Monthly Archives: October 2017

The Misunderstood Superfood

There is a specific type of chocolate that is beneficial. And for those of us with a super-sweet tooth, it’s not the especially appealing kind.

Dark Chocolate. That’s right. And it has to be at least 70% cacao to be any good to you inside and especially out.

We really don’t have to get into it’s origins. It’s pretty commonly known that chocolate comes from the cacao beans in the tropical regions of the world, like Africa, Madagascar, and South America. Just like coffee, it’s much more familiar to us consumers once it’s been roasted and processed much further from its natural state. But we need to understand that the less processed our chocolate, the more beneficial it is.

Right out of the cacao bean, the pulp and seeds are referred to as cacao. It doesn’t become cocoa until it’s been roasted and ground up good. So when you are in the store and you see “70% cacao” or “88% cacao”, you usually know you’re getting the real unadulterated stuff. Dark chocolate contains more cacao and therefore retains it’s naturally-occurring compounds that the media sing praises about. Trouble is, that good-for-you components, also known as flavonoids or flavonols, are naturally bitter. When you’re eating semi-sweetened or milk chocolate, the manufacturers have replaced those compounds with milk and sugar so they would taste better. Frankly, your health isn’t the first thing on their minds… your taste buds are.

This is why the term “chocolate” as a superfood is a misrepresentation. My idea of chocolate isn’t the same as someone else’s. Hell, my idea of chocolate isn’t even what is was 5 years ago! The superficial Chocolate is the dark variety. And not just any dark chocolate. In fact, even if you find the chocolate bars that say “70% cacao” right on the front of the label, you need to check the ingredients. The first ingredient listed is usually the main ingredient. If it says anything besides “bittersweet chocolate” (I’ve seen “milk” in some), it’s not going to be the real thing.

By the way, in case you are concerned about the “chocolate liquor” you often see on labels, don’t worry! It’s not referring to anything alcoholic. After the cacao nibs are roasted and hulled out of their shells, then ground into a gritty paste, this is what it’s called. The word “liquor” simply refers to its liquid state. I can’t tell you how many times I had to clear this up for people who avoid alcohol for religious and health purposes.

A Guide to Its Uses and Health Benefits

The grains were a staple diet of farmers in many parts of India. However, with the passage of time and with the introduction of other grains, Jowar lost its prime position on the dining table. But modern research and its time-tested health benefits are restoring its past glory.

These white millets can be consumed by preparing various delicious recipes. Jowar grains can be boiled and stews or soups can be prepared. The white grains can be ground into fine powder and can be used as flour for making bhakris or bread. Jowar flour is used to make sumptuous omelette and dosa which are easy to digest by both the children and elderly alike.

Health Benefits of Jowar flour:

The nutritive value of Jowar is high. It is a rich source of vitamins and minerals. These gluten-free millets are loaded with high amounts of fibre. Fibre helps keep the stomach full and aids in maintaining the proper functioning of the digestive tract. A fibre rich diet lowers the risk of obesity, stroke, etc.

Jowar flour contains high amounts of iron. Iron is essential for the body to produce energy and red blood cells. It also contains good amounts of phytochemicals, which help prevent and treat various types of cancer. Theses phytochemicals lower the risk of heart diseases too.

Anthocyanins are also present in the Jowar, which help the body prevent damage from free radicals, which are harmful and can lead to cancer, boost ageing process, heart diseases and much more. Jowar also aids in lowering the cholesterol levels.

Antioxidants and phenolic content in Jowar regulate insulin and glucose level in the body. Jowar consumption is thus helpful for those who are diabetic patients. As the jowar is gluten free, it is beneficial to those who have celiac disease. It is, in fact, a boon to people with gluten sensitivity.

Jowar is a rich source of vitamins and the health benefits of jowar flour are extensive. It is a good source of vitamins like Thiamin, Riboflavin, and Niacin.

This white millet also provides phosphorous, which is an essential nutrient required by the body for the growth and maintenance of bones. It plays an important role in triggering various enzymes and hormones. This mineral is present in Sorghum as phytate. Apart from this, it provides rich amounts of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. Jowar contains a high content of calcium as well. As the Jowar has plenty of nutrients, it is added to other cereal flour to increase the nutritive value.

The bland taste of the jowar blends with any of the cereal flour making it more nutritious.

The Forbidden Fruit

It seems that Catherine the Great craved Golden Pippin apples and had them brought to her palace in Russia. (When you’re a queen, you can order out for anything.)

