Spirulina - Smoothie Ingredient

Spirulina

Similarly to Chlorella, Spirulina is a blue green algae that thrives well in warm and alkaline fresh waters. Spirulina is neither a new nor is it a trendy supplement that is yet to fade soon in its popularity. Spirulina dates back to the 16th century, where Aztecs regularly consumed it as their source of food. Spirulina is best known for its detoxifying and provision of high quality plant based source of protein.

Spirulina greatly gives a tasteful roasted and nutty sea-hint reminiscent taste when added to smoothies, juices and various culinary dishes. Spirulina is a great vegetarian source of protein. Very few vegetarian people think of spirulina as a vegan source. They often consider sources of plant based protein to be seeds, nuts, soy, peas and beans, however we are going to highlight some of our favorite recipes of spirulina. Depending on its variety, Spirulina is chiefly a complete protein (it contains 65 to 70% of all the essential amino acids).The abundance of protein in spirulina is incredible in comparison to other protein source such as lentils (25%) and beef (22 % ).

Always flavor your smoothies with ground vanilla bean, cinnamon, raw honey, nutmeg, cloves, almond butter, cayenne pepper, ginger or just about any seeds or chopped nuts combination. The secret behind blending the perfect spirulina smoothie is using sweet fruits or nuts or seeds to give your drink a unique taste.


Green Fiend Superfood Smoothie

smoothie

Organic wheatgrass powder does not only add taste to your smoothie, but it also makes the mixture more consistent. Moreover, it is also packed with the wealth of antioxidants, vitamins, anti-inflammatory agents, minerals and alkalizing chlorophyll.

Therefore, this smoothie boosts your cellular function, nourishes the immune system of your body, and it also plays a pivotal role in neutralizing the acids in your body while purifying the blood.

Serves: 2

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons of lime juice (fresh)
  • A green tea bad
  • A banana (medium)
  • Wheatgrass powder (2 teaspoons)
  • A cup of boiled water
  • A tablespoon of hemp protein powder
  • Baby spinach (a cup of 44g)
  • Half a cup apple juice (unfiltered)
  • Sea salt (optional, just a pinch of it)
  • Half a teaspoon probiotic powder (again, it is optional)
  • 3 tablespoons of chia seed powder
  • Pineapple (frozen, 2 cups)

Directions

  • Immerse the teabag in boiling water and leave it for about a minute
  • Allow the mixture to cool
  • Now toss in the entire list of ingredients together with the tea bag into a blender
  • Keep it on ‘high’ setting and blast for roughly 45 seconds; make sure that the mixture is smooth

Orange Wheatgrass Smoothie

Wheatgrass-Orange-Green-Smoothie

This smoothie is rich in folate, vitamin C, manganese and vitamin A.

A major chunk of credit goes to organic wheat powder that brings all these nutritional benefits to this great drink and makes the overall consistency creamy as well.

Well, since organic wheat grass offers a strong green flavor, orange and banana are also there in the recipe to neutralize the strong taste while offering a multitude of health benefits.

It hardly takes 5-7 minutes to prepare so you can prepare this smoothie pretty easily and quickly on daily basis.

 

Serves: 1-2 people

Ingredients

  • Half a cup ice
  • Half a cup milk sub
  • 2 tangerines or an orange
  • One-fourth of a teaspoon wheatgrass powder
  • One-fourth of a cup coconut water, or plain water
  • Frozen banana (half)

Directions

  • Toss the list of ingredients in your blender and blast it on ‘high’ setting until the consistency is thick and smooth
  • If you are using Blendtec, just hit the ‘whole juice’ setting or just blend it on medium-high speed for roughly a minute
  • If you are using Vitamix, then it is suggested to start at speed 1. Now turn it on and gradually increase it to variable speed 10. Keep blending until the mixture is consistent.

Chia Seeds FAQs

chia

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Q .What are Chia Seeds?

A .Chia (Salvia hispanica L.), is a dietary and medicinal plant species used since the ancient times by the Aztec and Mayan. Its product is a dry indehiscent fruit often called a seed. However, since the past few decades, there has been an increased diffusion and attention of the seeds of the chia plant for their immense health benefits and the uses in cooking. The seeds are tiny (1mm up to 2mm), oval-shaped, and maybe white, black, grey or even brown if they are immature seeds.

Q .What are the Nutritional Facts of Chia Seeds?

A .Chia seeds provide about 10 grams of fiber per ounce ( almost  two tablespoons).This is evidently reinforced by the USDA data which shows that the fiber content of chia seeds are 34.4 grams per every 100 grams or 10 grams. Chia seeds contain all the essential amino acids in the right proportions and significant minerals including zinc, boron, iron, calcium, niacin, magnesium, manganese and niacin. Each 2 tablespoon of Chia seeds contains more than 10 percent of the daily recommended value for copper, niacin, calcium and iron and more than 20 percent for manganese, phosphorus, boron, selenium, and magnesium.

Chia seeds are an excellent source of the healthy polyunsaturated fatty acids, the Omega 3 fatty acids. Since Chia is a plant, it contains high amounts of the alpha-linolenic acid which are derived from vegetable oils, seeds and nuts. Chia seeds have approximately 25 to 35 % oil by weight, with a tablespoon of Chia seeds providing approximately 2.5 grams of the alpha-linolenic acid.

Chia seeds provide almost 2 grams of protein per tablespoon,( 4% of the daily recommended intake based on a 2,000 calorie diet plan).Chia has 18 amino acids, including all the essential amino acids which are easily digestible and assimilated into the body.

Chia seeds are rich in antioxidants such as the quercetin, caffeic acid, flavonols, chlorogenic acid and myricetin.

chia1

In fact, Chia seeds provide;

  • 2 to 3 times the calcium of milk (more than a cup of low-fat milk, which provides 310 mg calcium)
  • 8 times the Omega 3 in Salmon
  • 2 times more iron than raw spinach
  • 20 percent total protein by weight
  • Vitamins B, D, and E
  • More antioxidants than the blueberries.
  • More digestible protein than soy, peas, and beans.
  1. What are the benefits of Chia Seed?

A .Chia seeds contain all the essential nutrients necessary for optimal growths and development such as antioxidants, proteins, omega- 3 fatty acids, minerals such as copper, boron, iron, calcium, niacin, magnesium, manganese and niacin, and vitamins at a right proportion. Below are some of its numerous benefits:

