Category Archive: Nutritional Information On Food

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Ginger Health Benefits

Ginger is among the healthiest and most aromatic spices on the planet. But you either like the taste or hate it.  As a child, I never liked ginger.  During confinement after the birth of my three babies, I started to develop a liking to ginger because whether I liked it or not, I had to eat loads of ginger (every meal was cooked with ginger!), drink ginger tonic and even bathe in hot ginger water! Ginger is a very important ingredient used in confinement food. It keeps the body warm and expels gas.

Ginger is actually part of the plant family that includes turmeric and cardamom, which may explain why the health benefits of ginger are so extraordinary.

The Chinese and Indians have used ginger tonics to treat ailments for over 4,700 years, and it was a priceless commodity during the Roman Empire trade around the coming of Christ because of its medicinal properties.

Why is ginger so beneficial for our health?  In one word: Gingerol.

Of the 115 different chemical components found in ginger root, the therapeutic benefits come from gingerols, the oily resin from the root that acts as a highly potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agent. These bioactive ingredients, especially gingerol, have been thoroughly evaluated clinically, and the research backs up why you should use ginger on a regular basis.

It is loaded with nutrients and bioactive compounds that have powerful benefits for your body and brain.

Health benefits of ginger:

Relieve nausea
Drinking a cup of ginger tea before travelling can help prevent the nausea and vomiting associated with motion sickness. You can also drink a cuppa at the first sign of nausea to relieve the symptom.

Improve stomach performance
Useful in improving digestion and increasing absorption of food, ginger tea can bloating after eating too much.

Reduce inflammation
Ginger contains anti-inflammatory properties that make it an ideal home remedy for muscle and joint problems. In addition to drinking ginger tea, you can also use it to soak inflamed joints.

Fight respiratory problems
Ginger tea can help relieve congestion associated with the common cold. Try a cup of ginger tea for the respiratory symptoms associated with environmental allergies.

Improve blood circulation
The vitamins, minerals and amino acids in ginger tea can help restore and improve blood circulation that may help decrease the chance of cardiovascular problems. Ginger may prevent fat from depositing in the arteries helping to prevent heart attacks and stroke.

Relieve menstrual discomfort
This one is for all women suffering from menstrual cramps. Try soaking a towel in warm ginger tea and apply it to your lower abdomen. It may help relieve the pain and relax the muscles. At the same time, drink a cup of ginger tea with honey.

Below – Pure Bentong ginger powder and organic ginger brown sugar that I have recently started to add to my diet.  I add 1 teaspoon of ginger powder with 1/2 cube of ginger brown sugar to 300 ml of warm water and drink it on most days. If I have painful periods, I drink this concoction twice a day. It provides relief from the cramps that I get.

Image may contain: food

Strengthen immunity
Ginger tea can help strengthen your immunity due to the high levels of antioxidants in ginger.

Relieve stress
Ginger tea has calming properties that may help lower your stress and tension. This is thought to be due to a combination of the strong aroma and healing properties.

 

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Roselle Kefir

The latest addition to our healthy eating regimen is roselle kefir from My Kefir World.  I have tried many different brands of probiotics for Cass and sadly, she liked none of them, except for the mango flavored probiotics from Melaleuca but it contains sweetener, which I don’t fancy.  When I first let Cass try roselle kefir, I was doubtful that she would like it as she’s such a little fussy pot.  But to my joy, she liked it! She only likes it when taken neat. She says it tastes like red wine, which is tart, slightly sweet with a soda / sparkling feel in the mouth.

roselle 4

Like yogurt, kefir is a cultured milk or cultured sugar water product with a tart and even sour taste, but the two foods have some differences as well.

Kefir (pronounced kee-fer) originates from the Caucasus Mountains in Eastern Europe. It’s believed that the name comes from the Turkish word “keif” which means good feeling. Kefir’s flavour is naturally sweet and slightly bubbly, and mild but a bit tangy as well.

Kefir contains high levels of vitamin B12, calcium, magnesium, vitamin K2, biotin, folate, enzymes and probiotics.  Because kefir does not have a standardized nutrition content, the content values can vary based on the cows, cultures, and region where it is produced. Yet even with the range in values, kefir has superior nutrition.

