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Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Benefits of Chlorophyll

[Extracted from 'Vitamins & health supplements guide']




Chlorophyll is the green pigment which is responsible for the green colour in most plants. Chlorophyll absorbs most in the red and blue portions of the electromagnetic spectrum, thus its intense green color. Chlorophyll is capable of channelling the energy of sunlight into chemical energy through the process of photosynthesis.

In photosynthesis, the energy absorbed by chlorophyll transforms carbon dioxide and water into carbohydrates and oxygen. Chlorophyll is a large molecule composed mostly of carbon and hydrogen. At the center of the molecule is a single atom of magnesium surrounded by a nitrogen-containing group of atoms called a porphyrin ring. The molecular structure of the chlorophylls is similar to that of the heme portion of hemoglobi.

Chlorophyll absorbs light in the red and blue-violet portions of the visible spectrum; the green portion is not absorbed and, reflected, gives chlorophyll its characteristic color. Chlorophyllin is a semi-synthetic mixture of water-soluble sodium copper salts derived from chlorophyll. Chlorophyllin is water-soluble.

There are several kinds of chlorophyll, the most important being chlorophyll a which makes up about 75 percent of the chlorophyll in green plants. It is also found in cyanobacteria (formerly known as blue-green algae) and in more complex photosynthetic cells.

Chlorophyll (a) is the pigment that participates directly in the light requiring reactions of photosynthesis. Chlorophyll (b) occurs only in "green algae" and in the plants. Higher plants and green algae, such as chlorella contain chlorophyll (a) and chlorophyll (b) in the approximate ratio of 3:1. The difference between the two chlorophylls is that a methyl side-chain in chlorophyll a is replaced by a formyl group in chlorophyll (b). Chlorophyll (b) is an accessory pigment present in plants and other complex photosynthetic cells. It absorbs light energy of a different wavelength and transfers it to chlorophyll (a) for ultimate conversion to chemical energy. It is an accessory pigment and acts indirectly in photosynthesis by transferring the light it absorbs to chlorophyll (a).


Photosynthesis
Photosynthesis is a complex process used by many plants and bacteria to build carbohydrates from carbon dioxide and water, using energy derived from light. Photosynthesis is the process of converting light energy to chemical energy and storing it in the bonds of sugar. Photosynthesis is the key initial step in the growth of biomass. In the process oxygen and water are released. Increased levels of carbon dioxide can increase net photosynthesis in some plants. Plants create a very important reservoir for carbon dioxide. From energy produced by sunlight, the leaves combine carbon dioxide from the air and water from the soil to produce carbohydrates. Oxygen is released in the process. Carbohydrates plus fats and proteins are the plant foods necessary for growth and respiration of the tree.

Plants are the only photosynthetic organisms to have leaves (and not all plants have leaves). A leaf may be viewed as a solar collector crammed full of photosynthetic cells. Plants capture light using the pigment chlorophyll, which gives them their green color. This is contained in organelles (compartments within the cells) called chloroplasts. Chlorophyll or closely-related pigments (substances that color the plant) are essential to the photosynthetic process. The cells in the interior tissues of a leaf, called the mesophyll, contain about half a million chloroplasts for every square millimetre of leaf. The surface of the leaf is uniformly coated with a water-resistant, waxy cuticle, that protects the leaf from excessive absorption of light and evaporation of water. The transparent, colourless epidermis layer allows light to pass through to the palisade mesophyll cells where most of the photosynthesis takes place.

The chlorophyll molecule is the site of "photosynthesis", the process by which the energy of the sun is converted firstly into the energy of sugars and other carbohydrates. These in turn supply virtually all of the energy needed by the plant and animal world. Chlorophyll is essential in the transformation of light energy to chemical energy in photosynthesis. Plants use chlorophyll to convert the energy of sunlight to food in the process known as photosynthesis.


Chlorophyll health benefits
Chlorophyll has anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and wound-healing properties. Chlorophyll and chlorophyllin are able to form tight molecular complexes with certain chemicals known or suspected to cause cancer, including polyaromatic hydrocarbons found in tobacco smoke. Chlorophyll is a good source of antioxidant nutrients. Antioxidant nutrients such as vitamins A, C and E help to neutralise harmful molecules (free radicals) in the body that can cause damage to healthy cells. Chlorophyll is an efficient deliverer of magnesium and helps the blood carry oxygen to the cells and tissue. Chlorophyll assists in the chelation of heavy metals. Chlorophyll has been studied for its potential in stimulating tissue growth and in stimulating red blood cells in connection with oxygen supply. Chlorophyll also removes carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide, and has been found to reduce fecal, urinary, and body odor. Chlorophyll may reduce the binding of carcinogens to DNA in the liver and other organs. Chlorophyll may be beneficial in the treatment of calcium oxalate stone disease and that they may have some anti-atherogenic activity. It also breaks down calcium-oxalate stones, which are created by the body to neutralize acid, for elimination. Calcium oxalate stones are better known as kidney stones. Chlorophyll and chlorophyllin may have some antimutagenic and anticarcinogenic potential, may help protect against some toxins, and may ameliorate some drug side effects. Chlorophyll has been used traditionally to improve bad breath, as well as to reduce the odors of urine, feces, and infected wounds.

Flesh-eating fish give pedicures

[Extracted from Telegraph.co.uk]




Owners of Yvonne Hair and Nails in Alexandria, a suburb of Washington DC, estimate 5,000 customers have so far tried the unorthodox treatment, in which customers immerse their feet in warm water filled with tiny, voracious carp.

The toothless fish, termed garra rufa but known as “doctor fish”, nibble away at dead skin while leaving healthy flesh untouched, providing what advocates say is a natural alternative to potentially unsanitary razors, clippers or pumice stones.

