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The Health Benefits of Peppercorns

 

Black peppercorns are actually berries that grow on the pepper plant in tropical climates.  Peppercorns are rich in Vitamin A, B-complex Vitamins such as niacin, pyridoxine, riboflavin and thiamin, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, calcium, carotenes, copper, cryptoxanthin, dietary fibre, iron, lycopene, magnesium, manganese, potassium and an essential oil called piperine

 

WELLNESS

 

Peppercorns (and ground pepper) are part and parcel of most kitchen pantries these days, but little may you know that they actually have a munificent range of outstanding health benefits including but not limited to

Anti-cancer properties Vitamin A, Vitamin C, carotenes, cryptoxanthin, lycopene, Zea-xanthin all have astounding anti-oxidant abilities that can fend off cell-damaging potentially cancer-causing free radicals.  Vitamin C is especially effective against cancers of the cervix, esophagus, oral cavity, pancreas, rectum and stomach.  Piperine, a chemical compound in pepper, may actually prevent the growth of breast cancer tumors

Anti-inflammatory properties Vitamin C wages battle against cell-damaging free radicals that often cause inflammation in those suffering from osteo-arthritis and rheumatoid arthritis

 

Digestive health Pepper increases hydrochloric acid secretion in the stomach, which aids in proper digestion of proteins and other foodstuffs.  If hydrochloric acid is running low, food tends to stay in the stomach and/ or intestines for a longer period of time, and this can result in constipation, diarrhea, flatulence, heartburn and indigestion.  Black pepper is also a diuretic, which will facilitate urination

Eye health Vitamin A is essential for healthy eye tissue and protects the eyes from age-related macular degeneration

Healthy bones and teeth Vitamin C is crucial for healthy gums.  Vitamin A is essential for strong teeth

Heart health Vitamin C can fight atherosclerosis and lower blood pressure.  Potassium controls the heart rate and blood pressure.  Lycopene prevents LDL, or “bad cholesterol” from doing damage to arterial walls

Immune system health Vitamin C is key in building and maintaining a strong immune system and warding off and lessening the symptoms of an almost innumerable amount of disease ranging from the common cold to the flu to the HIV virus.  Black pepper has known anti-bacterial properties, which can kill germs.  Black pepper is a great home remedy for thinning out nasal congestion

Vitamin absorption Piperine, an amine alkaloid, can increase the absorption of beta-carotene, B-complex vitamins and selenium

BEAUTY

Anti-oxidant properties Rich in Vitamin A, Vitamin C, carotenes, cryptoxanthin, lycopene, Zea-xanthin, these anti-oxidant superstars will do wonders for your hair, skin and nails and can prevent the signs of premature aging

 

WEIGHT LOSS

The outer layer of the black peppercorn, in particular, is highly effective in blocking fat formation in the body by breaking down fat cells.  It also stimulates the metabolic rate, sweating and is a terrific diuretic

 

COOKING

Naturally, pepper is used as a companion seasoning to salt on well, just about everything, but if you are mindful of your salt intake, you can use pepper as a stand-alone seasoning.  Why?  Well, besides the fact that it is delicious and healthy, it actually contains a minute amount of salt

Try this classic French dish, Steak Au Poivre, on for size. You can lighten it up by swapping some of the traditional high calorie higher-fat elements with healthier substitutes.   Choose two lean grass fed sirloin steaks, coat them with 2 teaspoons of Dijon mustard and press a tablespoon or so of black peppercorns into the flesh.  Sear the steaks on one side for about 4 minutes and finish them off in the oven at 350 degrees for an additional 7 minutes.

For the sauce, add a teaspoon of olive oil to the skillet and turn up to high.  Add a ¼ cup of quality red drinking wine, 1/3 cup low-sodium chicken or veggie broth and let reduce for 3 minutes.   Add 2 teaspoons of unsalted butter and a pinch of salt and remove from heat.  Once the mix has cooled a tad, add 2 tablespoons of low-fat sour cream and serve over the rested steaks.  Bon appetit

The disparity between a restaurant’s price and food quality rises in direct proportion to the size of the pepper mill.  ~Bryan Q. Miller

