Sunday, May 4, 2014

High Oleic Acid Peanuts from Kingaroy area

Here's another item also written recently for the TSGS Groundswell  newsletter

High Oleic Acid Peanuts

Over Easter, Anne and I along with Doug, Michelle, Liz and Brian from TSGS, visited a peanut farm in Kingaroy as part of our visit to that area.

A representative from the Peanut Company of Australia talked about the health benefits of the peanut variety grown in the South Burnett that is high in Oleic acid and Resveratrol but low in Linoleic acid. This was new information to me as I previously had largely ignored this food item because of the association of peanuts with quite severe food allergies in some people.

Oleic acid (also found in olive oil) is an interesting food component that has effects on reducing hunger, decreases lipids (cholesterol and triglycerides) in the blood stream, increases the oxidation of lipids and inhibits the action of a couple of hormones that stimulate storage of fat around the abdomen.

Resveratrol (also found in grapes, blueberries and dark chocolate) is a polyphenol
that inhibits the formation of new fat cells, induces fat cells to die and has an anti-inflammatory effect in arthritic joints. It also reduces cholesterol and makes the signals in the brain work better about how much fat tissue is present (obesity in part seems to be a signalling failure)

The other aspect that is important is that the peanuts from this area are low in linoleic acid. This is an ingredient that is becoming suspect as a trigger for obesity and is mainly to be found in the seed oils such as canola, palm oil, cotton seed oil and the like. Extra Virgin olive oil, butter and coconut oil are low in this type of omega 6 fatty acid and peanuts from the South Burnett also fall into this category.

As long as you do not have a peanut allergy then eating some peanuts could be part of a healthy diet in my opinion. They should be sourced from the South Burnett as this is a particular variety that is grown there – imported peanuts are not this variety as far as I am aware and are not high in oleic acid. Peanuts need to be dry and should be kept refrigerated to prevent the fatty acids being oxidised and becoming rancid. Roasted seems to be ok but definitely not salted for other health reasons.

Anne and I are going to try and grow some, however they are a warm season crop. In the meantime we are going to try and locate a convenient source of supply.

Other things we did in Kingaroy was to visit the Wondai Garden Expo – it was really good with lots of plant stalls that had quite different items. The Maidenwell Observatory was also good but the viewing was restricted because of numbers present that night. We also visited a few wineries! Evenings were spent playing cards and “sampling” the wine purchases. All told the Easter trip was most enjoyable in the company of some fellow TSGS members.

1.Alves RD1, Moreira AP, Macedo VS, et al Regular intake of high-oleic peanuts improves fat oxidation and body composition in overweight/obese men pursuing a energy-restricted diet.Obesity (Silver Spring). 2014 Mar 18.

2. Eseberri I, Lasa A, Churruca I, Portillo MP. Resveratrol metabolites modify adipokine expression and secretion in 3T3-L1 pre-adipocytes and mature adipocytes. PLoS One. 2013 May 22;8(5):e63918 

Rosella and Ginger help prevent obesity

Here is an article I wrote recently for the TSGS groundswell newsletter

Rosella and Ginger - help prevent obesity

With a professional interest in diabetes and obesity I am always on the lookout for scientific articles that are useful in terms of advice I can provide to my patients.

Here are two that I have recently read (they are available in my favourite website pubmed):

Hibiscus sabdariffa extract inhibits obesity and fat accumulation, and improves liver steatosis in humans.
Chang HC, Peng CH, Yeh DM, et al. Food Funct. 2014 Apr 26;5(4):734-9.

Hibiscus sabdariffa is commonly known as Rosella. In this study overweight patients were divided into two groups - a control group and a second group that were given an extract of Rosella. The study was over 12 weeks. The Rosella extract group had a lower mean body mass and reduced waist to hip ratio at the end of the 12 weeks compared to the control group. Another finding was a lowering of serum free fatty acids – this is a biochemical finding associated with the “metabolic syndrome” of elevated cholesterol, hypertension and diabetes.

Rosella is readily grown in the warmer months in our garden in Chandler. Our current plants are on their “last legs” but we have several bags of rosella in the freezer that should last awhile. We do not cook it but simply add some to our fruit mix for breakfast.