Among the clinical researches done, some findings on kefir health benefits include:
1. Allergy prevention and control
2. Inhibits tumor growth
3. Improves lactose digestion for those who are lactose intolerant
4. Rats fed with kefir grains reduced their inflammation by 80%
after 2 weeks
5. Reduction in migraine, headaches, anxiety symptoms and more restful sleep
6. Kefir grains taken orally prevented fungal infection in human
trials in Russia
7. In Japan, experiments with mice showed that kefir induced a
positive immune response and the size of cancerous tumors
was reduced
8. Corrects gastric and digestive problems

Rich in Lactobacillus acidophilus and Bifidobacterium bifidum, kefir also provides significant amounts of lactic acid bacteria and beneficial yeast. In fact, the cocktail of beneficial microbiota within kefir makes it one of the most powerful probiotic foods on the planet!

Below – water kefir grains
water grains 1

 

Because of kefir’s unique set of nutrients it has been show to benefit the body in 7 main ways:

  • Boost Immunity
  • Heal Inflammatory Bowel Disease
  • Build Bone Density
  • Fight Allergies
  • Improve Lactose Digestion
  • Kill Candida
  • Support Detoxification

The drink is made either with kefir grains or a powdered kefir starter — the grains aren’t an actual grain like wheat, but are made of bacteria and yeast. Generally of a thinner consistency than yogurt, kefir is usually sold as a drink, either plain or flavoured.

Fun Facts On Roselle

Roselle is becoming increasingly popular as a health drink.

Roselle contains one of the highest content of Vitamin C. It contains 3 times more Vitamin C than blackcurrant and 9 times more than citrus fruit. It is also found to have rich anti-oxidant properties (anthocyanins).

The fresh roselle calyx has been found to contain vitamin D, vitamin B1, vitamin B2, and vitamin B2 Complex, Vitamin A, Niacin and Calcium.

Known benefits of drinking roselle juice:

1. Its drink acts like natural electrolyte beverage to substitute
minerals sweated out while playing sport.

2. Decreases inflammation of kidney and urinary tract.

3. Scientists found it is good for arteriosclerosis and reduce blood
hypertension.

4. Normalize blood pressure.

5. Stimulate internal peristalsis.

6. Relief cough and fever.

7. Increase our bodies’ resistance to diseases.

8. Decrease absorption of alcohol.

9. Softening and smoothening of skin.

 

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Turmeric Health Benefits

Turmeric is one of the most favored herbs in our family apart from garlic and onion.  My dad cooks the yummiest braised turmeric chicken and I can never get enough of it.  Our girls love their grandpa’s turmeric chicken too, cooked using lots and lots of freshly chopped turmeric, alongside onions and garlic.  The only turn-off when eating turmeric is the yellow pigment that stains our teeth and toothbrush!  But my dad has zilch complain that his fingers would turn yellow, making him look like a Minion each time he cooks a dish with fresh turmeric.   That’s my dear papa’s labor of love for us.

I use turmeric powder almost daily in my cooking. I add it to fish for pan-frying, chicken for grilling and pan-frying and fried rice. My friend drinks a concoction called Golden Milk, made from Golden Paste for health purposes.  I have yet to try it and am very tempted to attempt to now after reading the health benefits of Golden Milk.

golden-milk-recipe-secret-of-the-ancient-indian-medicine

Turmeric, the main spice in curry, is arguably the most powerful herb on the planet at fighting and potentially reversing disease. It has so many healing properties that currently there have been 6,235 peer-reviewed articles published proving the benefits of turmeric and one of its renowned healing compounds curcumin.

This puts turmeric on top of the list as one of the most frequently mentioned medicinal herbs in all of science and the next most popular studied herbs including garlic, cinnamon, ginseng, ginger and milk thistle.

Turmeric is a spice that comes from the turmeric plant. It is commonly used in Asian food. You probably know turmeric as the main spice in curry. It has a warm, bitter taste and is frequently used to flavor or color curry powders, mustards, butters, and cheeses. But the root of turmeric is also used widely to make medicine. It contains a yellow-colored chemical called curcumin, which is often used to color foods and cosmetics.

According to the Journal of the American Chemical Society, turmeric contains a wide range of antioxidant, antiviral, antibacterial, antifungal, anticarcinogenic, antimutagenic and anti-inflammatory properties.

It is also loaded with many healthy nutrients such as protein, dietary fiber, niacin, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Vitamin K, potassium, calcium, copper, iron, magnesium and zinc. Due to all these factors, turmeric is often used to treat a wide variety of health problems.

 

 

 

Turmeric contains the chemical curcumin. Curcumin and other chemicals in turmeric might decrease swelling (inflammation). Because of this, turmeric might be beneficial for treating conditions that involve inflammation.

The active compound curcumin is believed to have a wide range of biological effects including anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antitumor, antibacterial, and antiviral activities, which have shown a lot of potential for use in clinical medicine.