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Food Safety Tips
Clean all Equipment Thoroughly 
Its important that all work areas and equipment are thoroughly clean so bacteria cant survive and grow when the equipment is used.
Particularly items such as knifes, slicers and chopping boards. They need to be sanitised using water hotter than 77c for at least 30 seconds or a chemical sanitiser to be used
Avoid Cross Contamination
 Dangerous bacteria can be transferred from raw food to cooked food if they become in contact with each other.
To avoid this happening its important to wash and sanitise all equipment used as mentioned above, after each task using raw food
Store uncooked and raw food below cooked and ready to eat foods in your refrigerator
Cool Food Quickly
Cooked food should not be left sitting out for more than 1 hour
 When food is cooked it needs to be cooled quickly and placed in the refrigerator
If you are cooking in bulk, spread it out in shallow trays allowing it to cool faster and divide into smaller amounts
Cook Food Thoroughly
 Ensure food is thoroughly defrosted during cooking
Food that’s been cooked in the microwave needs to be stirred to ensure its hot all the way through
 Check that food reaches 75c, especially meat, poultry, eggs and dairy products
When reheating food, make sure you heat it quickly to 70c and keep it at that temperature for at least 2 minutes

Subscribe to www.womanshealthychef.com for more great tips and resources

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English: mushrooms

English: mushrooms (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Health Benefits of Mushrooms

Mushrooms are laden with nutritional goodness including Vitamin D aka the “sunshine vitamin,” B vitamins such as niacin, pantothenic acid and riboflavin, Beta-glucans, copper, ergothioneine, good fibre content, potassium, selenium and long-chain polysaccharides 

WELLNESS

These astoundingly powerful little fungi are a perennial favorite in the produce aisle amongst health-minded individuals as they are practically limitless in variety, eager sponges to soak up flavor and have innumerable health benefits including but not limited to

Anti-cancer properties Mushrooms have been shown to reduce the risk of certain forms of cancer.  Selenium has the ability to protect women from bladder cancer.  They also contain “aromatase inhibitors,” which may prevent the development of breast cancer in women.  In addition, mushrooms contain certain compounds, still being studied, that show promise in halting prostate enlargement and prohibiting prostate cancer in men

Bone health Copper and Vitamin D both help maintain strong and healthy bones less likely to lose mass as one ages.  Vitamin D, in particular, helps absorb calcium, which is critical for good bone health and can prevent osteoporosis

Diabetes help Mushrooms are incredibly low on the glycemic index and consuming mushrooms on a regular basis can help lower blood glucose levels

Digestive system health Niacin helps the digestive system function properly

Heart health Selenium is a mineral that works much like an anti-oxidant by shielding the body’s cells from harmful free radicals that could lead to coronary disease.  Potassium helps regulate blood pressure.  The relatively high insoluble fibre content in mushrooms can help lower and maintain healthy blood cholesterol levels.  Anti-oxidant ergothioneine prevents atherosclerosis.  Mushrooms are cholesterol-free, virtually fat-free and low in sodium, all news to cheer about for those concerned about their heart health

Immune system health Mushrooms are known to have strong anti-biotic properties and such modern medicines as penicillin and tetracycline actually derive from this miracle fungus.   Because of their long-chain polysaccharides, selenium content and rare anti-oxidant ergothioneine, mushrooms have outstanding effects on the immune system such as fighting infections and decreasing inflammation.  Riboflavin maintains healthy red blood cells and Beta-glucans are natural immune system boosters

Men’s health Selenium has been said to increase fertility in men

Nervous system health Copper, niacin, pantothenic acid and potassium all work to ensure a well-functioning nervous system

Urinary system health Selenium does wonders in maintaining a healthy bladder

 

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Anti-oxidant properties Ergothioneine is a lesser-known anti-oxidant that protects the body’s cells from free radical damage.  Cremini and Portobello mushrooms, in particular, are extremely high in their anti-oxidant prowess.  Anti-oxidants will strengthen your hair follicles and make you less likely to experience split ends.  They make the skin more supple and elastic and the nails strong and resilient.

 

WEIGHT LOSS

 

Nutritional intake Mushrooms are extremely low in calories, ranging between 15 and 42 calories per cup, dependent, of course, on the variety of mushroom.  They are also completely fat-free, cholesterol-free and quite low in sodium.  Rich in fibre and readily absorbent of flavor, they are a fantastic means of sating your hunger and taste cravings while making your belly feel full.  Their decent fibre content, especially when cooked and rid of their water content, will keep your body flushed out on a regular basis, which of course means more regular weight loss

 

Metabolism Beta-glucans help metabolize fats and sugars in the body and B-vitamins are notorious for converting carbohydrates into much needed fuel to give you energy throughout your day.  B-vitamins also assist in successfully metabolizing fats and proteins

 

COOKING

 

Mushrooms come in such a wide gamut of varieties you can spend your whole culinary existence having fun experimenting with different shapes, textures and flavor profiles

Stuffed mushroom caps as an appetizer are always a big hit at parties or use big ones for a meal all on their own.  First, line a lightly oiled baking tray with your favorite fresh, stemmed mushrooms.  In a bowl, combine roughly cut cashew nuts, a few minced garlic cloves, a couple of turns of quality EVOO, a splash of lemon juice,baby spinach and finish with a dollop of persian fetta  Stuff the mushroom cavities and bake them in the oven for a good twenty minutes or so.

