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Sunday, February 1, 2015

Information & Health Benefits of Passion Fruit

This fruit is native to subtropical wild regions of South America, probably originated in Paraguay. Its plant is an avid climber (a type of vine) which grows on anything (for support) and is a shallow-rooted vine that climbs by means of tendrils.

The passiflora plant requires well-drained fertile soil and good moisture to flourish, especially with abundant sunlight. It grows quickly and reaches about 15-20 feet per annum once matured. Its average life span is about 5-7 years. Although there are many varieties in this fruit, but ... only two main types i.e. the purple and yellow colored varieties are widely cultivated. The passion fruit features round to oval shape, about 4 to 8 centimeters in diameter. It has a tough outer shell (rind) and could weigh between  35-50 gm per fruit, averagely. .

Inside this fruit, it contains membranous sacs that are light orange in color, comprising of small, hard, dark-brown or black, pitted seeds. The yellow variety is generally larger than the purple type. But, the pulp of the purple fruit is said to be less acidic and also, richer in aroma and flavor, including a higher proportion of juicy pulp.

Health benefits
  • A rich source of antioxidants, minerals, vitamins and fiber (100 gm fruit contains about 97 calories);

  • A good source of dietary fiber (100 gm fruit pulp contains 10.4 gm, or 27% of fiber. This is good in helping to remove cholesterol from the body. Otherwise, insoluble fiber can act as a bulk laxative that helps to protect the colon mucous membrane, especially from any cancer-causing chemicals that are derived from a person's diet;

  • It is good in Vitamin C (about 30 mg per 100 gm). Thus, regular consumption of this fruit, which is rich in vitamin C, will help the body to develop better resistance against flu-like infectious agents (virus) and harmful free radicals;

  • It contains a good level of Vitamin A (about 1274 IU per 100 gm) and flavonoid antioxidants, such as β-carotene and cryptoxanthin-β. The later compounds are known to have strong antioxidant properties, which are beneficial for good eye-sight, lung and oral cavity cancers.

  • It is also rich in potassium (100 gm fruit pulp = about 348 mg of potassium). Potassium is an important component of cells and body fluids that also helps to regulate heart rate and blood pressure;

  • Its granadilla is a good source of minerals, namely; iron, copper, magnesium and phosphorus.

    Today, the pulps of passion fruit are widely processed to make delicious fruity juices, including a whole range of other uses namely; fruit jam, yoghurt, toppings for cakes and also in the manufacturing of soap, shampoo, aromatic fragrance agent and even body lotion etc.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

What is Cardamon ?

Cardamom is a peppery & citrus spice ... that is commonly used in Indian cuisine and is also a native to the evergreen forests of India. It has also made its way into Ayurvedic medicine as a treatment for mouth ulcers, digestive problems, and even depression etc. Even though it is a simple spice ... yet, it can offer such a wide range of benefits; namely :


a) to aid digestion ... it is said to be associated with the ginger .. and can be used in much the same way, to counteract digestive problems, such as : nausea, acidity, bloating, gas, heartburn, loss of appetite, constipation etc.

b) for detoxification ... helps the body to eliminate waste through the kidneys.

c) to resolve halitosis ...just by chewing it after meals, or whenever ... it will help to freshen one's breath.

d) act as a diuretic ... helps to clean out the urinary tract, bladder & kidneys, removing waste, salt, excess water, toxins and combating infections, too.

e) to calm depression ... although this claim was never been proven by formal studies, however ... it has been widely use in ayurvedic medicine (cardamon tea) and was claimed to be a useful aid in combating depression.

f) for other oral health purposes ... besides resolving bad breath, it has also worked well in treating mouth ulcers, including infections of the mouth & throat.

g) treatment of cold and flu ... helps to prevent and relieve cold & flu, including problems of bronchitis and coughs.

h) in cancer treatment ... some studies have shown positive results on animals that cardamom does protects against, inhibits growth and even kills certain types of cancer cells.

