14 September 2019

Fruit for memory

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Pomegranates are a boon from nature to the human being. The bounty of polyphenols present in it makes it as a super fruit. Now, pomegranates are being researched for their beneficial effects on memory, and their potential to improve the cognitive skills.
The polyphenols found in pomegranates include punicalagins and ellagic acid. Punicalagins are the major polyphenols present in pomegranates and are believed to be primarily responsible for the major health benefits of the fruit. Punicalagins are water-soluble and are therefore easily absorbed by the body. The metabolites of punicalagins are potent antioxidants and help in evading many diseases.
Because of its neuroprotective and cardiovascular-enhancing properties, and because it is relatively inexpensive (compared to medicines) and well-tolerated, regular pomegranate consumption may prove to be effective in improving one’s memory as well as intellectual performance.

13 September 2019


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Bengal Gram whole also known as Garbanzo bean, Chick pea, and Channa, is one of the important pulses around the world. Bengal gram has good amount of protein, iron, folic acid, Vitamin B6, C, and fiber. Chick peas have a buttery taste and a versatile ingredient in the preparation of Indian and middle east cuisines.

Bengal gram whole has a good content of calcium which is essential for bone health.  As Bengal gram whole is an excellent source of protein, they can serve as meat replacements for vegetarians. The quality of protein in Bengal gram whole is better than any other legume and contains all the essential amino acids except methionine. Being a good source of iron, it helps in fighting anaemia.

They are also a very good source of phytochemicals called saponins, which can act as antioxidants. Saponin also reduces the risk of osteoporosis and breast cancer by maintaining estrogen levels in the blood. They also help us fight mood swings during periods and the symptoms after the menopause. Chick peas should not be consumed raw due to the presence of antinutritional factors. Soaking it for at least 4- 6 hours makes it suitable for cooking while sprouting the channa increases the vitamin C, B complex and better protein availability

Chick peas are available in beige and brown colour. The versatility of nutrients makes channa a crucial food for healthy adults, people with diabetes, hypertension, to lower cholesterol levels and to reduce weight.

23 August 2019

Importance of the gut

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22 August 2019

உருளைக்கிழங்கின் நன்மை, சமைக்கும் முறையிலே உள்ளது

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உலகளவில் மிக அதிகமாக உபயோகப்படுத்தப்படும்  உணவு உருளைக்கிழங்கு. பலவிதமான வகைகளில் சமைக்கப்படும் உருளைக்கிழங்கு சிறுவர் முதல் வயதானவர் வரை விரும்பி உண்ணும் உணவாகும்.

உருளைக்கிழங்கில்  கார்போஹைட்ரேட் நிறைந்து உள்ளதால் அதிக ஆற்றல் தரும்  உணவுகளில் ஒன்றாக பட்டியலிடப்பட்டுள்ளது.   வேர் மற்றும் கிழங்கு  (roots and tubers)  குடும்பத்தில் மிக அதிகமான  புரதம்  கொண்டது  உருளைக்கிழங்கு.   ஆராய்ச்சியின்   போது, உயர்தர அமினோ அமில கலவையை   உருளைக்கிழங்கு   கொண்டு இருப்பதாகவும், பரிந்துரைக்கப்பட்டதை  விட அதிக  அமினோ அமில அளவுகள்  இருப்பதாகவும்  நிருபிக்கப்பட்டுள்ளது . அமினோ அமிலமான லைசின் பழுதான     தசைகளை  சரிசெய்வதில்  முக்கிய பங்கு வகிக்கிறது.
வைட்டமின் சி மற்றும்  பொட்டாசியத்தின் சிறந்த ஆதாரமாகவும், தையாமின், இரும்பு ஆகியவற்றின் மிதமான  ஆதாரமாகவும் திகழ்கிறது. தோலோடு சமைத்து உண்ணும் போது    வைட்டமின் சி    அதிகப்படியாக  கிடைக்கப்பெறுகிறது. ஆன்டிஆக்ஸிடண்ட்டுகளான   ஃபிளாவனாய்டுகள் மற்றும் கரோட்டினாய்டுகள்   வேகவைத்த உருளைக்கிழங்கு தோல்களில்  மிக அதிகமாக  உள்ளன. எனவே உருளையை தோலோடு சமைக்கும் முறையை தேர்வு செய்யுங்கள்.

