules. Electrons surround, or “orbit” an atom in one or more shells, starting with 4 in the inner shell, then working out to subsequent shells in even increments, 8, 16, and so on. The most important structural feature of an atom for determining its chemical behaviour is the number of electrons in its outer shell. Atoms that have a full outer shell are stable, they don’t enter into chemical reactions, an inert substance. Monogamous, if you like!  Because atoms seek to reach a state of maximum stability, an atom will try to fill it’s outer shell by:

Gaining or losing electrons to either fill or empty its outer shell
Sharing its electrons by bonding together with other atoms in order to complete its outer shell

Atoms often complete their outer shells by sharing electrons with other atoms. By sharing electrons, the atoms are bound together and satisfy the conditions of maximum stability for the molecule.

 Free Radicals formed how?

Normally, bonds don’t split in a way that leaves a molecule with an odd, unpaired electron. But when weak bonds split, free radicals are formed. Free radicals are very unstable and react quickly with other compounds, trying to capture the needed electron to gain stability. Generally, free radicals attack the nearest stable molecule, “stealing” its electron. When the “attacked” molecule loses its electron, it becomes a free radical itself, beginning a chain reaction. Once the process is started, it can cascade, finally resulting in the disruption of a living cell.

Some free radicals arise normally during metabolism. Sometimes the body’s immune system’s cells purposefully create them to neutralize viruses and bacteria. However, environmental factors such as pollution, radiation, cigarette smoke and herbicides can also spawn free radicals.

Usually, the body can handle free radicals, but if antioxidants are unavailable, or if the free-radical production becomes excessive, damage can occur. Of particular importance is that free radical damage accumulates with age.

How do Antioxidants do their thing? They donate an electron – thus ending the cascade of free radical formation. They are stable in either state

Vitamins E and C are antioxidants
 Glutathione is an antioxidant your body can synthesize and is found in every single cell in your body. It is the “master antioxidant” because it is intracellular (inside cells) and has the unique ability of maximizing the performance of all the other antioxidants, including vitamins C and E, CoQ10, alpha-lipoic acid, as well as the fresh vegetables and fruits that you eat every day.

Glutathione’s primary function is to protect your cells and mitochondria from oxidative and peroxidative damage, it is essential for detoxification, energy utilization, and preventing aging-related dis-ease. Glutathione also eliminates toxins from your cells and gives protection from the damaging effects of radiation, chemicals, and environmental pollutants.

Your body’s ability to produce glutathione decreases with aging, so keeping up with the intake of nutrients that can promote the production of glutathione is a very good idea


high-quality whey protein, curcumin (Turmeric, Yay!)  raw dairy, eggs, and grass-fed meat, asparagus, potatoes, peppers, carrots, onion, broccoli, avocados, squash, spinach, garlic, tomatoes, grapefruit, apples, oranges, peaches bananas and melon.

Alpha-Lipoic Acid (ALA) – Aside from its free radical scavenging abilities, this powerful antioxidant is also a:

Great modifier of gene expression to reduce inflammation
Very potent heavy metal chelator
Enhancer of insulin sensitivity

ALA is the only antioxidant that can cross the blood brain barrier, it can also regenerate other antioxidants

flaxseed, pumpkin seeds, soy beans, walnuts  

so, ALA rocks…..

CoQ10 (Ubiquinone) – Used by every cell in your body, CoQ10 is converted by your body to its reduced form, called ubiquinol, to maximize its benefits.
it also helps to produce more energy for your cells, used by the mitochondria in cells
Provides support for your cardiovascular, immune and nervous systems
It also helps to reduce the signs of normal aging and maintain blood pressure levels

it is fat soluble
you will find it in:     fatty fish, beef, chicken
pistachios, peanuts, sesame, soybean, canola, orange, strawberry, broccoli and cauliflower

resveratrol : grapes, vegetables, cocoa, and red wine, can cross the blood-brain barrier  thus providing protection for your brain and nervous system.

Carotenoids are a class of naturally-occurring compounds that give foods their vibrant colours. There are over 700 naturally-occurring carotenoids, and right now, you probably have at least 10 different kinds circulating through your bloodstream.