i) in controlling blood pressure ... because of its diuretic property and rich fibre content, cardamom can significantly lower blood pressure.

j) in preventing blood clots ... works by preventing platelet aggregation and the sticking to the artery walls.

k) as an antioxidant ... cardamon contains a vast range of vitamins, phytonutrients and essential oils. Consequently, it is useful as an antioxidant, in removing free radicals and preventing cellular aging too.

i) as a pathogens ... the complex quality of its essential oils, is useful in inhibiting the growth of viruses, bacteria, fungus and mold.

j) as an anti-inflammatory ... it works well to limit pain and swelling, especially in mucus membranes, the mouth and throat.

k) to resolve hiccups ... as an anti-spasmodic, it helps to get rid of hiccups, including other involuntary muscle spasms, such as stomach and intestinal cramps.

l) as a aphrodisiac ... have been commonly used in traditional medicine, as a great aid to resolve erectile dysfunction and impotence.

Because of its abundant properties and contents, cardamon have been commercially produced and fetching a high price in the world markets today. Besides, been used as a spice and medicinal value ... today, we find cardamon has also been used in bread and other confectionary items, chocolates bars, cookies, body oil, soap, shampoo and tea too.


Thursday, October 9, 2014

Health benefits of Peppermint !!!

Today, we can find many families, planting this herbal plant in their backyard. In fact, it grew easily and fast, without the aid of much fertilizers. At home, I used to boil a few leaves occasionally and consumed it directly as a normal drink. I like the minty aroma and its cooling effect. At other times, I will use it to garnish some of my cocktail drinks, including our home-made ice cream.

For convenience purposes, peppermint oil has been extracted and sold widely. Because of its distinctive contents of menthol, menthone and menthyl esters,many users found it useful for :
a) resolving indigestion and respiratory problems;
b) relieving headache, nausea, fever, stomach and bowel spasms;
c) providing for pain relief.

We can also find peppermint, been added in the manufacturing of soap, shampoo, cigarettes, toothpaste, chewing gum, tea and ice cream. It is rather unusual to find anyone, being allergic to its minty scent. In fact, its oil can also provide a good aromatic therapy, when a person felt stressed and fatigue during a tough day. Each bottle of peppermint oil, will carry numerous minerals and nutrients, including manganese, iron, magnesium, calcium, folate, potassium and copper. Additionally, it also contains omega-3 fatty acids, Vitamin A, C and B2.

Health benefits

a) Indigestion
Helpful in aiding digestion. Just a few drops of the oil in a glass of water after each meal will assist to remove any excess gas. Incidentally, this can become a good tonic for improving appetite.

b) Dental care
It contains good antiseptic properties, which is useful in eliminating bad breath, including protecting teeth and gum from infections. Many brands of toothpaste are now added with peppermint because of the later purposes.

c) Nail Care
Its anti-fungal properties is considered effective in preventing and treating of fungal nail infection.

d) Headache
Effective to resolve nausea, motion sickness and headaches, including migraines. To apply, just coat a thin layer directly on the forehead, when necessary.

e) Stress
Beneficial in providing relief from stress, anxiety, restlessness and mental exhaustion. With its soothing effect, one can find calmness from its refreshing nature.

f) Antispasmodic
Works reasonably effective for gastroscopy and colonoscopy. Known to provide respite from dyspepsia and colon spasms, for the young and old.

g) Urinary tract infection
During the olden days, it has been traditionally used to treat urinary tract infections (UTI), because of its antibacterial qualities. It is suggested that regular applications can assist to reduce the effect and frequency of such infections.

