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Cucumbers 101: Calories, Nutritional Value and Health Benefits

Overview

Scientifically known as Cumis sativus, cucumbers belong to the same botanical family as cucumber caloriesthe squashes and the melons. Typically, cucumbers are divided into two divisions when grown for commercial purposes:

  • Slicing cucumbers: – produced to be consumed when fresh
  • Pickling cucumbers: – produced to be eventually processed into pickles

The slicing cucumbers are noticeably larger and with thicker skins as compared to the pickling cucumbers that are smaller in size with thinner skins.

Facts and Description of Cucumbers

Though familiar produce sections of most groceries crowd with the long, dark green and smooth-skinned cucumbers, they come in a variety of shapes, size, color, and texture. The stores may have white, yellow, or even orange-colored cucumbers but at times they fall short of the slightly oval and round-shaped cucumbers. In a technical viewpoint, cucumbers are fruits and not veggies-argument based on the fact that fruits are constituents of flowering plants that hail from the ovaries.

All cucumbers belong to the botanical plant family Curcubitaceae, and hundreds of varieties of Cucumis sativus can be sub-grouped into two types; which are pickling and slicing cucumbers. All of the varieties cultivated for consumption when fresh comprise the slicing cucumbers.

In the United States, some of the commonly cultivated slicing cucumber varieties include Conquistador, Victory, Sprint, Burpee Hybrid, Comet, Dasher, and Slicemaster. These varieties tend to be thicker-skinned and larger in size thus they aren’t overly damaged during transportation.

On the other hand, pickling cucumbers constitute all those varieties cultivated for pickles processing purposes. In the United States, some of the commonly cultivated pickling cucumber varieties include Calypso, Bounty, Duke, Blitz, Pioneer, Regal, and Royal. Some of these varieties include the black-spine and white spine types of cucumbers. Even though the pickling cucumbers can also be eaten fresh, their small size and thinner skins render them the best options to ferment and jar.

In general, ‘pickling’ refers to the process of inhibiting food spoilage through fermentation or soaking in brine, (water saturated with salt).  The word ‘pickle’ is derived from the Dutch word ‘pekel’ that refers to brine. The brine solution can at times constitute other ingredients such as dill seeds, garlic, lime, and vinegar. There are two types of pickles; which are fermented and non-fermented pickles. When cucumbers ferment in appropriate liquid solutions, they can withstand lengthy shelf life.

  • Dill pickles: – Come about with the addition of dill seed to the brine solution.
  • Kosher dills – Hail from the addition of garlic and dill seeds to the brine solution. Note, they are not necessarily pickled cucumbers prepared under the governing kosher dietary laws. Nonetheless, if you are out for pickles prepared according to the governing kosher dietary laws, you should look for pickles labeled ‘certified kosher’ rather than those labeled just ‘kosher.’
  • Gherkin pickles: – At times the word ‘gherkin’ may be used to refer to those cucumbers that hail from the same species of the plant (Cucumis sativa). Also, the term may be used to refer to a variety of cucumbers that hail from a different plant species (Cucumis anguiria).

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Even though there are species of cucumbers that are genetically engineered, this is not the reason as to why there are seedless varieties of cucumbers. Cucumbers can fruit without pollen through a natural process referred to as parthenogenesis. Though some people nurture a preference for the seedless varieties of cucumbers, it is vital to note that the cucumber seeds are a rich source of nutrients that may not be present in the cucumber’s pulp or skin.

Cucumbers were introduced n North America in the 1500’s. Today, the states of California and Florida avail cucumbers for the growing consumer market in the United States throughout the year. In the state of California alone, there are about 6,600 acres for the cultivation of slicing cucumbers varieties and about 4,400 acres for the cultivation of the pickling cucumber varieties. During the winter months of January, February, and December, there are imported varieties from Mexico.

With worldwide production of approximately 84billion pounds of cucumbers annually, China is the largest producer with about two-thirds of the entire global supply.

Health Benefits

  • Prevention of cancer

Cucumbers have two phytonutrient compounds that associate anti-cancer aspects (cucurbitacins and lignans). Over the recent years, pharmaceutical companies have invested loads in researching on cucurbitacins in an attempt to make use of them in new cancer drugs. Back in 2010, research conducted and review published in the Scientific World Journal showed that cucurbitacins help to block signaling pathways; that is essential for the survival and proliferation of cancer cells.

In a study conducted back in 2009, and published in the Journal of Cancer Research, showed that when cucurbitacin B subjects to human pancreatic cancer cells, it inhibits the growth of the pancreatic cancer cells by over 50% as well as increased the apoptosis of the pancreatic cancer cells.

According to World’s Healthiest Foods, lignans work with bacteria in the digestive tract to work against cancer. The bacteria are responsible for the conversion of the lignans into compounds that can clutch onto estrogen receptors and possibly help to reduce the risk of exposure to estrogen-related cancers (ovarian, breast, endometrial, and prostate cancers). However, the research did not conclude that lignans can assert anti-cancer benefits.

Back in 2009, a published meta-analysis found little, or no association at all, beneficial aspects that lignans’ intake hold in the reduction of the risk of breast cancer. Similarly, most of the studies that have been conducted to find the correlations between lignans’ intake and reduced prostate cancer risk found no correlations.

On the other hand, a study on 800 American women by the Journal of Nutrition found that those with the highest lignan intake had the lowest risk of contracting ovarian cancer. Furthermore, the Journal of the National Cancer Institute undertook research in San Francisco on 1,000 women and found out that those that were postmenopausal, and with highest lignan intake, had the least risk of contracting endometrial cancer.

  • Hydration

As cucumbers are 95% water, they are a good option for keeping hydrated especially during summer. A full-cup of slices, or chops, of cucumbers, is equal to a glass full of water.

According to the Cleveland Clinic, the cucumbers’ anti-inflammatory compounds help to reduce skin irritation and to remove waste from the body. Also, preliminary studies conducted suggest that cucumbers have a reduction effect on wrinkling, as well as aging.

  • Skin benefits

You probably have come across, or seen, people chilling out in spas with cucumber slices placed over their eyes. It turns out there is some scientific explanation to the pampering ritual. When topically used, cucumbers have a soothing and cooling effect that can decrease irritation, swelling and even inflammation.

Placing the cucumber slices over the eyes can reduce morning puffiness of the eyes and can be used to alleviate or treat sunburns when placed over the affected areas in the body. In essence, a healthy, and steady, veggie-intake associates a healthy complexion in general.

  • Improves bone health

Over the past few decades, it has become pretty clear that vitamin K is essential for bone health. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, a cup-full of cucumber slices constitutes about 19% of the recommended daily intake of vitamin K. In a review published article in Nutrition, Vitamin K intake was found to significantly reduce fracture rates, as well as the ability to work in conjunction with vitamin D to have positive impacts on bone density, as well as on the body’s calcium balance.

The human body makes use of vitamin K for building bones and the subsequent effects are essential for women. In 1999, the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition published a study that showed that low vitamin k intakes, among the middle-aged women, associated the risk of hip fractures. Surprisingly, most of the middle-aged women sourced the vitamin K from eating lettuce, concluding that a steady dietary consumption of vitamin K through eating veggies can be beneficial to your bone health. On the other hand, the effects of vitamin K on bone health become more apparent as they age.