  • A tablespoon of chia seeds provides 5 grams of fiber. The soluble fiber, predominantly found in Chia seeds easily dissolves in water and passes through the digestive systems slowly as compared to the insoluble fiber. The soluble fiber found in Chia seeds helps to lower the LDL cholesterols (bad) and increases the HDL (good) cholesterol levels thus protecting a person from various cardiovascular conditions such as high blood pressure and atherosclerosis.  The Fiber also helps lower your risks for high cholesterol, heart diseases, high blood sugar levels and constipation.
  • Being an oilseed, Chia seeds are rich in calories with 100g of the seeds providing almost 380 calories. Most of its calories are derived from the polyunsaturated fatty acids (Omega 6 and Omega 3).
  • Chia seeds contain beneficial triglycerides which are long-chain in the right proportions which help to reduce the buildup of cholesterol on the arterial walls.
  • Chia seeds are an excellent source of the omega-3 fatty acids. The essential Omega 3 fatty acid is an alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). Alpha-linolenic acids have anti-inflammatory actions that help fight diseases such as cancers, blood pressure, and heart diseases, reduce inflammations, guarding against depression and Alzheimer’s diseases and possibly diminish symptoms of any autoimmune disorders The Omega-3 fatty acids also play a significant role in brain functions and normal growth and developments.
  • The omega 3 fatty acids in Chia seeds helps our bodies to absorb and emulsify fat-soluble vitamins, A, D, E, and K., For instance, they (omega 3) cooperate with Vitamin D to ensure that calcium is bioavailable to the tissues. In addition to that, Omega 3 is significant for normal glandular activities especially of the thyroid and adrenal glands.
  • Chia is also a good source of antioxidants such as the quercetin, caffeic acid, flavonols, chlorogenic acid and myricetin which functions to provide protection against the cell damages as a result of oxidation and free radicals. Antioxidants help prevent inflammations and occurrence of diseases such as cancer, arthritis etc.
  • Chia seeds will help soothe your digestive system due to its hydrophilic nature .The outer coat of the seed has a non-starch polysaccharides mucilage that swells up severally, making the chia seed acquire gel-like consistency thus helps in smoothing digestion and bowel movements. Its hydrophilic nature also aids in the digestion of food that causes pains due to acid reflux.chia3
  • Its gluten free property makes it safe for consumption for people suffering from celiac disease (gluten sensitivity), carbohydrate intolerance, Crohn’s Disease, hypoglycemia, Celiac Disease, or even for any person wishing to avoid any gluten-containing cereals and grains like barley, corn, and wheat.
  • According to com, Chia seeds are a low glycemic index food with a fullness factor of 2.8. Foods low in glycemic index ensure that there is effective regulation of the blood glucose levels, thus substitution of chia with other cereals such as rice can benefit people with diabetes.
  • Chia seeds also stabilize the blood sugars. Chia’s soluble fibers exert a stabilizing effect on the blood glucose levels regulating the rates at which starch (Complex carbohydrates) are digested and assimilated in the human body. Thus, this creates a steady and stable blood sugar levels. The presence of high extents of fiber helps in diabetes mellitus by slowing down the rate of digestion and releasing of glucose. It also increases the peristaltic movements of the intestine while reducing the plasma cholesterol level.
  • Chia seeds are excellent sources of essential minerals, particularly calcium, iron, phosphorus, selenium, boron, copper, magnesium, and These minerals play vital roles in mineralization of bones, production of red blood cells, cardiac regulation, enzyme synthesis, and skeletal and muscle activities . Niacin helps your body turn the food into energy and your body requires copper and iron for forming the red blood cells. Manganese, calcium, boron, and phosphorus are for strong bones, while the magnesium is necessary during the formation of the DNA structure. Selenium acts as an antioxidant thus helping in the prevention of oxidation and damaging of the cells.
  • Chia seeds aids in weight loss. Chia seeds act as an appetite They make you feel full since they absorb ten times their weight in water when forming a bulky gel. Besides that, the gel from chia which is formed in the stomach creates a physical barrier between the carbohydrates and digestive enzymes which break them, thus slowing down the conversion of carbohydrates to sugar. They slow down the absorption of carbohydrates so as to control appetite and reducing cravings. Thus, when chia seeds are eaten, the slow conversion of carbohydrates to sugar may actually give your body consistent energy streams, as opposed to a spike that is drastic, which will crash quickly. This will eventually build endurance and stamina due to the steady releasing of the glucose into the bloodstream.
  • Chia seeds promote hydration due to its hydrophilic properties. With Chia seeds, you can retain moisture and regulate the absorption of nutrients and fluids hence maintain electrolyte balance.
  • Chia seeds are good sources of all the essential amino acids. Protein from the chia seeds is easily absorbed, resulting in rapid growth, development, and regeneration of the tissue and body cells. Thus, this easily absorbed protein in chia makes it ideal for adolescents, children, pregnant and lactating women as well as the athletes.chia2
  1. What do Chia Seeds taste like?
  2. Chia seeds don’t have a distinct flavor. The flavor is slightly malty and a bit nutty, however, the flavor is so mild that its crunchiness matters more than the taste.
  3. What is the Difference between Black and White Chia Seeds?
  4. The two types of chia seeds have negligible nutritional differences, they essentially have the same contents of proteins, Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids, fiber and other nutrients. However, the dark chia seeds have high levels of antioxidants as compared to the white chia seeds, just like any other dark cored vegetable and fruits.

In some cases, you might find brown seeds. The brown seeds are either immature chia seeds or weed seeds and they impact a strong flavor to the chia seeds. Avoid any brown chia seeds, as they are essentially low in protein and omega content, signifying a poor quality chia.

chia5

  1. How do you take Chia Seeds? Chia seeds can be taken and consumed directly and they necessarily do not need to be ground before consumption. Most people find it appealing mixing them with foods like broths, salads, juices, yogurts, cereals etc. However, chia can be mixed with (either whole or ground), with flour and used in baking. Chia can even be used as a nutty topping in ice-creams. Chia’s hydrophilic structure holds water, so whenever it is mixed with drinks, sauces, dressings, salads, jellies, salads ,puddings, yogurt, soups, dips etc. it displaces fat and calories without necessarily diluting or compromising the flavor of the said food.
  2. Are Chia Seeds Gluten & Cholesterol Free? Absolutely yes! Chia gives you a balance of the Omega-6 and Omega-3 fatty acids without any cholesterol since they are plant based, unlike other sources such as fish oils. Unlike other types of grains, Chia seeds are gluten-free with its high content of naturally occurring anti-oxidants keeping the oils against rancidity.
  3. How much chia seeds a day should you take? Actually, there isn’t a definitive answer for this, since there is ongoing research concerning the Total Recommended Intake of Chia seeds. However, two tablespoons (20 grams) twice in a day, is the commonly recommended dosage by various health practitioners all over the country.
  4. How many calories are in a tablespoon of chia seeds? A tablespoon of Chia seeds weighing almost 13 grams, has a total of 69 calories. Nearly 53% of the total calories are derived from its fat content, with the other 35 % and 12% of the total carbohydrate and protein content respectively.
  5. What happens if I eat more than the recommended amount in a day? Eating more than the daily recommended amount of chia can seriously hurt your stomach. Chia seeds absorb up to more than ten times their weight in water, hence if you eat too much, it might absorb more liquid from your body. However, we don’t intend to scare you off, since chia seeds are very healthy, just that you need to follow the instruction well from your health practitioner.
  6. Q .Are there side effects from Chia Seeds?
  • Chia possesses a choking risk especially if they are not soaked in adequate amount of water. This increased risk is due to the fact that chia seeds swell and absorb up to more than ten times their weight in water especially when seeds are exposed to water. Chia seeds can swell up and become clogged up in the throat.
  • Since Chia seeds are loaded with Omega 3 fatty acids, Chia seeds act as natural blood thinners leading to bleeding and thinning out of blood, thus preventing clotting of blood.
  • Since they are high in protein content, Chia seeds may trigger an allergic reaction in persons who do not consume protein products.
  • Their fiber-rich content and spongy like quality can lead to some gastrointestinal issues such as:
  • Constipation and Diarrhea especially if they are not used to soluble fibers
  • Bloating and gases: since most of Chia’s fibers are soluble, your body’s breaking process of the seeds can cause too many gases, resulting in cases of bloating.
  • Abdominal Cramping: Slow moving fiber can result in cramping in some people because of the slow digestion caused by the fiber in Chia.

Because of their possible side effects, any person with gastrointestinal issues should consult a doctor before consuming chia or incorporating Chia seeds into their diets.

