Monthly Archives: October 2009

Jackfruits

Apart from the king of fruits, jackfruit is my other all-time favorite fruit. My 3 girls love jackfruits, cempedak and durians too – they love fruits that are pungent and aromatic. Baby who doesn’t really fancy fruits, loves durians and jackfruits VERY much! Hubs will normally buy a packet or two of jackfruits whenever he goes to the pasar malam (night market) to get our fruits and veggie for the week.

Did you know that apart from the sweet, aromatic taste, jackfruits are bursting with nutrients and healing properties too?

I googled around and found this information:

Use of jackfruit to treat Urinary Tract Infection:
Jackfruit is found to contain broad spectrum antibacterial activity. It is a natural alternative to antibiotics used against bacterial infections such as like penicillin, amoxycillin, Ciprofloxacin, Ofloxacin etc. Also the treatment with Jackfruit is relatively safer also as there are no any side effects associated with it. Jackfruit is also known as Artocarpus heterophyllus, Jakfruit, Jaca and Nangka.

Directions For Use: Extract about 3 table spoon juice of Artocarpus heterophyllus (Jackfruit). Consume this juice twice daily for 4-5 days for the treatment of Urinary Tract Infection.

Expected Results: The symptoms of Urinary Tract Infection are resolved in 4-5 days of the treatment with Artocarpus heterophyllus (Jackfruit).

Expected Results Within: 4 days

Jackfruits Are Rich In Potassium, Vitamin C And Phytonutrients

Jackfruit is a rich source of potassium with 303 milligram found in 100 grams of jackfruit. Studies show that food rich in potassium helps to lower blood pressure. Therefore, jackfruit has the health benefit of providing relief for anyone who suffers from high blood pressure.

Another benefit of eating jackfruit is that it is a good source of Vitamin C. The human body does not make Vitamin C naturally so we must eat food that contains Vitamin C to reap its health benefits. The health benefits of Vitamin C are that it is an antioxidant that protects the body against free radicals, Vitamin C holds the cells in our bodies together, and Vitamin C strengthens our immune systems and keeps our gums healthy.

Jackfruit contains the phytonutrients: lignans, isoflavones and saponins, which have health benefits that are wide ranging. These phytonutrients have anti-cancer, antihypertensive, anti-ulcer and anti-ageing properties. The phytonutrients found in jackfruit, therefore, can prevent cancer cells from forming in the body, can lower blood pressure, can fight against stomach ulcers and can slow down the degeneration of cells that make the skin look young and vital.

Jackfruit To Control Asthma

Jackfruit root has been found to help those suffering from asthma. Boiling the root of the jackfruit and extracting its high nutritional content has been found to control asthma. Jackfruit also benefits the body in that jackfruit root can also be used to treat skin problems. The extract of jackfruit root is also believed to be able to help cure diarrhea and fever.

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Getting Mushy Over Mushrooms

I have always loved mushrooms, especially fresh ones – shiitake, enoki, oyster, portabella, ear wood, cloud wood and just about any type of edible mushrooms. Of course not all mushrooms are edible. Most mushrooms you find growing in the jungle or in your garden are poisonous. Of my 3 gals, Alycia is the only one whom I can never force her swallow any type of mushroom for she will puke!  Baby the health freak baby takes on mushrooms very well.  Sherilyn is really mushy over mushrooms and she polished off almost the entire plate of this fresh mushrooms, which I had cooked with tofu pok, minced garlic and fermented soy bean paste:


When we stopped her from eating further mushrooms, she made sure that I reserved that plate of mushrooms for her the following day! The next day over dinner, I thought she had forgotten all about this plate of mushrooms but I was wrong. She asked for it!

Next time you are in the produce aisle of the supermarket, pick up an immune booster—the mushroom. The health benefits associated with this edible fungus are numerous and wide-ranging. Mushrooms are high in antioxidants, selenium, riboflavin and other healthful substances that protect the immune system and may even fight cancer, according to a session at the Institute of Food Technologists Annual Meeting and Food Expo in New Orleans this past July.

