Tag Archives: Casserole

Some Health Problems & Solutions

ACNE:
________

Q: I have very bad acne and I have tried, unsuccessfully, all kinds of treatment for it. I was told to try zinc supplements.

A: Zinc does improve acne in some people. You are likely to be deficient if you are a vegetarian. The phytates in vegetables interfere with the absorption of zinc. You could start with 10-15 mg supplements and see if you improve in a month or so. Higher doses are likely to cause nausea.

HAIRY GIRL :
_______________

Q: My one-year-old daughter is very hairy. She was born like that.

A: It may be a genetically inherited condition called “congenital hypertrichosis” which basically means being born with too much hair. For the first two years the hair increases and may become darker. It then spontaneously decreases and can disappear during adolescence. It can also be due to hormonal imbalances, steroids, or thyroid malfunction. You can rule these out with blood tests.

SKIN TAGS:
______________

Q: I have a few skin tags in my armpit. Are they cancerous?

A: Skin tags are harmless. They are likely to appear if you are an older person, diabetic or pregnant. They can be left alone. They are not cancerous. They need to be removed if they get snagged on clothing. It is better to get them removed by a doctor rather than trying to remove them yourself.

FIT ATTEND COLLEGE:
_____________________

Q: I have seizures. Now that I am going to college I have to stay away from home. I am a bit anxious.

A: Epilepsy is not a constraint against higher education. To stay safe, inform your room mates and hostel warden about your condition. Make sure you take your medications on time. Carry them in your bag if necessary. Do not miss or delay doses. Do not drive bikes or cars. Do not drink alcohol. If you follow all this you should be safe.

EATING EGGS:
________________

Q: Will eating eggs raise my cholesterol levels?

A: Eggs contain cholesterol but eating an egg a day is unlikely to cause much harm. Your cholesterol is more likely to rise from transfats found in snacks and fast food and lack of exercise.

DIET DEETS:
_______________

Q: I want to start a 800 calorie diet to loose weight. I have been working with a dietician. Are there any side effects?

A:You should first have a medical check up to make sure you do not have any other diseases. Very low calorie diets can help with weight loss initially, but they usually cannot be sustained in the long term. Once you return to a normal diet, the weight may creep up again. Side effects are fatigue, nausea, constipation diarrhoea and sometimes gall stones.
Sources: The Telegraph (Kolkata, India)

Vanilla planiforlia

Botanical Name : Vanilla planiforlia
Family: Orchidaceae
Subfamily: Vanilloideae
Tribes: Vanilleae
Class: Equisetopsida
Subclass: Magnoliidae
Superorder: Lilianae
Order: Asparagales
Genus: Vanilla
Species: Vanilla planifolia

Synonyms: Vanilla planifolia Jacks, Notylia planifolia

Common name: Vanilla
Habitat:Vanilla planiforlia is native to Mexico and Central America. It grows in the tropical forests.
Description:
Vanilla planifolia is a tropical vine, which can reach a length of over 30 m. It has thick, fleshy stems and greenish flowers that open early in the morning and are pollinated by bees. The flowers have only a slight scent, with no element of the vanilla flavour or aroma. Once pollinated, the ovaries swell and develop into fruits called ‘pods’ similar to long, thin runner beans over a period of four weeks. The pods contain thousands of tiny black seeds.
CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES :

Cultivation:
Chris Ryan of Kew’s Tropical Nursery has found that propagation of this orchid is relatively straightforward and is usually done from stem cuttings.

A piece of stem is taken, with a minimum of three sets of leaves. The cutting is placed on sphagnum moss and kept damp in a warm and humid environment until new growth starts from one of the nodes. The cuttings are then planted into hanging baskets, using a compost mix made of three parts bark chips, two parts pumice and one part charcoal. The compost is watered only when it dries out, but the aerial roots are misted once a day.

The plants are kept in a warm zone of the nursery, with a minimum winter temperature of 18?C, and shaded when necessary. When the plants become large they require some support due to their climbing habit. Flowering can be induced by tip-pruning established plants, which promotes flowering on lateral shoots.

Edible Uses:The tiny seeds, whole fruit, powder or fruit extract of vanilla are used as flavouring agents in food, particularly in confectionery and sweet foods, sometimes to reduce the amount of sugar necessary to sweeten food.

Medicinal Uses:
Vanilla is used medicinally as an aphrodisiac, as a stimulant, and to relieve fevers and gastric complaints, although there is no scientific evidence for its effectiveness in these cases. In the 16th and 17th centuries vanilla was believed to have various medicinal properties and was used as a stomach herb, a stimulant and aphrodisiac and an antidote to poisons. It was first included in European pharmacopoeias in the 18th century and was listed in the British and American ones for many years. It acts on the nervous system and used to be used to treat hysteria and high fevers.

