Advertising
Advertising

Top 18 Edible Houseplants That Are Good For Your Health

Top 18 Edible Houseplants That Are Good For Your Health

Growing your own food can be the perfect solution for saving money and eating healthier, but for those of us without big yard spaces, it might seem like an impossible dream. Fortunately, there are many edible houseplants that are good for your health and easy to grow.

1. Avocados

22762786463_355c45eab3_k

    via Flickr

    Avocados are considered a superfood because they are rich in healthy fats, vitamins E and B6, and carotenoids, which are known to help reduce risk of cancer, heart disease, and eye degeneration.

    Although avocados can be grown from a pit, it will be a lot faster and easier to buy a dwarf avocado plant from the nursery. In order to keep it alive and producing delicious fruits, make sure it’s planted in a large, well-draining pot with sand at the bottom and potting mix on top. Place it in a sunny area with a high ceiling and water it frequently.

    Ripe avocados can hang from the tree for a few weeks, but it’s best to consume them sooner than later before they lose their flavor and texture. You can tell when the green varieties are ripe because the skin will look yellow. With the darker varieties, the skin will look almost black.

    2. Carrots

    7631212528_f37fedb98c_k

      via Flickr

      Carrots are known to be amazing for your eyes because they have carotenoids in them, but they are also a great source of a variety of vitamins and minerals.

      The best way to grow carrots indoors is to plant seeds in a window box that is at least a foot and a half deep. You will want to fill the well-draining container with potting mix, leaving about an inch of space from the top. Plant the seeds an inch apart in rows that are six inches apart, and cover with potting soil. Keep the soil wet, but not soaked, and in a window that gets a lot of sunlight.

      Carrots are ready to be harvested once the tops of them are about 3/4 of an inch. To pull them out, grab the roots up top firmly, wiggle it a bit, and then pull straight up.

      3. Lemons

      3814290005_bc0a0b90f4_b

        via Flickr

        Lemons have a ton of vitamin C and antioxidants.

        To grow lemons indoors, purchase a dwarf tree that is about 2 to 3 years old. The pot should be just a little bigger than the root ball of the tree, and it should have drain holes in the bottom. You will need to use potting soil specifically for citrus trees or loam-based potting mix. Lemons trees need 8 to 12 hours of sunlight every day, and need to be kept in temperatures between 55 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit. Water your plant often and spray the leaves with water to keep them hydrated.

        Lemons take about 6 to 9 months to ripen. Once they’re bright in color, squeeze them gently, and if they have a slight give, they are ready to eat.

        4. Ginger

        11887603824_cdd8b9e57a_k

          via Flickr

          Advertising

          This spicy root helps with motion sickness and nausea and reduces inflammation.

          To grow ginger, all you have to do is buy a chunk of it at the grocery store, place it in a container with the freshest bud facing up, and cover it in soil. It will need to be placed in indirect sunlight and kept moist for new growth to sprout.

          Every now and then you can pull the entire thing out of the soil, cut off what you need, and then put the rest back to keep growing.

          5. Salad Greens

          5964755577_e4658f563a_b

            via Flickr

            Salad greens include iceberg, romaine, red and green leaf, and arugula. They’re full of vitamins A, C, and K, as well as folate and iron.

            Salad greens can be grown indoors by either purchasing a starter plant or seeds from the nursery. Plant them 4 inches apart in a container with drainage holes in the bottom and fill it with potting soil. Water them often.

            To harvest salad greens, simply pull off the outside leaves, leaving some behind so the plant can keep growing.

            6. Mandarins

            2723792985_fe4ce28e6f_o

              via Flickr

              Antioxidants, calcium, phosphorous, magnesium, and fiber: all reasons to eat mandarins!

              Once again, to grow this citrus fruit tree, purchase a dwarf tree, but this time make sure it has a large pot that is well-draining. Put it in a sunny location, water often, and make sure to put it in a bigger pot as it grows.

              As soon as the mandarins turn orange, harvest them right away by clipping or carefully twisting them off.

              7. Tomatoes

              593842415_7ff99cf098_b

                via Flickr

                Tomatoes have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, which can help prevent coronary heart disease.