Mushrooms are low in carbohydrates, calories and sodium and are cholesterol and fat free! They are high in riboflavin and contain as much fiber as 1 medium tomato. They are also a good source of niacin, pantothenate and copper.

Shiitake mushrooms have been used for centuries by the Chinese and Japanese to treat colds and flu. Lentinan, a beta-glucan isolated from the fruiting body of shiitake mushrooms, appears to stimulate the immune system, help fight infection, and demonstrates anti-tumor activity.

While medicinal mushrooms have been used in China and Japan for more than 3,000 years to boost immunity and fight diseases such as cancer, only in the last decade has their power begun to be recognized in the United States. In more scientific terms, a number of compounds in fungi have been found to stimulate the function of the immune system, inhibit tumor growth and boost intestinal flora. Particularly, mushroom substances called terpenoids help kill bacteria and viruses and exert anti-inflammatory effects, while complex chain-like sugars called polysaccharides have been shown to exert antitumor and immuno-stimulating properties. – The Natural Foods Merchandiser, March 2005

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Goji Berries

One of Baby’s favorite food is keiji / wolfberries / Goji berries. I normally toss a handful of goji berries into her porridge and soup. I use goji berries to steam chicken too and the chicken dish tastes really good. She can eat about 6-8 berries from her soup in one sitting. I guess she likes the sweetness from the berries. Some people eat dried goji berries on its own, without cooking them, like how they would eat dried cranberries or raisins. I’ve tried eating them straight from fridge and they taste very much like dried cranberries.

The goji berry contains 19 different kinds of amino acids and 21 trace minerals. In addition, the wolfberry has more beta carotene than a carrot, nearly as much vitamin C as an orange and almost as much protein as bee pollen.

Goji berries are rich in antioxidants, particularly carotenoids such as beta-carotene and zeaxanthin. One of zeaxanthin’s key roles is to protect the retina of the eye by absorbing blue light and acting as an antioxidant. In fact, increased intake of foods containing zeathanthin may decrease the risk of developing age-related macular degeneration (AMD), the leading cause of vision loss and blindness in people over the age of 65.

Goji berries have been used for 6,000 years by herbalists in China, Tibet and India. Here are the health benefits of goji berries:

Strong Bones and Teeth
The high amounts of calcium in the goji berry make it useful for building strong teeth and bones. It also helps to protect and preserve tissues, keeping them safe from damage and disease.

Enhance Vitamin Intake
The riboflavin in the goji berry works to help the body receive all the other vitamins and minerals taken in. It is required to helps breakdown these vitamins and process them into usable enzymes the body can then administer through the bloodstream.

Immune Booster
Goji berry is a powerful antioxidant that can work to boost the immune system by seeking out harmful free radicals and toxins. By purging these from the system, it helps to prevent sickness and disease as it bolsters the body’s natural defenses.

Eye Health
Goji berry can help promote proper eye function. By aiding in tissue repair and lowering stress levels, it can help to preserve the eyes and keep them in working order.

Anti-Inflammatory
Goji berry is an anti-inflammatory which works to curb certain inflammations in the body. Swelling and the pains of arthritis can be helped by the calming effects it contains. Additionally, respiratory problems, such as the common cold, are lessened.

Anti-Aging
As an antioxidant, goji berry works to combat oxidation of the cells, which can cause premature aging of the skin. It slows the process, lessening fine lines and wrinkles, resulting in younger looking skin.

Anti-Fatigue
Goji berry can work to combat the signs of fatigue through its ability to help energy production in the body. It helps to hasten the metabolism, resulting in balanced energy levels throughout the day.

For longevity

Possible drug interactions
Goji berries may interact with anticoagulant drugs (commonly called “blood-thinners”), such as warfarin (Coumadin®). There was one case report published in the journal Annals of Pharmacotherapy of a 61-year old woman who had an increased risk of bleeding, indicated by an elevated international normalized ratio (INR). She had been drinking 3-4 cups daily of goji berry tea. Her blood work returned to normal after discontinuing the goji berry tea.