For a sumptuous appetizer, or even a meal in and of itself on a cold winter’s day, concoct a steaming pot of cannelini bean and mushroom soup.  All you need are cooked cannelini beans, tahini paste, some butter,  chicken or vegetable broth, as many of your favorite mushrooms, two minced garlic cloves, an onion, two ribs of celery, salt and pepper to taste.

Portobello mushroom and Lentil burgers are a popular favorite amongst vegans, vegetarians and carnivores alike as they are thick and meaty and stand up well to grilling.  Spice them as you would your favorite burger using lentil patties as the bread, thrown on a slice of grilled haloumi cheese, some avocado, fresh rocket and well grilled mushies, top with some homemade tomato relish, and you will be in savory burger heaven.

“I am… a mushroom; On whom the dew of heaven drops now and then.” ~John Ford

Portobello mushrooms

Portobello mushrooms (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

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Onions on a neutral, mostly white background

Onions on a neutral, mostly white background (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Health Benefits of Onions

 

Onions are filled with vitamins, minerals and nutrients including Vitamin B, Vitamin C, chromium, flavonoids like quercetin, fibre, folic acid, iron, phytochemicals, which magnify Vitamin C’s effectiveness, polyphenols, potassium, and sulfur compounds

Onions may make you weep, but those tears should be ones of joy, for these potent veggies in the allium family have remarkable health benefits including but not limited to

 

Anti-cancer properties Due to powerful anti-oxidants like Vitamin C and quercetin, consuming onions on a regular basis can reduce your risk of breast cancer, bladder cancer, colon cancer, esophageal cancer, gastric cancer laryngeal cancer, lung cancer, oral cancer and ovarian cancer.  Quercetin has also been found to stall tumor growth

Arthritis Vitamin C and quercetin are both anti-inflammatory anti-oxidants, which can alleviate the uncomfortable inflammation often associated with osteo-arthritis and rheumatoid arthritis

Bites & Bee Stings Applying onion juice directly on a bee sting or mosquito bite is said to relieve the pain, itching and burning

 

Bone and teeth health Onions have been studied and shown to ward off the age-related progression of osteoporosis, or loss of bone mineral density, which can make bones fragile and more prone to fractures.  Vitamin C also repairs cartilage, ligaments and tendons, and is a must-have for healthy gums

 

Brain health Some findings have indicated that eating onions regularly may prevent memory loss as we age

 

Digestive health Consistently consuming onions can lessen your chance of developing stomach ulcers.  Onions also improve the digestion process as a whole by increasing the secretion of important digestive juices

 

Heart health Raw onions, in particular, stimulate the production of HDL aka “good cholesterol” and reduce LDL aka “bad cholesterol.”  Vitamin C helps to lower high cholesterol and combat atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries. Potassium prevents arrhythmia and can lower and regulate high blood pressure.  Onions are a cholesterol-free and fat-free food item

 

Immune system health Onions have powerful antibiotic, antimicrobial and antiviral properties that can help you steer clear or lessen the symptoms of everything from infections to the flu to food-borne illnesses to the HIV virus.  Onion juice combined with honey is a not-as-widely known home remedy for assuaging fever, relieving a cough and soothing a sore throat

 

Type 2 Diabetes Chromium helps regulate blood sugar levels

 

Women’s health Purportedly, consuming onions a few days before your menstrual cycle can help relieve some of the painful and uncomfortable symptoms

 

BEAUTY

 

Anti-oxidant properties The anti-oxidants in onions (namely flavonoid quercetin and Vitamin A) fight off cell-damaging free radicals and protect our bodies from the oxidative stress that often causes premature aging including fine lines and wrinkles.  These anti-oxidants also strengthen the hair and nails

WEIGHT LOSS

Fibre One medium-sized onion has 2 grams of fibre and any added fibre to your diet will help flush out your system and lead to more regular weight loss

Nutritional Intake One medium-sized onion is only an approximate 44 calories and is virtually devoid of fat, which makes it a terrific veggie to use in a wide variety of recipes, guilt-free

COOKING

 

