Category: Other foods

Articles (31)



Sprouted chickpeas Sprouted chickpeas

Sprouts, nutrient cocktail

Sprouts are seeds that have started germinating (sprouting). Sprouts are a very popular superfood, because they are highly nutritional. This is because the so-called antinutrients are removed when the seeds start sprouting. Antinutrients prevent germination from happening, keeping the seeds ‘dormant’ until the conditions are right. It is thought that the antinutrients protect the plant from going instinct by making the seeds taste bitter and difficult to digest. This way birds will not eat them and even if they do eat them they will not be digested properly so that the seeds will be discarded and still be able to reproduce. Soaking, cooking, fermenting and sprouting will reduce the antinutrient levels of the seeds. When the antinutrients are reduced the seeds are not only digested more easily, but they also increase nutrient content and bioavailabity, which means they are more readily absorbed by the body. They contain some very important enzymes that are needed for food digestion.



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Potato fries air fryer Potato fries air fryer

Air fryers

Frying foods, an ancient cooking method

Frying foods traditionally means to cook foods in boiling oil and this method is already
mentioned in the old testament of the bible. Also medieval authors Geoffrey Chaucer and
Miguel de Cervantes mention it in their novels. Nowadays frying in oil has a very bad reputation and rightfully so. A lot of oil is absorbed by frying the foods in oil and there are downsides even when the oil is rich in polyunsaturated fats. Vegetable oils contain a lot of omega 6 fatty acids which replaces the omega 3 fatty acid needs. Omega 3 fatty acids are called essential fatty acids because they have to come from food as our body can't produce them. Another downside of frying in oil is that when heating up vegetable oils high concentrations of aldehydes are released, which have been linked to cancer, heart disease and dementia.



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Chlorella Chlorella

Chlorella a powerful detoxifying food

Chorella, also known as Chlorella Pyrenoidosa, or Chlorella Vulgaris, is a single-celled algae that grows in fresh water. Because Chlorella is a microscopic organism, it was not discovered until the 19th century. It derives its name from the Greek “Chloros” = green, and “Ella” = small



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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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Cocoa butter Cocoa butter

Cocoa butter

Cocoa butter is commonly known as an ingredient used in lipsticks, soaps, and emollient creams as it is soothing to the skin. Few people know that cocoa butter, as well as being an important ingredient in chocolate recipes and in products for beauty and body care, is also a fat that can be used in cooking as an alternative to butter or margarine.

 



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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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Apricot kernels Apricot kernels

Apricot kernels Amazing Lifesaving seeds

Usually people tend to value more apricot flesh than anything else in that fruit. You may even ask: what else can this fruit provide? But the most valuable thing is hidden inside the stoney seed, when you break it, you will find an almond-like seed or kernel, like a little heart. By taste it is often bitter, if not bred into a bitterless variety. These bitter seeds are considered a life saving food by many. Mostly they are known by the hunza people, living in the Northern Pakistan mountain area. Those seeds contain a natural substance called amygdalin (also laetrile) or vitamin B17. Amygdalin or laetril has power to eradicate or neutralise cancer cells and it poses no danger to healthy cells [1, 2].



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Yogurt cup Yogurt cup

Soy Yogurt

Nowadays, an increasing number of people are avoiding dairy consumption, being due to lactose intolerance, health or ethical reasons. As such, soy yogurt becomes an excellent option, especially when prepared at home, in a healthy and economical way.



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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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Dried pear Dried pear

Dried pear

A reminiscent of the best of the Portuguese agriculture.

Dried pear is the dried fruit of the St. Bartholomew pear tree (Pyrus communis L.). It is a variety of small size pear. The trees are very large and produce a large amount of pears, a single tree can produce several hundreds of kilos of pears. Thus, farmers thought they could preserve them through the winter and developed a clever way to do it by drying them in the sun.

Dried pear is also popularly known as "small ham," due to its look and orange/brown color after drying. Another common name is "Pear of Viseu", as for many decades the St. Matthew's fair, in the city of Viseu, was the most important sales point for this traditional delicacy.

Dried pear is a sweet, nutritious and tasty fruit, produced mainly in the municipalities of Oliveira do Hospital, Seia, Tábua, Nelas, Gouveia, Mangualde, Santa Comba Dão and Viseu.



