Mossagrow’s Weblog

July 1, 2008

Cancer-Fighting Foods

Filed under: HEALTH TIPS,PRODUCT INFO — mossagrow @ 12:18 am

A healthy, balanced diet is key, experts say, but these foods may have an extra punch.

Leafy greens: Deep green leafy vegetables are packed with lutein, vitamin A and folate, nutrients that may help prevent colon and ovarian cancer.

  • Spinach
  • Kale
  • Collard greens
  • Dandelion greens

Curry: Yellow curry contains cur-cumin, a pungent spice that may help prevent melanoma and other types of cancer cells from proliferating.

Cruciferous veggies: These contain phytochemicals that may cut the risk of stomach, breast and skin cancers.


  • Broccoli
  • Broccoli sprouts
  • Cabbage
  • Bok choy
  • Cauliflower
  • Watercress
  • Swiss chard

Berries: These fruits contain antioxidants such as polyphenols, which counteract and repair cell damage.

  • Blueberries
  • Blackberries
  • Raspberries
  • Strawberries
  • Cranberries
  • Red grapes

    Tomatoes: Studies suggest that having a tomato-rich diet may help lower the risk of developing both lung and stomach cancer.

June 24, 2008

Cucumber

Filed under: PRODUCT INFO — mossagrow @ 6:43 am
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Cucumbers were thought to originate over 10,000 years ago in Southern Asia.  Early explorers and travelers introduced this vegetable to India and other parts of Asia.  It was very popular in the ancient civilizations of Egypt, Greece and Rome, whose people used it not only as food but also for its beneficial skin healing properties. Greenhouse cultivation of cucumbers was originally invented during the times of Louis XIV, who appreciated this delightful vegetable. Later the early colonists introduced cucumbers to the United States.

Cucumbers are scientifically known as Cucumis Sativus and belong to the same family as watermelon, zucchini, pumpkin, and other types of squash. Varieties of cucumber as grown either to be eaten fresh or pickled.

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Health Benefits
The cucumber’s flesh is primarily composed of water but also contains ascorbic acid (Vitamin C) and caffeic acid, both of which help soothe skin irritations and reduce swellings. Cucumber’s skin is rich in fiber and contains a variety of beneficial minerals including silica, potassium and magnesium.

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A Radiant Complexion
The silica in cucumber is an essential component of healthy connective tissue, which includes muscles, tendons, ligaments, cartilage and bone. Cucumber juice is often recommended as a source of silica to improve the complexion and health of the skin, plus cucumber’s high water content makes it naturally hydrating – a must for glowing skin. Cucumbers are also used topically for various types of skin problems, including swelling under the eyes and sunburn. Two compounds in cucumbers, ascorbic acid and caffeic acid, prevent water retention, which explains why cucumbers are often helpful for swollen eyes, burns and dermatitis.

About Salads

Filed under: PRODUCT INFO — mossagrow @ 4:50 am
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Where did salads originate?
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The answer to this question depends upon what you are referring to.   The ingredients and recipes depend upon what was available and its socio-cultural attitudes towards the ingredients (country, seasonal or non-seasonal, nutritional values, etc).

The Green Salad or Garden Salad is most often composed of vegetables, especially the leafy kind such as lettuce, spinach, spring onions, tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, capsicum, mushrooms, carrots, celery, radishes, etc put together in a manner known as vegtabling.  The salad leaves are cut or torn into bite-sized fragments and tossed together, or maybe placed in a predetermined arrangement.  Other ingredients are sometimes added to salad to make it tastier ie hard boiled egg, sweetcorn, shrimps, cheese, etc.  Salads without any meat are known as dinner salad, whilst those which contain chunks of chicken or tuna, or slices of meat and salmon are usually referred to as the entree salads. These kind of salads are often served with a dressing.

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Fruit salads consists of various kinds of fruits, served either in their own juices or a syrup. A fruit salad can be served as an appetizer, a side-salad, or even as dessert.   When served as an appetizer or as a dessert, fruit salads are also commonly known as fruit cocktail.

Common types of salads =  Caesar Salad  ;  Chicken Salad  ;  Coleslaw  ;  Egg Salad  ;  Fruit Salad  ;  Pasta Salad  ;  Russian Salad  ;  Tuna Salad ;  Taco Salad and many others

Common types of dressings =  Balsamic Vinegar  ;  Caesar Dressing  ;  Mayonnaise or yoghurt based Dressing  ;  Bleu Cheese Dressing  ;  Russian Dressing  ;  Thousand Island Dressing  ;  Italian Dressing  ;  Vinaigrette and many others.

Tomatoes

Filed under: PRODUCT INFO — mossagrow @ 1:39 am
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Tomatoes originated in South America and were spread by the Spanish throughout their colonies.  In Europe in the 1540s, the tomato became known as poma d’oro (gold apple) in Italy; and pomme d’amour (love apple) in France.  Initially, tomatoes were regarded with suspicion, considered poisonous and even worse an aphrodisiac.  This mistrust was founded by their presence in the Solanaceae family, whose other members include the deadly nightshade plant, eggplant, capsicum and potatoes.

Fruit or Vegetable?

Botanically, the tomato is a fruit and so was taxed as one in 19th century America, much to the ire of growers.  Finally in 1893, a law was passed declaring it a vegetable.  However, sweet recipes do exist for their use.  Italian peasants were some of the first people to add tomatoes to their bland diets.  Today, tomatoes are an integral part of many cuisines worldwide – Italy, Spain and the Middle-East all have larger repertoires of dishes which seem inseparable from the tomato.