 

Sources:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4926888/#CR6

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0926669010003274

https://medlineplus.gov/ency/patientinstructions/000727.htm

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0308814607008709

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0926669010003274

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1043452615000510

 

 


MANGO AND WATERMELON LASSI

Watermelon-and-Mango

Lassi is an Indian yoghurt, which has richly unique taste due to its great match for spicy ingredients and foods.

SERVES 2

2 tablespoon of maca powder

1 cup of chopped and seeded watermelon

½ cup purified water or even plain unsweetened almond milk

2 mangoes, peeled, pitted and chopped

1 cup of plain yogurt

1 tablespoon or honey

Pinch of ground cumin, cayenne or cardamom

Pinch of sea salt (optional)

Instructions

Blend all the ingredients on high until smooth.

Pour into glasses and serve


History of Cacao

cacao5

Cacao powder is sourced from the seeds of the Cacao fruit that grows on the cacao tree, a plant native to the tropical regions of Central America, southern America, and West Africa.  The Cacao fruit tree, also known as Theobroma cacao is an evergreen tree that produces a ripening yellow to orange fruit called Cacao pod which measures 18 cm long and 9 cm wide.

The Cacao fruit pod is made up of a hard nutshell that encloses the nutritious cacao seeds embedded in a white pulp. To produce the Cacao powder, the thin outer lining of the Cacao seed is first removed then separately roasted and milled to produce whitish chocolate liquor called Cacao butter. The remaining inner part of the seed is cold-pressed at low temperature to produce a dark powder that is jam-packed with nutritious supplements. The powder is Cacao powder.

Theobroma cacao trees are grown worldwide with a host of countries along the equator and within the Cacao belt cultivating the crop. The top world producers of Cacao are Cote d’Ivoire, Indonesia, and Ghana. Other countries that grow Cacao are Brazil, Madagascar, USA, Philippines, and Sri Lanka.

The cacao has been used by ancient cultures throughout centuries as a health supplement. For instance, the Mayans and the Aztecs communities used cacao to make a ritual beverage that was shared during the important occasions such as the marriage ceremonies and religious gatherings.

cacao3

What makes cacao so special?

Most researchers focus on Cacao’s powerful content of flavonoids phytochemicals. It has a much higher content than tea and wine, two foods mostly touted for their high flavonoid content. Cacao is also a rich source of various nutrients that synergistically work with phytochemicals such as flavonoids.

Cacao is more than just a phytochemical powerhouse, it’s also a potent source of healthy fat, fiber and, minerals such as iron, magnesium, and copper.

Nutritional composition of Cacao powder according to USDA.

Calories – 120

Calories from fat – 23

Total fat – 2.5g (4% DV)

Saturated fat – 1.5g (7% DV)

Sodium – 20mg (1% DV)

Total Carbohydrates – 19.0g (6% DV)

Dietary fiber – 7.0g (28% DV)

Protein – 5g

Calcium – 4% DV

Iron – 16% DV

 

cacao4

Fat: The Misunderstood Nutrient Present in Cacao

Fat sure can be so confusing. Remember when all the health recommendations advise on low-fat diet intake? Or even the nonfat diet trends? Saturated fats are not recommended at all due to their link with increased levels of LDL. However, not all the saturated fatty acids raise the levels of cholesterol. Stearic acid, the main predominant saturated fat present in cacao, is an exception! Current researchers prove that it is neutral on the LDL cholesterol and in some cases, it may lower it.

What is the difference between Cacao and Cocoa?

At first impression, you may think that Cacao and Cocoa are similar as they are extracted from the same tree and the same fruit, but you got it wrong because both products are two different things.

Cocoa is made by heating the cacao seeds at high temperatures and in the process enzymes responsible for nutrition benefits are reduced and thus the overall nutritional value of end product is lowered. On the other hand, the Cacao is formed through a cold-pressing process at low temperatures resulting in an end product with high nutritional composition.

cacao2

Scientifically Proven Health Benefits of Cacao Powder.

Cacao powder is an excellent source of nutrients and it contains a high amount of antioxidants, huge concentrations polyphenolic compounds, high levels of magnesium and high amount of fibers. Additionally, the cacao seeds are considered  ‘ superfood ‘ due to the dense composition of essential nutrients and scientifically proven health benefits.  Some of the health benefits of cacao powder have been proven while others are still under research.

We are going to give you an in-depth breakdown of scientifically proven health benefits of Cacao powder. Sit back and relax;

  • Cacao powder as an antioxidant.

Antioxidants are compounds that help to revitalize the natural healing ability of our bodies by fighting off the damaging effects of oxidative stress. Organic raw cacao is an excellent source of antioxidants. Nutritionists say that the antioxidant concentration in cacao is 40X that of Blueberries.

Comparison of the antioxidant levels of Cacao powder and other superfoods.

  • It has 4x the antioxidants of Goji berries.
  • It has 80x the antioxidants of green tea.
  • It has 40x antioxidants of blueberries.

According to data by US Department of Agriculture, a 100g serving of raw Cocoa powder has an ORAC value is 95, 500μ mol TE while the same serving of 100g Blueberries has an ORAC value of 2,400 μ mol TE. Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity (ORAC) measures the ability of our body to absorb free radicals that we get exposed to.  These radicals include the pollutants and cigarette smoke. The high amount of ORAC means a higher amount of the antioxidants and thus a high chance of cancer prevention caused by free radicals.

Raw cacao powder also contains the highest amount of Flavanols and Polyphenols antioxidant. Raw cocoa powder contains 30.1 mg of Flavanols per 1g, 3X more than any other superfood. Flavanols have numerous health benefits that which include improving the arteries elasticity and boosting the blood flow.

44713242 - chocolate bars and a wooden bowl of cacao powder. selective focus

  • Cacao for cardiovascular diseases.

The flavonoids in cacao have antioxidant properties which protect the cells and lipids involved in atherosclerosis development from oxidative damages and inflammations. The flavonoids promote the production of nitric oxide, which has a significant effect on vasodilation and vasoconstriction.

Cacao powder plays a significant role in reducing the inflammation caused by adhesions molecules. Adhesions molecules are proteins that cause the attachment of white blood cells and other substance to walls of heart arteries resulting atherosclerotic plaques that block the arteries and can result in a sudden rupture or heart attack.

According to a 2013 study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Cacao helps to increase the “good” HDL cholesterol levels and lowers the “bad” LDL cholesterol levels. High concentrations of LDL cholesterols levels are responsible for most of the heart diseases. Flavanols in cacao have a significant effect on the functions of the endothelium as it reduces oxidative stress as well as increase g production of nitric oxide. Good endothelial functioning widens the blood vessels thus reducing the occurrence of hypertension. A review study done in 2012 on twenty clinical trials on the relationship between cacao and blood pressure showed that there was a significant reduction in blood pressure in the participants who consumed cacao in comparison to those who didn’t consume cacao. Therefore, Cacao lowers blood pressure and risks of hypertension.

Furthermore, Cocoa contains more than 700 compounds and Polyphenols that altogether prevent the hardening of arteries. Cocoa prevents blood thickening by thinning the blood hence reducing the blood clot in veins and arteries. Thus eating raw cocoa is as beneficial as taking aspirin daily.  The lowering of blood pressure and the effects on lipids of plain dark chocolates represents a real and cost-effective strategy for prevention of the cardiovascular diseases in persons with metabolic syndrome. However, chocolate needs to be dark and have at least 60 percent cocoa, or formulated and enriched with polyphenols.

