• 30Aug

    I recently found my new love and it’s in lemon myrtle.  Several months ago, I bought a bottle of Australia made organic lemon myrtle body wash and I got hooked on the scent of lemon myrtle.

    A few days ago, I bought a box of lemon myrtle tea and now I am totally hooked on it, so much that I have to have a cup or two of lemon myrtle tea every day!

     

    About Lemon Myrtle

    The botanical name of lemon myrtle is backhousia citriodora. Indigenous to Queensland, it is a rainforest tree that grows to heights of up to 8 metres. Young lemon myrtles, if regularly pruned, can be used as decorative bushes and are very commonly found in Brisbane suburbs and other parts of Queensland, where they are cultivated for their lovely white flowers and delicate lemon scent. They are also grown commercially for their high citral (lemon oil) content, which is extracted by a steam distillation process. The oil is used in a variety of cleaning and other products.

    Lemon myrtle has a scent very, very similar to Lemongrass and its cousin, Citronella.   Lemon myrtle is considered to have a ‘cleaner, sweeter and stronger’ aroma than comparable sources of citral–lemongrass.

    Lemon Myrtle flowers, Byron Bay, NSW

    Health Benefits of Lemon Myrtle Tea

    The key ingredient in lemon myrtle is the high concentration of citral in its leaves. Citral comprises 90-98% of the essential oils in lemon myrtle, as opposed to less than 10% in lemons and limes. Some of the characteristics of citral include:

    Citral is an anti-fungal agent.

    Citral is non-acidic

    Citral is high in anti-oxidants.

    The list of reputed health benefits of lemon myrtle tea is voluminous. Just some of the disorders it is said to be able to relieve include muscle cramps and spasms, rheumatism, headaches and fevers. Scientific studies have indicated that citral can inhibit the growth of the pathogen which is one of the causes of many gastro-duodenal diseases, including ulcers. It is also said to aid in the reduction of cellulite and the anti-oxidants in citral help boost the immune system. A pleasant tasting tea, it is used alone or in combination with green tea as a caffeine free replacement for coffee and black tea.

    Uses

    Due to the high concentration of citral found in lemon myrtle oil, lemon myrtle has a wide variety of applications in medicine. According to the “Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine,” lemon myrtle can help treat sinus infections, bronchitis, fatigue, depression, common cold, influenza, raw throat, indigestion and irritable gastrointestinal disorders, allergies, dental infections, itching, athletes foot, acne and headaches.

    The leaves and flowers of lemon myrtle are used in tea blends and beverages, biscuits, breads, confectionery, pasta, syrups, liqueurs, flavored oils, packaged fish (salmon), and dipping and simmer sauces.

    The leaf paste, essential oil, and hydrosols have antibacterial and antifungal activity against Staphylococcus aureus , Escherichia coli , Pseudomonas aeruginosa , Candida albicans , methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA), Aspergillus niger , Klebsiella pneumonia , and Propionibacterium acnes .

    Clinical research, however, does not support the use of lemon myrtle to treat the above medical conditions. You should, therefore, speak with a medical professional before using lemon myrtle as a health supplement to treat a specific medical condition.

     

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  • 13Aug

    Avocado is the darling in the kitchen of our house. It is the most preferred fruit in our house. Whenever there are unripened avocados in the kitchen, our girls will keep checking on them – several times in a day, hoping to see a change in color and softness in the avocados.   Finding a ripe avocado at the supermarket is hit or miss, but you can ripen them yourself at home, easily, with ripe bananas and apples!

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    Ripe bananas and apples release a lot of ethylene, the hormone that triggers ripening in mature fruit, so placing one in a closed paper bag with your under-ripe avocados will speed up the process.  I usually just place the hard avocados in the same fruit basket with the bananas, apples and oranges (in room temperature) and they will usually soften in 2-3 days.

    Our girls love ripe avocados on toast – either thinly sliced or mashed into a smooth paste. I love eating ripe avocados as it is or make them into avocado smoothie with low fat milk.  My next project is to make avocado guacamole.

    peel avocado and mash guacamole

    Also known as an alligator pear or butter fruit, the versatile avocado is the only fruit that provides a substantial amount of healthy monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA). Avocados are a naturally nutrient-dense food and contain nearly 20 vitamins and minerals.

