For me though, nothing beats the ‘alphonso’ mango!

 writes in theguardian blog:

As anyone who’s tasted an Alphonso mango knows, its short season, from now until the end of June, is a major cause for celebration. Often making an appearance on “1,000 things to eat before you die”-type lists, this Indian variety has become more and more popular in UK..

…Alphonso is named after Afonso de Albuquerque, a nobleman and military expert who helped establish the Portuguese colony in India. It was the Portuguese who introduced grafting on mango trees to produce extraordinary varieties like Alphonso. The fruit was then introduced to the Konkan region in Maharashtra, Gujarat and parts of south India.

…A national obsession in India on a par with Bollywood and cricket, the start of the mango season signals the beginning of summer and makes headlines. Newspapers give continuous updates on prices and availability. It’s customary to send boxes of Alphonso mangoes to friends, colleagues and bosses as a mark of love and respect; and many courier companies in India even offer a separate mango delivery service.

Many Indians eat little more than the fruit for breakfast, lunch and dinner during its short season. In Mumbai, top restaurants put on mango festivals, and street vendors sell freshly squeezed mango juice. Indians celebrate with “mango parties”, using the fruit in dishes such as pakoras, curries, mango leather, drinks like lassi and falooda, sweetmeats likebarfi and desserts such as shrikhand.

Spring brings many delicious things to eat – rhubarb, asparagus, wild garlic and the first broad beans. For me though, nothing beats the Alphonso mango.

Read the full article: http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/wordofmouth/2012/apr/27/do-you-know-alphonso-mango

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FRUITS AND HUMAN BODY


CARROTS  EYES
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WALNUT  BRAIN 
THE gnarled folds of a walnut mimic the appearance of a human brain – and provide a clue to the benefits. Walnuts are the only nuts which contain significant amounts of omega-3 fatty acids. They may also help head off dementia. An American study found that walnut extract broke down the protein-based plaques associated with Alzheimers disease. Researchers at Tufts University in Boston found walnuts reversed some signs of brain ageing in rats. Dr James Joseph, who headed the study, said walnuts also appear to enhance signalling within the brain and encourage new messaging links between brain cells.
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TOMATO  HEARTA TOMATO is red and usually has four chambers, just like our heart. Tomatoes are also a great source of lycopene, a plant chemical that reduces the risk of heart disease and several cancers. The Womens Health Study � an American research programme which tracks the health of 40,000 women � found women with the highest blood levels of lycopene had 30 per cent less heart disease than women who had very little lycopene. Lab experiments have also shown that lycopene helps counter the effect of unhealthy LDL cholesterol. One Canadian study, published in the journal Experimental Biology and Medicine, said there was œconvincing vidence that lycopene prevented coronary heart disease.

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GRAPES  LUNGS
OUR lungs are made up of branches of ever-smaller airways that finish up with tiny bunches of tissue called alveoli. These structures, which resemble bunches of grapes, allow oxygen to pass from the lungs to the blood stream. One reason that very premature babies struggle to survive is that these alveoli do not begin to form until week 23 or 24 of pregnancy. A diet high in fresh fruit, such as grapes, has been shown to reduce the risk of lung cancer and emphysema. Grape seeds also contain a chemical called proanthocyanidin, which appears to reduce the severity of asthma triggered by allergy. 
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CHEESE  BONES 
A nice ˜holey cheese, like Emmenthal, is not just good for your bones, it even resembles their internal structure. And like most cheeses, it is a rich source of calcium, a vital ingredient for strong bones and reducing the risk of osteoporosis later in life. Together with another mineral called phosphate, it provides the main strength in bones but also helps to ˜power muscles. Getting enough calcium in the diet during childhood is crucial for strong bones. A study at Columbia University in New York showed teens who increased calcium intake from 800mg a day to 1200mg  equal to an extra two slices of cheddar – boosted their bone density by six per cent.
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GINGER  STOMACH 
Root ginger, commonly sold in supermarkets, often looks just like the stomach. So its interesting that one of its biggest benefits is aiding digestion. The Chinese have been using it for over 2,000 years to calm the stomach and cure nausea, while it is also a popular remedy for motion sickness. But the benefits could go much further.
Tests on mice at the University of Minnesota found injecting the chemical that gives ginger its flavour slowed down the growth rate of bowel tumours
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BANANA (SMILE)  DEPRESSION 
Cheer yourself up and put a smile on your face by eating a banana. The popular fruit contains a protein called tryptophan. Once it has been digested, tryptophan then gets converted in a chemical neurotransmitter called serotonin. This is one of the most important mood-regulating chemicals in the brain and most anti-depressant drugs work by adjusting levels of serotonin production. Higher levels are associated with better moods.
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MUSHROOM  EAR
Slice a mushroom in half and it resembles the shape of the human ear. And guess what? Adding it to your cooking could actually improve your hearing. Thats because mushrooms are one of the few foods in our diet that contain vitamin D. This particular vitamin is important for healthy bones, even the tiny ones in the ear that transmit sound to the brain.
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BROCCOLI  CANCER 
Close-up, the tiny green tips on a broccoli head look like hundreds of cancer cells. Now scientists know this disease-busting veg can play a crucial role in preventing the disease. Last year, a team of researchers at the US National Cancer Institute found just a weekly serving of broccoli was enough to reduce the risk of prostate cancer by 45 per cent. In Britain, prostate cancer kills one man every hour.

