Tag Archives: cholesterol

Can you cook with extra virgin olive oil?

When chosing a cooking oil, it is important to avoid certain vegetable oils such as walnut oil or flaxseed oil. However, many people wonder if extra virgin olive oil belongs to the category of oils that should be avoided. So can you cook with extra virgin olive oil?

To determine if an oil can be used for cooking, it is necesssary to know its “smoking point”. The smoking point of an oil is the point right before the oil starts boiling to put it in a simple way or the peak at which a chemical break down of the oil starts to take place and becomes harmful to health, because of the loss of nutritional content and the creation of carcinogens. The boiling point of water is 100ºC but the smoking point of an oil depends on each type of oil. The higher the smoking point is, the safer it is to use that specific oil for cooking. As a reference point, deep frying occurs at 190ºC so an oil with a smoking point below this temperature will not be suitable for cooking.

However, it is also important to define why the smoking point of an oil is high. The smoking point of an oil is determined partly by its free fatty acidity or FAA and the lower the FAA, the higher the smoking point will be. The free fatty acidity content on the other hand can be very low or close to zero for different reasons:

– the oil has been refined, meaning it went through a chemical process
– the oil is pure and of high quality such as extra virgin olive oil and is naturally low in FFA

The smoking point of olive oil varies from source to source because each manufacturer claims their oil to be the best but the smoking point also depends on the type of virgin olive oil. Virgin olive oil is obtained by a mechanical process of the olive fruit and does not undergo any treatment or alteration. It is important to differentiate olive oils and according to the International Olive Oil Council, the definition of olive oil is as follows:

“Olive oil is the oil obtained solely from the fruit of the olive tree (Olea europaea L.), to the exclusion of oils obtained using solvents or re-esterification processes and of any mixture with oils of other kinds. It is marketed in accordance with the following designations and definitions: Virgin olive oils are the oils obtained from the fruit of the olive tree solely by mechanical or other physical means under conditions, particularly thermal conditions, that do not lead to alterations in the oil, and which have not undergone any treatment other than washing, decantation, centrifugation and filtration. Virgin olive oils fit for consumption as they are include:

Extra virgin olive oil
– Virgin olive oil
– Ordinary virgin olive oil”

Extra virgin olive oil has a free fatty acidity ranging from 0 to 0.8% and as mentioned above, the lower the FFA, the higher the smoking point. Also, the higher the quality of the extra virgin olive oil, the lower the FAA.

On the other hand, olive oils not fit for consumption include refined olive oils that have been chemically treated, olive pomace oils that are extracted from the pulp using solvents or pure olive oils that are a mix of refined oils and extra virgin olive oils. The FFA of a refined olive oil is around 0.3% so is also low but the oil is not as natural and healthy as the extra virgin olive oil while having a similar ranging FFA.

A high quality extra virgin olive oil’s smoking point varies between 185ºC to 210ºC which makes its smoking point slightly below or higher than the deep frying temperature of 190 degree celsius so cooking food at lower temperatures which typically vary between 140ºC to 160ºC with extra virgin olive oil is actually fine and will give a nice taste to the dish. Extra virgin olive oil is also rich in monounsaturated fats (around 70%) and the ideal cooking oil should be rich in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats (called also unsaturated fats or good fats versus saturated fats that raise cholesterol, increase heart disease rate and much more). This is why oils such as refined coconut oil, palm oil, peanut oil, even sunflower seed oil should be avoided. They may have a high smoking point but their content of saturated fats make them unhealthy, even dangerous. Another good alternative is organic avocado oil also rich in monounsaturated fats and with a smoking point of 271ºC.

You can easily find Biona Organic Extra Virgin Italian Olive Oil, 1l online.

Organic pine nuts

Organic pine nuts are edible kernels extracted from pine cones that grow on specific pine tree species. The quantity of kernels produced by a cone will depend greatly on the altitude at which the tree grows because little or too much humidity will force the tree to abort the pine cone growth and hence the seeds growth. An ideal altitude seems to range between 2000m to 2500m although in certain climates, the pine trees can produce cones at much lower altitudes. pine coneThe pine seeds or nuts are contained within a hard shell present underneath the pine cone scales. Pine nuts are very difficult to extract and require a full process that can last up to 18 months. The cone needs to reach maturity to be harvested of course, then dried until it fully opens to gather the seeds and the seeds need to be extracted from their own hard shell. pine nuts This explains why pine nuts can be expensive but also given the fact that they have a short shell life and can become rancid pretty quickly unless they are stored in a dry place.

