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    July 21, 2007

    Acai Berries Are The New Superfruit

    by Hillary Marshak
    AcaiBerries and chocolate. Generally a great combination, right? What if there was a berry that had a cocoa flavor in it? Well as nature would have it, there is. This extraordinarily nutritious berry is called the acai berry (pronounced a-sigh-ee). While it doesn’t exactly taste like pure chocolate, the bitterness of cacao is incorporated into acai’s intense flavor. The flavor is actually hard to pinpoint as some of its juices have been compared to bitter raspberries while others claim acai produces a salty aftertaste (like say, olives.) Ok, I'm the one that said that. But the flavor is not the only thing that makes acai so unique.

    From the rainforests of the Amazons, acai berries have been consumed by Brazilians for centuries. But recently, more and more of these grape-sized berries are falling from the South American palm trees into juice bottles around the world.

    Continue reading "Acai Berries Are The New Superfruit" »

    July 18, 2007

    4 Goji Berry Recipes

    Goji_berriesThe taste is a little hard to describe. It's not quite as sweet as a raisin and not as tart as a dried cranberry. In Tibet and Mongolia, people love these berries so much that they devote two weeks a year to celebrating the berries, probably something like wine fests in Europe in past times. The most commonly cited side effect of eating too many berries is that they might cause you to laugh more. It is said that a handful in the morning will make you happy all day.

    Goji Recipes

    Goji Drink:

    In a big glass of hot or cold water, juice or herb tea add one handful of Goji Berries and let them sit and hydrate for a few minutes or put several handfuls in a pitcher and enjoy all day as you drink your own delicious Goji Berry elixir. Chewing the Gojis as you drink is a wonderful experience and with 500 times more Vitamin C by weight then Oranges, It's a great pick-me-up between meals and the most delightful way to enjoy a glass of water.

    Continue reading "4 Goji Berry Recipes" »

    July 14, 2007

    All About Honey

    by joshstone
    HoneyThe consumption of honey by humans is an anomaly; honey is the only food produced by insects which humans eat, and is one of the only two substances produced organically whose sole purpose is for food - the other is mammalian breast milk. As a result, bees are the insect most commonly domesticated by humans the world over.

    History...

    As a food substance, honey goes almost as far back as recorded history itself. The Old Testament portion of the Bible has references to honey, often represented as a symbol for everything pleasant and desirable. The earliest mention is the book of Exodus, describing the promised land as a 'land flowing with milk and honey'. The book of Judges also mentions when Samson found honey a bees' hive made in the carcass of a lion. The word "honey" makes an appearance a total of sixty-one times in the Bible.

    Continue reading "All About Honey " »

    July 13, 2007

    Just What Is Organic Food?

    by jwjohnson

    Organic_2Organic food is produced by farmers who emphasize the use of renewable resources and the conservation of soil and water to enhance environmental quality for future generations. Organic meat, poultry, eggs, and dairy products come from animals that are given no antibiotics or growth hormones. Organic food is produced without using most conventional pesticides; fertilizers made with synthetic ingredients or sewage sludge; bioengineering; or ionizing radiation.

    Before a product can be labeled "organic," a Government-approved certifier inspects the farm where the food is grown to make sure the farmer is following all the rules necessary to meet USDA organic standards. Companies that handle or process organic food before it gets to your local supermarket or restaurant must be certified, too.

    Continue reading "Just What Is Organic Food?" »

    July 10, 2007

    7 Alternative Uses for a Lemon

    by Hacker Zen

    LemonsLemons taste great in foods and drinks. But here are 7 alternative uses that you might not know about.

    1. Whiten your shoes

    Fill a spray bottle with lemon juice. Spray your shoes lightly with the lemon juice and put them in the sun. Not only will your shoes get whiter, but they'll also stink less, too.

    2. Make a deodorizer

    If you handle something that leaves an odor (like onions), just rub some lemon juice on your hands to remove the smell. You can also use a spray bottle with lemon juice and water instead of commercial products like Febreeze.

    Continue reading "7 Alternative Uses for a Lemon" »

    June 30, 2007

    Jump on the Goji Berry Bandwagon

    Findings about Goji Berries by Frank Wong-9132

    Recent years have seen the increasing popularity and consumption of goji berries in western countries such as US, Japan, Canada and Europe etc. I have done some research about goji berries, and would like to share my findings with other people.

