The security code is a three-digit number on the back of your credit card, immediately following your main card number.
The security code is a four-digit number located on the front of your credit card, to the right above your main credit card number.
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If you've only ever had a sprig of mint in your sparkling water, it's time to get a little more adventurous with this beautifully fresh herb. From a nutritional perspective it's pretty impressive, but you won't get much benefit if you only eat a leaf or two. Being more generous with all fresh herbs, including mint, in your salads, salsas, dressings and stir-fries is a win-win; you get a double whammy of flavour and a serious nutrient boost.
Mint has pretty powerful antioxidant power, coming from vitamin C and several phytonutrients including carotenoids and flavonoids. The nutrients present include iron, calcium, folate, riboflavin, magnesium, copper, manganese and potassium. If you eat a good handful you'll also get some fibre.
Therapeutically mint has been studied for it's positive effects on the gut and may be of benefit in irritable bowel syndrome. Of course it's legendary for freshening your breath, and it really can help to eliminate bad breath - but be sure to also seek the cause. No amount of mint can replace flossing your teeth and visiting your dentist regularly!
Tomato is actually a fruit, but since we eat it as a vegetable I am including here as a vegie. Tomatoes originated in South America but have spread all over the world, featuring in many traditional cuisines, including of course a starring role in Mediterranean Diets. They are consumed raw in salads, or cooked to create deliciously rich sauces. You can buy them raw, canned, bottled as passata, or concentrated into a thick paste.
Tomatoes are rich in several members of the carotenoid family of antioxidants. But most famously they are rich in lycopene. This carotenoid has been widely studied and intake reduces the risk of prostate cancer in men, breast cancer in women and possibly other cancers too including lung and stomach.
The interesting thing about lycopene is that levels are actually higher in processed tomato products - a terrific example of how processing foods sometimes improves the nutrition! 2 tablespoons of tomato paste has 42.2mg/100g of lycopene, while raw tomato has only 3mg/100g. You also need some fat to absorb the lycopene and so it seems the Mediterranean classic pairing of tomatoes with extra virgin olive oil brings a wonderful health benefit.
Additionally tomatoes are fabulous sources of vitamin C, many of the carotenoids can be converted to vitamin A in the body, and they are a good source of vitamin K, potassium and manganese. Since they also have a very low energy density - a cup of cherry tomatoes has only 110kJ - so you can pretty much eat as much as you like!
So how much tomato do you need to eat to benefit? The best studies from Harvard suggest eating one or two tomato products every day. Try adding tomato pasta to casseroles and sauces, spread on wholegrain pizza bases, use canned tomatoes or passata to create a sauce for meat or seafood, and use raw tomatoes in salads, sandwiches, slice onto avocado toast, or chop to make a salsa dip.
Many people complain that supermarket tomatoes have become tasteless. They do still provide valuable nutrition, so don't use that as an excuse not to buy them. However there is no doubt that spending a little more for tomatoes on the vine is a whole different experience. To know if you have good tomatoes, smell them - they ought to have a wonderful aroma. For the best flavour keep them in your fruit bowl to serve at room temperature.
Lemon's are usually not eaten in great quantities due to their sour taste, but do dleiver a lot of taste in small quantities. This is largely due to the citric acid, comprising 5-6% of the juice. I'm not sure why I continually see references on the internet to lemons being alkalising, when lemon juice is undoubtedly acidic. The common practice of drinking hot water with lemon first thing in the morning 'to aid digestion' is without scientific rationale. All I can see this doing is eroding your tooth enamel. A very real hazard of acidic drinks.
However I do love to use lemons and they have much to offer us. The juice is rich in vitamin C, although if you cook with lemons you destroy much of the vitamin C. But you will benefit from fresh lemon juice in dressings or simply squeezed over your steamed greens.
The skin of a lemon contains a potentially beneficial phytochemical called limonene. This is terrific at dissolving oils and so if often added to natural cleansers - or simply use a fresh lemon to clean your bench top. But there is interest in what this chemical can do within our bodies that may be beneficial. At least in the lab it has been shown to block carcinogens and kill cancer cells. We need more research to know if this happens in the body. For now you might like to grate some lemon zest into your salad dressing or into your stirfry or baking.
You might think of parsley as simply a garnish to make a bowl of soup look nice, but that would be to grossly underestimate the herb’s nutritional value. Parsley is packed with nutrients including vitamin K, involved primarily in blood clotting, vitamin C, several B group vitamins including folate, useful amounts of iron and other minerals, and the carotenoids beta-carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin.
Beta-carotene is an important antioxidant in it’s own right, helping to protect the fat-soluble areas of the body, but can also be converted to vitamin A when required. Both lutein and zeaxanthin have been associated with a reduction in the risk of age-related macular degeneration of the eye, a common cause of blindness, and lutein has additionally been shown to play a possible role in preventing colon cancer.
Parsley also has antimicrobial effects.
Of course one sprig won’t do much good, you need to use more of it to gain the benefits. The classic Middle Eastern dish, tabouli is packed with fresh parsley, or you could add liberally at the end of cooking to sauces, soups, casseroles or mix through a salad.
Parsley has been grown in the Mediterranean for thousands of years and was used by the ancient Greeks and Romans for medicinal purposes before being used as a flavour in cooking. You can increase the storage life by wrapping your parsley in a damp kitchen paper towel, putting in a plastic bag and storing in the fridge. Wash just before use.
Olive oil is rich in monounsaturated fats – they are also only one of two fruits that are fat rich (the other being the avocado). A solid body of scientific evidence supports making these fats the major ones in your diet. They can help you to achieve a healthier blood cholesterol profile, improve your insulin sensitivity, help you to control blood glucose levels, improve a fatty liver, and even reduce the amount of fat you store around your abdomen.
The Mediterranean diet is hailed quite rightfully as one of the healthiest in the world. This diet has been associated with lower rates of heart disease, lower blood pressure, lower risk of stroke, better cognitive health, lower risk of diabetes, and lower risks of many cancers. There are many factors that may contribute to this, but one of the key characteristics is the use of olive oil as a staple food and the principal fat.
It is important to buy extra virgin olive oil however and not products labeled as “light”, “pure olive oil” or “pomace”. These are all refined products and do not contain the health promoting qualities of fresh extra virgin olive oil. Refining the oil removes many of the antioxidants, phytosterols and polyphenols present in the fresh extra virgin oil that benefit us. Oil is not like wine – it doesn’t get better with age. The fresher it is the better. Choose quality over quantity and you will reap the benefits.
It’s a myth that cooking with extra virgin olive oil destroys its benefits. Good quality extra virgin olive oil has a high smoke point of around 210°C. It can be used for stir-fries, on the BBQ, roasting foods in the oven and pan-frying. Store your oil in a cool dark place to retain the freshness and health-promoting properties. And use it regularly so that you are always consuming this year’s batch.
Fat helps deliver taste and flavour, but it is also necessary for the absorption of many antioxidants including beta-carotene, not to mention the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K. Drizzling extra virgin olive oil over your salad or steamed veg adds flavour (so you eat more plant food) and makes sure you can absorb more of those beneficial plant compounds.
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