Benefits Of Black Olives: Too Many To Count

You must have seen black olives sprinkled on top of pizza or adding taste to sandwiches and colour to salad bowls. Well, the news is they are not only decorative and tasty, they carry immense benefits as well. Many of you must be aware of the key benefits of black olives already but we can assure you this article will add to their knowledge. Here we have tried our best to tell you every teeny tiny detail of this ancient food.

What Are Black Olives And Where They Came From?

Many may not know it but it is actually a fruit that grown on trees. Yes! you read that right! The tree known as Olea europaea has been a native to Mediterranean region and dates back to almost 3000 years ago. This is among the few fruits that has been mentioned in the Holy books of Muslims and Christians as well. For ancient civilisations, olive tree was a source of fuel, medicine as well as timber. Olives when they grow on the tree are green in colour and are often picked unripe. When they are allowed to ripen on the tree, they darken in colour and sometimes turn black. But not all of them are black by nature. After picking from the tree, they undergo processing that includes oxidization and fermentation. That often renders them black in colour. The processing is a must step as black olives cannot be eaten without that because right off the tree the have a bitter taste.

Olives belong to a fruit group known as “drupes” and are distant cousins to mangoes, peaches, cherries, almonds and pistachios.

Characterised as both snack and ingredient, olives have a rich salty taste and very chewy, smooth texture.

Nutrition Profile of Black Olives:

After establishing the fact that black olives have a great history, it is now time to find out the reasons. Nutrition profile is one of the reasons, you will soon know why:

An average olive carries a weight of 3-5 grams and 3.5 ounces make one serving of them. Here is what you will get in one serving of ripe, canned olives:

  • Total calories: 115
  • Fat: 10.7 g
  • Protein: 0.8g
  • Carbohydrates: 6.3g
  • Fibre: 3.2 g
  • Water: 80%
  • Sugar: 0g
  • Cholesterol: 0g
  • Sodium: 12% of DV
  • Iron: 6.8mg
  • Magnesium: 4mg
  • Potassium: 8mg

In addition to these macronutrients and minerals, black olives are also rich in vitamins almost all of them.

Benefits of Black Olives:

The benefits of black olives are too many to keep count. Calling olive, a gift of God won’t be wrong at all. Let’s dive into the world of olives for a little while and get to know them closely.

  1. Cardiovascular Benefits: Black olives impart great cardiovascular benefits to our health. Being rich in antioxidants, black olives save our blood vessels from the oxidative damage caused by the free radicals which in return saves from heart disease. Olives contain two types of fats:
  2. Saturated fats
  3. Monounsaturated fats

Monounsaturated fats are in abundant as compared to saturated fats. Ripe olives provide as much as 8 grams of MUFs. As per American Heart Association, diet rich in these fats saves you from the risk of heart disease as they tend to decrease bad cholesterol in the blood. Oleic acid which is the main fatty acid present in the black olives has been linked with better heart health. It also regulates the cholesterol levels in the blood while protecting LDLs from oxidation

2- Prevention of Cancer: 90% of the Mediterranean diet is based on olives and it is a surprising fact that incidence of cancer and chronic diseases is less in those countries as compared to western countries. The anti-cancer effect can be due to the high amount of anti-oxidants as well as oleic acid present in them.

Moreover, black olives are rich in Vitamin E which have this superpower to neutralize the effect of free radicals in the body. Vitamin E together with oleic acid offer a protective role to the cellular process happening in the body mainly mitochondrion function. Studies have proved that diet rich in olives reduces the risk of cancer to a great deal.

3- Improved Bone Health: Osteoporosis is a leading bone disorder around the globe. But surprisingly the rates are lower in Mediterranean region. There has been a speculation that olives had a role in this as Mediterranean diet is all about olives and olive oil. It was found that olives contain few plant compounds that have a role in preventing bone loss. Moreover, the anti-inflammatory capability of MUFs, polyphenols and vitamin E all combine together and protects against osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.

4- Natural Painkiller: Olive oil contains a chemical compound named as “oleocanthal” which inhibits inflammation in the same way as the famous painkiller drug Ibuprofen does. That’s why olive oil is often applied for muscle and bones pain. Calling it a natural painkiller won’t be wrong at all.

5- Improved Digestive Health: The MUFs and Vitamin E in black olives have been linked lower incidence of colon cancer. Incorporating olive oil in diets protects against gastric ulcers and gastritis. Black olives are rich in fibre that improves digestive health.

6- Rich in Iron: Black olives contain a bounty of iron. Iron is quintessential for our body functions like production of energy. Moreover, it is an important part of cells and enzymes. Our immune system is also dependent on adequate amount of iron in the body. Blood cells carry oxygen throughout the body and require iron to perform the function. So, if you want to keep your iron levels in check, black olives are a great option.

Are There Any Side-Effects To Black Olives?

There are no serious side effects to black olives. Black olives have an ability to reduce blood pressure so people with low blood pressure numbers already may face some consequences. Likewise, strong olives may lead to diarrhoea as well. 

Final Verdict:

A little bit of everything would make the whole. Adding fruits like black olives in moderation to your diet will be really beneficial to your health. So, what are you waiting for?

Benefits Of Black Maca – A Health Booster

The name of black maca might connote to be a mystical substance with dangerous effects. But in reality, it is a plant that has numerous health boosting qualities and it has stirred quite a buzz among people. Let’s look into the details of black maca.

What is Black Maca?

Maca or Lepidium meyenii is part of cruciferous family and is related to vegetables like kale, cauliflower, broccoli and cabbage. It is found native to the Andes plateaus of Peru. In Peru it was used for medicinal and culinary purposes since a long time. The main edible part of black maca plant is the root. The root of maca plant is dried and consumed in powder form. Maca exists in several colors ranging from white to black. However black maca is gaining popularity due to its many health boosting properties.

Nutritional Profile:

Themaca root powder is a good source of important mineral and vitamins this makes it very nutritious.