    1. General Descriptions

    Goji berries are also known as wolfberries. Some people even mis-spell it as gogi berry. It is a sweet-taste, dark-red coloured dried fruit, and mainly comes from north-western part from China. It has been grown and consumed in China for a few thousand years. In the first instance, Chinese medicine believes it acts on liver and kidney channels and enriches yin. So it is a common practice in Chinese medicine to prescribe it to treat liver, kidney, or eye diseases, along with other herbs. On the other hand, Chinese people also consume it in their day-to-day lives, because they believe this red coloured berry can keep them healthy, young, and energetic. This fruit has been eaten as raw, as goji juice, as goji wine, as herbal tea (e.g. with Chrysanthemum), with yogurt, and with cereal etc etc.

    2. Nutritional aspects

    Goji berries are one of the most nutrient-dense foods on earth! They contain:

    - the highest levels of antioxidants of any known food (10 x higher than blueberries)
    - 12 times more vitamin C than kiwi fruit
    - more beta-carotene than carrots
    - more iron than spinach
    - 18 amino acids
    - Vitamins B1, B2, B6 and E
    - 21 trace minerals and
    - Many natural compounds that promote health and vitality.

    Recent medical research has identified several powerful medicinal properties of goji berries, including: anti-aging, anti-cancer, weight loss promotion, enhancing libido and fertility, immune system boosting and much more.

    To maximise the medicinal benefits of goji berries, ensure that you eat the whole berry as nature intended. There are a number of processed products on the market that include a small amount of goji berry extract. These include goji juice, goji tablets, etc. All natural foods that have been processed lose a significant amount of their nutritional properties due to the oxidation process that occurs during manufacturing.

    3. Anti-aging

    Free radical attack on our bodies is the primary cause of aging (Packer,1999). Free radicals are unstable oxygen molecules derived from pollutants, smoking, physical exercise, eating and even breathing. Free radicals (oxidants) attack healthy cells which can lead to premature aging, cancer, hardening of arteries, heart diseases, stroke, etc.

    Free radical attack is simply the oxidation process. This is the same process that causes metals to rust (deteriorate), and freshly cut apples to turn brown. This is the same process that causes our bodies to age over time and become prone to many age-related diseases.

    How do we stop the destructive forces of free radicals and significantly slow the aging process? The answer is: "through the power of ANTIOXIDANTS".

    Antioxidants are needed by our bodies to neutralise and destroy free radicals (oxidants). In doing so, they significantly slow the aging process and provide a protective barrier for our bodies. Antioxidants help keep our skin, hair, organs, muscles, blood, and arteries youthful.

    Goji berries (Lycium barbarum) contain the highest levels of antioxidants than any other food on earth! This fact was discovered by research scientists at Tufts University, Boston (USA) where the Oxygen Radical Absorption Capacity (ORAC) test was developed. The ORAC test analyses the level of antioxidants in food.

    Eating foods high in antioxidants is the best way to protect against free radical attack.

    4. Anti-cancer

    The goji berry contains unique polysaccharides (natural complex carbohydrates) that exhibit powerful anti-cancer properties. A study in 2001 showed that goji berries polysaccharides inhibited the growth of human leukemia cells. Another study in 1994 showed that goji berry polysaccharides combined with a standard cancer drug LAK/IL-2, was 254% (2.5 times) more effective at reducing tumors than using the standard cancer drug by itself.

    With such promising results, it makes you wonder why the goji berries haven't been extensively trialed in cancer treatment, especially considering all the billions invested into cancer research each year. It's likely because the goji berry is a natural food product which can't be patented, and therefore it wouldn't be a profitable investment for drug companies.

    Several research studies identify powerful anti-cancer properties of the goji berry (Lycium barbarum). The following medical articles are found in the United States of America, National Library of Medicine: Medical Research on the use of goji berries in cancer prevention and treatment [1]

    5. Improve immune system

    Goji is the most nutrient-dense foods on the earth. The vitamins, minerals and polysaccharides provide fuel for the immune system to function efficiently. Numerous studies have shown that goji berries actually boost the immune system by increasing white 'killer' T-cells, resulting in anti-tumor responses. The following medical articles found in the United States of America, National Library of Medicine: [2], [3], [4] and [5].

