Thursday, October 21, 2010

A Closer Look at Rhubarb

healthy foods - r
Speaking of rhubarb, the first thing to come to mind would be homemade rhubarb pie. Usually prepared along with other fruits as a delicious dessert, rhubarb mixed with apples and strawberries make delectable jams. But did you know that despite the distinctive taste of rhubarbs that make it excellent for desserts, choosing the wrong parts of it for cooking could lead to dire, even deadly, consequences?

Most parts of the rhubarb is edible except for its toxic leaves. In fact, its different parts have been known to possess specific medicinal qualities. Its long, crisp stalks, known for their tart flavor, are commonly used for pies and other dishes/foods. A group of plants belonging to the genus rheum, the rhubarb has been botanically classified as a vegetable, and many of its varieties have already been domesticated for human consumption. And apart from the toxicity of its leaves, its other parts have been identified to benefit health in the following ways:
  • Rhubarb could lower cancer risk.
  • It is said to have good effects on the body's circulation.
  • Rhubarb could be beneficial for people with high cholesterol.
  • It possesses anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-allergy properties. 

Written By: Maris Modesto

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Frozen Yogurt for Dessert?

healthy foods - frozen yourt for dessert?
Ice cream is a common favorite among people who have a huge sweet tooth. But heavenly as it is, there's no sugarcoating the amount of fat, sugar, and cholesterol we pile on every time we gorge on this decadent treat. And if like me, you have to be wary of your sugar and fat intake, does this mean we have to deprive ourselves of eating ice cream for the rest of our lives? Ice cream, yes. But frozen yogurt, no.

More tart than ice cream and of much lower fat content, frozen yogurt, which is made from pure milk rather than cream, is hardly any different from ice cream. Their taste, texture, appearance and even creaminess are almost exactly alike. Similarly presented in a variety of flavors, frozen yogurt is a heaven-sent substitute for all ice cream lovers out there in need of a healthier replacement.

Compared to standard yogurt, though, frozen yogurt has less calcium and protein. Nonetheless, no one can question its probiotic benefits. Each serving of frozen yogurt rewards us with a good helping of live bacteria culture necessitated for good digestion. Besides the latter, it also has all the good health advantages “good bacteria” offers.

Written By: Maris Modesto

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

The Benefits of Being Green

A member of the cabbage family, collard greens possess a distinctive taste described as a cross between a cabbage and a kale. Available the whole-year-round, they are best enjoyed steamed rather than fresh.

Healthy Foods - The Benefits of Being Green
  • Of all the cruciferous veggies we sink our teeth into, nothing tops the cholesterol-decreasing ability of collard greens. Recent studies have revealed that steamed collard greens outrank kale broccoli, mustard greens, Brussels sprouts, and cabbage in binding bile acids in the digestive tract. It is this process of binding bile acids that make them easier for the body to expel. And because bile acids are composed of cholesterol, the process of binding them generally impacts the body by way of lowering its cholesterol level. However, as to whether it is best to serve steamed or fresh collard greens, experts pointed out that the former has better bile acid binding ability than the latter.
  • One of the foremost benefits of collard greens is their cancer-fighting ability. Four particular kinds of glucosinolates—glucoraphanin, sinigrin, gluconasturtiian, and glucotropaeolin—are identified to be at work behind its cancer-preventative quality. As it turns out, each of these glucosinolates can be transformed into isothiocyanate (ITC) which works effectively to reduce our risk of cancer by bolstering our detox and anti-inflammatory systems. 

Written By: Maris Modesto

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