One ounce of maca root powder contains:

  • Fat: 1 gram
  • Calories: 91
  • Fiber: 2 grams
  • Carbs: 20 grams
  • Protein: 4 grams

Maca root is also good source of essential minerals (copper, manganese) and essential vitamins (vitamin C, vitamin B6). It also contains several other important plant compounds such as polyphenols and glucosinolates.

Health conditions and black maca:

The following health benefits of black maca are supported by small scale research and studies.

  • Blood pressure: In an observational study maca intake was associated with lower blood pressure. In another study postmenopausal women after regular intake of maca showed lower blood pressure.
  • Inflammation and oxidative stress: In a group of 50 people, people who regularly consumed maca have lower inflammatory markers as compared to those who did not take maca.
  • Blood Glucose: Black maca has shown to lower blood glucose level in a study of 197 adults. This is promising result however more results are required.
  • Anxiety and Depression: Maca intake has been associated with reduced symptoms of depression and anxiety especially in post-menopausal women.

Maca and its role in male fertility:

 Maca root holds promising results to treat people with different sexual dysfunctions e.g. male infertility. In terms of male infertility sperm quantity and quality is really important.

In one study improved sperm motility and concentration was observed in healthy male adults who were given maca as compare to those who were given placebo. The hormone levels of both groups remained same.

This result was confirmed by another study that even though hormone levels were not changed but a significant increase in seminal volume, sperm motility and motile sperm count was increased in participants who were taking maca supplements.

Maca relieve symptoms of Menopause:

 During menopause the decline in estrogen levels causes unpleasant symptoms such as mood swings, hot flashes, irritability, sleep problems and vaginal dryness. Even though it is not recognized as an effective medicine but research results are promising.

It was found through results of a small study that 3.5g intake of maca daily reduces post-menopausal symptoms such as depression, anxiety and improved sexual function.

In another review of four studies that had menopausal women as subjects showed that maca helps reducing menopausal symptoms such as interrupted sleep and hot flashes.

Increase Libido in men and women:

Traditionally maca was taken in as aphrodisiac. This claim is backed by research now, regular intake of maca has shown improved sexual desire.

In another meta-analysis study conducted in 2010 it was concluded that intake of maca increases improved sexual desire. In these studies, both male and female participants were enrolled.

Maca can protect skin from sun:

There is some strong evidence that state when maca extract is applied on skin, it helps in protecting your skin from harmful UV radiations. This protective effect of maca on skin is due to the presence of glucosinolates and polyphenol antioxidants in maca extracts.

It is important to note that maca extract can only protect skin when applied on skin not when eaten. Also, it cannot be replaced with a conventional sun-screen.

Black maca and memory:

Black maca is considered useful in promoting healthy cognitive function. Black maca helps in improved memory and learning due to its capacity to reduce oxidative stress.

Energy and mood:

Black maca is consumed to boost mood and energy. A study on cyclists showed that group of cyclists who consumed black maca showed better result as compare to those who did not consumed black maca.

Bone health:

Black maca have shown positive results on bone architecture of female mice. It can also help in increasing bone density in women.

How to use black maca:

  •  Black maca supplements are readily available. These supplements are available in powder form, liquid extract or 500mg capsule form.
  • Black maca can also be used as an adaptogen, a substance that helps in managing stress and helps body to adapt, and overall vitality and energy booster.
  • It is very easy to incorporate black maca in your diet. It can be added in baked goods, smoothies, oatmeal and more.
  • The optimal dose for black maca intake has not been established yet. However, 1.5-5 grams of black maca root powder per day is considered safe.
  • Black maca is readily available in supermarkets or healthy food stores. You can also buy it from online retailers. Amazon have very good selection.

Safety and side-effects:

  • Black maca is considered safe for most people.
  • Consumption of fresh maca root can causes serious health related issues. So boiling maca roots before consumption is recommended by natives.
  • People with under-lying thyroid disorder should not take black maca. As it contains goitrogens, a substance that affects thyroid glands normal function.
  • To avoid any adverse effects Pregnant or breast-feeding mothers should consult with their doctor before black maca consumption.

 Final Verdict:

Adding black maca in your diet is very promising in achieving several health benefits. However, most of these studies are conducted on small scale and on animals. More extensive researches are required. Consult your doctor before consuming black maca for medicinal purpose. 

Benefits of black beans

An inexpensive legume that many of you might be reading about for the first time in your lives. But it’s never too late to equip yourself with knowledge of something like this. We are sure as you reach the end of this article, the next thing you will do is to go to a supermarket and get your hands on these magical beans. Today we will discuss everything from their family to their benefits. Let’s get started:

What are Black Beans?

Black beans belong to family Fabaceae and are known by the scientific name Phaseolus vulgaris. Informally they are called by the name “black turtle beans.” These have been a staple food on the American tables since last 7000 years.

Easily available everywhere, these beans have a mildly sweet flavour and a very soothing texture.

They have a hard shell-like appearance and resemble coffee beans somehow. From brownies to salads to burritos they are part of a variety of dishes around the world due to their rich taste as well as high nutrition profile.

Tell me about the Nutrient Content:

A cup of black beans is one serving and here is what you get in that one cup:

  • Total calories: 227 kcals
  • Fat: 1g
  • Carbohydrates: 41g
  • Protein: 15g
  • Fibre: 15g
  • Sugar: 1g
  • Sodium: 22% of RDI
  • Phosphorous: 37% of RDI
  • Magnesium: 27% of RDI
  • Thiamine: 33% of RDI
  • Potassium: 16% of RDI
  • Iron: 5mg
  • Folate: 146 mg

The Health Benefits of Black Beans

Not only these magical beans taste amazing but they contain a lot of highly beneficial nutrients that render some amazing benefits on our bodies. It’s time you learn about them in detail. So, the next time you eat them your joy will double up as you will know all the benefits by the back of your hand. We cannot wait to tell you, let’s get started:

  1. Healthy Bones: Many will not be expecting this benefit from a legume family but it is true that black beans give you healthy bones. Bone strengthening minerals and nutrients are all packed in these amazing black beans. These minerals are iron, magnesium, calcium, manganese, copper and zinc. As phosphorous and calcium are quintessential for maintaining bone structure, strength and elasticity is taken care by the iron and zinc. So, if you want to have a bone healthy future, make sure to include black beans in your diet today.
  2. Keeping Blood Pressure in Check: For lowering blood pressure it is important to keep a check on your sodium intake and include foods in your diet that are high in potassium, magnesium and calcium; as the later tend to reduce the blood pressure. When looking for such foods, black beans must be on your list as they fit the criteria perfectly.
  3. Maintaining Blood Sugar Levels: A study wascarried out that studied effect of addition of a cup of legumes in the diet of people having type 2 diabetes. The results were astonishing. The study showed that there was a remarkable reduction in the blood sugar levels. Black beans are naturally blessed with both soluble and insoluble fibre. When you consume insoluble fibres, you stay fuller for longer periods of time. Moreover, they move slowly through the intestines and this way glycaemic control will be maintained. There will be lesser spikes as well as crashes in the blood sugar levels. Not only are these beans beneficial for the diabetics, adding them to your diet will also cut down the risk of the disease to a great deal.
  4. Two in one Deal: Who would mind a two in one deal? You must be wondering what is the point here. Black beans have been categorised as protein as well as vegetable by the U.S Dietary Guidelines for Americans. That’s a real two in one deal. Doesn’t that make these beans the coolest on the planet? A single serving contains 15g of proteins. That makes these a heaven-sent option for the vegans. Also, a perfect option for #meatlessMondays!
  5. Improving Gut Health: Black beans are high in resistant starch which play the role of prebiotics in our gut. For a balanced gut, prebiotics are equally important as probiotics but we often tend to overlook the importance. Black beans are an excellent source of prebiotics and must be included in the diet at all costs. Here is a friendly tip that dried beans contain more amount of resistant starch as compared to the canned counterpart.
  6. Heart Friendly: All thanks to the high fibre content, black beans lower the cholesterol content in our blood which makes them a heart friendly food. The heart friendly effect is also contributed by potassium, vitamin B6 as well as folate present in the black beans. The Vitamin B6 together with folate prevent the accumulation of homocysteine that is a potential risk factor for inflammation of blood vessels. There is more; black beans contain quercetin and saponin, the chemical compounds that aid in protection of heart against damage.

Are there any Side-Effects of Black Beans?

There is always a dark side to everything. Black beans maybe a trouble to people who suffer from IBS. As black beans contain a lot of fibre so it may lead to bloating or gas in them. If you don’t have IBS and still feel gassy after consuming black beans, do not exclude the beans as it will take some time to adjust to the new food. Moreover, if you have allergies from any group member of legumes, you need to be careful with the black beans.

Final Verdict:

It is always exciting to learn about new foods. That makes it easier for you to make them a part of your diet. Just like this article here in which we have given you all the inside details of this legume. It is a good idea to add a variety to your daily meals. So, find a way to add black beans to your diet and benefit from this gift of Mother Nature.

Benefits of Bitter Kola: The Wonder Plant

Do you know from where Coca-Cola got its iconic name?

In the early phase of Coca-Cola, the earliest recipes were made from the extracts of bitter Kola plant. Even though after some years company stopped using Kola flavor in their sodas but the name of this iconic drink still remains the same as a reminder to unusual plant behind the inspiration.

What Is Bitter Kola:

Bitter Kola which is scientifically known as Garcinia Kola is a multipurpose tree. This tree is found in tropical rain forest regions of Western and Central Africa. Bitter Kola is also called “Wonder Plant” as every part of this plant has been used as medicine for several decades.

Nutritional Profile:

Bitter Kola is considered safe to consume by FDA. A study conducted in 2013 found out that Bitter Kola is enriched with following healthy nutrients:

  • Carbohydrates
  • Fat
  • Protein
  • Vitamin C
  • Calcium
  • Potassium
  • Iron
  • Caffeine
  • Anti-oxidants

Health Benefits of Bitter Kola:

Bitter Kolahas been consumed in Africa for decades but its health benefits are highlighted just recently. These early studies show following health benefits:

  • Anti-Bacterial Benefits: In a study it was concluded that consumption of Bitter Kola extracts can help fighting against the growth of harmful bacteria.
  • Energy Level Boost: Bitter Kola has natural ingredients that stimulates central nervous system that increases alertness and also boots energy levels.
  • Boost to Metabolism: The Bitter Kola nuts contains caffeine that boosts a person’s metabolism.
  • Aid in Digestion: The extracts of Bitter Kola and Kola nut powder helps in digestion. Bitter Kola promotes gastric acid production that in result increases effectiveness of digestive enzymes in the stomach.
  • Sexual Potency: Bitter kola is considered a royalty in improving sexual performance specially among men. Bitter kola increases sex drive and also improves sexual performance of men.
  • Stronger Immune System: Bitter kola contains anti-oxidants. This high level of anti-oxidants helps to fight against illnesses and several bacteria. It also helps in increasing the immunity levels of body.  

Health Conditions and Bitter Kola:

There are several health conditions that can be improved by consuming bitter Kola.

  • Infections:

Bitter Kola has been used for several years to fight against several infections that ranges from mild common cold to hepatitis. In a study conducted in 2018, it was showed that bitter kola helps in fighting against bacterial infections, viral infections and coughs. In the starting phase of an infection, eating bitter kola helps in fighting the infection and also makes a person feel better quickly.

The seeds, stem and bark of bitter kola are used to treat throat infections, acute fever and inflammations of respiratory tract. 

  • Inflammation:

The seeds of bitter kola have been chewed in Africa to combat against inflammatory diseases such as arthritis. Bitter kola has high levels of potassium that is considered as a contributing factor to reduce inflammation. In 2008 a study was conducted on patients with osteoarthritis in knees, it was shown that patients who consumed bitter kola has reduced inflammation as compare to patients who were taking a placebo. 

  • Diabetes:

In bitter kola there is a chemical called kolaviron that is suggested to protect against hypoglycemia in type II diabetes patients.

