Weekly Meal planning is a saving grace for a busy household like mine. It’s been a weekly ritual that my boys know to expect. When putting recipes together, I focus on three main areas: time, taste, and most importantly nutrient density. Sneaking in aromatics, spices, and herbs that have medicinal benefit is a non-negotiable when I prepare meals for feeding time at the zoo!
If you are well versed in current events, you may have read the black cumin seed, Nigella Sativa, has strong antiviral, antibacterial, and anti-inflammatory properties.
This herb can be taken in supplement form for larger dosage, and it can be added to food.
For lunch last weekend, I prepared a simple salad consisting of spinach, avocado, cucumbers, grilled chicken for the carnivores, veggie burger patty for the herbivores (sans soy and canola oil), simple apple cider vinaigrette, and sauerkraut with black cumin seed, the star of the show!
Fermented foods may be quite beneficial for supporting healthy gut microbes. With numerous in vitro (think petri dish) studies, animal studies, and limited randomized control trials (think studies on people), it is seen that fermented foods can increased the beneficial bacteria in the gastrointestinal microbiome and may be protective against certain microbes, oxidative stress, and inflammatory conditions within the body.
Since the fermentation process to make sauerkraut increases the amount of lactic acid in the food, it is important to mention that for populations with a condition called small intestine bacterial overgrowth (SIBO), sauerkraut may not be recommended.
My favorite local brand is Fermentlicious and I am enjoying the addition of the black cumin seed! The acidic taste pairs well with a hearty salad and the slightly smoky black cumin seed elevates the taste profile and the health benefits, which is the most important!
 Kooti, W., Hasanzadeh-Noohi, Z., Sharafi-Ahvazi, N., Asadi-Samani, M., & Ashtary-Larky, D. (2016). Phytochemistry, pharmacology, and therapeutic uses of black seed (Nigella sativa). Chinese Journal of Natural Medicines, 14(10), 732–745. https://doi.org/10.1016/S1875-5364(16)30088-7
Majdalawieh, A. F., & Fayyad, M. W. (2015). Immunomodulatory and anti-inflammatory action of Nigella sativa and thymoquinone: A comprehensive review. International Immunopharmacology, 28(1), 295–304. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.intimp.2015.06.023
 Yimer, E. M., Tuem, K. B., Karim, A., Ur-Rehman, N., & Anwar, F. (2019). Nigella sativaL. (Black Cumin): A Promising Natural Remedy for Wide Range of Illnesses. Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine : eCAM, 2019, 1528635. https://doi.org/10.1155/2019/1528635
 Dimidi, E., Cox, S. R., Rossi, M., & Whelan, K. (2019). Fermented Foods: Definitions and Characteristics, Impact on the Gut Microbiota and Effects on Gastrointestinal Health and Disease. Nutrients, 11(8), 1806. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu11081806
 Rao, S., Rehman, A., Yu, S., & Andino, N. M. (2018). Brain fogginess, gas and bloating: a link between SIBO, probiotics and metabolic acidosis. Clinical and Translational Gastroenterology, 9(6), 162. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41424-018-0030-7
Blog postings by Natalie Maddox Rougie, AP, DACM owner of Palm Wellness in Tampa, FL.