Why Should You Try Out Polenta Today

Polenta, a traditional Northern Italian cuisine staple, has been an essential food in their everyday nutrition. It is also commonly eaten in many parts of the world, including everywhere in Europe and in the United States. Polenta is made by grinding corn into flour, or meal. It has a rich yellow, yolk-colour, and has a slightly sweet flavour. Often associated with hot porridge and cakes, this versatile food can be widely used for many recipes and even as a substitute for wheat-based dishes.

 

 polenta

 

Health benefits

1. Good source of Fiber and Protein

Polenta contains both fiber and protein. Fiber helps to keep the digestive system functioning properly, to feed healthy gut bacteria and prevent constipation. Protein works to stabilize your blood sugar levels, boost energy levels and support the absorption of important nutrients.

 2. Substitute for Gluten

For people looking for gluten-free dishes, Polenta is a good option. Polenta can be used in baking cakes and bread in place of flour in recipes. Using polenta in baked recipes can add nutritional value and a moist consistency with a pleasantly grainy texture.

 3. Rich in complex carbohydrates

Polenta is an excellent source of complex carbohydrates. Simple carbohydrates are broken down fast, causing a person’s blood sugar levels to spike. Complex carbohydrates, on the other hand, are broken down slowly and takes a longer time to digest. This slow release can help keep blood sugar levels steady, making Polenta a fantastic ingredient to add into your diet.

 

Recipe

1. Polenta Squares with Gorgonzola and Pine Nuts. 

Polenta Squares are impressive and delicious! These are also tasty with chopped, dried figs or cranberries in place of the currants.

 Polenta Squares with Gorgonzola and Pine Nuts.

 

2. Smoky Shrimp and Parmesan-Polenta Cakes

Invite company over for this gourmet-inspired dish that's a snap to make. Serve with salad greens splashed with vinaigrette.

Smoky Shrimp and Parmesan-Polenta Cakes

 

3. Orange and Polenta Cake

This delicious cake is full of zingy flavour and the syrup makes it something really special!

 Orange and Polenta Cake

 

Jie Yeu

Flax Oil

Flaxseed oil has been growing in popularity in recent years, as more and more people begin to discover the benefits and uses of both consuming and applying this oil. Flaxseed oil, otherwise known as flax oil or linseed oil, is made by grounding and pressing flaxseeds. Originating from present day Republic of Georgia, this wondrous oil has come a long way. Temple walls since Ancient Egypt had traces of drawings of flax plantations, although flax was more commonly used for textiles rather than for consumption.

Health benefits

1. Good source of Omega-3 Fatty Acid

Flaxseed oil has a reputation for being an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acid, which is most commonly found in fish and chicken, rather than plants. This makes flax oil a perfect alternative for vegetarians to obtain these beneficial fatty acids. Flaxseed Oil contains 50-60% of omega-3 fatty acid in the form of Alpha-Linolenic Acid (ALA). Omega-3 fatty acids are extremely crucial and beneficial in many body processes, and can help to minimise illnesses such as heart diseases and depression.

 2. Relieves constipation and promotes healthy digestive system

Flaxseed oils are excellent natural lubricants for our colons. They also serve as laxatives which helps to keep things moving in the digestive system. Apart from relieving constipation, flax oil are also anti-diarrhoea agents which can stop irregular bowel movements.

 3. Improves skin conditions

Increasing intake of essential fatty acids can improve skin’s conditions by increasing skin’s elasticity and texture, making flaxseed oil one of the top choices for skin illnesses like eczema and rashes.

Recipe

1. Flax Almond Meal Banana Muffin with Dark Chocolate 

Talk about a decadent but healthy treat!

2. Homemade Flaxseed Hummus

Tasty dip that goes well with anything and everything!

3. Chia Flax Hot Pudding

Perfect for cold and rainy days!

 

Jia Jia

Hazelnuts

Hazelnuts, also known as cobnut or filbert nut, is commonly use in baked goods and confectionary products. Ferrero, the company in charge of the production of Nutella and Ferrero Rocher uses 25% of the global supply of hazelnuts. Countries such as Turkey, USA and Georgia are the world’s largest producer of hazelnuts.

Health Benefits

It should not come as a surprise that these tiny morsels are nutrient-dense delights and a pack full of minerals.

1. Promote better heart health

There are a wide range of vitamins and minerals found in hazelnuts that help to promote healthier hearts. They help to reduce LDL cholesterols and increase HDL cholesterols. With a considerable amount of magnesium, these crunchy delights also help to reduce blood pressure.