Purple potato helps lower blood pressure and doesn’t make you put on weight !!!

The newest superfood

Contrast: Purple Majesty potatoes with some conventional spuds

Health-conscious cooks could soon be serving up a new superfood – the purple potato.

Provided it is cooked without fat, it has been proved to reduce blood pressure and doesn’t even make you put on weight.

The deep colour of the Purple Majesty variety comes from the same compounds found in blueberries, blackberries, blackcurrants, red cabbage and aubergines.

Researchers found that when eaten by overweight patients with high blood pressure, it was as effective as porridge oats in lowering their reading.

 The experts monitored 18 volunteers, who ate six to eight golf-ball-sized potatoes with skins twice daily for a month. Their average diastolic blood pressure dropped by 4.3 per cent and the systolic pressure decreased by 3.5 per cent.

If your GP says your blood pressure is ‘140 over 90’, it means you have a systolic pressure of 140 and a diastolic pressure of 90.

High blood pressure associated with obesity can result in strokes and early death.

 Purple Majesty contains an abundance of polyphenols, natural nutrients which are said to play a part in decreasing the risk of heart disease, cancer and neurodegenerative diseases. The colour comes from anthocyanins, a group of health-enhancing polyphenols.
SPUD FILE.jpg

The study findings could help resurrect the reputation of the potato, which is seen by dieters as a food to avoid.

It also fails to qualify as one of five vegetable and fruit portions which should be eaten each day.

The potato, more than perhaps any other vegetable, has an undeserved bad reputation that has led many health-conscious people to ban them from their diet.

Mention potato and people think “fattening, high-carbs, empty calories”. In reality, when prepared without frying, and served without butter, margarine, or sour cream, one potato has only 110 calories and dozens of healthful phytochemicals and vitamins. Hope this new research helps to remake the potato’s nutritional image.

Despite the livid colour, the purple potato tastes similar to the more conventional varieties with white flesh.

The Purple Majesty performs beautifully in the kitchen, mashing, baking, roasting and microwaving to perfection.

Potato, a power pack, brimming with God’s goodness

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Every potato is a power pack, brimming with God’s goodness.  In theory, we could eat only potatoes, supplemented with the occasional leafy greens, for chlorophyll, and the body would suffer no dietary deficiency.

POTATOES AS A HOME REMEDY
Not everyone wants to carry a potato in their pocket or purse, but maybe we should.  Potatoes can be used in dozens of cases of sickness or injury.  Here are a few proven easy-to-follow home remedies:

Diarrhea  –  eat unsalted potatoes  mashed with water
Indigestion – eat potatoes raw, about ½ cup
Heartburn and Gas – drink freshly squeezed juice first thing in the morning
Ulcers – one quart of potato juice throughout the day, before meals
Sore-throat – make a compress by placing hot mashed, unpeeled, boiled potatoes in a linen or cotton cloth, then apply to area affected
Boils – make a poultice of raw potatoes apply and change every eight hours
Burns – apply cold, crushed, raw potato to the area, if not cold mix with ice
Constipation – boiled with the skin on them or drinking the juice will soothe inflamed tissue and provide bulk to the stool.
Colds and Flu – fast from all processed foods and boil potatoes with carrots, onions, celery and parsley.

