Tag Archives: Food

Is it necessary to have sugar?

Most of us label sugar as the biggest evil today. We try our best to eliminate it from our diets and feel guilty whenever we ocassionally give in. But did it ever occur to you if these white crystals that were once an inseparable part of our daily diets, may not be that big an evil as they are touted to be? Well, the question did occur to us and we started digging further...

It is surprised to know that World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends having 6-12 teaspoons of sugar every day, much contrary to what most nutritionists and health experts believe.

Let us first distinguish between different kinds of sugars, artificial sweeteners, sugarcane extracted crystallized sugar and natural sugars (sugar we get from our foods and fruits).

Crystallized sugar: This is the sugar we consume on a daily basis. We add a spoonful in our milk, tea, coffee, desserts and often foods like dals and subzis.

Artificial sweeteners: These are sweeteners like stevia, saccharin, sucrose and aspartame, most commonly renamed as “sugar-free” substitutes for dietary sugar.

Natural sugars: All vegetables, seeds, fruits have natural sugar content in them. These vary from food to food and are often the safest kind of sugar to be consumed.

We most commonly consume sugar which comes from Sugarcane or Beetroot is actually beneficial for us.

However, the processed and packaged foods which contain sugar extracted from high fructose corn syrup, is the dangerous kind and should be avoided as much as possible.

According to maney nutritionist we don’t require sugar. “Our body processes glucose from sugar but the same glucose can be extracted from starch, protein and fats that we consume, when required by the body. One should focus on including high fiber diet, which has complex carbohydrates.”

The theory of not consuming sugar has been given in many diets such as GM diet to reduce weight. But this negatively affects our body since our body needs glucose to generate energy.

Sources: The Times Of India

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Hilsa fish

Botanical Name: Tenualosa ilisha
Family: Clupeidae
Subfamily:Alosinae
Genus: Tenualosa
Species: T. ilisha
Kingdom:Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii
Order: Clupeiformes

Synonyms:
*Clupanodon ilisha Hamilton, 1822
*Clupea ilisha (Hamilton, 1822)
*Hilsa ilisha (Hamilton, 1822)
*Macrura ilisha (Hamilton, 1822)
*Tenualosa illisha (Hamilton, 1822)
*Tenualosa illsha (Hamilton, 1822)
*Clupea palasah Cuvier, 1829

Common Names: ilish, hilsa, hilsa herring or hilsa shad

Other Names: Ellis, palla fish, hilsha etc. Bengali: ilish, Gujarati: Modar or Palva, Odia: Sindh?: pallu machhi, Telugu: pulasa or polasa : Tamil – ‘Ullam’. The ilish word is also used in India’s Assamese, Bengali-, Odia- and Telugu-speaking regions and in Pakistan’s Sindh province. In Iraq it is Called Sboor In Malaysia and Indonesia, it is commonly known as terubuk. Due to its unique features of oily and tender, some Malays call it TERUBUK UMNO.
Description:
Hilsa fish is a species of fish in the herring family (Clupeidae), and a popular food fish in South Asia. The fish contributes about 12% of the total fish production and about 1% of GDP in Bangladesh. About 450,000 people are directly involved with the catching for livelihood; around four to five million people are indirectly involved with the trade. It is also the national fish of Bangladesh.

The fish is marine; freshwater; brackish; pelagic-neritic; anadromous; depth range ? – 200 m. Within a tropical range; 34°N – 5°N, 42°E – 97°E in marine and freshwater. It can grow up to 60 cm in length with weights of up to 3 kg. It is found in rivers and estuaries in Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, Burma and the Persian Gulf area where it can be found in the Tigris and Euphrates rivers in and around Iran and Iraq. It has no dorsal spines but 18 – 21 dorsal soft rays and anal soft rays. The belly has 30 to 33 scutes. There is a distinct median notch in upper jaw. Gill rakers fine and numerous, about 100 to 250 on lower part of arch and the fins are hyaline. The fish shows a dark blotch behind gill opening, followed by a series of small spots along the flank in juveniles. Color in life, silver shot with gold and purple. The species filter feeds on plankton and by grubbing muddy bottoms. The fish schools in coastal waters and ascends up the rivers (anadromous) for around 50 – 100 km to spawn during the South West monsoons (June to September) and also in January to April . April is the most fertile month for breeding of ilish. The young fish returning to the sea are known in Bangladesh as jatka, which includes any ilish fish up to 9 inches long.

