Archives for : April2016

Honey Nutrition

Before we discuss nutritional facts, it is important to make a clear distinction between raw honey and processed honey. Most honey sold in grocery stores has been highly processed to make it last longer on the shelf without crystalizing and to convert it into a crystal clear liquid without any particulates. This process involves filtering the honey and raising the temperature to more than 115 degrees Fahrenheit. Unfortunately, this removes or destroys the best nutrients found in it! Therefore, we will limit our discussion of nutrition to raw honey like we sell.

The macronutrients in honey, constituting about eighty percent by volume, are carbohydrates in the form of sugars. The primary carbohydrates are fructose (approximately 39 percent) and glucose (31-32 percent). The fructose content in honey is what makes it taste sweeter than table sugar (sucrose). Honey also contains smaller quantities of maltose (approximately 7 percent) and sucrose (approximately 2-3 percent). The relative percentages of these different sugars will vary somewhat depending on the nectar source(s) of the bees who made the honey.

Some health experts advise against consuming honey, or at least using it sparingly, because of its high sugar composition. However, the effect of honey on the human body has been shown to be very different than the sucrose and high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) found in so many processed foods and in the granulated table sugar (pure sucrose) you may spoon into your oatmeal. Most importantly, honey has a lower glycemic index than table sugar and HFCS. Therefore, it does not cause as big a spike in the blood sugar and can fuel the body and muscles for an extended period of time. For this reason, honey is often consumed before, during, and after workouts by professional bodybuilders and athletes. For this same reason, honey is often the sweetener of choice by type 2 diabetics and others attempting to control their blood sugar.

It should be noted that the GI of honey varies from a low 35 to a medium range GI of 56-64, depending on the source of the nectar used to make the honey. The higher the fructose percentage compared to the sucrose level, the lower the GI. Darker raw honey tends to have a lower GI than lighter raw honey. These facts have been determined by testing various types of honey. Furthermore, the highly processed honey labeled as “Pure Honey” you find in the supermarket has the highest GI of all honey.

Unprocessed raw honey also contains a number of highly beneficial micronutrients. Vitamins B6, thiamine, niacin, riboflavin, and pantothenic acid are present in significant quantities. Flavonoids and polyphenols (phenolic acids), types of powerful antioxidants, are also in relatively high concentrations in raw honey. However, they are easily denatured by heat so honey in supermarkets will not give you this health benefit. Darker honey like buckwheat honey tend to have more antioxidants than lighter honey but all raw honey will have a good supply. Antioxidants are responsible for scavenging free radicals in the body that are the underlying cause of so many diseases.

One of the best nutritional facts you won’t hear touted about supermarket honey is the benefit local raw honey has on the immune system, especially during allergy season. Raw honey contains little bits of pollen. This is why one cup of raw honey contains about a gram of protein. If you consume these bits of pollen from raw honey, you will build a natural resistance to airborne allergens.

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Natural Versus Organic Beauty Products

There are innumerable health care brands in the market offering a variety of beauty products with large quantity of buyers for every segment. However, people tend to get confused over the terms used by these companies in their product designs as to whether the commodity is natural or organic. On hearing the term ‘Organic’, people associate the products to natural constituents like organic food without realizing that the phrase here means differently.

Organic means a component derived from the living matter. In other words, anything extracted from a natural thing and manufactured in way that involves no use of artificial chemicals is termed as Organic. Even 1% of organic ingredients found in a Natural constituent make it impure. Products tagged with the logo of being organic assure that the commodity is produced in the most hygienic conditions with zero application of fertilizers.

Meanwhile Natural ingredients are those which are directly retrieved from plants and minerals and involves minimal to no processing. One has to stay cautious while purchasing anything that is labeled as natural considering many companies mixes synthetic items too. There is a wide range of beauty care products ranging from makeup cosmetics to body lotions to moisturizers which people use on day-to-day basis.

However, with ever increasing toxic products that is overtly misleading with the wrong detailing and questionably cheap prices, consumers are shifting to all natural skin care. It’s a positive move considering a person can protect itself from the harmful effects of Sodium Laureth Sulphate which is used in making synthetic beauty creams and lotions and is highly prone to causing skin cancer.

Since natural products are unrefined or pure, they are free of side-effects and are more effective considering they don’t contain any irritants. Furthermore they have an inherent fragrance that is very inviting. And besides distinctive benefits, natural beauty products are very earth-friendly as compared to their counterparts which omit hazardous gas while under manufacturing. Absence of chemicals safeguard from skin irritations like itching, or redness. The most popularly used natural beauty care products include Coconut Oil, which is exceedingly effective in nourishing the lipid content of skin cells; Shea Butter i.e. known to reduce facial scars, Tee Tree Oil, which is utilized in making toothpastes and sanitizers; or Honey i.e. full of anti-oxidants and works as anti-bacterial.

On the other hand, Organic beauty products are also very beneficial but they have some drawbacks. First and foremost, the cost of purchasing such products is not budget friendly. It’s hard for a common man to afford them. Secondly, manufacturing these cosmetics involves very complex processing. Third, the time span of organic products isn’t very long i.e. they expire much sooner than their equivalents. And fourth, Organic beauty care products aren’t everyone’s cup of tea as there is never a guarantee whether a product will match the skin requirement of an individual or not.