  •  STDs:

After the emergence of sexually transmitted diseases scientists have been struggling to find a cure. Even though it is difficult to deal due to complicatedness but the results of studies have shown beneficial effects of bitter kola in treating STD’s.  The seed and leaves of bitter kola have anti-bacterial activity. This anti-bacterial activity helps in combating against several clinical isolates of bacterial species such as Escherichia coli, Staphylococcus aureus, Streptococcus pyogenes and Salmonella typhi.

  • Malaria:

It has been shown through several studies that bitter kola contains several chemical constituents that contains anti-malarial properties. No wonder why bitter kola was used by traditional healers in treating malaria for many years.

Uses of Bitter Kola:

  • During certain rituals and ceremonies kola nut is chewed in several African countries.
  • Bitter kola is also used to cure bad breath.
  • Bitter kola nut is used as a flavoring agent for several sodas and drinks.
  • Kola nut is added in certain performance enhancers and energy drinks.
  • In several countries of the world kola nut is used as an alternative medicine.

How to Prepare Bitter Kola:

Bitter kola can be consumed as its own, uncooked and raw form just like any other nut. However before consuming bitter kola keep in mind the ‘bitter’ part of the name.

Bitter kola is like an acquired taste. In case you don’t like the taste of bitter kola you can add it in your drinks and made flavored bitter kola drinks with all the healthy benefits of bitter kola.

Risks:

Bitter kola and products that might contain kola nut are not suitable for everyone. People who are allergic to nuts should avoid consuming bitter kola or products made from it. An allergic reaction due to bitter kola includes symptoms such as, breathing difficulties, hives and upset stomach.

People that have underlying medical conditions such as high blood pressure or any cardiac condition should avoid consuming bitter kola or related products as well.

People who have insomnia, difficulty in staying asleep should avoid bitter kola. As the bitter kola has very high caffeine levels.

Side-Effects Of Bitter Kola:

The side-effects and risks of bitter kola intake may depend on the amount of bitter kola intake. The possible side-effects include:

  • Increased Blood Pressure: As the ingredients of bitter kola are active and stimulant to the body. The bitter kola can raise the blood pressure.
  • Sleep problem: Consuming bitter kola or products that contains bitter kola might lead to insomnia or that person can start developing sleep related problems.
  • Shakiness: As the bitter kola contains stimulants that can affect the central nervous system, the consumption of bitter kola can result in anxiousness, tremors and shakiness.
  • Nausea: Consumption of bitter kola in large quantities can upset stomach and nausea.

Take-Away:

Bitter kola serves as a natural remedy for several health-related conditions. On the other hand, as the bitter kola contains stimulants, they are not recommended for every age group. Consult your doctor before consuming bitter kola for medicinal purpose.

Benefits Of Basmati Rice: Aren’t They Surprising?

They may look like the regular mundane rice but Basmati rice are special. If you take one sniff of the cooked Basmati, you will know what we are talking about. Just like popcorns they have an aroma that makes it way to all the corners of the room and leaves you wanting for more. Let’s get to know about this amazing type of rice a little more closely. We bet by the end of this article you will be wanting to buy only this type. Brace yourselves!

Where did Basmati come from?

A native to India and Pakistan, the history dates back to 1600 B.C to 2000 B.C as per some archaeologists. Today, India is responsible for 2/3 of the global supply of Basmati rice. They have been cultivated on the foothills of Himalayas since thousands of years. However, they were first mentioned in books in 1700s.

Famous for its rich nutty taste and a distinctively delicious aroma, basmati rice are being used all over the world in recipes. It is said that it takes a picky tastebud to recognize the rich taste of the basmati and experts can tell from the aroma even.

There are two varieties of Basmati rice:

  • White Basmati Rice: This is the processed type of the rice in which the germ, bran as well as hull of the rice are all removed.
  • Brown Basmati Rice: This is the less processed type of the rice in which only the hull gets removed.

Both of them are equally good in taste and carry their individual importance.

Nutritional Profile of Basmati Rice

A serving of rice is one cup. A little high on calories but the taste is worth all the calories isn’t it? Let’s get familiar with the outstanding nutritional profile of the great Basmati rice:

  • Total calories: 210
  • Carbohydrates: 45 g
  • Fats: 0.5g
  • Protein: 4.5g
  • Fibre: 0.7g
  • Sodium: 400mg
  • Niacin: 15% of DV
  • Selenium: 22% of DV
  • Thiamine: 22% of DV
  • Folate: 24% of DV
  • Iron: 11% of DV
  • Zinc: 7% of DV
  • Copper: 12% of DV
  • Magnesium: 5% of DV
  • Phosphorous: 6% of DV

Benefits of Basmati Rice:

The benefits of basmati rice are immense and need to be out there because there are certain misconceptions about them which need to be cleared. C’mon let’s get started:

  1. Rich in Fibre-Effective Diabetic Control: Unlike other rice varieties, basmati rice contains a bounty of fibre. As we all know that a diet rich in fibre helps reducing the risk of diabetes type 2 while keeping our digestive system in check. The type of fibre in basmati rice is soluble which helps in removing wastes from the body as it moves out of the body. As per Diabetes Association of Canada, the glycaemic index of basmati rice is lower than other rice varieties and this makes it a suitable add on to diabetic diet. Lower glycaemic index comes from starchy carbohydrates, amylase, protein as well as fibre. Basmati rice does not cause a spike in blood sugar levels thus keeping insulin response in check.
  2. Heart Friendly: Basmati rice contain less saturated fats as compared to other rice varieties. This makes them a heart friendly food. It has been proved from a study as well that basmati rice is linked with decreased risk of heart disease. Basmati rice contribute in lowering of blood pressure which in turn saves you from the risk of disease.
  3. Cancer Prevention: As compared to its other counterparts, basmati rice is equipped with 20% more fibre which is great for prevention of cancer as fibre prevents the development of cancer cells. Researches have showed that consumption of whole grain brown rice has shown to prevent breast cancer as it suppresses estrogen production.
  4. Aid in Weight Loss: You may be surprised at the fact but it is true that basmati rice actually helps in losing weight. The credit goes to its high fibre content. Fibre moves through your digestive system slowly, keeps you fuller for longer periods of time and also reduces cholesterol all of which help in weight loss. Also, basmati rice contains a carbohydrate amylose that takes longer for the body to digest.
  5. Good source of Vitamins: Basmati rice are a great source of vitamins like thiamine and niacin. So, if you are looking for increasing your vitamin intake, include basmati rice in your diet and see wonders.
  6. Gluten Free: Unlike other cereals and grains, basmati rice are naturally gluten free. For those who have gluten allergy or IBS, they can have these in their meals without any worry.
  7. Improved Brain Function: Basmati rice are rich in thiamine which is also known as brain vitamin. Thiamine improves focus, concentration as well as memory. Moreover, researches have shown that including basmati rice in your diet can prevent the onset of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia
  8. Prevention of Hemorrhoids: People who have hemorrhoids are often advised to eliminate rice from their diet. But it is good news for them that they can include Basmati rice in the diet as these are rich in fibre.
  9. Energy boost: As Basmati are rich in carbohydrates and contain high calories with dense nutrients, they are a good option for people who are looking for adding an energy booster to their daily diet. For those who love to do intensive workouts, basmati rice can be a part of their diet.
  10. Lower Arsenic Content: Basmati rice have lower amount of arsenic as compared to other rice varieties which is a heavy metal that alleviates risk of diabetes and other diseases like cancer and diabetes.