  • Cocoa as an Antidepressant

Cacao creates euphoria and enhances moods. It contains four neurotransmitters chemicals; serotonin, tryptophan, tyrosine, and phenylethylamine. These neurotransmitters help in promoting well-being, Cozy feelings and even elevate depression. Furthermore, the phenylethylamine neurochemical in Cacao has been found to create aphrodisiac effects and contentment feelings. The phenylethylamine or PEA triggers pleasurable opium-like neurochemicals that are often released during sexual activity. It is this reason that has made Chocolate a popular gift on Valentine’s Day.

According to a research published on the international scientific journal, Nutritional Neuroscience by French ETAP-Applied Ethology, two doses were tested behavioral animals and after two weeks the antidepressant-like effects were observed on the animals’ new behaviors as compared to the previous behavior before the test. The research concluded that “cacao is a promising alternative for the antidepressant agents.”

cacao2

  • Cacao for skin care.

Majority of people find a good look at the beauty of the skin. Cacao helps to keep the skin healthy, natural and smooth. The high amount of antioxidants in the skin protects the body from free radicals such as UV light by preventing their penetration to skin tissues. Raw Cacao contains a high amount of vitamin C with One serving (28g) of the Cacao supplying our bodies with 21% of RDA of Vitamin C. The Vitamin C helps protect the skin and keep it healthy.

The omega 6 fatty acid in the cacao helps in cellular healing of the skin by increasing the rate of new skin regeneration. Cacao has also super absorbent properties that act as a sunscreen and prevent the Penetration of UV light to the skin. According to a research published in Journal of Nutrition by the Heinrich-Heine University in Düsseldorf women between 18-65 years were recruited and given dry Cacao powder mixed with 100 grams of water daily and after 6 weeks of cocoa consumption, the women experienced 15 percent less skin reddening from UV light. The ability of the Cacao to increase the blood flow by reducing the constriction of arteries helps to keep the skin healthy. Like any other tissue in the body, a healthy skin requires good blood flow.

  • Cacao for weight loss.

If you dream of shedding off the extra weight, then you should try the Cacao powder. Cacao contains MAO (monoamine oxidase) inhibitors that are commonly found in the weight loss products. The MAO inhibitors work to suppress appetite thus reducing the overfeeding. Cacao contains about 7.0g of dietary fibers in a 28 grams serving. This high amount of the fibers contributes to about 28 % of our Daily Value (DV). Fibers increase the production of bodies’ digestive enzymes thus improving the digestion process. Additionally, when fibers dissolve in water, they become bulk and this helps you feel full for long reducing over-eating.

A 2011 study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, researchers investigated 3 types of Cacao extracts on 3 types of enzymes (phospholipase, alpha-amylase and pancreatic lipase,) that contribute to fat metabolism. The investigation found out that a Cacao extract can inhibit enzymes in vitro hence contributing to weight loss.

cacao

  • Cacao for muscle growth and strength.

According to a research published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition Cocoa has been found to possess a molecule called (-)-epicatechin. The molecule has been found to exhibit some similar properties as  Myostatin produced by the muscles. Myostatin is myokine that acts to suppress the muscle growth thus reducing the excess development of organs. When the Myostatin is suppressed, the growth of muscle increases. When the (-)-epicatechin molecule in cacao is ingested into the body, the production of Follistatin hormone is stimulated. This Follistatin hormone is a myokine hormone that promotes muscle growth by indirectly hindering myostatin signaling.

  • Type 2 Diabetes, Insulin Resistance, and Cacao’s Antioxidants

A surprising and interesting research on cacao is its effects on diabetes. Diets rich in flavanols reverse the vascular dysfunctions in diabetes while highlighting the therapeutic potentials in any cardiovascular diseases. The benefit of cacao in the treatment and prevention of diabetes has been well established over the years. A number of factors explain the positive effects of cacao on diabetes. For instance like hypertension, diabetes is related to endothelium functioning. Hyperglycemia, a diabetes trademark causes damaging to the endothelial wall.

The flavonols in cacao increase production of nitric oxide, thus improving vasodilation and vasoconstriction. When the blood flows well the endothelium is less susceptible to diabetes damages. Additionally, the epicatechin, a type of flavonol, improve the sensitivity of the insulin and reduces the resistance of insulin, oxidative stress and inflammation in the fat and muscle cells.

Having gone through the numerous Health benefits of Cacao powder, it will be prudent you incorporate the raw cacao powder into your diet as you will get numerous nutrients in this one ‘ superfood ‘. Also, remember to avoid the cocoa powder as most important nutrients have been destroyed during the heating process. The raw unprocessed cacao powder is the best choice you should go for if you want to get the health benefits.

 

Sources:

http://jn.nutrition.org/content/130/8/2057S.short

http://www.annualreviews.org/doi/abs/10.1146/annurev-nutr-071811-150642

https://academic.oup.com/ajcn/article-abstract/91/1/46/4597175

https://link.springer.com/article/10.1186/1752-153X-5-5

http://circ.ahajournals.org/content/119/10/1433.short

http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/10408398.2011.641041

https://academic.oup.com/ajcn/article-abstract/97/6/1201/4576803

http://pubs.rsc.org/en/content/articlehtml/2012/fo/c2fo10267f

https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-1-61779-803-0_30

https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/23c7/a59b65ad403435b1dc2c59d9c713a2dfc5ce.pdf

http://www.jad-journal.com/article/S0165-0327(06)00084-X/abstract

http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/76/4/798.short

https://jdmdonline.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/2251-6581-13-30

 

 


MACA’S GREEN SUPERFOOD SMOOTHIE

maca1

This superfood cleansing smoothie makes a super satisfying snack. The apple juice gives it just the right amount of sweetness, while the ginger and lemon provides a savory kick for a perfect meal replacement.

SERVES 2

¾ cup 100% pure apple juice

1 tablespoon maca powder

1 cup of fresh baby spinach

1 cup seedless watermelon or grapefruits

½ cup chopped and peeled cucumber

1 tablespoon spirulina or chlorella

¼ avocado

Fresh mint leaves for taste

1 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 teaspoons peeled, grated fresh ginger

Instructions

Blend and puree until smooth all the ingredients in a blender. Pour into two glasses and serve immediately!


Chia Seeds: A deep dive into this amazing superfood

chia1

A brief History:

Chia (Salvia hispanica L.) is a tiny edible indehiscent fruit that is derived from the annual herbaceous plant, Salvia hispanica L. The chia seeds are oval-shaped and measure about 1 mm in diameter. This small nutrient-rich powerhouse has been used by humans for centuries when the Aztecs heavily relied on it during the pre-Colombian civilization. Pronounced Chee-ah the small seeds are making a huge comeback amongst athletes, nutritionists, dieticians, whole and raw foods enthusiasts as well as those who want to keep a healthy lifestyle. The ancient communities grounded, roasted and mixed chia with water to form tamales and beverages.  The seed was also ground and its flour added foods as medicine.

In the recent years, Chia seeds have gained popularity due to its fascinating nutritional and medicinal value.  The high omega-3 fats, polyunsaturated fatty acids, dietary fiber, proteins, calcium and several minerals have set this seeds to a whole new level of superfoods.  In 2009, Chia seeds received a major recognition after the European Union approved the chia seed as a Novel food. The union also allowed the bread manufacturers to incorporate at least 5% of the seeds into bread. Chia seeds are gluten-free, thus making it an appropriate choice for persons with Celiac diseases and gluten sensitivity.

chia2

What is the Nutritional Value of Chia Seeds?

Chia is truly a superb superfood! Wrapped up in a tiny package size of a poppy seed, chia is heavily loaded with vitamins, antioxidants, proteins, fibers, minerals and the omega-3 fatty acid, the alpha-linolenic acid. This tiny seed addresses so many health conditions, such that people recognize it as a beneficial functional food.

