Archive for October, 2015

Fennel bulb nutrition facts

Saturday, October 31st, 2015

Delicate, sweet-flavored fennel bulb is one of routnely found vegetable ingredients featuring in the Mediterranean cuisine. Its succulent enlarged bulb imparts special “anise” like sweet flavor to the recipes. Bulb fennel is cultivated for its beautiful, squatted stems in many regions of the southern Europe, especially in Italy. It is also known as Florence fennel, finocchio, sweet fennel, etc.

Bulb fennel is a cool season perennial herb but grown as annual vegetable crop. Unlike seed fennel, bulb fennel is a small herb growing up to only 2 feet in height. As the plant grows, its thickened lower leaves overlap one above the other to form into a swollen, bulb-like structure just above the ground. At maturity, its bulb measures about 3-5 inches in width and about 3 inches in length.

As the plant grows, oftentimes, surrounding soil is pulled around the stem base to create a mound to obtain long blanched fronds.

 

Health benefits of fennel bulb

  • Fennel bulb is a winter season vegetable. It has some noteworthy essential oils, flavonoid anti-oxidants, minerals, and vitamins that have been known to offer health benefits. For these versatile qualities, it found use in culinary as well as in medicines since ancient times.
  • Bulb fennel is one of very low calorie vegetables. 100 g bulb carries just 31 calories. Further, it contains generous amounts of fiber (3.1 g/100 g or 8% of RDI) but very little fat, and zero cholesterol.
  • Fresh bulb gives sweet anise-like flavor. Much of this comes from high concentration of aromatic essential oils like anethole, estragole, and fenchone (fenchyl acetate) in the fennel. Anethole has been found to have anti-fungal, and anti-bacterial properties.
  • The bulbs have moderate amounts of minerals and vitamins that are essential for optimum health. Their sweet fronds indeed hold several vital vitamins such as pantothenic acid, pyridoxine (vitamin B-6), folic acid, niacin, riboflavin, and thiamin in small but healthy proportions. 100 g fresh bulbs provide 27 µg of folates. Folic acid is essential for DNA synthesis and cell division. Adequate folate levels in the diet during pregnancy can help prevent neural tube defects in the newborn babies.
  • In addition, fennel bulb contains moderate levels of water-soluble vitamin, vitamin-C. 100 g of fresh bulbs provide 12 mg or 20% of vitamin C. Vitamin C helps the body develop resistance against infectious agents and scavenge harmful, pro-inflammatory free radicals. Further, it has small amounts of vitamin A.
  • The bulbs have very good levels of heart-friendly electrolyte, potassium. 100 g provides 414 mg or 9% of daily-recommended levels. Potassium is an important electrolyte inside the cell. It helps reduce blood pressure and rate of heartbeats by countering effects of sodium. Fennel also contains small amounts of minerals such as copper, iron, calcium, magnesium, manganese, zinc, and selenium.

Radish nutrition facts

Friday, October 30th, 2015

Radish is one of the nutritious root-vegetables featured in both raw salads as well as in main recipes. This widely used root vegetable belongs to the family of Brassica.

Radishes can come in different forms; widely varying in size, color and crop duration. They can be broadly categorized into four main types depending up on the crop season; summer, fall, winter, and spring. Growers classify them by their shapes, colors, and sizes, such as black or white colored with round or elongated roots.

The sharp, pungent flavor of radish comes from “isothiocyanate” compound in them, varying from mild in case of white-icicles to very hot in red globe and other pigmented varieties. Tender top greens of radish are also eaten as leafy-greens in some parts of the world.

Daikon or Japanese radish is native to Asia. It is generally grown during winter months and features elongated smooth, icy-white roots.

Black Spanish radishes are peppery and more flavorful than their white counterparts.

Green radish is native to Northern China region. Its outer peel near the top stem end features leafy-green color which, gradually changes to white color near the lower tip. Inside, its flesh has beautiful jade green color, sweet and less pungent flavor.

Watermelon radishes have watermelon like flesh inside. They are less peppery but mildly sweet something similar to that of white-icicle varieties.

When left to grow for longer than the usual root-harvest period, all kinds of radish bear small flowers, which subsequently develop into edible fruit pods. Podding or a rat-tailedradish is a type of seed-pod variety grown exclusively for their long rat-tail like tapering edible pods. The pods feature a mixture of mild radish flavor and spiciness.

Health benefits of radish

  • Since ancient times, Chinese believe that eating radish and other brassica group vegetables such as cabbage, cailuflower and papa-cabbage would bring wholesome health.
  • They are one of very low calorie root vegetables. Fresh root provides just 16 calories per 100 g. Nonetheless; they are a very good source of anti-oxidants, electrolytes, minerals, vitamins and dietary fiber.
  • Radish, like other cruciferous and Brassica family vegetables, contains isothiocyanate anti-oxidant compound called sulforaphane. Studies suggest that sulforaphane has proven role against prostate, breast, colon and ovarian cancers by virtue of its cancer-cell growth inhibition, and cyto-toxic effects on cancer cells.
  • Fresh roots are good source of vitamin C; provide about 15 mg or 25% of DRI of vitamin C per 100 g. Vitamin-C is a powerful water soluble anti-oxidant required by the body for synthesis of collagen. It helps the body scavenge harmful free radicals, prevention from cancers, inflammation and help boost immunity.
  • In addition, they contain adequate levels of folates, vitamin B-6, riboflavin, thiamin and minerals such as iron, magnesium, copper and calcium.
  • Further, they contain many phytochemicals like indoles which are detoxifying agents and zea-xanthin, lutein and beta carotene, which are flavonoid antioxidants. Their total antioxidant strength, measured in terms of oxygen radical absorbance capacity (ORAC value), is 1736 µmol TE/100 g.