According to a study conducted back in 2000, both the elderly men and women who had steady consumption of vitamin K had a feel of reduced risk of hip fracture.

  • Antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties

Cucumbers are an essential source of antioxidant aspects (vitamin C, manganese, and beta-carotene). Also, the cucumbers’ flavonoid antioxidants (quercetin, luteolin, apigenin, and kaempferol) have beneficial anti-inflammatory properties. In animal studies that have been conducted over the recent years, cucumbers’ fresh extracts have been depicted to avail specific antioxidant benefits;

  • Improved overall antioxidant capacity
  • Increased scavenging of free radicals

Free radicals associate a diverse range of human diseases and antioxidants help to keep them in check.

  • Reduce unwanted inflammation

In accomplishing this task, cucumbers inhibit processes of pro-inflammatory enzymes such as COX 2, as well as prevent the overproduction of nitric oxide; for the situations where it could increase the likelihood of excess inflammation.

  • Improves heart health

Eating a variety of veggies associates the reduced risk of a variety of health conditions; diabetes, stroke, heart disease, as well as obesity.  Cucumbers are high in potassium content, and a full cup of cucumber chops constitutes about 4% of the daily potassium intake that the body needs. However, unlike most high-potassium foods such as bananas that have a substantial calories count, cucumbers have a low calories count.

According to the American Heart Association, potassium is an essential part of heart health.

In a study conducted on about 12,000 adults and published in Archives of Internal Medicine associated the potassium to lowering blood pressure; which is brought about by vasodilation (widening of the blood vessels).  The study showed that the adults that consumed a daily potassium intake of 4,069 mg had their cardiovascular disease and ischemic heart disease risk lowered by 37% and 49% as compared to those that consumed a daily potassium intake of 1,793 mg.

According to the Harvard School of public Health, cucumbers contain vitamin K that is essential for the overall blood clotting process.

Nutritional Value of Cucumbers

Cucumbers are rich in phytonutrients that are health-supportive. These phytonutrients include:

  • Lignans: – lariciresinol, pinoresinol, and Seco iso lariciresinol
  • Flavonoids: – luteolin, kaempferol, apigenin, and quercetin
  • Triterpenes: – cucurbitacins A, B, C, and D

Additionally, cucumbers are a good source of molybdenum, pantothenic acid, and vitamin K. Also, you can source manganese, vitamin C, magnesium, vitamin B-1, copper, potassium, phosphorous, and biotin. Cucumbers constitute the mineral silica that helps to uphold the health of the nails.

Calories & Nutritional Profile

For an in-depth analysis of the cucumbers’ nutrients, consider the table below;

Amount:          100grams

Calories:          16

 % Daily Value *
Total Fat (0.1g)

Saturated fat (0g)

Polyunsaturated fat (0g)

Monounsaturated fat (0g)

0%

0%

Cholesterol (0mg)0%
Sodium (2mg)0%
Potassium (147mg)4%
Total Carbohydrate (3.6g)

           Dietary fiber (0.5g)

Sugar (1.7g)

1%

2%

 

Protein (0.7g)1%
Vitamin A2%
Vitamin C4%
Calcium1%
Iron1%
Vitamin D0%
Vitamin B-60%
Vitamin B-120%
Magnesium3%

 

How to Select and Store Cucumbers

Cucumbers are highly sensitive to heat, and it will be safer for you to make purchases of those displayed in refrigerated cases in the market. Opt for the cucumbers that are firm have rounded edge and with their color bright to dark green. Avoid the cucumbers that are puffy, have wrinkled tips, and with sunken water-soaked sections.

Thin-skinned cucumbers have fewer seeds as compared to those that are thick-skinned. When stored in the refrigerator, cucumbers keep for several days. In the case that you will not use up an entire cucumber for a meal, ensure that you have the cucumber placed in a tightly-sealed container to prevent it from drying up. Use the purchased cucumbers within a day or two, to reap the utmost benefits. Also, avoid leaving the cucumbers at room temperature for too long because they wilt and become limp.

Tips to Prepare and Cook Cucumbers

Before making a consumption decision about cucumbers’ skins and seeds, you have to take a few facts into consideration. First, both the cucumbers’ skins and seeds are rich in nutrients. In fact, the nutrient count for both the sections is significantly higher as compared to that of the flesh itself. Therefore, the eating of the skins and seeds is pretty desirable from a nutritional viewpoint.

You can wax both the organically, and conventionally, grown cucumbers. However, the only useable waxes that may be put to use in organically grown cucumbers are the non-synthetic waxes that must be free of all possible chemical contaminants, prohibited under the organic regulations.  On the other hand, synthetic waxes that may contain chemical contaminants are used to wax the conventionally-grown cucumbers.

As a result, recommendations are that, for;

  • Organically-grown cucumbers

Regardless of whether you have the cucumbers waxed or not, leave the skin intact.

  • Conventionally-grown cucumbers

Remove the waxed skins of the cucumbers. Though there is no enough research conducted to support the claim for the removal of the skins of the waxed conventionally grown cucumbers, ensure that you thoroughly wash the cucumbers if you decide on eating them.

It is recommended to consume seeds as they are an unusually rich source of nutrients. To have an optimal feel of nourishment from cucumbers and minimize your health risks, you will have to opt for the organically grown cucumbers over the conventionally grown cucumbers.

Quick Serve Tips

  • Use half-inch cucumber slices petite serving dishes for chopped veggie salads
  • Mix sugar snap peas, mint leaves, and diced cucumbers, to toss with rice wine vinaigrette.
  • Puree cucumbers, onions, tomatoes, and green peppers then add salt to taste for a refreshing cold gazpacho soup.
  • Add cucumbers’ chops to tuna fish or chicken salad.

Cucumber Concerns

  • Pesticide residues

Virtually, all of the United States municipal’s drinking water, as well as a vast majority of the foods in the U.S food supply (except organic foods), have traces of pesticide residue.  Though the presence of pesticides’ residue in food is at very small trace levels, there is ample documentation of their negative impacts on health. Pesticide exposure can compromise the ability of the liver to process toxins, the cells’ ability to produce energy, as well as the ability of the nerves to transmit messages.

In 2014, the Environmental Working Group published a report, Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides, documenting that conventionally grown cucumbers are among the top 12 fruits and veggies in which the highest traces of pesticide residue reside. Therefore, to avoid pesticide-related health risks, avoid the consumption of conventionally grown cucumbers.

  • Wax Coatings on Cucumbers

As described in our ‘Tips to Prepare and Cook Cucumbers’ section, both the conventionally grown and organically grown cucumbers may be waxed to reduce the risk of bruising during the shipment process. However, only non-synthetic waxes may be put to use with the organically grown cucumbers, and they should be free of any contaminants restricted under the organic regulations.

The synthetic waxes to be used on the conventionally grown cucumbers can constitute unwanted chemical contaminants. Also, the addition of compounds such as milk casein, ethyl alcohol, and soaps to the synthetic waxes is for consistency purposes as well as eased flow of the wax on to the cucumbers. In the case that you find all this unappealing, merely settle for the organically grown cucumbers.

Beetroots 101: 11 Health Benefits and their Nutritional Value

Overview

Beets belong to the botanical family Beta vulgaris and were first cultivated by the Romans. ‘Table beet,’ ‘red beet,’ ‘golden beet’, or even ‘garden beet’ is all names that can be used to refer to this veggie. They have retained their commercial value for use as sugar dating back to the early 19th century. There is the extensive cultivation of beets in Central America, North America, Russia, France, Germany, and Poland.