POTATOES ARE PACKED WITH VITAMINS
Potatoes contain Vitamins C, B1, B2, B3 and B6.  The most important is Vitamin C.  The entire recommended daily amount can be found in 14 ounces of potatoes.  The vitamin content is at its peak at harvest time, and decreases during storage.

POTATOES CONTAIN HIGH GRADE PROTEIN
The quality of protein we consume matters more than the quantity.  Potato protein is an ideal blend of essential amino acids.  Since the body functions most efficiently on a vegetable protein, this is some of the best nature can offer.

POTATOES ARE RICH IN MINERALS
Its high potassium content means it is an ideal way to offset the surplus acid found in such foods as meat and dairy products.  Many people, women more than men, suffer from iron and magnesium deficiencies, particularly those who are pregnant or are very active in sports.  Those who eat potatoes regularly have no need to take iron or magnesium supplements.

POTATOES ARE LOW IN CALORIES
Many people would be surprised to learn that 3.5 ounces of boiled potatoes contain only about 80 calories.

POTATOES CONTAIN COMPLEX CARBOHYDRATES
It is used to be believed that carbohydrates led to excess weight.  It is now known that they are the body’s most important source of energy.  Among the complex carbohydrates are starch and fibre.  During digestion, starch is converted to energy and stored in the liver and muscles.  Fibre is a vital aid to digestion.  It absorbs a great deal of body waste and expands enormously.
This increased bulk encourages more efficient bowel function.  Fibre-rich foods sty in the system only half as long as those with little fibre.

POTATOES ARE VERY LOW IN FAT
The fat content of potatoes is only about less than one percent.  This tiny quantity includes “good” essential fatty acids.

POTATOE RECIPES
As an aid in losing excess pounds without feeling that you are starving yourself, potatoes are highly recommended.  They can be made in so many ways so that while you have them often they do not need to look the same.

DIABETES
Many diabetics are overweight.  Their bodies must have a steady supply of complex carbohydrates, but not in excessive quantities to avoid creating much sugar in the blood.  On a potato diet, diabetics can lose weight without any harmful side-effects.

KIDNEY PROBLEMS
To avoid having to resort to dialysis, people whose kidneys fail to excrete waste products must eat little protein, which must also be of high quality, because of its biological efficiency, the potato is good for kidney patients.  It is excellent for urinary tract infection as well, alkalizing the mucous membranes and causing bacteria to be passed out in the urine.

GOUT
Gout, the so called “rich man’s disease,” is caused mainly by consuming too much meat and animal fat.  One of the symptoms is the overproduction of uric acid.  The most important part of treatment is a diet low in this acid.
Potatoes contain very little uric acid and therefore, can be the main ingredient in an anti-gout diet.

HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE
When certain bodily functions are disturbed, the kidneys excrete insufficient sodium, which leads to raised blood pressure or hypertension.  Sufferers are prescribed an extremely low-sodium diet.  This means eating foods naturally low in sodium and avoiding or restricting the use of salt in their preparation.  Potatoes are the perfect low-sodium food, so patients with blood pressure are urged to include frequent “potato days” in their diet.

Karela – Goodness hidden in bitterness, A valuable herb gifted to us by Mother Nature !!!

Bitter melon (Karela) is a valuable herb gifted to us by Mother Nature. It is one of the healthiest vegetables known to man. Apart from being eaten mainly as vegetable, it is particularly reputed as a folk medicine due to its therapeutic properties. Although the bitter taste can turn you away, but it can really improve your health. The Indians and Chinese have used the karela for centuries as a vegetable and also as a medicine. Its medicinal uses find place especially in the authentic Ayurvedic system of traditional Indian medicine.

 

Karela is used in Ayurveda for as digestive, carminative, antihelminthic, anti-inflammatory and as blood purifier. It is known for controlling obesity, lipids and blood sugar. Through recent researches it is proved that Bitter melon helps in controlling Diabetes, Psoriasis. The blood lowering action of the fresh juice of the unripe bitter melon has been confirmed in scientific studies in animals and humans. Charantin is more powerful than the drug tolbutamide, which is sometimes used in the treatment of diabetes to lower the blood sugar levels. The ripe fruit of bitter melon has been shown to exhibit some remarkable anticancer effects, especially leukemia. Karela has excellent properties of blood purification, detoxification, improving immunity and thus protects heart, brain, liver, kidney and other vital organs of body. Apart from having a host of medicinal properties the karela fruit is also rich in nutrients. Nutritionists opine that it is rich in iron.

