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Are you eating enough fibre

Goodness of fibre

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We often hear people saying, that fibre is good for the body and helps in weight loss. However they fail to mention, that why it is good for the body and how it helps to achieve weight loss. Fibre is one of the most important nutrients studied by doctors, nutritionists and dieticians. Also fibre has a great reputation in the world of ‘dieting and weight loss’. In recent years due to rising blood pressure, diabetes and cardiovascular diseases, fibre has become a focal point of interest for many research institutes and scientists.

So what is fibre?

Fibre or dietary fibre which is also referred as roughage(ruffage in American English) is simply the indigestible part of plant foods. Yes, fibre is never digested i.e. fibre is never broken down by the human body. Hence fibre has no calories.  As partially mentioned in one of my previous reads – ‘What carbohydrates you are eating, fibre is a type complex carbohydrate. However it is not digestible.

This characteristic of fibre raises an important question-If fibre doesn’t get absorbed by the body and doesn’t provide energy, why do we need it in our diet?

Just like carbohydrates fibre can be divided into two categories – Soluble fibre and Insoluble fibre.

Soluble fibre is a fibre that dissolves in water. Do not get confused, I said dissolved not digested. This fibre forms a gel like material after dissolving in water. Water carries this fibre through our body where it absorbs excess glucose from the food in small intestine, hence helping in removing excess glucose to stabilise blood sugar. Another great property of soluble fibre is that it absorbs bad cholesterol from the blood. The gel like material flowing through our blood sticks to cholesterol and leaves the body through waste removal.

Insoluble fibre is the type of fibre that does not dissolve in water. It rather acts like a sponge where it absorbs waste and become bulkier. Due to its characteristic of being non-digestive it leaves the body intact through intestines with all the absorbed waste. Its main purpose is to improve the movement of food through the digestive system and promote healthy removal of stool from the body.

Some great benefits of fibre rich diet

Soluble fibre helps in removing excess glucose from the blood. It stabilizes blood sugar thus keeping the energy level normal. As a result there is no pressure on pancreas to release excess insulin. As pointed out in the post – “What carbohydrates you are eating’’, excess insulin production in the body can make the body less sensitive towards insulin and increasing the chance of diabetes in the long run. Soluble fibre is recommended to prevent diabetes in people. Food rich in soluble fibre is also prescribed by doctors for diabetic patients.

A diet rich in fibre helps to maintain healthy bowel movement in the body. Insoluble fibre acts as a vacuum to absorb waste associated in the intestines. It accumulates the waste and form a bulkier state before leaving the body. This helps in preventing certain diseases related to constipation. If waste does not leave the body, it starts decomposing in the body due to reaction with bacteria. In some cases constipation can cause serious infection. Insoluble fibre helps in removing this waste.

As mentioned earlier soluble fibre helps in absorbing bad cholesterol from the blood. Bad cholesterol sticks to the artery walls and can damage the heart tissue or can even result in stroke. Research has suggested a diet rich in soluble fibre is very good for removing bad cholesterol from the blood.

Soluble bacteria due to its property of dissolving in water can help to aid the condition of diarrhoea. It solidifies the stool by absorbing water thus helping in smooth removal of toxic waste.

One of the greatest advantages of fibre is that it helps in losing weight. Soluble fibre absorbs water in the stomach thus making you feel full. Another reason is, that soluble fibre absorbs excess glucose from the blood thus lowering the state of insulin production. Due to this, energy is conserved in the body which makes you feel full for a longer time. It’s quite unlikely for a person to overeat when feeling full.

An indirect benefit of fibre is that its presence is usually accompanied with other complex carbohydrates that help in conserving and slowing down the release of energy. Hence a diet rich in complex carbohydrates is a diet rich in fibre.

Foods rich in fibre

Whole foods such as brown rice, brown bread, oats, bran, whole pasta, cauliflower, cucumber, zucchini, cabbage, carrots etc. are rich in insoluble fibre. Hence these foods can help in aiding constipation and help in healthy bowel movement.

Lentils, beans, carrots, apples, cucumbers, celery, strawberries, nuts, carrots, zucchini, cabbage, cauliflower etc. are rich in soluble fibre. Hence these foods are good for maintaining healthy blood sugar and removing bad cholesterol.

