Category: Authors > Contributor writers > Cláudia Maranhoto

Cláudia Maranhoto is a dietitian and contributor to Midzu Choices.

Articles (16)



Lucuma powder Lucuma powder

Lucuma – a nutritious alternative to sugar

Lucuma is a fruit native to South America, mainly cultivated in the Andes region, by countries like Chile, Ecuador and Peru.

It's been used since ancient times and it was considered sacred by the Peruvian people, as it was believed to be related to the creation of the world, like the representation of the apple to Christianity. In pre-hispanic times it was associated to fertility and longevity. Beyond its symbolic meaning, to which several myths are related, it also has a great medicinal and nutritional value.

Lucuma fruit takes about 9 months to grow and it should be eaten very ripe. It has a very sweet taste – some people describe it as something like caramel and pumpkin, while others say it tastes like vanilla, sweet potato or a mix between mango and apricot, but no doubt it has a sweet and unique flavour.



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Graviola fruit. Graviola fruit.

Amazing plant Graviola

Graviola, scientific name Annona muricata L., is also known by other names, depending on the geographic area. You may know it as soursop, Brazilian paw paw, guanábana, guanaba, corossol épineux, huanaba, toge-banreisi, etc. Graviola is a small bush that may grow up to 10 m and is known for having medicinal properties. It is possible to use the leaves, roots, fruits and seeds for several purposes, from food to medication.



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Coconut sugar Coconut sugar

Coconut Sugar – a good option?

It is increasingly clear that sugar is an unhealthy ingredient associated with several health problems such as obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, high cholesterol and triglycerides, metabolic syndrome and even cancer. However, it is hard to keep this sweet sin completely away from our lives. That the reason why numerous alternatives to sweeten food emerge, although not always healthier than sugar itself. Many of the artificial sweeteners show the advantage of having few or zero calories, but they often are highly processed and unhealthy products.



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Oranges Oranges

Vitamin C for a longer life

Vitamin C is usually associated with colds and the flu, but its list of benefits is long and far from just helping recovering from colds.

Ascorbic acid, its scientific name, is an essential vitamin. Since we do not produce it like some animals do, we need it from our daily diet.

This vitamin has a great antioxidant power and is therefore increasingly vital to a healthy life.

In modern society, stress, poor diet, physical inactivity, smoking and pollution represent a great risk to the body, thus favoring the formation of free radicals, molecules that contribute to the weakening of overall health, and associated to the appearance of cancer, arthritis and heart diseases.

Vitamin C is one of the most effective and safe nutrients.



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Slow Juicer Slow Juicer

Slow Juicer - a Must Have for all seasons

It seems everybody everywhere is talking about green juices and detox. It is in vogue!

My suggestion is to look at this trend with good sense and make use of what is good, and in fact that is the consumption of more green products.



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Teff flour Teff flour

Teff flour - the new superfood

Teff is the new addition to the growing list of powerful super foods. It is not a new food, but it is being discovered in the west and recognised as one of those discreet ancestral secrets. Thanks to its extraordinary nutritional value, it is slowly gaining place in the list of super healthy foods.
It is also receiving more and more attention from the scientific community, at the same time its cultivation spreads from native Ethiopia to other countries in the world. Indeed, in developed countries consumers demand more and more nutritious foods instead of just calories. And as consumer awareness and demand for healthy and nutritious products increases, teff is slowly consolidating its place as one of those healthy alternatives.



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Pregnant belly Pregnant belly

The extreme importance of nutrition in pregnancy - Part II

The nutrients in pregnancy

In the previous text we could see (part I) the growth of each foetus depends absolutely on the mother and what she eats. A mother's nutrition influences undoubtedly the health of the future being, not only as a child, but also later in adult life.



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Pregnant belly Pregnant belly

The extreme importance of nutrition in pregnancy – the first 1000 days of life!

