Relax and meditation
Orange, red, green or blue, how wonderful the fruit’s and vegetable’s colors are! But these colors aren’t just joyful and fascinating but reflect also the presence of antioxidant compounds that, in addition to giving the color, determine also the healthy properties of the food. We are speaking about carotenoids, anthocyanins and flavonoids, substances that counteract the aging processes and that we can take by varying the type, and therefore the color, of fruit and vegetables that we serve on th...
Mung beans and their sprouts
Mung bean, also called green gram or moong, scientific name Vigna radiata, is a plant of the Fabaceae or Leguminosae family. The fruits of this plant are pods that contain edible seeds characterized by a peel of an intense green color. These seeds can be found on the market both in the dried form, in this case they should be soaked in water and then cooked, or in the form of sprouts, the famous mung bean sprouts, that can also be self-produced at home. Mung beans are the most used seeds in the w...
The lemon, scientific name Citrus limoni, is a plant of the Rutaceae family, the same as tangerine, orange and bergamot. The term lemon also refers to the fruit of this plant, of a beautiful intense yellow color and characterized by a rounded shape. Lemon is known and appreciated for its juice, drunk as a purifying and refreshing drink, used to dress salads or to marinate fish, meat or even fruit. But science is also interested in another part of the lemon, less used except for giving flavor to ...
Safflower oil, food use
From the cold pressing of the seeds of the safflower, Carthamus tinctorius, we obtain an oil rich in benefits for the skin, for the hair but also for the body. In the previous post we saw the use of safflower oil as a powerful natural cosmetic, useful in case of dry skin, with wrinkles but also in case of acne and, above all, dark skin spots. Today we see the properties of safflower oil for internal use, for example, when used cold to season salads and vegetables. This plant based oil is rich in...
Indian chai tea is not just a modern trend but it is a healthy aromatic drink with a very ancient tradition, dating back more than 5000 years ago. This tea is made with black tea, milk and a mixture of spices, including ginger, cardamom, pepper and cinnamon, which make it a digestive, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant drink, able to stimulate the metabolism. Properties - Scientific studies (Azimi et al, Rev Diabet Stud, Feb 2015) have shown that a drink prepared with black tea and 3 grams of s...
Food combinations and cooking methods, ginger Part 2
Ginger, scientific name Zingiber officinale, is a root with important beneficial properties. It is in fact anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and digestive, protects the heart and the immune system. But how can ginger be taken to maximize these properties? In today's post we see the most important food combinations and healthy preparations with ginger. Fresh, candied or herbal tea - Natural or candied ginger is an excellent ally against nausea. Moreover, if grated fresh on foods, such as fish, veg...
Food combinations and cooking methods, ginger Part 1
Ginger is a plant, scientific name Zingiber officinale family of Zinziberaceae, whose rhizome, also called root, is used to cook, thanks to its fresh aroma, and to prepare herbal remedies. Ginger is rich indeed in active substances, such as zingiberene, gingerol and shogaol, resins and mucilage. Thanks to these characteristics, ginger shows anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, anti-cancer and antioxidant properties. In addition, ginger is also able to keep at bay blood sugar, triglycerides and chol...
Artichoke, herbal remedy
Cynara scolymus is the scientific name of the artichoke, the vegetable that we use for cooking. The artichoke belongs to the Composite family and it isn’t just a yummy ingredient but it may become also a herbal remedy. From its leaves, indeed, a mother tincture is obtained rich in phenol compounds such as cynarin, cinaropicrin and caffeic acid. Thanks to these substances the remedy has antioxidant and diuretic properties and is able to protect the liver and the cardiovascular system (Kurt et al,...
Food combinations and cooking methods, onion First Part
The onion, belonging to the Liliaceae family, is well known, appreciated and eaten for millennia. The first signs of its usage go back to the Chaldeans, 4000 years ago, but also the ancient Egyptians used onions a lot, while during Middle Ages the onions were considered a so precious food that they were used as coins. Nowadays, thanks to scientific studies, we know that this edible bulb isn’t just tasty but also rich in antibiotic, antiseptic, expectorant, anti-inflammatory, diuretic, thus usefu...
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...
Annurca is an apple native to Campania, a region of South Italy, and is also considered the queen of all the apples. Why is it so important? Because this apple is characterized by powerful and interesting properties on health and beauty, all well demonstrated by scientific researches. Annurca apple contains indeed high quantities of polyphenols and results able to keep under control the levels of cholesterol. According indeed to a study published in 2017 on the Journal of the science of food a...
Nori seaweed, scientific name Porphyra umbilicalis, is one of the most famous red algae in the world. It is indeed one of the ingredients of sushi, the typical Japanese dish based on rice, fish or vegetables. But nori seaweed is appreciated not only for its culinary use, it has also important healthy properties. First of all, nori seaweed is an important source of proteins, all highly digestible (Cian et al, Mar Drugs, Aug 2015). Moreover, this amazing seaweed also contains iodine, but to a less...