    So what, exactly, makes this pear-shaped berry (yes, that’s right!) such a super food?

    Avocados are a good source of B vitamins, which help you fight off disease and infection. They also give you vitamins C and E, plus natural plant chemicals that may help prevent cancer.

    Avocados are low in sugar. And they contain fiber, which helps you feel full longer. In one study, people who added a fresh avocado half to their lunch were less interested in eating during the next three hours.

    Avocados are a good source of pantothenic acid (vitamin B5), vitamin K and fiber, which aids digestion and helps maintain regularity. Additionally, avocados are high in magnesium, phosphorus, iron and potassium, containing even more potassium per gram than bananas, according to the New York University Langone Medical Center.

    Fresh avocados contain lycopene and beta-carotene, which are important carotenoid antioxidants. The highest concentration of these antioxidants is located in the dark green flesh closest to the peel, according to the California Avocado Commission. Antioxidants help reduce cell damage.

    The Skinny on the Fat and Calories

    Avocados are high in fat. But it’s monounsaturated fat, which is a “good” fat that helps lower bad cholesterol, as long as you eat them in moderation.

    Health Benefits of Avocados

    Heart

    Avocados are high in mono- and polyunsaturated fats, which may help reduce blood cholesterol levels and decrease risk for heart disease.

    High levels of the amino acid homocysteine are associated with a higher risk of heart disease, but the vitamin B6 and the folic acid found in avocados can help regulate it.

    A seven-year study published in 2013 in Nutrition Journal found that avocados were associated with a reduced risk of metabolic syndrome, which refers to a group of symptoms shown to increase the risk of stroke, coronary artery disease and diabetes.

    Anti-inflammatory agent

    Avocados have great anti-inflammatory properties, phytosterols, carotenoid antioxidants, omega 3 fatty acids and polyhydroxolated fatty alcohols.  They can help relieve rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis.

    Lowering cholesterol

    Avocados may help not only lower bad cholesterol, they may also increase levels of good cholesterol. A 1996 study in the journal Archives of Medical Research found that patients with mild hypercholesterolemia (high cholesterol) who incorporated avocados into their diet for one week had a 22 percent decrease in bad cholesterol and triglycerides and an 11 percent increase in good cholesterol. Avocados also improved cholesterol for people who already had good lipid levels, but were shown to be especially effective in those with mild cholesterol problems. Avocados can help in this way because of their high amount of the beta-sitosterol compound, which is associated with lowering cholesterol.

    Regulating blood sugar

    According to Reader’s Digest, avocados’ high levels of monounsaturated fats can help stop insulin resistance, which helps to regulate blood sugar levels. Furthermore, the soluble fiber in avocados can help keep blood sugar levels steady. In comparison to other fruits, the low carb and sugar levels in avocados also help maintain blood sugar.

    Regulating blood pressure

    Avocados’ high levels of potassium can help keep blood pressure under control. The American Heart Association reported that potassium helps regulate the effects of salt, which can increase your blood pressure.

    Vision

    According to Avocado Central, the website of the Hass Avocado Board, avocados are an excellent source of the carotenoid lutein, which reduces the risk of macular degeneration and cataracts.

    Immune system

    Glutathione is a powerful antioxidant associated with immune system health. A 2000 report in the journal Proceedings of the Nutrition Society stated, “The immune system works best if the lymphoid cells have a delicately balanced intermediate level of glutathione.” Avocados are a good source of this substance, according to American National University.

    Pregnancy and preventing birth defects

    According to the California Avocado Commission, avocados are a great choice for moms-to-be. Avocados contain a significant amount of folic acid, which is essential to preventing birth defects like spina bifida and neural tube defects.

    Cancer

    Avocados have been shown to reduce the risk of certain cancers, including cancers of the mouth, skin and prostate. This is due to the unusual mix of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory characteristics. Furthermore, a 2007 study in the journal Seminars in Cancer Biology found that the phytochemicals in avocados encourage cancer cells to stop growing and die.

    Digestion

    The fiber in avocados helps keep digestion on track, encouraging regular bowel movements, healthy intestines and a healthy weight, according to the Mayo Clinic.