 

turmeric

Of the 6000+ studies referencing curcumin, the most interesting finding is that when turmeric is compared to conventional medicine its benefits equal that of many pharmaceutical medications.

In fact, a number of studies have even reported that using curcumin is moreadvantageous than certain prescription drugs.

Turmeric Plant

 

Health Benefits of Turmeric

When examining the research, turmeric benefits go beyond that of these 10 drugs:

  • Anti-inflammatory drugs
  • Anti-depressants (Prozac)
  • Chemotherapy
  • Anti-coagulants (Aspirin)
  • Pain killers
  • Diabetes drugs (Metformin)
  • Arthritis medications
  • Inflammatory bowel disease drugs
  • Cholesterol drugs (Lipitor)
  • Steroids

A study done by Drugs in R & D found that curcumin was equal or more effective than diabetes medications at reducing oxidative stress and inflammation in the treatment of high cholesterol.

Studies like these are causing pharmaceutical companies to try and design a synthetic form of curcumin that unfortunately, will not work as well as the real thing.

Uses

Turmeric is used for arthritis, heartburn (dyspepsia), joint pain, stomach pain, Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, bypass surgery, hemorrhage, diarrhea, intestinal gas, stomach bloating, loss of appetite, jaundice, liver problems, Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) infection, stomach ulcers, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), gallbladder disorders,high cholesterol, a skin condition called lichen planus, skin inflammation from radiation treatment, and fatigue.

It is also used for headaches, bronchitis, colds, lung infections, fibromyalgia, leprosy, fever, menstrual problems, itchy skin, recovery after surgery, and cancers. Other uses include depression, Alzheimer’s disease, swelling in the middle layer of the eye (anterior uveitis), diabetes, water retention, worms, an autoimmune disease called systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), tuberculosis, urinary tract infection (UTI), and kidney problems.

Some people apply turmeric to the skin for pain, ringworm, sprains and swellings, bruising, leech bites, eye infections, acne, inflammatory skin conditions and skin sores, soreness inside of the mouth, infected wounds, and gum disease.

Turmeric is a natural antiseptic and antibacterial agent and can be used as an effective disinfectant. If you have a cut or burn, you can sprinkle turmeric powder on the affected area to speed up the healing process. Turmeric also helps repair damaged skin and may be used to treat psoriasis and other inflammatory skin conditions.

WOW, the health benefits of the humble and inexpensive turmeric are so wide!   If you are turned off by the yellow pigment from the turmeric root that can stain your hands, blender and kitchen top while peeling and chopping them, try using turmeric powder.  Turmeric powder is very convenient to use and does not stain your hands.

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Sea Cucumber (Gamat) Health Benefits

Sea cucumber is used in traditional Chinese medicine to treat a number of health problems, including fatigue, impotence and joint pain. Sea cucumber contains high levels of chondroitin sulfate, a major component of cartilage.

My mil can whip up really delish sea cucumber dishes.  Her sea cucumber dishes are usually braised with pork or chicken, mushrooms, clams and chicken feet.

 

 

Sea cucumber is considered a delicacy in Chinese cuisine for centuries – even as an aphrodisiac.  The reported health benefits of sea cucumber, however, are what attract the most interest in the U.S., although research into its the possible benefits of sea cucumber and their extract is preliminary. Consult with your doctor before taking any products made from these sea-dwelling creatures, of which some species have spikes on them.

The Benefits of Sea Cucumber

Sea cucumber is relatively low in calories — each 6-ounce portion contains 95 calories, or approximately 5 percent of the daily calorie intake in a standard 2,000-calorie diet. Most of its calories come from its protein content, and each serving of sea cucumber contains 22 grams of protein. As a result of its protein content, sea cucumber helps you fight off infection, maintains healthy muscles and strengthens your skin and cartilage. Sea cucumber serves as a lean source of protein, because 6 ounces of sea cucumber contains less than a gram of fat.

“They’re not only anti-viral, anti-bacterial but sea cucumbers have been used to treat gingivitis and gum disease, “ Ty M. Bollinger, author of “Cancer: Step Outside the Box,” told Fox News.

The sea animal, which resembles a large, spiky caterpillar, is used as an adjunct treatment for those undergoing chemotherapy because it’s very effective at mitigating the side effects of the cancer treatment, Bollinger said.