Health benefits of pine nuts

Pine nuts are not considered nuts but seeds and can sometimes be found under the name of pignon or pignalias. People have been eating pine nuts for centuries and they were once considered as an aphrodisiac in Ancient Greek civilization where they were preserved in honey. They are now included in culinary dishes including salad toppings, sauces, meat but they are also delicious as is. Their health properties lie in their high content of protein which is ideal for people who do not eat meat. They are very rich in good fats including mono-unsaturated fatty acids, polyunsaturated fatty acids and linoleic acid (omega 6). Linoleic acid forms part of our cell membranes and should be included in regular diet especially if combined with Omega 3. They also contain Vitamin A, B (1, 3, 5, 6), Vitamin E, fiber, zinc, magnesium, potassium, iron and manganese. They are said to contribute to lowering the bad cholesterol, preventing cardio-vascular disease (thanks to the good fats), reducing the appetite and helping with weight loss. Also, they can contribute to skin and hair health because of the natural occurring fats.

Organic pine nuts should be favored because the pine trees grow on organic crops. Also, some pine nuts can have a bitter flavor which should not happen with organic pine nuts. However, just like for any other organic products, you should always check the origin of the product to ensure that it is truly organic.

Organic safflower oil for weight loss

Safflower is a plant belonging to the sun flower family with yellow, red or orange flowers. The plant is 30 cm to 150 cm of height and can resist both very dry climates or intense colds. Traditionally used to produce dyes, the safflower plant produces seeds used to make oil.

Animal fats and vegetable fats

There is a distinction between animal fats and vegetable fats. Animal fats are rich in saturated fats and are therefore to be eaten in moderation. They are often the cause of increase in weight, bad cholesterol and cardio-vascular diseases. As for vegetable fats, they can result in the same complications if they are chemically treated and heated because they also contain saturated fats. On the other hand, an oil that is virgin, cold-pressed and from vegetable origin is rich in polyunsaturated and mono-unsaturated fats and will not induce the same problems since those fats are actually indispensable for proper function, nourishment and protection of the human body. A cold-pressed oil extraction is done without pre-heating of the source it is extracted from (seeds, grains, fruits).

Health benefits of organic safflower oil

There are many sources of good fats but cold-pressed organic safflower oil is extremely interesting for its therapeutic use because of its chemical composition; it is indeed very rich in polyunsaturated and mono-unsaturated fats and particularly in Omega 6 and Vitamin E. Among all the vegetable oils, safflower oil is the richest in linoleic acid, an essential fatty acid that should be included in human diet on a daily basis for good health since it is one main constituent of human cell membranes and it is valuable to strengthen the immune system. A lack of linoleic acid can result in skin disorders such as dermatitis, inflammation, acne, dry skin, dry hair and even hair loss.

Safflower oil can be used internally as part of the diet and is particularly recommended for weight loss. It is also recommended to people suffering from type 2 diabetes not only to lose weight but also to reduce blood sugar and safflower is being studied to produce insulin. It can help as well to regularize menstrual cycles and has natural anti-inflammatory properties. However, because safflower oil is very rich in linoleic acid but contains less mono-unsaturated fats, it should be taken in alternation with other oils or food sources rich in mono-unsaturated fats to benefit from a balanced diet and give the body all the nutrients needed.

Topically, safflower oil used in massages can help reduce muscular tensions and muscular pains, rheumatism conditions and intestinal disorders. As mentioned above, it is also an excellent oil against skin disorders such as eczema, psoriasis, inflammation, acne, dry skin and even dry hair. It can be added in the bath to really penetrate the skin and the hair and leave it soft and nourished. Safflower oil is odorless and can be mixed with few drops of favorite organic essential oils to make a relaxing and therapeutic bath.

