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Probiotics and yogurt
The scientists have given a name to it in order to indicate its importance and complexity, they call it microbiota. Microbiota is constituted by the tens of thousands of billions of bacteria that live in our gut and that are able to influence our health condition. Scientific researchers have indeed observed that the microbiota isn’t just responsible for the digestion but also that it plays a role in supporting the immune system. The gut bacteria indeed teach to the defense cells how to recognize...
Yellow dock, also known as curly dock, scientific name Rumex crispus, is a plant of the Polygonaceae family. The extract obtained from the roots of this plant is a remedy with purifying and diuretic properties, it stimulates the activity of the liver, is laxative, thus helping in case of constipation, and is useful in case of anemia as it provides iron. Moreover, rumex extract is characterized by a well demonstrated antioxidant effect, therefore useful to counteract oxidative stress and the dama...
The black kale, also known as lacinato kale or dinosaur kale, scientific name Brassica oleracea convar. acephala var. palmifolia, is a type of vegetable belonging to the Cruciferae family very common in Italian cuisine and the main ingredient of the famous Tuscan ribollita soup, whose recipe you can find in the Healthy Food section. The black kale is characterized by elongated and thin leaves with a dark green almost blue color, it is a plant that shows a high resistance to cold, indeed, with th...
Food combinations Part 5, the best ways to eat artichokes
The artichoke is the flower bud of the plant Cynara scolymus. The artichoke is rich in iron, potassium, magnesium, cynarine, an alkaloid able to protect the liver and to lower the cholesterol, inulin, a prebiotic that protects and stimulates the bacterial flora of the gut, antioxidants such as tannins (Rondanelli et al, Monladi Arch Chest Dis, Mar 2013 – Lopez-Molina et al, Phytochemistry, Jun 2005). However, the properties of the artichoke depend on the ways of cooking and on the foods served t...
Turnip greens, scientific name Brassica rapa sylvestris of the Cruciferous family, are a vegetable of Italian origin but nowadays spread also in other parts of the world such as America and Australia. The turnip greens are characterized by dark green leaves and inflorescences, called broccoletti or broccoli of turnip. The healthy properties are truly remarkable, in fact these vegetables bring vitamins, such as C, group B and A, folic acid and mineral salts such as calcium, magnesium, potassium, ...
Napa cabbage, also known as Korean cabbage, scientific name Brassica rapa subsp pekinensis, family of Brassicaceae or Cruciferous, is a vegetable originating in the Beijing region, China, but today can be easily found all over the world from Europe to America and Australia. It has an elongated shape and light green leaves in layers. Like all vegetables of the cruciferous family, this type of cabbage also contains antioxidants and glucosinolates, substances that the plant develops to protect itse...
Bamboo shoots, or bamboo sprouts, are the new edible shoots of different species of bamboo. They are used in Asian cuisine but, nowadays, they can be found easily pretty much everywhere and added to our dishes to make them tastier and healthier. Bamboo shoots have indeed interesting nutritional properties, they are a low sugar food and are a precious source of essential amino acids, vitamin E, vitamin B6, that is very important because plays a pivotal role in the synthesis of serotonin and there...
The jackfruity, or jack tree or jack, scientific name Artocarpus heterophyllus, is a plant that belongs to the Moraceae family that includes also the fig, it is native to the southern slopes of the Himalayas but nowadays is widespread in Australia, Brazil and Africa, too. Its fruits are characterized by a really remarkable size, they can indeed reach 40 cm in diameter and 30 kg of weight. These fruits are a high calorie food, in fact they bring about 90 kcal per 100 g, are energizing but low in ...
We often hear that a particular food is healthy because it contains many fibers, which are beneficial and support the health of the body. But what exactly are the fibers and why are they so useful? The fibers are contained in foods of vegetable origin, they include cellulose, polysaccharides such as pectins, mucilage and lignin, are not digested or absorbed but come directly to the intestine and improve intestinal transit (Dhingra et al, J Food Sci Technol, 2012). Fiber-rich foods are primarily ...
Cherry is the fruit of plant Prunus avium and delights us with its sweetness for a fairly limited period of time, from the beginning of June until the end of July. But cherries are not just delicious, they also have interesting healthy properties. They are in fact a source of vitamins, such as A, C, B1, important for the proper functioning of muscles and the nervous system, B2, useful for the health of skin, nervous system and vision, and mineral salts such as potassium, calcium, magnesium, iron...
