Saturday, 27 December 2014

What is vitamin K

Vitamin K Rich Vegetables
Photo Credit- Wikimedia Commons by Elina Mark

Despite being an important vitamin for health the vitamin K is rarely discussed. It is soluble in fats and is needed by the body to synthesize certain proteins. It remains stored in body fats and liver. Its primary importance is considered to help in clotting of blood during bleeding.The letter K has been a German origin from the word koagulation which in English means coagulation or clotting.

This objective is achieved by vitamin K by activating different proteins, minerals and calcium which help in the process of clotting of blood. It helps in the improvement of the health of bones and stops the accumulation of calcium in arteries and thereby reduces the chances of sudden heart attack. It helps in delaying the symptoms of old age.

Due to ignorance the people do not care to include vitamin K in regular diet.

Excessive and abnormal bleeding is the first sign of the deficiency of vitamin K in body. The bleeding from gums and nose is the symptom of this deficiency. The excessive deficiency of vitamin K even leads to the bleeding in digestive system.

The appearance of excessive blood clotting occurs in body is another symptom of vitamin K deficiency.

Due to the deficiency of vitamin K the body especially the soft tissues assimilate large amount of calcium and the arteries become hard. The hardness of the arteries is also a symptom of the deficiency of vitamin K. In some cases it damages the great artery.  

Vitamin K is found in Cabbage, Cauliflower, Spinach, Lettuce, Broccoli, Kale, Brussels, Swiss chard, Turnip, Aspharagus, Sprouts, Grapes, Kiwifruit, Avocados etc. Its chief source is parsley

Wednesday, 24 December 2014

Strawberry Cornstarch Glaze

A bowl of sliced strawberries
Photo Credit- Wikimedia Commons by 

The strawberry glaze made with cornstarch can be used as topping for many deserts including cheesecake too. 

Mix water(2/3 cup ), Take about 750 gm of stems removed fresh strawberries. Add 3 cups of water, half cup sugar, 2 cups lemon juice to the strawberries. Place the contents in a pan and boil on high heat with thorough and constant stirring. Then mesh the strawberries into small pieces in the pan and cook on low heat for few minutes. 

After stopping the heating process, strain the mixture and squeeze the juice through strainer from the strawberries. Avoid the pulp and reheat again on low heat.

Take one tablespoon of cornstarch in a small bowl and whisk it with 3 tablespoons of water. Thereafter pour the cornstarch into the simmering pan.

Continue whisking the mixture on high heat for five minutes or till it thickens into a glaze.

Stop heating and pour the glaze into a separate bowl and let it cool. After cooling glaze and refrigerate till it gets chilled.  

Strawberry Mint Lemonade

Strawberry Mint Lemonade
Photo Credit- Wikimedia Commons by Janine 
Like other lemonades the strawberry mint lemonade too is sweet and sour. Because the slices of strawberry become pickled by lemon in lemonade. While the sugar and mint provides extra flavor to it. 
The strawberry mint lemonade is very easy to prepare.

Take some organic cane sugar or the maple syrup, which easily dissolves than the sugar crystals. Instead of bottled lemon juice extract the juice of fresh lemons.
Take 4 cups of water and add fresh strawberries with 1 ¼ cups of sugar, 5 cups of fresh mint leaves, and 1 cup of lemon juice.

Leave the mixture for few hours or preferably overnight so that the sugar can drain out the juices from the strawberries through osmosis. 

Then add the remaining lemon juice, and 2 cups of water and put the contents in a pan. Boil the mixture and simmer for 10 minutes. Stain into a blender and blend properly with thin slices of strawberries. Add more sugar to taste and refrigerate the contents. The 4 servings of strawberry mint lemonade are ready.

What is Vitamin D and what are its benefits

Sunbathing Women
Photo Credit- Wikimedia Commons by Ed Yourdon 
The nutritious diet is necessary for overall health. The diet could not be healthy unless it contains vitamins in right proportion. 

The body needs all types of vitamins but vitamin D is one such vitamin which fulfills several needs besides making the bones strong and healthy.
It strengthens and regulates the immune system, controls the body weight, gives benefits in depression and helps in the functions of the brain. Therefore vitamin D should be included in daily diet for overall health.

Sunlight is the chief source of vitamin D. At least half to one hour basking in the sun fulfills the daily needs of vitamin D in the body.