2. Boosts cognitive functions

Hazelnuts are well known for their brain boosting abilities. Elements such as Vitamin E and Manganese slows down cognitive decline and cognitive illnesses such as Parkinson’s and Dementia. High levels of fatty acids in hazelnuts also help to combat depression and improves the nervous system.

3. Healthier skin and hair

Abundant amount of Vitamin E contributes to higher skin elasticity and shinier hair. Adding on, they are also good UV-ray fighters and help defend the skin against harmful cigarette smoke. They possess the ability to regenerate skin cells, thus helping to lighten scars and wrinkles.

Recipes

1. Dutch Baby with Roasted Pears and Toasted Hazelnuts

Reserve this for a simple but tasty weekend brunch!

2. Simple Apple Tart with Hazelnut Crust 

Mmmm... perfect to bring to a party!

 

Jia Jia

You OAT to try it!

Oats have been around for hundreds of years, and is typically cultivated in temperate regions of the world. Countries like Russia, Canada and Poland are the top producers of oats. Not only are oats high in health benefits, they are also extremely versatile. In the market, the two most common types of oats seen around are instant oats and rolled oats.

Rolled oats, also known as whole oats or old-fashioned oats, are oats that have been steamed then flattened during the manufacturing process. They cook slower than instant oats, absorb more liquid, but is able to hold its shape better. When compared to instant oats, rolled oats are more textured and have a stronger toasted and earthy flavour.

However, regardless of their type, the nutritional values of both kinds of oats remain relatively the same and are both amazing substitutes for other refined grains (rice, etc).

Health Benefits

1. Rich in Antioxidants

Avenanthramides, an antioxidant that is mainly found in oats, have high inflammatory and anti-itching properties. They aid in the production of nitric oxide, which helps to lower blood pressure. Other than Avenanthramides, oats contain another antioxidant, Ferulic acid.

2. Extremely Nutrient Dense

Oats are highly ranked as one of the most nutrient densed food you can have. They are packed with carbs, fiber, and also contain a load of other minerals such as Manganese, Phosphorus, Magnesium.

3. Able to improve blood sugar levels and aid in weight loss

Oats are a common staple amongst Type 2 diabetes patients. Packed with soluble beta-glucan, oats can help to improve insulin sensitivity, thus regulating blood sugar levels. Following regulated blood sugar levels, oats help to allow us to feel fuller for longer periods of time, thus aiding in weight loss.

Recipes

1. Banana Oat Snack Bars

Delicious snack to have on the go.

 

2. Banana Oatmeal Bread

Moist, dense bread. Perfect for breakfast or afternoon tea.

Jia Jia

 

CoralTree Apple Cider Vinegar

CoralTree Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar has become increasingly popular in recent years, with many nutritionists and influencers raving about their versatility and effectiveness in various areas. However, the numerous benefits of apple cider vinegar are not new to mankind. With so many brands out there, one may ask: what’s so special about CoralTree Apple Cider Vinegar? The answer lies in the fact that CoralTree uses fresh apples (yes you heard me right -- not apple juice concentrate) for all their apple cider vinegar, to bring you possibly the highest quality apple cider vinegar available on the market. Unfiltered, unpasteurised and unmessed with, this exquisite product is matured in oak barrels all the way in New Zealand and shipped fresh to Singapore.

Health Benefits

Apart from using it to cleanse our hair and sooth sunburns, this amazing product can bring about numerous health benefits as well.

1. Enhances Weight Loss

Studies have indicated that Apple Cider Vinegar can aid weight loss if taken consistently. Results from one particular study has shown that taking 2 tablespoons per day over 12 weeks resulted in nearly 4 pounds of weight loss, with no other modifications to diet or lifestyle. Studies have also indicated that consuming apple cider vinegar can help to increase satiety, thereby aiding weight loss.

2. Lowers Cholesterol

Apple cider vinegar helps to lower “bad” cholesterol (LDL cholesterol) and triglyceride levels. Adding on, apple cider vinegar contains the antioxidant chlorogenic acid, which has been proven to prevent LDL cholesterol from oxidising, which is a crucial step to improve heart health.

3. Lowers Blood Sugar Levels

Apple cider vinegar has been proven to have exceptional results in reducing blood sugar levels, and is commonly used by patients of Type 2 diabetes or pre-diabetes. Apple cider vinegar helps to improve insulin sensitivity and can significantly lower blood sugar responses during meals.

These benefits are enhanced further when the apple cider vinegar used is organic and unfiltered, like the one from CoralTree, as these vinegars still have their “mother” intact. 