Fat burning diet Part 7, the herbal teas green tea and Java tea
In the latest posts we have focused the attention on the fat burning foods because, according to scientific researches, the adipose tissue, especially if localized on the waistline, may result a problem for health since it has been shown to worsen the chronic inflammations (You et al, Curr Diabetes Review, Feb 2006). A condition of chronic inflammation of the body in the long period may cause several illnesses such as cardiovascular problems, auto immune diseases, cancer but also depression (Lop...
Fat burning diet Part 6, the spices mustard and ginseng
Today we will see a new chapter dedicated to that foods that, with different mechanisms, may help us fight obesity and abdominal fat. These conditions indeed can be really dangerous because they feed chronic inflammations in the body thus creating the ideal environment for several illnesses. In this first part we are focusing our attention to all that spices that, if added to our dishes, are able not just to give taste but also to reduce fat accumulation and increase energy expenditure. However,...
For years now, researchers have been trying to find an answer to the so called French Paradox. French people in fact, despite having a diet rich in saturated fats, harmful to the heart, show a low incidence of cardiovascular diseases and heart attacks. For a long time, it was considered that the red wine with its high content of resveratrol, a powerful antioxidant, could explain this condition. However, in recent years, it has been understood that red wine alone cannot explain the paradox and th...
Macadamia nuts are the oily fruit of the Macadamia tree, also called the Queensland nut tree, belonging to the Proteaceae family and native to Australia. These nuts are round, very similar to hazelnuts and are enclosed in a hard shell, just like the common nuts. Since the shell is really very hard, these nuts are usually sold already shelled. Macadamia nuts provide vitamins, such as E and group B, and mineral salts, such as magnesium, potassium, calcium, iron, zinc and copper (Moodley et al, J E...
Amla, scientific name Phyllantus emblica, is a plant of the Fillantaceae family and is known mainly for its fruits, similar to green plums, which have the same name. The fruits of amla are considered an elixir of long life, able to promote longevity and there is plenty of scientific studies supporting the Ayurveda tradition that considers amla one of the essential ingredients for good health. These berries have in fact a special protective action on the liver. In particular, amla, according to s...
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...
Dyonisos, son of Zeus, […] gives his wine equally, sharing with rich and poor alike. It takes away all sorrow. This text is taken from the Greek tragedy The Bacchantes written by the Athenian playwright Euripides between 407 and 406 B.C.. Wine has always been considered a nutriment, a remedy to several illnesses, a drink able to soothe depression and bad mood, a gift from the gods to humans. And now also science has started focusing the attention on wine and studying its amazing properties. Yes,...
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 ...
Balsamic vinegar is a condiment, typical of Italy, produced from the fermentation of grape must. It is a product that can be found in every supermarket, however, it is also little known, especially its healthful properties are not known. Yes, because the balsamic vinegar, added to salads or to flavor vegetables or even fruit, is not just a note of flavor in our recipes but can also help to preserve good health, so much that in the Middle Ages this type of vinegar was considered a medicine to tre...
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...
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...
Grapeseed oil, for nutrition
Grapeseed oil is a very special product that is extracted from grape seeds. Each grape contains from 1 to 5 seeds and each seed is rich in oil, in fact it contains up to 20% of oil on the basis of the cultivar. This oil is really precious because it is a source of essential fatty acids and antioxidants, but be careful, it should be extracted through cold pressing and not with chemical solvents! Grapeseed oil can be used in cooking but also as a cosmetic, in this post we will focus our attention ...
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...
Walking, the easiest and most spontaneous form of physical activity, is also a natural remedy. We don’t give enough importance to it but it can bring a lot of benefits, vitality and wellbeing. In fact, more than 2000 years ago Hippocrates, a Greek physician considered the father of medicine, argued that walking is the best form of medicine. A constant and regular practice helps remove tensions, tones the muscles and makes elastic and flexible ligaments and tendons. Walking improves the blood ci...
Sun dried tomatoes
Sun-dried tomatoes are a delicacy that can be found everywhere at any time of the year. The need for drying tomatoes, typical summer product, comes from the desire to enjoy their benefits also in winter. Dried tomatoes are rich in provitamin A, even more than fresh tomatoes, but they also bring vitamin C, iron, potassium and lycopene, a powerful antioxidant. Dried tomatoes, thanks to their content in nutrients, protect the skin from premature aging and from the formation of stretch marks, accele...
Shallot, scientific name Allium ascalonium, is a bulb native to Ashkelon, an ancient city of Palestine. It is similar to garlic, with a bulb constituted by several cloves covered by a thin peel. Like the other members of Allium family, such as garlic, onion, leek and chives, also shallot is a source of phytochemical sulfur-containing compounds that develop when shallot is cut, chopped or sliced. These substances act as anti-cancers by inhibiting the proliferation and growth of many cancer cell...
Tofu has ancient origins, it seems indeed that it dates back to the second century B.C in China. It is very similar to a small, white colored bread and it results from the processing of soy beans, that are soaked in water and then pressed in order to extract the milk. The coagulation of this milk is obtained thanks to a natural marine compound, nigari, or magnesium chloride or calcium chloride, but other substances can also be used like calcium sulfate and acid substances such as vinegar or lemo...
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 ...
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