h) Respiratory problems
The presence of menthol is helpful in clearing the respiratory tract. It is a good expectorant to provide instantaneous (although temporary) relief, such as nasal congestion, sinusitis, asthma, bronchitis, cold and cough. Peppermint rubs and balms can now be easily purchased at most convenient stores too. However, the vapor (drop a few drops into a basin, or a pail of warm water) of this oil can also be inhaled ---> to provide relief to our lungs after a bad flu, or prolonged cough.
i) Pain relief
Peppermint oil possesses calcium antagonism and this can help to remove pain from affected areas. Its cooling sensation has also been used to help reducing fever. For other types of pain, such as injury and external wound, such oil can also be applied to reduce swelling and relieve pain.
j) Immune system
With its contents of camphor, menthol and carvacrol, these will help to strengthen a person’s immunity to various diseases. Peppermint oil is known to have powerful antiviral, antibacterial and antifungal effects, which is why it has also been used to resist certain deadly bacterial strains, such as E. coli, salmonella and staph infections.

Peppermint oil has also been used as an anti-cancer agent.  This plant contains a chemical compound called perrilyl alcohol (also found naturally in some plants) and claimed to be effective in deterring the growth of certain cancers and also destroys cancer cells without effecting healthy cells.

k) Blood circulation
It has the stimulating effects to increase blood circulation. Studies have shown that once it is applied, such oil vapor will instantly increase pulse rates and blood circulation. With such improvement in blood circulation, all organs will be more oxygenated and increased in metabolism, especially the brain. Subsequently, they are highly sought nowadays, for protection against neurally degenerative diseases, such as like Alzheimer’s and dementia.

l) Hair care
Claimed to be effective in resolving dandruff and removing lices too. With its antiseptic, regenerative and stimulating effects, many users have found it useful in relieving the scalp from any irritation too. Some users has claimed that it can stimulate hair growth for those suffering from baldness, besides providing healthier hair, with shiny and fresher look. That's the reason why such oil are widely found in many hair products, including solutions for baldness, dandruff and other hair related conditions. 
m) Skin care
The menthol in peppermint oil can nourish dull skin and improves the texture of oily, or greasy skin. Some users also claimed it to be a good insect repellent.

Some health providers are known to use such oil, in their treatment of cancer and tuberculosis too, although there has not been any medical breakthrough. However, for some cases of herpes infections, such oil has proven to be effective in reducing recurring outbreaks, in view of its antiviral agent. However, as a matter of stern instruction, always consult a doctor, or physician before deciding your own choice of treatment.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Health benefits of Lotus Seeds

Lotus seeds is known to contain a good level of protein, including calcium, iron, potassium, thiamine, phosphorus and manganese. They are also low in saturated fat, sodium and cholesterol. Such a simple seed that can provide so much benefits is unimaginable. Besides, it is cheap too. I used to consume them 'raw' and they are indeed 'yummy'. Of course, you must know how to retrieve the actual content (its embryo) from its seeds. Otherwise, it could result in some bitterness in taste.

Since early days, Chinese physicians have long relied upon them, to benefit the heart, and to tone the spleen & kidneys' functions. It also acted as an effective antioxidant to combat many types of illnesses. Later, it was discovered that they also contain an anti-aging enzyme, known as L-isoaspartyl methyltransferase, which is said to help repairing damaged proteins, according to the Kushi Institute. Because of this claim, many cosmetic companies are now finding ways to include the seeds in their anti-aging blends, too. Incidentally, this seed is also claimed to possess the ability to calm one's mind; resolve insomnia and to stop chronic diarrhea.

Known to originate in India. It was later brought to China, some 2,000 years ago by the early merchants and today, the seed itself, is considered a vegetable in several eastern cultures, besides using them alongside as part of herbal formulas. As time goes, many eastern countries even started to add their roots, stems and leaves as part of their daily dishes, including soup and desserts. Because of worldly demand, the seeds are harvested and packed in sealed packaging. Today, they are quite easily available from the shelves at the markets.

I remembered how we used to ground such seeds into lotus paste at home, when it comes to the arrival of Mooncake Festival. When added with red bean, their combination will provide fantastic mooncakes. Regular consumption of boiled lotus seed (added with rock sugar) will also be beneficial
for the young and old, especially to invigorate their health constitution and alertness.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

If you have chest pain ... do not panic and press the panic button instantly.

