Avocado, Benefits and Instant Recipes

Avocado

Avocado is a fruit rich in Monounsaturated Fatty Acids MUFA “Oleic acid” the good fats that help decrease LDL (the bad cholesterol) and maintain HDL (the good cholesterol).

Despite it’s a fruit, it’s always categorized within the fats group due to the high content of the monounsaturated fats. It’s also a rich source of:
– Antioxidants (protect against arthritis, cancer, heart disease, cataracts, aging etc.)
– Vitamins E
– Vitamin C
– beta-carotene
– Potassium
– Protein
– Dietary Fiber

The misconception of “Avocado” is bad and fattening is not actually correct, Avocado as seen above is a rich nutritious food item with several nutritious health benefits, yet always remember, everything in moderation (Check out the references for more details regarding Avocado and weight loss).

Food Ideas
We will be demonstrating a couple of simple, fast and easy salty and sugary recipes that are made from an Avocado Base accompanied with Labneh.

The Salty Ingredients

The Sugary Ingredients

Base
Avocado + Labneh

Salty Avocado Dip or Spread
Base + Green Onions + Sesame Seeds

Garnish
Green Onions + Sesame Seeds

A great Dip with some raw fresh vegetables, tortilla chips and a great Spread for Sandwiches

Sugary Avocado Dip or Spread
Base + Honey + Walnuts

Garnish
Walnuts

A great Spread for a lovely mini pass-around healthy dessert

For all vegetarians, lactose intolerant, non-dairy consuming individuals; instead of Labneh you can use our famous “Hommos” base (boiled mashed smooth hommos, without any added ingredient).

Sa7tein :):)

Photo Courtesy: Strawberry Blu

Related References

http://www.livestrong.com/article/310714-is-avocado-good-for-your-health/
http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/fat/NU00262
http://www.avocadosource.com/CAS_Yearbooks/CAS_76_1992/CAS_1992_123.htm
http://www.mayoclinic.org/medical-edge-newspaper-2009/jun-05b.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Avocado

It’s Fig Season

How to select and buy figs?
•Ripe figs are soft in hand, have sweet aroma and rich in color.
•Fig have a short life time thus it’s best to eat them while still fresh, if not they can be placed in the refrigerator for 2-3 days.
•Always avoid overly soft or bruised fruits with broken skin.
•Figs do not ripe after harvesting thus always prevent buying unripe fruits.

Types of Figs? Which is better? Which is Sweeter?
•There are mainly 2 types of figs, the black and the white.
•The white is usually sweet having a harder skin in comparison to the black that is sour in taste with softer skin. That’s why white figs are preferred in cooking such as in jams, jellies and side dishes.

Are they bad for Diabetes?
•Fresh figs are rich in fibers and simple sugars; thus diabetic patients are allowed to have them in replacement with other fruits or snacks.
•1 exchange of figs is around 2-3 figs. For example, a diabetic patient can replace a medium sized apple with 2 to 3 figs as a max.
•Dried or semi-dried figs contain higher amounts of simple sugars than fresh figs thus, raise blood sugar levels very quickly.
•Some research studies show that figs contain chlorogenic acid. Chlorogenic acid helps in lowering blood sugar levels and control blood glucose levels in diabetic patients. Yet, more research is still needed.

How much can we eat per day?
•1 fruit exchange of figs = 2-3 figs, thus it depends on individual daily intake allowance.

What are the nutritional health benefits of Figs?
•Figs are excellent source of dietary fibers, minerals (Calcium, Iron and Potassium), vitamins (B-vitamins) and anti-oxidants.
•100 g figs provide around 80 calories where as dried figs provide around 250 calories.
•Have positive effects on cancers, diabetes, hypertension, degenerative diseases and infections.

Caution:
Fig leaves and un-ripened fruit produce white liquid than cause burning to the skin and the eyes; can also induce allergic reactions.


Are you in a Rush? Surprised with some Guests? It’s Fig Season!!
Here is a simple, quick and easy serving example; that you can prepare in 15 minutes.

Ingredients:
-Cream Cheese
-Figs Jam
-Baguette Bread slices (or pain au lait)
-Walnuts


Preparation Method:
Mix 75:25 ratio of Cream Cheese to Figs jam. Mix until you get a smooth creamy texture.
Place some on a baguette bread slice and decorate with walnuts.
Serve as an appetizer or a pass around starter.

The Nutritional Health Benefits of Pine Nuts


Overview
Pine nuts are the edible seeds of pine trees. Pine Trees grow wild in the forests and they do not need water or fertilizers to grow. The trees can live over 150 years.
The seeds are contained in kernels inside the pine tree cones. When the cones gets dry (sun dried), the kernels are shaken out of the cone and cracked to get the pine nuts. Harvesting the nuts is labor intensive that’s why they are generally more expensive than the other nuts.