Zucchini nutrition facts

Thursday, October 29th, 2015

Health benefits of zucchini (courgette)

  • Zucchini is one of the very low calorie vegetables; provide only 17 calories per 100 g. It contains no saturated fats or cholesterol. Its peel is good source of dietary fiber that helps reduce constipation and offers some protection against colon cancers.
  • Zucchinis have anti-oxidant value (Oxygen radical absorbance capacity- ORAC) of 180 Trolex Equivalents (TE) per 100g, the value which is far below to some of the berries, and vegetables. Nonetheless, the pods are one of the common vegetables included in weight reduction and cholesterol control programs by the dieticians.
  • Furthermore, zucchinis, especially golden skin varieties, are rich in flavonoid poly-phenolic antioxidants such as carotenes, lutein and zea-xanthin. These compounds help scavenge harmful oxygen-derived free radicals and reactive oxygen species (ROS) from the body that play a role in aging and various disease processes.
  • Courgette hold relatively moderate amounts of folates; provides 24 µg or 6% of RDA per 100 g. Folates are important in cell division and DNA synthesis. When taken adequately during early pregnancy it can help prevent neural tube defects in the fetus.
  • It is a very good source of potassium, an important intra-cellular electrolyte. Potassium is a heart-friendly electrolyte and helps bring the reduction in blood pressure and heart rates by countering pressure-effects of sodium.
  • Fresh fruits are rich in vitamin A; provide about 200 IU per 100 g.
  • Fresh pods, indeed, are good source of anti-oxidant vitamin-C. Provide about 17.9 µg or 30% of daily-required levels per 100 g.
  • In addition, they contain moderate levels of B-complex group of vitamins like thiamin, pyridoxine, riboflavin and minerals like iron, manganese, phosphorus, and zinc.

Winged bean nutrition facts

Wednesday, October 28th, 2015

Winged bean is a twining annual vine. It grows with the support of trellis to about 5 meters in length. It grows best under hot, humid tropical belt supplanted with short day light, good moisture and well drained sandy loam soil. After about 45 days of planting it bears white, pink or light blue color flowers appear in spikes. Wing shaped, elongated pods appear soon about 60 days after plantation. The pods feature along its entire length frilly edges on its four sides and round to oval shape beans inside.

 

Health benefits of winged beans

  • Tender, immature pods of winged beans are one of very low calorie vegetables; 100 g beans carry just 49 calories. Mature winged bean seeds, however, has 409 calories per 100 g and compose relatively high protein content equivalent to that of soy bean protein.
  • Fresh, young bean pods are one of the finest sources of folates. 100 g beans provide 66 µg or 16.5% of daily requirement of folates. Folate, along with vitamin B-12, is one of the essential components of DNA synthesis and cell division. Adequate folate in the diet around conception and during pregnancy may help prevent neural-tube defects in the newborn baby.
  • Fresh winged beans contain quite a good amount of vitamin C. 100 g yard-long beans provide 18.3 mg or 31% of vitamin C. Vitamin C is a powerful water-soluble antioxidant and when adequately provided in the diet, it helps build immunity against infections, maintain blood vessel elasticity, and offer some protection from cancers.
  • In addition, winged beans provide adequate amounts of minerals and vitamins. Some important minerals such as iron, copper, manganese, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium are concentrated in them. Manganese is utilized inside the human body as a co-factor for the powerful anti-oxidant enzyme, superoxide dismutase.
  • Thiamin, pyridoxine (vitamin B-6), niacin, and riboflavin are some of important B-complex vitamins embedded in these beans.
  • Winged bean leaves , used as greens, are an excellent source of fiber, vitamin C, vitamin A and minerals. 100 g of fresh leaves provide 45 mg of vitamin C (75% of recommended daily value) and 8090 IU of vitamin A (270 % of RDA).
  • Wnged bean tubers are notably rich sources of starch, protein, and B-complex vitamins. 100 g of tuber provide 11.6 g of protein on comparison to 2.02 g/100 g and 1.36 g/100 g protein content in potato and cassava respectively.

Lotus root nutrition facts

Tuesday, October 27th, 2015

Lotus is herbaceous, perennial aquatic plant belonging to Nelumbonaceae family. Scientific name: Nelumbo nucifera. It is popular as renkon in the Japan. Since centuries, lotus has held high esteem in the far East regions, especially in Chinese and Japanese cultures.

Lotus root is grown as annual root vegetable crop in customized ponds. Although lotus can be raised from seeds, commercially, its rhizomes with meristems (growing points) are preferred for implantation since it takes overall less days for crop production. Rhizome formation in the plant usually coincides with the appearance of large floating leaves on the surface of water about 5-6 months after its plantation.

Its edible rhizomes grow in swampy underwater environments. Lotus root is actually a modified tuber storing energy in the form of starch. It develops into sausage-like three to five joint nodes of about 2-4 feet length. Each rhizome segment features smooth, grey-white tube measuring about 10-20 cm in length, 6-10 cm in diameter. Internally, the root has white, crunchy flesh with mild sweet, water-chestnut like flavor. Its cut sections reveal visually appealing display of symmetrically arranged air canals (holes) traversing all along the length of the root.

The lotus fruit is an enlarged receptacle akin to sunflower head wherein numerous edible seeds embedded in its head.

 

Health benefits of Lotus root

  • Lotus root is one of the moderate calorie root vegetables. 100 g root-stem provides about 74 calories. Nevertheless, it composed of several health benefiting phyto-nutrients, minerals, and vitamins.
  • Lotus rhizome is very good source dietary fiber; 100 g flesh provides 4.9 g or 13% of daily-requirement of fiber. Dietary fiber together with slow digesting complex carbohydrates in the lotus root help reduce blood cholesterol, sugar, body weight and constipation conditions.
  • Fresh lotus root is one of the excellent sources of vitamin C. 100 g root provides 44 mg or 73% of daily-recommended values. Vitamin C is a powerful water soluble anti-oxidant. It is required for the collagen synthesis inside the human body. Collagen is the main structural protein inside the body, required for maintaining integrity of blood vessels, skin, organs, and bones. Regular consumption of foods rich in vitamin C helps the body protect from scurvy, develop resistance against viral infections, boosting of immunity, wound healing and to scavenge cancer causing harmful free radicals from the body.
  • In addition, the root contains moderate levels of some of valuable B-complex group of vitamins such as pyridoxine (vitamin B-6), folates, niacin, riboflavin, pantothenic acid, and thiamin. Pyridoxine (vitamin B-6) acts as a coenzyme in the neuro-chemical synthesis in the brain which influences mood. Adequate pyridoxine levels help control nervous irritability, headache, and tension. It also cuts heart-attack risk by controlling harmful homocysteine levels in the blood.
  • Further, the root provides healthy amounts of some important minerals like copper, iron, zinc, magnesium, and manganese. Copper is a cofactor for many vital enzymes, including cytochrome c-oxidase and superoxide dismutase (other minerals function as cofactors for this enzyme are manganese and zinc). Along with iron, it is also required in the production of red blood cells.
  • Crunchy, neutral yet delicate flavor of root lotus is because of its optimum electrolyte balance. It composes agreeable ratio of sodium to potassium at the value 1:4. While sodium gives sweet taste to the root, potassium acts to counter negative effects of sodium by regulating heart rate and blood pressure.