Recipes

1. Apple Cider Vinegar Hair Rinse

2. Slow-cooked Cider Beans 

 

References 

Kris, G. (2016, September 5). 6 Proven Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar. Retrieved January 22, 2018, from https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/6-proven-health-benefits-of-apple-cider-vinegar

Organic Apple Cider Vinegar. (n.d.). Retrieved January 22, 2018, from http://www.coraltree.co.nz/organic-apple-cider-vinegar/

 

Rachael Link. (2018, January 06). 20 Unique #AppleCiderVinegar Uses and Remedies. Retrieved January 22, 2018, from https://draxe.com/apple-cider-vinegar-uses/

 

Written by: Jia Jia

Nutty Tahini

Nutty Tahini

Tahini is a seed butter made from sesame seeds that are hulled, ground, and toasted. It is commonly used in North African, Greek, Iranian, Turkish, and Middle Eastern cuisine. It is a major ingredient in hummus and baba ghanoush (a dip similar to hummus, made with eggplant rather than chickpeas).

 

 

Health Benefits of Tahini

Heart Health

Sesame seeds contain the unique lignans sesamin and sesamol, which have been shown to lower cholesterol. Studies have shown that consuming these types of fats can lower harmful cholesterol levels as well as lower the risk of heart disease and stroke.The calcium and magnesium in tahini also work to decrease blood pressure naturally.

Cancer Prevention

Lignans, chemical compounds found in certain plants, have a similar structure to estrogen. The sesamin and sesamol lignans in tahini are able to bind to estrogen receptors, which can protect against hormone-related cancers.

Bone Health

The high magnesium content in tahini is beneficial for maintaining healthy bones. Adequate magnesium intakes are associated with a greater bone density and have been effective in decreasing the risk of osteoporosis in postmenopausal women.

 

 

Tahini Recipes

Vegan Baba Ghanoush

This easy baba ghanoush recipe is vegetarian, vegan, and completely gluten-free!

 

Green Tahini Smoothie Bowl

Healthy bowl brings all the flavor blend up in this spinach-based tahini smoothie!

 

 Lydia Tan

 

References

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/298585.php

 

 

Natural Dried Apricots

Apricots are one of the most well-known stone fruits in the world. Their bright yellow and orange colour causes many to confuse apricots with peaches. Apricot plantations thrive in cold, dry areas, such as Turkey and Uzbekistan.

The process of producing top quality dried apricots is certainly not an easy one. Traditionally, apricots are dried using sulfur dioxide. However, over the years, some companies have started to invest in more technologically advanced production processes due to health concerns surrounding the usage of sulfur dioxide in treatment processes. Organic dried apricots are dried through this process. Apricots that are dried sulfur dioxide free tend to have a darker and rougher appearance to them.

 

 

Health Benefits

Dried apricots have higher levels of most nutrients than their fresh counterparts

1. High dietary fibre

High levels of dietary fibre promotes healthy bowel movements and can play a part in reducing cholesterol levels.

2.High in Vitamin A

Vitamin A is highly sought after due to its ability to boost the immune system and protect the skin and eyes. On average, 100g of apricots can contribute to 12% of Vitamin A required by the body per day.

3. Large amounts of antioxidants

 Apricots contain a plethora of antioxidants, which is essential in our body as it helps to flush out toxins in our body and improves our heart health.

 

Recipes

 

1. Yellow Salad with Citrus-Date Vinaigrette

Sunny Yellow Salad to brighten up your day!

 

 

2. Coconut-Apricot Truffles

Sweet and crunchy treat, great for parties!

 

Written by: Jia Jia 

Making the Rye(d) Choice

Dark rye flour is traditionally milled from the outer tissue of the rye plant, which contains more colour pigments of the rye berry, giving dark rye flour its darker colour compared to the usual rye flour. Typically, dark rye flour, also known as whole rye flour, is obtained through a coarser grinding process. Dark rye flour is often crowned as the healthiest amongst all the different types of rye flours, due to its high content of bran and germ.

 

Health Benefits:

1. Assists in weight loss 

Rye flour has been proven to increase metabolism rate while suppressing weight gain and obesity. This makes rye flour a perfect alternative to other flour on the market (eg wheat flour) 

2. Regulates genes 

Studies have shown that it is indeed possible to modify our genes through our routine and diet. Conclusions drawn from research has shown that participants following the common oat-wheat-potato diet are more prone to down-regulation of genes compared to those that substituted the aforementioned ingredients with rye. 

3. Lowers risk of diabetes 

Dark rye flour has been known for being an excellent way to keep diabetes at bay, with its abilities to stabilise insulin response and improve glycaemic profiles. Furthermore, they are excellent gene modifiers, which positively reduces risks of diabetes. 

Recipes

1. Rye Crispbread 

Healthy and crispy, this delicious snack is sure to stand out when brought to parties!