A tantalizingly tasty appetizer sure to please health-or-weight conscious guests  is a batch of oven-fried onion rings.  Simply set your oven on high and cut 2 large sweet onions (such as Vidalia or Walla Walla) into 3cms thick slices.  In a bowl, combine 2 cups of flour, 2 teaspoons of paprika and 2 teaspoons of salt.  In a second bowl, mix together 2 cups of buttermilk and 4 eggs.  Add 1 cup of the flour mixture into the buttermilk and egg mixture.  In a third and final bowl, whisk together 3 cups of Panko breadcrumbs, 4 tablespoons of EVOO and 2 teaspoons of salt.  Dredge the onion slices first into the flour and seasoning bowl, then into the buttermilk, and finally into the Panko mix.  Arrange them in a single layer on a cooking-spray coated baking sheet and bake in oven for 15 to 20 minute until golden brown.

For a rich, deeply satisfying and yet healthier version of a classic French Onion Soup, just saute 8 cups of red and/or yellow onions in 2 teaspoons of olive oil in a Dutch oven or large pan over medium-high heat for 5 minutes.  Spoon in a ½ teaspoon of sugar, a ½ teaspoon of pepper, and a ¼ teaspoon of salt.  Bring heat down to medium now and let the mixture cook for a good 25 minutes, stirring often.  Add ¼ cup quality white drinking wine (preferably something dry) and let the alcohol burn off for one minute.  Then add 8 cups of lower sodium, reduced-fat beef broth and a ¼ teaspoon fresh chopped thyme, cover and put on a slow simmer for 2 hours.  When the soup is up, ladle one cup each into oven-proof crockpots, top with a thin slice of French bread, a 1 ounce slice of reduced-fat Swiss cheese and broil for a few minutes until the cheese is all bubbly and browned.

 

Or as  snack marinate in rapardsa sugar and cider vinegar, mix in your salads on just eat raw  Voila!

“It doesn’t matter how precisely the onion is cut as long as the person chewing it is happy.”  ~Padma Lakshmi

 

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Onion_8174068 (Photo credit: SoraZG)

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Bucket of raw Abelmoschus esculentus (okra) pods

Bucket of raw Abelmoschus esculentus (okra) pods (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Health Benefits of Okra

 

This beloved Southern U.S. staple, and popular ingredient in   Africa, India and the Middle East, contains memorable amounts of Vitamin A, Vitamin B6, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Beta-carotene, fibre, folate, lutein, magnesium, manganese, niacin, (B3), thiamin (B1) and zeaxanthin

WELLNESS

Okra burst forth from its roots and staked claim on the world at large in recent years because of its delicious, grassy flavor and amazing health benefits including but not limited to

Anti-cancer properties Okra’s rich fibre content sweeps hazardous wastes from the intestines and colon and can help combat colon cancer.  Vitamin A, Vitamin C, beta-carotene and lutein are powerful anti-oxidants that fight off cell-damaging free radicals and reduce your risk of developing cancer

Asthma Vitamin C, taken in even low regular doses, has been shown to reduce typical asthmatic symptoms like wheezing in those individuals suffering from the affliction

Blood health Magnesium is responsible for the production of healthy red blood cells

Bone health / teeth health Vitamin A and Vitamin C build and sustain strong bones and teeth.  Vitamin C plays an important role in repairing bones, cartilage, ligaments and tendons.  Vitamin K stimulates calcium-binding in the bones

Diabetes Fibre helps normalize blood sugar levels in the body by slowing down sugar absorption in the blood

Digestive health Due to its rich fibre content, okra cleans out the intestines and colon of toxic materials.  Vitamin A is vital for healthy mucous membranes, which, in turn, are beneficial for proper functioning of the digestive tract.  Consuming okra helps produce probiotics, or good bacteria, and is a great way to ease constipation, gas and irritable bowel syndrome

 

Eye health Vitamin A maintains healthy eye tissue, promotes higher visual acuity and can protect the eyes from age-related macular degeneration

 

Healthy bones and teeth Vitamin C is essential for healthy gums.  Vitamin A and beta-carotene are both good for a strong and healthy set of chompers.  Some of Vitamin C’s other prominent tasks include repairing bones, cartilage, ligaments and tendons

Healthy pregnancy Folate is an absolute must-have B vitamin for women who are carrying as it promotes healthy growth of the baby and prevents birth defects.  Vitamin C also aids in proper development of the fetus

 

Heart health Vitamin C, taken regularly, can lower blood pressure and fight atherosclerosis.  Magnesium also helps to normalize blood pressure.  Pectin, a soluble fibre found in okra, has been shown to considerably lower cholesterol.  Okra also happens to be a cholesterol-free food