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As food:
The fish is popular food amongst the people of South Asia and in the Middle East, but especially with Bengalis. It is the national fish of Bangladesh. Bengali fish curry is a popular dish made with mustard oil or seed. It is also popular in India, especially West Bengal, Odisha, Tripura, Assam, Andhra Pradesh and Southern Gujarat and in Mizoram and it is also exported globally.

In North America (where ilish is not always readily available) other shad fish are sometimes used as an ilish substitute, especially in Bengali cuisine. This typically occurs near the East coast of North America, where fresh shad fish having similar taste can be found.

In Bangladesh, fish are caught in the Padma-Meghna-Jamuna delta, which flows into the Bay of Bengal and Meghna (lower Brahmaputra), and Jamuna rivers. In India, the Rupnarayan (which has the Kolaghater Ilish), Ganges, Mahanadi, Chilka Lake, Narmada and Godavari rivers are also famous. In Pakistan, fish are caught in the Indus River. They are also caught in the sea, but some consider the marine stage of the fish as not so tasty. The fish has very sharp and tough bones, making it problematic to eat for some.

Ilish is an oily fish rich in omega 3 fatty acids. Recent experiments have shown its beneficial effects in decreasing cholesterol level in rats [9] and insulin level.

In Bengal, ilish can be smoked, fried, steamed, baked in young plantain leaves, prepared with mustard seed paste, curd, begun (eggplant), different condiments like jira(cumin) and so on. It is said that people can cook ilish in more than 50 ways. Ilish roe is also popular as a side dish. Ilish can be cooked in very little oil since the fish itself is very oily.
Food Value:
All figures below are expressed per 100g edible portion.

ENENGY:
Energy (Calories)……262 Kcals/Calories
Energy (Kilojoules)…..1088 KJ
Water…………….53.7 g
Nitrogen……..3.49 g
Protein………21.8 g
Fat……………19.4 g
Carbohydrates…….0.0 g
Starch……….0.0 g
Sugar…………0.0 g
Fibre………….0.0 g

Health benefits :

Research has shown that eating fish and shellfish regularly is beneficial to our bodies in many ways; here are ten great reasons to introduce a little more seafood into your diet.

1. Great for your heart

It’s no coincidence that fish-eating Inuit populations in the Arctic have low levels of heart disease; seafood is low in saturated fat and high in omega-3, (which can both) protect the heart from disease and lower the amount of cholesterol in the blood. One study has even suggested that an extra portion of fish every week can cut risk of heart disease in half.

2. Clearing the vessels

Eating fish can improve your circulation and reduce the risk of thrombosis. The EPA and DHA – omega-3 oils – in seafood can save your body from having to produce eicosanoids, a hormone-like substance which can make you more likely to suffer from blood clots and inflammation.

3. Joint benefits:

Eating fish as a regular part of a balanced diet has been shown to ease the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis, a condition which causes the joins to swell up. Recent research has also found a link between omega-3 fats and osteoarthritis, suggesting that eating more seafood could help to prevent the disease.

4. The eyes have it:

Eating oil-rich fish regularly can help to keep the eyes bright and healthy. A recent study has suggested that omega-3 fatty acids can help to protect the eyesight of those suffering from age-related macular degeneration (AMD), a condition which causes the retina to degenerate and the eyesight to become blurred. Fish and shellfish also contain retinol, a form of vitamin A which boosts night vision.

5. Essential nutrients:

Seafood provides the body with many essential nutrients which keep us running smoothly, including iodine, selenium, zinc and potassium. Iodine is important for the thyroid gland, and selenium makes enzymes which can help to protect us from cancer. Fish and shellfish are also excellent sources of many vitamins, including vitamins A and D.

6. Take a deep breath:

A number of studies have indicated that fish and shellfish may help to protect our lungs. Not only can seafood relieve the symptoms of asthma in children, but it has shown signs of preventing it. Eating a lot of fish can also keep your lungs stronger and healthier as you age in comparison to those who don’t eat a lot of fish.

7. Brighten your outlook:

Seafood may also play a large part in preventing depression; research has highlighted links between low omega-3 levels and a higher risk of depression. Seafood could also help us to avoid Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) and post-natal depression.