According to the national database by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), chia seeds contain various nutritional components as listed below.

 

                            NUTRITIONAL FACT

United States Department of agriculture (USDA) national database on the chia seeds nutrient components.

                      Amount per one ounce ( 28 g ) serving
Total Calories            137
                                                                                   % Daily Value*
 Total Fat 8.6g                                                      36%
Saturated fat 2.8g                                                14%
Carbohydrates   8.6 g                                          41.12%

 

Sodium 91 mg                                                         4%
Protein  12.3 g                                                       16.45%
Ash                                                                          4.5%-4.8%

N/B; percentage daily values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Additionally the USDA did further experiment on one  ounce of the chia seeds of which is about ( 28 grams) and they were  found to contain:  (5.6g) of  protein, (12.3 g) of carbohydrate, (8.6 g) of fat, 137 calories , 265 mg of phosphorus which is about (27%) of our daily value(DV) , 177 mg of calcium which is  approximately 18% of our DV and  44.9 mg of  Potassium which is about 1 % of our DV.

Chia seeds were also found to contain the largest amount of omega oils than any other known food source.  It has a 64 % omega-3 fatty acid, 19 % omega-6 fatty acids and 6% omega-9 fatty acids.  A single teaspoon serving of chia seed is reported to have:

  • As much calcium as a glass of milk
  • More omega-3 fatty acid than a serving of walnuts and,
  • AS many antioxidants as blueberries.

Chia seeds contain substantial amounts of fiber that can even absorb up to 10 times water, of the weight of seed.

chia3

How to Incorporate Chia into Your Diet

Chia seeds are perfect flavors and they contain no taste.  Mostly, they take the taste of the particular food. With all the nutritional values in one serving, you can incorporate Chia seeds into your daily diet.  Unlike most seeds and nuts, chia seeds absorb considerable amounts of water making yogurt, smoothies and oatmeal’s much thicker. Its gel-like property means that chia can be used in vegan and vegetarian recipes as a substitute for egg or even in puddings. There are many ways that you can consume Chia seeds but we will only list the best and simple ways to make a chia meal;

  • Chia in water and drink. It is the simplest way of incorporating the Chia seed to your diet .To achieve the maximum results of this Chia seeds,  we recommend that you soak  3 TB of Chia seeds in 1 cup of juice or water for between (20-30 minutes). Due to flavorless nature of the seeds, you can squeeze lemon juice into your drink.
  • Chia for smoothies. To add Chia to your smoothie, you can either grind it or use its flour or alternatively soaking two tablespoons (14-28 grams) in water for about 5 minutes and you blend with your smoothies mixtures.
  • Chia seeds in a salad.  This is another ingenious way of adding Chia to your daily meal. To achieve it, simply sprinkle Chia seeds to salad leaves and to your salad vegetables and cook them all together. Your salad will not only be sweet but also nutritious.
  • Chia pudding. This is a simple way of deriving the natural nutritional benefits of the chia seeds. By just mixing the Coconut milk, vanilla, cinnamon powder and sprinkling Chia seeds on the mixture, you will turn a delicious morning breakfast into a nutritious meal of all time.

chia4

Therapeutic Potential of Chia seeds.

A chia seed has been a staple food for the ancient Aztec and Mayan cultures for several thousand years. Despite it being small, it has numerous health benefits.  In fact, it is on the list of the top healthiest foods on the planet and thus qualifies to be a versatile “superfood”. They are endowed with minerals and nutrients that are beneficial to not only our bodies but also the general functioning of brains in many ways, and that is why “Chia” in an ancient Mayan language term meaning strength!

Below are some benefits of chia seeds that have been scientifically proven;

  • Phytochemicals and Antioxidants in Chia seeds.

Chia seeds are a perfect source of antioxidants.  Antioxidants are enzymes and nutrients that prevent cell damage. According to a 2008 research by Department of food and nutrition, Indiana, USA, the chia seeds contain a remarkable amount of antioxidants mainly chlorogenic acid, caffeic acid, quercetin, and flavanols.

Quercetin is a powerful antioxidant that is capable of not only boosting one’s energy levels but also preventing most of the chronic diseases such as lung cancer, prostate cancer, diabetes type 2, asthma and heart diseases by boosting the body’s immune system.

Caffeic in Chia sees is a second most abundant phenol. A research on chia seeds overviews by Bruna de Falco, Mariana Amato,and Virginia Lanzotti all from the University of Naples Federico II found out that the caffeic acid concentration in Chia seeds is (0.0274 mg/g) higher than (0.007 mg/g) in mango and (0.0216 mg/g) in blueberry.  Caffeic helps prevents colon cancer by preventing colitis, an inflammation of the colon (large intestines).

The Chlorogenic acid being the most abundant phenols in Chia seeds has an anticancer property that prevents mitosis, a cell division process that results in the development of cancerous cells. It is for this reason that experts recommend chia seeds for patients suffering brain tumors.

Besides that, the antioxidants strengthen the body’s immune system, allowing the body protect itself against invaders. The alpha-linolenic acid found in chia fortifies the bodies’ immune system and functions.

N/B: chia seeds can remain in its shell for up to 3 years without any preservative due to the high levels of antioxidants.

  • Chia seeds and diabetes

Type 2 Diabetes has been on the sharp rise for past decades. Most studies have attributed the rise to low fiber consumption and poor lifestyle choices. Despite all this, Chia seeds are perfect diabetes preventers, thanks to its high content of linoleic acid and high amount of dietary fiber.  The presence of high extents of fiber helps in diabetes mellitus by slowing down the rate of digestion and releasing of glucose. It also increases the peristaltic movements of the intestine while reducing the plasma cholesterol level.

Chia helps both type 1 and 2 diabetes by actually slowing down the rate of carbohydrate conversion into sugar, hence maintaining and balancing healthy blood sugar levels. Chia often forms a gel-like substance which surrounds the carbohydrates during digestion, thus slowing their release into blood eventually moderating the blood sugar levels. In a study done at St. Michael Hospital in Toronto, twenty patients with type 2 diabetes were administered daily with 37 grams of chia seeds for almost ten weeks, showed that chia significantly helped to control the blood sugar while also lowering blood pressure, reducing the harmful triglycerides and LDL cholesterols, while significantly increasing the beneficial HDL cholesterols. As the old adage goes, prevention is better than cure; it is high time that you incorporate our Chia seeds into your diet and reduces the risk of diabetes.

  • Brain food

Chia is rich in alpha-linolenic acid, the only essential omega-3 fatty acids. They make the cell membrane more efficient and flexible, thus making nutrients readily available for nerve transmission to be effective. This will in turn help improve memory, moods and the overall functioning of the brain.

  • Chia seeds and weight loss.

Chia seeds are hydrophilic, hence when it gets wet, it’s outer layer swells into a gelatinous covering. This quality, plus the fact that it’s high in fiber content(38% of the seed),allows chia to create a feeling of fullness and satiety, while also controlling any food cravings, soothing the digestive tract as well as balancing the blood sugar levels. Chia is ideal for people who want to lose weight.

Besides that, the Galactomannan fiber found in Chia seeds that helps stimulate weight loss. These fibers are roughly 10 g per ounce of seeds. This fiber is responsible for absorbing the water and making you fill full for a longer time thus reducing overeating. One study conducted in 2015 by US dietary showed that eating at least 30 g of fiber on a daily basis may help one lose weight, lower blood pressure and improve the body’s response to insulin just as a diet that is more complicated.