Organic safflower oil can found at any local health store or online Naissance Safflower Oil 250ml Certified Organic 100% Pure like any other organic products.

Organic cocoa butter

Cocoa butter benefits

Cocoa butter naturally occurs in cocoa beans that contain 40% to 50% fats. Cocoa butter, and even better, organic cocoa butter organic cacao butteris very beneficial for the skin. Cocoa butter is one of the most stable natural fat and is an amazing moisturizer that prevents from dehydration and leaves the skin extra smooth, especially for dry skin. It is also efficient for skin conditions such as dermatitis or eczema and is one of the main ingredients in creams that are formulated against stretch marks. Organic cocoa butter should be favored because it is free from chemicals, petroleum and preservatives and has been mechanically extracted so it can provide the expected results. Also organic cocoa butter has not been heated so all the beneficial nutrients remain. You can find organic cocoa butter at local health stores or online.

organic cocoa butter creamCocoa butter is found in many organic skin care products such as organic cocoa butter cream but can also be used raw. It has naturally occurring antioxidants and therefore has a shelf life of 2 to 5 years if conserved in a cool and dark place. You can cut a piece of cocoa butter that will sort of melt in your hands and apply it on your face and body, especially on areas that are dry. The texture is very nice and the smell very pleasant.

A truly raw and organic cocoa butter can also be eaten and because it has high content of stearic acid, it actually contributes to lowering cholesterol levels. You cannot cook with cocoa butter though and it should not be used in the pans, only slightly heated to melt it and make chocolate bars (with organic cocoa powder) for example.

Organic dark chocolate truffles with goji berry

We have found an amazing gourmet product that not only tastes good but that also makes up for a little healthy snack: dark chocolate truffles with goji berry. The truffles are made from organic cacao powder and organic cacao butter and also contain goji berries, well-known for their health properties as well as cherries. They are sweetened with fruit extracts (dates and agaves) and do not contain any chemicals or added sugar. The truffles are made by hand and have each a delicious flavor and texture that will make you want to eat the whole box at once. dark chocolate truffles with goji berriesThe organic dark chocolate truffles with goji berries can be part of your “sweet” cabinet but they also make for an excellent gift for chocolate connoisseurs. Plus, they come in a very cute little container. The dark chocolate truffles, can purchased online here. They are shipped internationally and will be home withing 6 to 10 days depending on where you live. Eating chocolate can be healthy if the chocolate is dark and unprocessed and does contain any additional sugars or fats.

cacao-treeDark chocolate is derived from cacao seeds. The cacao tree, also known as Theobroma cacao which means the “food of Gods” in Greek and is native from South America although it is also grown in Africa and more particularly in Ivory Coast, the largest world exporter of cacao. The cacao tree is an evergreen tree belonging to the Sterculiaceae family that needs a humid climate and an irrigated soil to grow properly and is often found at altitudes ranging from 600m to 1000m. It produces poisonous leaves, flowers that grow in clusters on the tonk of the tree and fruits or cacao pods that resemble of a yellow melon and become orange/light brown when ripen. cacao-podsThe cacao pods measure from 10cm to 40 cm and contains 30 to 60 seeds or cacao beans that are enclaved in a whitish and dry pulp. cacao-beansThe cacao beans, once extracted, are fermented between 2 to 8 days in order to release their aroma or chocolate flavor and then dried. Later on, the beans will be roasted at the factory to start the process of making chocolate, first producing a thick chocolate liquor that is cacao contained in cacao butter. Cacao liquor is then separated from the cacao butter that contains 40% to 50% of fats and turned into cacao powder. chocolate liquorDark chocolate is typically made from chocolate liquor and milk chocolate with chocolate liquor, sugars and milk. Chocolate can also be made from cacao powder extracted from beans that have not been fermented or roasted and therefore are packed with much higher percentage of antioxidants. Unfermented beans deliver a stronger and bitterer-tasty chocolate.

