July 30, 2007

Lychee for Health


The lychee is the most renowned of a group of edible fruits of the soapberry family, Sapindaceae. It is botanically designated Litchi chinensis Sonn. (Nephelium litchi Cambess) and widely known as litchi and regionally as lichi, lichee, laichi, leechee or lychee. Professor G. Weidman Groff, an influential authority of the recent past, urged the adoption of the latter as approximating the pronunciation of the local name in Canton, China, the leading center of lychee production. I am giving it preference here because the spelling best indicates the desired pronunciation and helps to standardize English usage. Spanish and Portuguese-speaking people call the fruit lechia; the French, litchi, or, in French-speaking Haiti, quenepe chinois, distinguishing it from the quenepe, genip or mamoncillo of the West Indies, Melicoccus bijugatus, q.v. The German word is litschi.

Food Uses

Lychees are most relished fresh, out-of-hand. Peeled and pitted, they are commonly added to fruit cups and fruit salads. Lychees stuffed with cottage cheese are served as salad topped with dressing and pecans. Or the fruit may be stuffed with a blend of cream cheese and mayonnaise, or stuffed with pecan meats, and garnished with whipped cream. Sliced lychees, congealed in lime gelatin, are served on lettuce with whipped cream or mayonnaise. The fruits may be layered with pistachio ice cream and whipped cream in parfait glasses, as dessert. Halved lychees have been placed on top of ham during the last hour of baking, or grilled on top of steak. Pureed lychees are added to ice cream mix. Sherbet is made by extracting the juice from fresh, seeded lychees and adding it to a mixture of prepared plain gelatin, hot milk, light cream, sugar and a little lemon juice, and freezing.

Peeled, seeded lychees are canned in sugar sirup in India and China and have been exported from China for many years. Browning, or pink discoloration, of the flesh is prevented by the addition of 4% tartaric acid solution, or by using 30º Brix sirup containing 0.1% to 0.15% citric acid to achieve a pH of about 4.5, processing for a maximum of 10 minutes in boiling water, and chilling immediately.

Food Value Per 100 g of Edible Portion*




Fresh

Dried

Calories

63-64

277

Moisture

81.9-84.83%

17.90-22.3%

Protein

0.68-1.0 g

2.90-3.8 g

Fat

0.3-0.58 g

0.20-1.2 g

Carbohydrates

13.31-16.4 g

70.7-77.5 g

Fiber

0.23-0.4 g

1.4 g

Ash

0.37-0.5 g

1.5-2.0 g

Calcium

8-10 mg

33 mg

Phosphorus

30-42 mg


Iron

0.4 mg

1.7 mg

Sodium

3 mg

3 mg

Potassium

170 mg

1,100 mg

Thiamine

28 mcg


Nicotinic Acid

0.4 mg


Riboflavin

0.05 mg

0.05 mg

Ascorbic Acid

24-60 mg

42 mg

*According to analyses made in China, India and the Philippines

The lychee is low in phenols and non-astringent in all stages of maturity.

To a small extent, lychees are also spiced or pickled, or made into sauce, preserves or wine. Lychee jelly has been made from blanched, minced lychees and their accompanying juice, with 1% pectin, and combined phosphoric and citric acid added to enhance the flavor.

The flesh of dried lychees is eaten like raisins. Chinese people enjoy using the dried flesh in their tea as a sweetener in place of sugar.

Whole frozen lychees are thawed in tepid water. They must be consumed very soon, as they discolor and spoil quickly.

Other Uses

In China, great quantities of honey are harvested from hives near lychee trees. Honey from bee colonies in lychee groves in Florida is light amber, of the highest quality, with a rich, delicious flavor like that of the juice which leaks when the fruit is peeled, and the honey does not granulate.

Medicinal Uses: Ingested in moderate amounts, the lychee is said to relieve coughing and to have a beneficial effect on gastralgia, tumors and enlargements of the glands. One stomach-ulcer patient in Florida, has reported that, after eating several fresh lychees he was able to enjoy a large meal that, ordinarily, would have caused great discomfort. Chinese people believe that excessive consumption of raw lychees causes fever and nosebleed. According to legends, ancient devotees have consumed from 300 to 1,000 per day.

In China, the seeds are credited with an analgesic action and they are given in neuralgia and orchitis. A tea of the fruit peel is taken to overcome smallpox eruptions and diarrhea. In India, the seeds are powdered and, because of their astringency, administered in intestinal troubles, and they have the reputation there, as in China, of relieving neuralgic pains. Decoctions of the root, bark and flowers are gargled to alleviate ailments of the throat. Lychee roots have shown activity against one type of tumor in experimental animals in the United States Department of Agriculture/National Cancer Institute Cancer Chemotherapy Screening Program.


(hort.purdue.edu)

July 29, 2007

Papaya Health Benefits

Papaya (Carica papaya) is a common man's fruit, which is reasonably priced and have a high nutritive value. This fruit is available through out the year. About 17,000 hectares are under papaya cultivation in India. This is a tropical fruit and tree requires minimum irrigation. Yield from a tree can be up to 100 fruits each weighing about 1kg. The fruit is known by various names such as pepe (Bengali), papita (Hindi), pharangi (Kanada), boppayi pandu (Telugu), omakai (Malayalam), popai (Marati) and pappali (Tamil).


