Adding a pesto to meals and snacks is an excellent way to boost flavor while adding leafy greens, healthy fats, and fiber. This is a twist from the traditional basil and pine nut pesto that shows how versatile this sauce can be. You can play around with the recipe, using other leafy herbs, alternatives to spinach, or a variety of nuts and seeds to adjust the flavor to the seasonal ingredients available.

If you are toasting your walnuts at home, simply put them in the oven at 350F for about 8 minutes. Or you may toast them in a pan on the stove over medium heat for about 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Pan toasting is my favorite because the walnuts become so aromatic.

Spinach – truly a super food. An excellent source of so many nutrients: Vitamin K, Vitamin A, manganese, folate, magnesium, iron, copper, Vitamin B2, Vitamin B6, Vitamin E, calcium, potassium, and Vitamin C. Notice that it contains Vitamin C, E, and magnesium which are all very important for an overactive immune system that is leading to asthmatic conditions.

Sunflower Seeds – one of the excellent sources of Vitamin E, an antioxidant nutrient. Vitamin E specifically has been to improvements in the following conditions: asthma, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, colon cancer, hot flashes, and complications due to diabetes. The phytosterols in sunflower seeds may normalize cholesterol levels, enhance the immune response, and decrease the risk of getting certain cancers. Spinach helps reduce inflammation, lower the risk of cancer, decrease oxidative stress, and support strong bones.

Parsley – an underused herb in many people’s diets. It contains excellent amounts of Vitamin K, Vitamin C, Vitamin A, folate, and iron. The volatile oil myristicin can inhibit tumors from forming (animal studies) and also supports our endogenous antioxidant glutathione in neutralizing oxidized molecules that could cause damage, like cigarette smoke. Because of it’s excellent amount of Vitamin C with supporting phytonutrients parsley can help reduce the inflammation that plays a role in rheumatoid arthritis. Additionally, parsley can help reduce homocysteine, an inflammatory marker in the body.

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