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Thaumatococcus daniellii

Botanical Name: Thaumatococcus daniellii
Family:    Marantaceae
Genus:    Thaumatococcus
Kingdom:    Plantae
Order: Zingiberales

Synonyms:  Phrynium daniellii

Common names: Miracle fruit (but the unrelated species Synsepalum dulcificum is better known by that name) and miracle berry, Katamfe or Katempfe, Yoruba soft cane, and African serendipity berry.

Habitat: Thaumatococcus daniellii  is  native to the rainforests of western Africa from Sierra Leone to Zaire. It is also an introduced species in Australia and Singapore.

Description:
Thaumatococcus daniellii is a rhizomatous, perennial herb, up to 3-3.5 m high.  It  has large, papery leaves up to 46 centimeters long and 40 cm wide, arise singly from each node of the rhizome. Inflorescences are single or simply branched spikes’ and emerge from the lowest node.  It bears pale purple flowers and a soft fruit containing a few shiny black seeds. In its native range,the fruit is fleshy, trigonal in shape and matures to a dark red/brown colour when fully ripe. At maturity each fruit contains three black, extremely hard seeds. The seeds are enveloped by a sticky thin, pale yellow basal aril, which contains the sweetening protein, thaumatin.
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Varieties:
Thaumatococcus daniellii var. daniellii – western + central Africa from Sierra Leone to Zaire
Thaumatococcus daniellii var. puberulifolius Dhetchuvi & Diafouka – central Africa (Zaire, Gabon, Congo-Brazzaville, Cameroon, Central African Republic)

Edible Uses:
Fruit: The most popular use of T. daniellii is as sweetener. The aril contains a non-toxic, intensely sweet protein named thaumatin, which is at least 3000 times as sweet as sucrose. In West Africa, the aril is traditionally used for sweetening bread, over-fermented palm-wine and sour food. When the seeds are chewed, for up to an hour afterwards they cause sour materials eaten or drunk to taste very sweet. Since the mid-1990s, thaumatin is used as sweetener and flavour enhancer by the food and confectionary industry. Substituting synthetic sweeteners, it is used as a non-caloric natural sweetener. Thaumatin is not a carbohydrate thus it is an ideal sweetener for diabetics.

The seeds of T. daniellii also produce a jelly that swells to 10 times its own weight and hence provides a substitute for agar.

Medicinal Uses:
Thaumatococcus  daniellii is also used in traditional medicinal uses in the Ivory Coast and Congo. The fruit is used as a laxative and the seed as an emetic and for pulmonary problems.
In traditional medicinal use the leaf sap is used as antidote against venoms, stings and bites. Leaf and root sap are used as sedative and for treating insanity.

Other Uses:
In West Africa, T. daniellii is mostly cultivated for the leaves. The lamina of the leaves is used for wrapping foods. The petiole is used to weave mats and as tools and building materials. The entire leaf is also used for roofing.
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:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thaumatococcus_daniellii

Top 10 Nutrition and Fitness Tips

1. Get real and be specific. Write down three or four realistic goals that you can stick to. For example, “I will try to lose one pound of body fat every week. I will walk for 30 minutes minimum five days a week.” Avoid fantasy-land goals that will only frustrate you.

2. Get prepared. Throw away all the junk, the processed, and the “bingeable” foods now and replace them with fresh, whole foods like lots of water and veggies. Buy a new pair of walking shoes and find some clothes in your closet you feel comfortable to walk in. During a lifestyle change, if you fail to plan, then you plan to fail!

3. Get support. Whether it’s your best friend, spouse, or pet, it helps to have some nonjudgmental and nurturing support when trying to lose weight, especially during trying times.

4. Make daily notes. Research has shown that keeping track of your daily exercise and food intake in a journal or notebook will increase the likelihood of success. Keep it simple, or if you’re inspired, write a novel! The key is to hold yourself accountable.

5. Create a food-free reward system. How about a new workout outfit, pair of jeans, shoes — or what the heck, even a spa treatment, shopping spree, or weekend getaway? You deserve this kind of treatment when you reach your goals.

6. Buy a pedometer. A pedometer keeps track of how many steps you take daily. Wear it every day, around home, work, and while exercising. Your National Body Challenge goal is to increase your steps by 10,000 or more daily! Remember this: You’ll burn roughly 100 to 125 calories by taking 2,500 steps (about one mile). The goal during the challenge is to burn 300 extra calories and to eat roughly 200 calories less in a day. This 500-calorie deficit is equivalent to one pound of body fat per week and a healthy boost to your self-esteem.

7. Don’t skip breakfast. Research shows that the most successful “losers” never skip it. Try to keep it balanced with some protein, a healthy carb, and a small amount of fat. Here are some examples: an egg-white omelet with fresh berries and a piece of whole-wheat toast, or a skim milk shake with fruit and yogurt.