English Name : BITTER MELON, BITTER GOURD, BALSAM PEAR, BALSAM APPLE, MELEGA SAGA, KARELA . In some English texts the plant or the fruit may be called by its local names, which include kǔguā (苦瓜 “bitter gourd”, in Chinese), pare or pare ayam (in Javanese and Indonesian), Pavayka or Kayppayka in Malayalam, goya (ゴーヤー) or nigauri (in Japanese, the former from an Okinawan language), paakharkaai ( in Tamil), karela/karella (in other languages of India and Nepal), ampalayá (in Tagalog), muop dang (mướp đắng) or kho qua (khổ qua, in Vietnamese), caraille/carilley (in Trinidad and Tobago), and cerasee/cerasse (in the Caribbean and South America).

 

The karela fruit has been known to have a curative effect on anemia, hypertension constipation and viral infection. It also acts as a purgative, aphrodisiac, appetite stimulant and as immune system booster. The fruit is especially good for promoting good liver functioning. It also contains anti tumor agents and helps inhibit HIV-1 infection. The fruit has also been known to produce a beneficial effect in case of scabies, infections, halitosis, cough and common cold.

Researches conducted over a period of time confirm the anti diabetic property of the karela. This has been proven to be even more effective than the conventional drugs prescribed for lowering blood sugar. This accounts for its increased usage as a food supplement in the form of tea and capsules for lowering elevated blood sugar levels.

 

Benefits of Karela / Bitter Melon/ bitter gourd

Karela / Bitter Melon/ bitter gourd is extremely beneficial in treating Diabetes mellitus.

Karela / Bitter Melon/ bitter gourd helps in lowering blood sugar levels and also helps in suppressing sugar out flow in urine.

Karela / Bitter Melon/ bitter gourd help to attain supportive sugar regulating outcome by suppressing the neural retort to sweet taste stimuli.

Karela has exposed significant antilipolytic and lipogenic movement.

Bitter gourd is an outstanding blood purifier and helps in maintaining good and clear skin

Bitter Melon treats worm infestations and also helps in evading parasitic attack

Bitter gourd excite pancreas, spleen and liver and helps in admirable absorption of food in the GI tract

Karela is helpful as an emetic, purgative, as an anthelmentic, in piles, and jaundice
Karela or bitter gourd is extensively grown plant in Indian subcontinent. It is a climber and it generally twins around the various adjoining support. The plant part used is fruit for the medical purpose. Bitter gourd is also commercially cultivated in India sub continent.

In the age old medicinal science, Ayurveda, the fruit of bitter melon is considered as emetic, purgative, anti-bilous, tonic, stomachic, stimulant and alternative. It has been established to be tremendously brilliant in treating Diabetes mellitus.

The fruit of karela is extremely supportive in conditions like gout, rheumatoid arthritis and sub-acute cases of the spleen and liver related diseases. It is thought to clean the blood and also dispel melancholia and gross humors. It has as well been exposed to have hypoglycemic actions i.e. helps in regulating glucose in the body whiach has been proved in studies carried out in animals and humans.

Place of Karela/ bitter gourd in Ayurveda:

As per the age old science Ayurveda, bitter melon helps in subduing the effect of pitta as well as kapha humor or dosha. Owing to its actions it helps to calm the body and also cooling and thereby is helpful in treating the skin related disorders. Due to its properties it is also helpful in healing of wounds early. As it has a katu or pungent and tickta or bitter, it is extremely beneficial in promoting digestion and normalizing the bowel movement. Due to its tickta rasa it is also helpful in evading parasitic infiltration in the body. It as well helps in limiting infection in the body and in regularizing the urinary tract. It has astonishing properties in maintaining the blood sugar levels to the normal limits.