8. Your skin looks great:

Not only does omega-3 help to protect the skin from the harmful effects of the UV damage, but eating lots of fish can also help with the symptoms of skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis. Fish is also a great source of protein, which is an essential ingredient of collagen, a substance which keeps the skin firm and flexible.

9. Good for down below:

Evidence suggests that a diet rich in fish oils can help to protect us against serious inflammatory bowel diseases (BD) including Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. There is also evidence to suggest that omega-3 could help to slow the progression of inflammatory bowel disease in some sufferers.

10. Boost your brainpower:

The human brain is almost 60% fat, with much of this being omega-3 fat. Probably for this reason, research has indicated that people who eat plenty of seafood are less likely to suffer dementia and memory problems in later life. DHA, an omega-3 fat found in seafood, has also been linked to improvements in children’s concentration, reading skills, behaviour, and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).

Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

Resources:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ilish
http://sunsamayal.com/samayal/index.php/en/??????/health-benefits-and-minerals/2084-hilsa-fish-health-benefits-and-nutrition-facts.html

Allium moly

Botanical Name : Allium moly
Family: Amaryllidaceae
Subfamily: Allioideae
Tribe: Allieae
Genus: Allium
Species: A. moly
Order: Asparagales

Synonyms:
*Cepa moly (L.) Moench
*Kalabotis moly (L.) Raf.
*Molyza moly (L.) Salisb.
*Nectaroscordum moly (L.) Galasso & Banfi
*Allium aureum Lam.
*Allium flavum Salisb. 1796, illegitimate homonym not L. 1753
*Allium moly var. bulbilliferum Rouy

Common Names: Golden Garlic, Ornamental Onion, Lily leek
Habitat : Allium moly is native to Europe – Mediterranean in south-western Europe and northern Africa. It grows on shady rocks and screes in mountains. Limestone rubble.

Description:
Allium moly is a BULB growing to 0.3 m (1ft) by 0.1 m (0ft 4in) at a fast rate. It is a vigorous little allium bearing dense clusters of star-shaped, golden yellow flowers from late spring. Neat clumps of grey-green, strap-like foliage are quick to establish and will rapidly spread to naturalize beneath shrubs and throughout woodland areas. Allium moly is easy to grow, needing little attention throughout the season. Bulb size 4/5. Height: 15cm (6″) Spread: 5cm (2″).

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It is not frost tender. It is in flower from Jun to July, and the seeds ripen from Jul to August. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees, insects.Suitable for: light (sandy) and medium (loamy) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers dry or moist soil and can tolerate drought.

Cultivation:
Landscape Uses:Border, Container, Foundation, Massing, Rock garden, Woodland garden. An easily grown plant, preferring a sunny position in a light well-drained soil. Established plants are fairly drought tolerant. The bulbs should be planted fairly deeply. The dormant bulbs are fairly hardy and will withstand soil temperatures down to at least -10°c. There are some named forms selected for their ornamental value. The flowers are softly scented. Some forms of this species, especially A. moly bulbiferum, produce bulbils in the flowering head and can be invasive. The species type is sometimes considered to be invasive, though it has not proved so with most people. It is useful for naturalising between shrubs and grows well at the base of a beech hedge in a wet garden. Grows well with most plants, especially roses, carrots, beet and chamomile, but it inhibits the growth of legumes. It is a bad companion for alfalfa, each species negatively affecting the other. Members of this genus are rarely if ever troubled by browsing deer. Special Features:Not North American native, Naturalizing, Attracts butterflies, Suitable for dried flowers.
Propagation:
Seed – sow spring in a cold frame. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle – if you want to produce clumps more quickly then put three plants in each pot. Grow them on in the greenhouse for at least their first winter and plant them out into their permanent positions in spring once they are growing vigorously and are large enough. Division in spring. Very easy, the plants divide successfully at any time in the growing season and the divisions can be planted straight out into their permanent positions if required. Plants sometimes produces bulbils, these can be potted up as soon as they are ripe and planted out in late spring.
Edible Uses:

Bulb – raw or cooked. A pleasant mild garlic flavour, when sliced it makes a very nice addition to salads and can also be used as a flavouring in cooked foods. The bulbs are about 25mm in diameter. Leaves – raw or cooked. Flowers – raw. The yellow flowers make an attractive garnish on salads and have a pleasant onion flavour.

