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Dragon Fruit

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Also known as pitaya, the Dragon Fruit’s taste is slightly similar to kiwi or melon.  The dragon plant is a vine, believed to be native of Central and Southern America that has been brought to Southeast Asian countries including Malaysia, Indonesia, Taiwan, Thailand, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Vietnam.

Dragon plant has fleshy stems that grow up to 20 feet when matured. It may grow from the ground or climb onto trees using aerial roots, and it has spines that grow up to 1 kilogram in weight.   It bears flowers that only bloom at night. The flowers are ornate and beautiful with fragrant scent.

Pitaya plants can have up to 4-6 fruiting cycles per year.  The fruit’s skin may be yellowish to dark red in color with edible flesh that maybe white or red depending on the variety. It has a lot of black small seeds that is also edible.

Dragon fruit is also known to have some health benefits such as:

– boosts immune system. Dragon fruit is rich in vitamin C and fibers that help provide an overall healthy body.

– helps in digestion because of its rich fiber content.

– helps to lower blood glucose levels in type 2 diabetes.

– prevents formation of cancer causing free radicals.

– as anti-oxidant, the presence of high level of vitamin C, minerals and pythoalbumin is regarded as relevant in fighting free radicals and possess anti-oxidant properties.

– helps to control cholesterol level. Dragon fruit is also rich in flavonoids that are known to have favorable effects against cardio related disease.

– promotes healing of wounds and cuts.

– improves appetite.

– improves eye sight.

– aids in weight reduction.

– improves memory.

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Pandan Iced Tea

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Pandan leaves contain alkaloids.  They are organic substances that contain nitrogen and are often beneficial to the health of people and animals. For instance the alkaloids in quinine, which is derived from tree bark, has made it an effective drug against malaria.

Green tea, which some people claim to be even healthier than water, also contain beneficial alkaloids. The health benefits of pandan (leaves and roots) are the cumulative effect of flavonoids, alkaloids and lastly, glycosides, organic compounds with sugar or carbohydrate molecules. Recently, three new alkaloids were discovered in pandan leaf extracts and added to the five that have been already identified.

As folkloric remedy, drinking tea derived from pandan leaves prevents asthma attacks and stabilizes blood pressure.  It also stimulates perspiration which is an effective way to eliminate toxins and burn excess fat from our system.  Pandan tea also lowers blood sugar and invigorates the functions of our heart and kidneys.

The other health benefits of Pandan are:

• Treats leprosy, smallpox and wounds

• Helps reduce fever

• Solves several skin problems

• Relives headache and arthritis

• Treatment for ear pains

• Functions as a laxative for children

• Eases chest pains

• Helps in speeding up the recuperation of women who have just given birth and are still weak

• Pandan reduces stomach spasms and strengthens the gum

The other uses of Pandan as herbal treatment are:

• Decoction of the bark may be taken as tea, or mixed with water that is to be used in bathing, in order to remedy skin problems, cough, and urine-related concerns

• Apply pulverized roots of pandan to affected wound areas to facilitate healing

• The anthers of the male flowers are used for earaches, headaches and stomach

spasms

• Chew the roots to strengthen the gum

• Extract oils and juices from the roots and flowers are used in preparing the decoction to relieve pains brought about by headache and arthritis

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Yummy Sunday

Eggs

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The egg has been getting a bum rap despite the new research indicating that moderate consumption of which do not produce a negative impact on cholesterol.

In addition, regular consumption of two eggs per day may, in fact, improve a person’s lipid profile instead of affect it adversely. It is saturated fat, researchers assert, that raises cholesterol rather than dietary cholesterol.

Some of the health benefits of eggs are:

1. They are great for the eyes. According to one study, an egg a day may prevent macular degeneration due to the carotenoid content, specifically lutein and zeaxanthin. Both nutrients are more readily available to our bodies from eggs than from other sources.

2. Researchers of another study found that people who eat eggs every day lower their risk of developing cataracts, also because of the lutein and zeaxanthin in eggs.

3. One egg contains 6 grams of high-quality protein and all 9 essential amino acids.

4. A study conducted by the Harvard School of Public Health proves there is no significant link between egg consumption and heart disease. In fact, regular consumption of eggs may help prevent blood clots, stroke, and heart attacks.

5. Eggs are a good source of choline. One egg yolk has about 300 micrograms of choline. Choline is an important nutrient that helps regulate the brain, nervous system, and cardiovascular system.

6. Eggs contain the right kind of fat. One egg contains just 5 grams of fat and only 1.5 grams of that is saturated fat.

7. Eggs promote healthy hair and nails because of their high sulphur content and wide array of vitamins and minerals. Many people find their hair growing faster after adding eggs to their diet, especially if they were previously deficient in foods containing sulphur or B12.

Come to think of it, coconuts, avocados and peanuts, not too long ago, wore a big scarlet “F” for too much fat. Nonetheless, this Manila Bulletin Bulletin article may shed more light on this matter.

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