    Skin

    The vitamin C and vitamin E in avocados help keep skin nourished and glowing, according to the Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University. Avocado and B12 cream may be useful in treating psoriasis, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center.

    Health risks

    As with many other fruits, avocados’ primary risks are related to overconsumption. Consuming too many avocados may lead to weight gain because of the fat content, even though it is an unsaturated fat. It can also lead to nutritional deficiencies, since fat is digested slower and leaves you feeling fuller longer than  other nutrients.

    Additionally, avocado allergies, while uncommon, do exist. They are typically associated with latex allergies, according to the Mayo Clinic. Symptoms include a stuffy nose, wheezing, coughing and edema. If you experience any of these symptoms after eating an avocado, try cutting the fruit out of your diet to see if the symptoms disappear. If they persist or are severe, consult a doctor.

     

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  • 13Aug

    Vitamins in tea aren’t the flashiest topic for budding nutritional researchers. Magazine articles and news reports ramble on about L-theanine levels and ECGC content in a cup of tea, but they seldom ever mention the vitamin content of everyone’s favorite hot beverage. This is a shame because each variety of tea actually offers a completely different vitamin concentration. Getting some extra vitamins from a beloved tea blend is never a bad thing.

     

    Vitamins in Green and Black Tea

    Riboflavin is one of the most common vitamins. Bakeries are required to put extra amounts in flour. Nevertheless, it’s likely that many people still don’t get enough of this necessary vitamin. It plays a major role in regulating metabolism, and riboflavin is necessary for countless cellular processes. That’s why it’s good news that green tea can give you an extra boost in the riboflavin department. Those who are looking for another major vitamin B constitute, folate, might want to pay close attention to black tea. Each cup can add around 12 mcg of folic acid to your diet.

    Manganese is a mineral that the popular health media seems to forget about, but that doesn’t make it any less important. Both black and green tea is a respectable source of manganese. This is especially good news when you consider the fact that it’s hard to get enough of this mineral from the foods that you eat.

    Black tea is a better source of potassium than once thought. If you’re drinking a quality blend of black tea, then you’ll get around 88 mg for every full serving that you drink. Potassium can help lower your risk of heart attack and stroke. It may play a role in regulating blood pressure as well. This is good news for the countless tea drinkers who also suffer from cardiovascular problems.

    A Word About Ashitaba

    Ashitaba is the highest grade of Japanese ceremonial tea according to writers from Urbol, which is perhaps the only Western boutique that sells this highly sought-after blend. The kanji used to spell the word in Japanese can be translated as tomorrow’s leaf. If a leaf from the Ashitaba plant is harvested at dawn, then a new sprout generally grows in overnight. Most farmers notice new growths by the next morning. This regenerative property has long produced numerous stories about how the tea can regenerate diseased individuals.

    Many of these stories have now turned out to be quite true. Many treatments from Japanese folk medicine are enjoying support from the scientific community today. A 20th century botanist by the name of Koizumi Gen’ichi preformed a great deal of research on the Ashitaba plant. Koizumi-sensei was fascinated by the long lifespan enjoyed by residents of the islands where this crop is cultivated. He believed there was a connection between the health of these farmers and the high levels of vitamin B12 found in cups of tea brewed from the plant’s leaves.

    When he measured the pH level of the tea, he found that micronutrients called chalconoids were abundant in the finished beverage. His findings enjoyed so much support that the term koidzumi is sometimes used to describe cultivars of the plant in his honor. Tea made from this plant features some of the highest vitamin levels of any type of tea.

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    Pine Needle Tea’s Unique Benefits and Flavor

    Some people might not consider pine needle tea to be a legitimate hot beverage. It’s not technically tea, but it’s still an infusion of plant material into hot water. The high concentrations of vitamin C in a finished cup deserve a second look anyway.

    Pine Needle Tea

     

    Most nutritional experts talk about citrus fruit as a source of vitamin C, though there are many other sources including vegetables like potatoes. The vast majority of people never seem to get enough in their diet. A single cup of pine needle tea has more vitamin C than even the most active people need. While some tea drinkers with allergies will sometimes recommend it as a decongestant, pine needle tea is perfect for those with an illness based on the vitamin C content alone since it features five times more of this necessary immune-boosting vitamin than a ripe lemon does. A fresh cup also includes a significant amount of vitamin A, which means that it’s best not to overindulge on this unique beverage.

