Category Archives: By the way…

Mangosteen – The queen of fruits

mangosteen

The season for mangosteen just started here in Bali, and I am super happy about it. I really love this fruit, it has a nice color and the taste is incredible, not to compare with any other fruit I know. The mangosteen plant is an evergreen, erect tree reaching about 20- 60 ft in height. It is commonly found in tropical rainforests of Indonesia, Malaysia, and Philippines as well as in some cultivated lands in Sri Lanka, and India, where annual precipitation and relative humidity are favorable for its growth. Fresh purple fruits are available in the markets from Mai/June until October, and from now on I will buy and eat them at least once a week.
Internally, the fruit features 4 to 10 juicy, snow-white colored, soft, fleshy triangular segments as in an orange. Each segment may contain 1-4 off white to light brown colored seeds, when I eat them there is a seed in one segment out of five. Seeds are inedible and bitter in taste. The flavor of the fruit is sweet, fragrant, and delicious. Mangosteen have some great health benefits, in Bali you can buy a lot of different health products made of this fruit like tea, juice, powder and many more; I prefer to enjoy them fresh and pure or in a smoothie.

mangosteen fruit segments

Some of the health benefits are:

  • It contains an impressive list of essential nutrients, which are required for normal growth and development and overall nutritional well-being.
  • This fruit is very low in calories (63 calories per 100 g) and contains no saturated fats or cholesterol. Nonetheless, it is rich in dietary fiber (100 g provides about 13% of RDA), which can be very important for individuals who are concerned about putting on excess body weight.
  • Mangosteen is good in vitamin C and provides about 12% of RDA per 100 g. Vitamin-C is a powerful water soluble anti-oxidant. Consumption of fruits rich in vitamin C helps the body develop resistance against flu-like infectious agents and scavenge harmful, pro-inflammatory free radicals.
  • The fresh fruit is a moderate source of B-complex vitamins such as thiamin, niacin and folates. These vitamins are acting as cofactors the help body metabolize carbohydrates, proteins, and fats.
  • Further, it also contains a very good amount of minerals like copper, manganese and magnesium. Potassium is an important component of cell and body fluids and helps control heart rate and blood pressure; plus it offers protection against stroke and coronary heart diseases.
  • There are very few studies at the moment that have tested the effects of mangosteen on human health. But in experimental research, scientists have shown that mangosteen extract may possess antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antiviral and anti-tumor properties.
  • Additionally, preliminary research suggests that mangosteen extract may help shield the brain from the toxic effects of amyloid beta (a substance that forms the brain plaques associated with Alzheimer’s disease). There’s also some evidence that applying mangosteen extract to the skin may help to treat acne.

In the western world magosteen is getting more popular, and you can already find them in some supermarkets in the United States or Germany. If you can find them there or come to visit Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines or Sri Lanka, you have to try this fruit; I promise you will love it.

Souces: http://altmedicine.about.com, http://www.nutrition-and-you.com

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Super fruit guava

guava

The season for guavas just started here in Bali, and I’m looking forward to consume this delicious fruit a lot in the next weeks. First recipe was a guava lassi with watermelon. You can already get them in a lot of western countries, here in Bali for the cheap price of 80 cent per kilo.

The health benefits of guava include the treatment of diarrhea, dysentery, constipation, cough, cold, skin care, high blood pressure, weight loss and scurvy.
Guava is very common in Asian countries, but is increasingly available in the western world, particularly as more of its health benefits are revealed. It is a somewhat round or pear-shaped seasonal fruit, and is light green, yellow, or maroon in color on the outside when it is ripe. Guava also has white or light red (like grapefruit) flesh and lots of small hard seeds enveloped in very soft, sweet pulp. It is eaten raw (ripe or semi-ripe) or in the form of jams or juice.
This popular fruit is a powerhouse of nutrients. If the traditional adage says that “An apple a day keeps the doctor away” in Europe and Americas, the phrase is probably changed to “A few guavas in the season keeps the doctor away for the whole year” in the Indian Subcontinent and places where guavas typically grow.

guava info

The Nutrition of Guava

Guava is a nutritious fruit which has numerous health benefits. It is considered a super fruit for its rich antioxidants, including vitamin C, polyphenols and caratenoids.

Fiber
Guavas are rich in dietary fiber. To get the most fiber from guava, make it into a pulpy juice or eat the raw guava fruit. The fiber in guava can help you to lose weight and reduce your cholesterol. Guava can help you to lose weight because it causes you to feel full, and it also reduces the absorption of saturated fats and cholesterol. It contains almost 9 grams of dietary fiber per medium sized guava. This is equivalent to 36 percent of the USDA recommended daily amount of dietary fiber.