Research has shown that vanillin, the main flavour molecule in vanilla, does have antimicrobial and antioxidant activities.
Other Uses:
Vanilla is among the most important ingredients in perfumery.

Vanilla: Essence and aroma

The mature, unripe fruits have no flavour when they are harvested. The aroma and flavour of vanilla are released when the fruit is dried and cured by steaming and fermentation. The finest quality vanilla pods turn dark brown and accumulate a frosting of glucose and vanillin on the surface during fermentation.

Vanillin was first synthesised in 1874 from a compound extracted from pine bark, and then in 1891 from a different compound extracted from cloves, and is widely used as a synthetic substitute for natural vanilla. The ‘vanilla essence‘ commonly used today is synthesised from wood pulp as a by-product of paper-making and from coal-tar (toluene). However, the characteristic aroma and flavour of natural vanilla comprises a cocktail of over 200 different molecules.
Known Hazards: Vanilla may cause allergic responses when applied topically or taken internally. ‘Vanillism’ is a condition sometimes experienced by workers handling vanilla, the symptoms of which are headache, dermatitis and insomnia.

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://species.wikimedia.org/wiki/Vanilla_planifolia
http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_UZ.htm
http://www.kew.org/science-conservation/plants-fungi/vanilla-planifolia-vanilla

Chickpea

Botanical Name: Cicer arietinum
Family: Fabaceae
Genus: Cicer
Species: C. arietinum
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Fabales

Synonyms:
*Cicer album hort.
*Cicer arientinium L
*Cicer arientinum L.
*Cicer edessanum Bornm.
*Cicer grossum Salisb.
*Cicer nigrum hort.
*Cicer physodes Rchb.
*Cicer rotundum Alef.
*Cicer sativum Schkuhr
*Cicer sintenisii Bornm.
Common Names: Chickpea or chick pea, Gram, or Bengal gram, Garbanzo or Garbanzo bean, Egyptian pea, ceci, Cece or Chana or Kabuli Chana (particularly in northern India).

Habitat: Chiekpea is native to Asia. It is grown in cultivated beds. It is one of the earliest cultivated legumes: 7,500-year-old remains have been found in the Middle East

Description:
Chickpea is an annuak plant. It grows to between 20–50 cm (8–20 inches) high and has small feathery leaves on either side of the stem. Chickpeas are a type of pulse, with one seedpod containing two or three peas. It has white flowers with blue, violet or pink veins. It is not frost tender. It is in flower from Jun to July, and the seeds ripen from Aug to September. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs)It can fix Nitrogen.

CLICK & SEE..>…..Chickpea Plant .…...Chickpea  

Types:
There are three main kinds of chickpea.
Desi has small, darker seeds and a rough coat. It is grown mostly in India and other parts of the Indian subcontinent, as well as in Ethiopia, Mexico, and Iran. Desi means ‘country’ or ‘local’ in Hindustani; its other names include Bengal gram or kala chana (“black chickpea” in both Hindi and Urdu) or chhola boot. Desi is probably the earliest variety because it closely resembles seeds found both on archaeological sites and the wild plant ancestor Cicer reticulatum of domesticated chickpeas, which only grows in southeast Turkey, where it is believed to have originated. Desi chickpeas have a markedly higher fibre content than other varieties, and hence a very low glycemic index, which may make them suitable for people with blood sugar problems. The desi type is used to make chana dal, which is a split chickpea with the skin removed.

Bombay chickpeas (Bambai) are also dark but slightly larger than desi. They too are popular in the Indian subcontinent.

Kabuli are lighter-coloured, larger and with a smoother coat, and are mainly grown in the Mediterranean, Southern Europe, Northern Africa, South America and Indian subcontinent. The name means “from Kabul” in Hindi and Urdu, and this variety was thought to come from Kabul, Afghanistan when it was introduced to India in the 18th century. It is called Kabuli chana in Marathi and safed chana in India.

An uncommon black chickpea, ceci neri, is grown only in Apulia, in southeastern Italy. It is larger and darker than the desi variety.