Some of the foods mentioned above are a great source of both soluble and insoluble fibre. It’s good to maintain a balance between the two. Hence foods rich in both should be considered on daily basis.

Daily healthy intake

According to study conducted by Institute of Medicine in 2012, men and women below fifty should consume at least 38 grams and 25 grams respectively. Above fifty men and women should consume at least 30 grams and 21 grams respectively. Most of the labels mention fibre content per serving on the pack. The good thing about fibre is unlike other nutrients it doesn’t get destroyed while cooking. It’s a good idea to include leafy greens in your cook and some salad on the side daily to maintain a good fibre balance in your diet.

One fun and interesting fact about fibre to think about: The human digestive tract is twenty-eight feet long. Fibre helps move waste along this large muscle.

Keep fresh and stay healthy 🙂

NAKUL BAJAJ

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What carbohydrates are you eating?

Whole Foods

In today’s fast paced environment not all of us are able to focus on our eating habits. We don’t pay attention to what we are buying and eating. We just consume food because food is necessary to keep us alive and keep our batteries charged. But did you know that some foods that are rich in carbohydrates such as white bread, white rice, white pasta and some of the cereals; not only provide energy, but also add extra unnecessary calories to our diet. Not only that, but these foods are also responsible for creating insulin imbalance in our body. Why does this happen? Does it happen because these foods are rich in carbohydrates (sugar) and carbohydrates are bad for the body? The answer is no.

Carbohydrates are very important to our body and our day-to-day functioning. When they are absorbed in the body, they provide energy to the vital parts of the body. In their absence a person can feel very tired and brain is unable to process the simplest of tasks. However not all carbohydrates are good for the body. To differentiate there are two types of carbohydrates:

1. Simple Carbohydrates

Simple carbohydrates are nothing but simple sugar. The reason they are called simple is because of their chemical composition of one to two sugar molecules. Simple carbohydrates due to their simpler chemical composition are broken down and digested quickly by the body, resulting in sudden rise of glucose (blood sugar) in the blood and quick release of energy. Due to higher level of glucose in blood, the body responds by producing excess insulin to remove extra glucose from blood and inhibit the release of further glucose. Eventually our body feels the lack of energy, therefore to refuel energy levels we tend to consume more food.

2. Complex Carbohydrates:

As compared to simple carbohydrates, complex carbohydrates instead of a simple chemical composition of one-two sugar molecules have a much more complex chained like composition of sugar molecules. Complex carbohydrates are broken down much slowly and absorbed by the body at a slower rate, thus resulting in slow and constant release of energy over a longer period of time. Hence our body stays fuller for a longer period of time while supplying constant energy to the body parts. As a reason we tend to consume lesser quantity of food.

Products such as white pasta, white rice, white bread and some cereals are processed foods. These processed foods contain simple carbohydrates due to added sugar and lack complex carbohydrates due to removed fiber.  As pointed out earlier that simple carbohydrates provide quick energy to our body, hence our body responds to them by releasing excess insulin to combat excess blood glucose. If consumed, can result in a state where body becomes less sensitive to insulin. In other words our body will not respond well to produce the amount of insulin needed to normalize blood glucose. As a result there is a change of hormonal activity in our body and the excess glucose starts converting in to fat.

In conclusion, over consumption of simple carbohydrates is bad for our body.  Due to change in insulin sensitivity one can develop a state of diabetes and other health problems such as high blood pressure, organ failure, etc.

Foods to consider

1. Whole foods: Foods such as brown rice, wholemeal bread, whole meal pasta, whole meal cereals/oatmeal cereals contain complex carbohydrates. Such foods will keep you fuller during the day and provide you with constant energy throughout. Many athletes are considering whole foods these days. Especially in longer format of games such as football, tennis and cricket one needs constant energy supply for healthy working of the body and brain.

2. Fresh fruits and vegetables: Fresh green vegetables and fresh citrus fruits are rich in fiber (complex carbohydrates) and other essential minerals for the goodness of body. These keep you full and satisfied during the day with constant energy. Some of the examples are: peas, carrots, broccoli, capsicum, mushrooms, etc. in vegetables; and grape fruit, oranges, apples, cherries, plums, etc. in fruits.  If cooking meat, add good quantity of steamed vegetables to the dish. You can also use vegetables in curries.