Papaya is a wholesome fruit. Papaya has more carotene compared to other fruits such as apples, guavas, sitaphal, and plantains. This pigment is similar to that found in carrots, beet root, dark green leafy vegetables like drumstick leaves, palak, curry leaves etc. Carotene in food is converted into vitamin A in our body. 100 gms of ripe papaya contains only 32 kcal. The comparative low calories content make this a favorite fruit of obese people who are into weight reducing regime. It has a good vitamin C content of 57 mgs for 100 gms. Unriped green papaya is used as vegetable. It does not contain carotene but all other nutrients are present.

Medicinal Values in Papaya
Vitamins
Papaya when consumed regularly will ensure a good supply of vitamin A and C. Both are essential for good health. The common preventable blindness in Indian children is due to vitamin A deficiency. Eating papaya helps to prevent this kind of blindness.
Beta-Carotene
Papaya is a good source of beta-carotene, which helps to prevent damage by free radical, which might other wise lead to some forms of cancer.
Enzymes
Different types of enzymes are present in papaya. Papain, a substance present in papaya is an excellent aid to digestion. It is an enzyme, which helps to digest the protein in food. Papaya has the property of tenderizing meat. This knowledge is been put to use in our country by cooking meat with raw papaya to make it tender and digestible. The unripe fruit is a rich source of papain, which is vegetable pepsin and is capable of digesting protein in acid, alkaline or neutral medium. Papain also exhibits pain relieving properties and the US food and drug administration (FDA) has approved its medicinal use to ease the discomfort of slipped discs (prolapsed inter vertebral disc). This is used for injection into herniated inter vertebral lumbar discs to relieve pain caused by pressure on nerves.
The celiac disease patients, who cannot digest the wheat protein gliandin, can tolerate it if it is treated with crude papain. Papaya can be prescribed for dyspeptic patients as the papain may help in the digestion of proteins. It is an ideal food for invalids because the flesh is easy to chew and swallow.
Healing
Healing speeds up with pieces of papaya laid on wounds and surgical incision. A large number of people believe that pregnant women should avoid papaya as it may cause a miscarriage. Scientifically speaking there is no evidence to support these beliefs.
Papaya seeds even though have a deworming action, is not advisable to consume. A toxic substance called carpine is present in traces in black seeds of papaya. Carpine in large quantities is said to lower the pulse rate and depress the nervous system. This substance is only found in papaya seed and that too in very small quantity. The fleshy part of the fruit is completely free from this toxic substance. Hence, once the seeds are removed the delicious fruit can be safely eaten.
This low calorie, nutritive, "low budget" all season fruit must be included in your regular diet for a healthy life.

Quick look on how papaya is good for us
1. Has more carotene compared to other fruits.
2. Contains very less calories.
3. Will ensure a good supply of vitamin A and C.
4. Is an excellent aid to digestion.
5. Can be prescribed for dyspeptic patients.
6. Is an ideal food for invalids.
7. Can be used as tenderizer in cooking.
8. Is reported to speed up healing.

Nutritive value of 100 gms of papaya
Ripe papaya
Green papaya
Protein
0.6 gms
Protein
0.7 gms
Fat
0.1 gm
Fats
0.2 gms
Minerals
0.5 gm
Minerals
0.5 gms
Fibre
0.8 gm
Fibre
0.9 gms
Carbohydrates
7.2 gms
Carbohydrates
5.7 gms
Energy
32 kcal
Energy
27 gms
Total carotene
2,740 µgs
Carotene
0
Beta carotene
880 µgs
Beta carotene
0
Vitamin C
57 mgs
Vitamin C
12 mgs
Sodium
6.0 mgs
Sodium
23.0 mgs
Potassium
69 mgs
potassium
216 mgs
Iron
0.5 mg
Iron
0.9 mgs
(Mumtaz Khalid Ismail,bawarchi.com)

July 20, 2007

Strawberry for Health

The strawberry (Fragaria) is a genus of plants in the Rose family (Rosaceae). There are more than 20 different species of Strawberries in the world. Some of the top varieties of Strawberries are Chandler, Selva, Pajaro, Oso Grande and Totem.The United States, Spain and Japan are the top producers of Strawberries, with the top producing states in the US are California, Florida and Oregon.

Strawberries, Raspberries Halt Cancer in Rats

BOSTON (Reuters Health) - If animal studies are correct, black raspberries and strawberries may be "very, very powerful" inhibitors of cancer growth, an Ohio researcher reported here this month at the American Chemical Society's annual meeting.

People should make berries one of their daily fruits servings, or at least try to eat berries two or three times a week, Dr. Gary D. Stoner of Ohio State University told Reuters Health.

Animal studies by Stoner and his colleagues found the berries were potent inhibitors of cancer development in rodents given cancer-promoting chemicals. The team is now planning studies in people to investigate the effect of berries on both esophageal and colon cancer.