 

Immune system health Vitamin C is the immune system’s best friend and can help heal wounds, form healthy scar tissue and fight off a gamut of diseases and infections, from an annoying, everyday cold to influenza to the HIV virus

Kidney Disease Studies have shown that eating okra on a consistent basis can actually stave off the onset of kidney disease

 

BEAUTY

 Skin health Vitamin C promotes healthy skin and produces collagen

Anti-oxidant properties Anti-oxidants Vitamin A, Vitamin C, beta-carotene and lutein are all winning warriors against cell-damaging free radicals and work to maintain healthy, younger-looking, elastic skin, strong, resilient nails and bounce-back hair that is less prone to breakage and split ends

 

WEIGHT LOSS

 

Fibre A once cup serving of okra has a whopping 3.2 grams of fibre, which will keep your stomach feeling full and sated and your mind less likely to crave those empty calories that are detrimental to your diet.  The fibre will also flush out your system more regularly and keep you from feeling bloated

 

Nutritional Intake One cup of okra has a scant 33 calories and is virtually fat-free with a barely worth mentioning 0.1 grams per that same one cup serving

 

COOKING / CONSUMPTION

 

Okra is available year round, but is at its peak in the summer months.  Okra pods, when chosen, should be bright green in color

Okra can be slimy if not prepared correctly, and that has proven a turn-off to some, but do not let that dissuade you from trying this delicious and versatile veggie.  To cut down on the slime factor, utilize quick-cooking methods like flash sauteing or steaming, grilling and/or frying.  A friend of mine recently suggested that I cut a small “x” in the stem end of the okra pod and soak it in vinegar for 1/2 hour before cooking.  Apparently, this is a popular treatment in Morocco and Greece, but one that should be taken in consideration, of course, dependent on which recipe you plan to make, as vinegar is strong

Pickled okra is fun and easy to put together and can be stored and enjoyed for up to six months!  Make sure to invest in real one-pint canning jars that have those two–part sealing lids to keep the air out and maximize the pickling effect.  Just fill a jar with okra pods, one chopped garlic clove, one whole Chile pepper, ½ tsp. dill seeds, a cup of vinegar (either cider or rice wine vinegar), 1 cup water and 2 tbsp sea salt  Spoon the mixture over the okra (leaving a little space at the top of each jar), boil the jars submerged in water for 15 minutes and store them in a cool dry place for at least three weeks before eating

Bbq Grilled okra is a fun and tasty backyard BBQ alternative.  Keep the pods whole, toss them in some fresh lemon juice, drizzle them with some quality EVOO, sprinkle them with a gentle amount of sea salt and a little fresh cracked black pepper and coriander to taste and place them right on the outside grill (or inside grill pan) for about five minutes each side.  The charred flavor well compliments that okra’s natural grassy goodness

For a healthy spin on a traditional Louisiana comfort food, concoct this easy, lean but still hearty and satisfying Chicken and Sausage GumboIn a Dutch oven, combine 2 tbsp all-purpose flour and 1 tbsp. canola oil over medium-high heat for three minutes.  Add 1 chopped onion, 1 cup sliced okra, 1 cup chopped celery, 4 minced garlic cloves, a ½ teaspoon (or more depending on how spicy you like it) Cajun seasoning, a ½ teaspoon thyme, 1 bay leaf, 2 cups lean chicken breast, 1 cup light Italian turkey sausage, ½ cup sliced red bell pepper, ½ cup sliced green bell pepper, 2 cups diced tomatoes and one 1 cup of chicken broth.  Bring it to a boil and then let simmer for 6-10 minutes and serve over brown rice

My Favorite Tempura Okra  in a crisp light batter with smoke paprika and tatziki

Fun Fact about Okra:  The seeds in okra are sometimes roasted in a skillet until browned and then cooled and ground as a coffee substitute!