Medicinal Uses:
Although no specific mention of medicinal uses has been seen for this species, members of this genus are in general very healthy additions to the diet. They contain sulphur compounds (which give them their onion flavour) and when added to the diet on a regular basis they help reduce blood cholesterol levels, act as a tonic to the digestive system and also tonify the circulatory system.
Other Uses:
Repellent.

The juice of the plant is used as a moth repellent. The whole plant is said to repel insects and moles

Knwn Hazards: Although no individual reports regarding this species have been seen, there have been cases of poisoning caused by the consumption, in large quantities and by some mammals, of certain members of this genus. Dogs seem to be particularly susceptible

Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

Resources:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Allium_moly
http://www.thompson-morgan.com/flowers/flower-bulbs/allium-bulbs/allium-moly/t11408bTM

Taraxacum mongolicum

Botanical Name : Taraxacum mongolicum
Family: Asteraceae
Subfamily: Cichorioideae
Tribe: Cichorieae
Subtribe: Crepidinae
Genus: Taraxacum
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Asterales

Common Name: Dandelion

Habitat: Taraxacum mongolicum is native to E. Asia – China. It grows on the village outskirts, embankments and damp roadsides.

Description:

Taraxacum mongolicum is a perennial herb, which is usually from 10 to 25cm. The whole plant, covered with sparse white soft hairs, contains white milk. Deep-rooted dandelion root is with a single yellow-brown branch that is from 3 to 5cm in diameter. Radicicolous leaves arrange into a rosette; both sides of petiole base expand into sheath; lion’s teeth like leaf blade is linear-lanceolate, oblanceolate, or obovate, 6 to 15cm long, 2 to 3.5cm wide, and with acute or obtuse apex, narrow base, and lobed or irregularly pinnately divided margin. Single apical capitulum is full of bisexual ray florets; multilayer bracts are ovate-lanceolate; receptacle is flat; corolla is yellow, often divided, and with truncated apex; stamens are 5; pistil is 1, and with inferior ovary, slender style, 2-lobed stigma, and short hair. Achenes are oblanceolate, 4 to 5mm long, about 1.5mm wide, with vertical edges connected to stripes, spines, 8 to 10mm beaks at the top of the fruit, and about 7mm white pappus. Bloom time is from April to May and fruiting time is from June to July.

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The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects.The plant is self-fertile.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil.
Cultivation:
We have very little information on this species and do not know if it will be hardy in Britain, though judging by its native range it should succeed outdoors in many parts of the country. The following notes are based on the general needs of the genus. Prefers a well-drained humus-rich soil in full sun or light shade. Many species in this genus produce their seed apomictically. This is an asexual method of seed production where each seed is genetically identical to the parent plant. Occasionally seed is produced sexually, the resulting seedlings are somewhat different to the parent plants and if these plants are sufficiently distinct from the parents and then produce apomictic seedlings these seedlings are, in theory at least, a new species.
Propagation:
Seed – sow spring in a cold frame and either surface-sow or only just cover the seed. Make sure the compost does not dry out. Germination should take place within 2 weeks. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle, choosing relatively deep pots to accommodate the tap root. Plant them out in early summer. Division in early spring as the plant comes into growth.

Edible Uses:
Edible Parts: Flowers; Leaves; Root.

Young leaves – raw or cooked. The following uses are also probably applicable to this species, though we have no records for them[K] Root – cooked. Flowers – raw or cooked. The unopened flower buds can be used in fritters. The whole plant is dried and used as a tea. A pleasant tea is made from the flowers. The leaves and the roots can also be used to make tea. The root is dried and roasted to make a coffee substitute.
Medicinal Uses:

Antibacterial; Cancer; Cholagogue; Decongestant; Depurative; Diuretic; Febrifuge; Galactogogue;
Hepatic; Laxative; Stomachic.

The whole plant is antibacterial, cholagogue, decongestant, depurative, diuretic, febrifuge, galactogogue, laxative and stomachic. The plant has an antibacterial action, inhibiting the growth of Staphylococcus aureus, Pneumococci, Meningococci, Bacillus dysenteriae, B. typhi, C. diphtheriae, Proteus etc. A decoction is used in treating abscesses, appendicitis, boils, liver problems, stomach disorders etc. It has been used for over 1,000 years by the Chinese in treating breast cancer and other disorders of the breasts including poor milk flow. The stem has been used in the treatment of cancer.