Stoner and his team are studying squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) of the esophagus, which makes up 95% of cases of esophageal cancer worldwide. Overall, survival is very poor, with 10% of patients living 5 years after diagnosis.

Esophageal SCC is particularly common in China, Japan, the Transkei region of South Africa, Iran, France and Puerto Rico. Men are more likely than women to develop the disease, and African Americans also face an increased risk compared with whites.

Smoking, alcohol, salt, and hot and spicy foods are known to promote the development of esophageal SCC. Fungal toxins and chemicals called nitrosamines--both found in the Chinese diet and vitamin and mineral deficiencies have also been implicated.

To investigate strategies for blocking esophageal SCC growth, Stoner and his team fed rats two types of cancer-promoting nitrosamine chemicals. While chemicals called isothiocyanates proved to be the best way to stop tumors from forming in the first place, strawberries and black raspberries from an Ohio farm worked best for preventing tumors from growing.

Isothiocyanates are found in many foods, including cruciferous vegetables like broccoli and wasabi, a pungent Japanese condiment.

Rats that consumed 5% to 10% of their diet as freeze-dried black raspberries and strawberries showed dramatic reductions in the growth of precancerous cells and tumor progression, the researchers found. And in other animal tests, Stoner told Reuters Health, the berries reduced colon cancer growth by 80%.

The Ohio Department of Agriculture supported the research Stoner presented at the meeting. Eating berries could be a way to help people at risk of esophageal SCC protect themselves from the disease, Stoner said.

But there are obstacles. For one, he pointed out, berries are a seasonal food in most of the world, which has also made it difficult to conduct epidemiological studies of their effects on cancer. And in some countries where esophageal SCC is a major problem like China people rarely eat berries. Finally, berries are expensive.

One way to get around these problems, Stoner said, might be to use extracts of the freeze dried berries. He and his colleagues have been able to develop some potent berry extracts, he added. Stoner and his team have completed Phase I trials to investigate the toxicity of the berries and whether berry components reach the bloodstream. People who ate two large bowls of berries a day showed no toxic effects, and many fruit components were absorbed into the blood, according to Stoner.

The researchers, in partnership with a food company, are now launching Phase II clinical trials to investigate whether berries have a cancer-protecting effect on esophageal cancer among people in China and the US. They also plan to investigate the effect of berries on colon cancer.

Strawberries Pack a Nutritional Punch

With most Americans falling short of 5 A Day recommendations, new research gives people additional reasons to eat more strawberries. Two separate studies presented at the 2003 American Dietetic Association Food and Nutrition Conference and Exhibition reveal that in addition to being low in fat and calories, strawberries are naturally high in fiber, vitamin C, folate, potassium and antioxidants, making them a sweet alternative that advances heart health, reduces the risk of certain types of cancer, and gives a boost to total body wellness.

Dr. Gene Spiller, Nutrition and Health Research Center, recently released data showing that when people eat a daily serving of strawberries (about 8 berries; 45 calories) there are significant increases in blood folate levels and decreases in systolic blood pressure, findings that amplify the importance of including strawberries as part of a heart-healthy diet. Strawberries' propensity to decrease systolic blood pressure may reduce the risk of heart disease associated with high blood pressure. Folate reduces levels of homocysteine, an amino acid which may at high levels block arteries. In addition, earlier findings showed that strawberries are high in antioxidants such as ellagic acid and anthocyanins, the red pigment in strawberries, which is further evidence that strawberries provide an edge for heart health.

A second study released by Dr. Victor Fulgoni, Nutrition Impact LLC, further validates these findings and reveals additional benefits. Like Dr. Spiller’s findings, Dr. Fulgoni’s research using large surveys created by the US government showed that compared to non-eaters, strawberry eaters have higher blood folate levels and lower levels of homocysteine and tend to have lower blood pressure.

"The body of evidence showing a health benefit of strawberries continues to grow," said Dr. Fulgoni. "This latest research demonstrates that people who eat strawberries may be benefiting from their many nutrients, which may help maintain a healthy heart." In addition to advancing heart health and reducing risks of certain types of cancer, strawberries have been shown previously to enhance memory function and aid in the management of rheumatoid arthritis.

While long-term health benefits are compelling, for some, the immediate reward is equally fulfilling. A nutrient dense fruit, strawberries also have the added benefit of great taste while being high in fiber. Their versatility and adaptability add interest, lively color and flavor to either indulgent or healthy recipes. Fresh, frozen or dried, eaten alone or tossed into cereal, salads or yogurt, strawberries naturally add a nutritional edge to an ordinary meal or snack.

Strawberries are available year-round, offering the perfect opportunity for consumers to add great taste and nutrition to their everyday, healthy diet. While research shows that 94 percent of Americans currently consume strawberries annually, this recent research strongly suggests that consuming them more often will be beneficial to their overall long-term health.

California is the largest producer of domestically grown strawberries, supplying 88 percent of the strawberries grown in the United States. On average, over 30,000 acres in the state produce over one billion pounds of fresh and frozen strawberries.

