Pepper: Sweet!

Bell peppers

Bell peppers, the Sweet peppers, come in a wide array of vivid colors, the green, red, yellow, orange, purple and black. These plumpy, colorful peppers are naturally sweet, but low in calories! They can either be eaten fresh or cooked.

The green bell peppers have an intense flavour. Chopped bell peppers tossed over soups are salads will enhance the flavour of the dish. Adds crunch and sweetness to the meals.

Fresh bell peppers are rich in vitamin C, a powerful anti-oxidant. It powers up the immune system and helps in the formation of collagen in the body. Also rich in B vitamins, especially vitamin B6, for the nervous system to function properly.

The red bell pepper is a good source of beta carotene which is converted to vitamin A, another powerful antioxidant.  Vitamin A aids in night blindness, boosts the immune system, and keep the skin healthy.

Sweet peppers are also good source of vitamin E that plays a key role in keeping the skin and the hair healthy.

Bell peppers are loaded with adequate amount of essential minerals – iron, copper, zinc, potassium, manganese, magnesium and selenium.

The Sulphur in the bell peppers makes it to play a protective role from certain types of cancers.

Bell peppers are rich in alpha & beta carotene, lycopene, lutein, zeaxanthin.  Lutein and zeaxanthin, help protect the eyes from cataracts and macular degeneration. Another good source of all these phytonutrients is, tomato!

Cooking for a shorter period in low heat will retain most of their flavour and flavonoid content. Cooking in higher heat can damage the powerful phytonutrients of these bell peppers.

Baby bell pepper mango salsa (2)

Stuffed baby capsicum with mango salsa

Number of servings:4

Baby capsicum                       200g

For salsa:

Mango                                     200g

Tomato                                    100g

Onion – chopped                    50g

Cilantro- chopped                   2 tablespoon

Cayenne pepper                      1/2 teaspoon

Pepper                                     1/2 teaspoon

Lemon juice                            2 tablespoon

 Mix all the ingredients of salsa and stuff the baby capsicum with the mixture!

Calories 212 kcal, Protein 6g, Fibers 7g

Wild & Precious : Low in Calorie!

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Can diabetics eat pumpkin……….?

Sure, why not?

Is pumpkin low in carbs…………..?

Yes. It is low in carbohydrate. It is one of the best plant food in the world, for the pumpkin is chock-full of nutrients!

Pumpkin offers protein, complex carbohydrates, potassium, iron and vitamin A.

This bright orange vegetable is loaded with betacarotene, the precursor to vitamin A. Beta carotene is an antioxidant that protects cells from damage caused by free radicals. Carrot, sweet potato, spinach, swiss chard, sweet bell pepper, lettuce, tomatoes, cantaloupe, mango are the other good sources of beta carotene. The principal function of vitamin A is in the visual process where it promotes good vision. It also helps form and maintain healthy skin, teeth, skeletal and soft tissue, mucus membranes and skin. Retinol is another name for vitamin A, for it produces the pigments in the retina of the eyes! The best source of vitamin A are the carotenoids from fruits and vegetables.

Pumpkin is a good source of potassium. Along with calcium, the bone mineral and magnesium, potassium plays a major role in cardiovascular health. Potassium helps the body to excrete excess sodium and at the same time helps increase the calcium retention which prevents the magnesium loss! This intimate relationship between calcium, potassium and magnesium is important for many of the vital bodily functions! Having variety of bright colored fruits and vegetables, is the key.

Is pumpkin good for diabetics? A serious question asked by many diabetic patients! Many list this beautiful orange and plump pumpkin under starchy vegetables and tend to avoid consuming it! In fact, it is one of the best foods for diabetic patients. In moderate amount along with cereals and beans, you can reap the benefits of this wonderful pumpkin. For example, Quinoa, black bean and pumpkin soup is a filling meal with a healthy and nutritious ingredients!

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Pumpkin once boiled has the highest score of GI value as 75. But total carbohydrate is only 6-8%. Surprised!  Yes, the total carbohydrate in baked pumpkin is just only 6-8% when compared to the baked potato with 17%. It is obvious that the total carbohydrate (sugars and starch) in it will not have much effect on the blood glucose levels, provided if you could take the right-portion-size. Portion Size Matters!  The lower carb value that offsets the higher GI Value! Sounds great!

Canned pumpkin is high in carbohydrate that may elevate your blood sugar. So, always grab fresh pumpkin from the market.

The iron in pumpkin is non-heme, that requires sufficient amount of vitamin C to get absorbed. So, enjoy pumpkin with vitamin C rich fruits to enhance the absorption of iron.

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Pumpkin shows up in appetizers, soups, salad, bread, dessert, and savories. It always adds texture, color, and nutrition to the dish. In fact, pumpkin is a wonderful vegetable by itself in addition to being an adaptable ingredient in all savory dishes. Pumpkin soup made with pureed pumpkin and cream & spices yields roughly 150-180 calories per cup. The calorie value shoot up when high-calorie ingredients like cheddar cheese, butter and more cream are added to the soup! Ingredients added to the recipe also matters!