Antiobesity action of gingerol: Effect on lipid profile, insulin, leptin, amylase and lipase on male obese rats induced by a high-fat diet.
Saravanan G1, Ponmurugan P, Deepa MA, Senthilkumar B.J Sci Food Agric. 2014 Mar 10.

This study investigated the effect of gingerol - a component of ginger – on several parameters including weight, serum glucose and insulin in diet induced obese rats.

The obese rats were divided into 4 groups, with three being given different amounts of gingerol (25, 50 or 75mg/kg/day) and a control group being given an anti-obesity drug. The rats given gingerol had a significant reduction in blood glucose levels, body weight, and insulin resistance with the higher dose of gingerol having the most effect. The anti-obesity drug had a similar effect to the highest dose of gingerol.

Rat studies are interesting but there is always the concern that the findings may not be applicable to humans. However ginger has such a long history of use for health reasons in Asia and India I think this study is relevant.

Ginger and Galangal also grow readily in our garden. We bandicoot some root and freeze. Each morning we grate some (unfrozen it grates really well) onto our fruit mix for breakfast.

Thursday, November 14, 2013



HIGH in Fibre
HIGH in Vitamin A  and folate
LOW Glycaemic index  
LOW in kilojoules
A great source of Vit K
Also has Vit C,  B6 and riboflavin

Recently we have begun to harvest some celery – whilst not exactly “shop quality” , it is still edible and of course will taste great.

It belongs to the apiaceae family (carrots and parsley are in this group as well) with the edible part being the leaf stalk or petiole. However the seeds are also important for an oil used in cosmetics and pharmaceuticals or as a flavouring for other foods.


Celery originally was a swamp plant  and prefers moist fertile soil that is slightly alkaline. It has been used medicinally for thousands of years with evidence from ancient Egypt including garlands of celery on the tomb of Tutankhamun.  Celsus, a Roman medical practitioner about AD 30,  recorded in De Medicina that it can be used to relieve pain from arthritis or other causes. In another famous ancient text, Homer's Iliad,  the horses of Myrmidon grazed on wild celery.

Health Benefits

Food plants of the Apiaceae family (carrots, celery and parsley) contain polyacetylenes which have an anti-inflammatory and anti-clotting effect. They are also are cytotoxic to fungi and bacteria and possibly have an anti-proliferative effect on cancer cells.
A reason that some people develop  a skin reaction to this plant group is a chemical called falcarinol. This blocks an endocannabinoid receptor in skin cells which results in the release of histamine and an allergy reaction.
With regards to lowering blood pressure a recent (2013) study indicated that an alcohol based extract of celery seeds does indeed lower blood pressure in laboratory rats with hypertension. There are similar reports that it lowers total cholesterol and triglycerides in rats on a high fat diet.
Arthritis pain relief – the research is “thin on the ground” but a pilot study from University of Queensland indicates that it possibly is effective for gout and osteoarthritic pain. However there really isn't any decent trials to confirm this.
Being high in Vitamin K means it will cause problems if Warfarin is being taken

Finally  -  the aroma and taste is due to 3-n-Butylphthalide.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Here are the notes from a short talk I gave to the TSGS garden club last weekend on Leeks


Scientific name = Allium ampeloprasum.
related to garlic onions and shallots - ALLIUM vegetables
Allium is latin name for garlic

The edible part = long white cylindrical stalk of layers of tightly wrapped leaves. = a pseudostem white base is called the shank
about 300mm high and 50mm in diameter
more delicate and subtle flavour cf onions

wild leeks = ramps – smaller in size and have stronger flavour

?native to Central Asia


Dried specimens found in archeological sites in Egypt along with wall carvings and drawings - about 2000 BC

Ancient Greeks - “prasa” In Homer's odessey Odysseus returns to Ithaca to find his father digging and said to him – There is never a plant, neither a fig tree nor yet a grapevine nor love nor pear tree nor leek bed uncared for in your garden

They were prized by Romans for supposed beneficial effect on the throat – Nero supposedly ate Leeks everyday to make his voice stronger

English word Leek is a corruption Latin "Loch" – medicine licked to cure a sore throat