Source: (California Strawberry Commission)

The Benefits Of Avocado

Avocado Nutrition Structure/Function Statements

1. Avocados contain 81 micrograms of the carotenoid lutein, which some studies suggest may help maintain healthy eyes.
2. Avocados are included in Fruits & Veggies—More MattersTM consumer educational program to promote increased consumption of fruits and vegetables for good health.

3. Avocados contribute nearly 20 vitamins, minerals and beneficial plant compounds that can contribute to the nutrient quality of your diet.
4. Avocados, due to their mono and polyunsaturated fat content, are a healthy substitution for foods rich in saturated fat.
5. One-fifth of a medium avocado (1 oz) has 50 calories and contributes nearly 20 vitamins and minerals making it a good nutrient choice.
6. Avocados contain 76 milligrams beta-sitosterol in a 3-oz serving of avocado. Beta-sitosterol is a natural plant sterol which may help maintain healthy cholesterol levels.

Avocados and Babies
The avocado's smooth, creamy consistency makes it one of the first fresh fruits a baby can enjoy. Sodium- and cholesterol- free, avocados contain valuable nutrients including 8% of the recommended Daily Value (DV) for folate; 4% DV for fiber and potassium, 4% DV for vitamin E; and 2% DV for iron. A serving of avocado also contains 81 micrograms of the carotenoid lutein and 19 micrograms of beta-carotene. Per serving, avocados have 3.5 grams of unsaturated fats, which are known to be important for normal growth and development of the central nervous system and brain.

Avocados Nutrient Profile:
* One-fifth of a medium avocado, or about one ounce, has 50 calories and contributes nearly 20 beneficial nutrients to the diet.
* Avocados contribute nearly 20 vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients. Phytonutrients are thought to help prevent many chronic diseases.
* Avocados contribute nearly 20 vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients, including 4% of the recommended Daily Value (DV) for vitamin E, 4% vitamin C, 8% folate, 4% fiber, 2% iron, 4% potassium, with 81 micrograms of lutein and 19 micrograms of beta-carotene.
* Avocados act as a “nutrient booster” by enabling the body to absorb more fat-soluble nutrients, such as alpha- and beta-carotene as well as lutein, in foods that are eaten with the fruit.

Avocados and Heart Disease:
* Avocados can help consumers meet the dietary guidelines of the American Heart Association, which are to eat a diet that is low to moderate in fat. The fats should be primarily unsaturated and low in saturated fat and cholesterol. The avocado is virtually the only fruit that has monounsaturated fat.
* Avocados help assist consumers in meeting a major dietary goal of reducing saturated fat in the diet, when they are consumed in place of saturated-fat containing foods.
Avocado and Weight Loss/Maintenance:
* When used instead of other fats, avocados contribute nearly 20 vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients and can be part of a calorie-reduced diet.
* Avocados can be a satisfying addition to a calorie-reduced diet, when they are eaten in lieu of other fats.
* When enjoyed in place of other fats, avocados can be a satisfying addition to a calorie-controlled diet.
Spread and Dip Nutritional Comparison for Fresh Avocados:
* Fresh avocado on sandwiches and toast or substituted as a spread in place of many other popular foods may help reduce dietary intake of calories, fat, saturated fat, sodium and cholesterol.
* Want to reduce your cholesterol intake? Try fresh avocado on sandwiches and toast or substitute as a spread in place of many other popular foods to reduce your intake of cholesterol, calories, fat, saturated fat, and sodium.
* Looking for a twist on spreads and dips? A 1-ounce serving of fresh avocados contain 0mg of cholesterol, 0mg of sodium, 0.5g saturated fat. See the chart below for examples of how fresh avocados are a great substitute on sandwiches, toast or substituted as a spread in place of many other popular foods.
* Try fresh avocado on sandwiches and toast in place of many other popular foods to reduce your intake of cholesterol, calories, fat, saturated fat, and sodium. (see the chart below)
Spread and Dip Nutritional Comparison

Fresh
Avocado
Butter,
salted
Sour
Cream,
Cultured
Cheddar
Cheese
Mayonnaise,
with salt
Portion
(1 ounce)
2 Tbsp. or
2-3 Thin Slices
2 Tbsp.
2 Tbsp.
1 Slice
2 Tbsp.
Calories
50
204
60
114
109
Total Fat (g)
4.5
23
6
9.4
9.4
Sat Fat (g)
0.5
14.6
3.7
6
1.4
Cholesterol (mg)
0
61
13
30
7
Sodium (mg)
0
164
15
176
199
Reference: USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 18 (2005) and FDA Food Labeling Guidelines for Voluntary Nutrition Labeling of Raw Fruits, Vegetable and Fish (Vol. 71, No. 159); Appendix C to Part 101 – Nutrition Facts for Raw Fruits and Vegetables (2006).
* Nutritional values are for the item listed only; not as consumed with other foods or ingredients.
Avocados and Lutein:
* Avocados are a good way to get more lutein in the diet. An ounce of avocado contains 81 micrograms of lutein. Lutein has been shown to be concentrated in the Macula of the eye, and research suggests that it may help maintain healthy eyesight as we age.
* Lutein is a natural antioxidant that may help maintain eye health as we get older. By adding avocado to foods like salads, salsa, soups or sandwiches you can get more of the phytonutrient lutein in your diet.