                You can either buy a tomato plant that is already in a pot, or you can plant seeds in a well-draining pot that is 6 to 12 inches. You will want to keep it in a sunny area and keep the soil moist, but not soaked. To make sure all of the tomatoes get enough sunlight, make sure to turn the pot around every few days.

                Once they turn orange, simply slip or twist them off the plant.

                Advertising

                8. Mint

                393695273_7d694fb4b4_b

                  via Flickr

                  Mint has a bunch of benefits, but the most well known is its aid in digestion.

                  Plant a seedling from the nursery in a large pot, about 10 inches in diameter, and fill it with potting soil. Put the container in a sunny location and water it regularly.

                  Snip off a few leaves from each plant when you want to use them, but make sure to only take about 1/3 of the leaves so it will keep growing.

                  9. Bell Peppers

                  5106962952_fd33333b1c_b

                    via Flickr

                    Bell peppers have an amazing amount of vitamin C, especially red ones.

                    The easiest way to grow bell peppers is to buy seedlings from the nursery and plant them in individual pots. The ideal temperature for bell peppers is between 70 and 80 degrees Farenheit. They need to be kept in a sunny area and thoroughly soaked every few days.

                    Once they reach their appropriate size and color, whether they’re green, orange, yellow, or red, you can clip them from the plant.

                    10. Chives

                    8906827472_31f0413e8e_k

                      via Flickr

                      Chives are full of antioxidants, phytochemicals, and vitamins A and C.

                      Fill a pot that is 6 to 9 inches deep with potting soil. Plant the seeds and cover them completely in a light layer of soil. Chives do not need full sunlight, but rather an area that is partially shaded. And of course, water regularly.

                      When needed, simply trim a few leaves from each plant, making sure not to take too much at once.

                      11. Rosemary

                      101554662_64e744be53_b

                        via Flickr

                        This heavily-scented herb may help limit weight gain and improve cholesterol levels.

                        Advertising

                        Rosemary grows best in a mixture of equal parts potting soil and coarse sand. Plant seedlings in a container with holes in the bottom for drainage. Rosemary should be placed in a sunny location where it can get at least 6 hours of sunlight every day. Only water when the top of the soil is very dry.

                        Every now and then, you can snip a few sprigs from the plant, making sure to leave most of it behind.

                        12. Radishes

                        1795038251_a7dcdc4946_b

                          via Flickr

                          Folate, fiber, riboflavin, and potassium are the main benefits of eating radishes.

                          To grow radishes indoors, you’ll need to start with a large, well-draining pot. Fill it with mostly potting soil and a small amount of coarse sand. Since radishes are small, you can sprinkle the seeds over the soil rather than plant them individually. Keep the soil moist and the plant in a spot that gets at least 6 hours of sunlight per day.

                          Once the radishes are a decent size, which you can find out by lightly uncovering to check, they are ready to be harvested. All you have to do is pull them out.

                          13. Microgreens

                          9118878516_5ce866f627_k

                            via Flickr

                            Leafy vegetables like microgreens have an abundance of vitamins A, C, and K, and folate.

                            Fill a shallow tray no more than 2 inches deep to the top with soil. Then, sprinkle a variety of seeds evenly over it. You can use seeds for radishes, kale, Swiss chard, beets, basil, and dill. Then, lightly cover them with more soil. Using a spray bottle, mist the soil, and keep the tray on a sunny windowsill. Remember to mist it every day.

                            Once the seedlings are 1 or 2 inches in height, they’re ready to eat. Hold them at the stem and trim them at the root, but leave enough of the root in the soil so that more will grow.

                            14. Cilantro

                            24311764256_a570fdbb07_k

                              via Flickr

                              This tasty herb yields carotenoids, as well as vitamin A which helps protect against stroke, cancer, and heart disease.

                              You can either grow cilantro from coriander seeds or starter plants. You will want to use a well-draining pot that is at least 8 inches deep. Fill it with soil, leaving an inch or 2 at the top, and press the seeds into the soil. Then, cover the pot with plastic wrap until the seeds have germinated. Water them every day and keep the pot in a sunny location in the house.

                              Like all herbs, simply trim the leaves off the plant but leave some on the plant to continue growing.