Artichoke nutrition facts

Monday, October 26th, 2015

Artichoke is one of the popular winter months edible flower bud of Mediterranean origin. Known as “Ankinara” in Greek, its use as a vegetable is well known to the ancient Greeks and Romans who advocated it for its medicinal and health benefiting qualities. Botanically, it belongs within the thistle family (Asteraceae), in the genus: Cynara. Scientific name: Cyanara scolymus.

Health benefits of Artichoke

  • Artichoke is low in calories and fat; 100 g of this flower bud just carries 47 calories. Nonetheless, it is a rich source of dietary fiber and anti-oxidants. It provides 5.4 g per 100 g, about 14% of RDA fiber. Dietary-fiber helps control constipation conditions, decreases bad or “LDL” cholesterol levels by binding to it in the intestines and help cut down colon cancer risks by preventing toxic compounds in the food from absorption.
  • Artichoke contains bitter principles, cynarin and sesquiterpene-lactones. Scientific studies show that these compounds not just inhibit cholesterol synthesis but also increase its excretion in the bile, and thus, help overall reduction in the total cholesterol levels in the blood.
  • Fresh artichoke is an excellent source of vitamin, folic acid; provides about 68 µg per 100 g (17% of recommended daily allowance). Folic acid acts as a co-factor for enzymes involved in the synthesis of DNA. Scientific studies have proven that adequate levels of folates in the diet during pre-conception period, and during early pregnancy may help prevent neural tube defects in the newborn baby.
  • Fresh globes also contain moderate amounts of anti-oxidant vitamin; vitamin-C (Provides about 20% of recommended levels per 100 g). Regular consumption of foods rich in vitamin C helps the body develop resistance against infectious agents and scavenge harmful, pro-inflammatory free radicals from the body.
  • It is one of the very good vegetable sources for vitamin K; provide about 12% of DRI. Vitamin K has potential role bone health by promoting osteotrophic (bone formation) activity. Adequate vitamin-K levels in the diet help limiting neuronal damage in the brain; thus, has established role in the treatment of patients suffering from Alzheimer’s disease.
  • It is an also a good source of antioxidant compounds such as silymarin, caffeic acid, and ferulic acid, which help the body protect from harmful free-radical agents. Total antioxidant strength (ORAC) of artichokes (globe or french) is 6552 µmol TE/100 g.
  • It is also rich in B-complex group of vitamins such as niacin, vitamin B-6 (pyridoxine), thiamin, and pantothenic acid that are essential for optimum cellular metabolic functions.
  • Further, artichoke is rich source of minerals like copper, calcium, potassium, iron, manganese and phosphorus. Potassium is an important component of cell and body fluids that helps controlling heart rate and blood pressure by countering effects of sodium. Manganese is used by the body as a co-factor for the antioxidant enzyme, superoxide dismutase. Copper is required in the production of red blood cells. Iron is required for red blood cell formation.
  • Additionally, it contains small amounts of antioxidant flavonoid compounds like carotene-beta, lutein, and zea-xanthin.

Cayenne pepper nutrition facts

Saturday, October 17th, 2015

Fiercely hot and pungent cayenne pepper is one of the widely used spicy ingredients in many cuisines. Cayenne fruits are slender, elongated pods obtained from capsicum family plant.

Cayenne variety of chili pepper plant is native to the Central American region where it was used as a spicy ingredient in Mexican cuisines for several thousand years. This spicy pod was introduced to the rest of the world, especially in the Indian subcontinent, by Spanish and Portuguese explorers during 16th and 17th centuries. They are now one of the important commercial crops in India, Pakistan, China, Argentina and USA.

Botanically, cayenne plant belongs to the nightshade family of Solanaceae, in the genus; capsicum. Scientific name: Capsicum annuum var. annuum.

Health benefits of cayenne peppers

  • Although inherently hot and intolerable even in small amounts, cayennes are one of the health-benefiting spice items packed with minerals, vitamins and certain phyto-nutrients. It is no wonder this wonderful spice has been found a place in modern as well as in traditional medicines for its disease preventing and health promoting properties.
  • Cayenne contains health benefiting alkaloid compound, capsaicin which gives them strong spicy pungent character. Early laboratory studies on experimental mammals suggest that capsaicin has anti-bacterial, anti-carcinogenic, analgesic and anti-diabetic properties. When used judiciously it also found to reduce triglycerides and LDL cholesterol levels in obese individuals.
  • Fresh cayenne peppers, red or green, are rich source of vitamin-C. 100 g fresh chilies provide about 76.4 mg or about 127% of RDA of this vitamin. Vitamin-C is a potent water soluble antioxidant. It is required for the collagen synthesis in the body. Collagen is one of the main structural protein inside the body required for maintaining the integrity of blood vessels, skin, organs, and bones. Regular consumption of foods rich in vitamin C helps the body protect from scurvy; develop resistance against infectious agents (boosts immunity) and scavenge harmful, pro-inflammatory free radicals from the body.
  • Cayenne chili peppers are perhaps the richest source of vitamin A among spices. Just 100 g of cayenne has 41,610 IU or astoundingly 1387% of vitamin A. Additionally, this prized spice is also home for anti-oxidant flavonoids such as carotenes, lutein, zea xanthin and cryptoxanthin. Together, these antioxidants in cayenne help to protect the body from injurious effects of free radicals generated during stress, and disease conditions.
  • The spice contains very high levels of essential minerals. Even if consumed in small quantities regularly would provide sufficient levels of iron, copper, zinc, potassium, manganese, magnesium and selenium. Manganese is used by the body as a co-factor for the antioxidant enzyme, superoxide dismutase. Selenium is an anti-oxidant trace element required by the human body for smooth heart and liver functions.
  • 100 g of cayenne peppers provides 2014 mg or 47% of a daily-required amount of potassium. Potassium is an important electrolyte in the cells and body fluids that helps controlling heart rate and blood pressure. It thus, counters the bad effects of sodium.
  • Cayenne peppers are also good in B-complex group of vitamins such as niacin, pyridoxine (vitamin B-6), riboflavin and thiamin (vitamin B-1). These vitamins are essential in the sense that body requires them from external sources to replenish. B-complex vitamins facilitate cellular metabolism through various enzymatic functions.