Green chickpeas are common in the state of Maharastra, India. In Marathi, they are called harbhara. Chana dal is also called harbara dal . Tender, immature harbara roasted on coal before the skin is removed is called hula in Marathi.
Cultivation:
Requires a hot sunny position, tolerating drought once established. Prefers a light well-drained fertile soil. Tolerates a pH in the range 5.5 to 8.6. Plants are hardy to about -25°c when covered by snow. This suggests that plants can be autumn sown – some trials are called for, especially of some of the hardier cultivars. The chickpea is widely cultivated in warm temperate and tropical areas for its edible seed. There are many named varieties, some of which should be suitable for cultivation in Britain. Plants only succeed outdoors in Britain in hot summers. Plants are about as hardy as broad beans but they often do not succeed in mild moist maritime climates because the seedpods are hairy and this holds moisture. The moisture then encourages fungal growth and the seed usually rots before it is fully mature. Plants require 4 – 6 months with moderately warm dry conditions if they are to crop well. This species has a symbiotic relationship with certain soil bacteria, these bacteria form nodules on the roots and fix atmospheric nitrogen. Some of this nitrogen is utilized by the growing plant but some can also be used by other plants growing nearby. When removing plant remains at the end of the growing season, it is best to only remove the aerial parts of the plant, leaving the roots in the ground to decay and release their nitrogen.

Propagation:
Seed – sow April/May in situ under cloches. Chick peas can germinate at lower temperatures than broad beans. Could an early spring or even autumn sowing outdoors be successful

Edible Uses :
Edible Parts: Leaves; Seed; Seedpod.
Edible Uses: Coffee; Drink.

Seed – raw or cooked. The fresh or dried seed is cooked in soups, stews etc. It has a somewhat sweet flavour and a floury texture somewhat reminiscent of sweet chestnuts. The mature seed can also be sprouted and eaten raw. Parched seeds can be eaten as a snack. The seed can also be ground into a meal and used with cereal flours for making bread, cakes etc. The seed is a good source of carbohydrates and protein. The roasted seed is a coffee substitute. The roasted root can also be used. Both the young seedpods and the young shoots are said to be edible but some caution is advised. See the notes above on toxicity. A refreshing drink can be made from the acid dew that collects on the hairy seedpods overnight.

Nutrition:
Chickpeas are a nutrient-dense food, providing rich content (> 20% of the Daily Value, DV) of protein, dietary fibre, folate, and certain dietary minerals such as iron and phosphorus. Thiamin, vitamin B6, magnesium and zinc contents are moderate, providing 10-16 percent of the DV (right table). Chickpeas have a Protein Digestibility Corrected Amino Acid Score of about 76 percent, which is higher than fruits, vegetables, many other legumes, and cereals.

Compared to reference levels established by the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization and World Health Organization,[20] proteins in cooked and germinated chickpeas are rich in essential amino acids like lysine, isoleucine, tryptophan and total aromatic amino acids.

A 100 g serving of cooked chickpeas provides 164 kilocalories (690 kJ) (see table). Carbohydrates make up 68 percent of calories, most of which (84 percent) is starch, followed by total sugars and dietary fibre. Lipid content is 3 percent, 75 percent of which is unsaturated fatty acids for which linoleic acid comprises 43 percent of total fat

Medicinal Uses: An acid exudation from the seedpods is astringent. It has been used in the treatment of dyspepsia, constipation and snakebite

Other Uses: Animal feed:
Chickpeas serve as an energy and protein source not only in human nutrition but also as animal feed.
Resources:
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Cicer+arietinum
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chickpea

Artichoke

Botanical Name:Cynara Scolymus
Family:Asteraceae
Tribe:Cynareae
Genus:Cynara
Species: C. scolymus
Kingdom: Plantae
Order:Asterales

Common Name : Artichoke, Globe Artichoke

Habitat: Artichoke native to the Mediterranean region. Both wild forms and cultivated varieties (cultivars) exist.

Description:  The Globe Artichoke (Cynara scolymus) is a perennial thistle originating in southern Europe around the Mediterranean. It grows to 1.5-2 m tall, with arching, deeply lobed, silvery glaucous-green leaves 50  to 80 cm long. The flowers develop in a large head from an edible bud about 8 to 15 cm diameter with numerous triangular scales; the individual florets are purple. The edible portion of the buds consists primarily of the fleshy lower portions of the involucral bracts and the base, known as the “heart”; the mass of inedible immature florets in the center of the bud are called the “choke.”

.click to see the pictures…....(01)...(1)…....(2).……...(3).…..…(4)..…....(5)..…...

A globe artichoke is a partially edible perennial thistle originating in southern Europe around the Mediterranean.

