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Fruits & Vegetables Herbs & Plants

Synsepalum dulcificum

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Botanical Name: Synsepalum dulcificum
Family: Sapotaceae
Genus: Synsepalum
Species: S. dulcificum
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Ericales

Common Names:  Miracle fruit, Miracle berry, Miraculous berry, Sweet berry, and in West Africa, where the species originates, Agbayun, Taami, Asaa, and Ledidi.

Habitat: Synsepalum dulcificum is native to West Africa. When European explorer the Chevalier des Marchais provided an account of its use there. Marchais, who was searching West Africa for many different fruits in a 1725 excursion, noticed that local people picked the berry from shrubs and chewed it before meals.
Description:
Synsepalum dulcificum is a shrub that grows between 6 to 15 feet in height and has dense foliage. Its leaves are 5–10 cm long, 2-3.7 cm wide and glabrous below. They are clustered at the ends of the branchlets. The flowers are brown. It carries red, 2 cm long fruits. Each fruit contains one seed……..CLICK & SEE
The fruit or the berry when eaten, causes sour foods (such as lemons and limes) subsequently consumed to taste sweet. This effect is due to miraculin.

The berry itself has a low sugar content and a mildly sweet tang. It contains a glycoprotein molecule, with some trailing carbohydrate chains, called miraculin. When the fleshy part of the fruit is eaten, this molecule binds to the tongue’s taste buds, causing sour foods to taste sweet. At neutral pH, miraculin binds and blocks the receptors, but at low pH (resulting from ingestion of sour foods) miraculin binds protons and becomes able to activate the sweet receptors, resulting in the perception of sweet taste. This effect lasts until the protein is washed away by saliva (up to about 60 minutes).

The names miracle fruit and miracle berry are shared by Gymnema sylvestre and Thaumatococcus daniellii, which are two other species of plant used to alter the perceived sweetness of foods.
Cultivation:
The plant grows best in soils with a pH as low as 4.5 to 5.8, in an environment free from frost and in partial shade with high humidity. It is tolerant of drought, full sunshine and slopes.[4]
The seeds need 14 to 21 days to germinate. A spacing of 4 m between plants is suggested.
The plants first bear fruit after growing for approximately 3–4 years, and produce two crops per year, after the end of the rainy season. This evergreen plant produces small, red berries, while white flowers are produced for many months of the year.The seeds are about the size of coffee beans.In Africa, leaves are attacked by lepidopterous larvae, and fruits are infested with larvae of fruit-flies. The fungus Rigidoporus microporus has been found on this plant. Miraculin is now being produced by transgenic tomato plants.

Edible Uses:
In tropical West Africa, where this species originates, the fruit pulp is used to sweeten palm wine. Historically, it was also used to improve the flavor of soured cornbread.The Miracle berry has a very unusual effect when the fruit is absorbed over the tongue. It makes food and drinks which normally taste sour or bitter, taste sweet. The sweet taste is similar to that of artificial sweeteners. If you chew the fruit, and then eat a lemon, it will not taste sour at all, it actually tastes like lemonade. Sour2Sweet.com is our preferred Miracle Fruit vendor

Medicinal Uses:
Attempts have been made to create a commercial sweetener from the fruit, with an idea of developing this for patients with diabetes. Fruit cultivators also report a small demand from cancer patients, because the fruit allegedly counteracts a metallic taste in the mouth that may be one of the many side effects of chemotherapy. This claim has not been researched scientifically, though in late 2008, an oncologist at Mount Sinai Medical Center in Miami, Florida, began a study, and by March 2009, had filed an investigational new drug application with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

In Japan, miracle fruit is popular among patients with diabetes and dieters.

The shelf life of the fresh fruit is only 2–3 days. Because miraculin is denatured by heating, the pulp must be preserved without heating for commercial use. Freeze-dried pulp is available in granules or in tablets, and has a shelf life of 10 to 18 months.

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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/Synsepalum_dulcificum
http://www.synsepalumdulcificum.net/

Categories
Health Alert

Avoid Swimming After Exercise to Drop Weight Gain

A study conducted by Australian researchers concluded that cooling off with a dip in the pool after a good work-out may make exercisers more likely to eat than those who don’t go for a swim after exercising.  …..click  & see

According to the Chicago Tribune:

“Test subjects ate more after (two different types of) water immersions than they did after sitting in a chair.

Average calorie intake per person after the cold water immersion was about 489, and about 517 after the tepid water immersion. After resting in a chair, average calorie intake was about 409.

Researchers found lower levels of leptin and higher levels of ghrelin after both water immersion experiments. Following water immersion more carbs and protein were eaten as well.”

Since the study included only 10 participants, researchers suggested that further studies be done with larger sample sizes. The study was published in the Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise.


Resources:

Chicago Tribune September 25, 2010

Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise October 2010; 42(10)

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Categories
Healthy Tips

Places Where Germs Love to Lurk in Your Home

1. TV remote
TV REMOTE
Many people watch TV while they absent-mindedly chew their fingernails, snack on food and flip through channels, leaving all kinds of bacteria on the remote. Make sure to sanitize the remote control regularly to prevent sickness.

2. Tub and shower

Artweger-Twinline-Tube-Shower

Your bathtub may have 100 times more bacteria than the trash can, according to an in-home bacteria study conducted by the Center for Hygiene and Health in Home and Community. The Hygiene Council recommends that showers and tubs be disinfected twice a week to get rid of dead skin cells left in the tub that can carry germs too.

3. Pet food dish
Pet food dish
Most pet food dishes stay on the floor and do not get washed regularly.

4. Kitchen cloths and sponges
Kitchen cloths and sponges
People frequently use sponges or cloths to wipe germs from surfaces in the kitchen. As a result, 70 percent of kitchen sponges in U.S. homes failed the hygiene test by having high levels of bacteria, according to the Hygiene Council. The council recommends running sponges through the dishwasher regularly and washing kitchen cloths on the hot cycle in the washing machine.

5. Microwave touch screen
Microwave touch screen
This spot is notorious for not getting cleaned. Even though the food comes out cooked, the germs that can make you sick are left on the outside of the microwave for the next person to touch. It is important to wipe down the touch screen regularly, especially after cooking raw meat.

6. Light switches
Light switches
Touching the light switch is practically unavoidable, but keeping it clean is not. The bathroom light switch can have as many germs as the trash bin. Disinfect light switches twice a week, or every day if a member of your household is sick.

7. Baby changing table
changing-table-baby
During diaper changes, the baby wipes container, the diaper packaging, the trash can and anything around the changing area get contaminated with bacteria through touching after handling a dirty diaper. The baby changing table area should be cleaned often.

8. Kitchen faucets

Kitchen faucets
Typically people wash their hands after handling raw meat in the kitchen, but they touch the faucet to turn on the water and do not think about the bacteria that they leave. The Hygiene Council found more than half of faucets in American homes are covered in bacteria.

Sources: Chicago Tribune August 16, 2009

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