Vitamin C
Vitamin C is an important antioxidant found in abundance in the guava fruit. Guavas contain even more vitamin C than oranges. One guava fruit contains approximately 377mg of vitamin C. Vitamin C supports your immune system by protecting it against pathogens and fighting disease. Just one guava provides you with more than 100 percent of the USDA recommended daily intake of vitamin C. Guavas average four to five times more vitamin C per serving than other citrus fruits.

Other Antioxidants
Guava contains both carotenoids and polyphenols. Carotenoids and polyphenols act as antioxidants and support your immune system by eliminating free radicals and protecting your body’s cells against damage. Carotenoids are especially important for ocular health and skin health. Both carotenoids and polyohenols have also been thought to prevent certain types of cancer (especially breast cancer and skin cancer). These potent antioxidants are only found in plant sources. Look for guavas that are a reddish-orange color. These contain the most carotenoids and polyphenols.

Minerals
Guava contains important minerals, including potassium in the amount of 688 mg, which is 20 percent of the USDA recommended value. Guava also contains copper in the amount of 0.4 mg, which is 19 percent of the USDA recommended value. Potassium is important for a variety of metabolic functions in your body. It transmits brain signals and maintains your blood osmotic balance. Potassium also regulates your heart function. Copper is an important essential mineral that supports your vital organs, bones and tissue. Copper also helps break down enzymes in order for you to use nutrients more efficiently.

Eating just one serving of guava every day can increase your immune system function and your overall health. Try topping your salads with diced guava, or using guava juice in your smoothies

Another great benefit is the use guava has for your skin. Guavas can improve the texture of your skin and help you to avoid skin problems more than even the highest ranked beauty creams or skin toner gels. This is chiefly due to the abundance of astringents in the fruit (more astringent is present in immature guavas) and in its leaves. Your skin can benefit from either eating the fruits (this helps tighten your muscles apart from your skin) or by rinsing your skin with a decoction of its immature fruit and leaves. It will tone up and tighten the area of loosened skin where you apply it. In addition to the astringents, guava is very rich in vitamin-A, B, C and potassium which are good antioxidants and detoxifiers, which keep your skin glowing and free from signs of premature aging, wrinkles and other dermal disorders.

This were just a few of the health benefits of guava. If you are interested you can find a lot more all over the web.

sources: http://www.fitday.com, http://www.organicfacts.net

Homegrown Veggies – Chili and pumpkin

I am a fan of spicy flavors, so chili is one of the ingredients I use in almost every dish. To cultivate it is actually pretty easy, especially if you live in a hot climate with a lot of sun. I decided to sow some seeds, and the results are great, they are growing like hell. If you want to have your own plant, just find a sunny place in your garden, remove the seeds from a ripe chili (should be red) and plant them 5 cm under the earth. Don’t forget to water them every day in the first 5 days until the seedling appears.

How to grow chili

chili plant

homegrown chili plant

Another plant which is growing good if it’s sunny and warm is pumpkin. If you are following my blog you have already seen a few recipes with pumpkin, I like the flavor, color and versatility of this vegetable very much, so I’m very happy that a big plant is growing in my garden. I didn’t realize it is a pumpkin plant until yesterday, when a brunch of it with a big fruit appeared in the palm over my pool. I think it only dropped off because of the weight of the pumpkin, which is already as big as my head. I’m exited how it will look in 3-4 weeks, the stalks are not dry jet so the fruits are not ripe but soon they will be and I’m looking forward to reap my first homegrown pumpkin.

homegrown pumpkin

homegrown pumpkin

I also planted spring onions today; I will keep you updated about their development, and about the surprise pumpkins of curse.

Beetroot Love

Healthy and versatile

natural beetroot

Beetroot is definitely one of my favorite vegetables, and you can prepare it in many different ways. It can be grilled, cooked, roasted or enjoyed raw and you can use every part of it, included the leaves which taste like spinach when sautéed. Because of their high vitamin B, potassium, iron and especially folic acid content, beetroot is a very healthy vegetable. It contains betanin, which is used as red food colorant, and gives dishes with this vegetable a great intensive color.

This week I will try a few dishes with beetroot, and I’m really looking forward to it. A lot of people don’t use this great vegetable often, what’s too bad because you can create great flavors and color combinations. Especially if you cook for kids, a nice color can be very helpful to make a healthy dish more attractive. The first meal I prepare will be a pink beetroot pasta salad; recipe will follow.