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Double-boiled Lean Pork Soup With Red Dates & Goji Berries

The only food that Baby loves and will never reject besides mummy’s milkie is soup. Thus, there is soup for Baby every single day. On some days when I don’t feel like boiling a big pot of soup for everyone, I’ll double boil chicken or lean pork soup for her.

This is the lean pork soup in a small pot, double boiled with red dates and goji berries or wolfberries or keiji.  The small pot is placed in another big pot filled with water and boiled for 2 hours.  Baby loves eating goji berries.

And this is Baby’s bowl of lunch consisting of vermicelli, a little pork, lots of goji berries cut into small pieces with the soup.  At night, she gets to eat the veggie and fish that we eat.  So she gets a well-balanced meal – carbs from the vermicelli, protein from the fish and pork and fibre from the veggie.




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Chrysanthemum Tea

I boiled a pot of chrysanthemum tea for everyone today since everyone has been having chesty cough. Plus, we have been gorging on durians for the past 2 days, Baby inclusive! My 3 girls love durians and it’s in their blood coz their daddy, mummy and grandparents all love durians!  And yes, the durian season is back again!

My pot of chrysanthemum tea boiled with ‘kam choa’ (Chinese licorice).  Chinese licorice tonifies the spleen and benefits Qi, moistens the lungs and stops coughing and therefore it is good in treating upper respiratory ailments. It has an anti-inflammatory and anti-allergic effect. It reduces the toxicity of many substances including nicotine and caffeine.
Sometimes I’ll toss in a handful of ‘keiji’ (goji berries or wolfberries) into my pot of chrysanthemum tea. Goji berry is another super food and I’ll write another post on it soon.

Health Benefits Of Drinking Chrysanthemum Tea
Chrysanthemum tea is known by the Chinese to be cooling and good for expelling ‘heatiness’ and toxic materials from the body. This is recommended whenever we have had too much fried, baked and barbequed foods. It is also good for relieving dizziness, migraines, gummy eyes, painful gums, slight toothache and headaches. Chrysanthemum tea can aid in digestion when the tea is taken along with meals.

Drinking Chrysanthemum tea can also help reduce shortness of breath and strengthen the lungs. The cooling effect of the tea can also treat heat-related illnesses such as fever, flu and sore throat. Regular consumption aids in the removal of toxins trapped in the lungs as well as breakdown of mucous formation. Chrysanthemum flowers also make a great rinse for red, swollen and irritated eyes.


I prefer to buy this type of chrysanthemum flowers, which are small compressed flowers, than the bigger flowers.


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Natural Remedies For Coughs And Colds

I mentioned in my earlier posts that everyone in the family has been down with chesty cough (with lots of phlegm) and mild runny nose, including myself. Only the hubs went to the doctor’s to get himself meds. For Sherilyn, I used Baby’s old Aero Chamber to administer the Ventolin on her several weeks ago to get rid of her phlegm. She’s getting better now. Thank God Alycia’s immune system has gotten stronger lately and I only gave her several Esberitox tabs (Echinacea) to treat her mild runny nose.  Baby is the only one spared from being bitten by the virulent cough and cold bugs, thanks to mummy’s powerhouse milkie enriched with all the supplements that she’s been taking.  Maybe I should also give credit to the E.Excel supplements that I’ve been diligently feeding her with.

To cure myself from my chesty and mild runny nose, I popped Echinacea tabs and garlic tabs 2-3 times a day as soon as I felt the slightest symptoms appearing, to ‘nip the bug in the bud’!
I also gargled my throat with salt water throughout the day and night (after I had woken up to change Baby’s diaper).  Other immune system enhancers that I’ve been taking as usual include Bragg’s apple cider vinegar, Vitamin ACE and salmon fish oil (to enhance my failing memory after having 3 kids!). Have also been eating green veggie like a rabbit, drinking freshly squeezed lemon juice and apple cider vinegar, eating chopped raw garlic and munching more on fruits and tomatoes for the extra antioxidants and vitamins.