    6. Weigh loss effect

    The metabolic rate is the rate at which the body converts food into energy. There are many factors that influences the metabolic rate including genetics, age, muscle-to-fat ratio, level of exercise, how often we eat and dietary nutrition.

    The metabolic rate plays an important role in weight control. Faster metabolic rates burn calories more efficiently and store less as fat, while slower metabolic rates burn less calories, and readily store unused energy as fat.

    Then how does eating goji berries assist in weight control?

    Metabolism is controlled by hundreds of biochemical reactions. To perform metabolism efficiently, our body needs a constant supply of trace minerals and vitamins B1, B2, B3, B5, B6 & vitamin C. Without these vitamins and minerals, metabolism becomes inefficient and sluggish.

    Goji has 21 trace minerals and are high in the above vitamins. By providing a ready supply of minerals and vitamins, goji berries help keep our metabolic rate in good working order.

    The weight loss benefits of wolfberries don't end there! The polysaccharides of the goji berry actually increase the metabolic rate, which can lead to reduced body weight. These same polysaccharides were trialed in an Asian anti-obesity study, in which patients were given goji berries each morning and afternoon. There were promising results with most patients losing significant weight.

    The following article is contained in the United States of America, National Library of Medicine. This article provides support for the weight loss properties of the goji berry (Lycium barbarum): Medical research on weight loss promoting properties of goji berries [6]

    7. Goji. Libido and Fertility

    Goji berries are used in traditional Chinese medicine as a sexual potency food of the highest order. If you think oysters can boost your sex drive, wait until you try a handful of goji berries! Taking the berry orally increases androgen levels in the blood, which increases energy levels.

    An old Chinese proverb warned married men not to eat wolfberries when travelling far from home:

    'He who travels one thousand miles from home should not eat goji berries.'

    Goji has also traditionally been used for the treatment of infertility. Modern science is just starting to explain how some compounds in goji berries can assist fertility. There may be many complex reasons why couples can't conceive, and we make no claims that the goji berry is a cure for fertility. However, a study in 2002 [7] showed that the polysaccharides of the goji berry actually prevented structural damage and cell death to testicular cells. The findings of this study support the traditional use of goji berries to assist in the treatment of infertility. This medical study is contained in the United States of America, National Library of Medicine.

    8. My Recommendations

    For all of these benefits, goji has become a well-known super fruit in the world. Nowadays it is mostly found in the market as Tibetan or Himalaya goji. You can buy it from supermarkets, healthy food stores, online retailers, or even in eBay. It is recommended to buy small packs of goji berries, because it is easier to keep the freshness, as once opened, it will suck the moisture, and become soft. A daily intake of 30 grams is recommended, though it doesn’t do harm if you want to eat more because essentially it is fruit. So enjoy your goji berries.

    References:

    [1]. Inhibiting the growth of human leukemia cells by Lycium barbarum polysaccharide, published in Wei Sheng Yan Jiu. 2001 Nov;30(6):333-5.

    [2]. Effects of pure crude Lycium barbarum polysaccharides on immunopharmacology, published in Zhong Yao Cai. 1999
    May;22(5):246-9.

    [3]. Immunomodulation and antitumor activity by a polysaccharide-protein complex from Lycium barbarum, published in Int Immunopharmacol. 2004 Apr;4(4):563-9.

    [4]. Neuroprotective effects of anti-aging oriental medicine, Lycium barbarum, against beta-amyloid neurotoxicity, published in Exp Gerontol. 2005 Aug-Sep;40(8-9):716-27.

    [5]. Experimental research on the role of Lycium barbarum polysaccharide in anti-peroxidation, published in Zhongguo Zhong Yao Za Zhi. 1993 Feb;18(2):110-2, 128.

    [6]. Study on the composition of Lycium barbarum polysaccharides and its effects on the growth of weanling mice, published by Food Science Department, Huazhong Agricultural University, Wuhan 430070, China.

    [7]. Protective effect of Fructus Lycii polysaccharides against time and hyperthermia-induced damage in cultured seminiferous epithelium , published in J Ethnopharmacol. 2002 Oct;82(2-3):169-75.

    Frank Wong is a senior research scientist at Wuhan University. He has done research about the nutritional aspects of goji berries for nearly 10 years.