Cuisine
Pine nuts have been used in Middle Eastern cuisine for thousands of years. They are either used raw, roasted or pan fried. They are mostly incorporated in stuffings (kebbeh, fatayer etc.), used as a garnish (Hommos with meat), with some drinks (Jellab) and in sauces (pesto sauce). They are also preserved in honey jars.


Nutritional Health Benefits
Pine nuts contain high amount of proteins, fats and dietary fibers. 100g of pine nuts contains around 600 – 700 calories.

1.Appetite Suppressant: (Pinoleic acid)
Pine nuts contain “Pinoleic acid” that helps the stomach stimulate a hormone (the hormone is named: CCK) that act as an appetite suppressant (slows down rate of digestion and gives the feeling of full stomach).

2.Cholesterol Reduction: (Oleic acid)
Pine nuts contain “Oleic acid” that is a mono-saturated fat (a good fat, like olive oil) that helps reduce cholesterol and protects the arteries from damage (heart healthy).

3.Rich in Antioxidants
Pine nuts have high concentrations of antioxidants, which help protect the cells from free radical damage.

4.Decrease Muscle Cramps: (Magnesium)
Pine nuts contain “Magnesium” that helps in relieving muscle cramps, fatigue and tension.

Caution:
Some people may be allergic to pine nuts.

Passiflora edulis

It’s a vine type tree that produce egg shaped purple or yellow fruits. The passion fruit mainly grows in warm areas, it’s found in countries such as Brazil, Colombia, , Indonesia, Peru, Hawaii, Mexico etc.

The passion fruit pictures you’ll be seeing below are taken in my own garden, Mount Lebanon, Lebanon. My tree usually blossoms end of June to mid July, after which egg shaped green eggs begin to show, end of July throughout August the green unripe fruit change in color to become purple in color, when the outer layer of the fruit gets wrinkled the fruit drops by itself out from it mother tree on to the floor. Then the fruits are collected from beneath the tree, cleaned, and cooled for consumption.

The fruit is usually cut through its middle (cross section) and the inner part is eaten by a spoon. The inner part is collected and used to make cake toppings, jams, syrups, juices, ice cream, mousses, cocktails, flavored cheese cakes, tarts, flavored yoghurt etc…

Health Benefits/ Nutritional Facts

It is a good source of fibers that are essential to the digestive system, colon etc. It’s also rich in antioxidants (prevent lipid oxidation within the body, thus help improve the body’s lipid profile, and are also associated with decreasing risks of cancer)

The passion fruit is rich in Vitamin A (helps the body to remove free radicals that cause skin and tissue damage, and it helps to improve vision) and Vitamin C (helps to repair tissue, helps prevent heart disease and cancer).

3 to 4 passion fruits make 1 fruit exchange that is around 60-70kcal.

EGGPLANT… Does it contain High Concentrations of NICOTINE?

Eggplant, also known as Aubergine, is a vegetable found in several shapes, sizes and colors. It’s widely used in cooking: baked, stewed, roasted, stuffed or fried.

For example, it’s used to make (in the Lebanese Cuisine):
-Baba Ghannouj: roasted eggplant w tahina
-Shaykhil Mihshee: fried eggplant stuffed with minced meat and tomato
-Mousakaa: vegetarian style, fried eggplant with chickpeas and tomato sauce
-Makdous. stuffed eggplant pickles with walnuts and red pepper

Eggplant is a good source of dietary fiber, B vitamins, potassium, copper, magnesium, phosphorus, niacin, and folic acid. It’s rich in antioxidants and free-radical scavengers thus help in decreasing cholesterol. It’s also good for diabetic patients where it helps the absorption of glucose into the body and lowers blood pressure.

As for the Nicotine content; yes eggplant does contain nicotine. Yet, the amount of nicotine within the eggplant is NEGLIGIBLE (0.01 mg nicotine per 100g eggplant). That means to have an adverse health effect from the nicotine in the eggplant one needs to consume more than 10 to 12 large eggplants (more than a kilogram) every single day, which in normal cases does not happen.

According to the New England Journal of Medicine 100g of eggplant contains 0.01mg of nicotine thus, 10kg of eggplant is equivalent to 1 cigarette, therefore eggplant nicotine no negative effect.

In conclusion, always remember the dose makes the poison. Everything we eat can be transformed into a remedy or changed into a toxic substance depending on exposure, thus everything should be consumed in moderation, within the acceptable daily intake levels.

http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJM199308053290619

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