Even though the most common cultivated variety of beets is the ones that have a deep purple color appeal to them, there are also golden and white varieties of beets. Both the beets’ leaves and roots are edible with the leaves reserving a bitter taste whereas the roots are sweet. All in all, beets hold a mouth-watering and distinctive flavor with a high nutritious capacity.

Over the years, beets have become popular because of their aphrodisiac aspects, as well as their use as ingredients in soups, salads, and pickles. Recent research depicts beets to be advantageous in the increase of blood flow, lowering of blood pressure, as well as boosting one’s athletic performance and endurance.

Beetroots nutrition

Beetroot Health Benefits

  • Aphrodisiac aspects

Over the past millennia, beets are known to be a sexual booster. Some parts of the beets’ stems constitute significant mineral boron levels that boost sexual hormones production. An increase in the production of the sexual hormones may lead to;

  • Increased fertility
  • Improved sperm mobility
  • Improved libido levels
  • A decrease in frigidity in a bedroom environment

Incorporate beets into your diet to give your sexual life a legitimate and time-tested shift in the right direction.

  • Boosts heart health

Beets are rich in fiber content that helps reduce triglycerides and cholesterol through increasing the ‘good’ (HDL) cholesterol levels. High triglyceride levels increase your exposure to heart-related problems. Increased HDL cholesterol levels wards off your exposure to heart problems.

The fiber content strips down the excess LDL cholesterol from the walls and oversees its elimination from the body. Also, a nutrient base in beets (betaine) lowers the body’s homocysteine levels which are harmful to the blood vessels.

Therefore, incorporating beets into your diet, or even recipes, will reduce your exposure to heart attacks, strokes, and atherosclerosis.

  • Helps build the capillaries’ structure

Beetroots contain flavonoids and vitamin C essential for supporting the capillaries’ structure.

  • Significant reduction of birth defects

Beets are a good source of vitamin B12 | folate for pregnant women. Folate boots the development of the spinal column of the infant. A deficiency of folate may result in neural tube defects. Beets avail extra energy vital during the pregnancy period and iron necessary for the mother and fetus.  Iron is vital in the production of red blood cells and protects our bodies from excessive fatigue. Note, cooked beets have 25% lower folic acid as compared to the raw beets.

  • Helps curb cataracts

Beetroots constitute a form of vitamin A, beta-carotene, which aids in curbing age-related blindness (cataracts), as well as ward off age-related macular degeneration. Vitamin A is a powerful antioxidant used in the major body activities.

  • Slows macular degeneration

Beets constitute beta-carotene, a powerful form of vitamin A, which is vital for slowing down macular degeneration in the eyes. Often, macular degeneration associates an increase in free radicals which have adverse effects on the premature aging process of most people. Beta-carotene has antioxidant aspects and plays a protective role against the damaging effects of the free radicals to the eyes.

  • Improves respiratory health

Beets are a good source of vitamin C which is vital in preventing asthma symptoms. Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that boosts the immune system’s health.  Also, vitamin C stimulates the activities of the white blood cells which guard the body against viral, fungal, bacterial, and protozoan toxic that bring about infections and illnesses. Beets also contain beta-carotene necessary for warding off lung cancers.

  • Cancer aspects

Studies conducted show that beets are a good option to prevent lung, skin, and colon cancers and that they contain a pigment that counteracts the growth of cancerous cells. In meat preservation, the nitrate compounds used can boost nitrosamine production which increases your exposure to cancer.

Beet juice inhibits cell mutations (which may result from the nitrate compounds) and just as beets in their powdered form; they slow down tumor development. You can ward off cancer problems through incorporating beets into your diet.

  • Boosts liver health

Beet juice contains betaines that stimulate the liver’s functions. Beets work as a tonic for the liver and purifier for the blood. Also, they help ward off liver cancer as well as help in the liver’s detoxification process through an enzyme beta-cyanine. The enzyme helps in the elimination of harmful toxins from the body and prevents the build-up of fatty deposits.

  • Improved energy levels

Beets constitute a significant carbohydrate amount to provide the fuel necessary for energy and other prolonged body activities. The carbohydrate content in beets is the building blocks for energy metabolism. Unlike other carbohydrate-rich foods, beets provide their carbohydrate content without any negative side effects. When the body has a steady and sufficient supply of carbohydrate content, it’s in a position oversee the functions of the body, as well as metabolic reactions, efficiently.

In a similar research, researchers found that people who have a higher beet juice intake have an increased oxygen uptake of 16% because of the high nitrate content in beets. This increase in oxygen uptake is quite unusual and is more than a person can improve on when intensively training. Beet juice has become a sports drink that most people wouldn’t consider because it increases the stamina necessary for participating in exercises and sports.

  • Wards off strokes

A deficiency in potassium in the body increases your exposure to strokes. Therefore, indulge a high potassium beetroot diet to boost your heart health.

Potassium is referred to as a vasodilator because of it is responsible for relaxing the blood vessels as well as reducing blood pressure all over the body. When the blood pressure is reduced, and the blood vessels are relaxed, blood clot formation is more or less reduced, and there is less build up of plaques along the walls of the blood vessels. Eventually, clots result in heart attacks and strokes. Therefore, beets have a high potassium content which is a major health booster.

In a study conducted, beets were found to have beneficial aspects in the reduction of blood pressure but with a delayed effect, rather than just having the blood pressure plummeted at dangerous speeds.

How to Choose Beets

Opt for the beets that are firm, smooth, and free of blemish dark red or golden yellow skins. In the case that you wish to incorporate any attached leaves in your recipe, ensure that the leaves are bright green.

How to store beets

Before refrigerating, ensure that you cut off the beets’ leaves. Ensure that you store the beets and leaves in separate plastic bags dry and unwashed in the veggie drawer.

Beets’ Shelf Life

Beets’ leaves can only last for 2-3 days whereas the beets can keep fresh to fresh for 2-3 weeks.

Quick Serve Tips

  • Small and young beets are tasty when grated raw in salads
  • Steam or boil beets to serve as they are
  • Roast beets at 400degrees for about 45 minutes to serve as a tasty delicacy
  • Slice beets and top with goat cheese, balsamic vinegar, and olive oil.

Recommended Recipes

  • Roasted Veggies with Vinaigrette
  • Chilled Beets with Sour Cream

Beetroots’ Nutritional Profile

Over time, beets have become an acquired taste for some because they offer a texture so dense, as well as a strong flavor. Though the most common type of beetroots at your local grocery store may be the one covered in red flesh, you may also find a couple of white, orange, and yellow varieties at the farmer’s markets, as well as in specialty shops.

  • Basic Nutrition

A ½ -cup of boiled beets constitutes 37 calories. Beets are a root veggie low in fat (0.15g per serving cup) and protein (1g of the total 56g/ day essential to meet daily nutritional needs).

Carbohydrates are the major source of calories. Each serving of this veggie constitutes 8g of the total 225-325g of the required daily carbohydrate intake. Also, you get 2g of fiber, a nutrient that helps prevent constipation and diarrhea, with each serving of this veggie.