8. Nix the late-night eating. If you eat a lot of excess calories after 8 p.m., you wear them the next morning. Put a stop to this by making sure you have a healthy dinner consisting of lean protein, veggies, and fruit.

9. Eliminate processed sugars. Processed sugars are carbs that have been stripped of their valuable nutrients. How can you identify these sugars? They are all white: table sugar, pasta, rice, and bread, and they’re nothing but trouble, since they kick up your appetite for more of the same.

10. Have a mid-afternoon snack. This will curb your appetite and provide fuel for your after-work walk or workout at the gym. Some great snack ideas include: reduced-fat peanut butter on a multi-grain cracker, a couple of pieces of low-fat string cheese and an apple, cottage cheese with pineapple, or try a low-fat cheese microwaved in a whole-wheat pita.

From: Discovery Health Channel National Body Challenge
Last Updated: 2005-10-13

Top 10 Nutrition & Fitness Tips

1. Get real and be specific. Write down three or four realistic goals that you can stick to. For example, “I will try to lose one pound of body fat every week. I will walk for 30 minutes minimum five days a week.” Avoid fantasy-land goals that will only frustrate you.

2. Get prepared. Throw away all the junk, the processed, and the “bingeable” foods now and replace them with fresh, whole foods like lots of water and veggies. Buy a new pair of walking shoes and find some clothes in your closet you feel comfortable to walk in. During a lifestyle change, if you fail to plan, then you plan to fail!

3. Get support. Whether it’s your best friend, spouse, or pet, it helps to have some nonjudgmental and nurturing support when trying to lose weight, especially during trying times.

4. Make daily notes. Research has shown that keeping track of your daily exercise and food intake in a journal or notebook will increase the likelihood of success. Keep it simple, or if you’re inspired, write a novel! The key is to hold yourself accountable.

5. Create a food-free reward system. How about a new workout outfit, pair of jeans, shoes — or what the heck, even a spa treatment, shopping spree, or weekend getaway? You deserve this kind of treatment when you reach your goals.

6. Buy a pedometer. A pedometer keeps track of how many steps you take daily. Wear it every day, around home, work, and while exercising. Your National Body Challenge goal is to increase your steps by 10,000 or more daily! Remember this: You’ll burn roughly 100 to 125 calories by taking 2,500 steps (about one mile). The goal during the challenge is to burn 300 extra calories and to eat roughly 200 calories less in a day. This 500-calorie deficit is equivalent to one pound of body fat per week and a healthy boost to your self-esteem.

7. Don’t skip breakfast. Research shows that the most successful “losers” never skip it. Try to keep it balanced with some protein, a healthy carb, and a small amount of fat. Here are some examples: an egg-white omelet with fresh berries and a piece of whole-wheat toast, or a skim milk shake with fruit and yogurt.

8. Nix the late-night eating. If you eat a lot of excess calories after 8 p.m., you wear them the next morning. Put a stop to this by making sure you have a healthy dinner consisting of lean protein, veggies, and fruit.

9. Eliminate processed sugars. Processed sugars are carbs that have been stripped of their valuable nutrients. How can you identify these sugars? They are all white: table sugar, pasta, rice, and bread, and they’re nothing but trouble, since they kick up your appetite for more of the same.

10. Have a mid-afternoon snack. This will curb your appetite and provide fuel for your after-work walk or workout at the gym. Some great snack ideas include: reduced-fat peanut butter on a multi-grain cracker, a couple of pieces of low-fat string cheese and an apple, cottage cheese with pineapple, or try a low-fat cheese microwaved in a whole-wheat pita.

From :  Discovery Health Channel National Body Challenge
Last Updated: 2005-10-13

Ease off on those kids, it’s their time to play

 Here’s some soothing medicine for stressed-out parents and overscheduled kids: The American Academy of Pediatrics says what children really need for healthy development is more good, old-fashioned playtime. Many parents load their children’s schedules with get-smart videos, enrichment activities and lots of classes in a drive to help them excel. The efforts often begin as early as infancy.

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Spontaneous, free play whether it’s chasing butterflies, playing with “true toys” like blocks and dolls, or just romping on the floor with mom and dad often is sacrificed in the shuffle, a new academy report says.

Jennifer Gervasio has a 5-year-old son and 3-year-old daughter involved in preschool three mornings weekly, plus T-ball and ballet for each one day a week.

That’s a light schedule compared to her kids’ friends, and Gervasio said her son in particular has trouble finding buddies who are free to come over and just play.

“There’s just such a huge variety of things you can do for your kids if you have the resources, you almost feel why not,” said Gervasio, of Wilmette, Ill. “There is a part of me that would worry if I don’t sign my son up for some of these things, will he not be on par with the other kids.chieldren to play.

(From the news published in The Times Of India)