Pears For Health

Pears are juicy and sweet, with a soft, buttery yet somewhat grainy texture, the white to cream-colored flesh of pears was once referred to as the "gift of the gods". Although the season for pears runs from August through October, there is a variety of pear available year-round because of the seasonal variations amongst the different varieties.

Pears are members of the rose family and related to the apple and the quince. Pears generally have a large round bottom that tapers towards the top. Depending upon the variety, their paper-thin skins can either be yellow, green, brown, red or a combination of two or more of these colors. Like apples, pears have a core that features several seeds.

Pears Health Benefits


Protection from Free Radicals

Our food ranking system also qualified pears as a good source of vitamin C and copper. Both of these nutrients can be thought of as antioxidant nutrients that help protect cells in the body from oxygen-related damage due to free radicals. Vitamin C functions as an antioxidant in all water-soluble areas of the body, and in addition to its antioxidant activity, is critical for good immune function. Vitamin C stimulates white cells to fight infection, directly kills many bacteria and viruses, and regenerates Vitamin E (an antioxidant that protects fat-soluble areas of the body) after it has been inactivated by disarming free radicals.

Copper helps protect the body from free radical damage as a necessary component of superoxide dismutase (SOD), a copper-dependent enzyme that eliminates superoxide radicals. Superoxide radicals are a type of free radical generated during normal metabolism, as well as when white blood cells attack invading bacteria and viruses. If not eliminated quickly, superoxide radicals damage cell membranes.

Treat your tastebuds to a delectable, juicy pear, and you'll be treating your body to 11.1% of the daily value for vitamin C along with 9.5% of the daily value for copper.

Pears Promote Cardiovascular and Colon Health

Pear's fiber does a lot more than help prevent constipation and ensure regularity. Fiber has been shown in a number of studies to lower high cholesterol levels, good news to people at risk for atherosclerosis or diabetic heart disease. Fiber in the colon binds to bile salts and carries them out of the body. Since bile salts are made from cholesterol, the body must break down more cholesterol to make more bile, a substance that is also necessary for digestion. The end result is a lowering of cholesterol levels.

Fiber also binds to cancer-causing chemicals in the colon, preventing them from damaging colon cells. This may be one reason why diets high in fiber-rich foods, such as pears, are associated with a reduced risk of colon cancer. Additionally, the fact that low dietary intake of copper seems to also associated with risk factors for colon cancer (increased fecal free radical production and fecal water alkaline phosphatase activity) serves as yet another reason in support of why this delicious fruit may be very beneficial for colonic health.

A Hypo-Allergenic Fruit

Although not well documented in scientific research, pears are often recommended by healthcare practitioners as a hypoallergenic fruit that is less likely to produce an adverse response than other fruits. Particularly in the introduction of first fruits to infants, pear is often recommended as a safe way to start.

Protection against Macular Degeneration

Your mother may have told you carrots would keep your eyes bright as a child, but as an adult, it looks like fruit is even more important for keeping your sight. Data reported in a study published in the Archives of Ophthalmology indicates that eating 3 or more servings of fruit per day may lower your risk of age-related macular degeneration (ARMD), the primary cause of vision loss in older adults, by 36%, compared to persons who consume less than 1.5 servings of fruit daily.

In this study, which involved over 110,000 women and men, researchers evaluated the effect of study participants' consumption of fruits; vegetables; the antioxidant vitamins A, C, and E; and carotenoids on the development of early ARMD or neovascular ARMD, a more severe form of the illness associated with vision loss. While, surprisingly, intakes of vegetables, antioxidant vitamins and carotenoids were not strongly related to incidence of either form of ARM, fruit intake was definitely protective against the severe form of this vision-destroying disease. Three servings of fruit may sound like a lot to eat each day, but pears can help you reach this goal. Add sliced pears to your morning cereal, lunch time yogurt or green salads. For an elegant meal, decorate any broiled fish with slices of pear.

Description

Pears are delicious fruits that are related to the apple and the quince. While there are thousands of varieties of pears with each differing in size, shape, color, taste and storage qualities, the Bosc, Bartlett, Anjou and Comice pears are the most commonly available types in the United States. Varieties such as Conference, Passe Crassane and Packham, which are popular in other countries, are also becoming more widely available.

Pears generally have a large round bottom that tapers towards the top. Depending upon the variety, their paper-thin skins can either be yellow, green, brown, red or a combination of two or more of these colors. The white to cream-colored flesh of pears is very juicy and sweet, while their textures are soft and buttery, yet slightly grainy. Like apples, pears have a core that features several seeds.

The scientific name for pear is Pyrus communis.

History

While the cultivation of pears has been traced back in western Asia for three thousand years, there is also some speculation that its history goes back even further and that this marvelous fruit was discovered by people in the Stone Age. Whatever their origins, pears have been revered throughout time. Called the "gift of the gods" by Homer in his epic, The Odyssey, pears were also a luxurious item in the court of Louis XIV. The early colonists brought pears to America, and while the first pear tree was planted in 1620, much of their pear supply was still imported from France. Like many other fruit trees, pears were introduced into California and Mexico by missionaries who planted them in their mission gardens.