  • Vitamins

Beets are a good source of folate (vitamin B12). Each serving of this veggie constitutes 17% of the recommended daily intake of the vitamin. Beets are a good source of vitamin B12 and a good choice for women planning to conceive. Folate helps prevent spinal defects during birth. Additionally, you get to have an increase of 5% of the required daily intake of vitamin C, niacin, thiamin, riboflavin, vitamin B-6, pantothenic acid, and smaller amounts of vitamin A.

  • Minerals

You can boost your manganese intake by incorporating beets into your diet. Each serving of this veggie provides a 14% of the required daily intake of manganese. Manganese upholds the brain and nerve functions, contributes to the body’ ability to produce certain hormones, and connective tissues. You can easily source 7% of the required daily intake of potassium, and 5% of the required daily intake of magnesium.

Other Minerals: – iron, calcium, phosphorus, zinc, selenium, and copper.

In-depth Nutritional Profile on Beetroots

For an in-depth analysis of the beets’ nutrients, consider the table below;

Amount:          100grams

Calories:          43

 % Daily Value *
Total Fat (0.2g)

Saturated fat (0g)

Polyunsaturated fat (0.1g)

Monounsaturated fat (0g)

0%

0%

Cholesterol (0mg)0%
Sodium (78mg)3%
Potassium (325mg)9%
Total Carbohydrate (10g)

           Dietary fiber (2.8g)

Sugar (7g)

3%

11%

 

Protein (1.6g)3%
Vitamin A0%
Vitamin C8%
Calcium1%
Iron4%
Vitamin D0%
Vitamin B-65%
Vitamin B-120%
Magnesium5%

Possible Beetroot Concerns

  • Kidney stones

Avoid eating beets in the case that you suffer from kidney stones, or even plaques formed from acids and salts. In essence, kidney stones comprise oxalates, which the beets are rich in, calcium and uric acid. Kidney stones are painful when passed from the body and though you can seek treatment, having beets removed from your diet is the best preventive choice.

  • Beets on Pregnancy

Pregnant women ought to be wary when incorporating diets rich in betaine. Foods containing betaine are rated ‘C’ for use over the pregnancy period, and beets are no exception. The rating ‘C’ is an indication that the food is safe for consumption during the pregnancy, or lactation, a period when incorporated in regular amounts. Nonetheless, it still is a mystery whether beets are safe when incorporated in large amounts or not. Related researches conducted on pregnant animals depict beets to have adverse effects when incorporated in large amounts.

  • Copper and Iron-related health conditions

People that suffer from copper and iron-related health conditions, such as Wilson disease (occurs when there are excessive copper levels in the body) and Hemochromatosis (occur when there are excessive iron levels in the body), ought to limit their beet’s intake. Beets are a rich source of these two nutrients.

  • Pigmentation

According to research conducted the British Dietetic Association, beets constitute some flavonoids (Anthocyanins) which oversee the formation of deep pigments all over the body.

  • Beeturia

Beets have an interesting side effect, turns the urine pinkish red, in 10 to 15% of people. The reddening of the urine known as beeturia, and though it can be confused with blood, it is not blood. Ideally, it may not be harmful, but it can pinpoint an underlying problem; mostly linked to problems in iron metabolism. Persons with iron deficiencies or elevated levels of iron are most susceptible in this regard as compared to the healthy individuals. Thus, in the case that you experience the beeturia condition, it is in accord to suspect iron-related problems and you ought to consult your practitioner.

14 Fiber-Rich Foods You Should Eat Every Day

To reduce your trips to the restrooms and uphold an efficient bowel function, incorporate a high fiber diet into your recipes and diet. Strokes, heart diseases, and hypertension are all warded off with a high fiber diet in cases. Unfortunately, a vast majority of the U.S population does not meet the recommended daily intake of fiber.

According to Tracy E. Camp, a holistic nutritionist and lifestyle consultant, the standard western diets constitute cheese, meat, milk, and refined grain products which aren’t adequate sources of fiber.  We fill ourselves up with these low fiber foods and end up not leaving enough room in our stomachs for a plate of a high fiber food.

What makes Fiber an essential Option?

Fiber is vital for the bodily processes that eliminate toxins and waste in our bodies, though it is never really digested. In fact, fiber remains more or less the same from the serving plate to the toilet. Fiber can either be soluble or insoluble, with most of the plant-based foods comprising the two.

Soluble fiber converts into a gel in the stomach to help reduce cholesterol levels, blood glucose, and to ultimately slow digestion whereas the insoluble fiber remains unchanged all the way to the colon to help make the waste softer and heavier for it to shimmy easily through the intestines.

Often, skipping out on the recommended daily fiber intake can result in constipation with the trips to the restrooms being uncomfortable and pretty painful. Low and inadequate intake of fiber may make it tough to have the blood glucose levels, as well as appetite, in check because fiber regulates the digestion speed and is a contributing factor to the feeling of satiety. Also, low fiber diets associate with hemorrhoids, heart complications, weight gain, and diverticular disease.

Unfortunately, too much of fiber can force the food to move through the intestines too quick; which means that fewer minerals will get absorbed from the food. Excessive fiber intake may also lead to bloating and cramping especially with a dramatic increase of fiber overnight.

Fear Not! Here’s the Recommended Daily Fiber Intake

The Institute of Medicine recommends that;

  • For adults 50yrs and below, men require a daily fiber intake of 38g whereas the women require a daily fiber intake of 25g.
  • For adults above 50yrs, men require a daily fiber intake of 30g whereas the women require a daily fiber intake of 21g; because of the reduced food consumption.

Lifestyle consultants recommend that you increase your water intake too in the case that you embark on upping your fiber intake; This is particularly essential when indulging in a high fiber intake as a supplement. Also, they recommend that you gradually up your fiber intake so as to allow for your body, and digestive system to adapt.

In the case that your doctor recommended a low-fiber diet for you, owing to medical reasons, consult with him or her before you incorporate the fiber-rich foods in your diet.

Listed below are 14 fiber rich foods that you can incorporate into your diet. Have one included into your diet each week and you will in no time hit the recommended daily fiber intake!

  1. Beans

Fiber Content: 15g

Uses: Cooking

Beans constitute a generous array of antioxidants, vitamins, flavonoids, minerals, as well as a heartland flavor that attests the goodness of America’s favorite veggie.

Who hasn’t had a taste of the most requested Thanksgiving side dish (green bean casserole)? Green beans have a unique blend of epicatechin, catechins, lutein, procyanidins, and zeaxanthin that avail the right nutrients’ cocktail which the body needs, especially when cooked with other plant-based foods. To retain the green beans’ vitamins, vibrant color, minerals, and flavor, cook them to a ‘tender-crisp’.

Also, beans are a good source of fiber with a serving cup of cooked black beans constituting a fiber content of 15g. In the case that you are not accustomed to beans, up your beans’ intake gradually to allow for your digestive system to adjust.

  1. Flax Seeds

Fiber Content: 1.9g

Uses: Crackers, Frozen waffles, Oatmeal

Flax seeds are a vital inclusion in our diets. They contain both the soluble and insoluble fiber which is essential for vital body processes. A tablespoon serving of ground flax seeds constitutes 1.9 g of fiber. Recommendations are that you incorporate a teaspoon of ground flax seeds into your oatmeal, or cereals, in the morning to ensure that you reap the health benefits of these seeds.

In the case that you buy the ground flax seeds or you pre-grind your flax seeds, ensure that they are refrigerated. The grinding process helps to release oils, which can oxidize at room temperature, in the flax seeds.