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Gojis of tea cup Gojis of tea cup

Healthy Christmas

Christmas is here. This is a time of great joy, but also some excesses like overeating – specially too much sugar, fats, and sometimes meat for flesh eaters. But Christmas does not have to be synonymous with lots of food or an unbalanced diet. There are many healthy options that can also make the delights of a festive table, while still giving a gourmet touch to the menu.



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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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Brewers yeast powder Brewers yeast powder

Brewers yeast: a nutritional complement in your day

Brewer's yeast is made from a one-celled fungus called Saccharomyces cerevisiae and is used to make beer. It also can be grown to make nutritional supplements. Brewer's yeast is a rich source of minerals -- particularly chromium, an essential trace mineral that helps the body maintain normal blood sugar levels; selenium; protein; and the B-complex vitamins. It tastes bitter and should not be confused with baker's yeast, nutritional yeast, or torula yeast. All those types of yeast are low in chromium.



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Lucuma powder Lucuma powder

Lucuma The Gold of the Incas

Lucuma (Pouteria lúcuma kuntze) is a fruit originally from South America, known since ancient times as the “Gold of the Incas”. It is mainly cultivated in Peru, Bolivia and Costa Rica. The fruit is green on the outside and orange and yellowish on the inside, its pulp is fibrous and sweet and it’s tastier when ripe. However it is most commonly used in powder form, especially as the most popular ice-cream flavour of Peru, even trumping chocolate and vanilla.
Lucuma powder comes from the pulp, after it has been dried and milled into a sweet and nutritious flour. It contains many nutrients including beta carotene, iron and niacin (B3).



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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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Glass with yogurt Glass with yogurt

Yogurt a healthy choice

Brief history of yogurt

Though we can’t trace the origin of yogurt, we know that its use is very old.  In the 7th century yogurt was mentioned in a medical book as being a food that promotes freshness, calmness and good intestinal health. Also in the 2nd century BCE Galen describes this food as being helpful for purifying the excess of bile in the gallbladder, and in stomach problems. This enhanced its reputation for being easier to digest than milk. Dioscorides used to prescribe yogurt as a medicine in the treatment of liver mal-function, tuberculosis and as a general depurative (ie: cleansing from impurities). In the beginning of the 20th century yogurt was sold in pharmacies, being considered a medicine. In 1908 the Nobel Prize winner llya Metchinikoff isolated bacteria from yogurt cultures relating some of them to longevity and the maintenance of a healthy immune system.



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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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Dehydrated fruit Dehydrated fruit

Dehydration - one of the oldest methods of preserving food

Spring, Summer, and Autumn are crop seasons when plenty of varied fruit is available. Sometimes it is too much. That excess can be stored for winter and times when the supply is lower than demand. Dehydrating is the most natural and simple way to preserve fruits, vegetables, mushrooms and herbs. The nutritional value, taste, and health benefits of the foods are all kept or improved by dehydration.

 



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Bottle and glass of Kombucha Bottle and glass of Kombucha

Kombucha: Health promoting drink

There are many different probiotic foods which are healthy for the human body. World Health Organization defines probiotics as “living organisms that, when ingested in adequate quantities, are beneficial to the host's health.” Kombucha drink is one of those probiotic and therapeutic foods.



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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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dried inca berries, dried golden berries dried inca berries, dried golden berries

Inca berries, rich in antioxidants

Inca berries or physalis are round, 1 to 2 cm in diameter, golden (the British call them golden berries) and with tiny seeds inside. They are a very nutritious, bittersweet and tasty fruit, both fresh and dried. The berries are wrapped in a thin paper like cocoon at first greenish and golden like the ripe fruit when it dries. The scientific name comes from its looks, because the Greek word physalis means bladder.

They are part of the solanaceae family to which dozens of similar species belong, although not all edible, being  physalis peruviana one of the most sold and important.



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Vegetable drinks healthy and low cost

Vegetable drinks or milks are excellent alternatives to cow's milk, especially recommended to lactose intolerants, vegetarians or simply to those who prefer healthier alternatives to industrial milk.