     

    Tea Shouldn’t be Your Only Source

    No one is suggesting that tea should be your only source of vitamins. You should be eating a balanced diet that gives you a proper mix of vitamins and minerals every day. Getting extra micronutrients from your tea is an added bonus that shouldn’t be ignored, however, so you should feel free to enjoy that extra cup of an exotic new blend while still feeling good about it.

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  • 06Aug

    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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  • 04Aug

    Portobello mushrooms are another staple item in our refrigerator.  Everyone in our family loves fresh portobello mushrooms. We can eat them everyday, cooked in different styles and never get fed-up of them.  Our girls love them grilled in the oven with freshly chopped garlic, ground black pepper and olive oil.  We also love portobello soup and adding these mushrooms into our omelette, pasta and as toppings on pizza.

     

    Add portobellos to your diet for a change of pace.

     

    Aside from being delicious, portobello mushrooms are a nutritional powerhouse and low in calories. Portobello mushrooms are a great substitute for meat.  They provide antioxidants which may protect our body’s cells from damage caused by free radicals.

    Portobello Fun Facts

    The macronutrients consist of fat, carbohydrates and protein. Portobellos have a balance of protein and carbs, and they are low in fat. A 100-gram grilled serving contains just over 3 grams of protein, about 4 1/2 grams of carbs and just over a 1/2 gram of total fat. The recommended intake of protein is 46 grams a day for women and 56 grams a day for men. Both men and women should strive for at least 130 grams of carbs daily. Using a portobello as a side dish with a source of animal protein like lean beef or a chicken breast will boost the protein content. Putting a portobello in a bun to make a sandwich boosts the carb content.

    Portobello mushrooms are a good source of fiber, with 11 percent of the daily value, and they contain a lot of water, making them low in energy density. Foods that are low in energy density, which means they don’t contain many calories per gram, can help you lose weight or maintain a healthy weight. You can eat a large volume of these foods without consuming very many calories. For example, a whole cup of sliced, grilled portobello mushrooms has only 35 calories.

    Portobello Mushroom Healthy Recipes

     

    Low in saturated fat and cholesterol and high in fiber, Portobellos are an excellent source of copper, which your body needs to produce red blood cells and carry oxygen through your body. They also offer three important B-complex vitamins: riboflavin for maintaining healthy red blood cells; niacin for supple skin and properly functioning digestive and nervous systems; and pantothenic acid, which aids in the release of energy from the fat, protein, and carbohydrates in the food you eat.   Portobellos are also an excellent source of copper.

    Just one cup of mushrooms has the potential to release at least 15 different vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients. A single Portobello contains more potassium than a banana – 630 mg per serving – which helps maintain normal heart rhythm and muscle and nerve function, as well as a balance between your fluid and minerals. This in turn helps control blood pressure.

    Use as Part of a Healthy Diet

    Adding mushrooms to your diet can help increase your fiber intake and lower your risk for heart disease, high cholesterol and digestive conditions, such as constipation and hemorrhoids. Grill portobello mushroom caps and eat them like hamburgers; chop them up and use them to replace part of the meat in meat sauces; or add them to pizzas, soups or fajitas.

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About Me

I am a WFHM with 3 beautiful girls - Alycia, Sherilyn and Cassandra. I quit the job that I love to stay home with my 3 angels as that's what I've always wanted to do. I am a health freak, fitness freak and a clean freak too. I love to eat and live healthily and I want my kids and hubby to do the same too. Apart from being obsessed with good health, I am obsessed with fashion! I own an online store that sells ladies and kids clothing. Check out my online store at Old & New Stuff For Sale

I always believe that your health is your wealth and if you have good health, that's the best gift you can ever ask for from God.

Do check out my other blogs Health Freak Mommy and Health Freak Mommy’s Journal too!

I have been writing product reviews, food reviews / restaurant reviews and product advertorials since 2007. Please email Shireen at shireenyong@gmail.com to inquire if you are interested to place an advertorial or review in this blog.

Thank you!

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