Unfortunately, for those that have elevated insulin levels, using ground flax seeds may result in the inhibition of the delta six desaturase enzymes.  Therefore, the flax seeds should be subjected to spared use and probably alternated with other ground grains such as sunflower, pumpkin, and sesame; This goes a long way to help balance the omega three and omega six ratios.

  1. Whole grains

Fiber Content: Varies

Uses: Cooking

For whole grains to be a good source of fiber, they have to be in their unprocessed form. In the refining process, the bran on the whole grains is removed leaving behind an end-product that is deficient in fiber content. For example, while the cooked long-grain brown rice has a fiber content of 1.8g per 100g of serving, the same amount of cooked long-grain white rice has a fiber content of 0.4g.

  1. Apples

Fiber Content: 4.4g

Uses:  Fruit salads

As compared to other commonly consumed fruits, apples can help keep the doctor away because they are ranked 2nd owing to their antioxidant activity. Nonetheless, apples are ranked 1st for their percentage of phenolic compounds; which means that they are highly absorbable into the bloodstream.

They are an easily available and inexpensive source of fiber. The apple peels are edible and a vital source of nutrients such as phytochemicals.

  1. Parsnip

Fiber Content: 5.8g

Uses: Salads,

Parsnips are a classic for those who love carrots. Parsnips resemble white carrots though they have a more distinct taste. They are highly nutritious in fiber, vitamin C, and folate. Foods rich in potassium help to offset the hypertensive effects of sodium; an imbalance in the potassium-sodium ratio can result in stroke, heart disease, as well as high blood pressure.

Parsnips can be used pretty much in all of the ways that you would use a carrot, or even use it as a substitute for potatoes. They taste great mashed!

  1. Carrots

Fiber content: 2.3-2.9g

Uses: Cooking, Salads

Here’s another childhood classic that is real good for you. Unlike any other veggies and fruits, carrots contain higher levels of beta-carotene. Not only do the carrots derive their color from the beta-carotene, more importantly, but it converts into vitamin A in the body.

Carrots are also a good source of fiber (½ cup of cooked carrots has 2.3g, and raw baby carrots have 2.9g) and are renowned for multiple health benefits such as inhibiting cancer cell growth.

  1. Spinach

Fiber Content: 7.5g

Uses: Cooking, Soups

Even though spinach has a low calories count, they pack a handful of nutrients. Spinach’s versatility has rendered the veggie more adaptable to healthy veggie drinks and smoothies. Also, you can have the spinach lightly sautéed to serve as a side dish; you can add it to soups or even stir the spinach in fried veggies. Best of all, too many health attributes shadow this super green food to have them all listed down!

  1. Pears

Fiber Content: 5.5g

Uses: Salads, snacking, cooking, baking

The reason as to why parents give babies stewed pears when the baby is stooped up is because a medium sized pear constitutes 5.5g of fiber which goes a long way to get things to move along.

The most satisfying aspect about Pears is their luscious sweet flavor. The grainy texture of the pears also has a distinctive appeal to it. Though the grainy texture makes it difficult to determine their maturity, ripe and ready pears are those that easily succumb to slight thumb pressure. Pears can always be refrigerated to slow the ripening process and to preserve the optimal nutrients.

Pears have a ton of health benefits and are an excellent option for fruit salads, snacking, or even for incorporating into garden salads. Use the overripe pears for baking and cooking purposes.

  1. Brussels Sprouts

Fiber Content:

Uses: side dish,

Yuck, right? Well, the chances are that you only got to have a taste of over-boiled Brussels. Surprisingly, you achieve the best flavor when you have them placed in a pretty small amount of water, steamed, drained, and immediately served with a pinch of salt. Avoid overcooking them so as to uphold the flavor, color, consistency, and most importantly- -the aroma.

Try to serve steamed Brussels sprouts as a side dish along with cheese or honey mustard sauce. Also, you can have them roasted and tossed together with pine nuts, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and freshly grated parmesan cheese.

All in all, there are some yummy recipes which star this super food. Nonetheless, if you don’t find them tasty, it doesn’t matter at all! Give them a shot and reap the nutritional benefits.

  1. Amaranth

Fiber Content: 5.2g per serving cup

Uses: Soups,

Similar to quinoa, amaranth is a seed that has grain aspects that reflect in recipes. The amazing fact about amaranth is how it edges out other grains nutritionally. As compared to wheat, or rice, amaranth has far more iron, fiber, manganese, protein, calcium, as well as other phytonutrients. Among the plant-based foods, amaranth is one of the most protein-rich foods.

Ultimately, amaranth is a must-have powerhouse, renowned to curb off some chronic health conditions such as strokes, diabetes, and heart disease. Try to add amaranth to your soup recipes, where it will quick cook, absorb flavors, and boost the soups’ protein and fiber content.

  1. Quinoa

Fiber Content: 5.2g per serving cup

Uses: Chicken and fish recipes, Salads

Technically, quinoa is a glutton-free grain, not seed, which highly packs protein and fiber content. While the quinoa’s still hot, simply dress in lime or lemon juice, black pepper, a pinch of sea salt, and you have the basics set for a toothsome meal. They have a nutty and fluffy appeal to them and are a great alternative for rice. Best served with chicken or fish, and simple ingredients can be used to liven up quinoa to make a satisfying salad.

  1. Legumes

Fiber Content: 4g

Uses: Salads, Tacos, Soups, Dips, Burgers, Stews and Mexican Cuisine

Most of the global cuisines are rich in legume content; Looming in the shadows lays the reason behind it all! Legumes are a great source of fiber and also avail protein content for the vegetarians. Try to quick cook red lentils to reap 4g of fiber per ½ serving cup. Also, the next time you are out to get Indian food, opt for ‘dal’ rather than the regular meat dish- you will reap the same flavors but with a little more fiber and less fat.

  1. Chia Seeds

Fiber Content: 10.6g

Uses: Toppings, Chia spread, Chia seed pudding

A while back, chia seeds were spread on terra-cotta pottery. Today, these tiny seeds hold a use greater use than that of making novelty items; they have incredible health benefits to be reaped. They are best-known for their energy-boost aspects, and their gel coatings have an added effect on the digestive tract system.

  1. Broccoli

Fiber Content: 2.4g

Uses: Soups, Warm salads, Side dish to olive oil and seasonings, frittatas and casseroles

Guess what? Your parents were right, back when they forced you to eat your broccoli. A full cup of chopped broccoli is a great source of vitamin C and K, fiber, as well as folate. Avoid overcooking the broccoli. Instead, steam or sauté the broccoli till it turns bright green. Also, ensure your broccoli has a bit of bite to it to maintain the nutrient and fiber content.

Mangoes 101: 19 Health Benefits, Nutritional Value and Studies on Mangoes

Overview

Mangoes are a low-calorie and cholesterol-free source of nutrients such as vitamin C, vitamin A, fiber, as well as antioxidant compounds. Regularly indulging a diet rich in such nutrients will help curb fatal medical conditions. Just as the olives, coconuts, and dates, mangoes belong to the drupe family; which are plant foods in which outer fleshy portions surround the shells.

There are various types of mangoes that vary regarding color, flavor, shape, as well as size. More often than not, the mango’s skin color is golden yellow though it may vary from green to red, orange to yellow.

