The days are suddenly so much longer and it is so much easier to get up in the mornings now that it is light out before the alarm goes off. When we are thinking about meals, our focus is moving away from the warming soups and stews that were so comforting during the long and grey winter.
A popular appetiser when having friends over for balmy summer evenings, is tortilla chips and salsa. Salsa is a delicious way to get some lovely plant based antioxidants into your diet. Cilantro is a popular salsa ingredient but one that can cause some minor domestic squabbles as people seem to either love it or hate it! If you hate it because you think it tastes like bugs or soap or dirt, you just won’t understand how your partner can love it and describe it as fresh or citrusy! And your partner may just ask you when you last ate a bug and how the heck would you know what one tasted like.
Well luckily there is always a team of scientists somewhere looking into these little mysteries of life! Genetic studies of more than twenty-five thousand people identified an area on chromosome 11 that matched cilantro preferences. It is a gene called OR6A2 that allows you to smell a certain chemical that, guess what, is both a big component of cilantro and of a secretion from stink bugs! So for those of you that hate cilantro and think your partner is weird for loving it, you are right. He or she is actually a genetic mutant who has no ability to smell the unpleasant compound.
This is actually an advantage to cilantro lovers as it is useful in treating inflammation. You have to eat a lot of it - about twenty sprigs a day for a couple of months reduced inflammation in arthritis sufferers and also cut uric acid levels in half. Uric acid is implicated in gout, so if you suffer from this painful condition try eating cilantro on a daily basis.
Migraine sufferers may be interested to hear that ginger can be as effective as sumatriptan (Imitrex) which is one of the top selling drugs in the world, grossing billions of dollars a year! In a randomized, double blind controlled study (that is when the patients and the clinical team do not know which substance the patients are getting) just one eighth of a teaspoon of powdered ginger was as effective and worked just as quickly as the drug, for a cost of about one cent. Both groups reported equal satisfaction with the remedy they had received, but the group that had received the ginger were astounded to hear what it was that had cured their migraines.
The anti-inflammatory effects of ginger are also as effective as taking 400mg of ibuprofen for menstrual cramps. Most people have heard that ginger is good for nausea although can be reluctant to try it, preferring to use a drug. I would suggest you give it a go, and get the natural benefits without the downside of drug side effects. In a test in 1982 it beat out Dramamine in volunteers who agreed to be spun around in a tilted rotating chair - ugh! It is now considered to be useful as an anti-emetic (anti-vomiting agent) during motion sickness, pregnancy, chemotherapy, radiation and after surgery.