Rice can solve constipation?!

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Having an Asian background, consuming rice is a commonplace for every single Asian family. However, people usually find other substitutes such as oatmeal to replace rice during their diets. It is interesting that having a mixture of grain rice can actually increase the digestion and improve the intestinal peristalsis rate. Here are some nutritional facts of healthy rice.

Rice

Basmati Rice
– Basmati Rice is a non-glutinous rice that has been cultivated at the foot of the Himalayan mountain ranges for centuries. The rivers Yamuna and Ganga feed the fields. The rice is long-grain and scented and when literally translated from Hindi it means ‘queen of scents’ or ‘pearl of scents’. It is the world’s best rice one can use for cooking although, for variety one uses jasmine and parboiled rice. For centuries it has been exported to the Arab countries and many of their traditional rice dishes are cooked with long grained Basmati rice. It is an aromatic long grain slender rice from India and Pakistan, is fragrant and has a nutty flavour.

Black Rice – Indonesia and Phillipines
– This is a sticky rice that is grown in Indonesia and the Philippines. It has a nutty flavour.

Della
This is another variety of rice that was developed in America to mimic the Basmati grain. It is considered a good rice However, the cooked kernels are not as long and slender as Basmati because the grains, when cooking, swell both lengthwise and widthwise, like regular long grain rice.

Wild Rice
Description: Wild rice has been the staple food of the Sioux and Chippawa . Wild rice is not a rice it is a grain. Wild rice are seeds of a water grass. They are long and dark brown with black colourings. Just a wonderful smoky, nutty flavor and chewy in texture. Wild rice from lakes are the best choice as they are far superior than cultivated wild rice. Although, cultivated paddies provide excellent breeding ground for waterfowl and other wildlife. 

Having mixed cooking of grain rice can help to solve constipation problem! Why not give it a try?

Feel free to share your experiences to us on our Facebook and Twitter pages!

– Maggie Ng

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Diet soda contains a higher nutritional value?

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Taking diet soda drinks may be a common diet habit for individuals to get rid of taking sugary food. However, nutritional report has shown that the artificial sweetener contained in diet soda can increase the risk of getting other health issues. Here are 4 common side effects of the consumption of diet soda.

  1. Obesity
    Many people consider taking diet soda can help to lose weight. However, a study published by University of Texas Health Science Center found that the more diet sodas an individual drinks, the higher their risk of becoming overweight. Having as least two cans of diet sodas each day is possible for individuals to increase waistlines by 500%. This is due to the fact that artificial sweeteners can disrupt the body’s natural ability to regulate calorie intake based on the sweetness of food. As a result, people will consumer more than usual since the body releases the signal of craving for more sugar.
  2. Kidney problems
    Harvard Medical School study shows that diet cola is associated with a two-fold increased risk for kidney decline. This happens when individuals, especially for women, drink more than two cans a day. The researchers also claim that the risk is not associated with sugar-sweetened sodas, but only those with diet sweeteners.
  3. Cell damage
    Mod inhibitors, with sodium benzoate or potassium benzoate, can be found in diet sodas. This is a preservative only used in diet cokes but not in the regular ones like Coca Cola and Pepsi.

    These chemicals can cause severe damage to DNA in the mitochondria to the  point that they totally inactivate it – they knock it out altogether.”
    – Peter Piper, Professor from the University of Sheffield in the U.K.

    To be specific, the preservative has found to be linked to hives, asthma, and other allergic conditions. The Food Commission in the U.K. has classified both sodium and potassium benzoate as mild irritants to the skin, eyes, and mucous membranes.

  4. Messed-up metabolism
    Diet sodas is reported the ability to increase the risk of metabolic syndrome by 34%. Symptoms such as belly fat and high cholesterol that put you at risk for heart disease.

Taking one can of diet soda is not a bad habit. However, for people who suffer from diabetes and who are in their diet plans, it is recommended to use natural sweeteners such as honey, maple syrup, stevia, agave extract and date sugar in their meals.

Please feel free to leave us comments and share your ideas on our Facebook and Twitter pages!

– Maggie Ng

Three new ways to enjoy Indomie

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The tales of instant noodles: we all understood they are the definition of ‘junk food’ and yet, they are just too hard to resist. Why? Because instant noodles are quick and satisfying. In only a few minutes, you’d be able to fill your tummy with solid food that is hot and aromatic. What more can you ask for?