Okra fruits

Okra fruits (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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weightloss

weightloss (Photo credit: Life Mental Health)

The real Truth about weight loss is not some new fad diet that will be gone next year after you shed your kilos and put them all back again, no that’s so not it There is so much money to be made by companies with the growing epidermic of the western diet that those companies just want to sell you a quick fix and make a buck, they don’t care about your long lasting results. Exercise is important however even the famous Australian Fitness Coach Michelle Bridges knows and states that 80 percent of weightloss is diet related

Nor is some meal replacement shake the answer, some of these can actually do you way more damage, the minute you eat real food its back and you will put more on

Its real food, real exercise and real willpower

Have a Goal but also a plan to sustain it once you have reached your goal

90 percent of people who sustain there change have a Support System

For a free consultation email cassandra@womanshealthychef.com to help you achieve long lasting results with a plan designed specifically for you

My Weight Loss Coach

My Weight Loss Coach (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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http://www.ted.com/talks/lang/en/dean_ornish_on_the_world_s_killer_diet.html

My gift to all of my wonderful readers

For a free Consultation to Change your Life through Wellness, Weightloss and Beauty  email cassandra@womanshealthychef.com

Its proven that 90 percent of people who achieve long lasting results have assistance before, during and after the process

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stock-photography-pumpkin-image16211462

The Health Benefits of Pumpkins

 

This beautiful squash is filled with Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, the Vitamin B-complex group including Vitamin B6, folate, niacin, pantothenic acid and thiamin, Vitamin K, calcium, copper, fibre, lutein, magnesium, Omega 3’s, phosphorous, phytoserols, potassium, tryptophan, Zea-xanthin and zinc

WELLNESS

Pumpkins are not just for Halloween carving anymore.  Health aficionados the world over have embraced this magnificent fruit for its pleasing taste, spectacular versatility in the kitchen and innumerable health benefits including but not limited to

Anti-cancer properties Adequate fiber in your diet will keep your body flushed out and your colon less likely to come in prolonged contact with potential colon cancer-causing toxins.  Vitamin A maintains healthy mucous membranes and can prevent lung cancer and oral cancer. Anti-oxidant Vitamin C, fights off cell-damaging free radicals, repairs tissue and diminishes your chances of developing quite a few forms of cancer including cervical cancer, esophageal cancer, oral cavity cancer, pancreatic cancer, rectal cancer and stomach cancer.  Tryptophan produces T-cells, which fight off cancer cells.  Vitamin K, lutein and phytoserols also take action to reduce your risk

Arthritis Pumpkin seed oil has value as an anti-inflammatory agent and is particularly effective against osteo-arthritis and rheumatoid arthritis

 

Asthma Vitamin C has been successfully shown to reduce typical asthmatic symptoms like wheezing in those afflicted

 

Bladder health Eating pumpkin seeds can reduce your chance of developing bladder stones

 

Bone / teeth health Vitamin A is crucial for strong teeth.  Vitamin C is essential for healthy gums.  Vitamin C’s other helpful contributions include repairing bones, cartilage, ligaments and tendons. Potassium helps preserve calcium in the bones and proper calcium prevents osteoporosis.  The omega fatty acids found in pumpkin also promote good bone health

Depression Studies have indicated that ingesting pumpkin seeds can prevent depression

Diabetes Vitamin B6 helps regulate and maintain healthy blood sugar levels.  Fibre slows down blood sugar absorption.  Zinc also assists with insulin regulation.  Regular ingestion of lutein has shown promise against Type 2 Diabetes, in particular

 

Digestive health Fiber helps you digest your food more effectively and can ease constipation.  Magnesium aids in proper bowel function, as well.  Potassium can increase metabolism and aid in the productive digestion of carbohydrates

 

Eye health Vitamin A supports healthy eye tissue and facilitates higher visual acuity.  Vitamin A, lutein and Zea-xanthin protect the eyes from age-related macular degeneration.  Lutein also has the added benefit of preventing cataracts.  Zinc assists vitamin A in creating melanin, a pigment that protects the eye.  Proper zinc intake has been shown to award better night vision

 

Heart health Pumpkin seed oil can increase HDL, or “good cholesterol,” and decrease LDL, or “bad cholesterol.”  The phytoserols in pumpkin also reduce cholesterol.  Vitamin C taken on a regular basis can lower blood pressure and fight atherosclerosis.   Potassium lowers blood pressure, as well.  Magnesium regulates the pumping of the heart and relaxes the blood vessels.  Pumpkin is fat-free and cholesterol-free and pretty low in sodium, all good news for the heart

Immune system health Vitamins A, C, E, tryptophan and zinc all support a healthy immune system and can ward off a slew of ailments ranging from the common cold to the flu to the HIV virus

Men’s health Pumpkin seeds and pumpkin oil are said to thwart prostate enlargement due to their high concentration of zinc.  They also assist in healthy sexual functioning

Menopause Pumpkin seed oil purportedly alleviates some menopausal symptoms including hot flashes, aches and pains and headaches

 

Mood Vitamin B-6 produces GABA, an extremely important amino acid that operates as a neuro-transmitter in the central nervous system and results in a general feeling of calm and well-being.  Tryptophan produces serotonin, another essential neuro-transmitter that does wonders to elevate mood