  • Chia seeds and proteins.

Chia is loaded with protein. Protein is essential for all living cells and tissues. The human body uses protein in building and repairing of tissues as well as in making hormones, enzymes and other important body chemicals. Protein is an important building block for muscles, bones, skin, blood, and cartilages. The human body needs relatively high amounts of proteins from our diets since they are not stored by the body. What’s even more important is the fact that chia not only contains a generous 20% of protein but also contains complete protein. This means that our body can fully utilize chia proteins just as it is.

With 20 % of protein content, chia has a massive prospective to prevent and correct any protein-energy malnutrition. The secret behind the protein power of chia is its building blocks, the amino acids (Chia contains all the eight essential amino acids). Chia seeds contain 2 g of protein per tablespoon serving which is roughly 4% of the daily protein value (DV). The protein in chia seeds is made up of albumins (39g/kg protein), globulins (70 g/kg), prolamins (538 g/kg proteins) and glutelins (230 g/kg protein). Chia seeds also have strontium, which helps the human body produce high energy and assimilate the proteins.

  • Chia seeds and cardiovascular conditions

Heart diseases also referred to as cardiovascular diseases affect one out of every four citizens in the country. Most cardiovascular diseases are caused by poor lifestyle choices-thus they can be prevented. Daily consumption of chia is a lifestyle choice and an excellent one if you really want to ward off, treat or lessen any heart disease. In a 2007 study done at the University of Toronto, researchers fed 21 diabetic subjects with chia and grains with similar fiber contents, and the subjects who took chia had a significant reduction in their blood pressure. Furthermore, researchers found out that the blood clotting factor and the C-reactive protein, an inflammation marker of heart disease fell by over 30%.The alpha-linolenic acid in chia seeds plays a significant role in the reduction of cardiac inflammations and fibrosis by lowering the bad cholesterol levels.

The higher the concentration of omega-3 in chia the higher the chances it will correct cases of dyslipidemia i.e. increased LDL blood levels, triglycerides and lowering the HDL cholesterol.

It’s so tempting to list study after study, but they all suffice to support that chia is full of substances that can help protect your heart from any cardiovascular diseases. All you need is just two tablespoon a day of chia seeds.

  • Chia Seeds for the Skin and Beauty

Chia seeds have a high concentration of the antioxidants that contains high phenol concentration. Antioxidants act to prevent the formation of skin wrinkles by reducing the overproduction of free radicals by our body cells. Antioxidants also speed up skin repair systems and prevent any damage through constant regeneration of new skin.

The high concentration of Omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids in chia seeds plays an important role in improving the skin outlook. Together with alpha Linoleic (LA) acid and linolenic acid (ALA), the omega acids improve skin elasticity by increasing the collagen and also removing the pro-inflammatory molecules that cause premature aging.

  • Chia seeds in Digestive health.

Chia is a super-fiber food containing about 11 grams of fibers in one ounce. Normally, the recommended fiber for an adult is about 10-13g/1000kcal or 20-3 5g/day. For children, the required DV fiber is equal to their age plus 5 grams of fiber daily. For instance, an 8-year-old will require (8+5 g) of fibers. The high fiber content of chia seed as health perspective, fiber increases stool volume, prevent diverticulosis and colon cancer.

The gel-like substance is formed also allows growth of probiotics in the gut. Prebiotics are important bacteria found in our digestive systems. Fibers create a suitable environment for the prebiotics. The Fibers in chia seeds also help reduce constipation. Chia seeds are highly hydrophilic thus they bring moisture to the colon. As it moves along the colon, chia’s nature “irrigates” the intestines, keeping the contents malleable and moist.

N/B: a study by American Diabetic association notes that a single serving of Chia seeds fulfills the recommended daily fiber needs of the body.

  • Role of Chia seeds in cancer.

Two tablespoons of chia seeds daily will prevent cell mutations as well as slow the mutated cells, hence making conventional therapies in cancer more successful. How? Chia has high levels of antioxidants, thus they help protect and supercharge cells from oxidative and DNA damages. Chia seeds contain alpha linoleic acid (ALA) which is an omega 3 fatty acid. This acid suppresses the growth of cancerous cells without destroying normal cells.  Among the cancer-fighting antioxidants found in chia are Vitamins A, E, and C, caffeic and chlorogenic acids, and quercetin, myricetin, and flavonol glycosides and kaempferol flavonol, Omega-3 fatty acid also helps in fighting and preventing cancer. A study done in 2007 showed that omega 3 fatty acids in chia helped in the prevention of the cells from metastasizing and shrinking of the existing tumors.

  • Role of Chia seeds in pregnancy

Chia seeds are highly nutritious and expectant mothers should incorporate it into their pregnancy diet.  The chia seeds help to boost the nutrients and boosts the energy of the fetus and mother. Chia slows sugar absorption and also slows down the process of converting sugars and carbohydrates from sucrose to energy. This, in turn, slows burning process leading to sustained energy boost for a long time.   It is important for both mother’s health and baby’s development. The fatty acids are important in the development of fetus brain.

The Calcium in chia is important for skeletal development during the final months of pregnancy.

The iron-Mothers need high volumes of blood and also the young angel needs blood.  Iron is an important component in the formation of red blood cells which transports oxygen through the body.

chia5

Possible Side Effects of Eating Chia Seeds

  • For those with bowel complications, the consumption of fibers in chia seeds should be closely monitored such that it may cause chronic cause inflammation and narrowing of gastrointestinal tract leading to abdominal pains and bleeding that may result to weight loss.
  • Choking risk: Chia seeds pose a high risk of choking because of its property of absorbing a lot of water and becoming gel-like which wells. Those with swallowing problems should first soak the seeds for some minutes before consumption rather they should be consumed when roasted than when dry to avoid problems of the seeds clogging in one’s throat.
  • Can prevent blood clotting: Due to the extreme presence of amino acids fatty acids, these seeds are natural blood thinners and may prevent blood from clotting. To curb this, persons undergoing treatment or surgeries should not eat chia seeds for fear of overbreeding.
  • Triggers allergic reactions: Most allergic people do not consume protein products, given that largest composition of chia seeds is amino fatty acids and that they can cause allergic reactions such as skin rashes, coughing, and sore eyes. Severe allergies trigger shock weakens pulse and turns the skin pale.
  • Hinders Diabetic medication. Though the studies show that chia seeds can lower blood sugar levels due to high fiber content. Eating sizable amounts of chia can help diabetic persons to keep their blood sugars on track. On contrary, excessive intake of chia seeds may lower blood sugar levels and cause adjustments in the dosage of diabetes medication.
  • Hinders Blood pressure medication. Those with high blood pressure may be advised to eat chia seeds to lower blood pressure but this reduction might be quite dangerous as it may cause low blood pressure or hypotension.
  • Worsening diverticulitis: People with diverticulitis symptom may develop bulging sacs called diverticula along the lining of large intestines causing inflammation when it squeezes through the colon bringing about abdominal pain, bloating and diarrhea. To stop this one should avoid higher intake of chia seeds as they get stuck on the diverticula and inflames them.

In conclusion, the chia seeds contain awesome nutritional and medicinal properties. The chia seeds are generally versatile and can be incorporated into our daily diets in many ways.  With chia seed, you will get amazing benefits ranging from preventing diabetes, preventing premature aging, improving the body fiber requirement, boost immunity, reduce risks of chronic diseases among many other benefits. However, the Scientists are still doing research to have a clear understanding of this magical seed.

