5 Nutritious Foods You Need to Add to Your Diet

back farm 3For the past decade American culture, along with many others, has developed a diet that is based on convenience and taste. Many people, unaware of the consequences of their health choices, indulged in processed foods: fast-food restaurants, frozen foods, canned foods, etc. While these foods may be convenient and our taste buds may love them, over the years we have started to understand the side effects that these foods have. From this new awareness we have seen a shift slowly begin across the country as people start to make an effort to eat fresh, healthy, and organic foods. We at the inn pride ourselves in being apart of this transition to a healthier lifestyle and take new initiatives each year to help increase our impact on the green, organic movement. We grow many of our own plants and vegetables here at the inn and source the rest of our food from local farms as often as possible, including our son, Kyle’s, organic vegetable farm. We look to expand our own farm and garden each year, hoping to one day in the not so distant future be a full-fledged farm-to-table restaurant.

Over the years we have had the opportunity to gain a great deal of knowledge about the plants, vegetables, and flowers that we grow in the garden. Many of these plants can be incorporated very easily into your everyday meals and have tremendous benefits on your overall health as well as medicinal healing abilities. With that being said we thought we would share with you the health benefits of 5 crops we grow here at the inn as well as some meals to use them in!

Nettles

Nettles, which have been discussed in one of our previous blogs, have no shortage of health benefits. These prickly, green leafy plants can be cooked like spinach (trust us you don’t want to eat them raw!). Nettles are very easy to incorporate into a meal and can often be used as a substitute for spinach and other leafy greens.

Health Benefits (Derived from herbwisdom.com & Our Own Knowledge)

  • High in Vitamins & Minerals
  • Tone the blood
  • Strengthen Liver & Kidneys
  • Alleviate & Treat allergy symptoms
  • Contains compounds that reduce inflammation
  • Hope in treating many other illnesses:
  • Alzheimer’s Disease
  • Tendinitis
  • Arthritis
  • Kidney Stones
  • And More

Common Served In (Derived From the Huffington Post)

  • Soups
  • Nettle Gnudi
  • Nettle Sorbet
  • Nettle Pesto
  • Pasta Dishes
  • Raviolis
  • Souffles

Goji Berries

Goji berries have a multitude of health benefits and their uses in the kitchen are limitless. They can be eaten raw, cooked, or even dried. They are a delicious fruit that is very easy to incorporate into your meals. These berries have been used in Chinese medicine for centuries and are said to have great effects on your overall well-being according to Arti Patel of the Huffington Post . While some of these benefits still need further testing the fact that they are great addition to your diet is unquestionable.

Health Benefits (Derived From the Huffington Post, WebMD & The Healthy Eating Site

  • Great source of Anti-oxidants
  • Lots of nutrients
  • Loaded with minerals
  • Good source of protein
  • Amino Acids
  • High in Vitamin C
  • High in Fiber
  • Support healthy skin
  • Strengthen the immune system
  • Alleviate cold symptoms

Commonly Served In (Derived From the Huffington Post)

  • Goji Juice
  • Smoothies
  • Trail Mix
  • Tea
  • Soups
  • Great addition to:
  • Cereal
  • Salads
  • Yogurts

rhubarbRhubarb

These stalky fruits that have become known for their use in delicious desserts, have a number of minerals, vitamins, and other nutrients that are great for your overall well being. They are an easy plant to grow in your garden and often have a life span of 10-15 years according to nutrition-and-you.com. Besides their use in desserts like the ever so popular rhubarb pie it can be used in many other great dishes.

Health Benefits (Derived From: Livestrong.com, Nutrition & You and FoodFacts.Mercola.com)

  • Low Calorie
  • Alleviates fevers and swelling
  • Relieving stomach illnesses & digestive issues
  • Good source of:
  • Calcium
  • Lutein
  • Vitamin K
  • Antioxidants
  • Vitamin B
  • Minerals
  • Fiber

Commonly Served In (Derived from Eatingwell.com)

  • Jam
  • Pie
  • Rhubarb salad dressing
  • Rhubarb chutney
  • Fruit bars
  • Soup
  • And many more desserts!

Spearmint

The mint commonly used to make mint sauce to accompany meals, Spearmint is also a popular flavoring agent not only in foods but also in toothpastes and as a scent in other beauty products. In addition to the lovely flavor it can add to our meals, it has many benefits on our overall health as well.

