3 Reasons to Love Papaya

Papaya-enzyme-benefits.jpgThe tropical fruit papaya, more commonly known as pawpaw is packed with minerals, vitamins and phyto-nutrients. Christopher Columbus had titled Papaya as “The Fruit of the Angels” because it is loved by all and is quite famous for its luscious taste and rich texture as well as health benefits

Here are three reasons to love papaya and include it in your diet.

1. Aids Digestion
Papaya’s contain soft and easy to digest flesh with a high amount of soluble fibre. That’s the type of fibre that helps to regulate normal bowel movements and prevent constipation. Papaya also contains a high concentration of papain a proteolytic enzyme that helps to digest and breakdown proteins.

2. Preserve Eyesight
Papaya contains a high concentration of Vitamin A (1094IU/100g) and flavonoids such as B-carotene, lutein, zeaxanthin and cryptoxanthin. These compounds are known for their antioxidant properties scavenging free radicals and playing a key roll in aging and various disease processes. In particular studies have shown that zeaxanthin can help to slow down and even prevent the development of Age-related macular degeneration.

3. Support Healthy Skin
With a high concentration of papain and Vitamin A papaya helps to remove dead skin cells and breakdown inactive proteins. Grind some fresh papaya to a fine paste and apply to your face for approximately 25 minutes to reduce blemishes and unwanted skin pimples. Eating the fresh fruit on a regular basis can also help with skin hydration due to its low sodium content helping you to achieve smooth, supple and soft skin.

 

References:

http://www.nutritionj.com/content/2/1/20

http://journals.cambridge.org/action/displayFulltext?type=1&fid=8479178&jid=BJN&volumeId=107&issueId=03&aid=8479176&bodyId=&membershipNumber=&societyETOCSession=

http://www.fasebj.org/cgi/content/meeting_abstract/27/1_MeetingAbstracts/638.17

BPA, Plastic and Why it isn’t Fantastic

bpa free

What is BPA?

Bisphenol A (BPA) is one of the most commonly produced chemicals in the world. The chemical is produced as a by-product of polycarbonate plastic manufacturing and leaches into food and beverages during storage. BPA has been labeled an endocrine disrupting hormone meaning it mimics your body’s natural hormones and can trigger major changes in your body. BPA has been strongly linked to a number of health problems including:

  • Hyperactivity
  • Early puberty
  • Birth defects
  • Mammary gland stimulation
  • Disrupted reproductive cycles
  • Changes in gender-specific behaviour
  • Increased prostate size
  • Liver damage
  • Heart Disease
  • Diabetes
  • Increased fat formation and risk of obesity

When eating or drinking out of plastic BPA is deposited into your body.

Top Tips To Reduce BPA Exposure:

  1. Avoid Canned Foods and Drinks
    The plastic lining within the can contains BPA! Look for BPA free tins next time your at the grocery store. Foods that are highly acidic are more likely to leach BPA from the can lining so tomatoes are a big one to avoid.
  2. Use Jars and Glass Containers for Food Storage
    Recycle jars and use glass containers to store your left overs and pantry items.  Limit your plastic wrapping and try to avoid it directly contacting your food.
  3. Carry your own water bottle
    Avoid buying water in plastic bottles, get in the habit of carrying your own water bottle preferably stainless steel or glass.
  4. Choose Glass or Cardboard Packaged Products
    Avoid buying products packaged in plastic to limit your exposure.
  5. Never microwave your food in plastic
    If you choose to microwave your food use a glass container as heating the plastic will only enhance the the BPA leaching process.
  6. Avoid Recycling No.7
    Plastic containers labeled with the recycling number 7 or the letter PC are most likely to contain BPA.
  7. Moderation is Key!
    Plastic is everywhere in modern society and much of it is designed to go into your mouth. A realistic approach is to reduce plastic in as many areas as possible. The less  canned foods, plastic bottle beverages and plastic containers you use the less exposure you will have to BPA.

 Sources:

www.foodstandards.gov.au/consumer/chemicals/bpa/Pages/default.aspx

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0890623807002377

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0890623813003456

Green Smoothies

choc mint

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There are so many benefits of adding green smoothies to your daily intake:

  • They are quick and easy to make and are jam packed with nutrients
  • They are portable and great for on the go especially in an EcoJar!
  • You can customise the sweetness to your own taste buds
  • They fill you up esecially if you add extra fibre sources such as flax meal, psyllium or chia
  • They alkalise your body helping with overall digestion
  • They help with regular bowel movements

I am obsessed with this green smoothie at the moment is so tasty, refreshing and satisfying. Have it as an on the go breakfast by adding some raw protein or as a fulfilling snack between meals.