Low calories, low cost and nutritious

When produced with high quality ingredients, these vegetable milks are very healthy, nutrient rich, low calorie, cholesterol free and low cost. For example, with a soy milk maker you can very easily make high quality additive free vegetable drinks for less than 0,20 cents a litre. To save even more, you can use the leftover cereals, legumes or nuts which are left at the bottom of the jar where you prepare your drinks to make rolls, burgers, veggie balls or add to soups and gravies. Besides being cheaper it is also environment friendlier because packaging is reduced.



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Maca, nutritional root

Legend has it that during the Inca Empire, the army used to add maca root to their food before going to battle, which made soldiers very manly. Besides, that the warriors that did well in combat would receive maca as a prize for their heroic accomplishments.

Maca (lepidium meyenii) is a cruciferous plant and its root resembles a turnip head, measuring 4-7 cm in diameter, colour ranging from from bright yellow to dark brown. Maca root grows in the Peruvian Andes above an altitude of 3500 meters, enduring temperatures ranging from 20ºC to -25ºC, therefore being considered an adaptogen.

Maca root was used by the Inca people to revitalize the body and curb hunger in isolated populations representing up to 2/3 of their diet.



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Water, an essential resource

One of the most widely accepted theories on the origins of life on Earth is that it came from outer space carried by comets that crashed into our planet at the beginning of its existence. Comets are giant balls of dust and ice which wander through outer space and as they approach the sun, the solar winds help form their characteristic tails, awing the star watchers here on Earth whenever we are lucky enough to observe such phenomena, certainly an amazing event.

Probabilities are that the basic components of life came to exist on Earth brought by one of those ice balls. Afterwards, the first cells and more complex life forms developed in the primitive oceans. Along millions of years of evolution, the ancestors of mankind became able to leave the water and conquer the planet. Yet, water is still a vital element for humans: it constitutes 70 to 75% of our bodies.



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Goji, the anti-aging berries

 

Madonna and Oprah Winfrey are two of the celebrities that have revealed to their fans and to the world their interest in goji berries, which are part of their daily menu. Since then the popularity of this fruit that delays the aging process due to its high levels of antioxidants, has grown in western countries.

Goji berries (lycium barbarum) are red and sweet, resembling a cross between raisins and cherries, come from Northwest China and Tibet and thrive naturally from the Himalayan Mountains and fertile benches of the Yellow River up to Mongolia.

They are a source of complete protein, contain 18 different amino acids, 8 of which essential. Goji berries also contain 21 minerals, such as zinc (2mg), iron (9mg, more than goji berriesmeat,) copper, calcium (112mg), selenium and phosphorus (203mg). They also provide B1, B2, B6 and E vitamins as well as high levels of C and A vitamins.

 



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Kefir, natural probiotic

 

The origins of kefir are lost in time; however we know it comes from the Caucasus where people have used it for centuries. The word kefir comes from the Turkish word keif which means good feeling or feeling good.
Kefir grains were a valuable and well protected treasure kept by the Caucasus Mountains’ natives, which is why it was unknown to the rest of the world until the beginning of the 20th century.
Kefir is a drink obtained by fermenting soy, cow, goat or sheep's milk. It thrives in temperatures ranging from 10ºC to 25ºC. A culture of lactobacilli and yeasts, known as kefir grains (white or yellowish gelly-like grains) feeds on milk. It is also known as yoghurt plant, yoghurt mushroom or yoghurt flower. 

 



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Graviola fruit Graviola fruit

Soursop - the fruit that fights and prevents several health problems

Soursop (annona muricata L.), also known as prickly custard apple, is a very common fruit in South America, especially in Peru and Brazil. Even in English speaking countries it is also known by the Spanish name “graviola”. It has been used for centuries by native tribes to fight and prevent several ailments. For example in the Andes, Peru, an infusion of soursop leaves is used to fight rheum and in the Peruvian Amazon the same infusion is used for diabetes, as a sedative and to treat spasms.



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Cocoa beans. Cocoa beans.

Cocoa - The beans from the heavens

It is said that a thousand years ago the Aztecs in Central America believed that the god they worshiped had brought cocoa beans from the heavens as an offering to the people.

Christopher Columbus, probably the first European to ever taste cocoa, gave little importance to the food that nowadays makes some of the world’s most appreciated delicacies.



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