Prunes are Plums

Prune is the dried version of any type of plum.   There are many types of plums. The dried version of the European plum (Prunus domestica), is the one that is commonly found in stores. There are other versions of plums like Prunus Americana and Prunus Salicina.

Prunes are concentrated source of:

Fiber

Potassium

Vitamin A, B, K

Calcium

Magnesium

Iron

Zinc

Copper

Manganese

Selenium

Boron

There is 7g of fiber per 100 of fruit.  A serving is 3-4 fruits that gives roughly 3g of fiber which is about 12% of daily value.  Dried plums retain both soluble and insoluble fiber and sorbitol. Soluble fiber helps slow down the absorption of glucose that stabilizes blood glucose level.  80% of the fiber in prunes is soluble fiber. Prunes have about 15% sorbitol when other fruits contains less than 5% of the same. The sorbitol, like fiber, absorbs more water and also increases the intestinal microorganisms that improves the guts’ health.

Prunes are rich sources of Glucose, fructose, sorbitol and sucrose. But prunes do not spike blood sugar because it is compact with natural fibers. So, consumption of prunes should be not more than 3-4 prunes.

Fresh plums are filled with water and so packed with water soluble vitamin C, too.  Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that help prevent the formation of free radicals in the body. But we should also keep in mind that plum fruits, during the process of drying will lose its water and vitamin C and ends as a source of concentrated sugar with other nutrients and fiber.  It is the high sugar content that helps dry this fruit without fermentation.  So, 3-4 prunes can be taken, twice or thrice a week but not every day.

It also sounds good that prunes have lower GI when compared to other common dry fruits like raisins, figs and dates.  This low GI number is because of the fiber it is packed with. Fiber keeps you full for longer and helps relieve constipation, too!

Prunes are rich in antioxidants (polyphenols), lutein, cryptoxanthin, chlorogenic acid, coumaric acid that prevents cell mutation and reduce cancer cell formation.

Potassium, an essential mineral found in prunes helps maintain a healthy blood pressure level.

Vitamin A promotes strong vision and prevents macular degeneration and cataracts.

Small children’s digestive system in not fully developed and their requirements are much lesser than adults. Seek doctor’s advice before adding prunes to your child’s favorite food because excess amount will show the symptoms of diarrhea.

It is easy to incorporate prunes to our daily meal. Prunes can be added to oats cereal, porridge that requires no extra added sugar. Prunes are very sweet and can be taken alone or with mixed nuts or salads. Oats porridge with prunes, a delicious and colorful breakfast!

Regular exercise and right portion of meals, every day, will help maintain your weight, blood sugar, and cholesterol.

 

 

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/