The Indomie brand

The Indomie brand

In 2010, the goodwill of indomie was put into the spotlight when Taiwan’s Department of Health concluded that the product contains two ‘unqualified’ preservatives. The preservatives are Methyl P-Hydroxybenzoate (E218), which is in the oil, and the benzoic acid which can be found in the marinade.

Scared? Well, the result was overwritten by the Malaysian and Singaporean counterparts. The then Health Minister of Malaysia, Datuk Liow Tiong Lai Series, announced that eating Indomie would not pose any health risk to consumers.

But seriously, who cares? After all, a fulfilling meal is all we need. So today, the Chef of Health presents three new ways to enjoy your little package of Indomie.

  1. Indomie with boiled egg

Indomie is usually served either with a fried or boiled egg. The watery texture of the egg adds an extensive layer to the tropical flavour of the noodle. It also increases the protein content of the meal. However, we recommend a boiled egg over fried ones simply because it is not as oily. The greasiness of the fried egg noodle combo could be overwhelming.

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   2. Indomie with the Lot

Veggies such as carrots, onions and green peas are popular side dishes with Indomie noodles. Add curry powder for an extra boost of flavour.

Tips: Use oil spray instead of liquid oil for a more even exposure. In this way, the oil will not be overly excessive and thus your dishes will end up with less fat!

  3. Indomie Carbonara

Use Indomie as an alternative to ordinary pasta. The noodles have a chewy texture relative to cooked pasta. Just be conscious with the amount of butter and oil you put into the mix.

Sick of instant noodles? Check out our previous blog on quick and easy Avacado Pizza.

Creamy low fat banana shake

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Serve: 2

Ingredients

1 frozen ripe banana, cut into chunks
1 cup whole milk
1 – 2 tablespoons sugar
1/8 teaspoon vanilla extract

Optional: 1/2 wholegrain oats (for high fibre content!)

Blend all ingredients until smooth using a hand blender or traditional blender. Drink immediately.

Packed with goodies!

Nutrition info per serving (using 1 T. sugar): 149 calories; 4 grams fat (2 grams saturated fat); 26 grams total carbohydrates; 2 grams fiber; 5 grams protein

Notes: Replace sugar with one packet of powdered stevia extract for lower sugar content. You could also leave out the sweetener completely since ripe bananas are very sweet on their own. Also, feel free to use reduced fat milk in place of whole milk if that’s all you have on hand. But I do recommend trying it with whole milk at least once!

Inspried by pinchmysalt.com

Avacado Pizza

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There are just too many ways to enjoy avocados. The buttery flavour goes well on both greens and sushi. On top of that, avocados are also renowned for other health benefits such as improving skins and helping to lower cholesterols.  As for now, the Chef of Health team has come across an Italian way to enjoy avocado, the Avacado Pizza.

Slice it up with a few of your favourite toppings and chuck it into the oven! It will only take 20 mins. So why wait when you can create?

avocado-pizza

Ingredients

  • 1 Pizza Base
  • 1 can Diced Tomatoes
  • 4 slices Salami
  • Mozzarella, grated
  • 1 Avocado, sliced

How to cook?

  1. Preheat oven to 200⁰C.
  2. Buy or make a pizza base, spread with diced tomatoes, salami slices, mozzarella and sliced avocado.
  3. Put in the oven and bake for 20 minutes.

How to store?

Refridgeration is advised because the low temperature will slow down the ripening process. Also avoid storing them with apples and bananas. The ripening agent ethylene will quicken the process.

 

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This golden fruit is a delight with salmon too. For more cooking ideas on salmons, please read our post on Jamie Oliver’s 30-minute roast salmon.

Jamie Oliver’s 30-minute roast salmon

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Suggested by Katherine, the blogger from The Culinary Counter Revolution, the well-known British chef, Jamie Oliver, has also promoted non-time-consuming recipes in his best selling cook book, “Jamie’s 30-Minute Meals”. In this blog post, the 30-minute roast salmon recipe from Jamie will be introduced.