உருளைக்கிழங்கு கொண்டு தயாரிக்கும்  உணவின் கலோரி,   தயாரிக்கும்  முறையையும், சமையலில்  சேர்க்கும் பொருட்களையுமே  சார்ந்துள்ளது.  அதிகமான    எண்ணெய், வெண்ணெய், நெய், சீஸ், மயோனைஸ், போன்ற  கொழுப்பு  நிறைந்த பொருட்கள் கொண்டு  தயாரிக்கப்படும் போது  உணவின் கலோரி மதிப்பை அதிகப்படுத்துகிறது. இதனாலே உருளைக்கிழங்கை தவிர்க்கும்படி மருத்துவர்கள் ஆலோசனை வழங்குகின்றனர். உருளை சிப்ஸ்,   உருளை ஃப்ரைஸ் போன்ற பதப்படுத்தப்பட்ட உணவுகளை அளவுக்கு அதிகமாக உண்ணும் போது  உடலுக்கு கேடு விளைவிக்கின்றன

உருளைக்கிழங்கில் நார்ச்சத்து அதிகமாக (ஒவ்வொரு கிண்ணத்திலும் 3 கிராம்) உள்ளது.   இது கரையக்கூடிய,  கரையமுடியாத   மற்றும் ரெஸிஸ்டண்ட்  நார் வகையை உள்ளடக்கியது. ஒவ்வொரு வகை  நார்சத்தும் நம்  உடலுக்கு  குறிப்பிட்ட நன்மைகளை தருபவை .

உருளைக்கிழங்கின்  நச்சு (toxin), க்லைகோ-அல்கலாய்டு  (glycoalkaloid),  முளை விட்ட  கிழங்குகளில் அதிகம் காணப்படுகிறது.  உருளைக்கிழங்கை , இருண்ட, குளிர்ந்த  இடத்தில் சேமித்து வைப்பதன் மூலம் நச்சு உருவாவதை குறைக்கலாம். சூரிய  ஒளி அதிகமாக படும் போது, உருளைக்கிழங்கு  பச்சை நிறமாக மாறுகிறது. இது அதிக அளவிலான நச்சு  சேர்ந்து உள்ளதை  குறிக்கலாம்.

சமையல் மூலம் க்லைகோ-அல்கலாய்டுகள்    அழிக்கப்படுவதில்லை என்பதால், பச்சைப் பகுதிகள் உள்ள  உருளைக்கிழங்கை  சமைத்து சாப்பிடுவது நல்லது அல்ல .

19 August 2019

Bell pepper

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Capsicum is a part of the human diet since 7500 BC. In Asia, the word ‘chilli’ is more commonly associated with highly pungent varieties of Capsicum annum, while the non-pungent sweet bell peppers are referred to as ‘Capsicums’ The main source of pungency in peppers is the chemical group of alkaloid compounds called capsaicinoids (CAPS), which are produced in the fruit.

Bell peppers with their beautifully shaped glossy exterior, with a   wonderful combination of tangy taste and crunchy texture comes in a wide array of vivid colours ranging from green, red, yellow, orange, purple, brown to black. Although peppers are available throughout the year, they are most abundant and tasty during the months of August and September

Bell peppers, among vegetables, have become extremely popular for the abundance and the kind of antioxidants they contain. They are excellent sources of vitamin C and vitamin A. They also are a source of vitamin B6, folic acid, beta-carotene, and fiber. Red peppers also contain lycopene, believed important for reducing risk of certain cancers.

Bell pepper has many health benefits like   reducing the   risk of cardiovascular disease, boost lung health and defend us against rheumatoid arthritis
Include bell pepper   regularly in your healthy eating plan

18 August 2019

Go nuts for nuts

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What are the health benefits of nuts?
Are they good for you?

Nuts are nutrient-rich foods that are abundant in plant protein, beneficial fat, vitamins, minerals, and phytochemical compounds. They have been a constituent of mankind’s food since prehistorical times. Due to their diverse nutritional profile, when consumed in appropriate quantities, they have a splendid impact on one’s health. The most popular edible nuts are almonds, hazelnuts, walnuts, pistachios, pine nuts, cashews, pecan, macadamias, brazil nuts, and peanuts.