How about roasted salmon and pumpkin for dinner? Sounds great!

Pumpkin seeds also supply protein, minerals such as phosphorous, magnesium, iron, manganese, zinc, copper and vitamins: A, B1, B2, and B3. Like nuts pumpkin seeds too, a good source of  mono unsaturated fats!          2-3 tablespoons of seeds or nuts/day is recommended for obtaining their special health benefits.

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Pumpkin! Good for you!

To maintain a healthy body weight, enjoy the right portion of the food and of course the right amount of exercise, min.30 minutes, everyday!

References:

http://www.mayoclinic.org/

http://ndb.nal.usda.gov/

http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/educational/wecan/eat-right/distortion.htm

http://ginews.blogspot.sg/

To lose weight: Go sweet on mangoes!

Mango is a super food. A good snack. It is a versatile fruit that is high in Vitamin C, Vitamin B6, Vitamin A, potassium, and copper.IMG_6873

Do you know that mangoes decrease the risk of obesity and diabetes? It is true that ripe mangoes are high in sugars, and have a High GI. But this does not mean that diabetics and weight watchers should be banned from having it. It can, always be combined, with a low GI food to reduce the GI and balance the calories! The total amount of carbohydrates affects blood sugar levels more than does the source of carbohydrate or starch or sugar. 1/2 cup (85 grams) cubed mango contains about 15 grams of carbohydrate (60 calories).

One half of a small mango is a good source of both soluble (1.7g) and insoluble fibers (1.2g). Soluble fiber helps prevent cholesterol absorption and insoluble fibers help bowel movements and get rid of constipation.

How about having a mango, cucumber salad, for dinner. Cucumber is very low in calorie and GI too! Sounds good….

The antioxidant zeaxanthin, in mangoes, plays a protective role in eye health that ward off damage from macular degeneration.

Mangoes are rich in Beta carotene. β (beta)-carotene, a pro-vitamin A.  According to the study by Harvard School of Public Health, beta-carotene plays major role against preventing the prostate cancer. βcarotene is converted to vitamin A, an essential nutrient. It has antioxidant activity, that helps protect cells from damage. Being an important flavonoid compound, βcarotene has powerful antioxidant functions, helps scavenge free radicals, there by limiting the damage to cell membranes, DNA and protein structures in the cell. High dietary intake of β-carotene

Sweet potato, brussel sprouts, carrots, kale, turnip greens, spinach mustard greens, carrots, butternut squash, collards, swiss chard, lettuce, apricots, guava, papaya, watermelon, basil, cilantro, parsley, thyme, pistachios are also good sources of β-carotene.

It is also a good source of Vitamin C and Vitamin E. Vitamin C helps scavange harmful free radicals. The vitamin B6 or pyridoxine in mangoes, help control homocystiene in the blood, which is harmful to blood vessels, resulting in stroke. Along with Vitamin C, β-carotene, is found to increase lung capacity and relieve respiratory problems, as well as protect from asthma, bronchitis.

Copper, a co-factor for many vital enzymes, is found in moderate amount in mangoes. Copper is also required for the production of red blood cells.

Mango peel is rich in phytonutrients, too!

Mango fruit-Nutrition Value per 100 g

(Source: USDA National Nutrient data base)

Principle

Nutrient Value

Percentage of RDA

Energy 70 Kcal 3.5%
Carbohydrates 17 g 13%
Protein 0.5 g 1%
Total Fat 0.27 g 1%
Cholesterol 0 mg 0%
Dietary Fiber 1.80 g 4.5%

Vitamins

Folates 14 µg 3.5%
Niacin 0.584 mg 3.5%
Pantothenic acid 0.160 mg 1%
Pyridoxine (Vit B-6) 0.134 mg 10%
Riboflavin 0.057 mg 4%
Thiamin 0.058 mg 5%
Vitamin C 27.7 mg 46%
Vitamin A 765 IU 25.5%
Vitamin E 1.12 mg 7.5%
Vitamin K 4.2 µg 3.5%

Electrolytes

Sodium 2 mg 0%
Potassium 156 mg 3%

Minerals

Calcium 10 mg 1%
Copper 0.110 mg 12%
Iron 0.13 mg 1.5%
Magnesium 9 mg 2%
Manganese 0.027 mg 1%
Zinc 0.04 mg 0%

Phyto-nutrients

Carotene-β 445 µg
Carotene-α 17 µg
Crypto-xanthin-β 11 µg
Lutein-zeaxanthin 0 µg
Lycopene 0 µg

Mango, the king of fruits!

Enjoy this wonderful fruit by adding it to salsa, smoothies and salads. Its sweet flavour make it an excellent ingredients in pies and muffins!  

Moderation is the key. 1/2 cup (85 g) cubed mango – 60 calories. 

 

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Fruits and vegetables are good sources of vitamins and minerals that are associated with a reduced risk of many lifestyle – related health conditions.

Focus on a balanced diet and regular physical activity to maintain a good health.

References:

www.mayoclinic.com

www.webmd.com

http://www.diabetes.org/