Side Effects of Basmati Rice:

There are no prominent side effects or health hazard of Basmati rice. however, there is a chance you may miss out on some of the nutrients of if you get polished variety of rice.               

Final Verdict:

We are sure all of your misconceptions are cleared and you can’t wait to add these flavourful rice to your diet. Bon Appetite!                                                                                                                                                   

Benefits banana peppers: much more than a pepper

What actually is a Banana Pepper?

Banana pepper also known as banana chili or yellow wax pepper is a member of chili pepper family. It was originated in South America and belongs to sweet pepper family, capsicum. According to Scoville rating it is rated between 0-500 Scoville heat units. Banana peppers provide countless health benefits and can be easily incorporated in the diet. If you have never tried banana peppers now is the time you become acquainted with the magical peppers.

Nutritional content of Banana peppers:

Banana peppers are packed with nutrients and have many qualities that boost health. In a single serving which contains 33 grams of banana pepper there are 9 calories and only 0.15 grams of fat. This low in calorie and fat content makes it rightful part of healthy diet and can even help in weight loss. In order to understand health benefits of banana peppers let’s break-down its nutrients. One cup of banana cup which is also a serving is full of following nutrients:

  • Fat: 1 gram
  • Protein: 2 grams                           
  • Calories: 33
  • Sugar: 2 grams
  • Carbohydrates: 7 grams
  • Fibre: 4 grams

Banana peppers are also excellent sources of:

  • Vitamins: Banana peppers are enriched with significant vitamins. Such as:
  • Vitamin A: This is an anti-oxidant and is very important for eyes. The presence of vitamin A along with vitamin C strengthens blood vessels.
  • Vitamin C: In order to synthesize L-carnitine, collagen and various neurotransmitters our body needs Vitamin C. Vitamin C is required for protein metabolism.
  • Vitamin B6: In order to break down and absorb proteins Vitamin B6 is essential. It is used in over 100 enzymatic reactions of our body.
  • Minerals: Banana peppers contains various minerals in trace amount such as magnesium and calcium. However, banana peppers are rich source of potassium. As in a 33 grams serving of banana peppers there is 0.12 grams of potassium. Even though it is fraction of what our body requires but it is considerable as per the serving size. In order to break down carbohydrates and then later to utilize them for building muscles our body requires potassium. 
  • Dietary fibre: 1.1 gram of dietary fibre is provided in a 33 gram serving of banana pepper. As fibres increase bulk of food it reduces food intake and makes one feel fuller faster and for longer period of times. This reduced intake can be helpful in weight loss journey.

Health benefits of banana peppers:

Consumption of banana peppers has been linked with improved health and can be useful in weight loss.

  • Cancer: Capsaicin that is present in banana peppers is shown to be an effective chemical and helps in killing certain types of cancer cells.
  • Absorbing minerals: Banana peppers are rich source of Vitamin C that increases iron absorption.
  • Gout: A diet that is rich in vitamin C such as banana peppers enriched diet can help reducing chances of Gout significantly. 
  • Arthritis: Low levels of vitamin B6 increases chances of developing rheumatoid arthritis. In order to reduce joint and muscle’s pain vitamin B6 is required. As banana peppers contains adequate amount of B6 they can be added in diet to reduce pain.
  • Heart Friendly: Banana peppers can be good source of vitamin B6 and help in managing levels of homocysteine and cholesterol levels which will help in preventing heart diseases. Once homocysteine levels are raised it damages blood vessel linings. This can lead to plaque formation and can contribute to heart attack and stroke.
  • Assist digestion: Banana peppers contains capsaicin that can help in increasing rate of metabolism, digestive process and it even protects against stomach ulcers. The high fibre levels help in reducing and treating digestive problems such as constipation and indigestion.
  • Inflammation: Banana peppers helps in protecting body from inflammation. Capsaicin helps in reducing substance P levels which is a neurotransmitter that sends signals of inflammation and pain from nervous system.

Brain Boosting powers of Banana Peppers:

Vitamin B6 enriched banana peppers are good source to help treating with mood disorders and brain diseases. Two important neurotransmitters, GABA and serotonin production is hugely impacted by vitamin B6. These neurotransmitters are very helpful in controlling depression, anxiety, mood, fatigue and prevents pain.

Can Banana peppers help in fight against obesity?

If you want to get rid of extra fat incorporate banana peppers in your diet. The chemical capsaicin that is found in banana peppers not only makes these peppers spicy but it also plays an important role in addressing obesity and other health related concerns. It is suggested that capsaicin intake might help in improving body’s metabolism and also reduces body fat accumulation. Capsaicin not only boosts metabolism but also helps in suppressing appetite.

Let’s Get to Use the Banana peppers!