June 20, 2008

Spinach

Filed under: PRODUCT INFO — mossagrow @ 10:56 am
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Spinach is widely known because of the famous character “Popeye the Sailor”.  Spinach is probably one of the best healthy leafy vegetables since it contains high level of iron as compared to other vegetables. Spinach IS rich source of iron.  That is the main reason why it is considered as a herbs treatment for anaemia in China.  It is also considered as a good herbal medicine for gout and kidney stone patients.

Spinach has 3 times more vitamin C contents than an average vegetable.  However, children does not like to eat spinach at all.  Its bitterness is due to the oxalic acid causing the formation of calculus. 

REDUCING THE BITTERNESS OF SPINACH

Calcium Method

Oxalic acid grows independently and does not have a bitter taste.  Only during the stimulation with the saliva will it produce its bitter taste.  So how do we reduce its bitterness?  The answer – calcium.  Our experiment – we blended raw spinach with milk and surprisingly, did not taste as bitter at all! At the same time, it also increses its nutritional value.

Oil Method

Another way to reduce its bitterness is by adding oil when cooking spinach.  Olive oil is best for spinach salad.  For salad dressing, you can use mayonnaise, olive oil, milk, yogurt and shrimps.

Boiling, Stewing or Steaming

Another way of getting rid of the spinach’s bitterness is thru boiling or steaming.  Except, its nutritional values will gradually decrease.

Results of nutritional residue left after boiling or steaming :-
Boiling (1 minute) : Oxalic acid = 62% ; vitamin C = 46%
Steaming (1 minute) : Oxalic acid = 96% ; vitamin C = 70%
Microwave oven (700w 40 seconds) : Oxalic acid = 94% ; vitamin C = 49%
Frying (1 minute) : Oxalic acid = 85% ; vitamin C = 72%

Why are we recommending spinach?

It is because it makes your bones and muscles strong and cleanse your blood. Also a herbal remedy for anaemia.  You can cook spinach similar to other vegetables.  It is tasty to add garlic, ginger, fish, shrimp, or even chicken to suit your taste. Why dont you try it yourself?

 

The Papaya

Filed under: PRODUCT INFO — mossagrow @ 9:07 am
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Common Names : Papaya ; Papaw or Paw Paw (Australia) ; Mamao (Brazil) ; Tree Melon

Origin : The papaya is believed to be native to southern Mexico, and Central America. It is now in every tropical and subtropical country.

Adaptation : Papayas have exacting climate requirements for vigorous growth and fruit production.  They must have warmth throughout the year and will be damaged by light frosts.  Cold, wet soil is almost always lethal.  Cool temperatures will also alter fruit flavour.  Papayas make excellent container and green house specimens where soil moisture and temperature can be moderated.

Growth Habit : The papaya is a short-lived, fast-growing, woody, large herb to 10 or 12 feet tall.  It generally branches only when injured.  All parts contain latex.  The hollow green or deep purple trunk is straight and cylindrical with prominent leaf scars.  Its diameter may be from 2 to 3 inches to over a foot as the base.

Foliage : The leaves emerge directly from the upper part of the stem in a spiral on nearly horizontal petioles 1 to 3 1/2 feet long.  The blade, deeply divided into 5 to 9 main segments, varies from 1 to 2 feet in width, and has prominent yellowish ribs and veins.  The life span of a leaf is 4 to 6 months.

Flowers : The five-petalled flowers are fleshy, waxy and slightly fragrant.  Some plants bear only short-stalked female flowers, or bisexual (perfect) flowers also on short stalks, while others may bear only male flowers, clustered on panicles of 5 or 6 feet long.  Some plants may have both male and female flowers.  Others at certain seasons produce short-stalked male flowers, at other times perfect flowers.  This change of sex may occur temporarily during high temperatures in midsummer.  Male or bisexual plants may change completely to female plants after being beheaded.  Certain varieties have a propensity for producing certain types of flowers.  How pollination takes place in papayas is not known with certainty.  Wind is probably the main agent, as the pollen is light and abundant, but thrips and moths may assist.  Hand pollination is sometimes necessary to get a proper fruit set.

Fruit : There are 2 types of papayas, Hawaiian and Mexican.  The Hawaiian varieties are the papayas commonly found in supermakets.  These pea-shaped fruit generally weigh about 1 pound and have yellow skin when ripe.  The flesh is bright orange or pinkish, depending on variety, with small seeds clustered in the center.  The flavour of the Mexican species is less intense than that of the Hawaiian but still delicious.  A properly ripened papaya is juicy, sweet and somewhat like a cantaloupe in flavour, although musky in some types.  The fruit (and leaves too) contain papain which helps digestion and is used to tenderize meat.  The edible seeds have a spicy flavour somewhat reminiscent of black pepper.

Fruits & Vegetables – General Info

Fruits, nuts and vegetabales play a significant role in human nutrition, especially as sources of vitamins. Fruits and vegetables supply 16% of magnesium, 19% of iron, and 9% of the calories.

Climatic conditions, especially temperature and light intensity, have a strong effect on the nutritional quality of fruits and vegetables.  Soil type, mulching, irrigation, fertilization, and other cultural practices influence the water and nutrient supply, which can affect the composition and quality attributes (appearance, texture, taste and aroma).

Maturity at harvest and harvesting method influence the commodity’s quality and extent of physical injuries.  Delays between harvest and consumption or processing can result in losses of flavour and nutritional quality.  Furthermore, processing and cooking methods too greatly affect the nutritional value of fruits and vegetables.

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