For decades, mangoes are used to soothe stomach upsets; they contain enzymes that have comforting aspects for the stomach. Mangoes have secured popularity over time, and food manufacturers have derived jams, pickles, squash, jellies, spices, and marinades from them into the consumer markets.

Mangoes are rich in fiber content and incorporating them into your day-in-day-out diet goes miles to guarantee that you ward off symptoms of spastic colon, constipation, as well as piles. In the Comprehensive Reviews in Food Science and Food Safety, studies and research published demonstrated the positive impacts that dietary fiber have in the elimination of degenerative diseases (heart problems and certain cancers).

how many calories in mango

Origin of Mangoes

Manga, mangou, and mangot are common mangoes’ names depending on the nation or locality. Mangoes originated from Burma, Southern Asia, and Eastern India 4000years ago.

Most of the stories in Indian mythology signify the presence of the mango plant. Apparently, the Lord Buddha is said to have meditated under a mango grove. At first, mango cultivation gained popularity in Malaysia, then to Eastern Asia, to Eastern Africa and finally introduced in California by the year 1880.

Health Benefits

Do Monkeys have a Clue that we clearly don’t?

Ayurvedic healers claim that monkeys eat the green mangoes’ seed and speculate that the seed equips the monkeys with energy as well as the strength necessary to jump from tree to tree.

Consuming a variety of fruits and different veggies has long been linked to reduced risks that associate most of the lifestyle-related health conditions.

Most the studies suggest that indulging an increase in the intake of plant foods such as mangoes helps manage obesity, diabetes, heart disease, as well as promoting a healthy hair complexion.

  1. Cancer aspects

According to a study conducted by the Department of Nutrition, Harvard School of Public Health, diets rich in beta-carotene have an inverse association between the development of colon cancer among the Japanese population, as well as play a protective role against prostate cancer.

In another study conducted by research-food scientists, Texas AgriLife showed that the mango polyphenol extracts used to test different cancers (lung, leukemia, breast, prostate, and colon) had a significant impact on all of the cancers but were most effective with the breast and colon cancers.

  1. Strengthens the bones

Low vitamin K intake associates a high risk for bone fracture. To realize an optimum vitamin K consumption, incorporate an adequate intake of veggies and fruits so as to improve your absorption of calcium (vital for optimal bone health).

 See: Raspberries101: Calories, Health Benefits and Nutritional Value

  1. Curbs age-related macular degeneration

Mangoes contain an antioxidant, Zeaxanthin, responsible for filtering out harmful blue rays of light. Zeaxanthin is believed to play a protective role in eye health, as well as ward off any possible macular degeneration damage.

A high intake of all fruits, possibly three servings a day, has shown to decrease the risk of exposure, and progression, to age-related macular degeneration.

  1. Prevents asthma

People who consume sufficient amounts of certain nutrients are at a lower risk of contracting asthma. Beta-carotene is such a nutrient and is present in mangoes, papaya, broccoli, apricots, carrots, as well as pumpkins.

  1. Promotes brain health

Mangoes are an abundant source of vitamin B-6 that is vital for the maintenance and improvement of the overall brain’s function. Vitamin B-6 helps in the amalgamation of the major neurotransmitters that are responsible for determining one’s mood, as well as modifying sleep patterns. Mangoes associate an effective nerve function and a healthy brain function when incorporated into one’s diet.

  1. Promotes digestion

Mangoes play a vital role in the elimination of indigestion and excessive acidity problems. Mangoes constitute digestive enzymes that help promote natural and efficient digestion. Also, the mangoes’ bioactive ingredients (esters, terpenes, and aldehydes) enhance on one’s appetite, as well as improve the overall functionality of the digestive system.

  1. Keeps the cholesterol levels in check

Mangoes have high compositions of pectin, vitamin C, and dietary fiber that help lower the levels of serum cholesterol. Fresh mangoes are also a rich source of potassium which is an essential constituent of the cells, as well as body fluids. Potassium helps regulate blood pressure and control the heart rate.

  1. Diabetes management aspects

Studies conducted show that mangoes are a natural remedy for diabetes. There is the myth that diabetic people should avoid consuming mangoes because of their sweet taste. On the other hand, research shows that it is not just the mango fruits that have beneficial diabetes aspects, the mango leaves too.

Soak 10-15 mango leaves in warm water, in a closed-lid container, overnight. In the morning, have the leaves filtered and drink the water right before you have your breakfast. Regular practice of this healthy endorsement has positive health impacts for diabetic people in the management of their blood-sugar levels.

  1. Mangoes alkalize the body

Mangoes constitute malic and tartaric acid, as well as traces of citric acid which all are primarily important for the maintenance of alkali reserves in the body.

  1. Skin and hair aspects

Mangoes hold a close association to skin health. They help bring about a healthy glow to your face, as well as lighten your skin tone. Mangoes help treat acne effectively through opening up clogged skin pores. Once the pores open up, there is no room for acne formation.

To reap the skin and hair benefits, remove the mango pulp and apply it on the skin for about 10mins before rinsing it off.

External use:

It is pretty easy to blend up mangoes and apply them onto your face. Mangoes are rich in beta-carotene- readily converted by the body into vitamin A. Vitamin A and C are crucial to trigger the skin’s self-repair.

Internal Use:

When eaten, mangoes can help ward off skin infections and pimples. Try to extract the green mangoes’ seed and eat it raw, or even cooked.

  1. Promotes heart health

The mangoes’ potassium, vitamin, and fiber content help to ward off heart-related conditions. To reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, a dietary change that invokes an increased potassium intake along with a decreased sodium intake

  1. Supports weight loss

Mangoes are rich in nutrients and vitamins that give the body a ‘fuller’ feel. Also, they are fibrous fruits that boost the body’s digestive function through burning of the excess calories and thus encourage weight loss.

  1. Eye care aspects

A cup of mango slices or dices constitutes 25% of the required daily intake of vitamin A. Also, mangoes promote good eyesight, prevent night blindness, and fights dry eyes.

  1. Strengthens the immune system

To uphold the optimum functionality of the immune system, mangoes pack vitamin A, vitamin C, and 25 different carotenoids.

  1. Help reduce kidney stones

Mangoes have a sweet and sour appeal to them, and thus they are used in Chinese medicine to reduce the risk of kidney stone formation.

  1. Body scrub aspects

You can make a paste of milk, honey, and mashed mangoes for use as a body scrub. The paste helps to boost your skin tone as well as texture.

  1. Aphrodisiac aspects

Mangoes are a good source of vitamin E. Originally, the popular correlation between vitamin E and sex drive hailed from mistaken generalizations and assumptions in rat studies. Today, further research depicts that proper and balanced amounts are helpful.

  1. High iron content for women

Mangoes are a vital source of iron and a good option for those that are anemic. Also, pregnant and menopausal women can incorporate mangoes into fruit salads to boost their iron and calcium levels.

  1. Boosts memory and concentration levels

Studying for your exams? Well, this fruit packs glutamine acid- an essential protein necessary for concentration levels. Feed mango dices or slices to children who find it hard to concentrate on their studies.

Mangoes’ Nutritional Profile

A full-cup of mango dices constitutes calories (100), proteins (1 gram), carbohydrates (25 grams), sugar (23 grams), fiber (3 grams), and fat (0.5 grams). Also, it contains 100% of the daily body intake of vitamin C, 20% of folate, 35% of vitamin A, 10 % of vitamin B-6, as well as 8% of vitamin K and potassium.