1. Its decoction or water extract has a strong inhibitory effect on Staphylococcus aureus, hemolytic streptococcus bacteria, and Moraxella catarrhalis. Besides, it also has a certain inhibition on pneumococcus, meningococcus, diphtheria bacilli, Shigella, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, leptospira, and so on;
2. It has a synergistic effect with TMP (Trimethoprim);
3. It promotes the flow of bile from the gall bladder into the duodenum, protects liver, resists endotoxin, and increases secretion of urine. And it has a better cholagogic effect than capillaris decoction;
4. Its water extract of the aerial parts has anti-tumor effect;
5. In vitro tests suggested that it could stimulate the body’s immune function;
6. Its leaves can ease blocked milk ducts in breastfeeding and promote and lactation.
Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.
Resources:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taraxacum
http://www.pfaf.org/User/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Taraxacum+mongolicum

Dandelion (Pu Gong Ying)

Prunus cerasoides

Botanical Name : Prunus cerasoides
Family: Rosaceae
Genus: Prunus
Subgenus: Cerasus
Species: P. cerasoides
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Rosales

Synonyms:
*Prunus majestica Koehne
*Prunus puddum Franch.

Common Names: Wild Himalayan cherry or Sour cherry

Habitat : Prunus cerasoides is native to E. Asia – Himalayas from Himachel Pradesh to S.W. China and Burma. It grows in the forests, 1200 – 2400 metres. Forests in ravines at elevations of 700 – 3700 metres in western China.
Description:
Prunus cerasoides is a deciduous Tree growing to 30 m (98ft 5in). It has glossy, ringed bark. When the tree is not in flower, it is characterised by glossy, ringed bark and long, dentate stipules.

The tree flowers in autumn and winter. Flowers are pinkish white in color. It has ovoid yellow fruit that turns red as it ripens.

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The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects.Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil.
Cultivation:
Thrives in a well-drained moisture-retentive loamy soil. Prefers some lime in the soil but is likely to become chlorotic if too much lime is present. Requires an open sunny sheltered position. Not very hardy in Britain but it succeeds outdoors in the milder areas of the country. Most members of this genus are shallow-rooted and will produce suckers if the roots are damaged. Plants in this genus are notably susceptible to honey fungus.
Propagation:
Seed – requires 2 – 3 months cold stratification and is best sown in a cold frame as soon as it is ripe. Sow stored seed in a cold frame as early in the year as possible. Protect the seed from mice etc. The seed can be rather slow, sometimes taking 18 months to germinate. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle. Grow them on in a greenhouse or cold frame for their first winter and plant them out in late spring or early summer of the following year. Cuttings of half-ripe wood with a heel, July/August in a frame. Softwood cuttings from strongly growing plants in spring to early summer in a frame. Layering in spring.
Edible Uses:
Edible Parts: Fruit; Seed.

Fruit – raw or cooked. Acid and astringent, they are only occasionally eaten raw but are more often cooked. The fruit is about 15mm in diameter and contains one large seed. Gum – chewed. Obtained from the trunk, it can be employed as a substitute for gum tragacanth, see Astragalus spp. Seed – raw or cooked. Do not eat the seed if it is too bitter – see the notes below on toxicity.

Medicinal Uses:
The fruit is astringent. The juice of the bark is applied externally to treat backaches. Although no specific mention has been seen for this species, all members of the genus contain amygdalin and prunasin, substances which break down in water to form hydrocyanic acid (cyanide or prussic acid). In small amounts this exceedingly poisonous compound stimulates respiration, improves digestion and gives a sense of well-being.
Other Uses:
Beads; Dye; Gum; Wood.

A green dye can be obtained from the leaves. A dark grey to green dye can be obtained from the fruit. The seeds are used as beads in necklaces and rosaries. Wood – moderately hard, strong, durable, aromatic. The branches are used as walking sticks
Known Hazards: Although no specific mention has been seen for this species, it belongs to a genus where most, if not all members of the genus produce hydrogen cyanide, a poison that gives almonds their characteristic flavour. This toxin is found mainly in the leaves and seed and is readily detected by its bitter taste. It is usually present in too small a quantity to do any harm but any very bitter seed or fruit should not be eaten. In small quantities, hydrogen cyanide has been shown to stimulate respiration and improve digestion, it is also claimed to be of benefit in the treatment of cancer. In excess, however, it can cause respiratory failure and even death.
Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.
Resources:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prunus_cerasoides
http://www.pfaf.org/User/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Prunus+cerasoides