Choc Mint Green smoothie

Ingredients:

- 1 frozen banana
- 2 medjool dates
- 1 handful kale
- 1 handful fresh mint
- 1/2 cup ice cubes
- 8 almonds or cashews
- 1 cup liquid (almond milk, coconut water or just water)
- 1 heaped tsp supergreens
- 1 tsp chia seeds

Method:
Blend all ingredients together until well combined. Sprinkle with cacao nibs for the chocolate crunch.

Smoothie inspiration from The Sunflower Hotel

Recipe: Raw Cacao and Avocado Pie

 

cacao avocado pie

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Not only does this recipe take about 10 minutes to make but it tastes amazing and can be decorated as a piece of art. Serve on its own or with fresh berries and coyo ice-cream or yoghurt

Base

  • 1 cup LSA or almond meal
  • ½ cup hazelnut meal
  • ½ cup coconut crunch (can use desiccated)
  • 6 dried dates
  • 1 tsp vanilla powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon powder
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil

Method:

  1. Place all ingredients in food processor until well combined
  2. Press mixture firmly into pie dish

Filling

  • 4 large ripe avocados
  • ½ cup cacao powder
  • ½ cup sweetener of your choice (rice syrup, honey, coconut sugar etc.)
  • 1 tsp vanilla powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ cup almond or coconut milk

Method:

  1. Place all ingredients in food processor until mixture is fluffy and creamy texture, add more milk if required
  2. Pour mixture over base, smooth and decorate with your favourite toppings such as coconut, goji berries, blueberries or bee pollen

Refrigerate for 30mins before serving

OILS: What is best to cook with and which oils should never be heated

oils1
By Dr. Joseph Mercola with Rachael Droege

Anytime you cook a food you run the risk of creating heat-induced damage. Well, suppose there was a type of oil that is stable enough to resist heat-induced damage and so beneficial that it helps you lose weight, promotes heart health and helps to maintain normal cholesterol levels. Would you choose to use this oil?If you said yes then you will want to get some coconut oil. Naturally, when choosing an oil to cook with you want an oil that will not be damaged by high cooking temperatures. Of all the available oils, in my opinion, coconut oil is the oil of choice for cooking because it is nearly a completely saturated fat, which means it is much less susceptible to damage when it is heated.

Although mainstream media portrays olive oil as the healthiest oil, this title does not extend to cooking. Olive oil is primarily a monounsaturated fat. This means that it has one double bond in its fatty acid structure. Although a monounsaturated fat is inherently more stable than a polyunsaturated fat, the overabundance of oleic acid in olive oil creates an imbalance on the cellular level, which has been associated to an increased risk of breast cancer and heart disease. Olive oil is a smart fat to include in your diet in a non-heated form, however.

In my opinion, polyunsaturated oils, which include vegetable oils like corn, soy, safflower and canola, are the worst oils to cook with because of the trans-fatty acids introduced during the hydrogenation process, which results in increased dangers of chronic diseases such as breast cancer and heart disease.

As you can see in the chart below, coconut oil contains the most saturated fat of all edible oils. Don’t be scared away by the negative view of ‘saturated fat’ portrayed by the media. Many studies have shown that a low-fat diet is not the answer for preventing heart disease, and some scientists are calling for new dietary guidelines that reflect this discovery.

Type of Oil Monunsaturated Polyunsaturated Saturated
Canola 58.9 29.6 7.1
Coconut 5.8 1.8 86.5
Corn 24.2 58.7 12.7
Flaxseed 22 74 4
Grapeseed 16.1 69.9 8.1
Olive 77 8.4 13.5
Palm 37 9.3 49.3
Palm Kernel 11.4 1.6 81.5
Peanut 46.2 32 16.9
Safflower 12.6 73.4 9.6
Sesame 39.7 41.7 14.2
Soybean 23.3 57.9 14.4

Source: http://www.virgintogo.co.uk/

So anytime you need an oil to cook with, coconut oil can automatically be used in place of butter, margarine, olive oil or any other type of oil in all types of recipes. However, coconut oil can vary widely in terms of the types of coconuts used, the manufacturing processes used to make the oil, and more, and all of these factors play a major role in the effectiveness of the oil.Most commercial coconut oils are refined, bleached and deodorized (RBD) and contain chemicals used in processing. The best coconut oil to use is extra virgin coconut oil.