How many times you read on the pack of yogurt or other drinks that the product contain bifidobacteria? It happens quite often, but what are bifidobacteria exactly? An introduction is needed, in our gut there are about tens of thousands of billions of bacteria. This large population forms the so called gastrointestinal microbiota, that is considered an organ of human body. When the microbiota is healthy and balanced it can works correctly and can perform all its functions, the best known is the d...
Eggplant, scientific name Solanum melongena, is a plant belonging to the Solanaceae family that includes also tomatoes, potatoes and peppers. The plant is cultivated thanks to its edible fruits, big berries characterized by an elongated or more rounded shape, a peel color from purple to black and important healthful properties. Eggplants are indeed rich in mineral salts, such as potassium, phosphorus, manganese and magnesium, and vitamins, such as A, group B, C, K and J. They are also rich in wa...
Loquat fruits are the fruits of the tree Eriobotrya japonica, also called Japanese medlar or Japanese plum, that belongs to the Rosaceae family and is native to China. Loquat fruits ripen in spring until the start of summer and have a round shape, with a peel color from yellow to orange and a pulp that can be acidulous if loquat fruits are still not ripe and sweeter when full ripeness is reached. Loquat fruit is rich in water and, thanks to this characteristic, it has diuretic properties very us...
Dandelion, herbal medicine
Dandelion, or common dandelion, scientific name Taraxacum officinale, is a plant of the Asteraceae family. It is widespread in gardens and meadows and is characterized by elongated leaves with a toothed margin and by a beautiful yellow flower that matures into spherical seed heads called blowballs or clocks, consisting of single-seeded fruits attached to a pappus of fine hairs that are carried by the wind and make possible to disperse easily the seeds of the plant. The dandelion is a very intere...
Amaranth is a plant native to Peru whose seeds, edible, were considered a sacred foods by Aztecs and Incas thanks to their nutritional properties. Amaranth is also considered a cereal, however, like quinoa and buckwheat, doesn’t belong to Graminaceae family, in fact it is a pseudo cereal. Amaranth brings proteins and essential fatty acids, such as lysine, that is in poor quantity in the cereal grains such as common wheat. Lysine plays a pivotal role in important processes that occur in our body...
Cucumber, as a food
The cucumber, scientific name Cucumis sativus, belongs to the Cucurbitaceae family, just like pumpkin, zucchini, melon and watermelon. It is native to India but it was very appreciated also by the ancient Egyptians. The fruit has an elongated shape, a dark green peel a bit bumpy, a lighter pulp and is made up of 96% water. For this reason, cucumber is the perfect vegetable that can be eaten in summer and on hot days in order to avoid dehydration. In addition to this, cucumbers have also detoxify...
Rocket, scientific name Eruca versicaria, also known as arugula, is an annual plant of the Brassicaceae family that includes also broccoli and cabbages. The leaves are used in cooking to prepare tasty salads, to fill piadine (Italian flatbread sandwiches) or as an ingredient to season pasta or pizza, better if raw in order to preserve all the nutrients. Rocket is characterized by a particular and strong flavor and it is also very healthy. Rocket indeed is a source of vitamins, especially vitamin...
Farro is an ancient cereal grain belonging to Graminaceae family and that, thankfully, we are discovering again. The earliest traces that witness its cultivation by humans date from the VIII millennium B.C. in the region of Fertile Crescent. However, over the centuries this cereal has been forgotten because of its harvesting, more difficult than other cereals. Moreover, in comparison to other grains such as durum wheat or common wheat, even after threshing farro is still covered by glumellae, a ...
Whole grain cereals
In the recipes that we propose we always use whole grain pasta, whole grain or semi whole grain flours and rice and we say that in this way it is possible to prevent the dangerous blood sugar spikes. But what does it exactly mean and why is it so important for health? Refined pasta, rice or flours have a high glycemic index, for example refined flour reaches 85 and the same is for the white bread while, to compare, a whole grain spelt flour has glycemic index 45. This means that these refined p...
Snow peas are legumes belonging to the Fabaceae family. They are a variety of peas, scientific name Pisum sativum subsp. sativum var. macrocarpon, of these peas we eat also the pod, characterized by a light green color, with a flattened and wide shape and a very delicate flavor. The snow peas bring plant based proteins and fibers, which are useful for intestinal well-being by counteracting constipation, intestinal swelling and colitis but also help to limit the absorption of sugar and fat and gi...