 

Sources:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4926888/#CR6

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4926888/#CR10

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4926888/#CR42

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4926888/#CR54

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4926888/#CR7

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4926888/#CR21

http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/87559129.2013.818014

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4926888/#CR4

http://www.wholehealtheducation.com/news/pdfs/Top-Five-Nutrients-for-Healthy-Skin.pdf

http://www.nutritionjrnl.com/article/S0952-3278(07)00071-3/abstract


BAOBAB: THE AFRICAN “SUPERFRUIT” : Frequently Asked Questions Answered

baobab1

The Baobab (Adansonia digitata) fruit, which largely grows in Africa is believed to poses remarkable health benefits. Owing to its medicinal and nutritional benefits, baobab has been used for the past centuries in Africa for different functions. The baobab tree is multipurpose with tender tubers, roots, seeds, twigs, leaves, fruits which are all edible. In the UK and US, the fruit was unknown until recently when evidence started emerging regarding its health benefits. The fruits had not been recognized for many years until a decade ago when the European Union and FDA Approved Baobab powder to be used as food and beverage.

This exotic fruit owes its health benefits to its exceptionally high vitamin C content. If you really think that Oranges are the best sources of Vitamin C, think again. A serving of oranges supplements your body with just a tenth of the Vitamin C provided by Baobab fruit. Various parts of the Baobab have been traditionally used for its analgesic, anti-inflammatory, insect repellant, immune-stimulant and pesticidal properties. In most African communities, Baobab has been substituted for the imported western drugs, which most locals can’t afford.

Production of Baobab powder.

The baobab fruits powder naturally forms inside the hard-shelled fruit of the tree.  Baobab powder is produced from the Baobab fruits which are about 6 to 8 inches long.  The fruit pulp bakes in sun for six months after which turns its color from green, velvet-like coating to a brown hard coconut like a shell.  The fruits are handpicked or collected and taken for grinding.

Once the outer hard shell is ground, a white-ish pulp fruit jump packed with highly valuable nutrients is produced.  The pulp can then be ground to form a white powdery substance that is 100 % moisture free hence the birth of Baobab powder.

baobab4Why is it a superfood? 

A superfood is considered to be a food that is high in at least three key nutrients. The nutritional content of baobab claims six key nutrients as based on EU-approved Nutrient Reference Values;

It’s high in:

Vitamin C (>24mg/100)

Magnesium (>112.4mg/100g)

Calcium (>240mg/100g)

Potassium (>600mg/100g)

Iron (>4.4mg/100g)

Fiber (>6g/100g)

    Comparison With Some Foods
                               Compared with       Per 100 g      serving size             per serving

Vitamin C              Orange                   50mg      Medium orange 70 g        35 mg

Dietary Fiber         Broccoli                  2.6g        1 cup chopped (91g)            2.4 g

Iron                       Spinach                  2.7 mg       Cup (30 g)                         0.8 mg

Magnesium           Bananas                 27 mg        1 medium banana (110g)    32 mg

Calcium                 Eggs                      50 mg          Medium egg (35 g)       17 mg

Potassium              apricots             1162 mg          2 dried apricots (15 g)     174 mg

 

Based on the above comparisons, 10g servings of baobab powder is the equivalent to eating:

  • As much calcium as 2 eggs
  • As much Vitamin C as half an orange
  • As much fiber as nearly 2 cups of broccoli
  • As much iron as nearly a cup of spinach
  • As much magnesium as half a banana
  • As much potassium as 2 dried apricots

Studies have shown that this superfood contains approximately 33% of our daily Vitamin C needs. Furthermore, the powder contains a plenty of phosphorus, potassium, carbohydrates, fibers, proteins, Vitamin B, Magnesium, and antioxidants.

Baobab powder also contains high dietary fiber content than any other fruit. Due to this, most researchers have concluded that the baobab fruit pulp is made up of 50 % fiber and that its fiber is higher that of orange or apricots. Its antioxidant levels are exceptionally high, doubling its nearest competitor, Acai Berry.

Pronunciation 

You may be wondering how Baobab is pronounced….. Worry no more because we are going to teach you how it is pronounced both in the northern and southern Africa accent.

In South Africa, it is pronounced as “bay-o-bab” (they use three syllables.).  In Nigeria or West Africa, it is pronounced by using two syllables “bau-bab”.

In Chinese you will say it like you were to say bow to a queen or king, you know “bow down to the queen” and say it twice in a row.

In the UK and the US, it is pronounced using two syllables as in Nigeria.

baobab2

How does it taste?

The fruit has a tart taste with some bit of sour flavor.  The taste of the magical powder is awesome! Baobab powder has a sweet, delicious and citrusy taste that is associated to tangy sherbet, bearing the legendary name of the tree. The refreshing taste that is slightly tart making it an excellent enhancer of flavor, if combined well with both savory and sweet recipes. Its pectin content gives baobab a thick and creamy mouth feeling making it an ideal functional ingredient in most applications and recipes from juices, smoothies, yogurts, ice-cream to nutrition bars, cereals, and baked foods.

For those who have tested tropical lemonade, the taste is closely similar.

To make the baobab drink sweeter, you may decide to add a teaspoon of honey.

How does it smell?

Baobab powder is often pale in color. On crushing the hard shell or opening a baobab powder container, you will be greeted by a sweet smell of freshly pressed fruits that can be described as caramel pears with a subtle tone of the grapefruits.

Why is Baobab good for you?

The benefits of Baobab powder is long and the list does not seem to end soon as scientists are continuously researching and discovering further benefits of this superfood.  We are going to provide a breakdown of in-depth nutritional benefits of the baobab powder as in:

 Baobab powder as an Antioxidant.

Baobab powder has also the highest antioxidant level or Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity (ORAC) values of approximately 140,000 μ mol TE per 100g. Antioxidant helps to prevent an oxidative stress that results from free radicals which are known to cause cardiovascular diseases, cancer, and premature aging.  According to Lab tests by Atacora on Essential’s product, Baobab has been found to have an integral antioxidant capacity 37 times more than that of oranges!!

Lowers blood pressure and improves blood circulation

An important mineral that is found in baobab is Potassium. It is for this reason that the powder is well known for its numerous heart health. Potassium, being a vasodilator, has the ability to ease the strain on the cardiovascular system as it is capable of dilating blood vessels and arteries and because of this,  it aids to increase the rate of blood flow and prevents the overworking of heart. Another advantage of lowered blood pressure is its significance in fighting several cardiovascular afflictions like strokes, atherosclerosis and heart attacks. A recent study conducted by a researcher at the University Of Maryland shows that increasing the potassium intake serves the purpose of lowering the blood pressure for person’s deficient of the same.

Vitamin C’s role besides improving blood circulation also helps in the production of collagen and elastin. Collagen is a structural protein, that plays a significant part of the connective tissue and elastin is responsible for muscular elasticity. These proteins improve circulations and help keeps the vein toned up and healthy. Those with circulatory issues such as venous insufficiency and varicose veins can add baobab pulp powder into their smoothies, this will significantly do justice to your veins.

Based on a research by Goinheim et.al Baobab has strong cardio-protective effects against the ISP-Induced oxidative stress in rats. The rats which were treated with the baobab fruit powder were found to have no congestion in the blood cells and there were no incidences of infiltration of the heart’s inflammatory cells. Thus indicating the baobab fruit had a significant role in promoting healthy hearts and cardiovascular system.

baobab4

Regulate blood sugar and helps in weight loss

Various studies have been conducted on the significance of the polyphenol content of the Baobab powder in relation to its effectiveness in reducing the glycemic index in high starch foods thus preventing any glucose spikes in the blood. This studies found out that there is a significant reduction in the rapid conversion of digestible starches into sugars in the blood when carbohydrates were consumed together with Baobab powder.