Interestingly, with all of the respect that pears commanded, until the 18th century they did not have the soft juicy flesh that we now know them to possess. It was during this time that a lot of attention was given to the cultivation and breeding of pears, and many varieties were developed that featured pears' distinctive buttery texture and sweet taste. Today, much of the world's pear supply is grown in China, Italy and the United States.

How to Select and Store

Since pears are very perishable once they are ripe, the pears you find at the market will generally be unripe and will require a few days of maturing. Look for pears that are firm, but not too hard. They should have a smooth skin that is free of bruises or mold. The color of good quality pears may not be uniform as some may feature russetting where there are brown-speckled patches on the skin; this is an acceptable characteristic and oftentimes reflects a more intense flavor. Avoid pears that are punctured or have dark soft spots.

Pears should be left at room temperature to ripen. Once their skin yields to gentle pressure, they are ripe and ready to be eaten. If you will not be consuming the pears immediately once they have ripened, you can place them in the refrigerator where they will remain fresh for a few days. If you want to hasten the ripening process, place them in a paper bag, turning them occasionally, and keep them at room temperature. Storing pears in sealed plastic bags or restricted spaces where they are in too close proximity to each other should be avoided since they will have limited exposure to oxygen, and the ethylene gas that they naturally produce will greatly increase their ripening process, causing them to degrade. Pears should also be stored away from other strong smelling foods, whether on the countertop on in the refrigerator, as they tend to absorb smells.

Tips for Preparing Pears:

Fresh pears are delicious eaten as is after gently washing the skin by running it under cool water and patting it dry. Since their skin provides some of their fiber, it is best to not peel the fruit but eat the entire pear. To cut the pear into pieces, you can use an apple corer, cutting from the fruit's base to remove the core, and then cutting it into the desired sizes and shapes. Once cut, pears will oxidize quickly and turn a brownish color. You can help to prevent this by applying some lemon, lime or orange juice to the flesh.

A Few Quick Serving Ideas:

Combine pears with mustard greens, watercress, leeks and walnuts for a delicious salad.

Serve pears with goat or bleu cheese for a delightful dessert.

Add chopped pears, grated ginger and honey to millet porridge for a pungently sweet breakfast treat.

Core pears, and poach in apple juice or wine.

Safety

Pears and Pesticide Residues

Virtually all municipal drinking water in the United States contains pesticide residues, and with the exception of organic foods, so do the majority of foods in the U.S. food supply. Even though pesticides are present in food at very small trace levels, their negative impact on health is well documented. The liver's ability to process other toxins, the cells' ability to produce energy, and the nerves' ability to send messages can all be compromised by pesticide exposure. According to the Environmental Working Group's 2006 report "Shopper's Guide to Pesticides in Produce," pears are among the 12 foods on which pesticide residues have been most frequently found. Therefore, individuals wanting to avoid pesticide-associated health risks may want to avoid consumption of pears unless they are grown organically.

Nutritional Profile

Pears are a good source of dietary fiber, vitamin C, copper, and vitamin K.

In addition to the nutrients highlighted in our ratings chart, an in-depth nutritional profile for Pears is also available. This profile includes information on a full array of nutrients, including carbohydrates, sugar, soluble and insoluble fiber, sodium, vitamins, minerals, fatty acids, amino acids and more.

Introduction to Food Rating System Chart

The following chart shows the nutrients for which this food is either an excellent, very good or good source. Next to the nutrient name you will find the following information: the amount of the nutrient that is included in the noted serving of this food; the %Daily Value (DV) that that amount represents; the nutrient density rating; and the food's World's Healthiest Foods Rating. Underneath the chart is a table that summarizes how the ratings were devised. Read detailed information on our Food and Recipe Rating System.
Pear
1.00 each
166.00 grams
97.94 calories
NutrientAmountDV
(%)
Nutrient
Density
World's Healthiest
Foods Rating
dietary fiber3.98 g15.92.9good
vitamin C6.64 mg11.12.0good
copper0.19 mg9.51.7good
vitamin K7.47 mcg9.31.7good
World's Healthiest
Foods Rating
Rule
excellentDV>=75%ORDensity>=7.6ANDDV>=10%
very goodDV>=50%ORDensity>=3.4ANDDV>=5%
goodDV>=25%ORDensity>=1.5ANDDV>=2.5%
In-Depth Nutritional Profile for Pears

References
  • Cho E, Seddon JM, Rosner B, Willett WC, Hankinson SE. Prospective study of intake of fruits, vegetables, vitamins, and carotenoids and risk of age-related maculopathy. Arch Ophthalmol. 2004 Jun;122(6):883-92. PMID:15197064.
  • Davis CD. Low dietary copper increases fecal free radical production, fecal water alkaline phosphatase activity and cytotoxicity in healthy men. J Nutr. 2003 Feb; 133(2):522-7 2003.
  • Ensminger AH, Ensminger, ME, Kondale JE, Robson JRK. Foods & Nutriton Encyclopedia. Pegus Press, Clovis, California 1983.
  • Ensminger AH, Esminger M. K. J. e. al. Food for Health: A Nutrition Encyclopedia. Clovis, California: Pegus Press; 1986. PMID:15210.
  • Fortin, Francois, Editorial Director. The Visual Foods Encyclopedia. Macmillan, New York 1996.
  • Wood, Rebecca. The Whole Foods Encyclopedia. New York, NY: Prentice-Hall Press; 1988. PMID:15220.
(source: whfoods.org)