Rye, scientific name secale cereale, is an ancient cereal grain already cultivated more than 2000 years ago in Asia Minor. Nowadays rye flour, obtained through the grinding of the rye grains, is used to prepare a tasty black bread, rich in mineral salts, such as potassium, phosphorus and calcium and able to bring a high quality fiber, useful to support the digestive processes, the intestinal transit by counteracting constipation and helpful to keep under control the levels of cholesterol and bl...
Swiss chard, also known as mangold or silverbeet, scientific name Beta vulgaris, is a green leafy vegetable belonging to the Chenopodiaceae family that includes also the beetroot. Swiss chards are characterized by large green leaves, are rich in folates but contain also water, that makes the chard a diuretic vegetable useful to counteract water retention and cystitis. In addition to this, mangold is a source of mineral salts such as potassium, magnesium, sodium, manganese, selenium and iron and ...
Bertholletia excelsa is known as Brazil nut and it is a tree belonging to the Lecythidaceae family that can be up to 50 meters height. The fruits are woody capsules that have inside the seeds that, in their turn, are protected by a hard shell. This shell should be broken and the Brazil nuts are obtained, well known and eaten all over the world. These nuts are a high protein food and contain mineral salts, such as magnesium, phosphorus, that plays an important role in a wide range of processes f...
Raisin has Greek or Turkish origins and is the result of the drying process in the sun or in special dryers of a variety of grapes, small and sweet. Raisins are an ideal snack because the drying process has made the nutrients more concentrated, it is a source of vitamins, particularly those of group B, which are important for the functioning of the nervous system and to fight tiredness and loss of memory, and mineral salts, such as potassium, calcium, copper and iron. It is energizing because it...
Robinia pseudoacacia, commonly known as black locust or false acacia, is a tree that belongs to the Fabaceae family. Thanks to this plant one of the best known and well appreciated honey is obtained. This honey is characterized by a light yellow color and a liquid consistency, it has a delicate taste and it also very versatile, it is highly digestible and energizing and for this reason it is the ideal choice for a breakfast or snack for sporty people or for those people who are going through a v...
Beetroot, also known as garden beet or red beet, scientific name Beta vulgaris, is a plant that belongs to the Chenopodiaceae family and is characterized by an edible root with interesting healthy and nutritional properties. Beetroot indeed, especially if you eat it raw, is very rich in folate, has mineral salts such as iron, potassium, phosphorus, calcium and magnesium, vitamins of groups B and C and water, very useful to counteract water retention. Thanks to these characteristics the beetroot ...
Bulgur is a cereal food obtained from durum wheat that, after steaming, is air dried and then coarsely milled. It has a very ancient origin, it seems indeed that bulgur was appreciated already by Babylonians and Hittites. It has the same characteristics as whole grain wheat, contains mineral salts such as potassium, iron and phosphorus, vitamins such as E, group B and PP, and fibers, useful for the proper intestinal functioning and to counteract constipation. Moreover, bulgur is a high energy f...
Common chicory, mother tincture and herbal tea
Cichorium intybus, or common chicory, is a medicinal plant of the family of the Compositae or Asteraceae. The plant has been already appreciated and used for therapeutic purposes to bring benefits to the liver since the time of ancient Egypt while St. Hildegard, a German naturalist lived in the 12th century, considered it a powerful digestive. Nowadays we know that the plant has anti-diabetic, tonic, laxative, diuretic and digestive properties, it is able to stimulate the work of the liver and g...
The bean, scientific name Phaseolus vulgaris, belongs to the Fabaceae family. The seeds of the plant, contained in the pods, are edible and are a good alternative to meat and cheeses because they are a good source of proteins. Beans contain also mineral salts, especially potassium, useful to regulate the blood pressure, but also iron, phosphorus, calcium and magnesium, vitamins of group B and folic acid. There are different varieties of beans, here we are speaking about the most common, the bor...
Turnip or white turnip, scientific name Brassica rapa, is a plant of the Brassicaceae family, which includes also cauliflower, savoy cabbage and Brussels sprouts. There are different varieties of turnip, here we are speaking about white turnip, characterized by an edible, roundish root covered by a white-violet peel and with an inner white pulp. The root can be eaten raw, grated in salads, or cooked and added to soups. It is rich in vitamin C, very useful to support the immune system, but also ...
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