Organic dark chocolate health benefits

Cacao is packed with antioxidants called polyphenols that protect the cells from oxidation much like berries or beans and that result in good health, helping boost the immune system, prevent cardio-vascular complications and even cancer, reduce bad cholesterol levels and can even lower the blood pressure. Cacao is also packed with minerals that are essential for health such as copper, calcium, potassium, iron and magnesium. Cacao also helps make us feel good and are a sort of anti-depressant because it contains phenylethylamine, a substance that helps produce natural chemicals in our brain, also known as endorphins. It contains mild stimulants like theobromine that is also helpful in reducing coughing and caffeine in small dosage to give us a little boost.

Organic dark chocolate

Let’s not forget that cacao is derived from a tree, hence its beneficial properties and we are not talking here about sweet and unhealthy chocolate bars but the cacao itself or pure chocolate. The healthiest chocolate will be a very dark and organic chocolate and even a fair trade organic chocolate although it is important not to rely only on the packaging to chose your chocolate but like with all organic products, to also check the list of ingredients to ensure this is a truly organic chocolate. Organic chocolate is made from organic beans that have not been spread with pesticides and that have not been fermented or roasted, keeping intact its health properties. Also, dark and organic chocolate is unsweetened or less sweetened, contains less fat and has not been mixed with other ingredients that give the bad reputation to eating chocolate. Dark chocolate can be incorporated in the diet if it is not eaten abusively.

Zoom on the superfruits: organic goji berry

The organic goji berry is also known under the name wolfberry and belongs to the Lycium genus and Solanaceae family, just like tomato, pepper, eggplant and patato. Goji berry comes from south-east Europe and Asia and the plant grows goji berry flowers of lavender or light purple color that goji berry flowerbloom from June to September while the seeds produce bright orange/red fruits that ripen from July to October. The fruits are sometimes referred to as red diamonds.

Goji berries have drawn attention the past few years and are now marketed as superfruits for their nutritional values and are often referred as Novel Foods. However, goji berries are not new and have been eaten for more than 600 years especially in China and the plant was introduced in the UK in 1730. Being forgotten by the general public, it was put back on the market in the years 2000 and onwards.

Goji berry health benefits

Goji berries are known for their high content of antioxidants and this is why they have been marketed as superfruits. As such, they can help boost the immune system. They are also used in Traditional Chinese medicine to protect the liver, to improve blood circulation, to enhance sexual functions, to protect the eye sight and to reduce cardio-vascular risks. They can help reduce high blood pressure, eliminate bad cholesterol, increase energy levels, improve skin complexion and even as anti-aging. They are a great fruit to include in the diet as they are rich in Vitamin C (more than oranges), Vitamin B2 (for the metabolism), antioxidants (phenols), zinc, selenium, iron, potassium, calcium, beta-carotene, amino acids (to build blocks of proteins), monosaccharides and polysaccharides (carbohydrates), unsaturated fats (linoleic acid or omega 6 and alpha-linolenic acid or omega 3) and fibers.

Organic goji berries

Goji berries are known to be spread with a lot of pesticides, fungicides and insecticides especially when coming from Asia. Some goji berries batches were even refused from entering the USA because of the level of chemicals that they contained. Therefore, you should favor organic goji berries as most organic products are grown naturally but again, always check the origin and the packaging to ensure they are truly organic goji berries. dry goji berriesGoji berries are often sold in the form of dried goji berries that are chewy in texture and sweet and sour in taste because fresh goji berries are not easy to find. They are also sometimes found in tisanes in the organic teas section but the most common form is goji berry juice. However, pure goji berry juice is also hard to find and you will notice that the goji juice is in most cases mixed with other berries juice and sugar. Again, an organic goji berry juice will contain higher percentages of organic goji berries and no added sugar. You can at last find delicatessen food such as dark chocolate truffles with goji berry. If the chocolate is dark and the product does not contain added sugar, it can make up for a pleasant and healthy snack.

Fancy an organic cup of tea?