Chemotherapy is an immunosuppressive set of drugs so it kills the cancer cells but in the meantime it kills your immune system. The properties of sea cucumber that are so fascinating is that it makes your immune system run at the perfect speed.  That’s why it’s so effective as an adjunct treatment as well as a treatment  in and of itself if people decide to use sea cucumber.

Besides being immunomodulatory, sea cucumber is cytotoxic, meaning it kills cancer cells.

Sea cucumber, while long used in Traditional Chinese Medicine, is not well known in Western medicine— even though it’s been studied for the last 15 years— because most oncologists use chemotherapy, radiation, and therapy as their primary cancer treatments.

Sea cucumber can be cooked and eaten, as the Chinese do, or dried, made into a powder and packed into capsules to take in pill form.

One of the fascinating things about sea cucumbers also is that it is very high in chondroitin sulfate, which you’re familiar with to treat joint pain and arthritis. Sea cucumber has the highest concentration of chondroitin sulfate of any animal.  It is used very effectively for joint pain and arthritic pain.

 

Health Benefits of Sea Cucumbers:

Improving Gum Disease
Though the study was preliminary, a toothpaste made with sea cucumber extract was shown to improve healing in patients who had undergone treatment for gum disease. The toothpaste was formulated to take advantage of the sea cucumber’s wound-healing, anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties, which have been recognized both in traditional healing modalities and by modern researchers. The study, reported in the “Journal of Oral Science”, involved 28 volunteers who either brushed their teeth with sea cucumber toothpaste or with a toothpaste that was identical except for the extract. By the end of the three-month trial, patients who had gotten the sea cucumber toothpaste who used the sea cucumber toothpaste experienced a significant in bleeding, swelling and the depth of periodontal pockets when compared to the control group.

High Protein
Although sea cucumbers may be an unusual food, they can provide a valuable protein boost for those who need it. According to Subhuti Dharmananda, Director of the Institute for Traditional Medicine in Portland, Oregon, sea cucumbers are higher in protein than almost any other food, except for egg whites. The Harvard School of Public Health states that people in the United States might reduce their risk of cardiovascular disease by boosting their intake of protein, especially if the protein replaces refined carbohydrates in your diet. Sea cucumbers are available at Asian grocery stores.

Wound Healing
Eating sea cucumber or its extracts may have therapeutic effects such as speeding up wound healing. It does so by facilitating the formation of new tissues within a short time — a property that is believed to stem from the ability of a sea cucumber to regenerate its own body tissues quickly when it is injured. According to the October 2011 “Marine Drugs” study, this is believed to be facilitated by certain fatty acids, such as arachidonic acid, present in sea cucumber.

Cancer Prevention Potential
Eating sea cucumber may help prevent the growth and spread of cancer cells. This is because sea cucumbers contain high amounts of compounds known as triterpene glycosides, which have antitumor activity. According to a study by Chinese scientists published in August 2005 in “Cancer Biology & Therapy,” sea cucumbers also contain a compound known as philinopside E, or PE. PE inhibits the formation of blood vessels that supply nutrients to tumors. This suppresses the growth and proliferation of such tumors in your body.

 

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Barley Water Health Benefits

Since last Sunday when Cass had a UTI attack, I have been boiling barley water with screwpine leaves (pandan leaves) on a daily basis.  Along with other anti-UTI drinks, I managed to treat the UTI, hopefully successfully with no more recurrence.

Barley water is a very effective home remedy to drink when you have a Urinary Tract Infection.  Barley water also brings down the heat content in the body. In some countries, people consume barley rice during summer for its cooling properties.

 

Barley water: 2/3 cup uncooked barley; 4 cups boiling water; 1 lemon zest & juice; 1 TBS of Agave, Pinch of cinnamon; A quart Mason jar. Rinse the barley. Put barley into mason jar. Add lemon. Add Agave. Pour boiling water. Let sit for 1 hour. Strain & enjoy. Health claims vary from a balm for digestive systems, sooth sore throats, cure UTIs, promote lactation, and to even combat high blood pressure. This is all fascinating, but I’m just making it as a cool spring/summer drink ~ Daisy:

Here are 10 reasons to incorporate barley water into your daily diet (note: barley is not gluten free).

UTIs: This has been used as a natural remedy for urinary tract infections in both adults and children. It also prevents strong urine odor.

Weight loss and cholesterol maintenance: There has been research on barley water, which has shown it to be very beneficial in lowering cholesterol. It may also help keep you satiated for longer periods of time, making it a perfect tonic to include in many weight loss plans.

A study conducted by American Journal of Clinical Nutrition has shown that the fiber that comes from barley water lowers cholesterol.