Being high in polyphenols, Baobab powder is also able to regulate the release of sugar from starchy foods into the bloodstream, thus reducing their conversion to glucose. Furthermore, it also aids in reducing the visceral fats (these are fats stored in body organs around the abdomen) and also improve blood cholesterol level. Baobab fruits promote the gradual release of glucose by slowing down starch digestion.

Besides that, a diet rich in Vitamin C increases the amount of fat burned during a workout session. Vitamin C helps in the production of Carnitine compound, which encourages the body burn more fat instead of storing it.

According to a study by Oxford Brookes University, the African fruit, baobab can help regulate the blood sugar level. Baobab being 34% rich in soluble fibers, is able to slow down the rise of blood glucose levels and thus prevent what is known as sugar spikes. A later study by the same university further reveals that baobab significantly minimizes the rate of sugar release into the bloodstream after digestion. Therefore, for those following low GI diet, or for those with type 2 diabetes, baobab is important.  Meals with low glycemic index helps people lose weight by reducing cravings, increase satiety, thus keeping their insulin levels in check.

Baobab as an anti-inflammatory

Baobab powder inhibits LOX. Lipoxygenase products mediate a series of inflammatory diseases, such as allergic rhinitis, asthma, neurodegenerative disorders, and inflammatory bowel diseases. Research on baobab fruit indicates that they are exceptionally excellent at inhibiting the activities of 15-LOX8.

According to a research by Oxford Brookes University, the polyphenol-rich baobab fruit helps to reduce glycemic response and digestion problems exhibited by other anti-inflammatory agents. Baobab also possesses characteristic resembling a string anti-inflammatory, phenylbutazone. Every use of 800mg per 1 kg weight body of an extract of Baobab pulp fruit has a similar effect to 15 mg per 1 kg of phenylbutazone.

Baobab powder also acts as an analgesic or simply pain relieving element. It can be compared to Aspirin due to its high levels of sterols, saponins, and triterpenes.

baobab2

Help in digestion

As mentioned previously, the Baobab Fruit powder contains 50% of fiber. A report by National Health Service (NHS) dated 2012, indicates that despite a growing consumption of fiber diet in the world, over 80 percent of people in Europe do not have enough of it.  Baobab contains both Soluble and insoluble fibers. Soluble fibers or mucilage dissolves in water and enters the digestive system to help reduce the fat Cholesterol levels. The insoluble fibers are also known as cellulose fibers plays a key role in helping ease digestion of food. It also reduces constipation, as traditionally used by ancient African communities to reduce diarrhea.

 Baobab as prebiotics

Baobab has notably high content of dietary fibers. Half of the fiber content is soluble, making it an effective pre-biotic. The mucilage fibers (soluble fiber) in Baobab pulp fruits provides a suitable environment that stimulates the growth of useful prebiotic bacteria’s namely; lactobacilli and bifidobacteria in the intestinal tract.  This improves digestion, allowing a person to absorb more nutrients from the ingested foods.

Skin care

Baobab powder contains the highest antioxidant levels than any other fruit in the world. According to a famous international skin and facial expert and blogger, Abigail James, antioxidants help to maintain a smooth and a young skin by preventing the overproduction of free radicals by our bodies.

Free radicals damage collagen in the facial skin leading to a dry skin characterized by wrinkles and premature aging.  In the ancient African cultures, parents removed rushes and maintain a smooth skin of their children by bathing them in water mixed with Baobab roots.

Additionally, Baobab oil which is obtained from Baobab fruit seeds has Vitamin C (6X that of orange) and this helps to maintain skin elasticity.  It also has an additional Omega 3, 6 and 9 fatty acids that are responsible for maintaining skin membrane texture.

baobab3Pregnancy

When it comes to nutrient-rich foods to incorporate into your diet during the pregnancy period, then Baobab powder should never miss in your diet.   Baobab powder has supernatural supplements and nutrients that are not only good for pregnant mothers but also promotes a healthy development of the fetus.

The high vitamin C contents in the powder play a vital role in immune-boosting of both the mother and baby which is crucial during the nine months period. Vitamin C also aids in making of collagens which are used to replenish dead skin and hold the joints and tendons together. Collagen is the largest protein found in our bodies.

Vitamin C in Baobabs plays a crucial role in dealing with nausea that is experienced during morning sickness by about 70% of women while pregnant.  In a research by ( Merkel, 1952) ,  women were given a 25mg of vitamin C combined with 5mg of Vitamin K per day and a marvelous result were obtained as women reported a great improvement in the symptoms of morning sickness after three days.  Other women reported a total disappearance of these symptoms.

Australian Aboriginal women used the bark from baobab trees with the aim of enlarging their birth canals, thus reducing pain during delivery. In some cases, the powdered baobab stimulates lactation. A study done by Antika and Obizoba in 1994, shows that baobab treats milk allergies and galactosemia. Baobab contains more protein content than cow’s or human milk, thus proves that it is highly nutritious.

Iron Absorption

Baobab fruit pulp significantly improves the iron status of individuals with low blood levels.Baobab is an excellent source of Vitamin C which significantly enhances iron absorption, thus the presence of Vitamin C in baobab makes it an excellent source of bio-available iron.

Boosts the Immune Functions

Vitamin C boosts our immune systems and prevents our body against illness.  Approximately, 2-3 teaspoons of Baobab powder contributes to 33% of our daily Vitamin C needs!!…isn’t it amazing? Baobab powder has been found to have the highest concentration Vitamin C for up to 300mg per 100 gram. We human beings, unlike other animals, do not generate or store Vitamin C and thus we need a regular intake to retain the minimum body requirements. Baobab is a rich source of vitamin C which our body cannot easily produce for itself. Vitamin C significantly supports the immune system, keeping you healthy strong by boosting the defenses against any infections and diseases.

With all the listed benefits, you can personally conclude what it means when we say this fruit qualifies as a superfood.  It is recommended that you can incorporate Baobab powder by adding at least 2 teaspoons of the powder to your daily meals.  You can either sprinkle it into porridge, Fruits or yogurt. Alternatively, bake it into cakes or bread or even blend it with ice creams.

Our Baobab is 100% organic. No food color, No additives, No preservatives or fillers. Our product is harvested, ground, sieved and packed for sale.

References

1 https://aduna.com/pages/baobab-benefits

2https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/306445.php

3 https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Baobab-Fruit-Powder-1000-grams-1KG-Organic-Quality-wild-harvested-/122954489164

4http://www.abigailjames.com/blog/

5https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/c203/4b3b05e8310b441ae96139164c022f092ba0.pdf

6 https://cdn2.hubspot.net/hub/129891/file-17172711-pdf/docs/kabore_et_al,_medicine_and_nutrition.pdf

 

 

 

 


MACA-CHIA LEMONADE

lemon-chiaMaca, chia, and lemon is a classic cleanse recipe since they all encourage the body to engage in its natural cleaning process, releasing and flushing out toxins and restoring balance. The syrup brings taste to the lemonade.

SERVES 1

1 tablespoon chia seeds

1 tablespoon maca powder

1 cup purified water

3 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

3 tablespoons pure maple syrup

Instructions

In a small bowl whisk together the chia seeds and 3 tablespoons of water. Let it stand for about 20 minutes, it will make 2 tablespoons of thick chia gel.

In a large bowl, stir in the chia gel, and the remaining ingredients. Add ice, if desired, and serve.