Mangoes also incorporate antioxidants (beta-carotene and zeaxanthin), copper, iron, and calcium into your diet.

In-depth Nutritional Profile on Mangoes

For an in-depth analysis of the mangoes’ nutrients, consider the table below;

Amount:          100grams

Calories:          60

 % Daily Value *
Total Fat (0.4g)

Saturated fat (0.1g)

Polyunsaturated fat (0.1g)

Monounsaturated fat (0.1g)

0%

0%

Cholesterol (0mg)0%
Sodium (1mg)0%
Potassium (168mg)4%
Total Carbohydrate (15g)

           Dietary fiber (1.6g)

Sugar (14g)

5%

6%

 

Protein (0.8g)1%
Vitamin A21%
Vitamin C60%
Calcium2%
Iron1%
Vitamin D0%
Vitamin B-65%
Vitamin B-120%
Magnesium2%

How to Select and Store Mangoes

When selecting mangoes, it is vital to note that not all of the varieties turn yellow, orange, or even red. If you nurture a preference for these alternative green mangoes’ varieties, you can determine whether they are ripe through the presence of a fragrant aroma.

A ripe mango should give-in to slight finger-tip pressure leaving a small but notable depression on the surface. In the case that you make the purchase of unripe mangoes, ensure that you store the mangoes in a paper bag to ensure that they ripen within 2-3 days. On the other hand, if you leave the unripe mangoes at room temperature it may take them a gross period of up to one week to fully ripen.

Fresh mangoes should have a weight (9 ounces to 4 pounds) and a length of about 4 inches. The size of the fruit determines the fruit to seed ratio; the larger the fruit, the higher the fruit to seed ratio. The peak season of mangoes is from May all through to September, but most of the mangoes’ markets source the fruits all over the world, all year round.

Store ripe mangoes in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. Also, they can be dried, pureed, frozen, or even cooked in syrup. In the’ commercial markets, you can find canned, fresh and dried forms of the fruit. Dried forms of mangoes should be soaked in warm water for up to about 4 hours to ensure that they rehydrate before you incorporate them in your recipes.

To freeze uncooked mangoes;

  • Peel off and slice the seeded fruits
  • Sprinkle sugar over the slices
  • Use a wooden spoon to stir till the sugar lightly melts in the juice of the mango
  • Once the slices are sugar-coated, have them sealed in an airtight container and refrigerate

Quick Serve Tips

  • Dice the mangoes up to be served as is
  • Dice and mix fresh papayas, mangoes, and pineapples for a tropical fruit salad
  • Add a few dices or slices of mangoes into your smoothies’ recipes
  • Use mangoes, red peppers, papaya, jalapeno, and chipotle pepper, to make fresh salsa -served as a topper for your fish tacos recipes
  • Muddle mangoes into your glass of water, iced tea, or even lemonade, for a natural fresh fruity flavor.

Possible Mango Concerns

  • Latex allergy

People who suffer from latex allergy have the highest susceptibility of a cross-reaction to mangoes. Also, a high intake of potassium can be pretty harmful to those that do not possess fully functional kidneys. In the case that kidneys are unable to oversee the removal of excess potassium from the body, it can be fatal.

The overall eating pattern is vital in warding off diseases as well as upholding impeccable health. Try to alternate your diet rather than just concentrating on the consumption of individual foods as key to impeccable health.

  • Urishiol

The mangoes’ sap and peels contain a chemical, urushiol, also present in poison sumac and poison ivy. Urushiol may cause an allergic reaction in individuals with the highest susceptibility.

  • Hastening of mangoes’ ripening process

Some of the mango growers, or dealers, hasten the ripening of mangoes through the use of calcium carbide, and this can cause serious health conditions. Therefore, it is in accord for you to opt for the organically-grown mangoes. In the case that you do have inorganic mangoes, ensure that you have them properly washed, or soaked in water overnight before consumption.

Raspberries 101: Calories, Health Benefits and Nutritional Value

Overview

In the United States, raspberries are the 3rd most popular berries and they belong to the Rosaceae family of plants; which houses most of the beloved fruits such as apricots, apples, peaches, plums, strawberries, as well as blackberries.

With over 200 species, all belonging to a scientific genus Rubus, commercial raspberries can be categorized into three basic groups:

  • Red Raspberries

Typically, they are identified by the shade of red in their color. The shade of red may at times tend to be a pinkish shade. The European red raspberry, Rubus ideaus, is the most common commercially cultivated species among these raspberries.

  • Black Raspberries

These raspberries may actually be dark enough to be indistinguishable from blackberries. The Thimbleberry | Scotch cap | Black cap, Rubus occidentalis, is one of the most common commercially cultivated species.

  • Purple Raspberries

These raspberries come about when the red and black raspberries have been naturally combined (hybridized).

Over time, the red or black raspberries underwent genetic mutations and yellow raspberries came into existence. Even though these raspberries are naturally yellow or golden in color, they are special forms of the red or black raspberries.

Raspberries are scientifically referred to as “Aggregate fruits” and they constitute many small individual fruits from multiple ovaries in a single flower. In the case of raspberries, the little juicy spheres are the small individual fruits that make up the entire raspberry structure.

Often, you may come about raspberry growers referring to raspberries as “brambles”, derived from the word bramble; refers to the thorny, or prickly, nature of a plant. Some species of raspberries are not prickly in nature. Typically, the root systems of raspberries can last for many years but the canes have to be pruned twice a year to pave way for fruiting over the spring and fall seasons.

raspberries calorie

New and Beneficial Raspberry Aspects

  • Potential of raspberries to boost obesity management

As one of the most fascinating sections of raspberry research, scientists point out that metabolism in our fat cells can be boosted by phytonutrients in raspberries such as raspberry ketone, rheosmin.

    Research shows that increasing one’s oxygen consumption, enzyme activity, and heat production has positive implications such as decreasing the risk of obesity, as well as that of a fatty liver. In addition, rheosmin can reduce the pancreatic lipase (a fat-digesting enzyme released by the pancreas) activity which may result in less digestion and absorption of fat.

  • Organic raspberries have a higher total antioxidant capacity in comparison to non-organic raspberries

Recently, the U.S. Department of Agriculture certified raspberries grown in Maryland, for study purposes, as organic.  A series of tests that involved free radical scavenging all had the same results; organic raspberries outperformed their counterparts (non-organic raspberries) in terms of the antioxidant operations. As a result, the organic raspberries have greater levels of total anthocyanins and total phenols as compared to the non-organic raspberries.

  • Anti-Cancer Aspects

Given that raspberries are rich in anti-inflammatory and antioxidant phytonutrients, it’s not surprising that studies reflect their attempt in curbing cancer in the reports. When chronic-excessive inflammation and chronic-excessive oxidative stress combine, they trigger the development of cancerous cells in some human tissues. Raspberries supply antioxidants, in an attempt to lower one’s risk of oxidative stress, as well as anti-inflammatory nutrients, to help reduce the exposure to excessive inflammation. Therefore, raspberries help reduce cancer formation in the long run.

Recent studies suggest that the raspberries phytonutrients are in a position to alter the signals sent to pre-existing, or potential, cancer cells. In the case of the pre-existent cancer cells, raspberries have phytonutrients such as ellagitannins that help reduce the number of cancer cells through sending signals that prompt the cancer cells to be a cycle of programmed cell death. For the potentially cancerous cells, raspberries’ phytonutrients trigger signals that prompt the non-cancerous cells to uphold their composition.