Kidney stones: Regular consumption of lemon barley water has been recommended while flushing kidney stones. Barley is rich in magnesium, which may help to prevent kidney stones from occurring in the first place, as well as aids in flushing out toxins. The insoluble fiber in barely water can also act against gallstone formation.

Skin health: Drinking barley water often and applying it topically on acne affected areas helps to reduce inflammation, providing a soothing effect. When applying to the skin, you’ll want a thicker formula, so opt for less water when making the mixture (you want it to be thicker like an oatmeal).

Cardiovascular health: Fiber is extremely beneficial for your cardiovascular system. It may help to prevent atherosclerosis, which is a build-up of plaque on the arteries.

Detoxing: Barley water acts as a wonderful natural body cleanser, flushing toxins from the body and keeping you hydrated. Drinking lemon barley water also helps to improve immunity!

Cooling down body temperature: This tonic helps to cool the body and in some countries, people choose to consume barley rice during the warmer summer months for its natural cooling properties.

Digestion: Consume a glass of hot barley water everyday for better digestion and to aid in fighting constipation or feelings of nausea.

Hydration: This is a great, healthy substitute to soda, coffee and other caffeine-laden beverages, which ultimately dehydrate the body.

Diabetes: Magnesium has been shown to react with enzymes in the body involved in regulating insulin levels and may reduce the risk of Type 2 Diabetes.

Extra benefits include:

Antioxidants: Great for cancer prevention and the promotion of a healthy heart.

Vitamins: Rich in vitamins B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B9, and vitamin E, makes barley water a great option!

With its many benefits, barley water is definitely an ideal beverage. It is not costly and easily available.  So reach out for a glass of barley water when you next order your drinks at the cafe and ditch the sugary drinks.

 

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Propolis Health Benefits

Bees make more than honey. They also make gunk called propolis. And this “bee glue” is a powerful health balm. In fact, studies show it has anti-cancer properties.

I swear by propolis to treat throat infections and phlegm. It works all the time for my entire family. It takes away my sore throat so effectively any time I feel a tickle and why one of the primary health benefits of propolis stated by long term users is as a cold and flu tonic!

Whenever anyone in the family is down with a throat infection, all I have to do is to prepare a Manuka honey UMF 10+ drink (1 teaspoon) and drip in 3-4 drops of propolis from the dropperful into the drink and serve this powerful concoction to the one who’s down with a strep throat two to three times in a day. Within three days of gulping down this concoction, healing will be seen.

Propolis works effectively to bring down tooth ache and sore gums. My mum and relatives swear by this.

Below is my precious stash of bee propolis that I bought from New Zealand last year.   One is propolis throat spray and the other is propolis extract. The latter is the potent one.

 

Propolis throat spray will be handy when we are on the go.   For long haul flights, I put a bottle of propolis throat spray in my handbag. The soothing eucalyptus and mint flavor freshens up my breath besides keeping a throat infection at bay.

Propolis.jpg

Propolis (Pro-before, Polis-city = defense of the city), is the resinous substance that bees gather from the leaf buds of trees and certain vegetables.

The bee gathers this and transforms it in order to disinfect the beehive, seal cracks, build panels, as well as using it as a microbiocidal agent, disinfectant and also for embalming intruders otherwise difficult to expel due to their size.

Propolis, thus, is directly responsible for guaranteeing the asepsis of the beehives, locations prone to developing viruses and bacteria, given their conditions of temperature and humidity.

Dr. Seema Patel of the Bioinformatics and Medical Informatics Research Center, San Diego State University conducted a comprehensive review of the literature on propolis and cancer. Dr. Patel found laboratory and animal studies supporting propolis efficacy against cancers of the:

Brain
Pancreas
Head and neck
Kidney and bladder
Skin
Prostate
Breast
Colon
Liver
Blood
Propolis contains as many as 300 active compounds. These components were found to fight cancer in a variety of ways including:

Preventing the growth of new blood vessels to feed cancer cells (anti-angiogenesis)
Preventing the spread or metastasis of cancer from one organ to another
Halting cancer cell division
Inducing apoptosis or programmed cell death

Health Benefits Of Propolis

1. Propolis Kills Bacteria
One study investigated the anti-bacterial capabilities of bee propolis in the mouth and more specifically with regards to root canals.

The researchers compared propolis with calcium hydroxide, which apparently is a very effective anti-microbial, and found that it is significantly more powerful than the calcium at eliminating certain germs.

Propolis has traditionally been used to kill colds and flu so this study clearly shows that it has powerful bacteria killing properties throughout the body.