All types of teas are made from the plant Camellia sinensis that belongs to the Theaceae family. In Latin, sinensis means Chinese and this is no wonder since the plant originated in Mainland China and South East Asia but is now also cultivated in tropical and sub-tropical regions and a cultivated version also exists in order to grow it commercially from anywhere. Camellia sinensis is a small tree usually kept trimmed to reach a height of 2m, it has white yellow flowers, leaves of 4 to 15cm long and it grows naturally in high altitude from 1000m to 2500m. The seeds of camellia sinensis are used to produce tea oil (not to confuse with tea tree oil), which is an oil used for culinary purposes much like olive oil and that has naturally occurring vitamin E, unsaturated fats and antioxidants. The tea oil is also used in the manufacturing of cosmetics (soaps, hair products).
organic black teaThe dried leaves of camellia sinensis are used to make tea and depending on the age of the leaves, the quality of the tea varies as their chemical composition changes. The altitude at which the plant grows plays also a big role and tea leaves grown at higher altitudes give the tea a much better flavor. Soils and harvesting and processes are as much as important since these factors will contribute to producing the various types of teas we know such as black tea, green tea, white tea, pu-erh tea or oolong tea, all having a different oxidation.

Organic black tea: Black tea is darker in color because it is more oxidized due to the fact that the leaves are dried longer, withered, fully fermented, and fired. The used leaves are usually more mature leaves. The best quality black teas are rarely exported unless fair trade deals have been made with the growers so always read the label and favor fair trade products.
Organic oolong tea: Oolong tea is also made with mature leaves that are withered, semi-fermented, panfired and dried. The cooking of the leaves is typically made over charcoal, giving the tea its characteristic taste.
Organic pu-erh tea: Pu-erh tea is made with matures leaves that are withered and go through a special fermentation process that darken the leaves and change their flavor over time, just like a good wine.
Organic green tea: Green tea uses mature leaves that are withered, steamed or panfired and dried.
Organic white tea: White tea uses young leaves that are only steamed and dried.

These types of teas are divided in sub-categories resulting in a variety of more than 2000 teas. Then, we can also find beverages made from botanicals or herbs and these are often wrongly referred to as “herbal teas”; wrongly because all teas come from the Camellia sinesis plant so that a beverage made of chamomile flowers is not a tea but a tisane or an herbal infusion.

Organic tea health benefits

People have been drinking tea for more than 5000 years and for a reason. Tea is rich in phytochemicals that are chemicals naturally present in plants, some of which are beneficial for health. Tea contains antioxidants (flavanoids and polyphenol types) that may reduce the risk of cardio-vascular disease and cancers. Tea can also help fight bad cholesterol and boost the immune system and it contains fluoride that is beneficial to the teeth and bad breath. Tea is however rich in caffeine and green teas, white teas and all teas contain more or less the same amount of it. The caffeine content is found in the fresh tea leaves (4% of caffeine) so the way the tea is processed does not drastically influence the amount of caffeine although black tea is the most caffeinated of all teas. Black tea contains 4g of caffeine per serving, oolong tea 30g, green tea 20g and white tea 15g. Black tea is also more oxidized and because of the way it is processed (fully fermented, fired and dried), it looses some of the effect of the polyphenol content while green tea is only withered, steamed and dried, and white tea only steamed and dried, keeping fully their health properties.

However, it is important when you chose a tea to chose it right. Indeed, the tea plant is today commercially grown and therefore is sprayed with chemicals that inevitably end up in your cup of tea. Also, what is better, a tea bag or loose tea leaves? The loose tea leaves are derived from the full tea leaves or broken leaves but from the best part of the leave. Meanwhile, tea bags usually contain the fannings or the dust of the leaves, basically the worse part. Tea bags are convenient but they are not as high quality as full tea leaves. The same applies for herbal infusions.

Regardless of the type of tea you prefer, chose an organic loose leaves tea that has been grown in non-contaminated soils and that has not gone through a chemical treatment such as pesticides or herbicides spray. As always, read the label when you buy organic products because of the marketing scams. Don’t forget that where you prepare your tea is also important not to boil the leaves. Bring the water to boiling and once off the cooker, throw 2 to 4 grams of leaves and let it infuse for a few minutes. If in a hurry and you want to pour the boiling water on the leaves, you should first dip them in cold water so that the tea will keep all its good properties.