John Ho, who owns the salon with wife Yvonne, said he was initially sceptical about offering the technique, which is popular in spas in Turkey, where the fish come from, as well as parts of Japan, China, Singapore and Malaysia.

”I know people were a little intimidated at first,” he told the Associated Press. “But I just said, 'Let's give it a shot.' “

But customers flocked to try the treatment and as word spread the salon's Dr Fish Massage was featured on local radio and Tyra Banks' television talk show.

Tracy Roberts, 33, described it as “the best pedicure I ever had” and said it marked “the first time somebody got rid of my calluses completely.”




After the fish have spent up to 30 minutes chewing away hard skin - there are about 100 to every tank - customers receive a standard pedicure.

A similar treatment was featured in an episode of Ugly Betty last year when Wilhelmina Slater, played by Vanessa Williams, had a pedicure that included soaking her feet in water full of fish.

Mr Ho, who spent 40,000 dollars setting up the pedicures, is hoping to extend the service to eventually offer full-body treatments that could treat skin conditions such as psoriasis.

For some ticklish customers, however, the sensation can almost prove too much.

”It didn't go as smoothly as planned,” writes Yvonne customer Maeghan Leigh, describing on her blog how she clutched pillows to stifle her “hysterical laughing”.

”Seriously, those little guys on your toes is the most outrageous ridiculous feeling in the world, meaning lots of “eeeeeeeeeeeeeee” squeals,” she writes. “In the end though, I would definitely go back for more because my tootsies are smoother than a baby's bottom.”

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Malaysian Durians (King of the Fruits)

There are so many varieties of such fruit in our country. Those shown below herewith, are the result of 'grafting', to cater for commercial purposes and they are grown in the Western Peninsula of Malaysia.

However, over in the Eastern Part (The Island of Borneo), there are also several types of their own. These are the original species and some are still found growing wildly in their forest. Many people preferred their taste because of their aromatic nature, when ripened. Even the flesh texture of their fruits varies.

Unfortunately, foreigners simply dislike the fruit because of its strong smell. As a result, this fruit is not permitted to be eaten within any hotel premise. Nevertheless, those who has been residing in our country for a period of time, seems to join the rush, when the fruit is in season.

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Shown herewith, a selection of durian-types, that were found at a plantation in Balik Pulau, popularly known as the durian centre of Penang .....

D11




'Number Eleven' was a very popular durian in the 70's. It has creamy yellow flesh with a pleasant taste and a subtle smell.

D604




The D604 was first cultivated by the late Mr. Teh Hew Hong of Sungai Pinang, Balik Pulau. The flesh is quite sweet, and has some 'body' to it as the seed is small.


D600



This durian originates in Sungai Pinang in Balik Pulau. The flesh has a bittersweet taste to it, with a touch of sourness.


D700



The flesh is darker than D600, like chrome yellow. Also slightly hard. Crispy, but the smell is not very strong.


Ang Sim (Red Heart)



Ang Sim is a durian with flesh which is quite soft and very sweet, and dark yellow in colour. It also has a nice aroma.


Khun Poh



This durian takes the name of the late Mr Lau Khun Poh, who first budded it. Khun Poh has beautiful orangy flesh with a slightly bitter-sweet taste and a heavy aroma.


Hor Loh (Water Gourd Durian)



The flesh of the Hor Loh is very soft, dry and quite bitter. It has a sharp smell to it. Hor Loh was first cultivated at the Brown Estate of Sungai Ara. It got its name from its appearance resembling a 'Hor Lor' pumpkin. If the durian hits the ground hard when it falls, the flesh tends to be bitter thereafter.


Ang Heh (Red Prawn Durian)



Ang Heh originates from Pondok Upeh, Balik Pulau, and has a round-shaped husk. The orange-reddish flesh is highly aromatic, very soft with a bitter-sweet taste.


Xiao Hung (Little Red Durian)



Xiao Hung, whose name means 'Little Red One' originates in Sungai Pinang, Balik Pulau. The flesh has a bittersweet taste to it, with a touch of sourness. The one that I tasted for this write-up is a bit hard. There are only one or two seeds per section, but the flesh is thick.


Yah Kang (Centipede Durian)



Yah Kang is one of my favourite durians. Although its flesh is whitish, the taste is superb, milky, like very sweet, melting chocolate. The name 'yah kang' means centipede, and accounts for the number of centipedes found at the foot of the tree, hence giving it the rather unusual name.


Bak Eu (Pork Fat Durian)



Bak Eu has a slightly acidic aroma. The flesh is whitish while the taste is quite bitter but nice.


D17



D17 is dark cream flesh. The taste is slightly dry but sweet. It is a tasty durian.


Coupling



This durian got its unusual name because it looks like two durians joined together, one big and one small. When split open, you almost thought the two halves belong to two different durians. Coupling has whitish flesh which is slightly dry but tastes good.


Ooi Kyau (Tumeric Durian)



The name Ooi Kyau (tumeric) describes the colour of the bright yellow flesh of this durian. It is very sweet and tasty.


Chaer Phoy (Green Skin Durian)



Chaer Phoy is shaped like a small canteloupe. The skin is bright green, giving it the name which means 'green skin'. Chaer Phoy has creamy white flesh which is a bit dry, not too sweet but tasty.


Ang Jin (Red Yoke Durian)



As the name suggests, Ang Jin Durian has deep orange flesh. It is very sweet and tasty.


Lin Fong Jiau



This durian is named after Lin Fong Jiau, aka Mrs Jackie Chan. I wonder whether it is indicative of the relationship of the celebrity couple.