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Importance of Spices in Food

Indian food is loved world over by people of different nationalities. What makes it so popular is the way it is cooked; cooking Indian cuisines is nothing less than an art. It requires the right ingredients chopped and sautéed over fire and then cooked on a simmering flame with the right amount of herbs and spices. Indian food is not just rich in taste but also has an aroma that can whip up anyone’s appetite. The aroma in the food comes from spices which are used in every Indian household for centuries. They are an integral part of every dish and are loaded not just with flavors but also health benefits. Not many are aware that the reason why Indian food apart from being extremely delicious is also very healthy is because of the spices and herbs in it that have therapeutic health benefits. Some of the beneficial uses of spices and herbs used in everyday dishes are:

1) Turmeric: Turmeric has been used for centuries not just in food to give it a yellow texture but also by Ayurvedic doctors for its healing properties. Turmeric when used in food can retain the beta-carotene in certain foods. A main ingredient in turmeric is curcumin, which is a strong antioxidant and has powerful anti-inflammatory effects. Recent studies have also shown that turmeric is helpful in correcting depression symptoms. Due to its strong anti – inflammatory qualities it is highly beneficial to Arthritis patients and unlike medications, it doesn’t pose any threat to liver and other organs. Its most widely accepted property though is its function as a painkiller.

2) Cinnamon: Another commonly used ingredient in Indian household, cinnamon is also used in a variety of other global dishes. These bark shaped spices have a lot of medical benefits. They are very useful for those suffering from diabetes as they can lower fasting blood glucose and reduce cholesterol. Cinnamon also has antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral properties. In ancient times when there was no safe way to store food for a longer period of time and food could get easily spoiled, recipes were flavored with this particular spice. Even in case of common cough and cold, having cinnamon tea can be very comforting and healing.

3) Mustard Seed: They are culinary oil seeds that apart from enhancing the taste of a dish also have a lot of health benefits. The magnesium content in mustard reduces migraine and helps relieve the tormenting pain. Including mustard seeds in your dishes can also relieve you of respiratory congestion; it is also beneficial for asthma patients.

Indian food contains the above and many other spices and herbs that are included in everyday food. This makes it one of the most healthiest foods available.

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Shawarma – The Arabic Fast Food

Fast food is one of the most abundantly sold kinds of food in the world, at the moment. Due to the cheaper price tag, efficient service, and scrumptious taste, it’s very popular around the globe. Among many of these taste bombs, a delicacy called Shawarma is also present. It’s a Middle Eastern delicacy which is now sold and cherished worldwide. Different parts of the world serve shawarma as a permanent part of their menus since people seem to love the acquired taste and also the pocket-friendly tag.

Shawarma, as it is known in Arabic, is basically a sandwich wrap filled with a hefty amount of mutton, beef, veal, turkey or chicken along with a vegetable salad. The wrap is either pita bread or freshly made tortillas. The meat is marinated for a few hours and then roasted over a slow flame for several hours. The grilled and juicy hot meat mounted on a special machine called as spit, is then shredded. The shaved off meat which is dropping into a circular tray below to be retrieved is later rolled on the bread.

Mayonnaise, chili sauce, vinegar or traditional Arab sauces such as tahini (made of sesame) and hummus (made of a chickpea) and chopped cucumber, onion and tomato are added to the filling for a perfect serve.

The word “Shawarma” has been derived from a Turkish word “çevirme,” which means “turning.” Shawarma originated as döner kebab, in Northeastern part of Turkey. However, the new Shawarma Recipes have been brought to form and popularity by the Turkish population residing in Germany. In the ancient times, the wood fire was used for cooking Shawarma instead of the modern gas flame.

Groups of youngsters flock to the eateries or certain fast food joints for the juicy and delicious shawarma. While it’s also a family fave. Families also visit the local food bars to enjoy the delectable delicacy from Arabia. Youngsters mainly constitute the majority of customers mass at the traditional shawarma chains. While many prefer to take it piping hot in the restaurants, others go for a takeaway since it’s more convenient.

The traditional shawarma is usually confused with an Greek American version od the dish called “Gyro”. Which is a Greek dish made of meat cooked on a vertical rotisserie, normally pork, chicken, beef, veal, lamb or mutton. Other alternatives such as feta or haloumi cheese, and usually served wrapped in a flatbread such as pita or sandwich, with cucumber, tomato, onion, and tzatziki sauce. Since Pork is a not allowed in both Arabia and Israel, Shawarma came into being which has no use of pork in it, making it eligible for all the Muslims and Jews as well.

Meat Shawarma is a dish that is rich in vitamins A, B6, C, niacin, thiamine and folate and minerals like magnesium, iron, sodium, potassium, and calcium. Proteins are also abundantly present in Shawarma recipes. The dish also contains carbohydrates, dietary fiber, fats, sugar and cholesterol and depending on the recipe, the calorie yielded by Shawarma can range between 60 and 600.

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