July 13, 2007

The Benefits Of Jackfruit

Jackfruit, jakfruit, jak fruit, nangka rimier (French), Nangka (German), kathal (Hindi), pala pazham (Tamil), khanun (Thai), nangka (Malay/Indonesian), langka (Philippines), mu bo luo (Chinese), paramitsu (Japanese) (Artocarpus heterophyllus or A. integrifolius -- Family Moraceae)

The Mulberry family contains about sixty genera and over 1,500 species of trees and shrubs, found mainly in the tropics. However, only a few, including the fig and mulberry, are used as fruit. Others, including the breadfruit, jackfruit, and champedak (A. integer) are used both as a fruit and as a vegetable. The jackfruit is thought to be native to the rainforests of India, spreading to Sri Lanka, then on to the mainland of Southeast Asia, keeping to the more northerly regions and away from the tropical areas favoured by the breadfruit. Cultivation of the fruit has taken place in India since ancient times, as well as in Southeast Asia, Africa, and tropical regions of America and Australia. The jackfruit is one of the largest fruits grown in tropical Asia. It is often three feet long, twenty inches in diameter, and may weigh over ninety pounds; although they usually average about forty-five pounds. Next to the pumpkin, jackfruit is the largest fruit in the world. A general distinction is made between soft jackfruits, which can be broken open with the hands, and the hard ones which requires a knife to open them. Strangely, it is the latter that is preferred, but there are many varieties that do not fall into either category. Some believe that the best variety of all is the "peniwaraka" (honey jak) from Sri Lanka.

The jackfruit is the largest of all tree-borne fruits, but is really a collection of fruits which fuse together as does another relative, the fig. These large, irregularly shaped oval fruits grow directly from the trunk of the tree on a short stem. Considered to be a composite fruit, it has a structure similar to that of a pineapple, but not as tidy, with sections clustered in irregular clumps and covered with spikes. When the jackfruit is ready to eat, the skin will be stretched out enough for each of the spikes to stand clear of one another. Although the smell of the fresh fruit has a disagreeable musty odour, the flesh inside has an aroma of pineapples and bananas. Inside the fruit and under its nubbly green shell is a number of fruit compartments or segments arranged like a wheel. Each fruit contains a few, or up to 500, large starchy edible seeds, which are sometimes called breadnuts, although the true breadnut belongs to a different species. It is the chempedak that is usually the source of the true "breadnuts". When the fruits are cut crosswise, the individual segments are easier to remove. The fibrous covering can then be carefully peeled from each segment to expose the smooth yellow flesh. The seeds are then removed from each segment.

As the fruit ripens, it is often covered with a bag not to keep birds away but to encourage ants to swarm around it to repel other insects. When ripe, the jackfruit is used as a fruit; but if picked "green",it is used as a vegetable. The flesh may be diced or dried and used in soups or in pickles. The seeds are very rich in calcium and protein; but the fruit itself is not very nutrient rich, although it does contain some carotene. In Thailand, the seeds, which are called med kha-nun, are boiled in several changes of water and roasted, then eaten like chestnuts. They can also be pounded into a flour. The young shoots and flowers are sometimes eaten as a vegetable. The pulp is firm, thick, and sweet and will continue to ripen even after it is peeled. If the bulbs are boiled in milk and then drained and cooled, the congealed mass that is left forms a pleasant orange-coloured custard. The flesh is sometimes candied by the Chinese and Malaysians.

The jackfruit is very large in size. About 30 to 40 inches in length and 12 to 20 inches in diameter. Only about 30% of the fruit is edible. The fruit has a green to brownish yellow rind and it has numerous small spines in its skin. Edible very tasty sweet yellow bulbs are embeded in fibrous interior. It has one and half to two inch long and 3/4 inch thick seed.

Nutritional Value

Very good source of potassium and good source of vitamin C.

Health Benefits

Potassium rich in jackfruit may help to regulate your blood pressure.

Varieties

India is the leading jackfruit producing nation. Black Gold(Australia) Cheena (Australia), * Cochin (Australia), Dang Rasimi (Thailand), Gold Nugget (Australia), J-30 (Malaysia) and J-31 (Malaysia) are some cultivars available in U.S.

* Cochin is one of the city in southern India which produce jack fruit.

Botanical Facts

Jackfruit is an ever green , 30 to 70 ft tall tree. Humid tropical and near tropical climate is well suited for jackfruit.

Select and Store

Ripe jackfruits are very fragrant . The fruit color changes from green to yellowish brown when ripe. To remove fruit bulbs, apply cooking oil in hands and utensils to free from gummy latex.