PH balance Potassium regulates and maintains proper pH balance in the body

Sleep Pumpkin seeds contain a great deal of tryptophan, which is converted into serotonin and subsequently melatonin.  Melatonin is otherwise known as the “sleep hormone,” so eating a handful of pumpkin seeds before bed can result in a restorative night’s sleep

 

BEAUTY

Anti-oxidant properties Vitamins A, C and E all have tremendous success fighting the cell-damaging free radicals and oxidative stress that often cause premature aging.  All three of these help keep the skin more elastic and radiant, the hair more bouncy and lustrous and the nails more resilient

 

WEIGHT LOSS

Fibre A one-cup serving of mashed pumpkin has a generous 3 grams of fibre, which will keep your stomach feeling full and satisfied and your mind less likely to trick you into those empty calorie snacks between meals.  The fibre will also flush out your system more consistently, which results in a more steady weight loss

Nutritional Intake That same one-cup serving has only 49 calories and is virtually fat-free

COOKING / CONSUMPTION

 Why not try some sweet recipes such as pumpkin pannacotta, pumpkin and coconut ice cream or a twist to puree with chicken stock and a dash of vanilla,If your not feeling that adventures there are some classics below

Since pumpkin seeds are so nutrient-rich, why not make a big batch of roasted, toasted pumpkin seeds to munch on as a tasty, crunchy snack between meals?  All you need to do is gather the seeds, place them on a single layer in a baking pan, drizzle them with some good olive oil, sprinkle with salt and fresh ground black pepper, toss to coat and bake in a 375 degree oven for 7-10 minutes, or until light golden brown.

A wonderful fall of winter appetizer, or meal in and of itself, is a rich, velvety Pumpkin soup.  Just sauté one small yellow onion and two garlic cloves in a tablespoon of quality olive oil until softened.   Sprinkle in one tablespoon of cumin and curry powder and toss gently until the veggies are well coated.  Add three cups of low-fat lower sodium chicken broth and one 15-ounce can of pumpkin puree and simmer over low heat for about 15 to 20 minutes.   Mix in one 12-ounce can of evaporated fat-free milk and cook for an additional 2 to 3 minutes.  Puree the mix in a blender until it reaches a smooth consistency.  Serve while hot in pretty white ceramic bowls with fresh cracked pepper and a smattering of those delicious toasted pumpkin seeds as garnish

And how could one possibly resist a good ol’ Pumpkin pie?  You shouldn’t resist it because like almost everything else, it can be skinnified without sacrificing its rich, creamy lusciousness.  Merely buy a low-fat unbaked pie crust in your freezer section and fill it with a mix of one 2 cups of pumpkin puree, one 2 cups of fat-free sweetened condensed milk, eight egg whites, a teaspoon of cinnamon and a ½ teaspoon each of ginger, nutmeg and salt.  Bake the pie crust first according to package directions.  Then pour in the filling and bake at 350 degrees for about 35 to 40 minutes and serve with a scoop of your favorite brand of low-fat vanilla bean ice cream or a nice dollop of fat-free whipped topping

“Only the knife knows what goes on in the heart of a pumpkin.”  ~Simone Schwarz-Bart

Pumpkins, photographed in Canada.

Pumpkins, photographed in Canada. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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Passionfruit, Granadilla, Passiflora edulis 's...

Passionfruit, Granadilla, Passiflora edulis ‘s a half of fruit with skin, flesh and seeds ….Trái Chanh dây cắt nửa với vỏ, cơm và hạt … (Photo credit: Vietnam Plants & The USA. plants)

The Health Benefits of Passion Fruit

 

This native South American fruit is chock full of nutrients, vitamins and minerals including Vitamin A, Vitamin B2, Vitamin B6, Vitamin C, calcium, carotenoids such as Beta-carotene and lutein, choline, copper, fibre, folate, iron, magnesium, phosphorous and potassium

WELLNESS

The passion fruit has inspired amorous passion in many a health-minded individual as it is sublime in flavor and innumerous in health benefits including but not limited to

Anti-cancer properties Passion fruit juice, with pulp and seeds intact, is very high in fibre and serves as a powerful laxative, which will keep your colon clean and in less contact with cancer-causing toxins.  This means you are far less likely to develop colon cancer.  Vitamin A maintains healthy mucous membranes and can stave off lung cancer and oral cancer.  Vitamin C, as anti-oxidant, combats the oxidative stress caused by cell-damaging free radicals, repairs tissue and wards off quite a few forms of cancer including that of the cervix, esophagus, oral cavity, pancreas, rectum and stomach.  Lutein may also decrease your risk of developing cancer.