Cayenne peppers have amazingly very high levels of vitamins and minerals. Just 100 g provides (in % of Recommended daily allowance):

127% of vitamin-C (Ascorbic acid),
39% of vitamin B-6 (Pyridoxine),
54% of niacin,
71% of riboflavin,
1387% of vitamin A,
97.5% of iron,
41% of copper,
43% of potassium,
but no cholesterol.

Ajwain (carom seeds) nutrition facts

Friday, October 16th, 2015

Health benefits of Ajwain

  • Ajwain seeds contain health benefiting essential oils such as thymol, a monopterone derivative class of chemical compound which gives aromatic fragrances to seeds. In addition, they also compose of small amounts of other phyto-chemicals such as pinene, cymene, limonene and terpinene.
  • The active principles in the ajwain may help increase the digestive function of the intestinal tract through facilitating release of gut juices (gastro-intestinal secretions).
  • Thymol, the essential oil obtained from ajwain has local anaesthetic, anti-bacterial and antifungal properties.
  • Likewise in caraway, ajowan seeds are rich in fiber, minerals, vitamins, and anti-oxidants.

Cardamom nutrition facts

Thursday, October 15th, 2015

Health benefits of cardamom

  • This exotic spice contains many plants derived chemical compounds that are known to have been anti-oxidant, disease preventing and health promoting properties.
  • The spicy pods contain many essential volatile oils that include pinene, sabinene, myrcene, phellandrene, limonene, 1, 8-cineole, terpinene, p-cymene, terpinolene, linalool, linalyl acetate, terpinen-4-oil, a-terpineol, a-terpineol acetate, citronellol, nerol, geraniol, methyl eugenol, and trans-nerolidol.
  • The therapeutic properties of cardamom-oil have been found application in many traditional medicines as antiseptic, antispasmodic, carminative, digestive, diuretic, expectorant, stimulant, stomachic and tonic.
  • Cardamom is a good source of minerals like potassium, calcium, and magnesium. 100 g pods conatin 1119 mg of this electrolyte. Potassium is an important component of cell and body fluids that helps control heart rate and blood pressure. Copper is required in the production of red blood cells.
  • Additionally, it is also an excellent source of iron and manganese. 100 g pods contain 13.97 mg or 175% of daily-required levels of iron. Iron is required for red blood cell formation and cellular metabolism. Manganese is a co-factor for the enzyme, superoxide dismutase, a very powerful free-radical scavenger.
  • Further, these aromatic pods are rich in many vital vitamins, including riboflavin, niacin, vitamin-C that is essential for optimum health.

Black pepper nutrition facts

Wednesday, October 14th, 2015

Health benefits of black pepper

  • Peppercorns contain an impressive list of plant derived chemical compounds that are known to have disease preventing and health promoting properties. Peppers have been in use since centuries for its anti-inflammatory, carminative, anti-flatulent properties.
  • Peppercorns are composed of health benefiting essential oils such as piperine, an amine alkaloid, which gives strong spicy pungent character to the pepper. It also contains numerous monoterpenes hydrocarbons such as sabinene, pinene, terpenene, limonene, mercene, etc., which altogether gives aromatic property to the pepper.
  • The above-mentioned active principles in the pepper may increase the gut motility as well as the digestion power by increasing gastro-intestinal enzyme secretions. It has also been found that piperine can increase absorption of selenium, B-complex vitamins, beta-carotene, as well as other nutrients from the food.
  • Black peppercorns contain a good amount of minerals like potassium, calcium, zinc, manganese, iron, and magnesium. Potassium is an important component of cell and body fluids that helps controlling heart rate and blood pressure. Manganese is used by the body as a co-factor for the antioxidant enzyme, superoxide dismutase. Iron is essential for cellular respiration and blood cell production.
  • They are also an excellent source of many vital B-complex groups of vitamins such as Pyridoxine, riboflavin, thiamin and niacin.
  • Peppercorns are a good source of many anti-oxidant vitamins such as vitamin-C and vitamin-A. They are also rich in flavonoid polyphenolic anti-oxidants like carotenes, cryptoxanthin, zea-xanthin and lycopene. These compounds help the body remove harmful free radicals and help protect from cancers and diseases.

Bay leaf nutrition facts

Tuesday, October 13th, 2015

Pleasantly aromatic bay leaf or bay-laurel is one of the well-recognized culinary leaf-spices in use since the earliest times. In the legends, bay laurel is deemed as the tree of the Sun god, under the celestial sign of Leo.

