Thursday, September 30, 2010

Getting to Know the Grapefruit

healthy foods - grapefruit
Have you ever wondered why a grapefruit is called a grapefruit, when it actually looks so much like an orange than a grape? With fruits shaped like an oblate spheroid—think of the shape of our beloved mother Earth— yellow-orange skin, and a segmented, acidic flesh, grapefruits bear a striking resemblance to the omnipresent orange except that it is bigger and has a tangier and somewhat bitter taste.

So, why is a grapefruit called a grapefruit? 

Some sources say that the idea behind its name is taken from the manner whereby they grow—in clusters just like bunches of grapes. Another explanation provided states that it was named as such since unripe grapefruits bear a strong resemblance to the shape of premature green grapes. Setting aside name origins, grapefruits are included among the excellent sources of Vitamin C. Because the latter is a major immune system booster, eating grapefruits benefit the body by keeping it strong and resilient, hence decreasing its risk of illnesses. The grapefruit owes the red-pink coloring of its flesh to lycopene, a carotenoid phytonutrient. And lycopene also has its unique health merits, one of  which is its supposed ability to work against tumor formation.

Written By: Maris Modesto

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Ode to the Gorgeous Romanesco

Healthy Foods - Romanesco
Like a bright bloom comprised of smaller clusters of conical flowers, the romanesco broccoli is quite a breathtaking sight to behold. Piled in a stunning iridescent, green heap alongside the broccoli and cauliflower heads in the produce section of the local grocery, it stood out rather perfectly, albeit awkwardly—a gorgeous veggie looking more like an exotic blossom fit for grand floral arrangements than the soup pot.

But just like its broccoli and flower cousins, the nutritional value of the romanesco: loads of good old Vitamin C, carotenoids, and fiber isn't something nutritionists could easily overlook. Nor is its taste—somewhat spicy and nutty—too blah for the palate to easily forget. To date, many different recipes have been contrived making use of the romanesco.

However, although its beauteous fractal pattern strikes most people to be quite bizaare, cooks say that romanesco hardly differs from broccoli or cauliflower in terms of culinary preparation. Best eaten raw, it could also be steamed, blanched, or stir-fried. Some chef's claim that butter or other light flavored sauces perfectly sets off its natural taste, hence making romanesco one of the best dipping vegetables around—in the same league as celery and carrot sticks.

Written By: Maris Modesto

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Moringa: Not Just Another Leafy Veggie

Healthy Foods - Moringa: Not Just Another Leafy Veggie

Best prepared in soups and viand recipes calling for some mild-tasting green leafy veggies, moringa is among the most commonly used leafy veggies in Asian cuisine. Beyond edibility, however, moringa is actually considered as a “miracle tree.” But what sets it apart from other trees, besides being multipurpose, is its multitude of nutrients, all of which are said to benefit health in many different ways. 

The moringa leaves alone has been confirmed to possessmany wondrous health benefits. All in all, it is packed with 90 nutrients and 46 types of antioxidants. Hence, with so many nutritive qualities to boast of, the moringa could easily be hailed as the most nutritious vegetable in the world. Let's us get to know the moringa a little better by going over five of its health-boosting benefits:
  • It is a rich source of Vitamins A and C.
  • It is said to be a better source of calcium than milk.
  • It contains seven times the amount of calcium bananas possess. 
  • It is an all-natural metabolism stimulator.
  • Its nutritive power capacitates it to help shield the kidneys and liver against diseases.
  • Made into a paste, it also works to beautify the skin.  

Written By: Maris Modesto

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Nothing So-So About Miso Soup

For me, eating out at a Japanese restaurant is a comfort-break I usually enjoy after a week spent doing work overtime straight. Since I enjoy most of their dishes, what I do is mix and match their meat and veggie entrees along with plentiful servings of rice. However, although I vary the viands accordingly during each visit, I never once failed to order a hot bowl of miso soup to accompany them. 

Rich with that distinctive nutty flavor, miso soup is a Japanese meal staple. Taking its name from its main and most significant ingredient miso studies have claimed that it possesses more powerful health benefits transcending those of chicken soup. Fact has it that enjoying a bowl of it once a day suffices to cut the risk of breast cancer. Also, it has been proven to work efficiently in regulating women's hormones that could promote the development of tumors. 

A traditional Japanese seasoning used for soups, sauces, and pastes; miso is made from fermented rice, barley, and soy beans combined with salt and the kojikin fungus. As a soup, it can be blended with different ingredients, ranging from veggies and seaweed to even meat, depending on personal preference.

Written By: Maris Modesto

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Up Close with the To-mah-to

Healthy Foods Blog - Up Close with the To-mah-to
With its shiny red skin and round shape, many people might be easily fooled into thinking that the tomato is the closest kin of an apple. However, though a tomato has the appearance, texture, and taste  of a typical succulent fruit, it's actually a fruit and  veggie at the same time. Originating from South America, this pretty member of the nightshade family ranks as the top source of Vitamin A and C in the western diet.

But wait, these proverbial vitamins aren't the only nutrients the tomato boasts of. It also contains other vital nourishments such as lycopene, beta-carotene, dietary fiber, magnesium, potassium, niacin, phosphorus, thiamine, and riboflavin. What's more, the tomato is even a low-fat, low-cholesterol, and a low-sodium veggiefruit. You can eat it fresh from the vine  or use it in different dishes.

Unlike other vegetables and fruits, the heat used in cooking doesn't deplete the nutrients of the tomato in any way. In fact, it even intensifies its lycopene content because  the process of heating causes the release of the latter by breaking down the cell walls. Lycopene is a phytochemical that our bodies could definitely make use of to keep it healthy. 

Written By: Maris Modesto