2. Propolis Lowers Blood Pressure

3. Propolis Helps Treat Bone Diseases

4. Propolis Boosts Prostate Cancer Cell Death
Scientists examined the cancer killing effects of propolis tincture on two common types of prostate cancer in the lab.

They concluded that propolis tincture markedly improved cell death in prostate cancer cells and suggested the significant role of propolis in chemoprevention of prostate cancer.

5. Propolis Kills Colon Cancer Cells
The scientists then tested propolis against colon cancer cells. They found that it caused the cancer cells to die by necrosis, which means that it interrupted the blood supply to the cell and caused just the local cancer cells to die and NOT healthy, living cells.

6. Propolis May Help Treat Food Poisoning

7. Propolis Protects Injured Teeth

8. Propolis an Effective Treatment for Warts

Warning:

If you have an allergy to honey or bees, you will also have a reaction to products containing propolis. Propolis may also cause its own allergic reaction when used for a long period of time. Talk to your doctor before adding propolis to your treatment plan, especially if you have existing allergies or asthma.

 

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Savory Oatmeal Porridge & Health Benefits Of Oats

Today being a Saturday and a day where my kitchen is closed, I felt lazy to whip up a ‘proper’ lunch. Our 2 older girls have followed their grand-aunt to the shopping mall. Since it’s just Cass and me, I decided to cook a fuss-free savory meat-free oatmeal porridge.  This used to be my mum’s healthy instant meal for me too when I was growing up and I loved this comfort food.

 

My meat-free savoury oatmeal porridge ingredients:
5 tablespoons of oats. I used organic instant oats. If you like it thicker, add more oats. I like mine thin.
1 egg
A pinch of salt
A few shakes of ground pepper
A few shakes of organic soy sauce
A few shakes of Japanese flavored seaweed mix
A few shakes of sesame seed oil

Directions:
Boil water in saucepan
Add in oats and stir. Be sure you are at the stove to watch the flame as the oats mixture will bubble up and spew up foam from the pot if the flame is too big.
Add in egg and stir well
Add seasoning.

 

I like mine with a piece of spicy fu yue or fermented tofu to give it an extra kick!

This fuss-free and no-frills  savory oatmeal porridge requires only 10 mins of prep time. If you like it to be more ‘fanciful’, you can throw in some minced meat, salted duck’s eggs, chopped carrots, scallions, fish slices or anything of your choice. It would be even tastier if you fry some garlic or onions to flavor this bowl of oats porridge.

10 Reasons Why I Love Oatmeal:

1. Low calorie food; stops cravings.
A cup is only 130 calories! It also stays in your stomach longer, making you feel full longer. You will have less hunger and cravings.

2. Provides high levels of fiber, low levels of fat, and high levels of protein.
It’s on the short list for the highest protein levels of any grain.

3. Stabilizes blood sugar and reduces risk of diabetes (type 2)

4. Removes your bad cholesterol (without affecting your good cholesterol).
Many studies have shown that the unique fiber in oatmeal called beta-glucan, has beneficial effects on cholesterol levels

oatmeal mask

5. Gluten-free safe.

6. Contains lignans which protect against heart disease and cancer.
Oatmeal, like many whole grains, contains plant lignans, which are converted by intestinal flora into mammalian lignans. One lignan, called enterolactone, is thought to protect against breast and other hormone-dependent cancers as well as heart disease.

7. Contains unique antioxidants beneficial for heart disease.
A study at Tufts University shows that the unique antioxidants in oatmeal called called avenanthramides, help prevent free radicals from damaging LDL cholesterol, thus reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease.

8. Protects against heart failure.
A Harvard study on 21,000 participants over 19 years found that men who enjoyed a daily morning bowl of whole grain (but not refined) cereal had a 29 percent lower risk of heart failure.

9. Enhances immune response to disease. The unique fiber in oatmeal called beta-gluten also has been shown to help neutrophils travel to the site of an infection more quickly and it also enhances their ability to eliminate the bacteria they find there

10. It tastes good!
All oats whether in flakes or groats form have gone through a heat process which gives them their rich nutty flavor. This keeps them from spoiling. They have also been hulled. This process does not strip away all the bran and germ allowing them to retain a concentrated source of fiber and nutrients .

 

 

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Oat Bran Health Benefits And Slimming Benefits

At the supermarket earlier this week, I bought a packet of Love Earth organic oat bran to try. I know that oats are a heart healthy cholesterol-lowering food and I try to include 3-4 tablespoons of oats into my diet everyday. I have read somewhere that the most virtuous and versatile component of the oat resides in its outer layer – which is the bran.