Romans introduced Leeks to UK where they became the national emblem of Wales after they were used in a battle in 1620 as an id on the Welsh soldiers caps. Still appears in the cap badge of the Welsh guards
Introduced into Australia with the First Fleet

French call leeks poireau = simpleton = poor mans asparagus. Agatha Christie named her most famous char Poirot after the leek

Leek is a key ingredient in some famous soups – vichyssoise
and Scottish cock-a-leekie soup


Like rich well drained soil but actually hardy and pest free
Main disadvantage is they take about 6 months to be ready for harvesting
Can be cut off at ground level and will regrow
biannual - two years to flower
planting  - drop into a hole with leaves showing  -do not fill the hole in

Medical : Fructans and Akkermansia mucinophilia - Obesity and Diabetes

Defn – fructans are chains of fructose with a glucose on the end and are not digestible in the stomach and small intestine -however bacteria in our colon can digest them

There is increasing evidence that our gut bacteria have a significant effect on our health - they seem to influence our metabolism and energy balance

Obesity and diabetes are characterised by altered gut microbes, inflammation and disruption in the gut lining.

Akkermansia mucinophilia seems to be a key player

There is an inverse correlation with the presence of this bacteria and body weight in humans - ie less AM → more obese

- when present in good numbers it controls gut barrier function, improves glucose homeostasis and reduces fat storage around the abdomen.

Fructans increase the abundance of Akk M by >100 fold

How does all this tie in with Leeks ?

Fructans especially occur in Leeks onions garlic asparagus yacon artichokes jicama chicory and some other foods

Thus a way to improve your metabolism and weight is to eat these sort of vegetables nearly every day

Thursday, September 26, 2013


There has been a prolonged absence from posting but our garden continues to change and provide us with some of our foods such as vegetables and fruit.  The aquaponics is suspended for now but will be restarted later this year -  we are still eating fish that were frozen when I decided to have a break from looking after fish.

Current projects include extending the vegetable garden and further plantings of native grasses and the like down the front of the property

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Garden -general, Tamarillos, Orioles, Channel Billed Cuckoo

Rainfall 5/2/13 8mm

The post storm tidy up is largely completed - the task  this afternoon was to pull down a suspended Sheoak  - the one that just missed the woodshed. Initial removal had left a large portion suspended in some adjacent trees. Using some wire and the wire fence strainer it was successfully pulled down to the ground for cutting up with the chainsaw. It was too dangerous to leave where it was and it looked unsightly.

We collected the tamarillos and managed to use about 50% of them - they were bottled in a sucrose based syrup:

The other afternoon whilst having a cuppa on the verandah we noticed a flock of  Olive-backed Orioles (Oriolus sagittatus) in a nearby tree -  usually we only see them in one's or two's:

They are probably feeding on the Ficus benjamina (Weeping fig) that is on our property - the Flying foxes are certainly visiting this tree at night at present also. Another bird spotted  (there was a pair) also probably feeding on this tree was a Channel-billed Cuckoo (Scythrops novaehollandiae). We didn't manage to get a photo so this is from elsewhere:

They are a big bird with a distinctive call a little like part of a kookaburra call.
Finally when out walking in the Mt Petrie reserve a few days ago  spotted a flowering weedy looking plant :
Unfortunately the flower is out of focus -  I think it is  Tephrosia glomeruliflora (Pink Tephrosia) but will need to go back  and take a better look. If it is the case it is an exotic weed and should be removed.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Horned Melon

Rainfall 31/1  25mm

The  cucurbit that has been flourishing has set some fruit and it looks like it is
a horned melon:

Cucumis metuliferus
The size of this fruit is 120x60mm (- might get bigger yet) 

I am not sure where I got this  plant from - maybe our garden club (TSGS)
as a member gave a talk about it last year.

We have never eaten it but it will be on the menu as soon as it ripens.

According to Wikipaedia this may be the original melon type and it is still
used in Africa as a food item.  As a general rule I recommend the food groups that humans ate as we evolved in Africa ( as Homo erectus and then Homo sapiens) as logically our metabolism is best adapted to such foods.  This certainly falls into that category.

Pubmed has one abstract (the full article is also available) which reports that the pulp of this fruit has a hypoglycaemic (glucose reducing) effect in diabetic rats.
Generally such a finding is transferable to humans.