Banana peppers are easy to prepare and add to recipes. They can be grown in home garden too. Eat them raw, cooked, stuffed and or use them as a dip. Banana peppers can also be used as toppings on pizzas, salads, sandwiches etc.

We are sure you are craving for some now. We have jotted down some amazing recipe ideas for you to relish banana peppers and make it part of your daily diet:

  • Fresh Greek Salad: Combining banana peppers with tomatoes, cucumbers and Feta cheese for tasty Greek Salad.
  • Pizza Topping:  Banana peppers can also be used as a topping and make your favourite homemade pizza tastier.
  • Bacon wrapped Banana peppers: Banana pepper along with cream cheese and wrapped with bacon can make a tasty snack.
  • Sandwich: Add banana peppers on slice of turkey and cheese and make your sandwich delicious. 
  • Salsa: Banana peppers can be used in salsa instead of jalapeno peppers even along with jalapeno peppers for that extra kick.
  • Tacos, Burritos, Nachos: By adding banana peppers in tacos, burritos and nachos you can add extra flavour mild and tangy taste.

Side effects:

  • Burning sensation: Banana peppers contains a chemical capsaicin that can cause a burning sensation even though it is mild.
  • Stomach pain and diarrhea: Eating banana peppers is considered safe for daily use due to lower amount present in food but in some rare cases it can cause intestinal distress. The symptoms includes stomach pain and diarrhea.
  • Cancer Risk: Some observational studies have linked capsaicin with risk of developing cancer.Further studies are required to rule out this possibility.

The Bottom Line:

Banana peppers are rich source of vitamins and minerals. The mild and tangy taste of banana peppers not only enhance taste of your food but can also provide several health benefits and even it can help in reducing weight. However, one should add banana peppers in their diet according to their own tolerance levels as excessive banana peppers can cause intestinal distress.

Benefits bamboo shoots: Power pack of nutrients and much more

Bamboo shoots enjoy the fame of a healthy food as they are enriched with vitamins, proteins, carbohydrates, minerals, fibers and very low quantity of fat. These are part of a number of traditional food delicacies across world. Due to their high nutritional content bamboo shoots are used in many forms such as medicinal, fermented, boiled, liquid, frozen, canned, boiled, raw and liquid forms.

What are Bamboo shoots and where they come from?

Bamboo shoots are most versatile edible forest tree grasses and they belong to a grass family Poaceae. This evergreen and versatile plant is found everywhere around world except the frozen poles.

Nutritional Content of Bamboo Shoots:

According to a study, bamboo shoots are power packed with essential nutrients, these nutrients include fibers, protein, inorganic salts, carbohydrates, sugars, amino acids, fats and minerals. Moreover, Bamboo shoots are low in calories and rich in dietary fiber. According to USDA a 100-gram serving of raw bamboo shoots contains:

  • Vitamins: Bamboo shoots contains vitamins such as Vitamin E, A, B, folate, niacin, riboflavin and thiamin.
  • Minerals: Bamboo shoots are enriched with Iron, phosphorus, magnesium, calcium and potassium.
  • Protein: High in protein content, 2.6 g.
  • Dietary Fiber: High dietary fiber, 2.2 g.
  • Calories: Low in calories, 27 calories.
  • Sugar: Low in sugar contents: 3 g.
  • Fat: A negligible amount of fat: 0.3 g.

Health benefits of Bamboo shoots:

Bamboo shoots come packed with numerous health benefits some of those are stated below:

  1. Anticancer Properties: The chemical phytosterol which is found in bamboo shoots contains anti-cancerous properties against several types of cancers such as stomach, lung ovary and breast cancer.
  2. Protection of heart health: According to a research phytonutrients and phytosterols, chemicals found in bamboo shoots, are considered ideal for dissolving LDL cholesterol of body. This helps in smooth movement and supply of blood through body.
  3. Strengthens Immune System: The high vitamin and mineral content of bamboo shoots plays an important role in strengthening body’s immune system.
  4. Healthy Digestive system: Due to rich source of fibers, bamboo shoots plays important role in healthy digestive system. The fiber in bamboo shoot can help in various digestive issues such as constipation, stomach ulcers, hemorrhoids and acid reflux.
  5. Reduce inflammation and oxidative stress: Bamboo shoots are rich with flavonoids and anti-oxidants such as caffeic acid, catechin, p-coumaric acid and chlorogenic acid. These important compounds can help body in getting rid of harmful free radicals and prevent cell damage.

Bamboo shoots as Medicines- All around the World:

As bamboo shoots are enriched with anti-free radical, anti-oxidants and anti-aging agents they have been used as medicine since the tribal times.

  • According to a research bamboo shoots contain pain killing (analgesic) and anti-inflammatory properties.
  • In the Tibettan and Indo-Persian system of medicine the silicious concretions of bamboo shoots is used as a tonic for respiratory disorders.
  • Bamboo shoots are used to treat infections in China. The pressed bamboo shoots produce juice that contains protease that is helpful in digesting proteins.
  • Bamboo shoots along with palm jaggery is known to induce abortion or parturition.
  • In Korea bamboo salt tablets are used to treat internal maladies.

Bamboo shoots in weight loss:

A single cup of bamboo shoot contains only 13 calories, bamboo shoots are not only low in calories but also rich with fiber content. This combination makes it a great choice if you want to reduce weight. According to a study bamboo shoots are effective in weight loss as the high fiber of bamboo shoot has potential in preventing metabolic syndrome and obesity. The high fiber content of bamboo shoots helps body in curing cravings as fibers promotes satiety. As suggested by studies increase in fiber intake helps in increased weight loss.

How to Cook & Store Bamboo Shoots?

Caution:As bamboo shoots produces cyanide, they can be harmful to consume raw. Before adding bamboo shoots in your diet consult your doctor.

  • Before cooking bamboo shoots, it is advised to either boil them or soak them in water overnight. Some species of this plan contains cyanide and either of these process helps in eliminating cyanide.
  • Boiled bamboo shoots can be used in several dishes. They can be served with vegetable alongwith with soy sauce and butter.
  • Bamboo shoots can be added in gravies, salads, stews and soups.
  • Pickled bamboo shoots can be used as a snack.