Enjoy 🙂

Organic maitake mushrooms

Maitake is a Japanese mushroom also known as the “Dancing mushroom” belonging to the Meripilaceae family and the G. frondosa species. The maitake mushroom grows in Japan and in North-America and has been praised for its healing properties, restoring unbalanced body systems. Maitake mushrooms are recognizable as they look like a cluster made of of multiple grayish-brown caps that are curled or spoon-shaped. It can be as big as 60 cm large and it grows at the same place for few years in a row. The maitake mushroom can weigh up to 20 kg and is dubbed as the King of the Mushrooms in Japan where it widely used for cooking purposes just like the Shiitake mushroom.

Maitake mushroom health properties

Besides being used for culinary purposes, the maitake mushroom also have amazing health properties and can be found in various forms: fresh mushroom, dry mushroom, powder, capsules, liquid or tea. In Asia, it has traditionally been used for its ability to boost the immune system thanks to its active constituent, Beta-glucan and is a good supplement/food to intake before the winter to fight colds and flu. It is also known to lower blood pressure, to lower bad cholesterol levels as well as to lower sugar levels in diabetic patients thanks to its hypoglycemic properties (naturally occurring alpha glucosidase inhibitor). It can also help manage weight loss. Maitake is rich in minerals, vitamins (B especially), fibers, amino-acids (proteins) and antioxidants and can help release inflammations.

Many studies have been conducted on the maitake mushroom and in 2009, a human trial was performed at the Memorial Sloan–Kettering Cancer Center in New-York on breast cancer patients demonstrating that the maitake mushroom could stimulate the production of immune system cells. Other studies were performed to research on prostate cancer, bladder cancer and various types of cancer cells and revealed that a portion of the mushroom called D-fraction was responsible for the anti-cancer activity. Further studies are being performed on the maitake mushroom that could become a life saver in the future.

How to take maitake?

First of all, depending where you live, it might be hard to find fresh maitake since it does not grow everywhere. However, dry maitake is commonly found in natural health stores or online and organic maitake is recommended to ensure it has grown on untreated soils. Dry organic maitake mushrooms can be soaked in warm water until it becomes soft (1 hour usually). It can then be cooked with other organic products such as olive oil and added in meat, pasta, organic quinoa or with other vegetables. The taste is quite pleasant although it is very different from the mushrooms we are typically used to eat; however, knowing what good it does to us, the taste can easily be put aside. maitake ampulesYou can also find maitake in the form of liquid in maitake ampules. You can use these ampules to do a cure of 21 days during the fall and during the spring, basically at the times when the immune system is at its lowest and needs a boost. You can also use 2 to 4 grams of maitake mushrooms to make a maitake tea. Bring to a boil and simmer for 2 to 4 hours, pass it and drink a cup in the morning and the evening. You can also easily find maitake supplements to take with a glass of water, but be always careful with the origin of the product to ensure it has not been mixed with other powders, as the effects will be lowered.

Organic quinoa

Organic quinoa is one of the nutritious superfood that can be incorporated in breakfast, lunch, diner.

The origin of quinoa

Quinoa is a seed whose origins come from South America where the plant Chenopodium quinoa has been cultivated for more than 6000 years. It is also called the “Gold of the Incas”. It was considered the “Mother seed” because of its exceptional nutritious properties and was a sacred food. However, with the arrival of the Spanish conquistadors, the cultivation of quinoa became prohibited and the use of the seed slowly disappeared until recently when it started being grown again in the USA. Indeed, quinoa health benefits were rediscovered and people started to show interest in the seed again.

quinoa plant
Quinoa belongs to the Chenopodium genus and is therefore closer to the spinach or beet rather than grains. Quinoa is usually of light-yellow color but other varieties exist with red, orange or black color. The taste is rather pleasant with a nutty flavor.

Quinoa health benefits

Quinoa is an exceptionally complete food rich in proteins and in all the essential amino-acids, fiber, phosphorus, magnesium, manganese, copper, calcium, iron, zinc, vitamin B and E. It is also gluten-free for people with gluten-intolerance. Quinoa is an amazing food source for vegans. Also, thanks to its nutritional properties, quinoa is a great food to increase energy levels (complex carbohydrates) and contains unsaturated fat (good fat). Its amino-acids content (especially lysine) helps promote the growth and repair of body tissues. It is said to be beneficial to people prone to migraines thanks to the magnesium (blood vessel relaxer) and vitamin B2 content (promotes energy production and synthesis of steroids and red blood cells) but also beneficial to promote a healthy heart. It has antioxidant activities to fight body toxins and the fiber content (soluble and insoluble) helps fight bad cholesterol levels, promote a healthy heart, lower the blood sugar in type 2 diabetes and contribute to a regular bowel movement.