    June 05, 2007

    Calories In Wine


    by David Beart
    Most people have a general idea how many calories they consume when it comes to solid foods, although it is quite common to forget that when we drink, we are still consuming calories. Alcohol drinkers, especially wine drinkers, may be surprised at the calorie intake associate with wine. So how many calories are in wine?

    The answer depends on your discernment. Most wines come in under the 100 calorie mark per glass. This is assuming that you are using the appropriate wine glasses. There are fewer calories in wine than most other alcoholic beverages. White Zinfandel and Sauvignon blanc come in at 80 calories per serving. Considering that one glass of wine per evening is good for cardiovascular health, this can be a reasonable compliment to an evening meal.

    Marsala also weighs in at a mere 80 calories per serving while Chablis is a mild 85 calories. Red Zinfandel as well as the majority of other popular wines, comes in at 90 calories per serving. Riesling, Chardonnay, White Burgundy, and Cabernet Sauvignon all round out at 90 calories per 4 ounce serving. Topping it off with just 5 additional calories you can sip Red Burgundy, Red Bordeaux, Beaujolais, Merlot, Rhone, or Rose.

    Considering that most people have more than just one glass, the remaining wines are considered to be a little heftier in calorie count. While a single 4 ounce serving may only add about 100 calories to an evening, those who drink wine regularly tend to do so with a certain amount of vigor, consuming between 3 and 5 glasses in an average evening.

    Wines such as Mosell, Pink Champagne, and Chianti contain 100 calories preserving while Sangria and Sauterne climbs that calorie ladder by and additional ten calories. Dry Champagne meets them in the middle at 105 calories.

    It’s not just about the calories in wine when trying to maintain a low calorie lifestyle and still participate fully in social events or a romantic evening. Some calories are easier to burn while others are easier to store. Wine comes from fruit which is a form of sugar. The sugar in wine, even dry wines, makes the calories a bit harder to burn off. Sugar that comes from fruit is a natural and healthy energy, although once the fruit has been fermented, the sugar content raises and becomes more fructose-like than its original form.

    Other wines weigh in much heavier in the calorie counting battle. Muscatel comes in at 160 as does Madeira. Tokay sneaks up to 165 while White Port hits 170. Ruby Port tops the list at 185.

    Now, keeping in mind that an average gin and tonic comes in around 280 calories and that most frozen delectable alcoholic drink can average 800 calories or above, wine is certainly a low calorie choice given the options.

    And of course we are all familiar with a “beer gut,” which is never referred to as a “wine gut.” Regular beer can be anywhere from 140 to 200 calories per 12 ounce serving and light beer weighs in on average around 100 calories. The conception that light beer means that it is calorie free has produced a high level of sales for the lighter version of the basic favorites. In no way are these beers saving on significant calories. Not to mention they are filled with empty calories.

    It is perfectly possible to maintain a healthy lifestyle and still enjoy the occasional evening out or a couple glasses of wine with dinner. The wine drinker is fortunate as the calorie count in most wines do not necessarily call for large alterations to diets in order to enjoy a few drinks. For the occasional social wine drinker, cutting out about 100 calories per meal during the few days before a social event will help to keep a solid daily average. The calories in wine are low enough that most people can simply cut out the desserts offered at the social event and just one or two lighter calorie meals preceding the event. For daily wine drinkers, skimping a few calories out of every meal will allow for basically normal eating and avoid the build up of additional calories.

    Skipping meals before a social event is not likely to keep the calorie count down. In fact, it is likely to raise the overall calorie count for the evening, as alcohol in any form lowers blood glucose levels and tells the brain to signal to the body that it is experiencing hunger. A few drinks in the system and what would normally be a decision based on health becomes a decision based on a lack of willpower or the attitude that “it’s only one night, it can’t hurt to throw my cautions to the wind!” Which can be true, but in most cases those who are trying to maintain a low calorie diet are tempted to “make up” for their sinful evening by crash dieting the following two or three days which only creates yo-yo dieting.

    The calories in wine can easily be adjusted for simply by keeping track of the basic consumption for each situation and adjusting by about 100 calories for each glass of wine. Unless someone is a continual and heavy wine drinker, the daily food consumption really shouldn’t suffer due to the alcohol consumption. If it is, then it is time to get some help.

    About the Author

    David Beart is the owner of www.professorshouse.com. Our site covers cooking, wine, marriage, forums and relationships.

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