Organic Oat Bran 400g [love earth] 0
The bran contains a high content of a unique type of soluble fiber called beta-glucan, which bestows some remarkable health properties and is incredibly beneficial for weight loss.

Technically, oat bran is not a whole grain (since it’s actually only one part of the oat grain). But because of its exceptionally high fiber content, it can be considered a whole grain.  A bowl of oat bran contains about 50% more fiber than the same size bowl of oatmeal, making it more effective at lowering cholesterol and in its weight loss properties. And because it is mostly fiber, oat bran has less calories than the same amount of oatmeal.  A three-quarter-cup serving of cooked oat bran contains only 66 calories, compared to 124 calories in the same amount of cooked oatmeal. Oat bran also has more antioxidants, protein, calcium, iron, thiamin, phosphorus, riboflavin, magnesium, and zinc than oatmeal.

See, oat bran is not only more nutritious, it also contains lesser calories!  I am now going to switch from oatmeal to oat bran! 🙂

Aside from fewer calories, there are two other combined properties that make oat bran a powerfully slimming food. First, because of it high fiber content, oat bran satiates you. As soon as you ingest it, the fiber in oat bran soaks up saliva and then expands in the stomach absorbing up to 25 times its volume in liquid, making you feel quite full, quite fast. It provides a prolonged feeling of fullness, so you eat less in between meals.

The second way that oat bran helps with weight loss is more biologically unique. It’s called intestinal caloric loss. In other words, oat bran blocks the absorption of calories from the intestine. Here’s how it works: when you eat food, it is broken down into its individual components of fatty acids, carbohydrate (glucose) and amino acids (the building blocks of proteins). The calories from these components are then absorbed into the body. But when you eat oat bran, it mixes with water in your intestine to produce a gel-like substance called bolus. The bolus absorbs some of the breakdown products, and then it is attacked by gastric juices and stomach acids that turn it into a pulp. This pulp becomes part of the stool, and thereby carries the calorie-dense components of fats, glucose, and amino acids out of the body through the stool. This process both slows down the assimilation of sugar (glucose) and removes calories from the body while keeping your blood sugar levels low and stable.

One key to make this action more effective is to reduce or eliminate other grains in the diet, especially wheat, and put oat bran in their place.

So how do you eat oat bran?  Here are some ideas:

1)  Oat bran can be cooked as a hot cereal by mixing 1 part oat bran to two parts water and cooking it the same as you would cook oatmeal
2)  Add a tablespoon or two to your yogurt, cottage cheese or a smoothie
3)  Add it to an omelet
4)  Bread meat, poultry, or eggplant with it
5)  Sprinkle it on salad
6)  Use it in place of bread crumbs when making meatloaf, meatballs and burgers
7)  Mix it in a soup or stew
8)  Make flourless muffins and pancakes with it

I eat my oat bran with chilled sugar-reduced chocolate milk and that’s the only way I like it now.  Perhaps I should even secretly throw in a couple of teaspoons of oat bran into my kids’ daily fruit smoothies! I’ll bet they will hardly even notice it 😀

 

 

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Maple Syrup Health Benefits

This morning I bought a bottle of organic 100% pure maple syrup from the mini mart.  I could not decide if I should buy it or otherwise as I think forking out RM34.90 for a 250ml bottle of syrup is just too expensive.  At the mini mart, I was also hunting for agave nectar (which is slightly cheaper) but it was out of stock.  In our household, we do not use white sugar.  We use healthier alternatives like agave nectar, palm sugar or organic raw brown sugar.  With no other choice, I bought the bottle of 100% pure maple syrup, simply because the new chicken recipe that I found requires maple syrup and I am very eager to try cooking this crock pot chicken drumstick cooked with maple syrup and dijon mustard.  It looks very easy to prepare and sweat-free too.

Besides using maple syrup to cook the new chicken recipe that I have in mind, I can also drizzle some maple syrup onto my sugar-free skinny yoghurt which I take on most weekday mornings.

 

 

 

 

 

Why is maple syrup one of the best sugar alternatives?
This healthy sweetener is 100% natural, pure and free of any coloring or additives. Boiled down directly from tree sap, which is harvested from the maple tree towards the end of winter, pure maple syrup is an unprocessed, authentic product of nature. White sugar, for example, is typically derived from sugar cane, and processed and purified before being sold. Because maple syrup is not processed, it contains higher levels of potentially beneficial minerals, including calcium, potassium, sodium and copper, making it the best sugar alternative.