Look at this chart and identify the problematic spot(s).


Friday, July 11, 2014

Health Benefits of Celery Juices

I love to munch, the stalks of celery plant from time to time. Not much people would favor its taste, for fear of its scent affecting one's breath. The best way to enjoy its wide range of health benefits is to extract its juices and drink instantly. Best, is to add alongside with other range of fruits too.

Since the good old days, most people would drink celery juices to fight off cancerous growth of tumors (a); to lower blood pressure (b) and cholesterol levels (c); and also to improve digestion and calm the nervous system. It is said to have high levels of Vitamins A & B, including a good source of important minerals, as well as folic acid, amino acids and essential oils.
(a) Celery juice is generally accepted for prevention of cancer, as it contains effective cancer-fighting compounds. Such compounds are believed to prevent the proliferation of cancer cells, namely; coumarin (which stops free-radicals from destroying cells and is best to guard against stomach and colon cancers).
(b) Celery juice was initially discovered and used by the early Chinese, who recognized that phtalides in celery,  helped to relax those muscles surrounding the arteries, and also dilate the vessels. This compound permits the smooth flowing of blood. Phtalide is also believed to reduce stress and thus, will provide relief for one's blood pressures.
(c) Celery juice can reduce one's cholesterol levels (especially LDL), because of the presence of the butyl phthalide chemical. It is said that, by drinking the juice from 2 stalks a day, should keep your doctor away.
This juice also increases the secretion of bile acid and thus, helping greatly to decrease one's cholesterol levels. Regular intake will also further improve one's digestion and bowel movement consistency. It is equally good as a natural hydrating beverage and its diuretic ability will help to flush waste (toxic and prevention of stones growth) from the body. Most elderly people does find big relief in their constipation problems after constant drinking of celery juices. They used it as a natural laxative which is soothing to their digestive system.
Other benefits of celery juice also include :
1) calming the nervous system and enable the body to relax;
2) helping to promote sleep;
3) provision of relief for joint aches and arthritis;

Generally, celery juice provides a good source of potassium, magnesium, calcium, iron, and sodium. These are good for our muscles, tendons and tissues development too. Often, when preparing to extract such juice, I would also add a range of other supporting fruits namely; red carrot, orange, green apple & tomato. Just a piece of each, will provide easily 2 glasses of a perfect drink. Some people with diabetes will add 1/2 of a whole bitter gourd. And to cool one's body temperature (old tradition), some might also add in 1/2 of a cucumber. However, the choices of additional fruits or vegetables, depend on individuals.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Miracle fruit, or otherwise known as Synsepalum Dulcificum

I have this plant at home, which has amused many of my friends. Initially, no one believed in its ability to change anything that is sour in taste, into total sweetness. Until the person concerned have sampled it .. they will repeatedly asked ---> Why & How come !

However, do not be fooled by the fruit. It only changes the taste of your taste buds, at the time of consumption. The original taste of the said item, that reaches your stomach, will never change. Claimed to be good and safe for those, with diabetic problem. Never heard of any side effect to date.

According to Wikipedia, this fruit is also known as Synsepalum Dulcificum. It is a plant with a berry that, when eaten, causes sour foods (such as lemons and limes) subsequently consumed to taste sweet. This effect is due to miraculin, which is used commercially as a sugar substitute. Common names for this species and its berry include miracle fruit, miracle berry, miraculous berry, sweet berry.

The berry itself has a low sugar content and a mildly sweet tang. It contains a glycoprotein molecule, with some trailing carbohydrate chains, called miraculin. When the fleshy part of the fruit is eaten, this molecule binds to the tongue's taste buds, causing sour foods to taste sweet. At neutral pH, miraculin binds and blocks the receptors, but at low pH (resulting from ingestion of sour foods) miraculin binds protons and becomes able to activate the sweet receptors, resulting in the perception of sweet taste. This effect lasts until the protein is washed away by saliva (up to about 60 minutes).