easy quinoa recipes

Easy quinoa recipes

First of all, you should choose a brand of certified organic quinoa to ensure that the seeds have not been sprayed with chemicals. Where to find organic quinoa? You can find certified organic quinoa at your local health store or online just like any other organic products, in regular quinoa bags or quinoa in bulk or even in quinoa flakes. Quinoa is usually covered with saponins and therefore should be thoroughly washed in water before cooking to avoid the bitter taste but also toxicity. Most companies now pre-wash quinoa but wash it anyways to have peace of mind. Use:

– 1 cup of quinoa
– 3 cups of water
– Make the water boil, add the washed quinoa and cook for 10 to 15 minutes. Let it absorb the remaining water and voila.

Even though quinoa has a very pleasant taste, you can make it a amazing dish by adding salt, rosemary, chopped onions, cooked peppers, tomatoes. You can even make a sort of couscous using pieces of lamb, pork, chicken and a mix of vegetables.

As a morning breakfast, you can add other grains of your choice (flaxseeds, pine nuts, walnuts, sesame seeds) to your quinoa along with superfruits such as blueberries, rasberries, acai berries, tart cherries, goji berries, etc…..

Organic quinoa is an organic product that can become part of your balanced diet and that will contribute to your general well-being.

Acai berry juice

Acai berry is a purple berry that grows on the acai palm, a palm tree belonging to the Arecaceae family and that measures from 25 to 30 m high. Acai palms grow in Central and South America, in particularly in Brazil (in the Amazon forest) where the acai berry has been valued for centuries by locals for its amazing health properties. Acai palm leaves are used to make hats, baskets, and even in construction. Acai berries are small and round berries made of 80% of seeds that can be used as organic soil to feed plants.

Acai berry health benefits

Acai berry has gained in popularity in the past 10 years thanks to marketing efforts to position the fruit as a “superfruit” like goji berries, blueberries or tart cherry. It is now grown outside the traditional Amazonian crops to meet the high demand in Western countries. The marketing buzz was done around the acai berry health benefits.

1 – Indeed, acai berries are very rich in antioxidants and rate high on the Orac scale (see our previous article about tart cherry). Acai berries are packed with anthocyanins much like blueberries and this explains their deep purple color as well as their antioxidant capacity. They are also rich in polyphenols, another type of antioxidant often related to the “French paradox”. French people eat fatty food (cheese, white bread, pastries) but the heart disease rate is one of the lowest. It is believed to be due to the amount of red wine consumed in France as wine contains polyphenols. Acai berries are said to contain 20 times more the amount of polyphenols than of red wine.

2 – Also, acai berries contain high amounts of essential fatty acids (omega 6 and 9) just like argan oil that contribute to the promotion of good cholesterol while soothing inflammatory conditions and making the skin looks healthy.

3 – Acai berries are believed to be a valuable source of energy. As a matter of fact, in Brazil, acai berries are consumed as “acai na tigela” (acai bowl) that consists of acai pulp, granola and banana to provide energy.

4 – Other claims include easing the digestive system thanks to the high amount of fibers.

5 – Acai berries are a great source of vitamins and proteins to keep our good health.

acai berry supplementsAcai berries can be taken in various forms including raw, in acai berry supplements, acai berry tablets, acai berry juice, smoothies, jam or cereal bars. However, always check the ingredients to ensure that the product does not only contain acai berries partially. Organic acai berry juice that is pure is the best as you can measure the amount you wish to take daily and mix it with other juices or water.

While acai berries are a powerful fruit, so are many other fruits such as blueberries or other vegetables and a mix of both should be part of the daily diet. So it is a great idea to incorporate acai berries in our diet but let’s keep aware of unverified commercial health claims over acai berries such as weight loss, sexual performances and more and always read the label of organic products to ensure they are truly organic.

By the way, acai is pronounced AH-SAH-EE if you ever visit Brazil 🙂