A previous study published in the Journal of Clinical Nutrition in 2007 found that maple syrup contains polyphenols such as abscisic acid (ABA), which is thought to stimulate insulin release through pancreatic cells very much the same way berries increase sensitivity of the fat cells to insulin, which makes the syrup beneficial for those with metabolic syndrome and diabetes.

Maple syrup is one of the many wonders of the world and far more than a simple sweetener. Maple syrup is not only rich in essential nutrients such as manganese as well as zinc, but 34 new beneficial compounds discovered just a few years ago have been confirmed to play a key role in human health.

 

 

 

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Blackstrap Molasses

I bought a jar of organic unsulphured blackstrap molasses last week.  After reading up the health benefits of blackstrap molasses, I wanted to give it a try too.

Instead of popping iron pills for anemia every other day, I thought I might as well pop something more natural like blackstrap molasses.

Blacsktrap is a natural stool softener that can improve the regularity and quality of your bowel movements. I thought that I could try feeding Cass with this too.

When I tried a teaspoon of blackstrap when I got home from the supermarket, I was disappointed. It tasted awful on my tongue and I do not think I can bring myself to swallow down a teaspoon of this black, thick and gooey stuff neat everyday.

I have yet to try marinating my meats with blackstrap and then grilling them to mask the taste. I am going to try doing this one of these days. And I think I can substitute our regular Chinese thick dark sauce with blackstrap as it tastes somewhat alike.

I will have some experiments to do in the kitchen soon and I hope that my kids won’t even be able to point out the unusual taste in their grilled chicken and dry noodles darkened with blackstrap  😉

 

 

Health Benefits of Blackstrap Molasses

1)  Safe sweetener for diabetics – Unlike refined sugar, blackstrap molasses has a moderate glycemic load of 55. This makes it a good sugar substitute for diabetics and individuals who are seeking to avoid blood sugar spikes. Moreover, one serving of blackstrap contains no fat and only 32 calories, making it suitable for a weight loss diet.

2)  Laxative qualities – Blackstrap is a natural stool softener that can improve the regularity and quality of your bowel movements.

3)  Rich in iron – Two tablespoons of blackstrap contain 13.2 percent of our RDI of iron, which our bodies need to carry oxygen to our blood cells. People who are anemic (including pregnant women) will greatly benefit from consuming 1-2 tablespoons of blackstrap molasses per day.

4)  High in calcium and magnesium – Blackstrap molasses contains a mineral profile that has been optimized by nature for superior absorption. For example, two tablespoons of blackstrap contains 11.7 percent of our RDI of calcium and 7.3 percent of our RDI of magnesium. This calcium-magnesium ratio is ideal, since our bodies need large quantities of magnesium to help absorb similarly large quantities of calcium. Both of these minerals aid the growth and development of bones, making blackstrap a good safeguard against osteoporosis and other bone diseases.

5) Additional mineral content – Two tablespoons of blackstrap molasses also contains 18 percent of our RDI of manganese (which helps produce energy from proteins and carbohydrates), 9.7 percent of our RDI of potassium (which plays an important role in nerve transmission and muscle contraction), 5 percent of our RDI of vitamin B6 (which aids brain and skin development) and 3.4 percent of our RDI of selenium, an important antioxidant.

6) Colon Health
Blackstrap molasses is a very good source of calcium, which helps cleanse the colon of toxins. Calcium is often associated with a reduced risk of colon cancer.

7) Good Source of Selenium
Blackstrap molasses is a good source of selenium, providing about 5% of the DV per tablespoon. Selenium plays a key role in thyroid function, antioxidant protection, cancer prevention, cardiovascular health and inflammatory diseases like rheumatoid arthritis. Selenium deficiency can lead to these and other health conditions.

8) Good Source of Vitamin B6
One tablespoon of blackstrap molasses provides 7.5% the DV of vitamin B6. Vitamin B6 is needed for the immunity, the nervous system, cell formation, blood health and energy production. It is also believed to have anti-inflammatory and anticancer properties.

9) Skin Health
Testimonials claim that blackstrap molasses is great for skin health and may help to cure eczema, psoriasis, acne and other skin conditions. Blackstrap molasses contains powerful antioxidants, which are believed to contribute to good skin health and lower the risk of lines, wrinkles and other skin conditions associated with premature aging.

With so many health benefits tagged to blackstrap, I really need to find innovative ways of concealing this syrup in the food for my kids and me! Or train my taste bud to accept it neat!

 

 

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