Arthritis The important carotenoid Beta-carotene can reduce one’s chance of developing arthritis.  Anti-oxidant champion vitamin C does battle against cell-damaging free radicals that often cause inflammation in those suffering from osteo-arthritis and rheumatoid arthritis

Asthma Vitamin C is effective as an anti-histamine and can calm an asthma attack

Blood health The passion fruit contains a healthy dose of iron, and iron increases blood production.  Vitamin C works in tandem by preventing the loss of iron in one’s body

Bones / Teeth Mighty vitamin C is a must-have for healthy gums.  Vitamin A and beta-carotene are both crucial for strong teeth.  Potassium helps preserve calcium in the bones and increases their density and strength.  Calcium, in turn, prevents bone loss and osteoporosis

Depression Consumption of Beta-carotene, aka “Pro-Vitamin A,” can reduce one’s risk of suffering from depression

 

Digestive health Passion fruit makes for a highly effective laxative that can ease constipation.   It also shows promise in relieving hyperacidity and gastric ulcers.  B vitamins maintain healthy mucous membranes in the digestive tract

 

Eye health Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Beta-carotene and flavonoids all protect the eyes from free-radical damage and promote proper moistness of the eyes and higher visual acuity, especially at night

 

Heart health Adequate amounts of fibre can actually reduce cholesterol.  Potassium regulates the heart rate and blood pressure.  Magnesium regulates the pumping of the heart and also relaxes the blood vessels.  The B vitamins inherent in passion fruit juice can also lower cholesterol and stimulate proper blood circulation.  The many anti-oxidants in passion fruit inhibit the growth of cancer cells in the body.  And as luck would have it, passion fruit is a low-sodium food, which is always good news for those tending to their hearts

 

Immune system health Vitamin A, Vitamin C and over a dozen varying carotenoids found in passion fruit royally boost your immune system and can fend off a gamut of ailments ranging from the common cold to the flu to the HIV virus

 

Sleep disorders & Stress relief Vitamin B-6 is absolutely crucial in producing GABA, an extremely influential amino acid that serves as a neurotransmitter in the nervous system and results in a general calming effect and feeling of overall well-being.  Drinking a glass of passion fruit juice before bed can expedite a restful night’s sleep for the frustrated insomniac

 

BEAUTY

 

Anti-oxidant properties Vitamin A, Vitamin B2, Vitamin B6, Vitamin C, copper and potassium all play a strong role in maintaining healthy, lustrous hair that is less prone to breakage.  The anti-oxidant abilities of vitamins A & C do wonders in combatting cell-damaging free radicals and oxidative stress and preventing pre-mature aging

 

WEIGHT LOSS

 

Fibre One cup of passion fruit juice with pulp and seeds intact, provides an astounding    grams of fibre, which will fill you up and keep you flushed out on a regular basis, both which contribute to a more consistent and organic weight loss

COOKING / CONSUMPTION

 

Passion fruit curd is a wonderfully exotic spread for your Sunday morning scones, biscuits or short stack of pancakes and all it requires is ten passion fruits, a couple of eggs, some sugar, a bit of unsalted butter and a little stirring over low heat until thickened.  The curd can be poured into pretty glass jars and kept in the fridge for some time to relish when the mood strikes you

 

Passion fruit frozen yogurt or sorbet is downright delightful during the hot summer days and super simple to make.  But if you really want to get impressive with dessert, make a luscious passion fruit cheesecake.  The secret to extra creamy goodness is the combination of lite cream cheese and lite sour cream or Greek yogurt.  In order to truly reap the greatest benefits from this tropical fruit, use the pulp to make a simple syrup to pool on your finished cheesecake.  The black seeds make for a visually striking edible garnish with a lovely contrasting crunch

And a batch of Passion Fruit Mojito’s will go over well at any cocktail party.  Combine freshly strained passion fruit juice in a pretty rock glass or martini glass and mix in 2 TB.’s fresh lime juice, ½ teaspoon granulated sugar and some torn fresh mint leaves.  Muddle well, add ice, pour in 2 ounces of quality white rum and top off with club soda

History tell us that Spanish explorers saw the brilliant blooming flower of the passion fruit as a symbol of Christ’s crucifixion, or, the “Passion of the Cross.”

മലയാളം: പാഷൻ ഫ്രൂട്ട്

മലയാളം: പാഷൻ ഫ്രൂട്ട് (Photo credit: Wikipedia)