                              15. Parsley

                              Advertising

                              5245746490_403d33d69c_b

                                via Flickr

                                Parsley is rich in vitamins C, B12, K, and A and helps keep your immune system strong.

                                Growing parsley is exactly the same as growing cilantro. The two herbs even look very similar, but have very different flavours.

                                Harvesting parsley is the same as harvesting cilantro: simply trim the leaves, but not all of them.

                                16. Basil

                                basil plants

                                  via Flickr

                                  Basil has anti-inflammatory properties.

                                  The container for basil should be at least 4 inches wide and have holes in the bottom for drainage. Since basil needs a lot of sunlight and warm temperatures, make sure it gets at least 6 hours of sunlight each day. You’ll have to water it often — once a day in hot weather and every other day otherwise.

                                  Once the leaves are 6 inches tall, you can start trimming them for consumption.

                                  17. Mushrooms

                                  13388559573_d8ae726ba9_k

                                    via Flickr

                                    Mushrooms are a great source of fiber, vitamin C, antioxidants, and cancer-fighting compounds.

                                    The easiest way to grow mushrooms is to buy a kit. Indoor mushroom growing kits include everything you will need to grow delicious, nutritious mushrooms in your home, and all you will have to do is add water.

                                    18. Scallions

                                    24210036950_267313d968_b

                                      via Flickr

                                      Scallions are part of the allium family of vegetables which also includes garlic. Both are associated with cancer prevention.

                                      To grow this yummy vegetable, all you have to do is buy a bunch of scallions from the grocery store, band the bulbs together, and place the entire thing in a container in an inch of water. Once new green shoots have appeared, you can put it in a shallow pot. Keep it watered and in full sunlight.

                                      To harvest scallions, trim the green tops, leaving an inch or two from the root to continue growing them. When you want to use the white part of the scallion, grow them until the green leaves are 6 inches tall. Pull it out, wash, and trim.

                                      Featured photo credit: Eastlake via flickr.com

                                      More by this author

                                      10 Reasons to Start Your Own Girl Gang 10 Ways to Fight Against Sadness 13 Free Online Job Boards for Freelance Writers This Is Why It’s Really Great To Make Friends With Boyish Girls 10 Reasons Every Woman Should Shave Her Head at Least Once

                                      Trending in Food and Drink

                                      1 27 Healthy Pressure Cooker Meals (with Easy Recipes) 2 15 Easy-to-Make Crockpot Freezer Meals for Busy Nights 3 5 Savory Ice-Cream Sandwiches Every Dessert Lover Can’t Miss 4 8 Hearty Soups That Will Surely Keep You Warm This Fall 5 8 Mouth-Watering Turkey Stuffing Recipes For Thanksgiving

                                      Read Next

                                      Advertising
                                      Advertising
                                      Advertising

                                      Last Updated on November 15, 2019

                                      Expert Advice That Will Teach You How to Increase Your Metabolism

                                      Expert Advice That Will Teach You How to Increase Your Metabolism

                                      Wouldn’t you like to be able to eat twice as much as you do now without gaining weight? If so, I have good news for you because this is possible when you learn how to increase metabolism.

                                      How Much Do You Know About Metabolism?

                                      Before we get to the meat, let me say that metabolism is a term that describes all the chemical reactions in your body.[1] These chemical reactions keep your body alive and functioning, however, the word metabolism is often used interchangeably with the metabolic rate or the number of calories you burn.

                                      The metabolic rate is a rough estimate of how much energy your body needs to simply stay alive and perform all its biochemical reactions. These reactions require energy, aka burn calories.

                                      Imagine that your brain alone consumes nearly 20% of your TDEE (total daily energy expenditure at rest),[2] your digestion and the detoxifying system come second, repairing tissues third and so on.

                                      Staying alive is expensive for your body and its two main currencies are fats and sugars.

                                      When I am talking about improving your metabolic rate (metabolism), I mean improving the amount of energy, your body requires to (pretty much) lay down in bed and do nothing for 24 hours.

                                      Extra physical activity, extra thinking or fighting illness are things that require a lot of energy (burn a lot of calories) but they don’t really increase metabolism… actually they can decrease it.

                                      Can You Naturally Change the Speed of Your Basal Metabolism?