Fish is another rich source of vitamin D. The non vegetarians could include fish in their daily diet to replenish the needs of vitamin D. The fish contains rich amounts of omega 3 fatty acids which make the heart healthy. The fish like salmon, tuna, hilsa are the rich source of vitamin D.

The milk and milk products like curd, cheese etc., also fulfill the needs of vitamin D and calcium in the body.

The pasteurized food like bread, milk, cheese, soy milk etc., also contain vitamin D and should be included in daily diet by the vegans.

For vegans another important source of vitamin D is whole grain. Wheat, husk, rice and dalia are the rich sources of vitamin D.

The orange juice is a rich source of vitamin D and should be included in daily diet.

The sources of vitamin D are limited and its requirement could be fulfilled by vitamin D tablets.

Eggs are the easiest source of vitamin D and they could be included in breakfast. The white part of the egg is a rich source of vitamin D.

The regular use of cod lever oil also fulfills the need of vitamin D.

Sunday, 19 October 2014

How to Make a Strawberry Jam

Take about 15 cups of fresh strawberries and clean them. Cut them into halves or chop them. Put the strawberries in a non-reactive container and add 2 cups of the organic sugar. For sugar to drain out the liquid from the strawberries by osmosis, leave the mixture at room temperature for half an hour.Then cover the container and refrigerate over night for maceration. 

After removing the strawberries from the fridge, add 4 and half cups of organic sugar, 8 tbsp of powdered pectin, and half cup of fresh lemon juice or vinegar to it. The fruits can also be added as per choice. 

Boil the contents over high heat, in large pan with continuous stirring for about half an hour or till the mixture becomes consistently thick or trickle down like honey. Be careful as the foam may spill over during the boiling.

Then stop cooking and transfer the jam into the jars.Put the lid tightly on the jars and dip them in a boiling water bath for about 15 minutes, then place them on a cloth and cool them for 24 hours. This processing preserves the jam and makes the jars airtight, as the lids would become concave due to vacuum. 

Photo Credit- Wikimedia Commons by PatrĂ­ciaR

Saturday, 18 October 2014

Strawberry Sorbet Recipes

It is very simple to make a sorbet with simple recipe and without any fancy equipment. The brilliant red strawberry flavored sorbet is made from simple ingredients. Either served alone or paired with simple butter cookies it is an exquisite and and delicious dessert. Any citrus juice like that of lemon, lime, orange or grapefruit, can be added to it. The fruits make a delicious combination. 

It has two recipes.

1. An icy or granular sorbet, requiring only a food processor and freezer.
Prepare the syrup of water and sugar in a saucepan, by boiling the mixture over medium heat with constant stirring, then without stirring, let it simmer for 5 minutes. Transfer it into a bowl, and refrigerate.

Thaw a quart of frozen strawberries, or wash and trim if they are fresh. Then make a smooth mixture but not a puree in a food processor, and combine it with half a cup of frozen apple juice concentrate or 2 tablespoons of lemon juice and lukewarm or cool sugar syrup. 
Put the mixture in a shallow or cake pan and place it in the freezer. First stir it after two hours and then twice after every hour, to break the crystals or till the sorbet becomes as firm as required. When it becomes icy, puree it in a food processor and return to the freezer after covering it. 

It could be served after next two hours before allowing it to sit at room temperature for 15 minutes.

2. A smoother sorbet, churned in an ice cream maker. Prepare the water and sugar syrup as above.

Make a completely smooth puree of strawberries with citrus juice in a food processor.
Stain the mixture to remove the seeds and the pulp of strawberries and mix the liquid contents with the sugar and corn syrup.Freeze it in refrigerator for an hour. Prepare the sorbet in ice cream maker. 

Photo Credit- Wikimedia Commons 

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Aloe Vera as a Food Preservative

Aloe Vera Gel

The chemical preservatives in food processing industry always needed a substitute, because they have been proved to cause several diseases including cancer.

The recent researches have assigned a new role of food preservative to aloe vera. In Spain, an Aloe Vera based gel has been developed, which has prolonged the conservation of products like fresh fruits,legumes and meat. 

Aloe Vera is a safe natural product and is an environmental friendly alternative to synthetic preservatives such as sulfur dioxide etc. 

As against the usual table life of 7-8 days at 1°C, the untreated grapes when coated with this aloe vera gel were preserved for 35 days. The further researches are still going on to develop aloe vera as a viable alternative for chemical preservatives on large and commercial basis.

Photo Credit- Pava
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