On top of that, I’ve been boiling luo han guo, barley water and chrysanthemum tea everyday for the entire family. These drinks are known by the Chinese to be good for the lungs, expel phlegm and treat cough, remove ‘heatiness’ from the body and boost the immune system. Barley water is boiled primarily for Baby as it is very good in cleansing the bladder and kidneys. My 2 older girls and the hubs drink it too. And I am surprised that Baby has no problem drinking luo han guo and chrysanthemum tea though they have a slightly bitter taste.

Today is around the 6th day and I am recovering well. Really glad that I’ve once again self-treated myself from cough, cold and phlegm without having to pop antibiotics or other meds.

Garlic consumption is very effective for strengthening the immune system and will even help prevent many colds. Garlic should be used as soon as the initial symptoms of a cold are felt. When symptoms first appear, take a garlic supplement, eat raw garlic or make your own garlic tea. I’ve read that garlic tea can soothe a sore throat and cough as well as boost the body’s disease-fighting strength.

On top of the above remedies, you must have enough sleep, drink enough plain water, exercise, keep stress at bay (I know, easier said than done) and eat healthily in order to have a strong immune system.  Once your immune system is strong, your body heals easily and faster from illnesses.

Disclaimer: What I’m sharing with you here is based on my own experience experimenting on natural remedies. They work for me most of the time but may not work for you. So, you may want to use this list as a starting place to do more research on your own on any particular supplement/plant/herb/etc. before taking it. If you have any special medical conditions, or are taking any medications, it’s best that you check with a doctor first.

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Dinner For My Kids

For the past one week, Baby has very little appetite for her food. She hates porridge and food that she normally eats. I was lost for ideas on what to cook for her. I tried something different – French toast but she spat them out (would only eat if I put some soup together with the spoonful of French toast), cooked pancakes but she too spat them out.  Not much interest in noodles with soup.  She loves spaghetti and pasta but she can’t eat that everyday, else she would also get sick of them.  Frustrated, I just gave her carrots from the pot of soup I had cooked… and voila, she loved carrots. So her lunch was just carrots with beet root-carrot-sweet corn-pork ribs soup a few days ago. And this was her dinner:


Left : Beet root-carrot-sweet corn-pork ribs soup
Right : Carrots from the soup, fried small fish (jar yue jai), stir-fried spinach. Quite a well-balanced dinner with carbs from the carrots, protein from the fish, fibre and iron from the spinach and of course a bowl of nutritious soup.


The buckwheat-eggs pancake in the bowl on the left was almost untouched.  She was only gobbling down the carrots like a rabbit!


And this was Alycia’s plate of dinner.


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Crazy Over Chives

Ever since I ate this chives dish at Fong Lye Taiwanese restaurant recently, I got hooked on chives. The chives was all chopped up and stir-fried with minced pork, red cut chillies and tau cheong (fermented bean paste). It was really tasty. After that lunch at Fong Lye, I could not wait to try cooking that dish myself.  I quickly bought some chives from the supermarket and tried cooking them ala Taiwanese style. It was really simple to cook and I think my chives dish tasted much better than the one at Fong Lye! That’s because mine was not loaded with MSG and not salty. I try to go easy on sodium as it causes water retention, high blood pressure and works the kidneys real hard.

Here’s the Taiwanese chives dish that I had dished up:

Also pan-fried a mackerel fish. We normally chop the fish up into pieces before pan-frying them. This way the fish is more flavorful and crispy.

and steamed eggs with minced pork…

A plate of wholesome and well-balanced dinner for my 2 older girls.

Food For Thought:
Chive is the name given to the smallest species of the onion family, which also includes onions, garlic, shallots and leeks. Chives can usually be seen in clumps and their stalks have a light, onion flavor. The leaves of chives are used, after shredding, as condiment for fish, potatoes and soups. Chives comprise of a bulb that is attached with leaves. The bulb is slender and conical in shape, while being 2-3 cm long and 1 cm broad. The leaves, on the other hand, are hollow and tubular, being up to 50 cm long and 2-3 mm in diameter. In the following lines, we have provided information on chives.