                                      The answer to this question is yes and you can also achieve an increase in metabolism and a drop in body fat by eating more.

                                      Shocked? Well, I was too.

                                      The way I came across this phenomenon is quite funny. Over my 10 years as a coach, I helped many busy professionals to naturally increase their metabolism by getting them leaner, fitter and stronger but, at the beginning of my career, I actually had no idea whether they were losing weight because of an increase in metabolism or because we created a calorie deficit with diet and exercise.

                                      When I was training my clients regularly, they would lose weight. Every time I would take a few weeks of vacation, I would come back to London and find out that most of them gained back a generous amount of weight despite the fact that they were following their diet and they swapped our weight training sessions with cardio.

                                      On the contrary, when they were going on vacation, they would do zero exercises and binge like there was no tomorrow but come back either lighter or weighing the same (but looking more muscular).

                                      Advertising

                                      Observing this phenomenon happening over and over again, got me curious about the mechanics of our metabolism and the ways to hack it.

                                      Was it really possible that by relaxing and eating more food, someone could actually maintain his/her current weight or even be losing fat?

                                      Driven by the desire to answer this question, I spent a good amount of years researching and testing different food strategies until I finally cracked the code to an improved metabolism that allows you to eat like a king and look like a Greek God.

                                      Does Eating More Increase Metabolism?

                                      Before I explain why eating more increases your metabolism, let me dig into something that I see people doing much more often: “eating less and moving more.”

                                      It is quite common to see people embarking their yearly weight loss journey (usually after Christmas or Easter) by following very restrictive diets and bombarding their body with several hours of exercise per day.

                                      Despite the short-term effectiveness of this approach, in the long run, if the goal is to increase metabolism and lose a lot of fat over an extended period of time, this simply won’t work.

                                      As I have mentioned before, eating fewer calories and exercising more are energy-consuming activities for your body. In the first case, your body needs to use its own energy reserves to top up the missing energy it needs to fully function; and in the second, it takes your body extra energy to contract your muscles.

                                      In both cases, your TDEE (Total daily energy expenditure at rest) doesn’t vary much; therefore your metabolism stays unchanged.[3]

                                      A different scenario happens when you eat less and move more for an extended period of time (weeks or months). In that case, your metabolism will slow down because your body is receiving a “we have little access to food and we need to run away from threats” signal.

                                      Your metabolism is like your bank account.

                                      To understand this concept, let’s imagine that you have $4,000 coming into your bank account each and every month. The money you spend on housing, transport, food and leisure are calibrated according to this monthly income.

                                      Now, imagine that a rich uncle starts to send you $1,000 each day. What would you do? Probably, you would save that money for the first two or three days but, when you notice that $1,000 keep on coming every single day, you would likely start to spend more right?

                                      Advertising

                                      What if, instead of a rich uncle sending you money, a poor uncle needed your financial help to pay for the treatments of his illness? You would probably try your best to adjust your spending according to your old $4,000 monthly budget.

                                      That’s exactly how your body reasons:

                                      More Resources Coming in = More Energy Released (Improved Metabolism)

                                      Fewer Resources Coming in = Less Energy Released (Decreased Metabolism)

                                      Note that activities like weight training[4] and high-intensity interval training (HIIT),[5] when combined with an increase in nutrient-rich foods, will also improve your metabolism.

                                      For this reason, today, when I coach a new client, I always start by increasing their daily food intake and their physical activities. Usually, people are quite confused because they come to me to lose weight and I tell them to eat more but, without fail, the next weekly weight-check shows a lower number.

                                      Be aware that not all foods are equal and only certain foods have the power to increase metabolism to a noticeable extent.

                                      Foods That Increase Metabolism

                                      Doubling up on Snickers bars won’t improve your metabolism and you know that. What you may not know is that certain foods that are marked as “healthy” doesn’t help you with increasing your metabolism. They also make you gain weight.

                                      Before giving you a list of foods to eat or avoid, let me explain a simple principle of human biochemistry.