With more attention given to yourself, the study of nutrition effects before and during pregnancy is an area that must be intensely clarified.
We know that nutrition can affect a baby's health, but the general idea is that it's only important on mother's weight and the risk of obesity for the child. Neither pregnant women, nor health professionals or even the government, recognize the real value of nutrition in this stage of life. It is important to clarify all the interested on the importance of nutrition before, during and after the pregnancy, especially in the first 1000 days of life and that includes the pregnancy and the two first years of the childs’ life.



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Bowl with yogurt Bowl with yogurt

Probiotics, a growing concept

In the modern world, the average life expectancy is increasing. But with increasing longevity, diseases and health care costs are growing as well, mainly because of the modern lifestyle. Therefore, society needs to struggle for better health and quality of life. Experts are investing time and resources investigating foods that promote both health and nourishment. That is how the concept of functional food was born. Functional food is food that, complemented with one or more ingredients, is given the additional function of promoting health or preventing disease. Thus, the concept of functional food (that includes probiotics) is growing at a very strong pace. Health Care Professionals recognize more and more the beneficial effects of probiotics in the human health, and the number of studies in that area is increasing fast.



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Heather flowers Heather flowers

Heather – anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant

Heather is the common name for plants of the genus Erica, belonging to the Ericaceae family.
About 600 species are known for the genus Erica. Erica lusitanica (Spanish or Portuguese heath), Calluna vulgaris (common heather, ling, heather, Scotch heather) and Erica umbellata (dwarf Spanish heath) are all known as heather. In Portugal these heathers are popularly used to dry the bread baking furnaces as well as to light fire, replacing gorse.



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Olive tree leaves Olive tree leaves

Olive tree leaf, virtuous tea

Olive tree leaf has revealed some extraordinary medicinal characteristics. At the top of the list is the high content in phytochemicals with anti-oxidant properties.



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Tofu Tofu

Tofu – Millenarian food

What is Tofu?

Also known as soya cheese, tofu is a food obtained from the coagulation of "Soymilk," in a process similar to coagulation of cow milk to obtain the cheese. It is an excellent source of nutrients, including vitamins and minerals, with important functional properties. It has a smooth texture and a relatively neutral flavor. Thus, it is very versatile in the kitchen and a source of vegetable protein low in fat. It is also cholesterol-free and inexpensive.



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Carqueja flower Carqueja flower

Carqueja (Genista Tridentata), the plant which cures all ailments

According to the tradition, an infusion of carqueja flowers cures all illnesses. The plant belongs to the flora of Portugal, Spain and Morocco, where it is known by several names. It is very common in mountains like Serra da Estrela and Serra do Açor, in Portugal, but its habitat extends for a very wide area of Europe and Africa.



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Vitamin B12 Vitamin B12

Vitamin B12 – supplement or not?

Vitamin B12 deficiency

Vitamin B12 is essential to a healthy brain and blood. It is fundamental to red blood cell formation, in neurological function and DNA synthesis. As a consequence of its deficiency individuals may develop megaloblastic anemia. There are other problems, besides anemia, associated B12 deficiency, such as neurological problems, loss of sensitivity, trouble walking, lack of concentration and memory, optical atrophy, depression, dementia and characteristic chronic fatigue.



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Olive oil Olive oil

Olive oil, liquid gold!

In some areas there is a popular saying about intelligent people that goes “He/she drinks olive oil”, an expression which highlights the qualities of this oil. This fat is one of the best that can be found and it greatly benefits human health. Olive oil is iconic of the Mediterranean diet, which is considered a food pattern associated with lower cardiovascular risk, obesity, metabolic syndrome, hypertension and type II diabetes.



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chia seeds on rock chia seeds on rock

The year of the chia seeds

This year is definitely the year of the chia seeds.

Across time seeds have preceded all agriculture. Seeds are a very rich and important food source since mankind started farming 11 thousand years ago. We are referring to corn, wheat, rice, legumes and oilseeds, all of them within the seed group, so familiar to us and part of our food pattern.

In the later years new seeds have become available, such as flax, sesame, poppy, chia, etc. However, they are not new at all: they have been used for many centuries by ancient people like the Maya and the Aztec and are now fortunately being re-discovered because of their nutritional value.



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