Recipes:

There are several options how to cook bamboo shoots. For fresh bamboo shoots start with cutting lengthwise, then dice into cubes and boil the bamboo shoot cubes for 20-25 minutes to get rid of all the harmful compounds. Fresh, canned or dried bamboo shoots can be used in variety of recipes. Following are some of the recipe ideas to help you get acquainted with bamboo shoots.

  1. Simmered Bamboo Shoots
  2. Menma Recipe
  3. Thai Coconut Chicken Soup
  4. Bamboo Shoots with Dill Dressing
  5. Chicken Red Curry with Bamboo Shoots

In order to preserve bamboo shoots for up to two weeks, they should be kept away from sun and properly refrigerated. As after sun exposure bamboo shoots develops bitter taste.

Risks and Side Effects:

  • Raw bamboo shoots contain a harmful toxin known as cyanogenic glycosides. In order to destroy this toxin bamboo shoots must be boiled or cooked before consuming it.
  • Canning can also be used to process raw bamboo shoots.
  • Even though it is rare but still some people can be allergic to bamboo shoots. People who are allergic to grass pollen are prone to bamboo shoot allergy.
  • After consuming bamboo shoot if you experience swelling, itching or rash discontinue its consumption and consult your doctor.

Final Verdict:

Bamboo shoots are not only great in enhancing the texture and flavor of any dish but they are also power packed with healthy nutrition’s. These nutritious bamboos hoots bring a good number of vitamins, minerals, fibers and anti-oxidants in each serving. Hence adding bamboo shoots in your diet will help you in maintaining your health while keeping you fit.

Don’t forget to cook bamboo shoots properly to get rid of all cyanogenic glycosides.

Benefits of Avocado

Avocados have reached the pinnacle of fame in the recent times especially in the last decade. The highly nutritious fruit pouring with health friendly minerals and vitamins is rightly called by some cute names like “Darling of Instagram”, “America’s new favourite fruit”, “America’s olive oil” and the list goes on.

Tell me more about it:

Ever wondered what is the origin and history of the ingredient behind those scrumptious guacamole dips? You must have seen the stone fruit being part of salads, smoothies and even brownies (yup, that’s right) but let’s get upfront and personal with the beauty!

Avocado is a bright green coloured stone fruit with a large pit in it and rich leather like skin. Also known as butter fruit or alligator pear, this berry is much more than an aesthetically good-looking fruit.

A serving of avocado brings with it 64 calories, 3.4g of carbohydrates, 6g of fats, 3 g of fibre and very less sugar. Moreover, it has a total of 20 vitamins and minerals including vitamin K, E,C, B6, riboflavin, folate, niacin, potassium and magnesium. Avocadoes are the only fruit that is rich in fats but don’t fret because they are good fats that are beneficial for the body.

How do Avocadoes benefit us?

Avocadoes have been successful in grabbing the title of “superfood”. This popular berry contains no sodium or cholesterol and is very low in saturated fats thus a well-known part of popular diets like Keto diet and Atkin’s diet. Avocado benefits are numerous, have a look at our handpicked benefits:

  • Rich in Potassium: Avocados have been gifted by nature with loads of potassium. One avocado can provide us with 15% of RDI pf potassium which is equal to the amount of potassium in one and a half banana. Potassium is crucial for heart health, regulating fluid balance, nerve signal as well as muscle contractions. A diet rich in potassium alleviates high blood pressure and what better way to incorporate potassium our diets then the tasty avocados.
  • Help in Weight Loss: Avocado is part of every new diet fad these days and the culprit here is fibre! Avocadoes are full of fibre and very low caloric at the same time. Hence, consuming them will not only keep your stomach fuller for longer times but also keeps your bowel movements regular; both of which are quintessential for a healthy weight loss. The same quality is found in alfalfa sprouts.
  • Loaded with Nutrients: Calling avocado a blessed fruit will not be wrong. The key vitamins in avocado are Vitamin B, C, E, K, B6 and B3. Apart from potassium, there are other minerals as well including magnesium, folate, copper, iron, manganese, phosphorous and zinc. All of these minerals and vitamins benefit our body in numerous ways. Imagine consuming a little fruit and giving your body a rush of beneficial nutrients? Clever move in our opinion!
  • Give you a Healthy Skin: There won’t be anyone in today’s world who does not want a healthy looking skin and that too without spending thousands of bucks. Why look anywhere else when you have avocadoes. Avocadoes contain 17% of RDI of Vitamin C (you have to believe us) and the same percentage of RDI of Vitamin E; both of which are crucial for having a healthy and glowing skin. Start adding to your daily diet and experience a noticeably clear skin.
  • Heart Friendly: You think benefits of avocadoes are done but they are never ending. They contain beta-sitosterol which is a natural plant sterol and that too not any less but 25 milligrams in total. This sterol helps keeping cholesterol in check resulting in a healthy heart.
  • Keeping Vision Intact: Being rich in two eye friendly phytochemicals like lutein and zeaxanthin, avocadoes prevent damage to the eyes providing them with antioxidant protection. Moreover; MFAs in avocadoes encourage absorption of beta-carotene which reduces the risk of macular degeneration of eyes.
  • Prevention of Diseases: Avocado health benefits are numerous and one of the key benefit is prevention of certain serious medical conditions like cancer, arthritis, inflammation and digestive system disorders.
  • Mental Health: Avocado mental health benefits are also a jewel in its crown. Consuming avocadoes regularly will not only reduce your depression and anxiety but also boost your mood; while improving memory and preventing against Alzheimer’s.

Can Avocados do any Bad?