                                      Your body uses energy from three (or four) main sources:

                                      • Sugars: whether you eat a Snickers bar or a banana, the carbohydrates contained in both get absorbed in the gut and become blood glucose (the basic form of sugar our body utilizes as a source of energy).[6]
                                        When blood glucose is present in the bloodstream (elevated levels), the body always uses it as its primary source of energy. When blood glucose levels drop (this phenomenon happens when you’re using these sugars to fuel a physical activity or when your pancreas produced a spike of insulin and stores that glucose into fat and muscles), your body starts to release fatty acids into the bloodstream to use as a source of energy.
                                      • Fatty acids: either from your own fat cells (adipocytes) or from whatever fat-containing foods you ate in the past 2-3 hours. Fatty acids are a slower and more consistent form of energy than sugars that your body can utilise.
                                      • Amino acids: Amino acids are the broken-down form of proteins. Proteins cannot be used by the body as a source of energy, not even in their broken-down form. Your body can transform amino acids into glucose with a process called gluconeogenesis.[7] This is a very inefficient process where a decent amount of energy gets wasted (and that’s a good thing for us but I’ll get to that later).
                                      • Ketones: when you don’t feed your body any source of carbs (or proteins in excess), your liver produces an alternative source of energy called Ketones. It can replace the need for glucose (most of it at least).[8]

                                      Now that you know the four energy sources the body can use to fuel its metabolism, let’s get to the meat (quite literally).

                                      To make this simple for you, I am going to divide foods into three categories:

                                      Advertising

                                      1. Red Flags – Avoid the red foods because they slow your metabolism. They are usually extremely low in micronutrients and high in antinutrients (agents that are highly toxic). They are highly processed or spike your insulin levels (therefore stopping your fat burning process).
                                      2. Orange Foods – Limit your consumption of orange foods. The orange foods on the list are suboptimal choices but they don’t have a negative impact on your metabolism when consumed in moderation. In fact, they contain a decent amount of micronutrients and, if eaten in small amounts, they shouldn’t stop your fat burning process.
                                      3. Green Foods – These are foods to consume most. Green foods will improve your metabolism and should be the main bulk of your diet.

                                      Next, I’ll get into details exactly what foods to eat and avoid:

                                      Sugars and Carbs

                                      Sugars do not directly improve metabolism because they stop the process of fat utilisation. There is an exception to this rule though. When you eat a diet extremely low in carbohydrates and sugars for an extended period of time (two to six days onwards), introducing carbohydrates and sugars can actually improve metabolism quite a bit.

                                      Unfortunately, for most of us that love eating bread, pasta, fruit and yoghurt, unless we were on a low-carb diet for the past few days, these foods are not an optimal choice.

                                      Sugars like fructose (found in fruit or commercial sugar) actually decrease metabolism and should be limited. Heavily processed sugars and carbohydrates should be also limited. Here is the colour list of sugars and carbs that affect metabolism:

                                      Red Flag Sugary Foods You Should Avoid:
                                      • Dried fruit
                                      • Commercial and packaged corn
                                      • High fructose corn syrup
                                      • All sorts of candies and lookalike
                                      • Packaged fruit juices and purees
                                      • Sugary dairy products like flavoured yoghurt, condensed milk etc
                                      Orange Sugary Foods You Should Limit:
                                      • Bread and flour-based products
                                      • Milk and also vegan milk alternatives that are sweetened
                                      • Most fruit (exceptions are in the green list below)
                                      • Potatoes and potato starch products
                                      • Oatmeals and other grains
                                      Green Sugary and Carb-Containing Foods That Improve Metabolism
                                      • All berries except strawberries
                                      • Tubers like squash, carrots, parsnips etc
                                      • Sweet potatoes
                                      • White rice
                                      • All green vegetables

                                      Fats

                                      Fatty acids and fats, in general, can improve or decrease metabolism depending on their composition.

                                      Red Flag Fatty Foods You Should Avoid:
                                      • Margarine and hydrogenated fat
                                      • Lard
                                      • Gmo oils
                                      • Most vegetable oils from seeds and peanut oil
                                      Orange Fatty Foods You Should Limit:
                                      • Nuts
                                      • Meat fat
                                      • Nut oils (macadamia, almond, cashew etc..)
                                      • Seeds
                                      Green Fatty Foods You Should Eat Daily
                                      • Extra virgin olive oil (non-heated)
                                      • Avocado
                                      • Coconut oil
                                      • Butter (organic)
                                      • Egg yolks (free-range)
                                      • Bone marrow

                                      The fatty foods in the green section tend to be very effective in increasing metabolism, especially in the absence of carbohydrates because they stimulate the production of ketones (I’ll talk about this later).