3. Legumes: Legumes such as lentils, chick peas, Lima beans, red kidney beans, etc. are a rich source of fiber. Legumes are also good sources of iron and folate. Due to their higher protein content, these take longer to digest thus keeping us full for a longer period of time. You can prepare lentil soups, prepare Mexican wraps, use them in salads, etc.

Mostly processed, packaged and canned foods contain simple carbohydrates. Consuming them on regular basis can really damage our body over time. If consumed, should be used in moderation. Adding more fresh and whole foods to the diet can offer greater health benefits, increase energy levels and can help in fat loss efforts.

Stay fresh and healthy.

– NAKUL BAJAJ


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Fresh Chocolate Recipe

Easter is here and we all know what is Easter known for – Yes you are thinking right, it’s time for chocolates.

This Easter we are bringing you some great information on chocolates and also a recipe from a young talented pastry chef from Sydney, Isha Gadhok. She has completed her degree from Le Cordon Bleu, Sydney University and has worked as a pastry chef for Max Brenner Australia and Inter Continental, Sydney.

ISHA GADHOK  AND SOME OF HER WORK LAST SUMMER 

Isha Pastry Chef Moulded Chocolates Two Moulded Chocolates Main Moulded Chocolates1

About Couverture Chocolate

Couverture chocolate is a high quality chocolate which is majorly used by chefs for cooking and preparing confectionery. This chocolate is made from pure cocoa solids (a good content is at least 35%). Its richness is guaranteed due to high presence of cocoa solids and cocoa butter (at least 32%). Cocoa butter is what gives couverture chocolate a melt in the mouth delectability. Couverture chocolate can be of three types – Dark, milk and white chocolate.

Dark chocolate is what we recommend. This is broadly famous among connoisseurs and chefs. The reason for its popularity is the higher content of cocoa solids as compared to milk and white couverture chocolates. Dark couverture is made from cocoa solids, cocoa butter, sugar, vanilla and lecithin (an emulsifying agent). This chocolate has no added milk solids as compared to milk and white couvertures, therefore is the most pure form of chocolate.

Couverture chocolate requires skilful handling to get best results.  It requires a process of tempering before it can be used as a mould, coating or decorating. This process is difficult in a home environment, as special machine may be required with careful monitoring. However the good news is, that you can now pre-tempered couverture chocolate to use for recipes.

Where to buy pre-tempered couverture chocolate?

Now there are many online shops selling pre-tempered couverture chocolates. You can also ask your local pastry shop or contact some local suppliers.

Before melting pre-tempered dark couverture to put to use, keep in mind that if heated at more than 32 degree Celsius you may have to re-temper the chocolate. Hence under any circumstances do not exceed the temperature by 32 degree Celsius and store it in a cool place.

How To Make Moulded Dark Couverture Chocolate?

-Recipe by Isha Gadhok.

You Need:

1. Polycarbonate Moulds                     2. One Soft Cloth 3. One Cotton wool                                                 4. 500 grams of pre-tempered Dark Couverture           

Stage1. Polish inside of polycarbonate mould with cotton wool.

Stage2. Melt the dark chocolate, until it forms a ganache (smooth texture). Make sure temperature does not exceed 32 degree Celsius.

Stage3. Fill the polycarbonate mould with the ganache. Clean the excess with soft cloth.

Stage4. Seal it to make sure the product has good shelf life. Store it in a cool place away from heat. To speed up the process use the refrigerator and enjoy fresh chocolates.

Moulded Chocolates1

Here the green color is due to cocoa butter mixed with food color and spray paint.

Hope you all enjoyed the recipe and the information on fresh and healthy chocolate. Special thanks to the chef for sharing her recipe and her work with Eat All Fresh.

Ending Note: Not all chocolates are unhealthy. Research suggests dark chocolate is rich in anti-oxidants. Some of the bitter ones due to their high cocoa content, help in fat loss. So if you are following a diet program, a bit of bitter dark chocolate made from couverture chocolate can be a good option.

HAPPY EASTER TO EVERYONE

-Nakul Bajaj