Diabetes: The bitter gourd is particularly used as a remedy for diabetes because of its hypoglycemic action. It contains insulin-like peptides, alkaloids and charantin, all of which act together to lower blood and urine sugar levels without increasing blood insulin levels. These compounds activate a protein called AMPK, which is well known for regulating fuel metabolism and enabling glucose uptake, processes which are impaired in diabetics. You can take the juice of 4-5 bitter gourds every morning on an empty stomach, add seeds in powdered form to food or prepare a decoction by boiling the pieces of this fruit in water. If you are taking  medications to lower your blood sugar, adding bitter gourd might make your blood sugar drop too low. Monitor your blood sugar carefully.

Blood Purification: It has blood-purifying properties. As a result, the juice is used in the treatment of blood disorders like blood boils and itching due to blood poisoning. Have it little by little on an empty stomach daily, in 4-6 months you will see enhancement in your state.

Piles: Fresh juice of bitter gourd is good for patients suffering from piles. Take a mixture of bitter melon juice and buttermilk every morning for about a month and you will see an improvement. A paste of the roots of bitter gourd plant can also be applied over piles to get a favorable result.

Good for stomach: It contains cellulose which is a very good source of fiber thus preventing constipation. It also good digestive agent and helps in stimulating the secretion of gastric juices. This can be very helpful for people with dyspepsia. However, sometimes it may worsen heartburn and ulcers.

Aids weight loss: It stimulates liver for secretion of bile juices that are very essential for metabolism of fats. Thus, if you want to have a perfect, slim figure, then bitter gourd can help you.

Eye care: It has high amount of beta-carotene that helps alleviate eye problems and improving eyesight.

Immune booster: A glass of bitter gourd juice in the morning can help to strengthen your immune system and increase your body’s fighting power against infection. Researchers hypothesize that bitter melon is as an immunomodulator. One clinical trial found limited evidence that bitter melon might improve immune cell function in people with cancer.

Skin care: Bitter gourd is also effective in treating skin diseases or skin infections, eczema and psoriasis. It also helps in keeping the skin free from blemishes and keeps the skin glowing. The blood purifying properties make sure that you don’t get acne.

HIV: Laboratory tests suggest that compounds in bitter melon might be effective for treating HIV infection. In one preliminary clinical trial, an enema form of a bitter melon extract showed some benefits in people infected with HIV. However, more research is necessary before this could be recommended.

Blood Disorders

Bitter Melon is highly beneficial in reducing blood related disorders like blood boils, scabies, itching, psoriasis, ring-worm and other fungal diseases. A cupful of fresh juice of bitter gourd mixed with a teaspoonful of lime juice should be taken, sip by sip, on empty stomach daily for four to six months in these conditions. Its regular use in endemic regions of leprosy acts as a preventive medicine. 2 Capsules Twice a day can be taken.

Respiratory Disorders

Bitter Melon plant roots are used in folk medicine for respiratory disorders from ancient times. A teaspoonful of the root paste mixed with equal amount of honey or Tulsi leaf juice, given once every night for a month acts as an excellent medicine for asthma, bronchitis, Pharyngitis, colds and Rhinitis. Alcoholism

Leaf juice has been known since ancient times for fighting the problem of alcoholism. It is an antidote for alcohol intoxication. It is also useful in liver damage due to alcoholism. It is an antidote for alcohol intoxication, and helps purify, restore and nourish liver. Its juice is also beneficial in the treatment of a bad hangover.

Cholera

Fresh juice of leaves of Bitter Melon is also a helpful medicine in early stages of cholera and other types of diarrhoea during summer. Two teaspoonfuls of this juice mixed with equal quantity of white onion juice and a teaspoonful of lime juice should be given in these conditions.

Today, in the United States, this vegetable, and its leaves and vines, are being used as an alternative therapy in the form of an antiviral to combat some of the symptoms of HIV and to allegedly stop the replication of the virus. Many HIV+ individuals have reported success with their lab tests and heightened general well being as a result of using this alternative home remedy.

In fact, its extracts are already sold as pills as well and it is being marketed as a blood sugar level reducing medicine. But rather than going for an indirect method of intake why not try to eat some amount of Karela in the form of vegetable/soup/curry in your diets, to get all the benefits.

Although there are several health benefits of including bitter gourd in your diet, it is not recommended to take it in excess amounts as it can lead to abdominal pain and diarrhea. Also, pregnant women are also advised against having bitter gourd.