Nutritional Value of Chives
Given below is the amount of nutrients in 100 gm of Chives:

* Vitamin A – 4353 IU
* Vitamin A – 218 mcg
* Vitamin B6 – 0.138 mg
* Niacin – 0.647 mg
* Riboflavin – 0.115 mg
* Thiamin – 0.078 mg
* Vitamin C – 58.1 mg
* Vitamin E – 0.21 mg
* Vitamin K – 212.7 mg
* Calcium – 92 mg
* Copper – 0.157 mg
* Iron – 1.6 mg
* Manganese – 0.373 mg
* Magnesium – 42 mg
* Phosphorus – 58 mg
* Potassium – 296 mg
* Selenium – 0.9 mcg
* Sodium – 3 mg
* Zinc – 0.56 mg
* Protein – 3.27 gm
* Fiber – 2.5 gm
* Water – 90.65 gm
* Carbohydrate – 4.35 gm
* Lipids (Fats) – 0.73 gm
* Energy – 30 Kcal

Health and nutrition benefits of eating chives:

* Chives, when finely chopped and consumed with food, are said to aid digestion and stimulate appetite.
* Consumption of chives has been found to be beneficial for the respiratory system of an individual.
* It has been seen that chives can help the body in digesting fatty foods, such as cheese.
* For those suffering from tiredness and fatigue, consuming chives can serve to be a good remedy.
* Since chives have been known to have diuretic properties, they can reduce obesity and fluid retention.
* Researches have revealed the result that chives help reduce the risk of prostate cancer, by as much as 50 percent.
* Chives have been found to comprise of mild anti-inflammatory properties.
* The oil of Chinese chives is believed to help heal bruises and kill germs in the intestines.



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Luo Han Guo Drink For Everyone

Everyone in the family is down with cough and phelgm.  First Sherilyn got it (which was about a month ago and she still has it), then Alycia, next the hubs, then the maid, yesterday I got bitten and Baby is showing signs too.  Baby has been throwing up her milk for the past few days each time I’m about to finish spoon-feeding her.   It’s an extra struggle to spoon-feed her formula milk these few days.   Just now she threw up her Pediasure again when I had just finished spoon-feeding her the last drop.  Sigh…. all my time and effort of painfully spoon-feeding her went down the drain.  My 3 girls always show signs of rejecting milk each time they are under the weather, especially with an irritable throat and phlegm.

Today I boiled a big pot of luo han guo for everyone. After Baby had puked her milk, I gave her a sip of luo han guo drink to try.  To my surprise, she gave me a forefinger’s up sign (thumb’s up – which means she likes it!) and signaled for more.  I quickly  gave her 2.5 ounces which she happily drank.

I find that boiled luo han guo drink is quite effective in expelling phlegm, if drank on a very regular basis.  However, if I have a chronic cough with yellowish-greenish phlegm, then it would take a longer time to see results.  Double-boiling fresh olives with lean pork still works the best for me whenever I have a chronic cough.  It’s a traditional natural remedy in China.  I don’t normally pay a visit to the GP, even when I am down with fever, chronic cough and phlegm, coz I don’t believe in antibiotics.  I prefer to let my body heal naturally.

Here’s my luo han guo drink:


I normally crack up 2 tennis ball-sized luo han guo and dump everything into a pot filled with water and boil it for an hour. I don’t add honey dates or rock sugar coz the luo han guo is naturally sweet. The drink tastes really refreshing when chilled.

Here’s a little information on luo han guo:
The dried fruit can be bought in Chinese Medicine Halls, mini marts and supermarkets.  They are not very costly, costs about RM1-RM2 each, depending on the size of the dried fruit. The outer surface of the dried fruit is round and smooth, dusty yellow-brown or dusty green-brown. It is covered with fine, soft hair. The fruit is covered by a hard but thin shell. Inside is a partly dry, flexible substance containing the juice, as well as a large number of seeds. The skin, juicy part, and seeds all have a good sweet flavor. Its nature is cool and it has no poison. The fruit helps relieve sunstroke, moistens the lungs, eliminates phlegm, stops cough, and promotes bowel movements.

