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  • Writer's pictureHeidi Dent

Your Garden…Your Medicine

Hello Girlfriends….Doc here

Now that we have grown and worked the land to gain a healthy harvest I felt it time to share with you all of the benefits of eating healthy food as medicine. Did you realize the three vegetables we planted green pepper, tomatoes, and basil are all loaded with healthy vitamins and health-giving nutrients? Did you also know that they are good for curing some of your ailments?

How about if we dive into some of their health-giving benefits.

Let’s start with Green peppers.

A fresh green pepper is low in calories and contains 0 grams of fat and a good supply vitamins and minerals. Their mildly sweet flavor makes green bell peppers versatile enough to include a wide variety of nutritious recipes such as salads, roasted green peppers, and antipasti.


A 1-cup serving of green bell peppers contains 2.5 grams of fiber toward the daily recommendation of 21 to 25 grams for women and 30 to 38 grams for men. Fiber is important in keeping the digestive tract and eliminative tract working optimally. Fiber reduces your risk of heart disease and diabetes as well. Fiber can also help you lose weight or maintain a healthy weight because it keeps you feeling full.

Vitamin Profile: Vitamins C and E

Because you need between 75 and 90 milligrams of vitamin C per day, it is good news to know that and one cup of chopped green bell peppers provides 119.8 milligrams. Vitamin C helps protect you from infections, and is good for your skin, teeth, gums, and blood vessels. The same serving of chopped green bell peppers contains 0.55 milligrams of vitamin E toward the 15 milligrams you should take in every day which helps protect your cells from damage and supports a strong immune system.

Health Benefits

Reduce Free Radical Damage

A 2006 article published in the “Bulletin of University of Agricultural Sciences and Veterinary Medicine” reports that the antioxidants in vegetables reduce free radical damage. Free radicals are compounds that cause cell damage that can lead to inflammation, heart problems, and cancer.

Green Pepper Tips

Eat raw green bell peppers with low-fat dressing as a snack, or slice the green peppers and eat them with carrots and hummus for a snack. Add chopped bell peppers to spaghetti sauce or your favorite lasagna recipe. Stir chopped green bell peppers into scrambled eggs, on sandwiches, and over tuna or chicken salad. Include green bell peppers in vegetable, chicken noodle, or minestrone soup and chili And of course, toss them into a tossed green salad or pasta salad.

If those benefits were not enough for you to quickly go harvest your green peppers and load them up in your salad…well…tomatoes will knock your gardening gloves off.


Eating lots of tomatoes, any way you can is a great way to load up on health-enhancing benefits.


Lycopene and Carotenoids

Tomatoes contain awesome amounts of lycopene, thought to have the highest antioxidant activity of all the carotenoids.

Tomato peels, however, contribute a high concentration of the carotenoids found in tomatoes. The number of carotenoids absorbed by human intestinal cells was much greater with tomato paste enriched with tomato peels compared to tomato paste without peels, according to a study from Marseille, France. The tomato skin also holds most of the flavonols (another family of phytochemicals that includes quercetin and kaempferol) as well.

Vitamin Profile: Vitamins A, E, C, and Potassium

Tomatoes contain all three high-powered antioxidants: beta-carotene (which has vitamin A activity in the body), vitamin E, and vitamin C. A U.S. Department of Agriculture report, What We Eat in America, noted that a third of us get too little vitamin C and almost half get too little vitamin A.

Tomatoes are rich in potassium, a mineral most of us don’t get enough of. A cup of tomato juice contains 534 milligrams of potassium, and 1/2 cup of tomato sauce has 454 milligrams.

Health Benefits

Heart Disease and Cancer

Tomatoes are a big part of the famously healthy Mediterranean diet. Many Mediterranean dishes and recipes call for tomatoes or tomato paste or sauce. Some recent studies, including one from The University of Athens Medical School, have found that people who most closely follow the Mediterranean diet have lower death rates from heart disease and cancer.

Pancreatic Cancer

Researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health, who followed more than 39,000 women for seven years, found that consumption of oil- and tomato-based products –– particularly tomato and pizza sauce — was associated with cardiovascular benefits. A diet rich in tomato-based products may help reduce the risk of pancreatic cancer, according to a study from The University of Montreal.


And lastly, when breastfeeding moms eat tomato products, it increases the concentration of lycopene in their breast milk.

Tomato Tips

Snack on tomatoes just by themselves, cut and place in salads, on sandwiches, roast them, place them on pizzas, and focaccias. Cut the tomatoes up into your omelet.The list is endless on how you can use tomatoes throughout your day.

So with all of these benefits flooding your salad it’s time to learn about one more…Basil….


Vitamin Profile:

Vitamin A, K, C, Magnesium, Iron, Potassium, and Calcium

Basil is rich in vitamin A, vitamin K, vitamin C, magnesium, iron, potassium, and calcium.

Rich in Antioxidants

Results of a study published in the Journal of Advanced Pharmacy Education & Research showed that ethanol extract Ocimum basilicum had more antioxidant activity than standard antioxidants.

Health Benefits

Reduce Inflammation and Swelling

A study presented at the Royal Pharmaceutical Society’s annual event revealed that “extracts of O. tenuiflorum (Holy basil) were shown to reduce swelling by up to 73%, 24 hours after treatment”.The herb contains high quantities of (E)-beta-caryophyllene (BCP), which may be useful in treating arthritis and inflammatory bowel diseases, according to research conducted at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology.3

Anti-Aging Properties

According to research presented at the British Pharmaceutical Conference (BPC) in Manchester, basil has properties that can help prevent the harmful effects of aging. Holy basil extract was effective at killing off harmful molecules and preventing damage caused by some free radicals in the liver, brain and heart.

Basil Tips

Wash and tear off basil tips and place on tomatoes with a small slice of mozzarella cheese, and green pepper for a quick healthy snack. Tear up some of the basil leaves and sprinkle them on your spaghetti sauce, salads, and pasta salads. Make a homemade pesto sauce. Basil can work in so many dishes. The best news is that as you take a leaf, another will grow giving you a harvest throughout the spring and into the summer.

Well, gals…these are some of the wonderful miracles of the garden. I would love to learn about some of the ways you are using your harvest and if you know of any more health benefits from our fresh harvest. Until next time…Happy Gardening and stay healthy. If you haven’t scheduled your Wellness checkup please give me a call at the office at 910-215-0892, also we are meeting for a Walk With Your Doc on June 18th…call the office for details or check it out on our Facebook page.

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