Artichoke may also refer to:

Jerusalem artichoke, a species of sunflower
Chinese artichoke, a species of woundwort
Project ARTICHOKE, a CIA operation
PH Artichoke, a designer Light fixture

Artichoke, Cardoon

Cultivation:
Globe Artichokes were first cultivated at Naples around the middle of the 9th century, and are said to have been introduced to France by Catherine de’ Medici, Dutch introduced artichokes to England, where they were growing in Henry VIII’s garden at Newhall in 1530. They were introduced to the United States in the 19th century, to Louisiana by French immigrants and to California by Spanish immigrants. The name has originated from ardi shauki , which is Arabic for ground-thorn, through the Italian, articiocco.

An artichoke flower.Today, the Globe Artichoke cultivation is concentrated in the contries bordering the Mediterranean basin. The main producers are Italy, Spain, and France. In the United States, California provides nearly 100% of the U.S. crop, and approximately 80 percent of that is grown in Monterey County; there, Castroville proclaims itself to be “The Artichoke Center of the World”. The cultivar ‘Green Globe‘ is virtually the only kind grown commercially in the U.S.

Artichokes can be produced from seeds or from perennials. Perennials produce the edible flower only during the second and subsequent year, while varieties from seeds can be annual. Commercial culture is limited to warm areas in USDA hardiness zone 7 and above. It requires good soil, regular watering and feeding plus frost protection in winter. Rooted suckers can be planted each year so that mature specimens can be disposed of after a few years, as each individual plant only lives a few years. The peak season for artichoke harvesting is the spring, but they continue to be harvested throughout the summer, with another peak period in mid autumn.

When harvesting, if they are cut from the ground so as to leave an inch or two of stem, artichokes possess good keeping qualities, frequently remaining quite fresh for two weeks or longer under average retail conditions.

The recently introduced hybrid cultivar ‘Imperial Star’ has been bred to produce in the first year without such measures. An even newer cultivar, ‘Northern Star’, is said to be able to overwinter in more northerly climates, and readily survive sub-zero temperatures. A second generation of new hybrid cultivars were bred during the last decade, much more homogeneous and stable than the former and more suitable for professional growers.

Apart from food use, the Globe Artichoke is also an attractive plant for its bright floral display, sometimes grown in herbaceous borders for its bold foliage and large purple flowerheads.

Varieties
Traditionally, globe artichoke has been grown by vegetative propagation of suckers, although seed planted cultivars has been introduced in the latest years.

Traditional cultivars (Vegetative multiplication):
Green color, large size: Camus de Bretagne, Castel, Blanc Hyerois (France), Green globe (USA).
Green color, medium size: Blanca de Tudela (Spain), Argentina, Española (Chile), Blanc d’Oran (Algeria), Sakiz, Bayrampsha (Turkey).
Purple color, large size: Romanesco, C3 (Italy).
Purple color, medium size: Violet de Provence (France), Brindisino, Catanese (Italy), Violet d’Algerie (Algeria), Baladi (Egypt).
Spined: Spinoso sardo (Italy), Criolla (Peru).
Varieties multipled by seeds:

Edible  Uses:

Cooking
Whole Globe Artichokes are prepared for cooking by removing all but 5-10 mm or so of the stem, and (optionally) cutting away about a quarter of each scale with scissors. This removes the thorns that can interfere with handling the leaves when eating. Then, the artichoke is boiled or steamed until tender, about 15-45 minutes. If boiling, salt can be added to the water, if desired. It may be preferable not to cover the pot while the artichokes are boiled, so that the acids will boil out into the air. Covered artichokes can turn brown due to the acids and chlorophyll oxidation.

The leaves are often removed and eaten one at a time, sometimes dipped in butter, mayonnaise, aioli, or other sauces.


Tea

Artichokes can also be made into an herbal tea; artichoke tea is produced as a commercial product in the Dalat region of Vietnam.photo.

Liquor
Artichoke is the primary flavor of the Italian liquor Cynar.

Medical uses:
The total antioxidant capacity of artichoke flower heads is one of the highest reported for vegetables. Cynarine is a chemical constituent in Cynara. The majority of the cynarine found in artichoke is located in the pulp of the leaves, though dried leaves and stems of artichoke also contain it. It inhibits taste receptors, making water (and other foods and drinks) seem sweet.