Uses

Ripe fruit bulbs are eaten out of hand. Seeds can be eaten after roasted or boiled.

  • Energy 94 kilocalories
  • Water 73.23 grams
  • Fat 0.3 grams
  • Protein 1.47 grams
  • Carbohidrates 24.01 grams
  • Fiber 1.6 grams
  • Vitamin A 15 mcg-RAE
  • Vitamin C 6.7 mg
  • Riboflavin 0.11 mg
  • Pyridoxine(B6) 0.108 mg
  • Calcium 34 mg
  • Iron 0.6 mg
  • Magnesium 37 mg
  • Phosphorus 36 mg
  • Potassium 303 mg
  • Sodium 3 mg
  • Zinc 0.42 mg
  • Copper 0.187 mg
  • Manganes 0.19 mg

July 6, 2007

Mango - The King Of Fruits

mango, mangoes, fruits and health, dailyfruits.blogspot.com
Botanically it is known as Magnifera Indica. Mango is native to Malaysia and India and it has been in cultivation in India for at least 4000 years. In nineteenth century traders introduced the fruit to the West Indies, Africa and South America. Arab merchants took it to Persia and Egypt. Now mangoes are cultivated in large scale in different countries like India, china, Malaysia, Indonesia, Australia, and West Indies. Mango tree blossom and bear fruit in regions where there is a good rain fall for four months followed by dry weather. Rain, fog, or cloudy weather at the time of flowering affects fertilization and fruit yielding.

Nutritional value

Mangoes are very nutritious and excellent source of carotene as compared to other fruits. 100 gms of edible portion of the mango contain about 1990ug of beta-carotene (vitamin A), which is much higher than in other fruits. The total carotenoids in mango increase with the stage of ripening. Eating mangoes in the season may provide a store of vitamin A in the liver, sufficient to last for the rest of the year and highly beneficial for the prevention of vitamin A deficient disorders like night blindness.

Nutritive value of mango per 100 gm*
Nutrients
Ripe mango
Green or raw mango
Protein (gm)
0.6
0.7
Fat (gm)
0.4
0.1
Minerals (gm)
0.4
0.4
Fibre (gm)
0.7
1.2
Carbohydrates (gm)
16.9
10.1
Energy (kcal)
74
44
Vitamin C (mg)
16
3
Total carotene (mcg)
2,210
90
Beta carotene (mcg)
1,990
NA
Potassium (mg)
205
83
Sodium (mg)
26
43
Calcium (mg)
14
10
Iron (mg)
1.3
0.33
Phosphorous (mg)
16
19
* Source: National Institute of Nutrition

Mangoes, both ripe and unripe are very good sources of vitamin C. 16mg of vitamin C is present in 100 gms of mango. Both vitamins A and C are anti oxidants and help to prevent free radical injury and thus reduce the risk of certain cancers. Ripe mango provides a good source of calories.

A ripe mango supplies 74 kcal per 100 gms (mainly derived from fructose). Raw mango has fewer calories compared to ripe mango. The ripe mango fruit is also a good source of potassium and only traces of sodium makes it suitable for hypertensive patients. Those on potassium restricted diet like renal failure diet, should avoid mangoes.

Mangoes are typically curved fruits with green, pinkish gold or red skin and glorious orange, highly perfumed flesh surrounding a very large hairy edible flat seed. There are number of varieties of this fruit are available. They can be round, oval, kidney shaped. Each of these has its own flavour, taste, and pulp consistency. Popular varieties available in India include the alphonso, jeengira, dussehri, totapuri, neelam, banganapalli, and suvarnarekha.

Selection and buying

Color is not necessarily an indication of ripeness in a mango. Some varieties remain green even when they are ripe, while others turn golden or bright red or a combination. Buy unblemished fruit with no black marks on the skin. The best way to select is firm and aromatic fruit.

Storage: Ripe mangoes can be stored for days to weeks depending on the variety. Mango slices can be canned, dried and made pulp out of it. Raw mangoes are used mainly for drying and these can be used for pickles and chutneys.

Preparation and uses of mangoes

This delicious fruit is best to eat it just as a ripe fruit. Mangoes make an exotic addition to fruits salads and can be pureed to make sorbets and ice creams. Milk shakes, juices, jam, jellies, pickles, mango papad, sweet meat are the usual preparation. Small ripe mangoes can also be made mouth-watering curries with the addition of coconut and buttermilk. Prawns and fish tastes well with the raw sour mangoes. The raw mango pickle and chutney is famous for its tongue twilling taste. Peeled unripe mangoes are cut into small thin pieces and dries in the sun after seasoning with turmeric powder. This dried material known as amchur is used as such or as a powder. Amchur is used as a souring agent in Indian cookery. The mango seeds are also edible it is collected in the season and dried in the shade and powdered and stored to make many dishes. Small raw mangoes can be steamed and put in salt solution in porcelain jars for a period of four to five months. Later mango as required can be taken and smashed with green chillies and a drop of oil and can be eaten as chutney. Tender mango leaves; bark and stem are also used for anti bacterial properties in India and other countries.(bawarchi.com)