Health benefits of bay leaf

  • Bay leaf was highly praised by the Greeks and the Romans, who deeply believed that the herb symbolizes wisdom, peace, and protection.
  • The spice contains many notable plants derived compounds, minerals and vitamins that are essential for optimum health.
  • This spice has many volatile active components such as a-pinene, ß-pinene, myrcene, limonene, linalool, methyl chavicol, neral, a-terpineol, geranyl acetate, eugenol, and chavicol. These compounds are known to have been antiseptic, anti-oxidant, digestive, and thought to have anti-cancer properties.
  • Fresh leaves are very rich source of vitamin-C; provide 46.5 mg or 77.5% of RDA per 100 g. Vitamin-C (ascorbic acid) is one of the powerful natural anti-oxidant that help remove harmful free radicals from the body. Ascorbic acid also has immune booster, wound healing and anti-viral effects.
  • Furthermore, its fresh leaves and herb parts are very good in folic acid; contain about 180 mg or 45% of daily-recommended values per 100 g. Folates are important in DNA synthesis and when given during the peri-conception period, they can help prevent neural tube defects in the baby.
  • Bay leaves are an excellent source of vitamin A; contain 6185 IU or 206% of recommended daily levels per 100 g. Vitamin A is a natural antioxidant and is essential for healthy visual sight. It is also required for maintaining mucusa and skin health. Consumption of natural foods rich in vitamin A has been found to help to protect from lung and oral cavity cancers.
  • The spice is indeed a very good source of many vitamins such as niacin, pyridoxine, pantothenic acid and riboflavin. These B-complex groups of vitamins help in enzyme synthesis, nervous system function, and regulating body metabolism.
  • This noble spice is a good source of minerals like copper, potassium, calcium, manganese, iron, selenium, zinc and magnesium. Potassium is an important component of cell and body fluids that helps control heart rate and blood pressure. Manganese and copper are used by the body as co-factors for the antioxidant enzyme, superoxide dismutase. Iron is essential for red blood cell production and as a co-factor for cytochrome-oxidase enzymes.

 

Medicinal uses of bay leaf

  • Medicinally, the benefits of the bay leaf and its berries are plentiful. It has astringent, diuretic, and appetite stimulant properties.
  • Essential oil from the bay leaves contains mostly cineol (50%); furthermore, eugenol, chavicol, acetyl eugenol, methyl eugenol, a- and ß-pinene, phellandrene, linalool, geraniol and terpineol are also found.
  • Infusions of herb parts are reputed to soothe stomach ulcers and help relieve flatulence and colic pain.
  • The lauric acid in the bay laurel leaves has insect repellent properties.
  • The components in the essential oil can also be used in many traditional medicines in the treatment of arthritis, muscle pain, bronchitis and flu-symptoms.

Parsley nutrition facts

Monday, October 12th, 2015

Parsley is a popular culinary and medicinal herb recognized as one of the functional food for its unique antioxidants, and disease preventing properties. This wonderful, fragrant rich biennial herb is native to the Mediterranean region. This leafy herb belongs to the Apiaceae family, in the genus; Petroselinum. Its botanical name is Petroselinum crispum.

Health benefits of Parsley

  • Parsley is one of less calorific herb. 100 g of fresh leaves carry just 36 calories. Additionally, its leaves carry zero cholesterol and fat, but rich in anti-oxidants, vitamins, minerals, and dietary fiber. Altogether, the herb helps in controllling blood-cholesterol, and may offer protection from free radical mediated injury and cancers.
  • Parsley contains health benefiting essential volatile oils that include myristicin, limonene, eugenol, and alpha-thujene.
  • The essential oil, Eugenol, present in this herb has been in therapeutic application in dentistry as a local anesthetic and anti-septic agent for teeth and gum diseases. Eugenol has also been found to reduce blood sugar levels among diabetics; however, further detailed studies required to establish its role.
  • Parsley is rich in poly-phenolic flavonoid antioxidants, including apiin, apigenin, crisoeriol, and luteolin; and has been rated as one of the plant sources with quality antioxidant activities. Total ORAC value, which measures the anti-oxidant strength of 100 g of fresh, raw parsley, is 1301 µmol TE (Trolex equivalents).
  • The herb is a good source of minerals like potassium, calcium, manganese, iron, and magnesium. 100 g fresh herb provides 554 mg or 12% of daily-required levels of potassium. Potassium is the chief component of cell and body fluids that helps control heart rate and blood pressure by countering pressing effects of sodium. Iron is essential for the production of heme, which is an important oxygen-carrying component inside the red blood cells. Manganese is used by the body as a co-factor for the antioxidant enzyme, superoxide dismutase.
  • Additionally, the herb is also rich in many antioxidant vitamins, including vitamin-A, beta-carotene, vitamin-C, vitamin-E, zea-xanthin, lutein, and cryptoxanthin. The herb is an excellent source of vitamin-K and folates. Zea-xanthin helps prevent age-related macular degeneration (ARMD) in the retina (eye) in the aged population through its anti-oxidant and ultra-violet light filtering functions.
  • Fresh herb leaves are also rich in many essential vitamins such as pantothenic acid (vitamin B-5), riboflavin (vitamin B-2), niacin (vitamin B-3), pyridoxine (vitamin B-6) and thiamin (vitamin B-1). These vitamins play a vital role in carbohydrate, fat and protein metabolism by acting as co-enzymes inside the human body.
  • It is, perhaps, the richest herbal source for vitamin K; provide 1640 µg or 1366% of recommended daily intake. Vitamin K has been found to have the potential role in bone health by promoting osteotrophic activity in the bones. It has also established role in the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease patients through limiting neuronal damage in their brain.

Oregano nutrition facts

Saturday, October 10th, 2015

Oregano is a wonderful perennial culinary and medicinal herb. It has long been recognized as one of the “functional foods” for its nutritional, anti-oxidants and disease preventing properties. The herb, whose name means “delight of the mountains” in Greek, is native to the Mediterranean region.

Botanically, it belongs to the mint (Lamiaceae) family, in the genus; Origanum, and is known scientifically as Origanum vulgare.