Studies have shown artichoke to aid digestion, liver function and gallbladder function, and raise the ratio of HDL to LDL. This reduces cholesterol levels, which diminishes the risk for arteriosclerosis and coronary heart disease. Aqueous extracts from artichoke leaves have also been shown to reduce cholesterol by inhibiting HMG-CoA reductase and having a hypolipidemic influence, lowering blood cholesterol. Artichoke contains the bioactive agents apigenin and luteolin. C. scolymus also seems to have a bifidogenic effect on beneficial gut bacteria. Its effect in arresting pathogenic bacteria may be attributed to the notable presence of phenolic compounds. Both are higher in the baby anzio artichoke (Cyrnara scolymus). Artichoke leaf extract has proved helpful for patients with functional dyspepsia, and may ameliorate symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome

Artichoke leaves contain a wide number of active constituents, including cynarin,1,3 dicaffeoylquinic acid, 3-caffeoylquinic acid, and scolymoside. The choleretic (bile stimulating) action of the plant has been well documented.In an un controll clinical trial it is observed that 320 -640 mg of stadardized artichoke extract taken three times per day can reduce nausea,abdominal pain, constipation,and flatulence .

The standard extract has been used to treat high cholesterol and triglycerides.

Studies have shown that blood cholesterol levels dropped after eating artichoke.  An anticholesterol drug called cynara is derived from this plant.  In 1940, a study in Japan showed that artichoke not only reduced cholesterol but it also increased bile production by the liver and worked as a good diuretic.  This make artichoke useful for gallbladder problems, nausea, indigestion, and abdominal distension.     It has been found that globe artichoke contains the extract cymarin, which is similar to silymarin.  Researchers discovered that this extract promotes liver regeneration and causes hyperaemia.  It was also found that an artichoke extract caused dyspeptic symptoms to disappear.  The researchers interpreted the reduction in cholinesterase levels to mean that the extract effected fatty degeneration of the liver.  In 1969 a team of French researchers patented an artichoke extract as a treatment for kidney and liver ailments.   Although the leaves are particularly effective, all parts of the plant are bitter.  A Mediterranean home recipe uses fresh artichoke leaf juice mixed with wine or water as a liver tonic.  It is also taken during the early stages of late-onset diabetes.  It is a good food for diabetics, since it significantly lowers blood sugar.  In France it has been used to treat rheumatic conditions.

Ethnomedical Uses
Dried or fresh leaves and/or stems of Cynara are used as a choleretic (to increase bile production), to treat gallstones, and as a tonic for convalescence.

Cynarin is the principal active constituent in Cynara; research in 2005 found that cynarin causes an increase in bile flow.

You may click to learn more about Artichoke

Known Hazards: Can cause allergic reactions (dermatitis) due to lactones. . Use with caution in cases of biliary obstruction. May hinder breast feeding (lactation)

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

Resources:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Artichoke
http://botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/a/artic066.html
http://www.prevention.com/cda/vendorarticle/artichoke/HN2038002/health/herb.

http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Cynara+scolymus

http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_AB.htm

Enhanced by Zemanta

Ways To Reduce Salt Consumption

A few ways you can cut down on the salt on your food.

Measure salt carefully when preparing a dish
Use fresh ingredients over processed whenever you can
You will save umpteen milligrams of sodium by making your own sauces and soups, and simmering dried beans until soft (rather than opening a can).

Yes, it is a time commitment, but if you  are serious about salt reduction it’s time well spent. Make these staples more convenient by cooking them in big batches, and freezing in single-serving portions for later use.

Choose convenience foods wisely
Opt for frozen (unsauced) vegetables when you can’t get them fresh. Rinse the foods in a colander before using to get rid of some of the salt. Cut back or eliminate additional salt in a recipe that calls for canned goods.

Don’t add it if you can not taste it
As a rule, we don’t add salt to boiling water for pasta or potatoes in our kitchens. We prefer to add salt to a dish when its impact will be strongest   usually at the end of cooking. A little salt goes a longer way if it’s sprinkled on a food just before serving; you  wll taste it in every bite.

Measure, measure
We always use measuring spoons when adding salt to be sure we are not overdoing it. Even if a recipe calls for a “pinch” or to “salt to taste,” measure what you are adding, using a small amount (say, 1/8th teaspoon) at a time and tasting as you go.

Distract your palate
Acidic flavourings like lemon or lime juice and vinegar can help bring out a food  is inherent savouriness, helping you reduce or even eliminate salt.

Or, try a sprinkle of fresh grated lemon zest, chopped fresh or dried herbs, garlic or shallots; while not always a perfect replacement for salt, they can help ease the transition to lower-salt cooking by waking up other flavours. Get creative with seasoning, found in any spice aisle; just make sure they  are labelled   salt-free.

Boost vegetable flavours naturally
Because many vegetables have flavours our palates perceive as bitter, they tend to be a target for lots of added salt in recipes. Instead of reaching for the salt shaker to counteract bitterness, roast or grill your vegetables to help bring out their own natural sweetness and give them a nice caramelised exterior.

Source:The Times Of India