Across the pond, another queen, Victoria, had a penchant for baked apples. She hired an expert nurseryman to breed a special variety for her alone, and as a result of her passion, the apple’s popularity during her reign (Victorian England mid-nineteenth century) exploded. Botanists and growers endeavored to create more varieties for both eating and, of course, that ever-popular cider, eager to name their newest species after their employers, usually a member of the royal family. The popular fruit was sold on the streets out of baskets and carts, both in the U.S. and abroad, especially during the Depression.

Apples came to America with the first colonists, who founded Jamestown in the year 1607. Knowing they would need to start farming immediately, they brought apple seeds and cuttings to plant orchards for the settlers. Even though some of the English varieties did not acclimate well to Virginia soil, new and tastier fruit was produced not just for food but for their beloved cider, which was a mainstay of their diet (preferably fermented). The hardy trees flourished and multiplied during the 1600s, helping to feed America’s first generations. As the U.S. was shaping its new government, a folk hero named Johnny Appleseed (1774-1845) who was indeed a real person, introduced the nutritious and popular apple across New England and parts of the Midwest. An avid orchardist, he traveled throughout the countryside, distributing seeds of his favorite fruit. Wandering through the frontier, he was a true free spirit, though historians dispute his solely humanitarian interests. Apparently much of the fruit from his trees was not fit for human consumption but made great cider, and he benefited financially from the trees he planted. (Sorry, folks, but apparently old Johnny liked to imbibe daily, and his hundreds of acres produced plenty of cider, also called applejack.)

Apples were prized for their healing benefits and used for numerous ailments throughout history. And no other fruit has had such legendary impact. Think of the wicked queen offering a poisoned apple to Snow White. And the rebellious Swiss mountaineer William Tell, who was ordered to shoot an apple off the head of his son as a punishment. (Fortunately he was a good marksman and the boy walked away unscathed, the apple did not.) No one is certain that the “tree of the knowledge of good and evil” was in fact an apple tree, but the Bible tells us that Adam and Eve disobeyed God and ate the fruit, thus resulting in their banishment from Eden. (It could have been kumquats.)

The New Generation Natural Sweetener

In the past couple of decades, cases of diabetes, the numbers of people who are obese, and other obesity related lifestyle disorders, including hypertension and arthritis, have increased many times over.

The Culprit Is Excessive Consumption of Sugar

Statistics show that teenagers in United States consume over 19 teaspoons of sugar every day, whereas the permissible limit of sugar consumption, for maintaining a good health is only 6-8 teaspoons per day.

The source of this sugar is not just desserts & candies, but also soft drinks and fruit juices. Alternately, many people get a high dosage of sugar from their early morning tea or late evening coffee.

Do Natural Sugar Substitutes Hold The Answer?

A switchover to natural sweeteners is often considered to be right way to minimize sugar consumption is our diet. With natural sweeteners, one can reduce the calorie intake, and keep the blood sugar levels in check.

This is sure to work great, in particular if one is afflicted by diabetes, or if one is fighting obesity or hypertension.

Natural Sugar Substitutes: A Boon for Diabetics

Whenever an individual is afflicted with diabetes, a major challenge which needs to be taken care of is keeping the blood glucose levels, or blood sugar levels in check.

When the blood sugar levels are in check, a diabetes patient can lead a healthier and normal lifestyle, and it also allows one to prevent the development of any health related complications to a great extent.

Natural Sugar Substitutes: The Best Way to Fight Obesity

If one wants to shed the extra kilos and get a slimmer and a shapelier body, using natural sugar substitutes is the best way to achieve the same. Being a zero calorie natural sweetener, with stevia, one can easily reduce the calorie count in one’s diet.

Stevia, a natural sugar substitute replaces the empty calories present in sugar with minerals, vitamins and micro nutrients. So when one uses Stevia as a sweetener, the body stays supple.

Correspondingly, one is able to curb one’s appetite, and one is not tempted to go for sugary dishes or salty snacks. And that works very effectively in ensuring that one is able to get over obesity, lead a healthier lifestyle, and also has a slimmer and shapelier body that one always wanted.

SVITEN: The Healthier and Better Choice over Sugar

SVITEN has often been called as the new generation natural sweetener, and is completely free from artificial sweeteners. The key ingredient in SVITEN is Rebaudiside A (Reb A), the sweetest and purest extract of stevia leaf. SVITEN is an ideal sugar substitute, a natural sweetener which has zero calories, and that makes SVITEN one of the best ways for a diabetes patient to keep his blood sugar levels in check.