Health benefits of Oregano

  • Oregano contains an impressive list of plant derived chemical compounds that are known to have disease preventing and health promoting properties.
  • The herb parts contain no cholesterol; however, are rich source of dietary fiber, which helps to control blood cholesterol levels.
  • Oregano contains several health benefiting essential oils such as carvacrol, thymol, limonene, pinene, ocimene, and caryophyllene. Its leaves and flowering stem has anti-septic, anti-spasmodic, carminative, cholagogue (help gall bladder secretion), diaphoretic (sweat production), expectorant, stimulant, and mildly tonic properties. Its decoction is taken by mouth for the treatment of colds, influenza, mild fevers, indigestion, stomach upsets, and painful menstruation conditions.
  • Thymol is also been found to have anti-bacterial, anti-fungal activities.
  • The herb is rich in poly-phenolic flavonoid anti-oxidants (vitamin A, carotenes, lutein, zea-xanthin, and cryptoxanthin) and has been rated as one of the plant sources with highest anti-oxidant activities. These compounds help act as protective scavengers against oxygen-derived free radicals and reactive oxygen species (ROS) that play a role in aging and various disease processes.
  • The active principles in the herb may improve gut motility in addition to increase the digestion power by facilitating copious secretion of gastro-intestinal juices.
  • This marvelous herb is an excellent source of minerals like potassium, calcium, manganese, iron, and magnesium. Potassium is an important component of cell and body fluids that helps control heart rate and blood pressure caused by high sodium. Manganese and copper are utilized by the body as co-factors for the antioxidant enzyme, superoxide dismutase. Iron helps prevent anemia. Magnesium and calcium are important minerals for bone metabolism.
  • In addition, fresh herb is an excellent source of antioxidant vitamin; vitamin-C. Vitamin C helps human body develop resistance against infectious agents and scavenge harmful, pro-inflammatory free radicals.

Lemongrass nutrition facts

Friday, October 9th, 2015

Refreshing, citrus-scented lemongrass imparts unique flavor to recipes. Its coarse tufted stems and leaf buds are among the most sought after herbal parts used in an array of cuisines all over South and East Asian regions.

Botanically, the herb belongs to grass family of Poaceae. Scientific name: Cymbopogon citratus. It is native to Southern part of India and Sri Lanka. The herb is one of the popular ingredients employed in Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, Cambodia, and Indonesia and as far as African and American continents for its culinary and medicinal uses.

Health benefits of lemongrass

  • Lemongrass herb has numerous health benefiting essential oils, chemicals, minerals and vitamins that are known to have anti-oxidant and disease preventing properties.
  • The herb contains 99 calories per 100 g but contains no cholesterol.
  • The primary chemical component in lemongrass herb is citral or lemonal, an aldehyde responsible for its unique lemon odor. Citral also has strong anti-microbial and anti-fungal properties.
  • In addition, its herb parts contain other constituents of the essential oils such as myrcene, citronellol, methyl heptenone, dipentene, geraniol, limonene, geranyl acetate, nerol, etc. These compounds are known to have counter-irritant, rubefacient, insecticidal, anti-fungal and anti-septic properties.
  • Its leaves and stems are very good in folic acid content (100 g leaves and stem provide about 75 µg or 19% of RDA). Folates are important in cell division and DNA synthesis. When given during the peri-conception period can help prevent neural tube defects in the baby.
  • Its herb parts are also rich in many invaluable essential vitamins such as pantothenic acid (vitamin B5), pyridoxine (vitamin B-6) and thiamin (vitamin B-1). These vitamins are essential in the sense that body requires them from external sources to replenish.
  • Furthermore, fresh herb contains small amounts of anti-oxidant vitamins such as vitamin-C, and vitamin-A.
  • Lemon grass herb parts, whether fresh or dried, are rich sources of minerals like potassium, zinc, calcium, iron, manganese, copper, and magnesium. Potassium is an important component of cell and body fluids, which helps control heart rate and blood pressure. Manganese is used by the body as a co-factor for the antioxidant enzyme, superoxide dismutase.

Celery nutrition facts

Thursday, October 8th, 2015

Celery is one of popular Mediterranean herbs recognized for its strong aromatic flavor that it imparts to variety of cuisines. It is a small biennial herbaceous plant originated in Europe. It can be grown easily as a potherb in the home-gardens for its flavorful leaves, shoots, roots, and seeds. Botanically, celery belongs to the family of Apiaceae, in the genus; Apium, and known scientifically as Apium graveolens. It is a small plant; reaching about half a meter in height and requires fertile, moisture rich soil to flourish.

Health benefits of Celery

  • Celery is one of the very low calorie herbal plants. Its leaves carry only 16 calories per 100 g weight and contain lots of non-soluble fiber (roughage) which when combined with other weight loss regimens may help reduce body weight, and blood cholesterol levels.
  • Its leaves are rich source of flavonoid antioxidants such as zea-xanthin, lutein, and beta-carotene, which have been anti-oxidant, cancer protective and immune-boosting functions. For the same reason, celery has been acknowledged as a functional food.
  • Its leaves are a good source of vitamin-A. 100 g fresh celery comprises of 449 IU or 15% of daily-required levels of this vitamin. Vitamin-A and beta-carotene are natural flavonoid antioxidants. Vitamin A is also required for maintaining healthy mucus membranes and skin, and for night vision. Consumption of natural foods rich in flavonoids helps the body to protect from lung and oral cavity cancers.
  • The herb is also rich in many vital vitamins, including folic acid (provides 9% of RDA), riboflavin, niacin and vitamin-C, which are essential for optimum metabolism.
  • Fresh celery is an excellent source of vitamin-K, provides about 25% of DRI. Vitamin-K helps increase bone mass by promoting osteotrophic activity in the bones. It also has established role in Alzheimer’s disease patients by limiting neuronal damage in the brain.
  • The herb is a very good source of minerals like potassium, sodium, calcium, manganese, and magnesium. Potassium is an important component of cell and body fluids that help regulate heart rate and blood pressure.
  • Its leaves and seeds contain many essential volatile oils that include terpenes, mostly limonene (75 to 80%), and the sesquiterpenes like ß-selinene (10%) and humulene; however, its characteristic fragrance is due to chemical compounds known as phthalides (butylphthalid and its dihydro derivate sedanenolid) in them.
  • Essential oil obtained from extraction of celery plant has been employed as soothing remedy for nervousness, osteoarthritis, and gouty-arthritis conditions. In addition, its seeds, and root have diuretic (removes excess water from the body through urine), galactogogue (help breast milk secretion), stimulant, and tonic properties.

