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</P> Move over fair trade coffee, here comes fair trade bananas. Coffee farmers aren't the only ones demanding a fair living wage for their product.

Go bananas - the fair trade way

Move over fair trade coffee, here comes fair trade bananas. Coffee farmers aren't the only ones demanding a fair living wage for their product. Changes to market price and increased competition left banana growers barely making a decent living. But now, fair trade bananas are entering the marketplace thanks to mounting pressure from consumers, Oxfam International, and the Organic Consumers Association.

Capers Community Markets are currently selling organic fair trade bananas for the same price as regular organic bananas. In the future, we will see more natural food grocers carrying them. The fair trade label ensures the bananas have been third-party certified.

This fat-free, high-fibre fruit also contains vitamin C and iron. We can feel good knowing our bananas are not only healthy, but come to our plate through fair trade practices.

Banana chai smoothie

1 cup (250 ml) frozen fair trade bananas
2 1/2 cups (625 ml) vanilla soy milk
2 scoops vanilla soy ice cream
1 tsp (5 ml) chai spices

Blend bananas, soy milk, soy ice cream, and chai spices for 3 minutes or until smooth. Serve immediately. Serves 2.

Cold sores and broccoli

One of the natural therapeutic components in broccoli, cabbage, and Brussels sprouts is indole-3-carbonol (I3C) and it is effective in treating cold sores. The virus responsible for painful and unsightly cold sores, herpes simplex virus (HSV), requires certain cellular conditions to replicate. Recent in vitro studies have found, thanks to its I3C content, broccoli inhibits the conditions that lead to the emergence of painful herpes blisters. Broccoli and other I3C-rich foods appear to be an important part of controlling the virus that leads to cold sores and shingles.

It's okay to go nuts

Boost your nutritional level by adding a handful of nuts to your salad. Substituting nuts for cheese and high saturated fat dressings gives you healthy monounsaturated fats and omega-3s, helping reduce LDL (bad cholesterol) levels.

Walnuts: A new study published in Circulation shows that eating walnuts can improve elasticity of the arteries by up to 64 percent, reducing the risk of heart disease.

Almonds: Twenty-five almonds have as much calcium as 1/4 cup (60 ml) of milk and more fibre than any other nut.

Pecans: Pecans contain gamma tocopherol, a unique form of vitamin E that helps protect against prostate cancer.

Go ahead! Choose nuts as a protein source, but make sure they're fresh and keep them that way in a sealed, airtight container.

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