Jamie’s Roast Salmon Recipe

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Ingredients

  • 1.5 kg of salmon, skin on, scaled and pin-boned
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • 6 sprigs of fresh rosemary
  • 1.2 kg potatoes
  • 1 heaped teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • White wine vinegar
  • 2 round lettuces, or 12 ounces of green beans
  • 6 heaped tablespoons fat-free natural yoghurt
  • ½ a bunch of fresh dill (15g) or 1 heaped teaspoon dried dill
  • 40 g feta cheese
  • 1 lemon

Preparation

  1. Preheat the oven to 200ºC/400ºF/gas 6.
  2. Place the aluminium foil on the large roasting tray, shiny side up.
  3. Place the salmon on the tray, skin side up, and drizzle with olive oil.
  4. Add a pinch of salt and pepper and rub all over the salmon.
  5. Strip over the rosemary leaves.
  6. Roast it at the top of the oven for 25 minutes, or until it has been cooked.
  7. Remove the salmon to another plate.
  8. Carefully peel the salmon skin off and put it back into the tray upside down.
  9. Place it back into the oven for another few minutes, or until it turns crispy and golden.
  10. Lay it back on the salmon for cooling down.
  11. Place some lemon wedges on the side for squeezing over.

Optional preparation for the side dish

  1. Boil the potatoes in the pan of boiling salted water for 20-25 minutes, or until they become soft.
  2. Put the mustard and 2 tablespoons each of extra virgin olive oil and vinegar into a bowl with a pinch of salt and pepper and mix together.
  3. Wash the lettuce leaves, shake dry, and place it over the plate.
  4. Drizzle over the dressing prepared from Step 2.
  5. Drain the potatoes and leave to steam dry while you mix the yoghurt with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and a splash of vinegar.
  6. Chop and add the dill, then toss with the potatoes.
  7. Place the potatoes to the plate prepared with lettuce.
  8. Crumble the feta over the potatoes and lettuce.

TIP

Ensure that the salmon is scaled before cooking, then you can make use of the delicious skin.

Nutrition value (% of a female adult daily consumption)

Calories – 495 kcal, 25% of daily intake

Carbohydrates – 32.8 g, 14% of daily intake

Sugar – 5.5 g, 6% of daily intake

Fat – 22.3 g, 32% of daily intake

Saturates – 4.5 g, 23% of daily intake

Protein – 38.8 g, 86% of daily intake

Alternative suggestions from Chef of Health blogger

The potato salad demonstrated by Jamie is optional. Since potato contains a high amount of carbohydrates (e.g. approximately 26 g for a medium potato), instead, it is recommended to mix the diced red capsicum, green beans and sliced mushrooms, drizzle with olive oil and a pinch of salt, pepper and Italian herbs as the side salad.

For the salmon, we also suggest placing a piece of fat-free cheese on top when it is almost done. Put the salmon back to the oven for another 5 minutes, or until the cheese melts and becomes a bit crispy and golden. Add some Italian herbs on top to make the salmon looks better!

One cannot think well, love well, eat well, if one has not dined well.
– Virginia Woolf

Cooking can always be the therapy to relieve stress. Low-cost cooking can help you save money, relax, and keep yourself healthy to encourage you to face the high workload. So, why don’t give it a try?

Feel free to share your experience in cooking and healthy diet on our Facebook and Twitter pages!

– Maggie Ng

Spiccc….Spicy food?!

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Eating spicy food is seemed to be an unique dining habit of Asians. However, spicy food actually contains a couple of health benefits listed below:

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good for your heart

Spicy foods are good for your heart. Cultures that regularly eat foods rich in spice are significantly less likely to experience a heart attack or stroke. Capsaicin — a compound found in peppers and hot chilies — helps lower bad cholesterol and reduces inflammation.

help you lose weight

Spicy foods help rev up your metabolism — so eat up! After eating something spicy, you burn more calories than if you were to have eaten something bland. Also, studies show that spicy foods leave you feeling more satisfied than their nonspicy counterparts. This means you’re more likely to stick to your diet and not overeat. Try adding some hot sauce to your next meal and see if you notice a difference.

help prevent cancer

Though spicy foods are not a full-on cure for cancer, they can help prevent it. Capsaicin has been found to kill some cancer cells, according to the American Association for Cancer Research. Another spice — turmeric — has been shown to help slow down the spread of certain cancer cells, such as prostate. Turmeric is an Indian spice and is actually the main spice in curry.

Other benefits

  • Boosts mood. Spicy foods increase serotonin in your brain, which makes you feel happier. Serotonin also helps you relax and feel less stressed.
  • Relieves the common cold. That’s correct — spicy foods help fight symptoms of the common cold by helping you work up a sweat.
  • More restful sleep. Those who consume spicy foods regularly have a faster and easier time falling asleep and staying asleep. Say goodbye to insomnia!
  • Reduces acne. A strange side effect, but a good one nonetheless. Spicy foods can help clear up severe acne if eaten regularly.
  • Full of vitamins and minerals. Spicy foods are usually packed with vitamins and minerals — particularly vitamin C.

– Maggie Ng