Celery plant holds just 16 calories per 100 g of leaves and together with numerous health benefiting phyto-nutrients such as flavonoids, folate, vitamin-A, vitamin-K, minerals and other vitamins, has all the characters to consider it as one of the most valuable low calorie or negative calories weight loss functional foods.

Chives nutrition facts

Wednesday, October 7th, 2015

Sweet, mild-onion flavored chives are fresh top greens in the onion family of bulb vegetables. Its stiff, hollow, tubular leaves appear similar to that of onions, but smaller in diameter, and appear somewhat like grass from a distance. They should not be confused to green-onions, which are top greens of young, immature onion plants AND to scallions, which are top-greens of Allium fistulosum (Welsh onion). Along with chervil, parsley, and tarragon, chive makes the perfectly “balanced quartet” of classic French fines herbes (fine herbs).

Botanically, their bright green leave tubules belong to the family of alliaceae, in the genus: Allium. Scientific name: Allium schoenoprasum (common or onion chives).

Health benefits of Chives

  • Chives are very low in calories; 100 g of fresh leaves provide just 30 calories. Nonetheless, they contain many noteworthy flavonoid anti-oxidants, plant fiber, minerals, and vitamins that have proven health benefits.
  • Just like in other allium members, chives too possess thio-sulfinites anti-oxidants. Thio-sufinites such as diallyl disulfide, diallyl trisulfide and allyl propyl disulfide convert to allicin by enzymatic reaction when its leaves disrupted (crushing, cutting, etc.). Laboratory studies show that allicin reduces cholesterol production by inhibiting the HMG-CoA reductase enzyme in the liver cells. Further, it also found to have anti-bacterial, anti-viral, and anti-fungal activities.
  • Additionally, allicin also decreases blood vessel stiffness by releasing vasodilator compound, nitric oxide (NO); and, thereby, help reduce total blood pressure. Also, it blocks platelet clot formation, besides having fibrinolytic (clot-removal) action in the blood vessels. All in all, allicin helps decrease overall risk of coronary artery disease (CAD), peripheral vascular diseases (PVD), and stroke.
  • Chives surprisingly comprise more vitamin A than any other allium family member vegetables. 100 g of fresh leaves contain 4353 IU of vitamin-A or 145% of daily recommended levels. In addition, its green leaves contain other flavonoid-phenolic antioxidants such as carotenes, zea-xanthin, and lutein. Together, these compounds offer human protect from lung and oral cavity cancers.
  • They also have some other essential vitamins such as vitamin C, and K, in fact; chives are one of the richest sources of vitamin K, comparatively more than that of in scallions. 100 g of fresh greens provide 212.7 µg or about 177% of daily recommended intake of this vitamin. Scientific studies suggest that vitamin K has a potential role in bone health by promoting osteotrophic (bone formation and strengthening) activity. Adequate vitamin-K levels in the diet help limiting neuronal damage in the brain; thus, has established role in the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Fresh chives are rich sources of folates. 100 g leaves provide 105 µg or 26% of DRI of folates. Folic acid is essential for DNA synthesis and cell division. Adequate folate levels in the diet during pregnancy may help prevent neural tube defects in the newborn babies.
  • Furthermore, the leaves are packed with other B-complex vitamins as well as some essential minerals such as copper, iron, manganese, zinc, and calcium. The leafy greens contain several vital vitamins such as pyridoxine, pantothenic acid, niacin, riboflavin, and thiamin in healthy proportions.

Basil herb nutrition facts

Tuesday, October 6th, 2015

The king of herbs basil herb is one of the ancient and popular herbal plants brimming with notable health-benefiting phytonutrients. This highly prized plant is revered as “holy herb” in many cultures all around the world.

Basil belongs to the family of Lamiaceae, in the genus: Ocimum. Its scientific name is “Ocimum basilicum.”

Health benefits of Basil herb

  • Basil leaves hold many notable plant derived chemical compounds that are known to have disease preventing and health promoting properties.
  • Basil herb contains many polyphenolic flavonoids like orientin and vicenin. These compounds were tested in-vitro laboratory for their possible anti-oxidant protection against radiation-induced lipid per-oxidation in mouse liver.
  • Basil leaves compose of several health benefiting essential oils such as eugenol, citronellol, linalool, citral, limonene and terpineol. These compounds are known to have anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties.
  • The herb is very low in calories and contain no cholesterol. Nonetheless, its is one of the finest sources of many essential nutrients, minerals, and vitamins that are required for optimum health.
  • Basil herb contains exceptionally high levels of beta-carotene, vitamin A, cryptoxanthin, lutein and zea-xanthin. These compounds help act as protective scavengers against oxygen-derived free radicals and reactive oxygen species (ROS) that play a role in aging and various disease processes.
  • Zea-xanthin, a yellow flavonoid carotenoid compound, is selectively absorbed into the retinal macula lutea where it found to filter harmful UV rays from reaching the retina. Studies suggest that common herbs, fruits, and vegetables that are rich in zea-xanthin anti-oxidant help to protect from age-related macular disease (AMRD), especially in the elderly.
  • 100 g of fresh herb basil leaves contain astoundingly 5275 mg or 175% of daily required doses of vitamin A. Vitamin A is known to have antioxidant properties and is essential for vision. It is also required for maintaining healthy mucusa and skin. Consumption of natural foods rich in vitamin-A has been found to help the body protect from lung and oral cavity cancers.
  • Vitamin K in basil is essential for production of clotting factors in the blood and plays a vital role in the bone strengthening and mineralization.
  • Basil herb contains a good amount of minerals like potassium, manganese, copper, and magnesium. Potassium is an important component of cell and body fluids, which helps control heart rate and blood pressure. Manganese is used by the body as a co-factor for the antioxidant enzyme, superoxide dismutase.
  • Basil leaves are an excellent source of iron. It fresh leaves carry 3.17 mg/100 g (about 26% of RDA) of iron. Iron, being a component of hemoglobin inside the red blood cells, is one of the chief determinants of oxygen-carrying capacity of the blood.