Source: http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2003/10/15/cooking-oil.aspx

Plant sources of Omega 3

inseed backgroundOf all tree nuts walnuts are the richest in Omega-3, an essential fatty acid which most of us are lacking in our diet. Omega-3 is an essential nutrient, meaning we must obtain it from our food as our body cannot produce it. Omega-3 from plant foods comes in the form of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). The cells within our bodies naturally contain ALA, however we must obtain the Omega-3 externally (from the diet).

 Plant sources of Omega-3

  • Chia seeds
  • Walnuts
  • Hemp seeds
  • Flaxseeds

Other common sources of Omega-3 are from fatty fish such as salmon and tuna. Fish contains Omega-3 in the form of eicosapentaeonic acid (EPA) and docosahexaeonic acid (DHA). The body partially converts plant and nut based ALA to EPA and DHA. ALA alone is vital for cellular health and is able to carry the Omega-3 to your brain.

The benefits of plant or nut based Omega-3 ALA is that you get it all whilst also avoiding potential health hazards from farmed fish, GMO fish and fish containing mercury and other toxins.

Benefits of Omega-3
The importance of dietary Omega-3 for heart health and stroke prevention has been strongly linked and promoted in mainstream medicine for years. Omega-3 has many other benefits including anti-aging properties, anti inflammatory, preventing macular degeneration and other eye problems and cancer prevention. Interesting studies have also been undertaken on people with various brain or mental disorders such as ADD and even schizophrenia, which display low Omega-3 content in their blood.

How can I incorporate more into my diet?

  • Add walnuts or hemp seeds to salads
  • Sprinkle chia, flax or hemp seeds over your breakfast
  • Include them in smoothies
  • Try making chia pudding for a healthy dessert or breakfast

Sources:
Aleix Sala-Vila & Emilio Ros. Mounting evidence that increased consumption of α-linolenic acid, the vegetable n-3 fatty acid, may benefit cardiovascular health. Future Medicine.2011;6(4):165-169

Related Articles:
http://www.naturalnews.com/032772_walnuts_omega-3s.html

Coconut Flour

cc flour
What is Coconut Flour?
Made from the left overs of coconut milk, coconut flour is the ‘residue’. It is made from the meat of the coconut, which is dried, defatted and then finely ground to a powder consistency. Coconut flour is unlike any other flours as it is 58% fibre! This means it is 4 times higher in fibre than oat bran, 3 times higher than flaxseed meal and 2 times higher than oat bran.

Fibre has been strongly linked to aid digestion, promote heart health, reduce cholesterol, aid in detoxification, and protect against colorectal cancer, type 2 diabetes, overweight and obesity and possible overall mortality.

 Benefits of Coconut Flour

  • Gluten Free
  • High in Fibre
  • Naturally sweet
  • Grain free
  • Low GI
  • Low in carbohydrates
  • Rich in nutrients
  • Healthy and delicious
  • Versatile
  • Sulfite free
  • Source of protein
  • A little goes a long way!

How to use coconut flour
Because of the high fibre content replacing coconut flour in place of regular flour in a recipe often doesn’t work out. I suggest using a recipe until you become familiar with it. You will find when baking with it it absorbs a lot of water so the recipe is often a batter texture.

Coconut flour can be used for pancakes, breads, cookies, muffins and just about anything. It also makes a great crumb alternative for vegie burgers, meats or fish. Try delicious bread recipe below..

coconut flax bread
Coconut Flax Bread

Oven preheat: 200 degrees

 Ingredients:

  •  ½ cup coconut flour sifted
  • ½ cup flax seeds ground
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 5 eggs
  • ¼ cup coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1tsp. apple cider vinegar
  • Optional: pepitas, sunflowers, chia seeds

 Method:

1. Grease small loaf pan
2. Mix all dry ingredients together
3. Combine all wet ingredients
4. Add dry and wet ingredients together, batter will be thick
5. Pour into loaf pan and bake for 40 mins or until golden
6. Cool completely before slicing

Sources:
http://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/bhcv2/bhcarticles.nsf/pages/Fibre_in_food