Health Benefits (Derived From Nutrition & You and Our Own Knowledge)

  • High in Vitamin A & C
  • Aids in digestion
  • Relieves:
  • Headaches
  • Fevers
  • Digestive complaints
  • The oil’s have antiseptic qualities used as a folk remedy for cancer

Commonly Served In (Derived From Nutrition & You)

  • Ice creams
  • Mint sauces
  • Teas
  • Garnishes
  • Salads
  • Flavored Drinks

Lemon Balm 

A mint relative, Lemon Balm has a sour, spicy flavor reminiscent of lemons (as one might expect,) makes a good garnish for lemon flavored dishes, imparts a pleasant sour flavor to vegetable, meat and poultry dishes, and can be substituted for other mints or basils. This plant has become known for the benefits it provides to the digestive system as well as its ability to relieve anxiety and insomnia.

Health Benefits (Derived From Natural News & Our Own Knowledge)

  • Many antioxidants
  • Promotes healthy digestion & flatulence
  • Relieves:
  • Depression
  • Insomnia
  • Nervousness
  • Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD)
  • Reduces anxiety

Commonly Served In (Derived From Farmflavor.com & Our Own Knowledge)

  • Garnish for lemon flavored dishes
  • Teas
  • Soups
  • Sauces
  • Vinegar
  • Salads

Sources

"Nettle (Urtica Dioica)." Nettle Benefits & Information (Urtica Dioica). Herbwisdom.com, n.d. Web. 12 Aug. 2014. <http://www.herbwisdom.com/herb-nettle.html>.

Orchant, Rebecca. "Stinging Nettle Recipes: What It Is And How To Cook It (PHOTOS)." The Huffington Post. TheHuffingtonPost.com, 02 Aug. 2013. Web. 12 Aug. 2014. <http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/08/02/nettle-recipes-stinging-how-to-cook_n_3690035.html#slide=2762527>.

"Goji Berries: Health Benefits and Side Effects." WebMD. WebMD, n.d. Web. 12 Aug. 2014. <http://www.webmd.com/balance/goji-berries-health-benefits-and-side-effects>.

Patel, Arti. "Goji Berry Benefits: 12 Facts About This Healthy Superfood."The Huffington Post. TheHuffingtonPost.com, 28 Mar. 2014. Web. 12 Aug. 2014. <http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2014/03/28/goji-berry-benefits-_n_5044948.html>.

"The Health Benefits of Goji Berries." The Healthy Eating Site. The Healthy Eating Site, n.d. Web. 12 Aug. 2014. <http://thehealthyeatingsite.com/the-health-benefits-of-goji-berries/>.

Ipatenco, Sara. "The Health Benefits of Rhubarb." LIVESTRONG.COM. LIVESTRONG.COM, 18 Dec. 2013. Web. 12 Aug. 2014. <http://www.livestrong.com/article/403208-the-health-benefits-of-rhubarb/>.

"Rhubarb Nutrition Facts and Health Benefits." Nutrition And You.com. Nutrition And You.com, n.d. Web. 12 Aug. 2014. <http://www.nutrition-and-you.com/rhubarb.html>.

Mercola, Joseph. "What Is Rhubarb Good For? - Mercola.com."Mercola.com. Mercola.com, n.d. Web. 12 Aug. 2014. <http://foodfacts.mercola.com/rhubarb.html>.

"Healthy Recipes for Rhubarb." EatingWell.com. EatingWell.com, n.d. Web. 12 Aug. 2014. <http://www.eatingwell.com/recipes_menus/recipe_slideshows/healthy_recipes_for_rhubarb?slide=1#leaderboardad>.

"Spearmint Herb Nutrition Facts and Health Benefits." Nutrition And You.com. Nutrition And You.com, n.d. Web. 12 Aug. 2014. <http://www.nutrition-and-you.com/spearmint.html>.

Jockers, David, Dr. "The Powerful Health Benefits of Lemon Balm."NaturalNews. NaturalNews, 17 Nov. 2013. Web. 12 Aug. 2014. <http://www.naturalnews.com/042942_lemon_balm_health_benefits_antioxidants.html>.

Hamilton, Sue, Dr. "Growing and Cooking with Lemon Balm | Farm Flavor."Farm Flavor. Farm Flavor, n.d. Web. 12 Aug. 2014. <http://farmflavor.com/growing-and-cooking-with-lemon-balm/>.