Cashew nut nutrition facts

Sunday, October 4th, 2015

Health benefits of Cashew nuts

  • Cashews are high in calories. 100 g of nuts provide 553 calories. They are packed with soluble dietary fiber, vitamins, minerals and numerous health-promoting phyto-chemicals that help protect from diseases and cancers.
  • They are rich in “heart-friendly” monounsaturated-fatty acids like oleic, and palmitoleic acids. These essential fatty acids help lower harmful LDL-cholesterol while increasing good HDL cholesterol in the blood. Research studies suggest that Mediterranean diet which is rich in monounsaturated fatty acids help to prevent coronary artery disease and strokes by favoring healthy blood lipid profile.
  • Cashew nuts are abundant sources of essential minerals. Minerals, especially manganese, potassium, copper, iron, magnesium, zinc, and selenium are concentrated in these nuts. A handful of cashew nuts a day in the diet would provide enough of these minerals and may help prevent deficiency diseases. Selenium is an important micronutrient, which functions as a co-factor for antioxidant enzymes such as Glutathione peroxidases, one of the most powerful antioxidants in the body. Copper is a cofactor for many vital enzymes, including cytochrome c-oxidase and superoxide dismutase (other minerals function as co-factors for this enzyme are manganese and zinc). Zinc is a co-factor for many enzymes that regulate growth and development, gonadal function, digestion, and DNA (nucleic acid) synthesis.
  • Cashews are also good in many essential vitamins such as pantothenic acid (vitamin B5), pyridoxine (vitamin B-6), riboflavin, and thiamin (vitamin B-1). 100 g nuts provide 0.147 mg or 32% of daily-recommended levels of pyridoxine. Pyridoxine reduces the risk of homocystinuria, and sideroblastic anemia. Niacin helps prevent “pellagra” or dermatitis. Additionally, these vitamins are essential for metabolism of protein, fat, and carbohydrates at the cellular level.
  • Further, the nuts are also hold a small amount of zea-xanthin, an important pigment flavonoid antioxidant, which selectively absorbed into the retinal macula lutea in the eyes. It is thought to provide antioxidant and protective UV ray filtering functions and helps prevent age-related macular degeneration (ARMD) in the elderly.

Pine nuts nutrition facts

Saturday, October 3rd, 2015

 

Crunchy yet butter textured, pleasantly sweet and delicious pine nuts are small edible seeds of female cone in a pine tree. Pine kernels are, indeed, very good source of plant derived nutrients, essential minerals, vitamins and “heart friendly” mono-unsaturated fatty acids that help benefit in reducing cholesterol levels in the blood.

Pine trees grow chiefly in the wild cold and taiga forests of the northern hemisphere, particularly of Siberia and Canada. They are huge, straight erect trees with large stem which may reach upto 75 feet in height with pyramidal or umbrella like dense foliage cover.

The “flowers” of pine tree subsequently develop into a cone. The female cones take about two–three years to mature after pollination. At maturity, the female-cones (ovulate or seed cones) may reach from as small as 3 cm cone to a very large cone reaching about 35 cm. Scales at the base and tip of the cone tends to be small and sterile, and therefore, bear no seeds. Once mature and dry, the cones naturally split open to release the seeds.

The two prominent pine species known for their large edible kernels include Pinus sibirica and Pinus koraiensis. Stone (western) pines have long slender kernels in comparison to oriental pines, in which the seeds are broad, large and have higher fat content.

Pine nuts feature tough dark-brown outer coat or shell. Inside, its edible kernel has cream white, delicate buttery flavor and sweet taste.

Health benefits of pine nuts

  • Pine nuts are one of the calorie-rich edible nuts. 100 g of dry-kernels provide 673 calories. Additionally, they comprise of numerous health promoting phyto-chemicals, vitamins, antioxidants, and minerals.
  • Their high caloric content chiefly comes from fats. Indeed, the nuts are especially rich in mono-unsaturated fatty acids like oleic acid (18:1 undifferentiated fat) that helps to lower LDL or “bad cholesterol” and increases HDL or “good-cholesterol” in the blood. Research studies suggest that Mediterranean diet which contain good amounts of monounsaturated fatty acids, vitamins and antioxidants, helps to prevent coronary artery disease and strokes by favoring healthy blood lipid profile.
  • Pine or cedar nuts contain essential fatty acid (omega-6 fat), pinolenic acid. Recent research has shown its potential use in weight loss by curbing appetite. Pinolenic acid triggers the release of hunger-suppressant enzymes cholecystokinin and glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) in the gut. In addition, pinolenic acid has thought to have LDL-lowering properties by enhancing hepatic LDL uptake.
  • Likewise in almonds , pines too are an excellent source of vitamin E; contain about 9.33 mg per 100 g (about 62% of RDA). Vitamin E is a powerful lipid soluble antioxidant, required for maintaining the integrity of cell membrane of mucus membranes and skin by protecting it from harmful oxygen-free radicals.
  • Furthermore, pines are one of gluten free tree nuts, and therefore, are a popular ingredient in the preparation of gluten-free food formulas. Such formula preparations can be a healthy alternative in people with wheat food allergy, and celiac disease.
  • Pine nuts are an excellent source of B-complex group of vitamins such as thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, vitamin B-6 (pyridoxine) and folates. These vitamins work as co-factors for enzymes in cellular substrate metabolism inside the human body.
  • Furthermore, pine nuts contain healthy amounts of essential minerals like manganese, potassium, calcium, iron, magnesium, zinc and selenium. At 8.802 mg per 100 g (about 383% of daily recommended intake), pines are one of the richest sources of manganese. Manganese is an all-important co-factor for antioxidant enzyme,superoxide dismutase. It is therefore, consumption of pines helps the body develop resistance against infectious agents and scavenge harmful oxygen-free radicals.

Pine nut oil has a delicate flavor with sweet aroma, and is being employed in many traditional medicinal applications.