2. Rye Bread 

This versatile bread tastes good with literally everything and anything! Ham, cheese, tuna, peanut butter, jam, you name it!

 

 

Written by: Jia Jia

You WALNUT believe how good they are for you

 

Walnuts - You WALNUT believe how good they are for you

Walnuts are rounded, single-seeded stone fruits of the walnut tree commonly used for the meat after fully ripening. Following full ripening, the removal of the husk reveals the double section wrinkly walnut shell, which encloses the walnut kernel. The myth that walnuts can help to increase one’s intellect stems from how they take after the shape of brains. While it is not completely true that they can boost one’s intellect, studies have shown that they do have numerous health (including brain) benefits. Apart from the innumerable health benefits, walnuts can also be used in many other areas, and can be used as cleaning agents, inks, dyes, etc.

In recent years, walnuts are getting increasingly recognised for their benefits and consumption has been increasing by leaps and bounds.

 

Health Benefits:

Walnuts have been known to be one of the healthiest nuts around since the 19th Century. It is also widely known to be one of the members of the “power food” category.

1. Improves bone health

Essential Fatty Acids (EFA) help to maintain the bone health of the body. Apart from that, walnuts are also a rich source of copper, manganese and magnesium. These minerals help to increase bone density and increase ease of absorption of calcium in the body.

2. High antioxidant content and skincare properties

Compared to expensive skincare products, walnuts are a more affordable and natural way for you to take care of your skin! Walnuts have been found to be loaded with Vitamin E and exotic antioxidants that are rarely found in other food. These properties allow walnuts to slow down one’s rate of ageing.

3. Improves quality of sleep

If you’re looking for a healthier and more natural way to combat insomnia, look no further! Studies have shown that walnuts can help to induce and regulate sleep due to their tryptophan content, which helps to produce sleep regulating hormones such as melatonin and serotonin.

 

Recipes:

 

1. Spiced Walnut Fruit Loaf Recipe

Healthy way to start your day, perfect with a cup of tea. 

 

2. Roasted Chicken Salad with Ginger

Refreshing option for a quick and convenient lunch. 

 

Recipes too complicated and time consuming? Simply chop up some walnuts and mix them into your salad or have them by itself as a tasty snack!

Written by: Jia Jia

Organic Dates, The Natural Sweeteners!

The sweet date fruit is of oval-cylindrical shape, its color when ripe ranges from bright red to a light caramel color, depending on its variety. In Arabic, it is called “Tamr”, while the Greek call it “daktulos” which means ‘finger’, indicating the fruit’s shape. Dates have existed in the Middle Eastern culture for thousands of years – in fact, archaeologic evidence suggests that dates have been cultivated since 6,000 BC. Around 3,000 varieties of dates exist, and while they all possess almost the same types of nutrients and vitamins in them, the amounts of these nutrients and vitamins may differ! Continue reading to find out about its benefits!

 

 

Health Benefits of Organic Dates

Improves Digestive Health

Apart from aiding constipation, dates play a role in improving our overall digestive health. Fiber is imperative for cleaning our gastrointestinal intestines and detoxify the body. Dates helps avoid developing digestive problems such as colitis. Regular consumption of dates encourages the growth of good bacteria in the stomach, which improves digestion.

Reduces Blood Pressure

Magnesium, apart from healing inflammation, can also help control the body’s blood pressure levels. The high potassium content in dates also contributes to reducing blood pressure, as well ensure proper functioning of the heart.

Promotes Bone Health

Dates contain important vitamins and minerals which contribute to good bone health. They can help avoid bone diseases which occur with age, such as osteoporosis and promote healthy, strong bones.

Helps Cardiovascular Health

Heart health is also improved by consuming dates over time. This fruit is high in dietary fiber, which plays a key role in controlling and reducing cholesterol levels. Dates also contain potassium, which has been associated with lower heart diseases.

Provides an Energy Boost

Dates are high in natural sugars like fructose and sucrose and are perfect for an energy boost in the middle of the day to revitalize and energize the body. For this reason, Muslims eat dates when they break their fasts during Ramadan. Just don’t overdo it, as dates are high in calories and sugar, and can cause weight gain!

 

Organic Dates Recipes

Date Caramel

Tasty homemade date caramel to add on to your breakfast toast!

 

 

Date, Parsley and Sumac Quiche with Crushed Almonds

Dates add a surprising sweetness to a savory and rich quiche! Great for lunch and tea-time snack!

 

 

Lydia Tan

 

References

https://appreciategoods.com/dates-health-benefits/#Dates_Nutrition_Facts

 

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