There is always a flip side to coin. Likewise, there are some potential health risks associated with consumption of avocadoes that you must be aware of. Here, have a look:

  • Not for Moms: If you are pregnant or a new mom and breast feeding your little one, sadly this fruit is not very much beneficial for you. They have been observed to reduce milk production. When consumed in large amounts by lactating mothers, the baby could have an upset stomach.
  • Hypersensitivity: If you are suffering from hypersensitivity, avocadoes might worsen the situation leading to vomiting or even skin reaction.
  • Liver Damage: Liver damage is one of the side effects of consuming avocados. You should look for the types that have proven for carcinogenic effects.
  • Reduction of Cholesterol: As one of the effects of consuming avocadoes is reduction of cholesterol. Consuming too much would end up reducing the necessary cholesterol as well which is harmful to the body.
  • Digestive Problems: Consuming avocadoes in large amounts might cause certain digestive issues like gastrointestinal irritation and upset stomach.
  • Medicinal Effects: Consuming avocadoes might interfere in effects of certain drugs mainly anti-inflammatory ones.

Final Verdict:

As a rule of thumb, moderate amount of any fruit or vegetable can only benefit your body and we all know that excess of everything is bad. So, it is upon you to consume it wisely. Now that advantages and disadvantages of avocadoes have been laid in front of you, you are fully equipped to make this blessed fruit a part of your daily diet. If you still have any confusion it is better to seek the word of your health care provider.

Benefits of alfalfa sprouts: An Underrated Sprout?

With mixed reviews circling over the internet about alfalfa sprouts, the benefits of this nutritionally packed sprouts have gone somewhere in the background. After FDA put them in a potentially hazardous category, does this mean alfalfa has been any short of nutritious that it was previously? Not at all.

As per FDA, alfalfa sprout may carry illness causing bacteria and hence people with weaker immune system should stop consuming them in a raw form and prefer the properly cooked one. On the contrary, people blessed with a stronger immune system are free to consume this sprout the way they want like in soups, sandwiches or raw salads.

Where does Alfalfa come from?

Popularly known as Medicago stiva, alfalfa is known by some other names as well mainly Lucerne, Buffalo herb, Spanish Clover and California Clover etc. A member of pea family, its history dates back as long as 5000 years.

It originates from South Asia as well as Central Asia but it has been in many places. 5000 years ago, they were being used by Chinese physicians medically. Later in 1700, they were found to be a cure of a skin disease called Scurvy by some sailors. During the times of World War 2, a British professor of nutrition at Cornell University introduced them into food culture. Moreover, alfalfa has been a part of animal fodder since the ancient times.

Having this rich history, there remains no doubt that alfalfa sprouts have some great benefits to offer to us. Let’s dig into the details of what they can be.

How can Alfalfa benefit us?

Alfalfa mental health benefits as well as other benefits are plenty in number. Albeit being part of a legume family, alfalfa is also considered an herb. The young sprout or seedlings of the plant are widely used as the mature plant is not much of a consumable owing to their coarse texture and bitter taste. The young sprout being small in size comes packed with several potential health benefits in all of its parts. When consumed in moderation and according to the prescribing of a health care provider, you can see the difference it can render to your health. Let’s have a look what the sprout mineral and vitamins can do to our health:

Healing the Wounds

Many may not know this but one cup of alfalfa sprout which is also one serving of it can provide us with 13% of Vitamin K recommended for daily use. Vitamin K is a crucial vitamin for blood clotting. Studies say that if you consume 1 serving of alfalfa daily, you are more likely to prevent haemorrhagic issues in the later age. Vitamin K helps clotting blood at the site of wound thus speeding up the healing process.

Strengthening Bones and Teeth

Being rich in Vitamin K, alfalfa helps in strengthening bones and teeth. Vitamin K helps in absorption of calcium in the body which is crucial for maintaining bones and teeth. Without adequate calcium absorption they will be prone to damage. Hence the 38% vitamin K coming from one serving of alfalfa daily will keep your risk of osteoporosis at bay.

Lowering Cholesterol

Every other person we know nowadays is struggling to burn the fats and lower cholesterol in the blood stream but not many know about the handy solution on hand and that is alfalfa sprouts! It has been supported by numerous studies that alfalfa can lower the blood cholesterol in humans as well as animals. The thanks is all due to saponins in them which are cholesterol lowering compounds.

Loosing Weight

This may grab attention of many because not many are familiar with the weight loss ability of these amazing sprouts. These are nutritionally dense and give you sense of fuller stomach for longer. A single serving of alfalfa sprouts contains only 8 calories. While being low on calories they also contain fibre (3% of RDI) that helps with the weight loss as well.

Helping with Menopause and Heavy Menstrual Bleeding

Vitamin K together with phytoestrogens, alfalfa sprouts help women deal with menopausal symptoms like mood swings, vaginal drying, hot flushes etc. The phytoestrogens mimic the estrogen which is lower in women going through menopause. Consumption of alfalfa renders a soothing and calming effect to the body and also helps those dealing with insomnia. Blood clotting capability of vitamin K prevents from excessive bleeding during menstruation.

Giving you Beautiful Hair

Tired of trying all the shampoos and DIY hair oils but still struggling with hair problems? Well, you are not alone. You need to add alfalfa sprouts to your diet and experience the wonders it does to your hair. Alfalfa sprouts are loaded with amino acids that tend to enhance your hair growth. Moreover, the high amount of vitamin B6 and B1 in this nutrient dense herb helps in healthy growth of hair. The silica present in it prevents baldness while also reducing hair fall as well as thinning of hair. This does not end here. The vitamin C in alfalfa strengthens the collagen synthesis and supports antioxidant activities in the hair follicles.

Only a Handful of Disadvantages

The health benefits of alfalfa sprout really outnumber the potential health hazards which are listed below:

  • If you are on a blood thinner medicine, then you must consult your doctor before incorporating this plant in your diet as the high level of Vitamin K may interfere with the effect of medicine.
  • If you are pregnant then you must avoid alfalfa as it may lead to uterine contractions.
  • If you have some autoimmune disorder like lupus then unfortunately this plant is a no-no for you. As there have been some reports of reactivation of lupus disease after consuming alfalfa supplements.
  • If you have a weak immune system then you must avoid consuming this sprout as it can leave you with some serious infection.

Final Verdict:

Having acknowledged alfalfa health benefits as well as a handful of disadvantages, it is now crystal clear that incorporating this beneficial plant in diet as per your health care provider’s instruction will help you soak in the benefits.