  • Strengthens our immune systems

Raspberries are a rich source of phytonutrients and effective antioxidants that proficiently reinforce your body system’s ability to fight of infections and diseases.

  • Promotes Optimal Health

Just like muscadine grapes and blackberries, raspberries have metalloproteinase enzymes that are vital for tissue development and renovation. However, they may act as catalysts for cancer development in the case that they are produced in excessive amounts.

Raspberries have high amounts of folate, vitamin C, riboflavin, magnesium, niacin, copper, manganese, and potassium. Generally, it’s a complete fruit that supports health prosperity.

  • Wards off macular degeneration

Macular degeneration refers to an age-related medical condition that has negative impacts on one’s sight. Incorporating three raspberries’ servings a day is a great remedy for macular degeneration. You can incorporate the raspberries into your lunchtime’s yoghurt, or even to your morning cereal.

To alter the look and taste of green salads, add balsamic vinegar and a handful of fresh raspberries. Also, to enjoy a toothsome treat, you can garnish with mint.

  • Reduces wrinkles

Raspberries can be used as a natural face mask to work their magic on the wrinkled face. They shield the face against harmful sun rays. The powerful antioxidant capabilities of vitamin C have an overall reduction effect on discoloration and age spots.

To restore your youthful appearance you can fill up the minor wrinkles. You can make face masks out of the raspberries for glowing skin using the following steps;

  • Blend a full-cup of yoghurt and 2 cups of fresh raspberries till they have a smooth appeal to them.
  • Apply the mixture on your face and leave it out for about 15mins.
  • Wash it off your face using tepid water.
  • Supports feminine health

Recent research suggests that raspberries are a vital inclusion to women’s diets. Essentially, they are good for single, pregnant, and lactating, women. Single women can use the raspberry leaves to make herbal tea to help regulate their menstrual cycles and have a reduction effect on excessive menstrual flows. Pregnant women can take raspberry tea to relieve pain | nausea, prevents hemorrhage, and helps them during childbirth. For the lactating moms, raspberries | raspberry tea, helps to enhance breast milk production.

Nutritional Profile on Raspberries

As sourced from the USDA National Nutrient Database, a full cup of raspberries is about 123g and constitutes calories (64g), fats (0.8g), carbohydrates (15g), fiber (8g), as well as sugar (5g).

Incorporating a cup of raspberries goes a long way to ensure that you secure;

  • Vitamin C (54% of the required daily dose)
  • Vitamin E, Potassium, and Iron (5% of the required daily dose)
  • Folate (6% of the required daily dose)
  • Vitamin K (12% of the required daily dose)
  • Manganese (41% of the required daily dose)

Also, you are able to reap lesser amounts of niacin, thiamin, riboflavin, vitamin B-6, pantothenic acid, magnesium, copper, zinc, phosphorous, and calcium.

Lutein, zeaxanthin, beta-carotene, choline, and alpha are all antioxidants that are contained in raspberries. In addition, raspberries are an essential source of polyphenols (flavonols, ellagitannins, and anthocyanin) that help reduce the free radicals’ oxidative damages and have depicted the potential to have beneficial aspects in the reduction of exposure to chronic diseases such as heart disease and cancer.

Calories and Nutrition in Raspberries

For an in-depth analysis of the raspberries’ nutrients, consider the table below

Amount:          100grams

Calories:          53

 % Daily Value *
Total Fat (0.7g)

Saturated fat (0g)

Polyunsaturated fat (0.4g)

Monounsaturated fat (0.1g)

1%

0%

Cholesterol (0mg)0%
Sodium (1mg)0%
Potassium (151mg)4%
Total Carbohydrate (12g)

           Dietary fiber (7g)

Sugar (4.4g)

0%

28%

 

Protein (1.2g)2%
Vitamin A0%
Vitamin C43%
Calcium2%
Iron3%
Vitamin D0%
Vitamin B-65%
Vitamin B-120%
Magnesium5%

How to Choose and Store Raspberries

Raspberries are highly perishable and thus purchases should only be made one or two days prior to use. In the US, they are available from midsummer all through to early fall. The ultimate goal when selecting raspberries is to choose berries that are fully ripe and not overly so. Choose berries that are plump and deep in color and leave out the ones that are soft, mushy, or even moldy.

In the case that you are making a purchase for raspberries that are pre-packaged in a container, make the effort to ensure that

  • They aren’t too tightly packed because they may be crushed and damaged
  • The container has no evident signs of damage, stains, or even moisture

For the same reason that raspberries are highly perishable, extra care should be upheld when it comes to their storage. Listed below are a couple of tips that will help to prevent spoilage:

  • If you aren’t planning on eating your purchased raspberries upon your arrival at home, ensure that the raspberries are stored in your refrigerator. Generally, raspberries will keep fresh in the refrigerator for a day or two.
  • Before you have the raspberries stored in the refrigerator, make an effort to remove any berries that may be molded, spoilt, or those that may contaminate the rest.
  • You can have the unwashed berries placed back in their original container or have them spread out inside of a sealed glass, or plastic container that has a lid.
  • When you have the raspberries out of the refrigerator for consumption, ensure that you do not prolong their stay at room temperature any longer than one to two hours.
  • Avoid having the raspberries placed in direct strong sunlight.
  • Freeze the raspberries

First, wash the raspberries using the sink’s low-pressure sprayer to maintain their delicate shape and then use a paper towel to pat them dry. Arrange the raspberries in a single layer on a cookie sheet, or even a flat pan, and place them in the freezer. Once they are frozen, shift the raspberries back to sealable plastic freezer container(s), return them into the freezer for up to one year.

Within this context of ‘How to Choose and Store Raspberries’, it is essential to point out the dramatic difference between whole raspberries and the products that constitute processed forms of raspberries. Note, unless otherwise stated by the manufacturer, it is difficult to be sure of the substantial benefits that may be reaped from the products that contain processed forms of raspberries. In this case, processing may include drying, straying, juicing, fermentation into wine, or filtering.

For example, if the raspberries’ seeds happen to be removed during processing, most of the phytonutrients may be greatly reduced, or lost, in due time. Also, excessive heat conditions during processing may result in substantial phytonutrient-loss. For this reason, it is recommended to stick to the whole raspberries, fresh or frozen, when making the grocery purchases to incorporate them in your recipes.

Tips to Prepare and Incorporate Raspberries in your Cooking

As mentioned before, raspberries are pretty delicate and thus they should be gently washed and patted dry. To avoid the raspberries becoming water-soaked, and leaving them at room temperature for too long, they should be washed right before eating, or recipe preparation. Also, avoid the use of overly-soft raspberries unless you are having them pureed for a sauce or coulis.

Quick-serve Tips

  • For a sweet morning treat, mix fresh raspberries with creamy millet porridge
  • At first, the flavor combination of fresh raspberries sprinkles with balsamic vinegar may seem quite unusual but will have your palate all the way to heaven with a mere taste.
  • Depending on the amount of sweetener you use for the savory poultry dishes and sweet desserts homemade raspberry coulis can be used as sauce.
  • Mix plain yoghurt with raspberries, honey, and fresh mint chops to eat as is, or to be used as toppings for pancakes or waffles.

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