                                      Bear in mind that 1 gram of fat has 2.5 times the calories of a gram of protein or carbohydrates; therefore “eating more fats” to increase metabolism should be done very gradually to avoid weight gain.

                                      Proteins

                                      Eating food not only sends regulatory signals to your brain about abundance vs scarcity of resources, but it can also increase your metabolism for a few hours. This is called the thermic effect of food (TEF).[9] It’s caused by the extra calories required to digest, absorb and process the nutrients in your meal.

                                      Protein causes the largest rise in TEF.[10] It increases your metabolic rate by 15-30%, compared to 5-10% for carbs and 0-3% for fats

                                      Eating protein has also been shown to help you feel more full and prevent you from overeating, in fact, a study found that people were likely to eat around 441 fewer calories per day when protein made up 30% of their diet.[11]

                                      Also, proteins help preserve muscle mass.[12] The more muscle mass we have, the higher our basal metabolism is.

                                      For these reasons, the first nutritional advice I usually give to clients is to reduce sugars and increase proteins. This quick swap is often enough to kickstart their metabolism and commence the fat burning process.

                                      Advertising

                                      Red Protein Sources That Should Be Avoided
                                      • Cheap whey proteins
                                      • Soy proteins
                                      • GMO meat
                                      • GMO eggs
                                      • Packaged meat
                                      Orange Protein Source to Be Limited
                                      • Canned tuna
                                      • Canned fish
                                      • Canned meat
                                      • Gluten-rich products like Seitan
                                      • Farmed fish
                                      Green Protein Sources to Have Daily
                                      • Free-range meat
                                      • Free-range eggs
                                      • Wild meat and fish
                                      • Whey protein isolate
                                      • Collagen and beef protein hydrolyzed

                                      Note that this is a general categorisation of the foods that, when added to your diet, have the power to increase or decrease metabolism. There are some specific foods and supplements worth mentioning because they have been proven to improve metabolism by increasing thyroid output or resting heart rate, they are as follows.

                                      Other Foods and Supplements

                                      Cold water

                                      Drinking water may temporarily speed up your metabolism. Studies have shown that drinking 17 ounces (0.5 litres) of water increases resting metabolism by 10-30% for about an hour.[13]

                                      This is not a surprise since our body is made up mainly by water and proper hydration is key to a fast metabolism. This calorie-burning effect may be even greater if you drink cold water, as your body uses energy to heat it up to body temperature.

                                      MCT Oils or Powders

                                      Medium-chain triglycerides or MCT have been shown to improve metabolism by stimulating Ketone production.[14] Coconut oil contains MCT fats and, when used as a replacement for cooking oil can help you improve metabolism.

                                      You can buy the concentrated version of MCT oils and eat it separately to further enhance this effect. Either way, coconut oil or pure MCT oil can be a great addition to your diet if you’re following a ketogenic or intermittent fasting protocol.

                                      Caffeine

                                      Caffeine and coffee have been shown to improve metabolism by improving heart rate and, therefore improving calorie consumption.[15]

                                      Green Tea

                                      Green tea

                                      is thought to increase energy expenditure and fat oxidation, and to reduce fat production and absorption.[16]

                                      Bottom Line

                                      In this article, I just covered the basics of food and metabolism but, there are many other non-food related things you can do to improve your metabolism, like improving your sleep quality and following certain exercise routines.

                                      For now, just know that making small and gradual changes to your diet can increase your metabolism and improve your general health. Starting from changing one habit at a time is always the best strategy to accomplish any goal.

                                      Once you improve your diet, your hydration and your supplementation you can think about testing more advanced “bio-hacks” or techniques like ice baths and fasted HIIT training.

                                      And remember, having a higher metabolism doesn’t only help you lose weight and keep it off but it also give you more energy and a feeling of vibrancy. If you give it time, it really is worth the investment.

                                      Featured photo credit: Fitsum Admasu via unsplash.com

                                      Reference

                                      Read Next