Carob Molasses?? Debs el Kharoub!!

Carob and Carob molasses have shown to lower blood cholesterol (total cholesterol and LDL, the bad one), lower blood sugar, act as an antioxidant and improve digestion and that is all due to the high amounts of compounds named lignin, inisitol and other polyphenols.

Carob is rich in Vitamin A, B vitamins, Calcium, Potassium, Iron and healthy fibers and proteins. It’s also correlated with a positive effect on gums and teeth; where they recommend infants to chew the carob pod before teeth appear.

In many cultures it is used as a type of remedy, for example, some carob molasses melted in water for digestive discomfort. Due to its beneficial effects on the digestive system, it is recommended for kids with diarrheal; usually given with fruit juices, because it has the ability to bind liquids and enhances their absorption decreasing diarrheal symptoms; yet on the other hand it has been also correlated with constipation. Thus, depending on the case and the individual, carob and carob molasses can either help with diarrhea or constipation.

Due to the increase interest in health, carob has been highly studied as a chocolate replacement especially for diabetic products. Check out this traditional sweet, made by using carob molasses instead of sugar. All natural and suits vegetarians: Sfouf b Debs.

W Alf Sa7tein!!

Tahini contains Cholesterol??

Before answering this question on whether Tahini contains cholesterol or not, it’s important to point out what’s cholesterol, why it’s needed, why it’s harmful and its basic dietary sources.

Cholesterol is fat substance that is made by the liver (naturally) and is contained in our foods. It’s important to know that our body needs some cholesterol to function properly; for example cholesterol is needed for the structures for the body’s cell walls, hormone production etc. Yet, high intakes of cholesterol along with the high consumption of bad fats through the diet can lead to a buildup of cholesterol in the blood causing heart complications (blocking arteries, strokes etc.)

Cholesterol from the diet can only come from animal sources such as high fat meats, full fat milk, cheeses alongside with coconut, palm oil and cocoa butter and similar sources. Thus, as you can see almost all plant source foods do not contain cholesterol.

Tahini is a paste made from grinding roasted sesame seeds. Therefore, it originates from a plant source. Thus, it doesn’t contain any amounts of cholesterol. On the contrary, it’s rich in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats (the good fats) that have been correlated with decreasing levels of blood cholesterol especially if used in the diet in place of the bad fats.

In conclusion, tahini is cholesterol-free and is rich in healthy fats which can help reduce total cholesterol levels yet, keep in mind 1 tablespoon of tahini contains between 80-90 kcal most of which are from fats; so always be alert to the quantities eaten.

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.

Kartaba, Traditional Lebanese Festival and Awarma…

I had a visit to Kartaba, a village in Lebanon, located on the mountains above Byblos. Kartaba is surrounded by olive fields, mulberry (Tout), and vineyards.

There was a traditional Lebanese festival, know for the villagers as the “3asha Karawe”, that means “Village dinner.” There were 100s of people from all around the country… singing, laughing and enjoying some traditional Lebanese food…

There was the saj (a curved oven usually used to make the traditional Mankoushe), the karake (a traditional machine used to make the Arak, a well known Lebanese alcoholic beverage), and what was the most eye catching was the Awarma copper/aluminium pot, they call it: “DisitAwarma.”

Check some pictures and then after I’ll narrate the story of the “Awarma”…

Roasted Potato (Batata mishwiyeh)

Barbecued Meat (Mashawe)

The Saj and the Mankoushe

Knefe (a traditional Lebanese Sweet, usually eaten at breakfast)

The Saj and the Markouk bread

The Karake (A distillation machine to make Arak)

Disit Awarma (Copper/aluminium Pot)

Awarma (Preserved Meat)

Awarma, is lamb meat cooked in its own fat. In the old days, Awarma was prepared as a way of preserving meat. The purpose of preparing Awarma was mainly to preserve it for the winter, because back then they didn’t have fridges or any means of food preservation machines.

It’s formed from the lamb fat and the lamb meat, where the fat is melted down in a wide copper pot (Disit) and the chops of lamb meat is then after added, when the mixture is homogenized and well cooked it’s then poured in special jars and covered with cloth, kept in a cool place to be used in winter (Mouneh). Nowadays, Awarma is used for its rich flavor, with eggs (in pottery pots) and kebbeh…

As I’ve stated previously, Awarma is made mostly from fat, thus it contains huge amount of bad cholesterol and added salts…

Artichoke Overview and Health Benefits

Overview

Artichoke is the unopened flower of a Thistle (a flowering plant characterized by leaves of sharp tips).
Artichoke is well known in the Mediterranean region.
In Lebanon, it is widely served as a cold “mezza” (Lebanese cold appetizers) with Lemon, garlic, and olive oil dressing. The Artichoke hearts can be processed into pickles, or cooked (Meat and Artichoke Stew or with white sauce or with tahina: sesame paste).

Health Benefits

– Reduces bad cholesterol (LDL Cholesterol)
– Contains “inulin” a carbohydrate that stabilizes blood sugar levels in diabetic patients
– Improves liver functioning
– Relief Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) symptoms
– Helps improve digestive problem such as dyspepsia and helps the digestion process
– Reduce risk of cancer (ex. Breast cancer)

How?

Artichoke is an excellent source of dietary fiber, antioxidants, vitamin C, folic acid, vitamin A, potassium, and manganese. Moreover, it contains compounds that help the flow of bile from the gallbladder (bile is essential for cholesterol regulation, liver and digestive functioning).

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