Sunday, 27 September 2009
BY FABIAN ODUM
Nuts never really seem to go out of season but at certain times there are a number of them available for consumers to munch.
The consumption of nuts as part of normal meals is beginning to receive attention. Though this may not be a wide and popular practice. Nuts have their place in the body for growth and maintenance of tissues.
The average Nigerian meal is not structured in the Western style in which you have the first course, then second and dessert, but we can begin to adopt what is good for our health.
Main meal and dessert
In this three-course meal, nuts can feature in the recipes of home-baked bread, desserts, cakes, main dishes, salads and so forth.
Closer home, among the popular nuts eaten alone or with other snack food are palm kernel nuts with roasted breadfruit seeds (aku n’ukwa – Igbo snack), and the widely eaten coconut (agbon – Yoruba) and groundnut. There are several other nuts of nutritional importance like cashew nuts, walnuts, chestnut, hazel nuts among others that are widely eaten but which fat content has generated concern among health-conscious consumers.
A publication, Clinical Cardiology showed a research result stating that, “one of the most unexpected nutritional discoveries of the last decades is that the frequent eating of nuts appears to dramatically improve health.” Researchers at Loma Linda University, California, US, reported a higher incidence of heart attacks on those who eat fewer nuts – say once a month in comparison to having a daily diet of nuts after meal.
Reduction in the risk of heart disease, one analysis revealed, has become possible from the consumption of nuts due to the kind of fat they possess.
Nuts lower total cholesterol and the harmful low density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol despite their high fat content, however the fat is largely unsaturated.
Nuts are rich in fibre and high in monounsaturated fat, which is considered good for human consumption.
Researchers at the Federal Institution of Industrial Research, Oshodi (FIIRO) say there are several seeds that contain extractable quantities of vegetable oil useful for both human consumption and industrial purpose.
While the oil could be processed for food, the direct consumption of these nuts on regular basis has been known to increase longevity. Research showed that they to reduce overall mortality.
Nuts like coconut are reportedly high in fats while their risk of aflatoxin in palm kernel nuts and groundnuts. But a recent study shows that they do not result in weight gain.
While it is not yet fully understood, it added however, that eating the combination of nuts offers the best benefits.
They are excellent sources of vitamin E known to protect against cancers.
Other nutrients provided by nuts include folic acid, copper, magnesium, arginine (amino acid), and they are the best source of dietary manganese and certain plant sterols.
Incidentally, the compound is now being incorporated in margarines to reduce the absorption of cholesterol from our foods.
Allergy to some nuts is not altogether ruled out for some persons but overall, this number is likely insignificant.
So healthy eating demands that people should include nuts in their menu.
Lemon fruit (Cleanses and purifies the blood)
Lemon is the aggregate fruit of the lemon tree (Citrus Limon Burum) a spiny evergreen of the botanical family Rutaceae. It is an oval shape citrus fruit and is used as a beverage and an ingredient to some dishes to enhance their flavor.
Lemon tree is like other citrus trees such as orange, grape fruit and tangerine tree. It is rich in Vitamin C, contains Calcium, Magnesium, Potassium and Flavonoid (a compound that contains antioxidant and anti-cancer properties and prevents other diseases.)
Uses and preparation of lemon fruit
Lemon juice is obtained by squeezing the lemon fruit. It has great medicinal value because of its high Vitamin C content.
Seasoning and dressing for various dishes:
Lemon juice when add to foods improves the flavor, digestibility of foods.
Used in preparing some beverages:
Lemon juice is used in some beverages and it has a great medicinal properties.
Healing power of lemon fruit:
Lemon alkalizes the blood; it also facilitates the urinary elimination of the toxic waste material (mostly acidic substances) that the body constantly produces. Regular consumption of lemon fruits therefore helps to purify and cleanses the blood.
Lemon should form a regular part of diet for people suffering from anemia because of it high vitamin C content which increase the absorption of iron in other plant – based foods and helps in treating anemia.
Boost the immune system:
Lemon is one of the fruits that strengthen the immune system. This is due to the fruit’s high content of vitamin C and phytochemicals content which improve the body’s immune system ability to resist infections and also has antibacterial and antiviral properties. It is recommended for people suffering from whether viral or bacterial infection..
Regular intake of lemon fruit strengthen the capillary walls, improves the elasticity of arteries and reduces the blood’s tendency to excessive clotting, thereby preventing arteriosclerosis.
Helps build strong bones:
Lemon juice diluted with water can be very beneficial for pregnant women; it actually helps build the bones in the unborn child, this is due to its calcium content.
D – Limonene is an aromatic terpene found in the lemon fruit, particularly in the peel that has been shown capable of neutralizing certain carcinogens. Lemon consumption contributes to neutralizing many of the carcinogens found in foods and the environment and in this way lemon help prevents cancer.