Go nuts for nuts

Research studies have linked the consumption of nuts with reduced incidence of diabetes mellitus, heart diseases, and cancer. Nuts are eaten as snacks – roasted, salted or sweetened form. They also occupy an important place in the production of milkshakes, paste for addition in gravies, in making candies, production of oils, sauces, and ice-creams.

Contrary to the myth that nuts cause overweight and obesity, regular consumption of nuts do not increase weight. Although nuts are one of the richest sources of fat, the fatty acid composition of nuts is beneficial as saturated fatty acid content is low (4–16%) and nearly half of the total fat content is made up of unsaturated fat, monounsaturated fatty acids, and polyunsaturated fatty acids. Nuts also are a good source of dietary fiber, which ranges from 4 to 11 g per 100 g.

Among the constituents of nuts, essential micronutrients are present in significant amounts. They improve health status when consumed at doses beyond those necessary to prevent deficiency states. Nuts contain sizeable amounts of folate, which is much necessary for normal cellular function. Nuts are also rich sources of antioxidants which help in reducing oxidative stress and help in regenerating damaged tissues. A high amount of calcium, magnesium, and potassium, together with low sodium is associated with protection against bone demineralization, hypertension, insulin resistance.

The two main concerns regarding nut consumption are the possibility of allergies to some people due to the presence of certain amino acids and the second one is potential toxicity through contamination of nuts with mycotoxins, particularly aflatoxins which might cause foodborne illness.

It is better to consume nuts in the whole form with skin rather than processing with salt, sugar, and chemicals. Soaking in water can help in improving the bioavailability of nutrients to the body. Thus, a diet supplemented with one daily serving of nuts can go a long way in reducing cardiovascular events, development of other chronic disorders including diabetes, cancer, and neurodegenerative diseases.

Threats of drinking street vended fruit juices

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One cannot resist stepping into a fresh fruit juice shop while travelling in this hot scorching summer. Fresh fruit juices provide instant soothing relief, refreshes and rehydrates us in this hot season. As we travel along the highways, we are able to see so many street vendors, at a stone throw distance from each other, busily preparing and selling iced fresh juices. They are preferred by the consumers because of the fresh flavour and low cost. The most popular fruit juices sold by these vendors these days are sugar cane, musk melon, orange, sweet lime, and lemon. Fresh fruit juices are increasingly becoming a vehicle of foodborne illness.

Threats of drinking street vended fruit juices

Fresh fruit juices contain loads of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Apart from quenching the thirst, consumption of them helps in preventing degenerative diseases such as cardiovascular problems, obesity, and several cancers. Nutrients in fruit juices help in boosting one’s immune system and also improves digestion by secreting a healthy level of enzymes.

However, have we ever thought of the hidden potential risks that underlie while drinking these fruit juices prepared by road side vendors? These fruit juices are prepared in a open space, usually under a tree, near a pond, and along the sides of a very busy road. This invites plenty of dust to settle in our fruit juices. Also, cut fruits are exhibited openly as a treat to flies. The next concern is about the washing practices followed by them to cleanse the fruits, containers and their hands. Unclean fruits, improperly washed glasses, dirty machines, untreated water and a dirty hand welcomes millions of pathogens into the juice. 

Though some of our immune systems can fight off the effects of pathogens, children, elderly and people with weakened immune systems risk life-threatening health issues by drinking these juices. Fruit juices prepared and served in an unhygienic way can cause various diseases like diarrhoea, fever, typhoid, cholera, jaundice and hepatitis.

Research studies show a high microbial load in road side vended drinks. The range of average total viable count (microbial load) and total coliforms were 7.7 × 103 - 9 × 108 cfu/ml and 210–1100 cfu/100 ml, indicating the heavy presence of microorganisms in all the drinks analyzed in the study.

Government can introduce and implement policies to ensure the hygienic quality of road side vended juices. Awareness programmes to road side vendors can be given to protect our community from falling ill.

It is advisable to drink home-made fruit juices and under unavoidable situations, always drink fresh juices in an A grade shop. It is better to opt for tender coconut which is otherwise known as heavens dew.