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Apple Cider Vinegar

I have been drinking a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar mixed with a tablespoon of psyllium husk every morning for more than a year now. Not everyone can gulp down this awful tasting concoction first thing in the morning. It can be quite nauseating at times. But for the sake of good health, anything is possible for me.

Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) is an effective natural bacteria-fighting agent that contains many vital minerals and trace elements such as potassium, calcium, magnesium, phosphorous, chlorine, sodium, sulfur, copper, iron, silicon and fluorine that are vital for a healthy body.

Natural Apple Cider Vinegar is made by crushing fresh, organically grown apples and allowing them to mature in wooden barrels. This boosts the natural fermentation qualities of the crushed apples, which differs from the refined and distilled vinegars found in supermarkets. When the vinegar is mature, it contains a dark, cloudy, web-like bacterial foam called mother, which becomes visible when the rich brownish liquid is held to the light. The mother can be used to add to other vinegar to hasten maturity for making more Apple Cider Vinegar. Natural vinegars that contain the mother have enzymes and minerals that other vinegars in grocery stores may not have due to over-processing, over-heating, and filtration. For this reason, it is recommended that you purchase only Natural Apple Cider Vinegar, with an ideal acidity (pH) level of 5 to 7.

Natural Apple Cider Vinegar is a wonderful natural cure for a number of ailments which usually require antibiotics and other medications that have a number of side effects. In particular, Apple Cider Vinegar has been known to:

* Reduce sinus infections and sore throats
* Balance high cholesterol
* Cure skin conditions such as acne
* Protect against food poisoning
* Fight allergies in both humans and animals
* Prevent muscle fatigue after exercise
* Strengthen the immune system
* Increase stamina
* Increase metabolism which promotes weight loss
* Improve digestion and cure constipation
* Alleviate symptoms of arthritis and gout
* Prevents bladder stones and urinary tract infections

Other Uses of Apple Cider Vinegar
Weight Loss
While it is not known why, many people claim that Apple Cider Vinegar promotes weight loss. Some theories suggest that ACV helps to speed up the metabolism, while others suggest that it burns calories. A number of nutritionists also believe that combining Vitamin B6 and Lecithin with Apple Cider Vinegar is highly effective for weight loss. A suggested remedy is to mix 2 teaspoons of ACV mixed with a glass of water and drink this before every meal or sip it slowly throughout the day

Bad Breath
Due to its acidic properties, Apple Cider Vinegar makes a wonderful remedy for bad breath or halitosis.

Skin Problems and Infections
Acne
Apple Cider Vinegar is a natural cure for acne. Please refer to our Acne Home Remedy page for more information on how to treat acne with Apple Cider Vinegar.

Age Spots
Apple Cider Vinegar contains sulfur that fights the effects of aging. As a result, it is often used as a Home Remedy for Age Spots.

Cellulite
Many women have found that Apple Cider Vinegar can help reduce the appearance of Cellulite.

Stomach Problems
Constipation
Apple Cider Vinegar is frequently used as a natural cure for constipation. Please visit our Constipation Home Remedy for more information on how drinking Apple Cider Vinegar can help cure this common digestive problem.

Diarrhea
There are various causes for diarrhea, and although it should not be left untreated, it is often a natural way for the body to rid itself of harmful compounds and ingested materials. Apple Cider Vinegar is a fantastic natural remedy for diarrhea since the high pectin concentration acts as a protective coating which soothes the irritated lining of the colon.

Major Illnesses
Diabetes
Apple Cider Vinegar may help to control high blood sugar levels. Therefore it is often used as a natural treatment for Diabetes.

With so many amazing healing properties, wouldn’t you like to drink a tablespoon of ACV every morning too?


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